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Astronaut Wally Schirra, 84, Dies; al Qaeda Propagandist Killed; GOP Candidates to Square off for First Debate; Israelis Rally to Oust Olmert

Aired May 3, 2007 - 13:00   ET


DON LEMON, CO-HOST: Hello. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CO-HOST: And I'm Susan Roesgen, filling in again for Kyra Phillips.

He went where few men had gone before. One of the original seven astronauts has died. Remembering Wally Schirra.

Plus this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please let me get to my dad! Please!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was not smart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just(UNINTELLIGIBLE) the emergency room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I told you not to go anywhere, didn't I?


LEMON: Just imagine this unfolding if you were on your way to the hospital where your father had just had a heart attack. The incident and the aftermath straight ahead right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

But first we start with severe weather. It is headed towards Louisiana this hour, while most of Texas is now getting a break today from a spate of brutal weather. Winds in Dallas hit 85 miles per hour during a storm violent enough to split trees.

A woman near Waco was struck and killed by lightning, the third weather-related death in the Lone Star State this week.

The mayhem in and around Dallas sheered off the roofs of buildings and cut power to an estimated 300,000 people. Two-thirds are still in the dark.

Let's check in now with CNN meteorologist Reynolds Wolf to tell us what the day is going to be like -- Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It could get a little bit easier for Texas, although we are still seeing some rough activity in extreme East Texas. But it was certainly rough last night, as that video we showed moments ago proved. And this video that we have, compliments of our I-Reports is also evident of how strong it was.

This was submitted by Tom Eaton of Ft. Worth. He lives in the top of a high-rise in southwest Ft. Worth. He shot this video overlooking Burnham Plaza. He said the storm was reported to have 70- , 80 mile-per-hour winds. He's correct in that. And it lasted about 30 to 35 minutes. He shot it about 6:05 in the evening. So certainly rough stuff there, perfect testament from the video that you see before you.

Meanwhile, a little bit farther back out to the west, we take you to New Mexico. And in New Mexico, we've got some incredible video of this land spout. How about that? Bizarre looking thing. This was actually picked up near White Sands Missile Range. The fellow who was able to catch this was named Edouard Michek (ph), I believe is his name, and he took this picture with his camera phone around 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Thankfully, there was no widespread damage there.


LEMON: Wow. I'll have to check on my relatives in Baton Rouge, in that area. Thank you so much.

WOLF: That would not be a bad idea.

LEMON: We'll check back with you a little bit later on. Thank you, sir.

ROESGEN: And now remembering an American pioneer, a NASA original. One of the seven astronauts who led America into the space age almost half a century ago.

Wally Schirra has died at the age of 84 after a battle with cancer. As one of the seven original Mercury astronauts, Schirra became the third American to orbit the earth back in 1962.

CNN's John Zarrella joins us now in Miami -- John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Susan. Well, in fact, it was in October of 1962 that Wally Schirra piloted his Sigma VII spacecraft for six revolutions of the earth. And Schirra later said that he named it Sigma VII because he wanted to get away from the, quote, "Gee whiz names" of all of the other spacecrafts and at the same time, the seven standing for and acknowledgment and honoring of the seven astronauts that he was a part of.

I remember interviewing Wally on several occasions over the years. And one time -- I'll read you a quote about what he said about how when they were first chosen, they had absolutely no idea what to expect they were getting into.

He said -- one time he said, "The big shock came at that press conference when suddenly we were heroes, and we hadn't done anything yet," and he laughed. "We were just sitting on the stage. It was a rather strange transition from a relatively obscure naval officer, flight pilot's life to a public person."

Schirra was always making jokes. He was a very funny person, very jovial.

His next mission after the Mercury program ended was Gemini VI, another historic flight. Gemini VI actually docked with the already orbiting Gemini VII seven spacecraft. He was a command pilot for Gemini VI.

And then Apollo VII. And Apollo VII, he was the commander of Apollo VII, which was the first flight after the Apollo I fire back on earth, the test pad fire which killed astronauts Grissom, Chaffee, and White.

It was a very, very difficult time for the U.S. space program as they raced to get to the moon. And that was an extremely, extremely important flight, the redesigned space capsule that they flew in. So a very, very momentous flight that Schirra was -- was a part of there.

Again, Wally Schirra dead at the age of 84 and leaving not too many of the original seven left -- Susan.

ROESGEN: Yes, John. How many of those guys, those original astronauts, the guys with the right stuff, are still with us?

ZARRELLA: Just two, Scott Carpenter and John Glenn. We've already lost Gordon Cooper, Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, Gus Grissom, and now Wally Schirra -- Susan.

ROESGEN: OK. Well, we remember a great pioneer. Thanks, John.

LEMON: A top al Qaeda leader in Iraq blamed for the kidnapping of American civilians confirmed dead by the U.S. military. But there's been a little confusion over the man's identity.

Let's go to Baghdad and CNN's Hugh Riminton for some answers -- Hugh.

HUGH RIMINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Don, there's been a buzz around Baghdad in recent days with rumors, speculation that a senior member of al Qaeda had been killed in this past week. Well, confirmation now that one has been killed. His name won't mean much to most people outside of Iraq.

But he was involved in two notorious, infamous kidnappings, one of the American journalist, Jill Carroll, the other of four Christian peace activists, one of whom who was shot and murdered, Tom Fox.

The Americans are saying that, among his roles with al Qaeda, was that of chief propagandist.


RIMINTON (voice-over): This is the latest al Qaeda scalp in Iraq. Pictures aired on Iraqi state television show the body of what U.S. authorities say is Muharib Abdul Latif al-Jubouri, a man said to be intimately involved in the kidnapping last year of American journalist Jill Carroll.

MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, MULTINATIONAL FORCES IN IRAQ: Based on multiple detainee debriefings, we know that he was responsible for the transportation and movement of Jill Carroll from her various hiding places.

RIMINTON: According to intelligence agencies, al-Jubouri was responsible for propaganda and ran some videos of Jill Carroll in the nearly three months of her captivity before her release in March last year.

The sources also say al-Jubouri had personal control of Christian activist Tom Fox, who was kidnapped in late 2005. His body was found four months later.

And, say U.S. authorities, he was involved in the kidnapping of two German engineers, Renak Brownwig (ph) and Thomas Mitchka (ph).

The U.S. says al-Jubouri was killed in a nighttime firefight just north of Baghdad on the first of May, along with four other al Qaeda operatives, although Iraqi officials claim he died wounds from an earlier firefight with Iraqi troops.

(on camera) However he died, U.S. authorities say al-Jubouri's identification is rock solid, thanks to DNA testing. But the Iraqi authorities say there's even more to this story than that. They claim al-Jubouri is also a mysterious figure known by the alias, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, nothing less than the head of the al Qaeda-backed political apparatus that styles itself the Islamist States of Iraq.

(voice-over) The U.S. is skeptical.

CALDWELL: There's a lot of speculation about a person called al- Baghdadi, but we actually have no knowledge of who that might be.

RIMINTON: American authorities also remained dubious about continued Iraqi claims that tribal militias have killed al Qaeda's top terrorist in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri.

CALDWELL: We, in fact, do not have in our possession or do we know of anybody that has anybody or a person at this time that we think is him.

RIMINTON: As for al-Jubouri, General Caldwell says he helped to funnel money and fighters from Syria. He is the top confirmed al Qaeda kill in a month in which the U.S. claims 87 al Qaeda terrorists were killed and more than 400 captured in U.S.-led operations, including an intense series of raids, Operation Rat Trap, in recent days.


RIMINTON: Now an al Qaeda-linked Web site, Don, has just put out a confirmation that al-Jubouri has been killed. They say, though, that he was not the mysterious Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. They say he was merely Baghdadi's spokesman. So the two top people who have been claimed to have been killed in the past week, al-Masri, the operational terrorist at the head of al Qaeda in Iraq, and Baghdadi, the shadowy political figure, both would appear to be still alive -- Don.

LEMON: All right. That helps to clear that up. Thank you so much. Hugh Riminton in Baghdad.

If it is quiet today in the Green Zone of Baghdad, it will be the first time since Sunday. We're coming off three straight days of rocket attacks, yesterday's being the worst.

Now four civilian contractors working for the American government were killed. They were from India, Nepal, and the Philippines. A U.S. military spokesman says attackers appear to be trying to score a spectacular hit -- Susan.

ROESGEN: Well, despite all the big attacks this week, the big debate, President Bush and congressional leaders may be heading toward a compromise, some kind of compromise on the Iraq war funding bill.

One day after a meeting between the presidential and congressional leaders, Democrats began negotiations with White House aides. In the meantime, the Bush administration is taking temporary steps to keep the money flowing to the troops.


TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Let's just put it this way. We know that already there's a requirement of transferring money from certain accounts to others to make sure that we have full funding. That would continue to be the case until the emergency supplemental has been passed. We think it is preferable to have all accounts funded fully.


ROESGEN: Well, as you saw here this week on CNN, Democrats tried to force the president to accept a timetable to begin withdrawing the troops from Iraq. But the president vetoed that as he promised. And the Democrats were not able to override that veto. And that has left both sides searching now for a compromise.

Critics of the Iraq war call it a modern Vietnam. And today, almost 25 years after it opened, names are still being added to the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial. Three more are being engraved this week.

Live in Washington for us is CNN's Brianna Keilar.

Brianna, this is such an emotional day for the families of those servicemen who waited so long for this, to get some kind of closure.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sure is, Susan. One described it to me as the end of a very long journey, sort of closing chapter at the end of a book.

That was the wife of the man whose name was added today. His name, Rick Pruett. He was an Army sergeant, and he was wounded in Vietnam in 1969 and then suffered for decades with complications from those wounds that he finally succumbed to in 2005, just a couple of years ago.

And as I said, I spoke with his wife, Ann, as she watched his name being added to the more than 58,000 other names here on this wall. And she said this was very important to her, because this memorial meant so much to her husband.


ANN PRUETT, WIFE OF RICK PRUETT: He would just sit at the wall. He told me it moved him so much. It made him weep, you know, and it just brought back so many horrific memories.

Rick had -- he was in horrific battles where there were many, many killed and then he would have to go back the next couple of days and body bag friends. And so it was just a horrifying experience.

And coming to the wall gave him peace and helped him. And I just think that his name being on the wall is just a great way to end the chapter of his life.


KEILAR: Now one of the other names that was added here yesterday, occurred Joseph Krywicki (ph). He was in the Navy. And he actually died in Vietnam in 1966. His name was inadvertently left off the wall. Yesterday, that was corrected.

And then before Sunday, a third name will be added. That's Allen Stiverson (ph). He was also -- he did serve in Vietnam. But like Pruett, he succumbed to complications from wounds in 2005. So it's definitely been a very long road, Susan.

ROESGEN: Yes, Brianna. How often do they add names to the -- to the wall?

KEILAR: Well, this has happened several times since the wall was first completed in 1982. And the way it normally goes now is every year there's a few names that are added, as we've seen this year.

But it changes. Actually, in 1986, 110 names were added. That was because the geographic criteria was expanded for where certain -- where people had died. And so we saw many more names added then.

But now we see some people occasionally who have been inadvertently left off or some people like, Pruett, who have struggled for decades, Susan, with their wounds only to succumb to them so long afterwards.

ROESGEN: We -- just don't forget that. Thanks, Brianna. Appreciate that report live in Washington -- Don.

LEMON: Well, with ten at the table, is there room to move? GOP Presidential candidates may have a tough time separating themselves at tonight's debate. We'll go live to California straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Plus this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please let me get to my dad! Please!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was not smart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just(UNINTELLIGIBLE) the emergency room.


ROESGEN: Imagine this, if you were on your way to the hospital where your father had just had a heart attack. The incident, the handcuffing. What happened? All ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


ROESGEN: It's 18 after the hour, and here are three of the stories we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Legal trouble for the general manager of a Chinese company accused of selling contaminated wheat gluten to American pet food companies. However, the "New York Times" reports that Chinese police have not revealed what charges the manager might face.

Thousands of people are marching in Tel Aviv, demanding the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. They have many complaints. The biggest: last year's costly but inconclusive war against Hezbollah.

And heavy thunderstorms battering southern Louisiana this afternoon. New Orleans is under a severe thunderstorm watch and a flood watch. And now Reynolds Wolf is watching it all unfold from the CNN weather center.

LEMON: Frontrunners and long shots, big names and no names, together all on the same stage. Ten Republican presidential hopefuls meet for a debate tonight in California.

They're gathering in the shadow of Ronald Reagan, a president who, in one way or the other, virtually all of them say they would like to emulate. Look at that. It's a pretty crowded field, isn't it?

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is in Los Angeles with a preview.

Bill, did you see that picture? You can barely get all of them on one page to fit the screen. So Bill, ten candidates.


LEMON: They can't talk to each other. How are they going to be able to get their stands across on all of the issues?

SCHNEIDER: Well, each of them is going to have to talk to the moderator. The moderator is an experienced journalist who will try to pin them down on their views and try to explore some of the inconsistencies in their views over time.

And what they have to do, of course, is get their message across in a clear, compelling way in about 30 seconds in a way they hope will be picked up by the news media and reported as essentially boiling down their message into something ordinary voters can understand.

The problem, of course, in this format is they can't talk to each other. There's a lot more sniping we've been seeing among Republican candidates than among Democrats, who have targeted President Bush, mostly, for their criticism. But the Republicans have been going after each other. But they can't -- they cannot do that on that stage tonight, because they can't talk to each other.

LEMON: And you know what? That's one of the reasons we tune in or we pay attention to that, is to see what happens, how they interact, what their personalities are like.


LEMON: Let's talk about the significance, though, of the venue, Bill, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Here's what candidate Rudy Giuliani had to say about Ronald Reagan. Take a listen.


RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ronald Reagan was a leader, which is a combination of being a visionary and a practical person who can achieve results.


LEMON: So, Bill, are they showing up with hopes that the Reagan legacy will rub off on them, hopefully?

SCHNEIDER: Of course. There's a great longing for a Reagan in the Republican Party. He was a winner. He was elected twice. Got his vice president elected to follow him. And the Republicans really are hoping that somehow their days of greatness can be restored.

As Rudy Giuliani, who is not usually seen as a hard-line conservative, he calls himself a Reaganite because he admires Reagan's style of leadership.

And the key to that style of leadership is something we're going to be looking for tonight: communications skill. That's really what Ronald Reagan had. He was able to speak to ordinary Americans. He was able to put things in compelling images and simple terms. That communications skill, he proved, is essential to the success of a president, and we'll be seeing how well each of these candidates are able to do tonight. LEMON: And as you were talking there, I was listening to you, but I was also thinking about actors and politics. Ronald Reagan started it. And then the late Sonny Bono comes to mind. But two politician actors that won't be participating in the debate, but they are still major players in the party and the race for White House, right?

SCHNEIDER: Yes, that's -- that is certainly true. Actors, of course, are trained in communication, which, Ronald Reagan was once asked, you know, do you think an actor should be -- should enter politics, should become president? And he once said, "I don't think you could do this job if you weren't trained as an actor."

Well, there are two other actors. Fred Thompson will not be on the stage, because he's not a declared candidate for president. He's thinking about running. But he will be here in Reagan country, in Orange County, to give a major speech tomorrow night. So there's a lot of interest in him, particularly among conservatives who aren't entirely satisfied with the field they've got.

And one actor will be there: Arnold Schwarzenegger, he's the governor of California. And you know, I asked the director of the Reagan Library what Ronald Reagan would think of Schwarzenegger. And he thought about it for a moment and he said, "There's just no way I could put my mind around what Ronald Reagan would think about Arnold Schwarzenegger." Very different kinds of politicians.

LEMON: To say the least. One, you know, the handsome gentleman from the '50s and '60s in the movies, and then, you know, the Terminator.

All right. Let's talk about a sign that the top Republican, President Bush, is -- may be losing influence. "TIME" magazine left them off their list of 100 most influential Americans. Is that an oversight or is that a significant snub, Bill?

SCHNEIDER: Well, I think it's a significant statement that Bush has -- the president of the United States has lost of influence in America, in American politics. How could that possibly be?

Well, I think the judgment of the editors is that he doesn't matter as much as he used to, that the Bush presidency -- what the editors of the magazine are saying is the Bush presidency is effectively over for Americans. And that's one reason why there's so much interest in this campaign. Americans want to move on.

And I'm told from sources in other parts of the world that leaders in other countries are sort of putting the Bush presidency behind them. They're discounting Bush's influence, that he really is a prematurely lame duck.

LEMON: Very interesting. And then I just thought about it -- you're in Los Angeles. And none of the actors will be taking part in this. Very strange. Bill Schneider, thank you as usual.

ROESGEN: Growing outrage over an unpopular war. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, we will take you live to those protests in Tel Aviv, Israel. Can Ehud Olmert hang on as prime minister?


ROESGEN: When you buy a house, you have to worry about late mortgage payments or, worse, foreclosure. But now some lenders are teaming up to help you if you're stuck with a high-risk loan.

Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange to tell us about it -- Susan.


It's a huge problem. We've been reporting on it for months now. The plan is to help out homeowners who have adjustable rate mortgages which have gone way up, and those with sub prime loans, loans to people with damaged credit histories.

Senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, organized a group of lenders, and they came up with a set of principles to help out homeowners.

The seven-point plan pushes for lenders to contact adjustable rate borrowers early on to see if they qualify for a more stable fixed rate loan. Lenders will try to modify the terms of the loan before interest rates reset to a higher rate in an effort to keep mortgage payments affordable -- Susan.

ROESGEN: So if you're buying a house now, which lender should you look for? Who's agreed to this?

LISOVICZ: Well, some of the biggest players in the market, literally, Susan. Some of the participants include the Mortgage Bankers Association, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, HSBC holdings, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and AARP.

However, two of the biggest mortgage lenders are holding out, at least right now: Countrywide Financial and Wells Fargo.

Today, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York proposed legislation that will provide federal funds for homeowners and increase lending standards. Many critics claiming the high rate of late payments and foreclosures on lending, claiming they sign up people for loans that they cannot afford after that low teaser rate expires.


LISOVICZ: Coming up, it's almost graduation time for students. That means making the transition to college. For parents, a big transition, too. It means huge university bills. Next hour, we'll tell you what some schools are doing to actually help out with the costs. Imagine that.

Don, Susan, back to you.

ROESGEN: OK. A lot of parents will be waiting for that. Thanks, Susan. We'll see you later. LISOVICZ: You're welcome.

LEMON: Hello, I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

ROESGEN: And I'm Susan Roesgen, filling in for Kyra Phillips.

Her father was in the E.R. with a heart attack. She was rushing to his side. So how did she end up in jail instead of the hospital? You won't believe how it happened.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: That story in just a moment. But, first, a large crowd is still growing in Tel Aviv. It looks and sounds festive but these tens of thousands of Israelis are furious at their prime minister and they want him to leave office. CNN's Atika Shubert is there. Atika, what is the scene like now?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, there are tens of thousands of people at the square behind me and as you can see, the festival concert-like atmosphere. There have been music acts, but also speeches by family members who lost loved ones in the war in Lebanon last summer. People here are very angry in what they perceive to be failures of leadership by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. They say they want him to resign now.

LEMON: Atika, how likely is it --


LEMON: We're just listening to the event there. It does sound like a celebration. How likely is it that this event will achieve its goal? Is Mr. Olmert even considering stepping down?

SHUBERT: Well, you know, so far he survived a rebellion in his own party, rebellion in his cabinet. But the question is, is this going to be enough pressure now to force him from office? It really depends a lot on the momentum. Can they keep up the momentum? But his advisors saying this may be a good way to vent frustrations, but it will not be enough to force the office. We'll have to wait and see what his reaction is tomorrow morning once they see this rally.

LEMON: Very interesting the way they're handling this rally. Atika Shubert in Tel Aviv. Thanks Atika.

ROESGEN: To borrow a phrase from Paul Revere, the British are coming, the British are coming. Britain's Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip arrived shortly for the queen's first official U.S. visit in 16 years. Their chartered British Airways jet will land in Richmond, Virginia in less than two hours. The queen will speak to the Virginia assembly today and tomorrow she'll visit Jamestown, the first British colony in the new world 400 years ago. The queen and prince will attend the Kentucky Derby in Louisville on Saturday, you know how she loves her horses and then she heads to Washington for the rest of her visit. We will have live coverage of the royal couple's arrival in Virginia at 3:00 Eastern right here in the NEWSROOM.

LEMON: The British are coming. I guess they are. I guess they are.

ROESGEN: Yeah, we love them.

LEMON: He was fired for something he said but Don Imus has a whole lot more to say and a key clause in his contract might just back him up. That's straight ahead right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


ROESGEN: A woman by the name of Melissa Langston was desperately trying to get to the hospital after her father had a heart attack. But she wound up in jail instead. Reporter Don Germaine (ph) of CNN affiliate WFTS has the story in Tampa, Florida.


DON GERMAINE, WFTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That deputy is not after a dangerous felon. He's arresting a woman who just learned her father suffered a heart attack. When you hear what happened in the parking lot of university community hospital last November, you'll understood why deputy Kevin Stabins is in hot water. Stabins stopped a car after he says he clocked it going 63 miles an hour in a 35 mile zone. The driver, Melissa Langston pulled into the UCH parking lot, frantic to see her father.

LANGSTON: Hi, I'm in a big hurry. My father's having a heart attack.

DEPUTY STABINS: I need to see your license and registration.

LANGSTON: Oh, please, come on.

GERMAINE: Instead of checking the emergency room, the deputy started writing ticket. Three minutes later, the clearly upset woman told investigators she decided to check the parking lot for her dad's car. The deputy thought she was trying to get away and followed her, lights and siren through the parking lot.

STABINS: That was not smart.

LANGSTON: I'm trying to get there - I'm sorry but...

STABINS: Out of the car. Put it in park. Out of the car. Hands behind your back. Now you're going to jail.

LANGSTON: I was just --- the emergency room.

STABINS: And I told you not to go anywhere, didn't I?

LANGSTON: But I said I was going on here. Please. My dad's having a heart attack.

STABINS: Now you're not going to get to see him because you're going to jail.

GERMAINE: Going to jail while her father was in the emergency room with a heart attack. We couldn't get in touch with the woman and the sheriffs office declined to talk to us on camera about the incident, but former sheriffs Captain Ron Reder, now with the National Institute for Crime Prevention calls this a clear case of excessive force.

RON REDER, NATL. INST. FOR CRIME PREVENTION: He just lost it. It's a good deputy, but he just lost his temper this time and he's wrong for it.

GERMAINE: The deputy told his side of the story to internal affairs.

STABINS: She said her father was having a heart attack. She was trying to get to the ER.

INVESTIGATOR: Did you ever attempt to confirm her story?

STABINS: No. I got her license, registration and insurance. I really didn't believe her story.

GERMAINE: But, it was true. And the woman who should have been by her father's side as he recovered from a heart attack, went to jail.


ROESGEN: Well, the sheriff has suspended that deputy for five days. As for Langston, they have dropped all the charges saying compassion is sometimes more important than the rules. And her father -- he's doing OK.


Well, he was fired over doing something he said. But now Don Imus has a whole lot more to say and there's a key clause in his contract that we're going to tell you about. It could just back up his whole story. We'll you about that coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Don Imus is out of the job. Old news, right? The new news is that he may be in the money. A few choice words in the contract his radio bosses canceled could be worth millions -- tens of millions. A warning now, some viewers may be offended by the language in Randi Kaye's report.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You didn't really expect this guy to keep his mouth shut, did you? Don Imus apparently has something he would like to say about the $40 million remaining on his CBS contract, left on the table when he was shown the door.

DON IMUS: That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos.

KAYE: That was Imus April 4, 6:14 in the morning, the beginning of the end.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some hard core hos--

IMUS: That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that.

KAYE: Hours later his racially fused comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team appeared online. By the next afternoon, top brass at CBS and MSNBC, which simulcasts his radio show were logging complaints. But now it is Imus who is complaining and according to a source is planning to sue. He's hired attorney Martin Garvis (ph) who successfully represented comedian Lenny Bruce against obscenity charges and has been called legendary, one of the best trial lawyers in the country by "Time" magazine. Will he be able to put $40 million back in Imus' pocket? CNN's legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was shown part of the contract.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What stands out in the contract is that Imus is supposed to be controversial and irreverent. That's what his statement about the Rutgers basketball team was. How is CBS going to argue that what he said was so controversial and so offensive that it isn't what they asked for in the contract?

KAYE: The contract reads quote, services to be rendered are of a unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial and personal character. These components are desired by and are consistent with company rules and policies. CBS would have to prove Imus' statements were outside the realm of what his contract allows.

TOOBIN: This is a very simple case. It's not about the first amendment. It's not about the constitution. It's all about his contract. Did Imus breach his contract by saying what he did about the Rutgers basketball team?

KAYE: The contract is a five-year deal that began in 2006 and pays $8 million a year. The deal stipulates the radio host must be given a warning before being fired for making off-colored jokes. A source tells CNN Imus was never warned in this case. CBS would not comment. Calls to Imus and his attorney were not returned.

IMUS: I'm not a bad person. I'm a good person. But I said a bad thing.

KAYE: A bad thing that's already cost him a job. But maybe not the millions of dollars that came along with it. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


ROESGEN: Emotions are still raw at Virginia Tech, but the school spirit there is strong. T-shirts to honor those killed in last month's shootings are on sale now. This is one of them. They have phrases, Hokies united and we are Virginia Tech. The shirts sell for just $5 each and the students say it's part of a long process of recovering.


SARAH SAXTON, VIRGINIA TECH SENIOR: As a student body, we need to continue to pull together, not just now, but through the summer, through next year, through the years to come.

Those shirts are available over the Internet and at some Blacksburg bookstores. All of the proceeds will benefit basically the victims and their families through the Hokies spirit memorial fund.

LEMON: The stage could barely contain him. Some say his act made even the audience lose weight. That's right. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, remembering a legend, James Brown.


LEMON: James Brown, cultural icon, legendary performer, extraordinary musician. He influenced soul in the '60s, funk in the '70s, rap in the '80s. But it was live in the Apollo, an album he paid for and recorded himself, that may have captured him at his very best.


LEMON (voice-over): October 24, 1962, Harlem, the legendary Apollo theater. James Brown and his band were about to make history with a live recording.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We was cooking. We was cooking.

LEMON: Once again, James Brown's instinct was right on. The live recording was the second best selling album of 1963. It was a performance as much as the music that was driving his fans wild. One of his most electrifying performances was in 1964 on Dick Clark's (INAUDIBLE) show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end, James goes into this dance. It's absolutely extraordinary.

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: He would lose, five, six pounds a show and I would tell him the audience lost one or two pounds just watching him.

LEMON: But it wasn't until 1965 that he would break through to a white audience with a song that put him on top.

FRED WESLEY, BAND MEMBER: James Brown telling people that he's going to do something different from now on. "Papa's got a Brand New Bag." Brand new bag was a brand new brand of music.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He felt a new beat, he heard a new sound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: James Brown made sure everybody hit their emphasis on the first beat.

BOOTSY COLLINS, BAND MEMBER: He always told me, son, you got to -- you got to play it on the one. And I was like, on the one? What the heck is he talking about? He's said on every one, you got to play a dominant note.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: James Brown is the master of the one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bam -- two, three, four. Bam!

LEMON: It was the beginning of what became James Brown's enduring contribution to American music -- funk.


LEMON: Well, you just want to dance looking at that and listening to that. You can catch more of James Brown -- the real story. It airs this weekend, the latest presentation from CNN's special investigations unit. It airs at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday and Sunday nights, only on CNN. Coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM our next hour, we'll speak with two of James Brown's daughters as they celebrate what would have been Brown's 74th birthday. That's today. And they're also on a mission to get hip-hop to project a more positive message. That's coming up right here on the CNN NEWSROOM. Susan?

ROESGEN: Great. We'll be rocking and waiting for you, Don. Coming up, sex, scandal, and the seminary. Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey's new calling ahead in the NEWSROOM.

And as we go to the break now, let's take a look at the big board. The stock market is up again, slightly. Will it be another record breaker, up 12 point right now. We'll have more NEWSROOM in a moment. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


ROESGEN: He is talk show royalty. And now our own Larry King has reigned over the air waves for 50 years. Tonight a CNN prime time event, And Anderson Cooper takes us through half a century of pop culture as seen through Larry's trademark glasses. Over the years, Larry has been a masterly interviewer, but he's also become a king of cameos. Here's Anderson Cooper.


LARRY KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Larry King. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

RICHARD ROEPER, FILM CRITIC: I see a movie and Larry King makes that appearance as Larry king interviewing a fictional character.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm always frank and earnest with women, in New York, I'm Frank. In Chicago, I'm Ernest.

ROEPER: There's always a sort of kick out of that because you're like, OK, this is a movie (ph) that has a sense of humor about itself.

KING: All right. Let's go to phone calls now on "Larry King Live. White Plains, you're on the air with Glenn Harris.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Katherine Zeta-Jones goes --

KATHERINE ZETA-JONES: I love Larry. I want to reach over and choke him to death with those stupid suspenders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just one of my favorite moments in a movie ever.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Indeed with more than 20 credits to his name...

KING: Professional paranormal eliminators in New York are the cause of it all.

COOPER: Larry proved himself a cameo king throughout the years. He even got to do drag in an animated land far, far away.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: My dad was a woman.


ROESGEN: Yeah, only in the movies. My dad was a woman. It's pretty cool all the different things he's done.

LEMON: I have a pair of reading glasses that look like Larry King. I can't find them, but they won't let me where them on the air.

ROESGEN: Well then you be like Larry King.

LEMON: I love those glasses.

ROESGEN: One thing I saw there was a cigarette, back in "Ghost Busters." You just don't do that anymore. You don't see Larry smoking.

LEMON: Not PC. I don't think Larry smokes any more. I think he's a very, very healthy guy now.

ROESGEN: When we come back, we're going to hear from him, what was his worst interview. What was his best interview. We're going to ask him. CNN presents Larry King, 50 years of pop culture, tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

And then stick around with us for the next hour of the NEWSROOM when we will ask Larry about the best and the worst and that next hour starts right now.

LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

ROESGEN: And I'm Susan Roesgen, filling in for Kyra Phillips.


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