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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
IDF Says 12 More Hostages Back In Israel; 81 Hostages Released In Extended Truce That Ends Tomorrow; CIA Director In Qatar Pushing For Broader Hostage Deal; Israeli Military Raid And Clashes Reported In West Bank; Father Of 9-Year-Old Hostage Speaks After Her Release; Father Of 9-Year-Old Girl Released By Hamas Reveals Daughter Lost Weight, Only Speaks In Whisper; Liz Cheney's New Book Blast GOP As "Enablers And Collaborators" Of Trump, Whom One Member Called "Orange Jesus"; Influential Koch Network Endorses Nikki Haley For 2024; Former President Carter, Bidens, Clintons Attend Tribute To Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 28, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: The two grew up in Omaha, both working at the grocery store the Buffett's family ran.
Buffett famously said that they had not had a fight in 60 years. In his last interview with Becky Quick from CNBC just a couple weeks ago, Munger said he never believed when he and Warren Buffett started out with a, quote, "piddly amount of money," that they'd ever get to $100 million, never mind hundreds of billions. Of course, they have made many shareholders wealthy, too.
Warren Buffett tonight, of course, has lost his confidant and his close partner. He says Berkshire Hathaway would not be what it is without Munger's inspiration and wisdom.
Thanks for joining us. "AC 360" starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360, more hostages come out of Gaza with another group expected tomorrow and talks underway to extend the truce and the flow of captives for as long as possible.
Also tonight, Liz Cheney's new book and the revelations in it about the former president, which she calls his Republican enablers and collaborators, and how she says they just could not quit him.
And later, why Republican hopeful Nikki Haley is that much more hopeful tonight, the surprising early big name and big money endorsement she just got, and how it might change her campaign.
Good evening. Thanks for joining us. We begin tonight with the hostages. Hamas freed 12 more today under the terms of a truce, which is now run five days but expires tomorrow after we expect the sixth group of hostages comes out.
This is new video taken from inside Gaza of the handover from the AFP news agency. You see crowds cheering, some shouting "Allahu Akbar," God is great, as the latest freed hostages are paraded past them on the way to waiting Red Cross vehicles. It's a sharp difference from last night's version, which took place on a dark and empty street.
Two Thai nationals are in this latest group. The other 10 are Israelis. In all, Hamas has now freed 81 hostages that they took so far. But still, only a single American, four-year-old Abigail Idan, on Sunday. Two other American women expect to be released by now are still being held; Israel, for its part, releasing 180 Palestinian prisoners.
CIA Director Bill Burns arrived today in Doha Qatar for a meeting with officials there, including, a source tells us, his Egyptian and Israeli counterparts. Another source familiar with the trip tells CNN the discussions are part of a push for a broader hostage deal expanding beyond the current women and children. Meantime, troops are not in Gaza, Israeli military operations continue in the West Bank.
Tonight, we saw clashes in Jenin with fighting near a local refugee camp. The IDF telling us it's conducting, quote, "counterterrorism activities in the area," but not providing any other details expect to say it's expected to continue overnight.
Oren Liebermann joins us now. What do we know about the hostages released and their conditions?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this played out as it has over the course of the past several nights. Over several hours, the hostages being transferred from Hamas to the Red Cross to the IDF and to the hospitals. Eight of them taken to the Sheba Medical Center, two to the Ichilov Medical Center, both of those in or near Tel Aviv. And then the two Thai nationals taken to Shamir Medical Center.
We do expect an update early tomorrow morning here from Sheba Medical Center, where most of those freed hostages have been taken. So far, as we've heard from the doctors and the families, they have been, generally speaking, in good physical condition. Malnutrition has been the biggest issue, but we don't have a specific update on the latest group to come out yet.
It is worth passing along two specific updates with two specific stories we have followed to this point. Four-year-old Abigail Idan, as you just pointed out, the only American to have been released so far is in good shape and was released from the hospital two days after she was released from Hamas captivity in Gaza. So that's certainly good news on that front as now the mental health process begins in that recovery part.
Meanwhile, Alma Abraham who was taken into the hospital in critical condition suffering from a lack of medication and a lack of nutrition over her 50-odd days in captivity, she was unconscious for a period and on the breathing machine. Doctors at the hospital where she was taken in Beersheba say she is breathing on her own now and is conscious. So that, too, is good news as we wait for the next hostage transfer to take place tomorrow.
COOPER: There were clashes reported between Israel and Hamas in northern Gaza today. Does that have any impact on the pause in the hostage negotiation?
LIEBERMANN: So far, at this point, it looks like the truce agreement is holding and should for at least another 24 hours. And we'll have to see if the effort to keep it going is successful or not. But it's worth noting that this was the most serious violation of the truce agreement to this point.
The IDF said there were three explosive devices planted near their troops and they were fired upon and fired back. Hamas blame Israel, however, for starting the skirmishes. Regardless of which narrative there is correct, and we're not on the ground in Gaza, we can't see it for ourselves, it is clear that it is the most serious violation of the truce, and yet it held.
The Qataris said at the very beginning that if there was a violation of the truce and a pause in the fighting, they would immediately communicate with both sides to get them to try to walk back from the edge. It seems that has happened. The truce has not fallen apart, at least not yet, I should say.
And now we look forward to see how it plays tomorrow and if the diplomatic efforts are successful to extend it to keep the humanitarian aid going in, to get more Israeli hostages out, and to free more Palestinian prisoners there.
COOPER: Oren Liebermann, thanks very much. As difficult as it must be to know that a loved one is being held by Hamas, it can't be any easier learning as some hostage families now have that their loved ones are in other hands, held by other groups -- splinters of groups of people we don't even know about.
On October 7th, Yifat Zailer's cousin Shiri, Shiri's husband and their two young sons, Ariel and Kfir, ages four and 10 months were taken. Israel officials now say that Hamas is not holding them, another group is. I spoke with Yifat back in October, you may remember.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YIFAT ZAILER, FAMILY MEMBERS MISSING SINCE OCTOBER 7TH: I want my family back. Please, I want my family back. I'm trying to be strong, and stoic, and speak clearly, but I'm devastated. And that's (inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Yifat Zailer in October. At the time, 12 days into her and her family's nightmare, we spoke again earlier tonight.
COOPER (on camera): Yifat, first of all, how are you and the family holding up?
ZAILER: It's very emotional and stressful days. The little hope that we have gives us the strength to carry on and pleading and asking for the freedom of our family.
COOPER (on camera): Have you received any calls tonight indicating whether or not Shiri and her family are on the list of the hostages to be released tomorrow?
ZAILER: Not yet, no. It's almost 12 o'clock at night here in Israel, and the list hasn't arrived yet.
COOPER (on camera): As you know, the IDF said that your family are not being held by Hamas, that Shiri, and Yarden, and the kids are not being held by Hamas. Do you know who's holding them?
ZAILER: I think in English you say the popular front or the public front. In Hebrew, you call them Hazit Yehudit LeUmit. It's a small organization. Basically, they don't -- they're under the ruling of Hamas. Hamas led them in 2007 after they took over the strip and Israel left Gaza. They allowed the people that sort of recognize themselves with that group to stay with the agreement that they were sort of underneath the control of Hamas.
COOPER (on camera): So, I mean, I know the Israeli government has said Hamas is responsible. Hamas is the one responsible for all the hostages. You view it that way as well?
ZAILER: We know there were -- there was a lot of chaos inside Gaza when all the hostages arrived. It also was said on the news that they weren't expecting the success, you know, of kidnapping so many people. And the hostages moved around probably and moved through different hands. We know some of them were held by Jihad as well in Gaza. So this is the information that we have.
But I can tell you that Hamas is controlling all of those groups. Hamas has the power and the intelligence, and they know where everyone is. This is my belief.
And it's not something the IDF is telling me. It's just being Israeli and being well-learned in our situation here in the Middle East.
COOPER (on camera): Was the news yesterday that they're being held by the popular front, this other group, was that the first confirmation you received they're alive or previously, had you received confirmation?
ZAILER: For me, it's not a confirmation of them being alive. For me, it was some sort of, you know, maybe an excuse or, you know, a way of Hamas getting the leverage and getting another day of pause.
And I don't know if they're alive. Maybe one of the reasons that they didn't come back yet in this agreement that says that all women and children -- well, 50 of them will be released, it's because they're afraid that, you know, the youngest hostage is no longer alive. That's a possibility as well, which breaks my heart, of course.
COOPER (on camera): This is what's so sick about what is happening for you and for all the families is that these groups -- I mean, Hamas, these other groups, nobody has given proof of life for all the hostages. So families are left not only with the pain of the likelihood that their loved one is being held captive in Gaza, but no confirmation of that. So there's just this zone of not knowing.
You have no information. You have no idea. It's intolerable. It's sick.
ZAILER: Fifty-three days of not knowing, nothing about Shiri, Yarden, Kfir, and Ariel, nothing -- nothing. Even the hostages that were released, no one saw them. Nothing. It's -- I don't know if a nightmare is even the best way to describe the situation that we are living.
COOPER (on camera): Is there anything else you want people to know?
ZAILER: That there's a 10 months -- almost 11 months baby that is still being held captive for two months now in Gaza, that his life is at risk, that no child should be pawned or held as leverage or, you know, as a strategic tool. And hopefully, this will all be over soon. We can go back to somehow repairing our shattered -- completely shattered life here.
COOPER (on camera): Yifat, thank you for your time.
ZAILER: Thank you, Anderson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Perspective now on where this truce might lead and what might happen if and when hostilities come to a longer-term end. Joining us for that New York Times Foreign Affairs Columnist, Thomas Friedman. In addition to being a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, he's also the best-selling author of among other titles "From Beirut to Jerusalem."
So, Tom, I mean, after this mass bombardment, weeks of fighting, Hamas is still in control in Gaza, still able to be organized enough to hand over hostages they have taken. What does that take you about the reality of Israel achieving its stated goal of destroying destroying Hamas?
THOMAS FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST: Well, obviously, it's incomplete, Anderson. And I think some big decisions are going to be have to be made, you know, by Israel if the hostage exchange expires. But it sounds like Bill Burns, our CIA director, and his colleagues in Qatar, are really looking for a way to buy more time and get many more hostages released and returned for Palestinians and in Israeli prisons.
And there's been a lot of talk, Anderson, about, you know, are you for the ceasefire or not for the ceasefire? And I'm hoping in the next few days that really it morphs into a different discussion. Are you for an end of this, okay, not just a ceasefire? Because you got what almost two million, you know, Palestinians in Gaza, you know, basically uprooted in a humanitarian crisis.
It's just unimaginable for me that Israel is being able to sort of restart this war, go after Khan Younis, take care of those people in a humanitarian way. I think we really need to be talking about a conclusion. You know, maybe Israel says, look, you know, that here's a free pass for all the Hamas leadership. Go to Turkey, go to Qatar whoever wants to leave. Turn in your weapons, return the hostages. We'll give the Palestinian prisoners a release.
I think we have to really get out of this ceasefire/no ceasefire and think about something that gets Hamas leadership out there, puts in a new Palestinian leadership and partnership with Arab countries, gets reconstruction going, the World Bank. I just cannot imagine this going on for more months. And I can't imagine the United States and President Biden being able to tolerate that politically.
COOPER: Why would ...
FRIEDMAN: So I think that's where these ...
COOPER: ... why would Hamas ...
FRIEDMAN: ... discussions are.
COOPER: ... leadership agree to that? I mean, they're most -- a lot of them are holed up in, you know, nice hotels in Doha. And even the ones in Gaza, I mean, they are the ones who perpetrated this terror attack on October 7th. What's in it for them and that beyond their personal survival?
FRIEDMAN: Yes, yes. I would just -- what's in it for them is that, obviously, the survival of the -- so many people in Gaza, so many Palestinians who they claim to represent. We know that they don't really care about them. They never would have started this war ...
COOPER: Right. I mean, isn't ...
FRIEDMAN: ... and exposed them.
COOPER: ... murdering -- isn't having civilians killed sort of part of their -- part of the plan?
FRIEDMAN: Yes, that may be, but I think that they're in a position now where they have visited so much destruction on their people. For now, so little. I think they have to, in their own minds, be thinking about how do we show something for this. If they can pull off a giant release of all 6,000, you know, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails for the hostages a kind of all for all, at least they'd have something to show for that terrible destruction that they have invited on their population. So I have a feeling they have to be thinking about a lot of this.
This ceasefire wouldn't have lasted this long, Anderson, if all they were doing is just getting ready for the next round. But who knows? Maybe they are. I don't claim to have any particular insight, but it just feels like the chemistry around this story is changing.
And I think that as we approach the end of this ceasefire and we contemplate a resumption of this war with the terrible human cost that would be, with the uncertainty of victory for Israel, I think there's going to be some fresh thinking here. I sure hope there will.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, I don't understand how Israel goes into, as you said, Khan Younis and into the south where hundreds of thousands of people have been told to go. I mean, where did they -- you know, I talked to someone weeks ago and they said, well, they can go towards the sea. I mean, there's just not ...
COOPER: ... a lot of places Tuesday go.
You've advocated in the past in columns that Israel has to pair military action in Gaza with a new commitment to a two-state solution with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who seek peace with Israel. Have you seen any interest by Israeli authorities in that?
FRIEDMAN: Well, the current prime minister is -- Prime Minister Netanyahu has rejected the idea because his far-right -- the members of his coalition, the farthest-right, refuse to contemplate any kind of, you know, cooperation with the Palestinian authority.
But I think this is going to come back very soon because if there is no Palestinian leadership, a partnership in a transition in Gaza, then you're talking about Israel, a country of seven million Jews controlling three million Palestinians in the West Bank and two million in Gaza. That's just unsustainable.
And so I think you're going to see some fresh thinking on that as well. It may have to be initiated by President Biden. But when I think of what could happen next, Anderson, the idea that Israel would resume the full-scale war against Hamas amidst two -- you know, close to two million people already uprooted, I just can't see that happening for any length of time.
And therefore, I hope there'll be some real talk not just about ceasefire/no ceasefire, how do we end this in a way that produces a different government in Gaza ...
FRIEDMAN: ... because Israel is not going to live next to Hamas anymore, and the people of Gaza shouldn't have to live under Hamas anymore.
COOPER: Yes. Tom Friedman, thank you. Appreciate it. Next, a CNN exclusive. What a nine-year-old girl went through in
captivity and what life ahead looks like for her now that she's free, finally.
Later, one of the most influential campaign organizations and its decision to back Nikki Haley for president and not the front runner, the former president.
COOPER: Eighty-one hostages have been freed over the last five days people from some of the very youngest to the very oldest whose lives changed on October 7th and whose future will almost certainly be filled with challenges that are impossible to even imagine.
Emily Hand turned nine in captivity. Saturday, she and her friend, Hila, were released, and Emily was reunited with her dad who initially thought she'd been killed.
CNN's Clarissa Ward has exclusive reporting tonight on what she went through and the new life that is just beginning for her and her dad. Clarissa first spoke with him, you may remember, when he believed that Emily had been murdered, only to learn later his daughter was alive.
THOMAS HAND, FATHER OF FREED HOSTAGE EMILY HAND: They should be here in a couple of minutes like, oh, I can't believe it. And all of a sudden, the door opened up and she just ran. It was beautiful just like I imagined it, you know, running together. And I squeezed -- I probably squeezed too hard.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was a moment Thomas Hand thought would never come, told his nine-year- old daughter Emily had been killed in the October 7th attacks, then that she was believed to be held hostage in Gaza. Finally, reunited with her family after 50 days in captivity, free but visibly haunted by her ordeal.
HAND: When she stepped back a little, I could see her face was chiseled like mine. Well, before she left it was, you know, chubby, curly, young kid face. The other and the most shocking, disturbing part of meeting her was she was just whispering. I couldn't hear her.
I had to put my ear on her lips like this close and say, "What did you say?" (Inaudible), "I thought you were kidnapped." And ...
WARD (on camera): She said, "I thought you were kidnapped"?
HAND: She thought I was in captivity.
WARD (on camera): And what has she told you about what she's gone through?
HAND: I thought she was in the tunnels, but she wasn't in the tunnels. They were actually fleeing from house to house. Some like it's being referred to as (inaudible). She says the koofsa, the box. So you have to say, like, how long were you in the box? The koofsa. She said a year.
And apart from the whispering, that was like a punch in the gut.
WARD (on camera): There's that one photograph right after your reunion, and you're holding her. And there is this sort of seriousness to her facial expression.
HAND: Yes. She's almost staring, isn't she? A little bit of a disconnect with everything going on around her.
WARD (on camera): Has she cried?
HAND: Oh, yes, yes. Last night, she cried until her face was red and blotchy, and she couldn't stop. She -- like she didn't want any comfort.
I think -- I guess, she's forgotten how to be comforted. I just had to wait until she come out of it by herself. And she knows how to do that. She's a very determined little girl, very strong. I knew that her spirit would get her through it.
WARD (voice over): There have been glimpses of the old Emily, her first request to listen to Beyonce and play with the family dog. But many moments of pain like when Thomas was forced to break the news to her that his ex-wife, Narkis, had been killed.
WARD (on camera): Does Emily understand what happened on October 7th?
HAND: Yes, yes, yes. Unfortunately, she does. And I had to tell her, "You know, your second mom is dead, killed, shot."
When we got back to the hospital, I asked the psychiatrist, you know, what do I do? What should I do? He said you've just got to tell her straight. It's the best way.
Okay. But, yes, that was very hard because we told her. And, you know, her little eyes glazed up, and she just went, took a sharp intake of breath. Terrible thing to tell a child, but then they recommend that you have to close the book.
It sounds cruel, but you have to stop their hope. You've got to stop that. It has to be final. Narkis is dead.
WARD (on camera): And so what is the next step now? How long do you stay here? How do you start a new life?
HAND: The future is obviously get Emily back to health, and we will do that along the way. But the next thing is -- along the way is that we have to get all the children, obviously, all the women, all the men, all the hostages have to come back. They have to be brought back.
COOPER: Clarissa joins us now from Tel Aviv. I mean, what a -- just a nightmare they had been through. Did Emily and his father talk about what the conditions were like for her in Gaza?
WARD: So, basically, he doesn't really know the full picture yet because Emily has really struggled literally still to speak in terms of speaking still in whispers. Her voice is getting stronger, but it's still very faint.
And I think she's frightened, frankly, to relive or really think about or process what she's been through. And he said that he has spoken to psychiatrists who say, listen, you have to wait, you have to let her do it in her own time.
But certainly, it's a different picture to what he expected. She was not being held underground in these tunnels. She was being held in houses. She was moved from house to house as the fighting and the bombardment would get near.
One small mercy, Anderson, was that she was held with her close friend Hila, and Hila's mother, Raya. And Raya, apparently, treated Emily like her own daughter.
And then the heartbreak was that two days before their scheduled release, all of a sudden and inexplicably, Raya was separated from Hila and Emily. And that's very much a focus and preoccupation now for Thomas and his family is to campaign to try to get Raya out because Hila, of course, has been released but without her mother -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's just so sickening. And, I mean, the other thing that I just keep coming back to is all these families who haven't gotten any word of their loved ones. I mean, it's not as if Hamas and these other groups have put out a list of everybody they are holding. So families are just -- they have no idea, really, where their loved one is, if they're being held at all.
WARD: They have no idea. They're in that sort of sickening holding pattern that Thomas himself was in for a while. And I think on the one hand, they look at Emily's case and they feel heartened because she is physically and reasonably good shape. She is not sick. She did not describe being abused.
She said that there were activities that they were able to do during the day, like playing cards and drawing. They had to be activities that were very, very quiet activities. So on the one hand, I think some of these other families draw strength when they see this and, of course, when they see the joy of the family being reunited.
But there's also an awareness not only that their loved ones have not been released yet, but that even when those loved ones may be released. It is a very long road ahead to recovery, especially for those youngest hostages who really do not have the emotional vocabulary to process a lot of this. Although, ironically, the psychiatrists say they have the best chance at being most successful in moving past it because they are resilient. Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. And there are still hostages who have been wounded, like Hersh Goldberg-Polin that we don't have word about. It's just -- it's sickening.
Clarissa Ward, thank you.
Coming up, behind the scenes account of Republicans enabling the former president in the aftermath of 2020 election and lead up to the Capitol attack, CNN has exclusively obtained a copy of former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney's new book, "Oath and Honor". Details next.
COOPER: Tonight, CNN has exclusively obtained a firsthand account of the behind the scenes efforts to overturn the 2020 election and a detailed description of the insurrection from inside Congress. It's laid out in former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney's new book, "Oath and Honor".
CNN's Jamie Gangel got the book ahead of its release next week. She joins us now. So what's that like? What do we learn?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Anderson, Liz Cheney paints just a scathing portrait of the Republican Party, of her former colleagues' party leaders, for supporting Trump and his election lies. She says, quote, "Donald Trump cannot succeed alone".
And then she goes on to criticize their loyalty to Trump. Here's part of the book. She writes, "Elected officials who believe their own political survival is more important than anything else threaten the survival of our republic, no matter what they tell themselves to justify their cowardice".
She also calls it the -- that the Republican Party has become the anti-Constitution Party. The book draws from text messages, emails, calls, meetings, as well as personal conversations that we're learning about for the first time. Liz Cheney names, names, and she has the receipts, Anderson.
COOPER: There was surely no lost love for Kevin McCarthy on her part. What did she say about that infamous trip that he took to Mar-a-Lago to kind of kiss the ring of the former president weeks after January 6? GANGEL: Right. She doesn't pull any punches. Cheney accuses Kevin McCarthy of repeatedly lying and choosing, quote, "the craven path of embracing Trump". And it's interesting, she says, when she first saw that now infamous photo of Trump and McCarthy shaking hands, she thought it was a fake.
And then she reveals that she confronts McCarthy, and this is his defense for making the trip. She writes -- Cheney says to McCarthy, "Mar-a-Lago? What the hell, Kevin?" McCarthy, "They're really worried. Trump's not eating, so they asked me to come to see him". Cheney, "What? You went to Mar-a-Lago because Trump's not eating?" McCarthy, "Yes, he's really depressed."
COOPER: Oh wow.
GANGEL: Anderson, a spokesman -- yes. I don't know what to say. A spokesman for Kevin McCarthy -- Kevin McCarthy did not respond personally, but his spokesman put out a statement saying, quote, "for Cheney, first it was Trump derangement syndrome, and now apparently it's also McCarthy derangement syndrome".
I think it's worth noting that Kevin McCarthy, his spokesman, does not deny any of the quotes we've reported from Cheney's book. So he's standing by this defense that he went there because Trump wasn't eating.
TAPPER: What does Cheney say about the new House Speaker, Mike Johnson?
GANGEL: So this is interesting because Cheney actually wrote the book before Johnson became speaker, but she included him in the book because he was playing such a large role. According to Cheney, Johnson was pressuring Republican members, especially freshmen, to support Trump, and that he just was playing this critical role behind the scenes to try to help Trump overturn the election results.
And she writes, quote, "When I confronted him with the flaws in his legal arguments, Johnson would often concede or say something to the effect of, 'We just need to do this one last thing for Trump'".
So the book is filled with revelations about hypocritical comments, public versus private. There's a lot about her unlikely alliance with Nancy Pelosi that's fascinating. And I just want to tell you about one extraordinary scene, which is on January 6 in the Republican Cloakroom, where Republican Congressman Mark Green of Tennessee, he's signing his name to these objection, these electoral vote objection sheets, and she hears him.
She writes, quote, "As he moved down the line, signing his name to the pieces of paper, Green said sheepishly to no one in particular, 'The things we do for the Orange Jesus'". Anderson?
COOPER: Wow. Jamie Gangel, thanks very much. GANGEL: Thank you.
COOPER: Again, Liz Cheney's new book, "Oath and Honor" will be released next Tuesday, December 5th. She'll join me here on 360 that night.
Up next, a surging Nikki Haley picks up a major endorsement that comes with millions of dollars in ad spending. We'll be right back.
COOPER: We're just under seven weeks out from the Iowa caucuses, and today Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley landed a major backer that could transform the GOP contest. We have details now from CNN Jeff Zeleny on what, for any Republican hopeful, is a very big endorsement.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nikki Haley on the move tonight, hoping to capitalize on a golden endorsement in the Republican presidential race.
NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Trump is pretty much even with Biden. On a good day, he might be two points up. In every poll, we beat Biden by 10 to 13 points.
ZELENY (voice-over): One of the nation's most powerful conservative grassroots organizations, financed by billionaire Charles Koch, has crowned Haley as its choice to try and dethrone Donald Trump as the overwhelming Republican frontrunner and unseat President Biden in the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden and Donald Trump had their chance. They can't fix what's broken.
ZELENY (voice-over): The question for Haley is whether she'll ever get the chance and move beyond the race for second place. Today's highly coveted endorsement from Americans for Prosperity Action is the latest attempt by some GOP heavy hitters to urge voters to coalesce around a Trump alternative.
The group is pledging to spend millions on television ads and more. Yet it's far from certain how many Republicans are actually looking for one.
WAYNE GRAJCZYK, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: Right now Trump has my vote.
ZELENY (voice-over): We met Wayne Grajczyk walking into a Haley rally on Monday in South Carolina. Her rise intrigues him, and he's open to her candidacy, yet far from sold.
GRAJCZYK: I want to look at all candidates, you now, to see who's going to finally get my vote, but I am strongly leaning towards Trump.
ZELENY (voice-over): That sentiment underscores one of Haley's biggest challenges, navigating a Trump tightrope by appealing to Republicans, clamoring for anyone but Trump, even as she works to win over true Trump believers.
ELAINE MYERS, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: We got to find somebody other than Trump.
ZELENY (voice-over): Elaine Myers told us she voted for Trump twice, but believes he can't win next year.
MYERS: A vote for him is going to be a vote for Biden, and I hope that doesn't happen, and that's why I'm voting for Nikki.
ZELENY (voice-over): Yet she's hardly the only candidate. Haley is locked in an increasingly bitter battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, particularly in Iowa, where he's won several big endorsements of his own. They'll face off again next week at the fourth Republican debate.
HALEY: The stage is getting smaller. When the stage gets smaller, our chances get bigger.
ZELENY (voice-over): The views of Haley, a former U.N. ambassador, are now coming under closer view. Her hawkish foreign policy stands in sharp contrast with the rising isolationist strains in her party.
HALEY: Now you have D.C. saying, do we support Ukraine or do we support Israel? Do we support Israel or do we support closing the border? Don't let them tell you that, because that is a false premise.
ZELENY (voice-over): She also faces other potential roadblocks, including Chris Christie's candidacy in New Hampshire. He's trying to win over some of the same independent and moderate Republican voters. Haley makes clear a split ticket benefits Trump above all.
HALEY: We are now in second place in Iowa, second place in New Hampshire, and second place in South Carolina. We just have one more fellow we got to catch up to.
ZELENY: Now, this is an endorsement that comes with a rare army of conservative activists, particularly here in New Hampshire, in Iowa as well. Anderson, of course, endorsements do not win races. Candidates do. But they do build momentum. And momentum can win campaigns. It can also attract donors. That's why the Haley campaign is smiling tonight. Her rivals wanted this endorsement as well. Anderson?
COOPER: Yes, certainly. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
Just ahead, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and the memories of those who knew and loved her.
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COOPER: Tomorrow, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will be laid to rest at her family's residence. The public was allowed to say goodbye in a series of remembrances this week, culminating in today's tribute service at Glenn Memorial Church at Emory University in Atlanta.
The service was attended by her devoted husband of 77 years, the former President Jimmy Carter, who's currently in hospice care. Also there, the President, Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, former President Clinton, and all living former first ladies, including Melania Trump.
It was a moving service. Primary speakers were his family, including daughter, Amy, who you'll see read the words of her father, the former president who was unable to speak.
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JAMES EARL "CHIP" CARTER III, JIMMY AND ROSALYNN CARTER'S SON: My mother was the glue that held our family together through the ups and downs and thicks and thins of our family's politics. My mother, Rosalynn Carter, was the most beautiful woman I've ever met and pretty to look at, too.
JASON JAMES CARTER, JIMMY AND ROSALYNN CARTER'S GRANDSON: She was my grandmother first, and she was like everyone else's grandmother in a lot of ways. Almost all of her recipes call for mayonnaise, for example.
AMY CARTER, JIMMY AND ROSALYNN CARTER'S DAUGHTER: This is from a letter he wrote 75 years ago while he was serving in the Navy. My darling, every time I have ever been away from you, I have been thrilled when I returned to discover just how wonderful you are. While I am away, I try to convince myself that you really are not, could not be as sweet and beautiful as I remember.
But when I see you, I fall in love with you all over again. Does that seem strange to you? It doesn't to me. Goodbye, darling. Until tomorrow, Jimmy.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Someone touched by her life and legacy. I'm joined now by Jill Stuckey, she's the superintendent of the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park in Plains, Georgia, which includes the residence where the first lady will be laid to rest. She's also a friend of former President and First Lady Carter.
Thank you so much for being with us. We heard, I mean, just some of the lovely remembrances of Mrs. Carter from the memorial service. What do you want people to remember about her?
JILL STUCKEY, FRIEND OF PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY CARTER: When Rosalynn entered a room, you had hope. She always brought hope with her, because when you knew she was on a project, you knew it was going to get done, because she wouldn't stop until it was done. She was just a remarkable friend, neighbor, relative.
COOPER: They moved back to Plains after leaving the White House. They lived in a modest house. They socialized with friends and neighbors. They were part of the community. They went to the church, taught Sunday school. Why has Plains been so important to them? What role has it played in their lives?
STUCKEY: It's home. That's where they feel comfortable. That's where they're loved. That's where they can walk down the street and speak to people. They're just Jimmy and Roselyn here. They know that they'll be treated just like everybody else. And everybody here is just so honored and happy when they're home in Plains. And that's -- this is the place that they've always returned to.
COOPER: What was she like to be around? I mean, a lot of Americans probably remember her as soft spoken. What was her sense of humor like? What did she do for fun?
STUCKEY: They -- she loved to fish and they were very competitive with each other.
COOPER: They were very competitive?
STUCKEY: Oh, yes.
COOPER: In terms of just fishing or everything?
STUCKEY: Mainly fishing, mainly sports, things like that. They -- I was fishing with them once, and I walked over to President Carter and he said, how many fish is Rosalynn catching? I said, I don't know. He said, go find out and come back. So I went over.
And Rosalynn said, how many fish is Jimmy catching? And I said, well, he's got about five or six, and she had seven or eight, so she was thrilled. And President Carter was not happy when I told him that he was being out-fished.
COOPER: She was very political herself, proudly so. She sat in on Cabinet meetings when they were in the White House. She gave President Carter advice on policy and was especially productive in reducing stigma around mental illness. How important do you think it was for her to use her prominence and her profile to make change, even long after leaving the White House?
STUCKEY: She wanted to help people. And, you know, they would both eat right every single day. They would exercise every day because they wanted to live as long as they possibly could to help as many people as they possibly could. And they did a pretty good job of it.
COOPER: And what an incredible love story. I mean, 77 years. That beautiful letter that Amy read from when President Carter was young in the Navy, I mean, what a model to aim for in terms of relationship and a life?
STUCKEY: So I've known them for 29 years, so I have gotten to be with my heroes for 29 years. You know, they say you shouldn't meet your heroes because they'll disappoint you. I have 29 years of knowing these people, and I'm more impressed with them every single day.
STUCKEY: They're just amazing folks.
COOPER: Well, I'm so appreciative of you spending a few moments with us tonight. I'm so sorry for your loss and the community's loss as well.
Jill Stuckey, thank you so much.
STUCKEY: Thank you.
COOPER: We'll be right back.
COOPER: I want to take a moment to let you know about something that's important to me. Tomorrow morning, the first episode in season two of my podcast, All There Is, comes out. It's about grief and loss, which is something we all have or will experience, but rarely talk about. I certainly haven't.
I didn't plan on doing a second season of All There Is, but in the last few months, I've come to realize how little I understand my own grief and how much more there is to learn. If you haven't listened to the first season, it's available now and the new season starts tomorrow.
I've got some really interesting guests coming up, including President Biden. You can find season two of All There Is tomorrow morning on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. I hope you like it and find it helpful.
The news continues. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now.