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Preparations for Iowa Caucus; Trouble in Kenya; Stormy Weather in U.S.

Aired January 3, 2008 - 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: Good morning, everybody. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Heidi Collins.
Watch events come into the NEWSROOM live on this Thursday morning. Here is on the rundown now for January 3rd, 2008. The first vote of the 2008 presidential race just hours away now. Will Iowa make or break your candidate's campaign?

Police shooting down election protesters in Kenya today. We'll go live to Nairobi. Plus an I-reporter talks about the chaos.

What sent a tiger on a rampage? A witness describes the fatal attack. San Francisco Zoo reopening today in the NEWSROOM.

The road to the White House. The first way station: Iowa. The first presidential vote now just hours away. This morning, single digit temperatures and double-fisted glad-handing. Candidates are scrambling to get both in hand and voters out to tonight's caucuses. Campaign workers are offering to shovel your sidewalk or baby-sit your kids.

And, we're doing what it takes to bring it to you all. Both races are just plain too close to call at this point. Joe Johns and Candy Crowley are covering the Democrats. Dana Bash and Mary Snow are following the Republicans and Tom Foreman has a closer look at the caucuses themselves. After all, what Iowans decide may ultimately shape who you can elect later on.

So Democrats -- there in the battleground of Iowa but share common ground on many of the issues. CNN's Joe Johns is keeping them honest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By far, Iraq is the top concern here in Iowa among Democrats. Hillary Clinton voted for it but now, she says she wouldn't.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have said that as soon as I am inaugurated, I will ask the joint chiefs of staffs, the secretary of defense, my security advisers to give me a plan so that I can begin to withdraw troops within 60 days.

JOHNS: Ditto John Edwards. He voted for force, now regrets it and now wants the troops out ASAP. Barack Obama feels exactly the same except that he spoke out against the war before it started. SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to end the war in Iraq. It costs us $9 to $10 billion a month.

JOHNS (on camera): Keeping them honest -- that gives Obama bragging rights with the anti-war crowd but other than that, the top three Democrats are pretty much in lock step. Health care. Clinton wants to mandate a Washington word for forced health care coverage for all Americans. And anyone who can't afford it would get taxpayer money to help out.

Obama would create a national health care program for anyone who can't get one at work. Edwards puts the burden more squarely on employers. Either provide insurance or help your workers pay for it privately or else.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, 47 million people in America will go to bed knowing that if their child gets up in the middle of the night sick, they're going to have to go to the emergency room and beg for health care, while the CEO of one of the biggest health insurance company makes hundreds of millions of dollars.

JOHNS (voice-over): Three candidates, two issues. And while they may differ on the details, the goals are the same. Good luck choosing!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: So CNN's Joe Johns is joining us now from Des Moines this morning. Hey there, Joe. What are the candidates planning for their final push today?

JOHNS: Well, Heidi, right now, it's all about getting your people to the caucuses. This is all about who is going to get out, who is going to stand up at the caucuses, and the question really is who has the advantage, what are they going to do about it?

John Edwards, you would probably have to say, has the advantage simply because he really did this six years ago. He has an organization in place, one of the big questions, of course, for somebody like Senator Obama is whether he'll be able to get out that student vote, the young people who have so much energy and so much drive for him. Is he going to be able to get those people out to the caucuses to try to push for him? So, it's all up in the air and nobody is predicting.

COLLINS: Nobody is predicting but they're having a good breakfast at the diner behind you there, I bet.

JOHNS: Yes, absolutely.

COLLINS: CNN's Joe Johns, live from Des Moines at this hour. Thanks so much, Joe, I appreciate that. Now I want to get to the Republicans. That race, knotted at the top with two candidates.

Let's see if CNN's Dana Bash has their last-minute messages. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Come-from-behind candidate Mike Huckabee is trying to rally Republicans to caucus like he is leading a revolution.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we win, it will be the most unbelievable political story in decades. You will tell your kids and grandkids: "I helped make political history."

BASH: Reminding Christian conservative voters why they liked him -- consistency, authenticity on their issues.

HUCKABEE: When I tell you that I am going to fight for human life, it's not something that a pollster just told me last week that I need to say.

BASH: Millionaire-businessman Mitt Romney wants to close the deal with leadership.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've run things. I've built teams. I've been able to make differences, not just talk about differences.

BASH: And an uplifting litany of promises.

ROMNEY: I want to strengthen America. I want to strengthen our homes and our families with good health care, with great schools and great values. I want to strengthen our economy so our kids will have great jobs and we will be able to have the kind of prosperous life that we've enjoyed in this nation for so many years.

BASH: But the urgent battle now isn't on the stump. It's out on the streets.

"MATT", A CAMPAIGNER FOR MITT ROMNEY: Hi, I'm Matt with the Mitt Romney campaign. How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, good!

MATT: I'm just here to remind you about the caucus.

BASH: And back at headquarters on the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CAMPAIGNER: Do you know anyone you could bring with you -- friends or family?

ROMNEY: We've had people out knocking on doors in bitter, cold weather. There were over 12,000 calls made yesterday from my headquarters.

BASH: The great unknown: will Romney's well-funded establishment operation with voter lists and data bases win the day? Or will it be Huckabee's less organized, last-minute sign-ups in the back of the room?

UNIDENTIFIED MIKE HUCKABEE CAMPAIGNER: Are you going to call them and remind them to come and show up?

BASH: And passion from church-goers, home-schoolers, and first- time caucus-goers.

HUCKABEE: Load up your car, rent a van, a big bus -- whatever it takes to get out there and caucus and take friends and relatives and people from work and neighbors.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: CNN's Dana Bash, joining us from Des Moines, as well. Hey, Dana, what issues do you think Republican voters are going to try to get their people thinking about in order to get them to turn out tonight? Because, obviously, as we just heard from Mike Huckabee, that's really the hardest part -- it's just getting people to show up.

BASH: It is the hardest part. The issues that the candidates have been talking about, they've been talking about it because what the voters care about are immigration -- that's really an enormous issue for Republican voters here. The economy, the issues have really come back home. The economy, things about their own personal wallets, that really matters a lot to these voters and also, especially here in Iowa where the Evangelical base within the Republican party is so big, abortion and gay rights, those are big issues for Republicans.

It's interesting, Heidi. On the Democratic side you don't really see major differences between the candidates on those issues. On the Republican side, you do see some big differences. For example, Mike Huckabee is pushing his idea for a fair tax, that means abolishing the IRS and having essentially a consumption tax -- that is not what Mitt Romney, his chief rival here, wants to do.

That is one major difference. But, you know, on the social issues, that is really what Mike Huckabee is hitting really hard. You heard him in that piece -- he is hitting it hard and there is a reason for it. He says, I have been consistent on issues -- on my opposition abortion and trying to make the suggestion his chief rival here, Mitt Romney, simply hasn't. That is one of the chief reasons he has been able to stoke the passion of many voters who simply have not caucused before -- church-goers, pastors, home-schoolers -- those are the people he is relying on to get out for him today.

COLLINS: Well, it is certainly going to be an interesting evening, there is no question about that. CNN's Dana Bash in Des Moines, Iowa, for us this morning. Dana, thank you.

So, calling all Iowans. If you will be caucusing tonight, we want to know what it's like. Bring your camera and send us photos and videos from inside, if you would. We are going to be airing some of the best I-reports during our special coverage tonight. Just go to cnnpolitics.com and if you are not in Iowa, go there anyway for the precious poll, the latest files. Not to Iowa but to the actual Web site. Political ticker-blonde and a whole lot more. That's cnnpolitics.com.

It is bone-chilling cold up and down the east coast, even into Florida with frigid conditions putting citrus crops at risk now, but, so far, it looks like they dodged a bit of a bullet. It didn't get cold enough overnight to do any damage but, even so, some farmers tried to protect their fruit by harvesting them or spraying them with water to insulate them from freezing temperatures.

As part of the hour, we're going to be talking live to a reporter who has examined those conditions at a Florida orange grove. So cold, in fact, it looks like icicles in your nose, you can't stop shivering. Does news kind of weather make us more prone to catching colds? CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta will have the answer coming up right here in the NEWSROOM.

And, with no further delay, let's get over to the weather center. Bonnie Schneider is standing by to talk more about the chilly, chilly southeast temperatures. I seriously didn't realize that I was in Georgia when I headed outside this morning.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm sure and Florida ends the same. Look at these record lows early this morning in key west -- that's as far south as you can go -- 45 degrees. Maybe it doesn't sound so bad but it does shatter a record. We had a record set in Naples, Florida, at 34 -- tying the record there. Also Fort Myers got 10 to 32 degrees. So we had many areas where the wind chill dropped down into the 20, it certainly was cold as well.

I want to talk about Atlanta because, around Tennessee and North Georgia, the temperatures plummeted. We have a live picture to show you of Atlanta right now. The current temperature is 19 degrees and yet, the sun is shining but the wind chill? That is only 11 degrees. That is really unusual for the southeast. This morning, this arctic blast continues down in Florida. Temperatures are barely making it above 30. Unless you're in Miami-Dade that's where we have about 50 degrees, but that is still kind of cold for south Florida.

As we travel to the north, we still have a watch for the wind chill to feel like it's in the 30s and 20s and this does include Jacksonville. This will go until 9:00 a.m., so we're about to see it expire. But, watch out for that because it could still be cold.

We also have a freeze warning in effect until 9:00 a.m. for southern Texas and this will also go until about another hour from now. As we look toward northern Texas, we are getting a little bit of snow -- not too much hitting the ground -- but it is cold enough to for us go certainly teaching us and this will also go until about another hour from now. but not too much hitting the ground but cold into northern Texas and we are watching that as well.

Current temperatures right now 11 in Nashville it's still very cold and expect a gradual warm-up but the winds are picking up and that will keep you feeling cold. The freeze warning includes the southeastern parishes of Louisiana, including the City of New Orleans.

The other big story that we're talking more about as we go through the day is this big storm developing out west. This is going to be a huge snow maker for the Sierra Nevada where we could see eight feet more of snow but also a lot of rain for northern California in the next 48 hours and also down through Southern California.

This may pose a problem, Heidi, as we go further into the weekend for flooding in the burn areas. Something we're watching very closely.

COLLINS: Wow. OK, a whole lot going on once again in the weather center. Bonnie Schneider, we'll check back later. Thank you.

Over a barrel, the price of oil could push past the $100-mark again today and that could mean more money to fill your gas tank. Traders are waiting for a report coming out next hour on U. S. petroleum supplies. Crude hit $100 a barrel in New York trading for the first time on Wednesday. It settled back just under the record milestone. The White House has ruled out opening the strategic petroleum reserve to ease those prices. We are watching for the supply report coming up next hour. We're going to keep you posted, of course, on oil prices throughout the day.

A report of a new witness raises disturbing questions about a deadly tiger mauling. The San Francisco Zoo reopens today without the big cat. Our Chris Lawrence is there.

Chris, what is this new witness saying?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, she was at the zoo on Christmas day visiting with her family and she says she saw a group of young men screaming and even growling at the lions. She does recognize the teenager who was mauled to death and she says he, himself, didn't taunt or tease the tiger.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAK WONDERLY, I-REPORTER (voice-over): As families return to the San Francisco Zoo, officials are questioning whether the victims provoked the tiger to attack on Christmas day.

SAM SINGER, SPOKESMAN, SAN FRANCISCO ZOO: There are a number of things found in the tiger's grotto that the police are looking into.

WONDERLY: A zoo spokesman said they discovered a large rock, branches, pine cones, things not usually found in the habitat.

SINGER: It's too soon to determine or to tell whether those were part of taunting or the kids were throwing those things at the tiger.

WONDERLY: The 350-pound Siberian mauled one teenager to death and attacked his two friends. All the big cats have been removed while crews secure the habitat.

LAWRENCE: This is a blueprint of one of the security upgrades the zoo is considering, including a glass wall in front of the viewing area that rises about 19 feet above the bottom of the moat.

WONDERLY: That is three feet higher than the recommended height and nearly seven feet higher than the old wall. Investigators believe the tiger jumped the moat and scaled the wall. The survivors have hired celebrity Attorney Marc Geragos. He says the teenager bled to death while zoo workers wasted crucial minutes responding to his friends' cry for help.

I asked the zoo director to respond. Did he take the attack seriously enough to alert the police what was going on?

MANUEL MOLLINEDO, SAN FRANCISCO ZOO DIRECTOR: My staff reported to the police and the fire department what they knew at the time.

WONDERLY: But 911 dispatch logs show the first call to the fire department showed little sense of urgency. The zoo worker even suggested the victim reporting a tiger attack might be mentally disturbed and making it up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE: It remains to be seen how many families are going to show up here at the zoo when it reopens in just a few hours. They won't see any of the big cats. Again, they've all been locked away and will remain so for the time being. But they will see are several of these new notices posted everywhere in the zoo reminding people not to provoke the animals --Heidi?

COLLINS: CNN's Chris Lawrence for us live this morning at the San Francisco Zoo. Chris, thank you.

Capturing the chaos in Kenya. An American on the scene turns CNN I-reporter. Live pictures in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Heidi Collins. A dying voter's mission in Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHY SINGLE, DYING VOTER: One person can make a difference. One that everyday, every decision you make in your life is important and you can make a difference and you can make a change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Kathy Single's story straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: A planned million-man march in Kenya -- well, it ends before it begins. Riot police, firing water canons and tear gas on protesters. We go live now with CNN International Security Correspondent Paula Newton. She is in Nairobi this morning.

Paula, tell us more about the situation right now.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Quite a tense moment. Just a few hours ago, Heidi, we were in the thick of things and police -- well, they tried to show their strength -- did, in fact, use tear gas and water canons to disperse the crowd. The crowd itself deliberately came unarmed so that they wanted to hold a peaceful protest.

In the end, they were held back and as you can see from some of the pictures we're looking at right now, things did get out of control. I think hour-by-hour it was difficult to know where things were going to go.

What is happening right now, Heidi, is that people have gone back to their homes and been encouraged by the opposition party to postpone this rally for yet another five days.

In the meantime, the political situation continues to deteriorate. Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa flew into here to Kenya today but he doesn't have very encouraging words and he doesn't have anyone to sit down with the table with him yet.

Then, on top of that, there are more calls for a recount and yet the government says there is no need for a recount and calling on the opposition to go to the courts and go to the constitutional protest if it wants to dispute the election.

And, in the meantime, Heidi, the government tells CNN that they want the international community to butt out and they will not submit to international mediations -- Heidi?

COLLINS: All right. CNN's Paula Newton giving us the very latest happening there in the Kenya area. I appreciate that, Paula.

In fact, we want to get further information now and go beyond the headlines with a personal account what is going on in Kenya. CNN I- Reporter Daniel Pollack is joining us now by the phone from Nairobi.

Daniel, I understand that you are actually inside the gated community and are being told not to leave under any circumstances. Tell me a little bit more about what you have noticed and what you have seen around you.

DANIEL POLLACK, CNN I-REPORTER: I was told not to go out yesterday and this morning, they said -- see what was going on there which is the location for the rally today. There were 75 people had made it there. I stopped by a roadblock and there were police officers, rioters and ralliers that were armed with all sorts of tear gas and water cannons there. Machetes or hammers which had been -- the area.

COLLINS: Daniel, we're having a pretty hard time hearing you, unfortunately. Obviously, when we try to talk with you, a world away, sometimes we run into that.

I just want to give people a little bit of background on why you are there and sort of who you are. I know that you're a 21-year-old student and that you work there in the area from January to May and came home and raised several thousand dollars in order to build a school. You ended up flying to Kenya on Friday morning, which is basically just when all of these problems started. Did you have any idea, Daniel, what you would be walking into?

POLLACK: I had absolutely no idea. Things were pretty calm and everything was fine and heard on the news -- come here and then able to go on Wednesday and saw hundreds of shops were burnt down to the ground and there was -- just shells. Glass and ash in the streets. It's really ...

COLLINS: Daniel, unfortunately, we are going to have to cut this short just simply because we're having such a terrible time hearing you. But, I did understand you just say at least a hundred shops burned to the ground and glass and ash in the street and I read some of your other comments here. I know you have understood people to say and overheard people saying there in the area that the only truth is the machete and that everyone seems to feel, at least the people you've spoken with, seem to feel wronged.

So we will, of course, stay on top of the situation there as more calls, we just heard from our Paula Hancocks go out for a recount in this election. Again, we will continue to stay on top of the story there. Thanks so much, Daniel Pollack, a CNN I-Reporter for us in Kenya.

Ohio teenagers now -- teachers with homemade explosives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was upstairs in my house and it felt like something dropped downstairs or like -- I thought it was an earthquake or something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Deadly experiment in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: A search is under way right now in the Georgia mountains for a woman described as an experienced hiker. Meredith Emerson and her dog have been missing since Tuesday. Her car and the dog's leash were found yesterday. A police baton and sunglasses were found near the car. A hiker told officials she saw a man with a baton on the same trail that Emerson took. Rescue teams have been hampered by bitter cold, snow, and high winds. We are told authorities will hold a news conference next hour to update their search. We will bring you those details as soon as we get them here.

A horrible accident in southwest Ohio. Police say a teenager has been killed in a backyard explosion. Authorities say a group of teenagers were apparently trying to blow up a wooden fort play set using home made explosives. Neighbors say the blast was ear- splitting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA FRAISER, NEIGHBOR OF OHIO BLAST VICTIM: I was upstairs in my house and it felt like something dropped downstairs or like -- I thought it was an earthquake or something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Authorities say 19-year-old Daniel Ferrero was killed in the blast. Police are now questioning another 19-year-old and two 15-year-olds.

A manhunt ends in a shootout, an escaped convict killed in the confrontation. Police in Wusa Suitland, Maryland, say escapee Kelvin Polk fired on officers and they returned fire. The shootout followed a day-long manhunt we first told you about yesterday. Authorities say Polk was taken to a Maryland hospital complaining of chest pain and he overpowered five security guards and took their weapon and shot a driver and escaped.

Wondering why you should care about the Iowa caucuses?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen up. You care because those folks in Iowa may actually choose your next president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Caucuses 101. Class is about to begin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: There you go, the opening bell for this Thursday. And you know who that is? Pretty cool -- see in the background there? The Biggest Loser, the NBC show? These are the winners. The Biggest Losers lost a ton of weight, twin brothers Bill and Jim. Good for them.

Meanwhile, as we look at the numbers whether those are fat or thin, it will be what we're talking about today, especially with regard to oil prices. So we're going to be talking with Ali Velshi a little bit later on today about all those business stories for you in just a moment.

Good morning once again, everybody. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Heidi Collins. Tony Harris is off today. We know the big role Iowa plays in presidential elections, but you may not know the nuts and bolts about how a caucus works. Well, we're going to do some math for you. Senior Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin explained it at all on Anderson Cooper 360.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The first thing you need to remember is this is not an election. This is a caucus. In a meeting -- and it means it's in public. There's no secret ballot here. Basically, people show up in a room where it's like where Tom is going to be and then they vote. They walk over to the corner. Come on, Anderson, you vote, too.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: They actually stand off in a corner of the room?

TOOBIN: Every candidate gathers around and has his supporters.

COOPER: We are randomly putting these up?

TOOBIN: We are randomly putting these up. This is the key moment in any caucus. Because after the first round, there the 15 percent rule only in the Democratic side. In the Democratic caucuses, if you don't have 15 percent, you're out of the first round.

COOPER: Then all of those people who had voted for people who didn't get more than 15 percent they are free to choose again?

TOOBIN: They not only free, they're expected to. This is where the politicking gets intense where the other people try to get them to join. And, in fact, sometimes people switch from one to another. I mean, you can go back and forth any way you like. This is the final result that gets reported to Des Moines, and this is the result of the caucus after the 15 percent threshold forces everyone to vote twice.

COOPER: And 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, 7:00 p.m. Central time that's when the first positioning begins on the Democratic side?

TOOBIN: Correct. The doors close. You can't show up after 7:00 and expect to vote. Then you begin this process. The Republicans are different and much simpler. The Republicans, it's simple a straw pull. Everyone who shows up, they vote once for the candidate of their choice, those votes are reported to Republican headquarters in Des Moines and that is what we learn.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: A few more numbers for you now. Iowa Democrats say about 124,000 people took part in their 2004 caucuses. The Republican Party in Iowa estimates 87,000 participated in the 2,000 caucuses. There was no GOP caucus in 2004. President Bush ran unchallenged for a second term.

If you'd like to watch any of the candidates today in their final push for votes live, or you can leave this one about to get underway in Des Moines with Democratic candidate John Edwards or this event in Burlington, Iowa for Republican Mike Huckabee just go to CNN.com/live to watch the rallies and events streamed live. Pretty cool.

It's bone-chilling cold up and down the east coast and the winter blast had some Florida citrus growers worried, but they may have dodged a bullet. Jeff Lennox of our affiliate WESH joining us now from Winter Garden, Florida. Tell us a little more about what conditions are like. It doesn't look too bad there right now.

JEFF LENNOX, WESH AFFILIATE: Yes, Heidi, it's getting a lot better out here. We're in winter garden, about 30 miles west of Orlando. The temperature is starting to creep back up and over their freezing mark. That is the good news that we can report here this morning. Take a look, we're at a citrus grove again in Winter Garden. In fearing the worst over the last couple of days, citrus growers have been trying to harvest those ripe oranges at a feverish pace. And just take a look right here. Here at this citrus grove, we can tell you they took in about 2,000 boxes worth of oranges. And just to put that in perspective for you, each tree holds about five boxes of Oranges so they've been working around the clock to get the ripe oranges off the trees.

Now right now, temperature is sitting at about 29 and 30 degrees and that is actually the good news. It's when those temperatures hit 28 degrees and below for more than four hours that's when these citrus growers really start to get worried, and that is where you can really start to see some damages to the fruit and to the trees here in the state of Florida.

Take a look here. Just a few minutes ago we took this orange off a tree. You can see the juice free-flowing this morning. Great news. They want to see this continue throughout the day today. Of course, these growers are going to continue to monitor the situation.

Heidi, another great news to point out. We should see temperatures in the mid-70s this weekend, so looks like things are going to get better.

COLLINS: Wow, yes. Then you might not need that big fluffy jacket there in Winter Garden, Florida.

LENNOX: That's right.

COLLINS: Jeff Lennox, thanks so much for your time joining us from our affiliate WESH. Thanks, Jeff.

Want to get to Bonnie Schneider now in the weather center with more on all of these cold temperatures. We're not really all that used to it, at least the natives are not that used to it in the southeast.

(WEATHER REPORT)

COLLINS: All right, Bonnie. I don't know whether to thank you or not, but it's not your fault. Thanks so much. We'll check back a little bit later on.

So cold, in fact, it looks like icicles on your nose and you can't stop shivering. Does this kind of weather though, really make us more prone to catching colds? CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta will have some of the answers straight ahead in just a few minutes.

First, we want to update you on the huge hospital fire that broke out during our show yesterday. London firefighters worked through the night to put out the last embers. This is Europe's largest comprehensive cancer center, it was the first hospital in the world to specialize in cancer treatment. Hundreds of patients and staff were evacuated from the acclaimed Royal Marsden Hospital. No one was injured. The cause of the blaze though still under investigation this morning. Party people. The chairmen of the Republican and Democratic national committees weigh in on the Iowa caucuses. We'll talk with them ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: A dying voter's mission in Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHY STANGL, DYING IOWA VOTER: One person can make a difference. One that every day, every decision you make in your life is important and you can make a difference and you can make a change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Kathy Stangl's story straight ahead.

Meanwhile, we want to take a look at this now. It could give you goose bumps. People in Minnesota, those crazy Minnesotans jumping into an icy cold lake. If you're like me, you're probably thinking they're going to catch a cold. Actually, I know better. What about that, though? Can exposure to cold weather or, in this case, cold water, cause us to catch a cold?

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here now with all of the answers to these very perplexing questions.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is worth pointing out, however, that you are a Minnesotan. Crazy Minnesotan.

COLLINS: Yes. The Polar Bear Club there. I'm not quite sure, but I think that is what they call themselves.

GUPTA: You don't catch a cold from being out in the cold. That is sort of the bottom line. That's interesting, because a lot of people think colds will increase this time of year it must be because the weather is outside, or because I don't get a chance to dry my hair before I go out in the cold I go out there in wet hair.

Being outside in the cold or having wet hair in the cold doesn't give you a cold. In fact, I'll take that a step further and say if you actually look at the data and there have been some studies on this, you'll find that the number of colds actually are highest in the late summer or early spring.

The viruses that are most commonly causing cold-like symptoms aren't that prevalent in the cold weather. What is more likely is happening is that you're more run down you're not taking care of yourself and you're more likely to get the symptoms of a cold.

COLLINS: Right, but I think you just proved all of the mothers out there to be liars. Don't go outside with your hair wet.

GUPTA: Which is dangerous to do.

COLLINS: Exactly.

GUPTA: You're still going to feel cold.

COLLINS: Yes. If you're very cold, then your hair will freeze and get very stiff. What about workaholics though? It seems like most workaholics really seems to be the one who get sick on vacation. Is that true?

GUPTA: This is interesting. There's actually a real physiological reason for this. One is that when you're working you have so much adrenaline going through your system that actually helps ward off possible colds and flu viruses. You actually are -- the adrenaline serves as an immune booster if you will, that's part of it.

The other part is that you may just not pay attention to some of those symptoms. You have more time to pay attention to them when you're actually on vacation or taking a little bit of down time. The other thing you spend time with kids. Kids are little germ factories and they can certainly transmit things back and forth when you're on vacation maybe spending more time with your children.

COLLINS: Yes. There may be a cocktail or two on vacation too. That probably ruins your immunities.

GUPTA: That could be part of it.

COLLINS: Yes. I think there is a lot of people who don't understand the difference between a cold and the flu. Are we talking about bacteria versus virus?

GUPTA: No, they're typically both caused by viruses and that's important to know because there really isn't a specific cure for them. There isn't something you can say, wave -- a magic bullet and say it is going to go away. But, there are some differences in symptoms. Flus are typically much more severe.

Think fever, think muscle aches, think -- all man I just can't get out of bed. That is typically the flu. Cold is more of a runny nose, sore throat, more of the upper respiratory sort of stuff and headache as well. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference. The treatment is usually the same though, you just got to take it easy and get plenty of fluids and try and get some rest.

COLLINS: And stop going to work.

GUPTA: Although you may recognize the cold or flu more if you do.

COLLINS: Right, true. Wow. That is a catch-22 isn't it?

GUPTA: Got you there.

COLLINS: All right. CNN's Senior Medical Analyst, Correspondent and all of those things, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Thanks, Sanjay.

Late night talk shows back on the air with new episodes and a new look despite the writers strike. You'll see it just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: She's facing terminal illness. One Iowa voter is making health care her mission and she is not taking no for an answer. CNN's Randi Kaye reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This 56-year-old mother of two from Des Moines, Iowa should have been dead last April. Instead, she is on the campaign trail grilling presidential hopefuls.

KATHY STANGL, DYING IOWA VOTER: It's a big job interview. I wanted to see what they said about health care, what they said about research.

KAYE: Kathy Stangl has lung disease. It's untreatable and incurable. She knows one day it will kill her. Before it does she is doing all she can to change the future of U.S. health care. A key campaign issue, especially for women voters. Kathy has gone head-to- head with all but two presidential hopefuls.

She has attended nearly 70 campaign events, including this one for Democratic Senator Chris Dodd. One year ago, Kathy was given three months to live. The gift of time has given her the chance to tell candidates about her illness, and push them to direct more health care dollars toward research, early intervention and prejudicial.

It's estimated at least 250,000 women may have the same disease as Kathy, but are walking around undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. The disease is called lymphangioleiomyomatosis or LAM. It affects women in the prime of their lives most often in their child-bearing years, breathing becomes a daily battle.

Nearly 50 million people in the U.S. don't have health insurance. Presidential contenders on both sides of the aisle are promising to change that. The Democrats are offering broader and more immediate changes including subsidies and mandated insurance. The Republicans generally oppose any mandate, but favor making insurance affordable through tax credits.

Still, health care has rarely been front and center on the campaign trail. Kathy says Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney blew her off when she approached them about it.

STANGL: Giuliani said to me that health care is good. Everybody -- you know, likes good health and health care is good, and good health is good. Some variation on that, a little permutation of that I have played over and over again in my mind over and over without giving me any specifics.

KAYE: Kathy wants a universal health plan. She has decided to vote for Democratic Senator Joe Biden who plans to create a pool of private health plans similar to the one federal workers have. While she campaigns, the candidates, especially the Democrats, continue to hash it out on health care. SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He said it was sort of universal, he said it wasn't universal.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Clinton still hasn't explained what exactly this mandate is.

KAYE: And amid the he said, she said Kathy just wants to be heard.

STANGL: And the legacy that I want to leave is the legacy for my daughters and for people in general, but for my daughters to believe that one person can make a difference, that every day -- every decision you make in your life is important and you can make a difference and you can make a change and that -- I don't know how long I have. Nobody knows how long they have.

KAYE: If Kathy Stangl isn't here to hold candidates accountable for what they've promised, she hopes someone else will be.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Decision day. Iowans go on the record tonight. Their presidential caucuses explained and analyzed all day in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: (INAUDIBLE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You think this workout is only for professional bodybuilders you're wrong. Athletic trainers say anyone can benefit from a weight training program, and that's it's even more important as you age.

DEBBIE MACLEAN, COCA-COLA ATHLETIC TRAINER: You lose about five to seven pounds of muscle mass per decade as you get older, and so as a result your metabolism slows and you start to gain weight.

COHEN: In your 30s, it's all about your metabolism. Your body is changing, you're burning fewer calories and now is the time to add more muscle and definition. Focus on the back of the arms. This can be begin to become a problem spot for people in their 30s. And the abs.

PHIL WRYE, AGE 39: Abdominal, lateral obliques.

COHEN: You may not have six-pack, abs but you certainly don't want a keg sitting there either.

WRYE: Just helps me to feel like I'm still younger and able to play the sports I like to play and do things I do. COHEN: In your 40s maintaining your muscle tone is key. Working on your leg muscles will alleviate common knee problems when your 40- something and your lower back. Sitting at a computer may give you pain, strengthening the back will help that.

In your 50s it may be time to modify your weight training routine to slow down the affects of arthritis and osteoporosis. Focus on strengthening your upper back and shoulders to avoid the 50-something shoulder slump.

GAYLE GARDNER, AGE 50: As it's toned me, my clothes fit much better. I feel much better.

COHEN: You may want to check first with an athletic trainer to find the best workout for you, and to help prevent injuries. Also, you still need to exercise.

MACLEAN: If you don't do the cardio, if you don't do something to work your heart and lungs, if those don't work it doesn't really matter what your bicep can do.

GARDNER: I personally feel like age is just a number and if you can walk every day, you can weight train.

COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Just want to remind you that after the show every day, we record this fabulous podcast. Lots and lots of stories that you will not see here in the broadcast. Normally between the hours of 9:00 and noon. We record them after the show, and then you can go and check them out 24 hours at CNN.com/podcast.

Meanwhile, a deal is a deal. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules a sperm donor cannot be forced to pay child support. Joel McKiernan donated sperm to a former girlfriend and coworker. She promised she would never ask for financially support, but five years after twins were born, she changed her mind and sued. Lower courts had ordered McKiernan to pay up $1,500 a month.

Countdown to the Iowa caucuses. Live coverage all day here on CNN. Plus if you'd like to watch any of the candidates today in their final push for votes, live. Like Mike Huckabee is doing now in Burlington -- just go to CNN.com/live to watch their rallies and events streamed live. That's pretty cool.

If you stay up late, you've probably missed your fill of Letterman, Leno and the like. They are back even as the writers strike presses on. Late night talk show hosts are back with new episodes and, in some cases, a new look. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST OF THE LATE SHOW: By the way ladies and gentlemen, you're watching The Late Show the only show on the air now that has jokes written by Union writers.

CRAIG FERGUSON, COMEDIAN THE LATE SHOW: Most of you probably didn't notice this, but we were away for a while.

JAY LENO, HOST THE TONIGHT SHOW: As you know, we are in the middle of this writers strike here in Hollywood, and it's cost the town over $0.5 billion -- $500 million, or as Paul McCartney calls that, a divorce, but that is what it has cost.

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN: And possibly worse, with all of the late night shows off the air, Americans have been forced to read books and occasionally even speak to one another.

LETTERMAN: We were out because of the strike for two months and I know you're thinking to yourselves at home right now, this crap is written? Yes.

LENO: See, Dave was able to get a deal because he has his own company. I don't blame him for getting a deal, but God bless him. But we have to go by ourself up against the CBS machine. One man against a monolith.

LETTERMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, here's my good friend ...

BIFF HENDERSON, THE LATE SHOW: Dave, when are the writers coming back?

LETTERMAN: Well, they're back, Biff.

HENDERSON: Oh, sorry.

LENO: It's fun writing it yourself. You know what I'm doing? I'm doing what I did the day I started. I write jokes and I wake my wife up in the middle of the night and I go, honey, is this funny?

LETTERMAN: Here is what I learned about myself. Show or no show, I really enjoy drinking in the morning.

O'BRIEN: I look like the character of young Kriss Kringle in "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Check it out.

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: Ladies and gentlemen, General Lee. Before we begin our Civil War reenactment, David will charge the back row and the rest of you just stand there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Stay informed all day in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here's what's on the run down. They can (INAUDIBLE) the presidential campaign. Iowans caucus tonight. We're going to have live coverage this hour -- the chairmen of the Republican and Democratic National Committee.

And police shutting down election protesters before they can get revved up in Kenya. We go live to Nairobi.

Don't lose your shirt to holiday credit card bills get out of debt in 2008. Gerri Willis shows you how this Thursday, January 3rd.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

The road to the White House. The first way-station, Iowa. The first presidential vote now just hours away.

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