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Passenger Plane Lands After Circling Dulles Airport With Nose Gear Problems; Bush Administration: Option of Military Force in Pakistan on Table; Muddy Mess in Colorado Mountain Town

Aired July 23, 2007 - 14:00   ET

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


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If, in fact, that nose gear, there's no green light associated with it, which is what pilots look for, the green light indicating it's down and locked, then it gets a little more complicated and the pilots would -- the flight crew would go through a whole series of troubleshooting, including a manual retraction of the gear. They'd probably fly close by the tower for them to get a visual look at it to make sure that it was, in fact, down and locked.
And based on what I've seen so far, Chad -- and you can tell me now -- they've just been basically flying a holding pattern sort of to the south and the west of the airport. And there's no indication they've made any low passes over the field, so perhaps they have a down and locked nose gear. They're just waiting to make sure when you land you land at the right weight.

And the reason they do that is they want to make sure they have the proper performance in case they land and for whatever reason decide they have to go around. They would eat up an awful lot more runway if they were heavier.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Miles, we have a little bit more information from the news desk.

Guys?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. What I wanted to note real quick from just listening to Miles there, Kathleen Koch said it was a 48-to- 50-passenger jet. And if Miles is still on, a CRJ2 regional aircraft.

Do you know about this aircraft, Miles?

O'BRIEN: Yes. It's made by Bombardier in Canada. It's been flying -- the maiden voyage was, I think, early '90s, '91, I believe.

It's if not the most popular commuter jet, certainly among them. And 50 passengers, a flight crew of three -- the pilot, co-pilot, and a flight attendant.

And folks might remember this particular aircraft. It was the aircraft that was involved in that horrible crash in Lexington, Kentucky, just the earlier part of this year where the flight crew selected the wrong runway.

LEMON: Yes. O'BRIEN: The track record on this airplane is very good. It's a very safe airplane.

LEMON: Well, we remember that, sadly.

All right, Miles and Chad, thank you very much.

It is the top of the hour. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Don Lemon.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kyra Phillips.

Let's get back to Kathleen Koch. She's working more details on this developing story.

We need to bring you up to date.

FAA, Kathleen, confirming this flight continue to circle Dulles airport, right?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Correct. Continuing to circle, possibly burning off fuel. But basically, Mesa Air Flight 7458 is trying to let folks in the tower, air-traffic controllers and other officials, get a look at the landing gear.

Now, what we were told by the FAA, by spokesperson Allison Duquette (ph), was that the pilots reported a nose gear problem. Now CNN is hearing from aircraft personnel on the ground, or airport personnel on the ground, that in the final fly-over, that it was actually the right landing gear that apparently was still in the down position.

And we were also told, at least by this person who is a worker at the airport, that apparently the word is that there are about 36 passengers on board. Again, this makes it a little dicier if it's either the right or the left gear that -- landing gear. You know, the sort of triangular setup that they have with the landing gear, if it has a difficulty versus the nose gear.

But again, it sounds like, according to this airport worker, that this landing gear is down. So if it is locked, then they can just put down the other gear and lock those as well. It sounds like a situation where they could land safely, again, as long as that gear that's down is pointed straight and not askew.

Back to you, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. We'll keep following it.

Kathleen Koch, thanks so much.

KOCH: You bet.

LEMON: All right. Let's move on now. Still out there and still plotting, almost six years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden can run and he can hide with some help. He's found safe haven here in the lawless land of northwest Pakistan.

The U.S. figures al Qaeda and Taliban warlords have been hunkered down there a good long while, and it's been up to Pakistan to root him out. Now, though, Washington might be thinking of stepping in on this.

Let's go straight to the White House now and CNN's Ed henry with the very latest -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Don.

That's right, the president's top aides are leaving the door wide open to possible U.S. military action in the tribal areas of Pakistan. But only targeted, al Qaeda, as well as Taliban terrorists.

Why all the tough talk from the White House all of a sudden? The White House is clearly on the defensive here. The Bush administration's own assessment last week showed Pakistan has become a safe haven for al Qaeda in particular, and that's fuel for these Democratic critics basically saying the president took his focus off of hunting down Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, generally, and instead poured more resources into the war in Iraq.

Pakistani leaders, meanwhile, are irked by all this talk about possible U.S. military action there. So, White House spokesman Tony Snow tried to walk a fine line today trying to calm down the Pakistani government while also vowing to take tough action against al Qaeda.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There has been this notion afloat, or at least an attempt or an inclination of how we're going to invade Pakistan. We always maintain the option of striking actionable targets, but we also realize that Pakistan is a sovereign government and a very important player in the war on terror. Not only has Pervez Musharraf twice faced direct threats from al Qaeda, but also Pakistan itself has been a very important ally in trying to interrupt plots, to go after al Qaeda activists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: Now, Snow also said that bin Laden is a "constant focus" for this White House. So I asked him why it took the White House 10 months to figure out that President Musharraf's plan with tribal leaders was not helping, in fact, was hurting. It was helping to rebuild al Qaeda, helped them to reconstitute. Snow said it was not immediately clear that the plan was not working, but now that the White House realizes it, it wants to act upon it.

All of this though a delicate balancing act for the White House, because if they push Musharraf too hard and his government falls, extremists could take over the government in Pakistan and then get their hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Obviously, that would be an awful scenario -- Don.

LEMON: CNN's Ed Henry.

Thank you, Ed.

HENRY: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: And just to update you quickly on the developing story out of Washington, D.C., good news, that flight has landed.

It had been circling around Dulles airport, that Mesa Air flight, 7458. We haven't been able to get a live picture, but we've been able to do the flight tracker here through our Chad Myers in the weather center, a CRJ2.

Kathleen Koch, out of Washington, said there are about 37 passengers on board.

Miles O'Brien, also a pilot and our guru of everything technology and aviation, so good news. It looks like the landing gear locked and it was able to land.

Is that right, Miles?

O'BRIEN: Yes, that is good news. You know, as I suspected, it probably was a case where everything was fine as it took off. Of course, you don't take off with a landing gear problem.

They tried to deploy the gear, and for whatever reason they wouldn't stow properly. And so, in those situations, the logical thing to do is to put the gear back down and head back from where you started. And they just don't land right away, want to burn off a little fuel.

They don't have the capability of dumping fuel. There are only a few aircraft that can do that.

So, they got themselves to the right landing weight, and folks have a little story to tell, and will be a little bit late to their destination. But that's about it.

PHILLIPS: All right. Miles O'Brien, thanks so much.

And Kathleen Koch, anything else you can add?

KOCH: No. Again, Kyra, just really good news that, as we predicted, it looked like this landing gear, whether it was the right landing gear or the nose gear, we're still not clear on that point since we're getting some conflicting reports. But whichever piece of landing gear it was, it apparently was locked, they landed safely. All 36 people on board, again, as Miles said, maybe had a little bit of a harrowing experience, but certainly a happy ending and a story to tell.

PHILLIPS: All right. Good news.

Kathleen Koch, thanks so much.

KOCH: You bet.

LEMON: A muddy mess in a Colorado mountain town. It could take weeks to clean up the resort area around Alpine. Much of it buried under as much as six feet of mud. Dozens of people managed to escape before the mudslides hit.

CNN's Rob Marciano is there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Today, it's sunny, but Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening, thunderstorms were developing over the central Colorado Rockies. And just up this canyon, one of those storms released a torrent of rain that came down on a saturated hillside, releasing that and creating a mudslide, burying the town of Alpine just up the way. Over 100 people had to be evacuated, 31 homes are damaged.

Here, you get a real sense for the ruggedness of this terrain. They call these the chalk cliffs because they look chalky, and also because we've got hot springs underneath this soil which kind of bubble up and loosen the soil, making them -- this area even more susceptible to flashfloods and mudslides.

Folks up the road certainly hope to get into their homes today. If not today, over the next several days, to literally dig out and eventually clean up and get their lives back together. The problem is, we're just now getting into the monsoon or the summer thunderstorm season, which will last another month or two, so that means the threat for mudslides will likely continue.

Rob Marciano, CNN, Chaffee County, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(WEATHER REPORT)

PHILLIPS: We talk about the many hats that Chad wears. He was tracking that flight tracker for us on that plane that was circling Dulles airport, Mesa Air Flight 7458. The good news is -- we want to update you -- that plane has landed safely.

Not sure where the problem was -- nose gear, possibly the right side of the flight gear. We're still trying to figure that out. But the good news is it took off from Dulles, was headed to Columbia, South Carolina. It had some issues. It was able to land safely.

All good to go there at Dulles airport.

LEMON: Presidential campaigns and cash, do they have to go hand in hand? Well, one of our YouTube voters wants to know if any of the candidates will commit to changing that equation.

PHILLIPS: Also, remembering Tammy Faye Messner. CNN's Larry King marks the passing of an always memorable guest.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Periodically, I get these in the mail, my Social Security statements. But seeing that Social Security is going to be extinct in the near future, why am I still getting these? What will you do to revamp and restore Social Security for our upcoming generation?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. It's "The Resident" here in Brooklyn, New York.

No matter what side of the issue you believe in, the global climate crisis definitely needs to be addressed. So, I'd like to know what tangible, concrete efforts we'd see from your administration regarding this issue if you're to be elected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: There you go. Five hours and counting. Tonight's big CNN/YouTube debate begins at 7:00 Eastern.

And just a short time ago, we watched the Democratic hopefuls for president tour our set in South Carolina for the first official debate of the Democratic presidential primary season. Now, to set the scene for us, live from Charleston, our senior -- CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

Well, Bill, what are the types of questions being submitted via YouTube. What are the questions?

Can you hear me, Bill?

Apparently, Bill, we're having a little bit of problem.

Can you hear me, sir?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Ah. Yes, I can hear you now. There was an airplane flying overhead. This is a military college.

LEMON: OK. So, listen, what's being submitted?

SCHNEIDER: And now we have a bagpipe in the background.

LEMON: Oh, my gosh. You want to call me back later?

So tell me, Bill... SCHNEIDER: I'm not going to do a Scottish dance.

LEMON: OK. Well, it might be fun, if you're wearing a kilt, especially.

SCHNEIDER: Yes.

LEMON: So, let me ask you, can you hear me enough to answer a question?

SCHNEIDER: I can, indeed.

LEMON: OK. What kind of questions are being asked? Which one's being asked most in this debate?

SCHNEIDER: Well, the questions -- interestingly, we expected a lot of questions, most of the questions, to come in about the Iraq war. But what they're really asking about is their own interests and concerns, things like education. A lot of young people worried about student loans.

And some older people -- it's not just young people who go on YouTube -- some older people are asking about health care and health insurance and some problems they've had with that.

Plus, a lot of questions about global warming, about the conflict in Darfur, about gay rights. A lot of young people are very angry over the fact that gays are denied the right to get married.

So we're seeing a wide diversity of issues being inquired about.

LEMON: Yes. And I was wondering just how this is going to change -- if this YouTube debate was going to get young people more interested, since YouTube is a young person's vehicle. But I want to talk to you about Senator Clinton.

SCHNEIDER: OK.

LEMON: Do you want to answer that part of it, Bill? Do you want to answer that part?

SCHNEIDER: Well, we do know that young people are much more likely to use not just YouTube, but the Internet. A lot of them get their information about politics from the Internet. And young people have been less likely to watch any of the previous debates. So this debate could bring in a younger audience for the first time, and that could change the campaign.

LEMON: And that is very important if it does do that. It will have accomplished a lot there.

So let's talk now about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

SCHNEIDER: Right.

LEMON: She is a frontrunner in tonight's debate, and she is going to see other candidates, I think, probably aggressively going after her since she's so far ahead in the polls. Can I assume that correctly?

SCHNEIDER: I think that's true, although technically there are two frontrunners, because while she's been ahead in all the polls, Barack Obama is the frontrunner in fund-raising. So -- but it's true, as long as she's ahead in the polls, she'll be called the frontrunner.

And she has -- her campaign, at least, has been trying to create the image of inevitability. Get on the bandwagon, she's going to be nominated. So the other candidates have to try to poke through that and demolish that image of inevitability and say, wait a minute, this isn't over. It hasn't even started.

LEMON: Yes.

So we talked about young people possibly voting, but what about this whole YouTube thing? Do you think it will change the way the candidates are doing their campaigns?

SCHNEIDER: Well, I think the candidates are going to be much more attentive to voters, not just the press and other politicians and what they say, but what the voters are saying. Look, YouTube has already changed politics. Remember the "Macaca" moment last year? That really had an enormous impact.

LEMON: It did.

SCHNEIDER: You might argue that that enabled Democrats to take control of the United States Senate because of that one moment.

It means that there's a more freewheeling style, that a lot more citizens have become involved in politics than ever in the past. And the kind of questions we're going to see tonight are going to be very different from the kinds of questions that professional journalists ask.

LEMON: Bill Schneider, thank you, as usual, even with the airplane and the bagpipe.

We'd take a dance if you want to do it real quick.

SCHNEIDER: Well, I don't have my kilt on. I'm sorry.

LEMON: OK. Next time maybe. All right.

Thank you, Bill.

SCHNEIDER: OK.

LEMON: Anderson Cooper hosts tonight's first-of-its-kind debate live and interactive on TV and also online.

The CNN/YouTube Democratic debate tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. You can see the Republican candidates debate on Monday, September 17th. PHILLIPS: Well, it's 2:18 Eastern Time. Here are three of the stories that we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM this hour.

A Mesa Airlines flight just landed safely back at Dulles airport, outside Washington. The plane had taken off from Dulles earlier but experienced problems with its nose gear.

Families in South Korea in the middle of an agonizing wait. Taliban kidnappers in Afghanistan are holding 23 aid workers, demanding a prisoner release in exchange for their lives. The kidnappers have extended their deadline until Tuesday.

Mud and more mud. People in the Colorado mountain town of Alpine are facing weeks of cleanup after a series of massive mudslides. More than 100 people fled their homes, some of which are virtually buried.

LEMON: Stratford-Upon-Avon becoming Stratford under Avon. And the water is still rising.

The latest on severe flooding in the U.K. straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, millions of Americans get a pay raise tomorrow.

Susan Liscovicz at the New York Stock Exchange with a preview of the first minimum wage hike in nearly a decade.

(BUSINESS REPORT)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your opinion of America's image abroad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After attending various campaign events...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What will you do to counteract...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is this...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If elected...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How would you use your power...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Good questions. Thanks for asking. And there are lots more where those came from. You'll hear more at tonight's history- making debate.

Ahead in the NEWSROOM, we'll talk live with one YouTube questioner about campaign money and the influence it buys.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: Live pictures now from our affiliate WYFF out of South Carolina. This is Spartanburg County firefighters. They're on the scene of a fire at a plant in Cowpens.

The fire is at the De Niro (ph) textiles factory. It's on Main Street, right near Highway 29, if you know that area. We're told that firefighters from a number of the areas have come in to try and work this plant fire. Apparently, it was in the process of being renovated and the cotton and polyester fibers inside that building are what's providing fuel for the fire. We'll keep you updated as we get more information. Firefighters on the scene there in Spartenburg county, the area is Cowpens, South Carolina.

LEMON: Well, you know our big CNN/YouTube debate is tonight, and here's another question submitted for the CNN/YouTube debate. Democrats hit the podium at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. The question from suburban Atlanta concerns campaign finance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEL LILES, TECHNICIAN: Good evening, candidates. I'm Mel from Stockbridge, Georgia. As candidates for political office, you are all locked into an endless race for corporate cash that shuts most Americans out of the process. Do you have a realistic plan to enact legislation that will stop once and for all, this senseless campaign money race that forms the foundation for virtually every political problem our country has. And enact public funding for all presidential and congressional campaigns?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That is a great question. And Mel Liles is with us now. He's a technician at Clayton State University. And it was very professionally put together there. But you said it locks us out of the political process. Why do you believe that?

LILES: Well, the money is the one thing that's standing in the way of getting all of these other problems fixed. All the other problems that you hear on the other questions. To me, my way of thinking, are symptoms of this problem.

LEMON: And we were talking a little bit. There are people who are going to say, you know, there are big problems that we have to deal with -- Social Security or the health care system. You know, issues concerning abortion and that come up during election, gay marriage, that kind of thing. Why are you focusing on campaign finance reform?

LILES: Because that's the veil that gets in the way of getting all these other problems fixed. That's the sort of shield that the entrenched interests have in shedding the average Joe like you and me out of it.

LEMON: So, let me ask you right off, then. What would you like to see done about it? LILES: I'd like to see public financing of political campaigns spread to a national level, similar to what they're doing on -- in Maine and Arizona.

LEMON: Yes. So, you're retired from Georgia Public Broadcasting. You're working now as a technician, like you said, your tape was very professional. What sparked you to do this? I think you said you read a book last year.

LILES: I read a book by a fellow named David Sirota, it was called "Hostile Takeover." And ...

LEMON: Was it an epiphany for you?

LILES: Yes, it was. It kind of -- well, I was already fairly politically involved because I worked for, about 25 years in the Georgia State Legislature covering that. And I saw right up close and first hand, the connection between money and votes. And on a national level, it's just gone totally berserk.

LEMON: How do you view this CNN/YouTube debate? I mean, you send in this question. But did you figure this was your chance to pose a question to the candidates and make a difference? What do you think about this thing we're doing here?

LILES: I think it's interesting because -- well, I look at it partly on a technical level because it represents to me sort of a shotgun marriage of the entrenched media, the established media, and something that's totally new. It kind of bypasses the middleman, which is you.

LEMON: Well, in some ways. I mean ...

LILES: In some ways.

LEMON: It does in some way, but still it gives you an opportunity, as you said, or I would think here, for you to get your voice across and potentially ask the candidate a question. Do you know if your question is going to be used?

LILES: Well, I have no idea. Apparently that's a carefully guarded secret.

LEMON: Carefully guarded. So you'll be watching to see.

LILES: I will be watching to see.

LEMON: Is there anything else you'd like to ask that you didn't submit that you'd like to hear from the candidates?

LILES: Well, media consolidation, media ownership consolidation.

LEMON: Is that a concern for you?

LILES: It is very much a concern.

LEMON: Yes. Because the media, obviously, controls ...

LILES: Right.

LEMON: ... the airwaves and so much of that.

LILES: And it's not going to be heard on the commercial media very much, because that's swinging the spotlight around on you guys. So, we have to use what we can to keep that out there in the public mind.

LEMON: And I realize that I'm walking a tight rope here, that everybody's watching, but that's the reason we're doing this. And we like, in many ways, we like the criticism. It keeps us honest. So, thank you so much for submitting this question, all the people who submitted questions.

Again, it's tonight, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Thank you very much.

LILES: Thank you.

LEMON: It's a pleasure having you here. And I hope your question gets asked.

LILES: Pleasure being here.

LEMON: And as I said, Anderson Cooper will host the first of it's kind debate live and interactive on TV, and online. The CNN/YouTube Democratic debate, it's tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. You can see the Republican candidates debate on Monday, September 17.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's finally stopped raining in most of Texas. Nearly a foot and a half fell on south Texas over the weekend, sending as many as 90 people scrambling for higher ground. Emergency crews kept busy with high-water rescues of animals and people -- or animals as well, rather. And these baboons right here, believe it or not, were caught playing in the floodwaters surrounding the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio. Now, it's been raining constantly in that area now for more than a month.

And disaster beyond anything most people could imagine. Town after town in western England underwater. Tens of thousands of people stranded, no electricity, no food, not even drinkable water. Reporter Helen Callahan of ITN has the latest from Gloucester.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HELEN CALLAHAN, ITN REPORTER (voice over): Electricity and water, it's never a good combination. So imagine what happened when an entire substation is engulfed. All day, navy and army personnel have been sectioning off flood water with sandbags. The RAF are also helping at an national grid substation up the road, but they're fighting a losing battle.

Fifteen-thousand are already without power. If both substations go under, half a million people across the midlands and south Wales will be plunged into the dark. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got the navy and the army and the fire service out. They are doing everything they can to get that water out of the substation so we can get everybody back on again.

CALLAHAN: To add to the misery, 350,000 people have no water either.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got bottles of water, because we've got no water. No supply whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no water left in there. They sold out of water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are just pushing past people in there. They are just rushing up to get it.

CALLAHAN: Bottled water is fast running out, so people are having to rely on these bowsers that the police have put out for their drinking water. Only the young and fit can reach the bowsers. If you're frail or fragile, like Madeleine Dane, the prospect of a fortnight with no services and more flooding is very frightening. Despite it all, earlier today, Madeleine was determined to stay put.

MADELINE DANE, FLOOD VICTIM: I've got no water. I've got no power. And I can't think. I'm so tired.

CALLAHAN: Madeleine's house is still drying out from Friday's flood. And since these pans of water may have to last for a fortnight, Madeline and her disabled husband could be forced to move. She's increasingly overwrought, but luckily caring neighbors are making sure she's not alone without water, light or heat.

Helen Callahan, ITN News, Gloucester.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, we continue to follow these live pictures from our affiliate WYFF out of South Carolina. This is Cowpens, South Carolina. Firefighters working this factory fire at Denir Textiles (ph). We'll bring you details as we get them.

LEMON: Traumatized by the past, terrified of the future, a story all too common in Iraq. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, CNN's Arwa Damon has a widow's story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Want to update you on that fire out of Cowpens, South Carolina. Live pictures coming to us from our affiliate WYFS. Spartanburg county firefighters still on the scene there, the fire is at the Denir Textile's plant on Main Street near Highway 29. Officials say that the fire is being fueled by cotton and polyester fibers inside that building. They are trying hard to work it, put it out. Not sure how it started. We're still trying to get details, we will bring you more as we get it. LEMON: The U.S. and Iran, round two. CNN has learned diplomats from two nations will sit down tomorrow in Baghdad. The issue, stabilizing Iraq. A similar meeting was held in May, the first such talks since the U.S. cut off diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980. The U.S. still accuses Iran of aiming and arming, excuse me and training Shiite militias in Iraq, though Tehran denies it.

New hope and fresh anxiety in South Korea from Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The Taliban claims to be holding 23 South Korean aid workers and wants to trade them for Taliban prisoners. But they've extended their deadline till Tuesday. South Korean negotiators are in the country. The hostages were taken Thursday from a bus on a main highway between Kabul and Kandahar. Afghan soldiers are surrounding an area where they think the militants are, ready to move in if they get the word.

PHILLIPS: Husbands killed by insurgents or criminals, the wives left behind to fend for themselves and their family. The violence in Iraq is creating a whole new generation of widows. CNN's Arwa Damon has one woman's story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is nothing compared to the pain that this 5-year-old carries inside. Last time Hipaa saw her father alive, he was being led out of their home with a gun to his head. She was sobbing, clinging to his leg. His body was found two days later.

Since her father died, she cannot sleep. She used to sleep in his arms, her mother, Ahlam, says. Ahlam and her three children are Shias. She believes her husband was murdered by insurgents in their Sunni neighborhood. Since then, they fled, only to live like this.

But their nightmare won't end. The other day, the neighbors found my youngest boy weeping, clutching his father's picture, she remembers. The oldest dreams about his dad almost every night.

Ahlam's loneliness consumes her. Even her children's occasional shrieks and laughter outside bring little comfort.

This is a slow death, she says. I am a dead person whose body just walks on the ground. It would have been much better if we had just died with him at the same time.

Instead, she struggles to live with virtually no social services to speak of. Ahlam took a job as a cleaner just to try and survive.

I miss you. I need you, she says to the husband she lost seven months ago. Whatever Iraq's future brings, it won't bring back the man she loves.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: Well, if you were a friend of Tammy Faye Messner, you may be invited to, what her family is calling, a celebration of her colorful life. The former televangelist lost her battle with colon cancer Friday night and died in her sleep. She was buried in a private service Saturday. The day before her death, a very frail Messner spoke with our Larry King.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, CNN HOST "LARRY KING LIVE": So many people watching and listening care about you so much.

TAMMY FAYE MESSNER, TELEVANGELIST: Thank you, Larry.

KING: What would you like to say to them?

MESSNER: I'd like to say that I genuinely love you, and I genuinely care, and I genuinely want to see you in heaven someday. I want you to find peace. I want you to find joy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And here's what Larry had to say about Tammy Faye last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Tammy Faye Messner was one of a kind and nothing short of amazing. Wearing her great, big heart on her sleeve, she lived her life with dignity even under a harsh spotlight in the late 1980's. At one point, she was most famous for her mascara-stained tears but she never lost her ability to laugh, especially at herself.

She glided through life with a grace that seemed effortless. From loyal minister's wife, to media icon, to cancer patient, with an amazing optimistic outlook. I'll share a little story. After one of her last in-studio appearances here, Tammy Faye accidentally left her makeup bag behind when she left. Can you imagine? Her makeup bag.

A producer called her to let her know it was here and joked that such a find in the wrong hands could be worth a lot on the black market. She let loose with one of her trademark giggles, and a few minutes later, showed up with her driver, reached out the back window of the limo, took that important piece of cargo with one hand, blew a kiss with the other. And laughed as she said, thanks for not selling it on Ebay! That laugh of hers continued to the very end and lives forever in the hearts and minds of all of her many fans all over the world. Rest in peace, Tammy Faye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, there were a lot of kids and more than a few adults who stayed up late on Friday night to buy the final book in the Harry Potter series. Brooke Anderson is in New York to tell us just how many people fell under the spell. Brooke, how big a night was it for the teenage wizard?

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Colossal, Kyra. In fact, one of the biggest nights in publishing history. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" disappeared from bookstores at a record rate. The book went on sale across the country, 12:01 Saturday morning. By the end of the day, Scholastic, the American publisher of the Potter series, reported that 8.3 million copies had been sold. That would be a record. That is 300,000 copies an hour, more than 5,000 copies a minute.

Now, these figures don't include books that are being sold overseas. Another 2.6 million copies of the book, Kyra, were sold in England.

PHILLPS: Wow. Well, Harry Potter isn't the only British star who had a big coming-out party over the weekend.

ANDERSON: That's right. Soccer star, David Beckham was welcomed to Los Angeles and he was welcomed in style. Tom Cruise and Will Smith hosted an invitation-only bash for him Sunday. The party attracted Hollywood's A-list. Now, this came a day after Beckham made his debut Saturday with Major League Soccer's L.A. Galaxy. An ankle injury suffered earlier this month kept Beckham benched most of the game. He hit the field for a brief 13 minutes or so. The Galaxy, of course, brought Beckham in to spur interest in the team and in Major League Soccer. For his first appearance, it seemed to work, an array of stars were at the game watching, what was for some of them, at least, their very first soccer game. Kyra.

PHILLPS: Well, Beckham was celebrating on Sunday. But there were a couple rap stars who got into trouble last night, right?

ANDERSON: That's right. Two separate incidents. Rapper Ja Rule, whose real names is Jeff Atkins, and Lil' Wayne or Dwayne Carter were busted for gun possession. The two hip-hop stars actually collaborated on a song called "Uh-Oh" and uh-oh is right in this situation.

According to police, Carter, who we're seeing here in this video, was caught smoking marijuana with another man after a concert he had given. When he was taken into custody, police say they found a .40 caliber handgun.

Police said that Atkins was caught when police pulled over the car he was in for speeding. When authorities searched the car, they found a handgun and arrested three people in the car. They were both charged with criminal possession of a weapon.

OK. Coming up tonight on "Showbiz Tonight," remembering Tammy Faye Messner. Her friends who were at her side, her last moments, her last words to her fans. You'll also hear from her disgraced ex- husband. From televangilist to TV star, on TV's most provocative entertainment news show, "Showbiz Tonight" 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on CNN headline prime. WE hope to see you then.

PHILLPS: All right, Brooke. We will be watching. Thanks. LEMON: Candidates have always gone where the voters are and nowadays, guess where that is? On the web. And while we count down to the evening's Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina. A gathering organized and hosted by CNN and YouTube. CNN's John King looks at the brave new world of cyberpolitics.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He made his mark as a grassroots organizer the old-fashioned way -- clipboards and shoe leather. Note the typewriter in this photo from a Chicago voter registration drive back in 1992.

But fast forward to campaign 2008. No typewriters here. The architects of Barackobama.com. working constantly to spread the word. On YouTube, My Space, Flickr, not to mention the official campaign web site where a click or two, finds the next event in a town near you or perhaps just a new ring tone.

Four years ago, Howard Dean put internet fund-raising on the map, but in the end, failed to turn all his online money and buzz into enough votes. One reason the Dean campaign veteran who now runs the Obama web operation puts so much emphasis on helping supporters organize.

JOE ROSPARS, OBAMA DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA: Folks are forming their own grassroots volunteer groups. There's over 5,000 of them across the country. Each one of these tool is a piece of the campaign that an individual supporter can own and use to evangelize to their friends.

KING: Every campaign has an internet presence these days. John Edwards puts a premium on social networking sites from Facebook to My Space to Bebo. Hillary Clinton, likewise, gets high marks from web watchers. For a creative site and attention-grabbing videos.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ready?

KING: One key target of all the campaigns, is younger voters. Among all Americans, 15 percent said they relied most on the internet for political news in the 2006 cycle, double the number from 2002. But among those under the age of 36 who have broadband connections, 35 percent say the internet is their main source of political news.

JOHN WALSH, FMR. PATRICK CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Maybe you're not going to meet them at the chicken dinner or the political meeting. But they're instinctively going to the web for their information, and so you catch them there.

KING: John Walsh helped Duval Patrick go from underdog to Governor of Massachusetts in 2006. In part, through internet organizing he jokes took some time to learn and to trust.

WALSH: The first time I heard blog was in this campaign. I describe my technical expertise this way -- I don't know how they put the little people in my TV set but I know how to use the clicker. CHRIS HUGHES, ONE OF THE FACEBOOK FOUNDERS: If I click on Nevada, for instance to see who my friends are, who are supporting the campaign there.

Chris Hughes is among founders of Facebook. And now, among the 20-somethings looking to prove the power of internet organizing. Almost 20,000 people so far have downloaded a special Facebook application to help Obama supporters lobby their friends in early primary and caucus states.

HUGHES: The idea is that I am reaching out to the people that I know. I know all these people. I went to high school with her. I knew him from college. We chose to launch an offer of tools that is more focused on organizing, rather than necessarily having an enjoyable time on the web site.

KING: In other words, talk, blog, and swap videos all you want, but don't lose sight of the basics and the bottom line.

John King, CNN, Chicago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: All right there's a little bad news, not so bad. It's too late to ask a question for tonight's debate, but you can definitely make a statement afterwards. CNN.com can make a political pundit out of you. Watch the CNN/YouTube debate, then send us your i- Report analysis of commentary to CNN.com/youtubedebate. Your two cents could make it on air for all to hear, just after the debates are over.

PHILLPS: Well, a dog in Colorado is being called a hero after saving the life of a 1-year-old boy. You're going to want to stick around to see this one.

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PHILLPS: Well we've seen them in Taco Bell ads, and under Paris Hilton's arm, but chihuahuas aren't just teeny novelties. Just ask this Colorado family whose little pup, Zoie took the brunt of a rattlesnake attack meant for a one-year-old toddler. She apparently noticed the snake, ready to strike, jumped in front of the little boy, then after being bitten several times, she got the family's attention and they got the baby out of there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MONTY LONG, HERO DOG'S OWNER: I am fully convinced because the snake was all coiled up on the rock and up in the position to strike. And so if I hadn't of noticed Zoie yipping and coming away from there and getting my attention to go out there, Booker would definitely -- because he was only 18 inches away from the snake. And he was up in the position to strike again. His rattles.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIPS: Well, Zoie's snakebites really did a number on her. And for a while it looked like she wasn't going to survive. But as we saw, she's much tougher than she looks. She's going to be just fine.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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