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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Storm Over Sacking Eight U.S. Attorney Starting to Gather Around Karl Rove; California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Signs into Law a Bill to Move State's Presidential Primary Election to February 5th

Aired March 15, 2007 - 23:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: With my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistani. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head."
His confession read like that of a cold-blooded serial killer. Is that how he thinks? CNN's Tom Foreman investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators already knew about his involvement in 9/11, the death of Daniel Pearl, the Indonesian nightclub bombing and so much more to which Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed.

So, what anti-terror officials are most interested in learning from this former North Carolina college student is how terrorists think.

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: How do they move that thought into action and to operationalize things?

FOREMAN: Paul Butler, a former U.S. attorney, previously handled terrorism cases, including this one for the government.

BUTLER: What do they do to segregate different parts of an operation so that if one person is caught, they may not know who the other people are, how do they finance themselves? All of the things that the intelligence community and the law enforcement community are trying to use to stop active plots.

FOREMAN: For example, the united states toppled the Taliban government in Afghanistan because it was harbor be al Qaeda. Mohammed, however, in edited court documents provided by the Pentagon, says in his broken English, "Many Taliban do not agree about why we are in Afghanistan. They have never been with al Qaeda."

Such a knowing if verified and still true, could present at least a slight opportunity for driving a wedge between those enemy forces.

Intelligence sources have told CNN Mohammed was at one time subjected to intense interrogation techniques, including sleep deprivation, forced standing and water boarding. How much that affected his testimony is unknown. But he talks about how al Qaeda pursues military, economical and political targets. That could suggest strikes on purely civilian targets, may be less likely than some fear. Especially sense he also says Muslim religious leaders must still be consulted before violent attacks.

"When we need fatwa from the religious," that's an official decree of sorts, he says, "we still have to go back to see what they said, yes or not."

So that would make it seem that if Muslim clerics are convinced to change their message, the terrorists could lose critical validation for their violence.

FOREMAN (on camera): Investigators, of course, take nothing that Mohammed has said at face value. But they compare all these tiny details with the testimony of others, with facts they already know about al Qaeda.

(voice-over): They weed out deliberately misleading information and in the end they hope what they have left is a clearer picture of the worldwide terror network and how it really works. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, of course, is in custody. Other alleged terror masterminds are nowhere to be found. Here is the raw data.

There are 24 men on the FBI's most-wanted terrorists. Here are their faces. In addition to Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al Zawahiri the search is on for Adam Gadan, the American who pledged his loyalty to the terrorist network. We have seen him on videotapes.

Also Abdul Rahman Yassin, suspected in participating in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. With so many terrorists still out there, potentially planning new attacks, and no new arrests to speak of, some are asking, is the war on terror stalled?

CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins us from Kabul. Nic, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured four years ago. Have there been any other big captures since then in past year or so, or has the war on terror in fact stalled?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There haven't been big captures at the magnitude of somebody in his position, the head of operations. There have been traces of al Qaeda-linked groups traced back to Pakistan which was where he was arrested.

Some of the people arrested for plotting terror attacks in Britain and even perpetrating terror attacks in Britain have been traced back to Pakistan. So, Pakistan is still the focus for efforts to track down al Qaeda and really at this time, intelligence officials believe that al Qaeda's strength in the tribal border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan is growing. And the effort is still under way in that area, even heating up to try and capture al Qaeda's main leaders before their sort of area of operation can expand and they begin to feel safe as they did in Afghanistan under the Taliban, Anderson.

COOPER: Is Pakistan cooperating? I mean, we've been covering extensively for months now this peace deal that Pakistan signed with militants along the Afghan border. Now that sort of coming home to roost for Pakistan, as you were report on this program last night, you're seeing suicide attacks now inside Pakistan.

Is Pakistan really doing everything they can to track down al Qaeda figures inside their own country? Because a lot of times it seems like they're denying these guys are there.

ROBERTSON: The bottom line is, most intelligence officials say, absolutely not. Afghans here, to the top of government, believe that Pakistan isn't doing enough. U.S. intelligence officials here say that Pakistan isn't doing enough. That there are elements within the Pakistan's intelligence services that are even at this time not only not actively hunting for al Qaeda, but are actually supporting them in their training camps, and even some of Pakistan's former military officers according to one former Pakistan intelligence spy in the border region told me that Pakistani former military officials are actually training al Qaeda and Taliban in some of the camps along the border.

COOPER: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks, including 9/11, he said, quote, from A to Z, he said he was Osama bin Laden's operations director for planning and executing 9/11 attacks. Do we know though exactly his relationship with bin Laden?

ROBERTSON: Well, we do know that it wasn't a smooth relationship. We do know that within al Qaeda Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was accused of not focusing on 9/11 coming up with other grandiose plans and ideas, and to some degree there is decent and reasonable skepticism that his claims are not valid, that he's trying to make himself out to be some sort of hero.

So, we no that within al Qaeda, at least, he wasn't exactly their most favorite of operatives. Nevertheless, he does seem to have been, by his own account, at least, very effective.

COOPER: These confessions are sickening to read. Do they teach us anything about al Qaeda, about how they operate, how they recruit? How they get money?

ROBERTSON: Well, we can certainly see that as al Qaeda solidified their operations in Afghanistan, their training, after Osama bin Laden came here in 1996, when he left Sudan, that their planning and ideas became more extensive, perhaps greater reaching to the extent of attacks like September 11th.

1994 for example, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said he was involved in the planned in the assassination of President Clinton in the Philippines in 1994, that's before al Qaeda comes here.

But when they are here, having the big training camps, when they are operating under the Taliban, when they feel that they have the space and the security, the plans get bigger. And I think that's one thing that we learned from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed here. Anderson?

COOPER: Nic Robertson, reporting live from Kabul. Nic, thanks. Stay safe.

Here in the U.S. the storm over the sacking of eight U.S. attorney is starting to gather around presidential advisor Karl Rove. White House e-mails released this evening show that Rove was involved along with Alberto Gonzales before he was attorney general in proposals to sack all 93 federal prosecutors as far back as 2005.

Now that's when Gonzales was the White House counsel. Rove says legitimate disagreements were behind the shake up. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The e-mail shows that Karl Rove raised the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys, earlier than the White House previously acknowledged. The e-mail released just hours ago by the Justice Department, contains the subject line, "Question from Karl Rove."

The electronic conversation between two White House officials dated January 6th, 2005 says, quote, "Rove stopped by to ask you how he planned to proceed regarding U.S. attorneys. Allow all to stay, request resignations from all and accept only some, or selectively replace them."

The message was then forwarded to Justice Department official Kyle Sampson. Sampson who redesigned this week, replied January 9, 2005, that he and Alberto Gonzales discussed it a few weeks earlier. Sampson outlines several scenarios and ends note by saying, "If Karl thinks there would be political will to do it, then so do I."

This e-mail exchange came nearly a month before the administration had said the issue was raised. Still, the White House tonight stuck by its claim that it was Harriet Miers, the president's staff secretary at that time, who originally suggested getting rid of all 93 U.S. attorneys and Rove dismissed it as a bad idea.

However, the White House has provided no documentation supporting that. Democrats pounced on the newly surfaced e-mail, accusing the White House of not being up front about Rove's role.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NY: The new e-mails show conclusively that Karl Rove was in the middle of the mess from the beginning. It is now imperative that they testify before Congress and give all of the details of his involvement.

MALVEAUX (on camera): The battle comes to a head on Friday, with the Senate deadline for White House lawyers to decide whether Rove, Miers and other White House staff will testify before Congress. Or whether the White House will invoke executive privilege. Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee authorized subpoenas for Rove, Harriet Miers and other Justice Department official as well as the fired prosecutors. It's hoping they won't need to issue them and they'll testify on their own. We'll find out tomorrow.

"How the right went wrong," that's the cover story of this week's "Time" magazine. It paints the picture of a Republican Party reeling from scandals, corruption and an unpopular war.

I spoke to "Time" magazine national correspondent -- political correspondent Karen Tumulty earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: As we just heard, Karl Rove is now under fire for his reported role in the firing of the U.S. attorneys. Given that, given the results of the midterm elections, do Rove's troubles mirror the troubles of the Republican Party?

KAREN TUMULTY, "TIME MAGAZINE": You know, I do think in they do, because the Republican Party has essentially moved on past a lot of the kind of conservative ideals that people like Ronald Reagan were talking about in the 1980s and it really has sort of devolved into a party that's really more about tactics, more about interest groups than it is about principles. I think this is where we're seeing this particular scandal has taken us.

COOPER: And Rove was certainly the master tactician until, of course, midterm elections when it didn't seem to work. And then if you don't have the tactics and the ideology, then what do you have?

TUMULTY: That's right. And certainly the conservative coalition has never been the kind of monolith that a lot of people think it is. There were some things that really held it together, and they were principles like a strong foreign policy that wouldn't get us involved in a lot of adventures overseas. That of course became ragged with the Iraq War. And also, competent government was another thing that conservatives have always, you know, have always offered as they have run for re-election.

COOPER: And smaller government and fiscal responsibility and say what you will about this administration, fiscal responsibility is probably not the top of the list of things their supporters would say that they did or have.

TUMULTY: That's right. That's when, when you talk to conservatives these day, they are a pretty demoralized bunch. They really do sense there are not a lot of big, new ideas out there. And that the ideas that have sustained them for the last 20, 30 years have either run their course or run aground or have been discarded by Ronald Reagan's legatees.

COOPER: It's interesting. In the article there was a line that caught my attention, you write that the Republicans are, quote, "handcuffed to a political party that looks unsettlingly like the Democrats did in the 1980s, one that is more a collection of interest groups than ideas, recognizable more by its campaign tactics than its philosophy. It's come a long way than its republican party of Ronald Reagan. Where do they go from here? Are they even looking at '08 or are they looking beyond?

TUMULTY: They certainly are looking at '08. Particularly as conservatives look at '08 and look at this Republican field, they're not seeing, to put it -- to put a phrase to it, Mr. Right out there. None of the top candidates in the Republican field really fit the definition of a classic conservative.

You know, the person who is leading the field right now, by almost 20 points in our "Time" magazine poll is a pro-choice, pro-gay rights former mayor of liberal New York City.

COOPER: Are Democrats trying - I'm sure they're trying to take advantage of this opportunity. How are they doing it? Are they succeeding at all?

TUMULTY: Well, you know the Democratic Party is in a much different spot. There was a "New York Times" poll out earlier this week that was very interesting because when they surveyed Republicans, they found out that six in 10 Republicans wished they had some other choices in this 2008 presidential race whereas six in 10 Democrats said they were pretty satisfied with their field.

COOPER: It's an interesting article. It's in "Time" magazine. Karen Tumulty, thanks.

TUMULTY: Thank you.

COOPER: We want to let you know the new issue of "Time" magazine goes on sale tomorrow. You're going to notice a makeover. It's a redesign for the magazine. Time of course is part of our parent company, Time Warner.

Up next, Hillary Clinton's new take on U.S. troops in Iraq. The political fallout she's facing because of it.

Plus, Glenn Beck on the addictions that controlled his life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, CNN HN HOST: I would pour myself one tumbler, I would smoke a bong and ...

PAULA ZAHN, CNN HOST: Were you doing this with kids in the house?

BECK: Mm-hmm.

ZAHN: Did your kids see you get stoned?

BECK: No.

ZAHN: How disgusted ...

BECK: Paula, I don't know if you see it with all of the makeup on, I still am embarrassed and I'm still -- it's the worst. It's the worst thing I've ever done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Glenn Beck, on addict, including the incredible way he met his wife. A story of addiction survival really when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Some breaking news to report. The pictures tell the story, KCRA is the affiliate bringing them to us. A 300-foot stretch of an elevated railroad trestle in Sacramento, California, is on fire. That is what you're looking at. You can see the railroad trestle there sending the dramatic wall, a thick black smoke is going up. Thousands feet into the air. The fire can be seen from some 50 miles away, we're told. The trestle supports a key rail artery that leads into the state capital. Amtrak and freight trains that were scheduled to travel through that section of track are being stopped right now.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. But take a look at those pictures. Just remarkable. The fire clearly, at this point, burning out of control. We don't have word on how many emergency vehicles are at the scene. It looks like trestles are collapsing there under those intense flames. But clearly a relatively large stretch there of this trestle is simply ablaze, trying to find out more information about it. These pictures coming to us out of Sacramento, California. We'll continue to follow this fire over the next few hours, as the camera just pans there. You kind of see the length of it. Looks to be at least a couple city blocks long.

But it is hard to get a sense of the actual scale of it from this angle. Clearly in these pictures you're not seeing any emergency vehicles on the scene. But the fact there's a helicopter there on the scene, I assume, there's probably some emergency vehicles. Again, we'll try to track down more information about this fire. We'll bring it to you throughout this hour.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into a law today a bill to move his state's presidential primary election to February 5th. Other big states are expected to follow. And that makes the date essentially a national primary. New Hampshire people are asking, are the days of politicians glad handing and kissing babies over, in New Hampshire at least? CNN's senior political analyst Bill Schneider takes a look at the implications.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California has moved.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, (R) CA: Talking about moving the primary, the presidential primary from June to February has elevated California's status for the 2008 presidential campaign.

SCHNEIDER: New Hampshire feels like it being invaded by the evil empire. How can New Hampshire defend itself? By saying, we're small.

MAYOR GRANK GUINTA, (R) MANCHESTER, NH: The only way to have a conversation with a regular, average person is in a state where retail politics is the norm and it's demanded and it's taken seriously.

SCHNEIDER: We're cheap. And our voters are fully engaged.

GUINTA: People in New Hampshire do take it seriously here. It's a badge of honor. It is a state sport.

KATHY SULLIVAN, NH DEM. PARTY CHAIR: Skiing's actually the state sport but politics is certainly a major hobby.

GUINTA: With California moving up, we will have in effect a national primary on February 5th. And the law of unintended consequences will go into effect. Mark Warner, Evan Bayh and Tom Vilsack have already dropped out of the race.

SULLIVAN: The candidates are looking out and saying realistically they can't raise the money are already dropping out.

SCHNEIDER: California's move could make a candidate's move in New Hampshire more important, not less.

SULLIVAN: If you have a candidate who looks like, because of the poor performance early on, can't win the presidency, I don't think Democrats vote for them in the February 5th events. Democrats want to win. This is big.

SCHNEIDER: And how's this for an unintended consequence? The nominating contest could end before California.

SULLIVAN: I think realistically, this is over at the end of January. So everything the DNC was trying to do has stood on its head.

SCHNEIDER: So instead of being first in the nation, New Hampshire can end up with a role it doesn't want.

SULLIVAN: New Hampshire's never said we wanted to be last in the nation.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): Everything depends on how California voters respond to what happens in New Hampshire. Suppose a candidate falters in New Hampshire and then California voters bring that candidate back to life? New Hampshire will look irrelevant.

But if victory in New Hampshire propels a candidate to victory in California, New Hampshire will look more important than ever. Bill Schneider, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Someone who could benefit from an early primary, Democratic frontrunner Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton now says she keeps some U.S. troops in Iraq if elected president. She's outlined her plan in a "New York Times" interview, some political observers say it's likely to come with repercussions as liberals have been, say, critical, to say the least on her stance on Iraq. With that, CNN's Mary Snow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Out on the campaign trail, Senator Hillary Clinton has been calling to put a stop to the war in Iraq.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NY: We should end this escalation now.

SNOW: But in a "New York Times" interview, the Democratic presidential hopeful said, if she's elected, she sees a remaining military as well as political mission in Iraq. Trying to contain extremists, but avoiding sectarian violence. Clinton aides say it's consistent with a broader plan by congressional Democrats to redeploy troops.

Some political observers say Clinton's blueprint could touch a nerve with the Democratic left.

LARRY SABATO, UVA, THE CENTER FOR POLITICS: They're not really sure that she's with them on Iraq and other issues. And so they're suspicious and that suspicion shows itself in what they say about her.

SNOW: Why the suspicions? It stems back to her 2002 vote authorizing the war, a vote she refuses to call a mistake. She's been repeatedly grilled about it on the campaign trail.

CLINTON: I have said and I will repeat it, that knowing what I know now, I would never have voted for it.

SNOW: Of her Democratic rivals, former Senator John Edwards has said his vote to authorize the war was a mistake. Senator Barack Obama wasn't in the Senate at the time but he's openly opposed the war all along. On leaving some troops in Iraq, Obama said Wednesday ...

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A withdrawal would be gradual and keep some U.S. troops in the region to prevent a wider war and go after al Qaeda and other terrorists.

SNOW: It appears similar to Clinton's plan but observers say it resonates differently with antiwar activists.

SABATO: They are not inclined to cut her very much slack. They are inclined to cut Barack Obama quite a bit of slack and John Edwards some slack as well. SNOW (on camera): Liberal bloggers are expressing suspicion about Senator Clinton because she hasn't denounced her vote on the Iraq War. And because she has moved to the middle on some issues like her husband, they question whether she'll do it again if she becomes president and maybe continue U.S. involvement in the war. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Still to come -- struggling with addiction. Glenn Beck of Headline News back in the days when he was hooked on booze and drugs. His remarkable story of recovery from addiction.

Plus a navy petty officer killed in Iraq. Her family say she's would have wanted the U.S. military to help them financially. But she says her wishes aren't being followed. We talk to the navy for answers. We're keeping them honest.

And we'll keep watching breaking news in Sacramento, California, a railroad bridge on fire, the pictures live right there. When 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And just following this breaking news story, out of Sacramento, California from KCRA affiliate, a 300-foot stretch of elevated railroad bridge in Sacramento, California, is on fire. The fire, you can see it from about 50 miles away, we're told, the trestle supports a main artery leading into the state capital. Amtrak and freight trains that were scheduled to travel through the section of track have already been stopped. Or are being stopped. That is certainly some good news. But from the air, the pictures are just extraordinarily dramatic.

But again, it is only a 300-foot section of this railroad artery we're being told. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and clearly the fire itself is still just burning, I guess you could say out of control. We'll continue to follow it, try to figure how many emergency vehicles are on the scene. Sure looks like a larger swathe than just a 300 foot section, but again, that's the information we're being told. We'll try to get more details on the fire ahead as it sort of seems to be burning itself out.

For many Americans, serving in Iraq, the hardest part is leaving behind their loved ones. The vast majority, of course, believe that the military is going to take care of their families if anything happens to them. But some families are discovering that collecting death benefits isn't always that easy.

Keeping them honest, here's CNN's David Mattingly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Navy Petty Officer Jamie Jaenke left for Iraq believing she thought of everything, in case something happened the single mom wanted her nine- year-old daughter Kayla and her military death benefit to go to her mom. She even wrote about it in a letter. "That is for $100,000, she wrote, that is for you to raise Kayla with."

But when a roadside bomb took Jamie's life in June 2006, her plan came undone.

JAMIE JAENKE, GRANDMOTHER: I am a mother without a daughter. I have a daughter without a mother. And now we don't have a future.

MATTINGLY: Jamie's mother, Susan, who had been living on disability, says the $100,000 death benefit her daughter so clearly wanted other have right away, instead went into a trust that little Kayla can't touch until she's 18.

Now, nine months after her daughter's death, Jaenke tell me she is getting by on charity. She also struggles to hold on to the horse stables her daughter wanted to build into a family business.

(on camera): What happens if that money doesn't come through for you?

JAENKE: That's unacceptable. Take my word for it. That's unacceptable.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): So what happened to Petty Officer Jaenke's plan? Keeping them honest we went to the navy who told us, each fallen service member's wishes are carried out to the best of our ability. Turns out, the military's hands are tied by federal law.

Because she had no spouse, Jaenke's only legal option was to leave $100,000 to her daughter if an untouchable trust, one her mother couldn't challenge.

(on camera): The military death gratuity as it is call was created by Congress as a way to provide immediate assistance to grieving families. But what lawmakers didn't take into consideration were all of those single parents in combat who might have to leave custody of their children to someone other than a spouse.

Where did this law go wrong?

REP. TOM LATHAM, (R) IA: Well, the intent of the law originally was fine, except there was just an oversight, I believe, in that they didn't take into consideration these types of situations.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Representative Tom Latham of Iowa says the law needs to be changed, to accommodate wishes of the deceased. In that last letter home before deployment Jamie complained of nonstop training 16 to 18 hours a day. It's clear that in the rush she misunderstood how the military death gratuity worked.

(on camera): Do you somehow feel closer to her when you come in here?

JAENKE: Every damn day. In every way. MATTINGLY (voice-over): For now, Susan Jaenke finds comfort among the horses her daughter loved. While she waits for the law to be changed she says she will be bracing herself for tough choices at the beginning of every month when those relentless bills come due. David Mattingly, CNN, Iowa Falls, Iowa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll see what happens with that. You can read more about this story and tell us what you think on our blog, cnn.com/360blog. Cnn.com/360blog.

Up next, overcoming addiction. Glenn Beck of Headline Prime, our sister network, his battle against alcohol and other drugs. A remarkable, very personal and poignant account.

Also we continue to follow this breaking news. T he massive train trestle fire out in California. Amtrak and other trains shutting down. We'll bring you the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Now we take you back to this breaking news story we're following in Sacramento, California, a large fire burning along at least a 300-foot stretch of elevated railroad bridge. No train was involved in the fire. Railroad service has been stopped. Emergency workers used loud speakers to tell pedestrians to stay out of the path of the smoke, fearing it may be hazardous. The wall of smoke we're told extended an estimated 2,000 feet into the air. Joining us now on the telephone is Jim Doucette with the Sacramento Fire Department.

Captain Doucette, what can you tell us, what's happening?

CAPT. JIM DOUCETTE, SACRAMENTO FIRE DEPT.: The fire came in, God, it's been almost three hours ago now, I'm just trying to figure it out on my clock here, it's actually a wooden trellis train bridge. It's at least a quarter mile long. It's a lot more than 300 feet.

It came in, we didn't know what type of fire it was at first. The crews got here pretty fast and determined right away that it was a real fast-moving fire. We called in a lot of resources. It is a train track that's heavily used by Amtrak and Union Pacific railroad. My understanding was there was one train in the area they had to stop.

This bridge crosses the American River just north of downtown Sacramento. The whole bridge is a total loss. We were able to stop it right at river. We have two fireboats that are in the river, they're able to control the fire from spreading across.

It's a spectacular fire. The smoke was going up thousands of feet into the air. We've seen -- we see a lot of train bridge fires but I have never in my 27 years seen one this big.

COOPER: So at this point you don't know what started it?

DOUCETTE: No, we don't. This is an area that it's an American River parkway area, bike trail area, wildlife. We get a lot of different people that come here through bicycles. It's a transient area. We do get fires in the summertime, grass, brush type fires. Right now everything around here is pretty green. So to be honest with you, I don't have a clue yet. Our investigators are v. Arrived and I'm sure they're trying to do their best to figure it out.

COOPER: Do you have any sense of how long a stretch of track was just destroyed?

DOUCETTE: This entire bridge is destroyed. I -- my best guess is a minimum of a quarter mile long. Approaching a half mile long. It's a real long stretch of bridge. We have no water out here in terms of fie hydrants. We had to shuttle in a lot of water. We did lead in the supply hose from a hydrant that's in nearby business complex but it was thousands of feet away and took some time to get water out of it.

COOPER: And in terms of anyone injured at this point?

DOUCETTE: Nobody's been injured, that I could tell. We were always concerned that portions of the bridge could collapse and in fact we've had at least two or three collapses already. And we had our firefighters back in the areas of the heavy burn, back a safe distance from the collapsed area.

COOPER: We're seeing pictures that I guess were taken earlier in the day because I guess it's light out. And it looks like you're kind of wetting down or hosing down the bridge, in prescription that flames might get there.

But then later on at nighttime we're seeing pictures that looks like the entire thing is destroyed. So how much advanced warning did you get of what was go on?

DOUCETTE: I'm having a real hard time hearing you been but I heard you say you saw pictures of us wetting down the bridge that was an unburned section?

COOPER: Yeah. During the day ...

DOUCETTE: We normally do -- the problem is this is heavy timber construction with creosote and one it gets burning you can put all of the water in the world and it's not necessarily going to stop.

COOPER: Well, appreciate your efforts and taking time to talk to us. I know it's been a long day. Captain Doucette, appreciate it. Thank you very much, sir.

DOUCETTE: Thank you very much.

COOPER: I want to get some headlines of the other stories today that we've been following. Erica Hill joins us now with the 360 bulletin. Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, Georgia police have found the body of a six-year-old boy who disappeared last week. Christopher Barrios' body was discovered along the side of a road in Glynn County, Georgia. Four people, including a convicted sex offender, are now in custody. Police say they think they know the motive and are not look for any more suspects.

In New Orleans, the Army Corps of Engineers is on the defensive, saying defective pumps at three major drainage canals will be fixed by the end of next month before the start of hurricane season. They were installed last year.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco lashed out at corps saying the mistakes could have put a lot of people in jeopardy.

The winter has been the warmest since records began more than 100 years ago. Government forecasters saying combined global land and ocean surface temperature 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century mean. But don't get out your sunscreen just yet, Anderson. A huge winter storm headed for the Northeast, more than a foot of snow is forecast. Should be a chilly weekend.

And British police have warned Heather Mills, the estranged wife of Paul McCartney against calling the police too often. Heather Mills says she has been pursued by the paparazzi since she and her husband split up 10 months ago.

A senior police officer says with her behavior she risks phone calls are being taken less seriously, Anderson.

COOPER: Wow. That's weird.

HILL: You never really hear that. But there you go.

COOPER: How many times do you think she was calling?

HILL: Well, that's an excellent -- You think if they're telling her not to call anymore. But what if you really have an emergency? I guess it's a crying wolf thing. But maybe she really needed help.

COOPER: Very strange. Erica, thanks.

Up next, tonight, Glenn Beck of Headline Prime, his battle against addiction, in his own words.

Plus, beware of Colbert. The new message for Democrats. Why no one is laughing when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: One of our CNN colleagues is telling a remarkable story about substance abuse and survival. Glenn Beck of Headline Prime started drinking and doing drugs when he was about 13 years old. It was just after his mother, an addict herself, committed suicide.

Glenn continued on this path of self-destruction for almost 20 year, he says, until his doctor told him he would die within six months if he didn't clean up his act. CNN's Paula Zahn spoke with Glenn about his struggle. Here's the interview. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: When you were at your absolute rock bottom, walk me through a typical day.

BECK: I would get up, do the show, run the radio stations, come home, by 5:00, not a second after, I would pour myself one tumbler. I would smoke a bong, and take it from there.

ZAHN: Were you doing this with kids in the house?

BECK: Mm-hmm.

ZAHN: Did your kids see you...

BECK: No.

ZAHN: ... get stoned?

How disgusted ...

BECK: You know what, Paula? It's -- I don't know if you can see it with all the makeup on. I still am embarrassed. And I am still -- it's the worst -- it's the worst thing I have ever done.

It is something that I struggled so hard to get away from. And it's -- it's those kinds of memories that make you want to drink, for me, to try to cover those, you know? And, if you don't serve other people, you will never get past it.

ZAHN: Do you even recognize that man anymore?

BECK: You know, my biggest pain, I guess, current, is that I don't recognize that guy anymore. But there are people that only knew me then, that that's the only guy they see. And that's hard.

ZAHN: How raw is that today?

BECK: Raw.

ZAHN: What is it you regret the most?

BECK: The way I treated people.

ZAHN: How badly did you treat people?

BECK: I fired a guy for bringing me the wrong pen one time.

ZAHN: Were you drunk at the time?

BECK: Mm-mmm. Mm-mmm.

ZAHN: Had you been drunk the night before?

BECK: Uh-huh. Oh, yes. Yes.

I just -- you know, Paula, it wasn't the alcohol. It was the -- it was the personality that went with it.

And I became a bitter, angry guy. And, the more bitter I became, the more mean I became, the more I drank.

ZAHN: Have you ever had a relapse?

BECK: Almost did, the night I met my wife -- I don't believe in coincidence anymore. And I was thinking about drinking. In fact, I had been telling God for about a week: I can't do it anymore. I can't carry the load by myself anymore. And I have tried. I have given it my best.

And I had -- on a Sunday night, I had said a prayer, got down on my knees and said a prayer, and said, on Thursday, 8:00, I'm going to the bar and I'm ordering a Jack and Coke. And it's up to you -- it's up to you to put a roadblock in front of me.

And I went to the bar, and I ordered a Jack and Coke. And the bartender handed it to be. And I had it this close. I -- and I swung around -- I looked at the bartender, and I was swung around, and there was Tania, the woman that I'm now married to.

And I put the drink down. And I went over and I said, "Would you go have a cup of coffee with me?"

And we have been together ever since. She saved my life.

ZAHN: What was it about just seeing her that -- that -- you were, at that point, drinking and doing drugs for 20-odd years.

BECK: I had been sober, but I couldn't connect. I -- I still was full of the anger inside of me of myself. I hadn't really dealt with all of the issues. I had examined the issues, but I hadn't really started to deal with the issues. And it was her goodness that I connected with.

ZAHN: What kind of advice would you give to the some 23 million Americans who are fighting the same kind of addiction that you fought decade after decade?

BECK: Alcoholics aren't who you think they are.

I always thought that they were winos, so I couldn't be one. They are successful people. They are just like you. And it is so green and so warm on the other side. It just takes courage to walk through the storm. But, once you walk through that storm, your whole life opens up. It's just -- it's miraculous, what's on the other side.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Glenn says he's now been sober for 12 years. You can see his show, of course, GLENN BECK, of course, on our sister network, Headline Prime, seven night a week at 7:00 and again at 9:00 and midnight.

Up next -- Colbert under fire? Why some Democrats are say staying clear of his show. It's no joke. When 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT REPORT": I believe in democracy. I believe democracy is our greatest export. At least until China figures out a way to stamp it out of plastic for three cents a unit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That was comedian Stephen Colbert's performance at last year's White House correspondent dinner. I guess it didn't go so big at the crowd. I don't go to those things. But I saw it later on on video. I thought it was great. He caught some flak from conservatives for the brutal roasting he gave President Bush and his administration and I guess the press didn't really like the way he made fun of them, too.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Beware of Colbert. The eagle in the show open won't get you but the host might.

STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT REPORT": You said by looking at your voting record you seem like a black woman. Congressman are you a black woman?

REP. STEVE COHEN, (D) TN: At Obviously not.

MOOS: The segment known as ...

COLBERT: Better know a district.

MOOS: Makes shows like "Meet the Press" and "Face the Nation" seem easy to face.

You'll never catch Tim Russert asking ...

COLBERT: Then why are you undressing me with your eyes, congresswoman.

DEL. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, (D) DC: Don't flatter yourself, sir.

MOOS: Which explains why the chairman of the Democratic Caucus confirms he's steering Democrats away from appearing on the "Colbert Report."

COHEN: At some point Congressman Emanuel said to me I wouldn't go on that show. I wouldn't do it.

MOOS: Too risky for Democrats even if the host is a parody of a right wing bloviator.

COLBERT: You tried to join the Congressional Black Caucus. Doesn't that make you one crazy honkey? COHEN: If you thought that was funny, if you would have seen what they cut out, I would have had an Emmy.

MOOS (on camera): Not only did Congressman Cohen completely ignore the advice not to go on the "Colbert Report", he even put out a press release announcing his appearance.

(voice-over): Even though things got hairy, he said he had fun. Is there such a thing as too much fun? Florida Congressman Robert Wexler was unopposed for re-election.

COLBERT: Let's say a few things that would really lose the election for you. If you were contested. I enjoy cocaine because ...

REP. ROBERT WEXLER, (D) FL: I enjoy cocaine because ...

COLBERT: Could you try not laughing because people will think it's a joke.

WEXLER: I enjoy cocaine because it's a fun thing to do.

MOOS: And when real TV news shows did stories on the coke comment ...

UNIDENTIFIED MAEL: They're calling it foot in mouth disease.

MOOS: Colbert rose to Wexler's defense.

COLBERT: Vote Wexler, the man has got a sense of humor, unlike, evidently, journalists.

MOOS: In Wexler's words, "There was no real fallout. Some of the media took it too seriously."

Politicians are drawn by the demo, the young audience.

REP. BRAD SHERMAN, (D) CA: The porn industry is not in the San Fernando Valley, sir.

COLBERT: Have you ever been to your district?

SHERMAN: What?

MOOS: Colbert ended up putting Congressman Brad Sherman in a mock gay porn film.

And Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland who tried to put the Ten Commandments in the capital ended up getting quizzed on them.

COLBERT: What are the Ten Commandments?

REP. LYNN WESTMORELAND, (R) GA:

MOOS: Thou shalt not appear on Colbert ...

COLBERT: This is "The Colbert Report." MOOS: Unless you're prepared to leave the audience howling. Jeanie Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I can believe people wouldn't go on.

Anyway, up next -- move over Cinderella. A new princess is coming to town. Her fairy tale, 360, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Uh oh. It's that part of the evening where I'm shuffling papers. That means it's near the end. Once again, Headline News' Erica Hill joins us with the 360 news and business bulletin. Erica?

HILL: Anderson, the U.S. and five other countries want to impose new sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program. The measure faces a vote before the UN Security Council. The resolution includes a proposed ban on Iranian arms exports, a freeze on assets belonging those involved in the nuclear program and a ban on most new grants and loans.

Iran has said it will not stop its nuclear program. A new report says friction inside the Sago mine shaft caused the deadly explosion there last year, not lightning. The finding by the United Mine Workers of America conflict with two other investigations of the State of West Virginia and the mine's owner.

Twelve miners died of carbon monoxide poisoning after being trapped for more than 40 hours underground.

On Wall Street stocks fighting back today. The Dow climbed 26 points, the NASDAQ added nearly seven and the S&P closed up five.

And the Walt Disney Company has stared production on an animated fairy tale featuring the company's first black princess. "The Frog Princess" is set in New Orleans. Disney says the new Princess, Mattie, will be featured along with other princesses at the company's theme parks and there will also be loads of merchandise. Shocking, there.

The movie, by the way, Anderson, hits theaters in 2009. You can start preparing now.

COOPER: Merchandise? From a Disney movie.

HILL: I mean, I was a little surprised at that myself, but hey, you know.

COOPER: That's a novel concept.

HILL: Indeed it is. Might work for them.

COOPER: It very well might, Erica, thanks. HILL: See you later.

COOPER: It's definitely going to work. The papers are shuffled. That's it. I'm out of here. I'll see you tomorrow night. Larry King is next.

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