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Hillary Clinton Begins Run for the White House; Humorist Art Buchwald Popping Up Postmortem; U.S. Helicopter Goes Down In Iraq Killing 13; War Of Racial Words In Virginia

Aired January 20, 2007 - 11:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Now in the news, the announcement, not a big surprise. The timing may be a bit of a surprise. In a statement on her Web site today, Senator Hillary Clinton confirmed she is running for president. She says she's in and she's in to win. We'll have full coverage just ahead.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Another weekend, another weekend storm. Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, all facing another round of winter weather. More than 100,000 customers are still without power from last week.

HOLMES: Three more U.S. military deaths in Iraq to report to you now. One was a marine assigned to Anbar Province, the others were in the army. One of those soldiers was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad while the other one died during combat operations in Tikrit.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has arrived in Syria for a meeting with his top rival. He and Khalid Mashal (ph) are discussing the formation of a coalition government. The two men led rival political factions flocked in a violent political power struggle.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. The news is unfolding live on Saturday the 20th day of January. Hello to you all, I'm T.J. Holmes.

KEILAR: And I'm Brianna Keilar. Confirming the buzz, Senator Hillary Clinton announces she is forming an exploratory committee to run for president.

HOLMES: Also snow and ice adding insult to injury. Another winter blast is crippling parts of the country. More on the storm's track from our severe weather center.

KEILAR: And Warrior One on the auction block. Battle tested and ready to roll. How you can own this piece of war history. You're in the NEWSROOM.

She's in, and she's in to win. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton takes a big step towards entering the race for president. Her announcement coming earlier than expected, perhaps because Illinois Senator Barack Obama beat her to the punch this week. Now she's overshadowing Kansas Senator Sam Brownback's launch into the 2008 presidential race. So let's get right to CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, she is live for us in Topeka, Kansas. Sort of stealing Brownback's thunder here, right Candy? CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: A little bit. Yes, it's a little hard to compete with Hillary Clinton. She is a marquee name. This is a long anticipated launch of her campaign. I can tell you that talking to a Democratic operative that they say, listen, this doesn't have to do with Barack Obama, it has to do with Senator Clinton wanting to untie her hands as they put it and to jump in.

That is, she was sort of in this never, never land between everybody knew she was going to run and yet she couldn't exactly act like a presidential hopeful. This kind of unties her hands in terms of what she can say and, by the way, where she can go. We are told, our producer Sasha Johnson found out that in fact Hillary Clinton will be in Iowa next weekend. So she's not only in, she is running both literally and figuratively.

KEILAR: Thank you, Candy Crowley live for us from Topeka, Kansas. Thanks for that report.

HOLMES: Meanwhile, candidate Clinton would have to make her position on Iraq clear to American voters and CNN's Brian Todd looks at where the senator stands right now on the battle over the war.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just back from the combat zone, the likely Democratic front-runner for the White House counterattacks the president's new plan for Iraq.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: The president's team is pursuing a failed strategy in Iraq.

TODD: Senator Hillary Clinton is introducing new legislation on Iraq clearly signaling her belief that the 21,000 more troops the president wants to deploy won't secure the peace. Her plan?

H. CLINTON: It will cap the number of troops in Iraq at the levels they existed on January 1st, and will require the administration to seek congressional authorization for any additional troops.

TODD: Is capping the troops at the current level of about 135,000 a strategy worthy of a possible president? Not according to the current occupants of the White House.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It binds the hands of the commander in chief and also the generals and frankly also the troops on the ground.

TODD: A retired U.S. army general who once had his troop levels capped in a combat zone tells CNN he agrees. Saying a prudent president would understand that conditions on the ground are always changing and limiting troops means limiting flexibility.

Senator Clinton also wants to get tougher on the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, essentially threatening to cut off funding for his armed forces if he doesn't do more to crack down on violence, if he doesn't root out Sectarian sympathizers in his army and if he doesn't make political accommodations with his Sunni rivals.

That gets higher marks from military analysts who say it is presidential to set tough benchmarks for a government that's dragging its feet. But political analysts say Mrs. Clinton is walking a tightrope for the next presidential cycle.

KEN RUDIN, NPR POLITICAL DIRECTOR: If Hillary Clinton tried to have a moderate plan to appeal to centrists in November 2008, that does make sense but there is a nomination to be won first.

TODD (on camera): That mean she may not have the support of core Democrats who want troop levels reduced sooner. A view shared by some of Hillary Clinton's likely rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


HOLMES: And speaking of those Democratic rivals, one of them getting a lot of buzz lately, of course Senator Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois has released a statement now this morning on Hillary Clinton's decision. And it reads, "Senator Clinton is a good friend and a colleague whom I greatly respect. I welcome her and all the candidates not as competitors but as allies in the work of getting our country back on track." That is from Senator Barack Obama.

Some speculate that Senator Clinton had to move her announcement up a little earlier than she wanted to because of all the buzz and the coverage that Barack Obama has been getting. She says that's not the case though. But, right now they both saying they want to be president. So we shall see. A lot more to come, coverage right here on CNN. Stay with us.

KEILAR: And a good time now for this programming note. The first presidential debate will be right here on CNN in April. The best political team in television teaming up with New Hampshire's leading news organizations to host the first presidential debates of the campaign season. The back-to-back debates are sponsored by CNN, the New Hampshire Union Leader and WMUR television. You can see them right here on CNN, your election 2008 campaign headquarters.

HOLMES: Meanwhile, at the White House, the current president, President Bush, sits down with two top aides to talk about strategy in Iraq. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates briefing the president this morning on their recent trips to the region. We get details now from CNN White House correspondent Elaine Quijano. Hello to you again Elaine?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hello, to you again T.J. Good morning. Well President Bush just a short time ago left the White House en route to Camp David. Joining him there, the first lady as well as the secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley as well as his chief of staff, Josh Bolten.

Now President Bush earlier this morning sat down with Rice as well as his new defense secretary, Robert Gates, to focus on the president's latest Iraq strategy, his plan to send more than 21,000 U.S. forces to Iraq to quell the violence there. Both Rice and Gates are just back from a trip, separate trips, to the Middle East region trying to build international senate support for the plan.

At the same time, though, the strategy, of course, has met with skepticism on the domestic side as well, not just from Democrats but also republicans. Now this morning White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was asked about Iraq during an appearance before GOP faithful at a meeting of the Republican National Committee, and he tried to address skepticism that Iraq's government has the political will and ability to overcome sectarian divisions fueling the violence.


TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has made it clear that the American public wants to see even-handed justice dispensed in Iraq, which means going after those, whether they be Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Arab, Persian or whatever. They stand up, that the government has the freedom to act against those who are committing acts of violence.


QUIJANO: Meantime, the state of the Union address of course coming up on Tuesday. Aides say that Iraq will certainly be part of that address but not the sole focus. And certainly reflecting perhaps the new political reality for President Bush, a different dynamic now, he'll be delivering that State of the Union Address, before a Democrat Congress.

And Ed said that there will be not a laundry list of proposals, but rather mentions of common ground that the White House believes it can work with Democrats on. Things like immigration, healthcare, energy, and education policy among other things.

Certainly we will hear about Iraq, T.J., but as you know, the president just delivered that prime time address to the nation a short time ago talking solely about Iraq. And aides say don't expect him to necessarily provide that level of detail or focus solely on that -- in his state of the Union address. T.J.?

HOLMES: Elaine we can't help but to go back to 2008 presidential politics just a little bit here. Now of course I don't want to comment too much on Hillary Clinton's announcement today, but, give us an idea behind the scenes, there still. How much is this certainly on the radar, what's happening with everybody jumping in certainly now with the big name, Hillary Clinton. How much is it certainly on their radar?

QUIJANO: Absolutely on their radar. We should say first of all that Press Secretary Tony Snow was asked by CNN before he did that appearance at the RNC this morning if he would comment. He said he wasn't going to talk about it, of course he has a very sort of fine line to walk here. He's appearing at a political event but at the same time the White House does not want to be seen as being too political.

As you well know, though, the presidential top political adviser, Karl Rove, as we mentioned here earlier this morning, was here at the White House. No doubt they are keeping close tabs on these developments. The appearance by Tony Snow is really meant as sort of a pep talk really. And we've heard top Republican officials themselves say that the Republican Party is in need of boosting right now, particularly after those midterm elections in which Democrats gained control of Congress.

A lot of issues certainly at the forefront including Iraq. But they're being very careful about what they say in public. No doubt, though, as they watch this unfold, certainly they understand that it is going to affect the tone of the political debate that goes on here, that certainly Democratic candidates, as they try to position themselves, are going to be saying things about the Iraq war and other issues in order, perhaps, to try to distance themselves from this White House.

But it will be an interesting moment to watch as the developments unfold here over the next few weeks and months, what the White House does say, we'll keep you posted, T.J. But I'm certain it will be interesting months ahead as the White House tries to get out its message and at the same time work with Democrats.

HOLMES: All right, a fine line there. Thank you so much, Elaine Quijano for us from the White House.

KEILAR: And leading up to the president's state of the union address Tuesday, you're going to be able to watch CNN pipeline free all day long. Just go to, click on the pipeline link and you can enjoy continuous live feeds from the Oscar nominations to Capitol Hill, all the way from Baghdad.

HOLMES: The Midwest braces for round two, ice and snow bear down, what residents, can expect, that's next in the NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To suggest that we need to just get over slavery is an absolute affront.


HOLMES: A war of words in the Virginia legislature over slavery. A Virginia lawmaker, stirs up controversy.

And sapping the strength of al Sadr. Iraqi and U.S. troops go after the Mehdi militia in a bid to reclaim Baghdad. You are watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.



H. CLINTON: After six years of George Bush, it is time to renew the promise of America.


HOLMES: Senator Hillary Clinton is our top story today. In an announcement on her Web site, the New York Democrat confirmed she is running for president. Her announcement comes two years to the day before the next president, whoever that may be, will be inaugurated. We'll have a profile of Senator Clinton coming up at the half hour.

KEILAR: We start our news across America with a big bang in New Haven, Connecticut. We saw the implosion live right here on CNN. The old Veteran's memorial coliseum imploded to make room for a project aimed at revitalizing the downtown area.

And the alleged mansion madam returns to her roots. Lisa Ann Taylor is accused of running a prostitution ring out of her suburban Atlanta mansion. Since her arrest, Taylor says her real estate license has been suspended but her career as an exotic dancer is booming again with sold out performances. Perhaps no surprise there.


KEILAR: And coming up, get over it. That's what one Virginia legislature had to say about slavery. As you can imagine, there is backlash from that, those comments, next.

HOLMES: Also, humorist Art Buchwald had fun with just about every aspect out there, every subject. So why not his own death? You are watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


HOLMES: We are just getting word from the U.S. military that a military helicopter has gone down. A U.S. forces helicopter, has gone down in northeast Baghdad, rather just northeast of Baghdad. Thirteen people onboard that U.S. military helicopter were killed, according to the U.S. military.

We do not know right now the details of the circumstances around this helicopter going down, don't know if it was shot down, if it had any other kind of mechanical issues, weather issues. Don't know that just yet, but in fact, according to the U.S. military, a U.S. forces helicopter did go down, happened just northeast of Baghdad just a short time ago, but 13 people killed. We will be monitoring that for more information and bring that to you as we get it.

Meanwhile, we will turn now to Virginia and a war of words there where one legislator said slavery was horrible but black citizens should "get over it."

KEILAR: And he didn't stop there. CNN's Kathleen Koch follows the fallout.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Senior delegate Donald McEachin thought his resolution would promote racial harmony, not provoke racial division. The proposal that this year the 400th anniversary of historic Jamestown, an early slave port, Virginia should apologize for its role in slavery.

DEL. DONALD MCEACHIN, VIRGINIA STATE HOUSE: I can't think of a better time for Virginia to apologize for -- and to attune for the sins of slavery, than now during this 400th anniversary.

KOCH: But one colleague in the Virginia General Assembly didn't like the idea. Delegate Frank Hargrove telling a local newspaper that when it comes to slavery, "Our black citizens should get over it." He added that no one alive today had anything to do with slavery commenting are we going to force Jews to apologize for killing Christ? Dwight Jones heads the legislative black caucus.

DEL. DWIGHT JONES, VIRGINIA STATE HOUSE: To suggest that we need to just get over slavery is an absolute affront as though slavery was a birthday party that somebody had last Saturday night. It raped our mothers and fathers, it killed our sons and daughters.

KOCH: David Englan sits next to Hargrove on the assembly floor.

DEL. DAVID ENGLAN, VIRGINIA STATE HOUSE: I want my colleagues to understand, Mr. Speaker, what it means when people of the respect and stature of a member of this body perpetuate the notion that Jews killed Christ.

KOCH: Hargrove won't apologize.

DEL. FRANK HARGROVE, VIRGINIA STATE HOUSE: I think your skin was a little too thin.

KOCH: He did defend his comments to CNN.

HARGROVE: I think slavery was horrible, it wasn't no justification at all for slavery, but I didn't have any part in it.

KOCH: States and countries have long been reluctant to apologize for slavery. They fear it would open them up to reparations lawsuits like those already brought against major corporations alleged to have profited from the slave trade. British Prime Minister Tony Blair in December expressed, "Deep sorrow" over his countries role in slavery. President Bill Clinton did the same in Africa in 1998.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: European Americans received the fruits of the slave trade, and we were wrong in that.

KOCH (on camera): But neither the U.S. Congress nor any state has ever officially apologized for slavery. Even if the Virginia measure passes, supporters worry it would only be a symbolic victory.

JOHNS: The bill could pass and attitudes won't change and to me it's more important that attitudes change.

KOCH: Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.


KEILAR: Hillary Rodham Clinton takes one step closer to a presidential bid. We'll look at her qualifications for the job when NEWSROOM continues.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are U.S. and Iraqi forces about to take on the largest and best organized militia in the country as they try to reclaim Baghdad?


HOLMES: They faced off with U.S. forces once already, but this time there's hope that Muqtada al Sadr's Mehdi army will lay down its arms quietly.

KEILAR: And the obituary of humorist Art Buchwald delivered by Art Buchwald. You don't want to miss his last words.


HOLMES: News just coming in to us here at CNN -- the U.S. military confirms that a U.S. helicopter has gone down northeast of Baghdad, 13 crew and passengers on that helicopter were killed. All onboard, the 13 rather onboard, were killed according to U.S. military.

No idea right now or there's no word on exactly what brought that helicopter down. This comes as we just getting word of three other U.S. service member deaths in Iraq on this day, which brings the number to 27, actually U.S. service members been killed this month in Iraq.

Right now, we're waiting to get more details on a U.S. helicopter that went down northeast of Baghdad, 13 onboard. All 13 have been killed according to the U.S. military. We'll get more information on that and pass that along to you when we get it.

KEILAR: Half past the hour and now in the news, Hillary Clinton takes the first step towards a run for the White House. The Democratic senator announced on her Web site this morning that she's forming an exploratory committee. In her announcement she says, quote, I'm in and I'm in to win.

HOLMES: Two key members of President Bush's cabinet, meanwhile, head to the White House to talk about strategy in Iraq. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates briefed the president this morning about their recent trips to the Middle East.

KEILAR: Just what the nation's heartland does not need, more snow and ice. But that's what parts of Oklahoma, Texas and other plains states are getting this weekend. Forecasters say up to a foot of snow can fall on top of the snow and ice from previous storms. More than 100,000 homes and businesses in Oklahoma and Missouri are still waiting to get their power back on.

HOLMES: And in Britain, an eviction brings a nasty televised encounter to an end. A contestant on a controversial show, a controversial contestant of a hit TV show, "Celebrity Big Brother" has been voted off the show. She and other contestants were accused of making racist remarks and booing an Indian film star who's also a contestant on that program. The woman who got the boot is denying that she's a racist.

KEILAR: Confronts Muqtada al-Sadr, for the government of Iraq, it's a tricky proposition in the best of times.

HOLMES: But now it may be unavoidable or maybe it's not. From Baghdad, here's CNN's Cal Perry.


CAL PERRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sadr City, home to two million Iraqis, most of them poor Shiites and most of them loyal to the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. He's long been a thorn in the side of U.S. forces here and it's his Mehdi army, a militia of some 7,000 men that's in day to day control of the city, not the Iraqi police, not the Iraqi army and not American soldiers. U.S. commanders say if the new plan for Baghdad is to succeed, that has to change.

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, CMDR, MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE, IRAQ: The prime minister it quite clear and as the ambassador mentioned in his opening statement, that militia will not be allowed to be an alternative to the state or to provide and take on local security around the country. They don't do that, and he also was very clear to both the Iraqi security forces and the coalition forces that we should target anyone who breaks the law, regardless of their political or sectarian affiliations.

PERRY: Technically, the Mehdi army is an illegal militia. So, are U.S. and Iraqi forces about to take on the largest and best organized militia in the country as they try to reclaim Baghdad? Perhaps not. CNN is told that Sadr himself has put the word out, let the Americans in, don't fight. His strategy, patience, wait until U.S. forces are gone. CNN spoke to a cleric inside Sadr City, one familiar with Sadr's orders and the Mehdi militia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Mehdi army they have order now because they are a popular people, normal people. They don't have guns or bases for training or bases for the guns or these things, but the schoolers, the imam (ph), the wisdom people they told all their Sadr movement, all the Iraqi people, don't have any reaction against this crazy people, against this terrorists. You know the American soldiers are terrorists. They are killers.

PERRY: U.S. forces may not focus on Sadr City, concentrating instead on neighborhoods where Sunni insurgents are strongest and the sectarian warfare bloodiest, so Iraqi forces may take the lead in Sadr City.

Mid-level U.S. commanders tell CNN they expect the Iraqi group that enters Sadr City to e largely Kurdish but that there will be a U.S. presence on the ground in their words to make sure things go as well as possible.

Three years ago in the city of Najaf, U.S. forces confronted the Mehdi militia in running battles that killed dozens of people as they tried to arrest Muqtada al-Sadr. Now U.S. officials say Sadr is an Iraqi problem.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: When I say the Iraqis have to deal with Sadr, I mean they have to deal both with the violence he causes and with the political problem that he causes, but I do think that it is best done as an Iraqi responsibility, because of the nature of the problem.

PERRY: In the battle for hearts and minds of the millions of poor Shiites that live in this sprawling slum, the Mehdi army is changing, casting itself at not just a militia but also as a grass roots organization that delivers services and protection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We call it army in Arabic language galshul (ph) Mehdi, and that is the problem with the translation. It is not a real army. It's like an association, any education, any association doing a service. What we do, we organize the roads when there is no police traffic there. We keep the peace between the people.

PERRY: Which may make the Mehdi army even more entrenched in Sadr City as a state that delivers within a state that doesn't. Cal Perry, CNN, Baghdad.


HOLMES: Continuing to follow this breaking story out of Iraq. A U.S. military helicopter has gone down northeast of Baghdad. All 13 onboard have been killed according to the U.S. military. Coalition forces were able to respond to this scene and secure the crash site.

U.S. military right now do not know how this helicopter might have gone down, what may have caused it, no immediate word on whether or not it was shot down, had some other kind of mechanical issue or even what the weather may have been like in the area, but 13 members, 13 people who were onboard including the crew, all 13, were killed.

Our Arwa Damon is on the ground there for us in Baghdad working this story. We will continue to follow this and bring you information as we get it.

KEILAR: Looking ahead now, warrior one up for grabs. Find out how you can own a big part of Iraq war history for a good cause and a good bit of cash. Live to Arizona, ahead in the NEWSROOM.

HOLMES: Plus, the hostess with the mostest, a look at the wealthiest women in entertainment. I'm going to say it's Oprah. Coming up, we'll have that answer for you. You are in the NEWSROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: We now want to get back to today's big, big political story. Senator Hillary Clinton announcing she is running for president. The former first lady has been in the public eye ever since her husband first ran for president. Now that she's running herself, CNN's Joshua Levs taking a closer look. We think we know this. We've seen her for years and years. Do we know Hillary Clinton?

JOSHUA LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's the idea. Everybody thinks they know a lot about here, but I bet, I'm going to tell you all some things right now that you did not already know, that you've not heard about her before. Let's trace you back through her history. You know she's 59 years old and she was born in Chicago, grew up Methodist.

She went to Wellesley and Yale law. As a teenager, she worked in the campaign of a Republican. You might not know that. She worked for Republican Barry Goldwater and during college she switched over to the Democrats. She worked for the campaign of Eugene McCarthy and she stuck with the Democrats basically ever since then.

Let's go to 1970. She worked as an attorney for the Children's Defense Fund, that was in '73 and that's important because that kicked off her legal career. She spent a lot of it focusing on children and on the under privileged. Then in 1978 when her husband, Bill, became governor of Arkansas, she became the first lady of that state to continue her own career while being the first lady, the first, first lady to do that.

All right. We're going to jump ahead to the last decade to 1991. She was named one of the 100 most influential U.S. lawyers by the "National Law Journal". Then you know what happened next. Right after that, Bill Clinton was elected president. In 1993, do you remember this? He named her to lead a task force on healthcare and that reform package that was put together was ultimately defeated by Congress and Hillary Clinton later said she had learned a lot of lessons from that tough political experience.

Then, his presidency ended. Let's go up to 2000. She's elected to the U.S. Senator from New York, 56 percent of the vote there. 2003, she released a memoir, remember that, her memoir "Living History." You might remember that happened here on CNN. And then this past November, just happen she won her re-election to the Senate and now, of course, a bona fide presidential contender.

HOLMES: My goodness. I hope everybody was taking notes, a lot.

LEVS: That's a lot, but you know what, you already know. Going through it, a few things along there I bet you didn't know. You, too?

HOLMES: Me, too.

LEVS: I got you a couple times.

HOLMES: We are going to hear a lot more about Hillary Clinton. All right. Thanks so much Josh.

KEILAR: Battle tested and ready to serve again. This is warrior one, used by CNN to cover the war in Iraq after a complete makeover, compliments of the TLC program "Overhaulin." It will be auctioned off tonight, proceeds going to the Fisher House Foundation which provides homes for families of wounded troops so that they can be near their loved ones during treatment.

Let's go to a Scott McWhinnie, who's a CNN photojournalist who spent a lot of time in warrior one. You're in Scottsdale. I love that. Scott in Scottsdale. Wonderful, Scott. But tell us, whoever gets this Humvee they're obviously going to be taking home a piece of history. You were with this Humvee. Tell us about some of the action that it saw.

SCOTT MCWHINNIE, CNN PHOTOJOURNALIST: It saw quite a lot of action from the very start of the war. It came under fire quite a lot and it was our home for a month during the coverage of the war.

KEILAR: You must have really felt this was almost your little tiny apartment while you were in Iraq. Can you tell us specifically, maybe, about one situation you were in, sort of take us into, maybe, just one specific situation that you experienced there in Iraq?

MCWHINNIE: One situation was during, towards the end of the war, when the statue was coming down, outside the Palestine hotel, warrior one and the rest of our first seven Marines who were traveling over the Tigris bridge, and we came under attack from a gunboat, which was on the Tigris and that was the Baghdad university where sort of all hell broke loose, basically. That was one of the things we saw.

KEILAR: Really amazing. So, of course, this is going for a good cause, the Fisher House. Can you tell us a little bit about what this will mean for those family members who have service members whose are being treated?

MCWHINNIE: Well, I'm sure, I mean, the Hummer's going to raise an absolute fortune. It's to build new homes for the Fisher House Foundation, which the troops serving in Iraq, who are the injured or wounded, their families will be able to be close by and be able to see them a lot more often than if they had to stay in their homes.

KEILAR: So, Scott, "Overhaulin'" really tricked out this Humvee, certainly it doesn't like what you saw it as in Iraq. Can you tell us sort of the difference? What did it look like when were you in Iraq and what does it look like now in comparison?

MCWHINNIE: When we had it, it was a heap of junk. Basically never worked. We had to be towed most of the time, but we made it. It survived the whole month and it was our home. But since it's been overhauled, it's been customized up and it looks absolutely amazing. It's been spray painted and stuff. It's got a stereo in it that works. It's a lot more comfortable than it was.

KEILAR: Yes. It really is amazing, Scott. I actually got a chance to see it in Washington, DC. It's a petty impressive vehicle. Scott McWhinnie, CNN photojournalist who called warrior one home probably wishes he had the chance to hang out in it while it looks the way it does right now. Thanks for being with us Scott.

HOLMES: Here is warrior one right after it was overhauled. There it, big day, big announcement, big unveiling at the CNN center here in Atlanta. You can find out more information on Hummer one or warrior one at, just go to


ART BUCHWALD: I'm Art Buchwald and I just died.


KEILAR: Art Buchwald says good-bye in his very own way. So Jeanne Moos took the opportunity to look at the sweet, the sad and the just plain crazy in videotaped last words. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


HOLMES: Well, hey there, Brianna. Making sure we're adjusted here.

KEILAR: Plugging in. There we go. I'm back. I'm with you.

HOLMES: All right. Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: No problem. Always a pleasure to be here and plugged in.

HOLMES: We're going to move on. We're going to talk about Art Buchwald, you want to be plugged in for this story of course. But they say dead men tell no tales. Well, it turns out, that not quite the case.

KEILAR: All right. CNN Jeanne Moos reports that thanks in part to modern technology, eternal rest doesn't necessarily mean eternal silence.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even the grave can't stop humorist Art Buchwald from popping up postmortem.

ART BUCHWALD, HUMORIST: Hi. I'm Art Buchwald and I just died.

MOOS: Buchwald may have died this week, but his "I just died" video obit just keeps on loading.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that his opening line is one of the great leads in the history of journalism.

MOOS: No, the print the obituary hasn't met its own death but a "New York Times" Web site is putting a new face on it. They call it... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The last word."

MOOS: In Buchwald's last words, he says he became a...

BUCHWALD: ...celebrity for death.

MOOS: Because so many journalists wrote about how he outlived expectations of his imminent demise. Most voices of the dead tend to be chilling, taped messages left behind by suicide bombers for instance

UNIDENTIFIED MALE. Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood.

MOOS: Or the recorded ramblings of the heaven's gate cult leader who committed mass suicide with 38 followers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very exciting time for us. Who is us? I'm doe for starters.

MOOS: Or messages intended to save folks making the same mistake. Yul Brynner was a smoker on screen and off. After he died of cancer, he left this.

YUL BRYNNER, ACTOR: Now that I'm gone I tell you, don't smoke. Whatever you do, just don't smoke.

MOOS: But Art Buchwald was cheery even as he taped his last words six months before his death, a "New York Times" reporter who dreamed up the idea of video obits, it must be kind of weird to ask people if you can do their video obit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the most fascinating story in the world?

MOOS: Your own. Jim Whiner (ph) says people leap at the chance to talk about their own lives. So far the "Times" has 10 last word interviews in the can, won't name names but range from a former president to a famous scientist, all shot, for heavens sake in high def.

Maybe you'd like to send that special someone an e-mail after you're dead. Well, there are Web sites that allow you to do that, Web sites like, or apreslamort, after death. But if you get one of those after-death e-mails don't bother to click reply. Art Buchwald would see the humor in such encrypted messages from the crypt. After all, he's now a dead man talking.

BUCHWALD: I'm Art Buchwald and I just died.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: We go back to Iraq, that breaking story. U.S. helicopter goes down northeast of Baghdad; 13 people onboard have died according to the U.S. military. We want to bring in our Arwa Damon who's there for us in Baghdad. Arwa, tell us what you can about this helicopter going down and also about the area it went down in.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, T.J. very little details as you just mentioned, the information really just coming out in a U.S. military press release a few moments ago saying that a helicopter did crash and that all 13 people onboard were killed. Now, we do not know the cause of the crash. The military saying that that is still under investigation, whether it was because of bad weather, some sort of malfunction or if it was brought down by enemy fire.

As for who was onboard, that, too, at this point is not information that the military is going to be releasing. However, we do know that in the past, both military personnel and civilians do use these helicopters. Now, the crash happened just northeast of the capital of Baghdad. That is an area known as Diyala province.

It is known to be fairly volatile, has the sort of same ethic mix that you see in Baghdad, Sunni, Shia and Kurd. Again, a very volatile area, but at this point it's not known if that helicopter did come down because of enemy fire. We have tried to cabinet the U.S. military for further details, but their current response is again, this incident is still under investigation. T.J..

HOLMES: All right, Arwa Damon for us in Baghdad. Thank you so much for the details you have. We'll get much more from you, I'm sure, throughout the day. Thank you so much Arwa.

Meanwhile, the NEWSROOM continues at the top of the hour. We bring in our Fredricka Whitfield who's here with us now.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good to see you, good to see you in person Brianna.

KEILAR: Good to see you too.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well coming up in the NEWSROOM beginning at the noon Eastern hour, of course we'll delve also into Hillary Rodham Clinton forming her exploratory committee. What does it mean for the growing field of candidates for '08 and what does it mean for the growing price tag of what it takes to win?

And Michael Devlin, arraigned this week in connection with the case of the two missing boys in Missouri who are now reunited with their families. Legally what are the hoops that now investigators have to jump through as they broaden out the investigation? Was Devlin involved in any other missing child cases? All that, straight ahead.

KEILAR: We'll stay tuned for that. Thanks Fred.

HOLMES: Thank you, Fredricka.

And naming the richest women in show biz. You can probably guess. that one, at least. Others may surprise you. Stick around.



GERRI WILLIS, CNN ANCHOR: No matter what kind of TV you're in the market for, the most important thing to keep in mind is screen size. The distance between you and your TV should be two to three times the diagonal screen size. So if you get a 30-inch TV, you should be sitting about five to 7 1/2 feet away.

Next to consider, standard CRT, LCD, plasma or rear projection? Each has its pros and cons, viewing angle, response time, contrast ratio, resolution to name a few. A resolution of 480 denotes standard TV, while 720 and 1080, true HDTV. I'm Gerri Willis and that's your "tip of the day." For more, watch "open house" every Saturday 9:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.


HOLMES: Ah, it's no longer just a rich man's world (IN with words and a lifestyle guru.

KEILAR: Those women now share another title, richest women in entertainment. As ranked by "Forbes" magazine, Oprah Winfrey tops the list, no surprise there, perhaps with a fortune worth $1.5 billion. Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling is second.

Martha Stewart troubles apparently behind her. "Forbes" figures that she's worth $638 million. Now, Madonna, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and J. Lo round out the top 10. Let's give an honorable mention to number 13, Judge Judy.

HOLMES: Congratulations to those women. All right. The news certainly does not stop right now and neither does the NEWSROOM." I'm T.J. Holmes.

KEILAR: And I'm Brianna Keilar. Let's go now to Fredricka Whitfield for more of CNN's NEWSROOM.


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