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Kerry Attacks; Steroids & Baseball; Skating on Thin Ice

Aired March 10, 2004 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): Kerry goes on the offensive, slamming Republicans as crooked liars.

The VP stakes heat up as McCain steps in and steps out.

Pump prices coast to coast climb higher and higher. What's being done to stop the surge?

Tough questions for baseball officials on taking drugs out of the game.

A hockey hooligan, a flagrant foul, a broken neck. Now police take off the gloves.

Controversial? You bet. But when some girls went wild, was it child porn? A judge weighs in.


ANNOUNCER: Live, from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for joining us on 360.

The White House race, it is getting ugly. Tonight, Senator John Kerry stepped up the rhetoric with stinging, some say, surprising remarks about the Republicans. Bob Franken has the comments and the controversy.


BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Kerry is clearly not pulling any punches about what his aides call the Bush campaign's deceit.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group that I've ever seen.

FRANKEN: This is just the most recent Kerry attack this month on foreign policy...

KERRY: I think George Bush has run the most ardent, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our country. FRANKEN: On the famous photo-op...

KERRY: George Bush thought he could just play dress-up on an aircraft carrier.

FRANKEN: On the president's plan for a Mars mission...

KERRY: Send Bush to Mars. There's another idea.

FRANKEN: On other issues, particularly the economy, Kerry believes he has the president on the defensive.

KERRY: Ladies and gentlemen, it has to be getting lonely for George Bush. It seems he's the last person left in America who actually believes his failed policies will ever work.

FRANKEN (on camera): Kerry met with Howard Dean this afternoon, will get together with John Edwards tomorrow to coordinate the Democratic message, Democratic assault.

Bob Franken, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, tonight, the White House is responding to Kerry's attacks, as President Bush defended his economic policy, traveling to Ohio today, one of the biggest battleground states come November, of course.

Senior White House correspondent John King joins us live from the White House -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, White House aides say that comment from Senator Kerry today is a reckless smear. They say it is proof to them that Senator Kerry's first, second and third instincts are to go negative, go negative, and go negative. And they say the senator's already breaking a promise he made to the president to keep the campaign focused on the issues, issues like the economy, the president's focused today in Ohio.


KING (voice-over): Thermagon is a Cleveland high-tech company that exports 60 percent of its products. This presidential visit designed to make the point trade is part of the solution for a struggling jobs market, not the problem.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Listen, the best product on any shelf anywhere in the world says "Made in the USA."


KING: The president didn't name names, but suggests critics who blame him for manufacturing jobs lost to cheap overseas labor markets will do the economy a lot more harm than good. BUSH: That old policy of tax and spend is the enemy of job creation. The old policy of economic isolationism is a recipe for economic disaster.

KING: Mr. Bush's success in making this case could determine whether he has a job come January. Eighty-five percent of Americans in a new CNN poll say keeping American jobs from going overseas will be important in their choice for president.

No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio, one of the big industrial states where the debate over trade and outsourcing is loudest. Ohio's unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, and the state has lost more than 160,000 manufacturing jobs during the Bush presidency. Mr. Bush says the pain would have been a lot worse if not for his push for more trade and big tax cuts.


KING: Now, more than five months after the president promised to name an administration manufacturing czar, officials say a Nebraska businessman is in line to get that post. He is a fierce advocate of free trade, Anderson. Senator Kerry calls it too little, too late, and says one new government bureaucrat can't make up for 2.5 million lost manufacturing jobs.

COOPER: All right. This thing is getting tough early on.

All right. John King, thanks very much from the White House.

A quick fast fact for you on Ohio's importance. It has a record as a bellwether state in presidential elections. Since 1900, it has voted for the eventual presidential winner 24 out of 26 times. The only times Ohio got it wrong? In 1944, Ohio voters chose Thomas Dewey over Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1960, Ohio voters picked Richard Nixon over John F. Kennedy.

Well, some key members of Congress say it is time to get tough on steroid use in Major League Baseball. CNN congressional correspondent Joe Johns has the latest.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Major League Baseball players now in spring training, also now on notice from Congress, get tougher on steroids. The head of the players' association got an earful at this hearing.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I can tell you, and your players that you represent, the status quo is not acceptable.

JOHNS: The heat is on baseball. Five to seven percent of tests on players last year came back positive for steroid use. Superstar Barry Bonds' personal trainer was charged with supplying steroids to athletes. Bonds denies using steroids. The Baseball Players Association have agreed to once-a-year random testing but says athletes still have rights. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't treat it lightly. We don't treat lightly the notion of searches without cause.

JOHNS: And the players also say random testing is an issue of privacy, but not everyone agrees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The taking of steroids in private is designed specifically to affect your performance in public. Specifically for that. There cannot possibly be a privacy issue here, in my judgment.

JOHNS: Not all performance-enhancing substances are illegal. Some are even available over the counter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't expect professional athletes to suggest that they somehow are different than anyone else and they can't go into a store and buy something that anyone else can buy.

JOHNS: But the commissioner of baseball says all should be banned.

BUD SELIG, MLB COMMISSIONER: ... regardless whether the substances are categorized as steroids or nutritional supplements.

JOHNS (on camera): A proposal to crack down on some of those substances is gaining momentum here. But in the end, Congress may be able to do little more than shine a light on the problem.

Joe Johns, CNN, Capitol Hill.


COOPER: Right now, we are following a number of developing stories for you "Cross Country." Let's take a quick look.

On Wall Street today: a tumble for the stock market. At the closing bell, the Dow was down 160 points. We should point out that is the third straight losing session. Analysts say the reason may be due to jittery investors. Although, frankly, do analysts really know? Anyway, those investors are bailing out on technology companies and high-risk shares.

Chesapeake, Virginia: life in prison for Lee Boyd Malvo. Today, the 19-year-old was formally given that sentence for his role in the D.C.-area sniper spree. He could face other trials as well if prosecutors decide to seek a death penalty.

Los Angeles now: two men charged with human smuggling. Prosecutors say the two men are tied to a dreadful discover at the city's harbor last month. Seventeen Chinese immigrants found inside a shipping container. They had been there for 28 days. Hard to imagine.

L.A. again: a grad student arrested on arson charges. Authorities say a 23-year-old physics student at Cal Tech is tied to a vandalism spree targeting sport utility vehicles. Apparently, 125 SUVs at Ford dealerships were torched, causing more than $2 million in damages.

Tucson, Arizona now: a jail cell awaiting Diana Ross. A judge there says the singer must return to the city to serve a 48-hour sentence for drunk driving. Ross had arranged to serve her time in Connecticut. She had arranged for that, but the magistrate says he found out she left jail several times during her three-day sentence there.

I didn't know you could leave jail. But apparently she did.

Miami, Florida now: good police work or invasion of privacy? What do you think?

The Miami Herald says that local police have been spying on rap stars, staking out hotels and photographs them at clubs, all in an effort to collect information. The department told the paper it began collecting surveillance after a big hip-hop celebration on South Beach that led to more than 200 arrests.

And that is a look at stories "Cross Country" for you tonight.

Soaring gas prices about to hit a record high. Who is to blame? And, well, is there any relief in site? We'll take a look at that.

Plus, a serious fight broadcast on national television. Have you seen this? Criminal assault or a good old-fashioned hockey game? What do you think? We'll take a look at violence on the eyes.

And girls gone wild. The judge has ruled it is not child porn, but the producer, well, is he going to get off the hook on some other charges as well? We'll take a look at that.

Let's take a look "Inside the Box" right now at the top stories on tonight's network newscasts.


COOPER: Well, tonight, criminal charges may soon be filed against a pro hockey player who broke another player's neck. Officials in Canada tonight are looking into the violent hit from an NHL all-star. It all happened on TV.

Kimberly Osias reports.


KIMBERLY OSIAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a full-on ambush in the third period, a sucker punch to the head from behind. The Canucks' 6'3" 245-pound Todd Bertuzzi jumped rookie Avalanche forward Steve Moore, forcing him face first into the ice. Moore is in a Vancouver hospital with a broken neck, cuts on his face, and a concussion, and will miss the rest of the season.

MELODY ESCALLIER, CANADIAN RESIDENT: I was absolutely disgusted. I thought it was no better than a mugging. OSIAS: Bertuzzi's career is on hold while the NHL debates his future. Vancouver police are investigating. The all-star forward could face criminal charges. Several years ago, Bertuzzi himself spoke out against hockey violence.

TODD BERTUZZI, HOCKEY PLAYER: It's disgusting what happened. And it is unfortunate. And the league has to do something about it.

OSIAS: This is the second time in four years a violent attack involving the NHL has become a criminal matter. Flashback, February 2000: Boston tough guy Marty McSorley struck former Canuck player Donald Brashear with his stick. McSorley was convicted in Canada of assault with a weapon but served no jail time. The league suspended him for a year and he never returned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's put a bad eye on hockey right now. People don't want to see this kind of stuff. Fighting is a part of what hockey is, and I don't think they'll ever get rid of that.


OSIAS: Tonight, the Vancouver Canucks take to the ice for the first time since Monday' night's melee. They'll be playing for the hometown crowd against the Minnesota Wild -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Thanks very much for that remarkable story.

From the ice to the Internet now, someone is sharing personal information about New York City police officer to anyone with a Web browser. Details like their home addresses, where they work out, even their kids' names for all to see on this one man's Web site.

Some of the NYPD are not happy, as you can understand. But can they be stopped?

CNN's Gary Tuchman investigates.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It isn't hard to spot police officers when they're in uniform, but many cops do their work undercover, in plains clothes for their protection. And that's why a Web site that has undercover officers' names, addresses, pictures and, in some cases, pictures of their family members, has made many angry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't want some people that I arrested to know where I live because who knows what they're capable of.

TUCHMAN: The operator of the site is believed to be a New Yorker currently out of the country. Why he's doing this is not clear. But in addition to undercover cops in New York, he also has information about uniformed offices, judges and federal officials in other parts of the country.

New York Daily News reporter Michelle McPhee has been investigating the Web site.

MICHELLE MCPHEE, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The most egregious thing on the Web site is descriptions, physical descriptions of both the officers and the officers' children. "So and so jogs in this park at 8:00 a.m."

TUCHMAN: But is the Web site illegal? As of now, apparently not.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: I don't know who is doing it, and probably can't stop it. But it is irresponsible.

TUCHMAN: Can it be stopped? A congressman is drafting legislation.

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: My legislation would say to police departments that they have an absolute to go into a court. And if they can show that a law enforcement official's life would be in danger if an Internet Web site revealed information about them, that they can get an order that an Internet service provider would have to take that Web site down.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Even if such a bill passed, nobody pretends it would be easy to enforce. A spokesman for the NYPD says the department is troubled by the Web site and would hope it starts getting less publicity.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.


COOPER: We're tracking a number of developing stories for you around the globe right now. Let's check the "UpLink."

Tonight, major news involving former Gitmo detainees now in London. CNN has just confirmed that all the men who returned in a group of five from Guantanamo Bay have been released. More later.

Near Hillah, Iraq: two American civilians and their Iraqi translator were killed. Iraqi police say they are investigating the incident and are questioning six people who they have detained. The Coalition Provisional Authority has confirmed three of its employees were killed, but is not giving any further details.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: new prime minister arrives. This man right there, Gerard Latortue. He has chosen to lead Haiti out of its crisis. He was greeted by a group of friends, journalists and business leaders.

He says his first priority is to reunite the population. No easy task that. Tensions still running high on the streets. Two Haitians were killed in a gun battle with Marines overnight.

Harare, Zimbabwe: targeting mercenaries? Authorities are threatening to execute 64 suspected mercenaries for accused of being on a military mission. They were detained after this plane right there, a U.S.-registered jetliner, was seized, allegedly carrying military material.

It's a mysterious story. They could face the death penalty if, in fact, they are found guilty.

Tokyo, Japan, now: emergency rhino drill. Take a look at this. You never know when one of these animals is going to come at you, especially in an earthquake-prone area apparently. So staff at the zoo had their annual training.

They caught the wandering beast without any injuries there. It probably helped that the rhino was made of paper to prepare for what might happen in the event of an earthquake.

And in a Kurdish town in Turkey: a dancing Saddam Hussein. That's right. You see it there.

Not only does he exist, he's also a best seller, if you can believe it. The dancing doll beat out the competition, like Osama bin Laden and President Bush even. And it costs about $12 each. Not even a bargain over there. Some would say well worth the money, I guess, to some customers.

See, the little kid even got into it. All right. That's enough now. No more dancing Saddam.

That's tonight's "UpLink" for you.

It may be in bad taste, but girls gone wild is apparently not child porn. That's what a judge ruled today. But the producer behind the video may still be in some hot water. We'll talk to his attorney coming up.

Also tonight, the race for president gets down and dirty. We'll talk to the head of the Bush-Cheney campaign about the latest attack against them.

And a little bit later on, kids on a chain gang. Will it actually deter crime or just humiliate them? What's the idea? We're going to talk to the sheriff who is behind it. I think you know who it is.

Be right back.


COOPER: Well, a Florida judge has finished grappling with the most salacious court cases to reach the docket in a while. The defendant, the producer of "Girls Gone Wild," the well-known line of videotapes that show young spring breakers bearing it all in front of the camera. Well, female ones, at least.

I want to warn you, some of the video you may see -- we blurted out most of it, but it's a little bit graphic. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): If you haven't heard of the "Girls Gone Wild" series of tapes, you probably haven't watched late night TV in the last couple years. What are the tapes about? Well, nothing really.

The name kind of says it all. "Girls Gone Wild" contains endless images of young women bearing their breasts and dissing their dignity. It is a simple, if sleazy, idea, and made the tape's creator, Joe Francis, a millionaire many times over.

Is it porn? Well, Panama City, Florida, officials say four girls taped by Francis last April were under age. And, therefore, taping them nude was illegal child pornography.

The state filed criminal charges against Francis for racketeering, indecency, corruption, child porn and other crimes. Forty-three criminal counts in all. Up to 30 years in prison.

Francis' attorneys contend the images don't meet state requirements for illegal child porn. And today, a judge agreed. The state continues to pursue their case, but making it just got a whole lot tougher.


COOPER: And right now, I'm joined by Joe Francis' attorney, Aaron Dyer. He joins us from Los Angeles.

Aaron, thanks very much for being with us. Help me understand what basically the judge said today. My understanding is that the judge said it is not child porn in the case of these four underage girls who were shown baring their breasts, or part of them, because there was not touching of these girls.

Yes, they were videotaped underage. But since no touching, it doesn't meet the state requirement for child porn?

AARON DYER, ATTORNEY FOR JOE FRANCIS: That's right, Anderson. The issue the judge was dealing with was videotapes of girls on the street that were pulling up their shirt. These were young women who were videotaped. And the question was whether we were able to have access to those. The state has used those tapes to inflate their case, to claim that they have dozens of young females who were caught on tape flashing, and claim that that was child pornography.

COOPER: Right. And it turns out they didn't really have dozens; they just had these four on the video. The mayor put out this statement saying, "If you get a 13 or 14-year-old child to expose herself, and unless you grope her, you haven't broken the law. It is pitiful. If that is the law, then it's badly broken."

Why doesn't your client demand IDs from these people?

DYER: You know, let me respond to the mayor's comment. That's the first time we've heard that kind of response from the mayor up until now.

The mayor has been the driving force behind this whole prosecution. This all arose from when Joe Francis sued the mayor because the local officials were interfering with the constitutional rights of "Girls Gone Wild" the film.

COOPER: Right. But it is true, though -- I mean, the mayor is saying that just because Joe Francis and whoever these camera people were didn't grope these young girls, it is not child porn, but they were being videotaped, right?

DYER: That's true. They were being videotaped.

COOPER: And why doesn't he demand an ID?

DYER: Well, what the court ruled today is there is nothing illegal about filming a young woman on video. And it doesn't have anything to do with how old that person is. That is just footage that is not child pornography, not contraband.

COOPER: But, you know, your client is going around in places where people are drinking and clearly maybe not thinking all that straight. And does he feel no responsibility to at least, you know, ask for an ID?

I mean, I know they're not wearing much clothes, so maybe they don't have a place to put an ID. But isn't that kind of at least a basic responsibility?

DYER: Actually, that's one of their policies, is that they do demand that everyone they video state that they are over the age of 18. And you do have problems when you're talking about a spring break location. You're right; they're not always carrying their ID with them.

COOPER: But apparently on one of these videos there is a girl lifting up her shirt, and says she's only 17. And I guess the camera person kind of tells her to say that -- you know, gives her a birth date to say that would make her actually 20. And then he goes ahead and videotapes it. So it seems kind of inaccurate -- if that is, in fact, true -- inaccurate to say that they really do demand these people to be of a certain age.

DYER: Well, what's important to recognize is that they have -- while they have a policy -- while Mantra Entertainment (ph) has a policy of not using girls who are under the age of 18 in those types of videos, there's nothing illegal about it. They have imposed that policy, and they do check IDs when they are available. They do demand someone tell them their age. But when you talk about somebody who is trying to avoid that policy, that company policy in getting a woman to lie about here age, that is something that Mantra Entertainment (ph) does not condone and will take action against.

COOPER: Finally, can you just tell me, how much money has your client made from getting girls to take off their shirts?

DYER: You know, I can't tell you. But it's -- but the company has done very well.

COOPER: All right. Well, I've read up to $100 million he may be worth. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I guess you're not going to say.

All right. Appreciate you joining us, Aaron Dyer. Thanks very much. I guess the case is going to continue. Are you going to try to get the charges removed?

DYER: We're going to continue to attack the government's case, just as we have so far. We're going to move to dismiss charges and just basically attack the underpinnings and the evidence that they are going to present in their case.

COOPER: All right. Aaron Dyer, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

DYER: My pleasure.


COOPER (voice-over): The race for VP. McCain is making it interesting.

And, will the verdict against Martha impact other CEOs on trial?

360 continues.


COOPER: Time for tonight's top stories in the "Reset."

Washington, D.C.: never mind. Republican Senator John McCain first said he'd think about taking the vice president spot on John Kerry's ticket, then said there was no way that could happen.

Florida now: one more time. Don't be surprised, but they are recounting votes in Florida again. Irregularities during Tuesday's primary forced the state election supervisor to order all presidential primary ballots recounted. But they say Kerry still won.

In Washington: no fault fat. The House voted today to keep people from suing the food industry for obesity-related problems. They say fat lawsuits could bankrupt fast-foot chains and other restaurants.

Canada now: cross-contamination. Officials in Vancouver are dealing with the disturbing possibility that human remains may have gotten mixed in with pork processed at the farm of Canada's worst serial killer. Oy.

Robert Pickton is suspected of killing 31 people, and human remains have been found on his farm. Not a pleasant idea.

That is a look at the "Reset" tonight. Turning now to politics. A major anti-Bush ad campaign, that has been in the news. And earlier today, John McCain said he would entertain the idea of being John Kerry's running mate. Later on, he backed off that saying the Arizona Senator would never do it. What exactly is going on there? Helping us to sort it out, I'm joined by Mark Racicot from the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Mark, thanks very much for being with us, appreciate it. Were you surprised by Senator McCain's comments?

MARK RACICOT, BUSH-CHENEY CAMPAIGN: I spoke with Senator McCain today and he just simply told me what you reported, that it would never happen. And as a consequence of that, that's the story.

COOPER: John McCain said he considered John Kerry a good friend. Is George Bush a good friend of McCain?

RACICOT: I have absolutely no doubt about that. I have been with Senator McCain on a number of occasions traveling around the country when he's been there assisting and advocating on behalf of the president, so there's no doubt in my mind about that.

COOPER: How surprised were you by John Kerry's comments today, paraphrasing that quote, these guys are the most crooked, lying group of people he's ever seen?

RACICOT: It's in keeping with a pattern. But it's a sad day, Anderson, when a man who wants to be president of the United States refers to the sitting president and his administration and Republicans everywhere as being the most crooked, lying group he's ever seen. He ought to be embarrassed by that, ashamed of it. And frankly, he ought to apologize for it.

COOPER: But Mark, there's been some pretty harsh attacks on both sides. I mean, Republicans have been running commercials on the Internet saying he's unprincipled. President Bush has been out there kind of joking about him publicly for quite awhile now. There's viciousness on both sides, isn't there?

RACICOT: The Bush campaign has never stooped to this low. We certainly try to talk about his record, which he continues to run from. It's indefensible in so many different respects. That's why I suspect he's engaged in this kind of hyperbolic rhetoric. It is over the top, Anderson. It is entirely inappropriate for a political campaign.

COOPER: What's the idea of these Internet commercials? Is the idea to, you don't have to say, I guess on the Internet -- you know President Bush doesn't have to say "I'm George Bush, I approve of these ads." Is the idea to get in some bare knuckle attacks with sort of skirting that?

RACICOT: No. The fact from our perspective is, I couldn't speak for the other campaign which is have engaged in scurrilous conduct, quite frankly. The bottom line for us is, it is an opportunity to communicate with our supporters across the country what the truth is. The one ad that we ran that just simply addressed Senator Kerry's record. He alleged that he had this disdain for all this special interests and yet it turns out that as a matter of record, he is the Senator that has taken more special interest honey over the course of the last 15 years than any other politician in Congress.

COOPER: You will admit it was a snide ad. It was pretty tough.

RACICOT: No. It addressed the truth of the matter. Anderson, we are going to address his record. It is indefensible in so many different way. Whether or not it is the intelligence votes he's taken or bills he's introduced, the way he's not supported our troops in Iraq. What he has in terms of a plan for the economy where he busts the possibility of having jobs created with a -- with billions of dollars of tax increases, it is just over and over and over again. We think the American people have a right to see the difference between the remarkable and steady leadership of President George W. Bush and that that's offered by John Kerry.

COOPER: But Mark, there is a school of thought that says the fact that the president is so early on addressing John Kerry by name, going after him very publicly, repeatedly day after day, is perhaps a sign of weakness, a sign the campaign is scared, the polls are down.

RACICOT: It's setting the record straight, Anderson. It's setting the record straight. It also reflects the depths of the spurious and scurrilous attacks that have been manipulated and fabricated by the opposition.

The pattern here, is for John Kerry, day after day after day, to enter into all of this negative commentary and attacks upon the president. He started this in September with his first ad attacking the president. He's run 15 since then. Over 70 percent of his budget has been spent on negative ads against the president.

COOPER: Well, they have been in a primary battle, which is why they've been spending this.

RACICOT: But why is he running against the president? He had opponents throughout the entire course of the primary.

COOPER: Well, apparently, not good enough opponents. Mark Racicot, appreciate you joining us, thanks.

RACICOT: Thank you very much, Anderson.

COOPER: Well let's take a closer look at campaign ads and campaign finance reform. Money at the root of raw politics. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): The ad war is heating up. A new ad targets the president.

ANNOUNCER: George Bush's priorities are eroding the American dream. It is time to take our country back from corporate greed and make America work for every American.

COOPER: But the ad is not being paid for by John Kerry. He's low on money and a new law forbids all candidates and parties from raising unlimited donations.

So this ad is bought and paid for by a group organized by Harold Ickes, former adviser to President Clinton. The organization behind the ads are nicknamed 527 groups, after a section of the tax law. It is legal for them to run ads on issues, but it's against the law for them to coordinate with the campaigns or the parties.

Republicans say ads from groups like Media Fund are illegal, because they're trying to defeat a federal candidate, President Bush. Reform crusader, Senator John McCain says the 527s are exploiting a legal loophole.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: It is plain as the nose on your fact that these 527s are organized and engaged in partisan political activity, they should be regulated under the rules.

COOPER: Organizers say they are legal because they don't flat out say defeat Bush or vote for Kerry.

ANNOUNCER: It is about more jobs at home not tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas.

COOPER: Republicans have filed a complaint with the federal election commission about this latest and conversation shall form of raw politics.


COOPER: We should point out Republicans also have similar interesting groups airing commercials with conservative view but to a lesser extent.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the man who calls himself one of the country's toughest sheriffs is making headlines yet again. He's launches a chain gang and sparking another round of debate. CNN's Eric Phillips has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate this chain man.

ERIC PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are minors tried as adults and they're part of a newly formed juvenile chain gang picking up trash in Phoenix.

JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF: These juveniles committed armed robbery, burglary, you name it, they've committed it.

PHILLIPS: This is the latest in a string of controversial moves from Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. The sheriff calls himself an equal opportunity incarcerator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's crazy.

PHILLIPS: He tells the teens they will get no free rides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like this idea about us coming out here, but some of the stuff that goes down, I don't agree with.

PHILLIPS: In his 12 years in office, Arpaio has made male inmates wear prison stripes and pink underwear. There's no TV, no coffee, no nudey magazines. Then there are the chain gangs. He first instituted the male chain gang in 1995, and started the female chain gang in 1996 and now a juvenile chain gang.

All of them are volunteer. The teams earn a high school credit toward a diploma from hard knocks high, the school program at the county jail. Adults use the gangs to work their way out of lockdown where they've been placed because of disciplinary problems. Some critics call Arpaio's methods barbaric, criticism he dismisses.

ARPAIO: I'm not going to change my policy. I serve the 3.2 million people. I don't serve Amnesty International, Civil Liberties and all these do-good organizations.

PHILLIPS: Arpaio's approval ratings in Pheonix remain at 80 to 85 percent. Eric Phillips, CNN.


COOPER: He doesn't serve do-good organizations. that juvenile chain gang is for boys ranging from 15 to 18 years old. And the protests from civil rights groups pretty intense right now. So is the program too severe or actually beneficial? What do you think? Helping you to decide, joining me now is the man who started the whole controversy, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Appreciate you being with us, sheriff. Do these chain gangs for juveniles work?

ARPAIO: I don't know. I just started it today. We'll see. They're obtaining high school credit. Think of that, working on the chain gang.

COOPER: What's the purpose?

ARPAIO What's the purpose?

COOPER: Yes. Is it stop them from repeating crime?

ARPAIO: Well, they're learning how to establish a garbage company when they're in the classroom. Now they are receiving firsthand experience.

I'm not going to put these guys that are charged with serious crimes, assault, robbery and everything else on the streets cleaning up trash without some protection. So, I hook them together. If they're going to escape, they all have to escape at the same time.

COOPER: So, the idea of hooking them together it's not to degrade them or denegrade them. It is for our protection? ARPAIO: Yes. That's one reason. But I'll be honest with you, I hope when people drive by, the mothers drive by and they tell their kids in a car, you do something wrong you're going to be on that chain gang, wearing a stripe uniforms and the pink underwear. So, I'm using it as a deterrent also, but also to teach these juveniles a lesson.

COOPER: It is to degrade them. You make the other prisoners wear pink underwear, pink socks I guess, make them sleep outside, eat food that costs less than dog food and now this. Degrading them is part of your job, apparently, right?

ARPAIO: I'm an equal opportunity incarcerator. These juveniles are charges as adults. They will do the same policies as my other 9,000 people I have in the county jail. So we don't discriminate.

COOPER: So, the study conducted five years ago, I'm sure you heard about this a lot, by Arizona State University, showed that your jail programs had, really, no more effect on recidivism, of prisoners, than other people's jail program that is don't go extreme measures?

ARPAIO: I don't know. I wasted my $20,000 recruiting that guy. That was before chain gangs and the 13 cent meals and the 2,000 people I have in the hot tents. So, I don't go with that theory.

But I tell you one thing, we graduated 2,500 men and women from our drug prevention program in the jail. We've researched it, only 16 percent have come back. So at least my drug prevention program and other educational programs in the jail are working.

COOPER: So your own $20,000 study said that the program doesn't really work in trying to stop recidivism. Do you plan on doing more studies, maybe? See if these chain gangs actually work?

ARPAIO: I may do it. They are talking to people just leaving the tent. You think they like it in there? Of course, they're going to complain. Most was the complaints. Of course, they hate the food and the pink underwear and everything else.

COOPER; I think the study was more about recidivism, but I see you point. Joe Arpaio, appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much.

ARPAIO: My pleasure.

COOPER: All right, well, gas prices continue to soar all across the nation and approaching record levels, as I'm sure you can tell if you've been filling up your car. The high price at the pump, that is definitely our "Midweek Crisis" tonight. Here is Susan Candiotti.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gas prices now averaging $1.73 nationwide for a gallon of regular unleaded are the highest they have been in years. President Bush's advisers blame it on Congress.

DON EVANS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: He put a national policy together, presented it to the American people in the late spring of 2001 and has been waiting on Congress since that time to deliver him an energy bill.

CANDIOTTI: Rising oil prices facing a president who came from an oil background, so did his vice president.

As Mr. Bush campaigned Wednesday in Ohio, pushing his economic plan, some wonder about the impact on voters this fall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Democrats will raise it as an issue, they will point to the administration's connection to the oil and gas industry. They have done that in the past. They'll do it again. The idea that the president has some control over oil and gas prices in the short term, however, is silly.

CANDIOTTI: Californians shelling out as much as $2.17 a gallon. New Yorkers, $1.85. In Florida, $1.74. Ohio, $1.70.

Ask why it's happening and get a standard reply.

JAY SAUNDERS, OIL ANALYST: Simply, you could say there's less supply around, and crude oil prices are very high. Demand is recovering. High demand, low supply.

CANDIOTTI: In part, analysts blame the spike on oil producing countries putting out less to make up for a weak U.S. dollar. Add instability in Iraq and Venezuela as well as seasonal drops in production. Despite the high prices, consumers are still topping off their tanks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, there's nothing you can do about it. I don't know if it's the president or the Congress or the oil companies. Somebody is getting the money. Not me. I got (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Is relief in sight? Yes, but not for long. Analysts predict prices will come down sometime this spring, but then climb again just in time for the usual increased summertime demand around Memorial Day.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.


COOPER: Well, coming up, the fallout from the Martha Stewart trial. Will her case and conviction play a role in other big corporate cases, like Tyco? That's going on right now, and also Enron. What about that? We'll talk about that also.

Tonight, in Japan, male flight attendants putting on the charm for their female clientele.

And a little later, "The Current." Tonya Harding, watch out, she's going back on the ice, this time with a big stick. Be right back.


COOPER: Time now for "Justice Served." Closing arguments are expected to resume tomorrow in the trial of former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and his ex-finance chief. And we've been following Martha Stewart. She only made about $50,000 from dumping her ImClone shares. Keep in mind, these Tyco execs are accused of looting over $600 million from the company and investors. Covering the story, 360 legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom and Shawn Tully, senior writer at "Fortune" magazine. We appreciate both of you being with us.


COOPER: Kimberly, let me start off with you. One of the jurors after the Martha Stewart verdict said that the decision was a victory for the little guy over the big guy. That must have sent shivers through the defense team for Kozlowski.

NEWSOM: Well, absolutely. The timing couldn't be worse. I mean, Americans are so intolerant right now of corporate greed and excess and this habitual gluttony that they see going on and played out in the press every day with these corporate executives. I think the timing couldn't be worse for him. I think the verdict is going to reflect it. We talked earlier about it. I think it's over for him.

COOPER: And the jury knows about the Martha Stewart decision, because I mean, they are sequestered.

NEWSOM: Absolutely, and so this is part of a theme. And the evidence against her was not even as compelling as the evidence against Kozlowski.

COOPER: Well, also, Shawn, let's talk about the money amounts. I mean, the money amount Martha Stewart was dealing with was far less, I mean, peanuts, compared to what Kozlowski is talking about.

SHAWN TULLY, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Yes, 40 versus $600 million. But also, the Kozlowski case and then especially the Enron case are really a completely new dimension in these types of corporate prosecutions, because there's this perception out there, Anderson, that white collar criminals get off, or they're not prosecuted, or they're not convicted. And we haven't had a lot of convictions so far. That's what we need. Because the greatest antidote to greed is fear. And seeing some of these people convicted, going down, is really going to strike fear into a lot of the CEOs who, potentially, are out there planning some criminal stuff also.

COOPER: And talk about what the jury was seeing during this trial, I mean, some of those images, those parties, those, you know, the sort of like the Roman party in Sardinia, I think it was...

NEWSOM: It's almost like "Girls Gone Wild," Wall Street gone wild.

COOPER: Kozlowski gone wild. I mean, the jury can't ignore stuff like that.

NEWSOM: Oh, how could you? I mean, I think about it all the time, and that's what you associate this case with. I mean...


COOPER: I'm still thinking about those pictures.

NEWSOM: ... they are able to present it in front of this jury. We knew some things about Martha Stewart. This was up close and personal to show this is the definition of greed, this is the kind of person that shouldn't be trusted, has no credibility, and was out to get a lot of money, whatever he could. He had his company pay $1 million, half of his wife's birthday party fee. That's just unacceptable.

TULLY: You think of these guys, it's like a Roman emperor, Louis XIV. He had a wife for whom he threw a $2 million party in Sardinia, and he had one of his mistresses plan it, and the other mistress took a $700,000 (ph) package to leave.

COOPER: Yeah, it's pretty incredible perks, I guess. I mean, some of those -- but anyway, but, you know, the Roman Empire fell. Is this the end of corporate greed?

TULLY: I think we're going to see a lot of convictions coming up here. Certainly the Skilling indictment was a pivotal point. And the question becomes, can someone like Skilling get off on a kind of narrow defense saying that the lawyers and the accountants all signed off on these partnerships that were made to look like loans turned into profits? And clearly there was just an atmosphere of complete corruption in that company. And I think probably that the jury is going to say, even though the accountants may have signed off, the lawyers may have signed off, that does not exonerate him. And if that -- if that verdict is raised and if those issues are essentially pushed aside and these narrow defenses are pushed aside, it will send a very strong message.

COOPER: Now, in the defense, Kozlowski didn't testify. Surprising?

NEWSOM: Well, not really surprising. He's not really that much of a warm person, what kind of...

COOPER: Oh, you don't think?

NEWSOM: Well -- I mean, he knows how to throw a great party. I got to give him that, but I don't think he is going to come off that cozy on the stand. And big difference for Martha. I said right from the beginning she should have testified. She's the queen of putting in pies and all things tasty. This guy is not.

COOPER: Of course, testifying opens him up to having to answer all these charges.

NEWSOM: About this lavish lifestyle. And as far as it goes for Dennis, I think it was looking bad from the beginning, it looks bad still. So take the pulse; he's flat-lining. It's over.

COOPER: Do you think it's over for Dennis Kozlowski?

TULLY: I do. Absolutely. Because I agree that the evidence against Kozlowski is much stronger than the evidence against Martha.

COOPER: All right, Shawn Tully, thanks very much, and Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, thanks.

NEWSOM: Thank you.

COOPER: Interesting.

Sex appeal on board. Coming up, using male flight attendants to charm female passengers.

Also tonight, "The Current." Justin Timberlake takes a trip to a very unique store. We'll talk about that ahead. We'll be right back.


COOPER: All right. Time to check on pop news in tonight's "Current." Tonya Harding is back in the news. The disgraced former figure skater is joining a minor league hockey team in Ohio. It is her first foray into the sport though many think she's made a career skating on thin ice.

A California lawmaker wants to amend the state's constitution giving 14-year-olds the right to vote. Some youngsters like the idea saying politicians will now have to take their issues seriously. The first thing they want is to bring "Angel" back to the WB. It can happen.

Justin Timberlake was reportedly seen snooping around a smoke shop in Vancouver that sells bongs and pipes. People there swear Timberlake didn't buy anything saying he was just there to check out the camera angles. Wow. Cool camera angles. All right.

"Vanity Fair" has published their list of the best-dressed men in the world. On the list, George Clooney, David Beckham, Jude Law and me. You may say, Anderson, you only own four suits. How in the world can you be on the best-dressed list? True, but what these pictures show, it is all about accessorizing. Take a look. That's me circa 1975, kind of Huggy Bear thing. That was a mistake. A fashion mistake I made. That's me in the Japanese Navy. Seamanship. And that's me as a rocker with my mohawk haircut back in the day when I rocked out and I rocked it hard. I sure did.

The skies over Japan are turning into a single scene for female passengers and male only flight attendants. We have more on this story from CNN's Atika Shubert.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fasten your seat belts and bring your chairs into the upright position, ladies. This is the men's flight on Skynet Airways. Our cabin attendants are exclusively male, handpicked to attract women and their wallets. MANABU ANDO, SKYNET FLIGHT ATTENDANT (through translator): We are hoping to get women's attention and fill all the seats with the female passengers. Of course, we welcome anyone who wants to fly with us.

SHUBERT: Female passengers receive a men's flight certificate with descriptions of cabin staff, including hobbies and personality types. In-flight announcements invite passengers to make special requests at cabin crew but to please refrain from any inappropriate touching.

HAOKO FAKUHARA, PASSENGER (through translator): I think it is a good idea. The attendants on the flight are pretty attractive. I'm still not comfortable being served by a man, but I can get used to it.

SHUBERT: Japanese women make ideal consumers. More than 50 percent under the age of 40 are single, working women. No husband, no family means more money to spend on themselves. But for all the hard work, it seems Japanese women are shy. We asked, did anyone ask these eligible men for a date?

ANDO: I hope so. But not this time.

SHUBERT: Ladies, there's still time to book your ticket. Atika Shubert, CNN, Tokyo.


COOPER: All right. Who knew? How easy it is to trick some people. Coming up in the "Nth Degree," you will not believe what can pass for money.

Tomorrow, John Kerry's stepson, Chris Heinz gives us a behind the scenes look from the campaign trail. That's tomorrow. Got more ahead. Stay with us.


COOPER: Tonight, taking gullibility to the "Nth Degree." In North Carolina a guy walks into a Food Lion store, picks up 150 bucks worth of groceries and pays with a $200 bill. One of these. A, there is no such animal as a $200 bill. B, if there were, it wouldn't say Moral Reserve Note across the top there. C, the serial number wouldn't start with W. D, the presidential portrait would be engraved not be a photo. And then on the back, there wouldn't be signs on the White House lawn reading, "we like ice cream, we like broccoli and no more scandals." The best part of the story, is the North Carolina shopper not only got his groceries, he got $50 in change.

We'd declare a gullibility emergency, except the other day in Georgia a sharp-eyed Walmart clerk foiled a customer at the exact same game. What we say sharp eye, could be the clerk just didn't have the change for a million dollar bill. Anyway, we're inclined to leave the American threat level where it is at yellow. Remember, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) an election year so that could change at any time. I'm Anderson Cooper, thanks for watching. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


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