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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Damning Testimony Delivered in O.J. Simpson Trial; The Power of Prayer
Aired November 13, 2007 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: the damning testimony against O.J. Simpson. His aging B-team posse might not have been dangerous when they burst into that Vegas hotel room, but a witness today said Simpson wanted them armed. That is the testimony, and it directly contradicts what Simpson has said. There was also a wicked counterpunch. We are digging deeper into where the case goes next.
Also tonight: disturbing new details about the plastic surgeon who operated on Kanye West's mother, and new word from the coroner on how she died.
And, later, the power of prayer -- Politicians and others prayed for rain in Georgia today, but can prayer actually heal? You will hear from doctors who say it can, skeptics who say it can't, and Drs. Deepak Chopra and Mehmet Oz will be here live. They are going to be taking your calls and answering our questions.
E-mail your questions or calls. The power of prayer, that's the topic. The toll-free number is 877-648-3639. We will be repeating it throughout the program. Or you can e-mail us, going to CNN.com/360, clicking on the link.
We begin, though, with three words, "Get some heat," the words of O.J. Simpson, according to a golfing buddy, probably an ex-golfing buddy by now. That old pal testified today as a preliminary hearing in Vegas. If a judge buys it, Simpson goes to trial. Then, if a jury buys it, Simpson goes to prison. That wasn't all that went down today. There was stinging cross-examination, not to mention more than just a hint of sleaze, maybe a big dollop of sleaze.
Details from CNN's Ted Rowlands.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): O.J. Simpson seemed in good spirits, arriving at the courthouse. But that quickly changed inside, listening to two of his former co-defendants testify that the decision to use these two handguns during an alleged armed robbery was Simpson's.
MICHAEL MCCLINTON, ALLEGED ACCOMPLICE OF O.J. SIMPSON: I brought my weapon because O.J. Simpson wanted me to have a weapon.
WALTER ALEXANDER, ALLEGED ACCOMPLICE OF O.J. SIMPSON: Can you bring some heat?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did that mean to you?
ALEXANDER: That meant that he wanted me to help him to acquire some guns. I looked over at O.J. and I was like, what if they call the police? And he was like (EXPLETIVE DELETED) the police.
ROWLANDS: Walter Alexander and Michael McClinton, the only two men carrying guns during the September armed robbery in a room at the Palace Station Hotel, both made deals with prosecutors to avoid long jail sentences. Both men painted Simpson as the ringleader.
MCCLINTON: He said to show them your weapon and look menacing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are those defendant Simpson's words?
MCCLINTON: Mr. O.J. Simpson said that to me.
ROWLANDS: Simpson has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and told CNN there were no guns involved at all. On cross-examination today, Simpson's leader attorney, Yale Galanter,. ripped into Alexander's credibility.
YALE GALANTER, ATTORNEY FOR O.J. SIMPSON: He lied during the statement. He's a pimp, Judge. That's the relevancy. He's not a realtor.
ROWLANDS: Galanter accused Alexander of selling sex through a Web site. He also played a tape recording of a phone message Alexander left for a friend of Simpson's, offering to change his testimony for money.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: If I got some help, then I will do whatever I can.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: What I was saying is that what I could say in court could definitely -- I really felt that he was set up. So I felt like I could lean toward that angle, rather than telling the exact truth.
ROWLANDS: Alexander and McClinton had significant differences in their stories about what happened. It's unclear how significant those differences will be if the case goes to trial.
COOPER: Ted, how long is this hearing going to go on for?
ROWLANDS: One more day. Prosecutors say they have one witness to go, Al Beardsley, one of these alleged victims. We should hear another version of what happened in that hotel room tomorrow.
And then attorneys will have an opportunity to address the judge quickly. And we do expect that the judge will rule from the bench tomorrow whether or not he will hold O.J. and the other defendants over for trial. COOPER: I mean, does anyone believe that O.J. is not going to be held over for trial?
ROWLANDS: No. That would be a huge bombshell. But what might happen is the judge could bifurcate or choose different charges, say, yes, OK, this guy is held over on this one. This one is here and O.J. for these charges. We will have to wait and see.
But the judge does have that option. But I don't believe anybody believes that the judge is going to say, go ahead. You guys are all free to go.
COOPER: All right.
Joining me now are perhaps the two best Simpson watchers in the business, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, author of "The Run of His Life: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson," and Linda Deutsch of the Associated Press, who covered the hearing today.
Linda, Simpson all along has said he didn't know anything about any guns. But these two witnesses today said, not only did he know about the guns; he asked for them, and he asked, in one case, that the gun be taken out of its holster.
This has got to spell big trouble for the guy.
LINDA DEUTSCH, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT AND LEGAL AFFAIRS REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Today, I think we got the idea of what the crux of the prosecution case is.
And it is these two men that testified today. They are the ones that say that, not only did O.J. Simpson know there were guns, but he asked them to bring them. It's pretty heavy testimony, except for the fact that the defense, of course, came up with a pretty significant attack on one of them for his credibility.
And you heard him saying that, if he had been paid enough, he might have not told the exact truth. He might have given a different story.
So, we can only figure what a jury will conclude when and if this goes to trial. And they will have to decide, did O.J. Simpson tell them, as they said, to bring heat, or did he not?
COOPER: Well, it's like trying to decide which of these guys is the least sleazy. It's not an easy choice.
Jeffrey, you called today's testimony hilarious. Why?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The Walter Alexander who testified, you know, you don't have a great prosecution witness when he's asked, were you a pimp? And he starts saying, well, I don't think that's relevant.
And then he's at first denying his involvement with a Web site called mysecretgeisha.com. And then he is sort of acknowledging, well, that he may have had something to do with it.
I mean, look, he's a total sleaze. I thought you were extremely generous in referring to this cast of characters as B-list. I think D is about as good as they are going to get.
There was one thing in the testimony that I thought potentially helped Simpson a good deal, which was that Walter Alexander saying that Simpson thought these were guns for self-defense, not for intimidation. The problem for Simpson is that Walter Alexander then testified that Simpson told him to lie later on about whether guns would be involved.
COOPER: I want to talk just after this break about Alexander on the stand, about his admission that maybe he was kind of willing to stretch the truth if he got paid.
We are going to talk about that in just a moment with both of our guests, including we will talk a little bit about what Simpson allegedly said about the confrontation after it went down.
And, later, Drs. Deepak Chopra and Mehmet Oz are here taking your calls and questions on the healing power of prayer; 877-648-3639, that's the toll-free number, again, 877-648-3639.
Back in a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: He was standing up laughing. I think he had had a few drinks. And -- and he was like, yes, whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but not if you're O.J. Simpson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's his buddy Walter Alexander selling out O.J. Simpson at a preliminary hearing today, also saying that Simpson told him to bring a gun to the confrontation with a souvenir dealer and later to brandish it.
Alexander's testimony met by a bruising counterpunch, Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter calling Alexander a pimp. It's hard out here for a pimp.
You know that, Jeffrey Toobin.
I'm also joined by Linda Deutsch of the Associated Press.
Linda, let's listen to someone of Walter Alexander's testimony from earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: Going into the hotel, I thought we were just going to get Mr. Simpson's things that belonged to him. But after what had happened happened, and I'm walking out of the room, I'm realizing that a robbery had taken place. And I'm really feeling as if, man, you know, you're in some trouble, dude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean, it sounds like no one intended to commit a robbery, the way he's talking about it. Does intent matter, though, in this case?
DEUTSCH: Don't know if intent matters, but I will tell you one thing that was raised by one of the co-defendants' lawyers. There are two co-defendants, which everybody forgets about.
But they -- this lawyer said to one of these two witnesses, you know, isn't it true that the people on the witness stand are the ones that used the guns, that brought the guns, and they are the ones that got the plea bargain deals and they are going to serve no time, while the people who were sitting at the counsel table who are on trial had no guns?
And that's something that I think really would have to be explained to a jury. How do you give a plea bargain to the guys with the guns and try the others?
COOPER: It does kind of leave you scratching your head.
Jeffrey, one of the -- one of the armed guys during the alleged robbery, Michael McClinton, actually has a concealed weapons permit. And he talked about that today and how Simpson actually wanted to take a look at it. Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCLINTON: I went in my wallet and I walked over to the bed where he was sitting up, and I showed it to him. He took it and read it. And he said, yes, I want you to come with me. I want you to bring your weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Does that change anything, having a concealed weapons permit?
TOOBIN: Well, if -- if he doesn't brandish it, it does change things.
But, you know, just having it in his pocket, he obviously had a legal right to have it. But, even if you have a permit for a gun, you're not allowed to brandish it to take property from someone else. That's still a robbery, even if you have permission to own the gun.
COOPER: And, Jeffrey, the fact that Alexander has this tape recording where he offered to change his testimony, that doesn't make him look good.
TOOBIN: No, it makes him look terrible. I mean, the prosecution's philosophy here is obviously safety in numbers. I mean, they know that, if Walter Alexander told you it was Tuesday, you would certainly check the top of the newspaper just to make sure. But the fact is, several of these witnesses tell almost identical stories about what went on here.
And, so, the prosecution is obviously hoping that, even though none of these individuals are particularly outstanding members of the community, if they all tell more or less precisely the same story, and only O.J. Simpson is telling a different story, the jury is going to say, look, they may not be terrific people, but this is who O.J. chose to hang out with, and they all are telling the truth.
COOPER: Well, and the fact -- I mean, if I said to any of my friends, oh, yeah, come on into this room with me, bring some guns, or I'm going to get back some property, I mean, they would all look at me like I'm crazy. I can't believe that all these people just followed O.J.
Oh, O.J. said to bring a gun.
Anyway, the whole thing just seems bizarre to me.
COOPER: Linda Deutsch, I guess, with friends like these, you know?
TOOBIN: Yes. I think we can agree on that. It is bizarre.
COOPER: All right. We will agree on that.
Jeff Toobin, thanks as well.
DEUTSCH: Some of these people didn't even know him.
COOPER: I know. That's the thing. It's like they...
DEUTSCH: Some of these people didn't even know him.
COOPER: It's the first time they meet him, and they are like, oh, yes, sure, O.J. Simpson says bring a gun. We will do that.
COOPER: Linda, it's always good to have you on. Jeffrey, as well, thanks.
DEUTSCH: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: From the Simpson saga, we turn our attention to extreme weather and the possible power of prayer.
Across the Southeast, millions are suffering through one of the worst droughts in history, and it could get worse. There are fears the water supply for Atlanta may dry up in just a couple weeks. The crisis is so dire, that the state's governor, Sonny Perdue, looked to the heavens today.
Standing on the steps of the state capitol in Atlanta, he asked everyone to pray for divine intervention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SONNY PERDUE (R), GEORGIA: Our father, as we come before you today, we acknowledge that we are needy people, and we need you. It is you that we need, and it is your power and your miracles that we need.
And, father, we call upon you today to meet that need. Father, we acknowledge our wastefulness. We acknowledge that we have not done those things that we should. And, God, we call upon you today to meet that need. We do believe in miracles. We do believe that you are the miracle creator, the creator that established the water and the land and the air and even us.
God, we need you. We need rain. Father, may we go forth in this place today with bended hearts towards you, acknowledging our total and utter dependence upon you moment by moment for your blessings. Father, forgive us, and lead us to honor you, as you honor us with the showers of blessings.
Thank you, lord, for the rain to come. Amen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, his prayers may be answered, coincidentally or not. Forecasters say rain may be coming in the form of thunderstorms. It is desperately needed, no doubt about it.
Many of us turn to prayer in times of need, especially when faced with a life-threatening illness. Well, today's public prayer vigil got us thinking about the power of prayer and whether or not it really can make you better.
Tonight, digging deep, we will explore prayer's power. And we will do that with Drs. Deepak Chopra and Mehmet Oz, who are going to join us in just a moment.
And we want to hear from you with questions or comments about prayer and healing to the two doctors. You can call us toll free, 877-648-3639, or share your comments at CNN.com/360blog. First, let's see if you believe.
COOPER (voice-over): When it comes to the power of prayer, most Americans say:
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amen!
COOPER: More than nine out of 10 people belong to a religion. As to why, one survey says the main people practice religion is to forge a personal connection with God. Others use faith to become a better person, find happiness or give their lives meaning.
By far, the most popular method of feeling close to God is through prayer or meditation. Praying is clearly important to millions, but can it actually heal? Many hope so. It's the number one self-help remedy in America, beating out alternative treatments like yoga and acupuncture.
There are doctors who also believe in its ability to cure.
Larry Dossey is one of them.
DR. LARRY DOSSEY, AUTHOR, "HEALING WORDS": I think the power of prayer is becoming more and more obvious to people who do research.
COOPER: Dossey is a physician and author who points to several scientific studies he says shows how prayer can help make sick people better.
DOSSEY: The studies on prayer do include people who have serious illnesses such as advanced AIDS. And, in this particular study, the people who received healing intentions in prayers unknown to them did much better clinically than people who were just treated conventionally.
COOPER: A doctor at the University of Pennsylvania uses radioactive dye to scan the brain for activity during prayer and medication.
The result? Prayer and medication may lead to a reduction in stress hormones and increase the overall immune function. To be sure, there are many who see no truth in the findings or any link between prayer and health.
Michael Shermer is the publisher of skeptic magazine.
MICHAEL SHERMER, PUBLISHER, "SKEPTIC": We remember the hits and forget the misses. So, anecdotally, we remember that we prayed for somebody or you heard about somebody who got prayed for at your church, and they got better. You remember that. But what you don't remember is all the people who were deeply religious, who got prayed for by lots of people who loved them deeply, and they died anyway.
COOPER: There is more. In a recent report in the "American Heart Journal," researchers said prayers by strangers had no effect on patients undergoing heart surgery. The results were far different for patients who knew they were being prayed for. And it is not good. According to the study, 59 percent suffered post-operation complications, 8 percent more of those unaware of the prayers.
Still, Dossey is convinced praying has positive healing results. However, he cautions the approach with this remark:
DOSSEY: We are not advocating, those of us who do work in this field, that people just wing it with prayer. I think that an integrated, complementary approach is wise, where we bring every tool to the table that we think may work. Now, this includes drugs, surgical procedures, chemotherapy, or radiation, but also healing intentions, if the individual is open to that.
COOPER: We are going to be answering your calls and e-mails about prayer's power in a moment.
Helping us, two of the best-known physicians in America. Dr. Deepak Chopra is a champion of mind-and-body medicine. His latest book is "Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment." And Dr. Mehmet Oz is a renowned surgeon. He's also the health expert of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and the co-author of the new book "You Staying Young."
Drs. Chopra Oz join me now.
Thanks for being with us.
Dr. Chopra, let's start with you. Does prayer actually make a difference, do you believe?
DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR, "THE BOOK OF SECRETS": I think it does.
I totally agree with the work of Dr. Larry Dossey. And there's a theoretical basis for it. And the theoretical basis is that there is a level in nature where we are all inseparably one, where we are connected. There's a field where space, time, energy, information, and matter become one single consciousness of mind.
Call it God. Call it the mystery that we all experience when we have communion with God. It doesn't matter. But this has been part of every tradition in the world. And it's also now being explained as -- in science, as something called observer effect, where your intentions can have remote effects.
In fact, we have done studies the Chopra Center in prayer and meditation where we take two people, have them establish a connection in prayer, separate them, even isolate them in what are called (INAUDIBLE) chambers. Then we take a flashlight and shine it in one person's eyes and both brains respond simultaneously. So, in science, we call this non-local correlation.
COOPER: Dr. Oz, you're not so convinced. What do you think?
DR. MEHMET OZ, CO-AUTHOR, "YOU STAYING YOUNG": Well, I think the real issue is, are we praying to change the divine, change God's purpose, or are we praying to change the person?
And, as a physician, without any question, I think we can change the person. Since the dawn of written history, man has turned to prayer at times of catastrophe, and for pretty good reason. I actually think humans are hardwired to search for a God, for a divine, for a connection.
But why? Well, from a pure biological perspective, one of the reasons may be that, when you can alleviate stress -- and drought is a stress -- so is illness -- you not only reduce your metabolism, which is a good idea if you're not going to have food, but it's also a way of cleansing the mind and allowing us to learn better, so you can find a solution to the drought, to the illness, or whatever else is stressing you out.
COOPER: I want to cover both of this more. There's a lot more to talk about.
And we are also going to be taking your calls. In a few moments, Dr. Oz and Dr. Chopra are going to be answering your questions about the power of prayer. Call us at 877-648-3639 or go to CNN.com/360.
We will be right back in a moment.
COOPER: It is the number one self-help remedy for Americans, not yoga, not massages or acupuncture. The answer is praying.
Most of us are more likely to use prayers to heal than alternative medicines. It's popular. The question is, does it work? That's what we are talking about tonight.
We want to hear from you with your questions about prayer. We are taking your calls toll free, 877-648-3639.
Joining us are two of the best in the business, Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Dr. Chopra, you talked about the power of prayer. Is it actually that it -- I mean, is there direct impact on a person's physical health, or is it just that it makes you feel better, and, therefore, you're more optimistic, and you get better?
CHOPRA: It's both.
You know, your subjective experience of well-being translates into objective changes in your biology. Some people say prayer works as a placebo. But, you know, that's just a word. Placebo is belief translating into a biological response.
So, our thoughts and our feelings and our emotions have a direct effect on our biology. If we feel that we are being loved or cared for or prayed for, then we respond to that by feeling safe.
And Dr. Oz mentioned metabolism goes down. When metabolism goes down and stress goes down, then your self-repair mechanisms, which are physical mechanisms in your biology, they get activated, because stress interferes with the spontaneous self-repair mechanisms, or what we call homeostasis, in the body.
COOPER: And, Dr. Oz, regardless of whether there's any evidence for it, you still recommend patients, that, if they want to, they should pray?
OZ: Oh, of course.
And just one comment about the data. You know, we have run some of these large trails. And, when you actually do the surveys of your patients -- and the one that I was involved with was called the MANTRA trial.
It was 750 patients. And we did all of this hard work to figure out if prayer would change the outcome of folks having heart procedures. But guess what? Ninety-one percent of the patients in the trial were being prayed for anyway. So, it's very hard to do these trials. And folks should not believe that prayer doesn't work just because there's no data to support it.
And, for that reason, I do advocate for it in that setting.
OZ: And just to follow up on something Deepak was saying -- and he's so right on this -- a lot of folks have trouble understanding what prayer might be all about.
I think that energy and the use of energy in healing will be the biggest frontier in medicine over the next decade. And the reason for that is, you think about a cell and what defines life at the level of a cell, it's all about the energy on the inside and the outside being different. That is what defines life.
Well, I understand, if you put the cells together into an organ, and aggregate the organs into a body, the body should have energy. But, because we can't measure that medicine, we have been hesitant to think about tapping into it.
COOPER: That's interesting.
We have got a ton of calls here.
Barry from New York is on the line.
Barry, what is your comment or question?
CALLER: My comment is that, in the summer of 2002, I suffered six heart attacks.
I was sent to the Albany Medical Center for an evaluation for a heart transplant. I was there about four or five days. And they told me that they were going to send me home with some medicine to keep me alive for as long as I could, because I was too old.
I asked for a Bible. They bought me a Bible. I opened it up by chance to Psalms Chapter 54, Verse 11. It said, "Create in me a clean heart, oh, God, and renew a right spirit with within me."
I asked the nurse for a large piece of paper, and I wrote it out and stuck it on the wall. Whoever came in my room read that prayer over and over.
Three days later, Dr. Canver (ph), the surgeon, came to me, and he said, are you Barry Ballister (ph)? I said, yes, sir, I am. He said, are you sure you're Barry Ballister (ph)? I said, yes, sir. He said, they told me Barry Ballister (ph) was a sick old man. You don't look sick or old.
CALLER: Tell me about yourself.
So, I told him about myself and my two daughters. And I was raising two daughters as a single father. And he said, I will give you a heart, and you will live.
CALLER: And I got a heart. It's five years later. I just had my five-year evaluation.
COOPER: That's amazing.
CALLER: I have never had a rejection. I do everything. And I pray that prayer every day.
Thank you, God.
COOPER: Dr. -- Dr. Chopra, what do you make of that?
CHOPRA: Well, we see that experience replicated over and over again.
Now, of course scientists will say that's an anecdote and, therefore, doesn't really strictly follow the rules of science. Well, it doesn't matter. For that person, that happened, and he believes it happened, and that's keeping him going.
So, it's very important not to dismiss stories like that. The more stories that we have like that, the more the belief get reinforced. And once the belief...
CHOPRA: Yes. Go ahead.
COOPER: Sorry. Go ahead. CHOPRA: No, I said, once the belief gets reinforced and there's a collective intent in the field, that becomes even more powerful.
COOPER: It's fascinating.
Angie in California is on the line.
Angie, what's your question?
CALLER: Yes, for Dr. Oz.
I have been diabetic for three years. I am 52 years old and about 50 pounds overweight. And I, too, keep reading the scripture Jeremiah 30:17, "I will restore health to you."
And, for three years, I am taking three different diabetes medicine. The side effects are horrible. And, you know, I'm still overweight. I don't see any improvement.
And at one point, with spiritual healing, do you just say, this isn't working? The prayer is not working. The medicine is not working. What else -- what else can I do?
OZ: Well, you know, I think you should re-evaluate what the purpose of prayer is. Prayer is about silence. And when we speak about suffering, I think suffering is partly coming to grips with the fact that we don't control everything in our destiny.
So when folks pray, they should be cautious about whether they're praying so that God changes his or her mind, or whether or not we're talking about what impact we could have on our future.
If you're a diabetic and you're having trouble coping with the reality that the loss of mental fat, belly fat, can actually usually get rid of the diabetes, then you're missing the opportunity. You know, the God, the spirit, the divine, is giving you that opportunity to change your life.
I don't think we should be sitting on our hands hoping that that gets changed on its own. That's, by the way, some of the argument that I have with the whole thought of "The Secret." I like the belief. I like the idea that we can control our destiny.
But I don't think it's just about hoping that things change, because hope is about a plan. And when it comes back to anecdote, I just want to add to something Deepak said that's so true.
My mother-in-law always kids me, because she argues that the titular (ph) anecdote is data. And you know, that may not be wholly true but without question, if people who are trying to help others are continually seeing similar experiences occur, after a while that's called a result that you will call on, and you'll do that.
COOPER: It's a fascinating discussion. I want to have it more. It's going to continue after this short break. More of your phone calls and e-mails coming after the break. The number again: 877-648- 3639, or post a comment on the blog.
Also ahead, new details in the death of Kanye West's mother. Surprising revelations about a well-known plastic surgeon. And an autopsy was done today. What the coroner is now saying, coming up.
COOPER: The power of prayer and if it can heal. We're taking your calls tonight on the subject. Back again with us Dr. Deepak Chopra, author of the new book, "Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment." And Dr. Mehmet Oz, author of the new book, "You: Staying Young."
On the line is Vilma (ph) in Florida. Vilma (ph), what's your question?
CALLER: My question is that I would suggest that anybody in life to believe in the prayers. Which, the much [sic] you have hope, the more you receive the success in your prayer. And I would suggest to anybody that do not lose your hope. Just keep continuing and hoping, because the prayer every time will be successful.
COOPER: Dr. Chopra, you say that people have a narrow definition of prayer?
CHOPRA: Yes, because, you know, we all think that if you pray very specifically to a specific god, then you will get the effect.
But the fact is prayer is just one component that influences your biology. Other components are your behavior, your emotions, your feelings, your social interactions, your diet. There are so many things that go on in our bodies that it's very complex. And just using prayer does not mean you have to stop being practical.
You know, the story of a man who was very devout and who was praying when the floods came and the neighbors came in the Jeep to say, "Let's get out."
And he said, "No, I'm depending on God."
And then, of course, the floods got worse, and they came in a boat to rescue him. And he said, "No, I'm praying to God I'll be saved."
Finally, the floods reached a certain level and people came in the helicopter, and he still refused. Well, finally, he died and he got to wherever you go after you're dead. And he said to God, "You really let me down, you know? I prayed and you didn't rescue me."
And God said, you know, "I sent you a Jeep. I sent you a boat. I sent you a helicopter. What more do you want?"
So you've got to be practical.
COOPER: That's a great story.
We've got an e-mail from Barbara in Culver City, California. She writes, "If God is omniscient, then doesn't he or she already know what we want? As to whether it's going to change the weather, prayer isn't going to hurt, but it surely isn't enough. If droughts are part of global warming, shouldn't we be addressing those problems?"
CHOPRA: She's absolutely right.
OZ: Barbara is absolutely right. And you know, one of the realities is, we pray for patients. Usually, we don't pray that their blood count comes up. We pray, "Thy will be done."
CHOPRA: That's right.
OZ: And in the big trials, that's really the goal. Because we don't know what's in your best interest. Maybe there are reasons why you shouldn't be here.
There was a -- I was honored to host this conference for the Dalai Lama. And halfway through the conference, this was a longevity conference. He said, "You know in Tibet we have a saying. May a bad man die young."
I said, "That doesn't sound right. What's that about?"
He said, "Well, yes, because in our belief system, you build up bad karma. So if you're a bad person, why build up more bad news for you in the afterlife. Get it over with."
But the real message he's trying to deliver is if you're going to live a long time, if you crave longevity, what good use are you going to make from that? How are you going to go out and change the world for the better?
And what prayer offers is a sense of fellowship, a sense of community. You should feel like you're a rain drop falling into the ocean of the sea of humanity. And that's the sense of warmth that comes to you.
And yes, both Dr. Chopra and I can throw biological terms. Your oxytocin is increasing. It's changing your neurotransmitters. But all of that aside, the reality is when you feel that sense of connectedness, when you're going to contribute to making it better for your fellow man, now you're tapping into a genetically hard-wired process that all of us craved. That's why this species survived.
James is on the line from California -- James.
CALLER: Yes, sir. How are you gentlemen doing? Thank you for accepting my call. Chopra, my question to you is what do you think we lack here in America when it comes to our understanding of this concept of prayer?
CHOPRA: I think in America we fall into instant gratification so we think money will make us happy, weapons will make us secure and technology will make us healthy. Well, to some extent that might be true, but ultimately all fulfillment comes from within. And if you don't understand yourself, you will never really be a happy person.
People think, "If I had the right relationship, if I had money, if I had success, I would be happy." It's the other way around. If you're subjectively happy, because you are grateful that you exist and you're grateful for all the good things that you have, the love and the compassion that you share with your fellow human beings, then you're likely. Because you're happy, you're likely to have better relationships. You're likely to have good habits. You're likely to be healthy, and you're likely to be successful.
COOPER: We have another call. Torrance (ph) on the line from Ohio.
Torrance (ph), good evening.
CALLER: Yes. Dr. Oz, this question is for you. I heard you say the other day on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that prayer actually helps you to live longer. How is that true?
OZ: Well, we believe what prayer offers is a sense of community. And it turns out that when humans have a sense of community, you also build up resilience, a series of systems to protect you against adverse events.
We found this to be true in folks who are suffering from chronic illnesses like cancer. Also recovering from acute catastrophe, like being fired from a job or losing your way in life.
And so it's not just some esoteric energy system. Although, by the way, Torrance (ph), that may also be present, and we just don't understand it well enough to get into that.
But speaking as a physician, we see that this sense of protection that you get from being in a community -- which is what happens, by the way, when you pray with others -- has a benefit.
That doesn't mean, by the way, that if you don't believe in God, you're going to die. Quite the opposite. I think what we're speaking about is recognizing your sense of connectedness to others.
Because for me -- and we all define it differently, but for me prayer's about silent medication. It's about seeking inside of you that deep power that Dr. Chopra was mentioning that brings you an inner calm, that Zen moment that so many of us crave and have a difficult time finding.
You can find it in any religion. It colors all of our lives, no matter what part of the planet we're from, whatever cultural heritage we have. And we have too often forgotten that deep core of resilience that we all have in us. The secret is within us. It's true for longevity. It's true for health. It's true for coping with life, and it's true for enjoying life.
COOPER: Dr. Chopra, in the minute or so remaining, what do you want to leave people with tonight? CHOPRA: Just something that Dr. Oz referred to earlier, you know, when we have that sense of community and love and when we feel the intoxication of that connection, our bodies secrete oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, opiates, and these are not only mood-elevating but they're immunomodulators. They actually modulate the activity of our immune system and, therefore, help us live longer and help us be much more healthy.
COOPER: Gentlemen, it was a fascinating discussion tonight, and I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us. Dr. Deepak Chopra. The new book is "Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment." Mehmet Oz, the author -- author of the new book "You: Staying Young." Really fascinating. Thank you, guys.
OZ: Thank you.
CHOPRA: Thank you.
COOPER: I appreciate all your calls, and I'm sorry we couldn't get to more of them and your e-mails.
Up next tonight, a major development in the investigation into the death of Kanye West's mom. The autopsy finished just a few hours ago. What it revealed about how she died and what we now know about her surgeon's checkered past.
COOPER: In Los Angeles today, an autopsy was performed on Donda West, the mother of rapper Kanye West. She died, as you remember, unexpectedly this past weekend, apparently from surgical complications.
We still don't know the exact cause of death, and we won't until toxicology tests are completed. But tonight we do know much more about how she spent her final hours.
We know that she did, in fact, have cosmetic surgery on Friday, the day before she died. And the procedure lasted more than five hours. It was performed by a surgeon, and it turns out the surgeon himself has a very checkered past.
With all that, here's CNN's David Mattingly.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No doubt about it: Dr. Jan Adams sounds like he knows what he's doing. Just listen as he describes how to do a breast lift.
DR. JAN ADAMS, PLASTIC SURGEON: And what you want to do is maintain the nerve supply and the vascular blood supply to the nipple.
MATTINGLY: He has a made-for-TV style that's taken him everywhere from Discovery to Oprah. He's written a book. He has a line of skin products for women of color. And he's been billed as a top Beverly Hills surgeon.
(on camera) But that kind of high profile doesn't help where it counts, not in the operating room, not in court and not with the Medical Board of California.
(voice-over) Dr. Adams has two DUIs in the last four years, and a board will decide if it needs to suspend or even revoke his license.
(on camera) That would be a big blow to someone who seems to have been on the star track since college.
(voice-over) Harvard, Michigan and prestigious fellowship in plastic surgery at UCLA.
(on camera) His record in private practice, however, has been troubled.
(voice-over) The state lists two malpractice judgments against Adams in 2001, both totaling nearly a half million dollars.
(on camera) One of the women who sued him told us Adams ruined her face.
(voice-over) But none of this has stopped Adams from becoming a go-to sound bite when the topic is plastic surgery.
Still, Adams won't comment about the death of his patient Donda West. But celebrity news site TMZ says he told them she came in for a breast reduction and a tummy tuck, one of the riskiest of all the popular procedures.
ALAN MATARASSO, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PLASTIC SURGEONS: They all have their own degrees of difficult. It's like saying, is it harder to play second base or short stop. They're all difficult. But unfortunately, the risks are greatest with this.
MATTINGLY: The coroner wouldn't comment on a cause of death for Donda West. He'll wait for test results before he says any more.
In a statement to CNN, Adams expressed condolences to the family. He sign cited a sacred bond of confidentiality between patient and doctor and says he won't comment publicly until he's talked with the family.
David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: We'll continue to follow that.
Up next, breaking news. New York's governor reportedly changes his mind about giving driver's -- driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
First, Tom Foreman is in Washington with "Raw Politics" -- Tom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we're getting closer and closer to all-out war between President Bush and Congress. The latest flurry, once again, over his veto pen. We'll have all the details in just a moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Some breaking news to bring you on a story that triggered national outrage and knocked a presidential candidate for a loop when she was asked about it during the last big debate: New York's Governor Eliot Spitzer's plan to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens.
Now, according to "The New York Times," Governor Spitzer is dropping the plan and will make a formal announcement about that tomorrow.
As we said, the issue stymied Hillary Clinton at the last debate, and it figures highly on Lou Dobbs's radar screen. He's been looking at immigration, of course, and politics and people who are tired of both parties. These political free agents are the focus of his new book "Independence Day: Awakening the American Spirit."
I talked with Lou recently about the trend and what's behind it.
COOPER: It does seem like more and more people are identifying themselves as independent. Is that simply...
LOU DOBBS, AUTHOR, "INDEPENDENCE DAY": Yes.
COOPER: Yes, I know you're all for it. But is that simply a rejection of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party?
DOBBS: I think it is both. I think we're seeing about 40 percent of people are now identifying themselves as independents in this country, about 7 percent more than identify themselves, even, as Democrats.
But I also think that there is an awakening populist spirit in this country. People are sick and tired of corporations running the country, multinationals without an allegiance to the home market, as the multinationals like to put it, without investment in education. They understand that corporate America is dominating both political parties, our political system both electorally and legislatively.
And so I think you have both things occurring simultaneously. I think it could be a very powerful impulse in 2008.
COOPER: It's interesting. You say -- or in this commentary that you wrote that's on CNN.com right now. You said, "I can't imagine any one of the current candidates for their party's nomination being chosen by the American people to lead this nation for the next four years. I believe the person elected a year from now will be an independent populist."
COOPER: You don't believe any of the current crop is getting elected?
DOBBS: I don't believe -- you know, I don't believe any of these candidates at this point are sufficiently independent or sufficiently populist to gain the confidence of the independents who are going to determine this election.
COOPER: Are we too late for some new candidates to come forward?
DOBBS: No, it's not too late. It's not too late at all. Both political parties are trying to drive this to a much earlier conclusion so that they can maintain control over the political process.
COOPER: By -- by registering as independent, is that to send a message to the parties?
DOBBS: Absolutely. To say to -- here's the message to the Republican and Democratic national committees: "Go to hell. You have screwed this system up. You are nothing more than patsies to corporate America and multinationals. And you no longer hold American citizens in regard."
Whether the issue is border security, illegal immigration, public education, free trade, public investment. My God, the list goes on. And then you've got these people lining up to say they want to be president of the United States? How dare they?
COOPER: The book is "Independence Day: Awakening of the American Spirit." The last one was a best seller. No doubt this one will be, too.
Thank you, sir.
DOBBS: Good to see you.
COOPER: Politicians know how to get our attention. And tonight, one presidential hopeful is doing just that with a shocking new TV ad. We'll let Tom Foreman handle that in "Raw Politics." But he begins with another bruising battle in Washington.
FOREMAN: The war between President Bush and Congress is really heating up, as he vetoes a $600 billion bill for education and health.
(voice-over) The pres says it was stuffed with pork, and the Democratic majority promised fiscal responsibility. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So far it's acting like a teenager with a new credit card.
FOREMAN: The Dems, hitting back hard with a new estimate that says the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost $1.6 trillion, twice what the White House had requested so far.
Paging Tony Soprano. Democrat John Edwards has a message for Congress members with government health coverage: give it to everyone else or it's strong arms time.
JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you.
FOREMAN: Republican Tom Tancredo has fired a rocket. His new ad said if illegal immigration is not stopped, terrorists could slip over the border and strike. "Raw" read: these are desperate words from a campaign that is less-than-explosive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Me and my Winston, we've got a really good thing. A real good thing.
FOREMAN: Cue the dancing cigarettes. U.S. senators have banned cig sales on their side of the capital and are reviewing the labels on smokes to see if they mislead about the health risks.
The National Right-to-Life Committee is endorsing Fred Thompson, hoping he'll beat Rudy Giuliani, who favors abortion rights.
And Mitt "Money Bags" Romney takes the title, spending more at this point in this race on TV ads than anyone else ever: $10.2 million.
(on camera) Wow. It works out to about $85,000 a day, and that's more than the average American family makes in a year -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Tom.
A reminder, in just two days the Democratic presidential candidates are going to face off in a part of history in a debate moderated by Wolf Blitzer.
Also as the ad there indicates, on the 28th I'm hosting the second CNN-YouTube debate. This time the Republicans are going to answer your questions. We have already had thousands of submissions. There's still time to get your question in the mix. All you've got to do is go to CNN.com/YouTubeDebate.
Up next tonight, explosive testimony in the O.J. Simpson case. One of his codefendants said the Juice told him to, quote, "Get some heat," bring it to we that now infamous Las Vegas hotel room. Our legal experts weigh in next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Tonight, the damning testimony against O.J. Simpson. His aging "B" team posse might not have been dangerous when they burst into that Vegas hotel room, but a witness today said Simpson wanted them armed. That is the testimony, and it directly contradicts what Simpson has said.
There was also a wicked counterpunch. We're digging deeper into where the case goes next.
Also tonight, disturbing new details about the plastic surgeon who operated on Kanye West's mother and new word from the coroner on how she died.
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