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President Bush Issues Executive Order on New Terror Interrogation Rules; Georgia Supreme Court Considers Teen Sex Case

Aired July 20, 2007 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: All's fair in war on terror? Not quite. President Bush sets some boundaries for the people who interrogate terror suspects.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And 14,000 looks like a ceiling, not a stepping-stone. At least it doesn't look like that today. The major markets gag over Google earnings. But at least the closing bell is still an hour away.

PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes, sitting in today for Don Lemon. And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: All right, now, we're following a breaking story out of Washington. Just within the hour, we learned that President Bush signed an executive order on terror interrogations. It bars cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Our White House correspondent, Elaine Quijano, is on a conference call right now getting more details. She's going to join us as soon as she can with more.

HOLMES: And President Bush today pleading once again for Congress to show patience in Iraq. He says lawmakers who don't support the war should at least provide the money and resources needed there. He repeated a familiar reason why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is time to rise above partisanship, stand behind our troops in the field, and give them everything they need to succeed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Well, the White House is sticking by its September timetable for a formal assessment on the war, though the gap between the U.S. politics and Iraqi prospects now seem wider than ever.

We go to the Pentagon now and our senior correspondent there, Jamie McIntyre.

Hello to you again, Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, hello, T.J.

Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno raised some eyebrows yesterday when he seemed to be suggesting that he needed more time, until November, to make a really good assessment of whether the surge is working. But today he has quickly backpedaled, issuing a statement simply saying that by November he simply expects to have an even better idea of whether the surge is working, but saying that that September report assessment will come out as planned.

But what this underscores is while many people believe that the success of the surge will enable a large number of U.S. troops to come home, the message from commanders in the field seems to be just the opposite.

And listen to these comments today from the Marine Corps commandment, General James Conway, speaking at the National Press Club.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENERAL JAMES CONWAY, U.S. MARINE CORPS COMMANDANT: The fact of the matter is, today, our forces are engaged with al Qaeda forces in Iraq. If we pull out and are perceived to be pulling out without having achieved a measure of success, they win.

And if they're perceived to have won, you're going to see resources, recruitment, momentum, all those things that are gained by the winning side, make it that much tougher. My belief is that both Iraq and Afghanistan represent the first battles of a long war. You can't look at it simply in isolation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCINTYRE: Another example of that came from Major General Walter Gaskin, who briefed us today at the Pentagon. He's in charge of those Marines out in Anbar Province, where the U.S. says they have had significant success.

But he also confirmed what CNN reported yesterday, that a unit of those Marines has been extended for 30 days. Why? To help cement the success that they have had. So, instead of the success of the surge there, again, leading to troop withdrawals, it's led to some troop extensions. And that's kind of a microcosm of what you might expect to see in September -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right, our Jamie McIntyre for us from the Pentagon. -- Jamie, thanks so much.

PHILLIPS: A heated legal controversy is going as far as it can go in Georgia, the state Supreme Court asked to free Genarlow Wilson. He's serving a 10-year prison term for consensual teenage sex under a law that has since been changed.

CNN's Rusty Dornin covering today's arguments here in Atlanta.

And what it's come down to, it's so controversial now even among these judges, because it's not just about one young man.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, it's really not. And it's also more about what a lower court judge did. A lower court judge resentenced him and charged him with a misdemeanor. And the state is saying, hey, you can't do that. That is not within your legal purview.

So, they had to argue that before the Supreme Court. And, as we will just hear in a moment, the court judges also had problems with both sides of that issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTICE CAROL HUNSTEIN, GEORGIA SUPREME COURT: Teenagers make mistakes. And where is the justice in a 10-year sentence, and being on the sex offenders registry for the rest of that person's life?

JUSTICE ROBERT BENHAM, GEORGIA SUPREME COURT: The other argument is that the consequences can open up the floodgates for other litigants who are also in prison who would seek to come through the breach if there is one that will be created in this case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DORNIN: Now, of course, Wilson's lawyers argue that there really isn't a -- the floodgates wouldn't really open, because there's not that many defendants out there would have had consensual sex as teenagers. So, there's really very few.

But I did want to read a statement very quickly from the attorney general, who says: "I personally believe that the sentence is harsh. But my personal beliefs are not argued before the court, only the law. Nor can personal beliefs override my constitutional obligation to enforce the law."

So, they really have a tough decision here. We don't know when the ruling's going to come down. They don't actually go back into session until September. So, it could be in September. But they fast-tracked this case. So, we could hear, who knows, next week.

PHILLIPS: Well, what is his mom think, his attorney think about how this is going to work out?

DORNIN: Well, they're both very confident. I spoke to his mother today, who came in with his 8-year-old sister, and she said she was buoyed by the judges, As you heard the one judge said how can justice be served by seeing this man continue to stay in prison? So, she was buoyed by statements like that, but they are still keeping their fingers crossed.

PHILLIPS: All right, Rusty Dornin, thanks a lot.

HOLMES: Man, a rude awakening out in California today. The ground shook, alarms went off and anything on shelves came a'tumbling down.

CNN's Dan Simon is there.

And, Dan, I used to live in that area for a few years. Several earthquakes, I slept right through them. Did you sleep through this one or did this one wake you up as well?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was at 4:40 this morning, so I slept through it.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Didn't feel a thing.

But folks all over the Bay Area did feel this earthquake. The epicenter was about two miles northeast of downtown Oakland. We're in San Francisco. But you could hear it here. You could hear -- or rather you could feel it here. You could feel it in San Jose. You could also feel it in parts of Napa.

No injuries really to speak of, but there was some damage. There was a wine store that had some bottles fall off the shelf. There was also some -- a grocery store, a Safeway grocery store, that had some broken windows. But, again, no injuries. But once again, if you were up that hour and you felt it, no doubt it definitely got your attention.

T.J., I will toss it back to you. Having a little bit of IFB problems.

HOLMES: Well, all right. We will let you go there. We got the gist of the idea of what happened out there.

Dan Simon for us, thank you so much, buddy.

SIMON: You bet. Thanks.

(BUSINESS REPORT)

HOLMES: The recent focus on dogfighting brings other vicious practices to light, such as hog-dogging. Are you familiar with this? CNN's Rick Sanchez is going to tell us all about it, ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Now about 12 after 3:00 here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here are three of the stories we're working on for you.

President Bush getting ready for a visit from the doctor. The president will have a routine colonoscopy at Camp David tomorrow. He will be under anesthesia, so his powers will be transferred temporarily to Vice President Cheney.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on the West Coast today, visiting the ports of Los Angeles and Long beach and talking about efforts to screen cargo containers. And the Georgia Supreme Court was asked to free Genarlow Wilson. Lawyers for Wilson said his 10-year sentence for consensual teenage sex is cruel and unusual punishment.

Well, from the Senate floor in Washington to the sidewalks outside NFL headquarters in New York, people are making their feelings known about dogfighting and about Michael Vick. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback faces federal charges in a multistate objection.

Today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals staged this protest demanding Vick be sacked. In Washington, senior Senator Robert Byrd didn't name Vick, but said the hottest places in hell should be reserved for dogfight promoters. Senator John Kerry sent a letter to the NFL commissioner requesting Vick's suspension.

And Falcons owner Arthur Blank had this to say, says -- quote -- "This is an emotionally charged and complicated matter. There are a wide range of interests and legal issues that need to be carefully considered as we move ahead, including our need to respect the due process that Michael is entitled to" -- end quote.

PHILLIPS: Well, the Vick case has (INAUDIBLE) the spotlight on a type of animal cruelty that's pervasive. And it's not just against dogs.

There are other variations, something that CNN's Rick Sanchez has been looking into.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know what's interesting about this, Kyra? That we have been hearing a lot of about, this being part of an inner-city problem or part of the hip-hop trend.

PHILLIPS: The hip-hop culture, sure.

SANCHEZ: Right. You know what? It's across the spectrum. This is having a broad effort on all types of people, regardless of their race or their age or anything else, really.

Here's a piece that I put together where I found out that even down in the South, some folks get together and watch something that most of us would perceive as pretty darn cruel.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (voice-over): They're called field trials or rodeos attended by hundreds of paying spectators who even bring their children. They watch dogs chase and take down a pig that may squeal its lungs out, but really has no chance to get away. How can it? It's enclosed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They end up getting severely injured, their torn from the side of their head. I have seen them with broken legs. I have seen them with their jaws smashed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of facts and misconceptions that have been distorted in this case that aren't true.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: You see, what he's arguing is that there are people that come from the cities that don't understand this culture. And all they're basically doing is training their hunting dogs how to go after these feral pigs.

By the way, most people may or may not know this, but these feral hogs along the South, they really are a nuance. They tear up farms. They affect the economy. They are a problem. That's when hunters starting getting the OK to hunt them. Then it turned, Kyra, into, well, now let's train the dogs and let's do it here in these pens. And then people started showing up to watch it.

PHILLIPS: So, OK, but you look at this, and when you see what's happening and how it's being put together, it looks like a dogfight.

SANCHEZ: Right.

PHILLIPS: It looks like what we were seeing in the Michael Vick case.

SANCHEZ: Correct.

PHILLIPS: And, so, are there investigators going after the people that are putting on these types of rodeos?

SANCHEZ: Yes.

PHILLIPS: And is this animal -- does this fall under animal cruelty laws, the same as the dogfighting laws?

SANCHEZ: It most certainly does. Both at the state and the federal level, they're going after them. I think there's five states now who as a result of some of these actions have changed their laws, and some of them are changing them more even still.

But it goes under the very same standard as that which you see like in the Michael Vick case, although obviously that case hasn't been prosecuted yet. But it's the very same standard that's being used in those cases. And you are seeing the feds getting more and more involved in these things.

But it's a closed society. These guys get to know what they're going to do by e-mailing each other. Nobody knows where they're going to be. They will just show up. They will have their events, and then they will leave.

PHILLIPS: Until it's captured on video and people like you do a story. So, we have seen cockfighting, dogfighting, now this hog- fighting.

SANCHEZ: Hog-dogging.

PHILLIPS: Hog-dogging. (LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: Oh, my gosh. What's next?

SANCHEZ: Yes, you wonder. You wonder. You wonder.

PHILLIPS: Yes, interesting.

All right. So, you are going to have more for us coming up this weekend, right?

SANCHEZ: This weekend. Yes, we are going to be specializing -- we are going to have a couple of specials on this, and we're also going to have a lot of good political stuff as well.

PHILLIPS: Sounds good. All right.

If you are an animal lover, it's hard stuff to hear, even tougher to watch. But it is an important story, nonetheless. You can find out more on where these animal-on-animal rodeos are happening and what you can help do about it. As Rick said, he will have his complete report Saturday, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

HOLMES: Their country has some of the richest oil reserves in the world, so why are Iraqis waiting for hours on end to get a tank of gas? CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has more on short supplies and short fuses.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BUSINESS REPORT)

PHILLIPS: Well, video games are often blamed for the couch- potato-ing of America's youth. But a new trend in video-gaming will have parents and kids jumping for you.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more in this "Fit Nation" report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Fourteen-year-old Caroline Davenport is in indoors, playing a video game, but not slumped on the couch. She is rocking to the beat as she competes in her neighborhood Dance, Dance Revolution Tournament.

CAROLINE DAVENPORT, TOURNAMENT PLAYER: It's active. It's something to do on the long hours of the summer where you have nothing else to do.

GUPTA: It's the latest craze in video gaming. Video active games that require kids to get up and get moving. Tournament organizers say they're helping kids stay fit.

CHRISTOPHER BORAWSKI, WHEATON, MD. LIBRARY: It helps them and keeps them moving. They have to move very fast. It gives them quite a workout. GUPTA: Dancing is, obviously, better exercise than playing a stationary video game on a sofa, but we wanted to know how much better. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota are finding that kids playing these type of active video games burn twice, sometimes three times the amount of calories kids playing traditional games.

LORRAINE LANNINGHAM-FOSTER, MAYO CLINIC: When we did allow a few children to play the game at higher settings, they could actually burn maybe five or six times the number of calories they would while they were playing the traditional hand-held game systems.

GUPTA: The study uses Sony iToy and Xbox's Dance, Dance Revolution and researchers planning further studies on the newest in the video craze. Like Nintendo's Wii, popular with children, and their parents.

As for Caroline, she has lost 10 pounds since she started playing in tournaments and she is having fun as well. It's a perfect combination, experts say, for successfully fighting childhood obesity.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Iran's notorious Evin prison -- ahead in the NEWSROOM, we will talk with a man who's has been there. He got out alive. But he's got grave fears for two Iranian Americans held there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes, sitting in today for Don Lemon.

Who scared the bulls? The day after it hits the 14000 mark, the Dow backs off.

PHILLIPS: About a half-hour left in the trading day. We're keeping a close eye on all the numbers for you.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Well, it's appalling. That's how the State Department describes the treatment of two American citizens imprisoned in Iran and being shown on prime-time television. Iranian TV has aired the second part of that program that claims to document U.S. attempts to overthrow the Iranian government. The program included alleged confessions by two Iranian-Americans.

One is Haleh Esfandiari, a 67-year-old Woodrow Wilson Center scholar who was arrested in May while visiting her ailing mother in Iran. Her husband is outraged.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHAUL BAKHASH, HUSBAND OF HALEH ESFANDIARI: This is a mockery of the fact that she's being in solitary confinement for 70 days, with no contact with us, with her lawyers, or with the outside world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Now, Ali Afshari spent two years in the same prison where Esfandiari is being held, along with two other Americans, and says he was tortured until he signed a phony confession. He now lives in Washington.

Ali, tell me what it was like to be in solitary confinement there.

ALI AFSHARI, FORMER INMATE OF EVIN PRISON: Solitary confinement and -- basically, in Iran, is a very small cell. The dimension is two meters by 1.5 meters.

There isn't any access to fresh air, to sunlight. And there isn't -- there is limited to go to bathroom four times per day. And they aren't allowed -- the prisoner aren't allowed to speak inside prison with somebody. And they have no connection with their families or any forms of a legal representative. And they hold in very isolative conditions.

PHILLIPS: There are pictures that we were able to get from inside that prison, and it shows women talking on the phone. It shows women talking on the phone. It shows bunk beds with ruffles, nice and clean. I mean, it looks like a beautiful dormitory.

Is it -- does it look like that?

Is that true?

AFSHARI: No. No. It's important that you know, Evin Prison is a big prison and it's composed of several parts. It's divided in two major parts. First, a security part. And second, a public part. That picture belongs to the public part.

But in the security part, mainly it's combos of -- solitary confinement. And the condition completely is different. And as I explained to you, the condition is very bad and all features give fear to prisoner and put pressure on them to do something that the interrogator want or would like.

PHILLIPS: Well, let's talk about the interrogator, because you said you were forced to make a confession. You were also put on Iranian TV.

How did they force you to confess and what did they make you say?

AFSHARI: Yes. When I was accused to plotting overthrow Iranian regime, I was taken to a high rank security prison. It's called 59. It's a military security prisoner -- prison. I'm sorry. And when I was -- I was tortured, physically and psychologically.

PHILLIPS: How were you tortured?

AFSHARI: First, I was beaten.

PHILLIPS: How were you tortured?

AFSHARI: Yes. I was beaten. I did some verbal abuses -- abuse. And sleep deprivation and for several -- or several times. And I gradually increased the pressure for two months. And finally I broke down my personality and I accepted to do the confession.

The process is that the first interrogator ask me and gave me to some talking points and asked me to write an admission, to read in front of the camera. I did that. And he told me it was not sufficient. And I had to write again. And the (INAUDIBLE) writing process severally repeated and finally they lift interrogation (INAUDIBLE). PHILLIPS: So, Ali, is that what's happening, as we look at this television interview with Haleh Esfandiari -- and she's sitting on a nice couch and she looks like she's been treated well -- as we look at that, she's saying the same thing. She's basically saying she was -- she came to this university and she was trying to promote to overthrow the government.

Was she being told, as we look at -- we have this right here -- as we look at this that aired on television -- she, was she being forced to do the same thing?

AFSHARI: Yes. Yes. I believe that she was forced. And I think if not volunteering entirely, it's a fear that some -- somebody like Haleh, like me in past, has served as an actor and as a player in that field. I am sure that the whole thing that he (INAUDIBLE) in that program, before that (INAUDIBLE) pre-fed by interrogators and several times rehearsed and practiced in the prison.

PHILLIPS: Well, you finally got out and you are now in the United States and you're fighting for the rights of Iranian-Americans like these.

We appreciate your time and we will definitely follow what happens with these three Americans in the prison.

Ali, thank you.

AFSHARI: Thank you.

I really appreciate it.

HOLMES: More than f250 Palestinian prisoners are prisoners no more. Released today by Israel in a goodwill effort to bolster the embattled Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is locked in a violent struggle with the militant faction Hamas, which seized Gaza last month. Israel bussed the prisoners to a West Bank checkpoint, where Palestinian buses were waiting for the trip to Ramallah. Both sides hope this move will be a turning point after seven years of conflict. And while Hamas calls the gesture a trap and a bribe.

It's not really a good day for the president of Pakistan. A blow dealt to him today has analysts seriously wondering about his future in power. President Pervez Musharraf we're talking about here. He fired his Supreme Court chief justice back in March. And today that same court put that justice back on the bench. It may not be a knockout blow, but President Musharraf is battling a strong pro- democracy movement, pressure from the West to kick out Al Qaeda and an up tick in militant violence.

PHILLIPS: Well, Iraqis severely lacking not only in security and political stability, but in basic necessary resources, so much so that in a nation sitting on much of the world's oil, a gallon of gasoline is worth its weight in gold.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

FREDERICK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): "Move, move, the sun is killing me," this man shouts. But no one here is going anywhere soon. Some wait in line for more 24 hours. This is what the Iraqis go through trying to buy gas for their cars.

"They simply can't meet the demand. Three quarters of fuel stations in this city are closed. Some are open, but most of them don't have any fuel."

A fuel shortage in the country with one of the largest oil reserves in the world. While many drivers have to push the final yards to the pump, this is what they often see when they get there -- the service station is out of gas, again. And that's more than a nuisance. Many people in one place for a long time means grave danger in Baghdad, where gas stations are increasingly targeted by insurgents, like this one, hit only a few days ago, killing four people.

Many Iraqis are fed up. "We're protesting here today to call upon the government to provide general services to the citizens," he says. But the Iraqi Oil Ministry says it's doing all it can to provide citizens with gasoline. It blames insurgent attacks on fuel tankers for the crisis.

And that's not all. Gasoline pipelines like this one south of Baghdad, get hit regularly, often cutting fuel supplies for days. And that translates into this -- more than 24 hours, waiting for gas, with the next oil field only a couple of miles away.

Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

HOLMES: A developing story out of Washington this afternoon. CNN has learned that President Bush signed an executive order on terror investigations. Now, it bars cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Our Elaine Quijano at the White House just got more details on this. We're going to check in with her after a quick, quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Well, cruelty is out. Humiliation is out. Denigration of religious beliefs, out. Before he left town for Camp David, President Bush today signed a new list of rules for holding and interrogating terror suspects.

And CNN's Elaine Quijano has more on that, as well as the president's plans for the weekend.

She's at the White House for us -- hello, Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, T.J.

That's right, I've got a copy of the executive order in my hand here. I just got off a conference call with senior administration officials who essentially were trying to outline what is contained in this executive order, as you noted. It is really an attempt on the part of the administration to interpret Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions as it applies to detainees who are being detained as part of the war on terrorism.

It does talk about banning torture. It talks about banning other acts of cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. It talks about, as well, detainees in the program being required to receive the basic necessities of life, including adequate food and water, shelter from the elements, clothing, protections from extremes of heat and cold, and essential medical care.

Now, interesting here, T.J. What it does not mention is sleep. There is no mention in here of water boarding. It doesn't define what these so-called extremes of heat or cold might be. And trying to explain this, senior administration officials were having a hard time not, in a sense, tipping their hand as to specific methods.

Why?

Because they say they don't necessarily want Al Qaeda operatives to be training for the kinds of techniques that these CIA interrogators and the people who are going to be detaining these people might necessarily employ. But, interesting to note here, it is a very lengthy document here, this executive order. We'll continue to pour through it. But, essentially, the basics of it, T.J. Laying out what it is, in fact, that CIA interrogators, what people who will be involved in detaining these terror suspects, what they will and will not be allowed to do -- T.J.?

HOLMES: All right, Elaine, he, of course, took care of that bit of business before he goes to Camp David this weekend, where I guess the doctors are going to be getting all up in his business, if you will.

QUIJANO: Yes, I guess that's one way to put it. He will be getting a routine colonoscopy. And back in 2002, five years ago, he had one. At that time, doctors didn't find anything. But they said, look, you should have this done in another five years. So that's what he's doing. This was an announcement that was made by the White House press secretary, Tony Snow, in the briefing today. He said that the president will actually, because of the effects of anesthesia, will be turning over his presidential powers to Vice President Dick Cheney. The vice president is expected to be on the Eastern shore during the proceeding itself, the president at Camp David. And then if all goes well, obviously, we will be hearing about it afterwards.

But that is what on the president's schedule for tomorrow. Tony Snow emphasizing that there's not been any kind of symptoms the president has been feeling, describing this, instead, as routine -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right, routine. And please don't tell the president I said it like that, OK, Elaine?

QUIJANO: OK.

HOLMES: Thank you so much.

PHILLIPS: Well, we're being told it's supposed to be the fastest selling book of all time. If you see all the crazy people surrounding Becky Anderson, you may understand why -- hi, Becky.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm outside one of the biggest book shops in Europe, as we await witching hour. Harry Potter mania coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM.

HOLMES: Also, first he helped put thousands of students on the path to becoming doctors. Now, he's tracking the ponies.

CNN's Ali Velshi has more on a former medical school administrator's life after work.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Choosing favorites has been a lifelong role for Ray Brienza.

RAY BRIENZA, RACING COLUMNIST: My main job is to handicap each race. That means trying to let the readers of "The Star-Ledger" sports section have an idea of what I think would be the winner of the race and second and third.

VELSHI: Brienza has been writing a weekly column on harness racing for a Newark, New Jersey newspaper for over 31 years. But he didn't get to focus on his hobby full-time until he retired from handicapping favorites in another field.

BRIENZA: Yes, in its peak at the medical school, we were reviewing 5,000 applications for 160 places in the medical school.

VELSHI: Brienza spent 37 years working as assistant dean of admissions at New York University's Medical School before retiring in 2004. But he knew in retirement, the odds were he'd be spending more time at the track. BRIENZA: The most enjoyable aspect of what I do, really, is meeting the people that I meet. I mean, these are really interesting, hardworking people with different backgrounds. And it's just fun to hear them talk about what makes them want to train or drive or to own -- own horses.

VELSHI: What's ironic is that Brienza can't get too close to the horses he spent most of his life watching.

BRIENZA: Well, I'm allergic to a lot of things. Besides cats, I'm also allergic to ponies.

VELSHI: So Brienza keeps a safe distance to make the picks for his column.

BRIENZA: If you're coming to the track and you don't know much about what to bet, you look at Brienza's analysis and hopefully if I'm right, I will have given you a couple of -- of winners that light.

VELSHI: Ali Velshi, CNN.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, the clock ticks down and Harry Potter fans are counting the seconds.

Will the Grim Reaper cart off the beloved boy wizard in this final installment of this series?

The book goes on sale tonight at midnight in London.

CNN's Becky Anderson and all his millions of fans -- hey, Becky.

ANDERSON: That's right, Kyra.

And I don't know the answer to that. But in three hours time, we will do. We're outside on the sidewalk outside of what is Europe's biggest bookstores. And if you didn't think this book, or this series of books, had international appeal, get this, there are thousands of people in this line now here in Piccadilly outside of Waterstones. And they are from Brazil. They're from Australia. They're from Holland. They're from Iceland. And they're also from Italy.

And I'm joined by a couple of people who have been here for how long?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We came here yesterday, didn't we? That's one day.

ANDERSON: Good.

So you've been here for one night. OK, that's something like 26 hours. I know there have been other people who have been here for about three days. Have you had any sleep yet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little bit. Just a little bit. We are too excited for this book.

ANDERSON: They're too excited. Now, they are in the Grippendorr (ph) House, of course. Everybody dressed up here as characters. And here's, of course, the captain of the Kittich (ph) sports team.

And if you take a look over here, Kyra, as well, we've got a huge line going down there. You've got Dumbledore just down here to my left-hand side. You've got a whole bunch of wizards, lots of the people who don't like the people, as well -- the death monsters, the death mobs, all of this. The death eaters. That's what they're called. I couldn't remember. They're called the death eaters.

There's also a couple of people in the line who say that Harry Potter pah (ph), I love queuing. So not everybody is here for the Harry Potter book.

As I say, we have three hours to go until witching hour. And just remember this, JK Rowling, 13 years ago, was a single mom with no publisher. We're now awaiting, effectively, the last book in the Harry Potter series. This is the seventh book. And you can expect it to be one of the fastest selling books ever. This is quite unbelievable.

And the noise has sort of calmed down here, but we've had an awful lot of noise and an awful lot of singing for the past three hours or so.

I know the atmosphere will build up. The store will close. They will reopen on the stroke of midnight, when all this lot gets to go in -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, now, Becky, you know, you always tell me I need to speak proper English, so we have to educate American viewers what queuing means.

It means standing in line, right?

ANDERSON: That's right, it means standing in line. I'm sorry. People keep telling me to use the standing in line thing. But, you know, being English, we que, as you know. Most other people don't. So we -- we tend to use the word que. That's absolutely right. And people have been very, very good. As I say, they've been waiting patiently, some of them have been waiting patiently for three days. And, you know, not a lot of people have had a lot of sleep here. So they are, as I say, being extremely well behaved.

We're in Piccadilly right in the middle of London. The authorities, you know, not necessarily enjoying what's going on here. But they are bearing with people. And we have just, you know, sort of three hours to go until the final witching hour. These people will have disappeared in about five hours (INAUDIBLE). But at that point, they'll have the book in hand. Many of them or all of them here said they certainly won't be turning to the back page first. They will read that book religiously. I mean it would be sacrosanct as far as these people are concerned if they turned to the back page first. They'll all sit here out on the sidewalk and read what is, as I say, the last in the series, what is the fate of Harry Potter -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. You'd better call us in the middle of the night.

Becky Anderson, live from London.

Thanks.

HOLMES: Well, the Democratic presidential hopefuls will be arriving in South Carolina this weekend for Monday's CNN YouTube presidential debate. We will bring that to you. And it will be held from 7:00 p.m. Eastern on the campus of the Citadel in Charleston.

CNN, of course, will have live coverage of that for you.

Now, the latest CNN Opinion Research Corporation polls offer a snapshot of where the presidential candidates stand in South Carolina. Among expected Democratic primary voters in the Palmetto States, Hillary Clinton leads with 39 percent; Barack Obama, 25 percent; John Edwards at 15; and Al Gore -- he's not even in the race -- he pulled in 10 percent.

And among Republicans, Rudy Giuliani is in front with 28 percent. John McCain is next with 20 percent. Fred Thompson, who still hasn't officially entered the race, has 17 percent. Newt Gingrich, also not a candidate at this point, has 6 percent.

And just a little while ago CNN and Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced that CNN and YouTube -- a debate for the Republican Party hopefuls will be held in St. Petersburg on September 17th. That debate will be held at the city's historic theater that's there. And just like the Democratic debate coming up on Monday, the candidates will face your questions submitted via YouTube.com.

So, what would you ask the presidential candidates if you could?

Well, you've had the opportunity and you've been asking and we've been telling you.

CNN teaming up with YouTube for the upcoming presidential debates. We've been collecting your questions for the candidates.

Here's a preview and, again, thank you for asking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL BERG: I'm Joel Berg (ph) and this is a map of the more than the 1,200 soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City. There are now more than 30,000 feeding charities in rural, urban and suburban communities across the country. More than 35 million Americans, including 12 million children, live in homes that can't afford enough food. And the problem's getting worse.

Will you commit to ending hunger for all Americans -- or at least for all American children -- in the next decade?

If so, how would you do it and how will you pay for it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LUM: Hi, this is David Lum (ph) from Rochester, New York.

In the evening we here in the Rochester area have very few clear stations. We count on the Internet to be able to hear the programs of our choice.

What can you do to help us out?

Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: David Lum from Rochester.

And you can join John Roberts and Kiran Chetry with more of your video questions as we count down to the debate. That's tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

PHILLIPS: All right, closing bell and a wrap of the action on Wall Street on this Friday.

We can't wait for the weekend.

Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, it can be intimidating even a little scary, especially in times like this. But buying your first home doesn't have to be so stressful.

Our personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, host of Saturday's "OPEN HOUSE" right here on CNN has been researching the ins and outs of home buying. And this weekend she gathered the best advice and the biggest mistakes to avoid if you're thinking about buying a home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA ANDERSON, "KIPLINGER'S PERSONAL FINANCE": I think the biggest mistake is buying more than you can afford or simply buying when you can't afford it. Getting your foot on that property ladder is a great thing to do, but it's not worth it if it's going to leave you broke in a few years or to see the home that you've waited for so long go up in foreclosure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Now, buying a house in an uncertain market -- where to buy, the best places to live. Plus, an affordable new vacation trend.

Join Gerri Willis tomorrow morning for a fully stocked "OPEN HOUSE," 9:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Well, the closing bell is about to ring on Wall Street.

HOLMES: And that means Susan Lisovicz is standing by with a final look at the trading day.

How did we make out, Susan?

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

HOLMES: Now it's time for to us go to "THE SITUATION ROOM".

PHILLIPS: Miles O'Brien in for Wolf today -- hey, Miles.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com