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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Interview With Rep. Gohmert; Interview With Rev. Al Sharpton

Aired August 12, 2010 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Larry, thanks.

And thanks for joining us.

Tonight -- you probably heard the scare story about terror babies born here to get U.S. citizenship and trained overseas to be sent back one day to kill Americans. A Texas congressman insists it's not just a theory. The FBI, however, says it's just not true.

Tonight, we'll ask the Republican congressman who's been spreading the story if he has any facts to backup the claims. We're keeping them honest.

And also tonight, Dr. Laura's N-word rant -- what she said to an African-American caller on her radio show about race, interracial marriage and the N-word over and over again.

Listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CALLER: So, what makes it OK for you to say the word?

DR. LAURA SCHLESSINGER, RADIO HOST: You did and I'll say it again, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is what you hear on HB -- why don't you let me finish my sentence?

CALLER: OK.

SCHLESSINGER: Don't take things out of context. Don't double NAACP me.

(END AUDI CLIP)

COOPER: She says a lot more than that. We'll bring you more of her -- what she says and what she's saying about it now.

Also, up close, more eye-opening results of our pilot study and how even very young kids see race and form ideas on which skin color they prefer. You'll also see how some parents of the kids are dealing with what they learned from the pilot study and how it might help you address the subject with your child.

And crime and punishment: Police say they have the guy who slashed 18 people, five of them fatally. He was trying to Israel, they say. Authorities in Georgia caught him last night, it turns out authorities in Virginia however caught him last week, and authorities in Michigan caught questioned him last month. And in both states, let him go.

Our question tonight: How could an alleged serial killer just slipped away and almost escaped the country?

We begin, however, tonight, keeping them honest. In a moment, we're going to talk live with Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert, who's made an explosive claim that pregnant foreigners are coming here to give birth to future terrorists -- babies with U.S. citizenship under the 14th Amendment, who will then be raised and trained overseas, to come back years from now, 20 or 30 years from now, and attack us, called the terror baby conspiracy.

Congressman Gohmert is one of at least two Texas Republican lawmakers who are promoting this frightening scenario as fact. Here's Congressman Gohmert on the House floor back in June.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: I talked to an FBI agent who said that one of the things they were looking at were terrorist cells overseas who had figured out how to game our system, and it appeared they would have young women who became pregnant would get them into the United States to have a baby, and they wouldn't even have to pay anything for the baby. And then they would return back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists. And then one day, 20 or 30 years down the road, they could be sent in to help destroy our way of life, because they figured out how stupid we are being in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That was Congressman Gohmert on the floor of the House, and as you heard, he says his source was a former FBI agent who said the FBI had been looking at this problem -- but beyond that, offered no proof or evidence. Then, a few days later, he went in to more detail, say he first learned about the conspiracy from a Hamas-loving grandmother on a plane in the Middle East.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOHMERT: It first came to my attention when some of us were traveling to the Middle East last August, a year ago, and a lady on the plane was telling one of our group that they were about to have their second granddaughter and her husband was with Hamas, her grand -- I'm sorry, her son-in-law was with Hamas and that they were going to do with the second as they did with the first grandchild. The daughter is going to come to America right before it's born on a tourist visa and have baby.

They just like the option of having American citizens in the family. Hamas, we recognize as terrorists. They are coming over -- and oh, she added as a real kicker -- and you know what the best part of it is? We don't have to pay anything for the baby to be born.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: What's interesting is that another Texas Republican lawmaker also claims this is happening and claims her office heard about it from, you guessed it, unnamed former FBI agents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: What former FBI officials -- I mean, what evidence is there of some sort of long-term plot to have American babies born here and then become -- raised as terrorists overseas and then come back here?

DEBBIE RIDDLE (R), TEXAS STATE HOUSE: Well, at this point, I don't have the hard evidence right here in front of me. However, this is something that is being talked about by various members of Congress. This is being looked into.

This is an issue with not only folks coming across our southern border with what is called "anchor babies" and coming over for the entitlement programs and for that sort of thing, but I think that this is a lot more sinister issue. All of these issues, we need to look at because this is a critical, critical issue for all of the Americans, American public.

COOPER: But you have no actual evidence?

RIDDLE: Other than that coming from former FBI folks.

COOPER: Can you tell us who these former FBI folks are? What evidence they have or what evidence they've shown you?

RIDDLE: At this point, I'm not going to reveal that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Again, no proof offered. For the record, we talked to the FBI. They told us there's absolutely no evidence of this terror baby conspiracy. Riddle's office never got back to us since that interview.

But we are very happy that Congressman Gohmert agreed to be on the program tonight. He joins us now live.

Congressman, thanks for being with us.

You heard Tom Fuentes, we had him on the program last nigh. He's a former high-ranking FBI official who oversaw FBI offices in some of the biggest terror hot spots in the Middle East. He was on the program last night, and he said this whole is, in his words, ludicrous. And there's absolutely no evidence or even concern about it ever in the FBI.

Here's just some of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM V. FUENTES, FMR. FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: There was never a credible report or any report for that matter coming across through all of the various mechanisms of communication to indicate that there was such a plan for the terror babies to be born.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, before going on to the House floor and spreading this story, did you -- did you call the FBI?

GOHMERT: You are going to keep me honest? You tell the world that you got an FBI statement, and you bring on a retired FBI, former supervisor, and he says, "We were not aware of any credible report that this was going on"? I brought it to the attention of America for this reason. It was -- I'm a former judge, and I know --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Did you bring it to the attention of the FBI? Did you call the FBI? That's my question.

GOHMERT: She first brought in my attention on an -- she brought it to my attention on an airplane having flown together, and she brought that to my attention. That's why I was talking to a retired FBI agent about it. And so, having talked to him, no, I didn't talk to them, because the point is: when we did the research, we found the hole existed.

Now, if --

COOPER: What research? Can you tell us about the research?

(CROSSTALK)

GOHMERT: You are attacking the messenger, Anderson, you are better than this. You used to be good. You used to find that there was a problem and you would go after it.

(COOPER)

COOPER: Sir, I am asking you for evidence of something that you said on the floor of the House.

GOHMERT: I did, and you listen, this is a problem. If you would spend as much time looking into the problem as you would have been trying to come after me and belittle me this week --

COOPER: Sir, do you want to offer any evidence? I'm giving you an opportunity to say what research and evidence you have. You've offered none, other than yelling.

GOHMERT: Do you ever look at your Web site? Do you ever look at your Web site? Do you?

COOPER: Sir -- GOHMERT: Because if you had, you would have seen that Tony said that there are people that go from his neighborhood, come back and they have a baby and American passport. Just in "The Washington Post," July 18th, 2010, here's a -- here's a story, what can $14, 700 buy you in modern China? For that price --

COOPER: Sir, what you are talking about is tourists coming here --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Sir, please let me say -- what you are talking about is tourists who are coming here --

(CROSSTALK)

GOHMERT: -- messenger and you are refusing to look at the gaping hole in the security of our country.

COOPER: Sir, you're just being a -- you're just yelling. You're not actually having a conversation.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: May I respond to you?

GOHMERT: If you want, let me finish this article. This says --

COOPER: I know, we have the article on the paper.

GOHMERT: -- that U.S. citizenship.

COOPER: Yes.

GOHMERT: -- and their children can have a more fair competitive advantage if they spend the money and come over here and get an American passport. You get --

COOPER: Sir, I agree with you. That was in "The Washington Post" and hotels here which sponsored these people and allow these people to come. But there's no evidence of terror babies.

(CROSSTALK)

GOHMERT: You have to believe that the terrorists are more stupid that these enterprising people. They say that this business, so called birth business -- birth tourism packages are online. Have you looked online? Go online and --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: OK. Sir, again, I am agreeing with you that there are tourists -- sir, you can continue to yell all you want. Again, you're just showing yourself not to have actually any evidence. What I am saying is, yes, those newspaper articles clearly -- there are many tourists who come here to have babies so they can have U.S. citizenship. But any evidence of terror babies?

(CROSSTALK)

GOHMERT: -- who have sent -- sent pregnant women over here to have babies and I know that if I give you the name before I get it to people who will be objective, you'll send somebody like the retired FBI agent and say, sir, we have information here that you sent your pregnant wife into the United States --

COOPER: The FBI says this is just not happening. You are spreading scare stories, and this is completely about politics.

GOHMERT: It is happening. It is happening.

COOPER: Where? Give me some evidence. Tell me one person, one terror baby that's been born? Can you tell me?

GOHMERT: The explosions will not happen for 10 or 15 or 20 years and then you will be one of those blips. I'm not comparable to Winston Churchill, but the detractors like you are comparable to his detractors.

COOPER: OK.

GOHMERT: He tried to tell people these things were going on.

COOPER: All right.

GOHMERT: Anderson, do you really believe that the ones that want to destroy the United States are more stupid than these entrepreneurs in China, than these people in Mexico?

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: OK. Well, sir, one of the things that the former FBI --

GOHMERT: Do you think they are that stupid?

COOPER: Are you willing to have a conversation or do you want to just yell?

One of the things that the former FBI agent pointed out --

GOHMERT: You will not let me present what we have --

COOPER: OK, one of the former --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: One of the former FBI agents pointed out on this program last night that terrorist groups have no problem recruiting U.S. citizens, have no problems sending people over here, that they don't need to prepare 20 years from now.

(CROSSTALK)

GOHMERT: -- there is no credible report of such a plan.

COOPER: Where it is?

GOHMERT: And I bet you, on 9/10, he were to come on your show and say there is no credible report of a plan to take down the World Trade Centers, because he didn't have one.

COOPER: OK. So, you don't believe the FBI when they currently say there is no credible report?

(CROSSTALK)

GOHMERT: -- taking shots at me and look at the gaping hole in the security of this country. I'm an easy target, and you and Jon Stewart can have your fun. But please, at some point, look at the gaping hole in our security.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Sir, I don't think there's anything fun about a congressman going on to the House floor and spreading scare stories. I don't think there's anything fun about that. And going on some TV show where you don't get challenged about it. If you want to just yell about it all day long, you are certainly welcomed to do that and we don't normally do that on this program. I have offered to present some form of evidence and you presented nothing.

GOHMERT: -- series of hole in our security, and people are coming in here. The evidence abounds, this is called birth tourism.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Right. Yes, there is birth tourism. I totally agree with you.

GOHMERT: -- if you can convince America that the people who send in engineers to look at the plans and specs for the World Trade Center are more stupid than those entrepreneurs in China and Mexico who are sending people in here to have babies --

COOPER: OK. Again, this is a theory that you are propagating that you have no evidence for. There is a thing, "birth tourism," but there's no evidence in any of the articles that you cited that terrorists are actually partaking in that.

GOHMERT: The only thing that will satisfy you, obviously, the building blocks to this case, you won't be satisfied until I bring in somebody who says, "I'm a terrorist and you are right." I'll send --

COOPER: No, I will take a legitimate former FBI agent who actually offers evidence. If you can present that person, let us know off-camera, we'd be happy to talk to them off-camera. But so far, you have presented nothing.

GOHMERT: I talked to that FBI agent, I promised him I would not reveal his name. COOPER: Well, that's convenient. We have had a former FBI, a high-ranking one this office who says it's ridiculous.

(CROSSTALK)

GOHMERT: If you go look at the story on "The Washington Post" --

COOPER: I've read, we have it on this program, they say nothing about terrorism.

GOHMERT: They say that they won't give their names under the rules of embassy. So, it's OK for other people --

COOPER: No, I'm just saying, in "The Washington Post" article that you're quoting, I've read that we've had it on this program. I agree, there's birth tourism. It's a well-documented fact. There's no evidence, though, of terror babies being born.

GOHMERT: Have you read -- have you read and had on your program the pleading that was filed by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? It was declassified March of 2009. I bet you hadn't had that on. He says, "We fight you and destroy you and terrorize you, jihad is God's call and a great duty in our religion, your end is very near and your fall will be just as the fall of the towers on blessed 9/11 day."

These guys are not stupid. They're crazy jihadists but they're not stupid.

COOPER: I agree, they're not stupid and they're crazy jihadists. I absolutely agree with you. Again, I'm just asking for evidence and you presented none and yet, you continue to spread this story.

GOHMERT: You are taking shots at me --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I'm not taking shots at you, sir. I'm just asking for evidence. And for some reason, you seem unwilling.

GOHMERT: -- taking shots for two days. You've twisted things, you've been out -- who is the FBI -- on active duty at the FBI told you that there are no such credible reports? Who told you that?

COOPER: We have the statement from the FBI. We have the statement from the spokesperson of the FBI. I'd be happy to give to you. If you had actually called them before going on the House and before going on in television and spreading scare stories, you would know that and I'm sure they would tell you even more information.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But apparently, you chose not to do that.

GOHMERT: There was no credible report of a plan to bring down the towers --

COOPER: OK.

GOHMERT: -- because all you have to do is the look at the gaping hole in our security, and --

COOPER: Sir, you are a former judge, and had somebody done this in your courtroom, you would have asked for evidence, and you have none. I appreciate your time and appreciate your coming on. I'm disappointed that you did not present evidence.

GOHMERT: This isn't a courtroom. We're trying to protect America, Anderson.

COOPER: Everyone wants to protect America, Congressman.

GOHMERT: We're trying to protect America. It's not a courtroom.

COOPER: OK. Everyone wants to protect America, Congressman, both Democrats and Republicans.

Congressman, appreciate your time.

(CROSSTALK)

GOHMERT: Help us to fill the hole -- help us fill the hole, Anderson.

COOPER: Louie Gohmert, appreciate your time.

Let us know what you think about the baby theory. Again, we invite anybody who has any evidence of this -- again, the congressman couldn't present evidence -- any time. Join the live chat right now at AC360.com.

Up next: Radio talk show host, Dr. Laura Schlesinger, an on-air rant using the N-word has her in hot water tonight. Listen to some.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CALLER: I can't believe someone like you is on the radio spewing out the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) word, and I hope everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: I did not spew out the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)-word. Right, I said that's what you hear.

CALLER: Everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: Yes, they did.

CALLER: I hope everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: They did, and I'll say it again.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: She's apologized for it. We'll have details ahead. And, later, "Crime and Punishment," we'll show you the suspected serial killer now in custody, caught trying to flee to Israel. It turns he was caught or questioned several other times before, yet he managed to walk away. How did that happen?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, according to "Talkers" magazine, more than 9 million Americans listen to Dr. Laura Schlessinger on the radio every week. A number of her listeners were outraged when she repeatedly used the N-word on a recent broadcast. She's apologizing for what happened on her program on Tuesday when a woman named Jade called in.

Listen to some of what happened.

(BEGIN AUDIOTAPE)

CALLER: I am having a situation with my husband where I'm starting to grow very resentful of him. I'm black, and he's white. We've been around some of his friends and family members who start making racist comments as if I'm not there or if I'm not black. And my husband ignores the comments. And It hurts my feelings. And he just acts like --

SCHLESSINGER: Well, can you give me an example of racist comment? Because sometimes, people are hypersensitive. So, tell me what's -- give me two good examples of a racist comments.

CALLER: OK. Last night -- good example -- we had a neighbor come over, and this neighbor -- when every time he comes over, it is always a black comment. It's, "Oh, well, how do you black people like doing this?" And, "Do black people really like doing that?" And for a long time, I would ignore it. But last night, I got to the point where it --

SCHLESSINGER: I don't think that's racist.

CALLER: Well, the stereotype --

SCHLESSINGER: I don't think that is racist. No, I think that --

CALLER: (INAUDIBLE)

SCHLESSINGER: No, no, no. I think that's -- well, listen, without giving much thought, a lot of blacks voted for Obama simply because he was half-black. It didn't matter what he was going to do in office, it was a black thing. You got to know that. That's not the surprise.

Not everything that somebody says -- we had friends over the other the day. We got about 35 people here -- the guys were going to start playing basketball. I was going to go out and play basketball. My bodyguard and my dear friend is a black man. And I said, "Why men can't jump and I want you on my team." That was racist? That was funny.

CALLER: How about the N-word though? The N-word has been thrown around --

SCHLESSINGER: Black guys use it all of the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic and all you here is (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

CALLER: That isn't --

SCHLESSINGER: I don't get it. If anybody -- if anybody without enough melanin says it, it's a horrible thing, but when black people say it, it's affectionate. It's very confusing.

Don't hang up, I want to talk to you some more. Don't go away.

I'm Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I'll be right back.

(MUSIC)

SCHLESSINGER: I'm Dr. Laura Schlessinger talking to Jade. what did you think about during the break by the way?

CALLER: I was a little caught back by the N-word that you spewed out. I have to be honest with you. But my point is, race relations --

SCHLESSINGER: Oh, then I guess you don't watch HBO or listen to any black comedians.

CALLER: But that does not make it right.

SCHLESSINGER: Yes, I think you have too much sensitivity --

CALLER: So, it's OK to say (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?

SCHLESSINGER: -- and not enough sense of humor.

CALLER: It's OK to say that word?

SCHLESSINGER: Well, it depends how it's said.

CALLER: Is it OK to say that word? Is it ever OK to say that word?

SCHLESSINGER: It's -- it depends how it is said. Black guys talking to each other seem to think it's OK.

CALLER: But you're not black. They're not black. My husband is white.

SCHLESSINGER: Oh, see. So, a word is restricted to race. Got it. Can't do much about that.

CALLER: I can't believe someone like you is on the radio spewing out the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) word and I hope everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: I did not spew out the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) word.

CALLER: You said, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). SCHLESSINGER: Right, I said that's what you hear.

CALLER: Everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: Yes, they did.

CALLER: I hope everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: They did, and I'll say it again.

CALLER: So what makes it OK for you to say the word?

SCHLESSINGER: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is what you hear on HB -- why don't you let me finish a sentence?

CALLER: OK.

SCHLESSINGER: Don't take things out of context. Don't double NAACP me.

(END AUDIOTAPE)

COOPER: We played a long segment of that because we didn't want to take it out of context. The next day, yesterday, Dr. Laura apologized.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SCHLESSINGER: I talk everyday about doing the right thing. And yesterday, I did the wrong thing. I didn't intend to hurt people, but I did. And that makes it the wrong thing to have done. I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the N-word all of the way out, more than one time. And that was wrong. I'll say it again, that was wrong.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: We invited Dr. Laura to come on the program tonight, her staff said she was unavailable.

Reverend Al Sharpton joins us now. What do you make of what you heard?

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Well, I think not only the caller was right that she said the word over and over and in a very animated way, I might add. But that she actually, if you listen carefully to the logic of what she was saying, was saying that the N-word was not offensive, because what she --

COOPER: It depends how it's used.

SHARPTON: Well, her first reaction was that people use the N- word all along, I think you'd being too sensitive or something to that effect. At no point until after the outrage that followed did she come back today and say it was wrong. At no point did she even say during all of that that it was wrong. It is wrong if blacks use it. As you know, we have fought, at National Action Network, our decency initiative, (INAUDIBLE) and others against black artists using the word. But she at no point even acted like this was wrong, it was like you are being hypersensitive not only against your husband's relatives but even they use N-word, they say it on HBO. What's the big deal?

And I think that that is what compounded the insult, because she was in my judgment just going at a whole thing of you are just black, you are being oversensitive, blacks voted for Obama, and many because he was black. There are many people that run for office that are black that blacks don't vote for, whites don't vote for, because they are white. So, this whole line, I think, was extremely disturbing.

COOPER: You know, we've been doing this whole study on -- pilot study on race and how kids view race. And the takeaway for a lot of the parents in this study was that it's important to discuss race and have these conversations in the home.

The caller actually raised an interesting point which, you know, her husband's friends come home and ask her about, you know, what do black people think about this and what do black people think about that, and it makes her uncomfortable. Do you think that is an inappropriate thing to ask somebody?

SHARPTON: I think that in whatever context, that it is raised, it can be offensive. I think that the answer is what you are looking into, and that is, that if it makes someone uncomfortable, then people ought to say, well, why am I uncomfortable? I mean, I would say that years ago that people would say to me, you think it's slang, it makes you uncomfortable.

And if you're really not trying to be racist or homophobic or against Asians or Latinos, you would stop and say, wait a minute, maybe I need to check myself. But to go on and on and rant, I mean, as she did on that show, it's to show to height of intolerance and the height of insensitivity.

COOPER: I want to play just another clip from what happened a little bit later on that same program.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SCHLESSINGER: You know what, if you are that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race. If you're going to marry out of your race, people are going to say, "OK, what do blacks think? What do whites think? What do Jews think? What do Catholics think?"

Of course, there isn't a one-think per se. But in general, there's "think."

And what I just heard from Jade is a lot of what I hear from black-think. And it's really distressing and disturbing.

And to put it in its context, she said the N-word and I said on HBO, listening to black comics, you will hear (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I didn't call anybody a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Nice try, Jade. Actually, sucky try.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: I was surprised most I think by her saying, you know, if you're that hypersensitive, caller, and you don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race.

SHARPTON: I mean, that is absolutely despicable. That means if you're that sensitive, don't marry out of your race. So, now, we've gone from her just repeating the N-word to her saying interracial marriage maybe should not be for those that have sensitivity that she would call hyper, and then she went back into using the N-word.

So, I mean, this was not someone that used an example one time -- and even that I think, those of us who do radio, I do, shouldn't do. But here's somebody who continually, throughout the show, kept going back to that word, almost like she wanted to have a platform in order to do that.

And I think that the caller was right to call her on that, and I think that those that have called her and concerned about it were right to say, wait a minute, the advertising and the people that carry her show should be very concerned about someone who freely using this word over and over again and the cover is talking about what I see on --

COOPER: She has apologized and she said, look, clearly she was wrong.

SHARPTON: She's apologized after the outrage. And, again, people have to take apologies at face value. But apologizing for what?

Apologizing in the context again, in my feeling and hearing the tape today is that if she was really understanding, and apologetic to whom she may have hurt, she could have responded to that when the caller brought it up. She kept going on, she kept going on, and then she went back to it later and suggested maybe the person was too hypersensitive to have an interracial marriage. So, based on her feelings when she said it, continuing throughout the show, that would be the basis of one taking her apology seriously enough.

COOPER: Reverend Sharpton, appreciate your time. Thanks for being with us.

SHARPTON: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, raising kids, one child struggle to accept his skin color. We first Marcus months ago when he took part in a pilot study on race that I mentioned, told his mom he would rather be white. Marcus is biracial. His parents say the study was a wake-up call. We'll talk to them and see how they have changed stuff in their home and how they discuss race. Also, we had suspected serial killer captured. That is the first photo we've seen. Tonight, there are serious questions about why it took so long? Why he was in custody earlier and let go? "Crime and Punishment" coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Up close tonight, kids and race. The past few nights we've been following up on the pilot study we asked researchers to conduct on kids and race. They interviewed 130 children, black and white, and the results have given us a very interesting look at how even very young kids form ideas on skin color.

Tonight we want to revisit another child who took part in the study. His name is Marcus. He's biracial, and his answers really stunned his mother. She, too, has made some major changes as a result. Soledad O'Brien caught up with Marcus and his parents.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Marcus.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We first met 6- year-old Marcus when testing children in the South. His school identified him as African-American.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the dumb child.

(MARCUS POINTS TO DARKEST CHILD)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And why is that the dumb child?

MARCUS: Because he's really dark brown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the nice child.

(MARCUS POINTS TO LIGHTEST CHILD)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And why is that the nice child?

MARCUS: Because he's white.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the mean child.

(MARCUS POINTS TO BROWN-SKINNED CHILD)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And why is that the mean child?

MARCUS: Because he's, like, brown.

O'BRIEN: His answers showed the highest rate of white bias we'd seen so far from any black child in the survey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the child that has your skin color.

(MARCUS POINTS TO CHILD IN MIDDLE OF ARRAY) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Show me the child who has the skin color you want as your own.

(MARCUS POINTS TO LIGHTEST CHILD)

O'BRIEN: This is Marcus' mom, Molly. She's white. Marcus' father is black. She was part of the panel invited to view the children's test, and she was stunned.

MOLLY: I am kind of speechless of how he responded to that.

O'BRIEN (on camera): It is upsetting for you to see that?

MOLLY: It's real hard to watch. After this -- when they did the taping, he looked at me and he said, "I wished I was -- I know I can't be, but I wish I was white." And -- it just -- I don't understand.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Molly says this experience has changed the kind of parent she is to both Marcus and his brother, Malik.

MOLLY: A majority of my friends are black. So I just assumed that my kids, you know, saw that like me. I don't assume any more that my kids see things through my eyes. I always thought if you lived the life that they would follow, but you do have to communicate. You do have to talk about it.

O'BRIEN: Molly has a unique challenge. Marcus has been attending a predominantly white school, and his father, divorced from Molly, lives three states away. She's trying to teach her son to embrace his own skin color.

We asked him why, in his test, he said he wanted his skin to be light.

MARCUS: Because that's my fair color, of white.

MOLLY: That's what he told me. I think that there's more behind that, but that is so far what he has told me. And every time I ask him, it's the same answer.

MARCUS: Everyone in my school are white. They have different eyes. Eye color.

O'BRIEN: Molly says that Marcus' doll test has started broader conversations on race with 14-year-old Malik. He admitted he went through a phase where he thought it would be easier to be white.

MALIK: At my middle school, I would be called a cracker or the "N" word, and that kind of got on my nerves, too. Yes, it kind of sucked.

O'BRIEN: Molly says, while she's experienced prejudice because of her biracial kids, she can only teach them so much.

MOLLY: I have never been called a name because of the color of my skin, so I'm hoping that that's definitely what his father can teach him and to give him that feeling of you're -- you have to be the strong, thick-skinned black man.

O'BRIEN: Marcus spends summers with his father, Ray, who focused this summer on breaking down stereotypes and building up positive role models for his son.

RAY: I said, "Do you know who the president of the United States is?"

And he said, "Yes."

He asked, "Why did you ask me that?"

I said, "Because he's just like you, and he's the president." I said, "So now, what do you think you can do?"

He says, "I can do anything I want to do."

O'BRIEN: Ray and Molly are optimistic they can teach Marcus to love himself, just as they do, for exactly who he is.

Soledad O'Brien, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll have more from the pilot study tomorrow night on the program.

A suspected serial killer is behind bars tonight. He's an Israeli citizen accused of leaving a trail of terror in three states. He was also in police custody just one week ago. How police missed him so many times. The latest on the arrest and the investigation ahead.

And "Raw Politics" tonight, the $600 million border security bill headed to President Obama for signing. Will it really make a difference on the ground, though, or are Democrats just playing border politics with your tax dollars? Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Paul Begala square off ahead.

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COOPER: A suspected serial killer who stabbed his victims to death and was linked to at least 18 racially-motivated attacks across three states is in custody tonight, but there are many who want to know why it took this long to arrest him.

Up until last night this is what we thought he looked like, a police sketch of a white man with a goatee and wearing a baseball cap. That's the sketch there. This is the suspect and, as you can tell, it does not come close to the composite drawing of the accused killer. I don't know if we can get a tighter shot of that.

What do we know about him? Well, what we know is this. His name is Elias Abuelazam. He's an Israeli citizen who was caught at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport moments before he would have boarded a flight back to Israel. There's also growing anger at the authorities, who reportedly were tracking the suspect.

Dr. Helen Morrison is a forensic psychiatrist and leading expert on serial killers. She's worked with law enforcement around the country for years. She joins me now.

So Doctor, thanks for being with us. We know the police had this guy in custody at least once in Virginia. Reportedly, he'd been caught two other times in Michigan. Does it surprise you that he didn't raise any suspicions?

DR. HELEN MORRISON, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: No, it doesn't. Because he probably came across as a very clean-cut guy who could talk his way out of anything. And when you disarm someone, which is what serial killers do, even when they're trying to get the victims, it's not a surprise at all.

Somehow people think that serial murderers are wild-eyed maniacs, but would you open up your door to someone like that? No. So they are definitely just the average-looking Joe.

COOPER: What do you make of his M.O.? I mean, he apparently approached people kind of in the streets where he thought there weren't other people around. Sixteen of the victims in this spree were African-American, all male. Police say they're considering the possibility that there was a racially motivation. You're skeptical, though.

MORRISON: I'm very skeptical of that. I think he just chose the victims on a pattern and rather than on any thought or any reason for revenge or nastiness or whatever you want to call it. Serial murderers aren't quite that sophisticated, and what they basically do is to they just pattern their victims after their first victim. He did, however, attack two Caucasian individuals. And that seems to get lost in all of the rhetoric about this is racially-motivated.

COOPER: He stabbed 18 people. Five of them were killed. Obviously, I mean, it's tragic. It could have been a lot worse, though. It's a pretty low percentage of fatalities relative to the people he killed.

MORRISON: It is. But the other striking thing is that he was beginning to escalate his pattern. His first murder occurred after, I believe, the fifth or sixth stabbing. The second murder occurred after the third stabbing. So as he went on, he would have escalated into killing many more individuals than just injuring them.

COOPER: Why does an alleged serial killer escalate? I mean, and is it that they get better at it? They get a feel for it?

MORRISON: Not necessarily. What it seems to be is they develop a pattern very similar to that of an addict, who needs more and more of the action in order to satisfy whatever it is that they're feeling.

COOPER: It's a fascinating discussion. Dr. Helen Morrison, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

MORRISON: Thank you.

COOPER: We'll continue to follow the details on this story as we learn new details.

Still ahead, the battle over emergency funding for border security. Six hundred million dollars pledged, but it is political posturing? And does anyone have a better plan on the table? We'll talk to Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Paul Begala about that, ahead.

And later, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater said he'd had enough, couldn't take his job any more and slid down the escape slide to folk hero status. But is that really what happened? Some new questions tonight about his story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A rare sight today for August: lawmakers at work on Capitol Hill. The Senate convened a special session during their summer recess to pass a bill providing $600 million in emergency border funds. Granted, the chamber was nearly empty, but enough showed up to send the bill to President Obama, who's going to sign it tomorrow. The money will pay for some 1,500 new border agents and equipment along with the -- along the U.S./Mexico border.

It's got strong bipartisan support, as you can imagine, and with midterm elections coming up, some say that's not surprising. Let's get to the "Raw Politics."

Joining me, CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist Paul Begala and also Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.

Sheriff Arpaio, this bill provides 1,000 new Border Patrol, 500 customs and immigration agents, plus unmanned aircraft to monitor the border. Is this a real help or do you think this is an election-year stunt?

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: Every little bit helps, you know. Where have they been in the last three or four or five years? So it is an election year, but it's better than nothing. At least we're sending law enforcement agents down there versus the National Guard that can't do anything anyway.

COOPER: Paul, to those who say, "Look, this is just politics getting something done before the midterms"?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I'll let sheriff Arpaio speak, because I want to hear him thank Nancy Pelosi and thank Harry Reid and thank Barack Obama for the assistance that they put forward here. Six hundred million dollars is not nothing. It's part of a $17 billion budget on immigration control. Seventeen billion. To put it in perspective, we spend $5 billion for cancer research, and cancer is a much greater threat, frankly, than most of us think illegal immigrants are. But what the heck.

ARPAIO: It took them a long time to do it. I've been fighting this for three years. Their own Department of Justice is investigating me. Why doesn't the president, who has a good relationship, I believe, with the Mexican president, why don't they ask to send the Border Patrol across the border and clean up the mess and be operational like I used to be operational? Why don't they do that instead of on our side of the border? On a bilateral policy, bilateral.

BEGALA: I didn't hear that "thank you." I didn't even hear a gracias, but, you know, I guess we'll let that go.

I don't know that we -- I thought the argument was, and certainly what I believe, that we should enforce the border, not erase the border. Right? I mean, there is a border. Our guys stay on our side of the border. Their guys stay on their side of the border. But you know, we've got two wars going on right now. I don't know that we really need a third country to invade, Sheriff.

ARPAIO: Well -- well, wait -- wait a minute. This is a critical area, 2,000-mile border, for terrorism. We are fighting terrorism in the Middle East. Why don't we take care of our own border and help the Mexicans with every resource we have other than just money? Let's send some people over there to help them fight this problem together.

COOPER: Well, Sheriff Arpaio...

ARPAIO: That's a good question.

COOPER: In a statement today the president said that this bill will strengthen our partnership with Mexico and targeting the gangs and criminal organizations that operate on both sides of the border.

ARPAIO: Oh, really?

COOPER: You don't believe it?

ARPAIO: Oh, really? Yes, really, 1,000 more, and by the way, how long do you think it will take to get 1,000 more Border Patrol? You have to train them. So, you know, it's not going to happen overnight, I guarantee you. I was a federal official for 30 years, so I know how the feds operate.

COOPER: Paul, do you think that the Arizona law has pushed the federal government to take more action?

BEGALA: Well, I think probably yes.

ARPAIO: Of course it has. Of course it has.

BEGALA: I think that it has, but now the question will be, will Sheriff Arpaio and others who have been calling for more security on the border acknowledge, gee, we're putting more security on the border. Barack Obama has increased deportations by 10 percent over the highest number that President Bush ever had. They're strengthening protection of the border.

The question is will those conservatives now support comprehensive immigration reform so we can grab people who are here illegally, make them pay a fine, make them pay back taxes, make them learn English, have them get to the line, register with the government. That's punishment, or they're just interested in ginning it up...

ARPAIO: Oh, that is amnesty.

BEGALA: Five different punishments. Five different punishments. Would you want six? Would you want 12? What do you want, Sheriff? Do you want to just deport them all?

ARPAIO: No, I am doing OK here: 100,000 are left. I lock up people in the interior. Everybody talks about the border. We enforce the laws in the interior.

BEGALA: Forty percent of the undocumented aliens who are in America are here for overstaying their visa. So we can do everything we want at the border, but coming in, 40 percent -- 40 percent are coming in at the border legally, but then overstaying their visa.

In fact, that's what a lot of these 9/11 terrorists were doing. And so don't you think we've got to do more than simply secure the border. Don't you have to have comprehension immigration reform?

ARPAIO: No, you have to enforce the interior, lock them up inside also, not just at the border. If they get through, you lock them up, just like you do any other federal crime. That's good law enforcement and good strategy.

BEGALA: OK. We're going to lock up 12 million people? We're going to lock up 12 million people?

ARPAIO: Well, I don't know. We've been pretty successful. They're all leaving Arizona. If every state did what we did, maybe there wouldn't be a big problem.

BEGALA: They're not going to go home on their own, and they're not going to get locked up. At least -- I mean, you'd have to have a police state. Nobody -- you're not locking up 12 million people.

But when you have politicians who can simply just scream and yell like this, and get re-elected, God bless you sheriff. I mean, I understand that politicians don't want to honestly address the problem. If they're profiting politically by just hooting and hollering.

COOPER: Paul Begala...

ARPAIO: Well, I'm not -- I'm not a politician. I'm a law enforcement guy. I lock everybody up.

BEGALA: And how do you get that job?

ARPAIO: When they -- I was elected to do the job, but I'm also a law enforcement guy.

BEGALA: That makes you a politician, which is an honorable thing. I love politicians. I spent my career working for politicians.

ARPAIO: All right. You want to call me a politician, OK. Thank God I'm elected.

BEGALA: That's right.

ARPAIO: I would be fired 17 years ago if I was appointed. I would have been fired by the bureaucrats and the politicians. You know that. But you can't fire me. You can investigate me. No, you guys can investigate me, but you can't fire me.

COOPER: We've got to leave it there. Sheriff Arpaio, Paul Begala, gentlemen, thank you.

Up next, he's become a hero to a couple of people, a lot of people who are frustrated with their jobs, but was flight attendant Steven Slater pushed over the edge or was he the one doing the pushing? New questions tonight about what really happened before he slid off that now infamous JetBlue flight.

Also ahead, a surfer's scary close encounter with a Great White Shark. This video is incredible. Caught on tape. It's the "Shot of the Day."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're following a number of stories tonight. Brianna Keilar joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we begin with the devastating flooding in Pakistan. Take a look at these images here of this disaster. More than 1,300 people have died over the last couple of weeks because of these rains that have been falling.

And today, Pakistan's president toured the destruction. He's under fire for not responding quickly enough to the tragedy.

The whistleblower Web site Wikileaks is ready to release another roughly 15,000 documents about the war in Afghanistan. The Pentagon is urging against it. It says that too many lives are at risk after the site published more than 70,000 war documents last month.

And mortgage rates are plunging to new lows. The rate has fallen to 4.44 percent according to Freddie Mac which is the lowest level since 1971 when the government-backed lender started to track the rates.

And of course, flight attendant Steven Slater, who had his infamous meltdown on a JetBlue flight Monday, doesn't want to leave the airline industry. His attorney saying today that his client still wants to be a flight attendant. He said it's his life. But a JetBlue memo that we got a hold of shows management may be unwilling to forgive Slater.

As for the criminal charges Slater faces, the attorney says he thinks they can reach a deal with prosecutors, though according to reports, Slater may not be the folk hero he's been made out to be. Reportedly, some passengers who have been interviewed by police claim that Slater was irate and unsteady the entire flight.

Do you think he'll get his job back?

COOPER: I -- I would find that hard to believe, but -- and we really don't know details of what happened. So I guess we should reserve judgment until then.

And the situation in Pakistan, I talked to the Pakistan ambassador to the United States today. One fifth of the country underwater. The rains are continuing. We're going to have more on that on the program tomorrow night.

Brianna, tonight's "Shot," a close call with a shark off a Southern California beach is no accident. Take a look at the video. It's shot by a guy named Chuck Patterson, a professional surfer. Apparently, that's a Great White circling his stand-up paddle board.

Patterson brought the underwater video camera with him after spotting sharks in the water while surfing in the same spot the day before. A brave guy, he went back with the camera. He's betting he'd see more sharks. He certainly did. This one has come so close that it even slapped the surfboard with a fin at one point.

When asked about the experience, he said there was definitely fear involved.

I can testify to that, having swum with Great Whites. There's definitely a lot of fear involved.

KEILAR: Do we say brave? Or do we say...

COOPER: I think he's brave. I'll say brave, but some people may say foolish to go back. But you know -- you know, I guess...

KEILAR: Californian, I do not know.

COOPER: Well, he loves the water.

I also want to try out one of those standup paddle surfboard things.

Brianna, thanks for being with us.

A lot more coming up at the top of the hour. Kind of a bizarre conversation. Didn't expect this to happen. We asked a congressman on who says that women are coming here to give birth to future terrorists. We brought him on to see if he had the facts to back up his story. The conversation took kind of a bizarre turn. "Keeping Them Honest," ahead.

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