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New Swine Flu Fears; President Obama Breaking Promises?

Aired May 18, 2009 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We thought the danger had passed, but, tonight, new concerns over swine flu, another death in the United States, this time right here in New York, and thousands of local kids out of school.

The victim, an assistant principal -- an assistant school principal in New York City, Mitchell Wiener, died yesterday. He was 55 years old. Tonight, students held a vigil for the popular former math teacher, their school among 17 closed in recent days by city health officials, as more students have fallen sick.

This man was the sixth U.S. death tied to swine flu, the first in New York. Since the outbreak began three weeks ago, swine flu has spread to 47 states and the District of Columbia, with more than 5,200 confirmed and probable cases reported.

Worldwide, 76 people have died, more than 8,000 cases reported in 40 countries. The WHO, the World Health Organization, is now facing a delicate decision: Should it actually raise its alarm bell another notch, to the highest level?

360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta joins us.

Sanjay, is this -- the latest death, is this a sign the virus is -- is actually growing more deadly, or is this just a natural follow- on to what we have already seen?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think it means the virus is mutating or becoming more deadly.

I think, since -- almost since the beginning, since you and I were talking about this a few weeks ago, it was expected that there would be deaths here in the United States. There have obviously been deaths down in Mexico. So, I think we're starting to catch up with what I think a lot of people expected, Anderson.

COOPER: There has been a lot of questions about whether this is -- is hype. I mean, it's the same question I have been asking you pretty much every night that we have been covering this.

I go out on the street, and a lot of people say, look, you guys are hyping this. It doesn't seem so bad. And it does seem to have kind of gone away, out of the news, at least. But now I feel like, in the last couple days, with these deaths, it's kind of back in. And we have -- we have tens -- you know, tens of thousands of kids out of school.


And, you know, it's -- all the ingredients for this to be something that was potentially problematic were there, a brand-new virus. It was spreading. It was causing deaths, first in Mexico. Now we're seeing it in here in the United States.

You know, overall, I think this is still going to look like it was a relatively mild illness, keeping in mind, Anderson, something you and I have talked about, that the regular flu kills tens of thousands of people every single year.

Here's the key, though, Anderson. If you look back on pandemics of past, oftentimes, they did start with a relatively mild illness in the spring, and then became much more troublesome when fall and winter rolled around.

So, I think this is just a -- a message of vigilance and diligence, but I don't think that this is -- what's happening right now is unexpected, Anderson.

COOPER: The other H1N1 deaths in the U.S. were also linked to underlying medical conditions. If you have diabetes, you have asthma or some chronic health problem, and you come down with the flu-like symptoms, should you see your doctor right away?

GUPTA: I think so, yes.

You know, the -- the problem here is that, if you have some of those other illnesses, your immune system is just weakened. We know, because of the things that you have been talking about, that this H1N1 can kill people. And it can kill people sometimes in the prime of their lives if they have some sort of underlying illness.

So, yes, you -- you should see them. It's a simple swab to find out if you have influenza A. If you have that, then you could possibly have the swine flu, and you can get that checked out.

COOPER: You know, the thing that alarmed me a couple weeks ago -- and I guess a lot of people -- is when the WHO, the World Health Organization, came out...


COOPER: ... and they said that humanity itself is threatened.

When I heard that, I thought, you know -- you know, run for the hills. Is it that bad? I mean, did they overstate this?

GUPTA: Well, I think that, from a public health standpoint, they're looking at the fact that a new virus, a new pathogen, is finding its way around the entire world.

And that's what they were talking about specifically. What you and I really want to know the answer to is, is it going to kill me? Is it going to kill my children? Is it going to kill my neighbors? That's the question we're really asking, after all -- everything else is sort of distilled away.

And what it seems to be right now is that it can cause death, although in much smaller numbers, again, than the regular flu. And this is something that was sort of expected, you know, after it was first sort of started in Mexico. So, it doesn't seem to be as serious, but it does seem to have significant scope.

COOPER: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appreciate it. Thanks, Sanjay...

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: ... separating fact from fiction.

We have got a lot more on the swine flu outbreak on our Web site. Go to to see a map of how many swine flu cases are in your state and also around the world.

New developments in the search for a successor to Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court -- the White House today naming an aide to manage the confirmation, and Senate Republicans refusing to rule out a filibuster. Social issues expected to figure highly in that -- this weekend, the president sampled some of the heat, addressing the graduating class at Notre Dame, taking on abortion, anti-abortion protesters who interrupted his speech.

He came away from the encounter, by most accounts, without a scratch. But, tonight, the president is facing growing concerns by some of his most ardent supporters that he may be abandoning them on some key issues. There's the reversal on the release of detainee abuse photos, military tribunals for alleged terror suspects, as well as his failure to make any real efforts on repealing don't ask/don't tell or reversing the HIV travel ban for visitors to the U.S.

So, the question is, Mr. Obama abandoning some campaign promises, as he also faces his first Supreme Court pick?

Candy Crowley tonight "Keeping Them Honest."


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a Supreme Court vacancy hanging out there, Washington went into overdrive with news that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is coming to the White House.

QUESTION: When Governor Granholm comes tomorrow, would she be talking to the president at all about the Supreme Court vacancy?

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the governor's primary -- primary objective in coming is an announcement we will make tomorrow on a different topic.

QUESTION: Does she have any secondary objectives...

(CROSSTALK) QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) the president about the Supreme Court?

GIBBS: I'm -- I feel good about my first answer.

CROWLEY: It's a closely-watched story because the Supreme Court can and has changed the nation. Brown vs. Board of Education set the stage for desegregation. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. Barack Obama was 12 when Roe was decided. It's a ruling that still inflames the passionate to protest the commencement address of a pro-abortion- rights president at Notre Dame, a premier Catholic school.

Abortion may be settled law, but it remains an unsettling issue and one a president cannot avoid.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions.


OBAMA: Let's reduce unintended pregnancy.

CROWLEY: Social issues have confounded presidents for decades, and, in this new millennium, a new issue conservatives see as central to the Supreme Court.

JORDAN LORENCE, SENIOR COUNCIL, ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND: I think same-sex marriage is very likely to be the big flash point issue.

CROWLEY: The president opposes same-sex marriage and says states should decide the issue. But many in the gay and lesbian community think, eventually, that has to change.

STEVE ELMENDORF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The more states that approve it, the more the pressure will build on people in Congress and the president to -- to do things to make federal law comply with all these state laws.

CROWLEY: Marriage is only one issue that has some in the gay and lesbian community worried that a campaigner they saw as sympathetic to their causes is less so as president in office.

He has not lifted a ban barring HIV-positive foreigners from crossing U.S. borders. And many had hoped there would be a Cabinet appointment.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, let's dig deeper now with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and author of "Personal Faith, Public Policy." Also joining us, Democratic National Committee member and CNN contributor Robert Zimmerman.

We just heard in Candy's report this list of complaints from -- from one of the president's key constituencies. Has he abandoned the -- the -- gay and lesbian Americans?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: No, I don't. I think that really is an unfair criticism. I think more can be done.

COOPER: But you hear that from a lot of gay and lesbian Americans...

ZIMMERMAN: Oh, absolutely.

COOPER: ... saying, look, on don't ask/don't tell, on the HIV travel ban, on -- on marriage...

ZIMMERMAN: Well, let me be clear. I think the Democratic Party should come out of the closet on behalf of the gay and lesbian -- gay and lesbian men and women serving in our military service. Without question, I think more can be done by the president and by the Congress on that issue.

But I think we also have to understand, it's just over the first 100 days in office. It's a critical time with a -- a full range of very -- very important breaking issues before the president. So, I think timing is critical. And I think timing will be key as we confront many of these issues.

COOPER: Tony, you -- you clearly don't support, you know, the -- reversing the -- the gays in the military, or certainly on -- on marriage.

Why do you think, though, the president has basically remained completely silent on these issues? Is it just politics he's playing?

TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, I think he knows his history. Bill Clinton took on the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military, and it cost him greatly in terms of political capital.

And -- and the American people still are not there. In fact, just recently, over 1,000 flag and general officers in the -- retired from the military presented a -- a statement to the president saying it would be harmful to combat effectiveness.


ZIMMERMAN: But, Tony, we also are aware that we have former General -- former Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Shalikashvili and Colin Powell have endorsed the right of gays, gay and lesbian men and women serving in the military.


ZIMMERMAN: And a majority of American people stand with that issue. Let's put it in perspective.

PERKINS: No, you -- you have the -- you have the American people divided on that particular issue. But you have the vast majority of military officers, and -- and you also have almost 60 percent of those currently serving in the military who have said they would consider not reenlisting or not -- or ending their military career.

ZIMMERMAN: Tony, I think...

COOPER: Wait. We're -- we're going to continue the conversation. We have got to take a short break. We will have more with our panel in just a second.

Let us know what you think. Join the live chat happening now at

Also tonight, one intense moment caught on tape, two drastically different views of it -- was it a case of a suspect resisting arrest or police brutality? The one being beaten, a 14-year-old boy. We will have -- show the tape, give you the facts. You can make up your own mind -- coming up.

And, later, Farrah Fawcett's brave, remarkably candid battle with cancer -- one of the most glamorous women ever inviting us to see her in her least glamorous, most vulnerable moments -- tonight on 360.


COOPER: We're back talking about how President Obama is handling some tough social issues, addressing some of them head on, such as abortion this weekend, stem cell research, going slower and some would say even abandoning others, namely, the military's don't ask/don't tell policy and same-sex marriage.

With us, Tony Perkins and Robert Zimmerman.

Robert, you talked about, you know, there's still time, though -- but on -- on an issue like don't ask/don't tell, wasn't the time -- if the president was actually going to do something, hasn't the time already passed? I mean, the farther away he gets from inauguration, the more politically untenable it may become.

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, actually, it's a very interesting observation, Anderson, because, right now, President Obama does stand at his height of his popularity.

His approval ratings on almost every demographic are very strong. And we -- and this issue has now become an issue of national security. We have lost over 12,500 brave men and women who are being forced out of the Army because of their sexual orientation.

And we have a drastic shortage of Arab translators in the military, because it seems people like Tony Perkins and his organization are more afraid of gay and lesbian men and women serving bravely in our military than they are of al Qaeda.

PERKINS: Well, look, I served in the United States Marine Corps. And I know what it's like to serve in close quarters, along with over 1,000 of these general officers.

It's -- it's -- it's more than just a political issue. It's about the military effectiveness. And when 14 percent of military men and women who are serving say they may not reenlist, that's over a quarter-of-a-million men and women. A lot more than what...


ZIMMERMAN: Tony, you know what a fraudulent poll that is. Shame on you.

PERKINS: No, no, that's...


ZIMMERMAN: This is -- this issue...


PERKINS: It's a "Military Times' poll. It's a very accurate poll.

And I know, from talking to men and women that I served with in the military that are still in there, that there's grave concern about changing this law. The fact is the president -- the president...

ZIMMERMAN: Tony, you could be very helpful in terms of helping educate people about the need to focus our attention on fighting al Qaeda, as opposed to exploiting...

PERKINS: Look...

ZIMMERMAN: ... discrimination towards the gay community...

PERKINS: The reality is this.

ZIMMERMAN: ... rather than make a lot of money for your organization by doing that. But is it really serving our national interests at such a critical time?

PERKINS: The reality is, the president has to choose between delivering to a radical, but small and vocal, portion of his base or keeping the support of a lot of moderates that he needs to pass other issues, like health care reform.

I think the president learned from what happened with Bill Clinton, and how he lost political support.

ZIMMERMAN: I think what we learned, Tony, from what happened with Bill Clinton was the fact that this president has his priorities in place. And he's leading with a broad range of support. The American people are with him on this issue.

COOPER: But Tony raises an interesting point.

PERKINS: No, they're -- they're not. They're not. COOPER: Tony raises an interesting point, talking about Bill Clinton.

Andrew Sullivan on his blog the other way -- and you hear this from a lot...


COOPER: ... of gays and lesbians in the United States -- say, essentially, oh, no, is this happening again? Is what -- is Obama doing what Clinton did, which is, essentially, you know, when you're running for office, you say all these things, and then, you actually get into office, it's a different story?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, I think -- look, in fairness to Bill Clinton -- in fairness to Barack Obama, he, in fact, has met most of -- many of his promises. And his first 100 days were all...

COOPER: But, to gays and lesbians, he certainly hasn't.

ZIMMERMAN: Oh, absolutely. There's more that has to be done.

I think he's appointed many gay and lesbian officials to high- ranking positions in his administration. That's to his credit. I think more -- certainly, more has to be done for gays and lesbians serving in the military. When it comes to marriage, that's going to have to be driven by the grass -- by the grassroots, by our state legislators, and by our courts.

PERKINS: Look...

COOPER: Yesterday, at Notre Dame, President Obama spoke about trying to tone down rhetoric, find common ground.

When it comes to some issues, like abortion, same-sex marriage, don't ask/don't tell, is there really common ground? Is there middle ground?

PERKINS: Well, it's interesting, the first time I have heard the president say this. Yesterday, in his speech, before the Notre Dame student body, the graduating class, he admitted that there -- there may not be common ground, there may not be a resolution, that we may have to agree to disagree.

Here's the -- the challenge that the president has. I thought he made a great speech yesterday, but he's going to have to, at some point in time, come down off his rhetorical mountain into the valley of decision, where public policy is made. That's where it becomes very difficult.

And you talk about common ground, I don't think you're going to find a lot of common -- common ground on whether or not people want taxpayer money to go to fund abortion.

ZIMMERMAN: Well, you know, Tony, there is common ground between you and me, because we both agree it was a great speech, in fact, I think a very defining speech about the Obama presidency.

And there is common ground we both can find, in terms of making adoption laws easier to -- and also helping women who choose to carry their pregnancy through term.

PERKINS: And one of those may be...

ZIMMERMAN: And, so, I think we can -- we can find common ground there.

PERKINS: One of them may be the fact that, in his budget, where he's calling to eliminate the charitable tax deduction, where a lot of these organizations that support unwed mothers and help women who carry their babies to term, they rely on those charitable contributions, that's one thing he could do to find common ground.

COOPER: We will leave it on that note of possible common ground.

Tony Perkins, Robert Zimmerman, appreciate you both being with us.

ZIMMERMAN: Thank you.

PERKINS: Thanks.

COOPER: Up next: the Republican Party amping up the war against Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- new charges over what she knew about torture techniques during the Bush administration and new questions from Democrats about how she's handling the controversy. We will bring you the latest on that.

Also tonight, a world away, in Burma, a Nobel laureate, Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, goes on trial today for taking in a mysterious American who swam to her house uninvited. The question is, is the repressive government of Burma, also known as Myanmar, simply trying to find an excuse to continue to imprison this world-renowned Nobel Peace Prize recipient?

Later, Brooke Shields furious, threatening legal action, standing up for her mom -- a reporter from the tabloid "The National Enquirer" taking Mrs. Shields out of a nursing home under false pretenses. Was it a tabloid attempt to exploit her, or something else entirely?

Details -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Late word from the Supreme Court -- the justices squashing a lawsuit against FBI Director Robert Mueller and former Attorney General John Ashcroft. The plaintiff was a former Pakistani 9/11 detainee who claimed the two were responsible for confining him and others in highly restrictive conditions because of their religious beliefs or race.

The court found there was nothing linking Mueller and Ashcroft to those abuses. More now on torture techniques during the Bush administration and what the House's top Democrat, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, knew about it at the time. You will recall, she says the CIA never briefed her about water-boarding, saying that they -- she never -- they never informed her that it actually was taking place.

Today, CIA Director Leon Panetta repeated his claim that the agency did. And, over, the weekend, Republican calls for her head grew caller.

We have got the "Raw Politics" tonight from Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside this Capitol office, aides to House Republican Leader John Boehner are working to keep the heat on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, churning out press releases touting coverage of Boehner's challenge to Pelosi on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," essentially put up or shut up.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Lying to the Congress of the United States is a crime. And if the speaker is accusing the CIA and other intelligence officials of lying or misleading the Congress, then she should come forward with evidence.


BASH: But the reality is that Republicans know full well it's hard for Pelosi to prove her claim that the CIA lied to her about water-boarding, because notes from her September 2002 briefing on the issue are highly classified.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I would be very happy if they would release the briefing.

BASH: Pelosi says she wants those notes declassified. But sources with knowledge of deliberations on the issue tell CNN, it's unlikely the CIA and the White House will allow it.

And the very Republicans who insist that Pelosi come clean on what she knew about harsh interrogation tactics oppose a broad investigation of Bush officials who actually set the policy.

BOEHNER: And I don't think it's in the interests of keeping our troops safe, nor in the interest of keeping the American people safe.

BASH: Meanwhile, a lingering question is whether the controversy, and, specifically this performance...

PELOSI: I'm sorry. I have the pages out of order.

BASH: ... has cost Pelosi support among fellow Democrats.

John Larson, one of her most loyal deputies, says no, but does admit:

REP. JOHN LARSON (D), CONNECTICUT: I think, you know, it, perhaps, wasn't one of her best press conferences, but, certainly everybody in this caucus understands and stands behind her moral certitude and her ability to lead in -- in our caucus.

BASH: Still, several Democratic sources tell CNN that, privately, some congressional Democrats are baffled by Pelosi's decision to escalate the controversy last week by going after the CIA.

PELOSI: ... that the CIA was misleading the Congress.

QUESTION: Do you believe Speaker Pelosi?

BASH: On that front, today, CIA Director Leon Panetta refused to talk about his stinging response to Pelosi last week, that the CIA does not mislead Congress.

Instead, he tried to end the rancor and improve the CIA's tattered relationship with Capitol Hill.

LEON PANETTA, CIA DIRECTOR: You know, we have been through a rough period. When the Congress and CIA don't feel like they're partners in this effort, then, frankly, it hurts both, and, more importantly, it hurts this country.

BASH (on camera): As for Pelosi, CNN has obtained these talking points distributed by her office to help keep rank-and-file Democrats on message about the controversy. In it, she repeats her claim that CIA officials gave her inaccurate information and told her harsh interrogation methods, like water-boarding, were not used.

Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.


COOPER: Joining us now, senior political analyst David Gergen.

How much trouble is Nancy Pelosi in on this?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think she's in as much trouble as the Republicans would like to have her in.

COOPER: They haven't boxed her into her corner?

GERGEN: I don't think so.

If anything, you know, I think they made some very powerful arguments. I do she's been weakened. But, you know, she's flipped this controversy. She's managed now to make it no longer a controversy between her and a fellow Democrat, Leon Panetta. It's now between Nancy Pelosi and Republicans.

And that helps to rally Democrats behind her. And, so, I think, Anderson, the really big issue is if somebody tried to stage a coup. And I don't see any evidence in the Democratic caucus that they're going to do that.

Steny Hoyer, who would be probably the leader of any kind of coup effort, is -- is supporting her.

COOPER: But -- but President Obama hasn't really been vocal about this at all. He hasn't come to her defense.

GERGEN: Well, that is what's peculiar, because she's doing a lot of heavy lifting for him in the House of Representatives, not only, from her point of view, on the stimulus bill and on various other bills that have come, but now on health care and on climate change. I mean, she's pivotal to both of those bills.

So, they need her help and want her as a firm ally. I have been surprised they haven't been more vocal in her support. I -- but I think one can't underestimate that she's a -- she's as tough as any man in the House, and tougher than most.


GERGEN: You know, there's a lot of Margaret Thatcher in her, the steel of Margaret Thatcher.


COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: And she's -- she didn't get there by just being, you know, a quiet mouse in the corner.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: She's a tough lady. And she's not going to -- she's not going to stand for anybody coming after her on this.

COOPER: Let's talk a little bit about what happened at the White House today...


COOPER: ... Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visiting with the president.

I want to play some of -- of the exchange they had. Let's watch.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I indicated to Prime Minister Netanyahu in private what I have said publicly, which is that Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would not only be a threat to Israel and a threat to the United States, but would be profoundly destabilizing in the international community as a whole, and could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that would be extraordinarily dangerous for all concerned, including for Iran.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: The Israelis want a timetable for any negotiations with Iran and a threat of military force if they fail.

The president's not willing to go that far. And the president wants a stop to Israeli -- new Israeli settlements.

COOPER: Right.

The U.S. is far apart with Israel on this.

GERGEN: We are. And I -- I think there are two things that should be said up front, though, that this president is engaging with the Middle East much, much earlier than President Bush. And I think that's a positive thing.

COOPER: Well, President Bush, I mean, didn't really do anything for a long time.

GERGEN: He held back. And it was -- you know, it was sort of in the ninth inning, he got engaged.

The second thing is that this could have been a very contentious meeting. Apparently, it was not, from everything we know.

Having said that, they are -- they have fundamentally different views of how to deal with this. President -- President Obama wants to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian issue first, as a way to warm up the region in order to get -- to deal successfully with Iran.

And Netanyahu is saying just the opposite. He's saying, you have got to deal with Iran first and warm things up in order to solve the Palestinian issue. So, they're -- they have just got -- they have got fundamentally different views about how to...


COOPER: And the president reiterated today his support for a two-state solution. We didn't hear that from Netanyahu.

GERGEN: We did not. And there were -- you know, there were some indications that he was going to bow.

I -- the people who know Netanyahu well saying, ultimately, he will support a two-state solution. But he wants -- he's bargaining. He's going to wait to see what he gets in exchange. In the meantime, he's pushing on pressure on Iran.

President Obama very -- did set a deadline for how soon Iran has to come up...

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: ... be serious about bargaining -- bargaining -- and that is by the end of this year.

COOPER: By the end of this year. GERGEN: By the end of the year, this year. And what that means...

COOPER: And he didn't want it to go -- he wanted to put a timetable on it, because he doesn't want the Iranians to use this as an excuse, as just a cover to develop their own weapons.

GERGEN: Absolutely. And he has to put a -- he has to put -- he has to have some pressure on Iran to come to the table, because they know, by the -- they have elections in June.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: He then negotiates. If they don't get anywhere, he builds up world opinion and U.S. opinion for much tougher sanctions. And, if that doesn't work, then we have got a real problem.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: And then the military question arises some time next year.

COOPER: All right.

David Gergen, thanks.

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: Appreciate it, David.

Next on the program: the pro-democracy leader and the mysterious man from Missouri, both under arrest half-a-world away, both on trial today by a military junta. Tonight, we're going to take you inside the secretive, brutal country for a live report on this developing story. We have a reporter on the scene. We will talk to that reporter shortly.

Also tonight, new video, some growing outrage -- is this teenager the victim of police brutality? Tonight, we will tell you the story. We will show you the tape and let you be the judge.

And Farrah Fawcett's fight -- her battle against cancer and how she has turned her struggle into a moving documentary.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Tonight, new developments in a story we first told you on Friday about an American citizen's mysterious mission to contact a pro-democracy leader under house arrest.

This is all unfolding in Myanmar, the country also called Burma. It's run by the military junta that has silenced opposition voices, most notably this woman, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. They have had her under house arrest for more than 13 years.

Today she faced a new trial that could spell more confinement for years to come and possibly even in a prison. This Vietnam vet from Missouri is playing a big part in the junta's case. John Yettaw traveled to Burma, swam across a lake with homemade flippers to reach Suu Kyi. The junta has put him behind bars, and he could face 15 years in prison for immigration violation and trespassing.

It's a bizarre story with serious repercussions for the democracy movement inside Burma.

Joining us on the phone is a reporter with CNN who is also inside the country, but we are not revealing her identity or her exact location for security reasons.

Thanks for joining us. We've read about police barricades preventing anyone from getting close to the prison where the trials are being held for Aung San Suu Kyi and John Yettaw. Do you have any details of exactly what took place inside the courtroom today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, Anderson, the only information that we are able to get is from the NLD. That's the National League for Democracy. That's Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition group.

They are telling us that the trials did start on Monday morning and that two witnesses were heard. But they have 22 witnesses lined up. And we also heard that western diplomats, and that includes the U.K. ambassador to Myanmar and a few others from Germany and other western countries who tried to come into the courtroom today but they were turned away. Excuse me.

And we don't have any information on that American's, John Yettaw's trial today, because the NLD did leave the courtroom when he was beginning his proceedings -- Anderson.

COOPER: What are the conditions like at the prison that Aung San Suu Kyi is being held at? And any word on how she is actually doing physically?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, this prison is notorious for having very poor conditions. There's draconian-like living situations. We hear that it has malaria. It has bugs; it has rats. And it's extremely hot. The temperature rising from 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

And although we are hearing those conditions, we also heard from the National League for Democracy, who spoke to Suu Kyi, and he's saying that she's doing well, actually, and she's eating well, too. -- Anderson.

COOPER: What are the conditions like on the ground there? I mean, are -- are supporters able to protest? I mean, obviously, there was a huge crackdown on thousands of people last year as monks went to protest. We've seen crackdowns over the years. What is it like for people there now and even for yourself trying to report? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, Anderson, I have to tell you it's really hard to get this story in Myanmar. People are afraid to talk. You walk around the streets, and no one's talking about politics. No one's talking about Aung San Suu Kyi.

And like you mentioned in 2007, that protest alone, we had thousands and thousands of people protesting. And we had dozens die, thousands more imprisoned.

And in the same prison alone, there's thousands of political prisoners. This military dictatorship is the longest-running dictatorship -- military dictatorship in the world. People are afraid. We ourselves, we're afraid to approach the people of Myanmar, because yes, we may get in trouble. We may get kicked out of the country, but they will feel the effects much longer than we ever will -- Anderson.

COOPER: No doubt you're being watched very closely. I appreciate you taking the risk to give us the call and report on what's happening. Thank you very much.

Coming up ahead tonight, millions tuned in to watch Farrah Fawcett's moving and raw documentary about the cancer that is killing her. The painful and personal details she shared just ahead.

But first, Erica Hill joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, tomorrow President Obama will issue top new fuel efficiency requirements for cars and light trucks, creating a single national standard for tailpipe emissions and mileage requirements for the very first time. These new rules will be just as strict as California's, which are the toughest in the nation.

Sri Lankan state television reporting the founder and leader of the Tiger rebel group has been killed by government troops in the country's northern war zone just one day after rebels admitted defeat, ending a decades-old civil war.

"GQ" magazine stirring new debate over the role of religion in the military. The magazine's Web site posting a series of covers for intelligence reports from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during the early days of the war, those covers emblazoned with biblical quotations.

Actress Brooke Shields is vowing to take legal action against a reporter and photographer she claims took her mother out of a New Jersey nursing home to get a story for "The National Enquirer." Shields' mother has dementia.

The "National Enquirer" said the reporter was not on assignment at the time and is a longtime friend of Teri Shields, Anderson.

COOPER: Such a bizarre story.

You can join the live chat happening now. Let us know what you think at Up next, reality television in its rawest form. A new documentary reveals Farrah Fawcett's brave and emotional fight with cancer.

Also tonight, caught on tape. A 14-year-old kid under arrest. His family says he was attacked. But were police just doing their job? We'll show you the tape.

Also, tonight, President Bill Clinton has just been tapped for a new role, former President Clinton. We're going to tell what you he's doing and where he's going, coming up.


COOPER: Tonight Farrah Fawcett's very brave and very public battle with cancer. The 62-year-old actress was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. It has since spread to her liver. Fawcett's determined to defeat the disease, and details her fight in a new documentary that's a video diary of her struggle, her treatment and her will to survive.

In a moment we're going to talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about this rare type of cancer. But first, Farrah Fawcett's story, up close tonight with Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Farrah Fawcett is dying. She knows it, and now the world knows it, too.

FARRAH FAWCETT, ACTRESS: I used to wonder how people who were very sick, with a terminal diagnosis, could get up and go on with their lives and not think about dying.

KAYE: This two-hour NBC documentary, "Farrah's Story," was watched by nearly 9 million people.

(on camera) It's a roller coaster of emotion where the viewer is made to feel as if he or she is in the doctor's office right there in the hospital room with the actress. Filmed by her good friend, Alana Stewart, Farrah narrates most of it herself.

(voice-over) It is honest, painful.

FAWCETT: Cancer is my own private war.

KAYE: And it is, in the truest sense, raw emotion. Here, Farrah has just been told her cancer has returned.

She was diagnosed with anal cancer back in 2006, then went into remission. It came back in 2007 and had also spread to her liver. Tom O'Neil writes an entertainment blog.

TON O'NEIL, LATIMES.COM: Probably the most devastating scene in the whole documentary is when she says to the cameraperson, as she is projectile vomiting, "Why aren't you getting this on camera?" She wants the graphic, shocking nature of this to be driven home.

KAYE: The film is peppered with happier times: Farrah as one of "Charlie's Angels," her oh-so-famous poster, and her birthday.


KAYE: But her hoarse voice sets the tone. Still, even as the disease progresses before the viewers' eyes, one can't forget Farrah's beauty.

O'NEIL: Farrah Fawcett won our hearts in the late 1970s with that big hair, that big smile and that big Texas southern drawl.

KAYE: Now reportedly bedridden and heavily medicated, it's unclear how much time Farrah has left. One of the film's final scenes, Farrah alone in her hospital bed, listening to the rain.

FAWCETT: And I was just thinking how much I would miss the rain sometimes. I wonder whether I would be able to experience it from heaven.

KAYE: A heart-wrenching moment for a woman on borrowed time.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: A German doctor who treated Fawcett called her original tumor, a quote, "terrorist full of hate." There are roughly 5,000 new cases of anal cancer every year. Three-sixty MD Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now with more details.

Sanjay, is this different than rectal cancer?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is different than rectal cancer. It is different than colon cancer. It is a rare cancer, as you mentioned. This is the very last part of the large intestine. So it's a relatively small surface area, which is probably part of the reason it is so rare. And as a result, Anderson, not a lot of detection on it. But detection or literature about it.

But we do know one thing is that if it's caught early, like with many cancers, it can be treated very effectively.

COOPER: Are certain groups of people more susceptible than others?

GUPTA: Yes. It does appear to be. This is something that I was looking into a little bit today. And I didn't learn a lot about this in medical school. It was probably the last time I really had looked into this.

But people who have weakened immune systems for some reason: people with HIV, people who engage in anal sex, people who have HPV. That's the human papilloma virus, infection. People who are smokers may also be more at risk. And then there's a group of people who haven't had any of those risk factors and still get it. We're not entirely sure why.

COOPER: Why does HPV, or the human papilloma virus, which can cause cervical cancer, sometimes lead to anal cancer?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it's interesting. What seems to happen with this particular virus -- and remember, we talked about this in cervical cancer. It was really the first time that they said, look, a virus causing cancer. If you give a vaccine for it, it could prevent that cancer. It was a big deal in the world of medicine.

What HPV seems to do, it seems to turn off some of what are known as tumor-suppresser genes. We have these genes in our body that are constantly sort of circulating, trying to fight off any potential tumors. HPV somehow interferes with that so that tumors are allowed to start and grow.

COOPER: And, I mean, what's the prognosis for someone who's diagnosed with it?

GUPTA: Well, if it's caught early before it is spread at all, either outside that area or into the lymph nodes, it is -- it is pretty successful treatment. You know, about 5,000 cases a year in the United States, in the hundreds, a few hundred of those people will die. So pretty good survival odds.

The problem, Anderson, is when this spreads and spreads as it did, as Ms. Fawcett talked about, to her liver, it can be very, very difficult to treat. There's really not good treatments for it. Survival drops way down, less than 20 percent in five years.

COOPER: And very briefly, symptoms?

GUPTA: Sometimes bleeding, sometimes pain. Sometimes people will confuse it with a hemorrhoid in the beginning. And that's part of the reason sometimes late diagnosis occurs, as well.

COOPER: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appreciate it. Thanks.

You can go to to watch Farrah Fawcett's struggle with her cancer treatments and how she's turning to laughter at times to help deal with her pain.

Just ahead, caught on tape. A 14-year-old boy, his face a bloodied mess after two police officers arrest him. But what happened before the video camera was turned on? Was it police brutality? We'll watch the tape and see if you can decide for yourself.

Also ahead, a new twist in the Drew Peterson case. Is the former police sergeant getting out on bail? And why prosecutors have a problem with his judge. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Toledo, Ohio , an allegation of police brutality caught on tape, posted YouTube. The alleged victim, a 14-year-old boy. Now, the video doesn't show what led up to the arrest. All we see is the boy's bloodied face moments later. His family says the officers beat him up, pure and simple. The police say the boy resisted arrest and took a swing at them.

Erica Hill has more in tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report.


HILL (voice-over): Friday morning in Toledo, a neighbor with a cell phone camera records the aftermath of a violent incident between two police officers and a teenager. The video from YouTube shows 14- year-old Trevor Casey, his eyes shut, his face bloody. One officer holds him in a headlock, and then the teen falls to the ground.


HILL: What happened depends on whose version you believe. The family says Casey is the victim of police brutality.

SHARISE WOODARD, TREVOR CASEY'S SISTER: I want them to feel all the pain that they put my brother through, everything that they did to him. I want them to have to experience all of that.

HILL: According to a police report obtained by Toledo affiliate NBC 24, Casey and three other males were loitering at the location, but Casey was the only one who refused orders to leave the area.

Told he was under arrest, Casey allegedly began fighting with the officers, resisting attempts to be handcuffed, and striking one officer in the chest with his arm.

The report says the officers applied joint pressure and body strikes to the suspect. He would not go down. And then, according to the report, open-handed strikes were applied to the suspect's facial area by both officers. The suspect still would not go down.

The officers were able to subdue Casey, who was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing official business, and disorderly conduct. The report goes on to say Casey admitted to the officers he'd been smoking marijuana.

In a statement to the Toledo TV station, Casey's brother, David, claims the officers choked him, punched and kneed him, hit him in the face with a billy club, and repeatedly slammed him into the hood of the police cruiser.

DAVID CASEY, TREVOR CASEY'S BROTHER: My mother spoke to him in the -- while he was in the juvenile detention center. And he said he could feel the life coming out of him. You know, just for my little brother to say that, that makes me feel a lot of resentment, you know, a lot of anger.

HILL: In a statement to AC 360, Toledo Police Chief Michael Navarre said he couldn't comment on an ongoing investigation but did acknowledge the department is looking into the incident and that the mother of Trevor Casey filed a formal complaint today, alleging excessive force.

The police report said the boy was treated at a hospital after the incident and then released and booked by police.


COOPER: It's a disturbing video. A lot of police work is disturbing, though. It's always hard to know, especially when something happened before the video was turned on.

What's happened to the police officers?

HILL: Well, we've been told by the police chief is they have not been reassigned. They haven't been placed on desk duty. And the police chief saying right now all of this is under investigation, so they're looking at it.

Trevor Casey, we should point out, is set to go to trial June 2.

COOPER: All right. Erica, thanks very much.

Coming up next, more "Crime & Punishment." Drew Peterson back in court. Pleaded not guilty today to killing his third wife. Now prosecutors asking for a new judge. We have the details on that.

Plus Bill Clinton tapped for a new job. We'll tell you what he will be doing in the weeks and months ahead, coming up.


COOPER: Organizers call it a case of Michael Jackson obsession gone wrong. Do you agree? Coming up, we'll show you how they set a new "Thriller" dance record. You'll want to stick around for that. It's tonight's "Shot."

Bur first Erica Hill joins us with the "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: And Anderson, former President Bill Clinton named the United Nations special envoy to Haiti. Mr. Clinton has traveled to the Caribbean nation several times. It is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. This video is of his most recent visit there in March with his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Some encouraging news on housing and banking helping to boost stocks today. The Dow adding 235 points, making up more than half of last week's losses. The NASDAQ gained 52. The S&P 500 climbed 26.

Facing the judge. Former Illinois police officer Drew Peterson pleading not guilty today to charges of murdering his third wife. But his attempt to lower his $20 million bail is on hold. That's because before Peterson's attorney could ask, the prosecution requested a change in the judge for this case, because the current judge dismissed a felony gun charge against Peterson last November.

And taking Manhattan tonight, first lady Michelle Obama, seen here at the American Ballet Theater's spring gala. Earlier in the day she cut the ribbon on the newly-renovated American wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Anderson.

COOPER: She has a busy work. She was working all weekend. She gave a commencement address.

HILL: She was in California, and now she's in New York today.

COOPER: There you go.

HILL: It ain't easy being first lady.

COOPER: All right. Time for our "Beat 360" winners, Erica. Daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption better than the one we can come up with for a photo that we put on the blog every day. That's how it works.

So let's put up the picture: first lady Michelle Obama before delivering the commencement speech at the University of California over the weekend.

Our staff winner tonight, Marshall. His caption: "No, no, Mrs. Obama. It says so right here on page 14: 'sleeves optional'."


COOPER: The viewer winner is Harriet with the caption: "I'm the first Obama to get an honorary degree. Go, U.C.!"


COOPER: Your "Beat 360" T-shirt's on the way. Congratulations.

Coming up, "The Shot" is next. Moms and dads, this is why you send your kids to college, isn't it? To dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." This performance actually made history. I'm not sure history. Maybe a record. Maybe it broke a record. It's making TV. We'll tell you why.

And serious stuff at the top of the hour. The new swine flea -- swine flu fears. A school principal in New York has died. His death linked to the virus that continues to spread. The latest developments when the program continues.


COOPER: Erica, time for tonight's "Shot." A 360 favorite returns and a new...


HILL: Whoa, we weren't even there yet. People are excited in the control room.

COOPER: A new record is set. A mass gathering of "Thriller" dancers. Two hundred forty-two students at the College of William and Mary made, well, history of sorts. That's the largest gathering to replicate the '80s music video. We congratulate them.

But it doesn't really top our favorite, of course, which are the inmates in the prison in the Philippines. Do we have that tape? Oh, yes.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: That's right. You know them, you love them.

HILL: I'm thinking that's more than 240 in that prison yard.

COOPER: I don't know.

HILL: Well, when you get the live shot when they pull out and there's that huge shot.

COOPER: That does look like more than 240.

HILL: You know?

COOPER: Do we have a split screen? Can we do any better? It's more sparsely populated. Maybe it's over a wider area.

HILL: Could be.

COOPER: You know what? The kids at William and Mary, they should have synchronized their outfits like the prisoners did.

HILL: I was just thinking that.

COOPER: I'm sure they didn't have any option in the matter. But you know what?

HILL: It would have gone a little further. I'm with you there.

COOPER: Exactly.

HILL: I think their parents are just happy that, as far as they know, it wasn't fueled by a keg stand or something.

COOPER: Yes. All right. Actually, there's a wedding edition, I'm told. I haven't actually seen this video. What is the wedding edition?

HILL: This sets a new trend in weddings.

COOPER: Seriously?

HILL: Seriously. Yes, there are all these great videos online. My mom has sent me a couple.

COOPER: Are you serious?

HILL: People learn dances, either the bride and groom or their wedding party. The "Dirty Dancing" one, I think, is a pretty popular one. COOPER: Wow!

HILL: There you go.

COOPER: You know, we should have people at home send us their own.

HILL: That's a great idea.

COOPER: And maybe we'll put some on the air.

HILL: They could compete with our crew.

COOPER: That's right. We'll ask our crew to do it, too. Yes. Frank? Bob?

HILL: Yes. Frank's game. There we go.

COOPER: Maybe tomorrow, we'll see.

You can check out all the most recent "Shots" at

Coming up at the top, nothing quite so amusing, unfortunately. New cases, new closings. Swine flu back on the move. We'll be right back.


COOPER: We thought the danger had passed, but tonight, new concerns over swine flu. Another death in the United States, this time right here in New York, and thousands of local kids out of school.

The victim, an assistant principal -- an assistant school principal in New York City. Mitchell Wiener died yesterday. He was 55 years old.