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Mineshaft Accident in Arizona; Felix Strengthens

Aired September 2, 2007 - 17:59   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Next in the NEWSROOM, Felix, the year's second named hurricane, reaches the next level, a powerful Category 4, now cranking through the Caribbean.
Plus, what you didn't know about the actor who wants to follow Ronald Reagan's trail from Hollywood to the White House.

And our top story, two girls trapped in an Arizona mineshaft. One of them does not survive.

Hello, again. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. And you are in the NEWSROOM. We're looking at northwestern Arizona today where a missing persons hunt ended with a tragic discovery at a mineshaft.

There's a lot of hows and whys yet to be answered. I talked to a spokeswoman from the local sheriff's office a short time ago.


WHITFIELD: Last we spoke you weren't certain about the condition of the one young girl who has been taken to the hospital. Is there anything new you can tell us?

SANDY EDWARDS, MOHAVE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Right. The only new information that I have received on her is she does have some major injuries. She was stabilized at the scene when she was removed from the mine. And she was being flown to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

WHITFIELD: OK. And how did this happen? Can you give us a better idea of how two girls out to be fun on their ATV, their all- terrain vehicle, and the next thing you know, we've got this tragedy.

EDWARDS: You know, right now the investigation is leaning more towards getting these girls out of this mine. So I haven't heard a lot of information as far as how the accident actually happened. If they were just riding in the area and, you know, went into this mine or if they were out exploring the mine. Haven't received any direct information on that yet.

WHITFIELD: OK. Can you give me an idea of exactly how the one girl's body is being extracted? What kind of method is being used? What's the personnel being used to try and remove her?

EDWARDS: Well, right now we've got a lot of volunteers with the Mojave County Sheriff's Office, along with some help from Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. And they are in here and helping us out and using a rope-rappelling team to go down inside this mine and remove this 13-year-old who, unfortunately, did not make it.

WHITFIELD: It sounds like a dangerous recovery effort.

EDWARDS: Oh, absolutely. And some of these mines go down pretty deep. I haven't heard exactly how deep this mine was, but I've heard it can be anywhere from 120 to 150 feet deep.


WHITFIELD: The latest now on Hurricane Felix. It is now a powerful Category 4 storm barreling through the Caribbean with winds nearing 140 miles an hour. People in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao got a lot of rain and some coastal flooding. Fortunately, they were spared the full force of Felix's winds when the storm passed north of the islands as a Category 2 storm.

Let's check in with Jacqui Jeras in hurricane headquarters where Felix is menacing.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Just unbelievable, Fredricka. This thing has really ramped up today. You know, 5:00 this morning, the advisory is in, 100 miles per hour. It is a Category 2 storm. And it is moving north of Aruba. And now here we are, a powerful Category 4. Winds are up 40 miles per hour and gusts are way beyond that.

So it's just an incredible system. And you can really see just how powerful it is by looking at the definition of the eye of this hurricane. And the hurricane hunters who have been flying through the storm this afternoon, they're the ones that dropped their instruments down and got the measurements and know that we've got the wind to confirm that it is a Category 4 storm now.

They also reported seeing the stadium effect. You know, the stadium effect within the eye of the hurricane. So just an amazing situation. As it continues to move west/northwesterly, we think this thing could get stronger. You know, the official forecast here from the National Hurricane Center, even though this is showing Category 4, I don't think we can rule out a 5 at this point because the waters are so very, very warm.

And there's enough time between now and Tuesday when the first potential landfall could be taking place. And you know, you get over 155 to be a Category 5. And they're looking at 155. So now a whole heck of a lot of difference. Second landfall could be then towards the Yucatan Peninsula, over Belize, we think, by Wednesday. And then we'll be watching the southern and western Gulf areas for late into the week.

Now in the eastern Pacific, we've also been keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Henriette. This almost a hurricane now too. Winds are 70 miles per hour. It's pulling away from the coastline, closest approach here towards Puerto Vallarta. It is moving on up towards the north and heading towards Baha, California. But we think it will be a very weak hurricane, maybe a Category 1 or a strong tropical storm, but you know, that causes problems in and of itself, Cabo San Lucas, a lot of people like to vacation in this area. And believe it or not, Fredricka, this could go all the way up to the north and bring some moisture into the southwestern United States we think next weekend.

WHITFIELD: Right. And that rain, even though a Cat. 1 can certainly bring a lot of damage.

JERAS: Yes, in the southwest, we could get a lot of flooding, too, as a result of that potentially.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks a lot, Jacqui. Well, some folks are taking advantage of the situation. Some daredevil windsurfers, in particular, in Aruba, they seem to find these conditions perfect. These shots taken by I-Reporter Maki Wiggins, with his cell phone. We want to remind you, windsurfing during a hurricane, not a good idea.

But this person decided to do it anyway. And you should never put yourself in danger to try to get any of these images on tape to submit as I-Reports. Meantime, I-Reporter Ken Gafner took these pictures from the safety of his hotel room in Aruba. He says the flooding was pretty significant there. And while the winds picked up throughout the day, Gafner says there wasn't -- or at least it didn't appear to be, in his purview, much damage.

An earthquake shaking things up in Southern California today. The 4.7 magnitude quake was centered near Lake Elsinore, about 50 miles outside Los Angeles. The jolt rattled nerves, but so far, there are no reports of injuries or damage.

A men's room arrest and the scandal that followed. It has caused a senior U.S. lawmaker his career. But that's the news of today. Tomorrow is all about who will take Senator Larry Craig's place in Washington. To Boise, Idaho, now, the capital of Senator Craig's home state and CNN's Kara Finnstrom.

What names are being tossed around?

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a couple. And it's really starting a lot of speculation here. There are those Idahoans here who were outraged by all of this and didn't want the senator to serve even one more day in Congress. But there are others even among those who felt he should resign who are really worried about what's going to happen when they lose this powerful senator come September 30th.


FINNSTROM (voice-over): The spotlight in Idaho now shifts from Senator Larry Craig to Idaho's governor, Butch Otter, a fellow Republican who must choose Craig's temporary replacement. He insists he hasn't given anyone the nod yet.

GOV. BUTCH OTTER (R), IDAHO: I've made no decision on that. And any report to the contrary is dead wrong. You guys have got bad information and you're spreading it around. It is dead wrong. I have made no decision.

FINNSTROM: Key Republicans say possible candidates include Lieutenant Governor Jim Risch, Representative Mike Simpson, and former Governor and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. The hope is, whoever gets the seat will have an edge on becoming the Republican candidate in 2008.

As for Craig's sudden fall from grace, top Senate Republican John Ensign now says it was Craig's guilty plea that caused the Republican leadership to call for his resignation.

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN (R), NEVADA: He had admitted guilt, guilt is something that I thought was not only embarrassing to himself and his family, but also to the whole United States Senate.

FINNSTROM: But at least on Republican senator, Arlen Specter, says Craig shouldn't give up his fight for vindication.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: He said he intends to resign. And if he could change the underlying sense of the case -- feel of the case, listen, you can go to court and you can withdraw a guilty plea. If that case goes to trial, and I've seen matters like this since my days as a prosecutor, he wouldn't be convicted of anything.

FINNSTROM: Craig has now hired the same high-profile attorney, representing former NFL star quarterback Michael Vick. And Saturday, the senator told us he'll fight the accusations, in his words, "like hell."

But even if Craig were to win a legal victory, some Republicans say they can't imagine a political comeback.


FINNSTROM: And we did speak with the governor's aides a short while ago, and they tell us that the governor has no timetable still for making that decision. The only thing they could tell us is that he won't be available for comment until Tuesday -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And meantime, folks in Idaho, how concerned are they that this in any way will impair or hamper any kind of future federal funding for that state?

FINNSTROM: There are some real concerns about that here. In the local paper this morning there was a big article about the hundreds of millions of dollars of projects that are awaiting budget approval in 2008. So now you're not only going to have this powerful senator, you're going to have one that has just been appointed. And so there's question about whether he'll have the influence to push those through.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Kara Finnstrom, there from Boise, Idaho. And of course, we'll be live from Boise all evening from CNN if any announcement does happen to be made about who might replace Senator Craig. Otherwise, our next live report from Boise is at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Well, it is Labor Day weekend, a perfect time to take a look at bad bosses. Listen to one guy's horror story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was an alcoholic, abusive type of guy that threw things basically.


WHITFIELD: OK, pretty nice. Sounds like a great working environment, right? Well, how to lift the cubicle curse and put bad bosses in their places. That's coming up in the NEWSROOM.

And speaking of bad bosses, that's how one general describes former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. That story is next.

Plus, what kind of boss would a President Fred Thompson be? A close look at a man who wants to follow the footsteps of Ronald Reagan, still ahead in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: A backlash is growing in Britain over the U.S. handling of the post-war strategy in Iraq. Today British troops began withdrawing from their remaining bases in Basra. At the same time, British generals are stepping up their of U.S. war policy and they're drawing special aim at former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

CNN's Emily Chang reports from London.


EMILY CHANG, CNN ANCHOR: For the second day in a row a top British general has attacked America's policy in Iraq, calling it "fatally flawed." Retired British Major General Tim Cross criticized former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in The Daily Mirror, saying: "We were all very concerned about the lack of detail that had gone into the postwar plan and there was no doubt that Rumsfeld was at the heart of that process."

Major General Cross is the most senior British officer involved in postwar planning. His comments followed similar remarks by retired British General Sir Mike Jackson calling Rumsfeld's plan "intellectually bankrupt" in an interview with London's Daily Telegraph, and condemning U.S. strategy to "apply overwhelming force, win, and go."

GEN. MIKE JACKSON, BRITISH ARMY: Such an approach isn't really going to work in the very complex situations we have, such as the one we have in Iraq now.

CHANG: The Pentagon didn't want to comment on the remarks, but a U.S. admiral in Iraq seemed to take them in stride. REAR ADM. MARK FOX, MULTINATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: First of all, there can be disagreements amongst professionals about certain ways of how you handle strategy and tactics and so forth. But I also would review a bit of the recent past of how we've gotten to where we are.

CHANG: The statements draw attention to the perceived tensions between the U.S. and the British command over strategy in Iraq. As far as the British government is concerned...

(on camera): ... the ministry of defense released just a short statement, saying the generals are "private individuals expressing private views, and we respect that, they are both entitled to their opinions."

(voice-over): The remarks come at a highly sensitive time as British troops prepare to handover control of Basra to the Iraqi army. And speculation swirls about if and when the British will pull out of Iraq for good.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised President George W. Bush the British will continue to fulfill their responsibilities in Iraq, and there is no timetable for withdrawal as the debate over Iraq policy continues.

Emily Chang, CNN, London.


WHITFIELD: And now some U.S. troops are coming home after long deployments in Iraq. Yesterday in Boston, more than 70 members of a military police battalion out of Ft. Devons returned home. Family and friends were on hand to welcome home their loved ones after a 16-month deployment.

In Cincinnati yesterday, the flag-draped coffin of Staff Sergeant Nicholas Carnes was removed from a transport plane. His family and friends quietly sobbed as the casket was placed in a hearse. Carnes was killed by enemy fire last weekend in Afghanistan.

And a major development in talks between the U.S. and North Korea. The topic, nuclear power plants. The story next in the NEWSROOM.

And later, what's roadkill to you and me is something altogether different for someone else. A story you have to see coming up in the NEWSROOM. Yuck.


WHITFIELD: An apparent breakthrough in nuclear talks with North Korea. For the first time ever, North Korea offers a timeline to end its secret atomic program. Washington's chief negotiator says Pyongyang has agreed to declare and disable its nuclear facilities by the end of this year. Well, getting to an agreement with North Korea has been a tough process for negotiators. Joining us to talk about the impact of this deal is international security analyst Jim Walsh. Good to see you.

JIM WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good to see you, Fredricka, happy holiday.

WHITFIELD: Happy Holiday. So do you believe this? Do you believe that North Korea is sincere?

WALSH: Well, I think this is probably a very big deal. Now long-time North Korea watchers learned never to be too excited about any one event, or too despairing of any one event. But the look and feel of this is that it is a big deal. Remember, less than a year ago, North Korea had detonated its own nuclear weapon, conducted its first nuclear test.

And now we're at a point where they have agreed by a certain deadline to dismantle that program. In addition, we have made some promises. We are talking about steps towards normalizing relations. And this has been building since February. There have been two or three key events. And so you don't want to get too hopeful, but I think this Labor Day weekend, this is a good news story.

I think we may be on the brink of a real diplomatic breakthrough, a real diplomatic achievement.

WHITFIELD: That really is amazing, because this is quite the about-face. It was maybe just a year ago when North Korea essentially walked out of the U.N. after that latest vote when sanctions were about to be imposed. So what do you suppose was the breaking point this time? I mean, first of all, it was quite the achievement to even get them to these talks in Geneva.

WALSH: Well, you know, I wish I knew the answer to that question. We probably won't know the answer to that question until many decades hence. But, I can tell you this. We can certainly point to the fact that there are different players involved. China has an important role. South Korea has an important role. And that both sides, North Korea and the united states changed their position.

The United States finally said that they would look at the issue of financial sanctions, of the freezing of assets at Banco Delta Asia. And, of course, North Korea, its position changed when it tested the nuclear weapon. And so there was new flexibility after that on both sides, and it began to gain some momentum with a sort of Valentine's Day agreement, if you will. And it has been holding.

A lot of skeptics said, well, this is going to fall apart, this is about gamesmanship. Certainly, there's reason to be skeptical. But so far at every important juncture this process has moved forward, and it's a real -- it's a credit to the diplomats and to the diplomatic process under President Bush for negotiating and persistently negotiating.

WHITFIELD: And this is quite a feather in the cap for the assistant secretary of state, Christopher Hill, who has been at this for a long time. And this time, the words that he chose today that he's very confident that this means something and that he said, quote- unquote: "This is achievable that, indeed, North Korea would meet this deadline, fulfill its promise at the end of the year."

WALSH: Yes, he's a fantastic diplomat, but he is prone to be a wee bit optimistic on occasion. I noticed that these were as optimistic a set of statements as I've heard him make. And I think we are on to something. I think we are making good progress. But, of course, there are obstacles.

The U.S. is -- the 800-pound gorilla in the room is confirmation. The declaration that the North Koreans are going to make about their nuclear inventory on the North Korean side, they want a light water reactor. They were promised one before. They didn't get it. That's going to be an issue. And of course, the Japanese are concerned about the abductees issue.

So there are plenty of obstacles. But my gosh, compare yesterday and today, completely different.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it's amazing. Well, we all know a lot can happen in three months still, 'til the end of the year.

WALSH: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jim Walsh, thanks so much, appreciate it. Have a great rest of the weekend.

WALSH: Thank you, Fredricka, you too.

WHITFIELD: Well, home again, 19 South Koreans, former hostages in Afghanistan returning home this morning. They were greeted with hugs and tears after spending six weeks as hostages of Taliban militants. The South Korean government and Taliban negotiators reached an agreement on Tuesday that finally won them their freedom.

And in Lebanon, after months of battling die-hard militants, Lebanese troops have seized control of a Palestinian refugee camp outside Tripoli. The fighting intensified today as Islamic militants tried to flee the area. Thirty-seven militants were reportedly killed. Government officials believe the militants have ties to al Qaeda.

And massive fences are up in Sidney, Australia. And security is pretty tight too for this week's APEC summit. President Bush is expected to arrive for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on Tuesday. Australian police are worried anti-war protesters may target his arrival. Nearly a dozen Greenpeace activists have already been arrested. Discussions about trade issues and global warming are expected to take priority at this summit.

And lingering questions in central Poland today, one day after two pilots were killed in this dramatic, right there, mid-air collision at an air show. Both pilots were experienced. They were performing a three-plane formation maneuver when that crash happened. Both planes burst into fragments and fell to the ground. The third pilot escaped unharmed. Your holiday travel forecast straight ahead. Plus, Felix, now a Category 4 storm. Right, Jacqui?

JERAS: Yes, we started out the day at a Category 2 and it has really intensified, winds up to 140 miles per hour. Where is Felix headed next? Your forecast is coming up.

All right, also coming up, Ronald Reagan and now Fred Thompson? Both leaving, Hollywood heading toward the White House? Reagan made it. A look at Thompson's chances coming up.



WHITFIELD: ... her teenage companion dead. The two disappeared last night in an Arizona mining town. Rescuers found them today deep in a mineshaft.

And in Idaho and in Washington, who will be the next senator to represent the Gem State? That decision lies with the governor. Republican Senator Larry Craig quit this weekend in the wake of a sex scandal.

And this is Hurricane Felix in a less destructive time. Felix isn't playing around, folks. It is now a Category 4 storm headed for Honduras and Belize. And as it passed north of Aruba as a weaker Category 2 storm, we ended up getting a lot of images from our I- Reporters which we will look at in a moment. But first, Jacqui Jeras is in the weather center.

Boy, this is a frightening...


JERAS: And you know, what a difference just 12 hours makes. A 100 miles per hour it was this morning, and it's now a 140. So it's Category 4 storm. And we think the potential is there for this to continue to strengthen and possibly even reach Category 5 status.

This is an extremely intense storm, it's moving towards very warm waters.


JERAS: ... in here because the waters are so warm and the winds so very, very light. It's in the open waters now, so it's not really bothering too many people. Just kind of affecting parts of South America, mostly into the coastal regions. They could be getting some heavier showers and thunderstorms.

But our next impact could come into on Tuesday, maybe midday-ish as a Category 4 or 5 storm. We'll be watching Honduras and Nicaragua. Could be a landfall, could be moving on up to the north. That's what the official forecast is holding right now. But remember when you go out into time, that uncertainty becomes greater. We'll also be watching the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, maybe Belize City for the middle of the week on Wednesday.

Back here at home, we have a system that has the potential of turning into something that's a little more tropical. Just a surface low now connected to a frontal boundary. It has been bringing in some incredible rains into the coast areas of Georgia and South Carolina. Most of it is off shore, but still worried about flooding and heavy rains all along the Gulf Coast. It hasn't been the best of beach weather, but we really need the rain in the Southeast. You can't complain too much.

Much of the rest of your country for the Labor Day holiday, get out the grills in Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, New York. Looks like great weather here. Even looking nice across parts of the West, but you have to deal with all the excessive heat warnings still across much of southern parts of California, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and temperatures in the 100s. Fredricka, it isn't a dry heat. We've got showers and thunderstorms popping up.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Always a last hoorah summer weekend always a mixed bag across the country.

JERAS: Yeah.

WHITFIELD: Everyone soaking it all in though. All right, thanks a lot, Jacqui.

Let's talk again about Hurricane Felix, now a pretty dangerous Category 4 storm. Apparently, when it made its way through certain parts of the Caribbean as a Category 2, some folks ventured out. I- reporters and submitted photos for us. Our Josh Levs has been gathering it all up and helping us to see what they're seeing out there.

They took a lot of chances, and we're not encouraging this, are we?

JOSH LEVS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: No, we're not. But our I- reporters are always there. The great thing about I-reporters mixes modern technology with what CNN is. We're able to bring you images from the story. I want to show you video we have gotten from Aruba. Real interesting stuff.

We're starting off with this. This is from Marck Oduber. He is a meteorologist in Oranjestad. He took some of this video that shows -- think about this. This is a resort area. There's supposed to be people outside. This is what the area looks like now or did look like today as the storm was coming through. You can tell how strong it is for that area.

Now, I want to show you the next video mostly because, Fred, this piece of video came to us from 9-year-old Jonah Juliao. He sent a message. He said, "I'm 9 years old and I live by the beach in Aruba. This is what Hurricane Felix is doing here right now." He sent this video for us. We checked with his dad. It's legit. And he wants to share it with us and he really is who he says he is. It's okay to use it. Thank you to Jonah. Even after a storm passes, that doesn't mean the problems go away. You start dealing with the streets that are flooded and all the problems that come from that. We have these photos that we'll show you, the last thing here, a bunch of photos we've gotten from today after the storm passed. This is from Vanessa Hollander also in Aruba, Oranjestad. Fred, this is after it stopped raining. She said, at one point, she was looking out from her porch, about two feet deep water, all the streets around here.

WHITFIELD: This is kind of like the result of flash flooding or standing water that's resulted from all the rain?

LEVS: It was the flash flooding which then stood for a while.


LEVS: And it had been building up, you're right. Even before the storm gets there, hours of rain. So that's sitting around in the streets and now people are waiting for a lot of that to recede.

WHITFIELD: They don't have a lot of the drainage systems that we see in a lot of cities here.

LEVS: Yeah. On the flip side, they do have warning systems. She said there were a lot of good warnings from the government and the media, which ultimately did help. A lot of people here giving props to the folks in Aruba, saying we knew this was coming, we were prepared. More pictures there that she sent us that show what happens as the water starts to drain away.

Yeah, you know, Fred, I mean, the people who live there, they see this all the time. Believe it or not, even with that deep water, this isn't one of the worst storms, the one that hit them, anyway.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, this is a Cat 2. Now it's fierce as a Category 4.

LEVS: That's growing. That means the pictures we might be getting, unfortunately, could get a lot tougher. We'll hear more from our meteorologists as it approaches the next place.

Who else will be affected? Easy to do, folks. Go to, click on I-report. That's all you have to do. It explains how to send in, wherever you are in the world, if you see news happening, send it to us, CNN I-report, we'll share your photos, even just your stories.

Fred, every day we get hundreds of submissions and it's a chance for us to share the world.

WHITFIELD: And it's tough to narrow it down because you get so much.

LEVS: It takes a long time. Even then we have to pick which few clips we can show you in our little moments here. And there's more on dot com. WHITFIELD: We're glad you shared. Thanks a lot, Josh.

LEVS: You got it.

WHITFIELD: Balls, strikes, how about fists too? Fans expecting a fun night at the old ball game, they get base-brawl instead. That story coming up.

Plus, a crashing the grand old party. A close look at the man who hopes to steal the Republican presidential nomination from, perhaps, front runner Rudy Giuliani.


WHITFIELD: If all the indications hold true, we can remove the "what if" from perspective GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson. This week the tough-talking Tennessean is expected to formally announce his presidential aspirations after weeks of de facto campaigning.

CNN's special correspondent Frank Sesno tries to quantify to the Thompson factor in the upcoming race for the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Thompson, can I get a picture?


FRANK SESNO, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What if, Frederick, Dalton Thompson actually catches fire, predictions some competitors stop at the idea. They say Thompson is long on platitude, short on ideas. These candidates know they could be in a lot of trouble because Thompson could scramble the field. He'll position himself as reliable and likeable in contrast to McCain, as a family value he is guy, compared to Giuliani, though they've both been divorced. And as a true and consistent conservative as an alternative to Romney. Though Thompson once did a little lobbying for a pro choice advocacy.

Like all of the candidates, Thompson likes to con engineer up Ronald Reagan. But only Thompson shares the acting roots, from D.A. Arthur Branch.

THOMPSON: Tell his attorney we're preparing a counteroffer.

SESNO: To Admiral Joshua Pink.

THOMPSON: Senior captains don't start something this dangerous without having thought the matter through.

SESNO: His fame gives him a following and a camera-ready advantage, and he will use it. He already has. A few months back he cut a biting 38-second response to Michael Moore's health care documentary. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: A mental institution, Michael, might be something you ought to think about.


SESNO: What if Thompson's critics are wrong? Those who grumble that his reliance on tax cuts and smaller government read more like an old script than a new idea, that he can't match Reagan's heartfelt, shining-city-on-a-hill optimism, that some of his speeches have fallen flat.

Well, Thompson has been rehearsing for months. He knows his lines. If he can deliver them well, convey confidence and organize a credible campaign, he could catch fire and turn this race on its head.

SESNO (on camera): These are all big ifs, but Thompson is counting on a hunger for a folksy familiar conservative who can bring some personality to the Republican marathon. It may work even before his announcement, a new poll shows he's in second place among Republicans, behind Rudy Giuliani.

Frank Sesno, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: So if Thompson comes across as an unlikely candidate, a little more on the unlikely actor. Thompson's profile in the latest edition of "Newsweek" magazine highlights his first brush with Hollywood when producers cast him to play his own character in a movie at one of his cases. The movie died at the box office, but Thompson's acting career thrived. The former prosecutor is 65 years old and graduated from one of the south's most prestigious law schools, Vanderbilt. He was a former federal prosecutor before servicing two terms in the U.S. Senate for the state of Tennessee.

So how viable is Fred Thompson as a presidential candidate? Does he have what it takes in the primaries and beyond? Holly Bailey is the White House correspondent for "Newsweek" and wrote the Thompson article that we just mentioned. She's live from Washington, D.C. with more on that.

So, holly, what more does Thompson offer that the other candidates don't, besides the fact that he's an actor and that he stands at 6'6"?

HOLLY BAILEY, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "NEWSWEEK": People really started gathering around him, even though they don't know where he stands on some of the issues. He hasn't talked a lot about his policies. Actually, when you ask him what makes you different than any of the other candidates, he quickly doesn't want to answer. Last week in Minnesota, when I traveled with him, he said I don't want to compare myself to anybody else. We are all good people and we can all serve. WHITFIELD: At some point he has to differentiate himself from the other candidates. He has managed to evade the, when what, five Republican debates already, but soon he's going to be asked those questions.

BAILEY: Absolutely. That's what's really going to tell the tone about this campaign. He's been able to settle through the summer without doing a lot. He was number two in the polls as the report just now mentioned. Now the scrutiny begins and whether he can live up to the Ronald Reagan talk that people have compared him to recently and even when he started beginning in this race. This is really this tough start for Fred Thompson.

WHITFIELD: At the same time, is there a real advantage of coming out late? The spotlight is now on him, at least for this week. He doesn't have to share it with anybody else.

BAILEY: The irony is that he is going on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" about an hour after the debate. He's escaping scrutiny there. Again, people are going to start wondering about him, what his positions are and he's really going to have to answer questions.

WHITFIELD: The title says, on your magazine, it says "lazy like a fox". At first, people might take offense, but he's called himself lazy, low key, the lassifare kind of attitude.

BAILEY: The conventional wisdom in Washington has been he's been too lazy. The fact is that this is a guy that has really worked hard, pulled himself up by his boot straps when he was young, going to school and becoming a lawyer.

WHITFIELD: Which really is a remarkable story. You helped paint the picture of how he really did that. He is a kind of self-made man.

BAILEY: Absolutely. And that is something that is going to set him apart in the field, frankly. People like hearing about compelling personal stories. He certainly does have one.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Holly Bailey. Great reading there in "Newsweek" magazine.

BAILEY: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks for your time, appreciate it.

Tony Harris is straight ahead.

HARRIS: Is he in the race?

WHITFIELD: Looks like it.

HARRIS: Okay. About time.

WHITFIELD: It isn't official yet.

HARRIS: Man! WHITFIELD: This is the week.

HARRIS: Okay, time is ticking, Fred.

WHITFIELD: That Fred, this Fred?


WHITFIELD: I just want one of his buttons.

HARRIS: Are they good buttons?

WHITFIELD: It says "I'm with Fred". I could spread that to family members of mine. I'm with Fred. That would be me. Anyway, I'm just saying.

HARRIS: I know you've been working hard on the story, the tragedy out of Arizona with the two young girls missing since last night and found today. The 10-year-old friend of a 13-year-old who is, unfortunately, dead, being treated right now at a local hospital in Las Vegas. We're just trying to figure out what we can learn.

WHITFIELD: It's so puzzling.

HARRIS: It is. We have a ton of questions. How well are these abandoned mines -- if that's what we're talking about here -- marked?


HARRIS: Secured. Fenced if necessary.

WHITFIELD: And it's a dangerous recovery effort.

HARRIS: The repelling down. Is that what I heard you talking about?


HARRIS: We're trying to get as much information as we can on that story. We'll have that update for you at 7:00.

The other story we're following, I know you've been following, the six out of Gina, Louisiana, six young black men, high schoolers, involved in a school fight in which a white high school kid was seriously hurt. But right now we have all kinds of cries of racism because the six are standing trial. One has been convicted of aggravated assault. The other five black young men are facing attempted first degree murder charges.

WHITFIELD: Serious stuff.

HARRIS: Serious stuff. All kinds of cries of racism in that story. We're going to take that case apart. There is a huge protest event scheduled for September 20th. That's when Michael Bell, the 16- year-old -- 17 years old now, who was convicted of aggravated assault, will be sentenced. He was convicted by a white judge, a white jury and now that story has kind of blown up. Susan Roesgen really blew the lid off of it for us. We'll talk to her and get the nuts and bolts of the story.

WHITFIELD: And a lot of families traumatized.

HARRIS: And I'm sorry, button for Fred.

WHITFIELD: I'm with Fred. I know it's Fred Thompson's mantra, but I like it for me.

HARRIS: Done. Anything else?

WHITFIELD: No, that's it. That's my story.

HARRIS: All right, you got it.

WHITFIELD: You taking care of it? Thanks very much, Tony.

HARRIS: Sure thing.

WHITFIELD: Coming up next, an imaginary trip back in time that turns into an all-too-real trip to the hospital.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: War is war. Whether it was in the 1800s or whether it's now, people get hurt. Even this was a reenactment, somebody still got hurt.


WHITFIELD: Wow. A 2007 injury from an 18th century battle.

Then later, to you and to me. Oh, gosh, this is so gross. I'm sorry.

HARRIS: Oh, man.

WHITFIELD: It's not road kill to this woman. We've got to explain this one. Get off that picture already.

HARRIS: Good eatin', huh?


WHITFIELD: News across American now. Here's what some woke up to this morning in Massachusetts, a four-alarm fire. Firefighters believe the fire began in one building that was being refurbished and then spread to three neighboring units. All units heavily damaged, one described as a complete loss. Luckily, no one was hurt.

One step closer to normalcy in Minneapolis? Transportation officials reopened the Tenth Avenue Bridge on Friday. The span is right next to the I-35 Bridge that killed 13 people last month. Officials trimmed the number of traffic lanes to accommodate more pedestrians. Critics say it complicates an already-crowded and congested main traffic artery into the city.

Neo Nazis railing against immigration laws crashed a rally promoting ethnic and cultural diversity yesterday in Omaha. The rally's organizers say the Nazis have a right to free speech, but people also have a right to ignore them.

Angry grasshoppers, irritated intimidators. What's that all about? Thursday night's single A contest between the Greensboro Grasshoppers and the Kannapolis Intimidators. Well, you see it right there. It turned pretty ugly. A batter hit by a pitch prompted both dugouts to clear and sent the fists flying. Guess what? So many players were ejected for that fight that the umpire actually had to reinstate some of the players in order to finish the game. In the end, the Intimidators won 4-3.

A horrible accident in Ohio. It happened at the reenactment of an historic battle. A man suffered serious burns when a spark from his gun ignited bullets in his bag. Here with the story, Myrt Price from our affiliate WDTN.


KATHERINE VANARKIN (PH), REENACTMENT VISITOR: We saw the fire right away. He started ripping his pouch off and what little bit he had. He stepped back a little bit. It threw him back.

MYRT PRICE, REPORTER, WDTN: This woman and her daughter were taking pictures just as this terrible accident happened. You can see people rushing to the aid of a man who was playing the role of a Native American just seconds after he fired his gun. Then sparks from the gun fell into his ammunition bag and ignited it. Because of the severe burns, Care Flight flew in and took him to the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was pretty frightened, but he was conscious.

VENARKIN (ph): You don't want to see anybody get hurt in an event like this. I hope he comes through it okay. We all hope he's all right.

PRICE: Although the participants have to go through a lot of safety training, officials say this may cause them to go through more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll probably all, because we experienced it, be just a little more aware of what's going on. It might be a little stronger.

PRICE: Seeing the old-time military exercises then the accident made Katherine Vanarkin (ph) think about a relative who is off fighting in Iraq.

VANARKIN (ph): War is war, whether it was in the 1800s or whether it's now, people get hurt. Even though this was a re- enactment, somebody still got hurt.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: The man reportedly suffered severe burns to his face and body.

Sometimes when a person gets a job promotion, you find out who they really are.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you put people in a position of power, they turn into an insensitive jerk.


WHITFIELD: But bad bosses, beware. There's a push to make you human again. Details next in the "NEWSROOM."


WHITFIELD: Mythical beast or hairless dog? A Texas woman is keeping what she believes is a head of a mythical chupacabra in her freezer. She found the road kill trophy outside her ranch in July. The grayish-blue mammal has big ears and large fanged teeth. Neighbors found bodies of three similar animals in the area about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio. Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish. The owner hopes to get DNA tests on her find.

Have you ever been bullied by a bad boss? Well, you are not alone. More than a dozen states are considering laws that can help you get back at that nightmare boss. But is it overkill?

Kara Finnstrom reports.


ACTRESS: You have no style or sense of fashion.

ACTRESS: I think that depends on what your --

ACTRESS: No, no, that wasn't a question.

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hollywood's nightmare boss in "The Devil Wears Prada."

ACTRESS: Tales of your incompetence do not impress me.

FINNSTROM: The stuff of fiction or disturbingly familiar?

GEORGE CERES, EMPLOYEE: He was an alcoholic abusive type of guy that threw things basically.

ROBIN DOTY, EMPLOYEE: I had a boss at one time who was a coach who happened to communicate via verbal yelling.

TINA KIASTENSON, EMPLOYEE: I was a waiter and quit my job because my boss was yelling at me daily. FINNSTROM: Hundreds of Americans just told similar horror stories to the AFL-CIO's worst boss contest. Thirteen states are considering laws to make it easier to sue an abuse boss, whether we're acknowledging it more or today's workplace breeds more bad bosses...

DR. GARY NAMIE, EMPLOYEE RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Our society is very aggressive, very individualistic.

FINNSTROM: Reform advocates, like Dr. Gary Namie, believe new laws are needed.

NAMIE: Most same-sex, same-gender harassment is invisible in the eyes of the law. So when people think that harassment is a big, broad protection and we're going to have civil, kind, non-abusive workplaces, it's not true.

FINNSTROM (on camera): Supporters of this legislation like the idea of holding the nightmare bosses accountable. Opponents worry about the small businesses and the big corporations behind those bosses.

ED MARTINEZ, L.A. CO. ECONOMICS DEVEL CORP: What they mean boss -- who gets to decide that definition if these laws were to pass. That entire Pandora's Box or endless litigation would open up.

FINNSTROM: Business advocate, Ed Martinez, contends the problem should resolve itself because smarter, modern-day workers won't stomach the abuse and bad bosses cause costly high turnover rates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's absurd.

FINNSTROM: Some employees think legislation is overkill.

(on camera): Any thoughts on whether you should be able to sue a bad boss?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not really. We already have too many law suits in this country.

Professor Robert Sutton wrote the book on jerk bosses. He says calling out bad bosses may be new.

ROBERT SUTTON, PROFESSOR, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: When you put people in a position of power they turn into an insensitive jerk.

FINNSTROM (voice-over): But he says what the country is grappling with is an age-old imperfection.

Kara Finnstrom, for CNN, Los Angeles.


WHITFIELD: All the more reason to find out how to be your own boss. So much more ahead on CNN. Up next on "Lou Dobbs this Week," a special report from El Paso. Then at eight eastern, CNN "CIU: Children of the Storm," Soledad O'Brien and Spike Lee give young survivors of Katrina a chance to tell their own stories.

That's followed by Larry King Live. Larry's guests, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin tonight at 9:00 eastern.