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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Emergency Budget Talks End at White House; Gadhafi Regime Tossing out Journalists; Glenn Beck Ending Fox News Program; Zazzle Dazzles
Aired April 6, 2011 - 23:02 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: And good evening again.
Breaking news tonight: just moments ago a high level, high stakes meeting wrapped up at the White House. President Obama, Vice President Biden, House Speaker, John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid trying to hammer out a budget deal to avoid a government shutdown midnight Friday.
They've talked for about two hours but could not reach an agreement so barring something truly unexpected, a shutdown could begin Monday -- midnight Friday. Though, it's also possible a deal will be decided on before then.
Joining us now: senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash; senior political analyst, David Gergen and Gloria Borger; and at the White House, Dan Lothian.
So Dan no surprises really coming from the White House, though we did see a joint appearance by -- by Reid and Boehner.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And you know, it was very quick, they came out and made those statements. The good news is that they believe that they have sort of narrowed the gap. The bad news is that there's still no deal.
What we're hearing from both the President and also the lawmakers is that the White House teams and also the Hill teams will be working through the night to pick up or continue on from this meeting tonight to try and hammer out a deal.
From the President, what we heard was a real sense of urgency, and he's using sort of the American people and what could happen to them as -- as the -- the motivation for getting that deal done. Also, the White House very concerned about what a government shutdown could mean for the economy. They believe here that the economy is in a very positive trajectory, and there's a lot of concern that if the government does shut down, that could really stall things -- Anderson.
COOPER: In a moment, I'll show our viewers what President Obama said and what Speaker Boehner and also Harry Reid had to say.
David, how likely do you think at this point a shutdown is? DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that sure, the chances of a shutdown are going down. I think they're less than 50 percent right now, Anderson. The fact that they met for two hours, that -- that Reid and Boehner could come out and speak together as they did. Dana Bash has been pointing this out. You know symbolically very important, they're going to have their staffs work all night.
It's very clear even though they don't have a deal, they're in unity on one point. They don't want to shut down, the White House, the Democrats on the Hill and the Republicans on the Hill.
COOPER: Gloria, you agree with that?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I do.
GERGEN: Not all Republicans, maybe.
BORGER: Well, that's right, I think they're also in unity on another point, which is nobody wants to get the blame for a shutdown. And I think that John -- John Boehner is particularly aware of this, because he was around in 1995. He knows how the Republicans suffered as a result of that shutdown when Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the House.
So he doesn't want to get the blame for it, although I must say when you look at all the polling, Republicans are less concerned about a shutdown than Democrats are. Democrats want a compromise. Republican voters say you know what; it wouldn't be so bad if we made our point and shut the government down.
COOPER: Well, you'll hear some Tea Party rallies I was looking at a video of the Tea Party rally recently.
COOPER: Dana, where you had Tea Party -- some folks on the ground saying "shut it down."
BASH: Absolutely, they were outside the Capitol just today with signs saying shut it down and they had some Republican members of Congress saying the same thing -- egging them on. But -- but everybody who has spoken is right, there definitely seems to be less of a desire, even among the most ardent supporters of -- of doing whatever you need to do to stick -- to stick to principle, to shut the government down.
And just to Gloria's point, I was told that John Boehner, the House Speaker in a meeting with Republicans, stood up earlier this week and said I had a front row seat to the shutdown last time, you don't want that to happen, really making it clear that he means both in terms of what it means for the American people, for the country, for the economy, and maybe at this point more importantly politically for Republicans. It was very bad. Democrats, though, they also are worried about it, because they are not sure that things aren't different now and that perhaps they could get the blame, as well.
COOPER: Let's show what President Obama said really just about 15 minutes or so ago. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I remain confident that if we're serious about getting something done, we should be able to complete a deal and get it passed and avert a shutdown. But it's going to require a sufficient sense of urgency from all parties involved. It means that people have to recognize that a government shutdown has real consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We did have a productive conversation this evening. We do have some honest (ph) differences, but I do think we've made some progress. But I want to reiterate there's no agreement on a number and there's no agreement on the policy but there's an intent on both sides to continue to work together to try to resolve this.
No one wants the government to shut down. And we're going to continue to work throughout the night and tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And again, Dana, in terms of -- of actual money, how far apart are they?
BASH: We don't know exactly how far apart they are. They are keeping that very close to the vest, but what we do know is we're talking about less than $10 billion. And in the grand scheme of things, that is, forgive me, but peanuts. That really is not a lot of money and it's not really necessarily the money. It's symbolically maybe the level of spending especially for the Republican side, but it's much more about what they can cut, how they can come to an agreement on the philosophical differences over where in the budget what programs, what agencies, that is really a big issue.
And the other thing is policy issues. Policy writers as they're called that the House Republicans passed, things like cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood and making -- of having directors at the EPA can't deal with greenhouse gases. Those are some of the really, really tough issues that they are at odds over and it all fits into a bigger puzzle.
COOPER: You know David, it was interesting because when -- when a lot of the -- the Tea Party folks, the kind of the new blood in the Republican Party who came to Washington, you know, I've asked them on the program is compromise ok? And a lot of them were saying look, the problem is there has been too much compromise. But in the end in terms of actually getting step down it comes down to compromise.
GERGEN: It does, Anderson. And they clearly are -- are very conflicted within the congressional caucus. But I thought it was symbolic today or important that when John Boehner who's often seen as someone who's lost control of his caucus or has a hard time corralling it apparently when he met with his caucus, he got a standing ovation from them when he reported on the budget negotiations. That suggests he's got a lot of --
BASH: And he got choked up.
GERGEN: -- of strength there that perhaps we don't understand.
COOPER: You say he got choked up?
BASH: I was at that meeting --
GERGEN: Yes, please.
BASH: -- I was at that meeting and I heard the applause and I talked to lawmakers come out and I said what was the applause about? And they said it was just as you reported, David, it was that -- that he was getting choked up because of the support he was getting from his conference because he has been standing -- standing the ground that they want him to stand at this top.
BORGER: And you know the question, I talked to a Republican senator yesterday who raised this issue. He said, look, if I'm talking to House Republicans, what I'm saying to them is, is this the issue you really want to stake everything on?
Last year's budget relatively small sum, as Dana points out, although it is a lot of money? Wouldn't you rather make your large philosophical points about spending on raising the debt limit or on the big ideological battles to come, the budget that's been proposed by the Republican budget chairman, Congressman Ryan. Wouldn't you rather make it on those issues than on these smaller issues because you have larger points to make?
So Republican senators are actually talking to their House brethren and saying, you know, hold off.
COOPER: David, Dan, Gloria, Dana, thanks very much.
Libya next: breaking news there, the Gadhafi regime kicking reporters out of the country. We'll tell you how many we've heard so far.
COOPER: More breaking news tonight this out of Libya. Apparently upset with some of the media coverage the Gadhafi regime is getting, they are now planning on expelling a number of reporters from Tripoli. Initially 27 were identified by Gadhafi officials. Officials they told -- they were told -- those 27 were told they would have to leave Tripoli and leave the country.
Then that number was apparently cut to eight. We're not yet certain who the eight are nor is it clear why 27 suddenly became eight or why those eight were chosen. The regime obviously not transparent and never has been.
Another sign of that, former GOP Congressman Curt Weldon (ph) is still waiting to meet with Gadhafi in Tripoli. That's him on the right of your screen. He was invited to meet with Gadhafi. He says he came to urge him to give up power. Now, after waiting all day to speak with him, he's been offered a meeting tomorrow with the Libyan Prime Minister but not with Gadhafi. Mr. Weldon, by the way, has met Gadhafi a number of times as part of a congressional delegation to Libya in 2004.
As for Gadhafi himself, he spent -- he sent a letter today to President Obama. It is rambling, barely coherent and shot through with typos which we're showing for you now on the screen.
"We endeavor and hope", he writes, "that you will gain victory in the new election campaigne". That's with an "e" at the end of campaign. Quote, "You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action". He goes on -- "our dear son, Excellency, Baraka Hussein Abu oumama, your intervention is the name of the USA is a must, so that NATO would withdraw finally from the Libyan affair."
Apparently no one has the guts to proofread or fact check the Libyan dictator. As we said, a lot happening, a lot of moving parts to the story tonight.
Joining us Nic Robertson in Tripoli; here in New York, Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" and Princeton University's Anne- Marie Slaughter, until recently she served as Director of Policy Planning at the State Department.
Nic, what is the latest first of all with former Congressman Weldon? The meeting didn't happen today. He flew all the way thinking he was going to meet with Gadhafi. Is he just sitting, cooling his heels?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think cooling his heels is perhaps all he can do at the moment. It's certainly understandable that he's frustrated that he didn't get this meeting. Invited here meeting with the government Chief of Staff or -- or at least Moammar Gadhafi's chief of staff, a very senior government official here, but it hasn't translated into that meeting he was expecting.
And it puts him in a very, very awkward position. There's some sense here that maybe the op-ed that he wrote in "The New York Times" before he arrived here could have put the leaders back up a little bit and coming out getting ahead of the story if you will. But this is Moammar Gadhafi, and it's perhaps the way that many people remember him here, completely unpredictable. And Mr. Weldon isn't the first person that this leader has kept waiting -- Anderson.
COOPER: Anne-Marie, are Congressman Weldon's proposals even plausible? I mean it -- how likely is something actually would come out of this?
ANN MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, I think you have to see it as an opening bargaining position. I mean, there are different positions coming out of different people. The Gadhafi regime itself has presented a position both through Saif and then, the deputy foreign minister has been in Athens and in Ankra (ph). Their starting position is essentially that Gadhafi and Saif will preside over a democratic transition.
Now, the details of the proposal that Congressman Weldon has actually says no, maybe Saif would be part of some kind of council, but really it would be the rebels who would be in charge of leading to elections and there would be U.N. involvement. I think you have to see both of these as opening bids in a negotiation that has not yet actually kind of gotten going.
COOPER: Fareed, I mean, when you look at sort of this big picture, this rambling letter that -- that he sent to -- to President Obama, what -- what do you make of what's going on in Libya? I mean, where do you see this going now?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": My sense, Anderson, is the big picture is Gadhafi is feeling the pressure. There is no way, think about the alternative. There's no way if he felt that the military balance was moving in his favor or was strengthening, that he would be making any of these overtures. The letter to the President, the invitation to Weldon, the overtures that they have made, the -- even the conversation about what kind of post Gadhafi era, would have none of this would be happening.
COOPER: You don't think this could just be gamesmanship playing for time?
ZAKARIA: No, no, I don't think that. Because there's no point, time is not on his side in that sense. Clearly the sense -- you know, one of the things that's happened here is it really is an international effort. So the noose is tightening. He's there running out of funds. Of course they have lots of money, but at the end of the day, there's only so many places you can buy illicit weaponry from -- there's only so many places you can sell oil to -- all of those things are closing in on them and they're trying to find ways to come up with a workable exit.
Now, the plans they have are you know, pretty good for the Gadhafi family. So it's understandable that they are -- they're trying to make -- you know make the best of it. I think Congressman Weldon is making a huge mistake. He should not be involved -- engaged in this.
COOPER: You think he's in over his head?
ZAKARIA: He's in over his head, frankly. There are elements of the U.S. law he might be violating. This should be conducted by the U.S. government. This should be done with appointed emissaries of the President and the White House. It is not appropriate for him to be there.
The most important thing however, is clearly the Libyan regime is feeling the pressure. It is all the more reason why the White House should just stay the course, not do much in more than they are doing, not do much less than they're doing.
COOPER: Anne-Marie, do you agree with that -- that that they are feeling the pressure?
SLAUGHTER: I completely agree with Fareed's analysis that he's feeling the pressure, absolutely. I mean, what you saw initially was, you know, they -- we stopped him, NATO stopped him militarily. You've got the military situation to a place where now the diplomacy can really kick in and absolutely he's feeling the pressure.
But I'm not sure I agree that Congressman Weldon being there is such a bad thing. We have sent an official emissary; the U.S. government has sent an official emissary to the rebels. That's good. You now have somebody there talking to them.
But overall, if the White House were to send an official envoy to Gadhafi, then, you undercut the efforts that the Turks are making, that maybe the Greeks are making. The White House position all along has been we want other nations involved. Even the Indonesians have been making noises.
So I'm not sure it hurts to get some firsthand sense of what Gadhafi is thinking if indeed he gets the meeting. If the White House wanted to call off this meeting or undercut it, they could certainly say so and we haven't heard anything from them.
ZAKARIA: Well, I think -- I don't dispute that this is kind of a complication negotiating minuet. What -- what is the best strategy. What strikes me -- strikes me actually that's more significant, and I would love to hear from Anne-Marie, because she is by training an international lawyer. The chief prosecutor of the -- of the International Criminal Court came out with a very tough statement about Gadhafi. Mainly because of the -- you know, the kind of images that have come out.
COOPER: Right, the shooting of protesters, they said that was a deliberate -- they had evidence that that was a deliberate policy.
ZAKARIA: Precisely. Now, if that's the case, they rarely come out with these kinds of statements when they are not preparing to indict. When they do not have a criminal case, but they're going to make a case for war crimes against Gadhafi. If that's the case, it complicates our negotiations, because it means there isn't an easy exit for Gadhafi, there isn't a quiet retirement home in Maui that he can go to or some other African country. It means he's going to be pursued by the criminal court.
And so there isn't a plea bargain strategy here. And if that's the case, in a strange way it actually makes it more difficult to dislodge him from power. Or at least that's my initial hypothesis.
COOPER: Anne-Marie, do you agree with that?
SLAUGHTER: This is the absolute paradox or dilemma of peace versus justice. You can't have peace without justice. Clearly the rebels are saying, much of the world is saying look what this guy has done. You can't let him off the hook. That's why we have an International Criminal Court.
At the same time, what is most important right now is to get the fighting ended, so the Libyans can start rebuilding their country. And for that, Fareed is right, this makes things more difficult.
SLAUGHTER: There -- there are ways out if he goes to an African country that won't extradite him or is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court. Then you can bring the indictment, but he's effectively then prisoner in that country. But there are -- there's a little bit of wiggle room. But this is a -- it's -- it's a straightforward conflict between the demands of peace and justice.
COOPER: Nic, what do we know about the reporters who are going to be expelled, have some already left, have some already been expelled?
ROBERTSON: It won't happen for another few hours, and then it will perhaps become clear who actually has to leave, who may be able to get a stay of execution, if you will, and stay on a little longer.
It's -- it's a very much sort of a -- a looking-glass operation here. One person, one government official will tell you one thing, another will tell you another thing. You think you have been able to extend with one person, yet somebody else will call you up, as many journalists who have been forced out of the country over the past few weeks will tell you. You get a call in the middle of the night and you have to leave.
But however, I saw one journalist here today who was forced out with a phone call, I think it was Sunday night into Monday morning. And back in the hotel here again, forced out by one official and allowed back in by another one. It's a really --it's a looking-glass situation here -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's fascinating. Fareed Zakaria, thank you; Professor Slaughter thanks, as well. Nic, stay with us.
Well, still ahead, Nic sat down today with Eman Al Obeidy. We'll talk about that after the break.
COOPER: Tonight, more on what the Gadhafi regime is up to right now in Tripoli. As we mentioned earlier in the program, they allowed interview today with Nic Robertson and Eman Al-Obeidy, the woman whose allegations of gang rape against Gadhafi fighters got her hauled off and her life repeatedly threatened.
That's a photo from the interview today. We'll talk with Nic about it in a moment. Eman Al-Obeidy has been repeatedly smeared on Libyan state television. Called a traitor, a prostitute and just yesterday when we spoke with her and her mother, she told us about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMAN AL-OBEIDY, LIBYAN WOMAN ACCUSING GADHAFI'S SOLDIERS OF RAPE (through translator): Today I went to the court, and one of the employees in the court pulled his gun on me and said he was going to kill me. The people came and they held me. The whole day in the court they were saying, "We are going to kill this failure who reports on our brigades."
AISHA AHMAD, EMAN'S MOTHER (through translator): Who is going to kill you? Who?
AL-OBEIDY: An employee in the court, an employee in the court, an employee in the court. I can't go out to the street.
AHMAD: If you didn't leave they would have been able to get you, Eman.
AL-OBEIDY: Mom, they won't let me leave to Tobruk. I can't. I can't stay here anymore.
AHMAD: Think. Think. Think. Think with your sister to find a solution and bring you back before they kill you.
AL-OBEIDY: (INAUDIBLE) Mom, I am scared. I can't. Even at night, when the lights are closed, I dream all the people are screaming, all the people with him are dying. I dream of them trying to kill me.
AHMAD: No, do not be scared. Do not be scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Eman al-Obeidy talking to her mother yesterday.
Nic Robertson joins us once again, along with Reza Sayah in opposition-controlled Tobruk, where Eman's family lives.
So, Nic, you were able to talk with her today. What happened? How was she?
ROBERTSON: She seems much better than she was. She showed me the -- the remains of the scars and the bruising on her wrists, which is still there almost two weeks after she was tied up and repeatedly gang-raped. She said that physically she is beginning to recover, but her experiences here in Tripoli she's harassed still whenever she goes out of her house.
She -- this is a very, very strong lady who I saw stand up to government officials; stand up to say what she wanted to say. This is a lady who clearly has a lot of fire inside her, a lady who really wants to get her -- her story, the true, accurate story of what happened to her out.
And she said she wanted to thank all the people who supported her over this time, including CNN, but everyone she said, the thousands of people outside of the country who supported her.
But she seemed more composed than we've seen her and heard her in recent days. This, again, I have to say she came across as a very strong and courageous lady -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nic we've been getting so many tweets and e-mails from people asking is there any way for her to get out of Tripoli? So I just pass that question to you.
ROBERTSON: It's a very good question. I mean there were -- it seemed to be that there might be, this might be the logical thing for the government to do. And the impression that we get is there is still some people here who would like to see that happen but it may take more time than some people would wish.
Again, as I think I said to you a little earlier, this is a very looking-glass world here. And one gets contradictory information almost by the hour. I certainly believe that there are some influential people here who will be pushing for her to be allowed to leave. But I think there's a lot of people in this country who see what's happened to her as an internal issue and will want her to stay.
But I do understand that there are influential people here who will try to get her out of the country, but there's no -- we don't know for sure that they will win out on this by any stretch of the imagination -- Anderson.
COOPER: Reza, you were with Eman's family today in eastern Libya. I just want to watch some of the interview that you did with Eman's mom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You finally spoke to your daughter, Eman. What was that like?
AHMAD: It was a feeling any mother would have after talking to her daughter after a very long time.
SAYAH: Did it make you feel better or worse?
AHMAD: Of course I felt worse. SAYAH: Why did it make you feel worse?
AHMAD: Because she was crying; I couldn't understand a word because she was crying. She even made me cry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Are Eman's parents aware of how much attention her story is getting around the world?
SAYAH: I think they know it's getting attention, Anderson, but I don't think they know that it's getting the type of attention that it is getting. This is a very conservative family, a modest family. They're not wealthy. They're uncomfortable with the attention. But it's very interesting.
It's clear that they are aware, that without this attention from the international media, international community, they may not have a chance of getting their daughter back home, seeing their daughter return home safely. So I think it's clear that they're using this international attention much like their daughter Eman did to get their daughter back home.
But they're aware it's going around the world. They're not very comfortable with it. They're exhausted. But they're aware of it.
COOPER: Nic, do -- at this point, I mean are there still strikes going on in Tripoli?
ROBERTSON: There was a huge amount of anti-aircraft gunfire this evening at one point not long after we finished meeting with Eman al- Obeidy. What that gunfire was shooting at, we don't know, but that was the loudest, the most sustained anti-aircraft gunfire from multiple positions around the city that we've heard for perhaps almost two weeks here.
But we didn't hear any bombs or missiles falling here and we really haven't heard any in this city right here for about six days I would say.
Again, going back to the interview, if I may, with Eman al Obeidy, this was an interview where I describe this lady as strong and courageous for standing up for her views, but it was also I would say calm, controlled, dignified. It didn't get out of hand, if you will, with the officials who were present there. And she portrayed and came across here as a very dignified person, somebody who wants to be seen and understood as a serious person, as Reza says.
I said to her how would you like the world to understand you? She said, well, I'm a Muslim. I'm a Libyan. I'm from a conservative family. I'm not crazy like the government says.
She really feels passionately that all the officials here that she comes in contact with should help clear her name. That's something that frustrates her. She needs the government here. She needs officials to help clear her name at this time. But she was doing this in a dignified but passionate way. And this is a lady much more in control of herself, obviously overcoming some of the mental torture of having gone through that multiple rape -- Anderson.
Nic Robertson, appreciate it; Reza as well. Thanks.
A program note: a special hour this Friday, featuring an exclusive interview with four "New York Times" journalists held captive for six days in Libya. We played parts of the interview last week but we really talked for a good hour. You're going to hear them describe their ordeal in real horrifying detail at the hands of pro-Gadhafi forces.
You'll also hear what their families went through. We talked to two of their spouses. They waited to hear word of their loved ones fate for days. That's Friday at 11:00 p.m. Eastern in a special edition of 360 and of course, the regular edition of 360 at 10:00 p.m. with the day's news.
COOPER: Glenn Beck announced today he'll be leaving the Fox News show later this year. Here's how he explained it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST: I'm not sure if you've seen the news yet today, but I want to verify something that is true. I am going to leave this program later this year.
Paul Revere did not get up on the horse and say, "I'm going to do this for the rest of my life," he didn't do it. He got of the horse at some point and fought in the revolution, and then he went back to silver-smithing.
We will find each other. I'm developing other content for Fox, through specials and other things, on television and beyond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In a joint statement, Beck and his employer said Beck would transition off his daily program but stressed that he and Fox News have reached a new deal as he said, for future projects. Neither Fox nor Beck are commenting beyond their statements today.
A lot of other people are certainly talking about it. I spoke to Howard Kurtz, Washington bureau chief for "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast" and host of CNN's "Reliable Sources".
COOPER: So Howard, I think, you know, most people who hear that Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News are going to be surprised. People who weren't following the TV business religiously, you know, he's got huge name recognition. He has huge audience numbers. He's really defined that network in many ways and brought people in and created a great line-up and great, you know, huge numbers for everybody who follows him. So why is he leaving?
HOWARD KURTZ, CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Well, when you say that he defined the network, Anderson, that is part of the problem. Glenn Beck became so huge, such a cultural phenomena, and so incendiary and so radioactive in my view, that he almost overshadowed the Fox brand. So the disagreements between the two sides -- Beck wasn't happy with Fox. And Fox was increasingly uncomfortable I think having to deal with Beck's various conspiracy theories and apologies for statements going over the top. This was a divorce that's been brewing for some months.
COOPER: So, it wasn't -- I mean because a lot of people pointed to well, his ratings have slipped. The ratings go up and down, it ebbs and it flows. You're saying it's more about kind of branding and kind of impact on the network that it was having.
KURTZ: Even by the opinionated standards of Fox, Glenn Beck who would compare Reform Judaism to radical Islam, he apologized for that; of course, he famously called President Obama a racist. I don't think it was about numbers. It didn't help that his ratings were down about 40 percent. But he's still almost at two million viewers. At 5:00, that's a phenomenal number. I would like to have that number.
COOPER: Right. At any hour of the day, that's an incredible number.
KURTZ: At any hour of the day. But I think there was a sense among Fox executives that he couldn't be controlled, that he was getting deeper into darker conspiracy theories that were turning off some of his audience, and at the same time, many of the journalists at Fox, the straight reporters, they really didn't want to be associated with Beck. So there was a lot of internal pressure, I think, for them to part ways.
COOPER: Internally, you said this has been coming for a while.
KURTZ: Well, even Ailes once told me just a few months ago that he had asked beck to tone it down. He says you're trashing everyone. Clearly, you know, Fox tolerates some of the controversies; but when Beck starts talking about a Middle East Caliphate that has ties to or is in the mold of left wing groups in America -- that's pretty heavy duty stuff.
And as pure TV, yes, he was a phenomenon. He would stand up there at that chalk board and he would spin these dark tales. But after a while, I think it got to be less compelling television because he was sort of repeating himself doing the same thing, and I think even Beck came to realize that.
COOPER: So do we know what he does now?
KURTZ: Well, look, he has a very passionate following; he's not going to be going on food stamps any time soon. He still got the syndicated radio show. He gives speeches, you, of course, remember the big crowd at the Lincoln Memorial that he drew. And he has a new Web site called The Blaze.
So he has plenty of ways to reach his followers, but he'll have to do it now without the platform of Fox News which built him up into this cultural superstar, whether he likes to admit it or not.
COOPER: Do you think, though, he loses his influence, his power?
KURTZ: There is no substitute if you want to be part of the daily conversation for having a daily cable show. So I don't think the Beck phenomenon that we've all witnessed as a white hot comet streaking across the media landscape in the last couple of years -- I don't think a year from now it will burn quite as brightly because of the loss of Fox.
Fox News will do just fine, with its line-up of personalities and its big ratings, but I do think that Fox is getting very uncomfortable with having Glenn Beck in the eyes of some, be the face of the network. That will no longer be a problem from this point on.
COOPER: You know, beyond what he's saying, whether you agree with him or disagree with him, like him or don't like him, just as a broadcaster, you know, to make standing in front of a black board compelling television is an extraordinarily difficult thing and he has done that. I'm trying to think of somebody to compare him to and I can't.
KURTZ: And he's pretty (INAUDIBLE). And he's a very, very talented broadcaster. He can be very funny. And it was odd, because once he went from HLN to Fox News, he not only seemed to become more inflammatory and to say things that sometimes he had to walk back, but he seemed to almost be seeing himself as a spokesman who talked more about religion, who talked more about the dire threats facing America. And I think in a way he became less interesting as he became this sort of spokesman for this dark view of America. But put that guy in front of a camera, boy, he knows what he's doing.
COOPER: All right. Howard Kurtz, appreciate it. Thanks, Howard.
KURTZ: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Still ahead, the latest from Japan, including the discovery of a second American in the tsunami rubble, and some good news about the amount of radiation leaking from the Fukushima plant.
Plus a small plane makes an emergency landing on a New York City beach and you have to hear the conversation between the air traffic controller and the pilot.
COOPER: Let's get the latest on some of the other stories we're following. Isha Sesay has a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, late word that the body of a second American has been found in Japan. Twenty-six-year-old Monte Dixon was an English teacher from Alaska. A senior government official says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Japan next week. No details yet on the visit. Today, the confirmed death toll from the quake and tsunami climbed to 12,554; more than 15,000 people are still missing.
Meantime, radiation levels are falling in the seawater around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, that's according to TEPCO the plant owner. TEPCO said workers yesterday finally stopped a leak at Reactor Number Two that was gushing highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
UPI is reporting that BP is trying (ph) to have its fine for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster calculated on how many days the leak flowed rather than how many barrels leaked. If a judge agrees, BP could face a maximum of $4.9 million instead of as much as $20 billion. A Justice Department lawsuit accused BP of willful negligence, which it denies.
At a congressional hearing, the FAA said it's taking steps to fine the air traffic controller who slept for five hours during his midnight shift at a Knoxville, Tennessee airport. During the nap, a fellow controller working alone landed seven aircraft, all safely. The incident happened in February.
And Anderson according to reports, a 24-year-old pilot who landed a single engine plane on a New York City beach two nights ago was rushed to the hospital today for seizure. Jason Maloney told air traffic controllers one of his passengers was sick and he needed to land. But authorities say he told them he got the idea from a reality TV show. A recording of his conversation with air traffic controllers has been released.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if I want to hide from you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just let us know if we're up in your grill, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey tower, I got a question for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This might be crazy but are we allowed to land on the beach?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so unless it was an emergency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know Tower, my engine might be running a little teensy, teensy bit rough, a little teensy bit rough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two November Delta, do you require any assistance. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you know what; we should be fine but I'm going to make a precautionary landing.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SESAY: Yes, that's a whole lot of crazy.
COOPER: Up next, "The Connection", how to cash in on your creativity online. We're going to take you inside one of the hottest companies that can help you sell your own T-shirts and much more.
COOPER: Well, we certainly know that online shopping is a booming business. The Department of Commerce estimates there was $165 billion in online sales last year. That's up nearly 15 percent from 2009. In tonight's "Connection", we look at an online retailer that's kind of redefining e-commerce.
Here's Dan Simon.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nidhi Chanani (ph) was in a rut. Her 9:00 to 5:00 administrative job wasn't stimulating or lucrative. Like a lot of people she just needed a change.
NIDHI CHANANI, ARTIST: And I heard through a friend they had started this T-shirt store online. And I thought, hmmm, maybe I could try that.
SIMON: Designing a T-shirt may not sound like a calling, but it changed her life. This is Zazzle. To call it a T-shirt doesn't quite do it justice. It's a business that allows anyone to customize dozens of products, from posters to iPad cases to shoes. Users then have the option of ordering someone else's design.
For Nidhi, it began on her laptop. She looked to her Indian heritage and humor for her first creation.
CHANANI: You say potato, I say "alu".
SIMON: "Alu", potato in Hindi. Thousands sold with Nidhi getting a healthy cut of the profits.
CHANANI: Oh, my gosh. The feeling is amazing. Every time I would get an e-mail, I made a sale. It's like I want to announce it to the world. It's different than getting a paycheck. It's something that you actually created.
SIMON (on camera): What percentage of the sale does the creator get? JEFF BEAVER, CO-FOUNDER, ZAZZLE: More than you would expect. Long story short, you can make anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent or 60 percent of a sale without ever touching it.
SIMON (voice-over): It's a formula that has served Jeff Beaver well. He launched the Web site in 2005 with his father and brother. He says Zazzle is now bringing in more than $100 million a year in revenue.
(on camera): Zazzle users create about 150,000 new products every day. Literally every second, new designs are being uploaded to the Web site. From there the machines take over, building that product exactly to your specifications.
(voice-over): The unique business model calls for only raw materials. No actual products until someone places an order off the site.
BEAVER: What we decided to do in terms of the business model is kind of combine the best aspects of an e-Bay market place and what Dell was doing at the time that was really compelling, mass customization for electronics. We thought if we can create a market place where users can design products and then post them for sale, if we can only figure out how to make these products on demand, that's pretty cool.
SIMON: Nidhi's products sold so well, she quit her job and enrolled in art school.
CHANANI: I felt like, oh, my gosh, what am I doing with my life right now? Is this a smart move? You know, art isn't something that people really make money off of.
SIMON: She's now a full-time artist, carving out a living by selling her work on and even off line.
CHANANI: Yes, do you want me to sign that.
SIMON: A young woman much more fulfilled.
CHANANI: I just see myself continuing to design and build.
SIMON: Thanks to some unique technology and an innovative Silicon Valley company that helped provide the courage to tap into a creative yearning.
Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
COOPER: Pretty cool idea.
That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.
"PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now. I'll see you tomorrow night.