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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Obama Makes Final Health Care Reform Push; Rain Threatens Haitian Earthquake Survivors
Aired March 19, 2010 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again.
Tonight: "Keeping Them Honest" on health care -- President Obama making his final push for health care reform, votes changing almost as we speak, voices rising in Congress, stakes high for everyone.
We have got the latest on the vote count. We also have Dr. Sanjay Gupta on what is in the bill for you if it passes. How is your insurance going to change this year?
And we check the facts. Republicans say the president hadn't really tried to be bipartisan in this bill, but have the Republicans tried? We are "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.
Also ahead, a deluge of rain in Haiti, and the difficulties for so many Haitians just got a whole lot worse. We are going to talk with Sean Penn, who is right now working on the very muddy ground there, trying to out where things now stand from him.
And, later, what if I told you there was a secretive sect in America which allowed kids to die because their religion doesn't believe in medicine? More than a dozen dead kids so far, all connected to the church. It's stunning that this is happening in this country. Tonight, we uncover the truth.
But first up tonight, "Keeping Them Honest."
Less than 48 hours to go now until Sunday's vote on health care reform, and right now, minute to minute, Democrat are battling for each and every yes vote. The outcome could make history, or President Obama's presidency could become history.
The political stakes are high. The stakes for one-sixth of the economy, 31 million people without health insurance, the budget, all of it could not be higher. And what's so amazing is that, after all this time, all this money and all this talk, no one can tell you, for sure, right now, how this is going to go on Sunday.
President Obama was looking, sounding confident today at a rally at George Mason University in Northern Virginia. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And right now, we are at the point where we are going to do something historic this weekend. That's what this health care vote is all about.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He's going to meet with Democratic lawmakers tomorrow afternoon. Tea Partiers planning a rally as well. And Republicans vowing to fight this bill every step of the way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The American people are going to hear about every payoff, every kickback, and every sweetheart deal that comes out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, we have been telling you all week about the sweetheart deals being made by Democrat, so, tonight, we want to look at the Republicans, "Keeping Them Honest."
Did they ever try to meet the president halfway?
But, before that, I just want to take you over to the wall and take a look at some numbers. Let's look at where the count is right now, The race to get to 216 votes to either pass or kill the bill, 216.
So, now "The New York Times" is saying that, at this point, right now, they have 203 yes votes, 204 no votes, and 24 congress men and women right in the middle.
Now, let's take a look at what "The Washington Post" is reporting over here. They say 179 yes votes, 207 nos, and 45 right in the middle.
And then CNN, our reporting is saying, right here, 200 -- more than 200 yes, about 208 no, not sure how many undecided at this point.
And, finally, just look at this. This is sort of interesting. This is Intrade, where you can actually invest in the outcome of votes. A share of Obamacare passing now stands at about 84, which means that they think there's an 84 percent chance of the bill becoming law. It was 40 percent all the way at the start of the year.
On Capitol Hill tracking it all, Dana. So, where do things stand right now?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Democratic lawmakers and especially those who are undeclared, they have now had about a day to read the changes to the Senate bill and to get a sense of the cost estimates.
And, so, many of them today came off the fence and they chose sides. And, look, a handful of previously no Democrats, Democrats who had voted no on the House health care bill in November, they did switch. So, the House Democratic leadership, they are feeling like they have, in the words of one, the big mo, and they have momentum, because some of those lawmakers said that they like this bill better because of the cost, because of other issues.
But the reality is that a number of Democrats also switched the other way. And, more importantly, there are still, at this hour, Anderson, several who simply still have outstanding issues. And that's why there are still meetings going on as we speak tonight on a number of issues, from small regional issues to very big ones, like abortion.
COOPER: Well, I mean, the bill's language about abortion, and, more specifically, taxpayer funding for abortion, is probably the biggest hurdle...
COOPER: ... and one the Democratic leadership doesn't seem to be able to put behind them. There are meetings this evening. I mean, what have they decided? Is there something they can do about this?
BASH: Nothing decided yet. But here I am in the House chamber. And right down this hall, that is where the House speaker's office is, Nancy Pelosi.
Meetings just wrapped up not too long ago about this issue of abortion. And it is absolutely like deja vu. This is exactly what happened before the House voted back in November. There was an 11th- hour big problem on the issue of abortion.
And, specifically, what's going on is that anti-abortion Democrats, led by Bart Stupak of Michigan, they are once again demanding a vote on more restrictive language when it comes to taxpayer funding. And I got to tell you, I saw the faces of some of the abortion-rights Democrats, especially the women. They were meeting with Nancy Pelosi earlier.
They're furious, because the leadership is considering giving them a vote, because, politically, they feel that they might have to do it. It's just, procedurally, unclear how it would work. It's not resolved, Anderson.
COOPER: And I want to play for our viewers, Dana, this exchange that happened on the House floor. It was an exchange over a memo which turned out to be fake, but was read anyway on the House floor by a Republican. Got a very angry reaction from Democrat Anthony Weiner. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Will the gentleman from New Jersey kindly inform the House the source of the memo that he just read from? That silence that you hear is the gentleman from New Jersey read from a fake memo, a fraudulent memo. He's been zoomed with a fake document.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman will suspend.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a parliamentary inquiry.
WEINER: I don't yield for that purpose. I don't yield for that purpose.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not asking you to yield.
WEINER: That's the fact. That's nothing we are hiding from.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the gentleman yield?
WEINER: I will yield if only for the purpose of telling us the source of the document.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean, clearly, things are incredibly polarized right now.
BASH: Ugly. I mean, they are absolutely ugly.
We have known for some time that Republicans, there's no way that they would vote for this bill. But we also have seen an escalation in rhetoric and in tensions over the past week, as this vote has gotten closer, between the parties. And anybody who is tuning in tomorrow to watch this debate in the committee and more specifically the big debate on Sunday will be -- will probably not surprised, after they saw that, to see really how intense it's going to be.
And, Anderson, Republicans are already saying that they are going to use whatever tactics they have to try to delay this...
BASH: ... because they know, politically, that's beneficial for them.
COOPER: Dana, thanks very much.
Now, "Keeping Them Honest," Republicans have been saying that this bill is being rammed down the throats of Americans, and the president was never serious about bipartisanship. But have the Republicans been serious?
Ed Henry tonight is "Keeping Them Honest."
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bipartisanship sure sounds good on TV.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I don't know anybody in my Republican conference who is the Senate who is favor of doing nothing on health care. We obviously have a cost problem and we have an access problem.
HENRY: But for Republicans on health care, bipartisanship in practice has been something else entirely. "Keeping Them Honest," we went all the way back to the first month of the Obama administration, to find Republicans have demanded the president meet them in the middle with one change after another. And despite the president giving in on those issues, Republicans have not met him halfway, starting with their demand that Mr. Obama not offer a giant plan, like Bill Clinton.
MCCONNELL: I think we would all agree the handing down of a health care plan during the Clinton years didn't work out too well.
HENRY: The president listened to that advice and let Congress draw up the details of the plan. That brought anger from liberals. And the Republicans who demanded the change? Nothing but continued opposition.
Republicans also insisted the public option had to be taken out. And, after a long struggle, it was dropped. That brought more anger from liberals, but, again, no votes from Republicans.
Perhaps most frustrating to the White House, Republicans have repeatedly said they are in favor of basic insurance reforms, like ending preexisting conditions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "STATE OF THE UNION")
MCCONNELL: Many of these insurance reforms, we could pass on a bipartisanship basis. But you wouldn't have to cut Medicare by half- a-trillion dollars, levy a half-a-trillion dollar tax increase. Put that on the side and let's talk about insurance reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: But those insurance reforms are in the bill now. Still, not a single Republican senator supported it. None of this was lost on the president as he made his final pitch.
OBAMA: The toughest insurance reforms in history. , And by the way, when you talk to Republicans and you say, well, are you against this, a lot of them will say, no, no, that part's OK.
HENRY: So, with all the negotiations, all the concessions, how many Republicans are expected to vote for the bill this weekend? Zero.
COOPER: So, how do the Republicans explain all this?
HENRY: Well, you know, they say, look, look at the fact that, this weekend, Democrats are going with Democratic-only votes. And, yet, they can't even get their caucuses in line without all of this arm-twisting that Dana was talking about.
And, so, Republicans believe it shows that, when you can't get conservative to moderate Democrats on board without special deals that we have been talking about the last couple nights, and without this last-minute arm-twisting, it shows that, while some concessions have been made to the Republicans, the vast majority of this legislation has not dramatically changed, and it has mostly been written by Democrats.
And the fact is, you know, conservative Democrats are still not aboard. They are trying to get them at this 11th hour -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ed, "Keeping Them Honest."
John King and 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta are going to join us next. John has the political prognosis for all the sides if this thing passes or fails.
And Sanjay has the changes that we're going to see almost immediately if the bill becomes -- now, important information if you have got a preexisting condition.
Join the live chat right now. Let us know what you think at AC360.com. We're also going to be talking to Sean Penn tonight, who is in Haiti on the ground, where the rainy season is getting under way, and, well, a lot of people are just in desperate straits right now.
And, later, a former member speaks out about the religious group she once belonged to where followers choose faith healing over medicine, and kids are dying because of it.
COOPER: So, we have laid out what happens tomorrow, President Obama's last pitch to Democrats on health care reform, then, on, Sunday, of course, the vote. Then what?
In a moment, we're going to talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the changes you are going to start seeing if the bill passes.
First, though, let's look at what is at stake politically for a lot of very nervous lawmakers and for President Obama, who is betting, of course, a big chunk of his presidency on this vote.
Joining us now is John King, host of "JOHN KING USA," a new program premiering Monday 7:00 Eastern right here on CNN. John, these Blue Dog Democrats and others who are on the fence, a lot of them are facing some tough races this fall. How much risk do they take if they vote yes?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's an enormous risk, Anderson, given the political climate now.
The question for them, as some of them start to come over to the yes column -- two conservative Democrats from Florida did that today -- a conservative Democrat from southern Indiana who wants to run for Senate, Brad Ellsworth, did that today -- what risky decisions, because the political climate right now suggests that could cost them their job, or in Congressman Ellsworth's case, his future ambitions to move up to the Senate.
What they are banking on, that, over the next seven months and a couple of weeks, that, if they can pass this bill, the sense that Washington finally did something will overwhelm the objections to the bill, about how much it costs or how much it might increase government influence.
They are gambling that they can change a climate that right now is not in their favor in those seven months. But, boy, that's a big gamble.
COOPER: And, if they vote no, some of them have liberal groups, labor unions promising to mount primary challenges against them.
KING: And that is part -- precisely part of their calculation, in the sense that labor unions have made clear: You need our money. You need our foot soldiers. You need our votes in November. And if you don't come our way, you won't get them. And guess what? You're not going to get the Republicans. If you stay out of this, the Republicans still are not likely to vote for you.
So, that's the hardball politics the progressive organizations like the labor movements are using, calling these Democrats, saying, what are you going to gain from voting no? Republicans won't vote for you. And guess what? We only -- not only won't vote you; we will give you no resources in a year when you desperately need them.
COOPER: How does this change the game in Washington politically for the president, if it passes?
KING: The calculation at the White House, Anderson, is, yes, the climate is not good for him now. But they believe part of it is not objections to the specifics of the health care bill.
They believe a lot of it is the sense out there, especially among independent voters, that these guys can't get along and they can't pass anything, that you have a Democratic president and big Democratic majorities. Why can't they lead? Why can't they govern?
So, the calculation at the White House is that a victory, signing legislation, legislation that eliminates insurance companies from throwing people out with preexisting conditions, or throwing them out if they develop illnesses, that those couple of popular items, plus just the basic perception Washington is finally doing things, again, will create a more positive climate and overwhelm some of the objections that you know Republicans are making, that it costs too much, gives too much power to Washington.
COOPER: I talked to Congressman Kucinich two days ago, when he changed his vote to yes on this, after talking to the president.
And, essentially, one of the things that seemed to weighed heavily with him is that the president's history is on the line. I mean, the president's ability to function from here on out is on the line. And that weighed heavily on him and influenced his vote.
Do you think that factors in for a lot of Democrats right now?
KING: Absolutely. And the way Congressman Kucinich put it was quite fascinating. He wants a single-payer system, or at least a public option.
And he says, you know what? I'm not getting nearly what I want here. But the president made the case to me about how critical this is to him and his influence. If you want to go down the road, climate change will come up. Some tax changes might come up. Other big issues will come up.
The president is personalizing this, saying to the Democratic Party, we need to prove we can lead. And if I lose this vote, we are going to have a lonely time between now and the reelection campaign in 2012.
And the president's case is: If I lose so much influence, if I lose so much clout and stature, you, as Democrats, will lose it, too.
So, part of this is a loyalty test for the Democrat to the president to swallow their pride and some swallow things they don't like and vote yes. And the president is making it so personal, Anderson, which is raising the stakes for him as well.
COOPER: Yes, it's fascinating days.
John King, thanks.
KING: Of course.
COOPER: Of course, just a quick reminder: You can catch John King's new program, "JOHN KING USA," weeknights 7:00 p.m. Eastern starting next Monday.
Now let's talk about the real bottom line for all of us. What does this health care reform bill actually mean for you and your family in terms of health insurance? What, if anything, changes, and how quickly would you see those changes?
Let's talk to 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta, who has been looking at the provisions, joins us now.
Take us through these changes and the timing. What will happen in this next year, in 2010, if this passes?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, for the average person out there who doesn't have a medical problem and has employer-based health care, they are probably not going to see much in the way of changes.
But some things are going to be happening if this passes. And I think they are certainly worth talking about, again, talking about this year specifically. People who have developed some sort of medical problem, insured, but the amount of money the insurance company pays is capped every year, those caps are going to go away.
So, people, if the health care costs are spiraling high, you are going to be able to continue to get that covered. Preexisting conditions, in many ways, will be addressed, not fully. But this means is, they are going to create these high-risk pools around the country.
So, if you someone who has been uninsured, you have a medical problem, and you have just been unable to find insurance, you can join one of these high-risk pools and get your insurance that way. About $5 billion is going to be spent on these high-risk pools. That's how they're going to pay for it.
Young adults -- Anderson, we have talked about this in the pass -- you have graduated college, but you haven't gotten your first job yet, you can get covered up until age 26. And, then, also drug discounts for seniors -- everyone has been talking about this doughnut hole. It's a way the medications are paid for or not paid for, for seniors. They're going to shrink that doughnut hole, making it a little bit easier for people to cover their costs under Medicare -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, the supporters of this bill say, look, it's going to cover 31 million uninsured people. When would that actually kick in?
COOPER: And for those people who had been putting off treatments or maybe surgeries, would they be able to get coverage right away? It doesn't sound like it.
GUPTA: Well, if you are uninsured, and you have some sort of medical problem, you are probably going to be the most affected by this, and in a good way, because you're going to be able to join one of these high-risk pools, get insurance, and may be able to get either the operation that you are discussing about or some sort of treatment sooner.
So, that's probably the population that's going to benefit the most. But, to your point, Anderson, this 31 million number, a lot of those people are not going to get insured for several years, maybe the year 2014.
Several things are going to happen at that point. First of all, people are going to be mandated to have coverage. That's how this whole thing works. There's going to be a mandate. If you can afford to get health care insurance, you have to buy it, or you get fined.
If you can't afford it, you are going to get some help. You are going to get some tax breaks in the form of tax credits, depending on your income level, the size of your family, et cetera.
But this whole idea that there's going to be these health insurance exchanges is really at the heart of all this. And this is confusing a little bit, Anderson, but think of it like as supermarkets. Instead of you sort of going out and having just a couple of insurance providers for you, you are going to have dozens.
So, they are competing for your business, as opposed to you trying to find just a single one or two. And, finally, this no discrimination based on preexisting conditions, that kicks in, in full effect for 2014 for adults.
And, again, just because you have had some sort of medical illness in the past, or even a strong family history of something, you can't be discriminated based on that. That's how you get to the 31 million number.
COOPER: All right, Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: I just want to underscore a point that Sanjay made about preexisting conditions. And it's a pretty important one for parents. Within six months of the bill passing, if it passes, kids with preexisting conditions cannot be denied coverage.
Now, that provision kicks in for adults in 2014, so four years from now. Until then, as Sanjay said, adults with preexisting conditions will be able to join those high-risk pools.
And a reminder: You can watch Sanjay Gupta this weekend and every weekend Saturday and Sundays 7:30 a.m. Eastern time, "SANJAY GUPTA M.D."
Up next: the latest on Haiti. Big rains are starting. And, for hundreds of thousands of homeless, it's about to get a lot worse. Sean Penn is joining us with an update from Port-au-Prince. We will join him in just a moment.
And, later, the manhunt for an alleged teen bandit, a fugitive with a big following on Facebook.
We will be right back.
COOPER: Well, we promised to continue shining a light on Haiti. And, tonight, the story has taken a turn for the worse.
Take a look at this. Overnight, heavy rains drenched, swamped homeless camps like this one. About 45,000 people live at this one camp, which is set up at the Petionville Golf Club in Port-au-Prince. It's in a ravine. Water poured down the slopes into families' tents. It left a muddy, miserable mess behind, conditions ideal for spreading disease.
And, next month, when the full rainy season gets under way, things will only get worse.
The J/P Haitian Relief Organization, a group started by Sean Penn, is providing help to this camp and others. Penn spent much of the last two months in Haiti. He joins me now from Port-au-Prince.
Sean, what have the rains been like so far?
SEAN PENN, ACTOR: Well, I think it was a wakeup call to everybody.
The state of things here is, I think, described really well -- we're -- I will start outside of our camp. There are 22 camps that are in riverbeds, between 2,000 and 5,000 people that will virtually be washed into the ocean if they are not relocated.
The camp that we have just taken over the camp management on at Petionville, last night, we went down at about 10:30 at night, when the rains were pelting down. It was total chaos. It should be understood that, in most of these camps, most of the IDP camps, they are not tents, what you see. They are tarps over sheets around frames. There's no bottom.
At the Petionville Club, it's a steep slope. Tents are going to fall within -- within days. This is two hours of rain, basically, what you saw. And when the rains become days worth of rain, these are going to -- you are going to be displacing the displaced. People are going to die.
Now, as so-called camp managers, we know that, without pointing a finger at anyone, that -- that we have seen a lot of great work being done by a lot of people. But the politics are going to kill people. They -- not the -- not the Haitian politics, per se, the politics of all the organizations and governments involved, and the corruption, locally, because, in most cases, people do know how to make these relocations happen into safe zones. They will not be complete. We will not complete our task.
We need direct help at JPHRO. And we have a Web site for that, because, not matter what happens, we're going to stay here. But I think that the American public really needs to know that this is -- we are on the verge of a current disaster, a real -- and the United States military, for example, that did such a great job, their -- their great work is about to get washed all the way away.
PENN: And, so, every -- every -- everybody has got to put politics aside, and get these people relocated now.
COOPER: Without -- I mean, I don't -- you know, if you -- if you say too much, you jeopardize the people you are working with, I guess, but, in terms of the politics you're talking about, what is the problem?
I mean, we have been talking for months. Everybody knows that these camps need to be relocated. And we are talking hundreds of thousands of people. Why has that not happened? What is the difficulty?
PENN: Well, let's start with the state of affairs. I think there's five or six locations that they have picked out for urban camps, which spreads people in ways that are going to be very difficult to assign in the first place, very difficult to service.
And only, I think, two -- one or two of them -- there's only been groundbreaking on one that I think will house about 4,000 people. I have got 45,000 people just in my camp. And, by my camp, I mean the one that myself and our organization work together with the community leaders in that camp.
We -- we had last night, in the trench, the one drainage trench in the entire camp, a river flowing with children on slick, deep clay, right on the edge of it. There's no question that, if we don't immediately relocate, my feeling, is to big, well-serviced, urban camps -- rural camps right now, where you can get hundreds of thousands of people, and sort it out later, sort out the ways that the shelters will be permanent or temporary -- put it into an escrow account and pay fair market later, if necessary.
But take the lands. Get the service. Get the people out of harm's way, because people are going to die, possibly in the tens of thousands. And then we have got disease and the hurricane season to follow.
COOPER: And the people in your camp, I mean, 45,000 people now, you are trying to manage this one camp. And, as you said, there are a number of camps like it.
What are -- what is life like in these camps? I mean, how do, every day, people deal with being in these camps? I mean, it's completely miserable.
PENN: Well, you know, one of the things that we were not -- as you know, we were not smelling social unrest in the air. We are starting to smell it now. We have increasing rapes.
The -- the -- the -- it is really like being forced to live like animals in the mud. There is an acceptable -- I'm talking about by words that have been used -- level of malnutrition nationwide. Starvation might be too extreme a word, because they have had a lot of rice.
But that does not in any way suffice. The strength of the Haitian people is such that we have got people building businesses in the camp. And, on a given day, with the -- with their strength of character, a photograph can make this look like it's getting better.
It is not getting better. Virtually nothing is getting better. There's been incredible, miraculous work done by the U.S. military, by many other countries. By -- our doctors alone have seen in excess of 100,000 -- administered to in excess of 100,000 people.
It will be for naught if this is allowed to continue. So, all I can say is -- is, our camp is going to relocate itself because of nature. And it is going to relocate itself either straight up through the about 15 people they have got, between the military and the U.N., alongside the camp and -- and our area, as well as people displacing themselves from displacement into the streets of Port-au-Prince.
And one of the -- one of the key things that's very easy to do, the -- one of the first things that's easy to do, you can help groups like ours, which are direct action groups, and send tents. Because, believe it or not, they are not here. And tents by the tens of thousands.
But the other thing that is already implemented that is a service that can continue is the heightened services at the outlying areas so that people that have fled Port-au-Prince don't return to Port-au- Prince and centralize the problem even more.
COOPER: Well, Sean, continue what you're doing. We'll be down there shortly.
You can read more about Sean Penn's efforts in Haiti. Find a link to the J/P Haitian Relief Organization on our Web site at AC360.com. The situation there, we'd all like to think, you know, the story is over, that the emergency is over. But it is not over. And as Sean was saying, it is about to get much, much worse when these really heavy rains come in April.
Still ahead, remember that mysterious man who was supposedly a lawyer and advising the American missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 Haitian kids? Turns out he was wanted by police, and then he disappeared. Well, police have finally caught up with him. We'll tell you the charges he now faces.
And we'll take you inside a secretive sect whose followers shun doctors, even when their kids are dying. Kids have died right here in America because of this. A former member tells us what she saw and why she left.
COOPER: A lot of stories going on tonight. Jessica Yellin has a "360 Bulletin" -- Jessica.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Anderson.
Dominican police have arrested a fugitive who acted as the lawyer for U.S. missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 Haitian children. Authorities say Jorge Torres Puello was wanted in the U.S., El Salvador and Costa Rica for trafficking women and children. He was taken into custody in Santa Domingo.
New claims about a German priest suspended for violating terms the church set for him after he was convicted of abusing minors. Reverend Peter Hullermann was allowed to return to work after his 1986 conviction. But now, the psychoanalyst who treated him says the church ignored his explicit warnings to keep the molester away from children. The psychoanalyst also said he does not believe then- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the current pope, was aware the priest returned to service.
In Fargo, North Dakota, they are filling sandbags as fast as they can, just racing to hold off the flood waters. The Red River is expected to crest this weekend at 37.5 feet.
And take a look at this. Just despicable. A cookie thief caught on tape. His target was, yes, a Seattle Girl Scout. She was selling cookies outside a grocery store when the thief struck. He made off with $465 cash. And what do you know? Some are calling him a cookie monster.
COOPER: Stole from a Girl Scout?
YELLIN: A Girl Scout. She's on the local news weeping. It's heartbreaking.
COOPER: That is low. Low, low, low.
YELLIN: Anderson, I've got to interrupt you before you go away. We have a surprise guest for you. I think you're going to like this one.
ERICA HILL, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: How are you doing?
YELLIN: Recognize her?
HILL: Hey, Jessica, it's nice to see you, too. Hi.
You know, Anderson, I was catching up on my AC 360 this morning. And I noticed that you had Cheech on, talking about your "Jeopardy" loss.
COOPER: Loss. You're being kind.
HILL: And frankly, I was a little appalled at a certain point in the interview. I think that he let you get away with something. And I think we have that little bit of tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I was doing the thumb. I peeked at you, and I think you were doing the index finger. That's right.
CHEECH MARIN, COMEDIAN: I learned that from a track coach when I was in high school with a stopwatch timer. He said it's a much faster reflex with the index finger. COOPER: When I really started panicking, I thought I was going to switch to your method. But then I thought I shouldn't, you know, change my gait in mid-stride. And nevertheless, I still went on and lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Yes. Likely excuse. And I love the way he just totally played into that like, "Yes, you're right, Anderson. You know, those buzzers. Luckily, I learned the tactic in high school." Really? The buzzer?
COOPER: You know, I wasn't blaming the buzzer. I blame -- you know, there's a whole Zen to the buzzer. And if you do it too fast, you're out for a split second. And he's faster on the buzzer. He knew some answers I didn't know. But I knew plenty of the answers that he knew. I just didn't buzz in right.
HILL: You just couldn't buzz in in time. I'm sorry. You did have a little trouble. I think we have it in slow mo there, just so the people at home. I understand you're not using it as an excuse at all.
COOPER: See, I'm buzzing on all those things. See, look, there I am. But I -- I didn't get it.
HILL: Must be frustrating.
COOPER: I take -- look, I take full responsibility. I lost fair and square. He was a good competitor.
HILL: Yes, somewhat...
COOPER: We were all champions, by the way, because you know, we all won previous games.
COOPER: Yes, I once was a "Jeopardy" champion. I am now a "Jeopardy" loser.
HILL: You said it, not me, my friend.
COOPER: I am a "Jeopardy" loser. I admit it. I'm changing my business cards.
Erica, shouldn't you, like, be going to sleep?
HILL: I do have to get up and I do "The Early Show" on CBS tomorrow. But you know what? I thought this was important, too.
COOPER: I appreciate -- I appreciate you coming from CBS News over here to mock me, yet again.
HILL: Some things never change.
COOPER: Some things never change, indeed.
You can watch Erica in just a few hours tomorrow morning on "The Early Show" on CBS.
Go to sleep. Thank you, Erica. Stop mocking me.
HILL: Good night.
COOPER: Move on.
Coming up next on 360, very serious stuff. This is a church where medicine is actually shunned. When a child is sick, the followers look to faith for a cure. We're talking about more than a dozen kids are connected to this sect. Our close-up investigation ahead
COOPER: "Up Close" tonight, a religious group turning to faith, not medicine to heal kids, even if it ends in death. They're called the Followers of Christ, and they number more than 1,000. When someone gets sick, even gravely ill, they do not contact a doctor. Instead, they seek divine intervention.
Tonight, a former member of the Followers of Christ takes 360 inside the secretive sect, telling us what she witnessed and why she left. Dan Simon reports.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A boy is dead, a teenager. His parents are now in prison. Not for what they did, but for what they didn't do.
JUDGE STEVE MAURER, CLACKAMAS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: This child would be alive today if the defendants, Jeffrey and Marci Beagley, would have done that which this community expects every parent to do.
SIMON: Marci and Jeff got 16 months after admitting they had denied their son the drugs he need. They were convicted of negligent homicide. Their son died of what prosecutors say was a curable disease of his kidneys.
(on camera) There was no question that medically, his problem could have been handled with medicine.
GREG HORNER, CHIEF DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OREGON: That was a fact that the defense did not contest.
SIMON (voice-over): No medicine because the Beagleys belonged to a Christian church near Portland, Oregon, that believes seeing a doctor is a sign of weakness. Instead, members rely solely on faith healing, found in the New Testament, believing that God will cure them of their ills.
Holly Martinez is a former member of the church called The Followers of Christ.
HOLLY MARTINEZ, FORMER MEMBER, FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST: When I was a young kid growing up to late teens, I'd never seen a doctor in my life.
SIMON (on camera): Imagine not allowing your own children to go see a doctor. To fully understand the impact of that, authorities say just come here to the church's cemetery, where you'll find the names of numerous children whose deaths doctors say could easily have been prevented.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what word to (UNINTELLIGIBLE): ignorant, misinformed, bull-headed.
SIMON (voice-over): Dr. Larry Newman is the former chief medical examiner in this county. He thought the church would have learned its lesson long ago. Over the last three decades, his office investigated the deaths of some 30 fetuses, infants and children, all connected to the church. Most, Newman says, could have been saved with medical treatment.
About ten years ago, Newman pushed the state to pass a law that can make parents criminally liable for their children's deaths.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's against the law not to feed your kids. It's against the law not to provide the necessities of life, including medical care for a child. And nothing was being done about it.
SIMON: The Follows of Christ church was founded in the early 1900s by a man named Walter White, who was called the Apostle.
COOPER: Obviously, we're having a technical problem with this. We'll try to get that fixed. We'll be back and Jeffrey Toobin is going to join us to talk about this sect and what we'll know about it. We'll try to get the piece fixed. We'll be right back.
COOPER: We're talking about a secretive religious sect that chooses prayer over medicine, and kids are dying because of it. We had some technical trouble with Dan Simon's report, but we want to continue playing the rest of it. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: Over the three decades, his office investigated the deaths of some 30 fetuses, infants and children, all connected to the church. Most, Newman says, could have been saved with medical treatment.
About ten years ago, Newman pushed the state to pass a law that can make parents criminally liable for their children's deaths. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's against the law not to feed your kids. It's against the law not to provide the necessities of life, including medical care for a child. And nothing was being done about it.
SIMON: The Follows of Christ church was founded in the early 1900s by a man named Walter White, who was called the Apostle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Obviously, it did it again. Sorry about that.
Luckily, Jeffrey Toobin is right here. Maybe we weren't meant to play that piece.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think.
COOPER: The idea that -- that 30 kids and fetuses could have been -- could have been saved, I mean, if it wasn't for this group. That 30 of them died unnecessarily is stunning.
TOOBIN: It's stunning. And what took the authorities so long to start with criminal prosecutions. Because religious freedom does not entitle you to deprive medical care from a minor.
You can do whatever you want with your own life.
COOPER: You can decide for yourself.
TOOBIN: Absolutely. But these children have no individual autonomy, no ability to make these decisions. These decisions are made for them. And this is a crime in every state.
We've covered a lot of stories like this, whether it's chemotherapy. Many years ago, Christian Scientists used to be involved in a lot of these investigations. But a case with so many people, the fact that so few people have been prosecuted, that's really the outrage.
COOPER: I mean, obviously, look, this is a very religious country. People want to protect religious freedoms. That's completely understandable. So I mean, where is that line? When it comes down to kids?
TOOBIN: It really is very -- I mean, you know, there are a lot of places in the law where the line is difficult to draw. But when you're talking about curable medical conditions for children who have no ability on their own to deal -- to make the decision to get medical treatment, that is, frankly, a pretty easy call legally, that this is a crime to withhold medical treatment. I mean, you're talking about people dying of urinary tract infections, which, you know, should not be happening in the United States in the 20th or 21st century.
COOPER: Some of the jurors in the case of the Beagleys, who were sentenced. They were saying they were hoping in the sentencing for leniency, because they thought these were obviously good people. I mean, it's got to be a difficult thing for jurors. Clearly, those parents are upset that their child died.
TOOBIN: Certainly. And, you know, sincerity is an attractive trait. And undoubtedly, these -- the members of this religion, they're not in it for the money. They're not in it for bad purposes. But they are talking about taking their children's lives. And even if that is done with the best intentions, I can't imagine a society that would sanction that.
COOPER: But -- but there's no way to prevent -- I mean, there's no way to kind of oversee a religious group to prevent this from happening in the future, is there?
TOOBIN: What makes this so hard to investigate is that you only really find out about situations like this after the child has died. Because you can't send investigators out to see if anybody is sick in the community.
So, it's actually difficult to prosecute, because you have to work backward and see what -- see what the children died of, see if it was curable, see when the decision was made not to get help.
So, I have a certain amount of sympathy for the law enforcement here, because it's not a simple crime to investigate. And obviously, the experience of having children die has not convinced the members of this religion to stop this practice and start getting help for kids.
COOPER: We reached out to members of this church and their leader, wanting them to come on the program tonight to talk about this. You know, they obviously declined. They wanted nothing to do with it.
But it is hard to see how you can justify repeated deaths. I mean, at a certain point, you would think a preponderance of evidence would, you know, lead people to change their ways.
TOOBIN: Faith is faith. And if that's -- if that's what they believe, that's what they believe. But that is not a legal excuse or, frankly, I think, a moral excuse to sanction the death of children.
COOPER: It's really disturbing. Jeff Toobin, appreciate it. Thanks for chatting.
Up next, find out why the New York City Police Department pounded on one couple's door 50 times over eight years and why there's a connection to cheesecake. Mmm, cheesecake.
Plus, Lady Gaga versus her ex-boyfriend. He claims he transformed her into a music icon. He's suing her for millions of dollars. Details ahead.
COOPER: We're following a number of stories. Jessica Yellin again with the "360 News & business Bulletin" -- Jessica. YELLIN: Hey, Anderson.
Former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, said today that she would, quote, "many times over" liberate Iraq, again, from Saddam Hussein. She said she regrets how the Bush administration failed to work more closely with Iraqis to rebuild the country. Rice made the comments during a speech at a Hong Kong university.
Six hundred sixty-one General Motors dealers the company is offering to reinstate have received letters with some new terms on how to reopen for business. About 400 dealers are still fighting for their franchises after GM emerged from bankruptcy protection last year.
This is a likely story. Lady Gaga's former boyfriend, producer and business partner is suing the pop star for -- get this -- $30.5 million. Rob Fusari claims that he created her stage name and persona and that he transformed her songs to make them big hits. I'm sure it nothing to do with her talent.
And the New York Police Department has apologized for pounding on the front door of this Brooklyn home 50 times -- 50 -- over the last eight years. The last visit was on Tuesday when officers yelled, "Police, open up."
Well, it turns out Walter and Rose Martin, who are both in their 80s, live in the home...
COOPER: Oh, no.
YELLIN: ... and they're not criminals. So what happened? A computer glitch put them on the police's radar. The police were concerned that the home was linked to criminal activity. It's inexplicable.
But the best part, Anderson, is the police commissioner stopped by to apologize and gave the Martins what else? A cheesecake.
YELLIN: Because apparently, that's the appropriate gift for police harassment.
COOPER: Aw. The poor couple, having to, like, get up and, like, open the door 50 times.
YELLIN: Fifty times. And then they get a cheesecake.
COOPER: It's almost as unpleasant as being sued by your, you know, former business partner.
YELLIN: And boyfriend. I think there was a Human League song about that. Wasn't that, do you remember, in the '80s? "Don't You Want Me?"
COOPER: Yes. Kicking it old school tonight, Jessica. YELLIN: I like that.
COOPER: Yes. Sure, sure. A little -- who else did you listen to in the '80s?
YELLIN: I don't want to admit. A lot of Madonna.
COOPER: A lot of Madonna.
YELLIN: A little Billy Idol.
COOPER: Billy Idol, OK. There you go, sure. Where are they now. Madonna, we know where she was.
YELLIN: We know.
COOPER: Probably best to know who But Billy idol.
Anyway, tonight for our 360 winners. It's a daily to challenge to come up with a caption better than the we can came up with for a photo that we put on the blog every day.
So tonight's photo, President Obama removing his jacket before speaking on health-care reform at George Mason University today in Virginia.
Staff winner tonight, Maureen. Her caption, "Maybe it's time I put on my Superman costume."
(BEGIN SOUND FACTORS)
The viewer winner is Robby with caption, "OK, you judge, who came up with the best bicep plan. Michelle's free weight reps or my arm twisting of your reps?"
OK. I read that wrong. OK, you judge. I thought he was talking to a judge. It's a Friday night. Robi, I apologize.
YELLIN: I liked the Superman joke. Your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way. Congratulations.
Much more at the top of the hour, including the last-minute vote counting and arm twisting on health-care reform.