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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

What Now For Clinton Campaign?; U.S. Navy Aims at Crippled Satellite; 'New York Times' Questions Ethics of John McCain

Aired February 20, 2008 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the McCain campaign is slamming a potentially incendiary story and "The New York Times" for writing it. Does the timing of the story add up to a hit job? Is the subject, ethics and rumored infidelity, fair game? We will dig deeper tonight.
And, later, he's 10-0. She's 0-10. How does Hillary Clinton get her primary groove back? We will look at the strategy on both sides, and a late development, another potentially big boost for Barack Obama.

Also tonight, a shot in the dark. We're waiting for late word from the Navy, which is aiming to shoot down that disabled spy satellite. Could happen any moment. We are going to bring it to you almost as it happens.

Plus, the campus killings and exclusive new details from the shooter's girlfriend on the drugs he was taking and the one that she says he stopped taking. Could that have sparked his deadly rampage? We will investigate.

But we begin with the story that is already triggering an uproar. And it's only been out there a couple hours. We're reporting it precisely because of what people are saying about it and because of where it came out. It's running in tomorrow's "New York Times."

The story chronicles the alleged concerns of some McCain aides on his 2000 campaign, eight years ago, about a number of potential vulnerabilities, specifically their fears about Senator McCain's relationship with a female lobbyist.

I want to read you a portion of the piece word for word -- quote -- "Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself, instructing staff members to block the woman's access, privately warning her away, and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said, on the condition of anonymity. Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, both say they never had a romantic relationship."

And we would quickly add that the article gives no direct evidence of it one way or another. In other words, it's a lot of innuendo. It goes on to detail his well chronicled and admitted involvement in the Savings and Loan scandal in the '80s.

It goes on to say -- quote -- "Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest."

Late tonight, the McCain campaign issued a statement.

CNN's Dana Bash, who is covering the story, joins us now by phone -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I have talked to several of Senator McCain's senior advisers on his campaign tonight. And they're angrily denying that the senator had any inappropriate relationship with the lobbyist in that story.

And they're criticizing "The New York Times" tonight for suggesting that Senator McCain somehow compromised his integrity in his dealing with the Washington lobbyist that you described in that "New York Times" story.

I will read you the statement that his campaign put out. And I will read you the whole thing.

It says: "It is a shame that 'The New York Times' has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election."

It goes on to say, "Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career."

Now, what McCain advisers say tonight, Anderson, is that "The New York Times" started working on this story back in the fall, so, several months ago. And, according to Charlie Black, who is one of the advisers that I spoke to tonight, they spent countless hours, they say, meeting with "The New York Times," giving the paper documentation and statements that they insist disputes a good part of what's in this story.

And we're told that the McCain campaign plans to release some of that documentation tonight, including, for example, a letter that "The Times" says McCain wrote to the FCC urging them to make rulings to help this lobbyist in question. The McCain campaign insists that the full letter will show that he did no such thing.

And, as for that suggestion about, in 2000, back in 2001, when McCain first ran for president, about aides being worried about this relationship and confronting both McCain and this female lobbyist, well, we're still doing our own reporting on that, Anderson, and trying to -- including trying to find one of the aides quoted on the record in there.

And I should also tell you, Anderson, that Senator McCain himself was asked about this leaving a fund-raiser tonight here in Ohio. And he simply said, "I haven't seen it yet, so I can't comment" -- Anderson.

COOPER: Should point out to viewers who have not read the article that this -- all these -- the story that we're talking about is basically eight years old. This is all stuff that allegedly happened back in 2000 in that campaign.

What about the timing of "The New York Times" article, Dana? I mean, you said they have been working on it for months. There's some reports they have been sitting on it for a while.

Why go with the story now?

BASH: That's a great question. And it's one that we definitely can and will ask "The New York Times."

But I will just tell you what the McCain campaign says. What his advisers tell me is that they got a call from a reporter who worked for "The New Republic" magazine doing a story last week -- we're told -- last week about internal turmoil inside "The New York Times" newsroom.

And, according -- according to the McCain campaign, they were told by this "New Republic" reporter that there was squabbling inside "The New York Times" about whether or not to go with this story. In fact, one of the advisers I told you I spoke with, Charlie Black, he even said that he was told that "The New York Times" made an editorial decision twice not to run the story.

And, according to Black, they -- quote, unquote -- "choked" and decided not to run the story. Why they decided to do it and put it up on their Web site at 7:00 Eastern tonight, definitely curious.

But I know just one of your producers, Charlie Moore, spoke with "The New Republic," spoke with the editor of "The New Republic" in question. And the editor did say that they were working on the story, that they were working on it for the past week-and-a-half or so.

And, according to the editor, their sense at "The New Republic" is that "The Times" was -- quote -- "extremely nervous" about their story. So, that's a big part of the puzzle of all this that we're definitely going to keep work on here -- Anderson.

COOPER: Interesting.

And this may end up being a story as much about "The New York Times" as about Senator McCain, depending on what happens over the next 24 hours or so.

Dana, appreciate that.

Some more perspective now from our political panel. Joining me are David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst, and a former presidential adviser who's worked on both sides of the red-blue divide, Bay Buchanan, Republican strategist and former senior adviser for Mitt Romney, Jonathan Capehart, an editorial writer at "The Washington Post," and political analyst Keli Goff is with me here in New York.

Now, David, I have read the story three or four times now. And while it may have some details that hadn't already been reported, it does seem to be heavy on innuendo, no real smoking gun. What's your impression of the story?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: My impression of the story is, first of all, I think there are some more facts to come out, clearly both on the McCain camp -- they may have more things to say -- as well as within "The New York Times."

But I think there are two allegations here that -- that do stand out. One is whether -- and two questions -- one is whether he had a romantic relationship with this lobbyist woman, and does that matter, and, secondly, whether, if he did have such a relationship, he did favors for the lobbyist.

And I think both of those now are going to get a lot of scrutiny, Anderson. And I don't think we know where it's going to come out. I actually think the timing, in many ways, has helped John McCain. You know, if you're going to come out at all, you would like to kind of have it come out after he's wrapped up the nomination than, say, before Florida, when people would have thought that was a foul, dirty, dirty hit.

So, I don't think the timing is so much the issue, but I do think there's a question of -- there are four reporters on this story. They're good reporters. But we also know from a long history -- I have known John McCain a long time. And do I know him to be a man for whom duty, honor, country are terribly important.

I think he's an extremely honorable man. But I think it's also true that he as -- last night -- as recently as last night, he was saying, and he has said many, many times to us: I am a man of honor, but I'm not perfect.

So, I think there's -- we're in an interesting area, that I think the question of whether he did favors may be more important than the basic question of a relationship.

COOPER: Especially it seems, in this day in age, that question seems far less important than the favor question.

Bay Buchanan, how do you see it? I mean, the McCain campaign calls this another example of gutter politics. It's a hit job, they say.

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Well, there's no question it was an -- it's an awful article, to write something that would really bring into question the integrity of an individual without having any kind of firm evidence whatsoever. It is a smear hit.

And the timing of it is an outrageous thing. If they had this kind of story at Christmastime, it should have been run at Christmas. They're plying politics with this story. COOPER: How do you mean?

BUCHANAN: Let John McCain get the nomination. Then we will drop it, so -- so the Republican Party doesn't have a real opportunity to examine it and decide for themselves if the evidence or the suggestions need to be addressed a little further by Senator McCain before they gave him -- before they gave him their support. So, they really played politics.


COOPER: But, wait. Wait. Bay, but we don't know that. For all we know, they felt at the time there wasn't enough evidence to go forward with the article. You're assuming that they held it because they wanted John McCain to win; is that correct?


BUCHANAN: Anderson, I want to ask you, what is it that they learned between Christmas and now? What is the additional evidence in this article which allowed it to run now, when they said at Christmastime it shouldn't run?

COOPER: And we don't know the answer to that question.

BUCHANAN: So far, we -- we don't -- we don't see anything.

But going to the point that David raised, I will tell you, there is a problem. This is not the Democratic Party. This is the party of values. And we assume that our candidates have been loyal to their families. We assume that. We don't ask them that question.

But, when the issue is raised, when somebody suggests you haven't been loyal to your wife and your family, then we expect them to be outraged, to be out there saying, for one thing, I want you to know, without question, I have always been loyal to my wife and my children. And that, I want to be understood clearly.

And, so far, I think John McCain has not made that strong enough. He is going to have to make that point very, very public, if he wishes to galvanize Republicans.

COOPER: Bay Buchanan, I have got to ask you. As you were working for the Romney campaign, would this have made a difference when you were with the campaign? I mean, how would this have changed things had that story broken months ago?

BUCHANAN: Oh. Oh, there's no question it would have impacted. No question it would have impacted our primaries.

We -- we -- you know, conservatives are -- we believe that we are the family value party. We believe it seriously. We expect our candidates to live up to those values, not just to talk about them and expect us to vote for them, and not be there really when it counts.

And our -- we have a basic belief. If can you lie to your wife and your children, then the voter doesn't have a prayer. And, so, that's where we stand. We assume our candidates are that way, unless we -- we have reason to believe otherwise.

COOPER: I just want to point...

BUCHANAN: And that's why it needs to be addressed. I think John McCain would have not won this primary if there's any evidence whatsoever that surfaces the these stories are true.

COOPER: I want to point out to our viewers we have asked reporters who worked on this story from "The New York Times" as well as anyone from "The New York Times," to come on the program tonight to talk about it or even talk to us by phone. They declined that opportunity.

COOPER: Jonathan Capehart, the reports that -- as Bay was talking about and David mentioned, that "The Times" held on to this story for a couple of months, first of all, what's your take on the story?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I find it interesting that -- as you mentioned at the top of the hour, that this is a story that's not from the current campaign, but from the campaign of 2000.

The other thing is, I don't see this as -- the timing is interesting. And I think I hew more to David's thinking than to Bay's thinking, that the timing of this actually works to John McCain's favor, because at least it's not coming before Florida. It's coming now, when he's this close to having the nomination wrapped up and he can explain whatever he needs to explain.

And, also, the story points out that they asked Senator McCain back in December, I believe, if I remember the story correctly, to talk to them about this. And he didn't do so.

So, I think that "The New York Times" -- not to defend "The New York Times," but maybe to defend the profession -- that the idea -- that maybe the reason why "The New York Times" waited this long to -- to drop this story, if you will, is that they needed more time to dot the I's and cross the T's with the sources.

COOPER: Well, it also sounds, though, Jonathan, like -- I mean, if "The New Republic" was working on some article about chaos in the newsroom and arguments over this story, that they may...


COOPER: ... may have felt some pressure to do it now.

CAPEHART: Right, some pressure to do it now. And, also, maybe they didn't want to -- they didn't want to be beat on their own story.

BUCHANAN: Yes, and, Anderson, you know, McCain's lawyers went into "The New York Times" and said, do not touch this story. Do not move on this story. And there's no question this was beneficial to McCain to hold the story, no question. His nomination was -- was very much threatened by this story, if it broke too early. So, what they did is, they hurt the Republican Party, not allowing this to be aired properly at the time that they received this information.

COOPER: We should also point out "The New York Times" did endorse John McCain for president.

Keli Goff, your take on the story.

KELI GOFF, BLOGGER/POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, just really quickly, I think that the other thing we're forgetting, in terms of the timing and playing politics, everyone, you know, we all know, accuses "The New York Times" of liberal bias.

If they really wanted to play politics, they could have sat on the story a lot longer and waited until perhaps you have an Obama- McCain matchup, where you're fighting for independent voters, who care a lot of about things like ethics, and drop this baby on -- you know, in -- in October, when it really matters.

So, I think that this idea of sort of them playing politics with it to, you know, harm the Republican Party, I don't know if we can really agree with that.

And the other thing that I think is interesting, just really quickly, on the issue of ethics and family values, I mean, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani both had lots of baggage, as know, in their personal lives. And I think this idea that this would somehow handicap a Republican candidate out of the picture and out of power is not exactly accurate here.

BUCHANAN: Well, look at -- look how well Giuliani did. He sure did real well with that baggage, didn't he? He got crushed in our primaries.

GOFF: It didn't hurt Newt Gingrich. It didn't hurt Newt Gingrich.

David Gergen, it's interesting, though, that the discussion -- and it's not just the discussion here on this program, but much of the discussion tonight that has been and elsewhere, is about "The New York Times" and their handling, rather than things about John McCain.

Do you think that tells us how this is going to play out over the next couple of days? Is the story going to focus more on "The Times" and their decision-making, or is it going to lay more with John McCain?

GERGEN: I think there are going to be those who want to fuel "The New York Times" story and -- and say they -- and make that the controversy, rather than McCain. It's a very clever tactic to get the focus off.

Look, I see no evidence anywhere so far that "The New York Times" sat on this story, intentionally put it out now, vs. another time. I just think -- I think that's a red herring, until we know more.

What I -- what I also feel with my friend, Bay, I must say, I do agree with the notion -- listen, before we get too high and mighty about the Republican Party, I don't remember a lot of outrage in the Republican Party over the question about their -- the House members and pages. You know, we have -- let's not -- I don't think we ought to get too high and mighty about this.


BUCHANAN: No. No, no, no.

GERGEN: But, you know, but...


BUCHANAN: David, look what happened in the general -- in the general election as a result of that scandal. Republicans were -- were decimated.

GERGEN: They were decimated. But I -- you know, at the leadership level, there was an awful lot of hoofing and hawing and sort of not wanting to get to the bottom of it.


BUCHANAN: Absolutely true. And that's why the -- the grassroots really, really turned on them.


GERGEN: But let me go one -- can I make one point...


COOPER: OK, final point, David.


GERGEN: ... about the -- about the -- about the story itself.

It seems to me that "The New York Times" has reported very solidly that there was concern within the campaign that this might be true, that they're -- and they have a number of sources on that, that there might -- this might be going on.

What they have not pinned down is whether actually it was going on. And he has denied it. She has denied it. And I think that's what the -- the crux right now is. There clearly was concern about some of his people back then and trying to protect him from her and from the -- about the relationship and so forth. But I think it's very unclear whether there was actually a relationship or not.

COOPER: We are going to have more from our panel coming up.

What do you think about all this? It's a hit job, relevant reporting, or much ado about nothing? Let us know. I'm blogging during the broadcast. To join the conversation, go to Live blogging all during this hour.

Straight ahead tonight, we're waiting for the Navy to take its shot at a crippled spy satellite. We will bring that to you as soon as we know what happens.

Also, the latest from Senators Obama and Clinton on the campaign trail.


COOPER (voice-over): Fighting for votes in English and Spanish.



COOPER: But only one of them will. Up close: Who's got the edge and what are the issues that matter to the more than eight million Texas Latinos who could decide the Democratic race?

Later tonight, exclusive new details from the campus killer's girlfriend about the drug he stopped taking not long before he went on his shooting rampage. Could quitting the drug have been a factor? Find out tonight on 360.



COOPER: Well, even her campaign isn't sugarcoating it.

Hillary Clinton now faces a tough road to the Democratic nomination, not impossible, just tough. And it's really starting to show -- John McCain taking shots at Barack Obama, as if he were the Democratic nominee. Bill Clinton saying that, if his wife doesn't win both Texas and Ohio, it's pretty much over, another major union and longtime Clinton ally endorsing Barack Obama.

So, now Senator Clinton has got a CNN debate tomorrow to pin her hopes on and the Longhorn State. The problem is, it is now looking like anything but a Longhorn lock.

From Texas, here's CNN's Candy Crowley.




CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is rolling. She is limping. And he's getting into position. The '08 campaign moves into Texas and Ohio.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And this campaign goes on. And this campaign moves forward.


CROWLEY: The pressure on Hillary Clinton is huge, outlined in stark terms today by her super surrogate.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If she wins in Texas and Ohio, I think she will be the nominee.


B. CLINTON: If you don't deliver for her, I don't think she can be. It's all on you.

CROWLEY: Barack Obama blew her out again last night in Wisconsin and Hawaii. He stomped on her in the headlines today, a big endorsement from the Teamsters union.

JAMES HOFFA, PRESIDENT, TEAMSTERS UNION: This is not about the Clintons. This is about Obama and the momentum he has that I think everybody detects out there, that we really have a phenomenon of him having the opportunity to win in November.

CROWLEY: It is also a timely endorsement from a union with 60,000 members in Ohio and 17,000 in Texas. And it comes as exit polling numbers show Obama has secured for the moment the lion's share of what she once dominated, working-class voters. She needs them back.

H. CLINTON: Now, others might be joining a movement. Well, I'm joining you on the night shift and on the day shift.

CROWLEY: Her campaign says she's been losing because she's been outspent and he's been underscrutinized. They say they're better funded and in friendlier territory in Ohio and Texas there. There is no hint of a major overhaul. But there is an urgency to her.

H. CLINTON: But it is time to get real, to get real about how we actually win this election and get real about the challenges facing America. It is time that we moved from good words to good works, from sound bites to sound solutions.


CROWLEY: And there is a 10-0 confidence to him.

OBAMA: Contrary to what she has been saying, it is not a choice between speeches and solutions. It is a choice between a politics that offers more of the same divisions and distractions that didn't work in South Carolina and didn't work in Wisconsin and will not work in Texas.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) CROWLEY: And then there is an aggressiveness to John McCain, hitting Obama for saying he would go into Pakistan if there was good intelligence showing Osama bin Laden was there and Pakistan refused to act.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The best idea is not to broadcast what you're going to do. That's naive.

CROWLEY: Think of it as practice for the fall campaign.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Austin.


COOPER: Well, for the Clinton camp, it pretty much boils down to, what now?

This afternoon, David Gergen wrote a pretty sharp entry on the 360 blog titled "Self-Inflicted Wounds in the Clinton Campaign." You can read it in full on the blog. He joins us again, along with Republican strategist Bay Buchanan, Jonathan Capehart from "The Washington Post" editorial page, and political analyst Keli Goff, author of the upcoming book "Party Crashing: How the Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence."

So, David, what -- what -- I mean, summarize the blog stuff. I mean, what has gone wrong? What does she have to do now to make it right?

GERGEN: I'm not sure what she can do to make it right. But I think they have -- they have not run a good campaign.

You know, they -- listen, they basically let her -- let him have a free shot in all the caucuses. And he really cleaned up there, and won a lot of delegates, extra delegates. They did -- they did not have a strategy for after February 5, Super Tuesday. And they let him have a free shot at these 10 primaries, in which he's gotten enormous momentum.

They should have contested at least one or two and won them. They could have done that. And they have never yet come but with a message for her. The speech she gave last night was a rewritten version of what she's been saying that hasn't worked.

So, I think, right now, Anderson, she -- Wisconsin was a big, big loss for her. I think it sort of broke the dam a little bit more and in ways that are very significant.

What can she do now? She's got to come up with a new message, a new rationale. Words vs. solutions doesn't work. And she's got to worse force him into a mistake and hope the press does some work for her on the scrutiny side.

COOPER: Jonathan, it's interesting. Do campaigns lose elections or do candidates lose elections? I mean, in TV, they -- when a show is going badly, they fire the producers. They build a new set. They get new lighting. They get a new theme song. Ultimately, they realize, you know what? It ain't that. It's -- it's the person on the program.

Is -- is -- what's going on here in the Clinton campaign?

CAPEHART: Well, I think it could be a combination of -- of the two.

And I would -- if I were -- if Senator Clinton were to call me up and say, you know, hey, Jonathan, what should I do, I would tell...


COOPER: If you're -- by the way, if you're not a superdelegate, that probably ain't going to happen. But...





But I would tell her, go back to what you did when you lost Iowa and you were hanging by your fingernails for New Hampshire, and the great line that she gave when she finally won New Hampshire, saying, I came here and I found my -- I found my own voice.

She needs to find her voice again. And I think she needs to put herself out there even more, talking to voters, really getting out there and explaining what she would do as president. I do think that the solutions line that she's weaving into -- into her comments is a good one, because at least it's forcing people -- people like me and us in the media -- to look at Barack Obama's positions and try to at least begin to scrutinize, well, what would an Obama presidency mean?

COOPER: Bay Buchanan, let's say hell has frozen over and, after calling Jonathan Capehart, Hillary Clinton actually calls you.

What is your -- what do you advise?


BUCHANAN: Listen, in fairness to Hillary, she is not just losing it. Obama is winning it.

He's a terrific candidate. He's got a message that really resonates. And the sense that he's created a cause and includes people and say, we can do this, we can do this, people feel that they now belong, are associated with something bigger than themselves. And -- and he has just done a terrific job of communicating and capturing the hearts of the Democratic rank-and-file.

And I would tell her, it's over. It's over.


BUCHANAN: The fat lady is singing. I'm sorry to tell you this.


BUCHANAN: It's done. She is -- he is not going to be stopped. The prairie fire has been lit and it is moving across this country. He has won the hearts and souls of the Democratic Party.

COOPER: And a sign of that, Keli, is that he is moving in -- he is making inroads on all these areas which she has held up to now.

GOFF: Yes.

You know, and it was interesting. Listening to Bay speak, I was reminded of that famous line from the former Governor of Louisiana Edwin Edwards, who famous said, the only way -- the only thing that will stop me now is if I'm caught in bed with a live girl or a dead boy.


GOFF: Everyone remembers that.


GOFF: And I'm not ready to commit that Obama's definitely there yet, but we're definitely heading in that territory at this point. I mean...

COOPER: Unstoppable?

GOFF: ... they say in politics and in basketball that it's not a good strategy to wait for your opponent to make a mistake. But, at this point, I really see no other -- other choice for her, except for cross her fingers and hope for a big one.


Still to come, courting the Latino vote. We are going to take you to a live Clinton rally.

Also, new details about the drugs the Northern Illinois killer was taking.

First, Erica Hill joins us with a 360 bulletin -- Erica.


One Air Force pilot is dead tonight, the other said to be in good condition at this hour. That's after two F-15 fighter jets collided this afternoon over the Gulf of Mexico. The airmen were on a training mission out of Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. A Missouri teen accused of plotting to kill his adoptive parents. Prosecutors say 18-year-old Jacob Jett thought his parents were just too strict and that he wanted to inherit money. So, they say he gave $260 and some guns to two hit men he met at a Kansas city home last month.

And a judge in Los Angeles postponing Britney Spears's driving- without-a-license case until next month, after her lawyers said she's just not capable of giving a deposition. Back in August, you may recall, she hit a parked car and left without telling the owner. And that escalated into this whole driving license fiasco, if you will.

COOPER: I would like to be able to argue that kind of stuff in court, Erica, you know, like...

HILL: Right.

COOPER: ... I'm just -- I don't feel up to giving a deposition.

HILL: Not really up to it today. Can I come back maybe in a couple months?


HILL: Is that cool?

COOPER: I didn't know the legal system worked right -- like that.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: And, Erica, we're waiting to see if the -- the Navy is going to shoot down this failed satellite?

HILL: Yes, we are. And, basically, what they're waiting for is not the stars to align, but it does sort of apply in this case. But they have to do it before March 1, because, after that, it is going to be too tough to get to.

But they want to make sure they shoot it down because they want the fuel tank to go down in an area that's not populated because the toxic fuel could harm or kill people, Anderson.

COOPER: Always good to keep in mind. If it happens, we will have a live report.

First: pilots accused of falling asleep at the controls. Shocking allegations coming up. If it's true, "What Were They Thinking?"

We will be right back.


COOPER: Time now, Erica, for "What Were They Thinking?" The FAA is investigating whether two Go! Airlines -- it's Go with an exclamation mark -- Airlines pilot fell -- I'm always wary of any company that has an exclamation mark in their name.

HILL: The exclamation point in general scares me sometimes.


COOPER: Yes, it does.

Go! Airlines pilots fell asleep -- they're investigating whether they fell asleep during a flight last week when their plane drifted off course by 15 miles. The pilots...

HILL: Oh, is that all?


They pilots overshot Hilo Airport in Hawaii, had to turn back. Sources say the ground crew at the airport got concerned when they couldn't get ahold of the flight crew for nearly 30 minutes.


COOPER: Unbelievable. If it's true, it's incredibly scary.

HILL: It is scary.

And -- and, as I understand it, they're actually waiting now to confirm what may have happened until they get the information from the cockpit.


HILL: I don't know. I guess, if they hear snoring, then we will know...

COOPER: Snoring or...


HILL: ... oh, yeah, they were asleep, and...

COOPER: Well, you know, there's those things where you can listen in to what the pilots are saying. Maybe people listened in and heard snoring.

HILL: They may have.

COOPER: That would have been something.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: But, again, remember, when you see an exclamation mark...

HILL: Be wary.

COOPER: ... be afraid. Be wary.

HILL: But, wait, I have an exclamation point for this next one.

COOPER: Uh-oh. OK.

HILL: My exclamation would be, gosh, you were good on "Conan" last night.

COOPER: Oh, thank you.

HILL: Very funny.

COOPER: Yes, well...

HILL: In fact, for the folks who may not have seen it, I thought we could play a little bit of it.


HILL: Perhaps?


COOPER: It was strange. This last one, I -- I hosted a Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Library. And right before it began, just minutes before it began, Nancy Reagan was sitting in the front row. And next to her was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who you have been showing tonight.

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN": Was he staring at you in a strange way?


COOPER: Well, what was weird is...


O'BRIEN: I'm picturing it.

COOPER: That's right.



COOPER: And I have never met the man. And -- and we hadn't -- we didn't talk then or anything.

But, moments before the debate started, he looked at me and he motioned to his bicep. And he was, "You have been working out."


O'BRIEN: He gave you the, "Oh, you have been working out"?



COOPER: He gave me the "You have been working out."

And -- and I was completely thrown.


COOPER: There you go.

HILL: Completely thrown.

But here's what's interesting, Anderson.

I'm not saying I don't believe you.

COOPER: Uh-huh.

HILL: But, you know, we looked high and low for that tape today.


HILL: Don't see the governator anywhere on tape...

COOPER: But you're...

HILL: ... pointing to the guns.

And then we actually called the governor's office.

COOPER: No, you didn't.

HILL: Of course we did.


HILL: This is CNN.



HILL: We don't -- we don't mess around.

COOPER: All right. Yes.

HILL: They didn't return our calls.

COOPER: Oh, really?

HILL: So, I don't know.

COOPER: I -- I swear this happened. (LAUGHTER)

COOPER: It really did happen.

HILL: I believe you. I do. I mean, I know you have been working out you know? And that's good. And I'm happy for you.

COOPER: I did not make this up, Erica Hill.


HILL: Before you know it, he's going to call you.

COOPER: I knew you should have never come up to New York.

HILL: Your worst nightmares have come true.

COOPER: This happened. He pointed to his bicep and I was -- he was talking to the woman next to him, not -- anyway.

HILL: If it was me, I would have been totally thrown, too.

COOPER: I don't need to defend myself. They didn't have a camera focused on him. Anyway, all right.

HILL: Maybe you should have.

COOPER: John Roberts is up, coming up tomorrow on "American Morning." Back me up, Doug.


JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Wake up tomorrow to the most news in the morning. We are going to be live from here in Austin on the morning of the Democratic presidential debate, with Texas's head Democrat. His wife is a super delegate, and they can't decide, should Clinton or Obama get the vote?

Plus, Dr. Sanjay Gupta goes flying with the Blue Angels. Was it the ride of his life?

Tomorrow, beginning 6 a.m. Eastern -- Anderson.


COOPER: John, thanks.

And something we've been covering extensively here on 360, the role of race in politics. Up next, the Latino vote and how it may never be more important than the Democratic primary in Texas.

We're also waiting for word on the attempted shoot-down of a stray satellite. It's an 80-second (ph) missile strike never attempted before by the U.S. Navy.

And the girlfriend of the Illinois campus shooter says he was prescribed three medications and stopped taking one of them. The question is, could that be what sparked this killing rampage? That when 360 continues.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... about an election. I think this is about the next generation, the young people here as students and working.

COOPER: Hillary Clinton speaking right now live in Brownsville, Texas. The primaries in Texas and Ohio March 4. We all know they're shaping up to be must-wins for Senator Clinton. No doubt, she's counting on her popularity among Latino voters in those states, especially in Texas, but Barack Obama is also courting the Spanish vote heavily.

With a look at the political showdown in the Lone Star State up close, here's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a street corner in San Antonio, Texas...


TUCHMAN: ... a small confrontation by some of the most sought- after and fought-after voters in the nation.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And together we will begin the next great chapter in American history, starting with those three words, Si, se puede. Si, se puede.

CLINTON: Si, se puede is right. Yes, we can.

TUCHMAN: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are desperately seeking the Latino vote, in a state that could propel Clinton back into contention or give Obama a sense of domination and inevitability.

OBAMA: How's it going, San Antonio?

CLINTON: I can't think of any better place to start our campaign for Texas than right here in El Paso.

OBAMA: I am glad to be in the Lone Star State.

CLINTON: And I lived here in San Antonio for three months. It's where I became addicted to Mexican food and mango ice cream.

TUCHMAN: The polls show the Texas primary is now too close to call.

(on camera) There are about 8.5 million Latinos in the state of Texas. There are more Latinos here than there are entire populations in 39 other states.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking in a foreign language)

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Roughly 36 percent of Texas residents are of Latino heritage, mostly Mexican. So Obama and Clinton are now in the midst of whirlwind Texas Latino campaign stops, polls show immigration is an important issue.

CLINTON: We're going to give people a path to citizenship, because so many of the people who are here work hard, send their children to school and deserve a chance at the American dream.

TUCHMAN: But Iraq, the economy and education also dominate concerns.

OBAMA: I want every child to learn a second language. Everybody. Not just -- not just Spanish-speaking people learning a second language. All of us need to learn a second language.

TUCHMAN: Both candidates air Spanish-language commercials. This radio ad for Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking in a foreign language)

TUCHMAN: This TV ad for Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking in a foreign language)

CLINTON: I'm Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message.

TUCHMAN: Hillary Clinton has done well nationally with the Latino vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We believe in her. We believe in what she stands for.

TUCHMAN: But Barack Obama won the majority of Latinos in Connecticut and most recently Virginia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to vote for Obama now. I was undecided.

TUCHMAN: The stakes are high, so expect to see Obama and Clinton spending a lot more time with Latinos in Texas, even those who may not be ready to vote just yet.


COOPER: Gary's at that Clinton rally in Brownsville.

How concerned is the campaign right now that they may be losing Latino support in Texas?

TUCHMAN: Hillary Clinton's people, Anderson, are still convinced they will do well with Latinos in Texas, but obviously they're not in a position to rest on their laurels. They plan to have a lot of high- octane mega events like this one at the University of Texas at Brownsville. This is the southern-most point state of the state of Texas. Some 140,000 people live in this city. Ninety-one percent Latino, three Latino congressmen on stage earlier. Former housing secretary Henry Cisneros giving all the help they can to Hillary Clinton -- Anderson.

CLINTON: Thanks very much.

COOPER: All right. Thanks very much. How's this for a slim margin of error? The Navy had a 10-second window to launch a kill shot on an errant satellite. It could happen any moment now. We're waiting for word on the status of that attempt.

And here's tonight's "Beat 360." Cue the cheesy music.

Fidel Castro on the phone, wearing a track suit. Not sure what that's all about. He seems to favor those. Here's tonight's "Beat 360" staff caption from Barclay: "A gold date with George Bush and Pervez Musharraf? Sure, I can work that in now. Can we invite Mitt Romney, too?"

A little long, maybe. Think you can do better? Go to CNN doc/360. Send us your submission. We'll announce the winner at the end of the program.


COOPER: In an exclusive interview with CNN this past weekend, the girlfriend of the Northern Illinois campus killer said the boyfriend she knew was not the man who killed five students then himself on Valentine's Day. Now she's saying that he'd been taking a cocktail of three drugs prescribed by his psychiatrist.

CNN's Abbie Boudreau joins us from Naples, Florida. She's been reporting this story. Abbie, what have you learned?

Also in Los Angeles, forensic psychologist Chris Mohandie.

Abbie, what did Jessica tell you?

ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I talked to Jessica again last night, and she told me he was taking a combination of Xanax, Ambien and Prozac. But all three of those were prescribed by his psychiatrist.

Apparently he started seeing a psychiatrist about -- in June of 2007 after they moved from NIU to the University of Illinois, where he was experiencing a lot of stress, anxiety about his -- about schoolwork and about not having a job.

She said that she was really nervous about him taking the combination of the three drugs. She was trying to get him off Ambien. And then about three weeks before the shooting, that's when she found out that he stopped taking Prozac.

COOPER: Chris, what are typical behavior patterns for patients taking these medications? I mean, Ambien is for sleep. Xanax is, what, for anxiety. And Prozac is for depression.

CHRIS MOHANDIE, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: That's correct. These three drugs are often prescribed together by psychiatrists and medical doctors. And exactly as you described, the Xanax is simply for anxiety. The Prozac is for the depressive symptoms. And the Ambien is to help the person sleep.

So there's nothing extraordinary about that combination and nothing extraordinary going off it and certainly nothing that would lead a person going off it simply to be the sole reason for going on a shooting rampage.

COOPER: When you're on Prozac, though, you're supposed go off it over time and under a doctor's supervision. His girlfriend was saying that he stopped taking medication about three weeks ago or taken it kind of inconsistency. Are there any hazards with that?

MOHANDIE: Absolutely. If a person is not going off it under the supervision of a physician, there can be problems and complications. But certainly, nothing that would lead a -- a normal person taking these medications to do anything like what we've seen here.

What this suggests is, obviously, there were homicidal urges and fantasies long before this, and the escalation from an intensification of his depressive feelings may have just added fuel to the fire that was already there.

COOPER: But like, homicidal urges, does that just warrant Prozac, or wouldn't that warrant some -- some other stronger kind of medication?

MOHANDIE: Well, I'm not sure that there's a specific medication for homicidal urges and fantasies. That's a whole other set of issues that usually have to do with anger, and resentment and inability to let go of resentment and hostilities. So it's a lot more complicated than something Prozac would help out with.

COOPER: And Abbie, there's been some confusion as to whether or not Jessica's been cooperating with police. There's some reports say that she's changing her story. Did you speak to her about it?

BOUDREAU: I did. That's actually one of the reasons that I called her. There was a newspaper -- a couple of newspaper articles that were saying, OK, her statements are inconsistent. She was telling police -- according to police, she was telling them, well, he was acting erratically after he stopped taking the Prozac, about three weeks before the shooting.

She told CNN and myself in that exclusive interview over the weekend that, no, he wasn't acting erratically. Maybe a little irritable, maybe a little, you know, irritable and quicker to be annoyed at little things, but not erratic. And she said she certainly did not use the word, at least she does not remember using the word erratic with police. She doesn't know exactly where they got that.

She said she's not trying to mislead anybody. And she said that, quite frankly, she was just really upset when she read that in the newspaper.

COOPER: A lot of mystery surrounding this remains. Abbie Boudreau, appreciate it. Chris Mohandie, it's always good to have you on the program.

Thank you.

MOHANDIE: Thank you.

COOPER: Here's some breaking news to report. We're just getting word on that attempted shoot-down of a spy satellite. We're trying to assess the data. We're going to head to the Pentagon for the results when we come back. We'll be right back.


COOPER: A risky shot in the dark tonight, the U.S. Navy aiming a missile at a crippled spy satellite, trying to hit it with the satellite orbiting at thousands of miles an hour. Their penalty for missing? The satellite could come down more of intact, loaded with toxic fuel.

They took their big shot just a few moments ago.

CNN's Jamie McIntyre joins us now from the Pentagon.

Jamie, what do we know?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, a lot of proud sailors tonight. The U.S. Navy on its first attempt did hit that satellite as it was passing over the Pacific just west of the Hawaiian Islands. It was the first attempt, and it was a hit.

Now, we don't have all the details. We don't know, for instance, whether the missile hit exactly the precise spot they were aiming for, which was the fuel tank of that satellite. But at this point, any hit is considered a success, because it's almost guaranteed to bring the satellite down much faster and close to where the U.S. military wanted it to come down, which is in the Pacific Ocean.

Again, just happened about 15 minutes ago. The satellite passed over the USS Lake Erie. A standard missile was fired, using the missile defense technology that the U.S. has spent billions of dollars on, was able to acquire the satellite and hit it, according to two officials with direct knowledge.

In the next hours or so, we'll get more details on exactly what happened. Whether it's a lot -- there's a lot of debris, where the debris is falling, but right now, we can just tell you it was a hit.

COOPER: Do we know how fast the satellite was moving?

MCINTYRE: It was going about 17,000 miles an hour. The missile that was intercepting it was going in excess of 5,000 miles an hour. That was a closing velocity of 22,000 miles an hour. So you've got to be really precise. COOPER: And they had a very small window for this, right?

MCINTYRE: That's right. Because they had to get it when it was just passing over the ship. You know, it's really a matter of just some seconds in order to get it at the precise, right time.

But they've been doing this awhile with these missile defense tests, and they were pretty confident that the experience they've had with the standard missile and the acquisition systems, including the optical scanners they had, were going to work. They were about 90 percent confident. It turns out that confidence was well-founded.

COOPER: There's concern internationally that it's some sort of elaborate war game exercise.

MCINTYRE: Yes. A lot of people think, well, this is just the U.S. showing off its anti-satellite capability. And the United States has tried to go to great lengths to reassure people that that's not what's going on.

There are these three missiles that were modified. The two now that were not used are going to go back and be remodified to go back into the missile defense system. And the U.S. is not developing an anti-satellite capability.

But what it does show is, if the U.S. wants to shoot a satellite out of the sky, it can.

COOPER: All right. Jamie McIntyre, we'll be getting more details, no doubt, in the next day or so.

There are a lot of manmade satellites in outer space. Here's the raw data for you. NASA says about 3,000 satellites launched by more than 40 countries are right now orbiting the earth. They're used to study the universe, help forecast the weather, support military activities and make sure cell phones and GPS maps work.

The Soviet Union launched the first manmade satellite, of course, Sputnik. That was back in 1957.

Coming up tonight, a rare Bengal tiger rescued after being chased up a tree by villagers in India. It's "The Shot." You won't want to miss it.

First, Erica Hill joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, a possible break in the case of Natalie McCann and some disappointment. A Dutch tourist says she recently spotted the missing British 4-year-old at a restaurant in France. But according to the Associated Press, investigators say it was not Madeleine.

She disappeared nine months ago while on vacation with her parents in Portugal.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis and its seven astronauts safely back on Earth tonight following a nearly two-week, 5-million-mile journey. The shuttle delivered Europe's first permanent lab to the International Space Station.

And if you look out your window, a lot of activity in the skies tonight. You might be able to see the last total lunar eclipse in North America until December 2010. That's good. We got a live shot, because we can't poke our heads out a window from the studio.

An eclipse, of course -- here's your science lesson for the day -- takes place when a full moon is completely immersed in the shadow of the Earth. There you go.

And want to get you now to tonight's "Beat 360." You know how it works. We play the cheesy music, and I dance. Now I get to say that line. Anderson's dancing, by the way. Maybe we can take a shot of him.

So we put a shot on the 360 blog. We asked you to -- it's interesting that he stopped -- asked you to come up with a caption for us that's better than one of our own.

In tonight's edition, the picture of Fidel Castro from about a year and a half ago. We're looking at it now, though, of course, because yesterday he announced he is resigning as president of Cuba. Widely expected his brother, Raul, will take over.

So our staff winner is Barclay, who said, "A golf date with George Bush and Pervez Musharraf? Sure I can work it in now. Can we invite Mitt Romney, too?"

AC said it was a little long.

Here's the viewer winner from Laura: "I did not ever knowingly take HGH or steroids. Period." There you go.

There were a lot of sports themed ones.

COOPER: Well, he is wearing a track suit.

HILL: He's got his own track team. Other ideas at where you can play along.

That tiger rescue, it's our shot and it's quite a heck of a shot. That when we come back. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Time now for "The Shot." An amazing rescue of a Bengal tiger that strayed out of the wild, into an Indian village. Take a look.

Hundreds of frightened villages threw stones and burning sticks at the pregnant tiger. There, we can actually see it now. Then they actually chased her up a palm tree. Probably not the best way to handle the situation. Well, the average female Bengal is about eight feet long and weighs 300 pounds. The tiger stayed up in the tree for 14 hours before wildlife workers managed to tranquilize her and rescue her. They nursed her wounds, released her back into the national habitat. Well, yanks. What's going on there? They're just throwing stuff.

There you go. That's right. Hitting the Bengal tiger with sticks.

HILL: Poor thing.

COOPER: I know.

HILL: And she's pregnant.

COOPER: I know. The Indian government...

HILL: Give a pregnant tiger a break, people.

COOPER: I know. Seriously. And there, the whole village is mobilized. The Indian government says in the last five years the population of the Bengal tigers has been cut in half. There are only about 1,400 of them left in India today.

HILL: Sad.

COOPER: Yes. I don't know what they were doing with the ferry. I guess they were getting the tiger on the ferry.

Anyway, if you see some great video, tell us about it, You can go there to see, well, really most of the recent shots and other segments from the program.

What else is in there, Erica?

HILL: What is on there?

COOPER: The blog.

HILL: On the Web, so that would also be your live blogging.

COOPER: You know what? I haven't been live blogging very much.

HILL: You've been very busy tonight.

COOPER: It has been a busy night. I apologize. There was the breaking news.

HILL: It happens.

COOPER: Been live blogging?

HILL: No. I was following the breaking news. I was looking at the information on the satellite, in case we needed to chat.

COOPER: I know. I apologize. Up next, questioning John McCain. A very controversial story in the "New York Times" about ethics and allegations of infidelity. It's getting an awful lot of heat. The question is, is there any "there" there? Our panel digs deeper.

Also, Hillary Clinton, can she make a comeback? That and more ahead on the program.


COOPER: Tonight the McCain campaign is slamming a potentially incendiary story and the "New York Times" for writing it. Does the timing of the story add up to a hit job? Is the subject, ethics and rumored infidelity, fair game? We'll dig deeper tonight.

And later he's 10-0. She's 0-10. How does Hillary Clinton get her primary groove back? We'll look at the strategy on both sides.

And a late development and another potentially big boost for Barack Obama.