Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Busy Day for Obamas; Anger in the Streets of London; Laying the Blame on U.S.; The Obamas Meet the Queen; Former Senator Stevens' Case Dropped; First Wives' Club
Aired April 1, 2009 - 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: And a jolly good evening to you from London; the Tower Bridge just behind us. The Global Economic Summit just ahead of us, just a few hours away as a matter of fact. On the streets below us throughout the city of London an army of police trying to keep what happened today from growing worse tomorrow. Take a look.
(VIDEO CLIP - PROTESTERS SMASHING GLASS WINDOWS)
COOPER: This is just a snippet of some of the protests that happened today. Violence on the streets, a meltdown on bank offices, the most violent protesters at times seemed to be outnumbered by photographers.
The drama may have been on the streets. The real action happened behind closed doors. The images and developments today striking: Mr. Obama and Russia's President agreeing to work at reducing their nuclear arsenals and to meet again in Moscow in July.
Mr. Obama and Britain's prime minister -- trying to narrow their differences on fixing the economy.
Mr. and Mrs. Obama meeting the queen, bringing her a gift, an iPod; turns out she's already got one.
We'll cover all of that tonight.
First a quick look at President Obama's very busy day.
COOPER: From talking nukes with Russia to sipping tea with the queen, it was a day full of surprises and first impressions for President Obama and a watching world.
The whirlwind agenda began at 10 Downing Street with a private meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Later, at a news conference, both men pledged to find common ground at the G-20 Economic Summit.
GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We must stand united in our determination to do whatever is necessary. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I came here to put forward ideas but I also came here to listen and not to lecture. Having said that, we must not miss an opportunity to lead, to confront a crisis that knows no borders.
COOPER: Plenty of confronting on the streets of London, thousands venting their anger against capitalism and corporations. There were pockets of violence but an army of security personnel kept the demonstrators far away from the president's itinerary.
An itinerary that included a sit-down with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev which produced agreement to begin a new round of arms control negotiations. They were also optimistic that the years of cooler relations were ending.
OBAMA: What we're seeing today is the beginning of new progress in U.S.-Russian relationship. And I think that President Medvedev's leadership is -- has been critical in allowing that progress to take place.
COOPER: Mr. Obama then met the Chinese President. He accepted invitations to travel to Moscow and China later this year.
All the high level talks couldn't match a personal highlight for the commander-in-chief. The President and first lady had an appointment at Buckingham Palace.
Ushered into one of the 775 rooms in the palace, they were greeted by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. No curtseys but plenty of handshakes. And the topic of discussion?
OBAMA: Thank you so much for this wonderful hospitality.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, GREAT BRITAIN'S MONARCH: You landed last night?
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Last night. We're still trying to stay awake.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: It's an awful time lapse, isn't it?
M. OBAMA: It is, it is. But he's been busy in meetings, and I've been a little less busy...
QUEEN ELIZABETH: You have to get breakfast.
COOPER: The awkward but cordial get-together with the queen, a brief respite for a new president facing a world of problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Without a doubt, probably the most important thing today the meeting between President Obama and the Russian president. Let's "Dig Deeper" now with CNN's Ed Henry and Richard Quest.
Ed, what do we know about this meeting? How did it come about? How significant is it?
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Very significant because basically this could lead to an agreement where they cut the nuclear warheads on each side by about a third from around 6,000 to about 2,000.
I think where we were in November, right after the election President Medvedev basically threatened to put these missiles and sort of point them at Western Europe, some of these nuclear missiles.
That obviously could have been pointed right here at London and other Western European cities. Now all of a sudden the threat from a Russian nuclear attack is diminished but also the threat of loose nukes winding up in the hands of terrorists. That has diminished as well.
And how it came together a lot of cloak and dagger frankly. We're being told now by senior officials a lot of secret negotiations in the last 60 days. It started with a phone call from President Medvedev to Obama, back and forth. Then there was a letter from President Medvedev saying he might be ready to deal on this because maybe he thinks if he gives a little, the U.S. will pull back on the missile defense shield in Eastern Europe that Russia is so antagonized about.
And President Obama is so serious about it we're told tonight that he returned a letter back to Russia and had it hand delivered by two officials. A little cloak and dagger to show, look, we're serious about this. We want to hand deliver it.
And that gave the thrust to Medvedev to come here, sit down at the table. And now there's some trust there so that Obama is going to go to Moscow in July and I think they can maybe seal this deal.
COOPER: Let's talk about the money side of this.
In a couple of hours the G-20 Summit, the whole thing really starts, gets kicked off. Is this thing a done deal? I mean, do we already know what they're going to say at the end of the day tomorrow?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We know the broad architecture of what's going to be agreed. We know that there will be more money for the IMF. We know that they will come to some rough agreement on setting up a financial stability board for future regulation.
But the devil is always in the details. And what we don't know, Anderson, and we really don't know, is whether this split over different countries increasing fiscal stimulus, doing more and getting growth moving again, whether that is just going to erupt.
COOPER: What's their basic -- their basic conflict is Germany and France are blaming the United States for causing this whole thing?
QUEST: Yes, basically not just the U.S. they throwing Britain as well... COOPER: Right.
QUEST: ... because we've got the city of London here. Yes.
And what's happening of course is that they're saying you caused it. We want more regulation on your side. And we don't want to increase our budget deficits.
The U.S. has gone on a spending binge; consumers originally, and now government. But when you get budget deficits of nine percent and 10 percent which is what the U.S. is forecasting, Angela Merkel of Germany is saying that's way out of her league and she wants nothing to do with it.
HENRY: And that's probably why President Obama has a lot riding on this as a candidate and when he campaigned here last summer he had these big crowds, rock star type treatment and suggested there'll be a new day in the European alliance with the U.S. and all of a sudden...
COOPER: The White House is already trying to gloss over any differences.
QUEST: Yes, but no one -- they can't get over the fundamental difference. And the fundamental difference is the United States has spent too much and China and Germany have too great budget surpluses in the past. That rebalancing of global economic differences isn't going to happen here and it certainly is not going to happen this week or next. But until they commit themselves to that, that's the issue.
COOPER: The protests that we saw on the streets today, you've seen a lot of protests in London. How do they compare to what you've seen before?
QUEST: I mean, I don't want to denigrate the fact that there was a bit of violence and a bit of a -- I use the phrase argy-bargy (ph).
COOPER: Argy-bargy, what's argy-bargy?
QUEST: Well, argy-bargy is a bit of push and pull, you know, a bit of get out of the way. But frankly this wasn't even in the league of -- the British police are masters at handling this sort of stuff.
COOPER: All right.
QUEST: And they just basically -- I mean it really is quite sad. They corral them into one area. They keep them until the middle of the night. Everybody is tired. No one can go to the toilet. And they all drift off home sorry and sad.
HENRY: I'll going to be looking for argy-bargy at the summit tomorrow, if Sarkozy starts doing to doing that to Obama.
QUEST: He plans to walk out.
COOPER: Yes, we'll see if that produces any argy-bargy.
We'll talk to Ed and Richard throughout tonight.
More on the anger out on the streets today; the most violent outside Britain's Central Bank, their Central Bank and also the Royal Bank of Scotland branch.
The branch had closed in anticipation. Bankers already warned to dress down. No pin stripes. No bowler hats if they even wear bowler hats anymore.
A lot of bloody faces tonight, a number of people arrested, a lot of argy-bargy as Richard Quest said. One man collapsed and died reportedly of a heart attack though details right now are scarce on that.
The question tonight, will the violence get worse tomorrow and what is driving it all?
Nic Robertson has been out on the streets.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): See the man with the shoe in his hand; single-handedly he's about to turn this protest ugly. Wielding shields as if in a medieval battle, police push forward and a peaceful demonstration becomes chaotic and we're caught in the middle.
(on camera): The police have just run forward. They've charged into the line here and now -- and now they're pulling back. But that's what's happening.
The police came forward, tried to grab a few people. They pushed again and the crowd ran back in panic. And the police pulled back and they're getting into that stand off again now.
(voice-over): We are in the heart of London's financial district, penned in by police on all sides and so are the demonstrators. In the front line, protesters are rowdy, crass and liquored up, but they are not the majority.
TOM CAMPBELL, PROTESTER: Well, I look at myself as something that is an innocent bystander. I actually work in the mayor's office.
ROBERTSON: It is one part carnival, two parts malevolent and several parts serious message: "Fix the broken economy, protect jobs or the environment or stop the bank bailouts."
LASER, PROTESTER: We're having the governments bail out all these bankers and all these corporations all over the world with our tax paying dollars, our hard earned money, our tax paying dollars and then the bankers are lending back our own money to us at interest.
ROBERTSON: The crowd here shifts gears quickly. One moment quiet the next all fired up, charging the police. A British lawmaker wearing a bright jacket marked "legal observer" warns that confining protesters like this could make them explosive.
TOM BRAKE, BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: What I'm worried about now though is that everyone is being contained and there are quite a large number of protesters here today who would actually like to go home. And I think that is going to -- there is a risk that it'll raise tension unnecessarily.
ROBERTSON (on camera): And can you leave right now?
BRAKE: I've been told I can't leave either. So I'm in the same boat as everyone else.
ROBERTSON: You're a Member of Parliament, and you can't leave.
BRAKE: I'm a Member of Parliament. That's right. I've been told I can't leave.
ROBERTSON: What do you think about that?
BRAKE: Well, we have some significant civil liberties issues here.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Police say demonstrators should have expected this. In the violence, some protesters smashed windows and got inside a bank, RBS, which has had the biggest government bailout.
With our press passes we're allowed to leave. We find out later that at the same moment a protester is found dying.
COOPER: Do we know anything about the details of the person who died?
ROBERTSON: We know that he died of a heart attack. We don't really know a lot more than that. I mean, the MP we were talking to there, he told us somebody had gone to the police saying, "I'm a diabetic, and I need my insulin, and I need to get out." And the police had told him, "No, you can't get out." The reality of how the situation was if you've got a heart condition you're in the wrong place because the crowds were wild. It was argy-bargy.
COOPER: It does seem just a hodgepodge of people with every kind of grievance.
ROBERTSON: It is and it's the usual crowd at the front. You can tell they've been drinking. You can tell that they're just kind of work on the ...
COOPER: Was a lot of it for the benefit of the cameras? Is it spurred on by...
ROBERTSON: You know, it's for the benefit of themselves as well. It's a day out. I hate to say it. There's part of the crowd, that say, "Hey, yes, give us to the police. Give us to the police." There were other people there who were genuine protesters caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think a lot of people today learned their lesson with the police tactics. They won't be going back tomorrow but some of the guys on the front lines they will be.
COOPER: Nic Robertson, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
If you have any questions or comments about the president's first European trip, let us know. Join the live chat happening now at ac360.com. I can't be on the chat with you tonight. Erica Hill is there though and she'll be doing the live Web cast during the breaks.
Also, guess who blames America for causing all these economic chaos? Well, a lot of the leaders here. But hear what President Obama has to say about their complaints and what he's doing to smooth over the differences.
Later, maybe the only person in London who can match the Obama star power.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There's one last thing that I should mention that I love about Great Britain, and that is the queen. So I'm very much looking forward to meeting her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We'll see what happened when he did meet the queen, and why the British press is buzzing tonight about Michelle Obama's friendly gesture toward her majesty. Was it a royal breach of protocol?
A lot of Britons are talking about that tonight.
Later, the other summit going on this week -- Mrs. Obama and the First Spouses Club. What Mrs. Obama and the other leaders' wives were up to while their husbands met behind closed doors.
When 360 continues, live from London.
COOPER: We're in London tonight, where already President Obama has been working to tamp down some of the anti-American feelings that have been festering for years -- some of those feelings. Feelings aside there are major policy differences over how to fix the global mess that we're in. In short, who is to blame?
Ask a lot of European leaders, and they'll say the United States, something that President Obama addressed today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If you look at the sources of this crisis, the United States certainly has some accounting to do with respect to a regulatory system that was inadequate to the massive changes that have taken place in the global financial system. At this point I'm less interested in identifying blame than fixing the problem. And I think we've taken some very aggressive steps in the United States to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The president today acknowledging some of the complaints while trying to move past the complaints. More on that angle now from Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Moscow to Munich, from Beijing to Bogota, the game is "Blame the United States." And in London, even the host is playing.
BROWN: This old world of the old Washington consensus is over and what comes in its place is up to us.
FOREMAN: On the attack, China which says America went in blind pursuit of profit which led to recession; the European Union where the stimulus was called the road to hell; and Brazil, where the president said the world economy tanked because of blue-eyed people who knew nothing.
But "Keeping Them Honest," is America really to blame for all of this? Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wall Street screwed up. Everybody knows that.
FOREMAN: And no. According to Sebastian Mallaby with the Council on Foreign Relations.
SEBASTIAN MALLABY, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: For example, European banks were delighted to buy U.S. originated subprime securities. That's why some of the losses from the U.S. financial blowout ended up on the balance sheets of European banks...
FOREMAN: They were happy when it was working.
MALLABY: Sure they were happy with it, exactly. Now they turn around and say, gee, it's your financial model that messed up. But in fact they bought into that financial model.
FOREMAN: Dozens of nations did that. When the money was flowing even Communist China, which now owns more U.S. debt than any other country, was eager to loan billions to America. As U.S. consumers bought up Chinese exports. The same consumers that China now says should have saved more.
Along with Russia, China is now even pushing for the U.S. Dollar to be replaced as the global currency.
But President Obama insists there is no rift separating the G-20 nations.
OBAMA: I can't be clearer in saying that there are no sides.
FOREMAN (on camera): Political and economic analysts say there is a good reason for him to take that stance because many of his sharpest foreign critics are in deep political trouble back home. And if he publicly lets them grandstand a little at his expense, privately they may give more support to his global recovery plan.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Just ahead tonight, the Obamas' audience at Buckingham Palace. Meeting with the queen earlier today, did Mrs. Obama commit a gaffe? We'll show you what she did. You can decide for yourself, if it's worth the fuss that the British papers seem to be making about it.
Also, major developments in other news as well tonight, including a stunning reversal in the corruption case against Senator Ted Stevens, now the former Alaska senator. Why the Justice Department has now dropped the case and is now facing serious questions about it. Jeffrey Toobin joins us for that.
And was Sarah Palin just snubbed by her own party? Details ahead.
You're watching 360, live from London. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Take a look at this -- it's the official G-20 class picture, suitable for framing. Her majesty, the queen is flanked on either side by world leaders, by Britain's prime minister and the president of Brazil. To be honest I have no idea how they chose who sits where. I think Richard Quest perhaps might.
One thing for sure when it comes to how to fix the economy and who broke it, not everyone in that picture is on the same page.
Richard Quest joins us again along with Ed Henry. Do we know, Richard, how they decide who sits where?
QUEST: Oh, you're going to have to wait for that. That was my question for you for tonight. You're going to have to wait.
COOPER: OK. I'll wait for the suspense.
Tomorrow, what is the biggest challenge for President Obama? What does the White House want to get out of it at the end of the day?
HENRY: They want to try to hammer out some sort of agreement that suggests these leaders have come together with a plan. Regardless of what it is. And suggest that France and Germany in particular have moved a little bit towards the president, show that he has clout on the world stage.
COOPER: But the truth is have they really moved any closer? I mean, Timothy Geithner was out today claiming that there really aren't that many big differences between France and Germany and the U.K. and the United States.
QUEST: Well, there aren't any big differences until there are big differences. That sounds trite and I don't mean it to be because the reality is until you actually start putting the agreement on paper and actually saying, are you prepared to put your name to the fact, the wording will be something like the G-20 commit themselves to strong growth policies or something along those lines.
It may even be stronger than that. They may even actually say further fiscal steps. They will just blow open. There would be absolute blood on the carpet. They'd never manage to have any agreement on.
HENRY: You were in Washington in November when the G-20 got together last time. And they put together an agreement as well. Five months later the crisis has gotten worse.
QUEST: They had no idea how bad it was going to get. They've had the freeze up of the credit markets. They've had the near collapse, but AIG hasn't really blown. We haven't at Royal Bank of Scotland, we haven't seen it.
COOPER: How is this being played in British papers? I mean, you have a couple with you.
QUEST: First of all look at this. The serious stuff for "The Times." This is, of course, a Murdoch Newscorp. They've gone big on the story "Obama's Nuclear Overture," which is what you're saying is the big story of the day. Then "The Daily Mirror:" "Obama: I love HRH."
COOPER: HRH is Her Royal Highness?
QUEST: Yes. It's a mistake. It should be her majesty. I don't know what they're thinking of. You have to be very careful. I ought to warn you. Opening the British newspapers, the viewer could get more of a shock than they expect.
COOPER: They often have centerfolds on the second page.
QUEST: We've all taken them off. There isn't on this one, I promise you.
Look at this. "My kind of town." "Obama a charmer." "Barack Obama demonstrated why he's an exceptional politician, a truly gifted leader."
COOPER: So they're being tracked, both the president and Michelle Obama are being tracked very carefully by the British public.
QUEST: Michelle is a fashion belle. And she's got stiff competition here though. Let's face it. You have got Carla Bruni, President Sarkozy's wife, and she's a former supermodel.
You have Sarah Brown, who buys her clothes from who knows where?
And you've got Angela Merkel.
COOPER: Nothing needs more to be said, I guess.
HENRY: The Obamas are trying to take advantage of some of that exposure by saying there is a big contrast from former President Bush, who was not nearly as well-liked around here obviously. But whether that translates into anything, we'll find out tomorrow.
It may have translated into something with the Russian missile deal because President Bush tried to be buddy-buddy as the White House is saying in private now with Putin, and he didn't get anywhere.
COOPER: You look back to when President Bush met Putin for the first time. He said, he looked into his eyes, he saw his soul.
Do we know much about the relationship between President Obama and the Russian President?
HENRY: They both have legal backgrounds. The White House is trying to make a big deal of that and say that they sort of spoke about that, spoke about their families at the beginning and had a little bit of a personal connection.
What they're saying frankly in private is, they're not trying to have a buddy-buddy relationship, a clear shot at the Bush administration. Saying look, they're trying to get down to business.
The Obama White House saw an opportunity here. They didn't come here to talk about Russia. They wanted to talk about the financial crisis but Medvedev, you know, he was ready to deal and they said, why pass up the deal? Let's pounce.
COOPER: Richard, why does what happens here, how does it affect Americans. Or how does it affect what happens globally on the crisis in the United States?
QUEST: It affects every single one of us in every single way. What we'll determine here will be how long this crisis lasts, how deep the recession goes, how high the rate of unemployment goes.
If they get it right, then we can start to see growth coming back at the end of 2009-2010. We won't go back to the days of the last few years.
But if they get it wrong, then this recession goes deeper. It goes longer. And even when we come out of it in 2010 we don't come out in very strong capacity.
So be under no illusion. What's happening here is important. And it will affect every single one of us.
COOPER: We'll keep that in mind in our coverage in the days ahead.
Coming up next, though, the royal visit: the queen welcomes President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama to Buckingham Palace. Everything seemed to go well but Britain is buzzing about a breach in royal protocol. We'll show you exactly what Michelle Obama did that has so many Brits raising their eyebrows as they are wont to do.
Back home, seizing Bernie Madoff's prize possessions; marshals grab the con man's boat and a house. The latest in that investigation ahead.
And later, the First Wives Club dinner. Michelle Obama and the spouses of other world leaders share a star-studded piece prepared by the Naked Chef. I'm not sure who that is, but we'll find out.
COOPER: And welcome back to London. You're taking a look at the Tower Bridge here. That's our location.
President Obama's first full day in the United Kingdom was busy, no doubt about that. But it wasn't all business as the eager President made clear in his news conference with British Prime Minister Brown. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There's one last thing that I should mention that I love about Great Britain and that is the queen. And so I'm very much looking forward to -- I'm very much looking forward to meeting her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that meeting took place just a few hours later and as you'll see the president and Michelle Obama were in Buckingham Palace face to face with Queen Elizabeth.
Tonight a lot of folks in Britain have been saying there was a big breach in Royal etiquette. We'll show you what happened in a moment. But first, here is the meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States of America and Mrs. Obama.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: Sure, sure.
OBAMA: Your majesty, thank you so much for having us.
COOPER: The president and first lady's visit with the queen began with handshakes all around, a strong start in the high-stakes game of royal etiquette.
JACQUELINE WHITMORE, IMAGE & ETIQUETTE CONSULTANT: They gave them both a two-handed handshake, which is usually called "the glove," and that's reserved for people you know extremely well.
COOPER: The president, battling a cold, and kept things respectful but used a bit of Obama humor to break the ice cracking a joke about his jet lag.
OBAMA: I had meetings with the Chinese, the Russians, and I'm proud to say I did not nod off in any of those meetings.
COOPER: Another potential minefield, the royal gift. The queen and Prince Philip gave the Obamas an autographed picture of themselves. The Obamas tossed tradition aside and gave the queen a video iPod loaded with footage from her 2007 visit to the U.S., as well as Broadway tunes with fitting titles.
"I've Grown Accustomed to her Face," "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend," and my personal favorite, considering America's thirst for political dynasties "Camelot."
She has met with 10 of the last 11 presidents, and although known for being formal and proper, she's also let her hair down, riding horses with Ronald Reagan, dancing with Gerald Ford and using some of her own royal humor to put Mrs. Ford at ease.
CARL SFERRAZZA ANTHONY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: She was in the elevator with the president and Mrs. Ford when the Fords' son Jack ran in and wasn't quite done up in his tuxedo, and the queen looked at Mrs. Ford and said, "I've got one just like him at home."
COOPER: As for today's royal meet and greet, the queen seemed in good spirits, but even the photo op could have been a deal breaker.
WHITMORE: I also noticed that when the Obamas posed for a picture with the queen and Prince Philip that they didn't touch one another, and that is also quite appropriate. You never touch the queen in a photograph.
COOPER: Another day, another meeting, another test passed in the subtle world of international diplomacy.
COOPER: Well, the initial meet and greet went well for the president and the first lady, but all the buzz over the last couple hours here in London is over a supposed breach in protocol, a royal protocol a short time later. Check this out, it's not a full blown hug but Michelle Obama put her arm around the back of the queen. No big deal perhaps but some royal watchers cringed a bit.
Just being Briton, everyone seems to be keeping a stiff upper lip about it all.
A lot more to cover ahead, CNN's Richard Quest is going to come back. He's met her majesty and he's going to tell us a little bit about what it is like to be in a room with Queen Elizabeth.
Also, Michelle Obama is stepping out with the wives of world leaders tonight, attending a star-studded diner with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and others. We've got all of the details on that.
And back at home, was this a diss to Sarah Palin? She replaced by Newt Gingrich as headliner for a big Republican fundraiser. What does that mean for the former candidate? We'll have all that and the other day's news ahead.
COOPER: President Obama and Michelle Obama had company at Buckingham Palace today of course. They -- take a look at this video -- a long procession of people from the G-20 summit greeted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. You may recognize a few of them like Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. He is there greeting the queen.
It was Mr. and Mrs. Obama, though, who had the private meeting with her majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. The encounter was brief but fascinating in its own way.
We've been showing you the video tonight, not without some muted controversy we should point out. Joining us again for more on the meeting is Richard Quest.
I saw on the BBC and other places them commenting about Michelle Obama touching the back of the queen. Is that really a breach of protocol?
QUEST: Not a bit of it. The queen isn't going to be worried. There was a famous incident of an Australian prime minister that did shove her down the line greeting. But put it this way. It's not as if Michelle Obama got behind her and shoved her out the door.
QUEST: Or did something like that, it's quite acceptable.
COOPER: It's quite acceptable.
QUEST: It's not necessarily...
COOPER: The queen rolls with the punches.
QUEST: Absolutely. She's been doing this for 50, 60 years. She isn't worried about that.
COOPER: What about the iPod? Did that raise some eyebrows?
QUEST: Well, I mean, I suppose this is the way one of the newspapers, "The Sun" we've really got to be very careful with this piece of paper, I'd probably say that much. They've described it as "My Husband and iPod."
And of course, the queen always says "my husband and I." So my husband and I well, they thought it was funny. "The Sun" has also come up with a couple of quite potential songs that might be on it: "Dancing Queen" by ABBA, "Killer Queen" by Queen and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." What everybody's talking about is what's known as the WAGs...
COOPER: The WAGs?
QUEST: The wives and girlfriends.
QUEST: It's a phrase that comes from football as wives, from the World Cup. Those who are flashy, lots of bling, lots of show-show, tell-tell. From mint to black, WAGs do their bit for World Rag Trade.
COOPER: I see it.
QUEST: Everybody -- this is an interesting and perhaps arguably in the past a breach of protocol, when Michelle Obama wore that tonight to the dinner at Number 10, look at this.
QUEST: Jackie O. would not have worn that. However...
COOPER: She's done it a lot in the United States though; very popular.
QUEST: And that is very popular here.
QUEST: I'm just saying times have changed. Shoving the queen is one thing. That's fine.
COOPER: I see. What was the term you used, show-show, bling- bling?
QUEST: Look, I've got a question for you.
QUEST: I've got a question for you. Let's have a look at the -- I've got a copy of it here. Forget "The New York Times" crossword.
QUEST: Look at the group class photo.
COOPER: Which we showed, the G-20 photo.
COOPER: Of them all lined up.
QUEST: Yes. Can you decipher who sat where and why?
COOPER: I looked at this. I'm not exactly sure. I mean, it looks like Brazil's president is next to the queen.
QUEST: Didn't take you long to fall at the first circle, did it?
COOPER: Brazil's president is next to the queen. So is Gordon Brown there on the other side. Why, how, do you know? You don't know either, do you?
QUEST: I've got a good guess.
QUEST: And my guess is as follows. Let's face it. On the front row you've got presidents and heads of state.
QUEST: Now, where my theory falls down is the president of South Africa and President Obama on the second row.
COOPER: Thabo Mbeki.
QUEST: And I think that's because they're the new ones on the block.
QUEST: And therefore, there wasn't room on the front so they're on the second row.
COOPER: I don't think you know what you're talking about. You're just making this up.
QUEST: Of course I am, but you don't know any better. It's a bit of flim-flammery.
You then got prime ministers...
COOPER: All right.
QUEST: Are right at the back, you've got...
COOPER: OK, very quickly this communique that they're going issue tomorrow, the big culmination of all of this, what do you think it's going to say?
QUEST: I don't know in total detail, but I'll bet you the coffees tomorrow night.
COOPER: You bet me the coffees?
QUEST: Yes, I'll bet you the coffees.
COOPER: OK, all right. QUEST: In that communique, there will be a line that says, the G-20 committed themselves to a successful conclusion of the (INAUDIBLE) around the world trade talks.
QUEST: And when we see that we know we're in trouble and they're virtually out of business
COOPER: OK. Richard Quest, we'll see what happens tomorrow.
You can find a full interpretation of what Richard said online at AC360.com. Actually not. I'm still trying to figure out -- the coffees, the toffees, the coffees?
QUEST: It means I'll buy the coffees.
COOPER: All right you'll buy the coffees, all right very good. Tally-ho.
Just ahead, former Senator Ted Stevens gets an April Fools' Day surprise. And it's simply no joke. It's quite remarkable what's happened. We'll talk to our legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin about this stunning about face, the Justice Department asking a judge to dismiss his federal corruption convictions. Now federal prosecutors are in the hot seat. And we'll see how badly they messed up.
Also ahead, Bernie Madoff's two yachts and a mansion, not a bad day's catch for federal marshals in Florida. They seized it all. Guess how much it's worth? We'll tell you ahead.
All that and more. Stay tuned.
COOPER: Stunning twist today in the case of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. I don't know if you've been following this case as closely as we have on this program. That was Stevens back in October heading into court on the day for closing arguments in his fraud trial.
He was convicted on seven counts of lying on Senate ethics forms to conceal thousands of dollars of gifts. Days later he lost his re- election bid for a seventh term.
But today the U.S. Justice Department asked a judge to reverse Stevens' conviction citing a laundry list of prosecutorial misconduct in the trial.
It's an extraordinary, high profile legal 180. Jeffrey Toobin joins me now. Jeff, what do you think about all this, how big of an embarrassment is this for the Justice Department?
JEFF TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Huge, enormous. This is a disgrace what happened here, Anderson. It really is. I mean, think about it. Here they indict this guy on the eve of his re-election campaign. They convict him. He loses by a very narrow margin just a few days later and then it turns out they say, "Never mind. We were wrong." I mean, it's just a really appalling, embarrassing...
COOPER: So what do they say that they did wrong?
TOOBIN: Well, one of the basic obligations of any prosecutor, federal or state, is to turn over to the defense evidence that may be helpful to the defense particularly if you have evidence that discredits your own witness, that says they told inconsistent stories or said something false. You turn it over to the defense.
Well, repeatedly during this trial, the prosecutors violated that obligation. And the Attorney General Eric Holder I think correctly and honorably said, "Look. We can't defend this behavior and have to throw in the towel."
But that doesn't get Ted Stevens his re-election back. There's nothing that can be done about that.
COOPER: Right. I mean, he lost the re-election. Does he have any recourse? I mean, can he sue the Justice Department?
TOOBIN: I kept thinking of the famous line by Raymond Donovan who was the Secretary of Labor under Ronald Reagan who was caught in a scandal, completely exonerated and he said, "Who do I see about getting my reputation back? Who do I see about that?"
You know what? There's really nothing you can do.
Obviously it's good news for him. He's not a convicted felon. He suffers no risk of going to prison but this is one of those circumstances you can't sue. He's just out of luck.
COOPER: It's amazing the abuse by the federal authorities. Unbelievable in this case. Jeff, I appreciate it.
TOOBIN: Always happy to see you.
COOPER: Ahead, more on Michelle Obama's day in London -- she's getting to know her fellow power spouses, you might say on the eve of the G-20 Summit. First we'll have that.
But first Erica Hill joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, militant extremists in Pakistan could, quote, "Take down their state if left unchallenged" that warning today from the top U.S. commander for Iraq and Afghanistan.
General David Petraeus telling a Senate panel the administration will seek as much as $3 billion over the next five years to train and equip Pakistan's military. It's a mixed news on auto sales, March sales for the big three automakers and their Japanese rivals off at least 36 percent from a year ago. But the good news here, they all posted gains from January and February and all but Toyota managed to beat analysts' expectations. There's you're silver lining.
In Florida, federal marshals seizing one of Bernie Madoff's homes and two yachts including a 55-foot custom built antique craft which is named "Bull." It's worth about $800,000. Prosecutors have asked a judge to confiscate hundreds of millions of dollars of the convicted scammer's assets.
And there is some confusion over why Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is out as keynote speaker at the Annual Senate House Republican dinner in June. Now she was being replaced by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Palin's spokeswoman says the governor never confirmed the date. Others suggest she may have been pulled out or perhaps been pushed. We'll let you know -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. We shall.
Erica, time for our "Beat 360" winners: our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption better than the one that we can come up with for a photo that we put at the AC360 blog every day.
So let's take a look at the photo tonight, shall we? It's President Obama and his wife Michelle meeting with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace today.
So let's take a look at the caption from the staff winner. Tonight, our staff winner is none other than Tom Foreman. And his caption "In exchange for breaking away from your nation, humiliating your authority, and forming the most powerful political, military, and economic country on the face of the planet, uh, we brought you an iPod."
HILL: But you know, at least now she has something to go in that handbag.
COOPER: That is true. Although apparently she had an iPod already, so maybe at least now she got two. You always lose them, so it's good that she has two.
Our viewer winner is Kate from New York City. And her caption: "So it's true that you always carry a purse. Oprah owes me $5."
HILL: Nice, Kate.
COOPER: Congratulations. Your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.
HILL: What is the deal with the purse? I don't get it.
COOPER: So coming up, world leaders aren't the -- what, that she not carry a purse or she does? Or she just always carries one?
HILL: No, I just find it odd that she always has a purse, always. I mean don't people carry things for the queen? What does she put in the purse, extra gloves, she doesn't need a hand sanitizer, a breath mint, I don't know.
COOPER: I don't know. I wonder if anyone has ever asked her what she carries in her purse, probably not. They don't ask those sorts of things really.
The world leaders aren't the only powerful group meeting in London this week. There's a lot of side meetings, a lot of important side meetings. Also the wives have their gathering. Michelle Obama with some of the world's most powerful women stepping out and enjoying a star-studded dinner tonight. We'll tell you who was there.
And the massive security surrounding President Obama includes "The Beast." His fully loaded limo, though, you'll see it's not exactly built for London streets. That's our "Shot of the Day" coming up.
COOPER: If you're a power spouse like Michelle Obama, the G-20 summit is a marathon of niceties, you might say, niceties and networking; Mrs. Obama spending a fair amount of time getting to know the other first wives at the summit. Earlier this evening they had a dinner; a group photo taken at a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah.
But there's more to these names than just symbolism. Membership in the First Wives Club is a powerful card to have. More on that now from Erica Hill.
HILL (voice-over): The first image of the Obamas in Europe, quickly making a splash across the U.K. Wednesday morning, while the first couple was already on to the next photo op at No. 10 Downing Street. The president and Mrs. Obama starting their day at the prime minister's residence where the men talked shop and the ladies shared a quick chat before heading out to Maggie's Cancer Care Center where they celebrated the facility's first anniversary.
A few hours later after a brief visit with the queen, the Obamas were back with the Browns. He for a working dinner with the G-20 heads of state, she for what's being labeled the First Wives Club dinner, a powerful group of spouses that could ultimately be a major asset to the first lady and to her agenda.
CARL SFERRAZZA ANTHONY, FIRST LADIES LIBRARY HISTORIAN: Sometimes there are issues that are global that have no boundaries and it's often the sort of interesting groups of first ladies, almost an old girl network, that you oftentimes see forming where first ladies will work together from different countries to combat a problem.
HILL: Mrs. Obama could also find an ally in some of the nonpolitical guests. Well-known British women invited by Mrs. Brown including Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling. The president is a big fan of the boy wizard. And two-time Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes. Mrs. Obama was seated between the two.
Jamie Oliver, the so-called Naked Chef, prepared the menu. One report said the food network star would have to surrender his phone upon arrival for security reasons, which makes Naomi Campbell's invitation all the more interesting. The supermodel known as much for throwing her cell phone at an assistant as for her time on the catwalk, seen here leaving.
One former model not in attendance? Carla Bruni Sarkozy. The wife of the French president charmed the Brits last year with her demure curtsey to the queen but gave plenty of advance warning she wouldn't be in London this week.
TINA BROWN, FOUNDER, "THEDAILYBEAST.COM": I think she recognizes that next to Michelle, she's going to be badly compared because she will suddenly seem like a very high-style, very vogue kind of girl. Whereas Michelle's points right now in the middle of this terrible recession is, "I'm real, authentic, I'm bright."
HILL: And on her first full day overseas, it seems to be working.
HILL: So far, so good for Mrs. Obama.
So Anderson, I have a little more information, too, on the menu that was served. Jamie Oliver actually put it up on his Web site before it was released. A lot of the foods local or at least local to the U.K. if you will -- a lot of organic foods; appetizers including baked Scottish salmon.
The main course is a Welsh lamb. There was also a vegetarian option of potato dumplings and asparagus.
Desert, bakewell tart served with homemade custard. No clotted cream here, in fact, I researched the bakewell tart. It's a jam pastry with egg and ground almond filling. It originated in Bakewell in Derbyshire. You can serve it with creme fresh or custard. But I didn't see anywhere that clotted cream was acceptable.
So there you go. Jamie Oliver, by the way, was actually -- go ahead.
COOPER: No, no, I was hoping they had haggis, which is a traditional Scottish meal but I guess that was not on the menu either.
HILL: Yes. I think it's a good reason that they're ...
COOPER: You mentioned the kids make out pretty well on these trips in terms of gifts. Any ideas of what President and Mrs. Obama will be bringing home for Malia and Sasha?
HILL: Yes, I can fill you in on that. This is sort of another faux pas that they may in fact be correcting because when Prime Minister Brown came to the U.S. a little over -- well, just about a month ago, some of the gifts that were given, they brought some outfits from Top Shop -- it's a pretty well-known store in the U.K. -- for the girls along with books and necklaces. And then their boys were given models of Marine One.
And some folks said that it looked like they've been bought at the White House gift shop. So this time around, the Obamas brought a baseball bat, Dr. Seuss books and the girls will be getting some more fancy clothes from London for the summer and also some sunglasses from Marks & Spencer which is, of course, a department store chain there.
COOPER: All right. There you go.
I also got an e-mail, I think, from a viewer saying that the queen actually carries two extra pairs of gloves in her purse. There you go.
"The Shot" is next: trouble with the presidential limo in London. See if you can do a better job driving "The Beast" through these narrow streets. I don't think so. We have the video for you ahead.
COOPER: Erica, time for "The Shot" but just for a moment, I misspoke while talking to Richard Quest. I said the South African president was Thabo Mbeki; he resigned last year. It's -- Kgalema Motlanthe is the South African president. Anyway, he was in the shot and is obviously in town for the G-20.
So Erica, time for "The Shot:" the presidential parking attempt, Mr. Obama's official wheels, "The Beast," may have been too big for 10 Downing Street. We sped this up for you guys and we added some Bennie Hill music because, of course, this is Britain. The driver had a tough time turning the limo around. For all of you preparing for your driver's test this is called a three-point turn. That thing is certainly you see why they call it "The Beast." They are just not used to seeing such huge cars here in the streets of London.
We actually passed, the presidential motorcade passed us by earlier this evening and the driver we were with, the British driver instantly said, "That's the President Obama because no one else in London has such a big car." There you certainly see the evidence.
HILL: We love our gas guzzlers, don't we?
COOPER: We do. And we love our Bennie Hill.
You can see all the most recent shots on our Web site ac360.com.
That does it for 360. Thanks for watching. I hope you have a great day. I'll see you later tonight, live from London.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.