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Same-Sex Marriage Ban Struck Down; Killing the BP Well; The GOP's Birther Problem; Tracking a Killer on Facebook

Aired August 4, 2010 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us.

A very big day on two fronts: the breaking news -- celebration and protest under way right now in California and elsewhere in the country. You probably heard a federal court judge striking down today California's ban on same-sex marriage, saying it violates one of the basic rights all Americans have. The case almost certainly is going to go to the Supreme Court.

In a moment, we'll talk to the unlikely pair of lawyers, formerly bitter rivals who won this round. Plus, we'll talk to those who oppose gay marriage about what happens next.

Also tonight, day 107 in the Gulf: could the well finally be dead? Officials say yes. President Obama says probably. The government has put out a report saying what happened to 75 percent of the oil, but what about the rest, more than four times as much as the Exxon Valdez disaster? What happened to it? And is the government trying to put a happy face on the disaster.

And later: a terrifying new view of that workplace shooting rampage in Connecticut; one of the wounded victims on the phone on tape. You'll hear the 911 call, what happened as it happened.

And on President Obama's birthday, how many Americans do you actually think still believe he's a foreigner, born overseas? We have new numbers, and, as you will see, they are stunning.

We begin, though, tonight with the breaking news. Take a look, live pictures tonight from West Hollywood and San Diego. Almost two years after 52 percent of Californians voted to approve Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage, the other 48 percent now has something to celebrate. Federal district Judge Vaughn Walker, a Republican appointee, striking down the measure, ruling -- quote -- "It cannot survive any level of scrutiny under the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause."

Contained within the ruling and hugely important in establishing legal precedent, were dozens of findings of fact. Among them, according to the judge, sexual orientation is a fundamental characteristic of a human being. Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in their ability to form a successful marital union. And the judge also directly rebutted opponents of same-sex marriage, saying, permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect either the number of or stability of opposite sex marriages. California Governor Schwarzenegger, who was the defendant in this case in name only, unsurprisingly, is pleased he lost. "This decision", he said today in a statement, "affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves. Today's decision is by no means California's first milestone, nor our last," he went on to say, "on America's road to equality and freedom for all people."

The defense team, though, already planning an appeal. And Judge Walker has issued a stay against enforcing his ruling while that happens. That means basically same-sex couples in California are still barred from marrying for now.

Just moments ago, I spoke with the two winning lead attorneys, David Boies and Ted Olson, who, you'll remember, were famously on opposite sides of the Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 election. They are at a rally in West Hollywood right now, so it's -- it's loud in the background.

I spoke to them just minutes ago. We managed to talk despite the noise. Listen.


COOPER: Mr. Boies, for you, what are the most important points of the judge's decision?

DAVID BOIES, ATTORNEY FOR THE AMERICAN FEDERATION FOR EQUAL RIGHTS: The most important points in the judge's opinions were three.

First, the judge held that marriage was a fundamental right for all individuals. Second, the judge held that depriving gay and lesbian citizens of the right to marry seriously harmed them and seriously harmed their children.

Third, the judge held that depriving gay and lesbian citizens of the right to marry had no benefit, no legitimate benefit, to society. It didn't help preserve heterosexual marriage. It didn't help heterosexual couples. It didn't have any rational basis.

And the judge found those (INAUDIBLE) based not only on the extensive amount of evidence that we had put on, but on the things that the defendants' witnesses had actually admitted in court.

COOPER: Mr. Olson, it does seem, during the trial, that your opponents' witnesses almost kind of argued in your favor. They seemed to help you more than they hurt you.


And in part they were assisted by David Boies' skillful cross- examination. But the real fact was that we brought in evidence from experts, the leading experts from throughout the world on marriage, the history of discrimination, the damage that's done by discriminating against gay people, the raising of children and so forth.

They did not have comparable evidence and they did not have comparable experts. The experts that they did have really didn't have much to say. And they really had to admit that discrimination is wrong, that gays and lesbians can raise children and they've raised children in a very, very happy family, and that discriminating against them does no good.

It is un-American. It is unequal. And it is unfair. They had to admit this.

I give great credit to David Boies for bringing that out in cross-examination. And the judge made the point at the end of the trial and in his decision today that their evidence didn't amount to anything and it was overwhelmed by the evidence and the experts that we put on.

COOPER: And, Mr. --

BOIES: And the thing to keep in mind --

COOPER: Go ahead.

BOIES: The thing to keep in mind is that they were defended by very, very good counsel.

The problem with the defendants' case is not that they didn't put on their best case, but simply their best case didn't have any rational basis for this kind of discrimination.

COOPER: I mean, it seems like they had no evidence to argue the point that changing marriage, traditional marriage -- that -- that allowing same-sex marriages actually will negatively impact opposite- sex marriages.

BOIES: That's exactly right.

And the key issue that they had argued, the defendants had argued before trial, is that somehow allowing gays and lesbians to marry would harm heterosexual marriage. Now, there's a certain lack of common sense in that argument.

But the key thing is -- is that, at trial, not only did we bring in empirical evidence that showed that had not happened in any of the places where you already have marriage between gays and lesbians, but the natural understanding of what the purpose of marriage was made it clear that that was not going to happen.

And finally, even the defendants' own experts admitted that there was simply no evidence that there would be any harm to anyone, any heterosexual marriage, the institution of marriage, any harm to anyone that would come from ending this discrimination.

COOPER: Mr. Olson, the -- the strategy that the opponents of same-sex marriage used in the Prop 8 campaign was very different than what they argued in court. During the campaign, they were basically playing upon fears, parents' fears that their children would somehow be indoctrinated in school. But they didn't use it in court. Why not?

OLSON: Well, I think that what they realized is that -- you are correct that, that they -- and during the campaign, they argued that it was necessary to pass Proposition 8 to protect our children from thinking that it was ok to be gay, that it was ok for gay people to have the normal marital relationship that the rest of our neighbors do.

They realized that that sounded and was discriminatory, that it recognized or it called out for people to think upon gays and lesbians as different and unequal and less favored. So, they abandoned that during the trial. They knew it would not work.

And then they resorted to this idea that somehow allowing your neighbors to get married would somehow discourage heterosexual couples from getting married or having children. And the evidence didn't support that.

So, they tried one thing during the campaign. Then they -- then they abandoned that and they tried something else during the trial, and that didn't work either.

COOPER: And Mr. Boies, for those who say why not have domestic partnerships, why marriage?

BOIES: Well, what the judge found and what all the evidence showed was that domestic partnerships were not equal to marriage, that when the state sponsors discrimination against gay and lesbian couples by saying, you have to have this second-class status, you can't have marriage like normal people, that's the worst kind of state-sponsored discrimination.

We have a lot of areas in this country where we still have a long ways to go before we achieve the kind of equality that our country was founded and believing in, that this is the only area in which the state actually has official state-sponsored, state-enforced discrimination.

And when the state says to gay and lesbian couples, you're not good enough for marriage you have to be -- settle for domestic partnerships, that is straight-out discrimination. And the judge found that it's harmed gays, it's harmed lesbian couples, it's harmed their children, and it has no benefit to anybody.


COOPER: Those was attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson at a rally in West Hollywood. I apologize for the background noise.

So, what happens next? We'll hear from both sides of the marriage debate, Evan Wolfson and Maggie Gallagher, ahead.

As always, you can let us know what you think, logging onto the live chat up and running right now, Later in the program, "Crime & Punishment" -- the man who killed eight yesterday, now for the first time, we're hearing the moments of terror caught on tape, the first 911 call, with the gunman still on a rampage.


STEVE HOLLANDER, VICE PRESIDENT, HARTFORD DISTRIBUTORS: It's a black gun. I don't know. He's got a -- he's carrying a red -- he's carrying a -- he's wearing a blue shirt and blue shorts. He has got -- he's got a -- oh (EXPLETIVE DELETED). He is still shooting. I hear guns out there.

911 OPERATOR: All right. You said he used to work there?

HOLLANDER: Yes, until I just fired him.

911 OPERATOR: Today?

HOLLANDER: Today, just now, before he started shooting. He is chasing people out in the parking lot.



COOPER: You're looking there at a rally tonight in California, people celebrating after a federal court judge strikes down California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. It is certainly not over.

If you need any additional proof, consider this. One of our next guests tonight represents a group called Freedom to Marry. The other heads up the National Organization for Marriage -- similar-sounding games, totally different conceptions of what marriage ought to be.

Evan Wolfson with Freedom to Marry joins us now, and Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage.

I appreciate both of you coming on.

Mr. Wolfson, where does your battle go from here, as far as you're concerned?

EVAN WOLFSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FREEDOM TO MARRY: Well, this is a very important step on the road for victory, but we have a long way to go. There are many twists in the road for -- to this case.

COOPER: Federal appeals is the next step, Federal Appeals Court?

WOLFSON: That's right. This case will certainly be appealed and it will go to the Ninth Circuit Federal Appellate court in California.

And, meanwhile, it's important that the rest of us who believed in fairness make the same case for the freedom to marry in the court of public opinion that the lawyers made in the court of law. COOPER: But, if this is going to be settled in -- in courts, why does public opinion matter?

WOLFSON: Because courts don't operate in a vacuum. Judges listen to what's being said. They hear what's being said. They watch what's being said. And they also look at public opinion. They look at the way in which the nation's understanding of who gay people are, of why marriage matters, stereotypes that used to seem real, but now we know aren't, judges pay attention to all of that.

And that is part of the climate that surrounds the courts. And you hear it from the other side in their constant efforts to demonize and undermine the courts. We --


WOLFSON: We need to stand up for that.

COOPER: Ms. Gallagher, this is probably going to go to the Supreme Court. Given the conservative nature of the court right now, are you confident that they would not -- that they will uphold Proposition 8?

MAGGIE GALLAGHER, CHAIR, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE: I'm optimistic. I mean, we have -- this isn't the first federal judge to strike down a marriage amendment. It happened in Nebraska in 2005. The Eighth Circuit immediately rejected the idea that there is a right to gay marriage in our Constitution, which doesn't exist.

And we think the reason -- you know, this case was pushed by two straight guys with big egos -- you just heard from them -- against the wishes of the gay legal establishment. I think they fear what we anticipate, that there are not five votes to import into our federal Constitution the idea that to make a marriage you need a husband and wife is somehow bigotry akin to objections to interracial marriage.

COOPER: Mr. Wolfson, do you agree with that, the Supreme Court may not uphold it?

WOLFSON: Well, we're going to have to see what the Supreme Court does. And there are many twists ahead.

One of the things we can do to help the Supreme Court get there is to have the abundant evidence that we see from places like Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa, Canada, South Africa, that ending marriage discrimination helps families and hurts no one.

The more people have a reality on which to judge this, instead of scary right-wing rhetoric and fear-mongering, the more people move in support of --


COOPER: To Ms. Gallagher's point, she was saying that -- that the court said that there is a right to gay marriage.


COOPER: The court wasn't saying that there's a right to gay marriage. They were saying that -- that everybody has a right to marry that that is a fundamental right.


WOLFSON: That's exactly right.


WOLFSON: Excuse me.


WOLFSON: My organization is called --


COOPER: That's the judge's point of view, so I just want to get clarification on the judge's point of view from Mr. Wolfson.

WOLFSON: Thank you.

My organization is called Freedom to Marry. It's not called Gay Marriage. It's not called Mandatory Marriage. It's not called You Have to Do What Somebody Else Wants Marriage. It's about the rights we all share as an American to make a personal choice of a partner in life and have that commitment in life respected under the law.

COOPER: Ms. Gallagher, it was interesting, because in the -- in the court case, what the side in support of Proposition 8, against same-sex marriage, was arguing was that marriage is about procreation.

But the judge pointed out that there's many marriages that aren't for procreation and -- and that, in fact, the Supreme Court has numerous times said that marriage is about much more than that, that it's about liberty, it's about freedom.

GALLAGHER: Seven -- seven million Californians believed that we had a core civil right to organize, to donate, to vote for marriage.

One judge in federal -- a federal judge in San Francisco has stripped us of that core civil right. And he has done so on the grounds that he believes science has disproved the idea that children need a mother and father.

I said five years ago, this judge has proved the case for gay marriage is ultimately rooted in a rejection of -- of common sense and core ideas about the natural family --

COOPER: But none of that was proved -- none of that --

GALLAGHER: -- including that children need -- including the idea that children need a mother and father.

COOPER: OK. We can talk -- none of that, though, was actually proved in the court of law. I mean, your --

GALLAGHER: The majority -- the majority --

COOPER: Your side had -- had the opportunity to present witnesses. And the witness they produced basically often --

GALLAGHER: Well, this --


COOPER: -- ended up arguing the side -- the opposite side.

GALLAGHER: This biased judge made that conclusion.

COOPER: Why do you think he is biased?

GALLAGHER: But I will tell you, the majority --

COOPER: Why do you think he is biased?

GALLAGHER: -- the majority of courts and the majority of Americans have rejected the idea that same-sex union -- same-sex marriage is a civil right. And I think, in the end, we will win this, both in the court of law and the court --

COOPER: Why do you think he's biased?

GALLAGHER: Why do I think -- I don't know why he's biased. But the reason I think he's biased is, he telegraphed from the beginning in a variety of ways that he wanted to preside over a historic trial.

I think the most blatant example was his desire -- his -- his attempt to skirt federal rules that prevent the televising of trials, over the objections of one side in this case.


GALLAGHER: And the Supreme Court had to slap him down on that.

COOPER: Mr. Wolfson --

GALLAGHER: But that was one of many rulings in this case that was slanted to one side, in our -- in our view.

COOPER: Mr. Wolfson the judge ruled today that "Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples."

WOLFSON: Right. And --


COOPER: He's essentially saying that this was about discrimination at its core. WOLFSON: Well, that's right, because, as you were pointing out, when they were given a chance to come into the court with any witness, any evidence, any authorities, any expertise, they had nothing. There was absolutely no reason to justify this exclusion.

And so the only thing left therefore, is people's prejudice or discomfort or fear or anxiety, all of which was stoked by a $40 million campaign to railroad this through. And what the judge said is, in America, there are certain basic freedoms and basic rights that belong to each one of us that don't get put up to a vote.

That's why we have a Constitution.


COOPER: But both sides in this debate spend an awful lot of money on this.

Ms. Gallagher, the argument that you made about a majority of Americans opposing same-sex marriage, that's true -- that is certainly true, according to polls.

But the critics point out, saying, look, the majority of Americans were also opposed to interracial Americans. Ninety-four percent, I think, were opposed back in 1958. Seventy- three percent were opposed in 1968.

Do you think the Supreme Court was wrong to go against public opinion back then?

GALLAGHER: I think that the 14th Amendment protects against racial discrimination. I do not think it requires Americans to recognize something that is not true.


COOPER: But, no, no, no.


COOPER: Wait, but that's not my question.


COOPER: My question is, was it wrong if for the Supreme Court to go against public opinion?


COOPER: You're saying --


GALLAGHER: It was --

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: You're saying it's wrong in this case for the Supreme -- for -- for a court to go against public opinion.

GALLAGHER: I think the comparison you just made -- and just give me, you know, one-quarter of the time Evan just got and the two lawyers -- is that the idea that Americans are like racists for believing marriage is the union of a husband and wife is absurd and outrageous.

It's a slur against the goodwill of the American people. It's wrong. It's not in our Constitution. And this will not be overturned. The majority --


GALLAGHER: The majority -- it's not just the majority of Californians or the majority of the American people. It is the majority of courts, including, most recently, the E.U. Court of Human Rights --


GALLAGHER: -- that have rejected the idea that this is a fundamental human right.

COOPER: So, let me just --


GALLAGHER: It is not discrimination to treat different things differently.

Marriage is a union of husband and wife, because these are the unions that make new life and connect children and love to their mother and father.


I just want to give you the opportunity to actually answer --

GALLAGHER: This is not hatred. It is not bigotry.


GALLAGHER: It is not discrimination.

Thank you. And what do you want to ask me?


Well, I just want to give you the opportunity once again to answer. You're not -- you're saying that a judge can overturn the will of the -- the people? You're saying when it --


GALLAGHER: When it's actually rooted in our Constitution, yes --


That's all I wanted to know.

GALLAGHER: -- like the -- like the ban on racial discrimination in the 14th Amendment.

COOPER: OK. That's all I was asking.

GALLAGHER: But this -- this is a big stretch, to imagine that our founding fathers were banning gay marriage in passing our Constitution.

COOPER: Well, Mr. Wolfson, to that --

GALLAGHER: I think many people will recognize that.

COOPER: -- but -- she raises a point which a lot of people raise, is why should one judge be able to overturn the -- the will of the people?

WOLFSON: Well, it's not just one judge. It's the whole system of courts and an independent judiciary. It's the whole idea of a Constitution.

In America, we have two great political principles. One is that kings don't rule. The majority rules in ordinary things. But the other equally important American principle is that there are certain things that don't get put up for a vote.

You don't put my freedom of speech, my freedom of religion, my freedom to marry up to somebody else's dictate, because that belongs to all of us. And the courts and the Constitution exist to safeguard that protection.

COOPER: Ms. Gallagher, I was talking to Erick Erickson in an earlier segment. And he says that he thinks, in 20 years, this is going to be a nonissue that the tide of history is moving in the direction of same-sex marriage.

Do you -- do you believe that is true? I mean, obviously, it's a fear, it's a concern, but you don't --

GALLAGHER: No, I don't. I don't -- I actually don't believe the future belongs to same-sex marriage.

I think civilizations that lose the idea as basic as to make a marriage, you need a husband and wife, or try to put in their founding documents the idea that children need a mom and dad is now bigotry, are going to be in trouble.

And I want to protect America from that trouble down the road.

WOLFSON: Well, actually, the proof that the National Organization for Marriage and the millions of dollars they funnel into these campaigns don't believe that they have the best arguments and the reason that we know that they do fear that public opinion is moving in the direction of fairness is that they're trying to cement these discriminatory barriers into constitutions to prevent legislatures, to prevent the people from making a decision to end this discrimination this year, next year, or in the future.

They're trying to tie the hands of the political branches.


GALLAGHER: Evan, you're entitled to your view, but you're not entitled to make up my views. That is not my view. Thank you.

COOPER: Ms. Gallagher, I appreciate your time.

GALLAGHER: Thank you.

COOPER: And Mr. Wolfson as well, thank you very much.

WOLFSON: Thank you.

COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" next: a chilling new window into the Connecticut workplace shooting rampage in which eight people were murdered; the gunshot shot himself.

Tonight, for the first time, we're hearing the 911 calls made while he was still on the loose.


911 OPERATOR: Nine-one-one.

STEVE HOLLANDER, VICE PRESIDENT, HARTFORD DISTRIBUTORS: I need the cops here at Hartford Distributors right away. Shooting.

911 OPERATOR: What's going on? Who got shot?

HOLLANDER: Somebody got shot. I got shot.

911 OPERATOR: OK. I need some information, sir. Who got shot?

HOLLANDER: Somebody -- we need the cops. Omar Thornton is shooting people. And I just got shot.

911 OPERATOR: OK, I need to know what his name is and what --


HOLLANDER: His name is Omar Thornton. He is a black guy. Get the cops here right away, please.

911 OPERATOR: Sir, stay on the line with me.

HOLLANDER: I'm bleeding all over the place.

(CROSSTALK) 911 OPERATOR: OK. How many people got shot?

HOLLANDER: I don't know.

911 OPERATOR: OK, you don't know. And you are shot where?

HOLLANDER: In my head.

911 OPERATOR: You are shot in the head?


911 OPERATOR: And what's your name?

HOLLANDER: My name is Steve Hollander.

911 OPERATOR: And where are you in the building, sir?

HOLLANDER: I'm hiding in an office.

911 OPERATOR: Hiding where?

HOLLANDER: In an office.


COOPER: We'll have that.

Also tonight, "Raw Politics": fallout from the decision to allow an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero. Was that decision America at its best or its most naive? Both sides, so you can decide for yourself.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Today, authorities released the 911 tapes from yesterday's workplace massacre in Connecticut. The tapes, which you're going to hear in just a moment, reveal the terror the survivors of the rampage experienced as the killer, armed with two .9-millimeter handguns, executed eight people before taking his own life.

The gunman has been identified. His name is Omar Thornton. He was a trucker for a beverage distribution company. His family said he claimed he was the victim of racial harassment by other employees.

Supervisors said Thornton was stealing beer. And, at a meeting Tuesday morning, they gave him a choice. He could either quit or resign. That's when he opened fire.

I want to play you the 911 call made by Steve Hollander. He's the chief operating officer for the company. Shot in the head and bleeding, this is what he told the operator on the call.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) 911 OPERATOR: Nine-one-one.

HOLLANDER: I need the cops here at Hartford Distributors right away. Shooting.

911 OPERATOR: What's going on? Who got shot?

HOLLANDER: Somebody got shot. I got shot.

911 OPERATOR: OK. I need some information, sir. Who got shot?

HOLLANDER: Somebody -- we need the cops. Omar Thornton is shooting people. And I just got shot.

911 OPERATOR: OK, I need to know what his name is and what --


HOLLANDER: His name is Omar Thornton, he is a black guy get the cops here right away, please.

911 OPERATOR: Sir, stay on the line with me. My partner --

HOLLANDER: I'm bleeding all over the place.


911 OPERATOR: OK. How many people got shot?

HOLLANDER: I don't know.

911 OPERATOR: OK, you don't know. And you are shot where?

HOLLANDER: In my head.

911 OPERATOR: You are shot in the head?


911 OPERATOR: And what's your name?

HOLLANDER: My name is Steve Hollander.

911 OPERATOR: OK. Who was the person shooting people again?

HOLLANDER: His name is Omar Thornton. He is a black guy. He is wearing shorts.

911 OPERATOR: OK, black man, shorts. Anything else? What kind of gun?

HOLLANDER: I don't know. I didn't see it.

911 OPERATOR: You didn't see it. And where are you in the building, sir?

HOLLANDER: I'm hiding in an office.

911 OPERATOR: Hiding where?

HOLLANDER: In an office. People are running all over the place.

911 OPERATOR: OK, I understand that. But if you keep talking to me, we can help you more. Ok?

HOLLANDER: OK, all right, yes.

911 OPERATOR: OK. And you don't know if it was an automatic weapon or not?

HOLLANDER: I don't. He shot pretty fast.

911 OPERATOR: Ok and you are still -- are you bleeding a lot?

HOLLANDER: Yes. And there's people running all over the place.


HOLLANDER: Oh, yes, I can see him running now. He's running away right now.

911 OPERATOR: He's running away?

HOLLANDER: He is shooting at somebody else. Yes, he is still shooting.

911 OPERATOR: The shooter is outside.

HOLLANDER: He is shooting at a girl.

911 OPERATOR: OK. How many people are down, sir?

911 OPERATOR: Just (INAUDIBLE) and say we're on the way.

HOLLANDER: He's got a -- he is still running after people. He is not leaving.

911 OPERATOR: OK. Do you see what kind of gun he has, sir?


HOLLANDER: It's a black gun. I don't know. He's got a -- he's carrying a red -- he's carrying a -- he's wearing a blue shirt and blue shorts. He has got -- he's got a -- oh (EXPLETIVE DELETED). He is still shooting. I hear guns out there.

911 OPERATOR: All right. You said he used to work there?

HOLLANDER: Yes, until I just fired him.

911 OPERATOR: Today?

HOLLANDER: Today, just now, before he started shooting. He is chasing people out in the parking lot.

911 OPERATOR: He is in the parking lot chasing people.

HOLLANDER: With his gun, shooting at them. He's got a -- he's carrying a red lunch bag.


HOLLANDER: He is right out in front of my office right now. I see him walking around.

911 OPERATOR: A red bag?

HOLLANDER: He's got -- yes, he's got black shorts and a blue shirt. He's still walking around in the parking lot.

911 OPERATOR: (INAUDIBLE) We have a black male shooter. (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: All right, where is he now?

HOLLANDER: He's -- he may be coming back into the building.

911 OPERATOR: Whereabouts?

HOLLANDER: The side door.

911 OPERATOR: Stay where you are, all right?


911 OPERATOR: Thank you.


COOPER: Unbelievable stuff. Hollander survived the shooting. Eight others, though, did not.

Let's catch up on some of the other stories making news tonight. Joe Johns has the "360 Bulletin" -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a passenger aboard an American airlines flight today was removed after allegedly lighting the match in the cabin. It happened while the plane was en route from New York to Los Angeles.

We're told the incident prompted an emergency landing in Albuquerque. The passenger is being questioned by the FBI.

A new development in the shooting death of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright: police say they've searched the home of Wright's ex- wife. Wright's body was found in a wooded area in Memphis one week ago. He'd been missing since visiting his ex-wife's home more than two weeks ago.

The daughter of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been busted for shoplifting. Police say 20-year-old Caroline Giuliani was caught stealing from a Sephora makeup store on the posh upper east side of Manhattan. Caroline, a student at Harvard is the youngest of the former mayor's two children.

So curious -- you wonder if it's a security stunt? A sorority stunt? I don't know.

COOPER: Yes. Well, I guess we'll hear sometime.

Coming up, "Raw Politics" President Obama -- guess how many people out there think he was not born in America. Do you think it's just maybe a fringe group? You'll hear the results of a new CNN poll. It may surprise.

And how a grieving family used Facebook to avenge the death of their loved one, this man killed by a drunk driver. It's our "Crime and Punishment" segment tonight.


COOPER: Well, despite the evidence, despite the facts, despite all the proof that discounts the theory, many Americans believe that President Obama is not a natural-born citizen.

Take a look at this. A new CNN Opinion Research poll shows that 16 percent of Americans think Mr. Obama probably was not born in the U.S. And 11 percent say he definitely wasn't born here. Combined, more than a quarter of those surveyed apparently agree with the birther movement. And this new poll comes on the day President Obama turned 49.

Let's talk about it in the "Raw Politics". With me now: CNN contributor and Democratic strategist, Paul Begala; and CNN contributor and editor-in-chief of, Erick Erickson.


COOPER: I want to ask you both about this poll that is now out on the President's birthday basically showing that more than -- that at least a quarter of the country saying they're not sure where the President was born. That he -- a lot of them believe he was born overseas.

Paul, this far into the presidency, does it make sense that so many people still seem to believe this?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This is where I think we're going where partisans pick facts to suit their case. It's 41 percent of Republicans; 41 percent who believe that President Obama was not born in America. Now he was. It's a fact. It's indisputable.

And what frustrates me sometimes in the media is what I call the "Neil Armstrong effect". One person says, the moon is made of green cheese and we had somebody else on from NASA who said, no actually it's made of rock. Somebody needs to call Neil Armstrong. You've been there. Is it a rock or is it green cheese? We've looked at it, the media has, and of course, the Republican Governor of Hawaii has looked at the man's birth certificate. He was born in Hawaii.

And it really is a shame I think on the Republican right wing media that they pushed this distortion. And it reflects very poorly, frankly, on conservative media.

COOPER: Erick, I know on your site, you don't cotton to this sort of thing. You think it's just a fringe group. But I mean 14 percent of Republicans saying they're sure that Obama was definitely born in another country.

ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REDSTATE.COM: You know I can't help that there are a lot of crazy people out here, a lot of people are wrong. I'm reminded -- go back to George Bush and the documents that were proven forgeries that Dan Rather used. A lot of people on the left still think they were legitimate arguments where they weren't. We get into this Bush derangement syndrome, Obama derangement syndrome; before them the Clinton derangement syndrome. There are some people who are so partisan they have lost touch with the reality the rest of us live in.

I can't make excuses for them. They just need to come back to earth.

BEHAR: The other big partisan battle I want to ask both of you about is this battle over an Islamic center, a mosque, two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York.

Paul, I mean, how much does it concern you that you have conservatives arguing that there should be investigations of the backgrounds of religious figures who have not committed any crime by any definition.

BEGALA: You know, again, this I think cuts against the libertarian message which is the government shouldn't tell somebody on private property how they worshipped God or where to worship God.

By the way, there's been a mosque in Tribeca not very far from Ground Zero for 30 years. Mike Bloomberg, independent mayor of New York City gave quite a conservative argument for this today when he said, governments shouldn't be telling private property owners how, where, when, and who to worship.

COOPER: Erick, I understand the politics behind it. I understand the emotion behind it. But as a conservative, does it worry you, government investigating people who basically doing something with private property?

ERICKSON: You know, it does. The private property issue is a canard to a degree. There are bigger issues at stake. We are at war with a group of people. This is going to be a propaganda victory for a lot of people who we shouldn't be giving them that victory. COOPER: This is a guy -- I don't know him personally. He's a guy who's been here. He's a U.S. citizen. He's been preaching in Tribeca for more than 20 years in a mosque. The State Department sends him out around the world to represent the United States as a place that's welcoming of Muslims.

Isn't this exactly playing into the hands of Osama bin Laden by painting all Muslims with the same brush and basically saying moderate Muslims are under suspicion unless they can prove their allegiance?

ERICKSON: We're not painting all Muslims with that brush. We're painting some with that brush who deserve it, I think. This is a guy who says one thing in the United States and goes overseas and says things that we would find abhorrent here.

The larger issue though is the respect for Ground Zero. And now the argument is that, well this isn't really Ground Zero, it's 300 feet away when these people who bought the property, bought it, they pitched it as being at Ground Zero.

COOPER: I'm just thinking, if you're Osama bin Laden and you're sitting in North Waziristan and you're watching this debate as he no doubt is, he's going to be pleased to be able to say, look, they're not allowing a mosque to be built in New York City whereas if a mosque is built near the hallowed ground of Ground Zero, offensive to many people, no doubt about it. I mean, I have qualms about it myself.


COOPER: But doesn't it send a message about what America is and the strength of America and their values? Oh.

ERICKSON: You know, I would love to believe that. But, no, overseas is not going to be viewed that way. It will be a propaganda victory for a lot of radical Islamists to have a mosque planted on Ground Zero.

BEGALA: I disagree, Erick. I think the propaganda victory is if, in fact, they are blocked and they can argue, once again, that they're oppressed by the Great Satan, America, which is not true.

I would point out the most famous Muslim in the whole wide world is an American, Mohammed Ali. This country has been welcoming to Muslims for two centuries and we continue to be. Those people who perverted that religion in that terrorist attack should not be seen by Americans as the face of Islam. And we shouldn't allow that.

COOPER: Going to leave it there. Paul Begala, Erick Erickson, appreciate your time. Thanks.

ERICKSON: Thank you.


COOPER: Let us know what you think at "Crime & Punishment" next: everyone uses Facebook, of course. But can it be used to bring a killer to justice? Tonight, how friends and family of a drunk-driving victim did just that.

Also tonight, 107 days after the DeepWater Horizon tragedy, a major milestone, but is the government telling the whole truth? We'll get the latest live from the Gulf, coming up.


COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight, Facebook and the search for justice.

When an Air Force veteran was killed by a drunk driver, his family and friends turned to his Facebook page to pay tribute to his life but also to track the woman who took it.

Here's Ted Rowlands.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paul Maidman was 28, a student up pulling an all-nighter. At 3 a.m. on a Friday, he went out to make copies and buy an energy drink. He was killed by a drunk driver.

DAWN BUIST, MAIDMAN'S SISTER: It's by far the worst day in all of our lives.

ROWLANDS: Paul's sister Dawn says her brother was a computer genius who served eight years in the Air Force, had a great job, and was working on a degree because he wanted to run for political office.

BUIST: To get to that point that everybody wants to be at in life, to have it stolen from him in the middle of the night like that is so -- so unbelievable. It's so unfair.

ROWLANDS: Paul Maidman left something behind. A few years ago, he created a Web site to keep up with friends. He called it TeamPaul. And as a joke, he made a "Team Paul" T-shirt with his face on it. Now his family is using TeamPaul to fight for justice against the driver who killed him.

(on camera): Maidman was sitting at this intersection, waiting for the light to change when he was hit from behind. You can see the yellow lines in the road here showing how his car was pushed all the way across the road into this pole. His car came to rest over here where these yellow boxes represent the placement of the tires of the vehicle.

Maidman died on the way to the hospital. Police say the person that hit him was traveling at more than 80 miles per hour.

(voice-over): The driver is 29-year-old Miranda Dalton. Police say she never used her brakes. Earlier, she'd been out drinking, $1 cocktails on ladies' night at this Las Vegas country bar. On the bar's Web site, they actually have video of Dalton dancing from last year, and she posed for this photo the night of the fatal crash.

According to the police report at the accident scene, Dalton's speech was so slurred an officer thought she had a foreign object in her mouth. Her blood alcohol level was over twice the legal limit, and she had a prior DUI conviction in 2001.

On the day of Paul Maidman's wake, two things happened. Dalton was released on bail, and Team Paul came back to life. The Web site and a new Facebook page became a rallying point to urge people to pressure the legal system not to go lightly on Dalton.

It also became a spontaneous surveillance network. Within weeks, people were starting to report on Dalton's whereabouts. Then, on what would have been Paul's 29th birthday, his sister got a call.

(on camera): The call came from this Las Vegas bar. The caller said that Miranda Dalton was inside partying.

(voice-over): The court had ordered her not to drink. She was wearing an ankle device to detect alcohol.

BUIST: Something came over me that said, Dawn, get in your car, just go there. See for yourself if she's even actually there.

ROWLANDS (on camera): When she arrived, she found Dalton inside, got out her cell phone, and started taking pictures.

(voice-over): The photos show Dalton with her hair dyed and wearing glasses. When a judge saw the photos and learned the ankle device might have been tampered with, she raised her bail to a half million dollars and Dalton was back in jail.


ROWLANDS: Dalton pled guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced this month. Maidman's family attended this hearing wearing Team Paul T-shirts.

Outside, Dalton's friend defended her.

MELISSA ALDERMAN, FRIEND OF MIRANDA DALTON: There's more to her than just the accident that happened that night. There's a lot more to her. She's a mother. She's a friend. She's a daughter.

I mean, her choices were wrong, clearly, obviously. But to try to push for a harsher penalty, I don't think it's going to do more justice.

ROWLANDS: About 3,000 people are on the Team Paul Facebook page. They agree it is about justice.

BUIST: It can never be hard enough on her, ever, because she's done it before. And she would do it again. And the next time it could be my child or my neighbor's child.

ROWLANDS: Paul's family is hoping to grow Team Paul even bigger. They'd like to see it push for harsher drunk driving laws around the country so other families don't have to suffer like they are.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Las Vegas.


COOPER: What a strong family.

A quick programming note: tomorrow on 360, "Crime & Punishment" and Facebook robbers. We're going to look at how criminals are using social networking sites like Facebook to prey on unsuspecting victims. You can catch a full report tomorrow on 360.

Still ahead a Motown makeover: one of Detroit's poorest neighborhoods gets help going green. How it will save them money and keep them warmer this winter is our "One Simple Thing" report.


COOPER: After 107 days, a milestone in the efforts to end the BP disaster. Today government officials in BP said the well was essentially sealed off. That after the static kill operation pumped heavy drilling mud into it. And just a short time ago, retired Admiral Thad Allen gave BP the green light to cement the damaged well.

Now, earlier in the day, a new government report said about 75 percent of the oil that flowed into the Gulf is gone, which President Obama was quick to seize on. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A report out today by our scientists showed that the vast majority of the spilled oil has been dispersed or removed from the water. So the long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally close to coming to an end. And we are very pleased with that.


COOPER: Not everyone agrees with that, however, that assessment. The methodology of the report isn't really clear. And the -- and the group -- the NOAA, the group that released the report, they're the same ones who claimed that only 5,000 barrels of oil were pouring out of the well based on surface images. And now they say, well, actually back then about 60,000 barrels a day were pouring out.

Tom Foreman joins us with the latest -- Tom.


You know, the government's analysis of what happened to the nearly 5 million barrels of oil that gushed from that well is raising hope and sharp skepticism here on the coast tonight. Look at this. The report says a quarter of the oil was taken care of by burning, skimming, or direct capture. Another quarter naturally evaporated or dissolved. Another quarter was dispersed in the water as microscopic droplets. And the last quarter is still there as what they call a light sheen on or near the surface, or it has turned into tar balls and been cleaned up or buried in the sand, Anderson. That's what they're saying happening to all this oil.

COOPER: And it sounds like good news, but the methodology -- I mean, when you actually look at this report and the details, the methodology they use is not clear. And now some very reputable independent scientists are raising real questions about, you know, whether these figures are legit.

FOREMAN: Yes, well, you know, and that's a fair question as they raised before. And the truth is that, when you talk to the people along the Gulf here, some of them buy all of this, but many emphatically do not.

Over and over again, folks have told me that they think the government and BP despite all of these pledges of transparency, have misled them and hidden information. That's what people on the Gulf keep telling me.

And listen to what a woman said today in a fishing town here about this government report when I went down to talk to her. Her name is Phoebe Jones.


PHOEBE JONES, RESIDENT: If they're doing so good, why are all these people still here working? Why? Because they're not done.

FOREMAN: So you don't believe what you're being told?

JONES: No, I don't. I mean they sprayed all these dispersants and stuff and it made the oil sink. So of course it's going to be off the top, because it all sunk.

FOREMAN: Why would they be saying they're making all this progress if it's not true though.

JONES: Because they want to cover their butts. They actually want to cover their butts because they know they got more problems ahead. Because when all these other people around here start getting sicker and sicker, they'll see it.


FOREMAN: A new survey out of Columbia University of 1,200 coastal residents shows she's not alone in her anger or her doubt. One in five, say they've lost income to the spill. About one in ten, say they've lost their jobs. And a quarter think that they will have to move away from the Gulf as the true impact finally becomes known, Anderson. COOPER: Yes, and Ken Feinberg says that mental health issues are not going to be paid for counseling and the like. It's not going to be paid for in this $20 billion fund.

And I think, the last I heard, BP still hasn't said whether or not they were going to pay the states. I know Louisiana long ago, months ago, had asked for millions, a few million for mental health counseling and stuff. I think they haven't gotten word on that. We'll double check on that tomorrow.

But local officials, how are they reacting to all these new studies?

FOREMAN: Well, I'll tell you, Anderson, what they're doing is they are pressing fast and hard right now to make sure that BP and the Fed stay engaged on the cleanup and restoration of the economy here.

I tell you, what President Obama said, I think makes people nervous here because they feel like that's the disengagement. You know, problem solved.

They know here that their states have lost tourism, by one estimate maybe up to $23 billion worth over the next three years. Untold numbers of animals have been injured or killed and miles of habitat soiled. I say untold, because when you talk about contamination of a nursery area for some species, the impact might not be known for years and could be very bad.

And, of course, there's no complete tally on all the jobs lost, no real sense of how much trouble Gulf seafood producers are going to have selling their products when this is all over. That's why some local leaders here are saying very loudly tonight, make no mistake about it, the crisis for them is not past.

COOPER: Yes. And even the scientists, who -- the NOAA scientists who announced this -- this new report today very publicly said, look -- when pressed -- he said, look, we're not trying to give the impression that this thing is over. We're not going to know for years the impact of a lot of this stuff.

Tom, we'll continue to follow it. Tom Foreman thanks very much.

Detroit is often seen as the poster city for (INAUDIBLE) but a human rights group called Global Exchange sees potential when many others may not. They believe Detroit can become a model city and says one of its poorest neighborhoods soon may be teaching the rest of us how to live better.

Along with energy experts, it has launched a program called "Green Economy Leadership Training" or GELT; its goal, saving residents of Highland Park big bucks on their utility bills.

Joe Johns shows us how it works.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHNS: A watershed moment for members of the Green Economy Leadership Training team. After six weeks of intensive training, they're weatherizing their first home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Grocery bags actually acts as a perfect --



JOHNS: For Karletha Price, the help can't come soon enough. She's unemployed and raising six kids on her own.

KARLETHA PRICE, RESIDENT: We do not have the funds to really put new windows and everything we need in the home but this will help us with our heating tremendously.

JOHNS: Once inside the team installs window kits and seals cracks. Their work could save the family hundreds of dollars a year on their electric bill. Karletha's sons are relieved after spending the last few winters without heat.

LARRY, KARLETHA'S SON: We did have a little trouble in the wintertime and trying to keep us warm we'd have to light fires and stuff.

JOHNS: By the end of the summer the GELT team hopes to complete 200 more homes in Highland Park. It's part of an even greener plan designed by Global Exchange activist Scott Meloeny.

SCOTT MELOENY, GLOBAL EXCHANGE: We're talking about a citywide food system. We're talking about we're in the process of acquiring more land. We're talking about turning that land into full-scale agriculture. We're talking about revitalizing a farmer's market that hasn't been seen in Highland Park in decades.

JOHNS: Meloeny and GELT set up shop in Highland Park, once home to Ford and Chrysler, now one of the worst neighborhoods in Detroit. This formerly abandoned house is now a makeshift classroom. Here energy experts teach GELT members how to weatherize homes.

ANDREA FLEMING, W.A.R.M.: Today right now we're going to be talking about what goes into that electric bill.

JOHNS: And in a back yard overgrown for decades a so-called Urban Lab showing residents how to grow their own food.

MELOENY: These will be great for raised beds.

JOHNS: Compost and use a solar energy earth oven.

MELOENY: We can cook food in here. We can bake bread. We can put pizzas in.

JOHNS: The neighborhood kids are going green, too, sitting in on meetings, even composting.

ISAIAH, 12-YEAR-OLD: We're just helping out the folks out there, you know, helping out the folks do stuff and out in this world. And it's good to recycle.

MELOENY: We just need to first lay the foundation that people can say they did it there. We can do it in our community.

JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN.


COOPER: That's it for 360. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts now.

I'll see you tomorrow night.