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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Ledger Investigation; Clinton Counters; Obama Fights Against Internet Smear Campaign; Race and Gender in Politics

Aired January 23, 2008 - 23:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The search for answers continues. How and why the young actor died remains a mystery, of course tonight. But we've learned much more about what was going inside his New York loft just before and after his body was found. New details including the fact that his masseuse called Mary-Kate Olsen twice before she called 911. We'll have the latest - just ahead.
Also ahead tonight - more fireworks on the campaign trail. This time no actual candidates were involved. Coming up, what caused the 42nd President Bill Clinton to take one of our own reporters to task.

And a firestorm over the issue of race and gender in politics. Three days ago our story on the subject set off a fiery debate on our website and beyond. Whoopee Goldberg even joined in on "The View." Our story clearly hit a nerve. So tonight we're digging deeper exploring all the angles.

But we begin right now with new details in the death of Heath Ledger. You're looking live outside the Manhattan building where the actor lived and where his body was found just yesterday. There's a small memorial that has grown throughout the day today, people bringing flowers and cards since yesterday, paying their respects to the young movie star who died at the age of 28.

Tonight we know more about the circumstances surrounding Heath Ledger's death including a timeline of what happened inside that apartment and the attempts made to save his life and by whom, even the link to Mary-Kate Olsen.

There's also the autopsy report and a rolled-up $20 bill found at the scene. And then of course there are the rumors and the speculation, the talk of anti-anxiety medication, sleeping pills and whether illicit drugs may have been involved.

CNN's Jason Carroll has been covering the story since it first broke. Here's his report with the latest developments.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

JASON CARROLL (voice-over): A crush of cameras tried to capture a shot of Michelle Williams, Heath Ledger's ex-fiance, as she arrived at her Brooklyn home. Williams' mother was already there and did not answer questions about Ledger's death.

Most of Ledger's friends and family are staying quiet but now new details are emerging about the actor's mysterious death yesterday. According to a police source with knowledge of the investigation, the timeline goes as follows.

12:30 p.m., Ledger's housekeeper arrives at his fourth floor Soho apartment. At 1:00 she enters his bedroom. Ledger was lying face down and snoring. 2:45 his masseuse arrives. Around 3:00 the masseuse enters Ledger's room. She tries to wake him but he's unresponsive.

The police source says the masseuse used the speed dial on Ledger's cell to call his friend, actress Mary-Kate Olsen. Olsen called a private security team instructing them to head to Ledger's apartment.

The masseuse called Olsen a second time saying she was calling 911. 3:26, the masseuse makes the emergency call and with the help of an operator performs CPR. 3:33 p.m., paramedics arrive and are unable to revive Ledger. Three minutes later at 3:36 p.m., Ledger is pronounced dead.

Rumors swirled about what police had taken from the actor's apartment. Later investigators said a $20 bill discovered tested negative for illegal drugs.

RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: There were no illegal drugs found. There were prescription bottles. All of the pills were in the bottle. There was some report that they were strewn. That's not the case. The bottles were capped.

CARROLL: An autopsy performed early today was inconclusive. Ledger's family says his death was an accident.

Until several months ago, Ledger lived with his ex-fiance, actress Michelle Williams here in Brooklyn. The two met while filming "Brokeback Mountain." They have a 2-year-old baby girl, Matilda, her footprint marked in cement outside the house.

Ledger moved out after the couple's engagement ended several months ago. Actor Alessandro Nivola lives next door.

ALESSANDRO NIVOLA, ACTOR: In all my encounters with him, he was just an incredibly sweet guy. He loved his daughter. I was a huge fan of his as an actor. It's just -- it's awful.

CARROLL: Ledger's body has been taken to a funeral home in Manhattan. Memorial arrangements are pending.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: So the results of the preliminary autopsy were inconclusive. Do we know when we get the full results of the autopsy?

CARROLL: Well, Anderson, the medical examiner tells us that more toxicology tests need to be done and it could be another two weeks before those test results are finally in.

COOPER: I just want to review from what the police commissioner said. There are all these reports swirling, all these rumors swirling about pills strewn all about, about illegal drugs found.

The police are saying point blank, no illegal drugs found, maybe a rolled-up $20 bill but no drugs were found on that, and the pill bottles were all closed and they were all prescription pills, is that correct?

CARROLL: That is correct, absolute, Anderson. As you know, many erroneous reports were out earlier when this story broke. And police at this point are trying to get a handle on that.

Today they cleared a lot of that up and went with just the facts. Of course that's what we put in our piece tonight.

COOPER: Jason Carroll thanks very much. Appreciate the reporting.

As we told you, the initial autopsy report for Heath Ledger is inconclusive. Now, it may take two weeks before authorities know what killed the actor.

Police did confirm that sleeping pills were found near his body and so were prescription drugs but we don't know what kind. As we said, there's a lot of speculation about the use of drugs and whether Ledger died of an accidental overdose. A lot of questions about his death.

Let's talk them over with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, good to see you.

The autopsy report came back inconclusive. Why does that not surprise you? What does that mean?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: When you're doing a quick autopsy report like that, it comes back so quickly, it means they probably searched for obvious things, whether there was a big heart attack, for example. Whether there was a blood clot in his lungs that prevented him from breathing. Whether there was bleeding that had gone on in the brain, something like that.

If something like that had happened, that would have been obvious and they would have had a cause of death. But if none of those things are present, it just means they have to look elsewhere.

COOPER: Ledger was found face down in his bed. What does that suggest to you?

GUPTA: You know, I thought about that as well, Anderson. I'm not sure that really suggests anything. He was in his bed, which obviously suggests he was probably sleeping, maybe right after he took -- if he took pills or something like that.

Or it could also suggest if he was face down that maybe it blocked his airway and his throat. So if he was already very sedated and now had his airway blocked, that's something to think about as well. Possible asphyxiation.

COOPER: Dr. Drew Pinsky last night was talking about how, then, aspiration is not likely a cause of death if he was face down.

GUPTA: Right. And they may have commented on that in the initial autopsy report as well. That as you know didn't come back. They didn't make mention of that so I think aspiration does seems less likely.

COOPER: With an ostensibly healthy 28-year-old, what are you looking for in an autopsy? What are some of the top things they check for? Obviously I assume drug use.

GUPTA: The toxicology and then there is an autopsy. As far as the autopsy itself goes, sudden death in a 28-year-old, you have to think about the brain, the heart and the lungs. Was there some sort of major bleed in the brain? Was there something wrong with his lungs?

There was some conjecture maybe he had pneumonia. That seems like a less likely cause of something here. Or his heart. Those are the three main things they are going to look at on autopsy.

But you're exactly right, Anderson. They take the blood as well; send it off for toxicology reports. That takes some time to come back to figure out if there were toxic levels of substances in his blood.

COOPER: And if you are taking substances you die from, what, a heart attack in reaction to the substances?

GUPTA: That's a great question. Typically what happens, especially if these are sedatives or barbiturates or some sort sedating medication of some sort, -- you start to actually -- your breathing slows down to the point literally where you just stop breathing. That's what happens.

Call it profound respiratory depression. If people are so sedated, sometimes they have difficulty protecting their airway so they stop breathing and ultimately, due to the low oxygen, you do have a heart attack but the real cause is respiratory depression.

COOPER: In addition to being a neurosurgeon, you're a certified medical examiner. How tough is it to determine the cause of a death in a situation like this?

GUPTA: Well, you know it's interesting, Anderson. Ten, 14 days they may come back and say there were some substances in his body but they weren't at toxic enough levels to say for sure that was cause of death.

To answer your question, it's possible they may come back and say we're just not sure. We're not sure exactly what happened. We can tell you what did happen but we don't know for sure.

It can be difficult if one of those substances comes back at a very toxic level, one that is typically consistent with respiratory depression, then there might be an answer there.

COOPER: But clearly with the toxicology report, someone has been using drugs, prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, illegal substances, that will show up?

GUPTA: YeS. You'll be able to measure those levels quickly. Let me point out as well, Anderson, if you go to an emergency room and get a tox screen, that comes back pretty quickly but that's sort of a general test.

The reason this is taking so long, 10 days or so, is they are going to get real specific in terms of the specific level of these substances and maybe even be able to delineate from where they came, if there was sort of cross reaction of various substances, for example.

COOPER: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, we'll continue to follow this story.

Up next though - tonight seeking justice in the murder of pregnant marine. New details in the investigation of the killing of Maria Lauterbach.

Also tonight these stories.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER (off camera): The Obama campaign hears it all the time and so do voters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Continually having friends tell me at church and other places, "Hey, you know he's a Muslim."

COOPER: But it's wrong; so is the e-mail claiming he was schooled at a radical Islamic school in Indonesia.

And that's not all. Tonight we're keeping them honest. See how the Obama camp is fighting a campaign of lies.

Bill Clinton sounding off on the campaign trail.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Shame on you.

His exchange with a CNN reporter and others. You be the judge - when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A lot of politics to get to tonight. Some key races looming on Saturday. The Democrats of course face off in South Carolina. On Tuesday both parties hold primaries in Florida.

Now here's what today looked like on the trail. Hillary Clinton left her husband behind in South Carolina, headed to New Jersey where she swung by two rallies, this one was in Hackensack. She's spending the night in New York. Back in South Carolina Bill Clinton gave one of our reporters, Jessica Yellin, a piece of his mind. She asked him about accusations that he's been making appeals based on race and gender on the campaign trail. A prominent Democrat in South Carolina who supports Barack Obama made the charges. Here's what Mr. Clinton had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

B. CLINTON: This hurts the people of South Carolina because the people of South Carolina are coming to these meetings and asking questions about what they care about. And what they care about is not going to be in the news coverage tonight because you don't care about it.

What you care about is this. And the Obama people know that. So they just spin you up on this and you happily go along.

The people don't care about this. They never ask about it. And you are determined to take this election away from them. And that's not right. That is not right.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER: News flash, the Obama people apparently are the only people spinning according to President Clinton. Hillary Clinton's rival, Barack Obama, campaigned in Darlington, South Carolina, stopping by family night at The St. James United Methodist Church.

He is taking every opportunity these days to stress his Christian faith in face of an e-mail smear campaign. We'll have more on that just ahead.

John Edwards had three events in South Carolina, the state where he was born. In Bennettsville he took some jabs at Senator Clinton telling the crowd that he doesn't view their state as flyover country, his words.

Meantime the Republicans hitting Florida hard. In Orlando, John McCain there, touring a plant that makes spas and tubs. He then held a discussion on the economy. In Gainesville, Mike Huckabee gave a speech at the University Air Center, a day after announcing his campaign has hit the financial skids. The former Arkansas governor promised to stay in the race, however, through next Tuesday's primary.

In Sarasota, Mitt Romney whose campaign is flushed, by contrast -- actually flushed by any measure -- campaigned at Kaycer University then headed to Tampa. And former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who's betting everything on Florida, mixed it up with supporters in Naples at a rally at McCabe's Irish Pub and Grill.

That's what the campaign trail looked like today briefly.

Now to those smear tactics aimed at Barack Obama. Like the rest of the candidates, Obama had his game face on today. Even as he stepped up efforts to beat back false rumors about his faith. The rumors are being spread in e-mails that are all but impossible to trace. And in South Carolina, in the heart of the Bible Belt, they could do some real damage.

CNN's Candy Crowley tonight - "Keeping Them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kate Brighton usually votes Republican but this year Barack Obama caught her attention.

KATE BRIGHTON, BARACK OBAMA SUPPORTER: By continually having friends tell me at church and other places, "Hey, you know, he's a Muslim, he's a Muslim." I said, "I haven't heard that anywhere." "Oh, yeah, don't you know he's a Muslim."

Then somebody sent me an e-mail that said he was at this Madrassas and that, blah, blah, blah about him being a Muslim.

CROWLEY: There are many different versions. Subject, one of these e-mails begins, good warning. It claims that Obama con seals the fact that he's a Muslim. Wrong. Obama talks openly in his book about his Muslim father who left him at the age of 2 and his Muslim stepfather, but Obama is not and never has been a Muslim.

It charges that Obama was educated at a radical Islamic school in Indonesia. A CNN investigation found that to be false.

It claims he was sworn into the senate on the Koran, turns his back to the flag, refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance. False, false and false.

BRIGHTON: This little thing about being a Muslim, they're really tapping into, I think, a national fear of terrorists. So Muslim, terrorists, I think they put the two together.

CROWLEY: And really hard to trace.

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They come in waves and they somehow appear magically wherever the next primary or caucus is although they're also being distributed all across the country.

CROWLEY: It's nasty stuff with the potential for real impact in the Bible Belt. And so it is that Barack Obama finds himself shadow boxing with cyberspace.

OBAMA: Just like if anybody starts getting one of these e-mails saying "Obama is a Muslim, I've been a member of the same church for almost 20 years praying to Jesus."

CROWLEY: The candidate is speaking out about it more often now and his campaign has set up its own fact check website. They have Kate Brighton, too, armed with her own research and fact sheet she got from the campaign, Brighton strikes up random political conversations at the Wal-mart. She's ready when Barack Obama and his religion come up.

BRIGHTON: I'm going to say almost the very first thing, which I'm just -- I'm astonished by it. So whoever contrived this knew the trigger that they needed because, yes, it's almost the very first thing that comes up.

CROWLEY: There's no way to know where all this started, only that it will be difficult to end. Cyberspace has made its way into the real world. This sign is up now in Columbia, South Carolina.

Keeping them honest, that's not true.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Columbia, South Carolina.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: Well, the front-runners are writing most of their checks for advertising spots. But there's another place for their cash. Here's the raw data.

So far nearly $8 million the money spent by the Barack Obama campaign goes to campaign staffers. That's the most on both sides. Hillary Clinton's payroll is second with just over $7.6 million. On the Republican side, John McCain has spent the most on salaries with about $4.6 million followed by Mitt Romney's $3.1 million.

A reminder I'm going to be in California next week to host the next CNN debate. The Republican candidates face off at the Reagan library one week from tonight January 30th. The Democrats will go another round on the 31st. These are the final debates before Super Tuesday.

Still to come tonight - race versus gender in the battle for the White House. We brought you the story Monday night. A lot of people were outraged. Tonight we're digging deeper.

First Erica Hill joins us with a "360" Bulletin. Erica?

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a North Carolina grand jury meets tomorrow morning to consider first degree murder and other charges against fugitive marine Corporal Cesar Laurean. The FBI believes he has fled to Mexico. He's of course, accused of killing his pregnant colleague, fellow marine Maria Lauterbach.

Trevor Rees, the only survivor of the crash that killed Princess Diana testified today at the inquest into her death. He told the court he still has no memory of the accident. He also says he received anonymous calls and letters threatening him to be quiet but he says he's not part of a conspiracy to suppress the truth.

In L.A. Britney Spears once again ducks out of a child custody hearing. It went on without her. A court commissioner upheld the order which suspends her visitation rights.

A health alert. "The New York Times" did a study and these findings could be a little scary if you like sushi. It found the mercury level in tuna sushi from 20 different Manhattan stores and restaurants was far above the levels accepted by the EPA. In fact, a diet of just six pieces a week could exceed those levels. Experts believe the results are going to be similar if you look at other cities.

COOPER: It's all that blue fin tuna. It's crazy.

HILL: It is crazy.

Is that the stuff that's super expensive?

COOPER: Well, it's super expensive in Japan but the stuff that they get in stores here is the cut rate blue fin. They just did a piece on "60 minutes," which is why I know all that.

HILL: That's where I saw it.

COOPER: I know, I know. But I didn't realize it was so high in mercury. Forget about it. I'm not going to eat it anymore.

HILL: I'm not either. That's it. It's done, no more tuna for you.

COOPER: I'm on to salmon sushi until they find out that's full of mercury or something else.

HILL: And then you move on to the next thing.

COOPER: Always moving on.

Erica, stay right there.

When school wasn't canceled after a snowstorm in Virginia last week, a student made a phone call to find out why. Wait until you hear the response that he got. What were they thinking?

Also, why Florida looks like it will be "do or die" time for at least two major Republican candidates. Money it seems is running out. We'll explain - in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Erica, now for our segment "What Were They Thinking?"

Kids love a snow day. We all did that, when school is closed. But, last week, in Fairfax County, Virginia, when a snowstorm hit, school was not canceled. So, a high school senior called the chief operating officer for the school system to ask why school wasn't closed. And he got an answering machine. And he left his name and phone number.

Later in the day, he got a message, not from the school official, but from the guy's wife.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) CANDY TISTADT, WIFE OF DEAN TISTADT, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA SCHOOLS: And don't you ever call here again! My husband has been at the office since 6:30 this morning. So, don't you even suggest that he purposely didn't answer his phone. He was out almost every single night of the week at meetings for snotty-nosed little brats. And he may not have called you, but it is not because he is home because it snowed. Get over it kid and go to school.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HILL: Ouch.

COOPER: Yikes.

HILL: Somebody sounds a little upset.

COOPER: Touched a chord there.

HILL: What was the message that the kid left? Do we know?

COOPER: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.

HILL: Was he being a snotty-nosed kid, perhaps?

COOPER: I don't know. Maybe he was. But, still, man.

HILL: Not really the response that you want to get from a grown woman.

COOPER: I know. This has, of course, become an Internet hit -- hit on YouTube and the boy's Facebook page, where he has listed the school official's name, of course, and...

HILL: Oh.

COOPER: ... the school official's number, of course. And that has led to more phone calls to the house.

As you can imagine, the moral of this, I guess, is get an unlisted phone number?

HILL: Yes. That would be a -- that would be a place to start. And...

COOPER: Yes, or think before you speak, or...

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: ... you know, whatever you can say, it's going to end up on the Internet. So...

HILL: Yes, don't -- don't let yourself be recorded.

COOPER: You know this. I know this. Exactly.

HILL: Well, we're just here to share our knowledge with others, Anderson, and to help them.

COOPER: Exactly.

If every -- if only everyone else was on TV, and had learned the hard way, as we know.

HILL: It's true.

COOPER: Yes.

HILL: It's true. But...

COOPER: Well, now the -- now the woman knows.

HILL: Yes. And you're welcome.

COOPER: Yes, exactly.

Up next - your vote and the battle over race and gender. Our story from a couple nights ago is getting a big reaction from the blogs and a certain set of ladies on "The View."

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE VIEW")

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST: Apparently, CNN put up...

GOLDBERG: ... a thing on their network which said that black women were torn to vote for Obama because he's...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We're digging deeper -- coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In Saturday's South Carolina primary, black women are expected to make up more than one-third of the voters, which means they have the power to swing the race.

That's why we sent 360's Randi Kaye to find out from African- American women whether race and gender may play a role in their decision.

Now, Randi's story ran on Monday after the Democratic debate, and it got such a tremendous reaction from a lot of viewers and on our 360 blog that we wanted to revisit it. Not all the reaction was positive, I should point out.

Digging deeper tonight, here's CNN's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We came here to this South Carolina beauty salon to ask what we thought was a very simple question - race or gender? We wanted to know which would carry more weight with black women in the upcoming primary.

SHANESE JONES, VOTING FOR OBAMA: For me, it's not a racial issue. It's not because of that. It's because his views and everything is right for the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If she can run for president, then I can run for president.

KAYE: We reported that not one woman we interviewed said race or gender play a role; it's all about the issues.

Yet, our debate ignited an even bigger debate around the country. Just minutes after I blogged about this story, viewers, bloggers, even TV talk show hosts, were chiming in. People were angry and accused CNN of demeaning black women by even asking the question.

Tiffany wrote to us, "Pull this racist crap off the air."

Joan e-mailed: "Really, CNN, is this how you view black women? Disgusting."

And Wes wrote: "I imagine Dr. King will roll in his grave if the idea of voting our values never enters the arena in the South Carolina Democratic primary."

How did this play at the salon?

ANGELA JACKSON, VOTING FOR CLINTON: It's not about race. It's not about gender. I think that American citizens are tired and they're just fed up and they want to deal with the issues.

KAYE: Even "The View"'s co-host slammed our story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE VIEW")

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST: Well, it pissed me off.

(CROSSTALK)

GOLDBERG: I will tell you that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of black women were angry, because...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were very angry, because it's like we're looking at the issues, just like you are looking at the issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: We asked radio talk show host and CNN contributor Roland Martin his take.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: When you look at the issues, both Clinton and Obama are virtually the same. And I really wish people would stop playing as if that somehow doesn't affect their mind-set. It's not demeaning.

OK. So, is it demeaning to ask people in the South, are they going to support a Southern candidate? No. Is it demeaning to ask evangelicals, are they going to support a Baptist minister in Mike Huckabee? No. Is it demeaning to ask Mormons, are they support going to Mitt Romney? No.

So, why, all of a sudden, is it demeaning to ask that question?

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": You know, Dr. King dreamed the dream. But we don't have to just dream the dream anymore.

KAYE (on camera): Things are getting so ugly out there, even Oprah is a target. On her blog, we found a chain called "Oprah is a Trader." Women are suggesting she's a sellout for supporting Obama, instead of Clinton.

One e-mailer writes: "She's choosing her race over her gender, hypocrisy at its finest. Oprah, you should be ashamed of yourself."

(voice-over): Back to Charleston.

JONES: I don't think Oprah is a traitor. I think Oprah is wonderful.

JACKSON: Black people don't always look at race. I don't think all of us look at race. I think, for years, we have always looked at the issues, you know? And I think it's -- I think it's silly.

KAYE: Silly or not, a sensitive subject.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: Up next, we're going to dig deeper with two African- American women and find out why this topic is striking such a nerve.

And here's tonight's "Beat 360."

The photo - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met President Bush yesterday to talk about a plan to stimulate the nation's economy. That's the picture.

So, here's the caption from the winner on our own staff. Kate (ph) wrote: "Um, yes, Mr. President, the deficit is bigger than a breadbox. If you don't believe me, check the Google."

I don't know. Think you can do better? Go to cnn.com/360. Send us your submission. We will announce the winner at the end of the program tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, ABC'S "THE VIEW": What was the reaction to that by the CNN poll?

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, ABC'S "THE VIEW": Well, it pissed me off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, our story about race and gender and how it might affect black women's votes in South Carolina apparently angered Whoopi Goldberg there. Pissed her off, were her words. I certainly understand why it's a sensitive subject. It seems to upset a lot of people.

We got a lot of e-mails after Whoopi Goldberg talked about it on "The View," understandably. Someone like Ms. Goldberg clearly believed that we were saying that black women are only going to decide who to vote for based on race or gender.

Now, had we actually said that, I could certainly see why people would be upset and offended. But the truth is, it's not what Randi Kaye's report said. The story actually emphasized that the issues were what was going to be driving black women and all people to the polls, especially in South Carolina.

Now, we're going to dig deeper with Paula McClain, co-director of the Center for the Study on Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences, and a professor of political science at Duke University. Thanks for being with us. And Faye Wattleton, co-founder and president of the Center for the Advancement of Women.

Faye, let me start off with you. Does, in your opinion, race and gender play a role in people's decision-making process?

FAYE WATTLETON, CO-FOUNDER/PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN: Yes, and it does seems to be playing a role in South Carolina. We're seeing women, African-American women trending toward Mr. Obama at a proportion of three to one.

I think it's really a rather remarkable campaign season, and these issues are being raised because of the candidates. We have not had a candidate...

COOPER: The diversity of candidates is...

WATTLETON: The diversity is extraordinary. So it's bound to be. Race and gender are elements that create tensions in our society. And instead of avoiding it and pretending as though it doesn't exist, we should see this as an opportunity to begin to talk about these issues and to say that, yes, they are important to us.

When African-American women look at health-care issues, they look at them differently because of the experiences of the issue. When we look at violence in our communities, it's a different conversation. So to suggest that our ethnicity has no possible influence on how we will vote for a candidate is really, I think, ignoring the obvious. COOPER: Well, I think what upset so many people is the idea, false or not, that this story was somehow saying that race and gender were the key issues that were going to be driving people to the polls.

What did you think -- what do you think of the reaction to this CNN piece, Paula?

PAULA MCCLAIN, DUKE UNIVERSITY: I think the question was actually too simplistic. And that might have generated some of the backlash. It was framed in such a way as if, in fact, it was a dichotomy; it was either race or gender for black women, as opposed to the fact that black women live their lives with an intersection of both of those. And so they experience life very differently than white women or Latino women.

And to say that, somehow, they had to separate those two things out, as opposed to making their decisions based on their experiences as a black woman, I think made people think that it was a very simplistic notion.

Black women will approach this from their experiences as black women and look at the issues for the two candidates that speak to them with those experiences.

COOPER: It's a good point, that it's far more complex, and often TV boils things down to elements which are far too simplistic.

I want to ask you, though, Paula, Roland Martin made the point that, you know, evangelicals are asked if they would vote for a Christian candidate, like Mike Huckabee. Mormons are asked if they support Mitt Romney, based on their faith.

Do you feel it's appropriate to ask that question about race, about gender playing a role in how it drives you to vote?

MCCLAIN: I have no -- I have no problems with asking the question, because we know that these descriptive characteristics and all of our research play a role in how people form decisions about whom -- about for whom they're going to vote.

And so I'm not offended by the question, because I think we really do need to pay attention to the issues that might influence how black women may approach politics that will differ from maybe how black men may approach the decisions that they make in terms of for whom they're going to vote.

COOPER: Would you agree?

WATTLETON: I think I would agree with her, but I think there is also the element of racial pride. All of these are parts and components of the makeup of a decision that people will make in the voting booth.

And we can't really separate what people experience in their personal lives, as she has said, from the way they will behave on the issues. We can say that, yes, I'm only concerned about the issues. But the way I see the issues are directly affected by the way I've experienced them. And race and gender are key issues in our society that lurk just beneath the surface.

And the one positive aspect of all of this is that it's on the table now. We're talking about these issues. It's around the water cooler. And I think that that's the very best outcome for a democratic process.

COOPER: It is interesting, Paula, when you see candidates whose positions are, you know, in the broad strokes, very similar. I mean, there are differences.

But, I mean, the space between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is not that great. Often what it boils down to is personality that draws people to the polls or, you know, what they think of someone's -- you know, what they perceive their values to be or their personality to be.

MCCLAIN: I think you're right. I think you're right. And in this instance for black women, they may, in fact, see that they have more in common with Obama because of issues of race than with Hillary Clinton because of issues of gender, because they're very different experiences.

COOPER: I read in a transcript you saying something about African-American women's experience with the women's movement as being different than perhaps Caucasian women's experience of the women's movement. Is that -- I don't want to misconstrue what you said.

MCCLAIN: No, no, no, no.

COOPER: What did you say?

MCCLAIN: Absolutely. There has been a tension, going back to Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, about the role of black women in the women's movement.

And this -- this tension has played out to where white women have asked black women to support them on issues of gender, but white women have not been willing to support black women on issues of race.

So that when one poses it as whether black women are torn between gender and race, they're more likely to remember the tensions within the women's movement on issues of gender and move more in the direction of my experiences as a woman but as a black woman in a society where black has been devalued.

WATTLETON: And I think for those who say that these issues have no influence on their decision, just look back a few months ago. And Mrs. Clinton was well ahead in the race. And now the statistics have reversed, and they've changed dramatically.

COOPER: And the positions haven't really changed. WATTLETON: And the positions have not changed. There have been no cataclysmic events that suggest that the positions should change. So there is the element of race and gender that intersect.

COOPER: It's a great discussion, and we'd love to have you on more to talk about it.

Faye Wattleton thanks so much.

WATTLETON: Thank you.

COOPER: And Paula McClain, it's great to have you on the program.

MCCLAIN: Thank you.

COOPER: And we hope Whoopi Goldberg and others were watching and hope they continue to discuss it.

You can go to the 360 blog to tell us what you think about tonight's story and to see Randi's original story, as well. There's also a link to see more of the discussion on "The View." The address - cnn.com/360.

Coming up tonight, it is a four-way tie in Florida for the GOP but for one candidate, some say this is "do or die." We'll tell you who, and no, we're not talking about Rudy Giuliani for once on this subject.

And remember this? A photo from Mars. It's probably a rock outcropping. But some on the Internet say it may be a man on Mars. Kind of -- we thought it looked more like Sasquatch. So we'll go in search of Big Foot in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: There's GOP candidate Mike Huckabee campaigning in Gainesville, Florida, just his third stop in the state after losing in South Carolina on Saturday.

Now, Huckabee's on a shoestring budget in Florida, which holds its primary next Thursday. He's trying to conserve money to pay for radio and TV ads in a couple of southern states ahead of the primaries February 5. His supporters are praying he's going to make it that far.

CNN's John King reports on Huckabee's challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Baptist church in Tallahassee. Rich Kincl is the pastor. Look closely at that flag. Mike Huckabee has a friend in Florida, a worried friend.

DR. RICH KINCL, SOUTHERN BAPTIST PASTOR: If I had a preference, I would stop the clock for Mike Huckabee. If we could stop the clock for six months and not have these primaries, you know, facing him so imminently here. The vast majority of Americans would get to know him.

KING: Kincl met Huckabee 25 years ago. Both were pastors in small-town Arkansas. This should be reunion week. Florida's 57 Republican delegates are up for grabs Tuesday, and Kincl is both a friend and supporter.

KINCL: His appeal is to the evangelical voter, but it's far beyond that.

KING: But Huckabee has been all but absent from the state since a disappointing second place in South Carolina Saturday. The former Arkansas governor acknowledges money is more than scarce.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've never borrowed money. We're not going to borrow money. We operate in the black.

KING: The cash crunch means no major TV ad buys in giant Florida. A few top aides have quit. Others are working without pay. Fewer events and no more big campaign plan.

HUCKABEE: Because there are some pretty crazy rumors going around that the Huckabee campaign is pulling out of Florida.

KING: Timing has not been Huckabee's friend of late. Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson is gone from the race but too late for Huckabee. Thompson's solid support among social conservatives likely cost Huckabee a much-needed win.

HUCKABEE: It would have been helpful if he had done this before. Now, if the rest of them will drop out, we'll really be happy.

KING: But Thompson's exit does create a new opening. Huckabee is now the only southerner in the Republican field and a proud Christian conservative. A poor showing here, though, could make it difficult to capitalize.

WHIT AYERS, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Governor Huckabee has done more with less than any presidential candidate in recent memory. Now if he comes in third or worse in Florida, it will look like he's on a downward trajectory.

KING: Huckabee supporters still talk of a Florida surprise, but many concede his best hope is for the race to stay jumbled, heading into less expensive and more favorable territory.

KINCL: Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas that are coming up. And he's going to be the man in those states. He's going to be a factor in this to the very end.

Mike Huckabee can run on a shoestring financially. And he will. He has great chutzpa, great determination.

KING: And the prayers of a friend in Florida.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: There are those who say now he's basically running for a VP slot. Is there any truth to that?

KING: Well, he would say no, Anderson, but he is being very nice to John McCain. He hasn't criticized any of his rivals, really, although he did take one shot at Mitt Romney's business experience tonight. And he says he's going into a debate here in Florida tomorrow night to talk about policy, not to attack his rivals.

But many do say that if he sputters, if he cannot revive himself after Florida as the campaign moves to Super Tuesday in many southern states, that that could well be a strategy, especially for somebody if the nominee were to be John McCain. He might need some help in the evangelical community where there are many doubts about John McCain. So that would be the backup plan. Mike Huckabee would not say it's the first and foremost plan.

COOPER: No one ever does, I guess. In terms of the polls, how does Florida look for the GOP?

KING: Right now, it's a fascinating race. McCain and Romney tied at the top. And what a stunning blow that is for Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani now in a new "Miami Herald" poll, down around 16 percent. You have McCain and Romney at 26 and 24. Some other polls show the race just about that at the top. And then Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee around 15 percent or 16 percent.

Rudy Giuliani has spent 52 days here. He's spent millions of dollars here, essentially staying here while everybody else was campaigning everywhere. And now he's in third place, Anderson.

He says he'll turn things around. He says he thinks he feels good about this state. But what a repudiation of the Giuliani strategy that would be if those polls holds up when Florida votes five days from now.

COOPER: All right. John King thanks.

Up next, the mysterious lights over Texas. People are convinced they're UFOs. It seems someone is now coming clean about what they really are.

And speaking of mysteries, what is that thing on Mars? We showed it to you yesterday. It's probably a rock outcropping, but a lot of folks have different theories. We'll tell you about it when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with a "360 Bulletin." Erica?

HILL: Anderson, another roller- coaster ride on Wall Street today. Stocks did manage to end higher, though, after the Dow had been down sharply earlier in the day. It closed up nearly 300 points, breaking five straight sessions of losses. The NASDAQ and the S&P also rallied.

A Spanish judge says ten terror suspects planned to carry out a series of suicide attacks on Barcelona's public transportation system last weekend. Police foiled that plan, and the suspects are now behind bars.

And you may remember a couple of weeks ago when dozens of people near Fort Worth, Texas, reported seeing a UFO. I think it was even "The Shot" here on 360.

Well, the mystery may have been solved. The Air Force says that on the night of January 28 the F-16 fighter jets were actually training in the area, Anderson. And they claim that is what everyone saw, not a UFO.

I wasn't there.

COOPER: They said there were ten jets, but then the people on the ground said we saw a ship a mile long. So I don't think that's going to satisfy those who believe.

HILL: I don't think it is either.

COOPER: They're going to come back and say this is all just part of the conspiracy, probably.

HILL: I think you've hit the nail on the head.

COOPER: Speaking of strange sightings and conspiracies, coming up on 360, we're taking a look at Big Foot.

Now, is this the real deal? And you won't want to miss the pictures. This is actually from Mars. A lot of people said it's probably a rock outcropping. There are some people who think maybe it's a guy strolling along on Mars.

We thought it kind of looked like the old pictures of Big Foot. So we're going to explore Big Foot and what he's -- what he's been up to.

Right now, though, tonight's "Beat 360." You may have heard how it works. We put a picture on the 360 blog. We ask the people to come up with a caption that's better than one of ours. We cue the cheesy music. Erica kind of wiggles. Tonight's photo -- or dances, I guess, really.

Tonight's photo, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met with President Bush yesterday, talking about a plan to stimulate the nation's economy. Now, the caption that our staff -- someone on our staff, Kate, actually came up with was, "Yes, Mr. President. The deficit is bigger than a breadbox. If you don't believe me, check the Google."

HILL: Hmm, the Google.

COOPER: The Google. The viewer who won tonight is Betty Anne from Nacogdoches, Texas. She wrote, "Don't worry that you forgot your notes, Harry. We're pretty good at 'winging it' around here."

There you go. Check out the other ideas, the other submissions we got at cnn.com/360 and feel free to play along.

Erica, "The Shot of the Day" is next, a Sasquatch sighting -- well, not really -- in outer space or closer than you think. We showed you this photo last night may prove -- well, it doesn't prove he exists. It's probably a rock outcropping on Mars. But it looks like a Sasquatch, so it got us talking about it. So we're hot on the trail of the Yeti - when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Erica, time for "The Shot." And we're going in search of Sasquatch again. Cue the music from "The Seventies Show." Now, this was last night's shot, a NASA picture from Mars. It was probably a rock formation, but there are a lot of people thought it looks like somebody strolling along on Mars; a lot of talk on the Internet about it.

HILL: Just a leisurely walk.

COOPER: Exactly. We thought it looked like that famous picture taken in the late '60s from a film that purportedly shows Sasquatch in the woods of the northwestern United States. Do we have that shot? There, see? It kind of reminded us of that...

HILL: It's pretty close.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, I think it's probably some guy in a monkey costume but you know, you can be the judge.

And you said last night that you had a friend who actually studies the existence of Big Foot...

HILL: I do.

COOPER: ... and honestly believes that Sasquatch or Yeti or Big Foot, or all three...

HILL: Big Foot.

COOPER: I'm not sure who they all are.

HILL: I think Yeti is actually the snow guy, according to Brooke Turnbull, one of the folks there in New York. But you know.

COOPER: Well, you can find out, perhaps, from your friend.

HILL: Perhaps we could.

COOPER: So you know, after scanning the world, we will say that we have noticed a lot of Big Foot sightings recently. We have a couple pictures to show you.

HILL: OK.

COOPER: Here he is at Sunday's Giants game. I didn't realize...

HILL: He's a football fan?

COOPER: Yes.

HILL: Wow, how did I miss that?

COOPER: I know. You blinked and you missed it.

He was also spotted right here in the 360 studio. From what I'm told, he gave -- the Yeti -- he gave the crew a hard time. I didn't see him. I turned around and he was gone.

And what else? So where were the other pictures that we saw him? There, he popped up at the YouTube debate. No one noticed him on stage. Barack Obama almost saw him, but I think he skipped right by him.

HILL: He was too busy fighting.

COOPER: And then Big Foot on the subway in New York was seen.

HILL: But you know nobody notice anything in New York.

COOPER: Exactly.

HILL: Please, you see stuff like that all the time.

COOPER: Right. And even if you would see a Yeti on the subway, you wouldn't talk to him.

HILL: No, I probably wouldn't. In fact I'd tell him to keep his mitts off me.

But you know, you're making fun of the Big Foot, but I really do have a friend who believes that. In fact, I called Scott Harriott, and he's here to tell us about when he did see the Big Foot -- Scott. Tell him it's true.

SCOTT HARRIOTT, HAS SEEN BIG FOOT: You folks of little faith.

COOPER: All right. Do you really believe there's a Big Foot?

HARRIOTT: I do. Well, it's not just one. It's not like a guy -- you know, there's not one scaring 100 in British Columbia, then heading down to northern California to scare a family. No, it would have to be, like, a viable breeding population.

Now, Anderson, there's a truckload of B.S. associated with the Big Foot phenomenon and there's misperception, hallucinations showing up at Celtics games and things like that. But there's actually also thousands of reports since the 1800s, footprints found that haven't been proven to be hoaxes.

COOPER: You have some proof. You say you have proof.

HARRIOTT: That was a guy named Monty Dodge (ph) in 1977, hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. I was shooting a documentary about it. He showed me this photo, found this 60 feet up off the trail. Very believable guy, doesn't drink a lot, as far as I know. And I found his story very compelling. And his is just one of many of people I've talked to.

COOPER: You've got some video, though?

HARRIOTT: Yes. There is -- this happened to me in 1992, northern California near the mouth of the Klamath River. And...

COOPER: I don't see anything, though.

HILL: I've got to say, Scott, I mean, I want to believe you, but what am I looking at?

COOPER: It says white head and a hand pointing to a white head.

HARRIOTT: Yes. Exactly, a white head. Not a zit. A white head. That's six feet off the ground. And I was there in response to a sighting two kids apparently had. Very believable.

And I've only got, what, a minute and a half to defend myself, and my hair looks like hell.

COOPER: Listen, I'm not here to criticize. If you believe it's, you know, it's -- what's the difference between a Yeti and a Big Foot and a Sasquatch?

HARRIOTT: About six inches. No, a Yeti, some believe that the Yeti and the Sasquatch are both remnants. The most popular theory is that they're remnants of a gigantopithecus, which was an ape we know existed a long time ago. We don't know if they were upright or not.

COOPER: Scott, I do appreciate it. Thanks.

And Erica, thanks very much.

If you see some remarkable video, if you see a Sasquatch, for goodness' sakes, tell us about it - cnn.com/360 - at least for Scott's sake. You can go there. You can go to our Web site. You can see all the recent shots, the other segments from the program. You can read the blog. You can check out the "Beat 360" picture. It will make you coffee

Up next, wrongly convicted for murder and finally freed after nine years behind bars. We'll put him on radar - when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: On the radar tonight, freedom for Tim Masters. The Colorado man released from jail this week after serving nine years for a murder he did not commit. DNA evidence now points to another man. That's Mr. Masters at a news conference Tuesday after his release.

CNN's Drew Griffin wrote about the story on our blog. You could check it out there.

Sharon of Indianapolis, Indiana says, "The investigator, Linda Wheeler-Holloway, has a lot of guts. The backlash she will receive for whistle-blowing her doubts about the conviction may haunt here but not as much as allowing an innocent man to stay in prison for a crime he did not commit."

And Sabrina of Los Angeles writes, "It is seriously scary when an innocent man can go to jail in a country where "innocent until proven guilty" exists. It is sad because he will never get back those years nor will he ever have a truly fixed reputation. It is a sad statement on our society when an innocent man sits in and tons of bad ones go free on technicalities."

It is sad Mr. Masters lost all those years behind bars. We certainly wish him well.

To share your feedback on this or many other stories, go to cnn.com/360, link to the blog. We'd love to hear from you.

That does it for this edition of 360. For our international viewers, CNN Today is next. Here in America, Larry King is coming.

I'll see you tomorrow night.

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