Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Road Accident in Oklahoma Kills 7; Two Missing Boys Found Safe, Sound in Missouri

Aired January 14, 2007 - 09:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Now in the news, icy roads proving deadly in Oklahoma. We are hearing from local affiliates that an accident on I-40 near Oklahoma City has killed at least seven people this morning. Those same treacherous conditions are being blamed for three other traffic deaths yesterday. You can see why. Just look at those roads. We're going to be talking live with an Oklahoma state trooper in a few minutes.
In the meantime, two missing Missouri boys safe and sound. The suspect under the microscope today. Police are digging for more clues about Michael Devlin, he is being held on $1 million bond and his family is speaking out. We'll have a live report from Missouri in less than two minutes.

T.J. HOLMES. CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice vowing a deeper commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, she made the pledge after meeting today with the Palestinian president in the West Bank. Mahmoud Abbas though is rejecting one element of the White House's road map to peace; he opposes a provisional Palestinian state with temporary borders.

The Pentagon is looking at banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and doing it without court approval that is according to the "New York Times." The paper says the Pentagon is using the National Security letter of statutes to review the records. The statutes allow the executive branch to see records of people in terror and spy investigations.

Iran's president in Latin America to bolster alliances with left leaning countries. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Venezuela President Hugo Chavez both men are fierce opponents of the Bush White House. They want to convince fellow OPEC countries to further cut oil production and drive up international prices. Today Ahmadinejad is in Nicaragua for the inauguration of President Daniel Ortega.


CRAIG AKERS, SHAWN HORNBECK'S STEPFATHER: There's always hope. Hope is what gets you through. Sometimes this is what happens when you have that hope.


HOLMES: Hope we have been hearing that a lot this weekend. And hope is turning to joy, the story the whole country is still buzzing about this morning. But still a big question, what happened to these boys? One missing four days, the other four years. We're live in Missouri with the latest on this developing story still.

NGUYEN: Oh, yes. And we are following this story as well; thousands still without power as ice and snow just pound the Midwest, leaving highways treacherous. We're going to tell you if this winter storm is headed your way. It's one to watch.

From the CNN Center, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING, it is January 14th, feeling every bit like January through the nation's midsection, 9:00 a.m. in Atlanta and 8:00 a.m. out in Missouri where they're just really socked under all of this. Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes. Thank you so much for starting your day right here with us.

Severe weather across the Midwest right now. Ice accumulation- snapping trees all over Missouri. The governor has declared a state of emergency. State of emergency also ordered in Oklahoma. The weather is blamed for at least ten traffic deaths there so far. Our local affiliates telling us now that seven people were killed in an accident about 50 miles from Oklahoma City this morning.

Also in Texas, the National Guard has been activated to help deal with the weather emergency. Central Texas hit by heavy rain, which has caused flooding there. We want to get more on the deadly crash in Oklahoma. Lieutenant Pete Norwood of the Highway Patrol joins me now on the phone with more. What can you tell us about the circumstances here that led to the deaths of seven people on your highway?

LET. PETE NORWOOD, OK HIGHWAY PATROL (via telephone): Right now our highway conditions are treacherous. They're just slick and hazardous everywhere you go in the state of Oklahoma. This particular accident, mile marker 45 in the state of Oklahoma on I-40, just a minivan with 12 occupants lost control, crossed the center median, and was struck by a semi-tractor trailer, and it resulted in seven fatalities.

HOLMES: Do you know the conditions of the -- you said 12 people were in that vehicle. Do you know the condition of the other people who were in there?

NORWOOD: No. They did transport five of the other occupants to Oak City Hospital. We're having a bit of difficulty, they're Mexican nationals, and their documentation is limited. We're having a little bit of problem with that. We still have not identified the driver.

HOLMES: Sir, you described it as treacherous out there on your roads. Give us an idea, outside of that descriptive word, just how bad it is. Are people still trying to navigate those roads? Is that something you're 100 percent saying do not do?

NORWOOD: We've been discouraging travel. We have those few brave souls that decide to get out and try where they can. At the same time, we're telling people not to get out on the road if you don't have to. The roadways, it's just like a sheet of ice, even if it looks like its asphalt, it's definitely not. It's been hard to navigate. Even last night I had gone out for a few interviews, I'm telling you I had a tough time driving and I'm a trained professional.

HOLMES: Well Lieutenant Pete Norwood with the Highway Patrol there, sir, we appreciate you giving us some time and an update on the story, horrible to hear seven people killed in an accident after their vehicle crossed the median and hit a semi. We appreciate your time, sir. Good luck out there and maybe those folks will listen to you to stay off the roads if they can.

NGUYEN: It's so important. It really is. He talked about that ice. A lot of times this black ice just looks like you're driving on a regular roadway, but it is not. It's very slick. Let's talk to Reynolds Wolf now about the weather situation. It this something that is going to continue to worsen?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Without question. You're talking about parts of western Oklahoma. Take a look at what's just happened over the last couple of hours. From this point, it doesn't look too bad. But as we put the radar into motion, take a look. Just a big plume that explodes with some snowfall, some ice. Again, mainly just to the west of Oklahoma City, up Tulsa, and just to the east of Amarillo, all this surging to the east and northeast. So many of those roadways, which are icy, are going to get more ice and more snow on top of that.

As you travel to the northeast, back up into parts of Missouri, we're seeing, again, clear conditions for the time being in terms of snowfall, cloudy, yes, but in terms of precipitation, not yet. We're expecting more along I-44 into St. Louis, and that is going to cause more issues with power outages because the trees will get coated with ice yet again and we are going to have all kinds of problems on the roadways. Stay off the roads if you possibly can.

Here is the thing that is causing it. This is the big weather maker. This boundary, these areas of low pressure, moisture from the Gulf, cold air from the north, that combination is going to bring some rain, it is going to bring some snow, and of course, that ice that's really going to affect parts of north Texas all the way into Oklahoma and into Missouri as well. It's definitely going to affect air travel. No question about it.

In fact, from St. Louis to Dallas, we're going to anticipate some delays there, at least from 30 minutes to an hour later on today due to the freezing rain, ice, and low clouds. Chicago a combination of rain and snow. Denver, snow will be an issue there as well.

Take a look at the shot we have from Dallas, Texas, at this point. We have a lot of clouds there, to say the least. For the time being, not much in terms of precipitation, but, again, it is going to be the combination of rain, the combination of ice and possibly snow for the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

That is the very latest we have let's send it back to the news desk. It is going to be a busy day, folks. NGUYEN: What a day those folks in Dallas have ahead of them. Thank you, Reynolds.

Celebrations for two Missouri families and for very good reason. They are rejoicing over what is being called the miracle in Missouri. The safe return of two boys, one missing four days, the other missing more than four years. While the families celebrate, police are intensifying their investigation of the suspect, Michael Devlin. You see him here. He faces one count of kidnapping and authorities say more charges are likely.

Now, this entire ordeal played out within an hour's drive from the boys' hometowns within a 60-mile radius in Missouri. There are a lot of questions for police to try to answer. Live now to Missouri for more on this story and how it all unfolded. CNN's Sean Callebs is in Union, Missouri. And Sean really, the spotlight today is on Mr. Devlin. We want to learn much more about him.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Perhaps a more sobering day. Yesterday all the euphoria around the families being reunited with their teenagers. As you mentioned Shawn Hornbeck, missing four and a half years. You can only imagine the agony that Craig and Pam Akers the stepfather and mother went through during all that time.

Also Ben Ownby who had been missing four days. It had to be just as agonizing for that period of time as well. But we're trying to find out more about Michael Devlin. We know he is being held on $1 million bail. He is expected to make his arraignment on Tuesday. As you mentioned, first-degree kidnapping charges and the litany of investigates, federal, state, local, are indicating yes more are going to be coming. We are hearing a bit from Devlin's family. They issued a statement. I want to read it to you.

Speaking on behalf of the Devlin family, "These past few days have been incredibly difficult. This is not to diminish the anguish that Craig and Pam Akers have felt over the previous four and a half years, or by the Ownby family over the last four and a half days. Just as we are relieved that both Ben and Shawn are now safe, we hope that Michael will be safe as the facts of his case are now revealed."

Well, one reason both of these boys had a chance to spend the night in their home last night, a chance to reunited with their loved ones, a gentleman who joins us now. Mitchell Hults. Mitchell 15 year old, you go to school with Ben. Tell me what happened. You got off the bus or you were in there in the area when Ben just usually makes the walk down Wildrose Lane to his home. You noticed something different. Tell me what you noticed and how important that ended up to be.

MITCHELL HULTS, FRIEND OF BEN OWNBY: Well, whenever I got off the bus, I got in my truck. I was coming down Wildrose Lane. I saw a white Nissan pickup side ways on the road.

CALLEBS: And you had never seen that before?

HULTS: Never seen it there before. CALLEBS: Now what did investigators tell you because that was the tip that led authorities to Michael Devlin. People are calling you a hero.

HULTS: Yes. I don't know. It's -- I don't know. It's weird.

CALLEBS: Tell me a bit about your hometown, about how small it is. You said that when you go out now people are pointing at you and talking about you. How does it feel? It must be nice knowing what you've done to reunite these families.

HULTS: Yes it's nice, and I just -- instead of one life I saved, I saved two.

CALLEBS: You haven't had a chance to talk to Ben yet but you've known him for a long time?

HULTS: Yes. I'm going to tell him I love him and I'm going to keep an eye on him.

CALLEBS: All because you kept a good eye that last time. What did the investigators tell you, too? They were impressed by all the detail you were able to gather.

HULTS: They told me that I did a good job on it. They said I might have to be one of them.

CALLEBS: Mitchell, thanks very much again, great work. I'm sure the Ownby family, Akers, Shawn Hornbeck, everybody sends their best. Thanks for joining us out here this morning.

Betty, I want to also tell you a bit about this very humble young man. He came out this morning. His family has not had power for some time. An ice storm hit this area, just salt of the Earth. A great young guy. Did a lot to really help break this case open. Clearly everybody in this case, Mitchell says everywhere he goes, people point and say, there's the hero.

NGUYEN: For good reason. Sometimes a 15-year-old wouldn't take notice for what's going on. For him to spot that vehicle and that being the key to finding these two boys, it is quite a miracle in Missouri. Sean Callebs we appreciate your time today.

HOLMES: Yes, that miracle in Missouri we'll continue to talk about, the tears and joy, those two families certainly have reason to celebrate this weekend. Hundreds more hoping for the dream that these families had this weekend. Straight ahead, we're live at the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Plus, this --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing that impresses me is that we still find his message so relevant, that people asking every year what is the state of the dream?

(END VIDEO CLIP) NGUYEN: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy continues to live on. We'll have the state of that dream, ahead.

HOLMES: And then later a man's best friend has a new tool to fight the fat. A new diet pill for your dog.

NGUYEN: You're kidding me! For your dog?

HOLMES: Come on. Is this really necessary, for one? And is it safe? We'll ask a vet to the stars.



WANDA MUTTERBACK, MINER'S WIFE: I'm so sorry. We're praying for every single one of them, and I would be even willing myself to go and talk to these people because they're going to need help. If it were my husband or my brother, I would have to be there.


NGUYEN: Such a sad story. An outpouring of grief and support in a mining community in southern West Virginia. Two miners killed in a roof cave-in. More than 30 of their colleagues, well they managed to escape but an investigation as you can imagine is still under way. We'll stay on top of this story for you.

Also, a deadly fire sweeps through an apartment building in Huntington, West Virginia. At least three people were killed there, 14 others rescued. Fire crews have suspended the search for missing residents for fear that the building could collapse.

Check this out Boston's big dig tunnel open once again. You remember that horrible accident where a portion of the tunnel's ceiling just collapsed last summer and killed a woman in her car? The ceiling has been repaired and workers reopened the eastbound lanes overnight.

HOLMES: An amazing outcome to the story of those two missing Missouri boys. They are back home, safe, sound. That story gives hope, of course, to many other families who are going through what their families were just going through. CNN's Gary Nurenberg joins us now live from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia. Good morning to you, Gary.

GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi T.J. We've now become familiar with Shawn's face and with Ben's over the past couple of days. But there are still thousands of other faces that are missing at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to try and find those kids. You can take a look at some of them at, which is the center Website. Joann Donnellan is one the workers here who helps try to help find those kids. Joann if you go to the give us an example of what kind of faces we'll see there. JOANN DONNELLAN, CTR. FOR MISSING &EXPLOITED CHILDREN: It's very important that everyone go to, you can get the pertinent information that will help find the child. One of the cases that we have is Korean Wise. Korean has been missing since November from Buxton, Maine. And something important to recognize is that she wears braces and has a scar on her left cheek. Very important detractors for people to know. She actually as seen last at her high school Bonnie Eagle High School.

Next case that we have is a little boy named Avery Stately, two years old. He's basically been missing with his half-brother since November. They've been missing from their home in Red Lake, Minnesota.

NURENBERG: If anyone has any information, thinks they may have seen these kids, what do they do?

DONNELLAN: They want to call here at 1-800-the lost. They'll talk to one of our operators, who will take down the information and will get that out to law enforcement who is handling the case immediately.

NURENBERG: Joann thank you very much. If you're interested in seeing other cases, if you perhaps have any information, call 1-800- the-lost if you know anything. Interested in other cases


HOLMES: All right. Gary, thank you so much. Certainly a success story drawing more attention to these cases. Thank you so much. Please, folks, don't forget that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children operates 24/7. To report the sighting of a missing child, you just heard the number there; it is 1-800-the-lost or go to their Website at

NGUYEN: That one call can make a huge difference. Something else making a difference in the lives of many out there this weekend, rain, sleet, and oh, that snow. Plus a little ice you see right there. A huge winter storm moving across the country, freezing some areas and flooding others. Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is in the CNN Weather Center. We'll have the latest that is straight ahead.

HOLMES: Then a little later we're going to tell you about this. If your pet has a problem, can a pill help him behave? We'll take a closer look at pets on pills.

NGUYEN: Is it necessary?

HOLMES: I don't know. We'll wait for the expert. We'll have that when CNN SUNDAY MORNING continues.


NGUYEN: Well, while we were following the story of those two boys found from Missouri, Nicole has been following developments online. I imagine there have been a lot of them. Nicole Lapin joins us right now. What did you find Nicole?

NICOLE LAPIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Betty what we found was that this is not an isolated incident from Missouri. It's actually part of a larger trend of missing and exploited children nationwide. All the numbers are right there for you online right now. really has updated information all the time on this story where you can follow the next legal steps and where the story goes from here, where the federal charges go. We also link to That's where you can see Ben Ownby's recovered sign on his missing child poster. This got us thinking, how often does this happen? According to the NCEC, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children site the most recent data from the DOJ shows that 800,000 kids are reported missing each year. But 99 percent, 99 percent, of all missing kids are found or they return home. Amber Alert, of course, does their part to help.

Not in the case in Missouri but in all 50 states. You can find more resources at their Website at Tips for parents and things like that and how to actually request an Amber Alert if it comes to that. There aren't any independent statistics for Amber Alerts but their Website claims to have saved 311 kids. Actually, the 11th anniversary of the Amber Alert system was just last week. So Betty and T.J. that's the perspective on this story from online.

NGUYEN: That is a really good perspective, 99 percent of the children missing are found or at least return home.

LAPIN: Right, 99 percent. All of them basically.

NGUYEN: That is a good number to know. Nicole we appreciate it, thank you.

The other story that we're following of course is the sleet, snow, and those dangerous roadways. Of course, that cold, that frigid weather out in the Midwest. is shivering through a strong winter storm. We'll have live updates from Oklahoma where more than 90,000 people are still without power at this hour.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martin's message was not just about race. It was about, how do you solve problems?


HOLMES: State of the dream. My conversation with former U.N. Ambassador and Civil Rights activist Andrew Young on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


HOLMES: Now in the news, the family of the accused kidnapper releases a statement saying that the family is glad that two Missouri boys are home safe. Michael Devlin is the 41-year-old man suspected in the disappearance of Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck. Ownby was missing less than a week; Hornbeck had been missing more than four years.

Other big story, the icy weather in the Midwest turning deadly this morning. In Elk City, Oklahoma seven people were killed in an accident that crashes being blamed on the icy roads there. Elk City is about 50 miles from Oklahoma City.

NGUYEN: Condoleezza Rice in the West Bank today vowing new commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. She delivered that pledge to the Palestinian president, but Mahmoud Abbas rejects a key element of President Bush's roadmap to peace, Abbas opposes a provisional Palestinian state with temporary borders.

From Capitol Hill to regions of war, U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton with a Congressional delegation in Afghanistan today, here she is meeting with the President Hamid Karzai and yesterday that bipartisan group visited Baghdad, they met with top Iraqi officials and U.S. military commanders.

From Great Britain now, a newspaper report that Prince Harry is training for duty in Iraq. British defense ministry downplaying the report in today's edition of the "News of the World," it says no decision has been made on deploying the prince's regiment. Prince Harry is third in line to the thrown.

HOLMES: Severe weather across the Midwest right now. Ice accumulation-snapping trees all over Missouri. The governor there has declared a state of emergency. State of emergency also in Oklahoma. The weather being blamed for ten traffic deaths there so far. Local affiliates telling us seven people were killed in an accident near Oklahoma City this morning.

Meanwhile in Texas, the National Guard has been activated to help deal with the weather emergency. Central Texas hit by heavy rain, causing some flooding there as well. CNN Sumi Das is in St. Louis this morning keeping an eye on the weather there. Hello. How are things?

SUMI DAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Things are a little warmer than they were this morning, but it's still pretty cold and it's going to get even more colder. Good morning to you T.J. Well St. Louis residents are about halfway through this winter storm system. The National Weather Service has warned another phase is going to move into this area later tonight, and it could bring up to an inch of ice accumulation. Take a look at what folks here are waking up to this morning. Their driveways, their front yards are covered in fallen branches. Looks like some folks will have clean up to do this Sunday.

Now I spoke to a woman who was out here walking her dog just a short while ago. She said, oh, no, not another Jack Frost. In some cases, these tree limbs are so big that they are blocking streets completely.

To St. Louis residents, it's a sound that's become all too familiar.

ROB KOUBEK, ST. LOUIS RESIDENT: There you go. Oh, that was a big one! My wife -- there you go again. DAS: Trees frozen and unable to support the weight of the ice cracking, snapping and crashing to the ground.

KOUBEK: You hear them, and we're sitting inside and they sound like gunshots sometimes, you know, depending on the size, you know, how big it is and it's bam! Bam! Bam!

DAS: As they fall, the trees take down power lines, leaving tens of thousands of customers in the metropolitan St. Louis area in the dark in frigid temperatures. Utility company, Ameren, says hundreds of crews are working around the clock to get the lights back on, but admit outages could increase as a second system bringing gusty northwest winds moves into the area.

Rob Koubek says he relies on the kindness of a neighbor who's hooked into a different power grid.

KOUBEK: He's a nice enough guy and he let us -- you know, we have a really long cord so we can keep at least our food from going bad, and it gives us the TV to sit around and watch. I got my camping gear as far as lighting and the scrabble game.

Reporter: The ice storm as stymied travelers, grounding numerous flights at major Missouri airports and with trees and other debris lying on rail tracks, trains between St. Louis and Kansas City were cancelled.

MARC MAGLIARI, AMTRAK: We're not going to send trains out if we don't have a great deal of confidence that they're going to get all way to where are they're going to go.


DAS: I heard from that Amtrak spokesman just a short while ago and it seems the debris and fallen trees are still blocking the rail tracks so the trains between St. Louis and Kansas City, for the second day in a row, have been cancelled -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right. A mess to hear about, and a mess, certainly, around you, there. Sumi Das, thank you so much.

We're going to turn now to our Reynolds Wolf who's been talking about this mess with us. And Reynolds, I guess we're waiting to toss to you one of these days and you're going to say, "Hey guys, good news."

WOLF: You know, some day it's happen. Someday I'm going to be out here with a ukulele, with a Hawaiian shirt on and it's going to be a good thing.

But I'm telling you T.J., it is going to be a rough time to say the least in parts of the Midwest, namely up in Missouri. You have to remember, the ice storm that they had earlier in the season has weakened many of those trees with many of the trees coated with ice and then with an additional inch expected as we make our way into the evening hours, into tomorrow, yeah, there are going to be widespread outages on top of the ones we already have.

And this storm system, which stretches all the way down into parts of the southern plains, now stirring up more snow, just in western Oklahoma, not far from (INAUDIBLE), all this drifting to the northeast as we speak. We're expecting freezing conditions all the way through, say, Austin, Texas, right along I-35, they're going to have some ice they're going to be dealing with. Certainly more ice in store for places like St. Louis, as well as Kansas City.

One place to avoid, all roads in St. Louis, but especially Missouri, I-44, that's going to be a huge issue later on. And in terms of air travel, where you'll have issues there, as well, all due to this immense storm system which stretches from Texas to the Great Lakes.

And a couple of delays you can anticipate for today will definitely be in St. Louis as well as Dallas due to the freezing conditions, Chicago, rain and snow, in Denver, the Mile High City, definitely going to have snow, as well.

Let's take a departure from this and show you some great contributions that our viewers sent in on iReports.

These are some great pictures. This has been sent in by Steffanie Jarvis out of St. Charles, Missouri, just right across the Missouri River. This is a sight that we're going to be seeing over the next couple of days, these big oak tree split, this one in quarters, due to the heavy ice.

We go from that picture to another picture that was sent in to us. This one much farther to the south right along I-35 near Round Rock, Texas. This was sent in by Glenda Konopka? Yeah, exactly, that's her name. Glenda, thank you so much for that great shot. That is due to heavy rain that we had along I-35, some hydroplaning and that truck went right up on the embankment.

That's the latest we have for you. It's going to be a busy time. If you're able to send in pictures to us on iReports, simply go to, see the link at the bottom of the screen and share them with us. We'll share them with everyone else.

Let's send it back to you at the news desk.

HOLMES: Yeah, thanks to our iReporters and thanks to you, as well, Reynolds for keeping an eye on things.

WOLF: Thanks a lot, man.

HOLMES: Thanks, buddy.

NGUYEN: Well, it has been a busy weekend in the Bush administration as the president seeks support for his revised Iraq plan. Now, yesterday the President Bush met with top Republican leaders at Camp David. This week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tours the Middle East. Ambassador David Satterfield is a senior advisor to the secretary of state and he joins us now, live from Washington.

Thanks for being with us, today.


NGUYEN: Ambassador, the president's plan is drawing criticism from both sides of the isle and I want you to take a listen to what Republican Senator Chuck Hagel had to say in last week's foreign relations hearing with Secretary Condoleezza Rice. Just take a listen to it.


SEN CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: When you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous. As a matter of fact, I have to say, Madam Secretary, that I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam if it's carried out.


NGUYEN: So, Ambassador, after hearing that, I want to ask you because you have spent a whole lot of time in Iraq. The president's new plan of putting some 21,000 troops on the ground there in Baghdad, is that going to stop the bloodshed? Is that going to do the trick?

SATTERFIELD: Let's look, a minute, at what the president's strategy is based upon. It's based upon Iraqis being in the lead, upon Iraqis taking responsibility as a sovereign government for security, for economic steps and for political steps. We recognize there are capacity issues, particularly on the security side, but also economics where our help is need and we're prepared to provide that help. That is what our force augmentation is applied to. But Iraqis need to fulfill their commitments, need to take a lead. If they do, we believe this plan can be successful.

NGUYEN: But can they take the lead? This plan, it deals with a lot of the military side of it. But the political side, as you mentioned, is something that needs a lot of attention, especially with the sectarian violence, there in Iraq. Can this government, this Iraqi government, can it take the lead? Can it do the job?

SATTERFIELD: We have had a very long period, a very detailed consultation, including at the level of the president with Prime Minister Maliki, directly. And we have received assurances, on political, on economical, and above all, on security commitments by the Iraqi government -- now, as those commitments with fulfilled, we believe our help can be material to success. Will those commitments be fulfilled? We will be watching extremely closely over the weeks ahead.

NGUYEN: When we talk about the Maliki government, there are some overlapping loyalties, perhaps, is how we should put this, especially if there's going to be crackdown on both Shia and Sunnis alike, when it comes to Maliki's government, can he stand and do this? Is this something that he is whole wholeheartedly behind?

SATTERFIELD: Betty, you said the critical element here -- an even-handed approach to all of those, whatever their sect may be, involved in intimidation, IN killing of innocence, that is the explicit commitment to the president from the Prime Minister Maliki, and it is a commitment that must be fulfilled.

NGUYEN: So, you're saying that he can stand up to extreme Shia factions like Moqtada al Sadr's Mahdi militia?

SATTERFIELD: We believe the prime minister and the leader of this country are able to stand up to those engaged in violence and terror, yes.

NGUYEN: That being said, if this is the president's plan to go forward, does he have the backing from Congress to get it done?

SATTERFIELD: We understand the concerns expressed by the American people, and we understand very well the concerns expressed by Congress. What all of us will be looking for, the administration, the American people and the Congress, is progress on the ground, and that is progress which we very much hope can be demonstrated in the time ahead.

NGUYEN: Well, if this does go forward, how will you measure that progress on the ground? When will you say, OK, this is working or we need another revision?

SATTERFIELD: We're not going to set a timeline, here, except to note, as Secretaries Rice and Gates and the president himself have said, that we will know, and the American people will know, starting over the weeks ahead, continuing, not over a very long period of time, but the short-term ahead, whether or not this is succeeding, whether or not our Iraqi partners are fulfilling their obligations.

NGUYEN: Ambassador David Satterfield, we appreciate your insight and your time today. Thank you.


NGUYEN: And a program note for you -- coming up on LATE EDITION with Wolf Blitzer, the president pushes his new plan for Iraq, but as I mentioned, will Congress support it? Wolf's guests, Senators Mitch McConnell and Carl Levin, that is at noon Eastern.

HOLMES: It's been 44 years now since the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his world-renowned "I Have a Dream" speech. I spoke with one of the men who worked side-by-side with him during the Civil Rights movement. Former ambassador to the U.N. and Good Works International, Andrew young.


ANDREW YOUNG, FMR AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: The thing that impresses me is that we still find his message so relevant, that people asking every year, what is the state of the dream? How are we doing? What would Martin Luther King say about what's going on? The power of that speech, which was really one of the -- it was one of the less significant speeches -- I mean, he had lots of speeches that had a lot more substance, but that one touched the nerve of America in 1963. And it's played around the world.

HOLMES: Now, is it touching nerves of young people? Are young people the key now, to continuing that message? Because young folks now get a little complacent because they're not going through, right now, what you all went through back then.

YOUNG: Well, you have to remember, we didn't go through it when we were young. We were -- by the time we got involved in this, well, Martin was 26 when he went to Montgomery, married and had a child on the way. I was, you know, almost 30 when I got involved with him. We kind of goofed off in high school and college, too. And I don't expect -- I expect young people to be young people. They will respond.

My daughter says that people see you all now as something special, but you were really just some get-down brothers in the right place at the right time and you did the right thing. And I have confidence, when our young people are in the right place at the right time, wherever and whenever that is, they, too, will do the right thing.

HOLMES: How will the message have evolved, Dr. King's message back then of non-violence, and working for the poor, how would that message have evolved and played today? How would that be applied today to today's issues?

YOUNG: Well, you know, if you look even at the youngsters in the rap industry, they hear the concern about the poor. Hip-hop is a cry of poor people for respect and for recognition. The thing they didn't get from us and the reason that I think we need to celebrate this annually, if not every day, is that Martin's message was not just about race, it was about, how do you solve problems? And his confidence was that they could only be solved without violence.

HOLMES: Do we need -- or will we see or who may be out there right now? Do we need a new fresh face of the movement? Do we need a young, fresh, black face out there? And you know there are names out there talking about running for president in Obama and whatnot, but a new -- nobody's taking away from Sharpton and Jackson have done, but a new fresh face.

YOUNG: Well you do. You have to take away from it.

HOLMES: You do?

YOUNG: Yeah, because we haven't produced in a long time. See. And you've got to produce electoral victories. And you've got to be relevant on the international questions, as well as on the domestic questions. And Barack Obama is doing that.

Now, I never believed in one leader, and the last message Martin Luther King shared with us in some anger and frustration was, you all push me out there by myself. You all should be out there, too. And we need to see people like you. We need to see people like Ken Chenault on American Express. We need to see the football coach at Mississippi State. We need to see the broad base of progress that's being made.

So, I'm not at all pessimistic. In the news business, you hear only the bad news. But when you get out here, you see that there is enormous progress all over the world.

HOLMES: That is certainly good to hear. No reason to be pessimistic. Thank you so much.

YOUNG: Not at all. Thank you.

HOLMES: Thank you so much.

And for more on the life and works of the civil rights leader, the Nobel Prize recipient, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., you can visit the website


NGUYEN: All right, there is a pill for whatever ails you. No joke. How about if you've got a bad dog that you can't train or if your cat is overweight? Yep, pill for that. Ahead, prescription drugs for man's best friend. We'll find out if they're safe for your family pet.

HOLMES: Plus -- we'll stick with the animal theme kind of, I guess. But this isn't your normal zoo. This time it's humans on display. That's -- I don't get it. I don't think animals go by and see the humans. But, we'll show you their monkey business, that ahead in the "WaterCooler."


NGUYEN: You're the cat lover, T.J., help me out here. All right, if you have a hyperactive cat, which this one is obviously is not, for a good reason, and what about an overweight dog? Sound like your family pet? Well, there is a new diet drug that could help your dog stay away from those biscuits. About you just not feed those biscuits to your dogs? And there are also a few anti-depressants that may stop their destructive behavior. That might perk your interest, but are these drugs safe? Joining me now, from Orlando, is veterinarian to the stars, as we like to call him, Dr. Jeffrey Werber.

Thanks for being with us today.


NGUYEN: I'm doing great. I'm trying to control this cat over here. She is not hyperactive. I don't think she's depressed either. She's doing pretty good, actually. Her name is "Fat Cat." We'll get to the overweight issue in a moment. But, when we talk about anti- depressants for your animals, I mean, are you kidding me? Do animals really need anti-depressants? Is that necessary?

WERBER: You know, it all depends on the animal and how much can be done as far as training. And the problem is that when these cats or dogs need the medication, need the help of medication, start acting up, for example, let's say a dog, whether it's aggressive behavior or separation anxiety, or in the cat the urine marking problems, now sometimes they get so anxious that in order to work with them to modify that behavior, to desensitize them, to counter-condition them, we need to get them a little help, so...

NGUYEN: Well, what does it do to the pet? Does it really take them out of the way they should be acting? Does it totally transform them?

WERBER: No. It doesn't make them into zombies. What is does is it allow -- it changes their set point, whatever it is that starts that anxiety, it gets them to the point of allowing us to start working with them. And we use very common drugs that are used in people, whether it's Clomiprimine or Fluoxetine, they're usually the tricyclic anti-depressants, they're the SSRIs. Just as in people, certain animals have compulsive behavior, whether it's licking themselves incessantly or pulling their hair out or chasing open doors or vacuum cleaners or, you know, barking like crazy...

NGUYEN: But that's just kind of fun, chasing the vacuum cleaner. I mean, that's just a pet being a pet. So, that leads me to the next question for you. What are the symptoms or what are the signs that you need to look for in your pet so that you don't overmedicate or you feel that your pet has a problem when it really doesn't?

WERBER: Well, the key is, that we want to identify the problem and to do so, you want to make sure that these animals are really acting up. Whether it's separation anxiety, you walk into the house, you come home from work, and your place is torn to shreds or you're getting continued complaints from the neighbors that the dogs are barking nonstop.

And understand that many of these behaviors are normal behaviors for the pet, but in our society we are creating an environment for them where all of a sudden it's not good -- it's not good for them to bark all day and therein lies the problem. So, we need to help these pets, we need to modify the behaviors. And what we're trying to do is, we don't want to rely exclusively on these medications.

NGUYEN: Exactly. Absolutely. And you know, people relying on medications to pretty much shed the pounds off of their pets instead of just walking them or feeding them less, perhaps, I have with me -- this is one of our producers' -- Emily's cat. We're showing a dog right now, but this cat right here is -- the cat's name is "Fat Cat." I'll just be quite honest with you. And you can't tell right now how big she is.

She's got a little bit of a pudge down here. But my question to you, these diet pills for animals, one, is it healthy, is it necessary, and two, what does it say about us as pet owners? WERBER: Well, you know, there you have it. You know, the statistics are that about 40 percent of dogs in this country are overweight and about 25 percent of cats are overweight. Interestingly, about 75 percent of these overweight pets belong to parents who themselves could lose a few pounds.

NGUYEN: Exactly. By the way, you can't take this diet medicine if you're a human. It says it right on the bottle. You can't take it.

WERBER: Or even if you're a cat. The difficulty is...

NGUYEN: True. Well, "Fat Cat," you won't be able to take this. Sorry.

WERBER: We control how much our pets eat. It's our fault. They don't get to the cookie jar by themselves. They can't help themselves to the ice-cream. So, it's what we are doing, and we often -- we equate love with treats.

NGUYEN: That's true.

WERBER: So, we overindulge them. And because of our busy lifestyles, we don't exercise them enough, so absolutely right. If we were able to reduce the calorie load and increase the exercise, do you really need the help of medication? Maybe not, but this is the first drug of its kind. It's very interesting, it's made by Pfizer, it's called Slentrol. The goal is to allow the fat to build up in the intestine, which signals a hormone, which induces (INAUDIBLE), so...

NGUYEN: Slentrol is the name, if folks are interested in it. And in the meantime, Doctor, we really appreciate your insight. We've got to run and unfortunately for "Fat Cat," no more treats for you.

WERBER: More exercise. If you can come up with a way to exercise your pets, let me know -- you cats, especially, they're tough to get them exercise.

NGUYEN: Oh yeah, really. Try walking a cat, huh?

WERBER: Exactly.

NGUYEN: Thank you.

T.J., you're not enjoying "Fat Cat."

HOLMES: Well no, I'm just -- the pets and the pills. My sister just sent me a message that sums it up. It simply says, "Are you kidding me?"

NGUYEN: Exactly.

HOLMES: All right, well we have to move on here. It's time for us to get physical.

NGUYEN: Oh, yeah. This is way is an interesting one. Check it out.


NGUYEN: See? What did I tell you? This walrus is staying true to his New Year's resolution. The blubber buster, it's a work-out routine, believe it or not, that's ahead in our "WaterCooler."


HOLMES: RELIABLE SOURCES, of course, up next. Howard Kurtz standing by with a preview for us.

Good morning, Howard.


The president's new Iraq strategy escalating criticism about the surge raises questions about journalists, whether journalists have turned against the war.

Journalists swoon again as Apple unveils that new iPhone. The press flunks out on covering the Duke University sex scandal. Also, or the media can't just get enough of Donald versus Rosie and now Barbara Walters, all ahead on RELIABLE SOURCES.

NGUYEN: Thank you Howard, we appreciate it.

HOLMES: And again, that's coming up at 10:00 Eastern, and then followed by Wolf Blitzer and LATE EDITION at 11:00, THIS WEEK AT WAR at 1:00, so stay tuned to CNN as we go in-depth into the stories of the day.

NGUYEN: Let's take a quick trip right now to the "WaterCooler."

HOLMES: Yeah, getting you caught up on some of the unusual news items that you may have missed.

NGUYEN: Yes. Big crowds gathering at this Australian zoo, that you'll see right here, in just a minute. And you might think, why are they there because those aren't cute fuzzy animals?

HOLMES: Yeah, this is the Adelaide Zoo and it's put a group of humans on display in an empty orangutan cage for a month. The zoo says this is to raise awareness of primate conservation.

NGUYEN: Yeah, by the way, unlike the rest of the animals, the humans, they are wearing clothes, thank goodness, and get to go home at night, unlike the animals.


NGUYEN: Stop it.

HOLMES: All right, we guess the fitness craze has even hit Seaworld. Up, down. Up, down. Maybe not so fast, but it's still a workout. That's "Seahook," the walrus, working out and working hard to get rid of excess blubber, maybe he can take the pill.

NGUYEN: He's got a lot of it.

HOLMES: Doing push-ups and even set-ups.

NGUYEN: Yeah, we've got a diet pill for you. We're gold that swimming is still "Seahook's" favorite workout. Even the pets belonging to Seaworld's employees are getting into this crazy workout.

HOLMES: All right, well gain, RELIABLE SOURCES coming up next. That's followed by LATE EDITION and THIS WEEK AT WAR.

NGUYEN: Plus all the days top headlines, that's straight ahead right here on CNN.


© 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