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Bracing for Second Wintry Blast; Baseball's Black Eye; Merriam- Webster Picks Top Words of 2007; Giuliani Focuses on Florida; Stressed Out: A High School Makes Yoga Mandatory; 6-Year-Old Anchors Webcast
Aired December 15, 2007 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Working around the clock to restore power, but this morning more snow, ice and wind are compounding this major problem. It is a second round of severe weather this week.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Also, baseball and steroids. Well, the Mitchell Report is out. So what can fans expect now?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're saying look at our highest achieving kids, our future leaders. They are not home watching TV all day, they're not out in gangs, but they're bleeding on the inside and we have got to do something to help them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: So, relaxing over the weekend? Enjoying the holidays? Most students say forget about it. Want to show you a breakthrough program to kick the stress out of the classroom.
From the CNN Center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING, December 15th.
You are in the NEWSROOM.
Good morning, everybody.
I'm Betty Nguyen.
HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes.
10:00 a.m. here in Atlanta, Georgia, 9:00 in Oklahoma City, where it is cold as ice. Yes, slick city streets happening really at several places around the country. People in the nation's midsection, certainly, and parts of New England bracing for another wintry blast.
Live pictures here from Oklahoma City, also Kansas city, Missouri. It's the calm before the storm.
Our reporters are out there braving the frigid temperatures. And look at the pictures we have of them. We're not showing you the live pictures of them.
NGUYEN: They don't look cold at all there.
HOLMES: Not cold there, but they will here shortly. Keith Oppenheim is in Oklahoma City for us. And then our meteorologist, Reynolds Wolf, is in Boston. We're going to be checking in with both of those gentlemen here shortly.
NGUYEN: Yes. Bad weather, flight delays, they just seem to go hand in hand. And this morning we're getting word of delays at Chicago's O'Hare airport.
The FAA says arriving flights are being delayed by more than two hours due to snow and ice. To see if you'll be affected, all you have to do is give your carrier a call, but just looking at that picture it doesn't look like they're going to be getting off the ground very quickly.
CNN's Keith Oppenheim is in Oklahoma City, down to the south. He joins us where they're dealing with their fair share of this wintry mess.
Good morning, Keith.
KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Betty.
We're getting actually a very pretty snowfall at this hour, as predicted. But what's not so pretty is the mess that you see behind me.
Look at all these fallen tree limbs. And this is a result of what was a really terrible ice storm that hit Oklahoma -- really across the state. And I'm going to walk across the street and give you a sense of what folks are really having to deal with.
All along this beautiful street, there are tree limbs that are down. And this is a tree service that is working pretty hard behind me. As soon as they fire up their chipper there, I' probably won't even be able to hear, but it's work that has to be done.
On top of that, there are power crews that are working throughout the region trying to restore electricity, and it's a big job. Keep in mind, there were 600,000 homes and businesses in the past week that didn't have any power, and now they're getting back to it.
They still have about 125,000 or so homes that don't have power. On this street, good news. There is electricity. But there are a lot of places that either have no power or they've got a big mess behind them.
And this has been very expensive for Oklahoma, Betty. We're talking about a good $200 million price tag that's been estimated for this mess. So, it's been a very tough week here.
Back to you.
NGUYEN: No doubt. Two hundred million dollars. And that doesn't even include all the pain that folks have been through just dealing with it, shoveling it and then trying to drive through the streets and dealing with electricity. Hopefully we won't see too many power outages.
Thank you, Keith.
HOLMES: Well, of course you out there, our viewers, have sent us a lot of pictures of this week's storm, and we want to share some of them with all our viewers out there. Look at this here. It might give you goose bumps.
A picture of Tuesday's ice storm in Illinois. It was sent to us by Marilyn Ferguson from the small town of Versailles. She says this little hungry bird there visits her back yard all the time, but Ferguson says the bird was disappointed to find the bird seeds her husband put out were frozen. I think a little birdie told her that he was actually disappointed.
NGUYEN: Speaks bird. All right.
HOLMES: Well, you can call it baseball's steroids era, a time where we watched some of the game's hallowed records fall.
Well, CNN Sports' Larry Smith, records falling. Do those records count anymore after the Mitchell Report?
I mean, we know the name. You know, everybody wants to make Barry Bonds the poster boy for the steroids era these days, but we heard some more names in this Mitchell Report. We're questioning everything we've ever known about baseball.
LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there are a lot of -- a lot of -- I don't see records going away. Baseball, one, just doesn't do that. Two, this is a partial list. I mean, even George Mitchell said there are other players involved in this, and so how do you differentiate which records you take away, which ones you don't?
You know, I mean, it's -- hey, baseball -- you go back to 1998, it's been a long problem, a problem we've been talking about for a long time. 1998, when -- Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's great homerun chase, a bottle of androstenedione was spotted in McGwire's locker. Now, that is a performance enhancer.
It was purchased over the counter and was legal at the time by baseball standards, but it brought the issue of performance enhancers to the forefront. Fast forward to today, and baseball's operating under its third and most stringent drug testing policy yet.
BUD SELIG, MLB COMMISSIONER: Baseball currently has the most aggressive drug program in professional sports. We have banned steroids, amphetamines, and human growth hormone, and imposed the stiffest penalties for use.
SMITH (voice over): While commissioner Bud Selig has repeatedly touted Major League Baseball's drug policy as one of the toughest in sports, many disagree.
VICTOR CONTE, CONVICTED OF DISTRIBUTING STEROIDS: The World Anti-Doping Agency list has 60 stimulants on that list. For whatever reason, baseball has chosen to put 30 of those stimulants on their list. What that basically tells the players is that the front doors to the barn are closed but the side doors and the back door are wide open.
DR. GARY WADLER, AUTHOR, "DRUGS AND THE ATHLETE": There is no question that the Major League Baseball program, and including the National Football League program, have a number of deficiencies in it which enable those who are determined to cheat to get away with it.
SMITH: Dr. Gary Wadler is an expert in the field of drug testing. He thinks baseball should adopt the Olympic drug policy, which tests athletes many more times for far more substances, and the penalties are severe -- two years for a first offense. In baseball, just 50 games, not even one-third of the regular season.
WADLER: If you're serious about ending doping, you have got to bite the bullet. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about. As long as you're tweaking around the edges here, you're not going to do it.
SMITH: One problem with baseball's drug policy is the use of human growth hormone, HGH. It's banned, but there's no urine test to detect it.
WADLER: There's no question human growth hormone is really the drug du jour in terms of the challenges and its pervasive use.
SMITH: Wadler says baseball's collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association is an obstacle to a strong policy.
WADLER: Collective bargaining is a major, major, major problem here. That is, management and the Players Association sit and negotiate an arrangement. And part of their arrangements, amongst other things, deals with doping. Clearly, the position of the Players Association is much more resistant to testing.
DONALD FEHR, MLB PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: On the one hand, I certainly don't want to say that we are opposed to any changes in the program, no matter what evidence or circumstances come to light. On the other hand, there is something to the notion that once you make agreements, you ought to stick to them for a while and see how they work.
SMITH: Well, Congress has been a major player in pressuring baseball to strengthen its drug testing policy. A U.S. House committee will conduct hearings next month on January 23rd to discuss the Mitchell Report, and you can be sure that if baseball and its Players Association can't agree on a better drug-testing policy, T.J., Betty, the decisions may be taken out of their hands completely.
NGUYEN: Well, I think when a lot of people see these names -- and granted, it's not a full list -- some people are saying, you know what? This has not been confirmed. Why would you put those names out there? Why would you, you know, put that light on these players when they may be innocent?
SMITH: Well, these are the players -- keep in mind, it's a 409- page report, and these are the players that -- you know, the names that came up in Mitchell's investigation. He had no subpoena power, so he couldn't force anybody to talk, and no active player did talk.
The only one who agreed to have some conversation with him was Jason Giambi, the former American League MVP, currently a Yankee slugger. And he was forced at the table by Bud Selig after he made some comments in "USA Today" about his own personal knowledge of steroid use.
So no one talked at all.
Mitchell also told us yesterday on Headline News, when we asked him the same question, he said, hey, everyone who was named in this report, every single person was contacted, and we said, hey, you can come in and talk to us, we want to show you what we have, and you can answer to this. And he said almost every single person refused to. The Players Association refused to talk to them at all.
We will see where this goes from here. I mean, certainly there is now -- these players have been -- there's a stigma attached no matter where we go from here.
SMITH: But whether the Players Union decides to take this, will they agree to open this up with stronger testing, none of these things we really know right now until we hear from Donald Fehr and we see where this conversation goes.
HOLMES: My goodness. Just do it like college. Just test them every -- test them every day. I mean, if you want to clean up the sport, just do it.
SMITH: Or the Olympics.
SMITH: The Olympics says, hey, the first offense you're out for two years, the second you're banned. And that's just -- that's the way it is.
HOLMES: That will be the day, won't it?
SMITH: Will that happen in baseball? I don't see it anytime soon. NGUYEN: Banning some from baseball? We'll see.
HOLMES: All right.
NGUYEN: All right, Larry. Thank you.
HOLMES: Larry, we appreciate it. Thank you.
HOLMES: Going to have a lot more on the Mitchell Report that you can find on CNN.com. You can read the entire report, plus see profiles of the players that are named.
NGUYEN: Well, we're also tracking the severe weather system that is bringing more ice and snow to the Midwest.
HOLMES: Also, words -- fun words, new words.
NGUYEN: Plain words.
HOLMES: Yes, being added to the dictionary.
Josh, give us a new word.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sardoodledum. It's not the kind of word you would actually use on a daily basis I'm sorry to say. But apparently, there's always people out there, because this wasn't just a bunch of people in a room who came up with these words. There were thousands of people around the country who weighed in on the top words of this entire year.
We're talking things like sardoodledum and blamestorm. But the number one word, an exclamation of joy that I've never used, but I might start to now, and so might you, I'll have it for you here coming up right here in the NEWSROOM.
HOLMES: All right, we knew this word was coming up, sardoodledom.
HOLMES: And we -- Betty, you took a stab at the definition. Would you like to share it with the people?
NGUYEN: No. OK. Sardoodledom, a poodle with SARS being held in somebody's kingdom.
I have no idea. But I do know that Merriam-Webster picked it as one of their top words of 2007.
HOLMES: How do we deal with you?
NGUYEN: I don't know. You asked me. HOLMES: How do we deal with you?
Every morning, folks, this is what we've got.
NGUYEN: Right here.
So, yes, please, what is the definition?
LEVS: It is ultimately up to T.J., which comments during the break end up on air, isn't it? I noticed that.
All right. All right. We'll get to sardoodledom in a second. Let's just do easier ones so we can feel better.
NGUYEN: Oh, well -- easier ones.
LEVS: Because thousands of people around the country were asked by Merriam-Webster what the top words of the year are.
LEVS: And charlatan was one of them.
NGUYEN: Oh, OK.
LEVS: Now, we're familiar with charlatan, right?
LEVS: I mean, that one we know. This is thought of as somebody who is like a fraud. That's the main idea. OK?
Pecksniffian I have never heard of.
LEVS: This is someone who is really pompous. They're officially calling it someone who's very hypocritical, Pecksniffian, based on a Dickens book.
LEVS: All right. Now, here it goes, guys. Sardoodledom, melodrama.
LEVS: Sardoodledom, since I know you're fascinated...
NGUYEN: Go ahead.
LEVS: ... this comes from some incredibly ancient reference to a French playwright...
NGUYEN: Just bring it on, Josh.
LEVS: ... Sardoodledom.
NGUYEN: That's it?
LEVS: That's it. It's melodrama. It's a fancy way of saying melodrama.
NGUYEN: Oh, that was all? All right.
LEVS: That's the long definition, but they compare it to melodrama. They even say it's a synonym.
Now, here's a good one. We've done this before, blamestorm. Blamestorm is when you get together and you figure out who was at fault for something, or you get together and you pick a scapegoat.
You say, who is going to get blamed? Like candidates do this all the time, something goes wrong. Who is going to get kicked out? You have got a blamestorm to figure out how you're going to handle it.
NGUYEN: OK. And these are real words?
LEVS: Well, apparently, people are using them as though they're words, and now they're getting added to the online dictionary.
NGUYEN: So I guess...
HOLMES: Just online, huh?
LEVS: Yes, a lot of them. Not the real dictionary.
OK. One more. Facebook is now a verb. You can Facebook.
You say, "I've got to go Facebook." If you're do anything involving Facebooking, then that's Facebook. To Facebook.
And this is the number one word of the year, guys. Here it goes.
NGUYEN: What is it?
LEVS: The number one word, w00t. But you have to spell it with zeros instead of two Os.
LEVS: Yes. Apparently, people who play these online video games -- which I don't think it's any of the three of us.
NGUYEN: I mean, I've heard of whoomp, there it is. But not w00t. Like that?
LEVS: Yes, it's like that, but...
HOLMES: I'm going to leave before somebody thinks I know you all.
NGUYEN: I'm baffled by it all.
LEVS: Let's try it again.
LEVS: So -- OK, so, apparently, this is -- online gamers use this and people text it to each other. If they're really psyched, they're like, "W00t."
And you know what? If you're one of the people who has done that, send us an I-Report, because we don't know anyone. But there's enough people doing it to make it the number one word of the year.
HOLMES: But if it has zeroes and not letters, is it really a word?
LEVS: Well, that's just a way of being playful. And apparently, it is, because they're putting it in the online dictionary.
NGUYEN: It's a way of being playful? Josh...
LEVS: It comes from we owned the other team, w00t, and for some reason the zeroes got in there, like the other team ended up with double zeroes, so you're making two points at once. That's the theory.
Top words of the year, Merriam-Webster, will be added to the dictionary in 2008. There you go.
NGUYEN: You really need to find more things to do with your time.
LEVS: Party on. W00t!
NGUYEN: All right.
Don, we are moving on and very quickly.
HOLMES: Yes, let's go back to the snow. Something important going on right now, weather.
Plenty of snow on the ground for people in the North and the Midwest. Wonderland not the word for this weekend, Josh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These kids are afraid to get a wrong answer. So they don't event, they don't create.
Even here at Stanford I've had professors say to me, 10, 15 years ago, kids would say to us, I'm really excited. I'm going to write my paper on this. Or I'm going to do the project on this. Now they say, what can I write my paper on to get the A?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: So, students just so stressed out that they can't even enjoy weekends or holidays. Coming up, we'll tell you about one program aimed at reducing stress in schools.
HOLMES: Well, welcome back, everybody. Glad you could be here.
I'm T.J. Holmes.
NGUYEN: Yes, good morning, everybody.
I'm Betty Nguyen.
A quick look at our top stories today.
NGUYEN: Well, CNN meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is out in the cold in Boston today. He joins us now live.
Are you playing today, Reynolds, or are you working? It's kind of hard to tell sometimes.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, in full honesty, we're doing a little bit of both. I mean, you are have to remember that Boston was completely hammered by this storm, at least the first part of it.
They had around a foot of snowfall in parts of the area, traffic was backed up for miles on the freeways. There are a lot of headaches for many, many people.
Now, today, it's kind of a break, a break in the pattern before that big Nor'easter comes in promising another chance of heavy snow, some rain, some sleet, possibly even some flooding along the coast. So today many people in Boston are getting out and making the most of it, especially here in Boston Common.
Take a look at some of this video that we have for you. A lot of kids, moms and dads, babies getting on the sleds, going right down the hills. And believe it or not, there's some pretty decent hills here in Boston Common.
And what we're going to be seeing, those kids are going to be enjoying the great weather for today. And not only the kids, but also some of the dogs. We've got a great Golden Retriever here. This fellow's name is Tucker. Went out there and enjoyed some of the great snow. Just like people, they enjoy it, no doubt.
As you come back to me, you'll see how deep the snow really is. I mean, it's just been incredible here. Well, again, full disclosure, it's actually just about a few inches here, but they ran a foot of snowfall in the western parts of the state.
HOLMES: Well, John McCain getting a salute today from more than a hundred retired generals and admirals. The group endorsed McCain's presidential bid. Five members joined their fellow veteran in a news conference that just wrapped up in Columbia, South Carolina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm running for president because I'm best prepared to take on the transcendent challenge of the 21st century. I have the experience.
I've been involved in every national -- serious national security issue for the last 20 years. And I know how to handle these issues.
I am -- as I said, I was the one that spoke out against Rumsfeld and was severely criticized for doing so. My one ambition and the reason why I want to be president of the United States is because I can make America safe and ensure her future greatness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: And McCain stumping in the state for the South's first GOP primary of the campaign season, which is on January 19th.
Well, will a shift in locale lead to a change in fortune for Rudy Giuliani? He's out of the cold and looking to generate a little heat for his White House run.
Our Mary Snow covering his speech this morning in Tampa.
You lucky thing. Everybody else is in Iowa. It's even cold in South Carolina. You get Florida. Well, congratulations.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, T.J. You like how I did that, right?
HOLMES: Yes. Very nice.
SNOW: And you know, it's been -- very nice, indeed. You know, the temperatures have been in the 80s, but the numbers for Rudy Giuliani in the early voting states in the polls have been slipping. And this speech the campaign is billing a major address. The question is, will it light a fire for his campaign?
There is also going to be a rally today. But the campaign is pretty much saying that -- they're calling it a natural turning point leading up to the first caucus in Iowa, of course, January 3rd.
And he's also rolling out a new tagline -- "Tested, ready, now." And it's a kind of growing sense of urgency. This is his way, also, to shift away from some of the controversies in recent weeks. You know, you saw Rudy Giuliani in this week's Republican debate being asked about the billing practices for security for his then girlfriend Judith Nathan while he was mayor of New York. He's going to confront that in this speech, saying if you're looking for perfection, you're not going to find it in him or any other candidates.
He's also going to shift to some of the themes he's been stressing in making his case for running for president, including the fight against terrorism. And, as you know, foreign policy really hasn't been an issue in recent weeks, so he's going to try to get that back on track -- T.J.
HOLMES: Well, we don't know if it's just the weather there and it's why he's in Florida and not in Iowa somewhere, but many candidates, most, spending the week in Iowa. Now, why is he sticking with Florida? Everybody else's attention is on Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and he seems to be ignoring those a bit.
SNOW: Yes. Well, you know, this campaign has had a bit of a different strategy, and it is really banking on winning here in Florida.
Florida's primary is going to be the end of January. But, Rudy Giuliani has been banking on winning here and then going on to February 5th and winning some of the bigger states -- New York, New Jersey, California. So if he loses those early states and, as you see, Mike Huckabee really gaining momentum in recent polls in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, this is really putting Rudy Giuliani's campaign strategy to the test. Can he gain back momentum by winning here and then going on to the other big states -- T.J.
HOLMES: All right. Our Mary Snow, the envy of all of our political reporters with the assignment in Florida today.
Mary Snow, thank you so much.
And, of course, folks, Mary Snow is a card-carrying member of the best political team on television.
Tomorrow, I'm going to try to earn my stripes in Iowa aboard the Election Express right there -- 17 degrees -- no, 13 degrees we were told earlier.
HOLMES: It's three weeks and counting before the first caucus of 2008.
Tune in Sunday starting at 7:00 a.m.
And we need to let you know as well, Mary Snow is there, of course, covering the speech by Rudy Giuliani. He is going to speak at the 11:00 hour. When he speaks, we will carry some of that speech here live. NGUYEN: In the meantime, though, did you know that more students will apply to college next year than ever before? That means competition is fierce among those hoping to get into elite universities. But educators say that kind of pressure is creating a class of stressed out, overachievers willing to sacrifice almost anything just to make the grade.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See that your big toes are touching, and rock your weight back in your heels.
NGUYEN (voice over): When did yoga become a required course to reduce stress among students?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... your tailbone underneath you.
NGUYEN: When freshmen like Natashia Von Kaeppler started spending four hours a night on homework. That's after three hours of basketball practice and a full day of classes preparing for final exams.
The pressure can be intense.
NATASHIA VON KAEPPLER, CASTILLEJA FRESHMAN: It's really like, "OK, have you studied for your test?" "Yes, mom, I studied for my test." But it's kind of like, well, did I study enough? Because I know if I come home with a bad grade they're not going to be very happy.
NGUYEN: It's enough to send some students to the breaking point. Stanford professor Denise Pope has seen the effects. She created a program that's helping reduce stress in 45 schools across the nation. It's called SOS, for Stressed Out Students.
(on camera): Does the stress amongst students these days scare you?
DR. DENISE POPE, SOS FOUNDER: It scares me because of the suicide rates that we're seeing and the real sense of hopelessness in kids. They are experimenting with drugs on a much higher basis. They are binge-drinking, not because they want to experiment with alcohol, but they're saying, I've had such a stressful week, I need to get completely drunk this weekend.
Much about this scares me. And as a parent, I have three kids. I don't want my own kids to have to go through this.
NGUYEN (voice over): But how do you prevent cheating, sleep deprivation, depression, even eating disorders among some of the nation's top students when there's enormous pressure to get into the elite colleges?
Castilleja is an all-girls school in Palo Alto, California, that subscribes to Professor Pope's SOS plan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exhale with...
NGUYEN: Along with required yoga classes, the school's building a new wellness center. It's also staggered classes so there are fewer each day creating less homework.
Sonja Swenson is a Castilleja senior who is thrilled that finals are now in December, instead of January.
SONJA SWENSON, CASTILLEJA SENIOR: I think that moving the finals up to before winter break has not only made the examine studying period less stressful, it's also really made winter break a true break.
NGUYEN: Lauren Schryver heads up the school's SOS Task Force.
LAUREN SCHRYVER, SOS TASK FORCE: So about 80 percent of our students said that both the calendar change and the schedule change were definitely decreasing stress.
NGUYEN: There's even homework-free weekends and holidays, not to mention...
VON KAEPPLER: We have free periods also, which really help. If I don't get to finish one thing, then I can finish it up the next day during my free period.
NGUYEN: The school also eliminated the stress of bells ringing between classes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck. See you tomorrow.
NGUYEN: Some argue this is just a way to coddle students who need to be prepared for the real world. Hope disagrees. She says the current system is turning kids into robots only interested in spitting out the right answer no matter what it takes, which ends up hurting them in the long run.
POPE: They're little robotrons. They're very good middle managers, but they're not good at being creative, they're not good at thinking out of the box, they're not good at actually listening to criticism and accepting it, and they're not good at working in a team. And all these things are what we need to succeed in the global economy.
NGUYEN: So, can the SOS plan succeed in schools without sacrificing those all-important grades?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exhale.
NGUYEN: According to Castilleja High, the stress rates have dropped but the grades have not.
NGUYEN: That's a very good point, because, you know, you look at this, especially if you don't go to a school or your children don't go to a school that offers this type of program, you're thinking, homework-free weekends, yoga classes, staggered classes...
HOLMES: They're just hanging out.
NGUYEN: Yes. They're just -- they have it easy. But they have said that the grades have not dropped. The schoolwork remains the same. They're just doing it in a different way.
And when I spoke with the kids there, they're still stressed. I mean, there's a difference between a good stress and the kind of stress that takes you to that breaking point. I spoke with one student who spent five hours a night, even with this program, five hours a night on homework. And she's applying to 11 different colleges.
HOLMES: My goodness.
NGUYEN: So when you think about it, they are under a lot of pressure. So if you can reduce it, I'm sure, you know, a lot of parents out there are looking for ways. This is at least one way. And 45 schools across the nation, all the way from California to Texas to New York, Wisconsin even.
HOLMES: It is. And always thinking you need to be strict and more homework and more testing and all this. Just chill out. Just relax. Just give it a minute.
NGUYEN: But make sure your grades don't drop.
NGUYEN: But we do want to hear from you.
What do you or your kids do to beat the stress of school? Send us your thoughts at email@example.com. We'll read some of your e-mails next hour.
HOLMES: All right. Well, we've all seen people make fun of us at times.
NGUYEN: Really? All the time.
HOLMES: You know, make fun of other news anchors. But check out this news anchor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALIA, A.K.A. "BUNNY," MINOR NEWS TODAY: In Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf (INAUDIBLE) Wednesday, hoping it will make him appear more like a regular guy and less like a dictator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Oh my. OK. Well, one girl is getting her 15 minutes of fame early in life. We're going to talk to her next, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: All right. So, if you haven't checked out Minor News today, you're in for a treat.
HOLMES: Yes. First, you need to go to CNN.com for all the latest news.
HOLMES: Then leave it to Malia to break it down for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALIA: In Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf was (INAUDIBLE) on Wednesday, hoping it will make him appear more like a regular guy and less like a dictator.
In Las Vegas, O.J. Simpson pled not guilty. Again.
In Paris, President Nicolas Sarkozy (INAUDIBLE) their behavior is unacceptable and will be punished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS: Hey, that's some delivery, right? A little bit? Maybe? No?
NGUYEN: And her little remarks at the end.
LEVS: Yes. We've got one skeptic among us.
All right. Well, we just had to find out who she is, the little girl. Malia and her mom Mara are joining us from Los Angeles.
Welcome to you both. Good morning.
MARA: Thank you. Good morning.
LEVS: Hey there, Malia. Listen, up here we have three professional newscasters who are impressed by your work. Tell me, how did you hone your skills as an anchor and a reporter?
MALIA: I don't know, really. My mom just thought of it and she -- well, she decided it and she thought it would be funny, and so she tried it.
NGUYEN: I love, Malia, your little comments at the end.
And Mom, I have got to talk to you about that, because you're the mastermind behind all of this.
What made you want to, one, put your daughter up there? And two, you're the one who scours through, what, CNN.com, to find a lot of these stories? And you create the little remarks at the end. What made you want to do this?
MARA: You know, I just thought it would be funny, and she's kind of gotten to the right age where she can read pretty well. And, you know, we just tried it and it just worked out really well. It turned out to be really funny. And who knew she'd be such a comedian?
So we've just been going with it.
NGUYEN: And you do this every day? You work with her every day?
MARA: Well, Monday through Thursday we do the news headlines, and then on Friday we have just a little interview show that we do, or, you know, we do book reviews on Friday. So we try to have fun and do different things.
NGUYEN: Book reviews? My goodness.
She's what, 6 years old?
NGUYEN: She's going to be Oprah by the time she's 15.
MARA: Well, I'm not sure about that, but we're having fun with it now.
NGUYEN: Well, she sure is cute.
Now, Malia, I understand you don't even want to do this. You want to be a dancer, is that true?
NGUYEN: So what do you think about all of this? Are you just doing it because mom enjoys it, or do you enjoy it, as well?
MALIA: I enjoy it as well.
LEVS: Hey, Malia, what do you think is the most important news story in the whole world?
MALIA: I don't really know. A lot of them are important.
LEVS: They're all important?
Mara, let me ask you this, because I took a look at this site this week and I do find it interesting that you don't use your daughter's full name anywhere on there. She is represented as "Bunny."
LEVS: It seems to me that what you're kind of doing here is presenting her and having her do this, but at the same time protecting her privacy. So what is the goal here? Have you been thinking -- are you trying to create the next Olsen twin? Is there some thought about fame here? Or are you trying to create something great but still be protective of that privacy?
MARA: Well, we're very protective of her privacy. And there hasn't been a lot of thought of where this was going to go. It was just really fun. And we'll just continue to do it while it's fun. You know?
If she wants to stop, we'll stop. And, you know, we are very private people, and so we didn't just want to throw her name out there. And so, you know, we came up with "Bunny" because we have got the bunnies on the show, and we thought that would be fun.
HOLMES: All right, Malia. We have been watching you, everybody has been watching you and saying she's great, she's chose doing a good job. So you tell us now since you've watched us a little this morning, us three, what kind of a job do you think we do as news anchors?
NGUYEN: Oh no.
LEVS: Oh no. Please be gentle.
MALIA: I don't really know.
LEVS: Honesty. Thank you.
NGUYEN: Good answer.
HOLMES: We get that a lot, actually, Malia. We get that a lot.
LEVS: And listen, you can check this out -- minornewstoday.com.
We're going to keep taking a look on it because we like seeing your unique spin on the main news stories.
And thank you both so much for joining us today.
MARA: Thank you.
MALIA: Thank you.
HOLMES: She didn't want to hurt our feelings, did she?
NGUYEN: No, she didn't. It's a good thing she did. I don't know if I could take it from a 6-year-old.
HOLMES: We appreciate it. We appreciate it.
All right. That was fun.
Well, stay here, folks. We're going to be talking about toys and toys that make you stop and watch them.
NGUYEN: Hello, everybody. It is Saturday, December 15th. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Betty Nguyen.
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