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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Idaho Senator Larry Craig Speaks Out; The Hillary Factor; Catholic Church Evicting Nuns to Pay For Abuse Scandal?

Aired October 16, 2007 - 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: Tonight, from insider, to pariah, to what? Senator Larry Craig speaking out one on one for the first time about his airport sex sting, his sexuality, and his plans to fight his own guilty plea, not to mention a whole lot of angry fellow Republicans, who wish he would just go away.
Also tonight, the Hillary factor. New polling gives her a commanding lead. The question is, do the numbers also show that she's unstoppable? We will look into that.

And, later, it's already embroiled in one public-relations fiasco over pedophile priests. Now the Catholic Church has another P.R. mess to deal with. To pay damages for those same bad priests, the church is handing out eviction notices to elderly nuns. We are "Keeping Them Honest."

We begin with Larry Craig. He's coming out fighting. You will recall he -- you will recall he was busted in a gay sex sting in the Minnesota Airport. That's the mug shot. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after taking weeks to think about the consequences.

Now, when word got out, he said he was resigning. Then he said, he intended to resign. Then he said, he intended to resign if he could overturn his guilty plea by the end of the last month. Then he just said, he's not resigning. Now he says he's repealing a judge's refusal to let him change his plea.

So, he's doing that and he's speaking out, along with his wife, Suzanne, to Matt Lauer of NBC News and Mark Johnson, anchor of CNN affiliate KTVB in Boise. He covered a lot of ground, including allegations both this time and throughout the years that he's gay or bisexual. He's always denied it. People disagree on whether he's telling the truth.

Since there is no smoking gun, if you will, it really comes down to whether what he says rings true. So, take a look and judge for yourself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TODAY SHOW")

MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "THE TODAY SHOW": The other question is, do you think it would be something that would be awful? In other words, do you view it as something that would be awful?

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Obviously, we're -- obviously, we're not having too much luck showing you that tape. We will try to get the kinks worked out of it and show it to you in a moment.

Craig also spoke about his fight to change his guilty plea in Minneapolis. Here's what he told Mark Johnson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: It is an important next step. We don't know what the appellate court will say to us or to me.

But, you know, I could honestly say that appeals court can -- do defend the courts below them. At the same time, my attorneys think we do have some solid arguments that must be made. And we're going to make them. It is my right to do what I'm doing.

I have already provided for Idaho certainty that I think Idaho needed. I'm not running for reelection. That's already started the next political cycle in Idaho. So, I'm no longer in the way. I'm no longer blocking the political process of Idaho. But I am pursuing my constitutional rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: His prospects, however, are not especially good, even though many believe the case itself to be weak. Senator Craig also spoke at length what it's like to do what he's doing in the middle of a media frenzy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. CRAIG: Americans have been subjected to an unprecedented media feed. I think that certainly those who watch it and call me and say, Larry, we have never seen anything quite like this.

As I say, in the middle of hurricane season, there weren't any hurricanes. I became the hurricane, a political hurricane. Americans aren't used to this, attack the individual, and keep attacking, and see if you can knock him down or knock her down and knock her out.

A senator who lost an election last year, his wife called Suzanne and says, we call it gladiator politics. You put the politician in the arena and you just beat him until they are dead while the crowd cheers. And somehow it's entertainment. It's news.

Well, I think Idahoans are awfully tired of it. And I will have to be honest. So am I.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Mark Johnson, who conducted that interview, joins me now.

It's a little disingenuous for him to say that this is an unprecedented media frenzy. This is a man who publicly said he was going to resign, and then that he intended to resign. And then he has backtracked on all of that. So, he certainly stoked the flames of this media frenzy.

MARK JOHNSON, KTVB ANCHOR: Sure.

Anderson, he says it's a matter of semantics, though. He said from his very first "I intend to resign" speech here at the Boise Depot back on Labor Day weekend that he did use that word intend based on the support that he was getting that day, moments before that address, from Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter.

So, he says, you know, this is semantics. He said, I didn't know what I was going to do until I got back to the Senate floor to find out if I could continue my work for Idaho. He says, now I can. So, that intent is off the table.

He's there.

COOPER: Let's play something that his wife also said to you. Let's listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUZANNE CRAIG, WIFE OF SENATOR LARRY CRAIG: I went back over the 25 years, most of our marriage and almost 30 years of our knowing each other. And I can tell you, Mark, I questioned everything. I talked to myself about everything.

I came out of that feeling that my husband has never been unfaithful to me in any way. So, then I was ready to go forth and support what he was trying to do.

JOHNSON: And you're completely at peace?

S. CRAIG: Completely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: What are polls showing in Iowa in terms of support or belief that he should resign?

JOHNSON: Idaho, it's -- you know, it's -- it's overwhelming against the senator. Our polls on KTVB.com are right now running about six or seven to one against the senator staying in Washington.

But, Anderson, think about what she's going through and the fact that, every night, they look at late-night talk shows. They are not shying away from Jay Leno. They are not shying away from David Letterman. They are watching this, because he says he wants to see the light that he has cast in his home state of Idaho. It's not pretty.

So, he's embarrassed. And, as you just heard there, she's, well, been forced to take a second look at herself to see if she's ever seen, in the 30 years that she's known Larry Craig, if she can find anything in those 30 years that would give her any reason to believe that he is worthy of these bloggers who have chased him and hounded him over these 30 years, saying that he is gay.

She says she just can't see it. He's simply Larry Craig, the guy that she married over 20 years ago, and the man that she's known for almost 30.

COOPER: All right, Mark Johnson, appreciate you being with us tonight.

I want to play just a little bit from Matt Lauer's interview, because, again, a lot of this boils down to whether or not people believe Senator Craig in what he is saying. And, for that, you have to see how he answered some of Matt Lauer's questions.

Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TODAY SHOW")

LAUER: Are you technically not a homosexual? Is it possible you're bisexual?

CRAIG: It's no to both.

LAUER: The other question is, do you think it would be something that would be awful? In other words, do you view it as something that would be awful, to have to admit that you were gay?

CRAIG: I don't agree with the lifestyle, and I have said so by my votes over the years and by my expressions. Have I viewed it as awful? I viewed it as a lifestyle I don't agree with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Wow.

Let's bring in Candy Crowley now, CNN senior political correspondent, a member of the political team on TV.

Candy, an interesting interview, no doubt. How much of a liability right now is Senator Craig to the party?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they would rather he wasn't there, obviously.

I mean, you know, he was talking about the circus and, you know, this unprecedented scrutiny. But a lot of it was propelled by his colleagues, Republican colleagues, in the Senate, who went out of their way to say, this is unacceptable; he needs to leave. So, a lot of this came from people that were, you know, making news by it, not driven by the news media.

Having said that, I sense that, at this point, they pretty much know he's going to stick around. And it is a liability, but there are so many problems facing Republicans now, as they head into an election year, that he may be part of the least of it. Certainly, corruption was a factor in the 2006 election for Republicans, caused them to lose the House and the Senate. And this feeds into that. But there are other things out there. They know they need to get their act together. So, he may be a sideshow at this point and something they think will just sort of fade into the background while they try to move ahead.

COOPER: So, all that talk of sort of ethics investigations, that's gone nowhere?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, as a matter of fact, I talked to Dana Bash about this, and she said that they are -- you know, there's no guarantee any kind of Ethics Committee investigation is going to go on.

They are looking into it. But the problem here is that, if you have an Ethics Committee investigation, certainly an open Ethics Committee probe, all you're doing is giving this story another day, another week, another month. And that's clearly something Republicans don't want to do.

COOPER: Fascinating. Candy Crowley, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

We have got some new polling numbers tonight, numbers that mean Senator Hillary Clinton has just crossed a significant milestone on the road to the Democratic presidential nomination. Now, that's not all these polls show. They also mean that Republican Fred Thompson still is not setting the electorate on fire, details starting with Mrs. Clinton.

Here again, Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY (voice-over): She began with a platinum Rolodex, a marquis name, a preexisting political machine, and a question: Is Hillary Clinton electable?

Democrats think so.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWLEY: The latest poll from CNN and Opinion Research Corporation shows Hillary Clinton the favorite of 51 percent of registered Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents.

She's come a long way, baby. Is she electable has morphed into, is she stoppable? From the beginning, a disciplined candidate and a tightly run campaign wanted to soften what they say was a Republican- created image, Clinton as ultra-liberal ice queen.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So let's talk. Let's chat. Let's start a dialogue.

CROWLEY: There have been cozy Internet moments, frequent and much-discussed bursts of laughter, as noted on the girl-centric program "The View." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE VIEW")

CLINTON: The laugh. The laugh. I know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: There are user-friendly campaign appearances, today on initiatives to help women meet everyday problems.

CLINTON: Chelsea was sick, and my baby-sitter wasn't there. And then she called, and she was sick, too. And it was just that gut- wrenching feeling.

CROWLEY: But, as she softened up her image, Clinton also toughened up her credentials.

CLINTON: If President Bush doesn't end the war in Iraq before he leaves office, when I am president, I will.

CROWLEY: And there have been multiple policy rollouts and rave reviews at debates. The bottom line, nationally, she's 30 points ahead of Barack Obama.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The national poll story will run -- sooner or later, it has to run itself out. At some point, there will be the first actual vote.

CROWLEY: Out-raising Clinton for most of the year, Obama has failed to turn his fund-raising prowess into poll numbers. But he's right, of course. The Iowa caucuses, the first votes, are two-and-a- half months away, and polls there show a very close race, Clinton, Edwards, Obama.

OBAMA: If we win Iowa, I will be the nominee.

CROWLEY: Somebody could beat her in Iowa, rewriting the unstoppable Clinton storyline. But, if they don't stop her in Iowa, they may not be able to stop her anywhere.

On the Republican side, Fred Thompson can't seem to get started at all. Widely panned as lackluster and unprepared, he's taken a tumble, dropping eight points since September.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not just running on rhetoric. I'm running on results.

CROWLEY: Rudy Giuliani remains the front-runner among registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, but close numbers indicated a jump ball for the nomination and a party in flux.

Consider that Giuliani's support, 27 percent among Republicans, is about half of Clinton's support among Democrats.

Still, skip past the primary season, and look at this: a head-to- head matchup, Clinton vs. Giuliani, a virtual dead heat. Interesting, but there are miles to go before they sleep. Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Miles and miles and miles.

Some perspective now. Earlier, I spoke with CNN's John King, Democratic political contributor Paul Begala, and former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts.

Topic number one, Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Paul, as we just heard in Candy's piece, Hillary Clinton way out ahead with registered Democrats in our national poll. Is the nomination for her inevitable?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it's not inevitable. It's certainly more likely than not, Anderson. It has got to be something that warms the heart of Hillary Clinton and her supporters.

But, I caution, there's a whole lot of campaigning to do. I think mostly her opponent are going to try to stop her in Iowa and New Hampshire. I frankly think Barack Obama has a better chance of stopping her in New Hampshire, where independents can't vote.

Don't forget, that's where John McCain upset George W. Bush after Bush won in Iowa. So, I think the last stand for the anti-Hillary crowd in my party is going to be in New Hampshire.

COOPER: J.C...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Which is in five minutes, I think, is when they vote up there.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Right. Right. Exactly.

J.C., it's been said, you know, in the past that at least part of the GOP welcomed a Clinton candidacy. They are already raising a lot of money on the very idea that Hillary will be running. Is that still the case?

J.C. WATTS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think when you -- any Republican candidate that runs against Senator Clinton is probably going to start out with about a 40 percent base. And, so, you have got to find, you know, 11 percent somewhere.

So, I think she surely energizes the Republican base. But she also energizes the Democratic base. So, it's going to be very interesting. And I think she's got the right infrastructure. I think she's raising the money, putting the resources together. She's got a great team that she's assembled. So, that works both ways.

Yes, it energizes Republicans, but it also will -- energizes -- energizes Democrats. And she's got, you know, the most popular Democrat in modern times working on her behalf in her husband, former president.

COOPER: And, John King, you know, she's in a statistical tie with Giuliani in a general election. What do you make of that?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is hard to look at those polls at this point and project them forward. But a very interesting thing in our poll, you mentioned the statistical dead heat, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.

We also asked the question, what if it were Al Gore running against Rudy Giuliani? And Al Gore did a few points better. And what that tells me is that Hillary Clinton is so well-defined, very polarizing, like J.C. just mentioned, that she has a problem with independent voters, which is one of the reasons the Republicans, who acknowledge next year is going to be very tough, think they would be best to run against her, not that she's not tough, but that she does have a problem with independent voters, because she's so well known, and they believe they can have a race much like in 2000 and in 2004 that comes down to three or four key states.

So, tactically, Republicans think that is their best chance, because, again, especially with white men over 50 who say they are independents, Hillary Clinton has a problem.

COOPER: Paul, what is -- what is Obama doing wrong?

BEGALA: You know, Anderson, he's so talented.

I think the problem he's got is, he's too ethereal. He's too cerebral. You know, I -- I'm probably a pretty typical Democrat, in that I don't really like smart people very much.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: And, you know, I really want someone who is accessible. Bill Clinton, pretty smart guy, all in all, but, more importantly, he was accessible.

And, if I were coaching Barack, I would say, you know, like we say back home, put the jam on the lower shelf, where the little folk can reach it. In other words, talk more like the community organizer he once was and a lot less like the law professor that he once was.

He's too ethereal, too philosophical for me. I think he has got to really get into the nitty-gritty. Hillary has mastered that. I mean, she's plenty smart, too, but she does a really good job getting into the bread-and-butter issues that people talk about.

COOPER: And, J.C., Giuliani is selling himself as the candidate who can beat Clinton. Is he right?

WATTS: Well, I think he's -- he's got a pretty doggone good chance. I don't think it's, obviously, not a done deal.

And, Anderson, I'm not so sure that Rudy gets the nomination. I think he's leading in most of the national polls, but I'm not so sure he gets the nomination. As I travel around the country, and I talk to a lot of Republicans on a weekly basis, and I talk to a lot of Democrats as well, but a whole lot more Republicans, and they -- I don't think they have concluded who their -- who their candidate is.

You even -- you even have some Republicans talking about supporting a third-party candidate. And, if that's the case, then I think it just, you know, quashes any chances that any Republican might have, including Rudy Giuliani.

BEGALA: You know, Anderson, I think J.C. makes a good point.

If the Giuliani message is, we -- we, Republicans, have to stomach somebody who's pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-gun control in order to stop Hillary, because we don't want a president who is -- well, wait a minute, pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and pro-gun control, like Hillary -- I mean, it kind of doesn't make a lot of sense.

WATTS: And, Anderson, let me throw in another thing here.

If you go back over the last 30 years, Republicans, they have never done well with -- with moderate candidates, or what they, you know, define someone as being moderate, in 1976, Gerald Ford, Reagan '80 and '84, who was conservative, Bush 41.

You know, if there's a candidate on the Republican side that is deemed as moderate, they have never done well in general elections.

KING: And Rudy Giuliani's rivals are surprised, Anderson, he's stayed up at that level in the polls for so long. Guess what? Consider that number now and let's look back at it again in about six weeks, because we are now 80 days from the Iowa caucuses. The direct mail and the TV ads are about to get much, much tougher.

And his rivals now face no choice but to go after Rudy Giuliani in a much more personal, direct way on those social issues to knock him off. And they are prepared to do that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Personal and direct. This is going to get nasty.

Hillary Clinton is not just ahead in the polls. She's also tops with the cash. Here's the "Raw Data."

Clinton has raised more than $63 million for her presidential campaign. That's about $4 million more their her closest competitor, Senator Barack Obama. Both the Democrats lead the Republicans at the bank now. Mitt Romney leads the GOP candidates with nearly $44.5 million raised. Rudy Giuliani is second with a war chest of more than $35 million.

Some new developments to bring you tonight on a war between the states over who is going to vote first and where. Will it be Iowa or New Hampshire or someplace else?

Also, an incredible moment caught on tape, the car on the tracks, the train not stopping. You are going to see the wreck. But that's not the incredible part. You will see that, too, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: New developments in the battle between Iowa and New Hampshire and other states over who goes first in election '08.

Now, the Iowa Republican Party has voted to hold its caucuses on the 3rd of January. Reports are, Democrats will choose the 3rd or the 5th. They were originally planning for the 14th. Then a kind of calendar cold war began between Iowa, Florida and New Hampshire. Now it's anybody's guess what will happen, especially in New Hampshire, where CNN's Joe Johns is "Keeping Them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo shows up at the New Hampshire state capitol to pay his $1,000 fee and get on the ballot in what, for nearly a century, has been the nation's first presidential primary.

REP. TOM TANCREDO (R-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the kind of situation where somebody like me, somebody who does not have hundreds of millions of dollars of personal wealth, can still make a difference, because you can still get to every little cafe.

JOHNS: And if he can do well in the nation's first primary, Tancredo instantly becomes a viable national candidate. But get this. It's possible that, for the first time in 90 years, no ones knows when the New Hampshire presidential primary will be held.

Will it be January or early December? Bill Gardner is the New Hampshire secretary of state. He gets to decide.

(on camera): So, when is the primary going to be?

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAM GARDNER, NEW HAMPSHIRE SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't know.

JOHNS: You don't know?

GARDNER: I don't know.

JOHNS: You haven't decided even yet in your own brain?

GARDNER: No.

JOHNS (voice-over): He's being coy about the date, so that other states won't jump ahead of New Hampshire, which begs the question. "Keeping Them Honest" who appointed New Hampshire king of the presidential primary calendar anyway?

Answer: New Hampshire did. It's been holding the nation's first presidential primary since 1916. And, in 1975, it passed a law saying it had to be first. New Hampshire says it should have an outsized role in nominating the president precisely because it is so small. It's easy to get around and meet most of the voters, who take politics very seriously.

GARDNER: The grassroots speak here. And it's retail politics. And that's the tradition. And it's not easy to just replicate that or tow it to some other place.

JOHNS: And you really don't hear the candidates complaining about this setup.

TANCREDO: It's good for Tom Tancredo. It's good for our campaign. It works for me. It's great.

JOHNS (on camera): So, it's great for the candidates, but what about the rest of the country? Well, when you look at the demographics of it, New Hampshire doesn't always come off as a clean cross section of the USA.

(voice-over): To be fair, average income levels here, percentages of people with high school educations, the ratio of blue- collar to white-collar workers roughly track the national averages.

But, when it comes to race and ethnicity, it's a different story. About 2 percent of the New Hampshire population is Hispanic, while the national average is more than 14 percent. Does that matter in a presidential race? It could.

Tom Tancredo's key issue is immigration. And a lot of Hispanics aren't exactly enthralled with his views.

TANCREDO: Look at the attack on our own culture that is occurring as a result of massive immigration, illegal immigration in particular.

JOHNS: Just about 1 percent of the New Hampshire population is African-American, compared to almost 13 percent nationally. Ninety- six percent of the population is white, compared to 80 percent across the country.

Some people like Debbie Dingell, wife of Democratic Congressman John Dingell of Michigan, argue that a larger state, with a different mix of people, ought to have more influence in an election year.

DEBBIE DINGELL, WIFE OF CONGRESSMAN JOHN DINGELL: New Hampshire doesn't have the ordained right. And -- and the fact of the matter is, it doesn't reflect the diversity of this country.

JOHNS: But don't hold your breath. The political parties are fighting tooth and nail to keep their retail politics just the way it is.

Joe Johns, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: John King, J.C. Watts, Paul Begala join me again.

John King, in our last break, we were talking about national polls. Let's look at polls in New Hampshire and in Iowa, in terms of the Democratic race, much closer perhaps in Iowa than the national polls indicate.

KING: Absolutely much closer in Iowa.

And just look back at the last campaign. John Kerry was at something like 9 percent or 10 percent, I think, nationally. Howard Dean was the big winner in the Democratic primaries, until John Kerry won Iowa and he took off. So, history shows, if you win in Iowa, you get a bounce and you get momentum. And that's the same of New Hampshire.

As you know, many have long argued, why do these small states, predominantly white states, predominantly rural states, have so much influence in the process, Anderson? But they do give the candidates a chance to be -- Paul used the term accessible in the last segment -- much more accessible, much more up close to voters. So, they do matter a great deal.

And, in a sense, that hurts Obama, in that he's trying to get new voters and young voters into the process. Iowa tends to be an all- white, mostly older state. So, he may have to fall back some. But, because of the momentum theory of politics, he may not get that chance.

COOPER: Well, Paul, you were saying how important New Hampshire is for Obama. For John Edwards, Iowa kind of is make or break, isn't it?

BEGALA: It is. For Edwards, it's Iowa or bust. I mean, he's lived there long enough to change his voter registration to Iowa or even to build...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Does he have to win or just come in second?

BEGALA: He's got to win. I think that -- that Hillary and Barack, unless something odd happens, no matter what, they are going to fight it out in New Hampshire.

I think Edwards' first stand is also his last stand. It's going to have to be Iowa. Now, he gets an important endorsement from the Service Employees International Union state chapter there in Iowa this week. He's not dead, but he really has not shown a very strong campaign, and he certainly doesn't look like the guy who can take on Hillary post-Iowa. So, I think, in a weird way, Barack maybe hopes that Edwards stays strong enough to slow down the Hillary juggernaut in Iowa and then maybe Barack has a chance to take her on in New Hampshire, maybe a tag team attempt to stop Hillary.

COOPER: And, J.C., on the Republican side, which Republican stands to gain the most in either Iowa or New Hampshire?

WATTS: Well, I think Mitt Romney is one that you have got to watch, considering that he's been in Iowa and New Hampshire both, you know, the longest.

He's -- he's actually spent a lot of money in terms of advertising up there. So, if either of those states, if he doesn't finish, you know, one, I can make a strong -- if he doesn't finish first, I can make a strong argument that that's a loss for him.

I'm not so sure that -- how Giuliani will play. I -- John McCain, I think, probably, I can't say he's written off Iowa, but he has not done well in Iowa. So, I think John McCain is probably looking to New Hampshire and -- and South Carolina.

And I have not written John McCain off yet either. I think he's got some momentum going in his favor over the last six -- six weeks or so. That's a good thing for him. But I do think that Giuliani and Romney -- I mean, I think Romney stands to lose the most if he does not finish, you know, one in Iowa and New Hampshire, considering the investment of time and money that he's made there.

COOPER: J.C. Watts, Paul Begala, John King, guys, thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, Republican or Democrat, it's the one thing every American traveler hates, but cannot seem to avoid, flight delays.

Now, if you think they are getting worse, you're absolutely right. In the 13 years of record-keeping, we have never seen flight delays as bad as the ones we have experienced this year.

CNN's Drew Griffin checked to see what exactly the government is going to do about it. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So, what is the Senate doing in its Senate transportation bill to fix the major airports?

"Keeping Them Honest," we found the senators from Massachusetts fixing the airports important to them. Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry asked for and got $8 million earmarks to replace control towers at their airports. The tiny Nantucket Airport, near the summer home of -- Remember this moment? -- windsurfing John Kerry and the small Barnstable Airport near the famous Kennedy compound in Hyannis.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, you can catch the rest of Drew Griffin's "Keeping Them Honest" report tomorrow night on 360.

More politics next involving race, folk singers, even the Dalai Lama. With a mix like that, it could only be "Raw Politics."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): So, what's with the global plus about the Dalai Lama?

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We understand that the Chinese have very strong feelings about this.

COOPER: Find out why and what the White House did to make them happy -- ahead in "Raw Politics."

Also tonight, their church just built the fanciest cathedral in the country. Their Cardinal lives like a prince. But these nuns are being told there's no money, so hit the bricks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These nuns are being made to pay for the sins of the fathers, literally.

COOPER: Nuns paying for predator priests, while bishops and cardinals live in luxury. What's going on? We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- only on 360.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Nobody ever wants to be evicted from their home, of course, but imagine being evicted for something you did not do, a horrible crime committed by someone else decades ago.

Well, that's what happening to a group of women in Santa Barbara, California. They're not your average tenants, though. They are Roman Catholic nuns. And wait until you see who is evicting them.

CNN's Jason Carroll is "Keeping Them Honest".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sister Angela Escalera has served the poor here for 43 years, and the thanks she gets for her decades of service? An eviction notice. And it's not just Sister Angela. The other nuns she lives with are being kicked out, too.

What kind of landlord would evict aging nuns from their convent? It's the Catholic Church. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles told the nuns to get out so it can sell the property.

Why? The church said it needs money to help pay a $370 million settlement to the victims of pedophile priests.

ERNIE SALOMON, SAVE OUR SISTERS: These nuns are being made to pay for the sins of the fathers, literally.

CARROLL: The nuns feel betrayed, and so does the community they serve.

SISTER ANGELA ESCALERA, SISTERS OF BETHANY: We work with the poorest of the poor, and they feel this is their convent.

CARROLL: Not for much longer. The Bethany Convent in Santa Barbara is worth an estimated $700,000.

TOD TAMBERG, LOS ANGELES ARCHDIOCESE SPOKESMAN: We said we were going to pay the settlement, which is due in December, a combination of liquidating properties and different assets, and also taking bank loans.

CARROLL: The archdiocese plans to sell 50 properties to pay the settlement. That does not include this grand cathedral it finished building just five years ago for $163 million.

In this letter, the archdiocese told the nuns they must leave by December 31.

TAMBERG: I would say, quite candidly, that having to move from a house, in order to make right what happened wrong in the past, is probably a small price to pay.

ESCALERA: Here we're losing our home and our jobs. So how can you compare it?

CARROLL: And that's just it. The nuns aren't just leaving their homes. They will be assigned to work in some other community.

The sister's mother general, their boss, has since ordered them not to speak to reporters or be photographed. So "Keeping Them Honest", we went straight to the top.

(on camera) The spokesman for the archdiocese says the church is structured such that it's not the archdiocese's responsibility to find new housing for the nuns. That job, he says, falls to the head of the nun's order, their mother general, who was in Guatemala, and could not be reached by CNN.

(voice-over) The sisters have been silenced but not the largely Latino community they serve.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They haven't done anything wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And for them to be taken away from the Santa Barbara community and part of the family, it's very wrong. It's -- it hurts.

CARROLL: So much outrage, Ernie Solomon created a group called SOS, Save Our Sisters. In a letter to the archdiocese, he wrote Cardinal Roger Mahony and his staff would all, quote, "burn in hell."

(on camera) When it comes to that letter and when it comes to that letter and that harsh languish, you stand by that?

SOLOMON: I stand by the letter, because I believe it's true.

TAMBERG: How do you deal with a group like that, when all you get are threats?

CARROLL (voice-over): The archdiocese points out the nuns' order has two other locations in Southern California where they could live. But SOS wants to raise money to answer the sister's prayers: to live out their days in the community they spent a lifetime serving.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Santa Barbara, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lifetime of service.

Now here's Kiran Chetry with what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIRAN CHETRY, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Thanks, Anderson.

Tomorrow we bring you the most news in the morning, including the story of that off-duty police officer caught on tape in a shootout. You've probably seen the video. Surveillance tape of the officer simply reaching around another man to get some items off the counter.

The man then chased him into the parking lot. The officer opened fire. He was cleared of any wrongdoing, but an attorney for the suspect says his client was hit nine times and that he didn't fire first.

Tomorrow, the officer joins us with his side of the story. It all begins at 6:30 a.m. Eastern on "AMERICAN MORNING" -- Anderson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Thanks.

Up next, the raw emotion and politics surrounding the so-called Jena 6 case.

Plus the man police say was caught on tape molesting a 3-year-old girl. Hear how they finally caught this guy, still ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: What began with three nooses hanging from a high school tree has triggered a 21st century civil rights movement. The searing case in Jena, Louisiana, continues to make headlines here and around the world. Now it's also being played out on Capitol Hill, where the emotions and the politics are real and raw. That story tops tonight's political roundup. With more, here's CNN's Tom Foreman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Stinging words at a congressional hearing over the Jena 6 case, that racially charged incident involving black and white students in Louisiana.

(voice-over) It was like a bees' hive. Democratic lawmakers and activists are furious that federal hate crime charges are not being pursued.

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: And if we can't appeal to the federal government, where can we go?

FOREMAN: The Justice Department says generally it does not charge juveniles with hate crimes. Didn't matter much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shame on you.

FOREMAN: Looking for a super value meal. Republican candidates are in D.C. for dinner with the GOP faithful, breaking bread and raising dough to back the party's nominee, whomever that may be.

Later this week, some of the same faces will be at a values forum here with big-league conservative Christian groups.

The Republican-in-chief is hanging out with the Dalai Lama. He is admired in much of the world but no pictures of the meeting. The White House doesn't want to make China too angry, because China despises the Dalai Lama for promoting freedom in Tibet.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: We understand that the Chinese have very strong feelings about this.

FOREMAN: There must be 50 ways to dis the president. Singer Paul Simon helping Democrats push the big expansion they want for children's health insurance. The president wants a smaller increase.

PAUL SIMON, MUSICIAN: Find compassion in your heart for our most vulnerable and sweetest citizens, our children.

FOREMAN: And two more aging rockers, David Crosby and Graham Nash, taking time to sing a chorus of that old drinking song, "The president is just like a dictator."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They use the name techniques. It's not any different.

FOREMAN (on camera): So what you're saying is our White House not a very, very, very fine house. Hmm -- Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Oh, Tom, Tom.

"Raw Politics" and the day's headlines. It is all good, and it's always available on the 360 daily podcast. You can check it out. It's fun; it's easy. Just go to CNN.com/AC360podcast, or you can get it from the iTunes store.

They warn you about listening to iPods in the car or talking on the cell phone. It can put your life in danger. It might even land you on the railroad tracks with an express train coming straight at you. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): On the wrong track at the wrong time. The car never had a chance. So how could the driver get away without a scratch? Find out when 360 continues.

Later, he says Mitt Romney threw him under a bus. He says he's fighting his sex sting guilty plea, and he says he's not going to spend the rest of his term sitting around, tapping his feet.

SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: I'm no longer blocking the political process of Idaho, but I am pursuing my constitutional right.

COOPER: Can he win legally? Can he survive politically? Will his party stand for it? Details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Premiering Tuesday, October 23 at 9 p.m. Eastern is our yearlong investigation, "Planet in Peril". Jeff Corwin, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and I traveled the world to see firsthand the threats to the planet. And we want to show you what we've seen and answer your question.

So logon to CNN.com/PlanetInPeril to submit your video questions. What do you want to know about deforestation, species loss, overpopulation and climate change?

October 25, live during our program, a panel of experts are going to be here to answer your questions. So logon now to get some answers.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The web site is full of information. Check it out.

Our "Planet in Peril" investigation literally took us around the world, but we also looked at how problems in far-off places are coming back home, right here in America, to cause us harm.

This past weekend California became the first state to ban a chemical called phthalates from toys and baby products like these. Phthalate is used to soften plastic, but scientists have also linked it to health problems.

Three other states are considering bans similar to California's, which takes effect in 2009.

Toxic toys are one concern but not the only one -- not by a long shot, as we found out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): I don't like going to the doctor, so this is no fun.

(on camera) Not a big fan of needles.

(voice-over) I'm here for what's called a body burning test. It's not the most pleasant of procedures. It will take 120 CC's of blood, almost a pint, for scientists will look at traces of 250 industrial chemicals in my body.

(on camera) What exactly is -- have you ever had anyone pass out from giving so much blood?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't had anyone pass out. I've had some people get nauseated a little bit.

COOPER: Uh-huh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And let's get you some orange juice just so you can heal up after that...

COOPER (voice-over): Public health experts are only beginning to understand what harm, if any, low-level chemical exposure can cause.

Dr. Leo Casandre (ph) worries most about children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are currently in an epidemic of chronic disease among American children. Rates of asthma, childhood cancers, birth defects, and developmental disabilities are all on the rise. Increasingly, they're being attributed to chemicals that we are all exposed to.

COOPER: You really consider it an epidemic?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do consider it an epidemic.

COOPER (voice-over): Rowan and Mikala (ph) Holland are some of the first children to sound at alarm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the beginning, I wasn't worried at all. I was fascinated.

Is that what you said?

COOPER: Three years ago when this video was taken, the entire Holland family decided to get body burning testing for a story in the "Oakland Tribune". Their son Rowan was just 18 months told. At the time he was the youngest child in America to ever be tested for chemical exposure. Mikala (ph) was just 5 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought that would be really interesting. To see, you know, if Mom and Dad are high in something, would the kids be high in it too?

COOPER: Their chemical exposure levels were high; but then they got the kids' results, and they were shocked. Rowan and Mikala's (ph) levels of chemical exposure were two, three and four times that of their parents.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're going to tell you the results of those tests: mine as well as the Holland family's, next week. A reminder: "Planet in Peril" premieres next Tuesday and Wednesday, October 23 and 24 at 9 p.m. Eastern.

And then on the 25th we're having this round table where people -- experts are going to answer your questions about the environment. We really want you to hear -- we want to hear from you in a v-mail. So send that to us.

Up next, the new super bug that could kill more people than AIDS.

Plus, a near tragedy on the tracks. How the driver of this car escaped with her life.

Wait until you see what happened when I found my way to "Sesame Street". Look at that. When 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That's today's closing bell. All the major markets were down for the second straight day. The Dow fell 71 points to 13,912. The NASDAQ lost 16, closing at $2,763. And the S&P, you might ask, 500. Well, it dropped 10 points. That's the S&P 500.

Analysts are blaming the slump on three things: record high oil prices, more troubles in the housing sector, as well as disappointing corporate earnings. That's what happened on Wall Street.

David Mattingly has more of the day's headlines in a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Anderson, tonight the man accused of raping a toddler and videotaping the crime is behind bars, facing arraignment tomorrow.

Chester Arthur Stiles was arrested in Nevada while driving without a license plate. Police say he admitted his identity, telling them he was tired of running.

The child in the video, now 7 years old, was found last month after a nationwide search.

The government reported today that a drug-resistant super bug is more widespread than first thought and may be killing more Americans each year than AIDS.

Researchers found that more than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly, invasive staph infections each year. The germ responsible is resistant to standard antibiotics. Experts say the findings underscore the need for better prevention measures.

In Lancaster, California, at least two people were killed in a highway pileup involving dozens of vehicles, caught in a blinding sandstorm. Winds were gusting up to 55 miles per hour when it happened. At least seven people were injured, two critically.

And take a look at this video. That's Betty Deval (ph) moments after a police officer convinced her to get out of her car, which was sitting on railroad tracks outside of Greenville, South Carolina. Watch what happens just seconds later.

The train goes through. The train was traveling more than 70 miles an hour, Anderson.

Deval told the officer, who saved her, she stopped to call her friend for directions and didn't realize she'd turned onto the train tracks. She was still talking on her cell phone, in fact, when the officer spotted her car.

How lucky can she get?

COOPER: I hope she said thank you at the very least.

MATTINGLY: I hope so.

COOPER: Time now for "The Show of the Day", brought to you by the letters "AC" and the number 360. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL SPINNEY, OSCAR THE GROUCH: Your regularly scheduled program.

COOPER: Thanks, Oscar. Appreciate it.

SPINNEY: Never thank a grouch.

COOPER: I'm also joined here by Dan Rather Not and Walter Cranky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't believe I'm on "ANDERSON COOPER 360"...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The crummiest news program on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a rotten time.

COOPER: Thanks, Scratch. Appreciate it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: If you have kids, you probably saw me on "Sesame Street" today. I was fortunate enough to meet the gang, including Oscar the Grouch. It was a good time. Even though they treated me like trash, quite frankly.

Still ahead on 360, Senator Craig speaks out in his first one-on- one interview since he was busted in a bathroom sex sting. You don't see that on "Sesame Street". He explains his actions in his own words, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight from insider to pariah to what? Senator Larry Craig speaking out one-on-one for the first time about his airport sex sting, his sexuality and his plans to fight his own guilty plea. Not to mention a whole lot of angry fellow Republicans who wish he would just go away.

Also tonight, the Hillary factor. New polling gives her a commanding lead. The question is, do the numbers also show she's unstoppable? We will look into that.

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