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Texas Flooding; Bush Administration to Resume Aid to Palestinian Government; Missing Pregnant Woman
Aired June 18, 2007 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Tragedy across north Texas, where the water is still rising. Rescuers are going door to door by boat, evacuating people and pets from their flooded homes.
Much of Gainesville and Sherman, Texas, are under water.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And two mobile home parks in Haltom City are in ruin. Many of those homes washed right off their foundations. A 4-year-old girl swept from her mother's arms to her death.
LEMON: Very sad.
I'm Don Lemon, everyone, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
NGUYEN: Yes, good afternoon, everybody.
I'm Betty Nguyen, in for Kyra Phillips today.
You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Also this hour, she is nine months pregnant and she is missing. We are waiting to hear from police any minute now on the search for 26-year-old Jessie Davis. You see her there.
The single, pregnant mother vanished last week in north Canton, Ohio, sparking an intense search by police, her family and volunteers. Now, Davis' 2-year-old son was found home alone and her bedroom furniture was in disarray. Her loved ones are growing desperate, and more desperate by the minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANE DAVIS, MISSING WOMAN'S SISTER: There's a hole there, and it just -- it hurts my heart because I -- I mean, you know, she's the one you look up to. She's your big sister. And she's such a strong person. And you can't imagine that anything would ever happen to her.
You know, she didn't have any enemies. She didn't -- she's never done anything wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: All right. Here's what we know. The father of Jessie Davis' 2-year-old son is a married police officer. He's also believed to be the dad of her unborn child. Now, police have talked to him but do not consider him a suspect.
As we mentioned, we are waiting to hear more from police. There's a live look at the podium. And just as soon as they take to it, we will bring it to you live. And after that, you will want to stay tuned, because we're going to talk with Jessie Davis' mother about the search.
LEMON: And let's get back now to our top story, and it is breaking news. It's happening across Texas, the flooding there.
Let's hear more now from our affiliate WFAA. Cynthia Vega is on the ground in Haltom City.
CYNTHIA VEGA, REPORTER, WFAA: The mourning is going on as we speak regarding that 4-year-old little girl who was swept from her mother's arms into the creek just as they were escaping from their own trailer home as those floodwaters raged. It is a major loss that many are feeling this hour, but still, even in the aftermath of these floodwaters, the fire officials, all of the authorities calling the damage here nothing short of catastrophic.
Take a look and you can see for yourself the impact of the storm. Even in the early morning hours, two homes still burning, the aftermath of gasoline rupturing.
The raging floodwaters also sent vehicles smashing into one another yards from where they were originally parked. And even mobile homes sent hurling into the creek in one piece.
David Roberto Lera (ph) told us that he barely had time to rescue his mother-in-law off her front porch before her home, too, literally blew away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was in the water. And I went to save her. And I did it. I did it, but it was too dangerous.
VEGA: Atmos Energy now on the scene trying to repair that ruptured gas line. Also, though, you can see no end in sight to the amount of damage here. Neighbors still gathering with one another, assessing their damage. It will be quite some time before they know the full extent of it.
Some aren't even being allowed back inside their homes because of that gas line rupture. I can tell you this, though -- they are very, very worried about tonight's weather forecast. They don't want a repeat performance.
Reporting live here in Haltom City, I'm Cynthia Vega.
Back to you.
(WEATHER REPORT) NGUYEN: Well, we are waiting and watching for a news conference on a missing woman out of Canton, Ohio. Twenty-six-year-old Jessie Davis, who is nine months pregnant and due any day, vanished last week, leaving her 2-year-old son home alone. They also found, investigators, that furniture in the home was just in a disarray, and bleach, in fact, was poured on the floor.
So there's a lot of mystery surrounding her disappearance. And again, she is nine months pregnant, due any day now.
A news conference should be taking place any minute now. And when it does, we will bring it to you live.
In the meantime, in the Middle East new leadership. And now a new U.S. policy for the Palestinians.
Hamas is in control of Gaza, while the emergency government appointed by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is operating in the West Bank. Now, that is prompting the U.S. to renew long-frozen aid.
CNN State Department Correspondent Zain Verjee has more.
Zain, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just held a briefing. Give us a little more insight into all the different points that she made about the U.S.'s support.
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a reversal of U.S. policy, Betty. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said essentially that the U.S. is going to resume direct aid to the Palestinian leadership, the president -- presidency of Mahmoud Abbas based in the West Bank. She said a few moments ago in the news conference that she had a conversation today with the new prime minister, Salam Fayyad, and she spoke about the U.S.' unwavering support for Mahmoud Abbas and the prime minister.
Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: The president pledged the full support of the United States for the new Palestinian government. I delivered the same message this morning in a phone call to Prime Minister Fayyad. I congratulated him on his new post and I told him that the United States would resume full assistance to the Palestinian government and normal government-to-government contacts. I told the prime minister that we want to work with his government and support his efforts to enforce the rule of law and to ensure a better life for the Palestinian people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: So how is the U.S. going to do that? Secretary of State Rice said they're going to do this. First, they're going to lift the financial restrictions, she said, on the Palestinian people. The reason is, is because the government of Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad essentially recognizes Israel, rejects violence, and says that they will adhere to any past agreements that have been made with Israel.
She also said that the U.S. will give democracy and development assistance to build Palestinian infrastructure and institutions. Then she pointed out that there's $86 million in a U.S. aid package that's been earmarked really to boost and support Mahmoud Abbas and his security forces. So she says that they're going to look at that, evaluate it, and then restructure that assistance and see how best to use that effectively.
And finally, Betty, she said that the U.S. is committed to seeing a Palestinian state.
NGUYEN: All right. So as we look at all of this, does this U.S. action mean anything for the immediately situation in Gaza?
VERJEE: Well, that's a good question. Secretary Rice said that the U.S. is not going to abandon the people in Gaza. There are 1.5 million people there that are really living in a difficult, dire and dangerous situation.
What she said at this news conference was this: the U.S. is going to give $40 million in aid to a U.N. relief agency that operates on the ground in Gaza so that -- so that the people there can get U.S. help, and the U.S. won't turn their backs on them.
NGUYEN: All right.
CNN's Zain Verjee joining us live today.
Zain, thank you.
LEMON: Just days before delivering a baby. So where is Jessie Davis, and why was her 2-year-old home alone?
Davis' mom joins us with more on the frantic search. And we're standing by also for a news conference at any moment -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Plus, his rivals might call it a flip-flop, but Mitt Romney has a different point of view on his change of heart on abortion rights.
CNN's John Roberts asks for clarification. We'll give that to you.
You are watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
LEMON: All right. News conference -- sorry about that -- about the missing pregnant woman. Let's take a listen.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
CHIEF DEPUTY RICK PEREZ, CANTON, OHIO, POLICE DEPT.: ... the 911 call that came in. So you'll be provided -- everybody will be provided a copy of that. I have to my left John Ferrero, Stark County prosecutor; Richard Denholm, with the Canton Office of the FBI; Frank Figliuzzi, the senior agent in charge of the Cleveland Office of the FBI; and Captain Gary Shankle.
I'm Chief Deputy Rick Perez.
Stark County Sheriff's Office is presently investigating the disappearance of a Lake Township woman. Deputies are investigating the disappearance of Jessie Marie Davis, a white female aged 26 of 8686 Essex (ph) Avenue, Northwest North Canton, Ohio, Stark County.
Deputies were summoned by the missing persons mother, Patricia Porter, of 1360 Melanie (ph) Drive, Union Town, Ohio, when she came to the residence to check on her daughter at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning, June 15, 2007. Deputies have confirmed through their investigation that Jessie Davis was last talked with at 9:20 p.m. Wednesday evening, June 13, 2007, by her mother and was at home.
When the mother arrived at the residence Friday morning, she couldn't locate her daughter but found her daughter's 2-year-old son, Blake Davis, in his room. The house showed no sign of forced entry or that a struggled ensued.
Ms. Davis' vehicle and purse were still at the residence, and her cell phone and bed comforter are missing from the residence. Ms. Davis is described as a white female, 26 years of age, 5'4 inches tall, 135 pounds, brown hair, hazel eyes. Ms. Davis is nine months pregnant.
On Friday, June 15, 2007, deputies secured the residence, and the Stark County crime lab did process the scene. In the master bedroom of the residence, a bottle of bleach was on the floor. And bleach had been spilled out onto the floor. The master bedroom bed had been moved, and a nightstand was struck, with a lamp falling to the floor.
Deputies, with assistance from Stark County Children's Services, did interview Blake Davis, who stated that "Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. And mommy's in rug."
Deputies did conduct a search of the area and interviewed neighbors in the morning and again in the evening. Deputies have interviewed the father of Blake Davis, Bobby L. Cutz Jr. (ph), and he has been cooperating with deputies. Deputies have interviewed Kelly R. Cutz (ph), the wife of Bobby L. Cutz (ph).
On Saturday, June 16th, deputies, assisted by a canine unit, did return to the residence and a search was conducted. On Sunday, June 17, 2007, the family of Jessie Davis had formed a group of volunteers numbering between 60 and 70 people. In conjunction with the Stark County Sheriff's Office, the volunteers then canvassed the area around the residence of Jessie Davis and the surrounding area, with no evidence found.
Deputies are working with the Stark County Prosecutor's Office and the cell phone provider for Jessie Davis' cell phone to obtain any information that might assist in this investigation. Deputies are continuing the investigation to develop a timeline of Jessie Davis' activities in the days prior to her disappearance. Deputies suspect foul play could be involved in her disappearance.
Deputies are being assisted in the investigation by the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Cleveland Canton FBI Office. Investigators are continuing the search for Jessie Davis, and at this point in the investigation investigators have developed no suspects.
The Stark County Sheriff's Office has sent up a tip line at 330- 430-3818.
We also can accept tips on Stark County Sheriff's Office Web site: www.sheriff.co.stark.oh.us, and you can click on the "Jessie Davis Alert" tab and give us any tips that you may have.
At this time, I'll turn this over to Special Agent in Charge Frank Figliuzzi, from the Cleveland Office of the FBI.
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FBI: Good afternoon. I'm Frank Figliuzzi. I'm the special agent in charge of the FBI in northern Ohio.
And as you can see, the combined efforts of county, state and federal law enforcement are being applied to successfully recover and resolve the matter of Jessie Davis.
The FBI's assistance in this case right now is taking the form of additional investigative resources, and specifically our evidence response team out of Cleveland, Ohio. Our evidence response team will be supporting the evidence and crime scene efforts of the sheriff's office and applying all investigative techniques and forensic science available to the last known location of Jessie Davis. We'll be providing additional investigative resources as needed in support or our law enforcement partners at the Stark County Sheriff's Office.
PEREZ: We will continue to keep the media apprised of our investigation with the information that we are -- that we can give out. At this time this is the only information that we have at this time.
This will be the end of this news conference. Thank you.
LEMON: All right. You're listening to investigators in North Canton, Ohio about the disappearance of a pregnant woman, 26-year-old Jessie Davis, nine months pregnant.
Police officials there and other officials saying that the last time she spoke to her mom was on Wednesday, June 13th, 9:20 p.m. This is the news that came out.
So far, Betty, no suspect. They also gave out a tip number that we'll try to put up with that phone number if you know or have seen Jessie Davis -- 330-430-3818.
They also gave out a Web site which is very complicated, but www.sheriff.co.stark.oh.us. A long address there.
But if you have -- probably the best way, 330-430-3818.
They're still looking for information again in that case. No suspect. A woman who is nine months pregnant missing in Ohio.
You heard the investigators there say they will continue to update the media. As soon as we get new reports on this, we'll bring them to you right here on CNN.
NGUYEN: Yes, it's just a baffling mystery. And, in fact, we're going to be speaking with Jessie Davis's mother shortly to give us some insight as to what she knows dealing with this search and the last time that she spoke to her daughter. And according to Chief Deputy Rick Perez, that was at 9:000 p.m. on Wednesday, and she wasn't discovered missing until Friday. So there's a lot of time in between.
We'll try to get to the bottom of what information is available. But we also want to tell you about another missing woman case that we are following.
Her family says she plans to be a lawyer. But now this woman might be at the center of a real-life crime drama.
We're going to hear from her mother right here in the NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: Well, as we were listening in to the question-and-answer session of that news conference out of Canton, Ohio, dealing with the missing woman who is nine months pregnant, we did learn a little bit more information as to what is happening in the search right now.
So far, no new leads and no suspects, but we did hear that the investigators are working with the FBI to trace the cell phone calls of 26-year-old Jessie Davis, especially cell phone calls that happened between 9:00 p.m. last Wednesday up until the most recent day when she made a phone call, because that is the last time that she spoke with anyone, and that was her mother.
So, as soon as we get more information on this search we'll bring it to you. But do want to let you know that we will be speaking with Jessie Davis' mother very shortly, and she will be giving us some insight as to what she knows, as many people are searching and prayers are going out to find 26-year-old Jessie Davis, who is nine months pregnant and due any day now.
LEMON: That story developing. Also another story developing. In fact, it's our top story today in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Just look at that, live pictures from Gainesville, Texas. That is floodwaters there, and they're rushing past what was an overpass. The water there, you can see, going over that overpass.
According to our Rob Marciano, it's starting to recede just a bit there. But still, we spoke to a representative there in Texas not long ago. Three hundred people out of their homes and in shelters, at least.
And in Texas, in the entire area, two people -- at least two people have died. So far none in the Sherman area.
And we want to get to the Sherman area now and a representative from the police department. Sergeant Bruce Dawsey joins us on the phone now.
What's the latest from where you are, sir?
SGT. BRUCE DAWSEY, SHERMAN, TEXAS, POLICE: Right now all of the rescue operations have ceased. The waters have receded enough that there are no life-threatening situations within the city at this time. We did have one confirmed fatality where a woman was trapped in her vehicle in the floodwaters.
LEMON: So you have one fatality. Now, you said all rescue attempts have ceased. Is that an indication -- are you sure that you have -- that you found everyone who may be missing or trapped in their homes?
DAWSEY: Well, we're checking areas. But our active rescue efforts, in other words, where we had rising water that was threatening immediate life, have ended. The waters have receded enough to that point that we've reached a calming point, if you will.
LEMON: What happens now, Sheriff? What do you guys do next?
DAWSEY: Right now we'll evaluate what damages we have. They'll check areas that were not accessible when the floodwaters were up, check with residents and make sure that everyone is OK and accounted for.
We did have numerous evacuations. Two of our retirement homes were evacuated within the city. And we had an area of town where we had numerous apartment complexes that had waist-deep water. And all the residents on the first floors of those apartments were evacuated.
LEMON: Yes. Now, I know hindsight is 20/20. As we're looking at this live picture -- and it's just devastating there -- is there anything that you've learned from this? Anything that you plan to do next time if you get this sort of warning about floodwaters, or the potential for this -- these type -- this type of flooding?
DAWSEY: Well, the response was pretty quick. I think our biggest issue was that the hour that it came, early morning hours.
You know, it began raining about 3:00 in the morning. We started getting calls in regards to street flooding and things about 4:30 in the morning.
With the saturation level that it is, with the rain that we've had in the recent past, it didn't take long for it to develop. The weather system pretty much stalled out on top of us. And I've heard estimates from anywhere from a foot of rain, down to six inches of rain. So it's tough to say, and it's tough to prepare in advance for some of those situations. The manpower that we had on scene was adequate. We did receive assistance from some of our adjoining cities and, of course, our county. And then, of course, our county areas, some of the smaller towns and things, also had their issues that they were dealing with.
LEMON: And Sergeant, on a year (ph) that -- you know, the sergeant there in that town, on a personal level, how has this affected you and the people who live there?
DAWSEY: I think it surprised a lot of people. We haven't had anything of this magnitude since about 1991.
I think it caught a lot of people off guard. Areas that haven't flooded in a really long time did receive water. You know, people were -- people's homes, complete homes were flooded under. And the level of the water at some of our intersections in our main parts of the city were under water.
That really surprised a lot of people. And I think it woke people up as to how fast these floodwaters can rise. And when they receive these warnings they really need to take heed and pay attention to this.
It's not just -- it's not just a mundane warning that you hear put out. This is true life and death in some situations.
LEMON: Sergeant Bruce Dawsey from the Sherman Police Department in Texas.
We thank you so much for that.
We're thinking about you. And it's going to be quite a bit, I'm sure, before you guys can get all of this cleaned back up and folks back in their homes.
DAWSEY: Yes, sir.
NGUYEN: Well, she is due any day now, and she's disappeared. The search for a pregnant woman missing in Ohio grows more urgent by the moment. We're going to speak with her mother.
That is straight ahead right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: A drag race stunt goes terribly wrong. Now six young people are dead, and Tennessee officials, well, they have to figure out why.
The latest on that investigation straight ahead right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
NGUYEN: Yes, good afternoon, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.
Relentless rain, overflowing creeks, a recipe for disaster in North Texas. Two people have died. Hundreds more have fled, or should have. Rescuers continue to pluck stranded people, and pets, from rooftops. We're going to take you there for the latest.
You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: It is the bottom of the hour. We begin with this. Tragedy across North Texas, where the water is still rising. Rescuers are going door to door by boat, evacuating people and pets from their flooded homes. Most of Gainesville and Sherman, Texas are underwater. And two mobile-home parks are in Haltom City, they're in ruin. Many of those homes washed right off their foundations.
You can see it right there.
A 4-year-old girl was swept from her mother's arms and sadly to her death. That area saw between four to five inches of rain in just one hour. Man, that is a lot of rain in just one hour.
NGUYEN: You have to see this. It's just a tragic story, Selmer Tennessee. A small town coping with a big tragedy today. Six young people killed at a charity event of all places, a crowd-pleaser of a stunt that reportedly had never gone wrong, until now.
Here's CNN's Sean Callebs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Everyone in Selmer, Tennessee, knew drag racers were going to burn rubber. It's what they came to see. But no one anticipated this. A powerful car lurching out of control into a crowd killing six and injuring more than twice that number. Thirty-five-year-old Renee Jones caught the whole episode on tape.
RENEE JONES, WITNESS: I just kept following it. And you could just see the car fishtail and then it hit.
CALLEBS: The dragster was driven by Troy Critchley. He's a 20- year veteran of the sport. Tennessee authorities spent much of the last two days interview Critchley. So far, no criminal charges have been filed.
MAYOR DAVID ROBINSON, SELMER, TENNESSEE: And Highway Patrol have told us that we should have a full report in about a week. I think the only thing we can do right now is really just kind of grieve together as a community.
CALLEBS: Each June, at least 40,000 people line this four-lane highway to watch an event called "Cars for Kids," a weekend that raises about $200,000 for a local children's hospital. This year the event also raised questioned. Why no protective barriers and why would a muscle car like this that can go from 0 to 200 in a matter of seconds be encouraged to go full throttle.
Blake Carroll, a chaplain with the McNairy County Sheriff's department, spent the weekend consoling families.
CHAPLAIN BLAKE CARROLL, MCNAIRY COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: The only thing that you can do basically in those times is just wrap your arms around those people and let them know that you love them and that God loves them and that you're praying for them and that you know the Lord will help them through times like these.
CALLEBS (on camera): The driver of the drag racer, Troy Critchley, has left this area. AMS, the team owner, says it is deeply saddened by the events, and their hearts go out to the people in this area. They also say that a number of their crew members who assisted in the aftermath are now being treated for grief counseling.
Sean Callebs, CNN, in Selmer, Tennessee.
NGUYEN: Well, CNN has just received a statement from the team and driver regarding this tragedy. And I'm going to read just a little bit of it to you. It says, "The entire AMS racing team is in deep mourning over the loss and pain suffered this weekend," that their thoughts and prayers are with individuals and their families during this very difficult time.
Just look at the accident scene.
It goes on to say that we're shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic accident, which is compounded by the fact that it happened during a charity event designed to raise money for disabled children. And the end of the statement goes on to say, "The team is cooperating with the state of Tennessee and is currently investigating a number of factors that may have contributed to that accident, including crowd control, safety precautions and the preparation and condition of the roadway." So as soon as there are new developments in this story, you know CNN will bring it straight to you.
LEMON: Well, she is due any day, but now she's disappeared. The search for a pregnant woman missing in Ohio grows urgent by the minute. We'll hear from her mother. That's straight ahead right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: Alright for all you high tech junkies out there. If some of you are still confused about which time of high definition DVD format matt to use, a decision by blockbuster could help you out. Ali Velshi she is at the New York Stock Exchange.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don Lemon? This is what I have to do to talk to you?
LEMON: You've got to do this, you have to come back and help us. But you're talking about, you know, the makers of these HD, whatever.
LEMON: Players. They're going blue today. But you know what? I still haven't figured out how to program my VCR. The Tivo sat in the box for six months before I got it out because I didn't know how to work it. Now I've got to deal with this?
This is the problem, see I work mornings now. So I don't get to see you, so I have my afternoons and evenings at home. I got this home theater system installed. Take a look at this, I actually -- we actually took some pictures of it. I got this whole system stalled, big TV, high definition to the max. These are the guys installing it. But guess what? By the way, I even wear my vest when I'm at home.
But get this, the only thing that's not new in my system is, I'm a little hot there, on the right. The only thing that's not new in my system is the DVD player. Why? Because these new DVD's, these high definition DVDs, there's two models of the, two formats, like beta and VHS. There's HDDVD and Blue Ray. Now, I didn't want to decided, because, like you, I don't want to make that decision and make the wrong decision.
But Blockbuster, if that's where you rent your rent your movies from, is deciding it's going with Blue Ray. I says that it has tried this out, it was running both formats. It will keep both formats in about 250 stores but everybody else is going Blue Ray now, for Blockbuster. So, if you use Blockbuster, that might make the decision for you.
LEMON: OK. I got to say this, I have to ask a couple things. These things -- who can afford these things? I'm looking at this Blue Ray thing and the HD --
VELSHI: A few hundred bucks, yes.
LEMON: You know what? I just kept my old DVD. Yes.
VELSHI: The HDDVD is a little bit cheaper. The Blue Ray is defiantely in the few hundreds of dollars. But you know, thats the thing, you buy it because you have the whole rest of the system there, like I do and I'm waiting for this one thing. You know, Blockbuster is saying they're doing it because their customers have been asking for it. Seventy percent of customers, it says, are asking for Blue Ray. But, again, early -- in my opinion, early to tell.
LEMON: Early to tell. And I'm sure this is going to be, like a lot of things, Ali, you know, when the DVD player, the CD player first came out, it was very expensive and ethen it went down.
LEMON: Not something the masses can buy, this is really a specialty item at this point.
VELSHI: That's exactly what it is. And they will, they've been getting cheaper. When they first came out, they were over $1,000 and they're now in the few $100's and they are getting cheaper. By the way, shares of Blockbuster are up a little bit today but not much else is.
LEMON: Of course we'll have you back on, Ali. And let's see, let's look at you, what kind of stripes and dots and plaid are you wearing today?
VELSHI: The tie is pretty muted. If you have a high definition or Blue Ray DVD, you could see what exactly it was all about.
LEMON: Ali Velshi, it's always good to see you. We haven't seen you here in the NEWSROOM in quite some time. You're looking good, man.
VELSHI: Thank you. Thank you. Good to talk to you guys.
LEMON: You too, see you in a bit.
NGUYEN: He is so high-tech. Well, ahead, we are going to look at the candidates, specifically Mitt Romney's stance on abortion which he said he was a defining moment in changing his position.
A.J. HAMMER, ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: I'm A.J. Hammer in New York. Superstar John Travolta makes a revealing confession to CNN. And there is life changing news for Julia Roberts today, that and more next on CNN NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: Alright. Brace yourself. We have breaking baby news right here in the NEWSROOM. "Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer joins us with the scoop. Are you having a baby, A.J.?
HAMMER: No, it's not breaking baby news about me.
It's America's sweetheart, betty.
HAMMER: You know, you wouldn't think her big beautiful smile could get any bigger, but I bet it is today. Julia Roberts has given birth to a baby boy.
His name, Henry Daniel Moder, the third child for the actress and her husband, Danny Moder. He was born in Los Angeles, weighs in at 8 1/2 pounds. Now a rep for the 39-year-old actress tells "People Magazine," the entire family is doing great. So congratulations to Julia and the latest addition to her family.
Well, this father's day weeked, dads around the country spoke out. Apparently what they were saying was, I want to see "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" was all about gold at the weekend box office. It easily claimed the number one spot, taking in $57.4 million. The comic book adventure set the record for the biggest Father's Day weekend in history, which, Betty, is a good thing considering it kind of got mediocre reviews, but a lot of people were looking forward to seeing it.
NGUYEN: Alright. Speaking of movie news, fans will soon be seeing a different side of John Travolta, shall we say?
HAMMER: Yes, that's a good way of putting it. Of course, John Travolta, we all know, is a movie star, he is an airplane pilot, he is a family man. But, we here at CNN were wondering if his wife, Kelly Preston should be a little worried that her husband of 15 years is saying things like this to CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR, "HAIRSPRAY"; Those girdles, those bras and those high heels, man. And the stockings and the bustier. Oh, come on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Travolta's wife needn't worry. He hasn't been hanging out at any exotic dance clubs, at least that we know of, he's just talking about the costume he you wore for his latest project, "Hair Spray."
The 53-year-old Saturday Night Fever star stars plays Edna Turnblatt (ph) in the remake of the classic 1988 John Waters film. The film is rated PG this time around and it will skirt into theaters on July 20th. And of course, that is the role that was made famous in the orignal by transvestite, Devine. So, some big shoes John Travolta will be filling.
NGUYEN: Well, I've got to be honest here. He's not a very pretty woman at all.
HAMMER: I don't think that was really necessary for this particular part.
NGUYEN: Exactly. So it was a big weekend for music star, Rod Stewart. What happened?
HAMMER: That's right, an exotic weekend for the rocker. Because he had a big time exotic wedding. Congratulations goes out to Rod Stewart and his brand new wife, Penny Lancaster. The two were married over the weekend, jsut outside of Portofino, Italy. The couple exchanged vows in front of 100 of their closest friends and family. After that, was a big-time party including dinner, dancing and fireworks. Congratulations. Now, coming up tonight, Angelina Jolie, one on one. Jolie opens up to me about why her new movie was so personal to her. And she also has some pretty smart advice for the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears that you will not want to miss. My revealing interview with Angelina Jolie, tonight on TV's most provocative entertainment news show. We'll see you at 11:00 p.m. eastern and pacific for "Showbiz Tonight."
NGUYEN: We'll be watching. Thank you, A.J.
HAMMER: You got it, Betty.
LEMON: Baby news is heating up and so is the race for '08. It is heating up as well and a new poll shows Hillary Clinton with a double-digit lead over her Democratic rivals. USA Today/Gallup survey shows, Clinton at 39 percent and Barak Obama at 26 percent, just two weeks ago. The same poll showed the two were virtually tied. John Edwards is in third place with 13 percent.
On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani remains in the lead with 28%. Former Tenesse Senator, Fred Thompson, who hasn't even formally entered the race, well, he moved into second with 19 percent. John McCain is a close third and Mitt Romney trails at seven percent.
Well, Mondays, on CNN "American Morning," our John Roberts is taking a special look at the defining moment in each candidate's political career. For Mitt Romney it's his 180 on abortion. A change of heart that can be traced to one conversation. Here is CNN's John Roberts.
JOHN ROBERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Governor, one of the defing moments of the converage of your campagin, has been your conversion from being quote, "effectively pro choice" now to pro life. And it all revolves around a meeting that you had November 9th, 2004 with Dr. Douglas Milton (ph), who was a stem cell researcher. What did he tell you at that meeting.
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRES. CAND.: The meeting is one in which we were talking about embryo cloning and embryo farming. And, at one point, he described that, in his view, it wasn't a moral issue because these embryos were destroyed after 14 days. And I had in my mind's eye, imagined rack after rack of human embryos growing and then being killed after 14 days. It struck me as being a brave new world type of setting I said, we've gone too far. The disrespect for human life with a one size fits all, Roe Versus Wade mentality is just wrong.
ROBERTS: But how does it connect to Roe V. Wade?
ROMENY: Well, the sankity of life, those of us who are pro life are concerned about life from the very beginning, from the inception of life to the very end. And so whether it's abortion or euthanasia, or whether its cloning to create new embryos, all of these revolve around whether or not society is going to be respectful of human life. ROBERTS: You have said or at least, intimated that, look, I changed my mind. People should move on. They should allow me to change my mind.
ROMENY: No, I'm saying I changed my mind. You can look at my record at governor and you can see in my record as governor, that I have consistently been pro life. Every piece of legislation that dealt with life.
ROBERTS: Even though you were effectively pro choice?
ROMNEY: As governor, all the decisions I made as governor, all the bills that came to my desk, were -- I came down to the side of life. So when ran for office, I was effctively pro chocie. I didn't call myself pro choice, but I said I would keep the law the way it was. But the first time as governor, that I saw a piece of legislation that dealt with life I came down on the side of life.
ROBERTS: But can you see how people get confused with that?
ROMENY: You know, if you've never changed your mind on anything, if you never faelt at some point you learned from experience and as a result you had changed your mind, if someone's never done that, why they probably don't understand how it happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Alright. And to watch Robert;s entire interview with Romey, go to CNN.com/Americanmorning. ANd once again, CNN is raising the bar on the presidential debate on Monday. Mark your calendars. Monday, July 23rd. The Democratic candidates square off in the CNN YouTube debates. Anderson Cooper hosts, of course. The first of its kind, live event and interactive on tv ANd online. You can see the Republican candidates' debate Monday, September 17th only on your home for politics.
Guess what, that is CNN.
When we come back, a pregnant woman abruptly disappears leaving behind a tiny son and a trail of unnevering clues. Ahead in the CNN NEWSRRO, newly released, just released, 911 tapes from the case and we'll hear from the missing woman's mother. You won't want to miss that. We're back in a moment.
LEMON: Hello, everyone, I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen in for Kyra Phillips today.
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