Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Jesse Jackson Under Fire Over 'Crude' Comments; New DNA Tests Clear Family in JonBenet Ramsey Murder
Aired July 9, 2008 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, crude comments -- What Jesse Jackson said about Barack Obama when he thought no one was listening. What's the fallout now? And could his cutting remarks end up helping Senator Obama?
Tense twosome -- Clinton and Obama back on the road raising money and raising concerns about whether his supporters will write checks for her and whether her backers will cast ballots for him. We're going to tackle it with CNN's James Carville and Bill Bennett.
Then later, who did it? New DNA testing clears the Ramsey family in JonBenet's murder. So, where does that leave the case? "Crime and Punishment" tonight.
We begin, though, with what Jesse Jackson said when he didn't know his mike was hot. Even his own son issued a statement condemning it. This evening, Reverend Jackson apologized, calling his remarks about Barack Obama crude and hurtful.
You can debate hurtful. Some are calling it a political gift. But the words themselves are crude. And that's both a gentle warning and an introduction to 360's Joe Johns.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Reverend Jackson's open mike moment came on Sunday on FOX News. He thought his mike was off when he said this to a fellow guest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, FOUNDER, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: See, Barack been talking down to black people on this faith based -- I want cut his (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off. Barack, he's talking down to black people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: By today, Jackson was in full damage control, calling leaders in the African-American community to explain even before many had heard of the comments, placing himself on the firing line at a hastily arranged news conference.
REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, FOUNDER, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: And if in this thing I have said in a hot mike statement that's interpreted as distractions, I offer an apology for that, because I don't want harm or hurt to come to this campaign. It represents too much of a dreams of so many who have paid such great prices.
JOHNS: Part of what Jackson was apparently trying to say is, Obama should not talk down to the African-American community in sermons when he discusses one of his themes, personal responsibility.
It was another messy moment for Barack Obama, who just seems to attract regrettable off-the-cuff remarks by high-profile people who are quickly forced to go out and take it back.
In a statement, Obama's campaign accepted Jackson's apology, but the candidate stood his ground on the issue of personal responsibility, saying: "He will continue to speak out about our responsibilities to ourselves and each other. And he, of course, accepts Reverend Jackson's apology."
But Jackson didn't receive forgiveness from his own son. Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who is a co-chairman of the Obama campaign, issued a statement saying, "I'm deeply outraged and disappointed in the reckless statements," which he calls divisive and demeaning, and says, "They contradict his inspiring and courageous career."
It's unclear what triggered Jackson's outburst. In June, Obama delivered a speech before an African-American congregation on the problems of fatherless black households.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Too many fathers are MIA. Too many fathers are AWOL.
JOHNS (on camera): Reverend Jackson is playing down the notion that this is any kind of a face-off between the old guard and the new guard of African-American politics.
But there have been rumblings for weeks that some in the Jackson camp in Chicago are upset because Obama's message hasn't been tailored and focused to appeal to more traditional black constituencies.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
BROWN: Digging deeper now, we're joined by CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, who in his years at the White House has heard a few anatomical references firsthand, probably, also, the Reverend Al Sharpton and CNN political contributor Amy Holmes, who wrote speeches for Bill Frist back when he was in the Senate.
Welcome to everybody. Good to see you.
Reverend Sharpton, what's your reaction to Jackson saying that Obama is talking down to black people?
AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, I think that I'm glad he apologized. I think it was very unfortunate.
I happen to think that Obama -- Senator Obama's calling on responsibility, challenging parenting, and even faith-based initiative is the opposite of talking down. I think it's the thing we need, the challenges we need. Those of us that fight today in civil rights are not calling for a lack of responsibility. We want an even playing field so we can responsibly get the same place.
I think the bigger issue, what is more important to me -- I'm glad Reverend Jackson apologized. I hope people don't forget the good he's done and the great career he's had. And I think that the bigger issues that Senator Obama is raising is the things that I'm concerned. People don't get confused that that is in any way demeaning or out of step.
David, could these comments actually benefit Obama, I guess, by differentiating him from Jackson and what many believe are the politics of the past?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, they very much could, Campbell.
I'm not qualified to, as Reverend Jackson or Amy Holmes is, to talk about the conversations within the black community and about the agony within the black community about how many children are born out of wedlock or how many young men are in jail, what, 900,000 now, that Jesse Jackson is rightly very concerned about it. But the way he expressed it, I think, was so crude, that it reflects more on Jesse Jackson than it does on Barack Obama.
And for white -- the community, I think they will -- many people who had not heard or even understood or recognized that Barack Obama was saying that there has to be more personal responsibility among black families, I actually think this is a theme that will help him in the white community. And people will say, you know, this is something we can't say, but, if he can say it, it may help.
Even -- even as Reverend Jackson says the government has some responsibilities here, too, which I think he's right about, Barack Obama has been making an important point that it's often white -- the white community finds it difficult to say, because it has all sorts of other connotations attached to it.
And, Amy, the Obama campaign most likely doesn't want another racial flare-up dominating headlines, frankly, whatever the subject matter. How much of a political distraction do you think, ultimately, this could be for Obama?
AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I actually agree with David Gergen that this helps Barack Obama, because it helps puts the focus on his tough love, on his message of personal responsibility.
We talk about how when Bill Clinton had his Sister Souljah moment. And he talked about that we can't be having these types of lyrics about police officers. I think this helps Barack Obama with those independents, with white voters, who want an honest broker when it does to come to these really difficult, sensitive and emotional racial issues. And they can see that in Barack Obama.
So, when Jesse Jackson makes these statements, he's actually giving Barack Obama an opportunity create that space and that distance, differentiate himself, that he's not part of the grievance groups and the left-wing communities. He's there to actually speak honestly about some of the things afflicting the black community.
BROWN: Politics aside, Reverend Sharpton, I mean, Jackson said he regretted his comments, but, at the same time, he also said that he wanted Obama to aim for a much broader discussion in terms of racial justice.
Do you think there's some fairness in that? I mean, does Obama need to expand the message a little?
SHARPTON: I think that Senator Obama has addressed a lot of racial injustice.
I mean, look at the last year. And I have been in the thick of the Jena Six fights, the Justice Department marches, Sean Bell. I can't think of any of those he has not addressed in his way. I think that, many times, every generation, you have people that do different things.
You had a Dr. King and an Ed Brooke and a Thurgood Marshall and a Malcolm at the same time. Barack Obama is not a civil rights leader. There's Warren Ballentine, people like me, that do that today. He's running for president in an expanded way.
So, I think that it's almost unfortunate that, sometime, some people in our own community segregate us into a certain role. I don't think it's helpful to America. I don't think it's helpful to our community.
BROWN: David, he mentioned the Jena Six. Last year, during the Jena Six controversy, Jackson said that Obama was acting white because of his lack of involvement in the controversy. How does Obama handle Jackson, do you believe, moving forward?
GERGEN: Well, I thought his statement tonight was actually quite a good one, that -- this is Barack Obama's statement. It was very brief. He said, of course, he accepts the apology, but he's going to -- he's going to go on and speak out about this personal responsibility.
I think he's actually, on this issue, you know, with the black community -- there may be some in the black community -- there's long been divisions -- and, again, I'm not the best person qualified to talk about this, but there's long been divisions in the black community between the sort of Du Bois kind of African-American leader and the Carver kind of leader. And Obama -- I think, to the extent -- to -- because of this kind of incident, is able to separate out some from Reverend Wright and separate out some from the more radical ideas in some -- in the black community, which have -- do -- are offensive to whites, and, actually, for whites, seem to be -- he is, as Amy said, a voice of reason.
And for many whites, they will look at him, and he's a role model, just like Colin Powell is a role model.
BROWN: Amy, does any of this matter within the African-American community? I mean, does Jackson have the same influence that he once did?
HOLMES: I don't think that Jackson has the same influence. And we saw that, with Barack Obama, he has rock-solid support in the black community. And a lot of members of the black community, they agree with Barack Obama. They agree that men need to take more responsibility for their families, for the children that they sire, that they need to be more -- getting more education and being less involved in the criminal justice system.
So, this isn't a message or a discussion that black people aren't already having. And I would also say, too, I think this underscores a generational shift, that there's a generational dispute here, and that Jesse Jackson is seeing his star starting to wane, and Barack Obama, I mean, he's the big superstar of the year.
BROWN: Do you agree with that, Reverend Sharpton?
SHARPTON: I think there's always been -- I mean, we talk about this all the time. Like I just said, there are those of us now, Barack Obama, Deval Patrick, those of us in civil rights, or Ballentine, or Michael Baisden, or me, all of us within five or six years of each other, I think that Gergen was referring to Du Bois and Booker T. Washington was at the same time. I don't think that...
GERGEN: I'm sorry. Washington. You're right. You're right. Thank you.
SHARPTON: ... it's just generation. I think it's also traditions and methods. We have different ways of doing things in every time.
SHARPTON: And it does in no way take away from those that have made a contribution, but every generation wants to do its own contribution.
SHARPTON: And we are faced with the contradictions of having to call government into accountability, but also call our own community into responsibility. And I think that is the challenge of this generation.
BROWN: Reverend Al Sharpton, Amy Holmes, and, as always, David Gergen, thanks.
And I know, David, you're going to be back with us a little bit later.
To everyone else, you want to join the conversation? Well, go to our blog. You can find it at AC360.com.
Up next: late details from a pair of fund-raisers and the bigger questions surrounding them. Will Obama and Clinton supporters ever get along? That's our "Strategy Session" tonight.
Also, Barack Obama's change of heart about putting his kids in the national spotlight.
Then later, Warren Jeffs, the jailed polygamist leader, hospitalized. He's already tried to hang himself. He's already gone on hunger strikes. So, what is it this time? New details ahead -- when "A.C. 360" continues.
BROWN: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton sharing a flight up from Washington for a pair of Manhattan fund-raisers tonight. The second one is going on right now behind closed doors.
The first one featured Barack Obama solo, trying to persuade his supporters to help retire her $22 million campaign debt. Well, easier said than done. Tension was high going in, with some donors reportedly refusing to pony up.
"The New York Times" quoting one Obama supporter as saying, not a penny for her, for Bill Clinton, and especially not for Clinton's strategist Mark Penn. Senator Obama, he tried to keep things light, saving his pitch for the end of his remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Hey, hold on a second, guys. I don't want us getting all carried away.
OBAMA: I have got one more thing that is important to me. Now, don't worry. This is not -- this is not -- the speech part, but it is important.
Senator Clinton still has some debt. And I could have had some debt if I hadn't won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The question now, will the wounds heal? And that's the subject of our "Strategy Session" tonight with CNN political contributors Democrat James Carville and Republican Bill Bennett.
BROWN: So, James, how concerned should the Obama camp be right now about this lingering tension between the two campaigns -- or camps now? I guess you can't say campaign anymore. Could it seriously weaken him within the party?
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the -- the story this morning that you referred to in "The New York Times," first of all, there are two questions that people always ask is, who leaked the story and why? Well, we know who leaked the story. It's people from the Obama campaign leaked it.
Why, I'm completely perplexed and vexed as to why they think this story would help them. My guess is, is that Senator Obama or David Axelrod had nothing to do with this, and these are some children that are playing with matches over there.
And I would warn people that, sometimes, you play with matches, you might ignite something. They're sticking bobby pins in electrical outlets here. And this story was not helpful. I have no idea why or how the Obama campaign thought that leaking this story would be helpful to them, because it's not. And I'm mystified right now.
BROWN: But, clearly, there's still some tension out there.
I mean, Bill, are you surprised that tensions have persisted, even a month now after the last primary?
CARVILLE: Well, look, I have said consistently on here that, in a fight this long, that there's obviously going to be bruised feelings.
I think that Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have done a very good job of coming together. Senator Clinton has campaigned harder for Obama than any second-place finisher that I have ever seen, maybe Edwards in 2004, much harder than Reagan campaigned for Ford, much harder than Senator Kennedy campaigned for Jimmy Carter or anyone else.
And I think there are some amateurs in that campaign that are playing with matches. And I would caution them that these things can ignite and cause more problems than we need to have. This was not a helpful morning in "The New York Times."
BROWN: Bill, what's your take?
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't know exactly, because that's not my group. But it's mischievous.
Whether it's dangerous, whether James is right, I don't know, whether it could ignite something. He would know better than I. And I will defer to him.
This is -- there's a kind of pattern here, though, and I would refer back to what James said. She's campaigning a lot. You know, Howard Dean campaigned for Kerry. And, you know, Kennedy campaigned for Carter, maybe not as hard, but did. And I'm confident the Clintons will continue to. These rifts will heal.
Sometimes, you know, it's the middle of the summer. People are looking for stories. As Flannery O'Connor says, sometimes, we, strain the soup a little too thin, you know? It may have been strained a little too thin here. There may -- may not be much here. I expect them to be full-fledged behind him.
BROWN: But, James, let me ask you about one -- one of the specifics, because Obama supporters argue that they -- in this story that was leaked, that they shouldn't pay off Clinton's debt, especially given that she had racked up a part of the debt well after the race was over. Do they have a point?
CARVILLE: Well, first of all, I think that -- that President Carter -- if we did some research here, I think we would find that this is not uncommon.
And maybe they do. The fact that they called Pat Healy, who's a fine reporter, good guy, and went out of their way to leak the story, and bundle the responses, I think, is amateurish, and I think that it's dangerous.
And, in addition to that, I think it's stupid. And, like I say, I don't -- I think Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have been working hard on their relationship. I completely understand that there would be some friction after a campaign this long. That is to be expected.
But I just don't -- I'm still perplexed. I wish someone would ask the Obama campaign as to why did they think this story was smart? Because it -- I certainly do not know.
BENNETT: The other thing is, why would the Obama campaign again want to highlight friction with the Clintons or the Clintons at all? That moment is gone. It's Obama. He's the nominee. The focus has got to be on Obama. Let this be done quietly. Let this be done in the background. He's the nominee.
By the way, he's going to raise tons of money.
BROWN: All right, guys, we have got to end it there.
James Carville, Bill Bennett for us tonight, appreciate it.
CARVILLE: Thank you.
BENNETT: You bet. Thank you.
CARVILLE: Appreciate it. Thank you.
(END VIDEOTAPE) BROWN: Just ahead; A competitor said it best tonight. The Senate roars for its lion -- Ted Kennedy's triumphant return to his home for the last four decades.
Also tonight, tensions skyrocketing, and the price of oil with it, as Iran test-fires nuclear-capable missiles. What can the West do? Some answers ahead on "A.C. 360."
BROWN: Coming up, why Barack Obama says he regrets putting his daughters in the spotlight.
But, first, Randi Kaye joins us with a 360 bulletin -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Campbell.
Tonight, a welcome from the heart -- an outpouring of affection today for Senator Ted Kennedy, the senior Massachusetts Democrat making his first appearance in Congress today since brain surgery last month. In a loud and clear voice, he cast a vote in favor of a Medicare bill, helping the measure past by a veto-proof margin. Kennedy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
New figures from the CDC -- the number of new cases of salmonella topping 1,000. And the list of suspect foods just keeps growing, to include raw jalapeno and serrano peppers.
And there are now 323 fires raging in California, nearly 19,000 firefighters battling those flames, which have burned more than 675,000 acres in the past week. Lightning started most of those fires. Gusting winds and high temperatures are making everything much worse.
BROWN: And, Randi, here is tonight's "Beat 360" photo: New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez signing autographs for fans during a spring training game.
And congratulations to you, Randi.
KAYE: Thank you.
BROWN: You're our staff winner tonight.
And here's the caption, "Hey, A-Rod, can you please sign this ka- ball-ah?
KAYE: Oh, they didn't like that.
BROWN: I liked it.
BROWN: I think that was very impressive.
KAYE: Thank you. BROWN: Anyway, think you can do better? Go to our new Web site, AC360.com. Click on the "Beat 360" link and send us your entry. We will announce the winner at the end of the program. The winner gets a "Beat 360" T-shirt.
It doesn't get any better than that.
Up next: launching fear -- Iran testing missiles in response to what it calls threats from the U.S. and Israel. Tonight, Senators Obama and McCain are firing back.
Also ahead, Obama's young daughter speaks out, an interview the senator now says he regrets.
BROWN: You are looking at the latest message from Iran, and it is making a lot of people nervous. The Islamic state tested nine missiles today, some of them long-range missiles, and broadcast the war games on state television.
The missile tests are a sharp reminder that the next U.S. president will inherit the high-stakes problem of Iran, whose president has called for the destruction of Israel. Both candidates know what they could face, and there are sharp differences in how each would respond.
CNN's Dana Bash reports.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Menacing Iranian missile tests, saber-rattling that one of these two men will be in charge of responding to in just six months.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's time for action.
BASH: John McCain calls Iran's new tests proof of a need to build a missile defense system in Europe and impose tough sanctions.
MCCAIN: This kind of threatening of their neighbors, this kind of continued military activity, it is not without cost.
BASH: Barack Obama wants to talk to Iran with direct diplomacy.
OBAMA: We haven't shown a willingness to engage in the sort of direct negotiations with Iran that would give them carrots and sticks for a change in behavior.
BASH (on camera): The reality is, both candidates support diplomatic efforts with Iran to halt its nuclear program, but their difference in approach is a major flash point.
(voice-over): Obama said, as president, he would sit down with Iran's leaders. OBAMA: The notion that somehow talking to countries is punishment to them, which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration, is ridiculous.
BASH: McCain mocks that as naive, and stokes concern in the Jewish community, like with this online ad in an English-language Israeli paper questioning Obama's commitment to protecting Israel.
MCCAIN: What does he want to talk about with Ahmadinejad, who said that Israel is a stinking corpse, who said that he wants to wipe Israel off the map?
BASH: Obama argues the U.S. must work with allies, like Russia, to pressure Iran. But the Bush administration has been trying that without success, proof, say experts, how vexing Iran will be for the next president, no matter who it is.
Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.
BROWN: So, with no warning today -- or, with no warning, today's missile test became part of the U.S. presidential race. We're going to talk about that now, more, with David Gergen, who joins me once again, also with Reza Aslan, a Middle East analyst and the author of "No god But God."
David, both candidates today denounced Iran's missile tests, as we just heard, they have got different takes on how to deal with Iran. Does saber-rattling Iran help McCain by focusing the election on national security?
GERGEN: It does indirectly, but I don't think it helps him very much.
Campbell, the first question here, the big question tonight, is whether, in fact, the United States and/or Israel will attack Iran while George W. Bush is still president, in the next six months, before a new president comes in?
That's what's rattling the oil markets and why, whenever this saber-rattling goes on, comes up, whether it's testing by the Israelis, military maneuvers by the Israelis, military maneuvers by the United States, or now today by the -- by Iran, whatever that happens, oil prices shoot upward.
And it has put pressure on the candidates: What would you do?
And, as Dana just -- Dana Bash just reported, there is a sharp difference here between Barack Obama, who would put much more emphasis on diplomacy, on more carrots, if you would, as well as sticks, vs. John McCain, who would have fewer carrots and more sticks.
BROWN: But which -- which do you think, at least politically right now, David -- and then we're going to move to Reza on this, on the issue you just pointed out, what is rattling the oil markets, and everything else is.
BROWN: But which of the two do you think is connecting in terms of the political message and -- and their two strategies?
GERGEN: Well, I think the Jewish community is very, very concerned in this country, because this could be an -- what they call an existential threat to Israel.
The Jewish community will tell you that Ahmadinejad, if he gets a bomb, could do in six minutes what it took Hitler six years to do. So, it's understandable they would be very, very concerned.
I think Americans, more generally, are not in a warlike mood. There's been no preparation for this. And, therefore, for that reason, I actually think they may be a little more sympathetic to the Obama position on Iran than they -- while, on Iraq, they're more sympathetic to John McCain.
BROWN: Reza, how significant do you think this is, a show of force by -- by Iran? What do you think they're really hoping to achieve?
ASLAN: I think they just want to make a statement, and they want to make sure that both Israel and the United States understands unequivocally that any kind of military attack on Iranian soil will be met with -- with devastation. I think Iran wants to just flex its muscles.
We have to understand that, at this point, Iran does feel as though it is a bit threatened. It is literally surrounded on all sides by American troops. It sits between Pakistan and Russia, both nuclear nations.
And, you know, it's learned a pretty valuable lesson from its fellow axis of evil members. One didn't have nuclear weapons, and it was demolished. The other does have nuclear weapons, and we have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to them to get rid of it. I think Iran feels as though it's sitting in a pretty comfortable place now.
BROWN: Yes. One of the commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guard said, Reza, that our finger is always on the trigger and warned that they've got thousands of missiles ready to use against any aggressor.
At the same time, you've got Iranian President Ahmadinejad saying that they do want to prevent a confrontation and that they did not want war. Where do you think we are in terms of the potential for any military confrontation? Are we closer?
ASLAN: Well, I think Iran's got a pretty sophisticated plan here. They're going to have Ahmadinejad talk about the fact that it's impossible for the U.S. or Israel to even think about attacking, while at the same time the commanders of the Revolutionary Guard are going to make these much more bellicose statements about the consequences of such an attack. To be perfectly frank, I think the real issue here is that at the same time that we're seeing this acceleration of belligerence on all sides, we're also seeing a much softer tone being taken by, say, the foreign minister of Iran, Manouchehr Mottaki, or Ali Akbar Velayati, who is the supreme leader's chief policy adviser on the possibility of negotiations with the United States.
I will say one thing, though. I get a feeling from reading the Iranian press that the overwhelming sentiment there is let's just hold things off as long as we can. We know that we can probably get a better deal from the next president, and there is an enormous amount of Bush hatred in that country.
And I think that there is a sense that, if we can just keep things the way they are, keep the status quo going, we'll have a better chance of negotiations, no matter whether it's McCain or Obama.
BROWN: All right. We've got to end it there. We're out of time tonight. David, I just ran out of time there. But Reza Aslan, thanks very much. And David Gergen, as always.
Just ahead on 360, more from the Obama family interview with "Access Hollywood." Barack Obama's young daughter stepped into the spotlight for the first time and nearly took over the interview.
Well, today their father says he regrets allowing them to do it. We're going to have details coming up.
Also ahead, polygamist leader and convicted felon Warren Jeffs is rushed to the hospital by helicopter. What landed him there, and what's his prognosis? When 360 continues.
BROWN: That was a rare glimpse back in May of Barack Obama's two young daughters. That you're seeing right there.
During the long primary race, the Obamas were pretty careful to shield their children from the spotlight, but all that changed yesterday when a Reese recent interview the Obamas gave to "Access Hollywood" made the rounds.
The entire Obama family sat down and opened up, including 10- year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha. We played you some of that interview last night. And then today another surprise, Senator Obama now says he regrets thrusting his daughters into the media spotlight. We're going to get to that in a moment.
But first, more from the "Access Hollywood" interview. Reporter Maria Menounos asked Malia and Sasha for the real scoop on their parents. Here they are, up close.
MALIA OBAMA, BARACK OBAMA'S DAUGHTER: When you come home, you know, you have your big, gigantic bag, and you leave it in the mud room. Sometimes I trip over it.
MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF BARACK OBAMA: Yes, and you leave your bags. Everything. And it's heavy.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm putting it down because I'm so eager to come and see you guys.
MICHELLE OBAMA: That's a good one. That's one. I stubbed my toe on that bag.
MARIA MENOUNOS, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": Senator, do you have any?
MICHELLE OBAMA: Wait, wait. We've got one more.
SASHA OBAMA, BARACK OBAMA'S DAUGHTER: You always put your bag on my shoes.
MENOUNOS: On your shoes?
MICHELLE OBAMA: In the mud room, where the shoes go.
S. OBAMA: I swear.
MENOUNOS: You're guilty of such crimes.
B. OBAMA: I stand accused.
MALIA OBAMA: Well, what do we do? Arguing, I think, is the worst thing, because then they sit us down and say, you know, "You guys are the best thing that you have in your life. And you know that, you know, we're never going to get something as good as each other." And that's -- I think that's the worst thing.
BROWN: As we said today, Barack Obama said he regrets now allowing that interview to take place and doesn't think it was healthy for Malia and Sasha to be so exposed. Well, to some people that turnaround seemed, well, a little bit hard to swallow.
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen joining me once again tonight.
And David, what do you think? Did Obama make a mistake allowing those daughters to be interviewed?
GERGEN: Well, you know, Campbell, reading the blogs last night on the AC 360 blog site, almost everyone thought when they first saw those pictures, those are adorable children. They like the sense of family.
But at the same time, I think once is enough. I think he -- I understand the regret. You know, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton did a very good job of shielding Chelsea Clinton and making sure she had a chance to grow up a little bit, just as I think, the Bushes, George and Laura Bush, have done a good job with their two daughters. Fortunately, we're moving to this better place where politicians are not exploiting their children as much as they once did. And I think Barack -- Barack Obama sees that and wants to pull back a little bit, even though, you know, those kids were very appealing to an awful lot of people that saw them, and the sense of family was appealing.
But I think he realized he needs to close it down, both for their sake and for the sake of taste.
BROWN: Yes, and the criticism was just what you said. If you want to be cynical about it, some people did accuse him of using his family, this attractive young family, adorable kids, for political gain. Is it a valid criticism?
GERGEN: Oh, it's hard to say. There was an interview already scheduled, and they wandered onto the set apparently. I do -- you can understand why he wanted to have his chance. Give his little daughters a chance to show off.
But I think he -- I think he did make a mistake. It was not a bad mistake. It's going to go away. I have to tell you, I also think that John and Cindy McCain deserve an enormous amount of appreciation for the way they have decided not to exploit their son who went to Iraq. They've been very, very good about that.
I think both sides in this case -- this is one of the better parts -- this campaign leads a lot to be desired on some substantive issues. But in terms of the personal side of it, I think both sides are doing pretty well.
BROWN: All right. David Gergen tonight. David, thank you as always. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, the fallen prophet falls ill. Warren Jeffs rushed from prison to a Las Vegas hospital. Did he try to kill himself? Gary Tuchman is live with new details.
Plus a major development in the investigation into the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. That's coming up.
BROWN: A health scare for polygamous leader Warren Jeffs. He was taken by helicopter to a Las Vegas hospital after suffering convulsions in his jail cell. In the past, Jeffs has tried to kill himself while in custody. He's also gone on a hunger strike.
But what is his condition now? There's new developments tonight. 360's Gary Tuchman is joining us from the hospital with all those details -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, most of the world knows Warren Jeffs as a convicted felon. But his followers still see him as a prophet, a seer, a revelator, a descendant of Jesus Christ. But all these on both sides thought the end was near when Warren Jeffs was frantically transported by helicopter to this hospital in Las Vegas yesterday.
But the end apparently is not here. Because CNN has learned that a short time ago in the 110-degree heat, Warren Jeffs was hustled out of this hospital under elaborate security and is now headed back to his jail cell.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Warren Jeffs often preached to his followers to stay away from apostate doctors and instead pray to get better when they were ill. That same Warren Jeffs is now undergoing the finest of medical care in a Las Vegas hospital.
SHERIFF TOM SHEAHAN, MOHAVE COUNTY, ARIZONA: Mr. Jeffs looked like he possibly had a fever. He was acting in a convulsive manner and looked in a very weakened state.
TUCHMAN: He was taken from this small jail in Kingman, Arizona, to a local hospital. Then helicoptered about 100 miles to the much larger Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas.
Jeffs, already convicted of a felony crime involving a girl in Utah who was 14 at the time, is awaiting trial in Arizona on similar charges.
SHEAHAN: He's in a solitary confinement cell, which he's in 23 hours a day.
TUCHMAN: Officials do not feel Jeffs is on his death bed, but previously, he tried to hang himself and has gone on hunger strikes more than once. One day in court an emaciated Jeffs drooled over himself.
SHEHAN: He'll eat occasionally, you know, and it's just very erratic.
TUCHMAN: Jeffs is the leader of the largest polygamist sect in North America. The majority of his followers live three hours from Las Vegas on the Arizona-Utah border. Others live at a ranch in Eldorado, Texas, where a raid took place that led to more than 400 children being taken from their parents but then given back after a court ruling.
Most of his followers still regard him as their prophet and have been angry when talking to us.
(on camera) What do you think of him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a great prophet, and you're damn fools for bothering him. Because your ass is going to get hung one of these days when you look up from hell and look at him in the face.
TUCHMAN: Jeffs is accused by many of presiding over a reign of religious terror, that he forced an unknown but large number of girls under 18 to marry older men, some men who are seven decades older than the brides. He was convicted of being an accomplice to rape in the case of 14-year-old Elissa Wall, who was forced to marry her 19-year-old cousin.
While in jail talking to his brother, Jeffs was secretly recorded saying this.
WARREN JEFFS, LEADER OF FLDS CHURCH: I am not the prophet. I never was the prophet.
TUCHMAN: But his lawyers say he did not mean what he exclaimed. So the self-described prophet continues to lead his church, whether it's from a hospital bed or a jail cell.
BROWN: Gary, did jail officials notice anything unusual about Jeffs' demeanor in the days or weeks before this medical emergency?
TUCHMAN: Campbell, we're being told by officials that about six days ago he started having mood swings. He wasn't talking as much. He hasn't talked very much in jail anyway. But he wasn't talking at all, and he was praying more. But we still don't know what the medical emergency was.
One thing we should stress. Everyone knows when they hear FLDS and Warren Jeffs, they think about polygamy. But that's not why we do these stories. These stories are about children. Warren Jeffs is convicted of being an accomplice to rape of a 14-year-old girl. He's accused of doing this many more times with many more children.
And this is a story about children, children who are harmed, allegedly, because of where they are, because they're members of the FLDS, because according to authorities, their leader is Warren Jeffs.
BROWN: Gary Tuchman for us tonight. Gary, as always, thanks.
Coming up next, a major development in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. New DNA testing clears her family. So who did kill her? We're going to take a look at the potential suspects.
Plus the running of the bulls like you have never seen it. It is our "Shot of the Day." That's coming up.
BROWN: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight, an apology to the family of JonBenet Ramsey. They've waited a dozen years to be exonerated. Today it finally happened. The Boulder County district attorney said DNA testing proves that JonBenet's parents and brother were not the killers.
So who could have taken her life? At one point police had dozens of suspects. Who were they? Once again, here's 360's Randi Kaye.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KAYE (voice-over): She would have turned 18 next month, but as we know, JonBenet Ramsey never made it past 6. Her life was brutally taken. Her body found the day after Christmas, 1996.
PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER OF JONBENET RAMSEY: Keep your babies close to you.
KAYE: Almost immediately, authorities' attention focused on her parents. Patsy, who died of cancer in 2006, and John Ramsey lived under a cloud of suspicion. Even JonBenet's brother Burke was questioned.
Finally this week, further DNA testing cleared them all. There have been many other suspects over the years. Remember John Mark Karr?
JOHN MARK KARR, CONFESSED TO KILLING JONBENET RAMSEY: I love JonBenet, and she died accidentally.
KAYE: Back in 2006, Karr confessed to the crime.
KARR: I can't talk. Please, please, please. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought someone's going to hear me. I know someone's going to hear me because I wasn't talking softly.
KAYE: Karr's shocking claims turned out to be false, the rantings of a troubled man craving attention. Before him, there was Bill McReynolds.
BILL MCREYNOLDS, SUSPECTED OF KILLING JONBENET RAMSEY: I know I didn't do it.
KAYE: Investigators were intrigued by a card McReynolds gave to JonBenet that read, "You will receive a special gift after Christmas."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here's an individual who's involved with her, has an interest in her, was seen with her shortly before the murder.
KAYE (on camera): Then investigators discover the McReynolds daughter had been abducted 22 years to the day before JonBenet's death, and Janet McReynolds had written a play about a little girl who was molested and murdered in her basement.
Still, after submitting DNA and handwriting samples, both were cleared.
(voice-over) Another former suspect, Michael Helgoth, reportedly killed himself shortly after JonBenet's murder. Next to his body was a stun gun investigators said was similar to the one used on JonBenet. He, too, was cleared of the crime.
So if these men didn't do it, who did? Police are now convinced it was a male intruder. They don't have the killer's name, just his DNA.
(on camera) Going on 12 years now, is this DNA still reliable?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Twelve years is not a very lengthy time when you talk about DNA analysis. So the results are valid. They're reliable.
KAYE (voice-over): Investigators used technology that's only been around a couple of years to collect new samples of DNA from JonBenet's clothing.
KOBILINSKY: We can test only a few cells that are left behind when you touch an object, because cells will slough off or shed from your fingertips.
KAYE: That genetic material is the best evidence and perhaps the only hope in solving this mystery. All police can do now is wait until a match turns up in the database.
KAYE: And as it stands now, whoever killed JonBenet must commit another crime, have his DNA tested in order for him to end up in the database, and that would get this case solved. That's really the best chance, Campbell, of getting this case solved. That's the only way they're going to get the killer's DNA.
BROWN: That could take years, if ever. Who knows?
KAYE: I know, I know.
BROWN: Wow, 12 years later, it's hard just watching that sort of history. What an astonishing story.
KAYE: And so many suspects along the way have either died or been cleared.
BROWN: All right. Randi Kaye. And I know, Randi, you have a lot of other news to tell us about, as well.
KAYE: I do. We're going to begin with a 360 follow first.
The Justice Department has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the Defense Department of discriminating against non- Christians. We reported this story last night. The lawsuit was filed by a soldier who served in Iraq and says he was persecuted by his fellow soldiers for being an atheist.
The case is before a district judge in Kansas City but is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.
Stocks tanked today over more credit market jitters. The Dow fell almost 237 points to 11,147. The NASDAQ lost almost 60 points. The S&P dropped 29 points.
And the famed Chrysler building in New York City now has a new owner. A 75 percent stake once owned by a German fund has been sold to Prudential Financial, an Abu Dhabi group. BROWN: And now our "Beat 360" winners. Let's see. Tonight's picture, we've got New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez signing autographs for fans during a spring training game.
Our staff winner tonight is -- da-da-da-da -- Randi Kaye. Congratulations, Randi. You are the winner.
KAYE: Thank you.
BROWN: Your caption -- I love this. "Hey, A-Rod, can you please sign this ka-BALL-ah?"
(SOUND EFFECT: crowd cheering)
BROWN: Well done.
KAYE: Let's see the competition I have.
BROWN: Here's your competition. Viewer winner is Geoff from Birmingham, Alabama. His caption: "I can only sign one prenup at a time."
KAYE: Very nice.
BROWN: Poor guy. Geoff gets a "Beat 360" t-shirt. Randi, you don't.
KAYE: Yes. It's the price of being part of the staff.
BROWN: I get to work at 360.
You can check out all the entries we received on our blog and play along tomorrow by going to our new Web site, AC360.com.
"The Shot" is next. Call them brave, crazy, or maybe a little of both. The running of the bulls is leaving people bruised and battered just ahead.
At the top of the hour, rude remarks. The Reverend Jesse Jackson's taped comments about Barack Obama. The words, the apology, and the fallout.
BROWN: Time now for "The Shot." And they are off. The running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, is a tradition, of course. And for a few unlucky participants, a pretty painful one. Four more people injured today. Some were trampled. A few were gored by these powerful animals.
KAYE: More than a few, wow.
BROWN: The actual race covers half a mile. But the event itself, of course, has been around for centuries. I don't know why they do it. I'd never do it. He's taunting him.
KAYE: Exactly. He's going to pay the price right there.
BROWN: They're ridiculous. I don't see any women down there, right?
BROWN: Women are smarter.
KAYE: See, we agree on that.
BECK: You can, of course, see all the most recent shots on our new website, AC360.com.
And coming up next, the Jesse Jackson reaction after his apology for saying that he would cut Barack Obama where -- well, let's just say no man wants cutting. Really raw politics -- I didn't write this -- Chicago style, when 360 continues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Tonight crude comments. What Jesse Jackson said about Barack Obama when he thought no one was listening. What's the fallout now? And could his cutting remarks end up helping Senator Obama?