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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Primary Results Coming In; Sarah Shourd Freed by Iran; School Lottery
Aired September 14, 2010 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Updating the breaking news of primary results coming in from seven states and the District of the Columbia, CNN projecting the Delaware GOP Senate nomination will go to Tea Party challenger, Christine O'Donnell. We'll have our panel in just a few moments and John King with all the latest results.
But let's get a quick check of some other stories we're following with Isha Sesay in a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there again, Anderson. Well, yes.
The Obama administration is mapping out its plans to sue BP. It's likely to claim civil damages from BP for the massive oil spill under the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act. Other companies involved in the spill may face suit as well.
France has outlawed veils that cover the face, including the burka worn by some Muslim women to cover their entire body. The French Senate caused the ban today and the lower house of parliament already approved the bill. The law could take effect next spring.
Gold futures hit a record high today, settling at $1,271 an ounce. Investors often flock to the safety of gold when they're skittish about the overall prospects of the global economy.
And rescuers in Chile had cleared a drilling hole that was blocked by a shattered drill bit allowing them to resume drilling. They're trying to reach 33 miners who have been trapped for more than a month and may remain there until December. Three separate drilling holes are being used to reach the miners.
And, Anderson, as your Atlanta-based resident drilling correspondent, I should also tell you that the wife of one of the men trapped on the ground just had his third baby a couple of hours ago, which is good news. But I also want to make you bear in mind that fact that he missed the birth of his first child because he was watching football, the second child he was too squeamish to attend the delivery and now he's trapped underground. Make of it what you will, and I think it's too much of a coincidence.
COOPER: He's got a good excuse, at least, this time.
SESAY: I'm not buying it; you may be.
COOPER: Isha appreciate it.
We're just past the top of the hour. Back to a pretty exciting night of primary politics; potentially enormous implications for who runs the Senate next year. A Tea Party upset in Delaware, Christine O'Donnell knocking off one of the biggest names in the state politics, former governor Mike Castle.
Primary results from seven states and the District of Columbia are coming in now; we've got lots throughout this hour. More key races for the Tea Party, more old-line Republicans threatened. In D.C. a Democratic mayoral primary that is such a solidly Democratic city for all intents and purposes, also at general election. The winner tonight will almost certainly be the next mayor. A big GOP governor's race in New York.
A lot of ground to cover; John King has the very latest. John?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this last big primary night of a dramatic midterm election year is giving us a lot more drama and a lot of messages from the Tea Party to the Republican establishment.
Let's go first to the headlining race, the blockbuster you mentioned in Delaware. Christine O'Donnell, written off as a fringe long shot just weeks ago, she is your Republican nominee for Senate in the state of Delaware for the seat held for 36 years by the Vice President, Joe Biden.
She is the Republican nominee because she defeated the establishment Republican candidate. Let's look at numbers. Mike Castle, the former governor; he's a nine-term House member. He has won statewide 12 times. Tonight in a Republican primary, he lost 47 percent to Christine O'Donnell's 53 percent.
The big question now, can she win in November? Democrats say no way. A lot of Republicans doubt it. The general election starts tomorrow.
Let's move on to another big race, the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary. Kelly Ayotte, she started out as the establishment favorite, a former state attorney general. Ovide Lamontagne, he is a conservative activist in the state, was once the Republican candidate for governor. She was the favorite; he is winning at the moment.
Let's break down the number. Another message to the establishment here perhaps: 42 percent for Ovide Lamontagne with 23 percent of the vote in; 37 percent here. Let's watch. This one is not over yet, still some big cities to come in. But a lot of conservatives say her support for Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court could be a reason her conservative challenger is outpacing her.
Another race we're all watching, Charlie Rangel, 20-term House Democrat. He had five challengers in his race, and remember this crowded field: one, two, three, four, five, could be a factor in the results. Let's look at the early numbers as they come in: Charlie Rangel, facing ethics charges in the house, 48 percent of the vote right now; his lead challenger, Adam Clayton Powell IV, running at half that, 24 percent. Again though, the incumbent under 50 -- that crowded field could be a factor. Up to 19 percent of the vote in New York's congressional district for Charlie Rangel; and we'll keep an eye on that, the 15th district. This could be another stunner.
The New York Republican primary for governor, the former congressman Rick Lazio, he was considered the favorite -- the overwhelming favorite not that long ago. Tea Party candidate Carl Paladino, he is a Republican developer.
Well, let's look at these numbers. You might guess a gasp in the State of New York; 67 percent for the Tea Party's Carl Paladino; 33 percent, a very poor showing so far for Rick Lazio. That's about 40 percent of the state wide vote.
And Anderson, this one has been holding up, and, wow, that would be another big message there, Carl Paladino running as the Tea Party candidate saying this is an establishment Republican. We need a break in the party. We'll watch that one as it plays out.
And lastly the D.C. mayoral race, you mentioned. No results in this one yet. Getting a little late, after 11:00; we're wondering where the votes are. The Democratic incumbent, Adrian Fenty running against the chairman of the city council Vincent Gray.
Gray's message has been that the African-American mayor lost touch with the African-American community. School reform, education reform also a huge issue in this race. Can't tell you anything at the moment, Anderson; we'd like for those numbers right there.
And I'm being told we're ready to make a call in the New York Republican governor's races, is that right? We are ready to make this call, CNN now projecting a major upset, another major upset tonight.
Carl Paladino, the Tea Party candidate. He's a developer in the State of New York. CNN now projects he will be the Republican nominee for governor, defeating the man who just weeks ago was thought to be the big favorite, Rick Lazio. Carl Paladino will now face the Democratic attorney general, Andrew Cuomo in that race up there in New York State. Mr. Cuomo, the son of the former governor Anderson, he will be favored in that race, but, wow.
Another upset, another message to the Republican establishment. We've been talking for months about how this is a bad year for the Democrats come November because of the history of the midterm election. What it has been so far through this primary season is a dramatic soul-searching for the Republican Party.
COOPER: John King, we're going to continue checking in with you throughout this hour.
Let's bring back the panelists: senior political analyst, David Gergen; contributor and Democratic strategist, Paul Begala; contributor and editor-in-chief of redstate.com, Erick Erickson, he's the recent author of "Red State Uprising: How to take back America"; also, NPR commentator and founder of thatminoritything.com, John Ridley; and Kate Zernike -- excuse me -- national correspondent for the "New York Times", she's the author of "Boiling Mad, Inside Tea Party America". I got it right this time didn't I?
KATE ZERNIKE, AUTHOR, "BOILING MAD, INSIDE TEA PARTY AMERICA": You did.
COOPER: I did.
Erick Erickson, I mean again this is a stunning night in New York with Paladino.
ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REDSTATE.COM: It really is. And you know, Democrat grassroots this year to some degree tried to pick off some of the Democratic incumbents, in Arkansas, in Colorado, in Pennsylvania with Arlen Specter's switch -- if you can count that one -- and they weren't successful outside of the Pennsylvania race.
The Republicans on the other hand, the grassroots, I don't think the Republicans get it. I remember a CNN poll from about three months ago that showed Republican voters dislike the Republicans in Washington more than independents dislike the Republicans in Washington, and they're in total denial about that.
And this isn't going to do anything for them tonight. I'm already getting on e-mail, lots of e-mails from people saying Republican leadership types in Senate and the NRSC are openly blaming Jim DeMint for all of their problems. They should be blaming themselves.
COOPER: Jim DeMint, why Jim DeMint? Because he --
ERICKSON: Jim DeMint endorsed O'Donnell, endorsed Lamontagne, he's basically endorsed everyone against the NRSC and all of DeMint's candidates keep and all the NRSC's keep losing, which may be why O'Donnell might actually be happy the NRSC is saying they're not going to help her given their track record.
COOPER: I wanted to tell our viewers -- let's go to O'Donnell headquarters where Jessica Yellin actually has the winning candidate with her -- Jessica.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson. I'm here with Christine O'Donnell who has been greeting supporters all night long.
First of all, what message do you think your victory here sends to you -- you called them establishment Republicans who are cannibalizing the party?
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, (R) PROJECTED PRIMARY WINNER, DELAWARE: That we, the people, want our voice heard again. And you know it's not always about power, it's about principles. And there's a lot of work to do to get our country back on track. And I think the voters are craving candidates who will stand for something.
YELLIN: We've already been told this evening that the National Republicans, the party organization that often funds campaigns like yours is not going to fund yours. And that many national Republicans have said simply you cannot win in November. Do you need their money? Can you win without it?
O'DONNELL: Well, good. They don't have a winning track record. But, you know, of course there's a greater good here, and I would love their support, but they're the same so-called experts who said that I couldn't win the primary.
If we just had that throw in the towel mentality every time there was a fight that needed to be fought, our country wouldn't be what it is. It wouldn't be what is worth defending.
So, you know, there's a lot of visionaries and leaders that you've seen here in this room who believe we can win. And if they're too lazy to put in the effort that we need to win, then, so be it. We're going to win without them. I'd love their support, but we're going to win without them.
YELLIN: I heard you say if your remarks, "you bet you", a Sarah Palin line -- and you thanked her. What role did she play in your victory tonight?
O'DONNELL: Well, she was a vote against policies of personal destruction, you know. And she challenged the establishment before it was cool to challenge the establishment. And she pioneered a trail for so many women out there. So we have to thank her and all the women serving in politics regardless of the party, because it's a man's world.
But there are a lot of women who are holding their own and blazing the trail for people like me.
YELLIN: And finally, you told me when I interviewed you yesterday you'd like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's endorsement because you admire her. Would you still like her endorsement?
O'DONNELL: Absolutely. I haven't heard from her. But of course. Secretary Clinton is one of those women who, you know, when she first stepped out there, she took a beating. And I don't agree with all of her policies but I certainly agree with how she's holding her own in a difficult political arena especially in her position now. So, you go, girl, Hillary
YELLIN: Thank you for your time.
O'DONNELL: Thank you.
YELLIN: All right.
And Anderson, we understand also that the Castle campaign has not called to concede but they say here that they understand and they are pleased with her victory and he was gracious in remarks publicly. They've got a long road ahead of them still here -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jessica, do you expect -- I don't know if she's still there -- does she expect that Mike Castle will endorse her?
YELLIN: May I ask you one more question?
O'DONNELL: Sure. Sure.
YELLIN: Do you expect that Mike Castle will endorse you?
O'DONNELL: I hope so. But again, it'd be nice if we could bury the hatchet now, but if not, we can win. We can win with the support of the people.
What we've seen, this whole election cycle is everyday Americans rising up to take back their country, and that's the energy and momentum that I'm counting on to win the general election.
YELLIN: Thank you.
Anderson, so a lot of enthusiasm in the room but they're going to need to do their work to raise money to take on the Democrats who are feeling pumped tonight. They really do think that they can win this one now -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jessica, appreciate. Thanks for getting that interview -- an exciting night obviously for her supporters.
Let's check in with our panel.
Paul, are Democrats maybe, you know, sort of measuring the drapes on this too quickly? She certainly -- everyone, I heard Bill Maher earlier tonight on Larry King saying, he used to be on her show, "Politically Incorrect", years and years ago. And he was kind of rooting for her because she's such a nice person in some ways.
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I don't know her personally. I sort of defer to Bill on that. There's always that risk, there's a great legend in the Democratic Party about how the officials in the Carter White House used to run around saying we want to run against Reagan. They wanted to run against Reagan in the worst way and by golly they did.
So, yes, anybody in politics ought to step back and respect anybody who can win like that. And you know, the Tea Party activists in a Republican party have pulled off, at least by my count, eight maybe nine, really impressive statewide victories against powerful, entrenched establishment candidates.
That's an impressive thing, but that's in Republicans-only primaries which is it's kind of a gated community there in the Republican Party. In general election, there have only two where Tea Party candidates were running and fully funded and they lost both of them in the 23rd district of New York State where no Democrat had won in 152 years. The Democrat Bill Owens beat the Tea Party candidate, Doug Hoffman because the Republican candidate switched over and endorsed the Democratic.
In the Pennsylvania 12th district which had been Democratic for a long time. Jack Murtha was the Congressman there. He passed away. There was a credible Tea Party candidate. Barack Obama's favorable rating was 35 percent in that district. And yet the Democrat won there too.
So, it remains to be seen how powerful the Tea Party will be in a general election when it's not just "Republicans only" primary.
COOPER: Well, David Gergen, you know, there are some Democrats who have been going around and saying, you know, we want these Tea Party candidates to win because they're on the fringe and we're going to be able to win against them in a general election. I mean are they just kind of overly optimistic on that one?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I agree with Paul, it remains to be seen. But, Anderson, I do disagree with one point about what Paul said, and that is that if -- in Massachusetts, Scott Brown won that election for the Senate in part because he had so much support from the Tea Party. So I do think that there's going to be, now, a -- there are going to be some of these races where the Tea Party folks are, as candidates, are doing much better than anybody would have expected.
You know, people wrote off in Nevada, Ms. Angle out there against Harry Reid. That's a very close race still. And so I don't think they should be written off.
But I do think a big night for Jim DeMint, big night for Jim DeMint. And I do think there are very large questions now that are going to hang over us as -- after the elections, about how we govern the country, how decisions are reached in Washington, whether you can reach bipartisan agreement, say, on the budget deficits in the next couple years.
BEGALA: I just want to say, David's right. I'm sorry I left Scott Brown out, that's probably the most important victory since Barack Obama won and I can't believe I forgot it. So thanks David.
JOHN RIDLEY, NPR COMMENTATOR: You know, I was just going to say what's interesting though, up until today, the conversation was, how badly are the Democrats going to lose in the fall. And now all of a sudden it's all about the Republicans and the problems that they're having. It's not just here with the Tea Party but also you look at what's going on with the tax issue and the Bush tax cuts.
You've got Boehner and Mitch McConnell, the young guns all saying different things. It's really interesting that in about 24 hours the conversations really change. I don't think this is going to stop the Democrats from losing but it does allow them to look at the races and maybe focus in places more easily because you do have the Republicans running around and having to deal with themselves rather than just the Democrats.
COOPER: We're going to have more with our panel; a reminder the panel is with us throughout this hour. The live chat is up and running. Also let us know at AC360.com -- you can talk to viewers around the world watching right now, around the United States as well. Let us know what you think of tonight.
Up next: Dover, Delaware to Harlem, New York City. We'll check in on Charlie Rangel's race to hang on for a 4th decade in Congress.
COOPER: Exciting night, a lot of upsets tonight, will New York's 15th congressional district be one of them? That's the question right now; Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel in the fight of his career, facing an ethics investigation, no longer chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
Tonight it's win or go home, the race against Adam Clayton Powell IV, the son of the man Congressman Rangel defeated to win his seat in the house way back in 1970. Congressman Rangel, holding a substantial lead right now, about 2-1, but they've only 19 percent of precincts counted. Joe Johns is at the headquarters right now -- Joe?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson. Twenty terms, looking for his 21st term; a slightly surreal night here in Harlem quite frankly. This is a lively crowd but it's not a very large crowd at all. Surprisingly, few people here, waiting for what is expected by many to be a win for Charlie Rangel.
Not that surprising, of course, given the ethics allegations against him in Washington, D.C., allegations of not filling out his financial disclosure forms properly, handling improperly donations for a center he was trying to build here for public service in the city of New York.
So, we're still going to have to wait quite a while because there's an issue of course with voting machines here in New York to get the final numbers. A lot of the institutional Democratic Party turning out for Charlie Rangel, including governor David Paterson; the former mayor, David Jenkins; some members of congress all expecting a victory for Charlie Rangel despite those issues.
COOPER: All right Joe. We'll check in with you. It looks like he's obviously way ahead right now, 2-1.
Back with our panel: David Gergen, Paul Begala, Erick Erickson, John Ridley and Kate Zernike.
David, I mean John Ridley brought up earlier the idea that a victory for Rangel is not necessarily the best thing for the Democratic Party. It allows Republicans to say Democrats talked about draining the swamp in Washington and ending a culture of corruption. Charlie Rangel is facing allegations and at this point they are just allegations, but 13 ethics violation charges.
GERGEN: I think that's right. It looks like to me he's going to win. But there's no question that the Republicans would like to have him around. They'd like to keep him out there in the ether. Look, after tonight there's a very real chance the conversation is going to turn to, is there some sort of civil war going on in the right, within Republicans, among conservatives, that sort of thing.
Are we seeing something like what we saw back the 1960s when the rise of Barry Goldwater seized power in the party back from the establishment, took it, but then went on to get a real drubbing in that '64 national election and from that built a conservative movement that did become quite powerful. But it took a while.
So that's going to be the conversation. Republicans are not going to like that conversation very much. They're going to want part of the conversation to be about, hey, there are a lot of problems with these establishment Democrats. In a mood when the country is anti- establishment, anti-status quo, keep Charlie Rangel aground. That will be something the Republicans will like.
ZERNIKE: I think actually anti -- as much as the energy is on the right this time, as much as the enthusiasm gap favors the right this time, I think actually the anti-incumbent sentiment is also on the right.
Someone mentioned Arkansas earlier. And the anti-incumbency doesn't seem to be as strong on the Democratic side. But I also think, as David mentioned that we need to think about November 3rd -- not to mention November 2nd, which is Election Day.
If these Tea Party candidates lose, I think the Republicans are going to say, hey look, conservative candidates can't win, we need to go back to the middle.
RIDLEY: You know, it's interesting because David talked about in the 1960s with Barry Goldwater. Nixon framed himself as being the reasonable conservative. He was the guy who came after Goldwater. And the question is now is there going to be that conservative, that Republican who comes along and says I'm the reasonable guy.
I know Erick said something earlier about whether there really are moderate Republicans or not, but I think people are looking for that. We see it all the time in races. People left or right, they run on the fringe. Comes down to the general election, you have to move towards that middle.
BEGALA: No, but you know, it has not moved toward the middle since. The party of Reagan was more conservative than the party Nixon; the party of Gingrich more conservative than the party of Reagan; the party of Bush more conservative than the party of Gingrich and now the party of, who knows, Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin, way more conservative than the party of Bush. These guys are going farther and farther right.
ERICKSON: It's the party of Erickson. Yes, the party of Erickson.
BEGALA: You guys, I think it's all honorable but it's gone very, very far right. The Republican Party today would be unrecognizable to Dwight Eisenhower from a half century ago.
ERICKSON: You know, that's true to a degree but I also think the country moves around as well. What we're forgetting about in all of these races and what every political pundit I think tends to forget about are (INAUDIBLE). And things can change.
And it's one thing for us to on a static night tonight say this is what's going to happen on November 2nd with Christine O'Donnell -- she's going to lose. Or this guy's going to win or what have you.
Events change; there's a lot of time between now and November. I know political consultants look at the calendar. I used to be one and say, there's not. But things change and what happens this year is not going to be the same as what happens in two years.
Remember, a year and a half ago, the big story was the annihilation of the Republican Party. "Time" magazine's headline called them an endangered species and they're about to probably take back the House. Things change.
RIDLEY: They do change but is it going to be the same Republican Party that takes back the House if they do. That's the question. They may come back. Remember, the Republicans used to be more like the Democrats. These things shift. It's still basically a two-party system.
GERGEN: Yes, I just wanted to say, I want to come back to this point about just after the election. If you're a Republican incumbent coming to Washington after the election, one of the clear messages out of this, these primaries is that if you work across the aisle and work with Democrats, you do so at risk to your political life. Because we've now seen several, you know, like Bob Bennett out in the west, or Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, or now Mike Castle.
The sins that these people are committing that knocked them out is that they've been working with Democrats to try to come up with bipartisan solutions. So it seems to be the one clear message to Republicans is, and to go to Erick's point. Don't you think Erick, if you are an establishment Republican; you're going to work with the Democrats you're going to do so at great risk. Given the disgust with the status quo we see among the Tea Party folks.
ERICKSON: You know, I think David there is something to that. And I'll tell you, I was talking to a Republican senator last week other than Jim DeMint who said one of his frustrations with Washington is this idea that on big issues there has to be some sort of compromise and coming together. And he is one of the conservative senators but there is a lot of frustration out there that it's not just on the Republican side.
My friend Jane Hampshire runs a very liberal Web site called Firedoglake and she has the frustration with Democrats that there are issues where there are clear ideological lines where both sides the at grassroots level feel like they were worth fighting for, and they see guys to go to Washington who don't fight, but compromise. And it frustrates them.
Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, inevitably it grows government and right now a lot of conservatives are upset about that.
COOPER: But David Gergen, you've worked in numerous White Houses, both Republican and Democrat. Isn't compromise key to actually accomplishing something?
GERGEN: Well, Anderson, I -- there are some issues on which you know, Barack Obama and the Democrats have rammed through without a lot of bipartisanship, with no Republican votes, essentially.
But coming back to one of the central issues for the next two years is how we're going to get a-hold of this fiscal deficit. How we're going to get government spending under control, how we're going to try to balance our books. There is no way we're going to get from here to some sort of solution to that without the two parties joining forces.
There simply aren't enough votes to do the hard things, whether it's going back into Medicare, reforming social security, or doing it with home deductions, or cutting defense, all of those things are going to require people to work across the aisles. That's why we have this bipartisan deficit commission that may hold some hope.
But if Republicans come into the next year and Democrats come in saying if you work with the other side, you're going to get punished in your next primary. You're out of here if do you that, that's going to make it very, very difficult.
COOPER: All right. We've got to take a quick break.
We'll have more of our panel coming up. Also take a look at some of the tactics and the ads the candidates are using to try and win, especially in these last few weeks, including one candidate for mayor in Rhode Island who's trying to sing his way to victory.
Also tonight we'll take you live to the site of today's emotional reunion to Oman where the hiker held more than a year in Iran was reunited today with her family. Nic Robertson is there tonight. Late details on Sarah Shourd's release; and the two other hikers, including her fiance, who are still being held.
COOPER: This year we saw some memorable ads, forgettable ads, ads you'd maybe like to forget but can't. You name it. From candidates firing machine guns, founding fathers telling voters to lock and load; creepy red-eyed man-sheep hybrids and more. Along with the novelty acts there were also, as always the attack ads, the late shots, the often cheap shots at the opposition.
Tom Foreman takes a closer look at some of those ads tonight in the latest installment of our "Political Theater".
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, many front running candidates have been so convinced of victory heading to this day that they've used the primaries to get a hard running start at the general election.
Look at Wisconsin, where we swing up there to find two men who want to be governor and they are slugging it out. First, look at this ad by Republican Scott Walker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT WALKER, RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR: I want to get government out of the way so employers can create more good-paying jobs right here in Wisconsin. I'm Scott walker and I took on the political machine in Milwaukee and I'm ready to go the distance as your next governor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Now, those boxing gloves might strike some voters as a tad insensitive, considering that a year ago Democratic contender Tom Barrett, Milwaukee's mayor, was savagely beaten while rescuing a woman from an attack. Look at his ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's people with a kind of character who don't think about circumstances, about what might happen to them, they just respond. And I don't think he ever thought about it.
I know, and our kids know that their dad will always stand up for them. And he will always stand up for Wisconsin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Tom, no doubt some of his opponents probably say that ad is a bit opportunistic.
FOREMAN: Yes. You would think that. Political observers say that the general election race between these could be tight.
But speaking of being opportunistic, we can't let this guy -- this night get by without pointing out once again, Anderson, that nothing can top a Democratic contender for mayor of Providence. His name is Chris Young. You may remember him as the guy who proposed to a woman during a debate.
But check out his appearance on a local TV show in that Providence, Rhode Island mayoral race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS YOUNG, RUNNING FOR MAYOR IN PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND: I want to say that I write songs for fun, and I can play a song for you really quick, and this is a song that I've written.
I wanted to have my guitar but they wouldn't let me have it. I'll sing it for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: This went on for two minutes. This guy's singing along with his cell phone, and at the end he wanted to bring a guitar player in to do it all over again, Anderson. But the host voted no on that, and we should note that the voters also went with the non-proposing, non-singing with the cell phone ticket and they chose Angel Tevaris as the person they're going to have in that race.
COOPER: They punished him for his creativity.
FOREMAN: Yes. Some people don't appreciate art.
COOPER: Exactly right.
All right. Tom thanks very much.
More on the primaries ahead; John King has got the latest on the upsets and we'll get back to our panel as well.
We're also following other important stories, including Iran's decision to release one of three American hikers. Why was she and not the other two let go? We'll have details on that coming up.
COOPER: We are ready to call another race, let's go to John King -- John.
KING: Anderson, Democrat Charlie Rangel has overcome ethics allegations, at least for now, and won his primary in the New York City's 15th congressional district. CNN now projecting Charlie Rangel will win the Democratic primary. He's seeking a 21st term in congress, an overwhelmingly Democratic district. So for all intents and purposes, this should mean Charlie Rangel will win re-election to the House tonight.
Let's break down the votes. Sixty percent of the vote in, Charlie Rangel getting 53 percent; his closest challenger -- there were five challengers in all -- his closest challenger, Adam Clayton Powell IV at 25 percent. So Charlie Rangel surviving for now in Harlem; he will be the Democratic nominee. He will be the overwhelming favored now, Anderson, to win re-election.
We should note, of course, though he still faces trial by the House Ethics Committee on a number of ethics allegations, but Charlie Rangel, if he had to worry about that in the primary, not anymore. We now project he will be the Democratic nominee. COOPER: All right John. We'll check in with you again for the race in the GOP Senate primary in New Hampshire in just a little bit.
Overseas now, a young American woman stepped off a plane in Oman today and said and I quote, "I've been waiting for this moment for a really long time." Her name is Sarah Shourd, one of three American hikers detained by Iran for more than a year now. They say they were hiking in the mountains of Iraq in the summer of 2009 when they allegedly strayed into Iranian territory.
Iran's government accused them of spying; they denied the charges. Shourd is now free, her two companions one of whom is her fiance remain locked in a Tehran prison.
Nic Robertson, our senior international correspondent is in Oman tonight. Nic, she flew today to -- from Iran to Oman. Iranian media say she was released on bail because of her medical condition. What kind of shape was she when she arrived?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She seemed pretty tired and quite emotional when you listen to her speak. But huge hugs and kisses with her mother and uncle on the tarmac by the plane when she got off that 2 1/2 hour flight from Tehran.
Her mother jokingly playing around with that red head scarf she had worn in Tehran, now around her neck. Her mother folded it over her head again, over her hair, but walking arm in arm, smiling -- huge smiles. Her mother clearly relieved, she had a lot to say when she met the press here in Oman saying that she wanted to thank the Sultan of Oman and thank many other people, including the President of Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SHOURD, FREED FROM TEHRAN PRISON: I want to really offer my thanks to everyone in the world, all of the governments, all of the people that have been involved and especially particularly want to address President Ahmadinejad and all of the Iranian officials, the religious leaders, and thank them for this humanitarian gesture. I'm grateful and very humbled by this moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: She -- there was bail posted at $500,000 in order to get her released. Do we know how that happened without violating U.S. sanctions against Iran? Who paid the bail?
ROBERTSON: Well, it sounds -- as if you listen to Iranians it sounds as if Oman has paid the bail money from here, half a million. They State Department said they didn't pay it, not clear that the family could really raise that kind of money as quickly as the money was handed over.
And that appears to be why Oman played such a significant role and why she came here because they seemed to have been the middle man in all of this. The money being transferred from a bank here, it appears Oman is saying, at least senior U.S. government officials saying the Omanis did play a significant behind the scenes role. So they seemed to have been the middle man in all of this. Exactly where the money came from, that's not clear still -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's so nice. I mean those pictures of her being reunited with her mom, her mom is -- just touching each other. It's just so incredibly sad and sort of touching to see them reunited after this long time, to think that her fiance is still in jail in Iran along with her other friend. She's out on bail. Is she expected to have to go back to face trial at some point?
Robertson: Normally when people have paid bail before, journalists that have been in Iranian jail paid bail before, the money's paid, they never go back. And that appears to be the situation here. This is almost, if you like, sort of get out of jail money.
Her fiance, though, her other male friend, still in jail. Iranians say they're going to face charges and she's making it very clear that right now all she's going to put all her effort and energy into getting them freed as well.
COOPER: Yes. Their names are Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.
Nic, I appreciate the reporting from Oman tonight. One happy family reunited obviously; two other American families still waiting for their loved ones to be returned.
We'll have more of our primary election coverage ahead. John King in Washington with the latest numbers and our political panel to talk about the night's biggest upsets. Stay with us.
COOPER: All right. Let's bring you up to the minute right now on all the political upsets that we've seen and some that we haven't seen yet. John King's got the latest -- John.
KING: It's a dramatic night Anderson; the primary season closing out with some more stunning upsets, more evidence that the Tea Party and the rest of the conservatives on the right is sending a message to their party.
Let's begin with the biggest drama of the night -- that is Delaware. We now know Christine O'Donnell will be the Republican senate nominee for the state of Delaware. The seat held for 36 years by Vice President Joe Biden. She is the nominee and she is the nominee because she defeated in resounding fashion the establishment Republican candidate.
Let's break down the numbers. Mike Castle, 47 percent for Mike Castle, despite 12 victories statewide in prior elections. He loses tonight. Christine O'Donnell with 53 percent -- she is now the Republican candidate with Tea Party backing. The question will be will the establishment Republican Party rally around her, but a dramatic, stunning upset powered by the Tea Party tonight. Let's move to New Hampshire -- another big Senate primary there on the Republican side. Kelly Ayotte, former state attorney general, she was the favorite coming in. Ovide Lamontagne, a conservative activist, once the Republican candidate for governor, unsuccessful he was in that race.
But let's break down the numbers now and we see Mr. Lamontagne has held the lead throughout the night; 41 percent here to 38 percent for Kelly Ayotte -- several other conservatives in that race -- 30 percent of the vote counted. They're counting them slowly up in New Hampshire tonight. But Lamontagne holding his lead so far although, by the numbers, it has closed a little bit; we need to keep watching this one in the state of New Hampshire.
New York governor, score another one for the Tea Party here. Carl Paladino, the Tea Party candidate, will be the Republican nominee for governor. How did he get there? Well, this is a familiar storyline. He beat the establishment Republican candidate Rick Lazio.
Let's break down the numbers here so we can show you that. Carl Paladino winning over Rick Lazio, 36 percent for Lazio, 34 percent here -- you can tell those numbers are obviously mixed up, but we know Mr. Paladino is the winner in the state. You have the raw vote count here -- the percentages are obviously a mistake in the graphic.
Mr. Paladino is winning that race. He will go up against the Democratic attorney general, Andrew Cuomo.
Let's move on to another big race in New York. Charlie Rangel, CNN now projects, will be the winner in the Democratic primary in the 15th congressional district. He has represented that district for 20 terms, that's 40 years in the House of Representatives. He is now the runaway favorite despite some ethics allegations against him. Winning the Democratic primary makes him the overwhelming favorite come November.
And one more we're waiting for tonight, the D.C. Mayor's race, first we'll show you the candidates. We have Adrian Fenty, he's the Democratic incumbent running against Democrat Vincent Gray, he's the chairman of the city council; A few other Democrats in the primary tonight as well.
Let's break down the early numbers as we see this one coming in. Mr. Gray at the moment, nearly 60 percent of the vote -- 59 percent to 29 percent. We caution you, 13 percent of the vote in here. The late polls did show though that Vincent Gray running against the incumbent Adrian Fenty, some disaffection, dissatisfaction in the African- American community, education reform a big issue in this race. Only 13 percent, though, we need to keep counting here in the District of Columbia -- Anderson.
COOPER: John King, appreciate the update.
We're back with our panel. We only have about two minutes so just very quick thoughts -- final thoughts from each of you. David Gergen? GERGEN: Big anti-establishment night. Let's talk about D.C., a race of national significance. The mayor is going down there and looks like he's going down big tonight. Appointed Michelle Rhee, the woman who's been trying to overhaul the D.C. Schools; she's been fighting against a lot of different forces there. The mayor goes down tonight; it imperils the most important school -- some of the most important school reforms in the country. That is big news in the education reform community.
BEGALA: Picking up on that, if you're interested in that issue, you should watch Davis Guggenheim's (ph) new movie, "Waiting for Superman". He's the guy who made "An Inconvenient Truth" and won an Oscar, powerful case for school reform. But for me the story of the night is good news for conservatives, bad news for Republicans. So on the net, this is actually a pretty good night for the Democrats.
COOPER: Paul Begala's smiling after this night. Erick?
ERICKSON: You know, in November, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is going to try to take credit for a lot of senate gains, but frankly if they get them, it's going to be in spite of them. Tonight yet again the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican leadership in the Senate has been smacked down by the Tea Party. These people are totally detached from what's going on within their own grassroots, and it may come back to haunt them in November if they're not careful.
COOPER: Strange night when you have both Paul Begala and Erick Erickson smiling about all these results, John.
RIDLEY: I have to go back to what David was talking. I think that's the D.C. mayor election is the one we're going to talk about least but it may have the most far-reaching consequences. Interestingly, if Fenty lost the black vote he was trying to save the schools and it is going to be something to watch in the future.
ZERNIKE: You know, I think Paul is right that the Democrats really got a big victory tonight, but look, three weeks ago even Tea Party activists were counting out Christine O'Donnell. So I think we cannot count out the Tea Party.
COOPER: No doubt about that.
Appreciate all our panelists staying up the extra hour with us.
Our coverage continues -- we have a lot more ahead. We've been talking about education.
Still ahead, imagine if your child's future was decided by a lottery. Paul was just talking about this movie. Luck of the draw, determining if your child gets into a good school or one that doesn't have the same resources. It happens all the time. Is it right? "Perry's Principles" is just ahead.
COOPER: Education contributor Steve Perry recently spent time with some families who are featured in a powerful documentary about New York's failing and under-performing schools. The film focuses on a lottery that thousands of families in Harlem pin their hopes on every year; pure chance determining their child's futures.
The odds of winning are slim but the prize can literally be life saving. This "Perry's Principles" report shows why.
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: For Eric and Shawna Roachford to get their son into a high-performing Harlem charter school, they have to win a lottery. Literally.
SHAWNA ROACHFORD, MOTHER: That was nice. Now let's do our words.
PERRY: The Roachfords are profiled in the movie "The Lottery". It explores the emotional process parents go through to get their child into a strong school. Most live in areas with underperforming schools. The final step is a massive lottery drawing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome.
PERRY: A few hundred children are randomly selected out of thousands to win seats in the most sought-after schools.
What did you see with people sitting next to you? What was going on with them?
S. ROACHFORD: Seeing some tears, we were praying, you know, and you just are seeing an antsy feeling, like people were kind of like sitting on the edge, you know, just waiting and hoping.
ERIC ROACHFORD, FATHER: You're looking at, it's like it symbolizes hope. It symbolizes great opportunities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama has those black shoes, shiny shoes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he?
PERRY: Lori Brown Goodwhite (ph) is raising her son Gregory alone. Her husband is in prison. Unhappy with their zone school, Goodwhite entered a dozen lotteries.
LORI BROWN GOODWHITE, TRYING TO GET THEIR SON INTO CHARTER SCHOOL: What it meant to me, in order to get a decent school was like, I just want to give my son a fair education. And I kept saying if I put him in a local school which may be up the block, even though I know it's ok, I'm like am I throwing him into a failing situation?
PERRY: Film maker Madeleine Sackler wanted to highlight the inequity of school choice.
MADELEINE SACKLER, "THE LOTTERY": We've actually had the film described as like a horror movie. The parents wake up that day and they know they're walking in to a nightmare. I mean their chances at that particularly lottery were one in seven. There's over 3,000 applicants for about 475 spots. And yet they go because they're just dying for something better.
PERRY: That something better is a charter school. A public school funded by tax dollars but run independently and with more freedom than traditional schools. They're governed by performance contracts that require proven academic success.
Charters often have longer school days, a year-round schedule and in Harlem, no shortage of critics who don't like seeing their neighborhood school replaced by one they'll have to compete to get into even if the charter school posts impressive results.
SACKLER: The school in the film, about 95 percent of the kids are grade level. In Harlem overall which is where the school is located it's 56 percent. The school in the film, it's one of the highest-performing schools in New York and it's the most protested.
PERRY: Finally, off the waiting list, Gregory attends a charter school. His mom says it's working.
GOODWHITE: You can see the difference in him. Like I mean, I see it in him too now.
As for the Roachfords, they're still waiting for their name to be called.
S. ROACHFORD: I feel that every school should be excellent and that we shouldn't have to be in a position to make that kind of decision.
COOPER: So what do you think we could do to eliminate the need for these huge lotteries?
PERRY: One of the things that we can do is allow successful models to be replicated in some of America's most impoverished neighborhoods so that children don't have to win a lottery in order to become a student in a successful school. Every child should have access to a quality education regardless of where they live.
COOPER: Sounds good, Steve. Appreciate it.
PERRY: Thank you.
Let's check in with John King for the latest results -- John.
KING: Anderson, a couple of quick updates on a couple of big races where we don't know the winners just yet. And let's start in the state of New Hampshire. The Republican primary for Senate, Kelly Ayotte, the former attorney general; she was the favorite coming in. Ovide Lamontagne a conservative activist; he is the leading though throughout the night.
Let's check the latest numbers as we look with 34 percent of the vote in. Lamontagne still winning with 40 percent to 38 percent but Kelly Ayotte has closed the gap just a bit over the last couple of hours. Slow count up in New Hampshire tonight. We'll keep on top of that one.
Another big race right here in the District of Columbia, the incumbent mayor Adrian Fenty, he wants four more years; the Democratic city council chairman, Vincent Gray, his challenger in the Democratic primary. The winner of the primary most likely will be D.C.'s next mayor.
Let's check the numbers with 18 percent of the vote counted. Vincent Gray right now with a comfortable lead, 56 percent to 43 percent; again, he would be defeating an incumbent mayor if his numbers hold up; about 18 percent there though Anderson.
School reform, unemployment, the big issues in this race. We'll stay on top of it throughout the night -- Anderson.
COOPER: John King reporting. John thanks.
That does it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.