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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Senate Democrats Call For Illinois Governor to Resign; Interview With Author Scott Turow
Aired December 10, 2008 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news on two fronts: the auto bailout. The House just passed a $14 billion package. The Senate takes up debate tomorrow. We will have more on that later tonight.
We begin, however, with disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Through a spokesman today, Barack Obama calling on the governor to resign. He is accused, among other things, as you know, of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat. Tonight, all 50 Senate Democrats joined Obama in calling for his resignation. And they voted not to seat him if he decides to appoint himself.
Also today, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. gave a surprising news conference, saying he has done nothing wrong.
Drew Griffin of CNN's Special Investigations Unit has tonight's breaking news.
QUESTION: Here he is.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Call it business unusual for the Illinois governor, now ducking media stake out at his home and racing past cameras as he was driven to his Chicago office.
One day after his arrest and amid calls from every corner of the state for his resignation, the governor was silent. Not so silent, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who suddenly found himself defending his quest to fill the U.S. Senate seat Democrat Governor Blagojevich was allegedly trying to sell.
REP. JESSE JACKSON JR. (D), ILLINOIS: I reject and denounce pay- to-play politics and have no involvement whatsoever in any wrongdoing. I did not initiate or authorize anyone, at any time, to promise anything to Governor Blagojevich on my behalf.
GRIFFIN: A law enforcement source with detailed knowledge of the investigation confirms to CNN Jackson, a Democrat, is the Senate candidate number five talked about in the federal complaint against Governor Blagojevich. On page 72 of the federal government, Blagojevich allegedly describes a deal being cooked up by an associate of candidate 5.
"We were approached pay-to-play, that, you know, he would raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million if I made him, Senate candidate number five, a senator."
It's a claim Jackson categorically denies.
JACKSON: I never sent a message or an emissary to the governor to make an offer, to plead my case, or to propose a deal about a U.S. Senate seat, period.
GRIFFIN: So, who are the other possible candidates one through six Governor Blagojevich was considering?
Number one is believed to be close Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett, who has been named to Barack Obama's White House staff. Number two, possibly Illinois Attorney general Lisa Madigan. Madigan yesterday called for Blagojevich's resignation.
Number three, Democrat Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky says it might have been her, and says she must not have been a serious candidate, since the governor didn't ask her for anything.
Number four is described as a deputy governor. Blagojevich had three deputies, until one of them, Bob Greenlee, resigned today. Greenlee would not confirm to the Associated Press if he was the candidate. Number five is Jesse Jackson Jr. And number six, the FBI complaint calls a wealthy man from Illinois who wants the seat and would pay for it.
COOPER: Drew, the governor and Congressman Jackson met about this job just this week, in fact, just a matter of hours before the governor was actually arrested.
Did Jackson say what that meeting was about?
GRIFFIN: Four o'clock Monday afternoon.
And, yes, Jesse Jackson said he went in there to present his case to be the next U.S. senator from Illinois, armed with a resume, his qualifications, his political support, and his experience in the Congress, not with any money, not with any deal. And he said he didn't get any deal offered in return.
The congressman has hired an attorney. That attorney held a news conference today, saying, in no way, shape or form is Congressman Jackson a target of this investigation, but the congressman will cooperate with the investigation.
COOPER: And the congressman still wants to be senator?
GRIFFIN: He absolutely does. He came very close, I thought, in his news conversation, got emotional at the end, where I thought he was going to pull his name from the ring, but not at all. He laid out the case. He thinks he is the most experienced congressman from Illinois for this job. And he still wants it. And we will see if, after this blows over, if he is still in the running or if potentially there will be some kind of a special election that he would enter.
COOPER: Yes, we're going to talk about that with David Gergen coming up.
We're going to have more now on president-elect Obama's reaction to the scandal. Was it enough? It's already became an issue he is going to likely have to address tomorrow. The president-elect and governor not exactly the best of friends in recent years, though they have had a closer political relationship in the past.
Mr. Obama denied the governor a speaking role at the Democratic Convention. The governor on tape, according to the feds, denouncing Mr. Obama in language only David "F-ing" Mamet could write for not playing along with his alleged scheme to auction off Obama's Senate seat.
That said, Republicans are voicing new suspicions of what Mr. Obama is saying about the affair.
Jessica Yellin has the breaking news.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President-elect Barack Obama is ratcheting on the pressure on Governor Blagojevich to resign, through an aide, telling CNN, he believes, "Under the current circumstances, it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois."
That statement comes amid questions about what Barack Obama is not saying about the scandal. Already, critics are slamming him for carefully parsed and vague statements, in the words of the head of the Republican Party, who is calling on the president-elect to immediately disclose any and all communications his transition team has had with the governor's office.
So far, Obama isn't saying.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We were not -- I was not aware of what was happening.
YELLIN: Not "we," but "I," leaving open the possibility that one or more of his aides did make contact with the governor's office.
According to the complaint, Blagojevich wanted to talk with an Obama aide. The governor is quoted saying, on November 13, that he'd like to call a president-elect adviser and ask him, "Can you guys help him raise $10 million or $15 million?"
The complaint does not say if that call ever happened, but, clearly, it raises the question, which creates a perception problem.
JOHN DICKERSON, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "SLATE": And one of the things Senator Obama talked about in the wake of Jeremiah Wright controversy was that these kinds of scandals need to be nipped in the bud, right away. That was one of the lessons he said he learned. He doesn't seem yet to be applying that same lesson to the Blagojevich matter.
YELLIN: On the campaign trail, Obama promised to be a different kind of politician.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, JANUARY 2008)
OBAMA: That has been a hallmark of my career. Transparency and accountability, getting the American people involved, that is how we are going to bring about change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: But now he says:
OBAMA: As this is an ongoing investigation involving the governor, I don't think it would be appropriate for me to comment.
YELLIN: Perhaps he is in a no-win position.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think -- I think a scandal involving a Democratic governor of his home state is probably the last thing Barack Obama wants in the middle of his transition into the White House. And there is a downside to everything, right? If he doesn't talk about it, then people will criticize him and say, well, he is not being forthcoming. If he does, he looks like he is more involved in it than he is.
COOPER: Jessica -- Jessica, do you expect Obama to say more about this tomorrow?
YELLIN: Yes, Anderson.
Barack Obama has scheduled a press conference for the morning. Ironically, that press conference is to announce the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. And that's a role that Blagojevich allegedly wanted for himself in one of these horse trades.
So, interesting timing. I asked a transition aide whether Barack Obama plans to address the Blagojevich issue. And I was told, only if asked.
Well, rest assured, he will be asked.
(LAUGHTER) YELLIN: He has had enough time now to talk to his aides, see who has said what, who knows what, and put together a more complete answer. So, it certainly would be a good opportunity to try to put some of these questions to rest.
COOPER: Yes, the notion that Governor Blagojevich thought he might get appointed to something like, you know, Health Human Services or an ambassadorship is just -- it's like smoking glue or something.
COOPER: What was -- what was their relationship, though? I mean, there have been sort of contradictory signals from Obama's team.
You have David -- David Axelrod, I think it was last week, saying that Obama had talked to the governor about the Senate seat. Rahm Emanuel had given an interview a while back, I think it was, to "The New Yorker" saying that Obama was very involved, almost having weekly meetings when Blagojevich was originally running for governor.
He's now -- both men have -- have stepped -- come out and said, you know what, actually, we were wrong in both those statements.
YELLIN: Exactly. They have both said -- they have fallen on their swords.
And, so, its hard to know really what is true here. Talking to a lot of Chicago politicos and Democrats in this state, all these guys all know each other very well. It is a small political circle. They all deal with each other. And, so, it might be difficult to draw some lines.
Barack Obama was a supporter, did advise Blagojevich on one of his earlier races. And so did David Axelrod in an earlier race. So, they all did have some connections. More recently, they are saying the -- the connections were limited.
And I will tell you, frankly, folks in this town say that is believable, because people kind of considered him a guy you want to keep your distance from in recent times.
These are, though, the reasons why it is so important for Barack Obama to clarify it all in this press conference tomorrow. Hopefully, he will.
COOPER: All right, we will bring it to our viewers, of course. Jessica, thanks.
A lot of people chatting about this online right now. Join the conversation. The live chat link is at AC360.com. And check out Erica Hill's live Webcasts during our breaks.
We're also going to be chatting about the politics of all this with David Gergen and Mary Mitchell. And there they are coming up. They will join us in a second.
And, also, bestselling author and Chicago native Scott Turow will join us to talk about the legal battle now under way.
Also, Barack Hussein Obama, his middle name became a campaign issue for some Republicans, we all remember. Tonight, will he use his middle name when he takes the oath of office? We have the answer coming up.
And more breaking news: the auto bailout passing one roadblock in the House. But could it be headed for a ditch in the Senate? A live report from Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: I reject and denounce pay-to-play politics and have no involvement whatsoever in any wrongdoing. I did not initiate or authorize anyone, at any time, to promise anything to Governor Blagojevich on my behalf.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. earlier today denying any wrongdoing in a scandal so brazen, it may actually force Chicago to recalibrate its slimy politics yardstick -- wiretapped conversations suggesting the governor felt that Jackson would raise campaign money for him in exchange for being appointed to the Senate seat vacated by president-elect Obama.
Jackson says, no way, no how, he never sent an emissary to talk about any quid pro quo.
Let's dig deeper with our panel, CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen, also Mary Mitchell, a columnist for "The Chicago Sun-Times."
Good to have you both with us.
David, is there any chance that Jesse Jackson Jr. could now become a senator, taking Barack Obama's seat, even though -- I mean, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing on his part, regardless of what the governor said on tape?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think this whole episode for Jesse Jackson Jr. means he probably -- he cannot be appointed by a sitting governor in Illinois.
He could win the seat in an open election. And that's -- I think Mary can give us an up-to-date report on that, but that is clearly the -- the direction in which the state legislature is going in Illinois, strip the governor of his power to make this appointment, then have a special election. Jesse Jackson can -- can run in that.
But, Anderson, it does open the door to the possibility that Republicans could take that seat back. COOPER: Mary, were you surprised Jesse Jackson Jr. basically made a pitch for himself as senator today?
MARY MITCHELL, COLUMNIST, "THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Well, he really wanted that job.
I mean, he has lobbied for the seat. He has gone to the editorial boards. He has -- you know, he has been actively pursuing that seat. So, I was not surprised that he did speak up for himself today, because, after all, if you look at 76 pages, there is nothing in it that says that Jesse Jackson did anything wrong. What it says is someone else...
COOPER: Right. The governor said an emissary came to him indicating that -- that Jesse Jackson Jr. might raise money for Blagojevich.
MITCHELL: Well, look, the governor was putting the seat on eBay, practically. And, so, the idea that someone connected to -- to Jackson or someone around Jackson said anything to the governor that let him believe that someone would raise money, I'm not surprised by that.
COOPER: David, how do you think president-elect Obama has handled all this? I mean, he was very short in the comments he did make. Clearly, he's going to have to address things tomorrow, because now there are a lot of questions swirling. And there have been these contradictory signals from David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, saying two different things. And now both, as Jessica Yellin said, they have had to fall on their swords, saying, yes, actually, we -- we -- we were wrong.
GERGEN: He's been a little slow off the mark, Anderson.
He was a little tentative yesterday. He could have called for the resignation yesterday. Instead, he -- he let others do that first. And then he joined the chorus today.
I think this is a test now for him, as president-elect, to show whether he is really going to be transparent, whether he is going to bring accountability. I think he has to bring to the public or have someone on his campaign team now make public all the contacts from within the staff with anybody around the governor or the governor himself.
I think that is part of the transparency test. So -- you know, so far, this has been -- from a political standpoint, the focus has remained mostly on the governor and what an idiot he seems to be or whether he is delusional. But it has -- and there have been no trails that have led to Barack Obama or anyone around him.
But, given these questions of what contacts have occurred, I think they now must be transparent.
COOPER: Mary, do we know -- I mean, what is the past relationship between Barack Obama and -- and this governor? I mean, there -- there have been contradictory reports. Clearly, lately, there hasn't been much contact. There -- they clearly seemed to -- everyone seems to be distancing -- have been distancing themselves from -- from this governor. But, early on, how supportive of each other were they?
MITCHELL: Well, early on, Governor Blagojevich was seen as a rising star and a progressive. And, so, it is not unusual that he would have a relationship with president-elect Barack Obama.
But that relationship had definitely been soured for some reason, maybe because Blagojevich has been a very controversial figure in the general assembly. No one seemed to be able to get along with him. It has been one thing after another.
And Obama ran on practically no-drama Obama. So, why would he want to connect himself up with Blagojevich?
This is very strange, though, because the fact that there hasn't been any conversation between the president-elect about a seat that he really cared about is strange. So, he does have to -- have some questions to answer.
COOPER: David, do you think this -- even if there are not direct connections, do you think this, in some way, or at least probably in some conservatives' minds, taints Obama or -- or links him to this Chicago-style politics, which, clearly, there is a strain in Chicago politics of -- of corruption?
GERGEN: I think it removes one of the coats of armor that Barack Obama was bringing into the presidency.
He is a little more vulnerable on this now than he was before. But I would stress, again, the -- the -- Mr. Fitzgerald, this very tough prosecutor, said there is no indication that Barack Obama has done anything wrong.
GERGEN: We have seen no trails leading to Barack Obama or anybody around him.
And I think it is important to remember history, Anderson. Harry Truman was a great president. Harry Truman was a product of the Pendergast machine, a famous machine in the 1930s and '40s in the state of Missouri.
And -- and a lot of people thought, well, he must have the taint of corruption. He wasn't. He came -- he was an honest man who came out of a corrupt system. And I think that we have always regarded him as one of our best and most honest presidents.
So, I think it is unfair to say to -- that -- about Obama, because he comes out of this milieu which has a lot of this corruption, that he himself -- he seems to have come out of this with a lot of innocence.
COOPER: David Gergen with a historical look.
Mary Mitchell, as well, good to have you on the program.
GERGEN: Thank you.
Bestselling author Scott Turow knows a thing or two about legal thrillers. And this is certainly a big one. We're going to talk to him in a moment about the scandal, the law, and the behind-the-scenes battles taking place right now over evidence.
Also, the governor's wife and all the blankety-blank things she he -- she is heard on tape saying. She's got mouth like a trucker, and I have to apologize to truckers for that one. She's no stranger to Chicago politics. We will take a look inside the tangled web of relationships in the governor's life.
Plus, more on tonight's other breaking story: the House passing an auto bailout bill -- Senate Republicans going against the president, threatening to derail the whole thing. What is going to happen? Let's try to find out tonight.
COOPER: The governor of Illinois, it is his birthday today. No word on if he checked his cake for a wiretap.
He is facing federal corruption charges and apparently knee-deep in slime. But, of course, he is "Presumed Innocent," which is, of course, coincidentally, the title of a bestseller by Chicago native Scott Turow.
We spoke earlier about the legal case.
COOPER: Scott, you know, you read the dialogue in this report from what the governor said, if you had written this in a novel, would -- would readers buy it?
SCOTT TUROW, AUTHOR/LAWYER: I really this that this one is, classically, the truth being stranger than fiction. It is -- it's hard to believe, frankly, accepting those quotations as accurate, that any human being could be that blatantly venal.
COOPER: You say that there's little doubt that the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, had to move against the governor really before he was ready. Why do you think he had to act now?
TUROW: Things were happening which -- in which his judgment, in fairness to him, would have been questioned if he had allowed them to go forward, knowing what he knew, specifically the appointment of a new U.S. senator, if it was tainted by some kind of payment to the governor. That's -- you can't allow somebody to sit in the Senate for six months and then walk in and say, oh, yes, I knew about that.
You know, the people are going to be furious with the U.S. attorney. And there were also legislative matters, bills sitting on the governor's desk, that were also implicated by information that came up on the wiretap. So...
COOPER: He also mentioned this -- this hospital, this children's hospital...
COOPER: ... essentially being held hostage by the governor.
TUROW: Right. Right, I mean, a really sad story, although there's $8 million for sick children that the governor is not going to release unless the CEO gives him $50,000 as a campaign contribution.
COOPER: The wiretaps seem incriminating from -- from the transcripts that have been released, but Patrick Fitzgerald has appealed to the public for more information yesterday. He's -- he has got a real time pressure now because he had to move earlier than he had wanted to.
I mean, every -- every prosecutor in a complex case would like to investigate it with the aid of a grand jury. Twenty days -- actually, 19 days from now, this case will have to be indicted. You may not use the grand jury to -- to investigate the indicted charges.
And, so, their investigation will have to proceed outside the grand jury, without the ability to compel witnesses to go in a grand jury and to testify and to lock in that testimony.
COOPER: What certainly seems clear is that the governor is a horse trader, or at least fancies himself as such, a deal-maker, constantly looking for an angle.
Does he have an angle on this? Does he have any bargaining power, I mean, besides the -- you know, his ability to resign and -- and holding, you know, trying to stay in office as a bargaining chip?
TUROW: I, personally, given the governor's behavior, think it's extremely unlikely that he is going to accept the reality that he is in terrible trouble.
I don't expect him to resign quickly. He probably will have to resign eventually. But I don't expect him to resign quickly. And, frankly, the most -- the greatest leverage he has is -- is that resignation, because the fact of the matter is, the state is going to be at standstill until he is gone.
COOPER: Final question. You know president-elect Obama. I believe you are a supporter of his. You have, I think, described his as a friend of yours. Has -- do you think he has explained enough what he knew or what others on his transition team might have known about what was going on?
TUROW: You know, I haven't followed the president-elect's statements.
I have to say, as somebody who has known him for 15 years, my faith in his integrity is resolute. And I'm not -- I'm not concerned about this. And I'm sure, frankly, that he will answer all questions shortly.
COOPER: There's going to be a press conference tomorrow. I'm sure he's going to get a lot of questions, no doubt.
Scott Turow, appreciate your -- your time tonight. Thank you.
TUROW: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next: She is being called everything from a foul- mouthed first lady to Lady Macbeth, and Patti Blagojevich was also caught on tape by the FBI. Could she also fail jail time?
Also ahead: Will president-elect Obama use his middle name when he takes the oath of office? We have got the answer and the "Raw Politics" ahead.
And my close encounter with great white sharks, underwater, face- to-face with the top predator in the seas. Why would anyone get into blood-filled water with a bunch of sharks? Find out tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK FITZGERALD, STATE'S ATTORNEY FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS: The tapes reveal that Governor Blagojevich wanted a number of things in exchange for making the appointment to the Senate seat: an appointment as secretary of health and human services or an ambassadorship, an appointment to a private foundation, a higher- paying job for his wife or campaign contributions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A high-paying job, and then some, for the wife of Governor Blagojevich, Patti.
Now, to be clear, no charges have been filed against her. But the criminal complaint doesn't paint a flattering picture of the state's first lady. The wiretaps allegedly caught her cursing up a storm, making her out as a schemer, or, as "The Chicago Tribune" said, a modern-day Lady Macbeth.
What a pair these are. Up close, here is Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Happier times for the Blagojevich family, when they had their second child in 2003.
GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), ILLINOIS: I think she takes after her daddy. She wanted to stay close to her mother.
R. BLAGOJEVICH: Both she and I love Patti so much, we always like to be close.
TUCHMAN: Now news helicopters hover over Patti Blagojevich's home that she shares with her husband and two daughters, who are seen going to her car, with her mother following behind, Patricia Blagojevich, a woman who, if prosecutors are right, stands by her man, in an unflattering and sometimes foul-mouthed style.
Regarding the accusation that her husband wanted "The Chicago Tribune" to fire editorial writers in return for state help for the company to sell Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, the wiretappers say she said: "Hold up that 'bleeping' Cubs 'bleep.' 'Bleep' them."
And did she endorse the plot to get rid of the newspaper employees? Patti Blagojevich, who has been in the real estate business, is allegedly caught dishing this: "Just fire the writers."
And she and her husband are alleged to have schemed to get her high-paying positions on corporate boards.
The public has seen a much different Patti Blagojevich, this when she was asked her baby daughter's middle name.
PATTI BLAGOJEVICH, WIFE OF ROD BLAGOJEVICH: We just do an initial. With a last name like Blagojevich, you don't really need a middle name.
CAROL MARIN, COLUMNIST, "THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": This is not a frilly first lady.
TUCHMAN: Carol Marin is a political columnist for "The Chicago Sun-Times" and the political editor for Chicago's WMAQ-TV, a longtime observer of Illinois' often corrupt political scene.
MARIN: She herself has come under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office, because some of her real estate deals were done in concert with the governor's fund-raiser, who now sits in a federal prison on corruption charges.
TUCHMAN: Patti Blagojevich is from a political blueblood family. Her sister, Deborah Mell, is sworn in as a new state representative next month. But it's her father who's exceptionally well known in Chicago politics. Richard Mell has been a city alderman, the equivalent of a councilman, for 33 years.
Mell has had a falling out with his son-in-law, the governor.
MARIN: This is a family at war for reasons that are hard to completely understand, but the father-in-law is the power broker, and the son-in-law, Blagojevich, became the governor. And so when that business splintered, it was, I mean, Thanksgiving is a bad holiday for the Blagojevich/Mells.
TUCHMAN: We wanted to talk to Richard Mell about his daughter and son-in-law. He would not go on camera but gave us this statement: "My main concern right now is for my daughter and grandchildren. I would rather not discuss this sad situation in the public venue at this time."
And sad it is. Patty and Rod Blagojevich's little girls will now have to compete for the attention of their parents with their father about to enter a legal maelstrom. Things have changed since this pitifully ironic statement when the governor talked about his newborn.
GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), ILLINOIS: She's happy, contented, very straight forward, very honest, which means no political career.
TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Chicago.
COOPER: Up next, breaking news. The House votes on a $14 billion bailout for the Big Three automakers. Just passed a little more than an hour ago. About two hours ago now. We'll get the latest on what happened, live from Capitol Hill.
Plus, will the president-elect use his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, when he takes the oath of office? If he does, what's the big deal? We've got the "Raw Politics" and an answer, ahead.
And later, swimming with the most dangerous predators in the ocean. What was I thinking? Be right back.
COOPER: Breaking news tonight on an auto bailout deal. A short time ago House lawmakers passing a bill that would give $14 billion in emergency aid to ailing U.S. carmakers. It's the lifeline the Big Three have been begging for, money that GM and Chrysler say they need to stay in business until the -- into the new year.
The bill passed by 237 to 170 votes. The Senate now takes it up tomorrow. That's where the bill is expected to hit a huge speed bump.
CNN's Dana Bash has the latest now from Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Within minutes of the House Democratic decision to move forward on agreement with the White House to bail out auto companies, word from Senate Republicans, they may kill it.
SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Americans are not stupid. They know that this bailout is only a temporary solution.
BASH: White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and Vice President Dick Cheney rushed to Capitol Hill to try to sell the deal for Detroit to their fellow Senate Republicans. Several GOP senators described the closed-door meeting as intense, a Republican revolt against the plan President Bush's aides negotiated.
SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: Nobody wants anybody to lose their jobs, but the fact is this doesn't fix the problem.
BASH: Under the $14 billion bailout, a so-called car czar would force the auto industry to come up with long-term restructuring plans by March 31. But many Republicans complain that czar does not have enough power to guarantee that struggling auto companies become competitive for the future.
SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: Isn't that, to use a common phrase, just ass backwards? Fifteen billion dollars, and then later, after that's out the door, we'll see a detailed restructuring plan?
BASH: Lawmakers from Michigan are begging colleagues not to block aid for Detroit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is more than about just penalizing a company that you're mad at. This is about the underpinnings of our economy.
BASH: But some of the most vocal Republican opponents of using taxpayer money to help U.S. automakers may have ulterior motives.
SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: This is only delaying their funeral.
BASH: For example, Richard Shelby's home of Alabama produces foreign cars, like Mercedes, Toyota, and Honda, that compete with the Big Three. Yet, he insists his position is about free market philosophy, not local politics.
SHELBY: And if I had five GM or Ford plants in my state, I would oppose this bailout.
COOPER: Dana, given the Republican opposition, what's going to happen tomorrow? Is this thing just going to die in Congress?
BASH: I just got off the phone with a Democratic leadership source, Anderson, who gave me the old Monty Python line that it's not dead yet. However, I talked to people on both sides, and they say, look, it's just a fact that the votes don't seem to be there in the Senate to pass the bill that the House passed tonight.
And in fact, the House -- excuse me, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, he has been working the phones from his home all night long. He's trying to cut a deal in order to try to address some of those Republican concerns.
But the problem is many Republicans say that they just want these companies to go bankrupt and then build back up from the bottom up on their own. And some of them also say that they want some mandates on concessions from auto unions. And those are things that many Democrats say that there is no way they can buy.
And that's why we are pretty much at a stalemate right now, but they are hoping perhaps they can come up with something overnight they could bring to the Senate floor tomorrow.
COOPER: Did your Democratic source actually quote Monty Python or were you just adding that in?
BASH: I just added that in.
COLMES: All right. You made the reference. All right, good. I got the reference. I just wanted to see if they were that -- that in tune with pop culture.
Dana, thanks very much.
The bailout fallout is going to be front and center when Barack Obama, of course, takes office. So will his middle name. Today, the president-elect said the Hussein name will be heard loud and clear on inauguration day.
CNN's Zain Verjee has more.
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barack Hussein Obama will use his full name when he takes the oath of office on January the 20th. The president-elect told the "Chicago Tribune" newspaper, "I think the tradition is they use all three names, and I will follow the tradition," he said. "I'm not trying to make a statement one way or another. I'll do what everybody else does."
His middle name, Hussein, a focus during the campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't trust Obama. I have read about him. And he's not -- he's not -- he's an Arab.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: No, ma'am. No, ma'am.
VERJEE: Former secretary of state, Colin Powell, objected, saying Obama is not a Muslim and so what if he was? COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: To sort of throw in this little Muslim connection, you know, he's a Muslim and a terrorist. And it was taking root. That kind of negativity troubled me.
VERJEE: Obama himself joked about it.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: And I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think I'd ever run for president.
VERJEE: Obama's father was a Muslim, and that's where he got his middle name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The son of a Muslim. All -- the whole narrative of Obama put together is what gives us hope.
VERJEE: The president-elect is a Christian but says he wants to reach out to the Muslim world and reboot America's image there. Analysts say the world's 1.3 billion Muslims want reassurance that the U.S.-led war on terror is not a war on Islam.
Obama's victory already has sent a message.
EDWARD DJEREJIAN, DIRECTOR, BAKER INSTITUTE: The photo of President Bush and President-elect Obama at the White House did volumes in the broader Middle East and throughout the world to show what America is.
VERJEE (on camera): Some experts say it really boils down to one issue: solving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the core issue for the Arab and Muslim world.
Zain Verjee, CNN, at the State Department.
COOPER: Coming up next on 360, swimming with the sharks. I'm under water and up close with great whites, predators who are now prey. Why would anyone get into water with sharks? Blood-filled water, especially? Find out tonight.
Also tonight, a truly remarkable act of forgiveness after the fighter jet crash.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONG YUN YOON, WIDOWER: I heard the pilot is safe. Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: the man who lost his family in a tragedy has a message for the pilot. Could you have done what this man did today? Find out, ahead.
COOPER: Some of the great white sharks we saw up close, extremely close, in our "Planet in Peril" investigation. They're incredible creatures: massive, powerful. They're also endangered. An entire industry has sprung up to draw attention to their plight, while also cashing in.
People pay big bucks to cage dive with great white sharks and feel the rush. Cage diving has become a lightning rod, though, for criticism by some environmentalists. And our new "Planet in Peril" documentary explains why. It airs tomorrow at 9 p.m. Eastern. Here's just a little bit of what you'll see.
COOPER (voice-over): When great white sharks start to circle your boat, the feeling is unsettling. Fifteen feet long, thousands of pounds. These are the animals of so many nightmares.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our famous shark eddy.
COOPER: We've come to dive with these great whites to get an up- close look at them and the battle that's being waged around them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please do not dive down unless we tell you to.
COOPER: Mike Rudson (ph) takes tourists cage diving with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then you can lean back and hold on and be comfortable.
COOPER: It's become a big business, but it's also, he says, a conservation effort. He thinks if people can see these endangered animals underwater, they'll learn to appreciate them and want to help protect them.
Cage diving, however, is highly controversial. We'll tell you why in a second. But right now, the water is filled with blood and fish parts called chum, and the great whites have arrived.
(on camera) Are there any recommendations for what to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, basically don't scare the sharks. You're going to the water...
COOPER: I'm not worried about scaring the sharks. It's usually the other way around.
(voice-over) After we get used to being in the water with the sharks inside a cage, we have the chance to do something that few others ever have. We'll go swimming with great white sharks without a cage.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: And I did actually leave the cage. That's me right there on the right for a rare free dive with the sharks. You can see it tomorrow night on the premiere of "Planet in Peril: Battle Lines," 9 p.m. Eastern. You can also go to CNN.com/PlanetInPeril and see dispatches from the fields, amazing still photography by Jeff Hutchens, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the documentary.
Coming up next, though, tonight, heartbreak in San Diego and an act of forgiveness which is just hard to imagine. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOON: I believe my wife and two babies and mother-in-law are in heaven with God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A jet fighter crashed into his home, killing his family. Tonight, would you be able to do what that man did today? Next.
COOPER: Just ahead, a man who literally lost everything in the kind of accident you usually only see in Hollywood movies. Incredibly, though, he refuses to place blame.
Erica Hill joins us, though, first, with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, they're ready to go. Workers at a Chicago window and door factory ended their six-day sit-in, an altercation that came to symbolize the plight of laid-off labor.
The employees have refused -- refused, that is, to leave the plant after losing their jobs last week with just three days' notice. But tonight they agreed to the deal, struck earlier today, which gives them the 60 days of pay they are owed plus vacation pay.
In Greece, a sixth straight day of riots in the streets of Athens as workers began a long-planned general strike. It shut down schools, hospitals, public services, and airline flights. The violence sparked by the shooting death of a teenager by police has brought the city to a halt and also intensified calls for the government to resign.
And a 360 follow for you now, about a brain-damaged woman we reported on months ago. Debbie Shank, a former Wal-Mart employee, was left permanently disabled after a car accident and needs constant care. After she won a settlement from the trucking company responsible for the accident, Wal-Mart sued her for nearly a half million dollars to recover the money that it spent on her care. That is legal, though the right is rarely exercised in cases like Mrs. Shank's.
Well, that story, which Randi Kaye brought us, sparked outrage. Wal-Mart allowed the Shanks to keep the money. Today, we learned Wal- Mart has also revised its 2009 health-care plan to allow for exceptions, Anderson, in cases like Debbie Shank's.
COOPER: Wow. Well, that's great for a lot of other people who may be facing this situation. That story was just devastating.
Another 360 follow to tell you about. The man you're about to meet has every reason to be angry, every reason to be filled with rage at the people responsible for his agony, or simply at fate.
On Monday, for reasons still unclear, a Marine F-18 fighter crashed into his house and, in one horrible instant, killed his wife, his mother-in-law and his two young daughters.
Yesterday, accompanied by his pastor, Dong Yoon returned to the crash site. He went home and, with F-18s roaring overhead, found forgiveness. And as you watch this, ask yourself could you find forgiveness as this man is about to?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOON: I believe my wife and two babies and mother-in-law are in heaven with God. And I know God is taking care of them.
I heard the pilot is safe. Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident. I know he's -- he's one of our treasure for the country. You know, I don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could.
I know there are many people who have experienced more terrible thing, but please tell me how to do it, because I don't know what to do.
My wife, it was God's blessing that I met her about four years ago, and we got married, and she's just such a lovely wife and mother. I just miss her so much.
I have two daughters. The first one is Grace. She's only 15 months old. And I have a second one, Rachel. She was just born October 17, just -- just a little over a month. I cannot believe they are not here right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Dong Yoon in his own words.
Still ahead, breaking news out of Chicago: the latest in the governor's alleged pay-for-play political scheme and strong words from Congressman Jesse Jackson, denying any wrongdoing. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Time for our "Beat 360" winners, our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a challenge better than one that we can come up with for a photo that we put on our blog every day.
Tonight's picture, a German cycling fan, known as El Diablo, promotes the opening of the Christmas tree season in a forest in Eastern Germany. That makes no sense to me.
HILL: I love it when the devil comes to Christmas.
COOPER: I'm going with it. Our staff winner tonight is Brooke (ph). His caption: "Eight reindeer on strike and his sled repossessed, Santa pleads with the North Pole government for a bailout."
(SOUND EFFECT: GROANS)
COOPER: I like that one.
The viewer winner is Charles in Harbor Springs, Michigan. His caption: "Woo hoo! I just bought myself a Senate seat."
HILL: Both very timely and appropriate.
COOPER: That's funny. Charles, that was good. That's good. A "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.
You can check out all the entries at AC360.com. Play along there tomorrow.
All right. Time for "The Shot." Eric, now I know, the whole crew here knows that you own a wide collection of commemorative plates and cups and Capa di Monte clown figurines. Now, we all love...
HILL: Those display cases are full in my office, aren't they?
COOPER: They are. We all love collectibles, not as much as Erica Hill. But we all love collectibles. Tonight, the latest commemorative plate is on the market. So classy, and it honors our next vice president, Joe Biden. But wait, there's more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The back displays an authentic Amtrak Acela schedule for the Greater Delaware region on the day of the election as well as a list of Joe Biden's Senate historic subcommittee achievements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's just the back. There's the front of it.
COOPER: This, of course, is a satire from the funny people at the Web site, Shoot the Messenger.
HILL: A satire of the commercial that we play on this network, perhaps?
COOPER: Perhaps. I'm still waiting for my commemorative Lou Dobbs DustBuster.
HILL: Christmas isn't here yet, my friend. Just you wait.
COOPER: Hold on, hold onto hope. We can dream.
You can see all the most recent "Shots" at AC360.com. Gosh, there's a lot you can do there. And check out our podcast, one of iTunes' top podcasts of 2008. We thank you very much for that.
Coming up at the top of the hour, the latest on our breaking news: new calls for Illinois's governor to resign. Jesse Jackson Jr. today disavowing any connection to the governor, and new questions about the response of President-elect Obama to the scandal. That and more when 360 continues.
COOPER: Breaking news on two fronts. The auto bailout: the House just passed a $14 billion package. The Senate takes up debate tomorrow. We'll have more on that later tonight.