Return to Transcripts main page


Fresh Chance At Peace?; NFL Star Dies; When Candidates Collide; "Baby Grace"

Aired November 27, 2007 - 10:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has something to be truly thankful for. A completely recovered, healthy five-year-old boy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really a miracle. And there's no other way to describe it. You just know how thankful and what your blessings really are, you know. And every single day, you know, hug and kiss your kids because in the second, you know, it can change. And so I'm very thankful for that.


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. You'll stay informed all day right here with CNN. Here's what's on the rundown now.

A promising life and career cut short by a bullet. NFL star Sean Taylor dies. Who killed him and why?

President Bush about to raise the curtain on another Middle East peace summit. Live from the U.S. Naval Academy.

And no debate about this. Some of you are weirdos. CNN/YouTube debate rejects. Also a serious preview coming up, this Tuesday, November 27th. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Hi hopes, plenty of criticism and some tough choices as well. Mideast leaders looking for peace today in Annapolis, Maryland. The summit begins just about one hour from now. CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry is in Annapolis.

So, Ed, what is the president's role in all of this?

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, he's the host. And this is the best shot at peace in seven years, in part because President Bush is taking a more hands-on approach. In fact, right now he's in what they call a trilateral meeting with Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

He has a motive, of course, to get more engaged right now. His legacy is under fire in large part because of the war in Iraq. So helping to broker any sort of peace agreement in the Mideast would, obviously, be historic. It would be monumental for this president. Any president in fact.

The White House says there's another motive here. There's another reason. They believe the time is finally ripe for peace in the Mideast, in part because Yasser Arafat is now off the stage. President Bush did not want to negotiate with him for years. But also because now at the table you have Syria, you have Saudi Arabia. The White House believing that shows Arab states now want to try to neutralizer the influence of Iran in the region.

And Mr. Bush will say today, according to excerpts we've received, that there's a battle underway for the future of the Mideast he will add "our purposes here in Annapolis is not to conclude an agreement. Rather it is to launch negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. For the rest of us, our job is to encourage the parties in this effort and to give them the support they need to succeed."

So clearly you can see in that excerpt the president trying to lower expectations that there will be some sort of a grand agreement that will emerge from these talks today. But the bottom line is, even if there's some sort of framework for an agreement that emerge this is week, the key is going to be what happens next week and the week after. Right now the Israeli and Palestinian leaders are very weak back home. Even if there is a deal, it's going to be very difficult for them to make the concession and then sell it back home.


COLLINS: Yes, one interesting thing, though, certainly, Ed, is it not, that there are 43 countries now that are going to be participating in all of this. I think a lot of people are hoping anyway, and there's certainly been talk for quite some time about what all of this could mean should there be progress when you're talking about Iraq.

HENRY: Absolutely. I mean, the war in Iraq, obviously, has made the situation in the region more difficult to say the least. The White House feels that trying to bring democracy to Iraq obviously in the long run will help. But in the short run, the situation has become much less stable.

Then you have the influence of Iran growing throughout the Mideast and around the world. Iran also having militants cross the border into Iraq, making that situation even more volatile. The White House hoping that, as you noted, by getting all of those nations to the table here, especially key Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Syria, that maybe you can finally neutralizer the influence of Iran in Iraq and all around the world.


COLLINS: All right. CNN's Ed Henry coming to us live from Annapolis this morning.

Ed, nice to see you. Thank you.

Mideast leaders meeting in a city with a lot of history. Annapolis, founded almost 360 years ago on the banks of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay. The city figured prominently in the colonial era. In fact, it was briefly the nation's capital. Today, Annapolis is perhaps best known as the capital of Maryland and home of the U.S. Naval Academy.

We are going to be hearing from President Bush, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert next hour. Their remarks live in the NEWSROOM 11:00 Eastern.

A big player in the Mideast not invited to today's peace summit. Iran not on the guest list but on the agenda. That story still ahead right here in the NEWSROOM.

Meanwhile, back on the job today, Vice President Dick Cheney arriving at his office just after 7:00 this morning. That after being diagnosed yesterday with an irregular heartbeat. Doctors used an electrical current to get the vice president's heart beating again with a normal rhythm. The 66-year-old Cheney has a history of heart problems. He's had four heart attack since 1978. A spokeswoman says Cheney has resumed the normal schedule.

Hours of anguish, brief hope and now a tragic end. NFL star Sean Taylor loses his life after he is shot at this south Florida home. CNN's John Zarrella is outside the hospital now where the Washington Redskins player died earlier this morning.

John, good morning to you.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi. That's exactly right. Police are confirming for us that Sean Taylor died this morning at 3:30 a.m. here at the Ryder Trauma Center. Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center. His family at his side at his time of death.

This follows the shooting early yesterday morning at his home south of Miami, in the area called Palmetto Bay, when someone broke into his house, shot twice -- broke into his bedroom, shot twice, once missing him, the second time hitting him in the femoral artery. Extensive bleeding.

Police are now telling us that, in fact, they are treating this as a homicide investigation. That investigators at the scene, who have been there for the last 24 hours, are saying that "there are clear signs of forced entry." They are also trying to find out if there is any connection between what happened early yesterday morning and a break-in at Taylor's house eight days ago.

No one was home at the time of the break-in eight days ago but there were apparently, according to his attorney Richard Sharpstein, some items taken. Perhaps jewelry. And there was also a kitchen knife left on the bed during that break-in where drawers were gone through, a safe, many rooms ransacked.

And then yesterday morning, again, Taylor grabbing what -- a machete from under his bed, going to the bedroom door. By the time he gets there, someone or more than one person, don't know, burst into the room. He is shot and bleeds out.

Also reports, Heidi, that perhaps the phone lines were cut. That coming from the Washington Redskins and also from his attorney, Richard Sharpstein. So the investigation now in full swing but Miami- Dade County police telling us that, in fact, they are now treating this as a homicide investigation.

In Washington, D.C., late yesterday, a vigil held, prayers said in hopes that he would pull through this but there was just too much extensive damage, Heidi, and too much blood loss. At the very least, they thought he might sustain some brain damage. But what happened was the very worst. Sean Taylor, 24 years old, all-pro safety for the Washington Redskins, dying here at 3:30 a.m. this morning at Ryder, Jackson Memorial Hospital's trauma center.


COLLINS: Yes, it's really a shock, John. Quickly before we let you go, we had an opportunity to speak with Richard Sharpstein ourselves here, as you said the former attorney and family friend of Sean Taylor. Boy, a machete under the bed. There had been this potential forced entry back on November 18th. I'm just wondering if police are trying very hard to link those two and where they'll go next with all of this?

ZARRELLA: Right. Well, you know, police are saying very, very little about the investigation. I can tell you this, they're not steering us away from the fact that the phone lines may have been cut. They're not confirming that, but they're not steering us away from that. They are trying to see if there is any link between those two incidents, the one on the 18th and then last night when Taylor, his girlfriend and their baby were in the house. And again, those were the only three people in the house. She was hiding under the sheets, under the covers, when this all went down. So no one got a look at whoever burst in and shot Sean Taylor to death.

COLLINS: Wow. Well, certainly a lot of questions. We know you'll be working hard on it for us. All right, CNN's John Zarrella. Thanks so much, John.

A famous aviator missing for months now. His estate worth millions. Now his wife wants a judge to declare Steve Fossett dead. Fossett took off from a Nevada air strip back in September. He was headed to California but never made it. His plane has not been found. A preliminary NTSB report says Fossett died in a plane crash in the mountains. Peggy Fossett's lawyer says it's painful for the family to ask that Fossett be declared dead, but it has to be done to get the estate settled.

The winds are kicking up in parts of the country. Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras is joining us now live.

And something else kicking up behind us here, Jacqui. I don't know if you can hear that. We assure you, everything is all right in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Drinking and driving. Don't do it. Even on a backhoe. We'll have the story for you ahead in the NEWSROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Heidi Collins.

Clever disguise, but not so fast. The terror suspect all dressed in white.


COLLINS: More than a two-man race. All the GOP presidential candidates will get their turn at tomorrow night's CNN/YouTube debate. But as our Dana Bash reports, the Romney/Giuliani battle has been taking focus on the campaign trail.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Day three for Rudy Giuliani in New Hampshire and his new rhetorical rumble with rival Mitt Romney.

RUDY GIULIANI, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do a mandate? What happens? People don't buy more health insurance, they end up getting tax.

BASH: Giuliani did he not name Romney or his Massachusetts health care plan there, but he didn't have to. The campaign trail is crackling with the two trading barbs over everything from health care, to crime, to the economic record.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He came in, there was a budget gap. But when he left, he left a budget gap twice as big as the one he inherited.

BASH: Giuliani is ahead in the national polls, but still behind Romney in key, early contest states like New Hampshire, which votes in just six weeks. Running out of time means the jabs are now more personal. Giuliani lit into Romney for appointing a judge who later release add convicted killer.

GIULIANI: I think that this whole appointment of a judge goes to a much bigger point that Governor Romney had a very poor record of dealing with murder and violent crimes as governor.

BASH: Romney responded by going after Giuliani's judgment, support for long-time friend Bernard Kerik, indicted on corruption charges.

ROMNEY: He put somebody in place as commissioner who had a very questionable past and then recommended to the president of the United States this person be made the secretary of Homeland Security despite the fact that he, at this point, was under investigation.

BASH: But this is nowhere near a two-man GOP race. In Iowa, Mike Huckabee is neck and neck with Romney and he's trying to seal the deal. MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Mitt was saying that he was OK with same sex relationships and would do more for same sex couples than Teddy Kennedy, I was taking the completely different position.


COLLINS: Dana Bash joining us now live from St. Petersburg, Florida.

Dana, it's getting a little nasty between the Republican White House hopefuls. I guess it's expected about this time of year, right?

BASH: It sure is. You know, and it's interesting. You know, we, of course, are waiting for tomorrow's CNN/YouTube debate. I was at the last Republican debate here in Florida in October and that was noteworthy for how aggressive the candidates were in terms of going after each other. But now, Heidi, there are only 37 days left until the very first votes in the Iowa caucuses. So we do expect tomorrow's debate to be a lot more spirited. But the dynamics, of course, will be quite different because the candidates are going to be taking questions from real people.

And, in fact, 4,926 questions were submitted on YouTube. They're expected to get about 40 or 50 questions. And, you know, we learn from the last YouTube debate back in July, the Democratic debate, that that has the potential to throw the candidates off the regular talking points. What they come in, what they prepare to talk about and that certainly makes it a lot more interesting, especially at this point in time when they really are on their talking points. They're very specific about what they want to say to the public about their own records and about their rival's records, as well.

COLLINS: Yes, I think that's why people like to watch it because it doesn't seem quite so canned. I mean they really have to think on their toes and we like that.

All right, CNN's Dana Bash live for us in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Dana, thank you.

And your voice will be heard tomorrow night at the Republican YouTube debate, 8:00 Eastern only on CNN. Your home for politics.

Want the most up-to-the-minute political news anywhere available. is your one-stop shop. Today's topic, the Republican gloves are off. Mitt Romney says to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, "you're no Reagan." Get behind the scenes details from CNN's best political team on television and see why it's the Internet's premier destination for political news,

An Iraqi bride all dressed in white. Her groom by her side. But troops in Iraq say things weren't as they seemed. They stopped the procession just north of Baghdad and found four wanted terror suspects. The bride, who's really a man, the groom, and two wedding party guests. Officials say troops knew something was up when a car in the wedding convoy wouldn't stop. That suspicion confirmed once soldiers lifted the bride's veil.

A boy sent home for misbehaving at school, then he does the right thing. He helps save a life.


COLLINS: Looking for answers in a little girl's death. Relatives who knew Baby Grace as Riley are mourning her today. CNN's Christy Henry reports.


SHERYL SAWYERS, RILEY'S GRANDMOTHER: It's hard to think that I'll never see her again.

CHRISTY HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Police in Texas have tentatively identified their Baby Grace as two-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers of Ohio. Last month a fisherman found the little girl's remains in a storage box in Galveston Bay.

ROBERT SAWYERS, BIOLOGICAL FATHER: She had a very big imagination. I mean, for such a little girl, she could play with anything.

HENRY: Riley's father says he hasn't seen his daughter since her mother, Kimberly Trenor, left the Cleveland area last spring. Investigators say she went to Texas to be with Royce Clyde Zeigler II, a man she met online and later married. Riley's grandmother called police after she saw these sketches. She says Trenor told her family that a social worker from Ohio showed up in Texas last July and took Riley away.

S. SAWYERS: She claimed that this social worker knocked her down and took her child. It didn't make any sense.

HENRY: Trenor and Zeigler are charged with injury to a child and tampering with physical accident. According to a police affidavit, Trenor told, in explicit detail, how she says both she and Zeigler physically abused the little girl and disposed of her body a month or two later. Zeigler's attorney had this to say.

WENDELL ODOM, ZEIGLER'S ATTORNEY: This is a horrible case and I don't think my client's a killer. But what the general public can't get over in this case, and what we're all shocked at, is the manner that this baby was found.

HENRY: Christy Henry, CNN, Atlanta.


COLLINS: He held on for a day, but this NFL star couldn't beat a bullet. Now the search for a killer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Heidi Collins. Tony Harris has the day off.

Sean Taylor, his legs carried him to stardom with the Washington Redskins in the NFL. A bullet wound to one of those legs cost him his life. Taylor died this morning, one day after he was shot in his Miami home. The bullet struck his femoral artery and he lost a great deal of blood before he reached the hospital. Last hour we heard from Taylor's friend and former attorney.


RICHARD SHARPSTEIN, SEAN TAYLOR'S FRIEND: The door was burst open, later Jacqui (ph) tried to call 911 and it's unclear whether the phone lines were cut or the phone was broken or off or unplugged or turned off. She had to use her cell phone to eventually call 911.


COLLINS: Police are not saying whether they think Taylor's home was targeted at random.

Here's a closer look now at Sean Taylor's football career. The south Florida native was a stand-out at the University of Miami and named an All American in the 2003. In the NFL draft next year, he was the fifth overall pick. Sense then he was fined at least seven times for late hits and other penalties. He also faced legal troubles off the field. An assault case and a DUI charge that was later dismissed. Last year he played in his first pro bowl. This season he had five interceptions, tied for the NFC lead.

Iran not on the guest list, but definitely on the agenda at today's Mideast peace summit in Maryland as CNN's Aneesh Raman explains.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the midst of Tehran, it's hard to miss Palestine Square and its monument of Palestinian resistance. Iran has incredible influence with Hamas, which, of course, controls Gaza, and similar influence on Iraq's Shiite-based political party. The U.S. says they are even destabilizing Iraq by supplying weapons and training to Shia militias. And if that wasn't enough, the West believes Iran is also pursuing nuclear weapons. The Islamic Republic denies it, but Israel isn't buying it.

MIRI EISIN, ISRAELI GVT. SPOKESWOMAN: They are not as close as they would like the world to believe, but they are not as far away as would make us comfortable.

RAMAN: In Iran, the Palestinian cause is always been linked with an antagonism towards Israel, and you see it virtually everywhere. Right now, we're just off a main highway that runs through Tehran, and across it is a mural with a portrait of Hamas's spiritual founder, Sheikh Yassin. But just above it, a familiar slogan "Down with the USA and Israel." Many Iranians say that Palestinian cause is about helping fellow Muslims, but a disastrous economy riddled with unemployment is raising deep concerns here about the money leaving home. The help should be given inside Iran says this is woman, not to the Palestinian people. We need help. There's poverty and unemployment.

With all that at stake for Iran's president, Annapolis is another welcome challenge to see if President Bush can influence a conference of its neighbors including allies like Syria. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants failure because it will show America cannot affect the Mideast, but Iran can.


COLLINS: Aneesh Raman is joining us now from Tehran. And Aneesh, I wonder, is Iran upset that Syria has actually gone to Annapolis to participate in this discussions?

RAMAN: Yes, it was, Heidi, for Iran. Perhaps the most disturbing element if Syria was attending because they have an alliance and because there was a fear that Syria going would wedge that alliance. But Syria is really giving a no cause for concern. Today, the Syrian foreign minister actually called and round the ambassador in Damascus, said Syria only went to talk about the Golan Heights and said that the Syrian government already thinks this conference is a failure.

So Iran really is feeling no threat of being isolated out of this conference. It's saying it's doomed for failure, and it's really only growing stronger if nothing comes out of that conference because Iran feels it's the one that needs to be at the table to help broker any peace -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. So then, what is Iran's government reaction over there so far? I mean, do they think this is just kind of a joke, or what are they telling you?

RAMAN: They think this is all about President Bush and Israel and that all of these leaders from the Sunni Arab government, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan are all risking credibility in their own country by going to a conference that Iran expects and Hamas as well won't amount to much.

Now the problem, of course, is Iran is always played the Palestinian side more rhetorically than practically. In fact, Hamas wants it won by giving them money. But Iran says how can you have lasting peace between Israel and the West Bank? But Hamas and Iran don't recognize Israel so how do you really bring them into the fold? So the status quo has always been good for Iran because it's been able to use the Palestinian cause as something to rally the larger Muslim world against Israel.

COLLINS: All right. CNN's Aneesh Raman joining us live from Tehran this morning. Aneesh, thank you.

We are going to be hearing from the key players in the Mideast talks later this morning -- President Bush, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Their remarks live in the NEWSROOM, 11:00 Eastern.

And Michael Vick news this hour coming up of a court in Surrey County, Virginia just a short time ago. An April 2nd trial date set for the jailed NFL star on state dog fighting charges now. Vick was not in court, though. He's awaiting sentencing December 10th for a federal dog fighting conviction. Today's court action took about five minutes. Vick's attorney asked for a jury trial on the state's charges.

Remember that fake news conference FEMA held on the California wildfires last month? Well, it turns out something similar has happened before with another government agency.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve has more.


JULIE MYERS, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: My first impression, this is a tremendous agency.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Julie Myers first ever press conference as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in February of 2006. Reporters were not the only ones asking questions. A member of the ICE's Public Affairs staff chimed in, officials believe with this question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us in your opinion have we put a dent into border violence?

STEVE GEIMANN, SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS: It's not their job to ask the questions. It's not their job to pose as reporters, to pose as a journalist, to try to make it appear as if the agency is doing its job or the agency is on top of the situation. That's the job of a free and independent press.

MESERVE: Homeland Security officials say the staffer was told not to ask a question by a supervisor. She did any way and was subsequently reprimanded though she still works for ICE. Officials say Myers called on her thinking she was going to end the press conference, not ask a question, but Myers answered anyway.

After that phony FEMA press conference in October where staffers asked all the questions, members of Congress wanted to know had it happened before? A DHS investigation uncovered the Myers' incident.

You are talking about two different circumstances here says the official who conducted the probe, adding neither are acceptable in any way. Both are embarrassing and regrettable.

Official DHS policy is that no staff member should ever ask a question at a press event period. It's a policy that's been underlined repeatedly since the FEMA fiasco in hopes of preventing more red faces.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


COLLINS: She let the students name the class teddy bear. Now, the teacher could learn a cultural lesson the hard way.


COLLINS: What the candidates won't have to answer at tomorrow night's CNN/YouTube debate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're really drunk, would you hook up with Ann Coulter? You know, maybe you just won the election. This is the after party.


COLLINS: Questions that didn't make the cut, just ahead.

Back on the job, Vice President Dick Cheney arriving at his office just about after 7:00 this morning. That's after being diagnosed yesterday with an irregular heartbeat. Doctors used an electrical current to get the vice president's heart beating again with a normal rhythm.

The 66-year-old Cheney had a history of heart problems. He's had four heart attacks since 1978. A spokeswoman says Cheney has resumed his normal schedule.

To get the daily dose of health news online, log on to our Web site. You'll find the latest medical news, the health library and information on diet and fitness. That address:

Stocks are now in what's called a correction phase after yesterday's big drop. Susan Lisovicz on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to tell us what that means and whether we should actually be worried about it, and I think no matter what you say, people are going to be worried -- Susan.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, these things do happen, Heidi. I mean, there's always this tension between the bulls and the bears, the buyers and the sellers. You really do need both in a healthy market place.

And right now, it seems that the bears have the upper hand. But the most common definition of a correction is a 10 percent drop from the most recent highs. And at the close yesterday, we saw all three major averages enter a correction phase. That is quite different from a bear market which is a 20 percent drop. But if you want to be pessimistic about it, that would be halfway there.

You know, the S&P also, by the way, which is the broadest of the three major averages, closed in the red for the year as well. And S&P is important because a lot of our 401(k) investments are tied to that. But corrections do happen. In fact "The Wall Street Journal" says that there have been 43 of them since World War Two, and that one in four of them become bear markets. So most of them actually don't go into the bear market territory. The last correction, by the way, Heidi, was 2003, leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

COLLINS: Well, what is this particular correction telling us?

LISOVICZ: Well, that's a very good question because there are worries, just like there were worries leading up to that war. The worries here are plentiful. We reported on them many times. Higher oil prices. Lower home prices. Tighter credit. And we have news on those fronts today.

First of all, let's talk about oil prices plunging $3 today on speculation that OPEC will raise supplies at its meeting next week. And that could bring relief to a lot of us so that is obviously good news.

Bad news on the home prices front. A closely watched report that came out about an hour and a half ago shows the largest quarterly decline in home prices in the 21-year history of the S&P Kay (ph) Schuller (ph) index. It also showed the second consecutive biggest year over year decline. So bad news there. We haven't seen the light at the end of the tunnel.

As far as lending, well, we went from this era of easy money to credit tightness. And that led to a lot of pressure on our biggest financial companies but there is some relief for the nation's largest financial companies.

Citigroup getting some breathing room. Abu Dhabi investors are taking $7.5 billion stake in Citi. It will become the largest single shareholder, the largest shareholders. The second largest shareholder is Prince Al-Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. So when you think about those two, those two investors alone have a 10 percent stake in Citigroup. So it shows the power of oil money.

But the power of lower oil prices is helping the market rally today big time. We're seeing triple digit gains. A nice come back after the sell-off we saw yesterday. The Dow right now, very close to its highs, up 104 points. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, is rallying as well. It's up 26 points. Interestingly enough, Citigroup after that injection is down about 1.5 percent. The financial sector as a group is rallying, but Citigroup shares have been hammered all year down.


LISOVICZ: Forty-five percent year to date, Heidi, and still down today. So still some concerns about Citi out there.

COLLINS: Yes. No question about that. All right. We will be watching those numbers. We'll talk with you again in about an hour, Susan.

LISOVICZ: You've got it. Right.

COLLINS: And see how they are doing. Thank you.

A teacher in trouble this morning because of a teddy bear. CNN's Phil Black explains.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gillian Gibbons is a teacher at Khartoum's Unity school. It is a British international school, co-educational and multi-faith. The 7-year-old students were asked to choose a name for a class teddy bear by voting. The winning suggestion was Muhammad.

A member of the Sudanese government has told CNN, some members of the school community considered that offensive to the Muslim prophet.

MUTRIF SIDDIG, UNDER SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SUDAN: To give the name of Muhammad to this teddy bear, it was considered an insult by some parents. And this school is mixed. It's not all Christian students.

BLACK: The 54-year-old teacher has been arrested, accused of blasphemy. Under Sudan's Muslim law, she could be punished with up to 40 lashes or time in jail.

Gillian Gibbons former colleagues in the English city of Liverpool were shocked to hear of her predicament. They describe her as a respected teacher, committed, and conscientious.

RICK WIDDOWSON, FORMER COLLEAGUE: I think she is doing it out of all innocence. All I know is that Jill wouldn't go out of her way to offend anybody.

GILL LANGWORTHY, FORMER COLLEAGUE: She is a very adventurous woman. You know, she likes to do things by the norm, and she's always been a fabulous traveler. She will just travel anywhere and really immerse herself into the culture.

BLACK: If Gillian Gibbons can prove she didn't mean to offend Sudan's culture, the government says she could be free without penalty.

SIDDIG: We are having a very efficient system, and we will be considerate to the intentions. If the intentions are good, definitely she will be absolved.

BLACK: But colleagues at her school in Khartoum say they fear Gibbons will pay a high price for allowing children to name a teddy bear.

Phil Black, CNN, London.


COLLINS: Wrong side brain surgeries. Three times in a year at one hospital. Punishment announced.


COLLINS: Bad brain surgeries. The hospital has been fined $50,000 after three separate incidents of doctors operating on the wrong side of the patient's head. All cases happened this year at a Rhode Island hospital. The most recent with an 82-year-old patient on Friday. He's OK along with a man operated on in February. But a third patient died in August prompting an independent review.


DR. DAVID GIFFORD, DIR., R.I. DEPT. OF HEALTH: They made changes in the operating room and for the most part implemented those. But this did not seem to translate out for procedures done outside of the operating room.


COLLINS: In a statement released yesterday, the hospital said "We are committed to continuing to evaluate and implement changes to our policies to help ensure these human errors are caught before they reach the patient."

Screaming across the field. A North Carolina boy heard it and saved a life. Christi Lowe, our affiliate WRAL reports.



CHRISTY LOWE, (voice-over): It was a sound unlike any other that caught Jonathan Pounder's attention. A painful cry for help coming from a nearby field.

POUNDER: Someone is getting hurt.

LOWE: Jonathan's family ignored the scream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we just thought the donkeys got loose and one of the helpers were screaming for someone else to help him.

LOWE: But this 12-year-old who has ADHD and bipolar disorder begged them to investigate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was insisting that we had to go down there.

LOWE: What they found was a gruesome scenario.

POUNDER: He was hanging by his arms like that.

LOWE: A farm worker had both arms caught in a corn combine, and the machine was still running.

LOWE (on camera): The farm worker had reached in to knock down a pile of corn when the rollers grabbed hold and pulled him in.

POUNDER: It was gross.

LOWE: Jonathan ran for help while his mom called 911, and grandma turned off the machine. It took two jaws of life and at least a dozen firefighters to free the worker who was airlifted to UNC Medical Center. The man round up losing half his right arm, but he will survive. Thanks largely to the alert ears of this young boy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think God spoke to him to get him down there.

LOWE: Jonathan refuses to take credit. He just wants to meet that man again and make sure he's all right.

POUNDER: I just want to see how he's doing.

LOWE: Christi Lowe, WRAL News, Sampson County.


COLLINS: Wow. Jonathan wasn't even supposed to be home when he heard the screaming. He had been dismissed from school for acting up in class.

Busted on a back hoe. This is one DUI story you got to hear. Kevin Lasquade is accused of stealing a back hoe from a construction site in suburban Boston then leading police on a chase. Police say he hit one parked car just missed some others and finally pulled over. And after all of that police say, Lasquade told them he wasn't driving the back hoe.

She's the queen of talk shows, and now she's taking to the campaign trail for Barack Obama. But can Oprah Winfrey make an impact? Here now, CNN's Mary snow.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It marks a first for talk show queen Oprah Winfrey. She is plunging herself into politics in a way she hasn't before, hitting the trail and campaigning for Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama.

JENNY BACKUS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Oprah Winfrey brings not just a wow factor but a wow factor to anybody out on the trail, and that's what this means for Obama.

SNOW: Winfrey already endorsed Obama last spring.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Well, he's young, was worth me going out on the limb for.

SNOW: She held a fund-raiser for him at her California home that raised millions for his campaign, but now her support for him has been ratcheted to a new level.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This creates excitement and an event. Hopefully, we can attract some people who might not otherwise be interested in politics.

SNOW: The prime target, women.

KEATING HOLLAND, CNN POLLING DIRECTOR: Hillary Clinton simply seems to be the woman's candidate regardless of race. I think that's what Obama may be really trying to reach is women.

SNOW: Enter Oprah Winfrey. She'll campaign for two days in December in the early voting states of Ohio, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. In Ohio, the Winfrey events are open to the public. But to secure a ticket, people are being asked to either volunteer four hours to the Obama campaign or attend a caucus training. Winfrey is no doubt drawing attention to Obama, but some political observers are skeptical her support will translate into votes in a state like Iowa.

STUART ROTHENBERG, THE ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: Well, Oprah Winfrey has terrific ratings and very high favorables. I think Iowans are going to depend on their own judgment rather than hers.

SNOW: But sometimes a star surrogate can have sway. Just look at the Clinton camp. It's star surrogate Bill Clinton, even went on the Oprah Winfrey show in recent months to tout his new book.

Is Oprah a better surrogate?

OBAMA: Bill Clinton is a great surrogate for Hillary as well. If he wanted to endorse me, I would take it. I don't think he will.


COLLINS: And be sure to watch tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern when your voice will be heard. The Republican YouTube debate only on CNN, your home for politics.

A toast to peace. President Bush about to welcome 43 nations to a Mideast peace summit.


COLLINS: No debate about one thing. Some of the questions are just too dumb for tomorrow night's CNN YouTube debate. But we made Jeanne Moos show them to you any way.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember when Mitt Romney had doubts about doing a YouTube debate because he didn't think it was dignified to take questions from a snowman. Well, how about questions from a devil? Or an Elvis wannabe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I might as well joke to you, but this is no joking matter.

MOOS: Or a ninja.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, I'm just filing my nails. MOOS: But don't worry, Mitt, CNN producers are unlikely to subject you to the chicken lady for VP, with a singing snake. In fact, we can almost guarantee that candidates, they won't have to say yes or no to questions like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're really drunk, would you hook up with Ann Coulter? You know, maybe you just won the election. This is the after party.

MOOS: We combed the 5,000 or so entries for questions that are stunningly superficial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do any of you wear toupees that's fake hair?

MOOS: Shockingly sophomoric.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it to save the world?

MOOS: Completely incomprehensible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does it feel like to be a funky fresh pimp (ph)?

MOOS: And totally irrelevant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see this senseless movie? If so, did you like it?

MOOS (on camera): Watch enough of these YouTube debate questions and you will fear for the future of the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Frankenstein.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, this is me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am the ghost of Richard Nixon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, America, it's me, Christopher Watkins.

MOOS (voice-over): An impersonator gave Rudy a hard time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you keep bringing up 9/11 in all of your speeches?

MOOS: Rudy in particular.


MOOS: Seemed to get a lot of jokey questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's my girlfriend. Yes, dear. This is Giuliani. I was wondering if you had any response to the idea that your call at the NRA speech was staged.

MOOS: Of course, comedy teams like Red State Update got into the act.

DUNLAP, RED STATE UPDATE: So my question to you is this, what in the hell are we doing? Is this the best we got? Look around. It is like a wax museum of failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it may some day be possible for humans to see, hear, and send images and sounds back and forth to each other's brains without using a telephone by just thinking back and forth?

MOOS: From rambling to concise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe every word of this book?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you could be any kitchen appliance, what would you be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever been in a fist fight?

MOOS: Save for it the debate.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


COLLINS: Nice. If you would like to see more submissions for tomorrow night's debate, check out You can also get the latest from the campaign trail. The political ticker and more of that at And of course, be sure to watch tomorrow night, 8:00 Eastern when your voice will be heard. The Republican/YouTube debate only at CNN, your home for politics.