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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Rush Limbaugh Case Settled; Big Oil and the White House; A Day Without Immigrants

Aired April 28, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone, from -- from Smuggler's Gulch, right here on the U.S.-Mexico border. Last year, 127,000 illegal immigrants were caught right here.
Tonight, the battle on the border heats up.


ANNOUNCER: Illegal immigration: the problem, the protests, the politics, all on a collision course. And the immigrants just keep on coming.

Rush Limbaugh busted and booked for drugs, but there's a deal. And wait until you hear it.

Another terror tape, the third this week, and new worries that it's more than just talk.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: This president believes, what's good for ExxonMobil is good for America.

ANNOUNCER: A cheap shot or the real deal? What are the ties between the White House and big oil? We're "Keeping Them Honest."


ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Live from the U.S.-Mexican border, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And a good Friday to you. Thanks for joining us.

We come to you tonight from Smuggler's Gulch, about 15 miles south of downtown San Diego, California, right on the U.S.-Mexican border. In the 1920, during prohibition, smugglers actually used to run liquor across the border here. Now, of course, the problem is people, illegal immigrants.

Here, the wall is about 7 feet tall. It's actually a corrugated landing strip from the Vietnam era. One hundred and twenty-seven thousand illegals were caught in this area alone last year. Strategically, politically, the battle right here on the border is heating up. And, on Monday, organizers promise a nationwide illegal immigrant job walkout. We will have a lot on that tonight.

But, first, our top story, Rush Limbaugh -- millions of Americans listen to his radio program every day. Nearly all of them know he's had a drug problem. He's also had legal troubles. Tonight, they got worse, and, strangely enough, they got better, too. He was arrested, he got booked, and he cut a deal, quite a deal.

We will explain right after CNN's Gary Tuchman sets the stage.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I am addicted to prescription pain medication.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a case that began with that admission nearly three years ago and ended with a deal today. Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh turned himself in to Florida authorities today, as prosecutors charged him with fraud to conceal information to obtain prescription drugs.

But, under the deal, they agreed to drop that charge in 18 months, if the conservative commentator continues treatment for his drug problems. Limbaugh agreed to the deal, despite pleading not guilty to the charge. Some legal experts say the deal is nothing less than sweet.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: After this investigation and these extensive search warrants that were executed -- and the district attorney's office won the legal case, with -- winning the right to use those records in court, they come away with, likely, nothing against Rush Limbaugh, no conviction of any kind, a clean record for Rush Limbaugh after 18 months. And that's a win, by any standard, for -- for a defendant.

TUCHMAN: Florida prosecutors started investigating Limbaugh in 2003, after a tabloid reported his housekeeper's claim that he used her to illegally buy painkillers.

He was accused of doctor-shopping, going from one doctor to another to replenish his supply of pills. Prosecutors said he bought about 2,000 tablets prescribed by four different doctors from the same Palm Beach pharmacy in just six months. That's a claim Limbaugh and his lawyers have consistently denied.

ROY BLACK, ATTORNEY FOR RUSH LIMBAUGH: What he does say is that he was addicted to prescription pain medication, which, of course, he admitted back in 2003, when all of this began.

TUCHMAN: Limbaugh, famous for his on-air anti-drug tirades, said his own drug abuse was the result of severe back pain. He took a leave of absence from his radio show and entered rehab. Rehab isn't the only condition of the deal.

Limbaugh will also pay the state $30,000, some of the cost of the investigation. But, with this deal, his legal problems, at least, are nearly at an end.

BLACK: This man, who, whether he is a celebrity or not, is able to put his life together, and I think it's a very good thing.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Well, helping us make sense of the settlement agreement, or plea deal, tonight is Florida defense attorney Michelle Suskauer.

Michelle, thanks for being on the program.

Number one, Roy Black says he wasn't arrested. Was he arrested? The police say that's what you could call it.

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I mean, it's -- it's not an arrest at -- at his house or place of business, but he self-surrendered, so, basically, he was, in fact, arrested, but at the police station or at the jail, where he turned himself in.

COOPER: Today's settlement -- I -- there was also this mug shot, which I guess we're also showing.

The settlement...

SUSKAUER: It doesn't...


COOPER: ... included a required medical -- sorry, go ahead. It doesn't what? It doesn't look like a mug shot?

SUSKAUER: I was just -- I was just going to say that this is the nicest mug shot I have ever seen. I mean, he's smiling.


SUSKAUER: It looks like he has a little make makeup on.

COOPER: It's the -- it's the...

SUSKAUER: Unbelievable.

COOPER: It's the -- I know. It's the Tom DeLay school of mug shot taking, I think.


COOPER: The settlement today required medical treatment and a $30,000 payment to the state of Florida.

That is -- I mean, it's got to be a win for Rush Limbaugh.

SUSKAUER: This is a major win, because this is really what Roy Black has wanted from the very beginning. He has wanted this pretrial diversionary program, because, basically, it's just 18 months. He has to jump through a couple of hoops. And then the state officially dismisses the charges. So, it really is a win.

But he -- I mean, he does have to admit guilt in this contract with the state, because he never actually has to admit guilt before a judge, but he does in this contract that he has to sign.

COOPER: But -- but he is saying he's not guilty. I mean, he -- they -- they say they did not doctor-shop.


COOPER: So -- so, how is he going to admit guilt?

SUSKAUER: Well -- well, but -- but he's -- what he did today was, he -- he self-surrendered, so, basically, he was arrested. And then what his lawyer did was, he just did some pro forma documents.

He waived his formal arraignment, so he doesn't have to appear in court, and he entered a formal plea of not guilty. Now, that's just standard. Everybody enters a formal plea of not guilty at arraignment or to waive arraignment. Everybody did it. Scott Peterson did it. Everyone did it.

But what he's going to do is, he's going to be admitting guilt when he is going to be doing this agreement with the state. So, that really is moot. So, he may be try trying to spin it, in that, listen, we're not guilty, but we're taking this plea because it's such a great deal.

But he is admitting guilt here. He is admitting some responsibility in doing what he did, which is falsely -- falsely obtaining these medications, overlapping prescriptions.

COOPER: There are those who will say, well, look, he -- he's getting singled out because he is famous. You know, there are also those who say he's getting special treatment. Is this normal, this kind of a deal, this kind of treatment?

SUSKAUER: I don't think this is abnormal. I think this is a pretty much a -- you know, he would either get something like this, if it was just Joe Smith, or maybe probation with no conviction.

But that's not what the state attorney's office offered in the beginning. They offered a more strict plea, probation, no conviction, for three years. And they have really fought this every step of the way. This case has gone all the way up to the Florida Supreme Court. And the state attorney's office has won every legal issue here.

So, it just seems like, you know, sort of maybe the state attorney gave in a little bit, and Rush got such a great deal. And, I mean, this case really didn't get better with time. This case definitely was sort of a defendant's dream, in , when this case has gone on year after year, like this case has, witnesses sort of fade away. Their memories get a little fuzzy. Maybe some people are not cooperative. Maybe evidence sort of disappears. So, this is...

COOPER: Mmm-hmm.

SUSKAUER: I mean, these, like -- I mean, this is really a -- a win for Rush Limbaugh, a very big win.

COOPER: Michelle Suskauer, appreciate you joining us. Thanks.



COOPER: It has been called the Great American Boycott 2006, A Day Without an Immigrant, immigrants, legal and otherwise, pushing for amnesty for illegal immigrants, not universally supported. Some worry about a backlash, but that's not expected to stop millions of people from coast to coast to pouring out into the streets.

Their story now from CNN's Thelma Gutierrez.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The great march, massive student walkouts, the national day of action.

JORGE RODRIGUEZ, PROTEST ORGANIZER: It has never been done in the history of the Mexican-Latino civil rights movement in the U.S.

GUTIERREZ: All building toward May 1, the Great American Boycott, where supporters are asked to boycott work, school, and not spend any money, to show their economic power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The boycott May 1.


GUTIERREZ: Who's behind this? We go to what's called the lion's Dean...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Concentrate on the -- on the phone banking. Concentrate on phone calls.

GUTIERREZ: ... for a behind-the-scenes look at the force driving the marches.

We're not talking about P.R. executives with big advertising budgets or high-profile national leaders. We're talking about people like Jesse Diaz, a gardener and a Ph.D. candidate, who's putting himself and his daughter through college by cleaning yards.

In six weeks, he's traveled 20 different cities to help strategize.

JESSE DIAZ, PROTEST ORGANIZER: We feel that we are in a position to keep the pressure on to gain amnesty for the 11 to 12 million undocumented folks that are here now.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Racists, go home. Racists, go home.

GUTIERREZ: It was protests against the Minutemen, self-appointed protectors of the border, that moved Diaz, a U.S. citizen, to take a stand against what he believes is racism. That's what propelled him from this to this.

DIAZ: It has brought us all together with the same interests, the interests of the community, the interests of 12 million folks, right, that are looking for our leadership.

GUTIERREZ: Using donated tickets, Diaz has traveled from Los Angeles to Chicago, New York and Washington, often with no place to stay, sleeping at people's homes and community centers.

DIAZ: It's been hard organizing it, because we don't have no money. We have very little money to -- to go across the country.

RODRIGUEZ: You know, there is a sacrifice to be made, and I think people are willing to sacrifice for justice and a humane immigration law.

GUTIERREZ: In fact, for some of the organizers who live paycheck to paycheck, that means no full income for the past six weeks. But Diaz says it's worth it.

DIAZ: We're not settling -- settling for -- for learning and reading about history. We are making it, brothers and sisters. We are making it.


GUTIERREZ: Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: Well, the demonstrations are Monday, and we will be covering them all day and into the night on -- on 360.

More from the border when we come back, as we watch the Border Patrol cover the beat. It is a dry, dusty one most of the time. These guys are on horseback. They passed us by just a short time ago -- just ahead, a voice in the debate known to millions of Latinos.

Plus, big oil and the Bush administration -- with the price of gasoline climbing, is the relationship coloring government policy? Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest."

And George Clooney.


GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: The fact that -- that a government would do this to its own people, not just starve them, but literally attack them. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He's talking, of course, about the genocide in Darfur -- what he is doing about it and how can you help, all coming up on 360, live from the border.


COOPER: And welcome back.

We are in a place called Smuggler's Gulch. The camera you're seeing right now is actually on the Mexican side of the border. It will cross over very quickly here. It's on a jib.

This is the border that you're seeing. This is the fence in -- in this area of Smuggler's Gulch. It's made out of corrugated steel. It's from the Vietnam War era, actually used as -- as landing -- landing mat. It's only about 7 feet high in this part of the border. Part of the problem, of course, is, it doesn't actually -- it's not continuous all the way here at the border.

There are actually places where it just -- the fence just ends. It just stops right here. And anyone who wanted to from Mexico could just climb just right over here and get into the United States. There are, of course, a lot of Border Patrol agents all around here, and they have got cameras and sensors. And we will show you some of what they're doing.

But they say, last year, they caught about 127,000 illegal immigrants just in this area alone. And, you know, you walk around here -- you -- you all right there?

Got a camera.

We -- you can find clothing that has just been left all around this, probably from some -- some illegals crossing over. They will lay here. And, then when it -- they will lay here at night. And, then, when -- if they get hot, they will take off the clothes, and -- and they will try to come into the United States.

And, as we said, they -- they catch about 40 a day here in this area -- no telling, of course, how many still get through.

Going to have a lot more from the battle on the border. The immigration battle, of course, and -- and the debate has -- has many different voices.

One of them is Maria Elena Salinas, who is a longtime anchor with Univision. She has also written a memoir called "I Am My Father's Daughter" -- "I Am My Father's Daughter."

We spoke to her a short time ago.


COOPER: Maria, you have said that we rarely get to hear about the human side of the immigration issue. In your opinion, who are the illegal immigrants in the United States today?

MARIA ELENA SALINAS, UNIVISION ANCHOR: Well, there's a lot of people who think that they are all Mexicans. And there's so much focus on the Mexican border. As you can see, your show is being done on the Mexican border.

However, there's so many people out there that come from Mexico, from Central America, from South America. There's over a million Europeans. There's over a million Asians. There's about a quarter- of-a-million Africans that are in this country illegally. And not all of them are here for economic reasons. Some of them are here for political reasons, for political -- for running away from political turmoil in their countries of origin, such as Venezuela and -- and Haiti.

So, unfortunately, because the focus is so much on Mexico, that leads to racial profiling.

COOPER: There's a lot of argument about the role illegal immigrants play in this country. There are those who said they place a burden on health and social programs in the U.S. You disagree. Why?

SALINAS: A lot of people think that they come here, and they drain the system, and that they -- they solicit social services.

One thing is education and emergency medical help. Another thing is welfare or any other type of social work. I think they don't, because they're afraid. I think they never apply for those types of services. Immigrants are petrified of being caught by Immigration. Even, unfortunately, some legal immigrants, who do have the right for some of these services, don't understand that they do have the right to solicit some services, and they don't because of their fear.

COOPER: There are some numbers that -- that I just want to throw out from -- from CIS. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, in 2002, households led by undocumented immigrants cost the federal government something like $26.3 billion, while they were able to pay only $16 billion in taxes.

So, I mean, do you think that -- that they are a drain on this country, or -- or is that misplaced?

SALINAS: Well, you know, it's very, very difficult to measure the exact numbers, because we don't really know who they are. We don't know who the undocumented immigrants are, so we don't exactly know what their jobs are, how much they're paying.

Now, we do know that they have to pay in sales taxes, of course. They -- they spend money in this country. They buy properties. They pay in property taxes. They pay income taxes. And, like I said, they have these uncollected funds. They're basically supporting Social Security.

Now, there's other studies that indicate that they contribute about $22 billion to the economy and that they provide between 600,000 and 700,000 consumers every year in this country. So, it's very, very hard to pinpoint the exact number.

At the end, it might balance itself off. But, definitely, one of the things that they contribute is -- is being cheap labor. They help keep the economy going by supporting industries, such as the agricultural industry, the tourism industry, and other industries, maybe the construction industry, that probably would not survive if it were not for undocumented immigrant workers.

COOPER: Maria, there's a lot more to talk to you about this. And -- and I would like to tomorrow. I know we're out of time.

I appreciate you joining us tonight, and -- and we look forward to talking to you again.

SALINAS: It's my pleasure, Anderson.


COOPER: Well, can you bet gas prices will also be part of America's weekend conversation. People are steamed. Many are hurting. Today, President Bush told big oil what to do with their profits. It didn't have teeth. Some critics say he's too buddy-buddy with big oil. Tonight, we're checking the facts and "Keeping Them Honest."

Plus, a new videotape from al Qaeda's number-two man, Ayman Al- Zawahri. He has much to say about Iraq and the insurgency. I will talk to Nic Robertson about the new terror tape -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: We're on the Mexican border, south of San Diego. We will have more of the illegal immigrant debate and illegals crossing coming up.

Also tonight, the president, is he soft on big oil? We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: This week's reports of huge profits by oil companies seem to have all of Washington looking for a microphone and a gas pump to grandstand in front of. Even tax-averse Republican senators are calling for possible attacks on oil company profits. But, today, President Bush rejected that approach.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The -- the temptation in Washington is to -- is to tax everything, and then figure -- and they -- and they spend the money, they being the people in Washington. The answer is, is for there to be strong reinvestment to make this country more secure, from an energy perspective. Listen, these oil -- oil prices are a wakeup call. We're dependent upon oil. And need to get off oil.


COOPER: Well, until we get off oil, Mr. Bush is leaving it to the Federal Trade Commission to make sure Americans are treated fairly at the pump. Critics say there's more to it, that the president, a former oil man, and others in his administration, are simply unable or unwilling to get tough on big oil.

Tonight, John King checks the facts and is "Keeping Them Honest."


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush was an oil man before he turned to politics. For Dick Cheney, the energy business came during a break from government service. Now, to say the least, those oil ties complicate the politics, as the Bush White House deals with voter anger over spiking gas prices.

SCHUMER: The bottom line is very simple. This president believes what's good for ExxonMobil is good for America.

KING: A cheap shot, the White House says, noting, Mr. Bush angered oil companies by ordering an investigation of possible price- gouging and, just Friday, pressured big oil to pump its record profits into new pipelines, refineries and developing alternative fuels.

BUSH: Listen, these oil prices are a wakeup call. We're dependent upon oil, and we need to get off oil.

KING: Energy policy has been high on the Bush domestic agenda from day one and, with it, the debate over whether industry ties are an asset or liability.

Mr. Bush's stake in Harken Energy helped him buy into the Texas Rangers 20 years ago. Mr. Cheney was the CEO of energy giant Halliburton from 1997 to 2000. Former Commerce Secretary Don Evans was a 25-year oil industry veteran. Even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has oil ties. She was on Chevron's board for 10 years -- valuable experience, the vice president said back five years ago, as he wrote the first Bush energy plan that critics said was loaded with giveaways to big oil.


RICHARD B. CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, I think it's usually to have somebody who knows something about the energy business involved in the effort. But...


KING: The lead role back then, no Cheney role in this week's focus on gas prices -- no accident, Democrats say.

STANLEY GREENBERG, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Cheney, even more than, you know, George Bush, is the guy associated with Halliburton, the energy companies, you know, the CEOs that are making -- you know, that are -- are making, you know, you know, big dollars. He's -- you know, he's part of the problem.

KING: The president and his party have benefited enormously from oil industry contributions. Of the $190 million in oil and gas money given to federal candidates in the past 15 years, 75 percent of it went to Republicans, including $4.5 million to Mr. Bush's presidential campaigns. Given that history, Republicans say Mr. Bush opens eyes when he pushes proposals the industry doesn't like.

BILL MCINTURFF, PARTNER AND CO-FOUNDER, PUBLIC OPINION STRATEGIES: Generally, in our focus groups, people say, look, Bush is an oil guy. So is Cheney. So, in some ways, when Bush does something unexpected, like saying, OK, give me the power, we will go ahead and make sure that the average car's got to get more miles per gallon, they think it's really intrigue, because they think, hey, wow.

KING: Democrats disagree and say Mr. Bush's past contributes to his current political slump with voters.

GREENBERG: In general, they don't trust them, but, specifically, for sure, they don't trust them to make the right choices when it comes to energy.

KING: It is a familiar debate, the experience they consider an asset used by their critics as a weapon.

John King, CNN, Washington.



Well, more terror talk from al Qaeda's number-two man, that is coming up.

But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we're following -- Erica.


The former head of interrogation at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has now been charged with cruelty and mistreating prisoners. Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan is the highest-ranking U.S. officer to face Army criminal charges resulting from the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Marijuana, cocaine, even heroin will no longer be illegal in Mexico, if they are carried in small amounts for personal use. The Mexican Congress passed the bill. President Vicente Fox is expected to sign it into law. Now, penalties for carrying larger amounts will, however, increase.

Scientists unable to explain at this point why 400 dolphins have washed up on the northern shores of the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. The only thing they have ruled out here is poison. The dolphins' carcasses were strewn over a 2.5-mile stretch of beach. And, in Fresno, California, a 53-year-old woman who was spanked in front of her colleagues has been awarded $500,000. You may remember this story. Janet Orlando said she was spanked in what her employer billed as a camaraderie-building exercise and sued, I believe, it was originally for $1.2 million. But there you go.


HILL: Yes.

COOPER: So, much for those camaraderie-building exercises.

HILL: Yes. No more trust falls any time soon.

COOPER: Have you ever had to do one of those things?

HILL: None that involved spanking.


COOPER: I would catch you, Erica Hill.

HILL: Thanks, Anderson. I would catch you, too, but I'm not going to spank you.


COOPER: All right. Yes, we will leave it there.

Erica, thanks.

The number-two leader in al Qaeda sends a new message of terror, 15 minutes of bold talk from Ayman Al-Zawahri, part of his message directed at Pakistan this time -- what he said and what it might mean, coming up.

Also, actor George Clooney just back from Darfur, where the crisis is getting worse -- we will talk to him about what he witnessed and what can be done to help.

Plus, this controversy:


BUSH: I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English. And they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.


COOPER: The president reacting to a new version of the national anthem. It's in Spanish and has new lyrics as well -- a look at the outrage it has set off, coming up on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: And welcome back. We are live on the U.S./Mexico border in a place called smuggler's gulch. You're seeing a wide shot of it, you get a sense of just how deep it is. The government actually plans to fill in this entire area with dirt and then build really two more secure fences in this area to prevent people from coming across. Last year they caught about 127,000 people in this sector, the San Diego sector alone. The fence here is only about seven feet high, and there are a lot of very hard-working border patrol agents here. And they have night-vision equipment. As it starts to get dark here, that's when it starts to get very active here. We'll have a lot more from this location coming up throughout this hour. And also into our next hour where we have a special on the battle over illegal immigration.

But a new videotape from Al Qaeda's number two leader has surfaced. Ayman Al Zawahiri surfaced today on Islamist Web sites. It comes on the heels of messages released by Osama bin Laden and, of course, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi this week. In this latest video, Al Zawahiri brags about the insurgency in Iraq. That is of course nothing new which he claims has broken the back of America. He also, interestingly enough, calls Pakistan's president a traitor and he aims a lot of his message at Pakistanis. I talked to CNN's Nic Robertson a short time ago about the significance of the tape.


COOPER: Nic, what do you make of the tape from the third of the big three Al Qaeda terrorists?

NIC ROBERTSON, SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's surprising that we've had three in one week. The occurrence here seems to be around the third anniversary of the defeat of Saddam Hussein in the U.S. occupation in Iraq. That's why Zawahiri says that he's released this particular tape. We hear him talk about how the United States has been defeated, that its backbone has been broken in Iraq by over 800 suicide missions. But the vast majority of this new videotape by Ayman Al Zawahiri really focuses on Pakistan, telling the people of Pakistan to fight against -- to unite as Muslims and fight against the crusaders. It's against President Musharraf in Pakistan, and it's really calling on the army there as well to turn against President Pervez Musharraf, the United States' big ally in terror in that region.

COOPER: How does this tape, the Al Zawahiri tape compare to bin Laden's last tape?

ROBERTSON: I think there are some comparisons here inasmuch as Zawahiri and bin Laden both talk about how the United States is losing in Iraq, whereas bin Laden tends to speak more about different issues around the world. He had threats for the people of the United States. He talked about Hamas. Zawahiri, on the other hand, has a little bit of a speech about what's happening in Iraq. 80 percent of it, the vast majority, devoted to Pakistan, devoted, it seems, to destabilizing Pakistan.

COOPER: Of all these three tapes, which do you think is the most important, the most worrisome, perhaps? ROBERTSON: I think the most worrisome has to be the Abu Musab Al Zarqawi tape. Why? He's the man with his gun in his hand. He's the player in all of this. Bin Laden and Zawahiri really just spectators, commentating on what's going on in Iraq, what's going on around the world. Zarqawi has the gun in his hand. He is the one who's still out there killing people. He is the one who's motivating Iraqis to kill Americans every day. So I think you have to look at him and his message perhaps as the most troubling this week, Anderson.

COOPER: Nic Robertson, thanks for your expertise.

Troubling indeed. It is a catastrophe of almost unimaginable proportions. The U.N. says it's the world's worst humanitarian crisis, the crisis in Darfur, the first genocide of the 21st century. We'll look at what's being done to stop it. And actor George Clooney and his father, Nick, bring us the latest from the camps where millions are suffering. They have recently just gotten back when "360" continues live from the border with Mexico.


COOPER: Pressure is growing on the government of Sudan to do something about the conflict in the Darfur region. President Bush says it is genocide. He said today that the Sudanese government should let 20,000 international peacekeepers in and five democratic members of congress were arrested after protesting outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington today. Mass rallies are planned around the country this weekend. Meanwhile, the situation in Darfur is growing worse. Here's CNN's Jeff Koinange's "Dispatches from the Edge."


JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Darfur, a dry, desolate swath of land, the western part of Sudan, about the size of Texas. A land where tens of thousands of black Africans have been systematically slaughtered by an Arab militia known as the Janjaweed that the United Nations says is sponsored by the Sudanese government itself. Where tens of thousands of women like Miriam Ibrahim have been raped and mutilated, and millions more forced to flee their homes.

It's in camps like this that the poorest of the poor find refuge. But only for a short while as the few eight agencies still able to operate here are constantly being attacked by the Janjaweed. Death, disease, and despair, it's genocide in the 21st century.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the biggest humanitarian drama of our time. 3 million lives are at stake. 3 million people need food every day.

KOINANGE: Food and water and shelter. But most of all, security. There are only 7,000 mostly African peacekeepers on the ground. One for every 4,000 refugees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to have resources if we are to avoid massive loss of life. We hope that all those watching can give money to the United Nations or to the nongovernmental organizations or to the Red Cross. I don't care. As long as the money goes to the people in Darfur.

KOINANGE: The U.N.'s top humanitarian may as well be speaking a foreign language. A handful of countries have contributed more than $100 million in aid this year. But the U.N. says it would need five times that amount to prevent millions of people from becoming extinct in plain sight. Jeff Koinange, CNN, London.


COOPER: Actor and director George Clooney knows firsthand just how desperate the situation in Darfur is. He just got back from a trip there with his father, journalist Nick Clooney. I spoke to them both earlier.


COOPER: So George, what surprised you most when you actually got on the ground and saw this horror with your own eyes?

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: The cruelty that happens. The fact that a government would do this to its own people. Not just starve them, but literally attack them and allow them to be raped and killed. That was the thing that I will take away forever with.

COOPER: And I mean, you talked to people, George. The stories that you read about of -- it's not just men being killed in a war, this is women being gang raped, disemboweled, children being thrown into fires. What sort of things did you hear talking to people?

GEORGE CLOONEY: When we got up north, we sat down with women who talked about the idea that they had to make the decision of who would go -- who would leave the camps because the Janjaweed is patrolling outside the camps. And who would go out, would you send the older woman out with the chance that she wouldn't be raped. You couldn't send a man out because he'd be killed. So your option was rape or murder.

COOPER: Nick, you've been a journalist a long time. You've obviously done research on this. Nevertheless, I'm sure when you're on the ground, it's a completely different thing. What jumped out at you? What stays with you the most?

NICK CLOONEY, JOURNALIST: They're so alone. They have nothing going for them you know? All of us have options. Some of us think we don't, but we really do have places to go if we have to. They have nothing. They have no power. They have no government. Their land's gone.

COOPER: And George, when you see -- I mean, all those children, there's all these videos that we've seen of you, you know talking with kids and kind of laughing with the kids in Africa. You're always surrounded, no matter where you go, by children who are sort of curious and scared and kind of think you're funny looking. What was that like, though, to see all these kids and yet to know, as your dad said, I mean, they can't even think a year from now because who knows where they're going to be, or if they're going to be alive.

GEORGE CLOONEY: Well, that's -- we expected to see that. You know, I must say. But I'll tell you, it's really sort of shocking to see a kid with his arm missing because somebody cut it off. It's sort of -- I can't explain that feeling. You get really angry.

COOPER: It's a complex problem. There's no real easy quick fix. What do they hope is going to happen?

NICK CLOONEY: Yes, it is a complex problem, you're absolutely right, but they're looking for simple answers. The simple answer is that they want protection. They just want to be able to go out, as George described, and get the firewood, do the homely tasks that make life move forward another day.

COOPER: Once you have seen this and you come back, what do you do? How does it change you? How do you take what you've seen and move forward with it?

GEORGE CLOONEY: There's personal things that we can do. You know, we sort of adopted a town that we were in because they need things like plastic. The rainy season's coming and they have no shelter at all, they have trees they sit under. And they're going to die. They're going to die from disease, and they're going to die from a lot of rain. And they need a well. Just things like that. You know, there's some wealthy people out there that could call up the IRC or a couple of places and adopt a town if they wanted to, to help them out as well. In general, it's to try and stay involved. We have to just not let this go.

COOPER: A final question, which is just how great was it to be able to travel with your dad?

GEORGE CLOONEY: I don't like traveling with my dad.

NICK CLOONEY: Did you think he was my son? Oh, I'm sorry. I knew there was some error in this.

GEORGE CLOONEY: I was adopted.

COOPER: George and Nick, it's good talking to you. Thank you so much.


COOPER: Big demonstrations this weekend on the situation in Sudan across the country. It is just out today, and it's already a cultural clash point... the Spanish version of the national anthem. We'll give you both sides. Then our raw data may change how you feel about it when "360" continues.


It's the American dream. [MUSIC]



COOPER: Well, that's the new version -- well, the Spanish version of the national anthem. Lyrics slightly modified, released today by a Latin-oriented record label in time to support immigrant rights. Now in some circles it's already drawing condemnation. There is an irony we're going to tell you about in a moment. But first, with the controversy, CNN's John Zarrella.


[MUSIC] O say does that spar spangled banner yet wave

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Does it make a difference whether the national anthem is sung in English -- [MUSIC]

ZARRELLA: -- Or in Spanish? With different lyrics like "in fierce combat the sign of victory." Struggle a blazing at the sight of liberty. It appears to be making a big difference. The notion of a Spanish version is raising so much controversy, even the president weighed in.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, a cultural question for you. There is a version of the national anthem in Spanish now. Do you believe it will hold the same value if sung in Spanish as in English?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't. I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English. And I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.

ZARRELLA: The song called Nuestro Himno, or "Our Anthem" features Latin pop artists and a Haitian American star Wyclef Jean. Its release is timed to coincide with congress return to Washington and a renewal of the debate over immigration reform. Adam Kidrin, president of the company that handled the project says it's definitely meant to send a message.

ADAM KIDRIN, PRESIDENT, URBAN BOX OFFICE: We're trying to give the undocumented immigrants a real expression of patriotism.

ZARRELLA: It's not only sent a message, it's hit a nerve.

NEAL BOORTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What do you think about this new Spanish-language national anthem?

ZARRELLA: Neal Boortz, a conservative radio talk show host is outraged.

BOORTZ: They've already published magazine articles in Mexico saying Los Angeles is ours now our national anthem is theirs also?

ZARRELLA: In New York, the epitome of this nation's melting-pot culture, there was, as you might expect, a mix of opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's great. Okay. Where can I hear it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm torn because my parents are immigrants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's about Americans though. I think, you know --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should keep it as is.

ZARRELLA: The producers say it's everybody's song. Critics say everybody should sing it in English. John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


COOPER: Well, the fact of the matter is not many people can sing it in English that's because most Americans do not know the words. Here's the raw data. According to a recent poll by Harris Interactive, 61 percent of Americans say they don't remember the lyrics to the national anthem. Of those who said they knew it, only 39 percent knew the line that followed "Whose broad stripes and bright stars." Those who say people knew the anthem way back when, we dug up a Gallup poll and back then, just about the same amount of people say they didn't know the words, 63 percent. By the way, those words are "through the perilous fight." Fight, not night, fight.

Amazing how much passion there is for a song most people can't sing and few people fully know. But over the years, even professional performers have discovered when it comes to this tune, don't toy with tradition.


CAROLINE MARCIL, SINGER: [SINGING] O say can you see by the dawn's early light was the twilight's -- sorry.

NATALIE GILBERT, SINGER: What so proudly we hailed at the star's last -- stars --

MUSIQ SOULCHILD, SINGER: Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight o'er the ramparts we watched as the --

CARL LEWIS, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Were so gallantly streaming. And the rockets' red glare -- uh-oh. Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. I'll make up for it now.

MARVIN GAYE, SINGER: Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave --

ROSEANNE BARR, COMEDIAN/ACTRESS: O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Yikes! Roseanne Barr, yikes. The shot of the day coming up, the new video that caught our eye we'll have that in a moment. But first, Erica Hill from "Headline News" joins us with some of the business stories we're following, Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: My ears still hurt. How'd I know you were going to end on that one? All right, business news it is. Microsoft shares taking a hit today, sliding more than 11 percent after the world's largest software maker said it needs to boost its investment. Sounds potentially risky. Analysts say the move may help the company in the long term but that it could hurt upcoming financial results.

But as for the U.S. economy, strong rebound. The Commerce Department says gross domestic product surged at annual rate of 4.8 percent in the first quarter. That's the strongest showing in 2-1/2 years.

And gold futures have surged to a new 25-year high. With June delivery up to $654 an ounce. Silver also up, almost 9 percent there, to nearly $14 an ounce, Anderson. So there you go. Buy yourself some precious metals.

COOPER: Thank you very much Erica. Good advice.

More to come from the border and across the country tonight. Special hour on illegal immigration as seen through the eyes of the people affected. The illegals trying to find the American dream and Americans paying the price. No simple answers, just compelling and important stories. Immigrant nation, a "360" special comes up next.


I was right at the bottom. (INAUDIBLE), there was about 30 of them, too.

I think in fact illegal aliens are ruining Georgia and I think they're ruining the United States of America.

Green card?

How many people just from this little part of the town have gone to the United States?

TRANSLATOR: Her husband, the son of the lady that lives over there, three sons of one of the ladies that lives in the houses over there. Her husband, the son of the lady that lives over there with his wife and child.

I'm afraid that America could become a third-world country.

TRANSLATOR: I don't think the government cares much about our legal situation because we are serving this country.

As long as they're doing right by us, they've got a job.

I didn't let them in here. They want to work, I got work.

This is my country! You are criminals!


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ten years ago when I first came to Georgia, I asked people if there was a Latino neighborhood or barrio. I got a lot of strange looks. Now I'm here in the heart of just one of the many Latino barrios in Georgia. I can get some of the best tacos outside of Mexico right here 24 hours a day. The home of Martin Luther King, the state that gave us the civil rights movement, is now home to half a million Latinos.