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Campaign Secrets Revealed; Tracking Terror

Aired January 11, 2010 - 23:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, racially charged words that are coming back to haunt Senator Harry Reid. What he says two years ago about then Senator Barack Obama and why some are calling for his resignation. We'll talk to the authors of the new book that revealed what Reid said.

Plus, the secrets of the presidential campaign and the authors reveal what you did not know was happening behind the scenes of Hillary Clinton's campaign and why she had a war-room within a war- room just to deal with her husband.

And later, we're on the trail of terror: tracking the Christmas bomber. We'll take you to Yemen to meet the father of the radical cleric who may have encouraged the attempted attack and may have encouraged the Fort Hood shooter as well.

First up, though, the new book about the 2008 presidential race that is shaking up Washington has some calling for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to resign. The book is "Game Change" by veteran political reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. We'll have my interview with them in a moment.

But first, take a look at these remarks that Senator Reid made in 2008. The authors quote Reid saying he believed Obama could succeed as a black presidential candidate partly because of his, quote, "light-skinned appearance" and also that he spoke, quote, "with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one." Reid apologized over the weekend and again today.



SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I have apologized to the president. I have apologized to everyone that within the sound of my voice that I could have used a better choice of words. So I'm -- I'm not going to dwell on this anymore. It's in the book. I've made all the statements I'm going to.


COOPER: A few hours later, President Obama responded in an interview with CNN political analyst Roland Martin that's going to air later this month on TV One. Here's an excerpt. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a good man who has always been on the right side of history and for him to have used some inartful (ph) language in trying to praise me and for people to try to make hay out of that makes absolutely no sense.


COOPER: Well, you heard it. The president said he took Reid's comments, inartful as they may have been, as praise. Still a lot of Republicans calling for Reid's resignation, some insists that a double standard is at work. That if a Republican had said what Reid did, they'd be run out of office.

We talked earlier to CNN political contributors Bill Bennett and James Carville about that.


JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think that he probably was inelegant to tell a reporter that. But I think it's a very important distinction to make, that he was giving not his personal views just like endorsing President Obama but he's giving what he thought the reaction of the electorate would be. And I think it's silly for him to be called on to resign over this. But again, I'm sure if he had to say it again he'd say it differently.

WILLIAM BENNETT, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I thought it was if not a racist comment, a way-out-of-touch comment. And I thought the worst part is not being focused on it. Which is when, he talks about Barack Obama not using a Negro dialect unless he wants to, that is, something he turns on and off. That's offensive in more ways than racial.

Obviously, the comments are not helpful and I do think there's a double standard when it comes to issues like this. We heard this before.

You remember back in the Clinton administration, famous journalist comment. "As long as he's supporting women's issues, you know, it's perfectly fine what he does with Monica Lewinsky. It isn't." It isn't fine. It isn't fine to talk like this. Who the heck talks like this anymore?


COOPER: As critical as he was, Bill Bennett was not calling for his resignation. However, let's "Dig Deeper" with Soledad O'Brien; CNN political analyst, Roland Martin and Peter Beinart, a senior political writer for "The Daily Beast."

Roland, you just interviewed President Obama earlier today. What did you think of his reaction to all of this?

ROLAND S. MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, he was clearly eager to address this issue because as he said, it could just take on a life of its own, if you will, because at the beginning people go on and on and on. But he made it perfectly clear. Senator Reid is a friend and he has been right on the various issues and that's the same response frankly.

And Anderson, I've heard from African-Americans all across this country that you're not dealing with someone who has a negative history or who has often voted against the interest of African- Americans. And the president said his comments were not mean spirited. And people are not actually looking at them that way.

COOPER: Look, Peter, though, isn't that a double standard? I mean, there are plenty of Republicans who say, well look, if a Republican said this, there will be, you know, even more calls for his resignation.

PETER BEINART, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, "THE DAILY BEAST": You know, the funny thing is, a Republican did say this. Colin Powell in 1995 said almost exactly this when asked why white people liked him. He said it's partly because of my skin color and speech pattern. He was speaking the truth.

It's a very ugly truth that certainly I think most African- Americans and probably even what most white Americans know which is that we have a deep history of skin color preference in this country which disadvantages dark-skinned African-Americans in particular. White Americans are less willing to vote for dark skinned African- Americans. It's ugly, but it's the truth and we should talk about it.

COOPER: Soledad, besides the quote/unquote "Negro dialect," which Harry Reid referred to which is sort of a bizarre phrasing of anything, is there truth to what he said?


First of all, if you are running for re-election and you have part of your electorate that is black, don't call them Negroes. Don't use the word Negro. I mean, I think and I actually that there isn't a double standard there. People would say the same thing -- that is stupid.

So I don't think there's a double standard.

I don't think it's bizarrely phrased. I think it's anachronistic, I think it's a throwback. I think he misspoke and now he's really paying the price for it.

COOPER: But in terms of what Peter mentioned in terms of a light-skinned bias, does that exist?

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, I think that there is certainly historical fact for that if you look back certainly to slavery you can see that clearly. And there have been many, many studies that show that there have been, when you look at elected officials -- Peter has done a lot of research and the stuff that he's written for "The Daily Beast" is all about this. Elected officials are more likely to be elected who have lighter skin. And I think people will also talk about that in conversations. These are not conversations that people don't have. Black people talk about this.

MARTIN: Right.

O'BRIEN: White people talk about it. Don't talk about it together but they talk about it. So I think what Harry Reid has done is sort of raise the lid on something people have discussed and it's like, "Oh, you're a politician, don't do that."

COOPER: Roland, that's what Peter was saying in his article basically that that Harry Reid was just speaking the truth about things. I mean, again, setting aside the Negro dialect line.

MARTIN: Well, again, one thing I've always observed, we always say we like politicians to speak truth to power until they actually begin to speak. Then we say, shh, be quiet.

But Soledad makes a great point. Last year at Northwestern University they released a study that shows that lighter skin African- American CEOs with -- had more baby-face, appeared to be more docile, not as angry. People were more accepting of them being a CEO.

And so, you're sitting here saying, what's the big deal there? There are black men right now in corporate America. There are black men in buildings, media companies, all over the place, where you don't want to be called the angry black man.

They change how they walk, what they wear, they cut their beards. They look certain ways because they know people are going to make a decision based upon how they look and how they sound. If we never, ever talk about this stuff, then we don't realize it we even exists. And so as a black man, look, I'm very sensitive if somebody says, "oh Roland, you're an angry guy" because I know exactly what that means to somebody else's ears. That could have a negative impact on me in the future.

COOPER: All right.

MARTIN: And so we don't talk about it, we never learn from it.

COOPER: We're going to have more with Roland and Peter and Soledad in just a moment.

COOPER: Hey, let us know what you think about this debate. You can join the live chat right now at I'm about to log on.

Much more ahead about politics and race and why some are saying that Harry Reid was merely speaking the truth, as we just heard about an ugly reality that studies show even the young kids pick up on.

And I want to show you little bit of something we're going to show you more after the commercial break, this experiment that was done with very young African-American kids. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you show me the doll that is the nice doll?

And why is that the nice doll?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And can you show me the doll that looks bad? Ok. And can you give -- why does that look bad?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it's black.


COOPER: Incredibly disturbing study. We'll show you more of that and talk about it.

Also ahead, Harry Reid's remarks are not the only bombshell in the new book "Game Change". Secrets from the Clinton campaign are spilled as well. From Hillary Clinton's initial response to the invitation to be Secretary of State. And what enraged her after her victory in New Hampshire. All of that ahead.


COOPER: We're talking about the fallout from comments made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about then Senator Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. His words which appear in the new book "Game Change" have some Republicans calling for Reid to step down.

According to the book's authors, Reid described Obama as light skinned and possessing, quote, "no Negro dialect". Republican National Committee Michael Chairman Michael Steele said Reid is benefiting from a double standard. Listen.


MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: The thing about it that's interesting is that when Democrats get caught saying racist things, you know, an apology is enough. If that had been Mitch McConnell saying that about an African-American candidate for President of the United States, trust me, this chairman and the DNC would be screaming for its head very much as they were with Trent Lott.


COOPER: Well, Trent Lott as you remember was forced to step down as Senate Majority Leader back in 2002, after saying in a public speech essentially that the country would have been better off if voters had elected Strom Thurmond for president in 1948. Thurmond of course, run on a secessionist platform that embraced segregation.

So let's "Dig Deeper" with our panel: joining me again, Soledad O'Brien; CNN political analyst, Roland Martin; and Peter Beinart, senior political writer for "The Daily Beast" who wrote an interesting essay about this on "The Daily Beast".

Roland, is there a double standard? I mean, if the Democrat, if a Republican had said this, would people be freaking out more?

MARTIN: Yes, yes, absolutely.


MARTIN: I mean, look, let's be honest about it. There is a double standard. But here is the difference when you begin to dig deeper. And that is you look at a person's history. You look at also what they said and the context of what they said.

And so if you're talking about Senator Trent Lott, when you look at the comment, America would have been better off had he been elected, he ran on a segregation ticket as a Dixiecrat (ph). Oh, you hear that comment, it's a whole different deal and the fact that Lott, his voting record with NAACP, F.

Hilary Shelton with the NAACP Washington Bureau, talked to him today, he said Reid, A. And so, your history plays a role.

The reality is, I don't care what the story is, when you have a history that is positive and people view in a different way, you're given more leeway than somebody else who has a terrible history.

COOPER: In terms of research, is there truth to what Harry Reid said in terms of, I mean, in your article you say he's actually commenting on American attitudes toward race more than expressing his own attitudes toward race. Are there facts to back up what he's saying?

BEINART: Absolutely. You know Jennifer Hochschild (ph) of Harvard and Vesla Weaver (ph) of University of Virginia show that light skinned African-American candidates win elections at a higher rate. They show that, go back to 1865, for governor, senate and House of Representatives, light skinned African-Americans are way overrepresented.

There was a study which actually darkened and lightened Obama's image. And they showed it interestingly, Obama voters thought that the lighter image was correct. McCain voters thought the darker image was correct.

COOPER: I want to play something this from a documentary called "A Girl Like Me," it's a documentary from 2005 that a woman named Kiri Davis did. And it looks at the importance of color and hair and facial features among young African-American women.

Let's watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're pretty, you're prettier if you're light skinned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew people in the past that, are like, just like wanted to be light skinned not for any particular reason.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since I was younger I also considered being lighter as a form of beauty.


COOPER: I mean, Soledad, is that something one hears from African-American women, that there is this sort of...

O'BRIEN: Michelle Obama has changed a lot of that. Thank God is what I will say. There's no question colorism is a gigantic problem in this country.

COOPER: Colorism?

O'BRIEN: Colorism. Yes, it's the valuing of people by the color of their skin. But I think that some of that is society also saying that that is the value.

Michelle Obama's changed all that. Michelle Obama has made everybody want to run out and get great biceps, too.

MARTIN: Well...

O'BRIEN: She's done a lot on that just by being first lady.

MARTIN: Anderson, Dr. Kenneth Clark, people forget the reason that Brown versus Board of Education case took on such importance because Dr. Kenneth Clark used two dolls; white doll, black doll. The black children saw the black doll with their hair, with their features, as being ugly and negative...

COOPER: Yes Roland let me show you...

MARTIN: ... compared to the white doll. It was that data that played a role.

COOPER: It's this doll experiment, it's in Kiri's documentary. I just want to show that to our viewers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you show me the doll that is the nice doll?

And why is that the nice doll?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And can you show me the doll that looks bad? Ok. And can you give -- why does that look bad?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it's black.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Roland, I mean, it's pretty stunning when you actually see that African-American kids, you know, saying that the white doll is the bad doll -- is the good doll, and the black doll is the bad doll.

MARTIN: Even among African-Americans there has been this view that lighter is better. In fact some black fraternities and sororities used to have what is called the paper bag test. If you were darker than the paper bag you could not get into that particular fraternity or sorority.

And so this whole notion of color plays a role in white communities, in black communities.

O'BRIEN: But you know, the bottom line is, those children in that documentary are very young. And so what they're getting are societal messages that tell them that.

MARTIN: That's right.

O'BRIEN: These are not children at age 20 have decided this on their own. And why is that you know? Look at television, frankly. These are these messages that are sent about what the roles are. Look at any doll in -- any ad for any doll.

COOPER: Right.

O'BRIEN: The black doll is the doll that's sitting in the back and the while doll is the doll who's doing all the fun things. So it's not a surprise.

COOPER: Peter.

BEINART: And you know who's written about that, you know who's written about this very eloquently? Barack Obama in "Dreams from of my Father"...


BEINART: ... he writes powerful there. This is why Senator Reid, I think, has done something good because there are too many people who are saying with Barack Obama's election we put racism behind us. And what we're now beginning to -- this is opening up a conversation which shows, in fact, that in a peculiar way even Barack Obama's election is testament of how far we still have to go.

O'BRIEN: I'm not sure Senator Reid feels that way.

MARTIN: But only if...

BEINART: Well, accidentally.

MARTIN: Peter, only -- Peter, only if we're truly and willing to have a conversation and not yell at each other...

BEINART: Yes. MARTIN: ... and cuss folks out but say, wait a minute, let me have an understanding of where you're coming from and let's find some common ground here. If we don't, then it's a failure on our part.

COOPER: Well, we're all about not yelling on this program and intelligent discussions. And I appreciate all of you for not doing that. Soledad O'Brien, Roland Martin, Peter Beinart, it's good to have you along. Thanks.

MARTIN: Thanks, Anderson.


COOPER: Well, how much do you think race relations really have changed since President Obama's election? Let's go to right now and check in on the live chat. And feel free to let us know what you think about that; the discussions moving a lot about -- talking a lot about Harry Reid right now. I'm talking to viewers as well but join the conversation, won't you?

Up next, more surprises from the 2008 presidential campaign. And I'm telling you this book "Game Change," really fascinating. I've been reading it the last couple of weeks. Including the war-room created by Hillary Clinton's camp, the authors say, to deal with her husband.


JOHN HEILEMANN, CO-AUTHOR, "GAME CHANGE": Hillary was incensed to hear that people were talking about her friends and said, "you have to get ready to deal with this if it explodes in the press and further we need to know whether it's true or not."


COOPER: Well, we'll tell you what they're talking about.

And later, Sarah Palin's new job, from shunning the media to being part of it. We'll tell you what she's going to be doing at her new network home.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Well, the book that's causing Senator Harry Reid so much grief tonight with many calling for his resignation is "Game Change" by veteran political reporters, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. They pulled their extensive sources. They interviewed more than 300 people, Democratic and Republican insiders for this. They had a lot of access to insiders; covered the campaigns, themselves, the historic 2008 presidential campaign.

It's making a lot of waves in Washington and beyond. Number one on right now.

I talked to the authors earlier for the big "360 Interview".


COOPER: Are you surprised that the Harry Reid quote about President Barack Obama is getting the most attention at this point? Because in the list of things that your publisher sent out to get people interested, that wasn't even included.

MARK HALPERIN, CO-AUTHOR, "GAME CHANGE": Look, one of the things that happens if you spend time doing 300 interviews with over 200 people and get the kind of access we worked to get with people in Republican campaigns and Democratic campaigns, is -- as we were happy to find out -- you can come up with a lot of news.

So given how much other news we think there is in the book on a range of topics, we're surprised that this one is getting such a disproportionate amount of the attention.

COOPER: And as people read the book, one of the things that's going to surprise them is the extent to which a number of very big -- well-known Democratic Senators were behind the back of Hillary Clinton, who were publicly endorsing Hillary Clinton, behind her back were encouraging then-Senator Obama to get into the race.

HALPERIN: Well, in fact, that's, we believe, a bigger story than Harry Reid. He was as a Senate Leader first among equals in what we call a conspiracy of whispers. People who thought that Hillary Clinton would be devastating as the nominee of the Democratic Party, that she would probably lose the general election and would hurt Democratic down ballot.

So people like Harry Reid, who were ostensibly neutral, Chuck Schumer the Senator from New York who endorsed Hillary Clinton publicly and many others would lobby Barack Obama on the senate floor privately and sometimes in groups to say you've to get in this race. They didn't see any other Democrats who could beat Hillary Clinton for the nomination. And they thought she was going to be a potential big problem because of her being so polarizing and because of worries about her husband's personal life.

COOPER: That's what -- her husband's personal life that was a big concern?

HEILEMANN: Yes and they would add, it was a huge concern because they felt that in the Democratic nomination fight that would never come out. But the Republicans were aware enough of those rumors that they would dig into it and then they would drop it like a bombshell in the fall and destroy the Democratic prospects up and down ballot.

And what was so interesting about this conspiracy was that they all would say to Obama, you need to run but we can't come out for you. That they were so fearing of retribution by the Clintons because they still assumed that Hillary was in fact, going to win. They are like, "We can't publicly be for you but privately we'll have your back. And once you get close enough we'll help you go over the edge," which is exactly what they did when you saw the Super delegates sudden flood to him at the end of the nomination...

COOPER: Did you say, Chuck Schumer, a New York Senator was in on this, was part of it, perhaps one of the best known -- he has said that your reporting was, quote, "ridiculous."

HALPERIN: Well, let's see him be more specific about what he's calling ridiculous. It's easy to sort of give a blanket statement. It is a fact that Chuck Schumer was fascinated by Barack Obama, thought he would be a strong candidate and lobbied him to get into the race, including on at least one occasion literally double-teaming him with Harry Reid saying, "We think you should run for president and now is your time."

COOPER: This is a quote from Charles Schumer's -- Senator's Schumer's office to Dana Bash quote, " Senator Schumer did have conversations with Senator Obama long before Senator Clinton announced and told him he would be a good candidate but he told Senator Obama at the time that should Clinton announce, which was expected, he would fully back her. From the day she announced to the day she withdrew, he was a full and complete supporter of Senator Clinton and gave no help to the Obama campaign." That's from Schumer spokesman, Brian Fallon.

HALPERIN: I'd say that is 80 percent accurate. But most like to make that higher but that does not conflict with what we say about him in a book. It was a very carefully-worded statement that doesn't conflict but it also doesn't speak to the role he played in encouraging Barack Obama to run knowing that Hillary Clinton was going to make the race...


HALPERIN: ... and that he needed someone else in the race along with Democratic Senators.

COOPER: You also write in the book about concerns as you said about Bill Clinton that maybe Republicans would have been aware of. But also there was a big concern within Hillary Clinton's campaign. And you describe that there was a war-room within the war-room just dedicated to this. What...

HEILEMANN: Well, when Hillary was getting ready to run in 2006, Patty Solis Doyle who would be her campaign manager would go around to Capitol Hill and say, "My boss is getting ready to run. What do you think?" And Democrats would say, "We think she's great, she would be a great candidate, she would be a very good president. But what are you going to do about Bill Clinton?"

Because they had been hearing these rumors about Clinton's personal life; they were very concerned. And Patty Solis Doyle started to hear more and more; that there were conference calls taking place among senior Clinton backers, people who were sympathetic to Hillary Clinton, people who had been in her husband's cabinet, who were talking on the phone and saying Bill Clinton is jeopardizing Hillary Clinton's future here with his reckless behavior. She conveyed that information to Hillary. Hillary was incensed to hear what people were talking about her; her friends were talking about her that way behind her back, about her husband that way. But she needed to know the truth and so she put together this group, this war-room within a war-room that consisted of three of her senior aides, including Patty Solis Doyle, Sheryl Mills, currently a senior figure on her staff in the State Department and Howard Wolfson her communications strategist and said, "You have to get ready to deal with this, if it explodes in the press. And further, we need to know whether it's true or not."

And they engaged in an investigation and came to the conclusion that in fact, there was, in one instance a woman that Bill Clinton was engaged in a serious romantic relationship with. And they needed to know that so they could prepare for the political fallout if it became public.

COOPER: You use a lot of anonymous sources in your book and obviously it opens you up to criticism that you're just hearing from people who have gripes or scores to settle and are just gossiping and passing that along.

HALPERIN: It's inaccurate to characterize it that way. I'll give you -- I'll try to walk you through why we were so very careful. John and I have been political reporters for a long time. We weren't dealing with strangers. We were dealing with people who we've dealt with over years, both Democrats and Republicans. People we know and whose credibility we're familiar with and what their agendas are.

In addition, 300 interviews, not short interviews, sometimes interviews of six or seven hours long, with over 200 people. Meaning we re-interviewed people when we would piece stories together, go back to people and say we want to make sure these accounts fit together.

One of the most surprising things in all of our reporting was how little disagreement, even on the most controversial issues there was amongst our sources, there were almost no instances in which we had to really press people and say, this person "A" says this, person "B" says this. We are very confident.


COOPER: We're going to have more revealing stories from the 2008 campaign trail ahead. Our interview continues including the insider account of how President Obama convinced Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State. She said no at first. And the concerns that she shared during a candid late-night phone call with him.


HALPERIN: The ultimate reason she says is "my husband". She says, "He is going to be a problem. You know what it's like when he's around. It's going to be a problem for both of us if I take this job."

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Fascinating interview ahead.

Plus, Simon Cowell's big announcement: he's saying good-bye to "American Idol". We'll tell you when and what he's going to do next.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Coming up: new developments in the Fort Hood shooting rampage. The Defense Department says superiors of the suspect, Nidal Hasan, ignored their own concerns about his extremist views. We're going to have details on that report just ahead.

But first, Jessica Yellin has a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Jessica.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, New Jersey lawmakers today passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana. A supporter of the bill, Governor Jon Corzine is expected to sign it into law before leaving office next week. The bill allows patients with illnesses such as cancer and AIDS to buy up to two ounces of marijuana a month from state-monitored dispensaries.

The showdown over California's same-sex marriage ban is under way in federal court. Two Los Angeles couples are asking a judge to overturn the ban, known as proposition 8. They're arguing it's unconstitutional. No matter what the judge decides, the case is expected to land in the U.S. Supreme Court for a final ruling.

President Obama is considering a tax or a fee on banks to help the U.S. recover bailout funds. The federal government spent about $205 billion to help banks through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, so far about $122 billion of that has been repaid.

And "American Idol" fans get out your hankies. Simon Cowell said this season will be his last on "American Idol".


YELLIN: I know. Despite making a reported $36 million a year -- ouch -- the caustic judge is jumping ship to bring the British talent show "the X Factor" to the U.S. on Fox next year.

COOPER: It's actually a brilliant move because not only does he give publicity to "American Idol" which I think starts tomorrow, he's also giving publicity to his new show which he's going to make a gazillion dollars from anyway.

YELLIN: You can only imagine what he's making on the new show.

COOPER: It's a rule of TV; no matter what, Simon Cowell wins, I think.

YELLIN: So true.

COOPER: You can join the live chat right now at A really good discussion under way right now about Harry Reid.

Coming up next, fascinating insider accounts from the 2008 campaign trail: going to hear more from the two authors including details of a heated exchange between Bill Clinton and Senator Ted Kennedy about then-candidate Obama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Clinton calls him a few days after the Iowa caucuses and becomes very emotional and very heated with Kennedy. They get in a huge argument on the phone. And the culmination of that argument is Clinton saying, "A few years ago this guy would have been serving us coffee."


COOPER: What did he mean by that? We'll talk about that with the authors.

Plus life for Sarah Palin is about to get busier; the former governor has a new gig. Details ahead.


COOPER: Want to return to the "Big 360 Interview" and extraordinary new details from the historic 2008 presidential campaign. It's all part of the new book "Game Change", a book by veteran political journalist Mark Heilemann (SIC) and Mark Halperin.

The book reveals the frantic, contentious, behind-the-scenes dealings between the Obama and Clinton camps, including Senator Hillary Clinton's initial refusal to be secretary of state.

Let's get back to our discussion with John and Mark.


COOPER: There's one exchange you have between then president- elect Obama and Senator Clinton where Senator Clinton has a late-night phone call. She has tried to turn down the job as secretary of state. She's been offered it. It surprised her at first to be offered it. She's trying to turn it down. But then president-elect Obama is talking her into it.

HALPERIN: This is an extraordinary moment between them. As you said, she didn't want to take it. From the minute she came out of her meeting in Chicago with Barack Obama where he put this on the table, much to her surprise, after the election during the transition, she's like, "I don't want to do this. I'm tired. I want to go back to the Senate, have more of an anonymity in my life. Spend time with Chelsea. Go to Broadway shows."

Obama said, "I need you to do this." She was lobbied by Rahm Emanuel, who was running the transition, John Podesta who was working on the transition, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden. The four of them kind of ganged up on her along with almost everyone she consulted and said, take this job.

After a week she decided she didn't want it. She finally got Barack Obama on the phone and they had this phone call. What's most interesting to us is they had this long relationship, right, going back to 2004 where Obama's running for senate, where Hillary is supportive of him; a lot of respect. Obama gets elected to the senate. Supports, goes to her for advice.

During this phone call she says, "I'm really reluctant to take this. I have to turn you down." She gives a range of reasons. But the ultimate reason she says is "my husband". She says, "He is going to be a problem. You know what it's like when he's around. It's going to be a problem for both of us if I take this job." That's showing a kind of vulnerability that she rarely shows to people about her husband. To acknowledge to someone who had been her rival just months before, Bill Clinton is a problem, showed a certain vulnerability.

Obama in return shows vulnerability and says to her, "You know what, I understand your list, I know that your husband can be a problem but I need you. The economic crisis is going to be a bigger suck of my time than I thought. I need to focus a lot on that. I need you. Someone I trust to handle the international portfolio. Don't say no tonight. Sleep on it."

Hillary Clinton was so sure going into that phone call with Obama that she was going to say no, that she had her staff prepare a statement that she was going to read the next day.

COOPER: You actually have the statement in the book.

HALPERIN: Every time I read it I get goose bumps. It's a kind parallel reality where she explains why she turned him down. As much as she's a patriot and believes you don't tell the president-elect or the president "no", that's what she planned to do. Her staff was all ready. They had the announcement. They were all ready to have a press event where she would read it.

Instead she woke up the next morning, called Obama and said, "You know what, I'm going to do it."

COOPER: Pivotal moment during the campaign when Senator Ted Kennedy endorses then-senator Obama. Page 218, you write one of the key factors in the endorsement was Bill Clinton who had been courting Senator Kennedy for quite some time trying to get him to endorse his wife.

And that he says something -- he says to Obama -- he says about Senator Obama, according to your sources, something to the effect of, "A few years ago this guy would have been getting us coffee."

HEILEMANN: Now, Bill Clinton was like Hillary Clinton, had been a great admirer of Barack Obama's when he first rose to the Senate. He thought he had an enormous amount of potential. But it was just that. It was potential. Bill Clinton did not think that Barack Obama was ready to be president of the United States; thought that Hillary was. Had a vast -- greater degree of policy expertise and experience, thought she was better suited for the job, and could not believe that the Democratic Party was about to give the nomination to this guy who he felt was still an apprentice politician in some ways.

After the Iowa caucuses he was enraged and he would -- he sat in a suite in Iowa the night that they learned Hillary had come in third. And he said, you know, "What has this guy done? He got to the Senate. He's been there for a year, and he's been running for president. That doesn't qualify you to be president."

His anger carried over into the days after Iowa. And Ted Kennedy -- Chris Dodd, his good friend, had just quit the race after Iowa. Ted Kennedy was now in play. His endorsement was up for grabs.

Kennedy had been drifting towards Obama over the course of the year. His daughter -- I'm sorry, his wife, Vicki, his niece, Caroline, had -- both kind of become enamored of Obama. He himself had become enamored of Obama but he was still on the fence. He was still wavering, trying to decide whether he would endorse anyone in the race.

Bill Clinton calls him a few days after the Iowa caucuses and becomes very emotional and very heated with Kennedy. They get in a huge argument on the phone. And the culmination of that argument is Bill Clinton saying the quote that you mentioned: "A few years ago, this guy would have been serving us coffee," demeaning Obama in a way that Senator Kennedy, at least, interpreted as having kind of a dark, kind of nasty, racial overtone.

COOPER: So Senator Kennedy did believe it had some sort of racial overtone? You could read it just as, you know, he was inexperienced.

HEILEMANN: Correct. Kennedy was enraged by it. And it colored -- not to do a pun -- but it colored the entire series of conversations that took place over the next few weeks between Senator Kennedy and Senator -- and President Clinton. They talked right up to the edge of the -- of the South Carolina primary, when Ted Kennedy finally did decide to endorse Obama.

And literally, in that last phone call when Kennedy informed President Clinton that he was going to endorse Obama, Clinton came right out and said to him, he said, "The only reason you're endorsing Barack Obama is because he's black," which kind of put the icing on the cake for Ted Kennedy, in terms of making him kind of realize that this is really what he wanted to do. He was with Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton had completely turned him off.


COOPER: An anguished father says his all-American son is not raging war against the United States. But his all-American son, by the way, is a radical cleric who's wanted by the United States. We have an exclusive interview with the man who raised the cleric who officials say advised the Fort Hood gunman and that they say also has ties to the Christmas plane bombing plot. The exclusive report next.

Plus Jay Leno speaking out on air about losing his primetime slot, getting laughs and pulling no punches; we'll show you what he said, ahead.


COOPER: On the terror trail tonight, an exclusive interview with the father of a radical cleric, a guy who was raised in America -- I should point out -- and is now one of the most wanted men in the world.

That's him. His name is Anwar al-Awlaki. A one-time -- he was a one-time imam in Virginia. He's now believed to be hiding with al Qaeda in Yemen.

Officials say he communicated directly with the alleged Ft. Hood killer and with the young man alleged of trying to blow up the Northwest flight on Christmas day. And we have new information about that alleged attack to tell you. Officials also say that the imam is actively recruiting others to attack America.

Tonight, in an interview you're only going to see right here, al- Awlaki's father defends his son, calls him an all- American boy, and insists he is nothing like Osama bin Laden.

Paula Newton, who's on the ground in Yemen, spoke to the father. Here's her exclusive report.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim cleric, is one of the world's most wanted fugitives. Counter terror forces in Yemen are training to track him down, though he's hiding somewhere up there, in the rugged mountains of southern Yemen.

In the capital, Sana'a, we went looking for his family to learn more about the man who praised the alleged Ft. Hood shooter and may have encouraged the bombing attempt on the Christmas flight to Detroit.

His father, a former government minister here, says the West is mistaken, that his son is not the new Osama bin Laden.

(on camera): So Awlaki's father, Nasser Awlaki, has agreed to an interview. But he said this is only a courtesy visit; he doesn't want any cameras. We're about to go to a neutral location just around the corner from here in the capital, Sana'a, to see what he has to say.

(voice-over): Awlaki's father told me his son is not a member of al Qaeda. He says, "He has been wrongly accused, it's unbelievable. He lived his life in America. He's an all-American boy. My son would love to go back to America. He used to have a good life in America." (on camera): And yet, an American security official tells CNN that Awlaki did meet with the man accused of trying to blow up that airliner to Detroit on Christmas day. This official believes that Awlaki is one of the top leaders here of al Qaeda in Yemen -- one of only five -- and that he some time last year transformed himself from an Internet preacher to a hands-on operative who not only recruits but also helps plan attacks on the United States.

(voice-over): All of that, of course, is not what his father wants to believe. He told me, "What do you expect my son to do? There are missiles raining down on the village. He has to hide. He's not in hiding with al Qaeda. Our tribe is protecting him now."

This man is a journalist from Yemen. He is the last reporter to speak with Awlaki before he went into hiding with his tribe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The tribe issued a statement saying if anybody touches one hair on al-Awlaki's head, the tribe will respond with force.

NEWTON: And that means even with the most aggressive manhunt, Awlaki may be as well protected right now as Osama bin Laden.

(on camera): No matter how effective the counterterrorism forces, no matter how good the training, much of this really won't matter in the tribal regions, which the government has little or no control over.

(voice-over): His father holds out hope that he can convince his son to surrender without more bloodshed, but he needs time, he says. He claims he hasn't spoken to him in weeks. The son who he says has always loved America.

Paula Newton, CNN, Sana'a, Yemen.


COOPER: One U.S. intelligence source told Paula al Qaeda in Yemen has worked hard to find recruits for attacks on America and is unlikely to give up on that. The question is how much of a danger is that to us?

Joining us for tonight's "Strategy Session", national security analyst Peter Bergen.

Peter, I guess part of me looks at that interview and says, well, you know, any dad is going to defend his son. When you hear him say that, you know, his son is an all-American kid, what do you think?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, an all- American kid who changed rather dramatically in the last several years. I mean, by the account of people who knew this cleric when he was in the United States in the 2002 period, he's changed rather dramatically in the last several years. Some people put it down to the fact that he was actually jailed in Yemen in 2006, and that may have further radicalized him. But... COOPER: A lot of these guys do get radicalized in jail in Muslim countries. I mean, as I -- from my own memory, I think I remember Ayman al-Zawahiri was radicalized in -- when he went to a prison in Egypt.

BERGEN: Absolutely. The No. 2 in al Qaeda became -- he was radical when he went in. He was a very, very angry man when he -- when he exited the Egyptian prison system.

COOPER: The likelihood that other attackers are in Yemen right now, preparing, using same -- the same or similar techniques as the Nigerian, do you think that's true?

BERGEN: Yes, I think that's very high likelihood. I mean, Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber, it's sort of forgotten that he had a colleague called Sajib Badat (ph) who also was going to do a shoe bomb attack on an American airline, got a case, as it were, of cold feet. Didn't go through with it, but -- and is now in a British jail.

COOPER: Was that a pun, Peter?

BERGEN: It was a bad one.


BERGEN: And -- and the -- you know, in this case, we know that a very similar bomb was also sent to Saudi Arabia by the same cell, it looks like, to try and assassinate the Prince Mohammed Nayef, the interior -- deputy interior minister.

We already know that more than two people have had this bomb. I think it would be wishful thinking to think that there aren't going to be others.

COOPER: And how -- what do we know about the connections or alleged connections between this cleric and the Fort Hood -- the alleged Ft. Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hasan?

BERGEN: Well, he went on Al Jazeera to say that Major Nidal Hasan had communicated with him and asked him, was it OK to kill American soldiers? And I think that communication speaks for itself.

COOPER: How is it that al Jazeera can get in touch with this guy, and yet, he seems to be eluding Yemeni authorities?

BERGEN: Well, that's a good question. He had done the interview with al Jazeera. It aired on December 23. You may recall that on December 24, there was a strike on an al Qaeda training camp in Yemen, in which this cleric may -- was believed, perhaps, to have been killed. So he really only surfaced as somebody of enormous interest on Christmas day, even though he had been on the radar screen to some degree before that.

COOPER: Well, I thought it was interesting that I think Paula said that his father hadn't talked to him in a couple of weeks, which surprised me, actually, how recent they must have actually talked. So we'll see whether he can be brought to justice.

Peter Bergen, appreciate it. Thanks.

Up next: new insight on one of his suspected connections here in the U.S. We just mentioned him: accused Ft. Hood gunman Major Nidal Hasan. The Department of Defense blasting Hasan's superiors in a new report; we have details of that ahead.

And a former Major League Baseball star Mark McGwire finally admitting what a lot of people suspected, that he used steroids. Going to show you his emotional press conference when we continue.


COOPER: All right. Let's get caught up in some other important stories. Jessica Yellin has a "360 Bulletin" -- Jessica.

YELLIN: Anderson, a piece of video that we think is important that you see, but we want to warn you it's disturbing.

Los Angeles police have released video of a violent hit-and-run tonight in hopes of tracking down the driver. Now, watch this video. As you can see, a 14-year-old girl and her 3-year-old niece, they were struck by a car as they crossed the street. Now, it's in slow motion there. It may be hard to see. The impact -- look at that -- tossed the girls some 40 feet. Now, both are seriously injured, but the good news is they were not killed.

You can see that video. Devastating. They're looking for the driver on that call. OK. Upsetting.

Superiors of Fort Hood shooting suspect Major Nidal Hasan ignored their own concerns about his behavior. The Defense Department says doctors overseeing Hasan's medical training repeatedly voiced concerns over his extremist views on Islam, yet continued to give him good job evaluations. Hasan is accused of murdering 13 people during the Ft. Hood, Texas, rampage.

Well, Mark McGwire is finally coming clean, the former slugger admitting today he used steroids throughout the 1990s including in 1998. That's the year he broke baseball's single-season homerun record. His emotional apology followed.


MARK MCGWIRE, FORMER BASEBALL PLAYER: I wish they never came into my life but we're sitting here talking about it. I'm still sorry that I have to, and I apologize to everybody in at Major League Baseball, my family, (INAUDIBLE), Bud Selig. Today was the hardest day of my life.


YELLIN: McGwire has long refused to acknowledge rumors of steroid use, even under questioning by Congress. Well, Sarah Palin has signed a multiyear contract with FOX News. The former Alaska governor will appear as a contributor on the network and occasionally host special series. Palin capped the day's announcement by posting a quick tweet, and I quote, "What would America do without Fox News?"

Meantime, over at NBC, yes, it's official. Jay Leno is going back to late night. NBC says it's negotiating among Leno and current late night hosts Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon to decide who should get the -- which time slot. Leno addressed the latest news in tonight's monologue.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE JAY LENO SHOW": Supposedly, we're moving to 11:30. But even this is not sure. See, my people are upset; Conan's people are upset. NBC said they wanted drama at 10. Now they've got it. Now they've got it. Everybody's mad. Exactly.

I tell you one thing. I take pride in one thing. I leave NBC primetime the same way I found it, a complete disaster.


YELLIN: And finally, Richard Heene arrived at a Colorado prison today to begin his 90-day sentence. Now you recall, Heene pleaded guilty in the televised hoax, a hoax that captivated the nation but now says -- get this -- he truly thought his 6-year-old was in the balloon. Authorities have dismissed his latest claims.

COOPER: And there were -- it looked like someone was videotaping. I think they've got some sort of scheme.

YELLIN: Shocker.

COOPER: All right, for tonight's "Shot," did a dog predict this weekend's California quake? No joke. Take a look.

The security cameras were rolling in Humboldt County, California newsroom when the earthquake hit. Check out the video we found on There's a dog there sitting there, then all of a sudden gets up, and then just a few seconds later, the quake hits.

So did the dog figure out -- take a look at it again in slow motion. The dog takes off. Then you can see the chair behind the column swivels. There. The dog gets up and a guy is, like, "Hey, where did my dog go?" and gets up, looks running for his dog.

YELLIN: That's totally New York of you. I'm from Los Angeles. We all know dogs can smell an earthquake coming.

COOPER: See? Look at that.

YELLIN: It's an East Coast/West Coast thing.

COOPER: All right. I believe it was the dog. I don't know. I don't know what the dog was doing in the newsroom in the first place, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.

Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts now.

I'll see you tomorrow night.