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Is the Nomination Slipping Away from Hillary Clinton?; McCain Answers The New York Times; Woman Wins Battle Against Insurance Company; Police Say Drew Peterson's Third Wife was Murdered

Aired February 22, 2008 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, after battling on stage, Obama and Clinton fight for Texas and Ohio. But is the nomination slipping away from her, along with the money to win it. And did she all but admit it last night? Or will her moment launch a comeback worthy of Bill Clinton, the comeback kid himself?
Also, John McCain taking on "The New York Times" and its story insinuating, but not proving, ethical shortcomings and infidelity. We will tell about a new revelation that could shake at least some of his defense and talk to a former confidant who says he finds the whole "Times" story hard to believe.

And, later, Drew Peterson, his fourth wife missing. His third wife is dead. And now authorities call that murder. If Drew Peterson weren't already on the hot seat, tonight, he certainly is.

We begin, though, with the Democratic scramble to the finish and questions about whether one candidate might drop out. Whatever the outcome, it is exhausting, three stops in Texas for Senator Obama, two in Ohio for Hillary Clinton, after a traumatic day in Texas that saw one of her police escorts killed.

Reports as well today that her campaign is running out of cash, while his could rake in as much as $60 million this month alone. That said, each campaign is claiming victory in last night's debate. And one moment is getting all the attention, because, to some, it sounded like a parting shot.

With that, CNN's Candy Crowley.



SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No matter what happens in this contest -- and I am honored -- I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored.

CROWLEY: And both felt good enough about how the debate went they did a little evening celebrating.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I promise you we will not just win Texas. We will win this nomination. We will win this general election. CROWLEY: They are looking at different crystal balls.

CLINTON: We are going to not only pick a nominee right here in Texas, but we are going to lay the groundwork for a great campaign this fall.

CROWLEY: Daylight was less forgiving than the night. The morning papers brought a new "Washington Post" ABC News Polls showing she has lost ground in her must-win states; her lead shrinking to seven points in Ohio, a tie in Texas.

"The New York Times" put questions about campaign spending on its front page, including details like a single-day expenditure of almost $100,000 on pre-caucus party food. And that's the problem with campaigns in a downswing. Everything wrong looks worse and things can seem different than they are.

CLINTON: Whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends.

CROWLEY: Some pundits thought it sounded like a concession speech in the making, but, in interviews today, she said it wasn't. Still, the conversation is unwelcome and difficult.

In politics, perception can nourish reality. Outside the disappointing news in her political world, there was real-life tragedy -- the death of a motorcycle policeman escorting the Clinton motorcade in Dallas.

CLINTON: We are just heartsick over this loss of life in the line of duty.

CROWLEY: It took a toll on her day. Noticeably subdued, she moved forward to the event, pitching a central campaign theme, experience in a perilous world.

CLINTON: I have been honored to represent all of you, traveling around the world to more than 80 countries. I know a lot of the leaders. I know a lot of the influential people in these countries.

CROWLEY: She cut short a Fort Worth event to visit the dead officer's family.

Riding on momentum and the encouragement of polls, Barack Obama moved through southern Texas today courting Latinos, a voting bloc that hasn't yet warmed up to him.

OBAMA: When Cesar Chavez was in the midst of the fight to organize agricultural workers, Dr. King sent him a telegram, and said, "Our cause is the same."

CROWLEY: They have all but changed places now. He's the one who seems inevitable. But, more than most, she understands inevitability is perception, not reality. She looks to Texas and Ohio to separate the two.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Candy Crowley joins us now from Austin, Texas, along with Democratic strategist and Clinton supporter Paul Begala, also political writer Jose Antonio Vargas with "The Washington Post," and Obama supporter and Democratic Jamal Simmons, president of New Future Communications.

Candy, fascinating piece. You talked about the perception and the perception of momentum that Obama has, the reality of it, also the perception that Clinton is on the downward flow. Changing that perception is very difficult once it becomes the narrative, especially in the media.

CROWLEY: It is. And it becomes very hard to kind of reshape reality.

But I will tell you something. Nothing would reshape reality better than a win for her in Texas and Ohio, both still very doable and they know that. The question is from here to there. What the time is filled with is things that go wrong. You saw that donors were beginning to worry about how they were spending money. So, all of this kind of feeds into this, "Uh-oh, she's in the wrong trajectory."

But there's nothing like winning to change that. And they still believe in camp Clinton that they can win both the states, which are really must-wins.

COOPER: And, as we have seen in this race, things can change overnight, literally.

Paul, Clinton ended last night's debate on this high note showing her personal, intimate side. She had a similar moment right before the New Hampshire primary. Not too many of those moments in between. Why is that? Because everyone seems to say those moments work for her; people like that. Why is it so rare?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think she's a woman who's got a really thick layer of Plexiglas between you and her heart. It's that Midwestern reserve. She was raised in a Republican household. Maybe that makes her a little more reserved.

But she's a very reserved person. She's not her husband, who wears his heart on his sleeve. But I couldn't have been more proud of her last night, Anderson. As you know, I have been very critical of her campaign strategy in many, many ways.

But, last night, she did open her heart a little bit, which is a big risk for her. It's hard to do for her, and she did it after -- keep in mind, this is the context.

Hillary's lost 11 primaries in a row. OK. I have lost elections as a staffer and a campaign manager, never as a candidate, and it feels like getting kicked in the gut. It feels awful. And she's being ridiculed, attacked, criticized. Her campaign is being second- guested.

There's leaking. There's firings. And she rises to the occasion and gives really one for the ages. That closing comment was Hillary's best in public life. That's why she's in this. And if people reject that, then I guess that's OK, but that's really who she is. I thought it was wonderful.

COOPER: Jose, Clinton is out with three new ads in Ohio and Texas focusing on the middle class, economic issues, and health care. They're not contrast ads about her and Barack Obama.

At this point, is this the message she has? Is there going to be any new message, you think? Some pundits have said there has to be a new message, but we're getting down to the wire here.

JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think what's important here is that she sells herself, she sells her message, particularly in Texas.

For example, a third of the electorate in Texas, a least a third is going to be Hispanic voters, and a lot of that -- a good chunk of that is going to be Hispanic women. I think the goal now for her is to try to speak directly to them, as directly as possible to them.

COOPER: Jamal, recent polls show Obama, Clinton pretty close in Texas, Clinton holding a small lead in Ohio. What does Obama have to do to try to build on the momentum? I mean, he can't obviously just rest on his laurels at this point.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, he can't rest on his laurels.

I think that they're taking this very seriously in the Obama campaign. Senator Clinton gave a great debate performance last night, but so did Senator Obama. So, the two of them sort of matched up well. And why that's really significant is because Obama needed to sort of establish that he was a commander in chief in waiting.

And I think people looked at him and said, you know what, I could see this guy as commander in chief.

At the same time, I got an e-mail from a friend last night who watched Senator Clinton and said, "You know, I love her when she's that way. Why can't she be like that more often?"

So, I think she needs to do that a little bit more. But Senator Obama is ahead right now in delegates. He is ahead right now in votes. He is ahead right now in states won. He will still be ahead in all of those things after Texas and Ohio, because he will still have won more states.

This thing is slipping out of the Clintons' hands, and you can just sort of feel it falling through the fingers like sand.

COOPER: Paul, what's going to happen with those Michigan and Florida delegates? There was an interview today with "The Texas Monthly." And Clinton pressed the argument that those delegates should be seated at the convention, even though none of the candidates competed in those states. What's your take? What do you think is going to happen? BEGALA: Well, I think something is better than nothing. Some flawed representation is better than no representation, which is what they're getting now.

My goodness, 400 whole people contested -- or participated, rather, in the Alaska caucuses, 400. And, at one point, eight million people voted in Florida.

Now, what I would do -- not that I'm king of the world -- but if I were Howard Dean or Donna Brazile, our pal, who is on the rules committee I would have what they call a firehouse caucus.

You're allowed to have that as late as June 7. Make them last. The Bible says the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Make them last. And let them run it again, because it's really not fair to award the delegates to either candidate when they both didn't compete there. Nobody campaigned there.

So, let them campaign some more. People love these candidates. It's good for the Democrats when both of them are out there, because the more they campaign the more people like the Democrats. So, I would have one last day on June 7, a firehouse caucus in Michigan and in Florida, and it could be winner take all.

COOPER: Jose, how likely do you think that is?

VARGAS: You know, at this point, especially with Bill Clinton himself saying that she must win Ohio, she must win Texas -- and the campaign hasn't really refuted that.

I think what's really important here -- I was actually with the Clinton campaign for a few days last week, and what I thought what was really interesting, there was a rally in Columbus, Ohio. And she was introduced by John Glenn, the astronaut-turned-senator.

And Clinton started talking about the fact that she wrote this letter to NASA wanting to be an astronaut, and NASA wrote her back saying that we don't have women astronauts. She needs to start talking about how she is history, too.

You seem him standing there and you look at -- and you're looking at history. And one point that I think hasn't been made, at least for her campaign, and it's this idea it's almost as if they're running on past history, instead of looking at future history. And I think that's something that she needs to talk about a little more.

COOPER: Jose -- Jose Antonio Vargas, appreciate having you on the show.

Paul Begala, Jamal Simmons, Candy Crowley, as well, thank you, all.

BEGALA: Thanks.

COOPER: Up next new evidence in John McCain's battle with "The New York Times" -- also, these stories. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): They said, today we march, tomorrow we vote. They filled out the forms, but tomorrow never came.

JESUS TORRES, CITIZEN APPLICANT: It's very disappointing. And it angers me.

COOPER: More than a million people here legally, paying taxes, wanting to vote. So, how come they're not allowed to? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And she got insurance, she got cancer, then she got dropped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you take Patsy Bates' (ph) insurance?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, we're not going to -- like we talked -- like we said earlier, we will be more than happy to talk to you, but not on camera.

COOPER: They clammed up. We investigated. And what we found will make you furious -- tonight, only on 360.



COOPER: Well, there are rumors of a John McCain-Condoleezza Rice ticket. Well, today Secretary of State Rice put an end to those rumors. Politics, she says, is not in her genes.

Maybe she's lucky, because political life means taking shots, some deserved and some not. One is accountability. The other is a smear.

So, which covers "The New York Times" story about John McCain and allegations about his relationship with a female lobbyist? We are going to bring you new evidence on both sides tonight, and you can decide for yourself.

First, CNN's Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a town hall in Indianapolis, it was all about changing the subject. John McCain tried to do that with tough talk on Cuba, so tough he even suggested he wants Fidel Castro to die.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As you know, Fidel Castro announced that he would not remain as president, whatever that means. And -- but -- and I hope that he has the opportunity to meet Karl Marx very soon.

BASH: But, on "The New York Times" story suggesting he had an inappropriate relationship with a lobbyist, which enveloped his campaign a day earlier, McCain refused to answer more questions.

MCCAIN: I had a press conference yesterday morning. I answered every question. I do not intend to discuss it further.

BASH: That, even as President Bush's spokesman attacked "The New York Times," accusing the paper of intentionally trying to torpedo GOP presidential candidates.

"'The New York Times' does try to drop a bombshell on the Republican nominee," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel. "That is something that the Republican nominee has faced in the past and will probably face in this campaign."

MCCAIN: My campaign is not doing that anymore.

BASH: But even as McCain tries to move on, "Newsweek" magazine suggests there's a hole in his story, that, in an affidavit McCain gave five years ago, he admitted the head of Paxson Communications contacted him to try to influence the Federal Communications Commission on his behalf -- that even though McCain's campaign had insisted the senator himself was not lobbied on Paxson's issue, a request to purchase a TV station.

The McCain campaign calls it splitting hairs, saying they never denied his staff was contacted by Paxson. And they stand by McCain's explanation Thursday that he did write the FCC, but never tried to influence its ruling.

MCCAIN: In the letter, I said I'm not telling you how to make a decision. I'm just telling you that you should move forward and make a decision on this issue.

BASH: All this has turned a spotlight on the lobbyists and insiders who play key roles in his campaign. Of McCain's five top advisers, two, Rick Davis and Charlie Black, are senior partners in Washington lobbying firms. Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon do not lobby but work for firms that do.

MCCAIN: I'm proud to have them as part of my team.

BASH: The man running against Washington's special interests says there's nothing wrong with having advisers who lobby.

MCCAIN: It's not whether the individuals, many of whom are very honorable. It's whether a system or people have violated the trust of the people as the representatives.

BASH (on camera): One senior adviser, Charlie Black, still actively lobbies Congress while he works for the McCain campaign. Black tells CNN he helps McCain strictly on a volunteer basis and insists he never lobbies McCain, whom he's known for 30 years, on any issue for a client.

Dana Bash, CNN, Indianapolis.


COOPER: One late note since Dana filed her report. "The Washington Post" is reporting that Lowell Paxson says that he did in fact meet with Senator McCain before sending those letters to the FCC. The story, it seems, is not over.

Yet another view now from a McCain confidant who says he was in a position to know about some of the central points of "The New York Times" story.

He spoke this evening with CNN's Drew Griffin, who joins me now. Drew.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, his name is Dan Schnur, was communications director for the McCain campaign back in 1999, right in the middle of all this, says he should have known if anything was going on. That was his job.

Well, he's now out of politics, doesn't even support McCain, but went on record with me today to say, if there was any illicit relationship with a woman or lobbyist, it was his job to know. He says he didn't have it.


DAN SCHNUR, FORMER MCCAIN CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I started with the campaign in April of 1999. And, as "The Times" reported, this confrontation, as it was, took place slightly before that.

But, over the course of the next several months, over the course of the next year, any type of damage control or crisis communication that took place was generally something that found its way to my desk to handle. So, I'm surprised that, had there been concerns along these lines, even predating my arrival, again, I suspect it's something I would have heard of.

GRIFFIN: And you did not -- just to be clear, you did not hear of any troubles with the senator getting too cozy with lobbyists, too cozy with one particular lobbyist, this woman, Vicki Iseman, and you didn't hear or see any improper relationship there?

SCHNUR: I did not hear anything even remotely relating to that.

In fact -- in fact, one of the projects that I was assigned in a point during the campaign was a question of whether McCain had done some work improperly on behalf of Paxson Communications, this lobbyist's client.

I looked into it with my team, with my staff. We investigated it, and concluded that nothing inappropriate had happened.

GRIFFIN: "Newsweek" is now reporting that the senator indeed did say he wrote letters on behalf of Paxson, and was urging a decision to be made for this telecommunications company. But what you're telling me is that there was nothing improper about that and that you knew about those letters at the time?

SCHNUR: Yes. Not only did we know about the letters; in fact, Mark Busey, who was then the staff for the Senate Commerce Committee and is now Senator McCain's chief of staff, Mark and I held a press briefing in which we went through almost every piece of correspondence that John McCain had signed during his career in both the House and the Senate.

We talked about this one in particular. And what we said then, eight years ago -- and I will make the same point now -- is McCain did not advocate a particular action on behalf of Paxson, either for them or, for that matter, against them. He simply asked the relevant regulatory body to act, because they had taken so much longer than normal to make a decision.

GRIFFIN: Dan, let me ask you one more question...


GRIFFIN: ... about Vicki Iseman, the Vicki Iseman that you -- you knew. At any time that you saw her and saw her with John McCain, was there anything that seemed inappropriate, unseemly? Was she a little too close to the candidate?

SCHNUR: Well, I need to correct the premise of your question. I didn't know her. I met her on one, maybe two, occasions. And I have to tell you, those occasions were sufficiently unremarkable that I honestly don't remember if John McCain was even present or not, which means, if there had been any inappropriate or untoward or overly personal behavior on either one of their parts, I would remember.

The fact that I don't even remember if McCain was there suggests that there wasn't.

GRIFFIN: On that note, we will leave it. Thanks, Dan.

SCHNUR: Thank you.


GRIFFIN: A couple of shockers out of this, Anderson. Schnur told me he told all this to "The New York Times" months ago on the record. "The Times" says they didn't put any of his comments in the paper, but did take the comments of those anonymous sources instead.

The other shocker, this may be playing right into McCain's hands. He's holding up the story by "The Times" as an example of a liberal attack on a conservative in this race, and asking donations to fight it, and those donations pouring in. A McCain campaign official tells our John King McCain has raised nearly $2 million since this story came out -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, interesting stuff.

Drew Griffin, thanks.

Coming up on 360 - angry Latinos saying, no, se puede, no, we can't, when it comes to voting in the November election. A bureaucratic logjam could bar half-a-million Latinos from the polls. Tonight, we're trying to find out why. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

First, Erica Hill joins us with the 360 bulletin. Erica. ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Congressman Rick Renzi indicted on charges that include extortion, wire fraud, and money laundering. The Arizona Republican is accused of supporting legislation in exchange for a land deal that netted him more than $700,000. Renzi is a co-chairman of Senator John McCain's campaign. McCain says he does not have sufficient details on this case to make a judgment.

In Belgrade, Serbia - nonessential American workers being evacuated following yesterday's attack by demonstrators on the U.S. Embassy there. The embassy is closed while investigators spend the weekend assessing the damage.

Some tense moments on an American Airlines flight this afternoon. The pilot had to make an emergency landing because of some trouble with the nose gear. The Chicago-bound plane was actually diverted just shortly after takeoff. It took off from West Palm Beach and then it landed safely just down the road, actually, in Miami.

And, today, Jennifer Lopez, the moment you have been waiting for, she gave birth to two bundles of joy very early this morning. Her daughter arrived first, a little brother born about 15 minutes later. These are the first kids for J. Lo, the fourth and fifth, I believe, for her husband, Marc Anthony.


HILL: If my count is right.

COOPER: Well, that's very nice. Do we know their -- we don't know their names yet, right?

HILL: No, I haven't seen anything on the names. In fact, I haven't seen a lot of detail at all. It's surprising.

COOPER: Interesting.


HILL: Very tight-lipped.


Coming up - "What Were They Thinking?" tonight. This is unbelievable video, a nanny caught on tape tossing around a baby, a baby in her care. What is she thinking? We will take a look at that.

And later, a bombshell in the strange story of Drew Peterson -- investigators now saying his third wife's death? Oh, yes, that was murder, as they look for his missing fourth wife -- the story when 360 continues.


COOPER: Time now, Erica, for our segment "What Were They Thinking?" This one is hard to believe. A nanny was caught red-handed on one of those nanny cams basically tossing around an infant while she watches TV. In other clips, the baby is repeatedly picked up like a little bale of hey.

HILL: Oh, my gosh, that poor kid.

COOPER: Yes, carried around like a football under the nanny's arm.

HILL: Nice.

COOPER: This is the mom now. The nanny-cam was installed by the mom of twin boys seven months old.

Obviously, the mom was watching this in horror from work on her computer.

HILL: What?

COOPER: And then she raced home and obviously sent the nanny packing. No word if any charges are going to be brought at this point.

HILL: That's awful.

COOPER: Yes. Just where do they find these people?

They have done everything right. So, why will half-a-million legal immigrants -- legal immigrants -- not be able to vote this election? We're keeping the government honest.

And here's tonight's "Beat 360." Cue the cheesy music.

Republican presidential Mike Huckabee at a bowling alley in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Here's the caption from our staff winner, Anna. "And if you look at it from just the right angle, you can see me in the Oval Office."

If you think you can do better, go to Send us your submission. We will announce the winner at the end of the program.



OBAMA: ... with our economy that needs to be fixed. So, if you're ready for change, we're going to fix it.


COOPER: That's Barack Obama there, obviously, at a -- live right now at a rally in Austin, Texas. There's going to be a Clinton rally shortly. We will bring that live to you as well.

Both Democratic presidential candidates have repeatedly used a certain Spanish phrase when reaching out to the Latino voters with their message of change, exhorting the voters with "Si, se puede," "Yes, we can."

But half-a-million angry Latinos are saying, no, we can't. What they can't do apparently is vote. A bureaucratic logjam could keep hundreds of thousands of Latinos from casting their ballots on Election Day.

So, we wanted to find out why.

"Keeping Them Honest" tonight, here's Thelma Gutierrez.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a massive turnout in major cities across the U.S., legal immigrants answering the call to become U.S. citizens. They chanted: "Today, we march. Tomorrow, we vote."

But, of course, no one knew about the obstacle course that would follow.

(on camera): What happened next stunned everyone. The number of legal immigrants, legal taxpaying immigrants, applying for U.S. citizenship more than doubled last year. A record 1.4 million immigrants, mostly Latinos, applied in plenty of time to vote, or what should have been plenty of time to vote, in the presidential election.

JESUS TORRES, CITIZEN APPLICANT: It's very disappointing. And it angers me.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Jesus Torres, who came from Mexico when he was 10, is married and a father to 5-year-old Edgar (ph). He applied for citizenship last year, so he could vote.

TORRES: If I get a chance, I will be able to put my voice out there and let it be heard.

GUTIERREZ: And, "Keeping Them Honest," we learned that's where the obstacle course begins.

First, the government raised the citizenship application fee from $400 to $675, a higher fee so it could afford to hire more than 3,000 new workers to process all the applications. Even so, Emilio Gonzales, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, says the government was overwhelmed.

EMILIO GONZALEZ, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: What we weren't prepared for, quite frankly, was the avalanche of applications that we got.

GUTIERREZ: The next obstacle, Jesus and hundreds of thousands of others received these government notices.

(on camera) It says you should expect to be notified within 365 days of this notice. That's one year.

TORRES: Yes. GUTIERREZ: What did you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it's just way too long. I didn't really expect that. I expected maybe sooner than that so I'll be able to vote and participate. With this in mind, my chances are very slim.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Labor organizer Eliseo Medina helped organized the citizenship drive and can't imagine how this became such a mess.

ELISEO MEDINA, LABOR ORGANIZER: In theory, their job is to plan for these kind of things and to be ready. That's why they said they were raising the fees.

GUTIERREZ: Julia Moreno is studying at home to take the citizenship test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many stripes are there on our flag?

GUTIERREZ: She believes the delays are another case of Latinos being taken for granted.

JULIA MORENO, CITIZENSHIP APPLICANT: We're angry, because they think this is not necessary. It's not necessary the Spanish people to have to vote. It's not important. But it's very important.

GUTIERREZ: Gonzalez says that's absurd. He's a naturalized citizen himself. But members of Congress are also angry with the delays. Last month, Gonzales was put in the hot seat.

REP. LINDA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: The waiting times keep getting longer, not shorter. And I find that incredibly frustrating.

GONZALEZ: There's a right way of doing things and a wrong way of doing things and that we're not going to sacrifice quality. And we're not going to sacrifice security for the sake of production.

GUTIERREZ: Gonzales concedes a half million may not become citizens in time to vote.

TORRES: I've been waiting for this day for so long, and now when I get a chance to do it, I'm going to probably be one of the first ones out there in line, ready to cast my vote.

GUTIERREZ: But clearly, no one knew how long that line would be.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: Many lawful immigrants affected by the backlog are taking legal action. Here's the raw data.

Last year more than 4,400 people sued up the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to speed up the background checks. That's up from 270 lawsuits that were filed back in 2005. Moving on, if you're like millions of Americans, you've probably experienced health insurance aggravation, but nothing, we hope, like this next story. Straight ahead, a nightmare that is happening to more and more people all the time.


COOPER (voice-over): And she got insurance, she got cancer, then she got dropped.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why did you take away Patsy Bates's insurance?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not going to -- like we talked, like we said earlier, we'll be more than happy to talk to you, but not on camera.

COOPER: They clammed up. We investigated, and what we found will make you furious - only on 360.

Drew Peterson, he says his third wife's death was an accident, his fourth wife's disappearance, no crime. So what does he say now that his third wife's death is ruled a homicide? 360 tonight.




CLINTON: It's morally wrong and it's economically dumb for us not to cover everybody, and we are going to do that if you help me get there.

OBAMA: I'll put forward a plan that says every single person in these United States will be able to get health care that is at least good as the health care I have as a member of Congress.


COOPER: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama out on the trail in Texas today, taking a page from last night's debate talking up their different plans for health care reform.

The story, though, that you're about to hear is not about reform. It's about raw outrage.

The case of a woman who had her coverage canceled just as she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. But today, the patient found some measure of relief in a multi-million-dollar award.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is "Keeping Them Honest."


COHEN (voice-over): When Patsy Bates signed up with a new health insurance company, she got a letter: "Welcome to the HealthNet family." But a few months later, she didn't feel so welcome.

Her doctors found a lump in her breast. It was cancer, and the HealthNet insurance company dropped her, just when she was starting chemotherapy.


COHEN: A self-employed hairdresser in Southern California, Bates was panicked. How would she pay for the rest of her treatment?

BATES: I shed a lot of tears, and I just prayed a lot. And I said, "Lord, what do I do? What do I do here?"

COHEN: What she did was go into arbitration against HealthNet, and Friday, she won big; more than $9 million.

BATES: And I thank God that it came in my favor. And I'm just -- I'm just so happy.

COHEN: The case has been closely watched, as insurance cancellations have become a problem in many states.

WILLIAM SHERNOFF, ATTORNEY: It's a shameful practice that needs to be stopped. This decision will go a long way to stopping that, because it's the first of its kind.

COHEN: In a statement, HealthNet said, "The arbitrator raised some serious concerns. We take this very seriously and are committed to resolving these issues. Effective immediately, we will rescind no policies without a binding, external, third-party review process."

(on camera) How are you?

(voice-over) That's a significant change from their earlier reaction. We tried to get an on-camera statement from HealthNet when they were in the middle of their arbitration with Bates, and this is what happened.

(on camera) Why won't you tell me on camera? I just want to know why you won't -- why you took away Patsy Bates's insurance. So you're not going to talk to us?

(voice-over) In arbitration and in a letter to CNN, HealthNet argued that, when Bates applied for insurance, she signed an application saying she'd never had any major illnesses.

But once she was diagnosed with cancer, the insurance company found out she'd been diagnosed with heart valve problems some ten years earlier, and that just a few weeks before applying for insurance she'd gone to the emergency room with chest pains, where she says doctors found nothing wrong.

Bates says she did nothing dishonest. The insurance salesman filled out the form.

(on camera) So he said, do you have any major illnesses and you said? BATES: No.

COHEN: No, because you didn't at the time.

BATES: No, I did not.

COHEN (voice-over): The judge clearly sided with Bates. In his decision, Judge Sam Cianchetti wrote, "It's hard to imagine a situation more trying than the one Bates has had to endure. HealthNet's conduct was reprehensible."

Particularly reprehensible, the judge said, was that HealthNet gave a bonus to the employee who canceled Bates' insurance. In fact, in 2003, that employee, Barbara Fowler, canceled 300 policies.

"2003 was a banner year for Barbara," her supervisor wrote in her annual review. Over six years, Fowler received $20,000 in bonuses.

Attempts to get a response from Fowler...

BARBARA FOWLER, HEALTHNET: No, that is my sentence (ph). What were you asking me about?


COOPER: You wonder how this person can sleep at night, their job being to cancel policies on people who are suddenly diagnosed with illnesses. That's just unbelievable. Banner year for this woman.

How common is this practice?

COHEN: You know, we talked to experts about this, Anderson, and they said several states have fined insurance companies for illegally taking away people's policies.

And they think that's just the tip of the iceberg. They think way more policies are being taken away than what have been found.

One California official said, "We know of a case of a woman who was diagnosed with cancer. Her insurance company canceled her because they said, 'Hey, you had acne as a teenager, and you never told us.'" And that's their reason for pulling away the insurance.

COOPER: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks.

COHEN: Thanks.

COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight. Just remarkable.

Some breaking news - the crash of an Air Force B-2 stealth bomber in the American Pacific territory of Guam. Erica Hill has got the details. Erica.

HILL: Anderson, reports right now very preliminary, but what we do know is that the two crew members ejected. And they are said to be in good condition. No word on their injuries. According to the Air Force, it all happened on takeoff from Anderson Air Force base. That's on the island of Guam. That B-52, by the way. The B-2, rather, was attached to the Air Force's 509th bomber wing. And if that division rings a bell, it may be because it's the same unit that actually housed the B-29s that bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Still digging around on this one to see if there any more details. But the two crew members did eject, Anderson. We're told they're in good condition.

COOPER: That's the most important news, certainly, for any family member or member of the Air Force who may be watching. We'll continue to follow the story and bring you any updates as we can.

Coming up next tonight, his fourth wife is missing. Now police say wife No. 3 was murdered. The new controversy surrounding that guy, Drew Peterson.

Plus a major snowstorm paralyzes the northeast. More than 1,000 flights canceled. Just got -- our producer, Sean (ph), is supposed to be on vacation right now but is sitting in our control room. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Again, this breaking new story that we are following. A B-2 stealth bomber has crashed in Guam. This video from KUAM, our KUAM affiliate there. Reports are very preliminary. Two crew members ejected, and they are in good condition. No word on their injuries, but two crew members did eject.

It happened, according to the Air Force, on takeoff from Anderson Air Force base on the island. The B-2's attached to the Air Force's 509th bomber wing.

Again, this video coming from KUAM on the island of Guam. And we'll continue to follow any developments.

Coming up, the strange story of an ex-cop. Drew Peterson's fourth wife went missing last October, and a pathologist had just declared that the death of wife No. 3 was murdered. We'll have that story in a moment.

But first, Erica Hill joins us again with the "360 News and Business Bulletin."

HILL: Anderson, heavy snow in the northeast caused travel chaos today. Up to a foot of snow in some parts meant hundreds of canceled flights and long delays at New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia airports.

A positive end to the week, after the stock market spent most of the day in negative territory, the Dow Jones closing up 96 points to end at 12,381. The NASDAQ basically flat. It did manage to tack on three while the S&P 500 added ten. And a woman's words from the grave is helping to convict her husband of her murder. A Wisconsin jury says the key evidence here was Julie Jensen's letter with detailed suspicions -- detailing suspicions, rather, that Mark Jensen was planning to poison her. As one juror put it, quote, "She left a road map to her murder," Anderson.

COOPER: So bizarre. And there was a lot of question about whether they'd actually allow the letter in.

HILL: Right.

COOPER: They did allow it. And clearly, it had a big impact on the jury.

HILL: It did.

COOPER: Tonight, in "Crime and Punishment," another twist in the story of the missing Illinois woman, Stacy Peterson. She's the fourth wife of former cop Drew Peterson, and she hasn't been seen since October.

Well, today a pathologist decided that the death of Drew Peterson's third wife was, in fact, murder.

CNN's David Mattingly reports.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new autopsy confirms what her family believed all along - Kathleen Savio, the third wife of Drew Peterson, did not drown accidentally in her bathtub. Someone killed her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really hard to swallow. I think we're happy that it's finally confirmed that it's a homicide. And we just have to hope whoever did it will be brought to justice.

MATTINGLY: Ex-Chicago area cop and ex-husband Drew Peterson called the findings unbelievable. He has not been named a suspect in her death. He is, however, a suspect in the disappearance of wife No. 4.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a guy that has one wife who died of an accident and another one who ran off, which may make him unlucky, but nothing mischievous about either of those two things.

MATTINGLY: Stacy Peterson vanished in October. Her husband says he believes she ran off with another man. Her family hopes the homicide of wife No. 3 sheds new light on Stacy's disappearance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It leaves one an eerie feeling of dread. We realize that Kathleen and Stacy had one common denominator, and that was Drew Peterson.

MATTINGLY: Concerns about Peterson apparently go back years. His second wife reportedly told the "Chicago Tribune" Peterson said he could kill her and make it look like an accident. The family of Peterson's third wife said she once filed a temporary order of protection fearing he could kill her. And Stacy, wife No. 4, told her family she feared for her life days before she disappeared.

(on camera) The niece of Kathleen Savio tells CNN that her family believes that Drew Peterson stood to gain millions from her death from businesses they owned and multiple life insurance policies. Reached at his home, Peterson declined to give any comment.

David Mattingly, CNN, Chicago.


COOPER: Such a strange story.

Up next, Erica Hill is back with more on the case. To say that Drew Peterson hasn't acted like a grieving husband would be an understatement. You see him there with his little camcorder --

What is going on with this guy? Erica looks into that.

Also ahead, a car chase with a twist, literally. It is our "Shot of the Day," coming up.


COOPER: More now on Drew Peterson. As we mentioned before the break, a pathologist has ruled the death of his third wife is murder. It's cast new light, of course, on the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.

Erica Hill joins me again with more on Mr. Peterson, who is quite the character.

HILL: Yes, and it's interesting how these two, the third and the fourth wife actually keep bringing the other's case back to the forefront.

From the beginning, Drew Peterson really struck a chord. And when I blogged about these developments surrounding the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, earlier today, the overwhelming response was definitely not sympathy for Drew Peterson. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

Since Stacy Peterson went missing, Drew Peterson's actions have pretty much been dissected at every turn. When he sat down with "The Today Show's" Matt Lauer about two weeks after his wife disappeared, it was his response to Lauer's final question that really had people talking.


MATT LAUER, HOST, NBC'S "THE TODAY SHOW": And if Stacy is out there, as you say, where she wants to be, perhaps with another man, perhaps even watching this interview, what would you say to Stacy, your fourth wife?

DREW PETERSON, SUSPECT IN FOURTH WIFE'S DISAPPEARANCE: Come home. Tell people where you are. And that's all I can say.


HILL: It was that tone and that laugh that were picked apart on what seems like every news channel. In fact, his behavior also became a story in itself. Just after Thanksgiving he famously brought out his own video camera to shoot the media shooting him.


PETERSON: What I want to talk about is I'm going to come camp myself in front of your house and see if you like it.


HILL: And what may have really been the kicker for a lot of people, just about a month ago he was a guest on a Chicago radio show where he told the host that he'd been getting a lot more attention lately from women.


STEVE DAHL, HOST, "STEVE DAHL MORNING SHOW": You want to do a dating game tomorrow? I'll do a dating game with you.

JOEL BRODSKY, PETERSON'S ATTORNEY: Drew, it's up to you, man.

PETERSON: I don't know. Ask the lawyer.

BRODSKY: Yes, why not?

DAHL: All right. Let's do it tomorrow at 8. What do you say?

PETERSON: Sure. Tomorrow at 8.

DAHL: Yes.

BRODSKY: It'll be interesting. Who picks the date, though?

DAHL: Drew.


DAHL: I'll line up the bachelorettes, and then Drew gets to pick from the three girls.

PETERSON: OK. Sounds good. Only three?

DAHL: But I think we're probably going to send a chaperone on the date just to be on the safe side.

PETERSON: Oh, come on.

DAHL: I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

(END AUIDOCLIP) HILL: Yes, well, the date never happened.

Peterson's attorney, who was on there, Joel Brodsky, responded to the criticism by saying, "Hey, you know, this was all a joke." The joke, though, didn't win Peterson any fans.

For the past month, he'd actually been staying out of the headlines until yesterday, of course, when we learned his third wife's death is now considered a homicide. He has not commented on that new report.

But just to reiterate, police, Anderson, have not named any suspects at this point in Kathleen Savio's death.

COOPER: And Kathleen Savio had at one point, I guess, had an order of protection against Drew Peterson. Was he abusive?

HILL: Well, you know, that's a question that a lot of people want answered. In 2002 she did file for this temporary order of protection. Remember, she was found dead in 2004. She actually wrote in the letter there that she -- she feared for her life.

And then when it came to Stacy Peterson, we heard from David Mattingly that she had told her friends and family she feared for her life, that she was going to file for -- she wanted a divorce, that is. Drew Peterson, though, has maintained that he was not abusive. In fact, he talked publicly about Stacy Peterson saying he never hit her, and that she would always say she wanted a divorce when she was upset about something.

COOPER: It bears pointing out, too, just because the guy is kind of creepy or a jerk doesn't necessarily make him a murderer.

HILL: Absolutely. It doesn't.

COOPER: He's told his kids -- I mean, his story is now that Stacy Peterson has gone off with some other man. Do we know what he's told his kids?

HILL: From what I understand -- you know, I was digging around this afternoon, too, to see if I missed anything. Did he change his story? But apparently, four months later he is still telling their two young children, I believe ages 2 and 4, that their mom is on vacation.

COOPER: All right. Erica Hill, thanks.

Next on 360, you're not going to want to miss this one; a high- speed car chase in L.A. Where else? Wait until you see how it all ended. It's "The Shot" today.


COOPER: Today's "Shot" showcases some fancy driving by the LAPD. Cops chase a suspected stolen car along the freeway for about half an hour. It ended with a pretty amazing pit maneuver. Check it out.

HILL: Where is it? There we go. I love the old station wagon, by the way. It's a classic.

COOPER: I know. If you're going to make a big run for it, I think -- we'll have the pit maneuver any second now. There it is.

HILL: There we go. There we go.

Yes, I see that pit maneuver. And Anderson Cooper, I don't know if you're aware, but over -- during my days at Headline News, we covered a car chase or two.

COOPER: Oh, yes?

HILL: So I'm rather well versed on these pit maneuvers. So I bring you the mother of all pit maneuvers from our friends over at YouTube. Watch this one. Got a little music too.

COOPER: Wow. Wow.

HILL: Oh, no, we're not done. Yes, you can't get me, buddy. I'm on the run.

COOPER: Wow. Oh, another one.

HILL: And strike two. This guy, though, has amazing control.


HILL: I mean, if you're going to be in a car chase running from the law...

COOPER: This is the guy you want?

HILL: ... you're riding shotgun, I want him in the driver's seat.

COOPER: How long -- how long does this go on for?

HILL: It goes on for a while, in fact. We're not going to show the whole thing, but this one, you kind of think it's over, right?


HILL: Into the side? No, no. He actually backs up, starts driving backwards.


HILL: So it continues on for a little bit.

COOPER: Goodness.

HILL: One thing I'll never understand is why people think they're going to get away.

COOPER: It's just so stupid, yes.

HILL: There are helicopters chasing you. COOPER: All right. If you see some remarkable video tell us about it - You can go there. You can see all the stuff. You can see the "Beat 360" picture. The address again

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

I'll see you on Monday. Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend.