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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Bhutto Assassination Detailed

Aired December 28, 2007 - 2300   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR: You see it in the video in the slow motion. But in a claim that may only fuel more controversy, the government now says she wasn't killed by bullets or killed by a bomb. They say she fractured her skull when she ducked or fell into the vehicle. We'll get to all of that in a moment.
They also say they know who did it or who plotted against her. It's a new name to many of you. It was a new name to us. But a familiar group, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. All of that in the hour ahead.

As I said, Pakistan right now is holding its breath. Benazir Bhutto once said that she didn't choose this life, it chose her. Well, it also killed her on Thursday. And tonight we look at who killed her and how. All of that, and we saw her funeral on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: Seconds before death, a new video released by the government, a former prime minister waves to the crowd from the sunroof of her armored car. Suddenly, three shots ring out; followed by a flash of light of the suicide bomb. In slow motion, what appears to be the gun is visible at the rear left-hand side of the SUV. You see the weapon raised, pointed at Bhutto as the assassin opened fire.

The attack left at least 20 people dead. But what killed Benazir Bhutto? In a surprising announcement today, Pakistan's Interior Ministry claims Bhutto wasn't struck by bullets or shrapnel but died from hitting her head against part of the vehicle.

BRIG. GEN. JAVED IQBAL CHEEMA, INTERIOR MINISTRY SPOKESMAN: Perhaps she may be trying to duck down when she heard the shots, so this is the lever which is opened which is bloodstained. So there is every possibility that this is the lever unfortunately which caused, you know, the fracture in her skull and became the cause of her being dead.

COOPER: The official cause of death contradicts two other findings, from the doctor who said she succumbed to gunshot wounds and from authorities who initially said Bhutto was killed by bomb fragments. In another major development, the Pakistani government says there is no doubt who wanted her dead.

CHEEMA: We have irrefutable evidence that Al-Qaeda, its networks and cohorts are trying to destabilize Pakistan which is in the forefront of the war against terrorism.

COOPER: U.S. Officials tell CNN a senior Taliban leader linked to the terrorist network may be behind the assassination. His name, Masood. Pakistan says it intercepted a phone conversation between Masood and another man talking about the attack.

In the purported communication, Masood says it was a "fantastic job. They were very brave boys who killed her." Pakistan's claim that it's an ally on the war on terror is overshadowed by long-held suspicion of the ties parts of the military and intelligence have with the Taliban extremists who operate in plain sight along the lawless Afghan border area where Osama Bin Laden may be hiding.

On streets throughout Pakistan, violent protests in the wake of Bhutto's death continue. In the province where she lived, there were reports of at least 23 deaths. The army has orders to shoot on sight anyone who causes unrest.

And today for the woman who hoped to bring democracy back to Pakistan, there was a final chaotic farewell. Hundreds of thousands of mourners swarmed the funeral procession, many openly weeping trying to grab the casket. With her husband and son at the gravesite, her body is buried near her ancestral home and her father who was executed nearly 30 years ago.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

So what do we know about this guy, Masood? For that, we turn to CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen who's with me here in Karachi and also we have Nic Robertson who's worked a lot in Pakistan. He's joining us from Switzerland tonight. What do we know about this guy, Masood? Who is he?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, the Masoods are a very large tribe in Waziristan. They've been involved in, you know, the Taliban movement in Waziristan for a long time.

COOPER: Waziristan is the area which is really beyond the control of the Pakistan central government.

BERGEN: Indeed. Although of course, the Pakistani military has some peace agreements with the tribes in that area, obviously these peace agreements didn't really worked. The Pakistani Taliban really turning against the Pakistani state, attacking the Pakistani government officials, Pakistani soldiers, policemen and now, of course, major Pakistani political figures like Benazir Bhutto.

COOPER: Nic, there are those that say it's very convenient that the Pakistani government suddenly names this guy Masood and they come up with phone transcripts where they say he was praising the attack and seemed to be indicating that he and others in his group were involved in the attack, and yet, on the other hand, this guy is a likely suspect.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He is a likely suspect because it does seem on the surface, at least, that him or his allies, at least, and we know that Ayman Al Zawahiri, Bin Laden's number two, and this Masood is associated with the Al-Qaeda leaders, Ayman Al Zawahiri in the last two weeks said that Benazir Bhutto was a U.S. plant in Pakistan, an indication she wasn't an Al-Qaeda target then, then she soon would be.

Masood, a known bad guy for the Pakistani military, has an interesting past with the Pakistani government. He was one of those Taliban- associated tribal leaders who signed a deal with the Pakistani government a year or so ago, saying that they wouldn't support Al- Qaeda, that they would stop cross-border attacks against U.S. troops in Pakistan.

When I was in South Waziristan with a Pakistani military this year, in April this year, the generals giving us a briefing told us that Masood had been an ally and was an ally of the Pakistani government helping chase out what they called foreign fighters in South Waziristan. Pakistani journalists said "How can that be? He's Taliban associated, he's your enemy."

The generals weren't able and didn't give an adequate response to those questions from the Pakistani journalist who knew a lot more details than perhaps some of us western journalists.

Massood is a very interesting character and could and does appear to fit the profile of somebody who could and would perpetrate this type of attack. It doesn't yet prove it was him, Anderson.

COOPER: Peter, in some ways this peace deal that Pakistan signed, both the south Waziristan but also north Waziristan is coming back to haunt this government. It basically allowed these militants free reign, the soldiers, the military went back to their bases, and now we're seeing increasing attacks inside Pakistan by the Taliban.

BERGEN: Well, indeed. When we were both in Afghanistan, they just signed one of these peace agreements a week before. We were on the other side of the border, and the attacks had actually amped up after the peace agreement.

COOPER: Lieutenant general Eikenberry said attacks went up some 300% from the time they signed this peace agreement in Waziristan.

BERGEN: Unfortunately the Pakistani military, they tried two approach: a military approach in 2002 and 2005 where they went in pretty strong, then they moved to an appeasement approach, 2005/2006. That didn't work.

No one really knows what to do with the tribal areas. That's sort of the problem from hell. It's not a very easy thing to deal with now. There is a sort of partial military approach, a partial -- some reconstruction money going in, but you can't -- you know, this is a place where the literacy rate is almost 0% for women.

To transform this area is a very long-term project. And Pakistan, unfortunately, and the world doesn't really have a great deal of time. We know Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have regrouped there.

COOPER: Nic, talk about the links or past links and/or present links between this government of Pervez Musharraf and particularly the security services, I.S.I., and the Taliban. ROBERTSON: well, if you back to the days of the Kashmiri freedom fighters, these are the now seamless terrorists by the United States. They're groups of fighters that the Pakistani government has used to fight a proxy war with India in the disputed region of Kashmir.

It was former Pakistani government military intelligence officials who helped train these freedom fighters. These freedom fighters and their camps are now associated with Al-Qaeda, associated with the Taliban. They are sort of almost a morph as they will fight for the Kashmiri freedom fighters one day associated with the Taliban the other, Al- Qaeda on another day.

That's this historic association, and the critics of President Musharraf's policy in the tribal region over the past few years is essentially that this policy of appeasement for tribal leaders like Masood to not to aid the Taliban and Afghanistan is a policy of appeasement that has failed and allowed leaders like Masood to get strong and to kill Pakistani tribe -- other Pakistani tribal leaders so that they can assert their dominance in the area, so that they can assert their strict view of Islam, force men to grow their beards.

They hang people from lamp posts in the streets as an indication for others that they must subjugate themselves to their leadership and their vision.

COOPER: And more than 1,000 Pakistan military troops have lost their lives fighting in the tribal areas. We'll talk more with Nic Robertson later in this hour as well as CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen.

Up next, want to take a close look at that tape, that tape that surfaced today, the final seconds of Benazir Bhutto's life where you actually see the gun, you see the shots being fired at her.

We're going to take a close analysis of that tape and see what, if anything, we can learn from it about who killed her and how. That's the most important question.

Also tonight, he died a hero. New details about the tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Three shots, a bomb blast, chaos, and now a country on edge. The question tonight, how to piece together those few frantic seconds? Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest today, but not the conflicting accounts of her murder. Was it a man up close with a pistol or a sniper from farther off as her political party claimed? Did Ms. Bhutto die of a gunshot wound, of shrapnel or a blow to the head? We've heard all three.

Today when the government came forward and said she actually had just fallen into her vehicle or perhaps ducked from those shots and hit her head on a lever inside her SUV, that, frankly, just raised more questions in people's minds than answers. David Mattingly examines the evidence we have so far. (END VIDEO TAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In her last moments of life, the images we see are of a classic Benazir Bhutto, standing in an open sunroof, smiling, waving, her legendary charisma delighting supporters around her car, and then chaos.

This video released by the Pakistan Interior Ministry captures only glimpses of the fatal attack. But CNN security expert Mike Brooks tells me there's a lot here for the trained eye to see.

MIKE BROOKS, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: With all the threats she's had, attempts against her life, she should not have been out in that vehicle at all.

MATTINGLY: At normal speed, a gun appears above the crowd for less than two seconds. You can hear three shots fired. But when we slow the video down --

BROOKS: Watch for it. There's the gun.

MATTINGLY: There's the gun right there. We see how unprotected Bhutto truly was. Watching that, what does that tell you?

BROOKS: I tell you, it's very, very close. Someone should not have even been able to get that close to her theoretically.

MATTINGLY: When the shots are fired, men who appeared to be working for Bhutto were just a few feet.

BROOKS: You see the two security guys on the back when the shots go off, you see them duck down. If they're her security guys, they're supposed to be going toward the threat.

MATTINGLY: And watching how the gunman lifted his handgun above the crowd and fired tells us something about him as well.

BROOKS: You know, it's hard to say what kind of training this person has had, but they definitely knew where their target was and how to use that weapon.

MATTINGLY: That close to the vehicle, what is the likelihood that he would be hitting his target?

BROOKS: Well, from the way the angle of the gun towards where Ms. Bhutto was, it looked like this person knew what they were doing, had a mission, and was carrying out that mission with that handgun.

MATTINGLY: But strangely Pakistani officials contradicted their own earlier reports that said Bhutto's fatal injury was caused by either bullets or shrapnel from the suicide bomb that followed. Instead, they now say her skull was fractured when it struck a lever for the sunroof as she ducked or fell during the attack.

CHEEMA: This is the lever which is open which is blood stained. So there is every possibility that this is the lever, unfortunately, which caused, you know, the fracture in her skull and became the cause of her main death.

MATTINGLY: But when you search for confirmation of a cause of death on the video, there is none to be found. At the critical moment, the photographer seems to reel from the bomb blast, and the camera turns away. Bhutto's fate goes unrecorded.

BROOKS: There's nothing in this video that would conclusively say she was hit with shrapnel. She was shot in the neck or she was -- her death was caused by her head hitting the lever to the sunroof as she either was going back down in or fell against that lever.

MATTINGLY: And there are other theories as well. Some Bhutto supporters say there was a sniper firing from above on a rooftop. But it's just one more thing the video cannot confirm. One more question in this tragedy that may go unanswered.

David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: It could very well be like the Kennedy assassination, some people here are comparing it to that in 1963, 44 years later questions still being asked in people's minds. We'll have a lot more on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto coming up.

Also what it means for you as to relations. What should happen next here in Pakistan and how is it going to affect Americans in the United States?

We'll also take -- talk to Senator John Edwards and hear from Senator Hillary Clinton about their thoughts about what's going on here in Pakistan.

But first, let's get a look at some other of the day's headlines with Randi Kaye and our "360 Bulletin." Randi?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. The two brothers who survived a tiger mauling at San Francisco Zoo were named today. As the Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal are recovering from severe bite and claw wounds, reports have emerged the third victim, Carlos Sousa, was killed as he tried to distract the Siberian tiger from his companions.

Meanwhile, the zoo's director has acknowledged that the wall to the enclosure was much shorter than the recommended height of over 16 feet.

If all goes well, three Colombians who have been held hostage by a left-wing rebel group will be released this weekend. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has brokered a deal for the freedom of Clara Rojas, a political campaign manager along with a former Colombian congressman. Also being released is Rojas's child who was born in captivity.

The odds an asteroid will hit Mars have shortened from 75 to 25-to-1. Although astronomers say a collision is still not that likely. Recent images have given a clearer picture of the asteroid's trajectory. If it does happen to hit, it will do so on January 30th.

The television writers' strike drags on, but two shows are going back on the air. The Writers' Guild says David Letterman's production company has reach a separate deal which addresses writers' concerns about income from new media. The agreement covers "The Letterman Show" and "The Late, Late Show" with Craig Ferguson."

Anderson, now back to you in Pakistan.

COOPER: Randi, thanks very much.

Coming up -- well, we have a lot more coming up. First let's check in with John Roberts to see what's coming up on "American Morning" on Monday.

JOHN ROBERTS: Thanks, Anderson. Monday on "American Morning." New Year's Eve, we are live from Times Square. We're asking why some big cities like New York are seeing dramatic falls in crime while other cities are witnessing skyrocketing rates. What works and what doesn't to keep all of us safe. Monday on "American Morning" beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: I'll be in Times Square also Monday evening for celebrations. We'll talk more about that a little bit later on in this hour.

Coming up, U.S. Policy and Pakistan. What should it be and what are the mistakes we've made thus far, if any? We'll take a close look at that.

And also, Mike Huckabee talking about Pakistan on the campaign trail, also about illegal immigrants and raising some eyebrows. We'll talk about that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. We're live from Karachi, Pakistan. More on the Bhutto assassination in a moment. But first a quick programming note. Before our New Year's Eve special on Monday night, Tom Foreman is going to take a look back at the best and worst from 2007. Here's a preview.

TOM FOREMAN: The box office says the spider was number 1 in Hollywood but look what else flew by; ogres and outsiders, robots and rogues.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SR. BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: If you promise not put this on TV, I'll tell you that my favorite movies are between Bee Movie and Ratatouille.

FOREMAN: Bit titles in the book world pushed sales up about 10 percent. But on film and in print everything labored in the shadow of a boy.

(END VIDEO TAPE) That's going to be on at 10:00 Monday night. At 11:00 p.m. our Times Square New Year's Eve special begins from 11:00 to 12:30. I hope you join us for that. Comedienne Kathy Griffin is going to be my special guest. Is it comedian or comedienne? I'm never really sure. Anyway, she's going to be there. Maybe she'll clear it up once and for all.

We also want some help from you. We want to see what your parties are going to be like or also what your New Year's resolutions are. So send us your video, send us your pictures, go to cnn.com/iparty. We'll be showing a lot of them on the air, maybe yours. Again, cnn.com/iparty.

Still ahead on this special edition of "360," how the assassination of Benazir Bhutto will affect or should affect U.S. foreign policy to Pakistan. What it means moving ahead in the days and weeks ahead.

Also tonight on this special edition, we're getting reaction from the campaign trail. Tonight, two of the democratic front runners weighing in. We'll hear from Hillary Clinton and John Edwards when "360" continues live from Karachi.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: There have been protests -- we have seen protesters there in Peshawar right there, but there have been protests all across Pakistan in the last 24 hours or so. Dawn has now broken here. It is a new day, Saturday morning here. But there's no telling what this day will hold.

Karachi, a city of some 15 million people, there's virtually no one on the streets right now. There's a heavy police presence, a heavy military presence. There have been demonstrations here. People have died here in the last 24 hours. But again, what the next 12 hours holds is anyone's guess.

And what the U.S. administration, what the Bush administration is going to be doing and what their options are here, that is anyone's guess as well. The options are not great no matter how you look at it. Ed Henry reports on that.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

ED HENRY: Signing a condolence book at the Pakistani embassy in Washington, Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice wrote Benazir Bhutto was a woman of courage and champion of democracy.

CONDOLEEZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The way to honor her memory is to continue the democratic process in Pakistan so that the democracy that she so hoped for can emerge.

HENRY: But moving forward will be easier said than done. Since the U.S. finds itself in a box after supporting President Pervez Musharraf at all costs. Despite questions about whether Pakistan has misused billions of dollars in U.S. aid intended to fight terror.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He had been an absolute reliable partner in dealing with extremists and radicals.

HENRY: But with Musharraf's grip on his government slipping, the U.S. had recently turned to plan "B," a potential power-sharing pact between Bhutto and Musharraf. In the wake of Bhutto's assassination, the Bush policy is now in disarray. The White House searching for what you might call plan "C;" finding someone who can unite a country teetering on the brink.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's the key dynamic to watch right now. And that will determine whether Musharraf and others within the country can move ahead.

HENRY: one option is former prime minister Nawaz Shareef. The U.S. had kept its distance because of his connections to Islamist parties but is now taking another look. Another option could be for the U.S. to scrap the goal of democracy and let Musharraf focus on cracking down on extremists.

Though U.S. officials insist they're committed to free and fair elections as early as next month. The least bad option may be the winner of those elections, forming a partnership with Musharraf. Since the U.S. has little choice but to stick with him at this point.

KARL INDERFURTH, FORMER ASST. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think that we ought to look at Musharraf as a continued presence there, and hopefully he will reach out to other democratic leaders in Pakistan, and they can form some form of coalition of moderation, because that's the only way to deal with the extremists that are gaining strength in Pakistan today.

HENRY: Analysts say it's also critical for the U.S. to not play too public a role in the Pakistani elections, given its unpopularity in the Muslim world. One reason, perhaps, that Mr. Bush did not make any public statements on Friday, choosing instead a private security video conference with his national security council staff, giving the impression he's on top of the situation but not meddling.

Ed Henry, CNN, with the president in Crawford, Texas.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: Joining me now here in Karachi once again is CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, and from Los Angeles, Middle East scholar and author of "No God but God, Reza Aslan.

Reza, let's start off with you. Not a lot of great options for the United States. Is Musharraf the guy they've got to stick with at this point?

REZA ASLAN, MIDDLE EAST ANALYST: Well, Musharraf is the guy we've been sticking with for pretty much the last eight years. You know, we really put all of our eggs into one basket with Benazir Bhutto and in many ways even compromised her.

I mean, she was not all that popular with many Pakistanis both in the lower class and, in fact, even in the middle class. She had made promises about letting the U.S. use Pakistani land in order to attack Al-Qaeda elements. She had talked about giving access to the IAEA, to A.Q. Khan.

In many ways she was seen as absolutely married to the Bush administration. And that, I think, really tainted her in the eyes of even some of the people who would have normally been her supporters.

And now there's really nobody to go to. I mean, her second in command, this man named Mahmoud Amin Fahim doesn't have the charisma Benazir Bhutto had. And as you know, Anderson, Pakistani politics is a lot more about the personality and the charisma of the leader than it is about any kind of party platform.

As it is, there really isn't anyone who can stand up the way that she stood up right now. Certainly nobody that we can put our faith and trust into.

COOPER: So Peter, in terms of options for the United States, what are there?

BERGEN: Well, there are no good options. You know, it seems to me that an election on January 8th is not really going to be a real election.

COOPER: Right now there has not been any word on whether or not they're going to postpone those elections. A lot of people here say it's hard to believe they wouldn't.

BERGEN: Musharraf is going to consult with the political parties. I think if one party is boycotting and the other party doesn't have a leader running, can you imagine an election in the United States where you didn't have the main Democrat and Republican candidates running in the 2008 election. It's very implausible. I think it's fair to assume that that election may well be delayed.

COOPER: Might this lead the Pakistan military, General Musharraf, to press further against militants in Waziristan?

BERGEN: Well, you know the one thing that could happen here -- I mean, there might be good news in all this terrible tragedy -- which is that ordinary Pakistanis may say the Pakistani government hasn't had a handle on this. Clearly they haven't, the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have come back.

Pakistani government has proven unwilling or unable to really do what's required. But perhaps the Pakistani people themselves will now demand it. After all, this is about as cataclysmic an event as you can possible have in this country. And that might be one outcome further down the road which will be a positive one.

COOPER: Reza, can Musharraf survive this? I mean, is there a scenario where, you know, weeks from now or months from now the military says, all right, you've got to go?

ASLAN: You know, there's been a lot of talk so far about how this assassination's going to affect Musharraf and whether it's going to make life more difficult for him or not. We have to remember, it's not that -- it's not like Musharraf is an actual politician, Anderson.

I mean, he is still a dictator in civilian clothing, and he's going to ride this out just fine. I will probably bet that probably in the next few days, especially if these riots continue to rage out of control, he'll once again, declare emergency rule.

I'm not sure if he'll have the same success as he did the last time. I mean, it seems as though that anger and that resentment towards him and towards his dictatorship that has been simmering on the surface for so long has really begun to just bubble up and become out of control.

But nevertheless, we do have to remember that we're not talking about a president here. We're talking about a president in name only. And it seems that probably we're going to be stuck with Musharraf for the next eight years, if not longer.

COOPER: We'll have to leave it there. Reza Aslan, appreciate it, and we'll talk with Peter Bergen later on in this program.

Coming up, we'll hear from Senator Hillary Clinton in her own words and Senator John Edwards is standing by live to talk with us about what he thinks the U.S. should do next.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Scenes of demonstrations in Peshawar from yesterday. What will happen in the next few hours is anybody's guess here in Karachi and throughout this very volatile country.

What is happening here has changed the conversation out on the campaign trail in Iowa and also in New Hampshire. We've reached out to all the front-runners among Democrats and Republicans to hear what they would do if they were president. Last night we heard from Governor Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain. Tonight here's Hillary Clinton in her own words.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think the Pakistani government at this time, under President Musharraf, has any credibility at all. Therefore I'm calling for a full, independent, international investigation. I would certainly offer our expertise through the FBI and others to assist that tribunal, but I think it would be much better for it to be independent and impartial and be seen as that.

You know, part of what our challenge here is, is to convince the Pakistani people themselves, and particularly the business elite, the futile elite, the military elite, that they are going down a very dangerous path, that this path leads to their losing their positions, their authority, their obvious leadership now. And therefore we need to help them understand what is in their interests. And that, of course, includes president Musharraf. I would say, "Look, we want to know very specifically what accountability you're going to offer to us for the military aid that we believe should be going in the fight against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban." The department of defense is equally unaccountable with the money that passes through them.

But I don't think the Bush administration has, frankly, asked enough of President Musharraf, has provided the right kind of assistance, has given the support needed. I just think we have given a blank check under President Bush to President Musharraf. And the results are frankly not in the interests of the United States. They're not in the interests of Pakistan, and they're certainly not in the interests of the region.

We have really had a hands-off approach. We have, you know, said, "Okay, fine, you be our partner in going after Al-Qaeda. We'll turn a blind eye to everything else." That has undermined our position.

I believe Pakistan is in a weaker position to combat terrorism today than they were after 9/11, in large measure, because of the failed policies of George Bush.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER: That was Senator Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail today. Senator John Edwards is also on the campaign trail in Iowa. He joins us now live in Davenport.

Senator Edwards thanks very much for being with us. You talked to general -- or President Musharraf just yesterday. What did you say to him? What would you do now if you were president?

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, can I say first, the loss of Benazir Bhutto is a tragic loss for Pakistan and for the world. I was with her in Abu Dhabi a few years ago at a conference where she spoke about the path to democracy and Pakistan being bathed in blood, baptized in blood, I think, was her language. And she understood what the risk was. And she put her life at risk.

When I spoke to Musharraf yesterday, what I said was, "First of all, you have got to allow this process of democratization to continue." And he gave me his assurances that he would, but I think we have to hold his feet to the fire. We ought to take that with a huge grain of salt and with an enormous amount of cynicism.

And the second thing I said to him, is I said, "You have to allow independent, international investigators into Pakistan to determine what the facts are. To determine what happened. It has to be done in a transparent way so that the Pakistani people can rely on it, so the rest of the world can rely on it."

There's a great deal of suspicion about the security or lack thereof that was provided to Prime Minister Bhutto. There's a great deal of suspicion about who was involved in this assassination. And the only way the world will respond to what's happened is for there to be a credible, transparent process within Pakistan, with independent, international investigators that come from the outside.

The United States should participate in that and support it. But it is the only way that investigation and those facts will have credibility. And then finally, we spoke about the upcoming elections and the importance and the need for those to be open, fair, verifiable and to take place as soon as possible.

COOPER: Do you trust General Musharraf? I mean, "The New York Times" has reported the billions of dollars the United States has given him and the military over the last several years to fight terrorism, a lot of that has been misspent. They can't even account for an awful lot of it. Do you really believe he's done all he can in this so-called war on terror?

EDWARDS: Oh, no, of course, I don't. I think there's no question he hasn't. I mean, they haven't secured the northwestern part of the country. Al-Qaeda is still operating in Northwest Pakistan. There are a lot of suspicions that Bin Laden is hiding there.

A lot of the money that we've given to Pakistan in my view has been wasted. It's been used to prop up Musharraf as opposed to doing the things that are necessary to move toward democratic reform and toward the stabilization of Pakistan.

No, I think every interaction with him should be at arm's length, and we should take anything he says with an enormous amount of skepticism. And I think there is great reason for distrust.

However, it is really important, Anderson, under these circumstances of great volatility, of extraordinary danger in a country where there is a very significant radical element where they have control of a nuclear weapon. It is very important for both of President of the United States and for presidential candidates to not politicize this, to actually provide some calm, some principle strength.

That's what the president should do, and that's what these president candidates should do. This should not be used as a political issue. This should be used as an opportunity for America to help provide security and stabilization in a very dangerous part of the world.

COOPER: Senator John Edwards, we appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much, out on the campaign trail from Davenport, Iowa.

When we come back, we'll look at some controversial remarks that governor Mike Huckabee has made on the campaign trail about Pakistanis sneaking across the border.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: I want to continue our talk about raw politics with CNN's Candy Crowley. Also joining us is Mark Halperin, he's a senior political analyst for "Time" and author of "The Undecided Voters' Guide to the Next President." Thanks for being with us. Mark, I want to start off by playing some of what Governor Huckabee said on the campaign trail that's raising a lot of eyebrows with Pakistani immigrants sneaking across the border.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than of all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border. And in light of what's happening in Pakistan, it ought to give us pause as to why are so many illegals coming across these borders?

(END VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER: Besides the fact that it's actually not true, there are other groups that have more people coming across the border, I believe Chinese and Filipinos sneak across the border more, in greater numbers, than Pakistanis do.

How has Huckabee come out -- it's not just that comment but several comments which kind of raised some eyebrows. Is he losing some of his luster as the topic -- as the focus switch as to foreign policy issues?

MARK HALPERIN, TIME, SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he is with some reporters, there's no question. But from a substantive point of view, you do have to ask the question as a citizen or as a journalist trying to cover this responsibly. Does Huckabee have the depth of experience in foreign policy to deal with complicated issues?

From a political point of view, you've got to stand back and marvel. This guy has an ability that I've never seen to make mistake, to deal with controversy, to get beyond it. It's up to reporters and political opponents in these closing days to try to hold him accountable and to try let voters figure out, does he have what it takes to be commander-in-chief in just over a year?

COOPER: Well, Candy, as the conversation switches as it has in the last two days to international relations, foreign policy, how has that affected things in Iowa?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's hard to tell how it's affecting voters. I will tell you that at the town hall meetings largely they're still asking questions about health care. They're still asking questions about the economy and jobs and sort of home and hearth issues. But it has changed the candidates' conversation, at least at the top of their speeches where they're talking about Pakistan.

It has given a number of these people in the so-called lower tier with tons of experience, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson on the Democratic side, John McCain on the Republican side gives them a chance to sort of flash their credentials here, saying, "Listen, nation, let's just pause as we look at Pakistan and make you really focus on who do you want running this country when, in fact, the world can turn on a dime? So it has changed the candidates' conversations. It's a little too early to tell, as Mark said, whether or not this is moving voters one way or the other.

COOPER: There has, Mark, been increasing sniping between John McCain and Mitt Romney. I want to play some of John McCain's new ad which kind of fights back against Governor Romney, and then so we don't have to keep battling this ridiculous delay. As soon as that's over, Mark, just talk a little bit about how McCain is doing and how this tit for tat is playing out.

Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

I'm John McCain, and I approve this message.

As you hear Mitt Romney attack John McCain, consider these words from New Hampshire newspapers. The "Union Leader" says John McCain has conviction and want a candidate who will look them in the eye and tell them the truth. John McCain has done that; Mitt Romney has not. "The Concord Monitor" writes "if a candidate is a phony we'll know it. Mitt Romney is such a candidate."

(END VIDEOCLIP)

HALPERIN: Very cleverly designed ad. It hangs itself -- it hangs the point on these newspaper endorsements and attacks on Romney in New Hampshire. Of course, that fight is taking place not here in Iowa but hundreds of miles away in New Hampshire.

Romney is in a difficult position. He must do very well, maybe even must win in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Here in Iowa he's fighting Mike Huckabee, has a negative ad up against him, a new one here today.

In New Hampshire he put up a negative ad against McCain. McCain responded with his own negative ad going back at Romney. Those two, I think, at this point are the two most likely Republican nominees. I think they agree about that, and that's why you're seeing such a fierce struggle.

COOPER: Candy, you agree with that?

CROWLEY: Absolutely. I think it's interesting to watch both of these contests which are very close together sort of play out between Romney and McCain. Obviously, what the McCain people are hoping for at this point is a Huckabee win here in Iowa. It severely damages Mitt Romney as he goes into New Hampshire. There is a feeling among all the Republican campaigns that Huckabee probably doesn't have the staying power both in money and under the sort of scrutiny that he's been getting.

So whether or not that's a dangerous assumption, we'll see. But nonetheless, clearly, as Mark said, McCain and Romney are sort of going at each other because they see each other as the primary competition for this nomination. COOPER: All right. Candy Crowley and Mark Halperin, appreciate it. Thanks very much and thanks for putting up with this bad delay from Karachi, Pakistan, the cost of doing business internationally.

When we come back, we're going to take a look at the role assassinations have played in this part of the world in terms of determining history and shaping events here.

And also when we come back, we'll closely examine that remarkable videotape that emerged today, the final seconds of Benazir Bhutto's life where you actually see the gun that was used to shoot at her. Whether or not bullets actually hit her; that's a whole other point of debate. We'll talk about that ahead as well.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. We are live in Karachi, Pakistan. Joined again by CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, also author of "The Osama Bin Laden I know: An Oral History." It's "The Osama I Know," not Osama Bin Laden.

Assassinations have really shaped the destiny of this land, it's not just Benazir Bhutto. There's not a lot -- if you take out the leader, it's not like parties in the United States where it's a great bench. It's basically very top-heavy.

BERGEN: Yeah, in fact, if you look at Al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups, one of the trademarks has been assassinations, back to the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981 two years after he made peace with Israel. Well, guess who was indicted in that and actually served time in that plot, Ayman Al Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda's number two was one of the couple of hundred people who were rounded and charged with that.

They've also used the technique against ((inaudible)) in Afghanistan two days before the 9/11 attacks. Two guys from Al-Qaeda pretending to be television reporters blowing themselves up and killing people.

COOPER: And killing the leader -- a lot of these parties don't have people underneath them with the same amount of charisma. It's not as organized so that when the leader is taken out, there are loose ends. Right now Benazir Bhutto's party doesn't really have anyone who can fill that gap.

BERGEN: Absolutely not. In a sense, it's unfortunate. She made herself chairperson of the party for life. Of course, there isn't anybody. Her husband hasn't demonstrated any real interest in getting into politics. Her children are simply too young. There is no one to step into her place, really, at all.

COOPER: So what should people at home be watching for in the next day, two days, week? I mean, what -- no one can predict what is going to happen here, but what are some of the things we should watch for?

BERGEN: I think two things: one, will they basically cancel the election or at least move it back in time which is quite possible. Two will President Musharraf use this as a sort of opportunity to redefine some form of emergency law, or some form of martial law. Again that's not impossible if the violence continues that we've had in the last 24 hours.

So those are the two biggest variables. And then what does the United States do about all this? And then as we said in the program, the United States does not have a lot of good options and probably won't do very much. And we'll see how things play out here.

We're definitely going to make noises. "We want to have an election," the United States will say that but the fact is I think that a credible election on January 8 is really not tenable right now.

COOPER: And even though the United States gives it billions of dollars every year to Pakistan to help in this war on terror, ho much influence does the U.S. really have in terms of shaping events on the ground in Pakistan?

BERGEN: Well, I think the proof is in the pudding. We've seen that despite the billions of dollars, Taliban are resurging, Al-Qaeda's resurging and clearly the United States has made a lot of noise about that. And nothing or not enough has happened to really prevent that happening.

COOPER: Thanks very much for watching this special edition of "360" live from Karachi, Pakistan. If you're watching on CNN International, CNN Today is next; CNN in America, Larry King is next with Wolf Blitzer sitting in for Larry King.

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