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Storm Hits Central New York; Gillian Gibbons Home in England; President Bush on Point; Holidays and Heart Attacks

Aired December 4, 2007 - 09:00   ET

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


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.

Watch events come into the NEWSROOM live on Tuesday morning. It's December 4th.

Here's what's on the rundown.

First wind, now flooding hits Oregon and Washington. Twin Pacific storms pound the coast.

And she went to Africa for adventure and got jail time instead. A British teacher home today after teddy bear trouble.

Neighbors divided, burglars dead. Can you take lives to protect property that is not yours? Our guest explores this hour.

Shoot to kill -- in the NEWSROOM.

From the Northeast to the Northwest, people are waking up and dealing with deadly and destructive storms today. Washington and Oregon under states of emergency this morning. Heavy rains and hurricane-force winds have pounded the region. Two people were killed in accidents blamed on the storm.

Water, trees, rocks and mud are now covering roads. A section of Interstate 5, the main route between Seattle and Portland, still shut down. Helicopters use global positioning systems to find people stranded on their roofs.

Bad weather also slamming the East. Rain, ice and snow are blamed for more than a dozen deaths from New York to Maine.

Many students in Upstate New York are staying home today. They'll have a lot of snow to play in, too.

Reporter Kelly McPherson of our affiliate WSYR is joining us now live from Syracuse.

Hi there, Kelly.

KELLY MCPHERSON, REPORTER, WSYR: Hey, Heidi.

Many of the schools in central New York have shut down today because of the snow. We've been out here in this spot in the suburb called DeWitt since 4:30 this morning and the snow has not stopped.

We'll show you the roads. They're looking still pretty messy for everybody, but people are still venturing out to go to work this morning.

Plows have been through. They've been trying to clear out as many roads as possible. This road that we're on is one of the more major roads in central New York, but the side roads, the neighborhood streets, are still pretty snowed in and everyone is still dealing with it.

As you can see, it is still snowing here this morning. And see, today is really the first day of the season for central New Yorkers to deal with the cold temperatures, the wind and the constant lake-effect snow, but, of course, they are pretty used to that lake-effect snow with where we're positioned here. But every year, it seems to still surprise us when we get to the first day of the season when there is so much snow to wake up to in the morning, and it doesn't want to seem to end today. That is for sure -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Boy, it looks like it. All right. Kelly, thanks so much, giving us an idea how things look there. We appreciate that.

(WEATHER REPORT)

COLLINS: In fact, when weather does become the news, you can see it here on CNN. If it's happening outside your window, send us your photo or videos if you can. Just go to CNN.com and click on "I- Report," or type ireport@CNN.com right into your cell phone.

Overseas now. She is looking for a job, but maybe not in Sudan again. Gillian Gibbons now back home in England. She is the teacher who was jailed after letting her students name a teddy bear "Mohammed."

Our Paula Hancocks is in Gibbons' hometown of Liverpool this morning.

Hi there, Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Heidi.

Well, Gillian Gibbons arrived this morning back in Britain and was pretty much straight in front of the television cameras. She said that she was happy and relieved to be back.

We know her son and her daughter went down to London to greet her in Heathrow. But she also said she was very bewildered, not only at the media reaction to this and the publicity it has received, but also the fact that this could of happened in the first place.

She said she is just a primary school teacher and was staggered that this situation had snowballed to such an extent. But she did have nothing but good things to say about Sudan and the Sudanese people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GILLIAN GIBBONS, JAILED OVER TEDDY BEAR NAME: I wouldn't like it to put anybody off going to Sudan. In fact, I know of a lovely school that needs a new tier-two teacher.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANCOCKS: So you can see that she still kept her sense of humor throughout this entire ordeal. In fact, that's what we've been hearing from British authorities.

We know that the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, spoke to her this morning. They all say that she has an amazing character, being able to keep a sense of humor in this kind of a situation, but she did say it was terrifying when she was in prison. In fact, she said that was an understatement.

Now, we are expecting her back here in her hometown of Liverpool, possibly with her son and daughter. Her son's house is behind me. And you can see she has a certain welcoming committee from the world's media to contend with as well -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Yes. We certainly can see that. Boy, I just can't imagine how relieved her family is though to have her back.

Paula Hancocks, appreciate it. Thank you.

And this hour a bond hearing in Miami for suspects in the killing of NFL player Sean Taylor. They were transferred from Ft. Myers last night. Three of them are due in court right about now. A fourth will be going through juvenile detention.

All four face charges of murder, armed burglary, and home invasion. The Washington Redskins star was shot last week during a break-in at his Miami area home. He died the next day.

An update in the racially-charged case of the so-called Jena Six. Mychal Bell, the last of the jailed teens, has struck a deal with prosecutors. He has entered a guilty plea to a battery charge in juvenile court.

His lawyer says the deal could get him out of jail by June. Bell and five other teens were originally charged as adults in the vicious beating of a white classmate. Thousands gathered in Louisiana to protest the handling of the case. The beating came during heightened racial tensions at the high school.

We need more -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates getting the message today from his Afghan counterparts. Gates meeting U.S. military and Afghan government officials in Afghanistan today. Both telling him about the need for additional equipment and trainers to help with the security situation.

Afghan and western officials say this has been the most violent year in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. That violence seen today when a suicide car bomber targeted a NATO convoy in Kabul. The attack came not long after Gates had passed along the same road. NATO says 22 civilians were wounded by the blast.

President Bush on point and on offense. Next hour he holds a news conference. Democrats in Congress and startling new insights about Iran's nuclear weapons program expected to be the topics.

CNN's Kathleen Koch sets the stage now for us this morning.

Hi there, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Heidi.

Well, I am happy simply to be able to be here to preview this press conference because it had been standard White House practice to give the media only about an hour's notice of this sort of thing, but yesterday morning, White House Press secretary Dana Perino announced this press conference saying that the president has actually given her some latitude to try something new. So we're certainly appreciative of this.

And what we're being told is the president will open his press conference at 10:10 with a four-to-five-minute statement on what Congress needs to accomplish before the end of the year. So it will certainly echo much of what he said in the Rose Garden yesterday.

We're told he will, first of all, encourage Congress to pass a bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The president also wants his domestic wiretapping program extended beyond February 1st when it expires.

He will be asking Congress, we're told, to adjust the alliterative minimum tax that has been increasingly impacting more and more middle class families. And then the president will also urge lawmakers to pass the rest of the so far unpassed appropriations bills to fund the federal government for 2008.

But as you mentioned, it is certainly safe to say that the majority of the questions will focus on this national intelligence estimate that came out yesterday that, despite the administration's insistence that Iran has been bent on acquiring a nuclear weapon, that actually this -- the NIE found that Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program as of 2003.

Now, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley says that President Bush himself was informed of this likely conclusion back in August or September, yet he still went forward with remarks, including that one in October -- the president's reference that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War III. So there'll be a lot of questions about that -- about that analysis, how it contrasts with what the administration's been saying and certainly the impact it could have on securing more United Nations sanctions against Iran -- Heidi.

COLLINS: And also very interesting, as you were mentioning off the top there, Kathleen, these no-notice press conferences, or at least very little notice press conference have been the norm for such a long time. Is there anything to read into about this change? Is it specifically regarding this NIE and the issue of Iran? KOCH: Well, we certainly know that the president did not take questions yesterday after the Rose Garden ceremony because they were planning on this press conference today and knew that the media would have a lot of questions about this intelligence estimate. But as to announcing in it advance, we don't know if this was something, again, that was influenced by Dana Perino herself, simply wanting to give we in the media the ability to be a little bit better prepared and more professional.

Being a little nicer to us, I guess. Who knows?

COLLINS: Who knows? All right. Well, Kathleen, that's right. We will certainly have this news conference.

We appreciate that from you as well.

Also want to let people know, remind them, the president's news conference is scheduled to begin at the top of the hour. We're going to be carrying it live right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A mystery of nature this morning. What set off a 450-pound Bengal tiger that mauled a man who was cleaning its cage? It happened at a California animal sanctuary run by actress Tippi Hedren, star of Hitchcock's "The Birds."'

She tells the AP the mauling was a terrible shock. The 40-year- old worker is said to be in critical, but stable, condition.

Neighbor protecting neighbor, or one man playing judge and executioner? Two burglary suspects are dead and an angry debate raging in Texas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Some news into us here now in the CNN NEWSROOM. T.J. Holmes is working on it for us.

And T.J., I understand there has been a plane crash somewhere in Delaware.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, this is New Castle, Delaware. This is really the northern tip there.

We have at least one person dead in this small plane crash. The pictures here just amazing, really. You can't even make out the wreckage.

This was such a crash, believed that the impact was just with such force that the plane here burst into flames and pretty much burnt up. And we are told that one person was killed, believed to have burned to death in this crash.

But, again, New Castle, Delaware, very northern tip of the state there. It happened around 7:30 this morning where this happened. And firefighters and other rescue crews were actually called to the scene because there was a report of smoke coming from a plane that had just taken off, was the word.

And then we had the crash a short time later, and pretty much they were able to get the fire out in about 15 minutes or so, so not too long. But still, it was just such a blaze that this is all that is left. Again, believed that one person, according to officials, actually burned to death in this crash.

Not known -- or not believed that anyone else was on the plane. Just one person, and not believed that anyone else on the ground was injured in the crash as well.

So there were some pretty high wind gusts, pretty high winds in the area at the time. Not really sure if that played a factor in this crash. But again, the word was that there was smoke coming from the cockpit of this plane, and that is why officials were initially called out. And then we had the crash a short time later. But the pictures there, you just can only imagine about the impact of that crash and the ensuing fire because, really, Heidi, there, you can't even make out the wreckage of a plane at all.

COLLINS: No.

HOLMES: But one person dead in a plane crash in New Castle, Delaware, today.

When we get more word on exactly -- or what may have happened or any more about it, we certainly will pass it along to you -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Great. Thank you, T.J.

HOLMES: All right.

COLLINS: A busy day, a big meal, and maybe an eggnog or two. Now you're not feeling so terrific, are you? Chalk it up to the holidays, or should you be actually worried about your heart?

Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is here now with more on this.

Really? What is the deal?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, there's a couple of things we know for sure, and that is that the number of people who have heart attacks actually goes up in December and January. There have been a few studies have shown that. The question for a long time is why.

COLLINS: Yes.

GUPTA: You can point to the obvious things -- lots of rich food, alcohol seems to increase at this time of the year, climate. You know, people in northern climates seem to -- you know, shoveling snow maybe for the first time.

COLLINS: Yes.

GUPTA: But what's even more...

COLLINS: Stress. Where is the stress, too?

GUPTA: Stress, yes. People certainly have stress, especially when you have to visit your family, you haven't seen them for a long time.

But something else seems to play a role here which I found very interesting. And that is just simple denial.

People are more reluctant to actually go see the doctor, for example, because it might disrupt a holiday gathering. They may forget their medications when traveling from one place to another, or just simply be in a strange city and not know how the hospitals there -- where they are or have their own doctors.

Those things can all play a role, and it seems like a pretty big role. And also remember, the symptoms of a heart attack very classic. A lot of people talk about the shortness of breath, for example, chest pain, light-headedness, though, nausea. And so -- now people, you have nausea, you just had a rich meal, you have nausea, and now you attribute it to the meal when, in fact, it could be heart attack symptoms. Heartburn, that's another one, vomiting, even, arm discomfort. Those things all play a role.

COLLINS: Now, should we be weary of the fact if you just have one or two of those symptoms, not -- do you need to have them all?

GUPTA: You really -- no, you don't need to have them all.

COLLINS: OK.

GUPTA: You can have just one of them. And sometimes it can be very vague.

And in women, for example, it can be different than men. Women might have just a feeling of fatigue.

COLLINS: Yes.

GUPTA: Who doesn't have that, especially this time of the year from time to time? If you have a history of heart disease, if you're concerned about this, start to develop some new symptoms, no matter where you are, no matter what kind of family gathering is going on, you need to get this checked out. This might be one of the most important things we talk about.

COLLINS: Yes. It's so scary, too, because we -- a lot of us feel a lot of those different symptoms. Yikes. Very scary.

When you talk about the food, though, because we are all going to be indulging here, how much of a factor do those rich foods really play in this?

GUPTA: Well, you know, a lot of people say to me, put those rich foods in your body, does it immediately start coating your arteries? Well, it's not that simple, as you might imagine, but it can increase your blood pressure, it can increase your heart rate, especially rich foods.

Even more of a problem, probably, is high sodium foods, foods with a lot of salt. Maybe you've experienced this, Heidi. You may get some swelling, you may get some swelling in your hands or your feet from just eating very salty food. That can also have an impact on your blood pressure and heart rate.

So if you're someone, again, who is worried about their heart and has a family history, you've really got to watch it this time of the year, even though you want to indulge.

COLLINS: Oh yes, definitely. I wonder, though, do hospitals, because of these numbers and they realize that more people are being treated, do they make changes before the holidays come?

GUPTA: We asked that same question, and it turns out they do and they are sort of making changes all year long. Let me briefly tell you, is that there is something called room to balloon time.

So as soon as you hit the emergency room door, if you're having heart attack symptoms, you want to open up those blood vessels with a balloon. What hospitals strive for is 90 minutes. Get the person from the door of the emergency room to the balloon in 90 minutes.

COLLINS: Wow.

GUPTA: That is what a lot of hospitals strive for, and a lot of them are doing it.

COLLINS: Room to balloon in 90 minutes.

GUPTA: Room to balloon.

COLLINS: Wow. All right. Well, I did not know that.

Thank you.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appreciate it.

GUPTA: Thanks, Heidi.

COLLINS: And now, do interest rates on your credit cards keep going up even when you pay your bills on time? Congress may be ready to come to the rescue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Young people in love, and police say all in their neighbor's wallets. Edward Anderton (ph) and Jocelyn Kirsch (ph) seemed to have it all, but Philadelphia police say the couple's jet- setting lifestyle was paid for with other people's money.

The couple charged with identity theft, among many other counts. Police say a search of the couple's home turned up thousands of dollars in cash, fake drivers' licenses, credit cards and keys to neighbors' apartments and to mailboxes. Police say the alleged fraud over the past year alone adds up to more than $100,000.

It's not clear if the suspects have hired attorneys. Both have posted bond.

Well, many credit card holders are seeing their interest rate shoot up, even with a perfect payment history. Now Congress is telling the banks to fix it before lawmakers do.

Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business" and joins us now.

Hey there, Ali. This is not very good news.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SR. BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No. You know what it is? You kind of expect it if you've had late payments or you've missed payments that your credit card rate might go up, and that is part of the agreement. What's happening, and it has happened for a few years, is that your credit score can go down for reasons unrelated to your payment of your credit card.

So you could be having a perfect payment history, but for some other reason, like maybe you go to a department store and you open up a department store card to take advantage of some promotion, just the act of getting more credit will lower your credit score. And what's happened to some people is their credit card rate, their interest rate, has shot up as a result of that, sometimes to as high as 25 or 30 percent.

Now, there is a hearing going on right as we speak in Congress. They are hearing from regular people who have had this experience and from some of the credit card issuers. But Senator Carl Levin has said if the banks don't fix this voluntarily in 2008, Congress will impose some restrictions on credit card companies raising rates just because of a credit score.

COLLINS: So Ali, is this something that they all do?

VELSHI: Well, Citigroup has already said that it has stopped doing this, and JPMorgan Chase -- Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase are two big credit card issuers. Chase has said it will stop doing it in March.

But yes, the biggest companies do still do this. And I think under this sort of light of a congressional hearing and some rumbling from Congress, it might put pressure on them to voluntarily change that habit.

Congress isn't saying that you can't increase rates for valid reasons, but the idea that your credit score goes down, some people are saying, is not that valid of a reason. Now, contrary to that is some banks say that is a valid reason because your credit score is a snapshot of your credit worthiness, and if you have too much credit available to you, that could risk the money that you've got, the balance you have got on your credit card. The Federal Reserve has also said that they want 45 days notice before a credit card changes the interest rate, and a good reason why.

COLLINS: Yes. Wow. All right. Well, we've got to watch our credit card bills for sure.

VELSHI: Yes. That's right.

COLLINS: All right. Thank you, Ali, "Minding Your Business" this morning. Nice to see you.

VELSHI: See you, Heidi.

COLLINS: Nukes or no nukes? Cold water thrown on the red-rot rhetoric. The president's Iran policy and a new intelligence report.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: New talk this morning on an old issue. A new U.S. intelligence report saying Iran stopped its work on nuclear weapons four years ago.

Our Aneesh Raman is the only U.S. network correspondent in Iran.

And Aneesh, we want to know what Iranians are saying about this new report.

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hey, Heidi. Good morning.

The top official we've heard from so far is Iran's foreign minister, who essentially said he congratulates the U.S. on correcting their estimate in terms of Iran's intentions. Other Iranian officials have called it a confession.

Of course, the Islamic republic welcomes it. It further bolsters their contention they're pursuing peaceful civilian nuclear energy. And a key member of parliament linked it all to a U.S.-Israeli strategy to politically isolate Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAEDDIN BOROUJERDI, IRANIAN PARLIAMENT (through translator): The Americans are no other choice but to admit to the reality of the Iranian nuclear issue, along with the international community, and I think that this is an important report. By this report, the attempts of the Zionist lobbies in the United States who tried to wrong by exaggerate Iran's nuclear issue have been weakened, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What is interesting, Heidi, is who we have not heard from. Not just Iran's supreme leader but the country's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who tends to seize upon these moments. It seems Iran is laying low for the moment. The reason, it wants Russia and China to digest this report. They are veto members on the U.N. Security Council just as U.S. and France and England are trying to push for a third round of sanctions over Iran's nuclear defiance ideally in their time frame by the end of the year. While both Russia and China have strong trade ties to Iran, this report makes that sell harder because a key argument the U.S. has been making is urgency that the time is now to stop the Iranian threat. We know today, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator was in Moscow for talks and we know immediately following the release of this report, Chinese foreign minister directly called the U.S. secretary of state so the direct implication diplomatically at least for the U.S. is what happens if the U.N. Security Council what kind of sanctions can they now get, if any. Heidi.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes that does seem to be the question. I'm also curious too that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not spoken. Is there any talk that he is going to come out at some point and make reference to this?

RAMAN: Yeah. I would assume, at some point, we'll hear from him. He had a speech earlier today, so he had an opportunity but chose not to address this issue. At some point, I think we'll have him actually come out. But, again, I think what Iran is waiting for not just Russia and China but how do the varying political entities in Iran digest this report and they will react to that and they don't feel the need to bolster the statement navy made before, not yet at least.

COLLINS: Interesting. All right. CNN's Aneesh Raman reporting from Tehran, thanks so much, Aneesh.

Just a reminder, we are waiting for President Bush's news conference that is scheduled to begin at the top of the hour. You will see it live right here in the NEWSROOM.

Nasty morning commute shaping up in western Washington State. Reporter Lori Nixon of affiliate KIRO has the scene in Centralia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LORI NIXON, KIRO: Helicopters in the sky. National Guard troops on the ground. Much of West Lewis County is under water. Submerged cars sit idle and so do residents who can only wait for the river to digress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mom tells me that far under water.

NIXON: Parts of the freeway have been swallowed by the river. Dikes have given way in other parts of the county, compounding problems. And in downtown Centralia, streets have become rivers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't come down to look to see how bad it is because you're going to get yourself stuck in a place where you may not be able to get out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Wow. Messy, to say the least, isn't it? Rob Marciano is standing by in the weather center now to tell us more about this winter storm that is slamming the northeast. Rob, are you with us? ROB MARCIANO, ATMS METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, I'm here. I'm trying to get some stuff together. We have two storms and we're gathering the pictures are amazing from either side of the continent.

COLLINS: Yeah, look at that.

MARCIANO: This is out of Dewitt, New York, which is near Syracuse. They are getting the lake-effect snow action and this coupled with the storm that came through just the other day which dumped a ton of snow across parts of upstate New York and upstate Vermont and New Hampshire and now Maine. The front-loaders are out with the removal of big-time snow there in parts of upstate New York.

Here it is on the radar scope. They are under a lake-effect snow warning for parts of Syracuse up to Watertown. The bands are coming down and some are getting down to the New York City area. Shouldn't be much of an accumulation there but definitely ribbons of snow beginning and trying to make their way in that direction. All right. Take a look. Keep looking at that for a second. This thing is not in play. We'll talk more about what is going on around other spots of the country.

We have some weather delays at some of the airports. I want to highlight those. LaGuardia had some and San Francisco had some as well. Those two big airports under an hour plus delays. Mostly because of wind and weather. Rainfall in San Francisco has been intense this morning. Rain that Portland and Seattle got has slid down toward parts of California. Here it is from Portland up through Seattle. Still flood warnings out although most of the rivers at least in Oregon have crested and they're still getting rainfall here. This is not helping the situation. The good news is that the winds have died down. Over 120-mile-an-hour winds yesterday. My goodness. Rainfall heavy at times across the San Francisco bay area. By the way, with those big winds, they have kicked up some big-time swells and some surf. We could see 20 and 30-foot waves crashing into the coastline from Santa Cruz all the way up to the coastlines of western Washington today. Maybe we'll have pictures tomorrow of the crazy surfers out there taking a ride on some of those big waves.

COLLINS: Because they always do, don't they?

MARCIANO: They do.

COLLINS: All right. Rob, thank you. We'll check in later on. Appreciate it.

Is one candidate breaking through by breaking the ice? There may be more to Mike Huckabee's humor than just fooling around. Here now is CNN's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ho, ho, Huckabee. He's leading the pack when it comes to laughs whether he is commenting on weapons of mass destruction. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just because we didn't find them doesn't mean they didn't exist. We haven't found Jimmy Hoffa either but we know he exists.

MOOS: Or answering a You Tube question about space.

HUCKABEE: Maybe Hillary Clinton could be on the first rocket to Mars.

MOOS: It's easy to laugh at his name. A "The New York Times" columnist wrote the first thing you notice about Mike Huckabee is that he has a Mayberry name and a Jim Nabors face. He sticks it to his name with a bumper sticker.

HUCKABEE: My plans to security the border, two words. Chuck Norris.

MOOS: That's right. Chuck for Huck.

CHUCK NORRIS, ACTOR: Mike Huckabee wants to put the IRS out of business.

HUCKABEE: When Chuck Norris does a push-up, he isn't lifting himself up. He is pushing the earth down.

MOOS: We're not talking about a guy who's funny. We're talking about a guy who seems to be using his sense of humor as a campaign strategy, using it to deflect tough questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The death penalty. What would Jesus do?

HUCKABEE: Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office, Anderson. That is what Jesus would do.

MOOS: He never did say what Jesus would do about the death penalty Huckabee supports. He is a conservative, guitar-playing, Baptist preacher. Though he is no Jimi Hendrix or even Bill Clinton on a sexy sax. But Huckabee is someone average folks can relate to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huckabee is compassionate and lost a lot of weight

MOOS: 110 pounds, to be exact.

HUCKABEE: When they're kicking you in the rear, it's just proving you're still out front.

MOOS: Sayings that sometimes get him in trouble.

HUCKABEE: I'd have to be sitting in a warm tub of water with some razor blades in both hands at this point.

MOOS: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention objected to that one. On the Huffington Post new humor web page, we found a video with liberal closed captioning. With subtext with the preacher's down home humor. HUCKABEE: I'll tell you what, if we do, I got a few suggestions and maybe Hillary could be on the first --

MOOS: Even liberals are raptured by his jokes.

HUCKABEE: I'm Mike Huckabee and I approved this message, so did Chuck.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

COLLINS: There you have the opening bell for today this Tuesday in December. Today, we are looking at those numbers right now off the top. Dow Jones industrial average is down about 68 points, resting now at 13,245. We will have our usual business stories coming up in just a few minutes. I'd like to talk about the holiday spending and shopping season and find out what the word is on that. We'll get to Susan Lisovicz on that shortly.

Meanwhile, burglars at his neighbor's house. This man took action.

OPERATOR: Mr. Horn, do not go out the house.

JOE HORN: I'm sorry. This ain't right, buddy.

OPERATOR: You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with that gun. I don't care what you think. Stay in the house.

COLLINS: A community divided over a shoot to kill law. Our guest unravels it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: The president and the press in Iran and Iraq. Headliners for President Bush's news conference will be coming your way live at 10:00 eastern right here in the NEWSROOM.

Is it a case of vigilante justice? The Texas homeowner shoots and kills two men suspected of breaking into his neighbor's home. The case sparked angry protest outside the Pasadena home of Joe Horn. Somepeople support him and others want him prosecuted. Here is Horn's 911 call to police just before the shooting.

HORN: He's coming out the window right now. I've gotta go buddy. I'm sorry but he's coming out the window.

OPERATOR: Don't, don't, don't go out the door. Mr. Horn? Mr. Horn?

HORN: They just stole something. I'm going out the window. I'm sorry.

OPERATOR: Don't go outside.

HORN: I ain't going to get them get away with this (EXPLETIVE). They stole something. They've got a bag of something.

OPERATOR: Don't go outside the house.

HORN: I'm doing it.

OPERATOR: Mr. Horn, do not go out the house.

HORN: I'm sorry. This ain't right, buddy.

OPERATOR: You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with that gun. I don't care what you think. Stay in the house.

HORN: You wanna make a bet? I'm gonna kill 'em.

COLLINS: A closer look now at the case. Its main player and how his decision to pull the trigger is affecting the town. John Suayan is a reporter for the Pasadena Citizen newspaper in and joins us from Houston. Thanks for being with us. So many questions surrounding this case. What the man did with regard to this law. We'll get to that in just a moment. But tell me more about what is going on in Pasadena. We've seen some video of what looks to be a pretty divided town.

JOHN SUAYAN, REPORTER, THE PASADENA CITIZEN: Divided, yes. There seems to be a mixed bag of opinions in regards to the Joe Horn incident. One side, you have people who feel that he was just helping out a neighbor. While, on the other side, you have people who feel that he should go before a judge for what he allegedly did.

COLLINS: Is there some debate there also about racism? When you look at some of those signs from the protests, it seems like that issue has come to the forefront of this case as well.

SUAYAN: There seems to be an underlying debate of racism. Joe Horn is a white man and the men that he shot were dark-skinned. So with this incident, it is likely that race will be one of the aspects talked about with this.

COLLINS: Certainly talked about. But is there any evidence that Joe Horn would not have acted the same if the men were not African- American?

SUAYAN: That, I don't know, Heidi.

COLLINS: I wonder what kind of a picture we have of Joe Horn, what kind of a guy he is. Is there a past criminal record of any kind?

SUAYAN: I do not know if he has a past criminal history. But based on what I've spoken to a few people, Joe Horn is not -- some people tell me that Joe Horn is not a violent man, he's a family man. He is a loving man who would do anything for the next guy.

COLLINS: Horn's attorney has told us before that Joe Horn was provoked by the burglars who, excuse me, I said earlier they were African-American. They are Puerto Rican to correct that. When you listen to the 911 call he sounds like he was pretty provoked to begin with.

SUAYAN: It sounds like he wanted to take some action. At the same time, he is hoping that someone, law enforcement would come and help him. That's why in the earlier in the tape, he said hurry up, will you? Send somebody to catch these guys.

COLLINS: Quickly, I want to get to this Texas law. Because this has been a very big part of this case and even we have heard Joe Horn on that same 911 tape actually refer to it so I want to get this out. It took effect September 1st and it contains this provision we are going to put on the screen now. The law also provides civil immunity for a person who lawfully slays an intruder or attacker in such situations. To your understanding, and the reporting that you have done on this, was Mr. Horn's action legal or illegal?

SUAYAN: I'm sorry. Could you repeat the question, Heidi?

COLLINS: What have you heard about this new law that came into effect on September 1st? Whether or not Mr. Horn's actions were legal or illegal?

SUAYAN: That, I would not know, Heidi. I'm not well-versed in law, nor am I an attorney.

COLLINS: I just thought there would be quite a bit of reporting whether or not that law would come into play here. We appreciate your time this morning, John.

SUAYAN: Thank you.

COLLINS: An armored car heist. The FBI says it was a familiar family affair and they say it ended here in a rented West Virginia trailer. That's where they arrested a former employee of the armor car company and his mother and girlfriend. Agents say they recovered most of the $7.4 million that was missing.

If you're trying to get your driver's license, don't crash your car here. Think about it.

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COLLINS: You already know to catch us weekday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until noon eastern but did you know you can take us with you anywhere on your iPod? It's cool. Check this out. I have a new iPod thingy dingy that is awesome. Try to download that to your iPod.

Three suspects in the shooting death of NFL player Sean Taylor denied bond a short time ago. The court appearance comes as new details come up online. CNN's Deborah Feyerick explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The four suspects charged in the Sean Taylor murder all had pages on Myspace. That's not unusual. Take a look at pictures presumably posted by two of the young men. 19-year-old Jason Mitchell on the left, 17-year-old Eric Rivera, Jr. on the right both flaunting wads of cash. Detective Eduardo Roque works the gang unit with the city of Miami police.

DETECTIVE EDUARDO ROQUE, CITY OF MIAMI POLICE: Most of these kids what they want to do is portray themselves as being really bad because it's in style right now. So what they do is they will portray themselves as one of the baddest boys in town and they live in this virtual world within their computer that they believe they could be just about anybody.

FEYERICK: On his Myspace page, suspect Jason Mitchell posts a prison mug shot. His lawyer said he did not know about the Myspace page until we called and says Mitchell was in jail for driving with a suspended license. He says the pictures and text are part of the street culture bragging about money, drugs, guns. But Mitchell also posted photos writing, "Looken for a scheme." Another, "Tryn to get rich," and "Thankin of a master plan." In his last entry, Mitchell listed his mood as, "curious." That was Thursday. The day before he was arrested.

ROQUE: A lot of kids nowadays want to live this gangster lifestyle. A lot of it is seen on videos and the games they play so they want to portray this gangster lifestyle and want to portray this in Myspace.

REYERICK: On his Myspace page, Rivera, a high school football player, is seen on a bed covered in cash with a caption that reads, "This is how I sleep after a good day." His lawyer, who also represents Jason Mitchell, dismisses the picture saying Rivera is an impressionable teenager influenced by the culture of the street. As for the two other suspects, Charles Wardlow had three Myspace pages one of them covered with images of money and Venjah Hunte last logged on to his Myspace page in October. Deborha Feyerick, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Are you feeling smart today? Not so fast. Find out what happens when chimps face off against humans.

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COLLINS: We are waiting for President Bush's news conference. You see a live shot there of the White House. It is scheduled to begin of the top of the hour and we will be carrying it live here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A lot of people have harrowing tales from their days in driver's ed but you truly have to feel for this guy or gal. A car marked student driver crashed into a building in Houston, not just any building either. It was the public safety department. The car hit right at the driver's license office! Nobody was hurt. We don't know who was behind the wheel, whether it was actually a student driver or not, but put the pieces together and it just makes you kind of want to think for a second. Yikes. Forget about are you smarter than a fifth grader. Are you smarter than a chimp? We hate to tell you but the answer may actually be no. Here is our Anjali Rao.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANJALI RAO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Japanese researchers put chimps and humans head-to-head in a memory contest, the chimps are champs. This researcher of Kyoto University set up the video game test. Three 5-year-old chimps were pitted against several humans in two different short-term memory tests. The first test shows numbers 1 through 9 on the screen. Each subject tries to touch the numbers in numeric order. The chimps are faster every time. The second test is harder. The numbers are hidden by white boxes as soon as they appear. Incredibly, the chimps are still faster. The humans were given a second chance to redeem themselves. But even with more training, the human testers still couldn't improve their speed enough to beat the chimps. For the full details of primate domination complete results are published in the Tuesday's issue of the science journal "Current Biology." Anjali Rao, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Wow. That's kind of depressing. Also there's this; making the grade in math and science. Where do American kids rank? Not so high according to new test results out today. Take a look at this. A standardized test given to 15-year-olds in 30 industrialized countries last year. The average score for U.S. students placed them 17th in science and 24th in math. Finland took the top spot in science and students in Finland and Taiwan and Hong Kong were top performers in math.

Good morning once again everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. You'll stay informed all day in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here's what's on the run down today. President Bush takes questions from reporters today. This hour, his conference coming up live in just a few minutes.

One topic for the president is Iran. After months of alarming talks the U.S. now says Iran stopped work on its nuclear weapons program years ago.

Also, paying for war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The president and congress stuck in a funding showdown. This Tuesday, December 04, you're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

President Bush now minutes away from driving home his point to the White House that Iran and Iraq are expected to be major topics this morning. Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is at her post. CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin is on Capitol Hill and Ed Henry is at the White House. Want to go ahead and begin with Ed. Ed, how is the White House responding to this new intelligence estimate on Iraq?

ED HENRY, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Heidi, they're basically trying to turn lemons into lemonade and say that at least this new national intelligence estimate suggests that Iran did in fact at one time have a nuclear weapons program and that there was a threat and they're insisting that this shows that diplomacy can work and that's why they're trying to shift the focus to say they want to end this peacefully and not have a military conflict with Iran, Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Ed, we know you'll be watching it closely there. Thank you so much. We'll get back to you shortly but now we also want to get to Pentagon's perspective in all this. CNN's Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon this morning. Barbara, good morning to you.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi. Here at the pentagon there has been no appetite for any military strike against Iran. Something they really downplayed here. This new report is something that is welcome news for senior commanders already bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are likely to be a lot of questions of the president, though, perhaps about the intelligence.

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