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Interview with two Former U.N. Weapon's Inspectors; Prosecution in Scott Peterson Trial Rest it's Case

Aired October 6, 2004 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening from New York. I'm Anderson Cooper.
Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction. Will that fact affect the presidential campaign?

360 starts now.

Weapons of mass deception? The final report is in, and tonight, we learn what Saddam really didn't have. And we'll get reaction from former weapons inspectors Scott Ritter and David Kay.

the VP slugfest. Win, lose, or too close to call? Tonight, how both campaigns are moving on after last night's confrontation.

Rush Limbaugh dealt a legal blow in appeals court. Tonight, his pain over painkillers, and how he plans to appeal the appeal.

The Scott Peterson trial. After 19 weeks, the prosecution rests. But did they prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt? Tonight, a 360 report card.

And shock jock Howard Stern says Sayonara to commercial radio. He's packing up and jumping ship. We'll tell you where and why.

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

COOPER: Good evening again.

The CIA today weighed in on one of the issues Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards spent time hotly debating last night in Cleveland. Did Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction? The CIA's answer, no.

Testifying before a Senate committee today, Charles Duelfer, the CIA's adviser on Iraqi weapons, summarized the findings of a very long report prepared by his Iraq Survey Group. The report concludes that Saddam had no stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time the U.S. invaded in 2003, though he says the dictator was trying to hoodwink inspectors and worm his way out of U.N. sanctions.

No doubt fodder for both campaigns. We'll hear in a moment from Dan Lothian with the Kerry-Edwards camp.

But first, standing by at the White House, we have Suzanne Malveaux. Suzanne?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, today President Bush insisted that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the U.S. and to the world. It's the centerpiece of his reelection campaign. He made the right decision to go to war with Iraq, and that he is the one, he believes, who's fit to be commander in chief for the war on terror.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... of the United States.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): President Bush in the battleground state of Pennsylvania is pursuing an aggressive strategy to portray John Kerry as unfit to lead in the war on terror.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Too bad the senator would have America bend over backwards to satisfy a handful of governments with agendas different from our own. My opponent's alliance building strategy. Brush off your best friends, fawn over your critics, and that is no way to gain the respect of the world.

MALVEAUX: Mr. Bush further chided Kerry for his 1991 vote against the Persian Gulf War.

BUSH: That coalition didn't pass his global test, clearly nothing will.

MALVEAUX: At a town hall meeting in Tallahassee, Florida, Vice President Dick Cheney echoed Mr. Bush's serious doubts about Kerry's fitness to be commander in chief.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There isn't anything in John Kerry's background since -- well, for the last 30 years that gives you any reason to believe that he would, in fact, be tough in terms of prosecuting the war on terror.

MALVEAUX: The tough talk from both men comes on the same day the administration's own investigative body, the Iraq Survey Group concluded there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the time of the U.S. invasion, the administration's principal rationale for going to war.


MALVEAUX: Now, Friday's debate is expected to focus on domestic issues, President Bush previewing, saying that Kerry is a tax and spend liberal, blasting him, also trying to make light of what many saw as his downfall the last debate, those scowls and those grimaces, President Bush today making a joke, saying, if you had heard such inaccuracies, that you'd understand why he made such a face, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, thanks for that.

Joining us later on this evening to talk more about that remarkable CIA report will be Scott Ritter and David Kay, formerly high-ranking weapons inspectors with the U.N. and the U.S. respectively. Both have very different viewpoints, bringing you all the angles.

Some days on the campaign trail, seems as if the Democrats and Republicans live in parallel universes. Same facts, totally different conclusions. Today, no different. Same debate last night, different conclusion today.

Here's CNN's Dan Lothian.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Doing the tough talk for his ticket, Senator John Edwards rallied supporters in Florida, picking up where he left off last night, targeting the president's latest speech.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS, DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You got the same old tired ideas, the same old false attacks, the same old tired rhetoric. There are no new ideas.

LOTHIAN: But policy differences seem to be eclipsed by this personal remark the vice president made during the debate.

CHENEY: The first time I ever met you was when you walked on this stage tonight.

LOTHIAN: Almost too eager to correct the record, the Kerry- Edwards campaign released this shot from a prayer breakfast in 2001. They also pointed out another time both shared the stage, at Elizabeth Dole's swearing-in ceremony in 2003. Senator Edwards says his wife, Elizabeth, confronted Cheney after the debate on stage.

Responding to this line of attack, the vice president's wife turned the tables on Senator Edwards.

LYNNE CHENEY: They say we met at a prayer breakfast nearly four years ago. Now, I know all of us will agree, it is a really good thing to go to prayer breakfasts. But don't you think the senator ought to go to the Senate once in a while?

LOTHIAN: Meantime, Senator Kerry is hunkered down at this Englewood, Colorado, golf resort, preparing for Friday's town hall- style debate in St. Louis. Kerry's aides and top advisers concede there's more pressure this time.

MIKE MCCURRY, KERRY ADVISER: The stakes are higher now, the expectations are higher. But, you know, the -- on the other side of the coin, some things happened too. President Bush did not have a good night, and he practically and he has to go in and hit a home run now.


LOTHIAN: Kerry aides say they'll continue aggressively showing the major differences between the two campaigns. They will be focusing on what they believe are the wrong choices that President Bush has made over the past four years, and of course highlighting what they believe are the right choices that Senator Kerry would make over the next four, Anderson.

COOPER: Dan Lothian, thanks for that.

There's a very good chance when they debate again this Friday that Senator Kerry's going to seize upon today's WMD report as further proof that the Bush administration rushed the nation to war. But the president is certainly showing no signs of backing down.

Earlier I spoke to "CROSSFIRE" hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson about how tough talk on Iraq continues to dominate the campaign trail.

So there's this new CIA report says Saddam Hussein had no WMD, no WMD programs, and yet President Bush today continues hammering away the idea Saddam Hussein was a threat. Are they going to stick with that line of argument all the way through the election?

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Absolutely. I mean, they have to. The war is at the center of Bush's campaign. I mean, as goes perception of the war, so goes not just Bush's prospects for reelection, but his legacy. I mean, the Bush administration is about the war in Iraq. And it's hard to justify the war without believing that Saddam Hussein was a threat.

They will argue, and there's something to this, that had Saddam the means, he would have used them to hurt the United States, and it was a matter of time before he got them.

COOPER: John Edwards, I think, earlier in the week said, quote, "I'd say if you live in the United States of America and you vote for George Bush, you've lost your mind." I mean, they seem to be gone pretty far in these attacks. Are they going too far?

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": No. Here's the problem. Bush could short-circuit a lot of this if he would just admit that he was wrong. But he won't. He continues, as you pointed out, today to say, Well, if he could have, you know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), then he would have, and he didn't, but he could have, and...

No. The report apparently, according to "The Washington Post" today, says he didn't have any weapons, he didn't have the capability to build the weapons. Why, because the policy of sanctions, containment, and bombing had worked. The very policy that Bush said couldn't work was, in fact, working.

And it's, I think, the president's continual denial of the reality that's bringing him down politically.

COOPER: Tucker, if there was no clear winner from last night's debate, I mean, some people say if there was no clear winner, maybe John Edwards was the winner. Obviously, it's sort of how you see things. But how important does the debate two nights from now in St. Louis become? CARLSON: Well, they are all important. I mean, as you know, I mean, it's essentially a tie. Bush may be up a little bit, but it's tied. It's where we left it in 2000, is, I think, the truth of it. And so any of the debates could be decisive. I don't think Bush can afford to have another debate as he had last week...

COOPER: And Paul, did Cheney win, and if so, or if not, what does Kerry have to do on Friday?

BEGALA: Well, it's interesting, there are two different media polls. In the ABC poll, Republicans all said that Cheney won. Now, that helps Cheney a lot. He rallies the base and stanches some of the bleeding. A lot of Republicans were pretty disappointed in Bush's performance.

CBS surveyed swing voters, they thought John Kerry won, John, and John Edwards won. John Edwards went in there trying to reach those swing voters, talking about jobs and health care and issues that didn't really come up very often. He kept trying to raise them. That impressed swing voters.

So each guy did what they wanted to do. If you ask me, you ought to have your base locked down if you've been the president of the United States and the vice president for four years. So I think it's wiser to look at those swing voters. So on that, I'd have to say Edwards won.

COOPER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the pressure, though, that is building toward this next debate on Friday, though, I mean, what does John Kerry have to do to try to keep momentum going, and what does President Bush have to do to try to show that the last debate performance was, you know, a blip on the radar?

BEGALA: You know, Bush's great gift is his emotional intelligence. He really does connect quite well. I was acquainted with him a little bit back in Austin when he was my governor. He's a good guy, he's a likable guy. This is a good format for him. Kerry, like a lot of senators sometimes, can sort of orate and talk down, and, you know, that's a huge risk.

And so I hope, as a Kerry supporter, that his folks are not resting on their laurels or reading too much into his victory in the first debate. Because this format is much more suited to President Bush than the last format was.

COOPER: Tucker, your thoughts?

CARLSON: Yes, I think, I think it's, I think it's true. I mean, Kerry does struggle with pomposity. I mean, everyone, his friends say that. That's not an attack. It's just simply true. He does have a kind of high-handed style. And that's not appealing.

Bush, however, I do think, needs to seem pulled together, in command. I don't think he can afford to stumble verbally too many times. I didn't find his performance last week all that stunning. That is the way, honestly, Bush talks. I don't think may be Americans knew that, however.

COOPER: I think pomposity is one of those things all us in front of the cameras struggle with (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON: Are you kidding?


BEGALA: ... man, you were a hero out here in Cleveland. They loved you out here. They're still asking for you.

COOPER: My head can barely fit in one of those boxes.

All right, Paul Begala, thanks very much, Tucker Carlson. See you guys later in St. Louis.

BEGALA: Thanks, Anderson.


COOPER: Trying to keep it real.

Dick Cheney likely wishes he could take back one snafu last night. Details now in a quick fast fact. While defending his record as head of Halliburton, Cheney told voters to get the real story at the Web sites

Well, the problem is, anyone who follows that advice goes to a site that calls for the defeat of President Bush. Cheney meant to say A slip of the domain. Even the dot-organization site says Cheney mischaracterized its fact-finding.

Well, an alert level lowered at Mount St. Helens. That story tops our look at what's going on right now cross-country.

The volcano has apparently calmed down. That's certainly good news. Scientists have lowered the threat level to two, saying they no longer think an eruption is imminent, but they say it is still possible that ash and steam and lava may flow in the weeks to come. Hiking trails around the volcano, of course, remain closed.

Nationwide, expect to pay more to heat your home this winter. Federal government says oil bills will likely climb 28 percent. And natural gas prices will jump 15 percent. Now, the culprit, they say, crude oil prices, which closed at a record 52 barrels -- $52 a barrel today.

In Washington, long lines for flu shots. Hard to believe, this a day after health officials asked only those at high risk to get the vaccine. It's going to be a flu shot shortage this year because Britain shut down a major supplier, cutting the U.S. supply in half.

And in L.A., remembering Rodney Dangerfield. The legendary comedian has died from complications from heart surgery. Of course, we all know his one-liner, I don't get no respect. He was probably best known for that. He also starred in more than a dozen movies, including "Caddyshack" and "Back to School." Rodney Dangerfield, he was 82 years old.

And that is a quick look at what's happening around the country tonight.

360 next, the Rush Limbaugh drug case. He admits abusing painkillers. Now his medical records are fair game for police. We're going to take a closer look at the investigation.

Also tonight, a CNN exclusive, Martha Stewart's prison welcoming committee. She is just -- yes, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), they're ready for her. She has just two days to turn herself in. You're going to meet the women she'll be bunking with real soon.

Plus, the Scott Peterson trial. The prosecution rests. The evidence is on the table. But is it enough to get a guilty verdict? We're going to hear from both sides.

All that ahead.

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


COOPER: Well, for the moment, Martha Stewart remains, well, Martha Stewart. By Friday, though, she's going to become inmate number 55170054. Write that down. At the federal women's prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia. It's already clear she'll be number one there in many respects.

Here's CNN's Mary Snow with some exclusive video.


MARY SNOW, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS (voice-over): Here are Martha Stewart's new neighbors. Tucked in the Appalachian mountains, the absence of high security walls has given Alderson the name Camp Cupcake. But some inmates made it clear they don't like the sugar- coated name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tell you one thing, this ain't no (expletive deleted) Camp Cupcake.

SNOW: And Alderson locals agree.

HILLARY BENISH, ALDERSON HOSPITALITY HOUSE: That's really a disservice. Actually, none of the local people around here ever referred to it as Camp Cupcake.

SNOW: Space is tight, and as far as just who will share quarters with Martha Stewart, there are more than 1,000 possibilities, including 48-year-old Meg Scott Phipps, a former North Carolina agriculture commissioner serving 48 months for campaign finance fraud, or 34-year-old Kentucky housewife Kimberly Goodson, serving 87 months on intent to murder. And from someone who served time at Alderson, inmates come from all different backgrounds but share something in common, no privacy.

JUDITH KELLY, FORMER ALDERSON INMATE: Your freedom is totally taken away. They strip you of everything. Strip searches are part of the procedure there. Counts, constantly having to jump through hoops for people. Kind of invasion of privacy at all times.

SNOW: While Martha Stewart will serve for five months for lying about a stock sale, she's in the minority. Sixty-one percent of inmates are doing time for narcotics charges, 15 percent for bribery, fraud, and extortion, 4 percent for white-collar crimes.


SNOW: Martha Stewart must report here to Alderson by 2:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon. In addition to the residents and inmates waiting for her is the media. A small camp is being set up with a line of television satellite trucks parked at the prison's gate waiting for Stewart to get here.

And as one local resident put it, this tiny town of Alderson grew a lot bigger in the past week, Anderson.

COOPER: Certainly did. And it'll be that way for a couple days, at least. All right, thanks very much for that.

Instead of talking about last night's debate, Rush Limbaugh spent a lot of time on the radio this morning talking about his own nasty battle. The conservative talk show host blasted a Florida court for backing the police seizure of his medical records. And not one to hold his feelings back, certainly, Limbaugh vowed to fight this war till the end.

CNN's John Zarrella reports.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On his radio program, Rush Limbaugh said there would be an appeal, and that he did not break the law.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I can tell you there was no doctor shopping.

ZARRELLA: His attorneys had gone to court seeking to have the seizure of his medical records by search warrant thrown out. But after a six-month wait for an opinion, an appeals court ruled there was nothing wrong with how investigators obtained those records.

The talk show host says he wasn't surprised.

LIMBAUGH: I didn't get caught in the trap of, oh, yes, slam dunk. I didn't get myself prepared for a win, I didn't get myself prepared for a loss, because I knew that whoever lost this was going to appeal it. ZARRELLA: Authorities investigating whether Limbaugh had doctor- shopped, gone from physician to physician for pain pills, used a search warrant to get the records from three doctors and a clinic. Before the appeals court, Limbaugh attorneys argued the state should have subpoenaed those records, giving their client time to go to court to stop the seizures.

The state said that would undermine investigations. Prosecutors say this appeals court ruling now opens the door for the trial judge to begin looking at those records to determine what's relevant.

BARRY KRISCHER, PALM BEACH COUNTY STATE ATTORNEY: As the court stated in its opinion, we are allowed to use those medical records if they are evidence of a crime. We now have access to those records. If those records do constitute evidence of a crime, charges would be filed.

ZARRELLA: To this point, Limbaugh has not been charged with any crime.


ZARRELLA: Limbaugh maintains that his right to privacy has been violated by the investigation, and that all along, the state was on a fishing expedition. Investigators they (UNINTELLIGIBLE), say they had every reason to go after his medical records, because they had pharmacy records showing that Limbaugh obtained more than 2,000 mostly pain pills during a six-month period, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, John Zarrella, thanks very much.

Today's buzz is this. What do you think? Is Rush Limbaugh being targeted because of his political views? Log onto, cast your vote. Lot of strong opinions on either side of this one. We'll have results at the end of the show.

And next on 360, shock jock switch. Howard Stern calls it the death of FM radio. Find out why he's putting his money where his mouth is to go to satellite. You're not going to believe how much he's getting paid. We'll talk about that ahead.

Plus, prosecution rests in the Scott Peterson trial. Did it really prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt? We're going to hear from both sides, all the angles tonight.

Also, a war over weapons that didn't exist. Did the Bush administration mislead the public? Scott Ritter and David Kay join me live head to head, coming up next.

Stay with us.


COOPER: Well, I didn't hear it myself, but I heard that today a woman named Natalia took off her clothes on the Howard Stern show. But having a naked guest really wasn't the big surprise of the morning. The real bombshell came from Stern himself. He's leaving commercial radio behind. Question is, is he gone forever? The answer is, hardly, because he's just going global. In fact, he's heading into orbit.


HOWARD STERN, TALK SHOW HOST: I am the king of all media.

COOPER (voice-over): And the king of all media is abdicating his throne. The man who gave us Babba Booy (ph), Stuttering John, and Lesbian Dial-a-Date, is saying good-bye to morning drive and hello to Sirius Satellite Radio. He's joining them in 15 months for a five- year contract worth half a billion dollars. That's billion with a B. And Stern is not modest about the move.

STERN: I changed radio when I got into this 20-something years ago, and I'm going to change radio again. I'm going to make satellite radio hopefully the most important medium.

COOPER: Stern now has more than 15 million listeners in 46 markets. But Sirius has only 600,000 customers now and says it needs a million more to break even on the deal. Stern is hoping his legions of followers will sign up with satellite radio, where he says the FCC and Clear Channel Communications can no longer dictate what he says or does.


STERN: I could not go on in this same (expletive deleted) with the censorship and the Clear Channel and them dictating what -- I mean, taking me off these stations. I mean, it's an... a -- it's their -- they have to be buried, Clear Channel. They can't be allowed to get away with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Howard, number one all the way.

COOPER: Those fans will now have to pay up to listen. Like it or not, he'll have the potential to be programmed into every home and every car in the U.S.

STERN: People of New York, people of earth, we are gathered here today in praise of me.

COOPER: Without censors, Stern hopes to get the chance to do the things he's only dreamed of. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


COOPER: We'll see.

Overseas, growing fear over Iran's nuclear ambition. That tops our look at what's happening in the uplink.

Tehran, Iran, a senior official says Iran's missiles can now go more than 1,200 miles, putting parts of Europe in reach for the first time. Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity, and its missiles are only for defensive purposes.

Cherbourg, France, controversial nuke shipment arrives, about 300 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium from the U.S. was unloaded under heavy security while Greenpeace protesters watched from a court- ordered 100 yards away. Protesters fear terrorists could target the shipment. The plutonium will be processed into fuel rods and returned to the U.S. for use in a nuclear reactor.

And in Barbados, Tiger Woods ties the knot. Nope, this is not the wedding picture. But according to local media, the golfer married his Swedish girlfriend at a resort last night. Woods reportedly went to great lengths to keep the ceremony private, understandably, renting out the entire resort. They also booked the island's only charter helicopter company to keep the paparazzi out of the skies. Clever.

And here's the happy couple having fun on the water. The price tag for the whole event, an estimated $1.5 million. Not much, I guess, when you are worth an estimated $370 million.

That's a quick look at tonight's uplink.

Weapons of mass deception? The final report is in, and tonight we learn what Saddam really didn't have. And we'll get reaction from former weapons inspectors Scott Ritter and David Kay.

The Scott Peterson trial. After 19 weeks, the prosecution rests. But did they prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt? Tonight, a 360 report card.


COOPER: More than a year and a half ago, at the start of the Iraq war, the White House announced the beginning of the disarmament of Saddam Hussein's regime. Apparently, that had already happened. A lengthy CIA report released today states that at the time of the invasion, Saddam Hussein did not have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

Its author, Iraq Survey Group chief Charles Duelfer, was a pick by the Bush administration to lead the search for those weapons. He says Iraq's WMD program was essentially destroyed back in 1991, and its nuclear program was halted after the first Gulf War. But Duelfer says Saddam still had a desire to get such weapons.

Want to talk about this with two people who know the issue very well. We're joined in Albany by former U.N. weapons inspector and strong opponent of the war in Iraq, Scott Ritter, and in Washington, Duelfer's predecessor, former chief weapons inspector David Kay.

Gentlemen, thanks for being with us.

Scott, let me start off with you. From what you know about this report, what do you agree with, what do you still disagree with?

SCOTT RITTER, FMR. U.S. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: I absolutely agree that the facts can only lead you in one direction, that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction capability, that the United Nations had, indeed, succeeded in disarming Iraq in 1991. The programs were dismantled by 1995. And Charles Duelfer's report clearly underscores this.

Where I disagree is the notion of intent. I don't think we can afford to take at face value anything the Bush administration or Bush administration appointees say regarding weapons of mass destruction that paint the Bush administration's decision to go to war in a favorable light. There is no substantive factually based data that sustains the notion of intent. We have Charles Duelfer providing speculation, innuendo, hearsay and rumor. But we don't have a confession from Saddam Hussein or his senior leadership. And void of that, I think, we need to question this assertion.

COOPER: David Kay, is it just speculation and innuendo and rumor that Saddam Hussein intended to develop WMD programs if he could?

DAVID KAY, FMR. U.S. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: I don't think it's just speculation, although, I'm equally unhappy with the concept of intent, even though, I reported it in January as well. Charles Duelfer makes it clear in the report this is based on, I don't know if you call it a confession, a statement Saddam Hussein has made to his FBI interrogator and a number of statements made pre-January to our team from senior Iraqi officials who we interviewed, some of whom are in detention.

The issue is not whether someone has said this. Saddam had a lot of intentions, many were delusional. He wants to become the Saladin (ph) of Arabia yet again, but he didn't have that capability. Intentions without capability is not a real threat. The real thing we should focus on is what were his capabilities at the time of the Gulf War.

COOPER: Maybe they sent the weapons out over, you know, to some other country. But what I don't get if he didn't have the weapons, there weren't any weapons to trans-ship to some other country.

RITTER: You can't ship that which wasn't produced. Right now we have a lot of people who are desperate to justify the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq. They'll focus on issues such as intent. And you'll also hear that although we haven't found the weapons or weapons of manufacturing capability, they could have been shipped across the border. But again, you can't ship that which you haven't produced. You can't bury that which you haven't obtain or produced. And what the Duelfer report shows, is that in 1991, the Iraqi government destroyed all of its weapons of mass destruction capability. By 1995, the manufacturing base had been dismantled and turned over to the United Nations. That there was no capability to manufacture this. These weapons, when the Bush administration said words to the contrary.

COOPER: David, this report cites several companies that violated U.N. sanctions trading with Iraq when they weren't supposed to. But apparently, the version that's going to be released publicly isn't going to name the American companies that does that. Why is that? KAY: Well, I think it's a mistake. I'm sure someone will justify it in legalese, by saying you can't publicly indict someone before a grand jury has indicted them for a crime. But we're perfectly willing to do that about French companies, Russian companies and the Chinese companies. I actually think we need to lay on the table all the companies involved. One of the most serious and beneficial things that can come out of this, is to put real teeth in what countries are doing about monitoring the behavior of their own countries around the world with some of the world's worst regimes. If we don't do that we're going to have countries that have real capability that have real intent and acquire weapons mass destruction.

COOPER: Scott, I want to read you something the president said today on the campaign trial. He said, there was risk, a real risk that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons or material or information to terrorist networks. In the world after September 11th, that was a risk we could not afford.

Do you believe that's true?

RITTER: Look, if Saddam Hussein was actively preventing the United Nations from doing its job, if we had hard evidence that he not only retained weapons of mass destruction capability, was seeking to reacquire this and that he had links with terrorist organizations hostile to the United States, the president's words would have credence. Unfortunately, for the president none of that is true. We don't have any evidence that he had weapons of mass destruction. In fact, the overwhelming body of data collected by the United Nations, while I was there from 1991 to 1998, sustained the notion that Iraq was fundamentally disarmed, that the programs were dismantled.

And that Iraq was in full compliance with its obligation to disarm, which also brings the question, why we continued to have economic sanctions imposed against Iraq. You know, the president keeps talking about Iraq's failure to comply. Clearly these weapons were destroyed in 1991. What on earth justified the continuation of economic sanctions throughout the decade of the 1990s that led directly or indirectly to the death of 2.2 million Iraqi citizens.

COOPER: Just want to make sure we cover all the angles, David Kay, do you agree there was a risk, a real risk that Saddam would pass information or materials to terrorist network?

KAY: Anderson, I think the president has a real case. It's not so much that Saddam would do it. What I found when I went into Iraq in May of last year is a vortex of corruption that had so destroyed the normal morays (ph) and operation of -- even the terror operation. Saddam's regime that everyone was selling and cheating on everything. There was a real risk. Not that weapons, which I agree didn't exist, but that the weapons technology might well be sold by scientists who was trying to keep alive, trying to help his family or trying to get out of a decaying Iraq.

COOPER: But that's what our ally Pakistan did, right?

KAY: That's A-Q-Khan to the T, yes, indeed it is. COOPER: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. David Kay, Scott Ritter, enjoyed talking to you both. Thanks very much.

KAY AND RITTER: Thank you.

COOPER: 360 next, the prosecution rests in the Scott Peterson trial. Is there enough evidence to convict him? Our legal experts weigh in.

When you want to register to vote, where do you go? Find out why some people line up at their local strip club. That's right.

And a little later, signage "magin" (ph), signage madness to "The Nth Degree." Voters doing whatever it takes to get their sign for Bush or Kerry on the TV screen. We saw it last night. We'll tell you about it ahead.


COOPER: Well, there was the lover, the mother, neighbor, and the match maker, a cop, a doctor and lets not forget the cable guy. They're just some of the more than 170 witness who testified for the prosecution in the Scott Peterson murder trial. And after 19 weeks of testimony, the state has finally rested.

While the defense gets ready for its turn, CNN's Rusty Dornin offers up a highlight reel of the case against Peterson.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The people prosecuting Scott Peterson are confident they've done their job, painting him as a liar, a cheat and a man with a motive. Scott Peterson, they say, killed his pregnant wife Laci in part because of his affair with Amber Frey. 174 witnesses later, legal analysts say the strongest argument for guilt may be the simplest. Scott Peterson went fishing 90 miles away on Christmas Eve.

CHUCK SMITH, LEGAL ANALYST: And that's precisely where the bodies were found. Those are the most powerful facts.

DORNIN: The witnesses who packed the most punch? Amber Frey, romance and deceit. The jury heard hours of phone conversations between them.

SCOTT PETERSON: My god, Amber, I had nothing to do with her disappearance.

DORNIN: Police Detective Grogan with 41 reasons Scott Peterson was the prime suspect but never mentioned was a possible murder weapon, cause of death or a crime scene. Pathologist Dr. Brian Peterson, no relation, believes the fetus died inside Laci Peterson. A time line that means Peterson could have killed his wife before police put him under surveillance. The finale was more of a whimper than a bang. Detective John Bueller describing the arrest of Peterson in San Diego with $15,000 in cash, dyed hair and plenty of camping gear. Time and time again the defense used prosecution witnesses to further their own theory. Scott Peterson's family believes the jury heard nothing that could convict the defendant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a very long four months. They haven't proven a thing and we're ready for Tuesday.

DORNIN: That's when defense attorney Mark Geragos is expected to show the rest of his hand. Rusty Dornin, CNN, Redwood City, California.


COOPER: Covering the case for us from San Francisco, 360 legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom and from Miami, defense attorney Jayne Weintraub. Court TV has learned about a letter that Scott Peterson allegedly sent to Amber Frey while he was in prison. I guess it was sent like a week after his arrest. In it he claimed he was innocent and apologized to her for all the media coverage. The prosecution didn't mention this. Do you think the defense is going to bring it up?

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, 360 LEGAL ANALYST: The defense would have loved if the prosecution introduced this into evidence. There wasn't a shot of that happening. In it he thanks Amber for leading him to the Lord. He's going to use his time while in custody to do the work of the Lord. I have a little bit of religious homework for Scott Peterson, thou shalt not kill.

COOPER: Jayne, best moments, worst moments for the prosecution. They rested.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Best moments were the only piece of evidence they have is the proximity of the bodies washing ashore. Worst day, the rest of them. It was a weak beginning, a weak end. It is nothing but high emotions. Absolutely no evidence of any kind of any first-degree murder premeditation. It's a capital case. It's a death penalty case they are seeking. There's no evidence. Normally you find it in a gunshot in the head, strangulation, eyewitness testimony, an admission. That's how you find premeditation. You don't find it from nothing because there's nothing here but speculation and guesses. That's not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

COOPER: Kimberly, same question. Best moments, worst moments for the prosecution and is there any evidence?

GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: Worst moments was the beginning of the case. Best moment was the turn around with Amber Frey. Not the motive for the case but really showing Scott Peterson's mind-set to ensure he's a liar and cheater and also pathological. That is someone capable of murder. The lead Detective Grogan with the 41 reasons why the body would end up the bay.

WEINTRAUB: 41 guesses.

GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: Well, you know, I think they were compelling in the courtroom. People seemed to really respond to that.

WEINTRAUB: Why do you call him the lead detective?

GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: Because Craig Grogan is the lead detective.

WEINTRAUB: What happened to Brochini? Because he's a liar we don't call him the lead detective anymore?

GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: He's not the lead detective. He's junior on the case. But it's inaccurate, but that's OK. The facts speak for themselves in the courtroom. The medical examiner's testimony was compelling as well. This timeline...

WEINTRAUB: Compelling is no manner of death or cause of death.

GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: 41 reasons why the body washed up in the bay. Scott Peterson's alibi. Either he's the unluckiest guy in the world or he's guilty.

WEINTRAUB: There's absolutely no fact behind the fiction of the string of circumstantial evidence as real evidence.

COOPER: Juries have convicted based on circumstantial evidence, haven't they?

WEINTRAUB: Absolutely. You know what circumstantial evidence is, Anderson? A circumstantial evidence case would be for example, you come in. He had gun powder on his hands but there was no gun, no weapon found, no bullet in her body. Gun powder on his hands, residue. That's a circumstance beyond reproach. We have no physical evidence, no crime scene. The only evidence here that we do have was the hair in the pliers. Of course, Brochini, the junior detective, who's now a liar because he deliberately omitted factual, important information for the jury. For example, he lied about what someone told him, Scott Peterson, how he would kill someone if he ever did.

GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: This case is still beyond Brochini.

WEINTRAUB: Brochini forgot to put in a report that Laci was at the warehouse where the boat was and used the ladies room. And some person who had no interest in the outcome in this case, no motive, no dog in the pony show here, she came forward and said she saw her.

GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: Anderson, I'm sorry, Laci Peterson, 8 months pregnant goes out to walk her dog and in 10 minutes happens to be abducted but she's not recovered with any shirt on, there's no clothes missing from her house -- excuse me. There's no tennis shoes, nothing. A pregnant woman goes out to walk to the dog in her bra and pants with no shoes on, no jacket and no top?

WEINTRAUB: It's in the ocean. Come on, you were a prosecutor.

GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: I don't think so.

COOPER: A difference of opinion here. Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom and Jayne Weintraub. Thanks very much. 360 next. It's been said that politics has strange bedfellows. Why is a stripper taking it all off to register voters.

Plus, crowd control to the Nth degree. Waving political signs on TV. Enough already.


COOPER: Across the country the number of new voters registered has surprised election officials. What surprised us is just how some of those voters are actually being registered. We've all seen celebrities trying to get out the vote but we've never seen strippers doing it as well. That's right. Some 800, we should call them adult clubs in the U.S., have launched voter registration efforts. One club last week in Austin, Texas, Audrey Maker organized an event called Burlesque The Vote. She joins us now fully clothed. Thanks for being with us.

How did you get this idea?

AUDREY MAKER, PRODUCER, BURLESQUE THE VOTE: I have been organizing burlesque shows for the last two years. Burlesque is what middle class people like to call stripping. I know that you like to use the word for TV. But burlesque is where we don't actually get naked.

MAKER: A fair amount of clothes. Fair enough. And it seemed to be a really good way to get people together to celebrate. And I needed to do something about this election. So I decided that requiring registration, voter registration cards at the door was a great way to get people to come to a show and..,

COOPER: So they had to have voter registration cards to get in. And then if they didn't, you actually had election officials there who would register them?

MAKER: We had deputy registrars ready to register them to vote. It was the day before the deadline. So, it was one of the last places they could do that in town.

COOPER: Was it tough convincing deputy registrars to come down and do this?

MAKER: No. I became a deputy registrar myself and other people that were friends of mine also did. It was very easy to do it. And they were happy to it. They were happy to get out the vote any way they can.

COOPER: How many people do you think you registered?

MAKER: We officially registered 72 voters. I registered 25 on my own before the show. But that was about half the audience, or a little bit less than half the audience.

COOPER: And I won't call the strippers -- the burlesque performers, did they -- were they registered as well? MAKER: Yes. Absolutely.

COOPER: Do more Republicans or Democrats you think enjoy burlesque? It's a loaded question.

MAKER: I think that if you are pro sex, it's up to you what you think you should do with your vote. It was totally nonpartisan on my behalf, although I do live in Austin, Texas, which is a place where liberals tend to congregate. So it's likely that they were more on the Democratic side. But not because of burlesque as a whole, but because of where I live.

COOPER: You sort of have been very active really since college. It was a college professor who got you inspired to sort of do whatever you could.

MAKER: Yes, yes. I was in a class, Harry Cleavers (ph) -- we called it rock block of economics. It was Marxist economics and international crisis. And my friend Susan was also in that class. And we were talking about why sexuality had been so commodified. And how we could try to you know, benefit that used sexuality as an artistic format.

COOPER: A lot of adult clubs around the country are doing it. Perhaps not informed you were doing it, but Burlesque the Vote, I'm glad it was a success. Audrey, thanks for being with us.

MAKER: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, if you listen to all the spin doctors after the debate last night you couldn't tell what actually went on in the debate. Both sides swear up and down their candidate wiped up the floor with the other guy. I had one guy actually say that to me. Wiped up the floor with them.

Don't you wish politicians would tell you what they really think "Inside the Box?"


COOPER (voice-over): You know we're all being spun. After all, we are set up called the spin room. And we know they are the not turning wool into yarn in there.

JEFF GREENFIELD, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The day that someone comes out from the campaign and says my guy really stunk out the joint, I will personally send that person a check for $100. This is the most useless exercise in post modern media coverage that I know of. And I think really, enough is enough. This is joke. And we should just cut it out.

COOPER: Right on, Jeff. But maybe it's too much to expect. So drawing on my vast gameshow experience -- did I mention my 1 celebrity Jeopardy, let's try another way to shorten the spin cycle. Whenever we hear out of control spin, a buzzer. MARY BETH CAHILL, KERRY-EDWARDS CAMPAIGN: I think that John Edwards showed tonight a great deal of strength and conviction. And I think seeing him, the American people know that he's ready to step forward and to lead this country if necessary.

COOPER: Let's try that again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wolf, here's what I think you saw tonight. The vice president did a fantastic job.

COOPER: Promising.

CAHILL: I think that John Edwards did tremendously well here.

I think that Vice President Cheney came across as sort of grumpy and angry. I

think that John Edwards was substantive and ranged widely around all kinds of issues.

I think it was an interesting discussion, but I think that John Edwards came off by far the better.

COOPER: When it comes to John Edwards, I would respectfully disagree with Mary Beth. They hired the best lawyer they could in America to be their vice president and even he couldn't defend the Kerry record.

Even he couldn't defend 30 years of being wrong on defense.

Even he couldn't explain if he can't stand up to Howard Dean, how can you stand up to the terrorists?

And even he couldn't explain why you can say on the one hand you are for middle class tax cuts, and then you miss the votes on it. I thought it was a great debate, and I thought the vice president won.

COOPER: Now, that's a good way to control the spin "Inside the Box."


COOPER: I'm not sure it would work. We'll see.

Last night's debate grabbed a massive audience. Here's a fast fact for you: Nearly 44 million Americans watched the showdown between Vice President Cheney and Senator Edwards. It was the most watched vice presidential debate since 1992. The '92 debate featured Democrat Al Gore and Republican Dan Quayle and Independent James Stockdale. That averaged around 51 million viewers.

360 Next: a huge crowd of political vibe and TV cameras. It's all the ingredients for a wild time. We're going to take that to the "Nth Degree."

And tomorrow, Martha Stewart's last day of freedom. We are counting down the hours until she must report to -- well, what some are calling "Camp Cupcake."

First today's Buzz. What do you think? "Is Rush Limbaugh being targeted because of his political views?" Log on to Strong opinions on this. Vote now. Results when we come back.


COOPER: Earlier we asked you, "is Rush Limbaugh being targeted because of his political views?" 17 percent of you said yes, 83 percent said no. Not a scientific poll, but it is "The Buzz."

Finally tonight, taking crowd control to "The Nth Degree." We admit it. Doing the program like we did last night in Cleveland with a live audience is kind of fun.

Certainly being buffeted by the gail force winds of supporters of Bush or Kerry is tough, but hey, we'll take it over the winds of the hurricane force winds of Frances, Ivan or Charley any day. Which is not to say it's without danger. A few dozen rowdy supporters armed with signs can be just as danger as any category 4 storm.

First, there are the big trees. See this guy behind me? He doesn't have just one sign, he's got a half dozen, totally overwhelming the lone Kerry sign in this case.

Then you've got the "Hi Mom" sign and just about every other sign known to man, including "The Lou Dobbs For President" sign.

Can we outsmart the signers by doing a close-up shot? Now way. The poor lady behind me is practically coldcocked by signers trying to get their message across. And a guy with a button. Talking about being outgunned.

But the best move we have to say was the guy with the dog. He clearly knew what suckers we are for animals. Let's just hope the next time someone doesn't bring an alligator or something.

That's 360 for tonight. Thanks for watching. Coming up next "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


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