Return to Transcripts main page


Rick Perry's Political and Cash Connections; The Jacqueline Kennedy Tapes

Aired September 15, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.

"Keeping Them Honest" tonight: Rick Perry's political and cash connections. We're digging tonight into the GOP presidential hopeful's ties to pharmaceutical giant Merck and his former chief of staff, who was a lobbyist for the drug company. Some are calling him Perry's moneyman.

The topic came up Monday night here on CNN during the Tea Party Republican debate. Fellow presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann attacked Perry claiming, campaign donations he got from Merck played a role in Perry's 2007 executive order that mandated young girls get the HPV vaccine.



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Governor Perry, as you well know, you signed an executive order requiring little girls, 11 and 12-year-old girls, to get a vaccine to deal with a sexually transmitted disease that could lead to cervical cancer. Was that a mistake?

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was, and indeed. If I had it to do over again I would have done it differently. I would have gone to the legislature, worked with them. But what was driving me was obviously making a difference about young people's lives.

Cervical cancer is a horrible way to die.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just wanted to add that we cannot forget that in the midst of this executive order, there is a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate. We can't -- we can't deny that.

BLITZER: So, what are you suggesting?

BACHMANN: What I'm saying is that it's wrong for a drug company, because the governor's former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company. The drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor. And this is just flat-out wrong. The question is, is it about life or was it about millions of dollars and potentially billions for a drug company? BLITZER: Wow. All right. I will let Senator Santorum hold off for a second. You've got to respond to that.

PERRY: Yes, sir. The company was Merck. And it was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them. I raise about $30 million. And if you're saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended.


COOPER: Perry says he cannot be bought but "Keeping Them Honest" he doesn't answer whether he can be influenced by this man Mike Toomey. He served as Perry's chief of staff from 2002 to 2004. He's now an Austin lobbyist who did work for Merck for years.

State lobbying records show that Merck paid him between $260,000 and $535,000 in lobbying fees between 2005 and 2010. Now he's something of a man of mystery. A 360 producer tried to track him down to get him to answer questions about his ties to Merck and Perry.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good afternoon, Taylor Dunham.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, is Mike Toomey there, please?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he in the office today?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Could you tell me where he is or how I could reach him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't, but I can leave a message.


COOPER: Well, we had no luck finding Toomey. Our producer got no return calls after leaving messages at his Austin office or the super PAC he co-founded known as Make Us Great Again to help fund Perry's presidential run. Or from the offices located on the private island he co-owns on a lake in New Hampshire where he has a home and rents out several others.

As for the amount of money that Merck gave Perry's campaign for governor, Perry says it was $5,000. But according to Texas Campaign Finance documents Perry has pocketed about $30,000 from Merck since 2000 and since 2006, "The Washington Post" reports Merck has also donated more than $380,000 to the Republican Governor's Association. Perry was chairman of that association in 2008 and again in 2011 until just last month.

As for Merck's take on all this, no response from them either.

Joining me now is Andrew Wheat, research director for Texans for Public Justice and political analyst Roland Martin, a Texas native.

So, Andrea, you've been covering Governor Perry for many years in Texas. Just how close are Rick Perry and Mike Toomey?

ANDREW WHEAT, TEXANS FOR PUBLIC JUSTICE: Well, I think there -- you know for all practical purposes, Mike Toomey and Governor Perry are attached at the hip. They have worked together for 25 years. They were roommates when they both served in the Texas House together.

When Mr. Toomey worked as chief of staff for the governor he had a nickname and that nickname was Governor Toomey. There's a sense here in Austin that Mr. Toomey who's very bright, very hard-working is the power behind the thrown of Governor Perry.

COOPER: Roland, you're saying this sort of -- we're seeing some of the underbelly of politics playing out here?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. Look, I hate to suggest that this is what we are used to but that's a fact. And I think the voters are saying -- they're saying, my goodness, we're used to this revolving door, whether it's in Texas, whether it's in Illinois, whether it's in Washington, D. C. , where people work for politicians, go into corporate America, come back into politics, go back.

I remember when President George W. Bush was there in the Department of Treasury, people said, wait a minute, you've got Goldman Sachs and Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase executives now working for the government and going back.

The problem for Perry, though, is that he is building his campaign on this whole notion of integrity, of character. Evangelical voice. And if he's able to be undercut and by saying, what is the level of influence in terms of former staffers who are getting now dollars from the state, that's going to be a problem in this GOP primary.

COOPER: But Andrea, in terms of a relationship with Toomey, there's nothing or no allegations or any evidence of anything illegal here, right?

WHEAT: That's correct. I mean when Governor Toomey --


WHEAT: Mr. Mike Toomey went into the governor's office as chief of staff he parked his clients with colleagues, with his lobby partners, and then when he left two years later from the governor's office, without catching a breath, he went right back to representing those same clients. It's all totally legal here in the state of Texas. As are a lot of things. We call it the Wild West of money and politics. We don't have limits on campaign contributions.

MARTIN: There's a difference, though, between what is legal and then, frankly, what looks bad politically. And so we've seen the same thing in Washington, D.C. where members of Congress are criticized and staffers who worked on legislation, then they would leave to go work for a company that actually would benefit from the legislation they actually worked on.

And so it has to pass the smell test and voters pay attention to that kind of stuff and trust me, the other campaigns are sitting here and saying, this could be the crack in the door that we need to knock it down.

COOPER: Well, your point earlier was that Michele Bachmann clearly was wanting reporters to try to focus on this --

MARTIN: Absolutely.

COOPER: -- immediately after the debate but she sort of stepped on it by going down this road on the HPV vaccine?

MARTIN: She -- she totally blew it away because I think in many ways members of the media, the next day, would have been on this. The "Houston Chronicle," "San Antonio Express News," "Dallas Morning News." they have been reporting on these ties to Perry.

And it's not just that. I mean there are other stories as well in terms of campaign contributions. Technology firms getting benefits who were actually working on commissions there in Texas as well. Perry is going to have to answer these questions because people do not want a politician who's in a situation where people who work for him are getting federal contracts if, of course, he wins the presidency.

COOPER: Andrew, where does the story go? I mean at some point I guess Toomey has got to answer some questions?

WHEAT: Well, I don't know. You know I think Toomey is an unusual lobbyist. The average lobbyist loves to talk about how much clout they have. Their mojo. Their influence with public officials. Toomey is an unusual animal in that he's so close with the governor that he often finds himself in the position of downplaying his influence which is unusual, because these guys are in the business of selling their influence to corporate clients.

COOPER: Andrew, we appreciate your being on. Roland Martin as well.

We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper.

Up next, it is not just Governor Perry under fire, also Michele Bachmann for her comments that we just talked about after Monday's debate about the HPV vaccine, about the comments really after the debate. She falsely suggested that it could cause, in her words, mental retardation. She said that's what a woman came up and told her.

What she says now, well, it's a little bit different. We'll show you that ahead.

Also tonight, "Raw Politics." President Obama under fire from his own party. Democratic strategist James Carville with a tough message for the president and his re-election campaign, why he says they should panic. Coming up.

Isha Sesay also following some other stories -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy "In Her Own Words." Just months after her husband's assassination, what she thought of the president's success, Lyndon Johnson and others. Revealing insights from a woman who rarely spoke out in public.

That and more when 360 continues.


COOPER: "Raw Politics" tonight. Some Democratic strategist are fired up and calling President Obama to make serious changes. The outcry comes as the White House seems to be shrugging off this week's Democratic losses in two special closely-watched elections, one of them in New York City.

Newly elected Republican Congressman Bob Turner was sworn in on Capitol Hill today. He took the seat of former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, who resigned obviously among that -- after that sexting scandal.

Also sworn in today is Republican Congressman Mark Amodei, who defeated the Democratic challenger in Nevada.

Well, House spokesman -- well, White House spokesman Jay Carney says the outcomes of both races don't tell you anything and no one should jump to conclusions on whether the races were so-called referendum on Obama's presidency.

The type of measured response President Obama and his team are known for, but after months of plummeting presidential approval numbers and political compromises, the common is driving some Democratic strategists, well, to speak out. That includes former Clinton adviser and CNN political contributor, James Carville. He has some advice in a new op-ed on CNN. com.

What should the White House do now? One word came to mind, he wrote, "panic." Carville goes on to say, "This is what I would say to President Barack Obama, the time has come to demand a plan of action that requires a complete change from the direction you are headed."

James Carville joins me now.

James, you're all decked out for an LSU football game.

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I'm in Starkville, Mississippi, at the LSU/Mississippi State game. COOPER: All right. So you say the president should panic or the White House should panic that he should, and I'm quoting, "fire somebody and indict people." Those are fighting words. What do you mean?

CARVILLE: Well, I think that when you look at these two elections, I think they do mean something. And even in Nevada, that was a seat I think we lost probably by about 8,000 votes in the presidential race and we lost about 22,000.

It's not going in the right direction. I think the president needs to show the country that he is unsatisfied with the pace of this recovery and the way that you do that is you make changes. You know when -- everybody in 1994, President Clinton fired a lot of people and made a lot of changes and got back there, time and time again, and hang them out of a sporting contest, when his coaches lose a lot of games they make changes.

And I just think he's got to make some changes. Maybe some people who really work hard and decent people, but you've got to make changes. And the other thing is, is people are livid about this financial crisis and the grief that has come, and there just doesn't seem to be very much appetite or aggression for going after some of these people in American finance that caused this.

I think people are looking to see some more aggressive action here and I think that will signal a change and if the president does that I think he will get back on track.

COOPER: So what's the problem with the folks that are working now around the president? Are you saying that they don't understand the scope of the problem? They don't have any solutions? Or they're just not up to it or --

CARVILLE: Well, it's not -- you know, it's not working. I was on the John King show earlier and somebody said, well, they have a communications problem. OK, well then fire the communication's people. Identify where the problem is.

We're losing elections. We're running against time. The recovery is not going well. And identify what the problem is and make changes. It may be that people are just good people are tired of it or maybe they need something fresh. I have no idea. But they have to signal -- I mean when something happens, the reaction is, oh, no, everything's fine, this really doesn't mean anything.

I'm sorry, it does mean something. People are trying to say something. The trick here is to say, I'm hearing you and you know what, we're going to change course here. We had to deal with a, you know, crash in the financial system. We were able to stabilize this but now is the time for a new strategy.

We're going to bring new people in, we're going to do something, but signal to people that you get that something has gone wrong here, not just defend everything that happens. I think that's the critical thing. And by the way, Anderson, if I was guilty of anything in this article it would be rampant plagiarism. Because what I said is something that Democrats have been saying for a long, long time. There's really nothing I don't hear 20 times a day on the telephone.

COOPER: Well, I mean a lot of folks -- I mean I guess would point -- I mean do you point the finger at the president himself as not -- I mean is he too -- you know one often-heard criticisms is that he's too professorial. Others obviously see that as a strength. But do you think that's part of the problem?

CARVILLE: Well, I think the president isn't too professorial. He's just more guided, he's a very decent guy, he might be too nice a guy. And he knows a lot of these people and a lot of them, you know, work really hard. I saw people that lost their jobs. Got lost their influence in the Clinton administration that will some -- to this day, some of them are best friends.

Many of them got the influence back but there has to be consequences when things don't go well. There's got to be some consequences somewhere and the president is the guy in charge. And it's that simple. If there's a problem with communications, change it. If there's a problem in the political section, change it. If there's a problem with the economic advice he's getting, change it.

I have no idea. I'm not in there but something is not going right here. And just to step out and say none of this means anything is -- that's ludicrous. That's not what's happening here, that's not what people are looking for, and I think that the quicker that the president sees that and acts on that the better off he'll be.

And you know, I watch these Republicans and I watched them on our debate. I mean good god. The idea of something like that getting in the White House ought to scare anybody half to death.

COOPER: The president's approval among independents is dropping to new lows and it seemed -- and I mean if he doesn't have their support, can he win?

CARVILLE: Well, look, this is a very tough time. You know of course, again, we're going to lose elections and it is. I think that if -- he's a very, very good communicator. I thought he had a really good speech when he talked to the Congress. But he's got to stick and he's got to be consistent. But more important, the speeches are not going to turn a trick. There has to be some action that demonstrates to people, I'm dissatisfied with things, too, and this is the kinds of things I'm doing to make a change. Set himself up for the campaign, set himself up to run against one of these Republicans and you know he can win reelection.

But he's not going to win reelection on the course he's on right now. I don't think.

COOPER: Well, it seems two years ago you told an interviewer that demographics favored Democrats so much the president wouldn't have to work all that hard to win a reelection. It sounds like you're not sticking with that anymore.

CARVILLE: I don't know if -- right. I don't know if I said he wouldn't have to work very hard. The demographics are going to be very favorable, much more favorable in 2012 to Democrats than they were in 2010. There is no doubt about that. And in the future they're going to continue to be more favorable. But if you have to protracted unemployment at 9 percent, well, then the crush of everything would really do you in here.

But I do think that he has a lot of things going on for him going in 2012 and a much more favorable electorate is going to clearly be the case over 2010.

COOPER: Interesting discussion. James Carville, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

CARVILLE: Go, Tigers.


COOPER: All right. Good luck with the game.

Up next, a direct challenge to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. We're going to talk with a respected bioethicist who's offering Michele Bachmann a $10,000 charity donation if she can produce the person she say s suffered -- who claimed -- who she says told her that her child suffered mental retardation -- her words -- after getting the HPV vaccine. The claim has been widely denounced by the medical community.

Also in her own words, audio tapes made by the former first lady, Jackie Kennedy. This is really fascinating stuff. Offering an inside look at the white -- at the Kennedy White House and she has some choice comments about key figures in the 1960s. Really interesting stuff. You should hear this.

Plus why is this man laughing and dancing in prison? Especially since he's charged with murdering his wife. A full report on the trial of a Florida millionaire ahead.



COOPER: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is being offered $10,000 to a charity of her choice if she can back up a story she told on national television about the HPV vaccine. The story in a statement that many people have denounced as irresponsible.

The controversy started Monday night at the Tea Party debate for Republican presidential candidates. Bachmann criticized Texas Governor Rick Perry for signing an executive order in 2007 requiring young girls to get the vaccine which protects against cervical cancer, but it's what she said the following morning on the "Today" show that's gotten her into trouble. Listen.


BACHMANN: Well, I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that -- took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.

It can have very dangerous side effects. The mother was crying when she came up to me last night. I didn't know who she was before the debate. This is the very real concern and people have to draw their own conclusions.


COOPER: Immediately following that appearance, the American Academy of Pediatrics posted a statement on its Web site saying there's absolutely no scientific validity to the suggestion that the HPV vaccine causes what she termed as mental retardation. And that the vaccine has an excellent safety record. Today Bachmann offered an explanation for what she had said today.


BACHMANN: During the debate, I didn't make any statements that would indicate that I'm a doctor, I'm a scientist or that I'm making any conclusions about the drug one way or another. I didn't make any statements about that.

At the conclusion of the debate a woman came up to me who was very distraught, she was crying, and she thanked me for my remarks, and said that her daughter had had a negative reaction and that's all I related.


COOPER: No, that's not all she related. She said her daughter had suffered what she termed as mental retardation.

Arthur Caplan is the director for the Center of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. He tweeted this challenge to Congresswoman Bachmann.

So here's the deal. She has one week to produce her, quote/unquote, "victim," she pays $10,000 to a pro vaccine group. If she can't I pay $10,000 to a charity of her choice if she does.

Art Caplan joins me now.

So you just heard Congresswoman Bachmann's explanation today that she wasn't speaking as a doctor or a scientist during the debate, but afterwards, was merely relaying what a distraught mother had told her.

Is that an explanation to you or good enough for you?

DR. ARTHUR CAPLAN, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA CENTER FOR BIOETHICS: Well, I'm certainly willing to say she wasn't speaking as a doctor or scientist because she was pretty far off the planet in that area and it's not acceptable.

She's fear-mongering, Anderson. There are about 4,000 women in the U.S. who die every year from cervical cancer, 250,000 worldwide. She said in that clip and has said it a couple of times, you got to take that into account, that vaccine is dangerous.

That's completely inappropriate.

COOPER: You wrote an op-ed a few days ago in which you said that this issue was, and I want to quote it right, you said it was, quote, "being debated by politicians who arguably could not be more self- interested in scoring cheap debating points even at the cost of possibly killing young women."

That's strong stuff. You really think that politicians in this debate are killing young women or could be killing young women?

CAPLAN: I do. And the reason I was tough about it, I said, look. You got 4,000 deaths. These vaccines that are out there can prevent many of them. When you scare people, moms, when you scare girls, when you say women, and say, oh, this vaccine is too risky, you are in a sense killing these people if they then say, well, I'm not going to try these vaccines.

And I think overall our entire health policy with respect to vaccines has been just a product of fear-mongering, ignorance, kind of cookie statements. It's time to demand better from our politicians.

You know in one sense, Anderson, there's only one question. You've got a ton of Americans who aren't getting vaccines. What are you politicians going to do about that?

COOPER: Are you maybe suggesting that there was no person who came up to Bachmann or do you think there was a person who came up but she just shouldn't have put forth what this person said because there's no scientific validity to it?

CAPLAN: Yes, great question. I don't doubt somebody came up to her but you don't put that into your statements. You don't go on national television and repeat it and repeat it. That's an anecdote. It's not verified. You don't know if the woman is telling the truth or even understands what's going on.

It's like saying, gosh, you know, I was attacked by aliens and they abducted me, and what is the government going to do to stop this?

COOPER: You also take issue with Bachmann's stance against mandatory vaccinations. I mean there is -- there's the medical stuff which we've talked about that she has no evidence for. You know she doesn't want the government mandating, I guess, in this particular case, this vaccine.

Why are you --

CAPLAN: Yes, well --


CAPLAN: She went off on a tirade about government-mandated vaccines. You know it will come as some surprise to those in the military to find out that she's opposed to government-mandated vaccine since every person in the military gets a government-mandated vaccine.

I haven't seen a whole lot of consent discussion going on that setting. Lots of kids have to get vaccines to go to school. We have a lot of mandates but what she didn't say was, we usually give some ability to opt out. So when I say, yes, I think we should be mandating vaccines, all I'm saying is let's presume that it's good to give them, let's presume it's good to save lives, let's presume we're sick of seeing people die from the flu, from mumps, measles, from HPV.

And let's, in fact, then say OK, under what circumstances can you opt out of it? That -- you know there's nothing all that spooky about a mandate. I don't think the vaccine police are coming to your house and dragging your daughter down the street and injecting her.

COOPER: And there was an opt-out provision in the Texas case that she's referring to.

CAPLAN: Indeed.

COOPER: She's saying, though, it shouldn't be mandated. Basically, it should be opt-in. That parents have the option to opt- in.

CAPLAN: Well, you know, I love it to be opt-in one sense, that's great. But you don't run around and say, holy mackerel, somebody came up to me and said my daughter, in her words, got retarded after getting a vaccine? I mean is that the information we're going to have people opt-in on?

We've got to do better than that. And there's no excuse in this political time to let politicians get away from that. Somebody said to me, yes, your bet, that's kind of a gimmick. You bet. I'm willing to use gimmickry if that's what it takes to fight ignorance.

COOPER: So you have the $10,000 ready to go if she comes forward?

CAPLAN: I do. I got my checkbook ready. I'm waiting.

COOPER: All right. Art, we'll check in with you and see what happens. Appreciate you being on. Thanks.

CAPLAN: Thank you.

COOPER: We're following several other stories tonight.

Isha Sesay has a 360 news and business bulletin -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, at the White House today, President Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor on Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer whose heroism during a battle in Afghanistan saved the lives of fellow Marines and soldiers but he feels he doesn't deserve it.


SGT. DAKOTA MEYER, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: I got as many as I could. You know we were under heavy fire the entire time. I know I applied quite a few tourniquet, trying to stop the bleeding on a lot of the guys. And just really try to apply aid and comfort to them as much as I could in the situation that we were handed.

I didn't do anything that any other Marine wouldn't do. I definitely don't see myself as a hero. I see myself as the furthest thing from a hero. I went in there to get my guys out alive, and I failed. So I'm more of a failure than a hero in my eyes.


SESAY: House Speaker John Boehner today rejected the option of raising taxes to cut the deficit. He says the special committee charged with cutting more than $1 trillion from federal deficits should use spending cuts and entitlement reform to get the job done.

Swiss banking giant UBS revealed that a rogue trader has cost the bank an estimated $2 billion. The police have arrested the suspect in London.

And Anderson, take a look at Willow. She disappeared five years in Colorado and turned up this week on the streets of New York City. It's not known how she got to New York. Willow's owners were located through a microchip on her body. It must also said, her owners are slightly worried she may have picked up a bad cattitude in the city.

COOPER: I met Willow today. I actually had her on my daytime -- on my daytime show.

SESAY: And what was her attitude like?

COOPER: She was -- she seemed kind of fat and happy, and no one knows where she's been. And we reunited her with her family. Pretty -- pretty cool stuff. They're very excited to get her home soon. She took it all in stride.

SESAY: That's good. We'll soon find out whether she's been hanging with a fast and loose crowd.

COOPER: I know, exactly. A lot of -- a lot of kittens going to come forward.

Time now for "The Shot," and tonight, I am proud to present a horse licking a dog. That's right. I can't get enough of this sort of stuff. We saw this on YouTube. A New York City police officer's horse couldn't resist this tasty little dog. The dog looks somewhat confused but seems mostly to be enjoying it.

SESAY: Yes. Taking affection where it can, like so many out there.

It is, indeed, adorable but I have to tell you, Coops, I haven't seen such canine meets equine cuteness since your last birthday.


This was one of the more surreal birthday presents I've ever gotten. A dog riding -- riding on a pony.

SESAY: A pony.

But it was such a classic moment. Just to see your face and how mortified you were.

COOPER: Yes. That was a very strange night.

SESAY: It was a very strange night. Well, my birthday is coming up. Get that thinking cap on.

COOPER: All right. Isha, thanks. We'll think of something.

Coming next, a remarkable inside look at an important period in American history by a key player. Jackie Kennedy Onassis, in her own words. Audiotapes reveal how she felt about people like President Lyndon Johnson, even Martin Luther King Jr. We'll play you some of the tapes. Fascinating.

Also ahead, in "Crime & Punishment, a Florida millionaire charged with the murder of his wife, but in court his lawyers backtrack on what the man himself told 911 the night of the shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, what's going on there?

BOB WARD, ON TRIAL FOR WIFE'S MURDER: I just shot my wife.



COOPER: Tonight, a fascinating new perspective on one of the United States' most iconic figures, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

The Kennedy Library released audio recordings that the first lady made in 1964 just months after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. In just a moment, I'll be speaking with presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.

But first, let's listen to some of the tapes, n with her very surprising musings about civil rights leader Martin Luther King. On the recordings, Jacqueline Kennedy says that Bobby Kennedy told her that King made light of her husband's funeral, and he said the coffin was almost dropped and made fun of the cardinal who performed the mass.

Here's what she said next from the ABC special "Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS, FORMER FIRST LADY: Well, I mean Martin Luther King is really a tricky person. But I wouldn't know. He never said anything against Martin Luther King to me, so -- I don't know if he -- if Bobby would be the one to find out what he ever really thought in that way. But Bobby told me later, I just can't see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, you know, that man's terrible.


COOPER: That tapes also show that, at least at the time she was making the recording, Jacqueline Kennedy didn't have much confidence in Lyndon B. Johnson. Listen.


KENNEDY: Lyndon can ride on some of the great things Jack did, and a lot of them will go forward because they can't be stopped: the civil rights, the tax bill, the gold range stuff. And maybe you'll do something more about the alliance and everything.

But when some really big crisis happens, that's when they're going to miss Jack. And I want them to know it's because they don't have that kind of president and not because it was inevitable.


COOPER: The tapes also show an insecurity, a vulnerability in the first lady when she talks about a perception that she wasn't good for her husband's campaign.


KENNEDY: I was always a liability to him until we got to the White House. And he never asked me to change or said anything about it.

Everyone thought I was a snob from Newport, with bouffant hair and wore French clothes and hated politics. And when, because I was often having babies, I wasn't able to campaign and be around with him as much as I could have. And he'd get so upset for me when something like that came out.

And sometimes I'd say, "Oh, Jack, I wish -- you know, I'm so sorry for you that I'm just such a dud." And he knew it wasn't true, and he didn't want me to change. I mean, he knew I loved him and did everything I could. And I did campaign with him. I did it very hard.


COOPER: Joining us now is presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley.

Doug, I mean, it's really fascinating just to hear her voice and to hear what she has to say. As with any oral history, the context in which somebody says something is key. Caroline Kennedy says these tapes are simply a moment in time. Do you agree with that?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, yes. I mean, they're -- they're being done in 1964, right after John F. Kennedy's assassination. Her husband's killed.

She's also a woman of her time. She sounds more like what they used to call a "Scarsdale wife" or an "astronaut's wife." There's more Mamie Eisenhower here than '60s feminist icon. But Eleanor Roosevelt wouldn't have made some of these sort of comments about Martin Luther King Jr.

We've got to remember that these tapes collectively offer more gossip than history. Jackie Kennedy was not elected to anything. And the feel of the tapes is her having a casual conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlessinger Jr., who was writing the book "1,000 Days" about the Kennedy White House.

COOPER: So, do you think she was making them, ultimately, to have them be released? Or do you think she ever thought they would be released?

BRINKLEY: No, I mean, there was a 50-year rule. They were doing an oral history for the Kennedy Library, the Kennedy Project. And I think Caroline Kennedy was under the belief that these tapes would be made public sooner or later in 50 years, meaning 2014.

So it's better to let them out now and get on top of these, you know, the Martin Luther King things and others, and present it in a way with historian Michael Bechloss. He's first rate. And come out with it in a way that puts the first lady in a better light than if you just waited for their release a couple years from now.

COOPER: I want to play another clip from the ABC special. Ms. Kennedy was speaking about the Cuban missile crisis. Let's listen.


KENNEDY: I remember saying, I knew if anything happened, we would all be evacuated to Camp David or something. And I don't know if he said anything about that to me. I don't think he -- but I said, "Please don't send me away to Camp David," you know, me and the children. "Please don't send me anywhere. If anything happens, we're all going to stay right here with you."

And, you know, I said, "Even if there's not room in the bomb shelter in the White House," which I've seen, I said please, I just wanted to be on the lawn when it happens. You know, "but I just want to be with you and I want to die with you and the children do, too, than live without you."


COOPER: It is so stunning to hear that. When you hear that, what do you think? BRINKLEY: It's powerful, and I think it's really the most important part of the tapes. It brings us back to the Cold War and reminds us how the Soviet Union and the United States were like two scorpions in a bottle, that the Cuban missile crisis was -- created a real fear, all the way to the first lady.

And it showed the love that she had for her husband. I think Jackie Kennedy was being genuine when she said her greatest years, her happiest times with Jack, were when she was in the White House. They spent the most time together '61 to '63. In the '50s, Jack Kennedy had to deal with Addison's Disease, campaigning nonstop. Suddenly, in the White House, they had time together, and the family got close. And it's indicative of what anybody would think if they have children they want to love and want to stay together in a crisis and not be apart.

COOPER: In releasing it, I mean, Caroline Kennedy has shown tremendous care and thought in protecting her parents' legacy. I guess, you know, certainly these tapes have raised eyebrows, particularly the comments about Martin Luther King, Lyndon Johnson. From your perspective as a historian, is there -- I mean, do you think forever more now, it will be viewed that she didn't like Martin Luther King?

BRINKLEY: Well, as you know, Anderson, we live in these sort of sound bite culture in a lot of ways. When Ted Kennedy was alive, there was no way these tapes would come out. But it is the 50th anniversary of all things John Kennedy now, and you have a Kennedy Library that's trying to bring attention to the presidency. And here these tapes are, and it was considered the time to bring it out.

I think the Martin Luther King comment and also a criticism of Ted Sorenson, who was so loyal to John F. Kennedy, are particularly hurtful. There are other ones in it calling DeGaulle an egomaniac. That's only hurtful because Jackie Kennedy's trip to France, she was beloved there. She spoke fluid French, and they courted her and loved her. And now there's sort of a putdown of the great DeGaulle.

I'm not sure other first ladies would have done this. I can't imagine another record quite like this, where just months out of leaving the White House, that you record this kind of bomb for history where you're -- you're criticizing a number of different people.

We should also say that other people, whether it's Robert McNamara, Mack Bundy, Stewart Udall, all are given a big thumb's up in the tapes.

COOPER: It's a fascinating look. Douglas Brinkley, I appreciate it. Thanks.

BRINKLEY: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Just ahead, "Crime & Punishment." A bizarre murder trial began today in the same courtroom where Casey Anthony was tried. The defendant, a millionaire accused of killing his wife. He made this 911 call to report the killing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's not breathing or...

BOB WARD, ON TRIAL FOR WIFE'S MURDER: She's dead. She's done. I'm sorry.



COOPER: "Crime & Punishment." Testimony began today in the high-profile murder case in Orlando, Florida, and it's a case full of odd twists and weird behavior.

On trial is Bob Ward, a wealthy developer who's charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife Diane inside their mansion in 2009. The night of the shooting, Ward called 911 and told the operator that he shot his wife. He subsequently told police a different story. That's not all that is strange about the case.

Gary Tuchman picks up the story.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florida millionaire Bob Ward is on trial for the murder of his wife. His defense? She shot herself as he struggled to stop her. But it was a much different story he told on the night of her death two years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, what's the emergency?

WARD: I just shot my wife.


WARD: I just shot my wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where's your wife?

WARD: She's right here on the floor.

TUCHMAN: Three more times in the same 911 call, he admitted he shot her.

WARD: I just shot my wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where's the weapon at, sir? Is she breathing?

WARD: She's dead. She's done. I'm sorry.

TUCHMAN: Later in the call, Ward said the shooting was an accident, but there was never any emotion in his voice.

Today in court, a very different picture from his attorney. KIRK KIRKCONNELL, WARD'S ATTORNEY: This entire incident happened in the blink of an eye. Her death was an unexpected and tragic accident. No crime was committed by Bob Ward on the night of September the 21st, 2009.

TUCHMAN: But from the prosecution...

ROBIN WILKINSON, PROSECUTOR: Ladies and gentlemen, this case is about the fact that it was Bob Ward that shot her, almost dead between the eyes.

TUCHMAN: Police say his story changed during his police interrogation.

WARD: It was an accident. And -- and I will tell you more about it later.

TUCHMAN: His demeanor also changed as time went on, and his bizarre behavior has made defending him more of a challenge. The emotionless man on the phone became the jokester as captured on jail video. Here he was doing a striptease of sorts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll make sure that -- no, I wouldn't do that. Do you want to hear...

TUCHMAN: What makes the video stranger is who is visiting him. The woman talking to him? His dead wife's sister. The woman in the background? Bob and Diane Ward's daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's had, you know, hundreds of phone calls about you, and everybody is very, very supportive. You know.

TUCHMAN: The three in this video all thought it was a hoot that the plumbing wasn't working in the cell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What a lifestyle change for you. I can only imagine. I know you're missing a bidet.

WARD: You can't even turn the water on. See this? No water!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's saying there's no water in the toilet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No water in the toilet?

WARD: Nobody seems to care, though.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I do. And I know you do. And I also want to let you know how nice I think that you look right now. I've been trying to get you to wear pajamas for years now. It's a lovely fall collection that I think you've got on.

TUCHMAN: Prosecutors hope to build their case on these points. They say Bob Ward's DNA was found on the gun and that his wife was shot from more than a foot away, much farther than someone who would shoot themselves.

They also say Diane Ward was about to give a deposition in a financial investigation against her husband.

But the defense says Diane Ward had high levels of anti- depressant drugs in her system.

It will be up to the jury to decide which Bob Ward to believe. This one...

KIRKCONNELL: Diane Ward was killed by a single gunshot wound as she struggled with her husband over the loaded gun.

TUCHMAN: ... or this one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, what's going on there?

WARD: I just shot my wife.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Isha's back with a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Back to Anderson in a moment. First, it's "360 Bulletin."

Incriminating statements that alleged underwear boomer made about his links to al Qaeda can be used at his upcoming trial. A federal judge issued the ruling today. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is charged with trying to blow up an airliner bound to Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009. Federal agents questioned him at a hospital after his arrest before reading him his Miranda rights.

In Libya, a bold push by anti-Gadhafi forces. This video was shot by the fighters as they advanced on Muammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, one of the last pro-Gadhafi strongholds. They managed to punch deep into the city's center.

Meantime in Benghazi, a heroes' welcome for British Prime Minister David Cameron and French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Both men pledged their support to the country's new leaders.

And a Florida judge ruled that Casey Anthony owes authorities just under $98,000 for the cost investigating the disappearance of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Prosecutors had asked for $516,000. Anthony was acquitted of first degree murder in July.

That's the latest. Now back to Anderson.

COOPER: Isha, appreciate it.

Up next, the story about an alleged robbery attempt by a guy dressed as Gumby lands someone on "The RidicuList." Two hints: it's not the guy dressed as Gumby, but it is someone you will definitely recognize.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Time for the "RidicuList." Tonight, we didn't want to do it, but frankly, she left us no choice. Tonight, we are adding the lovely and talented Isha Sesay.

Now, Isha, she's got a lot going for her. She's super smart. She's traveled the world. She's an experienced journalist. She went to Cambridge. And, as the 360 staff can attest to, it's a lot of fun to go out drinking with her.

But there is one area in which Isha -- and I'm sorry to say -- is just sorely lacking, and that area was painfully obvious on last night's 360. Take a look.


SESAY: Gumby has surrendered. He was last seen trying to rob a San Diego 7-Eleven, but oddly, nothing was actually taken.

As the foreigner in these strange lands, who or what is Gumby?

What is Gumby? You can't just say it's a long story and leave me hanging.

There are those who have come to my defense, and they're from Canada and places like that and say I'm not alone in my lack of knowledge.


COOPER: Say it ain't so.

Well, Isha, I'm here to help, and I have to say in your defense, Gumby has only been around for a mere, oh, 55 years. There were only about 233 episodes of the TV show and countless toys, T-shirt, books, key chains, action figures, Halloween costumes, comics and so on going back to 1956 when Gumby made his first appearance on "The Howdy Doody Show."

I bet she's never even heard of "The Howdy Doody Show."

But back to Gumby. How do I explain the verdant enigma that is Gumby? Well, he's kind of a humanoid made out of green clay who has all kinds of adventures, like going to the moon.




COOPER: I do not remember Gumby being that trippy. I'm kind of a little bit freaked out right now.

But maybe they didn't have Gumby in England and Sierra Leone during Isha's cartoon-watching years. But seriously, how did she also miss all those times that Eddie Murphy played Gumby on "Saturday Night Live"? Watch this, dammit.


EDDIE MURPHY, COMEDIAN/ACTOR: I am Gumby, damn it. You don't talk to me that way. I am show business. I am supreme.

I'm Gumby.

Hey, hey! This is a comedy team.


MURPHY: This is not a funeral.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gumby, I've got my own sense of timing. You know that.

MURPHY: Timing, it's time for you to go to the glue factory.


COOPER: So just to level the playing field, I thought it might be nice to look at a kid's show from Isha's homeland that, like Gumby, uses Claymation. Here's a taste of the UK's "The Adventures of Morph."




COOPER: What in the heck was that? What was that, Isha?

SESAY: I grew up watching that. That brings back so many memories.

COOPER: "Oh, I remember 'The Adventures of Morph' like it was yesterday. Oh, Mummy and I used to drink tea while watching 'The Adventures of Morph'."

SESAY: And eating digested biscuits.

COOPER: Those are like neutered -- I don't know what they are. Lizards or something. Like Grover with their hair shaved off them.

SESAY: That's quality programming for children...


SESAY: ... that I grew up on, and it made me the woman I am today.

COOPER: OK. Well, in conclusion, let me just say in Isha's defense, I know this was an isolated incident. We all know that you're not completely clueless about American culture. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Magilla Gorilla, do you know who Magilla Gorilla is?

SESAY: What is that?


COOPER: Isha, Isha, Isha. Fear not, you'll always be Pokey to my Gumby on the "RidicuList."

A note about a "RidicuList" we ran last week about a college student's rants about Sperry and Rainbow shoes. We put the shoe companies on "The "RidicuList." The student, a guy named Lance Diamond, called us to make sure we knew the rant was a joke and just for fun, which of course, we did know, and it's why we featured it on "The RidicuList."

We appreciate the call, Lance, and good luck in school this year.

That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.

"JOHN KING USA" starts now.