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How Effective was the Democratic National Convention?

Aired July 31, 2004 - 07:00   ET


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING, July 31.
Good morning to you.

I'm Drew Griffin.

CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone.

I'm Catherine Callaway.

I'm in for Betty Nguyen this morning.

And thanks for being with us.

Coming up for you this hour, more bounce per ounce. Now that all the convention hoopla is over, the Kerry campaign is likely looking for a boost in the polls. But will their team get a lift? Coming up in just a few minutes, we'll take a look at all that.

Also, guess who's calling? It isn't who you think. We'll give you the 411 on who's trying to put the sale in your cell phone.

And here's something many are kicking around. Why is soccer meeting its goal overseas, but hardly even scoring here in the U.S.? Our sports analyst, Rick Horrow, will take you beyond the game.

But first, this is what's in the news now.

GRIFFIN: A kidnapping in another Middle East hot zone. Palestinian authorities say kidnappers there snatched and then released an American and two other teachers in the space of just two hours. The abductors reportedly freed the hostages without confrontation at the office of Palestinian intelligence in Nablus. The three former abductees are English teachers at a Christian school.

The United Nations Security Council has essentially issued an ultimatum to the government of Sudan -- stop the atrocities in Darfur within 30 days or face the threat of sanctions. Human rights groups estimate militias have killed 15,000 to 30,000 civilians in the East African nation and more than a million people there are homeless.

The boxer once known as fearsome Iron Mike showed more than rust last night. He was pummeled by a relative unknown. After a 17 month absence from the ring, Tyson was knocked out in the fourth round. Unheralded British boxer Danny Williams won the non-title fight.

Keeping you informed, CNN, the most trusted name in news.

CALLAWAY: And here's our top story this hour. In search of the Boston bounce. The Democrats' newly anointed nominees John Kerry and John Edwards are on the road and in search of some momentum from their party's big sendoff. Kerry and Edwards are on the second day of a bus tour that will blitz 21 states in 14 days. Today, they will hit Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

Meanwhile, the Bush campaign crosses the Democrats' paths in Ohio and Pennsylvania today. Bush's bus tour of the Buckeye State is his second in three months. And his later trip to Pennsylvania marks his 31st trip there since taking office.

And Vice President Cheney is out West today, with stops in Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Yesterday, Cheney told crowds in Oregon that they're -- that voters need to reelect the Bush administration to maintain the war on terror.

GRIFFIN: The party's national conventions are no longer driven by drama. The nomination is but a mere formality these days. But the prime time exposure typically offers a so-called bounce, a helpful but short-lived surge in voter support.

CNN's senior political analyst Bill Schneider explains.




GRIFFIN: Bill Schneider's report brings us to our Question of the Morning. We always want to ask you a question on Saturday morning and here it is. Do the political conventions help you decide who to vote for? You can e-mail us at W-A-M, And Catherine and I will be happy to read your responses.

CALLAWAY: On Capitol Hill, it is news in itself when Congress holds a hearing during its summer recess. But leaders of the 9/11 Commission testified yesterday that nothing less than the safety of the nation is at stake, as both Congress and the White House mull sweeping intelligence reforms.

We get the details now from CNN congressional correspondent Ed Henry.


ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a rare summer hearing, the leaders of the 9/11 Commission sounded the alarm for sweeping intelligence reform.

TOM KEAN, 9/11 COMMISSION CHAIRMAN: It is an emergency. There's an enemy out there who is planning, as we meet here, to attack us. LEE HAMILTON, 9/11 COMMISSION VICE-CHAIR: We find a desire to move ahead, but the whole government just is not acting with the urgency we think is required across the board.

HENRY: Kean and Hamilton made the case that intelligence agencies failed to stop 9/11 because, as they put it, there was no quarterback calling the plays. Three years later, they said, nothing has changed.

HAMILTON: We have concluded that the intelligence community is not going to get its job done unless somebody is really in charge. That is just not the case now and we've paid the price.

HENRY: They urged senators to create a director of all national intelligence and a national counter-terrorism center to coordinate the 15 separate spy agencies. But a key Democrat questioned whether moving that director into the White House could make the process more vulnerable to political pressure.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: How does putting the director even closer to the policymaker do anything other than to make this problem even more difficult?

HENRY: As top Bush officials met again to consider what commission recommendations the president could implement quickly, Republican Susan Collins tried to slow mounting pressure on Congress.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R-ME), CHAIR GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: We must act with speed, but not in haste. We must be bold, but we cannot be reckless.

HENRY: But one Democrat suggested delay would be a mistake.

SEN. TOM CARPER (D), DELAWARE: Carpe diem, it's the only Latin I know, seize the day. And there's something to be said for seizing the day, particularly when it's so hard to get anything done around here.

KEAN: I hope carpe diem is the right way to go, seize the day. But seize the day, as this party always does, with deliberate speed and with due deliberation.

HENRY (on camera): And starting next week, 9/11 Commissioners are going to hit the road, barnstorming the nation to drum up support for their reform proposals. They want to keep the heat on Congress and the president.

Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.


CALLAWAY: And coming up in the 9:00 hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING, we will talk to a widow of 9/11, a 9/11 victim, to see what she thinks about the commission's recommendations.

GRIFFIN: In some of the other headlines this morning, election officials in Florida now say they have found the voting records reportedly lost just a few days ago. The electronic records covered the 2002 governor's race. But officials said that no votes were actually lost in the actual election. The issue of the lost records conjured up unsettling memories of the state's voting count problems in the 2000 presidential election.

In Washington State, winds have pushed a wildfire across 300 acres, toward some 200 homes and seasonal cabins. Those homes have been evacuated. The fire has churned up across the eastern Cascade foothills.

CALLAWAY: And in Florida, holy Smokey the Bear. The people of Longwood are wondering how this bear got way up there. It was perched up in this tree for hours yesterday and it barely wanted to come down.

And this crew probably knows a thing or two about bears and bulls, like the stock market. They're auditioning for the third season of "The Apprentice." Hundreds of hopefuls hit New York's Trump Tower yesterday, trying to claw their way onto "The Apprentice 3," which should air in January. The show's second season taped this summer and will premier on NBC September 3.

GRIFFIN: Well, you should have been an apprentice at Google a little while ago. From auditions to auctions, the folks at Google are hoping for some business success. The Web search engine taking bids now for its IPO, announced earlier this month. Google says the price per share could go as high as $135 and the company hopes to raise over $3 billion overall. Interested bidders can visit the Web site at

CALLAWAY: So, are you ready to get telemarketing phone calls on your cell phone? Just the thought of it makes you mad, right? Just ahead, we will debate the merits of a national cell phone directory.


CHRIS EWING, PHYSICS STUDENT: I'm Chris Ewing. And my friends and I have built a trebuchet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's a trebuchet?

C. EWING: It's a trebuchet. It's French. I don't...

REBECCA EWING, STUDENT'S MOM: It's a household word at my house.


GRIFFIN: Whatever. We're going to tell you what this is all about, coming up.

CALLAWAY: Also, will professional soccer ever really hit the major leagues in the States? We're going to talk to an expert about attempts to promote the game the rest of the world seems to love.


ARCH KENNEDY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Arch Kennedy in the CNN Weather Center. It could be a wet day for folks in the East and some hot temperatures across the country. A look at this and the tropics. Some activity developing there, as CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues.


CALLAWAY: Live pictures from Philadelphia this morning. Here's some trivia for you. Two hundred and twelve years ago today, the cornerstone of the U.S. Mint Building was laid there and it was the first building to be used only as a U.S. government building.

Good morning, Philly.

Your weather forecast coming up in just a minute.

Checking our other top stories this morning, a new theme has been decided for a national memorial to United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania September 11. An advisory commission approved the theme, "A Common Field One Day: Filed of Honor Forever."

The U.N. Security Council passes a resolution that threatens sanctions against the Sudanese government if it doesn't stem ethnic violence within 30 days. Arab militia have killed an estimated 30,000 black Africans and left more than a million homeless.

And a new Illinois law says that people who pig out on fast food cannot sue a restaurant, claiming that the eatery caused their weight gain or other health problems.

GRIFFIN: Catherine, for many, his comeback was a knockout. And after last night, so was his fall. Former boxing heavyweight champ Mike Tyson met the mat in the fourth round of his comeback fight in Kentucky last night.

And here to talk about it and other sports issues is the author of the book, "When the Game Is On the Line."

Our own Rick Horrow, a CNN sports business analyst, joins me from Boston this morning -- how are you, Rick?


How are you?

GRIFFIN: Good to see you.

Let's talk about Tyson last night. What a debacle for this guy. He's $38 million in debt. He needs to start fighting just to pay off that debt. And he looked terrible last night, gets knocked out in the fourth round.

HORROW: Who? It's over. It is over. Don't let him know where I am, because I don't want to make him mad. But he's got to find some other way to pay his bills, because it ain't happening in the ring.

GRIFFIN: He was paid $8 million for this fight. He says he's hoping to keep $2 million of it. Will he -- will anybody pay him to fight again after this?

HORROW: Well, I don't know of anybody that I know that's going to pay him to fight again and the $2 million is probably generous, because the other dollars and probably most of that goes to the government, goes to this exes. And maybe he has some left over to pay a couple of lawyers their astronomical fees. I don't think so.

GRIFFIN: All right, Rick, let's talk about soccer. That's what we wanted to talk to you about this morning. This big, huge international game, with some of the biggest price tags in the world and some of the biggest stars in the world just can't seem to make it here in the U.S.

Why is that?

HORROW: Well, first of all, let's talk about why it does make it internationally. You know, we think in America we have the corner on sports business. But they do pretty well over there, too. You know, Manchester United is worth about $1.2 billion. Huventas (ph), the Italian team, and Bear Munich and A.C. Milan are over $600 million, $700 million.

But, on the other hand, it's always not so good. There are about 400 Division One caliber teams in soccer around the world and they lose about $360 million cumulatively. And in the top 20 English premier league teams, only five make money. So the haves make it, the have nots don't. Are you listening, major league baseball and the New York Yankees?

GRIFFIN: What -- but why can't that sports franchise of soccer make it in the U.S.? I know there are teams all across this country, but I doubt there's many people who can name any stars here in the U.S.

HORROW: Yes, well that's the key, and let's get to that. Because every 20 years or so, we talked about the 18 million participants that play soccer and say yes, they're going to be fans in the future. And this time the MLS has to get it right, because they've lost $300 million since their inception.

And it starts with the kids, and girls, for example, the high school programs. There were about 25 with those programs 10 years ago, now 50 percent. The Women's United, the Women's USA League, the pro league, went out of business, even though the World Cup, Women's World Cup, made about $6 million.

So it's got to start young and it's got to start with the kids. And that's why Freddy Adu, the next phenom playing out of Washington, is very important, by the way, with a million dollar stake from Nike, Pepsi and the like. The league has to pin its hope on the superstars of the future.

GRIFFIN: Rick, what can they do? I mean kids, millions of kids will play soccer this fall across America. They obviously love the game.


GRIFFIN: They're just not being brought into the stadiums.

HORROW: Well, that's the point. You know, from a pro league perspective, the real key with the kids and otherwise is that corporate America still loves soccer. The average soccer household, 30 percent of them, anyway, makes over $150,000 a year. And that's why corporations like Pepsi and Budweiser and Yahoo! have stayed with the game on the amateur and pro sports level.

So they spent $50 million a year corporately. What do they have to do? Target the kids, target the girls. The Hispanic market, for example, 17 percent of the U.S. population in 20 years. That's why the MLS has expanded to a second team sharing the L.A. market, called Chivas.

So we've got a long way to go. You know, eight million kids are playing soccer today, seven million, as I said before, 8.5, watch the game. Great. But 140 million watch baseball and 70 million watch football. So we've got a long way to go.

GRIFFIN: All in the numbers, Rick.

Thanks for joining us from Boston this morning.

You're going to get back to Florida, I hope.

HORROW: See you soon, my friend.


Take care -- Catherine.

CALLAWAY: Coming up, from the director of "Signs" and "The Sixth Sense," here comes another thriller. Find out if "The Village" is the right choice for you, coming up next on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.

Then later on, what's behind the rumors about Saddam Hussein's health?


CALLAWAY: OK, for all of you movie fans out there, here's what's on DVD next Tuesday. Romantic comedy "13 Going On 30," starring Jennifer Garner; western "Hidalgo," with Viggo Mortensen in the lead; and something special for Luther Vandross fans -- his music DVD "Luther Vandross: With Love." That also includes a music CD.

And here's what's new in the theaters this weekend -- comedy action and a couple of thrillers out there for you. Here are some of the highlights.

Two young roommates' faces you may remember from "American Pie" and "Van Wilder" decide to go out for some White Castle burgers. Aren't those called crystals here in the South? But their trip turns into something far more than they expected. And the "Hollywood Reporter" calls it "blissfully silly."


DENZEL WASHINGTON, ACTOR: I'm having these dreams that some of the men from our unit have been having.


WASHINGTON: Well, it's more of a question of what actually happened the night that our patrol got attacked.


CALLAWAY: Two Gulf War veterans are on different paths after Operation Desert Storm. One is climbing up the political ladder. The other is troubled with mental illness and convinced that something strange has happened to them during the war. The "Rolling Stone" calls "The Manchurian Candidate" "a mesmerizing mind teaser."

And "Thunderbirds" is based on the British television series from the 1960s and it's set in the year 2010. Security has been breached at the top secret international rescue headquarters and now it's up to the youngest son in the Tracy family to save the world. And the "Chicago Tribune" says it's better than a lot of PG stuff that attempts to reach both parents and their 8-year-old kids.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Close the door! She's outside walking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're coming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's inside safe somewhere. Please, close the door.


CALLAWAY: Welcome to Covington, a village of 60 people in rural Pennsylvania. On the outside, it's surrounded by beast. And watch what happens when one brave soul decides to cross the line.

Well, I guess we're not going to show you that. You've got to go see the movie. It's directed by M. Night Shyamalan. He's a genius, I think. He shocked everybody with the ending to his film, "The Sixth Sense." But the "Hollywood Reporter" says of "The Village," "the film's key revelation might be too mild to jolt the audiences."

I don't know. I think it's just the journey there that makes it exciting, right?

GRIFFIN: One of his movies that is too mild I might like to see.

CALLAWAY: Yes, well...

GRIFFIN: The other one's...


CALLAWAY: I think they want a big surprise like was in "The Sixth Sense," but...


CALLAWAY: It's just amazing.

KENNEDY: I really want to see that movie. And, you know, it came out yesterday and now everybody is going to see it and tell me about what's going on, you know, about the ending. And I'm going to just...

CALLAWAY: Tell you the end?

KENNEDY: It's going to spoil the whole thing.

GRIFFIN: Arch Kennedy here with the weather and movie reviews.

KENNEDY: Yes, right. I'm a man of many talents.


GRIFFIN: Interesting story here, guys. We're going to check out what we found for you this morning. Collie, Whippet and sheepdog owners, your pets may have the same great, great, great grandfather. Researchers at the National Academy of Sciences have discovered that these nine breeds that you see here on the screen have one common gene and it can be traced back to a single animal that lived in England prior to the 1870s. So the collie, McNab and Shetland sheep dog on top, Australian, English and miniature Australian shepherd in the middle, and long-haired whippet old English sheep dog and silken wing hound in the bottom row might all be the same family.

CALLAWAY: Well, of course.

GRIFFIN: Isn't that interesting?

CALLAWAY: Look at the resemblance.

GRIFFIN: Who knew?

CALLAWAY: All right, stay with us, everyone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would prefer they are not able to get my cell phone number.


GRIFFIN: Does a national cell phone directory sound like a good idea to you? The project is in the works, but will it be a big hit? CALLAWAY: And coming up next, gardening, reading, keeping correspondence -- that's mostly what Saddam Hussein's been up to lately. We'll have an update on his condition when CNN SATURDAY MORNING returns.


CALLAWAY: On the campaign trail, John Kerry is courting voters and the battleground states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio today. He's taking advantage of sluggish economic numbers. He's telling voters that it is time for a change. The economy slowed in the spring to an annual growth rate of 3 percent.

And President Bush is also campaigning in the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania today. His administration insists that the economic slowdown is temporary and forecasts a rebound in the months to come.

Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Kuwait today after a surprise stop in Baghdad yesterday. Powell met with leaders of the Gulf Emirates, a close U.S. ally in the Iraq War. He's on a week long tour of the Middle East and Europe.

Keeping you informed, CNN, the most trusted name in news.

GRIFFIN: A U.S. Army commander in Iraq is admitting to a cover- up. Lieutenant Commander Nathan Sassaman says he told soldiers to lie about forcing two Iraqi civilians off a bridge as punishment for missing curfew last January. Family members claim one of the Iraqis died. Commanders are disputing that. Sassaman, under immunity, testified at a hearing in Colorado to determine whether the three soldiers will be court-martialed in that incident.

And Iraq's new government is giving a glimpse what life is like behind bars for Saddam Hussein. The human rights minister is saying the former Iraqi dictator is well fed, in relatively good health and lives a very humane existence.

CNN's John Vause joins us from Baghdad with more on this -- good morning, John.


Iraq's human rights minister is one of the few people who've actually met with Saddam Hussein whilst he's in jail. And he dispelled some of those rumors that Saddam was suffering from some serious health problems, that he'd gone blind or suffered a stroke. But still, life is not what it once was for the former Iraqi dictator.


VAUSE (voice-over): Oh, how life has changed. From the marbled opulence of almost 50 palaces, with their manmade lakes, crystal chandeliers and gold-plated plumbing. Saddam Hussein is now one of 96 prisoners in a high security Baghdad jail.

BAKHTIAR AMIN, IRAQ HUMAN RIGHTS MINISTER: And he is in a 3 x 4 meters room. It's white, tiled floor with a 100 volt bulb lamp.

VAUSE: But as the summer here hits 120 Fahrenheit, Saddam's cell is air conditioned, a luxury not enjoyed by most Iraqis. He showers twice a week but can get a shampoo and a haircut whenever he wants. And the man who drained Iraq's marsh land, causing the greatest manmade environmental disaster on the planet, according to the U.N., now cares for a little tree in the yard outside his cell.

AMIN: He goes out of his cell three hours per day.

VAUSE: In the eight months since he was caught, Saddam has lost 11 pounds. But recently he's gained a little weight, maybe because of a liking for muffins and cookies. And the man who once led the secular Ba'ath Party now regularly reads the Koran.

AMIN: And that's a sign that one can say more of fear, because he is not a real believer. He is an infidel.

VAUSE: For the tens of thousands who suffered at the hands of the Iraqi dictator, like Kareem Ibrahim Isar, who spent three years locked away and tortured in the infamous Abu Ghraib Prison, Saddam's life behind bars seems like another grave injustice.

KAREEM IBRAHIM ISAR (through translator): A prisoner who gets a tree, a doctor and a barber is not a prisoner. He is leading a normal life.

VAUSE: But Saddam's life of relative ease and comfort may be coming to an end. He's facing the death penalty, charged with crimes against humanity. And many Iraqis want him dead, sooner rather than later.


VAUSE: And the human rights minister says Saddam is generally in good health. He was treated by two Iraqi doctors for a chronic prostate infection. He has hypertension, no surprise there; high blood pressure, as well as a hernia. He was also checked for cancer and given the all clear on that front. And while some of his inmates have asked for help to deal with depression and anxiety, so far Saddam has made no such request -- Drew.

GRIFFIN: A very interesting report, John.

Thank you, from Baghdad this morning.

CALLAWAY: If you didn't have time to keep up with the news this week, we're here to help you out. Let's rewind some major highlights of the past six days.

Amid tight security, Democrats convened in Boston for their 2004 presidential nominating convention. And stronger at home, respected in the world, was the theme for the four days. John Kerry capped the week off on Thursday night, accepting his party's nomination to run for president. And on Wednesday, citing dangerous conditions, the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders pulled out of Afghanistan. Five of its workers were killed by the Taliban earlier this year, but the government failed to catch and prosecute those attackers. Doctors Without Borders had been operating in Afghanistan for 24 years.

On Friday, a Senate committee opened its first hearing on the 9/11 Commission report. Commission members are hitting the road next week, trying to build support around the country for the recommended reforms in the nation's intelligence structure.

Tomorrow, we will fast forward to the week ahead and tell you which stories will likely grab the spotlight.

GRIFFIN: The next time your cell phone rings, you might want to check the caller I.D. It could be a new call from an old and unfamiliar friend.

Ken Boddie of our affiliate KOIN has the 411.


KEN BODDIE, KOIN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For realtor Peter Dillenburger, having his cell phone number in a national directory is fine with him.

PETER DILLENBURGER, REAL ESTATE AGENT: Being in real estate dictates that we have accessibility. And the more ways that we can create that accessibility to the clientele, the better.

BODY: A wireless industry trade group is compiling the directory. You dial 411 and an operator would give you any cell phone number in it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would prefer they are not able to get my cell phone number.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, definitely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm already getting calls on my cell phone from telemarketers and I have no idea how.

BODDIE: About 163 million people in America have cell phones, nearly as many as have land lines. About seven million Americans use cell phones exclusively. Cell phone users would have to choose to be part of the directory, but one large group of wireless customers won't have the choice. Verizon Wireless, the number one wireless provider in the nation, is keeping its 40 million customers off the list.

RANDY WALTER, VERIZON WIRELESS: We're very sensitive of our responsibilities for privacy and to protect our customers' information. So we release no part of that.


GRIFFIN: That was Ken Boddie of our affiliate KOIN. That's going to be big news, coming up, especially...

CALLAWAY: So are you going to get an unlisted number?

GRIFFIN: Well, I thought my cell phone was unlisted.

CALLAWAY: Well, there you go. Now it won't be for long.

GRIFFIN: No, I guess not.

CALLAWAY: Coming up, everyone, she was 35 years old; her lover, a 13-year-old student. Mary Kay LaTourno's story captured national headlines and she's now about to end a nearly seven year prison term for child rape. The LaTourno case on the docket for our legal panel, coming up in the next half hour.

Also, the numbers are, indeed, alarming. About 195,000 people die from medical mistakes every year. Now comes a required hospital medical checklist. An up close look with Dr. Sanjay Gupta this morning on House Call. That's coming up at 8:30 Eastern time.

And stay with us. At 9:00, she was left a widow on September 11. One of the so-called outspoken Jersey girls, Christen Breitwiser (ph), joins us live with her thoughts on the new 9/11 Commission report.

But first, going to school in what was a war zone. Students from battle weary Iraq will join us live in just a few minutes here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


GRIFFIN: Checking the headlines, members of the 9/11 commission are hitting the road to build momentum for national intelligence reforms. The goal? To encourage the public to pressure politicians to make changes they recommended in their report.

NATO countries have agreed to send a military team to Iraq to help train local security forces there. The team will work with the Iraqi government and U.S. military forces and report to NATO by September 15.

And boxer Mike Tyson down by a surprising knockout in the fourth round of his attempted comeback fight. He was defeated by British underdog Danny Williams. The fight took place in Kentucky.

The next news update at the top of the hour.

But here is what's just ahead in seven minutes. Can you say trebuchet? Or, better yet, can you build one? These guys went above and beyond for extra credit in physics class. You don't want to miss their story.

CALLAWAY: But we're going to shift our focus now from American kids to Iraqi kids. The World Leadership Congress at George Washington University wrapped up in Washington this week. The Congress is held every year. It brings together young women and men from across the country and around the world.

And joining us from Washington this morning are two participations. We have Diana, who has just graduated from high school in Iraq; and Ghazwan, who is entering his senior year in high school there.

And we should say that we're only using their first names this morning because of security concerns.

Thank you both for being with us this morning.

Diana, let me start with you.

know, we just mentioned that we were only using your first name. Did you have any reservations about coming to America for this conference?


CALLAWAY: I understand. It's a little nerve-wracking to be live on national television.

But let me start with you, Ghazwan, and ask you, did you have any concerns about coming to the U.S.?

GHAZWAN, IRAQI STUDENT: Actually, I was thinking that to come here and see the people here, especially students from, you know, from different cultures, different religions, different countries. It was a great opportunity to me and to my, the Iraqi students. To me, all of these nice kids and they were wonderful and, you know, the Hobie (ph) is a wonderful program. It's just the theme of that program is to unite the youth of the world for a better tomorrow. And we enjoyed our panel discussions, our ceremony and it was a great, great opportunity to us to attend such a great event.

CALLAWAY: Diana, what was the experience like for you?

DIANA: It was a very important experience. I think it was a life changing experience because it changed my life forever about how to think and how to choose. This is, I think, the most important.

CALLAWAY: Any new opinions that you will go home with, Diana?

DIANA: Yes, of course. It's about the problems that we have around us, especially in Iraq. There is a lot of problems in Iraq. So I learned in the World Leadership Congress how to focus on the problems and how to find the solutions and -- or a way to get out of these problems.

CALLAWAY: Ghazwan, tell me about your reception by other students there? Did they have a lot of questions for you?

GHAZWAN: Yes. Of course. They had -- I was the -- one of the most famous students in the whole of the Arab world. Yes. They were asking several questions. You know, they didn't meet any Iraqi students before and all of their questions I answered them, most of them. And I gave them my e-mail and something like that so that we could stay in contact with each other. And it was very nice to talk with them.

I didn't think that they are such a -- such kind people and such nice students. And we will stay in contact and we were thinking that especially, we have in the program a group time. We call it group time. And I would like to thank my wonderful group, A1, and my wonderful facilitator, Brian Adams (ph), for his tremendous efforts.

And they were just very nice and they understand me very well and we will just stay in contact with each other so that to hear from the others about the problems and discuss the most important things that happened, that might happen in the future.

CALLAWAY: We've run out of time, Diana and Ghazwan.

But let me ask you quickly, just would you come back? Would you do this again? Yes? No?

DIANA: Come back to the United States? Of course. I plan to come back next year to be an alumni in the World Leadership Congress because I thought from the start that if I contributed in this Congress, I'm going to be involved so.

CALLAWAY: Well, we welcome you, Diana and Ghazwan.

DIANA: Thank you very much.

CALLAWAY: Thank you both for being with us this morning.

GHAZWAN: Thank you very much.

DIANA: Thank you.

CALLAWAY: And back to you.

GRIFFIN: A nice story there. This story, though, hard to believe until you see the pictures. Find out how a car was turned airborne in our Wows of the Week later this hour.

And up next, what happens when physics class is taken way too seriously?

And don't try doing this at home, please.


GRIFFIN: Ashlee Simpson debuting on the top of the charts this week with her album, "Autobiography."

Do we call them albums anymore? CDs, I think.

Believe it or not, Jessica's younger sister, who is also a star on "Seventh Heaven," is the first one in the family to notch a number one album. CALLAWAY: Well, an Oregon physics teacher told his high school students that they could get some extra credit for building a trebuchet. The teacher expected a tabletop version of the ancient instrument of war. But what he got went way beyond his expectations.

CNN affiliate KGW takes a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there was a lot of creaking and stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sort of evolved, you know, we started off pretty small.

R. EWING: And then it got really big. And then it kind of made me a little nervous.

C. EWING: Look it, probably 1,200 pounds right there. Anything can set it off.

I'm Chris Ewing and my friends and I have built a trebuchet.

R. EWING: It's a trebuchet.

C. EWING: It's a trebuchet. That's French -- I don't.

R. EWING: It's a household word at my house.

C. EWING: It's a six pound ball of lead.

All right, we're shooting here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five, four, three, two, one.

C. EWING: Well, we've got neighbors outside. We generally ask them about this point, can we shoot the trebuchet, you know, after we've shot once.



C. EWING: Hi. We just wanted to make sure. The neighbors down there have a greenhouse and they don't want bowling balls crashing through there.

R. EWING: The neighborhood has been well aware of the project since it started.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We couldn't quite tell what it was, but things are coming all the way over, you know, into the trees. And it was a little startling at first but...

C. EWING: The eight pound jug of water, that's always a crowd pleaser. My mom doesn't want it here any longer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't really know if we could do it.

C. EWING: Mr. Hennix (ph), his honors physics class for extra credit.

R. EWING: Guys, I'm on the ground.



C. EWING: Pumpkins up to 20 pounds, dummies. Actually, it's in the trunk of my sister's car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, it doesn't have a head.

C. EWING: Cock it, load it, shoot it. Do we have half a watermelon up there?

R. EWING: It goes pretty fast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I get a 10 second countdown?

C. EWING: Did he say wait 10 seconds?


C. EWING: Oh, it's a deep one.

It is across the board, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We forgot to put somebody back here. It's going to be hard to find it.


CALLAWAY: I just find that hysterical. Drew doesn't. You know, I, zero tolerance...

GRIFFIN: Monty Python reality show.

CALLAWAY: Zero tolerance. They won't be able to bring that on campus. That's a weapon.

GRIFFIN: Some neighborhood.

CALLAWAY: Anyway, we want to thank CNN affiliate KGW in Portland, Oregon for that report.

GRIFFIN: All right, if that wasn't enough, check this out. Walking tall -- a monkey. Zookeepers say they've never seen this before. But wait until you find out what made that monkey walk.


CALLAWAY: Live pictures from New York City this morning. And if you're a Yankees fan, you may want to know what the team wants to build -- a new open air stadium right across from its present home in the Bronx. The cost? At least $700 million. But according to the "New York Times," the Yankees are willing to cover most of the that expense.


CALLAWAY: You're glad, right?

GRIFFIN: Arch Kennedy following the weather in New York and everywhere else in the nation -- how are you, Arch?

KENNEDY: I'm doing well. Well, you know, they're making a couple of million a year. They can foot the bill, can't they?

GRIFFIN: I think so.

CALLAWAY: You know what? As long as the taxpayers don't have to pay for it.

KENNEDY: Exactly.

CALLAWAY: That's what they're saying, right?

KENNEDY: That's the big point here.


GRIFFIN: Well, if you are still waking up, here's some stories from the past week to wow you, we hope. This is no monkey mockery here. An unusual sight -- Natasha really does walk upright. She's in a zoo near Tel Aviv. This is kind of a sad story. Doctors say she may have brain damage after recovering from a serious illness there. Monkeys do not normally walk exclusively on their hind legs.

Shame on Shamu? Well, no, Kai. Shame on Kai. The killer whale whooped his trainer at Sea World in Texas last night, slamming him underwater repeatedly. The trainer says Kai just lost his focus and meant no harm and no harm apparently was done. Nobody injured

Shreveport, Louisiana, an unusual car crash. Look at this scene after a car spins into the air and then slams into the side of a house. Police believe the car ran off a road and hit a street sign. Three men thrown out while another was stuck inside. And almost two hours later, rescuers were finally able to free him.

CALLAWAY: Look at that.

Well, all morning we've been asking you do the political conventions help you decide who to vote for?

You've sent us a number of e-mails this morning and here's one from Robert, who says: "In the past, I could care less about the conventions, but this year I've been more closely following the race. And, yes, they are definitely going to make a difference in my decision." GRIFFIN: Jennifer has a view most Americans, I think, have. Two thirds of voters already say they've made up their mind and by the time the national conventions come along, she says: "I've already decided who I want to vote for. And if I can't decide, then I just vote for my party. Neither conventions do anything to sway my v."

If you want to pitch in and give us your thoughts, why don't you write us at

CALLAWAY: And the next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING begins right now.


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