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Climate Change Summit; Winter Storm in the Northeast; CIA Tape Destruction

Aired December 15, 2007 - 16:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN, ANCHOR: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM where the news is unfolding live. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Finally guilted into a climate compromise? The U.S. remains lukewarm about the whole thing.


And all systems snow, a wintry mess descends on a big chunk of the country. You're in the NEWSROOM.

Let's begin with this wacky weather. Another wave of winter storms and another layer of snow. Winter storm warnings stretch all the way from New England from all across the Midwest, where the heavy snow is falling right now. Take a look at this right here. Chicago's O'Hare Airport in the middle of a whiteout. It's hard to believe there. More than 200 flights have been cancelled. And behind all of this, poor Oklahoma, where thousands of homes are still in the dark from the last big storm that came through. Live from Oklahoma City where, at least he has power maybe from the live truck or generator. CNN's Keith Oppenheim. Keith, how are you doing?

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Good. The neighborhood has power too, at least the one I am in.


OPPENHEIM: You know, Fredricka. Oklahoma really didn't get quite as much snow as forecasters at first feared but enough to kind of get in the way of a big recovery operation. Walk with me a little bit. You can see what an ice storm did during this past week. It has knocked down all these trees and branches, power lines went down at its worst. There were 600,000 homes that did not have any electricity over the past few days. That's been reduced to about 125,000 homes and businesses across the state that still do not have power. But the snow that we've been getting today has been slowing the operation down. That's pretty critical because you consider that some of those folks in those numbers I've mentioned are still waiting a few days, maybe even up to a week we heard to get all of them back to power. Anything that gets in the way is a bad thing. Fredricka, back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Keith Oppenheim, thank you so much. Hopefully, the folks get power restored all across the state.

Well, besides the widespread power outages, falling ice, too, is a big problem in Oklahoma.

This place right here being bombarded by ice. And it's falling from a TV transmission tower right there in Oklahoma City. It is pretty dangerous, too. Well, snow, ice, big problems in many parts of the country. Bonnie Schneider is in the weather center. I understand there is another problem, this time in Florida.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER: It's hard to believe talking about this wintry weather but we have a tornado warning in effect in the panhandle of Florida. Less than 15 minutes to go, in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties. It's kind of a portion of both of those counties until 3:15 p.m. Central Standard Time. If you're probably wondering, a tornado warning in the middle of the snow? It's all related, we have moisture, heavy rain coming in off the gulf of Mexico. That's bringing rain to Louisiana, also to Alabama and Mississippi, well into Georgia where we need it here in Atlanta. You can see into Tennessee and to the north it's all snow where temperatures are cold enough for that in Cleveland, Columbus back out towards Illinois like Chicago where we were showing you pictures of the airport earlier.

But how is all this related? What's happening is we have low pressure developing in two locations and both of these lows are pulling up moisture from the gulf of Mexico and that pulling of moisture is why we're seeing this thread of severe weather down in Florida right now. But it's also why we will have the making for a major storm by late tonight and that means a nor'easter. As these two areas of low pressure come together and develop and intensify off the coast of New Jersey later on tonight and tomorrow morning, we are expecting colder air to wrap in behind it. And that's why we're going to see such heavy snow accumulations mainly into the upstate areas of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. It's interesting to note though. We're not going to see heavy snow for cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, because the track of the storm takes it in a little bit too far inland. That's going to allow some of the moisture from the Atlantic to mix into the storm. Meaning we are going to be seeing a little bit more sleet and freezing rain, especially down in D.C., where we're going to see ice tonight. So, Fredricka, it's a mixed bag of all types of weather including heavy snow for northern New England.

WHITFIELD: All very potentially dangerous. Thanks so much, Bonnie.

Well, bumping up the controversy another notch. The Bush administration is asking lawmakers and the federal courts to not look into the destruction of those CIA-Al Qaeda interrogation tapes. CNN's Gary Nuremberg is live in Washington with more on that story. Gary.

GARY NUREMBERG, CNN, CORRESPONDET: Well, good afternoon, Fredricka. The administration is telling the federal court and those intelligence oversight committees on Capitol Hill to get out of the way and let the Justice Department and CIA conduct a joint investigation into the destruction of the tapes which show interrogations of terrorist suspects. A lawyer for some other terrorist suspects and congressional committee chairman are less than convinced that is a good idea.


NUREMBERG (voice-over): At issue is destruction by the CIA of videotapes showing interrogation of terror suspects after President Bush agreed to the use of aggressive interrogation techniques. Lawyers for some terror suspects want federal Judge Henry Kennedy to open an inquiry into whether that destruction violates his order that evidence not be destroyed. Friday night, the Bush administration urged Kennedy not to hold that inquiry saying tapes did not fall within its order. Defense lawyers disagree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If evidence was tortured out of these prisoner, implicating our clients, that is something we really need to know.

NUREMBERG: The administration also moved to postponed congressional investigations into the tapes destruction. In letters to congressional overseers, the Justice Department and CIA asked the congress to delay its probes because they might interfere with the CIA Justice joint inquiry. In a separate letter, Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused congressional requests for information the Justice Department has already developed in the tapes' case. House intelligence committee leaders said Friday, "the executive branch can't be trusted to oversee itself." Nonetheless, a CIA spokesman said Saturday, "the CIA will cooperate fully with both the preliminary inquiry by the Department of Justice and the CIA inspector general as well as with the Congress. That has been and certainly continues to be the case."

In calling Saturday for a special counsel to investigate, presidential candidate Joseph Biden said "the continuing saga of cover-up and delay by this administration must be stopped before more documents are lost to future investigators."


NUREMBERG: Despite that administration appeal, did Congress back off? A hearing is still scheduled next week. The question is whether CIA officials will show up and testify. Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll see. Thank you so much, Gary Nuremberg.

Overseas, Pakistan's six-week state of emergency is over. President Pervez Musharraf lifted his order today and reiterating that the emergency declaration was a last resort to save his country, not his political future. Well, today on national television, President Musharraf blamed Islamic militants and members of the judiciary for an alleged conspiracy to derail Pakistan's path to democracy. Critics say the state of emergency was simply a ploy to crush his political opposition.

Amid scenes of high drama and pent-up resentment towards the Bush administration, a stunning turn of events at the global climate talks in Bali. The United States said no, and then yes, to a deal to negotiate major reductions in greenhouse gases. The story now from Bali and CNN's Dan Rivers.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you, United States.

DAN RIVERS, CNN, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. was booed as it asked for more commitments from developing countries, provoking this from Papua, New Guinea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there's an old saying, if you're not willing to lead, then get out of the way. And I would ask the United States, we ask for your leadership. We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you're not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us, please, get out of the way.

RIVERS: And then this - total change from the United States.

DOBRIANSKY: We will go forward and join consensus in this drive.

RIVERS (on-camera): It's been a day of high drama in this room here in Bali but finally there is a deal. Many are praising the contribution of Papua New Guinea who's withering criticism of the U.S.. apparently led to a 180-degree u-turn.

(voice-over) Afterwards, one of the U.S. delegation defended the change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's be clear. This meeting is talking about a negotiation. It's going to produce and outcome. But as we stand here today, President Bush in the state of the union address this year asked Congress to produce bipartisan legislation that's going to improve our energy security and cut out greenhouse gas.

RIVERS: Green groups say they were bounced into changing their mind.

PHILIP CLAPP, PEW ENVIRONMENT GROUP: Papua New Guinea's criticism was the most stinging one on the floor and it was probably the nader of the event for the Bush administration.

RIVERS: Many here agree that Papua, New Guinea, played a crucial role.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, that was very, very important and because of that we could make the deal.

RIVERS: And that deal marks the beginning of two more years of talks with a firm commitment for a global deal on emissions by 2009 at the latest. Dan Rivers, CNN, Bali.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: And after all that drama, the White House issued a statement today suggesting negotiations to get a agreement towards reversing global warming won't be easy but that part of the story from Washington, CNN's Kathleen Koch. So, is the U.S. on board or not, Kathleen?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, there is a deal that is certainly the United States agreed reluctantly, as you mentioned. The White House put out a statement right after the talks, so we are concluded saying it has, "serious concerns" about some aspects of the decision. The U.S. and China are currently the world's largest polluters. Much of China is still a developing country. And the White House statement says it's main concerns really is that you can't solve the problem of climate change by requiring pollution cut-backs only from developed countries like the U.S.. The statement says "making sure developing countries must likewise act." And I just got off the phone with a senior administration official who explained to me and said it's not just an equity or fairness issue, it's an effectiveness issue that you simply can. The United States believes part of the problem of climate change just by the developed countries, reducing emissions. It just simply does not work. The math doesn't add up that everyone who is a part of the problem, including developing countries, they all have to be part of the solution.

WHITFIELD: And Kathleen, do we know the explanation as to why the U.S. changed its position while in Bali?

KOCH: Well, certainly, there had been an effort to initially put some exact reduction targets into the agreement and the United States had long opposed that. Apparently, that was one of the sticking points. The other issue was certainly the U.S. and China had been given a tongue-lashing by former Vice President Al Gore while he accepted his Nobel Peace prize recently insisting that both countries had to stop using each other's behavior as, he said "an excuse for stalemate on climate change." or "stand accountable before history for their failure to act."

So, the United States was really feeling the heat from the rest of the world on this issue. Our investigators were vowing to be open. They told us in the White House briefing. They're going to listen to the ideas of others and try to achieve a consensus. So, they certainly followed through with the rhetoric on this one.

WHITFIELD: All right. Kathleen Koch from Washington. Thanks so much.

KOCH: You bet.

WHITFIELD: Straight ahead, presidential politics, star power, in fact, on the campaign trail. It's all a matter of degree. Another celebrity fighting in the race for '08 straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: All right, Rudy Giuliani was in Tampa today to get what his campaign called a major address, a declaration of Giuliani's vision for America. The republican presidential hopeful told the crowd he has the experience needed to hold the nation's highest office.


RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you're looking for perfection, you're not going to find it. Not in me, not in any candidate. But if you're looking for a leader who's been tested in times of crisis, a leader who is ready to lead right now. A leader who has achieved results. Results that some people thought were impossible. A leader who believes that there is no problem too difficult for American solutions and a free American spirit, I believe I am that leader.


WHITFIELD: Rudy Giuliani in Tampa today. Meantime several democrats are running hard in Iowa today where the primaries season starts in earnest in less than three weeks. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is standing by live in Cedar Falls where John Edwards is stomping with some star power this weekend after criticizing it for another candidate last weekend. What's going on?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're absolutely right about that. This is really an incredible race. It's a three- way race. Anybody is really up for grabs. Senator John Edwards is going to be here. Momentarily, we're in Cedar Falls, Iowa. That's where he will hold a town hall meeting. The other two opponents obviously all neck in neck, that being senator Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Everybody trying to get a piece of this. This is the first contest so using star power, celebrity power, whatever they have. Just about 15 minutes away from where we're standing, we heard from Senator Barack Obama taking on Hillary Clinton over that main issue of experience, saying that he believes he has the kind of experience that is necessary to lead this country. It may not be traditional in the sense. And what he did was he kind of turn this argument on its head by using a very clever quote.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The same old experience is irrelevant. You can have the right kind of experience or the wrong kind of experience. And mine is rooted in the real lives of real people and it will bring real results if we have the courage to change. And that was Bill Clinton in 1992.


MALVEAUX: Fred, an interesting twist there, trying to use the former president's words against his wife to make the case that he has the kind of experience that is indeed relevant. Now also, another issue that is playing out, more fallout from that is comments that was made by a co-chair of New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign suggesting that perhaps Barack Obama's drug use in teenage years might impact how voters for him as president. Now, Senator Clinton has apologized to Barack Obama and that official has in fact resigned. But still, this is playing out as a potential political issue. Take a listen to how he responded.


OBRAMA: I can't say how Americans think generally about it. I do think that the average American believes that what somebody does when they were a teenager 30 years ago is probably not relevant to how they are going to be performing as commander in chief and president of the United States.


MALVEAUX: Fred, that's a question, an open question. Another open question is whether or not it really is relevant that you have celebrity star power backing you. It was just last week we saw Oprah Winfrey backing Barack Obama. The Edwards campaign pulling that a little bit but then this weekend they're bringing out their own celebrities, Tim Robbins as well as Kevin Bacon will be here with John Edwards to make the case that he's the guy to vote for, that he is the one that has the kind of experience and he also has the message that seems to be resonating with Iowa voters and that is about those economic issues and health care, education, the things that polls show are most important to these voters, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. In the meantime, Suzanne, let's talk about endorsement of another sort, this one from the "Des Moines Register." Is this a big deal to get the endorsement from this newspaper?

MALVEAUX: Oh, sure. It's a very big deal to get the endorsement of that editorial board. We expect it's going to happen about 8:00 p.m. local time this evening at least for the democratic candidates. It can really be, it would be overstating to say make or break but it certainly does influence a lot of people. They are looking at that state-owned paper of a lot of respect and credibility that comes with that. The last time it was Senator John Edwards that got that endorsement in 2004. He placed a very strong second in the Iowa caucuses. So, we'll have to see how it all kind of unfolds this evening, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll all be watching. Suzanne Malveaux, thanks so much.

And we are expecting to hear from John Edwards after he takes the podium. In the next hour, we will listen in live to some of that speech. That is coming up in the 5:00 p.m. Eastern hour right here on CNN.

Senator John McCain is a decorated war veteran. That you know. And when you're running for commander in chief, it never hurts to round up the Calvary. At a news conference in Columbia, South Carolina today, McCain announced today that he has been endorsed by more than 100 retired admirals and generals. The CNN poll released yesterday shows McCain running fifth in South Carolina's upcoming republican presidential primary. He's trailing Huckabee, Thomson, Giuliani and Romney, in that order. The crowded air space over New York causing flight delays across the country. The government, well, it has a plan but some people want that plan grounded.


WHITFIELD: And take a look at this. Whiteout conditions at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The winter weather walloping many parts of the nation that's causing flight delays right there and elsewhere. Several hundred flights have been cancelled out of Chicago today. And last we are heard, they're still taking off or running up to an hour behind schedule. Definitely check with your airline if you are expecting to fly in and out of Chicago today.

And even when weather isn't an obvious factor, travelers can encounter maddening flight delays. Transportation official says they know why and they have a plan to fix it but they are not finding universal support. Our Allan Chernoff explains.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Wonder why your flight is delayed? Good chance it's because of congestion above New York, even if you're not traveling there. That's because nearly one of every three flights in the nation passes through New York air space and that air space is packed, causing an air traffic jam that's backing up across the country.

MARY PETERS, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: New York air space actually affects three-quarters of the chronically delayed flights around the United States and because it's such an important area, that's why it's really important to address the problem at its base there in the New York region.

CHERNOFF: There are simply too many flights out of New York, the transportation department argues, especially at Kennedy International Airport. More than it could handle, so the department is pushing for a reduction in flights and next week plans to announce recommendations for change.

PETERS: In the short term, we will use a cap to control the number of flights that go out every hour to a manageable level.

CHERNOFF: Anthony Shorris is executive director of the authority that owns and operates the airport saying cutting flights would be a mistake.

ANTHONY SHORRIS, EXEC. DIR., PORT AUTHORITY OF N.Y., N.J.: The answer to the question of too many people wanting to fly is to give them the opportunity to fly. The answer is not to turn them away.

CHERNOFF: Airlines have also resisted the government's request to curtail business in New York, arguing the air traffic control system needs upgrading.

JIM MAY, CEO, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION: New York is the example of the problems that are going to occur in the system if we don't get a next-generation air traffic control system.

CHERNOFF: And how antiquated is the system?

MAY: 1950s technology, 1940s technology.

CHERNOFF: Air traffic control still uses ground based radar. Your car's GPS navigator is more advanced.

The government intends to upgrade to a satellite-based system but that will take years. The immediate answer, says the Department of Transportation, is fewer flights out of New York at peak hours. Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: And right now, they're digging out while they can because more is on the way, round two of a brutal winter storm is headed for the northeast. Meteorologist Bonnie Schneider is tracking the storm from the severe weather center. She's up next to let you know what you need to know.


WHITFIELD: I'm Fredricka Whitfield. And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Wintry weather, while it's much of the Midwest again. While tens of thousands of people there remain without power after the ice storm earlier in the week. Neighboring Kansas and Missouri, well, they're also getting hammered by the bad weather. Thousands of people there are still without electricity. Up to a foot of snow is falling in Kansas, crippling travel on interstate 70. And that storm is on the move, meaning wintry weather for other parts of the country this weekend as well. CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider tracking all of it and it's ugly.


WHITFIELD: Western Pennsylvania is already dealing with severe weather themselves, this time in the form of flooding. Take a look at Pittsburgh -- oh, boy. Monongahela River, it went out of its banks yesterday, closing out roads in and around the Steel City. Winter weather advisories going into effect 7:00 tonight for the greater Pittsburgh area and 15 neighboring counties.

Overseas now, Indonesia saw seismic shake-up today. The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck in the country's east. And we have not yet gotten any damage or casualty reports. A second smaller quake by the way was also reported in nearby East Timor.

And just within the hour, word of another earthquake. This one in central Chile. According to the "Associated Press," preliminary reports give it a magnitude of 5.8. The tremor lasted an entire minute, which must have felt like an eternity. We will keep you posted on any reports of damage or casualties.

Well the scoop on steroids. You have heard the report about baseball and performance-enhancing drugs. Well how much do these drugs actually enhance someone's game? Our Dr. Bill Lloyd makes the call.


WHITFIELD: Well the holidays are here. Time to eat, drink, be merry, right? Well how do you that without packing on the pounds? Judy Fortin has some tips in today's "Health for Her" report.


JUDY FORTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 'Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry and eat some more. And in the end, we gain -- weight that is. But there's some good news. According to the "New England Journal of Medicine," the average American gains not the five to 10 pounds once thought the norm over the holidays, but instead only about a pound.

The bad news is, it seems that pound stays with us forever and ever. So how do you enjoy the season and all of those parties without expanding your waist size? Well according to registered dietitian Ellie Krieger, the key is to start small.

ELLIE KRIEGER, REGISTERED DIETICIAN: Take a small plate, the smallest plate available because if you take a small plate, you will be satisfied with less food.

FORTIN: Another tactic to ward off those extra calories is to put yourself on a high calorie alert status.

KRIEGER: You're not really paying attention. It doesn't even matter if you're hungry. It's there, it looks good, it's something to do.

FORTIN: And finally, to navigate around those fattening holiday feasts, reach into and grab onto your inner child and go ahead and eat like a baby.

KRIEGER: They eat when they are hungry and they push the food away when they had enough.

FORTIN: So push away the food and gather your family and friends close for a happy holiday. Judy Fortin, CNN, Atlanta.



WHITFIELD: There's plenty of curiosity about Michael Vick's former estate. But few buyers seem interested in shelling out big bucks for it. The developer selling the home where Vick's dogfighting operation was based has rejected a $747,000 bid. It was one of only two he received at an auction today. He says it's worth at least a million, so it's staying on the market.

The Mitchell Report released this week examined juicing in the major leagues, but now the Senate Finance Committee wants to know if the investigation into steroid use uncovered other illegal activities. They are specifically concerned with money laundering and tax evasion. Former Senator George Mitchell's report linked 85 current and former baseball players to performance-enhancing drugs.

We all know that steroids can increase athletic performance, but how much? And at what cost to an athlete's health. Our Dr. Bill Lloyd joins us now from Sacramento. Good to see you.


WHITFIELD: Well, how do we try to quantify the performance enhancement that comes with the use of steroid or is there a way?

LLOYD: Fredricka, all we have to do is all we have to do is look at the record books and we find that the number of hits, the number of home runs and other phenomenal achievements by baseball players in the past decade far eclipsed what's been done in the past.

Think of someone who runs a mile. We say that the record for running a while improves about 1 percent every four years. Well the use of anabolic steroids and growth hormones will boost your performance 1 percent in baseball as well.

Could you imagine having a four-year head start on other mile runners? The same thing applies for baseball.

WHITFIELD: So that means if you are using such performance- enhancing drugs, you have to stick with it. Is it sort of like an addiction to any other kind of drug?

LLOYD: The reputation of this medication is very clearly outlined in the Mitchell Report and many athletes were taking the injection as frequently as every week.

And when you take these powerful drugs that supplant the activity of your normal body, that means your organs go on vacation while you're taking medications every week. And if you stop, you're going to be in serious medical trouble because your glands won't come back on duty as quickly as they should.

WHITFIELD: Really? So what happens to the athlete who says, OK, I'm using this stuff, OK, time for me stop? You just can't cold turkey stop it because not only will your performance probably be lackluster, but you're jeopardizing your entire life.

LLOYD: It could harm you in many different ways and serious health consequences. While you're taking the medication, there is going to damage to your heart, damage to your liver, damage to your bones. Abruptly stopping these drugs will also lead to problems that involve your metabolism, your cholesterol levels and even psychiatric behavior.

So anyone taking powerful substances, whether it was prescribed or they were taking it illegally, would need to come down and taper gently to get their body back to normal. WHITFIELD: So these are side effects to coming off the drug. What about the side effects of staying on them?

LLOYD: The side effects are permanent and lasting. Anyone taking these anabolic steroids are going to get into trouble with their liver. They're going to suffer chronic liver damage and with that alterations in their cholesterol, which will shift to long-term heart damage as well.

Also problems with the reproductive system. Many people make jokes about this on the talk shows, but men who take these chronic steroids will have trouble raising a family in the future.

And other parts of their body, Fredricka. Their bones, for example, will turn to Styrofoam. Fractures are very common in people who chronically abuse steroids and even problems with tendons, actually causing muscles to pull away from those very fragile points.

WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh, so any benefits clearly short lived.

LLOYD: Oh any benefit to the athlete, of course, but it's important to remember that these are prescription medications and for many people, cancer victims, people in trauma, people who have had surgery, burn victims. They respond marvelously to the appropriate doses of these medications and take them as prescribed.

WHITFIELD: Wow, tremendous stuff. Dr. Bill Lloyd, thank you so much.

LLOYD: We'll talk again soon.

WHITFIELD: All right, we will indeed. All the more reason why young people in particular don't even start it.


WHITFIELD: Tony Harris along here.

HARRIS: Exactly.

WHITFIELD: Come a little closer.

HARRIS: So far away, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Don't even get started because look at this, I mean.

HARRIS: Well, I'll tell you what.

WHITFIELD: The risks far outweigh any benefits.

HARRIS: Heroes, at some point we knew there would be some players named who everyone cared about. Everyone cared about, and then the dynamic would totally change. Barry Bonds, vilified, vilified, vilified. You get to Roger Clemens and now everyone now takes a new look at this and you're right. The reality of it is and you heard from George Mitchell, that kids - kids are using this stuff in high schools and colleges.

WHITFIELD: You even see the big names and the message is the only way to compete to be the best means you've got to --

HARRIS: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: Play in this game.

HARRIS: Absolutely. And even if you're a marginal player, a lot of these guys who are marginal players are using the stuff as we've learned just to stay in the game. We're not even talking about the superstars anymore, just the folks who are marginal players who are using it just to stay in the game. And earn a paycheck, to take care of the families, which if you think about it that makes you think about it more.

WHITFIELD: Well I know you're going to be talking a little bit about that later on in the NEWSROOM and other stuff.

HARRIS: Yes. How about actor Kevin Bacon?


HARRIS: Last week we talking about Obama and Oprah.


HARRIS: But this week it is Kevin Bacon stumping for his man in Iowa. There he is, John Edwards. So we're going to dip into a little bad of that event. It's scheduled for 5:00. We'll dip into that. And then beyond that, Paul Steinhauser, our terrific CNN senior political producer who knows so much about so many things, he is going to join us and we're going to talk all things politics. And I had another item to tease, but we were talking about steroids and I've run out of time.

WHITFIELD: I know, we just got riled up over it.

HARRIS: Come on, give us more time.

WHITFIELD: We will be watching more of you in the NEWSROOM. We hear the producer, rap!

HARRIS: Quiet already, you two.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks a lot, Tony.

All right, well how about this straight ahead as well. Trouble in Toyland, recalls puts toys for tots and shoppers in a tight spot this holiday season. Straight ahead, problems and solutions coming up. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


WHITFIELD: This weekend we are focusing on holiday shopping and trouble in Toyland. Scores of recalls, millions of tainted toys and a lot of parents now looking for "made in America," that label. But are those toys any safer? CNN's consumer reporter Greg Hunter went to one company to check it out.


GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The assembly line is running 24-7 at this Little Tikes toy plant in Hudson, Ohio, churning out its most popular toy, the cozy coup, or what the Little Tikes executive vice president Tom Prichard calls --

TOM PRICHARD, V.P. LITTLE TIKES: One of the best-selling cars in America that is made in America.

HUNTER: Instead of in China, where 80 percent of toys sold in the U.S. are made.

PRICHARD: We have some of the best people right here in Hudson, Ohio, that knows how to make the product and they're experts at doing it.

HUNTER: Workers here earn between $15 and $25 an hour, far more than most of their Asian counterparts. Still, the company says those higher wages pay off by creating a product with unique appeal. With $600 million in sales expected this year, Little Tikes is trumpeting the made in USA pedigree.

PRICHARD: Made in America with Little Tikes means quality, safety and durability. And hopefully it means trust and mom understands that it's safe.

HUNTER: Marketing experts say the made in the USA cache goes far beyond Little Tikes. DENIS DUNLOP, CEO, AMERICAN MARKETING ASSN: Consumers right now, equate quality with made in America.

HUNTER: Other popular toys like Slinkies and Crayola crayons are still made in the U.S. Consumer advocates say while U.S. made products are more likely to comply with regulations than toys made abroad --

RACHEL WEINTRAUB, CONSUMER FED. OF AMERICA: A made in U.S. label does not equal a safety certification.

HUNTER: Weintraub wants the government to test all toys, no matter where they're made, instead of relying on the companies to do so. Little Tikes conducts its own safety tests, beginning with design. All products are created in wood or foam and then put to the test.

PRICHARD: It's more stable.

HUNTER: This slide step started out shaky, so they tacked on a foot. And on every item made here, Little Tikes is adding this label, made in the USA.

Are you proud of this?

PRICHARD: This is to help mom find the product that they're looking for easier. HUNTER: Little Tikes does make some toys overseas but it says the majority, nearly 70 percent are made in Ohio. And they don't have any plans to change that any time soon.

Greg Hunter, CNN, Hudson, Ohio.


WHITFIELD: Well charities are also being affected by all of the recalled toys. Toy donations are down and more volunteers are needed to check the toys that are being donated. Pete Osman is the director for the Marines Toys for Tots Foundation. Good to see you, Pete.

PETE OSMAN, TOYS FOR TOTS: Good to see you, Fredricka, thank you.

WHITFIELD: So how have these recalls affected your donations? Are they down?

OSMAN: Donations are down somewhat this year. Indications that we're getting from our local coordinators in the field indicate that we probably are not going to get the number of toys this year we hoped to get. Last year we were very fortunate. We set a record. We distributed 19.2 million toys to 7.6 million children.

WHITFIELD: And is that because that the numbers are down this year because you believe folks believe that it's just too cumbersome, too difficult to try to find the most appropriate toy that isn't on a recall list and that's why they're refraining from donations all together?

OSMAN: We think that could be part of the problem. And of course like many problems, there are other reasons as well. If we look at some of the natural disasters that we've had in our country this year, southern California, fires, certainly the flooding that was in the Northwest. And the snowstorms and what not that we've seen in the middle of America. Certainly these things have had an impact on our wonderful Americans that have supported this for so many years.

WHITFIELD: And it has an impact on you and your volunteers and how you're screening on all of these toys that you are getting in, because you don't want the wrong toys to end up in the hands of all of these small kids. So what are you doing in order to screen these items?

OSMAN: Toys for Tots has always looked at toys to assure that they were the appropriate toy for children as well as the safety factor. And this year we have emphasized that more than ever before. We took action this last summer to again to make sure that our local coordinators understood that and our conference in September where the local coordinators come to get themselves ready to come for the season, that was a big topic of discussion and, of course, they are really examining the toys closely in their warehouses as they prepare for distribution.

WHITFIELD: And I understand Toys "R" Us is also playing a role. What role?

OSMAN: Toys "R" Us has been a tremendous supporter for Toys for Tots for a number of years now. We have been working closely with them again to ensure that the toys that are on the shelves at the Toys "R" Us stores are in fact toys that are safe. We have a wonderful relationship with them that we feel very comfortable with the toys that we do get from Toys "R" Us.

WHITFIELD: All right, so say you don't have time to shop, get those toys to Toys for Tots, but you want to make a donation. What do you do?

OSMAN: You can go right on the Web site, and you can make a contribution that way. The last minute rushing around with the holiday season, it's great to be able to go on the Web site and make that donation that way and we really appreciate that.

WHITFIELD: All right, Pete Osman for the Marines Toys for Tots. Thanks so much and happy holidays.

OSMAN: Thank you very much, Fredricka. Happy holidays to you as well.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much. And just to underscore, you can find more information about donating in your area at

All right so with all the recalls, this may be the year that parents may buy more high-tech toys like video games. No lead paint or choking hazards there, right? Well there are other concerns. More "Trouble in Toyland" tomorrow at 5 p.m. Eastern.

A deep discovery off the Caribbean coast. A wrecked ship, likely commanded by the notorious Captain Kidd. What secrets can it reveal?


WHITFIELD: OK, so it's the stuff dreams are built on, a sunken pirate ship. Was Captain Kidd a pirate of the Caribbean or not? That's what archaeologists from Indiana University want to know. They found the remains of the ship captained by the legendary buccaneer. The ship is in water just 10 feet deep and just off the coast of Catalina Island near the Dominican Republic. Experts say it could help clear Kidd's name.


RICHARD ZACKS, AUTHOR: He's gone down on legendary buccaneer, cutlass, waving bad guy of history. But, actually, the true story is probably even better than the myth. He was a privateer hired to chase pirates and in 1696, and his mission went badly and his crew mutinied, became pirates and he got charged with all the villanies they committed. And Kidd sailed back to the Caribbean and he was desperate to clear his name. And this is what the story we are trying to recreate, trying to understand, is how he left his first ship, where the goods went, what canons he salvaged, which ones wound up on the bottom of the ocean floor. As Captain Kidd made a really courageous decision to sail into the British Empire to clear his name and say, I'm not a pirate. I do not deserve to hang for this. I'm an honorable captain.

CHARLES BEEKER, INDIANA UNIVERSITY: The site itself is very remarkable. You have a series of 26 canons on the site, numerous anchors that are underneath the canons. Of course wonderful biology on the site, too. We like to refer to this site really now already as a living museum in the sea. And it's something that people will really appreciate for its historic significance. But the challenge for us is to get Indiana University involved to be able to go there, do the research to prove whether Captain Kidd really as a privateer or a private. But regardless, the site is phenomenal to look at.


WHITFIELD: Wow, neat-o stuff. No pirate booty or gold baubles were found.

HARRIS: No pirate what?



WHITFIELD: Tony, I won't even. Anyway, but the barnacles and canons were there and that certainly can lead to a rewrite of history, at least better understand it. I could commented further, but then I said no, because that's a reflection on me. We're talking about you here.

HARRIS: Me, and how depraved I am. How weird and depraved. Hi, Fred.

WHITFIELD: OK, much more of the NEWSROOM straight ahead with you. Stay out of trouble.

HARRIS: I will do my best.

WHITFIELD: Is it possible?

HARRIS: Not even.


HARRIS: Have a great night, Fred.