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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
White House Makeover; It's a Tough Job; Life after Politics; Revolt of the Generals; Rumsfeld Under Fire; Crisis in Nepal
Aired April 19, 2006 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Scott McClellaqn leaving; Karl Rove demoted? What's going on inside the Bush administration?
Retired generals in a new battle. Their attacks on Donald Rumsfeld keep coming. Will he, too, be compelled to step down?
Plus, Jesse James Hollywood. Police say he was a drug kingpin and even commissioned murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was able to manipulate them and feel powerful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, how this 20-year-old became one of the FBI's most wanted.
Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN broadcast center in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: When the new White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said he was going to refresh and reenergize the Bush administration, we knew change would be coming. Today we got a taste of just how much. Press Secretary Scott McClellan, often the face and words of this administration is calling it quits. And Karl Rove, the mastermind behind the campaigns, is getting a new job description.
CNN's White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reports.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, announced his departure very much like his arrival, shoulder to shoulder with the president, clearly emotional.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I have given it my all, sir. And I've given you my all.
MALVEAUX: Promoted from deputy press secretary nearly three years ago, McClellan knew he had inherited a political firestorm. The U.S. had just invaded Iraq a couple of months before. McClellan was faced with an increasingly skeptical press corps over faulty prewar intelligence.
MCCLELLAN: And we're confident that we will find the full extent of his weapons of mass destruction program and his weapons of mass destruction.
MALVEAUX: In the words of McClellan's predecessor, he would become the human pinata, as the most visible face of the White House second only to the president. He religiously stuck to his talking points, but also used humor.
MCCLELLAN: It may not look like it, but there's a little flesh that's been taken out of me the last few days.
MALVEAUX: But McClellan got stuck over some inconsistencies, mainly over the involvement of top Advisers Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby in the CIA leak case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?
MCCLELLAN: And again, David, I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time.
MALVEAUX: The president remained loyal to his spokesman. McClellan was a member of Mr. Bush's inner circle from his days as Texas governor, serving as his press secretary there in 1999 before following Mr. Bush to Washington.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I thought he handled his assignment with class, integrity.
MALVEAUX: But now with just two and a half years remaining to get anything done, Mr. Bush's agenda has stalled. His poll numbers plummeted, and his relations with Congress controlled by his own party, strained. As CNN first reported two weeks ago, Mr. Bush's new chief of staff was looking for a fresh face at the podium to signal change. Monday McClellan spoke to the president about moving on.
Republican sources say those being considered to replace McClellan include Fox Anchor and conservative radio talk show Host Tony Snow. And former Bush administration spokespeople Dan Signor, Rob Nichols and Torie Clarke.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will Torie Clarke go back and serve this administration if asked?
TORIE CLARKE, FORMER PENTAGON SPOKESPERSON: Not happening. It's not under consideration. They're not going to ask. I'm not going to do it.
MALVEAUX: In another move to shake up the west wing, perhaps more significant to some, Karl Rove is being stripped of his policy duties to focus more on the November elections to ensure Republicans maintain control of Congress. The White House insists this downsizing of Rove's duties is not a demotion. Instead, senior administration officials concede Rove's plate was too full because he was involved in policy for every major area of the administration.
The hope now is this streamlining will allow Rove to focus on what he does best, winning elections. But considering Rove's close access to the president, Democrats suspect his diminished portfolio is just cosmetic.
COOPER: That was White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.
So now comes a new difficult task for the Bush administration, finding someone to fill the shoes of Scott McClellan. It might not be easy, considering all the job requirements of a White House press secretary.
CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider takes a look.
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): The White House press secretary is a public servant who must serve two masters.
STEPHEN HESS, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: The taxpayers pay the bills, and they're responsible to giving information to the public. On the other hand, they're appointed by the president, and the president has very strong feelings about what information he wants to get out.
SCHNEIDER: A press secretary has to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. But not necessarily the whole truth.
BARRY TOIV, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm sorry. It is not easy getting up here and saying nothing. It takes a lot of preparation.
SCHNEIDER: Like in this case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president stand by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak of the name of a CIA operative?
MCCLELLAN: Terry, I appreciate your question. I think your question is being asked related to some reports that are in reference to an ongoing criminal investigation.
SCHNEIDER: Here's another strategy.
HESS: So the press secretary may well be kept in the dark as indeed, Ron Ziegler was during the whole Watergate period. And one suspects that that was equally true of Mike McCurry during the Monica situation.
SCHNEIDER: Larry Speakes, President Reagan's press secretary, was kept out of the loop about the invasion of Grenada in 1983. And this case. HESS: They liked John Kennedy's Press Secretary Pierre Salinger. He was a lot of fun. But he didn't know there was going to be a Bay of Pigs Invasion, so that's bad stuff.
SCHNEIDER: The press secretary can get it from both sides. From the press corps and sometimes from the president, as Ron Ziegler learned during Watergate.
Former White House press secretaries do have ways of consoling themselves.
HESS: You can usually count on the first year of big-buck speeches, and then the second thing they do is a big-buck memoir.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): But even in those memoirs, they run the risk of seeming disloyal to the president if they tell too much. But that may be worth the risk in their post White House careers.
Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, so now Scott McClellan is getting ready for what's next. Some politicians can make an awful lot of dough after retirement. Take President Clinton. He reportedly makes $125,000 every time he gives a speech in the United States. He gets even more overseas. Clinton, of course, was the top guy in Washington. But those who retired from the lower ranks, they see a lot of perks as well.
CNN's Tom Foreman investigates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody get down on the floor now!
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hollywood had a recent hit with the tale of a bank robbery led by an inside man. But Washington insiders have quite legally been making out like bandits for years. Especially insiders who are getting out.
MCCLELLAN: I have been honored and grateful to be a small part of a terrific and talented team of really good people.
FOREMAN: Scott McClellan made almost $160,000 a year in the White House. But he could rake in a bundle if he becomes a consultant for big business, according to CNN Political Analyst Bill Schneider.
SCHNEIDER: As a private consultant, your income will go into the millions. Probably a couple of million dollars, maybe more.
FOREMAN: That's the price tag business will pay for two things -- inside knowledge of plans being considered at the highest levels of government, and connections that only a recent insider can deliver.
SCHNEIDER: They grease the wheels. They make things happen. They are the interface between the private sector and government.
FOREMAN: Jennifer Palmieri worked in the Clinton White House and can still call her old boss.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yes, I could get Bill Clinton on the phone. You want me to call him now?
FOREMAN: That's cool. Yes, give him a call. Call him.
But she says the value of being an ex-insider is stronger if your connection or your party is still in power. Or if you've built a sustainable worldwide reputation like Henry Kissinger, out of office for many years, still a high-priced player.
PALMIERI: My sense is that businesses are getting a little more savvy. And they're not particularly impressed about who you can get on the phone. They want to know, you know, they're very -- this is a very bottom line.
FOREMAN: Can you produce results?
PALMIERI: Can you produce results? And that's tougher to do.
FOREMAN: Still, ex-insiders can find plenty of other work. In TV, giving speeches. Want Jimmy Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski at your next convention? That will be $25,000 to $40,000 according to his agency. And on it goes for the ex-insiders. Writing books, think tanks and political punditry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats are going to lose the dogma.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not going to happen.
FOREMAN (on camera): Hi, I'm a consultant. Can you offer you some advice?
Advice is hard to even give away in the nation's capital, because there's so much competition.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a consultant, too.
FOREMAN: You're a consultant too?
(Voice-over): But for ex-insiders, Washington is always a seller's market.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, as counselor to the president, Dan Bartlett oversees the White House press office and the office of communications, media affairs and speech writing. One of his duties is the formulation of policy. No doubt he'll feel the impact of both major changes announced today. I spoke with him earlier.
COOPER: Matt Cooper at "Time," wrote, quote, "It makes sense for a President to make these kinds of changes, if only because of burnout. But the changes by themselves are not a panacea." He goes on to say, "The staff turnovers that lead to new policies tend to work best." Will any of the changes that have now happened or may be coming down the pike result in policy changes?
DAN BARTLETT, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Well, Anderson, I can't really speculate about the future. I can tell that you we do have a very robust internal process. We have people who think outside the box. They're constantly questioning our premises of decisions we've made, and constantly look at how we can better serve the American people. So, and that's something that's going to be demanding of Josh Bolten, is make sure that we do have a team in place that is not only fresh, but thinking differently, looking at different ways we can solve problems on behalf of the American people.
COOPER: What is reducing Karl Rove's area of responsibility or altering it, if it's not a reduction in your opinion, what does that allow him to do that he wasn't able to do before?
BARTLETT: Well first, this is more of a reflection of Josh Bolten's management style in which he would bring somebody who has served at his right hand -- as kind of his right hand, and Joel Kaplan to the west wing to work to help develop policy. This does free up Karl to focus on a lot of areas of his portfolio that he has.
COOPER: So it was Josh Bolten's idea or Karl Rove's idea?
BARTLETT: Well, I'm sure they worked on this together. Like I said, this Josh Bolten is the chief of staff and he's going to manage his -- or the White House, as well as the chief of staff's office, in a way that he's comfortable with.
COOPER: Mr. McClellan said the other day that the president had given Mr. Bolten wide latitude to pursue staff and even cabinet-level changes as he saw fit. I think that's a quote from the "New York Times." David Gergen, former presidential adviser under various administrations, was on this program the other night, and he called that astonishing. And what he said was, "...to give your chief of staff even the appointive hiring and firing capacity, and to say, it's up to you, Josh, you just figure out who's best, and I'll go with it, to me, is an abdication of authority."
BARTLETT: Well, I don't -- I think there might have been a little miscommunication if that's how it was interpreted. The president makes the decisions. Chief of staff makes recommendations. So far, the decisions that have been made have been recommendations to the president. The president has accepted them. That shouldn't leave any ambiguity about who is in charge of this White House or this government. President Bush is. And but at the same time, a good manager of the White House gives broad authority to their chief of staff to make management decisions on their behalf. But make no mistake about it, President Bush is in charge.
COOPER: Are you interested in the job -- Scott McClellan's old job?
BARTLETT: I'm not.
COOPER: Your name is being bandied about, I know.
BARTLETT: That's part of the speculation -- it's a tough job, no doubt about it. But I'm going to try to keep serving the president in the role that I have today.
COOPER: I know you enjoy talking to the media, and it's probably the thing you look forward to most. I guess you just don't want to do it on a daily basis.
BARTLETT: I like to control that schedule as much as possible.
COOPER: Yes. Well, you do that very well. Dan Bartlett, thanks for joining us.
COOPER: Well, no matter what you think about the president, you have to feel kind of sorry for Scott McClellan. After all, being the White House press secretary took a heavy toll on his appearance.
This is what McClellan looked like when he just started the job as a young press secretary. This is what he looks like now. Yes. I know. It's amazing the difference. Wait a minute. That's Jack Cafferty. Sorry. Just kidding.
Former top brass at the Pentagon continued their fierce criticism of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The headlines might have moved on to the White House reshuffle. But storm over the Iraq war is not going away. We'll talk to some retired generals.
Plus, a brutal murder gets the Hollywood treatment. Nothing unusual in that, but this crime has yet to be fully prosecuted and a multimillion dollar movie has been shelved in the meantime.
And a mayoral race that is attracting national attention. The people of New Orleans lining up to vote for their next leader. And the field of prospective candidates is packed, but who is lining up to vote? Where are all the people? All that and more when 360 continues.
COOPER: The White House may have breathed a sigh of relief today. It might have even orchestrated it when the headlines moved to the latest staff changes in the Bush administration. For a moment or two it was Scott McClellan and Karl Rove in the spotlight, instead of Donald Rumsfeld and the firestorm surrounding him. Even out of the spotlight, however, the firestorm, well it shows no signs of burning out.
COOPER (voice-over): It's been called the revolt of the generals.
GEN. ANTHONY ZINNI, U.S. MARINE CORPS (RET.): Poor military judgment has been used throughout this mission.
MAJ. GEN. PAUL EATON, U.S. ARMY (RET): What I've got a problem with is a number of decisions that this secretary of defense made, and I think that we need to change him out so that we don't repeat it in the future.
MAJ. GEN. CHARLES SWANNACK JR (RET): "I feel that he has micromanaged the generals who are leading our forces there to achieve our strategic objectives. I really believe that we need a new secretary of defense."
COOPER: Seven retired U.S. generals breaking the traditional military code of silence, on camera and in print, in the "New York Times" and in "TIME" magazine. Calls for the secretary of defense to step down.
JEFF GREENFIELD, SENIOR ANALYST: I think what makes this so unusual is that a few of these generals actually were actively involved in the Iraq war and its post war phase, the attempt to secure the peace.
COOPER: But the retired generals are not an identical bunch. Some support the war in Iraq, others like Wesley Clark, a general turned politician; and Anthony Zinni, with a new book out, have long opposed it. These differences aside, their message is nearly identical.
And the White House has dispatched its own army of generals to fight back. The Pentagon even released talking points to help defend Secretary Rumsfeld.
GEN. PETER PACE, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS: He does his homework. He works week weekends, he works nights.
GEN. RICHARD MYERS, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): It's inappropriate because it's not the military that judges our civilian bosses.
COOPER: On Good Friday, at Camp David, President Bush took the rare step of issuing a statement of support for his defense secretary. Yesterday he spoke out again.
BUSH: And on Friday, I stood up and said, I don't appreciate the speculation about Don Rumsfeld. He's doing a fine job. I strongly support him.
COOPER: As the president made his remarks, Donald Rumsfeld was meeting with a group of military commanders at the Pentagon. Major General Tom Wilkerson was there.
MAJ. GEN. TOM WILKERSON: He indicated mostly that it was a distraction to him from the things that were most important, which was continuing to prosecute the conflict in Iraq and the global war on terror.
COOPER: This is what Rumsfeld said publicly.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The president knows, as I know, that there are no indispensable men. The graveyards of the world are filled with indispensable people quote, unquote. No, he knows that I serve at his pleasure, and that's that.
COOPER (on camera): Well, as we said, the firestorm is raging. You just heard from retired General Tom Wilkerson, who was at the Pentagon meeting yesterday. So was retired General Don Shepperd, who is also a CNN military analyst. I spoke to them and to retired General Dan Christman, who was not at the meeting, a short time ago.
COOPER: General Christman, you have not called for Rumsfeld to resign, but you've said some critical things. Were you invited to this meeting?
LT. GEN. DAN CHRISTMAN, U.S. ARMY (RET.): No, I was not.
COOPER: Do you think it odd that the secretary would find time to meet with a number of generals, but not really address or meet with the generals who have raised their concerns?
CHRISTMAN: Candidly, I think it is odd, but it's not inconsistent. It would have been really nice, for example, to have expressed confidence in the course he's charted, but also to have said, especially, Anderson, given the passion and in many respects the eloquence of John Batiste and Greg Newbold and others, to say I'm going to sit down with Tony Zinni and Greg and John and hear them out. Again, confidence in where we're going, but goodness sakes, the vehemence and the strength in their arguments, I think, really demanded an outreach to a community that's very, very important.
COOPER: General Wilkerson, what about that?
WILKERSON: The point about the meeting, I think, that's really most important is, these meetings do happen with some regularity, and they have to do not necessarily with supporters of the defense secretary, but rather with former military people who are regularly seen like on your program tonight.
COOPER: General Christman, in the "New York Times" today, Thomas Friedman wrote about how the perception of Rumsfeld could affect a possible threat from Iran, possible military action in Iran. He wrote, in part, "...we will not have the support at home or abroad for that threat as long as Don Rumsfeld leads the Pentagon. No one in their right mind would follow this man into another confrontation -- and that is a real strategic liability." Rumsfeld supporters would say, look, any secretary of defense has critics. That comes with the job. Why is Rumsfeld any less effective than other tough secretaries of defense?
CHRISTMAN: There's an awfully important issue that's contained in Tom Friedman's article. I don't necessarily agree with all the content of it, Anderson, but the point is this.
Every one of these general officers has read Carl von Clausewitz, this classic Prussian strategist from the early 19th century. And Clausewitz coined this term, the center of gravity. The center of gravity for a war against an insurgency, a war against ideas, ideals, is the will of the people, the will of the American people, the will of the British people in this case to sustain the operation.
And that's, I think, where Tom Friedman is coming from and where, in some respects, the generals are coming from here as well.
How can we sustain this very, very important credibility of the U.S. and the U.S. defense establishment, when we're trying to work for the long war? This is a long war. It's a ground-based war, and we need a defense secretary, so these arguments go, to make sure that we can sustain this argument. Not just for Iraq, to keep the momentum going there, but in Friedman's case, for the Iran question as well.
COOPER: General Shepperd, what do you think?
MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): Well, I think Thomas Friedman's op-ed was a little bit off. And it doesn't make any difference who's secretary of defense, but clearly, Iran and the world know that the United States has got to get itself untangled from Iraq before it could ever do anything with Iran. So in that sense, they know that we're shackled.
The fact that this is going on is certainly not helpful, but I don't think it centers on Secretary Rumsfeld. It centers on the fact that the war in Iraq is not perceived as going well, and we don't see a light at the end of the tunnel. To take the old phrase from Vietnam, and that's the problem. We're tied up in Iraq. We need to bring it to an acceptable conclusion before we can do anything else meaningful anywhere, especially anything military.
COOPER: General Wilkerson, Secretary Rumsfeld has sort of implied in the last couple days that, you know, feathers are ruffled in the Pentagon because he's been transforming the military. My reading is military transformation started before Rumsfeld became secretary of defense. Do you think it is true to say that he's just been so tough about transformation that, you know, a lot of these generals who have their feet in the mud can't deal with transformation and are just kind of annoyed?
WILKERSON: Well, I'm not sure how to describe annoyed. I don't see them all standing at the gate to take their uniforms off and then publicly disagree with him. There's no doubt that he's a strong personality. But they have to put that in a context. And I think Don did it earlier. The context is, whether the American public sees us as moving forward in the war on terrorism. And if they don't see that, it doesn't make any difference who's secretary of defense.
The other part, though, in calling for the resignation of the secretary of defense, think about that for a second because it's very important. The president, in order to ask the secretary to resign, would essentially have to abrogate the policy that took him to war in the first place, and not coincidentally as a subset, decide that the transformation that SecDef had been putting through the Defense Department was also a failure. That's not a casual decision.
COOPER: Certainly not. That was General Tom Wilkerson, along with General Dan Christman and General Don Shepperd.
From primary colors to politics lost, political insider Joe Klein, he's got a new book out, coming up. He describes what political consultants really think of American voters. Well, you might not be surprised, but you're definitely going to be outraged.
Also, they were baseball buddies who met back in little league and then went on to big-league crime. Their story is now a Hollywood movie, and it's at the center of a nasty legal fight. We'll explain, coming up on 360.
COOPER So hear the news these days, and you get the feeling that things aren't going very well in Washington. The White House is trying to reboot amid sinking popularity, major bills have been stalled in Congress, and partisan bickering is everywhere.
"TIME" magazine's Joe Klein has seen a lot inside the beltway and he says he knows how politics got this way. He's the author of "Politics Lost, How American Democracy was Trivialized by People who Think You're Stupid." I spoke with him earlier.
COOPER: OK, in "Politics Lost," you're highly critical of the current state of politics, and you write, quote, "I am fed up with the insulting welter of sterilized speechifying, insipid photo ops, and idiotic advertising that passes for public discourse these days."
Is it consultants that are the problem? Or is the politicians they're working for?
JOE KLEIN, AUTHOR, "POLITICS LOST": It's the whole thing. It's the politicians they're working for primarily because the politicians don't have to take their advice. They could say no, I don't want to say that stupid thing. But it's also partly us and it's partly the public.
I mean, we've had, like a 60-year period in this country of unprecedented peace and prosperity. Now we have serious problems. And we've kind of lost the habits of citizenship. But I think it's going to change. And I think that the public, who knows that we're in a serious situation in this country, is going to demand the kind of inconvenient truths that politicians really need to start delivering.
COOPER: Where do you see that on the horizon? I mean, what is your optimism based on? Because, I mean, you look at Senator Hillary Clinton, she certainly seems to listen to advisers a lot.
KLEIN: Oh, absolutely. First of all, big problem. The things that we think are important are the things that you can measure, like campaign contributions and polling numbers and endorsements.
Howard Dean roared into Iowa with all of those in January of 2004, and you saw what happened to him. Same thing might happen to Hillary Clinton in 2004 unless she starts having a real dialogue with the folks.
John McCain was, in many ways, the model for the kind of campaign I think we should have in 2008 when he ran in 2000. But now he's stepping back...
KLEIN: ... and he's trying to be more conventional. It ain't going to work.
COOPER: But it's so hard to get politicians to just move beyond those...
COOPER: ... polite talking points and those plastic smiles.
COOPER: I mean, as one who's yelled at a few politicians in my time, it's hard, you know, it's frustrating.
KLEIN: Me, too.
COOPER: You more than me, but I mean, it's...
KLEIN: But look, you know, I've been doing this for -- as I said, 37 years. I don't do it because I'm hanging around to watch them screw up. As much fun and as stupid as that sometimes is. I'm hanging around for the moments when they say courageous things.
COOPER: Well, do they say that -- when they're with you on the campaign trail and they're...
KLEIN: I've seen George W. Bush -- you know, George W. Bush is a really interesting case because a lot of the things that he supported are not things that polled very well. Social Security reform had very little support. But these are things he actually believes in. I only wish there was a politician who had the courage to make the counterarguments in 2004.
John Kerry had that opportunity, and as I make clear in this book, in "Politics Lost," he turned aside every chance to confront Bush because the numbers said that Bush was a very popular figure with the public.
COOPER: Hmm. And that's what it was based on?
KLEIN: Oh, yes. Look, you know, the most outrageous thing to me was that Abu Ghraib happens. John Kerry came into politics over 30 years ago, protesting the war in Vietnam. This is a guy who knew all about how torture happens in times of war. So Abu Ghraib happens. What does his campaign do? They hold focus groups. The results of the focus groups. You know, the results of the focus groups say, you know, people are going to back the president on this. They kind of think that we should do whatever necessary, even torture, to get the information we need. And so Kerry never mentions Abu Ghraib or the Bush administration's torture policy once in his acceptance speech or once in his debates with George W. Bush. I think that's disgraceful.
COOPER: Joe Klein. No one knows politics better.
He was the youngest person to be ever put on the FBI's most wanted list. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSE KATZ, SENIOR WRITER, "LOS ANGELES" MAGAZINE: He was able to manipulate them and feel powerful as the head of a, kind of a small-scale little drug cartel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A deadly game. The spellbinding murder case of Jesse James Hollywood, and the story Hollywood may never get to tell.
Also ahead tonight, countdown to election day. New Orleans gets ready to vote for a mayor, and there are many candidates to choose from, and a lot of New Orleans residents across the country wondering, why doesn't my vote count?
This is 360.
COOPER: Well, it was billed as one of the big movie hits of the spring, but the new film starring Justin Timberlake and Bruce Willis, is not being released -- at least not yet. The reason has a lot to do with the script. It is based on a true crime story, one about friends, guns and murder.
CNN's Ted Rowlands reports.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): West Hills, California, is an upscale Los Angeles suburb in the San Fernando Valley. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's got the very best schools, beautiful parks. It is the kind of community people move to because it's a good place to raise their kids.
ROWLANDS: It was here that a group of boys first met, playing little league baseball. Jesse Rugge and Ryan Hoyt are standing in the back row; and in the front, the pitcher, with the name that people in West Hills are unlikely to forget, Jesse James Hollywood.
JESSE KATZ, SENIOR WRITER, "LOS ANGELES" MAGAZINE: Jesse James Hollywood was definitely the leader of this group.
ROWLANDS: Jesse Katz wrote about the boys and their leader in a cover story for "Los Angeles" magazine. As they grew older, the boys stayed together. That's Jesse James Hollywood in this home video. He and his old buddies from little league were still living in West Hills, but they weren't playing baseball anymore.
JIM THOMAS, FORMER SANTA BARBARA COUNTY SHERIFF: Then they got into the drugs, and that causes a lot of problems with a lot of people.
ROWLANDS: Jesse James Hollywood, according to investigators, was at the center of a suburban drug ring, making enough money to buy expensive cars and a three-bedroom house in West Hills. Investigators say his old friends, including Ryan Hoyt and Jesse Rugge, were now his employees.
KATZ: He was able to manipulate them and feel powerful as the head of a kind of a small-scale little drug cartel.
ROWLANDS: Another friend from little league, Ben Markowitz, was also involved in the drug business. But investigators say Markowitz and Hollywood clashed.
KATZ: He was one of Jesse James Hollywood's drug dealers, but Ben was not somebody who was going to allow a little punk like Jesse James Hollywood to boss him around.
ROWLANDS: Sunday, August 6, 2000, investigators say Jesse James Hollywood, now 20 years old, and a couple of his friends got into this van, and went looking for Ben Markowitz, planning to confront him about a $1,200 drug debt.
KATZ: They go out driving the streets of West Hills. And by pure coincidence, they come across Ben's younger brother, Nicholas Markowitz.
THOMAS: They saw the young man and decided if they grabbed him, then maybe that would force the older brother to come forward.
KATZ: And they hit him and they kick him and they throw him in the van.
ROWLANDS: 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz had been kidnapped. Investigators say Jesse James Hollywood and his friends decided to drive the boy north on Highway 101 to Santa Barbara. For two days, Nick Markowitz is taken to different spots, blending in with his kidnappers.
THOMAS: Over time, even witnesses say it almost became a party atmosphere.
KATZ: Nick, himself, doesn't always seem to get the idea that something's wrong.
ROWLANDS: On day three, they end up at the Lemon Tree Inn in Santa Barbara.
KATZ: They're in the pool, they're drinking, they're smoking. There's girls around.
ROWLANDS: But to Nick's family and friends, he's now a missing 15-year-old boy, and the police are searching for him. Investigators say Jesse James Hollywood is starting to get worried.
KATZ: He summons probably his lowliest lackey from the drug crew, a guy named Ryan Hoyt, who owed Jesse James hundreds of dollars in drug debts.
ROWLANDS: According to investigators, Hoyt, one of the boys from the little league team, was now being asked by Jesse James Hollywood to commit murder.
KATZ: And he gives Ryan Hoyt a duffle bag that has a tech 9 in it.
ROWLANDS: Hoyt had help from two of the others. According to investigators, Jesse Rugge, another boy from the little league photo, bound Nick Markowitz and put duct tape over his mouth; 17-year-old Graham Pressley, a friend of the group, familiar with Santa Barbara, found a spot to dig a shallow grave.
(On camera): Investigators say the young men followed Hollywood's orders, taking Markowitz from the hotel to this remote area in the mountains above Santa Barbara. Then, according to investigators, Ryan Hoyt, using the gun given to him by Jesse James Hollywood, shot Nicholas Markowitz nine times.
(Voice-over): Three days later, a hiker found the body. Then a girl who met Nick Markowitz at the Lemon Tree Inn, recognized his photo in the news and went to police.
KATZ: Within the next 24 hours, everybody except for Jesse James Hollywood is arrested.
ROWLANDS: Investigators say Hollywood took off after the body was found and soon he was the youngest person to make it onto the FBI's most wanted list.
THOMAS: It seemed like every time we got to where he was, he was gone again. And we just missed him on several occasions in several states. In fact, out of the country as well. ROWLANDS: As for the others, Jesse Rugge was convicted of kidnapping, William Skidmore pleaded guilty to kidnapping and robbery. Graham Pressley, the 17-year-old, was convicted of second-degree murder, and triggerman Ryan Hoyt was sentenced to death for first- degree murder and kidnapping.
Despite an international manhunt, there was still no sign of Jesse James Hollywood.
KATZ: The prosecutors believe that that was the hand of his father. That was Jack Hollywood keeping Jesse under the radar.
ROWLANDS: Jack Hollywood was also in that little league photo. He was the coach standing in the back row. Investigators say Jack Hollywood, who was arrested last year on drug charges, was a suspected drug dealer who may have been helping his son.
THOMAS: We always felt that the father was involved in providing information and providing money and hiding his son from the authorities.
Hollywood is currently in our custody and will stand trial for his role in the kidnapping and murder of Nicholas Markowitz.
ROWLANDS: Last year, after more than four years on the run, Jesse James Hollywood was arrested in Brazil.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hollywood was found to be in possession of false identification documents and in violation of immigration laws. He was detained by the federal police and deported as an illegal alien.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could be in a lot of trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trouble?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I mean, you can't just take a kid and...
ROWLANDS: The story is now a movie, called, "Alpha Dog," starring Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone. The movie is finished, but it hasn't been released. Lawyers for Jesse James Hollywood are arguing that this movie may hurt Hollywood's chances at a fair trial.
NICK CASSAVETTES, DIRECTOR, "ALPHA DOG": I don't think that the movie gets in the way of Mr. Hollywood getting a fair trial. But these things have to be explored. We don't want to, you know, we don't want to prejudice the trial.
Real life, way more important than movies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ain't going nowhere.
ROWLANDS: "Alpha Dog," which was scheduled for release this spring is now on hold. Jesse James Hollywood, who has pled not guilty to murder charges, is expected to go on trial later this year.
Ted Rowlands, CNN, Santa Barbara, California.
COOPER: Wow, fascinating story. The story about Jesse James Hollywood first aired earlier tonight on "PAULA ZAHN." You can watch her every weeknight 8:00 p.m., Eastern, right here, of course, on CNN.
In New Orleans, nearly two dozen people want to replace Mayor Ray Nagin.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really believe that we have an opportunity to make history, in that we have run an election like none before in the history of America.
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COOPER: You can say that again. With Katrina evacuees scattered across America, a look at how Saturday's voting will be conducted, when 360 continues.
Plus, growing protests in Nepal. People want change. And tomorrow, a day of potentially historic protests, could make it happen.
Across America and around the world, you're watching 360.
COOPER: Well, if you caught bits and pieces about the violence in Nepal, but are left kind of scratching your head, you're in good company.
Basically the population has had it with its king and with monarchy in general. Nepal is located in southern Asia, on the northeastern border of India. It's perhaps best known for lying in the shadows of the Himalayas in Mt. Everest. Tomorrow, with protests building, and a Maoists insurgency, as many as 100,000 people are expected to march on the royal palace.
CNN's Dan Rivers reports.
DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tucked into the shadows of the towering Himalayan Mountains between India and China, Nepal is an ancient kingdom teetering on the edge of collapse.
In the last 10 days, more than 2,000 have been injured and several killed, as protesters press the king to restore democracy.
For centuries these people have been ruled by the Nepalese royal family, who they believe are divine. But now, they are chanting "down with the king."
(On camera): This is the fault line between the state and the people. On this side are the king's security forces who are standing firm. And on the other side is this huge crowd made up of a broad coalition of political parties. The atmosphere is incredibly tense, and this lot want to get into the city.
(Voice-over): The protesters are united against the king, but they're divided in their goals -- those who want communism and those who want democracy. For years Maoists, influenced by China, have been growing in strength and numbers, and agitating for communist rule.
In fact, it was because of their growing power that the king swept away democratic reforms about a year ago. And then there are those here in the capital, Kathmandu, who simply want democracy back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is too much for now. We cannot terminate now because we need freedom, and he must listen to our voice because this is not -- we are new generations. We are asking for republic.
RIVERS: But what brought Nepal to the brink, reads like a Shakespearean tragedy. The current King Gyanendra came to the throne five years ago after a bloody massacre at the palace. The crown prince slaughtering almost every royal before killing himself, leaving Gyanendra to take the crown. But Gyanendra also inherited a violent Maoist insurgency, armed rebels determined to overthrow the royals.
Since then, the king has slowly dismantled democracy. It is of the parliament and took all control for himself, because he claimed the politicians were failing to deal with the Maoists.
Today, a general's strike has left people lining up for fuel and food. At the Buddhist temples, the monks are praying for peace. The tourists watch on helplessly. They only want out as soon as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my opinion, it could be the last days of the king. The situation is very scary.
RIVER: Bad as it is today, Thursday could be worse. With predictions of a million on the streets. Many here are asking, are we witnessing the violent end of what has been centuries of a single family's royal rule here in the kingdom of Nepal?
Dan Rivers, CNN, Kathmandu, Nepal.
COOPER: Well, Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us with some of the business stories we're following -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.
Some good news from the NASDAQ. The index closed at a five-year high today, thanks to strong earnings from Yahoo!, United Technologies, plus expectations about earnings from Apple and Intel, they pushed the index above 2,300.
Other markets also finished the session in positive territory. Because investors believe the Federal Reserve could soon end its series of interest rate hikes.
Oil prices also reaching a record high for the third straight day. Light sweet crude peaked at $72.40 a barrel before closing at $72.17. And if you're keeping track, that is 82 cents higher than yesterday. One analyst said oil could hit $80 a barrel by the end of June.
And some indications today that the higher price of oil could be starting to push up the prices of other products. Consumer prices rose .4 percent last month, but the core consumer price index which takes out food and energy prices was still up .3 percent. So not a huge difference. It's the biggest one-month increase in the core CPI since March of last year.
There you go. Just, you know, end it on a positive note for you.
COOPER: Yes, real positive there, thanks. Erica, thanks.
It's a happy day for the couple known as TomKat. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes. They've got a new bundle of joy, as you probably heard. We'll have that and tell you all about her unusual name and the hoopla surrounding it, when 360 continues.
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TOM CRUISE, "THE TODAY SHOW" FROM NBC: The thing that I'm saying about Brooke is that there's misinformation. OK? And she doesn't understand the history of psychiatry. She doesn't understand, in the same way that you don't understand it, Matt.
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COOPER: Let's watch it again. Come on.
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CRUISE: The thing that I'm saying about Brooke is that there's misinformation. OK? And she doesn't understand the history of psychiatry. She doesn't understand, in the same way that you don't understand it, Matt.
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COOPER: It's so good. That, of course, was Tom Cruise chastising "Today Show" Co-Host Matt Lauer over antidepressants and psychiatric drugs. We can only assume that Tom Cruise is much happier tonight.
In case you have not heard, he and his fiancee, Katie Holmes, are proud parents of a baby girl. Paparazzi, of course, are going gaga over the delivery and the name, as is CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At least after all those public displays of affection, they have something to show for it. Tom plus Katie equals...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: TomKat.
MOOS: And a TomKat baby equals...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A TomKitten.
MOOS: The parents, smitten with their TomKitten, named her Suri, a name that means princess in Hebrew and red rose in Persian. But in Japanese...
(On camera): But apparently it means pickpocket in Japanese.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you have a red rose Persian princess who pickpockets.
MOOS (voice-over): It could be worse. The star of "My name is Earl," named his kid, Pilot Inspector. Rachel Griffiths, from "Six Feet Under," named hers, Banjo. And Penn, from "Penn and Teller," named his, Moxie CrimeFighter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the parents did it to satisfy their ego.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, I like Tom, Dick, Harry, John, Fred. Then you have nothing to live up to.
MOOS: It's one thing to name your dog, Twiggy. Hey, Twiggy. Another, to name your daughter, Apple, as Gwyneth Paltrow did.
(On camera): Like if your kid's name is Apple, what kind of jokes are people going to make?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Applesauce. What are your kids going to be, applesauce when you beat them or something? I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They'll call her a fruit.
MOOS (voice-over): Nothing wrong with as fruit, as Gwyneth explained to Oprah. Apples are so sweet and they're wholesome and it's biblical. I just thought it sounded so lovely and clean.
Not quite lovely and clean, was what Tom Cruise told "GQ" magazine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says and after his baby's born, he's going to eat the placenta and the umbilical cord. MOOS: Jon Stewart pointed out that Tom was joking, but what with all the couch hopping, word spread on the Web that the scientologist was serious.
JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART," FROM COMEDY CENTRAL: Pan roasted with a little bit of leek.
MOOS: And what are the chances of Tom's fiancee giving birth...
PETER CASTRO, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Not only on the same day, but in the very same hospital and on the same floor as his former nemesis, Brooke Shields.
MOOS: Remember how Tom and Brooke parted ways over taking drugs for postpartum depression?
CRUISE: And she doesn't understand the history of psychiatry.
MOOS (on camera): It's been a long nine months. Poor little TomKitten's already the butt of jokes on the Internet.
(Voice-over): "TomKat Baby from Outer Space," portrays TomKitten as an alien. And "Dial a Fetus," shows TomKitten talking on a cell to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's fetus. When TomKitten is born, it takes one look around and decides to return to the womb. The womb would look good if you knew these people would kill for a baby picture.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
COOPER: We wish them well. More of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.
COOPER: Tomorrow on "American Morning," is America ready for a movie about September 11? In just over a week, Director Paul Greengrass has filmed "United 93." It opens nationwide, captures in real time the doomed journey of the hijacked plane that crashed in rural Pennsylvania. The film is emotionally loaded and extremely controversial. "American Morning's" Carol Costello talks to the director.
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CAROL COSTELLO, "AMERICAN MORNING," HOST: Why now?
PAUL GREENGRASS, DIRECTOR, "UNITED 93": Well, I mean, I think it's the right time. But I can't know for sure. This is the most important event of our lifetimes, obviously. And its consequences live with us today and will continue to live with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: You can see the rest of Carol's interview and more of the movie, "United 93," tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6:00 a.m., Eastern Time, with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien.
"LARRY KING" is coming up next. His guest, John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted," talks about the Duke rape investigation and much more.
Thanks for watching 360. I'll see you tomorrow.
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