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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Trump Cites "Two Corinthians," Sparks Laughter; Blistering Attacks In Trump-Cruz Feud; Trump Vs. Cruz: The Battle Heats Up; Trump Courts Evangelical Vote; Toxic Tap Water; Eagles Legend Glenn Frey Dead At 67; Protesters Call For Michigan Governor To Resign; State Of Emergency Over Lead-Contamination Crisis; How Lead-Contamination Impacts The Body; Americans Freed By Iran; Americans Freed From Iran; Iran & Pres. Obama's Legacy; The Person Who Changed Anderson's Life; Anderson Talks About His Father, Wyatt Cooper. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 18, 2016 - 21:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:00:33] ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 HOST: Good evening, 9:00 p.m. here in New York. Two weeks until caucus state in Iowa the first voting in and off the 2016 presidential race. On the republican side, two candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz scrambling for any edge they can find in a state that demands a lot of the candidates from opening day at the campaign to caucus day two months from now.

And one big key difference winning the evangelical vote, today Donald Trump went searching for it, the University (inaudible) found it and at one point he stumbled a bit. Details now from CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... we're going to have some fun right?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Appearing it Virginia's Liberty University is a right of passage for GOP presidential candidate, even Donald Trump who drew a big crowd beyond students required to attend.

TRUMP: I want a general where we knock the hell out of them.

BASH: He stumbled a bit, quoting scripture.

TRUMP: ... because I hear this is a major theme right here, but, Two Corinthians right? Two Corinthians 3:17, that's the whole ball game where the spirit of the Lord, right, where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

BASH: It's Second Corinthians not two. A moment showing sharp contrast with Ted Cruz, who comfortably leads bible versus into speeches. SEN. TED CRUZ, (R-TX) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How can you know that will follow I through on these promises in the first day in office and every day afterwards? As the scripture has said, you shall know them by their fruits.

BASH: But so far, polls show evangelicals like Trump despite him not talking the talk of a typical republican trying to reach them.

CRUZ: It seems Donald has a lot of nervous energy.

BASH: Still a bit part of a Cruz-Trump escalating war is a personality and character contest.

TRUMP: These are nasty guy. Nobody likes him. Nobody in Congress likes him. Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him. He's a very -- he's got an edge that's not good.

BASH: Today Cruz responded to being called nasty with a classically Cruz pop culture reference.

But Cruz is no longer laughing Trump off. He's now following Jeb Bush's lead questioning Trump's conservative credentials.

CRUZ: Ronald Reagan was a voice of consistency, and I'm pretty sure that Ronald Reagan didn't write checks and support democratic politics.

BASH: And a Cruz Super PAC released this new TV ad trying to paint Trump as a hypocrite by playing Trump in his own words praising Cruz. As for Trump, his campaign clearly knows they have some image softening to do going up on New Hampshire radio with a testimonial from his daughter, Ivanka.

IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: When I was a young girl, my father, Donald Trump, always told me that I could do anything that I set my mind to if I coupled vision with determination and hard work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And Dana joins us from Concord. New Hampshire with Donald Trump had there been earlier today. Did Donald Trump attack Ted Cruz at any of his rallies today?

BASH: No, not at all and actually, it was quite surprising because you sort of seen the level of intensity in the back and forth between the two men that's grown over the past week. Trump for example, went on a Twitter tirade against Cruz this weekend but earlier today in Virginia, here New Hampshire, not one word about Ted Cruz.

Now Trump has been getting some blow back from some conservative talk radio personalities saying wait a minute be careful Donald Trump before you go too far in attacking Ted Cruz warning that he is attacking him and could risk alienating his voters. I reached out to that Trump campaign to ask if that's why it was noticeably absent in his two speeches today, but I haven't heard back, Anderson. COOPER: All right, Dana, thanks very much. I should Dana stay with us tonight. I want to keep you in this conversation. I want to bring in senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson and nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host, Hugh Hewitt.

Hugh, I mean as you well know the conservative talk radio circuits (ph) have force be wrecking with Mark Levin, prominent host after Facebook over the weekend, offering Trump what he called, "friendly advice", warning Trump to cut the crap in his words with his attacks on Cruz or like, "Will lose lots and lots of conservatives."

[21:05:10] Is he right about that?

HUGH HEWITT, THE HUGH HEWITT SHOW HOST: Mark Levin is one of the most influential conservatives in America and so I'm sure that everyone on team Trump took note of that. I'll say this though, everyone is confident.

I talked to Donald Trump today off the record and off air, he's going to come on next week. He's very confident and I talked to six different correspondents on the air today from different conservative places like The Weekly Standard and The Daily Collar. All of them believe Ted Cruz is winning Iowa and Donald Trump is winning New Hampshire.

But here is the case, here is the deal, in a multi candidate race when you have a dozen people running, more than two people can have momentum. In fact, a lot of people think Marco Rubio has got some momentum going in Iowa as well. So, it's very possible that all of them are getting things that they need right now and by the way, I thought the Trump speech at Liberty and Dana can talk about this was a magnificent speech it sounded great, I listened to it.

COOPER: Nia, on Saturday at the South Carolina Tea Party coalition convention, Trump was booed for attacking Cruz. I mean, granted it was not a Trump rally filled solely with his supporters but a strategy of going after Cruz, does it seem to be working the way his other attacks have?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, yes South Carolina is definitely Cruz country as much as it is Trump country, as well. I think what's working for Ted Cruz and sort of fending off these attacks is not only that he has a sort of sixth man with those conservative blogs fear, figures including conservative radio talk show hosts, but he also is sort of taking incoming from Donald Trump provision of strength.

He has this really, really big base, evangelicals, some Tea Party folks as well who know him as a culture warrior and seen him stand up to folks in Washington. So he's got a pretty solid base of -- so there they are really having his back, so he is kind of fending off these attacks and launching his own from a position of strength.

They also like that not only is he a cultural warrior but he's also an intellectual. Here's a guy who he went to Princeton, who when to Harvard Law and can really litigate the case for conservatism in a way others in the past haven't.

COOPER: Dana, Trump is attacking Cruz of the weekend saying, nobody likes him in Congress. I mean, the thing is Cruz sells himself as someone who bucks the establishment. So John McCain and Lindsey Graham don't like him. He's OK with that and it's actually part of the, among for his supporters one of the selling points, no?

BASH: Oh, yeah it's a badge of honor for Ted Cruz but Donald Trump is right. I've spent a lot of hours walking the halls in Congress over the past few years since Ted Cruz is there and it's hard to turn a corner without finding somebody on the republican side who has been complaining about Ted Cruz from the filibuster that he led that ended up with the government shutdown, that a lot of republicans were angry about to a whole host of other things.

But you're exactly right. When Ted Cruz goes home, I've done it with him before he ran for president in Texas several times. He is beloved there and it's that kind of energy that he gets from the conservative base in his state that he's used to ride and do pretty well particularly in Iowa so far. So, absolutely he says sort of likes to say over and over again that there is an inverse relationship between being liked in Washington and being liked to everywhere else.

COOPER: Hugh, you know, we had Dr. Russell Moore on here the last hour prominent evangelical who's been very critical of Trump publicly for quite sometime now, and yet, you look at Trump's high numbers among evangelicals, a lot of support out there for him, in fact he's leading evangelical support. Cruz is very close behind and Dr. Carson and Marco Rubio further back.

What do you think accounts for those high numbers because, I mean, on paper obviously, you know, Donald Trump's other evangelicals have raised questions about the depth of his faith, the depth of his knowledge of the bible, things like that.

HEWITT: Well, there is no doubt that Ted Cruz speaks evangelical fluently. That helps when your father is a pastor and you can say Second Corinthians as supposed 2Corinthinas.

If you're someone like me I'll do it both ways and some people don't just say Two Corinthians, but mostly evangelical say Second Corinthians and that is to their ear a little bit off tune. Nevertheless, Donald Trump is a main line presbyterian. He went to Norman Vincent Peale's Church, he is like a lot of main line Protestants not particularly well verse in quoting scripture where Ted Cruz is.

But I got to remind people, I had Carly Fiorina on the show today and she says the media is compressing this arbitrarily into a two-person race and she is right. This is not a two-person race although Cruz is winning in Iowa and Trump is winning in New Hampshire. I think when we get down to South Carolina as Nia was mentioning, you have a reset. We're going to have a completely different race down there that will factor in these results but we'll also factor in a unique demographic that is new to the race. COOPER: And Nia, I mean, it is interesting, I mean South Carolina has just become more and more important given the fact to Hugh's point of all the focus being on Trump and Cruz particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire.

[21:10:10] HENDERSON: Well that's right. And the folks talking them down there essentially say they want their reputation back right, I mean, here was a state all that for years and years picked the eventual winner, didn't do that in 2012 in going back in going and backing Newt Gingrich. So, they very much want to back a winner at this point who that would be is anybody's guess.

You've got Marco Rubio who's got a really good ground game down there. He obviously got the endorsement of Trey Gowdy.

I'm told that somebody like Tim Scott is definitely going to endorse before this primary. He could be a big factor in this, as well. So, I think Hugh was right. It's going to be reset and also drawing some information from how people place in Iowa.

Rubio could probably come in third there and place second or third in New Hampshire, so he'd be coming into South Carolina with the head of steam.

COOPER: Nia-Malika Henderson, Hugh Hewitt, Dana Bash. Thank you-all. Appreciate it.

Just ahead, growing outrage now, and over the man-made disaster that turned tap water toxic in Flint, Michigan.

President Obama's declared a federal emergency in the city. The governor is facing class-action lawsuits and calls to step down, plus remembering Glenn Frey, Co-Founder and Co-Writer for the Eagles, one of the most popular bands of all time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Public health crisis is been upholding for well over a year in Flint, Michigan sparking growing outrage.

[21:15:02] We're talking about the city's toxic water supply.

Over the weekend, President Obama declared federal emergency in Flint and today, there were growing calls for the governor to step down.

Several months ago, people who live in the Flint learned that what they have long since expected and what officials had denied was true. The foul looking water coming out of their taps was toxic. Tainted with lead it turns out.

The truth came out too late for the children who drink the water and now at risk of permanent damage. There a lot of layers have destroyed including how the truth finally came out and why it took so long to alert the people at risk. Investigative correspondent, Sara Ganim, joins me, now for Flint with the latest. So there were protesters did they calling for the governor to step down. Explain what's exactly is going on.

SARA GANIM, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there Anderson. There were actually some protesters who are calling for the governor of Michigan to be arrested. You asked what's going on here. What's going on here, are the people in Flint are very angry. They're angry that they want to know why this happened, how this happened.

They feel like their health and safety took a back seats to cost cutting, when two years ago the state decided to switch the city's water source to the nearby Flint River. They're angry that they feel like it took officials too long to tell them that there was lead, poisoning their water. They're angry there was a 400 percent increase. In those two years they were drinking Flint water in legionnaire's disease. Ten people died.

They are angry about a lot of things that they're so paying for that water that's coming out of their taps, they're getting shut off notices if they don't pay for it, even though they can't drink it. They're angry that they say, that this would not have happened in their opinion anymore as Flint community, Anderson.

COOPER: I mean this had been issue in Flint since 2014, right?

GANIM: That's right. So in 2014 the city had control over -- I'm sorry, the state had control over the city's finances and the state decided to switch their drinking water source to save money. They went to the Flint River, which is 19 times more corrosive than Lake Huron water, which is the water that they had been getting before. That water essentially ate away at the pipes, the water main, the service lines, the pipes in people's home that carry the water to their faucet.

So, the material that those pipes are made up, iron, copper, lead, they began leeching into the water. The iron turned the water brown. The copper turned some people's water blue. But lead you can't see and that did a lot of damage. There are studies that show, study by a local pediatrician that shows that lead in children here in Flint doubled in some cases, tripled when the water switch was made and other documents that we found that have become public since this crisis became something on a national scale. Show that officials, state officials and even the EPA knew for months before the public was alerted before they made the decision to switch back to that Lake Huron water, Anderson.

COOPER: Unbelievable, Sara, thanks for the reporting. More measurements now lead and water measured in parts per billion. Researchers of Virginia Tech, they've analyzed hundred of samples of Flint water and what they found at minutes, it's shocking, some samples contain lead levels high enough to meet the EPA definition of toxic waste.

Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us with more. So when it comes to exposure of lead, what level does it become dangerous? When you say harmful in even the smallest amounts?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHEIF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And what you have heard from public health officials is there is no such thing as a safe amount of lead. And that's something that people have been saying for quite sometime.

It's an interesting history, Anderson, as often happens in public health and medicine. At one point they has to say that it was a 10, you know, was an exceptional level have been five was an acceptable level, studies about 15 years ago or so, basically concluded that really there's no such thing as a safe level because even a small amounts can cause problems with your cells and different parts of your body. So that's the message.

COOPER: How do so one know if their family is suffering from lead poisoning?

GUPTA: You know, in the short term it can hard because people can have fatigue. They may have sort of more vague pains, they could have abdominal pains, things like that but as they -- as you get up a little bit further along, a more chronic problem and kids for example, you can have learning disabilities.

You can have difficulties with school, difficulties with relationships, all sorts of different things. So ultimately the way you diagnose it though is to find the presence of lead in the blood, you measure the levels and that's how you know that in fact it's there and it could be causing these symptoms.

COOPER: And is lead poisoning irreversible?

GUPTA: Well it's for the most part of these it is irreversible, it is a heavy metal that sort of gets deposited in all these various places in your body. Think of it as a sort of junking up that way that your cells work and many different parts of the body. It can cross over into the across the blood brain barrier into the brain, not all other things can do that. So that's why it affects, you know, learning performance overall mood, depression, things like that.

[21:20:02] And you can undergo a process known as chelation which is extremely lengthy process that essentially is taking the blood out and trying to remove the heavy metal from the blood. But this lead from that deposited and can stay for a long time.

COOPER: So what do you protect yourself or your kids?

GUPTA: That they, you know, as a society we've done a lot to protect ourselves, lead paint for example is not something that should be used. Leaded gasoline is not something that you should be using. But if you do live in a home that could have lead paint, you can have that tested, you can have lead paint removed.

If you worry that your child or yourself has been exposed to lead, you can get tested to figure out just to how much lead is in your system and figure out where it might becoming from. You can inhale it, you can ingest it. It can come into your body in all sorts of different ways.

So you got to figure out the source and protect yourself. As you also add that again it's a heavy metal. So, if you substitute other heavy metals like fruits and vegetables that are high in iron for example, that could be useful in terms of keeping lead from exerting its damage in the body. Iron, Vitamin C, those are things can be beneficial.

COOPER: All right, Sanjay, good advice, thanks.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

COOPER: Well, just ahead, we're learning more about the prisoner swap that is reunited four Americans with their families and the backlash that President Obama is getting from his critics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:25:16] COOPER: As we've been reporting, Iran freed five Americans over the weekend. Four were released as part of a prisoners swap, these are some of the first images of some of them reuniting with there families. Three of the four were freed yesterday, were being checked out at a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

In exchange for their release, the U.S. is commuted are part in seven Irani and Irani American prisoners, all of them were convicted of crimes and dropped charges against 14 other Iranians.

Now, all of this coincided with the U.S. lifting along standing sanctions on Iran as part of a nuclear deal reached last year which is obviously a controversial deal.

Joining us, to talk about the political fallout as prisoner in Iran and prisoner swap, Fareed Zakaria host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" and CNN senior political commentator and former senior Obama advisor, David Axelrod.

So Fareed, on this prisoner swap, there are some formally believe this sets a dangerous President. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial and they said, "Iran gets back men who were assisting its military ambitions while we get innocents. This similar to the lop- sided prisoner swaps that Mr. Obama previously made with Cuba for Alan Gross and the Taliban for alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. What do say to that?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZKARIA GPS": Look, prisoner swaps are always complicated and they're always morally complicated particularly for democracies. These will be both convicted under an independent judiciary and, you know, violated real laws where somebody like Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post correspondent had done nothing wrong.

On the other hand, there have been prisoner swaps from the beginning of time, from ever since there have been adversaries in the world that have taken each other's people hostage, these have existed.

I think what makes this palatable is there was probably no way to get these Americans back. If you want and willing to do something unpalatable, you have to make a concession if you want to get something you want. And it's -- what's pointing out that these Iranians we're not terrorists. These are not people who are sending back into the field in some sense. These are Iranian businessmen essentially or Iranian or foreign businessmen who violated the embargo on Iran. And much of that embargo is being revealed anyway.

COOPER: David, I mean it's fascinating when you look back I mean there were so many critics during the negotiation of the nuclear agreement that said prisoners needed to be part of the deal and the president certainly took a lot of political hits while keeping this separate negotiation quiet.

DAVID AXELROD, FMR OBAMA SENIOR ADVISOR: Yes. Well first of all, it is -- it is ironic to note that the same people who were criticizing him for not getting the prisoners back are now criticizing him for getting the prisoners back but, you know, I think that if you believe the accounts and I do, this was a 14-month negotiation that was going on a parallel track.

And the only way it was going to work not because of the politics of our country as much as the politics of theirs was if it was done quietly and out of public view. So, those talks were going on while the critics were criticizing and the president played the long game and kept his silence on it and brought it to ahead this week and brought them back this weekend.

COOPER: Fareed, I mean I know President Obama has said he's going to leave it on the field in 2016. How do you think this prisoner swap fits into his legacy?

ZAKARIA: Well if you remember, Anderson, when he began campaigning, David Axelrod will remember this well. In the first primaries in 2008, probably the first moment where it became clear that Obama intended to pursue a different kind of policy not just from George W. Bush but from what a traditional, you know, Bill Clinton era democrat light was when he said, I will be happy to talk to Iran. I will be happy to talk to President Ahmadinejad.

COOPER: This is attacked by a lot of everybody foreign including President Clinton.

ZAKARIA: For it, he was attacked by Hillary Clinton and his argument was look, you talk to your enemies because you've got to a new business with them. You've got to find someway to manage the adversary relationship. You've got to find some common ground.

Its stuff to argue with the Obama administration that when it says that look, we have taken a country that was on the verge of having enough and rich uranium to build a nuclear bomb and we have put it way back. We put it under inspections and the constraints, it is giving up its plutonium capacity completely and most people don't recognize how big a deal that is.

All our arsenals -- plutonium is the way most people make bombs and that Iranian plutonium reactor has been shut down completely. COOPER: And David, I mean back when you're when you are the chief campaign strategist for been candidate, Obama, that moment from debate that must have stood out to you because I remember that distinctly.

AXELROD: Absolutely. Fareed is exactly right. That was a watershed event in his campaign for the presidency because it's really when he began to draw a very sharp distinctions between himself and not just Hillary Clinton but the rest of the democratic field and frankly most of the Washington political establishment.

[21:30:15] And I remember well it happened in the debate actually in South Carolina when they had this clash over this issue, the Clinton folks and some others were pounding him after the debate for being a naive and he called us he called into a campaign call the next morning, which he never did, just to caution all of us not to back off one inch because he said he believed deeply in what he said. He thinks that they're wrong and he's right about this that we have to deal with our adversaries if we're going to make progress and he's lived by that precept.

COOPER: All right, David Axlerod, good to have you. Fareed as well, Fareed thanks.

Well, just ahead, we remember Glenn Frey, the singer, guitarist and founding member of the Eagles. He'll be joined by a long-time friend of his the iconic singer Linda Ronstadt. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, there's breaking news tonight, it's very sad, news for fans of one of the best selling and most loved rock bands of all time.

[21:35:04] Glenn Frey, a founding member of the Eagles has died at the age 67 from complications, rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. The Eagles have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. Frey is also want to have a successful solo career. Here's a look back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: When the time Glenn Frey singing this version of one of the Eagle's most famous songs, who was more than a quarter century from where he'd started. Co-founder, one of the most iconic rock bands around the group he and Don Henley began in 1971. Dismissively, some critics called their music country rock, to millions it was ageless.

A couple years ago, show time aired a three-hour documentary on the Eagles, Glenn Frey of course was at the center and the Eagles only lasted for nine years before they broke up.

GLENN FREY, EAGLES MEMBER AND CO-FOUNDER: Everybody was really happy, then.

COOPER: But in those nine years of albums, road trips, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and goodness knows what else, Glenn Frey and the Eagles made some truly amazing music. Who could forget Hotel California? Lying Eyes. Take it to the Limit. And the song first made a hit by Linda Ronstadt, Desperado.

Amidst that all Glenn Frey remember the music and the drugs.

FREY: I was riding shotgun in a corvette with a drug dealer on the way to a poker game and next thing I knew, we're going 90 miles an hour holding big time. Listen to me, "Hey, man, what are you doing?" You know, he looked at me he grinned and goes life in the fast lane.

COOPER: He had a successful solo career for many years. Including hits like, The heat is on.

Fourteen years after the Eagles broke up, they reunited and began touring again all over the world. Their songs had sold millions and millions of copies and they were to have been honored last year at the Kennedy Center, where Glenn Frey was too ill.

On the word of his death Don Henley released a statement that said in part, "I'm not sure I believe in faith but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1978 changed my life forever and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet. It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well we mentioned her a moment ago joining us now by phone, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Linda Ronstadt. The Eagles got their start briefly as her backup band and she interm helped make them into the stars that they became. Linda, I'm sorry we're talking under these circumstances. You've been friends with Glenn for decades. When you heard he died, what went through your mind?

LINDA RONSTADT, LEGENDARY SINGER: Well he's just all too soon and too young. You know, a couple months ago he was standing on stage playing guitar with the Eagles. And I'm glad in a way that he played all the way to the end of his life practically with, you know, just a few months within a few months of the end of his life.

I think Glenn probably would liked to have had it that way. But, you know, he was my fellow road warrior. We were both a very much product of the Troubadour in Los Angeles, and of that musical atmosphere.

COOPER: Do you remember when you first met him?

RONSTADT: Yeah, I remember it really well. Well, you know, he was my boyfriend's former partner, music partner. I was living with John David Souther when I met him and he and John David were really close friends. John David became later an certain like kind of an extra member of the Eagles along with Jackson Brown.

[21:40:05] But I met him and just thought he was a really good guitar player and I had a tour, he lined up and so I needed a guitar player. I lost Bernie Leadon to the Flying Burrito Brothers. So I have to get somebody to replace Bernie Leadon, I asked Glenn if he wanted to come on the road.

And also we hired Don Henley to be the drummer. So I heard Don Henley plan the Troubadour and thought he was a really good player. And that was the first tour that Glenn ever went on, it's the first time he'd ever been on the road.

And so, you know, we weren't very famous in those days. We weren't that well-known. We didn't have enough money for everybody to have their own room, so the guys had to double up in the, you know, in the hotel rooms.

So Don and Glenn were roommates and they've discovered each, discovered that the other was a great singer and a songwriter.

Don Henley was stuck behind the drums. Glenn used to refer to him as the secret weapons. And they decided that they wanted to form a band together and I said "Great, I've got gigs. It's going to be awhile before you gear your act together and get a recording contract and stuff like that.

So let's fill up the band and we'll go on the road and we have gigs as long as it takes until you make a record. And it worked out really well for both of us. I suggested that they hire Bernie Leadon in addition to Glenn.

COOPER: Right.

RONSTADT: And John Boyle and he's my manager at the time to hire, decided they should hire. I suggested Randy Meisner who could sing higher than God, play great days and that's how the four -- the original four Eagles were formed.

COOPER: Wow. Glenn spoke about all of this as he was inducted as the rock of hall -- hall of fame and I just wanted to play that for our viewers while you're on the phone.

RONSTADT: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FREY: So, Linda and I became friends. And in the spring of 1971, she hired me in a singing drummer from Linden, Texas named Don Henley to play in her backup band.

From the first rehearsal, I felt we were working on a style of music, none of us had ever heard before. Two years later, people called it country rock. While touring with Linda that summer, Don and I told her that we wanted to start our own band. And she is more than anyone else helped us put together the Eagles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: When you heard their sound and when you heard what the kind of music they were working on them, I mean, did you know that they were destined for ... RONSTADT: I knew it was going to be successful. We (inaudible) a beautiful house up in the Hollywood Hills. We went out one afternoon and they needed a place to rehearse and I said, "Well, you can come in our little living room and rehearse here".

We went out to the movies to give them some privacy and when we came back, they had recorded, we're start to write to the, "Witchy Woman", four-part harmony arrangement. It was just fantastic. It tuned their voices really well. It tuned to each other. It tuned at the room. It was the best I ever heard that song, you know, and I just went, "This is it, these guys are going to have one hit after another".

COOPER: Wow.

RONSTADT: ... and they did.

COOPER: Don Henley, I know released a statement tonight where he described Glenn Frey with, "A work ethic that wouldn't quit". Is that do you think one of the key to his success and his longevity?

RONSTADT: OK. Glenn was the real sandbagger. Glenn was -- I used to get a lot of -- when we were on the road, he used to play poker a lot. And Glenn was that really good poker player. He was always, he was a constant as sandbagger. He was also a little bit smarter, a little bit better prepared, remember the cards a little bit and everybody else, played a good game of poker and he always won, you know.

Same way with his guitar playing. He knew what he wanted to hear. He had a real clarity, a real clear idea of what he wanted to hear. He knew how to dig it out of his guitar. And the sound that he imagined resonated with the world and that's why he was so successful but he was a really hard worker. And he was just playing his guitar all the time, and then writes a song. That was his life.

COOPER: And how do you want people to remember him? Is there -- or how do you want to remember him?

RONSTADT: Well, you know, he was great musician. I mean, he was my comrade in arms, you know. We all -- none of us were famous when we all first knew each other. So we sort of knew the raw person, the person that was going to be eventually but the, and the previous form.

And I remember mostly in that way, you know, in the days before he was really well-known, he was just going on raw courage and nerve. It's plenty in talent and plenty of talent.

COOPER: Wow. Raw, courage and talent. Linda Ronstadt, thank you so much. It's truly an honor to talk to you. I appreciate it.

RONSTADT: You're most welcome.

COOPER: All right. You take care.

Up next, the CNN Special Report, "The Person Who Changed My Life", is it going to air on Sunday. A lot of anchors here at CNN and myself including, correspondents talk about their personal heroes, the person who changed their lives.

For me I picked my dad Wyatt Cooper and many reasons why I picked him, is next.

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[21:48:27] COOPER: Next weekend, I'll be co-hosting a special with Michaela Pereira in which me and other CNN anchors and correspondents tell the stories of our personal heroes. We'll be showing some other stories throughout the week.

The special is called "The Person Who Changed My Life." Tonight we begin with mine. It's the story that shows how a life can be shaped and forever changed by a father, in my case, a dad who died too soon, my dad is influenced remains as a constant in my life.

It's about what he gave me when he was here, what he left me with when he was done and the gift of hearing the sound of his voice again.

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COOPER: I was 10 years old when my father died and even though I didn't know him for very long, he changed my life in ways that no one else has.

My dad's name was Wyatt Cooper. He was just 50 when he died. I used to think that was old, but now that I'm 48, 50 seems pretty young.

I recently found a scrapbook my dad kept when he was a boy. Gum wrappers and old newspaper articles, the flotsam and jetsam of small town life in the 1930s. My dad had always been interested in movies. The scrapbook is filled with pictures of actors and ticket stubs for films he went to see as a child.

He went to UCLA and worked as an actor for years, mostly on stage and television. That's him in a cheesy movie with Mario Lanza called "The Seven Hills of Rome."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wyatt.

WYATT COOPER, ANDERSON COOPER'S FATHER: Good luck tonight. It have some released now out, I'll be out front leading the cheering section.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Wyatt.

COOPER: He also wrote screenplays and magazine articles. But when he married my mom in 1963, he moved to New York and my brother and I were born.

[21:50:07] We became the center of his world. I know he considered us his greatest achievements I, all my life wanted.

W. COOPER: I, all my life, wanted very much to have children and, quite specifically, I wanted to have sons. So I think I could reverse the roles and they become the recipients of the kind of fathering that I had wanted and that I had hoped for. COOPER: I've always looked a lot like my dad and that's one of the reasons I think I felt so connected to him. There was something about the way he talked with me, even when I was very little, that made a huge impact.

He was always open and honest with my brother and me. He really listened to what we had to say. He gave me the sense that I had valued for my ideas mattered. That instilled in me a confidence I don't think I would have otherwise had.

W. COOPER: We talk a great deal about moral and character values. But also, they ask me questions like Anderson, my youngest son asked, "How much does a stunt man make"? Because that's what he would like to be, you know, he can't make up his mind whether he wants to be a stuntman or a policeman.

COOPER: My brother and I were included on nearly everything he and my mom did. When people came to dinner, we sat at the table and we're part of the conversation.

That's me welcoming Charlie Chaplin to our house when I was just 5 years old. When you grow up secure in the love of a parent, it gives you a foundation that can carry you through all sorts of events in your life.

That feeling of security and confidence, I still carry that with me today. When someone dies, you think you'll never forget anything about them, but over time, memories fade. I can't remember what my dad smelled like, the sound he made when he came through the front door.

But there are things I'll never forget, laying with my head on his stomach as we watched TV together. I remember the rise and fall of his breath, the beat of his heart. I remember him typing on his old type writer late into the night.

I remember that feeling of having a father, of being loved and feeling safe. A person can change your life by the things they say and do, what they teach you, but they can also change your life by leaving, by their absence. And my dad's death changed me in ways that I'm just now starting to understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With all over the world, and now we are a minute away from 1978 as the giant ball has begun its dissent.

COOPER: I remember New Year's Eve, 1977, I watched the ball drop in Times Square on television.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy New Year, folks.

COOPER: My dad was in the hospital. I knew he was really sick and I was really scared what the New Year would bring. He died just five days later, January 5th, while undergoing a heart operation.

I'm not sure I understood the finality of his death at the time, but I began to retreat into myself. I became less outgoing, more introverted, I also become much more independent.

Hi I'm Anderson Cooper. This was special edition of Channel One for Wednesday in May 11th.

I began working to earn money, began learning in earnest how to take care of myself.

Loss changes you, particularly when you lose a parent at a young age. The world suddenly seems a much different place, more dangerous. The person I was before my father's death, the person I was meant to be, was far more open, more interesting than the person I've become.

I wish it wasn't so, but the self-reliance I learned has also served me well. I often wonder what my father would think of me, what he would say to me, what advice he would give. I close my eyes and try to imagine him watching me on television, or calling me on the phone to discuss a story I'd written. I know he would be proud, but I wish I could hear him tell me so.

W. COOPER: My relationships with my sons is quite extraordinary. And I think extraordinarily close. And we understand each other in the most extraordinary kind of way.

COOPER: I heard his voice for the first time since I was 10 years old when in 1975 a radio interview he gave was restored by the clock tower radio and put on their website.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wyatt Cooper, families, a memoir and a celebration.

COOPER: Though, I wish he would been able to hold on just a little bit longer, I do feel lucky I had my dad for as long as I did.

[21:55:00] His death changed me, but his life changed me more and for that, I'm forever grateful.

W. COOPER: My feelings about what I want my sons to be, I certainly want them to be, let's say, a better man than I. My sons are very aware that I have certain expectations of them and that is that they will behave with honor and with dignity.

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COOPER: On tomorrow night on 360, Sanjay Gupta is going to share the story of the person who changed his life.

This weekend, other CNN anchors and correspondents tell their stories of the people who are the heroes of their own lives.

Michaela Pereira and I host the 2 hours special, "The Person Who Changed My Life", Sunday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, right here on CNN.

I hope you join us for that. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, does it for us. Thanks very much for watching. We'll see you again 11:00 p.m. Eastern for another edition of 360.

"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts now.