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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Rutgers Women Speak Out on Imus Controversy; Interview With Whoopi Goldberg; Father's Day Arrives For Anna Nicole Smith's Baby

Aired April 10, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.
The battle over Anna Nicole Smith's baby is over -- or is it?


LARRY BIRKHEAD, EX-BOYFRIEND OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH: I hate to be the one that told you this, but I told you so.



COOPER: Yes, Larry Birkhead is the father, but is his celebration premature? We're live in Bahamas with the latest development. That's coming up later.

We begin, however, with Don Imus and the firestorm that is only getting hotter. Today, he blamed the African-American community for creating the slur he hurled at the Rutgers women's basketball team. We will talk with the head coach in just a moment and one of the players. We will also speak with a black radio host who says Imus should not be fired.

Even President Bush and the candidates are weighing in. That's ahead.

But, first, Imus own the ropes and the attack.


COOPER (voice-over): We heard more apologies today.


DON IMUS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What I did is, made a stupid, idiotic mistake in a comedy context.


COOPER: We also heard anger.


IMUS: He didn't have the courage that I had, because I...

AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: No. I decided I would not...


IMUS: I'm talking, Reverend Sharpton.


SHARPTON: I'm not trying to deal...


SHARPTON: ... his show.



COOPER: This morning, on "The Today Show," Imus and the Reverend Al Sharpton picked up where they left off, sparring about what punishment the radio host should serve.

Imus says his two-week suspension from CBS and MSNBC isn't a slap on the wrist.


IMUS: I think it's appropriate. And I am going to try to serve it with some dignity.

SHARPTON: What precedent are we setting now, that you can apologize every 10 years when you go over the line, and maybe you will get a two-week suspension? I think that this is something that is unhealthy for everyone in America, and he should be fired.


COOPER: The topic then turned to the origins of the remarks Imus made.


DON IMUS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and...

BERNARD MCGUIRK, PRODUCER: Some hard-core hos.

IMUS: That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that now.



COOPER: The embattled radio host said he wanted to put those words in context.


IMUS: I know that that phrase didn't originate in the white community. That phrase originated in the black community. And -- I'm not stupid. I may be a white man, but I know that these young women, and young black women all through that society, are demeaned and disparaged and disrespected by -- by their own black men.

SHARPTON: We have said that we're against the degrading that is done even by blacks. I have led protests on shows on that, and will continue to do that. But that does not excuse him. Wherever he says it originated from does not give him the right to use it.


COOPER: A short time later, the Rutgers women's basketball team said it would meet Imus.

And, in a powerful speech, head coach Vivian Stringer said her players are not the only victims.

C. VIVIAN STRINGER, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH: It's not about the Rutgers' women's basketball team. It's about women. Are women hos? Think about that. Would you have wanted your daughter to have been called that?


COOPER: And we will hear more from her in a moment.

Some late-word tonight on the bottom-line price that Imus is paying. Bloomberg is reporting that two big advertisers, Procter & Gamble and Staples, have pulled their commercials from the MSNBC simulcast of his program.

Meantime, no word yet on when Imus will sit down with coach Stringer and her players.

Earlier tonight, I spoke with the coach, and with Essence Carson, who, in addition to being team captain of the Scarlet Knights, also plays three instruments, writes poetry, and is a straight-A student.


COOPER: Essence, when -- when you first heard what Don Imus said, what did you think? I mean, what did you feel?

ESSENCE CARSON, RUTGERS BASKETBALL PLAYER: Wow. I mean, I was deeply saddened, and I was highly angry. I didn't know how to react.

I was held speechless for that one moment. And then, wow, I mean, coach has made us believe and understand that we are 10 strong women on this team. So, we understand that it's time to stand for what we know is right.

COOPER: Coach, is a two-week suspension enough?

STRINGER: You know, I haven't made a judgment about that, whether it's two years, life, two weeks, or what. I think that we are going to weigh in on that after we, as a team, have an opportunity to sit down, talk, certainly to listen to Mr. Imus.

I'm extremely pleased that the team has wanted to see this man face to face. It's disappointing, because, in this -- in this century, in the 21st century, that we're dealing with such an issue. But I think that, at the heart of all of this, it's much bigger. It doesn't matter whether you're black, white, purple, or green, male or female.

It is -- that we, as a society, allow for anyone to disrespect another -- another people is indefensible.

COOPER: Essence, are you nervous about meeting with Don Imus? Are you -- what is the emotion? Are you looking forward to it?

CARSON: I'm not nervous in the least bit. I'm actually looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to get...

COOPER: What do you want to tell him?

CARSON: First and foremost, I would like to listen to him. I want to get to know the man behind the radio personality.


CARSON: I want to know what he really stands for.

Because there's always two sides to a story. Now, I know America has finally heard our story. And we haven't had -- gotten the chance -- we haven't got the chance to really hear him out, really listen to him. And I believe that this private meeting will be a chance, you know, an opportunity, for that. And, once we get to know him, we're looking to let him know who we are, get a chance to know who the faces are, who the personalities are, and the individuals are behind the basketball players that he so, you know, boldly made this comment about.

COOPER: Do you think he's racist?

CARSON: Do you I think he's racist?

That's -- I believe that we will get a chance to understand and know this man when we have this meeting. That's why I think -- believe that this meeting is so crucial.

STRINGER: We heard what he said. And, so, there's no mistake -- mistaken -- it was him. And I think that he's acknowledged as much.

To understand -- understand this is one thing. To understand it, no, it brings about the fact that these remarks, these remarks -- I'm not talking about Mr. Imus personally -- I think that's what Essence is alluding to. His remarks were racist and sexist at its very core. You know, what allowed him -- what made him think that he could say such? Did he not understand the consequences? Or have we lost a sense of our moral direction, such that people just go about doing whatever, and feeling like they are going to get away with it?

COOPER: Coach, does it sound to you like Imus is starting to make excuses for what he said?

STRINGER: Yes. And I resent that. I have to tell you that, because there is no excuse for anything. Any kind of utterance that comes from anyone's mouth, you would hope that it wouldn't come in one's mind. But, of course, we can't know what goes through the mind.

But to think that he could excuse himself for the degrading remarks made toward women, and specifically to our black women, is -- is inexcusable, unacceptable, and will not stand. I think, again, that it is time for lots of things to change. And it starts with him.

COOPER: Essence, when you come face to face with Don Imus, what is the first thing you want to say to him?

CARSON: I mean, first and foremost, like I said before, I believe that I'm really going to listen. I mean, I believe that we're really going, like coach said, have an open heart and open mind. We're going to listen to what he has to say.

But what we really know is why. Why did he feel compelled to attack such a group of innocent young women that are just trying to better themselves and this world? You know, that question still is up in the air. And we hope that he's able to answer it.

COOPER: I would love to talk to both of you when -- after you have had your meeting with him.

Essence Carson, congratulations on a truly remarkable season.

And, coach Stringer, as well, thank you very much.

CARSON: Thank you.

STRINGER: Thank you so much. Thank you.


COOPER: Well, actress, comedian and radio talk show host Whoopi Goldberg needs little introduction, beyond saying that she is both active in social causes and has been at times the focus of controversy herself. In addition, as I said, she's the host of her own syndicated radio show.

We spoke earlier tonight.


COOPER: Do you think a two-week suspension is enough for Don Imus? WHOOPI GOLDBERG, COMEDIAN: I don't know. We will find out.


GOLDBERG: We will find out. He's going to luck out, isn't he, really?

COOPER: How do you mean?

GOLDBERG: Well, you know, when Rush Limbaugh said something untoward on the television when he was a sportscaster...


GOLDBERG: ... he was gone. The other sportscaster who cast aspersions on a Spanish player, said he was concerned his wallet might not be there, he was gone. Jimmy "The Greek," he was gone.

So, if all Don Imus gets is two weeks, I think he's getting off rather well, because everyone else, including Trent Lott, got busted down for saying stuff. And it's kind of funny to me that people are shocked and surprised that people are calling really for Imus' head, you know. But the precedent has been set, that there is a certain standard with broadcasting.

Now, if you're on a stage and you're doing a routine, you have a lot of leeway, if you're a comic.

COOPER: Because that's part of his argument, is: Look, I'm doing comedy, and this was part of a comic bit.

GOLDBERG: I don't know -- I didn't know he was a comic. That's -- I...


GOLDBERG: I didn't. You know, I know Don -- I have never met him, but I know Imus from being a kid. He was a disc jockey...

COOPER: Right.

GOLDBERG: ... when I was a kid. And that's how I know -- so, I didn't know he was a comic.

But here's the point of the comedy. If you're a comic, then you know that there is a line that you walk. And, every now and then, you go, whoop, and you're over the line, and consequences happen. All comics know there are consequences for the things that they do, particularly if they're timely comics or they're edgy comics. There's always that price.

And it is unfortunate, if he is a comic, that he forgot the number-one rule. Be prepared for something you say that really pissed somebody off.

COOPER: Do you think he gets it? Because, I mean, it took two days for him to make any kind of an apology. And then it wasn't until this kind of built up over the weekend that he has made more of an apology.

And now, today -- actually, I want to play you something he said on "The Today Show." Let's listen.


IMUS: I may be a white man, but I know that these young women, and young black women all through that society, are demeaned and disparaged and disrespected by -- by their own black men, and that they are called that name. And I know that that -- and that doesn't give me, obviously, any right to say it. But it doesn't give them any right to say it.


COOPER: Does it sound to you like he's trying to make an excuse on that?

GOLDBERG: Well, it -- yes, yes, I mean, because, you know -- especially talking to some of the folks that he's been speaking to over the last few days, you know, all of these reverends and, you know, the civil rights leaders, they have been kvetching about the lyrics for years, years and years and years and years.

COOPER: Right. Al Sharpton has had demonstrations about hip-hop lyrics.

GOLDBERG: Please. I mean, for years.

So, it's a little bit weak. And I always want to ask folks, why do you want to say it? I mean, it's like the N-word. People say, well, you all say it.

Well, yes, but why do you want to say it? Why do you want to say it? Because, you know, Imus is not a rapper, so we know he's not putting together some material. It's one thing if you're on a stage and you're a rap singer, and you're singing some lyrics about some general thing.

But, when you zone in on specifics, like these girls, this team, you take it to a whole other level. These girls did nothing to encourage this. They didn't invite it. They played the game. They played their heart out. And it's disheartening , in a way, because we now have to explain to all kids, all little girls, that this is -- this is not the way it is.

This guy -- yes, this is a famous guy. This guy has a television show. This guy has a radio show, but he does not speak for the majority of the people. And you got to -- it's like five steps forward and 12 steps back...


COOPER: So, if he was black, would it have been OK? GOLDBERG: No. Those parents would have been on him much faster if he had been black, because you don't -- you know, you don't -- you don't do that.

COOPER: So, do you think he should be fired from radio permanently, or from MSNBC?

GOLDBERG: You know what? I think a little vacation would be in order. I think a little...

COOPER: More than two weeks?

GOLDBERG: More than two weeks.

But I will tell you, you know, my true feeling is, if we have taken other people to task and fired them, because a lot of people have gotten fired over doing this kind of thing, then, what are we saying if they don't fire him?

COOPER: You have been on both sides of this. You have been at the center of a firestorm. And you are watching this as well.


COOPER: What is your advice to Imus?

GOLDBERG: The best advice I can give to him, get over to that campus, get over to those parents and those kids, and make some allies, and really, you know, talk about whatever was happening, what you thought you were doing, and be honest.

COOPER: Whoopi Goldberg, thanks.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.


COOPER: We will talk to Whoopi more in our next hour, in the 11:00 hour.

And, since everybody seems to be talking about the Imus affair, we will be taking your calls for our panel our guests a bit later in the program -- the toll-free number, 877-648-3639. That's 877-648- 3639. We will start answering in the middle of our next hour, in the 11:00 p.m. hour. But you can e-mail us a question right now. Just go to and click on the instant feedback link.

Don Imus is popular, of course, but, in talk radio, he's actually not the most influential. Here's the "Raw Data."

According to "Talkers" magazine, Imus ranks 14th as the most important radio show host in the nation. Howard Stern is 12th. Number five is Ed Schultz, at four, Laura Schlessinger, three, Michael Savage. Two is Sean Hannity, and, at number one, Rush Limbaugh.

Those rankings, of course, were made before Imus' latest remarks. Coming up: what the people running for president are saying about the kind of gaffe that, in their line of work, might derail a campaign.

Also tonight: Imus' double-standard defense.


COOPER (voice-over): A wounding word, or does it all depend on who says it?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How many of you have actually used that word, called someone a ho?

All of you?

COOPER: Young or old, black or white, should some words be allowed for one and not the other? Exploring standards and double standards.

Also, his DNA is A-OK.

BIRKHEAD: I told you so.


COOPER: So, now that he's the daddy, what about his baby and all that money?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This baby, who is in the news, isn't a meal ticket. She's not a lottery ticket. She's a baby who has tragically lost her mother.

COOPER: There could be a few surprises in store -- the latest on the Anna Nicole Smith saga from the Bahamas, and with our team of legal experts -- just ahead on 360.




KIA VAUGHN, RUTGERS BASKETBALL PLAYER: And I would like to speak to him personally and, you know -- and express how I feel face to face, and ask him, after you have met me as a person, do you feel, in this category, that I'm still a ho, as a woman, and as a black African-American woman, at that? I achieve a lot. And, unless they have given this name of ho a new definition, then, that is not what I am.

STRINGER: We also understood a long time ago that, you know what? No one can make you feel inferior, unless you allow them, that we can't let other people steal our joy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: That was Rutgers women's coach Stringer and Kia Vaughn earlier today.

As for Don Imus today, he seemed to try at least to minimize his gaffe by bringing up the notion of a double standard, the idea that if, say, African-Americans use a word or a phrase, whites ought to be able to do the same.

Now, even in a perfect world, that might not be such a good idea.

But, in the real world, as CNN's David Mattingly discovered, the question of who says something may matter just as much, if not more, than what they say.


IMUS: And then I said that.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The phrase "nappy-headed hos" uttered by Don Imus not only offended women on the Rutgers' basketball team. Its sting is felt daily throughout their generation.

(on camera): How many of you in this room have had that word used directed at you? Most of you.

(voice-over): These students are part of a violence-against- women class at Spelman College, Atlanta's historically black college for women. They say the word ho is a heavily loaded and heavily used insult.

DONNA-LEE GRANVILLE, STUDENT, SPELMAN COLLEGE: When you call someone a ho, it's usually meant to talk about how promiscuous they are, or how promiscuous you think they are.

MATTINGLY: And some say this meaning has roots in slavery.

MARC LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR OF URBAN EDUCATION AND AMERICAN STUDIES, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: You know, there's this whole tradition of thinking about black female bodies as objects of white male desire. And, so, when you call them a ho, you're not merely disrespecting them. You're invoking this whole legacy of racism and even white supremacy.

MATTINGLY: And, yet, it's a word that permeates pop culture in music and in comedy. Once used for shock value, it's become part of popular speech.

A Web search for the word ho at one mainstream online store turns up more than 600 rap song titles, the word nappy, slang for coarse, unkempt hair, turns up more than 130 song titles, most from before World War II. That word, however, is even the name of a chain of hair salons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a negative. I'm trying to turn it around and make it a positive.

MATTINGLY: But put them together, and it's a double insult.

(on camera): How many of you have actually used that word, called someone a ho? All of you?

(voice-over): But these young women don't see a double standard. A campus protest attracted national attention when students objected to how women were being portrayed in rap music and videos. They say the same objections apply to the comment from Imus.

CHEREE BELL, STUDENT, SPELMAN COLLEGE: Once he said ho, it transcended to an oppressive of gender. Once he said nappy-headed ho, it transcended to an oppression of race. And, if we would have said poor nappy-headed ho, it would have transcended to -- to an oppression of class.

MATTINGLY: The lesson here, these young women say, is that some words are never appropriate.

David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Well, three -- coming up, three other points of view coming up on what Don Imus said and the price he should pay for it.

"Raw Politics" as well, the presidential hopefuls weighing in on the Imus controversy.

And the moment that Larry Birkhead and, it seems, the entire tabloid industry have been waiting for: Who is the father of Anna Nicole Smith's daughter? What happens now to the little girl who might -- and we say might -- inherit a fortune? All that is ahead on 360.


COOPER: The Imus outrage, and should he keep his job? A three- way 360 debate -- next.


COOPER: He says he's sorry, but he's also saying he's the victim of a double standard.

Some time soon -- we don't yet know when -- Don Imus is going to make his case to the Rutgers women's basketball team and its coach, a private meeting, we're told, in the middle of a very public scandal that millions of Americans are talking about.

Joining me now, Amy Holmes, a speechwriter for former Republican Senator Bill Frist, also radio host and CNN contributor Roland Martin, and Robert George of "The New York Post."

Good to see you all. Appreciate you all being on the program.

Amy, you said today that -- and I quote -- "Degradation of African-American women is part of our culture and has to stop."

But, as we just saw in David Mattingly's report, do you see a double standard? Is it appropriate for, and should it be accepted when, people within the African-American community use terms that then white people are criticized for using?

AMY HOLMES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don't think it's appropriate. And I do think that there's a double standard. And I think we are better than that. We are better than being called these ugly, degrading slurs about our -- our womanhood, about our -- our ethnicity and our race.

And, you know, I -- I don't associate with people who would be calling these type of things -- calling me these types of things. I have gone on Web sites and seen commentary about me, and I have been called names for having -- wearing my hair curly. I have been called the N-word because of my complexion. And it's completely unacceptable.

COOPER: Roland, today, a couple of sponsors pulled ads from Imus' show, I guess Staples, Bigelow's Tea.

Is that enough? He's been suspended, two weeks off. He's -- he's apologized. He's going to personally apologize, apparently, to the Rutgers team. Is this enough, two weeks? Should it be over?


I mean, as Whoopi Goldberg said, it must be beyond that. Keep in mind, it was Bernard McGuirk, his executive producer, who first called the women hos. Imus responded to him. We have forgotten about him.

He has a sport sidekick who, in the past, has criticized Venus Williams and Serena Williams. He was fired, but he got hired back. Of course the suspension is not enough.

But, also, Anderson, I think we need to put this in context. We're trying to compare Imus to rappers. Keep in mind, NBC has "Today Show." ABC has "Good Morning America." CBS has "The Early Show." CNN has "AMERICAN MORNING." FOX has "FOX & Friends." MSNBC has Don Imus.

As Whoopi Goldberg said, it is a different standard. He is operating on a different platform. You don't see Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton sitting down with the Ying Yang Twins. You don't see Senator McCain rapping with Snoop Dogg. It's a different standard. So, to compare the two is not proper.

COOPER: Robert, how about that? Does he need to be fired over this? Is it a different standard?

ROBERT GEORGE, "THE NEW YORK POST": There -- it is a different -- it is a different standard, because, as Roland said, Imus wants to have it both ways.

On the one hand, he wants to be... MARTIN: Precisely.

GEORGE: ... he wants to be the locker room, you know, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you know, slapping the -- slapping the rhetorical towels around.

But, on the other hand, he wants to be seen as a serious political commentator, somebody who is able to talk with John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Tim Russert, and so forth. So, there is -- there is a double standard. And there's also -- remember, there's also a double -- there's also a double history that is going on here.

I think a lot of the stuff that comes out of the rap culture, whether it's the N-word or calling people hos, bitches, whatever, it's reprehensible. And they -- and the rappers have to be called on it. And the black community has to focus on that.

But the power structure that -- that Don Imus has, the platform, the platform that he has...

MARTIN: Precisely.

GEORGE: ... is vastly -- is vastly more influential.

HOLMES: Robert -- Robert, I'm not...

GEORGE: And he should...


COOPER: But wait. Actually, let me just jump in on that -- on that point.

Talk about power structure behind these rappers. Are all the big media companies -- you know, they're the ones putting out these albums. I mean, Viacom, which, you know, owns BET, I guess Warner Brothers, which is probably owned by Time Warner, which owns CNN, I mean, they're the ones making money.

HOLMES: Anderson -- Anderson -- Anderson, you're exactly right. And you're exactly right. And it is these rappers who have mainstreamed the use of this language so that Don Imus goes on thinking that he has permission to be calling these young women these names.

GEORGE: No, no.

HOLMES: He said the companies are profiting at the expense of African-American women. We've seen the videos. We've heard the lyrics. And it's time for it to stop.

COOPER: Roland?

GEORGE: Amy, the problem is --

MARTIN: Anderson... COOPER: I'm sorry, let Robert just finish his point, because he was...

GEORGE: The thing is, though, Imus has been doing this for a long time. You know, it wasn't -- he didn't need the permission of rappers to call Gwen Ifill a cleaning lady 15 years ago -- a cleaning lady for "The New York Times" 15 -- you know, 15 years ago.

So he has -- he personally has a history -- has a history with this, and he has to be called to account.

COOPER: So Roland, is that a red herring that he threw up today to kind of diffuse this situation?

MARTIN: Well, first of all, it's not just him. Let's look at -- first of all, Anderson, I've got to correct something for the Time Warner folks. Time Warner sold Warner Brother Records. They no longer own it.

COOPER: I didn't know that. So there you go. I just made the assumption. But -- but go on.

MARTIN: It's all right. It's all right. But the whole point, here's what's happening. Anderson, you have three African-Americans talking about this issue. This was not just a racist issue. This was a sexist issue.

As Vivian Stringer said, whites, Hispanics, Asians, African- Americans should be outraged. The problem is not rappers using language. You go to -- you go to boxing matches, women are walking around with ring cards. We have a society that is about sexism.

And so when men don't stand up and say to a Don Imus you shouldn't say that because that is degrading, then we have this problem. I think we have to broaden this. This is not a black issue. This is a sexist issue and a racist issue, and more people should be speaking out, not just African-Americans.

HOLMES: I would agree with that. And when Donald Trump was making his remarks about Rosie O'Donnell, calling her fat, and I won't even get into it, because it's so ugly, I did speak up. And I said when did it become OK for men to be talking about women this way in private or in public? And it's disgraceful.

And I hope that this is a turning point in our discussion and in our popular culture that grownups, people with some decency and some dignity, finally say no, no more.

COOPER: But this is -- but we live in a culture which -- which not just approves of this, but people profit from it.

HOLMES: Promotes it, yes.

COOPER: I mean, this is an entire industry. On television, on radio, getting people to yell at each over and argue with each other, that's part and parcel of -- frankly, of most cable news stations. HOLMES: Well, rough and tumble argument is one thing, but calling -- calling people these epithets and slurs is quite another.

MARTIN: Here's what I find to be interesting, Anderson. Anderson, Bishop T.D. Jakes has been the only national moral leader who has issued a statement denouncing Don Imus.

What I'm amazed by is where is the national statement from Focus on the Family, from the Family Research Council, from Concerned Women for America? Where are the moral groups?

I had a woman from CWA on my radio show today, and she was speaking. And I said, "But wait a minute. What about the national organizations?"

This is a moral dilemma. This is not just a racial dilemma. This is a moral dilemma. And you need to have folks focusing on the broader issue and not just, well, this is a black issue.

COOPER: We're going to be -- we're going to have you back a lot, not only in this hour but also in the next hour. And we're going to be talking calls from viewers.

We've got to move on right now, but we will be talking again. And Robert, you'll make the first point when we do come back.

GEORGE: Thank you.

COOPER: Robert George, Amy Holmes, Roland Martin. We'll be talking again very shortly.

We go down to Washington where the Don Imus controversy is raw material for tonight's "Raw Politics", brought to us by CNN's Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On "Raw Politics" tonight it doesn't get much rawer than this. A radio talk show host with millions of listeners says something racist and sexist.

What's a politician to say? Not much if they can help it. Politicians are cautious and flat out allergic to controversy. It was several days before any if the '08ers said a word about Don Imus. Once he apologized, it got easier, because nobody had to go out on a limb.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The president believes that the apology was the absolute right thing to do.

CROWLEY: The suspension also helped loosen things up. Shortly after it was announced yesterday Imus would be off the air for two weeks, Barack Obama issued a written statement: "The comments of Don Imus were divisive, hurtful and offensive to Americans of all backgrounds." Though, he has gotten in the past for offensive remarks, Imus was once named one of "TIME" magazine's 25 most influential people. Some in the '08 field appear regularly on the show.

Chris Dodd announced his candidacy there. Today he wrote, "As the father of two young girls, I can imagine how hurtful these comments were to these young women and their parents. The comments were wrong and unacceptable."

Opinions on whether Imus should get more than a two-week suspension are scarce. John McCain, a frequent Imus guest, punted.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He has apologized. He said he was deeply sorry. I'm a great believer in redemption.

CROWLEY: Hillary Clinton, who originally issued a fairly cautious response, later revved up, coming closest to saying Imus shouldn't be on the air.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've been on the receiving end of a lot of his barbs. So, you know, I understand, I'm a public figure. But it just went way over the line.

CROWLEY: And Rudy Giuliani came closest to letting bygones be bygones.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would appear on his program again. Sure, I would. I think that -- I take him at his word. I take Don at his word that he understands the gravity of what he did.

CROWLEY: And on that much, they could all agree.

And that, Anderson, is "Raw Politics".


COOPER: It certainly is. Candy, thanks. Don't miss "Raw Politics" and the day's headlines in the new 360 daily podcast. You can get the download tomorrow morning at or on iTunes.

And in our next hour, your phone calls on the Imus affair. We want to hear from you. Call us, toll free, 877-648-3639.

First, though, why asking for forgiveness doesn't always guarantee you'll get it.


COOPER (voice-over): Saying I'm sorry, from the low key...


COOPER: ... to the grand opera.

JIMMY SWAGGART, TELEVANGELIST: I have sinned against you, my Lord.

COOPER: See what the experts say about what works and what doesn't. The art, and there is an art, of the apology.

Also, his DNA is a-OK.


COOPER: But now that he's the daddy, what about his baby and all that money?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This baby who is in the news, isn't a meal ticket. She's not a lottery ticket. She's a baby who's tragically lost her mother.

BECK: There could be a few surprises in store. The latest on the Anna Nicole Smith saga from the Bahamas, and with our team of legal experts, just ahead on 360.



COOPER: So, nearly two months to the day since Anna Nicole Smith died, a judge has finally ruled who her daughter's father is, and the decision could have some far-reaching consequences, at least for the daughter and the family, and a young life and perhaps hundreds of millions, as well.

CNN's Rusty Dornin reports tonight from the Bahamas.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the moment came, Larry Birkhead emerged from the courthouse in Nassau and played the crowd.

BIRKHEAD: I hate to be the one that told you this, but I told you so.

DORNIN: A DNA expert in court confirmed Birkhead, Smith's former boyfriend, is Dannielynn's father.

At least four men had made the claim. Among them, Howard K. Stern, Smith's long-time companion and attorney, who filed an appeal to stop the DNA results from being revealed. But that battle was lost. Stern was fined $10,000 for his effort.

Now that paternity is final, no more fighting, says a disappointed Stern.

HOWARD K. STERN, ANNA NICOLE SMITH'S LAWYER: I am not going to fight Larry Birkhead on custody. We're going to do what we can to make sure that the best interests of Dannielynn are carried out.

DORNIN: Then there is Virgie Arthur, Anna Nicole's estranged mother. She's lost nearly every court battle since her daughter died. Following this revelation, she put on a brave face.

VIRGIE ARTHUR, MOTHER OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH: I'm happy that Dannielynn will know who her real father is.

DORNIN: Before the announcement, the tension mounted. There were plenty of tourists, gawkers and a full scale international media scramble to catch the major players.

In the court of public opinion, Birkhead was the undisputed winner, especially here in the Bahamas. For local resident Silver Wood, it was a piece of tabloid history.

(on camera) Were you surprised?

SILVER WOOD, BAHAMAS RESIDENT: No, not at all. Not at all.

DORNIN: Are you happy about it?

WOOD: I'm very happy. It was a very emotional moment.

DORNIN (voice-over): For tourist Lori Logan, forget the beach or shopping.

LORI LOGAN, TOURIST: I'm glad it's Larry.

DORNIN (on camera): Why?

LOGAN: I just think he presents a little bit more wholesome character, on the outside.

DORNIN: Now he will try and convince a Bahamian judge of that at a custody hearing on Friday, that not only is he the biological father, but he can be a good father as well, a good father to a baby girl that just might inherit a fortune.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Nassau, the Bahamas.


COOPER: Well, the bizarre case, I guess, is far from over. Joining us with more are CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom.

So Jeffrey, it looked pretty cut and dry. Larry Birkhead, you know, DNA, he's the father. Howard K. Stern is not going to contest it, correct?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Very disappointing day, I thought. Because I think people have certain obviations, and in this case people have obligations to act like tabloid trash, to be a circus.


TOOBIN: And in fact, everybody was acting very responsibly, saying everybody is going to get along, that Howard Stern is going to respect Larry Birkhead's victory here.

BLOOM: Well, I think one person.

TOOBIN: Virgie -- even Virgie, the mother...

BLOOM: But she's cagey. Virgie is going to keep fighting. Virgie has asked for custody. There's a hearing on Friday. Virgie did not say in front of the cameras she's just going to let Larry Birkhead have the baby. She did not say that.

TOOBIN: But her lawyers said on "LARRY KING" a couple minutes ago that everybody is going to get along, that he'll -- she'll have visitation rights. I'm afraid, tragically...

BLOOM: Why didn't she drop the case? Why didn't she drop the case?

TOOBIN: Because this just happened 15 minutes ago.

BLOOM: Virgie has been fighting for custody for months. And Howard K. Stern has had seven months of this baby that he knew wasn't his, and now he's had a change of heart today.

COOPER: But he also says that it's not like an automatic turnover, that there needs to be time for Dannielynn to adjust.

BLOOM: Yes. Because he's been holding the baby for seven months. And now it would be bad for her development.

COOPER: Except for he was in the Bahamas buying a boat.

BLOOM: Yes, in Florida buying the boat. Yes, exactly. But you know, I mean, why the change of heart now? There has to be a deal behind the scenes. There has to be something...

TOOBIN: One would assume that the reason why everybody is getting along so well is that there has been some financial arrangement, either future money agreed to or past.

COOPER: But do we know? Is there actually money there? Or this all just possible future money that they are divvying up?

BLOOM: Howard Stern's siblings and parents came out last week and say he has not made a dime. In fact, in 12 years with Anna Nicole, all he ever got was room and board. Never made any money. He just cared for her, and he took care of her out of the kindness of his heart.

That may be true. You know, there are probably transportation and hotel deals that various media outlets have given the parties in this case. As to who's gotten how much money, we may never know. TOOBIN: Most of us have treated Dannielynn, essentially, as an ATM with a diaper. I mean, that is sort of what she has -- the idea of custody equals money.

The fact is, when this case was litigated over the past ten years, Anna Nicole lost more than she won. I mean, this $500 million may never go to that side of the family. It may all wind up with her ex-husband's family.

But there is at least the possibility of all that money going to Dannielynn. So, you know, I think that's one reason why a lot of people are fighting so much.

COOPER: Where does that case stand now?

TOOBIN: It's now -- it's so complicated. Anna Nicole won in the United States Supreme Court, which returned the case to federal court in California.

But the substantive judgment on the money mostly went in favor of the Marshall heirs, Howard Marshall's son, who subsequently died, so it's now his widow who's fighting the case.

BLOOM: It's the curse of the Marshall money. Everybody who's wanted it has died. J. Howard Marshall, his son, now Anna Nicole. Now we're onto the third generation.

COOPER: The amount of money that they're talking about, they could just make a deal. The hundreds of millions...

BLOOM: His one wife has vowed that she will fight this to the end, that J. Howard Marshall never wanted any...

TOOBIN: And the lawyers are the ones who are going to end up with millions of dollars.

This is so grotesque. I mean, the son, Pierce Marshall, had this $500 million inheritance. He could have given Anna Nicole $10 million ten years ago, and this thing would have gone away.

But the appalling greed of, frankly, Marshall's heirs, not Anna Nicole, Marshall's heirs. Instead of just making a deal, they fought her all the way. They've enriched all these lawyers.

BLOOM: Right.

TOOBIN: And now here it is ten plus years and it's well far from settled.

BLOOM: Third generation and everyone is fighting just as hard.

COOPER: And so is there a timeline for when this money...

TOOBIN: No, no. Indefinitely.

BLOOM: There's probably been a dozen years of litigation. And by the way, J. Howard Marshall, the old guy, he taught trusts and estates in Yale Law School many, many years ago. His legacy has been this lengthy estate litigation because he didn't leave a clear will.

COOPER: And does Anna Nicole Smith, did she have a will? Do we know?

BLOOM: She had a will. She left everything to her son, Daniel, who predeceased her. And the will specifically said, "I do not give anything to any other heirs who may ever be born," which would include Dannielynn.

Howard -- Howard K. Stern is the executor of that will. So that will is probably no good, because there's no heir. There's nobody to give the money to. There's no backup heir. Which means she would have be considered to have died intestate, without a will. Everything will go to Dannielynn. If there is anything. If there is anything, Anderson. There might not be anything.

COOPER: And there's a lot of lawsuits against her estate for a myriad of things. Unpaid bills.

BLOOM: Yes. Trimspa class action, for example. Yes.

COOPER: Exhausting.

BLOOM: It is.

TOOBIN: It's totally, totally exhausting.

BLOOM: But it's a legal story that just keeps on going.

TOOBIN: We can only -- we can only hope.

COOPER: Can we stop talking about it tonight?


COOPER: Well, maybe in our next hour for those who didn't see this one. Not any more in this hour. Guys, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Coming up on 360, we'll have much more of the outrage over Don Imus. We'll get more feedback from actress and activist Whoopi Goldberg, some of the comments you haven't heard before. And why some apologies work and others simply fall flat.

Plus, that's right, Japan looking for a few good men and women to serve in its maritime reserves. That's right. It's a whole new seamanship commercial. That's "The Shot" tonight, and it came from our viewers. That ahead.


COOPER: Well, you know, Japan dissolved its imperial army after World War II, but that doesn't mean it is defenseless -- defenseless. It's trying to build up its navy reserve and you got to see the new sales pitch. It's the new seamanship commercial, coming up.

But first, Erica Hill from Headline News has the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, a bloody day in Iraq. In Baghdad, 16 U.S. troops were wounded in a day-long battle with insurgents. Four Iraqi soldiers, three insurgents died in that battle.

A car bomb near Baghdad University killed six, and one student died when a mortar hit a boys school.

Outside Baghdad, 13 people were killed when a female suicide bomber targeted police recruits.

In Washington, the House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena demanding more Justice Department documents related to the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. The committee chairman told Attorney General Alberto Gonzales his department has run out of time to hand the documents over voluntarily.

On Wall Street, a winning streak for the Dow, closing up for the eighth straight session now. Blue chips advancing nearly five points on the day. The NASDAQ gained eight. The S&P up three.

And remember those rats at a New York City restaurant? Well, some newly released records from the city health department show a customer complained about -- get this -- a rat -- seeing a rat fall from the ceiling back in January. Oh, yes.

And then a month later, a health inspector gave the place a clean bill of health, despite the evidence of recent rat trappings. Yes, I know. It's good stuff, right?

COOPER: Yikes!

HILL: Makes you want to go -- go dine there. Doesn't it?

COOPER: A rat from the ceiling, that's just nasty.

HILL: How wrong is that while you're eating?

COOPER: Yes, yes. That's not good. That's not good.

It's a very exciting day here at 360. Because you know, for years we have -- we've had our favorite commercial, which is for the Japanese naval defense force.

HILL: It's an incredible one, yes.

COOPER: It's a great commercial. They have made a new one.

HILL: Stop.

COOPER: We got this from a 360 viewer. Take a look.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking Japanese)


COOPER: That's my favorite part right there.

HILL: I love that. That's good stuff right there. Yes. Nice moves. Oh, yes, don't mess with him.

COOPER: It's good. There's no doubt this is a good -- it's a good -- it's, you know, a good improvement. It's a little bit corny.

HILL: I do think it's energetic.

COOPER: It's very energetic, but you know what? There's nothing like the original. So let's just...

HILL: Do we have it?

COOPER: Of course we do. Let's play it.

HILL: All right.




HILL: Yes!

COOPER: Who would you rather have defending your shores, these guys or the other guys?

HILL: You know, that's a tough call.

COOPER: I know. It's a tough call.

HILL: It really is.


HILL: I mean, they've got good moves, too.

COOPER: Exactly, yes.

HILL: Check out that hip -- that hip action.


HILL: I mean, you can't find that just anywhere. That's something they only teach in the Japanese navy.

COOPER: So we now have two seamanship ads. It's a big day for us here.

HILL: We are going to have a good time with these two, I think.

COOPER: You're going to be seeing a lot of this.

HILL: I look forward to it.

COOPER: Thanks, Erica.

HILL: See you later.

COOPER: Well, thanks to the viewer for sending us that "Shot of the Day". Tell us about it, We'll put some of your best clips on the air.

Also, if you want another look at a shot or get the day's headlines, check out the new 360 daily podcast. You can download it at Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Or you can just get it from iTunes.

Still to come tonight, the right way to say I'm sorry. Also, more from our interview with Whoopi Goldberg, who has seen her share of controversy. Hear what she thinks Don Imus should do next.

And a chance for you to weigh in. We're going to be taking your calls. The number to dial: 877-648-3639. That's 877-648-3639. Or e- mail us. Go to Click on "instant feedback".


COOPER: Don Imus firing back, but so is the captain of the team he insulted. All the angles and your phone calls, next on 360.


COOPER: We know who's the daddy, and it's not Howard K. Stern, the guy in the picture. The question now, will Anna Nicole Smith's daughter inherit hundreds of millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars or absolutely nothing? That's coming up.

But first, the other story that millions of people are talking about. Don Imus apologizing again today for calling members of the Rutgers women's basketball team a bunch of nappy-headed hos, saying he'll apologize in private to the team members and their coach but also slamming the African-American community for regularly using the same words that he did.

All the angles this hour, starting with his appearance this morning on NBC's "Today Show" with the Reverend Al Sharpton, who wants Imus fired.