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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Daniel Pelosi's Ex-Girlfriend: Daniel Enjoyed Killing Ted Ammon; Yasser Arafat Ill; O'Reilly's Lawyers Claim Accuser In League With Al Franken

Aired October 27, 2004 - 19:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening from New York. I'm Anderson Cooper.
Loved and hated, one of the most controversial figures in the world has fallen seriously ill.

360 starts now.

Yasser Arafat in critical condition. Tonight, his prognosis, his predicament, and what'll happen with Arafat is gone.

Voting drama in Florida, again. Thousands of ballots missing. See why some Floridians are already crying foul.

Six days left. Kerry hammers the president on the missing weapons, while Bush asks for help from an unlikely source, Democrats.

A new twist in the fight between Bill O'Reilly and his accuser. Why the defense wants her e-mails and what they might show.

And did this man kill this man? An alleged confession shocks a high-profile murder trial.

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

COOPER: Good evening again.

We begin with breaking news out of the Mideast. For Palestinians, he's a hero, a symbol of their struggle. For Israel, Yasser Arafat is a failed leader who turned his back on peace. Tonight, one of the most controversial and divisive figures in the world is said to be very sick.

Arafat's health appears to be deteriorating rapidly. There are reports he has lost consciousness. We are following the story very closely, have been now for several hours.

CNN's John Vause is live in Jerusalem with the very latest on Arafat's condition. John?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, what we're learning from Ramallah is that two hospitals in the West Bank city have been ready, they've been put on standby to accept Yasser Arafat should he decide to leave his Ramallah compound to seek medical treatment. The Palestinian Authority president has been unwell for the last 10 or 11 days, doctors only saying that it was a case of stomach flu. But it appears that his condition has worsened over the last three days, deteriorating rapidly over the last six hours. Our sources have confirmed that he did collapse, that he lost consciousness, that at one stage he was slipping in and out of consciousness.

His condition right now, though, is described by some as serious, by others as critical.

CNN has spoken to Suha Arafat, Yasser Arafat's wife. She says that, yes, her husband is sick, but he is not in a critical condition. She is now on her way to Ramallah from Paris. Also traveling to Ramallah is Arafat's personal physician, who is based in Jordan.

A short time ago, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority said that Arafat has in fact named a three-man committee to assume temporary control over the Palestinian Authority. Two things to take from that, Anderson, one that he is now well enough to make that decision, but also sick enough that he is being forced to give up control, at least temporarily, Anderson.

COOPER: Looking right now at a live shot of Arafat's Ramallah compound, a compound he has not left since, I believe, 2002, a compound where he is now, we believe, perhaps, has lost consciousness. We're not sure at this point. We see a large crowd sort of gathered.

John, that has been a point of contention, though, that Arafat has not appointed a successor. Many have said he has not done that because, frankly, he didn't want to anoint any potential rival who could, while he was still living, come and usurp him.

VAUSE: Well, one of the very big criticisms of Yasser Arafat is that he has kept his rivals, the heir apparent, weak. He has (UNINTELLIGIBLE) he's played rivals off against rivals to ensure that he is the man who remains in control of the Palestinian Authority.

But under the Palestinian constitution, there is a legal framework for this kind of eventuality. Under Article 120 of the Palestinian constitution, should Arafat die, then the speaker, the Palestinian legislator, would take control, with 60 days before elections are called. Should he be incapacitated, then authority then goes to the Palestinian prime minister. In this case that would be Ahmed Qorei.

So there is a structure in place should the worst happen as far as Arafat is concerned. But whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. And as you say, he certainly has kept his rivals and any heir apparent at a distance.

COOPER: But John, also, I mean, that, that, that succession plan that you talked about, I mean, that's what, that's what technically is supposed to happen on paper, as John Vause well knows. We just actually lost Vause.

One of the criticisms of John, John, as you well know, has been that while that's the succession plan on paper, on the streets and what happens with some of these militant groups is far different. I mean, there are serious challenges from Hamas. There are Gaza strongmen, there's a security chief in, I think Musa Arafat is his name, he's even a relative of Arafat.

There are all, there are a number of people and groups which would like to take over for Arafat.

Just lost John Vause. But again, you are looking at a picture of the Ramallah compound that Yasser Arafat is in, has been in now for many, many months, more than a year. He is said to be ailing. We are not sure the exact reason for his ailment. There have been a variety of different reports of gallstones, said some, the flu, said others. Doctors have done numerous cancer tests, according to reports.

But at this point, all we know is that Yasser Arafat is said to be ailing. It is said to be serious. We'll continue to follow this story over the course of the next hour, bring you any developments as warranted.

On to politics now here at home. What are those famous lines of poetry, "But at my back I always hear time's winged chariot hurrying near"? Well, imagine what that chariot sounds like to the candidates these days, only six of which remain before the election. Six days.

We begin tonight where there was so much trouble four years ago, and now, unthinkably, there is already trouble again.

National correspondent Susan Candiotti reports from Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Poor Diane Willis. About two weeks ago, the young mother applied for an absentee ballot to avoid this, enduring a two-hour wait at the polls with her toddler in tow. But when her absentee ballot failed to show, Willis drove to the polls anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not perfect, but if that's what it takes in order for me to get my vote counted, then that's what I have to do.

CANDIOTTI: In Broward County, Florida, officials say about 60,000 absentee ballots were mailed out three weeks ago, and that now, hundreds could be missing in action.

GISELA SALIS, DEPUTY ELECTIONS SUPERVISOR: This is a real concern to us as election officials.

CANDIOTTI: State and federal investigators are trying to figure out where the elusive ballots are. The largest batch was delivered to the main post office for distribution. Election officials tried to get answers from the Postal Service.

SALIS: They really provided no real explanation. They assured us that those ballots had actually left their facility. So where the ballots were, were really in question.

CANDIOTTI: Early voter Arthur Balo (ph) got wind of the trouble and got himself to the polls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to gamble on it. That's -- I read in the paper today, there are 60,000 ballots, absentee ballots, missing. I'm not going to be waiting around.

CANDIOTTI: The U.S. Postal Service issued a statement insisting local delivery normally takes one day. Quote, "All absentee ballots are processed and delivered immediately. There is no backlog of absentee ballots in postal facilities."

This would be-absentee voter not willing to wait another day.

(on camera): You are here today because you don't want to take any chances.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my vote counted. I want to make sure I get it done. I don't want it to get lost in the mail.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): So far, there is no evidence of any crime, and no firm number of missing ballots. It does highlight one more chink in Florida's election process that already has a lot of voters on edge.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: Federal postal inspectors tell CNN they are interviewing postal employees, for example those whose specific job it is to handle absentee ballots. But a seniors group in Palm Beach County is saying, Wait a minute, we're demanding that you start to overnight these absentee ballots to us if we haven't received them yet. Well, that's a possible solution if you can get through to some of the election offices, whose many phone lines are jammed.

Back to you, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, Susan, I hope you've caught up on your sleep, because I think you're going to be working a lot over the next week or so.

Susan Candiotti in Florida, thanks.

Want to go back now to the story we were covering a moment ago. On the phone now from inside the Yasser Arafat's Ramallah compound is Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator. I'm told he just met with Yasser Arafat.

Mr. Erakat, thanks for joining us.

What can you tell us about Yasser Arafat's condition?

SAEB ERAKAT, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR (on phone): Well, I just finished with seeing President Arafat just five minutes ago. The president's sick, and his situation is not critical, as was reported. He's not even in any (UNINTELLIGIBLE) come to anything. He's sick.

And tomorrow, actually, we'll have a consortium of Palestinian, Tunisian, Egyptian, and Jordanian doctors. And they will have to decide, we'll have to decide after, because all the tests that were conducted so far showed to be positive, all of the, all the tests did not show any (UNINTELLIGIBLE) conducted, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of them.

But the president is still not feeling well. And I think by tomorrow night, we'll have to decide, upon the consultation of this consortium, whether we continue the medication here, or that the doctors will have to decide.

COOPER: Mr. Erakat, there have been reports that at one point Yasser Arafat had lost consciousness. Can you confirm or deny that?

ERAKAT: No, that's absolutely not true. He never lost consciousness. He was awake all the time. He spoke to us, as I told you. He is sick. I'm not denying the sickness. I'm not denying that he has not recovered. But he never lost his consciousness under any -- at any time.

COOPER: You mention medications, what medications is he taking? What is he being treated for?

ERAKAT: Well, that's, you know, I think the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was, you know, virus, flu in the stomach, so they gave him some medication for that. Now they are making some further tests. But by tomorrow night, I think it will have to be decided whether he continues that medication (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in this compound, or we seek to go somewhere else.

COOPER: There had been some confusion, though, as I'm sure you know, some doctors had said flu, then it -- some doctors said gallstones, and then I understand there have been a number of tests related to cancer. Can you confirm that he's been tested for cancer, and can you tell me what the results of those tests have been?

ERAKAT: I think he was tested for all the things you mentioned and more. And things -- and the tests that they showed us, the doctors, proved to be positive. They will conduct (UNINTELLIGIBLE) more on this consortium. I think by tomorrow night we will know whether the president will continue the medication here in Ramallah, or we take him somewhere else.

COOPER: Saeb Erakat, thank you very much for joining us from the Ramallah compound of Yasser Arafat. Appreciate it.

Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian negotiator.

Well, again, we'll continue to follow this story throughout the hour, bring you any more updates as warranted.

Back to politics here at home. On election day, people mostly don't like photo finishes, I think we can all agree on that. People want to be able to clearly see for themselves who won, instead of walking around in circles waiting for the judges to decide. Well, once upon a time, that only happened at the racetrack. Now the photo finish seems to be a feature of elections here too. This one is neck and neck, certainly, and it is coming down to the wire.

Covering all the angles from the Bush camp tonight, here is CNN's senior White House correspondent John King.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wheels down, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Air Force One right on schedule, its passenger forced to divert his attention to the campaign dust-up over missing explosives in Iraq.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This investigation is important, and it's ongoing, and a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief.

KING: Three hundred eighty tons are missing. Senator Kerry says President Bush is to blame. The president says hundreds of thousands of tons have been destroyed, but would be in a tyrant's hands if his opponent lived in the White House.

BUSH: We would still be taking our global test. Saddam Hussein would still be in power.

KING: The plan was for Mr. Bush to use stops in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan to make an appeal for Democrats to cross over and support the Republican ticket.

BUSH: If you are a Democrat who wants America to lead with strength and idealism, I would be honored to have your support.

KING: But Senator Kerry is hitting hard, calling the missing explosives more proof Mr. Bush can't or won't own up to glaring mistakes in Iraq.

In Florida, Vice President Cheney said the Democrat is twisting or ignoring facts to hide a record of weakness on national security.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But he can't do it. It won't work. As we like to say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of the day, it's still a pig.

KING: Michigan is a late add to the Bush target list, this visit and nearly $2 million in late TV ad spending here because of tightening polls.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Now, as the president speaks at a giant rally here in Pontiac, Michigan, Anderson, his senior aides say that any debate about Iraq and terrorism is a debate on the president's turf. But Mr. Bush's decision to respond so forcefully today on the issue of those missing explosives reflects the belief that with the campaign so close, so late, no major charge can be left unanswered, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, John King, thanks for that from Pontiac.

On now to the Kerry campaign, and a report from senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Kerry thinks he's got hold of something, and he will not let go. Day three on the story of the missing explosives on Iraq.

SEN. JOHN KERRY, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Vice President Cheney, who is becoming the chief minister of disinformation, he echoed that it's not the administration's fault, and he even criticized those who raised the subject.

CROWLEY: Kerry strategists admit the ammo could have been taken by forces loyal to Saddam before his regime was toppled, but they insist the site was not checked early on, so the story, they say, crystallizes the argument that the president's war leadership has been incompetent.

So they are driving the story with a new ad, conference calls, and scads of paperwork. And from battleground to battleground, the candidate keeps the issue alive.

KERRY: I say this to the president. Mr. President, for the sake of our brave men and women in uniform, for the sake of those troops who are in danger, because of your wrong decisions, you owe America real answers about what happened, not just political attacks.

CROWLEY: The way his campaign sees it, pounding the ammo story keeps Kerry in the national headlines, but other issues put him on the front pages of battleground hometowns.

KERRY: You know, President Bush says he's got a plan to fix the economy. Carole King wrote a song that sums up my feelings about that, "It's Too Late, Baby."

CROWLEY: It is a moment that sums up the general feel of the Kerry campaign, confidence with a bit of swagger. Still, the itinerary feels otherwise. With six days left, Kerry was in Minnesota and Iowa Tuesday, two states Al Gore won in 2000. In campaign terminology, that's known as defense.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Rochester, Minnesota.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the Red Sox are hoping to end the curse tonight. That story tops our look what's happening cross-country.

St. Louis, Missouri, less than an hour, Busch Stadium, game four of the World Series. For the Cardinals, it is do or die. Now, if Boston wins, 86 years of frustration for Sox fans and the Curse of the Bambino will be wiped away. What then will TV newscasters have to talk about? We'll see.

San Francisco, California, Barry Bonds' 700th home run ball sold to the highest bidder, the price tag $804,129. That's after 240 offers in a 10-day online auction. New owner's identity has not been made public. Steve Williams grabbed the prize ball in a mad scramble in a game last month.

Los Angeles, now, Julia Roberts has been hospitalized. "People" magazine reports the actress, who is due to deliver twins in January, started having early contractions. Under new doctor's orders, she will stay in bed until she gives birth.

And in New York City, 100 years of the subway. That's right, the first underground ride took place on this day back in 1904. Today, vintage cars rolled on the first line to celebrate the anniversary. The first ride was just five cents. Back in my day, it was five cents. Today, it costs $2, and the subway has grown to 722 miles of track, the biggest underground transit system in the world. Even the mice on the tracks today were celebrating.

That's a look at stories cross-country tonight.

So are you ready for the 360 challenge? Later on in the program, going to ask you three questions. You know how it works, to test your knowledge of today's news. If you watched the program closely, you should be able to get all three. Be the first to e-mail us all three correct answers, we'll send you a 360 T-shirt. A lot of people taking part. We'll see if you're up to the challenge.

Also tonight, "The O'Reilly Factor." Lisa Bloom of Court TV has an exclusive look at some court documents we have not seen before.

Plus, political tensions to the extreme. Find out why someone tried to run over Katherine Harris, Florida's famed secretary of state from the 2000 recount. This just happened.

Also tonight, quake on tape. We'll take you 360 into the epicenter of a powerful tremor, all caught on tape. See what it is like to be shaken and stirred.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: After laying low for a few day, the Bill O'Reilly sex scandal is resurfacing tonight with some truly surprising developments. The new details were disclosed in court papers filed by lawyers for Fox News. And it's not only what they say but what name they're throwing around that may take a sexual harassment case down a whole new road.

Joining me now is Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom, who has broken the story.

Lisa, what do we know? LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, COURT TV: Hi, Anderson.

Well, what we have at Court TV, and it will be posted on our Web site tomorrow at CourtTV.com, are the documents that Fox News filed last week seeking emergency discovery. Ordinarily, in a case it takes about 30 days to get documents and depositions. Fox wants them earlier. They want depositions of Andrea Mackris, the plaintiff, as well as her two attorneys. And they want some documents and information.

One of those is any communications that she had with Al Franken. Now, Al Franken, of course, wrote a negative book about O'Reilly. He's sort of the archrival of Bill O'Reilly. And I think it's clear from what Fox has said publicly, and now from this filing, that they think that Andrea Mackris has conspired in some way with Al Franken in connection with her charges.

COOPER: But there's no evidence, at this point, that there's any connection between Andrea Mackris and Al Franken.

BLOOM: No, no evidence at all. But that's what they are looking for in one of their early discovery...

COOPER: So they just (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

BLOOM: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

COOPER: ... discovery request just to see if there is.

BLOOM: Just to see if there is. Well, apparently she had dinner with Al Franken on one occasion. That's been reported. And she hasn't denied that. She says at the dinner she was trying to defuse the negative relationship between O'Reilly and Franken. But apparently Fox suspects otherwise that perhaps they were plotting some way.

COOPER: They're also filing something to look at the contract between Andrea Mackris and her attorney.

BLOOM: That's right, the retainer agreement. While attorney- client communications are, of course, privileged, retainer agreements are not. They are discoverable, and she would have to turn that over.

COOPER: And they want to know that to see, like, when, when she hired him, if...

BLOOM: Right.

COOPER: ... if she hired him, you know, a year ago, to see if she was planning this, that...

BLOOM: I think the date is critical, because they want to line up the date when Andrea Mackris retained her attorneys, the Morelli firm, and line up the date of any tapes that might be in existence in this case, and see whether perhaps the attorneys put in their mind the idea of taping. Remember, they say that was the beginning of the extortion plot.

COOPER: So where does the case stand now?

BLOOM: Well, there -- this hearing will be, take place this Friday, in two days...

COOPER: And it was supposed to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) last Friday.

BLOOM: That's right.

COOPER: Didn't happen.

BLOOM: That's right. And you could interpret from the fact that it was put off a week that the parties are probably in heavy settlement discussions. Because look at it from Fox's point of view, from reading their papers. They wanted the tapes immediately. They wanted this discovery immediately. They said that this negative PR is hurting them on a daily basis, all of these shows that are talking about O'Reilly, that's it's hurting them.

That's the reason for the emergency. And then they did an about- face and agreed to put everything off a week. I think the only possible conclusion is, they're in settlement talks.

COOPER: But there is now a hearing scheduled for this coming Friday.

BLOOM: Scheduled for this Friday. If it gets put off again, I think we can interpret probably settlement talks would be continuing.

COOPER: All right, Lisa. Bloom, Court TV, with the documents. Thanks, Lisa.

BLOOM: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, from a pretty tawdry tale to a tragic one. Two children buried alive in an earthquake rubble in northern Japan. I'll check the unlink.

A 2-year-old boy, his 3-year-old sister, and their mother were trapped for four days in their car before being found today. Now, unfortunately, the mother died hours after the rescue. The boy's still alive and in a hospital tonight. His sister is still trapped, because aftershocks stopped the rescue Saturday's earthquake killed 31 people and injured more than 2,000.

In Tokyo, Japan, a pledge to keep troops in Iraq. Japan's prime minister says he is staying the course despite a threat by a militant group, which says it will kill a Japanese hostage within 48 hours unless Tokyo forces move out of Iraq.

That's a quick look at what is happening around the world in the unlink.

Coming up next on 360, a man attacks Katherine Harris with his car. Get this, he calls it a political expression. Find out what the guy was smoking. Details on that ahead.

And a little later, preelection stress syndrome. Is this presidential nail-biter wearing on your nerves? You are not alone. Lot of anxiety. We'll talk about that ahead.

And in a moment, today's 360 challenge. How closely have you been following today's news? Find out next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A big scare for Florida Congresswoman Katherine Harris. The name, of course, should be pretty familiar. She is Florida's former secretary of state, the one who made headlines during the recount in the 2000 election.

And it seems this guy has not forgotten about that battle. His name is Barry Seltzer. He's accused of trying to run over Harris with his car while she campaigned yesterday in Sarasota. Police say Seltzer admitted trying to intimidate Harris with his car, saying he was exercising his, quote, "political expression." Doing that with his car. Harris was not hurt. She says she feared for her life. And she is seeking reelection, of course, to her House seat. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from Mr. Seltzer.

As we saw in 2000, much to the nation's chagrin, sometimes presidential elections are not decided on election day. One doomsday scenario is a tie in the electoral college. Analysis of public polling by CNN today shows Bush leading with 249 electoral votes, Kerry with 228.

But with 61 electoral votes up for grabs in states too close to call, a deadlock could be a nightmare just waiting to happen in raw politics. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Don't get too hung up on the blue and red states, because on Tuesday night, the whole thing could, well, turn purple. Listen to this. Because the election is so close in 11 states, a computer model run by "The Washington Post" found that there are 33 scenarios that would lead to a November 2 tie, 269 electoral votes apiece. No winner, no loser, and no president.

If it's a tie, the election would go to these guys, the House of Representatives.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: But here's the catch. It would be one vote per state, 53 members of Congress from California, one vote, one member of Congress from Vermont, one vote. Would that be fair? That's what is in the Constitution.

COOPER: Last time there was a tie, 1800. The House had to vote 36 times to break it, and finally, Thomas Jefferson was elected.

Another possible scenario, this guy could decide the election, Mayor Richie Robb. Ever heard of him? He's one of five Republican electors in West Virginia and is supposed to cast his vote for President Bush. Except, he says, he might not want to anymore, if there's a tie. He could potentially offer the White House to John Kerry.

And then there's Colorado. It's a red state right now, but if voters pass Proposition 36 on November 2, the nine electoral votes would have to be allocated proportionally. It's unlikely, but it could potentially change the outcome of the election.

SCHNEIDER: This looks like it could be a close race all over the country, with not one Florida, but a lot of Floridas.

COOPER: If you thought 2000 was bad, well, get ready for next Tuesday's potential nightmare of raw politics.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Ties, missing ballots, provisional ballots, court case, there's a lot that can go wrong next week.

Covering the potential ballot breakdown is CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Good to see you.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Good evening.

COOPER: Lets talk -- lets talk about this electoral college. I want to show you this poll, first of all, 60 percent of Americans favor getting rid of the electoral college. Sixty one percent favorite it, 35 percent oppose it. For those that don't understand, why do we still have the electoral college.

TOOBIN: Well, it's in the Constitution, it's been part of the Constitution since the founding of the nation. And 61 percent is interesting, but it takes three quarters of the states to amend the Constitution. And the small states who have disproportion influence are simply not going to give up that influence and give up the electoral college. So, it's all well and good that 61 percent want to change it. But unless you get 75 percent of the states, you can't change it.

COOPER: I've gotten like 10 e-mails per day from viewers saying, please explain the electoral college.

Does it really serve a useful purpose?

TOOBIN: Well, the -- two reasons, basically. One reason is to give small sates some influence. Just like, you know, Wyoming has two senators and California has two senators, it does give disproportionate influence to the states and it's intended that way. The other purpose it is supposed to serve is to make small elections, small narrow margins of victory into mandates for one side or the other. In 1988, in 1992, in 1996, you had Dukakis and Clinton winning twice, not by tremendous votes in the popular vote but they won a lot of states so the country could sort of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) around one candidate. That's the theory, anyway, although most people seem to be rejecting it at this point. COOPER: Very briefly, there was a court ruling in Ohio which may have a big impact on the election.

TOOBIN: That's right. The Ohio -- a federal judge in Ohio stopped a Republican effort to check the registration of 35,000 new voters. It's still before the courts, but it is a big victory for Democrats who were claiming this was attempted intimidation. It's the kind of thing we're going to be watching really closely as we get closer, especially on election day it will get very tense.

COOPER: All right, Jeffrey Toobin, thanks.

TOOBIN: OK.

COOPER: Yasser Arafat in critical condition. Tonight his prognosis, his predicament, and what will happen when Arafat is gone?

Did this man kill this man?

An alleged confession shocks a high profile murder trial.

And are you ready for the "360 challenge"?

If you think you know news get ready to take our current events quiz. Details ahead when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: More now on the "Breaking News" about Yasser Arafat. Tonight the Palestinian leader's health is deteriorating. There were reports he was unconscious. In an interview I just did with chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, he denied that report. Clearly though the situation is serious. Doctors have rushed to his side. The question is what does this mean for the future of the region.

Joining me now is CNN -- my CNN colleague, Wolf Blitzer. Also covering extensively, is a correspondent for the "Jerusalem Post."

Wolf, good to see you.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Many years ago.

COOPER: Many years ago. But you still remember.

What does it mean?

What happens if Yasser Arafat goes away in one way or the other?

BLITZER: It means it is going to be chaotic for the Palestinian leadership at least in the short term until they short things out. Now Arafat over these many years and I covered him throughout -- since the early '80s when I was in Beirut, when he was forced out of Lebanon by the Israeli's. He has deliberately avoided an heir apparent.

COOPER: He didn't want a rival. BLITZER: Right. He didn't want anybody who could take over. So, he's got all these underlings who are working with him, working around him. Ahmed Abbas, Ahmed Coray (ph) and all these guys, none of whom have the kind of clout among the Palestinian leadership that he certainly has. And so, there's going to be a fight for succession.

COOPER: We've got a live shot right now, right outside his Ramallah compound. A compound he's been stuck in since 2002, apparently in very deteriorating health right now. That's a live shot. A lot of people sort of gather out there.

BLITZER: I went there about two years ago and interviewed him inside and it's so cramped, it's so dirty. It's very, very dangerous inside. The Israeli's, after I was there, they went in destroyed a bunch of cars outside, demolished some of the compound. Not necessarily a conducive place, but it has become symbolic for him. He's afraid to leave. The Israelis say go ahead and leave, but they're not guaranteeing they'll ever let -- they'll ever let him come back.

COOPER: On paper there sort of -- a succession plan. I mean, there are people who will supposedly, you know, three council group will supposedly make some decisions. But in reality in the streets, I mean, there is are a lot of competing forces. There's Hamas, there's various strong men Gaza who would like to take power.

BLITZER: Right. There's Hamas, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade of Fatah Movement, there's -- Palestinian Islamic Jihad. There's a lot of people out there that would like to take leadership of the Palestinian community. And at least in the short term I think there will be a crisis. Now, from the U.S. perspective, only this past week, a couple days ago, the National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice basically said to Arafat step down, time for you to leave. Time for a new Palestinian leadership to emerge that could negotiate some sort of peace settlement with the Israelis. That may happen, but it's exactly a voluntary move on his part. He's in very bad shape right now.

COOPER: Wolf Blitzer, thanks very much.

Here in the U.S., it is probably a good thing election day is less than a week away. The races is starting to drive some people crazy. Case in point, in Lake Worth, Florida police had to use a stun gun on a guy they say was holding his girlfriend captive and threatening to stab her in the neck with a screwdriver. His alleged motive, well for starters she was leaving him, but he also was enraged because she said she was going to vote for John Kerry, something her boyfriend apparently couldn't take.

So, all right, the guy was probably a little bit nuts, but this election certainly has caused a lot of family fighting and sleepless night for many people.

If you ask me, it feels like the nation is going through a "Midweek Crisis."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUSH: I feel great about where we are.

KERRY: I think Americans want a positive vision for the future.

COOPER (voice-over): The candidates are in campaign overdrive trying to appear cool, but the crowds they are drawing but anything but collected. As a nation, it sometimes seems as if we're coming undone. There's the name calling.

JON STEWART: You are as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.

COOPER: And then there's all that dog gone fear.

DAVID LETTERMAN, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Both candidates are using fear tactics. And my fear -- honest to God, my fear is that one of them will get elected.

COOPER: The fact is one of them will get elected. And Americans are so wrapped up in who wins they are stressed out, suffering from emotional outbursts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm very anxious about it and I've got a lot of other work to do but it is constantly on the back of my mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For some reason it has gotten to be a huge dilemma for the country.

COOPER: Why all the preelection anxiety?

Well, obviously there's a war going on. Polls show the race is too close to call. And as armies of lawyers are dispatched and the lawsuits are already flying, people are afraid we'll have a bitter repeat of the 2000 election, with the perils of electronic voting becoming this year's hanging chad.

DAVID GERGEN, FMR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: It's fair to challenge the votes in an immediate aftermath of an election. But when it goes on week after week after week, it was wrenching for the country.

COOPER: Wrenching is right. Check out the tears at this 2000 election gathering. One cafe owner in Illinois said this year, she will have food, and TVs and therapist on hand at her election party. Observers say emotions are running high because this race has been so nasty, so polarizing. People are afraid if the other guy wins, the country will go to ruin, the neighbors will come to blows. Some advise from Senator John McCain, a Republican who doesn't always hold to the party line.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), NEW MEXICO: It should remain an argument among friends who share an unshaken belief in our great cause, and in the goodness of each other, we are Americans first, Americans last, and Americans always.

COOPER: So fellow Americans try to calm down. And remember, Roosevelt.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Earlier I discussed these preelection jitters with somebody that knows the political landscape pretty well, former Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton adviser, David Gergen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So David, what do you make with this preelection stress syndrome people are talking about?

DAVID GERGEN, FRM. PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I think it's real. There was a cartoon in the "New Yorker" not long ago of a divorce court. A woman is telling a judge, he's from a red state and I'm from a blue state. And people, you know, there are a lot of folks. You talk spouses are not talking to their spouses, because they have such strong political disagreements.

And "Washington Post" had a great piece this past weekend by Joe Luckenbach about preelection anxiety disorder. And Democrats are having bad dreams at night. They are so -- Bush has been so demonized, that people are frightened of another 4 years. And at the same time Republicans can't imagine this Francophile, like John Kerry coming in, and maybe bringing Hillary somewhere close with him.

COOPER: There's fear, I guess, on both sides of the political isle then.

Why do you think it is? I mean, is it that both candidates have been using fear so much, or candidates have been using fear on the campaign trail?

GERGEN: This isn't -- in ordinary election, a normal election where we divide over abortion or something like that. But we're in a war now. And people are deeply scared on the Democratic side that if we re-elect Bush he's not only Iraq going to continue to go badly, bit that we will go into Iran and we may go into North Korea. Whereas Republicans are deeply scared. If you get a Kerry, you will give away the store in Iraq. And we won't defend ourselves and our children will get attacked.

I think the fear factor has been so heavily emphasized by both sides, so heavily hyped by both sides that you know, good folks in the middle are really genuinely scared that the other side wins, oh my god!

COOPER: There's also so much distress out there. This "Time" magazine poll found almost half of Americans, I think it was 48 percent, believe that the winner of the election will be illegitimate. I mean, how does one govern after that?

GERGEN: I think the big issue will be, will the loosing side be gracious, or are we going into court battles here for a couple of months and just get tied up in knots as a people, and the loser actually coming to congratulate the winner.

And then secondly, will the winner reach out to the losing side?

COOPER: Also will their supporters sort of become unpolarized. I feel people incredibly polarized in the e-mails we get. I'm wondering, do people step away from that?

GERGEN: I don't know. I think a lot depends on what the political activists do. There's a political scientist out in California named Morris Ferarino (ph) who has a got a very good, small book out now who argues people in the middle are more moderate. They are conflicted, but they are not as deeply alienated and split as the activists are on both ends of the spectrum. It's the activists who both ends who are whipping a lot of this up, whipping up the anger, demonizing the other side putting out the terrible ads about each other, just saying awful things. And they generate a lot of these e- mails.

So, you know from your personal experience, you say something negative, about one candidate or the other, you just get socked. People beat your brains out with the e-mails each day. You get vile messages over your phone, and things like that. We haven't seen this in America, at least we didn't when I was growing up and you were growing up. This is quite different, and I think the activists have got to call this off.

COOPER: Well, I hope after the election, at least, we all sort of take a breather.

GERGEN: We're hoping the Red Sox nation that we'll take a breather after tonight.

COOPER: OK. David Gergen, thanks very much for joining us.

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: Well coming up next on 360, the murder trial of Danny Pelosi. Prosecutors say he killed for $80 million. Now a former friend says he did it and liked it. We'll have the latest from the court.

Also tonight, when celebrities attack. Rip Torn's (ph) on camera tirade is really nothing new for actors who have a habit of acting out. We'll take a look at that

Also tonight, a World Series win on a lunar eclipse? Red Sox fans dream the impossible dream. We'll take that to the Nth Degree.

And in a moment, today's 360's Challenge. How closely have you been following today's news? Find out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for today's 360 Challenge. Be the first to answer all three questions correctly, we'll send you a 360 T-shirt.

An investigation is underway tonight into missing ballots in what Florida county?

No. 2, Florida's former secretary of state Katherine Harris is seeking reelection to what office?

And No. 3, Florida police say a man threatened to stab his girlfriend for planning to vote for whom?

To take the challenge, log on to CNN.com, right now, CNN.com/360, then click on the answer link. Answer first, and you'll get the 360 shirt. Find out last night's challenge winner and tonight's answers coming up a little later on in the program.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well not to be flip, but it's the kind of murder trial that TV movies are made for. The defendant was accused of killing his lover's husband. Prosecutions say it wasn't a crime of passion, it was all about money, $80 million worth.

And this week, a jury in New York is hearing from a star witness that says the accused not only confessed to the murder, but he actually enjoyed it. CNN's Deborah Feyerick reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The night he was beaten to death in his beachside mansion, Wall Street whiz Ted Ammon begged for mercy. His accused killer, Daniel Pelosi, allegedly telling an ex-girlfriend that using a flashlight and lamp quote, "I bashed his brains in and he cried like a bitch and begged for his wife."

Testifying in court, the ex-girlfriend Tracy Ribbonfeld (ph) said "Pelosi confessed to her, because she was upset and crying having just discovered Pelosi married the dead man's widow, Generosa Ammon, 3 months after the murder." The girlfriend testified Pelosi said he hated his new wife, saying he feared quote, "Generosa was going to frame him."

Pelosi allegedly telling his ex-girlfriend, "Generosa Ammon was in the house during the murder acting as a look-out in case anyone stopped over." It's the first time any witness has placed the deadman's wife at the scene.

The Ammon's, once popular in New York society circles, were in the middle of a vicious divorce, fighting over custody of their twins and a fortune worth up to $80 million.

Generosa died of breast cancer last year, leaving Pelosi $2 million on a condition he not contest her will. Pelosi's lawyer dismissed the ex-girlfriend's testimony as sour grapes.

GERALD SHARGEL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is a woman who was, by her own admission, scorned and devastated by her break-up with Danny Pelosi. She thought there was a future there.

FEYERICK: A future at one time she was ready to lie for, ready to give Pelosi his alibi for the night of the murder. Rivenfeld telling the jury, "he wanted me to say that we were having sex in the back of his Bronco."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: Now the defense lawyer tried to paint Pelosi's ex- girlfriend as a liar with a drug problem. By all accounts, the jury listened very closely. The ex-girlfriend saying Pelosi twisted her arm behind her back threatening she would never see her kids again if she ever repeated the story to anyone -- Anderson.

COOPER: Charming bunch. All right. Thanks.

360 next, actor Rip Torn's outburst caught on tape. A look at celebrities on the attack. Why do we watch them? "Inside the Box."

Also tonight, taking rarity to the Nth Degree. Boston Red Sox fans holding out hope for a World Series.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Actor Rip Torn has made people laugh through the numerous roles he's had in show business. His latest role though is more serious, that of the defendant facing charges of driving while intoxicated. Today in a New York City courtroom a jury got to judge the star's performance the night he was arrested which was all caught on tape. Now of course Torn is not the first star to find himself in a scrape and see his case played out inside the box. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): You probably remember Rip Torn like this, as Artie, the producer on the "Larry Sanders Show." Obnoxious, yes, but not downright (UNINTELLIGIBLE). A far cry from his performance on a police video shot on the streets of New York in January. The Emmy- winning actor has just been arrested for drunk driving after slamming his car into the back of a cab. His lawyer says he wasn't drunk, just tired, angry, and abused by an overzealous cop. Truth be told, we always find it kind of fascinating when those who keep us entertained onscreen step outside the law offscreen.

Long before Sean Penn won an Oscar as a grieving father in "Mystic River" he did time for punching out an extra in 1987 and used his fist to sort out the paparazzi during his marriage to Madonna.

HUGH GRANT, ACTOR: Being prime minister, I could just have him murdered.

COOPER: We may love watching Hugh Grant bumbling on the big screen but it was much more fun reading his arrest for public lewdness with a transvestite hooker in 1995 and seeing him squirm through his TV apology tour.

GRANT: I think you know in life pretty much what's a good thing to do and what's a bad thing. I did a bad thing. There you have it.

COOPER: Even diva Diana Ross has had her moments. Here to be arrested for drunk driving in Tuscon.

And when there's no video there just might be a mugshot. Nick Nolte in 2002 charged with DUI. Pee-Wee Herman charged with possessing child porn. Edward Furlong in 2004 caught liberating lobsters in Kentucky.

There's a lesson here, of course. If fame is the name of your game remember, there's always someone waiting to shoot the picture when you step out of line inside the box.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(on camera): Well, 360 next. Boston Red Sox fans are expecting the unexpected or unexpecting the expected I guess. We'll take that to the Nth Degree. And the 360 challenge. Here's another look at tonight's questions. An investigation is under way tonight into missing ballots in what Florida county?

Florida's former secretary of state Katherine Harris is seeking re-election to what office?

And finally, Florida police say a man threatened to stab his girlfriend for planning to vote for whom?

So have you been paying attention? We'll have the answers when we come back. Plus last night's winner.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: I hope the e-mails are in. Time now for the answers to today's 360 challenge. An investigation is under way tonight into missing ballots in what Florida county? The answer is Broward.

Florida's former secretary of state Katherine Harris is seeking reelection to what office? The answer, the U.S. House.

And Florida police say a man threatened to stab his girlfriend for planning to vote for whom? The answer is John Kerry.

First person to answer all three questions correctly will be sent a 360 T-shirt. Tune in tomorrow to find out if you are the winner. Last night's 360 challenge winner. Sara Wolf of Tucson, Arizona. Another 360 challenge and another chance to be a winner tomorrow.

Tonight, taking rarity to the Nth Degree. For starters, there will be a total eclipse of the moon this evening. That's fairly rare. And then, and here we enter the realm of the extremely rare. It may very well be that also this evening the Boston Red Sox will win their first world Series since 1918. So have a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) later on. Be on the look-out for flying pigs. And mind where you step, there'll probably be hen's teeth scattered all over the place.

Also FYI, with hell frozen over, a snowball's chance there is way better than it was even yesterday. So don't base any bets on that calculation. If you happen to have a sow's ear lying around tonight would be the night to make a silk purse out of it. And go ahead lead your horse to water, they'll drink all right till the cows come home which they'll do obediently whenever you want them to.

Finally, be sure to wear a hat if you go out. There may be a whole heck of a lot of rare birds flapping around. I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching 360. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."

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


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