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Inside Pakistan: State of Emergency; Border Fence Fundraising; America Votes 2008; Female Child Soldiers: Survivors

Aired November 6, 2007 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
Tonight, the crisis in Pakistan, more protests, more violence and new reasons for worry, as an ally in the war on terror inches closer to the edge. Why Pakistan's state of emergency matters to us all. And what have they really done with the billions in aid we have given them?

Also, tonight the Minutemen, they raised millions of dollars to secure the U.S. border. They promised to build a massive, state-of- the-art fence. So, where is it? Tonight, we are "Keeping them Honest."

And Hillary Clinton, she drops in the polls and now says she wasn't at her best at the last debate. CNN's Candy Crowley sits down with her for some frank talk. All that is in the hour ahead.

We begin tonight with Pakistan and chaos. Police and protesters clashing in the streets, we saw it yesterday and now again today. They are fighting over General Pervez Musharraf's decision to impose emergency rule.

Pakistan's president said he had to do it to stop the nuclear- armed nation from, in his words, committing suicide. His opponents say it is a grab for power, nothing more.

In an emergency meeting today in the capital, opposition leaders, including Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto discussed how to respond to the crisis.

CNN's Zain Verjee joins me now from Islamabad -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we have been here just a few hours and things are tense.


VERJEE (voice-over): Mass protests, mass arrests, and in Pakistan and beyond, a fear that this nuclear-armed ally of America could be torn apart.

Today, hundreds more were rounded up and jailed. Many are lawyers, judges and activists protesting emergency rule. President Musharraf suspended the constitution and put the entire judicial system into lockdown. The chief justice of the supreme court now sacked is under House arrest, but still managed to call on lawyers to rise up against Musharraf.

The emergency has provoked clashes between security forces and a small army of suited lawyers. Police have not held back, some even earning cash bonuses for beating and arresting protesters.

VOICE OF AYESHA TAMMY HAQ, PAKISTANI LAWYER IN HIDING: It's not just brutal. It's violently brutal. And they seem to enjoy themselves.

VERJEE: Musharraf is defiant, insisting he's protecting Pakistan from the spread of extremist and al Qaeda. But Islamic militants continue to seize towns and capture soldiers in the mountains near the Afghan border.

His critics say Musharraf has moved for political survival to prevent the supreme court from declaring his recent election invalid. Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto says she won't talk to Musharraf anymore.

BENAZIR BHUTTO, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN: ... even talking for a restoration towards democracy. And, to my great surprise and shock, instead of going towards democracy, we ended up with martial law.

VERJEE: And CNN has learned advisers to Bhutto and Musharraf are in touch.

President Bush is urging Musharraf to move toward elections, hoping perhaps to keep this time bomb from exploding.

ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I think it's the most dangerous crisis in the world today, given the fact that Pakistan is one of the eight nuclear powers in the world and it seems to be spinning out of control.


COOPER: Zain Verjee joins me now.

I should just tell our viewers at home that she is -- her transmission is (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's obviously not a great picture, but we think it's important to have her up live.

Zain, how widespread are these demonstrations? I mean, we are seeing pictures of pockets. In terms of over all the country, how often do the demonstrations take place?

VERJEE: Well, they have taken place every day over the last few days. They are not actually that widespread. The reason for that, some analysts here are telling us, is that the police are using such brute force against the lawyers, that people are more reluctant to come out.

They also say that you're going to see more people coming out on the streets and protesting against emergency rule, that, really, the majority of people here are not happy with. When you see the political opposition, the political parties here organizing themselves in this restrictive environment, and if they go out onto the streets, people are more likely to follow them.

Benazir Bhutto has called for protests. The ousted chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, has called for the lawyers to continue. So, it could escalate. But, right now, it seems relatively restricted to those pockets -- Anderson.

COOPER: And is it restricted just to attorneys at this point, to lawyers, or are, you know, other people in the middle class, other people in other groups joining in?

Obviously, we have lost Zain's transmission -- as I said, the difficulties of going live from all around the world.

The crisis in Pakistan is not only dangerous; it's always extremely awkward, not to mention embarrassing, for the Bush administration. President Bush has touted Pakistan as a key ally in fighting al Qaeda. The U.S. has given them billions of dollars to do it. But what are we really getting for all that money?

Al Qaeda has thousands of fighters in Pakistan, and the Taliban has regrouped and is launching attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan from Pakistani soil.

So, we asked CNN's Joe Johns to do some digging, follow the money.

Tonight, he's "Keeping them Honest."


JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ever since the horror and shock of 9/11, some say the U.S. war on terror has meant a blank check for Pakistan. How much money? Billions. And for what?

"Keeping them Honest," we decided to take a closer look at whether the government is doing a good job spending your money.

Since 2001, the United States has kicked in $10.5 billion in funding to Pakistan. In fact, it's probably more. Some of the money is off the books because it's called covert spending.

But here's what we do know:

RICK BARTON, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: So, $100 million a month is going directly to the Pakistani military for the support that they provide and the use of bases, border patrols, placement of their soldiers up in the Northwest Frontier province, where they have not been particularly effective on the -- in the war on terror.

JOHNS (on camera): That's right, $100 million a month in what's officially called coalition support funds. Pakistan gets more of that money than any other country. In six years, it's amounted to more than $6 billion.

(voice-over): Money that's basically intended to reimburse Pakistan's expenses in the war on terror.

Experts claim U.S. officials have no idea what the money is really buying.

Hogwash, says the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S.

MAHMUD ALI DURRANI, PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: There is a level of accountability. For example, the money we spend on operations supporting you, there are detailed bills presented by the government of Pakistan. These are assessed at multiple levels. And only then payment is made.

BARTON: This is much more of a handshake deal of the -- the accounting that is being used is one of, "We trust you," rather than of any great detail.

JOHNS: There's a lot the U.S. isn't getting out of this. Pakistan hasn't been able to secure its border with Afghanistan. In fact, the latest intelligence says the Taliban is only getting stronger there, and al Qaeda has reestablished its strongholds.

Now that Pakistani President Musharraf is cracking down on his political opposition, some on Capitol Hill are saying, it's time to pull the plug on the cash, at least until democratic rule is restored.

Senator Patrick Leahy chairs the subcommittee that controls funding to Pakistan.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: And we are certainly not getting our money's worth there, in fact, just the opposite. And I don't see how we actually end up fighting terrorists, if our money is going simply to prop up somebody who has become very, very dictatorial and is obviously not the person his country wants.

JOHNS: But, says the Pakistani ambassador, there's a problem with doing that.

ALI DURRANI: If that funding goes, if that support goes, then you will have a bigger problem than you have already.

JOHNS: And that, of course, is the gamble that no one can afford to get wrong.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: All right, let's dig deeper on this.

Joining me now for a closer look at all this are CNN Terrorism Analyst Bergen, and Fareed Zakaria, an editor of "Newsweek International."

Peter, $100 million a month to the Pakistani military. Is the U.S. government getting its money's worth?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I think, over time, less and less.

I mean, I think, in the 2003, 2004 time period, we saw quite a lot of senior members of al Qaeda being arrested in Pakistan. But we have seen a drop-off in that. Is that because many of them are being captured or killed? Perhaps. But also perhaps the Pakistani military is sort of less -- has been preoccupied by political events and has sort of taken some of the pressure off.

And, of course, as you know, Anderson, the Taliban is back on the Afghan/Pakistan border. So, while the money may have been well spent in the 2003, 2004 time period, I think, in the last two years, the money has really proven to be not particularly helpful in terms of actual -- what we are getting for it, essentially -- Anderson.

COOPER: And, Fareed, does it -- how much leverage does America really have in the situation right now, certainly?

FAREED ZAKARIA, EDITOR, "NEWSWEEK INTERNATIONAL": Well, it's a very good question, because, to a certain extent, we are trapped. Peter is exactly right in the description he gives.

But you cannot fight the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban, which is in many ways the central front in the war on terror, without the acquiescence and cooperation of the Pakistani military.

So, maybe we are wasting nine cents on the -- 90 cents on the dollar. You still have to do something with them. You have to have a relationship with them, because, otherwise, we would have to invade Pakistan to get to al Qaeda.

COOPER: But it does seem that they -- I mean, they could certainly be doing more if -- I mean, when Peter and I were in Afghanistan last, you know, all the intelligence people we talked to, all of the analysts, say, you know, that they know where Mullah Omar is, that he's in Quetta or in the surrounding areas, that they know where these Taliban leaders are.

And yet, Pakistan's government doesn't seem to do anything about it.

ZAKARIA: Pakistan believes, deep in its strategic DNA, that having a weaker Afghanistan helps them. This is something...


COOPER: They deny that, of course.

ZAKARIA: Yes, of course they deny that.

But, for 30 years, they have always believed that -- that a strong Afghanistan will be pro-Indian, pro-Russian, which, in the sort of the checkerboard diplomacy of the region, is bad for them. So, they only do so much. They help out. They do -- they do -- they pick the low-hanging fruit.

But, when you ask them to do something really hard, like really dismantle the Taliban, their feeling is, if you keep the Taliban around, it destabilizes Afghanistan at low cost to them.

COOPER: Peter, what's your take on what happens next?

BERGEN: Well, I think, you know, no one knows, including the principal players.

I mean, it's as we saw Benazir Bhutto saying, she was a bit surprised by the declaration of emergency law. Musharraf appears to have doubled down a huge bet. He's the least popular politician in Pakistan. The only political figure less popular than President Musharraf is -- in Pakistan -- is President Bush, who is getting a 9 percent approval rating. So, he's taking an enormous risk.


COOPER: A 9 percent approval rating?

BERGEN: Yes. And Musharraf is at, I think, about 20 percent or 30 percent.

But I think that if you look at what he's done, he's taking a huge risk. I doubt it's going to work. He's already -- his popularity's been chipped away by these kinds of measures in the past, where he's either fixed referendums in his favor or fixed elections to help the Islamist parties.

And this is not the first time that he's taken enormous risk. You may remember, Anderson, that he was actually in charge of the Cargill operation, which was the incursion by Pakistan into India in '99, which nearly led to a fourth major war between the two countries.

So, this is somebody who believes -- who sort of has a messiah complex. If you read his autobiography, which I wouldn't urge on you, except for professional reasons. He really believes that he can save the country. He's the only person who can save the country. He truly believes this. And he thinks the other secular democratic politicians are either too corrupt or incompetent. And he has made this enormous bet. And frankly, I don't think anybody knows how this is going to play out.

COOPER: Well, Fareed, best-case and worst-case scenario?

ZAKARIA: The best-case scenario is that we push much harder than we are pushing, but firmly, to tell him, look, you have set up a timeline for a succession. You will take off your army uniform. There will be elections. Make that happen. Just stay true to your word.

You have picked a successor as army chief of staff and as the head of the ISI, the intelligence service. Just follow through on all that. The Brits are actually being tougher on him than we are. I think we could be tougher. He will -- there will be some kind of negotiated succession.

The worst-case scenario is as he clings to power, becomes more and more unpopular, crushes the liberal opposition, which is what he's doing right now, and then presents us with this devil's dilemma. You either support a very unpopular dictatorship or an increasingly radicalized society, in which the only people who have power are the Islamic militants.

COOPER: Difficult days ahead either way.

Fareed Zakaria, good to have you on the program.

Peter Bergen, always good to talk to you. Thanks.

Up next, Hillary Clinton dropping in the polls.


COOPER (voice-over): Hillary Clinton out in front, but, for the first time, admits she stumbled.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wasn't at my best the other night.

COOPER: Her opponents, smelling blood, are on the attack. But is ganging up on the front-runner easier because she's a woman? Talking about the gender card, when Senator Clinton talks to 360.

Plus, a call to protect the U.S./Mexico border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If elected officials will not lead, then it is up to the citizens to lead.

COOPER: A pledge to build a fence. The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps asked for millions in donations. Where is all that money going? Where is the fence? We are "Keeping Them Honest."



COOPER (on camera): Well, check out this "Raw Data." It's pretty outrageous.

According to a new Government Accountability Office report, thousands of undocumented people passed through official ports of entry last year. A source tells CNN the number may be as high as 21,000. At several border crossings, government investigators found there were no border agents in the inspection booth. Other times, officers never asked for any travel documents.

Approximately 400 million people cross U.S. border checkpoints every year.

Along the U.S./Mexico border, there are, of course, self- proclaimed patriots, Minutemen, they call themselves, self-appointed border guards. And, no doubt, you know about them. We have gone out. We have reported on them many times.

But what you might not know is that they have been asking for millions of dollars in donations to keep illegal immigrants from crossing into the U.S. A lot of people have been sending them money.

The question is, where is all that money going?

We asked CNN's newest Investigative Correspondent Abbie Boudreau to dig deep and follow the money. And, tonight, she's "Keeping them Honest."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Friends, the solution is so simple.

ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a reaction to the horror of 9/11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If elected officials will not lead, then it is up to the citizens.

BOUDREAU: A way for people to really do something to make America safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secure our borders and enforce our laws.

BOUDREAU: It was as if 9/11 had somehow unleashed a growing frustration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here we were, grandparents, and we were willing to go down and do something about the border, and our government wouldn't do.

BOUDREAU: For many, it's a noble calling, and Chris Simcox, the president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a worthy leader...

CHRIS SIMCOX, CO-FOUNDER, THE MINUTEMAN PROJECT: If anyone wanted to attack America...

BOUDREAU: Using the media...

SIMCOX: I think the American people are fed up with this charade.

The greatest threat to our national security is the border with Mexico.

BOUDREAU: ... united, they would contribute and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars...

(on camera): How much of your life you have dedicated to this cause?

DAVID JONES, FORMER MINUTEMAN LEADER: One hundred and 10 percent. BOUDREAU (voice-over): ... and make sacrifices to build a sturdy barrier to keep illegal border crossers out of the U.S. At least, that's what they thought.

Today, the barrier is little more than an invisible fence to nowhere. And there are growing questions about Chris Simcox.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For asking those questions, we were terminated from the organization.

BOUDREAU: And what's happened to all the Minuteman money?

JONES: We needed equipment, and we were not getting equipment.

BOB WRIGHT, FORMER MINUTEMAN LEADER: To this day, we still don't have an idea of how much Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has raised. We don't have a clue.

BOUDREAU: Chris Simcox called these allegations, quote, "a witch-hunt" and refused repeated requests from CNN for an interview.

As for the plan for the massive fence, that part of the story is only more curious.


COOPER: Well, so where is the fence, and what happened to all the money donated to build it? We will follow the money after this short break.


COOPER: So, before the break, we took a hard look at the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, self-proclaimed guardians of our borders. We have all heard of them.

Its leader is asking for millions of dollars in contributions. A lot of money has been raised, and it's all supposedly to build thousands of miles of fence to keep illegals from crossing the border. Now, he won't say how much he's gotten. And, as a matter of fact, he won't even talk to CNN for this story.

Now we take you for a look at the so-called border fence that they built. It seems it's not quite as described.

Here again, "Keeping them Honest," CNN's Investigative Correspondent Abbie Boudreau.


BOUDREAU (voice-over): In the spring a year ago, Chris Simcox, the leader of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, was facing growing agitation from members of his group.

JONES: What happened to the money? Why don't we have more gear?

BOUDREAU: And that's why Simcox own lieutenants were stunned on Memorial Day. It was a groundbreaking on the Arizona border.

JONES: But all at once, we are going to build a fence if the government doesn't build it. And we all looked at each other -- what?

BOUDREAU: And not just any fence, something like the barrier Israel erected to keep Palestinians from crossing from the West Bank.

Posted on the Minuteman Web site, it was described as 14 feet high, equipped with security cameras and sensors, topped with razor wire, and flanked by ditches to stop vehicles -- 2,000 miles of state- of-the-art fencing, wanting to raise $55 million.

One man actually mortgaged his home, donating more than $100,000.

"Keeping them Honest," we went looking for the fence. We did find the fence the federal government is building, but where was that 14-foot-high Minuteman fence?

(on camera): If you look really, really closely, you can see part of the Minuteman fence down there. But, in order to get a true understanding of the Minuteman fence, you have to go down to the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the Minuteman fence right here. And it's a five strand barbed wire fence.

WRIGHT: It wasn't until they actually started the ceremony that it became clear, this was going to be a cow fence.

BOUDREAU: In fact, the rancher who owns the land, John Ladd, is more than happy the Minutemen built him a fence to keep in his cattle and keep out Mexican cows.

But, while there are some tall poles, there is no Israeli-style barrier.

(on camera): So, this isn't real fencing material; this is just...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, this is electrical conduit.

BOUDREAU: So, then why bring the poles?

JONES: It's a sham.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was show and tell.

JONES: Sham.

BOUDREAU (voice-over): These former state and national Minuteman leaders say the groundbreaking was a ploy by Simcox to raise even more money.

But when they questioned Simcox about how donations were being spent, they say he fired them. Simcox now says that he never promised to build a high-tech security fence on Ladd's ranch. And he insists the barbed-wire fence really does protect the country.

(on camera): And does this fence stop people from crossing the border?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This area is great for illegal activity.

BOUDREAU (voice-over): Another border rancher, Richard Hodges (ph), agreed to allow Simcox to build nearly a mile of that Israeli- style fence on his land.

(on camera): What do you think the purpose of this fence is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, absolutely to stop people, yes, absolutely.

BOUDREAU (voice-over): But that was 10 months ago. Today, here's what we found on Hodges' ranch -- very little. No razor wire, no trenches, none of the promised fancy facial-recognition cameras.

In fact, the company Simcox cited in his news release tells CNN, it has no deal to provide cameras and hasn't even heard from the Minutemen in 18 months.

(on camera): Is that what donors thought they were donating their money towards?




BOUDREAU (voice-over): So, what happened to all the donated money? Well, it's hard to tell.

Simcox posted his group's most recent tax filing and an independent audit on the Minuteman Web site. In the audit, the largest expense listed by far is professional services, no further details given.

CNN asked Chris Simcox for responses to all the allegations made by these former insiders. Simcox told us that these allegations and CNN's investigation are, quote, "part of a smear campaign." He declined multiple interview requests.

Paul Newman, the board supervisor of Cochise County, Arizona, says Simcox's fence was a pipe dream from the beginning. After all, the border is a patchwork of public and private land. And a fence- builder could never get permission to cross all of it.

PAUL NEWMAN, BOARD SUPERVISOR, COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA: In actuality, for people who are still giving him money, they should know that that money is not going to building a fence. BOUDREAU: Just last month, in an e-mail, Simcox asked for even more donations, this time boasting of this new communications tower. But the tower owner told CNN, the e-mail is a lie. The Minutemen aren't using the tower, he says. And he only let the Minutemen put this small antenna on the roof of the shack next door.


COOPER: It's always fascinating to me, Abbie, when people -- they want to go on TV to promote their cause. But then, when you actually ask them some tough questions, they suddenly say it's a smear campaign, don't want to go on TV.

I understand there were -- there were new developments down on the border today. What happened?

BOUDREAU (on camera): Well, Anderson, just a few hours ago, I got a phone call from the second rancher you met in the story, Richard Hodges. He told me fence-builders are now back on his land and ready to finish up that nine-tenths-of-a-mile the Minutemen promised him.

Just one more note, Anderson. The federal government will soon be building its fence only yards away from the Minutemen fence. It's just going to be on the other side of the road.

COOPER: All right.

Abbie Boudreau, we will keep following it.

Thanks very much, Abbie. Good to have you on the program.

Let's get a quick check of some of the headlines. Erica Hill has them in tonight's 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, with six U.S. troops killed in Iraq this week, 2007 has become the deadliest year for Americans since the war began. That is despite a drop in U.S. casualties in recent months. So far this year, 855 U.S. service members have died in Iraq, topping 2004, when 849 were killed.

On Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Michael Mukasey for attorney general. The 11 to 8 vote comes after weeks of controversy over his answers on water-boarding. The full Senate is expected to vote on his nomination next week.

And potential trouble on Wisteria Lane. Hard to believe -- "Desperate Housewives," though, going to have to stop shooting episodes next week if there is no end to the current writers strike. TV writers, of course, walking off the job yesterday, saying they want more profit from the DVDs and shows which are now airing on the Internet.

Not the last we have heard of that.

COOPER: You know, I sort of stopped watching that show years ago. I didn't -- I didn't -- is... HILL: I did, too.

COOPER: ... it still very popular?

HILL: I think it is still very popular.

COOPER: All right.

HILL: But, yes.

COOPER: I'm clearly out of mainstream then.

HILL: I -- I have no idea what's going on, on Wisteria Lane, but apparently a lot of people in America do. And they are not going to be happy about it.

COOPER: All right. Well, we will see what happens.

HILL: So, there you go.

Moving on, though, to the "What Were They Thinking?" This one is sick, I got to warn you.

COOPER: Uh-oh.

HILL: It happened at a Wal-Mart in Mount Dora, Florida. It may seem like a typical shopping day, but, no, it is not.

Watch this man at the bottom of your screen there with the sunglasses on his head. Yes, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to pull out his cell phone to snap a photo up the skirt of a 13-year- old girl.

COOPER: Oh, my God.

HILL: Yes. Guy then walks away, but not before, according to the cop, he said, "Thank you, sweetheart," to the girl.

They are on the case, looking for him. If caught, though -- get this -- he might not go to jail, because video voyeurism is only a misdemeanor in Florida.

COOPER: That's unbelievable.

HILL: It's awful.

And the thing that is sick is, when I used to cover technology, we did some stories on this. There's actually a name for it. It's called upskirting. And there are all these blogs and Web sites where people go and they take this video and post it.

COOPER: People have far too much time on their hands.

HILL: Yes, indeed, they do.

COOPER: Yes. All right, Erica, thanks.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Now let's check in with Kiran Chetry to see what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING."



Tomorrow, wake up to the most news in the morning, including the personal impact of the extreme drought. Imagine not having water for 21 of the 24 hours in the day. It means no morning showers, no doing the dishes, no laundry. How would you cope?

Well, we're going to take you to the town without water to see their creative solutions. That's tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING" beginning at 6 a.m., Eastern.

Anderson, back to you.


COOPER: All right. Well, just ahead tonight, Democratic front- runner Hillary Clinton slipping in the polls a little bit. We'll talk about that. We'll hear from her and talking candidly about her performance in the last debate.

Candy Crowley's one-on-one interview with the Senator is next.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She has taken one position on torture several months ago and then most recently has taken a different position.

SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact of the matter is that my colleague from New York, Senator Clinton, 50 percent of the American public who say they're not going to vote for her.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Will she be the person who brings about the change in this country? You know, I -- I believe in Santa Claus. I believe in the tooth fairy, but I don't think that's going to happen.


COOPER: Not exactly an ad lib from John Edwards. The debate stirred plenty of debate about Hillary Clinton, certainly. Her opponents certainly targeted her more aggressively than they have ever before. And today she admitted it was not her best performance.

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll suggests that Clinton's support has slipped from its height a month ago, but she is still the candidate to beat at this point.

Still, a few feminist critics think she's playing the sex card, questioning if she's the best choice for president.

Clinton has heard all the talk. Today, she's talking to us, sitting down in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First off, Hillary Clinton wants you to know this is not about her chromosomes.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: I am not running because I'm a woman. I'm running because I think I'm the best qualified and experienced person to hit the ground running in January 2009.

CROWLEY: Also, it kind of is about chromosomes.

CLINTON: I'm meeting women in their 90s across America, and one of them summed up for me what this was really all about. She said, I'm 95 years old. I was born before women could vote, and I'm going to live long enough to see a woman in the White House.

CROWLEY: So is she running as a woman or just another candidate? Certainly, she's changed the debate.

EDWARDS: Senator Clinton.

Senator Clinton.

Senator Clinton.

CROWLEY: If six men criticize one woman for two hours, is it because she's a woman?

CLINTON: We've had a bunch of debates, and you know, I wouldn't rank that up on my very top list.

CROWLEY: Clinton's campaign put out a post-debate Web video called "Piling On", and she had this to say at her alma mater, Wellesley.

CLINTON: In so many ways, this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics.

CROWLEY: Critics, including two leading female columnists, accused Clinton of wanting it both ways: the tough candidate who wants to lead the Western world and the woman who suggests the men are picking on her. She denies that's where she was going.

CLINTON: But I know that in a campaign where people are trying to score political points, and I am ahead, I'm going to be attacked. That's what happens in campaigns. I don't have any problem with that.

CROWLEY: Still, Clinton supporter and feminist Eleanor Smeal talked to about a visceral reaction, reminiscent of the Anita Hill hearings, all those men and one woman.

Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, another Clinton supporter, told "The New York Times" they never would have picked on a male candidate like that, adding, "It's OK in this country to be sexist."

(on camera): This is a mixed message. It's the sort of thing that people look at and say, you know, the Clinton campaign wants to have it both ways.

CLINTON: Well, I can only speak for myself. I am deeply grateful for the strong support that I have across the country. And a lot of people watching it reach their own conclusions and are certainly free to speak out.

CROWLEY: Do you think there's any difference between your running as a woman and Joe Biden or John Edwards or Barack Obama running?

CLINTON: Well, it's potentially history-making. It's very exciting, and it's humbling to have this responsibility, at the prospect of becoming the first woman president in our nation's history.

CROWLEY (voice-over): The Clinton campaign believes the idea of Hillary Clinton as president may bring out 5 percent to 10 percent of women who have never voted before.

So is she running as a woman or just another candidate? Answer -- yes.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Newton, Iowa.


COOPER: Well, do you think Hillary Clinton will get the Democratic nomination? That's the question for tonight. Go to, link to the blog and post your comments. We're going to read some of them, coming up tonight.

Tomorrow on the program, a murder case that shocked a small Arkansas town. There were stories of cults and satanic rituals. The tensions were so high that when the suspects were arrested, they were met with screams of "burn in hell." The question is, was the trial really a witch-hunt? Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We the jury find Damian Echols guilty of capital murder.

COOPER (voice-over): It was a sensational murder trial: testimony about cults, satanic rituals, so shocking a jury convicted three teenage boys of brutally killing three 8-year-olds.

GERALD SKAHAN, DAMIEN ECHOLS' DEFENSE TEAM: I'm not sure at the time that trial was held and the hysteria that was around this part of the country and the talk of Satanism, I'm not sure Perry Mason could have got those boys off.

COOPER: But now new DNA evidence may put others at the crime scene.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're talking about the police, the prosecutor, the judge, the jury -- all of them got it wrong?

SKAHAN: In our opinion, yes.

COOPER: Tomorrow, Correspondent David Mattingly with stunning new facts about what really happened in a small Arkansas town.


COOPER: I don't know if you remember that case, but it got a lot of attention, a lot of -- lot of people very upset. We'll be following that tomorrow night.

But up next tonight, a motion to impeach Vice President Cheney. Allegations a Republican presidential candidate is buying votes. And guess how much Ron Paul made in just one day? It's got a lot of people talking. "Raw Politics" in a moment.


COOPER: All right, folks, this was news to me. Mark it on your calendar. One year from tonight, a new president will be elected. I didn't know that, did you?

Well, from this Tuesday until that Tuesday, we're, of course, going to cover the race every step of the way, from behind the scenes to beyond the spin, keeping the candidates accountable, "Keeping them Honest."

Well, tonight the hopefuls are getting an earful from the voters about what really matters.

CNN's Tom Foreman is in Iowa for tonight's "Raw Politics."


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even if November, Iowa's Field of Dreams remains a big tourist attraction. They shot the movie here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, is this heaven?


FOREMAN: And lots of candidates come to Iowa dreaming of voters. But it's not working for visitor Steve Neltner.

STEVE NELTNER, VOTER: There's never the guy who talks about the middle of the road, the guy that (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

FOREMAN: In Congress, the left and right turn things to chaos over a motion to impeach Vice President Cheney. Democratic Contender Dennis Kucinich has pushed the idea for months, but this time Republicans demanded a vote. And Democrats were left scrambling to get the measure off the table.

Why? They like slapping at the White House, but fear looking like extremists in this election year.

President Bush has his own problems. He vetoed funding for a load of water development projects, saying they would overburden federal agencies. But Dems and Republicans ganged up and overrode his veto.

Republican Fred Thompson accuses his rich rival, Mitt Romney, of buying South Carolina votes through rampant campaign spending. Romney says hard work and new ideas win, and Thompson is short on both.

And look who is coming out of the corn. We told you Ron Paul's Internet supporters raised a ton of money for him in a novel one-day campaign. It's more than we thought -- more than $4 million. So at the Field of Dreams, Becky Lansing (ph) has some advice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that it's very important not to call the race before it's over.

FOREMAN: Remember, it's one year until the general election. And that's still a long way to home -- Anderson.


COOPER: I don't think Tom played baseball very much as a kid. But I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong.

A reminder for you next week, Democratic presidential candidates face-off in a debate hosted by Wolf Blitzer. That's next Thursday, November 15 in Vegas.

And then on the 28th I'm hosting the second CNN/YouTube debate. This time it's the Republicans answering your questions. We've already received more than 4,500 submissions. But there's still time to get your questions in the mix. We're accepting them up until, I think, like the day before the debate.

All you have to do is go to It will tell you how to do it. Just make it under 30 seconds.

Up next, the risky surgery to save a girl born with eight limbs. A remarkable story. There's new developments on it.

Plus this.


COOPER (voice-over): Child soldiers, girls forced into battle. MAURINE AKELLO, FORMER CHILD SOLDIER: I was 16 when I was abducted.

COOPER: Years of pain and shame. Now they're empowering others. Their story of survival, when 360 continues.



COOPER (on camera): Out of Africa, you've heard the horror stories about child soldiers, most of them young boys. But these are girls, also taken from their families, forced into the war zone.

I've spent the past 10 days in central Africa in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- I just got back today -- working on a story involving rebel armies, many of whom use kids as soldiers. We're going to be airing some of my reports in the weeks ahead.

But tonight we look at girls pressed into Africa's wars. The horror of their existence is almost unimaginable.

Our Soledad O'Brien had a chance to talk with some of the former girl soldiers about -- and about an organization that is helping them recover their lives.

Last night "Glamour" magazine honored the founders of that group at its annual Women of the Year Awards.

Here's more from Soledad.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a small patch of earth in northern Uganda, they sing about rebuilding, moving beyond a war that has torn up their country for more than 20 years.

These men and women, videotaped by "Glamour" magazine, were all once child soldiers, forced to murder and mutilate their own countrymen.

MAURINE AKELLO, FORMER CHILD SOLDIER: I was 16 when I was abducted.

O'BRIEN: Maurine was led into the woods and away from her family. She's among the estimated 25,000 who were kidnapped as children and forced to serve in the Lord's Resistance Army or LRA.

Maurine was forced into physical labor and fighting. She was told that an escape attempt could equal death.

AKELLO: I was given to a big man, who forced me into a relationship with him. So with the force he was forcing me, I also stayed with him. And I was also getting a lot of difficulties because I was young. I got pregnant with him.

O'BRIEN: When she did escape, going home was not an option.

(on camera): What was it like to come back to your community? Did they accept you or did they hate you?

AKELLO: They hated me. And my child. They hate me because they know that all they have -- they believe that someone who had been abducted or who was in the bush have got a bad thing on her like the evil, or they did the evil things.

O'BRIEN: You were cursed?


O'BRIEN (voice-over): She found help when she found Empowering Hands, a nonprofit focused on helping escaped child soldiers through counseling and small loans.

The group, formed in 2004, is led by these women, all former child soldiers, all with stories like Maurine's.

(on camera): How did you come to Empowering Hands?

AKELLO: When I escaped, I was not really having any hope for my life or for myself. The most thing that helped me is Empowering Hands. It helped me like in counseling. Because these friends of mine were also counseling me, you know, we know we also went through the same thing.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): They live on a shoe-string, in huts with no electricity or running water. Just putting food on the table can be back-breaking work. But they found power in the power to forgive and to give.

CINDI LEIVE, EDITOR, "GLAMOUR" MAGAZINE: They can offer forgiveness, because they have been through what these children have been through. And there really is no one else in the world who could do the counseling that they are doing.

O'BRIEN (on camera): Because they've been there?

LEIVE: Because they've been through it.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): As recipients of "Glamour's" Women of the Year award, Empowering Hands will soon be able to buy vans and bicycles to help these women reach more survivors of Uganda's civil war.

(on camera): What kind of a difference will this award make for all of you?

AKELLO: It is now going to help Empowering Hands as a whole, not only the five of us. We should at least also let the world know some of the things. Or we should at least give them some message.

O'BRIEN: and what would that message be? AKELLO: Yes. The world should also come out and help Uganda as a country so that the long-lasting war stops so that Uganda gains peace at the world. That the live in peace would be now, because we also need peace.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Soledad O'Brien, CNN, New York.


O'BRIEN: Well, for more of Soledad's interview with those remarkable young women, you can go to our show Web page at

We're coming up on the "Shot of the Day." Tonight it's a very big house cat. There it is. Try to guess how much this cat is being sold for. You probably will not be able to guess, because it's a ridiculous sum of money. The answer in a moment.

First, Erica Hill joins us, this time with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, a deadly bombing in Afghanistan. At least 35 people killed, including three children. Six members of Afghanistan's parliament also among the dead, and that toll is expected to rise.

In Miami, a teacher is in critical condition tonight after a shooting outside a high school. Police say it happened while the teacher was being robbed. Police took three suspects into custody.

And America's drivers, beware. Oil prices -- just what you want to hear -- at a new record today. The cost of a barrel of crude continued to creep toward that $100 mark. At one point today, the price was $97.07 before settling down to a bargain price of $96.70 a barrel.

And in India, surgery underway on a little girl born with four arms and four legs. Surgeons are working in shifts during what is expected to be a 40-hour operation to separate the 2-year-old from what remains of her twin. The twin actually stopped developing in the mother's womb, but became joined to the surviving girl at the pelvis. It is a remarkable operation.

COOPER: That's so bizarre.

Time for "The Shot" now. This one you can call the cat's meow if you will.

HILL: Really?

COOPER: See that? How much is that kitty on your TV screen?

HILL: Lovely kitty.

COOPER: Believe it or not, as much as a new car. It's called an Ashera. It's a very special hybrid of cat.

HILL: What?

COOPER: The Ashera comes from breeding an African Serval and an Asian Leopard Cat. Never heard of either of those.

HILL: Nor have I.

COOPER: ... common domestic variety. Full grown, the Asheras can weigh as much as 30 pounds. And here's the kicker: a company called Lifestyle Pets of California is selling them for $22,000.

HILL: That's insane. Honestly, that's ridiculous. Who is spending 22 grand on a cat?

COOPER: Yes. Plus shipping and handling, by the way.

HILL: Oh, let's not forget those -- those costs, yes.

You know where my cat's from?

COOPER: Where?

HILL: We found her in a parking lot. She was like six weeks old.


HILL: And she's like the most beautiful kitty in the world.

COOPER: Aw. She's worth $22,000, I bet.

HILL: She is.

COOPER: In your heart, in your eyes.

HILL: Indeed, indeed.

COOPER: All right. Well, and I bet she could take that Ashera any day.

HILL: She would show that Ashera who's boss. Let me tell you. There's no missing with Miss Lulu.

COOPER: Your cat's name is Miss Lulu?

HILL: No, just Lulu but sometimes Miss Lulu. More likely it's Princess.

COOPER: Miss Lulu if you're nasty?

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: All right, thanks.

HILL: Thanks.

COOPER: Send us your "Shot" ideas any time you see amazing videos or Miss Jackson, whatever, tell us about it:

Up next, Hillary Clinton admits she stumbled in the last debate and she's lost some ground on the polls. Earlier we asked, do you think she should get the Democratic nomination. That's what's "On the Radar" when 360 continues.


COOPER: Now a look at what's "On the Radar." Earlier, we asked if you think Hillary Clinton will get the Democratic nomination.

Annie Kate of Birmingham, Alabama, writes: I think it's too soon to tell. She may win the primaries, but if the stats hold that 50 percent of Americans won't vote for her, I'm not sure she's going to get the party's nomination. The Democrats will want someone they feel like can win.

Lorie Ann of Buellton, California, says: I think we all should wait until the nomination is final. Let's not count our chickens before they hatch. My crystal ball is just too hazy to see the future on this one.

Playing it safe, Lorie Ann.

And this from Lilibeth of Edmonds, Washington: I don't want to jinx her, so I prefer to say that whether or not she becomes the Democratic nominee, the best candidate will emerge. P.S. Welcome back!

Thank you very much, Lilibeth. Appreciate it.

If you'd like to weigh in, go to and link to the blog or send us one of those new fangled V-mails, why don't you. It's through our Web site. It's how you can figure out how to do it.

For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is coming up next.

Here in America, "LARRY KING" is coming up.

I'll see you tomorrow night. Thanks for watching.