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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Missing Pregnant Marine Believed Dead; It's the Economy; Eric Volz Comes Home; O.J. Simpson Goes Back to Jail

Aired January 11, 2008 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We begin tonight with breaking news. The search for the missing pregnant marine is over with the worst possible news for the family.

Investigators say they have found what's believed to be the remains of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach. We're told she was buried in a shallow grave.

The main suspect in her death and of her unborn child is Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean, an officer at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina where they were both stationed.

And the sheriff says there is blood splattered all over the suspect's home.


ED BROWN, SHERIFF, ONSLOW COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: The indications is that there was activity inside the house which caused blood to be expelled from some person on to the wall in areas of the house.

Now it doesn't take -- and I'm not being smart -- it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that if there's a cavity out back and blood on the inside, that's probably going to be a key location where this crime may have taken place.


COOPER: The sheriff is urging Corporal Laurean to turn himself in.


BROWN: I would like to say to the suspect, if he's listening and I'm sure his father is listening and the family is probably listening, it would be bests for him to return -- now this thing sounds strange -- voluntarily because sooner or later he's coming back to Onslow County.

And if he's telling it like he wants to tell it, it would be foolish to run from what he claims happens.


COOPER: In a moment, we're going to talk to the District Attorney in an exclusive interview about the key witness in the case and why the sheriff says this case is more than a "death and burial."

First, "360's" Randi Kaye has more on today's developments.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For anyone holding on to hope that Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach was alive, this felt like a blow to the gut.

BROWN: Mrs. Lauterbach is dead and has been buried here at Onslow County.

KAYE: Dead and buried. Sheriff Ed Brown's key suspect Caesar Armando Laurean, the 21-year-old marine corporal who Lauterbach had accused of rape.

In an investigation chock full of unanswered questions, here's the first glaring one.

How did investigators so blatantly miss their man? Laurean wasn't considered a flight risk in this investigation, yet he quietly hired three lawyers and split at 4:00 a.m. Friday.

BROWN: We have called Laurean and he has promised to come down, promised to come down, cancelled the dates, cancelled the dates and then we're called and said, "I won't be coming down because my lawyer said you can't talk to me."

KAYE: CNN has been unable to identify the lawyers.

Just hours before he broke the news, a source close to the investigation tells me the suspect's wife came forward with what he calls tangible evidence leading to Laurean.

The corporal is originally from Clark County, Nevada. He's married and joined the marines in 2004. He worked as a personnel clerk and earned a good conduct medal.

Lauterbach was eight months pregnant when she disappeared. What do we know about the relationship? She may have accused Laurean of rape, but investigators say the two were still involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are some indications that there may have been a relationship, it could be of a friendly nature, that occurred after the incident was reported.

KAYE: Still unclear, is he the father of the baby and is the baby dead too? The rape investigation is still active but the military says there were inconsistencies in Lauterbach's story.

A source close to the investigation told me the search for her body turned up what appeared to be human remains. As the search continued, her family in Ohio shed some light on the struggles she faced on base after coming forward about the alleged rape.

PETER STEINER, MARIA LAUTERBACH'S UNCLE: During this process, after she eventually did report it, she was consistently harassed by other marines. Her car was keyed. She, in the last couple of months of her pregnant, she was slugged in the face by anonymous person.

KAYE: She turned to Sergeant Daniel Durham who rented her a room in this home. Sheriff Brown questioned him twice and called him a key witness on Thursday. Durham's lap top had even been seized as evidence.

But now --

BROWN: At this time, he does not appear to have any relationship to her missing.

KAYE (on camera): And what about all the evidence. A clerk here at this Jacksonville bus station told me he sold Lauterbach a one-way ticket to El Paso around 5:00 p.m. on December 14. He said she seemed fine physically and asked if she could park her car there. The sheriff says that ticket was never used.

(voice-over) Six days later, December 20, her cell phone was found near the base. On Christmas Eve, money was withdrawn from her bank account. There is surveillance video of a man making a withdrawal and attempting to cover his face.

The sheriff won't say who, but he says Lauterbach died between December 14 and December 20, before that withdrawal was made. Then on January 7, her car was discovered at this fast food restaurant. A timeline is emerging. But a key piece of the puzzle is still missing. The man, investigators now believe, buried her body in his backyard.


COOPER: Such a bizarre case. Randi tell me about the area where they are searching for the remains?

KAYE: It's actually right near the suspect's home. It's a wooded residential area, Anderson. And they were in his backyard.

And the sheriff tells me that he uses this divining rod which is basically a coat hanger that he has stretched out. He uses it to go along the earth, and when it pulls to one side, it can tell when there's a hole or where some earth has been dug up. That is what caught his attention in the backyard of suspect's home.

And sure enough they did find a cavity there. It was getting dark so they weren't able to go down there tonight. But they're going to go down there first daylight tomorrow.

COOPER: Ok, so they don't have lights to light up the --

KAYE: And that's where they some of these remains, what appears to be the human remains is at that cavity.

COOPER: And I know there's a lot we don't know at this point. But do we know is this guy, Caesar Armando Laurean the father of the baby? KAYE: We don't know at this point. The sheriff told me tonight that they're still trying to figure that out. She has not told anyone who the father of the child is. So at this point it is still unclear if he fathered the child and whether or not the child was born even before she might have been killed.

COOPER: So we don't know whether or not she had given birth?

KAYE: That's correct.

COOPER: And then what about -- there's a report of a note that was brought to the attention of authorities that said Lauterbach back committed suicide. Was that a note that Laurean had left?

KAYE: That is a note apparently that was brought here to the sheriff's department. It was a note that Laurean had left and it said that Maria Lauterbach had apparently slit her own throat and that he had taken her body and buried it in the backyard as a result of that. So in other words he didn't kill her, but she killed herself and he tried to take care of the body.

The sheriff certainly doesn't believe that is the case tonight especially given the evidence of the blood in the garage, blood on other walls in the house. And also there's some evidence tonight Anderson that whoever did cause this had also tried to paint over the blood that's on the walls. So clearly there was an effort to try and cover it up.

COOPER: And it was this male marine's wife who came in, Laurean's wife, who brought the note forward?

KAYE: The sheriff won't go so far as to say that it was the marine's wife who brought the note in, but I did get it from a source very close to the investigation that it was the wife who brought their attention to Corporal Laurean and told them that that is who they should be looking at.

COOPER: All right, Randy, appreciate the reporting.

Joining us now for the latest on the investigation -- an exclusive interview with the Onslow County District Attorney, Dewey Hudson.

Thanks very much for being with us.

Have you been at the crime scene? And if so, what did you see there today?


Yes, later this afternoon, I did go to the crime scene and found where investigators were in fact trying to excavate what appeared to be a shallow grave where there's apparently been some burning that occurred.

COOPER: So the body had been burned? HUDSON: It appeared to be that because what investigators showed me was what they thought was the remains of some burned part of a skeleton.

COOPER: What -- did you go inside the house? What is the scene like inside?

HUDSON: No, I did not go inside the house but I have learned that they have found some evidence that they felt was -- that supported their theory that the crime occurred inside the residence.

COOPER: And blood splatters on the wall through luminol?

HUDSON: That's what the sheriff has said, but I can't comment on any evidence unfortunately.

COOPER: Tell me about North Carolina law. Does the baby have to be born for whoever killed this woman to be charged with murder twice?

HUDSON: First let me say, Anderson, we have not confirmed that she has been killed. I mean it certainly looks very suspicious and I would be surprised if it's not her remains in the backyard. But we have not confirmed at this time that there is in fact a body there. But, you know, I think tomorrow we'll be in a better position.

But getting back to your question, North Carolina is one of the states in which you cannot charge a person for murdering a fetus that's not been born. You're correct.

COOPER: Ok, so if there has been a murder and if someone is charged with that crime, they would only be charged with a single murder?

HUDSON: That's correct. It would be the death of the mother, correct.

COOPER: Now if -- Mr. Laurean has not been charged yet. The sheriff has said he is a suspect. If they do catch him tonight or he turns himself in, can you charge him without -- before confirming that there is a body?

HUDSON: That is a very, very difficult question, and one that I'm going to have to deal with.

Hopefully we'll find the body before I can make a decision. I guess my biggest fear is getting a call tonight saying that someone maybe in Mississippi has stopped his vehicle, and we do not have a warrant for arrest either for the alleged rape or the alleged murder.

At that time I would have to make a decision. They just cannot hold him unless there're pending charges. We have received information that we fear that he might try to leave the country. And so that's one my biggest concern is that if he leaves the country and goes to a country where we do not have an extradition treaty. Then we wound find the body tomorrow or later on identify the remains, that it would be too late. So I've got some tough decisions to make about whether or not we do file charges. But you're correct it's very difficult to file a charge if you don't have a body.

COOPER: I just want to put that full screen up again. This is the vehicle, the suspect's vehicle and this is the number to call, 910- 455-3113.

But again, let's just try to show that vehicle. It looks different depending on how the light is hitting it in the two different pictures. It's a black 2004 Quad Cab Dodge pickup, North Carolina tag TRR1522. Obviously that is the suspect's vehicle.

At this point there's no warrant for his arrest. I mean have police been told to be on the lookout for him? Or are you putting out this information hoping that --

HUDSON: There's an international or national BOLO out which means for them to stop him and hold him, but unfortunately we do not have any warrants.

The alleged rape that occurred on the military base so my office has not been involved in that, the Marine Corps has been dealing with it exclusively.

The homicide, if it occurred, that will be something that even my office will have to deal with or the Marine Corps.

Both of us could prosecute him for that if we wanted to.

COOPER: Dewey Hudson, the Onslow County District Attorney. I know there's a lot you can't say about this. And we appreciate you giving us some time tonight.

Thank you very much, sir.

HUDSON: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, we're going to have more on our breaking news. What is believed to be the remains of the pregnant marine from Camp Lejeune found buried in a shallow grave.

Investigators say blood is splattered all over the suspect's home. Then attempts were made to cover that up. A note left behind from the suspect. He is still on the run tonight or out there somewhere.

We'll talk about this bizarre case with our legal experts.

Also tonight these stories.


COOPER (voice-over): O.J. in trouble again. Remember this? Tonight he's accused of another verbal tirade, one that's put him back behind bars. The new twist in the Vegas armed robbery case ahead.

Plus the new top issue for voters in the race for the White House and what the candidates plan to do about it.

Also tonight racial tension, the Clintons versus the Obama camp. The "Raw Politics" when "360" continues.


COOPER: More on our breaking news story tonight.

You're looking at a picture of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach. Tonight authorities found what is believed to be her remains buried in a shallow grave. She was eight months pregnant when she vanished.

The suspected killer is this man, Caesar Armando Laurean, a 21-year- old corporal whom, like the victim was based out of Camp Lejeune.

Tonight the sheriff said blood was found in Laurean's home. Before Lauterbach disappeared she accused him of rape. There he is, that is his picture. He is still missing tonight. No charges were ever filed by the military.

There are a lot of questions to get to tonight about the case. The search for the suspect and the way the military handled the original investigation.

Here to help us answer then is Eugene Fidel, a military law attorney and CNN's security analyst, Mike Brooks.

Gentlemen, thanks both for being with us.

Mike, let's start off with you.

Of all the revelations that we have heard from over the last couple hours, you say one of the biggest things is this blood splatter -- spatter -- inside the house?


Before, they were talking about a possible suicide. And this note said something about a suicide. But now the sheriff, Sheriff Brown, is saying, no, it looks more like a murder. And with this blood spatter in two different rooms -- apparently, there was some blood spatter in the garage and one other room, Anderson.

And apparently there had been some -- they had made some effort to try to clean it up and even try to paint over it. But the chemical luminol that they use, you go in to the room, you turn the lights down in the room, and you can spray it on the wall, and it will glow blue for about 30 seconds. Even trace evidence, even trace amounts of the blood that is not even visible to the eye and blood that has been painted over.

COOPER: We are also joined by Sheriff Ed Brown, the county sheriff there, who's been in charge of this investigation.

Sheriff Brown, we appreciate your time.

What's the latest on the investigation? Do you have any idea, first of all, where this suspect is?

BROWN: I have no idea where the suspect is. I do know that we believe he's out of town and he got out of town early this morning, about 4:00.

If you would allow me, I would believe he's watching your show, and I believe he needs to hear the message.

And that is, Laurean, you need to turn yourself in and let's get the facts straight. If you say it happened like you say it did, come defend what you said in your note, if that's your note.

COOPER: Where -- when did he last talk to you? Because I know you had been calling him for a while.

BROWN: Laurean has refused to talk with us. We have been trying to get him to talk with us for some time this week. He has agreed on several occasions to talk with us. However, figured he needed three attorneys before he did, and their advice was, don't talk with them.

COOPER: Why is he your main suspect?

BROWN: Today, the reason he is our main suspect at the time of this release is due to a key witness that came forward this morning with a statement and with a note. And that note was acted on immediately and has produced valid evidence that Mr. Laurean is the key suspect in the disappearance and death of Maria Lauterbach.

COOPER: And, in terms of the -- trying to find out, trying to make sure that that is Ms. Lauterbach's body in that shallow grave, where does that stand? Are you currently digging there tonight, or is that because you don't have lights, or it's dark; you're going to start tomorrow morning?

BROWN: No, the meticulous process of uncovering a body or exhuming a body requires as much light, natural light as you can have.

The sample was done from that location this evening. That sample produced evidence that there is physical -- or remains of a human being there. That stopped immediately once that was determined.

And there's security out there tonight. And that scene is being protected by tarps. When that stopped there, the inside of the house process began. And that works well. And nighttime is our best friend in that. And that produced the latest in breaking news about traces of blood and blood activity in the residence.

COOPER: Sheriff, hold on one moment.

I just want to bring in Eugene Fidell, military law attorney, who joins us as well.

In terms of who would prosecute this, is there -- there's military law involved, but there's also, of course, criminal civilian law.

EUGENE FIDELL, MILITARY LAW ATTORNEY: That's exactly right, Anderson. And the fact is that, even though it seems surprising, both jurisdictions, the military and the local authorities, can prosecute the case. The difficulty is, if they are both investigating, there would be a danger that they might be bumping into one another and possibly prejudicing successful investigations and prosecutions.

But, in theory, they could both prosecute, and it wouldn't at all surprise me, given the way the facts seem to be unfolding, that the center of gravity in this case might shift away from the sheriff and the district attorney towards the military justice apparatus.

COOPER: Sheriff, what about that? At this point, you're in charge of the investigation -- is that correct?

BROWN: I'm in charge of the investigation.

I think -- not to contradict what I have just heard, but, in this county, I believe you will find the district attorney has the say-so in this matter.

And it's not been unusual that cases have been relinquished to the authorities of the military. However, I believe evidence will show that that will be a call by the district attorney in any case.

COOPER: And, Sheriff, at this point, do you know the status of her unborn child? Do you know -- was she still pregnant? Do we know anything about that?

BROWN: I believe tomorrow's activity will produce probably another major piece of information that -- questions that have been asked by your public and I'm sure very close to their heart, and that is, what about the child?

I believe, tomorrow, in the evidence that we will uncover, we'll answer that for your listening audience and viewing audience, and for us also. And don't know what will happen, but I believe that major question that has not been answered yet will be answered tomorrow.

COOPER: I just want to bring in also Mike Brooks, CNN security analyst.

Mike, in terms of questions you were looking for answers for tomorrow and in the days ahead?

BROOKS: No, I tell you, I think the sheriff is right. Tomorrow -- there's no hurry. There's no hurry right now to go out to this crime scene. Nightfall, it is not a good time to do it. I have worked crime scenes like this before myself.

Right now is -- my main question is about the unborn baby. Is the unborn baby there?

The sheriff had said earlier in one of his press conferences that this case is going to turn out to be bizarre, more than just a death and burial. And I think he -- you're going to play that out tomorrow, when they do uncover this grave and get in. And almost -- it's almost -- when you're working a case like this, Anderson, it's almost like an archaeological dig. You take your time. Your go just little bit of earth by little bit of earth and fingerprint, and you go ahead and photograph, and take in all the evidence you can, because there's a lot of evidence at that scene, I guarantee you.

COOPER: And, Eugene Fidell, military law attorney, I talked to the district attorney a short time ago. He said, under North Carolina law, unless the baby has been born, this -- whoever is charged in any kind of murder that may have taken place would only be charged with a single count of homicide.

FIDELL: Well, the military situation is somewhat different.

On April 18 of last year, President Bush signed an executive order modifying the manual for courts-martial to implement some legislation Congress enacted not long before that, that would create another offense. And that other offense, in the case of intentional killing of a fetus in utero -- that is, an unborn child -- constitutes another murder.

So, you might well have a situation where, under the state law, there's only one specification of murder.

COOPER: Right.

FIDELL: -- but, under military law, there might be two.


COOPER: We're out of time.

Eugene Fidell, thank you so much.

Sheriff, appreciate your time tonight, Sheriff Ed Brown.

And, Mike Brooks, thanks.

BROOKS: Thank you.

BROWN: Good evening, and good night.

COOPER: We will have more on the breaking story when we come back.


COOPER: That is the vehicle that police are looking for right now, the suspect's vehicle, Cesar Armando Laurean.

Try to get a tighter shot, so you can look at the details as much as possible. It's a black 2004 quad car Dodge pickup, North Carolina tag TRR1522. There's a phone number also we want to put up on our screen, if you have any information about the suspect, 910-455-3113.

Tonight, we don't know how Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach was killed, but similar stories have made headlines in recent years of pregnant women suddenly missing, only to be found later dead.

In our search for answers, we uncovered a surprising and troubling statistic about expecting mothers and homicide.

Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Laci Peterson was married and eight months pregnant when she vanished from her home in Modesto, California. Her remains and those of her unborn son were found four months later.

Laci's husband, Scott Peterson, was convicted of murdering both and sentenced to death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cutts, if you will please stand.

TUCHMAN: Last year, Ohio police officer Bobby Cutts Jr. was charged with killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Jessie Davis, and her unborn baby. He's denied the charges.

The faces are familiar, the outcome, tragically, the same. Although the data is limited, we were surprised to learn that several studies list murder as the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the United States. More than 1,300 between 1990 and 2004, according to a "Washington Post" study.

One forensic psychiatrist says the cases rarely involve spontaneous crimes of passion.

DR. HELEN MORRISON, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: It's extremely deliberate. And it seems to be a very planned -- and I mean planned in the sense of, "I don't care what you're carrying; I'm just going to get rid of you."

TUCHMAN: That may explain what happened to Lori Hacking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please help us find her, one way or another.

TUCHMAN: Hacking, who said she was five weeks pregnant, was shot to death by her husband, Mark. He then dumped her body in a landfill and later pleaded guilty to murder charges.

Why have so many men been accused of killing these women? Experts often see two motives at work.

MORRISON: The pregnant woman has turned her attention from him to the child that she is carrying. Another motive happens to be with the issue of jealousy.

TUCHMAN: Expectant mothers are also victims of physical and mental abuse. The Family Violence Prevention Fund say more than 300,000 are abused by an intimate partner every year.



TUCHMAN: But, to the killers and the abusers, there's only one thing that matters.

MORRISON: They think only of themselves and their own needs. They don't think of the baby. The baby is nonexistent to them.

TUCHMAN: To them, perhaps -- and only them.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Well, now to a story we have been following for more than a year.

Three weeks ago, Eric Volz, a 28-year-old American, returned home to the U.S. This was his reunion with his mom. He had been in a Nicaraguan prison for about a year.

His homecoming ended the darkest chapter of his life. His case ignited outrage in the United States.

Up close tonight, Volz's story. This week, I finally met him, when he came to New York and talked to me about his ordeal.


COOPER (voice-over): It was as if everyone in Nicaragua wanted him dead. And it would be another 14 months before Eric Volz felt safe again.

So when he was finally released from a Nicaraguan prison last month, he was given only moments to prepare.

ERIC VOLZ, FREED FROM NICARAGUAN PRISON: I didn't know I was going free until the moment they presented the release papers in front of my face, and that was only 15 minutes before I got on the plane and I was leaving the country.

COOPER: His abrupt departure marked the end of more than a year in prison for Volz, a 28-year-old American who was hated because he was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Nicaraguan Doris Jimenez. The young woman was found strangled to death in a clothing store she owned.

Volz has always said he's innocent, that he was two hours away at the time of the murder. There's a lot of circumstantial evidence to back up his story: cell phone records, time-stamped instant message conversations, and ten witnesses who say he was nowhere near the murder scene.

VOLZ: It wasn't even a real trial, you know. It was just kind of a show, to be able to say that, you know, institutionally, this person has been convicted.

COOPER: Volz had lived and worked in Nicaragua for several years, but nothing prepared him for the angry mob outside the courthouse.

(on camera) What was that day like?

VOLZ: You know, it was one of the darkest days of my life, you know, being an innocent man, seeing people that I knew, who sincerely believed that I was a murderer. And, you know, they were out for blood. It was -- it was a nightmare.

We barricaded ourselves into an office, and we had to kick through a wall.

COOPER (voice-over): Despite the evidence supporting Volz, the judge in his first trial believed a single witness who swore he'd seen Volz near the murder scene that day. But that witness, Nelson Dangla, was originally charged with the murder. He was given immunity in exchange for his testimony against Volz.

Volz got 30 years. He appealed the verdict, and his mother kept up the pressure to get her son released.

MAGGIE ANTHONY, MOTHER OF ERIC VOLZ: This is what we do full- time, from seven in the morning to 11 at night. It's the job of getting Eric free.

VOLZ: If it wasn't for my mother, who is extremely courageous and really, you know, gathering awareness about what happened, you know, she saved my life. She saved my life.

COOPER: In mid-December, a three-judge panel overturned Volz's conviction and ordered him released immediately. But it would be another four days before the Nicaraguan government actually let him go and he was able to return home.


VOLZ: Got my mom back. The best Christmas present I ever had.

COOPER (on camera): What was the hardest part of the whole ordeal?

VOLZ: The hardest part for me is the fact that Doris has been lost in this whole story. You know, a very talented, you know, motivated young woman who was working hard for, you know, to improve her life was murdered. And nobody really seems to care about her and who she was and what she lived for.

COOPER (voice-over): In Nicaragua, prosecutors have not forgotten about Eric Volz. They're now trying to get his conviction reinstated.

As for Volz, he vows to continue to fight to clear his name.

VOLZ: There's a very strong possibility that I'll be a wanted man in Nicaragua and potentially in the Central American region. And, you know, that's not my idea of freedom, that's not the justice that I deserve.


COOPER: Remarkable story.

Up next, where the presidential candidates are tonight and what they're doing to get your vote.

And this video of O.J. Simpson just over an hour ago, back in Vegas and back behind bars tonight, apparently not very happy about it. There you see him in handcuffs. We'll have the latest on what O.J. Simpson is accused of doing now.

Also tonight, here is the "Beat 360" photo. John McCain and Mike Huckabee on stage in last night's Republican debate. What do you think John McCain is saying there? The best our staff could come up with was, "Hey, Thompson, Kegger in the Straight Talk Express."

I'm pretty sure he wasn't really saying that, but it's what our staff came up with.

Think you can beat it? Log on to our blog at Weigh in. We'll pick a winner at the end of the show.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary, marry me, baby!

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is certainly the kindest offer I've had. But I would probably get arrested.


COOPER: That happened at a campaign event in Los Angeles and a busy day for all the candidates today. While Hillary Clinton was fielding a marriage proposal there, her rival, Barack Obama, was wooing voters in Las Vegas, which is, of course, the next big battleground for Democrats.

In South Carolina, John McCain was working the crowds today, hoping to leverage his momentum from New Hampshire, a victory that's catapulted him for Republican frontrunner in the latest CNN/Opinion Research poll.

Rudy Giuliani spent the day campaigning at a town meeting in Coral Gables, Florida. He, of course, is betting heavily on Florida to put him on the map.

Mitt Romney, who's 0-2, crisscrossed Michigan, where his late father was a popular governor. He played up those ties at the state capitol in Lansing today. Michigan's primary on Tuesday is a key race for Republicans, and with the highest unemployment rate in the nation, Michigan is a showcase for the issue that Americans now say they care most about. CNN's Joe Johns has the "Raw Politics" of your money.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the economy, and yes, you'd be more than stupid to ignore it. The stock market, ice cold in '08. The housing market, soft as quicksand, sucking homeowners and loan companies under. Consumer confidence, half of what it was a year ago. Job growth, down, energy costs up. OK, enough already.

The economy took the top spot on the issues Americans care most about back in November, edging out the war by a single percentage point. That gap has now grown to 10 points. And our latest poll, a clear warning to the candidates. You better have some good ideas.

Even among Democrats, the economy is six points higher on the list than the war. And for Republicans, it's a convincing 16 points. And the candidates, they're convinced.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's get the record straight -- could we be headed for a recession? Absolutely. Do we have to be headed for a recession? Absolutely not.

JOHNS: Here's an idea -- cut taxes, cut spending. Heard that before?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we cut taxes, but Ronald Reagan knew we had to cut spending at the same, and that was our great failure as a party, is we cut taxes and then we let spending get out of control.

JOHNS: All the Republicans want to do it. They differ on the details. Mike Huckabee wants to get rid of the IRS, the federal income tax, and put a sales tax in its place.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So the first thing is not raise taxes, cut the marginal tax rates, if anything, and eventually go to a fair tax.

JOHNS (on camera): But they all share that central philosophy that you boost the economy by putting money back into the pockets of the people. They say you shouldn't punish the rich, because they're the locomotives that drive the economy train. And all are supporters of free trade.

(voice-over) The Democrats come at it from a different perspective -- it's more about jobs and job training and government programs.

H. CLINTON: In the future, we will build together. There will be no more invisible Americans.

JOHNS: They all want to invest. That means spends on education, infrastructure, health care, the pillars of a healthy work force and a healthy economy. And they all want to give tax breaks to the middle class but not to the rich.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll be a president who ends those tax breaks for corporations that are shipping jobs overseas and puts those tax breaks to work here in the United States and puts them in the pockets of working Americans who deserve them.

JOHNS: In this world view, big corporations, lobbyists, so- called special interests are viewed more as the problem and not the solution.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The bigger underdog in America is the middle class, who are struggling, working people in this country who are struggling every single day, low income families.

JOHNS: So if change is the buzz word of campaign '08, the economy may be the buzz saw.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, joining me now is Jonathan Martin, senior political reporter and blogger at

Jonathan, thanks for being with us.

Today Clinton announced a $70-billion plan to pump money into the economy. What does her plan propose?

JONATHAN MARTIN, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO.COM: Well, what she wants to do, Anderson, is try and provide state assistance with helping people with foreclosures. Also wants to address the energy crunch and give people some subsidies to pay their heating bills this winter.

Furthermore, she wants to start doing some tax rebates, giving folks some money back and then also to extend unemployment benefits for folks who still can't find work.

COOPER: And is -- I mean, people say in the polls the economy is the No. 1 issue. Are you hearing that at these rallies? Are you hearing that at these ask-the-candidate forums?

MARTIN: You sure do, more and more, Anderson. At the start for Democrats it was more Iraq. For Republicans it was primarily immigration you heard at these events. More and more, recently though, questions about the price of gas, health care, you know, the economy, jobs.

The real kitchen-table issues are now rising to the fore. I think you're seeing candidates, Anderson, respond to that, like Senator Clinton did today on the campaign trail.

COOPER: In Michigan, it's turning into a do or die contest for Mitt Romney. He's trailing, obviously, John McCain in the polls.

The unemployment rate there is 7.4 percent in December. That's almost three points higher than the national average. It's unbelievable.

In terms of economic matters, do any -- do the voters believe any Republican candidate has an edge over any of the others?

MARTIN: It's certainly a state that's been hit with tough times, and it's been fascinating to watch. In Iowa and New Hampshire, they were talking about issues like immigration, certainly, the war and national security, which is a strength for McCain.

Now both McCain and Romney, the two Michigan frontrunners, Anderson, are talking about jobs and the economy. They recognize that as the preeminent issue in that state, and both of them are trying to address it on the stump and in television ads.

COOPER: Let's turn also to this other big story today.


COOPER: Both Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have come under fire recently about some comments made which African-Americans, some African-Americans, say have negative racial overtones. The other day, while talking about Martin Luther King, Hillary Clinton tried to make a point about the power of the presidency in passing the Civil Rights Act. Some took that as kind of diminishing what Dr. King did.

Bill Clinton called Obama's record a fairy tale. And today, he called into Al Sharpton's radio show to try to set the record straight. Let's listen to what he said.



BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the point I was trying to make is there's really no difference between his voting record and Hillary's on Iraq, so I stand by what I said. But the reports that I claimed his campaign are that he, personally, in any way was disrespectful and said they were fairy tales, that's just not true.


COOPER: Does this have legs? I mean, has this hurt the Clintons among African-Americans, particularly in South Carolina or is this sort of just one of those things the media is focusing on?

MARTIN: I think it has the potential to hurt her, Anderson. There are two things going on here. First, I think that -- I think some African-Americans had some real concerns about what the Clintons said in the past few days. But there's no question that there's politics here at work, too.

It helps Obama, helps his campaign to, you know, try and push these issues into the fore in a place like South Carolina where about half of the Democrat voting population in the primary is going to be African-American. So yes, there's real concern, but also, this is going to help Obama politically here, as well. So he is certainly enjoying seeing these questions raised tonight.

COOPER: It is always good to have you on the program. I appreciate you for being on.

MARTIN: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, have a good night.

MARTIN: You too.

COOPER: Up next, he cannot seem to stay out of trouble. O.J. Simpson violating his parole, so now he's going back to jail.

This is new video we just got in of him arriving in Vegas. We'll tell you what he did this time and what he's accused of doing and how long he may be locked up for when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, that was O.J. Simpson earlier this evening, clearly having a rocky start to the New Year, arriving back in Vegas and not to gamble. He's headed back to jail.

It seems Simpson was accused of masterminding an armed robbery at a casino hotel last year, violated his probation. What happened?

That's the question we wanted to try to figure out tonight. Will he be in jail until the trial? Let's try to get some answers.

Joining me now is Jim Moret, attorney and chief correspondent for "Inside Edition."

Jim, what is going on here? How did he violate the terms of his bail?

JIM MORET, CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, basically when you're given bail, the judge said to O.J. Simpson very clearly, one of the conditions, you're not to have any contact with any of the victims, any of the co-defendants, any of the witnesses.

What O.J. Simpson allegedly did, according to prosecutors, he left a message with his own bail bondsman for one of the co- defendants, and he left it on a voicemail. And that message could be construed as trying to coerce that witness, that co-defendant, not to cooperate with authorities.

The judge was very clear, Anderson. He said, "If you see a witness or co-defendant walking down the street, cross the street. You're not to mail them. You're not to e-mail them. You're not to telephone them. Don't even use a carrier pigeon."

The judge said this because he wanted to impress upon O.J. not to contact anyone. And according to the court, according to the prosecutor, he did just that.

COOPER: I want to read out the voicemail that he left to the bail bondsman, and he said, "Hey, Miguel, it's me. I just want C.J. to know that the whole thing, all the time he was telling me that expletive. You know, I hope he was telling me the truth. Don't be trying to change the expletive expletive now, expletive expletive. I'm tired of this expletive, fed up with this expletive, changing what they told me."

I mean, I don't -- I can't understand a word -- what he's talking about. What do you make of this? I mean, what is up with O.J. Simpson?

You've covered him for years now. Does this surprise you?

MORET: No, it doesn't surprise me. I'm past the point of being surprised, frankly.

When you hear and when you read this, this sounds like it's in O.J. Simpson's voice. It's very similar to the tape that we heard coming from the hotel room that day. It's very similar to some of the 911 calls that his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, made years ago to the police. We've heard this O.J. Simpson before.

It sounds like he's telling this co-defendant, "Hey, you better not change your story. You better tell them what I told you to say." That's what it sounds like.

But the bottom line is, if the judge determines this is O.J.'s voice, he determines that O.J. violated the conditions of the bail, Simpson could be in jail up until the time of the trial, which is April 7.

COOPER: And that trial, I mean, you could say -- I mean, there's some who said early on, well, it looks kind of like a slam dunk. But then you have this cast of -- you know, this motley assortment of characters who are -- none of them, frankly, you know, seem to be all that great on the stand.

What do you make of the trial?

MORET: The trial could go any number of ways, frankly. You're right; you've got a number of people involved that, frankly, seem dirty, and that could hurt. That could taint this case.

But this is different from the criminal trial that Simpson faced in '94. This is more analogous to the Michael Vick case. You've got co- defendants who are all agreeing with prosecutors for lesser charges, and they're going to turn on O.J. Simpson. So you've got people willing to testify.

The only problem, possibly, for the prosecution is possibly overcharging with this kidnapping charge. You know, it's possible that folks in Las Vegas on that jury may say, "Look this wasn't kidnapping. This was a robbery. This was a burglary. Don't overcharge him." And that could cause the whole case to fall apart.

But O.J. Simpson stands a very real chance of going to jail for some time.

COOPER: And for a guy who says he, you know, wants to live a quiet life, he seems to manage to get himself in the headlines.

MORET: It's truly unbelievable.

COOPER: Yes. Jim Moret, chief correspondent for "Inside Edition." Jim, thanks for being on the program again.

MORET: My pleasure.

COOPER: Up next, we'll take a look at the violence in Kenya up close. CNN's Zain Verjee returns to her hometown in Kenya and is met with drastic change.

And move over Knut. There's a new, cuter polar bear cub in town. It might not be our "Shot of the Day," but you know, we can't resist a cute polar bear.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: To the crisis in Kenya now -- concerns tonight about the possibility of renewed violence as the main opposition party calls for mass protests and rallies. And this in a country that a little more than two weeks ago was considered one of Africa's most stable and prosperous democracies.

It's feared a continued breakdown of order could spread to neighboring countries, further destabilizing all of East Africa.

Now up close, a personal look at the country and the crisis from CNN's own Zain Verjee.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was not the way I wanted to come home.

(on camera) I've arrived in Nairobi. Usually, I'm so excited to be here because my parents are out waiting, and it's always a holiday.

But this is for work, because of the situation that's erupted here in Kenya, and I am returning home with a bit of a heavy heart.

(voice-over) I've come to one of the places here in Kenya that have been completely burned to the ground after the riots.

A bar, a butchery, and a newspaper stand razed to the ground. Ethnic cleansing we never thought would happen in my country.

(on camera) It's really upsetting to see this kind of scene in Nairobi.

Kenya is filled with open-air markets like this. They're all over the country. They're usually jam-packed with people here, buying and selling their goods: apples, oranges, bananas, shoes, clothes, anything under the sun, literally.

But as you can see, for the large part there's nobody here. They're too afraid to come and sell their goods.

Mama, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). They're just touching and going. I'll buy one today so at least I'll be good for business.

(voice-over) This is Uhuru Park, or Freedom Park. Political rallies are held here, but it's mainly a place where Kenyans come to relax.

(on camera) It's really strange for me to be here and see Uhuru Park with military forces, paramilitary forces like this here. I've never seen it before in my life. But to have them around the city like this, opposite major hotels -- this is a major thoroughfare leading into the central business district of Nairobi -- is a really strange sight and a real indication of how tense the situation is here.

(voice-over) And Kenyans are scrounging, or begging for food, as prices skyrocket. Children often go hungry.


(voice-over) It's not only children who are suffering. We spoke to Kenyans at the coast who are struggling to survive.

(on camera) This was going to be a really great year. But because of the election violence and the images that have been portrayed around the world, the violence in Kenya, the tourists have just packed up and left. One thing that many people here on the beach are telling us, that it's all about departure, no arrivals.


COOPER: Just departures. We're going to continue to follow the events in Kenya.

Erica Hill, though, right now joins us again with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" Erica?

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, following his stop in Israel, President Bush is in Kuwait tonight, the first of five Arab nations he'll be visiting. The president is trying to drum up support for a Middle East peace deal. He next heads to Bahrain.

On Wall Street, a devastating close to the week, the Dow plunging again, ending the day down 246 points to close at 12,606. Those steep declines also showing up on the NASDAQ and the S&P.

And move over Knut. There's a new kid trying to get a little shut- eye. Remember the cuddly little polar bear cub, Knut, everybody at the Berlin Zoo was oohing and ahhing over almost a year ago? Well, Knut is grown up and, as it happens, he's not as cute now. But introducing -- no cub yet, but a cute little cub born last month at a zoo in Nuremberg.

COOPER: They toss aside this bear as soon as it's not cute and cuddly any more.

HILL: Poor Knut. I mean, what did he do? He just grew. It's not the bear's fault. COOPER: Yes. It happens to us all.

Erica, we've been getting tons of Web submissions for our newest addition to our blog, called "Beat 360." That's right. Cue the cheesy music.

This is where we put up a picture and ask the viewers to come up with a caption that's better than the one supplied by our staff, which shouldn't be that hard.

Today's picture -- here it is -- John McCain and Mike Huckabee at the debate. So what do you think is the best title? There's John McCain kind of getting an expression on his face --

HILL: The nice face --

COOPER: The winner goes to Kate W. in St. Paul with this: "For the last time I am not a kid. It's MAC, and he's back."



COOPER: A little late, but better than never. Kate congratulations. Keep the submissions coming.

Erica stay with us. The Shot of the Day is next. Fun Fridays in front of the TV cameras and no shame. We'll tell you where and why and what these people are doing. You got to love it. Ooh.

The founders of hip-hop are rolling over in their grave right now. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Time for our "Shot of the Day." It comes to us from WKRC in Cincinnati via -- is there really a WKRC in Cincinnati? Isn't that, like, the TV show?

HILL: That's what I thought.

COOPER: Anyway, here's the set-up. A slow news Friday on the morning traffic desk. No tie-ups, no fender-benders to report. Instead of a blah, blah, blah about not much of anything else, they filled their segment with this. Take a look.



I can do a little Sprinkler.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like what you're doing there, Jen. That's good work. That's good work. I like it.


COOPER: The TV show is "WKRP." Here you go.

HILL: Oh, yes. Work it. Work it. There she goes. Oh, look.

COOPER: This is what hip-hop is all about. This is the core.

HILL: I think he may have inspired Eminem. He's going out on a limb with it.

COOPER: He's certainly inspired by Vanilla Ice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The squirrel, here's the squirrel, trying to get a nut. Move your butt.


HILL: Wow.


HILL: That is -- those are some moves right there.

COOPER: Jen Dalton and Bob Herzog, we'll see you at "Dance Party Friday," at your next one.

Well, we should probably...

HILL: We have a phrase of our own, don't we?

COOPER: That's right. The 360 crew, they like to...

HILL: They like to boogie down.

COOPER: They like to bust a move.


(MUSIC: "Proud Mary")


HILL: Oh, my. Yes.

COOPER: This was in our salute to Ike Turner, I believe.

HILL: That is -- that is fine.

I think the kids in Cincinnati have been shown up officially.

COOPER: Yes. You know, those kids at WKRP [SIC] in Cincinnati. We showed them. Or WKRC. Whatever. We want you to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some great videos or some television anchors dancing, unfortunately, tell us about it -- We'll put some of the best clips on the air.

More of "360" coming up after the break.


COOPER: For international viewers, CNN Today is next. Here in America, Larry King is coming up.

I'll see you Monday evening.

Thanks for watching.