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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Caylee's Remains Identified; Same-Sex Marriage Battle; Palin Family Scandal
Aired December 19, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Illinois' governor speaks out and says a mouthful, channeling Churchill, quoting Kipling. Call it stirring, call it weird, call the Men in Black to zap the memory of that hairdo out of your head. You will not be able to stop watching. And we will give you the opportunity to see it all.
Also tonight, it is official, it is Caylee. The disappearance of little Caylee Anthony is now a murder case. We're going to show you how the remains were identified and look at how authorities are making case against Caylee's mother.
Also tonight, a Palin family scandal: Bristol Palin's future mother- in-law and grandmother of her soon-to-be-born child busted on drug charges.
And later, breaking news for Ellen Degeneres and all the other same- sex couples who married in California. The people who pushed Prop 8 are going to court to get the marriages annulled. And the man behind it Ken Starr, remember him?
All those stories and the auto bailout tonight on "360."
We begin tonight, with Rod Blagojevich's first formal statement since federal agents frog-marched him out of his house more than a week ago. He's accused, you'll all remember, of a staggering array of public corruption among other things shaking down a children's hospital and putting Barack Obama's old senate seat up for auction.
Until now he's had no answer, except to say that he would soon have an answer. Well, today he had something, that's for sure. And what exactly that something was, well, that's for you to decide. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD BLAGOJEVICH, (D) ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: Ok. Thank you, very much. I'm here to tell you, right off the bat, that I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing. That I intend to stay on the job, and I will fight this thing every step of the way.
I will fight, I will fight, I will fight, until I take my last breath. I have done nothing wrong. And I'm not going to quit a job the people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob. Now, that's what I'm going to do.
Let me tell you what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to do what my accusers and political enemies have been doing. And that is, talk about this case in 30-second sound bites on "Meet the Press" or on the TV news.
Now, I'm dying to answer these charges. I am dying to show you how innocent I am. And I want to assure everyone who is here and everyone who is listening that I intend to answer every allegation that comes my way. However, I intend to answer them in the appropriate forum, in a court of law. And when I do, I am absolutely certain that I will be vindicated.
Roger Kipling wrote, if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you and make allowance for their doubting, too. If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, or being lied about, don't deal in lies or being hated. Don't give way to hating.
Now, I know there are some powerful forces arrayed against me. It's kind of lonely right now. But I have on my side the most powerful ally there is. And it's the truth. And besides, I have the personal knowledge that I have not done anything wrong.
To the people of Illinois, I ask that they wait and be patient, sit back and take a deep breath. And please reserve judgment; afford me the same rights that you and your children have: the presumption of innocence; the right to defend yourself; the right to your day in court; the same rights that you would expect for yourselves
And one last thing: to all of those -- to those of you who have expressed your support to Patti and me during this difficult time, I would like to thank you for your thoughts. I'd like to thank you for your prayers. And I'd like to thank you for your good wishes.
Patti and I cannot express to you how grateful we are for your kindness. Merry Christmas, happy holidays.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Happy holidays. Nothing today on what precisely he'll be basing his defense on. Kipling after all only goes so far in federal court.
Let's "Dig Deeper" now with CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin and correspondent, Gary Tuchman who is in Illinois.
Jeff, were you surprised he was so defiant. He basically started doubling down. Either he has been completely wrong and he's defiant or he is completely lying and he's just going for it.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I guess I wasn't surprised, what I know about Blagojevich. We seem to be in a new moment in political history, whether you're Sarah Palin or Blagojevich or even Caroline Kennedy; the public appearance without answering questions. You know, you say what you want to say, and then that's it.
He's daring the court to go forward with the criminal case. He's daring the legislature to go forward with the impeachment. But he is offering no real defense other than I didn't do it.
COOPER: Gary, the governor said he's the victim of a political lynch mob. Does he have much support left in Illinois?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you, tossing around a sensitive term like lynch mob is bound not to go over very well. I talked with the Democratic State Representative who is very insulted and very angry by it.
It's important to point out, Anderson, when he talks about a mob, this is the most bipartisan mob you'll ever see, conservative Republicans, liberal Democrats in the legislature. 50 Democratic U.S. Senators have called for him to step down. These are people who generally and often don't even like each other, don't cooperate, but they're all against this governor.
COOPER: It's interesting, Jeff. You compare what he said today and his tone with what allegedly he said on this wiretap. I want to read one of my personal favorite things that he allegedly said. He said -- this is about the selling of Barack Obama's senate seat --
"I've got this thing, and its bleeping golden, and I'm just not giving it up for bleeping nothing. I'm not going to do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there." It certainly sounds shady, but I mean, is that evidence of guilt right there?
TOOBIN: Well, certainly from what his lawyer has said, the outlines of his defense are clear, which is that this sort of talk was simply political horse trading that you can't make into a criminal defense.
It is just like campaign contributors always go to candidates and say, look, I want you to support lower taxes. And he says, I'll support lower taxes, so the money changes hands. That's what he is saying has gone on here.
Certainly, if the tapes are accurate, and if these transcripts are accurate, it goes well beyond the normal political horse trading. It is, I will not give $8 million to this children's hospital if you don't give me the $25,000 in campaign contributions.
TOOBIN: That's the kind of explicit quid pro quo that I think will be difficult to defend in front of any jury. But the outlines of a defense are clear. And, you know, it is a reasonable defense. We'll see which way the facts go.
COOPER: Gary, the Illinois Supreme Court has opted not to get involved. The legislature is moving forward with impeachment. But until that happens, or until he resigns, he is the governor. Is he actually getting any work done? I mean, we've seen him kind of jogging around his block.
TUCHMAN: I mean, I think what's notable about this, Anderson is when Richard Nixon went through these 30 years ago -- or now 34 years ago -- he had a lot of Republican supporters still. This man has no one who has come to the microphone when we were in the State Capitol of Springfield in the capitol building and said, "I support this governor."
Republicans don't support him, Democrats don't support him, his own Lieutenant Governor doesn't support him. The Democratic Attorney General doesn't support him. It's very hard to be governor of a state when you have no one who supports you.
And it's very notable that during his three minutes and seven second speech today didn't for at least three of the seconds say here's how I'm going to govern. He just talked about himself the whole time.
COOPER: I guess, no surprise with that.
Jeff, legally the U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, has what -- 20 days from the time of arrest to actually bring charges --
TOOBIN: Bring charges in an indictment in a grand jury. But that will start a lengthy process. A complex white-collar case, as this will certainly be, will take months to go forward. And Illinois has never had an impeachment.
So they are feeling their way. What's the standard of proof? What kind of evidence has to be presented? All of that will take some time to organize. Plus, they've got a whole new state legislature coming in, in January. So he is likely to be there for some time.
COOPER: Yes, that's interesting. Gary Tuchman and Jeff Toobin, thanks a lot.
If you want to talk with us and other people watching right now, join the live chat happening at ac360.com. Check out the live web cast it's for our crew Friday during the break.
Also after the break, the developments in the Caylee Anthony disappearance that nobody wanted to see; her remains identified. Now comes down to justice being done for this little girl. We'll look at the case against her mother with Ashleigh Banfield and a member of the Casey Anthony defense team.
Also, the weather nightmare before Christmas; snow, ice, and Chad Myers with a look at what is coming next.
And later, a breaking news in the gay marriage battle. Ken Star gets involved; the opponents of gay-marriage moved tonight to get thousands of same-sex marriages already performed, marriages like Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi there, to get those marriages nullified. And now, California's Attorney General is weighing in, the court filings have just happened tonight, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN BEARY, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA SHERIFF: Bottom line is, folks, no child should have to go through this. And we have far too many of these incidents across this country all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, she vanished in June, the remains of a child uncovered last week, some of the bones no bigger than a pebble. Today, DNA tests confirm that the bones found a half mile from her grandparents' home are those of little Caylee Anthony.
The cause of her death, homicide; the murder case against her mother now, goes forward with the most powerful and heart-wrenching evidence possible.
With "Crime and Punishment" tonight, let's get the latest from Erica Hill.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The remains of a very little child discovered last week are now unfolding a very big mystery.
DR. JAN GARAVAGLIA, ORANGE COUNTY, MEDICAL EXAMINER: With regret, I'm here to inform you that the skeletal remains found on December 11th are those of the missing toddler, Caylee Anthony.
HILL: No specifics yet on how and when the two-year-old girl was killed. But authorities say she was a victim of homicide.
Investigators are still waiting for toxicology reports. No tissue, though, was found on the bones, so experts are not optimistic they'll be able to specify a cause of death. Further tests, including samples from the ground where the remains were found could connect some of the dots.
Forensic scientist, Dr. Larry Kobilinsky, is an advisor to the defense.
DR. LARRY KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC EXPERT: Physical evidence is what this case is all about. The FBI is looking to match that questioned material that they find at that scene with exemplar or known specimens from the Anthony home or perhaps the vehicle.
HILL: Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony is already facing first degree murder and other charges in her daughter's disappearance; charges filed before the remains were found.
PAMELA BETHEL, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I don't think it changes the case. They had already charged her. They thought they had a strong case.
HILL: Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the 22- year-old could be sentenced to life. Prosecutors said they will not seek the death penalty, although they could change their mind.
While authorities held their news conference, the man who made the gruesome discovery was also speaking out. He is a meter reader for the local utility, and his call to police last week wasn't his first in this case.
ROY KRONK, DISCOVERED BONES: Back in August of this year, I had previously reported to Crime Line and to the Sheriff's Communication Center that I had spotted something suspicious, a bag in the same area. I have been and will continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation by the sheriff's office and the FBI.
HILL: In fact, Roy Kronk made three calls to report a suspicious bag. The Sheriff's Department tells CNN it is reviewing those calls and how they were handled.
BEARY: People need to realize, we took over 5,600 tips on this particular case, both state and nationwide. If we missed a window of opportunity, we don't know if we have or not, but we've done the very best we can.
HILL: The investigation is not complete. But the focus now shifts to the courtroom and to little Caylee's mother.
COOPER: Let's talk about Casey Anthony. Do we know how she react to the news?
HILL: No, in fact, they're not saying specifically. They said we will not comment on her reaction what she said. We can tell you, though, Anderson that she was notified at 1:45 p.m. at the jail by a chaplain.
Her attorney was apparently present in the building at that time, but was not in her presence when she was notified. The statement says that was happenstance, it is not policy. And also interesting, her family's pastor showed up at about 2:00, left about 20 minutes later. Apparently she refused to meet with the pastor because at the time she was meeting with one of her attorneys.
COOPER: All right, Erica thanks.
We're going to have more with Caylee Anthony when we come back with "In Session" anchor, Ashleigh Banfield and Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, we saw just a moment ago, he's also a member of the defense team.
Also tonight, the bottom line for Detroit; President Bush approves a bailout. What kind of mileage will GM and Chrysler really get out of the money? Will it really do any good?
And later, Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol is about to give birth, just as her fiance's mother is arrested on drug charges. That and more ahead on "360."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARAVAGLIA: With regret, I'm here to inform you that the skeletal remains found on December 11th are those of the missing toddler, Caylee Anthony.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The Orange County Medical Examiner confirming the worst. I'm joined by "In Session" anchor, Ashleigh Banfield and Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and we should mention a member of Casey Anthony's defense team or consultant to it.
Let's start with Dr. Kobilinsky, let's talk about this meter reader. He tipped off authorities, first made calls back in August. What sort of evidence has been lost because those calls weren't successfully followed up on?
KOBILINSKY: Well, Anderson, as you know, time -- you know, the concept of time in a forensic case is critical. And the fact is --
COOPER: And it was basically just bones, skeletal remains found, not flesh.
KOBILINSKY: Yes, but I guess what I'm saying is, had this body been found in August, the fact is that there would have been soft tissue, we believe. And there could have been soft tissue. And that could have revealed cause of death, toxicology results might provide some clarity as to what happened.
COOPER: So just with skeletal remains, you cannot provide toxicology or cause of death?
KOBILINSKY: It becomes much more difficult. They do have hair, as we understand. That was also found with the skeletal remains. Hair is a tissue that you can do toxicology on.
But the likelihood of them finding something, if it were the use of a poison or something of that sort, which was an acute situation, in other words, the child died immediately, you wouldn't expect to find these toxic substances in the hair.
COOPER: So legally, Ashley, how can they say homicide?
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, "IN SESSION" ANCHOR: Well, the funny thing is, some people have been saying homicide, this means murder. It doesn't. Homicide is just an unlawful death, not a natural death.
So, in fact, I think this is something the defense can jump on today. This is -- this doesn't show a lot, Anderson. This doesn't show a lot of what we usually find in a body. We don't see any tool marks, we don't see any strangulation, we don't see whether there was a knife that didn't penetrate a bone. There could have been all sorts of ways this child died.
COOPER: Well, how much of this case though, will boil down to physical evidence based on these remains and all this other --
COOPER: Circumstantial, and also just the behavior of this mother, the lies, the stories?
BANFIELD: Behavior is huge. Not that it should be. But it is. Juries have convicted on bad behavior before, and very little evidence. Juries have also convicted on loads of circumstantial evidence and not a lot of direct evidence.
And so it's crucial that when you put the pieces of the puzzle together, when you mount that pile high, all of a sudden coincidence starts going by the wayside and that's how juries usually come to their gut feelings.
COOPER: Dr. Kobilinsky, do you think this is a case that will be decided by forensic evidence?
KOBILINSKY: I do. I think there are questions that have been raised about admissibility of different kinds of testing in the case. This kind of physical evidence can support an allegation, or it can exclude the theory.
So I think it's very critical that we understand what the evidence says, what kind of information is coming out of that, and is it consistent with one theory or another. It's very critical.
COOPER: Do we know what they found with the remains -- I mean, I read a report there was duct tape on the skull, there was that report about a plastic --
COOPER: Plastic bag. Do we know if they matched that to any plastic bags in the residence?
BANFIELD: Well, listen, that's huge. When we talk about the evidence that comes along with this case, apart from the bones and the DNA and the skeletal -- whatever the skeletal remains will give us, the evidence alongside this case will be huge, because if in fact, there is duct tape that's loaded with fingerprints and fibers and hair samples and all sorts of things.
And if there is a bag, if there is a garbage bag, which by this point we know there is, you can actually match a garbage bag on a murder scene to under to a garbage bag under your sink just by the striations, you can match it to the lot.
So that will be evidence that will be extraordinarily damning if in fact it's matched.
But you know something else? Filicide, which is the killing of your own child, or patricide or parricide, killing of your family members is really hard to prove when there is all of these kind forensics involved, because of course you're going to have your mother or your father's DNA somewhere near you or a hair sample or a fingerprint. You live together.
COOPER: This spot -- of another woman I read a report, another woman have reported that police should look at this spot a while back, because she was a former friend of Casey Anthony's, they used to hang out. This was a spot she said they went to in high school. Is that correct?
BANFIELD: Yes, apparently this is sort of a regular high school hangout and a hangout for Casey and her friends. And I'll tell you something about that spot.
COOPER: Where the remains are found is a place where Casey was known to have hung out.
BANFIELD: Absolutely. Yes, and it's only three-tenths of a mile from her home, so I'm sure she passed by that on a daily basis. But I think what's huge for the defense today -- by the way, since this such a terrible day for the defense, in finding an actual body, what's huge for the defense is that they've found that the police have made mistakes already. And you have covered trials where -- O.J., where you have seen that defense attorneys love it when there's some evidence of police mistakes. Because that gives jurors --
COOPER: What sort of mistakes? I mean, not following up on the meter reader?
BANFIELD: Well, they've already said they have to review their thoroughness and they're going to have to investigate their own. Those are terrible words when you get into litigation and when you get to a murder trial, defense attorneys love to say, are you kidding me? These are Keystone Kops.
COOPER: Dr. Kobilinsky, for the defense what comes next?
KOBILINSKY: Well, I think there is a big question about establishing the time of death. We don't know. We have no idea. And the other really big question is, when was the body left at the scene? This could be very crucial. This determination could make the difference between an exoneration or just the opposite.
COOPER: All right. Dr. Kobilinsky, thanks. Ashleigh Banfield, thanks as well.
BANFIELD: Thank you.
COOPER: Still ahead, breaking news out of California. The sponsors of Proposition 8 are now asking, just tonight, the state Supreme Court to nullify the marriages of almost 20,000 same-sex couples who've already gotten married before the referendum passed.
Can they do that? We'll talk about that with our legal expert, Jeff Toobin.
Also ahead, a major winter blast putting the deep freeze on holiday travel. Maybe some of you in the airport right now, are stuck, watching us right now. Hundreds of flights cancelled, people without power, and it is not over yet.
We'll have a live report when "360" continues and a look at what's going to happen to the next couple of hours and tomorrow. Also, winter without the wonderland, with plenty of misery, next. A lot more about the weather coming up.
COOPER: A pretty picture if you're not stuck in the middle of the mess or waiting for a flight.
In Spokane, Washington, police are urging residents to stay inside today. Two feet of snow have fallen there since Wednesday and a new storm with potentially blizzard conditions expected over the weekend.
As the storm moved east, it caused major delays at the airports and disrupted everything else. Susan Candiotti has the latest.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What a mess. Snow in Chicago canceling 300 flights at O'Hare. Travelers trying to get an early jump on the holidays; instead trying to catch 40 winks at the airport.
A snowball effect forced delays up to five hours from the Midwest to the Northeast. It was time to get out the snowplows in Milwaukee; this man using one to clear out his yard.
In Boston, road salt was moving almost faster than the roads. Icy streets making it hard to get out of parking spots and highways were covered with snow just about a day before the official start of winter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is what it is. So we'll take Mother Nature as it comes. And I think we're going to be in for a long -- a long, long winter.
CANDIOTTI: It sure looks like it from here. In Seattle, about 75 bus passengers had to be scared out of their wits when this bus was dangling over a freeway. It's not clear if weather was to blame or something else, but the roads were icy at the time.
In Buffalo, the skyway bridge was closed because of high winds and several inches of snow. Advice to motorists?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay home.
CANDIOTTI: But in New York, that's the last thing Mayor Bloomberg wants people to do on the last Saturday before Christmas.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK MAYOR: Getting the last-minute holiday shopping, the stores need the business. And you need to buy things.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On time? I'm shocked.
CANDIOTTI: But at LaGuardia, the only thing these weary travelers want to do is get home. And good news, their flight's on time. Or is it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No matter what that says there, that doesn't really mean that we're going.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That doesn't necessarily prove anything. We've been through that before, where it said that right up until the end, and then the two minutes before we're -- we thought we were going to board, wham. So --
CANDIOTTI: Well, and his flight may be leaving, but others aren't. This board is showing that some flights are still cancelled or delayed.
But a lot of these signs say "On Time." The thing is, they're all talking about tomorrow morning, and if there is more bad weather, well, everyone here who has their fingers crossed that those flights will be leaving on time. Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Yes, me too. I'm just checking the flight right now, I'm supposed to leave tomorrow morning. We'll see. It says on time, but I don't believe it.
Let's check in now with meteorologist Chad Myers for the latest -- Chad.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The only way it's going to be on time Anderson, if the plane that you're going to be on gets there and lands tonight. If it's delayed somewhere else, and all of a sudden you're at a gate with no plane. And the rain and the snow and the sleet, pretty much so, it's leaving.
It's getting out of here, finally getting away from Boston, getting out of Maine and Vermont and New Hampshire. That's the good news. The bad news is it will be back on Sunday.
So make sure you're going to get out of town tomorrow, that's the way to do it. The snow is essentially over for New York City, still snowing across parts of upstate New York, but just about done at this point in time.
There are a lot of planes still in the air; 4,000 in the air right now. The only problem, only 39 are officially from LaGuardia. There should be a lot more than that in the air at this time on a Friday night.
Now for tomorrow, it will be raining across the Deep South, but nothing for the northeast. The problem is, again, for tomorrow night and into Sunday, blizzard warnings for the northwest; another storm system coming on shore that will affect the northeast later in the week.
But what will it do for tomorrow? There's that storm there. The storm tomorrow moves into the plains, and a big snow and ice event, Anderson, for the northeast on Sunday; goes away on Monday, but not before another 6 to 10 inches of snow in New England.
And then for Wednesday, just in time for Santa Claus, it rains and washes all that snow away. And Santa doesn't mind, because he has roller blades on the bottom of his sleigh anyway -- Anderson.
COOPER: That's what I heard, too. Chad, thanks.
Lots more coming up tonight including a drug bust in Wasilla, Alaska, involving the mother of Bristol Palin's fiance. We'll figure that out.
First, Erica Hill with the "Bulletin."
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Bernie Madoff accused of bilking $50 billion from investors is under tighter restrictions tonight. He is now confined to 24-hour detention in his posh Manhattan apartment. The court-ordered restriction is to, quote, "prevent harm or flight."
One person killed, 18 others injured today when a pedestrian bridge collapsed in Atlanta's botanical California garden; now this is part of the garden's expansion. Workers were actually pouring concrete on part of the canopy walkway; it soared to 40 feet in places when it collapsed.
Remember that sports memorabilia in Las Vegas that got O.J. Simpson into all that trouble and eventually jail? Well, it will soon belong to Fred Goldman who may sell it online to help pay the $33.5 million judgment he won against Simpson in the civil trial for the murder of his son Ron. Goldman's attorney said hopefully somebody will be enthralled enough to try to buy the football that put O.J. behind bars.
COOPER: Strange. Strange. All right, Erica.
Let's check out our "Beat 360" winners; our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption for a photo that we put on our blog that's better than the one that we could think of.
Here is the photo, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush attending the unveiling of their official portraits in Washington; President Bush kind of looking up.
Our staff winner tonight's Joey who won with this: Starlight. Star bright, first shoe I see tonight.
HILL: That is why this should be called "Beat Joey."
COOPER: Yes. Joey yet again wins.
Our viewer winner is Ashley from Hamlin, New York. Her caption: "Who put the 'Mission Accomplished' banner up there?"
HILL: I like it.
COOPER: Ashley, good job. Your "Beat 360" t-shirt is on the way. Heck of a job, Ashley.
You can see all the entries at ac360.com.
Up next, breaking news that could make the marriage of people like Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi and thousands of others null and void. We'll tell you about the new court battle over Proposition 8. It just happened about an hour or two ago.
Plus, a day before Sarah Palin's teen daughter is expected to give birth, Bristol Palin's future mother-in-law is under arrest. The bizarre story ahead.
COOPER: Now breaking news out of California. Tonight, the battle over Proposition 8 is heating up again. Today the sponsors of the gay marriage ban which passed last month filed lawsuits to uphold Proposition 8 and to widen its scope by nullifying thousands of same- sex marriages performed before the ban.
Ken Starr, who you may remember led the investigation to former President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky will argue the case for Proposition 8.
Meantime, California's Attorney General Jerry Brown is speaking out tonight, just moments ago, calling on the California Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8. As a state official, he is bound to uphold the law which he personally opposes; all of this six days before Christmas.
Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins me. This was, as you said, the great unanswered question about Proposition 8. What would happen to those 18,000 or so who had already gotten married?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. And this is a very hard legal question. Anyone who says it's obvious is blowing smoke, because it is hard to know which way the court will go. Because Ken Starr's argument, which he filed today, is he said, look, the proposition says that -- Proposition 8 says that the only marriages recognized by California are those between a man and a woman. So even though these marriages were legal when they took place, they are no longer recognized. I mean, it's not a crazy argument. It has a certain appeal.
But Jerry Brown and others say, look, if you are told by the State of California that you can get married and you get married, legally, with the support of the state, it is a violation of your due process rights to just take that right away from you.
Both good arguments. I don't know how the courts are going to ...
COOPER: Jerry Brown just spoke out a short time ago, he's the California attorney general. Let's just play what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY BROWN, CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: My job is to defend the law of the people, but that law also includes the Constitution itself. And when we harmonize the two, we come down on the side of the fundamental liberty interests. And that's the issue that really turns this case to strike down Proposition 8.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What does he mean?
TOOBIN: That's a different legal argument. There are two legal fights brewing. The one is what happens to these 16,000 marriages. What Jerry Brown is doing is trying to have Proposition 8 itself overturned. Because his argument is, that Proposition 8 was such a fundamental change in California's Constitution that it required a two thirds vote.
COOPER: Because it was a re-writing of the Constitution.
TOOBIN: A re-writing of the Constitution. The supporters of Proposition 8 say, no, it was just an amendment to the Constitution.
COOPER: But my understanding for it to be an actual rewriting of the Constitution is it has to change state procedures.
TOOBIN: Well, it has to change the existing rights under the Constitution. Frankly, these categories are not all that clear. And frankly, I think that's a long shot argument. Because the voters spoke, it was pretty clear what they were doing. I don't think, frankly, it was a change in the fundamental values of the Constitution. But I think Jerry Brown has a much better argument on keeping the 16,000 to 18,000 marriages intact. But this is going to be a big fight; it's going to go on for some time.
COOPER: So there is going to be a court hearing in March on the actual proposition itself. Is that right?
COOPER: And do we know when this question of the current marriages is going to be decided?
TOOBIN: That will probably be a little earlier. Because that's a much more immediate legal question, because these are people who are married, they have hospital visits to deal with, their inheritances, their contract rights. That has to be dealt with right away. That, I think, will be dealt with faster.
COOPER: We've never seen anything like this having 18,000 people's marriages taken away from them. It's never happened before.
TOOBIN: Never. This has never happened.
The closest analogy is when the U.S. Supreme Court said bans on racial intermarriages were unconstitutional. It would be as if they then changed their mind, because this is in effect what happened. It was legalized, then it was made illegal. That's never happened before.
COOPER: Uncharted waters. Jeffrey thanks. Appreciate it. Just ahead, President-elect Obama's final cabinet choices and the latest on the auto bailout that his team will inherit. Coming up next we'll talk strategy with David Gergen and Joe Johns.
Plus, 18-year-old Bristol Palin, Governor Sarah Palin's oldest daughter expecting a baby any day now. Tonight her future mother in law, though, is out on bond facing six felony drug charges. Try to figure out what that's all about. Be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT: The auto companies must not squander this chance to perform bad management practices and begin the long- term restructuring that is absolutely necessary to save this critical industry and the millions of American jobs that depend on it while also creating the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: President-Elect Obama warning GM and Chrysler not to blow the multimillion dollar lifeline that President Bush through them today. The two most troubled carmakers are going to get $13.4 billion in emergency federal loans this month and next, $4 billion to Chrysler, $9.4 billion to GM.
Carmakers could get another $4 billion in February, but only if Congress votes to withdraw from the financial industry bailout fund. The loans do come with strings; GM and Chrysler are going to have to prove they're viable by March 31st. If they don't, they will have to repay the money, no delay.
Even with that threat, President Bush is taking heat -- major heat from fellow Republicans. The ultimate fate of the U.S. auto industry is going to be decided by Obama who today named his final cabinet picks.
Let's talk strategy with senior political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen and Joe Johns.
David, did President Bush have any other choice? They had delayed this, they had talked about some sort of orderly bankruptcy, but in the end, he went ahead and did it.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Not unless he wanted to go home as Herbert Hoover on Christmas Eve, he had no choice. As you say he continues -- he came under a lot heat from the Republicans in the Senate for doing this. He came under heat for Democrats for seeming to put a lot more pressure on the UAW, the automobile workers and really pushing the automobile companies to extract huge concessions from them in the next few months.
COOPER: It does, Joe, I guess, take off a fair amount of pressure off President-Elect Obama at least in the early days of his administration. JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's some breathing room. And you avoid a collapse. But the truth is, this Obama administration is going to have to move pretty quickly and make some really tough decisions. This industry needs to heal itself. A lot of people think Washington is going to have to do something to try to force them to do that; so some tough choices for this administration ahead.
And they're going to be under tremendous pressure from a lot of people in Congress who represent interests inside the autoworkers' union, for example, who don't like that idea of cutting costs of autoworkers' paychecks. This is a recession. People don't want to lose money right now, Anderson.
COOPER: David, on the Cabinet choices, Obama rounded out his Cabinet, his economic team. You call it the makings of a dream team. Why?
GERGEN: Well, let me first come back to what Joe Johns said and then get to the Cabinet. I -- it is true that Barack Obama gets a little breathing space in this auto deal. But if you look at the totality of what he now faces, he's got to make decisions for about -- over a trillion dollars in new government spending and commitments in the next 90 days. How to do that wisely; he's got this huge stimulus package to figure out.
He now has to figure out the future of the automobile industry. He's got -- the money has run out on the bailout for the financial institutions, he's got to go back and refigure that out. He's got to figure out what to do about the housing industry. And do financial regulation. That is a lot on his plate.
And that's what makes his cabinet so important. And I must say, when you look at the totality of the cabinet, are there some holes here? Yes. He doesn't have a lot of administrative or managerial experience in his cabinet. He doesn't have enough southerners, he only has two Republicans.
But if you look at the overall talent and the centrism in this cabinet, this is one of the most promising cabinets we've had in decades. Nineteen out of the 21 people around that cabinet table will have graduate degrees. Twelve of them will have been elected successfully to office.
You know, when we had the best and the brightest back in the Vietnam period, Sam Rayburn, House speaker from Texas said he would feel a lot more comfortable if anybody had ever been elected to sheriff. You've got 12 people in this Cabinet who have been elected to high office, you know, both at the state and national level.
This is a very, very talented team. He's going to need all that talent to deal with these huge, huge problems ahead.
COOPER: Joe, dream team or not, there is push back from women's groups now, chief among them say Obama hasn't appointed enough women to the Cabinet.
JOHNS: That's right. You've got, what, five women in the cabinet now. People don't like that. They say, you know, a lot of women did a lot of work to get Barack Obama elected. And what's he doing for us?
There is also the issue, of course, of gay rights. Folks on that side are saying you know, what about this business with Rick Warren and so on?
So there are a lot of different constituencies out there, particularly on the left that are pushing against Barack Obama. They're saying, hey, we got you elected, we're supposed to get something out of this. Barack Obama is going to want to try to govern from the middle, at least to some extent. It's a problem for him.
COOPER: David is there such a thing as too big a tent and too much of a team of rivals?
GERGEN: Well, that's an interesting question, and I don't think we know the answer to that. But if he's going to break through this polarization that we had now that has plagued both the Clinton administration and the Bush administration, he's got to try some things that are different. And we do know that in times of crisis, the big-tent approach has worked extremely well. It worked extremely well for Abraham Lincoln and with a team of rivals, and it certainly worked well for Franklin Roosevelt as war approached when he brought Republicans into his cabinet.
It does -- it does build confidence across the board. And look, he's got these huge problems ahead, but he also has the support now of about 70 percent more of the public who really want to see him do well. And that includes a lot of Republicans.
COOPER: David Gergen, we're going to leave it there. Joe Johns as well, have a good weekend. Thank you guys.
Still ahead, Governor Palin proudly stood behind her pregnant teenage daughter in the national spotlight. The baby is due any day now. And the Palins are back in the news. Bristol Palin's future mother in law apparently busted on felony drug charges.
Details on that coming up.
Plus kids and their computers these days. An I-Reporter takes a page from 360 and has some fun at our expense. And we're giving him national exposure. Why not? Tonight's "Shot" coming up.
COOPER: Well, that was our first glimpse of the entire Palin family onstage at the Republican convention back in August. Eighteen-year- old Bristol Palin is about five months pregnant then. She brought along her fiance, Levi Johnston, and Governor Sarah Palin spoke proudly, looking forward to being a grandmother.
That could happen any day. Bristol Palin apparently is due to give birth as early as tomorrow. Not the best timing for her future mother-in-law to be arrested. Sherry Johnston, mother of Levi Johnston, was booked yesterday on six felony drug count. She is out on bail tonight. Joe Johns not on vacation yet is joining me with more. Joe?
JOHNS: Anderson, that's right, the mother of the young man Sarah Palin may soon marry is in trouble with the law. Sherry Johnston, whose son Levi is engaged to marry Bristol Palin got arrested in Alaska yesterday. State police locked her up on six felony drug charges. The authorities won't say what drugs, but these are serious charges.
We took a look at the state laws in question and they prohibit making, dealing or possessing, among other things, powerful pain pills, as well as heroin, methamphetamines and dozens of other drugs, Anderson.
COOPER: So we don't know exactly what drugs it is she is accused of. But it seems like serious drugs.
JOHNS: Well, yes, it sounds serious. It sounds very serious.
Police served a search warrant on Johnston's home in Wasilla, Alaska after undercover investigation, would suggest authorities could have been keeping tabs on her for a long time. The governor's office told us tonight, it doesn't comment on ongoing criminal investigations. Johnston was taken to a pretrial detention center, released on bail with a court date set for January. Sherry Johnston's birthday, we're told, was just this week. She just turned 42.
COOPER: All right. Joe Johns, appreciate that. Thanks.
Up next, is it a 360 tribute, or does an I-Reporter want my job?
It's actually not bad. It's our "Shot of the Day."
COOPER: All right, Erica, time for "The Shot." They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That works for us. Take a look at this I-Report by Marcus Harun and see if it seems kind of familiar. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCUS HARUN, I-REPORTER: Larry, thanks very much. We begin tonight with breaking news.
He wants my job. A 16-year-old from Hamden, Connecticut films news broadcasts in his basement studio, premiering for the first time ever, on 360, the best technical team on television.
Thanks very much, Doctor Harun, Marcus Harun, Marcus and Marc Harun. We should invite him here on the show sometime. I'm sure he loves it so much and would like to come here and meet us here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Harun Marcus writes that he created all of the graphics and edited all of the video together to create his own MH 360.
HILL: I like it.
COOPER: I'm very impressed.
HILL: Good stuff. He's from my home state of Connecticut, too. Right up the road if he's in Hamden.
COOPER: If he can do it all by himself, how come we need all these people?
HILL: Anderson, come on, we talk enough about the layoffs, we don't need to hear this. Christmas is next week.
COOPER: I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
HILL: We hear Rene (ph).
COOPER: Rene is on the show anyway.
HILL: He is like the voice of God. We couldn't do it without everybody.
COOPER: Yes. I don't know how he does all that stuff.
HILL: I don't know, either. We'll have to invite him on and ask him.
COOPER: The other thing I was stunned about, do we have that map that Chad Myers showed early of all of the flights that are in the air, something like about 3,500 I think.
HILL: This is always fascinating to me that they don't collide. When you look at a map like that, I know they're at different levels and they're not all at the same height -- altitude.
COOPER: They're not all that big, too.
HILL: Really? They're not.
COOPER: Compared to the map.
HILL: See, now it's all clear.
COOPER: If you're sitting in an airport and waiting for your flight, a picture like that is the last thing you want to see. All those flights in the air --
HILL: So for all of those sitting in the airport right now watching this broad cast, we apologize.
COOPER: If it's any consolation, I missed my flight today and waited all day and I'm going to try to get out tomorrow but I don't think that's going to happen either.
HILL: Maybe you'll see Anderson at the airport.
COOPER: If you do, be kind.
HILL: Whoo. Whoo.
COOPER: Erica, have a great weekend.
That does it for "360." Thanks for watching and have a great weekend.
"Larry King" starts now. See you on Monday.