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America Votes 2008; The Democrats; Secret Service; Imus Fires Back; Bad Rap; Planet in Peril; Fit or Fat?

Aired May 3, 2007 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We have analysis tonight from David Gergen, Arianna Huffington, John King and Steve Hayes right after CNN's Candy Crowley sets the stage.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They talked Iraq, abortion, immigration, taxes and the legacy of Ronald Reagan, and the greatest of these was the war.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to get our troops home as soon as I possibly can. But at the same time I recognize we don't want to bring them out in such a precipitous way that cause a circumstance that would require us to come back.

TOMMY THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe the al- Maliki government should be required to vote as to whether or not they want America in their country.

CROWLEY: Of all the candidates' muscular talk, John McCain struggling to fire up his campaign was the fiercest. On Iraq:

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we withdraw, there will be chaos. There will be genocide. And they will follow us home.

CROWLEY: On Osama bin Laden:

MCCAIN: We will do whatever is necessary. We will track him down. We will capture -- we will bring him to justice and I'll follow him to the gates of hell.

CROWLEY: Of the 10 Republican presidential candidates debating at the Ronald Reagan library, nine supported the war effort and warned against leaving too soon, and then there was one.

REP. RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Go to war, fight it and win it, but don't get into it for political reasons or to enforce U.N. resolutions or pretend the Iraqis were a national threat to us.

CROWLEY: In a party where opposition to abortion is an article of faith, the group was nearly unanimous that it would be a good day if Roe vs. Wade were overturned, and then there was one. Rudy Giuliani struggled with the issue, saying it would be OK if Roe were repealed, but later conceded while he is personally opposed to abortion, he is pro-abortion rights. RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Since it is an issue of conscience, I would respect a woman's right to make a different choice.

CROWLEY: Debating in the shadow of Ronald Reagan's legacy, yards from his final resting place, the 10 candidates all sought to pick up his mantel -- a tough foreign policy, smaller government and tax cuts.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would work for the fair tax which meets the four criteria -- flatter, fairer, finite, family friendly. We'd get rid of the IRS.

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'd put forward an alternative flat tax and allow people to choose between the current tax coding system, which doesn't work, which ought to be taken behind the barn and killed with a dull ax, and alternate flat tax and let them choose.

CROWLEY: In a party where conservatives and can make or break a candidate in the primary season, Ronald Reagan remains the iconic figure, so much so that none of the candidates could refuse a debate invitation from his widow. Reagan's name was invoked 19 times. His legacy permeated the evening.


COOPER: Candy, it certainly did permeate the evening. Did any of the candidates, do you think, bear the Reagan mantel better than any of the others?

CROWLEY (on camera): You know, they all sort of bore parts of it, if that makes sense.

You had Rudy Giuliani who certainly is not in sync with Ronald Reagan on the social issues. But he kept mentioning how he was tough on crime. Obviously, he's the 9/11 mayor, so he's forceful, sort of a muscular foreign policy.

You have John McCain who does agree with Ronald Reagan on the social issues. So they sort of ran the gamut. They're all conservatives. I mean, there's no doubt about it. So in that way they all reflected Ronald Reagan in some sense. But none of them at this point, within the party as the party sees them, have that stature.

COOPER: They also walked a fine line in talking about the current president, President Bush.

CROWLEY: They really did. And you saw it at the end when they were sort of given a chance to walk way from him. It was tough to do.

The one who was toughest on President Bush was John McCain, who is probably the most closely aligned with President Bush on the war. But he repeated again that there were mistakes made in the conduct of the war. And he said he never would have allowed so much spending to get out of control in Washington. Interesting that Rudy Giuliani said that he thinks that George Bush will be remembered as going on the offense against terrorism, that that's how history would remember him.

So they walked that line because they don't want to walk too far away from George Bush because after all, the conservatives who are going to go out and vote in the primaries still support George Bush. So they can't walk that far way from him, but they still need to show that they would somehow be different and move to the next step because this -- really, this debate, Anderson, was sort of the first event in the post-Bush era.

COOPER: It will be interesting to see. The next debate is the CNN debate coming in June.

Candy, thanks very much.

Joining us now, former Presidential Advisers, both Republicans and Democrats, David Gergen; CNN's John King; Arianna Huffington, editor and chief of the "Huffington Post" online; and Stephen Hayes, senior writer for "The Weekly Standard" magazine.

Good to have you all.

Stephen, let me start with you. If you were writing the headline for "The Weekly Standard," what would you say about this debate?

STEPHEN HAYES, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I would say it was a relatively friendly debate. I think Republicans spent most of the time on the defensive.

But I thought there was were some memorable moments. I thought that Mitt Romney had a couple of interesting lines. He did better than I think most people expected, was probably a little bit more impressive than others.

And Rudy Giuliani probably didn't do as well as he needed to do. I don't think he made a fatal mistake, but, you know, he sort of lacked -- he seemed like he was unprepared or at times uninterested, even.

COOPER: Arianna, I'd ask you the headline, but I already saw the "Huffington Post," and the headline was 10 Middle-Aged White Men.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "HUFFINGTON POST": I think my headline would be that this is like a competition for who was going to be the biggest Neanderthal, who was going to cut taxes the most, who was going to stay in Iraq the longest, who was going to fire gay men from work, who was going to proclaim their belief in pro-life the loudest.

It was really a very strange debate, in that sense, especially when three men raised their hand to say that they did not believe in evolution. It goes back to the middle ages.

And John McCain, in a way, I think, came across the worst because he tried so hard to be fiery. He tried so hard to reinvigorate his campaign that he was foaming at the mouth practically, repeating stale jokes and telling us that he would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell.

COOPER: Clearly, though, David Gergen, candidates trying to appear both presidential and strong case -- certainly the case with John McCain. Arianna doesn't buy it. How do you think he did?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Oh, I thought John McCain had a little more fire in him. I thought he was successful in putting that across.

And generally speaking, for -- I think this -- how you saw this debate depends very much on where you sit. And if you're a conservative and think the party is dispirited and, you know, that it's on the ropes and this is -- we've got another Hoover in the White House kind of thing, at least there was reason to believe that there -- and you didn't think there was a real conservative in the race, there were 10 white guys up there vying to be the number one conservative.

And from that point of view, I think it was probably -- it probably gave some lift to the spirits of conservative.

From a progressive standpoint, I think parts of it were excruciating. And you -- and Arianna just gave voice to some of that. But the biggest surprise to me, Anderson, was how much this debate was mired in the past and how little it did to really grapple with the issues of the future. I mean, they really did not come to grips with Iraq and what to do about that and the future.

But just as importantly, you know, they spent more time on things like Terry Schiavo and what to do about "Scooter" Libby than they did about what are we going to do about the health care system that's in meltdown, what are we going to do about climate change, which are going to be some of the big, big issues on the desk of the next president.

COOPER: John King, your headline from the debate?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think Rudy Giuliani was the headline from the debate simply because there was not a lot of new ground broken in this debate. But he has been slipping somewhat in the polls, in part because he can't give the right answer, if you will -- excuse the phrase -- on abortion. He's trying to find a middle ground on abortion, saying I'm personally opposed to it, but I support abortion rights. I don't think the federal government, he now says, should pay for abortions for poor women, but states can do that and gee, I did it as mayor of New York City.

I think history would prove you, Anderson, this is the one issue on which there is no middle ground. Voters don't see it that way. So if you support abortion rights, you're looking at Rudy Giuliani, saying is he going right on me? If you're on the right, you're saying, where is he?

COOPER: I want to play what Giuliani said about abortion and then talk about it more. Let's play that.


GIULIANI: This is a very, very difficult issue of conscience for many, many people. In my case, I hate abortion. I would encourage someone to not take that option.

When I was mayor of New York City, I encouraged adoptions. Adoptions went up 65 percent, 70 percent. Abortions went down 16 percent. But ultimately, since it is an issue of conscience, I would respect a woman's right to make a different choice.


COOPER: Stephen, the mayor, Mayor Giuliani started off saying it's a difficult issue. It is certainly a difficult issue for him and his campaign. How did he do with that answer?

HAYES: You know, not very well I don't think. I think you played the best part of that answer. He stumbled a little bit earlier on that. And I guess that was one of the things that really jumped off the screen at me as I watched this, was -- you know, this was not a surprise question. If you're Rudy Giuliani, you have to know that abortion questions are coming.

You know, he was asked about Roe vs. Wade and whether it would be a good day in America if Roe vs. Wade were overturned. And the other candidates all said that it would, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. And Giuliani said it would be OK, you know, sort of almost dismissive. I mean, it's the kind of answer you need to really engage on in a serious way. It was almost as if he didn't want to answer the question. And as I say, I think he seemed somewhat unprepared for an abortion question, which to me at this point is almost unthinkable.

COOPER: Surprise -- did that surprise you, David?

GERGEN: It did surprise me. I thought overall that while he stayed on message better than some of the rest in terms of talking about his record, he was surprisingly tentative throughout the debate.

He didn't have the kind of forcefulness I had expected from a frontrunner who would, as Steve just said, should have been better prepared for some of those questions.

But it was McCain who had more energy, surprisingly, than Giuliani did.

COOPER: Let's play...


COOPER: Oh, go ahead, Arianna.

HUFFINGTON: Ironically, Anderson, you know, he kept referring to himself as the mayor of New York. And that kind of kept reminding me of the other mayor of New York who, rumor has it is going to be running, Mayor Bloomberg. And in a sense, the winners in this debate were those absent -- Bloomberg, Jack Hagel -- since nobody had anything really coherent to say in a position to the war, not even Sam Brownback, who is opposing the surge. He didn't mention -- his very (UNINTELLIGIBLE) opposition to the war.

So Chuck Hagel, Fred Thompson and Mayor Bloomberg were in a way the winners of this debate.

COOPER: It was interesting to me -- David, I see you shaking your head.

GERGEN: No, I don't agree with that. I do think it shows Fred Thompson that there's plenty of room still in this race to get in. With a candidate like Fred Thompson, it will be interesting to see how many people watch Fred Thompson speak tomorrow night. He's going to be on -- I understand CNN may be carrying part of that speech tomorrow night -- how many people watch that versus this debate.

But I think it's more inviting for him to get in now. But I do not think that these candidates walked off the stage as the losers.

The problem, Anderson, with all of this, when you have 10 people on a stage for 90 minutes, nobody has a chance to really shine. Nobody has a chance to make a breakthrough. And for all of the candidates, the most important thing is to make sure people want to come back and hear more from you.

HAYES: Yes, Anderson, if I can just jump in, I think, you know, any night that 10 Republicans get up on the stage and you know, cause Arianna Huffington to call them Neanderthals, that's probably a good night for Republicans.

COOPER: I want to play the I think the byte that Arianna was referring to with Tommy Thompson being asked about a gay employee. Let's listen.


THOMPSON: I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that is an issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So the answer is yes?



COOPER: The question, of course, was could a gay employee be fired by a company, would that be OK? He said basically it's up to the company.

Stephen, how does that play to the core audience watching this debate? HAYES: Yes, I think it's something that probably didn't trouble the core audience of Republican primary voters. It as interesting to me that Tommy Thompson was the only really who had to -- was forced to answer that question in any substantive way or did so directly. I would have been interested to hear what the other nine candidates had to say about that.

COOPER: John McCain also answered very directly the evolution question, which Arianna referenced. Three other candidates raised their hands. I couldn't tell who the candidates -- who -- it wasn't -- it was a far away shot. I couldn't see which candidates raised their hand saying they don't believe in evolution.

Anyone here know?

HAYES: No, but you know what, Anderson? I would say that I don't think that they were necessarily saying no, they don't believe in evolution. Rather, I think they were raising their hands to say, hey, I have something to say about this.



HUFFINGTON: Oh, no, no, no. They were asked -- I'm sorry, but they were asked categorically whether they believed in evolution. So I think -- and they raised their hand. So I don't think you can assume that they meant to say something else.

But you know what? Let us just look for a second again at what Huckabee -- at what Thompson said about firing a gay employee. Here, I mean, this is like a stunning statement. This is really changing the laws in America that do not allow such kind of job discrimination.

KING: Anderson, I think Arianna is right. I think in most states what Governor Thompson said would be illegal, if not on the federal basis.

But let's go back to the evolution question. Senator McCain felt compelled to jump in and add to that, when I hiked the Grand Canyon, I see that sunset and I believe in God. We heard a lot more about God and faith tonight than we did at the Democratic debate. I think that's one of the differences in this field.

As Candy put it, a much more muscular discussion from the Republicans and a lot more talk about God.

COOPER: Mitt Romney talking about the importance of faith, and yet not really even using the word Mormon or Mormonism, I believe. Is that by design, David?

GERGEN: It's interesting. I think he just assumes everybody knows. It's clear he ducked in effect, not talking about Mormonism.

But the other question is, you know, if you're talking about whether you're going to have somebody fire a gay employee or not or whether you believe in abortion, that has so little to do with what with the responsibilities of the next president has to deal with. Why in the world are we getting wrapped up in questions like that when the next president has to deal with -- we're trying to overhaul our schools so we can keep up with China and India. That's a more central question.

They spent so much of their time and energy on these kind of value questions that are sort of signals to conservatives. I'm as conservative as you want and I'll be OK on this. But they didn't give the country, I thought, and kind of hard understandings of where are they going in the wake of the Bush administration. How do they pick up pieces and where do they go.

COOPER: We're going to talk more about the debate and more about the Democrats, coming up right after the break. We'll be joined by all of you again, so stay with us.

A quick reminder, the candidates go at it again shortly in the first real battleground state, New Hampshire, June 3rd for the Democrats, June 5th for the Republicans. Only CNN will be bringing it to you live, along with inside analysis from the best political team on television.

We've been talking a lot about the candidates -- McCain, Giuliani, Romney, tonight. A little bit about Tommy Thompson as well. But beyond the big three or four, can you name the other six or seven people who appeared on stage tonight?

We took a poll around the office early in the day. We didn't do very well. We thought we'd put you all at home to the test. Get out your pen and paper if you want, or on your computer, write it down, write out the 10 names if you can. We'll have the answers after the break.

Also up next, how the Democratic side is shaping up.



COOPER (voice-over): She's got big poll numbers, positive and negative. He's got star power, but does he have staying power? He's got the common touch and a very expensive hairstyle.

Then, there's this guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like going into the Senate. You know, the first time you get there, you're all excited -- my God, how did I ever get here? Then about six months later you say, how the hell did the rest of them get here?

COOPER: Who do Democrats want to nominate? Who do Republicans fear the most? The panel weighs in on the opposition.

Also tonight, just in case you were wondering... GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm a commander guy.

COOPER: Got it?

BUSH: I'm a commander guy.

COOPER: Good. But why are you telling us? Answers and more in tonight's "Raw Politics."



COOPER (on camera): So before the break we asked you to name all 10 Republican presidential candidates who appeared in tonight's debate. We thought we'd put this picture of them up, maybe to help you, maybe jar your memory. Can you name them all? Anyone? Buhler? Anyone? No, Buhler's not one of them.

Here they are. Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Sam Brownback, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, Tommy Thompson, James Gilmore, Mike Huckabee and Duncan Hunter.

Back with our panel, this time focusing on the Democratic candidates. With me is CNN's John King, former Presidential Adviser David Gergen, "Huffington Post" Editor Arianna Huffington, and Stephen Hayes of the "American Standard."

Arianna, you know early on, talking about Democratic candidates, people talked about Obama, saying he has charisma, but does he have staying power? Is that question answered? Do we know at this point?

HUFFINGTON: Well, I think he definitely has staying power. He proves he has staying power by winning the money primary, which was incredibly significant, given he was running against the Clinton machine.

He proves that he has staying power by the numbers he brings wherever he goes. You know, thousands of people at rallies, especially young people. And he's even winning the online social networking numbers, you know, his MySpace numbers, FaceBook numbers, all those new Internet ways of judging a candidate's staying power. So I think that's really a question that has been answered.

COOPER: David Gergen, you agree with that? Paul Begala, when -- I talked to him about this a long time ago. He was saying, you know, running for president is unlike -- it requires a level of energy unlike anything else. And Hillary Clinton has been through it at least we know. What about Obama?

GERGEN: I think the Democrats are still infatuated with Barack Obama. I don't know whether -- I think they're still waiting to see whether he's going to run the course.

You know, the decisions on Obama are going to be much like decisions on Iraq. We'll know a lot more around September than we know now. And whether he can grow into this candidacy or not. But right now, he is -- if you look at this state by state, you know, Mrs. Clinton is still holding her lead. And almost every early state. So you'd have to say she's still the frontrunner. But I must -- must tell you, the emotions run to Obama.

COOPER: And John, in terms of the machines behind them, the advisers, certainly the money machine, how does Obama stack up against Hillary Clinton?

KING: Structurally, he's doing just fine. There were some questions after the last debate about whether he might have been too tentative. That's why the early debates help, because the voters aren't watching as closely, and you have the big crowd like you had in the Republican debate tonight, a big crowd of Democrats. But structurally, financially he's doing just fine.

The questions are, as David said, can he stand up into the bang- bang of the campaign? We'll have more debates between now and September, more encounters with voters out there. That is where his lack of experience will come in to play and whether he can step over the experience and the credibility threshold.

COOPER: And Stephen, we certainly heard about Hillary Clinton. I think we heard her name more than George Bush's name tonight from these Republicans. Is she the candidate they all want to run against?

HAYES: Yes, I think they'd prefer to run against Hillary over Barack Obama. I mean, Obama has -- if we would have sat here two years ago and I would have given you Obama's fundraising numbers, the kinds of support he's gotten, the fact that he's actually posing a serious and credible threat to the inevitable Hillary Clinton, I think you all would have said I was insane.

I think everybody has to be surprised at how well he's done. And I think Republicans, in particular, are a bit concerned about him even though he lacks experience. He is so good at speech making, he is so good in a crowd. I think he's a real force.

COOPER: Has Iraq, as a subject that these conditions -- that the Democratic candidates have to deal with, Arianna, has it changed the way they're going to have to deal with this because of now what Congress has done, passing this bill, even though it was vetoed. Does it give them sort of a pass somewhat, because you know, they're kind of all over the map in terms of what they're calling for Iraq?

HUFFINGTON: No, now actually there is a real battle among the Democratic candidates. What to do next? Today we saw Chris Dodd taking on John Edwards, who is running an ad about what should be done after the veto, and the failure to override the veto, saying John Edwards is not going far enough.

So we see them criticizing each other over what the best course of action is after that.

And going back to the debate tonight, you know, I'm amazed at the lack of any kind of criticism leveled by one Republican candidate against another. I mean, isn't that what the primary is about? Even with the Democrats, the criticism really started after the debate more than during the debate.

COOPER: David, what about that? That surprise you?

GERGEN: You mean how little criticism there was tonight?


GERGEN: Oh absolutely. Yes, it was a pretty pat-a-cake affair, I thought. They were all ducking the chance to really go after each other.

The only real split, most interesting split was when John McCain split with the president, went after him for mismanaging the war. And then (UNINTELLIGIBLE) opposed that -- with that was Rudy Giuliani coming out and very strongly supporting George W. Bush. That may be one of the things that separates them out.

But on the Democratic side, Anderson, I have to tell you, what the Democrats have going for them now, they've -- yes, they're going to get into some scrimmaging over where to go on Iraq now. But given what's going on with this presidency, there is -- any one of four Democrats could win the White House next year, more easily than you can see a Republican winning. That's the problem the Republicans have.

It doesn't matter particularly which Democrat wins, but any one of four, whether it's you know, Mrs. Clinton or Barack Obama or John Edwards or Al Gore. The Republicans are going to have a hard time. They know that. They're in real trouble as a party coming out because of this war and because of this presidency.

COOPER: John King, Al Gore does -- go ahead, John.

KING: I was going to say, interesting the short term, though, Anderson. Look, we have no idea what Iraq is going to look like by the time we're in the general election and one of these Democrats and one of these Republicans or candidates we haven't seen yet, are the actual nominees of the parties.

But in the short term, the Democrats are now trying to deal with they are going to have to give President Bush the money to keep the war going. That is going to infuriate Democrats on the left, antiwar Democrats on the left, when they have to have this inevitable compromise.

So this will play out in the Democratic primary. Senator Clinton and Senator Dodd, Senator Biden, those -- or Senator Obama -- those who are in the United States Congress are still going have to deal with the fury of the antiwar left as this keeps going.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there.

Arianna Huffington, Stephen Hayes, David Gergen, John King, thank you all. A really interesting discussion. Have you on again.

Still to come tonight, why the Secret Service is now keeping an eye on Barack Obama.

And the latest on a 360 exclusive from last night. Don Imus's contract clause with CBS that some say encourage him to make those controversial remarks. Tonight, CBS's side of the story, when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, the Republicans had the stage tonight, but they certainly shared the spotlight. The GOP debate was just part of the story.

There was also big news about Barack Obama. In all, it was a day of surprises, second careers, even some laughs.

CNN's Tom Foreman has more in tonight's "Raw Politics."


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Senator Barack Obama's campaign scored another big first. So the Obamarama is first up in "Raw Politics."

(voice-over): The Secret Service says it is now watching over the Democratic Senator. No other candidate ever has been given protection so early. There's no report of any specific threat, but he is certainly stirring hot emotions.

Heat from the sunshine state, the most important political news of the day. The Florida legislature has approved a January primary. That would be after New Hampshire, Iowa, and a couple of others, but ahead of dozens of other states.

The governor's expected to sign the measure. Both parties fear this could throw the campaigns into chaos. They're threatening retaliation.

Speaking of adjustments, the president once called himself the decider. But with the Democrats wanting troops out of Iraq, an identity change.

BUSH: The question is, who ought to make that decision? The Congress or the commanders? And as you know my position is clear, I'm a commander guy.

FOREMAN: The commander guy. New title, same war.

And speaking of adjustments, Jim McGreevey, the former New Jersey governor who admitted to an extramarital affair with a male aide is now entering an Episcopal seminary. Starts classes in the fall.

And speaking of adjustments, rename that old movie "Invasion of the Romney Snatchers" because only an alien pod in the back room can explain the mysterious transformation of Republican hopeful Mitt Romney. He went on the Leno show and launched a relentless string of jokes about his hair.

ROMNEY: You and I have perfect hair. Perfect chins.

JAY LENO, HOST "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Wear a (UNINTELLIGIBLE), it breaks your hair.

ROMNEY: This is better than Super Cuts. Get on, get off, keep your hair from getting messed up.

This hair thing is big.

FOREMAN: What's more, Romney, who is Mormon, knows his campaign may face some religious questions, so what does he say his favorite novel is? "Battlefield Earth" by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Way to put that controversy behind you, Governor.

(on camera): And that puts "Raw Politics" behind us for tonight -- Anderson.


COOPER: All right, he likes the book. The question is, does he like the movie? That would be a tough sell.

Straight ahead, the latest on Don Imus's contract. 360 had the exclusive details last night, and new details tonight.

Also these stories.


COOPER (voice-over): Al Sharpton's taking on big music companies and the message of hate he says they send. Jeffrey Canada's taking on the message itself.

AL SHARPTON, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: This is the first time the music is sending us into the darkness. It's actually saying, do this and go to jail. Do this and die. Do this and kill.

COOPER: From stop snitchin' to hip-hop lyrics too ugly to repeat, as so many are now saying enough is enough.

And Jane Goodall on why more than ever saving man kind's closest kin could make a vital difference to a planet in peril, ahead on 360.


COOPER: Well, as you probably heard by now, Don Imus is reportedly preparing to sue his former employer, CBS, for some $40 million. CBS fired him for making what they said were racist remarks about the Rutgers' women's basketball team. But Imus's lawyer says his contract actually encouraged him to say irreverent and outrageous things and also required he be given a warning before he could be fired. Today, CBS shot back with this statement, quote, "We terminated Mr. Imus for cause. Based on the comments in question and relevant contract terms, we believe that the termination was appropriate and CBS would expect to prevail in any attempt by Mr. Imus to recover money for his actions."

Translations -- bring it on.

Meantime, the Reverend Al Sharpton, who led some of the recent protests against Imus, today turned his fire power on the record industry and hundreds joined him.

Just one note of caution, some might find some of the language offensive.

More from CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They say it's time for the record companies to face the music, and listen to the chorus of protesters.

KAYE: This march for decency in hip-hop and rap comes in the wake of the uproar over what Don Imus said on radio, his racial slurs against the Rutger's women's basketball team.

Now, Imus's harshest critic, Reverend Al Sharpton, wants hip-hop to clean up its act. He led the group past three major record labels headquartered in New York City.

AL SHARPTON, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: We're not asking for censorship. But there's a standard in this business. Where is the standard when it com comes to...

KAYE: Imus's attempt on Sharpton's radio show to explain his racial slur brought music into the fray.

DON IMUS, FIRED TALK SHOW HOST: Why isn't there the same kind of outrage, let me ask you, in the black community when rappers and other people in the black community, athletes in the black community, defame and demean black women?

KAYE: Sharpton was listening and now wants a code of conduct for artists.

(on camera): These people say they're not asking for censorship, just accountability. Why not go after the artists themselves? Because, Sharpton says, it's the record companies that set the standards and make the money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has to go to Corporate America, this has to go to the radio stations, those people who's behind the scenes.

KAYE (voice-over): People who can stop the nasty lyrics about drugs, violence, sex, and disrespecting women. (on camera): What bothers you about this type of music?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that they keep calling you names. And it's offensive because as a child growing up, you want to hear music that's inspiring.

KAYE (voice-over): But to those who say hip-hop is not to blame...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hip-hop is nothing but prison culture. Too many of our young black men are incarcerated. That pain is -- has created a culture in a form of music that is self-destructive for us.

KAYE: Even old-time rappers like Kurtis Blow say it's time for change.

KURTIS BLOW, RAP ARTIST: I've recorded over 150 rap songs and I've never used profanity. There is a possibility that you can have a career in rap music and totally, totally have some integrity with your music.

KAYE: Integrity. Maybe someone should write a song about that.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, my next guest, Geoffrey Canada, has worked long and hard to improve the lives of children in some of New York's poorest neighborhoods. He's an educator and author and the president and CEO of Harlem's Children Zone.

I talked to him recently about rap music and the message it sends to young African-Americans. Here is some of what he said.


GEOFFREY CANADA, PRESIDENT AND CEO, HARLEM'S CHILDREN ZONE: This is part of what the problem is, Anderson. I know a bunch of middle class African-Americans. We've worked hard, we've played by the rules, we're raising children and guess what's happening to our children? They're buying into this whole theory that they ought to be like the rappers. They want to be gangsters. So I have kids who have never been hungry, who have always have had clothes. And what do they want to do? They want to go out and get involved in selling drugs and they think that has something to do with being black.

This image is pounded into their head day after day, year after year, that this is what black people do and they don't hear any of the other kinds of things. And I think that's the music industry's fault.

COOPER: You have no doubt this is killing young black...


CANADA: I have no doubt in my mind. I have no doubt in my mind that it is setting the cultural context for murder. That if you tell a kid that look, take his life, get a gun, use the gun, kill that guy, go and shoot him. You say it over and over.

And that's not the role the artists have played in the African- American community. They have always taken us to the light. When you go through history of our people, you go through slavery, what kept the people moving? The music.

This is the first time the music is sending us into the darkness. It's actually saying, do this and go to jail. Do this and die. Do this and kill. That's the message. That's a bad message for people.

COOPER: If there was a guy in a Ku Klux Klan robe pulling the levers on this, singing this stuff, he wouldn't be allowed on the airwaves.

CANADA: He wouldn't be allowed on the airwaves. I would tell you right now, I'd have marches on Washington. I'd have millions of people coming out. You'd see a reinvigoration of the NAACP, of the Urban League. Everybody would be saying, oh, we've got to stop these white people from saying these horrible things about black people.

And yet, here we are, these are black people saying exactly the same things, without the robes, and people somehow give them a pass. And they worry that oh, you're beating up on them.

COOPER: Russell Simmons will say look, these guys are poets. These are artists. And what they are -- they are singing and they are talking about what they have seen on the streets. And they are -- they are reflecting the kind of misogynistic and violent society that we live in.

CANADA: Young people will tell you, if you're not prepared to write the most violent, the most misogynistic, the most horrible kinds of rhymes and scenarios, you are not going to get air play.

And if I've got 100,000 young black kids around this country who aren't studying in school because they think they're going to make it as a rapper and they think the only way they can do it is rapping about the worst of the world, then that's what you're going to end up.

COOPER: So how do you change it?

CANADA: Part of the challenge is, all of us in positions of leadership have to say there's a line. You know what? People don't think there's a line. They think, look, this is what I see the deal is. If African-Americans want to go around calling themselves the "N" word, if they want to call their girls and their women bitches, we got to stop that. No, I do not give anybody permission to call any African-American woman a name like that. And I don't want to be called by the "N" word. And whoever thought they had permission, I'm saying you don't have permission in our community to do that anymore.

COOPER: Geoffrey Canada, appreciate you joining us. Thanks.

CANADA: Thanks a lot, Anderson. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, a quick note we want to clarify. The Republican candidates in tonight's debate brought up employment discrimination protection for gays.

Tommy Thompson said it should be up to companies to decide whether or not they wanted to fire a gay employee for being gay.

One of our guests earlier suggested that most states have some form of protection for gay employees. That's not true, of course. To be clear, there is no federal protection for gays in the workplace. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia offer some form of discrimination protection based on sexual orientation. The majority of states, however, do not.

Coming up tonight, one of the world's best-known animal researchers has an urgent message for Washington. Next, I'll talk one on one with Jane Goodall about her mission to defend a planet in peril.

And be sure to stick until the top of the hour for a special tribute to LARRY KING and his half century in this business. A remarkable career. Fifty years of pop culture through the eyes of Larry. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Our ongoing series of reports on our "Planet in Peril" continues tonight with a name you will surely recognize -- Jane Goodall. She says she dreamed of working with animals in Africa as a child. But no one, not even she, could have predicted how far her dream would take her.

Today she is one of the most renowned animal researchers in the world, legendary for her work with chimpanzees and other primates. She's also one of the most passionate defenders of the planet.

This week Goodall brought her message to Washington, where she talked with lawmakers about global warming.

I spoke to her yesterday.


COOPER: Ms. Goodall, you present some pretty startling statistics. At the start of 20th century there were around 1 million chimpanzees in the wild. Today there are only about 150,000. What is the cause of that?

JANE GOODALL: The cause is different things in different parts of the country, but certainly in many, many places it's deforestation, you know, spreading of human populations, of forests being encroached upon and obviously the chimpanzees losing their habitat.

The big threat to them today and the most important part of that range, which is the great Congo basin, is the bushmeat trade, and that is the commercial hunting of wild animals for food and very different from subsistence hunting. And it's really to satisfy the cultural preference of the urban elite.

COOPER: We've been traveling in the Congo recently, also in Brazil, the rain forests, and one of the things that seems so frustrating is trying to stop this in any meaningful way is difficult because there's so many different reasons that the forest is being ripped apart or burned down, depending on where it is.

GOODALL: Yes, that's exactly right. And you know, it's really scary when you think that these great forests, the Congo and the Amazon are the lungs of the world and they really do sequester a lot of the carbon than we're emitting into the atmosphere.

And, you know, as these forests decrease, so the global warming gets worse.

COOPER: How do you go about reversing the deforestation, reversing the killing of the gorillas, of the chimpanzees?

GOODALL: Well, with difficulty. You know, our main work has been in Tanzania where the problem is just the deforestation due to population growth. And it was when I flew over the area about 16 years ago and realized that outside this tiny national park all the trees had gone, that I realized we couldn't even try and save the chimps while there were people desperately struggling to survive in an area not big enough to support them, where refugees had moved in to make the situation worse.

So, that led to our program of the Jane Goodall Institute, which we call Take Care. And this is to improve the lives of the people living around this remaining wilderness area in a very holistic way, including tree nurseries, soil erosion control, best practice farming methods, reclaiming overused farmland and very importantly, working with groups of women through Microcredit, improving their self-esteem, scholarships for girls to go through secondary school, on and on and on.

COOPER: What -- you know, there are those who say, look, why is this so important? What does it matter about chimpanzees or gorillas? OK, so there are 700 mountain gorillas left in the world. You know, it's a sad thing, but there's other bigger problems in the world?

GOODALL: Well, of course, their importance in their own right which is what I care about. They are more like us than any other creature. Their brain is just like ours, but a little bit smaller. They're capable of all kinds of intellectual things that we used to think unique to us. They have emotions, personalities, histories, live for 60 years, teach us a lot about ourselves. That's one thing.

But then on the other hand, if you think about conserving the forest as a whole, conserving all of the amazing beings out in that forest, then in addition to saving the chimpanzees, we are -- by working with the people, we're improving their lifestyles, we're really ensuring that when one of these terrible epidemics goes sweeping across like Ebola, people will be better able to cope, increasing their education, and helping to slow down global warming and even by creating situations where the people are sort of lifted up out of this crippling poverty. They are less likely to be swept away by opposing armed forces for child soldiers. They can organize themselves.

So, you know, it's even helping global security in some strange way to save these forests and work with the people around them.

COOPER: Jane Goodall, thank you very much.

GOODALL: Thank you.


COOPER: A remarkable woman.

"AMERICAN MORNING" is dealing also with an issue that affects our planet. Kiran Chetry has a preview -- Kiran.


Tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," the world comes together in Thailand. We'll bring you the newest report from scientists on global warming. It comes out in the morning. And we'll show you a new way to turn one of the key sources of pollution into clean energy that can light up your home. From trash to treasure, that's tomorrow beginning at 6:00 a.m. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: OK, Kiran, thanks. Of course, we're not just concerned about the planet's health. We want to help you with yours as well.

Coming up, Sanjay Gupta answers some of your questions about breakfast, beer and getting in shape. Fit or fat? That is the question, next on 360.


COOPER: So summer's almost here. A lot of people trying to get in shape. And if you want to get in shape, but you're worried you're making the wrong choices, don't worry, 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta is here to help. He's going to answer some of our viewer e-mail to let you know what is fit or fat.

Sanjay, welcome.

Let's take a look at our first one.

Kamal (ph) in Savannah writes, I'm a 19-year-old young man, and I weigh about 207 pounds. I eat nothing for breakfast but anything I want for dinner.

So Sanjay, skipping breakfast, fit or fat?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kamal, unfortunately, we're going to have to give you a fat on that one. It turns out Mom was right on this. Eating breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

A couple of reasons why. You have the insulin and glucose levels in your body which are much better regulated, they're flatter if you actually eat a breakfast meal.

Also, you end up eating fewer calories throughout the day. So it's very good for weight management again, if you eat breakfast. It also seems to improve your metabolism, which can last throughout the entire day as well. Eat breakfast. That would be a fit move.

COOPER: That's a good idea. I didn't eat breakfast today. I've been grumpy all day.

Brenda from Maryland says, I eat healthy throughout the work week, but on the weekends I indulge in the "not-so-healthy" and drink several beers (over the course of the weekend!).

Sanjay, many people say that, you know, they splurge on the weekends. Fit or fat?

GUPTA: You know, Brenda, unfortunately, we're going to have to give you fat on that as well. The whole weekend, Brenda? Really, the whole weekend? I mean, a little cheating here and there every now and then, that's OK. You got a barbecue, you got a wedding, you have some event to go to? Fine. We're not preachy here on "Fit or Fat." But the whole weekend several beers, cut that back a little bit. I think it will be a lot fitter for you.

COOPER: Debbie from Seattle wants to know, is it better to work out in the morning before work?

What about it? Morning workouts, fit or fat?

GUPTA: Morning workouts, fit. Yes. You know, if you have to pick a time of day -- it's not always easy for everybody to get that workout in the morning, but if you can do it, that's going to be a fit move for you. A couple reasons why.

It really seems to change your metabolism. When you talk about metabolism, what you're talking about is actually burning calories at rest. As Anderson and I are just sitting here talking to each other, we burn a certain number of calories. If you're someone who works out regularly, works out in the morning, you're going to burn more of those calories when you're doing nothing at all.

COOPER: I did not know that.

Mary from Omaha has an interesting question. She writes, just because you look fit, are you fit? I don't work out, nor do I diet or watch my calorie or fat intake. However, I'm thin and people assume I'm in shape. For example, my doctor has told me to keep doing what I'm doing. Actually, this is nothing given that I'm not on any diet or exercise plan. So doest the fact that I'm thin mean I'm healthy?

Sanjay, looking fit, but actually not doing anything to get that way, fit or fat? GUPTA: Hmm. That's a good question, Anderson. In fact, we're not going say fit or fat on that. We're just going to say unfit.

Look, there's been a lot of studies looking at people who are thin, but not as healthy versus people who are fat and healthy. They find that people who are thin and unhealthy actually have worse outcomes later on in life.

Several things matter here, not just how you look, but also what's going on inside your body -- your cholesterol levels, your homocysteine levels. You need to get all these things checked. You can be thin, but still have high blood pressure.

It's important to take care of yourself. Just doing some exercise every day will fight some of the cancer cells that could be lurking in your body as well, keep you healthier for the long run.

COOPER: All right. Good information. Sanjay, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: We'll have move of 360 after this. Stay tuned.


COOPER: Have you checked out the 360 daily podcast yet? But if you haven't, well you should. You don't need an iPod, you can watch it on your computer at -- just rolls off the tongue -- or go to the iTunes store and grab it there. It's one of the top downloads I'm told.

And a reminder, be sure to catch "AMERICAN MORNING," beginning at 6:00 a.m., Eastern. A new global warming report is coming out. They'll have that tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. Kiran Chetry and John Roberts.

And a special edition of "LARRY KING," 50 years of pop culture is next.

And I'll see you tomorrow night.


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