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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Developments in the Disappearance of Pregnant Marine; O.J. Simpson Back in Las Vegas Jail; The Latest on the Campaign Trail
Aired January 12, 2008 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this Saturday, January 12th. Hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, T.J.
HOLMES: Good morning.
NGUYEN: And good morning, everybody. Thanks for being with us today, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.
Well, we have some shocking developments overnight in the disappearance of a pregnant marine. Evidence is reportedly found in the home of the main suspect. We're going to give you the latest on all of that.
HOLMES: Also: O.J. Simpson -- back in a Las Vegas jail this morning. We will explain to you what.
NGUYEN: And it is another big weekend on the campaign trail.
HOLMES: Every weekend, all right?
NGUYEN: It's true for quite some time. CNN's best political team on television bringing the latest on the candidates and all the actions ahead on this CNN SATURDAY MORNING.
But first, we do want to start with this story -- the case of a missing marine and what's now turning into a murder investigation. In North Carolina, investigators are carefully sifting through the dirt of what appears to be a shallow grave in a back yard of a house near Camp Lejuene.
HOLMES: Yes, they think the body of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach may be buried there. Lauterbach is eight months pregnant. CNN's Ed Lavandera in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He has been on this story for us and tell us the latest you have on this search now.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, T.J.
The authorities here in Jacksonville, North Carolina, will be returning to the home of the main suspect in this case, as you mentioned, Cesar Lauren, who is a marine corporal and has also been on the run since the middle of the night Friday night.
Authorities will return to that house this morning where they believe they will find a shallow grave where the remains of Maria Lauterbach were buried sometime perhaps, in back in December, when this case first broke.
Remember, Maria Lauterbach had been missing since December 14th and authorities here continue to be on the search and on the hunt for Marine Corporal Cesar Lauren, who took off, as I said, yesterday morning, before all of the news broke here in Jacksonville and the sheriff here in Jacksonville is pleading for him to come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF ED BROWN, ONSLOW COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: I would like to say to the suspect, if he's listening, and I'm sure his father's listening, and family's probably listening, it would be best for him to return. Now this sounds strange voluntarily, because sooner or later, he's coming back to Onslow County. And if he's telling it like he wants to tell it, it would be foolish to run from what he claims happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: And what Mr. Lauren claims, according to investigators here is that he left a note for his wife saying that Maria Lauterbach had slit her own throat, killed herself and then, he buried the body.
Investigators here in Jacksonville say that there's no way that's the case, and they released information about the details of the crime scene at what they say is probably the crime scene inside that house, that shows blood splatter not consistent with the suicide throughout the house -- T.J.?
HOLMES: Ed, any idea now, what's the update on the search? Where is Mr. Lauren?
LAVANDERA: As we heard, they had no idea. He left here Friday morning about 4:00 o'clock in the morning, according to investigators. And they put out his picture and description of his truck and pictures of his truck and there's been no word.
HOLMES: All right. Ed Lavandera on the story for us. We might have breaking developments on this story. The story has been changing a lot over the past day or so. Ed is on it for us, Ed, we appreciate it and see you again.
NGUYEN: I take you to Ohio now. Five family members killed overnight in a house fire. Police on the scene just outside of Cincinnati, say the mother and father had stab wounds and the man actually survived, is hospitalized this morning but the woman, she did not. She and one of her children were found dead in the house. Three other children died later at the hospital. The children were between the ages of three and eight.
HOLMES: Another tough story to hear this morning: D.C. mayor speaking out saying, city officials failed to help four young girls found dead this week in their mom's home. U.S. Marshals found the bodies while serving an eviction notice. The girls were between the ages of five and 17-years-old. They'd been dead for at least two weeks. The mayor there says social workers had trouble tracking down the family so, they closed the case, thinking the family had relocated to Maryland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ADRIAN FENTY, WASHINGTON: I do, I do, and I think there are not only points where the opportunity to act was missed, but that employees, at best, were just going about their job in a checking the box type of way, instead of really looking at the circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Well, Mayor Fenty is vowing now to change the policy so failures like this do not happen again. Meanwhile, the girl's mother, Benita Jacks is charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
NGUYEN: An accused killer now suspected in three more murders. Police say Gary Michael Hilton is the primary suspect in the death of a woman in Florida national forest and he is suspected of killing a couple in a North Carolina national forest as well, and Hilton directed authorities to the body of 24-year-old Meredith Emerson on Monday.
Remember the story? Well, at her memorial in Athens yesterday, Emerson was remembered as a lively and friendly young woman and a real nature lover. She disappeared during a New Year's Day hike in the Georgia Mountains and police say she was kidnapped, killed, and decapitated.
In another news: O.J. Simpson is back in a Las Vegas jail this morning and he is isolated from the other inmates. He arrived there last night from Florida. Prosecutors say Simpson violated the terms of his bail by trying to contact one of his co-defendants. His attorney, though, denies that. Simpson was charged with kidnapping and armed robbery after an incident at a Las Vegas hotel back in September. Now, he could now stay in jail until April, that's when his case is set for trial.
HOLMES: Well, we will turn to the politics now. What would you do if your boss told you, hey, I'm going to need to you work for free for a little while. Take one for the team, Betty.
NGUYEN: For free.
HOLMES: I need to you work for free for a minute.
NGUYEN: I think we'd have conversation.
HOLMES: We have a conversation. That's what some folks are being asked to do. The Giuliani camp having a tough time with the payroll it appears at least. CNN has learned some top staffers in Rudy Giuliani's campaign now skipping paychecks.
However, there are some conflicting stories about whether it's voluntary. Initially, it come out that they were asked to do so but then some top staffers came out and say, hey, we came forward because we wanted to help out. This effort here is to focus more money on the January 29th Florida primary, which of course Giuliani's put all of his campaign eggs in that Florida basket. In fact, he is back there for a town hall meeting this afternoon.
NGUYEN: Say that again?
HOLMES: We all know ...
NGUYEN: For free.
HOLMES: For free, take one for the team, CNN.
NGUYEN: If I was really behind something, of course I would.
HOLMES: You're not really behind CNN is what you're saying?
NGUYEN: We still have a conversation.
All right, moving on before I get a call from somebody. Most of the rest of the Republican crowd is focusing on Michigan, that primary is coming up on Tuesday.
HOLMES: We're going to get to that and talk about that more in just a second with our CNN's Mary Snow, she's standing by, but first: we got something here. You know, Mike Huckabee, we covered him in Arkansas for several years. This is not one of his best moments.
NGUYEN: You don't think?
HOLMES: Check this out.
It's a little off. OK, he's trying. He's got the beat now.
NGUYEN: He plays the bass, you would think he's got a little more ...
HOLMES: They're not playing Motown hits, I guess not. Well, yes, he's at the Motown museum, he was dancing with his wife there, Janet as you saw, he chime and of course a little beat of "My Girl." Let's move on.
NGUYEN: Let's get to our Mary Snow waiting patiently in Southfield, Michigan. She has way better moves than Huckabee's today. She wants to talk us about something a little something more important than that. Good morning, Mary.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Betty, good morning, T.J.
Mike Huckabee always keeping it interesting there. Well, you know, this is the next battleground for Republicans, as you mentioned, with the primary coming up. Mike Huckabee was here yesterday on a more serious note. All the candidates really been focusing on the economy, because of all that has been happening with mortgages, and Wall Street.
We saw a big dip yesterday. Mike Huckabee spoke to the Detroit Economic Club yesterday, and you know, Michigan is so hard-hit with the thousands of manufacturing, auto manufacturing jobs that have left here. He is suggesting that the U.S. to step up to help Michigan, much in the same way that the gulf coast needed help after Katrina hit.
Mitt Romney, this is his home state. Yesterday, he visited the state capitol. His father was governor here for six years. He says he takes the economic hit here to Michigan personally, and he is vowing to restore jobs here. He wants to bring back jobs in the auto manufacturing sector.
But his chief rival, Senator John McCain, is saying that he'd be ashamed to tell people that these jobs are coming back to Michigan, also to South Carolina, saying, these jobs just aren't coming back, and he is focusing on job training for people here, but certainly this is a big issue for the voters here -- T.J.?
HOLMES: Explain to folks what's happening with the Democrats and the Michigan primary or not really primary for them there.
SNOW: Exactly, very unusual situation here. Michigan Democrats really kind of got a slap on the wrist, because they broke party rules, and the DNC did not want Michigan to have its primary so early, so the candidates have not been campaigning here.
And it's really just the Republicans that are going to be shaping up. This number of delegates for Republicans are less than what had been originally planned but this is a big battleground state, especially for Mitt Romney, who has lost two elections -- two contests so far, Iowa and New Hampshire, that he was really banking on, so, he is putting a great deal of energy and focus here in Michigan.
HOLMES: Yes, he has to. He's a home boy there. He needs to win there. Mary Snow for us in Michigan this morning, thank you so much. And again, as for those Democrats pretty spread out today. Hillary Clinton campaigning in Nevada; John Edwards in South Carolina; and Barack Obama as you saw there, he's back home in Illinois. We're going to have much more on the Democrats coming up at the half hour with CNN deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser.
And here's a note for you. The CNN "BALLOT BOWL" is back again. Poll season not over just yet. We keep doing it through Super Tuesday. Actually, it's your chances to candidates unfiltered in the campaign trail. Tune in today at 2:00 p.m. Eastern and check that out, "BALLOT BOWL '08."
Also another programming note for you. Check out the last Democratic debate before the South Carolina primary. The Congressional Black Caucus Institute hosts the Democrats in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on January 21st. You can see it right here on CNN starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
NGUYEN: All right. So, this next story is a jaw-dropper. I kid you not, and just imagine what it's like for the people involved. Here's a scenario, OK? After becoming husband and wife, what a great day, right? They find out that they are actually brother and sister. Yes, it is a newlywed nightmare! Yeah, exactly. You just kind of get those chills.
HOLMES: All right, if you want to stick around for that story. We hope you will. It's interesting but it makes you a little -- queasy.
NGUYEN: Queasy. Yes.
HOLMES: All right, folks. We're going to turn now to some weather - some crazy weather we've been seeing, tornado terror, pictures say it all, Mississippi begins picking up the pieces. We will hopefully show you those pictures here shortly.
NGUYEN: And we are live in the Middle East where President Bush makes one last push for peace. Also, what he said to the troops.
NGUYEN: It is a busy day for President Bush, he's on a mission in the Mid-East. The president just arrived in Bahrain and he started the day in Kuwait where he met with U.S. military commanders and U.S. troops. White House correspondent, Ed Henry is traveling with the president. He joins us live now from Bahrain.
Good morning, Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Betty, the president here now in Bahrain. This is the second phase of his Middle East trip. Obviously, he spent three days in Israel.
Now, he's visiting with Arab allies and earlier today, he was at the largest U.S.military installation in Kuwait. He was touting success on the ground in Iraq, but said, he's made no decision yet on whether that will accelerate troop reductions, bringing troops home and in a rare acknowledgment the president also said that the U.S. was quote, "Failing in Iraq" early last year, but he decided not to pull out U.S. troops, instead, sending a surge of U.S. troops one year ago this month.
The president saying that that's working and now, he is still on track for bringing home up to 30,000 U.S. troops by July, which brings the troop levels in Iraq down to about 130,000, and the president said that after talking to General David Petraeus today, he made it clear that they will not necessarily be more troop cuts than that, if General Petraeus says that he needs to keep enough troops to ensure the current gains.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My attitude is if he didn't want to continue the drawdown, that's fine with me. In order to make sure we succeed, see? I said to the general, if you want to slow her down, fine. It's up to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now, Mr. Bush spoke after a private briefing from General Petraeus, as well as Ambassador Ryan Crocker. The duo will be on Capitol Hill in March giving a new progress report on the situation in Iraq. Now, the president acknowledges today that he wishes the security gains had brought more political reconciliation within the Iraqi government and he insisted officials are making some progress.
And while Mr. Bush told troops there at the military base that he's determined to secure victory in Iraq. He did acknowledge, once again, to reporters, that he believes that's going to take having a long-term U.S presence on the ground in Iraq that will last beyond his administration --Betty?
NGUYEN: All right, CNN's Ed Henry joining us live from Bahrain today, thank you, Ed.
HOLMES: All right, I have a few Quick Hits we want to bring you here, to bring you more news in less time. Of course, the Washington police looking for a bold robber. He held up a bank. OK, that's bold enough.
HOLMES: The bank was across the street from the FBI headquarters.
NGUYEN: You got to be kidding me.
HOLMES: Investigators say the man was dressed as a Brinks security guard and was allowed into the bank's vault.
HOLMES: This happens in the morning but wasn't realized until six hours later when the real security guard showed up. Same things happened in the movie (ph).
NGUYEN: Exactly. There's some planning going into that one.
Well, the search for a missing hiker resumes this morning in Alamosa County, Colorado. A 20-year-old, Lygon Steven hasn't been seen since Thursday, when an avalanche struck the area about 140 miles south of Denver. Steven's brother told authorities he and his sister were back-country hiking when the slide occurred. He was injured and taken to the hospital.
HOLMES: A great day for big wave surfers in northern California. This thing is unbelievable, folks. The nasty, unpredictable breaks known as "Mavericks" hitting Half Moon Bay this weekend. Dozens of elite big wave surfers will be there, hoping to ride sometimes 40-foot swells in the Mavericks Surfing Contest. I lived out there three years and never got to go to this contest because these guys put on notice for four months, these big wave guys, it's only a few invited, about two dozen and they give you 24 hours' notice, when the conditions are just perfect, out there with this big wave, no matter where you are, on the planet, they'll call you, you've got 24 hours to get there and today is the day it's happening.
NGUYEN: Is it worth it in?
HOLMES: It is. The video of it, I never got to go out because 24 hours, I mean, I was working (INAUDIBLE) but I never got to go but thousands show up to see this when it happens.
NGUYEN: And this is that vibe where you see them with these incredible waves and they're going right through it.
HOLMES: Yes. They have to be towed out to the waves and like, we're talking three, four-story waves.
NGUYEN: Very dangerous.
HOLMES: It's very dangerous.
NGUYEN: That's why they're professionals, hey, folks, don't try this at home.
Residents on the gulf coast may getting some severe weather though. Meteorologist Bonnie Schneider is in the CNN Weather Center tracking all of this.
Good morning, Bonnie.
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Betty and T.J.
We're watching for thunderstorms to break out into parts of Texas and Louisiana for today. We did have some rough weather across the southeast on Thursday, and on Friday, the National Weather Service confirmed three tornadoes in Alabama. Take a look at some of these videos of storm damage in that region.
Well, this is an aerial shot and it shows you completely roofs taken off of buildings, it's completely twisted and demolished and a lot of this situation brought cars toppling one on top of the other with the force of those winds. So, three tornadoes were confirmed in Tuscaloosa, Lamar and Pickens counties and they ranged from F1 to F3. So, some of the winds were as intense as 130 miles per hour. Incredible winds there. Things will be calming down a bit for today as we look at the weather map.
But we're expecting in the forecast is a much colder air so, it will be a colder weekend than it was earlier in the week, we will see those changes. Current temperatures in the northeast are still fairly mild but we are going to see some changes on the way. It will be cold enough, for you guessed it, snow. In fact, Sunday night into Monday, so, the weekend looks OK, but Sunday night into Monday, get ready for the possibility of a nor'easter that could bring heavy snow to interior sections of New England including Connecticut, that's something we're watching very closely. The storm hasn't even formed yet so, it's not even on the map but it's something we keep an eye on for Sunday into Monday's commute.
I'll have more on it throughout the morning -- Betty, T.J.
NGUYEN: All right, Bonnie, thank you.
Josh Levs is here Keeping Them Honest on the campaign trail. Good morning, Josh.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning to you.
You know something? It's probably the least original campaign buzzword in all of U.S. history so, why is everyone acting like running on change is a new concept? Coming up, I'm going to show you how it is ultimately played out in presidential elections -- T.J.?
HOLMES: All right, thank you, sir, see you soon. And we've all had late fees of some kind; it didn't turn the book in, in time; late in them movie. All right, this book was checked out in 1959. It was due in 1959. It was just returned.
NGUYEN: Just now?
HOLMES: Just now. We'll tell you what the late fee is.
NGUYEN: Imagine that fine.
HOLMES: Tell you about a the note that was attached to it as well. Stay here.
NGUYEN: OK, the world needs change.
NGUYEN: Right, I'm the candidate of change. Change, that is the buzzword of this primary season so far, and now, it seems like all the candidates are jumping on the "Change Train."
HOLMES: Make sure you can count on this script how many times we're saying change, all right?
HOLMES: Folks, they're promoting themselves as either candidates of change as you said, agents of change or pretty much saying the word "change" a lot, but is this change something new or is there really no change at all? NGUYEN: At all. Well, Josh Levs is here. You're not changing anything except that you're breaking it down and getting real for us. So, Keeping Them Honest, who's the candidate of change? Is there one?
LEVS: Well, first of all, that takes time. Everyone is asking like it's new. Isn't this weird? It's just weird. I just looking at there and everyone is like well, I'm the candidate. Every candidate in history has wanted to change something. It's amazing to me that this is being presented as this brand new concept. So, what I'm going to do now is to show you when it comes to presidential races, change is the term.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our time for change has come.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Experience and change.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I brought about change.
LEVS (voice-over): It's the buzzword of the race, at least for now, thanks to Obama and Huckabee's wins in Iowa.
OBAMA: It must be catching on.
LEVS: Yes, but it's far from new. It's probably the least original buzzword in campaign history.
BILL CLINTON, FMR. UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We're ready for change and it's going to be the right kind of change.
LEVS: The dominant theme of the 1992 race with the slogan "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow."
H. CLINTON: There's a new day in America. Change has come for all of us!
LEVS: Some have tried to turn that on its head.
GEORGE BUSH, SR., FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: Change, change, change. Raise the taxes $150 billion and that's all you'll have left in your pocket is change.
LEVS: Change is a natural theme, particularly for any candidate seeking to replace a president from the opposite party.
GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm glad I came.
LEVS: President Bush ran on it, under his "Reformer with results" banner in 2000. Reagan vowed change with the slogan "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Jimmy Carter in 1976 had the slogan "A leader for a change." And Walter Mondale, who's losing 1984 bid, used "America needs a change." The call for change has a unique spin in each race, this time, it comes amid the possibility of the presidential succession going Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton, which to some seems like not enough change. Clinton's response ...
H. CLINTON: Well, I think it is a problem that Bush was elected in 2000. And I ...
LEVS: Well, we cannot know how long this will remain the dominant theme. When you look back you do find the slogan some times change early on, especially during the primaries as candidates start to learn more about what's really going on nationally in the electorate.
NGUYEN: OK, as we look at this change, right? And especially, through history, has that focus, has it worked?
LEVS: Has it ultimately paid off?
LEVS: Well, what happens early on, it makes people interested. People who are fed up with politics, it gets more people interested and what you do find is that when you get your general election, it's not enough in general, anymore. People might have them in the buzz (ph) they might say it but it's not enough. They start to want to see specifics so, you start to see a lot more interests in there.
There's some experts writing about this now, a lot more interest in what the candidates have done, where they've been specific platform issues. The real question right now I think is really what happens in a primary and how early on people need more specifics. And what you do find when you look into this, is that it's farther along in the primary process, than just the first early states, that people look for specifics.
So, this early on yes, it energizes people and gets them interested. But ultimately, usually, it's not enough to make anybody win.
NGUYEN: So, they may have to change that slogan. Gotcha.
LEVS: What are we up to ...
NGUYEN: I don't know, enough already, though, right? Thank you, Josh.
HOLMES: And folks, on Monday on "LARRY KING LIVE," Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Has he mentioned change lately? He's going to be sitting down with the king. What's his strategy now? He's sitting down with Larry King, that's Monday night at 9:00 Eastern.
NGUYEN: And also, on the campaign trail, and reaching out to young voters, I'm going to talk with some experts about the youth appeal in this presidential election.
HOLMES: And I'm sure some of you out there have been in a place, a bar or two or people encouraged you to chug, chug, chug.
NGUYEN: Oh that, peer pressure?
HOLMES: Yes, this is a different kind of chug, chug, chug. This is at a school, a school contest. Kids, folks. I found this hard to believe. Stay here.
HOLMES: Hello and welcome back, everyone. I'm T.J. Holmes.
NGUYEN: And good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.
Our top story today: the search for missing marine Maria Lauterbach is now a murder investigation and police say the prime suspect is a 21-year-old marine corporal that Lauterbach had accused of rape. Investigators say her body may be buried in his backyard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: In the search of the property, a cartilage (ph) of the property, a cavity was discovered in the backyard, that cavity was preliminarily examined, very lightly, was produced a suspicious situation in which we believe it needs to be contained and protected until morning, where we can process meticulously and it is believed that cavity and the house will eliminate moving any further in searching any further for the body of the missing marine, Maria Lauterbach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: And Lauterbach as well here is eight months pregnant. But: Our fast-moving developing story, we're on that this morning for you, bring you the latest developments as they happen this morning.
NGUYEN: Here's another development for you this morning: O.J. Simpson, back in a Las Vegas jail. Yes, he got there last night. Prosecutors say he violated the terms of his bail and they say, he tried to contact one of the co-defendants in his kidnapping and armed robbery case. His attorney denies that. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Simpson could be forced to stay in jail until his trial starts in April.
HOLMES: We will turn back to politics now. Many of the Republican presidential candidates focusing on Michigan right now, that state's primary coming up on Tuesday. Democrats as you heard earlier from Mary Snow, they're skipping Michigan as punishment for moving up that primary, actually.
Instead, they're spending their time now and energy in the west, also in the south, and joining me to talk about Democratic strategies, CNN deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser, he's made his way back to Washington, there on the trail for a while, I'm sure you like being in a nice, cozy, comfortable studio for a change.
Paul, good to see you this morning. Tell us, what's the focus of Democrats right now and why?
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you know, T.J., O.J. Simpson is not the only big name in Vegas this weekend. You've got some top Democrats there, and you know what? They are talking about the economy.
H. CLINTON: I am absolutely thrilled to be here.
STEINHAUSER (voice over): And here is California, it's where Hillary Clinton called for Congress to pass the plan to pump up the economy. A day earlier the senator from New York went door-to-door in a largely Latino neighborhood Las Vegas, reaching out to voters.
CLINTON: The way that the Social Security system is supposed to operate is the much more this ...
STEINHAUSER: Nevada is the next battleground for the Democrats with caucuses next weekend and California is the biggest prize on February 5th when 23 states from coast to coast hold contests on Super Tuesday.
OBAMA: We're going to start something in Vegas.
STEINHAUSER: Clinton's rival, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois s also in Nevada, where the economy and immigration are two pressing issues.
OBAMA: With a decent wage and affordable health care, and decent benefits and the right to organize for a better future. That's what you've been fighting for. And that's how we're going to win this caucus.
STEINHAUSER: Obama won the backing of the state's most powerful union which represents 60,000 hotel and casino workers.
JOHN EDWARDS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was born here. I know what your lives are like. I do not have to read this in a book. I know it firsthand.
STEINHAUSER: Former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina is spending the weekend in neighboring South Carolina, the next big battleground for the Democrats following Nevada.
EDWARDS: When we look at the loss of American jobs. Nobody understands that better than the people of South Carolina.
STEINHAUSER: And you know, T.J., if you hear the candidates talking more and more about the economy. There is a reason. We have a new CNN/Opinion Research Poll out this weekend and it shows that the economy is now the number one issue among Americans; and get this -- a majority of Americans, 61 percent say the economy is in a recession, so this is serious stuff.
HOLMES: Serious stuff and serious business coming up next weekend. You'll be back out on the trail?
STEINHAUSER: Yes, you know, I got to sleep in my bed or one or two nights but we've got Nevada coming up, we've got the caucuses next weekend there. Plus, the primary -- the Republican primary in South Carolina, so a lot of travel ahead, but I got to say, I was looking at the dancing video by Mike Huckabee earlier on and that was the highlight of the morning for me.
HOLMES: All right. Well, you need to have a better morning. You need more going on if that was the highlight. Paul, good to see you. And at least you won't be in cold Iowa or New Hampshire. All right. We'll see you soon.
NGUYEN: Well, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigning very hard to attract those young voters, and it don't just the Democrats. Across the political spectrum, young voters are playing a big part in this presidential race.
So with us this morning to talk about that is Jehmu Greene, a Democratic strategist and former president of Rock the Vote. She is in Austin, Texas, and Jessica Echard, executive director of Eagle Forum, which is a Conservative grassroots organization. She is in Washington.
Ladies, thanks for joining us this morning.
Good morning. All right. Jehmu, let me start with you. It's estimated that the electorate will be 25 percent of young people. So, when we look at those numbers, the candidates obviously, looking very hard at those numbers, what is the most important to young people today? What are the issues that are causing them to get out there and vote?
JEHMU GREENE, FMR. PRESIDENT, ROCK THE VOTE: Well, I think that if you look at the fact that college tuition rates have risen almost 40 percent in the last seven years, that's definitely a driving factor.
The war in Iraq is absolutely touching this generation, but I think one of the biggest things that's actually bringing them out is that the candidates are reaching them with a message of hope and change, in the case of Barack Obama, and they're actually reaching them by spending their resources to talk to them, to turn them out, which is not something we've seen.
Bill Clinton was the initial Rock the Vote president when he went on MTV and he went on Arsenio Hall and we've seen more of that from candidates but not so much just from the pop culture's standpoint, but from actually phone banking, from knocking on doors, from using young people to do peer-to-peer organizing, and that's working. NGUYEN: But you know, it's not just on the Democratic side. You know, the Republicans are trying to get out there as well. We're seeing a lot of Internet use, especially for Ron Paul. So let me ask, you Jessica, I mean, do you agree when it comes to the issues? It doesn't really sparking young people to not only vote in the primaries but look forward to this election?
JESSICA ECHARD, EXECUTIVE DIR., EAGLE FORUM: Well, actually I think a lot of young people care about the same issues that the entire electorate does. For example, in just two weeks here in Washington, tens of thousands of young people will be making their way here for the annual march for life so, they care about the life issue. They care about the economy. They care about their jobs as they come out of college as well as the fact that a lot of young people will be paying taxes for the first time on a serious scale.
So, they want to know who's going to raise their taxes and who's going to give them a better shot at having a job, and also, a lot of these young voters are actually Reagan babies. They were born during President Reagan's two terms so, I see a lot of similarities on the Conservative side between voters in general and Conservative young voters.
NGUYEN: And you know, it's not just about getting that message of change out. It's also about how this looks. It's perception. I want to show you some video of Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, first in Iowa, you know, when she started to speak, you saw family members behind her, you saw some of the old establishment behind her.
But when she got to New Hampshire, that view changed a lot. We're going to throw some of that video up for you right now. If we can get that rolling, but you saw young people behind her. You didn't see Bill behind her. So, this is part of trying to change the image. And I have to ask Jehmu, is that her way of not only courting young people but also saying Barack Obama, you're at the only one this game.
GREENE: Absolutely. She got off that plane in New Hampshire after her loss in Iowa and she said, this campaign is about young voters. I'm about results over rhetoric, and she ended up actually winning voters between the age of 25 and 30, a segment of the population that she lost in big numbers in Iowa, and she was able to turn that around by bringing young, single women over to her side.
But the one thing I also want to add is that Democrats are the big winner here, because if you look at New Hampshire, 61 percent of that record turnout in New Hampshire of young people went to vote for Democrats in the primary, where 39 percent only voted for Republicans.
NGUYEN: Well, why is that?
GREENE: Because they're voting for change, inspired by the Democratic candidates.
NGUYEN: Every candidate is saying I'm the candidate of change. Jessica, why is it that we're seeing it weigh heavily on the Democratic side? ECHARD: Well, I think you mentioned earlier that Ron Paul has created a tremendous uprising among young people. He and even Mitt Romney have both had pretty good youth turnout and youth engagement. I think in general, younger people are just now starting to look and get engaged on in the primary, so, I think they're still wanting to know more about the candidates and in fact, that is one thing I think on both sides, you see that young people want to know more. They have more access to information.
NGUYEN: Let's talk about that access, because they're using things like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, all of the other Internet outlets to try to find out about the candidates and push others within that age group to go out and vote and get involved. Is this a new way of campaigning? Is this like the wave of the future when it comes to presidential politics?
GREENE: Absolutely. I think when you look at the impact of online organizing, online voter registration, the folks at Rock the Vote this year are predicting they're going to register two million new voters, young voters to vote online at Rockthevote.com. That is amazing.
If you look at the support Barack Obama has on Facebook and all of the activities that is happening online, it's great, but I think again, because the candidates have incorporated youth voter outreach into their grassroots operation, it's a perfect storm and that's why this year, really young voters are in the poll position. The fact that they've voted in larger numbers than senior citizens did in New Hampshire shows that this generation is voting with a vengeance.
NGUYEN: They invested and they are involved. And I wish we had much more time to talk on many of these issues because not only is it the Internet but these candidates are also trying to woo high school students who will be of voting age by the time the presidential race gets to the ballots, and we'll be talking with you, about that, and hopefully we get you back on the show at some point.
Thank you, ladies, this morning, we do appreciate it.
GREENE: Thanks, Betty.
ECHARD: Thank you.
NGUYEN: And do you remember? The CNN "BALLOT BOWL" is back again this weekend. Oh, yes, in fact, we keep doing it through Super Tuesday. So, it is your chance to see the candidates unfiltered on the campaign trail. If you want to tune in, today at 2:00 p.m. Eastern for all of that.
Well, it just may be the ultimate, the ultimate shot for a newlywed couple. Husband and wife who found out they're really, go ahead, break it to them. I can't say it.
HOLMES: They were related, not just that, they were brother and sister, folks. Stick around. This is hard to stomach, too, a school contest went a bit bad. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIRLEY BANHAGLE, PARENT: Thank God he wasn't involved in this particular class, but that he's involved in a school that is allowing something so terrible to happen to these kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Milk does the body good, I thought, Betty.
NGUYEN: Well, that's what they say.
HOLMES: If you drink it a glass at a time.
NGUYEN: Eight ounces, not a gallon.
HOLMES: Yes, a milk chugging contest, folks, parents are outraged and we'll show you the video.
NGUYEN: And talk about a late fee, a library book overdue by not a day, not a week, maybe even a month, right? That's bad enough. But several decades? Turns up just out of the blue. So, guess how much the fee is? We'll show you when we come back.
NGUYEN: It just pains to even ...
HOLMES: It does.
NGUYEN: To think about the story.
HOLMES: You know, there are plenty of reasons. People got all kinds of reasons these days to get divorced and have their marriages annulled.
NGUYEN: Yes, absolutely.
HOLMES: You know, infidelity, all kinds of things. What about this reason? My spouse is actually my sibling. How about that? A British couple annulled their marriage after learning yes, they are actually twins separated at birth.
NGUYEN: Can you just imagine, though, getting up there all the way to the altar, saying I do, kissing and well.
HOLMES: Even going to your honeymoon.
NGUYEN: I hope they found out before -- stop it.
HOLMES: You stop it.
NGUYEN: Let me just tell you this, OK, to their defense. The twins were adopted by different families, as infants. Neither of them knew that they had a twin sibling. Hopefully, they didn't look alike.
HOLMES: They're twins. Shouldn't they look something alike at least? We got to get past this.
NGUYEN: Yes, their identities are not being released. And would you want your identity released if you married your brother?
OK, the case is part of a debate though on how much information children who are adopted or conceived through in vitro fertilization should know about their biological parents. Now, I think that's important because they didn't know and had they known of course, they wouldn't have been where they are today. So ...
HOLMES: But that's a very good point. I mean, it's kind of weird, creepy story there but it does bring up some serious issues about those laws and what kids ...
NGUYEN: Maybe the laws be changed because of it.
HOLMES: I would vote for that law to change. All right.
NGUYEN: All right. We're going to move on to this, striking writers walking the picket lines, no stars walking the red carpet at this year's Golden Globe Awards. Yes, the glitzy ceremony, T.J. had his tux all already. He is going to Golden Globe's party.
HOLMES: The party is going to be terrible.
NGUYEN: Forget about it, nobody's coming. Yes, a press conference. You know you had to dress up for that. In its place though an hour-long, yes, like you said, news conference tomorrow night to announce the winners. The Los Angeles economy could lose as much as $80 million from the canceled awards show.
HOLMES: You look forward your whole career to get finally a nomination to the Golden Globe and they don't even have the ceremonies.
NGUYEN: Well, that's the thing. I mean, these actors work very hard, they take specific scripts so that hopefully, you know, can win and it's your turn, it's your year, right?
HOLMES: This is it.
NGUYEN: Say you win, it's a press conference. Nobody's going to watch it. I mean, I'm sure they're hoping somebody will. We saw with the People's Choice Awards that ratings were hugely down from what they are with the traditional show.
HOLMES: At least people will be intrigued by this and maybe a lot will tune in, just an hour.
NGUYEN: That's true, make it quick.
HOLMES: All right. Well, folks, we'll turn to Massachusetts now and the book we've been telling you about this morning. Checked out in 1959. It has finally been returned. It was sent in by mail, unknown who the sender is. So, we don't know. A mystery ...
NGUYEN: That person didn't want to pay the fine, that's why.
HOLMES: Well, the fine wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. The library records again, don't go back that far so, no way to look up who actually sent this in and where the book has been. Now, there was a note in there, somebody actually apologized for being late, and again, the fee, after we said, we were doing some calculating here, after 48 years, it's $350. Really not that bad.
NGUYEN: But I would think, though, after all that time don't you have to either pay the amount of the book? I mean, why would the fee be over the amount of the book? Is that a $350 book?
HOLMES: Well, it doesn't look. What is the book, anyway? I didn't notice. What was that?
NGUYEN: It's now back at the library. Somebody check it out and tell us.
HOLMES: Well, folks, we will turn to some residents in the middle of the country, now, cleaning up after those powerful storms swept through. We're going to show that damage, and then coming up at 8:00 eastern, the nation's largest mortgage lender being bought by the nation' largest bank. That is a huge, huge deal there. You've been hearing about a passed day or so. We'll tell you what this means also for the homeowners.
NGUYEN: Check this out. Parts of Kentucky will be cleaning up this morning after a powerful storm swept through the states. Flooding warnings were in effect, in Central Kentucky yesterday and a storm brought heavy rain and even a possible tornado to Park City. That's where one home was destroyed and another was damaged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL THOMPSON, MOM'S HOME DESTROYED: It's devastating, man. I still can't believe it, looking at it. You know, I can't believe it. I can't believe that they made it out alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Officials say the storm didn't cause any deaths in Kentucky.
HOLMES: All right. Take a look here, folks. Kids always been encouraged to drink your milk.
HOLMES: Good for the bones. Yes, we've been told that since we were little. Now this here, this video you're seeing, supposed to be a science experiment. Is that's what it looks like to you?
NGUYEN: No, looks like they're chugging it.
HOLMES: That's exactly what they're doing and you know what? The teachers are cheering in the meantime.
NGUYEN: Right out of the milk carton. Didn't mama teach you not to do that? This is an AP Science class at a middle school in Huffman, Texas.
HOLMES: So, these are the brightest of the bright.
NGUYEN: Apparently and has parents and school officials shaking their head. Laura Whitley of affiliate KTRK has more.
LAURA WHITLEY, KTRK CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): This video posted on YouTube may look like a college fraternity prank. It played out in an eighth grade classroom. Huffman Middle School students raced to see who could chug a gallon of milk in under an hour.
Five students participated, dozens egged them on, some even videotaped all as the teacher watched and as the video shows, seemed to encourage. Over the more than 15 minutes, a few of the kids got sick. Some to the point of vomiting.
SHIRLEY BANHAGLE, PARENT: Mom, come and look what they did in this class.
WHITLEY: Shirley Banhagle saw the video of what happened in the AP Science class. She was horrified.
BANHAGLE: My son, thank God that he wasn't involved in this particular class, but that he's involved in a school that is allowing something so terrible to happen to these kids.
WHITLEY: Huffman's superintendent Doug Killian had a similar reaction when he watched the videos.
DOUG KILLIAN, HUFFMAN, TEXAS SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: Disturbed by it. It doesn't represent homeostasis (ph).
WHITLEY: Killian and the school's principal questioned the science teacher. They learned she called the potentially dangerous stunt a science lab to help kids learn the properties of homeostasis.
KILLIAN: No, it's not acceptable and it doesn't represent homeostasis either. That's why we conducted a full investigation and continue on that right now.
WHITLEY: Then, they do hope the lesson learned from the incident resonates with everyone in Huffman IFD.
BANHAGLE: The district should pay close attention as to what kind of curriculums are going on in those classes.
HOLMES: Chugging milk. But it was a Science project, it was supposed to be, I guess the teachers had good intentions.
NGUYEN: Intention? Come on.
HOLMES: What do they saying about the road that paved with good intentions? All right. Now, we show you that. And folks, we got a whole more coming at the top of the hour here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. We are just getting rocking and rolling. Stay here.
HOLMES: Well, a sad story here we've been following about a life that was cut short.
NGUYEN: Yes, Georgia hiker, Meredith Emerson remembered and Jaye Watson of affiliate WXIA reports on a moving memorial service.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's nice to see how loved she was and how much she'll be missed.
JAYE WATSON, WXIA CORRESPONDENT: Close to 1,000 people crowded into Central Presbyterian Church. They came from different seasons in Meredith's life, from the family she babysat for from the church, to college classmates and professors, to her work colleagues, her family, the citizens and agents who tried desperately to find Meredith in time, to those who never even met her.
DR. ROBERT BOHLER, PASTOR, CENTRAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: Meredith's story and Meredith's life has really captured really the heart of this community in this state.
WATSON: Meredith's parents, and immediate family, made sure their daughter's last true companion, was at the service. Ella is their final link to their beloved girl.
BOHLER: Ella is now a very important symbol for the family, of Meredith. She's one of those tangible things that they will have to remember her by.
WATSON: The service ended with a slide show that captured not only the grownup Meredith, but Meredith as a little girl. Photos of a delighted child, who was loved, and who always will be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heartbreaking. She doesn't deserve this. Nobody deserves it.
NGUYEN: And it's heartbreaking. Well, the man charged with killing Emerson is now suspected of killing two people in North Carolina and one in Florida. We're going to have much more on this story in just a few minutes.
Good morning everybody from the CNN center right here in Atlanta. It is Saturday, January 12th. Good morning. I'm Betty Nguyen. HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes. So glad you could be with us here this morning.
Got a deal to tell you about, this deal to rescue the country's largest mortgage lender. It could impact hundreds of thousands of people in this country and this hour, what you need to know to project yourself.
NGUYEN: Well, we do want to start with the case of that missing Marine, Maria Lauterbach, who is eight months pregnant.
HOLMES: Police are now calling this a murder investigation. They say the prime suspect is a 21-year old Marine corporal who Lauterbach had accused of rape and right now, they're searching his back yard in what appears to be a shallow grave. CNN's Ed Lavandera in Jacksonville, North Carolina for us.
Good morning to you again, Ed.
LAVANDERA: Good morning, T.J.
Well, crime scene investigators have arrived at the home of Caesar Lauren this morning and they're resuming their search for the remains of Maria Lauterbach and last night, sheriff's officials here saying that they have good reason to believe that they might have found the shallow grave where her remains might be buried.
So they continue with that work here this morning and as well, the work continues to find Marine Corporal Caesar Laurean who left the Jacksonville, North Carolina area yesterday morning around 4:00 a.m. investigators tell us and it is a nationwide manhunt for this Marine corporal as they continue to try to hunt him down.
We also learned late last night that this Marine corporal according to investigators had left behind a note to his wife saying that he had buried this body because Maria Lauterbach had committed suicide. Investigators here not believing any of that. They say that the crime scene investigation there at his house shows that this was not a suicide, but a murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The indications is that there was activity inside the house which caused blood to be expelled from some person on to the wall and areas of the house. Now it doesn't take -- and I'm not being smart -- it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand if there's a cavity out back and blood on the inside, that's probably going to be a key location where this crime may have taken place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: So again the latest here this morning, those crime scene investigators back at the Marine corporal's house where they're reassuming their search and there's still been no word as to the whereabouts of Marine Corporal Caesar Laurean as this nationwide manhunt continues for him -- T.J. HOLMES: All right, Ed Lavandera for us there in Jacksonville. We appreciate the update. Thank you so much.
NGUYEN: Well, an accused killer now suspected in three more murders. Police say Gary Michael Hilton is the primary suspect in the death of a woman in a Florida national forest and he is suspected of killing a couple in a North Carolina national forest. Hilton directed authorities to the body of 24-year-old Meredith Emerson on Monday.
At her memorial in Athens, Georgia yesterday, Emerson was remembered as a lively and friendly young woman and a real nature lover. She disappeared during a New Year's day hike in the Georgia mountains and police say she was kidnapped, killed and decapitated.
HOLMES: Well, a return trip to Vegas for O.J. Simpson and a return trip to jail for him a well this morning.
NGUYEN: Back behind bars, police say Simpson is being isolated from the other inmates while he waits for a hearing. CNN's Ted Rowlands has the latest.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): O.J. Simpson is back in a Las Vegas jail because a judge Friday signed an order revoking his bail in the pending charges against him for armed robbery. Simpson was brought from the state of Florida and flown back to Las Vegas on Friday night and checked into the Clark County detention center where he'll have to stay, according to the courts until Wednesday when he'll have his chance in court to try to fight this.
Basically what happened is the prosecution got a hold of an audiotape of a phone message that Simpson allegedly left for his bail bondsman in an attempt to get a hold of one of the other defendants in this case, Clarence Stewart, known as C.J.; he's a good friend of Simpson's.
The prosecution is basically alleging that after the judge told him he would lose his bail if he tried to contact any of the witnesses in this case or any of the co-defendants, Simpson tried to send a message to his co-defendant using the bail bondsman. Somehow the prosecutors got a hold of this tape and they filed and received a motion to revoke bail. Simpson again will have his day in court on Wednesday, but until then, he has to stay in jail until that takes place.
Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.
NGUYEN: We do have some new information this morning on how prosecutors may have gotten that tape. And of course, we're going to be working on that for you and bring the latest to you with that.
HOLMES: We will turn back now to politics and we will turn to Michigan this time. Primary coming up on Tuesday, a contest there for the Republicans and the Republicans are busy in that state and so is our Mary Snow. She's a team member, part of the best political team on television. (INAUDIBLE).
Good morning to you, there, Mary Snow.
SNOW: Good morning, T.J., once again in a cold state, this is the big task for Republicans though and as you mentioned, a number of them campaigning here. Mitt Romney has so much at stake here in Michigan. This is the state where his father was governor for six years.
Yesterday, Mitt Romney visited the state capital and what has been shaping up to be the number one issue here is the national economy, not only the national economy, but particularly here in Michigan where the unemployment rate is higher than other states. It's been so hard hit by the decline of jobs in the auto industry.
Mitt Romney saying that he wants to do a number of things, including create new jobs, bring new jobs back here. He says that Michigan is in a one-state recession.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is personal, personal for two reasons, one because of my roots in this great state and two because I recognize that Michigan is a bit of the canary in the mine shaft. That as Michigan goes, so goes the nation. And we better fix Michigan and get Michigan on track. And anybody who comes in here, Republican or Democrat and says they want to help Michigan say, where have you been?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: That's seen as a jab at Senator John McCain, Romney's chief rival here. Senator John McCain, of course hoping to ride the momentum from New Hampshire after his victory there. Romney has been trying to portray himself as the Washington outsider, as John McCain spending too much time in Washington. But he took a jab at Romney himself after Romney suggested that he would bring back jobs, not only here in Michigan, but in South Carolina.
Here's what John McCain had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I would be ashamed to tell the people of Michigan or South Carolina that all these jobs are coming back. I mean everybody knows they are not. But what I'm talking about is not the past, the future. We're going to have to give education and training programs to the community colleges to train and educate these people, make them eligible for the new economy that we're in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: And Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas was in Michigan yesterday campaigning. He too stressed the economy. He said that the U.S. should come to the aid of Michigan much the same way it did for the Gulf coast after Katrina. He spoke to the Detroit economic club. One of his big goals is to have the fair -- so-called fair tax -- T.J.?
HOLMES: All right, Mary Snow, you mentioned McCain, you mentioned Romney, you mentioned Huckabee. Where in the world is Giuliani these days? What's he up to?
SNOW: Rudy Giuliani is really focusing on Florida and that has been his big strategy. But, you know, the big headline yesterday is that some of his senior staff aides are going to be going without pay. Giuliani says this was a voluntary move that he's really trying to put all of his resources into Florida for its primary January 29th. That strategy has been coming under so much scrutiny, but that will be put under the test. He's campaigning there this weekend.
HOLMES: In Florida, is that right?
SNOW: I'm sorry in Florida.
HOLMES: In Florida. It's 35 degrees where you are in Southfield, Michigan we just determined. Not sure what it is in Florida but I'm sure it's better than 35 degrees.
SNOW: A lot warmer.
HOLMES: Not that you're complaining about your assignment, Mary Snow, we appreciate you.
SNOW: No, no, never.
HOLMES: Never, never that. Good to see you, thank you so much.
NGUYEN: Poor Mary.
Well, the Democrats do get to skip Michigan, but that doesn't mean that they are slowing down. Oh, no. John Edwards is campaigning in South Carolina. The native son is hoping to repeat his 2004 primary win there and he really needs it.
Hillary Clinton though spends the day in Nevada with stops planned in Las Vegas and Reno, the Nevada caucuses is coming up one week from today. And meanwhile, Barack Obama, he's back home in Illinois today.
Remember the CNN "BALLOT BOWL" is back again this weekend. In fact, we will keep doing it through super Tuesday and it's your chance to see the candidates unfiltered on the campaign trail. So tune in today at 2:00 p.m. Eastern for that.
HOLMES: President Bush is in Bahrain this morning, part of his Middle East tour. The president started the day in Kuwait. He met U.S. troops there, also met with General David Petraeus, the commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq. The president praised the soldiers for their efforts in Iraq. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH: There's no doubt in my mind that we will succeed. There's no doubt in my mind when history was written, the final page will say, victory was achieved by the United States of America for the good of the world. And by doing the hard work now, we can look back and say the United States of America is more secure and the generations of Americans will be able to live in peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Later today the president is set to meet the ruler of Bahrain. The tiny emirate hosts a large U.S. Navy fleet.
NGUYEN: Remember last month when a Boy Scout troop was robbed at gunpoint while they were selling Christmas trees?
HOLMES: Yeah, well, the three grinches here have been caught and indicted and find out now how much this robbery may cost them.
NGUYEN: But first, here is Dr. Sanjay Gupta with a preview of today's "HOUSE CALL."
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
Well, you've heard about performance-enhancing drugs in sports, what about in life? We're checking out folks taking medications to be sharper at work.
Plus we interview the acting surgeon general. We hear his plan to tackle the obesity epidemic in children. And surprising results from an experimental Alzheimer's drug. Could doctors have made a break through?
Details coming up on "HOUSE CALL" at 8:30.
HOLMES: We've got a few quick hits for you this morning. Five family members killed overnight in a house fire.
NGUYEN: Police just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio say the mother and father had stab wounds. The man did survive and is hospitalized this morning, but the woman, she did not survive. She and one of her children died on the scene. Three other children died a little bit later at the hospital.
HOLMES: Stay in Ohio as well, this one you might remember about the Boy Scout Christmas tree stand robbed last month, Boy Scouts trying to sell some trees. Hamilton County police have their suspects, three of them, there they are. Nathan (ph) Wallace, Kenneth Hodge (ph), David Keiling (ph), 19 and 20-years-old, all. They have now been indicted by a grand jury.
NGUYEN: It's expected to be a great day for big wave surfers in northern California. The nasty and unpredictable breaks known as mavericks are heading Half Moon Bay this weekend. That's about 20 miles south of San Francisco. Dozens of elite big wave surfers, we're talking the best of the best.
They are there hoping to ride the sometimes 40-foot swells in the maverick surfing contest and T.J. has always wanted to make to it this event. But it's hard because you only have so much time to get there.
HOLMES: These elite surfers, they have their numbers on file with the competition folks. They call you and you have 24 hours to get there. Because they monitor the weather out there the folks that run the contest and they know when conditions are going to be perfect. So they don't have much of a window to get you there. So you got 24 hours, so if you can make it. The prize though, price money ...
NGUYEN: What is it?
HOLMES: $75,000, so it's a lot on the line.
NGUYEN: But I think more importantly for those surfers, it's all about that big wave and the picture of course.
HOLMES: And the picture of course. Hopefully, we'll have some pictures tomorrow of that, the competition happening today. Some more pictures to show you here. Flood soaked parts of Indiana actually might be getting some help. The state's governor plans to ask for Federal disaster aid. Hundreds of homes have been damaged by flooding on Waldren (ph) Lake in Noble County.
Sandbags were not enough to keep the water out of some of those homes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON HENDRICKSON, FLOODED HOMEOWNER: It's horrible because I just retired from teaching school for 41 years and my lifelong dream was to come down to my home where I was raised in this area. And now it looks like it's going to be all destroyed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: The weather service says water levels have started to at least drop in some rain swollen rivers.
NGUYEN: Let's get you the latest on the weather today. Last weekend was a rough one when we had levees break and all of that. This weekend how is it looking outside with severe weather?
HOLMES: The nation's mortgage crisis, just one issue voters have on their minds right about now.
NGUYEN: Some of the presidential candidates are promising to help out mortgage holders in trouble. Find out what they're thinking next. LEVS: And if you're a borrower, how could this giant takeover in that industry affect you. And also, could taxpayers ultimately be hurt? I'm Josh Levs. That's coming up right here CNN SATURDAY MORNING.
NGUYEN: Well a company in the middle of the mortgage meltdown rescued by a merger. Bank of America is buying Countrywide Financial in a $4 billion stock deal.
HOLMES: But the nation's mortgage crisis certainly a complicated thing here. Some presidential candidates now pledging to help homeowners who are in trouble. Those details now from CNN's Allan Chernoff.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jillian Simmons is a single mother with a big worry.
JILLIAN SIMMONS, HOMEOWNER: This is my home. This is my castle.
CHERNOFF: She's saddled with a mortgage she can barely afford and her monthly payments are scheduled to jump higher this summer.
SIMMONS: Losing my home. That's my biggest fear.
CHERNOFF: An unscrupulous broker put her into a risky mortgage and yet another one refinanced her last year into a new loan that only added to her debt burden.
SIMMONS: As you see there, my payments went up.
CHERNOFF: Jillian, a U.S. citizen who immigrated from Trinidad is a classic victim of predatory lenders who have put tens of thousands of Americans in danger of losing their homes.
(on-camera): The mortgage crisis may prove to be a very important issue in the presidential election. Among the states that have the highest foreclosure rates are California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Together, they have nearly half the electoral votes needed to elect the next president.
OBAMA: We need more disclosure and accountability in the housing market.
CHERNOFF: The leading Democratic candidates, Obama, Clinton and Edwards, all endorse a Federal fund to support homeowners who are in over their heads. Obama and Edwards also want to outlaw overly aggressive lending.
EDWARDS: We need a national predatory lending law that cracks down on so many of the abuses from front end fees to excessive interest rates.
CHERNOFF: But it's Hillary Clinton who most impressed Julian.
SIMMONS: I think Hillary can do a terrific job. I think I have enough faith in her to turn things around.
CHERNOFF: Senator Clinton is pledging a foreclosure timeout.
H. CLINTON: I'll have a moratorium for 90 days on foreclosures, while we try to figure out what we're going to do to keep people in their homes.
CHERNOFF: Republican candidates prefer to see the private sector work out the problem rather than having government provide aid to borrowers in trouble.
(on-camera): An estimated one and one half million American households will see their mortgages adjusted upward this year. So the issue could very well be a deciding factor for voters like Jillian Simmons who are trapped under the weight of an expensive mortgage.
Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.
HOLMES: Of course, Countrywide, you know that name, has long billed itself as the nation's largest home lender.
NGUYEN: Josh Levs joins us now with a closer look at the Countrywide deal and the rest of the mortgage mess. And Josh, here's a question. So if you have a Countrywide mortgage, how does this affect you? What happens to you?
LEVS: There's so many people who do. It's a huge company. So a lot of people are just hearing this and trying to figure out how it affects their wallets. Let's talk to you a few minutes (ph), there's some good resources here, cnn.com. It is possible, you could come out ahead. That's what some experts are actually telling us and if you go to cnnmoney.com, there's an article there that explains why.
We've got a quote here from one expert. He says, quote, there are millions of homeowners with unaffordable mortgages. The deal will allow Bank of America to restructure loans to what homeowners can afford. Other experts are saying this too. It will give them this additional flexibility that could ultimately lead to better deals that are good for borrows.
But some are cautioning against that hype too. They're saying hey, if you're a borrower, don't get too excited. I'm going to give you this quote too. The only difference will be where you pay your bill to. Just because Bank of America is buying your Countrywide sub- prime loan, it doesn't change into a prime loan when they buy it.
So the basic idea here, we're not hearing dire warnings for borrowers. We're not seeing anyone saying watch out. This could be really bad. But some people are either saying, it's a good thing or you know what, it won't make a difference. If you're sub-prime, you're still where you were. NGUYEN: What about those folks who don't have mortgages. I understand this is going to affect all taxpayers.
LEVS: Yeah, which is also really striking. This is actually the top story on cnnmoney.com right now. Do we have that screen? I want to show everybody the headline because it's really stunning. There you go, Countrywide sins, how you'll pay.
This brings you to "Fortune" magazine, which says that the way that this is structured right now, they're going to be using Bank of America's losses or Countrywide's losses rather to offset Bank of America's taxable income. So ultimately what happens is,, they can be saving half a billion dollars in taxes over five years. So if they save half a billion dollars in taxes, then effectively, that does affect every taxpayer in America.
NGUYEN: Half a billion.
LEVS: In five years and because they're going to use those losses to offset their own earnings.
NGUYEN: OK, thanks for helping sort that out, thank you Josh.
A Hannah Montana concert ticket right, people are trying to get their hands on. If you just give them one, they'll take it. Kids will do just about anything to get it.
HOLMES: But these girls are actually giving up their tickets to help a friend in need. This is a good story and one you got to hear right here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.
HOLMES: All right, there's always buzz around the Hannah Montana any day pretty much.
HOLMES: But a concert in New York (INAUDIBLE) It seems that Hannah, who is of course that 15-year-old singing sensation, Miley Cyrus is her name. Well, she briefly used a body double during the show.
NGUYEN: What? Let me explain it for you, a video posted on YouTube shows the entertainer performing on stage as Hannah. During one song she's ushered off stage through a trap door and another girl dressed like Hannah runs on set and performs until the end of that song. Hannah's PR firm admits a double is used briefly to allow Miley to change costumes so she can reappear as herself.
But I don't know, why don't you just use some dancers or something and take a break. If you can get your hands on -- some of them are thousands of dollars ...
HOLMES: I've never seen Hannah the whole ...
HOLMES: I'll take an intermission. We'll wait, but I want to see Hannah the whole time.
NGUYEN: You don't want to (INAUDIBLE)
HOLMES: We're moving onto a great story here about the diva disciples, these four young girls who are raffling off their Hannah Montana tickets to help raise money for a friend.
NGUYEN: Great story yeah, Laura Mozio (ph) of Texas affiliate WJXT has this wonderful heart warming tale.
LAURA MOZIO, WJXT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like so many girls their age, Alice and Emily Erwin in Abilene love Hannah, Montana.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Her shows are really funny and stuff and her singing is like amazing.
MOZIO: And as you can imagine, they were thrilled when they learned one of their moms scored tickets.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: It sold out within like 10 minutes.
MOZIO: But these girls who call themselves the diva disciples, won't be going to the concert. Instead they're raffling off the tickets to benefit six-year-old Riley Lovett (ph).
EMILY ERWIN, GAVE UP TICKETS FOR AYLEE: It's better to me to go help Riley than it is to go see Hannah Montana.
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