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tv   John King USA  CNN  August 29, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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either that or the pee wee herman. you're pretty much paler than i am. >> but not blonder. i considered going white before i came on the show just to match you. >> did you? >> it's a lot of work, though. >> it is a lot of work. i mean, it's working good for you but i don't think it would work as good for me. >> in my mind, i still have brown hair, so i'm still kind of shocked when i look in the mirror. >> i love that story. >> all right, don't worry, conan, it's true that i'm number one, i think we've proven that, but you still have the finest head of hair on the ridiculous. thank you for watching. john king, usa starts now. i'll see you tomorrow. thanks for joining us, john king has the day off. in vermont tonight, hundreds of people remain cut off without power or a way out. hurricane irene has torinoed picturesque brooks and steams into life-threatening torrents. we'll get an update in a few minutes. but first, breaking news on the international manhunt for
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moammar gadhafi and members of his family. several hours ago, a senior rebel commander told cnn that one of his sons, khamis gadhafi died sunday night in a battle in northwest libya. also today, algeria revealed it had allowed gadhafi's wife and daughter and two of his grown sons and some of his grandchildren to enter the country for what they call humanitarian reasons. nic robertson is in tripoli now. can you update us on the latest on this humanitarian so-called giving of them refuge in algeria? >> reporter: you know, one of the interesting things is that algeria still recognizes moammar gadhafi as the leader of libya. they haven't yet recognized the transition council, the rebels, as traditional rulers now.
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so what happened in the early hours of the day is that moammar gadhafi's wife, daughter, two sons, showed up at the border and crossed over into algeria. they said they're taking them in on humanitarian grounds. the national transitional council say they want them back, they want them to go on trial, and if algeria doesn't send them back, they say they will consider it an aggression against the will of the libyan people. so clearly, this government -- this new emerging leadership here takes this very seriously, gloria. >> sure. and since the family left, what does this tell us about the rebel stronghold? i mean, these people managed to get out. >> reporter: you know, there's a massive part of this country that the rebels really don't control, and i don't think anyone really knows, even the rebels, even gadhafi himself really knows exactly where a front line might be drawn and
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exactly who sides with who. the coastline here is where most of the population is. it's almost 1,000 miles long. that's the sliver that the rebels have. the majority right now, they're still fighting for chunks of it. but the south of the country, maybe a hundred kilometer, a hundred miles south of that -- south of the coast line, for hundreds and hundreds of miles into the desert further south, that really still has a lot of gadhafi loyalists, tribes that are loyal to him. it's sparsely populated so really, there's a lot of area where gadhafi could be hiding. and where there is still tribes loyal to him. so it's far from done for the rebels. it's interesting that they say they killed one of gadhafi's sons, khamis, over the weekend. they have offered no evidence. they said things like this before and it's proven not to be true. now the rebel leaders have said they've lied intentionally. just a week ago they captured three of gadhafi's sons, they lied intentionally to try to
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create fear among gadhafi's loyalists. when we hear statements that they killed one of his sons, i think we need to take that with a pinch of salt, if you will. i know it's a psychological operation against gadhafi's loyalists. >> i want to follow up on your exclusive yesterday about the lockerbie bomber. you discovered him apparently in a coma. what are the rebels saying today about the possibility of extraditing him back to scotland? >> they're saying they're not going to do it. which is very interesting because the reason that they're giving publicly is because they're saying there's no extradition treaty with these countries and therefore, that's why they won't go ahead. but another dimension, political dimension. the tribe is hugely important for this government, they need to get that tribe on their side away from gadhafi so he can build this interim government so to send gadhafi outside of this country would send a signal to this tribe, a negative signal.
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so they want to send a positive signal. get the tribe on their side, help firm up their leadership here. >> local politics. thanks so much, nic robertson. gadhafi's grown son hannibal is among the members of his family who entered algeria today. as dan rivers discovered, he left behind evidence his family behaved like animals. a quick word of caution, some of the images you are about to see are deeply disturbly. >> reporter: meet a 30-year-old ethiopian nanny who describes how she was horribly tortured by hannibal's wife. >> she took me to a bathroom and tied my hands behind my back and tied my feet. she taped my mouth. and she started pouring the boiling water on my head like this. >> reporter: her crime, she refused to beat hannibal's
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toddler who wouldn't stop crying. >> dan rivers joins us now from tripoli. dan, that story is absolutely heart breaking. it's horrifying. we know that hannibal himself may be in algeria. do we have any idea what's happened to the wife who this woman says did this to her? >> reporter: and the short answer is no, we don't. we understand from the algerians that hannibal has crossed the border into algeria, but his wife, aline, a former lebanese model, we don't know where she is. as far as we're aware, she's never been charged with anything. now, though, we're seeing what apparently, according to this ethiopian nanny is the most barbaric torture for no reason at all. >> what's been the international reaction to this story? is there any way to prosecute this woman?
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>> reporter: well, there's been a phenomenal reaction from viewers, from people going on to the website. we have been in touch with the state department, for example, in the u.s. i think there is an enormous amount of interest in her story. people clearly want to do something about it and we're working to try and make that happen in as effective a way as possible. the problems here on the ground are obvious. this is still a sort of hostile environment in every sense. so hospitals are difficult here, but we are trying to get something done to help this lady. >> hopefully, she can get some medical treatment. dan, you also got an exclusive look at the compound that was used by gadhafi's sons. i want to play that and talk to you at the other end about it. >> this is the main sitting room of a party house we think was used by colonel gadhafi's sons, hannibal and you can see it's full of the evidence of
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drinking. there's dom perignon rose. vodka bottles. johnny walker blue label. this obviously looks like it was a big, expensive tv system. i think it was an awesome tv system. >> what kind of impact will these pictures have? >> reporter: well, i mean, we spoke to the rebel commander that is in charge now of that compound. he said he was disgusted by what he saw, shocked as well. he said colonel gadhafi gave the impression that he spent his whole life living a modest existence in a bedouin tent and to come in and see that, that was quite hard for them to take. but it's clear from what we have seen that the money was no object to the gadhafi sons and family. everything was the very best that money could buy. incredible decadence and overindulgence in these beach houses. it wasn't just one, but a series of villas.
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we were told in one that at one point before the rebels arrived dozens of swiss watches. we walked into another as they were rifling through hundreds of bottles of very expensive champagne. quite incredible scenes and scenes that are really difficult for the libyan people to stomach given the long 42 years of suffering under colonel gadhafi's regime. >> one would think. thank you so much, dan rivers for being with us. i'd like to add the note that the nanny who was burned has received an outpouring of concern from our viewers. cnn is working with humanitarian organizations and medical officials to get help for her. as soon as that is finalized we'll let you know how you can help. you can go to with us now from new york, we have cnn national security contributor fran townsend who advised president bush and now
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is on the external advisory boards of the cia and homeland security department. in may of 2010, she visited high-ranking libyan officials at the invitation of the libyan government and also with us is the national security analyst peter bergen with me here in washington. let me start with you, fran. the family is now or so we think part of it in algeria. what does this tell us about whether gadhafi's days are numbered? >> you know, gloria, it's interesting to me that where we find that they're in algeria because it was cnn that reported about a week ago that they had attempted to flee to tunisia where they refused to accept them. look, this i think all is part of gadhafi's exit from the scene, if you will. there's no question he wanted to find -- he clearly was looking to find safe haven for his family.
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before there was some confrontation he had to deal with with the rebels himself. and the hunt is on for him, but it becomes frankly less imperative for gadhafi to flee now that he's got his family or a good portion of his family out of harm's way. >> do you think he's preparing for martyrdom? >> i do. he's said from the beginning, it's not what i think, but he said his preferences were to die and have his blood spill on libyan soil. i think this is part of his preparation plan before he has to confront that. >> peter, does it matter in the long run if gadhafi is actually found, tried or killed? >> sure it matters, but the example of iraq is a little sobering in the sense of capturing and then trying saddam that was obviously important to a lot of iraqi people. but it didn't end the insurgency. quite the opposite. it gathered steam. there are gadhafi sympathizers. i'm sure gadhafi's planned for some kind of insurgency to kind of follow his fall from power.
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so even if gadhafi is taken from the scene, enough people identify with his regime that libya is likely to have some kind of civil unrest for a long time. >> fran, let me ask you this. is bringing gadhafi to justice a rebel decision or is it a nato decision and what is justice? >> well, in the first instance, it will be a rebel decision, the national transition council is the governing, if you will, body for the moment. and libya remains a sovereign country, and so if he comes into their control, it will be an fte decision. if there was nato support, you must expect they'll consult nato and probably the united states, given the level of u.s. support. >> well, let me -- let me ask you this, peter. given the fact that libya is on the edge right now, does this validate the obama/nato strategy because it's clear that the rebels are doing quite well? they haven't gotten gadhafi, but they're winning.
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>> i think it does surely. from an american national security perspective, not a single american soldier has died. this is similar to the kosovo intervention. this is done without a great deal of blood and treasure on our part and the results will speak for themselves. there were naysayers at the beginning. it seemed to take a long time. these things don't happen overnight. and, you know, the bosnia intervention took at least three months. so it was to be expected that this was not going to be something that you just overthrow the regime immediately. >> fran, did people get a sense early on that gadhafi was going to go quicker and is that a problem politically for the president? >> i think as long as he goes it's not a political problem for the president. i mean, i think there was an expectation, gloria, that he would go quicker. and it took nato a little while. if anyone has got some sort of bruises from the engagement, it's nato.
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nato really took a while to get their rhythm down. and their increased bombing campaign helped the rebels ultimately to succeed. and so i do think that in the end, as long as gadhafi is gone, the president's policy is a success. >> and fran, you have met him. i have to ask you what you think he's got cooking in his own mind now that his family is out. we talked about martyrdom, but is there any escape you think planned or do you think he's there till the finish? >> i actually take him at face value on this. i think he's planning to be there to the finish. i think his family is not at all signed onto that. i think the sons, you have seen the sort of luxury they have lived in themselves. they are not as tough or crazy as gadhafi himself. the real question is will the sons try to flee? one comment real quick on the nanny. the horrific injuries that she suffered, this is not an isolated incident.
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remember, one of gadhafi's sons and his wife were taken into custody examiand charged in switzerland which caused a big con f conflagration and that was because they had abused a nanny. this horrific conduct is part of a pattern. >> okay. thank you so much, fran and peter. and there's another developing story tonight and that one is in vermont. where the state's governor is warning people to brace for more flooding and more loss of life. we'll speak with governor up next. is soft and more durable so it holds up better. fewer pieces left behind. charmin ultra strong. in servicing clients that serve our country. my name is marjorie reyes. i'm a chief warrant officer. i am very grateful and appreciative that quicken loans can offer service members va loans. it was very important
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in vermont tonight, three people are confirmed dead in the flooding caused by hurricane irene. a little bit ago, the state's emergency management agency warned that even though the floodwaters have receded from levels we saw yesterday, most rivers and streams remain above normal levels and are still quite dangerous. with us on the phone is vermont governor peter shumlin. thanks so much for being with us. we know you're quite busy. first of all, governor, can you give us an update on whether the waters are finally receding? >> well, they are from the smaller tributaries, but our major rivers which they flow into are still rising so we have
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our challenges ahead. >> i understand that this afternoon, you spoke with the president. can you tell us what you asked him for? >> well, i should tell you the president reached out to me. he's been extraordinary as has his entire team. he's going to dispatch his director of fema up here tomorrow, secretary napolitano has been in constant contact with us. fugate will be here tomorrow. but really what he said is governor, i want to do whatever i can do to help vermont dig out -- >> but what do you need right now, because you have people who are isolated in small communities. so what do you need from the federal government? >> well, the biggest thing we need right now is resources bigger than ourselves. we're kind of self-reliant up here in vermont, self-sufficient. we don't ask for much, but we're at a time where we need resources in terms of water,
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food, engineering help so we can get water systems and sewer systems up. we continue to struggle with huge challenges. we just got absolutely whacked by the flooding. >> when you say totally isolated, you mean without any communication, you don't know whether people are sick? you don't know whether they're injured? >> no, we're in there. the red cross and fema is on the ground, but the challenges that in many of the smaller communities, they can't get out if they need to, to hospitals, without helicopters. we don't have many in vermont. >> there is also a missing person i gather in vermont. has that -- >> well, this is the toughest part is that as you probably know, we lost one woman on the first day of the flood in wilmington, vermont. today, we found two other individuals who worked for the city of rutland. we found one, and we're searching for the other. we had a young -- a man die in ludlow, who drowned there. so we are at three confirmed deaths and we are searching for
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a fourth individual. and these are just devastating stories that break your heart. the other challenge we have is just the amount of infrastructure that we've lost. i mean, covered bridges. we have lost cemeteries, businesses, houses. you know, whole communities are struggling to stay afloat here in terms of the kind of losses that we're experiencing. so it's really been a tough, tough whack for us here in vermont. >> well, do you have any idea the kind of economic damages it's going to cause your state? >> you know, we're still in crisis management. i'm trying to save lives and get people to safety. we have evacuated our entire state hospital as an example. it's under water. much of the functions of the state government are under water. at our complex in waterbury, we're evacuating seniors and low-income seniors from mobile homes and other areas. we are trying to get them to safety. so we'll be doing the financial assessments in the coming weeks, but right now we're still in
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crisis mode. >> i have to ask you one last question, did you expect it to be this bad? >> you know, in fairness, we were warned that it would be this bad. we were told by the weather service that we were going to get the eye of the storm and we did. so we prepared for the worst and hoped for the best and frankly we got delivered the worst. but, you know, the national weather folks told us four days out that vermont was going to get the eye. but the rest of the nation wasn't paying attention. our emergency management people did an extraordinary job making preparations. we set up obviously shelters throughout the state. we had our water teams, high water equipment distributed across the state in anticipation that we'd be whacked everywhere. we were right. so i would say that we did expect it. we hoped it would change, but we knew it was coming. >> okay. thanks so much, governor, for being with us. we know it's a very difficult time for you in the state of vermont. >> thanks for all your sympathy. we deeply appreciate it. >> good luck. with all the attention on hurricane irene, it's hard to
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believe that today marks six years since hurricane katrina hit new orleans in the gulf coast. next, i'll ask james carville and mary matalin, have we learned anything? [ male announ] this is the network. a network of possibilities. excuse me? my grandfather was born in this village. [ automated voice speaks foreign language ] [ male announcer ] in here, everyone speaks the same language. ♪ in here, forklifts drive themselves. no, he doesn't have it. yeah, we'll look on that. [ male announcer ] in here, friends leave you messages written in the air. that's it right there. [ male announcer ] it's the at&t network. and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say. [ doorbell rings ] hello there. i'm here to pick up helen.
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six years ago today hurricane katrina hit the gulf coast and new orleans was not ready. today at the white house, fema administrator craig if you -- fugate was asked how the lessons learned from katrina influenced the response to hurricane irene. listen to this. >> we can't wait to know how bad it is before we get ready. we have to go fast, we have to base it upon the potential impacts. that's why we look at these forecasts we get from the hurricane center and we make the decisions based upon what the potential impacts can be. if you wait until how bad it is, it becomes harder to change the outcome. >> with us from new orleans republican strategist mary matalin and democratic strategist james carville. thanks for being here. james, you heard craig fugate. did we learn the lessons of katrina from looking at irene? >> irene and katrina are two,
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both separate kind of events in their own way, but we learned some lessons in terms of preparedness. but the big thing is our flood protection is substantially better here. we're still not where it needs to be, you know, in terms of the pumps, but we're significantly better than we were on august 29th, six years ago. and i think in about another four years we're going to be in pretty good shape here. but you wouldn't want to have a catastrophic engineering failure again like we had in 2005. that's very hard to prepare for. but, you know, i think that, you know, i think they have learned a lot. they had to have. >> mary, presidential candidate ron paul of texas said that the nation would be much better off without the federal emergency management agency. i want you to listen to what he said about fema, then we'll talk about it. >> fema is not a good friend of most people in texas because all they do is come in and tell you what to do and can't do, you
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can't get in your houses and they hinder the local people. and they hinder volunteers from going in. so there's no magic about fema and more people are starting to recognize that and they're a great contributor to deficit financing, and quite frankly, they don't have a penny in the bank. >> is he right about fema? >> he makes a number of points. what he didn't make there but is a valid one is about their insurance capacity. we should not be insuring irresponsibility. insurance is about rationalizing risk. he makes that point. he makes the larger point about the cost of fema, but most americans would say that disaster relief, recovery and rebuilding is a function of government. you could get economies of scale. does it break down on the ground? yes, it does. is it better when the local first responders and the state responders are working in
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collaboration with fema before and after and working into the future? we're still working with fema six years after the fact here. so a lot depends on the local relationships, but i'm a very small government conservative as you know, gloria, but fema is a -- i think is a legitimate function of the federal government in collaboration and not to be interfering with the first response to a nation disaster. >> but james, mary raises an interesting point, which is you have to figure out a way to pay for disaster relief, and the number two man in the house, eric cantor said, and i quote, those federal moneys are not unlimited and what we have always said is we offset that which has already been funded. so he's saying you've got to go dollar for dollar here and off set it. >> again, he's been off setting
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the cost of loss, but disasters are a part of life. we have had hurricanes and tornados, anything. we have had floods. look at the great mississippi river flood of 1927. look at what the people have gone through in vermont right now. you live in a big country, you have big risks that are in that. great nations are able to deal with these things and deal with them on a fairly regular basis. i don't buy the fact that this country is unable to respond. we have a disaster, we have a huge earthquake in the los angeles basin, which is a real possibility. god knows what that would entail then. you have to do everything you can. we can't deny the fact that we live in a big country and our country is subject to risk. that's just part of the way it is. we have to deal with it. that's what great nations do. >> mary, i want to ask you, because both of you are involved in the community there in new orleans. you moved there after hurricane katrina. what advice do you have to people who are trying to recover
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from an event like hurricane irene, given what you have seen in new orleans? >> that -- well, the first piece of advice would be the one that governors across the east coast were making. when they tell you to evacuate, get out of there. they're not kidding about that. the second piece of advice i think people understand since katrina is there is an element of personal responsibility. we see these things coming, don't rush out to the grocery store at the last minute. people should be prepared if you live in an area like this, you should have flashlights and take care -- and james' favorite, the ice chest. james wrote a great piece on about the kind of things you can do to be prepared. but at the end of the day before any element or level of government can get to you, your neighbor, you should be in a position to help your neighbor and in your neighborhood. that's the very first line of defense. >> james, what about the rebuilding process?
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even psychologically when you see your possessions destroyed, maybe your business destroyed, how -- what advice would you give to people to cope? >> well, i mean, look at what's happened here. we still -- we obviously -- recovery is uneven. there's more good than bad. let's admit that it's more good than bad. one of the things that we learned is, this is a little bit like you have a child who has a near-death experience and all you want to do is hug that child. you love all your children equally but you're going to love that one even more, and i think people here, it's a real sense of pride in what's been accomplished here, we have our sense of culture and our way of life. we want to relish it and enjoy and participate it in more than ever. i think you have that. i'll make one case in terms of preparedness. if you do anything, listen to
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cnn contributor russell an array. when you see something coming, tune in to what he has to say. that's my advice to you. >> thanks so much to james and mary. james will be sticking around with us for another segment in a few minutes. thanks to both of you. >> thank you. we'll head back overseas in a moment. serious pro-democracy demonstrators who have been risking their lives fos more are taking a new tactic, one that works in libya. my servers are m. [ male announcer ] with efficient i.t. solutions from dell, doug can shift up to 50% of his technology spend to innovation. so his company runs better, and so does doug. dell. the power to do more.
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syria's crackdown cost them an important friend. turkey's president says his country has, quote, lost their confidence in syria's leader. as criticism grows, syria's demonstrators are trying something new. for the first time they're appealing for foreign protection. cnn's ivan watson is watching the development from istanbul. >> reporter: gloria, the protesters have been out for more than 5 1/2 months despite a crackdown that claimed more than 2,200 lives and some have adopted a new strategy. take a look at the videos. it shows some syrian protesters clapping and demanding that people want international protection. in another video, you can see them holding up signs that say, we need international protection. this is a sharp change in the past.
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the syrian protesters have specifically said they do not want any type of libya-style foreign military intervention. in fact, one prominent syrian opposition group has come out with the statement saying it totally opposes any kind of foreign military intervention. or armed resistance inside saying this would erode the popular international support and the moral high ground that the syrian revolution has enjoyed thus far. meanwhile, growing pressure from foreign governments, neighbors of the syrian regime here in turkey. the turkish president coming out and saying he has lost all confidence in his former syrian ally. take a listen. >> we have reached a point where anything would be too little too late. frankly, i would say that we have lost our confidence. >> reporter: turkey is joined by the arab league which is also criticized the ongoing violence in syria which claimed at least five more lives according to reports. but even syria's closest allies, iran and the shiite lebanese
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movement while voicing ongoing support for the regime, they too have said it's time for them to carry out reforms and listen intently to some of the demands of the syrian people. signs that they too, these close allies, are concerned about the bloody direction this country is taking. back to you, gloria. and anderson 360 is coming up at the top of the hour. gloria, in about 20 minutes on 360, we're on flood watch. millions of americans continue to feel the effects of irene. flooding remains a concern. have the was particularly hard hit. look at the bridge washed over. we'll head to vermont live. we'll speak to a reporter who is trapped in a town in prattsville, new york, as that small town was just devastated. >> when the flood first started happening yesterday, i'm telling
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you, the water, it's like an established community wasn't even there. that's how bad it was, it was all under water. when we tried to figure out how to get out, everybody laughed at us. they said there's no way out. all the surrounding roads are flooded. and the power is out. so it's kind of too dangerous to drive through, so we decided to stay at the red cross shelter and come down here this morning. >> we'll tell you what it's like for residents there right now. we're following the revolution in libya. several of gadhafi's family members have escaped to algeria. how they did it, and the question of course remains where is gadhafi? we'll talk with reporters in tripoli. plus an exclusive from nic. he tracked down that lockerbie bomber apparently on his deathbed. and new reports about the convicted child rapist warren jeffs. he fell ill, he was rushed to the hospital. tell you why he's now in a coma. he looks very different. a very different looking warren jeffs than we saw a couple of
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weeks ago. even behind bars, his followers, however, remain faithful. >> warren jeffs may be in prison for the rest of his life, but in the border towns of colorado city and hillandale, utah, where thousands of jeffs' followers live, he is still the prophet. >> do you believe the evidence they showed the jury? >> i believe the evidence is ill gotten and manufactured. that's what i have to go by. >> so you believe that -- >> i know that the government can do that. >> gary tuchman's report tonight. also at 10:00 p.m. and all that at the top of the hour. >> thanks so much, anderson. we'll be watching. and a new cnn poll confirms a new front runner in the republican presidential race. who that is in a minute. i'm going to ask james carville if it's bad news for the democrats. [ artis brown ] america is facing some tough challenges right now.
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rick perry is on top in a new cnn poll. republicans and independents lean to the gop. the previous front-runner mitt romney is a distant second. here to go over the numbers, cnn contributors erick erickson, editor of and democratic strategist james carville is with us again. thanks for being here. let's take a look at this poll, because it's kind of interesting. we have -- we polled republicans
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choice for a nominee in 2012. without giuliani and sarah palin in the race. you see here, perry 32%. romney way behind, 18%. bachman 12%, gingrich 7%. paul, 6%. on down the line. let me start with you, eric. is there a new front-runner here and is his name rick perry? >> gloria, it's shaping up to be that way. i'm still not convinced yet. i think we need to see a few more weeks of polling. this is a big bounce out of his announcement in charleston and then through new hampshire and iowa. he hasn't been in any debates yet. i would like to see his performance in the debates, and that's where things got held up with fred thompson and he came out with big bounces. he has more staying power than wes clark. there's a cnn debate, an nbc debate coming up. if he can stay on top, then he's the front-runner and it's not a
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balance. >> well, james, clearly this is a very unsettled republican field. but is rick perry conceivably the guy that you as a democrat might want to run against? >> well, the republicans are not really asking me. but yes, i think he would be fine. i mean, he's in iowa saying that social security is unconstitutional and john thune was in $south dakota saying the biggest question he gets is ploent don't cut my social security and medicare. i think eric's analysis is right on. it is a pretty impressive balance. three debates coming up. i think come early october we'll have a good sense of how strong that rick perry is. but i also think eric would agree on this, that i'm surprised that romney is as weak as he is. i would expect the race to be more tied. our poll was confirming. i have seen other polls that show the roughly same thing. it's not just an outlier. >> let me raise that to eric about mitt romney.
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i was surprised also to see him being so weak. and this poll also shows that perry has 37% of the tea party support. is that romney's problem or evangelicals? >> i think romney's problem is across the board. i hear a lot of reporters saying mitt romney will hang on to his national constituency, but i don't know what that is. his basic claim to fame is that he was a jobs guy and perry was a career politician, but he got elected in 1994 he'd be the career politician. >> isn't he establishment? isn't he just the establishment? >> he's the establishment guy to a degree, but he's the establishment guy by default. republicans typically elect the guy who they perceive as the front-runner. the big exception to that was 1980 when the establishment guy was george h.w. bush. and he fell to reagan. you know, i'm not surprised because if you look at all the polling consistently, romney has been capped out at a third of republican voters.
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he's benefitted by so many people being in the race, but as it starts to consolidate, i think it works against him. >> i want you guys to take a look at this poll we did and we looked at evangelical or born-again republicans and their preference by candidate. again, you can see perry very much in the lead there with 39%. romney 15%. if you ask me, that's a lot among evangelicals for mitt romney. but the surprise here is bachman behind there at 11%. james, what does that say about her staying power with the evangelical community? is she losing those people? >> they don't think she can win, and they think perry can win. you know, they're pretty savvy politically. you give them a choice between two people, and perry's played to them. perry had his player's rally, and he says he's got problems with evolution and all the stuff that's music to their ears. he's out there with them, with
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hage and all these people. it's kind of paying dividends, and i think they concluded that he's a better candidate in the general election than bachmann is, would be my guess. >> eric, history tells us that while evangelicals is important in the early primaries like iowa and north carolina, they don't generally get their candidates nominated. could that be different this time? >> gloria, i think if we look after labor day, i think whoever is the front runner for the republicans after labor day has been the nominee for every election since 1964 other than in 2008 when it was jewll yagiud mccain nipping at their heels. i think the polling of evangelicals and people who consider themselves born-agains are misplaced and displaced.
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they think about fiscal issues, too, and they look at obamacare and all this, and they look at michelle bachmann and wonder, can she beat obama, and i think the question is who is the most evangelical of these candidates, but who can beat barack obama, and i think a lot of people relate to perry in that way. >> forget about perry on the issues, but just about his performance as a candidate, just his performance as a candidate, how do you think he's been so far in these first couple of weeks? >> i think he's been a good candidate for the evangelicals, i think he's been a good candidate for iowa and south carolina voters. i don't think he's been that good for independence or peeling off a few democrats, which republicans generally like to do, but right now he's doing pretty good on his side of the fence. and romney is in a little bit of a jam here because he's gt ot t figure a way to attack him, and
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i think it's going to be hard to do, and i think democrats are not going to end this the way they want it to. >> up next, we're going to talk about michelle bachmann and how she's brought god into the presidential race. her campaign says it was just a joke, but there are lightning bolts coming from the political left. e cream, please ? no, it's just for new people. hey ! chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ? chocolate ! chocolate it is ! yeah, but i'm new, too. umm... he's new... er... than you. even kids know it's wrong to treat new friends better than old friends. at ally bank, we treat all our customers fairly, with no teaser rates and no minimum deposit to open. it's just the right thing to do. with two children and no way to support them. people told me i wasn't going to do anything. and i just decided i have more to offer than that.
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politician is' attempt at humor, whether sharp or lame, can have huge implications. michelle bachmann's joke in florida. listen to this. >> you would think by now they would get the message. an earthquake, a hurricane! are you listening? the american people have done everything they possibly can, now it's time for an act of god, and we're getting it! >> and we're back with james carville and eric erikson. so, james, was that a joke? the left is going crazy over this. >> the left are making fools of themselves. of course, it's a joke. she says enough stupid things and does enough stupid things to make things up. if we start taking jokes out of context, we'll end up sanitized and boring and mitt romney is going to run for everything in the whole world. when i heard about it, i was
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like, oh, look at this, there's my girl michelle making a fool of herself again. then i called a couple of my friends who are not inclined to agree with michelle bachmann by any stretch, and they had the exact same feeling i had. we've got to stop this. you know, yes, make fun of it all you want if it's something as legitimately whacky. this woman was obviously joking, the crowd knew she was joking. when you get on the campaign trail, people are tired, they like a laugh every now and then. she's entitled to that. and left wing blogs or left winging blogs don't need to make anything up. there's plenty of really stuff out there. >> it's just an anti-washington joke. >> it is a joke, but there's a larger point here, and frankly, i really wish a lot of folks in the media would actually forget about the politicians talking religion. i think a lot of people in the
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media need to stop talking about religion, and it's one of the things that incited this issue on michelle bachmann. the writer who questioned michelle's faith. i read liz's column that a lot of these left wing blogs are leaking into comments about michelle bachmann, and he got very basic terminology wrong, miss characterizing what a lot of mainstream christian theologians have said, and we've got a nation that say they're christian and you've got a media saying they're getting the basic facts wrong, and it's causing things to whip into frenzy where there shouldn't be one, like this. >> in the long term, can this backfire for the democratic party which, after all, doesn't want to just be a secular party and also wants to have a bit of a sense of humor, quickly. >> i read mitt rom


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