Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Suspected Cop Killer Captured in Pennsylvania; NASA Prepares to Launch Space Shuttle Atlantis Today; Flocabulary: A Nontraditional Approach to Classroom Learning; Schwarzenegger Apologizes For Offensive Remarks

Aired September 9, 2006 - 10:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: We have new pictures in this morning of captured fugitive Ralph "Buck" Phillips in federal court. Phillips was caught last night in western Pennsylvania five months after escaping from jail in upstate New York. Now during that time he is suspected of killing one state trooper and wounding two others. We have a live report on his capture and court appearance. That is coming up at the bottom of the hour.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: The clock is ticking for Atlantis. Launch time a little more than an hour away. If the shuttle mission doesn't start today the next opportunity for it to be able to be launched isn't until October. Yesterday's launch was scrubbed due to a faulty fuel center. We're going to have a live report from the Kennedy Space Center, it's coming up in just a couple of minutes.

NGUYEN: NATO officials tell CNN more than 40 insurgents and one NATO soldier were killed overnight in fighting in southern Afghanistan. The NATO push against the Taliban in Kandahar province is being led by Canadian and Afghan troops.

SANCHEZ: Freedom for American journalist Paul Salopek could come any minute now. Salopek has been held prisoner in Sudan since August 6th. He's a newspaper reporter. Promise of his release comes after New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson met briefly with Sudan's president. Salopek is a reporter for "The Chicago Tribune" but he lives in New Mexico.

NGUYEN: And tropical storm Florence is approaching hurricane strength. The watch is on for Bermuda. Forecasters say landfall could come Monday but it may not be a direct hit and that is good news. We do run down the top stories every 15 minutes right here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING with in-depth coverage all morning long. Your next check of the headlines coming up at 10:15 eastern.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the F-L-O-C-A-B- the apocalypses till there's nothing left.


NGUYEN: Now that's what we call flocabulary. Education and entertainment. Can they really go together? We'll have a schoolhouse lesson with a hip hop beat. That's in 20 minutes. You've got to get down with the flocabulary Rick.

SANCHEZ: I'm down with it, I'm down with it.

NGUYEN: From the CNN Center this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING, it is September 9th, 10:00 a.m. at the Kennedy Space Center. Here's a live look where we are awaiting liftoff of space shuttle Atlantis. That's going to be happening at 11:15 eastern. But it is 7:00 a.m. right now out west. Good morning, everybody. What a day. I'm Betty Nguyen.

SANCHEZ: And I'm Rick Sanchez. Thanks so much for starting your day out with us.

NASA is hoping to launch Atlantis next hour after a series of scrubs. If there's no liftoff today the next try won't be for a couple of weeks. Our Daniel Sieberg is at the Kennedy Space Center, as he has been all morning long. Working those astronaut hours and joining us now to bring us the very latest on how this is going. Still on schedule, Daniel?

DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Rick. It's looking good, it's been a rough couple of weeks for NASA but everything is checking out this morning. Atlantis is fueled up on launchpad 39B with half a million gallons of super cool liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen. The weather forecast is looking good for a little over an hour from now.

A short time ago the astronauts walked out, did their traditional wave to everybody, got into the Astro van, then were strapped into the orbiter. Going through some of their final systems check right now. The hatch door is closed. As they are making some final preparations before they take off.

Those six astronauts are all ready to go. And so with a little more than an hour to go, right now we're just trying not to jinx it, hoping that it will go ahead. And so far everything here at Kennedy Space Center is cooperating -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Daniel Sieberg, we're going to have a lot of questions for you over the next hour. But we're going to have to hold them for now. Stay with CNN for shuttle coverage throughout the morning, we'll have it for you right here.

NGUYEN: Catching terrorists and bringing them to justice, that is the focus of President Bush's radio address in the run-up to 9/11 observances. Elaine Quijano is at the White House for us with a recap of this morning's address which is going to be happening just in a couple of minutes. Good morning to you Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you Betty. Well that's right, and in fact in two days President Bush will be delivering a prime time Oval Office address, marking the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

Now this week in the lead-up to that we have heard the president continue laying out his views on the war on terrorism to explain the threat. We have even heard President Bush quote Osama bin Laden who, of course, has eluded capture these past five years.

Now with congressional midterm elections just two months away, the president is also pushing Congress to hand him a couple of legislative victories before November. First he wants legislation dealing with military tribunals for high level terror suspects, and of course on Wednesday we heard him acknowledge the existence of secret CIA prisons overseas. He said detainees had been transferred out of there and into Guantanamo. This week he sent up legislation to Capitol Hill. His proposal on how he thinks those detainees should be tried.

Now, the president also wants Congress to get behind the controversial warrantless wiretap program administered by the National Security Agency. All of this really an effort by President Bush to demonstrate that since the September 11th attacks America has learned its lessons. Here now is President Bush's radio address.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning. This Monday, our Nation will mark the 5th anniversary of the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. On this solemn occasion, Americans will observe a day of prayer and remembrance, and Laura and I will travel to New York City, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon to take part in memorial ceremonies.

Our Nation honors the memory of every person we lost on that day of terror, and we pray that the Almighty will continue to comfort the families who had so much taken away from them. On this anniversary, we also remember the brutality of the enemy who struck our country and renew our resolve to defeat this enemy and secure a future of peace and freedom.

So this week I've given a series of speeches about the nature of our enemy, the stakes of the struggle, and the progress we have made during the past five years. On Tuesday in Washington, I described in the terrorists own words what they believe, what they hope to accomplish, and how they intend to accomplish it. We know what the terrorists intend, because they have told us. They hope to establish a totalitarian Islamic empire across the Middle East, which they call a Caliphate, where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology.

Osama bin Laden has called the 9/11 attacks, "A great step towards the unity of Muslims and establishing the righteous caliphate." Al Qaeda and its allies reject any possibility of coexistence with those they call "infidels." Hear the words of Osama bin Laden: "Death is better than living on this earth with the unbelievers amongst us." We must take the words of these extremists seriously, and we must act decisively to stop them from achieving their evil aims.

On Wednesday at the White House, I described for the first time a CIA program we established after 9/11 to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives, so we can prevent new terrorist attacks. This program has been invaluable to the security of America and its allies, and helped us identify and capture men who our intelligence community believes were key architects of the September the 11th attacks.

Information from terrorists held by the CIA also helped us uncover an al Qaeda cell's efforts to obtain biological weapons, identify individuals sent by al Qaeda to case targets for attacks in the United States, stop the planned strike on a U.S. Marine base in Djibouti, prevent an attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi, and help break up a plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into Heathrow Airport or the Canary Wharf in London.

Information from the terrorists in CIA custody has also played a role in the capture or questioning of nearly every senior al Qaeda member or associate detained by the U.S. and its allies since this program began. Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland. We have largely completed our questioning of these men, and now it is time that they are tried for their crimes.

So this week I announced that the men we believe orchestrated the 9/11 attacks had been transferred to Guantanamo Bay. And I called on Congress to pass legislation creating military commissions to try suspected terrorists for war crimes. As soon as Congress acts to authorize these military commissions, we will prosecute these men and send a clear message to those who kill Americans: No matter how long it takes, we will find you and bring you to justice.

As we bring terrorists to justice, we're acting to secure the homeland. On Thursday in Atlanta, I delivered a progress report on the steps we have taken since 9/11 to protect the American people and win the war on terror. We are safer today because we've acted to address the gaps in security, intelligence, and information sharing that the terrorists exploited in the 9/11 attacks.

No one can say for sure that we would have prevented the attacks had these reforms been in place in 2001 -- yet, we can say that terrorists would have found it harder to plan and finance their operations, harder to slip into our country undetected, and harder to board the planes, take control of the cockpits, and succeed in striking their targets.

America still faces determined enemies. And in the long run, defeating these enemies requires more than improved security at home and military action abroad. We must also offer a hopeful alternative to the terrorists' hateful ideology. So America is taking the side of democratic leaders and reformers and supporting the voices of tolerance and moderation across the Middle East.

By advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternative to repression and radicalism, and by supporting young democracies like Iraq, we are helping to bring a brighter future to this region -- and that will make America and the world more secure.

The war on terror will be long and difficult, and more tough days lie ahead. Yet, we can have confidence in the final outcome, because we know what America can achieve when our Nation acts with resolve and clear purpose. With vigilance, determination and courage, we will defeat the enemies of freedom, and we will leave behind a more peaceful world for our children and our grandchildren.

Thank you for listening.

ANNOUNCER: The president's radio address comes your way at 10:15, 10:30 and 10:45.


NGUYEN: There you have it the president's radio address. Elaine, given what we have just heard you expect the president to be talking about anything more when Monday rolls around, the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks?

QUIJANO: Well certainly officials here say that there is no question September 11th was a pivotal moment for this president. That President Bush certainly changed his views once the September 11th attacks happened. So we're going to hear on Monday, according to White House spokesman Tony Snow, not a political speech so much but a reflection really of what September 11th has meant to the country, what it's meant to the president, and how in fact the president feels the country should move together to move forward past this.

But of course, this being an election year, this being Washington Betty, as you know, it is impossible to separate policy from politics. And so you can imagine that once these emotional remembrances of September 11th are passed on Monday, that certainly you can expect both sides, Democrats and Republicans, to resume ratcheting up the political rhetoric, trying to convince American voters that one party or another can keep America safe.

But again, as far as the president's oval office address, no politics we're hearing according to White House spokesman Tony Snow. More of a reflection and also looking ahead to the country moving forward -- Betty.

NGUYEN: We'll be watching on Monday. Elaine Quijano at the White House for us this morning. Thank you, Elaine.

SANCHEZ: Well, the crew is in, the hatch is closed. Will space shuttle Atlantis finally make it into space today? We will continue our countdown. But first --

NGUYEN: Now that is rapping for success. The rhythm of hip hop artists helps students actually master their SATs. In about 10 minutes we will teach you the tune of a new learning tool.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. Right now in the news the scheduled launch of Atlantis about an hour away. If the shuttle mission doesn't start today the next opportunity is October. Yesterday's launch was scrubbed due to a faulty fuel sensor. Even if the problem persists NASA managers say there are three other sensors that could do the job. (WEATHER REPORT)

SANCHEZ: New pictures this morning of Ralph "Buck" Phillips in federal court in Buffalo, New York. These are the pictures that we've been getting in this morning. Now there's a five-month manhunt that had just ended for the fugitive. It ended last night as you may have known in Pennsylvania in a cornfield, no less. Phillips is wanted in the wounding of two state troopers and the killing of a third. There is a full report just ahead as this hearing takes place.

NGUYEN: This is an interesting story. Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is going to Iran. The Baghdad government announced today al Maliki will visit Tehran Monday and Tuesday to "establish friendly relations there." Iran is a largely non-Arab Shiite country and it has long standing religious and political ties to members of Iraq's new Arab Shiite government.

Well a promise of freedom for an American journalist in prison in Sudan. Release of "Chicago Tribune" reporter Paul Salopek could come soon, very soon. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson met with Sudan's president and won that release. Salopek was arrested a month ago in Sudan's war torn Darfur region and charged with spying. He lives in New Mexico.

An air force major missing for three days in Kyrgyzstan has been found and she has left the country. The "Associated Press" is quoting a government official saying that Major Jill Metzger was kidnapped. Now the official says Metzger told authorities she was held captive by three men and a woman. We do run down the top stories every 15 minutes right here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING, with in-depth coverage all morning long. Your next check of the headlines coming up at 10:30 eastern.

SANCHEZ: This is a hot controversy for a governor who is well part politician and maybe part geneticist. It's what the governor had to say about Cubans and Puerto Ricans.

NGUYEN: Very interesting. And he says that he's sorry about what he had to say. We're going to tell you exactly what it was that he said so you can listen to it for yourself. The governor caught on tape and why even he says it makes him cringe. But first --

Now that will wake you up, but hip hop in the classroom? Can it work? You may not see Kanye West singing to the tunes of the SATs but you may hear a similar rhythm in school. We'll have those details ahead.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. This just in to CNN. The "Associated Press" is reporting that a federal judge has now agreed to turn fugitive Ralph "Buck" Phillips over to state police to face a charge of attempted murder of a New York State trooper. Phillips is in court right now. We are expecting a hearing in that courtroom.

It's going to be his very first court appearance as a matter of fact. Don't know if any of the decisions made thus far that we just reported to you are related to that court appearance or if those will be separate. We're going to try to work through this with Allan Chernoff, he's going to be in the courtroom and will join us shortly to bring us up to date on what's going on here -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Nice, fresh from your stereo speakers and right into the academic curriculum. Snappy verses over hip hop beats. Well they are helping students master the SAT. Using a style of rappers like Eminem and Kanye West, some classrooms are actually turning vocabulary into flocabulary. Can this nontraditional approach really work? Well, joining me now from New York, the creators of Flocabulary, that's Alex Rappaport and Blake Harrison. Good morning to you both.

Good morning.

NGUYEN: Flocabulary, I like the sound of it. Alex let me ask you first, how did two preppy guys in their mid 20s come up with a system like Flocabulary?

ALEX RAPPAPORT, CREATOR, FLOCABULARY: Well the basic idea is that we realize that hip hop can be a powerful and effective learning tool when it's creatively combined with academic content.

NGUYEN: Right.

RAPPAPORT: So we just wanted to have some fun and make a CD that defined 500 SAT words.

NGUYEN: How many?


NGUYEN: That is terrific. We're showing some video right now of the kids and I guess that's you Blake rapping in the classroom there. Apparently the kids are really enjoying this. But Blake let me ask you, if you can, tell us how this works. Does it go along with -- the rap goes along with maybe a book that teaches kids exactly what these words mean and how to use them?

BLAKE HARRISON, CREATOR, FLOCABULARY: Yes, essentially we actually try to define the words in the lyrics of the songs themselves. The idea is you would memorize a song, the rhymes help you memorize it and learn it since they essentially work like mnemonic devices. And then you'd memorize what all these words mean. So we always try to define the words in the song itself. But the CD does come with a book that has lyrics, definitions, as well as exercises to help kids really cement their knowledge.

NGUYEN: But 500 words, that's a long song, ah?

HARRISON: Oh, not in one song.

NGUYEN: Especially if you're defining it.

HARRISON: It's about 40 words per song.

NGUYEN: I got you.

HARRISON: Five hundred is on the whole album.

NGUYEN: Alex, you know waxing poetic is one thing, especially in a rap. But when it comes to really making a difference in a classroom, is it working? Are you seeing results?

RAPPAPORT: Yes, it's actually amazing. I mean the response both from teachers and students has been fantastic. We have heard reports actually from one school in Virginia that in just one semester with Flocabulary in the curriculum the average score for the verbal SAT went up 50 points.

NGUYEN: Really?

RAPPAPORT: Yes, so we're happy. And the way teachers are embracing this in the classroom getting up on the mike and performing for their students it's just really fun.

NGUYEN: Yes, we showed a little video of that. And Blake I have to ask you, when these kids see you two walk in a classroom with these raps, are they a little surprised?

HARRISON: Oh, definitely. I think that you know we definitely catch people off guard. I think that's part of how -- why it's fun. Is that even when a teacher plays a rap song in the classroom the students are going to sit up in their chairs and say, oh, what is this.

As soon as you engage a student they're going to pay more attention and they're more likely to succeed. We really believe that when you can get a student, when you can bring the student's passions into the classrooms that's when they really have the opportunity to succeed.

NGUYEN: Oh absolutely, but you know what, it takes money. These courses -- your curriculum, this Flocabulary, it costs. And some school districts actually don't have the money for it, so Alex, what's being done to get it into those school districts that actually would need it and could benefit from it?

RAPPAPORT: Well for one thing you know we're trying to make this as affordable as possible, because unfortunately the schools with money aren't necessarily the schools that need Flocabulary. So we're trying to work with some government organizations and other charities to really get these into the schools that need them. But it's a hard battle for sure.

NGUYEN: I imagine. OK, Blake, Mr. M.C. Escher as you like to call yourself. OK, your first album dealt with vocabulary words. The second deals with history. So I want you to flow now for us, give us a little history MC Escher style, if you would, all right?

HARRISON: OK. This is a little bit about the Boston Tea Party.

NGUYEN: OK. HARRISON: It was a late dark night in Boston Harbor, pitch black while the fog hung around the water. This was the winter, 1773 and the British had a monopoly on selling tea. Thanks to the Tea Act, but we're going to react, send a message, show George just where we at. So that's a little intro.

NGUYEN: Just a little taste of it. Where did you learn to flow?

HARRISON: Kind of taught myself. I've always been really into hip hop ever since I got into music. So, I just rapped with my friends in high school and in college at open mikes and at parties and stuff. Then I met Alex and we decided to try something new.

NGUYEN: So are you going to include in the history in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

HARRISON: You know that's exactly it. Because the reason that we remember that date is because there's a rhyme. So, rhymes are powerful pneumonic devices so that's really where the whole idea comes from.

NGUYEN: All right, well if you need some rhythm and rhyme just give me a call, all right?

HARRISON: All right, Betty.

NGUYEN: Alex Rappaport, Blake Harrison, and thank you so much, Flocabulary. We appreciate your time today.

Cool guys, ah Rick? And speaking of education, coming up next hour we're going to hear from education secretary Margaret Spellings, we'll discuss the state of schools in America and what to expect as schools start and those kids hit the books once again this year. I'm sure some of them will be excited to see programs like Flocabulary.

SANCHEZ: And you say what up? I say the shuttle going up.

NGUYEN: Oh yes, that's kind of bad Rick, but OK. All right, I'll roll with you on this one. It is going up.

SANCHEZ: Old guys can't do it, is that it?

NGUYEN: No, no, no. You just need a little more rhythm, a little more rhythm and flow.

SANCHEZ: It's down to the wire. Will the space shuttle Atlantis lift off next hour. Will it be, what up? We're counting down the minutes and we're going to bring you updates throughout the morning.

NGUYEN: Plus, Brenda Bernard is going global this morning. Good morning to you Brenda.

BRENDA BERNARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm not even going to try to flow with you all.

NGUYEN: I know, we just messed it all up, haven't we? BERNARD: Oh yes. Well the Pope arrives in Germany. Reason enough for a toast? Find out what they are serving up for the occasion ahead on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


NGUYEN: Here we go. Now in the news, less than an hour to go before the scheduled launch of Atlantis. Here's a live picture. If the shuttle mission doesn't start today, the next opportunity isn't until October. Yesterday's launch was scrubbed because of a faulty fuel sensor. Previous delays were due to weather concerns.

Want to get you straight to Bonnie Schneider for a quick check of the weather at the Kennedy Space Center. Is it all clear for a launch today?

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It looks like it will be clear enough and that's the main thing. Can't have picture perfect weather, but so far so good in Florida. Real time data right now shows that winds are out of the north at nine, so they're not too strong and we're getting real time reports for the sky coverage as well. Mostly cloudy but it doesn't look too bad. It's more of a hazy cloud coverage. As long as the visibility stays clear, they'll be good to go. We'll be watching -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right, Bonnie. Thank you for that -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Just moments ago, reports that a Federal judge in Buffalo, New York, agreed to transfer suspected cop killer Ralph "Buck" Phillips to the custody of the state police for one of those shootings.

That report coming in from the Associated Press. We should tell you that we do have our own Allan Chernoff who is following the story. He's there or going to be there at the courthouse following and bringing us up dates on the story as we get them. We're going to be sharing them with you -- Betty.

NGUYEN: NATO officials say more than 40 insurgents and one NATO soldier were killed overnight in fighting in southern Afghanistan. The NATO push against the Taliban in Kandahar province is being led by Canadian and Afghan troops. And CNN's Anderson Cooper reports live from Afghanistan, ground zero in the war on terror. That's Monday, 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

SANCHEZ: This is an ironic story when you consider part of the effort in Iraq by the United States was to try and somehow weaken Iran's power in the region. But now it appears that Iran and Iraq are going to be talking again. Talks are set for Monday between the two nations. Iraq's prime minister will travel to Tehran. Up for discussion, politics and security. This will be the second high level Iraqi visit to Iran in a week where continued uranium enrichment as well has certainly been causing a global concern.

The American Red Cross is hit with a $4.2 million fine for failing to ask blood donors proper screening questions. The fine is the largest ever levied by the Food and Drug Administration for a blood safety violation. We run down the top stories every 15 minutes right here on Saturday morning, in depth coverage all morning long. Your next check of the headlines is coming up at 10:45.

NGUYEN: Well just moments ago, we got word from the Associated Press that a Federal judge in Buffalo has agreed to transfer suspected cop killer Ralph "Buck" Phillips to custody of the state police. Now Phillips is suspected of shooting three state troopers, one fatally. Phillips escaped from jail in Buffalo in April and since then he is believed to have stayed close to the New York/Pennsylvania border. Last night police finally cornered him in a field in Akeley, Pennsylvania.

CNN's Allan Chernoff has been tracking this case for you us.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ralph "Buck" Phillips is being arraigned in U.S. district court here in downtown buffalo, New York, this morning. This after the end of a five-month chase that concluded in a cornfield just over the New York border with Pennsylvania. It actually happened in Pennsylvania. Police early yesterday morning chased Phillips twice, two separate stolen cars.

Phillips jumped out of the second car and then ran into the woods. Canine teams followed him and by the end of the day they had him cornered in this cornfield area. Finally they closed in just as night was approaching. There is a helicopter hovering above and then the police told Phillips to put his arms up. He came out unarmed. So it was a peaceful ending to the five-month chase.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not going to shoot one of our people and get away with it. We'll track you down. We will hunt you down for as long as it takes and we get you just as I told you tonight we do get our people. They don't get away. Sooner or later they take that last look over their shoulder and the game is up.

CHERNOFF: Phillips allegedly shot one officer in June. He wounded that officer and the officer is back on duty. He's going to be arraigned for attempted murder in that case. He is also the prime suspect in the shooting of two other police officers, one of whom died last weekend. Phillips has been held overnight in the Erie County correctional facility, the same jail from which he escaped back in April.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, Buffalo, New York.


NGUYEN: Going global now when we turn things over to our international desk.

SANCHEZ: That is Brenda Bernard joining us now not rapping, but bringing us some news.

BRENDA BERNARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No rapping, Rick. A few more details about that Air Force officer who was found in the central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan. The hunt for Major Jill Metzger ended overnight. The 33-year old woman disappeared Tuesday during a shopping trip in the capital Bishkek.

The military has not provided details into how or even if she was kidnapped. All they are officially saying right now is that Metzger is in stable condition and they're working to get her back home as soon as possible. Her parents couldn't be happier.


JOHN METZGER, PARENT: Every time we traveled with Jill and she's received us over in Germany or we have received her here, it's ...


JOHN METZGER: And I just can't wait to hear that mommy, daddy and there will be no words after that.


BERNARD: The military has launched an investigation into Metzger's disappearance.

Al Qaeda has released an extended version of its latest video including more statements from Osama bin Laden. Parts of the tape first aired Thursday on Al-Jazeera. There's also footage of a California man known as Azam the American, birth name Adam Gadahn. He's been featured previously on al Qaeda tapes.

And Pope Benedict XVI has just arrived in Germany on a six-day trip to his homeland. Touchdown in Munich happened last hour. He's returning to a city where he served as priest and archbishop more than a quarter century ago. Got to tell you, the pontiff will be the toast of the town. Those enterprising Germans are pushing a new pope beer to pilgrims who are flocking there. Large and extra large bottles only, thank you very much. So it's bottoms up for the pope, Rick?

SANCHEZ: Hope it does better than Billy beer.

BERNARD: The pope beer.

NGUYEN: Yes. Very interesting. All right. Thank you, Brenda.

SANCHEZ: This next story comes from California and the mouth of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is now apologizing for what he said. We're going to let CNN's Jeanne Moos explain.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This wasn't just a tempest in a teacup. This was a tempestuous Latina in a teacup.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: She has been my buddy. MOOS: No it's not a sex scandal. It's just that the "L.A. Times" got hold of a taped conversation Arnold was having with his staff when his chief of staff admiringly brought up California assembly woman Bonnie Garcia.


SCHWARZENEGGER: She seems to me like Cuban.

MOOS: And the next thing you know Arnold unloads.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Puerto Rican or the same thing, Cuban. They all are very hot... part of the black blood in them and part of the Latina in them that together makes it

MOOS: California's governor said what? He said part black blood and part Latino blood makes them hot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he was right. The only thing people don't like to hear things.

MOOS: Unless of course you think it applies to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're crazy. Both races put together, we're crazy.

MOOS: But Arnold said that when he saw his own words in the paper.

SCHWARZENEGGER: It made me cringe.

MOOS: So he came before the media with his fellow Republican.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Bonnie Garcia, I apologize to her. She got offended, but she and her (ph), we joke about all this many, many times. When she says I'm hot blood.

BONNIE GARCIA (R), CALIF. STATE ASSEMBLY: Governor, there really is no reason to apologize. I am not mad that he recognizes that I am passionate about the issues.

MOOS: The word hot is a hot potato.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hot just seems to describe something that would be a sexual connotation. So therefore I would not choose those words if I were in his professional position.

MOOS: So you don't think that part black blood and part Latino blood makes them hot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it makes them hot.

MOOS: The thing we didn't get was why the governor is taping himself in his office.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Because I have a certain way of speaking. JAY LENO, TALK SHOW HOST: California, California -- is he from India now?

MOOS: Arnold says he tapes himself so his speech writer can capture the texture of how he talks.

SCHWARZENEGGER: So don't sound like any other politician speaking. I always like to sound like Arnold. How would Arnold speak?

MOOS: Like a guy who has trouble terminating his tongue.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Do you want to have a good time?

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


SANCHEZ: Wonder where he got his genetics degree, knows so much about that.

NGUYEN: Too much.

SANCHEZ: Customers are steamed, not at Arnold. They are steamed at Starbucks.

NGUYEN: Yes. Starbucks finds itself in some hot water. Ahead, one coupon offer may cost the coffee chain millions. We're going to have those details for you.


NGUYEN: Now in the news, it is about a half hour until the scheduled launch of Atlantis. Here's a live look. You see it right there, bottom right hand corner, 29 minutes and counting. If the shuttle mission doesn't start today, the next opportunity is October. Yesterday's launch was scrubbed due to a faulty fuel sensor and even as the problem persists, NASA managers say there are three other sensors to do the job.

Well a new development in the case of captured fugitive Ralph "Buck" Phillips. Just a short time ago, a Federal judge in Buffalo agreed to hand him over to the New York state police. That's from the Associated Press. Phillips was captured last night in Pennsylvania ending a five-month man hunt. He's wanted in the shootings of three state troopers. One of those officers later died.

Multiple bombings in two major Iraq cities that are targeting Iraqi police. Now, first in Baghdad, with a three-hour span, within that three-hour span, bombings and drive by shooting left three dead, 20 wounded. Among the wounded, three U.S. soldiers. Now to Kirkuk, two roadside bombings targeting a police convoy exploded nearly simultaneously, another three killed and 13 wounded in that incident.

SANCHEZ: The rare exception at the Pentagon today. In honor of Monday's 9/11 anniversary, the public will be allowed to tour a small Pentagon chapel and memorial that holds the names of those killed in the Pentagon attack.

Tropical storm Florence continues to strengthen and could become a hurricane later today. Watches are posted this morning in Bermuda. Forecasters say landfall could come Monday, but it may not be a direct hit. We'll keep our fingers crossed. Bonnie Schneider is also keeping her fingers crossed but she's probably a little more apt to know exactly what this is going to do because she is after all a meteorologist. Bonnie, over to you.

SCHNEIDER: Rick what we have now is the latest information on Florence. This storm is almost a hurricane. Maximum winds are now at 70 miles per hour. And according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florence is likely to become a hurricane later today or even tonight. Taking a look at the track, you can see this new track that's just been updated actually shows the storm coming in as a category two hurricane hitting the island of Bermuda sometime on Monday.

Note the cone of uncertainty is still wide at that point and this could still change. What is important to note is that Florence is strengthening. We do have gusts that are greater than hurricane force currently at 85 miles per hour. The next advisory, we may see the storm get upgraded to a hurricane. Back to you.

SANCHEZ: All right Bonnie. Thanks for watching it for us. We're going to run down the top stories every 15 minutes right here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING with in depth coverage all morning long. The next check of the headlines is coming up at the top of the hour.

NGUYEN: That countdown clock continues. There it is in the corner of your screen. We are less than half an hour away from that 11:15 Eastern launch of the space shuttle Atlantis. Veronica de la Cruz joins us now with a look at You have got this shuttle launch covered.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: CNN,, CNN pipeline. We are all over it. And you know, to say the least Betty, NASA has definitely hit some road bumps over the past two weeks in its attempt to launch shuttle Atlantis. Like I was just mentioning, we have been tracking this story on TV, on pipeline,

At, you can actually read about why NASA has continued to postpone the launch of the space shuttle. This week it was a fuel cell. Then it was a fuel sensor. And then you might remember last week's tropical storm Ernesto which caused NASA to postpone the launch and roll the shuttle off the launch pad. The shuttle was almost halfway into the 12-hour journey back to its hanger when NASA managers reversed its course.

This interactive guide explains the mission of Atlantis and why it is making the journey to the international space station. It will be a grueling mission with three spacewalks scheduled. And you can meet the crew of Atlantis in this gallery from Commander Frank Jett to pilot Chris Ferguson. Read about their roles on board the shuttle. So a big question here, will Atlantis launch? You can stay with CNN, CNN pipeline, for the latest news on the shuttle and its mission to the international space station. I don't know. I've got $5 on it right now that it goes up.

NGUYEN: Oh, yes, I think so. At this point in time I think they would have rolled it back and said ...

DE LA CRUZ: Fifth time has got to be the charm.

NGUYEN: Knock on wood, it's going to happen, 25 minutes from now and you'll watch it live right here on CNN. Thank you Veronica.

SANCHEZ: With Daniel and Miles out there, by now if there was any kind of news, they would have nailed it down. We're going to continue the countdown to the launch lift off, again, the space shuttle Atlantis set for less than 30 minutes from now. Here's the countdown. I said 30 minutes. It's actually 25 now and 15 seconds.

NGUYEN: But first a coffee coupon goes wrong in a bad way. Could a free iced drink really cost Starbucks millions? We're going to have those details.


NGUYEN: Take a live look right now. We are about 20 minutes away from the scheduled launch of Atlantis. The shuttle will carry a six-member crew to the space station for a big construction job. There have been a few delays as you know, including a fuel sensor problem yesterday. If Atlantis doesn't lift off today, it won't have another attempt until October so a lot riding on today. We'll bring you today's launch live when it happens.

SANCHEZ: Bonnie is telling us it looks like it's going to happen, at least weather wise, right.

SCHNEIDER: That's right and as we get closer and closer, you know how it is for us forecasters, our accuracy rate goes up. So we're looking good right now. Current numbers right now have the winds out of the north at nine miles per hour, kind of a hazy sky right now. The main thing to note is the cloud cover. That's one of the risk factors they were watching for today, do not have any cumulus clouds within 10 nautical miles of the launch site or any showers within 20 nautical miles of the emergency landing strip there, so far so good. It looks like the weather is cooperating.

We're also watching another major weather story and that is Tropical Storm Florence. And the reason why this is becoming a big story is the storm is strengthening. Right now it has maximum wins of 70 miles per hour. This also is a very large tropical storm. Tropical storm force winds extend outward 345 miles. So this is a massive storm that unfortunately looks like it is making a beeline for the island of Bermuda.

Let's take a closer look now at the track and a bigger scale here so you can see it better, 70 miles per hour winds, but the gusts are climbing as high as 85 miles per hour. So it is likely by later today the next advisory will turn Tropical Storm Florence into Hurricane Florence. The winds have to get up to 74 miles per hour or greater for that to happen. As I put this map into motion, notice the track, shifted a little further to the east, taking intensity all the way up to a category two hurricane as early as Monday. That's where we're expecting a possible landfall for Bermuda. There still is that cone of uncertainty, so we could see the track shift a little to the left or to the right. Hopefully it won't make a direct strike, but right now definitely Bermuda is in that cone and there is a hurricane watch posted. There's also a tropical storm warning now posted for the island of Bermuda. Something we're watching very closely.

SANCHEZ: Thank as lot Bonnie.

SANCHEZ: For some people, the cool sensation of a Starbucks iced coffee is priceless. The cost for not keeping your word for Starbucks could be $114 million. Starbucks is being sued for that amount over its recall of a coupon entitling the holder to a free iced drink. An attorney filed the lawsuit Friday on behalf of a Starbucks regular who says they felt betrayed. The coupon simply wasn't honored.

Well, take a look at some of these live pictures that we have for you now. This is the Kennedy Space Center. We are counting this morning to the launch of the space shuttle which is now 19 and 28 seconds away. We're going to take you live to Florida in just a moment. We might even have some treats for you as some of these folks there in mission control prepare to put that thing up into orbit. We'll be back.



© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines