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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Sexual Assault Allegations: Copperfield Investigated; Whites Smarter?; Mitt Romney's Faith; Faith and Politics

Aired October 19, 2007 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: As the candidates court evangelical voters today and this weekend, we are digging deeper into Mitt Romney's Mormon faith with unprecedented access to the candidate, his family and church leaders.
We begin, though, with David Copperfield, whose big trick today was pulling a lawyer out of his hat. A good thing, too. He's facing an allegation that, if true, could lead to trial and potentially dozens of years in prison. We are not there yet, nowhere close.

But already, this investigation reaches from the Bahamas, where a woman says Copperfield sexually assaulted her, to Las Vegas, where the magician reigns like a king.

We are on this in-depth tonight starting with the facts so far.

Here's CNN's Ted Rowlands.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first sign of trouble came when FBI agents searched the Las Vegas warehouse of magician David Copperfield, where he keeps his collection of magic props and more.

The agents took a computer hard drive and camera memory chips, CNN affiliate KLAS reported, as well as $2 million that had been stashed inside a safe. Federal agents also searched the MGM Hotel, where Copperfield has been performing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's dealing with it in the proper way. And he even performed his show the other evening, while all of that was occurring, because he said he wasn't going to disappoint his fans. But he's very, very concerned in the sense that his reputation is being impugned.

ROWLANDS: Law enforcement sources tell CNN the FBI is investigating sexual assault allegations against Copperfield. His lawyer says he's confident that whoever is making the claims is making them up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we haven't even been told officially through the law enforcement the name of anybody. But since it wouldn't matter really what the name is, because it's categorically denied as a false accusation, an impossible kind of claim. ROWLANDS: Seattle police say a woman claims the incident took place this summer in the Bahamas. Police there say they have no record of a complaint against Copperfield.

(on camera): Copperfield lives part time here in Las Vegas, performing at the MGM Grand. His next performance, though, is scheduled for next week in Indonesia. And, according to his lawyer, nobody has told him he can't leave the country during this investigation.

(voice-over): The FBI declined to comment on the investigation, saying only that the Las Vegas searches are part of a Seattle-based investigation. Copperfield's lawyer says he's confident that, when the FBI concludes their investigation, the accusations will disappear.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Las Vegas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, just in case you think David Copperfield is that Dickens kid you read about in 10th grade, here's a look at what he's been doing for decades.

He appears to levitate, makes skyscrapers seem to vanish, and rakes in tens of millions of dollars. We're going to show you how he does. We will also explore with former prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin just how authorities investigate a case where the alleged assault happened in the Bahamas, the accuser is in Seattle, and the accused travels all around the globe.

We are back in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, David Copperfield is scheduled to perform in Jakarta, Indonesia, next week. His magic act may have to wait.

As we have been telling you, Copperfield is the focus of an FBI investigation involving an alleged incident in the Bahamas. Now, police say that a Seattle woman is accusing him of sexual assault. While many of the details remain unknown, we have information that federal agents seized several items and about $2 million in cash from a warehouse belonging to Copperfield.

Joining me now for more on the case is CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

I'm always skeptical of someone just making an accusation and us reporting an accusation, because anyone can make an accusation. But there has got to be some form or -- or chain or evidence if the police actually got a search warrant.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, because you -- to get a search warrant, you have to convince a judge that there is probable cause to believe evidence of a crime will be found at the place you're searching. So, this is not just a mere accusation. There is some evidence. Now, we are, of course, a very long way from actual charges being filed, but it's not just, you know, an accusation in a tabloid newspaper somewhere.

COOPER: But now, why would it be -- if someone makes an accusation that a crime occurred in the Bahamas, why would it be that the FBI is now investigating in Las Vegas?

TOOBIN: Well, that, I have to say, is very puzzling, because a sexual assault that takes place in the Bahamas is only a crime in the Bahamas.

Now, sometimes, law enforcement cooperates internationally. Evidence in one country can be gathered to be used against a person in another. But it is certainly unusual. And perhaps there is something we don't know about it. Perhaps there are additional crimes they are investigating.

It could be something like obstruction of justice or witness intimidation or something like that. But we don't know that. And it is certainly unusual to have a Bahamas investigation taking place in Las Vegas.

COOPER: And the information from the affiliate that, at his warehouse, that they took a computer, digital memory card from a camera, does that tell you anything?

TOOBIN: Well, it suggests that there may be something on there...

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: ... photographs, e-mails, documents that contain evidence that's relevant to whether a crime took place.

COOPER: And David Copperfield's attorney categorically denies any accusations, said, look, but they have not even been told who this woman is. They say it doesn't even matter. We just categorically deny. Nothing ever took place.

Is it strange that they wouldn't already know the identity of the woman, that the police would not have told them?

TOOBIN: No, the police would not necessarily tell them. You're not -- as a prosecutor or as a police, you're not obliged to keep the suspect informed of every stage of the investigation, including the identity of the accuser. I mean, David Copperfield, we need to keep emphasizing here, is not charged with doing anything wrong. So, even though he's being investigated, this whole thing may come to nothing.

COOPER: But how -- I mean, obviously, I hope the FBI doesn't take lightly investigating somebody. What preponderance of proof, what preponderance of evidence do they need to have?

TOOBIN: Well... COOPER: I mean beyond just somebody making an accusation, there's -- that person must have presented them with some sort of evidence.

TOOBIN: Right.

And the evidence was sufficient to get a search warrant, which is not a trivial -- trivial amount of evidence. But, you know, no ethical prosecutor goes forward with a case without believing there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the person will be convicted.

You can't even go to a grand jury that -- without finding probable -- without probable cause that a crime was committed. So, you know, all that is down the road, to determine whether there is enough case to -- enough evidence for a case to be brought here. But the fact that they got a search warrant, that is a non-trivial fact.

COOPER: And do they have as long as they need to, to complete the investigation?

TOOBIN: Statue of limitations is usually five years, six years, 10 years. I mean, they have -- they have plenty of time.

COOPER: All right.

TOOBIN: And there's no -- there's no real...

COOPER: And Bahamian authorities say they have no record of any reports of a crime, anyone filing a complaint.

TOOBIN: Which makes it more peculiar, because if this is a sexual assault, it is really only a crime in the Bahamas. So, you know, we will -- we will see how that part plays out as well.

COOPER: All right. Jeffrey Toobin, thanks.

We -- David Copperfield has been performing magic tricks for almost as long as he's been alive. And what began as some slight of hand has turned into an empire of illusion and big profits.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): He is the modern Houdini, a master at magic and making money. "Forbes" magazine says David Copperfield earned $57 million in 2005.

COOPER: With incredible illusions like these, it's easy to see why he sells out shows worldwide, with some 500 performances a year. Copperfield says the thrill isn't just the trick, it's giving his audience the joy of wonder.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

DAVID COPPERFIELD, MAGICIAN: It's the magic of taking people and transporting them and -- and inspiring them and making them forget about what reality really is. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It all began at an early age. Born David Seth Kotkin in 1956, the New Jersey native was performing by age 12.

By the time he was 16, Copperfield was teaching magic at New York University. Since then, he has dazzled tens of millions with grand acts. Some are spectacular, like seeming to make the Statue of Liberty vanish.

COPPERFIELD: My stories are really based on people's dreams. This whole show is -- is really rooted in what people really dream about, because nobody wakes up in the morning and says, I'm going to make the Statue of Liberty disappear.

COOPER: On another one of his TV specials, Copperfield appeared to walk through the Great Wall of China.

Offstage, his personal life has made headlines. There was his five-year engagement to model Claudia Schiffer. And there was the breakup. Now Copperfield is under investigation by the FBI. This time, however, it's no illusion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, Copperfield's success puts him in rarefied company. Here's the "Raw Data" on it.

His $57 million made him the tenth highest paid celebrity in 2005, putting him right below author J.K. Rowling, who earned $59 million. He was just above Madonna and Prince. In case you're wondering, at number one, George Lucas, who made nearly $300 million in '05.

One interesting note, on the "Forbes" list of highest-paid celebrities in 2006, David Copperfield was nowhere to be found. He just disappeared.

Well, coming up, a Nobel laureate claims that whites are smarter than blacks. That's what this guy says. Let's just say nobody is nominating him for a Nobel Prize tonight. We will explore the controversy that this once respected scientist, James Watson, is causing, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A giant in space fell from grace this week. And, tonight, his job is on the line.

James Watson, that man there, is one of the most famous Nobel laureates in history, legendary for his discoveries about DNA. He was supposed to give a sold-out lecture today at London's Science Museum, but the event was canceled after Watson claimed that blacks are less intelligent than whites. The comment stunned many around the world. And the backlash has not stopped.

"Keeping them Honest," here's CNN's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was honored for his discovery of the structure of DNA, but now Dr. James Watson is being talked about for the shocking statements he made in this week's "Sunday Times of London."

In a profile written by a former protege, Watson is quoted as saying he's "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa, because all of our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really."

And he didn't stop there. He went on to say, that, although his hope is that everyone is equal -- quote -- "People who have to deal with black employees find this is not true."

Watson and his partner, Francis Crick, spent years trying to uncover the structure of DNA. In 1953, they finally succeeded. Nine years later, they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Watson once headed up the Human Genome Project. And, in 1968, he was named director of the prestigious Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Professor James Graves, whose field is population genetics, says, Watson's statements may say more about him than they say about science.

JOSEPH GRAVES, GENETICIST: Scientists are just like other people. We -- we have personal biases. We have personality faults. We are not perfect. We are not super-people. So, this seems to be an example of a person making a series of personal claims that are in opposition to genetic science.

KAYE: Watson is no stranger to controversy. A big believer in genetic screening, he still defends his idea that women should be allowed to abort babies if tests could show they are gay, saying, "I said they should have the right to, because most women want to have grandchildren, period."

He told "New Scientist" magazine, screening could be used to help what he calls the "lower 10 percent," that is, the least intelligent people in the country, adding, "If you are really stupid, I would call that a disease."

(on camera): Amazingly, there are those who agree with Watson, some pointing to the controversial 1994 book "The Bell Curve" as proof that race can help determine intelligence. Others have been quick to point out that both nature and nurture affect our ability to learn.

GRAVES: The case for genetic differences has never been made, and in fact, theoretically makes little to no sense. On the other hand, the environmental case for differences in intelligence has been made many, many times.

KAYE (voice-over): "Keeping them Honest," we called Dr. Watson. He wouldn't speak to us. But he did issue an apology for his remarks, saying -- quote -- "I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said. To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly, from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief."

Despite his apology, the Nobel laureate has paid a high price for his loose tongue. He was forced to cancel a speaking tour abroad. And yesterday, the Cold Spring Harbor board announced Watson was being suspended.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, he is a scientist. Is there any actual science to back up what he's claiming? We check the facts -- after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, before the break, we told you about the fallout from James Watson's shocking comments about race and I.Q.

Tonight, the Nobel laureate's job at a prestigious laboratory is on the line and his reputation is badly bruised.

We wanted to see for ourselves how his controversial claims hold up to the facts. Is there any science in what this scientist was talking about?

Earlier, I spoke to Joseph Graves, author of "The Race Myth" and dean of university studies and a professor of biological sciences at North Carolina A&T State University.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Professor Graves, thanks for being with us.

Dr. Watson talks about testing that shows people of African descent are less intelligent than whites. Are there any studies or any tests that support his statement? I mean, what is he talking about?

GRAVES: Well, he's talking about a literature that developed over the 20th century in basic I.Q. testing that does show a result of persons of European descendant and persons of East Asian descent in the United States and also across Europe and Asia scoring higher on I.Q. tests than persons of African descent.

Now, one has to be very careful, however, about imputing a meaning to the differences in the results, particularly a genetic meaning.

COOPER: So, if it -- if it's not genetic, what -- how -- what would describe the differences on those tests?

GRAVES: I think the most obvious hypothesis are environmental differences, which favor a socially dominant group.

And in my book, "The Race Myth," I go into a great deal of detail about how there are all sorts of environmental inputs. And some of the obvious ones are things like poverty, lack of education, exposure to toxic materials, social and domestic violence. There are a number of things that impact people's ability to learn and that are visited differently on people who have a history of being socially subordinated.

COOPER: So, there's no really genetic evidence, there's nothing to indicate that race alone is what makes the difference on these tests?

GRAVES: Well, the first thing the audience really needs to know that, when we are talking about modern humans, we really don't have biological races. And so, the very idea of black and white people, or African-Americans or the groups that Watson is trying to describe, are the result of social history in the given countries.

I mean, who is used to define as black in Brazil is different...

COOPER: Right.

GRAVES: ... as who is defined as black in the United States.

COOPER: Were you surprised to hear Dr. Watson making these comments? I mean, he -- there is a history here of this man making some very controversial statements.

GRAVES: Well, I'm not surprised that -- that he made the comment. There are people who make the comment besides him and who do research attempting to prove a genetic basis or a racial basis to genetic differences in intelligence. So, it's not like he's alone out there.

But one of the things that I have always stressed to myself, in my own scientific career, and to my colleagues is the importance of scientists making statements that are consistent with what we know, and not what we would like to be true. And, in Watson's case here, he's really talking about things, personal beliefs and biases that he has that he would like to be true and that there's really no scientific evidence for. And I find that irresponsible.

COOPER: Dr. Graves, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

GRAVES: Well, thank you so much, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, now here's John Roberts with what's coming up Monday on "AMERICAN MORNING."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Thanks, Anderson.

Monday, we bring you the most news in the morning. And we are keeping a close watch on the rising price of oil. You have heard that you can save gasoline by keeping your tires properly inflated. And some people swear by a new technique to keep tire pressure just right. Does adding nitrogen to your tires really help?

Our Greg Hunter is looking out for you, Monday on "AMERICAN MORNING," beginning at 6:00 a.m., Eastern -- Anderson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Moving on to politics tonight, the Republican Party deeply divided. Christian conservatives, who wield tremendous influence at the polls, can't find a top-tier candidate they like or even trust. Those candidates, meantime, are courting evangelicals heavily tonight and this weekend. We will look at how they are doing.

And we have a special focus on Mitt Romney and his Mormon faith, unprecedented access tonight to Governor Romney, his family and his church.

That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in Washington tonight, wooing social and Christian conservatives at a Family Research Council Values Voter Summit, an important meeting that started today and goes all weekend. All the Republican candidates are going to be there.

So far, the big-name candidates aren't exactly wowing delegates. They are still searching for a leader, and they will vote in a straw poll this weekend. Christian conservatives say they admire Governor Mitt Romney's devotion to faith and family.

But some view the faith itself, Mormonism, suspiciously.

We are going to talk about the politics in a moment, but, first the story beyond the headlines.

CNN's Gary Tuchman, with rare access to Mitt Romney's friends and family, is digging deeper.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you. Nice to meet you.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well before he plunged into the rough-and-tumble of political campaigns, the challenges of the business world, or running the Olympics in Salt Lake City, before any of that, for two-and-a-half grueling years, Willard Mitt Romney put his future on hold and gave himself over to God.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

M. ROMNEY: It made me search my soul.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUCHMAN: Romney, at 19, became a full-time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, leaving college to fulfill a uniquely Mormon calling, just like his father, George, and older brother Scott.

SCOTT ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S BROTHER: He felt a responsibility to follow in everybody's footstep. He felt a responsibility to do what he thought was best, under our religious views.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey. My name is Elder Gibson (ph). What is your name?

TUCHMAN: You have probably seen them before, the earnest young men in white shirts and ties, the neatly dressed women, more than 50,000 of them sent around the globe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you heard of the Book of Mormon before?

TUCHMAN: The church hopes every young Mormon will answer the call to serve. But fewer than half, about 38 percent of American Mormons, actually do. Mitt Romney was one of them.

DANE MCBRIDE, FORMER MISSIONARY: Mitt and I first met in the city of Coan (ph).

TUCHMAN: Dane McBride and Romney were missionaries together in France.

MCBRIDE: We gave direction and hope and a faith in Jesus Christ to very many people who were directionless.

TUCHMAN: And, yet, more often than not, they faced rejection.

S. ROMNEY: He expressed that it was difficult and that -- and it was hard, and that people were not always friendly and receptive.

MCBRIDE: A missionary who spent two, two-and-a-half years in France would perhaps be successful in bringing two, maybe three people into the church during that entire time.

TUCHMAN: Life for the missionaries was highly regimented. They had little contact with home, no cigarettes, no alcohol, no girlfriends.

Mike Bush was in Romney's mission group.

(on camera): Why can't you date?

MICHAEL BUSH, FORMER MISSIONARY: You're focused. When you go on your mission, you set that part of your life -- you put it on hold. You press the pause button.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Six days a week, they went door to door, distributing religious pamphlets known as tracts.

(on camera): What was the most unpleasant part of it?

BUSH: Tracting. You're frustrated because you -- you feel, you know, I have something here that would be important to you, ma'am. I really would like to talk to you about it. And, no thank you, I'm not interested, and the door slams.

You know, that's -- OK. Well, you learn to live with it, but it's still hard.

TUCHMAN: What would be the first thing you would tell them about the LDS Church and why it is something they should open their mind to?

BUSH: The fact that the Book of Mormon is a second witness of Jesus Christ.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Missionaries say they don't measure success by the number of people they convert. But they do keep count.

(on camera): Right here it says 200 baptisms by January 1. So, that was a goal, though, that you would hope that you would get people...

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: Yes. And I believe we did reach that.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Weekly conversion diaries kept a tally. And Mitt Romney was often on top, handing out more Books of Mormon than anyone else, knocking on more doors, getting more invitations to sit and chat.

Then, about two years into his mission, tragedy.

S. ROMNEY: A terrible car accident in which Mitt was driving the car and it was hit by a drunk driver coming the other way around a curve. And Mitt was in serious, serious condition. As a matter of fact, when the policeman looked at him, he said that -- he said, he's dead.

TUCHMAN: In fact, he was badly injured, but recovered and returned even more driven to succeed on his mission.

MCBRIDE: He became the top missionary, the lead missionary in the whole mission.

TUCHMAN (on camera): During his missionary years, Mitt Romney spread the word of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints one door knock at a time. But, as president, he would have access to more than 300 million Americans all at once. So, how would this man who portrays himself as a candidate of faith use that huge platform? It's a question on many people's minds. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And it's a question we are going to explore in-depth in part two, coming up next in Gary's report.

We will also get some perspective from members of the best political team on television -- all after this very short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We are digging deeper tonight into the roots of Mitt Romney's Mormon faith and the implications for his presidential run.

Now, just before the break, Gary Tuchman left -- let us at the -- left at the intersection of religion and politics. It's the same intersection John F. Kennedy found himself in when he was trying to become the first Roman Catholic president.

As Gary found out when he sat down with Governor Romney, family members and an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is a very challenging place to be.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN (voice-over): For Mitt Romney, it's a divine question that won't go away. What would it mean to have a devout Mormon in the White House?

M. ROMNEY: We're thankful on the occasion for the birth of our son.

TUCHMAN: The question won't go away, largely because many voters don't understand what it means to be Mormon. Some voters believe the Mormon Church still allows a man to have multiple wives. This was Romney on "60 MINUTES."

ROMNEY: I can't imagine anything more awful than polygamy.

TUCHMAN: And some view Mormons with suspicion, wondering if powerful church leaders could somehow control a Mormon president.

ROMNEY: Hi Gary. How are you?

TUCHMAN: I caught up with Mitt Romney in Michigan.

ROMNEY: I think Americans want a person of faith to lead the country. I don't think that they care about the particular brand of faith so much as whether we share values.

TUCHMAN: Here in Salt Lake City at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Romney's candidacy has put church leaders under a microscope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now is the time for all of us to reach out and tell others who we are. TUCHMAN: In a rare interview, Apostle Russell Ballard, a top Mormon leader, is crystal clear. There is no relationship between the campaign and the church.

(on camera): Does the church endorse candidates for president of the United States?

APOSTLE RUSSELL BALLARD, TOP MORMON LEADER: No, we don't.

TUCHMAN: Do you think it's proper for a politician to spread the word about their religion the same way they did when they were on their missions?

BALLARD: No. I think that would be terribly misunderstood.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The suspicion that, as president, Romney might take orders from the church derives from Mormon history. Church presidents are considered prophets.

In 1843 a prophet's divine revelation led to polygamy. It was then abolished in 1890. So what if today's church president had a major revelation, could that influence a Romney White House?

(on camera): Is it up to all faithful Mormons to follow the tenets of the revelation?

BALLARD: If it is a declaration for the entire church, the answer to that is yes.

TUCHMAN: And is that infrequent, though, in the minds...

BALLARD: It's infrequent today, because the foundation of the church is solidly in place.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): There is certainly prejudice against Mormons.

ROMNEY: Hello, sir. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am one person who will not vote for a Mormon.

ROMNEY: Oh, is that right? Can I shake your hand anyway?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, nope.

ROMNEY: OK.

TUCHMAN: The Southern Baptist Convention calls the church a cult. Many Americans say they don't even consider Mormons Christians. An article in the online magazine "Slate" brands the religion's founder, Joseph Smith, a conman. In fact, he was Elder Russell Ballard's great, great uncle.

(on camera): What does Joseph Smith mean to a faithful Mormon?

BALLARD: Everything. God, the eternal father and his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared to him.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Mormons believe in the Old and New Testaments, but also in the Book of Mormon. Think of it as kind of a sequel to the Bible.

BALLARD: We believe that the Garden of Eden was on this continent.

TUCHMAN (on camera): So that the Garden of Eden wasn't in the Holy Land?

BALLARD: No, not in our doctrine.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): For Mormons, Eden was in Missouri, and Jesus Christ visited the Americas after the resurrection.

BALLARD: We know that he came and taught the people and restored the gospel to them.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Has Jesus returned here to the United States, in your beliefs?

BALLARD: Oh, yes.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 19 percent of voters are less likely to support a Mormon for president.

(on camera): That corresponds to tens of millions of voting age Americans who say they're not inclined to vote for a guy like Mitt Romney.

So should the campaign talk more about religion, less, the same? Well, that strategy is being actively debated.

So are you considering communicating more about your religion to the American public?

ROMNEY: Yes, I'm happy to talk about my faith to people in our country. I believe in God. I believe that all of the children on earth are children of God. So will there be a speech about this at some point? Perhaps. I haven't given that a final decision at this point.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): A looming political question for a man of faith who's not overly eager to publicly talk about his Mormon faith.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Dearborn, Michigan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, for now, values voters seem to be content playing the field. But eventually, they'll have to settle down, won't they? We're going to hear what our political panel thinks after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Tonight, we're looking at the people who can sway who becomes president -- Christian conservatives. The Republican candidates are in hot pursuit of their votes, of course. So the question is, who has the best shot?

Earlier I talked to our political panel -- CNN's John King, Conservative Analyst Amy Holmes, and CNN Contributor and Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Amy, most Christian conservative leaders view all of the first-tier Republican candidates with a big degree of suspicion. What do the evangelicals want to hear from the candidates today and this weekend?

AMY HOLMES, CONSERVATIVE ANALYST: Well, what they want to hear is that they share their values, that when the candidates come before this evangelical group that they are respectful and that they talk about common ground.

We know Romney tonight was going to be talking about how he wants to reduce the rate, for example, of out-of-wedlock birth. We want -- the evangelical voters are going to want to hear about cultural issues, values issues and, really, just to be heard.

COOPER: And John, how unusual is it that conservatives are this split on their pick for a candidate just months before the primaries?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a reflection of the fact that there's no incumbent president or vice president, in effect.

But also, Anderson, it's a reflection of the fact that not only do each of the leading candidates have scars or warts, if you will. Romney was pro-choice on abortion, for example, until two years ago. Now he says he's not.

Fred Thompson and John McCain do not support a key goal of the Christian right, which is that constitutional amendment banning same- sex marriage. But it's not just this field. These Christian conservatives say their own heroes, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, let them down, paid what they called lip service to their big issues, then did not deliver in office.

So there's a higher credibility test for this year's field of candidates because of what these activists view as the failures by their leaders in the past.

COOPER: Donna, you have leading evangelical leaders saying Rudy Giuliani's pro-choice position is basically a deal breaker. They won't vote for him no matter what.

Can Giuliani persuade them or persuade their followers to focus more on national security and electability?

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, there's no question that he is going to appeal to the national security instincts and also remind them of his success on 9/11 and the tremendous leadership that he brought to the country.

He's going to remind them that he's the only candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton, and he's going to try to convince them that he will be the only candidate that will appoint conservative justices. And, I believe, he has stated that he will also appoint an anti-choice attorney general.

Look, 51 percent of those so-called value voters right now, they're on a shopping spree. They're looking for someone who shares their values. They're frustrated with the Republicans.

And while the polls suggest that they're looking for a conservative candidate, right now they -- they want to just hear from these candidates on some of the important issues -- not just value issues but also health care and the war in Iraq.

COOPER: And Amy, do you think the lack of support for Romney is because he's Mormon or because he's viewed as flip-flopping or he didn't support -- he wasn't pro-life, or what they called pro-life, until 2004?

HOLMES: Sure. I think both of those things are major issues for evangelical voters in terms of Mormonism, having theological differences with Mitt Romney's church. But also then the suspicion that he'll say anything to get elected and the flip-flopping, you know, is certainly raising concerns.

COOPER: John, how real is this threat of nominating a third party candidate?

KING: That is one of the more fascinating issues at this weekend's summit, Anderson. When they put that marker down a few weeks back, those social conservative leaders said they were dead serious, that if Rudy Giuliani was the nominee, they were going to go out and look for a third party anti-abortion candidacy. But what is most fascinating is they are playing that down now, backing away a bit. Still saying it's on the table, still saying they could do it if it comes to that.

But why are they backing off a little bit? Because of divisions in their own ranks. There are many in the Christian right, social conservative grass roots activists, who think a third party anti- abortion candidate would not only splinter the Republican Party, it would divide the Christian right, as well, and undermine the political influence these activists have spent more than 20 years now building.

COOPER: It's getting very interesting indeed. Donna Brazile, Amy Holmes, John King, thanks so much.

BRAZILE: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Is any top-tier candidate truly acceptable to evangelicals? We'll ask the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Pastor Frank Page, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In Washington today was the political equivalent to the dating game -- Republican presidential contenders flirting with religious and social conservatives at the values voter summit. There will be more dates and more courting in the months ahead, certainly.

Values voters are a key constituency for Republicans. They can also be fickle. And for now they're playing hard to get.

Joining me now is Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of the First Baptist Church of Taylors (ph).

Pastor, thanks so much for being with us.

Before the break, we profiled Mitt Romney. What is your view of him as a candidate? He was courting Christian conservatives tonight, saying he's, quote, "pro-family on every level." Can he appeal to them?

FRANK PAGE, PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: I mean, he certainly has an appeal because he is very close on several of the key social issues. There's no doubt about that. But there's also some concern, not only about his religion, but also about his past consistency.

COOPER: And the concern about the religion is what? I mean, is it people's -- a lack of familiarity with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or is it their familiarity with it and they don't like what they hear?

PAGE: Personally, I think for most evangelicals, it is their familiarity. If anyone knows much about the Mormon Church -- again, they claim they are the only true church and their belief system is far different than most evangelical Christians' belief.

COOPER: And is that something that -- I mean, I don't want to use a crude term, but is it a deal breaker? I mean, is that something which, you know, short of anything else that -- that's insurmountable?

PAGE: Well, you know as well as I do that -- that there's a sizable number of people who say it is a deal breaker. I would think, honestly, Anderson, for most it is not. Most people would say that his strong consistency with our value systems would indeed probably tip the scale so that most people could support him. Not all.

COOPER: You said, though, there is a, quote, "great deal of angst among who's going to come forward and be electable." In your eyes right now, is there an electable candidate for Christian conservatives?

PAGE: I have gone on record as saying I will not endorse someone personally. But, as you well know, Mike Huckabee and Duncan Hunter are two that certainly seem to capture both the faith and the values of most evangelicals. Some say they are not electable candidates, but among those who are currently running, those are two guys who do manifest both the values as well as the faith.

COOPER: Just about all the candidates, I think at this point, have come to you personally, either on the phone or actually met with you. What is that conversation like? I'm sure there's some stuff you don't want to say you talked to them about. But I'm just curious, what is that conversation you have with them? What are you hoping to hear? What do you want them to hear?

PAGE: Sure. I want them to hear how deeply concerned southern Baptists are and certainly evangelicals in general about various issues -- social issues, moral issues, ethical issues.

And we also want to know where they stand in regards to their faith, their personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, what they believe and who they turn to, because we do believe that faith is going to affect values.

COOPER: And Rudy Giuliani, can he -- obviously, he is trying to stress national security credentials, national security issues. Do you think -- obviously, there are a number of people who vote clearly just on values issues, on social issues. Do you think he can sway some of those people along national security lines?

PAGE: Indeed, he has swayed some, but he stands in stark contrast -- and I've talked with him personally about these issues -- stark contrast with most evangelicals' stance in key social and moral issues.

He will be able to sway some because of his very wonderful, affable personality, and his stance and his past record in regard to terrorism and dealing with leadership issues regarding the war on terror.

But I do not know if he'll be able to sway any large number of evangelicals, because of the great divide with moral and social issues.

COOPER: Is there a momentum still, or is there any momentum to James Dobson's idea of running a third party candidate?

PAGE: There is some talk about that. I talked with Dr. Dobson last week, and he is not threatening to try to undo the dual party system. He is just highly frustrated that there seems to have been a lack of cohesiveness amongst Republicans and/or Democrats in regards to someone who would protect the sanctity of life and stand up for a biblical definition of the family.

He is just very frustrated. He has not made a decision about what he would do or even recommend in that regard.

COOPER: What have you...

PAGE: It might happen. I don't know.

COOPER: Right. In my lifetime, I don't think I've seen the Republican Party so lacking in cohesion, as you said. Have you seen it this way before? Does it -- does it worry you more than you've seen it?

PAGE: I would say we're on new ground. This is a new day. I have never seen anything like this in my entire lifetime.

COOPER: Pastor Page, we appreciate your perspective. Thanks for being on the program.

PAGE: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, what some are calling environmental racism; part of our "Planet in Peril" coverage.

Also ahead tonight, the assassination attempt that killed more than 130 people in Pakistan. And the gruesome discovery that might help investigators identify who's behind the attack.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Thirteen countries, four continents, one year. Our "Planet in Peril" documentary took us around the world, took us to some of the most remote regions on earth. The CNN worldwide investigation premieres next week. It gives you an unflinching look at the crisis we can no longer afford to ignore.

Part of our reporting is on something called environmental racism. And it may be happening all around us. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): For Valintin Maraquin (ph), Manchester, Texas, seemed a fine place to grow up. It was a tough neighborhood, but he had friends and plenty of places to play.

His mother, Rosario, was just happy she had found somewhere free from the violence and drugs that plagued other low-income neighborhoods. Children were safe -- at least that's what she thought.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My worst fear as a parent was losing my child somewhere -- a park, crowded place. That's the parent's worst fear. You always think of with something like that. You don't think your child coming down with cancer.

COOPER: At just 6 years old, her eldest child and only son, Valintin (ph), was diagnosed with leukemia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a numbing feeling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Coke.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's all I remember, just time stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't want that? COOPER: The very next day, Valintin (ph) began chemotherapy.

Unable to protect her little boy, Rosario Maraquin (ph) felt helpless, so she started looking for answers, and never could have guessed where she'd find them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (on camera): Premiering Tuesday, October 23, at 9 p.m., Eastern is our year-long investigation, "Planet in Peril." Jeff Corwin, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and I traveled the world to see firsthand the threats to the planet. And we want to show what you we've seen and answer your questions.

So log on to CNN.com/PlanetinPeril to submit your video questions. What do you want to know about deforestation, species loss, overpopulation and climate change?

October 25, live, during our program, a panel of experts are going to be here to answer your questions. So log on now to get some answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Still to come tonight, major concerns about the economy, as the stock market takes a dive today.

Plus, an FDA panel makes a surprising announcement about cold medicine for kids. You've got to hear this story after this very short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Ah, "The Shot of the Day" is coming up. What do we have -- today, it's -- it's guys running in drag carrying dolls and balancing an egg. Yes, we'll explain that. It has something to do with the Disney Channel, believe it or not.

First, Erica Hill from the Headline News joins us with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, investors marking the 20th anniversary of the Black Monday market crash with a stock free- for-all. Not exactly the best way to do it. A number of factors led to the decline today, including record high oil prices, a weak dollar and problems in the banking sector.

The Dow lost nearly 367 points, ending the session at 13,522. The NASDAQ fell 74 and the S&P closed down 39 points.

More service members are facing charges for their roles in the killings of Iraqi civilians in Haditha. Today two Marines were ordered to face courts-martial and were charged with counts including dereliction of duty, involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. Twenty-three (ph) Iraqis were killed in the shootings nearly two years ago.

In Karachi, Pakistan, forensic analysts are now examining what may be the head of a suicide bomber who killed 136 people in that attack yesterday. The bombing targeted the convoy of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was not hurt. Police hope the body part will help them to identify who was behind the attack.

And President Bush setting new sanctions against members of Burma or Myanmar's military junta and their associates. Now this coming in response to the junta's violent crackdown on democracy protesters last month. Today sanctions are an expansion of those already imposed by the State and Treasury Departments.

And an FDA advisory committee says over-the-counter cold and cough medicines cannot be recommended for kids under age 6 because there is just no evidence the medicine actually helps them. The panel is now calling for more studies on how these drugs affect kids, adding that studying data on adults shouldn't be applied to children under 12. Even though the recommendation is not binding, it could change the way these medicines are used -- Anderson.

COOPER: That's scary stuff for parents trying to figure out what to do with their...

HILL: It is. I mean, I don't know. A little steam, I guess.

COOPER: I guess so.

Time now for "The Shot of the Day," a look at how far some dads go to please their kids. These men dressed in drag in an attempt...

HILL: Whoa!

COOPER: ... to win two tickets to a sold-out concert featuring the popular Disney star Hannah Montana.

HILL: She is all the rage.

COOPER: That's right. Hannah Montana is now encouraging drag performers.

They competed in a contest run by a local radio station, which made them sprint while carrying a baby doll and balancing an egg.

HILL: That's an interesting concept.

COOPER: The winner says he just can't afford the $5,000 ticket scalper -- five thousand dollars.

HILL: Five grand people are -- people are scalping these tickets for. We had a woman on our show a couple weeks ago who was really upset at the fact that she had agreed to pay over $1,000 for four tickets. So she was suing, but she had already paid.

COOPER: And forgive me for my ignorance -- who is Hannah Montana? HILL: See, I've never actually seen it. But first of all, she's Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter, Miley Cyrus.

COOPER: OK.

HILL: And she has this show. It's this Disney show, "Hannah Montana," which apparently is fantastic.

COOPER: Yes. The kids love it.

That's not "Raven," is it?

HILL: No, that's "So Raven."

COOPER: That's "So Raven." That's the only thing I know from the Disney Channel. Isn't that one of those shows?

HILL: I don't know if it's still on.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Is Raven still around or is she now like 45.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Raven might be like 30 by now -- yes. I think so. But, you know, she's a mother now, and her child has her own show.

COOPER: Excellent. That's the way it should be.

Keep sending us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some great videos, tell us about it, why don't you, at CNN.com/360.

A lot of you responded to the "Planet in Peril" story we showed you tonight. It's "On the Radar," coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "On the Radar" tonight, our "Planet in Peril" story shown tonight and posted on our blog about a woman who believes her poor neighborhood may have caused her child's cancer.

Cynthia in Covington, Georgia, writes: I do think that all of the pollutants that these companies put out into the air cause many diseases. And I do think where these companies usually end up is the poorer neighborhoods. And that is because they can't fight it to stop them from being built. There is no way you'd find one of these companies in Manhattan or Hollywood -- no way.

Jennifer in Anderson, South Carolina, writes: I can't imagine that a kid is healthy one minute and has cancer the next. My heart goes out to kids that have cancer. Hopefully the family can afford to move into a safe neighborhood soon.

And one anonymous viewer says: It's so scary to think that the foods we eat and the air we breathe can make us sick. I hope CNN does more on reporting about this issue. It would be great to see what you guys find out.

Well, tune in next Tuesday at 9:00 p.m., Eastern, to find out.

As always, we want to hear from you. Go to CNN.com/360, click on the link to the blog or send us a v-mail through our Web site.

If you're watching us around the world, "CNN TODAY" is coming up next. Here in America, "LARRY KING" is coming up.

Have a great weekend. I'll see you Monday.

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