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Race for White House; Will Gore Run?; How Green are They?; Biblical Mysteries

Aired February 28, 2007 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: ... Jesus, but some are calling a publicity stunt of biblical proportions. We are talking about the new documentary, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus."
To say it's causing a stir would be a massive understatement. Just ahead we will look at the film and the facts. We will hear from the people who made the movie and a scientist who says it just doesn't add up.

We begin tonight, however, with some other facts and figures. New presidential poll numbers. How the current crop of candidates is doing, including the Republican contender who has been campaigning for weeks, but made it official just tonight.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The last time we were on this program, I am sure you remember everything very clearly...


MCCAIN: ... that we say, but you asked me if I would come back on this show...


MCCAIN: ... if I was going to announce.


MCCAIN: I am announcing that I will be a candidate for president of the United States.



COOPER: That was Senator McCain, Republican, of Arizona tonight on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

So the famous words of Ed Koch, Democrat from New York, how's he doing?

New polling tonight. CNN's Bill Schneider crunches the number.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): The 2008 races are taking on a familiar shape. Each party has a candidate inside the party establishment and one outside the party establishment who is hot right now.

Hillary Clinton is the establishment Democrat. In last month's Washington Post/ABC News poll, Clinton had a big lead over establishment outsider Barack Obama. Clinton is still ahead. But Obama is gaining ground, especially with African Americans.

Last month Clinton led Obama among black Democrats by three to one. Now, Obama is ahead.

It's not that black Democrats are souring on Clinton. Her popularity with blacks remains undiminished. But Obama is creating excitement.

DAN BALZ, "WASHINGTON POST": It's the fact that you have an African-American candidate who has a serious chance of incoming the nominee of the Democratic party. And that, inevitably, is going to excite African-Americans around the country.

SCHNEIDER: In the 2000 Republican race, John McCain was the outsider. Now he's the establishment candidate.

BALZ: McCain obviously spent a good part of the last year trying to establish himself as the, you know, as the heir apparent in the Republican party. And he had some success with that.

SCHNEIDER: Last month, McCain and establishment outsider Rudy Giuliani were pretty close. Now Giuliani is way ahead. Why? Here is the surprise -- evangelicals. Last month Giuliani and McCain were tied among evangelical Republicans. This month Giuliani has surged into the lead.

Doesn't Giuliani favor abortion rights and same-sex unions and gun control? Yes and no.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: I am pro-choice. Yes. But I am also, as you know, always have been, against abortion.

SCHNEIDER: Giuliani makes a distinction between his personal views and what he would do as president.

GIULIANI: I would select judges who try to interpret the constitution rather than invent it.

SCHNEIDER: And he has something else going for him. That would be 9/11.

(on camera): Republicans say Giuliani is the most inspiring candidate. Democrats say the same thing about Obama. They are the establishment outsiders.

Republicans give McCain the edge on experience, just as Democrats do with Clinton. They are the establishment candidates.

Now which is it better to be? Establishment candidates usually win the nomination, but only after a tough fight.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, there is, of course, a huge wild card. Once upon a time, his name was a four-letter word to many Democrats who thought he didn't run a winning campaign. Now, a little more than six years later, Al Gore is a little older, a little thicker around the beltline perhaps, but the kind of glow he has right now, you can only get from a golden statue named Oscar.

More on Gore from CNN's Candy Crowley.



CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hey, Al Gore, your film won the Oscar. What are you going to do now?

GORE: I'm going to take this opportunity right here and now to formally announce my intention...

CROWLEY: Just funning, so he says.

GORE: In all seriousness, I have -- I've said before, I don't really have plans to run for office again.

CROWLEY: That feels an awful lot like wiggle room, which is why nobody believes him.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: When Joe Lewis was retired, he came back to came back to fight one more fight. He was heavyweight champion of the world. And asked him why, he said fighters fight. Politicians run for office.

CROWLEY: From pundits and former presidents, to columnists and the streets of New York and Chicago, they are talking about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he should. He should. He's going to fight, he's been there before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'd love to see him run. Yes.

CROWLEY: Reasons why he might win. Core Democrats love him because he was anti-war and they are mad at Hillary Clinton because she wasn't. He was a Congressman for eight years, a Senator for eight years, a vice president for eight years. And Barack Obama has been a Senator for two.

And Gore was green in the environmental sense before green was cool. And Oh, yeah...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he got screwed out of the last election, to be honest with you.

CROWLEY: It's easy to find Democrats who think he deserves another round.

Reasons why he might not do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are so many people running, he'd just throw himself in the mix and muddle it up more. So, sorry, Al.

CROWLEY: A lot of marquis players are already in the show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a Barack person. So I don't think so this time.

CROWLEY: And despite the new, funnier, more relaxed Al Gore, he still might look like yesterday's news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think his time's kind of up.

CROWLEY: And put it this way. Red carpet nights, hugs from Cameron Diaz, making lots of money versus New Hampshire days. Hugs from Democratic state party chairman and raising lots of money.

People who talk to him on a regular basis don't think he'll run. Not that that stops the chatter.

BEGALA: But get this, how hilarious would this be? How amazing would this be if we go, say to October -- that's eight more months of every single day the coverage of Hillary said this, Barack said that, Edwards said this, Dodd said that. Al Gore could come in in October and be the fresh face. After 40 years in politics, he could be the new guy and a fresh face.

CROWLEY: Hilarious.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.



COOPER: Joining us now are Democratic Strategist and Former White House Adviser Paul Begala and Republican Strategist Ed Rollins.

Guys, I've got to start off by asking you about John McCain announcing today on "The David Letterman Show" that he is in fact running for president. Not a big surprise, but I think the timing of it surprised some people.

Ed, wasn't he supposed to be announcing sort of in the spring?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He was. But I think the reality is John has slid dramatically in polls. He is now substantially behind Rudy Giuliani. And I think they just felt they have to accelerate everything.

I think that Mrs. Clinton wanted to wait for a longer period of time before she started.

COOPER: Paul, why you do think McCain is falling behind?

BEGALA: It's the war. It's all about the war. I mean, people can wonder as well at 72, is he too old, or his bout with cancer a few years ago. I don't think it's any of that. It's all about the war. He has been the chief cheerleader for what most Americans -- two- thirds of us now -- think has been a disastrous war in Iraq.

And, you know, just darn the luck. He was the guy who tried harder than anybody to keep George Bush from becoming president back in 2000. But he decided a year or two ago to really yolk himself to President Bush. And now, you know, George W. Bush is about as popular as Mel Gibson or Benet Brith(ph). I mean, people just don't like President Bush. And now there's John McCain being sort of the Bush heir apparent.

COOPER: Does it surprise you that Giuliani is moving up in the polls because he is gaining ground also among evangelicals?

ROLLINS: I think Republicans at this point in time want a leader and want someone who basically is viewed as a significant leader.

I've watched Rudy across the country. I don't live in Washington anymore, I live in New York. And I've known him ever since the Reagan days. But I've seen him. He's a hero across this country.

Unfortunately, Washingtonians see McCain as their candidate and didn't see the power that Rudy has. And they kept saying, well, once people find out about his positions on gays and guns, and what have you, he'll diminish.

And I think what they underestimated is his power of personality. And this power of -- this is a tough, strong guy who ran a city very effectively, and in a time of crisis, rose to the occasion.

COOPER: Let's talk about Democrats.

Paul, just last month there were, you know, those headlines about Barack Obama, whether or not he appealed to African-Americans enough. He is now outpolling Hillary Clinton by 11 percentage points with African-Americans. Why that turnaround?

BEGALA: Because he got out there and he started campaigning. I always thought that coverage early on, wondering is he black enough, was really dopey. I mean, Americans are smarter than that.

And you know, look, Obama has had a terrific couple of weeks. I never saw a better announcement, to begin with. He had 15,000 people standing out in subfreezing weather. And he gave a great speech then. He's got the number one book on "The New York Times" bestseller hardback list and the number four bestselling book on the paperback list. I mean, this is his honeymoon period. The interesting thing, though, is that Hillary is going to fight him, as will John Edwards, for every single vote, including the African-American community. This won't be like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who had these impenetrable leads among African-Americans and so the white guys didn't try to compete for those votes.

COOPER: Ed, 48 percent of Americans have this unfavorable impression of Hillary Clinton. Obviously an extraordinarily high number. How is she doing? Can she overcome that level of negativity?

ROLLINS: I think the bottom line, it's a game of electoral votes. And I think if Hillary becomes the nominee, she's a very credible candidate. You know, she is always going to be a polarizing candidate, but I think at the end of the day, that doesn't mean she can win the presidency.

COOPER: Paul, Edwards saying that earlier that it boils down, of course, to electoral votes. No one knows that better than Al Gore. He's polling third. He isn't even running at this point. Is that just sort of, you know, post Oscar buzz or do you think he is a viable candidate? Do you think he's actually going to run?

BEGALA: I think he is a viable candidate. I have no idea if he'll actually get in. I think he's very viable. It's because if, if the first week of the jostling between Hillary and Barack keeps up, and they start cutting each other up, well then Johnny Edwards will get in and they'll start cutting him up. He could wait until even say, October or November. I mean, this thing will be decided very quickly. But if he can pass on this early process where they are cutting each other up -- and he can -- get this, Al Gore could be the fresh face.

COOPER: Ed, do you buy that? I mean, there are a lot of people who've said that about Al Gore in the past, and then when he actually runs, it doesn't seem so fresh.

ROLLINS: Well, he can't -- he can't run the kind of campaign he ran in 2000, even though he won a majority of the votes.

But I think what people saw in this movie, and the Al Gore far more relaxed that he's been over the last several years, I think is a very credible candidate. And I think any time that he gets into this race, he gives everybody a run for their money. And I do think the same is true. I think a Democrat can win.

I don't want a Democrat to win and I'm going to do everything I can to stop that. But I think that the electoral strategy is out there for a Democrat to be very credible. And it could be either Clinton or Gore.

COOPER: Hmm. Ed, Paul, guys, thanks.

BEGALA: Thanks, Anderson.

ROLLINS: Thanks.


COOPER: Well, if Al Gore does decide to run for president, he'll have plenty of company. Here's the raw data.

Eight Democrats have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, indicating they intend to seek their party's nomination.

Twelve Republicans, including three lesser-known candidates, have done the same.

In case you're wondering, there are 615 days left until the election. A long, long time.

Well, if Senator Gore runs, you can bet global warming will be on his platform. For him, it is a crusade. And in Hollywood it's also cause celeb.

Tonight, however, we're keeping them honest.


COOPER (voice-over): Stars seeing green. Celebrities thanking themselves for being eco-friendly. But is Hollywood hiding a dirty little secret?

Also tonight, the tomb of Jesus. A new film says they've found it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These names are there. There is no argument about the names.

COOPER: We'll see if the discovery is fact or fiction.




GORE: My fellow Americans -- people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis.


COOPER: That was Al Gore's acceptance speech. The Oscar is gold, but the theme was green at Sunday's academy awards. And the celebs played it up big time. Stars say they are making the world a cleaner, better place.

But when it comes to pollution, a new study says that Hollywood may be among the biggest offenders.

Tonight, CNN's David Mattingly is keeping them honest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the glow of the Hollywood spotlight still warm, one inconvenient truth behind Al Gore's celebrated documentary could be a greenhouse gas problem that hits strangely close to home.

MARY NICHOLS, UCLA INSTITUTE OF THE ENVIRONMENT: I think a lot of people were shocked when they realized that because in Los Angeles, of course, we are very dependent on and very attuned to the motion picture industry. But at the same time, we don't think of them as a heavy polluter.

MATTINGLY: It seems unlikely for an industry without smoke stacks. But the people who make your favorite films and TV shows are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gasses in the Los Angeles area.

Last year the UCLA Institute of the Environment determined the industry leaves a Godzilla-sized footprint in the atmosphere. Tons of greenhouse gasses comparable to L.A.'s aerospace industries.

(on camera): This is the same industry that always seems to be at the forefront of environmental causes. Studios crank out big budget films with earth-friendly themes all the time. It's no secret in Hollywood that green sells. The question is, is Hollywood buying it?

MARSHALL HERSKOVITZ, PRESIDENT, PRODUCERS GUILD OF AMERICA: The reality is that a big movie production uses lots of lots of trucks and vans and trailers and generators and lights, and that's how we make the movies that the entire world loves. We are not going to just throw that out.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Marshall Herskovitz is president of the Producers Guild of America. He says some solutions they're looking at include more energy-efficient studios and using bio-diesel to power generators. That emits less CO2.

The producers of "The Day After Tomorrow," a disaster flick about the perils of a greenhouse future, went so far as to plant trees and spend hundreds of thousands to mitigate their carbon output. But few have followed that example.

GARY PETERSEN, ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT: It's a hit and miss. They're just learning how to do some of this stuff.

MATTINGLY (on camera): Gary Petersen used to work with studios to create recycling programs and reduce the industry's massive demand for raw materials. In the 21st century, the new cleanup targets carbon emissions.

PETERSEN: Three years ago, they would have said, go away. A lot of them would have said, go away. I've got to get this thing out on time. But now they understand. They're understanding more. The education is coming across.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Education from a variety of sources. Sometimes from the stars themselves.

Daryl Hannah is a board member of the Environmental Media Association.

(on camera): You go to the producers and say, here is a way you could make this production greener?


MATTINGLY: What do they say to you when you do that?

HANNAH: Well, you know, in many cases it's stuff that will actually save them money.


COOPER: David is live now in Los Angeles.

David, how much carbon emissions are we talking about from Hollywood?

MATTINGLY: We are talking about millions and millions of metric tons of greenhouse gasses. And it's really hard to grasp that big of a figure. So it's best to think of your automobile. The emissions from Hollywood are equal roughly to that of two million automobiles.

COOPER: And how cost-effective are some of these solutions?

MATTINGLY: Well, it's cost-effective enough for some production companies to invest a lot of money in having more energy-efficient studios. These are investments that don't pay off overnight, but they will in the long run.

COOPER: All right. David Mattingly, thanks.

Just ahead tonight, move over Bonnie and Clyde. Meet Bonnie and Bonnie. Caught on tape, two young women maybe you would expect to see at the mall, not exactly robbing a bank.

Plus, an ancient crypt. The stone boxes found inside and growing outrage over a movie that many Christians are calling heresy, when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, the unveiling of those two limestone boxes at a news conference two days ago ignited a firestorm that's growing fiercer.

A new documentary called, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," contends that those two stone coffins and eight others found in Jerusalem may hold the remains of Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene and possibly their son. A claim that for Christians, of course, amounts to a form of heresy.

The controversy is heating up with archbishops and archaeologists weighting in, calling both the documentary and the promotion of it a publicity stunt of biblical proportions.

Tonight, we're checking the facts.


COOPER (voice-over): The new documentary makes an explosive claim, supported filmmakers say by scientific evidence. Perhaps the body of Christ just decomposed, disintegrated into dust and bones and was buried in this tomb in this stone box.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To a layman's eye it seemed pretty darn compelling.

COOPER: But to William Dever, one of the world's preeminent archaeologist, it seems like something else.

WILLIAM DEVER, ARCHAEOLOGIST: It looks more like a publicity stunt than any kind of real discovery.

COOPER: The "Discovery Channel" documentary, produced by James Cameron of "Titanic" fame airs this weekend.

CHARLES PELLEGRINO, AUTHOR, THE JESUS FAMILY TOMB: The whole constellation of evidence is pointing that this is the holy family that we are looking at.

COOPER: Scientist Charles Pellegrino worked on the documentary. He insists there is compelling evidence Jesus and his family were all buried in the tomb, arguing that finding burial boxes inscribed with all their names, all grouped together in the same tomb is just statistically astounding.

PELLEGRINO: Give or take roughly 800 years of a population the size of the city of Jerusalem to produce this combination of names just once.

COOPER: Dever says that's just rubbish.

DEVER: Well, they are not scholars, they are not experts. They didn't discover this material. And I'm afraid they've already gone much too far. I don't know a single archaeologist in this country or in Israel who agrees with their findings.

COOPER: Dever bristles at the documentary's alleged DNA discovery. They claim that since DNA recovered from the supposed Jesus and Mary Magdalene's ossuaries doesn't match. Perhaps the two were married. Call it Da Vinci code deja vu.

DEVER: "The Da Vinci Code" is fiction. And a lot of this story is fiction as well. I mean, to argue from DNA evidence that Jesus in this tomb is not related to Mary, presumably Mary Magdalene, and therefore that they are not siblings, so they must be married does strain one's credulity, doesn't it?

COOPER: Dever argues the movie is built on a bunch of meaningless coincidences. And scholars have only begun to scratch the surface of what's buried beneath Jerusalem.

DEVER: And in archaeology, you always have to look at the larger picture, not at the individual discovery which may seem to be unique and extraordinary, and turns out to be very ordinary after all.

COOPER: But one Kansas City pastor perhaps put it best. To think this mystery will be solved as easily as "CSI Jerusalem," he wrote, is ludicrous.


COOPER: Simcha Jacobovici is the director of "The Lost Tomb of Jesus." He also co-authored the companion book, "The Jesus Family Tomb," and stands by the integrity of his work.

Sandra Scham is the editor of the journal, "Near Eastern Archaeology."

I spoke to both of them a short time ago.


COOPER: Sandra, let me start with you.

First the DNA. Filmmakers say the DNA test could prove that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. Do you buy that?

SANDRA SCHAM, EDITOR, "NEAR EASTERN ARCHAEOLOGY": Well, as far as I know, the DNA tests only prove that two of the individuals in the tomb were not related to each other by blood.

And from what I understand, having seen the film and read the reports about it, they didn't do DNA tests on any other individuals in the tomb because they didn't really find any bones. The tests were done on residues, I believe, from the ossuaries.

So, really, you have DNA tests of two individuals, proving that they are unrelated. We don't have a whole corpus of DNA testing from ossuary burials that we can compare it to, to say that it's very strange to find two unrelated individuals in this kind of tomb.

Surely there were family tombs, that's true. But it does not necessarily mean that if you find an unrelated individual in the tomb that they were married.

COOPER: Simcha, what about that?

SIMCHA JACOBOVICI, DIRECTOR, "THE LOST TOMB OF JESUS": You have to take all the evidence together. The fact is there is a tomb. The fact is there is a Jesus, son of Joseph in the tomb. That's undisputed. The fact is people say these are common names. It's the only Jesus, son of Joseph, ever found out of thousands of ossuaries in a providenced archaeological complex.

Next to him are two Marys. Next to him, there's a Jose. The only Jose ever found out of thousands of ossuaries, and it matches the nickname given to the brother of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.

And then there's one of the Marys is called Mariamene. And Mariamene is the Greek version of Mary that scholars -- Harvard Professor Bovan (ph), in our film, say that's the real name of Mary Magdalene.

So you take the archaeology, then you take the epigraphy, you take the texts, you take the statistics -- I've heard all kinds of people, like Professor Dever, giving opinions. He's an archaeologist.

When I want to know about statistics, I go to statisticians. And when we went to statisticians, they told us the odds, after eight months of study, the odds are 600 to one in favor of this tomb being the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth...


COOPER: OK, let me...


JACOBOVICI: So what are we -- what are we doing? We are reporting the news. We're telling academics, hey, this is significant, study it.

COOPER: Well, actually, actually, you're not. What you are doing is you're making a public announcement at a media event. Scientists are saying, look, if you really want to tell academics, you would write in a peer review journal.


JACOBOVICI: I'm not an academic.

Anderson, I'm not an academic. I'm a journalist like you. And for 27 years, scientists have kept quiet about this tomb. What we're doing is we're calling attention to the world.


JACOBOVICI: The DNA -- we didn't conduct the DNA tests. One of the five best Paleo-DNA labs in the world, Dr. Carney Matheson conducted the DNA test.

COOPER: OK, let me jump in.

Simcha, just to respond to what you said. The critics would also say that the reason scientists have sort of not paid attention to this tomb is because they disregarded this long ago. Bu I want to bring in Sandra.

You heard some of what Simcha is saying. Your response?

SCHAM: Well, I think my response is, well, the implication is that people disregarded this on purpose. I mean, obviously when they first -- when the Archaeologist Koner (ph) first excavated these ossuaries, he noted the names. They are common names. I'm not going to address statistical analysis now. But I might also add that in the 90s, I believe, they excavated tombs not far from there in North Talpiot, where they found similar names. And in those tombs, the bones themselves, they found as many as three or four individuals in one ossuary.

COOPER: What people are saying is, if this -- if you really feel strongly and confident in the results you got, why not submit it to a peer review scientific journal?

JACOBOVICI: I repeat again, I got no results. I'm a filmmaker. I have a skill set. It's journalism. I have two U.S. Emmys in investigative journalism. What I did is I took the skills of investigative journalism and brought them to bear on the biblical archaeological story. Now I am coming and telling the world in the book, in the film that's going to air on Discovery Sunday night, here is the evidence, here's the DNA evidence, here's the statistics evidence. Let's not listen to archaeologists saying -- giving their opinions about statistics. Let's go to statisticians. Let's go to forensic archaeologists.

I followed the scientists and I recorded what they said, not what I say. And now I am reporting it to the world. And I hope this will be the beginning of the story, not the end of the story. Scientists should weigh in.

COOPER: Well, we're going to leave there. And they certainly are weighing in.

Simcha, we appreciate your perspective.

Sandra, as well.

Thank you very much, both of you.


COOPER: Biblical mysteries to the exodus of Iraqi refugees. They are leaving Iraq in droves and some may be heading to America.


COOPER (voice-over): Forced from their homes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were bullets brushing at home. Someone was firing (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

COOPER: Casualties of the war. Iraqi refugees fleeing the frontlines. They may also be coming to America. But at what price?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Among the 7,000 Iraqis we're talking about here, it certainly is possible that a given person could be a terrorist.

COOPER: Security risk for granting asylum? Ahead, on 360.


COOPER: All combat troops come home with memories that can be hard to come to grip with. Some, though, bring back nightmares, searing experiences like ones faced by a unit back at their base. They were on lunch break inside the perimeter. They thought they were safe, but then a massive explosion.


DEAN HOFFMEYER, PHOTOGRAPHER, "RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH": It was very quiet and my ears were ringing. I heard the sounds of moaning. And I heard one man scream, and that was the point I reached for my camera and thought, somebody's going to want to see what happened in here.


CAPT. JUSTIN UHLER, STRYKER BRIGADE, FORT LEWIS: It rocked the whole area, and the ground physically shook.

MASTER SGT. SHANE BRIEL, STRYKER BRIGADE, FORT LEWIS: Oh, I'd say I probably went a good 30 feet or more. I remember thinking to myself, man, a mortar round came off in here.

HOFFMEYER: Just a very loud, very intense crack, like getting hit by a football player and punched in the face at the same time.

SPEC. ALEJANDRO SOTO, STRYKER BRIGADE, FORT LEWIS: I didn't know what happened first. I just felt like somebody had pushed me. And I remember just laying there thinking, OK, this is like when you are dead.


COOPER: Well, that day, 22 people did die and a massive manhunt was launched. Don't miss the special, "The Lion in the Village," tomorrow night on 360, 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

The war in Iraq is forcing several million people from their homes. Many are in refugee camps in Jordan. It's really a humanitarian crisis. Now the U.S. plans to allow more refugees from Iraq into America.

CNN's Nic Robertson reports on one man whose hopes seems to be -- well, he hopes to be among the chosen.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Dr. Nafie Abtan had a thriving medical practice in Baghdad, a loving family, plenty of money.


ROBERTSON (on camera): Did you have a car her? ABTAN: I drive it to clinic. Yes.

ROBERTSON: You had your own private clinic?


ROBERTSON (voice over): But one hand-delivered letter took it all away.

ABTAN: "And if not, we should kill and cut your head."

ROBERTSON (on camera): They'll cut your head off.

(voice over): Dr. Abtan says he received this death threat last June.

ABTAN: "We tell to you leave your job and to travel and leave the country."

ROBERTSON: Three days later, he fled Iraq for neighboring Jordan, taking his wife, Suhare (ph) and son Mutaz (ph) with him.

(on camera): When you look at your life now, how do you feel about your situation?

ABTAN: For security, it's better. The life outside not good. Our life not good. Salary not good.

ROBERTSON (voice over): When they do go out shopping, it's to look, not buy. Dr. Abtan earns $600 a month treating cancer patients at a local hospital. Rent for his tiny apartment takes one third. The rest pays the bills.

They watch Iraqi TV. Violence has killed 10 of Dr. Abtan's relatives and four friends. Two of them doctors, murdered at their work.

Suhare (ph) has lost three relatives. Neither of them think they can go back any time soon. They want better lives now.

ABTAN: I need to get a visa to another country.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Which country?

ABTAN: (INAUDIBLE) countries.


ABTAN: Such as the British, USA.

ROBERTSON: I'll get on the other side.

(voice over): We go with him when he heads to the U.S. Embassy to learn more about the newly announced 7,000 refugee visas the U.S. says it will offer to Iraqis. He's upbeat. He may have that chance of a new life. We watch as he heads off to the embassy. But his is not an isolated case.

(on camera): No one knows for sure exactly how many Iraqi refugees are here. The U.N.'s best estimates put the figure at around 700,000. In the United States, that would be roughly the equivalent of an additional 30 million people coming into the country.

(voice over): Jordan is struggling to cope.

NASSER JUDEH, JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: It does stretch the country. It is a strain on our natural resources. We're one of the poorest countries in the world in terms of water resources. Our economy is already strained. We have problems with unemployment.

ROBERTSON: After Saddam Hussein's fall, rich Ba'athists fled to Jordan, driving up property prices.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't find any work here.

ROBERTSON: But in the pat year, Iraq's brain drain of doctors, lawyers and engineers have been coming, too. They all want visas to move on. Jordan's government is afraid if they don't get them, they'll all stay.


COOPER: Well, coming up, we will see if the doctor gets a U.S. visa. We will also look at the security risk letting Iraqi refugees into America.

Also ahead tonight, the Olsens, they are not. Meet the Barbie bandits. That's what some are calling these two. Maybe you can help find the bank-robbing duo. They are still on the loose -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, as Nic reported before the break, the U.S. may grant visas to some 7,000 Iraqi refugees. But some say the decision could give terrorists a free pass into America.

CNN's Randi Kaye looks at that.



RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): How many times have we heard President George W. Bush say this...

BUSH: The best way to defend the homeland though is to stay on the offense, is to find these people, is to defeat them abroad so we don't have to face them at home. KAYE: Why then is the U.S. planning to open its doors and accept thousands of Iraqi refugees, who some, including security analysts, fear could pose a risk?

CLARK KENT ERVIN, FMR. DHS INSPECTOR GENERAL: It took only 19 people to perpetrate 9/11. So, among the 7,000 Iraqis we are talking about here, it certainly is possible that a given person could be a terrorist.

KAYE: In the last four years, fewer than 500 Iraqi refugees have been approved for relocation to the U.S. More than a million have moved elsewhere in Iraq. Nearly double that have trekked across the boarder to Jordan and Syria to live in camps like this one. But with pro-refugee rumblings growing louder, the State Department recently announced it would take in 7,000 refugees this year, perhaps thousands more next year.

ERVIN: The worst-case scenario is we would give a free pass, literally, just to someone from Iraq to come into this country who subsequently perpetrates an attack on our homeland. It could range all the way from a suicide bomber killing scores of people, or hundreds of people, to a weapon of mass destruction attack which would kill tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions.

KAYE: Republican congressman Steve King has doubts about what is supposed to be a rigorous screening process, but says it's unlikely a terrorist would risk playing the role of a refugee.

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: I think I would work myself onto that group of people coming across that southern border rather than try to get qualified through an intense vetting process.

KAYE: Refugee advocates are angry Iraqis fleeing sectarian violence are being painted as terrorists. They argue the U.S. has a moral obligation to protect the estimated 3.5 million Iraqi refugees, the majority of them forced from their homes as a result of the U.S.- led invasion.

EDINA LEKOVIC, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: These are innocent civilians who have been caught up in the fog of war. This is not an insurgent forgiveness program. This is not a way of providing opportunities for undesirables, if you will, to enter the United States. We should not look with paranoia at these -- these very vulnerable refugee populations. We should look to them with empathy.

KAYE (on camera): Here's how the process works. The State Department identifies refugees, then homeland security agent screen them. They do interviews, check their family history, even their friends. All part of an effort to make sure the refugees don't have terrorist ties or plans to do harm on U.S. soil.

(voice over): In response to security concerns, the Department of Homeland Security told us it will perform "...all appropriate checks. We have a long history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world, and as a nation of immigrants, our doors will remain open, but well guarded." But how well guarded can we ever be sure?

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: And that's only part of the story. Randi has a good blog about the debate over letting Iraqi refugees into the U.S. You can check it out at and tell us what you think.

Before the break, we told you the story of a doctor from Baghdad. A death threat drove him and his family out of Iraq. They're now living in limbo in Jordan. He wants a new life in America, even if his chances are slim.

Again, here is CNN's Nic Robertson.


ROBERTSON (voice over): Jordanian border officials strip down an Iraqi car searching for weapons. This is Jordan's front line in preventing Iraq's war from spilling across its border. But every day, the war spills over anyway. Over the months, thousands of people, refugees, running away from violence.

This auto parts dealer from Ramadi told us his house had been burned, 20 relatives killed. He is now leaving to start a new, safer life.

(on camera): Every day it's like this, border officials say, with a constant trickle of Iraqis leaving their country because of the violence, but that steady flow is leading to a crisis now in Jordan cities.

(voice over): With Iraqis now more than one-tenth of Jordan's population...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a simmering crisis for quite a while. And it's just coming to everybody's realization.

ROBERTSON (on camera): It's about 9:30 in the evening. And if you want to find Iraqis in Amman, this is one of the best places to come to, the Falluja Kabob Cafe (ph).

Hello. Hello.

(voice over): Everyone has a story to tell.

(on camera): They killed him, yes?

(voice over): We are shown camera phone video of one man's dead brother, killed, he says, by the militant Shiite Mehdi militia. He is angry the international community isn't doing more to help and scorns America's offer of just 7,000 refugee visas. Jordan's government wants many more U.S. visas for the 700,000 Iraqis already here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope that we can see more of that.

ROBERTSON (on camera): How much more do you need?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to get into numbers, but certainly, I mean, you know, you just have to do the math, as they say.

ROBERTSON (voice over): We are waiting as Dr. Abtan returns from the American embassy. He looks downcast.

ABTAN: I have reached the American ambassador section. They say to me, "Have you worked with the American military in Iraq?". I say to them, "No, I am a doctor." They say to me, no, not come here. You go direct to U.N.

ROBERTSON (on camera): They said if you haven't worked with the American military in Iraq they can't help with you the visa?


ROBERTSON: How did you feel about that?

ABTAN: I feel disaster (ph), frustration.


COOPER: That was CNN's Nic Robertson.

American consul officials say they are "ramping up" the Iraqi settlement program and are "...concerned about Iraqi refugees who have experienced or fear serious harm due to their association with the U.S. government and seeks to ensure that they have access to protection and assistance. We refer all Iraqis who approach us claiming to be refugees to the U.N. refugee agency."

Jordan isn't the only country filling with Iraqi refugees. There are an estimated one million in Syria, about 120,000 in Egypt. And inside Iraq, an estimated one to two million internally displaced people forced out of their own homes. Iraq's refugees now spilling across the region and points beyond.

Straight ahead tonight, a very different kind of story. They are young, dangerous and possibly armed. Girls gone wild, caught on camera robbing a bank.

360 next.


COOPER: Some breaking news in east central Kansas. You can see it there on the radar, a massive storm front that brought tornadoes, heavy rain and hail through the region. The storms destroyed at least one house, damaged a couple of buildings, knocked down power lines and trees. They also left flashfloods in their wake.

Video from -- there from our affiliate, KNBC. Flashflood warnings were issued in six counties in Kansas and across the border in Missouri. No reports of injuries so far.

Tonight, police in Georgia need help in finding a couple of brazen bank robbers. Take a look at them. They don't exactly look perhaps like what you might think of as hardened criminals, but there they are robbing a bank.

Authorities say these two suspects -- and they may even be teenagers -- held up a Bank of America just outside Atlanta. The surveillance tape shows the giggling and smiling. That's what they were doing. It may have been all part of their plan.

The two apparently walked into the bank, handed the teller a note, and left with an untold amount of cash.

If you have information about them, contact the Cobb County, Georgia, Police Department. The number is 770-499-3911. They're stylish and they rob banks.

Stocks are down tonight in China in a volatile day of trading so far. You'll recall the losses in China on Monday may have triggered yesterday's 416-point massive on Wall Street. Today, the Dow came up a bit, up 52 and change.

Any relief that people might have been feeling was only a temporary distraction from the real job today, which was counting up the losses.

More on that from CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They say money talks, but not the people who have it.

(on camera): Did you lose much money yesterday?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I choose not to answer.

MOOS: But I'm going to take that as a yes!

(voice over): Some folks were specific.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm down about $10,000 or $12,000.

MOOS: Some were vague.


MOOS: And most were unconcerned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't see any of it. I just turned it off. I said wait a week, it will be back up again. So what?

MOOS: Some of the headlines were downright scary, especially when accompanied by photos of traders looking like they are about ready to jump out a window. Except for the conservative "New York Sun" which took the glass half-full approach.

When it comes to checking the damage, my motto is don't look now.

(on camera): Personally, I haven't looked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, neither have I. Nor did I call my broker in a panic to say, Oh, my god, what are we going to do now? Because it was silly.

MOOS: For comedians, those in the stock market were laughing stocks.

JAY LENO, THE TONIGHT SHOW: Quick question: How many of you have money in the stock market?


LENO: Not anymore!

CRAIG FERGUSON, THE LATE LATE SHOW: I don't even know who Dow Jones is. That's the guy that married Star Jones, I think.

MOOS: One trader told the "New York Post" the market was about as stable as Britney Spears. Even the experts got caught up in it.

(on camera): Did you lose any money yesterday?

SUZE ORMAN, PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: Actually, I lost about $20,000 in the stock market. But I gained $20,000 in the bond market. I'm not buying or selling. I'm holding right now.

MOOS (voice over): Some had nothing to hold.

(on camera): It's 400 points down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you serious?

MOOS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn, I lost -- their money!

MOOS: You're money?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I mean -- not my money!

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: It's 1:30 p.m. Eastern, do you know where your investments are?

MOOS: This guy didn't want know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No because I didn't pay attention to how much I lost. I only paid attention to what I could buy.

MOOS: I bought Starbucks yesterday, apparently. That's what my broker said to do. And then after the crash happened, he said to go out and buy a latte. (Voice over): It was a day of venti, even grande heartburn. Unless you're blissfully unaware.

(on camera): Do you know if whether you're in sort of balance, or aggressive, what are you in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't even really know. I think I'm moderately balanced.

MOOS: Hey, can we ask a quick question?

Watch it, Ken.

Did you lose much money in the stock market yesterday?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I really wasn't -- no.

MOOS: But for rich passengers, it was a stretch Hummer-dinger of a day.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


COOPER: And coming up, we will read some of your e-mails on the war in Afghanistan and whether it's being neglected to fight the war in Iraq.

Around the country and the world, you're watching 360.


COOPER: On the radar tonight, a report on Afghanistan and the allegations of a former CIA officer there that the United States took its eye off the ball to focus on Iraq. A lot of people weighing in on our blog.

Ramsi in Willmar, Minnesota, writes, "The U.S. cannot secure its own border with Mexico. So how are 40,000 soldiers supposed to secure any of the Afghan borders? At this current rate," he goes on to say, "the U.S. and Western forces will end up like the Russian force some 20 years ago, they will leave, having probably achieved very little."

Hardy in Houston says, "Wake up and smell the gunpowder. This has always been about Iraq, not al Qaeda."

Craig in Belmont, North Carolina, sees it differently. He writes, "We fight terrorists where we have to. We rescued a nation under a murdering dictator and gave it a chance to be free. Doesn't that count for anything?"

And Lorie Ann in Buelton, California, has this to say: "When will the people of that area" -- meaning Afghanistan -- "say enough is enough? Enough bloodshed, enough death."

Amen to that.

And as always, we welcome all points of views. So if you've got something to say, just go to, follow the links and state your case. And we're going to continue to follow Afghanistan a lot in the coming weeks and months, a story we feel has not gotten the attention it deserves.

A reminder. I want you to help us keep them honest. If there's a wrong that needs to be made right in your community, tell us about it --

Coming up next, who else? Larry King.

First, an update on the severe weather from Atlanta.


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