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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Iraqi PM Hopes U.S. Troops Leave in 2010; Gore's Green Plan; Media Bias; Butcher of Bosnia Apprehended

Aired July 21, 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: We begin tonight with "Breaking News;" news with potentially major consequences for the war in Iraq.
After days of political wrangling over what Iraq's Prime Minister wants regarding U.S. troop withdrawals, tonight, just a short time ago, Senator Barack Obama released a statement along with his traveling companions in Iraq, Republican Chuck Hagel and Democrat Jack Reed.

In describing their meeting today with Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, they say, in part Iraqis want an aspirational time table with a clear date for the redeployment of American combat troops. They do not, according to Maliki, want an open-ended presence of U.S. combat forces. It goes on to say Maliki stated his hope that U.S. combat forces could be out of Iraq in 2010.

That is similar to Obama's 16-month plan, poles apart from John McCain says he knows Iraq has really want and substantially stronger than the White House, which has refused to use the term timetable but has reluctantly signed on to what they are calling "Joint Aspirational Time Horizon."

We'll take you to Iraq in a moment.

But first, CNN's Ed Henry is on the north lawn of the White House tonight with the latest -- Ed.

ED HENRY, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, the significance is extraordinary. You now have the Iraqi prime minister here driving himself, jumping right into the middle of the U.S. presidential campaign and further driving a wedge between the two political parties and clearly coming down on the side of Barack Obama.

Now, John McCain is trying to push back here by saying that the only reason why anyone, including Prime Minister Maliki, is having this conversation about more U.S. troops coming home is that the surge that John McCain supported and Barack Obama opposed is working.

And that's giving the breathing space to have this conversation about bringing troops home. But McCain's pushback is being completely undermined by the fact that this really plays into what Barack Obama has been saying for so long on the campaign trail. And the irony obviously is that the only reason why Maliki has any credibility is that John McCain, President Bush and others have been propping him up for the last couple of years and now he appears to be turning on them, Anderson. COOPER: What would be Maliki's motive to, at this point, really get deeply involved in the U.S. campaign?

HENRY: Well clearly, Maliki has been in a politically precarious situation for the last couple of years. By pushing back against the Americans, that can only help him back home standing up for Iraqi sovereignty. But also you have to remember right now Maliki is in intense negotiations with President Bush about the future U.S. presence on the ground in Iraq there.

The president is under great pressure to get this done quickly for legacy purposes to have something that goes beyond his own presidency. So the White House knows that Maliki is playing some hardball here. But aides at the White House and in the McCain camp as well have really been stunned by just how hard Maliki is pushing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY: It was a shocker from Baghdad. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki all but endorsed Democrat Barack Obama's plan for pulling U.S. combat troops, telling a German magazine 16 months is the right time frame for a withdrawal.

That seems to step on Republican John McCain's message that a timetable for pulling troops only helps the terrorists.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It doesn't in the slightest undercut the fact that it's based on conditions on the ground. And that we have to maintain the progress that we have.

HENRY: McCain says Maliki is still on the same page with the U.S. because there are caveats to any withdrawal; a posture that again puts the Republican candidate in sync with an unpopular White House.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is totally based on conditions on the grounds which have improved and are likely to continue given the trajectory as long as we work to cement the gains.

HENRY: McCain and the president have previously talked about American troops coming home when the Iraqi government wants the U.S. to leave. But they're not saying that anymore.

MCCAIN: It has to be based on conditions on the ground. But whenever you win wars, and we are winning, then we will be able to come home.

HENRY: Maliki has different ideas. After initially saying the prime minister was misinterpreted in the magazine article, a spokesman said in fact the Iraqi government would like to see most U.S. combat troops leave by 2010. That's pretty much Obama's plan; giving the Democrat a clear lift during his trip to Iraq and other hot spots.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I have had a wonderful visit so far, and excellent conversations.

HENRY: Putting the White House on the defensive could be a deliberate move by Maliki to strengthen his political standing within Iraq in advance of fall elections. It may also help him squeeze the White House during talks over the long-term U.S. role in Iraq. He already won a major concession Friday when the White House embraced a general time horizon for removing U.S. troops; this, after years of the president rejecting what he called Democratic timetables.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY: Dana Perino stressed today that the U.S. believes the Iraqis do not want to pull out arbitrarily, and so that's different than a Democratic plan to set a firm deadline to withdraw U.S. troops. But is that a real difference or is it just a semantical shift by the White House?

We may find out as early as next week, that's when the White House hopes to wrap up these talks with Maliki about the future long-term presence in there Iraq -- Anderson.

COOPER: The back and forth on this is confusing and it's easy to get lost in the weave. The bottom line though is that this just seems to be a major shift on the part of the Iraqi government, whether it's for domestic and political reasons in Iraq on the part of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, but as of Friday from the article on "Der Spiegel" to now, this is a big sea change for the Iraqis.

HENRY: It is. Maliki has been on the same page with this President so for long, as I noted. President Bush has propped Maliki up. They've both had an incentive to sort of be in it together.

It looks like based on this magazine article that Maliki is starting to split himself ever so slightly from this White House. And then, over the weekend, the White House was saying, wait a second, he's clarifying, he didn't really mean that. And then today, a spokesman for Maliki came out and reiterated exactly what Maliki said in that article, that basically he wants troops out by 2010.

So the White House is in a precarious spot. It is clear Maliki is starting to split himself from this White House, Anderson.

COOPER: Ed thanks, we're going to more now on the broader trip that Barack Obama is taking and the bigger political picture. What Senator Obama is trying to accomplish as he makes his way west from Kabul where he was this weekend through the Middle East and Europe.

Candy Crowley has tonight's "Raw Politics."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Barack Obama is 6,200 miles from the nearest U.S. campaign trail. But as he steps into the international arena, the imagery sent back home is all American, commander-in-chief like. A helicopter tour of Iraq with David Petraeus, the general in charge of multinational forces; a chow down with the troops in Afghanistan; basketball with U.S. forces in Kuwait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, how is the trip? OBAMA: Great so far. Thank you.

CROWLEY: But if there is anything better in politics than imagery, it is timing, and Barack Obama has it.

OBAMA: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you so much for having me.

CROWLEY: Politics and on the ground developments dove-tailed in Afghanistan where Obama visited with President Hamid Karzai and U.S. troops.

The trip comes amidst a resurgence of Al Qaeda and increase in attacks on coalition troops there. It lends weight to Obama's argument that the war in Iraq has distracted the U.S. from the real war on terror in Afghanistan.

OBAMA: We've got to have a clear strategic vision that uses all of our power, our economic power, our diplomatic power, our intellectual power as well as our military power to help make this world safer.

CROWLEY: This trip could help bolster Obama's foreign policy credentials though he told CBS he sees it more like laying the groundwork for his presidency.

OBAMA: The objective of this trip was to have substantive discussions with people like President Karzai or Prime Minister Maliki or President Sarkozy or others who I expect to be dealing with over the next 8 to 10 years.

CROWLEY: Iraq ends Obama's Pentagon-sponsored portion of his trip. From there on out to Jordan, Israel, France, Germany and England it's a campaign-paid journey aboard the Obama campaign plane. His campaign insists this is not a campaign trip; it is an opportunity to discuss substantive issues with world leaders.

It's a balancing act. Looking presidential without seeming presumptuous, looking like a man who can help heal U.S. relations overseas and still like a man who will stand up for U.S. interests. Looking like a world player without seeming political.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Oman, Jordan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Let us know what you think about this trip. How it's going, let us know on our blog. You can join the conversation, we're live blogging; ac360.com is the address.

Up next, we're "Digging Deeper" with David Gergen, Gloria Borger and Peter Bergen about the situation in Iraq and Obama's trip.

Also, the veepstakes, a new report that John McCain could be a lot closer to picking a running mate than anyone expected. There are actually conflicting reports on this. We'll take a look at who's in the running for both McCain and Obama. And later we are tracking Dolly, a tropical storm right now, expected to grow to hurricane strength. CNN's Chad Myers tonight is following the late bulletins, crunching new numbers. We're expecting to get an update shortly; we'll bring that to you as soon as we get it live ahead on "360."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Barack Obama today with General David Petraeus, head of central command and architect of the so-called surge.

Our "Breaking News" tonight; more evidence of a major shift in thinking on the part of the Iraqi government. Iraq's prime minister again, stating his desire to see American combat forces gone in 2010; not vague goals. Certainly not the kind of long-term commitment the Bush administration wants or John McCain envisions.

Also breaking tonight, Barack Obama coming as close as he's ever come to saying he was wrong in opposing the so-called surge. Telling ABC's Terry Moran he quote, "Did not anticipate the convergence of not only the surge, but the Sunni awakening in which a whole host of Sunni tribal leaders decided they've had enough of Al Qaeda."

He appointed as well to Shia militia's standing down and sadly the ethnic cleansing that drove Shia and Sunni out of direct contact. Now he goes on to tell Terry Moran and quote, "I am glad that in fact those political dynamics shifted at the same time that our troops did outstanding work."

Now this echoes what Obama said in a statement released just a few hours ago, saying, "Violence is down significantly in Iraq and he attributes it to and I quote, "The extraordinary efforts of our armed forces, more effective Iraqi security forces, the decision by the Sunni awakening to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq, and the ceasefire by Shia militia."

"Digging Deeper" now with CNN senior political analysts, David Gergen and Gloria Borger, also CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen who was recently in Iraq.

David, what do you make of these moves now by the Maliki government saying it wants American combat troops out of Iraq by 2010?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: This is a dramatic shift, Anderson. This drumbeat has been now coming since last Friday as you just pointed out. And it's very clear that as elections approach in Iraq, Maliki is asserting a certain kind of nationalism there. And it's a chip which does bolster Barack Obama's argument; just as President Bush sending an envoy to talk to the Iranians just last week bolsters his position.

But let me add a contrarian point. I think it was -- Barack Obama made the first mistake of his trip in my judgment in releasing a statement in which he said exactly what Maliki had said in those conversations. We have a long tradition in this country that we only have one president at a time. He's the commander-in-chief and the negotiator- in-chief. I cannot remember a campaign in which a rival seeking the presidency has been in a position negotiating a war that's under way with another party outside the country.

I think he leaves himself open to the charge tonight that he's meddling, that this is not his role; that he can be the critic but he's not the negotiator. We have a president who does that.

So and I think the underlying facts support him, but I think it would be a real mistake and I think it was a mistake to get into these conversations and let it be used politically.

COOPER: That's interesting.

Gloria, do you think this is the first mistake he's made?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know it's very interesting. I do agree with David and Candy in her earlier piece talked about walking the fine line between being this candidate and being presumptuous.

And I think that he may just have crossed that, because, you know, it is a tradition. You don't talk about these private conversations. And it's not up to Barack Obama right now to negotiate troop withdrawals. It's up to Barack Obama to be on a fact-finding mission, which is indeed what he said he was on.

COOPER: Peter Bergen, John McCain has been hammering Barack Obama saying look, he didn't support the surge and had it been up to him, you know, the surge would have never happened and the successes that have occurred would have never happened.

Obama is replying basically by saying look, it's not just the so- called surge, it's not just the remarkable hard work by U.S. troops, which he acknowledges, he says it's also more effective Iraqi security forces, the Sunni awakening, and this decision by Shia militia to have a ceasefire. Is he right?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think in short, yes, Anderson. I mean the surge is one of many factors. A, there was a change -- a major change in strategy; a rethink on the counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq. The surge was one part of that.

Secondly, Al Qaeda basically self-inflicting a whole series of defeats on itself, antagonizing the very community it was based in the Sunni community.

Thirdly, you know, Sadr suggesting a ceasefire. The Shia militias being taken out in Basra and Sadr city by the Iraqi army, a rather large and rather effective Iraqi army now.

There's a whole series of factors. If it was merely the surge, the violence would be up again. We've seen that the violence continues to trend down and there are some fundamental underlying reasons for that. COOPER: How does -- David, how does John McCain now react? I mean if you have the president of this country, Al Maliki saying, you know, excuse me, the prime minister saying he wants U.S. troops out by 2010 as an aspirational timeline, you've got to kind of recalculate if you're John McCain, no?

GERGEN: I think it has put him on the defensive, Anderson; but a couple of things. One is the head of the joint chiefs, Admiral Mullen has just said in the last 48 hours he thinks it's a mistake to set deadlines and hard deadlines. There can be aspirational deadlines but hard deadlines are a mistake.

Secondly, John McCain does bring great credibility to this argument because the surge, combined with these other factors, has been a great success in the minds of the American people has been a success. And Barack Obama is now acknowledging that.

So I think he -- there is a question what's a long-term strategy for the region and how do we withdraw in a way that strengthens stability in the region? And I think that the -- that getting out by 2010 may or may not do that.

One has to sort of consider that in the whole, but overall, is John McCain on the defensive? Yes. But does he have counterarguments? I think he does and I think he may come back on this question of Barack Obama is not the right person to be negotiating the end of this war right now. Let the commander-in-chief do that.

BORGER: You know, Anderson, just recently both Democrats and Republicans were talking about this prime minister as somebody that we couldn't depend on, somebody we couldn't trust. And I'm wondering now that he seems to be taking sides here, whether you're going to hear that again, particularly from Republicans.

And he's clearly doing this for domestic -- his own domestic internal reasons, and so, you know, maybe there's going to be a move on to sort of discredit the prime minister and start talking about why he's doing it.

COOPER: Peter Bergen, thanks for joining us. We're going to have more from Gloria and David coming up.

Just ahead, a new report tonight that John McCain may be close to tapping his running mate. Now we got conflicting reports from different sources on this actually, but tonight we're going to take a look at who's on top of McCain's short list.

And how about Barack Obama's search for VP? Is Hillary Clinton still a possibility? Our political panel has been making calls they'll give us the latest.

Plus, tropical storm Dolly barreling across the Gulf of Mexico tonight, gaining strength, approaching hurricane status. Where and when is it going to hit? We're expecting a new update within the hour and we're going to bring it to you live, latest details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: John McCain and the elder George Bush at the Bush family compound today in Kennebunkport, Maine. Mr. Bush knows all too well, what it's like to campaign against a younger opponent; with a gift for words and the ability to draw a crowd. It can be tough going.

Senator McCain is getting a taste of it this week. Tonight though, we've got a tantalizing hint of how he might -- might be planning to grab back the spotlight this week; big time. That's a dick Cheney word by the way. Cheney was a surprise pick for vice president.

Tonight's development concerns both a pick and a surprise. CNN's Dana Bash has the latest on that and joining us again David Gergen and Gloria Borger.

Dana, what are you hearing about the timing of McCain's announcement? There was a Novak quote saying that, some source of his had said this week there might be an announcement?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The answer to that question, Anderson, you're not going to be surprised by this, but it depends who you talk to.

The McCain campaign, they officially, their official word is that it's not going to be today, just tonight one McCain's closest advisers on his plane said, well, I can't rule out tomorrow.

Now if there's a little bit of drama in that, that's not an accident. This is something that this is the ultimate in political code cracking, especially given the fact that our viewers should know that there is an order there are strict orders inside the McCain campaign for people not to talk about this at all with reporters.

But never mind the mystery of when this is going to happen or, of course, who the VP picks would potentially be. There is a mystery why we're talking about this tonight. Some say I talked to them and say it is because there were discussions that it could be this week.

Others say it got out there in that article you talked about, Anderson. And so if that helps to create buzz to distract from Barack Obama's trip abroad, that's great.

We talked about the fact that there are some staff changes -- staff changes inside the McCain campaign. Some people I talked to say, wait a minute. The reality is, we don't have basic staff, we're not ready for that. But John McCain is unpredictable. He likes to be.

COOPER: Gloria, is this just a head fake by the McCain campaign? Trying to steal some attention?

BORGER: You know it could be a head fake. I think what's more likely is that someone inadvertently said something to Novak which set off this total frenzy here in Washington this afternoon.

And the people in the McCain campaign that I've spoken with, that Dana has spoken with, that John King have spoken with are saying you know, yes, there have been discussions to maybe speeding it up to the end of the week, but that the candidate hasn't decided anything.

It's clear that what this shows is that he's narrowed down his choices. But I still think the more likely bet is, not now, after Obama chooses.

COOPER: All right let's name some names.

David, John McCain is going to meet in Louisiana with the Governor Bobby Jindal this Wednesday. He's rumored to be on the short list. A - do you think he's a possibility and who else do you think is a very strong possibility?

GERGEN: Possibility but he's a future star, it seems unlikely, he's so young, he's just in his -- barely 37, 38 years-old, very little experience. I think Mitt Romney remains the most speculated about and possible.

There are others who are -- you know McCain could go anywhere -- I mean he goes this early, he could go in -- and it suggest he could also go anywhere with a name.

You know, to go this early suggests a campaign that's running scared. I don't think it gets gains very much. And I sort of think it's not going to happen.

And he also, there's great advantage when you're -- when you have the second convention, to wait and see who the other guy picks because you may want a game against that as much as anything else. Since he has a second convention, there's always been a great advantage it seems to me to wait much closer and after the Democratic convention to take some of the bloom off the Democratic convention, not just this trip.

COOPER: And Gloria, certainly some of the other names on the list, we are seeing Charlie Crist, Carly Fiorina, Tim Pawlenty. Any likelihood it's there?

BORGER: Yes, well, I think Tim Pawlenty is someone who's really interesting because he appeals to the Evangelical community; he's a governor and he sort of balances out McCain.

But to go back to the timing of this, I agree with David and Dana. I don't think this is likely to happen right now. I think it's possible that maybe somebody threw this out and said let's do it now, all those press are over covering Barack Obama in Europe, let's give them a story here that they're going to miss.

COOPER: Dana, let's look at the Democrats. Who's on the short list?

BASH: Well, I mean, it's actually interesting, Anderson. The Democrats, Barack Obama is doing it in a very different way. He's being a lot more public about who is potentially being vetted.

People who I talked to who are most interested, the people they're most interested in are Joe Biden. He of course, is the Senate Foreign Relations Chairman, he is somebody who people think he is extraordinary spokesman for Barack Obama on the issue where he might have the biggest deficit and that's on national security.

Another is Evan Bayh, another senator from the state of Indiana. He is absolutely beloved in the state of Indiana. Indiana has been a red state for a very long time and having Evan Bayh on the ticket could help Barack Obama in that state. And that could mean the presidency for Barack Obama.

COOPER: Dana, do you have a dog with you?

BASH: I don't, but I'm staying at a very nice place in Kennebunkport and apparently one of the people who are staying here does.

COOPER: Ok, I'm a dog person, so it's ok.

BASH: I know.

COOPER: All right David, Chuck Hagel and Jack Reed are traveling with Obama on this trip. What are the chances of Chuck Hagel being on ticket?

GERGEN: Well, it's possible. It sounds more likely that he could be a Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense perhaps. The Secretary of Defense is perhaps the role that would most fit him as a veteran of Vietnam, knows a lot about national security.

And just as traveling with Barack Obama, you know, and seeing the Afghans and the Iraqis, you know, he gives some weight and stature to this trip. And that statement they just issued having the Hagel on that statement helps Barack Obama.

COOPER: It helps.

Very briefly, Hillary Clinton, any possibility do you think, David?

GERGEN: Well, I think the door is still open. There are many around who think now that it's a more distant possibility. But I think a lot depends on whether he's five or ten points ahead just before the convention.

COOPER: All right, we're going to have to leave it there.

Dana Bash, enjoy Kennebunkport. It must be nice up there. Appreciate it, David Gergen and Gloria Borger.

Still ahead, our "Planet in Peril." Al Gore's big vision in tight timetable for running the country on clean energy. Is he being overly optimistic? We're "Keeping them Honest," next on "360."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: On one of the Sunday talk shows is former vice president Al Gore said he could not be talked into another government position even if Barack Obama wins the election. He also says he believes he can do more to fight global warming as a private citizen.

Just last week Gore called for the U.S. to produce all its electricity from renewable energy in carbon-free sources within ten years. A goal so ambitious we wondered if that's even possible, CNN's David Mattingly tonight, "Keeping them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Al Gore says the U.S. can harness all the carbon-free electricity it needs, he's right. But when he says we can do that in just ten years, even the greenest energy experts suggest that's too much, too fast.

JOSEPH ROMM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF ENERGY: I think it would be a tremendous stretch to do it in ten years. I don't think there's any question we must do it over a short period of time. If we're going to deal both with the high price of oil and with the danger from global warming.

MATTINGLY: There's no doubt the energy and the technology to capture it are there. There's enough sunshine hitting the American southwest to light up every city in the country. There's enough wind blowing across the heartland to do the same.

But "Keeping them Honest," when it comes to delivering all that clean energy to consumers under Gore's ten-year timetable, we found that optimism among supporters starts to waver.

ROMM: Most of the wind in the country is in the center of the country, kind of from east Texas up through the Dakotas. That's not where most of the people are.

MATTINGLY: You can see the dilemma clearly on a map. Here's where the most winds are blowing in the U.S. and here is where you find the most sunshine. Compare that to the big populations in the country and then you can imagine how it would take a huge amount of new transmission lines to deliver all this clean energy on the scale that Gore envisions.

The former vice president himself acknowledges the problem.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do not have a unified national grid that is sufficiently advanced to link the areas where the sun shines and the wind blows to the cities in the east and the west that need the electricity.

MATTINGLY: But utility industry experts say Gore's timetable for that grid doesn't take into consideration how long it would take to cut through all the legal and regulatory red tape before construction could even start.

JIM WALKER, UTILITY INDUSTRY CONSULTANT: More than ten years. I think it's of the order of the magnitude of a generation to solve those legal constitutional issues across the entire 50 states.

MATTINGLY: But in the meantime, some states are taking steps of their own. Texas just launched a project to deliver wind turbine energy to big cities like Dallas and Houston. That project alone is expected to take eight years. David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Climate change and threats to our planet are always on our radar of "360." Don't miss our second installment of our "Planet in Peril: Battle lines" airing this fall.

"360's" going to be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SKID SKEWER, NBC'S "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" HOST: Senator Obama, a minute ago Jorge Ramos asked if there was anything we could get you and you said, quote, "No thank you, I'm fine." My question is, are you sure? Because it's, you know it's really no trouble.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's "Saturday Night Live's" Skid Skewer in the media's campaign coverage aired back in February. But the debate over fairness continues.

Tonight, the McCain campaign and others are leveling new charges of media bias at the "The New York Times." For those critics, the story is simple. The paper recently published an opinion piece that Barack Obama wrote about Iraq but days later refused to print John McCain's rebuttal.

"Up Close" tonight, we asked the question, is it really that simple? As always, we're going to leave it to you to decide.

Here's the facts with "360's" Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A nearly 900-word op-ed by Senator John McCain, but "The New York Times" said no thanks less than a week after it had published an op-ed by Barack Obama titled "My Plan for Iraq." Instead, the opinion page editor asked for another draft with more new information.

"It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece."

HOWARD KURTZ, WASHINGTON POST: It asked for far more detail and wanted McCain to address the use of timetables. John McCain opposes timetables for withdrawal in Iraq.

KAYE: "Washington Post" media reporter Howard Kurtz says "The Times" has an obligation to publish McCain's op-ed. The "New York Times" explains its standard procedure to go back and forth with an author.

The paper point out it has published at least seven op-ed pieces by McCain in the last 12 years, adding, "We take his views seriously."

In McCain's op-ed written in response to Obama's, he criticized the Democratic Senator for calling for an early withdrawal timeline.

JILL HAZELBAKER, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN: We wanted to give them Senator McCain's side. Unfortunately "The New York Times" wasn't willing to accommodate that request.

KAYE: Politics is exactly what the McCain camp claims the "Times" is playing, accusing the paper of publishing the Obama op-ed and stiffing McCain and noting that the op-ed's editor was once a senior speechwriter for a Democrat, Bill Clinton.

Critics say John McCain's problems goes far beyond the "Times" op-ed; suggesting the media isn't giving him enough air time to compete fairly. Consider this, network anchors and reporters are following Obama's every move in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the last four months, McCain has gone abroad to Europe, the Middle East, Canada, Colombia, and Mexico. No anchors tagged along. Some networks didn't even send reporters.

KURTZ: This has been a cleverly staged, managed trip abroad in which Obama has -- is doling out interviews to not just the three network anchors but other television anchors and correspondents and it is allowing him to dominate the dialogue, dominate the world stage at a time when John McCain is struggling to stay in the headlines.

KAYE: CNN sent correspondent Candy Crowley with Obama and John King covered John McCain on his Middle East trip. According to a group that follows this stuff, Obama gets more than twice as much coverage as McCain on the broadcast networks' weekday evening news casts.

114 minutes compared to just 48. Same goes for the covers of "Time" and "Newsweek." Journalistic fascination or media bias?

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So is this a case of media bias against John McCain or is "The Times" justified in asking him to rework his op-ed piece.

Joining me for "Strategy Session" are Alex Castellanos, a Republican consultant and former adviser to the Romney presidential campaign; also Jennifer Palmieri, of the Center for American progress and an eight-year veteran of the Clinton White House.

Jennifer, what about this, is the "Times" is biased against John McCain in this regard?

JENNIFER PALMIERI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't think so. When I worked for President Clinton, "The New York Times" rejected many op- eds written by him as a sitting president of the United States. They don't just give up space to a candidate because their opponent has space. You can't just go -- you can't go to "The New York Times" editorial page and say I want to say what's wrong with the other guy. They want to leverage their space, which is very valuable, to force you to say something you haven't said before. And I think that they turned down McCain not because they like Obama but because McCain, all he was doing in his piece was criticizing Obama and they wanted him to put him on the spot to say more.

COOPER: Alex, what's your take? I mean the "Times" goes on to say look, they published him you know some seven times over the course of his career and they even endorsed him as the Republican candidate during the primaries. Is there bias?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Well, evidently they've got a new favorite in this election. Because I think Jennifer's right. They did want to force Senator McCain to say something he didn't want to say, they wanted to force him to say something he didn't believe.

They said if he only had a timetable for his withdrawal from Iraq in his piece that's the kind of thing they were looking for. Well, Senator McCain doesn't believe we need an unconditional timetable.

COOPER: They wanted him to talk about timetables?

CASTELLANOS: They wanted him to talk about timetables. That's not part of his plan. No, what they said is they wanted to know the details of his plan for victory in Iraq and the timetables. And that's not something he believes. It's like saying, "Hey Senator McCain, tell us about the details of your tax increase plan." Well, he doesn't want to raise taxes.

COOPER: Jennifer, there's no doubt though that Barack Obama is receiving far more media coverage than John McCain. And John McCain has received adoring media coverage over a good part of his career in the past. But I think if you look at the surveys it was mentioned in the prior piece by Randi, you know in the broadcast networks Obama gets twice the amount of coverage that John McCain has. Is that fair?

PALMIERI: Right. Welcome to John Edwards' and Hillary Clinton's nightmare. He's -- Obama is a great story. I don't know that it's fair that he gets more coverage than McCain. But I understand, you know, I understand why it's happens.

COOPER: Do you think it's bias that -- that these media companies, including us, are you saying that they support Obama or just that he's an interesting story?

PALMIERI: No, I don't think that's it at all. I don't think this is about supporting Obama or -- I believe this is about who is a better story. And obviously Barack Obama is a really great story. I think that the McCain campaign has been -- first of all, this is their base, right? The press has been their base, turning on them and that's hard for them.

But it was a very smart thing for them to release this "New York Times" email. I think that -- that the media loves stories about themselves. I think that the media are likely to be -- that what they're looking for a call from the rest as Hillary did when she was complaining about Obama's -- the press coverage that Obama got during her race.

And I think they're looking for the media maybe not to pay more attention to McCain although that probably like that but to have more scrutiny on Obama.

COOPER: Alex, do you think it's as simple as Barack Obama is an interesting story, he's newer on the scene, he's got this interesting background and that's why he's getting so much more coverage or do you think the media is biased in favor of him?

CASTELLANOS: Let's give Obama credit, that's certainly part of it. But that's not all of it, there's an interesting dynamic developing here. One of the dangers for Obama is that he's perceived as the candidate of the elite in society.

And even the media elite. And I think that dynamic is growing. Now you're seeing -- you have Barack Obama getting coverage now abroad as if he were the president of the United States. You have "The New York Times" shutting down John McCain here. There's a little guy versus the elite dynamic developing here that maybe something that works in McCain's favor.

COOPER: But hasn't that John McCain been part of the media and the Washington elite for decades now?

CASTELLANOS: Isn't it interesting how the world turns? Because now the little guy who is not getting the coverage is McCain and the new elite, the new favorite is Barack Obama.

COOPER: Alex Castellanos, Jennifer Palmieri, thanks.

PALMIERI: Thank you.

COOPER: The world does turn.

Up next, "Crime and Punishment," a fugitive on the run for more than ten years, finally caught. How long it took, why did it take so long to get this guy blamed for the deaths of more than 100,000 people?

We'll have the latest live, from CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

We're also expecting an update, from the National Hurricane Center; tropical storm Dolly growing, moving fast. We know that. The question is how big a hurricane could it be when and if it hits Texas? When "360" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Today, a major arrest of an international outlaw. The man known as the Butcher of Bosnia, Radovan Karadzic, was finally apprehended, indicted for war crimes and genocide by the U.N. tribunal for authorizing the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men during the siege of Srebrenica in 1995. The war in Bosnia killed more than 100,000 people.

With tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report, CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, joins me on the phone.

Christiane, how big a victory is this for those seeking justice? And how big a criminal is this man?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Radovan Karadzic was responsible, along with his henchmen, for the worst slaughters in Europe since World War II, defining the word ethnic cleansing, concentration camps full of Bosnian Muslims, mass rapes as a tool of war, the most heinous crimes: sniping of civilians, shelling of Sarajevo, besieging of cities all over Bosnia.

And these were heinous crimes. But in fact, he and his fellow henchman, Radko Mladic, were indicted twice on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and other crimes. And there were some 200,000 people killed around Bosnia during the rampage that he unleashed during the '90s, from '92 to '95.

And then after the U.S.-brokered war, part of the final settlement was to bring him in. And despite the presence of 60,000 NATO troops led by 20,000 Americans, they never went after him seriously. And so he's been on the run for the last dozen years.

COOPER: How is it possible, though, that with all those troops on the ground, 60,000, 20,000 U.S. troops, they didn't go after this guy?

AMANPOUR: Well, Anderson, to be very frank, it was a great shame. A shameful period, because everyone connected will agree with you now that to say that they -- they just didn't want to.

The NATO troops decided that they were there to stabilize Bosnia after the war, a fact that you can understand. But their mission also was to abide by the resolutions and by the war crimes tribunal and bring in those who were indicted. And they just felt that it might be too risky, and it could upset the political apple cart in Bosnia.

Well, what it failed to take into account was that, actually, when NATO troops went in, they went into a permissive atmosphere. Not a single troop was killed in anger, not a single one was wounded by a shot fired in anger. And it was just over-caution, despite repeatedly from some of the U.S. officials who had brokered the Dayton peace accords and the prosecutors of the international criminal tribunal in the Hague to bring Karadzic and Mladic in.

Finally, Karadzic seems to have been arrested. Mladic is still on the run.

COOPER: Still on the run.

Christiane Amanpour reporting for us tonight. Christiane, thank you very much.

Up next, severe weather expert Chad Myers with new details about the path of Tropical Storm Dolly, gaining strength and headed for Texas. Also ahead, a diner turned into a drive-through. Check this out: incredible video; a remarkable story. It's amazing the guy on the right there wasn't injured. It's our "Shot of the Day," coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: An update on Tropical Storm Dolly. We're going to check in next with Chad Myers, who's just getting in a new bulletin from the National Hurricane Center. He's working right now to try to crunch it through.

First, Erica Hill joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, the first U.S. war crimes trial today since World War II opened in Guantanamo Bay with a not guilty plea from Osama bin Laden's former driver and alleged bodyguard, Saleem Hamdan. Now, if convicted, Hamdan faces life in prison.

Oil prices headed back up today after a big four-day slide; they settled at $131 a barrel. Lack of progress in negotiations with Iran helped to spark that price hike.

And a girl fight on the track, sort of. Bit of an altercation here over the weekend between Indy car drivers Danica Patrick and Milka Duno in Lexington, Ohio. Patrick was allegedly upset at Duno for getting in her way during a practice run. We believe Milka Duno so far no comments.

COOPER: Wow, all right.

We're tracking Tropical Storm Dolly tonight, which is moving across the Gulf of Mexico and up toward Texas. Dolly is likely to be a hurricane by tomorrow, we believe. But we're going to get an update on that from Chad Myers. Let's check in with him.

Chad, what's happening?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we have everything we need from Falstow (ph) and Genevieve and Cristobal, but we haven't gotten anything from Dolly yet. Still waiting here, twiddling our thumbs, waiting for this thing to come in.

These are still the numbers from 5 p.m., and then from 8 p.m., still south and southeast of Corpus Christi. The storm is gaining strength. You can tell by the radar and the satellite signature here. The satellite signature really much more impressive than it was at 8 p.m.

We'll keep you advised. We'll get you the numbers as soon as I get them, if it comes in before the end of the show, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Chad, thanks.

Erica, "The Shot" is next. Talk about your grand slam breakfast. Check it out. Can you believe no one was hurt?

That's right, Erica, I'm talking to you.

HILL: Hey there, Anderson Cooper, here I am.

COOPER: We'll have "The Shot" coming up.

Also, at the top of the hour, breaking news: new information about what Iraq's government really wants. Senator Obama reveals what Iraq's prime minister told him. David Gergen's eyebrows were raised by that fact. We've got the "Raw Politics" coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Sounds like the start of a joke: a man goes into a diner like he's been doing for years, sits down and orders. But then, the punch line of what seemed like a most ordinary day at the coffee house in Wilkes-Barre, North Carolina, turned into this.

A van traveling about 50 miles an hour, slammed through the window of the restaurant, knocked Kenneth Anderson off his stool; almost out of this world. He says he was reading the newspaper and ka-blam. Incredibly, the guy just picked up his baseball cap and sat back down.

HILL: That's pretty wild. By the way, ka-blam, a seriously underused word.

COOPER: Ka-pow.

HILL: Ka-blam.

COOPER: Ka-show. It's all those comic-book words. Not Kashow. I don't know what that was; I made that up.

HILL: Oh, kashaw.

COOPER: Yes. You can see all the most recent shots on our new Web site, ac360.com. And you can also find other segments from the program, all that stuff.

Do we have the update from Chad yet? Do we have that?

All right. Let's check in with Chad. I think he's getting the new numbers in on the storms.

Chad, what do we know?

MYERS: It's still forecast, Anderson, to be a Cat-1 here. The new numbers just finally coming in, they're just a little bit on the late side. We like to get these in about 10 minutes beforehand.

But they put out all the other unimportant systems in the first place. It is still a 50-mile-per-hour storm; forecasting it to 55, 65, and then 70.

And right now they shifted the track a little bit farther to the south. Corpus Christi, you're still in it. But Brownsville, you are in the middle of that cone right now. So they shifted that track to the south by about 30 or 40 miles. That is the very latest with the landfall as a Cat-1 storm -- Anderson.

COOPER: I'm sorry. You said the landfall, around a Cat-1, when?

MYERS: That would be on Wednesday day; Wednesday after daybreak.

COOPER: Wednesday after day break. All right.

Chad, thanks very much for the update.

Now our "Beat 360" winners. Our daily challenge to viewers, a chance to show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption for the picture we post on our blog every day. We've got a short memory at some point.

Tonight's picture shows John McCain and Rudy Giuliani and Judith Giuliani, walking through Monument Park before the Yankees game on Sunday. Our staff winner, Joey: "And right there in the bushes is where they caught A-Rod and Madonna." No, they didn't.

Our viewer winner tonight is Lauren, who has Rudy Giuliani saying, "And here's where they buried my political career."

Ouch. Tough words. Although there is now talk of him trying to run for governor. Lauren, your "Beat 360" t-shirt is on the way. You can check out all the entries we received on our blog, ac360.com. There you go.

"On the Radar" tonight, Barack Obama's face-to-face meeting with Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, "Time" magazine columnist Joe Klein writes about Obama's visit on the 360 blog. Talking about when U.S. troops should get out of Iraq. A lot of you weighing in.

Brian says, "I'd just rather not be sending our money over there to police the Iraqis and watch them kill our Marines and soldiers. I could think of a lot of ideas as to what we can spend $12 billion a month on in this country. Here's an idea, how about we pay down the national debt?"

From Dallas, the name withheld. The blogger who wants U.S. troops to stay writing: "Why should we jeopardize the precious lives of our troops? By telling Iran and al-Qaeda that we will withdraw on a certain date or only have a certain number of troops in Iraq on a certain date will enable them to sneak and plan a vicious scheme to invade Iraq."

And Deborah in Ohio says: "This entire situation didn't get to this point in one day, so it will take a while to undo it. But let's start talking and hope everyone gets on the same page."

A lot of different view points. Add yours, read the other comments, post your own by going to ac360.com.

That does it for this edition of "360." Thanks for watching.

Larry King starts right now. And I'll see you tomorrow night.

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