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LIVE FROM...

Hit-and-Run at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Bush in South Asia; Corrupt Congressman; Airline Worker Remembers Gut Feelings of 9/11

Aired March 3, 2006 - 13:59   ET

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


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Want to get straight to Fredricka Whitfield in the newsroom with the latest on this developing story out of North Carolina -- Fred.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Betty, we know that one person is in custody and three people have been injured after an SUV crashed into a crowd of people on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. And a reporter who got a chance to view the aftermath of this scene, affiliate -- from affiliate WRAL, John Bachman, who was in a helicopter getting some of these aerial views, he's on the line with us now.

And John, when you got to the scene after this SUV apparently crashed into the crowd of people, what did you see?

JOHN BACHMAN, REPORTER, WRAL: Well, it was a crazy scene, Fredricka. I was telling you there was a crowd of people that were basically in shock as they were trying to crowd around the taped-off area of what is called the pit. It's sort of the central part of campus right near the cafeteria. The student union, several libraries in the area.

And so a large crowd of people had been there. It was just before lunchtime.

And we're being told from witnesses who were on the ground when this SUV drove through there that this man was driving about 40 miles an hour going through this very crowded area at a crowded time during the day. We're still not exactly sure how this man managed to get on campus, because this part of the area is pedestrian-only, it's strictly pedestrian-only, and it's tough to get a car into that area.

And then apparently 10 minutes later, he called police and told them that they were just -- that he was just three miles away and turned himself in. Police were able to track him down about three miles from campus, where they took him into custody.

Again, no idea why he did something like this. But just a crazy scene. And obviously a lot of folks scared.

And I want to update quickly, too, there were actually five people that were taken to the hospital. But again, none of them had any serious injuries, we're being told this morning.

WHITFIELD: All right. And lots of interesting points about this. So apparently this driver knew what he did and called in, volunteering, essentially, to police to locate him.

BACHMAN: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Are you getting any more indication as to how perhaps he may have gotten through what is usually a secure area for, as you said, pedestrians only?

BACHMAN: Right now it's only speculation. We, as a television station, have driven vehicles up into that area to cover different events. And so we know, of course, that it can be done.

But I know from personal experience that the areas that we've gone through are blocked off by temporary poles that can be removed if security knows you're coming. But it's not necessarily that easy to do.

So certainly you would suspect that whoever this person turns out to be must have known some of these areas existed. But again, all that is speculation at this point in time.

WHITFIELD: And are you being told anything perhaps by police, anything more than hit-and-run type charges this driver would be facing?

BACHMAN: At this point, that's -- that's all we know of at this point. Of course, you know, who knows what turns out as far as how seriously these people were hurt. But at this point there does not appear to be any life-threatening injuries.

WHITFIELD: All right. John Bachman of WRAL, our affiliate there out of North Carolina, thanks so much.

BACHMAN: You bet.

WHITFIELD: Betty.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Fred.

Well, President Bush and company are in Pakistan wrapping up four days in South Asia. Plenty to discuss with leaders there. Chiefly, the crackdown on terrorism and the intense nuclear rivalry with India.

The president touched on issues a bit closer to home the night before in New Delhi. And CNN's Elaine Quijano was there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Bush capped off a three-day visit here to India by stressing the ties between this country and the United States. Speaking in the Indian capital of New Delhi, the president talked about how both countries are democracies made up of multicultural, multi-religious and multiethnic societies.

The president also addressed an issue that's been a sensitive one in the United States, issue of outsourcing. Mr. Bush acknowledged that Americans have paid a price for outsourcing, but he said isolationism is not the solution.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's true that some Americans have lost jobs when their companies moved operations overseas. It's also important to remember that when someone loses a job, it's an incredibly difficult period for the worker and their families.

Some people believe the answer to this problem is to wall off our economy from the world through protectionist policies. I strongly disagree.

QUIJANO: The president also said the rise of India's middle class, some 300 million strong, represents an immense opportunity for American business.

In his wide-ranging speech, the president also said there has been close cooperation between the U.S. and India on the war on terrorism. That is the issue that will be front and center when Mr. Bush sits down with Pakistan's leader, President Pervez Musharraf, in Islamabad on Saturday.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, New Delhi, India.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: Hurricane Katrina caused former FEMA director Michael Brown to lose his job. Now Michael Brown wants Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to lose his post as well.

Brown tells CNN that Chertoff should be fired for his oversight of the government's Katrina response. Brown also criticized Chertoff's decision-making during and after the Katrina disaster.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BROWN, FMR. FEMA DIRECTOR: He has not grasped what needs to be done. I mean, by not -- by letting FEMA be torn apart as it was, by sending me to Baton Rouge and saying that you've got to keep your butt in the chair in Baton Rouge and run a disaster from there, I think is just naive. In the 160 disasters that I successfully handled, I did that by being out in the field, being out in there with the people to find out what they needed so I could fix that bureaucracy if, indeed, it was slowing things down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NGUYEN: Now, President Bush this week said that Michael Chertoff was doing, in his words, "a fine job." Chertoff took over the Homeland Security Department in February of last year.

Michael Brown will have even more to say later today on CNN. He returns to "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer. That's tonight, 7:00 Eastern, 4:00 Pacific.

We're keeping an eye on California and a courtroom there where a couple of hours from now former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham will be sentenced to prison. He has admitted to taking bribes worth millions of dollars, and CNN's Jen Rogers has more on the once- powerful lawmaker's dramatic fall.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEN ROGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Randall "Duke" Cunningham would have been serving out his eighth term in Congress this year. Instead, the San Diego Republican will likely start serving a prison term.

RANDALL CUNNINGHAM, FMR. CONGRESSMAN: The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct and disgraced my office.

ROGERS: Cunningham, who resigned from office last fall, has pleaded guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes and evading $1 million in taxes. The bribes from defense contractors enabled Cunningham to buy a multimillion-dollar mansion in southern California, a Virginia condominium, and even a Rolls Royce.

BUSH: The idea of a congressman taking money is outrageous. And Congressman Cunningham is going to realize that he has broken the law and is going to pay a serious price, which he should.

ROGERS: Cunningham's plea agreement with the government allows prosecutors to seek a maximum 10-year sentence. Cunningham's lawyers have asked for leniency in light of the former congressman's record as a decorated fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, his age, and his declining health. But prosecutors are unmoved by his request and continue to recommend Cunningham be sentenced to the full 10 years.

Jen Rogers, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: Now to Illinois. A controversial appointment to a state commission has citizens scratching their heads. Two Jewish members of the governor's hate crimes panel stepped down yesterday, refusing to serve any longer on the panel with a member of the Nation of Islam.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich says he doesn't know who appointed Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad, the Nation's director of community outreach. He says it certainly wasn't him.

Now, her presence on the panel went largely unnoticed until last month when she invited other members to a speech by Louis Farrakhan. Not uncharacteristically, Farrakhan's speech included remarks attacking Jews.

Muhammad has issued a statement supporting what she calls "fairness to all people regardless of race, creed, color, national origin or religious beliefs."

It is the first major political foray abroad for the newly- elected Palestinian leadership. Hamas is in Moscow for a dialogue that many say must begin with a show of flexibility toward Israel.

CNN's Matthew Chance reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Well, these are extremely controversial meetings that are being held here in the Russian capital. Russia essentially becoming the first major power to break ranks and to engage in talks with the Palestinian militant group Hamas. A top-level delegation from Hamas, led by its political leader, Khaled Mashaal, is currently in Moscow talking to senior Russian diplomats, including the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

Mr. Lavrov saying that he intends to stress to Hamas the need for it to renounce violence, renounce its suicide bombing, and also to recognize the right of Israel to exist, something that Hamas up until now has refused to do.

Nevertheless, Lavrov saying that he believes there is reason for optimism in his talks with Hamas.

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I have some cautious hope that having become now a legitimate political factor in the Palestinian and Middle East life, Hamas would reassess its new role for which maybe it was not ready when the elections took place. But now that the elections did bring the results we know, Hamas would reassess its role and Hamas would reassess its responsibility before the Palestinian people.

CHANCE: Well, there seems at this stage to be little justification for that Russian optimism. Hamas is certainly keeping to its well-trodden hard lines on the issue of violence and on the issue of Israel.

The big concern among the international community is this kind of invitation will bestow on Hamas a certain amount of legitimacy, a certain amount of recognition, as well, but the international community will get very little in return.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: Coming up on LIVE FROM, growing up and going to school in the midst of a war zone. CNN's Arwa Damon spends a day in class in Baghdad.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: A former Army dog handler at Abu Ghraib prison is muzzling his own request to question a two-star general. Sergeant Michael Smith could face almost 30 years in prison if convicted of assault, maltreatment, cruelty and other charges stemming from the inmate abuse scandal of 2003 and 2004.

Until yesterday, Smith's lawyer was demanding to call General Geoffrey Miller to support Smith's contention he was only following orders. Miller is the former Abu Ghraib commander who, by some accounts, instituted heavy-handed tactics, including the use of dogs.

Well, he's no longer answering questions and it's far from clear whether the judge in the Smith case would have allowed his testimony anyway.

The Iraqi armed forces ruled Baghdad today, and all was quiet. That's the good news. Streets were virtually empty as the government banned traffic in an effort to stall the slide toward chaos.

Reporting from Baghdad now, CNN's Aneesh Raman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another extraordinary daytime curfew put in place in the capital. Iraqis, just after the curfew expired, tried to go out a brief window where they could do so before a nighttime curfew kicked into place. The curfew meant, the government says, to prevent attacks on mosques during Friday prayers in the capital.

Just before the curfew was put in place in Baghdad, east of the city, in the predominantly Shia city of Nahrawan, there gunmen attacked a brick factory, killing at least 18 workers, setting part of the factory on fire. The same gunmen in the same city then attacked a power station, wounding two guards and cutting off power to the city of Nahrawan.

Now, south of the Iraqi capital, in the Shia city of Basra, there today there were joint prayers between Sunnis and Shia, joint calls for unity among the two groups. There were demonstrations planned in the weeks ahead in the capital as well calling for unity.

But tensions here, while they remain high, are essentially shelved. And the longer they are, the more they will decrease. But it could take any number of insurgent attacks to once again re-ignite fury on both sides.

That is why the government is trying to make sure security forces are out on the streets. A government still yet to form in terms of the new government. They were to form by February 25. They've extended that deadline to March 12.

Expectations are they will convene by then. But even if the parliament convenes, it means nothing in terms of deciding who will be the country's prime minister. That issue is now embroiled in a political battle as the Sunnis, the Kurdish and secular politicians want the Shia alliance to change their nominee of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the country's current prime minister.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: Iraq's tragic past is a matter of record. And the present situation is shaky at best.

Will the future be any kinder? CNN's Arwa Damon examines one side of where Iraq is headed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): These school boys don't even flinch at the sound of gunfire. Six-year-old Houda walks to school with her brother and sitter. Her tattered backpack almost as big as she is.

"I'm scared to go out," Houda says, but she has to overcome her fear every day.

Miss Rahama (ph) is trying to get her kids to concentrate on math class. Houda is paying more attention to her coloring book than what's on the chalk board. She doesn't care much for math. She wants to be a gym teacher. Barbie sneakers, Barbie pencil case, and her mom promised her more.

"I am happy," Houda says, "because my mom said she would buy me toys and things and new clothes. But I said, 'Daddy, I don't want,' because daddy needs to make money."

Like many students here, her parents don't talk to her about the country's violence. They just say don't go out.

As Houda's classmates compete to answer Miss Rahama's (ph) questions, Mohammed (ph) in the back is not being called on. But it's not his favorite subject, anyway. That would be religion. Ask him if he's ever scared and the answer's a defiant "No."

At recess, our camera gets the attention, though Mohammed (ph) just wants to eat his apple.

(on camera): Violence, sectarian divide, insurgent attacks are not topics of conversation here. Professors say that the kids go through so much trauma outside of school that they want this to be an environment where the kids can just have fun, focus on their studies and just be kids.

(voice over): The fourth grade divas, Hanan (ph) and her gang, rule the playground. She likes showing off her sense of fashion. But then it's to religion class, and the vivacious girls are subdued.

The scarves that were draped on their shoulders now cover their hair. The parents of Hanan (ph), the wannabe engineer, tell her not to be afraid. She'll do her chores when she gets home and then play, but not outside.

"I don't go in the streets," she says. "I just go to my friend's house."

These kids may seem like any others, but teachers say the effects of the war can be found just below the surface.

"I am scared of the explosions," Houda says. "Now at night..." -- but she's lost her thought before she's able to finish.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: Here's a question for you. What is it like knowing you could have stopped two of the 9/11 terrorists but didn't?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're holding their IDs up and I'm looking at them. And it's not nice but I said, "Jeez, if this doesn't look like two Arab terrorists, I've never seen two Arab terrorists."

NGUYEN: Coming up, the airline ticket agent who came face to face with hijackers who attacked the World Trade Center.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: It's a good thing he looks great in brown. Marty Peter celebrates 60 years at United Parcel Service this week, a record unmatched by any other UPS worker.

Back on a brisk March day in 1946, Peters started delivering packages to folks in Detroit. For the last 15 years, Peters has enjoyed working indoors, but, hey, in six decades you get to do it all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTY PETERS, UPS SUPER-LIFER: Theater driver, fashion shows, pickup, deliveries, line haul, feeders, you name it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NGUYEN: Fashion shows to feeders. Only the founder of the company worked at UPS longer than Mr. Peters, who is 83 years old.

Good for him.

You probably haven't been asked this very much, what does desperation smell like? Well, a new fragrance could give you a clue.

Susan Lisovicz has the story live from the New York Stock Exchange.

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

NGUYEN: Well, all this week CNN is looking into the future of security. What is being done to keep our border residents and our country safe? Find out in today's "Welcome to the Future."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I live seven miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. I'm right in the middle of the human smuggling trails.

Thousands of illegals come through our neighborhoods per night. They're carrying drugs and AK-47s.

When I bring my daughter up to the school bus stop, I always have a firearm with me. Border Patrol is totally out numbered. All I want is a secure border. I want a wall.

This is not homeland security. If it's so easy for people to be backpacking drugs right past my bedroom window, why can't terrorists get through?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than 1.1 million illegal immigrants were arrested last year by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. And yet, Cindy still doesn't feel safe. But there may be a way to fill the gaps in our borders with new technology.

(voice over): Thousands cross the nearly 2,000-mile-long U.S. border every single day. Some scale walls, some brave rapids, others tunnel their way in. But according to San Diego chief patrol agent Darrell Griffin (ph), it's not just drug smugglers and violent criminals we need to worry about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The real and immediate challenge is the threat of terrorism. We are attempting to identify and locate the needles in the haystack that wish to do harm to our country.

O'BRIEN: To reduce the size of that haystack, the agency has installed stadium lighting, secondary fencing and night vision cameras. But even more advanced video cameras and heat sensors may be on the way with the government's newly proposed $2 billion secure border initiative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will do everything that we can to ensure a secure border, because a secure border is a safe border.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: A possible compromise appears to be in the works to keep the Bush administration's domestic spying program alive. The Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee says he has a deal with the White House and support for the agreement from his committee's ranking Democrat.

Representative Peter Hoekstra says the deal would widen the loop of lawmakers briefed on details of the program, which starts a special court that issues warrants for telephone wiretaps.

Do you trust your gut? If so, how far? How much do you trust it? Michael Tuohey's gut told him something just wasn't right about two airline passengers to whom he issued boarding passes on the morning of September 11th, 2001. A few hours later, and every day since, he only wished he had listened.

CNN's Drew Griffin has his story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The 9/11 Commission would describe the dawning of September 11th as temperate and nearly cloudless. By 4:00 a.m., Michael Tuohey was already at work at the U.S. Air ticket counter at the airport in Portland, Maine.

MICHAEL TUOHEY, RETIRED GATE AGENT: Crystal clear, blue sky. It was just a fabulous day, you know, to go to work.

GRIFFIN: One hour and 43 minutes into Tuohey's day, two men approached his ticket counter, rushing to catch the 6:00 flight to Boston.

TUOHEY: They had a tie and jacket on. And as I'm looking at them, you know, they're holding their IDs up, and I'm looking at them. It's not nice, but I said, "If this doesn't look like two Arab terrorists, I've never seen two Arab terrorists."

GRIFFIN (on camera): That was your first reaction?

TUOHEY: That was my thought as I'm looking at them. I'm looking at their licenses and I'm looking at them. And that thought ran through my mind.

GRIFFIN: Where did that thought go?

TUOHEY: I don't know. At the -- immediately, I felt guilty about thinking something like that. I just said, "This is awful." How, you know -- I've checked in thousands of Arabic people over the years, you know, in doing the same job. "Businessmen," I said. "These are just a couple of Arab business guys."

GRIFFIN (voice-over): But something about these two men was different. Tuohey says the younger man, Abdul Aziz Alomari (ph) could barely speak English. The other was Muhammad Atta. Tuohey says he had the eyes of a killer.

TUOHEY: He did. He had the deadest eyes I've ever seen.

GRIFFIN: Setting aside his gut reaction, Tuohey issued the boarding passes. Less than three hours later, Tuohey was told by a co-worker that American Flight 11 had crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

TUOHEY: I said, "Oh, my God." I said, "I put two people on that plane." And I was feeling horrible, you know? Here I was think that these guys were terrorists, you know. I just had a flashback. I said, "Now the poor bastards are dead." And then you get the word on the second plane, and then it was like a punch in the stomach.

GRIFFIN (on camera): You knew then that those two guys were involved?

TUOHEY: As soon as I heard. The second I heard it. I said, "I was right. I was right." You know, and it was just -- I don't know how you describe it. How your stomach twists and turns. You get sick to your stomach. GRIFFIN: Still does?

TUOHEY: To this day. Not so much -- like I felt ashamed that I did not react to my instincts.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Once he and other employees realized what was happening, they called the FBI. Within hours, he Tuohey viewing this videotape of the two Arab men he had ticketed passing through security. He told the FBI who they were. He also told them that he observed something curious on the tape.

TUOHEY: They said, "What do you mean?" I said, Well, these guys had on -- they were very business looking. They had on ties and jackets." I said, "If you look at these guys, they both have like open collar -- they have like dress shirts with open collar." I said, "But that's them."

GRIFFIN: Tuohey went home after that and watched the dreadful events unfold on television. His wife, a flight attendant, was grounded in another city. He was alone. The next day, this self- described tough kid from a Boston housing project broke into tears. He talked with a psychologist the airline referred him to. Then he called the one person he knew could help.

TUOHEY: I called my mother. And she said, "What are you crying for?" I said, "I feel bad about all them people that got killed." And the said, "Well, what did you have to do with it?" I told her. She said, "I'm coming up."

GRIFFIN: His 91-year-old mother told him it wasn't his fault, a judgment he believes the 9/11 Commission has now confirmed. Warnings had been conveyed to the highest levels of government, but no one had instructed Mike Tuohey to be more vigilant.

Tuohey says he just hopes that the next person chosen by chance to make that first contact with evil, whoever becomes the first footnote of the next attack, does what he did not, and reacts when his gut tells him to.

TUOHEY: I had the devil standing right in front of me, you know, and I ignored him.

GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin, CNN, Scarborough, Maine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: Just chilling.

So is this. High speed on the highways. Car chases are practically a daily occurrence in L.A. What are the police doing about it, and why are people glued to their televisions? That's ahead right here on "LIVE FROM."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: You know, it's becoming part of the landscape in southern California, a crime suspect being chased down winding highways by police cars and news helicopters. Yesterday, it happened again. This time with a twist, though.

Police were after one of their own SUVs. It allegedly was grabbed by a woman who was being questioned at a stolen vehicle. It took the cop two hours to stop and arrest her. But why do so many L.A. suspects make a run for it, and why do we watch?

CNN's Ted Rowlands reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They play out on a daily basis in California, and many times end up on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's four vehicles that he just ran into.

ROWLANDS: Police chases, which some consider the ultimate in reality television.

JUDY GRAFFE, PURSUIT WATCHER: I have to tune in.

ROWLANDS: Judy Graffe, along with thousands of other viewers, love to watch people on the freeways and streets of California trying to get away from the police. Judy is such a fanatic that she actually subscribes to a service that alerts her with a phone call when a chase is under way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, look at that. Right between those two cars.

GRAFFE: To one single car chase is like another. I mean, anything from what neighborhoods they go to, to the speeds they travel, to who it turns out they are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There he goes. He's out, and he's in the lanes of traffic.

ROWLANDS: Over the years, there have been some memorable California chases. There was this stolen tank in San Diego. There was the hijacked bus in Los Angeles, the driver careening through the streets like a real life version of the movie "Speed" without the Hollywood ending.

GRAFFE: That one was absolutely fascinating. To imagine someone hijacking a bus and thinking they could get away?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's over 120 miles an hour here in...

ROWLANDS: Police have chased practically everything on wheels, from motorcycles...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, he does a wheelie right through traffic.

ROWLANDS: ... to RVs. This chase lasted more than four hours, part of lit off road. Everyone seemed relieved when this ended. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nature called.

ROWLANDS: 7-Up received some free advertising while police pursued this stolen truck. There's even been a case of ambulance chasing, literally. Sometimes the suspect runs. Many times they give up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it's a foot chase. And we'll if the officers -- he runs out of steam.

ROWLANDS: This person decided to turn things around, putting the car into reverse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very bizarre behavior.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Through the interchange. Continuing northbound on the 405.

ROWLANDS: And of course, there were the ultimate celebrity pursuit, O.J., the slow speed chase seen live around the world.

GRAFFE: Who knew where that was going to go. I mean, it was anybody's guess. And so I think that sort of hooked me into car chases.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will take you back to regular programming now.

ROWLANDS: Interrupting television programming to show chases started before O.J. It has been a part of Southern California life since the early '90s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been live with you now just about an hour here on Channel 9 following this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people do not want to go to jail.

ROWLANDS: Joe Zizi an officer with the California Highway Patrol who's been in a number of chases. He says people may enjoy watching them on TV, but for officers involved, it is very dangerous.

OFFICER JOE ZIZI, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: Who knows. You could be -- you could be chasing after America's most wanted suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the smoke on his tires as he brakes. Oh, oh, he hit that car! Hit's that car. But he's still -- he jumps out the window.

ZIZI: About 60 to 70 percent of people that flee are either driving a stolen vehicle, are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or are wanted by the police.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who knows what is going through his mind.

ROWLANDS: Some of these chases go on for hours. Some become standoffs, leaving television anchors to speculate about anything so they can fill time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's probably so blah, you know, he's just belligerent as all get out.

GRAFFE: I'm fascinating at how the anchors call the car chase. I mean, it's a little bit like a play by play in a sports event.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going off the road. Spinning out, spinning out. Whoa, he's doing gown the hill. Spinning out. It's a roll over. One, two, three.

ROWLANDS: Sometimes drivers know they are on TV and play to the audience. This guy made the time to show everyone his softer side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just mooned them.

ROWLANDS: This woman being pursued even stopped to talk to bystanders who had come outside after watching the pursuit on TV.

ZIZI: We've had several citizens watch it on television, see that it's approaching their house, and get outside. They'll either try and cheer the suspect on or try and get involved to stop the suspect vehicle.

ROWLANDS: In this chase, police got some help from a couple of truckers whose saw the chase coming...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it looks like these big rigs are doing it on purpose. This is great.

ROWLANDS: And sandwiched the suspect between them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's stuck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure did.

ROWLANDS: Police don't encourage the general public to intervene. They have their own tactics to try to put brakes on chases.

GRAFFE: You've got the spike trip, you've got the pit maneuver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're putting down another spike strip to blow out the rear tires.

ROWLANDS: The spike strip flattens tires but doesn't stop cars cold like this driver, who continued for miles until the SUV actually started to fall to pieces. This is what's called a pit maneuver, which is used to disable a vehicle.

ZIZI: We're going to get up alongside that vehicle, bump it, push it to the side, make it spin out, and hopefully incapacitate, stallout the engine.

ROWLANDS: But it's not always an immediate success. The newest weapon for police is a satellite tracking device they can actually shoot on to a vehicle, which allows them to back off a bit and keep officers out of danger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's starting to run.

ROWLANDS: As for the question of why so many chases here? Many people think California is unique because there are more freeways and more cars. But Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton points to the people.

CHIEF WILLIAM BRATTON, LOS ANGELES POLICE CHIEF: You've got a lot of nuts here. That's what makes it so unique, to be quite frank with you.

ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: My, oh my. OK. So you've made your list, you've checked it twice. You know to whom Oscar will be naughty or nice. Join the club. When LIVE FROM continues, we'll check in with a couple of film raters and list makers who've been on Hollywood's A list for years.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: That's just a low-key music. Well, movie fans know there are three lists that go along with Oscar night. The list of people we hope will win, the list of people we think will win and, finally, the list of winners. Our Sibila Vargas is comparing notes today with a couple of guys whose lists are almost as talked about as the Oscars themselves.

Hi, Sibila.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Betty. Oscar fever is definitely heating up. And who's going to take home the gold? Well, I'm here with two of my favorite critics, Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper.

Thank you guys so much for joining us. Let's talk about "Brokeback Mountain" because that's been all the talk really.

ROGER EBERT, MOVIE CRITIC: Yes, well, a lot of people think it's the front-runner for best picture. I'm predicting "Crash" is going to win, but I believe I'm in the minority.

(CROSSTALK)

RICHARD ROEPER, MOVIE CRITIC: It's almost a think like "Brokeback" crusted a little too soon. I think what we need are more jokes about "Brokeback Mountain."

VARGAS: Not enough.

ROEPER: Nothing on the Internet, no parody films. So, you know, people should get to work on "Brokeback" jokes.

EBERT: It's harder to joke about "Crash." It really is.

ROEPER: Or "Munich", really. It's not -- we're not getting a lot of funny movies here.

VARGAS: Seriously, though. But why have people loved "Brokeback," or why has it won all of the award shows?

EBERT: "Brokeback" is a very good movie. It's on my top ten list.

ROEPER: It is a good film.

EBERT: "Crash" is another good film. I think what happened is that "Brokeback" has basically been the presumptive winner since September when it played at the film festival. And "Crash", which opened last May, suddenly came back with DVDs right at Christmastime. People looked at it again. And they're enthusiasm was reawakened.

And there are some people feel like a ground swell of support for "Crash" has been building. Other people say it hasn't been. The shock will be if one of those two doesn't win. If any of this other three win, you're going to hear a gasp in that auditorium.

VARGAS: Have you guys felt -- because I know that when I watch the Academy Awards, that it really has a lot to do with heart. They give the award to movie that has heart.

EBERT: "Brokeback" has heart. It has more heart, really, than "Crash", because "Crash" has more pain.

ROEPER: They do. You know, I think a film has to have some of the core of humanity at the center. People do -- the voters want to vote for a movie that makes them feel good about their vote. It is an important film, it's a film that says a lot about our society, and is the film usually, ultimately about good people, even if terrible things happen to them.

VARGAS: But both of you think that "Crash" will take it?

ROEPER: We're calling the upset, though I don't even if it's an upset anymore.

VARGAS: All right. What about -- let's move on to Best Actor category. They say that Philip Seymour Hoffman has got this one in the bag.

(CROSSTALK)

EBERT: The only possibility is if Heath Ledger could win.

VARGAS: What?

EBERT: Heath ledger might win.

(CROSSTALK)

EBERT: Everything I hear -- everything I hear is Philip Seymour Hoffman.

VARGAS: He was amazing. I mean, his body, his posture, everything. His voice.

ROEPER: It was a great performance in a very good movie. And, you know, Philip Seymour Hoffman is a terrific character actor. I don't know if he's going to get that many opportunities to win Best Actor. So I think the voters will also say, "You know what? Joaquin Phoenix will get another shot down the line."

VARGAS: Sure. And Philip Seymour Hoffman has been around for a long time.

ROEPER: It's a way of recognizing that he's one of our best actors.

EBERT: He's admired, yes.

VARGAS: What about Reese Witherspoon, because that's what I hear...

EBERT: Once again, once again -- now, a couple of people think maybe Keira Knightley has a chance. I've heard Felicity Huckman has a chance.

ROEPER: Maybe.

EBERT: Maybe. But Reese seems to be out in front there, and that's my prediction, anyway.

ROEPER: I think she's in that kind of Julia Roberts position where she's popular, she's very good, and she's got the perfect role. And it's a way of honoring all of that.

VARGAS: Speaking of Julia Roberts, Julia Roberts got something like $24 million for "Mona Lisa Smile," and now Reese Witherspoon is going to make something like $29 million. Her stock has definitely gone up.

ROEPER: Yes. Oh, yes. She's probably right now maybe the most popular actresses in the Hollywood.

EBERT: We're also remembering "Mona Lisa Smile," aren't we? You know, the funny thing about these predictions -- I'm going to confess to myself. I know Mr. Roeper is an expert.

ROEPER: Thank you.

EBERT: When I predict who's going to win, basically it's received wisdom. I don't talk to 2000 members of the Academy and who they're voting for. It's like you pick up vibes, and you hear rumors, and you read stuff on the web, and you talk to each other at these press things. And eventually, a consensus forms. And maybe the consensus then influences the voters. I don't know. But really, my prediction are just about as good as anybody who's watching.

ROEPER: Mine are better than everybody else's.

VARGAS: Yours are better. Well, guys, it's been such a pleasure talking to you, but we are out of time. Thank you so much for sorting things out.

EBERT: One upset is Amy Adams, I'm predicting.

VARGAS: Amy Adams. OK. All right. Thank you so much. All right.

Back to you, Betty. You got it from the pros right here.

NGUYEN: You heard it first. Hey, forget about the movies though. Do you have your dress picked out? Because it's all about the fashion .

VARGAS: I've got two dresses.

NGUYEN: Two?

VARGAS: Yes. I haven't decided quite yet, but it will be a surprise.

NGUYEN: All right. We'll be watching. Stay tuned for that. Thank you, Sibila. And you want to join Sibila Vargas, Brooke Anderson (ph), and A.J. Hammer for live red carpet before the Oscars on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT", starting at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Sunday on "CNN Headline News." Then, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, live coverage moves here to CNN with "Hollywood's Gold Rush."

Well, you'd be red, too, if hundreds of famous people walked all over you while millions of people watched. Technically, no, the red carpet being rolled out in front of the Kodak Theatre is called cayan (ph), and skews toward maroon in real life. Did you know that?

Joan Rivers calls it Nancy Reagan red, that wonderful red with the little blue in it. It is 500 feet long and weighs 10,000 pounds. It was woven right here in Georgia, but provided to the Oscars by a firm in suburban L.A. It takes 21 experts -- yes, they're experts -- takes them two days to install it and ten days to clean it after the big night.

And that's one of Hollywood's dirty little secrets. The red carpet typically is recycled, but only once. The Academy pops for a new one every other year.

Now, one more secret for you. The land that gave birth to so many trends didn't start this one. Nope. Red carpets are mentioned in Greek plays as far back as 485 B.C. Now you're schooled on all red carpet news.

So who really gives a hoot about the movies when it comes down to the show on Oscar's red carpet? Because it's all about the bling- bling. We know that. For many, there are only two questions. What are the stars wearing, and how can I get that? This weekend on CNN's "Sunday Morning," it's healthy -- or is it healthy to try to keep up with the rich and famous, keep up with the Joneses?

You'll want to be here to know what we're going to hear from this man called the trend whisper. Well, not that man, Tony Harris. But the one we're going to show you tomorrow, the trend whisperer is his name. He joins us live. That's "CNN Sunday Morning" starting at 7:00 a.m. Eastern.

Rain, flooding, mudslides? Not images coming to mind when dreaming at Hawaii. We're going to find out what is going on out there. LIVE FROM returns after this.

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