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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann Flunking American History?; Public Official, Private Vendetta; Alleged Tucson Shooter Appears in Court

Aired January 24, 2011 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again. Welcome to 360, everyone.

Tonight: the congresswoman who will be on national television tomorrow night or online responding to President Obama's State of the Union message. She's flunking the very history she says she reveres. Michele -- Michele Bachmann speaking out about the nation's founding, but getting her facts wrong. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also "Keeping Them Honest" tonight: new evidence in the case of that Michigan public official pursuing a private vendetta against a gay college student. Tonight, he's a former official. And results of an official investigation are in, and they are startling. We will tell you what we -- what we have learned about him today.

And the alleged Tucson shooter in court today facing charges with a smile. A smile? We will tell you what was behind the grin of this alleged mass murderer and update you on the condition of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

We begin, though, as always, "Keeping Them Honest," with some startling new comments from Michele Bachmann about American history, comments that are either a deliberate rewriting of our history or signs she has a shaky grasp on our history.

Now, you might wonder, why does this matter? Is this just an attack on a controversial lawmaker? We don't think so. Plenty of lawmakers, Republicans, Democrats, see and local and national officials, probably don't know all they should about American history, TV anchors as well.

But Michele Bachmann has repeatedly trumpeted her understanding of the Constitution and our nation's founding. She also reportedly has presidential ambitions of her own. And, tomorrow night, she will be giving her own response to President Obama's State of the Union speech online.

What she says matters because people do listen to her, and we think facts matter, particularly when it's facts about our founding as a nation.

So, here's what she said. You can judge for yourself. Speaking to a group called Iowans for Tax Relief, Congressman Bachmann seemed to whitewash our painful history over slavery. Instead of facing some of the less pretty facts of America's founding, she airbrushed herself some new history.

Here she is talking about what people have faced throughout history when coming to America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: It didn't matter the color of their skin. It didn't matter their language. It didn't matter their economic status. It didn't matter whether they descended from nobility or whether they were of a higher class or a lower class. It made no difference. Once you got here, we were all the same.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, as much as we wish that were the case, as good as that sounds, that's simply not true. Whether she was talking about the founding of our nation or the experience of immigrants throughout our history, we were not treated all the same.

Irish immigrants didn't feel the same walking past storefronts with signs reading "No Irish need not apply." Japanese Americans didn't feel the same when they were placed in internment camps during World War II. And, of course, enslaved Africans certainly didn't feel the same when they were brought here against their will.

Michele Bachmann mentioned slavery, but only to say it was something the founding fathers couldn't wait to get rid of.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: We know that was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began. We know that was an evil and it was a scourge and a blot and a stain upon our history.

But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. And I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers, who worked tirelessly, men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, again, Congresswoman Bachmann has her facts wrong. Many of the founders owned slaves. George Washington owned slaves. Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that all men are created equal, owned slaves.

Jefferson was certainly conflicted about it, but others were not. And let's remember, the Constitution itself, as glorious a document as it is, the Constitution itself established a slave as three-fifths of a person. It was a political compromise.

As for John Quincy Adams, well, Ms. Bachmann is right. He was a tireless campaigner against slavery, especially during his 17 years in Congress after leaving the White House. But he was not a founding father, as she sort of implied. He died years before emancipation and the Civil War.

Now, this is certainly not the first time that Congresswoman Bachmann has gotten the facts wrong or invented her own facts. Just recently on 360, she claimed President Obama's trip to Asia would cost $200 million a day. We showed how that report was completely unfounded, tracing it to an unnamed Indian official quoted by a foreign news service.

There are plenty of other examples, but we focus on this tonight, not just because Congresswoman Bachmann is going to be speaking tomorrow night, but because we believe facts matter, particularly where our history is concerned.

And one of the many things that makes this country great is that we are able to examine our past. We are at our best when we learn from the past, painful though it may be. Rewriting history does no one any good. It doesn't honor our real history. And it certainly doesn't help us learn about ourselves.

We invited Congresswoman Bachmann on the program tonight. She declined. We asked her for a statement that might explain her comments. She never responded.

Instead, we're joined by former Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari. Currently, she's president of the consulting firm Susan Molinari Strategies. Also, Democratic strategist Paul Begala and historian Professor Eddie Glaude Jr., who chairs the African-American Studies Department at Princeton University.

Professor, what do you make of her comments. Is this a whitewashing of history?

EDDIE GLAUDE JR., CHAIR, AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES DEPARTMENT, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, in part, I think it is.

But I think, you know, what it -- what it -- what it suggests is that she lacks a little nuance, to put it gently. We do know that there was debate among the founding fathers about slavery. Some opposed slavery outright. Others were indifferent.

But still others were quite committed to slavery, economically and socially. What happened as a result of that debate wasn't resolution, but, as you mentioned at the top of the piece, was compromise, the three-fifths compromise, and also the fugitive slave clause, which allowed slave owners to retrieve their escaped property.

What I think she would have been better equipped to do is not appeal necessarily to the founders, but appeal to a different tradition, a tradition of Americans who sought to correct the contradictions around our democratic principles evident in our practice. And that is the abolitionist movement in the 1830s.

She should have invoked William Lloyd Garrison, Lydia Maria Child, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, those who laid down their lives in interesting sorts of ways to protect democratic principles, to lift up the idea of democratic freedom. But I have a strange suspicion that Michele Bachmann would label many of them, shall we say, un-American or terrorists.

COOPER: Paul, does this matter? I mean, comments like this, does it matter?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I -- look, you know, it's a good news/bad news thing, Anderson.

I suppose the good news is, there are some in her party who will appreciate this. Maybe even she -- maybe she can win the Republican nomination. The bad news is, probably can't win who's smarter than a fifth grader.

She is running at a fringe. You know, her party has a lot of terribly, terribly bright people. We just saw Rudy Giuliani, one of them, interviewed by Piers Morgan.

But there's a fringe in her party that does seem to want to go back to the old days of the Know Nothings, who, by the way, were a 19th century group who were bitterly prejudiced against Catholics, Jews, African-Americans, and almost everybody else they could think of.

I'm not saying that that's what she is. I'm just saying that there's a strain in her party that seems to say, I have -- I have got my mind made up, don't confuse me with the facts.

COOPER: Susan, do facts matter in this case?

SUSAN MOLINARI (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Of course facts matter. Michele Bachmann is one individual of the Republican Party. But there's -- as -- as Paul has said, there's many great, wonderful spokespeople for the Republican Party.

I think what Michele Bachmann was trying to say was to -- to look more positively towards our history and -- and the history of the United States. I don't think she meant anything negative about it.

I don't really quite understand why it's such a big deal right now, when I thought we were here to discuss the State of the Union speech. But I guess we decided to change our mind.

So, I -- I'm not really quite prepared to discuss why she said what she said or what its impact was, because...

COOPER: Why do you think...

(CROSSTALK)

MOLINARI: ... that's not what I thought we were going to discuss this evening.

COOPER: Why -- why do you think she's decided to make her own response to the State of the Union speech? MOLINARI: You know, I -- I'm not really sure why she decided to make her own State of the Union speech. She's always been very active. She's been a vocal spokesperson for her beliefs and -- and for the Tea Party.

Clearly, as you know, Paul Ryan, the new chairman of the Budget Committee and someone who is considered very conservative and very proactive when it comes to reducing the deficit, and is quite a -- a fiscal hawk when he was in the minority, and now pledges to be in the majority, as a spokesperson chosen by the Republican Party and the Republican Party leadership to lay the vision that the Republican Party has in terms of cutting spending, reducing the deficit and -- and restoring fiscal discipline to our nation.

COOPER: Paul, does it make sense for her -- for Michele Bachmann to have her own response out there?

BEGALA: For Ms. Bachmann -- honestly, I know I was making fun of her before -- but, yes, I think it does for her. I don't think it's helpful for the Republican Party, for the reasons that Susan states.

Paul -- and maybe actually not so good for the Democrats, because guys like me, we go for the glittery sharp object out there and forget that it's a fishing lure and we get hooked. In other words, we will get distracted by Michele Bachmann, when we ought to be focusing on Paul Ryan. He is the chairman now of the House Budget Committee now. He does have a blueprint out there for the budget that would privatize Social Security, turn it over Wall Street, turn Medicare into a voucher program, cut taxes on the rich, eliminate taxes on corporations, and raise taxes on everybody between $20,000 a year and $200,000.

So, it hammers the middle class, creams the poor, and helps the rich. That's the Ryan plan. But I really am afraid, and myself included, that we will get distracted by Ms. Bachmann, because she's a little more colorful than perhaps Congressman Ryan.

MOLINARI: Well, and probably what we should be talking about is what the president of the United States intends to do to reduce the deficit that's grown by almost $2 trillion since the last State of the Union and has seen unemployment go up since the last State of the Union.

I think that's probably the discussion that the American people want to hear and are anxious to see what the solutions that the president of the United States going to put forward in order to change the direction of the nation.

COOPER: Paul, what do you want to hear from the president?

BEGALA: Jobs, jobs, jobs.

Let me tell you, I know -- I will have to actually be covering it, I suppose, and analyzing it for CNN, so I can't do it, but I want a drinking game where, every time he says the word jobs, I get to have a beer. But every time he says the word competitiveness, a five- syllable word that really doesn't mean very much, I'm going to want to throw up.

In fact, George W. Bush had an American initiative for competitiveness in his State of the Union in 2006, and it didn't do us any good. I think this is simple stuff. I have never seen the country more focused on one -- one -- one need, and that is jobs.

And if he's dancing around, either with euphemisms, like American competitiveness, or, in fact, ignoring jobs, which I can't imagine, I think that's where he -- he needs to be, is in that sweet spot of saying, I'm going to talk about the future, and I'm going to talk about jobs. And we will let Ms. Bachmann talk about the past and Mr. Ryan talk about privatizing Social Security.

MOLINARI: Well, and I think there's a real difference between the two political parties that we're going to have a year-long discussion on, and that is how do we get to those jobs.

And I think there is a great divide in this nation right now between those who want to cut -- want to cut the deficit and reduce the debt, in order to make us more competitive, and those who want to create government investments in order to create those jobs.

And I think that is going to be the defining difference between the two political parties moving forward.

COOPER: We have got to leave it there.

Susan, Paul, Eddie, appreciate you being us.

Let's -- let us know on the live chat what you think. AC360.com, that's the Web address.

Coming up next: Remember that assistant attorney general in Michigan fired for harassing and attacking online a gay college student? His name is Andrew Shirvell. He's been fired already, but, tonight, some startling new information about what his boss really knew. It's new information that shows Shirvell wasn't telling the truth when he appeared on this program. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And later: accused Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner smiling in court today, laughing to himself, we're told. He entered his plea on murder charges -- disturbing reports about his demeanor. We will talk with Ted Rowlands, who was in the courtroom.

Also, Isha Sesay joins us -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I'll have the latest on that story we brought up here -- it was just last week -- involving -- involving Carlina White. Remember, she's the woman who was kidnapped as a baby -- well, tonight, new details about the woman who abducted her.

Plus: the latest installment in Coco vs. Leno.

Anderson, I'm not sure what team you're on, but...

(LAUGHTER)

SESAY: ... Jay Leno has gone and done it again. He's one-upped Conan O'Brien, but do you know how, Mr. Cooper?

COOPER: No. How?

SESAY: I'm the woman with the answers...

COOPER: Oh.

SESAY: ... just ahead.

COOPER: That's a tease.

SESAY: I'm not telling you now.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: All right.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: New information tonight in a story we have been "Keeping Them Honest" on from the beginning, information confirming -- confirming our reporting that a public law enforcement official was conducting a private vendetta and more, that he was doing it, in part, on taxpayer time, not just exercising his First Amendment rights, as he and his boss, the attorney general, contended at the time.

We're talking about this guy, Andrew Shirvell. That's him. At the time he came on the program, he was a -- an -- a Michigan State assistant attorney general. He has since been fired over his fixation on a young gay college student named Chris Armstrong, who is the openly gay student body president at the University of Michigan.

Now, Shirvell said that Chris Armstrong had a -- quote, unquote -- "radical homosexual agenda," and created an entire blog online attacking the guy, making up all sorts of lies about him, allegations, unfounded stories. This is a screen shot of one blog posting. It has a picture of the student, Chris Armstrong, with a -- a Nazi insignia over it with the word "Resign," a rainbow flag there with the swastika right in the center.

Now, there's months of postings like this by Mr. Shirvell, page after page, unproven allegations, smear. He calls the college students a Nazi-like recruiter for the cult that is homosexuality. He called him a privileged pervert. He even called him Satan's representative on the student assembly. That's a quote. Those were all quotes.

In addition, Shirvell has shouted down Armstrong in public and has appeared outside his home at 1:30 in the morning videotaping and then calling the police. Since then, as I said, he's been fired.

His boss, Mike Cox, has been superseded as attorney general. And, tonight, we got a hold on the Michigan attorney general's investigation into the whole affair.

First, though, I just want to set up with what -- what -- to let you know what Mr. Shirvell said in his own defense and what Attorney General Cox about his behavior on this program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 28, 2010)

COOPER: I have got to ask you, you're a state official. This is a college student. What are you doing?

ANDREW SHIRVELL, FORMER MICHIGAN ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, Anderson, basically, if you have been involved in political campaigns before, you know all sorts of stuff happens, and this is just another tactic bringing awareness to what Chris really stands for.

COOPER: This is not some national figure. This is a guy who's running a student council.

SHIRVELL: Well -- well, Anderson, as a private citizen, and as a University of Michigan alum, I care, because this is my university. And I wasn't the only first person to criticize Chris.

In fact, long before I started the blog, a couple of weeks before that, the Alliance Defense Fund, a well-known legal Christian foundation, put out an alert about Chris. So, I'm not the only person that has criticized Chris, and I'm not the first person to criticize Chris.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But you are the only person -- you are the only person running this blog, which is putting Nazi swastikas on this guy. You're -- you're a grown adult. Does that seem appropriate to you?

SHIRVELL: Well, like I said, this is a political campaign. This is nothing personal against Chris. I don't know Chris.

COOPER: What do you mean it's nothing personal? You're outside his house. You're videotaping his house. You're shouting him down at public events. You're calling him Satan's representative on the student council. You're attacking his -- his parents, his friends' parents. I mean, you can't say it's not personal.

SHIRVELL: Well, Chris -- in any political campaign, you have to raise awareness and issues, and that's one way of doing it, is by protesting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It was bizarre, to say the least. Now, I should mention, Mr. Shirvell is not involved in a political campaign. He's not running for anything, nor is this student, Chris Armstrong. He's already elected the student body president.

When we had the attorney general, Cox, on the program a few days later, his boss, he condemned Mr. Shirvell's actions, but downplayed any overlap with his job, his public capacity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 29, 2010)

MIKE COX, FORMER MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: First and foremost, Mr. Shirvell, his job is, he helps preserve state criminal convictions when they're challenged in federal court. He does that well from 8:30 to 5:00, very well. Him blogging, it's not impacting the mission of the office.

Here in America, we have this thing called the First Amendment, which allows people to express what they think and -- and -- and engage in political and social speech.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So that's the backdrop. Shirvell thinks he's exercising his right as a private citizen to enter the public fray, the political fray, even though his actions, which got him barred from the university campus, seemed more like harassment.

His boss was suggesting there that there was nothing he could do because of the First Amendment.

"Keeping Them Honest," though, the new attorney general report uncovered evidence that Shirvell verbally assaulted a supervisor at work, violated policy on contact with the media, improperly contacted a student's employer trying to get him fired, engaged in a reckless conduct, and refused to alter it, and more.

The report concludes that Shirvell used state resources to make some of these poisonous postings on his blog and Facebook, and misled investigators about it.

Quoting from the report -- quote -- "Based on the evidence, we did not believe that Attorney -- Assistant Attorney General Shirvell was being truthful concerning this issue."

The report also says Shirvell was not telling the truth when he told us he was merely pretesting when he was videotaping outside Armstrong's house at 1:30 in the morning. Instead, the report reveals that he had gone there, then called the police with the intent of creating a news story.

We wanted to invite Shirvell back on 360, but neither he nor his lawyer returned our calls. We did speak with his former boss, Mike Cox, who told us that supervisors handling Shirvell's case did not inform him about the prior incidents of harassment using the attorney general's office resources.

He said he had nothing more to say and would not be issuing a statement about it.

Joining us now is Deborah Gordon, attorney for Chris Armstrong, and senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin.

Deborah, Mike Cox now says he didn't know about all these past incidents involving Shirvell until after the fact. Does that make any sense to you, given the findings in this report?

DEBORAH GORDON, ATTORNEY FOR CHRIS ARMSTRONG: No, it makes no sense to me at all.

If you look at the history of this guy, he has a lengthy history, even predating his time with the attorney general's office. Andrew Shirvell was arrested for assault and battery in 2001 for spitting on two people. He has a history of going after Log Cabin Republicans with despicable, disgusting e-mails.

He had a drunk driving conviction. Now let's fast-forward to the time he gets to the attorney general's office. It's absolutely clear from a -- a review of his state-owned computer that he spent a great deal time at work stalking Chris Armstrong and others, creating his ugly hate speech that he sent around.

Moreover, as you mentioned a moment ago, Cooper, he was involved in apparently a -- just a horrible meltdown in August of 2010, so much so that a couple of the legal secretaries were terrified, and put in writing that they had never seen such conduct in all their time with the office.

COOPER: It seems...

GORDON: Now, that happened...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I mean, given all what you said, it does seem hard to believe that the attorney general would come on this program and sort of say, well, like all of this is new -- new information to me, I didn't know about any of this, and he hasn't had prior problems, essentially.

GORDON: It seems extremely odd.

Now, I'm not saying -- perhaps he came on here without checking. I suppose that's remotely possible. It doesn't seem logical, but I don't know. I -- I do know that his investigators did a heck of a job investigating this guy now.

COOPER: Yes.

GORDON: And we do have the total picture, I believe.

But, having said that, no, he had a -- a trail at the attorney general's office.

COOPER: It -- it...

GORDON: He was up on Facebook, obviously, a very public place to be, with hate speech early in -- in '0 -- in 2010...

COOPER: Yes.

GORDON: ... leading right up to the time of your show. The blog was up there. It -- you know, the First Amendment has been thrown around a lot in this case. And it's really offensive. I mean, they're hiding behind the First Amendment.

COOPER: I want to bring...

GORDON: This is not First Amendment-protected speech.

COOPER: I want to bring in Jeffrey Toobin.

Pretty shocking, it seems, what it took to get fired from the attorney general's office in the state of Michigan.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Right.

And the -- and the backdrop that we haven't mentioned so far is that Shirvell was a campaign volunteer for Mike Cox, the attorney general.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: And we have a -- we have a record of the checks that -- Mike Cox had actually paid Shirvell...

TOOBIN: Right.

COOPER: ... for his campaign work over the years.

TOOBIN: Not -- not -- not a volunteer. I misspoke.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: He was a volunteer, and then he was a paid staffer.

So, the question here is, did Cox protect Shirvell because he was a -- a political ally? You know, I -- I don't know what you can call his -- Shirvell's politics. They're sort of too weird to be called anything at all.

But, you know, Mike Cox is a conservative Republican who has not been supportive of gay rights. Shirvell obviously has this weird obsession with gay rights. I think the -- the -- the synergy there is the most troubling aspect of it. And the question is, was Cox protecting Shirvell, or was he simply ignorant of all the craziness that was going on in his office?

COOPER: The -- I mean, in defense of the attorney general, it's a big office. Is it possible that he just wasn't informed that one of his assistant attorney generals was screaming and threatening a supervisor?

TOOBIN: Anything's possible.

(LAUGHTER)

TOOBIN: But, certainly, you would think -- I mean, I used to work in government lawyer's offices. That sort of craziness is pretty unusual. And the boss would generally be informed of misconduct of that magnitude.

But can I say for sure that Cox knew?

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: I can't.

COOPER: I want to play, Deborah, some of what -- what the attorney general at the time, Mike Cox, said in his interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 29, 2010)

COX: The Supreme Court, both the United States Supreme Court in 1995 in a case called the U.S. vs. Treasury Employees said that civil service employees in the federal system, and, by extension, in the state system, have free First Amendment rights outside of the work, as long as it doesn't impact their performance of -- of -- at their job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And we -- you already referred to that and -- and said you don't buy that.

What -- in terms of what -- what...

GORDON: I have never bought it. I have -- I have always -- I have always thought it's absurd.

This is not First Amendment speech. It's not about politics. It's not even about homosexuality, per se. It's about going after particular individuals in order to try to ruin their lives. That's what it's about. That's clearly actionable in civil court. It's clearly disruptive to the attorney general's office.

COOPER: What do you want from his now? Are you suing -- are you, you know...

GORDON: Yes.

COOPER: ... pursuing legal action against him? And I know you're trying to get him disbarred, right?

GORDON: Yes, we are.

COOPER: Where does that stand?

GORDON: I -- I think he's -- no, well, we're -- clearly, in my opinion, he should not have a license to practice law.

He's running around, out of control. I think he's a reckless person. I think he's dangerous to others. He's trying to harm other people's lives. He's got a license. And he's used his license to try to get at people.

We don't have time tonight to discuss in all the ways he's done that, but, clearly, he's done that. So, he needs to -- to lose his license or be disciplined until he gets counseling. That's number one.

Number two, Mr. Shirvell could go a long way toward putting this thing back together to some extent by publicly retracting -- and I have asked for a retraction -- every one of his ridiculous, despicable lies about my client, my client's family and others.

COOPER: Right, because, I mean, the stuff he said...

GORDON: But he doesn't have the guts to do that.

COOPER: ... on his blog was, I mean, completely unfounded, absolutely no proof, and completely offensive to Chris Armstrong, in terms of what -- I mean, I'm not going to go into the details about what it said about Chris Armstrong, but he was clearly just making stuff up, without any proof.

He's never backtracked from any of that, right?

GORDON: No. Virtually every single entry was made up out of whole cloth, literally. I'm not exaggerating that.

COOPER: Yes.

GORDON: Virtually everything he said there is just created out of the mind of Andrew Shirvell. And he needs to retract what he said.

COOPER: So, you want to set the record straight so that, in the future, people Google...

GORDON: Look, we...

COOPER: ... Chris Armstrong, this stuff doesn't come up?

GORDON: ... we have to set the record straight. Either Shirvell is going to set it straight by retracting and apologizing and trying to make this right, if he possibly can, or we will have no other choice but to go to the court and have it done...

COOPER: Right.

GORDON: ... in a public forum.

COOPER: We have got to go.

Deborah Gordon...

GORDON: The record can't stand the way it is.

COOPER: I appreciate your -- your time. We will continue to follow it.

Jeff Toobin as well.

Coming up: Accused Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner back in court today, smiling. There was a smile on his face, just like in this mug shot, we're told. We will talk to Ted Rowlands, who was in the courtroom -- also, an update on Congresswoman Giffords' condition.

And later: absolutely amazing video. Did you see this? A truck in Canada smashing through a concrete barrier straight into on coming traffic. Look at that -- incredibly, no serious injuries -- more of the video ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Accused Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner smiled in court today, even apparently laughing to himself at one point. He pled not guilty on three counts of attempted murder. We'll talk to Ted Rowlands, who was there. But first, we want to give you an update on Congresswoman Giffords.

Doctors in Texas say she's still in intensive care. She has some fluid on her brain. Can't start rehabilitation until the drain is removed. Doctors say she's doing some exercises in the ICU, moving, sitting and standing. And that she surprised them by not needing as much help during -- doing those things as they thought she might.

Still, though, it's a long road ahead. Once she's ready to go to rehabilitation from the ICU, the rehab process expected to take up to six months. We mentioned Loughner in court today.

Interesting, his lawyer is a very high-profile public defender. Her name is Judy Clark. This is her. She's a well-respected attorney who has a history of taking on cases that seem nearly untouchable. She defended the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski; the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh; Susan Smith -- remember her? -- the woman who drowned her own kids in 1994.

Smith and Kaczynski were spared the death penalty, I should point out, as was another of Clark's clients, the Olympic Park bomber, Eric Robert Rudolph.

And now her attentions are turned to her latest client, Jared Lee Loughner.

Joining me live, former federal prosecutor, Sunnie Hostin, from "In Session" on our sister network, TruTV. And from outside the federal courthouse in Phoenix, Ted Rowlands, who was in the courtroom today.

Ted, he was laughing today in court? He was smiling?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He was smiling when he entered court, Anderson. It was about a 15-minute hearing in total. After he sat down at the desk with his attorney, he at one point seemed to chuckle a little bit, and he would look around and occasionally would grin. Once the judge took the bench, he seemed to be more focused and just sort of stared straight ahead. He didn't say anything at all during this hearing, unlike the last one. In fact, those "not guilty" pleas you talked about, they were three of them -- they were entered by the court at the request of Loughner's attorney, Judy Clark, clearly setting the table for a possible insanity defense.

COOPER: In the courtroom drawing, Ted, it looks like he has hair. I guess, what, is his hair growing back?

ROWLANDS: Absolutely, yes. Two weeks ago he was completely bald. His hair is growing back. He's also wearing glasses now. He was also in shackles. Both his legs and his arms were shackled. But noticeable hair growth, though, over the last two weeks. He actually looked very different than he did that first time he entered the courtroom two weeks ago.

COOPER: Sunnie, do you think this is going to boil down to an insanity defense?

SUNNIE HOSTIN, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": I think there's no question about it. There's no question that she is going to seek the insanity defense.

COOPER: It's not as easy as it used to be.

HOSTIN: It really isn't, and that's what most people don't understand. It's very rare that an insanity defense is successful. I've been looking all day at different statistics, and most of statistics saying less than 1 percent. In less than 1 percent of cases, the insanity defense is successful, if even sought. So bottom line is, even if she does sort of use this insanity defense, will it be successful? Probably not.

COOPER: So even if you have emotional issues, or mentally unstable, or bizarre in some way or another and need counseling, it doesn't mean you're insane?

HOSTIN: That's right. Because the burden -- the burden is on the defense to prove that you weren't (ph) insane and that you knew the difference between right or wrong.

In this case, he apparently posted on his MySpace page before these horrible crimes, saying to his friends, "I'm sorry. I apologize." And so that tells me perhaps he knew that what he was doing was wrong. And I'd tell the jury the same thing.

COOPER: What do you make of the attorney? I mean, she clearly had experience in high-profile cases. I didn't realize that there were basically national public defenders, kind of sort of roving public defenders?

HOSTIN: That's right. Well, she's a federal public defender and oftentimes on the other side of the U.S. attorney's office. And I will say, I mean, if you are in a position like this, this is the attorney you want. She's been called sort of a one-woman dream team. She is fantastic.

She's sort of quiet. She doesn't give interviews, pretty reclusive. But those that I've spoken to that know her say she is on the top of her game. Best possible attorney he could have.

COOPER: Do you believe there will be a plea deal?

HOSTIN: I think that she is probably trying to get the death penalty of the table. I think the government is going to seek the death penalty in a case like this.

And so that's sort of what she's trying to do right now: get that death penalty off the table and perhaps plead guilty to life in prison.

COOPER: Ted, it's interesting. The judge at this point is the from California, brought in because all the federal judges in Arizona recused themselves because of the murder of the chief judge, John Roll. Is there any sense whether an actual trial would be held in Arizona?

ROWLANDS: Yes, well, at this point it came up today a little bit in terms of the change in venue. There's sort of an early change. We're in Phoenix today because, right away, in Tucson, after the shooting rampage, every judge in Tucson said, "I'm not going to hear his first court appearance."

So a judge in Phoenix heard that first report a couple weeks ago. Then he recused himself, as did all of the federal judges in the state of Arizona.

So they brought in a judge from San Diego. Starting next hearing, which is scheduled for March 9, it's going to go back to Tucson with this judge on the bench. And Loughner's attorney, Judy Clark, said she had no problem with that, going back to Tucson. So actually, they're getting closer to the crime scene, not further away.

Now, when a trial date is set, will the defense go for a change of venue motion? Absolutely possible. And if that happens, it could leave the state of Arizona, possibly going to California or Nevada.

COOPER: Ted, appreciate the reporting. Sunnie Hostin, as well. Thanks.

Isha Sesay is following some other stories for us tonight. She's back with a "360 News Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Russian authorities say a bombing today at Moscow's busiest airport, a terrorist attack. At least 35 people were killed and more than 150 were injured, many critically.

Rahm Emanuel is fighting tonight to keep his name on the ballot in next month's Chicago mayoral race. The Chicago Elections Board has ordered two million ballots without his name after an appeals court ruled the former White House chief of staff doesn't meet the residency standard to run for the city's top office.

Tonight, his legal team is requesting a stay that would allow ballots to be printed with Emanuel's name on them.

The 49-year-old woman suspected of kidnapping an infant from a New York hospital back in 1987 was silent today during a court appearance. But according to court documents, Ann Pettway told federal investigators she kidnapped Carlina Renee White, who is now 23 years old, after suffering several miscarriages and becoming frustrated with her inability to give birth.

White was reunited with her biological mother last week.

And Anderson, check out this video. A driver in Ontario, Canada, has only a split second to avoid disaster when a truck smashes through a concrete barrier straight into his car. Anderson, check this out. The driver's saying that he's crediting years of playing video games for honing the split-second reflexes that saved his life. Apparently, he just happened to have a dashboard camera rolling at the time, as you do, I guess. Incredible.

COOPER: That's crazy. I don't understand how he had a camera rolling, but I mean, it's amazing that he did.

SESAY: I want to know how many hours of video games he's been playing, don't you think?

COOPER: Yes. Does he have the dashboard camera, because it's like a video game? How much does he really like videos anyway? Amazing. I'm glad no one was seriously hurt.

Tonight's "Shot," Isha, comes from the Library of Congress, where Cooper the hawk is on the loose. No relation to me. Take a look. His name is Cooper, presumably because he's a cooper's hawk, also known as a chicken hawk.

SESAY: Presumably.

COOPER: He's been flying around the public reading room for at least five days. He's got to be tired. They don't know how he got in. Cooper's outsmarted attempts to lure him down with food. Experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are now on the case, so it's only a matter of time, we hope.

SESAY: I say they send you over there. You say, "Hey, buddy, my name's Cooper. Come on down."

COOPER: You think that will work?

SESAY: I don't know, Cooper to Cooper.

COOPER: He'll probably peck my eyes out.

SESAY: ... won't go for that. National treasure.

COOPER: So Pee-wee Herman tells me. Still ahead, don't mess with my "Mad Men." Season five of the brilliant series is going nowhere fast. Frankly, I'm inconsolable about it. So we're putting the people responsible on tonight's "RidicuList" to bring back "Mad Men."

Plus, new information tonight about where Keith Olbermann may show up next, and the real story behind his abrupt exit from MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Keith Olbermann's sudden exit from MSNBC caught a lot of people by surprise. Viewers tuned in on Friday. Most of them didn't expect to hear this. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEITH OLBERMANN, FORMER MSNBC ANCHOR: When I resigned from ESPN 13.5 years ago, I was literally given 30 seconds to say good-bye at the very end of my last edition of "Sports Center." I'm grateful that I have a little more time to sign off here. Regardless, this is the last edition of "Countdown."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Tonight, new information on why and how the anchor and MSNBC parted ways and where Olbermann might turn up next. Joining me now by phone, Bill Carter, television reporter for "The New York Times." And here with me in the studio, Colby Hall, managing editor for Mediaite.com.

Appreciate both of you being with us. Bill, you've been on this from the beginning. You reported that MSNBC has been preparing for an exit by Olbermann for months. What can you tell us about it?

BILL CARTER, TELEVISION REPORT, "NEW YORK TIMES" (via phone): The timing was a factor. They just decided he brought in new agents. I think Keith had a plan. I think it's obvious from his actions and his comments now that, you know, there's a plan in place.

You've got, you know, going to be another outlet for him as soon as the ending of this contract is settled. He has a, you know, period of six, nine months, something like that, where he won't be able to work on TV. But I think there will be a movement to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) into that.

COOPER: Colby, for a lot of people who don't follow this as minutely as, you know, folks in the media do, what wasn't working out? I mean, by all, you know -- to people who tune in, they had high ratings. It was the most successful show at MSNBC, really had defined that network. What wasn't working out?

COLBY HALL, MANAGING EDITOR, MEDIAITE.COM: I think the final (ph) moment to the coup de grace was his suspension last fall. And we wrote at the time at Mediaite that was his Waterloo, and it was, but in a different sort of way. What seems to be clear is that the relationship that he had with management, and not just the management, but also with his cohorts and the people who work for him had become untenable. So it seems like, since fall when he was suspended, there was a process in motion where office politics weren't working and he fell victim. He fell on the wrong side of office politics.

COOPER: He sent out his first real tweets today. I just want to show you some of them. One says, "Citizens of the free world, greetings. My humble thanks to all Friends of Keith for the many kind words. Reports of the death of my career are greatly exaggerated."

Bill, I mean, is that his way of saying he's not -- he's not going to go into that good night, even though it seems like he can't talk directly about what happened?

CARTER: Exactly. And I think anybody who thinks Keith Olbermann is going gently anywhere is -- doesn't know Keith Olbermann. I think he's sending a signal here that he has a plan in place, and that people who are his fans should just wait, wait it out, and he's going to come back. He's going to come back in some form on the Internet, on radio. And I think he'll be on TV again. Why wouldn't he be? He was very successful.

COOPER: I talked to one person who knows him pretty well, who said he believed that he wanted to do something like The Huffington Post, some sort of online presence. Bill, have you heard that? Do you think that's true?

CARTER: Yes, I think that's definitely true, because he's allowed to do that right away. I'm sure he'll be doing that in the shorter term. NBC won't be able to prevent that. But in the longer term, he'll get TV offers, I guarantee.

COOPER: Bill -- I mean, Colby, with the name recognition he has, the following he has. I mean, you could set up a liberal blog that would have a guaranteed audience base.

HALL: here's no question, he's got a very loyal following. And as David Shuster said on this network, on Sunday, he was very touched and moved by the following -- the response he had when he was suspended. There were 250,000 people that signed a petition.

So it would stand to reason that he would see this as an opportunity to build up his own personality and develop his own presence on line.

COOPER: Bill, both Comcast and NBC have denied that their merger had anything to do with Olbermann's departure. Do you buy that? I heard even last summer, from folks, you know, in the industry, saying Comcast is not going to put up with this.

CARTER: Everybody agreed that Comcast would be very unlikely to put up with Keith's behavior, let's say, and prima donna activities. I don't think it was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) motivated. But I think it was their intention or their desire that this get settled before they took over. Because they knew, if this happened, if it were six months down the road and there was a blowup with Keith, like there was over the donation. And they couldn't tolerate it and forced him out.

It would look like a political move, and they didn't want that. They wanted it to be resolved ahead of time. NBC moved to get that done, and they got it done right before Comcast took over.

HALL: Yes, I don't think it's fair to say exactly that Comcast was responsible for this. In fact, I think, as Bill said, there's nothing that -- that's exactly what they don't want.

I think it's more correct to say that the executives at NBC News are getting new owners, and the rules and standards that applied under Joe Zucker and NBC Universal, under G.E. no longer apply. And they didn't want to have one more headache while they're trying to figure out what makes their new bosses tick.

COOPER: It's fascinating stuff. Colby, appreciate it.

We'll continue to watch, Bill. Bill Carter, appreciate your reporting. Thanks, Bill.

CARTER: Another round in the feud between Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien. You may want to grab a martini before you hear the latest edition to the "RidicuList."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A lot more stories we're following tonight. Isha Sesay joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, the Dow is closing in on the 12,000 mark, a level it hasn't seen in two and a half years. Blue chips adding 109 points today to close at 11,980.

And knives are being retrial in the Amanda Knox trial. Knox is an American college statement who was convicted in 2009 of killing her roommate in Italy. She was sentenced to 26 years in prison, but she insists she's not guilty. Knox is appealing the conviction.

Across the Northeast, bitter cold to tell you about. In New York's East Village, a car got covered in ice after an apparent water main break.

Temps at 6 degrees below zero in New York this morning. And 35 below in New Hampshire. The temperatures are expected to warm up tomorrow ahead of another winter storm later in the week.

And Anderson, Jay Leno will be honored as Hasty Pudding's Man of the Year at Harvard University next month. According to the legendary theatrical group, the award is given to performers who have made a lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment. So I'm wondering what Harvard alum Conan O'Brien has to say about this? Something along the lines of, "He can take his hasty pudding pot and..."

COOPER: Yes. So do you watch "Mad Men?"

SESAY: I'm ashamed to say I haven't seen it. I -- I'm upside- down. I know, but I know want all about this, so go on.

COOPER: I should have asked you this question before you got this job, because had I known you didn't watch "Mad Men"...

SESAY: Was that a deal breaker?

COOPER: What?

SESAY: Was that a deal breaker?

COOPER: Yes, it could have been. But no, it's all right. I'll give you the DVD's. You can catch up.

SESAY: All right. Perfect.

COOPER: But time now for the "RidicuList." It's all about Mad Men. Tonight the "RidicuList" goes to AMC and Lion's Gate, companies that are behind "Mad Men," because they're doing nothing short of robbing the world of a timely return of "Mad Men" while they apparently squabble over money.

Now, I love AMC. They have another favorite show of mine, "Breaking Bad." But they also have "Mad Men." AMC has promised us a fifth season. That's right. They promised.

The show's creator says he's dying to get back to work, but get this: his contract expired. He still doesn't have a deal because the network is still working things out with Lion's Gate, which apparently produces the show.

Come on, already. This is "RidicuList." How long are we going to have to wait for the smoke-filled, martini-soaked perfection that is "Mad Men"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Calvay (ph) and I are getting married. I know it's a surprise, but she makes me very happy. let's get her in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get her in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How exciting for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, I can't believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been going on a while.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's very beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know she reminds me of you? She had the same spark.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Oh, "Mad Men."

So Matthew Weiner -- that's the creator -- said to "Entertainment Weekly," quote, "The truth is, I don't even know what their plans are." He's talking about the company's. We've not started writing. We've not started writing. Everyone wants a piece of it now, and they're fighting over who's going to get the biggest chunk. It would be heartbreaking for me if they didn't work it out. Horrifying, really. It would be a shame for fans to never get to see what great stuff we have planned for Don and company."

Heartbreaking, horrifying, ashamed? Look, he's the writer, so I hate to quibble about his word choice, but I think it's underestimating the gravity of the situation. Let me go on the record here: it would be holding America hostage if this show doesn't come back for a fifth season. I said it.

The creators are ready to rock. This is all because the network and the producers can't come work it out? Give me a break. Speaking of which, "Gimme a Break" managed to stay on the air for six years without any problems. Balky in "Perfect Strangers," he managed to get into our living rooms with now delay for eight seasons. Yes, remember Balky?

Don't even get me started on "Married with Children." That thing still seems to still be on the air on some networks.

Sure, look, "Married with Children" is no "Mad Men," let's be honest. No one was fighting over who got a bigger piece of the "Perfect Strangers" pie. Well, look at "The Simpsons." That's a great show with great writing, still chugging along just fine.

See, "Mad Men" is everywhere, and it should be. Specifically, it should be on TV ,soon. Some of the blogs are already saying we may have to wait until 2012 for a new season. 2012? I cannot wait a whole year to find out if Don Gravebury is really going to marry that secretary of his. What happens with Joan and the baby? Will Faith (ph) spill all Don's secrets? And what about Roger Sterling?

Look, I have a soft spot for skinny, gray-haired people. There's not a lot of work for folks like us. We need to stick together. AMC, Lion's Gate, I'm serious. This is a big problem. So take a cue from "SNL" and just fix it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENAN THOMPSON, CAST MEMBER, NBC'S "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": When I wake up tomorrow, it better be fixed.

SETH MYERS, CAST MEMBER, NBC'S "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": How do we go about fixing it, specifically?

THOMPSON: Take it one step at a time. Identify the problem, fix it. Identify another problem, fix it. Repeat as necessary until it's all fixed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Look, I mean it, AMC and Lion's Gate, fix it. Play nice, work it out, do whatever you have to do. Just give us back our "Mad Men" and have a drink on us, on "The RidicuList."

A lot more ahead at the top of the hour, starting with a lawmaker who says she venerates the Founding Fathers but doesn't seem to have her facts straight about them. Michele Bachmann ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Good evening, again. Welcome to 360, everyone.

Tonight, the congresswoman who will be on national television tomorrow night or online, responding to President Obama's State of the Union message. She's flunking the very history she says she reveres. Michele Bachmann speaking out about the nation's founding but getting her facts wrong. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also, "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, new evidence in the case of that Michigan public official pursuing a private vendetta against a gay college student. Tonight he's a former official, and results of an official investigation are in, and they are startling.