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Health Care Turning Point?; Health Insurance Whistleblower; Typhoon Rescue Effort; Saving Michael Vick's Dogs; Focused on a Dream

Aired August 14, 2009 - 23:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The push for a health care reform: is it now make or break? Can he counter the town hall critics or will he and all us end-up with watered-down reform or no change at all?

The president taking questions today at a town hall in the state of Montana where presidents rarely visit even if they're doing what he is; taking the First Family to nearby Yellowstone National Park. But Mr. Obama came because when it comes to passing reform right now the road truly runs through Montana.

"Raw Politics" tonight from Ed Henry.


ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Montana is a nice place to visit this time of year, but the president had more on his mind than just fly fishing. He also came for urgent business, buttering up the state's Senior Senator and Chairman of the Finance Committee Max Baucus who could hold the fate of health reform in his hands.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First of all the man who is working tirelessly to make sure that the American people get a fair deal when it comes to health care in America, please give Max Baucus a big round of applause.

HENRY: In private, top presidential advisors acknowledge the fight has reached a critical stage because the opposition has gained some steam, capitalizing on anger over federal bailouts and debt at many Congressional town hall meetings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where does that state that government has these powers to take over health care?

HENRY: By comparison the President's town hall here was pretty tamed. Though, he did get one pointed question that reflected the strong opposition he's facing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We keep getting the bull. That's all we get is bull. You can't tell us how you're going to pay for this. The only way you're going to get that money is to raise our taxes. You said you wouldn't.

OBAMA: Look, you are absolutely right that I can't cover another 46 million people for free.

HENRY: But the president did not shrink from the challenge and vowed again he will not raise taxes on the middle class to pay for the difference.

OBAMA: When I was campaigning I made a promise that I would not raise your taxes if you made $250,000 a year or less. That's what I said, but I said that for people like myself who make more than that, there's nothing wrong with me paying a little bit more in order to help people who got a little bit less.

HENRY: But many agree that's easier said than done. And so that leaves it to Baucus to figure out the pesky details of how to pay for reform.

White House aides privately acknowledge his panel is the last best hope of getting a bipartisan deal. The weeks of negotiations in Washington have thus far come up empty.


COOPER: And where is the White House on this now? I mean, what do they think they can actually get?

HENRY: Well, they're still hoping to get a deal. They insist they want to get all the president wants in terms of public option and what not. But it's looking increasingly like they're going to have to meet somewhere in the middle to get this done, because there has been very little movement.

The bottom line is that White House aides in private say -- they know when Congress comes back in September the window is going to close very fast on getting a bipartisan deal. They've got to move on to other business like climate change, legislation, et cetera.

And so that's why they've got to move pretty quickly in the fall if they're going to meet the president's deadline of the end of the year -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, didn't they also want to get something by -- even in October so they're could be a full year before midterm Congressional elections that they could go out and campaign on this?

HENRY: Absolutely. Because they realize also that if you don't get it done by October, November and whenever Congress finally wraps up the session for this year, once you get into 2010 and you've got those midterm elections coming up, the division we are already seeing, some of the anger, the back-and-forth, it's only going to get sharper in an election year as both sides gears up.

You've got every member of the house, one-third of the Senate up on the ballot. The president is not on the ballot but some of those conservative Democrats for example who are nervous about the way their taxes are going to be raised or what not. Their position is going to only harden in an election year.

That's really why they are pushing so hard right now -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Ed Henry, thanks.


COOPER: All right, let's "Dig Deeper," now with our panel: former Bush speechwriter, David Frum; "Chicago Tribune" columnist Clarence Page; and Nia-Malika Henderson, White House reporter for

Clarence, you said that health care reform could become Obama's Iraq. Is it as bad as some Democrats fear right now?

CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: I think they were caught off-guard by the -- at least the visible theatrics if you will of the town hall protests. It's thrown them off-message. They haven't had anything positive to sell as far as specifics go because the legislation is still being worked out.

But it's very easy to attack the overall concept. So they've been not on the defensive. They're trying to get their footing again. It's not too late but there are remarkable similarities to the way Iraq went wrong very early.

COOPER: David, the president essentially today was saying that the media coverage of these town hall meetings is inaccurate and that we're focusing on the most dramatic exchanges and that kind of is -- is giving more power to the loudest people than there should be. Do you think that's fair?

DAVID FRUM, FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH SPEECHWRITER: I think you are seeing the workings of democracy as a country works its way to a compromise on this enormous issue.

But Democrats -- remember in 1994 too, there's no way that they are not going to not pass something that they can call a victory. Now, there is a possibility with this rising trend of public opposition to the House bill to work out something more like a real compromise and not to do this with the kind of muscles that they were hoping to do it in the spring. To scale back some of their ambitions and to work out something that's acceptable to 75 percent of the country, which is the way you should do something this big.

COOPER: And Nia-Malika, some would call that reform light though?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO.COM: Yes and it looks like he probably is on track to disappoint some other progressive Democrats who really we're pushing for a public option. And it looks like that might be watered down in any final legislation. So well, I mean, he is going to wrinkle the left.

But in some ways he's been doing that since he's been in office so that won't necessarily be a surprise if that ends up being the case for this final legislation.

COOPER: Well Clarence, is it possible though, the White House would then just give up on the notion of trying to get some sort of bipartisan bill and just go for, you know, having it be an all Democratic vote rather than trying to water things down more?

PAGE: Well, they can't get all the Democrats, meaning the Blue Dogs, if they don't get some Republican support. The Blue Dogs are just too skittish about passing a bill that is that polarized. And my colleagues are correct, this is the way democracy is supposed to work.

But you know, if there is not a public option or something that looks an awful like one, then a lot of people are going to wonder what's the point because the whole thing initially was to try to insure the uninsured and to bring down costs. And it's not headed in that direction yet.

FRUM: Here is the point. If you pass a measure that includes for example, new regulations of insurance companies so they can't drop people after they are sick, which is a major point for the White House, if you create these health exchanges so that self-employed people can buy insurance with after tax -- I'm sorry, before tax dollars the way employed people can. I mean, if you do some reforms for efficiency in Medicare that's a big achievement and it's one that can command a lot of support.

COOPER: It's interesting, Nia-Malika, when you talk to the people who are very angry and are talking at these town halls. What you hear repeatedly, is even if it's not the issue of health care, it's this overall feeling that the government has just exploded in size and just throwing money at a problem and spending more money and these deficits are growing and growing and growing.

Does the White House see that as perhaps their biggest vulnerability come these midterm elections? The allegation that they are just growing government and ballooning these deficits?

HENDERSON: Well, I mean, one of the things hear from senior aides is that they're not going to be able to please everyone. And I think in a lot of ways a lot of the people you're seeing at these town halls and so upset about expanded government and health care specifically are probably are the same people who you may have seen a year ago at McCain and Palin rallies.

So I mean, I think certainly there is some vulnerability going into the 2010 election. But if they do get something passed with health care and it works, then, I think they'll certainly be less vulnerable going into 2010.

COOPER: It's interesting David, because that's essentially what Bill Clinton was saying, that there'll be a lot of anger and stuff but that once they get a bill passed Obama's approval rating will go back up a year from now when people start seeing some sort of results. Do you buy that?

FRUM: His approval ratings will go up if there are more jobs and the economy is better. But I think it's no way that debt is not the big domestic issue of the 2010. It's a real concern and it will weigh on all aspects of government, all aspects of politics in the coming years. COOPER: And Clarence, is that why already we're hearing from President Obama more in the last day or so than previously emphasizing that his plan or that whatever plan is approved, emphasizing savings, that it will pay for itself which is obviously a hotly-disputed claim?

PAGE: Yes. There is a lot of anxiety about the growing deficit. People have to balance their checkbooks at home. They expect the federal government to do so, too.

But I also agree with David that -- that if the economy is doing well next year, that tends to really smooth over a lot of other ills.

And then you find that the federal deficit doesn't matter as much politically if the economy is doing well. If it's not, however, then people are going to beat him up for being inefficient and a spendthrift.

COOPER: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. Clarence Page, David Frum and Nia-Malika Henderson, thanks a lot.

PAGE: Thank you.

FRUM: Thank you.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

COOPER: Our conversation continues right now online. Join the live chat at I just logged on myself.

Coming up next, President Obama told stories today of people doing the right thing, paying their bills then, losing their insurance right when they needed it the most. We're going to hear more from a former insurance company executive turned whistle blower.

And later, they were drowned, electrocuted, forced to fight to the death. We're talking about Michael Vick's dogs. Now that he is out of jail and back in the NFL, how are they doing?

We got an update you'll be glad you stayed out for us tonight on 360.


COOPER: Well, even as President Obama was holding his town hall, hundreds of the 47 million Americans without health insurance were packing the Inglewood Forum where the Los Angeles Lakers used to play getting free Medical care.

And as the president reminded a questioner back at the town hall even having insurance is no guarantee you'll actually get the care you need.


OBAMA: Now, if you do the responsible thing, if you pay your premiums each month so that you are covered in case of a crisis, when that crisis comes if you have a heart attack or your husband finds out he has cancer or your son or daughter is rushed to the hospital, at the time when you're most vulnerable and most frightened you can't be getting a phone call from your insurance company saying that your insurance is revoked.

It turns out once you got sick, they scoured your records looking for reasons to cancel your policy. They find a minor mistake on your insurance form that you submitted years ago. That can't be allowed to happen.


COOPER: But it does. With us now is a man who once knew that reality firsthand not as a patient but from the other side as a former senior executive at the insurance giant Cigna.

Wendell Potter was the company's top spokesman. He also held similar positions at Humana and a large hospital chain in Tennessee and once served as Press Secretary for a Tennessee Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

Thanks for being with us. You say that insurance companies intentionally and I quote you, "confused their customers and dumped the sick, all so they can satisfy Wall Street investors." How are they intentionally confusing customers and dumping the sick?

WENDELL POTTER, FORMER EXECUTIVE, CIGNA: Well, they confuse customers by just not being transparent but not providing the information that a lot of us need. A lot of people don't know that their insurance is inadequate. And that's why so many people are finding that they are in the ranks of the underinsured because they just don't have any idea that their coverages are not good enough.

They dump the sick by purposely looking at applications when someone files or has medical claims, whether you have a major illness or major accident, if you buy your insurance through the individual marketplace or outside of your employer, you have to disclose whether or not you've had a preexisting condition.

If you leave something out, if you forget something or don't even know something that is relevant that might be in some doctor's notes, the insurance company will use that as justification to cancel your policy.

COOPER: The forms I've seen on my own insurance I think are incredibly complicated. I mean, they make your head hurt. Are you saying that's intentional?

POTTER: It's very intentional. I mean, these companies make billions of dollars a year. They could certainly make these forms a lot clear and a lot more easily understood. But it's not a priority.

COOPER: Cigna for the record denies that they dump customers. And they told us and I quote, that "Cigna complies with all regulatory requirements regarding setting rates and policy terms consistent with our mission to provide individuals with a path to health, well being and a sense of security." Is that the kind of statement you used to write?

POTTER: It is. And I'm not surprised. For one thing, the regulations are not adequate to protect consumers, it's one thing. And it should be part of reform to keep these kinds of stuff from happening.

Senator Rockefeller in the Senate has asked Cigna and I'm sure probably other insurers to come and make sure that they're telling the truth. Because you can look through transcripts when these executives talk to Wall Street analysts and you'll hear them use the term "purge." So it's there. They acknowledge it.

They say they do when they're talking to analysts but they say they don't when they talk with other people.

COOPER: You're also alleging that the health care industry right now is engaging in what you say are dirty tricks to stop health care reform from being passed. What kind of dirty tricks are you talking about and just specifically to be clear are you accusing Cigna of engaging exactly?

POTTER: Not Cigna. I'm talking about the industry. Because during my career, I served on a lot of industry committees through the trade associations and on a lot of trade groups that were funded by the -- front groups that were funded by the industry.

The way it works is that the industry will hire big PR firms that create these front groups that have names that have no association with the insurance industry. And it is these front groups that do the things that you're seeing right now that try to destroy health care reform by using terms like government takeover of the health care system. Or we're heading down toward a slippery slope toward socialism. Or we're going to kill your grandpa because of this health care reform bill.

COOPER: You're saying that language is written by insurance companies?

POTTER: Absolutely.

COOPER: But I mean, you know the folks who are showing up at these meetings, I mean, they are not being backed by -- they are not being paid to go there. I mean, there is a legitimate anger. There is a legitimate opposition; concern not just about health care but about massive deficits and government intrusion.

POTTER: The other thing that they do -- the other way that they work is the PR firms have very good connections with people that those folks listen to. They have very close ties with the conservative radio talk show hosts and commentators and editorial page writers and they feed the talking points. To feed the...

COOPER: Did you use to do that?

POTTER: I did. Absolutely.

COOPER: What do you mean feed talking points to radio talk show hosts.

POTTER: Well, these PR firms have very close ties, they have good relationships with the producers, with the talk show hosts themselves, they will say, "Look, you need to understand this about health care reform. You need to know that if this bill passes then this is going to represent a government take-over of the health care system."

It's not true but it is the kind of language that the talk show host will welcome because it is ideologically in sync with their world view.

COOPER: Interesting discussion. Wendell Potter, we'd like to have you back, thank you very much.

POTTER: Thank you very much.

COOPER: As always, we're bringing you all the angles here at where you can find the answers to your health care questions from our own 360 MD Sanjay Gupta.

Just ahead: caught on tape, a woman tasered twice in front of her kids; see what she is now doing about it. Was this justified at all?

Later, how our correspondent and badly needed help got over a raging river into a village leveled by one of the worst typhoons in recent memory.


COOPER: Two senators each one old enough to remember the golden age of radio got into a Twitter fight today. Arlen Specter, tweeting Charles Grassley to stop scaring seniors about health care reform -- his words. Grassley tweeting back in so many words, "Am not."

They were fighting over the notion that reform might lead to pulling the plug on grandma or denying her care.

In a word rationing, fact or fiction, let's ask 360 MD, Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Anderson, a term that comes up a lot when talking about health care reform is rationing. What exactly does that mean? Well, we came to this Intensive Care Unit at Southern Regional Hospital to try and find out. What we heard was a tale of three sisters.

(voice-over): At 78, Thelma is the youngest. And then there's Carolyn who is 80 and Helen who is the oldest. She is 82.

(on camera): Are you worried with health care reform? A lot of people have been...

CAROLYN MCCOY, HAD HIP REPLACED: I'm concerned with it.

GUPTA: Tell me why. MCCOY: I try not to worry. Well, I have read some things that says that as you get older you are liable to wait and wait and wait before you can have surgery. I've heard that they're going to look at the older people and you're going to wait longer than the younger people.

GUPTA (voice-over): It's not true, though a lot of people think so. A look at the reform bill in Congress there is no mention of that. No mention of rationing, no mention of the government making so-called end-of-life decisions for seniors.

So where is this notion coming from? From a provision in the House health care bill providing for end-of-life counseling. Republican Chuck Grassley says his Senate committee dropped that provision for fear it would be misinterpreted.

KEN THORPE, HEALTH POLICY EXPERT, EMORY UNIVERSITY: I think people are freaked-out because there's a lot of bad information or misinformation being put out there by opponents of health care reform by saying that we're somehow going to pull the plug on grandma. Those are just sort of fear-mongering out there for opponents of reform.

GUPTA: Misinformation, yes. And yet that fear is only growing.

(on camera): Are they saying that the older people aren't as valuable as any of these people?

MCCOY: Certainly, certainly.

GUPTA: You feel that for real?

MCCOY: Well, I don't personally feel that but I feel like the government thinks so. I have had two knees replaced. I've had a hip replaced. I've had spinal stenosis. And that was done at this hospital. That was back in 2000.

GUPTA: So quite a few operations.

MCCOY: Yes, I have.

GUPTA: How are you doing?

MCCOY: I'm doing great.

GUPTA: Here is where it gets a little bit difficult. Helen the older sister, 82 years old also had a hip replacement but now she's in the Intensive Care Unit with problems with her heart and problems with her kidney as well.



(voice-over): The three sisters have had more than 13 operations over the years costing close to $250,000. I asked Carolyn, is it worth it?

C. MCCOY: I say if you pay your premiums you ought to get the same service that the younger person does.

THORPE: There is no change in any of these pieces of legislation that would take the power away from the patient and the physician ultimately making whatever choice is best for them.

GUPTA: Dr. Radhakrishnan Nair is Helen's doctor.

Should there be a cutoff at some point to say look? This person is just too old?

DR. RADHAKRISHNAN NAIR, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON, SOUTHERN REGIONAL HOSPITAL: The cutoff needs to be decided based on general health, their ability to go for rehabilitation after surgery and the ability to withstand surgery.

GUPTA: So Anderson as you can see here as much as we talk about the policy of health care reform, all the numbers surrounding health care reform. A question that keeps getting asked of us, what if this were your mother? What if this were your grandmother? It's the art of medicine.

Back to you.


COOPER: Difficult decisions.

Coming up, a simple traffic stop takes a stunning turn when a young mom gets tasered twice in front of her kids. We'll show the video ahead, judge for yourself.

First, Erica Hill joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, hundreds in California are forced to evacuate as wildfires plague the state. Flames have now ripped through the Santa Cruz Mountains, damaging more than 4,100 acres of wilderness. From Santa Barbara up to Sacramento, more than 125 square miles now scorched. So far though, no reports of injury.

There are new details tonight on the deadly Hudson River plane crash that killed nine last weekend. Investigators say only two of the five Air traffic controllers scheduled for duty on Saturday were in the control tower when the crash took place. Two others were on break. A third, the manager left the facility just eight minutes before the private plane and helicopter collided.

Regulators have closed Colonial Bank, after a federal judge froze its assets. The bank which has 346 branches, most of them across the southeast will be bought by rival BB&T. It's the largest bank failure of the year, the sixth largest in U.S. history.

And Eunice Kennedy Shriver honored in a private funeral service today. Her daughter Maria Shriver offering a moving eulogy as those in attendance celebrated the life of the Special Olympics founder, a truly unconventional life.


MARIA SHRIVER, EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER'S DAUGHTER: Mommy was our hero. She was scary smart and not afraid to show it. She was tough but also compassionate; driven, but also really fun and funny. Competitive, but also empathetic, restless and patient, curious and prayerful, she liked to hang with the guys but all her heroes except for her brother, Jack, were women.

She had a husband who was totally devoted to her in every sense of that word. A man who marveled at everything she said and everything she did. He didn't mind if her hair was a mess, if she walked around in a wet bathing suit, if she beat him at tennis or challenged his ideas. He let her rip and he let her roar and he loved everything about her.

Add that to five kids who adored her and loved to be with her and you have the ultimate role model. Mommy was all of our best friends and it was an honor for all of us to be her children and a special privilege for me to be her daughter.


HILL: Eunice Shriver's still surviving brother, Senator Ted Kennedy who was battling cancer was unable to attend -- Anderson.

COOPER: An extraordinary, extraordinary life.

Just ahead tonight, we're going to show you the extreme rescues from Taiwan's extreme and deadly encounter with a typhoon.

And later, how Michael Vick's dogs are doing now that their former master is back on the playing field and the dogs are no longer part of his animal cruelty operation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) Rescue workers -- some 20,000 of them are battling raging rivers, dense fogs in the search for survivors. Take a look at these images. Even then the journey to safety can be terrifying.

Senior international correspondent, John Vause, is in Taiwan with the latest.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even before Typhoon Morakot hit, getting to Taiwan's remote mountain villages was tough. But now it is nearly impossible. Major roads are blocked by mudslides and debris, some are partly washed away.

And then there's this bridge; it is simply gone, brought down during the storm completing cutting off the village of Shing Ki (ph). The river is still swollen and rapid. A few who tried to cross there were swept away, plucked to safety by rescue crews.

The only way in and out is by this harness.

(on camera): This is how they're getting villagers out of Shing Ki, more than 100 people so -- they say it is pretty safe.

(voice-over): But it is still a long way down.

(on camera): Probably about 200-foot drop straight down on to the rocks down there; this water is moving pretty quickly. All that is holding me right now is this one hook there which is connected to the cleats (ph). Ok. Whoa.

(voice-over): The sign reads, "SOS, 32 people died here" and a local official coming out of Shing Ki says bodies have been left rotting for days.

Walking into the village the road has collapsed in places, power lines are down. There has been no electricity or running water for a week. But there is mud -- lots of it. Just getting across is not easy.

(on camera) It really is just like walking through quick sand.

(voice-over): This village has been all but abandoned except for one family refusing to leave. Everyone else, almost 300 people, have made that perilous journey to safety.

"I'm not sure I'll go back," says this young man. "We'll wait until the roads are clear and try to clean up."

(on camera): What do you think?

(voice-over): But by day's end getting out was not so easy.

(on camera): So basically they said -- so the safest way they said was across the river, the same river where others had earlier been swept away.

They said the rope was (INAUDIBLE) and that if we tried it both cables could snap. I realized I had no choice but to do this. It seems worse from up there than it did down here.

(voice-over): And this is now life here for so many villages and houses cut off by mudslides and debris. It will be a long time before the people of Shing Ki will ever be able to go home again.


COOPER: John, how are rescue efforts going right now?

VAUSE: Well, it is still slow work. To be honest, Anderson, there probably isn't any rescuing to be done. There are still some people who are isolated that need to get out, maybe 1,000, maybe a few more.

And as for the recovery of the bodies, now they're saying that many of the bodies will be left where they are because that is the wish of some of the relatives, buried under that mud. They want to make those areas a memorial.

Just to give you an idea of just how difficult all this is. Where I'm standing right now, this was once a main two-lane highway, 45 feet wide. But with the rains from Morakot this river just over here, it rose up, it burst its bank, it dumped piles of mud and rocks and other debris all across here.

This heavy moving equipment is actually using the rocks and gravel to try and build another temporary road just over there. They are trying to get this open.

They've got an old tunnel which they've reopened. It was built by the Japanese during the '30s. And this is crucial because they need this access to get up to some of those isolated villages in the mountains -- Anderson.

COOPER: It is so sad. John Vause -- going to great lengths to get the story. John, thank you very much. Stay safe.

Typhoon Morakot dumped a massive amount of rain on Taiwan. Here's the raw data. More than 80 inches of rain fell during the storm last week; 80 inches -- nearly seven feet of rain in two days. By comparison about ten inches fell in New York's Central Park in the entire month of June which almost set a new record.

Whenever we New Yorkers complain about rain this summer we should think of the people of Taiwan.

Join the live chat happening right now at

Ahead, a remorseful Michael Vick; seemed remorseful at least -- so he says. Fresh off his new deal with the Philadelphia Eagles the quarterback asked for a second chance.

His dog-fighting days may be behind him, but what about the animals he treated so brutally? How are they doing? We have an update.

And a traffic stop gone horribly wrong. A mom tasered by a sheriff's deputy in front of her kids twice. What happened? Find out.


COOPER: Michael Vick is asking for a second chance. Just last month, the former Atlanta Falcon completed a 23-month sentence for running a dog-fighting ring. Today as he announced his new deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, a remorseful Vick vowed to make up for past mistakes.


MICHAEL VICK, QUARTERBACK, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: I was wrong for what I did. Everything that happened at that point in time of my life was wrong. And, you know, it was unnecessary and to the life of me to this day I can't understand why I was involved in such pointless activity. And why did I risk so much at the pinnacle of my career.

I was naive to a lot of things. I figure if I can help more animals than I hurt then I'm contributing, I'm doing my part.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Here at 360 we are really less interested in what happens to Vick to what happens to the dogs he once groomed to fight to the death. We can report that most of those dogs are now doing amazingly better.

Randi Kaye has the "360 Follow."


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don't let those sharp teeth fool you.

KATHLEEN, JHUMPA'S OWNER: Are you making a very scary face?

KAYE: That is Jhumpa, one of 51 pitbulls rescued from football great Michael Vick's dog-fighting ring back in 2007. Two died of disease. Two others were put down, one for medical reasons, another too dangerous. But the rest are thriving.

They had to be socialized and house broken, even taught how to walk upstairs. But today, half of them are in permanent homes or foster homes, the rest are in an animal sanctuary in Utah, none are in shelters.

Look at Jhumpa. She was adopted by Kathleen who didn't want us to use her last name and now lives in New York. She has company, too: two other pit bulls, a black lab, a terrier and five cats.

KATHLEEN: One of the things that brought her out of her shell so much was the other animals. And her learning from them and watching them and watching them trust me and learning that, you know, living in a home was actually a really good thing.

KAYE: Jhumpa lives the life of luxury. When she is not on the couch she sleeps on her pink bed. She walks or runs about five miles a day and snacks on doggie bon-bons. Her favorite though is cheese.

Jhumpa's owner says she is great with children and loves to be around people and other animals.

(on camera): Like the other pit bulls who were adopted by families, Jhumpa was closely evaluated to make sure it was safe for her to be around people, especially young kids. All she needed was time, Kathleen says, to understand the world is a better place than she had known before.

KATHLEEN: The real truth of the matter is that she's taught me far more than I will ever teach her about repair and trust and growth and how, you know, how we can aspire to things that are bigger and better than we'd ever, ever imagined. So I'm very, very fortunate to have her in my life.

KAYE (voice-over): Just like Jhumpa, Kathleen says the man who abused her deserves a second chance too.

KATHLEEN: I think that in spite of everything he's done to these dogs; I think he deserves a second chance. And I think he needs a chance to show the world that he, too, can repair. I hope that he's -- I hope that he has the tools to do that.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Joining us now are Jhumpa and her adoptive mom, Kathleen. How old is Jhumpa?

KATHLEEN: She is about four.

COOPER: How much has she changed since you've had her?

KATHLEEN: Entirely. When she first came to live with us she didn't do a lot of standing up. She'd crawled on her belly and moved her eyes side to side. It took her quite a while to figure out that she could trust the world around her.

COOPER: She is still kind of scared around strangers.

KATHLEEN: She's nervous, yes. She still gets nervous.

COOPER: I have cheese in my hand.


COOPER: Which is why she is being so friendly to me.

Pit bulls get a bad rap. I think they are great -- they're great dogs.

KATHLEEN: They are. They're excellent dogs.

They do get a bad rap. I think that when they get into the hands of people who want to do bad things with them that they end up getting a reputation that doesn't at all represent the breed. The breed is a friendly breed and yes, they're very social.

COOPER: How long did Michael Vick have her, do you know?

KATHLEEYN: You know what? We don't exactly know. I think she was about 2 1/2 when she came out of his yard.

COOPER: Had she already fought? Had she actually fought? Or she was just being...

KATHLEEN: We don't know.

COOPER: We don't know.

KATHLEEN: We don't know. She did come with some scarring on her back and her face and her legs. But that could have been because she was bred. We do think that she had had a couple of litters before.

COOPER: How do you rebuild the confidence of a dog? I mean, how do you rebuild the trust?

KATHLEEN: Time. Time and experience and exposure to things like this. She gets out every single day on walks. I socialize her. I take her to places where most people don't take their dogs. We do a lot of going into stores that allow dogs and things like that where she can get exposure to a lot of different kinds of people and experiences.

COOPER: Well, I'm out of cheese.

KATHLEEN: Yes, I know.

COOPER: I think we are out of time. Thank you Jhumpa. Thanks for coming by.

KATHLEEN: Thanks for having us.

COOPER: Thanks for what you're doing.

KATHLEEN: You bet.

COOPER: It's amazing. Great work

Up next, uncovering America, teen film makers from Harlem and the Bronx with dreams of Hollywood. You may see their work on the big screen someday.

Tonight, we'll give you an up close look at their inspirational work.


COOPER: A new school is set to open next month here in New York in the South Bronx with a first of its kind. A public high school to focus on film making. It is called the cinema school. And the driving force behind it is a man named Joe Hall. He's sharing his passion for movie making through a program called Ghetto Film School.

Erica hill has more in tonight's uncovering America report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quiet on the set.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Common words to begin production on any film set but this isn't just any film set. This is Uganda in East Africa. And the production team, a bunch of American teens; all students at the Ghetto Film School, an unaccredited film production training program in the South Bronx.

For founder, Joe Hall, a former social worker in the Bronx and a one- time USC film school student, this program is a perfect mix of his two loves; helping talented youth find their path and film.

JOE HALL, FOUNDER, GHETTO FILM SCHOOL: Ghetto Film School is a non- profit that helps get talented young people from the Bronx and Harlem into the film industry. So we are looking to provide them with a comprehensive education in cinematic story-telling and then get them ready for internships. And hopefully have the connections and pave the way so that they can pursue a creative career.

HILL: Since its creation in June of 2000, over 400 students have participated in the program but getting accepted isn't easy. Out of some 120 applicants, just 20 are picked for the 15-month program.

Even more competitive; winning a spot on the annual thesis trip which for many students will be their first trip outside the United States.

Films are shot on location in places like London, Berlin, Paris and Africa. Each student fills a critical production crew role.

Theresa Dilworth wrote this year's winning script which was shot entirely in Kampala, Uganda.

THERESA DILWORTH, STUDENT, GHETTO FILM SCHOOL: The whole experience seemed like almost surreal. Like I couldn't believe that I actually wrote a movie and that I was going across, you know, the ocean all the way to Africa to see it get made. And it was like a really great experience.

I learned so much about film making through it, you know, like just seeing it come to life.

HILL: The film "Live Joseph" about a man who has just 24 hours to live after being bitten by a snake was shot in only nine days, offering students both firsthand film experience and real life education in a setting very far from home.

ALMA OSORIO, STUDENT, GHETTO FILM SCHOOL: It's been an incredible experience going to Uganda to film this. It was my first time outside of the United States. It was definitely something that changed me as a person.

DESTIMONA ANOKYE, STUDENT, GHETTO FILM SCHOOL: It's kind of like a gateway and we're attached to the industry in a really humble way. And I felt like it makes us like accessible to our goal. We can get where we need to be because we have the access and the resource. That means a lot to me and I plan to be with GFS my entire life in terms of remembering the experience and giving back to people because that's what they believe in, giving back to the community.

HILL: Joe Hall isn't done giving back. Next month, he'll open a cinema school; a magnet school in the Bronx with a high emphasis on humanities and, yes, film production; continuing a growing tradition.

Erica Hill, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Coming up, my tough assignment today; chatting with Nancy Grace and her 21-month-old twins. It is tonight's "Shot." It's surreal.

A "360 Follow" with breaking news last night here on the program: Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps involved in a car accident. Cops say he didn't cause the accident. But he is still in a little bit of trouble. We'll tell you why.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: As always, a lot happening tonight. Let's get a quick check at some of the headlines. Erica Hill joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, we begin with an interesting piece of video. Take a look at this. A woman yanked from her minivan in upstate New York during a traffic stop. Tasered twice by a sheriff's deputy. This all happened with her two kids in the car. It happened back in January.

The woman has now filed notice that she plans to sue the local county sheriff's department for wrongful conduct. She was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and speeding. Her lawyer said those charges were dropped after the D.A. saw the video.

The Charles Manson follower convicted of trying to kill President Gerald Ford in 1975 is a free woman tonight. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme has been released now from a Fort Worth, Texas, prison hospital after more than three decades in custody.

And a "360 Follow" tonight, Baltimore police say Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps is not to blame for a car accident he was involved in last night. He will, however, be cited for driving without a license. Seems the swimmer gave cops an expired Michigan license. As for what caused the crash, cops say the other driver ran a red light.

And we are just getting word of another big-name run-in with the cops. Check this out. This time, legendary musician Bob Dylan; he was in Long Branch, New Jersey. Happened a few weeks ago but the report is just now surfacing. He was out for a stroll, looking at some houses before a show he was playing that night, and a 24-year-old cop approached him.

They'd gotten some calls about a guy wandering the neighborhood. She asked him his name. He said, "It's Bob Dylan." When asked for ID, he said, "I don't have any."

The second cop arrived, also in his 20s. He didn't know who Bob Dylan was either.


HILL: But they gave him a ride to the hotel, where he was staying. The tour staff vouched for him, apparently. Everybody was very nice.


HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Did you see my interview with Nancy Grace and the kids? HILL: I was glued to the TV, my friend.

COOPER: Yes, I filled in for Larry King. We're going to play that as "The Shot" tonight. I'm still recovering.

HILL: It's good stuff.

COOPER: Yes, it is.

Now our "Beat 360" winners. How about that? Our daily challenge...

HILL: That is good stuff, too.

COOPER: ... to viewers, a chance to come up with a caption better than one that we can come up with for a photo that we put on the blog every day.

So tonight's picture, White House butler Von Everett pumps up a basketball for President Obama.

Our staff winner tonight is Steve. His caption: "Hey, it could be worse. Reagan rode horses."

Our viewer winner is Jason from Dallas, Texas. His caption: "Republicans got guns; Democrats got balls."

COOPER: Jason, your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.

HILL: No comment.

COOPER: Coming up next, one of my most challenging interviews to date. I sat down with Nancy Grace and her 21-month-old twins.

It got completely out of control. I still don't know what happened.

HILL: You're recovering still, aren't you?


HILL: You should take the weekend off.


COOPER: "The Shot" tonight is my play date with Nancy Grace's 21- month-old twins. We sat down on the set of "LARRY KING" tonight. I thought it was just going to be an interview with Nancy, and then the kids came out. And...

HILL: Totally different.

COOPER: It became something else entirely.


NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: Anderson, are you ready?


GRACE: Who should I try to let them -- baby, you better come hold them. Here they go -- here he goes. Here he goes.

COOPER: He does a walk-about.

GRACE: Here he goes.

COOPER: Uh-oh.

GRACE: Anderson, what did you do to him?

COOPER: I didn't do anything.

GRACE: Daddy.

COOPER: What's the matter? Here's another fish for you.

GRACE: And of course, the stars are Lucy and John David. But you know, Anderson, try to work with two children. It's not easy.

COOPER: Tell me about it. I'm sweating here, like dripping with sweat.

GRACE: And I have a lot of help. My husband, my family helps a lot. And it's hard. And I wonder about what mothers go through who don't have help I do.

I know it. Anderson Cooper did it. Mommy had nothing to do with this. Don't go to a therapist and tell them your mommy did it.

COOPER: I need a therapist after this hour.


COOPER: That's right. I'm making origami fish on national television. It got down to that. That's what it became.

HILL: I was impressed, by the way. And...

COOPER: I didn't know what else to do.

HILL: ... impressed that you remember that, still, from first grade?

COOPER: I learned that in first grade. And it's a trick I used all around the world with kids.

HILL: I love it. It's good stuff.

COOPER: You make them a little origami fish, and they seem love it.

HILL: You add that to the "Jeopardy" champion, and I mean, really, is there anything you can't do?

COOPER: I -- I honestly had no idea what she was talking about the last ten minutes, because I was so nervous, like, trying to stop these kids from, you know, getting too upset.

HILL: Right. It seemed to work fairly well.

COOPER: I -- you know, I need heavy sedation. Yes, that's what I need.

HILL: For you, not the children.

COOPER: No. Yes.

HILL: They just need French fries and mangoes, and they'll be fine.

COOPER: I'm going to sedate myself this entire weekend to recover from that.

You can see all the most recent shots at our Web site, Very adorable kids.

That does it for 360. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts now.