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CNN NEWSNIGHT AARON BROWN

Indiana Tornado Death Toll Rises; Republican Party in Trouble?; Interview With Former Senator John Edwards

Aired November 7, 2005 - 22:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
It's a rule of thumb, a nasty one at that, tornadoes in the spring and summer, hurricanes in the fall. But nature has a way of breaking the rules. The death toll rose today in Indiana from this weekend's twister.

360 starts now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: A killer tornado, 22 dead, as families still look for loved ones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole house just exploded. And then I was spun around a couple times. And all the roof and all the debris come in on top of me.

ANNOUNCER: One thousand tornadoes in this every year -- what you don't know about twisters.

Republicans, they run the White House, the Senate and the House. So, they're in great shape. Right? Well, their leader, President Bush, record low approval ratings and their achievements are, well, underachieving. So, that means Democrats are roaring to success, right, capitalizing on Republicans' problems? Not hardly. So, what's wrong with these guys?

And clues about the iceman at the Sierra Nevadas continue to pile up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government just informed his parents of the crash in the mountains.

ANNOUNCER: It is a cold case -- the forensic puzzle to find out: Who is the iceman?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: A lot happening tonight to cover.

Let's get you started with what is happening at this moment. In southern Indiana, the death count climbs after yesterday's tornado. It hit with the power of a hurricane, just Katrina without water, a furious force that uprooted, overturned, twisted and snapped almost everything in its path, killing 18 people in this mobile home park, four others in a nearby county.

Arrests continue in the suburbs that ring Paris and elsewhere around France, after nearly two weeks of nightly riots. Today, a 61- year-old man who had been in a coma died of injuries he received in a scuffle with a rioter on Friday night. Now, this is the first fatality attributed to the riots, which began after two teens of North African descent were electrocuted when they hid in a power station, thinking they were being chased by police.

And, down under, Australian authorities have arrested 17 people on counterterrorism charges. More than that, the police commissioner of New South Wales says he believes that the arrests significantly disrupted a proposed terrorist bombing.

And in Panama City, Panama, today, on his way back to Washington from a troubled economic summit in Argentina, President Bush responded to reports of alleged secret CIA prisons and mistreatment of terrorism suspects with a flat statement -- quote -- "We do not torture," Mr. Bush said.

As I said, you know, if you're joining 360 for the first time tonight, I want to thank you. I hope you don't mind the new car smell. We have expanded to two hours of live coverage, which means more stories in greater depth. We don't plan to start shouting at you. There's plenty of cable news caterwauling already. Nor, we do we plan on telling you what to think. We think you can figure that one out on your own.

We want to bring you information accurately, fairly. And we want to hold people and politicians accountable for their words and their actions. Pretty simple.

We start off in the wake of the tornado that ripped a 20-mile path of destruction through Kentucky and southern Indiana -- two reports tonight.

CNN's Rob Marciano starts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): It happened in the predawn hours Sunday. Most of the victims were asleep, unaware that they were in the path of disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I woke up, the -- it sounded like hail hitting the window. And, then, all of the sudden, the whole house just exploded. And then I was spun around a couple times. And all the roof and all the debris come in on top of me. And it took me about a half-an-hour to dig myself out. And I finally got out of it.

MARCIANO: On Monday, residents looked over the remains of more than 400 destroyed homes. And search crews drained a small pond, finding one body and searching for others.

The twister began near Smith Mills in northwest Kentucky. Crossing over the Ohio River, it tore through a horse track just south of the Indiana state line, killing several racehorses. The National Weather Service estimates, this tornado was about 500 yards wide as it moved into Indiana, focusing its wrath at the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park.

The tornado finally dissipated near Gentryville, Indiana. Initial reports from the National Weather Service show the tornado had winds ranging from 158 to 206 miles per hour. That's a F3 on the Fujita scale that measures tornado strength -- in other words, a major tornado.

This November tornado provides a stark reminder that tornadoes occur in every month of the year. And they have shown up in every state, from Alaska and Hawaii to New York. And this monster, responsible for so much destruction, is only one of nearly 1,000 every year in the United States.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARCIANO: Well, with the United States being hurricane country, and this area, Tornado Alley, being in the capital of that tornado country, I should say, you would think there would be an elaborate warning system.

Well, they have sirens that go off when this stuff happens. Well, if you're asleep and your doors or -- and windows are shut, it's tough to hear that siren. And that's what we hear time and time again with this tornado that struck. They didn't hear the sirens. The other option is to have a -- an old-fashioned weather radio.

Just plug it on, turn it on and it goes off when that -- that -- that warning off. And that will wake you up. A more new technology they're trying to put into TVs, where the TVs will actually turn on and wake you up in the middle of the night if there's a tornado in your area.

Even with that and Doppler radars, 10, at best, maybe 20 minutes, of warning before a tornado touches down -- I often get the -- the question, Anderson, what's worse, a hurricane or a tornado? Well, hurricanes are bigger, but, sometimes, you get two to four days of warning. Tornadoes are smaller and strong, but much more random. And, unfortunately, the lead time, the warning time, is much smaller as well.

And, unfortunately, the folks in this trailer park paying the price for that tonight.

COOPER: Rob, thanks very much.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: You know, we have all become used to seeing things after a hurricane or a tornado that simply don't make sense to the eye, dogs in trees or cars on houses.

It is -- it is always surreal. It's frequently heartbreaking.

And, as CNN's Dan Simon found out in Indiana, even the miracles come with tears.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One by one, firefighters pluck dozens of people out of the rubble here at the trailer park, most within minutes after the tornado hit. That's what makes the rescue of 8-year-old Noah Donner truly incredible, found trapped in a ditch 12 hours afterwards. But, for his family, it's not a time for celebrating.

(on camera): The two of you lost a son and a granddaughter.

TINA DONNER, GRANDMOTHER OF NOAH: Right. And our grandson is in intensive care.

SIMON: We spoke with Tina and David Donner at the hospital about their grandson, Noah, in intensive care, banged up, but expected to recover.

DAVID DONNER, GRANDFATHER OF NOAH: Something hit him right here in the side of the face and sheered off part of his ear. And he has a deep puncture wound in his hip. They went in and surgically, cleaned that out yesterday. So, he's resting comfortably.

SIMON: Noah had a special request for his doctors.

T. DONNER: When he first got to the hospital...

D. DONNER: Yes.

T. DONNER: He wanted Mountain Dew.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON (on camera): He wanted Mountain Dew.

(LAUGHTER)

T. DONNER: He wanted Mountain Dew from the time he got here.

SIMON (voice-over): Noah's survival is what's keeping the couple going. Their 26-year-old son, Jesse, Noah's father, died, as did their 6-year-old granddaughter, Emily, Noah's sister. Noah's mother did survive, but was too upset to speak.

D. DONNER: It is devastating. I -- I don't know what to -- there's no words to put to it, unless you see what a person goes through, through a tornado.

SIMON: Those who made it through the tornado call it pure luck. D. DONNER: I felt wind. The next thing I know, the trailer started tumbling, and I started rolling. And then I'm on the concrete.

SIMON: Sixteen-year-old Aaron Crowley (ph) says his trailer was obliterated. His parents weren't home at the time. And Aaron found himself alone in a pile of debris. He says he climbed out and found a little boy trapped, calling for help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He was crying and shaking, because it was raining. All he was in was a long T-shirt.

SIMON (on camera): You saved that little boy's life.

(voice-over): We are likely to hear more stories of dramatic rescues in the days to come. But perhaps none will be as bittersweet as the story of Noah Donner .

D. DONNER: It's a silver lining, you know?

SIMON: A silver lining amid so much death and devastation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON: Anderson, just behind the trailer park, there's a pond.

And, today, crews drained that pond. And that's where they found the 18th body.

Now, in terms of when they're going to allow folks to come back in here, we hearing that it's on Wednesday. Bear in mind, 20 people who live in this trailer park are still unaccounted for. But crews are optimistic that those folks simply haven't checked in and told them of their whereabouts -- Anderson...

COOPER: And I think...

SIMON: ... back to you.

COOPER: ... this happened in the middle of the night. People were just asleep and had no warning whatsoever.

Dan, thanks very much -- a terrible story.

On to politics now.

Just about an hour ago, President Bush returned from his trip to Latin America for trade talks. When he left the White House on Friday for Argentina, left behind a -- well, a rough couple of weeks in Washington and falling poll numbers. But his weekend getaway brought little solace. Far from home, other troubles awaited.

Here's CNN's Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Panama, the president played tourist, taking in a view of the famous canal the U.S. gave up control of six years ago, testing out the gizmos that lift the boats, relieved to be with a host he calls friend to close an international trip that was rocky in its own right and provided no relief for anxious Republicans back home hoping to see a respite for a president beleaguered by low poll numbers, thanks to high gas prices, a botched Supreme Court nomination, a top aide indicted.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's still an ongoing investigation.

BASH: One more time, he refused to answer questions he sidestepped throughout Latin America about the CIA leak case. A Panamanian journalist even questioned the president's clout with his own Republican Congress.

QUESTION: What are the real probabilities of getting support in Congress for the ratification of a free-trade agreement?

BASH (on camera): Since the first stop on his four-day Latin America tour, dissent was the president's frequent companion.

(voice-over): Thousands of anti-Bush demonstrators took to the streets, a small band of them turning violent. They were rallied by the president's chief Latin American nemesis, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who Mr. Bush spent two days of summit meetings avoiding.

BUSH: I appreciate your candor.

BASH: Meetings he did have appeared tense.

BUSH: Good job.

QUESTION: Mr. President?

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Argentina's president refused to take reporters' questions...

NESTOR KIRCHNER, PRESIDENT OF ARGENTINA: (SPEAKING SPANISH)

BASH: ... and, later, publicly chastised the U.S. for policies he said provoke misery and poverty.

The president left the 34-nation summit empty-handed, failing to revive talks on a giant trade agreement. From Argentina on to Brazil, side by side with one of the leaders who robbed him of that much- needed trade victory, admitted his diplomacy had failed.

BUSH: He's got to be convinced, just like the people of America must be convinced.

BASH: The president's counterparts are more defiant, some believe, because he's weak at home.

BRUCE BUCHANAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: More than half of the American people now regard his presidency as in disarray, and his standing tenuous with his own people. And that emboldens them to continue to resist him.

BASH: Knowing problems await his return, it's no wonder the White House ended a rough trip with this photo-op.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: He's always found respite in baseball, and it shows.

Dana Bash, CNN, at the Panama Canal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Oh, the old throwing out the first pitch.

Still to come on 360, if the president's popularity is at an all- time low, how come people still rate Republicans as better leaders? Former Senator John Edwards and radio host Hugh Hewitt weigh in on what both parties are doing wrong, or maybe right.

And they set off on a luxury cruise and then ran into pirates, pirates armed with machine guns and an RPG -- a battle on the high seas.

Around America and the world, you're watching 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, this is November 7, election eve. Tomorrow, Virginia and New Jersey are going to elect new governors.

At least six major cities will choose new mayors. And, across the country, ballot initiatives on a range of issues will pass or fail at the polls. They're called off-year elections. And while turnout is often low, the races are watched closely for a reason. They can be a barometer of voter sentiment, a litmus test of the national mood.

For Republicans, these off-year elections come at a rocky time for their leader and for those who make their living espousing the party line.

Here's CNN's Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rich Galen is a party man.

(on camera): Tell me how long you have been a Republican.

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Oh my. That will give away my age. It's -- I became a Republican when I first ran for city council in Marietta, Ohio.

But I -- I think what happened was...

CROWLEY (voice-over): Thirty years in the GOP, Galen is one of Washington's talking heads, a Republican operative on political turf where it's increasingly hard to operate around the sinkholes, pessimism about the economy, Hurricane Katrina, spiralling energy costs, Harriet Miers, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby.

And the greatest of these is the war in Iraq.

(on camera): How much of a drag is the war on everything else?

GALEN: I think it's the equivalent of a -- of a low tire on a car -- you know, hurting your -- your mileage. But it's something you have to take into account in terms of the way you steer.

CROWLEY (voice-over): When a war goes badly, a war president's support goes south, revealing vulnerabilities in this president's handling of the economy, gas prices, gas prices, health care, etcetera. Every poll shows Mr. Bush has lost his footing, giving pause even to those who think he's right.

GALEN: And I think one of the problems that we have got with the White House as it -- as it currently is -- is constructed is, they have lost their nimbleness in the ability to respond and react to events.

CROWLEY: The man who once talked of a majority party for the next quarter-century has seen Republican support drop 13 points since the beginning of the year, troublesome drainage, as most Republicans, except the president, head into an election year on the horse they rode in on.

GALEN: Oh, I think -- I think George Bush is the Republican Party.

CROWLEY: It will be hard to separate the two. But, hey, look at the bright side. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is quoted in "TIME" magazine pointing out that Democrats have not scored any runs off Republican errors. "It is," he said, "much better to be us than them."

Recent polls, in fact, do show a turn blue in favor of Democrats. Still, stalwart Republicans see this as a slump.

GALEN: If you're going to have one of these times, it is better to have it in October and November of the odd-numbered year than October and November of the even-numbered year.

CROWLEY: Rich Galen is still a party man, but it's not as much fun as it used to be.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: One insider's take on the state of his party.

In theory, these should be heady times for Democrats, at the very least, a time ripe with opportunity. Tomorrow's elections are a mere warmup for the next real contest, the midterm elections a year away. Between now and then, Democrats certainly have a lot of work to do.

Consider the case of Poolesville, Maryland.

CNN's Tom Foreman looked into it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If ever there was a time and place for Democrats to recruit voters, it might be now in Poolesville, Maryland, home to 5,000 middle-class residents in a county that voted two to one for Kerry over Bush. But this town remains largely Republican red and lonely Democrats blue about their leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has gone beyond being frustrating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're not standing up and saying, we are going to do this; we need to do this.

JOHN CLAYTON, DEMOCRAT: I'm tired of hearing they don't have any ideas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody is talking about the things that I care about.

FOREMAN: An hour away, in D.C., Democrats recall the glory days of the Clinton presidency. And polls show Americans now trust Democrats more than Republicans -- on the economy, gas prices, health care, even taxes. Yet, Democrats are envious.

(on camera): Republicans know what their party stands for.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And too many Democrats don't.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Paul Begala, a Clinton adviser and CNN political commentator, says a resurgence in Poolesville will be a long time coming, unless Democrats get discipline.

BEGALA: I think Democrats should say, we are for energy independence, period. And here's how. I think they should say, we're for universal health care. Here's how we are going to get there. You know, I think Democrats should say, we're for radical political reform.

(CROSSTALK)

FOREMAN (on camera): Why do Democrats have such a hard time with this?

BEGALA: Some of it is that they don't have clear, central leadership.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN (voice-over): Several prominent figures have attacked the White House, pushed policies and tried out slogans.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: America can do better.

FOREMAN: But David Mackenzie, an independent who leans Republican, is not won over yet.

DAVID MACKENZIE, DEMOCRAT: A bunch of (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

(LAUGHTER)

FOREMAN: Even on Iraq, Democrats here say they don't know what their party wants to do or how they would do it. So, John Clayton, who we found delivering food to his church, ends up voting Democratic by default.

CLAYTON: Because I just don't agree with so much of the Republican right-wing message. Frankly, if the Republicans could find a reasonable place in the middle of the road, they -- they -- they might get me.

FOREMAN: In the fading November days, certainly, diehard Democrats are eager for the elections, only a year away. But, out in red country, other Democrats warn, the party better grab voters while the grabbing is good.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Poolesville, Maryland.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So the question, why can't the Democrats and the Republicans make more of their opponents' failings?

Coming up next on 360, we will ask former Democratic Senator John Edwards and conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

And the latest on the iceman also tonight on 360 -- a young serviceman who died in 1942 emerged from the ice practically intact, but for his identity, a few weeks ago. We will have the latest on who he is.

Around America and the world, you're watching 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: So, the question tonight: Why can't the Democrats capitalize on whatever dents, dings, scratches and gaps may be in the GOP's armor? We asked the man who was his party's vice presidential candidate in the last election about that and some other things as well. I talked earlier with former Senator John Edwards.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I want to talk about this recent "Washington Post" poll. People were asked -- support for President Bush, an all-time low, 39 percent. But, in the same poll, more Americans said they trust the Democratic Party more, 49 percent to 37 percent; yet, when asked which party has stronger leaders, Republicans ranked higher, Republicans 51 percent to 35 percent.

What is the Democratic Party doing wrong?

JOHN EDWARDS (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Oh, I don't think it means anything about the Democratic Party.

I mean, whoever is in the White House is always -- whichever party. When we were in the White House with -- under President Clinton, we would have been perceived as the party with stronger leaders. And whoever occupies the White House, I think, is perceived that way.

And I think, actually, it is very clear what we as Democrats need to do. I mean, people -- the American people are seeing some implosion in Washington, you know, with what's happening with President Bush, with the war in Iraq, with the aftermath of response to Katrina, with all the scandals that are going on, the indictment of -- of Scooter Libby.

And I think what they want to see from us is not just what's wrong -- talking about what's wrong with Bush. They want to see what our vision for America is.

COOPER: You would think, with all the problems that this Bush White House is having right now in Iraq, with -- with credibility issues, that the Democrats would be reaping the benefits of that. And it doesn't seem like they are.

EDWARDS: Oh, I think we are. And I think we will in the election tomorrow.

I think we will win the governor's race in -- in New Jersey. I think Senator Corzine will be successful there. I think we have a terrific chance, with a very moderate Democrat, Tim Kaine, in Virginia, running against a far-right Republican candidate.

So, I think, in big races, state races that are going to take place tomorrow, we will be successful. But I want to keep emphasizing, it is really important for us as a party to speak to the big issues that face us, the big issues that face us at home, the big -- the big issues that face us abroad, with big ideas about what we ought to do.

COOPER: But, I mean, you were talking about that in the last election. It -- it didn't work. Do you wish now, looking back, should you have focused -- I mean, you -- my understanding, you were being advised to focus on domestic issues. Should you have focused more on Iraq?

EDWARDS: But I don't think it's -- I don't think -- I -- I don't think about it that way.

I don't think it's domestic vs. what's happening overseas. I think these things are completely connected. I think what the country wants is, they want strong leadership.

COOPER: But...

EDWARDS: What they...

COOPER: ... when you're formulating a message, you know, on -- in anything you do, you have got to keep the message relatively straight, relatively simple.

EDWARDS: You do. You do.

COOPER: You can't -- you can't have a message which is, well, a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

EDWARDS: No, I agree with that.

And -- and, well, what -- what our message should be is -- and I wouldn't claim to have all the pieces of it, but the big message should be, we are going to provide the kind of moral leadership that this country needs, both here and abroad. The country wants something different from us. They want something bigger. They want to know we're not the same as the Republicans. And they want to know what those differences are.

COOPER: Who are the leaders of the Democratic Party right now? I mean, who...

EDWARDS: I don't think there is any one leader.

I think there are a number of people who are well-known, President Clinton, Senator Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards. I mean, we are the ones who are probably best known nationally. But there are other people, Harry Reid, our leaders in Congress who speak out loud and forcefully, Senator Kennedy, Senator Harkin.

COOPER: It's going to be interesting.

EDWARDS: It will be.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Always is. Senator Edwards, thanks very much.

EDWARDS: Thank you, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: For a very different point of view, we go now to nationally syndicated radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt in Irvine, California.

Hugh, appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much.

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Good to be here.

COOPER: Yes. Earlier, we heard GOP operative Rich Galen saying the White House seems to have lost its nimbleness, he said, with the Miers nomination, Libby indictment, you know, some sagging poll numbers.

In your opinion, is this a real slump or simply wishful thinking by liberals?

HEWITT: Oh, it's very much wishful thinking by liberals.

I do know the polls are down. Polls always go down in the second term. And you have got to be concerned; you have got to make sure you're responsive to them. There have been missteps.

But, tonight, we're watching Australia, Anderson, where 15 different arrests are under way, even more at this hour, for a plot that threatened chemical attacks, it said, on railheads. We are looking at France aflame. We are seeing it spread to Germany. We are seeing unrest and a threat in Italy.

And whenever national security returns to the fore, I think the Bush presidency surges, because what Senator Edwards didn't reference, what the big elephant in the middle of the room -- and I don't mean the Republican elephant -- is, the Democrats are not trustworthy on national security.

They're not reliable. They did a terrible job of it in the '90s. And the American people don't forget. So, the reality of the threat from abroad is the best sort of politics for the Republicans, because they don't play politics with it. They play national security with it. That's where they win.

COOPER: When -- when you hear, though, Senator Edwards -- former Senator Edwards -- talking about moral leadership as being what -- how the Democrats should define themselves, does that -- does that, A, surprise you, and does it concern you at all?

I mean, the Republicans have always been the one to try to champion themselves as -- as moral leaders.

HEWITT: It does surprise me, because, for example, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who is the leader of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, two members of his staff, just two months ago, broke into, illegally seized the credit records of Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Michael Steele.

And they are -- they have been dismissed. And they're probably going to charged, at some point down the road, for a criminal act. Those were his staffers, Chuck Schumer's staffers. It's hard to claim moral leadership with that kind of thing going on.

COOPER: But...

HEWITT: Or...

COOPER: But do you think the Republicans are having a little bit of a problem, though, with -- with moral leadership? I mean, you have Tom DeLay indicted, arrested. You have Bill Frist being investigated. You have Libby being indicted.

HEWITT: Let's put Libby aside. I will come back to that.

The DeLay thing is a farce. I think that is actually going to help the Republican Party. The judge has been removed. The prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, is just simply a joke. And I think people recognize that. He did the same thing with Kay Bailey Hutchison.

And the real problem for the Democrats is, is that they have got a left wing that's simply not trustworthy. They haven't repudiated Michael Moore. I notice that Senator Edwards did not bring up Howard Dean, who continues to make extraordinary statement after extraordinary statement of bitter, naked partisanship.

They have got -- they have got a party that's, unfortunately, in the thrall of a radical section of the American political opinion. That's not the case with the Republicans.

Now, Lewis Scooter Libby...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: ... you do have dissent within -- in the Republican Party.

HEWITT: Oh, sure.

COOPER: I mean, this weekend, you have Senator Chuck Hagel suggesting that the president should make some changes within his own inner circle in the wake of the CIA leak scandal.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I mean, should there be changes?

HEWITT: No, I don't think so. If -- if Senator Hagel actually endorsed the White House move on anything, then I would be worried, because, then, we would not have the ordinary system going on in D.C.

The president is not going to ask Karl Rove to leave. He is perhaps the most impressive political genius in the United States in modern times. And it's wishful thinking by Democrats to hope for that. They hoped that he had been indicted. He wasn't. It's not a CIA leak case. It's a perjury case.

And, as a result, I think that the president, who was expecting a terrible week two weeks ago, actually ended up with a pretty good week. And the Alito nomination is a great nomination, a great comeback from the unfortunate demise of the -- of the Miers nomination.

So, Anderson, I ask you, this does not seem to me to be anything like the troubles of Clinton in his second term or even of Reagan in his second term. It just seems to be a bad patch and I'd rather have it now than next year. I'd also point out that four years ago, the Republicans lost the New Jersey and Virginia governorship and the very next year they swept back to the leadership of the Senate and the map looks very good for the Republicans in '06 across the many, many states.

COOPER: Hugh Hewitt, appreciate you joining us, thanks.

HEWITT: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up next in 360, the frozen airman mystery. An ID maybe about to be made.

Plus, a pirate attack on the high seas. The target, a luxury cruise liner.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back to the new 360. Possible developments tonight in the mysterious case of a frozen airman. But first, here's a look at what's happening at this moment.

The death toll from this weekend's tornado in southern Indiana has risen to 22. Searchers today pulled a body out from a lake in Vanderburgh County nearby as it destroyed a mobile home park where most of the tornado's fatalities happened.

In Washington, Senate Democrats want an independent investigation into the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody similar to the 9/11 Commission. Leading Democrats say the allegations of abuse have lost the U.S. support in the war on terror. However, Senator John Warner, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, says Congress has already had dozens of hearings into abuse allegations and has not found any policy condoning prisoner mistreatment.

The State Department is warning Americans to be on alert when traveling to France. For the 12th consecutive night, rioters have torched vehicles and buildings in the country's poor neighborhoods, including some in Paris. The French government says it will deploy more police to combat the violence.

An update now on a story we've been following for several weeks. The iceman mystery. Forensic scientists are trying to ID a dead man found frozen last month in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains in California. It gets even stranger. They believe the man is one of 78,000 American service members still missing from World War II. So exactly who is the so-called frozen airman? A Florida family thinks they know now that a possible Ohio connection has been ruled out.

CNN's Thelma Gutierrez is on the case.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Honolulu, Hawaii, forensic scientists meticulously work to identify a young airman who died 63 years ago, high in the Sierra-Nevadas at the bottom of a glacier. While 4,700 miles away, in Jacksonville, Florida, Louella Mustonen and her daughters, Leane and Onalee (ph), believe they may know the iceman's identity and hold the key to finally unlocking the secrets of this forensic cold case mystery.

LEANE ROSS, MUSTONEN'S NIECE: I had actually seen a clip as I was going to bed the first night, you know, of the body. So I saw, you know, the arm and leg and so forth and then when I put the pieces together, I just -- I thought, no, it couldn't be.

GUTIERREZ: Would this young airman, found last month encased in ice in the California Sierra, be 22-year-old Leo Mustonen?

LOUELLA MUSTONEN, MUSTONEN'S SISTER-IN-LAW: Here he is with his uniform.

GUTIERREZ: Luella Mustonen, now 85 and once married to Leo's older brother Arville (ph), seems certain.

MUSTONEN: None of us ever knew what happened actually. The government just informed his parents of the crash in the mountains.

GUTIERREZ: World War II was raging. On November 18th, 1942, Leo Mustonen and three others were on a routine mountain training flight when their plane crashed. Louella says her mother-in-law, a Finnish immigrant, never got over it.

MUSTONEN: She cried every day. She waited for months but there was nothing coming.

GUTIERREZ: Then, five years later, after the war, in 1947, climber found aircraft wreckage and human remains. Leo Mustonen and the others were eventually declared dead. But that was hardly the end to the mystery in the mountains. The next chapter began just last month. Climbers at the bottom of a glacier made another stunning discovery near the crash site.

This time, it's a frozen, young, fair-haired man, still wearing a World War II uniform. His parachute unopened, his dog tags missing. His body is thawed and sent to Hawaii to the forensic labs of JPAC, the Joint Prisoner of War Missing in Action Accounting Command.

In the airman's pelvic bones, forensic anthropologist Dr. Robert Mann (ph) is able to tell the airman was in fact in his early 20s when he died.

DR. ANDY HENRY, FORENSIC DENTIST: The injuries were so substantial and severe that it -- he wouldn't have felt anything. He would have died immediately.

GUTIERREZ: He was wearing this insignia and this Army Air Force pin. In his pocket he carried a black plastic comb, a Sheaffer fountain pen and three small leather-bound address books, all decomposed. His name plate too corroded to reveal his identity, and yet with painstaking work, clues begin to emerge. HENRY: Very pretty smile, I would say.

GUTIERREZ: Dental records reveal he had a small gap between his front teeth, that his teeth were straight and that indeed he had a nice smile. To Louella Mustonen, it sounds familiar.

MUSTONEN: He had a little gap in between his front teeth.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): Did he have a big smile?

MUSTONEN: Yes, he had a big smile, big from ear to ear.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): And Louella says like the frozen airman, her brother-in-law was also blond and always carried a comb.

MUSTONEN: He was always very neat, and very meticulous about his appearance. I never once saw him without his hair combed.

GUTIERREZ: Another detail, the mystery airman had some change in the pocket. Four dimes and five pennies, 45 cents.

MUSTONEN: He never carried any money on him. He and Arville used to teach -- tease each other.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): What would they say?

MUSTONEN: i don't have any money. Well, I don't have any money, either.

(LAUGHTER)

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): This is one of the last photos of Leo Mustonen. The baby in his arms, his favorite niece, Onalee.

MUSTONEN: He just adored her.

GUTIERREZ: Today, that baby Onalee is a Catholic nun. She say the discovery of the body has unleashed complicated emotions, excitement that at last there may be closure for the family, and sadness of a life lost that could have been.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listening to mother explain how he liked children, loved children, I think that would be one that would have been hard, that he didn't have a family.

GUTIERREZ: If the airman is Leo Mustonen, his family says he could be laid to rest in Minnesota alongside his parents who grieved for him until the day they died.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So sad to think of the young man's parents never knowing exactly what happened to their son.

In a moment, we'll talk to the scientist who is in charge of the investigation trying to find out exactly who this young man was.

In a moment, also, Pete Rose, not the father, but the son, just like dad, the son's a candidate for the hall of shame. We'll tell you what police say Pete Junior did.

Also, the passengers who watched in terror as their cruise ship came under attack from modern day pirates. Not a Disney movie but it is a cliffhanger.

America and around the world, this is 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: So many Americans still missing from the various wars this country has been involved with. Of course, we are now reporting on the iceman, this one service member whose remains have been found preserved in ice in the Sierra-Nevada mountains and is now being -- undergoing tests to see who exactly he is. Joining me live from Honolulu, Hawaii, with more on the iceman investigation, Tom Holland, scientific director of the Joint POW MIA Accounting Command. He is responsible for evaluating the evidence and giving the final say on the identity of the remains.

Thanks very much for being with us. What is the step now? What are you working on?

TOM HOLLAND, CENTRAL IDENTIFICATION LAB: Well, we're trying to finalize it. We have got multiple lines of evidence working at any given time. You have got dentists working the dental remains, and anthropologists working the skeletal remains, and you have historians looking at it. So we're waiting for all of those reports to kind of come together and at that point, we'll evaluate where we are and see what we can say after this first round.

COOPER: We are seeing, obviously, the video right now of this young man when he was found in the snow. Obviously, given that he was frozen, he was still very well-preserved. That was a blessing for you.

HOLLAND: Oh yes, excellent preservation, but at the end of the day, it is not necessarily the preservation of the remains as much as it is the preservation of the records that we're going to have to compare it to. It's a combination of what you recover, but it's also -- what's equally important is the records.

COOPER: And that's a real problem as I understand because I understand there was a warehouse fire, a lot of this information is simply gone.

HOLLAND: Oh, that's right. For World War II and Korea, in '73, a warehouse burned in St. Louis and it took most of the Army records, which included the Army Air Force. So we don't have a lot of those original records anymore.

COOPER: So how do you go about it right now? You talked about the dental remains. We heard he had a good set of teeth. He had a nice small, a small gap in his teeth. There's one a family that we just interviewed who thinks that maybe it is their loved one. Are you waiting for DNA?

HOLLAND: Well, we're not -- we're waiting on the records to come in. We have got one record from one of the four individuals. But we're not going to delay the case. We've gone ahead and cut for DNA and we're going to pursue that line. If the dental records come in, great. We'll probably go that route. But we're not waiting solely on that.

COOPER: What kind of time frame are you talking about, Tom?

HOLLAND: My guess is, if everything goes well, we might be able to put all the pieces together by mid-December, certainly early next year at the latest, I would think, unless there's some wrinkle that we haven't foreseen.

COOPER: It's a remarkable case and the work you and the rest of your scientists do is just extraordinary work, and not only obviously in this case but just for the thousands of families who are still waiting for word on their loved ones. We appreciate it, Tom, thanks very much. Tom Holland.

HOLLAND: Well, thank you. Thank you.

COOPER: Most of us hear "pirates" and think of guys with beards and parrots on their shoulders saying "ahoy there, matey." Of course, that's just the movie version. The fact is pirates and piracy have not gone away. They are very real, especially in the South Pacific and the waters around East Africa, the most dangerous in the world, in fact.

Tonight, an ocean liner, The Seaborne Spirit, is safe in port in the Seychelles Islands after an unforgettable cruise, to say the least. The ship, with about 300 passengers aboard, ran into pirates with more than the Jolly Roger and a bottle of rum.

Here's CNN's Zain Verjee.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NORMAN FISHER, PASSENGER: I had been awake for about 10 minutes when I heard what sounded like a crack from outside the window. I didn't -- I had no idea what it was.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was the start of a 90-minute assault, the pirates firing automatic rifles and rocket- propelled grenades at the ship, one narrowly missing a passenger.

CHARLES FORSDICK, PASSENGER: There was a woman in a cabin. And she was fortunately in her bathroom. But a rocket grenade went right through. It blew the whole cabin up.

VERJEE: The captain, who just had anti-piracy training, decides not to sound the alarm, passengers might come up on deck and into the line of fire. Instead, he orders them to lower decks and takes evasive maneuvers, speeding up, trying ram the pirate boats, or flood them with the ship's wake.

One officer fires the ship's sonic sound deflector, blasting the pirates with sound waves to disorient them.

Finally, the Spirit loses the pirates and a U.S. Navy ship arrives to escort it to safety. The passengers have nothing but praise for the crew.

GEAN NOLL, PASSENGER: We had a wonderful captain, and he knew exactly what to do. And he got us out of harm's way.

VERJEE (on camera): One crew member was injured by shrapnel from the attack and the company is making arrangements to get the passengers to Mombassa where the cruise was supposed to end.

Zain Verjee, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I had never even known that they have these sonic repelling devices. Incredible. We're going to hear more about that from passenger Norman Fisher later a little bit later tonight, what he saw, what he did, that's coming up in the next hour on 360.

Also ahead, the strange saga of Marian Carver (ph), a woman who boarded a cruise ship in Seattle, bound for Alaska, and never came back. It was the last time her parents or ex-husband and her daughter ever saw her again. And the cruise ship never called to notify her loved ones that she was even missing. We'll have that story ahead.

First, Erica Hill from HEADLINE NEWS joins us with some of the day's other stories we're following right now.

Hey, Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, Anderson, nice to see you, welcome back.

We start off in Iraq. Five U.S. soldiers there accused of punching and kicking three detainees. The allegations stem from an incident on September 7th. Those charges were filed over the weekend after investigation into the alleged abuse.

Shreveport, Louisiana, captured, an escaped Texas death row inmate. Charles Victor Thompson caught last night apparently intoxicated outside a liquor store after a 78-hour nationwide manhunt. Not hiding, as many people would expect. He has waived his right to counsel and waived his the extradition. He should be transferred back to Texas soon.

Onto Nashville, Tennessee, where Pete Rose Jr. pleads guilty to drug charges. The Drug Enforcement Administration says that son of the legendary baseball star admits he conspired to distribute a drug sometimes used as steroid alternative to fellow minor league baseball players. And in Sweden, talk about snail mail, a post card sent from one Swedish town to a retirement home less than 100 miles away finally arrived, it only took 50 years. The post card had some lotto numbers on it that the sender and the intended recipient apparently bought together.

We don't know if they won, Anderson. But, you know, maybe if you try the numbers now, and it could work.

COOPER: You never know. It would be like an episode out of "Lost."

HILL: It would be.

COOPER: Erica, thanks.

We're going to dig a little in just a moment into a number of big stories today. First the rioting all across France. How does a country erupt? Is this simply the poor fighting back or is it jihad? The anatomy of an uprising ahead.

Also the anatomy of a tornado. What turned a gathering storm in a rampaging killer tornado striking Indiana over the weekend. It's 2:00 a.m. in the morning, lives, many lives were lost.

And it happens more than you would imagine. People who embark on a cruise and just never return. All ahead when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: An anniversary to tell you about. "NEWSNIGHT WITH AARON BROWN" would have been four years old this weekend, that's a toddler in human years, but in cable years, four is ancient. Things change and people move on. Aaron is moving on.

When I first got here, "NEWSNIGHT" and Aaron made a home for me and I'm guessing a lot of you made room in your homes for "NEWSNIGHT." So tonight a look back at the program and the person.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AARON BROWN, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: Well, it is a grotesque sight to look at.

COOPER (voice-over): This is how many CNN viewers first met Aaron Brown.

BROWN: If you are just joining us, let's just briefly recap what we know.

COOPER: September 11th, 2001, Aaron's first day on the air for CNN. He was an anchor, yes, as good as they get, but also as unlike a traditional anchor as any of us have seen. Not afraid to say on the air what many were thinking in private.

BROWN: I'm in the news business and not being able to predict the day has always been one part of the joy. Not now. And I suspect I'm not the only one sick and tired and stressed out by it all, all these I-don't-knows.

COOPER: "NEWSNIGHT" officially began a few weeks later, November 5th, 2001.

BROWN: It's the news at night. Thank goodness for all that research.

COOPER: The program was pure Aaron, idiosyncratic, definitely.

BROWN: More women will have claimed to have been molested by Mr. Schwarzenegger than have actually seen and enjoyed the movies.

COOPER: But the news came first and Aaron traveled to get it. Here in Kuwait, for instance, just before the beginning of the Gulf war.

BROWN: Among the people we met in our reporting here this week was a young man who watched both these terrible tragedies.

COOPER: He worked in Baghdad, in Banda Aceh, in Vatican City, all the biggest stories of our time. His questions always honest, heartfelt, thoughtful. There was nothing prepackaged about him.

BROWN: Do you think of your son as a hero?

JUDEA PEARL, DANIEL PEARL'S FATHER: Not in the conventional sense.

COOPER: If his on-air style was casual, his writing was anything but. His use of words, spare, elegant. He is one of a handful of great writers working in television today.

BROWN: It is an anxious time, where hope and fear seem to be on a collision course.

COOPER: I started filling in for Aaron in the summer of 2002. Frankly, I wasn't doing so hot at CNN and "NEWSNIGHT" was the only show that would have me, the only show that would let me be myself or multiple selves on a day cloning was in the headlines.

(on camera): Anderson?

Thanks, Anderson.

(voice-over): Aaron and I both came from ABC News, both had anchored "World News Now," a show Aaron helped create with producer David Boorman (ph). It was irreverent and smart and Aaron thankfully brought that spirit with him to "NEWSNIGHT." He'll no doubt take it with him wherever he goes next.

BROWN: The weather in Chicago tomorrow, splotchy, sorry to say.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: And generosity is all too rare a thing in this business. Aaron Brown is not only a terrific anchor and reporter, he has also been remarkably generous to me and to all those he worked with, generous with his time, his attention, and his knowledge. We shall miss him and all the people here who worked with him will miss him, as well. Thanks, Aaron.

Still ahead tonight on 360: She set off on a cruise to Alaska, never returned, a 41-year-old mother vanished without a trace and she's not the only one missing on the high seas.

Also ahead tonight, from the prince of darkness tons the prince of peace, why best-selling author Anne Rice traded vampires for Jesus. A conversation with her coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Twelve straight nights of rioting in France, its worst civil unrest in decades. How did it come to this? 360 next.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Pirates attack tourists on a luxury cruise ship on the high seas.

CHARLES FORSDICK, PASSENGER: The rocket grenade went right through, blew the whole cabin up.

ANNOUNCER: Plus, another incident on the high seas, a young woman simply vanished on a cruise to Alaska.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just unbelievable that you could lose somebody.

ANNOUNCER: Lost at sea.

Plus, with Paris burning, we take a 360 look at riots and how they can ratchet out of control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fear becomes a feeding frenzy in mob psychology.

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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