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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Plane Crash in Brazil Kills 200; Senate Democrats Hold Marathon Session on Iraq War

Aired July 17, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
We begin tonight with breaking news and tragic news: a fiery plane crash in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Details are sketchy. Here is what we know right now.

A passenger plane carrying more than 170 people crashed while attempting to land in heavy rain at an airport in the central part of the city. The flames speak for themselves. The plane apparently skidded off a runway across a busy road during rush hour. Two hundred people are now confirmed dead. It is the deadliest air crash in Brazil's history.

Joining me now in Sao Paulo is Tom Hennigan, a reporter for "The Times of London," and CNN's Miles O'Brien, an experienced pilot.

Tom, what is the latest you're hearing about this plane crash? Is it clear yet how many, if any of the people on the ground were killed or injured by the crash?

TOM HENNIGAN, "THE TIMES OF LONDON": We have been told by the governor of Sao Paulo, Jose Serra, that 12 people on the ground were killed, along with 176 people on the plane.

The head of the fire service at the scene has said that there are 200 dead in total. So, that would make it about 24 people dead on the ground. The plane was coming in to land on the main runway at Congonhas Airport, and it was on the runway, but it skidded off. The end of the runway is at a considerable ramp above a multi-lane freeway below us.

It flew over that freeway and crashed into buildings on the other side of the freeway, and burst into flames. And we can still see flames coming from the back of the area where the plane crashed. But the area where the plane itself finally came to rest, in the front of the building, the flames have stopped, but there's still fire at the back of that area.

COOPER: We saw some images of bodies, one body, at least, in a body bag. Have -- have people -- have all the victims been taken out at this point? Do we know?

HENNIGAN: No, the -- the -- the main job at the moment is to still put out the flames. The -- part of the plane seems to have burned itself out. You can now see the tail section. They're still putting a lot of water, though, on that. I imagine it's still extraordinarily hot where that fire -- fire -- it was a very intense fire, so they have not started the operation to retrieve most of the bodies yet.

COOPER: Tom, we have been flying a lot in Brazil this past year. There -- there have been extensive problems with the air traffic control system throughout the country.

Describe to us the airport for us. I understand -- I know it's right in the city. It's a busy area. Repairs have recently been done on one of the main runways. Do we know what went wrong?

HENNIGAN: Well, this airport is right in the center of Sao Paulo. It is just slightly to the south of the main financial area, very popular with businesspeople. And it's the main airport in Brazil, the busiest airport.

And the main runway there had a problem that, when it rains -- and Sao Paulo is a tropical city, so it gets tropical downpours. But, when it rains, water will collect on the runway surface. So, they closed the main runway at Congonhas for 45 days to try and resolve this problem. And it was only let go again to take planes on the 30th of June, so just over two weeks ago.

But they hadn't done the grooving, which is something that they do to the runways to increase grip for planes. But the authorities in charge of the work say that, you know, this was normal, that the runway was still passed as safe, and that they have to leave some time from putting on the new surface on the runway before they could make the grooving.

Now, that will, obviously, I assume, be a central focus of the accident investigation, because it had been raining heavily. I was out at the time that the accident took place. And it was very low clouds, heavy clouds. It was dark, and it was raining heavily at the time of this accident.

COOPER: Miles O'Brien also joins us now.

Miles, this may be a dumb question. How does the rain and the short runway affect a pilot's ability to land there, or anywhere, frankly?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Anderson, anybody who has driven their car down the highway and gone through a puddle has some sense of what's we're talking about here.

We're talking about hydroplaning. And, if that runway wasn't grooved, as the reports suggest, it's quite possible that water had collected. Maybe it was a thin coat of water that the pilots couldn't even detect as they were coming down for a landing, but it was enough to lift those wheels off the pavement, and, as they were trying to touch down, they were just gliding along on top of the water.

Now, that would cause a couple of problems. It -- as it turns out, the -- the systems which break the aircraft are designed to engage once those wheels start spinning. So, the automatic systems wouldn't even begin to begin the process of the braking action, the reverse thrust, until the the -- wheels started spinning.

So, here's thing -- here's the thing to watch and to pay attention to very closely, Anderson. Did the pilots attempt to continue braking, try to stop on that very short rain-slicked runway that may not have been grooved properly, as it should, or did they push the gas? Did they put the pedal to the metal, put those throttles right to the firewall and try to take back off again?

There's a lot of witness reports which seem to indicate the latter, that they tried to get back in the air again.

And there's one other thing to consider here. This airport, not only does it have a short runway, newly paved, perhaps no grooving, after a few days of rain, but this -- the topography in this part of the world makes it quite likely that there were downdrafts, which make it even more difficult for an aircraft to gain altitude, even on a good day.

So, there were a lot of things that were potentially conspiring against that flight crew today.

COOPER: Still a lot to be discovered, no doubt, in the next 24 hours. We will know a lot more, as well as the identity of some of those 200 souls that we know, confirmed, have now died.

Tom Hennigan, from "The Times of London," we appreciate your reporting -- it's been a busy several hours for you -- and, Miles O'Brien, your expertise as well. Thank you, guys.

We are going to bring you the latest from Brazil as soon as we know more.

Our other big story tonight is unfolding literally on the Senate floor, literally. Take a look.

This is a live shot we're about to show you, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu speaking on the Senate floor. They're all hunkering down for an all-nighter. It is the latest twist in the debate over Iraq.

Earlier, cots were brought in for the senators to sleep on. Republicans call it all a political stunt. Even Senate Democrats admit they want to focus attention on the Republicans' obstruction of a vote on withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. It is the first all- nighter in the Senate since 2003, when Republicans were demanding votes on judicial nominees, and Democrats were the ones filibustering.

Back then, the Democrats called the all-night session a circus. We will let you decide what to call tonight's sleepover in the Senate.

Joining me now is CNN's Dana Bash.

Dana, what is going on here? Why the sleepover?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Democrats are trying to use the publicity from this all-nighter, Anderson, essentially to try to pressure Republicans, more and more Republicans who we have seen lately come out and say that they are against the war, to say essentially that it's time for them to put their vote where their mouth is, to vote with Democrats on their deadline for troop withdrawal.

But here is a reality check for you. After this very long night we are going to see here, there is going to be a vote tomorrow morning, and no one expects it to pass. Even privately, Democrats will tell you that -- Anderson.

COOPER: I know you talked to -- to one of those moderate Republicans earlier, Susan Collins of Maine. I want to play for our viewers what she had to say about tonight's debate.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: This all-night debate has no impact on me whatsoever. It's clearly not an opportunity for a serious debate. We don't have to stay in all night to have a serious debate on Iraq. We can do that in the daylight hours just fine. All this is, is a political stunt.


COOPER: So, if they're saying it's a political stunt from a moderate Republican, and they're unlikely to get the votes anyway, why insist on pressing ahead?

BASH: Well, you know, there is another audience besides Republicans, and it's actually Democrats' own constituency, anti-war activists and -- and voters who are essentially against the war and -- and expect -- or expected eight months ago that, when they put Democrats in the majority here in Congress, that they would change the -- the strategy in Iraq.

And you see there some of it's going on as we speak. That is kind of evidence of why Democrats are doing that. They are trying to signal to these activists at the candlelight vigil with Democratic leaders here at the Capitol, as I said, going on. And there are similar vigils going on around the country as we speak.

So, this is a chance for them to -- to stage these things and to signal to their constituency that they might not have the votes right now, but at least they're trying.

COOPER: The -- the theater of politics.

Dana Bash, thanks for that.

As if the debate over Iraq were not muddy enough, a new government report is being pulled into the battle. The latest national intelligence estimate just released today, the unclassified part, echoes what some policy-makers have been saying publicly for some time now, that al Qaeda is regrouping and intent on attacking America again.

According to the report, al Qaeda is increasing its efforts to get operatives into the United States to stage another attack on U.S. soil and may use members of al Qaeda in Iraq to help in such an attack. The report also says al Qaeda continue to maintain safe havens in Pakistan's tribal areas, where it conducts training, and is replenishing its senior ranks.

No matter what your politics are, the overall report is sobering. And both sides in the Iraq debate are spinning it to support their case.

Earlier today, President Bush said it argues for staying the course in Iraq.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These people have sworn allegiance to the very same man who ordered the attack on September the 11th, 2001, Osama bin Laden. And they want us to leave parts of the world, like Iraq, so they can establish a safe haven from which to spread their poisonous ideology.


COOPER: Well, the Democrats, of course, see it differently. They say the NIE report shows the war on terror has gone off course and that we should pull out of Iraq or redeploy and focus on capturing Osama bin Laden.

Back in the Senate, as we just talked about, the cots are ready. Both sides are hunkering down for a long night, and it's really not likely to change the outcome for Democrats.

CNN's Tom Foreman is here to explain now the politics and the raw reality -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The raw reality, Anderson, is, this is a tremendous political tug-of-war. What do the Democrats know?

They know, as Dana mentioned, that, in fact, many people thought when they were elected more than a half-year ago that they were going to change the course of this war, and they know there's a lot of public sentiment for doing that right now. Why haven't they done it, though? Take a look at this. This is the problem.

Democrats over here, blue -- Republicans in red -- yes, the Democrats have a majority, 51 to 49, but, even if they could get all the Democrats pulling the same direction -- and they're not all pulling the same direction yet -- they still would need 60 votes to make a real difference in this, 60 votes, because that's what it takes to overcome a Republican filibuster, which can stop everything.

Without 60 votes, they can't put a piece of paper on the president's desk, saying, this is what we want. And, while all that is happening, the president, and his men, are pushing back with things like this intelligence report, Anderson. And what they're saying with this intelligence report really is that you must take this very seriously. This can't be about politics. This has to be about the overall question of war.

So, what we're talking about in this country of 300 million people, for all this war, is a struggle over six to 10 people in the Senate and whether or not one side or the other can pull them that way. Right now, the Republicans are winning.

COOPER: Right. It boils down to those moderate Republicans. What do they need to try to get those -- those Republicans on their side?

FOREMAN: What they need is time and pressure. They have got a little bit of both right now. They have had some time pass, but they need more, with the situation essentially not changing or not getting much better, and they need pressure to maintain itself.

If things in Iraq, militarily -- you know, people are saying the military is doing some good there. If it continues to improve somewhat, that will give more Republicans, moderate Republicans, like Susan Collins, a reason to say, look, we said we would wait until September. Let's keep waiting. Let's see what happens.

COOPER: But we did hear now from Michael Chertoff, saying that he believes. He talked about a gut feeling that an attack on the United States' soil -- and there's also this -- it's possible. It could be as much as this summer. We now have the national intelligence estimate saying that -- you know, that there is a heightened threat.

What happens to this debate if there is another terror attack on U.S. soil?

FOREMAN: If there's another terror threat, all bets are off at that point. And both sides know that. They know that, if there's another terror attack, Republicans -- nobody's going to want to stand up at that moment and play politics on it.

The fact is, they will do what they did after 9/11. They will unite, one of the rare time we have seen our government really unite at that time. It's a good thing for us. But the long-term play of that would be, the Republicans would say, we said all along this is too important to play around with. You have got to do it this way.

And the Democrats would probably go to the -- the stance of saying, yes, and if we hadn't been in Iraq and stirred them up so much, maybe this wouldn't have happened that way.

COOPER: All right. Tom Foreman, appreciate it. Thanks for the reporting tonight.

While the debate over Iraq rages on the Senate floor, U.S. commanders in Iraq say they are bracing for an offensive by insurgents, possibly on the scale of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. We're going to get to that in a moment.

First, "Keeping Them Honest," a closer look at this NIE report on al Qaeda. You just heard how Democrats and Republicans are spinning it.

And joining me now is CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, CNN's Michael Ware, and retired U.S. General David Grange.

Michael, the Bush White House is now portraying the fight in Iraq as a fight between the U.S. and al Qaeda. Let's talk reality. We know al Qaeda is responsible for some of the high-profile attacks. But are they really the biggest enemy we now face in Iraq?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, not by a long shot, Anderson.

And the administration trying to spin that is just -- you know, they're trying to play the American public. They're trying to equate Iraq with those who attacked America. That's precisely President Bush's words, but it's somewhat misleading.

If you look at the entire body of the insurgency, the people who are blowing up U.S. convoys, firing mortars, firing rockets, they're the ones in the ambush attacks. They're the ones who are in the small-arms-fire gun battles with U.S. troops. Al Qaeda would be lucky to make up 3 percent of that, 3 percent of the total insurgency.

Yes, al Qaeda has a monopoly on the spectacular car bombs. But three U.S. troops are dying thereabouts every day, and al Qaeda is responsible for very few of those -- Anderson.

COOPER: Peter, Michael referenced it. We also heard it in a sound bite from President Bush earlier in the program. The White House repeatedly is now saying -- this is their new message -- that the people who attacked us on 9/11 are the same ones we're fighting now in Iraq.

The group, obviously, al Qaeda in Iraq, did not exist before this war. Are they the same thing? Are they the same people as al Qaeda, as Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, as Zawahri's al Qaeda? Or are there real differences between these two groups, al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq, that are important to know about when we're trying to understand who this enemy is?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, interesting, President Bush kind of slightly rephrased the way that he put this. He said now in the clip that we just played that the people -- al Qaeda in Iraq are people who have sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden. And Osama bin Laden attacked us on 9/11.

Well, that is -- that is more true than his previous statement that we're being attacked on 9/11 by the same people who are attacking us in Iraq, because, of course, al Qaeda in Iraq didn't exist until 2004, when it formally changed its name from Tawhid to al Qaeda in Iraq. It's now the Islamic State of Iraq.

It is a group, as -- as Michael has pointed out, that is relatively small. On the other hand, it's done disproportionately the -- the largest number of suicide attackers in Iraq are all foreigners. There have actually been quite an interesting number of studies which demonstrate how few Iraqis are involved in the suicide attacks.

And it's the suicide attacks, of course, that have had -- that sparked the civil war, that got the United Nations to withdraw, and that made Iraq a much more dangerous place. So, despite their small number, they have had a disproportionate strategic effect on the ground.

It's interesting in the NIE that -- the national intelligence estimate says that it's possible al Qaeda in Iraq might try and attack the United States. I think that there's a long way off before that happens.

But al Qaeda in Iraq has attacked three American-owned hotels in Jordan in 2005. I think, when we know more about the attacks in London and Glasgow, we will find that the Iraqi doctor involved in those attacks had some links with al Qaeda in Iraq. So, they have demonstrated some interest in attacking outside the country, outside Iraq, already -- Anderson.

COOPER: General Grange, we have talked before about how this is a learning enemy that we're facing. Their tactics evolve and are being exported.

To what extent has this war in Iraq been a training ground for extremists, perfecting tactics which are now being exported to Afghanistan, and Jordan, as Peter talked about, Britain, and possibly here in America?


I mean, not only in Iraq, but in Afghanistan and places like Chechnya, and elsewhere, anywhere there's conflict, the forces that are -- are there are going to learn new tactics, procedures, techniques against their foe. They -- they learn new asymmetric means to counter a more powerful force.

And it's the same thing for the Army of the United States or the Iraqi army. They learn on -- in this battleground as well. I mean, regrettably, battle really trains forces to be very competent. And, so, if they're fighting in Iraq, al Qaeda will improve their skills. There's no doubt about it.

COOPER: General Grange, there are those who say, well, look, we're fighting them over there, so that we don't have to fight them here at home. If they are already exporting what they have learned in Iraq, is that statement true?

GRANGE: Well, sure. They're going to -- they're going to learn these techniques in camps somewhere. Whether it's in Iraq or somewhere else, this is an enemy that does not like us. They're going to come after us.

We just gave them an opportunity to assemble in Iraq. I kind of like the idea they assemble in Iraq, because there -- there's more of them there to take down, instead of hunting them around the world of global operations, which are very difficult. Here, we have a license to kill or capture. Many other places, we do not. And, so, I don't think it's a bad thing that they're assembling in Iraq.

COOPER: But -- but, Peter, as you and I have seen in Afghanistan -- we have been there now together twice this -- this -- in the last nine months or so -- they are already going to Afghanistan, and spreading what they have learned in Iraq in Afghanistan.

BERGEN: Indeed.

I mean, there's been people going from Afghanistan to Iraq and coming back with on-the-job training. And it's interesting. The suicide attacks in Afghanistan didn't start when the U.S.-led invasion happened in 2001. They really took off in the 2004 time period, basically learning from the Iraqi insurgency and copycatting the Iraqi insurgency.

We have now seen suicide attacks quintuple last year. It's because Iraqi-style insurgency tactics are work -- work in Afghanistan in a way that they have also worked in Iraq. So, certainly, there's been -- I -- I would differ slightly with the general, who I greatly admire, in the sense that I think the Iraqi war has sort of amplified the jihadi problem.

Of course it already existed, but it has been more of than a major irritant. And, in a study that I did with an NYU colleague, Paul Cruickshank, we found a sevenfold increase in jihadist terrorist attacks around the world following the invasion of Iraq compared to the period after the 9/11 attacks.

Now, of course, a lot of that was in Iraq, a lot of that in Afghanistan, but also around the Arab world, and, of course, as we have seen in Europe, with the attacks in Madrid and London.

COOPER: Well, let me get Michael in.

Michael, do you -- I mean, you have spent a lot of time getting close as any -- as close as any reporter can to interviewing jihadists. You have been there really since the get-go when this war began.

Has Iraq created jihadists who wouldn't have become jihadists anyway?

WARE: Oh, absolutely.

I mean, the whole notion of better to fight them over there than over here, let's -- let's bring them in like a honey pot and draw them to Iraq and kill them, is absolutely ludicrous. In fact, it's so ludicrous, it's downright dangerous, because what they're doing is, they're creating entire generation of jihadis that did not exist.

And it's providing the inspiration and motivation to create whole waves of more jihadi who don't even have to come here to be inflamed by Iraq. So, Iraq has been a total disaster, in terms of limiting the number -- number of jihadis on the planet. COOPER: General Grange, I want to give you a chance to respond to those comments.

GRANGE: No, I think that Iraq has multiplied jihadists. There's no doubt about it.

What I'm saying that this movement is going to come after America, whether we're in Iraq or not. I mean, I just think it will. Now, maybe it's been multiplied quickly, the numbers that volunteer, because of Iraq, no doubt about it.

But, look, they have a great brand. They have a great tagline. They're wonderful in the virtual arena. And they know how to market what they want to do. And they're going to do that somewhere in this world -- there's no doubt in my mind -- in multiple places. And, so, we're going to have to take them on somewhere.

Whether we like Iraq or not, it's there. It was created. It's caused a lot more to come to the plate. But, I mean, we're going to have to do it.

COOPER: Marketing terror. It is a brave new world.

General Grange, appreciate your expertise.

Peter Bergen, as well, Michael Ware, as well, thank you very much.

Up next: a shooting in New Orleans and accusations of a cover-up.


COOPER (voice-over): It became a symbol of the suffering.


COOPER: A scene of chaos, confusion and death -- one of the casualties, a father shot by police. Did the officers cross the line? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Plus, NFL star quarterback Michael Vick facing criminal charges and possibly prison, accused of taking part in dogfighting -- tonight, a look at the illegal sport, why it's so popular -- when 360 continues.



COOPER: Yesterday, we came to you live from the Gulf Coast as part of our pledge to never forget what happened there, never forget how our government failed to help its own people in the days after Hurricane Katrina, and, in many ways, still continues to fail.

Today, we focus on one incident that happened during all that madness two years ago, nearly two years ago, in which police shot and killed a man outside the New Orleans Convention Center. Now, the officers say they were defending themselves, but the autopsy, which CNN filed a lawsuit to get, now raises some very serious questions.

CNN's Drew Griffin tonight "Keeping Them Honest."


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two years ago, Danny Brumfield's body was left lying in the street outside the New Orleans Convention Center, shot to death by police in the confusion and chaos after Hurricane Katrina.

Police called is it a justifiable shooting in self-defense. But was it? That week, Danny Brumfield had chopped a hole in his roof, so his family could escape the rising floodwaters. On a highway overpass, he kept trying to stop patrol cars for help. He wound up at the Convention Center...

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: We want help! We want help!

GRIFFIN: ... where thousands worried about food, water, and their safety.

AFRICA BRUMFIELD, NIECE OF DANNY BRUMFIELD: We were listening to a lot of women yell for help. There was rumors of rapes taking place. And, from the way the women were screaming, it sounded like those rumors were true.

GRIFFIN: Late at night, his family says, Brumfield stepped into the street to try to flag down a police car. But their version of what happened is different from the official version.

(on camera): According to the police report, a black man came out of nowhere from the Convention Center. He had something shiny in his right hand and was waving as police -- as they approached in the patrol car.

When they came up, the man actually jumped on the windshield and was trying to swing what turned out to be a pair of scissors in his right hand at the officer in this seat. That officer pulled out a shotgun and shot Danny Brumfield, killing him. For two years now, that has been the only story we have gotten from the police.

CNN sued for the autopsy results of Danny Brumfield. And it turns out, Danny Brumfield did die a single gunshot wound to his back.

(voice-over): This is the autopsy report, released under court order. We showed it to the attorney for Brumfield's family.


GRIFFIN: He had never seen it before.

JENKINS: It says, the single shotgun wound to the left back.

GRIFFIN (on camera): He was shot in the back.

JENKINS: Yes. Yes. It -- it doesn't fit.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): There is no dispute Brumfield had a pair of scissors. He had been cutting up cardboard boxes as makeshift beds for his family to sleep on outside. His daughter woke up at the final moment.

SHAUNTAN BRUMFIELD, DAUGHTER OF DANNY BRUMFIELD: And then I heard the screech of some tires. When I raised my head up, it was my dad on the car, and then the gunshot, and him laying on the ground.

GRIFFIN: Yet, the autopsy report shows almost no downward trajectory when the police officer fired the fatal shot. And that troubles the Brumfield lawyer.

JENKINS: It almost means like he was just standing right behind him when he fired. How could he be in the car and shoot somebody in the back?

GRIFFIN: We wanted to ask the officer, who since has been fired from the police force for unrelated reasons. He now works at this strip club, where we tried to contact him. He did not respond.

"Keeping Them Honest," we did ask the district attorney, Eddie Jordan. He investigated this shooting, and cleared the officer.

EDDIE JORDAN, ORLEANS PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We believe, in this instance, that the police officers were truthful, and credible, and, therefore, this was a justifiable homicide.

GRIFFIN: Jordan said, in his view, there was no question Brumfield acted aggressively toward the two officers in the patrol car.

(on camera): But that still doesn't seem to match, no matter how we could figure it out, a man laying on the hood of a car, swinging with either hand, and then being shot in the back.

JORDAN: I suspect that he was moving around as the -- the car continued forward, and he was shot in connection with the movement of the vehicle, and his movement as he tried to get into the right-hand side of the vehicle.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The two police officers are the only known eyewitnesses to the actual shooting. District Attorney Jordan said he lacks the evidence to go further.

JORDAN: The only question that is raised here is -- is how Mr. Brumfield was shot in his back. And I don't believe that that autopsy alone is sufficient to create a situation where we would -- where we would be able to carry our -- our burden of proof.

GRIFFIN: Unless some new witness is found, the death of Danny Brumfield, shot in the back, will remain a justifiable homicide.

Drew Griffin, CNN, New Orleans.


COOPER: Fascinating.

Now here's John Roberts with what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING."



Tomorrow, we bring you the most news in the morning. And you had better watch your speed. We will take you to the state where they're cracking down on speeders with fines that have to be seen to be believed. Twenty miles an hour over the limit could cost you $1,000.

So, wake up to the most news in the morning, 6:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN -- Anderson.


COOPER: Yikes. A $1,000 fine, that will wake you up.

Thanks, John.

Up next on 360: allegations Senator Obama is inflating his campaign donors. But is it fuzzy math or sour grapes? The answer in "Raw Politics."

Also ahead, a star NFL quarterback is now facing criminal charges and possible prison time for allegedly staging illegal dogfights. What was he thinking?

We will take a closer look at this crime that is more common than you might think.


(MUSIC: "All Night Long")

COOPER: Not exactly a contender for the 360 campaign coverage theme song. A little something to lull participants in tonight's Senate all-nighter debate on Iraq. The lights there are on because the group is still in session.

A few bars from Lionel Richie's "All Night Long". That light burning on Capitol Hill means, of course, the Senate is in session. There's a live picture, Senator Lieberman discussing Iraq on the floor right now.

Some say the sleepover on Capitol Hill is no more than a political stunt. And we're wondering whether voters are going to agree. In fact, what if voters are so disenchanted with politics they decide to cast their ballot for none of the above?

Let's go back to Tom Foreman now with a dose of "Raw Politics".

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A shocking idea to even think about, isn't it, Anderson?

But as they say out west, it is time for the Republicans to cowboy up. Many in Washington clearly feel pummeled over the war, hardly in the mood for an election, and the latest CNN poll shows that feeling goes way beyond the beltway.


FOREMAN (voice-over): In the great Republican horserace, the newest numbers from New Hampshire show Mitt Romney has a substantial lead over Rudy Giuliani, with Hopalong John McCain and the undeclared Fred Thompson trotting behind.

But look who is in first place from another poll. None of the above. It shows almost a quarter of all Republicans are still unhappy with all their choices and unwilling to commit.

The Obama-rama under the old microscope. Some political insiders are suggesting he has inflated the number of his donors by counting every person who buys a hat, bumper sticker, or button. Response?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The reason that they're listed as donors is because, if they purchase it through the campaign, and it goes into the campaign coffers, it would be a violation of campaign laws if we did not list that. So all we're doing is abiding by the law.

FOREMAN: The "Raw" read? He's right. Other campaigns have farmed their merchandising out to vendors so they can't count their buyers as donors. Call it sour grapes, kids.

And ride 'em, cowboy! Guess who's hanging tough for the Democratic nomination? New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Our latest numbers have him in third place in New Hampshire, behind Clinton and Obama, but above John Edwards. Not a back bencher anymore.

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I am moving into the first here, and you'll be seeing that, in Iowa and New Hampshire, too.


FOREMAN: Richardson has a wagonload of experience, and he's done pretty well in fund-raising, so you can't count him out.

COOPER: I like that you keep the cowboy thing going, the wagonload.

FOREMAN: And that sleepover in Washington, s'mores. Yes.

COOPER: I didn't know that, Tom, thanks. Looking ahead now to Monday, when CNN and YouTube team up for the Democratic presidential debate. Can you feel the excitement, the energy building? I'm going to be hosting the debate at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. It should be really remarkable.

By now you know the candidates are going to be answering the video questions we've been getting from viewers like you. I think we have about 1,200 so far. We're getting about 200 more every day. You still have time to send in a question.

Here's a sample from someone who wants action on climate change.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, I'm Tim (UNINTELLIGIBLE), where I'm concerned about global warming.

I think what we need here is science. There's the annual budget for basic science from the Department of Energy. NASA, NOAA, and the NSF.

Yes, science.

This is the amount of money we spend every year on weapons R&D at the Department of Defense. To what extent do you believe this distribution accurately reflects current national priorities?


COOPER: Keep sending us your questions. Keep them under 30 seconds. It's easy to do. All of the information -- by the way, we haven't selected that one. We haven't selected any of them. We're still looking for them all. You have up until July 22 to submit a question.

All you need to do is go to Again, the Democratic debate is next Monday, July 23, at the citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Hope you join us.

Up next he's used to doing battle on the gridiron. Now he faces one in court.


COOPER (voice-over): NFL star quarterback Michael Vick facing criminal charges and possibly prison, accused of taking part in dog fighting. Tonight a look at the illegal sport, why it's so popular.

Plus, the TB patient in the O.R. 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta gets exclusive access to the surgery.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a lot of things that sort of go into this. Right now they're going to take down all these blood vessels. It's probably the trickiest part of the whole operation.

COOPER: Inside the medical mission when 360 continues.



COOPER: Word tonight that this man, Atlanta Falcon star quarterback Michael Vick, and three others are facing federal charges of operating a dog fighting ring.

The investigation began in April, when authorities found 54 pit bulls on property Vick owns in Virginia. The indictment alleges an enterprise that trained pit bulls for death matches and where spectators bet on the outcomes. Inhumane to say the least.

There are equally shocking accusations. According to the indictment, dogs that didn't show enough fighting spirit, or that lost matches, were actually put to death by shooting, drowning, hanging or even electrocution.

Prosecutors allege that on one occasion earlier this year, Vick himself participated in killing eight dogs.

And as the allegations made clear, dog fighting is a brutal world, and it is more popular than you might think. Tonight, we take you inside this cruel and vicious game.

Once again, here's CNN's investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): What you are watching is a family vacation like none you have ever seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was filmed approximately an hour or so prior to the fight, in a hotel room.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stand up, Mark. Let me get you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The person filming it is the dog fighter's wife.

GRIFFIN: The so-called fighter this undercover investigator is talking about is actually a dog owner. He's getting himself and his family prepared for the big event that brought them from Richmond, Virginia, to Columbus, Ohio.

The big event is secret, a championship dog fight. The stakes high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each fighter put up $5,000, winner take all.

GRIFFIN: They also know the loser may be left with a dog that may never recover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very common for a championship fight to be videotaped. It's a marketing tool.

GRIFFIN: In all, 40 people have come to watch, which, in Ohio, is a felony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really run the spectrum. There's actual business people who will frequent these, street people, and everyone in between. One of the fighters brought his grandkids.

GRIFFIN: All will be arrested when the raid begins, right now. Oblivious to the police gathering outside, the ring is the only attraction. This undercover detective, who does not want his face shown, has been on 40 raids in the last five years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a largely underground, clandestine activity. People may hear about a dog fight, but they don't think, "Well, it happens in my community."

GRIFFIN: Commander Jeff Shank with the U.S. Marshal Service in Chicago says it's not uncommon to find fighting dogs in raids he conducts.

COMMANDER GEOFF SHANK, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE: We encountered what we later found out was 13 caged pit bulls. And one of the interview, people we were interviewing claimed to be called trainer. We put two and two together and realized he was a, quote unquote, "dog trainer."

We called the local Chicago Police Department. They were fully aware of who this guy was, told us they'd been looking for him for a couple of years.

GRIFFIN: Felons, gang bangers, drug pushers, all have been linked to dog fighting, and more and more linked to inner city neighborhoods, many fights happening in broad daylight.

In Chicago's public schools, the problem is so extensive, school programs are being developed to try to tell children dog fighting is not OK.

DR. GENE MUELLER, ANTI-CRUELTY SOCIETY: The earliest surveys that we did showed about one in five grammar school children in Chicago were actively participating in dog fighting.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Gene Mueller, the head of Chicago's Anti-Cruelty Society, says inner city dog fights have become entertainment, and the dog owners have become, in many cases, role models.

MUELLER: Kids are certainly involved. Felons, gang members. So we have these felons there who are fighting these dogs, for entertainment, or for gambling. That means there's money there, which means somebody has to protect the money. So there's weapons there. And hey, it's an entertainment event, so we better have some drugs there.

GRIFFIN: Left out in all of this are the dogs themselves. This pit bull, dropped off for adoption, may have a chance. It has not been used for fighting.

But authorities have little choice when it comes to dogs trained and raised for sport. Usually vicious, they must be put to death. They are the final victims, whose owners have bred them to fight and sometimes die in a growing ring of violence.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Chicago.


COOPER: It is so terrible.

Up next, a 360 exclusive. Dr. Sanjay Gupta inside the O.R., TB patient Andrew Speaker's lung surgery. See the operation and hear what doctors are now saying about Speaker's prognosis, next.


COOPER: It's a rare look at a risky and unusual type of lung surgery. The man on the operating table and this video inside his chest you're seeing is Andrew Speaker, the Atlanta lawyer who set off the international health scare when he traveled overseas after learning he had a deadly form of tuberculosis.

His story has taken a lot of twists and turns, none more dramatic than today's. The operation he underwent in a Colorado hospital was described to him as the best chance for curing his now Multi-Drug Resistant TB.

CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, was in the O.R. today during the surgery and has this exclusive report.


GUPTA (voice-over): Thirty-one-year-old Andrew Speaker spent the eve of his surgery with his new wife, Sarah, at National Jewish Medical Center in Colorado. It's one of the country's few facilities equipped to deal with drug-resistant tuberculosis.

His hope? Getting cured and going home, months after being ordered into isolation.

(on camera) Why did you decide to have surgery?

ANDREW SPEAKER, TB PATIENT: With the amount of treatment I'm going to be on, the doctor said if you go ahead and have the surgery, you don't have to worry 10 years from now or 20 years from now or 30 years now if it's ever going to come back. And that's worth the peace of mind to me.

GUPTA (voice-over): Of course, future peace of mind made for more worries now. Just prepping for surgery required a special fitting for a mask. We even tested it with this big hood, making sure I was protected against the live Multi-Drug Resistant organisms living in Speaker's lungs. (on camera) Andrew Speaker is in the operating room under general anesthesia. Surgery is already under way. The goal is to try and remove a tennis ball-sized infection from his right upper lobe.

(voice-over) Doctors are using a technique called Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery, or VATS. It requires only three small incisions through which doctors remove diseased tissue. It's a low but not no risk procedure. There are cases where patients have died or suffered complications.

(on camera) There's a lot of things that sort of go into this. Right now they've got to take down these blood vessels and all the airways that connect to the right upper lobe so they can remove that part of the lung. It's probably the trickiest part of the whole operation.

(voice-over) After two hours, finally, the moment they were waiting for. The diseased lobe is removed. TB, in a plastic bag. That bag keeps the infected lung from spreading in his chest.

There are no guarantees for Speaker that he will be cured, but Dr. Mitchell is optimistic about his recovery.

(on camera) If he wanted to run a marathon or something, could he do that again in his life?


GUPTA (voice-over): for now, Andrew Speaker may be rid of an infected piece of lung, but he's left to deal with the aftermath of his disease.


COOPER: So Sanjay, what does this mean? Is he cured?

GUPTA: Well, he has a much better chance of being cured than before. Most of the bacteria, as you saw there, was localized in that one particular area. Could there be a few stray bacteria still in other parts of his body? Perhaps, and that's why he has to stay on antibiotics for some time. So a much better chance.

He's 31 years old. The concern was when he was 50 or 60, might this come back. A much lower chance of that now, Anderson.

COOPER: And is he going to be able to do everything he was doing before? I mean, in terms of activity?

GUPTA: It's going to take a while. You know, as you saw there, you might have been able to tell that, in addition to the lung that had the disease in it, there was some normal lung tissue that was taken out, as well. That's just part of the operation.

So his ability to actually breathe will be moderately affected in the beginning, but he should be able to accommodate that as he goes along. I know of patients in the past who have had more than one lobe taken out and still been able to do things like run marathons.

So it may take him a while to get there, but he should be able to get back to a normal level of activity.

COOPER: And he certainly has a lot of lawsuits to face. We know about that. We'll be covering that, no doubt, down the -- down the road. Sanjay, thanks for that remarkable access.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, an update on our breaking news. At least 200 people confirmed dead in Brazil's deadliest plane crash. We're going to bring you the latest.

Also ahead these stories.


COOPER (voice-over): Pulling an all-nighter on Capitol Hill. A Senate showdown on the Iraq war, the Dems versus the GOP. Some call it a stunt. You decide.

Plus, it became a symbol of the suffering.




COOPER: A scene of chaos, confusion and death. One of the casualties, a father shot by police. Did the officers cross the line? We're "Keeping Them Honest".


COOPER: Update now on a breaking story that we have been following.

CNN has learned there was a severe weather warning in effect for Sao Paulo, Brazil, where a passenger plane crashed hours ago, killing at least 200 people.

The plane was attempting to land in heavy rain at an airport in the middle of the city. It apparently crossed a multilane highway before crashing into a building and bursting into flames. It is the deadliest crash in the country's history.

Now some other stories we're following right now. Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, toxicology results released this afternoon confirmed pro wrestler Chris Benoit did have steroids in his system when he killed his wife and son and then himself.

Also, in addition to the testosterone steroids, a pain killer and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax were found.

Georgia's chief medical examiner said tests also turned up painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs in Benoit's wife and enough Xanax in the body of his 7-year-old son to indicate the boy was sedated at the time of his death.

Officials say, though, there is nothing to indicate the elevated testosterone levels caused Benoit to harm himself or his family.

Thousands of people who got sick removing debris at the World Trade Center after 9/11 in court today. They are demanding the release of funds from a billion-dollar insurance fund set up to cover their health care.

According to the lawsuit, the fund has now spent more than $73 million on legal fees, but has not resolved a single victim's claim.

And another historic day on Wall Street. The Dow topping the 14,000 mark for the first time ever but only briefly. At the closing bell the Dow settled in to a record close, just below that, 13,971. That's up 20 points in the session.

The NASDAQ also on the plus side, advancing 14 to end the day at 2,712. The S&P dipping just a fraction, closing out at 1,549.

COOPER: Erica, thanks very much. Time now for today's "Shot".

London's solution to the age-old problem how to see the Taj Mahal without the hassle of having to go all the Way to India. Well, here it is. They found a way to bring it home.

That's right. It is something that Vegas should have thought of. It's a mini version of the Taj Mahal. At least I call it Mini Mahal.

HILL: Nice.

COOPER: The replica -- you like that. The replica of the famous landmark sailed up the Thames River today, past monuments like London's Big Ben, St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tower Bridge, all of which could be shrunken into mini form, if you ask me.

The Taj Mahal's arrival began a three-month festival celebrating London's relationship with India. It was on a little mini barge, also.

HILL: And thank goodness they have that relationship, because otherwise what would tea time be?

COOPER: You're so right, Erica.

HILL: Well, I do what I can.

COOPER: You cut right to the core of it.

HILL: And by the way...


HILL: ... when somebody does put up that Vegas hotel with the Taj Mahal theme.


HILLS: I'm going to go on the record saying they owe you a cut, because it was your idea.

COOPER: Well, now that you say it like that, I realize there is a Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Isn't that like one of those Trump things?

HILL: Oh, yes. There might be. I've never been to A.C.

COOPER: It's a huge success. It's, like, the biggest casino success ever.

HILL: Well, when I'm down the shore, I'll check it out.

COOPER: I'll agree. I don't know if it's a success at all. Erica, thanks -- I'm just assuming that's what Donald Trump would say.

We want you to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some amazing video, if you see some building shrunken down to miniature size, please tell us about it: Maybe we'll put some of those clips on the air.

Up next, more on tonight's breaking news. The plane crash in Brazil that leaves 200 people killed in the plane and on the ground. We're going to get the latest from the scene.

Also ahead, senators staying up all night. Is it just a political stunt or are they actually getting some work done? Will it have any impact on the war? We're "Keeping Them Honest" next on 360.


COOPER: Good evening, everyone. We begin with breaking news. A fiery plane crash in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Details are sketchy. Here is what we know.

A passenger plane carrying more than 170 people crashed while attempting to land in heavy rain at an airport in the central part of the city. The plane apparently skidded off a runway across a busy road, during rush hour, struck a gas station.