Return to Transcripts main page
CAMPBELL BROWN: NO BIAS, NO BULL
Remains of Caylee Anthony Identified; Blagojevich Vows to Fight On
Aired December 19, 2008 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone.
There is breaking news nearly everywhere you look right now.
Bullet point number one tonight: It is a horrible Friday night for holiday travelers: Powerful storms put homecomings on hold. Massive delays at airports and on the roads. If you're trying to get anywhere this weekend, we are going to tell what you need to know.
Bullet point number two tonight: Embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich says he's not going anywhere. He might have just boxed himself in by vowing not to quit. Here's a sample of what he said today, more than a week after his arrest. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), ILLINOIS: I will fight. I will fight. I will fight until I take my last breath.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And he was just getting warmed up. You have got to see the whole thing. And you will.
Bullet point number three: The worst fears are realized, as the search for little Caylee Anthony comes to an end. Authorities have confirmed the remains discovered last week are, in fact, this little girl's. And there is a question tonight as well. If police had listened to this man, would the ordeal have ended sooner?
And bullet point number four tonight: a bizarre story. Just as Sarah Palin's teenage daughter gets ready to give birth, Bristol Palin's future mother-in-law, her baby's grandmother, busted in her home on felony drug charges. We have new details for you tonight on that as well.
But, first, as always, "Cutting Through the Bull," it's hard to think of anyone who actually gave those words more meaning than Mark Felt. The man we all came to know as Deep Throat died yesterday at his California home, after a life in the shadows.
His willingness to risk everything, career, family, even his safety, helped bring down President Richard Nixon in disgrace. Felt was the number-two man at the FBI. And, yes, fair to say he had an axe to grind after being snubbed for the top job. But that didn't make his information less accurate or crucial. And even after taking that huge risk, he gave up all kinds of chances to cash in on his secret identity. Imagine the book deal Deep Throat would have gotten or the movie rights to a blockbuster like "All the President's Men." What millions did he lose by not spending years on the lecture circuit?
No, Felt's willingness to keep "Washington Post" reporter Bob Woodward pointed to the right direction, and Woodward and Carl Bernstein flushed out the greatest political scandal in American history, had its roots in the integrity that no one else would show back then.
We remind you of this because of the timing of Felt's death. Well, it's not lost on us. Just this month, we watched a governor accused of redefining crooked politics in Illinois, where in the final days of a White House that pushed the limits of the Constitution and never appeared eager to share information with the American people, and, just this week, the president-elect, who talks of change, tried to stop a journalist from finishing a question at a news conference.
Now, as ever, we need people like Woodward and Bernstein to keep asking questions. But, more importantly, we need people brave enough to give the answers, people like Mark Felt, a man whose name you never heard until he finally surfaced near the end of his life, by then, a quiet, meek-looking person who changed our country forever by cutting through the bull.
And now let's go back to our breaking news tonight, the brutal weather pounding much of the nation right now, blizzards threatening the Midwest, winter storm warnings on the West and East Coast.
Chad Myers is in the Severe Weather Center with a frigid forecast for us. Susan Candiotti at La Guardia Airport, where a lot of people are stuck tonight.
But, first, let's start outside with Erica Hill.
And, Erica, give us a sense for what's been happening here on the Northeast.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, in New York State, here in New York state, Campbell, five to 14 inches were forecast, and definitely a lot of weather action happening today.
I first saw snowflakes, they were pretty, at 10:30 in the morning. But, as the day progressed, even a couple hours later, it had almost turned to freezing rain. And that has meant some very dangerous conditions on the roads.
I can tell you that, in Westchester County, which, of course, is just outside of New York City, parts of both the Saw Mill and the Taconic parkways were closed this afternoon. There were a number of fender-benders on Long Island, also reports that in the western part of the state, in some counties, nonessential workers had been sent home. Also, in Allegany County, we're told that all nonessential travel, folks have been told to forget it, basically, at this point. So, it's making for a very rough start to the weekend, and for some people, a start to what may be an extended holiday vacation.
In Boston, just a few hours north of here, as you can imagine, a little further north, probably a little colder. Chad can testify to that. It is a mess out there, really getting socked in. And clear across the country, in Seattle, a bus accident on the icy roads there, two buses colliding, 11 people injured. It is not a pretty scene all the way across the country, Campbell.
BROWN: Some pretty frightening pictures there, too. It looks like the bus hanging over the edge.
Let me turn now to Susan Candiotti, who is at La Guardia Airport in New York, obviously one of the busiest airports in the country. A lot of people trying to get home or get out for the Christmas holiday, but trapped there now, right, Susan?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. What a way to start off the day before the first official day of winter, as it were, all kinds of canceled flights, all kinds of delayed flights. Look at the board behind me, just an example of some of them.
Let's see, Chicago canceled. You had Raleigh canceled. The screen just changed. Nashville canceled. Minneapolis canceled. And that is just some of them. Saint Louis, you name it, 800 flights canceled today among several airports, including 275 flights here at La Guardia, 100 at JFK. We're talking about 430 flights at Newark and 300 at Chicago O'Hare.
And that is just the canceled flights. Then in terms of delayed flights, we're talking about delays of up to three hours in places including Chicago and several other airports, including this one.
Milwaukee Airport has just reopened after shutting down for several hours today after getting socked in with about up to a foot of snow. What we're talking about this time of year, AAA predicting eight million people will be flying during the Christmas holiday season.
And people were trying to get an early jump on that today, not getting a very good jump on it, as it turns out. And if you want to take a look real quickly at the number of the planes that are in the air right now, we have got this flight tracking thing to take a look at it, if we can pull that up, more than 5,400 in the air right now. Fascinating to see how they keep all these planes in order.
CANDIOTTI: But a lot of them aren't getting off the ground tonight.
BROWN: Apparently not there.
Susan Candiotti for us from La Guardia.
And let's go now to Chad Myers, who is in the Severe Weather Center.
And, Chad, I understand there is another system, weather system, moving in that could affect all of this area over the weekend.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Looks like Sunday afternoon, yes, some more ice, a little bit of snow, mainly rain along I-95 for people that will be driving.
But, right now, we're worried about this storm at this point. Boston, you're still getting snow, about eight inches on the ground, five, though, only at Logan. But the airport is very slow at this hour, obviously. The airport and all the roadways are slow as well.
Here's Boston. I don't know if you knew this or not, but if you go on to Google Earth, did you know that you could click a little box that says traffic and you can see the traffic for any city in the United States that they have? Well, you should see green. If everybody was doing 55 miles an hour, this would all be green. Well, this was not utopia today. No one is going 55. Everybody is slow there today.
Things are getting better in New York City. The rain and the snow finally has stopped, although the damage is done. The airports are slow. Some of these delays are like four to five hours long. And you are just going to have to deal with those, I guess.
But we were down to only six. For a while today, we were up to 12, 12 separate airport delays in 12 different airports. So, here you go for tomorrow, rain showers across the Deep South, a little bit of snow in the Great Lakes, a little bit of wind up here, too. Could almost be blizzard-like conditions across parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas.
By Sunday, that rain moves to the east, but ice for Boston again, maybe back toward the Tri-Cities there, right in the tristate, into New York City, and then back. On Wednesday if you're traveling, you're finally going to get out for Christmas Eve, a lot of rain showers, and rain is easier to drive in than the snow. The snow will only be up in the Great Lakes and also up into Ottawa.
BROWN: All right. Chad Myers for us, Chad, thanks.
And to Erica and Susan as well, appreciate it.
We're going to turn now to politics and big developments in a pair of this month's most important and most outrageous stories.
Coming up next, Illinois's governor finally talks about his arrest on corruption charges and whether he will resign. Talk about political theater. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAGOJEVICH: I'm not going to quit a job that people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: We will have his whole statement for you. It was three minutes, seven seconds, and it was riveting stuff. We are take a NO BIAS, NO BULL look at his chances of holding on to his job. They could be better than you think.
Also ahead, the news we have been waiting for in crisis number two. Yes, there will be an auto industry bailout loan. Find out how much of your money this one is going to cost, whether it means millions of autoworkers jobs are really safe. We will get into all of that.
And, plus, Caylee Anthony, a mystery solved. The remains found last week have been confirmed to be hers. But the mystery surrounding the man who found those remains is just beginning. We will have the details for you coming up.
BROWN: After two weeks mired in scandal, embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich finally broke his silence today, vowing to fight for his political life with every fiber of his being.
Blagojevich is under investigation for widespread corruption, including allegedly trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder. Virtually everyone in politics, from the president- elect on down, has been demanding the governor's resignation.
But, today, Blagojevich was defiant and made one thing very clear. He is not going anywhere.
We're going to play his entire statement for you. It's only three minutes, seven seconds. But you're not going to be able to turn away. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAGOJEVICH: Thank you very much.
I'm here to tell you right off the bat that I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, that I intend to stay on the job, and I will fight this thing every step of the way.
I will fight. I will fight. I will fight until I take my last breath.
I have done nothing wrong, and I'm not going to quit a job the people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob.
Now, that's what I'm going to do. Let me tell you what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to do what my accusers and political enemies have been doing, and that is talk about this case in 30-second sound bites on "Meet the Press" or on the T. V. news. Now, I'm dying to answer these charges. I am dying to show you how innocent I am. And I want to assure everyone who's here, and everyone who's listening, that I intend to answer every allegation that comes my way.
However, I intend to answer them in the appropriate forum -- in a court of law. And when I do, I am absolutely certain that I will be vindicated.
Rudyard Kipling wrote, If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you and make allowance for their doubting, too; if you can wait and not be tired by waiting; or being lied about, don't deal in lies; or being hated, don't give way to hating.
Now, I know there are some powerful forces arrayed against me. It's kind of lonely right now. But I have on my side the most powerful ally there is, and it's the truth.
And besides, I have the personal knowledge that I have not done anything wrong.
To the people of Illinois, I ask that they wait and be patient, sit back and take a deep breath, and please reserve judgment. Afford me the same rights that you and your children have. The presumption of innocence. The right to defend yourself. The right to your day in court. The same rights that you would expect for yourselves.
And one last thing: To all of those -- to those of you who have expressed your support to Patti and me during this difficult time, I would like to thank you for your thoughts; I would like to thank you for your prayers; and I would like to thank you for your good wishes.
Patti and I cannot express to you how grateful we are for your kindness.
Merry Christmas. Happy holidays.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Blagojevich's statement didn't do anything to quiet his opponents. Only minutes later, Illinois' governor lieutenant govern was at the very same lectern demanding that the governor step aside.
So, what happens next?
Gary Tuchman is in Chicago to give us the political lay of the land and of course senior analyst Jeff Toobin here with me to handle the legal aspect of all this.
But, Gary, let me start with you.
Blagojevich seemed pretty cocky today, like he didn't have a care in the world. And we have read what is on those FBI tapes. How is he staying so upbeat? Does he have a defense strategy we just don't know about? GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's no question he sounded upbeat and confident. He sounded upbeat and confident when he has been jogging in the snow the last couple of days. And we have seen him.
But who knows what's going on behind closed doors with his attorneys. What we can tell you, if they had a defense like that wasn't his voice on the tapes, that would be a great defense. That doesn't look like it's happening.
But this week I was in Springfield at the impeachment hearings. His lawyer, Ed Genson, talked to legislators, and hinted -- and I emphasize hinted, because he's not saying he has a defense yet -- but hinted at what a couple of the defenses could be, one, that the wiretaps might be illegal. That's what he said to legislators. That could come out.
But even if that is not ruled admissible, he has also said that the quotes on the transports are -- quote -- "dumb, inappropriate" -- there are people jabbering, but no illegal actions actually took place.
So, was the governor joking? Was he kidding around? Does he tend to talk like that? Who knows? But those are the possibilities of some defenses down the road.
BROWN: Jeff, you know, he vowed he would fight until his last breath. He is not going anywhere.
The state legislature, though, wants to impeach him. It's not going to be that easy, though, is it?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Well, rather than answer your question, I, too, will recite a Rudyard Kipling column.
BROWN: You have prepared a little something special tonight, haven't you?
TOOBIN: I have prepared a poem to answer your question.
No, he is fighting. He is not going to give up. He has tremendous leverage here. He's the governor. The impeachment process is a lot more cumbersome than people think it is. He is not -- there is not an easy process to get him out quickly.
So, the longer it drags out, the longer he's governor, the passion of the moment dissipates, and he will, he thinks, I guess, continue to exercise his powers.
BROWN: But, legally, I mean, can they impeach him if there's no evidence that a crime has been committed?
TOOBIN: Absolutely, because impeachment is a political process, not a legal process.
It is up to the state legislature to decide whether someone can continue in office. Interestingly, Illinois does not have the same standard as the U.S. Constitution, which is, of course, high crimes and misdemeanors. So, they really have to make it up as they go along. But they're allowed to do that.
And there is nothing illegal about that. But it is cumbersome. And they have to decide what the standard is, what kind of evidence they're going to hear. And it is likely to take some time, which just gives Blagojevich more time as governor.
BROWN: And that's the key to it. This thing could drag out.
TOOBIN: It could absolutely drag out. And the longer it lasts, the more people, I guess, figure, while he's there...
BROWN: Forget about it. Yeah, whatever.
TOOBIN: That's the issue, yes.
BROWN: Gary, you know, I mean we just said this could go on for months. So, I guess, what happens in Illinois? How do they get anything done? Are the lawmakers going to be able to work with him in the meantime on policy as they out there trying to impeach him?
TUCHMAN: Campbell, I think what is notable about this three minute, and seven second sound bite that the governor made today is he didn't talk about how he's going to govern this state effectively.
The fact is, Richard Nixon had allies during his impeachment process. This governor doesn't seem to have any allies, Democrat or Republican. No one has really come forward and said, I support this governor. And it's very hard to run a state when you don't have legislators on your side.
I think one thing that is very important to point out, while he says he's going to fight, he's going to fight, and he's going to fight, he said it three times, after his news conference -- not a news conference -- after his statement, his lawyer talked to reporters, said -- quote -- "If the people of Illinois suffer, he will step aside." So, remember those words.
BROWN: All right, Gary Tuchman for us, along with Jeff Toobin here in the studio -- thanks, guys. Appreciate it.
Coming up next: your tax dollars at work, billions of them, an 11th-hour rescue, as Washington finally agrees to bail out Chrysler and GM. We are going to take a NO BIAS, NO BULL look at whether this will really save them and if Washington will ever get our money back.
And then later, Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol about to give birth, as we get news her fiance's mother has been arrested on drug charges. We have just confirmed new details on this news out of Alaska. We will have that for you.
And in today's "Political Daily Briefing," also news from Minnesota, a new leader in the Al Franken-Norm Coleman U.S. Senate race. We will have the details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the midst of financial crisis and a recession, allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: This is it, finally, the rescue plan Detroit has been waiting for, at least an initial hope for them anyway. GM and Chrysler said they couldn't survive much longer without one, without a bailout. Millions of jobs were at risk. Congress tried and failed to make it happen.
Now, finally, at the 11th hour, the White House announced a deal today for a total of $17.4 billion. But there are some pretty big strings attached, too.
So, will today's deal ultimately save Detroit?
Neal Boudette, Detroit bureau chief of "The Wall Street Journal," joining us right now, here to break it down for us.
And, Neal, just sort of briefly give us the parameters of what this plan entails.
NEAL BOUDETTE, DETROIT BUREAU CHIEF, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Sure.
You mentioned $17.4 billion is the total amount. The first bunch is $13.4 billion. Most of that goes to GM -- $4 billion goes to Chrysler. They get that money now. There are some strings with that. There's limits on executive pay. They have to go back to the Auto Workers Union and negotiate cost cuts. They have got to lower their debt, in other words, go to the banks that have loaned them money and negotiate that downward. And they have to make progress in restructuring.
If they do, they get another $4 billion in February. And then, when they get to March, if they're viable, then they're -- they would be eligible for further loans. But, if the government decides they're not viable in March, they would have to pay the money back.
BROWN: So, it still sounds like -- I mean, even if we get through March here, a short-term fix. How do you see it playing out over the long run?
BOUDETTE: Well, exactly, Campbell. It is a short-term fix. It is essentially the Bush administration giving a fix enough to keep these companies going until Obama gets in office and the new Congress comes in office, and then lets them decide what is the future course, long term, for these companies.
BROWN: Let me -- you mentioned Obama. President-elect Obama has been in favor of bailing out the auto companies. He reacted to what the president opted to do. And let's play a little bit of what he said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: The auto companies must not squander this chance to reform bad management practices and begin the long-term restructuring that is absolutely necessary to save this critical industry and the millions of American jobs that depend on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And it's really, Neal, going to fall to Obama to keep tabs on these companies to make sure those changes are happening, isn't it?
BOUDETTE: Yes, that's true.
In this -- Bush plan, there is no auto czar, as you know. There was a lot of talk about appointing some figure to be the overseer of this with broad powers to force these companies to take steps that are much like bankruptcy. But there is no auto czar.
And it really leaves the door open for Obama to appoint someone of his choosing to be the one to really enforce the restructuring of this industry.
BROWN: So, finally, Neal, Ford not getting any of this money. What is the deal with Ford right now?
BOUDETTE: Well, you have got to give Ford credit. Two years ago, they mortgaged just about every piece of property and machinery they had, including their logo. And they raised more than $20 billion at that time, more than they needed.
And now they have a much bigger cash cushion than GM or Chrysler. So, they're able to weather the storm much better. They don't need the money right now. If the recession gets really bad, they might. But they're OK for now.
BROWN: All right.
Neal Boudette from "The Wall Street Journal" for us tonight, appreciate your insight. Thanks very much.
BOUDETTE: Thank you, Campbell.
BROWN: When we come back, profit the bottom line and cutting jobs. With unemployment growing at an alarming rate, it seems cold- hearted to let workers go in order to make more money. But that's why we asked Dan Simon to find out who killed a popular retail chain and why. Hint: One of the key players also benefits from the big Chrysler bailout today.
We're also covering today's rush of new developments in the Caylee Anthony case. The little girl has been missing since June. Now, unfortunately, part of the mystery has been cleared up. We will have some more details for you coming up.
BROWN: Long before President Bush approved today's auto bailout, experts asked if Cerberus, the firm that owns 80 percent of Chrysler, had done everything it could to keep the carmaker going.
Cerberus owns many other businesses, including a chunk of Mervyn's, a West Coast department store chain. Well, Mervyn's is now being shut down. About 18,000 people are losing their jobs.
And we wanted to find out who was responsible. So, Dan Simon went to California to answer the question, who killed Mervyn's?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A brother, his sister and her 3-year-old daughter, the adults worked at the same place for 10 years. Then, without warning, they lost their jobs. And now the bank is closing in.
LISLEY PORTALES, OUT OF A JOB: We're going to be on the street. We don't know when. It might be the end of the year, maybe like the beginning of the year. We don't know.
SIMON: Like so many of us to day, they feel powerless and confused. They worked hard, lived good lives, and, yet, they're now victims of immense economic forces.
MIGUEL PORTALES, OUT OF A JOB: You start trying to stay positive, but things basically -- you know, bills don't wait.
SIMON: They had worked at Mervyn's, a chain of West Coast department stores.
(on camera): In fact, 18,000 others had lost their jobs -- 149 stores are being liquidated. Yes, the retailer had been in decline, but its death was anything but certain. What makes this especially unnerving is that no one at Mervyn's did anything wrong, 18,000 families, their lives shattered because of decisions made by private equity bankers thousands of miles away.
MERVIN MORRIS, MERVYN'S FOUNDER: This is opening day of the first store.
SIMON (voice-over): Mervin Morris founded the company nearly 60 years ago. MORRIS: To do what they did, what I refer to as raping the company, this really is a -- it's a heartbreak. It didn't have to happen.
SIMON: And that's why so many of these families feel confused, if not helpless.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened to us was disgusting.
SIMON: So, we set out to find who should be held accountable. Who killed Mervyn's and why?
Four years ago, we learned, three private equity firms bought the retail chain. One is Cerberus, yes, that Cerberus, the multibillion- dollar giant that owns Chrysler and is now getting a huge government bailout loan.
So, we went to its New York office to ask why Cerberus helped pick apart Mervyn's.
(on camera): Couldn't get past security.
SIMON: Next, we tried Cerberus's partner in Philadelphia, Lubert Adler. These guys specialize in real estate investments and they were not interested in explaining what happened to the Mervyn's employees.
(on camera): Another no comment.
(voice-over): And then we tried the third and final partner in the Mervyn's mess, Sun Capital in Boca Raton, Florida.
(on camera): My question deals specifically with Mervyn's.
(voice-over): That didn't work either. But we had learned this. Regardless of what the three investment groups originally planned to do with Mervyn's, they apparently concluded all the land Mervyn's owned was worth more than the business itself. So they began selling it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The end game was obviously to make a fast buck and get out. That's what they did.
GRIFFIN: Finally, we did get a statement from Cerberus. They wrote us, the company was profitable when Cerberus sold its interest last year. And that it ultimately fell victim to the global economic crisis.
And we also did hear from Sun Capital. They wrote, "considerable efforts were made to support management in turning around the business. But financial headwinds and the challenging retail environment ultimately proved insurmountable."
That may be true. But a lawsuit filed by Mervyn's claims that when the private equity partners sold the land under the stores, Mervyn's had to come up with an extra $80 million for rent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like (inaudible). I do.
GRIFFIN: A note on those insurmountable financial headwinds and what those 18,000 employees are trying to come to terms with. It was all just business. According to Mervyn's lawsuit, those same private equity partners also siphoned $400 million out of the company for a distribution to themselves. Dan Simon, CNN, New York.
BROWN: And coming up, remember that election seven weeks ago? Well, they are still counting votes in Minnesota. If you think Florida's hanging chads were bad, wait until you see these U.S. Senate ballots. Plus, as Sarah Palin's daughter prepares to give birth, her fiance's mother is in trouble with the law. What are the charges? Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN BARRERA-LAW, THIRD GRADER: Dear Mr. President-elect, please help the environment. I am scared for the earth because if we don't keep the world healthy, we will be living on a pile of junk. Is there a way for you to help us make more hybrid cars? Because then we don't use up as much gas and we don't trash the earth as much. Congratulations. I am happy for you being the first African-American president. Sincerely, Ryan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: That's Ryan Barrera-Law, third grader at Berkeley Hall School in Los Angeles. Ryan, we're with you. We don't want to live on a pile of junk either. We love getting these Dear Mr. President letters. Kids all over the country writing them, sending them to the next president. Of course you can send yours to us by clicking on the i-Report link on our Web site, CNN.com/Campbell.
So which wanna-be senator hasn't spent quite enough time in the voting booth? That is just one of the questions we will answer in tonight's political daily briefing, the PDB. Our good friend Dana Milbank has it all tonight. Dana, we all the election season was over. Still one Senate race going on in Minnesota. And I understand there is an update tonight.
DANA MILBANK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, yeah. We're just getting going in Minnesota. It's comedian Al Franken for the very first time has pulled ahead of incumbent Republican Norm Coleman in this endless Minnesota Senate recount. Franken gained his lead. It's just 262 votes out of 3 million cast, even though he was not awarded the crucial ballot of the voter who supported Franken, but also wrote in "lizard people."
He was however awarded the ballot of the people who supported Franken as well as Larry, Curly and Moe. And officials decided tat a vote for Frankenstein should be awarded to Franken. I think it's only fair that if they come up with any Dracula ballots while they're still going through those thousands yet to be resolved, they should give those to Coleman.
BROWN: This is getting ridiculous. Other Senate news out there, Caroline Kennedy, her shadow campaign to succeed Hillary Clinton, already has the New York press corps digging into her past. And what have they uncovered now?
MILBANK: Well, it turns out all those years Caroline Kennedy was staying out of politics, she was also staying out of the polling booth. She missed five primary elections over the last 19 years and two general elections, including the one for the very same Senate seat she now hopes to occupy. The tabloids, as you imagine, are calling her AWOL and MIA. But I think she has been perfectly consistent. She's not asking people to go to the polls to elect her to the Senate, she's asking the governor to appoint her.
BROWN: Fair point there. And finally, I know President Bush attended the unveiling of his official portrait today at the Smithsonian in Washington. He managed to get a good laugh from the crowd. What did he say?
MILBANK: Yes. Well at this, the second unveiling, of a Bush portrait. He decided to make a little funny. Here's what it came out as.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I suspected there would be a good sized crowd once the word got out about my hanging.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MILBANK: Now if that sounds a little bit familiar, Campbell --
BROWN: It does. I was just thinking that.
MILBANK: Let's go back and play what he said earlier this month at a similar portrait unveiling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Welcome to my hanging.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MILBANK: You know, Campbell, it may just be time to hang it up with this one.
BROWN: OK. You know what? You both need new material. Dana Milbank for us, tonight. As always Dana, thanks.
MILBANK: Thanks a lot.
BROWN: Still to come tonight, the heartbreaking story that so many people have been following, Caylee Anthony's whereabouts. A mystery no more. We're going to update you on where things stand when we come back.
Also, my NO BIAS, NO BULL interview with Lynne Cheney. Her thoughts about sexism, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, plus her take on her husband's role in the Bush administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Joe Biden called your husband the most dangerous vice president we have had. And he has made it pretty clear that he intends to do things much, much differently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JAN GARAVAGLIA, ORANGE COUNTY FLA. MEDICAL EXAMINER: With regret, I'm here to inform you that skeletal remains found on December 11th are those of the missing toddler, Caylee Anthony.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Whatever hope was left for 2-year-old Caylee Anthony now gone. Caylee disappeared from her grandparents home, of course, back in June. Erica Hill is here with the very latest on this incredibly sad story. I guess the primary question is do we now know the cause of death?
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a yes and a no. I can tell you we do know that the medical examiner coming out today, Campbell, and saying that, in fact, this is homicide. But the death certificate is going to read it is homicide with an unspecified cause, basically.
There just wasn't enough information, if you will. There wasn't enough tissue left on the remains to actually pinpoint a cause of death. They're waiting on some test results to come back. But pretty much every expert that I spoke with said it is doubtful that we'll ever know exactly what killed this little girl.
BROWN: And to that point, I mean a strange development in this case. This is the man who found Caylee's body, a utility worker. He gives this news conference today. He explained he called the police tip line three times back in August saying, you know, about this actual location where he ended up finding the body. So what happened?
HILL: And about a bag. And he called specifically about a bag, too, to report this bag. Three days in a row on this 11th, 12th and 13th. What has happened is that now, this police department is speaking out and saying, yes, we did get those calls. We are looking into what happened. In fact, they addressed it today at the press conference that they held.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN BEARY, SHERIFF, ORANGE COUNTY FLORIDA: People need to realize we took over 5,600 tips on this particular case, both state and nationwide. So it's been a massive undertaking. And we're going to try to connect the dots. If we missed a window of opportunity, we don't know if we have or not. But we have done the very best we can from the get go on this particular case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: And we did speak with the sheriff's office just to clarify what exactly they plan to do. They say right now it is what they are calling an administrative review of both the calls and the way they were handled to see if there was, as the sheriff said there, perhaps something that they did miss so at least they'll know.
BROWN: Somebody dropped the ball.
HILL: Hopefully that's not the case.
BROWN: We'll see what happens. Erica Hill, of course tonight. Erica, thanks.
And coming up, Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol. She is due to give birth any day now. But startling news for the family today about her future mother-in-law.
BROWN: Coming up, a NO BIAS, NO BULL interview with Lynne Cheney. The vice president's wife explains the sexist double standard that she sees in politics. But first, Joe Johns is here right now with The Briefing. Hey, Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, breaking news from California in the battle over same-sex marriage. Attorney Ken Starr, better known as the special prosecutor from the Monica Lewinsky investigation, will ask California Supreme Court to invalidate thousands of same-sex marriages. Those couples were married over the summer before voters approved Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. Minutes ago, the state's attorney Jerry Brown called on the court to throw out Prop 8 as demanded by gay rights supporters.
A foot bridge being built at the Atlanta Botanical Garden collapsed this morning. One worker was killed, 17 others were hurt. They were all part of a crew that was pouring concrete at the bridge. No word yet on what caused that accident.
And Germany is facing a serious shortage of Santas. It may not look like it, but these jolly fellows usually have a lot more company. One Berlin temp agency says it is desperate to find enough qualified characters to make sure everyone who needs a Santa can get one. By the way, the money is good, $100 an hour.
JOHNS: I'll take that.
BROWN: Joe Johns for us tonight. Joe, thanks.
"LARRY KING LIVE," it's just a few minutes away now. Tonight, he is focusing on the latest news in the Caylee Anthony case. Larry, tell us more.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Campbell, breaking news on that sad development from Florida tonight. Caylee Anthony's remains have now been positively identified and her death ruled a homicide. We're going to cover all the bases tonight, try to answer the big questions, what does this mean for Caylee's mother who is behind bars and charged with her murder? Probably doesn't look too good. That's all next on "LARRY KING LIVE" Friday. Campbell?
BROWN: All right, Larry, we'll be watching.
And coming up, everybody, my one-on-one interview with Lynne Cheney. The vice president's wife sounds off on sexism, Sarah Palin, her husband's controversial legacy.
And there is wild weather across the country right now. If you're traveling this weekend, you're not going to want to miss our latest from the Severe Weather Center when we come back.
BROWN: It is safe to say that Dick Cheney is one of the most controversial vice presidents in history. In eight years, he redefined the number two job, earning record low approval ratings in the process. Earlier this week, I sat down with Lynne Cheney for an in-depth interview at the vice president's residence down in Washington. She had some pretty surprising things to say about Hillary Clinton, about Sarah Palin, about sexism in the campaign. But I began asking her what it is like for her husband to be leaving office right now with such low approval ratings?
LYNNE CHENEY, WIFE OF DICK CHENEY: Well, you don't do these jobs and you don't make your decisions based on popularity. I think that the enduring legacy will be the country has been safe for seven and a half years. I'm sure when you think back to that time, I know when I think back to it, we expected another attack any day. And what the president has done and what the vice president has done has -- they both worked to put in place a legacy that I hope will continue, that's that has kept us safe.
BROWN: Joe Biden called your husband the most dangerous vice president we have had. And he has made it pretty clear he intends to do things much, much differently.
CHENEY: Well, I think in President Obama, President-elect Obama have reached a different understanding of what the role of the vice president should be. But I do think that their administration will benefit from the fact that, you know, this administration has made it clear that the president has the strongest role in terms of keeping the country safe. BROWN: Back in September, you called yourself a big fan of Sarah Palin.
BROWN: In hindsight, you know, there are a lot of people who think that she was actually a drag on the ticket. A lot of Republicans.
CHENEY: I don't think that is so. I was so impressed with her. She was new to the national scene. And she just electrified the Republican Convention. I do think that there was a real need for some energy on our side. And Sarah Palin brought that and made many people so much more anxious to see the success of the Republican ticket than they had been before. I think we'll hear from her well into the future.
BROWN: How important is it for you and your lifetime, you know, you look at your daughters and what they've accomplished in their life. How much does having a woman president matter?
CHENEY: Well, I think it would be great. But I certainly would hope that it will be a woman that, you know, I agreed with on national security issues and so on. In fact, I would really hope it will be one of my daughters.
BROWN: Really? Political futures.
CHENEY: Well, I would wish for you, Campbell, but you have sons in your future.
BROWN: I want to stay on the gender issues for a second because there were a lot of -- there were a lot of charges both from Sarah Palin and from Hillary Clinton during the campaign of sexism, directed at both of them. Did you sense that?
CHENEY: Oh, I certainly did. You know, it was impossible to watch some of the talking heads on television about Mrs. Clinton, which surprised me. You know, sort of on cable news networks that you wouldn't suppose would be troubled by her liberal candidacy, to see a real edge to the commentary on her.
And then, of course, on Sarah Palin. It was quite amazing to me the sort of I don't know how to describe it, kooky part of the blogosphere that tried to promote rumors about her family that were so far off the mark. So I do think that we did see some sexism raise its head in the last election.
BROWN: What do you think about Hillary Clinton and the role of secretary of state?
CHENEY: Oh, I think that she'll undoubtedly do a good job. I think it was a good pick. She has not been part of the far left as far as national security is concerned. She supported the effort in Iraq, for example, actually, through her detriment when it came time for the Democratic primary. But I think she staked herself out, a centrist position that will serve the country well.
BROWN: And still ahead, Sarah Palin's first grandchild due any moment. And the other grandma in serious legal trouble tonight. We're going to have the very latest on that. Also, travelers across the country stranded in the storm. Our severe weather expert Chad Myers has the very latest information on where things -- or when things are going to clear up.
BROWN: Just days after she was picked as John McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin stunned the political world by revealing that her teenage daughter Bristol was pregnant. Tonight, reluctantly, the family is in the spotlight again because the mother of Bristol's fiancee has been arrested. And Joe Johns has been working on this story all day and has some new details for us. Joe, what's going on out there in Alaska?
JOHNS: Well Campbell, the mother of the young man Sarah Palin may soon marry is in trouble with the law. Sherry Johnston, whose son Levi is engaged to marry Bristol Palin got arrested in Alaska just yesterday. State police locked her up on six felony drug charges. The authorities won't say what drugs, but these are serious charges.
We took a look at the state laws in question. They prohibit making, dealing, or possessing among other things powerful pain pills as well as heroin, methamphetamines and dozens of other dangerous drugs.
And this doesn't sound like a random drug bust either. Police served a search warrant on Johnston's Wasilla, Alaska, home after an undercover investigation which suggests authorities could have been keeping tabs on her for a while. The governor's office told us tonight that it does not comment on going criminal investigations.
Johnston was taken to a pretrial detention center and released on bail with a court date set for January. Sherry Johnston's birthday, we're told, was just this week. She turned 42.
BROWN: And Joe, I understand that Bristol Palin is due to give birth any day now, right?
JOHNS: That's right. But first you have to say nothing in any of this suggests any connection to Levi Johnston or the governor's daughter. But, yes, Bristol Palin could give birth as early as tomorrow, we're told. And we're also told they're expecting a baby boy.
BROWN: All right. Joe Johns for us tonight with some interesting information for us to share. Joe, thanks very much.
We know a lot of you watching us right now probably stuck at an airport somewhere or maybe you're waiting for someone to get home. Let's check back in on this very busy weather night with meteorologist Chad Myers who is in the Severe Weather Center with the very latest details on what the storm is doing. Chad?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: When you thought you were going to get a nice, long vacation and you said, yes, I'm leaving on Friday! And I'm going to be there all week! You're still sitting there at the airport now. Still snowing in Boston. Airports getting a little more cleaned up though in New York City. Still not a piece of cake.
The problem is this is every plane that is out of La Guardia in the past three hours, not nearly enough, less than 30. There should be 90 planes in the air. Where are the others one? They're sitting on the ground and they're taking off because either they're not there or they're just snowed in somewhere else.
Kenosha, Wisconsin, 14 inches. White Lake, Michigan at 11, with Newburgh at 10 inches. Now that's just north of the city. And even up into Connecticut at eight and a half inches.
What we're going to do for you to day. We're going to end this snow in the next hour for Boston. Finally get it out of there. And then develop another storm system for tomorrow in the Plains. It's a rain event. But that rain turns into ice and snow into New York and also into New England for Sunday night.
If you can travel tomorrow, I know you hate driving in the rain, but it's better than driving in that which could be coming through into New York state, Vermont, New Hampshire and also the ice will be in Connecticut down into Rhode Island and into New York City as well.
So if you're going to maybe work and maybe you can't get out until Wednesday, if you're a last-minute traveler, it does look wet rather than white. And all that beautiful snow put down here for Santa to land on is all going to get rained on. But there is going to be snow from Wisconsin back up into Michigan, also into parts of Ontario and Quebec. And if you're taking a ski vacation, you couldn't have picked a better week. Next week will be snowing almost every day from parts of Utah, into Colorado, Wyoming, into even the mountains of Albuquerque and Taos will be getting snow as well.
So you know what? Hey, it's an active winter, even though winter doesn't start for another -- well, couple days.
BROWN: Technically, technically. It sure looks like it already started if you look outside your window here in New York City right now. All right, Chad Myers for us from the Severe Weather Center with all the very latest. And good luck to all those folks who are stuck in airports watching us right now. We're hoping you get home or wherever you're headed before the night is over.
That it is for us. Have a great weekend. We're going to -- I'm going to disappear for a few days for a little holiday break. We'll see you back here soon. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.