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Marines Prepare for Attack on Fallujah; Interview With Jerry Falwell

Aired November 5, 2004 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening from New York. I'm Anderson Cooper.
Thousands of Marines prepare for a fight in Fallujah.

360 starts now.

War planes hammer Fallujah. Tonight, how U.S. Marines are prepping to wipe out insurgents and terrorists with a massive urban assault.

The president says cabinet changes are coming, but who's going? The buzz on Colin Powell, and why some say Condoleezza Rice wants Rumsfeld's job.

He made a movie. An Islamic extremist stabbed and shot him in broad daylight. Tonight, one man's murder, and why a note left on his body promises more killing.

And the blame game. Pointing fingers postelection. Did the mayor of San Francisco help or hurt gay rights and John Kerry?

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

COOPER: And a good evening to you.

In all of the talk this week about politics and elections and who won what, it has been easy to forget about what's happening in Iraq. Tonight, reality returns. Right now, as I sit here and you sit there, it is 3:00 a.m. in Iraq, and outside Fallujah, thousands of young American Marines are readying for what may be the fight of their lives.

Fallujah has been in the hands of insurgents and foreign fighters, terrorists, for months. They're in control of the city. They're entrenched, and the fight could be brutal indeed.

Embedded with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force outside Fallujah is CNN's Karl Penhaul, who joins me now live on the phone. Karl, what's the latest?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on phone): Hi, there, Anderson.

At the moment, we're rolling through the desert just on the northern edge of Fallujah. Tonight's mission by the Marine units that we're embedded with has been to approach the northern gateways of Fallujah and to probe the defenses of the insurgents who are holding that city.

In the last few moments, we've seen the U.S. AT-130 Specter gunships pounding targets inside the city from the air. We've counted probably 20 explosions caused by the impact from the 105-millimeter cannons that those AT-130s carry on board.

There seems to have been very little response from the insurgents themselves inside the city, although across towards the northwest corner of the city, we did hear heavy machine guns firing for the space of a few minutes. But that has now died down.

According to the latest U.S. military intelligence report, there could be up to 3,000 insurgents holed up inside of Fallujah. Certainly no timeline has been set for an all-out assault on the city. But U.S. commanders on the ground are certainly now talking of when that assault will begin, not if.

They're also saying that for the Marine force, this will be their biggest fight since the Hue City in Vietnam in 1968. It's going to be an urban combat, and hard to say that it could be bloody, and it could get very dirty very quickly, Anderson.

COOPER: So fighting in Hue, in '68, brutal fighting, street by street, building by building, much of the city destroyed. What are the Marines expecting in terms, I mean, they, these, these insurgents, these terrorists, have had months to, to, to lay a groundwork, to lay defenses. What are you anticipating finding once you guys start entering the city?

OK, we lost Karl Penhaul. Karl Penhaul, embedded with the U.S. Marines. As he said right now, they are approaching one part of the city of Fallujah, probing, he said, the defenses, probing to see what kind of a response they are getting from the insurgents, who have been embedded in that city for a long time. We'll try to get Karl back up on the phone as soon as we can.

President Bush is spending the night at Camp David, where he's being briefed on Fallujah and possibly considering the inevitable shakeup of his cabinet. As the president gets ready for his second term in office, some of his closest confidants around that round table will soon be leaving. Already today, Cofer Black, the president's point man for international counterterrorism, resigned, and more are expected.

CNN's Kathleen Koch takes a look from the White House.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cabinet shuffle, a political dance with the president calling the steps.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The cabinet, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), there will be some changes. I don't know who they will be. It's inevitable there will be changes. It happens in every administration.

KOCH: Most turnover speculation focuses on the Bush national security team.

MICHAEL WEISSKOPF, "TIME" MAGAZINE: I would expect Secretary Powell to move over very quickly, possibly Attorney General Ashcroft, who's been there for four years, had some health problems, might move out, particularly because he was a symbol for the far right.

KOCH: Word is that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has no plans to leave. There's talk national security adviser Condoleezza Rice may be interested in a different role in the second term, but not secretary of state.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Social functions that you have to do in the pomp and circumstance that goes with that job, she finds that somewhat tedious, and she really likes the Defense Department. I think the growing possibility that Condi Rice is going to stay in Washington as (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the first woman to become secretary of defense.

KOCH: Other possible departures, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, Education Secretary Rod Paige, and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. But Washington observers point out that with elections in Iraq in January and developments in the Israeli-Palestinian situation, some may stay on a few months longer than expected.

ALLEN LICHTMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: You are not going to see sudden and abrupt change. I think some will leave early, but if there's going to be change, it's going to be gradual and piecemeal.


KOCH: Now cabinet wannabes begin jockeying for position, while those departing plan new lives, often involving more time with their families and more lucrative private sector jobs, Anderson.

COOPER: Kathleen Koch, thanks very much.

Today there was some job news that President Bush could have used before the election, but he probably won't mind hearing it now. Here's a fast fact. Job growth last month almost doubled expectations. The Labor Department reports that some 337,000 jobs were added in October. On the flip side, however, unemployment also rose by 0.1 percent to 5.5 percent. Economists were not expecting that rate to change.

The fact that an assault on Fallujah is set to take place as soon after the elections has raised questions about timing and politics. Was the assault put off for political reasons?

I talked about that earlier with the "CROSSFIRE" guys, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.

Let's talk about Fallujah. Paul, I want to show you something that you said back in September about the planning for this attack. Let's take a look.


PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": If it's right to attack the enemy there, then we should do it sooner rather than later, rather than have more time to fortify themselves, more time to build up defenses, more time to entrench themselves. But it seems to me that the president is very vulnerable to the accusation that he's timing his military offensive for after the election.


COOPER: It's now three days after the election. It looks like a military attack on Fallujah is imminent sometime in the next couple days and/or weeks. Is this a political decision?

BEGALA: Who knows? Only the president knows. But I haven't seen any evidence to the contrary. No one has come forth with a really plausible military explanation as to why we have to wait until a few days after the election. If the imperative was to take Fallujah, then you take Fallujah.

And so, yes, I stand by what I said. It turns out, tragically, that it looks like I was prophetic.

COOPER: Tucker, do you think the president waited because of political consequences?

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I have no idea. I, of course, hate to think that. I personally never quite understood why we allowed, for instance, the killings of those four Blackwater contractors in April to go essentially unavenged, or maybe not unavenged, but I think we ought to have cleaned out Fallujah a lot earlier. Why we didn't, I honestly don't know. It seems like a military decision.

I will say it's not so clear to me, however, that waiting until after the election was the best political move. You could make the case, and it may be right, that in fact, having an ongoing battle in Fallujah around the time of the election might have helped Bush, because it would remind people that we are, in fact, at war.

COOPER: Tucker, the president is expected to be focusing this weekend on cabinet changes. John Ashcroft, widely expected to leave. Who do you think would replace him?

CARLSON: I don't have any idea. I mean, I've heard a bunch of names, but, you know, Anderson, I got out there on CNN's air repeatedly saying I thought John Kerry was going to win the presidency early and by a pretty wide margin, and that was so dumb and painful, I'm never going to predict anything on television again ever, starting right now. Sorry.

COOPER: Paul, what about you, I mean, as you look at possible cabinet changes, what jumps out? BEGALA: Yes, you know what? I made an even dumber and bolder prediction and more wrong than Tucker's. And so, but I haven't learned, I'm still foolish. Will he put Rudy Giuliani in at the Justice Department? He was a top prosecutor under Ronald Reagan in the Justice Department. He knows the department well. But is he either too liberal for social conservatives? Because he supports gay rights and abortion rights, and all -- and he supports gun control.

COOPER: There's also talk that Condoleezza Rice might want Donald Rumsfeld's job. What do you make of that, Tucker?

CARLSON: I find it sort of hard to believe. There's been a lot of criticism within Washington of her tenure. And, be, you know, her job is to, one of her jobs, it seems to me, and at least traditionally has always been, is to keep disagreements between State and DOD kind of under wraps, and those disagreements, of course, were not at all under wraps. We read about them every morning in "The Washington Post."

So it's sort of hard for me to believe, but, you know, who knows?

BEGALA: Well, I would like nothing better, because, you may recall that when Ambassador Bremer was the viceroy of Iraq, the president made a change in reporting. And instead of having him report to either Rumsfeld at Defense or (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or Secretary Powell at State, he reported directly to Condoleezza Rice. The president said Condoleezza Rice will be directly responsible for the occupation of Iraq.

It has been the greatest disaster in 25 years. I'd love nothing better than to see her put under oath before the Senate in hearings to defend the rank incompetence that she and the rest of that team showed. So as a Democrat and also as a citizen, I'd like nothing better than to have some accountability for the bungling.

CARLSON: Yes, maybe send her to prison while we're at it. I mean, you know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BEGALA: Fine, send her to Iraq.

CARLSON: Come on.

BEGALA: Give her a rifle. Sign her up.

COOPER: Tucker, do you think she's been rankly incompetent, as Paul says?

CARLSON: No, of course not. I mean, that's a horrible thing to say. I do know that, you know, that there have been serious criticisms of her. There she has many defenders. I'll tell you one thing that I know for certain is that she is one of the closest people, not just in Washington, probably in the world, to President Bush. You know, everybody at that level of White House staff, you know, sort of you assume they're close to the president. But there are degrees. She really is. So I'm not exactly sure what that would say. Probably that he wants, you know, maybe more direct control of the Department of Defense.

COOPER: Tucker Carlson, Paul Begala, thanks.

BEGALA: Thanks.

CARLSON: Thanks.

COOPER: Well, tonight, the last state to declare a winner in the election is turning red. Here's a news note. Iowa and its 7 electoral votes have been called in favor of President Bush. Reports give Bush 745,980 vote to Kerry's 732,764. Now, with Iowa, the president has a total of 286 electoral votes, Kerry finished with 252.

Day three of jury deliberations in the Scott Peterson murder trial tops our look at what's going on right now cross-country.

Taking you to Redwood City, California. Jurors are reviewing some evidence in the case, but the judge isn't saying exactly what they asked to see. Peterson is accused, of course, killing his wife and unborn son. The judge has barred live TV coverage of the verdict, but will allow an audio feed.

Mount Hood, Washington, one climber dies, another survives. An update on a story we brought you last night. Both men fell into a crevasse. One was able to use his cell phone to call for help. He was rescued. The other suffered head and back injuries, and he died at the scene. That's them working on him right there.

In Las Vegas now, Nevada, former NFL player arrested. Cole Murdoch Ford (ph), a former kicker for the L.A. Raiders, faced a judge today. Police have been searching for him for weeks. Ford's accused of shooting into the compound of entertainers Siegfried and Roy in September. No one was hurt in the drive-by shooting. Ford's lawyer says he may seek the insanity defense.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE), Texas, now, dude ranch burns to the ground. A ranch employee faces arson charges. Luckily, no one was hurt. The ranch was recently sold to a bank in a foreclosure auction. The owner said one day she hoped to buy back the ranch.

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

360 next, U.S. troops gearing up for urban warfare in Fallujah, Iraq. Find out what they're likely to face on the ground.

Plus, a sickening attack on freedom. A filmmaker assassinated, gunned and stabbed in the streets because of a movie he made critical of Islam.

Also tonight, the great American divide over same-sex marriage. Did it cost Democrats the election? Covering all of the angles on that.

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


COOPER: Karl Penhaul told us at the top of the program that Marines are probing the outer edges of Fallujah right now. The thousands of troops there are waiting an order to begin their all-out assault on the rebel city.

The mission, put down a bloody insurgency that's been active for months. Fallujah used to be a city of 250,000 people, now there are only about 50,000 remain. People have called it a Taliban-like city ruled by foreign terrorists and hard-line insurgents.

Residents have left. An offensive here could mean days if not weeks of months of urban warfare and house-to-house combat. Now, U.S. Marines are preparing for the worst, from bombs to booby traps. They are expecting a tough fight ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Doc, make sure you hang out behind me a little bit so I can give you some cover.

COOPER (voice-over): Getting ready for urban combat, U.S. Marines rehearsing one last time an assault on Fallujah, a hotbed of Sunni insurgents and foreign terrorists.

But soon, it will be for real. This is what the Marines are expecting, a few thousand Islamic extremists and Iraqi insurgents controlling the city, knowing every alley, every building, snipers laying in wait, booby traps already wired, cars packed with explosives, danger at every corner.

SGT. MICHAEL CHAMBERS, U.S. MARINES: That's what's kind of scary. You're rolling right by, thinking you're secure, and then they pop up off the rooftop behind you, and then here comes an RPG.

COOPER: In past decades, we've seen that fighting in cities can eliminate the advantage a modern army enjoys with its high-tech weapons. Mogadishu, Somalia, 1993, without the support of Somali clans, U.S. firepower wasn't enough to defeat an elusive enemy. Grozny, Chechnya, the Russian army has destroyed much of the capital but has never fully eradicated Chechen fighters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Urban warfare is a dirty business. The defender initially has the advantage because he knows the terrain much better than the attacker. If the defender is able to use the defense to his advantage, the attacker will be slowed.

COOPER: U.S. Marines know the battle for Fallujah will likely be fought street by street, door by door, every civilian a potential insurgent. That's why some are painting on their tanks a message for the people of Fallujah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Stay away, or we'll kill you."


COOPER: "Stay away, or we'll kill you."

Joining us now is "TIME" magazine reporter Phil Zabriskie. He just come back from Fallujah, where he's been reporting on the insurgency and U.S. military offensives.

Thanks for being with us.


COOPER: We just heard from Karl Penhaul, who was in this patrol that's sort of probing the outer edges of Fallujah. You've been on patrols like that very recently. What is it like? I mean, what are the Marines expecting?

ZABRISKIE: Well, on those, they, a lot of it is sort of like a scouting mission, where they go in. The one we were involved in was the middle of October, and they went from several different directions, some Army units as well, and they have overhead surveillance satellites that show them who moves where, and, you know, what, trying to get them to think, This is the big go, and so they can see where they're going to plan (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

COOPER: Is there any sense of, I mean, how many insurgents or foreign fighters are still left in Fallujah? Because, I mean, there have been some intelligence reports that a lot of them have already left and sort of snuck away.

ZABRISKIE: I don't know, to be honest with you. I mean, I heard estimates from over 1,000 to 5,000 to many, you know, many more thousands than that. But I think they assume that some are leaving, but they also have defensive positions dug in in the city. So they think that at least some of them will stay and fight.

COOPER: And by all accounts, I mean, Fallujah has become like a Taliban-run city. I mean, there, the, I was reading an account awhile back that, like, music stores have shut down. I mean, it's really sort of Taliban-style rule there.

ZABRISKIE: Right. Well, they -- one of the problems the military has, I think, throughout the country, especially in that Sunni triangle, is that the people are just terrified. They're intimidated. They won't speak to the soldiers on the street. You know, they won't speak to us, they won't speak to journalists. They really fear what would happen to them after the patrols go away.

COOPER: Right.

ZABRISKIE: So they're not able to -- you know, these guys can basically do what they want.

COOPER: Is there any sense, I mean, it's hard to get a picture of, you know, people talk about (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and that Fallujah has been a base of his operations. But at this point, it doesn't seem like the U.S. really knows one way or another where this guy is. I mean, he could still be in Fallujah, but for all we know, he's operating out of some other cities.

ZABRISKIE: Right. Similarly, I've heard, we heard, while in Iraq, many opinions on that. Some said he was there, some said he wasn't. And most of it was based on hunches. There is really no definitive opinion. It was just reading the tea leaves.

COOPER: Another city which has been a lot of problems, Ramadi. You were there for, I think, for an assault on Ramadi. What was that like? How organized was the opposition?

ZABRISKIE: They seemed quite well organized, especially, I mean, they know how to fight this fight. They know how to do hit and run attacks, how to set up ambushes, how to lay IEDs. They know they're free to put them back in the same exact places the next day because the patrols can't stay out there all night. So in that sense, they're very well organized. You know, in terms of hierarchy, I really couldn't tell you, but...

COOPER: According, the plan, apparently, for Fallujah that's been released thus far is that the Iraqi forces will go in first, and the Marines will follow. The Marines you talked to, I mean, how confident are they in the abilities of those Iraqi forces?

ZABRISKIE: Right. I think in -- with some of them, they trust some of them. They have a few battalions that have been trained up by (UNINTELLIGIBLE) by special forces, by U.S. special forces. A lot of them are old Kurdish peshmerga or old Shi'a militia guys. And they were used in Ramadi too, when they did a series of raids on mosques, so -- because they could send them first.

COOPER: Right. The peshmerga guys are a different breed.

ZABRISKIE: Right, I mean, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), these guys are old time, they're longtime professional fighters, and they're ready go. And they're also not local to Fallujah or Ramadi, which helps out, because then they don't fear retribution against their families.

COOPER: Right. It's the new or the younger troops which, I guess, are the big problem, and they're the ones...


COOPER: ... still being trained.

Phil Zabriskie, we appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much.


COOPER: 360 next, the Van Gogh murder. A filmmaker gunned down and stabbed in the streets because of his criticisms of Islam. And now a letter threatening a famous politician with the same fate.

Also tonight, the great American divide over same-sex marriage. Did it cost John Kerry the election? Covering all the angles.

And a little later, far different thing, something that gets you into the weekend mood. The Osbournes, Ozzy and Sharon, on President Bush and the elections and all sorts of stuff.

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


COOPER: Well, one week ago today, a Dutch filmmaker who directed a movie on Islam said he couldn't imagine anyone wanting to hurt him. Four days, later he was dead.

The murder of Theo Van Gogh was particularly brutal and brazen. Authorities say his killer was an Islamic terrorist, a self-proclaimed martyr who may be part of a wider terror conspiracy that's left the country shaken to its core.

CNN's Diana Muriel reports.


DIANA MURIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands of mourners braved the November chill to protest the killing of controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in a central Amsterdam square. Forty-seven-year-old Van Gogh, a distant relative of the 19th-century painter Vincent Van Gogh, was shot and stabbed to death on his way to work Tuesday.

Police say he received death threats following the release last August of his television film criticizing the treatment of women under Islam.

Police have arrested and charged seven people, all of Moroccan or Algerian origin, in connection with the crime, including a 26-year-old man who was caught after the police shootout near the scene of the killing.

Dutch police also found a letter on the filmmaker's body, making threats against a controversial female liberal politician, Ayan Hassi Ali (ph).

Van Gogh was an outspoken critic of Islam, branding imams as women-haters and ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad in his newspaper columns. Some branded him an extremist. Others championed him as an advocate of free speech. But addressing the crowd of mourners, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk (ph) told them, "In this country, nobody can be killed because of what he says. That is not what we want."

Her words echoed by the Dutch prime minister.

JAN PETER BALKENENOE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Solutions are not going to be reached if bullets are used. Freedom of speech is a very crucial thing for everybody, always.

MURIEL: Immigration, integration, and Islam are burning political issues in the Netherlands, home to nearly 1 million Muslims. Security for politicians has been stepped up since the murder of Pym Fortuyn just days ahead of the May 2002 election, in which his party, fighting on an anti-immigration platform, took second place.

Diana Muriel, CNN, London.


COOPER: Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat is on life support. That tops our look at what's going on right now in the uplink.

After days of no confirmation, Palestinian and U.S. officials said today Arafat's being kept alive by machines at a Paris hospital. Two U.S. officials say Arafat's family will not take him off life support until burial arrangements are worked out. Arafat's family wants him buried in Jerusalem, but Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has ruled it out.

Kolden (ph) Denmark, now, a fireworks factory goes up in flames. Massive explosion. The fire damaged 350 buildings, including homes and businesses. One firefighter was killed, 25 others injured.

Teotihaucan (ph), Mexico, a Wal-Mart subsidiary opens for business despite protests. Blockades and hunger strikes did nothing to stop the store from being built near the city's ancient temples. Protesters said the store will block the view of the towering Pyramid of the Sun that hundreds of tourists visit every day.

And in London, England, jamming at the House of Music awards, as if there's not enough awards shows. This one recognizes the mixes made by DJs in dance clubs. I could rattle off the names of the winners, but just go to to hear the audio samples and get your groove on.

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

The blame game, pointing fingers postelection. Did the mayor of San Francisco help or hurt gay rights and John Kerry?

And are you ready for the 360 challenge? If you think you know news, get ready to take our current events quiz when 360 continues.


COOPER: In this half hour on 360, same-sex marriage and family values. Did they cost Democrats the election? Chrissy Gephardt joins us live, but first, tonight's "Reset."

A federal judge has upheld the Army's stop-loss program that extends the enlistment for National Guard and reserve troops. Two guardsmen had sued the government claiming they signed up to serve again for only one year, but were unfairly ordered to serve longer.

From New Jersey, why did an F-16 fighter jet fire away at a middle school? That's what the National Guard is still trying to figure out. The jet's pilot hit the school in Little Egg Harbor Wednesday night. He was supposed to hit a military firing range over three miles away. The school sustained minor damage and is expected to reopen on Monday.

In the Florida Keys, a ship named the Enchantment of the Seas sits at a dock in the bay. A tugboat pushed a barge into the Royal Caribbean cruise ship today, leaving a six-foot hole in the hull. That's it there. Officials say the ship is being repaired. None of the 2,700 people onboard were injured. And that's a quick look at "The Reset."

Whenever anything goes wrong, there's usual somebody pointing the finger at someone else, especially in the world of politics. So when Senator John Kerry lost his presidential bid Tuesday, it's no surprise that many Democrats started dishing out the blame at Kerry, at his campaign, at party leaders, and perhaps more pointedly at the mayor of San Francisco.

Why? It's a matter of "Raw Politics."


COOPER (voice-over): There are some who say the seeds for John Kerry's defeat may have been planted as far away as San Francisco, as close as his own backyard, and nearly nine months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wholly and legally married.

COOPER: It was back in February that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of gay marriage. And Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, said his city would issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM (D), SAN FRANCISCO: We had a day yesterday where marriage was recognized in this country, and people finally came to their senses, and in San Francisco led the way to stop discrimination.

COOPER: Not so fast. That celebration was followed by a quick call from President Bush for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and that, some say, may have been enough to galvanize the religious right to get out and vote.

BRIAN ANDERSON, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE: I think the argument was being made on the local level by political organizers, by Republican Party people and by Christian activists. You know, there was a big increase in new registrations, and in a place like Ohio I think that made a big difference.

COOPER: The post-election polls appear to agree. According to "Newsweek" magazine, 22 percent of voters called moral issues their top priority. Measures banning same-sex marriage appeared on the ballots in 11 states on Tuesday. All passed by wide margins.

ANDERSON: You are going to see a lot of internal debate in the Democratic camp over this. It's already happening. And how the Democrats come down on that will be, I think, a big question, and how they fare in the future. COOPER: Was same-sex marriage enough to give Christian conservatives a mission? Was Gavin Newsom the Ralph Nader of campaign '04? We may never know for sure, but when the backlash begins, so does the blame game. That's the rule in "Raw Politics."


COOPER: As always, we like to hear from all sides on this program. In just a few minutes, we're going to talk to Chrissy Gephardt, but right now I'm joined by the Reverend Jerry Falwell. Reverend Falwell, thanks very much for being with us again. I appreciate you joining us.


COOPER: The issue of same-sex marriage, did that cost the Democrats this election?

FALWELL: I don't think that alone. I think it was just one of many, many issues. Of course, the front burner issue always is the life issue. Abortion on demand. But family along with faith were big, big issues, and all of the polls showed that. There were 25 to 30 million evangelicals who went out to the polls.

COOPER: But those images of gay couples marrying in San Francisco, exchanging vows, kissing each other, I mean, did those images disgust you? Did they galvanize you and followers to get these ballot initiatives passed?

FALWELL: No, we were -- we were already -- we started this 25 years ago when I formed the Moral Majority, and we've been registering millions of voters through the years, activating evangelical Christians, and the end result is that in the last four -- well, since 1980, really -- all the elections, the presidential elections have been greatly affected by the faith and the moral vote.

COOPER: So you don't believe there was any more energy this time around because of the...

FALWELL: There was more...

COOPER: ... reaction in San Francisco and...

FALWELL: There was more energy, but I don't think it was just that. That certainly didn't help Mr. Kerry any, particularly since it started in Massachusetts with the Supreme Court there, and then went across the country to San Francisco and other spots as well. That didn't help him at all, but it did help us, who were bringing together people of faith. I worked the battleground states for the last few months with pastors, policy briefings, voter registration, and then get out the vote. And it certainly was a hot button.

COOPER: And what makes it such a hot button? I mean, I know in the past you believe homosexual behavior is immoral, a sin, you've equated it with smoking crack, bestiality. But what is the threat to you? What is -- I mean, two men saying that they love each to each other, what's the threat?

FALWELL: Well, I haven't equated it to anything, but I believe that the scripture makes it clear that all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is wrong, whether it's heterosexual promiscuity or homosexual activity. It is all forbidden by God, and certainly if we legalize abortion -- I'm sorry, legalize same-sex marriage, what's to prevent polygamy and many other diverse family forms?

So the answer is that most civilized cultures over the past 6,000 years and certainly in this country, and it was borne out in the 11 states where there were marriage initiatives, about three to one believe that marriage is something very sacred between a man and a woman exclusively, and the Democrats for whatever reason have decided to join the death culture, favoring abortion on demand. They've attacked the family. They're willing to allow...

COOPER: But on...

FALWELL: ... the disintegration of family.

COOPER: On homosexuality, I mean, you say you don't equate it to anything, but you do equate it to -- I mean, you have in plenty of interviews equated it to, you know, immoral behavior, smoking crack and bestiality.

FALWELL: Well, it is immoral behavior, of course. No, not bestiality, not crack -- taking crack. Those are different things, but homosexuality is sin. If you fake the Bible seriously, then you believe that whenever a man is unfaithful to his wife, heterosexual, that's adultery, and God forbids it. Premarital sex is wrong.

COOPER: But what do you want -- what do you want homosexuals to do? I mean, you've been critical of them for being promiscuous, and then if they try to form relationships, you're critical of them for that. I mean, where do you want them to go? What do you want them to do?

FALWELL: Well, about three-fourth of America's citizens, by the most of the 11 polls -- initiatives this time, about three-fourths of Americans believe that it shouldn't be a crime. Nobody should go to jail for committing adultery or living immorally, but -- or as a homosexual or whatever, but that the government should not sanction it as an approved lifestyle or an approved union. A marriage is sacred. It's a man and a woman relationship.

COOPER: What supporters say, and these ballot initiatives weren't just about gay marriage, they also in many states eviscerated civil unions. I mean, should -- in your opinion, should gay couples be denied inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights, health benefits?

FALWELL: That's a red herring. I think anybody should be able to visit anybody if the person in the hospital wishes...

COOPER: Right, but they're not, apparently. FALWELL: Well, around this part of the country, they are. I don't know where a person cannot make a visit if they ask permission to do so, and the sick person is willing to approve that.

COOPER: So if someone's in a -- if a gay person's in a coma and their parents are in charge, say for instance, and their parents don't like the fact that they're gay and they have a partner, their partner can't make decisions for that person.

FALWELL: Well, there are cases where parents certainly have authority, but generally the state is not trying to prevent anybody from visiting anybody or anybody from setting up an estate and willing or giving anything to anybody, you can give it to their dog, if they want. And they've done that, to their pets.

COOPER: But that's not true. I don't want to contradict you too much, but I mean, that's not the case. In states gay couple do not share -- I mean, there are hundreds if not more than 1,000 rights that married couples have that gay couples cannot have.

FALWELL: That's correct.

COOPER: And there are like a million kids being raised by gay couples. Don't those kids benefit if the relationship is stable and their parents have the same rights as anyone else?

FALWELL: If they go to the courts and write out their estates and do their willing they can leave whatever they have, give whatever they have to anyone they wish. But the state is simply saying, and the American people by three-to-one margin in all 11 of those states this time, and in several others already, have said we do not want marriage to be equated between gays and lesbians or polygamist arrangements, with the marriage union between a man and a woman. That alone is sacred.

COOPER: President Bush said he supports civil unions, although the Republican Party platform doesn't and most of these ballot initiatives eviscerate civil unions, do you believe evangelicals were used, basically used, this issue used as a wedge issue to kind of get you guys to come out to the polls? Because when President Bush yesterday, talked about his agenda, I didn't hear the constitutional amendment for gay marriage listed high up.

FALWELL: Well, he's the man who initiated it. And first of all, I've known George Bush for many, many years, long before he was president. I've been a friend of his father and his mother, and like most American people, like three-quarters of the American people, they believe a family begins when a man and a woman legally marry. And they're not out to punish anybody. You can live in an adulterous relationship, unmarried, heterosexuals. Homosexuals can live together in civil unions. People have always done it.

COOPER: So you support civil unions?

FALWELL: I'm saying that as a minister of the gospel, I believe that all sexual activity outside marriage between a man and a woman is forbidden by God. Legally, there's no way to stop adultery. You can't put people in jail for being immoral, fornication or homosexual activity and nobody wants to do that, but we neither should we honor it by equating an immoral and illicit relationship with biblical marriage.

COOPER: Reverend Jerry Falwell, appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much for adding your prospective.

Chrissy Gephardt joins me now from Washington. She's a spokesperson for Stonewall Democrats United, a movement in the gay and lesbian community, and a daughter of Congressman Dick Gephardt. Chrissy, thanks very much for being with us.

Your reaction to what Reverend Falwell said.

CHRISSY GEPHARDT, STONEWALL DEMOCRATS UNITED: Well, obviously I don't agree with what he's saying about unions between same-sex couples. I believe that, you know, we have families, we want to have the same rights and benefits. And what he was saying about how we can go to the courthouse and we can get those rights, that's just not true. And actually, in the 11 states where these bans were passed, that now prevents us in those states from being able to have those rights.

COOPER: Did this issue, did the gay marriage issue cost the Democrats the election, do you think?

GEPHARDT: I don't, I don't. I know we've talked a lot about moral values being at the top of the list of issues that voters had, but I think it's important to remember that six out of ten voters said that gay people should be allowed to either enter into marriage or into civil unions. Only 2 percent of the voters in a national poll said that they believed that gay and lesbian issues were at the top of their minds.

COOPER: I've seen those polls, too, but these ballot initiatives, as you just said, they swept overwhelmingly in 11 states. And they're not just about gay marriage and eviscerating civil unions. How do you balance the two, if in polls people are saying they support the idea of a civil union? It doesn't seem to be happening at the polls?

GEPHARDT: First of all, I think the way in which these were worded on the ballots, made it look as if it was just about marriage. And I think the civil unions part was pretty deeply hidden.

COOPER: Do you think they were tricked?

GEPHARDT: Well, I don't know if I would say they were tricked. But I think it wasn't written out very explicitly. And it was made to look as if it was just about just marriage between same-sex couples. And overwhelmingly people are not for marriage, but I think that people do believe that gay and lesbian couples should have equal rights and that's in the form of civil unions. I have met a number of people who didn't know what these amendments were about, and this was even gay people. COOPER: Chrissy, I want to read to you something I read in the New York Times today, Barney Franks saying, congressman, saying, about Gavin Newsom in San Francisco and about those very public images of mass weddings of gay couples getting married.

Barney Frank said in the Time, "the thing that agitated people were the mass weddings. He created a sense [he Gavin Newsom] created a sense there was chaos, rather than give us a chance to show as we have in Massachusetts that this doesn't mean anything to anyone else." Do you think it was a mistake for Gavin Newsom to do what he did in San Francisco?

GEPHARDT: I really don't. I really don't. I think that it was standing up for our rights. And it was basically showing that we have families, we love each other and we just want the same rights as everyone else.

You know, I think that people didn't go to the polls to vote against gay people. That wasn't the reason they went to go vote. I think when we talk about moral values, that people want to identify with President Bush and the Republican Party that they are moral people with values, but I don't think it was about gay people. I just don't think it's that at all.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. Chrissy Gephardt, appreciate you being on the show. It's your first time. Thanks very much for being with us.

GEPHARDT: Thank you.

COOPER; 360 next, an upstanding heterosexual couple, the Osbournes, Ozzy and Sharon on their new reality TV show and politics.

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


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

No. 1, Fallujah is believed to be the base of operations for which terrorist leader?

No. 2 the Dutch filmmaker assassinated for criticizing Islam is related to one what famous painter?

And finally, some Democrats suggest the mayor of what city cost Kerry votes over gay marriage?

To take the challenge, log on to, click on the answer link, answer first, you'll get the shirt. And also find out last night's challenge winner and tonight's answers coming up.

And 360 next, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, groupies, politics and oh, goodness, reality TV. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are probably not the model of heterosexual union that Reverend Falwell had in mind earlier when he was talking about marriage but they have a new reality show out and they stopped by a little while ago. A new show called "Battle For Ozzfest." Bands compete for a spot on Ozzfest 2005 Tour, giving headbangers a chance to play alongside Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. Rock on.

I spoke to the Osbournes about it in the "Weekender."


COOPER: So I have to say you two smell fantastically.


COOPER: Is it really? I don't know what it is but it's working.

SHARON OSBOURNE, "BATTLE FOR OZZFEST": Ozzy has the best cologne. Ozzy's known for his cologne wherever he goes.

COOPER: Can I ask you what it is?


It's from England.

S. OSBOURNE: Literally. We've gone down red carpets and photographers have shouted out to Ozzy, Ozzy, what cologne have you got on! It is so funny.

COOPER: Let's talk about "Battle For Ozzfest" on MTV. People are describing this as like a heavy metal "American Idol."


May the best band win.

What it is is we audition a bunch of bands. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

S. OSBOURNE: It's sort of like a short, shot education for them about what goes on in rock and roll.

COOPER: That sounds sort of dangerous there, it is.

Do they, like, have pick up groupies and stuff?

S. OSBOURNE: Everything.

COOPER: Picking up groupies is one of the challenges!

S. OSBOURNE: Making sure they're the right age.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: You were the mentor for that one. That was mighty nice of you.

A lot of musicians right now are on the road touring and being very political in terms of who they're supporting. Do you talk politics?

O. OSBOURNE: I steer very clear from organized religion and politics. If they all played guitars, and sang a song maybe I could relate to them, but I don't understand their language.

COOPER: I remember you guys went to the Washington Correspondence Dinner and the president actually even said hello to you.

S. OSBOURNE: Yes. He was very nice.


S. OSBOURNE: They were Barry Manilow songs. He thought that they were Ozzy's.

COOPER: Really?

S. OSBOURNE: No, I'm teasing.

COOPER: I have to ask you about the MTV show. Are you guys going to have another season?

I'm an addict of the show. I watch it all the time.

S. OSBOURNE: There is actually a season that it already filmed and it's going to come out middle of January.

COOPER: The novelty wears off after a while?

O. OSBOURNE: What happened was, anything new is great until it gets old.

S. OSBOURNE: It doesn't just get old for us. It gets old for the public. It's enough, it's been three years of our lives and I'd rather quit while we're on top.


COOPER: And they are on top. 360 next, advertising you really can't escape it anywhere and we mean anywhere. We'll take that to the Nth Degree. Plus, Monday, pro-anorexia Web sites. Believe it or not, they're out there. We'll take a look at the disturbing trend. Part of our special series, "Starved For Perfection. Thin at All Costs."

Now the 360 challenge. Here's another look at tonight's questions. Number one, Fallujah believed to be the base of operations for which terrorist leader?

Number two, the Dutch filmmaker assassinated for criticizing Islam is related to what famous painter?

And finally some Democrats suggest the mayor of what city cost Kerry votes over gay marriage?

Have you been paying attention? Log on to Click on the answer link to play. The answers right after this.


COOPER: All right. Time for the answers to today's 360 challenge. Fallujah believed to be the base of operations for which terrorist leader? The answer, al-Zarqawi.

The Dutch filmmaker assassinated for criticizing Islam is related to what famous painter? Van Gogh.

Some Democrats suggest the mayor of what city cost Kerry votes over gay marriage? San Francisco.

The first person to answer all three questions correctly will be sent a 360 T-shirt. Tune in Monday to find out if you're the one and last night's winner, Sawra Amini from Worcester, Massachusetts. I hope I got your name right, Sawra. Another 360 challenge, another chance to win tomorrow.

Tonight taking excess to the Nth Degree. All right. That's it, our civilization is going down the drain. We're not talking about the election or Mount St. Helens or the whole in the ozone layer, global warming or anything like that. That's all trifling stuff. What we're talking about is the advent of a new form of advertising. It's called the Wizmark. Odd-looking bit of business, huh? But maybe not so odd- looking once you understand where it's supposed to go.

It's supposed to go in there, down toward the drain. When the Wizmark is activated, go ahead and guess how that happens, the device flashes and makes nose and plays music and audibly promotes whatever product it's been programmed to promote. The questions swarm like flies. Isn't a guy entitled to even a few seconds of respite from the pitchment (ph) of the world? Do we need the loo to sing us a song of Botswana brand beer or humbug hats? What kind of outfit wants its name down there anyway?

Imagine an exchange in the future. I'm in advertising. Oh, yeah? What medium? Porcelain. Woe is us. I'm Anderson Cooper. Have a great weekend. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


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