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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Michael Jackson Investigation; President Obama Blasts Iranian Government
Aired June 26, 2009 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, everybody. Tonight, troubling new questions over the circumstances of Michael Jackson's death -- now the coroner's office has just held a news conference, we'll have complete coverage.
Also new calls for disgraced Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina to resign -- those calls intensifying days after he admitted having an affair with a woman in Argentina.
President Obama steps up his criticism of the Iranian government. The president engaging in a war of words with the Iranian president still taking no action, and charges of dirty tricks, and the showdown over climate and energy legislation -- that is our "Face Off" tonight.
We begin with the investigation into Michael Jackson's death. Investigators tonight are focusing on the singer's medical treatment. They seized a car that may contain drugs and other evidence. Police are also trying to find Jackson's personal doctor.
Medical examiners today completed an autopsy on Jackson and in the last few minutes the coroner's office said there's no indication of foul play. Ted Rowlands has the very latest on the investigation from Los Angeles. Ted, what can you tell us?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kitty the coroner's office just briefed the media within the last hour and the headline is that was there was nothing significant that they can report now. Toxicology tests will begin and they are expected to take between four and six weeks. And the cause of death will not be determined until the coroner's office is completely finished with the report.
Anthony Hernandez is the director of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. You were in the autopsy for Michael Jackson briefly, today. Was there anything in terms of pre-existing conditions with his heart, et cetera that you can tell us about that was noticeable and noteworthy.
ANTHONY HERNANDEZ, DIR., LA CO. CORONER'S OFFICE: At this point after a discussion with our chief medical examiner, Dr. Loch Smadden (ph), who conducted the autopsy together with Dr. Christopher Rogers (ph), there's nothing of the unusual to report as far as the physicality of what they discovered. And again we are dealing with a situation that we are honoring a request from the LAPD for a security hold on this case, which means basically we are limited on the information that we can release on that. But, given that information, we are also aware that this case is going to hinge largely on toxicology. And that's why it's very critical for us to make sure that we get the toxicology expedited within the next four to six weeks.
ROWLANDS: One of the things you did release is that Mr. Jackson was taking prescription drugs at the time of his death. How do you know that?
HERNANDEZ: Well that information is not privy to me, so I would rather not comment on that. But obviously what we are trying to discover right now, whatever you hear and whatever information is out there, there's a lot of information floating out there. The toxicology will confirm or disaffirm any types of drugs that might have been taken, whether they were prescription, drugs of abuse or any other types of drugs.
ROWLANDS: But it's safe to say that this is not a man who had chronic heart problems and et cetera, or any other chronic condition?
HERNANDEZ: At least from the preliminary findings it does not appear so.
ROWLANDS: All right, Anthony Hernandez the director of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office -- Kitty, that's really the headline now. That was the information that everybody has been waiting for. Now, it will be time before -- four to six weeks before these toxicology results come in.
The other thing that's been happening today is this doctor that Michael Jackson was with at the time of his death. This is the personal physician. The Los Angeles Police Department has tried to re-interview him and they interviewed him Thursday night, but they wanted to re-interview him today.
That has not taken place according to the Los Angeles Police Department yet, however they have told us that they are confident that this doctor is cooperating, if you will, or will cooperate, and was never not cooperating, and it was just more of a logistical thing. But that they do not believe he is by any stretch of the imagination not cooperating with investigators -- Kitty.
PILGRIM: All right, thanks very much -- Ted Rowlands. Thanks Ted.
The Los Angeles Fire Department were the first responders on the scene and today they released dramatic audio tape, a 911 call from Jackson's home. Now the caller said Jackson was not breathing and not responding to CPR. Let's listen to some of that tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a gentleman here that needs help and he's not breathing. He's not breathing and we need to -- we're trying to pump him, but he's not -- he's not...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK. How old is he?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's 50 years old, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifty, OK. He's unconscious, he's not breathing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he's not breathing, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK and he's not conscious, either. He's not breathing...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he's not conscious, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Did anybody see him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have a personal doctor here with him, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you have a doctor there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but he's not responding to anything, to no -- no -- he's not responding to CPR or anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anybody witness what happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, just the doctor, sir. The doctor has been the only one here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, so the doctor seen what happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doctor, did you see what happened, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, if you just -- if you can please...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're on our way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PILGRIM: Now Jackson was later pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center. Joining us now for more on Michael Jackson's autopsy and the investigation is our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He's also a certified medical investigator and Sanjay, the coroner today said the cause of death was deferred. What does that mean?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, when you have an initial autopsy like this you're looking for things that really obvious causes of death. Look for external trauma to the body -- that would have been one of the first things they look for -- any signs of foul play. And I would add to that just something that's so clearly catastrophic that it would have clearly been the cause of death. What they are basically saying, Kitty, is that none of those things were apparent today, so as we sort of expected and is often the case in cases like this, it's going to take some time to get all those tests back that Ted Rowlands was just talking about. PILGRIM: Sanjay, do we know how long it might take before we can expect to see some final results?
GUPTA: Well, it's interesting because a lot of people have been asking that. You know if someone shows up in the emergency room, you can get a toxicology screen from the urine pretty quickly. So you can find out if some types of medications or chemicals are present.
What you really want to know is how high were the levels in the bloodstream. Were they at low levels? Were they at levels that are normally used to treat whatever it was suppose to treat. Are they toxic levels or were at levels that have possibly could have caused death. Now we -- that's what they are going to be looking for. Sometimes it's not always so clear cut in the end, Kitty, to have an exact sort of cause and effect relationship (ph).
PILGRIM: Yeah, well that actually is my next question. If it were drugs that caused the cardiac arrest, is there any way to tell at this stage?
GUPTA: Well at this stage, no because you really need to know how high were the levels of any particular drugs. For example, there's a certain class of drugs may -- which may depress your ability to breathe on your own. Once you're not breathing on your own you're not getting enough air and oxygen into your bloodstream. That could cause a cardiac arrest.
On the other hand, there are other classes of medications that act directly on the heart that can cause a cardiac arrest. So which of these medications possibly were they -- how high were the doses? That's what they have to sort of piece together.
PILGRIM: Sanjay, there was a doctor at the house, treating Jackson, administering CPR. That's according to the 911 tapes. That raises a lot of questions, doesn't it, about Jackson's condition before he suffered the cardiac arrest?
GUPTA: Yeah, I think that's a very good point and an interesting one. And I've listened to that 911 tape and read the transcript carefully. There was a key question that was asked by the dispatch operator, which is did anyone witness what specifically happened to Michael Jackson. And at that point the doctor said you know let's just get the paramedics here as quickly as possible and that question was really never answered.
It's a really important question because immediately prior to his collapse or whatever happened to him, what exactly was going on with him. That's going to be a key piece of -- a key clue, if you will, to try to figure this whole thing out.
PILGRIM: All right, thanks very much -- Sanjay Gupta. Thanks Sanjay.
The White House today gave President Obama's first public reaction to Michael Jackson's death. The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs said the president regarded Jackson as an icon who sometimes led a sad life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He said to me that obviously Michael Jackson was a spectacular performer, a music icon, but the president also said look, he had aspects of his life were sad and tragic. That his condolences went out to the Jackson family and to fans that mourn his loss.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PILGRIM: There's no further comment on Jackson's death as expected from the White House or President Obama himself. Now we can show you pictures of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We have mourners gathering there. You can see the crowds that have been gathering around -- much more on the investigation into Michael Jackson's death, ahead.
We'll also have the war of words that escalate between President Obama and the President Ahmadinejad of Iran -- also rising pressure on South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford to resign after his affair with a woman in Argentina.
PILGRIM: President Obama, today, had more strong words for the Iranian government. Now the president is saying Tehran's crackdown on pro democracy protesters is outrageous. President Obama also dismissed the Iranian president's demand for an apology. Dan Lothian reports from the White House.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what President Obama thinks of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent harsh rhetoric.
BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't take Mr. Ahmadinejad's statements seriously about apologies and I'm really not concerned about Mr. Ahmadinejad apologizing to me. I would suggest that Mr. Ahmadinejad think carefully about the obligations he owes to his own people.
LOTHIAN: Ahmadinejad had called for the apology after Mr. Obama delivered stronger criticism of the crackdown on demonstrators. But in a joint White House appearance with his German counterpart, Angela Merkel, the president continued to hold the Iranian government responsible for the violence.
OBAMA: The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. Despite the government's efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it and we condemn it.
LOTHIAN: On this issue, the U.S. and Germany speak with quote "one voice", but Merkel went a step further questioning the outcome of the disputed elections. CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, GERMANY: The Iranian people has the right to have votes be counted and the election results substantiated.
LOTHIAN: Beyond the latest on rest (ph) in Iran, the U.S. and allies like Germany are deeply concerned about the dangerous consequences of Iran's nuclear program.
OBAMA: We are working to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capacity and unleashing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
LOTHIAN: Russia where President Obama visits next month could be a key player in helping to reign in Iran -- help too from Chancellor Merkel who is said to have clout in Moscow.
MERKEL: We need Russia, for example. We need it looking at the problems we have with Iran.
LOTHIAN: When asked if the U.S. could still have a meaningful dialogue with Iran on the nuclear issue, the president said that he would have to wait and see how all of this plays out in the days and weeks ahead -- Kitty.
PILGRIM: Thanks very much -- Dan Lothian. Thanks Dan.
U.S. and South Korean defense officials today held top level talks in Seoul. Now those talks are focused on the increasing threats from North Korea. Yesterday, 100,000 North Koreans held an anti- American rally in Pyongyang. A top North Korean official threatened to deliver an annihilating blow against the United States. Meanwhile, a North Korean freighter believed to be carrying weapons is still being tracked by the U.S. Navy off the Chinese coast.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
PILGRIM: Breaking News from Capitol Hill tonight. There was a final showdown over the Democratic Party's efforts to push through sweeping climate and energy legislation. Now Republicans made a last ditch stand against the bill. House Minority Leader John Boehner accused the Democratic leadership of dirty tricks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: I really hate to do this, but when you file a 300 page amendment at 3:09 a.m., the American people have a right to know what's in this bill. They have a right to know what we are voting on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PILGRIM: A vote is taking place in the House of Representatives right now. Louise Schiavone has the report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As day dawned on the House energy and climate change debate, the bill's opponent said it had been quite a night at the Rules Committee.
REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: Last night at 3:09 a.m., House Democrats filed a 309 page amendment.
REP. JOE BARTON (R), ENERGY AND COMMERCE CMTE.: They were literally hot off the Xerox machine when they were handed into the Rules Committee at approximate -- some time between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. this morning.
SCHIAVONE: By day's end the sweeping bill filled with text measures arrived on the House floor for a vote at more than 1,200 pages. Not a great day for the Democratic process said this public watchdog group.
JAKE BREWER, SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION: This is the kind of bill that's going to affect our economy on a massive scale, our climate, our national security, and it's not the kind of thing to be taken lightly. The opacity of this process is -- to be perfectly honest it's infuriating.
SCHIAVONE: And so the Sunlight Foundation joined other unlikely allies of congressional Republicans like Greenpeace, the Congress of Racial Equality, Friends of The Earth, each with their own reasons in opposing the bill. Heavily advocated by the Obama administration and congressional Democratic leaders the bill would change the way Americans produce and consume energy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop this addiction.
REP. ED MARKEY (D), ENERGY SUBCOMMITTEE CHMN.: This bill has the ambition of the moon landing. The moral imperative of the Civil Rights Act and the scope of the Clean Air Act all wrapped up in one.
SCHIAVONE: Under the bill, energy producing polluters like fuel refineries and coal fired plants would pay the price of their emissions through a system of allowances. Critics say that would make energy more expensive to producers and consumers alike.
REP. PHIL ROE (R), TENNESSEE: The only certainty of this bill is that Wall Street traders sophisticated enough to understand how these credits are traded will make millions.
REP. DAVE CAMP (R), WAYS AND MEANS CMTE.: The speaker's national energy tax is bad for our economy, bad for families who are already struggling to make ends meet, and it will do nothing to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. It's all pain and no gain.
SCHIAVONE: House Democrats produced a roster of dozens of bill supporters including the AFLCIO, the Consumers Union and a number of energy companies.
SCHIAVONE: Kitty, this bill has just passed on a vote of 219 to 212. But, we should say that Democratic leaders move this bill through the House with the most fragile of support even though it's a safe bet that many, if not most in Congress didn't read the whole thing. And it's expected to face an even tougher test when it gets to the Senate -- Kitty.
PILGRIM: Louise, that's a squeaker and a certain calculated risk, wasn't it?
SCHIAVONE: It was certainly a calculated risk, but by late afternoon, Republicans were saying that they didn't believe that they had the votes to stop it. President Obama was on the phone. House Democratic leaders were really pressuring their members to turn up for this vote, even though people in Congress were inundated with telephone calls from their constituents pleading with them not to vote for this bill.
There's even a provision in this bill that provides for unemployment benefits for people who are displaced because of what goes on in this bill, so they are expecting some significant unemployment to result from this bill, but they say there will be jobs in alternative energy. It's a very controversial measure and it's going to face an even tougher test when it gets to the Senate.
PILGRIM: And we know we will be following it and you will be following it very carefully. Thank you very much -- Louise Schiavone.
Well, in the Senate, top lawmakers are also reporting significant progress towards a massive health care reform bill. They say their legislation will cost taxpayers less than $1 trillion and that compares with the previous estimate of at least $1.5 trillion.
Well it seems those health care reforms will be funded in part by a tax on employer provided medical benefits. This is an idea that President Obama strongly opposed during the presidential campaign. Americans are deeply divided over President Obama's energy and health care reforms and those divisions come even sharper when Americans consider the potential cost of those reforms. Bill Schneider has the report.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Do Americans want the federal government to guarantee health insurance for everybody? Sure, 64 percent. Will they pay higher taxes to get it? Well, OK in principle, 57 percent. How much will they be willing to pay?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are shopping for a car, even I have to admit that a Ferrari looks pretty good next to a Ford until you see the price tag.
SCHNEIDER: Suppose the price tag were $500 a year. That's different. Support drops to 43 percent. That's the problem Congress is wrestling with now.
REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: But after we look at the costs of the options that's there, then we will know what we can afford.
SCHNEIDER: President Obama's argument? It will cost more not to do anything.
OBAMA: In this debate, there's been some notion that if we just stand pat, we're OK and that's just not true.
SCHNEIDER: Do Americans support a cap-and-trade system whereby companies can buy and sell permits to emit greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming? Well, OK, 52 percent. What if there's a price tag?
BOEHNER: Let's just be honest and call it a carbon tax that will increase taxes on all Americans who drive a car, who have a job, who turn on a light switch pure and simple.
SCHNEIDER: That's different. If a cap-and-trade bill raises people's monthly electric bill by $25, support drops to 44 percent.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MINORITY WHIP: I would say in response to all the efforts to undergo health care reform, to impose these cap- and-trade schemes, you know all these may be after (INAUDIBLE) goal, but at the end of the day right now we are in an economic emergency.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): The issue is the same for health care and energy reform. Not do we want it but can we afford it. A wit once said there are many things in life that are more important than money and they all cost money.
Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.
PILGRIM: We'll have much more on the vote in favor of the climate and energy bill. That's in our "Face Off" later tonight on the broadcast.
Well up next, new calls for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford to step down as he apologizes for his actions.
And the wife of the powerful chairman of the House Judiciary Committee pleads guilty to accepting bribes. That story next.
PILGRIM: The wife of the House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers pleaded guilty to bribery today. Monica Conyers was the president of the Detroit City Council. A federal court says she accepted cash bribes in exchange for awarding a $1.2 billion contract to a sludge removal company. Now Monica Conyers faces up to five years in prison. Her husband is not suspected of any involvement. There are increasing calls tonight for disgraced South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford to resign -- a second South Carolina newspaper and at least one lawmaker urging the governor to step down. Sanford yesterday admitted that he used state funds to visit his mistress in Argentina back in 2008 and last week he disappeared from office to go to Argentina to meet with her again. Jessica Yellin has the latest.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Governor Mark Sanford has a heavy heart, but no plans to leave his job.
GOV. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't see anything definitive. My hunch would be that it is a good example with regard to my boys -- if you fall down in life that you get back up.
YELLIN: Not everyone in the state agrees. A second South Carolina newspaper is calling for his resignation arguing "the entire episode vividly illustrates irresponsibility and poor judgment." And one of the governor's chief critics is demanding an independent investigation into Sanford's actions, alleging possible misuse of state funds and abuse of power.
REP. JAKE KNOTTS (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I would take his resignation in a heartbeat so that South Carolina can move forward.
YELLIN: One bit of good news for Sanford, so far his lieutenant governor who would get the job if Sanford leaves is not pushing for him to go.
LT. GOV. ANDRE BAUER (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I am not out to decide one way or another what the governor should do.
YELLIN: Meanwhile, the governor continues his apology tour humbling himself to his cabinet.
M. SANFORD: I wanted generally to apologize to every one of you all for letting you down.
YELLIN: And to local reporters.
M. SANFORD: This whole process is tough for everybody and that includes you all and so I apologize.
YELLIN: One person who won't weigh in on the governor's political future -- his wife.
JENNY SANFORD: His career is not a concern of mine. He is going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children.
YELLIN: Sanford says he understands.
M. SANFORD: Let me give credit to my wife Jenny, who has been none other than magnanimous. (END VIDEOTAPE)
YELLIN: Kitty, Governor Sanford says he has been calling state officials apologizing for his behavior. He issued a statement saying he hopes to follow the example set by David in the Bible who had a fall, then got back up and kept working -- Kitty.
PILGRIM: Jessica Yellin -- thanks.
A reminder to join Lou on the radio Monday through Friday for "The Lou Dobbs Show" -- go to loudobbs.com to find the local listing in your area and you can follow Lou on Twitter @loudobbsnews.
Coming up, more on Governor Mark Sanford's affair and his political fallout, we'll also examine President Obama's tougher language on Iran. Should he take action as well? Also we'll have the very latest on Michael Jackson's death and the investigation. We do have new information, next.
PILGRIM: That was Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" from is best- selling "Thriller" album. We have new important developments in the Michael Jackson investigation, tonight. The director of the L.A. County Coroner's Office said more tests are needed to determine the cause of Jackson's death. So, joining me now for more on the coroner's is Dr. Joshua Perper. He's a medical examiner in Broward County, Florida.
And thanks very much for taking time to speak to us this evening.
DR JOSHUA PERPER, CHIEF MED EXAMINER, BROWARD CO FL: You're welcome.
PILGRIM: What can you conclude, so far, from the coroner's report, sir?
PERPER: Well, the coroner report indicates a number of things. No. 1, there was no evidence of trauma. And second, there's no evidence of foul play. And the additional tests are not likely to give any specific results except for the chemical test. The brain test is not likely to show any structural damage to the brain and it's done routinely. And the examination of the lung, probably is done in order to exclude or to confirm the presence of pneumonia.
So, it seems that the major suspicion and major suspect and the major suspect of this unfortunate death is an overdose or a toxicity of either medication and/or drugs. And it's going to take several weeks and the results will be available and at that time, the medical examiner, coroner, will be able to make his final determination.
PILGRIM: What do you make of the reports that Michael Jackson had injections of Demerol and how does it play into cardiac arrest?
PERPER: Well, Demerol is an opiate and is a central nervous system, in other words, a brain depressant. In other words, it depresses the activity of vital centers in the brain, which control the beating of the heart and circulation and breathing. And high amounts of the drug act on the sensors and shut them off and as a result of that, the heart stop and the breathing stops.
PILGRIM: What was the most significant thing you heard out of the medical examiner's report, sir.
PERPER: I think the significant thing was in the negative rather than the positive. In other words, the fact they did not find any significant physical finding and it seems to me, and that's my feeling, that the final determination is going to be an overdose or toxicity of drugs or medication and the injection of the drugs, apparently close to his demise, supports them very strongly.
PILGRIM: And tell us a little bit about the additional tests. What are you looking for, what are you expecting to hear?
PERPER: Well, the additional tests which were mentioned, was an examination of the brain or what they call a neuro pathological examination. Such an examination, the brain is sliced and various areas are carefully examined for evidence of structural damage. And various areas of the brain are then sampled for microscopic examination.
But, in view of the fact that Michael Jackson was certainly mentally fit and there's no evidence that he had any kind of neurological condition it is unlikely that there would be any neurological damage.
What's so important from an negative point of view is the fact that they didn't mention the heart as showing pathology which requires further examination because, obviously, the heart is a central organ, can have pathology, which causes death.
The examination of the lungs, most likely, relates to microscopic examination in order to exclude or to confirm the presence of pneumonia, or inflammation of the lungs. But, even if such an inflammation was present, probably it can be safely related to the toxicity of the drugs which were apparently taken or injected, unfortunately, into Michael.
PILGRIM: Thank you for analyzing that for us and giving us the ability to understand what we're hearing. Dr. Joshua Perper, thank you, sir.
PERPER: You're welcome.
PILGRIM: Now, hundreds of Michael Jackson fans, today lining Hollywood boulevard to capture a glimpse of his star on the Walk of Fame and fans worldwide are turning to his music which is once again topping the charts and SHOW BIZ TONIGHT. A.J. Hammer joins us now with more -- A.J.
A.J. HAMMER, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Kitty, it's just been 24 hours since we learned of Michael Jackson's death. Clearly, his fans are starting to reconnect with him through his music in a big way and get their piece of music history, right now.
I just checked out iTunes, nine out of the top 10 albums are Jackson's. The only one that's not a Jackson album, on that top 10, the Black Eyed Peas they're No. 9, but the rest of them, all Michael Jackson's.
Also, six of the top 10 singles on iTunes, they're Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," "Thriller," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough," the song "Smooth Criminal," and "Black or White."
The same thing's going on over at Amazon.com's music site. Check this out. The top 15 best-sellers in music on Amazon, Jacksons. The top five selling DVDs, also related to Jackson. There are tour documentaries, his greatest hits videos, greatest video hits, as well.
And this huge new surge in sales after his death is going to be really a much-needed boon to his estate. There was a "Wall Street Journal" story, earlier this month, that said his debt stood at about, get ready for this, a whopping $500 million. Also selling fast online, no surprise, Michael Jackson merchandise and memorabilia. Tens of thousands of items up for sale. Check out eBay, you'll see DVDs and t-shirts, posters, autographed pictures, even copies of newspapers announcing his sudden and unexpected death.
So, even in death, one thing is for certain, Michael Jackson has major selling power. And let's not forget the "Thriller" album, which has sold more than 100 million copies world-wide. That number, obviously, Kitty, will continue to grow. Now that he's gone, so many people do want to remember him. And I tell you, that's a record that won't be broken by anything, ever.
PILGRIM: I can imagine. You know, I spoke to my son who's on a college campus and a lot of new -- a lot of kids are rediscovering all of the songs. Now, as this -- as these are resold, what -- and the memorabilia is sold, the value goes up, doesn't it?
HAMMER: Yeah, we often see this when any big star dies, memorabilia value will always go up. A memorabilia dealer, here in New York City told me that the price for a legitimate Michael Jackson autograph, it's probably going to at least double now that he has passed away from what it was going for, which is up to about $300 now.
And keep in mind, there are a lot of Michael Jackson autographs out there. He loved to give it out his autograph. There's one item I found on eBay of particular interest, a dealer -- a seller who says that he has a signed Michael Jackson guitar. It has reached almost $1,300 by this afternoon. This is what's going to continue, really, over the next several weeks and months -- Kitty.
PILGRIM: All right, thanks, very much, A.J. Hammer. Thanks, A.J.
Well, coming up, President Obama moves forward on so-called comprehensive immigration reform. Also, the showdown over the climate bill ends with a slim Democratic victory in the House. That is the topic of our "Face-Off Debate."
Also, South Carolina governor, Mark Sanford, apologizes for his affair, again, amid calls for his resignation. We'll hear from three of the nation's top political thinkers, next.
PILGRIM: Joining me now are three of the best political analysts of the country, they are CNN contributors. We're joined by Republican strategist and former White House political director, Ed Rollins. Columnist for the "New York Daily News," Errol Louis. And Democratic strategist, Robert Zimmerman.
Gentlemen, thanks for joining me. You know, I'd really like to talk about Governor Mark Sanford today, he really drew a lot of attention this week. He apologized to his cabinet today and this is the following the general apology, yesterday. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I wanted generally to apologize to every one of you all, for letting you down. I've been making legislative calls throughout the morning and yesterday afternoon on my way back up from Sullivan's, apologizing to them, saying I'm sorry, but I owed that to you all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PILGRIM: All right, There are more than one calls for his resignation. Robert, your thoughts?
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, he's lasted longer than Eliot Spitzer has, I give him credit for that, but ultimately, he's done. Whether he stays as governor or not is irrelevant because ultimately now, he's powerless in that position and has no particular state -- status in that position.
And I think, in fairness, Governor Sanford's family should be left alone. The only thing I ask in return that Governor Sanford and his right-wing buddies leave all of our families alone with their intrusive agenda and their self-righteous moral agenda about our lives.
PILGRIM: Thoughts on that -- Ed.
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: That's a repeat Robert made on Wednesday, obviously, he just read his cuff.
ZIMMERMAN: Thank you for listening.
ROLLINS: Must have read his talking points one more time.
The bottom line here is this guy is totally irrelevant to the state anymore. He was pretty much a lame duck governor. The lieutenant governor doesn't want to move up and several other people don't want him to move up because there's going to be a big primary for the governorship.
I think at the end of the day, he might as well leave and you don't get to apologize for being stupid. And at the end of the day, that this was a guy who walked away from his state, was so arrogant, not only to commit the adultery, that he's now admitted to everybody who ever asked him, but he basically walked away from his state, didn't care about his responsibilities and the state has a right and obligation to throw him out.
PILGRIM: You know, I'd like to actually play a clip from Jenny Sanford, who is his wife, who was noticeably absent from the public apology. Let's listen to what she had to say, yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNY SANFORD, WIFE OF GOV MARK SANFORD: His career is not a concern of mine. He's going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PILGRIM: Now, of course, you know, the family, as you suggest, Robert, should be left alone on this. But, how important is public support in a situation like this for a politician.
Errol, thoughts on this whole situation?
ERROL LOUIS, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Well, I don't know that he has any public support, frankly, or it's dwindling and part of what makes that so is what you just displayed. I mean, she is a model of grace and dignity under very difficult circumstances.
I think, most people can certainly identify with her, going through the trauma that her family is going through, with her head held high. I mean, she doesn't seem to have done anything wrong. She, like everybody else, wishes this man had acted more responsibly. The next chapter, I don't know if it's going to be very interesting for the rest of us. I mean, I think he exits and South Carolina tries to move on, so does his family.
ROLLINS: The tragedy for my party, which I just quickly (INAUDIBLE), we have very few State houses, we now have two in which the spouse is not living, Nevada and South Carolina or the spouse is not living with the governor. And I think this is a bad trend for us and obviously we need to turn it around real quick.
PILGRIM: Sad commentary.
ZIMMERMAN: Are you trying to say the Democratic Party is the party of family values?
ROLLINS: I would not go that far.
ZIMMERMAN: OK, thank you, Ed. PILGRIM: Let's go on to the climate change bill, because that's not controversial at all.
Now, let's just -- we have the final tally on the vote: 219 yes, 212 no, three abstained. This is a squeaker for the Democrats. Tell me what you think can get done with this. Where do we go from here?
ZIMMERMAN: It's interesting, I was checking with friends of mine on the Hill and House members, they were expecting it to pass by five or six votes, then there were -- they expected a few more to come over once it became clear it was going to pass. So, that's, ultimately, it was as close as everyone predicted. But, it really is a very important bill, it's am historic bill. Government's about making choices, and this bill is about -- granted, it's going to be a tax of, according to the CBO, of $175 per individual, but the new jobs, the new incentives it's new incentives it creates in the energy industry is extraordinary.
PILGRIM: Ed, thoughts on this.
ROLLINS: This is a gigantic tax bill, it's 1,000 pages. This bill got passed because Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel put their manhood and their womanhood on the line. It's a bad bill. Environmentalists aren't happy, the farm people aren't happy, the business community isn't happy and it'll end up being a disaster. This will have a hard time in the Senate.
LOUIS: A number of individuals are skeptical about cap-and- trade, in the first place. The process is absolutely indefensible, whether or not it gets through the Senate, whether or not they get some bill at the end. I think, one thing worth noting, though, is that when people say that, oh, it's a tax as if it were simply a burden. Well look, if you don't do it, you pay a burden, you have higher asthma rates and a number of other costs the society absorbs. So, this is about making choices, as Robert says.
PILGRIM: It certainly is.
ZIMMERMAN: Through the telecommunication debate, back in 1996, there was great protest to it. Then, of course, that opened the whole technological revolution and (INAUDIBLE) revolution, so there are real benefits, now industries that could be created.
PILGRIM: You know, I have to say the whole discussion is very encouraging, that we're actually discussing this in a serious way. The process of this is very, very controversial, as we say. We're out of time, I'm sorry to say. Errol Louis, Robert Zimmerman, Ed Rollins. Thank you very much.
Still ahead, President Obama makes a new push to sell so-called comprehensive immigration reform, some call that amnesty. Also, much more on the controversial climate bill. We'll examine that in the "Face-Off Debate," next.
PILGRIM: President Obama on immigration reform in just a minute, but first, coming up at the top of the hour is Campbell Brown -- Campbell.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, there, Kitty. Tonight we're going to be updating people, of course, on the latest on the investigation into Michael Jackson's death. Police now want more answers from the doctor who was with him when he died.
Plus, Jackson's transformation from child star to a troubled man. He went through multiple plastic surgeries and criminal accusation and what happens to his three children and his money. We're going to talk about that all ahead at the top of the hour -- Kitty.
PILGRIM: We look forward to it. Thanks, Campbell.
President Obama is moving ahead with so-called comprehensive immigration reform. Now, critics say his plan would provide amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants already in this country. The president says he also wants to strengthen border security. Now, the president met with key lawmakers this week, but he may have a hard time convincing them to back his plan. Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House has outlined the broad strokes of what it wants in a comprehensive immigration reform bill: border security, a guest worker program, and a pass to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants. Supporters, after meeting with the president, say they're optimistic he will put his political muscle into the fight.
REP LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: I don't think he could have been clearer today and more committed today in making comprehensive immigration reform a reality.
SYLVESTER: But, the previous Congress twice shot down the idea of giving an amnesty to those who broke immigration law. Now, some senior Democrats admit this time around they have to change the tone to focus on enforcement.
SEN CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The American people are pro- legal immigration and anti-illegal immigrant. In order to get and rationalize our system we are going to have to make sure that there are not future waves of illegal immigrants.
SYLVESTER: Getting a bill through Congress is a heavy lift. Supporters say they need a vote on the bill this year if it's ever to pass. But GOP Senator Jeff Sessions says that requires convincing the American people that any legislation will actually fix the nation's broken borders.
SEN JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: American people can accept legislation that works and that does what it says it will do. But, they are not going to buy a pig in the poke. SYLVESTER: Previous attempts to pass immigration reform cobble together a diverse group of supporters, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor unions. But , the labor support has been withering.
SYLVESTER: And the dynamics have changed since the last time Congress took up the immigration bill. The economy in a recession, the unemployment rate is nearing 10 percent, so a bill that could potentially add millions of more workers to the labor force is going to be a tough fight -- Kitty.
PILGRIM: Thanks very much. Lisa Sylvester.
SYLVESTER: All right, thanks very much, Lisa Sylvester.
Well, another top priority for President Obama is tackling climate change. Now, in the past few minutes the president won a victory in the House of Representatives on a sweeping climate bill. The House narrowly passed that legislation 219-212. That's the subject of our "Face-Off," tonight.
And joining me now, Daniel Weiss, senior fellow and director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress; and Myron Ebell, director of Energy and Global Warming Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
And gentlemen, thank you very much for being with me.
DANIEL WEISS, CTR FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Thanks for having me.
Mr. Weiss, this piece of legislation just passed, but critics say it's really full of concessions, even environmental groups are against it: Green Peace, Friends of the Earth, saying it won't do that much to help carbon emissions. What do you say to that?
WEISS: Well, first of all, Kitty, this bill's about two things. It's about creating the clean energy jobs of the future, so we can compete with Germany and China. Second, it's about using energy more efficiently, so we can reduce consumer spending on electricity and gasoline. Most environmental groups support this bill: Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, League of Conservation Voters. Almost all of them support this. Why? Because it will create jobs, cut oil use, reduce pollution, and help us get back in the game in the competition for the clean energy technologies of the 21st century. So, there's vast environmental support for this bill.
PILGRIM: Mr. Ebell, what do you have to say to that?
MYRON EBELL, COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INST: Well, you know, we don't actually know what's in the bill, 309 pages were dropped around 3:00 a.m. yesterday, I doubt that anybody's read them all yet.
This bill is a collection of payoffs to special interests, that's the only way it got through. But, if you look at the bigger picture it's not about creating green jobs, it's about the biggest tax increase in the history of the world and people are going to be poorer, this is going to drive manufacturing overseas and people are going to have much less money in their pockets to spend on other things as they watch their energy prices go up and up and up from now until 2050.
PILGRIM: Let me interject a fact in here. CBO report says it would cost $175 per household, economy-wide cost would be $22 billion by 2020. Mr. Weiss, thoughts on the cost of this. I mean, Americas are really are not looking to have more of a cost put on energy costs, at this point.
WEISS: Well, you just -- you're right. The congressional numbers said $175 per household, about the price of a postage stamp a day for clean-energy jobs. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency says that the average house will save about $85 a year with lower spending on their electricity bills because of all the energy efficiency provisions in there.
In addition, it will create the new clean energy jobs of the future. As President Obama has said, the country that dominates the clean energy technologies of the future will dominate the world's economy in the 21st century. And right now, thanks to eight years of doing nothing, we're behind. Germany is ahead of us, Japan is ahead of us, China is ahead of us. This bill that passed the House today, will get us back into the game and create, by our estimates, at least 1.7 million new jobs.
PILGRIM: All right, you know, I really want to bring up the whole point about the credits, the carbon credits. In the original proposal, President Obama would have auctioned off carbon credits to companies who can't meet the emission reproduction targets and continue to pollute -- now, instead, the legislation gives these away. My Ebell, thoughts on this?
EBELL: We agree with most of the environmental groups that giving away the -- they're really not credits, they're ration coupons. Giving away the ration coupons is really just a payoff to big companies and special interests. The fact is that Chairman Waxman and Speaker Pelosi have said this is a way to decrease the costs of the bill. If that were true and you quoted the CBO that it's only $175 a year, nobody believes that. You can get anything you want out of these models. When the Republicans offered amendments to say let's suspend the program if gasoline reaches $5 a gallon, electricity prices double or unemployment reaches 15 percent, all those amendments were defeated on a, pretty close to a party-line vote by the Democrats, in the committee, because they know the costs are going to go way beyond that.
PILGRIM: All right, Mr. Ebell, final comment, please.
WEISS: Oh, you mean Mr. Weiss?
PILGRIM: Mr. Weiss, I'm sorry.
WEISS: You know, the reality is, is that according to a Harvard study, 80 percent of the permits in this bill are going to go for public purposes and, in fact, people who are the least able to afford this are going to get money back under this plan. This plan is about creating clean energy jobs of the future and lowering costs for consumers. There are studies from the government that are independent that show it will do both. The House passed it today, it's historic. Now, it's on to the Senate where we're going to have a tough battle, there.
PILGRIM: All right, Daniel Weiss, Myron Ebell, thank you so much for debating this on our air tonight.
EBELL: Thank you.
WEISS: Thank you, Kitty.
PILGRIM: We'll be right back.
PILGRIM: Thanks for being with us, tonight. For all of us here, thanks for watching. Goodnight from New York. Now, Campbell Brown.