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Crude Awakening For Bush Administration; Witness Speaks Out in Duke Rape Investigation; New Orleans Votes

Aired April 21, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again.
Soaring gas prices, allegations of gouging -- Republicans hold a closed-door meantime, wondering what it means for their party and the president.


ANNOUNCER: Crude awakening -- sticker shock and shortages, America's growing pain at the pump, and Washington's failed promise to deliver.

Fat cats -- big oil profits are up, but industry executives say, "Don't blame us."

We are "Keeping Them Honest."

And speaking out -- the other stripper in the Duke sex scandal is changing her story.

KIM ROBERTS, EXOTIC DANCER: The only thing I did not see was the rape.

ANNOUNCER: Find out why she now believes the dancer was raped.


ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And a good Friday to you. Thanks for joining us.

We begin tonight with gas and the price at the pump and in politics.

Take a look. These are fuel prices at a gas station in San Diego, topping out at nearly $4.30 a gallon. Now, that is staggering. Remember, less than three years ago, a gallon cost $1.50.

Drivers aren't the only ones feeling the pinch. So is the president. When prices go up, fair or not, he takes the heat.

Tonight, the political and pocketbook price of gas -- all the angles.

White House and Republican strategists huddled today. Agenda? What to do about the growing gas problem. The president says he has a plan. Tonight, we will check his facts.

Also, oil executives pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars. They may soon be called to testify before Congress. Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest."

Let's get started.

CNN's Dana Bash has more on the politics at the pump.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just hopping in the car these days is a reminder of a growing problem for Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania. Spiking gas prices are adding more anger and volatility to an already dicey political climate.

REP. JIM GERLACH (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We find out that the retiring CEO of ExxonMobil is getting a retirement package of nearly $400 million. And that drives people nuts. It drives me nuts.

BASH: No wonder he is worried. He's a Republican in a tight race this year, and this constituent is asking about a letter Democrats sent the president on the issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... put some pressure on the oil companies to reduce their profits a little bit, to help ease the gasoline pricing. Do you know anything about that? Or is there anything being done?

BASH: He tries to turn the question to his advantage, saying he hopes concern about gas prices now will help spur long-term changes.

GERLACH: I think we have a major opportunity now, with gas prices going so high, to say, wait a minute. We shouldn't have to rely on foreign oil for our energy needs.

BASH: Gerlach is one of many endangered Republicans on the defensive back home about prices at the pump.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The price of gasoline is going up, up, up.

BASH: Democrats are holding political events at gas stations. Here's another one in New Jersey.

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: The high cost of gasoline hurts every sector of our economy.

BASH: And a four-page strategy memo tells Democrats how to take advantage of the issue: "Pledge that, as a member of Congress, you will fight for families in your district, not the oil and gas executives, for which this Republican Congress has fought so hard." Both parties have sought political benefit from soaring gas prices before, without much evidence it worked. But Republicans fear, this year may be different. Anger over gas prices plays into their biggest problem.

STUART ROTHENBERG, POLITICAL ANALYST: It reinforces the existing mood, a mood -- mood of a pessimism, a sense that the country is headed in the wrong direction. And anything that affects people's lives negatively is probably going to hurt Republicans in Congress.

BASH: CNN has learned, congressional and Bush aides met today, scrambling to be more proactive. Top Republicans will send the president a letter Monday, encouraging him to investigate possible price-gouging.

And they will try to waive some requirements for cleaner, but more expensive gasoline. Also, House Republicans will likely call oil conservatives to testify about their huge profits.

Frustrated Republicans may try to deflect political damage, but they know there's not much they can do to bring gas prices down.

GERLACH: Well, I always put 20 bucks in, but I'm finding it's taking me shorter distances.

BASH: Jim Gerlach and other Republicans in trouble can only hope April's shock eases by November's election.

Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, as we mentioned, fair or not, much of the blame on the rising gas prices is directed at President Bush. Mr. Bush headed West today, meeting with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Now, this president has said a lot about gas and energy over the years. The question is, what has he actually done about it?

CNN's Candy Crowley tonight checks the facts.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George Bush is a former oil man from Texas, both of which shape his views on supply, demand, and energy.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No matter how advanced our economy may be, no matter how sophisticated our equipment becomes, for the foreseeable future, we will still depend on fossil fuels.

CROWLEY: It was September 2000. Gasoline was $1.53 a gallon. Presidential candidate George Bush believed in more refineries, more power plants, more drilling and exploring in the U.S., including in a small part of ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Five months into the presidency of George W. Bush...


SEN. CRAIG THOMAS (R), WYOMING: How are you going to react to this summer's prices?


CROWLEY: ... the average price of regular was $1.66 a gallon, too high for political comfort.


SPENCER ABRAHAM, ENERGY SECRETARY: Well, we are -- we're very concerned, as -- as all of you are, about the gasoline prices.


CROWLEY: A Bush energy package was put on the table in '01. It passed the House. The Senate passed a different bill the next year, but they couldn't agree on a compromise. The issue died.

January of '03:


BUSH: I have sent you a comprehensive energy plan to promote energy efficiency and conservation to develop cleaner technology and to produce more energy at home.



CROWLEY: At his State of the Union address, the president called energy a top priority. Heat and light were brought to the subject during an August blackout in parts of eight states. But, by winter, the energy bill died of severe disagreement, over everything from energy taxes to ANWR.

April '05: The price of gasoline hits $2.25.


BUSH: A fellow said, "Why don't you lower gas prices, gasoline prices, Mr. President?"

Obviously, gasoline prices were on his mind. I said: "I wish I could. If I could, I would."


CROWLEY: In July, Congress passed, and the president signed, an energy bill, minus all the controversial things, $85 billion in tax breaks or subsidies for every form of energy from wind power to oil, gas, and nuclear power -- also included, tax incentives for conservation and alternative energy use.

Nobody was happy, not the oil industry.

JOHN FELMY, CHIEF ECONOMIST, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: But, when you add all those up, it really didn't contribute much to either domestic supply or, for that matter, reducing demand.

CROWLEY: Not the conservationists.

DAVID HAMILTON, GLOBAL WARMING AND ENERGY PROGRAM DIRECTOR, SIERRA CLUB: The administration has given, you know, little more than lip service to energy efficiency.

CROWLEY: By the time of the president's State of the Union address this year, gas was around $2.33 a gallon. He called for more money for alternative fuels.


BUSH: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.


CROWLEY: His goal, replace 75 percent of oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.

In April of 2006:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that gas prices are -- you know, they're outrageous. I mean, I heard they are going to hit $4 a gallon.

CROWLEY: 2025 seems like a long way away.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: It sure does; 2025 might feel like a long way away, but November does not. It's when you vote. And the politics of the pump are weighing heavily on the Republican Party right now, and extra heavily on the president.

Former presidential adviser David Gergen joins me now from Boston.

David, good to see you tonight.

How serious is it for this president if gas prices continue to rise?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Good evening, Anderson. It's a lovely evening. (LAUGHTER)

GERGEN: I -- it is very serious for this president if these gas prices continue to rise. We saw three presidents in -- in the 1970s almost brought down by higher gas prices. Richard Nixon was -- was -- added enormously to his -- the pressures on him to resign under Watergate, because of high gas prices.

Gerald Ford, it really almost sank him against Jimmy Carter. And he went on to lose against Carter. And Jimmy Carter -- in 1979, gas prices spiked. He was in terrible trouble, and it helped to sweep him out of office.

So, this is -- when -- when gas prices spike this way, and -- as your -- the Candy Crowley piece just emphasized, gasoline prices at the pump have doubled -- have doubled -- during the George W. Bush presidency. That's very dangerous for Republicans this November.

COOPER: And -- and it's a hard tag line to overcome.

I mean, there is good economic news, which the Republicans keep pointing to, falling unemployment, solid growth, but, I mean, is there anything the president really can do to get ahead of -- of the gas prices?

GERGEN: Well, you know what's interesting, Anderson, I -- I have been looking back this week at some of the previous history on this.

When Jimmy Carter was faced with higher gas prices, you remember how he went up to Camp David for 10 days -- excruciating days -- to talk to people, and he came down and made the famous speech about a crisis of confidence, the malaise speech? At that time, he announced in that speech a bold plan on energy, a new plan on energy.

And his polls actually went up. His polls went up. It was only a few days later, when he fired about half of his Cabinet, that his polls plummeted. But we forget that, when Carter came forward with a new plan, after the prices spiked, his polls went up.

I believe that this president ought to be looking at a serious new plan, which says: Look, I can't bring prices down in the -- in the -- in the near term, but I sure as heck am not going to be willing to stand here and do nothing in the face of these prices. We're going to build on what we passed last year, what I signed last year what, by the way, over half the Democrats in the Senate voted for last year, and my energy bill. And now I'm going to bring you energy number two, a big plan that will bring these prices down over time and make this country more independent.

I think that's worth doing.

COOPER: But, you know, it's interesting, though, because, I mean, he -- he -- during the State of the Union, as we talked about last night, I mean, he had that -- that great line, you know, this country's addicted to oil. It's a powerful line. And just about everyone probably agrees with it. And, yet, there doesn't seem to be much follow-through. And all those cases you cited , back in the '70s, you know, people get upset about, there's an energy crisis and long gas lines, and everyone talks about doing something about it.

As soon as the crisis is over, and the prices come down again, everyone seems to forget about it.

GERGEN: Well, that's right.

And I -- and I -- and I think this president forgets about it, too. I mean, he has suffered, as we have discussed, from an attention-deficit disorder when it comes to issues. He -- he brings an issue up. He pushes it for a while. And then it seems to recede in the background, almost everything, except Iraq.

So, you know, on this case, you know, he is an oil man. He does have some credibility on this issue. But, you know, the only way he's going to rescue his presidency is not by shuffling chairs around in the White House, but by really changing, changing his policies, changing his practices, changing his politics.

That means he has got to have some deep internal changes. And I think energy provides one of those areas. You know, what we're seeing now, Anderson, is going to be joined by a very -- on energy, on spiking prices, in the next few weeks, with the Al Gore movie coming out and a lot of attention now also joining up on climate change, these two things are coming together in the public's mind to say, this country is simply not doing what it needs to do to deal with energy and the environment.

A Public Agenda survey found that 85 percent of Americans believe the federal government could do -- be doing a lot more about energy, if it cared.

COOPER: What's also interesting is the extent to which this is now seen as a -- as a national security issue...


COOPER: ... in some of these polls out there by people, which..

GERGEN: Right.

COOPER: ... which certainly adds some emphasis to it.

Very briefly, though the Democrats, we should talk about them. I mean, they're putting out all these talking points, saying, look, have -- for congressional candidates, you know, have meetings in front of gas stations, you know, label the Republicans as...


COOPER: ... as siding with the big oil companies.


COOPER: Do they actually have a plan? I mean, don't they have to do more...


COOPER: ... than just yell about it?

GERGEN: Yes, they do.

And as just -- I can -- one can sympathize, Anderson, with the uncertainty they have about where Iraq is going and why they don't come up with a plan for that. But, on energy, there's no excuse, none, for the Democrats not to have a comprehensive plan they can get behind.

And, by the way, they ought to be dealing with nuclear as well. There's a growing consensus, if you really want to -- if you want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we not only have to go to -- there are these new renewable energy sources over the long term, but we really ought to be looking at nuclear.

And, on that issue, the president is out in front of them.

COOPER: I'm -- I'm also really particularly interested in -- in seeing how the national security dimension of this, people believing this is now a national security issue -- I don't think that was necessarily the case as much in the '70s. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

GERGEN: Absolutely. That's a very good point. I think this conversation is going to be with us for a while, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, we will -- we will have it again Monday night.


COOPER: We will have -- we will -- we will invite you back.




COOPER: David, thanks very much.

GERGEN: Take care. Bye.

COOPER: So, in parts of the U.S., finding gasoline could be more of an issue than paying for it, actually.

Experts say spot shortages are no reason to panic. So, put the keys down. Coming up, we will explain the kinks in the supply chain.

And outrage over the huge profits at ExxonMobil, talking about nearly $100 million a day in profits for the company. And wait until you hear exactly how much its ex-CEO was paid -- "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.

Also, this:


ROBERTS: The only thing I did not see was the rape, because I was not in the bathroom at that particular moment. Everything leading up to it, I was there. Everything leaving from it I was there. And, mind you, I believe I was the only sober person in the place.


COOPER: An intriguing new interview in the alleged rape at Duke.

The other woman, the second dancer at that party that night, speaks out. And there are new legal moves to tell you about. We will have the latest in a live report -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, along the East Coast today, gas shortages turned into scattered gas outages. A few pumps at convenience stores as far south as Virginia and up to southern New Jersey reportedly went dry. Experts blame it on a change in formula, as refineries add ethanol to gas. But, overall, supplies are said to be adequate. Still, of course, those forecasts are calling for higher and higher prices.

Tom Foreman is in D.C.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, everyone wants to know, why does the cost of gas just keep going up and up and up? And everybody says, well, it's supply and demand.

It is, but not in the sense that there's a shortage of gasoline. That's not the problem. There's lots of gasoline out there. There are just a lot of buyers, too.

Where is our gas coming from? Look at this. You go over to one of the OPEC nations, the ones we always talk about, Saudi Arabia. This is one of our big foreign suppliers. About 7 percent of our gasoline comes from Saudi Arabia. But you might be surprised that another OPEC nation in Africa, Nigeria, is supplying almost as much. Almost 6 percent of the gasoline you use comes from oil from Nigeria.

Then, across the ocean, in South America, we go to Venezuela, where we find another big OPEC nation, another big producer, historically, and one that we don't have very good relationships right now. They're supplying about 7.5 percent.

And, then, closer to home, Mexico, a huge supplier of oil to the United States, almost 8 percent from there. And, then, up in Canada, almost 11 percent of the oil we're using in this country comes from our northern neighbor.

So, how much are we producing ourselves? Well, about 48 percent. So, you can see our production is not nearly high enough to meet all of our demand, even if we ramped it way up, by industry standards. And, once again, way across the ocean, as long as India and China have their economies heating up the way they are right now, what we're having in the oil business is the same thing that's going on in housing in this country.

There are lots of houses, but a lot of people have wanted them in recent years, and they have driven the price up and up and up. That's what's happening with oil. It's this speculation on the future value, the future cost, and that's why the future of your summer vacation is going to involve much higher gasoline bills -- Anderson.


COOPER: All right, Tom. Thanks.

So, if you think you're paying a lot at your local gas pump, well, if it makes you any -- feel any better, it's much worse in many cities around the world.

Here's the raw data. In Oslo, Norway, last month, drivers paid the equivalent of $6.62 for a U.S. gallon, in Hong Kong, $6.25, and, in London, $5.96. Now, the reason for those high prices, for the most part, is higher taxes on gasoline.

The former head of ExxonMobil will not need to be clipping coupons any time soon. Take a look at his multi-multi-muy- multimillion-dollar retirement package. We're "Keeping Them Honest" next.

But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News has some of the other stories we're following -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yet, he's got no sympathy from those of us paying at the pump, I noticed.


HILL: Anderson, we start off tonight in Nepal. We have been talking a lot about this. Well, now Nepal's king has promised to return political power to his subjects. The king, who seized absolute power 14 months ago, made the claim on television after a series of protests that have paralyzed that country.

In Ohio, prosecutors allege, a Catholic priest on trial for the murder of a nun 26 years ago has lied repeatedly about the case, even claiming he heard the real murderer's confession. The Reverend Gerald Robinson denies hearing that confession, saying he was pressured into the statement by police.

And a CIA officer has been fired for leaking classified information, according to the Associated Press, reports that Mary McCarthy admitted having unauthorized discussion with the media. The Justice Department is investigating a number of recent leaks of classified information. It's still not clear whether the fired officer will face criminal charges.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth celebrating her 80th birthday today, in typical royal fashion, a walkabout at her home in Windsor. Twenty thousand people turned out to wish Europe's longest-serving monarch a happy birthday, including the guys with big hats.


COOPER: God save the queen.

HILL: There you go.

COOPER: Erica, thanks.

Nobody said life was fair. Certainly, motorists are feeling real pain at the pump right now, while the former boss of ExxonMobil defends his multimillion-dollar golden handshake. Hear what he thinks about Americans complaining about rising gas prices. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And the second exotic dancer at the Duke University lacrosse team's party has gone public. That is her. We will get her take on the rape allegations. Plus, tonight, there are new legal moves in the works -- all the latest coming up, 360.


COOPER: That's a lot of money for those guys. The list, those dollar amounts, may make you jealous, a lot of CEOs raking in the cash.

The former head of ExxonMobil has come out swinging in defense of his fat retirement package. Lee Raymond walked away from his 43-year career with multiple millions of dollars. Raymond says the people who criticized and his decisions he made while he ran ExxonMobil don't understand the oil business.

"Keeping Them Honest," tonight, here's CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): OK. So, it seems not everyone is feeling your pain at the pump -- case in point, ExxonMobil's ex-CEO and current industry defender, Lee Raymond.

LEE RAYMOND, FORMER EXXONMOBIL CEO: Back in 1998, when prices went down to $10, I don't recall anybody in Washington calling me up and saying, boy, are you guys having a hard time? What can we do to help?

KAYE: He left the company in January, after 43 years of faithful service, the last 12 at the top. But he didn't leave empty-handed.

Just take a look at the company's proxy statement. In his last full year of service, 2005, Mr. Raymond received $48.5 million in salary, bonuses, incentives, and stock. And he could pick up nearly $98.5 million in a lump-sum pension payout. Add to that his more than $183 million in ExxonMobil stock, plus options to buy $69 million more.

Now, if you're an ExxonMobil stockholder, you might see this as fair compensation for a job well done. The company posted profits of $36 billion last year, the largest corporate profit in history. And ExxonMobil's stock prices remain high, ending trading today at $65 a share.

But if you're a consumer and not a shareholder, you may not be feeling quite so generous. Gasoline prices currently average more than $2.85 per gallon, 14 percent higher than just a month ago. And they continue to climb.

But soaring gas prices, say the company and Mr. Raymond, aren't their fault. They say: We're just part of a great big gas-guzzling world, and the fault lies in global supply and demand.

RAYMOND: Consumers in the United States sometimes are going to have difficulty realizing that they're part of that world. But, in fact, they are.

KAYE: And he told an audience just this week that a big part of the problem is politics.

RAYMOND: I'm not interested in hearing from them when prices are $10. And I'm not interested in hearing from them when prices are $40 or $50.

KAYE: And oil industry defenders say, their profit rate is really just average.

JOHN FELMY, CHIEF ECONOMIST, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: If you take and look at our profit rate as an industry, it's above average, but it's well below many other industries in the United States.

KAYE: Try telling that to consumers of ExxonMobil's products.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I'm going to go bankrupt, having to fill my gas tank to get to work.


KAYE: But take heart. Your frustration is being felt at the federal level, where there are calls by some for investigations into the oil industry.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Well, a second stripper who was at the Duke University lacrosse party comes forward to tell what she knows about the now notorious night. But defense lawyers are questioning her consistency and her motives here. You will hear for yourself what she said, and you will also hear the new legal moves in the case.

Also, this:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If everything was normal in New Orleans, they would not have 17 white people running for mayor.


COOPER: Well, it is not your everyday mayoral election. The field of candidates is big. The issues are bigger. And many of the voters are not there. New Orleans goes to the polls. We will look at what's at stake -- coming up next.



KIM ROBERTS, SECOND DANCER: If they're innocent, they should have nothing to worry about. They should sit back, relax. Brush their shoulders off and feel good. They shouldn't have anything to worry about. If the truth was on their side, why are they supporting it with lies?


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: That was the second dancer at the party. Now, this is a crime story that seems to get more sensational by the day. That was Kim Roberts talking, a woman who turns out was a second stripper at the Duke Lacrosse party where her coworker says she was raped. Two lacrosse players have been charged with rape, they say they didn't do it. And at first Ms. Roberts had her doubts that a rape had occurred, now it seems she has changed her mind. And if all that wasn't enough, CNN's Jason Carroll joins us to report on yet another development. Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, a lot of new information today. Late today a source close to the defense tells us that they received a report from the district attorney's office which basically details exactly how the accuser was able to identify the two Duke Lacrosse players who she says raped them. According to the report, investigators showed the accuser pictures of the 46 lacrosse players but didn't show her pictures of anyone else.

And typically we're hearing that investigators in situations like this will throw in pictures of people who they know are wrong just to make sure the alleged victim in a particular case identifies the right person. Apparently that didn't happen in this particular situation. And because of that reason, defense attorneys are now feeling as though that process was leading, that it was suggestive, and that the next likely legal move will be to file a motion to suppress that particular proceeding. We did reach out to the district attorney, Michael Nifong. He did not return our calls, but legal experts tell us that the district attorney doesn't necessarily have to throw in dummy pictures, if you will, in a particular situation like that. So we're going to be following that next week to see how that develops. But that wasn't the only development today, as you said, also, the second stripper who was there that night is speaking out. She initially was skeptical of the accuser's account of the story. She has since backed down from that just a little bit. She also described exactly what she saw and heard that night.


ROBERTS: I was there from the beginning to the end. The only thing I did not see was the rape. Because I was not in the bathroom at that particular moment. Everything leading up to it I was there. Everything leaving from it I was there. And mind you, I believe I was the only sober person in the place.


CARROLL: And also defense attorneys are saying that the reason why Kim Roberts may be appearing to be backing down from what she initially was saying about what happened that night is because it's in exchange for leniency in an unrelated criminal case that she's dealing with, with the district attorney's office. Anderson?

COOPER: Jason, there's also a report that this woman, Kim Roberts, tried to hire a public relations firm for herself. Do you know anything about that?

CARROLL: Yes, absolutely. Apparently she sent an e-mail to a New York City-based PR firm called FiveW. In this email she basically said that she was seeking advice on how to spin the situation to her advantage. Her attorney, we spoke to him today, he basically called that e-mail regrettable. Anderson?

COOPER: Yeah, I guess that would be the first advice of the PR firm if, in fact, they did work for her, was, would be stop sending e- mails like that, Ms. Roberts. Jason Carroll, thanks.

New Orleans now, the mayor there, Ray Nagin, has nearly two dozen people after his job. And tomorrow if he or one of his rivals gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the city's primary election, it's all over. Remember however that many New Orleans residents are spread throughout the country and many of them will not be voting at all. Here's CNN's John King.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Man of the moment is in the street, talking street.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN, (D) NEW ORLEANS: How y'all doing? You all right? Good morning. Don't forget to vote. 63, you got it. Good morning, baby. What's up big-timer? How you doing, man? Good morning.

KING: The election is Saturday. It's tight. And embattled mayor Ray Nagin very much hopes race, his race, is an issue.

NAGIN: You know I think the realities of America that tide goes to someone who looks like you. And that's what's happened.

KING: Nagin didn't carry the African-American vote when elected four years ago. And before Katrina his approval ratings were higher with white residents. But after Katrina, tapping this sentiment in the African-American community is the key to Nagin's survival.

JESSE TURNER, RAINBOW COALITION: And everybody wants to talk about -- well let us not keep putting race in it. Let me put race in it. If everything was normal in New Orleans, they would not have 17 white people running for mayor.

KING: Ron Forman is one of those white candidates. Ron's the city's aquarium and zoo and bristles at the label great white hope.

RON FORMAN, (D) CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR: I represent what this community needs, and that's someone that doesn't think color of the skin, that thinks about the love of community and how we can bring people together. Good to see you. Did you have a good run?

KING: Forman's chances though rest with white voters like Sarah Burgess who have given up on Mayor Nagin.

SARAH BURGESS, NEW ORLEANS VOTER: Most of what I've heard and most of what I've seen from him since the hurricane has not been impressive. He hasn't really done too much for the city.

KING: One now infamous, some say intemperate Nagin comment, left many white residents wonder what their mayor had in mind for them.

NAGIN: This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.

KING: Your tongue occasionally gets you in trouble or in controversy. Is that an asset or is it a weakness? Is it both?

NAGIN: It's me. I mean I'm a very direct person. You know, and sometimes I cross the line. You know, but I'm big enough to say, okay, I made a mistake.

SUSAN HOWELL, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS: It will be a very racially-polarized election.

KING: University of New Orleans political scientist Susan Howell believes the chocolate city line was no accident. And sees a Nagin strategy born of the city's post-Katrina demographic shift. 70 percent African-American before the storm, 60 percent at most now.

HOWELL: We've had a black mayor since 1978. I guess the most blatant way to say it is, that there are some white voters that feel now we're going to just, quote, take the city back.

KING: Nagin predicts such talk will boost his support among African-Americans.

NAGIN: Because we don't have a lot. We don't dominate business, we don't dominate a lot of things. So political power is very important.

KING: The last white mayor was Moon Landrieu, his son Mitch, now Louisiana's lieutenant governor, is running for mayor and says he's the only candidate who can bridge the post-Katrina racial divide.

MITCH LANDRIEU, (D) CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR: And I am the only one that has an absolutely equal amount of support in the white and black community which I think puts me in a very good position to make the kinds of decisions that are going to be necessary and to actually pull people together around the issues.

KING: Church repairs are Bishop Lester Love's priority at the moment. He decided to stay neutral in the mayor's race for now, expecting a runoff after the first round.

BISHOP LESTER LOVE, GREATER ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH: It's going to be a little touch and go with how we play this race card issue. So it's not a black or white issue for me. It's who has the best plan to bring the city back.

KING: After years of rocky relations with Nagin, Bishop Love says many in his community are suspicious of why the mayor is suddenly so race conscious.

LOVE: So to some people, it looks like he's grabbing at his last hope. For some people, somebody's saying well he's a changed man.

NAGIN: I'm not taking anything for granted.

KING: Colorful and combative to the end, hoping to somehow emerge the winner of a campaign that will give New Orleans its next mayor just in time for the next hurricane season.


COOPER: John, so many residents of New Orleans are spread throughout the country, probably not even voting in this thing because the rules are so sort of elaborate and difficult for them to vote. Who's voting tomorrow? Are there going to be more black voter, more white voter, what's the breakdown?

KING: That's an interesting question Anderson, nobody knows the final answer. In early voting though, 65 percent of the votes have been cast by African-Americans and that is very encouraging to state officials and city officials. Remember, there was a legal challenge trying to block this election by civil rights groups saying many African-Americans would be disenfranchised.

No one expects the black turnout to be in the mid-60s, as it was in the last mayoral election, but the secretary of state says he's now confident that the majority will indeed, be African-American voters tomorrow, a majority. He won't say 60 percent, but he does believe at least more than 50 percent. If that is the case, the secretary of state believes that he'll be able to easily block any post-election legal challenges. Of course, tomorrow, most expect we will get two candidates, then we'll have another month of what everyone here expects, will be a very bruising runoff.

COOPER: A bruising runoff where they're talking about race. I don't hear many of them talking about actual plans for what to do with the lower ninth ward, what to do with other parts of New Orleans. But maybe in the runoff we'll see some more details. John thanks.

It is a problem hiding in plain sight. The senator who lost a son to suicide, now trying to save other families from the same pain. Gordon Smith and I talk about his son and what he wishes he had known just three years ago.

Plus what looks like Air Force One turned into a canvas for graffiti artists. We'll take a closer look when 360 continues.


COOPER: Suicide is something rarely talked about in this culture, but it is a problem "Hiding in Plain Sight," especially among young people. Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students? Garrett Smith killed himself the day before his 22nd birthday. He struggled with depression for most of his life. Now his father, Senator Gordon Smith, has written a book retracing his son's life and death, it's called "Remembering Garrett," and he's hoping that it will help other families avoid the tragedy that has shattered his. I talked to him the other day.


COOPER: One of the lovely things about the book, you really get a sense of who Garrett was and his spirit and his life and the way he embraced it. What was he like?

SEN. GORDON SMITH, AUTHOR, "REMEMBERING GARRETT": Well, I think, if I could sum up Garrett, he was just a delightful boy. He was a good person. He was obedient. He was sweet. He was thoughtful. He was very generous in nature. He loved everybody. And they loved him back. But he didn't love himself. He told us right at the end of his life, he began to feel these periods of tremendous darkness, of hopelessness. Of course, we didn't see that. We just would see him periodically grow very quiet and retreat to his room. And it got worse as he got older.

COOPER: And, of course, I mean, this happened in my family. It happens in lots of families. When -- after the death of someone to suicide, you realize there were signs.

SMITH: Oh, yeah.

COOPER: But at the time it doesn't seem like there are signs.

SMITH: And this, you know, again, to bury a child for any reason is the darkest day of your life. And yet somehow it seems to me that when the cause of a child's death is suicide, you know, the recrimination a parent puts on him or herself is unusually cruel. You tend to want to say, I'm to blame. That's certainly what I did to myself.

COOPER: There's also such a -- still a stigma around suicide.

SMITH: You know, we tend to think of people with mental health issues as acting bizarrely. You know, Garrett never acted bizarrely. He was entirely normal in his dealings with people. It was only when he'd have these periods of depression that he would withdraw and go away so people wouldn't see him. And I suspect our society even still -- and part of the reason I wrote the book, was to say, we've got to start talking about this.

COOPER: I don't know -- I'm sure you saw Tom Cruise talking to Matt Lauer on "The Today Show." Talking about --

SMITH: I think Tom Cruise is a great actor, love his movies. I don't like what he says about these issues. I have no prejudice against scientologists. But I simply have learned by our experience that these problems are medical in nature. If it's a physiological issue, it is my view that we need to push the boundaries of medicine to include this and find some answers. Because there's sure a lot of Americans who suffer from this.

COOPER: In reading the book, I mean, just reading about Garrett's last day, I mean it was so -- it was just heartbreaking. I mean, the planning that he put into it.

SMITH: He was in an episode where he was clearly in a very depressive state. There are things -- had we seen them earlier, had I known anything about psychology, I could have done something about it. I mean, there are signs. If your child is, all of a sudden doesn't care about their appearance, engage in high risk activities, reckless activities, they're starting to give away their possessions, if they express feelings of hopelessness, all of these are indicators of something much more difficult in their mind that we should take serious and don't assume, as I did, oh they'll just go way. He'll be fine tomorrow.

COOPER: And on that final day, he basically locked himself in his apartment.

SMITH: He did. He went and bought himself a big bottle of Jack Daniels, took all of the sleeping pills, and as he passed out, he put a noose around his neck. And, you know, it just breaks my heart to even recount it. But I wanted to be honest about what happened to our son. So that parents can take measures to -- if they see these kinds of things in their children, to get ahead of it. Get them help. They can heal.

COOPER: And one of the things that you recount in the book that he had written in his suicide note was so -- it just sort of stung me. I don't want to get the wording wrong.

SMITH: His words to us were very kind. He just said, I -- your love is the only thing in my life I know will never change. And just think your son won't feel this every day pain anymore. He says, please put me in the ground and forget about me. That's what hurts because he was priceless to us. He was a very precious child. Just such a good boy.

COOPER: For those who are out there who are parents who may be worrying about their kids or who are young people and maybe worrying about themselves, what is the message?

SMITH: Get help. There are answers. There's ways to get through these dark valleys.

COOPER: I cannot imagine how tough it was to write the book but I'm glad you did. It's "Remembering Garrett," and it's really lovely work, thank you.

SMITH: Thank you very much, Anderson.

COOPER: Pleasure.


COOPER: Here are a couple of resources recommended in Senator Smith's book. You can log on to the National Council for Suicide Prevention at Or

Well, from the North Pole to the South Pole, global warming is certainly a hot issue. Tonight we'll look at how it could affect the continental United States and already is as we wrap up our weeklong series "The Heat Is On."

Plus the image of Air Force One all around the world is recognized as a symbol of American might. And now there's this video. Looks like someone's graffiting on it. Is that possible? We'll explain when 360 continues.


COOPER: Looking at a live picture of New York's Empire State Building. It's green blue and blue, of course in honor of Earth Day which is tomorrow. All this week we've been looking at global warming "The Heat Is On" we've been calling the series. Tonight a look at what might happen in some big cities if ice sheets continue to melt. Here's CNN's Rob Marciano.


ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If the earth keeps warming at this rate, predictions of Liberty Island under water are not entirely farfetched. But no one expects a sudden, an overwhelming flood. Most scientists agree that by the end of this century, sea level will rise as much as three feet. Here in the lower tip of Manhattan it shouldn't be too big of a deal, but there are more dire predictions, some which warm the earth to the point where all the ice caps melt and the ocean waters come up and over the sea wall, up and over my head and inundate much of lower Manhattan. A lot has been said about worst-case scenarios. Manhattan under 80 feet of water for example, if temperatures quickly rise between four and five degrees and melt the polar ice caps. These dramatic depictions from this month's "Vanity Fair" show what some scientists say we could be heading for. This, they warn, could be Washington, D.C., after ice-covered Greenland melts. But again, that's the worst- case scenario. Sudden disasters like these are unlikely. More cautious scientists predict it may be a situation where many little disasters start a chain reaction cascade.

JOHN RENNIE, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN": Look at anyone in isolation and say that won't be so bad.

MARCIANO: John Rennie, the editor of "Scientific American" magazine says expect serious but manageable problems rather than a catastrophe.

RENNIE: You start to pile up maybe the possibility that the coastal states are all dealing with more flooding and that now you're dealing with a little more drought in the plain states. Those kinds of things building on top of one another.

MARCIANO: That said, few climatologists believe the global warming trend might actually reverse.

BILL GRAY, HURRICANE FORECASTER: We're going to start to see, within three, five, eight years or so the globe to start to cool.

MARCIANO: If Bill Gray wasn't a leading hurricane forecaster, his view would get little attention. But Gray thinks what's going on is a natural warming cycle and that manmade greenhouse gases are not the culprit. Still, that's a minority voice. John Rennie says most climate scientists predict the earth will keep warming for many years.

RENNIE: You might start to see more tick diseases like lime disease, that could start to extend over a wider range of the country.

MARCIANO: Already, Rennie says, spring comes about ten days earlier than it used to.

RENNIE: The flowers bloom too soon so the insect population drops off. Since there aren't enough insects, the birds now suddenly don't have enough food. We simply don't know what the long-term consequences of that could be.

MARCIANO: But short term?

RENNIE: People who hate long, cold winters may get their wish and see a lot more of those disappear.

MARCIANO: So whatever the weather tomorrow, it is, after all, earth day, and rain or shine, it's certain to make a lot of people wonder, what exactly is happening to our planet? Rob Marciano, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, heat waves, melting glaciers, the effects of global warming and what you can do to reverse it. Don't miss "Too Hot Not to Handle," a special report on our sister channel HBO this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. I love that term, our sister channel.

And at the top of the hour, a special edition of 360 "The Melting Point," tracking the global warming threat. But first, Erica Hill from "Headline News" joins us with some of the business stories. Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Hey Anderson and a mixed day to round out the week on Wall Street. The Dow closing up nearly 5 points at 11,347, its actually its highest points in more than six years. The S&P fell slightly, the NASDAQ dropped almost 20 points, but for the week, all major indices reporting gains.

Also up and hitting a new record, crude oil prices, which settled above $75 a barrel. That rise fueled by tight gas supplies in the U.S. and concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions, a country that is a key oil supplier.

And in Texas a jury finds drug maker Merck liable in the death of a former Vioxx patient and ordered the company to pay out $32 million in damages. Merck does plan to appeal. The drug maker faces thousands of other lawsuits since Vioxx was pulled from the market after studies showed it increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. There you go, end on an up note for you. But it's Friday. Happy weekend.

COOPER: To you too as well, Erica. Thanks very much. Time now for "The Shot," our favorite photo or piece of video of the day. "The Shot" tonight is really making the rounds on the internet. It's a home video, shows a graffiti artist named Mark Echo on a covert operation, jumping an airport fence and then spray-painting the side of Air Force One. This all seems kind of hard to believe, that's because it is. It turns out the tape of course is a hoax. This was a stunt. No graffiti was tagged onto the president's plane.

Echo today said he rented a cargo jet, secretly painted one side to look like Air Force One. A lot of effort went into that. I guess you got the money to rent a cargo jet and you want to do it. Who knows?

The planet hotter -- why are you laughing? It's true, I guess. The planet hotter, across the planet, effects are already being felt, of course. "Melting Point" is a special edition of "360" that is coming up next.

One more live look at the Empire State Building lit up -- and on her birthday - can we get that, there we go, as we go to break. Special edition of 360 continues about global warming, be right back.


The earth's changing climate.

Temperatures of the last few decades are warmer than the last 2,000 years.

From above the Arctic Circle --

It's a matter of survival for our people.

To the tropical south pacific.

We are right at the front lines of climate change on all the sea level rising.

What global warming means for the planet right now.


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