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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Hollywood, Hillary, and Barack; Behind the Veil of Autism

Aired February 21, 2007 - 22:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening to our viewers here in America and watching us around the world.
Anderson is actually on his way back now from Brazil.

And John King is with me here in New York.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And, tonight, we're going to show you a secret side of autism that will absolutely change the way you think about the disorder. It's the story of an amazing young woman who welcomed 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta into her mysterious world. That's just ahead.

CHETRY: But we begin in Iraq with a new threat on a grim anniversary.

It was one year ago tonight that war was taking a sharp turn for the worse. One of the holiest sites for Shiites, a mosque in Samarra, was bombed, setting off a wave of revenge attacks on dozens of Sunni mosques. From that point on, the explosion of sectarian fighting snowballed. And, now, one year later, the warfare is only getting uglier. Dirty bombs are now part of the mix.

CNN's Michael Ware joins me now from Baghdad.

Michael, great to see you.


CHETRY: Another possible change in tactics by the terrorists, we're learning of today -- the latest, the truck bombs that are combining explosives with chlorine gas. And they have used chlorine in at least two other attacks.

So, how dangerous is this stuff, this gas combined with the explosives?

WARE: Well, if used properly, it's an horrific weapon.

I mean, what chlorine does to the lungs is beyond imagination. It inflicts terrible wounds and a nightmarish death. And don't forget, this is a weapon that is very powerful in instilling fear, in spreading terror, which is why it's such a popular strategy for terrorists to explore.

However, we have seen the insurgents here in Iraq experimenting time and again with a whole variety of chemical weapons, particularly blister agents, akin to mustard gas, much of which was left behind, decaying, old, almost beyond use, from Saddam's regime.

What we're now seeing is them experimenting again, adapting explosives with chlorine tanks. It's a very difficult technique to perfect, to have the mass impact that I'm sure that the insurgents would be looking for.

CHETRY: And is it something that's easy to do, easy to get a hold of, and easy to do without people noticing?

WARE: Well, chlorine is chlorine. I mean, that's not hard to come by.

Explosives -- as many Iraqis have said to me, you kick the dirt in this country, you will either uncover oil or weapons. The materiel required for such devices is not the problem.

The problem is knowing the right mix, how to use just enough explosives to ignite the device, without burning off the chemical, how to predict the weather patterns, the meteorological condition that are best suited to the deployment of this device. I mean, weaponizing chlorine or any other agent really is at the heart of the matter and is the most complicated aspect of deploying chemical or other weapons of this nature.

CHETRY: Well, these attacks, the latest ones, actually happened in neighborhoods on the outskirts of the capital. So, is this a sign that the new Baghdad security plan is actually working, at least in the center of the city, and it's maybe pushing the violence out to other areas?

WARE: No, no, not really, not at all.

I mean, the Baghdad security plan is certainly having an impact on the militias, on the death squads, on the insurgents here in the city. But what it's doing is just reshaping the nature of the violence. It's watching it squeeze. It's like when you squeeze a balloon, and the different ends change shapes.

The insurgents are merely melting back into the population, sitting back, watching how the Americans and the Iraqi security forces are operating, and adapting their tactics.

Sure, there's a degree of displacement. That's insurgents and militias moving to other areas temporarily. We have seen that time and time again. That's almost, without doubt, happening now.

But, by and large, violence still continues in this city. We're seeing multiple car bombing attacks, almost every day, killing dozens.

CHETRY: All right, Michael Ware, for us in Baghdad, with -- with more on the new news about those dirty chlorine bombs they're using there, thank you.

Well, back here in the U.S., a nasty public spat between the two front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination. It started when the popular and powerful Hollywood producer David Geffen blasted Hillary Clinton, his former friend when she lived in the White House. Geffen told "The New York Times" columnist Maureen Dowd -- quote -- "It is not a very big thing to say, 'I made a mistake on the war.' And typical of Hillary Clinton that she can't."

He also called Senator Clinton an incredibly polarizing figure. And he described former President Bill Clinton as a reckless guy who gave his enemies a lot of ammunition. He also said this about Republicans: "I think that they believe that she is the easiest to defeat" -- tough words from someone who once raised millions of dollars for Bill Clinton.

But he is now raising money for Hillary's rival, Senator Barack Obama. A fund-raiser that he co-hosted last night reportedly more than a million bucks.

So, here's how Hillary Clinton responded to his comments in Dowd's column. Let's listen.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I want to run a very positive campaign, and I sure don't want Democrats or the supporters of Democrats to be engaging in the politics of personal destruction.


CLINTON: I think we should stay focused on -- on what we're going to do for America. And, you know, I -- I believe Bill Clinton was a good president.



CHETRY: And Clinton's campaign today called for Obama to refute Geffen's comments. The Obama campaign flatly refused.

Here's what Obama said.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My sense is, is that Mr. Geffen may have differences with the Clintons. That doesn't really have anything to do with our campaign.


CHETRY: How much does all of this matter in the race ahead?

Joining me, of course, with John, is CNN's Dana Bash.

Thanks to both of you.

We're so far away from the campaign, from the actual voting, and we're already talking about it.

KING: And it does matter.

Some will say this is a silly dustup, but it does matter, because David Geffen put on the table many of the issues that Democrats all across the country, even Hillary Clinton's supporters, are asking themselves: Is she too polarizing to win a general election? And will Bill Clinton's baggage, the credibility and the character questions of the Clinton presidency, come back to undermine Mrs. Clinton?

David Geffen saying that publicly, Hillary Clinton's campaign says it's out of line. But, if you look at our polling, a majority of the American people say that she would divide the country, not unite the country. Forty-something percent of the American people say they are less likely to vote for her because she's married to Bill Clinton.

She wanted several months to reintroduce herself to the American people, to redefine her public image, which is, right now, very much shaped by his presidency. She wanted time do that before she had to deal with any questions about Bill Clinton, any questions about whether she is polarizing. This has put front and center what Democrats all across the country are talking about privately.

CHETRY: And, Dana, it was David Geffen who took after the Clintons. But her campaign's response was directed squarely at Barack Obama.

Why is that?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's sort of part B to what John was just talking about. And that is the Obama factor, that -- the fact that the Clinton campaign -- I talked to them today. Their -- many aides are very candid about what they're trying to do here.

They think that Barack Obama is a candidate who is getting a free ride, that has an image of this perfect guy. And they want to crack his Teflon, and crack it early. And they saw this as the perfect opportunity to do this.

Why? because they say that Barack Obama has held himself to a different standard by saying over and over in his campaign that he wants a new era of civility. Well, how can he say that and still support and befriend a guy like David Geffen, who says these things about Hillary Clinton in "The New York Times"?

CHETRY: Good point.

And the other thing, you talked about Hillary's high negatives, and also the fact that she did want to redefine herself. So, how does she get up over this stuff that's surely going to come up more?

KING: Well, this is Clinton 101. It is a tactic they have used in the past.

If they get hit with anything, especially questions of character and credibility, hit back hard, try to intimidate the opposition, try to convince Democrats. David Geffen said this. We hit back hard. We hit Obama, as well as David Geffen, to try to convince other Democrats, don't touch this. Don't touch this in a public way.

It is very classic Clinton tactic. She did not want to talk about her husband as an issue, especially the credibility and character issues, until she was the nominee against a Republican.

CHETRY: Right.

KING: She doesn't want the Democrats raising that.

CHETRY: And she used the politics of personal destruction, which we heard before.

So, Dana, how does this affect Barack Obama, then, because of what he did say publicly about wanting to keep it clean?

BASH: Well, that is going to be an interesting thing to watch.

Today, all day, even into this evening, Barack Obama has simply refused to take the bait. He has refused to say that he will -- wants to denounce David Geffen. He says that David Geffen is speaking as an individual who has his own issues with the Clintons.

And, look, we have to remember that it was just last night that Barack Obama was rubbing shoulders with Jennifer Aniston and Tom Hanks and people like that. David Geffen was helping raise $1 million for him.

But there's something else here, Kiran. And that is that Barack Obama is a newbie here. He has to stand up on his own two feet. His advisers know that. And he can't sort of, you know, get pummeled immediately by the Clinton campaign the first time that they go after Barack Obama. They understand that he has also got to stand on his own two feet, and this is the first test of that.

CHETRY: All right, Dana Bash, thanks so much.

And, John, we will hear from you in a couple seconds here.

But, first, coming up: living with autism. There is really no cure, but, for many, there is still hope.


CHETRY (voice-over): Locked in a different place.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Would you define yourself as an autistic person, Amanda?

AMANDA BAGGS, AUTISTIC (through voice synthesizer): That's the word for people whose brains look like mine, last I checked.

CHETRY: Tonight: Amanda's story, behind the veil of autism. She will change your expectations.

Plus: tears from the witness stand and laughter.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five months, six months.



CHETRY: Another wild day in the fight over Anna Nicole Smith's body -- all the angles when 360 continues.



CHETRY: How much do you really know about autism? Be honest. Probably not much.

Well, 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon. And even he says he's not exactly sure how to define it.

That's why this story we're about to bring you is even more striking. It's about a young woman from a small town in Vermont. And it will literally change the way you think about autism and autistic people.

Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


GUPTA (voice-over): This is Amanda Baggs, rocking back and forth. She does not make eye contact. Her movements are erratic, her behavior eccentric. She cannot speak. And, for most of us, this is precisely what we expect when we see a person with autism.

But Amanda will absolutely change your expectations.

(on camera): Would you define yourself as an autistic person, Amanda?

AMANDA BAGGS, AUTISTIC (through voice synthesizer): That's the word for people whose brains look like mine, last I checked.

GUPTA (voice-over): As you will see, Amanda has a lot to say. Her brilliance is laced with a wry sense of humor. We first came across Amanda on YouTube, her appearance there so startling, I wanted to meet her. I had so many questions.

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): the way I naturally think and respond to things looks and feels so different from standard concepts or even visualization, that some people do not consider it thought at all. It is only when I type something in your language that you refer to me as having communication.

GUPTA: Amanda calls herself bilingual.

For other autistic people, she has movements and gestures to communicate. But, for the rest of us, she made this video to teach us how it works. She jokingly calls us neurotypical, meaning we do not have autism.

She communicates with a keyboard and her computer, and, for visitors, a voice synthesizer.

(on camera): So, you have seen the video with your own eyes. I want to show it you through Amanda Baggs' eyes. She lives in this building, and she lives alone.

(voice-over): This is where Amanda made the video. She shot it, edited, and posted it on the Internet, all completely on her own. Surprised? If we must label her, she won't like it, but, medically, she is a low-functioning autistic.

(on camera): Part of the reason people watched it was because they were so stunned that a person who carries this label of autism, who doesn't speak, could put together such an astonishing video.

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): I put together several videos before, and not a lot of people watched them.

(voice-over): But, this time, she got through.

(on camera): Amanda, when you hear about people with autism that are institutionalized, that -- that no one has really ever made a -- a concerted effort to try and reach out to, to communicate with in some way, what do you say to -- what do you say to those people?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): Everyone interacts with their society. If someone is shut off from interacting with society, then someone else is shutting it off, because it sure doesn't seem to me that I have ever seen someone who doesn't interact with society.

GUPTA (voice-over): In fact, Amanda interacts with everything around her.

(on camera): What about this? This was interesting to me. You are actually -- you can read, obviously, but you're actually putting your face in the book. What does -- what -- Why? What does that mean?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): I like the smell and the texture of that particular paper. That book has very rough paper.

GUPTA (voice-over): Amanda says this is her natural way of thinking, in patterns and in colors. Thinking with language and written words, as we do, is not natural for her. Therefore, she struggles with it.

(on camera): If you wanted to -- to -- to talk to me, could you do it?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): I could make speech sounds. At this point, I could not make them mean anything I was thinking.

GUPTA: Does that frustrate you?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): Not really. I type very fast.


GUPTA: Yes, you do.

(voice-over): Yes, she types very fast. When she's feeling good and not distracted, Amanda types about 120 words a minute. But her ability fluctuates. Some days, she can only type with one finger at a time. And, occasionally, she cannot type at all. On rare days, Amanda can become catatonic.

Distractions, interferences, sensory overloads all present huge obstacles for Amanda. So, she is most secure and most comfortable here at home, with her dog, Billy Jean (ph), and with all of her computer equipment as well. But, when she leaves here, she's assaulted by too much stimulation.

I went with her to see her dentist. She use a wheelchair, not because she can't walk. She can. But she says the very act of balancing herself proves too distracting.

And you will notice she's focused on her keyboard. In the dentist's chair, the buzz and flicker of the fluorescent lights are overwhelming for her. They can trigger migraines. So, Amanda soothes herself. She fiddles with her blocks. They are familiar and calming.

When Amanda hit herself, I was startled, but not surprised. It is a familiar autistic behavior. She must be so frustrated, such a bright woman, so trapped. And, yet, I wondered, how is it that Amanda has been able to reveal so much about herself? And how many more people are there just like her?


GUPTA: And 70 percent of people with autism have milder forms, including Asperger's. Thirty percent have low-functioning autism. And, as far as intellect goes, 75 percent have low intelligence. Ten percent, though, show high intelligence, sort of savant skills in specific areas, like math or music.

When it comes to Amanda, though, all these conventions are sort of thrown out the window. It's really hard to categorize her. And that's why the labels really don't apply -- Kiran.


CHETRY: It really is unbelievable. She has an amazing story. And we are going to tell you more of it. Coming up next, we're going to see how other technology is helping Amanda communicate, a brave woman who is breaking down stereotypes.

Plus; the latest twists in the Anna Nicole Smith saga -- more courtroom fireworks today, and the grim reality that may speed up these proceedings -- when 360 continues.



CHETRY: Before the break, we met Amanda, an autistic woman who cannot speak, but has a lot to say.

360 M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us again with more of her story.

GUPTA: Thanks, Kiran.

Amanda is what is called a low-functioning autistic. Now, the hallmarks are obsessive compulsive behaviors. That can be erratic hand-flapping, for example, occasional head-banging. We have seen that with many, and even regression. Sometimes, they will lose some of their abilities as they get older.

In fact, that was the case with Amanda. When she was younger, she actually talked.



GUPTA (voice-over): It's a bit disconcerting talking to Amanda. Typical of people with autism, there is no eye contact.

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): There's problems. And I don't know all my meds.

GUPTA: Until she responds with her keyboard and voice synthesizer, it's hard to know if what I'm saying actually registers.

(on camera): If you didn't have this, how would I communicate with this? How would I understand what you're trying to tell me? How would you guide me, or at least help me understand you?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): I tend to kind of bludgeon people over the head with that kind of communication. Not sure.

GUPTA (voice-over): Growing up, Amanda attended regular public schools. She could read at an early age. It's called hyperlexia. And it's common for people with autism.

She says she learned spelling by reading. She learned to type with a teaching software. Then, in her teens, she slowly lost her ability to talk.


BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): Great.

(on camera): Would you say that people would be surprised to find out how well you can communicate, being a person with autism?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): Generally, if they see me first before they see me talk, they are surprised, and sometimes disbelieving. And, then, sometimes, if they first see me write, they think that I'm not autistic.

DR. ERIC HOLLANDER, SEAVER AND NEW YORK AUTISM CENTER OF EXCELLENCE: And what is extraordinary is that some individuals that you think are mentally retarded and have no language, once they're able to communicate through a keyboard, they have high-level processing and thinking about the world, and they're able to communicate in an expressive fashion.

GUPTA (voice-over): Remember, that's how we first found Amanda, via her computer on YouTube. In fact, the Internet has allowed her to leave her secure and orderly little apartment to meet others with autism.

For example, she likes to go to an online community called Second Life, where she's created an animated alter ego who looks and acts like her. Even here, in her virtual world, she's typing and rocking back and forth.

HOLLANDER: The big advantage of the Internet for people with autism is, it does filter out all of the facial expressions and the body language. So, people don't have to spend time trying to disentangle or understand the nonverbal forms of communication.

GUPTA: What are we missing here? Why -- why has autism been this -- something that people have not really been able to get their arms around, in terms of being able to communicate, being able to understand it fully?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): There's a communication gap that goes two ways. It's not a one-way street. And, so, part of the problem is that the people are thinking if they don't understand us, it's because we're broken, and, if we don't understand them, it's because we're broken.

GUPTA: As for communicating with others who have autism, Amanda said it's not about words. I asked her about an autistic woman she wanted to meet.

(on camera): Why didn't you just look at her and make a motion, like hello, or hi, or wave the hand, or something to acknowledge her at the time?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): That would be a bit invasive, wouldn't it?

GUPTA: Well, it happens all the time. I mean, I think -- I think a lot of people would understand that sort of gesture. Do -- do you think -- do you think that she would have been offended by it, or that it would have been too invasive to her?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): When I'm around other autistic people, where the meaning is known already, why bother with forcing an arm to do all that, when you can already make the meaning clear? It's redundant.

Why would I spend not only the physical energy on doing the motion, but the cognitive energy working out which particular motion is the one you want out of me right then? It's like running calculus in your head to say hi, and it's not usually worth it in the long run.

GUPTA (voice-over): In other words, meeting our expectations is not important for her, can actually overwhelm her.

(on camera): What is the message, then, for -- for -- for the parents, for the people who are providers? What? I mean, try harder to communicate?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): Listen to other autistic people. In fact, expose autistic children to a wide variety of autistic adults. It may be the autistic adults who do have either typing or speech who are far more equipped to be able to communicate with other autistic people.



GUPTA: Now, the Autism Society of America estimates 600,000 adults live with autism, remarkable numbers.

But the number of adults living with autism is bound to rise. Brand-new numbers from the CDC estimates one in 150 children has some form of autism -- so, soon, a new generation of adults living with autism growing even larger -- Kiran.

CHETRY: And, Sanjay, do they -- are they any closer to knowing what causes it, or -- or whether or not you can tell if you are going to have a child who has it?

GUPTA: It's still very much what is called a clinical diagnosis. There's no specific blood test. There's no specific radiology test to be able to tell that.

There is a belief, though, a strong belief, Kiran, that it is genetic. Even in the case of Amanda, her brother and her father had autism as well. What exactly that genetic link and how can you test for it, that's sort of the next step down the road.

CHETRY: And one of the hallmarks of people with autism, they -- they cannot read normal body language. It's sort of lost on them.

But do autistics have the ability to read each other, especially if they can't speak? GUPTA: Yes, you know, it's sort of amazing.

And I -- I think the answer to that is yes. And I asked Amanda that same question. She told me a very interesting story. She was actually at a conference. And she wanted to -- to greet another person with autism who was sort of in that same area.

Instead of just, you know, raising her hand and waving hello to the person, she immediately started to rock back and forth even more quickly than normal, and staring making some gyrating sort of motions, giving some sort of indication that that is what she wanted -- she wanted to catch that person's attention.

I asked her. I said: Why didn't you just, you know, say hello?

And she said she finds that very invasive, and it's just not a conventional part of the way she, as a person with autism, communicates.

CHETRY: And how much does that device she uses cost. And who pays for her devices and computer equipment?

GUPTA: It's -- it's about $2,000 for that specific LINK (ph) communication device.

For her specifically, the state of Vermont and Medicaid help defray a lot of the cost for that device, as well as some of her living expenses, some of her medical visits and things like that, as well. It's not that way in every state. She actually moved from California to Vermont to try and help defray some of those costs. But, you know, there's a lot of states that don't offer programs like this, period.

CHETRY: Wow. It's just an amazing story. Thanks for bringing it to us, Sanjay Gupta.

GUPTA: Thanks, Kiran.

CHETRY: Always great to have you. Thanks.

GUPTA: Any time.


CHETRY: Yes, it really is. And we are going to have much more with Amanda and Sanjay tomorrow.

Plus, you can also read a blog by Amanda and watch her video by logging on to While you're there, you can actually ask Amanda questions about autism.

Autism also may be much more common than you think. Here's the "Raw Data."

As Sanjay just mentioned, one in 150 children is autistic. It afflicts between 1 million and 1.5 million Americans. And it's also the fastest growing developmental disability in the nation, with an increase of 172 percent during the 1990s. And they don't really know why.

Well, John King now has a look at what's ahead.

KING: Thanks, Kiran.

Up next, a courtroom drama. A roller coaster of emotions.


KING (voice-over): Tears from the witness stand. And laughter.



SEIDLER: How old?

BIRKHEAD: Five months, six months.


KING: Another wild day in the fight over Anna Nicole Smith's body.

Plus, JetBlues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They would say that they were going to pull us into the gate, and they never did.

KING: Tonight a 360 exclusive. New photos and video of the trip from hell. Passengers stuck for hours on a plane going nowhere. Will a passenger bill of rights take off to win back angry customers? That when 360 continues.


KING: Those amazing photos are from Anderson's reports over the past week and a half in the Amazon rainforest, the first stop on a special series we've been bringing you this year on 360 called "Planet in Peril".

Tonight Anderson and wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin give us an up close look at a creepy crawly creature. Check this out.


JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST: This is the goliath tarantula, one of the largest spiders on the planet. Just get over there. Just creep, because if you go fast, he'll take off, and you don't want him to take off. Just keep it very, very cool. He's creeping very, very slowly.

And what to do is just take a knee, resettle back and sort of blend in with the surroundings, and this spider will settle down. I've got to tell you I am shaking with excitement.

COOPER: I am just shaking.


KING: Looks like a lot of fun. Don't miss more of Anderson and Jeff Corwin's report coming up in the next hour of 360, right here.

First, it's hard to believe -- it is hard to believe, but the end may be in sight for the Anna Nicole Smith saga. A Florida judge hopes to have a ruling by Friday. Today more tears shed from the witness stand and you might say more wisdom shared from the bench. That's just the beginning.

CNN's Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another day in court over Anna Nicole Smith's body, another day of drama.

VIRGIE ARTHUR, MOTHER OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH: That's why I'm here. I'm not giving up. I'm not going to quit.

KAYE: Virgie Arthur, Smith's estranged mother testified she had a close relationship with her daughter before she left home at 15.

ARTHUR: Just when my daughter went off, I was a little bit more chatty (ph).

KAYE: But before long, a phone call. It was the medical examiner. The court listened via speaker phone.

JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, BROWARD COUNTY: What condition is she in?

DR. JOSHUA PERPER, MEDICAL EXAMINER: The condition at this time is a very good condition. But if additional time would pass by, it would be much more difficult to be able to show the body.

KAYE: With the deadline set and tensions rising...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pointing at my table, that is inflammatory, prejudicial. I want her censored.

KAYE: The judge in his now familiar way tried to diffuse the situation.

SEIDLIN: The wheels of justice aren't always round, those wheels. Sometimes they're a little bit square. And it's a bumpy ride like the old west where it's a bumpy ride.

It's not who talks louder. It's who signs the report card at the end. Stay loose as a goose.

KAYE: Arthur testified that her daughter told her before she ran away said she wanted to be buried in Texas, but on cross examination, admitted Smith told her as an adult she wanted to be buried in Hollywood.

Then Arthur once again more than hinted at foul play involving Howard K. Stern, Smith's companion. He says Smith should be buried in the Bahamas next to her son, who died mysteriously in September.

ARTHUR: My grandson did not overdose. Howard was there when he died, and Howard was there when my daughter died. And he has my granddaughter now, and it's not even his child and I'm afraid for her life, as well.

KAYE: And then, of course, the question of money. Florida defense attorney Stacy Honowitz said Stern's lawyers took the first shot.

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: They were trying to show that after Daniel's death there was a videotape made of her at the grave site and her sister-in-law, evidently they were trying to say sold that tape and she was to get some kind of money.

KAYE: Stern admitted on the stand that the TV show "Entertainment Tonight" paid for him to fly on a chartered plane to the Bahamas after Smith's death but denied he had taken any other kind of payment.

And then the touchy subject of Smith's rumored drug use. Stern squirmed.

SEIDLIN: Was she abusing these drugs? Was she taking too many of them?


KAYE: And in the final act, Larry Birkhead, Smith's former boyfriend, who claims he's Dannielynn's biological father, took the stand.

BIRKHEAD: I'm a California resident. And if -- if and when I get the daughter that I know and I believe is mine, she won't live in the Bahamas. So is that a place that she's going to have to travel to go see her brother and her mother's grave?

KAYE (on camera): It's a good question, no doubt something the judge will have to consider when he rules on Friday.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


KING: At the center of this case is a former cabby. Now he's the judge. And boy, is he something. A man -- a profile of a man never at a loss for words next on 360.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEIDLIN: Listen to me. I'm running the courtroom. Direct everything to me. It's not who talks louder, it's who signs the report card at the end.


KING: With that thick New York accent and you might say unorthodox style from the bench, the judge presiding over the Anna Nicole Smith hearing seems tailor suited for this bizarre reality show.

Whether he has his eye on the law or the camera, Larry Seidlin knows how to get attention.

CNN's Gary Tuchman, reports.


SEIDLIN: There's no circus here, my friend. There's no circus here.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Spoken by the ring master himself. In short time, Judge Larry Seidlin is raising eyebrows with oddball comments like this.

SEIDLIN: I want to get to a rebuilding. I want to build a child.


SEIDLIN: Do you remember in school when you had this big French labyrinth and you tried to get to the center of it? That's all we're trying to do.

TUCHMAN: And this.

SEIDLIN: Let's face it. Money is the root of all evil. Am I right?

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: He's long-winded, repetitive and preachy, and that's on a good day. When judges like Judge Seidlin interrupt, it's really hard to get to the end. It's really hard to make your point. These attorneys are all taking a deep breath. They're all showing respect, but I'm sure that they're very frustrated.

TUCHMAN: Just who is this guy? Judge Seidlin is 56 years old. He grew up on the Bronx and once worked as a cab driver.

SEIDLIN: Instead of fighting, you should join hands, join hands because it's only in this country that you can join hands.

We don't have these kinds of religious wars and all these other issues that take place around the world.

TUCHMAN: His 29-year history on the bench is interesting.

In 1981 Judge Seidlin cited someone for contempt of court. The penalty, write ten times on a blackboard, "I will not talk in court."

His over the top antics may be part of his personality or perhaps part of an audition. According to the entertainment web site TMZ, Seidlin wants to join the ranks of Judge Judy and wants his own TV court show. TMZ says he even went so far as to have demo tapes of his musings.

SEIDLIN: When I used to teach tennis I used to wear white shorts and a white top. It always looked good. You look good.

TUCHMAN: To some Seidlin may be eccentric but fair.

SEIDLIN: Request denied. It's money's my water (ph).

TUCHMAN: Others think he's making a mountain out of a molehill.

BLOOM: This is a hearing that could have been resolved in a couple of hours. The legal issues are clear. We don't need to have 19 attorneys arguing about what the law is. There's a statute. There's some case law. The judge can look at it and then make a decision.

TUCHMAN: So what does Seidlin's boss think of all this? Chief Judge Dale Ross tells CNN that it's not appropriate for him to make a comment.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.


KING: From judging to judged, to where Smith should be buried. Coming up, we'll ask our legal experts how they think this bizarre case will end.

Plus, an unexpected commuter on a Massachusetts highway. It's our shot of the day when 360 continues.



ARTHUR: I'm not giving up. I'm not going to quit. The drugs took her over. And that picture you saw yesterday, that was not my daughter. It looked like my daughter, but it was not my -- thank you.


KING: Tears and testimony in the Anna Nicole Smith hearing. You just heard from her mother. She wants Smith buried in Texas. The judge is promising to have a decision by week's end. We can only wait.

CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and Court TV anchor Jami Floyd have been following the antics from start to where we are now. I spoke to them a bit earlier.


KING: Jami Floyd, let me start with you. Quite a bit of drama in the courtroom today, including this exchange where the judge is trying to talk about Howard K. Stern, her relationship with Anna Nicole. He really pressed him on the issue of her drug use. Let's listen to this exchange.


STERN: Your honor, I couldn't be sure of every medication that she placed in her body.

SEIDLIN: Well, tell me a few.

STERN: I know that at times she was on a medication called Topamax.

SEIDLIN: What's that?

STERN: I'm not a doctor, your honor. Your honor, is this really necessary?


KING: Why is drug use relevant to the question before the judge, which is what happens to her body?

JAMI FLOYD, COURT TV: He says is this really necessary? The answer is yes. Because the question is her intent. Or more precisely, did she have the capacity to form the intent to determine where she wanted to be buried. And the judge needs to hear about this.

I heard the people saying they think it's not relevant. I think it's highly relevant in that courtroom.

KING: In essence, the judge could be heading to a ruling in which he says she was not competent.

FLOYD: Sure. Sure, that's what half the people in that courtroom are arguing. She was not capable of determining where she wanted to be buried. Anything she said about being buried in the Bahamas they'll say is negated by the fact that she was high half the time or more.

KING: Jeff Toobin, in the middle of the proceedings today they take a break so they can go and view the body. Then they come back into court, and they're supposed to carry on as if nothing has happened, or at least keep themselves together. Unusual?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. The viewer -- the -- it was like they had to go see the patient. How was the patient doing? The patient is not doing too well, sadly.

I mean, this is so preposterous as a way to conduct a legal hearing. See, the way legal hearings are conducted on the planet earth is that the judge says, this is what we're going to decide. We're going to decide what the intent of the deceased was or we're going to decide who her next of kin was.

We don't have a sort of festival of people who know Anna Nicole Smith and ask them absurd and irrelevant questions about, for example, what her mother's experience was like as a cop in Texas and whether she was a victim of sexual discrimination. I mean, it was just insane the way this guy is conducting this hearing.

KING: You agree with that?

FLOYD: I can't say I disagree. I think a lot of what he's asked about is completely relevant. It's hard to keep track of what's relevant and what's not, because he does also meander. He says he wants to get on with it, but then he delays by cracking jokes and asking all of these questions that really have nothing to do with what's going on.

He says that we have all the time in the world, and then he says we need to get on it. So I think there's a lack of focus, a lack of a road map.

And this break to go see the body. I've never seen anything like that before. I had a hard time composing myself when they all got back to court. I can't imagine how they got focused.

And you know, it does, unfortunately, raise the prospect that this will go on a lot longer. Because the rush wasn't about burying her. The rush is about viewing her. And now that we've viewed her, we can argue about burying her for months.

KING: Go ahead, Jeff.

TOOBIN: One of the surreal aspects of this case is the way every few hours the medical examiner calls in and says she's fading fast. You better decide.

And, you know she's -- so the judge does say he has to decide by Friday. But he is so self-evidently loving this hearing that it does seem that it will be very hard for him to actually render a decision by Friday.

KING: One of the issues that came up today was -- is Stern's -- Howard K. Stern's financial situation. How is that relevant?

FLOYD: Well, I'm not sure that that is relevant. There's the question of his financial motive in other parts of the case. Or not even this case. In other cases, the paternity matter, what will ultimately become the custody matter.

Here I don't see that it's entirely relevant. And I've got to say, for all of the negative press that Howard K. Stern is getting, you've got to ask yourself what his motive to lie about this is in this courtroom. What does he gain by her being buried in the Bahamas?

KING: Jeffrey Toobin, Jami Floyd, thank you both very much. (END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: A little later, a cow on the loose. What was this one ton animal wandering down a highway in Massachusetts? We'll tell you. It's our "Shot of the Day". First, though, Kiran has a "360 News and Business Bulletin".

CHETRY: I definitely want to know about that, though.

But first, Iran's president says that he will not give in to the U.N.'s demand that his country stop its nuclear program. In a speech today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that Iran has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Tomorrow, the U.N. will release a report on Iran's nuclear enrichment program, and it's not clear if Iran will face any further sanctions for not complying with the U.N.'s earlier resolution.

Oil prices soared above $60 a barrel today. Industry experts say that operational problems at U.S. oil refineries, pipelines and a fire at a Texas oil feed are all to blame for that spike.

Stocks were mixed on Wall Street today. The Dow closing down 49 points after reaching a record high yesterday. The NASDAQ gained 6, and the S&P dropped 2 points.

One of the world's smallest premature babies is now home with her parents in Florida tonight. Amelia Sonya Taylor weighed less than 10 ounces. She was just 9 1/2 inches long, about the size of a pen, when she was born last October after less than 22 weeks in the womb.

Little Amelia spent four months at a neonatal intensive care unit. She now weighs 4 1/2 pounds and is 15 1/2 inches long. A long homecoming, but her parents must be thrilled.

KING: Amen. We wish her well. That is an amazing story.

And time now -- a little bit of a shift to our "Shot of the Day". A wild chase in Massachusetts.

This Scottish highlander cow somehow made it through a barbed wire fence onto Route 140 in Upton, Massachusetts. That's about 40 miles outside the great city of Boston. The cow walked more than four miles, more than four miles, even slamming into a police cruiser before officers caught up with it.

The cow is back home now hopefully watching 360. Her care taker says the cow was probably a little bored and decided to go for a walk.

A little bored. What do you think?

CHETRY: Well, I mean, good for the cow. It got out of the barbed wire fence. It went on an adventure. But the caretaker says that it was so exhausting it kept collapsing along the highway.

KING: It's the fitness craze. Even cows are going out for walks.

CHETRY: Poor thing. Safe and sound, though. And you're right, home watching. Changing the channels with the horns whenever she wants to. Or he.

KING: Look at that. That is quite amazing. All right. That's a worthy "Shot of the Day".

Moving on.

JetBlue passengers were more than bored while stuck on the runway last week. They were ballistic. Just ahead on 360, could an airline bill of rights, an actual law passed by Congress, prevent future travel nightmares?

Plus, Clinton versus Obama. A dust up that got personal today. Will it affect the race for the White House? That when 360 continues.


CHETRY: Hi, I'm Kiran Chetry. Anderson is on his way back from Brazil tonight, and John King and I are holding down the fort here in New York.

KING: Trying to, anyway.

It's a story as outrageous as it is unbelievable. A 29-year-old sex offender who pretended to be a 12-year-old boy, and everyone bought it. Tonight for the first time we hear in his own words how he duped even the police. That's just ahead.

CHETRY: First, though, it's been exactly one week since JetBlue had a major meltdown. A nasty ice storm sent the airline into a tailspin, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded for days and JetBlue's reputation really in the mud.

Well, today the airline continued its public apologies. In a full page ad that ran in newspapers on the East Coast, JetBlue said, "We are sorry and embarrassed but most of all we are deeply sorry. You deserved better, a lot better from us last week, and we let you down."

JetBlue went on to say, "We are taking immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us."

One of those steps, a new customer bill of rights. It's not an actual law, though there have been calls for Congress to pass protections for airline passengers.

So it got us thinking. Would such a law really carry any weight?

Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.


KAYE (voice-over): Kate Hanni and her family bought four seats on American Airlines flight 1348 from San Francisco to Dallas last December, final destination, Alabama. It was meant to be fun.

But bad weather diverted the flight to Austin, where it sat for hours. Hanni says tarmac rage kicked in.

KATE HANNI, STRANDED PASSENGER: We were begging them to take us to a gate or to send busses out and get us off the plane.

KAYE: Conditions on board, Hanni recalls, became intolerable.

HANNI: We have no toilet facilities that are usable. We had one package of pretzels in 13 hours. And water from the sinks to drink.