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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Terror Warnings for U.S. This Summer, Terry Nichols Found Guilty on 160 Counts of Murder, Bush-Kerry Ad Wars, Can Dental Device Help With Weight Loss?

Aired May 26, 2004 - 19:00   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. I'm Anderson Cooper.
New warnings and new faces, the FBI says it could be a long scary summer, 360 starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Have you seen these faces? The FBI names seven who may be armed, dangerous and out to kill Americans.

No date, no method, no target specified, how can you protect yourself if terrorists strike?

The verdict is in, Terry Nichols guilty of 161 counts of murder. Will he be sentenced to death?

He said, he said, the Bush-Kerry ad war heats up, new ads, big money, but whose message is getting heard?

And miracle cure or medical scam, can this dental device actually help you lose weight?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Live from New York this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COOPER: Good evening.

We begin tonight with the faces of terror, seven individuals the U.S. government says are suspected al Qaeda operatives, terrorists who may be planning attacks here in the U.S. or abroad. Have you seen these faces?

This is Adnan El Shukrijumah, a Saudi. He used to live in South Florida. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed indicted in the U.S. in connection with the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa. Also wanted and under indictment for those attacks this man, Ahmed Ghailani.

The next man Amer El-Maati is wanted by the FBI for questioning about possible al Qaeda links. Abderraouf Jdey has already allegedly taped a suicide message. He was last known to be living in Montreal. This Pakistani woman Aafia Siddiqui studied at MIT.

And there is one American now under suspicion, 25-year-old Adam Yahiye Gadahn, Adam Pearlman (ph) before he converted to Islam. The FBI says he attended al Qaeda training camps, even served as an al Qaeda translator, his whereabouts tonight unknown.

With a look at how real the threat is and what the targets might be here's Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A series of high profile public events, including the dedication of the World War II memorial, the Economic Summit on Sea Island, Georgia, and of course the political conventions adding to the concern about possible terror attacks on U.S. soil.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Credible intelligence from multiple sources indicates that al Qaeda plans to attempt an attack on the United States in the next few months. This disturbing intelligence indicates al Qaeda's specific intention to hit the United States hard.

ARENA: The attorney general cited public statements saying al Qaeda is 90 percent ready for an attack, which experts trace back to a shadowy group the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades. Some question the group's credibility.

Still the attorney general says intelligence suggests the impact the Madrid train bombings had on the Spanish elections could lead to similar action here but he said the government has no specifics.

So what are officials doing about it? Well, for one, a new task force has been set up to deal specifically with the summer threat. Second, the FBI is telling its field agents to go back to their sources for updated information and agents will also conduct nationwide interviews, much like they did before the war in Iraq seeking intelligence information.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: Information about persons that may have moved into the community recently, persons who seem to be in a community without any roots.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA: All this and yet the national threat level remains at yellow, Anderson, or elevated and there are no plans to raise it at this time.

COOPER: All right. Kelli Arena thanks very much for that.

Not much is known about the American citizen named by the FBI today Adam Yahiye Gadahn. Today is, in fact, the first time his name has been mentioned. Later a 360 exclusive, a live interview with a man who helped Gadahn convert to Islam, the director of the Islamic Center in California. It's an interview you won't see anywhere else.

John Kerry says he can wage a "more effective" war on terror than President Bush. That was just some of his tough talk on the campaign trail today.

Tracking the Kerry camp CNN National Correspondent Kelly Wallace.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At an outdoor rally in Seattle, John Kerry uses the new terror warnings to slam President Bush's handling of the war on terrorism.

JOHN KERRY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We deserve a president of the United States who doesn't make homeland security a photo opportunity and the rhetoric of a campaign. We deserve a president who makes American safer.

WALLACE: Politics 101 in the post September 11th world, the presumptive Democratic nominee accusing the president of not spending enough and doing enough to prevent another attack.

KERRY: And, if it's a question of when then my question and the question of most Americans is why are we cutting cops programs in the United States of America?

WALLACE: A Bush-Cheney campaign spokesman accused Kerry of playing politics saying funding for homeland security is at record levels. What would the Senator do differently? Aides say he would increase funding for port security, require more inspections of chemical plants and hire 100,000 additional firefighters.

But here's the problem for Kerry. Americans consistently give President Bush higher marks when asked who would do a better job handling terrorism. There are signs, however, the president could be vulnerable. When Americans are asked specifically about Mr. Bush they are evenly split over whether he is doing a good job in the fight against terror.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: Hoping to capitalize on that and prove he is the one who can do a better job, tomorrow John Kerry will give what his aides are calling a major speech on national security kicking off an 11-day focus on the issue -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Kelly Wallace thanks very much from Seattle.

Also blasting President Bush today his Democratic rival in the last election, Al Gore, speaking, sometimes shouting to the anti-Bush group moveon.org, Gore called the situation in Iraq "a catastrophe."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush-Cheney administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people? How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace? How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison? (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, Gore also called for the immediate resignations of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George Tenet and other top officials.

Before there was 9/11, of course, there was Oklahoma City. Six years after he was convicted on federal manslaughter charges, Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols is convicted again today this time on state murder charges.

From the courthouse in Oklahoma City now here's CNN's Ed Lavandera.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN DALLAS BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Terry Nichols had no reaction as the guilty verdict was read in the courtroom. One female juror cried as Nichols learned he was convicted on 161 counts of first degree murder, conspiracy and arson.

DIANE LEONARD, LOST HUSBAND IN BOMBING: I am -- I am so thrilled for these 160 families who have had loved ones who no one had been tried for their murder until this trial.

DORIS DELMAN, LOST DAUGHTER IN BOMBING: He's responsible for everything he's ever done and God will take care of him one way or another.

LAVANDERA: The question before the jurors was whether Nichols was the mastermind behind the bombing or a pawn in the conspiracy. Deliberations began Wednesday morning in McAllister, Oklahoma after two months of testimony from some 250 witnesses.

Defense attorneys argue Timothy McVeigh who was executed in 2001 orchestrated the bombing plot with co-conspirators who set up Nichols as the fall guy. They claim the government failed to follow up on leads which would have provided evidence of that.

But the prosecution argued Nichols was the one who gathered the ingredients to make the bomb, the ammonium nitrate fertilizer, the detonation cord and blasting caps.

They said his motive was the same as McVeigh's to avenge the deadly government siege in Waco, Texas two years prior to the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City. The attack on the Murrah Federal Building left 168 people dead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: CNN's Ed Lavandera reporting.

A little later on 360, we're going to talk about Nichols' conviction and possible death sentence with 360 legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle-Newsom.

A controversial ruling about assisted suicide tops our look at stories right now "Cross Country."

Ashcroft overruled, a federal appeals court upholds Oregon's assisted suicide law ruling that doctors in Oregon can prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients. Attorney General John Ashcroft had threatened to revoke Oregon doctors' licenses. The appeals court said that Ashcroft is overstepping his authority.

Louisville, Kentucky now, face transplants, that's right face transplants, a team of doctors plans to ask permission from the Ethics Committee of the University of Louisville School of Medicine to perform a face transplant.

The lead researcher says that recent advances in multiple tissue transplants led surgeons to consider the procedure. The school says getting permission will take at least a year.

In the Midwest, bracing for more, the National Weather Service is warning about serious flooding in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin. Forecasters say there will be dry weather through the weekend but those states will have to monitor rivers and streams that are swollen with rain from recent storms.

That's a quick look at what's going on "Cross Country" right now.

360 next, two nations already ravished by flooding, a swath of destruction that has left more than 600 people dead. We're going to take you there live.

First let's take a look at your picks the most popular stories on cnn.com right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well they called him Spanky the Clown and members of the so-called Greatest Show on Earth. He made his living entertaining children as part of the famed Ringling Brothers Circus. Authorities say that Spanky had a hobby, one that has landed him in the slammer.

CNN's Gary Tuchman explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thomas Riccio was known by thousands of children as Spanky the Clown. He performed with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. Authorities say they were following up on leads when they searched his computer. LT. GENE HALLOCK, FAYETTEVILLE, NC POLICE: The pictures that we observed on that was very, very young females, five and six years old that were engaged in sexual activity with older adults.

TUCHMAN: This video of Spanky was taped a year ago by a Jacksonville, Florida television station while doing a story about Riccio who himself used to be a TV news photographer.

He was arrested on the child pornography charges by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, and police in Fayetteville, North Carolina where the circus had come to town.

HALLOCK: There was approximately about 2,000 images of young females under the age of 16 years old that was involved in sexual exploitation and this stemmed about ten charges of possession of child pornography.

TUCHMAN: Riccio has not yet entered a plea in the case. Ringling Brothers released a statement about him saying: "This is a criminal matter that is under investigation. Ringling Brothers does not condone any type of criminal behavior. At this time, Mr. Riccio has been dismissed from the company."

What lead brought authorities to Riccio? Investigators would only say he was linked to a company in the nation of Belarus that provides credit card billing services for child pornography web sites.

At Ringling Brothers Circus the show must go on but without one of its clowns.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, let's get you up to date right now with what's going on around the world in tonight's "Up Link."

The United Nations, thanks but no thanks, an Iraqi nuclear scientist named as a leading contender for prime minister in Iraq's new interim government doesn't want the job. Hussain al-Shahristani purportedly told the U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi that he would prefer to serve his country in other ways.

Sudan peace accord, Sudan's government and southern rebels today signed deals settling the status of disputed areas and clearing the way for a ceasefire to end a 21-year-old civil war that has killed an estimated two million people so far, mostly from famine and disease. The deal does not cover conflict in another area of the African nation.

Karachi, Pakistan, a police officer was killed, at least 22 people wounded after two explosions about 25 minutes apart. The first was a car bomb outside the Pakistan-American Cultural Center, a private English language school. The second went off after police, reporters and ambulance workers arrived at the scene. In Japan, paraglider rescued, a novice paraglider got tangled up in some live power cables, as you can see, on her first solo descent. She dangled for three and a half hours before rescuers were able to get to her by a helicopter. Amazingly she was not seriously injured.

In Beijing, far from home on the range, American cowboys are performing in a rodeo billed as the first of its kind in China. The producer says it's gone OK but that the horses are a bit smaller than what Americans are used to and the bulls are, well they're too tame they say.

And that is tonight's "Up Link."

Soldiers in the Dominican Republican are asking families to submit lists of their missing relatives. Hundreds of people are still unaccounted for right now after devastating flooding there. Rescue workers there and in neighboring Haiti are searching for survivors but what they are finding are mostly bodies.

CNN's Susan Candiotti is there. Susan, the death toll now tops 600. Sadly, I suspect, that is likely to rise.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via videophone): Anderson, it wouldn't surprise anyone here if those numbers did go up mostly because of the unknown numbers of people who remain missing at this hour.

Just a little while ago we returned from a little town on the Dominican Republic-Haitian border called Imanee (ph) in the Dominican Republic about 100 miles west of the capital of Santo Domingo.

There initially we flew in by helicopter and over a dried riverbed it was anything but (unintelligible) as a huge storm swept through. Bodies are buried beneath the mud. Also many bodies were found throughout the streets as the water swept through literally the streets of this tiny village of 10,000.

They have been able to bury about and recover about 300 bodies. It's unclear how many of them have been identified. Those who could not be unfortunately and very sadly have been buried in mass common graves.

As for the people of this small town, many of them Haitian migrants who are living there in effect illegally, they are trying as best they can to clean up and clean off the mud that is everywhere.

Many, many homes have been destroyed (unintelligible) salvage what they can (unintelligible) many families who lost relatives including dozens of children unfortunately and it is a very, very, very sad sight indeed -- Anderson.

COOPER: That's a terrible story. Susan Candiotti from Santo Domingo thanks very much.

Also tonight, an American terror suspect has he been helping al Qaeda, an exclusive talk with a man who knows him well.

And a little later, every vote counting as Bush and Kerry battle it out for those battleground states. Who's up, who's down and who has what it takes to go the distance? We'll take you into the crossfire.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: An American wanted for terrorism, has this man been helping al Qaeda? I'll ask the man who converted him to Islam. That ahead, first, tonight's "Reset."

In Washington: summer security alert. Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Chief Robert Mueller release photos of 7 people being sought in connection with possible terror threats in the U.S. this summer. Ashcroft says the 7 quote, "pose a clear and present danger to America."

In Boston: soon to be nominee. Presumptive Democratic nominee, John Kerry says he does plan to formally accept the party's nomination at this summer's convention. Kerry had considered delaying his acceptance to have more time to spend the money he has raised so far.

In Washington: former president plastered? Newly released transcripts of Nixon era phone calls, indicate the former president may have been too drunk to take a call from the office of Britain's then prime minister Edward Heath. The transcripts outline a conversation between key adviser Henry Kissinger and his assistant. When asked if Nixon was available, Kissinger said quote, "when I talked to the president, he was loaded."

And in Haiti, U.S. troops pulling out. The Pentagon announces plans to remove its 1,900 troops in Haiti by the end of June, allowing U.N. peacekeepers to take over. A spokesman for the U.S. military says the interim international force accomplished its mission restoring stability and security to the Caribbean nation. That's a quick look at tonight's "Reset."

Well, our top story, one of the 7 terror suspects wanted by the FBI is an American. Adam Gadahn is his name. He was also known as Adam Pearlman before he converted to Islam. He was born and raised in Southern California. The 25 year-old converted to Islam nine years ago at the Orange County Islamic Center.

Tonight, a 360 exclusive, joining me from Garden Grove, California, the man who oversaw his conversion, the director of the center, Muzammil Saddiqi. Mr. Saddiqi, thank you very much for being on the program tonight.

MUZAMMIL SADDIQI, DIR. ORANGE COUNTY ISLAMIC CENTER: Thank you.

COOPER: When you first met this young man, how old was he? What was he like? SADDIQI: He came to us in 1995 and expressed his interest in Islam. And just like many other people who come and express their interest in Islam, I talk to him, and then after that, on the 17 of November, 1995, he formally declared himself as a Muslim. That's what I know. That's what I remember about him.

COOPER: When you first met him, his name was Adam Pearlman before he converted, before he took the Muslim name.

SADDIQI: Yes.

COOPER: How did he seem to you?

SADDIQI: The young man, only 17-year-old, interested to learn about faith. That's what he said. He said he had other religions that he wanted to know more about Islam. And he wanted to accept Islam. And I don't know about his background, because on the paper when I asked him what was his previous religion, he did not mention any name of any religion. Actually, he said not officially any religion.

COOPER: He, apparently from what I have read so far from an Internet posting that he's allegedly from him, and this is just an early report, he apparently learned about Islam first over the Internet when he was staying at his grandmother's house, or his grandparents' house. He left, though, your -- he left your shrine under some unusual circumstances. What happened?

SADDIQI: He was with us for a few months, as I recall. He used to come here quite often to pray, but he was very quiet. Always by himself. He would not talk too much with other people. And then he got into some kind of a fight with one of our officials at the Islamic society. And he physically attacked him. And then at that time he was asked to leave the place. And after that, we did not see him.

COOPER: You had told one of our producers that he had seemed disturbed. Is that correct?

SADDIQI: It looked like that. Because my recollection of him is that he had some kind of depression. He did not look a smiling person a happy person.

COOPER: Muazmmil Saddiqi, I appreciate you joining us. Reports are just coming in, this is the first time we've been able to speak. I thank you very much for you being on the program and telling us what you know. Thank you very much.

SADDIQI: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, al Qaeda planning to hit the United States hard in the next few months, that is the words of Attorney General John Ashcroft. Words, chilling words, but without any specifics on time or target, you might be asking, why make the announcement in the first place. And how is a city or county or nation supposed to prepare. CNN's Deborah Feyerick now on what is, for law enforcement, a midweek crisis. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here's what top officials know about the suspected attack.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: An al Qaeda spokesman announced that 90 percent of the arrangements for an attack in the United States were complete.

FEYERICK: Here's what they don't know.

ASHCROFT: We currently do not know what form the threat may take.

FEYERICK: It's that kind of intelligence, apparently critical, but incomplete, that frustrates police and city officials across the country.

RAY KELLY, NY POLICE COMMISSIONER: It lacks specificity. Again, raising the level is not going to be particularly effective. Unless you can, I think, focus to a greater degree on the nature of the threat.

RICHARD M. DALEY, CHICAGO MAYOR: They have to do a better job in the intelligence community.

FEYERICK: Federal and local law enforcement sources shrugged off the new threat warnings. One calling it, all old stuff. Anther, hyperbole, and a third saying, they're just going to reissue the same old pictures. The top justice officials are hoping those old pictures help them develop new leads. Or better yet, stop an attack.

ASHCROFT: An aggressive approach to disruption.

FEYERICK: One counterterrorism expert described the alerts as good politics saying it reminds people the government's doing something. Others defended the announcement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not just something that's popped up just because it's politics season. Because it's election season. But it's driven by intelligence.

FEYERICK: In New York, a terror drill went on as normal. Police there and in Los Angeles and Chicago say the terror alert won't change the way they already operate.

(on camera): The press conference by the attorney general and head of the FBI had been in the works since last week. There are no plans to change the nation's threat level, which remains elevated at yellow. Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, today's "Buzz" is this, "are you tired of hearing about terror alerts?" Log onto CNN.com/360 cast your vote. We'll have the results at the end of the program tonight. In "Justice Served" now, the 1995 Oklahoma city bombing revisited. An Oklahoma jury has convicted Terry Nichols of 161 state murder charges. Prosecutors will seek the death penalty when the penalty phase of the trial begins next week. Nichols is already serving a life sentence on federal charges.

Here to talk about today's decision, 360 legal analyst, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. Good to see you Kimberly.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You as well.

COOPER: Oklahoma prosecutors brought these charges specifically to get a death sentence. Do you think they'll get it?

NEWSOM: I think they will. We will expect to hear from some of the family members and survivors of this gruesome, deadly attack. The biggest terrorism on U.S. prior to 9/11. And I think in this case, we really saw this guy, Terry Nichols, was put out in the front, shown that he wasn't an innocent bystander, someone that was manipulated, but someone that was actively involved and responsible for the deaths of these 160-plus the unborn fetus.

COOPER: And the person who was testifying to that, Michael Forthee, was really the prosecution's, star witness. And as you said, he testified, not that just Nichols was involved, but he actually helped gather these bomb supplies. Without his testimony, could the government have made his case?

NEWSOM: I think he was crucial. I think he was important. I think he really highlighted the involvement of Terry Nichols in this case. You're absolutely right, these crimes could not have been committed without his assistance, without his planning, without him acquiring all the items necessary to cause all of these deaths. And that's what came out in this trial.

COOPER: Penalty phase begins Tuesday. Is there any chance of appeal?

NEWSOM: Of course, they'll try to appeal it. But I think the case will stand. I think the case was put in clean and strong by the prosecution, really showing that these two individuals were business partners. That's what the prosecutors pointed out. And their business was terrorism. I expect after the four to six weeks, this jury is going to deliver a verdict of death by lethal injection for this man.

COOPER: Sickening business, indeed. All right, Kimberly, thank you very much.

NEWSOM: Thank you.

COOPER: Well the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) side to negative ads. Bush and Kerry are spending a fortune on ads blaming one another for one of them, maybe money well spent. We'll take a look at that.

Also tonight, call it the dental diet. A mouth piece that allegedly takes a bite out of the bits. We'll explain ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The road to the White House is being paved with money. Now that's nothing new but the amounts being spent are extraordinary. Just last week alone President Bush spent roughly $4.5 million on advertising. John Kerry, close to $7 million. Much of it going in negative ads. Why you might ask? Because in the world of raw politics, negative ads work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm George W. Bush, and I approve this message.

COOPER (voice-over): Some $95 million. That's how much John Kerry and George Bush have spent together on political ads so far.

AD ANNOUNCER: Once again, George Bush is misleading America.

COOPER: Mostly to convince voters that the other guy is worse.

AD ANNOUNCER: John Kerry's record on national security, troubling.

COOPER: But are Americans really influenced by these ads?

ADAM CLYMER, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, NATL. ANNENBERG ELECTION SURVEY: Sure they are. They like to say they're not, because they like to say that they make up their own minds. But we have data that shows that they believe things that they could only have heard in political ads.

COOPER: Check this out. This Kerry ad ran at least 9,887 times spread out over 17 battleground states.

AD ANNOUNCER: George Bush says sending jobs overseas makes sense for America.

COOPER: A poll by the University of Pennsylvania in 18 battleground states shows that 61 percent of the public believe President Bush favors sending American jobs overseas. The Bush camp ran this ad at least 5,891 times spread out over 18 key states.

AD ANNOUNCER: Kerry supported higher taxes over 350 times.

COOPER: The same poll showed that 56 percent believe John Kerry voted for higher taxes 350 times. Which ads are most effective?

According to experts, negative ads and personal attacks.

AD ANNOUNCER: Now Kerry's plan will raise taxes.

COOPER: The Bush camp has spent so far $43 million of their ad money to attack John Kerry, according to TNS, a media analysis group. Roughly the same amount that TNS says John Kerry and anti-Bush independent groups have spent on their negative ads. AD ANNOUNCER: For three long years, George Bush has put the special interests ahead of you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's particularly convincing in negative political ads, because the public has perhaps, with good reason, some instinct for distrust of politicians. So it is relatively easy to get people to believe bad things about politicians.

COOPER: In the world of raw politics, advertising money talks, and we're listening.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: In about half an hour, John Kerry will attend a fundraiser in Seattle. A campaign stop in one of the key battleground states that could, of course, decide the elections. There are 17 battleground states. Big money being spent in ads in all of them. Earlier I spoke with the co-hosts of CNN's "CROSSFIRE" Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Tucker, so far the president has spent over $50 million in 16 key battleground states and yet you look at the polls, the Zogby poll has Kerry ahead in 11 out of the 16 states, the latest Gallup poll basically shows a dead heat. Are the ads working?

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I think there's a real question as to whether political ads work in a general election campaign anyway. People know everything they are going to know about President Bush, and they pretty much form their opinions. In my view the only ads that are going to work are the ones by and about Kerry. Kerry ads saying Kerry's a great guy, Bush is a bad guy and Bush ads attacking Kerry. I just don't think you can move numbers on Bush and I think that his numbers have dropped because of the situation in Iraq. It seems pretty clear to me.

COOPER: So, Paul, Tucker's basically saying that ads affect Kerry one way or another, don't affect Bush, that basically world events affect Bush? Is that true?

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I think it's a sign that Tucker's been hanging out with me a lot. He's getting a lot smarter. Yes, he's right, Anderson, because -- from what Tucker said, the president has been our commander-in-chief for three long years. It feels like 30. We know everything about him. The good, the bad, the in between. John Kerry is a new entity. So, by the way, both teams have really first-rate advertising people doing their work. But I do think the money the president has spent, $50 million, some have said $70 million, has largely been wasted and the smaller amount that Kerry has spent has done a lot of good for him, because people don't know enough about John Kerry. He's got a compelling biography. The people in the swing states know it. But the notion that he enlisted in the Navy after Yale, he's got this long record of service. It's very impressive to people. I think Kerry does stand to benefit from introducing himself this way.

COOPER: If Bush is affected, Tucker, by world events than Kerry is, then how does the latest terror threats play into politics?

CARLSON: Well, I mean, I don't think we have any idea what the political effect of another attack would be. I mean, obviously we hope we won't have to think about what that effect might be. But the one poll that's not at all close is the one that asks people which party or which candidate in particular does a better job fighting terrorism. And George Bush wins that by like at 18 points. 15 points. By a wide, wide margin. People trust Bush, and people generally trust the Republicans more in the war against terror. Whether they should or not is another question. I think they should. Others don't think they should. But they do. So when the conversation is on terrorism, I don't think there's any argument that it helps Bush.

COOPER: Paul, you agree with that?

BEGALA: Actually, that gap has been narrowing remarkably. It was at one point 20 or 30 or more, the last poll I looked at it was just seven. John Kerry doesn't have to be even or ahead of the incumbent president on who do you trust to win the war on terrorism but President Bush's got to be further out ahead, which is why today our president's campaign started a new ad, very, very risky ad, accusing John Kerry of trying to politicize the war on terror. This from the campaign that began in its first ad running videotape from 9/11, showing a dead body, covered in a flag, being pulled out of the rubble of the World Trade Center. This is from a party that set its national convention to coincide with 9/11 in New York City. Hardly a Republican bastion. So for the president now having thoroughly politicized 9/11 to now turn around and attack John Kerry for politicizing the war on terror is very risky.

COOPER: Got to leave it there. Paul Begala, thank you very much. Tucker Carlson. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Can a trip to the dentist help you lose weight? Coming up next, a look at the latest diet weapon. You're not going to believe this. It will be costly. Is it worth putting your money where your mouth is? It actually makes your mouth smaller. We'll talk about that ahead.

Also, the saga of the overpaid. The court battle of the former head of the New York Stock Exchange. We'll take his platinum parachute to the Nth Degree.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: I've got to tell you, when it comes to Americans and weight loss, we thought we had heard it all. Smaller portions, smaller plates, Low carb, no carb, protein shakes, stomach stapling. But now a company has come away with a whole new way to shed pounds. The idea, make your mouth smaller. Does it work? Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, opens up and says ahh!

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a sign of the times. A $500 piece of plastic designed to make you eat less.

DR. DEBRA GRAY KING, DENTIST, DDS SYSTEM SPOKESWOMAN: It fits right in the roof of your mouth. And it's very comfortable. But what it does is makes your mouth a little bit smaller. So that you are forced to take smaller bites. And chew more slowly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first reaction when I heard about it was to laugh.

COHEN: A device to keep your mouth shut is not without historical precedence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You go to the orthodontist and have your jaws wired shut.

COHEN: But this latest incarnation has one major difference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's in. It's that easy.

COHEN: And it comes out that easily, too. That's why many diet experts we talked to are so skeptical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's say Memorial Day you're going to the big picnic, you just don't put it in or Thanksgiving. You just don't put it in. That's what I predict will happen.

COHEN: We asked a dentist and paid consultant for the product called the DDS system to bite one doughnut with the device in her mouth and bite another doughnut without the device. We didn't see much of a difference in size, but she says she has lost weight with it by slowing down her eating. DDS says they gave the device to 16 people for one day, and they ate 23 percent less food. But one day does not a lifetime make, so the question is, will people who don't have the willpower to diet have the willpower to put a piece of plastic in their mouths at every single meal?

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Did you ever notice on TV, overweight people never have heads?

It's a common thing.

Well, time to check on pop news in tonight's "Current." "American Bandstand" is coming back after years off the airwaves. The classic TV show is set to return and producers say the program will be totally updated. Everything will be given a makeover, except Dick Clark, who we suspect has already had one, at least. After seven years of marriage, Snoop Dogg is parting with his wife. The rapper has filed for divorce in Los Angeles. You can expect her lawyers to insist she's entitled to half of Snoop Dogg's assets. We guess he'll keep the fuh, and he'll keep the sizzle.

In case you didn't hear, Phish is breaking up. The jam band announced yesterday that it has run it's course. The news is hitting college kids real hard now they'll have to spend their summers taking showers and getting jobs. Sad news.

And bad news for anyone looking forward to seeing a sitcom starring Jessica Simpson. Simpson filmed the pilot that featured her as a ditzy reporter on a TV news magazine. I know it's a stretch. But ABC passed on it. Good news is, this totally clears her schedule to try out for Shakespeare in the park this summer.

Coming up just ahead, the payback battle. Richard Grasso, former leader of the New York Stock Exchange, vs. the New York attorney general. Gentleman take your corners.

Also, todays "Buzz." Tired about hearing about terror alerts? Log onto cnn.com/360. Cast your vote.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Here's the buzz question. Are you tired about hearing about terror alerts? Here's what you had to say. 61 percent of you said yes, 39 percent said no. Not a scientific poll, but it is your "Buzz."

Thanks for voting.

Tonight taking payday to "The Nth Degree."

Don't you love a nice bout of are to, am not?

In this corner wearing pinstripes we have Richard Grasso, former head of the New York Stock Exchange. And in this corner also wearing pinstripes, New York state attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, who is suing Mr. Grasso in an attempt to get him to return more than half of the 188 million pay packet for which he left the stock exchange last November. The attorney general alleges, that the giant compensation package was illegal, involved conflicts of interest, intimidation and deception.

Mr. Grasso, he's counter-suing, says Spitzer who may want to run for governor is just trying to make political hay. His wages he says are a private matter between him and his former employers. So fine they'll work it out in court. What we'd like to know is whether or not there is such a thing of say, "Navo," The National Association for the Vastly Overpayed, and if there is where do we go to sign up?

I'm Anderson Cooper, thanks for 360. "PAULA ZAHN NOW" is next.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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