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Republican Showdown in South Carolina; John Kerry Endorses Barack Obama; Living in Ikea; Ron Paul Scandal

Aired January 10, 2008 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And what happened to Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, pregnant and missing since before the holidays? We have new developments tonight that point to the beginnings of an answer. We'll explore them all.
But we begin however, this hour with the GOP debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And going into it, there really is no Republican front-runner.

Mike Huckabee has got an edge in the South.

John McCain has got his win in New Hampshire.

Mitt Romney is aiming to win his home state of Michigan.

And Rudy Giuliani says he'll wait until Florida to make his move.

And then there's Fred Thompson.

There hasn't been a Republican campaign like this in modern memory. So with that as a set up, let's turn once again tonight to CNN's John King who's been monitoring the debate. John?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly an understatement there, Anderson. A campaign like this, we have not seen before; a very jumbled Republican race. The stakes very high.

And yet a generally polite debate tonight. All of the Republican candidates, six on stage, honoring what Ronald Reagan used to call the 11th commitment, thou shall not attack another Republican.

But there were significant differences, debated politely, but differences nonetheless.

Two of the leading candidates at the moment, of course, John McCain, fresh off his victory in New Hampshire trying to drive the former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney from the race.

Romney had hoped to win Iowa, he didn't. He had hoped to win New Hampshire, he didn't. He needs to win Michigan now. That is his birth state. He was born there. His dad was the former governor there.

So Romney and McCain, a little bit of fireworks between them on the issue that hurt McCain so much last summer: illegal immigration.


JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our borders are broken. More people come across our border illegally every year than most any other state.

And I will secure the borders first and I will have the border states governors certify that those borders are secured.

And we can do it with UAVs, with vehicle barriers, with walls and with high tech and cameras.

The remaining 12 million, obviously two million of them who have committed crimes have to be rounded up and deported immediately. They cannot stay in our society.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That we secure the border, we have the fence and we have enough border patrol agents to secure the border. And that we have an employment verification system of some kind.

But the place of difference between us is what we do with the 12 million people that are here illegally. We all agree that anybody who has committed a crime should be sent home. But I believe that the others who come here illegally should stand in line with everybody else who wants to come to this country and should not be given special pathway or special privilege.



KING: That last preference to a special pathway or a special privilege, a Romney criticism of that legislation McCain sponsored last year that would have allowed most of the 12 million illegally in the United States to get on a path to legal status or perhaps even a path to citizenship.

Illegal immigrations still one of the crackling differences between the Republican candidates.

One of the other noteworthy dynamics of this debate tonight is a candidate that many believe will be out of the race if he doesn't win the South Carolina primary a little more than a week from now: former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson.

He's been criticized even by some of his own campaign staff for running a lackadaisical campaign at times. Senator Thompson was more assertive and more aggressive than we have seen in past debates tonight. And his chief target was the leader here in South Carolina and the man who won the Iowa caucuses, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee's support here is in the evangelical community. Fred Thompson needs those votes to survive. And his message with the evangelicals was, "If you like Mike Huckabee, take a closer look."


FRED THOMPSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On the one hand, you have the Reagan revolution. You have the Reagan coalition of limited government and strong national security.

On the other hand, you have a direction that governor Huckabee will take us in. He will be a Christian leader, but he would also bring about liberal economic policies, liberal foreign policies. He believes we have an arrogant foreign policy and the tradition of blame America first.


KING: Huckabee of course disputed that. He says when he raised taxes as governor it was to improve schools and roads. He says he doesn't have a liberal foreign policy. He says he has a realistic foreign policy.

But, Anderson, it was noteworthy, not so many attacks on the Democratic candidates tonight. These Republican candidates know that this is about picking and choosing a Republican nominee. South Carolina in the past has been critical to that.

So they were debating amongst themselves. Again, it was polite but there were some differences.

COOPER: I want to bring in Time Magazine's Joe Klein into the conversation.

But John, just that bite you just played of Fred Thompson, it looked to me like he was reading some of that answer. Is that -- did he take notes and then read from notes? I find that unusual.

KING: It is allowed. Each of the candidates can put some little notes down in front of them.

It was very clear, Anderson, Fred Thompson looked down on that attack on Governor Huckabee. He looked down another time when he was attacking Governor Huckabee.

It was very clear, Fred Thompson came into this debate with one mission, and that was to take after Mike Huckabee, especially to peel away his support among grassroot conservatives here in South Carolina.

Just what you heard him say he's a Christian leader but he's a liberal on other issues. Yes, he had notes because it was very important that he deliver those attacks.

COOPER: Joe, you were saying goodnight for Thompson.

JOE KLEIN, TIME COLUMNIST: Well, you know, Fred Thompson has been campaigning in a hammock the last three or four months.

And you know it's interesting, when people come in late the way Fred Thompson did they always think that they could just pick right up. But I think it takes three or four months to get -- to test the waters, to figure out what works in your stump speech and what's going to work vis-a-vis the other candidates.

He was much more lively tonight, not only about Huckabee but he attacked "The New York Times." He said things must be going well in Iraq because you don't read about it in "The New York Times" anymore.

And I think that he was a dominant force in this debate. And as always in these debates, Ron Paul, you know, becomes a magnet because he disagrees with everybody and everybody feels the need to pile back on him.

But Romney went after McCain. Thompson went after Huckabee.

COOPER: John King, for John McCain, South Carolina obviously has proved difficult in the past to say the least. What has he learned there? I mean, moving forward, what does he -- how does he try to win there now?

KING: He has ghosts here, Anderson, there's no doubt about it. He came here fresh from the New Hampshire win in 2000 and was derailed.

At that time, you had a better funded candidate in George W. Bush. You had a better organized candidate in George W. Bush. And you also had a trademark of South Carolina politics; very dirty tricks, robo-phone calls, things in the mails, nasty politics, hard ball politics, call it what you will.

McCain does have a lot of the Bush people from 2000 are now McCain people in 2008. So he thinks he's in better shape organizationally.

But Christian conservatives have never had a trusting relationship with Senator John McCain. That remains one of his problems.

And an interesting mailing to South Carolina families stressing Senator McCain's opposition to abortion today. It also includes a picture of his adopted daughter from Bangladesh.

One of the tricks back in 2000 was calls to homes in South Carolina saying McCain had an illegitimate black child. And so he has a mailing in which it shows his wife, Cindy McCain holding Brigit McCain, his adopted child from Bangladesh as a baby.

The McCain campaign says that is about his anti-abortion record. But it also, Anderson, is a direct response to those attacks eight years ago.

COOPER: Joe, it's just amazing that this kind of stuff still exists in this day and age.

KLEIN: Well, South Carolina is a rough state. It's like a layer cake. Up in the upper areas, inland, you have a huge evangelical Christian population. That's where most of the Republicans in the state are, up by Greenville and Spartanburg. And those are Huckabee people. And those are the people that Thompson was going after tonight.

In the middle of the state and down state, you have a lot of retired military people. Last time, George W. Bush was able to turn a lot of them against John McCain by using veterans groups that just, you know, slurred McCain's record and also, you know, dirty tricks about him being broken in North Vietnam and so on.

So it's going to be a tough state for him still. Although I must say that the early polls, and we know how accurate they are --

COOPER: I don't want to hear the word polls. I'm done with that whole thing.

Joe Klein, always good to talk to you.

John King as well.

More political developments today. Up next, that big-name endorsement for Barack Obama. The question though, does a big name translate into a big win. The "Raw Politics" of endorsements when "360" continues.


COOPER: Do endorsements really matter? Do they actually translate into votes?

Four out of five dentists surveyed may do great things for trident but can a John Kerry or a big union boss do the same for Barack Obama or anyone else?

The "Raw Politics" from CNN's Candy Crowley.


BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me express my deepest gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four years ago this summer, a little known Illinois state senator was the keynote speaker at the Democratic convention which nominated John Kerry.

Yet another lesson in why not to burn your bridges.

JOHN KERRY: And I'm here in South Carolina because this is the right time to share with you, to make sure that we know that I have the confidence and that Barack Obama, can be, will be, and should be the next president of the United States.

OPRAH WINFREY: Is he the one? South Carolina, I do believe he's the one!

CROWLEY: John Kerry is no Oprah Winfrey, but as endorsements go, he's a good get.

He brings establishment credentials to Obama, who is essentially a national party newbie. He's worth a day of headlines.

And now we're getting to it, Kerry's got an estimated 3 million email addresses. '04 supporters he's kept in touch with.

There is no direct link between individual endorsements and victory. Al Gore for Howard Dean comes to mind. But endorsements by the right name at the right time in the right place can send the right signal.

JOE LIEBERMAN, DEMOCRAT: I know it's unusual for a Democrat to be endorsing a Republican.

CROWLEY: Democrat Joe Lieberman endorsed Republican John McCain just before the primary in New Hampshire where McCain needed independent votes.

Even people most voters couldn't pick out of a lineup can make the point.

SENATOR EVAN BYE: I'm here today to endorse Hillary Clinton's campaign.

CROWLEY: Indiana Senator Evan Bye, a Red-state Democrat, stood beside Hillary Clinton when even party insiders worried she couldn't win in the south or Midwest.

Before lightning struck, Mike Huckabee toured around Iowa with actor Chuck Norris. That's him enjoying the fruits of his labor.

And a cast of characters regularly spices up John Edwards' daily campaign fare.

KEVIN BACON: You know, "Is there anything I can do?" He said, "You can come to Iowa."

CROWLEY: It's hard to tell how many caucus goers showed up to see Kevin Bacon and decided to caucus for John Edwards.

BILL RICHARDSON, (D) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am ending my campaign for president of the United States.

CROWLEY: New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a Latino, dropped out of the race today. It's just over a week before the Nevada caucuses where the Latino vote may play a major role.

Raise your hand if you think it's a coincidence Bill Clinton has been in touch.

RICHARDSON: He called me quite a bit the last couple of days. We talked, I talked to Senator Clinton and so did Senator Obama. And Edwards called.

I even had a nice call from Mike Huckabee, who is an old pal of mine.

CROWLEY: Individual endorsements may matter only along the margins but in tight races, victory is in the margins.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: A little bit of help.

Joining us now, CNN's senior political analyst, David Gergen and CNN contributor and Democratic strategist, Donna Brazile.

Also with us tonight, Joe Klein, author of "Politics Laws" and columnist for Time Magazine.

Here's the latest cover borrowing our sentiments even before the New Hampshire surprise; that it's all about the voters.

Good to see you all.

Donna, let's start with you. Just how important are endorsements? I mean, does anyone care that John Kerry endorsed Barack Obama?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it all depends on who endorses you and the timing.

I think for John Kerry who introduced Barack Obama to the nation during the 2004 convention, this is a very important endorsement for Barack Obama.

We're about to enter the home stretch of the campaign season and what Kerry's support and his committed volunteers that still pay attention to John Kerry just to give him much-needed boost support, it could also help Barack Obama raise a lot of money.

COOPER: David, liberal blogs didn't exactly embrace today's announcement in "THE NEW YORK TIMES" how the reaction this way, they said about the bloggers, "There are heaps of vindictive Democrats who still harbor a grudge toward Senator Kerry for not locking up the presidency in 2004."

"We're hard-pressed to think of another endorsement that has caused this much blogger outcry, except maybe Pat Robertson's support of Rudy Giuliani."

Ouch. Is Kerry's loss still, I guess, too fresh in the minds of some liberals?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, I think that, yes, John Kerry still has left a deep, deep sting and there was no call at all for him to run again among the liberal side of the party.

But nonetheless, this is symbolically important for him to endorse just at this moment. And I think it's going to be helpful.

I think it's also going to raise a curious question of why did he not stay silent? What is his distaste for the Clintons?

And it will drive people back to Bob Shrum's book. As you know, Bob Shrum was the manager for John Kerry's campaign and has since written a book. He quoted Kerry as saying after the campaign was over, "The only thing the Clintons care about is themselves and power."

That's the kind of drudging up that's not helpful.

COOPER: Joe, what about that? What else do you know about his opinion of the Clintons but also of John Edwards? Apparently John Edwards didn't even hear about this except through the media.

KLEIN: Well, there was real bad blood between Kerry and Edwards. I have to disagree with the other two commentators here.

I think that this is a one-day story. It means practically nothing. Maybe among wind surfers it means something.

But there are endorsements that are really important. An organizational endorsement like a union endorsement. The culinary workers in Nevada. They may split their votes between Obama and Clinton.

What Obama gets is phone banks and organization and people going door to door. That's the kind of endorsement that means something.

Emily's list, the feminist organization that raises gazillions of dollars, endorsed Hillary Clinton. That's been very important for her.

COOPER: And also worked to mobilize I think some 10,000 if I remember it correctly.

KLEIN: But John Kerry emerging from the midst of history to endorse Barack Obama, I just think it brings back bad memories.

COOPER: Donna Brazile, you were saying that in South Carolina, African-American women are going to be crucial to the vote.

Do we know what kind of an impact Oprah Winfrey has had for Barack Obama?

BRAZILE: Look, Oprah Winfrey helped to make the pitch for Barack Obama. African-American women have tremendous affection and admiration for Oprah Winfrey. But Barack Obama has to close the deal.

I think black women have a real dilemma in this race. Do we stick with the champion that has fought the battles over the last 20 years or go with someone who may be prepared for the new battles to come?

I think black women will take a look at these two candidates and decide that they would like to go with the new candidate, the fresh face versus someone that they know and someone they have deep affection for.

I know Joe Klein and I disagree, but having John Kerry in Barack Obama's camp at this moment allows Barack to have a national surrogate. Someone who can draw media, someone who can help him make the case about his experience.

He's made the case about his electability. Having John Kerry, a war hero, someone who led the opposition to the war on his side will help him in the weeks to come especially if the Clinton campaign bring out even more experienced surrogates to try to take Obama's record apart.

COOPER: We're going to have more from all of you in just a moment. We'll be back in just a couple minutes with our panel.

John Kerry's backing of Barack Obama is big news today, but as Candy talked on it earlier it's not the only one.

Here's the raw data. "The Washington Post" says the Democratic candidates have picked up a total of 235 political endorsements. Hillary Clinton has 104.

The Republicans number 209. Mitt Romney and John McCain lead the pack for the GOP, both with 85.

Continuing our discussion after the break, we'll dig deeper into the key issues in play right now in South Carolina and what voters expect from the candidates.

And later, we're going to look at Republican Ron Paul and some explosive accusations about his past.


COOPER (voice-over): He's the GOP underdog with an army of young supporters. But do they know about the newsletters with his name on the front and racist words inside?

Tonight, Ron Paul answers the charges. We're keeping them honest.

Later, new developments in the search for the missing pregnant marine.

We have been investigating this full speed ahead and I believe it's going to pay off.

All the latest in the case the nation is watching. Crime & Punishment, 360 tonight.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama getting ready for a hectic string of caucuses and primaries starting with Nevada on the 19th and South Carolina on the 26th.

She, today campaigning in Nevada today where the restaurant workers have endorsed Barack Obama.

He, as we mentioned campaigning in Charleston, South Carolina.

You don't need a weatherman to tell you the South Carolina climate is different from the one in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Not this time of year, but what about the political climate? For that, it helps to have a Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not Iowa, it's not New Hampshire.

The twin front-runners, Obama and Clinton are now stepping into a very different battlefield in South Carolina. And the most explosive issue there is a matter that has virtually vanished from the campaign trail.

South Carolina Democrats feel considerably stronger than previous voters about getting out of the war. Three quarters say we should exit Iraq as soon as possible.

That appears to be one reason why a fair number of white voters have been leaning toward John Edwards. He's been pushing the idea of a quick withdrawal. So watch for both camps to siphon off some of his support.

Watch for them to go after the economy, too. Democrats everywhere believe the economy is in trouble. But in South Carolina, they think getting a job is particularly tough.

They want the government to provide more services overall. They are more worried about health care and Hillary Clinton will, of course, play that card big.

She has been doing well with older, less educated voters. He has done well with younger, more educated voters. And they both won their share of support from women, you all know that.

But this is key. The battle so far has been almost entirely among whites and half of South Carolina's Democrats are African- American.

There have been no reliable polls yet measuring the combined effect of Iowa and New Hampshire on the black vote in South Carolina. And last month it appeared pretty evenly split between Clinton and Obama with no other candidates even being seriously considered.

So where do those voters stand now? No one knows. We just know this, in a campaign full of surprises the next ones could come from the south. Anderson?


COOPER: Tom thanks. Back with CNN's David Gergen, Donna Brazile and Time Magazine's Joe Klein.

Donna, as Tom has said African-American votes make up some 50% of the Democratic voters in South Carolina. It's a difficult situation for African-American voters there with Clinton and Obama, at least for Democratic African-American voters.

How do both these candidates try to win over the groups?

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, Barack Obama started this season by introducing himself to African-American voters in South Carolina. They really don't know him.

They know Bill and Hillary Clinton and they love Bill Clinton. I cannot overstate why they love Bill Clinton. They believe that Bill Clinton as president helped deliver for African-Americans. He helped deliver on jobs, he helped to deliver of course on housing and so many other issues. They know Hillary Clinton as a champion for children and for education.

Now they know Barack Obama and I think the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire helped to answer one key question that black voters were concerned about, and that is can he win?

The answer is of course he's electable. Now he must go down there and convince them to switch their allegiance, their support to Barack Obama. I still believe that he can make the case.

But Hillary Clinton is not going to give up the black vote easily. She will fight until the last minute and she understands that if black women support her, she will win South Carolina.

COOPER: And Joe, John Edwards he's obviously in it through South Carolina, he won there before. If he drops out after South Carolina or whenever he drops out, where do his supporters go?

KLEIN: That's one of the huge questions. We have all of these unanswered questions about the Democratic electorate at this point.

There are the black women of South Carolina. There are the Edwards voters in the early polls in South Carolina wasn't doing that well, maybe the 15 percent or 17 percent he got in New Hampshire. But that's enough to tip the big February 5th contests one way or the other, depending on how his people go.

COOPER: David, before South Carolina there's the Nevada caucuses; an early test out west. How is that contest shaping up?

GERGEN: Well, it looked like Hillary Clinton territory. She's by nature stronger there, was before Iowa. And New Hampshire should help her.

But the culinary announcement will make a big difference. It will help Barack Obama a lot.

One of the most interesting questions now is with Bill Richardson out of the race, who gets the Latino vote, which is heavy in Nevada?

And by all indications, Hillary Clinton should do well with the Latino vote. Just as Donna said, the Clintons are quite popular among African-Americans and have been ever since the economic performance of the early '90s.

You remember that Bill Clinton was inducted into the African- American Hall of Fame in Arkansas. They made him an honorary African- American.

BRAZILE: He still is.

GERGEN: And they have some -- yeah, exactly. And they have some of that same pull in the Latino community.

That's where Barack Obama is going to have to fight. He is going to prove that he can bring some of them over in those caucuses.

COOPER: Joe, I haven't talked to you really much in the last couple of days about Hillary Clinton. You've obviously followed the Clintons for a long time.

Do you see the things that we saw from Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, as she said, finding her voice. Does that continue now and does that only grow or was that sort of a one-shot thing?

KLEIN: You know, one would hope so. She would have to be really stupid politically not to continue to do that.

But it's amazing. The interesting thing about Hillary Clinton is that her first take on any given problem is to be hidden, to be covert, to be clenched.

It was the way it was when she tried to sell health care in 1994 and the way she was in this campaign. And then finally, when she opens up and starts answering questions and showing her sense of humor, very importantly in the debate on Saturday night, and in a press conference on Sunday, then all of a sudden people started saying, "Well, she's not so bad."

I can't imagine why they made the decision to run such a tight campaign to begin with.

COOPER: David, it's interesting because you're the one who -- right immediately after Iowa on this program, you said look, she's got to personalize it and she's got to be more emotional. She's got to -- I guess things which you had seen working in that White House, at some point you thought others should see if she was to appeal to them.

You have no doubt that's going to continue?

GERGEN: I have no doubt. But I'm really interested in hearing it. And thank you for saying that. I'm interested in hearing what this new voice is and how she's going to play it because she does have a tendency when she gets into, as Joe Klein said on this program before, sometimes when she's in these tight contests and in front of a crowd, she does tend to get a little shrill.

How does she keep that sort of warmth, the openness, the vulnerability, if you would, in front of big crowds? I think that's going to be a real test for her.

So I'm really curious before we even hear the votes, what is this new voice going to be that she said that she has discovered?

KLEIN: You know, I had this weird idea that it goes back to 1968, everybody compares to Barack Obama to Robert Kennedy.

In some ways Hillary Clinton is the Hubert Humphrey of this campaign, the champion of the working class, especially working class women.

And if she's a happy warrior as he was, that may be the way for her to win other people's hearts.

COOPER: It's getting more and more interesting. Donna Brazile, Joe Klein, David Gergen, thanks as always.

More of the '08 race ahead, including Ron Paul under fire. Accusations of racist rants but he says he didn't write them.

We'll investigate. And we're keeping them honest.

But first Erica Hill joins us for the "360 Bulletin." Erica?

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Iran says the U.S. version of what happened Sunday in the Strait of Hormuz is a lie. Claiming the U.S. video of a standoff between Iranian and U.S. Navy ships has old footage and fake audio.

So today Iran released its own video. U.S. Navy ships has fake video. Today, Iran released its own video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coalition warship 73, this is Iranian navy patrol boat. How do you copy? Over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is coalition warship 73. I read you loud and clear. Over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coalition warship 73, this is Iranian navy patrol boat requesting side number either operating, either (inaudible) this time. Over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is coalition warship 73. I am operating in international waters.


HILL: Iran says no threat was made against the Americans. U.S. officials suggest the Iranian video has been edited.

In the Colombian jungle, two women held by FARC rebels for more than five years are free. Their release was orchestrated by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

In Florida, a former teacher who admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old boy in 2004 won't be punished for violating her probation. Debra Lafave hugged a female teen at the restaurant where she was working, but denies ever talking to the girl about sex. The judge told Lafave, please don't come back.

And Anderson, I say please don't come back. I'm kind of done.

COOPER: Do you ever notice that on a lot of cable news stations, whenever they say Debra Lafave, this photo pops up?

HILL: Interesting. So if I were to say, Debra Lafave --

COOPER: She's changed positions slightly. Debra Lafave is now now working -- yeah, see. There's the photo again.

HILL: As a grease monkey? Where did she get those shoes, by the way? I mean, Debra Lafave. No, the Debra Lafave with the shoes.

COOPER: Well, Debra Lafave is actually working at --

HILL: That one. Look at those shoes.

COOPER: Debra Lafave is working at her mother's beauty salon as a receptionist. Debra Lafave. Okay.

HILL: Oh, yeah. Debra Lafave.

COOPER: Erica stay right there.

"What Were They Thinking?" is next. And tonight, we asked that question about a guy who decided to live in Ikea. He'll sleep in their beds, wash in their sinks and dine on Swedish meatballs. What was he thinking?

And frankly, what were they thinking, coming up.

Plus hateful words, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul under fire for old newsletters with his name on them. You're not going to believe what some of these newsletters said. The question is, did he write the racist rants?

We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- when "360" continues.


COOPER: Erica, time now for "What Were They Thinking?" A guy here in New York is getting work done on his apartment. He's not staying with friends, not enough room, or a hotel, it's too expense. He's moved into an Ikea store for the week.

HILL: Of course.


Mark Malcoff, that's his name. He's eating meals there at Ikea. He is living among the furniture, another trinket not for sale in the store. He's bouncing on the beds there. He apparently -- I don't think they like that sort of thing.

HILL: He moved his toiletries into the bathroom. How about that? He said, "I'm just going to put my eye cream here."

COOPER: He brought two bags of stuff. He's planning to host a house warming party this week.

Apparently he has approval from the store. They thought it would be a lot of fun. Translation, good publicity and it works because here we are talking about Ikea.

HILL: Indeed, it did work.

COOPER: You might recognize Mark because I know you're big Internet surfer. He's known for his video 171 Starbucks.

HILL: That's him.

COOPER: A documentary to his visits to all the coffee chain stores in Manhattan on a single day, 171 stores in one day.

HILL: Not bad.

COOPER; So clearly this guy has a penchant for A -- publicity, and B -- large chain stores.

HILL: Well, and he's fulfilling both of them right there.

Isn't he filming part of his Ikea experience?

COOPER: No, I can't imagine he'd be doing such a thing.


You know what? One of my favorite parts about that story is? I was surprised to learn that he's married. But his wife --

COOPER: That actually surprised you?

HILL: Right. But his wife, I think her name is Christie (PH) she was like -- you know what? I'm not down with the Ikea for a week. So have fun. I'm not joining you. I wonder why.

COOPER: Probably best. All right Erica.

He's a straight talker. And as a presidential candidate, that can sometimes get you in trouble. However, it isn't a campaign speech but hateful words in a newsletter bearing his name that have Republican Ron Paul on the defense tonight.

But did he write them? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And later -- a very pregnant 20-year-old marine is missing, leaving behind a lot more questions than answers tonight. The clues and the confusion in "Crime And Punishment" ahead on "360."


COOPER: It seems like wherever you'll find a camera, you'll find Ron Paul supporters, chanting his name, trying to make sure his message gets across.

It happened to us Monday night in New Hampshire. Paul has his believers. The maverick Republican also has about eight times more cash on hand than Mike Huckabee. He's looking ahead.

Tonight, we're turning to his past, however. It's about allegations involving some newsletters released under his name. The words printed on them are shocking.

Paul responded to the chargers in an interview today with CNN. "Keeping Them Honest" with a forceful reply and a story, here's CNN's Brian Todd.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for serving our country.

RON PAUL (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, thank you. Thank you.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): he's not considered a presidential front-runner but Ron Paul has raised tens of millions of dollars from a devoted base. Many of them young people who love his libertarian straight talk.

PAUL: The role, of course, is to return this country to sanity.

TODD: But how's this for straight talk?

June, 1992, right after the L.A. riots. In a copy obtained by CNN of the Ron Paul political report, one of several newsletters published in his name during the 1980's and '90s, "order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks."

Another excerpt -- "The criminals who terrorize our cities in riots and on every non-riot day are not exclusively young black males but they largely are. As children, they are trained to hate whites, to believe that white oppression is responsible for all black ills, to fight the power, to steal and loot as much money from the white enemy as possible."

None of the articles we found say who wrote them.

In an interview on CNN's program "The Situation Room" Paul said --

PAUL: Everybody knows in my district that I didn't write them and I don't speak like that. Nobody has heard me ever say anything like that.

TODD: Not good enough for one political veteran.

GERGEN: These stories may be very old in Ron Paul's life, but they're very new to the American public and they deserve to be totally ventilated.

I must say, I don't think it's an excuse in politics to have something go out under your name and say, "Oh, by the way, I didn't write that."

TODD: In some excerpts, the reader may be led to believe the words are Ron Paul's.

In the Ron Paul political report in October, 1992, the writer describes carjacking as the hip-hop thing to do among the urban youth who play unsuspecting whites like piano. Writes about advice on how to avoid carjacking.

Then "I frankly don't know what to make of such advice, but even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self-defense, for the animals are coming."

Paul's spokesman says Paul has lived in Lake Jackson for years but says Paul never wrote that, and is saddened that someone took advantage of him.

Paul says he's taken moral responsibility for the newsletters and says he's not racist but he couldn't answer a key question.


WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR: How did this stuff get in these Ron Paul newsletters? Who wrote it?

PAUL: I have no idea. Have you ever heard of a publisher of a magazine not knowing every single thing? The editor is responsible for the daily activities. And people come and go. There were some people that were hired. I don't know any of their names.


TODD: We spoke to the editor of "Reason," a libertarian magazine which share some of Paul's beliefs on big government.

He says he's never heard Paul speak like that but --

MATT WELCH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REASON MAGAZINE: What he has not done and what I think some people are looking for him to do is to say, "Okay, who wrote what?"

There's 20 years, give or take, worth of newsletters there.

TODD: Newsletters that rant against Martin Luther King, the Israeli lobby, gays and aids victims. Many of them were reported this week by the "New Republic" magazine.

There's one newsletter addressing American militias, ranting against the federal government saying if they mean to have a war, let it begin here. That's from January 1995 just as Ron Paul was getting set to take office in his second stint in congress.

(on camera) When we asked if Mr. Paul would try to find out who wrote this material, his spokesman said, "No, what's the point? It's time to move on."

Paul says this is all rehash and he's the victim of a political witch hunt.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: A quick program note, tomorrow on "360," my interview with Eric Volz, the American freed from a Nicaraguan prison last month after an appeals court overturned his murder conviction.

He's back home in America and talking about the nightmarish chain of events that landed him behind bars in Nicaragua for more than a year.

Here's a preview.


COOPER (voice-over): What was prison in Nicaragua like?

ERIC VOLZ, RELEASED FROM NICARAGUAN JAIL: Man, prisons in Nicaragua are not like U.S. prisons. It's extremely dangerous. It destroys you a little bit at a time.

COOPER: A little bit at a time?

VOLZ: Yeah. It really gets to you.

COOPER: Day after day.

VOLZ: I saw people die, you know, from, you know, lack of medical attention, you know, gang violence and just simple neglect.


COOPER: A new feature; something we're calling "Beat 360." Hear the cheesy music. We put a picture on the "360 Blog" and ask for a caption better than one our staff. Here's the picture from a London zoo today. Here's our caption, "There must be some mistake, check under puffin one more time with two Fs. Don't worry sweetheart, I have this under control."

All right. Pretty good, but maybe you can do better. Check it out, Give us your thoughts.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: We want to tell you about that marine. She's missing, she's also believed to be 8 1/2 months pregnant.

At the time of her disappearance, the 20-year-old was stationed at Camp Lejeune, the military base in North Carolina.

Tonight, the search is turning up new clues and new developments. As you'll see, they only add to the mystery, however.

CNN's Randi Kaye has more in tonight's "Crime And Punishment."


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maria Lauterbach is a 20-year-old marine stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. She's also pregnant. In fact, she's expecting her first child any day now. That is, if she's alive.

SHERIFF ED BROWN, ONSLOW COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: You know when things just don't fall in place like they ought to fall in place like you think they should, then that gives you concern.

KAYE: Sheriff Ed Brown has been searching for Lauterbach for weeks. He's faced with many mysteries.

The first, did she leave on her own or is she in danger?

Marine Sergeant Daniel Durham may have been the last person to have spoken with her. He's also just been ordered by the marines to return from California back to North Carolina.

Police now call him a key witness. He's been interviewed before, but the sheriff says some things don't match up. Sheriff Brown says he wants to look Durham in the eyes again.

BROWN: Body language tells you a lot. Yeah, body language tells you a whole lot.

KAYE: The search warrant obtained by CNN shows Durham's laptop was taken as evidence from this home he shares with the missing marine.

(on camera) What would be of interest on a laptop?

BROWN: You would be surprised what you can find out from computers. Everything is of interest.

KAYE: The sheriff says Sergeant Durham left for training in California about two weeks after Lauterbach disappeared.

Investigators are especially curious about Durham's interest in the case and comments he's made.

The next big question mark, does what Lauterbach claims what happened to her at Camp Lejeune have anything to do with her disappearance?

She filed claims of sexual assault against a senior officer there. The military says they're investigating the incident. But inconsistencies in her story have made the case difficult to pursue.

And that gets us to another issue. Lauterbach has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And has a history of compulsive lying.

In fact, Lauterbach was facing a possible discharge due to the personal and professional stress. But despite a troubled personal life, investigators remain concerned about evidence of a crime.

Lauterbach went missing on December 14th and since then money has been withdrawn from her bank account. The sheriff told me there is surveillance tape of a man making that withdrawal and reports show he was even trying to cover up the surveillance camera.

(on camera) On Monday, by chance, Lauterbach's car was discovered here in the parking lot of this fast food restaurant. One of the investigators working the case happened to come by to grab a hamburger and noticed the car.

At first they thought it had been parked here just that day, but the sheriff says one of the restaurant employees told him that it had been here since December 15th. The day after Lauterbach was reported missing.

And oddly, her cell phone was found outside Camp Lejeune on December 20th. That has investigators perplexed. Why there? And why the day after her case was made public?

Her family hopes answers will come through this Facebook web page where they are pleading for help.

MARY LAUTERBACH, MOTHER OF MISSING MARINE: I just want to see her again. I hope to see her and I hope the baby's healthy.

KAYE: Whether she ran or not, her mother wants her home.


COOPER: Such a strange case. Randi, any idea when is Sergeant Daniel Durham may be arriving back?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, the sheriff told me, I just spoke with him a moment ago. And the sheriff told me he was willing to stay here into the night to speak with him.

He was hoping to talk to him late tonight. That isn't going to happen. He is told he'll be able to speak with him by noon tomorrow.

He should have some answers for us after that sometime in the afternoon. He said this conversation with Sergeant Durham will really determine which way this investigation goes.

It will either put a very positive outlook on his day, he said. Or make him realize that he should be under some real stress and this is a much more serious situation than it appears it could be at this moment.

He does know that the sergeant is on his way back. He has been told that they want to question him again. They were thinking that he might make some comments to some of his superiors about this or some of his contact. But at this point it doesn't appear he has.

COOPER: Well, next on "360" -- country in crisis. Hundreds of people killed, hundreds of thousands more forced to flee their homes.

How one of the safest places in Africa, Kenya, became a danger zone. We'll go up close with a live report from Mombasa, next.


COOPER: Up close tonight, the crisis in Kenya and why it's closer than you might think. U.S. Officials are now warning Americans against all but essential travel to the African nation. Kenya stunned the world two weeks ago when it erupted in a blood bath. It's usually one of the most stable places in Africa, but now it's a country on the edge. And the stakes are huge.

CNN's Zain Verjee is there.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For years, Kenya has been the far away place you go to see big game in the wild. Tourism has meant billions of dollars to Kenya in large part because, unlike so many other African countries, it's safe from warring tribes and unrest.

But not now. Now, suddenly Kenya is on fire. A key U.S. ally is at risk. And look at these empty beaches. Tourists are fleeing.

The explosion began after an election two weeks ago, charges of vote fraud ignited old tribal hatred. In just days, this tranquil country saw 600 people killed and more than 200,000 have fled their homes. Some have called it ethnic cleansing.

(on camera) Everybody here is from a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi called Marvate (ph). For years, the tribes have lived together peacefully side by side. They've co-existed with no problem.

But with this latest election violence, they've turned on each other.

Shiru (ph) was beaten. Her husband George, was almost hacked to death. Their home destroyed by their own neighbors.

SHIRU: We are there with them for so long and something like this has never happened. So this was the first time.

VERJEE (voice-over): The violence, so sudden, so unexpected. The U.S. and Britain warned their citizens to avoid Kenya.

In the two weeks since the controversial election, international mediators have come and gone. The president and his challenger have yet to meet. And violence in the streets continues.

Earlier today, police used tear gas to break up a woman's protest in Nairobi.

Strategically, an unstable Kenya is bad news for Washington. U.S. Forces use its ports and fly out of its air bases. That relationship is especially critical because Somalia is next door. And for years it's been racked with chaos while radical Islamic groups only grow stronger there.

JENDAYI FRAZER, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR AFRICA: It's a key country in supporting the global war on terror, no doubt about it.

VERJEE: Washington's biggest fear, Kenya could collapse, destabilizing all of East Africa. And even if that worst case scenario is averted, this violence has set the country back years, damaging its fragile democracy and draining billions of dollars from its economy.

And for people like Shiru, the bloodshed has sown fear and suspicion where there once was peace.


COOPER: Zain, you're from Kenya. What has it been like coming back there?

VERJEE: Anderson, it's been really difficult for me personally. It really is heart breaking to see what's going on. Kenyans have always co-existed fairly peacefully. The different tribes, there are about 40 of them in this country and they have had significant underlying tensions. They've been fighting for years over things like water and grazing rights.

But I've never seen this kind of poisonous atmosphere, the tribal tensions and hatreds that have really been exacerbated by this election that was split down the middle essentially on tribal lines.

Kenyans, what people here are looking for is toward their leaders to rise above the occasion. Many of them tell me to find some way out of this through a political compromise and not violence. Kenyans have gotten together and they're launching this major campaign saying, "Save our beloved Kenya."

COOPER: And so far compromise is not something the leaders are willing or able to bring about.

Zain Verjee, thanks very much. Stay safe.

COOPER: Up next, the winner of our "Beat 360" contest. Your caption for this photo that was better than ours when "360" continues. Hey cue the cheesy music.


COOPER: So, we start an item on our blog called "Beat 360" today. We put a picture on the 360 blog and asked people to submit a caption better than the one from our staff.

Cue the cheesy music.

Here is the picture, zookeepers taking inventory at the London Zoo today. Our favorite posting came from Jan in Honolulu. She says, "A ticket? Officer! We're not drunk! We always walk like that."

Thank you. I'll be here all week and next week too.

For international viewers, CNN Today is next. Here in America, Larry King is coming up.

I'll see you tomorrow night.