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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Polygamy Sect: Sinister Group?; Inside Secrets; Most Wanted; Immigration Backlash; Beck on Immigration; Danger in Darfur; New White House Lows; CIA Showdown; A Boy Named Lou;

Aired May 08, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): ...isolation of this community along the Utah-Arizona border. What's harder to grasp is the total domination that one man, Warren Jeffs, has over the 10,000 people who live here. They're part of a Mormon sect of polygamists who call themselves the FLDS, the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. They call Warren Jeffs the prophet. The mainstream Mormon church banned polygamy in 1890 and doesn't associate with this sect.

This is one of the few photographs of Warren Jeffs, a seemingly ordinary man, but one with extraordinary power.

DR. DAN FISCHER, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: If there were a Taliban of America, I would say this is it.

COOPER: Warren Jeffs hasn't been seen in more than a year. The FBI has been searching for him since June on charges of fleeing prosecution in Arizona, for arranging marriages involving underage girls. In the FLDS, reality is filtered through Warren Jeffs.

SAM ICKE, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: If the law comes in and takes over or anything happens to them, it's all a test sent from God through Warren. Everything is a test. Because they believe that the afterlife is going to tell the truth.

COOPER: Sam Icke is no longer part of the FLDS community. He was expelled by the prophet when he was 18.

ICKE: The thing that actually got me kicked out was, you know, I kissed this girl, and then she told, you know, told everybody what was going on.

I got a call from the leader, Warren Jeffs, and he told me to, you know, that -- to come and talk to him about it. I left, went home, and within the next day or so, you know, he called my dad and told him that I had to leave.

COOPER: Sam is one of several hundred young men asked to leave the community. They're called the "Lost Boys". What happened to them is to some a question of math, too many boys are competing in a polygamist world where some men have 10, 20 or even 30 wives. MARK SHURTLEFF, UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL: The bottom line is, they don't want them there competing. They're told that not only are they being kicked out of their homes and from the community, the only community they've ever known, but that they're going to burn in hell. Talk about "Lost Boys". That term is absolutely applicable. These boys think that they have no chance in this life or in the afterlife.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are extremely strict.

COOPER: Dan Fischer, a successful dentist near Salt Lake City, has created the Diversity Foundation to help the "Lost Boys" who have been banished from the FLDS in recent years. He says he has names of 400 young men.

FISCHER: Some actually expelled out, in which they're given no more than an hour or two to be out of town, pack their bags, take whatever they can carry, and be gone. And with the communication that they're not welcome back.

COOPER: But those who defend the FLDS say the lost boy issue is overblown. In a statement, Rodney Parker, an attorney who's represented the FLDS since 1990 said, quote, "The number is completely unsubstantiated as well. The label 'Lost Boys' is a characterization that I don't think most of the people it's applied to would agree with. They say, 'I chose to leave, this wasn't for me.'"

IKE: When I turned 18, I was kicked out, dumped on my head.

COOPER: Sam Icke lives under the protective wing of Dan Fischer, who actively supports about 60 "Lost Boys". Some with jobs, housing and schooling.

Fischer was once part of the FLDS and had two wives, but he divorced one and left the sect 12 years ago. He's known Jeffs for years.

FISCHER: In the last few years where this society has become apocalyptic at a fanatical level it has set the stage for crazy things to happen, and people accept it, believing that their salvation is on the line if they don't do as they're told.

COOPER: The absolute power Jeffs wields destroyed the life Paul Musser loved. He was married for 23 years and had 13 children. Jeffs told him suddenly five years ago that he was unfit to get his wife into heaven.

PAUL MUSSER, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: He just said that she needed somebody to exalt her into the celestial kingdom and that I couldn't. And I kept asking him -- I asked him at least three times if I could repent or make it right with him. He just said, well, you don't have time to repent.

COOPER: What happened next may be hard for anyone outside the sect to understand. Musser told his family goodbye the next day.

MUSSER: I just hugged and kissed all my children. Told them that I loved them very much, but that I wasn't good enough to be their father anymore, according to what the prophet said.

COOPER: Since then, Paul Musser has had a change of heart.

MUSSER: As time went on, and as I saw my family given to this one man and then he fell out of favor, and then she was given to another man. So she's been with two men besides me. And I just said to myself, this is wrong.

ISAAC WYLER, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: This is a fanatical religion. I mean, you go back and look at Mormon history and see some of the things that's been done in the name of religion. It's no different now.

COOPER: Isaac Wyler was in a group of 21 men told to leave their families by Jeffs at a routine church meeting.

WYLER: That's the kind of control that is here. So being kicked out and losing your wives and children is -- it's a big thing, but it's not like throwing your life away. To die for the prophet, to die for God, yes, that would be an honor.

COOPER: We wanted to talk to people with a positive view of their lives inside the FLDS community, but David Zitting, mayor of Hildale, Utah, and a member of the FLDS for more than 20 years, said that's not likely to happen.

"The citizens of this community have gone through many years of dealing with the media in various forms," he told us. "And what they have experienced in this has caused them to not want to make statements to the media or be interviewed by the media because it has in the past tended to be more fabricated and non-factual."

Jeff's absolute control seems linked to his followers' belief in his divine power. Wyler's daughter once asked him if Uncle Warren was Jesus Christ.

WYLER: And I says, no, what would give you that idea? And she says, well, teacher so and so -- because I don't want to give the teacher's name -- said that he's Jesus Christ, and he's returned. Jesus Christ returned. And he's going to be killed.

COOPER: In a country founded on the separation of church and state, it's hard to fathom a community where the church is the state. And hard to understand why polygamy is rarely prosecuted, even though it's a felony in Utah.

SHURTLEFF: The problem is, how do we put every single polygamist in the state in jail, and then what do we do with tens of thousands of kids? I don't have the resources to get involved in that. I want to focus on the most serious crimes being committed in the name of religion.


COOPER (on camera): Well, the shadowy world of Warren Jeffs' community is the focus of the book, "Under the Banner of Heaven." In it, Author Jon Krakauer takes readers deep inside the sect where he says he found plenty of dark secrets. I talked to Jon Krakauer earlier.


COOPER: So, in your opinion, does Warren Jeffs deserve to be on the top 10 list?

JON KRAKAUER, AUTHOR, "UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN": Yes. I think he does. And I think it's a good move.

COOPER: You've described him as evil. What, in particular, about him?

KRAKAUER: Just about everything. I mean, he -- if he were in a larger arena, he has the kind of pathology that would put him on a par with Joseph Stalin or Saddam Hussein. I mean, he's that kind of -- he has those kind of instincts. And he's done -- he's damaged thousands of lives. I mean, he's a sexual predator. He's raped and sodomized many, many children, girls, women, and he's created this culture that is damaging in its own right.

He's ripped apart families. He's ripped off the federal government for millions of dollars through welfare fraud and other means. He is a bad guy in countless ways.

COOPER: I haven't heard of many sexual predators who attack both boys and girls. He seems to have done both.

KRAKAUER: Oh, without question, yes. And the evidence is more than compelling. It's overwhelming. I mean, this whole -- this whole move to finally bring him to justice, I mean, there are a number of us who have been trying for years to get law enforcement to pay attention.

COOPER: Why do you think it's taken so long?

KRAKAUER: His people are really good at presenting this image to the world of we're just good old boys down here in southern Utah. We have a little different idea of marriage, but basically we're patriotic, law-abiding citizens -- which is utterly untrue. These people are extremely good liars.

COOPER: It's, I mean, it's almost impossible to believe that in this day and age, someone like this guy can control -- I mean thousands -- we're talking about thousands of people here, and that these people, I mean, they don't watch television, they don't listen to radios, that they can allow themselves to live under this guy's rule, in the United States. I mean, it's crazy.

KRAKAUER: It is astonishing. I mean, when I first came upon this group, I was amazed that, you know, thousands of these people are living in the modern age. You go into their town, their main town, Colorado City, and it's like the twilight zone. On the surface, it looks sort of normal. But everyone answers to the prophet. To the cops, they don't obey the laws of the state if they conflict with the laws of Warren Jeffs' decrees. They obey Warren. People don't believe it, but there's -- you know, no one really knows, but there's at least 50,000 of them in the West.

COOPER: 50,000 polygamist groups?

KRAKAUER: Most of them are quiet, they're not a danger. They just quietly exist out in their little communities. Warren Jeffs is something else.

COOPER: And Warren Jeffs basically is preaching that his group, he is the only true prophet that they are really adhering to the true laws of god?

KRAKAUER: That's right. They claim they're the true Mormon church, and Warren is one of those. And he has probably the single largest group. The FLDS group, his group, is the single largest polygamist group in the West.

COOPER: Does he really believe, I mean, his rhetoric? Is he a charlatan or does he actually believe what he's preaching?

KRAKAUER: No, he's not a charlatan. I am convinced he is a true believer. He, since birth, you know, he's been told -- he was born three months premature. He shouldn't have lived. In 1955 babies born that premature, died. He was delivered at home by his father, the prophet, Rulon Jeffs. And since his birth, he was seen as, you know, this miraculous preemie who was destined for great things.

He's made many prophecies, almost none of which have come true. Only the most banal have come true. Several times he's predicted the end of the world. And when it hasn't come to pass, he says well, to the followers, it's your fault. You weren't righteous enough. You need to work harder. And it all works in his favor, it's a no lose proposition.

COOPER: I guess he's got bodyguards, from what you've written about. Where do you think he's hiding, and how hard is it going to be for the FBI to actually get him?

KRAKAUER: Without question, he's in Texas. He recently bought 1,700 acres in west Texas in the middle of nowhere, outside a small town called El Dorado, and he's been systematically building a city there. He's built this immense temple, towering 100 feet over the scrub. And he's there. He's probably been there almost constantly since last October. He may have left occasionally. There's rumors that put him back in Colorado City, but basically he's there. And everyone knows that. The problem is how to arrest him. And without provoking some calamity that would dwarf the calamity of Waco or even Jonestown. That's the challenge.

COOPER: You think he's capable of something like that?

KRAKAUER: Oh, there's no doubt. If he is cornered, if he has no other way out, there's little doubt -- there's no doubt that he would kill himself and take as many people with him as he could before he'd submit to the law. He's never going to go to jail. He's said as much. He said he will never submit to the laws of the United States.

COOPER: And as soon as somebody decides, for whatever reason, to leave, I mean, they are not just ex-communicated, they are cut off entirely from their family members?

KRAKAUER: Right, and actually, few people decide to leave. Most people are kicked out by Warren for all kinds of reasons, largely to maintain this culture of fear. He's very good. He has this knack that the best, most famous tyrants have of using fear and intimidation. His favorite tactic is, if you're an important -- you know, if you're a male in the society and you do something that he doesn't like, he will take your many wives and many more children from you. They will be immediately married to other men. They will end up in that man's bed, and you will be cast out.

What's astonishing is since Warren took over as prophet in 2002, he's ex-communicated many dozens of high-ranking men, and we assume that some or most of these men would flip and help law enforcement, but they haven't. They still believe. They think Warren is a false prophet, some of them. Some of them still believe he's the prophet. But they still just slink away. They become what's known as eunuchs in the religion. They give up their wives, their property, their wealth, and they repent from afar and still are true believers. These people -- the power of their faith is kind of awesome to behold. It shouldn't be underestimated.

COOPER: We just saw a piece about the "Lost Boys", these young boys who were turned out by Warren Jeffs' sect. You've unofficially adopted one of these young boys. I mean, how has it been for him trying to adjust living in our world?

KRAKAUER: It's great. I mean, he came to Boulder, Colorado, which is about as far as you can get from Short Creek, Utah, pretty permissive town. There's been a lot of challenges, but it's been really good. He's done really well. He came here, you know, with a sub-eighth grade education, didn't know what a fraction was. He got his GED. He's in community college now. He's going to enroll in real college next fall. So he's doing wonderful. And many people would respond the same way if they had the opportunity to get away from this group.

COOPER: Well, as I said, it's incredible to think this is happening this day and age and these people are out here in the United States, thousands of people. You've written about it. John Krakauer, thanks for joining us.

KRAKAUER: My pleasure.


COOPER: Well, as we said, Warren Jeffs is now on the FBI's 10 most wanted list. But he has been on the radar for some time.

Joining me now is Tim Fuhrman, special agent in charge at the FBI, Salt Lake City Division.

Thanks for being wit us, Tim.


COOPER: There are a lot of bad people on this list. I mean, Osama bin Laden. What are the charges against Jeffs that put him on par with some of the worst of the worst?

FUHRMAN: Well, clearly in this case, he has been charged with two pretty heinous crimes in both Arizona and Utah. Rape as an accomplice in Utah and sexual conduct with a child and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a child in both states. And the FBI's involvement has come by the state authorities in both Houston -- or I'm sorry, Utah and Arizona, asking us to assist them in apprehending him.

COOPER: There have been reports about the FLDS community and Jeffs really for years. Why now put him on this list?

FUHRMAN: Well, I think one of the things with respect to the charges that have been filed against him, we have to give a lot of credit to the victims in this case for having the courage to come forward. The state and local authorities have asked the FBI to come forward and assist them in apprehending him. We submitted the information back to Washington. We wanted to give the nation -- the nationwide and international publicity to our search for him and the attempt to apprehend him.

And at this particular time, we had a vacancy on the top 10 list, and it was reviewed back in Washington, and we've decided to put him on the top 10 list.

COOPER: I guess he's not like a fugitive in that, you know, he could be off in Europe somewhere. Most people seem to think -- John Krakauer's said he's definitely in Texas. Do you think that's true? Do you know where he is?

FUHRMAN: Well, if we knew where he was, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion. He is a little unlike most fugitives in that he seems to have some financial support which enables him to evade us. Most fugitives are not going to have that type of support, and they have to come out and sometimes commit criminal activity which could get them apprehended.

But I can't say that he's in Texas. I understand Mr. Krakauer has indicated that. But if we knew where he was, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation.

COOPER: So, if you knew where he was, you would go in after him? I mean, obviously, you know, Krakauer mentioned Waco. Obviously, there's a lot, you know, there are a lot of people involved. There's the potential for, you know, a nightmare scenario. How much is that on your minds in how you proceed?

FUHRMAN: Well, clearly we're treating him like any other armed and dangerous fugitive. He himself may not be armed, but we do have information that indicates he travels with armed bodyguards. We would take the appropriate action, whatever is necessary, to protect not only the individuals trying to apprehend him in law enforcement, but even Mr. Jeffs himself. We would like to have a peaceful resolution to this matter.

COOPER: Tim Fuhrman with the FBI, appreciate you joining us. Thanks.

FUHRMAN: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Warren Jeffs now finds himself in the company of some infamous people. Here's the raw data. Along with Jeffs, the FBI's 10 most wanted list of fugitives include Boston Mobster James "Whitey" Bulger; Glen Stewart Godwin, a convicted killer who escaped from prison. There's also Richard Steve Goldberg, an accused pedophile; and, of course, Osama bin Laden. Quite some company.

Last week illegal immigrants marched in cities across the country. You all know that. Now new poll numbers are out, and they suggest their protests may have backfired. And Americans apparently do have a softer side when it comes to the immigrants themselves. We'll have the details and the numbers.

Plus, there is nothing soft about an Air Force general, especially when the president wants him to be head of the CIA. We'll look at Michael Hayden. Who exactly is this guy? And the congressional fight he might face.

And take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drive! Drive! Drive! Go! Drive! Quickly!


One of CNN's own, Nic Robertson finds himself in the midst of angry mob in western Sudan. We'll have the terrifying video and the story behind it next on 360.


COOPER: Hard on the heels literally of hundreds of thousands of marchers, new polling tonight asking Americans what they think of illegal immigration. Turns out they're against it, they're opposed to illegal immigration, but not the immigrants themselves. The numbers also revealed this, the marches may actually have hurt the cause.

As CNN's Bill Schneider explains.


BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Recent immigration protests have created a backlash. Last month, 70 percent of the public said they felt sympathy for illegal immigrants and their families. Now 57 percent do, a 13-point drop. Even so, most Americans continue to regard illegal immigrants sympathetically. In fact, the public's attitude toward illegal immigration is a mixture of sympathy and toughness.

When the issue is border security, Americans want to get tough. Two-thirds favor a bill that would increase border security with Mexico and make it harder for illegal immigrants to find jobs. Bottom line? Keep them out.

But what about those who are already here? In that case, sympathy takes over, especially for those who have been here a while. Eighty-one percent of Americans favor a bill that would allow illegal immigrants who have been in the U.S. for more than five years to stay and apply for citizenship if they have a job and pay back taxes.

Does the public support amnesty? We asked half of those polled a slightly different question. What about giving amnesty to illegal immigrants under the same conditions? Seventy-two percent say yes. Call it amnesty and support does go down a bit, but it's still very strong.

Maybe the public agrees with Arlen Specter and other senators, that earned citizenship is not the same as amnesty.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: It is not amnesty because the undocumented aliens will have to pay a fine. They will have to pay back taxes. They will undergo a thorough background investigation. They will have to learn English. They will have to work for six years.

SCHNEIDER: The public's view of illegal immigration seems to be, if they have been here for a while and are now hard working and law abiding, let them stay. But for God's sake, don't let any more in.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, as nationally syndicated Radio Talk Show Host Glenn Beck hears from thousands of Americans daily, and he's hearing a lot on the subject of legal immigration. He's also the host of his own program, debuted tonight at 7:00 p.m., Eastern, on "CNN HEADLINE NEWS." We spoke earlier tonight.


COOPER: Does it surprise you that sympathy for illegal immigrants would drop?

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOWS: No, because, I mean, I think for too long people were ignoring the word "illegal." I mean, the whole argument was framed seemingly to give -- have you give sympathy to immigrants. Nobody was ever against immigrants, as I saw it. I mean, immigrants built this country.

Seal the border, make the wall stronger, but open the door wider, you know? There are people who are standing in line to get in here. And it's a nightmare to get in.

COOPER: Yes, it's very, very difficult just to legally get in. But on the one hand, people from this poll are saying that sympathy has dropped for them, the more they've seen these demonstrations. And yet, the number of people, the percentage of Americans who want some form of citizenship or amnesty program for illegals seems very high.

BECK: Because -- well, I don't agree with the amnesty part, but I have no problem with immigrants coming in, you know? I don't understand the argument here for coming in and breaking the law. You know, part of the deal is, I mean, how can you not have sympathy for somebody who's coming across the border because they're just trying to feed their family, you know? So you can relate to that on a human level.

But then when you see people come in here, then I think the rest of us all kind of look at it and say, well, wait a minute, they're in these social programs that we have, we're educating, et cetera, et cetera. The many don't want to even speak English. You know, the melting pot theory that I grew up, being taught by my parents, has kind of dissipated.

COOPER: So you think that more people have seen demonstrations where there are Mexican flags and people...

BECK: The more they think that they're just trying to bring Mexico into the United States. Well, I mean, you want Mexico, live in Mexico. We're the United States. And you can bring pieces of that and make us stronger, but, I mean, if Mexico was so great, why are you trying to leave?

COOPER: And yet, I mean, it does seem some sort of a contradiction if people say tighten the borders in these polls, tighten the borders. They're dropping the sympathy for them, and yet 81 percent or depending on how you ask the question, 72 percent favor some form of citizenship.

BECK: It's not the person who is trying to feed their family that's coming across the border that hacks me off. It's our government and the companies that are abusing these people. I mean, how is it people can actually say, oh, we're -- you know, we're doing right by these immigrants coming in here illegally.

Are you kidding me? The jobs that Americans don't want are the ones where you're working in places where OSHA would shut you down. You know, you're picking strawberries for $2 an hour, and they're working you 18 hours a day. Well, no, I don't want that job. I don't think we should give that job to Mexicans either. You know? We should pay the price for strawberries. If that is a little bit more, then it's a little more, but let's treat people right.


COOPER: Well, yet another take on immigration coming up. Safe to say you'd never see this one coming, kind of a tribute to a certain other CNN personality. We'll give you a hint. Think lots and lots of Mexican babies named Lou. Details on that just ahead.

More and more Americans are disapproving of how the president is doing his job. We'll have details of the new poll and why it may have Mr. Bush singing the oval office blues.

Also danger in Darfur. CNN's Nic Robertson is right in the middle of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut the door! Shut the door! Shut to door!


COOPER: Angry mobs in the troubled region attack CNN reporter and his crew. We'll have an exclusive report on their narrow escape, ahead on 360.


In tonight's "Dispatches from the Edge," inside the heightened danger in Darfur. One day before the U.N. security council is scheduled to meet to discuss peace for western Sudan, refugee violence reached a new fever pitch.

In this exclusive video we're about to show you, CNN's Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson finds himself at a refugee camp. What had been a peaceful crowd, begins turning into an angry mob. A misunderstanding, apparently, about a translator in the vehicle with Nic. All of it caught on the cell phone camera.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What's happening? Shut the door! Shut the door! Go! Go! Go! Drive! Drive!


ROBERTSON: drive! Drive! Drive! You have to drive! Drive! Quickly! Drive! Drive! Quickly! Shut the door. Shut the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't -- I can't get to the door.

ROBERTSON: Keep driving! Keep driving! Keep driving!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happening?

ROBERTSON: I don't know. Are you OK?

Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go. I don't really know what's happening, but I think (inaudible).


COOPER: Nic Robertson joins us now. Nic, I mean, unbelievable video. Did you have any inkling this was about to happen?

ROBERTSON: Absolutely none whatsoever, Anderson. It came completely out of the blue. It really shows you just how quickly the situation like that can change, and all because tensions have been rising in this camp.

COOPER: You were there with Jan Egeland from the U.N. What was the idea of the trip and why did it turn so bad?

ROBERTSON: You know, this is a camp where the people have been 90,000 people for a couple of years, it was one of the sort of most underfed, malnourished camps. The U.N.'s got its food delivery going. The Sudanese government has recently removed an international aid organization from running the camp. That has sort of brought a lot of fragility, increased tensions in the camp.

Jan Egeland wanted the U.N. to take control, the international community to take control of that camp again. The government doesn't want the rebels to control it. The people in the camp have support for one of the rebel groups, a group that hasn't signed the peace deal.

So there's all sorts of tribal, political, young and old tensions in that camp, and they've all been escalating. And the peace deal just pushed it right over the limit --Anderson.

COOPER: Now, I had heard that someone else was killed later on. Is that at the same camp?

ROBERTSON: Absolutely. African union peacekeepers who are assigned to providing security in these camps, their base at that camp was overrun a couple of hours later. It seems very likely by the same mob. After blood, they overran that camp, destroyed vehicles, removed communications equipment stole files, African union peacekeeper files, and then chased down an African union, a Sudanese translator, and we are told, quite literally hacked him to death -- Anderson.

COOPER: What happens to this camp now? I mean, the U.N. wants to send in peacekeepers to Sudan. The Sudanese government is saying no. Killing someone who works for the U.N. is not a good step in that direction.

ROBERTSON: I asked Jan Egeland this. He told me we need this additional security yesterday. He said it's -- we don't -- it's not going to help to wait perhaps months and months and months for the U.N. force to arrive. I said to him, well, look, why should anyone send people here? They can see what can happen.

Right now the African union peacekeepers are out. Some of the nongovernmental aid agencies have left that camp. It's too dangerous. There's a fragile process now to rebuild trust between the government, between the people in the camp, between the NGOs, the non-governmental organizations, the African union peacekeepers, to get them al back in and working at the camp. But the interesting thing is here, earlier in the day, at that camp, the people had been demonstrating, shouting for the USA, for the United States to bring troops in, for international troops to come in. They want to be protected from the Sudanese government, they say. They want international troops, they say. They've lost faith in the African union peacekeepers.

So perhaps there is a way that this can work, but everyone needs to be, it appears right now, talked down from a very high level of tension in this camp specifically -- Anderson.

COOPER: An unbelievable video that you were able to roll on that in the midst of all that. Nic Robertson, Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Coming up, a new poll tonight and a big new thumbs down for the president. We'll crunch the numbers and tell you why America is bearish right now on President Bush.

Plus, you may be aware that CNN's own Lou Dobbs has a thing or two to say about illegal immigrants. Now his opponents are taking him on in a very unusual challenge -- about naming a baby.

And it was succeed, or die trying or get another television series. We'll see if Magician and Dare Devil David Blaine broke the world record for holding held his breath underwater. What happened to him afterwards.

Across America and around the world, you're watching 360.


COOPER: As if the president didn't have enough on his plate, he's got another batch of poll numbers even lower than the last. Even though he says he doesn't govern by the poll numbers, they clearly show what a tough time he'll have governing in any case from here on out.

A busy night for CNN's Bill Schneider.


SCHNEIDER: The latest Bush approval numbers? Thirty-four percent in the CNN poll; 31 percent in the Gallup-"USA Today" poll. Those ratings are statistically compatible since each poll has a 3 percent margin of error. Thirty-one percent is the lowest rating ever recorded for this president.

What's the biggest beef with Bush? You might guess, gas prices, gas prices, gas prices.

But most people who disapprove of the president's performance say the reason is Iraq, Iraq, Iraq -- 56 percent; 13 percent say it's gas prices. Other issues, 26.

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: The sooner we get out of Iraq and allow the Iraqis to solve their own problems, the better.

SCHNEIDER: Certainly, the better for Republicans like Representative Paul, who have to face the voters this November.

Americans no longer buy the main argument for going to war in Iraq, that it would make the U.S. safer from terrorism.

Just after the war ended in 2003, 58 percent of Americans felt safer. A year later, the number was at 50 percent. Now, just one- third of Americans believe the war in Iraq has made the U.S. safer. Most people now say Iraq has made the U.S. less safe.

Sure, gas prices are causing financial hardship. Nearly two- thirds say so. Although that number is down slightly from where it was two weeks ago.

SEN CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: Everyone in Congress is looking for a solution or for someone to blame.

SCHNEIDER: Ask a business executive why gas prices went up, and you'll hear supply and demand. The public doesn't buy it.

Look how fast prices went up. Supply and demand held, the public says. We think somebody's up to no good. By 61 to 26 percent. And 70 percent say President Bush could do something about gas prices. After all, going after evildoers is supposed to be his thing.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, sounds like a rough time for the rest of the Bush administration, not to mention a challenge for the GOP in mid-term elections this fall.

The question tonight, can the party or the White House turn things around? I talked about it earlier with former Presidential Adviser David Gergen.



COOPER: Let's talk about these numbers. First of all, that so many Americans believe that there's something shady going on with these gas prices and that there's 70 percent say that the president could do something about it, does not bode well for him.

GERGEN: It does not, unless he takes bold action, and he's not done that so far. It's mostly been small stuff. There's an awful lot of blame attached in these polls to oil companies. And George W. Bush, as a former oil man, with a vice president as a former oil man, is clearly attached to those oil companies and a public identification.

And people believe that there's been a lot of price gouging, even though there's not a whole lot of evidence to support that. Because it mostly seems supply and demand. But believe that and they want the president to do something, and he hasn't done very much.

The other thing, Anderson, that's interesting about this poll, you know, we've been talking the last couple of weeks about personnel changes in the White House, and whether that would, in effect, give the president a fresh, you know, fresh life in the polls.

Well, when asked about the new Press Secretary Tony Snow, even though he's a very good man, only 15 percent say that this is likely to bring any real change at the Bush White House. Some 70 percent, no real change represented by a change of faces. Change of faces alone, not enough.

COOPER: When you talk about similar policies, it's interesting, the "New York Times" writes today that Karl Rove's playbook for these upcoming elections, their playbook is drawn straight from the one that worked for him in 2004. That's a quote from the "Times". Basically fire up conservatives and make the election not just about the president's performance but about Karl Rove's definition of the Democratic party. Is that going to work?

GERGEN: Well, I'm not sure it'll work, but there ain't nothing else working, Anderson. So you understand that you know, what you do in politics frequently is you go with your substance and see if that works, your positive story. And If that doesn't work very well, then you go out and demonize your opponents.

And in this case, what they've been worried about for some time is that conservatives which stay home, just as Democrats stayed home back in 1994, which is when Newt Gingrich and company won the House of Representatives for the Republicans. This time they're worried that conservatives -- and we see in the polls that conservative support for the president is drooping. It's still around 50 percent, but that's down from astronomic levels.

COOPER: It's interesting, though, because Democrats seem to be trying to fire up their base. And I'm wondering if it's going to backfire. You have Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi telling the "Washington Post" that if Democrats regained the House, they'd launch investigations into energy prices and the war.

When people started hearing about investigating the president, I mean, does that just fire up the Democrats or does that play into the Republicans' hands?

GERGEN: Terrific question. When I read that story over the weekend, I thought, you know, this is going to wave a red flag in front of the Republican bulls. They're going to look at this and say, we're not going to spend the next two years with investigations led by Ron Dunhams (ph) and others, and people who want to impeach the president, we're just not going to get into that. Irony here is that you know, for many people with who have a distaste for the whole impeachment proceeding against Bill Clinton, the idea of impeachment proceedings or in all sorts of investigations may be a real turnoff for the public. I thought that that was not a smart move by the Democrats to suggest that's what the future would hold if they get elected.

COOPER: As you keep saying over the weeks, it's all about leadership, and whether that leadership...

GERGEN: It is.

COOPER: ...comes from the president or somewhere else.

GERGEN: I truly agree.

COOPER: Launching investigations, I'm not sure that's the leadership people are looking for.

GERGEN: I don't think it is. I don't think it is, Anderson. I think they ought to come up with more substantive -- they ought to come up with an energy plan of their own, on the Democratic side if they really want people to get excited.


COOPER: Well, you might say a political showdown is brewing over President Bush's pick to head the nation's biggest spy agency. It probably won't be over his qualifications, since Air Force General Michael Hayden is no stranger to spying.

CNN's Candy Crowley takes a look.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president is circling the drain in the polls. Numbers for the Republican-led Congress are worse. An election is six months away. Into this collision of calendar and political fortune, the president throws General Michael Hayden, nominated to head the CIA.

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: This program that he runs that the president authorized disregards the law that was passed by the Congress, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. What kind of a message is it if we simply confirm him without him backing off on that?

CROWLEY: We are looking at weeks of renewed debate about warrantless wiretapping, a high-stakes throw down between the White House and Congress. Can you say, bring it on?

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: The fact that we had a very aggressive program, try to keep up with what these people were doing, yes, I think this could be -- wind up being a winner and instead of a loser like some people might suspect.

CROWLEY: The administration is happy, in fact, eager to have this fight over a program one top official says has been miscast as domestic spying. The White House thinks Americans will support warrantless wiretaps when it's properly explained; and Hayden, who developed and ran the program as head of the National Security Agency, has been properly explaining for months.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, CIA DIRECTOR NOMINEE: We are going after very specific communications that our professional judgment tells us we have reason to believe are those associated with people who want to kill Americans. That's what we're doing.

CROWLEY: If the nomination reignites the debate over which party can best protect the nation, Republicans are betting on the guy who will show up at hearings wearing four stars on his shoulder.

TORIE CLARKE, CNN ANALYST: The debate about the eavesdropping program is one of the easiest ways to make some Democrats look weak on national security, which is their Achilles heel.

CROWLEY: As it happens, that's exactly how the president's political adviser saw things when he teed up the elections last January.

KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: The United States faces a ruthless enemy. And we need a commander in chief and a Congress who understand the nature of the threat and the gravity of the moment America finds itself in.

CROWLEY: The truth is, some Republicans have been highly critical of the eavesdropping program, and the nomination of General Hayden is not enough to change an election landscape. But it might produce a couple of good days for the White House, and that would be a start.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, as many of you know, CNN's Lou Dobbs has embraced the illegal immigrant issue with, well, you might say great passion. Now his opponents are targeting him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 500 bucks for the first undocumented immigrant that brings us a piping fresh baby right out the oven...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...named Lou Dobbs.


COOPER: Looks like Lou has offended the wrong D.J. There you go.

And you know David Blaine, the guy who's famous for publicity stunts? All right. We bought it. But only after he said he was going to hold his breath until we did. When 360 continues, we'll tell you the results.


COOPER: Well, search the web for the most popular names for baby boys, and trust us, Lou is not exactly on the top 10. In fact, according to the U.S. government, it ranks about 302nd. Despite that, the immigration battle is now so intense, that a radio station is encouraging mothers to give their babies the name Lou, just to make a point about a certain CNN anchor.

CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Having a baby? Well, if you're an illegal alien, this may sound alienating to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Name your baby Lou Dobbs challenge.

MOOS: CNN's very own Lou Dobbs is a lightning rod for immigration controversy.


MOOS: Sorry, Lou. And now, a Latino radio show in Los Angeles is inviting illegal immigrants to name their baby after Lou.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 500 bucks to the first undocumented immigrant that brings us a piping fresh baby right out the oven...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...named Lou Dobbs.

MOOS: 500 bucks in baby products. It sounds counterintuitive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you be my Papi?

MOOS: An illegal immigrant naming their kid after a guy so against illegal immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is about the American dream, this is about the aspirations of being Americans.

DOBB: No, this is -- no, the American dream -- the American dream is being ripped out of the hands of millions of U.S. citizens today.

MOOS: The D.J.s on the "Pocho Hour of Power" tend to Lou as...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the puffy pundit.

MOOS: And now they're trying to take Lou's name in vain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure people have named their children for famous American bigots, but...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like John Wayne, Archie Bunker. MOOS: We're sure Lou would have some choice words about being lumped in with bigots, but Lou wouldn't comment on this story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it's a girl, can we call her...



MOOS: Now, Lou has plenty of fans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you to Lou Dobbs. We love you, Lou.

MOOS: The other day some gathered in front of Time Warner headquarters. Lou Dobbs, you're the man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love Lou Dobbs. He tells it like it is. He tells the truth. If I have a dog, I'm going to name his Dobbs. But a child, maybe Lou? Louis? That's OK.

MOOS (on camera): Let's just name the dog Lou Dobbs?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I have respect for him.

MOOS (voice-over): The radio show has already registered baby Lou Dobbs on the Babies 'R' Us registry, where you can choose a bib and burp set or maybe a booster seat for a kid whose name sake occupies an anchor chair. And though no one's come forward yet...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that there is an immigrant out there -- there are many immigrants out there who would willingly and lovingly name their baby Lou Dobbs.

MOOS: Why quibble about broken borders when your water's breaking?

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


COOPER: We'll take a look at what you've been posting on the 360 blog. "On the Radar" is up next.

Plus, stuntman David Blaine finally comes up for air after being underwater for a week. We'll tell you if he broke a world record when "360" continues.


COOPER: Well, for the past week, Magician and Dare Devil and Dreamer David Blaine has been living in a human aquarium outside New York's Lincoln Center. He was scheduled to merge tonight in a televised two-hour special, but really, who has time for all that?

We have everything you need in under a minute. Prepare to be shocked and/or amazed and/or, well, I don't even really know what. That's fine, too.

So there he is, David Blaine, he's in the bubble, he's holding his breath. Right? He's supposed to hold it for, I think, nine minutes. That was a finale. He's chained, he's handcuffed, his air supply has been cut off. He's hoped to break the current world record by two seconds. Nine minutes was his goal, which would have allowed him time to also make his great escape.

All this, by the way, shot by our own Video genius Thomas Evans, who went over there, because that was the only shot we could get.

All right, so it started out OK. Blaine was in the fishbowl. People are yelling. He's sort of in his trancelike state. See those two people in like the silver costumes above? They're his rescue team. Then an air bubble goes up. They sense some trouble and they go in and they rescue him. And they're the nymphs, the water nymphs. And he fights them back and he pushes them, but no, he allows to surface and he breathes, and the crowd goes wild.

He held his breath for seven minutes and eight seconds. Couldn't hold his breath any longer. He reportedly established a new record for being immersed in water -- roughly 177 hours.

David Blaine is drying out tonight and trying to get that urine smell off. Maybe. I don't know. I made that up.

Erica Hill from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us with some of the business stories we're following -- Erica.


And a bit of a quiet Monday for the markets today. Wall Street's in a holding pattern while it waits for Wednesday. That's when the Federal Reserve will decide whether or not to raise interest rates again. And the betting, by the way, is on yes. Today the Dow tacked on just 6 points, about 140 points at this point below its all-time high.

Oil prices fell today, though, settling below $70 a barrel. And analysts say worries about Iran's nuclear program could be helping to ease those prices, as well as supplies of gas in the U.S. which are on the rise. That's also taking some pressure off the price of crude.

And it may not surprise you to hear that sales of U.S. newspapers are down. But here are the numbers. A report from the Newspaper Association of America shows daily circulation fell 2.5 percent in the six-month period ending in March. The newspaper industry has long been struggling for readers and stiff competition from the internet and other media outlets.

COOPER: Erica Hill, thanks.

HILL: Maybe we're to blame.

COOPER: All right, thanks Erica. "On the Radar," tonight, the president's dipping poll numbers. Thirty-one percent in the latest Gallup survey, plenty of action from viewers on the blog about it.

Tina in Chicago writes, "Of course they are naysayers to anything the current administration does. Those of us out working hard don't have time to answer the phone for polls! And, we know that the economy is very strong.

From John in Mount Arlington, New Jersey, "I don't care if Al Sharpton is on the ticket, I'm voting Democrat right down the line in November. It's the only way folks in Washington will get the message."

And Gavin in Jacksonville, Florida, speaks for more than a few Americans when he writes, "The two party system that we are tied to is killing this country. As voters we are faced with picking one of the two unappealing extremes."

On the blog, in the headlines and "On the Radar" tonight. More of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.


COOPER: Tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," 300,000 American school kids have been diagnosed with autism, the diagnosis is often a shock to a lot of parents.


HARRY SLATKIN, 6-YEAR-OLD SON IS AUTISTIC: I remember receiving a phone call in my office, saying that David was diagnosed with PDDNOS, which is pervasive development disorder, not other otherwise specified, which for me was like hearing something from Mars.

And Laura was traveling on business, so I went to my computer in my office and I looked it up. And everything had it to the word autism attached. And I sat there frozen for two hours in my office because I -- the word autism, to me, was like a monster. It was scary.


COOPER: Well, find out more about the disorder and how one family has learned to live with it. That's tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.

"LARRY KING" is next. He takes us further inside the world of Polygamist Warren Jeffs, now on the FBI's 10 most wanted.

I'll see you tomorrow night.