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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Club Fire Investigation Continues; Gun Control Debate; John Kerry Confirmed as Secretary of State; Hillary Clinton Reflects on Service, Looks Forward to Future; Surfer Conquers 78-Foot Wave

Aired January 29, 2013 - 22:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

And we begin with breaking news, new video just in from that devastating fire at a nightclub in Brazil. This is a video from inside the club in the aftermath of the fire. The death toll from the fire rose to 234 today.

Joining me now on the phone is CNN's Shasta Darlington.

What have we learned from about happened inside that club? It is now confirmed that pyrotechnics that were on the stage being used by a band is what started this fire?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we did find out a lot of interesting detail today, but definitely not conclusions of the investigation.

Let me give you some idea what we are talking about. The police gave a press conference where they told us that they investigated, for example, the fire extinguishers, and they found that not only were all of the fire extinguishers in the club -- they were beyond their date of usage. Some of them were actually fake fire extinguishers.

They also discovered that the licenses, the fire licenses and the municipal licenses expired last year, and they found out that when they did have licenses, the capacity was just for 670 people. And they had some 2,000 club goers packed into this establishment.

So there are definitely details coming out. On the fireworks, what they discovered is that these were fireworks that were explicitly sold for outdoor use. The problem was apparently that the ones that can be used indoors are more expensive. People were going cheap trying to get around what few regulations exist and creating an even more dangerous environment. Again, the investigation isn't over, and so they don't want to name names or come out with the specific charges at this point, Anderson.

COOPER: Also, can you explain why security at this club would not let people get out of the one exit that existed?

DARLINGTON: Well, Anderson, we talked today -- we actually heard the very harrowing story of this 19-year-old high school student who was inside. She got crammed up against the metal barrier. Someone was saving her, a man she didn't know grabbed her and was pulling her toward the door. And she said she actually saw the doors shutting in their faces. They got there. They said -- that she saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and then all of a sudden the light would shut off because the guards were shutting the door in her face. And she said her understanding is they hadn't realized that there was a fire and that they did only shut it for a couple of minutes, but in those few minutes it filled with smoke so much that when the door opened again, there were already bodies lying on the floor, people shouting.

She said, in fact, other security guards who were inside died, Anderson.

COOPER: And the reason they wouldn't let people out is because, I guess in Brazil at this club, when you go in, you don't pay at the door, you pay when you leave, is that correct?

DARLINGTON: That's exactly right. She showed me the ticket that she had. You go in, they give you a ticket that cost -- in this particular club that night, it was about $12, $13. And then each drink, they put a little mark on your ticket and you pay the bill at the end. You don't even pay the entrance fee until the very end.

They have this policy where whenever there's a bar brawl, whenever maybe there's a quarrel between couples, they say it's pretty common that people try and run out. And that's apparently what they thought was going on, Anderson.

COOPER: In terms of the impact on this town, I mean, this is a college town. These are overwhelmingly young people who were at this club celebrating. Were there more funerals today?

DARLINGTON: There were more funerals today.

Again, not all of the students, because this is a college town, of course, they're not all from here. So in some cases, the bodies are being sent across Brazil and the funerals will actually continue over the next few days, but what we have also seen is just a -- this real convergence. People are sort of coming to terms with their grief. And they're becoming angry.

So everywhere you go, especially when they see we're journalists, people stop us on the street and they tell us, something has to be done about this. You keep telling the world what happened here. Something has to be done about this. Somebody has to go to jail and we have to make sure this never happens again, Anderson.

COOPER: In terms of arrests, how many people have been arrested thus far?

DARLINGTON: (AUDIO GAP) arrested. Two of them were club owners. One of them was the lead vocalist for the band that was playing that was using these pyrotechnic devices, and the promoter for the musical band and so, again, it just backs up what we have been talking about, where they're taking the investigation. And there's a chance we could see some more arrests in the coming days, Anderson.

COOPER: Some members of the band died as well, is that correct?

DARLINGTON: That's right. That's right. Two members of the band died. Another interesting thing we heard today from this young woman we were talking to, she said that the vocalist as soon as he saw the ceiling insulation had caught fire, he picked up a fire extinguisher and he tried to shoot it up at the ceiling, but that nothing came out.

And he sort of threw it into the crowd and obviously tried to get out of there himself. The band was obviously caught in the middle. It could very well be part of the cause of this, but they lost members as well. It's a pretty convoluted story -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. The investigation continues. Shasta Darlington, I appreciate the update. Thank you very much.

Still hard to imagine.

Now the battle over new gun control laws here at home. Tomorrow, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, he is going to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, tonight we're learning he plans to attack the proposals for a new ban on semiautomatic weapons. He takes on critics who want to expand background checks.

According to prepared testimony just released, LaPierre will say, and I quote, "When it comes to the issue of background checks, let's be honest. Background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them."

The NRA is calling on members to show their support in a big way. The organization's political arm just sent a mass e-mail calling on all four million members to show up tomorrow and -- quote -- "pack the hearing room."

All of this coming with ongoing hearings and emotional hearings in Connecticut. That's where Governor's Dannel Malloy's bipartisan task force on gun violence prevention is talking with hundreds of people in Hartford. It's the panel's job to propose ways to address the factors that led up to the tragedy in Newtown.

Connecticut already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Some of the Sandy Hook parents argue to make them even stricter. They faced opposition from some vocal opponents in the crowd.

Here's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Metal detectors, heavy security and a sign on the door reading no guns allowed, that's what greeted hundreds attending this Connecticut hearing on gun laws.

NEIL HESLIN, FATHER OF VICTIM: Try putting yourself in the place I'm in. It's not a good feeling to look at your child laying in a casket or looking at your child with a bullet wound to their forehead.

DARLINGTON: Neil Heslin's son Jesse was killed at Newtown, but that didn't seem to matter to the hecklers.

HESLIN: If there's anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question, why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high- capacity clips? Not one person can answer that question.

(CROSSTALK)

HESLIN: All right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, please, no comments while Mr. Heslin is speaking, or we will clear the room.

KAYE (on camera): This hearing was designed to review the state's gun loss and to hear proposals for change.

It was the first time family members who lost loved once at Sandy Hook Elementary testified in public.

(voice-over): The state's considering enacting a 50 percent tax on ammunition, expanding a state ban on assault weapons, and banning large-capacity magazines like the one used by Adam Lanza in the Newtown shooting.

This single mother from Waterbury believes those changes would be going too far.

ELIZABETH DRYSDALE, CONNECTICUT: You will take away my legal ability to protect myself and my children at a reasonable price. Protecting myself and my children means I should continue to be able to select the firearm and magazine size that I believe will keep us safe. Don't my children and I deserve your support, your consideration to be safe?

ROBERT CROOK, COALITION OF CONNECTICUT SPORTSMEN: Not one of these gun proposals would have impacted this heinous act, nor will it affect future perpetrators. These current quick-fix do-something bills do not address the root cause and actions of the Newtown criminal. Please remember gun owners are the good guys.

KAYE: Rabbi Shaul Praver counseled many of the Newtown families.

SHAUL PRAVER, RABBI: And this is serious. I do not want to come here or any other city to describe what it's like to console parents who have had their children's brains shot out.

KAYE: Mark Mattioli, whose son James was killed at Newtown, surprised the crowd when he suggested tighter gun control is not the answer.

MARK MATTIOLI, FATHER OF VICTIM: How do we expect to have any impact on a society and say we're going to pass a law? Hey, this is inexcusable. We can't allow any more of this. Let's pass a law that will change the course of the future. When we don't enforce the laws that we have on the books?

KAYE: Another parent, Veronique Pozner, lost her 6-year-old son, Noah, in the shooting. She sat next to his photograph while calling for lawmakers to ban all assault rifles and tax ammunition to help pay for school security.

VERONIQUE POZNER, MOTHER OF VICTIM: The time is now. Let the state of Connecticut become an agent for change.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Where do we go from here?

Jennifer Killin is a Newtown parent. And Denise Correia's second grade daughter was at Sandy Hook Elementary on the day of the shooting.

I appreciate both of you being with us.

Jennifer, you were at that hearing. You're not opposed to gun control per se, but you say this should be more about accountability. First of all, what was your take on the hearing? Because there were some reports saying that that parent was sort of shouted down. That video doesn't really seem to show that he was shouted down at all.

JENNIFER KILLIN, PARENT: I wasn't actually there for that. That happened very early, as I understand it. And there were hundreds of us waiting outside the building for a very long time to get in, and so I missed most of the expert testimony and the parents.

COOPER: What do you want to see happen?

KILLIN: Well, up until yesterday in the hearings, I was 100 percent in favor of assault weapons bans, but I did -- you know, I listened to what the other side had to say.

And I do feel that it's going to be more about accountability by the manufacturers of these weapons, by the retailers, the private sellers, the dealers of these weapons and by the individual owners that cannot allow their weapons to fall into the wrong hands. They cannot allow their children access to these weapons.

And if they are not responsible, as they claim to be, for one moment, then they need to be libel for that. I also believe

(CROSSTALK)

KILLIN: I also believe more research needs to be done.

Sorry.

COOPER: No, go ahead.

KILLIN: The CDC was doing research into gun violence until the '90s when the gun lobby shut them down. We don't really know the facts. We don't know what will work, what really is causing this epidemic of gun violence that we have in this country.

COOPER: Denise, you support I know the gun control measures that President Obama and Vice President Biden have put forward, but you want to see more done on mental health, right?

DENISE CORREIA, MOTHER OF SURVIVOR: It's honestly -- let's look at it this way. It's really two-pronged. We have an issue with assault weapons being available and the magazines being available.

That type of firearm, that very large firearm, I believe it was originally created for the Germans to fight the Russians. I mean, when you look at that kind of firepower, that is not what a responsible gun owner normally is using to go out and perhaps shoot deer or whatever, you know. They don't need that level of firepower.

Secondly, we do have a tremendous issue. If you look at the petri dish of what we're living in now after the Newtown shooting and before that with Aurora and before that, you know, in Colorado, we're looking at young, mentally ill men right now. We're looking at that, and most of them very high functioning, and having various either spectrum disorders or other type of mental illness.

And I think that as far as, you know, the responsible gun owner, I get it, but I'm also an adoptive parent of three children. And being an adoptive parent, you have to basically go through incredible rigors to become an adoptive parent. You have to meet with social workers, you have to do FBI testing, you have to have post-placement.

I can't imagine why just to be able to love a child I need to go through that kind of paperwork, but yet someone can go and obtain a firearm as quickly as people can in this country. So there has to be some give and take here. I mean, I don't understand how you can literally go, obtain a firearm and then potentially shoot a child, whereby there's all sorts of laws for me to be able to adopt a child.

So if you're looking at families who are going to be having weapons, then they do need to have some type of screening, and they do need to have the family members screened and there has to be some sort of level of how these firearms are taken care of in the home.

COOPER: Right.

CORREIA: And perhaps every couple of years they need to be checked out and the family needs to be reviewed again to see what the situation is. I just don't think it's as easy as saying that a responsible gun owner is a responsible gun owner. You have to look at the entire picture of the family.

COOPER: Right.

CORREIA: I think that's a very important process.

COOPER: Denise, I appreciate...

(CROSSTALK)

CORREIA: But I have a problem with...

COOPER: Yes?

CORREIA: Anderson, I will tell you, quite frankly, I think the hardest thing I ever heard is when I had spoken to Dianne Feinstein about a week after the Sandy Hook tragedy. I had written to her, I had written to, you know, Vice President Biden as well as Chris Murphy. I have spoken to all of their offices.

To be very honest with you, I think the hardest thing is going to be to able to get some level of mental health initiative involved in this gun control legislation. It's predominantly because it's hard on a federal level. Every state handles, from my understanding, mental health. So we have to really find a way to work it in on a federal level as well as on every state level.

COOPER: Denise, I appreciate you being on, Jennifer as well. We will continue to check in with you as this debate progresses.

We have a programming note. This Thursday, we will bring you a town hall discussion on guns. We're going to have representatives of all sides of the debate. That's at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday night, a town hall meeting. I hope you join us for that.

Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight.

Just ahead, President Obama says his immigration reform plan has a lot in common with a bipartisan Senate plan unveiled today. But is that really true? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And later, Hillary Clinton leaving office on Friday, her first break from politics and government in 20 years. Tonight, she talks about what lies ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I am so looking forward to Monday, when I have no schedule, no office to go to, no responsibilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Raw Politics" now.

As expected President Obama today called on Congress to overhaul broken immigration laws. In a speech in Las Vegas, he praised a bipartisan plan unveiled yesterday by eight senators. He stressed the similarities between his vision and theirs.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's what comprehensive immigration looks like, smarter enforcement, a pathway to earn citizenship, improvements in the legal immigration system, so that we continue to be a magnet for the best and the brightest all around the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: President Obama also sounded a warning, though, saying the time to act is now, and if Congress can't deliver, he's going to step in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The foundation for bipartisan action is already in place. And if Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The bipartisan plan he's talking about comes with some crucial strings. It contains provisions for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but only if certain conditions are first met.

Chief among those conditions, making sure the border is secure before any legislative action can take place. That to say at the very least is a very tall order. There has been progress. There are more border control agents patrolling the country's Southwest border than ever before, more than 18,000 in 2011 up from just over 15,000 in 2008, the last year of George W. Bush's presidency.

The Obama administration has also spent billions to secure the border, $18 billion last year. But when you take a closer look at that money, look what jumps out. In 2011 the government spent $573 million on border security fencing, infrastructure and technology, all things that would seem crucial to securing the border, but last year that funding fell to $400 million. Even less, its budget is, for 2013, just $327 million.

Now the government says border agents are making more arrests. Last year, just under 70,000 illegal immigrants were caught at the border and sent back, nearly 20,000 more than in 2009. As we said, that may be progress, but it doesn't change the fact that there's plenty of places along the border where there's nothing to stop anyone from coming across.

Gary Tuchman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dan Bell owns a cattle ranch in Nogales, Arizona. It's a huge piece of land, about 100 square miles. And it sits right on the Mexican border. (on camera): You have been here your whole life. Do you believe there's a day that goes by where you people are not crossing on your ranch?

DAN BELL, RANCH OWNER: No, I don't believe there's a day that goes by, either illegal immigrants or somebody smuggling contraband drugs. There's always somebody coming across.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dan Bell is a businessman, not a politician, but he's willing to talk to the proposed government commission about life on the border and about traumatic incidents that have happened on his ranch.

BELL: Right up here there's a site where in 1998 there was a border agent that was killed apprehending two smugglers, and there's a monument built to him right there.

TUCHMAN: Agent Alexander Kirpnick was shot and killed in June of 1998.

(on camera): Dan Bell's ranch sit adjacent to 10 miles of international border. This is the fence on some of his ranch. It's 15 to 18 feet tall, very narrow. People can't fit through here. Occasionally people bring tall ladders on the Mexico side and jump into the United States. Not smart. They usually get hurt. It's not too frequent.

What is much more frequent is they come here where the fence ends. This fence is only on 20 percent of the ranch. This fence is on 80 percent of the ranch. And all it is, is a flimsy barbed-wire fence. They come from Mexico, hop on this fence and easily hop off. You can see there's a little ditch that's dug here so they can slide under it. And this is where many people cross into the United States.

BELL: You just find trash everywhere. You can just take a few steps, right here, it's all over.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The big walls do keep people out. And Bell says things have somewhat improved over the years, but adds huge problems still exist. Even if the desire was there to wall the entire border, it's impossible due to mountainous topography.

BELL: I have actually run into smugglers, smugglers carrying weapons. I have run into kids carrying backpacks with drugs.

TUCHMAN (on camera): You see everything?

BELL: Pretty much.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And then there is this strange sight. Dan Bell actually repairs barbed-wire border fence himself. He does it mostly to keep his cattle from wandering into Mexico, but it's still border fence he's fixing with his own hands.

(on camera): If the commission asked you, is our border secure right now, how would you answer that question? BELL: I would say that it's not secure and that we do need to focus on making sure that we have, you know, the boots on the ground, that we have the technology available to us, that we have infrastructure to actually get to the border and patrol it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins me now.

Gary, do people you talk to along that part of the border, do they believe that big walls have made a difference in slowing down illegal immigration?

TUCHMAN: The people we have talked to generally agree that you have a big wall, you have Border Patrol personnel and technology, people don't come into the United States.

And indeed here in Nogales, downtown Nogales, Arizona, this is the Taj Mahal of walls and very few people from Mexico come into the United States here, but what they do when they're motivated is they go to the side in this direction, the side in that direction, they find those little fences that we saw, then they get into the United States.

COOPER: All right, Gary, appreciate it.

Let's get down to the "Raw Politics" of all this, a lot of politics involved.

Political contributor and Republican consultant Margaret Hoover joins us, also here in New York, "New York Times" op-ed columnist Charles Blow.

Margaret, when you look at this, the idea that the border has to be secure before legislation for some sort of pathway to citizenship, is that all that much different in terms of what a lot of Republicans have said all along?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: By making it a priority on the front end and saying this stipulation has to be met first...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But how do you define a secure border? Does that mean no one getting across?

HOOVER: Well, see, you can look at places where it has actually been successful. Nogales, maybe that example, not so successful. You can look at Yuma County, Arizona, where border crossings dropped 95 percent between the 2003 to 2006-2007.

There are places where you have successfully secured the borders, you have seen a precipitous drop border crossings even when the economy was doing very well. You can say that's a reasonable measure of border security. This is also the devil's in the details. We will have to see. These are a set of principles these senators have agreed on, but we haven't seen what it's going to look like. The devil's in the details. That could be a major sticking point for Republicans on the right flank.

Hopefully with people like Jeff Flake and Marco Rubio and from the folks who have the right-wing talk radio crowd on board, we will be able to cross that threshold.

COOPER: Charles, how do you see this? Is it reasonable to say you have to secure the borders first before you move to some sort of pathway...

(CROSSTALK)

CHARLES BLOW, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think your question about how you measure that is the crucial one, because if your measurement is how many people get arrested trying to cross, that's actually not a representation of how many people -- necessarily a representation of how many people actually get across, because the ones who actually don't get arrested the ones that we're actually most interested in.

If you have better enforcement and you set up a space particularly where the fences are good and there are a lot of border security, people don't cross in that area but they cross in other areas, as we saw in the piece before, where the topography makes it virtually impossible for this to happen -- for you to have adequate kinds of walls and to patrol in the ways that we think of people patrolling in jeeps and running along a border with lights and what have you.

The measurement of what is success becomes really crucial and at what point do we move forward towards dealing with the 11 million people who are here now who have families here now, children and mothers and fathers, and how do we deal with the fact that they are here?

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: There's a lot of folks on the Republican side in particular who say you can't reward them for having broken the law, they either have to go back to their country of origin and reapply or get to the back of the line.

HOOVER: But that view isn't represented in this set of principles. This set of principles is basically agreed that we have got to do something about the 11 million...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But this set of principles failed under George W. Bush, so why is now going to be any different?

HOOVER: The time is different, the politics are different, the coalitions behind this is different. We have learned lessons from the failures last time.

(CROSSTALK)

BLOW: But do you figure the politics are better now or worse now?

HOOVER: I think the political landscape and the stars may have aligned this time.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Because of election results?

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: Partly because Republicans got so walloped in the last election that they want to make it work. And frankly they don't want to be blamed for this failing. That's a real political reality here.

But also there are new coalitions. There's this coalitions of Bibles, badges and business. Right? The evangelical community is largely Hispanic. Law enforcement is largely in favor of this now. Business. Rupert Murdoch and Mayor Bloomberg are traveling around the country together talking about how important...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Do you buy that the stars have aligned on this or that the political reality is different?

BLOW: I'm not exactly sure.

I think on the national stage, the political players who really want to be able to win a presidential election say we have to deal with this problem. Individual Republican representatives from individual districts do not have that same pressure.

HOOVER: I'm smiling because you're so politically cynical. He's just like really Democrats just want to win and Republicans just want to win and that's the only reason.

(CROSSTALK)

BLOW: I don't actually believe that. I do believe that there is legitimate concern for people wanting to move this forward, but that's some people.

There are some people who are adamant on the point that Anderson made before, which is that these people broke the law and we cannot reward law breaking. And I think that those people in that corridor, a lot of those are conservatives.

HOOVER: We are only talking about the right flank though that could derail this. There's the left flank also that's adamantly opposed to any sort of worker visa program for agricultural jobs that could be filled by Americans. There are a lot of coalitions that need to come together on this.

(CROSSTALK)

BLOW: I don't know if that is as big.

(CROSSTALK)

BLOW: I don't know if that is as big.

COOPER: We have got to leave it there.

Guys, thank you. Margaret Hoover, Charles Blow, thanks.

Up next: Hillary Clinton one on one talking to CNN. Her last day as secretary of state is this Friday. Will she seek the White House in four years and what is she going to do for the next couple of years if she doesn't?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: The party says that the field is clear and open for you until you make your decision. Have you decided that you absolutely will not run?

CLINTON: Well, I have absolutely no plans to run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's not the full story. More of what she said coming up.

Later, a wave so huge, maybe the biggest that's ever been surfed. It's not known for sure yet. Garrett McNamara waits to learn if he set a new record. I talked to him about what it felt like to ride a massive wave off Portugal's coast. You're going to hear from him ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Take a look at this video. Imagine riding a massive -- this massive wave. It could be a new world record, captured on video. The surfer in this breath-taking photo -- this photo here is just amazing -- shares what it was like to ride that wave, ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The Senate voted this afternoon to confirm John Kerry as America's next secretary of state. In a bipartisan show of support, Kerry's nomination sailed through the full Senate, with a vote of 94 to 3. As a senator, John Kerry voted "present" on his own nomination. Today's confirmation makes him America's 60th secretary of state and the first new member of President Obama's second-term cabinet to already be installed.

Now, Hillary Clinton does not officially step down till Friday. On her final days on the job, some of her opponents on Capitol Hill are not holding back in their criticism. Senator Lindsey Graham told FOX News in his view Secretary Clinton, quote, "got away with murder" in connection with the deadly attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last September. The aftermath of Benghazi is far from the only issue that's going to be keeping John Kerry busy as Hillary Clinton leaves the State Department.

Foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty and Elisa Abbott (ph) sat down with Secretary Clinton. Here's their report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to leave office, the country that once was a beacon of hope for Democratic transition, Egypt, is wracked with turmoil. The head of the army warning the state could collapse.

HILLARY CLINTON, OUTGOING SECRETARY OF STATE: I hope not, because I think that would lead to incredible chaos and violence on a scale that would be devastating for Egypt and the region. But there has to be some understanding by the new government that the aspirations that the people were expressing during the revolution in Egypt have to be taken seriously.

DOUGHERTY: And if there's one lingering question about her tenure, it's the murder of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. Clinton spoke passionately about the issue last week on Capitol Hill.

CLINTON: What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.

DOUGHERTY: Today she maintained she was briefed on prior attacks in the Libyan city, but no one recommending closing the outpost where four Americans died.

CLINTON: This is considered in an atmosphere of a lot of threats and dangers. And at the end of the day, you know, there was a decision made that this would be evaluated, but it would not be closed and, unfortunately, we know what happened.

DOUGHERTY: As Clinton leaves office Friday, the looming question is whether she'll run for the highest office. She stayed coy on her plans for 2016.

CLINTON: Well, I have absolutely no plans to run.

DOUGHERTY: But she didn't rule it out.

CLINTON: No, I am out of politics right now. And I don't know everything I'll be doing. I'll be working on behalf of, you know, women and girls. I'll be hopefully writing and speaking. Those are the things that I'm planning to do right now.

DOUGHERTY: We talked about her health, the blood clot in her head. She said she'll continue to take medication.

CLINTON: I am lucky, because I've been very healthy. I feel great. I've got, you know, enormous amounts of energy that have to be harnessed and focused, so I'm very fortunate. And I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life, whatever it is.

DOUGHERTY: And what of her home life? Her husband remains the most popular Democrat on the planet not in the White House. And there are now questions about daughter Chelsea following in her parents' political footsteps.

CLINTON: No, I don't know about that. I think -- I think she is really focused on the philanthropy. You know, she and Bill and I, we are -- we just have public service in our DNA. That doesn't have to be political service. It can be what we're doing now and what Bill has been doing now.

So I think we'll work all that out. It's going to be fun to talk it through and figure out, you know, what our next adventures might be.

DOUGHERTY: What does Hillary Clinton do next Monday, her first day out of politics or the government in 20 years?

CLINTON: I think that I'm really looking forward to it. I know it sounds, you know, vague because I have never done this before in my life. So when I wake up Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, to have the luxury of nowhere to go, nothing to do, no frantic call about calling some leader about some impending crisis. I'm actually interested to see how that goes.

DOUGHERTY: OK, you wake up, maybe you stay in your pajamas. What do you do?

CLINTON: I don't know. It's been my whole life. I mean, I've had a job ever since I was 13 years old. When I wasn't in school, I was working.

DOUGHERTY: Is it going to be traumatic? I mean, you know, your BlackBerry?

CLINTON: I think it's going to take some adjustment. I've been talking to colleagues who left the government earlier. And the most common thing they say to me is, "Don't make any decisions. You have no idea how tired you are." And I think there's truth to that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: For more on this, let's bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Why do you think Secretary Clinton is kind of going through this round of interviews? Is she sort of trying to cement her legacy?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: She is. And look, she's in demand. Obviously, we all want the talk to her. She's someone right now who has a 65 percent approval rating.

If you're thinking potentially about a future in politics, it doesn't get much better than that, so you might as well do these interviews now. I think she does want to cement her legacy. Look, as Jill pointed out in the piece, there clearly have been problems for her in Benghazi, and there's a worry that that could blot her legacy.

COOPER: This is not how she expected to leave the office?

BORGER: No, it really isn't. And it's not how the president really expected her to leave either, which is why I think he suggested that "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday.

You know, nobody goes to the president and says, "How about you sit down with Hillary Clinton and give her a nice kiss on the way out the door and help her out and, you know, cement her legacy?" I think the president actually wanted to do that for her as a thank you because of the way she embraced the job and the way she remained really loyal to him.

COOPER: Do you think Joe Biden wanted that?

BORGER: I don't think so. I think Joe Biden probably didn't go into the president saying, "You know what? I'd really rather you didn't do this." But I do think that, if she decides to run for the presidency, I don't think Joe Biden would -- would run.

COOPER: Really?

BORGER: Yes, I don't think he would.

COOPER: You think the Democratic field will wait to see what she does?

BORGER: I do. I think she's kind of the -- freezes it for now. There's no doubt in my mind that Joe Biden wants to run. You were there at inauguration.

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: You saw the way he took those laps down the parade route. This is a very vigorous man who, by the way, does not have a small role in this administration.

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: The president's put him in charge of gun control. He's made him his chief negotiator on the Hill. But I do think that the race is just frozen until...

COOPER: Until she decides.

BORGER: ... she figures out what she wants to do.

COOPER: It's fascinating stuff.

All right. Thanks very much.

BORGER: Sure.

COOPER: Appreciate it, Gloria.

Some frightening moments after a plane crashed into the icy waters of the Hudson River. The passenger calling for help as water filled the plane. Police have now released the 911 tape. We'll play that for you next.

Also, just incredible pictures. A pro surfer's dream come true. What does it feel like to ride what just might be the largest wave ever surfed? I'll speak with the man who did it, ahead on 360.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARRETT MCNAMARA, SURFER: It felt -- it was like my whole body was chattering. And it was really difficult. One of the longest, hardest drops I've ever dealt with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Check this out: the Australian coast blanketed in sea foam. What's causing it and why people maybe should not be frolicking in it when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Big wave surfer Garrett McNamara may have -- and I say may have -- broken the record for surfing the biggest wave ever, a record that is currently held by him. Check this out.

This is McNamara yesterday off Nazare, Portugal. It's the same location where he broke the record in 2011, surfing what was then described as a 78-foot wave. McNamara is still waiting for official verification of this new wave to see if he's broken his own world record. But either way, it is a huge, huge wave and a big accomplishment.

I've actually been working on a story about Garrett McNamara for "60 Minutes Sports" on Showtime. A preview of that story is going to be on next week. I spoke to Garrett today about this latest wave that he rode, a wave that could have very easily killed him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So Garrett, congratulations. I mean, the photo of you on that wave, it's unbelievable. How did it feel? What was the ride like?

MCNAMARA: Oh, it was just this endless drop. And my feet were popping out of the straps. It just felt -- it was like my whole body was chattering. And it was really difficult. One of the longest, hardest drops I've ever dealt with. COOPER: How -- I mean, when you're on a wave like that, what do you -- what do you see? How vertical is it? I mean, or do you look down? Or what do you see?

MCNAMARA: I was looking down and looking back and looking forward. I was really focused on everything that was going on, and the whole time I'm looking straight at the cliff. You know where I took you through the rocks?

COOPER: Yes.

MCNAMARA: I went right straight for that, and I didn't realize it until the very end that I was almost on the rocks. When I kicked out, the next wave was coming with this big whitewater and my partner, Keili (ph) came to pick me up. And the wave ate him and the jet ski flies into the air.

And then I almost got sucked on the rocks. I dove under the wave. And it was sucking me back, and it was so -- just barely let me go. I promised Nicole I wouldn't surf there, but I didn't realize where I was until after.

COOPER: Nicole is your wife for the viewers who don't know. I was in this area with you for "60 Minutes" earlier last month. And I mean, there are rocks right there. So you're saying you were basically really close to hitting the rocks?

MCNAMARA: Yes, you know that place where you called me chicken if I didn't go through?

COOPER: Yes, I do.

MCNAMARA: I had to go through. I almost went there without any desire of being there.

COOPER: Wow. I mean, if you had ended up on the rocks, you could have been killed?

MCNAMARA: Yes. It would have been -- definitely. We wouldn't be talking right now.

COOPER: It's also not an accident, but you were there. You read, you know, buoy information. You look at weather satellite information all the time. So how did you -- I mean, were you tracking a storm that you knew was going to hit in that area?

MCNAMARA: We actually saw the storm seven days ahead. And the Atlantic is so unpredictable, but for some reason this one didn't change. The weather prediction did not change. I just know that I won't be going right there ever again. And I'm just -- so stoked to be able to surf and share Nazare with the world through what we're doing .

COOPER: You won't go to that exact spot because of the danger, because you came so close to the rocks? MCNAMARA: Yes. Never again. If I have anything to do with it, I will not be in that situation ever again. And Nicole will make sure of it. She's going to put a little arrow on the board, saying, "Don't?

Don't go there? But I mean, you are searching for -- it's your dream to surf a hundred foot wave?

MCNAMARA: You know what? It's my goal.

COOPER: I don't know what to say, Garrett. I mean, I get a rush just looking at that. It's incredible. You know, I'm so glad you are OK and were really hard at achieving my goals. It's definitely a goal to surf a hundred foot wave. I've never been able to get the rush since I rode that glacier wave in Alaska. And I'm thinking that I could get the rush on a hundred foot wave.

MCNAMARA: Let me ask you, did you get an adrenaline rush surfing what you just rode?

COOPER. So it's probably not a hundred feet.

Dude, you did not get a rush surfing that wave. Are you kidding me?

MCNAMARA: I'm not kidding you, Anderson. I don't know what's wrong with me. There's definitely something wrong.

COOPER: Oh, man. I don't know what to say, Garrett. I mean, I get a rush just looking at that. It's incredible. I'm so glad you are OK and you're safe. And give my best to Nicole. And I'm just really just so thrilled for you. Thank you, Garrett.

MCNAMARA: Thank you, Anderson. I really love the time we spent together. And you're a great guy. Thank you for everything. Thank you for sharing Nazare with the world for us.

COOPER: A great thing with the town and really puts it on the map. Garrett, take care. We'll be in touch.

MCNAMARA: Aloha.

COOPER: By the way, that's a town a lot of people didn't even know you could surf off of, didn't know there were these huge waves until Garrett found out about it. From huge waves to a sea of foam deep enough to hide cars. What is causing this amazing sight? And what's going on? Is it safe?

Plus just how much BP will pay for its role for the massive oil spill in the gulf.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A security issue involved with nuclear weapons testing. In a news release the nuclear security administration it which overseas the Nevada national security site said officials are currently responding to an incident on the central portion of the massive outdoor laboratory. More than four decades of nuclear weapons testing has occurred there.

A federal judge approved BP's $4 billion fine as part of a plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department for the company's role in the 2010 Gulf oil spill. It is the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history.

And here in New York a plea for help. Authorities have released the 911 call from the passenger aboard a small plane that crashed into the icy Hudson River on Sunday. The man and his flight instructor both survived, but it was a close call. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER SMIDT, STUDENT PILOT: We're in the plane. It's taking on water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Is it possible for you to get out?

SMIDT: We can get out if we have to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I need you to get out if the...

SMIDT: The plane's going down. Let's go. Get out, get out, get out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: And down under, take a look at this. Massive amounts of sea foam on land, about nine feet high in some places. Strong winds blowing the foam onto land. The foam was formed when a cyclone hit Australia's east coast last week.

Anderson, I know you saw something like this when covering Superstorm Sandy back in October, right?

COOPER: Yes. I still don't quite understand what it is, though.

KAYE: Well, whatever it is, it's supposed to make you kind of itchy and sting a little bit. Did you feel any of that when you were frolicking in it?

COOPER: No, I wasn't really frolicking. I got out of it very quickly. But it doesn't look like a good -- it didn't seem like a good idea to -- for those folks to be kind of running around in that stuff.

KAYE: I agree.

COOPER: All right. Time now for "The Shot." We've got a look of game of fetch with a dog in a pool from a very interesting perspective: the dog's point of view. Take a look.

He's got it. There you go. Now we know what it's like. A dog's life.

Randi, thanks. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: OK, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.