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President Obama Flip-Flopping on Civilian Terrorism Trials?; Interview With Kelly Ripa; Pentagon Shooting Suspect Dies

Aired March 5, 2010 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again.

Tonight: President Obama and what to do about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, word tonight that the president may back away from his very public pledge to try the terrorist in a criminal court, and instead use a military tribunal. But what does this tell the world about American justice? And what does it tell Americans about President Obama's political backbone?

David Gergen and Jeffrey Toobin weigh in on that.

Also tonight, the Pentagon shooter -- his parents' warning, his history of mental illness, and his incarceration. Despite it all, he still got hold of enough guns and ammo to kill dozens. But what was his motivation? Political partisans are pointing the fingers all over the place, at liberals, at right-wingers, at conspiracy theorists. But is this really about politics or simply a mentally deranged man who went off?

Also, something to make you smile before the weekend. Kelly Ripa and I talk Oscars, her choices, her plans for this big weekend, and why they might involve Lou Dobbs.

But, first up tonight, the possibility that the Obama administration is about to change course on trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others in criminal court.

CNN has learned it is being considered. Since they announced their intentions months ago, it's been debated publicly and bitterly what to do about the people who massacred Americans, that and how to do it without undoing precisely what makes America and American justice what it is.

Whatever you think of the issue, it has been a political nightmare for two administrations now and a growing mess for this one.

Ed Henry has the latest.


ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was only November when the president's attorney general was adamant that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks would be brought to justice in a civilian trial in New York. ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: They will be brought to New York, to New York, to answer for their alleged crimes in a courthouse just blocks away from where the Twin Towers once stood. I am confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial just as they have for over 200 years.

HENRY: Now senior officials confirm the president is weighing what can only be described as a major flip-flop: trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-conspirators in military tribunals, infuriating liberals.

ANTHONY ROMERO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: What changed between November and now is just politics in Washington. And if the West Wing capitulates and flip-flops and cuts the knees out from under their own attorney general, it's hard to imagine how they're going to function going forward.

HENRY: What's changed is, the move sparked a political firestorm Democrats can't afford to deal with heading into the midterm elections. So, some of them have banded together with Republicans to block the funding for civilian trials. And the White House no longer has a supermajority to override them.

The trials also became a headache on the local level. New York City's independent mayor, Michael Bloomberg, initially expressed support for them, but now he and top Democrats have backed down amid safety concerns.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: The logistics, downtown tied in knots, and security. I have encouraged the administration to find suitable alternatives, and they appear to be doing just that.

HENRY: "Keeping Them Honest: Candidate Obama promised voters he would reject Bush policies and still be able to bring terrorists to justice.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists.


HENRY (on camera): That shift from the campaign rhetoric is leading top officials at the ACLU to charge that this White House is looking more and more like the Bush White House when it comes to the war on terror. In fact, the liberal group is launching an ad campaign this weekend blasting the president.

Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, let's -- let's dig deeper now on the political mess and the legal box the White House finds itself in.

For that, we're joined by senior political analyst David Gergen and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

David, is this a political train wreck for the president, I mean, to so publicly announce that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would be tried in New York, and then possibly do a complete 180?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's sort of looking that way, Anderson, I must say. And, tonight, there -- there are signs that, under pressure from the left, the president is reconsidering and may not just flip and then flop, but may flip back and may wind up where he started before it's over.

But all this shilly-shallying, it suggests several things, none of them good, first, that the decision-making process up front wasn't carefully thought through. They didn't really consider all the ramifications and what they -- how -- how expensive it was going to be, and what kind of pushback there might be -- second, that when the political pressure builds up, they're willing to bend, when they -- when they have said all along that this is a matter of principle, it's really principle to put these trials in civilian courts, and, third, that what was a principled decision may now be decided purely by politics.

And I don't think that's healthy, whatever way they come out. That kind of shilly-shallying does not help the president, especially on the eve of so many other important decisions, whether it's on health care or regulatory reform, climate change, you go through the litany.

COOPER: I love that you have been able to use the term shilly- shallying twice.


COOPER: It's a term -- we don't hear that term enough.

Jeff, it's interesting, though, when you see Eric Holder. When he made that announcement, I mean, he really -- he was making a virtue of the fact that this was going to happen in New York, just a few blocks away from where the Twin Towers fell.

They -- they seemed just kind of tone-deaf on this all the way around.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, and they hadn't done their homework. They had not gone to the New York officials, to Mayor Bloomberg, to police Commissioner Kelly, and said, we're about to do this; can we set it up so that it will be acceptable to you?

They just presented it to New York. And, as the New York administration started looking into what was involved, they said that this would cost perhaps a billion dollars, it would tie up Lower Manhattan.

And the administration didn't just lose Republicans on this issue. They lost stalwart Democrats, like Chuck Schumer, who is one of the most liberal members of the Senate and a member of the Senate leadership.


TOOBIN: So, at this point, it really looks like they don't have a choice, because they don't even have Democratic support in Congress for this...


TOOBIN: ... much less Republican.

COOPER: I want to talk about the legal aspects and more of the political aspects in a moment. Guys, just hold on one second.

Let us know what you think at home. The live chat is up and running at You can talk to viewers around the world right now.

Just ahead, what drove the Pentagon shooter? Was he a part of a growing trend of violence aimed at the government? John Avlon joins us.

And, later, she was held captive for years, Jaycee Dugard -- and new video seen for the first time tonight of her new life since gaining her freedom.

We will be right back.


COOPER: We're talking about the possibility that the Obama administration will try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other accused 9/11 plotters in military tribunals, not federal court in New York, as originally planned.

We should also point out the White House today said that no decision has been made. But, if it happens, it would be a complete 180 for the administration. One writer at "The National Review" says, hold the champagne, this is a head-fake, that the White House is giving in on tribunals, in exchange for Republican support for closing Gitmo.

That's one interpretation.

Back now "Digging Deeper" with David Gergen and Jeffrey Toobin.

David, I mean, what does this tell you about the decision-making process going on inside this White House? I mean, how are decisions being made?

GERGEN: Well, I think one has to -- has to distinguish between the decision up front. And we don't know much about that.

Janet Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security is on record now as saying she was not consulted at Homeland Security about how these -- where these trials might be consulted -- conducted by the attorney general, Eric Holder, before the decision was announced. That's rather surprising, since this is so central to homeland security.

So, it does suggest, as Jeff Toobin said earlier, a sloppiness about the early decision-making. But now we're into a second phase, which really suggests that they're being buffeted by various forces for and against, and that they're not quite sure where they're going to go.

And I think, under these circumstances, Anderson, it's important to remember that to lead is to decide. And you have to -- as president, you have to make some tough calls. And when you opened up "The Washington Post" on the front page, it said today that his advisers were nearing a recommendation to shift this to military courts. Tonight -- or later today, his press secretary said it may be weeks before a decision is made.

They can't afford to be in this situation for weeks. The president needs to call people together and decide this with dispatch, so that he can move on to other things, and people can understand this is a president who does take in a lot of things into consideration, but, at the end of the day, he's willing to decide not to be buffeted, not to be drawn in by political forces, but decide where he stands on a matter of principle, and execute it.

COOPER: So, Jeff, let's look at -- legally, ignoring politics now, what's the difference between the military tribunals? I mean, there are some who say they're actually less certain legally than civilian trials, in terms of trying to get a conviction, that -- that a verdict at Gitmo could be appealed and thrown out completely.

TOOBIN: See -- see, one of the peculiarities here is that the caricatures is that civilian courts are soft and liberal and pro- defendant, and military commissions are tough and certain.

That is not necessarily the case. You know, civilian courts have been operating very smoothly, very well for decades. Timothy McVeigh was sentenced for terrorism and executed, and it was not legally all that complicated.

Military tribunals have not functioned in this way for decades, if ever. If this case goes to a military tribunal, it is likely to be more complicated, longer, more legally uncertain than in the civilian courts.

But the choice, politically, has been presented as the tough option and the weak option. And politicians usually go for the tough one.

COOPER: David, very quickly, you have advised presidents, Republican and Democrat. What would you advise tonight? GERGEN: I would advise, don't let this thing dangle in the wind much longer. Get it resolved. Get all your people in and get it resolved.

I thought the main priority right now was jobs. We're off into a big, dark conversation now about health care. Now we're into a conversation about these -- about these trials. We want to get the folks back on what's most important in this country right now, and that is this weakened, deteriorating, and painful economy.

COOPER: David Gergen, Jeff Toobin, appreciate your expertise. Thanks.

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: As always, plenty to see online at, including a complete breakdown of the differences between civilian and military trials.

Up next, though, tonight, was the Pentagon shooter an anti- government member of what our next guest calls the fright wing? And you can actually -- can you actually connect the dots between him and other violent loners? Or are too many people looking at this apparently mentally ill man through a political prism? You can decide for yourself.

And, later, something to lighten the mood as you start the weekend -- my backstage interview with Kelly Ripa about all things Oscar.


KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, "LIVE WITH REGIS & KELLY": How many films are nominated?

COOPER: There's -- there's 10 of them.

RIPA: Oh. Oh, OK. Well, I'm going to say -- I'm going to have to say for best picture "Avatar," because it was so unique.

COOPER: Uh-huh.

RIPA: I didn't see it, but everyone tells me that it's very unique.


COOPER: Right. OK.

RIPA: And...



COOPER: The police officers outside the Pentagon last night could not have known that the well-dressed man approaching them was armed with two semiautomatic weapons and was about to open fire. The shoot-out ended with two officers injured, and the suspect died from his wounds this morning.

For investigators, the big mystery remains -- the motive. Why did this guy do it? And the answers may lie in what he said on the Internet.

Dan Simon has profile in tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report.


JOHN PATRICK BEDELL, KILLED IN SHOOT-OUT AT PENTAGON: In the next few minutes, I will talk to you about what information currency is.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You don't have to watch John Patrick Bedell's YouTube video for very long to realize this was a man with serious issues.

This video, titled "Information Currency," is the rambling of a troubled 36-year-old man instructing people how to use information to make money.

BEDELL: I hope you will visit my Web site and download the software that I have released.

SIMON: Bedell may have been disturbed, but he was clearly intelligent. His online resume shows he graduated with a degree in physics in 1994.

A professor remembers him as a thoughtful student.

DAVID PARENT, ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSOR, SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY: I thought I knew him pretty well. I had him in a -- in a class where he was a pleasure to have him there. When -- and he would ask really good questions that would spark the class into having good questions. I would have characterized him as a gentle man.

SIMON: Years later, in 2004, a link to the Pentagon -- Bedell, who also studied biochemistry, proposed the Pentagon fund his research on smart weapons.

CNN obtained his 28-page proposal, though it's not clear if he ever submitted it to the Defense Department -- at this point in Bedell's life, no apparent red flags. But that changes in 2006. A search of criminal records shows his first real trouble with the law, arrested for growing marijuana.

Authorities say Bedell later obtained a medical marijuana card, and the local sheriff says his mother was concerned about his frequent use and told police about it.

CURTIS HILL, SAN BENITO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, SHERIFF: She feels that he's, you know, delusional, is agitated. And he got -- he got upset with her because, you know, she's asking questions about what he has been doing.

SIMON: Bedell lived in this gated northern gated California community with his parents, described as well-known and respected. In recent months, they became more and more worried about their son's erratic behavior, like in January. They got a call from a Texas deputy who had just pulled Bedell over for speeding. The deputy sensed something was wrong.

(on camera): And so he got Bedell's cell phone and called his parents?

HILL: That's correct. You know, see, and what he articulates to the mother is that: "Hey, I'm calling to ask a few questions about your son, because the inside of his vehicle appears to be in disarray. And what can you tell me about him?"

SIMON (voice-over): Bedell went on his way. The family later filed a missing-persons report, and then dropped it when Bedell came home a week later. But Bedell soon left again, when, according to the sheriff, his mother questioned him about a $600 charge at a shooting club. It's not clear if the money was for a weapon.

Then, on February 1, more trouble with police -- Bedell, now with a beard and appearing gaunt, was pulled over in Reno and determined to be high on marijuana. Authorities say he had 75 grams of pot in his possession. He was charged with several crimes, but didn't show up for his court appearance.

A month later, after driving across the country, Bedell shows up at that Pentagon Metro station dressed in a suit, and, according to police, opens fire.

(on camera): Bedell had a documented case of mental illness, bipolar disorder. The sheriff here in his hometown says Bedell had been committed to a mental institution three to four times. Bedell's parents put out a statement saying his son's actions were caused by an illness, not a defective character.

Dan Simon, CNN, Hollister, California.


COOPER: All right, let's dig deeper.

My next guest calls the Pentagon shooting suspect the latest example of a suicidal warrior in an anti-government movement that's spreading since President Obama took office.

John Avlon is the author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America." He's also a senior political writer for The Daily Beast.

It's interesting, John,because there has been effort to paint this guy as a right-wing fanatic. But you say this is less about left-right politics, more about conspiracy theories gone awry.


If you look at what this guy's been posting about on his Web site, he's not screaming about President Obama, per se. He is angry at the government. He's talking about 9/11 conspiracy theories. He's talking about Dick Cheney more than he is President Obama.

He's talking about even the JFK conspiracy theories, around that assassination. So, what you have got here is clearly a guy who's very mentally disturbed, but who has been drinking really deeply what I call fright-wing politics. It's way beyond left and right. It's really that murky ground of conspiracy theories that's been proliferating on the Internet and inciting some people to take it a step too far towards violence.

COOPER: I do think the reaction to this, though, says a lot about politics today and the state of our country and the partisan nature of it.

I mean, when you Google this guy, you found people out there today claiming that he's everything from a Tea Party libertarian, to a Democrat, to a right-wing Republican.

AVLON: Yes, you know, make him a political football before the body's cold. It is a symptom of the ugliness in our politics. It's also a symptom of a larger trend.

Remember, last year, in April, you know, the death count -- the death count began. We had three Pittsburgh police officers murdered by a conspiracy theorist. We had two Florida sheriff's deputies. The Southern Poverty Law Center came out with a report just this week saying there had been a threefold increase in the number of militia groups just in the first year of the Obama administration alone.

So, this is a growing trend, this "hatriot" movement, of people who believe it's patriotic to hate the government. It's troubling. And we should really all connect the dots. This guy may be an outlier in some instances, but it's a sign of a growing trend that should be a real wakeup call to all Americans.

COOPER: Isn't it possible, though, that he's just incredibly mentally unstable? I mean, there are people who are schizophrenic out there. I mean, we know he's mentally unstable. We know his family has been, you know, getting him -- trying to get him help for years. They have been wrestling with this.

You know, there have always been crazy people who gravitate -- if they have schizophrenia, who gravitate toward conspiracy theories. It doesn't necessarily -- I mean, does it necessarily tie into what's going on in the country at large?

AVLON: Well, what we know about the writings he's made online is that it does fit some of the types, some of the tropes that we have seen throughout the first year of Obama in particular, a lot of the conspiracy theories. And, of course, 9/11 conspiracy theory goes back to the Bush era. But this -- this anti-government fervor, which has really been stoked on the Internet with particular intensity in the last year, he does follow. But it's a mistake to try to shoehorn him into any one ideology or to make him fit any existing narrative, especially a partisan political narrative.

What's very clear is that this is a very disturbed individual who's drunk very deeply out a lot of the hate and paranoia that's being sold on the Internet by a lot of these conspiracy entrepreneurs. And that's what happens when you use hate as a cheap and easy recruiting tool, but it can lead to violence, especially when the folks who are drinking it are kind of unstable to begin with.

COOPER: Well, my heart goes out not only to the families of the officers involved who were killed, but also the -- I mean, who were hit, but...


COOPER: ... and wounded, but -- but the family of this guy who's been trying to deal with his mental illness for a long time.

John, I appreciate it. Thanks, John.

AVLON: That's right.

Thank you.


COOPER: Well, we want to tell you about another "Crime & Punishment" story tonight, one that came to a dramatic ending today, and a good ending.

John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted," was a guest on "Live With Regis & Kelly" this morning. I was actually filling in for Regis. And I asked John a question about fugitives. Take a look.


COOPER: Who are some of the other fugitives that you're looking for?

JOHN WALSH, HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Well, this guy Albert James Turner. He was -- been a prison guard for 15 years. He's alleged to have beat his wife to death and his mother-in-law. He's going to be hard to catch, because he was in the Army. He knows how to stay out there. As I say, he was a prison guard.

So, he -- he committed a couple brutal murders.


COOPER: Well, we're told that a viewer who was watching the "Regis & Kelly" show this morning called police with a tip on the fugitive, and that tip led to his arrest. The accused killer was taken into custody today in North Carolina. He's accused of killing his wife and mother-in-law in Texas.

Up next tonight: a sex scandal rocking the Vatican, with wild accusations about a choir member, an usher and a male prostitution ring.

And later: Winning an Oscar, what makes it more likely? Maybe adopting a strange accent, packing on the pounds, or getting killed in a movie? We will have the answer on that ahead. We will also hear what Kelly Ripa thinks about the leading nominees.


COOPER: I heard that Meryl Streep actually did so well playing Julia Child, she's being been considered for the role of Snooki.

RIPA: Is that true?


COOPER: That's true. It's true.

RIPA: Another role that I lost to Meryl Streep.


RIPA: The effrontery of it all.



COOPER: Tonight: a sex scandal rocking the Vatican, allegations today that one of Pope Benedict's ceremonial ushers and a singer in an elite Vatican choir are tied to a male prostitution ring.

Randi Kaye investigates.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Vatican choir singer now at center of a scandal, accused of running a gay sex network, providing male prostitutes to one of Pope Benedict's ushers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My God. Nothing surprise me anymore, the way things are today.

KAYE: This is the man who allegedly paid for sex, Angelo Balducci, one of Pope Benedict's elite ushers, a Gentleman of His Holiness, one of a group of ceremonial ushers who bring dignitaries to meet the pope.

(on camera): Balducci, who's married, is a member of the Italian government and a high-ranking public works official. He was jailed last month during a corruption probe, accused of accepting favors, such as sex or money, for construction projects. The alleged gay prostitution ring came to light through wiretapping related to that corruption investigation.

(voice-over): Documents obtained by CNN don't include any details about money exchanged, but do have excerpts from nearly two years of wiretaps.

April 22, 2008, Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, the choir singer: "If you are free, three or four situations that can be good, very, very good, two black Cuban men, really tall, tall, tall. So, if you are free, we can try to organize right away. I saw both of them, Angelo. They could be two excellent options."

And, on August 21, 2008, Balducci: "Which are the better ones?"

And then the choir singer: "The better ones are the ones I just told you about, one from Bologna and the other one from Rome."

Balducci: "All right. Then let's do it for 3:30."

Ehiem, who has been dismissed from his choir duties by the Vatican, told the Italian magazine "Panorama" that he provided Balducci with men from Italy and abroad, including rugby players, actors, models, even seminarians. He said Balducci never met the men on Vatican grounds.

The Vatican isn't commenting.

(on camera) The choir singer told the magazine that Balducci had asked him for sex, too, but he refused. He arranged for the other men, he said, because he needed money and Balducci paid him for his help. Balducci, he said, told him he was married and it had to be a secret, and that sometimes Balducci requested two men a day.

(voice-over) Earlier this week, even before details of the wiretaps were released, Balducci's lawyer told reporters, "It is shameful that things unrelated to the corruption investigation have been published." He refused to answer questions about personal matters.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: A lot happening tonight around the country and the world. Brianna Keilar joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Iraqis head to the polls this weekend to elect their parliament, a vote already marred by violence. Twelve people were killed, dozens wounded in early voting Thursday. Despite continued threats from al Qaeda, Iraq's prime minister today insisted the country's security forces can handle the election. In Arizona several people were thrown from a bus in a highway crash just south of Phoenix. Six people were killed and 15 injured when the bus rolled at least once after rear ending a pickup truck.

The jobs outlook, it is still bleak. The economy lost 36,000 jobs in February, though the number may have been inflated by those severe winter storms that crippled the East Coast. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent.

And new evidence in an age-old mystery. What killed off the dinosaurs? Well, an all-star panel of researchers says it was a giant asteroid that crashed into earth some 65 million years ago. Yes, you likely heard that before. Bit now they say the proof lies in the sediment on the ocean floor.

And Anderson, if you can even imagine, they say this asteroid was 7 1/2 miles wide.

COOPER: Wow. That's incredible.

KEILAR: Incredible.

COOPER: Cool. Yes. Brianna, thanks.

Coming up, Jaycee Dugard's new life. Captive for nearly two decades. Tonight, new home video shows how Jaycee is healing.

And on a much lighter note: Oscar fever. But if an actor wants an Oscar, what helps more: gaining weight or gaining an accent? Well, we'll try to figure that out. And we interview Kelly Ripa for her candid take on actors, the fashions and more.


COOPER: Who's your pick for best performing performance by a Kardashian?


COOPER: You go for Kim? Really?

RIPA: Booty-licious. Two and three.


COOPER: Well, the remarkable story of Jaycee Dugard. She was kidnapped, held captive for 18 years. And tonight she's sharing a home video of her new-found freedom.

Jaycee was just 11 years old when she was abducted near her home. Convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido is accused of holding her captive in the back yard of his California home for all that time, 18 years. He fathered two kids with Jaycee. He and his wife have pled not guilty to those charges. Tonight, we're getting some new insight into how Jaycee is doing now. She and her family gave this home video to ABC News. It starts with this. Dugard and her mother -- that's Jaycee on the left. She and 19-year-old half sister are decorating Christmas cookies. We hear her saying on the video that she never got to decorate cookies before.

And later, the video shows some of the therapy that she's getting. Horse therapy. Again, her mother and half sister are with her. We never see the two children in the video. The goal of the therapy with the horses, we're told, is for the family to put trust in horses and, by extension, each other and build bonds. Let's listen to Jaycee on the video.


JAYCEE DUGARD, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: Hi, I'm Jaycee. I want to thank you for all your support and I'm doing well. It's been a long haul, but I'm getting there.


COOPER: It's hard to imagine what this is like for Jaycee and her kids. One of the few people who's been through anything remotely like this is Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted and held captive for nine months. I talked with her father, Ed, earlier.


COOPER: Ed, when you see this video of Jaycee Dugard obtained by ABC News, what goes through your mind?

ED SMART, FATHER OF ELIZABETH SMART: Yes, I'm just thrilled to see her taking back her life. You know, she appears to be very resilient and happy and just enjoying life.

And, you know, the thing that occurred to me was Elizabeth decided at a point that, you know, what happened to her was not going to define her life. And that, you know, there is life beyond, you know, these tragic, horrendous incidents, and you know, Jaycee is moving on with her life. And I'm just thrilled for her. I couldn't -- go ahead.

COOPER: In the video -- in the video that they released -- there we see them baking together, riding horses. They say they're slowly making progress trying to establish, you know, reconnect with each other, establish bonds.

But the fact that there's going to be a trial and that her alleged captors have pleaded not guilty, how much does that weigh on and maybe influence or delay the recovery process?

SMART: You know, I think that that is something that has to come on its own term. And that may be or may not be an issue. I think that coming to terms with, you know, what your captor has done to you and accepting that, you know, you were not responsible for this, it was not your fault, it's something that absolutely has to be taken in by Jaycee and understood. That's the only way that she can really face her captor and move forward with her life.

COOPER: Jaycee's on the left in the video. We do not in this video, this video given to ABC News, we do not see her two children, for obvious reasons.

The family says that they released this video to ABC to kind of show people, you know, that they're making progress and also to try to get reporters to stop bothering them. I was actually unaware that the media people were hounding them still. Do you think the strategy is going to work, or does something like this just increase viewers' interest?

SMART: No, I think it does. I think it takes care of the issue of the media wanting to find out more. And so I would agree very much with what her mother is doing. I think that it helps to diminish the interest. People aren't going to be, you know, trying to catch up with her here or there to, you know, take pictures and pry into her privacy. And -- and that's really what she needs. So I couldn't agree more with -- with what her mom is doing.

COOPER: And it's been said she, Jaycee, has a driver's license now. She's actually going to go, I guess, get her GED, because she never went to school. She never even went to see a doctor in the time that she was being held captive.

Your advice for them is just, what, take the time you need?

SMART: I absolutely -- I would take the time you need. I mean, really, a psychiatrist put it this way to me. When you have a person coming back from an abduction or some horrendous situation, it's almost like a rebirth. You have to re-bond; you have to reconnect. And that connection sometimes just doesn't happen right off the bat. It takes time.

But, you know, she has the opportunity of engaging in society and engaging with her family. That helps her to ease into it and to feel comfortable, to regain trust. That, you know, life is not something that I have to always distrust.

And I think that when you're traumatized you certainly get to a position where, you know, do I trust this person? Is he going to try to do something to me? And -- and all of the normal interfaiths of life is what brings her to a point she's moving on with it. So I couldn't be -- couldn't agree more.

COOPER: Ed Smart, appreciate you talking with us. And our best to your family and to Elizabeth.

SMART: Thanks so much, Anderson.


COOPER: Ed mentioned some ways that you can help survivors of sexual abuse and abduction. He's asking people to go to -- -- to learn about a cross-country bike ride for the cause. Ed Smart also supports, which aims to get every state to pass laws allowing DNA to be taken on arrest and fund various other DNA programs.

Coming up next on "360," caught on tape, saved from the tracks. Amazing rescue of a man who was seconds away from death on those tracks.

Also, an Oscar preview our own special way. What it takes to bring an award home. We'll tell you the secrets. We'll also hear what Kelly Ripa thinks about this Sunday's ceremony.


COOPER: So you're not going -- are you going to the Oscars?

RIPA: No, of course not. I'm not going to the Oscars. None of the home movies I starred in this year are nominated.



COOPER: Up close tonight, the Oscars. Hollywood's biggest night takes place, of course, on Sunday. Millions will be watching -- tens of millions around the world -- for the dresses, the speeches, the surprises. The odds makers have their top picks. But we've done our own research and have found some keys to going home a winner.

Brianna Keilar reports.


KEILAR (voice-over): And the Oscar goes to, Jeff Bridges? Meryl Streep?


KEILAR: The guy with the accent and the enormous pipe? When it comes to predicting who will win Sunday night, your guess is as good as ours, but there are tricks of the trade to increase the chances of taking home a statue. And the nominees know how to fish for it.

JACOB BERNSTEIN, SENIOR REPORTER, THEDAILYBEAST.COM: The academy likes to see you become somebody entirely different than yourself. If you play a serial killer on screen, they love that. A straight actor playing gay does very well. They like serious films where people die on screen. What they basically involve is having a major transformation on the screen.

KEILAR: These transformations appear in all shapes and sizes. Jeff Bridges, as a boozy singer in "Crazy Heart," fits a common mold.

BERNSTEIN: He's playing an alcoholic on screen. With men, that has shown to be a winner in the past. Nicholas Cage won for "Leaving Las Vegas," and he was playing an alcoholic.

KEILAR: Another favorite, gaining weight. It helped Robert De Niro win for "Raging Bull." A plumped-up Renee Zellweger was nominated for "Bridget Jones's Diary." And Meryl Streep put the pounds on for her role as Julia Childs in "Julie & Julia."

But it's not the extra weight that may land her an Oscar. It could be the voice.

STREEP: Bon appetit.

BERNSTEIN: Having an accent is big thing with the Academy. Meryl Streep obviously won for "Sophie's Choice."

STREEP: How do you say? Secure.

BERNSTEIN: She has a great accent in "Julie & Julia."

STREEP: Bonjour.

BERNSTEIN: Sandra Bullock has an accent in "The Blind Side."


BERNSTEIN: Christoph Waltz, it may be his accent, and he looks like he's going to win.

KEILAR: Going ugly and going mean. That also helps. It worked for Charlize Theron in "Monster," but then, she had all her bases covered.

BERNSTEIN: Charlize Theron was sort of the perfect storm of Oscar tricks. She was a straight actress playing gay, gained a lot of weight. She took off all of her makeup. And then she died. And of course, that's a thing with the Academy.

KEILAR: So for future contenders, a checklist to consider if you want to win. Change your appearance, gain weight, be an addict, have an accent, and die. Not very uplifting, but winning one of these sure is.

Brianna Keilar, CNN.


COOPER: The tricks of the trade to landing an Oscar.

While we're on the topic, as I mentioned earlier, I filled in for Regis on "Live with Regis and Kelly" today. After the show I talked with Kelly about all things Oscar.


COOPER: So are you -- you're not going -- are you going to the Oscars?

RIPA: No, of course not. I'm not going to the Oscars. None of the home movies I starred in this year are nominated.

COOPER: If you were going to the Oscars, besides Regis or your husband, who would you want to bring? RIPA: You. You. I think you know the answer to that. You are the answer to everything.

COOPER: Now, who's your pick for best picture? Did you see any of them?

RIPA: I saw "The Hurt Locker," and I liked it very much.

COOPER: Best picture, there's "Avatar," "The Blind Side," "District 9, "An Education," "The Hurt Locker," "Precious," "Serious Man," "Up."

RIPA: How many films?

COOPER: There's ten of them. There's ten of them.

RIPA: OK. Well, I'm going to say -- I'm going to have to say for best picture "Avatar," because it was so unique. I didn't see it, but everyone tells me that it's very unique.

COOPER: Right, OK.

RIPA: And that it's something, you know, it's one of those out- of-the-box type films.

COOPER: OK. Let me ask you, Gelman, glorious or inglourious basterd?

RIPA: He's so glorious. He's glorious. No doubt.


RIPA: Is he watching?

COOPER: Who's more difficult to work with, Regis or James Cameron?

RIPA: Regis.

COOPER: Really?

RIPA: Yes. I think he's the most difficult of all of them. Of anyone.

COOPER: Uh-huh. What do your kids like better this year? "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" or "Jersey Shore?"

RIPA: Oh, my gosh. Definitely the "Jersey Shore," because their mother is from Jersey. Holler. And yes, Anderson, I will have drinks with you later on.

I'm sorry. Next question -- that's what I heard.

Let's run through some of the other nominees. Helen Mirren, she was the one with the sex tape, right?

RIPA: Yes, yes. She had a sex tape and it was incredible. It was that new 3-D technology.

COOPER: Everyone says Sandra Bullock is going to win.

RIPA: Everybody says that.

COOPER: Is she a good guest?

RIPA: She's a great guest. She's a greet girl. I happen to like her very much. I also -- how can you ever not count in Meryl Streep for everything?

COOPER: Right. I heard that Meryl Streep actually did so well playing Julia Child she's being considered for the role of Snooki.

RIPA: Isn't that true? Another role that I lost to Meryl Streep.

COOPER: OK. All right. Which of these two movies do you like better? Do you like "Precious" based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire or "Crazy Heart," based on the autobiography of Kathie Lee Gifford?

RIPA: I didn't see either one. I'm going to say...

COOPER: "Crazy Heart." A lot of people missed it.

RIPA: We had the entire cast here and, like, the clips that we've shown on the air are riveting and spell binding.

COOPER: Who's your pick for best supporting performance by a Kardashian?

RIPA: Kim Kardashian.

COOPER: You go for Kim? Really?

RIPA: In "Booty-licious." Two and three.

COOPER: She actually was in a sex tape.

RIPA: Oh, really? Is that true?

COOPER: That's how -- that's her claim to fame.

RIPA: Is that really true?

COOPER: Yes. I think so. Even I know this.

RIPA: I keep trying to leak my sex tape out there, but there are absolutely no takers.


RIPA: Not even my husband wants to see that. This has been so illuminating.

COOPER: Yes. RIPA: I'm sure this will help people at home fill out their Emmy ballots. I mean their...

COOPER: Their Oscar ballots, even. So what are you going to be doing this weekend?

RIPA: This weekend?


RIPA: I'm going to be doing what I always do on the weekend, giving my daughter water at a horse show.

COOPER: That's your glamorous weekend.

RIPA: That's my glamorous weekend. Girls, don't be jealous.

COOPER: You and Lou Dobbs?

RIPA: Me and Lou Dobbs, side by side.

COOPER: Smoking?

RIPA: Want some water? Want a cigarette? No.

COOPER: That's what you do the whole show?

RIPA: Whole show. I will hopefully make it home in time to sort of catch the tail end and then watch the red carpet on TiVo. Because really, I only watch not to see who wins but to see what they're wearing. There, I said it. I said it, Anderson.

COOPER: Have you ever done the red carpet?

RIPA: What do you mean?

COOPER: Like been a presenter on the red carpet, asked people, "What are you wearing?


COOPER: Any interest?

RIPA: No. I'll, you know, ask you. What you wearing? What are you wearing? I know what you're wearing. Yes, of course, Ralph Lauren, black label. Predictable, but dashing. Are you going?

COOPER: I'm not going. I'm working -- I'm actually doing a gang documentary in L.A. next week. I'm going to L.A. today.

RIPA: Are you serious?

COOPER: Yes. It's a long story.

RIPA: I want to -- like, can I come with you and hold a camera or hold footage? COOPER: I don't think so.



RIPA: Come on.

COOPER: I don't know. Maybe, we'll talk about it.

RIPA: Come on. Bring me with you.

COOPER: Kelly Ripa, thank you very much.

RIPA: Thank you very much.


COOPER: A reminder "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" hosts A.J. Hammer and Brooke Anderson will be live from the red carpet on CNN Sunday night at 7 p.m. Eastern for "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," "Road to Gold."

And if you're watching the Oscars with your laptops open, join the second annual AC360 Oscars live blog, hosted by producer Jack Gray. This is great. This is the second time he's done it. It's really fun. You should totally check it out. It starts at 8 p.m. Eastern.

In case you're wondering about Jack's qualifications for such an assignment, well, he once worked at a video store which was also a tanning parlor. So there you go.

Next, full-body scanners could be coming to an airport near you. We'll tell you where and when the machines will be up and running.

And this show's obsession with a mysterious South American creature, the mystical chupacabra. Some say it has been caught. Others have their doubts. Either way, we're going to show it to you. It's our "Shot" tonight.


COOPER: Let's get a quick update on some of the other stories we're following. Brianna Keilar has a "360 Bulletin" -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Anderson, two more strong aftershocks in Chile today. One registered 6.6, the other 6.0. These are just the latest in scores of aftershocks to hit the country after the massive 8.8 quake that killed hundreds last weekend.

And Boston's Logan International Airport got its first full-body scanner today, one of 11 airports expected to install them by the end of the summer. Los Angeles, Cincinnati, also Chicago's O'Hare, they're on the list, as well. Body scanners are already being used in 19 airports nationwide. And Twitter passes a monumental milestone: 10 billion tweets. And ironically, while many anxiously awaited the 10 billionth, hoping for something, of course, very profound the message was actually tweeted by a protected account and blocked from public view.

Twitter now seeing 50 million tweets per day, up from just 2.5 million a year ago.

And in Phoenix a very dramatic rescue caught on tape. Two police assistants pulled a man off the track Tuesday just seconds before a train barreled into the station there.

COOPER: Ai-yi-yi.

KEILAR: Jaw-dropping surveillance video captures the victim, there, obviously fall onto the tracks, only to be plucked from danger at the last minute, Anderson.

COOPER: Yikes. Do you know why he fell? He looked drunk or something.

KEILAR: Apparently -- yes. Police say he appeared inebriated. So I think you're right on there.

COOPER: That's police speak for he was drunk.

KEILAR: He was drunk.

COOPER: Brianna, thanks for much. Have a great weekend. For the "Shot" it's "Guess that Creature Night." Let's all play along. Here it is. Caught on tape in an animal shelter in Oklahoma. Look at this.

Some say it's the legendary and elusive el chupacabra, which means goat sucker, a beast that prowls the Americas feeding on animals. I don't think it is el chupacabra. It could be one of those hairless cats or, as one person noted, a raccoon with no hair.

It looks very scared and sad. It's looks very kind of sad. I hope it's OK.

KEILAR: Yes. I don't know. I heard earlier that it was an animal with mange. I was laughing. Then I heard that and I just felt bad for laughing about it.


KEILAR: Pretty bad.

COOPER: Anyway, hope it's doing all right. Brianna, have a great weekend.

KEILAR: You, too.

COOPER: Coming up at the top of the hour, is the president about to flip-flop on what to do about the suspected 9/11 mastermind? We'll be right back.


COOPER: Tonight, President Obama and what to do about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind. Word tonight that the president may back away from his very public pledge -- pledge to try the terrorist in a criminal court and instead use a military tribunal.