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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Interview With Senator John McCain; Will U.S. Act in Syria?

Aired March 7, 2012 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

And we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the Pentagon and White House beginning to weigh military action to stop the slaughter in Syria and those who say the administration is going too slow and doing too little.

Senator John McCain says so. I will talk to him one on one shortly. Also, you will hear tonight from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who lays out the hazards of acting in haste.

With that as a backdrop, new video has emerged from inside a hospital in Homs. It is sickening stuff, appears to show patients who've been tortured, tortured in that very same hospital by government forces. We'll show you that video in a moment.

Syria state television today trying to show that the city of Homs has returned to normal. They showed this video today after bombarding the city for a month especially the Baba Amr neighborhood. Cleanup crews, cars on the streets, even ordinary people returning. That's what they showed on Syrian state television.

In video posted on YouTube today, video we've seen coming out of Homs, you get a far different picture. The streets, as you see, empty of cars and people. Rubble is deeper. The destruction apparently more complete. A top U.N. official who just got inside Homs today said parts of the city are completely devastated. Those were her words. She also says authorities kept her out of certain areas even though they promised her complete access.

Authorities have still not allowed the Red Cross in to bring humanitarian relief into the formerly besieged neighborhood.

And in parts of Homs today, the guns were still firing.

As always we're not there to see for ourselves because the regime keeps out reporters. That is when it's not shelling or killing them. Estimates there are tens of thousands have now fled the killing. A French doctor who smuggled himself into Homs suggested today the reports of torture in government controlled hospitals continue. Hospitals that have turned into houses of horror.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACQUES BERES, CO-FOUNDER, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS (through translator): The regular people from the population do not trust the government hospitals anymore. There are confirmed stories of amputations of no reason, removal, kidnapping, executions, even torture.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Torture inside hospitals. Now we've been hearing these reports for many months. We've reported on this program over and over but tonight there appears to be video evidence of that torture. Video reportedly taken undercover in a Homs hospital that shows a ward full of wounded men chained to their beds. Some of the injuries appear to have been afflicted by beating and/or electricity. Now at one point the camera pans over to a table on which you can see what appears to be jumper cables.

This video is consistent with that doctor's account and numerous videos we've now seen of torture victims after the fact. This, though, is the first time we've seen actual tools of torture in a hospital.

And given all that, Washington is grappling with what to do next. Secretary of State Clinton meets with her Russian counterpart next week. Russia has been protecting Syria diplomatically. It's been arming the Assad regime for decades and continues to do that.

Today, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey told lawmakers that initial planning is under way for operations against Syria but his boss, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, counsel caution for now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: What doesn't make sense is to take unilateral action at this point. As secretary of defense, before I recommend that we put our sons and daughters in uniform in harm's way, I have got to make very sure that we know what the mission is. I have got to -- I have got to make very sure that we know whether we can achieve that mission, at what price, and whether or not it will make matters better or worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That answer came in response to a sharply worded question from ranking Republican Senator John McCain who asked Secretary Panetta -- quote -- "how many more would have to die," unquote, before the secretary is convinced that America should intervene? I spoke with Senator McCain shortly after that exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Senator McCain, the president and the secretary of defense have both said that to take unilateral military action at this point would be a mistake. Why do you think they're wrong?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, first of all, I don't want to take unilateral action and it's unfortunate they portray it that way. I think we need a coalition of nations that would join together and stop the massacre that's taking place in Syria as we speak. You have reported extensively. There are 7,500 people who have been massacred and more to come, testimony by the director of national intelligence, who says the momentum is on the side of Bashar Assad, other testimony saying that Assad may go, but it could take a very long period of time.

And also I would add that the head of our Central Command testified yesterday that if Assad were taken down, it would be the greatest blow to Iran in 25 years.

We intervened in Bosnia, we intervened in Kosovo because people were being massacred. That is part of the president's stated national security policy. We need to act and we need to act with other nations who will join us in this cause.

COOPER: You talked about not going unilaterally. The secretary of defense, though, argues that it's not like Libya that right now there's not a coalition of states including Arab states calling for intervention. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs said that the Syrian air defenses are a lot more sophisticated than the Libyan's air defenses, who are more difficult to hit.

MCCAIN: We spend almost $1 trillion a year on the military, Anderson. And we can't take out air defenses of Syria? That is an horrific waste of the taxpayers' dollars. Every time that one of these crises happens, and I remember well, under President Clinton, Bosnia and Kosovo, we can't do it. They can always think of reasons not to do it. We led from behind in Libya. We were the last ones on board.

By the way, the -- the Saudi foreign minister called for arming the rebels. There is other nations, Qatar, UAE and others are working to help the Syrians. But those people who watch CNN every night are treated or have the opportunity unfortunately to watch the sad spectacle of Syrians being massacred by Bashar Assad.

If we can do something about it, and we can, we should, unilaterally, and it's going to -- excuse me, not unilaterally, no boots on the ground, with other nations who will join us if we lead and we can bring this to a halt.

COOPER: So you're not -- you're not calling -- because it's been portrayed that you were calling for basically U.S. planes just flying bombing runs. You're not calling for that. You're calling for other nations in the air as well?

MCCAIN: Absolutely. And again, it's unfortunate because I have -- I said foreign airpower.

In Libya, they were able to do it with British and French and others and UAE aircraft and others. We have the capacity, in my view, to stop Assad and the slaughter but it's also going to require sanctuary, arms training and some other things as well. But now it's reached the point where you have artillery and tanks against AK-47s. It's going to require foreign airpower. And again the United States, not going alone but the United States leading.

COOPER: As you pointed out, we've been reporting on this pretty much every night now for a year. I have been disappointed, though, a lot of other networks haven't been -- haven't been reporting on this because of the -- we've had the videos that are available, even if we're not allowed into the country ourselves.

What do you say to those Americans who look at this, who look at those pictures, and say, you know what, this is horrific but the U.S. is already involved in two wars and we just can't afford and shouldn't be involved in another one?

MCCAIN: First of all, again, I would like to say I watch it regularly and it's been extensive coverage. And my answer to that is, what does the United States stand for? What do we believe in? We believe in freedom. We went to Bosnia. We went to Kosovo.

We regret enormously that we didn't do something to try and stop the genocide in Rwanda. We look back if we failed to intervene years from now and thousands and thousands of Syrians have been massacred while we stood by because we -- quote -- "can't address the issue"?

We can. We're the best military in the world. I understand the strain on American military. I understand the sacrifices made by American families. But I also understand the proudest part of America's history is when we have tried to help other people achieve the same goals that we so passionately articulated when we declared our independence.

COOPER: Two quick political questions. I would be remiss if I didn't ask about last night's Super Tuesday results. Your candidate, Governor Romney, had a specially good night winning the big prize, obviously, Ohio. Do you believe the time has come for other candidates to now get out of the race?

MCCAIN: I would -- I would hope so, but I can't tell the other candidates what they should do. They have to make their own decisions. I am aware how tough an environment this is and -- so they have to make up their own minds. But it is a fact that the longer this drags out, the higher the negatives of our -- of Mitt Romney and the harder it will be to win the election in November. That's just fundamental facts.

COOPER: Your former running mate, Governor Palin, was on CNN last night saying she would leave the door open to her name being placed into nomination at -- if there was a contested convention. What was your reaction to that?

MCCAIN: Right. Glad to see that Sarah is still willing to get in the arena. I greatly admire and respect her. And so, Sarah, you know, I view it with great interest your comment last night. But I also think that, you know, that this thing is going to be resolved hopefully sooner for Mitt Romney than later.

COOPER: Senator McCain, I always appreciate your time. Thank you. MCCAIN: Thank you, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, let us know what you think about what the senator said on Twitter. We're talking about it right now -- @AndersonCooper is my Twitter address. Join us on Facebook, Google+. Add us to your circles.

Up next: why all four candidates still think they have got a chance at the Republican presidential nomination. John King maps out what Super Tuesday changed, what it didn't, and how the races ahead could change the picture yet again.

Later, just who is the woman in that picture? Is she just a simple small-town mom, a soccer mom with four kids? Or is she, as authorities allege, a madam to the high and mighty, selling sex in New York? "Crime & Punishment" tonight.

Let's also check in with Isha -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, you might not know it but the Vatican has got a Web site and not only that, it's got a Web site that just got targeted by the most notorious hackers out there. We'll tell you why the group known as Anonymous took aim -- that and much more when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Raw Politics" now, PST, post-Super Tuesday, three of four Republican challengers chalking up wins last night. Mitt Romney continuing to draw questions about his ability to close the deal but also continuing to pile up delegates to close the deal. None of the four dropping out.

John King at the map tonight shows why.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, here's the state of play the night after Super Tuesday. If you go across the map, 23 states have voted so far, 14 for Governor Romney. That's the dark red. Seven for Senator Santorum. That's purple. Two for Speaker Gingrich. That's the orange. This pink color here, so no victories for Ron Paul.

What's up next? Kansas on Saturday. Santorum thinks he's going to win there. Speaker Gingrich pulled back today, says he won't compete. Then these two contests kick in. This is a race more between Santorum and Gingrich than Romney. Yes, he'll run some ads. Yes, he hopes to get delegates. What he is hoping is that Santorum and Gingrich split these contests so that no one conservative emerges.

Here's why Team Romney today is saying we're inevitable. The other guys can't win. This is where they are after Super Tuesday. Almost 40 percent to the finish line. The finish line is 1144. they have got somewhere in the ballpark of 430 delegates. Nobody is even close. Add these three up, and they don't match Governor Romney. But the race over the next week is not Romney territory. Kansas on Saturday, Santorum expects to win that. Gingrich has pulled out. Then this is the interesting question. Next Tuesday night. Mississippi and Alabama. If Rick Santorum can win Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama, he will say, Gingrich get out, I'm the conservative alternative. But if Gingrich can win these states -- and we switch these over to Gingrich -- assuming Santorum and Romney also pick up some delegates, but Gingrich wins them, we could end up here.

In a conversation a week from tonight, Governor Romney getting closer to the halfway mark. Santorum still in second place. Gingrich running third.

And if this is the scenario, Anderson, this is what the Romney campaign wants because then they think all four candidates stay in. Yes, they have taken a bit of a hit over the next week or so but with four candidates still in the race, they think from here on in things turn back to more favorable territory.

COOPER: John King, appreciate that. More on the "Raw Politics" now. Let's talk with Democratic strategist James Carville and Republican strategist and former Romney spokesman, Kevin Madden.

James, despite his success last night, you know, there are questions remain about Mitt Romney's ability or inability to connect with conservative working class voters, evangelical Christians, strong Tea Party supporters, people who say that faith is very important to them.

What is keeping him from connecting with those voters?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, Erick Erickson, our colleague at CNN, pointed he can't carry the south, he can't carry evangelicals, he can't carry blue-collar voters. I mean, he's got a real problem with basic constituencies in the Republican Party.

Having said that, he is the only one in the field -- I have maintained this consistently -- that has any chance whatsoever to be the nominee. He's in a race against 1144. But he's not -- it looks like he's not going to get that until May or maybe even June before he ties him up and have to bring superdelegates in for him to tie it up. This has not been a very kind process for Governor Romney at all.

COOPER: Kevin --

CARVILLE: But he's still going to win it.

COOPER: Kevin, is the inevitability argument the right one for the Romney campaign to be pushing?

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I have never liked the inevitability argument because I think this was a campaign that was built around earning the nomination.

And I think in large part the governor has begun to earn the nomination and is in a position right now where he's very likely to be the nominee because he took that attitude, and that was going out and talking about the economy, talking about the big issues that are mobilizing Republican voters and making the case that he's best positioned to beat President Obama in a general election as a result.

So inevitability, I don't really want to use that word. But well positioned right now. A very likely nominee. I think after last night that's clear.

COOPER: Kevin, you were, I mean, his spokesman when you hear people say well, look, he has an inability to connect with all these groups, these core constituents to the Republican Party, what do you say?

MADDEN: Well, I think right now what's driving voter anxiety is their personal situation related to the economy. And a lot of what happens with Governor Romney when people start to question whether he has the ability to connect, it has questions to do with his personal wealth. So the issue is about him.

But when Governor Romney has an ability to talk about the future, what he wants to do to create jobs, to create prosperity, to create greater economic certainty for America so that all Americans can prosper and all Americans can be fully employed, that is where he has a connection with voters.

COOPER: But you're making it sound as if --

MADDEN: Their anxiety about the economy --

(CROSSTALK)

MADDEN: His reason for running is related to the economy. So I think there, he has a better connection.

COOPER: James, do you buy that? I mean, because Kevin is making it sound a little bit like he hasn't had the ability to talk about those things. He's been running for a long time now.

CARVILLE: Let me be uncharacteristically blunt. I agree with Mrs. Barbara Bush, the grand dame of the Republican Party, who said this is the worst campaign she'd seen in her lifetime and with all courtesy to Mrs. Bush, she's seen a lot of campaigns in her lifetime.

Santorum and Gingrich are so pathetic as candidates they can't even get on the ballot. Santorum couldn't even get on the ballot in some congressional districts in Ohio. They couldn't get on the ballot in Virginia. And Romney can't -- not only can't he put these people away, they're going to keep him gong up until late May or June.

I mean, this is -- this thing is being played out. And I don't say this as a Democrat, just -- I have now been consistent about this. This field is horrible and Romney is not connecting out there. Even if big Midwestern states where he's outspending Santorum five, six to one, he's coming -- he'd win by a percentage point or two percentage points. I mean, this is -- this is very, very damning to the Mitt Romney brand. And that's just a fact. And every Republican knows that. Kevin knows that. Everybody knows that.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDEN: No. I respectfully disagree. I think Governor Romney right now -- look, he has -- he has 53 percent of the delegates right now. And folks like Santorum and Newt, they need 65, 70 percent to get the delegates so I think --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: You don't think --

MADDEN: I think right now he's --

CARVILLE: Kevin, you're going to win. You're going to win. That's not the -- that's not the issue. You don't have to convince us that. You're going to be the nominee.

MADDEN: Right.

CARVILLE: The problem is what you've been put through and how you've damaged the brand to get there because you can't put away two of the sorriest presidential campaigns in the history of American politics.

MADDEN: Here's what happens in the general election. Look, and this is the nature of all primaries, James, you know this. But what's going to happen now is we're going to have very clear contrast on the number-one issue and that's the economy. In a general election matchup between Governor Romney and President Obama.

President Obama does not have a record to run on related to the economy.

COOPER: So you think whatever damage has been done, you think that's going to be forgotten by general election?

MADDEN: I think -- I think what we've seen because of the volatility of this race, Anderson, voters have had an ability to reframe them contest by contest. When we get into a general election, we're going to be well positioned to make sure that this is a referendum on the president's absolute lack of leadership on the economy, his inability to challenge and change the status quo in Washington.

COOPER: James, what --

MADDEN: But Romney --

COOPER: What about that, James? Because, I mean, during, you know, a tough time often people say, well, this is really doing damage, and then when the general comes, it's a different story. CARVILLE: Look, it's going to be -- it's going to be a competitive general election. There's no doubt about that. But these guys are not going to get to the general election for a long time. In the meantime, he's still got to go unify a fragmented party. He's still got to go to Tampa. He's still got to unify his convention, and I guarantee you one thing.

The Obama people, they're not going wait very long. They're going to start on Governor Romney in the -- in the immediate future here. And this -- the things that he's had to say in his primary from immigration to tax policy to the personhood amendment, all of that stuff has all been cataloged, logged, every position that he's done. This guy is not going to get a chance to get out to chute.

But this has been a -- he has been a very, very disappointing candidate. Very disappointing to Republicans and the Republican establishment. And they're just going to have him -- they're going to have him because they have got to have him. That's -- not because they want him.

MADDEN: One last point, I will tell you there's one thing right now that really, really unifies Republicans, and it's the prospect of beating President Obama in a general election and you couple that with independent voter dissatisfaction, even many conservative Democrats in key swing battleground states, their dissatisfaction with the president on the economy, and what you have is a very good prospect for Governor Romney to win in a general.

COOPER: James, do you feel more confident in President Obama's ability to get reelected than you did, you know, two months ago?

CARVILLE: You know -- yes, of course I do. But I think there's -- I think there's some sort of overconfidence. You know I never was confident in '92. I'm a Catholic. We're not -- we don't -- we're not brought up to be confident about much.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: But yes, I do. What makes -- what makes me sort of confident here is -- I'm being really honest here. Romney has just not been a very good candidate.

If they can keep him from talking, he will be fine. But he keeps making the same mistake over and over again. And Obama has shown that he's can sort of improved, and he's gotten a lot better on his game, and you know, if you go -- as you go through that, you can see this happening. And so, I'm not -- I don't -- I wouldn't say I'm confident but I certainly feel better than I did before.

And you look at his latest polls, you can't help but feel better."Wall Street Journal"/NBC poll was about as bad a poll as I have seen for a party in a long time. It was really, really bad if you're a Republican.

COOPER: Kevin Madden, James Carville, guys, thank you very much.

Up next, "Crime & Punishment": Is she a soccer mom or a notorious million-dollar madam?

Also, the man accused of killing 77 people in that rampage in Norway last summer, he was formally charged today -- details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We've been profiling the Republican candidates' wives throughout this primary season. One of them could, of course, become the next first lady.

"Up Close" tonight: Ann Romney. Last night in Boston, she introduced her husband to a crowd of supporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: I said, Mitt, I'm never going to do this again, but here we are. And the reason I'm here and the reason I'm behind mitt and the reason I'm fighting so hard and out there is because I believe he is the only person that can turn around America. So let's let him do that.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, sweetie. She's the best. She is the best.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, Mitt Romney, of course, won six states yesterday including Ohio. He hasn't yet had the breakout victories he needs to put Rick Santorum soundly behind him.

The votes of women obviously are going to be crucial and many of Romney advisers see his wife, Ann, as a huge asset. With a profile, here's Randy Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the Romney household, Ann Romney has a host of titles, trusted adviser, the Mitt stabilizer, mother and grandmother, but she's also the great protector of all things Romney.

RON SCOTT, MITT ROMNEY BIOGRAPHER: The last person on earth you would want to cross would be Ann Romney. If you go after one of her kids or after her husband, she's going to be there.

KAYE: Ron Scott has known Mitt Romney since 1985 and just wrote a book about him. He says Ann is no pushover. SCOTT: She got into a tiff with one of her teenage boys and he was being a smart mouth and she was trying to get away to go to the cape for the weekend.

He was going back and forth with her and finally, she got in the car, slammed the door and said, see you later, and took off and left him sitting there in the driveway.

KAYE: Scott says, Ann even stood up to her mother who voiced concern years ago when Ann and Mitt started having so many children. SCOTT: Her mom said, gee, you're over populating the earth and Ann at one point said, mom, if you want to see your grandsons on a regular basis, you need to knock this stuff off.

KAYE: With Ann, Scott says what you see is what you get and that works in Mitt's favor on the campaign trail.

A. ROMNEY: I believe he will be the nominee and also will be the next president of the United States, but only with your help.

KAYE (on camera): What kind of asset would you say Ann Romney is on the campaign trail?

SCOTT: She's a terrific asset. She's somebody that people can relate to. You look at her and you listen to her speak and she exudes warmth and friendliness and kindness and sincerity.

And unfortunately that doesn't come through with her husband as much. He seems more programmed and stiff and not the warm, easy going comfortable person that Ann is.

KAYE (voice-over): Ann Romney humanizes her husband calling him her most disobedient child. She often shares secret about his love of chocolate milk and his -- quote -- "obsession with peanut butter" and of course, tales of romance.

A. ROMNEY: We're high school sweethearts and we still are sweethearts, which is awfully nice. We have five wonderful sons. We have 16 grandchildren.

KAYE: Like Mitt, Ann grew up wealthy in Michigan. Her father manufactured auto parts. She and Mitt fell in love in high school. Mitt proposed when Ann was just 15.

They married while in college at Brigham Young University, a Mormon school in Utah. Ann had converted to Mormonism in high school. Their love affair has been part of the campaign rhetoric dating back to this ad for Mitt's 2002 Senate run simply titled "Ann."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

A. ROMNEY: Our first real date...

M. ROMNEY: The night of the senior prom.

A. ROMNEY: ... Mitt pulls up to pick me up in some goofy-looking car.

M. ROMNEY: It was an AMC Marlin.

A. ROMNEY: A little embarrassed about it.

M. ROMNEY: It was kind of awful.

A. ROMNEY: It was very romantic.

KAYE: Mitt admits without Ann, he's a bit lost.

M. ROMNEY: If I'm away from Ann for more than a week or so, I just -- I get off course. She has to bring me back and moderate me down a bit.

KAYE: When he was heading up the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, he sent for her after he'd been away just a few weeks. On debate night, she's his security blanket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He looks around and he says, "Where's Ann?" And the camera focuses on Ann and he sees her, and that settles him, and he goes off to debate.

KAYE (on camera): Still, Ann may not be perfect. In 1994, during Mitt's Senate campaign, she told "The Boston Globe" money was so tight in college they considered selling stock from their portfolios. Critics painted her as out of touch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody who read that gasped.

KAYE (voice-over): Ann's greatest challenge, though, had nothing to do with politics. In 1998, she learned she had multiple sclerosis.

A. ROMNEY: It was a devastating thing in my life. It was very tough. I went from being a very active, involved, and hands-on mom to hardly being able to take care of myself.

KAYE: To feel better, she turned to holistic therapy and horseback riding, but her battle didn't end there. In 2008, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Whether it's cancer or the campaign trail, Ann Romney is a fighter. She's beaten two life-threatening diseases, but she knows, with the GOP nomination still up for grabs, there are many more battles ahead.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're following a number of other stories right now. Isha is back with a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Iran is withholding information about its nuclear program and may have failed to declare some facilities to the U.N.

His remarks come a day after the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany agreed to continue negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

In Oklahoma, three people were injured in a shooting outside a Tulsa courthouse. Police say the gunman shot into the air and then fired at officers who responded. They returned fire. The 23-year-old suspect is in custody. Looking into an international hacking group that goes by the name Anonymous. It is claiming they shut down the Vatican's Web site. The hacker says the attack is against the Catholic Church, not the faithful.

For the third year in a row, Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim keeps his ranking as the world's richest person. His net worth, $69 billion. "Forbes" magazine released its annual billionaires list today.

And Anderson, researchers at Texas State University say the moon may have caused the Titanic to sink, at least indirectly. Apparently, the moon was unusually close to the Earth in 1912. The scientists say that caused the ocean's tide to rise and also resulted in more icebergs than usual in the area where the Titanic met its end.

COOPER: I read that today. I was confused by it.

SESAY: How so?

COOPER: I don't know. I'm not really a science guy. So...

SESAY: Did you read slowly?

COOPER: No, I read very quickly.

SESAY: Well, go back and read slowly.

COOPER: Time now for "The Shot." We found this on YouTube. If you've ever wondered who has the coolest parents ever, his name is Josh. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Josh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey Josh!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday from Grandma and Grandpa Nelson. We wrote you a little song for your birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we thought we'd record it for you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we did. Josh!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I hope you like it.

(singing) Eighteen-year-old birthday blues. Eighteen-year-old birthday blues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Parents, I should have said grandparents.

Belting out a happy birthday blues tune would be cool by itself, but wait, Isha, there's more. Check out these moves.

SESAY: There's more.

COOPER: Oh, yes. There you go. Yes.

SESAY: Yes, I just would be mortified.

COOPER: Can you imagine -- can you imagine how mortified this -- this grandchild must be?

SESAY: Yes, because I'm mortified just watching it.

COOPER: I know. I'm embarrassed too, like I'm imaging -- yes, but I appreciate the love that they're showing by doing this. As an adult I appreciate it. As a kid, I would have been horrified.

SESAY: Oh, Web cams. What can you say?

COOPER: I love how Grandmother in the back is rocking out to it.

SESAY: She's feeling it.

COOPER: Yes. Have you ever seen on "Saturday Night Live" when I think it's Kirsten Wiig and -- they do -- they pretend to sing a song. They pretend they've written all these songs, but they haven't. And they're just ad-libbing it. Anyway.

SESAY: Yes. Lost in translation that one.

COOPER: You probably don't even know what "Saturday Night Live" is. We have it on this side of the pond.

SESAY: Yes, whatever. Onward we go.

COOPER: Isha, check in with you later.

Up next, "Crime & Punishment." Is she a soccer mom or a notorious million-dollar madam?

Also, the man accused of killing 77 people in that rampage in Norway last summer, he was formally charged today. Details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: More with Anderson in a moment. First, this "360 World View."

It's been nearly a year since a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. Entire villages were reduced to rubble or washed away completely. Nearly 16,000 people were killed. The estimated damage, $300 billion. The images of destruction so overwhelming they were hard to comprehend.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: When you see a debris field like this, you kind of have to almost refocus your eyes. None of it makes sense. It takes a while to kind of adjust to what you're actually seeing.

This is what was the top of a house. This is the roof of the house right here. That's completely crushed and collapsed. There's a car over here. There's another car over there. There's the contents of multiple houses here. There's a mattress over there. There's another house over there that's collapsed. And just almost as far as the eye can see, it's just debris.

(voice-over) Last week, this was farmland. Now, soaked in seawater, it's a sickening sight.

(on camera) This feels like it's the ground, but this isn't actually the ground. This is probably about ten feet up off where the actual ground is. There's just so much debris piled on. There's actually an entire van beneath me.

(voice-over) Last week, there were some 20 homes in this area. Now, there are none.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: But all those lost homes, lost lives, and shattered families were just the beginning. The tsunami's 30-foot waves had unleashed a second disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant close to the coast. The plant lost electrical power and its backup generators failed, setting off a nuclear emergency. Sixty to 70,000 people who lived in the danger zone were ordered to evacuate.

Days later, the crisis went from bad to worse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: There's breaking news tonight. A developing nuclear scare that seems to be getting more serious by the hour.

I want to bring you up to date with some satellite imagery, which shows the problem. New explosion, the third at the Fukushima Daiichi power station south of here. Eleven people were injured yesterday. So now there are three overheating reactors to be concerned about.

The radiation levels at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have increased to, quote, "levels that can impact human health." And anyone within a radius of 30 kilometers of the plant should remain indoors. This according to the chief cabinet secretary, made a statement just moments ago.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a counter. So you know, this is -- you've seen these basically. You wave it over a particular area. And you can get an idea of how much radiation is in the area. So this is pretty reflective of what we're seeing here in Tokyo. About 20 times normal, in terms of radiation levels.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Well, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is still one of the most hazardous places on the planet, even today. CNN's Kyung Lah was able to visit the plant. Here's what she saw.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A year after these reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant exploded in a triple meltdown, reporters were reminded this is still one of the most hazardous places on the planet. We wore head to toe protective gear, full facial respirators, and Hazmat suits.

Then we drove up to the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

(on camera) This is our first look on the ground at the reactors.

This is the heart of the nuclear problem in Japan. What you're seeing over my shoulder are the reactors. There are four of them. The two that you see over my right shoulder, those are two of the reactors that exploded in the early days of this disaster. When you take a look at the reactors, you can see that they have a long way to go.

This is a year after this disaster, and you can see that the force of the explosion crippled those buildings. You can understand how so much radiation spewed from the point when you're standing here. An army of 3,000 workers are now here daily, in shifts, to control the melted nuclear fuel and contain the further spread of the radiation.

Inside the on-site crisis management building of the plant, a control center monitors the progress and safety 24 hours a day.

"The highest risk we still see is if something goes wrong with the reactors," says plant manager Takeshi Takahashi. The plant is in cold shutdown, but the nuclear fuel needs constant cooling, and the situation is far from over. Pepco (ph) says the plant won't be decommissioned for at least 30 to 40 years.

The challenge is evident as we drive around the plant. Debris still mangled from the tsunami sits untouched. These blue tanks and these larger gray ones hold water contaminated by radiation. Tepco is continually challenged with finding more space for the water.

Work conditions and safety, while they've improved since the early days of the disaster, remain a constant concern.

Saori Kanesaki used to give tours to the public at the Fukushima power plant. Before the accident, I explained to many people that the nuclear power plant is safe, she says. "Now that this has happened, I feel very sorry I ever said that."

Kanesaki also lived here in Tomyoka (ph). She's now an evacuee. She's uncertain of when or if she can ever return home. A year later, she and 78,000 others are the legacy of this accident, paying the price of nuclear energy going wrong.

Kyung Lah, CNN, the Fukushima nuclear plant.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Wow, so much devastation. It's almost hard to believe a year has gone by.

Just ahead, by day, she was a mom of four from the New York suburbs. But now she's accused of running a successful prostitution ring with an A-list clientele.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment tonight, the bizarre case here in New York of a suburban mom accused of running a brothel out of a Manhattan apartment, catering to rich and powerful clients and apparently making millions.

This is the picture splashed in the "New York Post" today of madam Anna Gristina posing with her husband there. She is held on $2 million bond on charges of promoting prostitution.

Now, prosecutors say they have up to 100 hours of surveillance video and audio recordings to back up the accusations. Reporter Miguel Marquez joins us live with more -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is a woman that we're getting to know a lot about.

You saw the picture in court, and she looked like a school marm basically, like a librarian. But you see that picture that made such a splash here in New York today, splashed across the page of the "New York Post," and you get a very different view of the woman. Something much, much sexier. That's for sure.

Prosecutors claim, as you said, she made millions of dollars over a 15-year period running prostitutes out of an Upper East Side apartment. And they believe that they also have -- they also have witnesses, they say, and in at least one encounter that they recorded there were minors involved. Prostitute minors involved, as well.

So they are taking a very hard look at the entire history of this woman and what she was doing running this on the Upper East Side.

COOPER: So this is alleged to have gone on over a long period of time. What do we know about her alleged client list?

MARQUEZ: It's certainly a great interest on Wall Street today. She was picked up on Wall Street, coming out of a Morgan Stanley broker's office that she was dealing with. Prosecutors say that she was there to do a business deal, to raise money for another illicit business. Her defense attorneys say that she was there simply to get funding to run a Web site. She wanted to run a dating Web site.

Well, that broker that she is with is being talked to by investigators. And Wall Street is abuzz with who else might be out there.

In the recordings, prosecutors, say she claims to have clients around the world. High-profile wealthy clients around the world. She claims to have law enforcement sources and friends in law enforcement that would inform her if there was an investigation under way.

Prosecutors even said they had to mount a complex operation in order to get her, because she lives far upstate in New York. And they had to get her here in Manhattan because they believe she was getting ready to flee, possibly to Canada. She was hiding money away, they said. It was quite an operation, it sounded like.

COOPER: Miguel Marquez, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Just ahead, the latest in the trial in Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student accused of using a Web cam to spy on his roommate Tyler Clementi before Tyler Clementi killed himself.

Testimony today reveals text messages that Ravi sent to Clementi on the night he killed himself.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're following a number of other stories. Isha is back with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, a development in the trial of a former Rutgers University student. Dharun Ravi sent text messages to his roommate, Tyler Clementi, trying to make amends. They were sent the night Clementi committed suicide.

Ravi is accused of using a Web cam to spy on Clementi's intimate encounter with another man.

The man accused of murdering 77 people in an attack in Norway last year was charged today with homicide and committing acts of terror. Prosecutors say Anders Breivik was mentally ill when he allegedly opened fire. He's pleaded not guilty.

Today, Apple unveiled its latest version of its popular iPad. It's high definition with a faster processor, better camera, and sharper display screen. The new iPad goes on sale in the U.S. on March 16.

Two solar flares the sun ejected yesterday may create a geo- magnetive storm that could disrupt high-frequency radio communications, global positioning systems, and power grids here on Earth. The peak of the storm could hit tomorrow.

And Anderson, say hello to these adorable little cubs. They were born yesterday to an endangered clouded leopard at a zoo in Tacoma, Washington. The cubs are male and female and weigh only about half a pound each. Zoo officials say they're healthy. So far, they have not been named. I would go with Cooper and Sesay.

You weren't listening.

COOPER: Someone is talking in my ear. There's pandemonium in the control room. So, by the way, Dorothy and Cat is the "Saturday Night Live" skit, and it's Fred Armisen, who I also think is kind of a genius, and Kirsten Wiig.

SESAY: Someone just told you that in your ear.

COOPER: No, someone tweeted me "Dorothy and Cat," and I remembered Fred Armisen. And I couldn't remember his name before, because I'm such a huge fan of his. Anyway, we were trying to get video to show people and just show you to educate you, if you will, on this.

There they are. Dorothy and cat. Listen.

They claim they write this songs and then they're totally ad- libbing it. I think it's genius.

Anyway, I digress.

SESAY: You do, indeed, digress.

COOPER: "The RidicuList is coming up. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight, we're adding the high price of popcorn and candy at the movies. This is outrageous.

Now, one guy in Michigan has had enough. He's suing a movie theater, because they charged him $8 for a soda and a box of Goobers, which by the way, I love. Goobers, that is. And which you can get right around the corner for less than $3.

Now, we've all been there. You go to a movie -- you tell yourself say you're going to stay away from the concession stand because it's a complete rip-off. Next thing you know, you're taking a loan out on your 401(k) to buy a bag of Sour Patch Kids. Suze Orman would not recommend that, by the way.

Anyway, it can just be so hard to resist. The theaters know how to lure you with the smell of popcorn, the fake smell of buttery spread or whatever they're calling it now. The candy displayed under glass like jewels.

In the good old days, the dancing hotdog.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (singing) Let's all go to the lobby to get ourselves a treat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hot buttered popcorn. Ice-cold soft drinks. Mouth-watering candy bars. Why not get some in the lobby? Right now?

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Like Pavlov's bells. Is that supposed to somehow short circuit your senses to make you buy candy against your better judgment? The good old days were so quaint.

Can somebody please go get me some Junior Mints? For some reason, I suddenly feel like I literally cannot function without Junior Mints right now. Can we do that? No, OK.

So the guy suing the movie theater is gold taking a stand against injustice, but it's an injustice that, let's face it, can be pretty easily solved without all of the time, energy, and paperwork of filing a lawsuit, like employing the ingenious technique of, I don't know, having pants pockets.

Sure enough, in his lawsuit, the guy says he used to smuggle in his own candy and soda, although it's Michigan, so they refer to it as pop, which is, I just think, darling.

But anyway, he said he had to stop doing that because the theater posted a sign saying you're not allowed to bring your own food. Seriously, that's all it took? A sign?

There might be an easy way for the movie theater to end this. Put up a sign on this guy's lawn that says please don't file lawsuits. He's likely to obey.

CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who much to his credit, did not immediately hang up on us when we called him to ask him about this said everyone is rooting for the guy because we all know movie theater refreshments are a total rip-off, but he has about zero chance of winning the case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If this guy runs into a grumpy judge, he could wind up losing his case and having to pay the other side's legal fees. So I think paying for the Goobers might have been a better option.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Goobers. Goobers. Very good point Jeff makes. Here's what really bothers Jeff Toobin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOOBIN: What is the deal with Mike & Ike. I've seen this candy my whole life. I have never seen one person eat it. What kind of name is that for a candy? Look, I know Raisinets. I now your Sno Caps. I know Goobers. I don't know what Mike and Ike is. It's haunting.

COOPER: You know how I know Jeff Toobin is smart? Even his musings on candy are profound and poetic. So here's to you, Jeff Toobin, and your search for answers about those Mike and Ikes: I don't know what they are, either. And here's to all the Twizzler smugglers and especially people who manage to resist the movie theater popcorn. Keep fighting the good fight.

That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.