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Bush, Kerry Campaign for Women's Votes; Horrifying Tale of Life Behind Bars

Aired October 22, 2004 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening from New York. I'm Anderson Cooper.
Safety versus security on the campaign trail. Which issue will bring you to the polls?

360 starts now.

Eleven days to go. Bush and Kerry turn their eyes to the ladies. But have those soccer moms, security moms, and singles already made up their mind?

Lost and found. Stranded on a mountain by a blinding blizzard. Tonight, four hikers tell their stories of snow and survival.

Torment in Texas. A horrifying tale of life behind bars. Prison guards accused of looking away while inmates sell a man into sexual slavery.

A bizarre burglary turns into an extreme home makeover. A woman breaks into a house, repaints the walls, and moves in while the owners are away. A twisted tale of trading spaces.

And what's your greatest fear? It can be overcome. Tonight, in our special series, I confront my roach revulsion and try out a therapy some say provides near-instant relief.

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

COOPER: Good evening again.

We begin with politics tonight. In the presidential campaign of 1896, Republican William McKinley campaigned from his front porch in Canton, Ohio, literally rocking his way into the White House. In the campaign of 2004, Republican George Bush is more widely traveled, but nevertheless finds Canton a very attractive place to campaign. He was there today, trying to lock up that swing state's critical electoral votes.

The president and challenger John Kerry remain very close in the polls. CNN's average of the results of 11 major polls shows a bit of a change over the past 24 hours. Yesterday's average had the race at 48 percent for the president, 46 percent for Senator Kerry. Today, as you can see, it is 49 percent for the president, 46 for Kerry. Still, very close race indeed.

With us tonight in Wisconsin at the moment to cover John Kerry is Candy Crowley, to whom we'll turn in a moment.

And with the president, who's already moved on to Florida, is John King. We begin with John. John?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And Anderson, in that tight race for the closing days, the president unveiled a revised stomp speech today. It has a familiar but sharper contrast.


KING (voice-over): Pennsylvania was stop one on a day targeting three big prizes, the president's retooled stump speech designed to put his view of the race in sharper focus.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The security and prosperity of our country, the health and education of our citizens, the retirement of our seniors, and the direction of our culture are all at stake.

KING: Winning Pennsylvania requires support from conservative Democrats, and Mr. Bush took note of Senator Kerry's vote against a law signed by President Clinton that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

BUSH: Senator Kerry was part of the far left bank -- far left minority that voted against that piece of legislation.

KING: Health care was the major focus in Ohio, and another issue on which Mr. Bush wants to label Senator Kerry a big-government liberal.

BUSH: My opponent's plan would increase the scope and the size of the government...

KING: But at this and every other stop, he leaves no doubt about what he considers most important.

BUSH: My opponent and I have a different vision about how to keep America secure.

KING: A dramatic new ad showing a pack of wolves reinforces a message the Bush campaign calls critical and Democrats call desperate fear-mongering.


ANNOUNCER: And weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm.


KING: This week's travel underscores the shrinking battlefield in the search for 270 electoral votes. Mr. Bush campaigned in just seven states, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Florida. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida also drew increased Bush TV ad spending in recent days, along with Colorado, Oregon, and West Virginia.

Florida was Friday's final stop, and where Mr. Bush campaigns Saturday, all signs, once again, suggesting a fierce fight to the end.


KING: And as the president framed the choices on taxes and values, he said progress on everything depends first on safety from terrorism. And Anderson, the Bush campaign is betting on the president's reelection if by this time next week he can convince a majority of voters to view the election that way as well.

COOPER: All right, John King in St. Petersburg, thanks, John.

A quick news note now on a tax cut signed aboard Air Force One. Somewhere above Pennsylvania, or may have been Ohio, President Bush today signed into law the largest rewrite of the corporate tax code since 1986. The complex measure replaces an export tax subsidy that violated international law with a $145 billion bundle of corporate tax cuts and aid for tobacco farmers. President didn't mention the bill while he campaigned today, and no White House photos of the signing were released.

John Kerry is also on his way to Florida in the days ahead. But he's got miles to go and two or three states after the one he's currently in before he gets there. At campaign speed, though, it will not take him long.

Senior political correspondent Candy Crowley reports from the Kerry camp, where these days one question is uppermost in many minds.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What do women want? For starter, a guy who gets it.

SEN. JOHN KERRY, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: After they punch out at work, many of them punch right back in at home for the next shift as the caregiver, the meal cooker, the financial planner, the housecleaner, and all the other jobs that they have to do to support their families.

CROWLEY: More women vote than men. Sixty percent of the undecideds are female. Talk about girl power.

It was a female fest in Milwaukee, and John Kerry, no natural in feel-your-pain politics, wooed late-breaking women voters, particularly of the single working mom sort.

KERRY: They have to pay the rent, buy the groceries, clothes for their children. But in terms of purchasing power, the minimum wage is at the lowest that it's been in 50 years. How dare this administration tell Americans this is the best economy of our lifetime?

CROWLEY: Message, I get it, George Bush does not. Traditionally, Democrats have the edge among women voters, but the president has cut into it.

BUSH: If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch.

CROWLEY: His antiterrorism policy has picked up points among suburban moms, which is why, as John Kerry focuses on offense on economic turf, his number two plays defense on terrorism.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS, DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Because this president is continuing to try to scare America in his speeches and ads in a despicable and contemptible way. The American people are smarter than they think.

CROWLEY: John Kerry is still up 7 points over Bush among female voters. But Al Gore scored an 11-point advantage in 2000.


CROWLEY: Still, Kerry strategists and pollsters say they are unconcerned that Kerry is not doing as well among Democrats as Democratic candidates normally do. They say that Kerry is doing better among men, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Candy Crowley, thanks.

For the Kerry campaign, as Candy mentioned, today was dedicated to women, specifically women who vote. And it seems many of those women aren't quite ready to choose, and that has both sides right now scrambling.

At this stage of the election game, figuring out what women want and making sure they get the message is more than good policy, it is raw politics.


COOPER (voice-over): With the polls showing a presidential race too close to call, both candidates are pulling out all the stops to pull in every undecided voter, and six out of 10 of them are women.

So they're talking social issues on the stump, John Kerry pledging help to working women in Wisconsin.

KERRY: And millions of women, women particularly, struggle to get by on the minimum wage.

COOPER: President Bush, taking on health care in Pennsylvania.

BUSH: When a mother is looking forward to having a baby, the last thing she needs is uncertainty about her health care. COOPER: Another issue important to women voters, terror. And both candidates are tackling that on television. A new Kerry campaign ad features the widow of a September 11 victim who says she voted for Bush in 2000.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to look in my daughter's eyes and know that she is safe.


COOPER: While a Bush ad shows Ashley Faulkner talking about the president. Her mother who died at the World Trade Center.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's the most powerful man in the world, and all he wants to do is make sure I'm safe.


COOPER: Talking to and about women seems to be paying off for John Kerry. The latest polls show the candidate charging ahead with women voters by between 7 and 10 percent.

In these final days of the campaign, both candidates seem to be getting in touch with their feminine sides, and that is all about raw politics.


COOPER: For more on how the candidates are trying to court women voters, I'm joined from Atlanta by CNN political analyst Carlos Watson and from Washington, Liz Marlantes, political reporter for "The Christian Science Monitor."

Good to see both of you.

Carlos, let me start off with you. You know, Democrats used to be able to really count on women's support in these elections. John Kerry has had to expend a lot of capital just trying to sort of reenergize that group. Is he going to get there?

CARLOS WATSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It will be interesting to see. Clearly, that would make the difference for him if he was able to win that by 11 points in the same way that Al Gore did four years ago.

I think what's interesting is that not only is he talking, as Candy talked about in her piece, about some economic issues like minimum wage, but (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the prevalence of the discussion of health care issues. Remember, only a month ago or so, we weren't hearing a ton about health care. Every now and then John Kerry would mention his plan. The president recently announced his plan. But one of the major issues that signals a focus on women is the issue of health care, whether that's stem cell research, whether that's health care for the elderly, whether that's prescription drugs. Very interesting to see that issue come to the fore.

COOPER: Well, Liz, it's also interesting to see John Kerry today kind of, you know, sensitive John Kerry talking to women. Yesterday he was out hunting. Kind of mixed messages, I suppose.

LIZ MARLANTES, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR": Absolutely a mixed message. I'm not sure exactly how the hunting image plays into it.

But, of course, as was noted earlier, although Kerry is trying to raise his numbers with women, there is some suggestions that he might actually be doing a little better than Democrats typically do among men, and stunts like the photo op with the guns and the goose help with that (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

COOPER: It is fascinating how planned out these things are, in that those pictures, you don't see John Kerry with a dead animal.

MARLANTES: No, nor did we see him actually shoot the animal, which was probably also intentional. We saw him carrying the gun and walking away with somebody else carrying away the dead bird. So, yes, I think that was probably all very carefully thought out.

COOPER: Carlos, Al Gore coming out this weekend, Sunday apparently going to African-American churches, Monday Bill Clinton. The target who, women, African-Americans?

WATSON: Exactly, to mobilize the base in, you know, Pennsylvania is an important place, particularly the African-American vote there in Philadelphia, probably made a difference for Al Gore four years ago. Similarly, the African-American vote in Florida could make a huge difference.

But one of the interesting things, Anderson, whether it is going after African-Americans or women or other groups of voters, is that as much as we're paying attention to television images and even television ads, is the war that's going on through direct mail and through phone calls. A lot of people aren't seeing this. But the war there is more segmented, so an even more targeted message to these groups. And number two, it's even more aggressive when you go after the other guy.

So as much as we talk about how they going after them with surrogates or TV ads, I think these other two elements are important as well.

COOPER: I got to go off topic for a moment, Carlos. I've been seeing these commercials running all week. You got a show on Sunday night, I think 10:00. What, what, what is it?

WATSON: It's a new show, Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and again at 1 a.m. We spend an hour talking to three really interesting individuals, but not what you normally talk to them about. So, for example, we talk to Barak Obama, who's running for the U.S. Senate. We talk about his unusual upbringing, in part in Indonesia, his first kind of major conversation after the keynote speech.

We talk to Shaquille O'Neal, biggest guy in the NBA. Believe it or not, he's in graduate school, also talking about running for office.

And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we talk to the model Heidi Plume (ph), who's got a pretty serious global business empire. You don't usually think of that when you think of an international superstar model.

COOPER: Yes, Shaquille O'Neal running for office, that would definitely be interesting. Carlos, thanks very much. Liz Marlantes, appreciate it, thank you.

WATSON: Thank you.


COOPER: Congress moves to head off any more embarrassment over flu shots for lawmakers. That tops our look at what's going on right now cross-country.

Capitol Hill leaders donate flu shots. Three thousand doses of the vaccines intended for congressional employees will now go to Washington hospitals instead. Lot of negative publicity on that in the last couple of days.

Detroit, Michigan, now, what may have been a desperate attempt to get to America ends in death. A horrible story. The body of a young man discovered inside the wheel compartment of an American Airlines jet. The flight originated in the Caribbean with a stopover in Miami. Desperate to get here.

Tucson, Arizona, angry liberals on the attack, or something like that. Take a look. Conservative writer Ann Coulter was pelted with custard pies during a speech at the University of Arizona. She hot- footed it out of there. Pies missed her, damaged a curtain. I think some of the pies got on her.

Coulter's known, of course, for withering attacks on liberals and Democrats. She was speaking about John Kerry at the time. Two people were arrested. Reports say the assailants call themselves members of Al Pieda, ba-dum-bah, get it? There you go, hey, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) kids. And they were throwing pies at Coulter's ideas, they said, not her. Please (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

That's a look at stories cross-country right now.

So are you ready for the 360 challenge? Later in the program, we're going to ask you three questions to test your knowledge of today's news. If you watched the show closely, should be able to get them all. If you're the first to e-mail us all three correct answers, we're going to , send you a 360 T-shirt. Stay tuned. That is coming up. Also ahead, stolen house. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) really possible? A family returns from vacation only to find a strange woman has moved in and redecorated. I'm not kidding. Bizarre but real-life crime case.

Plus, stranded in Yosemite tonight. You'll meet four hikers who fought to stay alive. Their story of survival and the dramatic rescue.

Also a horrible story, rape behind bars. Meet a man who says he was turned to a sexual slave. Find out why he's now going after prison officials. He said this happens in prisons around the country.

All that ahead. But first, let's take a look at your picks, the most popular stories on right now.


COOPER: So imagine coming home, finding a stranger living there. That's the unwelcome surprise that awaited one suburban Atlanta woman. Fresh from her vacation, she opens the door to discover that someone else had literally moved into her house. And judging by all the redecorating, the new tenant may have been planning to stay awhile.

CNN's Eric Philips has more on a very extreme home makeover.


BEVERLY MITCHELL, HOMEOWNER: She was obviously trying to iron something.

ERIC PHILIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Beverly Mitchell feels like a stranger in her own home.

MITCHELL: I feel violated. It feels dirty here. I'm afraid to be here most of the time.

PHILIPS: When Mitchell recently returned from a two-week vacation in Greece, she was startled to find that the lights were on, and somebody else was in her home. She called police, who found this woman, 54-year-old Beverly Valentine, naked in the bathroom. What's more, the woman was clearly living there. She had rearranged the whole house, discarding much of Mitchell's clothing and furniture, replacing it with her own.

MITCHELL: And I walk in the kitchen, and I said, Well, none of this is mine. Where's my dishes? Where's my pots and pans?

PHILIPS: The suspect had also repainted some rooms, hanged some of her own family portraits and artwork, stocked the cabinets and the freezer, and even had the power switched over into her name.

MITCHELL: Like, what do you do? How do you talk to someone like this? What are they trying to do to you? What did -- you know, you don't know these people.

PHILIPS: Police say the suspect admitted to breaking a window to get into the house while Mitchell was away. The question remains, why?

LT. BOBBY HOLMES, DOUGLAS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: The victim says she's never seen this lady before, she's never met her before. So we really don't know why this lady picked this particular house.

PHILIPS: The suspect is in jail, charged with one count of burglary.

Mitchell is busy removing all the items the stranger had moved in, trying to make her house feel like her home again.

Eric Philips, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Well, a British Iraqi hostage makes a desperate plea to Britain's prime minister to help save her life. That tops our look at what's going on around the world in the uplink.

A videotape of Margaret Hassan was aired on Al Jazeera TV. Hassan's the director of CARE International in Baghdad, who was kidnapped Tuesday. She tearfully pleaded with Tony Blair not to pull Britain's troops out of Iraq, fearing that she, like other hostages, may be beheaded in retaliation.

Toyuka (ph) City, Japan, the deadliest typhoon in 16 years. At least 77 people are confirmed dead, others missing. Powerful storm unleashed floods and triggered mudslides. More than 20,000 homes across western Japan have been damaged or destroyed.

Havana, Cuba, Fidel Castro tells his people he is still in charge despite his injuries. Castro tripped and fell flat on his face Wednesday, breaking his left kneecap in eight places, and fracturing his right arm. Still in charge, he says.

Shanghai, China, an example of how times are changing. Hooters is opening in communist China. Yes. If you have ever been to Hooters, you know the restaurant's famous for its chicken wings and the skimpy uniforms worn by the waitresses. We'll see how it (UNINTELLIGIBLE) China.

That's tonight's uplink.

360 next, we're confronting the things that scare you and maybe me the most. Tonight, cockroaches, part of our special series, Facing Your Fears.

Also ahead, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), also ahead, staying alive, a dramatic story of survival and rescue. Meet four hikers who weathered a deadly Yosemite storm.

And a little later, desperate housewives and nervous advertisers. Will all the publicity of a racy content pay off in the long run? We'll take a look in the weekender. And in a moment, today's 360 challenge. You've been following closely today's news. Well, you could be a challenge winner. We'll have details ahead.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go. 15,000 Madagascar hissing cockroaches, 90,000 disgusting roach legs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, don't start yet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happens. Relax. Put your head down, please, so I can close this. And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) lock you in place.


COOPER: All right. Didn't watch that. I'm just going to say it, I hate cockroaches. I don't like the way they look. I don't like the sound they make, I don't like the way they wriggle along. Think they're going to jump on me. Let's just say I have an intense dislike of these bugs.

But some of us have a more serious fear, a condition called entomophobia, a deep-seated fear of insects. I'm not that bad.

In the last of our week-long series about facing our fears, we look at an alternative treatment for overcoming the phobia. I tried a treatment that's considered an energy psychology, which was supposed to help me face my fear in one swift session. Take a look.



(voice-over): The therapy begins with paperwork, lots of paperwork.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So here you have another questionnaire.

COOPER (on camera): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I'm thinking a lot about cockroaches.

(voice-over): The questions are meant to test my dislike of roaches.

(on camera): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) cockroach now, I would have images of them trying to get me. Absolutely, because they are all out to get me. I don't know if you're aware of this, but they are. (voice-over): Next, they record my anxiety level as I'm asked to move closer and closer to an aquarium filled with giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

(on camera): You want me to stoop down and what?


COOPER (voice-over): OK, so I pretty much made clear I don't like roaches.

(on camera): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) now they're on the roof (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(voice-over): But this is where the treatment gets, well, silly looking.

PROF. HARVEY BAKER, QUEENS COLLEGE: Looks ridiculous. It looks asinine. Even though I'm afraid of cockroaches.

COOPER (on camera): Even though I'm afraid of cockroaches.

BAKER: I deeply and completely accept myself.

COOPER: I deeply and completely accept myself.

(voice-over): They call this the emotional freedom technique, or EFT. It involves tapping a sequence of so-called energy points on the body while repeating what your fear is.

BAKER: The noise cockroaches make. The noise cockroaches make. The noise cockroaches make.

COOPER (on camera): The noise cockroaches make. The noise cockroaches make. The noise cockroaches make.

(voice-over): Believers say EFT clears emotional baggage by promoting relaxation, ultimately desensitizing people to what scares them. The treatment last about 45 minutes, and I think I mentioned, it looks really, really silly.

BAKER: It's very repetitive. The remaining fear about the noise.

COOPER (on camera): The remaining fear about the noise.

BAKER: And pleasant memory about cockroaches.

COOPER: And pleasant memory about cockroaches.

Remaining fear of cockroaches...

BAKER: And hate the way cockroaches move.

COOPER: And hate the way cockroaches move. BAKER: Keeps happy, move your eyes in a circle. Move your eyes in a circle the other way. OK, hum the first few notes of "Happy Birthday."

COOPER: Happy birthday?

BAKER: (humming "Happy Birthday")

COOPER: (humming "Happy Birthday")

(voice-over): Skeptics, including a committee of the American Psychological Association, say the tapping technique is not proven, and success stories could be explained by a placebo effect. Even psychology professor Harvey Baker admits EFT is not for everyone.

BAKER: It helps about two out of three people. And a number of the people it helps dramatically, some it helps modestly. And there are some who don't get helped at all.

COOPER: Baker says I showed modest improvement but clearly not complete improvement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you willing to put your head inside the container?

COOPER (on camera): Yes, I, no, I don't think so.

(voice-over): Maybe if I hum a few more bars of "Happy Birthday"...

(on camera): (humming "Happy Birthday")

(voice-over): ... I'll one day be able to put my hand in the cage.


COOPER: (humming "Happy Birthday") Hasn't happened yet.

So do alternative therapies work? Joining me now to talk about them is clinical psychologist Belisa Vranich.

Thanks very much for being with us.


COOPER: What do you make of that?

VRANICH: Well, it did not work for you. And now you probably (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

COOPER: Well, they said I would need more sessions (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

VRANICH: Well, you need a lot more sessions, I think. But no, I wouldn't have chosen that therapy for you, Anderson, I have to tell you. You are a pretty cerebral, kind of macho guy, and that was not going work.

COOPER: Stop trying to be nice to me.

VRANICH: It's true. It's not going to work. I would have done something completely different.

COOPER: But there, but, I mean, a lot of these therapies seem to, I mean, the ones that work at all, seem to work, I mean, any time you address a concern or address a fear or phobia, I, you're going to probably feel better. And if you try to relax while you're doing it, so whether you're tapping yourself or talking to a therapist, just about anything will probably help more than hurt.

VRANICH: A little bit. It's going to help a little bit. If you have somebody who's a professional who knows how to sort of guide you along that process, it can work a lot more quickly, and who is not making you sing, who's actually using different therapies that are (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

COOPER: So there are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) many different kinds of therapies to overcome something like this?

VRANICH: Absolutely, yes, absolutely. That one per se is based on acupressure, and acupressure works for some people. Acupuncture works for some people. So I could see where that could work, you know, for (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

COOPER: And what about the rolling of the eyes thing? What was that about?

VRANICH: The rolling of the eyes is something neurological. That's actually based in neurology, whereas if you pay attention to something outside of your body while you're thinking of something inside, it is called dual attention, and it's supposed to disrupt sort of the negative memories you have of that bad thing.

COOPER: Interesting. I've also heard about something called flooding. I mean, there are all these different alternative therapies out there.

VRANICH: Yes, flooding is exactly what it sounds like. You face that fear by having it being locked in a room and having it sort of put all over you.

COOPER: Yes, don't like that one.

VRANICH: Most people are not going to have that one done. I definitely wouldn't recommend for you that one either.

COOPER: Right.

VRANICH: But something that's a little bit more gentle is systematic desensitization, or brief exposure, which is the same idea, which is the same idea, but a little bit more gentle.

COOPER: Yes, and we talked about virtual therapy. I mean, can, or is there medication people can take?

VRANICH: There is medication. And the field of medication is actually getting better as far as fears. I wouldn't tell people to have just take a medication by itself. If you're taking a medication that's an antianxiety medication, do it with therapy.

COOPER: Now, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I, what's the most strange phobia fear you've heard of?

VRANICH: Fear of clowns is the one that...

COOPER: Fear of clowns.


COOPER: Because I actually don't like clowns too. But and look, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) actually, I was assaulted by clowns on this program, which I, people knew of my fear. They assaulted me on my birthday. And these clowns were very belligerent, and they would not leave.

VRANICH: But if you would have had roaches and clowns, that would have been awful, right?

COOPER: That would have been, yes, that would, yes, that would have been awful. But this traumatized me, actually, for quite some time. I fired all of the people involved in that.

VRANICH: You fired them?


VRANICH: You don't look that unhappy, though.

COOPER: Well, I was faking it because I was on TV. I didn't want to look that upset. As soon as the cameras were off, I was screaming.

VRANICH: Gee, I don't think you really have a really deep- seated. I think it's a fear, but not a phobia.

COOPER: Right.

VRANICH: Because a phobia would look a little different. You really would probably...

COOPER: Right, absolutely.

VRANICH: ... get up and run out of the room.

COOPER: And I don't want to minimize, you know, there are people out there who, you know, have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) life-changing, life-, you know, ending phobias about this. But for me, it's more just a fear, because I know they have a personal vendetta to get me.

VRANICH: They do.

COOPER: Yes. I'm glad you confirmed that.

Belisa Vranich, thanks very much.

VRANICH: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: Lost and found. Stranded on a mountain by a blinding blizzard. Tonight, four hikers tell their stories of snow and survival.

Torment in Texas. A horrifying tale of life behind bars. Prison guards accused of looking away while inmates sell a man into sexual slavery.

And are you ready for the 360 challenge? How closely have you been following today's news? Answer our three questions correctly, and you could be a 360 challenge winner.


COOPER: 360, next: staying alive. Find out how stranded hikers survived a deadly storm in Yosemite.

First, our top stories in the "Reset."

In Washington, the Army says more than 800 former soldiers have not reported for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. This is more than one- third of reserves who were supposed to have mobilized by October 17. Failing to report for duty would result in absent without leave charges, but none have been filed so far since it isn't clear that all of the former soldiers even received the orders.

In Minnesota, former governor Jesse Venture, yep, that's him believe it or not, now backing John Kerry for president. But he's literally not saying why. In one of the stranger news conference today, Ventura stood silent as former Governor Angus King of Maine made the announcement for him. That's again, Jesse Ventura. Ventura seems to be sporting a whole new look.

The most recent MSNBC/Knight Ridder poll taken before today's announcement shows Minnesota voters choosing Bush over Kerry 47-45 percent. A very slim edge. I cannot stop looking at that image of Jesse Ventura. I don't know why.

All right. We'll move on.

Ohio Supreme Court says no to Ralph Nader. The court rejects a move by the independent presidential candidate to get on the state's ballot. Nader says he will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

That's a quick look at our top stories in the "Reset" right now.

Well, two more hikers were rescued last night from the Sierra Nevada mountain range after a sudden blizzard caught hikers and campers off guard this week. In total, 26 people have been rescued, 2 have died. Our next guests were among the lucky ones. Father and son teams Paul and Michael Bargetto, and Frank and Dominic Horath were camping on Sunday when they got trapped by the storm. Sharing wool socks to keep warm, they survived 4 days on just 5 peanuts for breakfast, a spoonful of peanut butter at night and a few granola bars in between.

From Soco, (ph) California here to tell their story, Paul, Michael, Frank and Dominick. Gentlemen, it is very good to see you healthy and here. Thanks very much for being on the program.

Hey Paul, let me start off with you. I guess, you were supposed to return from your hike on Sunday. You woke up, though, on Sunday and saw snow on the ground. It was too tough that the point to get out?

PAUL BARGETTO, RESCUED HIKER: Well, I woke up and there was three or four inches on the ground. And I said, uh oh, we have a problem here. But maybe it isn't enough snow. Maybe we can hike out. So we hiked out about a half mile. And we lost the trail. So, we figured it would be wise to head back and set up home base and re- evaluate things.

And we went back to home base. And we said maybe the next day all the snow will melt and we'll get an early start the next morning. The next morning there was about three feet of snow. So, we were just -- it kind of caught by surprise. So, our whole game plan changed.

COOPER: So, Frank, the next day there is three to four feet of snow. You guys really weren't prepared for this in terms of your equipment. I mean, I think one of you had a hole -- you had sneakers and a hole in your sneaker?

FRANK HORATH, RESCUED HIKER: Well, I think -- the sneakers were what we had, which are excellent for hiking, really. The key element for the feet and the foot protection was warm socks. We had two pairs of warm set of socks.

COOPER: How do you share two pairs of socks between you?

HORATH: We spent most of the time in the tents within our sleeping bags. And we had excellent sleeping bags. So, we were good down to zero degrees with two of the bags and 20 degrees with the other two bags. So, we were warm within the tent for a good portion of the time.

COOPER: Dominick, let's talk about your food supply. Five peanuts for breakfast?

DOMINIC HORATH, RESCUED HIKER: Yes. We'd split 5 peanuts. And take 6 or 7. It was like a slap on the hand type of thing. So, we just rationed our food, and we're OK.

COOPER: Was that it for the day? What else would you eat throughout the day?

D. HORATH: Sometimes we would split a power bar between the four of us. We would take a little spoonful of peanut butter. After a while, your stomach just got used to it. So, it wasn't bad after the first couple of days.

COOPER: Because I know you had water at a nearby source.

Michael, I understand the temperature, at some point, dropped close to zero, if not below zero. How were you able to stay warm? Weren't you wet a lot of the time?

MICHAEL BARGETTO, RESCUED HIKER: The worst night was the last. The storm cleared that night, and the temp dropped around zero, to single digits. That was probably the worst night, overall. Everything started getting wet, our bags were wet, there was ice on the inside and outside of the tent, so you really couldn't touch the wall of the tent or else the ice would fall on you and make everything else wetter. So, you just had to hunker down and try stay under that bag and hope that the water didn't seep through.

COOPER: And Paul, how do you occupy your time?

P. BARGETTO: Well, we had humor that was good for us. We read a lot. We shared books. We all read chapters in a book. We prayed a lot. And we made fun of one another. And tried to make the best of it, we pulled through it was great.

COOPER: It sounds like the important part was you staying positive?

M. BARGETTO: Yes. Just staying with God the whole time and praying and just keeping everything upbeat.

COOPER: What was the first thing you wanted to eat when you got out?

M. BARGETTO: I actually wasn't even that hungry when I first got out. You're just used to not eating a whole lot of food. They had a whole bunch of water and Gatorade and Power Bars that we were eating. But I didn't have that big of an appetite actually.

COOPER: One of you said Karls Jr. (ph), right?

D. HORATH: I wanted to eat Karls Jr. (ph). I just wanted a big fat hamburger and just clog up my arteries so I wasn't hungry for a couple of hours. That's all I really wanted

COOPER: Well, you're young. I guess you can clog up your arteries for 1 meal. Hey, guys, I really appreciate you joining us. And I am so glad you made it out. And the rescuers did a great job in finding you. Paul and Michael, Frank and Dominic, thanks so much.

Well, in tonight's "Justice Served" an ongoing case, the case of Danny Pelosi. He says he's not a killer. The question now is will his own words come back to haunt him? Prosecutors are convinced that Pelosi murdered a New York financier so he could get his hands on an $80 million fortune. This week, the defendant's own father took the stand and spoke of a conversation that some say may have sealed his son's fate.

CNN's Jason Bellini reports in "Justice Served."


JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Daniel Pelosi's estranged father, Robert Pelosi, took the stand against his son Thursday. He dropped a bombshell. He testified that the night after Ted Ammon's murder, Daniel asked him if someone wanted to get rid of something, what could you do?

Robert Pelosi said he told his son he didn't know. They then dropped the subject until a few weeks later.

"I asked him whatever happened to that stuff you wanted to get rid of, whatever it was. And he said, Arnie took care of it. That was the whole conversation." Arnie was a Pelosi pal that police arrested and released but never charged.

The defense cross examined Pelosi's father on his relationship with his son. "The fact is, sir, you returned Christmas cards, and birthday cards, his Cub Scout hat. Anything that he ever sent to you you returned because you wanted no part of him, right?"

Robert Pelosi responded, "my relationship with Danny was up and down. He was good son. And there were times when I was ashamed of him. That was one of the ashamed times."

Robert Pelosi also acknowledged he was not a fan of Danny's girlfriend and wife to be Generosa who was divorcing Ammon. Without direct evidence or eyewitnesses linking Pelosi to Ammon's murder, the prosecution continues to focus on motive and opportunity. Motive. Ammon was worth an estimated $80 million. He was going through a bitter divorce with his wife Generosa who was dating Pelosi at the time of the murder.

Opportunity. The prosecution says Pelosi who installed the security system in Ammon's East Hampton mansion knew where the hard drive used to record camera images was hidden. It was stolen the night of the murder.

The defense for now is focused on proving its assertion Ammon was killed by a gay lover and discrediting the stream of family and friends taking the stand against Pelosi. Jason Bellini, CNN, New York.


COOPER: 360 next, one man's harrowing tale of prison slavery. He says he was sold for sex. And he's blaming the state of Texas for letting the inmate slave trade breed. Remarkable story next.

Also tonight, the fall of Castro. His stumble from power. Well, just a stumble from the stage at least. We'll take a trip to the Nth Degree. And in a moment today's 360 challenge. How closely have you been following today's news? Find out next. You could be a winner. Be right back.


COOPER: Get ready to e-mail us. Time now for today's 360 challenge. Be the first to answer all three questions correctly, win a 360 T-shirt. Number one, hikers stranded in Yosemite National Park during a blizzard ate five of what each morning to stay live?

Number two, the scientific name for the fear of insects is what?

And finally protesters took aim at conservative columnist Ann Coulter at a speech last night with what?

Take the challenge. Log on to and click on the answer link. Answer first, we'll send you a 360 T-shirt. Tonight's answers in a moment. We'll also announce last night's winner.


COOPER: Sexual slavery behind bars is a dirty secret in prison systems across the United States. A lot of people know it goes on. Not much is done about it. One former inmate is suing prison officials in Texas. He claims he was bought and sold as a sex slave. He asked for help, he says, and was ignored. His name is Roderick Johnson. He joins me tonight from Austin. And in Washington is Margaret Winter, associate director of the National Prison Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. She's representing Roderick Johnson. We appreciate you being with us.

Roderick, let me start off with you. You entered the prison system. There were a lot of gangs in the prison you were in. What happened?

RODERICK JOHNSON, SUING TEXAS PRISON OFFICIALS: Basically the gangs, when they approached me, they approached me more as a point of view of you being gay, you're basically a female here and you going to basically have to have a man. And surviving in that type of environment was very, very damaging to my mind. It was almost like you just a piece of meat thrown to a lot of wolves.

COOPER: They knew you were gay when you went into the prison and so that's why they targeted you. At what point -- how did this happen? Was it just one person? Was it one gang? How did it happen?

JOHNSON: No. It was many people. At one point I was sold between Mexican Mafia, Gangster Disciples, Texas Syndicate. The first person that had me was more of a gangster disciple.

COOPER: And you say you were sold. What do you mean? One gang would actually sell you off to another?

JOHNSON: They would sell me to any individual that basically wanted to pay. And usually that was in the form of $5 or $10 in commissary.

COOPER: We have an excerpt from an offender grievance which you wrote while you were in prison. I'm going to put it on the screen. It says, "I need urgent help now. I'm in danger of my life. Right now all I ask is to please help me. I can not face these men another day. They repeatedly harass me because of my being gay. I'm trying to get along but I can not take it anymore."

Who did you send this to? And did prison officials respond to you at all?

JOHNSON: I sent it to grievance and to the grievance coordinator. But the grievance coordinator came back and told me that I didn't have enough facts. "You should go in and fight these guys. You should -- if you want to be -- act like a female, they'll treat you like a female." All types of insults.

COOPER: We believe obviously in covering all sides in this show. We tried to reach prison officials. They did not respond to us. However a "New York Times," article, a counsel for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said -- which is the system which runs Texas prisons -- said this about you.

Quote. "These allegations were investigated by the internal affairs branch of our agency. There seems to have been a lot of doubt about his motives and his ability to present evidence."

Margaret, let me ask you about this. What kind of response have you gotten from prison officials?

MARGARET WINTER, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: It is the same kind of thing. The odd thing about that response, if there was doubt about his motives when we took these fellows' depositions not a single one of them could explain what motive he could possibly have for wanting to be locked up away from these rapists. What he was saying to them was, put me in protective custody or ship me some place else or lock me up.

COOPER: How big a problem do you think this is?

WINTER: It is so widespread. It is just a huge problem. In Texas itself, that is really the prison rape capital of the United States according to a 2001 Human Rights Watch report.

COOPER: This Prison Rape Elimination Act which is a new federal law, they have an estimate of 13 percent of inmates are sexually assaulted in prison. Do you think that's accurate or do you think that's conservative?

WINTER: I don't think anybody really knows. Prisoners in studies estimate that one in three prisoners gets assaulted. Line staff, prison officer, correctional staff estimate one in five. It is a lot.

COOPER: Margaret Winter, I appreciate you joining us. And Roderick Johnson, I know it is a tough thing to talk about. It takes a lot of courage to come forward on something like this. Appreciate you joining us.

JOHNSON: I thank you very much for having me.

COOPER: 360 next is being desperate a bad thing for TV? For a different or a lighter story, some don't want the hit ABC show "Desperate Housewives" on the air. They're taking their anger out on advertisers. The question is who is going to win? We'll take a look at that on the "Weekender" right ahead.


COOPER: Well, it is saucy, sexy and steamy. But the question is, is desperate housewives too hot to handle? One self-proclaimed family values group thinks so. It is going after the one thing that any network executive sweat. But when viewers want some desperation in their lives, will a boycott work? Let's check it out in the weekender.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll make braised lampshades.

COOPER (voice-over): The women of Wisteria Lane are causing quite a stir with television audiences, stirring up trouble with the American Family Association.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That sound great?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. It sounds very, very wrong.

COOPER: The group, best known for beating the boycott drum when it even suspects a TV series doesn't fit in with its ideas of family values, rallied followers to flood the shows advertisers with e-mails, demanding they pull their ads. Three of them, Tyson Foods, Loews and ConAgra Food agreed not to buy time in future episodes. Not exactly the same thing as pulling already purchased ad time.

"Desperate Housewives" isn't the first ABC series to beset by boycott threats and often the effects aren't quite what the boycotters hoped for. In 1977, the National Council of Churches asked advertisers to stay away from the sitcom "Soap" which featured a gay character. Some did, but "Soap" stayed on the air for 4 years and picked up several Emmy nominations.

In 1993 the "NYPD Blue's" nude scenes raised ire of the American Family Association. 11-years on, it is still on the air.

And who could forget the furor caused by Fox's "Married with Children" when 1 angry mom convinced several advertisers to pull their commercials. The show stayed on the air for 10 seasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't believe you tried to kill me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, well, I feel badly about that. COOPER: "Desperate Housewives" is far from dead. ABC stays it's still fully sponsored. Quote, "it's the No. 1 new program of the season. And we're seeing demand from advertisers for the show."

Media magazine "Ad Age" says 30 second spots that sold for $156,000 before the season started are now going for $300,000.

In the end, big ratings means big dollars. The best way to beat back a boycott "Inside the Box."


COOPER: Well, 360 next, more on the fall of Castro. How some countries and world leaders may be reacting to his trip. Some suggestions ahead in the "Nth Degree."

And the 360 Challenge. Here's another look at tonight's questions. Be the first to e-mail us the answers. You can win. Log on to to play.


COOPER: Time for the answers to today's 360 challenge.

No. 1, Hikers stranded in the Yosemite National Park during a blizzard ate 5 of what each morning to stay alive? The answer, peanuts.

No. 2, The scientific name for the fear of insects is what? The answer, well, I can't even see it, entomophobia.

No. 3, And protesters took aim at conservative columnist Ann Coulter a a speech last night with what? The answer, pies.

First person to answer all three questions correctly will be sent a 360 T-shirt. Tune in tomorrow to find out if you're the one.

And last night's winner, Josh Van of Los Angeles. Appreciate you playing. 360 T-shirt is on the way.

Another 360 Challenge, another chance to win on Monday.

Tonight, taking worst wishes to the "Nth Degree."

Fidel Castro's fall yesterday alerted us to what may very well be a serious problem. It's this, there are plenty of cards to send if you want to wish someone well, but what if you don't. The American government is obviously losing no sleep over Mr. Castro's misfortune, but other than silence, it has no way of letting him know how it really feels. That's because there are no, don't get well anytime soon cards.

No cards that say, dear bearded, fatigue wearing thorn in the side of American democracy, we heard you've taken a tumble, boo, bloody, hoo. And what if he takes the header? Will the U.S. have a card to send that says, hear you're pot-belly broke your fall. Aren't you the lucky little egg-shaped strongman.

And if Saddam gets the flu, wouldn't it be handy to be able to buy something like this? Dear used to be big deal despot, how do you like that for germ warfare?

I guess it speaks well of us that we don't make ill wishes cards. On the other hand, better a nasty note maybe than military intervention.

I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching 360. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


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