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FDA Issues Warning For Diabetes Drug Avandia; Gasoline Prices Soar to Record High

Aired May 21, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
We will have that story, also, a huge explosion rocks Beirut, as the death toll in a two-day battle nears 50. Look at those pictures there. Al Qaeda linked-militants are at the heart of this. We will have a full report coming up.

But, first, two stories tonight that strike close to home for all of us. If they don't touch you directly, they probably affect someone you love. The FDA has issued a safety alert for a highly prescribed drug for diabetes. An estimated one million Americans take it. Now they may be at risk for deadly side effects.

Plus: Gas prices are now the highest they have ever been, even adjusted for inflation, and may go higher yet.

We have reporters standing by with the latest on both those stories, CNN's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and CNN's Joe Johns.

We begin with the safety alert and the medical storm surrounding the diabetes drug Avandia. A new analysis of dozens of studies has found that the drug raises the risk of heart attack and possibly death. That is what's triggered the FDA's safety alert.

Now, Avandia is used to treat Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease. More than 20 million Americans have that kind of diabetes.

Elizabeth Cohen joins me now.

Elizabeth, what does this mean for the roughly six people taking this drug? Should they stop?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, Anderson, they absolutely should not stop taking this drug.

What They need to do is talk to their doctor and get the facts about this new study. And the facts of this new study say that there appears to be an increased risk of having a heart attack when you take Avandia. And the number is pretty big. It looks like there is a 43 percent increased risk of having a heart attack when diabetics take Avandia.

Now, it's important to note that this is based on a relatively small number of people having heart attacks. In fact, those numbers, specifically, are 158 heart attacks in the studies that were looked at in this study, and 61 deaths from cardiovascular issues.

Now, the company that makes this drug, Glaxo, says that this drug is safe, and that it is -- that any risks of the drug are well worth the health benefits. However, what people want to do, talk to your doctor. There are other drugs that you can take to control your sugar, if you and your doctor decide that this is not the drug for you -- Anderson.

COOPER: Elizabeth, why is this stuff happening? Doctors writing in "The New England of Medicine" call this situation with Avandia a -- quote -- "major failure of the drug use and drug approval process in the United States."

It seems like we hear about this all the time. A drug is approved for us. Millions of people are using it. And, then, all of a sudden, we find out, oh, you know what? It's got deadly side effects.

COHEN: Right. We do seem to be hearing about that more and more, Anderson.

And there are a couple of reasons. First of all, when a drug company tests out a drug, they do it usually in thousands of people. When it goes on the open market, it gets used by millions of people. So, you may be seeing side effects that you didn't see just in the thousands. You will see it when it's being used in millions.

Now, the FDA is in charge of keeping track of side effects of drugs once they're on the market. Many people point a finger at the FDA and say that they're not doing their job, they're very slow at what they do, and that they don't give all the information they should to independent doctors, so independent doctors can do that.

For example, the author of this study, Dr. Steven Nissen at Cleveland Clinic, he said there was information that just wasn't available to him. He and many others want more transparency at the FDA.

COOPER: All right, bottom line, if you're taking this stuff, check with your doctor as soon as possible.

Elizabeth Cohen, thanks.

The statistics on diabetes...

COHEN: Thanks.

COOPER: ... in America are staggering. Here's the "Raw Data."

Again, more than 20 million Americans have the disease. That's 7 percent of the population. The number includes some 6.2 million people who don't even know they have diabetes. To give you an idea of the medical costs, in 2002, $132 billion was spent on health care for diabetes.

Also hitting home tonight: the soaring price of gasoline, $3.18 for a gallon of self-serve regular, not just a new record, but a new record even accounting for inflation. With the summer driving season just beginning, and a presidential campaign gearing up, this could get ugly in a hurry.

More now from CNN's Joe Johns, who is at ground zero, the local gas station.

Joe, what is going on?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, take a look at those prices, if you can see them, right out here.

This is a gas station just by the Watergate in Washington, D.C., regular $3.50, down to supreme, $3.79. Going to try to fill up this tank, half-a-tank, maybe, while I'm talking, to give you some idea of the prices, as you said, nationally, just below $3.20 a gallon.

How bad is it? Well, frankly, that is just about the worst ever. That's higher than 1981, which is the record, 26 years ago, higher than post-Katrina. And we all know what that meant.

How bad is it? You talked to Trilby Lundberg or the Energy Information Administration, they will tell you that, over the past one week or two weeks, we have seen an increase of just about 11 cents a gallon.

Now, a lot of people, of course, look to Washington whenever you have high gas prices. But this might not really be the place to look. More likely to look overseas to places like Nigeria, where there's a problem with the refineries.

Still, here in Washington, D.C., there's a lot of talk right now about gas prices, particularly on Capitol Hill. A lot of people want to talk about price gouging, for example. And, also, there's a huge question about what the oil companies are doing, and how they can do it better here in the United States.

The thing you have to also look at is the question of consumers spending their money on gas, as opposed to other things. There are some indications, of course, out there in the country that places like Wal-Mart are seeing lower sales inside the stores simply because, perhaps, people are spending more money on gasoline.

Is it possible that it could get worse? It certainly is possible. AAA predicted last week at a hearing on Capitol Hill that we could see prices going even higher here in the United States, especially as the summer approaches. That, of course, is the peak driving season in the U.S. -- Anderson, back to you.

And I'm still looking at my tank here. We're up to $53, 14 gallons. And it just stopped.

COOPER: Unbelievable.

Joe, thanks very much.

And, of course, we should point out oil companies making record -- gas companies making record profits this past season.

If you think you're only getting hit at the pump, well, you're wrong. You're also paying to send lawmakers, the people you elect, to places like Key West and the Virgin Islands, all in the name of -- get this -- national security, your tax dollars jetting congressmen to beach resorts. For them, it is the only way to fly.

As for us, CNN's Drew Griffin is "Keeping Them Honest."


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Washington, it's a rite of spring, an enduring ritual Congress just can't seem to quit.

JOHN BERTHOUD, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL TAXPAYERS UNION: You have taxpayers being forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars for these overpriced junkets.

GRIFFIN: Ah, yes, the siren song of an expensive military jet to whisk congressmen to far away, and often exotic, places. And, naturally you, the taxpayer, pick up the tab.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Go ahead. Go on up.

GRIFFIN: Welcome aboard an $85 million government-owned Boeing executive jet.

Colonel Gary Akins is the man in charge.

COLONEL GARY AKINS, D.C. AIR NATIONAL GUARD: It's a nice way to travel.

GRIFFIN: And it's just one of several military-owned aircraft at Andrews Air Force Base just waiting for members of Congress, like Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. Where did he go on spring break?


GRIFFIN: He's the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. Thompson and eight colleagues made a whirlwind trip to Mexico City, Honduras, the Virgin Islands, then Key West. Why? To check out matters of homeland security. One night, they stayed here at the Caneel Bay resort.

Critics are pouncing on this and some of the 12 other congressional trips taken over spring break -- the trips made easy because members of Congress don't fly like you and me.

On board the $10,000-an-hour Air Force jets, it's -- it's all first class, movie screens, a couch, a conference area.

Don Humphries leads the flight service on board, which usually includes snacks, appetizers, and full meals. (on camera): A lot of taxpayers are going to look at this and go, what the heck?


GRIFFIN: Why -- why are -- because we're paying for this, right? I mean...

HUMPHRIES: Exactly. Yes, taxpayer dollars.

GRIFFIN: Congress' longstanding rules for using military jets used to be, you had to have five members of Congress go along, including both Democrats and Republicans. Empty seats -- and they're usually are some -- can be filled by spouses and/or staff.

So, "Keeping Them Honest," let's take a look at some of the high- flying spring-breakers.

(voice-over): When New York Congressman Eliot Engel chartered to the Caribbean, he took four other Democrats, but no Republicans. The itinerary included a tour of a home for the elderly, an historic fort, a nature center, and meetings with local officials.

A spokesman for Congressman Engel said the trip was needed because countries in the Caribbean have been complaining of being ignored by the U.S.

There was also a pricey trip to London and Brussels. Barney Frank, the new chair of the House Financial Services Committee, took two other Democrats to meet financial regulators. Seven more passengers rode along, including the adult daughter of one congresswoman -- total cost to taxpayers for that flight, $160,000. That's double what it would have cost to fly all 10 business class.

Barney Franks' spokesman told us a military charter just made it a lot easier in terms of transportation.

As for Congressman Bennie Thompson and his Caribbean trip, at an estimated 13-hours flight time, the cost was $130,000 just to fly.

(on camera): This looks like a first-class boondoggle, with some information peppered in.

THOMPSON: Well, if you look at the time that we actually spent in each area, given the fact that we spent less than 24 hours in any community, it would have been utterly impossible to do that trip commercially and -- and logistically.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Also on along for the ride, Thompson's wife, three other wives, and eight staff. And that beautiful resort?

(on camera): Was Caneel Bay, was that stop a mistake?

THOMPSON: Well, if it were not the only place available to stay, you could have justification that we could have -- but, if it's the only hotel on the island that had a vacancy, it could not be a mistake.

GRIFFIN: New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised no more business as usual in Congress. So, we called the speaker's office and asked about all these trips.

We were told in an e-mail: "The speaker was unaware there was no Republican on Barney Frank's trip to Brussels and London. The speaker does not approve most trips."

And, as for who does approve congressional trips, well, that is done as it was done in the past congresses, by committee chairs, chairs like Barney Frank and Bennie Thompson.

In other word, says the Taxpayers Union's Berthoud, business as usual.

BERTHOUD: These members are just not -- not leveling with the American public, that they are doing the people's business, when they're going on these trips.

GRIFFIN: Back at Andrews, Colonel Akins says, flying members of Congress is serious business.

AKINS: It's important people doing important work. And our job is to facilitate that. And it's -- it's other people's job to determine, you know, whether it's, you know, proper use or not proper use.

GRIFFIN: As for what's proper and what's not, at the moment, it seems the sky's the limit.


COOPER: That's a very nice plane there. The rules say you need to have Democrats and Republicans on board. So, how did Congressmen Barney Frank and Eliot Engel get away with it? It was that Frank runs the committee?

GRIFFIN: Well, Eliot Engel had a Republican on the trip until about two weeks before, Anderson. And, when that Republican backed out, they couldn't find a replacement. They did get a waiver from the speaker. So, you could say Eliot Engel followed the rules.

Barney Frank, not only did he not have a Republican on board; he didn't have five members of Congress, didn't bother to ask for a waiver, and didn't get a waiver. Now, is he going to get in trouble? I don't know.


COOPER: And they're allowed to bring family members, too?

GRIFFIN: They're allowed to bring spouses. In one case, a person was allowed to bring an adult daughter. You can't bring your kids, but you can certainly bring your wives or your husbands. And they do go, as long as there's a seat available. And, like you saw on that big plane, there's usually plenty of seats.

COOPER: Business as usual.

Drew Griffin, thanks.

Coming up tonight, see what's being call a disaster, a deception, and a sham -- the answer in "Raw Politics."

Also tonight: a live report on the fighting in Lebanon.


COOPER (voice-over): It's already a powder keg. Now the fuse is lit -- battling Islamic fighters with ties to al Qaeda in a place where one shot can plunge the entire region into war.

Also: Michael Moore, he says the health care system is sick in more ways than one.


MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: The hospital gave him a choice, reattach the middle finger for $60,000, or do the ring finger for $12,000. Being a hopeless romantic, Rick chose the ring finger for the bargain price of $12,000.


COOPER: Michael Moore's look at medicine, greed, and your money -- tonight on 360.



COOPER: The aftermath of a car bomb that went off in Beirut, five were wounded, a lot more worried that the entire country could be about to erupt.

They're worried. And the rest of the world is watching, because, while the bombs go off in Beirut, Lebanese forces are taking on a small army that models itself after al Qaeda.

Reporting for us tonight, here is CNN's Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Heavy and continuous, for a second day, gunfire around this Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon -- smoke rises, as the Lebanese army aims shells at fighters of Fatah al-Islam, a hard-line Muslim group based inside the camp that aims to radicalize the Palestinian cause and models itself after al Qaeda. Running gun, rocket and tank battles erupted on Sunday in nearby Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city. As the Lebanese army moved in to arrest Fatah al-Islam gunmen for allegedly robbing a bank, they were quickly overwhelmed by the militants firing from rooftops and windows.

PAUL SALEM, CARNEGIE MIDDLE EAST CENTER: They clearly have been preparing for this -- for this battle or this showdown for a long time, so they're very well armed, and they have taken up positions that they have thought of previously.

ROBERTSON: The man behind the shadowy group posed with gunmen at a press conference earlier this year. He is 51-year-old Shaker al- Absi, a Palestinian sentenced to death in Jordan for killing U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley almost five years ago.

Absi claims he planned that killing with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the now dead leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. Released from Syrian jail last year, after serving three years hard labor for terrorism, he slipped into this Palestinian camp in Lebanon, rallying an estimated 150 to 200 fighters to his cause, killing Israelis and Americans, many of them Arabs suspected of having fought in Iraq.

So far, close to 50 people have been killed in the battle, including 30 Lebanese soldiers, more than 15 alleged al Qaeda gunmen, and several civilians. No one knows exactly how many. Concerns are growing for the more than 30,000 Palestinians who live in the camp. A deal to get food and water to the most needy fell through by day's end.

RICHARD COOK, U.N. RELIEF & WORKS AGENCY: These camps are very, very densely populated, some of the most densely populated areas in the world. And, as a result of this, any such conflict can only mean that civilians, that innocent people are being hurt.


COOPER: Nic joins us now.

Nic, are -- is al Qaeda hiding out in these camps, in these refugee camps?

ROBERTSON: It certainly seems to be the suspicion of a lot of people here at the moment, Anderson.

The reason is, it's a place that the Lebanese government can't get into. And, as we have seen in other parts of the world, that's where al Qaeda likes to go, where the arm of the law can't reach them.

And it's possibly happening inside other Palestinian refugee camps inside Lebanon as well. Many of those associated with this Fatah al-Islam are foreign fighters. A couple of Saudis were picked up by Lebanese officials a few months ago. And these Saudis, it was discovered they had already been to Iraq to fight there -- Anderson.

COOPER: How long, Nic, can the government sustain this standoff? ROBERTSON: Well, there are some things that play into the mix here.

Number one, the army could make a terrible mistake, and there could be huge civilian casualties through some accident of their shelling. That would certainly put a huge amount of pressure on the government.

Hezbollah, that is no political ally of the Ansar al -- of the Fatah al-Islam group, because they're -- they're not of the same ilk, one a Shia, one a Sunni. They -- Hezbollah can try and take political advantage of this with the government. That's more likely to play out over a slow time frame.

And, of course, these bombings in Beirut, the group that are doing them or whoever is behind them is doing them late at night. There's not many people around. They could decide to ratchet up, bomb during the day, kill many civilians. That would also put pressure on the government.

At the moment, the government seems to have a good bit of time on its hand. But that all really could change, and it could change in a second -- Anderson.

COOPER: Nic Robertson reporting from Beirut -- Nic, thanks very much.

No one covers this region better than CNN's Brent Sadler. He's our Beirut bureau chief. He joins me here in New York. Also in Washington, Fawaz Gerges, professional of Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College.

Good to have you both on.

Brent, how -- how big a deal is this?

BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: It's important, because, after the war last year between Hezbollah and Israel, Lebanon's governance came into a great deal of weakness. It was undermined by that Hezbollah so-called victory against the Israelis.

What we're seeing now is a crisis erupting on multiple levels. One, yes, there is a al Qaeda aspect to it, in terms of what Nic was just saying there. But, also, a very important part of this is to understand that the Lebanese government, supported by the United States, claims that Syria has a hand in all this, that it's not just al Qaeda influence; it's also Syria using, if you like, this group to try to destabilize Lebanon and head very important deliberations going on right now here in New York to set up a tribunal, an international court to try suspects in the assassination of Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri five years ago.

That's denied strenuously by the Syrians, but the Lebanese government had been expecting trouble to surround this week's deliberations at the U.N. So, that's the wider picture to all this.

COOPER: Fawaz, how stable is the Lebanese government? I mean, could this really destabilize the whole country?

FAWAZ GERGES, EXPERT ON MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE: Well, you know, Anderson, as you know, there are multiple fault lines in Lebanon.

As you know, there's a major internal crisis between the Lebanese government and opposition, led by Hezbollah. This is a major fault line. And I think there's a great deal of polarization in Lebanon, in particular, in the last one-year-and-a-half.

There is a second fault line. And that's the crisis between the Lebanese government and Syria. And this crisis basically converged was the conflict between the Lebanese government that is the -- the battle, the fierce battle, between the Lebanese army and the Palestinian fighters or militants.

And, of course, my fear is that this particular fight may not only escalate, but also spread into other areas in Lebanon and other Palestinian camps. And my ultimate fear is that this particular battle might overburden an already-fragile political system and really pushes the Lebanese political system into the brink of all-out war.

COOPER: Brent, what are these camps like, these Palestinian refugee camps? I mean, why is it that a group like this al Qaeda- linked group can have such a hold there?

SADLER: These camps are laws unto themselves. It's been like this since an Arab agreement some 40 years ago.

So, inside these camps, there are groups, there are rival factions that are continually vying for control of these places. They're certainly teeming with Palestinian refugees, hopeless cases, second-class citizens, under Lebanese law. And they're armed. They're self-armed.

So, you have had, over a number of years now, the last two or three years, consistent intelligence reports that weaponization, great weaponization of these camps, has been going on, ever since Syria pulled its troop out from Lebanon two years ago, during the so-called Cedar Revolution.

You were there, Anderson.


SADLER: So, what we're seeing at stake here is not only the future stability of Lebanon, and the survival of the Siniora government, and avoidance of civil war, possibly, but also, very importantly for the United States, the success or failure of the U.S. support for the Siniora government, which has been consistent and very much influential in Siniora's request to the Security Council to push through a Chapter VII enforceable resolution to set up this international court for the Hariri murder.

GERGES: Anderson, may I add a footnote?

COOPER: Yes, go ahead.

GERGES: You know, really, for our audience, our American audience, I mean, life in Palestinian refugee camps is very hellish.

For a person who visited Palestinian camps on dozens of occasions, I wish I can convey to our viewers, American viewers, I mean, the extreme poverty and deprivation and alienation in Palestinian refugee camps.

This is not just of al Qaeda. I think we should be very careful to say that al Qaeda -- basically, this is a fight between the Lebanese army and al Qaeda. Remember the extent of extreme poverty and deprivation. Palestinians feel like they are prisoners in Palestinian camps. They live in some of the most densely populated areas in the world.

They have no access to employment, to education, to medication. And, as you know, Anderson, years of conflict in Lebanon between 1975 and the present have basically alienated Lebanese public opinion, antagonized Lebanese public opinion against the Palestinians. And I would argue that the Palestinians are mistreated.

In fact, Anderson, I'm not surprised by the migration of Islamist militancy into Palestinian refugee camps, and really pleasantly surprised by how few Palestinians have joined Islamist militancy.

And, in fact, we're witnessing the migration of Islamist militancy into the poverty belts of Arab cities, of many Arab cities, including Palestinian camps. This is a big problem, a major problem. And I think what we are witnessing in the last few days is basically a -- an indication of the extent and the gravity of the problem.

COOPER: Fertile ground.

Fawaz Gerges, appreciate your perspective, Brent Sadler as well.

Thank you, guys, very much.

Erica Hill joins us now with a 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a Massachusetts man who allegedly tried to hire a hit man to kill his family is being held without bail. Prosecutors say the intended targets were his estranged wife, mother-in-law, and his 7-year-old daughter. And the suspect allegedly requested that his daughter only be shot in the chest, so there could be an open casket at her funeral.

British police believe vacation photographs may contain clues to the kidnapping of 4-year-old Madeleine McCann, who was abducted from a Portuguese resort on May 3. Investigators are asking anyone who stayed at or near the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz to check their pictures for unidentified people in the background. Those photos can be uploaded to a special Web site. It is

And the Web site TMZ reporting former "Baywatch" star David Hasselhoff has won temporary custody of his children. That court telling comes just weeks after this videotape surfaced on "Extra" showing Hasselhoff drunk. He was allegedly filmed by his teenage daughter, at his request. TMZ says court-appointed experts found evidence that Hasselhoff's ex-wife, Pamela Bach, was abusive to her children, and, Anderson, reportedly refused drug testing.

COOPER: Just when you thought the story couldn't get any sleazier.

HILL: I mean, I tell you, there's always something lurking in the wings.


HILL: There you go.

And then there's this lurking in the wings. Kind of makes you go, what was he thinking? Today, an Australian court convicted actor Sylvester Stallone of importing restricted muscle-building hormones into Australia.

COOPER: What are you talking about?

HILL: What? Me?

Back in February, customs officials found 48 vials of the human growth hormone in his luggage. He was on a promotional...

COOPER: It wasn't me. I didn't put them in there.


HILL: Yes.

He was there for a promotional tour for the latest "Rocky." Now, here's why he said he had them. He said he was prescribed the hormone to give his aging body a boost -- he's 60 -- and to help him look good for the filming of his next "Rambo" movie.


HILL: All right, 48 vials, that's a lot of pep.

COOPER: What is that, "Rambo" like 45 now?

HILL: It may be 45? Or is it 46? I just can't keep track.


HILL: It's tough. Yes.

COOPER: Well...

HILL: Anyway, he's got to pay like more than $10,000 in fines and court costs.

And, apparently, in Australia, they said, there you go. See, that will teach people not to bring their human growth hormone to Australia.

COOPER: There you go. Throw another shrimp on the barbie.



COOPER: Erica, thanks.

HILL: Good day.

COOPER: "Raw Politics" is coming up next, no human growth hormone there. Tonight, the battle over immigration reform heats up, and John McCain takes a shot at Mitt Romney.

Also ahead: Michael Moore, he says he didn't think his new film "Sicko" would create as much controversy as his other movies. And, if you believe that, I don't know what else to tell you.

You're watching 360.


COOPER: The backlash over the new immigration plan is heating up. That's where "Raw Politics" begins, brought to you tonight by CNN's Tom Foreman -- Tom.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we told you right here that that big immigration plan that was being trumpeted last week was headed for rough waters, and today it's hit the first squall.

Opponents, including members of the Congressional Immigration Caucus, say the compromise reached by top senators and the White House violates the rule of law by making it possible for millions of illegal immigrants to earn citizenship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a disaster. It's a sham. And it's a deception.

FOREMAN: Watch closely. Opposition to this one is fierce. And, they say, the provision for reinforcing the border against a stampede of new illegal immigrants is useless.

You will not be able to build a fence tall enough if you give the amnesty in this bill.

FOREMAN: Dirty government? Clean it up with John McCain's latest campaign offering: a big plan to promote better ethics.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the need for us to do a much better and efficient job in our use of the taxpayers' dollars.

FOREMAN: Hillary Clinton also living on the political edge. SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today, I'm announcing a proposal to establish universal pre-kindergarten education.

FOREMAN: Smart kids, good government? No one's going to go for that.

The Internet is going to the left. The top three Democratic candidates raised more than $14 million over the Internet in the first three months of this year. The top three Republicans, less than half that amount.

But, insiders' analysis: keep it in context. Internet use is sharply higher in urban areas, where Democrats are stronger anyway.

And speaking of being strong, a new, unofficial campaign cry, love the B.O.! On sale now, "I love B.O." backpacks, doggy shirts, teddy bears, even a thong. The B.O. stands, not for "body odor" but for Barack Obama.

The official Obama-rama campaign is taking it with a sense of humor, saying it's the independent work of supporters and they'll take all the help they can get.

After all, that's just "Raw Politics"

I'm T.F. -- A.C..


COOPER: That's raw B.O.

Don't miss "Raw Politics" and the day's headlines with the new 360 daily podcast. Whoosh, zoom. You don't need an iPod. You can watch it on your computer at or get it from the iTunes store where it is a top download.

Coming up next, Jimmy Carter takes on the president. And from raw politics to bare knuckle politics.


COOPER (voice-over): Now the gloves come off. John McCain takes another pop at Mitt Romney.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Maybe he can get out that gun of his and chase those Guatemalans off his lawn.

COOPER: What's McCain up to? And why the rough stuff so early in the campaign? Our political insiders think they know.

Also, Michael Moore, he says the health care system is sick in more ways than one.

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: The hospital gave him a choice: reattach the middle finger for $60,000 or do the ring finger for $12,000. Being a hopeless romantic, Rick chose the ring finger at the bargain price of 12 grand.

COOPER: Michael Moore's look at medicine, greed and your money tonight on 360.




JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in -- worst in history.


COOPER: That's what former President Jimmy Carter said about the Bush administration Friday during an interview with the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette".

Now, those remarks landed the Nobel Peace Prize winner in the hot seat, and today Carter appeared to back off from the comments. That's where we began when we went to talk with our political roundtable earlier tonight: CNN's John King, Candy Crowley, along with former presidential advisor David Gergen.


COOPER: Last week Jimmy Carter was quoted in the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette" as saying the Bush administration was the worst in history. This morning Carter appears to backtrack on that a little bit. Let's listen to these remarks.


CARTER: My remarks were maybe careless or misinterpreted, but I wasn't comparing the overall administration and are certainly not talking personally about any president.


COOPER: He basically, David Gergen, is saying that now he was comparing the current President Bush to President Nixon in terms of who was worse. It's not exactly what he said, though, in the original quote. What's going on here?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: Well, you know, he departed from diplomatic etiquette in the first time around and now he got back onto it today on "The Today Show".

But I bet you -- I bet you a peanut farm in Georgia what he believes in his heart is what he said the first time, that he thinks that George W. Bush is the worst president in history. That's what a lot of Democrats believe privately. He said it publicly.

COOPER: John King, the White House fired back pretty hard on Sunday, calling Carter increasingly irrelevant. I mean, A, did the vehemence of their reaction surprise you? And do Carter's comments have an impact?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a White House that is known to kick back hard when it believes it is being kicked politically.

Does former President Carter's remarks have any great political impact? The president is already at historic lows in the polls. President Carter is regarded as a moral figure now by the American people, not so much as a great political figure. So I think politically his remarks would have less impact, say, as if they came from former President Clinton.

But certainly, it's a kick to this president when he's already down on foreign policy. And I think, Anderson, it does raise the big question, what will Bill Clinton be like, say, if his wife is the nominee of the Democratic Party? He has obeyed the rule. If you're in that exclusive club, you're not supposed to criticize the sitting president of the United States.

But how does Bill Clinton not do that if she is the nominee next year and much of the Democratic campaign is not only against the Republican nominee but against eight years of George W. Bush?

COOPER: But Candy, in the race to be the Republican nominee, there's this new Iowa poll out. Mitt Romney is far ahead, pulling in 38 percent in likely Republican voters in the Iowa caucus. John McCain has 18 percent. Rudy Giuliani 17 percent.

We are months and months away from this. A, how significant is this? And how much of a surprise is it? How powerful is Romney's organization in Iowa?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, getting better, obviously. He's been working the state. What does it -- what does it mean? It means that Romney can now say, "Not only can I raise money but I can move voters." And if you can move voters, you can get more money. I mean, that's essentially what it means at this point.

As we say all the time. This is a snapshot. There will be a different snapshot next month, much less in January. But it is a nice place for Romney to be, because he can move off of this toward more money and more voters.

COOPER: It also means, David Gergen, that you've become a target. John McCain, on a conference call today with conservative bloggers, launched a pretty sharp attack on Mitt Romney, discussing his -- Romney's stance on the immigration. I want to just play that for our viewers.


MCCAIN: Maybe I should wait a couple of weeks and see if it changes. Maybe his solution will be to get out his small varmint gun and drive off those Guatemalans off his lawn. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Is it early for McCain to be taking on Romney?

GERGEN: I think it is. He took him on in the debate the other night, and we were all a little surprised. And I don't know why John McCain wants to go down that route. He's got so many more important things to say.

You know, and in the background, of course, is the -- is this whole exchange he had privately in the Senate with another Republican senator, in which he apparently -- he is alleged to have lost his temper. And a lot of people are chattering about that.

So I would think that John McCain's best interest is to get back up on, you know, above the line and to be in a very positive, straight talking place.

But I -- to go to Candy's point, you know, Mitt Romney is showing some strength now that we had not seen a month ago, in Iowa. And in South Carolina this weekend, we saw, as Lindsey Graham get booed, that the Mitt Romney position on immigration may well, help him in South Carolina, too.

COOPER: John -- John King, talk about Governor Charlie Crist down in Florida, signed a bill today moving the Florida presidential primary up to January 29. How does that change things? Who -- does it benefit anyone in particular?

KING: Well, it benefits those with the most money. Because the more primaries and caucuses that move up earlier, the more primary it puts on money, if you will, if you're one of the candidates.

But it also, Anderson, increases the likelihood that the first contest of 2008 could actually be in 2007. South Carolina will move up, now that Florida has moved up. That will put pressure on New Hampshire to slide up a week or so, and Iowa will have to go very early in January or possibly in the middle of December 2007.

We'll take a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months to figure all this out. But it is quite extraordinary, just leapfrogging and front-loading packing the calendar. It puts a premium on organization, and it certainly puts a premium on money.

And you're just talking about Mitt Romney is the one candidate on the Republican side who can cut themself a big check. When you have Florida, New York, California, Illinois, those big states that it takes a lot of money to get on TV. It helps the people with money.

GERGEN: To add to that, Anderson, you know, Florida's the one state where Romney does have inside track, too, because he has hired a lot of the Jeb Bush people down there. And they're backbone of his organization. He's been doing -- his relationship with Jeb Bush is strong.

COOPER: Candy, Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today officially entering the race, clearly using his Hispanic roots to try to woo voters not just in New Mexico but also in California. Does it cut both ways, though? I mean, elsewhere in the country, does it play as well as it may play in New Mexico?

CROWLEY: Well, I think it certainly plays well in the Democratic Party. And that's who he's talking to at this point.

And he says, "Look, I'm proud of my Latino roots." And he had an American father, a Mexican mother. He was born in California.

He knows that he needs to be, as Hillary Clinton often says, you know, "I'm not just a woman candidate; I'm the best candidate in the race."

And at some point he makes that transition. But for now, within the Democratic Party, this is a strong selling point.

COOPER: CNN senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley; CNN's chief national correspondent, John King; and former presidential adviser, David Gergen, thank you.

GERGEN: Thank you.


COOPER: Up next on 360, he says our health care system is sick. His critics say he's the one who needs his head examined. Hear both sides of the controversy sounding Michael Moore's new film and decide for yourself, next.



MOORE: This is Rick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was ripping a piece of wood. I grabbed it like here, and it hit a knot.

MOORE: He sawed off the tops of two of his fingers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And just zipped.


COOPER: That's a scene from Michael Moore's latest movie. The filmmaker has gone from 9/11 to HMOs. His latest offering is called "Sicko". It's about America's health care system. The film is getting raves at Cannes. It's also drawing plenty of controversy, as we all expected it would.

CNN's Brooke Anderson takes a look.


MOORE: Even with insurance, there's bound to be a bill. BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Moore says he didn't believe "Sicko" would create as much of a stir as his previous films. For one thing, he personally appears much less in this film about the American health care system.

MOORE: I really thought this, well, finally I'm going to have a movie that's not going to be controversial, and I can have a little rest. You know, I mean, it's about health care. It affects everybody, regardless of their political stripe.

ANDERSON: But as things are turning out, that's not exactly the case. It seems wherever Michael Moore goes, controversy is sure to follow.

MOORE: Members of Congress, this is Michael Moore. I would like to read to you the USA Patriot Act.

ANDERSON: The provocative filmmaker riled conservatives in "Fahrenheit 9/11".

MOORE: I want the account where I can get the free gun.

ANDERSON: And so did his targeting of the National Rifle Association and the gun pollster (ph) in "Bowling for Columbine".

Now his target the U.S. health care system.

MOORE: This is Rick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was ripping a piece of wood, and I grabbed it right here. And it hit a knot.

MOORE: The hospital gave him a choice: reattach the middle finger for $60,000 or do the ring finger for $12,000.

ANDERSON: A lot of the controversy surrounding Moore as he premiered "Sicko" at the Cannes Film Festival over the weekend was because he's under investigation in the United States for shooting part of it in Cuba.

Moore says he took ailing 9/11 rescue workers there in March to make a point.

MOORE: The point was not to go to Cuba but just to go to America, to go to American soil, to Guantanamo Bay and to take the 9/11 rescue workers there to receive the same health care that they're giving the al Qaeda detainees.

ANDERSON: Nevertheless, Moore and the 9/11 rescuers ended up on Castro's side of Cuba. And now the Treasury Department is investigating whether the trip violated the trade embargo against that country. More asserts he broke no laws.

MOORE: I made a documentary that's a work of journalism. The law says that journalists can go to Cuba. You don't need permission. You don't need a license or anything. ANDERSON: From the French Riviera, Moore had a message for officials back home.

MOORE: I'm going back there tomorrow, and I'm going, you know, fight this. And they're not going to get away with it.

ANDERSON: Apart from Cuba, Moore shoot footage for "Sicko" in Canada and Europe, attempting to send a message that America's health care system is driven more by greed than by concern about people's well-being.

In Britain he visited a government-funded hospital.

MOORE: What did they charge you for that baby?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing. This is on NSH. It not America.

ANDERSON: "Sicko" is scheduled to open in the United States on June 29. Moore predicts audiences will find it to their liking.

MOORE: I want to guarantee that when people go to see my movie, they're going to have a great time, it's going to be entertaining and it will be over before you know it, painless. And you'll leave the theater you know, wanting to go shut down an HMO.

ANDERSON: Brooke Anderson, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: Yes, I know, I mispronounced Cannes. It's Cannes.

Anyway, up next on 360, President Bush says Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has done nothing wrong. But will he have the last word?

Plus, frightening moments over Florida. A small plane with a big problem. See what happens next.

And some wild weather, it is our "Shot of the Day", next on 360.


COOPER: "Shot of the Day" is coming up. Some wild weather caught on tape. First, Erica Hill from Headline News has a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

Anderson, President Bush insisting that Attorney General Gonzales still has his support. And he calls the upcoming Senate no confidence vote on Gonzales, quote, "pure political theater."

Mr. Bush says Gonzales has done nothing wrong. His message to Senate Democrats: get back to legislative work.

White House officials say they are consulting other countries as they look for candidates to run the World Bank. They hope to some give recommendations to President Bush. Whoever is picked will replace Paul Wolfowitz who announced he's stepping down June 30th. He came under fire for the generous pay package his girlfriend got under his leadership.

On Wall Street, sort of a mixed Monday. The Dow lost 13 points. The NASDAQ gained 20. The S&P added 2 to close just short of a record high.

And in Tampa, Florida, check out this emergency landing. The nose gear didn't come down all the way. It was stuck at about a 45 angle, which forced the pilot and co-pilot to land the plane on the main.

And by the way, they had a dog on board.


HILL: Everybody's OK, though.

COOPER: That's good.

First, the "Shot of the Day". It is loud and electrifying. Take a look.




COOPER: How about them apples?

HILL: That's cool.

COOPER: Ralph Score in Sunsites, Arizona, the power of Mother Nature. Thank Ralph for this I-Report. We appreciate it. Look at that, amazing stuff.

HILL: Wow.

COOPER: If you see some amazing video like that, tell us about it: We'll put some of your best clips on the air, but stay away from the lightning.

HILL: Yes. Don't get hit by the lightning, please.

COOPER: Still ahead on 360: immigration anger. The battle over the border heats up, and two men who want to be president are right in the middle of it.

And plus, Lebanese forces battling Islamic fighters tied to al Qaeda. Inside the bloody fight that threatens to involve the entire region, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: You're watching the only live newscast on cable right now.

Tonight, the bloody battle against Islamic radicals, playing out as we speak with a potential to ignite a larger conflict in Lebanon and the Middle East.

Also, the fight over immigration reform. All sides now taking shots at legislation that was supposed to end the dispute.

And the Phil Spector murder trial. Defense now taking aim at the chauffeur who says the '60s hit maker told him, "I think I just killed someone".

We begin tonight with the battle against a radical army that looks and talks and fights like al Qaeda. It's taking place in a camp for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. It is bloody and like anything else in Lebanon, it threatens to involve the entire region.

Reporting for us tonight from Beirut, CNN's Nic Robertson.


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