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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

The Warrior Prince on the Frontlines; Crucial Tuesday for the Democratic Race

Aired February 28, 2008 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Nic Robertson brings us the fast- moving story and the reaction from London. Michael Ware is going to join us from Baghdad.
Also tonight, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the latest from the campaign trail. She needing big wins, he on the move, both fighting hard on the way to what the so-called experts are calling Crucial Tuesday for the Democrats; four states, including, of course, Texas and Ohio.

We'll also explore tonight where these races might be going with our political team and we'll tell you what President Bush is now saying about Barack Obama.

First, Prince Harry on the front lines in Afghanistan. We and other news organizations knew about it months ago but were asked by British authorities to keep it secret for the safety of the troops. They were concerned that Harry's high profile might jeopardize the mission of his unit, his own safety and that of his fellow soldiers.

We and our colleagues honored the British request when safety of troops is concerned, that's what we do. But Matt Drudge ran with the story today launching it around the Internet and the world.

Now a leading British paper, "The Guardian," is on the streets. The headline reads "Afghanistan Mission Close To Failing - US" as army prepares to evacuate Harry after news blackout fails.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in London and joins us now. Nic, tell us exactly what we know about what Prince Harry has been doing there. He was based in an area of pretty heavy insurgent fighting.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He was based in Helmand province, he's been in a forward air controller area, calling in fighter planes and calling in helicopters to support troops on the ground, bringing in medevacs, bringing in support, calling in air strikes when the Taliban has been attacking.

He's been patrolling areas in other parts of the province of Helmand. He's been right on the front line, right in the danger zone and has come across some pretty tough situations while he's been there, Anderson.

COOPER: It's been a remarkable secret that's been held for the past two months. What is the reaction to this breaking news in London? ROBERTSON: I think the headlines in the papers tomorrow, if I can show you, give you an idea what the reaction is going to be. "Harry, One of Our Boys, Front Line Prince, Kills 30 Taliban;" "My War," by Prince Harry, "How I Fought the Taliban in Afghanistan." That's the way the story is being sold here.

Harry a hero, we've heard from the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, we've heard from the head of the army here; both praising Harry's efforts in Afghanistan; both saying that he's done a good job and served well; criticism of the media outlet Drudge Report for breaking the story, putting Harry and the troops in danger as well.

COOPER: Despite this being under wraps for so long, there's a lot of tape of Harry in action. We're seeing some of it and we're going to show you more in a moment.

Tell us about his life or what we know of his life in Afghanistan.

ROBERTSON: It's been a tough life. He's been with the troops. He's had none of the comforts that he would get at Buckingham Palace behind me here. He's been in a place where he has been without a shower for days at a time, wash his clothes. He's been right there, facing off against the Taliban.


ROBERTSON: Fighting on the front line in Afghanistan; British royalty, 23-year-old Prince Harry.

Five Taliban fighters were attacking his outpost. Rockets are fired; bombs dropping. This place is exactly where he wants to be, fighting for his country.

PRINCE HARRY, BRITISH ROYALTY: It's good fun to be just with a normal bunch of guys.

ROBERTSON: But worry of Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, has been far from normal. His tour of duty a carefully kept secret until now. Few knew that for the last ten weeks he's been in combat. His main mission, a sort of ground traffic controller for air traffic; talking to pilots; calling in air strikes to protect British troops from enemy fighters.

PRINCE HARRY: I've got the AC next to me so if I -- worst case scenario, if I have to drop a bomb to get these guys out of contact or other guys on the ground out of contact, I just turn around, he's on my shoulder and I say can I drop? He'll say yes, drop.

ROBERTSON: Using a monitor, linked to high-flying and silent spy planes, he tracks unsuspecting Taliban forces.

PRINCE HARRY: Terry Taliban and his mates, as soon as they hear air, they go to ground. So it makes life a little bit tricky. So it's something that gives us a visual feedback from way up. It means that they can carry on their normal way of life and we can follow them.

ROBERTSON: It's been a struggle for Harry to get here. Last year he threatened to quit the army when Britain's top general told him he couldn't go to Iraq.

As for the extreme secrecy surrounding his combat tour, there is a fear that his royalty would mark him out as the Taliban's most wanted. Imagine the prize for taking him out, imagine the danger it would mean to his comrades.

ROBERT JOBSON, JOURNALIST: Prince Harry is and was a target of the insurgents. They specifically said that he would be targeted even for kidnap or assassination.

PRINCE HARRY: I need to keep my face slightly covered; just on the off chance I do get recognized which will put other guys in danger. I'm called the bullet magnet.

ROBERTSON: Warrior Harry is quite a leap from the playboy Harry that people thought they knew. In recent years, Harry's image took a fall. He was seen drunk and sometimes aggressive leaving London nightclubs. But in Afghanistan, he's regained respect. Out here, none of the comforts of Buckingham Palace.

PRINCE HARRY: I haven't really had a shower for four days. I haven't washed my clothes for a week and everything seems completely normal. I don't honestly know what I miss at all. We've got music, we've got light, we've got food, we've got drink. No, I don't miss booze, if that's the next question.


COOPER: Life for Prince Harry on the front lines in Afghanistan. Joining us again Nic Robertson and from Baghdad, CNN's Michael Ware has also been in to Afghanistan many times.

Michael, you spent time in Helmand Province. Tell us what it's like and what British troops face there?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, Anderson, that very much is a Taliban front line. I lived in Kandahar for almost a year and I spent a lot of time in Helmand province. It's very much part of the seat of Taliban in Afghanistan.

Now, to the very north of this large province are the mountain valleys where the Taliban or the mujahadin fought the Russians and there British and American troops are going up the same valleys the Russians did, littered with the rusting hulks of Soviet armor from past battles, trying to route them out of the exact same strong holds.

Now to the south, it's very arid. It's desert. It's where the Marines first came in back in 2001. They are the rat lines or the supply lines running in and out of Afghanistan where the weapons and men come.

It's also the center of their drug trade; Sangean (ph) and Helmand Province. It is a huge opium market.

So this is tough country that the Taliban know well. And they've almost actually overrun British positions there in the past. So depending on where he is, he can really be in the thick of the fight there, Anderson.

COOPER: Nic, you spent an awful lot of time in Afghanistan. You know it as well. British troops like Americans, like Canadians are really the NATO troops doing the real fighting in Afghanistan. A couple of the other NATO countries are in regions where they're not fighting, they won't go into combat. How has the battle been going for the British?

ROBERTSON: It's taken a turn for the better over the last few months. I had a briefing here with the British Foreign Office and they were showing me pictures from a town I visited from this time last year, Sangean, where there were no shops open.

Now the market is thriving. They say they're getting successes. They just took control of Musakal (ph) a couple of months ago, a key town, a strategic Taliban stronghold, a town the Taliban were using to dominate part of the area of Helmand. That's now in British and Afghan control.

The British are doing better but their problems are huge, they're massive. The bigger and longer their supply lines get, the more opportunity the Taliban have to target them.

These great pictures we have of Prince Harry have come because there's been an agreement between the Ministry of Defense here, the British media and CNN that we would allow a pool camera to photograph, film and interview Harry on occasions. We would get the material, wait till Harry got out of the country before broadcasting this. That's why we can get these great pictures of what he's been doing inside the country -- Anderson.

COOPER: Michael, now the word has leaked, would it be possible for him to remain safely in Afghanistan?

WARE: Well, as the prince himself says he's being dubbed, he's the bullet magnet. That's the polite version. In the field, often they use a different euphemism. He would really be attracting attention.

In combat, there's some blokes you want to be next to, some you don't want to. Some who are essentially lucky charms, guys that if I'm with him, I'll be all right. But I have to say if you're in a bunker with Prince Harry and the Taliban know about it, they're going to throw everything they've got at you.

So the sad fact is, despite Prince Harry and wanting to step up and be an ordinary bloke and full credit to him for it, and look, let's condemn -- if it was an Australian magazine or a Web site that leaked this, I mean they're a bunch of gallards (ph), a bunch of drungos (ph) to use the Australian vernacular. They have jeopardized not only the prince's safety but the safety of the men around him. It would be very difficult to keep Prince Harry in the field now -- Anderson.

COOPER: I think you just insulted Matt Drudge, but I don't know what a ballard or a drungo is. I'm not entirely sure. I'm going to have to look that up. I'm guessing you insulted Matt Drudge for revealing his whereabouts.

We're going to have more on this never before seen video of Prince Harry in Afghanistan coming up. We're going to hear the prince talk about his mother, Princess Diana, and how she might have reacted to his duty in Afghanistan.

And later tonight, Barack Obama still gaining ground on Hillary Clinton; the race for crucial Tuesday. But he's also taking shots from Republicans, especially President Bush. Today he took a pretty tough one.

But might the president's comments actually help Barack Obama more than hurt him? We'll have the latest from the campaign trail; extensive coverage of politics ahead.


COOPER: The Warrior Prince on The Front Lines. As we told you, Prince Harry has been fighting for his country in Afghanistan. The story was revealed today on the Internet. And tonight we are learning, according to British papers, that efforts may be underway to evacuate him.

We don't know details and, frankly even if we did, I would not report them. No one here is interested in doing anything that jeopardizes the lives of troops in combat.

We know Prince Harry has been stationed at Helmand Province, it's in Southern Afghanistan. Trained as a tank commander, he's been also working as a forward air controller, directing strikes on enemy targets to protect ground troops.

Before the break, we showed you what has been his mission, what his life has been like. But there's more to it. As you'll see, Harry is about to meet one of the biggest dangers of all and he does it head on.

We have to tell you that although he refers to this video that you're about to see as a film, it's actually pool video, not taken by or exclusive to CNN. But it was part of a deal made with the British government and British media. We agreed not to reveal his whereabouts or not to reveal the story, and in return, we would occasionally get access to be able to take these videos and show them only after he was out of harm's way.

Once again, here's Nic Robertson.


ROBERTSON: Two explosive shells attached to a trip wire. A bomb set to go off as these soldiers drive over. There is no safe place here, not for the prince, not for anyone. The front line here is everywhere. His unit was checking the road when they made the deadly discovery.

PRINCE HARRY: Luckily for us, the wire had been torn or had been snapped. But once again, the fact that the enemy are now using command wire raises the risks.

ROBERTSON: By now Prince Harry has been in the combat zone more than two months. It's taken something from him. He now sounds a bit tired. He now knows the lessons all soldiers from all countries know. What the enemy learned in Iraq has been learned by the enemy in Afghanistan.

PRINCE HARRY: They're picking up from Iraq now, using command wire, which means, essentially if you find it, it doesn't make any difference because once you found it; if it's all tied up and they're watching, they press the button.

ROBERTSON: As for how a royal prince got here, he says in truth his mother prepared him for it.

PRINCE HARRY: Hopefully she would be proud. William sent me a letter saying how proud he reckons that she would be. It's one thing that I don't necessarily think about all the time, because I've got the guys to worry about.

ROBERTSON: His unit is working side by side with U.S. forces; instant brothers in arms.

PRINCE HARRY: The Americans arrived; all is well in the empire.

ROBERTSON: The young prince understood before he was deployed to Afghanistan that just a single report about him would blow his cover; endanger him and his men. He understood that he would be the number one target.

PRINCE HARRY: Once this film comes out, every single person who supports them would be determined to [inaudible] I try not to think about it. It's quite worrying. And now this film has been made and people will know that I'm out here, no doubt I would be a top target.

ROBERTSON: A target of the highest profile for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan or even for radical Islamists when he gets back home. Harry may have had more of a life-changing experience in Afghanistan than he bargained for. He's been where he wanted to be, to the front line; fought alongside his soldiers. But when he returns back home, he may have a harder time than the average soldier of putting the dangers behind him.


COOPER: And Nic Robertson joins us once again from London. Nick, just in the bigger picture, one of the things that Prince Harry talked about there is the tactics that we've seen in Iraq are now being used in Afghanistan. That's a big part of the story that in this war which is often forgotten in the media, people haven't really focused on. The amount of suicide attacks and the amount of IEDs has really skyrocketed in Afghanistan.

ROBERTSON: You know, it has a massive impact as well. The IEDs are forcing troops to resupply locations outpost by air. That's putting a strain on the air assets. The helicopters in Afghanistan, it's putting a strain on the number of troops as they push out to try and work with local governors and extend the authority of the government in Kabul.

So it is causing -- it is causing problems. These tactics are causing problems. Suicide bombs targeting the center of Kabul; a psychological war. No one knows when the attacks are coming. It makes everyone there scared and it doesn't take many people to do it and sustain it. And that's a big problem.

COOPER: Nic Robertson reporting from London; Michael Ware from Baghdad. Thank you gentlemen. Just one thing we should point out, the U.S. troops that we were embedded with the last time we were in Afghanistan, the 10th Mountain Division, who have been fighting very bravely in Afghanistan wanted people here in America to remember that the fight that they face every day is just as tough as the fight that soldiers in Iraq are facing every day.

Often times when these soldiers in Afghanistan come home, people say at least you weren't in Iraq, implying somehow Afghanistan is a cake walk. It is by no means a cake walk as Prince Harry saw firsthand.

Reminder also, I'm blogging during the broadcast so join the conversation, go to Erica is going to blog too, aren't you?


COOPER: But first you've got a 360 Bulletin. What's going on?

HILL: I do, Anderson.

Baseball fans, members of congress, now the FBI want to know whether Roger Clemens or his former personal trainer actually lied under oath. The Bureau launching that investigation at a request of the house committee that heard Clemens deny taking performance enhancing drugs. His former trainer, Brian McNamee, also testified saying that he did inject Clemens with steroids.

President Bush today acknowledging the economy is in a slowdown but he says he doesn't believe the U.S. is headed toward a recession.

Talk about a luck. A soldier who has served two tours in Iraq, now a millionaire, thanks to a scratch off lottery ticket. He's not going to spend the money just yet. He's holding off, Anderson, until he returns from his third tour in Iraq he's already committed to.

COOPER: That's amazing. Stay right there, Erica.

Coming up, what were they thinking? A woman goes on national television on that cheesy game show "The Moment of Truth" and reveals terrible things about herself and her marriage. What was she thinking?

And then on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, we'll bring you the latest.

And look at the process for picking a running mate. The rumors are starting to perk. We'll talk vice-presidential strategy more when "360" continues.


COOPER: Erica now our segment "What Were They Thinking?" Have you seen this reality show "Moment of Truth"?

HILL: I've seen moments of it and really that's all I can handle.

COOPER: Yes, it's just about all you can take. It's where contestants take a lie detector test backstage allegedly and then go on camera and answer the same questions and they win cash prizes if they tell the truth.

The other night, a contestant revealed a lot of truth that may ruin her marriage with her parents, siblings and husband in the audience plus millions of course watching at home. Lauren Cleary (ph) admitted she slept with another man and confessed she really wished she was married to her ex-boyfriend.

HILL: OK. Yes.

COOPER: Here's the shocker. The ex-boyfriend then appears on the show and asks some of the tough questions. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe I'm the man you should be married to?

LAUREN: Well, yes. I want to be honest and say yes.


COOPER: Charming. After that truth, Lauren could have walked away with $100,000 but she kept at it hoping for more cash. Here's the twist. When she was asked if she thought she was a good person, she said yes and the machine said the answer was false. So she walked away with no money.

HILL: Wouldn't you be proud if that was your child? I always see these things on reality shows and I think I would never do that because I wouldn't want my parents seeing that.

COOPER: Apparently they were in the audience. The poor husband is sitting there.

HILL: And they brought the ex-boyfriend out. She deserved to not win the money. COOPER: Charming.

Now here's Kiran Chetry with what's coming up tomorrow on "American Morning."


KIRAN CHETRY, ANCHOR, "AMERICAN MORNING": Thanks, Anderson. Tomorrow, it's the most politics in the morning. And we asked what do Muslim Americans think about Barack Obama?

Pictures of Senator Obama in traditional Somali dress caused a firestorm this week. He was visiting his father's native Kenya. Obama has repeatedly denied rumors that he's Muslim saying he's a Christian. So what do Muslim Americans make of it all and who is getting their vote?

We're asking tomorrow with a special leap day edition of "American Morning." it all begins at 6:00 a.m. Eastern.

Anderson, back to you.


COOPER: Wow, a leap day, does that mean there's an extra hour? Does it go backwards? But it starts at 6:00 so that's all that matters.

Still ahead the moment you've been waiting for. We'll reveal our new contestant in our "Voice of 360" contest. And no, it's not the charming young woman from "Moment of Truth."

And we're just hours away from a crucial Tuesday for Democrats, like 96 hours. We're on the trail with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as they fight it out for delegates in four states; a lot happening on the campaign trail to tell you about.

Here's tonight's "Beat 360" former president Bill Clinton and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a news conference last year. Here's the caption from our staff winner, Marshall, "His net worth: billions. Staying out of the presidential race: priceless."

Well this is part of the news because Bloomberg's said he's not running. So think you can do better? Go to Send us your submission. We'll announce the winner at the end of the program.


COOPER: Now Crucial Tuesday, that's what it is for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; more so for her than for him. For her, it's closer to do or die. She's down in delegates, trailing in votes, fighting for delegates and battling a perception that it's already over. And it's not already over.

Take a look at what's coming up. Four primaries starting here with Texas, white, black, Hispanic, rich, poor, Texas has it all and lots of it, 193 delegates, a big prize for Democrats. Our poll of several recent polls, Obama 48 percent, Clinton 45 percent in Texas, 7 percent not sure; virtually a dead heat.

In Ohio, 141 delegates, more blue collar, more union, older. These are Hillary voters in the past; her core. Obama is gaining ground fast here. A poll of polls now shows it a ten-point race; Clinton 48, Obama 39 with 12 percent unsure.

East to Vermont now, this is Obama country all the way; 15 delegates at stake with the latest polling from the American Research Group showing it at 60-34, Obama. Rhode Island, on the other hand, with 21 delegates at stake seems solidly Clinton. Neighboring Massachusetts went for her of course on Super Tuesday. The ARG poll there has it 52-40, Clinton.

So that's literally the big picture. For a taste of what's happening on the ground now, we turn to CNN's Candy Crowley in Columbus, Ohio.


CANDY CROWLEY: Working river towns along the Ohio-West Virginia border, Hillary Clinton is all business with a plan to cut child poverty in half by 2020; trying to focus voters on the stakes; opting for small venues to talk big problems.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The issues that get you up in the morning or keep you up late at night worrying about how are you going to make ends meet? What is going to happen if you can't afford to send that son or daughter to college? What about those mortgage payments?

CROWLEY: Just days before the Texas and Ohio primaries that could end or revitalize her campaign, the last thing Clinton needs is a brush fire; say a high profile Latino supporter who tells a Texas TV station that Obama's race hurts him in the Latino community.

ADELFA CALLEJO, HISPANIC ACTIVIST: When the blacks had the numbers, they never did anything to support us. They always talk -- they used our numbers to fulfill their goals and objectives but they never really supported us, and there's a lot of hurt feelings about that.

CROWLEY: Initially, Clinton declined to condemn the remark, but her campaign said after seeing the comments in full, she denounces them and rejects them.

Obamaville was also quick to douse its own brush fire, a report that an Obama aide told a Canadian government official that Obama doesn't really mean it when he criticizes NAFTA, the trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The conversation was denied by the campaign and the Canadian official.

Playing to his signature large crowds, Obama has front-runner aura, his sights set on targets beyond the primaries, trying to tie John McCain's fortunes to George W. Bush. SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are not standing on the brink of a recession because of forces out of our control. I think that's very important to understand. This was not an inevitable part of the business cycle. It was a failure of leadership in Washington.

CROWLEY: In the battle on another front, the Clinton campaign says it raised $35 million this month; twice the amount she raised in January. Good news in a campaign that needs it.

CLINTON: It was incredibly gratifying to see people really coming forth with their vote of confidence by their contribution to my campaign.

CROWLEY: Obama aides won't talk specifics but say they raised more than she did. Still, despite all his money, his crowds and that major league buzz, in fact because of them, if Obama loses Texas and Ohio, he will lose hard. He was asked today about the pundits riding political obits on Clinton.

OBAMA: Well, I am not. Remember New Hampshire.

CROWLEY: If no one else sees it, he seems to. Tuesday, Barack Obama has as much to lose as Hillary Clinton has to gain.


COOPER: Candy joins us now from Columbus, Ohio. Can Hillary Clinton keep on raising this kind of money?

CROWLEY: Well, I think she can through Tuesday. What happened here is you recall she wrote herself a check towards the end of January. That news got out and it really started to fire up their Internet campaign fund-raising which had been terrible until then.

When you look inside these numbers that are provided by the Clinton campaign, you see that a lot of these are small donations; $100 and under. And it has a sort of New Hampshire feel to it. I don't know if you remember, but we rolled in on New Hampshire, and it looked like Obama was just going to run over her there. The polls were high. And there was this moment that people sort of looked at her, especially women, middle aged women and up and said wait a second and went back out and voted for her.

There is this sense, I think, among supporters of Hillary Clinton that they're going to get in there and fight for her. And when she's down, they tend to come up and step up to the plate. I think that's what they've done in terms of her campaign fund-raising. They thought she had a lot of money when she wrote that check, they started to write checks of their own.

COOPER: It isn't over until it's over.

Candy Crowley, thanks.

Coming up: more politics with our panel. Plus, the first crucial choice that every presidential nominee has to make with everything on the line and the whole country watching, picking a vice president. We'll look at the early odds-on favorite.

Also, President Bush laying into Barack Obama on talking to our enemies. By the tone of it, you would almost think it's personal. See for yourself. Do you think it could actually do more to help Obama to have the president criticizing him?

We'll talk about that ahead when "360" continues.


COOPER: That's independent presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, today announcing his running mate, Matt Gonzalez, a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Nader is the only candidate who has named his choice for vice president of the United States, the second in line for the presidency.

But for the others, speculation rages. The jockeying is well underway and for each of the candidates the field of potential running mates is narrowing if you believe it.

Here's Joe Johns with a look behind the scenes.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Once the primaries are over, it's the single most important decision for the nominees; who to put on the ticket.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It would be someone who is prepared to take my place, who follows my philosophies, beliefs, principles and priorities.

JOHNS: Washington insiders suggest a governor from outside the Beltway to balance McCain's senate experience. South Carolina's Mark Stanford, Minnesota's Tim Pelenti, Florida's Charlie Crisp. The common advice to McCain is to pick a conservative to mend fences with the base. But former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein says that's a double-edged sword.

KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: You're walking a very narrow line with somebody who is acceptable to a broad range of the American people and somebody you can genuflect to with the so-called Republican base.

JOHNS: The other advice, pick someone young. Because as he himself says --

MCCAIN: As you may have noticed I'm not the youngest candidate in the race.

JOHNS: Duberstein's caution --

DUBERSTEIN: John McCain has to stay healthy and vigorous and everything we've seen on the campaign trail, he'll make all of us who are much younger look very tired. Compared to the stamina John McCain has.

JOHNS: On the Democratic side, here's some advice Barack Obama might not like. Take a page from the George Bush playbook.

BILL CARRICK, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: When he picked Dick Cheney, he was looking for somebody with experience, somebody with gray hair and somebody with Washington inside knowledge. I think if Senator Obama can do that, it would probably enhance his candidacy a great deal.

JOHNS: Someone like former senator and foreign policy expert Sam Nun of Georgia or a military type like retired marine general and Iraq war critic Anthony Zinni. Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas gets mentioned for her Red State appeal. As does first term senator Jim Webb of Virginia.

And if Hillary Clinton wins? Some advice she may not much like either, go for Obama's votes; young, upscale African-Americans.

CARRICK: She needs somebody to be an ambassador to those voters. And, of course, the obvious person that comes to mind is Senator Obama himself.

JOHNS: But there are others. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Indiana's Evan Bayh. The short lists aren't worth much right now, but this advice is. Make sure your pick is qualified to be president and is not someone who will drag you down.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Our political panel is with us tonight: David Gergen, Roland Martin, and Leslie Sanchez. We'll talk about vice presidents and a whole lot more right after the break.



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just remind people that the decisions of the U.S. President to have discussions with certain international figures can be extremely counterproductive. I believe Senator Obama better stay focused on his campaign with Senator Clinton.


COOPER: President Bush jumping into the fray, taking aim at Senator Obama for his pledge to talk with America's enemies if he wins the White House; the political scene definitely heating up.

Let's go to the "Raw Politics" with CNN's David Gergen, Roland Martin and Leslie Sanchez.

It was interesting, David, I was reading a lot of blogs today and, I can't remember which one, but on one of them someone was suggesting, "Well, maybe President Bush criticizing Barack Obama is the best thing that could possibly happen to Barack Obama."

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I tend to think that's right. I would imagine the Barack Obama people would love to have George W. Bush weigh in on the middle of this and have them go one on one.

First of all, it elevates Obama. Secondly, the president is sufficiently unpopular that I think it makes Obama's case look stronger. And thirdly, it reminds a lot of Democrats with President Bush and John McCain now taking swings on a daily basis at Barack, as McCain is, the Democrats need to get this settled and we've only got a candidate who can focus on one race at a time, not two.

COOPER: Leslie, CNN released its poll of polls today showing that while the race in Texas is very tight, Obama has edged ahead of Clinton. You're down in Houston. You've spoken to a lot of people participating in focus groups. What are some of the main issues they see in Texas for Obama?

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There's definitely a disparity among age and the age factor will be big. I've been in San Antonio, a lot of young voters are coming out for the first time. I think in Bear County, which is really the county seat of San Antonio, you're seeing 41 percent of the folks there are first-time voters in a primary. Traditionally it's about 30 percent. I would guarantee those are a lot of young voters.

In south Texas, though, Hillary Clinton does continue to have that strong appeal among Latino women. A lot of former civil rights activists, Chicano activists, who really embrace the Clinton name.

But it's going to be interesting. If you talk to pollsters out here, they'll tell you they're not really looking at the impacts of the women's vote and are under-sampling Hispanic vote. Some pollsters here think that could be favorable to Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: Roland, you're in Texas as well. Do you agree with Leslie?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: To some degree. We can talk all day about the Hispanic vote. Bob Stein at the Rice University, he said the African-Americans could very well over-index and represent 30 percent.

But the key, I know I'm the black guy saying it again, the key in Texas is going to be the white vote. The key is going to be who can get the white vote in east Texas? Whoever wins east Texas, that's who wins Texas?

So Tyler, Longview, Commerce, Texas, those are the key places. I think African-Americans will certainly go for Obama. Hispanics will go in large numbers for Clinton. The key will be white voters. That's who wins Texas whoever wins that demo. SANCHEZ: Anderson, I do want to agree with one part. I would say African-American vote is key. What's interesting, if you look Barack Obama had to do really well in Houston, Dallas and west Texas and in different parts of Texas.

What's interesting about it is that Barack Obama has shifted to San Antonio. He's shifted to be competitive with Hispanic voters. One thing that's coming out of this focus group is you have a lot of Hispanic veterans who are wondering how could a candidate like Barack Obama who's never even served in the National Guard, compete against somebody who is a prisoner of war in a John McCain?

It's going to be a serious contention not only for conservative Hispanics in Texas, but probably nationwide.

COOPER: David --

MARTIN: But Leslie, Hillary Clinton has never served in the military, so I don't see how that's a big issue.

SANCHEZ: But there's such a --

COOPER: We certainly know how this debate is going to play out on Iraq. We've heard from all these candidates how they plan to fight this issue.

David, oil is expected to reach $4 a gallon this spring. There was something interesting sound from President Bush and also from Barack Obama on that issue. I just want to play both those sound bites.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your advice to the average American who is hurting now, facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline? A lot of people facing --

BUSH: What did you just say? You're predicting $4 gasoline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A number of analysts are predicting $4 a gallon gasoline this spring when they reformulate.

BUSH: That's interesting. I hadn't heard that.



OBAMA: When somebody tells them that gasoline prices might reach $4 a gallon and he says, "That's interesting, I didn't know that." This is just today, then it's a sign that we have a Washington that is out of touch.


COOPER: The juxtaposition is fascinating. We've seen over the last couple of days, I've noticed really the last two or three days, a, Obama's quick response to any kind of attack or any kind of opening, whether it's John McCain or whether it's President Bush. And also a really kind of Obama focus on the national spotlight on the national race, not so much state to state primaries.

GERGEN: Yes, you're right on both points. Last night, we talked about how he had -- McCain went after him and the news folks says Obama thinks there's no Al Qaeda and Barack comes right back in and has a line that night to top it.

And tonight, he played right off against the president. He's playing one liner against one liner and doing pretty well at it. And I think in the process, he's making it seem like this Tuesday is almost assured in his corner as if he's looking forward to the general and further trying to contribute to the sense.

There's been a press sense, which I think, frankly, has been a little unfair to Mrs. Clinton, a press sense that there is no real contest on Tuesday. It could be pretty competitive and he's contributing to that sense in the country that this thing is almost over.

COOPER: I would be shocked to hear that the press gets it wrong yet again.

GERGEN: I do think -- but every night when there's news it comes out on one side. Like the $35 million she went out and heard about and rightly so today, "The New York Times" is reporting tonight that he raised $50 million in the month of February. So he is pretty good about topping these things.

COOPER: Yes, it's a very quick response strategy.

David Gergen we have to leave it there. Leslie Sanchez and Roland Martin, always good to have you on.

Immigration certainly a hot topic on the campaign trail. Tomorrow on "360," we're going to look at the debate on the border from all angles. We're going to take you to Arizona where new tough immigration law is on the books, it punishes employers for hiring illegal immigrants. A lot of folks say that is what they want to see; it's the first state to do so. The crackdown has led to many illegals fleeing.

Look at what Randi Kaye discovered.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you think of the new law?

JUAN LEON (through translator): I think it's something the state is manipulating.

KAYE: Illegal workers like Juan make up about 11 percent of Arizona's work force; double the national estimates.

What will happen to Arizona if so many of them leave?

DAWN MCLAREN, RESEARCH ECONOMIST, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA: When people are attracted to an area, when people are coming to the area, that means we're going to have economic growth. If they start leaving, well, then you get a ghost town.


COOPER: A ghost town. Don't miss Randi Kaye's report tomorrow on a 360 special, "Debate On The Border, Which Side Are You On?" That's going to be at 10:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow night.

Up next on the program, an explosion rocks a shopping mall in suburban Chicago trapping people in the rubble. We'll have the latest.

And an incredible story, baby falling from a moving train and survives.

A lot more politics ahead as well. Stay tuned.


COOPER: For those of you still scratching your heads what Michael Ware said earlier, he used two Australian slang words. We've been asking people on the blog to come up with the definitions. They've actually responded and got the definitions for us and we'll try to get them in at the end of the program.

Erica Hill joins us with the 360 Bulletin -- Erica?

HILL: I'll try to make the news quick so we can make sure we get that translation for everybody.

Anderson, we start off with news of the USS Cole, repaired now after being badly damaged nearly eight years ago in an Al Qaeda bombing. Well, it's now in service off Lebanon. The navy says the destroyer and other ships were moved in a show of support as Lebanon struggles with its current political deadlock.

At least six people injured today when an explosion tore through a mall near Chicago. A gas company is investigating. No word yet though on just what may have caused that blast.

And this is really no way to enter the world. A baby girl born prematurely survives a fall through a toilet on a moving train. She fell on to the tracks below. The baby's mother apparently went to the bathroom, unexpectedly gave birth and may have passed out. It happened in India where it's common for train toilets to open directly on to the rail bed. Amazingly though, born ten weeks premature, weighing just over 3 pounds, the baby survived on those tracks for an hour and a half, two hours.

COOPER: Oh, my goodness. Unbelievable.

Let's check out the "Beat 360" pictures, something far more pleasant. You know how it works, we play cheesy music, we put a picture on the 360 blog, we ask viewers to come up with a caption. Erica is now using hands in her fancy moves.

Tonight, a photo of Bill Clinton in a news conference last May with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who today wrote "The New York Times" that he's not running for president.

Tonight's staff winner, Marshall, imagining that Clinton might have been saying, "His net worth: billions. Staying out of the presidential race: priceless."

HILL: A good one.

COOPER: I like it. I like our new computer animated sound. A viewer named Joe wrote in -- "Look Mike, if you change your mind and run for President, I think I can still run for Vice, but I'll have to check with Hillary first."

Check out the other ideas at and feel free to play along. No wagering.

Up next, the long awaited new contender for the "Voice of 360." One hint, you'll know his name but the face might be kind of new to you.

And interpreting Michael Ware, what did he mean? Drongo, gollar, I'm not even sure what those words are. We're trying to figure it out.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back. As many of you know, we've been searching for an announcer for "360." NBC has Michael Douglas, so not to be outdone we've embarked on a global search for the right voice utilizing all the global resources of CNN.

We're looking for someone with not just gravitas but that certain something that says, well, you know, that says whatever really. So far we've had Fran Drescher and Ozzie Osbourne try out.

They both did amazing jobs for us, but we're still holding auditions which brings me to tonight's guest announcer. He's been known to spit blood and fire on stage, and even fly during his concerts. He's been in movies, in television, publishing and of course, he's a legend of rock and roll. I'm pleased to welcome Gene Simmons.

Gene thanks so much for coming in.

GENE SIMMONS: Thanks so much Anderson, my pleasure.

COOPER: In fourth grade when you guys first started as "Kiss," I wasn't cool enough to be in the Kiss Army but I wanted to be in the Kiss Army. I know recently you were fired by Donald Trump on "Celebrity Apprentice."

SIMMONS: Touche. It's a thing of the past. We move on.

COOPER: Touche. You're right. I'm sorry they fired you. We would love to hire you. So go ahead, give it your best shot.

SIMMONS: Okay. Good evening, I'm Gene Simmons from the Time Warner Center in New York. This is "Anderson Cooper 360" and now here's Anderson.

COOPER: That was excellent. That was really good, Gene. Could we have a little more rock and roll in it?

SIMMONS: You want rock and roll?

COOPER: Yes, maybe a little rock and roll in there.

SIMMONS: Okay. All right, you wanted the best, you got the best. This is Gene Simmons from the Time Warner Center in New York. This is "Anderson Cooper 360." and now, here's Anderson!

COOPER: Goodness. Wow. Gene.

SIMMONS: They all say that.

COOPER: Yes I know. Fran Drescher didn't do that, nor did Ozzie Osbourne.

SIMMONS: They can't.

COOPER: They would if they could. Gene thanks so much for trying out. I don't think we could do any better. Thanks.

SIMMONS: All the best.

COOPER: All I can say, is Brian Williams, Michael Douglas, eat your hearts out. Go to our Web site, To see the other candidates for Voice of 360 and let us know what you think.

We should point out, can we do the Ware thing here or is this after the break? Michael Ware used some Australian slang earlier. Let's play what he said.


WARE: If it was Australian magazine or a Web site that leaked, I mean they are a bunch of gallards, a bunch of drungos; to use the Australian vernacular.


COOPER: We were scratching our heads on those gallards, drungos; what was he talking about? Our viewers who were live blogging with us in our conversation during the program at, have informed us what it means. What is a drungo, Erica? HILL: Indeed they had. We've heard from a couple of different people. Both gallard and drungo are apparently types of birds, but also slang for idiot.

COOPER: And Jill and Maya and Lauren and Sydney, all had e- mailed us telling us also a gala is type of bird slang for idiot, as in you guys are acting like a mob of galas.

Tommy Evans our producer in Baghdad with Michael had to also sort of interpret for us. It was a global effort to try to understand what Michael Ware was talking about.

HILL: Using the global resources of CNN.

COOPER: Up next, a deadly shark attack during a cageless dive similar to this one. The owner of the company was warned what he was doing was dangerous. What do you think? It's what's on the radar when "360" continues.


COOPER: On the radar tonight, the deadly shark attack at Bahamian waters, an Austrian lawyer died last weekend during a cageless shark dive like this one. The company that ran the tour was told the practice was dangerous.

On our 360 blog, Rob Stewart, a photographer and documentary film maker who has vast experience with the big fish of the sea, says shark diving is still safe but some viewers disagree.

Robert of Jakarta writes, "I'm a master diver. Diving should be about the respect of sea life, not its exploitation. If you don't see a shark on a dive, then you don't see a shark on a dive." You see on these dives, they feed them, they actually attract the sharks.

William in an undisclosed locations says, "Humans live on land, we are invading their territory. We should not be in the water as much. It's a shame people have to lose their life but it's our fault."

Annie Kate in Birmingham, Alabama has a good question, "Whatever happened to glass bottom boats where the passengers can see the sharks without being in the water with them?"

Probably not as up close as some folks want.

To weigh in, go to, link to the blog. As always we like to hear from you.

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

Thanks very much for watching. See you tomorrow night.