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Obama's Challenges; Big Three Bailout; Battle Plans; Deadly Hate Crime

Aired November 11, 2008 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We begin tonight with the inside story. New details from inside the Oval Office meeting between President and President-elect Obama; and only on CNN, Mr. Bush's candid thoughts on Barack Obama.
Also tonight, "Your Money, Your Future," new calls to bail out the big three car makers. What will it cost to do it? What could it cost not to?

And later, will it be Palin's Party. Sarah Palin not going away, in fact she's talking more than ever. Fresh details tonight about how she may be trying to remake the Republican Party in her own political image and who is fighting back?

We begin though with troubling new developments in President- elect Obama's transition to power and new hints of what happened behind closed doors in that meeting yesterday President Bush.

The newest trouble spot on the economy, General Motors, taking more hits; shares in the company today at prices not seen since World War II. The company announcing yet another round of lay-offs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late today, calling for emergency measures to bail out, GM, Ford and Chrysler.

And as that and other fresh signs of a slowing economy emerge, President-elect Obama finds himself in a politically awkward spot, pushing for action on the economy without the official power to make things happen.

It's one of the fascinating details to emerge from that Oval Office meeting; CNN's Candy Crowley has more.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: President- elect Barack Obama alongside Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth was seen but not heard this Veterans Day. Still there was a lot of talk about Monday's meeting at the White House.

Sources on the Obama transition team say President-elect Obama urged President Bush to take quick action to help the auto industry. Obama thinks the aid could be coupled with appointment of a car czar; someone with the authority to push for industry reforms he has talked about recently.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have made it a high priority for my transition team to work on additional policy options to help the auto industry adjust, whether the financial crisis can succeed in producing fuel efficient cars.

CROWLEY: According to a source who got a read out of the session, Obama also urged a package of aid to homeowners under threat of foreclosure and a need for a second stimulus package, something he has also pushed in public.

OBAMA: If it does not get done in the lame duck session, it will be the first thing I get done as president of the United States.

CROWLEY: An Obama source said Obama is not under any great illusion that Bush would support another stimulus package. Sources for both men say President Bush listed his own priorities; top on the list a free trade deal with Colombia that the president argues would help the U.S. economy. Both sides denied stories that the president suggested he'd support Obama's priorities if Congress approved the trade deal.

Those stories that Bush was bargaining, irritated some White House aides who thought the leaks were designed to make Obama look good at Bush's expense. All that happy transition talk seemed in jeopardy, but the Obama team moved quickly.

One source said there was no wheeling and dealing, President Bush did not specifically suggest a quid pro quo. An Obama transition co- chair, John Podesta, called White House chief of staff Josh Bolton to smooth things over. By the time President Bush got to the USS Intrepid, the warm fuzzies were back.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One impression I can share with you is that one of the things that President-elect Obama was really interested in after we have had our policy discussions was his little girls; how would they like the White House. It was interesting to watch him go upstairs and he wanted to see where his little girls are going to sleep. And clearly this guy is going to bring a great sense of family to the White House.

CROWLEY: Ditto on the other side of the equation. Vice president-in-waiting Joe Biden was effusive about him in his salute to veterans.

SEN. JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a remarkable testament to what you all fought for that there is absolutely total complete unadulterated cooperation and movement as if it's seamless.

CROWLEY: Still a smooth transition does not pave over huge policy differences between the incoming and outgoing presidents. The White House, while open to an auto industry plan, has not seen one it likes.


COOPER: Candy, we didn't see the president-elect much today except for the wreath-laying. What is he doing exactly behind the scenes? Do we know what his days are like?

CROWLEY: We do know that there's the routine, he goes to the gym every day, we know he went to the barber shop today, but there is, in between all that, any number of decisions to make.

There is an inaugural address to be written. There's an inauguration to put together, a lot of decisions there. There is the whole cabinet that must be brought together, fairly quickly, at least quickly in terms of usable transitions. And he's got all these other sort of staff decisions to put in place and I know they want to put the White House staff in place as quickly as they can certainly because there will then be a structure there to do some of these other things.

So lots of time on the phone also, talking about the stimulus package, talking with leaders up on Capitol Hill that kind of thing and trying to push people toward a second stimulus package, hopefully in the lame duck session as far as they're concerned.

COOPER: So is Rahm Emanuel there with him, John Podesta, David Axelrod, all the people from the campaign? They're all there now meeting every day?

CROWLEY: No. One of them, I must say, and I won't reveal his name is in Mexico on vacation. But Rahm Emanuel and --

COOPER: You don't want to bust him on the air, okay.

CROWLEY: That's right, I don't want to bust him. Most of the transition, at least the nuts and bolts of the transition is going on in the Washington, D.C. Rahm Emanuel obviously will come back and forth; he has a family here, that kind of thing. But there are multiple daily talks between them.

But there are two transition headquarters, really. There is one here for Barack Obama and there is one in Washington, D.C. where the bulk of the 450 people they're going to need for transition are working.

COOPER: All right. Candy Crowley. Thanks.

More now on bailing out the big three which would cost tens of billions of dollars; on the other hand not bailing them out these automobile companies might cost them even more because so many suppliers and retailers could be hurt. But then again, GM and the rest got where they are by making cars people don't want to buy and if you bail them out, who's next?

It's a brutally difficult and politically painful decision to make. And here's some facts to help you at home decide. It's "Your Money, Your Future," here's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The cars are there, the buyers are not. Could you use a new car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I can use it, if I don't have to pay for it.

CROWLEY: An industry that is the backbone of the U.S. economy is in desperate straits. A serious lack of economic confidence and a history of disastrous decision making has put the big three on the brink.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We certainly have hoped that things are going to turn around, but until you've got more confidence than I have right now, you're just not comfortable enough to do it right now.

TUCHMAN: David Cole from the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan says two million to three million jobs could be lost quickly if the big three go bankrupt.

DAVID COLE, CENTER FOR AUTOMOTIVE RESEARCH: The bottom line is that this industry is at the edge of a cliff. If it goes over that cliff, the cost to the economy is going to be enormous.

TUCHMAN: Democratic Congressional leaders are pushing for a lame duck session to try to pass legislation to make automakers eligible for help under the already passed $700 billion bailout measure.

So far the Bush administration has resisted the idea. Some experts say a company like GM hasn't learned from past mistakes.

PETER MORICI, ECONOMIST: If we subsidize General Motors now so it doesn't go down in 2009, it will go under in 2011. But when it does, it won't disappear, the factories won't go away, it will go through bankruptcy, reorganization and a new company will emerge that makes the same cars but with much lower costs and much better competitive prospects.

TUCHMAN: But others say the immediate financial devastation would be a mess and that the big three automakers are positioned for future success if they get the infusion.

COLE: I don't like the idea of government involvement. But when you consider the size of this industry, the importance to the economy and the fact that the cost of prevention here is much lower than the cost of a calamity, it is the right thing to do in terms of what's best for this country.

TUCHMAN: This will give you an idea of what this industry is going through. I decided to visit a well known GM-Chevy dealer here in Atlanta that has a great reputation for customer service. When we got here the security guard said we couldn't park, when I asked her why and she said the dealer has gone out of business.

COLE: It's absolutely a special case. And it has been for a long, long time in our economy.

MORICI: The automobile industry is not a special case anymore than the steel industry or the airline industry are a special case.

TUCHMAN: A 180-degree difference of opinion, but all agree right now, business stinks.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Let us know what you think about the bailout. Join the conversation at I'm going to be blogging when I can throughout the hour. You can also check out Erica Hill's live web cast during the breaks. That's already started.

Up next, the political dimension of an auto industry meltdown and how Obama's handling it. Not an easy problem and not the only problem that he's got. We'll talk about his options with our political panel.

Also a CNN exclusive.


BUSH: I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said.


BUSH: Like dead or alive, bring them on. And, by the way, my wife reminded me that, hey, as President of the United States, you better be careful what you say.


COOPER: Hear what else President Bush had to say about his shortcomings and Barack Obama in a very candid interview with CNN's Heidi Collins ahead on "360."


COOPER: Bailing out the big three; government intervention versus letting the free market work. It sounds like economics 101, in fact, it's not neither easy nor simple. Not to the kid whose dad was laid off, or the shop owner whose business dries up when the workers stop coming or the innovators who failed because the competition just got bailed out.

As you saw in Gary Tuchman's report, millions of people have a stake in the problem, millions of people who vote. The "Raw Politics" now from "Time" Magazine's Mark Halperin and Marcus Mabry, senior business editor of the "New York Times."

Mark, why is Obama pushing so hard on this bailout?

MARK HALPERIN, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, it's a big part of the economy. There are spin-off effects if one of the big three goes under, as long as the auto industry has trouble, the American economy is going to be slower to recover. And there are political constituents; the governor of Michigan is a Democrat. Labor unions care a lot about this and of course, the most important thing is the human cost. He cares about it because real Americans lives will be harmed if this industry continues to have trouble. The problem is it is difficult to fix; may be impossible to fix given the years of neglect in trying to deal with the problems.

COOPER: Pro and con; you bail them out, they're building cars that not enough people want to buy? What are you bailing them out for then ultimately?

MARCUS MABRY, NEW YORK TIMES: That's the problem. I think what the Obama administration is going to try to do is probably bring hundreds of billions of dollars that they want to use for an energy initiative they want to give to Detroit so they can actually make more fuel-efficient, energy-wise, green cars and use that at the same time to bail them out to get them over this cash hump.

The fact is, I find it hard to believe that President Bush won't do something before he leaves office because if he doesn't, GM has already said that they will not have enough to make it through the end of the year just where their cash position was.

I don't think that George Bush wants his final legacy to be the Bush recession, they will be pressed hard to call it by January and then the Bush collapse of General Motors.

COOPER: But do the Democrats show they want to be negotiating with the automakers and the unions. They have these contracts that they're locked into. Are they going to renegotiate with unions these contracts?

HALPERIN: I think that this is going to have to be one of the big; we talked about it last night in the show if Obama's going to try to do little things or big things. This is one that's got to be big, it's got to have an energy component, got to have an environmental component, got to be a labor union component, probably a health care component for longer term problems. I think that's right, in the short-term, Bush and Obama together are going to have to do whatever it takes to get them over the short-term cash problem.

COOPER: It's a sticky situation for President-elect Obama. On the one hand, he's going to be president, but on the other hand he's not president yet. We see him there meeting at the White House with President Bush. It's a hard position probably for him to be in.

MABRY: I still think in some regards, it's actually a blessing for him because something has to be done before he comes to office, otherwise again the big three will be at least the big three or maybe even the big one by the time he gets inaugurated. I don't think the Republicans, I don't think George W. Bush can stand to have that happen unless you're talking about you're going to create a permanent Democratic majority because the Republican Party will have lost Detroit.

COOPER: What do you make of all these leaks coming out of this meeting yesterday between President-elect Obama and President Bush? There are leads basically indicating that President Bush is pushing for some sort of a free trade deal with Colombia in return for action on this.

HALPERIN: President-elect Obama and the Bush White House are lucky and the American people are lucky if they want unity and a smooth transition that there was a lot of goodwill laid out before this happened. This was not consistent with the tone and substance of how this transition had gone up until now. And I think there were enough conversations.

COOPER: There weren't a lot of leaks coming out of the Obama campaign --

HALPERIN: Not a lot of leaks and also a lot of respects. You saw President-elect Obama and his staff pull back, stop criticizing the Bush administration, be thinking about the future and working very collaboratively. There are a lot of strong and existing relationships, both John Podesta and Rahm Emanuel who are men working on the transition for Barack Obama have strong ties to the White House chief of staff, current White House chief of staff, Josh Bolton.

So I think this is going to be an aberration. And again, so different than what we have seen for 16 years in Washington where once incident causes the two sides to go to their respective corners and to the mattresses; simultaneously I used two different metaphors in one sentence.

I think they'll smooth this over and they'll go back to the way it's been, which is good for the country. There needs to be a smooth transition that there's no politics.

The substance though of what was discussed, assuming the reports are accurate, I think is interesting. It is again the kind of grand bargain where both sides give something. Both sides say I want this, the other side says I want that, let's do them both. That's what's going to be needed for an energy environment compromise. That's what's going to be needed for a lot of these problems.

MABRY: It is a great question but I don't see the Democrats at this point, having won the electoral mandate they've just won actually saying now we'll give them the Colombia free trade deal. I don't see that happening. That's where it becomes just politically --

HALPERIN: They don't have to do it if they want to pass it. They have to do it they want to pass things with bipartisan support. That is what Barack Obama is going for.

And I think the White House may say to the Democrats in Congress, you know what, we could pass this without adding this in, but let's get more Republicans on board. If he does it, he'll have a more successful presidency.

COOPER: Interesting. All right. We'll see what happens.

Mark Halperin thanks. Marcus Mabry, thank you as well. Up next on this Veterans Day, straight talk on Iraq and Afghanistan, and new signs of how Barack Obama may deal with America's two wars. CNN's Michael Ware and Peter Bergen join us live.

Later the making of Sarah Palin 2.0 and the remaking of the GOP, she's doing more interviews than ever. What's up with that?

And is Barack Obama's mother-in-law headed to the White House? Will Sasha and Malia's grandmother be just down the hall? That's a question most presidents don't have to answer, but this young president will. More when 360 continues.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People said weren't you afraid? I said, sure, everybody's afraid, but when you've got a job to do and it's an important job and it's a God-given job, then you do it without fear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We honor the veterans that have gone before us, both past and present and both living and gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have done a lot of things in my life, and I have worn a lot of hats, but none of them was more important than this one.

BUSH: Thank you for your courage, thank you for your sacrifice, and thank you for standing up when your nation needed you most.


COOPER: President Bush today, his final veterans day in office, it is the seventh Veterans Day since American troops began fighting in Afghanistan, the fifth since the Iraq war began. Both wars are about to become President-elect Obama's problem.

And tonight the Associated Press is reporting the Taliban posted a message on a web site they often use urging Obama to withdraw troops from both countries.

Let's dig deeper with CNN's national security analyst, Peter Bergen and CNN's own Michael Ware.

Michael let's talk about Iraq. President-elect Obama has talked about withdrawing troops within 16 months. It's actually now much more in line with the Iraqi government's position.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN BAGHDAD CORRESPONDENT: It is and with the Bush administration's position. Right now Washington and Baghdad are desperately trying, well certainly on Washington's part to thrash out an agreement that will allow the continuing presence of U.S. troops. The clock's ticking down until New Year's Eve. That's when the U.N. mandate for the U.S. troops runs out.

Right now we're at stalemate. Indeed the Iraqi government spokesman today just said that the U.S. is not doing enough and they expect the U.S. to offer more.

So what we're seeing is an enormously complex situation where America desperately needs something to help break this deadlock. And in the meantime, we see the insurgency making an announcements today calling on their forces to increase the attacks to overturn this agreement.

COOPER: Peter, there had been talking about leaving even President-elect Obama during the campaign he talked about leaving a residual force in place in Iraq. How long would that remain there and do we have any sense of how big a force would be required?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: When he was candidate, Obama talked about this residual force, counter terrorism mission and protecting the largest embassy in history; these kinds of things, but he was pretty careful not to say what that residual force would actually involve.

But clearly the anti-war base of the Democratic Party isn't necessarily going to be happy when they find out that the residual force might be something between 30,000 and 60,000 soldiers. That's the level that U.S. military commanders are likely to recommend to the incoming Obama administration in terms of the residual force that should be left.

But as Michael has pointed out all this is in sense moot because the state of the forces agreements between the Iraqis and the United States has yet to be agreed upon and in fact is very unlikely to be agreed upon until the new Obama administration comes in.

But there's one big sticking point which is the Iraqis really want a date certain for all American soldiers to pull out and of course a residual force is not something that most Iraqi politicians will allow themselves to at least publicly sign on for so there's a great deal of uncertainty going forward.

And when that deadline expires on New Year's, theoretically at least, U.S. soldiers will have to be confined to their bases if there isn't some sort of agreement, if the U.N. Security Council doesn't come in and say, we're going to extend that U.N. mandate by several months which is plausible.

COOPER: And in simplest terms the idea was, or at least in some quarters was to take, transfer the troops who were in Iraq moving to Afghanistan but it's not that simple?

WARE: No, it's far from that simple. And if you're looking at throwing troops at the problem in Afghanistan, that's simply not enough. The so-called surge that has delivered so much success in Iraq was much more than the 30,000 reinforcement sent to the Iraqi capital.

And in Afghanistan, the terrain there, the mountains on the end of the Himalayas swallows entire infantry divisions whole. So just picking people up from Iraq, will not only leave a vacuum in that conflict, but throwing them at Afghanistan simply won't work. And that's why we are hearing people like General Petraeus talking about -- talking to elements of the Taliban.

COOPER: And Peter, in the "Washington Post" today, reporting that Obama is planning a more regional approach to Afghanistan, and perhaps even this dialogue between Afghan governments and what they had termed as reconcilable elements of the Taliban.

BERGEN: Yes, and certainly General Petraeus has talked about that, the Bush administration is doing its own review, obviously in the dying days of the Bush administration. He's going to be looking at that. And there's really no other option because as Michael pointed out, even if you send several thousand American soldiers to Afghanistan, that's not a game changer.

A game changer is bringing in people who used to be shooting at you and try to get them on your side and maybe put them on the payroll as happened in Iraq. Obviously Afghanistan is different, there's a different details that would have to be involved, different structures. But nonetheless, taking the Iraqi model to some degree and seeing if it can work in Afghanistan.

COOPER: Obama also reportedly intends to renew the commitment to hunt down Osama bin Laden. I think a lot of Americans think that all our troops in Afghanistan are doing is looking for Osama bin Laden, but that's the least thing they're doing it seems like.

WARE: Absolutely, I mean they're fighting resurgent Taliban and they're trying to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan villages who have seen so little produce since the fall of the Taliban. And ultimately, if you want to find Osama bin Laden, according to America's own intelligence community, the place to look is not Afghanistan.

COOPER: It's Pakistan.

WARE: He's in Pakistan. He's in the northwest frontier province. And indeed GAO report that came out in May this year, so that not only is Al Qaeda senior leadership sitting there in northwest Pakistan, but it's also reconstituted its ability to strike the U.S. homeland.

So that's quite a promise from the President-elect.

COOPER: All right, two major issues, two wars we're fighting. Peter Bergen, thank you and Michael Ware thanks as well.

Still ahead, domestic politics, literally domestic, the newly- dubbed "first granny," will she stay in Chicago or will Sasha and Malia Obama's grandmom also be moving into the White House? Barack Obama's mother-in-law, could she live in the White House?

And next, the return of John Edwards, speaking at an event tonight, but did he talk about, well, the affair? Find out a ahead.


COOPER: Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin doesn't have to answer to anyone these days, she can talk to whomever she likes and she's talking up a storm.

First though, before we go to that, let's go to Erica Hill with the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in Louisiana eight people are charged in the killing of an Oklahoma woman who was shot after trying to leave a Ku Klux Klan initiation ritual. A sheriff said the victim was recruited over the Internet.

More help for troubled homeowners. Under new government plan unveiled today, borrowers with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will get reduced interest rates or longer terms to make their payments more affordable. Critics say the plan though doesn't go far enough since Fannie and Freddie backed just 20 percent of all delinquent loans.

Former presidential candidate John Edwards making his first public appearance tonight since admitting he had an affair with a campaign staffer. Ignoring the big elephant in the room, the Democrat took the stage at Indiana University to discuss the 2008 election -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, there you go, thanks Erica. You saw a bit of it earlier in the hour, the man who shaped his party for eight years, marked Veterans Day in New York. President Bush attending rededication ceremonies at Intrepid Museum, the World War II carrier which is just back from a $115 million renovation.

His father flew missions from a carrier much like the Intrepid. The President of course, celebrated a mission accomplished aboard another carrier more than five years ago. Today he talked about that moment and the man whose campaign in so many ways repudiated it.

The president spoke exclusively CNN's Heidi Collins.


COLLINS: This is your first interview since the election?

BUSH: Yes, it is. It is.

COLLINS: So you know I'm going to ask you, how do you think that turned out? What was your impression?

BUSH: Well, my choice didn't win, I was for John McCain. I felt he battled hard but I meant what I said after the election. That the election of Barack Obama is an historic moment for our country, there are a lot of people in America who did not believe they would ever see this day.

And it is good for our country that people have hope in the system and feel vested in the future. And so President-elect Obama has a great opportunity and I really do wish him all the best. I mean, I am just as American as he is American. And it is good for out country that the president succeeds and so the transition that we're working with him on is a genuine effort to help him to deal with the pressures and the complicated issues of the presidency.

COLLINS: I imagine that you probably have a moment in your presidency that you are most proud of and a moment that I'm sure you most regret.

BUSH: You know, I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said.


BUSH: Like dead or alive. Or bring them on. And by the way my wife reminded me that, hey, as President of the United States, you better be careful what you say. I mean I was trying to convey a message, I probably could have conveyed it more artfully. Being on this ship reminds me of when I went to the USS Abraham Lincoln and they had a sign that said mission accomplished.

I regret that that sign was there. It was a sign aimed at the sailors on that ship. However it conveyed a broader knowledge. To some it said, well, Bush thinks the war in Iraq is over when I didn't think that, but nevertheless, it conveyed the wrong message.

So there are things I've regretted. I've had a lot of reasons to be proud, I guess, is the right word. I'm proud every time I stand in front of the United States military. I am proud to be the commander- in-chief of people who are so selfless and so courageous that they would volunteer to serve our country in a time of war.


COOPER: President Bush today with CNN's Heidi Collins. You can see more of the interview on the "CNN Newsroom" tomorrow morning at 9:00 Eastern.

Up next, meet the new Sarah Palin, she's letting her daughter Piper talk to the media and when she's not cooking up moose dogs for the press, she's doing interview after interview. What's behind the reintroduction and what are her plans for the future? We'll tell you.

And later, Barack Obama's mother-in-law, she helps to keeps the next First Family grounded, she also watches the daughters, will she be going to the White House with them? Next.


COOPER: Moose chili and moose cheese dogs, that's what Sarah Palin said she was cooking at her house over the weekend. She let cameras in for the show and she's letting cameras follow her pretty much everywhere lately. She is on a media blitz.

She appeared on the "Today" show this morning. And she let her daughter Piper talk to NBC's Matt Lauer, take a look.



LAUER: Yes, and how is that now? Is it hard to catch up?

P. PALIN: Yes. It's really hard.

LAUER: So you're seven now, so if your mom comes in four years, you'll be 11, and she says, Piper, kids, here we go again. Another campaign, and how would you feel about it?

P. PALIN: I don't know.

GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) ALASKA: Would you want to do it again, sister?

P. PALIN: Yes.

S. PALIN: That was fun?


COOPER: How adorable is she? Seven-year-old Piper Palin and as for her mom, expect to see a lot more of her in the days to come. She'll be on CNN tomorrow, interviewed twice, first by Wolf Blitzer and then by Larry King.

What a the difference a couple of weeks when we could not get this woman on our air to save our lives and now she's all over. For many Americans this is a very different Sarah Palin than the one during the campaign.

"Up Close" here's "360's" Joe Johns.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Remember the big introduction?

S. PALIN: I would be honored to accept your nomination for Vice President of the United States.

JOHNS: The star of the convention, Sarah Palin, won over the party faithful with her folksy charm, conservative values and a killer sense of timing.

S. PALIN: I love those hockey moms, you know what they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.

JOHNS: When she stuck to the script, and reading from prompters and on papers, Palin was always on message. Her role, lift up the base and tear down the opposition.

S. PALIN: Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country?

JOHNS: Palin granted few interviews, but when she did, it didn't always go well. S. PALIN: As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska, it's just right over the border.

JOHNS: She soldiered and drawing large and enthusiastic crowds and heavy fire. Then came the election, the crushing defeat and more fire, this time from within the ranks of a defeated campaign.

But the loss freed Palin and she's reintroducing herself and not holding back. Call it Sarah Palin's extreme makeover. Step one, smack down the critics, those anonymous McCain advisers who described her as a diva.

S. PALIN: Come up and travel -- travel with us to Alaska and see this diva lifestyle that I supposedly live or would demand because that's just false.

JOHNS: And what about the whispers that she didn't know the countries that make up NAFTA or that Africa was a continent?

S. PALIN: That's cruel, it's mean-spirited, it's immature, it's unprofessional and those guys are jerks that they came away with that and taking things out of context.

JOHNS: Step two, get back to basics, rebuild the brand, she invited cameras inside her home while she cooked moose chili and tried again to castoff that $150,000 plus campaign wardrobe.

Here's what she told the "Today" show this morning.

S. PALIN: What is patently false is that I ever asked anybody at this convention to go out and buy me anything.

JOHNS: As for the attacks against Obama, ancient history.

S. PALIN: Because this is Barack Obama's time right now and this is an historic moment in our nation and this can be a shining moment for America in our history. And look what we're talking about, again, we're talking about my shoes and belts and skirts.

JOHNS: But is it too much, too soon?

LESLIE SANCHEZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: She has the right chutzpah and charisma to succeed as the national candidate, but she's in danger of over exposure, she's in danger of looking too selfish and she's in danger of really becoming someone who's not credible or relevant to the Republican Party. That's the challenge for her right now.

JOHNS: And a big gamble for a politician still commanding attention.


COOPER: We know that she's at the Republican Governor Association meeting tomorrow. She's going to do some interviews on CNN. Has she been reflective at all of what went on? I mean, it's interesting we heard President Bush today, talking to Heidi Collins kind of about some of the mistakes he feels he has made, some of the language he used. Has she said -- admitted to any failures?

JOHNS: No, she hasn't been apologetic, she essentially has said she was impatient, particularly in that interview with Katie Couric. And Matt Lauer asked her about that too, but she said it wasn't her style to sort of repeat the memorized lines that the campaign gave her.

COOPER: So that's what she is saying?

JOHNS: Yes, but as far as admitting that perhaps she botched the interview, no she hasn't said that.

COOPER: All right, Joe Johns, thanks so much.

Just a quick reminder, Sarah Palin sits down in the "Situation Room" with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. That gets under way tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Eastern and then of course she's with Larry King at 9:00.

Coming up, cops are calling it a deadly hate crime. Have you heard about this, seven high school students allegedly targeting a Latino man on a suburban street, some say anti-immigrant anger fueled the attack. They're blaming community leaders; the story and the fallout ahead.

And later, make room for the First Grandma. Michelle's mother may follow the -- Michelle Obama's mother may follow the family into the White House. And how many times has that happened before? A mother-in-law in the White House? Find out, ahead.


COOPER: Watching the returns on election night, Barack and Michelle Obama on the couch sitting next to Michelle Obama's mother, Marion Robinson. There's another picture with Mrs. Robinson, and this time with daughter Sasha and Malia.

There are reports tonight that the 71-year-old retired secretary will be moving in with the next First Family. Marion Robinson took care of Sasha and Malia while their parents were on the campaign trail. And with the election over, she may soon be calling the White House home.

The story now from Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At 71, this former bank secretary is packing her bags for Washington, D.C., maybe even for the White House.

CAROL LEE, POLITICO.COM: She said during the campaign that she wasn't going to be thrilled about moving to Washington. She's going to be in a brand new city and having a much, much higher profile.

KAYE: Higher profile, because Marion Robinson is Barack Obama's mother-in-law and proud grandmother of Sasha and Malia. The newly- dubbed First Granny took care of the girls while the Obamas campaigned. She doesn't relish the spotlight and rarely speaks to the media, but last March, Robinson told the "Boston Globe" --

MARION ROBINSON, MOTHER-IN-LAW OF PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: I'm doing it, but I really want to do it. It's not even a job, it's like, somebody's going to be with these kids other than their parents, it better be me.

KAYE: Robinson has lived alone in Chicago since her husband died in 1990.

Last summer she quit her job to see the girls off to school, make dinner, do home work and get them to bed 8:30 sharp.

With a 24-hour staff at their beck and call for at least the next four years, the Obama's may not need help at the White House, but having her there may be a bonus anyway.

CARL SFERRAZZA ANTHONY, HISTORIAN NATIONAL FIRST LADIES LIBRARIAN: It's important for her to be there after such a big move, because that even if it's joyous, it's traumatic. Having the steady hand there and the familiar sentiment so to speak of a grandmother really could be reassuring to the children.

KAYE: On the trail, Michelle Obama often thanked her mom.

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: I want my mommy to stand up. This is the woman who keeps me grounded, who stays at home with my girls and makes sure that they're OK. I love you.

KAYE: So will the first granny call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home? That still hasn't been decided. But with 16 bedrooms in the White House, there is certainly room for her.

If Robinson does move in, it wouldn't be the first time a president's mother-in-law lived here. Bess Truman's mom did it and Mamie Eisenhower's mother wintered at the White House. Marion Robinson should feel right at home.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Next on "360," the alleged hate crime that is rocking a suburban New York town. An Ecuadorian immigrant, that man was killed allegedly at the hands of seven teenaged boys.

LARRY KING, CNN "LARRY KING LIVE" ANCHOR: We've got an exclusive for you tonight. If you pay taxes, you helped bail out AIG with billions of your money. And now people are wondering what were company executives doing at Tony resort in Arizona last week? And who's money we're they're spending there? AIG's latest CEO is here to explain it.

Plus we'll talk Obama transition and Republicans divided all next on "LARRY KING LIVE."


COOPER: You are looking at seven teenagers facing criminal charges in a deadly attack the police are calling a hate crime. The youngest suspect is 16; the rest, 17 years old. All seven allegedly took part in the beating and fatal stabbing of an Ecuadorian immigrant over the weekend; an attack that took place in an area of suburban New York where tension over illegal immigrants runs high.

Once again, here's Joe Johns.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was an unusually warm night when police say a group of teenagers set out to go, quote, "beaner jumping."

DET. LT. JACK FITZPATRICK, SUFFOLK COUNTY, NEW YORK POLICE: Their motivation was to find Latinos and to assault them. And that was what they went out to do that night, and that's exactly what they did do.

JOHNS: So, the police say, the boys searched a suburban New York town until they found a target: Ecuadorian immigrant Marcello Lucero. Police say the boys told them they actually wanted to, quote, "F" up a Mexican.

FERNANDO MATEO, HISPANICS ACROSS AMERICA: Those days of noosing, hanging and torturing should be a thing of the past. Yet again, we're living it today.

JOHNS: Police say Jeffrey Conroy, a three-sport athlete, repeatedly stabbed Lucero in the chest, as the gang beat him. Conroy faces charges of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't really tell you how I feel, you know. It's like I just wanted to do justice right now.

JOHNS: His brother said Lucero had come to the U.S. on a visa 16 years ago. He's remembered as the friendly face of the local dry- cleaner who played a mean game of volleyball and called his mother several times a week.

REV. ALAN RAMIREZ, BROOKVILLE REFORMED CHURCH: Once again, there is the blood of immigrants flowing through the streets of Suffolk County.

JOHNS: A neighborhood minister said the attack was fueled by xenophobia. In fact, he says the growing Latino population on Long Island is under attack. Houses have been burned down as people slept inside; several day workers brutally beaten.

Across the country, a recent Justice Department report shows Latinos are the chief victims of ethnically-motivated hate crimes.

RUBEN NAVARRETTE, LATINO COLUMNIST: When people go out on the airwaves or in print or at the stump as a politician, and they beat that drum, they shouldn't be surprised at the end of the day, many people out there, and particularly young people who are very impressionable, say, "Hey, you know what? This is one group we can do this to."

JOHNS: As for the victim, Marcello Lucero, his family blames the boys' parents for the brutal attack and plans to sue them in civil court. But the lawyers for the attackers say bias was not the boys' motives, adding that one of the boys is part Latino. All have entered "not guilty" pleas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeff (ph) is like -- he's the nicest guy you'll ever meet.

JOHNS: But to Latinos in this community, the history of these attacks tells another story.

MATEO: We cannot harvest terrorists in our homes. These seven kids are terrorists, and they must pay as such.

JOHNS: The question that's already been raised by activist groups in the newspapers is whether anti-immigrant rhetoric has created a climate for this kind of thing. That federal Justice Department report on hate crimes says Latinos were the victims of hate crimes 61 percent of the time.

Joe Johns, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Up next, who should be CNN's Hero of the Year? We'll tell you how to vote and meet one of the top ten heroes.

Community crusader; she lives in L.A. but she's transformed her childhood home in the African country in Malawi to help hundreds of kids.


COOPER: Tonight, we continue to introduce you to our top ten CNN Heroes. One of them will be named CNN's Hero of the Year later this month and you can help decide who gets that honor. We're going to tell you how to vote in a moment but first meet one of the top ten.

Marie Da Silva is a nanny to two kids in Los Angeles. But she is helping hundreds of people in her native Malawi, in Africa. Take a look.


MARIE DA SILVA, FINALIST, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: Come on. This way. Children just bring joy to me. That's why I'm a nanny. I was born and bred in Malawi. I have 14 members of my family who have died of AIDS. When I visit Malawi, I visit my family at the graveyard.

We have hundreds and thousands of orphans. When I heard that the AIDS orphans would have no school, it touched me to say, I need to help.

I'm Marie Da Silva and my mission is to educate AIDS orphans in Malawi.

The Jacaranda School is in the house that I grew up in. They study in my bedroom, they study in the pantry, they study in the garage. We have a lack of just about everything. But we're doing amazingly well. This is their sanctuary.

Every month, I sent in a thousand dollars, about 30 percent of my monthly wages. I do this because I know that the children there need it. When my father was dying, there was this huge jacaranda tree outside that brought in light. For me, the jacaranda tree symbolizes hope and that's what I want to give to the children at the Jacaranda School.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Voting ends in just nine days; again the web site is The top ten CNN heroes will be honored in an all-star tribute hosted by me on Thanksgiving night right here on CNN.

That does it for this edition of "360." Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts right now.

I'll see you tomorrow night.