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CNN NEWSROOM

Mystery at Sea; Health Care Reality Check; Link Between Disease and Divorce

Aired September 28, 2007 - 09:00   ET

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


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Tony Harris.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good Friday morning, everybody.

I'm Heidi Collins.

Watch events come in to the NEWSROOM live on September 28th.

Here's what's on the rundown.

Eight days trapped in her smashed-up SUV and barely alive, a woman's cell phone signal finally alerts rescuers.

HARRIS: How about this? The crew of the Joe Cool presumably forced overboard. This morning, two suspects in a south Florida courtroom.

COLLINS: Mortgage meltdown. Some owners decide to walk out on home sweet home.

Ghost town, in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Boy, we start with a truly amazing story. A woman plucked from certain death, fighting for her life today.

A detective follows a trail of splintered brush and discovers the missing woman trapped in her wrecked vehicle. She had apparently languished in the bottom of a ravine for eight days. Take a look at these pictures.

This morning, 33-year-old Tanya Rider is in intensive care. She is suffering from kidney failure and other problems. Rescuers say she was dehydrated but conscious. In fact, she responded to her name.

On CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING," Tanya Rider's husband says before she was discovered he was apparently emerging as a suspect in her disappearance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM RIDER, HUSBAND OF WOMAN FOUND: They called and asked for me to come sign for phone records so they could try that. And I came, I signed. And they asked me to take a polygraph test and I, of course, immediately agreed. And by the time he was done explaining the polygraph test to me, the detective burst into the room with a cell tower map and a big circle on it and they started explaining for about 30 to 45 seconds about the blip they were picking up on the cell tower. And then finally announced that they had found her vehicle.

I don't know exactly when the crash happened. All I know is she was on her way home from work and didn't get there. And I reported her missing to Bellevue police. They took the report right away but found evidence of a video of her leaving work, getting into her own car. So they told me I would have to file in King County because she was leaving their jurisdiction.

So King County I called up, and the first operator I talked to on the first day I tried to report it flat denied to start a missing persons report because she didn't meet the criteria.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Around and around we go. Rider's car was only about 20 feet off the highway but it lay buried beneath heavy brush and blackberry bushes.

COLLINS: This next story is filled with intrigue. A bail hearing this hour for two men in a high seas mystery. They chartered a fishing boat and the four crew members disappeared. We're learning more about one of the suspects now.

CNN's David Mattingly traveled all the way to Arkansas and here is what he found out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Before he and another man were found drifting in a life raft, caught up in an apparent multiple murder at sea, 35-year-old Kirby Archer was a wanted man, on the run from a tumultuous live in Arkansas.

MICHELLE ARCHER, WIFE OF SUSPECT: The way things have happened, it's just -- it's not the Kirby I knew.

MATTINGLY: Michelle Archer is the wife he left behind, disappearing without a word in January after allegedly stealing more than $92,000 from the Wal-Mart where he worked.

ARCHER: It's a total different person. It's like he doesn't care.

MATTINGLY: When he vanished, Archer was also under investigation in a case of child molestation. Archer denied the allegations and no charges have been filed.

CAPT. JODY DOTSON, LAWRENCE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: When we talked to him, he was extremely cool and collective, and we tried shaking him up but we were unable to.

MATTINGLY: Michelle Roe, Archer's previous wife, told CNN Wednesday that she had taken custody of their two young sons and Archer vanished just days later.

MICHELLE ROWE, ARCHER'S EX-WIFE: I do think of him as a violent man. And he's capable of anything.

MATTINGLY: And neither his ex, nor his current wife, has any idea where he has been for the last eight months. On Saturday, Archer and his 19-year-old companion Guillermo Zarabozo paid $4,000 cash for what was supposed to be an overnight trip to the Bahamas onboard the fishing boat Joe Cool. The vessel was found abandoned, drifting 160 miles off course near Cuba.

The U.S. Army confirms to CNN that Archer, a former MP, once served in Guantanamo Bay in 1995. He was discharged in 2004 before moving to Arkansas.

ARCHER: If I knew he was alive, more than likely he would be going to Miami or Cuba, because that's where his closest friends are.

MATTINGLY: Authorities doubt Zarabozo's story that pirates murdered the crew of four, then let the two men go.

The Coast Guard has called off the search with no sign of Captain Jake Branam, his wife, Kelley, nor the crew mates, Michael Gamble and Samuel Kairy.

LT. COMMANDER CHRIS O'NEIL, U.S. COAST GUARD: We're confident in our search plan. We're confident in the abilities of our air crews and our boat crews. And we believe that if the crew of the Joe Cool was in that search area, whether they had been on land, on an island somewhere, or if they had been in the water, we would of found them by now.

MATTINGLY: David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Court action in this case set for next hour.

CNN's Susan Candiotti is in Miami now.

Susan, tell us what's going to be happening in court this morning.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, no bond. That's what prosecutors will be asking this court for, keep both men behind bars for now until trial. That's Kirby Archer and his 19-year- old traveling companion Guillermo Zarabozo. The teen is from Miami, and his parents were also in court the other day.

Archer, as you know, is charged with unlawful flight in connection with that warrant from Arkansas that David Mattingly just told you about where he was wanted for allegedly stealing $90,000 in cash from a Wal-Mart where he once worked. CNN has also learned that Archer was sentenced back in 1993 in Arizona to probation for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Now in court, authorities, as we said, will ask for no bond. If no bond is set, that means that the government has 10 days to indict them. If bond is set, that would give them 20 days to indict if that's what they're going to go for next -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Boy, it is one heck of a story, Susan. All right. We're glad you're following it for us.

Susan Candiotti, thank you.

HARRIS: Sick children and parents who can't afford to take them to a doctor. An expanded insurance program for poor children clears Congress, but the president says he will veto it. He wasn't always against the idea, though.

CNN's Jessica Yellin reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAROLYN TAYLOR CHESTER, MOTHER OF KEITH CHESTER: How was your day in school today?

KEITH CHESTER, 11 YEARS OLD: Fine.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eleven-year-old Keith Chester suffers from asthma and terrible allergies. To treat them, he visits a doctor four times a year. Keith's mother, Carolyn, earns $20,000 a year as a nursing assistant, too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not nearly enough to afford health care for her son.

(on camera): Is there some fat in your budget that you could trim, the things that...

(CROSSTALK)

C. CHESTER: There's no fat.

(LAUGHTER)

C. CHESTER: We're barely making it.

YELLIN (voice-over): To pay for Keith's treatment, the Chesters count on federal money from the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. So do 6.5 million other low-income kids around the nation. With the vote tonight, the Senate joined with the House to increase funding for SCHIP by $35 billion, so that another four million children would have health insurance.

But President Bush vows to veto the additional money. He calls it socialized medicine and says it just costs too much.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe this is a step toward federalization of health care.

YELLIN: "Keeping Them Honest," we did a little rewind. BUSH: We need to expand the -- the government health insurance program for children.

To expand the children's health insurance programs.

In a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible.

YELLIN: It seems the president was for expanding the program before he was against it. What happened?

For answers, we went to top Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. Usually a Bush booster, this time, he's joined a group of prominent Republicans who side with Democrats to increase this program.

(on camera): Why do you think the president is picking this fight now?

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: I think the president is doing this now. It's catchup time, because he didn't veto very many spending bills during the years that the Republicans controlled Congress. And -- and he's been criticized for that.

YELLIN (voice-over): In other words, with elections coming, the White House and the GOP feel pressure to show themselves as small- government, fiscal conservatives.

Congressman Roy Blunt, a Bush ally, says, that's not true.

REP. ROY BLUNT (R-MO), HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: I think Democrats are paying politics with this issue. I think this issue is to get somebody like you to ask somebody like me, why are you opposed to insurance for kids?

YELLIN (on camera): It worked.

BLUNT: And it seems to me that it worked.

YELLIN (voice-over): He insists the extra billions would actually go not to low-income families, but to middle-class families.

BLUNT: We ought to have a program that really focuses on poor kids who don't have insurance. That's what I'm for.

YELLIN (on camera): The White House says this is actually helping middle-class kids and that it's government-run health care. Is that fair?

GRASSLEY: It's not fair at all.

YELLIN (voice-over): So, how does Congress propose to pay for it all?

BUSH: The legislation would raise taxes on working people.

YELLIN: Well, that's true, but where would that money come from? More tax on cigarettes, another 61 cents a pack.

Jessica Yellin, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Well, President Bush says the program helps higher income kids at the expense of the poor, his explanation for why he will veto expanding the children's health program.

White House Correspondent Elaine Quijano now.

Elaine, good morning to you.

OK. So the president is promising a veto, but what is his plan?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, first of all, White House officials, Tony, insist that the president does want access for Americans to affordable health care, but White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said yesterday the White House has seen what it calls mission creep when it comes to this particular program, meaning that states are increasing the amount of income families can have before they apply for SCHIP. And she says the administration just doesn't this that is the right thing to do. But when you take a step back, Tony, here is the bigger picture, really.

This is a White House that has been blasted for being fiscally irresponsible. You'll recall it was just recently that former Fed chief Alan Greenspan, of course an influential voice when it comes to these matters, in his new book criticized President Bush for not vetoing what he called out-of-control spending. Well, now the White House is drawing a line, promising a veto on this particular piece of legislation. But the problem for the White House, as you heard from Jessica's piece, is that some prominent Republican voices and senators are not standing with him on this issue -- Tony.

HARRIS: Yes. And Elaine, the optics -- we always talk about the optics. They look bad on this one. It looks like a president is standing up against, you know, children. That might not be factually true, according to the administration, but it certainly looks that way.

What about the Democrats today? I know they're holding an event.

QUIJANO: Yes, they are. And Democrats are, in fact, really counting on that. No one wants to be seen as voting against health care for children, so the Democrats today, understanding that, of course, holding an event that they're calling a "enrollment ceremony".

Well, what are we going to see? We'll see Democratic leaders essentially coming out, talking about this bill, trying to keep the political pressure on President Bush to sign this.

Now, to do this, a senior leadership aide says that they're going to be bringing in a young boy named Graham Frost (ph), 12 years old. He was injured in a car accident and he is actually going to be delivering the Democratic radio response this weekend. But all of this part of the ongoing effort on the part of Democrats who say, look, the fact that we have some Republicans on our side shows just how isolated the president is. They think they've got some momentum here, and we look for this to be sent over here to the White House perhaps next week -- Tony.

HARRIS: White House Correspondent Elaine Quijano.

Elaine, thank you.

COLLINS: A military crackdown intensifying on marchers in Myanmar, the secretive Asian nation once known as Burma. Reports of soldiers firing shots and clubbing activist gathering for more demonstrations.

This is the third straight day of violence and protests that began last week. The top U.S. official in Rangoon tells CNN the military is out with guns, trucks and barricades, and people are still marching.

Another diplomat tells CNN a witness reports seeing about 35 bodies lying in rows in Rangoon. But CNN cannot independently confirm that report.

Officials have also reportedly sealed monasteries to clear the streets of monks who have led the demonstrations. Media and blog reports says Internet service has been cut, slowing news from the reclusive country.

(WEATHER REPORT)

COLLINS: Out on bail but not home free yet. What's next for Jena 6 teen Mychal Bell?

HARRIS: The mortgage meltdown leaving some homes in a real mess -- abandoned, neglected, trashed. What this could do to your property value.

COLLINS: Cancer, it can kill your marriage. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will tell us about the link between disease and divorce.

HARRIS: And American dream, immigrants' nightmare. Boy, this story, a dishwasher saved to buy his family a home. Now all of his money is gone, taken by the government. How did it happen?

You will certainly want to stick around to find out.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: For the first time in 10 months, Mychal Bell is waking up outside a jail cell. The Jena, Louisiana, teen now out on bail, released after the prosecutor agreed to pursue Bell's case in juvenile court.

Bell is one of the Jena 6 students charged with beating a white classmate. Bell's prosecution as an adult sparked a massive civil rights demonstration last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Now is not the time for high-fiving. It's the time for contemplation and saying that we must have a nation that has one law for everybody. There should not be different laws for Mychal Bell than anyone his age of a different color. And that is why we came to Jena. And let Jena represent equal protection under the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Bell is due in juvenile court Tuesday to face charges of second-degree battery.

COLLINS: A startling new study suggests certain kinds of cancer might kill your marriage. A surprising link between disease and divorce.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta tracking this heartbreaking story.

Sanjay, good morning to you.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

COLLINS: Does cancer have to be a death sentence for your sex life?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it doesn't. And this was actually -- there were some surprising findings that came out of this study.

First of all, it's been long believed that if a woman gets breast cancer, her husband is more likely to leave her. In fact, this study showed just the opposite. In fact, divorce rates were lower among women with breast cancer.

But after following over 200,000 cancer survivors for 17 years, a couple of interesting things did emerge. And that is there are two types of cancers specifically which are linked to higher divorce rates. They are cervical cancer for women and testicular cancer for men.

Take a look at the numbers. There's cervical cancer. Divorce is 40 percent more likely. So that's pretty significant. With testicular cancer, about 20 percent more likely.

Now, remember, both of these cancers, Heidi, as you know, can have very high cure rates if caught early. Over 90 percent if they're caught in the early stages.

Why this happens harder to say. They say these cancers might affect intimacy. It could also be that these cancers tend to affect younger people earlier in their marriages. That might have something to do with it as well.

COLLINS: Yes, it seems like it would be fair to say, though, that any type of cancer could probably stress out and maybe even end a marriage.

GUPTA: Yes. You know, and sort of looking at the possible good news out of this study, in fact, just the opposite was shown there, except for those two types of cancers.

They looked at lung cancer, they looked at colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer, and they found that, in fact, the divorce rates were actually lower among this population of people, as compared to the general population. So, I'm not sure if it's the additional bonding that takes place...

COLLINS: Yes.

GUPTA: ... or the support for one spouse for another, but something's sort of driving that. But besides cervical and testicular cancer, marriage is actually more likely to stay together.

COLLINS: Wow. Yes, well I can understand that side of it, too.

Any resources though, Sanjay, for couples who are struggling with cancer?

GUPTA: Yes. You know, we wanted to look into that as well. We found a couple of good resources.

LiveStrong.org is a good resource. Cancer.org as well has a specific link within their Web site about how cancer might affect your sex life, for example, talking about the intimacy during -- during the cancer diagnosis, during cancer treatment, and also providing some of the stats that we just shared with you there -- Heidi.

COLLINS: LiveStrong.org, whose organization is that again? Oh, yes.

GUPTA: A guy who had a little yellow on...

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: Oh, yes, Lance. That bike rider guy.

All right.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta -- there he is now.

All right.

Sanjay, thank you so much.

GUPTA: Thanks, guys.

HARRIS: And still to come this morning in the NEWSROOM, the warming planet a hot topic in Washington today. President Bush wrapping up an international climate conference. Will he deliver a message to some countries who don't want to hear?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Buddhist monks in Myanmar making their mark this week. The robed monks at the forefront of massive protests against one of the world's most repressive military regimes. It's unfolding in the country once known as Burma.

Their bold stance prompting tens of thousands of people to take to the streets against the government. Troops reportedly responding by shooting at protesters, rounding up monks, and sealing off their monasteries. The government weary of the monks' moral authority.

HARRIS: An autopsy set this morning on a woman's body found in a Chicago suburb. The badly decomposed body found in Calumet City, Illinois.

A car earned by Nailah Franklin was found in nearby Hammond, Indiana. Authorities will try to determine if the body is that of Franklin.

The pharmaceutical rep has been missing since September 19th. A television station reports the body is Franklin's, but the family issued a statement saying the body has not been officially identified. Franklin recently complained to police about threatening phone calls from a man she once dated.

COLLINS: Stuck on the tarmac for hours and hours, they finally got off their airplane, only to be put back on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had no food, no water. Nobody is telling us anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Babies were crying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no toilet paper.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: We've heard a lot of these stories lately.

Air travel horror story coming your way after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

HARRIS: The bottom of the hour.

Welcome back, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Tony Harris.

COLLINS: Hi, everybody.

I'm Heidi Collins.

Among our top stories this morning, she may have had only one day to live. Then a police detective followed a trail broken underbrush to the wreckage of this car. Inside, a Washington woman who had been missing eight days. Today, 33-year-old Tanya Rider is intensive care. She's suffering from kidney failure and her husband says doctors may have to amputate a leg.

Her husband says he was about to take a polygraph, apparently as a suspect in her disappearance, when a cell phone tower picked up her signal.

He appeared earlier on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING")

TOM RIDER, HUSBAND OF WOMAN FOUND: But this little cell phone beep saved her life. And I wish they had done it earlier.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN, "AMERICAN MORNING" CO-ANCHOR: They tell us those are private records and even you being her spouse can't release those cell phone records.

RIDER: I think something ought to be done to change that because had they pinged her cell phone when I first asked them to, she wouldn't be in the condition she is now. She wouldn't be fighting for her life. She would probably have, you know, the minor injuries that she had -- a broken clavicle, a cut on her forehead and, you know, be leaving the hospital tomorrow, instead of looking at I can't imagine how long a recovery.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Tonya rider's car was only about 20 feet off the highway, but it lay buried beneath heavy brush and blackberry bushes.

HARRIS: A bail hearing next hour for the two men at the center of a mystery at sea. They chartered a fishing boat. It's four member crew members disappeared. The Coast Guard ending a five day search last night. Kirby Archer and Guillermo Zarabozo were found in a life boat near the empty fishing boat. Zarabozo told investigators pirates killed the crew. Investigators highly skeptical.

COLLINS: Nevada authorities step up their search for a sexual assault suspect and his child victim. The Nye County Sheriff's Office releasing enhanced photos of the man now. The pictures taken from a videotape. It showed the man performing sex acts on the girl. She is believed to be four or five-years-old. Authorities are trying to identify her. They've gotten more leads since releasing the tape. So if you have any information, you can contact authorities at findchild@nyesheriff.net.

Kind of a long address there. Take a good look at it. Or you can call 775-751-7500. You can also leave tips on the "America's Most Wanted" Web site -- www.amv.com. -- America's most -- "AMW," that would be, right? HARRIS: Yes.

COLLINS: It should be. It's "VG" here, but it should be "AMW". I'm not quite sure. You guys, we're going to check on that.

The phone number 1-800-CRIME-TV.

HARRIS: There you go.

COLLINS: The sheriff's office plans a news conference a little bit later today. But you don't have to wait for that. We're going to be talking to the sheriff right here in the CNN NEWSROOM during the 11:00 a.m. Eastern hour.

HARRIS: Climate change -- a global threat with no global consensus on how to solve it. President Bush next hour announcing his plans. He's at a conference in Washington.

CNN's chief technology and environment correspondent Miles O'Brien.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MILES O'BRIEN, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY & ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The science is solid -- a warming earth could mean dangerous changes in the years ahead. But when science collides with politics, the chemistry isn't always pretty. And White House pronouncements on a warming earth have been all over the map. Head to head with Al Gore in a 2000 presidential debate, candidate Bush wasn't so sure about global warming.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Global warming needs to be season very seriously, and I take it seriously. But science -- there's a lot -- there's differing opinions. And before we react, I think it's best to have the full accounting -- full understanding of what's taking place.

O'BRIEN: Then, before the election, Bush promised to force limits on greenhouse gas emissions. But in an interview a year later with CNN's John King, Vice President Cheney asked for a do-over on that promise.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a mistake, because we aren't in a position today to be able to do that, in terms of sort of capping CO2 emissions.

O'BRIEN: This year global warming was back on the front burner, making the A-list for the State of the Union Address.

BUSH: These technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.

O'BRIEN: No one expects a breakthrough from this meeting, but the president's supporters say it couldn't hurt. HENRY PAULSON, TREASURY SECRETARY: I don't see how it could be anything other than a positive, and I believe Prime Minister Blair will agree, to get the major economies of the world, to get the nations that are responsible for 80 percent of the carbon emissions.

O'BRIEN: But even Bush's first EPA administrator says the U.S. has left the impression that it won't lift a finger to help.

CHRISTIE WHITMAN, FORMER EPA ADMINISTRATOR: He said we're out of here, gone, and we're not going to regulate climate. And the rest of the world interpreted that as flipping them the bird, frankly, on an issue which they cared a great deal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: So the U.S. is rejecting mandatory restrictions. So is China and so is India. Those are the three big greenhouse gas emitters. And a lot of climate scientists would say unless there are mandatory caps and unless those three big greenhouse gas emitters agree to them, the climate could face a situation where it reaches a tipping point and could go out of control.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

Miles O'Brien at the State Department. We will be talking to you around the president's remarks next hour right here in THE NEWSROOM.

Good to see you.

Thanks.

Rob Marciano is in the hurricane headquarters for us this morning. Rob, what are we looking at now?

(WEATHER REPORT)

GOP and African America's debate, no shows racing questions about race in the Republican Party. We'll take a closer look at it -- politics in black and white.

The mortgage meltdown leaving some homes in a mess -- abandoned and neglected trash.

What this could do to your property value. It can't be good.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: OK, ramp up that music -- Friday. Getaway day. We're pod casting today. Mike, show them in the room, the team working. Richie Griffith (ph) is there and Bob Coleman working -- well, Bob is not working on the pod casting, but we can enlist him to help us.

(LAUGHTER)

COLLINS: Bob is not working.

HARRIS: No.

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: Maybe we can get him to help on the pod cast. We do it every day for you. It's available 24-7. All you do is you go to CNN.com and you download the CNN NEWSROOM daily pod cast.

Do it today. Special stuff in there for Friday. You don't want to miss it.

COLLINS: Is the Republican Party out of touch with African- Americans?

Top Republican presidential candidate no shows at a forum last night on minority concerns.

The moderator says it sends a message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "OUT IN THE OPEN")

TAVIS SMILEY, MODERATOR, PRESIDENTIAL FORUM: When you say no to every black and brown request you receive, is that a scheduling problem or is that a pattern?

And I think it's pretty clear that it's a pattern. Why that pattern exists, you have to ask them. But one cannot deny that they're trying to go -- these frontrunners, these Republican frontrunners -- are trying to go through this entire primary process and never have to address voters of color and never be queried by journalists of color. And I think, in the most multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic America ever, that, quite frankly, is unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Let's talk about the history of blacks and the GOP now with Michael Fauntroy.

He's the author of "Republicans and the Black Vote."

Thanks for being with us, Michael.

Listen, tell us a little bit about the historical relationship between the GOP and African-Americans.

MICHAEL FAUNTROY, "REPUBLICANS AND THE BLACK VOTE": Well, I think it's a very interesting one. When the Republican Party was founded, it was founded on pretty liberal social principles -- interrogation, the abolition of slavery and so on. And during Reconstruction, the party had literally unanimous African-American support. And so you go from that to a circumstance in which you now have nearly unanimous African- American opposition to the Republican Party and you have to wonder how this happened. And so...

COLLINS: Nearly unanimous.

FAUNTROY: Nearly unanimous. COLLINS: What is the evidence to support that?

FAUNTROY: Well, if you look at the black newspapers that were writing of that era, you'll see that they're all writing in support of the Republican Party. And the 21 first African-Americans elected to the House of Representatives during Reconstruction were all elected as Republicans. And so that's the history that the party sort of works from with regard to African-Americans.

And you fast forward to 2007 and you see that things are going in the wrong direction.

COLLINS: OK. So nearly unanimous in that you're talking about newspapers, but not as a population as a whole?

FAUNTROY: No, no, no. I'm talking -- when you look at newspapers and you look at what was going on in the African-American community at that time, you see that the support was nearly unanimous.

COLLINS: What are the biggest issues that minorities face in that -- the ones that they would really like the GOP to listen to and to address?

FAUNTROY: Well, I think it's important to note, first, that African-Americans are interested in many of the same issues that everyone else is interested in. So, you start there and then add things like criminal justice reform, health care access, educational opportunities. And the Republican Party needs to focus on those issues and give African-Americans a sense that they, A, understand African- Americans' situation in that regard and, B, will have some policies in place that could make a difference.

COLLINS: What does it say to you that the current administration -- I mean there are certainly some African-Americans who hold significantly powerful positions -- of course, Colin Powell; we've got current secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.

FAUNTROY: Well, I think it's notable and I think it's laudable and I think that the president should be applauded for that. But when you look at the rest of the administration, as my colleague at George Mason, Jerry Mayer, often says, the Republican Party, at the top levels, looks like America. But you look at the rest of the Republican appointees throughout the government and it looks like white America.

And so that's a problem -- and not just at the White House, but the campaigns, particularly of those who chose to miss the forum yesterday, are going to have to look at the staffing issues. I've spoken with African-American Republicans in the last week and one of the things that they criticize these campaigns for is not having any significant African-American presence in decision-making positions.

COLLINS: Really?

I find that shocking.

All right, well, Michael Fauntroy, we certainly appreciate your time here today.

FAUNTROY: Thank you.

GERRI WILLIS, PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: I'm Gerri Willis.

Foreclosures in your neighborhood could make you lose your home's value. We'll tell you what you can do.

That's next in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: A sign of the times -- the foreclosure sign. And when some homeowners walk away, they leave a mess behind.

Personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, on the ugly side of the mortgage meltdown.

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GERRI WILLIS, PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR (voice-over): These mosquitoes are a byproduct of the mortgage meltdown.

But what does one have to do with the other?

In Gilbert, Arizona -- everything.

(on camera): So, Liz, tell me about this neighborhood.

How old is it?

Who lives here?

LIZ: The neighborhood is about 12-years-old. We have a lot of working middle class families who live here, who have been in the homes since they were built.

WILLIS: So it's been here a while. Pretty stable, and yet I see one, two, three, four "for sale" signs just on these two small streets.

LIZ: I think a lot of that is people who bought in 2004 or 2005 for investment purposes. And now that there's so many houses on the market and their interest rates are adjusting, they can't get rents to cover it. So they're trying to sale.

WILLIS (voice-over): Those who can sell, do. But more and more homeowners just walk away. Unable to make their mortgage payments, they abandon their homes, often leaving behind more than just an empty house.

(on camera): Oooh, it's really stinky in here.

LIZ: That would be some pets that were left in the house.

WILLIS (voice-over): In this case, the landlord defaulted on the mortgage without even telling the renters, who kept paying on time every month. When they were evicted, they decided to take some of the appliances for compensation.

LIZ: There was someone in here who was frustrated they were leaving and they decided they didn't want to clean it up.

WILLIS (on camera): Oh my gosh, there's food all over the place. Just like junk just thrown down and left.

LIZ: Yes.

WILLIS (voice-over): Liz is left with cleaning up the mess, usually at her expense, hoping she'll get compensated by the bank that owns the mortgage -- if the house sells. But the picture is bleak for many Maricopa County neighborhoods. One in every 242 households was in foreclosure last month. That's up nearly 200 percent from a year ago. In neighboring Chandler, it's just as bad.

Greg Carr is a sergeant with Neighborhood Services for the police department. He is in charge of finding the owners of the abandoned homes and getting rid of those mosquitoes we told you about.

GREG CARR, NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES SERGEANT: You look along the side. You can see the larvae over here.

WILLIS: In Arizona, a neglected pool becomes an ideal breeding ground for West Nile Virus. Sergeant Carr and his inspectors try to avoid that.

CARR: And we can't wait for somebody to get bit or stung or, you know, get sick while we try and find out who owns this. We have to get in here and take care of the problem right away.

WILLIS: One way to do that -- mosquito-eating fish.

CARR: That one's going town already.

WILLIS: But mosquitoes aren't the only concern. Bruce and C.J. Knutson live two doors down. And like many in this neighborhood, they are worried what an abandoned property will do to the value of their home.

BRUCE KNUTSON, LIVES NEXT TO ABANDONED PROPERTY: I think it's terrible. I think somebody ought to do something about it.

WILLIS: That somebody is Sergeant Carr.

CARR: Well, we can always clean up the property. It's kind of satisfying, though, when you can track down somebody that's aggressively trying to not be found. They're playing the system. And then we do have some of those. And it's gratifying when you can go through your investigation process and find them and bring them into court and make them pay their fine or make them pay for the cleanup. That's justice.

(END VIDEO TAPE) WILLIS: Well, this isn't just a local Arizona problem. Last week, law enforcement officials from around the country met in Pittsburgh for a seminar on how to deal with abandoned properties.

COLLINS: Yes, it's really sad. I mean, even when you walk around and look here in our city, I mean there's just "for sale" signs all over the place. And foreclosure rates, though, are still rising, as you said, across the country.

How can you protect yourself and your own property from feeling those effects?

WILLIS: That's a great question. You know, just because you're making your mortgage payments on time doesn't mean you won't be impacted by foreclosures. In fact, for every foreclosure in your immediate area, you lose about 1 percent of the value of your own home.

COLLINS: Yes.

WILLIS: But there are some ways you can protect yourself and your neighborhood. For example, team up with neighbors to maintain the property before it becomes an eyesore. Mow the lawn, pull the weeds at abandoned properties. Think about starting a neighborhood watch. You don't want the property next door to turn into an eyesore or a safety hazard. And if the foreclosed home is unsafe, call the police or the sheriff's office, they step in with when the property's condition risks the public health -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Wow!

Yes, that's a great idea.

What about, though, if you, yourself, are on the brink of foreclosure?

Where can you look for help?

I'm sure there are some organizations out there, yes?

WILLIS: Oh, absolutely. If you're at the brink of foreclosure or even in the process now, contact the Homeownership Preservation Foundation at 888-995-HOPE. The Department of Housing and Urban Development also has a phone number where you can call and get set up with a counselor, 800-569-4287 to get assistance in your community -- Heidi.

COLLINS: OK. And this weekend, " OPEN HOUSE" will be coming our way.

I know you're working hard on it.

Are we going to hear more about these foreclosure situations?

WILLIS: You bet. You know, we'll have the latest on the mortgage meltdown. Plus, a move to help Latino homeowners that could help everybody in uncovering America. And with problems in the housing market, many folks are becoming landlords whether they want to or not. We have some advice for those people.

That's Saturday, 9:30 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

And, of course, on "HEADLINE NEWS," if you can't get up that early, 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

COLLINS: Oh, everybody is up early on the weekends, right?

Sock her.

All right, Gerri.

WILLIS: Thank you.

HARRIS: This woman stuck in a ravine for eight seemingly endless days. Her husband overjoyed with the rescue.

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RIDER: She had a tear in her eye when she saw me. It was a mixture of many feelings and one of them was why couldn't I find her?

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HARRIS: Man. Boy, that hits your heart. Tonya Rider, her incredible will to live. She is fighting for her life this morning. We will update the story for you after the break.

COLLINS: A backhoe driver making an ATM stop?

Talk about a large withdrawal. He takes, yes, the entire machine with him.

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COLLINS: Stuck on the tarmac for hours and hours. They finally got off their airplane -- only to be put right back on.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had no food, no water, nobody is telling us anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

Babies were crying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no toilet paper.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Air travel horror story, ahead. HARRIS: You know, for most people work comes before play. But one man now walking the halls of Capitol Hill had his fun first.

CNN's Ali Velshi has his story in today's Life After Work.

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ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's fall in Washington and Heath Shuler is back under center. But this time he's quarterbacking a team of his fellow U.S. congressman practicing for a charity game. You see, Shuler's new playing field is the U.S. Capitol.

REP. HEATH SHULER (D), NORTH CAROLINA: True leaders lead by example in the way that they can stand for it and say look, you can follow me. You can follow me. We can do this together. And I think we just have to have more people that will have the courage to stand up and reject their own party when they feel that the party is wrong.

VELSHI: Shuler's independent streak is part of the reason he got elected last November as a conservative Democrat from North Carolina. But he's better known for his days as a star quarterback at University of Tennessee and a brief NFL career.

His road to politics started when a major foot injury in 1997 forced him to think about life after football.

SHULER: I knew at that point I needed to have a new direction in my life, that football wasn't going to be here forever. I needed to have that plan for my life going forward.

VELSHI: Shuler retired from football and built a successful real estate business with his brother, but a part of him felt unfulfilled.

SHULER: I never had intentions to be a member of Congress.

It was, what can I do to help my community?

And my community suggested that I put my hat in the arena to be a member of Congress.

VELSHI: And so Shuler continues to learn the Washington playbook as he works on issues that are important to him -- the environment and assisting small businesses. And he's already made plans for the future. Shuler says he's running for reelection in 2008.

Ali Velshi, CNN.

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