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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Ralph Nader Making Another Run for White House; Digging Deeper - Bullying, Violence, Sexuality and Your Kids; North Korea - Secrets Exposed
Aired February 25, 2008 - 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: Tonight with Barack Obama pulling ahead in Texas and Hillary Clinton hanging tough in Ohio, political fighting words and pictures. A photo of Barack Obama appears online and has both sides pointing fingers at each other.
Also tonight, Ralph Nader; he's not crazy about any of them, making another run for the White House. Taking another shot at the two-party system, once again stirring up a storm. A lot people wondering this time, is that all he's good for, causing political turmoil. We'll ask him live tonight.
Also a teenager bullied then killed after revealing his sexuality. Did school officials know and ignored the bullying? And what can be done to protect your kids from hate in high school corridors. We'll investigate.
All that ahead, but we begin with the Democratic presidential race that is growing hotter by the minute. Remember that handshake and the kind words at the end of the CNN debate last week? Forget it. This weekend Hillary Clinton said "Shame on you Barack," then his campaign accused hers of scaring people. Today, without mentioning him by name, she said that she wouldn't need an instruction manual in a global crisis. Ouch!
Meantime, the latest CNN opinion research poll in Texas shows Senator Obama up 4 points. He was down 2 points last week. And our newest Ohio poll of polls, Senator Clinton is hanging on to a 10-point lead, but with 12 percent undecided.
The poll numbers will change, no doubt, but not the calendar. Ohio and Texas are a week away. They could decide the race, and the campaign right now certainly reflects that. Here's CNN's Candy Crowley.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Democrat to Democrat, it's the unkindest cut of all, a comparison to George Bush.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've seen the tragic result of having a president who had neither the experience nor the wisdom to manage our foreign policy and safeguard our national security. We can't let that happen again.
CROWLEY: A rough and tumble weekend spilled in to today as the Clinton and Obama campaigns clashed over resumes, trade policy, health care, and this picture. Barack Obama in 2006 visiting Kenya in traditional Somali dress. The Obama campaign accused the Clinton campaign of shameful and offensive fear-mongering, stoking some voter concern about his background.
The picture appeared on the Drudge report but it's unclear if any other outlet got it. Several officials in the Clinton campaign say they personally know nothing about it, and they suggest it's an Obama ploy to distract voters from real issues.
It's the stuff of tense times. Clinton took it up a decibel or two over the weekend mocking what he calls the "politics of hope."
H. CLINTON: Let's get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.
CROWLEY: In Ohio, which according to some estimates has lost 50,000 jobs as a resulted of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Clinton also took exception with an Obama flyer, citing her past support for NAFTA.
H. CLINTON: Shame on you, Barack Obama. It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That's what I expect from you. Meet me in Ohio. Let's have a debate.
CROWLEY: The Obama campaign concedes Clinton never said NAFTA was a, quote, "boon to the economy," but he argues the larger picture.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Clinton, as part of the Clinton administration, supported NAFTA. In her book, she called it one of the administration's successes.
CROWLEY: Keeping them both honest, she has said consistently through the campaign that she has problems with NAFTA and wants to reevaluate all trade deals. It's also true in the past she spoke favorably about it. Once in '96 while touring New York's garment district.
H. CLINTON: Oh, I think that everybody's in favor of free and fair trade and I think that NAFTA is proving its worth.
CROWLEY: Though she goes after him, Obama engages only selectively. Mostly he sticks with the program.
OBAMA: Yes, we can! We can do these things, if you are ready for change. But I've got to say in the waning days of this campaign, a lot of people are saying, oh, no, no, don't believe.
CROWLEY: It is the front-runner's game, steady as he goes.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Dayton, Ohio.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER: With me now to talk about the heat but also the issues fueling it are CNN senior analysts Gloria Borger and David Gergen.
Gloria, the tone and pitch in this campaign has changed once again. This weekend we heard anger, then we heard sarcasm from the Clinton camp. They now seem to be trying a kitchen sink strategy. That's a term an unnamed source told "The New York Times" in an article coming out tomorrow, basically throwing whatever they can to convince undecided voters. Is that going to work?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I'm not so sure, Anderson. It's clearly an inconsistent campaign. She hasn't had one clear message. She's had three messages. One day she reaches over and she touches Barack Obama's arm. The next day she's saying, "Shame on you." The next day she's running as an experienced commander in chief.
You know, it's difficult, Anderson, to win with one message, much less three messages. And I think, you know, this has all the trappings of a campaign that is having an internal argument about how to proceed because there isn't any clear direction.
COOPER: It's interesting, David. Senator Clinton implied that an Obama presidency would be risky for the country. We heard that in Candy's piece. Last week during the debate she was basically asked that same question, given the opportunity to say that exact thing and she clearly passed on it. What do you make of it? Do you agree with Gloria that this is a mixed-message campaign?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I agree very much with Gloria and everything she just said. The odd thing, Anderson, is that when you look at what Hillary Clinton has been saying on the stump the last three or four days, she's actually been giving some very good speeches.
She's coming out fighting for the middle class, for people losing their jobs; they're effective. And she's holding on to a big lead still in Ohio. She's definitely not out of the game, but, you know, to go from the love fest at the end of that debate to the, as you say, the rant on Sunday, the angry rant on her part, and then the sarcasm on Monday.
And now this ugly incident, which Matt Drudge says -- the disagreement is with Matt Drudge. Matt Drudge is saying that the Clinton staffers circulated this. But all that has obscured her basic message and it makes her campaign seem like a plane flying -- careening around in a bad storm.
And in contrast, as Barack Obama answers these various charges, he seems like the calm and steady one. It does not, I think, help her campaign. I think it strengthens him.
COOPER: It will be interesting what she does at that debate tomorrow, which one -- which -- you know...
GERGEN: Which one shows up.
COOPER: ...which side shows up. Clearly in the last debate they decided to have this much more of a love fest. Clearly on the campaign trail we're hearing something different. In Ohio, Gloria, Clinton is clearly still ahead, but the lead is gradually decreasing. Has Obama's decision to focus on NAFTA, has that been effective there?
BORGER: Well, we don't know yet, Anderson. Obviously trade is a huge issue in Ohio. He obviously feels like he's getting under Hillary Clinton's skin a little bit with that issue, what she was, as you put it, ranting about over the weekend was a flyer he put out on NAFTA.
He also says, look, you cannot run on your experience, having been a part of the Clinton administration, and then run -- and then say NAFTA is bad, which was passed and promulgated by the Clinton administration. So he's making an interesting point here on NAFTA saying to Hillary Clinton, "You can't have it both ways."
As to who's going to show up at that debate? It's kind of hard to say, shame on you, to his face. It will be interesting to see if she gets any where near that.
COOPER: David, on the Republican race, John McCain told reporters that his campaign large lip hinges on Iraq. We're going to listen to some of what he said. Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Clearly my fortunes have a lot to do with what's happened in Iraq, and I'm proud of that. Because Senator Clinton and Senator Obama said that we could not succeed militarily. We have. They said we could not succeed politically. We have.
I think that the American people will recognize that, and we'll continue to succeed in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: David, how does that affect -- how does Iraq affect McCain? Are they -- are they tied in this election?
GERGEN: Well, right now he's running even with both of those candidates; does better against Hillary Clinton than he does against Barack Obama in most polls. But it's clear that the success of the surge in Iraq has greatly helped his campaign.
And I think, Anderson, the next few weeks, as we work out where we're going from here with -- when General Petraeus comes back, we're going to have an early version of this campaign right in the United States senate. As either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is fighting it out with John McCain about where we ought to go from here in Iraq is going to be fascinating during that time.
If I could just add one other postscript, Anderson, on NAFTA; I was actually there in the Clinton White House during the NAFTA fight. And I must tell you, Hillary Clinton was extremely unenthusiastic about NAFTA. She -- and I think that's putting it mildly. I'm not sure how she objected to all the provisions of it. She just didn't see why that White House had to go do that fight.
She was very unhappy about it, wanted to move on to health care. So I do think there's some justification for her camp saying, you know, she's never been a great backer of NAFTA.
BORGER: But it did have to do with health care, David, right? Because health care was her baby and NAFTA was the president's baby.
GERGEN: Well, that's right. As you remember, Gloria, Bill Clinton, I thought it was one of his most courageous decisions. I'm a NAFTA backer. But he had to take on the labor unions. He had to take on a lot of her Democratic constituencies that she wanted to keep firm for the health care fight. So there was a lot about NAFTA she didn't really like, but she had to keep her mouth shut because, after all, he was the president.
COOPER: Fascinating. David Gergen, thank you; Gloria Borger as well.
How do you think Hillary Clinton is doing? Do you think this new strategy, if it really is a new strategy will work? Join the conversation. Tell me what you think on our blog. I'm blogging during the broadcast tonight. Go to cnn.com/360.
Coming up, former Clinton staffer Dee Dee Myers on Hillary's strategy, Obama's challenge and women in charge.
Also tonight, the new wild card. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER: Party crasher. Ralph Nader running again. And once again, people want to know why. Does he really believe there's no difference between the other candidates? See for yourself next.
Also, from bullying...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just mocked him.
COOPER: ...to murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found him a few block as way from school.
COOPER: An eighth grader killed after admitting he was gay. Digging deeper tonight - bullying, violence, sexuality and your kids - 360 tonight.
COOPER: Hillary Clinton this evening at a fundraiser in Washington, after laying out her foreign policy this afternoon, and laying into Barack Obama. Our next guest needs little introduction but does need a disclaimer, Dee Dee Myers is a former Clinton White House Press Secretary. She's a Hillary Clinton campaign contributor, though she's not publicly said which candidate she's supporting. Her sister Betsy is a top Barack Obama campaign staffer. Her new book, "Why Women Should Rule the World." Thanks so much for being with us.
DEE DEE MYERS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Glad to be here.
COOPER: A little politics first. The Clinton campaign does seem to be having different messages. Is that a problem for them at this point?
MYERS: Yes, I think the campaign is definitely having a problem figuring out how to run against Barack Obama. He's proven to be incredibly difficult to run against; to land a punch on him. You can't -- how do you run against hope, how do you run against this phenomenon, this movement?
I think what you're seeing is Hillary reacting to the frustrating circumstances she finds herself in. She didn't expect to be here.
COOPER: So when Hillary Clinton said she found her voice in New Hampshire, and then for weeks -- people will say they didn't hear that same voice that they heard in New Hampshire and liked in New Hampshire. They heard it a little bit at the end of that last CNN debate. Why -- if so many people like that part of Hillary Clinton, why haven't we seen more of it?
MYERS: Well, I think people do like that part of Hillary Clinton; a lot of those people are Barack Obama supporters who liked that conciliatory tone in the debate last week. I think the problem for Hillary Clinton has been how do you distinguish yourself from your opponent? How do you run a tough campaign that draws distinctions and takes on somebody who's really competing hard against you without coming across as coming too edgy, too unlikable, too b-word, to be electable.
I think this is a problem for her that's particular to her gender. She ran a campaign early on to try to establish her credibility because the threshold for women establishing credibility to run for president I think is a little bit different for men. It would be very difficult for a woman with Barack Obama's resume, for example, to be taken seriously.
Even with Hillary Clinton's credentials, which I think are substantial by any measure, I think her campaign decided early on that they had to run a campaign to really ground her, to give her -- to make her credible, to give her the authority of experience and the toughness. And they did that?
COOPER: Because of gender?
MYERS: Yes because they were seeing some weaknesses in their polling early on that said, "You know, we got to just shore ourselves up here." And while they were doing that, they were pretty successful. I don't think there's a lot of questions lingering about whether Hillary's tough enough.
But while they were doing that, Barack Obama stole the change message out from under them. I don't think they expected to see him emerge in quite the way he did. Now he's sort of run away with the change message, and she's left with experience, which isn't doing as well. And she's trying to figure out, "Where do I go from here."
And ironically, the other thing that's been so hard for here is, people say, "You're too tough. You have to soften up." And the minute she softens up, people go, "Is that real? I don't know if I believe her. Do you think that was real? Or is she faking it?" She sort of gets it's coming and going.
COOPER: The book is "Why Women Should Rule the World".
COOPER: Let me ask you why should they rule the world?
MYERS: Well, the premise is it's not an anti-men book in any way. I love them, I just think there's a lot of room for women to rule alongside men. And the reason is --
COOPER: Do they rule differently?
MYERS: Yes, I think women bring a different life experience, they bring sometimes different skills, different ways of looking at problems. That's not to say every man is one way and every woman is another way. I think by adding a different voice and again a different experience, different skills, different strengths, we get a better look, a broader look at problems. We come up with different solutions. Solutions that address maybe things that have been ignored or look at styles of doing it that haven't been at the top of people's lists in the past. I think it strengthens the process for everybody. It creates more options for men and women and different outcomes.
COOPER: It's interesting that overseas, we've seen more women leaders than we have in the United States.
MYERS: Right. I think one of the reasons is so far women have been more successful in parliamentary systems where they're elected by majority members of their party, where they're known inside parliament.
Margaret Thatcher, for example, was elected as head of the Conservative Party and then when the Conservatives took over, she became Prime Minister. That's been an easier route. That's starting to change and we're starting to see in countries like Chile, Michelle Bachelet elected president of Chile; not a place you'd expect to see a woman succeed.
So I think that's changing and women are becoming more successful in elections where they're facing voters directly. I think one of the reasons is because people see -- look around the world, and there haven't been as many women as I'd like to see in positions of power. But as there are more, and these women are succeeding, I think the world is seeing that there's different ways to do things, there's more options. There's not to say there's a right and a wrong way, but more options creates better outcomes.
COOPER: The book is out now in bookstores?
MYERS: The book will be out tomorrow.
COOPER: Tomorrow. Excellent. Great.
MYERS: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, thanks a lot; appreciate you being here.
A lot more politics ahead. We're going to talk live with the newly announced presidential candidate, Ralph Nader. But first, Erica Hill joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a tearful apology on the stand today from a former Ohio cop and a plea to the jury to spare his life. Bobby Cutts Jr. was convicted of killing his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child 10 days ago. That same jury that convicted him must now decide whether he should face the death or a life sentence with or without parole.
American Airlines insists it tried to help a passenger who died Friday after complaining she could not breath on board a flight. It says oxygen tanks and the defibrillator were working on that flight. But a cousin of the woman who was also on board says the equipment failed and the passenger was denied oxygen.
And congratulations in order for Robert and Tonya Harris. The Georgia couple turned in their winning lottery ticket today, to the tune of $275 million. The winning numbers? Their grandkids' birthdays. And they are going to use those winnings to send their grandchildren to college. They also plan to buy a new truck tomorrow, a new trailer. And, Anderson, they're looking to build a home on the coast.
COOPER: Good for them -- they don't look all that happy, I have got to say. But maybe it just hasn't sunk in.
HILL: Maybe it hasn't sunk in. And maybe they're afraid people are going to be knocking down their door now, saying, oh, got a little extra cash?
COOPER: Every long-lost relative is coming in.
All right, here's a question for you. What happens when you have these three people? You have got Ryan Seacrest, you got Jennifer Garner, and Gary Busey on the same Red Carpet?
HILL: That's a lethal combination right there.
COOPER: It is, anything with Gary Busey.
It's a whole lot of Oscar weirdness. "What Were They Thinking?" that is coming up.
And he's back, Ralph Nader, running again for the White House, going on the attack against the Democrats and Republicans. Why does he think he's a better candidate?
We will ask him -- when 360 continues.
COOPER: Now to our segment "What Were They Thinking?"
And when you're dealing with actor Gary Busey, does anyone really know? This was my favorite moment from the Oscars last night. It happened actually before the Oscars on the Red Carpet. Ryan Seacrest was hosting -- hosting on the E! Channel.
HILL: Yes, don't forget the exclamation point there.
COOPER: I know.
COOPER: I know. And I'm wary about anything that has an exclamation mark, as we discussed last week.
But, in this moment, Jennifer Garner gets the heck scared out of her by Gary Busey. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jennifer Garner?
RYAN SEACREST, ENTERTAINER: That's Jennifer Garner.
JENNIFER GARNER, ACTRESS: Hi.
SEACREST: Hi. Oh, it's great. Jennifer...
GARNER: ... me about getting kissed on the neck on the Red Carpet by this man? That was nice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I love, A, the expression on her face, because it's not acting. That was real. She has no clue who Gary Busey is.
COOPER: She refers to him as "that man."
And, as for that man, Busey, well, I guess just another day in his own special world.
You know, if you saw him on "Entourage," you kind of got the idea.
COOPER: By the way, Mr...
HILL: He was great on "Entourage." I forgot about that.
COOPER: He was. He was very good on it.
Now, if you're watching Mr. Busey, all that's being said, we would love to have you audition for our announcer position on 360. We have had Ozzy Osbourne. We have had -- who else have we had?
HILL: You had...
COOPER: Fran Drescher.
HILL: Why can't I remember anybody? Fran Drescher.
COOPER: Of course. How could I forget that?
And have we had -- I don't -- I'm worried...
HILL: Didn't you have LeBron James?
COOPER: Well, we had someone else. But we haven't air their announcer -- anyway, LeBron James.
Gary Busey, we would love to have you on.
HILL: But, you know, before Gary Busey gets to that, maybe you would like to see some of his other work, Anderson.
HILL: Because it turns out there's a lot more out there.
COOPER: "The Buddy Holly Story," I remember. I love that.
HILL: Well, there's that. Or there are these gems on YouTube. In fact, one was particularly inspirational to one of our producers, Charlie (ph). Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY BUSEY, ACTOR: This is a sail on your boat of life. The ocean is a spirit. The ocean is your imagination. The ocean is your power. The ocean is your emotion. The sail on the boat is the golden rule. The wind that catches the sail and pushes the boat into a lovely sunset of tropical design with a double rainbow, that wind is your spirit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: That wind is your spirit, Anderson.
COOPER: What was that?
HILL: Can you feel the breeze in the studio? It's the spirit.
COOPER: The ocean is the spirit, but then the wind was the spirit?
HILL: There's a lot going on. I like the sensitive tropic design.
COOPER: Did we add the music in, by the way? I just...
HILL: No. I think it was there on YouTube.
HILL: But it may not have originally been there. Or maybe it was the inspiration on the sailboat for Gary Busey.
COOPER: Wow. That was cool. That was very inspirational. I didn't know he did that.
Erica, thank you for that.
COOPER: Up next: Ralph Nader is back, running for president again. The question is, why, and what effect is it going to have on the Democrats? We will ask him when he joins us live coming up.
And here's tonight's beat 360. Cue the Gary Busey cheesy music.
Hillary Clinton on her campaign plane on the tarmac in Boston, Massachusetts, sharing a light moment with the press corps.
Here's the caption from our staff winner, Gary (ph): "The press is amused, but Hillary Clinton is shocked and angry, as Ralph Nader pops out of the rear lavatory."
I actually kind of thought that was clever, topical.
Anyway, think you can do better? Go to cnn.com/360. Send us your submission. And we will announce the winner at the end of the program.
COOPER: Ralph Nader turns 74 on Wednesday. Tonight, the consumer advocate and politician is getting plenty of attention after deciding to run for president again. You can be sure the announcement is not going over well with many in the Democratic Party.
Ralph Nader is, of course, the man many Democrats love to hate and blame. To this day, some believe he cost them the 2000 election, a charge he vigorously denies.
In a blog entry he wrote for us today, Mr. Nader called his health care policy, which is a pillar of his campaign, a no-brainer. Is the campaign itself? Let's ask him. Ralph Nader joins me now from Washington.
Thanks for being with us, Mr. Nader.
RALPH NADER, (I) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: This is your -- your third major run for president. What made you decide to get into the race?
NADER: Well, the country is being brought down by a combination of big business controlling big government.
You saw the follow-up on Katrina, billions of dollars flowing from Washington to these corporations. And look at the wreckage that still occurs there. I think the Hollywood Oscars are getting more publicity than 300,000 preventable American deaths a year, occupational safety and disease, auto deaths on the highway, pollution deaths from the environment, hospital malpractice, hospital-induced infections.
COOPER: And, so, running for...
NADER: We have got to get serious. We have to get serious.
COOPER: So, running for president gets these issues on television time?
NADER: Yes, exactly.
I mean, look at the drug industry. They're subsidized by the treasury called taxpayers. They're given tax-funded discovered drugs free. They fought successfully banning Uncle Sam from bargaining for volume discount for drugs for millions of Americans.
Then they fight a single-payer health plan, which would have regulated the price of drugs. And what do they do when they get coddled and subsidized? They hit the sick Americans with the highest drug prices in the world. They don't dare charge those prices for the same drugs in Mexico or Canada.
We have to get serious, Anderson.
COOPER: Even some of your supporters, folks who have -- have followed you for years...
COOPER: ... and even worked for you, say you should not be running.
James Fallows at "The Atlantic Monthly," who used to work for you -- he's a big admirer -- he wrote today a piece. He said he was very critical of your decision to run for president.
I want to read you some of what he said. He said: "That he stayed in the race in 2000 was tragedy. (See invasion of Iraq, 2003, and subsequent occupation.) That he came back in 2004 was unfortunate. His entry in 2008 is farce. Farce because it suggests detachment from political reality. (The differences between the Republican and Democratic candidates -- nominees are so faint that we can say, what the hell) and, worse, narcissism. The fact that it won't make any difference in the outcome actually is sad."
Do you worry that your reputation will be tainted? I mean, all the things you have accomplished thus far, will people just see this as some farcical and narcissistic run?
NADER: I'm a fighter for justice, Anderson. When there's perennial injustice, you have got to keep going after it, whether inside the electoral arena, or getting progressive forces inside the Democratic Party to take over and replace the corporate Democrats.
We are full of solutions in this country that are on the shelf. They're not being applied to injustices, deprivations on the ground because of the democracy gap. That gap has got to be filled by mobilized citizens in every congressional district, which is what our Web site is gathering day by day, VoteNader.org.
It's not just fund-raising from individuals. We don't take it from commercial interests or PACs. It's to bring serious people, to mount hardcore Congress watchdogs on Congress, to turn Congress around, so the government works for the people, instead of fights the people for the benefit of giant corporations.
I mean, we have a Congress the best money can buy, as Will Rogers said. And we have a president who is engaged in daily impeachable offenses.
COOPER: Is this...
NADER: And we have the American people left behind.
COOPER: Is this a real run? I mean, how much money, at this point, do you have? How much organization do you actually have?
NADER: Well, we just started. The money is pouring in from individuals. We got thousands of e-mail volunteers. We're going to aim to raise $10 million. We're very frugal. That's the equivalent of $30 million of what the major candidates misspent. And we're going to work on volunteers.
Here it is, America. If you really want to change things, this is your opportunity to do so. You're working with a 45-year-old veteran of achieving a lot of health and safety and economic well- being for you, showing that government can work if we jump on the back of government and throw the corporations into a position where they're our servants, not our masters, as Thomas Jefferson envisioned many years ago, when he said representative government must curb the excesses of the moneyed interests.
COOPER: Mr. Nader, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much for being with us.
NADER: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, still to come tonight, the murder of a teenager and the questions it raises for anyone who's got a child in school.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER (voice-over): From bullying...
ALEXIS CHAVEZ, VICTIM'S FRIEND: They just mocked him.
COOPER: ... to murder.
DAVID KEITH, OXNARD POLICE DEPARTMENT: We found him a few blocks away from school.
COOPER: An eighth grader killed after admitting he was gay. "Digging Deeper" tonight: bullying, violence, sexuality and your kids.
And later, unprecedented access. CNN's Christiane Amanpour inside the secretive world of North Korean nukes, ahead on 360.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were shots fired in a classroom.
911 OPERATOR: OK. Do you know where the person with the gun is?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, where is the person with the gun, Joel (ph)? Joel (ph), do you know where the person with the gun is?
911 OPERATOR: Do you want me to make a fire call, yes?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need somebody here immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was a 911 call for help after the killing of a 15- year-old boy at Oxnard, California, Junior High School in mid- February. Police say a 14-year-old classmate fired the bullets. He's charged as an adult in what police now say was a hate crime.
The victim was openly gay, and because of that and the way he dressed, police say he was bullied and then murdered.
CNN's Dan Simon has details.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The flowers and cards pile up in remembrance of a 15-year-old boy named Larry King; love and friendship that Larry never seemed to feel in life. CHAVEZ: They just mocked him. And every time he came around, they ran and just painful things. They said painful things about him.
SIMON: The teasing and bullying began a few months ago when Larry told his classmates here at EO Green Junior High that he was gay. He changed his dress and now wore earrings, makeup and high- heeled boots with his school uniform.
Alexis Chavez says she tried to stick up for Larry when no one else would.
CHAVEZ: If they came up and made fun of him -- sorry. If they came up and made fun of him, I would tell them, like, "You know what? If that's how you are, that's how you are. It wasn't his fault."
SIMON: But the bullying only escalated. And two weeks ago, on a Tuesday morning during English class, one of Larry's classmates took it to a whole new level, shooting him twice in the back of the head.
911 OPERATOR: OK, do you know where the person with the gun is?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Joel, who's the victim? Is there a victim? I'm on the phone with dispatch. Larry?
SIMON: Students immediately identified the shooter as fellow eighth grader Brandon McInerney. Police arrested him minutes later.
KEITH: We found him a few block away from school. He was off campus. He had -- he had run out of the classroom, obviously, right after the shooting.
SIMON: The D.A. has charged McInerney as an adult, accused of first-degree murder and carrying out a hate crime. If convicted, he could get more than 50 years in prison.
McInerney has yet to enter a plea, but his attorney says he is too young to be charged as an adult. He just turned 14.
BRIAN VOGEL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: My client hasn't become an adult in the last three weeks, so we feel that it would be more appropriately addressed in the juvenile court.
SIMON (on camera): The case may be more complicated than at first glance. Some students say McInerney himself was also on the receiving end of some harassment. They say King had a crush on him and publicly made it known. Other students dismiss those reports as rumors.
But a police source, not authorized to speak about this case, says they are looking into the possibility that McInerney felt humiliated by homosexual advances and just snapped.
(voice-over) Some parents here say it's time to teach more tolerance in California classrooms.
LUCY RODRIGUEZ, PARENT: It's sad, but it's not just this district; it's every district. Something really has to be implemented.
SIMON: Larry lived in a foster home for abused and neglected kids. Citing privacy laws, officials won't reveal what brought him here. But tragically, they say he was just beginning to find some acceptance just before his life was cut short.
Dan Simon, CNN, Oxnard, California.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER: Digging deeper, joining me now, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Sophy of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.
How common -- I mean, obviously, a case like this is not all that common that actually ends up in murder in a classroom. But bullying, how common is it?
DR. CHARLES SOPHY, LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES: Bullying is a pretty common incident. About half of our children at school in their career will be bullied, and about ten percent of our children will be bullied on a regular basis. So it's pretty common.
COOPER: Do schools take it seriously enough?
SOPHY: I think schools probably take it as seriously as they can, but I do think that there are bigger fixes that we should be learning from incidences like this.
COOPER: What kind of fixes?
SOPHY: I definitely think we need to interweave within the curriculum of our educational system a way for our kids to understand tolerance and to kind of role-play through it. And really offer the same of things for parents and caregivers. Because we're exposing our kids to a lot of stimulus, and we're not necessarily giving them the tools, both from the parent and then the child end, to be able to handle that.
COOPER: It does seem, though, you go to schools and you hear slurs against homosexuals as if it's still accepted. Is that part of the problem?
SOPHY: I think it's part of the problem. It's education. Education across the board has to happen. Parents need to know their kids. They need to spend time with their kids. They need to talk to their kids. They need to talk to the people who hang out with their kids. And once you know your kid, then you're going to start to see changes in your kid that you may want to do something about.
COOPER: But there's a lot of parents out there who, you know, are uncomfortable, obviously, with homosexuality, don't want it taught in schools, don't want it discussed in schools. You say that has to change. SOPHY: Well, I think what has to change is really just talking about tolerance and bullying: what it looks like, how to handle it, and raising the awareness of that. The specific topic can be handled individually.
COOPER: So other lessons that people should take away from this is what? I mean, it seems like this young man, Larry, who was just, you know, 15 years old and had the courage to do what he did, and clearly had a pretty lousy life up until now -- I mean, he's living in the foster care system, even though he has living parents and siblings -- has had a very hard time. What other takeaway is there?
SOPHY: I think the takeaway is parents need to know their kids. We need to really work as a society and to do a better job to educate our kids how to handle these kinds of things.
We're exposing them to a lot of stuff that's going to make them feel things as they're going through normal developmental stages of questioning themselves and their sexual identity. We need to be able to give them the tools to handle it. But parents have to be able to know how to handle it for themselves first and role model that for their kids.
COOPER: It's also not clear at this point how much the school did know about the bullying. That's something that certainly should be investigated.
Charles -- Dr. Charles Sophy, we appreciate you being on the program. Thank you very much.
SOPHY: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, CNN's Christiane Amanpour takes us inside North Korea and inside its secretive nuclear weapons program.
Plus, when the so-called surge in official over in Iraq, you may be surprised how many U.S. troops will still be on the ground. New information from the Pentagon you'll want to hear, coming up.
COOPER: The international man of mystery, Kim Jong-Il, has allowed an American orchestra inside North Korea. The New York Philharmonic has arrived there to -- they're going to perform a historic concert tomorrow. It's the largest contingent of Americans inside North Korea since the Korean War.
That's really part of the story. At the same time, North Korea is allowing two U.S. news organizations into its main nuclear facility and CNN, of course, is one of them. Today our cameras were inside the secret plant, led by chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour. Our visit was unprecedented and eye-opening. Here's what she saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How long do you think it will take to get all the fuel rods out?
(on camera) U.S. technicians helping North Korea disable its main Yongbyon nuclear facility help us suit up for a rare tour of the reactor.
Here, 1,600 nuclear fuel rods have been neutralized under six meters of now freezing water, in the so-called fuel rod pond.
Walking around Yongbyon, officials show us what's been disabled since the plant was shut off last summer. Here, a pipe has been cut and laid on the ground. It was part of the coolant circuit that sent steam to the turbine generator to produce electricity.
Here, the distinctive cooling tower has been gutted. Just the concrete shell remains. The wooden heart of the tower has been chopped down.
And this is the reprocessing plant, where plutonium is extracted from the fuel rods.
(on camera) Plutonium that can be used for weapons?
(voice-over) "Yes, it can," the chief engineer tells us. But today, it too has been disabled. Parts have been taken out, stored and wrapped in plastic.
In return for all of this, the North Koreans were promised fuel oil, aid and more.
(on camera) What you want is a million tons of fuel. You want to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
(voice-over) But the U.S. has not done that. So North Korea has now slowed down the process.
(on camera) How many rods are you taking out per day?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are taking out 30 fuel rods per day.
AMANPOUR: How many could you take out if you were going at maximum speed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Eighty rods.
AMANPOUR: For its part, the U.S. says North Korea still owes a full accounting of all its past nuclear activities. But both countries appeared committed to continuing this process and reaching out in other ways, too.
(on camera) As North Korean nuclear officials were showing us their disabled reactor here at Yongbyon, the New York Philharmonic was landing in the capitol of Pyongyang on an unprecedented cultural mission.
(voice-over) It is the first time the famed U.S. orchestra or any other has ever performed here. And while it is a private trip, the U.S. says it hopes that it will break down at least a few bricks in the wall of hostility between the two nations.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER: Christiane Amanpour reporting from North Korea. Thanks. Up next, a bitter tree war. Towering redwoods blocking a neighbor's solar panels and the tree owner is charged with a crime and actually called him to court. A planet in peril report when 360 continues.
COOPER: Our "Planet in Peril" series is groundbreaking, worldwide and far from over. In fact, we're gearing up for our next big environmental investigation.
While we do, we're going to continue to bring you new "Planet in Peril" stories. Like tonight, this one is unfolding in California are where a battle over solar energy is leading to, of all things, criminal charges.
Once again, here's CNN's Dan Simon.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
SIMON (voice-over): Mark Vargas loved pinball so much he bought a machine for his house. But for him, the bigger kick is that it's powered by the sun.
(On camera): Then that energy is harnessed down in here?
MARK VARGAS: Right.
SIMON (voice-over): several years ago he installed a solar power energy system for his Santa Clara, California house.
VARGAS: The environment is a big reason, obviously, and just the fact that I don't have to worry about the future cost of my electrical bill.
SIMON: Vargas' utility bills amount to just a few dollars a month. He says that's a few dollars too many.
But if you think this is another story about some guy in California going green, you'd be wrong. This one gets a bit complicated.
(On camera): Of course, solar power only works on sunny days like this. And here on the roof you can see the panels soaking up the rays. On the back of the house, it's a different story.
(Voice-over): Those panels are partially shaded, so they're not producing their maximum amount of energy. The problem, the shadow from these redwood trees in his neighbor's backyard.
VARGAS: I would never do this to another neighbor, even if I didn't like the neighbor.
SIMON: Yes, it's turned bitter. Unable to reach a compromise with his neighbor, Vargas says the trees need to go. Naturally, his neighbor resisted.
RICH TREANOR, NEIGHBOR: We didn't like to be essentially dictated, the fact, by our neighbor that we had to chop our trees down. He later came over to the backyard and insisted that we had to.
SIMON: Rich Treanor says he planted these trees three years before Vargas installed his system. The trees were a lot shorter then, but redwoods like to grow. Trainer says he likes solar power, that he's pro-environment, but this was a little much.
TREANOR: Do solar panels provide habitat for birds? Look at the birds that we have around here. Do they cool the ambient air temperature 10 percent?
SIMON: Where did Vargas get the audacity to tell his neighbor to cut down the trees? You might be surprised to know from California law. The California Solar Shade Control Act was written in the 1970s during that decade's energy crisis. The idea that people who put in solar equipment don't see a drop in their investment from nearby trees. So the Santa Clara county D.A. charged Treanor with a crime. One of the few times this law has ever been applied.
TREANOR: We were hauled into superior court, the same court where the guys with orange jumpsuits and shackles come and charged with a crime, as public nuisance.
SIMON: The law apparently provided little wiggle room. A judge ruled two of Treanor's trees have to come down, and he has to pay for it. Treanor contemplated an appeal, but he's already spent $37,000 on the case, and he thought at least he didn't lose all of his trees.
TREANOR: Our battle is over with. We're going to chop trees down and whatever, but this is going to be happening a lot more.
SIMON: Indeed, with solar power rapidly growing in California, Treanor fears other homeowners will be targeted. For his part, Mark Vargas makes no apology.
VARGAS: I just want access to the sunlight, just like they have access on their priority.
SIMON: Well, not exactly, but he is guaranteed to have just a little more.
Dan Simon, CNN, Santa Clara, California.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER: Interesting case; chopping down trees for the environment.
We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Time now for "The Shot." By the way, Gary Busey, if you just tuned in, Mr. Busey, call us. We'd like you to be the announcer of "360."
HILL: What's with the sound effect? If this anchoring thing doesn't turn out or reporting you could be the sound effects guy.
COOPER: That's right.
This is the shot tonight. It was posted on YouTube from Korea. It is not Gary Busey, although it could have been. Take a listen.
It's the littlest Beatle. Apparently this 4-year-old started singing along with Beatles tunes around the age of 2, and now his repertoire includes scores of pop tunes, 40 of them from the Beatles. The post on YouTube claims he gets little to no help from his friends or family. I find that hard to believe at any rate?
HILL: I do too, because the kid's 4 years old and he knows 40 Beatles songs? I mean really, but it's impressive. Still.
COOPER: Exactly. That's how Britney Spears started out.
HILL: Well, boy, is he one lucky kid? Look at all the things he has waiting for him.
COOPER: If you see some remarkable video, some children singing, tell us about it cnn.com/360. You can go there to see all the most recent shots and segments from the other programs, read the blog and -- I don't know what else. The address again - cnn.com/360. When you're there, you can also check out our "Beat 360" picture.
HILL: There's one more thing.
COOPER: Cue the music. You know how it works. We put a picture on the 360 blog, Erica kind of wiggles a little.
HILL: I've got to come up for some new moves for that.
COOPER: You're moves are very fine there.
We ask viewers to come up with a caption that's better than one of ours. Senator Clinton -- there's the picture; Senator Clinton from yesterday aboard her campaign plane in Boston. Our staff winner tonight Gary Tuchman. His offering, the press is amused, but Hillary Clinton is shocked and angry as Ralph Nader pops out of the rear lavatory.
HILL: I think it's cute too.
COOPER: I thought it was cute too. It was topical. I gave big kudos to Gary Tuchman for that. The viewer winner, Laura Owen in Canton, North Carolina; "I said I loved Texas, not taxes." We hear Senator Clinton was actually commenting on the decor of the press section of the aircraft.
HILL: Did they decorate the press section? Or did they give it a clean?
COOPER: Apparently but I guess it was ugly or something so she was shocked. I don't know. I wasn't there. Check out the other ideas at cnn.com/360. And please, feel free to play along.
We'll be right back.
For our international viewers, "CNN Today" is next. Here in America, Larry King is coming up.
I'll see you tomorrow night. Thanks for watching.
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