Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Can President Bush Unite Republican Party?; Former Enron Executives Found Guilty; Bush's Successor
Aired May 25, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sticking to his guns, defending his execution of the war.
And, tonight, his boss, President Bush, facing a political firestorm at home, says mistakes were made.
ANNOUNCER: Under fire on Iraq and more, can the president bring his party together? Can Republicans keep a grip on power?
The top House Republican in the spotlight, he's fighting back. We're getting the full story.
Enron payback -- people lost everything. Now so will Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.
And look out, Arnold
PAT ROBERTSON, HOST, "THE 700 CLUB": (on camera): Five, six....
ANNOUNCER: Pat Robertson, he says can lift 200 pounds, or is it just a ton of bull?
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: Good evening again.
Tonight, President Bush playing defense -- it's a lot tougher than leg presses -- along with Britain's prime minister this evening, sharply defending the war in Iraq, tough, because Mr. Bush is also facing a party that's coming apart, and he's expected to lead it to victory in elections this fall.
So, tonight, all the angles on what he's up against, strong words tonight from Donald Rumsfeld. We will have a reality check from a pair of generals on what is happening on the ground. Also, a party no longer united like this anymore, divided on immigration, corruption and more. We will hear from dissident Republicans who are speaking out.
And, with all that on the table, who's next? A look at the top Republican Party presidential prospects and the road ahead for them.
We begin, however, with the man who has got the job right now and the trouble he's in.
Here's CNN's Suzanne Malveaux.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the press conference, with his war buddy by his side, the president from Texas made a point to say he regrets his cowboy swagger.
QUESTION: Could I ask both of you which missteps and mistakes of your own you most regret?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Saying, "Bring it on"; kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people that -- I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner. You know, "Wanted, dead or alive"; that kind of talk, it -- I think in certain parts of the world, it was misinterpreted.
MALVEAUX: President and his closest ally in the war on terror, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, are under tremendous pressure to show progress in Iraq.
Both face record-low approval ratings and calls for their troops to come home. Both argue that the formation of Iraq's new government would pave the way for eventual withdrawals.
But President Bush dismissed any talk of a specific timetable, saying conditions on the ground would determine when U.S. troops would pull out.
BUSH: people need to know that we'll keep the force level there necessary to win. And it's important for the American people to know that politics isn't going to make the decision as to the size of our force level.
MALVEAUX: Mr. Blair was more optimistic in the new Iraqi prime minister's prediction that Iraqi troops could take over security by the end of 2007.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think it's possible for the Iraqi security forces to take control progressively of their country. That's exactly the strategy we've outlined at the beginning. And I think it's possible to happen in the way that Prime Minister Maliki said.
MALVEAUX: On another topic high on the agenda, negotiations with Iran to convince it to abandon its nuclear ambitions, both leaders put the onus on the Iranian government to accept possible incentives or face possible sanctions.
BUSH: It's their choice right now. They're the folks who walked away from the table. They're the ones who said that, you know, that your demands aren't -- don't mean anything to us.
MALVEAUX: Now, Mr. Blair, of course, faces a great deal of political pressure from home to step down before his term is actually over. He was faced with a number of questions from the British press, asking whether or not he would do, in fact, that.
But Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair shared a light moment during the press conference, when Mr. Bush said, don't count him out yet, then asked about what he would miss the most, and he said Blair's red ties.
COOPER: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, thanks.
Watching the president and Secretary Rumsfeld tonight, CNN military analyst, retired Air Force Major General Don Shepperd. He is in Atlanta. And joining us from Seattle, retired Army Major General Paul Eaton, who helped create the new Iraqi army and has said he thinks Rumsfeld should step down.
Gentlemen, appreciate both of you being with us.
General Eaton,let me start with you.
The president also said that, "We've learned from our mistakes, adjusted our methods and have built on our successes."
Do you believe that has happened over the last three years in Iraq?
MAJOR GENERAL PAUL EATON (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Anderson, great to be here. Thank you.
We have made some improvements. We have made significant steps forward, but we still have not addressed what I believe to be is, second only to our own, the most important security forces on the planet, and we have not dedicated the appropriate resources to the Iraqi armed forces or to the Iraqi security forces under the Ministry of Interior.
COOPER: Still, even with all the attention it's gotten, even with all the -- the emphasis that this administration says that they have placed on that? They say it's priority number one.
EATON: Well, that's what they say. And, this evening, Secretary Rumsfeld said that he read with interest the report that General Barry McCaffrey just submitted. But, in that report, it is reiterated that there is a failure on the part of this country to properly outfit Iraqi security forces.
General Shepperd, Secretary Rumsfeld also said something else on "LARRY KING." I just want to play a quick bite from that.
Let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Every general in -- in the Central Command wanted the number of troops that General Franks requested. The Joint Chiefs of Staff approved that. They are the people. And they're the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Every single one of those people, except one, who said, well, maybe you would need some more, out of all those generals, one may have speculated that you might need more.
And everyone else said that this is the right number. Now, is it the right number? Time will tell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's interesting, General Shepperd. I mean, reading "Cobra II," that doesn't seem to be the take those authors had, based on the interviews they did, of how things worked in the Pentagon and how those numbers were -- were determined.
MAJOR GENERAL DONALD SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: No, I tell you, when all this controversy came up, Anderson, we met with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Pace, and Secretary Rumsfeld, and they were astounded at the controversy kicked up, because they said there were 50 or 60 meetings in which we argued over numbers over strategy.
And, in the end, all of the generals involved in the chain of command at the high levels, in the Pentagon and in CENTCOM, agreed upon the numbers. As you read the various books coming out, people have different views of that.
Now, it could be that these meetings took place and people offered their views, when they weren't accepted. Now they disagree. I wasn't in the meetings. I certainly don't know.
But it's very clear, it's very clear that nobody anticipated the difficulty of the insurgency that we're facing. And it's very clear that that was an error. And it's also very clear that it's difficult for people to admit that right now.
COOPER: Well, there -- there has been criticism. I mean, there's been some who said, look, there were people on the ground who did anticipate, and, in fact, it was Rumsfeld who was pushing to -- to send troops out very early on. General Eaton, you were on the ground in Iraq, training Iraqi forces. You said that, under Rumsfeld, there was group-think and really a reluctance on the part of many to challenge him, sort of creating an atmosphere that was very difficult.
I want to play just something else that Rumsfeld said about whether subordinates ever spoke out and disagreed with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")
RUMSFELD: Some people think this place runs by command. It doesn't. It's by consent. It's persuasion. Now, in the military line, they will do what you say. But in terms of -- of moving this institution, you do that through persuasion and discussion and debate and learning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What was the persuasion like, in your memory?
EATON: Well, Anderson, I am going to give you the -- the best example that I can.
A couple of weeks ago, a few weeks ago, General Myers, the retired former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was on one of the programs, and he talked about General Shinseki, who today is the -- is the soldier that Secretary Rumsfeld alluded to who had a different approach, a different idea.
COOPER: Yes, Rumsfeld said he wanted a couple more troops. It was more than just a couple more troops. It was several hundred thousand.
EATON: General Shinseki asked for several hundred thousand and -- or said several hundred thousand.
But when General Myers was before the -- the camera, he said that General Shinseki wasn't necessarily wedded to that number, that he was pressured into giving that answer by the senator, without having vetted it through the chairman of the Joint Chiefs or the secretary of defense, not understanding that that senator wanted General Shinseki's unvarnished, unadulterated opinion on what that answer was, rather than having the group-think answer that was coming out of the Pentagon at the time.
COOPER: So, how does work?
I mean, in "Cobra II," my reading was, he kind of wears people down, I mean, he -- that he would come to the table with a number in mind of how many troops he wanted, General Eaton, and then, you know, anything short of that, he -- I mean, he would just wear people down. Is -- is that your take?
EATON: My take, having talked to a number of very senior leaders in uniform and in civilian clothes who were either there or participated subsequent, is that that's absolutely the truth, that -- that what's revealed in "Cobra II" is a very clear assessment of what goes on in the Pentagon.
COOPER: General Shepperd, I want to put this question to you, and then also later to -- to General Eaton.
Iraq's prime minister said recently that Iraqi forces could take over security by the end of 2007. And this administration has put so much -- basically put all their eggs in changes in the Iraqi government, the Iraqi government coming online, to have changes on the ground as the Iraqi government.
Have we seen changes on the ground in the Iraqi security forces? Is 2007, General Shepperd, do you think, a realistic goal?
SHEPPERD: Absolutely, I have seen changes in the Iraqi security forces. They're coming up to speed. But it's much slower than we would like to see.
You can turn over the country, or areas of the country, to them any time you want to, but there's a certain amount of risk that goes with it. They are not going to be trained to operate anywhere near to support themselves, as well as to conduct operations, for a long time.
It's very clear to me that politics are going to drive when we come out, politics in both countries. So, we would like to stay longer to make them effective, but we're going to -- it's -- it's my take that we are going to come out sooner probably than we should, and going to be there to support them a long time, Anderson.
COOPER: General -- General Eaton, 2007, is that real?
EATON: Anderson, there are a lot of factors at play here.
In 2003, I was asked the question, when will we have a viable Iraqi armed forces? I told the reporter three to five years with unlimited resources in a vacuum, that is, to be able to incubate this force, without putting the force in contact; 2007 is -- is an optimistic answer for total takeover by Iraqi security forces, perhaps.
I think that the United States of America needs to plan on a longer involvement with the force structure that the generals ask for.
COOPER: Not coming from Washington.
General Eaton, I wish we had more time to talk about your experiences on the ground. And, next time, we -- we would like to, so, appreciate you being with us.
And General Shepperd, it's always good to talk to you. Thank you.
COOPER: A lot to talk about Iraq tonight. Now some numbers. Here's the "Raw Data." Since the war in Iraq began, 2,460 U.S. troops have been killed, accounting for the vast majority of coalition fatalities. At least 18,088 U.S. troops have been wounded. More than 130,000 U.S. troops are currently serving in Iraq.
The war is just one factor that has the Republican Party fighting right now from within. There are many more. And it's all coming at a time when the party needs to be unified and united to stay in power.
CNN senior international correspondent John Roberts takes a look at that.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear...
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first four years of the Bush administration, they marched in virtual lockstep, a model of message and discipline. But the joke on Capitol Hill is that Republicans now look a lot like the Democrats used to.
PAT TOOMEY, PRESIDENT, CLUB FOR GROWTH: I think it's fair to say the Republican Party is more divided and more fractured here in Washington than at any time since I was first elected, back in '98.
ROBERTS: So, what divides them? Iraq, for one. Nearly a third of party faithful now disapprove of the decision to go to war. And if Republican lawmakers aren't in open revolt, they certainly are worried about Iraq's effect on moderate and swing voters.
CHUCK TODD, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "THE HOTLINE": And Iraq seems to be the thing that drags everything else down. And that's the way they're getting judged.
ROBERTS: But an even more urgent concern than Iraq is how Republicans are being judged by conservatives, core supporters critical to maintaining control of Congress.
JOE GLOVER, PRESIDENT, FAMILY POLICY NETWORK: I don't see that the Republican Party has an agenda. If they do, it's certainly not one that Christian conservatives, like our organization, would support.
ROBERTS: Conservatives feel betrayed by a White House and Congress that promised them fiscal restraint, then increased spending 42 percent in five years, grew the size of government, and created a massive new entitlement with Medicare prescription drugs.
GLOVER: This group that's treated like the princes in the castle the day before the election, well, they become the redheaded stepchild the day after. And, quite frankly, we just don't buy it anymore.
ROBERTS: Just how angry are they? There's talk among conservatives that losing power might be just the wakeup call Republican lawmakers deserve.
TOOMEY: I hear people saying that they maybe need a couple years in the political wilderness to -- to get back to their core purpose.
ROBERTS: Professional Republicans have tried to throw some bones to conservatives, with the new tax cut and a committee vote on a same- sex-marriage amendment.
But guess what? Now moderate Republicans are feeling snubbed. And the immigration bill that passed the Senate today appears certain to widen fissures in the party. House conservatives say they will never accept amnesty.
REP. TOM DELAY (R), TEXAS: But if the Senate or the president insist on an amnesty-type path to citizenship, it's a nonstarter, and you won't get a bill.
ROBERTS: Senate moderates, on the other hand, say not passing a final bill will just reinforce the notion they can't get anything done.
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: There is an election in November, and our leadership position as Republicans is on the line.
ROBERTS (on camera): Conservatives are making it clear that, if they don't soon see action on agenda items that matter to them, a lot will stay home in November, a move that could virtually seal the party's fate.
And they say, if all the party is going to do is try to scare them out to the polls with warnings of how bad a Democratic Congress will be, well, that just won't be enough.
John Roberts, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, in two years, the GOP will have to rally around someone, but, right now, it's unclear who that person will be. The list of potential successors runs long. We will take a look who could end up a winner.
Plus, allegations of scandal in Washington now have the speaker of the House pitted against ABC News -- the latest twist coming up.
And lifting for the lord -- televangelist Pat Robertson says he can leg-press a ton, 2,000 pounds, thanks to a natural shake he's promoting. So, is it a divine drink or holy baloney? We will talk with a real-life -- a real-life weightlifter -- when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, something very unusual will happen two years from now. There will be a presidential election without a sitting president or vice president in the race. Now, the last time that happened -- Do you remember? -- 1952. "Singin' in the Rain" was in movie theaters, and the Brooklyn Dodgers were in the World Series.
With President Bush and Vice President Cheney out of the running, there's certainly a lot of speculation as to who is going to take the Republican nomination.
CNN's Candy Crowley examines the list of potential candidates.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the season for dreams and delusions, that time in the presidential cycle when the button bins runneth over.
RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There are senators and governors from all over who wake up every morning and hum "Hail to the Chief" to see if they can make it fit.
CROWLEY: Chief among those trying it on for size is John McCain, the only one who doesn't think he's already running.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think I will make that decision in the year 2007.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: He has untouchable creds as a war hero, significant star power, and a presidential round already under his belt.
Hoping to hurdle conservative suspicion that he's not really true blue, McCain has publicly patched up a nasty 2000 rift with the Reverend Jerry Falwell. But his role in a bipartisan group of 14 lawmakers, formed to avoid Senate fights over judges, may defy forgiveness of the political sort.
BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: He's established himself as an individual that -- that has worked against social conservatives too many times. The judges is a perfect example. He broke our hearts with that, you know, gang of 14 of his. And -- and -- and we won't forget that.
CROWLEY: Also wrestling with the party faithful, ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a rock star on the campaign circuit. But it may only work when the campaign is for someone else.
JACKIE CALMES, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": When it comes to getting the nomination, it's hard to imagine they will give it to a man who is pro-gay rights.
CROWLEY: Giuliani stresses fiscal conservatism. But even his supporters think it would take a tsunami-size washout this fall for Republicans to rethink the anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage template for presidential nominees.
SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
CROWLEY: Of those who do fit the mold, a covey of lawmakers is interested in breaking the Senate curse, Majority Leader Bill Frist, Senator Chuck Hagel, Senator Sam, Brownback, and, oft mentioned in conservative circles, Virginia Senator George Allen.
GALEN: He's been a governor, so he has got some skills, in terms of managing, which is why senators typically fail. They love to play with semicolons. And they get stuck in the -- in the weeds of the campaign.
CROWLEY: Beyond the beltway boys, there's, first and foremost, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who must deal with concerns, particularly among evangelicals, about his Mormon religion. He's otherwise blessed with an impressive resume, good looks, and great geography.
BUCHANAN: I consider him a sleeper. I think he's polished. And -- and he has -- he will have the money. He will be perceived as somebody who can win outside of Washington, somebody who has governed. And he's right there next to New Hampshire.
CROWLEY: Also in play -- or at least in print -- New York Governor George Pataki and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, not a household name, but neither was Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, until he started showing up in Iowa.
This is the season when you never know who could pop up next.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: We will get some insight in a moment on all the political matters from former White House adviser David Gergen.
First, Erica Hill from Headline News has some of the other stories we're following -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, President Bush has ordered the Justice Department to seal all documents the FBI seized from a congressman's office during the weekend. The material was taken as part of a bribery investigation into Representative William Jefferson of Louisiana.
Several top lawmakers say agents overstepped their bounds. The president's order puts the seized documents in the custody of the Justice Department's Solicitor General's Office for 45 days.
Amtrak trains are back running in the Northeast, after a major power outage this morning stranded commuters for more than two hours. There were widespread disruptions from Washington to Boston. And commuter lines were also affected in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Five trains were stuck in tunnels, forcing passengers to sweat it out in the darkness. In Washington, the federal government has upped the ante in its effort to find missing personal data on more than 26 million U.S. veterans. It's now offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of a laptop computer and hard drive that contained millions of veterans' Social Security numbers and disability information. The items were stolen in a house burglary earlier this month.
And near Fort Myers, Florida, check out this beauty. A fishing captain has reeled in what just may be the largest hammerhead shark ever caught, 14-and-a-half feet long, 1,280 pounds.
COOPER: Yikes. Uh.
HILL: I would not want to come face to face with that jaw.
HILL: It would actually beat the record, if this is the largest one caught, by nearly 300 pounds. The captain and his team fought the monster for five hours, before getting it onto the boat.
HILL: That's insane.
COOPER: That's incredible. I don't like to brag, but, you know, I mean, I have -- I have caught bigger.
HILL: Really? Do you have a picture?
COOPER: Well, yes, in my office. But I will maybe get some time.
HILL: Yes, we will have it tomorrow after you finish Photoshopping right?
HILL: I look forward to it.
COOPER: A lot going on in Washington tonight, from Iraq to immigration, a lot of questions. We will talk with former White House adviser David Gergen next.
Plus, corruption allegations rocking several top Republicans, enough to make your head spin. Really? We will break them down.
Plus, he preaches and he pumps irons. Televangelist Pat Robertson says he can leg-press two tons -- actually, just one ton, 2,000 pounds, yes, one ton. You may -- you may need more than a little faith to believe it. We are going to talk with a real-life bodybuilder to get the facts -- ahead on 360.
COOPER: The president talks candidly on Iraq, with his party split and facing scandals, two major elections in the pipeline -- tough political questions tonight. We will get some answers -- next on 360.
COOPER: Well, it is wild times in Washington politics these days, with President Bush still talking tough on Iraq and Republicans split on that and other issues.
Joining me now to discuss it all, from Boston, former White House adviser David Gergen.
David, good to have you on the program.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: You know, tonight, the president admitted mistakes were made in the Iraq war, like when he taunted terrorists by saying "Bring it on," and some of the language he used. And he talked about the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Did -- did his candidness surprise you? Because he hasn't really done that in the past.
GERGEN: It did surprise me, and the contrition, I think, was welcome.
But, you know, it's well past time when -- when a change in language, I think, is going to make much difference in his personal fortunes. If anything, I think a lot people watching tonight, the experts thought, as they watched President Bush and -- and Prime Minister Blair, there was the sense of an end of an era, both -- both people now fading.
Prime Minister Blair will not be in office much longer. President Bush will be in office a long time, but he's been badly wounded.
COOPER: And it was interesting to see them side by side and hear sort of the different way they spoke, the different language that they used. Does it do President Bush well to be seen with a Tony Blair?
GERGEN: I think it does.
It was interesting. They timed it in a way that it played a half-an-hour past midnight in Britain. So, it wasn't exactly prime- time fare in Britain.
But I think it helps to have the president seen in this country with Tony Blair, who remains popular in this country, just as, you know, Margaret Thatcher was popular in the U.S. long beyond the time she was popular in Britain.
But, still, I think the other thing that was interesting about -- that may be going on, Anderson, is, there may be some signaling going on now about how much longer U.S. troops will really stay in large numbers in Iraq, with the new prime minister of Iraq saying, it may take another 18 months before the Iraqi forces can take hold, and then Tony Blair basically embracing that, the president sort of ducking the issue, saying, I will leave it to the generals.
The question arises tonight, are they beginning to signal, you know, we are not going to see U.S. forces come out at the end of this year, as has been widely imagined that a lot of them would come out, but, in fact, if there are any, it is going to be only a token and we are going to have to remain there another 18 months?
That is a lot longer, but you wonder if they're not trying to -- to shift the rhetoric. There are -- they are soft -- they are soft signals, but I -- I would pay attention to them.
Shift the rhetoric to -- to -- to one of pulling out?
GERGEN: No, shift the rhetoric to a little longer being there...
GERGEN: ... to -- to -- to taking the pressure off the end-of- the-year deadline, so that they -- you know, you -- you introduce that notion now, don't wait until midsummer or late -- or fall, just before the midterm elections, to begin introducing the idea. We want to put a lot of -- invest a lot of faith in this new government. We want to work with them. We will stay as long as they want.
So, I think they're shifting the rhetoric softly toward the possibility of staying longer than the end of this year.
GERGEN: That's what I'm saying.
COOPER: Interesting. That's definitely something to watch for.
COOPER: I mean, Iraq obviously on a lot of people's tongues today with Bush and Blair, also immigration, I mean, the Senate coming to their bill. And now -- you know, basically, they now have to come up with some sort of a compromise between the House version.
Where does the -- the president fall in all this? I mean, it -- the -- I -- I do not envy him the road ahead.
GERGEN: Well, you know, that's the interesting thing, Anderson.
Having put his -- he -- he put his stature on the line, his leadership on the line, when he went onto a national television address, saying, this is the bill I want.
Once you go nationwide television at night, you're really putting a lot more on the line. And, so, from his point of view, the stakes are high now to get a compromise out of the conference committee, with the house and the senate. And yet what we've seen since the speech if anything is a hardening among conservatives on his right in house so that it looks less likely he can get a compromise out of the house.
And this latest spat with Denny Hastert and the Justice Department over whether there's a potential investigation, as Justice Department leaked -- the sources may be leaking and Hastert being very angry about that, and who could blame him? That's not exactly the kind of relationship that builds trust and points toward bringing the house along toward a compromise.
COOPER: And just at the time when they need some sort of compromise --
COOPER: -- and need that relationship.
GERGEN: And the president needs to show some leadership. You know we've talked in the past, but why would he go on television about immigration? Because it was the issue in which he might be able to deliver. And now if the house republicans can deny him that, if they can't get this compromise to work in a conference, you know the story once the conference starts, is the president's weakness, not his strength.
COOPER: Interesting. Good point. David, thanks, David Gergen.
GERGEN: Okay thank you.
COOPER: Good night from Boston. Fighting back, we'll talk more about the speaker of the house going on the attack, Dennis Hastert. David just mentioned, responding to a report that places him under a cloud of suspicion in a growing corruption investigation, he's denying it. We'll find out more.
And corruption is just the beginning of a series of scandals that have hit the GOP, a look at who's been named and who may be next when 360 continues.
COOPER: The democratic congressman accused of taking $100,000 in bribes, is refusing to resign, and rising to the defense of William Jefferson, republicans, including the speaker of the house Dennis Hastert, who says he's paying a price for it. CNN's Dana Bash reports.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The constitutional showdown between republicans in congress and the republican administration was escalating by the minute, and President Bush blinked. Ordering all materials seized in a weekend FBI raid on democrat William Jefferson's congressional office sealed for the next 45 days, and barring access to anyone involved in the investigation. GOP lawmakers led by House Speaker Dennis Hastert have been furious over what they called an unprecedented violation of separation of powers, demanding the Justice Department immediately return everything the FBI took. The president's order falls short but the speaker welcomes the time out.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT, (R) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: That gives us some time to step back and try to negotiate with the Department of Justice.
BASH: Mr. Bush's Justice Department had defended the raid as lawful and necessary, but he intervened to calm warring GOP tempers and because it was becoming personal. Earlier in the day, Hastert suggested the Justice Department was retaliating against him by leaking what he called false information to "ABC News," that he was under investigation as part of the wide-ranging Jack Abramoff corruption probe. He talked to a Chicago radio station.
HASTERT: This is one of the leaks that come out to try to intimidate people and we're just not going to be intimidated on it.
BASH: And later said this --
HASTERT: Now I don't know if this leak out of the Justice Department or wherever it came, was a coincidence or not, but I'll let anybody else try to connect the dots.
BASH: The Justice Department took the rare step of formally stating the report was wrong. The speaker is not under investigation, and the White House said if there was any leak designed to smear or scare the speaker, it was not approved by anyone in authority.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They're not leaking information to try to undermine the house speaker. Just false, false, false. I mean I got proof, categorical denials.
BASH: "ABC News" stood by its story and the day's drama was compounded when Hastert's attorney wrote the network, accusing it of libel and defamation, threatening to sue. Meanwhile, Hastert's allies raced to the house floor to voice their outrage.
REP. LEE TERRY, (R) NEBRASKA: I guess we shouldn't be surprised that there is retaliation from those that have been criticized, but let's realize what that it is, retaliation.
REP. PHIL ENGLISH, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: But "ABC News" madam speaker, has in a stroke reduced the credibility of our national media. Mr. Hastert's reputation, however, remains impeccable. BASH: Meanwhile, the congressman at the heart of it all, William Jefferson, was almost an afterthought. The democrats said the president sealing his seized records was a good first step, but he hopes the republican house speaker won't give up the fight to get everything back. Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Of course the speaker of the house just the latest high- profile republican to be accused of some sort of a scandal. During the Clinton administration, the democrats had their fair share. Then right now a democrat has one as well, this time it seems the GOP is taking most of the hits. CNN's Joe Johns has more.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A head-spinning number of investigations into top republican politicians and operatives, on all manner of issues.
RANDALL ELIASON, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PROSECUTOR: There is a definite flurry of high-level corruption cases that I don't think we've ever seen before.
JOHNS: Keeping them honest and keeping you up to speed, will break them down. Category one, the guilty. At the top of the list, not where you want to be, politicos who fought the law and the law won. Ex-San Diego republican congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a war hero turned top gun on the take, currently cooling his heels in jail after receiving $2.4 million in bribes. He's up top with former super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, wheeler dealer felon, now convicted of conspiracy, fraud, tax evasion. Abramoff has already pleaded guilty and he's cooperating with prosecutors in a Washington, D.C. probe that's got a lot of people, shall we say, sweating it out. Former federal prosecutor Eliason spent 10 years rooting out corruption.
ELIASON: There already have been a number of guilty pleas and a number of more potential ones to come.
JOHNS: So that's the top of the list. Those lower down are in less trouble. In fact the rest on the list have either denied wrongdoing or pleaded not guilty. So on to category two, the indicted. Scooter Libby, former top assistant to the vice president now charged in federal court with lying to a grand jury in connection with revealing the name of covert CIA employee Valerie Plame. And in Texas on a state charge of money laundering, former house majority leader Tom DeLay is waiting for his day in court, though he leaves office next month.
They could go to jail, or they could get off, but the process is well under way. Category three on our legal list looks like trouble, that's republican congressman Bob Nay of Ohio. Referred to in court filings as having traded favors for gifts in the Abramoff investigation. But Nay insists he was duped by Abramoff. Category four, information please, powerful Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has also come under scrutiny for stock deals, but the case has been quiet of late. Frist denies wrongdoing.
And last but not least, Presidential Adviser Karl Rove, who also denies wrongdoing, but has taken repeated trips to testify before a grand jury about the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Same deal that got Scooter Libby into trouble. That's the list, one that no one wants to be on top of. And one that no one in the republican party wants to see grow longer. Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Well the men behind the Enron scandal heard from a jury of their peers today. Bottom line, Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling may spend the rest of their lives in prison. The latest on the verdict coming up.
Plus the Reverend Pat Robertson make a cameo as a fitness stud, that's our shot of the day. That's him. He says he can leg-press 2,000 pounds. 2,000 pounds. We're going to put his claims to test as 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, the Enron verdicts are in for Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. We'll have the latest on the jury's decision in just a moment. But first, the shot, our favorite picture of the day. Tonight's shot comes by way of Andrewsullivan.com, which posted a link to this ad. It's for an allegedly age-defying natural shake created and endorsed by none other than televangelist Pat Robertson. See it's got his picture there. Do you see what it says in the ad? It says that 76-year-old Pat Robertson can leg-press 2,000 pounds. Through rigorous training, he leg pressed 2,000 pounds. How did he do it the ad asks? And it talks about his health elixir. 2,000 pounds and I'm a wimp, I admit it, but 2,000 pounds is a lot. That's the weight of a VW bug. 2,000 pounds -- a full-grown polar bear weighs 1600 pounds. 2,000 pounds is like 20 Nicole Richies. Pat Robertson can leg-press 20 Nicole Richies. He's even made a promotional video for his drink, in which he says he's leg-pressing 1,000 pounds. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
I'll just do a few of these, okay, then you can try. You're ready? Remember, Christy -- I hope I can get it up there. Man, that's tough.
That's it, that's it, okay. Stop.
Eight, nine, ten.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Okay, there was a cut in there. But any way, just by way of comparison, this is Dan Kendra, a quarterback at FSU. He leg pressed 1,335 pounds, and according to sports columnist Clay Travis, when Kendra leg-pressed that amount, the capillaries in his eyes burst. Yeah. So we were so surprised by Robertson's claim and his age defying elixir that we decided to check in with an expert, so we called upon Jerry Anderson, a former Mr. Natural Universe and current trainer at Bally's Fitness in Los Angeles. We spoke earlier.
COOPER: So Jerry, what do you think of Pat Robertson's claim that he can leg-press 2,000 pounds?
JERRY ANDERSON, FORMER MR. NATURAL UNIVERSE: Wow man, that's almost crazy. 2,000 pounds? That's a lot of weight. Right now, Anderson, on the bar, I have 1,000 pounds on here right now, and you would have to extend that all the way out to here to put 2,000. Wow, 1,000 pounds is a lot. I'm going to try to do it, I'm Mr. Natural Universe, I'll try to move it for you guys a couple times, and make sure that you replay this.
COOPER: All right. Well let me just ask you though, I mean is a machine even built that you could put 2,000 pounds on there, or do you have to build a machine special just to do it?
ANDERSON: You would have to like have a special-made machine to just get the ends of it out there so you could put 2,000 pounds. 2,000 pounds is a lot of weight. I mean if you're going to move it from a full range of motion, it's not easy, but if you're going to do like the little rabbit reps, inch by inch, you could probably pull that off. But full range of motion is where the power is.
COOPER: Alright so you have a thousand pounds on the leg press right now, let's see how you do it properly.
ANDERSON: Whew, this is a no-glasses job right here, Anderson. I got to take the glasses off. 1,000 pounds, whew, whoa, I have my Bally's Total Fitness spotter right here with me to make sure everything's okay, because when you're using power you should always have a spotter. Okay I should be able to do at least three. Showtime, baby! Argh! One, two, three, four, five, six seven, eight, nine, ten oh! Whoa! My goodness gracious.
COOPER: So Anderson, that was tough, it looks hard.
ANDERSON: Whew, that was hard man, but you know what? It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it, you know?
COOPER: So the bottom line is, I mean watching you do that, there is no way that Pat Robertson at 76 years old leg-pressed 2,000 pounds?
ANDERSON: I mean, if he could leg-press 2,000 pounds, that's totally amazing, full range of motion with all the power, he may be able to do it short range, but full range, very, very difficult. But if he's able to do it, he's a great guy.
COOPER: Because I'm looking at this video now we're showing of him doing it, and he's actually pushing his thighs. Is that allowed? ANDERSON: Wow. What I call that is, that's not a leg press, that's a chest press. You're using your hands and chest. So you're supposed to just use your quadriceps, full range of motion, that's the way to do it.
COOPER: His spokesman stands by the claim and says, quote, "When 2,000 pounds was put on the machine, two men got on either side and helped pushed the load up, and then let it down on Mr. Robertson, who pushed it up one rep and let it go back down again. We have multiple witnesses to the 2,000 pound leg press, plus video of the 10 reps of the 1,000 pounds.
I guess, maybe they built a special machine. They didn't seem to indicate a special machine, but maybe we'll try to get some video of him actually doing the 2,000 pounds. Jerry, I'm impressed you could do 1,000. Maybe you could get some pointers from Pat Robertson.
ANDERSON: Yeah, then if I get some pointers from him, then I could do one leg with 1,000 pounds, then I'd go up to 2,000, I'm done deal, it's in there. You got it going on. Yes!
COOPER: Jerry Anderson, former Mr. Natural Universe, thanks very much.
ANDERSON: Thank you. Have a great day.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: I love how he can flex while talking. For the record Madeline Albright says she can leg press 400 pounds and as for me, I have no muscles. Weight training may be one of the activities that Enron's Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling take out when they go to prison. The jury didn't buy their story. Today Lay's family leaves sobbing. We're going to take you to the court for the dramatic conclusion of that trial when "360" continues.
COOPER: The top business story tonight, judgment day in the Enron trial. Founder Ken Lay and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling once had everything, now they face up to 30 years in prison. Skilling was found guilty on 19 counts of conspiracy, fraud, false statements and insider trading. Lay was found guilty on all six counts of conspiracy and fraud. At least 4,000 Enron employees lost their jobs, saw their pensions vanish as Enron collapsed in a $60 billion meltdown. CNN's Ali Velshi has more on today's verdict.
CHARLIE PRESSWOOD: You get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, you get your hand cut off.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Charlie Presswood couldn't contain his joy when he heard the verdict of the Enron trial on his little TV with one working channel.
PRESSWOOD: I feel a whole lot better, I feel like justice is served.
VELSHI: Presswood worked more than three decades at a power plant that was bought by Enron, welding and building gas tanks. Hard work, and he loved it.
PRESSWOOD: When I look back over my life, I see one great big 33 1/2-year void. I worked so hard.
VELSHI: Like so many Enron millionaires, Presswood retired early six years ago to enjoy his golden years. And like others, he thought he had enough money.
VELSHI: Charlie Presswood's retirement fund was loaded with Enron stock, stock that started to nose dive, but his faith in the company and the relentless cheerleading of Enron executives stopped him from dumping his shares while he had the chance.
PRESSWOOD: I was still listening to the executives. They said hang on, Ken Lay was saying hang on, we're just having a bad slump, but it will come back, it will do this and do that, and so therefore we didn't sell our stock.
VELSHI: A decision Presswood regrets every day.
PRESSWOOD: Right after Enron started down and went down, right after they started that, well, everybody said, oh, you should have diversified, you ought to have done this and done that.
VELSHI: Now that $1.3 million worth of Enron stock is gone. In fact, Enron's collapse lost more than $2 billion in retirement funds. Now Presswood and his girlfriend of 20 years Helen, are living on social security and a $100 a month Enron pension.
PRESSWOOD: I'm living 180 degrees of what I had planned on living. I had planned that Helen and I would do some sightseeing, but right now, I'll guarantee you I'd have to make a loan to go to the county line.
VELSHI: Suffering heart problems, Presswood can barely afford his monthly medicine, dinner, and feed for his two beloved horses. Home repairs left undone. Presswood blames Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling for everything.
PRESSWOOD: Now they're going to know how we feel, to be confined. We've been confined because of, you know what I mean, no money.
VELSHI: Charlie Presswood says he spent more than half his life serving a company that eventually gave him nothing in return. Nothing except the satisfaction of a guilty verdict. Ali Velshi, CNN, Houston.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, it was better news for investors on Wall Street today. The Dow closed up over 90 points, the NASDAQ gained 29, and the S&P rose 14 points. The gains came after a Commerce Department report showed first-quarter economic growth wasn't quite as strong as expected, and that helped ease jitters about inflation.
Straight ahead, the senate finally passes immigration reform news in Washington. But on the border as you'll see, it will take more than just legislation to make a difference.
Also the president on Iraq on mistakes made and the plan going forward, next on "360."
COOPER: Good evening again. Tonight congress takes action on illegal immigration but you think it's really going to solve the problem, critics say you need to get out a little more and go where we did.
ANNOUNCER: Revolving door at the border, thousands of illegals are arrested but few are ever prosecuted. So why is that? We investigate. Smugglers roots, safe on the Mexican side they spy on the U.S. border patrol. Then run into the U.S. when it's clear.
And they thought they were getting Botox, what they got almost killed them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED: This was a Steven King novel that we lived and it's a miracle that we're together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Deadly knock offs on the market so who's protecting you?
Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. *
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com