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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

President's Poll Numbers Hit New Low; New CIA Chief Nominated; Price Tag For 9/11 Memorial Reaches $1 Billion

Aired May 8, 2006 - 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: We will more on the hunt for Warren Jeffs and the wives -- and what the wives go through a little bit later in the program.
But we begin tonight with the president and a new batch of polls and Karl Rove's not-so-secret strategy to attack Democrats and hold on to Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: How low can they go? Poll numbers sagging, and not just because gas prices are rising.

The president picks a military pro to run the CIA and sets the scene for a confrontation with Senate Democrats and Republicans.

It calls itself a church, but its leader is now one of the FBI's most wanted -- inside the world of polygamy and one woman's nightmare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drive quickly. Drive. Drive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: In a dangerous corner of the globe, danger surrounds a reporter and his crew, as they become part of the story that's already taken thousands of lives.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: 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.

COOPER: And we begin tonight with the president, new polling and a surprise -- according to the conventional wisdom, angry consumers are punishing the president for high gas prices. Prices go up, poll numbers go down, right? Well, maybe not.

All the angles tonight on the real numbers that have little to do with gasoline and a lot to do with almost everything else -- in other words, not a good omen. So, how can the president make the most of a fairly tough hand? We will ask former presidential adviser David Gergen about that and Karl Rove's daring strategy for turning weakness now into victory come November. We will also focus on the president's choice to run the CIA and the battle he's facing in the Senate -- even some top Republicans raising doubts and others holding back on their support.

We begin, the backdrop to all of this, the polling, the numbers, CNN's Bill Schneider.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): The latest Bush approval numbers? Thirty-four percent in the CNN poll, 31 percent in the Gallup/"USA Today" poll. Those ratings are statistically compatible, since each poll has a 3 percent margin of error.

Thirty-one percent is the lowest rating ever recorded for this president. What's the biggest beef with Bush? You might guess gas prices, gas prices, gas prices. But most people who disapprove of the president's performance say the reason is Iraq, Iraq, Iraq, 56 percent.

Thirteen percent say it's gas prices. Other issues, 26.

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: The sooner we get out of Iraq and allow the Iraqis to solve their own problems, the better.

SCHNEIDER: Certainly, the better for Republicans, like Representative Paul, who have to face the voters this November.

Americans no longer buy the main argument for going to war in Iraq, that it would make the U.S. safer from terrorism. Just after the war ended, in 2003, 58 percent of Americans felt safer. A year later?, the number was at 50 percent. Now just one-third of Americans believe the war in Iraq has made the U.S. safer. Most people now say Iraq has made the U.S. less safe.

Sure, gas prices are causing financial hardship. Nearly two- thirds say so, although that number is down slightly from where it was two weeks ago.

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: Everyone in Congress is looking for a solution or for someone to blame.

SCHNEIDER: Ask a business executive why gas prices went up, and you will hear supply and demand. The public doesn't buy it. Look how fast prices went up. Supply and demand, hell, the public says. We think somebody's up to no good, by 61 to 26 percent.

And 70 percent say President Bush could do something about gas prices. After all, going after evildoers is supposed to be his thing.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: David Gergen has been a top White House adviser, in good times and bad, for Republicans and Democrats. He's been looking into both the poll trouble and how Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, may have a pretty clever way of turning the tables.

David joins us tonight from Boston.

Good to see you, David.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Let's talk about these numbers.

First of all, that so many Americans believe that there's something shady going on with these gas prices, and that there are 70 percent who say that the president could do something about it does not bode well for him.

GERGEN: It does not, unless he takes bold action. And he has not done that so far. He's mostly been small stuff.

There's an awful lot of blame attached in those polls to oil companies. And George W. Bush, as a former oil man, where the vice president is a former oil man, is clearly attached to those oil companies in the public identification. And people believe that there's been a lot of price-gouging, even though there's not a whole lot of evidence to support that, because it mostly seems supply and demand.

But people believe that, and they want the president to do something. And he hasn't done very much. The other thing, Anderson, that's interesting about this poll, you know, we have been talking the last couple of weeks about personnel changes in the White House, whether that would, in effect, give the president a fresh -- you know, fresh life in the polls.

Well, when asked about the new press secretary, Tony Snow, even though he's a very good man, only 15 percent say that this is likely being real change at the Bush White House, some 70 percent, no real change represented by a change of faces -- a change of faces alone not enough.

COOPER: When you talk about similar policies, it's interesting. "The New York Times" writes today that Karl Rove's playbook is for -- for these upcoming elections, "Their playbook is drawn straight from the one that worked for him in 2004.' That's a quote from "The Times."

Basically, fire up conservatives and make the election not just about the president's performance, but about Karl Rove's definition of the Democratic Party. Is that going to work?

GERGEN: Well, I'm not sure it will work, but there ain't nothing else working, Anderson. So, you understand it. You know, what do you do -- what you do in politics frequently is, you go with your substance and see if that works, your positive story. And, if that doesn't work very well, then you go out and demonize your opponents.

And, in this case, what they have been worried about for some time is that conservatives would stay home, just as Democrats stayed home back in '94, which is when Newt Gingrich and company won the House of Representatives for the Republicans. This time, they're worried that conservatives -- and we see in those polls that conservative support for the president is drooping. It's still around 50 percent, but that's down from astronomic levels.

So, what they want to do is pump that back up. But, you know, Anderson, when along comes something like Porter Goss resigning over the CIA, and then you have got the number-three guy resigning today, and you have got all this turmoil at the CIA, and a contentious nomination coming up, it's hard for Karl to get that message out as effectively as he might like.

COOPER: It's interesting, though, because Democrats seem to be trying to fire up their base. And I'm wondering if it is going to backfire.

You have Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi telling "The Washington Post" that, if Democrats regain the House, they would launch investigations into energy prices and the war.

When people start hearing about investigating the president, I mean, does that just fire up the Democrats, or does that play into the Republicans' hands?

GERGEN: Terrific question.

I -- it -- it -- when I read that story over the weekend, I thought, you know, this is going to wave a red flag in front of the Republican bulls. They're going to look at this and say, we're not going to spend the next two years with investigations, led by Ron Dellums and others and people who want to impeach the president. We're just not going to get into that.

Irony here is that, you know, for -- for many people who have a distaste for the whole impeachment proceeding against Bill Clinton, the idea of impeachment proceedings or all sorts of investigations may be a real turnoff for the public. I thought that that was not a smart move by the Democrats, to suggest that's what the future would hold, if they get elected.

And what we already see in some races, that, even though the president's poll numbers are down, we do see Republican candidates starting to come up some. Take Pennsylvania. Senator Santorum, who's been down over double digits against Bob Casey for the Senate race, the incumbent, conservative Republican, Santorum, is now doing better. He's up to within six or seven points. He's really risen some.

So, it may be that Karl Rove is on a winning strategy, but he can't -- if he keeps having the Mike Haydens and the Porter Goss stories kind of interrupting, it will be a hard go for him.

COOPER: Well, as you keep saying over the weeks, it's all about leadership...

GERGEN: It is.

COOPER: ... and whether that leadership comes from the president or somewhere else.

GERGEN: I totally -- yes, I agree.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Launching investigations, I'm not sure that's the leadership people are looking for. We will -- we will see.

GERGEN: I don't think it is. I don't think it is, Anderson. I think they ought to come up with more substantive -- they ought to come up with an energy plan of their own on the Democratic side, if they really want people to get excited.

COOPER: David Gergen, thanks for joining us.

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: As David just mentioned, as if the president didn't have enough on his plate already, he's got a nomination to get through the Senate, General Michael Hayden, his replacement for CIA Director Porter Goss.

As David said, Goss stepped down on Friday, without so much, really, as a reason why. Today, a top aide also quick, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, who is number three at the agency and who has been implicated in a congressional bribery investigation. And, as for General Hayden's nomination, there seems to be more to it than just picking a new boss.

CNN's David Ensor has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush made clear he has no doubt about his choice.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's the right man to lead the CIA at this critical moment in our nation's history.

ENSOR: By the time the president announced it, the choice of General Mike Hayden for the CIA job was the worst-kept secret in Washington.

GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN, CIA DIRECTOR NOMINEE: This is simply too important not to get absolutely right.

ENSOR: Administration officials were caught off guard by complaints from some key congressional Republicans that a four-star general should not lead the civilian CIA, because he would be the Pentagon's man.

Not true, insisted his boss.

JOHN NEGROPONTE, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: Mike Hayden is a very, very independent-minded person, blunt-spoken, and who I don't think will have any difficulty whatsoever staking out positions that are independent and responsive to the needs of our civilian intelligence community.

ENSOR: He may need that independent streak. Many analysts predict trouble soon over who really controls human intelligence, in other words, spies, trouble between Negroponte and Hayden on the one side, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the other.

JAMES BAMFORD, AUTHOR, "PRETEXT FOR WAR": There is obviously going to be a clash when Rumsfeld wants to develop a major human intelligence force, and it cuts into the CIA's domain.

ENSOR: Dozens of CIA analysts have been moved to the new National Counterterrorism Center, in an effort to bring intelligence from all sources under one roof, so that they connect the dots and stop the next terrorist attacks.

But some at the CIA fear Hayden may strip many more analysts out of the agency, preventing them from helping plan CIA operations against terrorists.

NEGROPONTE: There's no thought of taking the analytic function out of the CIA.

ENSOR: In Langley, Virginia, morale at the CIA has been low under outgoing Director Porter Goss, but officials were cheered, especially by the choice for Hayden's deputy, Steve Kappes, a respected former senior CIA man.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The choice of Steve Kappes will be a reassuring signal at Langley.

ENSOR: But all this change and upheaval has its price. Former acting CIA Director McLaughlin worries that it could leave the nation vulnerable.

MCLAUGHLIN: God forbid, if we had a terrorist attack some time in the next -- in the near future, it's important that everyone know exactly what they need to do, that they understand their roles, responsibilities, that everyone has their leadership button down.

ENSOR: The change at CIA also comes at a time when the agency is struggling to find the intelligence the administration needs on Iran's nuclear program to convince other nations to support sanctions against Tehran.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, those who think General Hayden's military past makes him the wrong person for the CIA should look at the facts and history.

Here's the raw data. There have been 19 CIA directors since the intelligence agency was created in 1947. Six came from civilian posts. Thirteen of the directors have had military experience, among them, former President George H.W. Bush, who led the intelligence agency in 1976.

The fate of General Hayden's nomination will help determine how long and hot this summer will be for the Bush White House. Some suggest he will overcome initial skepticism. Others believe it is another White House mistake. Find out what insiders are saying in a moment.

Also, ground zero's 9/11 memorial -- the latest estimated price tag, near $1 billion. It begs the question, where's all that money really going? Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest."

And a young woman's plight:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not allowed any form of birth control. And to say, you know, "I really can't handle it; I'm having too many children; I'm having them too fast," is a mortal sin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We will take you inside polygamy culture, where freedom of choice is strictly one man's prerogative, a man who's now on the FBI's most wanted list, a story you cannot believe is happening in the United States -- all that and more when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: For the CIA today, it was a half-step forward. President Bush nominated Air Force General Michael Hayden to succeed outgoing CIA Director Porter Goss. But the choice still needs Senate approval, of course. And, so far, there's been a good deal of criticism, even by Republicans, because it would put a man with a military background in charge of a civilian spy agency.

Earlier this evening, I discussed this with CNN's John Roberts, David Ensor, and CNN military analyst retired Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: David, for politicians and for those in the intelligence community, what is the problem about having a man with a military background run the CIA?

ENSOR: Well, their feeling is that it's a civilian agency, that it should stay that way, that the kinds of intelligence that it gives to the White House should be about how to protect American citizens and the national security interests, not about tactical intelligence that will help soldiers in, say, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And there's a -- there's a difference of opinion on what the priorities should be. So, they're fearful that, if a general takes over the CIA, in effect, the Pentagon will control it.

COOPER: General Marks, I mean, this man ran the -- the NSA, so he certainly has an intelligence background, as well as a -- a military background. Are there advantages, from your perspective, in having a military man lead a civilian agency?

BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Anderson, there sure are, from my -- from my perspective, personal experience on the ground.

When I was in the Balkans back in the late '90s, there was what I would call a bit of a gap between requirements on the ground, a very nuanced environment, as you can well imagine, and what the Central Intelligence Agency could provide.

You fast-forward up to about 2003, 2004, I need to tell you, my experience on the ground in Iraq was markedly improved over that in the Balkans, primarily based on what the Central Intelligence Agency and its operations on the ground could provide.

So, I found it of great value for the individual on the ground.

COOPER: John, do you get the sense that the issue isn't really whether or not the CIA should be led by a military officer or whether or not it should be led by this particular military officer?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It depends on who you talk to.

There are some Democrats who believe that he should resign his commission before taking on the CIA job. There are some Republicans, like Congressman Hoekstra, who have a problem with it. And there are some former members of the administration who have a problem with it, saying that they believe that the -- this administration is much more militarized than the last administration to have a military man leading the CIA -- that was the Carter administration and Stansfield Turner -- and, so therefore, no, Hayden is not the right person for the job.

There are also observations that he is really a technical guy, dealing with signals intelligence, and that the CIA really needs to deal with human intelligence. So, is there a -- a bit of an operating at cross purposes on that front, which is why the White House and Negroponte came out today and said, well, wait a minute. This guy is a student of history. He understands the need for human intelligence, and he's going to make it happen.

COOPER: David Ensor, human intelligence, while it gets a lot of coverage, is actually a small part of what they actually do, in signals intelligence. And -- and reading and analyzing intelligence is actually a much larger part.

ENSOR: Well, they do all systems analysis, analysis of intelligence that comes from all -- all points.

And let me just tell you that I know General Hayden quite well, and I know him to be, well, certainly not Don Rumsfeld's favorite general -- rather the contrary. This is a guy who has stood up to the Pentagon and disagreed with it publicly several times. So, he's very independent-minded. He may be in a uniform, but...

COOPER: So, he and Rumsfeld have had -- he and Rumsfeld have had a conflict?

ENSOR: They have, yes, indeed.

COOPER: So, he's not part and parcel -- I mean, he's from the military, but -- but you're saying he's not necessarily going to vote with the military all the time?

ENSOR: He's an intelligence officer first and a military officer second, in terms of his priorities. He thinks there should be civilian control, and there should be national security priorities, not just tactical military security priorities.

COOPER: John, how -- as these confirmations hearings loom, if it gets that far, how big a deal is his support for the domestic wiretapping program going to be?

ROBERTS: Yes. I mean, that's going to be front and center when his hearings coming up. And that's what you are going to hear the Democrats talking about, and maybe even some Republicans as well, is -- this is going to be, as opposed to a confirmation on General Hayden's capabilities to lead the CIA, it's going to be, tell us about that wiretapping scandal, because they will finally have a chance to get him on the stand in a forum where they can ask him literally anything they want.

And you can bet that a lot of the confirmation's going to be about that.

COOPER: Interesting.

John Roberts, David Ensor, Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks, thanks very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Some extraordinary video now.

Today, a cell phone camera helped record an unforgettable scene, a friendly crowd morphing into a bloodthirsty mob in the Darfur region of the Sudan.

CNN international correspondent Nic Robertson was in the middle of it, brings us the exclusive footage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa. Whoa. What's the matter? What is happening?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drive. Quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drive. Drive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut the door. Shut the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't. I can't get to the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go. Go. Go. Go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep driving. Keep driving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is happening?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. They are suspecting him to be a government spy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out. Get out. Go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drive quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We will show you Nic's full report and we will talk with him a little later on 360.

Well, nearly $1 billion for a 9/11 memorial. The question is, why so much?

Tonight, we are "Keeping Them Honest."

But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we're following -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.

And great news to start off with -- the ordeal is over for two Australian gold miners. Today, rescuers freed the men after two weeks underground. The miners were trapped in a steel cage following a rockfall on April 25. One of their co-workers died in the quake. During the ordeal, rescue crews supplied the miners with oxygen, food, water, even iPods, through a plastic pipe. President Bush has received a letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, believed to be the first correspondence between the president of Iran and the U.S. in 26 years. Iranian officials said the letter proposed new ways to end the ongoing nuclear dispute, but the White House says that isn't the case.

In Venezuela, more than 10,000 sea turtles with a new chance at life -- the turtles were set free into the wild as part of a government project to save the species from extinction. Although the turtles have been legally protected since the '60s, they are a delicacy in South America. And illegal trafficking has caused their numbers to decline.

COOPER: It's like "Free Willy."

HILL: It is. Isn't it great?

(LAUGHTER)

HILL: I love those stories.

COOPER: I do, too.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Erica, thanks.

COOPER: Well, coming up, we will have the fighting over the 9/11 memorial. It is only making it worse. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES WOLF, HUSBAND OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM: I have concerns about the way the project has been managed. And I have concerns about the leadership of the project.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A lot of questions about leadership and money over remembering the victims. Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also ahead, to his followers, this guy is a prophet, to the FBI, a fugitive polygamist, who tonight is one of the most wanted men in America. We will tell you why next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, it cost $182 million to construct the National World War II Memorial and just $7 million for the wall honoring the Vietnam veterans.

Now, you compare those price tags to the staggering estimate for the 9/11 memorial at ground zero. Tonight, it has soared to nearly $1 billion, $1 billion. And it still seems a long way from being built. One official says it is beyond reason.

We're "Keeping Them Honest" with CNN's Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the dust settled, the loved ones found, the immense human wreckage measured, everyone understood it would be a day to memorialize, a terrible day never to forget.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: The greatest honor we can do them is to remember them.

JOHNS: Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke about the victims of 9/11 on the fourth anniversary of the attacks. But what he didn't say and what no one can seem to agree on is how to remember them.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: We should think about a soaring, monumental, beautiful memorial that just draws millions of people here to just want to see it.

ROSEMARY CAIN, MOTHER OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM: The majority of family members want a memorial that is going to be dignified, respectful, and historically accurate.

JOHNS: From officials to family members, there have been so many opinions on so many grand scales, and the costs and how to pay for it just gets bigger, if not more complicated.

BLOOMBERG: There's just so many things we want to do in society. Every one of them has great merit, but you can't do them all, and you have to do many of them.

JOHNS: The current proposal is exquisite, dignified, thoughtful, a field of trees in the midst of Manhattan skyscrapers, with recessed pools in the footprints of the Twin Towers, a place of meditation. The first cost estimate in 2004 for the memorial alone was $350 million. Last year, it jumped to almost $500 million.

And now a new internal memo obtained by CNN calculates the cost of the memorial, museum and the surrounding infrastructure at nearly $1 billion. That includes an extra $300 million for new sidewalks, electrical systems and emergency operations centers, and then another $75 million for expansions to the museum's entry pavilion, exhibition hall and added lighting for the reflecting pools.

Politicians who have veto power over the project, like New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, say it is out of control.

GOV. JON CORZINE (D), NEW JERSEY: I like no surprises. Going from $500 billion to $1 billion without much of a warning seems to me to be a surprise.

JOHNS: Though some say you can't put a price tag on a memorial like this, take a look at the World War II Memorial in Washington. It opened in 2004 and cost $182 million, about a fifth of the current estimate for the 9/11 memorial. (on camera): Why is the New York project so expensive? It's a big plan that keeps getting bigger. Plus, building almost anything in New York City is going to cost a lot more than building it almost anywhere else.

(voice-over): Private donors are expected to pick up at least some of the costs, but the overall project is nowhere near fully funded. And some family members of the victims are now saying the city is losing sight of what's most important.

CHARLES WOLF, HUSBAND OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM: I think they need to go back and re-prioritize. We are memorializing the 3,000 -- close to 3,000 people that were killed that day, which my wife was one of them.

JOHNS: For the families, having a place to remember their loved ones may seem priceless, but what did the attack mean to New York, to the entire country, to the world? How much is all of that worth to get it built? How much is it worth to the taxpayers?

Joe Johns, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, as the FBI goes after a fugitive church leader, we're going to take you inside of his notorious sect, where polygamy is the norm and privacy nonexistent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Living in these polygamist homes, or the one like I lived in, is like living in a police state. Everyone reports everything on everybody else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A police state right here in America. She was married to a stranger. She was just 18, one of five wives in a household with 54 kids. We are going to tell you how she escaped and the nightmare she left behind.

Plus, why the FBI thinks this guy, Warren Jeffs, the man in the center of this strategy, the man his followers call a prophet, is dangerous enough -- dangerous enough to now be on the 10 most wanted fugitives list.

That's next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, this weekend the FBI added a new name, Warren Jeffs to its most-wanted list and put a $100,000 reward on his head. That's him. To the law, he's a criminal, plain and simple, wanted, among other things, on charges of rape and sexual conduct with a minor. That is not how everyone sees him. To thousands of his followers, and there are still thousands of them there, Jeffs is a prophet, a leader of a notorious offshoot of the Mormon Church. It still practices a taboo outlawed by the mainstream Mormon Church of 100 years ago, polygamy. Tonight we're going to take you inside the secretive, some say suffocating and abusive world of this guy's church. We begin with one woman's escape.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Carolyn Jessop grew up in a polygamist family in the FLDS sect in Colorado City, Arizona. She dreamed of going to college and becoming a pediatrician. Her father went to ask the prophet for permission and was told Carolyn Jessop had to get married first. That was nearly 20 years ago. The prophet then was Rulon Jeffs (ph), Warren Jeffs' father.

CAROLYN JESSOP, LEFT FLDS SECT: I didn't really know what to do with it. It was just like you can see something really bad's coming down. You can see your life's going in a direction that's the worst place you'd ever want it to go. But yet there's nothing you can do to stop it.

COOPER: The man chosen to be Carolyn's husband, a 50-year-old man who already had three wives. And would eventually take several more.

JESSOP: I'd get in the car with this strange man, 32 years older than me, and we're going to get married that day. And drive to his house. To meet his family. It was like watching a horror movie except for I was in the front seat of it.

COOPER: Carolyn moved in to her husband's home.

JESSOP: It was bad from the beginning. I mean, there was few, if any, happy moments. You're not allowed any form of birth control. And to say, you know, I really can't handle it. I'm having too many children. I'm having them too fast is a mortal sin. And so, of course, if your husband sees you as worthy and he wants to father a baby with you, then it is considered a sin unto death to refuse him.

COOPER: She had eight children in 15 years. Including a son who was severely disabled. Eventually, there were five wives in her home and 54 children. Life became more extreme when Warren Jeffs took control of the sect after his father's death in 2002.

JESSOP: A lot of things changed when he took over. The children were pulled out of public schools. And put -- everybody was put into private schools. And then they burned all the books.

COOPER: Shortly afterwards, at the age of 35, Carolyn started thinking about the unthinkable. Escape.

JESSOP: Living in these polygamist homes or the one like I lived in is like living in a police state. Everyone reports everything. On everybody else.

COOPER: One night she had an unexpected opportunity. Her husband was out of town. And all eight children were home. She called her brother in Salt Lake City.

JESSOP: He said, "You know, Carolyn, I will do anything and everything I can to help you, but if I leave right now, the soonest I can be there is at 5:00 in the morning." I said, "Will you do It?" and he said, "I'll be there. But I don't want to come into the community." So he wanted me to drive three miles outside of the community. And meet him at a store that's called Canaan Corner.

The next day she was not letting the children out. There is no way. They were terrified of the outside world. So I had to come up with a story. So I got them up about 4:00 that morning, and I told them that Harrison was extremely sick. And that I had to take him to the doctor, which was common. That was life. But I told them, "Well, Arthur's here, and so I want to get family pictures.

And so everybody's coming with me this time." One of Merrill's other wives comes in on my oldest daughter getting dressed and starts demanding answers. And so about 4:30 that morning, I hear over the intercom, Merrill wants to talk to me on the phone. I knew I was -- I knew they were on to me.

COOPER: Carolyn began piling her children into the van.

JESSOP: The last person I went in and got was Harrison. I took him off his oxygen. Put him in his car seat, and I thought everybody was there. I got in the front seat, and I was just about to put the key in the ignition.

COOPER: But her oldest daughter was missing.

JESSOP: And honestly, it was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had in my life. Because I knew I was out of time. And do I leave her? Do I leave one and save seven? Or do I go back in and get her and none of us get out?

COOPER: She made a split-second decision and ran inside her house.

JESSOP: She didn't want to come. And she was crying. You know, she said, "Mother, there's something you're doing that's wrong. Why doesn't father know what you're doing?"

COOPER: Carolyn grabbed her daughter and pulled her into the van.

JESSOP: After I got out of the community, the realization that my van was completely out of gas. So it was like just making it on a prayer that I could get three miles out of town. And about a mile before I got to Canaan Corner, the van was sputtering. It was definitely out. But I made it there.

COOPER: She met her brother and reached safety. Her life began all over again.

JESSOP: I have something now that I've never had in my life. Before. I have hope. COOPER: Carolyn had to fight a bitter legal battle for custody of her children, but in the end, she prevailed. They all live together near Salt Lake City.

JESSOP: I think that one of the things that the outside world doesn't understand about the world that I come from is that they see the polygamist lifestyle as an issue about religious freedom, religious rights. But what I've experienced is it's basically about human rights issues. You're not supposed to think. You're supposed to be willing to be perfectly obedient. To me, I see it as a life of slavery.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): A life of slavery in modern-day America. It's really hard to overstate just how controlled life inside this sect really is. In a moment, we'll hear much more from Carolyn in her own words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSOP: You're just basically told who you're going to marry, and then there's not a lot of options as far as not doing what you're told in this society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Remember, there are thousands of people still living under these conditions right now. What her daily life was like as one of five wives in a world where women had no power.

Plus how the secretive community first came to the FBI's attention and why authorities think that Warren Jeffs is such a dangerous man right now. Next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Before the break, we told you about Carolyn Jessop and how she broke free from a fundamentalist Mormon sect that practices polygamy. The fugitive leader of the sect, Warren Jeffs, has landed on the FBI's ten most-wanted list. It was Warren Jeffs' father Rulon Jeffs who ordered Carolyn to marry a 50-year-old man she had never met. She was 18 at the time, younger than some of this guy's daughters when she became his fifth wife. I talked to Carolyn Jessop earlier tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Carolyn, it's hard for a lot of people to imagine what your life was like inside this community on a daily basis. I mean, what did you wear? What did you eat? What was it like?

JESSOP: Well, life inside the community is extremely different than life that I've experienced since I've left the community. It is very structured. There's a lot of clothing required on a daily basis that you are required to wear. Several -- the temperatures down there are pretty extreme temperatures in the summer. And so it's very hot and very uncomfortable.

And then the daily schedule of life is very strict. You're to be at family classes early in the morning, and then, of course, there's evening classes, family classes, and there's classes required for the wives -- or the adults in the family, and then there's classes required for the children, and parents are required to attend both. It's not uncommon to go to bed at midnight, and it's not uncommon to get up between 4:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the morning.

COOPER: And everything seems so regimented. Even one's sexual life with one's husband, I mean, that's very limited, correct?

JESSOP: Yes. That is the religious doctrine. Sex is for procreation only. A man is only allowed to have sex with his wife for the purpose of fathering children. Which is one time in a month that he is -- when the couple is trying to conceive.

COOPER: So do you develop a bond -- I mean, you were, I think, 18 when you were woken up in the middle of the night and told you're getting married.

JESSOP: Yes. I was 18 at the time I was told I was going to be married. You do not develop -- I did not develop a bond at all with my husband.

COOPER: He was 50 years old?

JESSOP: He was 50 years old at the time. So he was 32 years older than me.

COOPER: And he already had a couple of wives?

JESSOP: He had three wives before me.

COOPER: And getting along with the other wives, I mean, what was that like? And all the children? You were at one point living in your -- How many kids were there in this house?

JESSOP: Well, around the time I married him, I believe he had over 30 children living in the home.

COOPER: Thirty children?

JESSOP: Thirty children, and four wives. We were extremely overcrowded. And it was getting along with the members of the family, for me, was a nightmare because I had to adapt to nearly 40 different personalities.

COOPER: I just want to talk about Warren Jeffs a little bit. How dangerous is Warren Jeffs in your opinion?

JESSOP: In my opinion, he's very dangerous from the perspective of every day, he is destroying lives. Based upon that he's marrying very young girls into circumstances where they're being traumatized in, you know, ways that will affect them the rest of their lives. And then the other side of this is he is also excommunicating young boys, and these boys are being taken and thrown onto the streets of big cities.

COOPER: And to someone who's still in the community, what would you say? I mean, what do you -- what's your advice?

JESSOP: To someone in the community?

COOPER: Yeah.

JESSOP: I would tell them that life on the outside is very good. Much, much better than life in the community. I know that it's scary because it's so different. It's like completely different than anything that you experience in the community. But freedom is a wonderful thing to have. And it's worth whatever price you have to pay to have it.

COOPER: And we're looking right now at some pictures of people in the community just walking down, women in long dresses with children. They're not free?

JESSOP: I didn't experience freedom there. Not from the time I could get up in the morning to the time I could go to bed at night or to any major decision I could make in my life.

COOPER: As you look at it now, does it surprise you that this exists in the United States of America in this day and age?

JESSOP: I'm outraged that it exists. And I'm outraged that the American public is allowing it to exist. And it's a condition that has existed for over 50 years, was the last time they actually tried to do anything with it. And if somebody would have taken a stand before I was born, my life would be a lot different now. And so for me, I want to take that stand. I want to take that stand for children that are involved in this and for children that will be born into it. And hopefully their lives can be different than the life I experienced.

COOPER: Carolyn, I admire your courage and admire (ph) you coming on to talk about this. Thank you so much.

JESSOP: Yeah, thank you for the invitation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're going to have more on Warren Jeffs and his notorious sect next hour. Not just women like Carolyn who say they have suffered under the church's absolute rule, men bear scars as well. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): The absolute power Jeffs wields destroyed the life Paul Musser loved. He was married 23 years and had 13 children. Jeffs told him suddenly five years ago that he was unfit to get his wife into heaven.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just said that she need somebody to exalt her into the celestial kingdom and that I couldn't.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: How Paul Musser lost everything he loved including 13 of his children all because that guy, Warren Jeffs, said so. That's coming up on 360 at 11:00.

Coming up right now, the man behind all of this, Warren Jeffs still on the lam. Now his face is plastered on the most-wanted list, a list that includes Osama bin Laden. I'll talk with the FBI's man in charge, Tim Fuhrman, about why he thinks Jeffs belongs on that list.

And a very close call in Darfur. Our reporter, Nic Robertson, inside that car. We'll tell you what happened when an angry crowd got out of control, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In a moment, the end of the search for the Pillsbury doughboy. But first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us on the business stories we're following. Erica?

HILL: I'll have to stick around for that one. First though, I'll take you to Wall Street, blue chips are limping toward a record. The Dow Jones up six and change, and at this point it's just about 140 points after a record high. The other indices also on the rise, but trading volume basically light as investors are apparently waiting for news from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday where they make a move.

Falling oil prices helped prop up the market, though, this Monday. Iran's letter to president bush providing a rare moment of hope for normally pessimistic and frequently jittery oil traders. The price of a barrel of light crude for delivery in June, down $0.42. Buy enough of the good news.

Dell Computer now warning first quarter profits will fall short of expectations. The announcement knocked six percent off the price of Dell, shares driving it to a 52-week low. So there you go. Ending on some happy news for you on a Monday.

COOPER: Well, some more happy news for you, Erica, hold on, time for "The Shot," which is our favorite video or image of the day. And tonight's "Shot" is something very close to all our hearts, the case of the kidnapped Pillsbury Doughboy, that's right. There he is. This weekend a happy ending. The four-foot fellow safe and sound back at the New Hampshire supermarket where from he was stolen. Just in time for its final day.

And fortunately he was found fishing off a pier, we are told. His sick captors took him last month, apparently didn't want the store to close. Tonight the doughboy is free. We do not -- those were some of the kidnapping shots he was photographed in various locales. That was the sickest. His head buried in the sand.

HILL: Buried up to his neck in the sand. COOPER: We don't know what's next for the doughboy. Though we have heard Sally Field is interested in option the rights to the story for a Lifetime movie, "Not Without My Doughboy."

HILL: Really?

COOPER: Yeah.

HILL: I like it, it could be good. Lifetime you said it will be on, right?

COOPER: I think so. A sequel to "Not Without My Daughter," the whole escape from Iran thing.

HILL: Ah, yes.

COOPER: I think it's going to work, Erica. Thanks.

A doughboy of a different story, David Blaine, magician, exhibitionist, daredevil and dreamer. Came out of his human aquarium. If you've only slightly been paying attention or lived in a cave, Blaine has been living underwater for a week. Well, he's been in a bubble for a week, in a glass tank outside New York's Lincoln Center. This is earlier tonight. For the grand finale, he was wrapped in chains and handcuffs.

As part of his escape, he had the goal of holding his breath for nine minutes. That was the plan which would have beaten the old record by two seconds. Did not go as planned. He fell short. He was seven minutes and eight seconds. The 360 cameras were there. Here's a look at how it all went. There he is. I guess he's holding his breath still. He's kind of floating. And something -- he's getting out of the chains. And they say all right, you'd better get out.

All right, come up. Those are the water nymphs. We're not sure of their names. And he's out.

And didn't make it. But, you know, floating in and out of his urine for a week. It's a living. It's a living. Back to Warren Jeffs in a moment. We'll look at his power over his followers, how he holds sway literally over their lives.

And later, what Americans are saying about immigration. New polling numbers are in, and the answers may come as a surprise.

And a story so dangerous it almost cost our crew their lives. Literally nearly too dangerous to cover but too important not to. The exclusives from Darfur only on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Good evening again. To the police, he's a criminal whose victims include young girls, to true believers he's a prophet. In either case, Warren Jeffs now has a price on his head.

ANNOUNCER: Most wanted, a polygamist church leader, now a fugitive to the FBI. Tonight, the global manhunt for Warren Jeffs.

The massive turnout for immigration rights and new signs that it backfired.

In Darfur, a deadly eruption and a narrow escape by our reporter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drive! Drive!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: And the stunt that ended with a dangerous twist. Did David Blaine survive?

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.

COOPER: Well, the FBI's 10 most-wanted list is considered the worst of the worst. And now there is a new name on it, Warren Jeffs, the leader of a fundamentalist offshoot of the Mormon Church, a sect that still practices polygamy. Jeffs is wanted on charges including sexual assault of a minor and rape.

Here's the unbelievable part. In the eyes of his followers and there are thousands of them right here in the United States, his alleged crimes are simply expressions of faith.

To understand how this could possibly be, you have to go inside their world. Take a look.

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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