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Following the Campaigns; Bad Nanny; State of the Black Union; Oscar Preview; Eastern U.S. Hit by Major Snow Storm

Aired February 23, 2008 - 07:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CO-HOST: Good morning, everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, it is February 23rd. It's Saturday morning, I am T.J. Holmes.
BETTY NGUYEN, CO-HOST: Oh, what a good day this is going to be. And I'm Betty Nguyen. Thanks for joining us today. It is 7:00 a.m. in the east, 6:00 a.m. in Texas where the race between Senators Clinton and Obama could not be any tighter. Yes, both candidates were up late campaigning in Texas and Ohio and we're going to bring you the latest from the campaign trail.

Plus this:


LINDSAY ADDISON, MOTHER: I'm screaming there at my desk: Pick him up, pick him up, pick him up and she proceeds to look at him and continued on doing whatever she was doing and that went on for six minutes.


HOLMES: Busted by nanny cam. You all got to see him. A parent's nightmare. Yes, that's a child. She's toting around like -

NGUYEN: A doll.

HOLMES: A doll. A mom has to watch this whole thing, as the nanny tosses her baby around like a sack of potatoes. We'll get into the story.

NGUYEN: And a dangerous rescue: Just heart-stopping moments as a teenage boy tries to save his dog from icy waters. Look at that, the drama ahead on this CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, I don't know how many of you thought you'd ever be at a rally at 11:00 o'clock at night, but I, but I have to thank you for staying up so late, because we've got to work around the clock to take our country back.


NGUYEN: Yes, Hillary Clinton working late and she's trying to gain an edge in Ohio. Both Clinton and Barack Obama are campaigning there this weekend. It is 10 days ahead of critical primaries in Ohio and Texas. The two candidates are fighting for more than 370 delegates at stake in those two states and in Vermont and in Rhode Island.

HOLMES: Well, the race in Texas may hinge on the Latino vote. Hillary Clinton has had strong support among Latinos so far, but Barack Obama is trying to turn that around. His campaign has begun targeting Latino voters with Spanish language ads and more direct references in his Texas speeches.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Cesar Chavez was in the midst of the fight to organize agricultural workers, Dr. King sent him a telegram, and said our cause is the same.


HOLMES: Well, some Latinos hoping to make a difference at the voting booth may have to wait another four years.

NGUYEN: Just because a backlog of citizenship applications is now putting their votes in jeopardy. CNN's Thelma Gutierrez has the story.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was a massive turnout in major cities across the U.S., legal immigrants answering the call to become U.S. citizens. They chanted "Today we marched, tomorrow we vote." But of course, no one knew about the obstacle course that would follow.

(on camera): What happened next stunned everyone. The number of legal immigrants, legal tax paying immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship, more than doubled last year. A record 1.4 million immigrants, mostly Latinos, applied in plenty of time to vote or what should have been plenty of time to vote in the presidential election.

JESUS TORRES, CITIZENSHIP APPLICANT: It's very disappointing, and it angers me.

GUTIERREZ (voice over): Jesus Torres who came from Mexico when he was 10 is married and a father to 5-year-old Edgar. He applied for citizenship last year so he could vote.

TORRES: If I get a chance, I'll be able to put my voice out there and let it be heard.

GUTIERREZ: We learned that's where the obstacle course begins. First, the government raised the citizen application fee from $400 to $675, a higher fee, so it could afford to hire more than 3,000 new workers to process all the applications. Even so, Emilio Gonzalez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says, the government was overwhelmed.

EMILIO GONZALEZ, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: What we weren't prepared for, quite frankly, was the avalanche of applications that we got. GUTIERREZ: The next obstacle? Jesus and hundreds of thousands of others received these government notices.

(on camera): It says, you should expect to be notified within 365 days, that's one year what, did you think?

TORRES: I thought it was way too long. I didn't really expect that. I expected maybe sooner so I'd be able to vote and participate. With this in mind, maybe my chances are very slim.

GUTIERREZ (voice over): Labor organizer, Eliseo Medina helped organize the citizenship drive and can't imagine how this became such a mess.

ELISEO MEDINA, LABOR ORGANIZER: In theory, their job is to plan for this kind of things and to be ready. That's why they said they were raising the fees.

GUTIERREZ: Julia Moreno is studying at home to take her citizenship tests.

ANNOUNCER: How many stripes are there on our flag?

GUTIERREZ: She believes the delays are another case of Latinos being taken for granted.

JULIA MORENO, CITIZENSHIP APPLICANT: We're angry because they came, this is not necessary, it's not necessary the Spanish people, they have to vote. It's not important. But this is very important.

GUTIERREZ: Gonzalez says that's absurd. He's a naturalized citizen himself, but members of Congress are also angry with the delays. Last month, Gonzalez was put on the hot seat.

REP. LINDA SANCHEZ, (D) CALIFORNIA: The waiting time keeps getting longer, not shorter, and I find that incredibly frustrating.

GONZALEZ: There's a right way of doing things and a wrong way of doing things and that we're not going to sacrifice quality and we're not going to sacrifice security for the sake of production.

GUTIERREZ: Gonzalez concedes 500,000 may not become citizens in time to vote.

TORRES: I've been waiting for this stage for so long, and now, when I get a chance to do it, I want to, probably, be one of the first ones out there in the line to be ready to cast my vote.

GUTIERREZ: But clearly, no one knew how long that line would be. Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Los Angeles.


NGUYEN: Let's turn now to the Republican side of the race: John McCain speaks to the Republican governor's association in Washington tonight, but don't expect him to spend a lot of time talking about that "New York Times" article linking him with a female lobbyist.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't have any more comment about this issue. I had a press conference yesterday morning. I answered every question. I'm moving on.


NGUYEN: He's done. Well, that "Times" article may be responsible for putting money in McCain's campaign coffers. His campaign says it just had the best 24 hours of online fundraising so far, but they aren't saying just how much money they've raised.

HOLMES: While challenger, Mike Huckabee going to be in New York today. He's going to be up late. He's not going to be running the streets partying in New York. He's actually going to be appearing on "Saturday Night Live". I'm not sure how many delegates are up for grabs at SNL. But if you'll remember that Barack Obama made a cameo on the show last year; and John McCain hosted that show back in 2000.

Now, we're going to give you a chance to see the candidates live into our BALLOT BOWL coming your way again this weekend. You can tune in today 2:00 o'clock Eastern.

NGUYEN: And tonight: The Democratic debate, it's your chance to see what you missed or you just can see it again -- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the issues from Austin, Texas. You can see our special debate replayed at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

HOLMES: And of course the candidates do what they can to have their voices heard, debates and such, but what are they not saying? What would you really like to know? Well, coming up, our Josh Levs, Mr. Reality himself. He will give you a chance to send in your questions and again, his name is Mr. Reality. So, he's going to get you the facts.

NGUYEN: Speaking of the facts, here it is -- nasty weather out there. At least nine inches of snow in New York City, and residents are digging out this morning. It is the biggest storm to hit the Big Apple all season long. More than 1,000 flights canceled yesterday. Can you just imagine the frustration at airports around the country? All the roads and sidewalks, all a slushy mess. The storms pounded the entire northeast and in Boston, passengers hoping to beat the snow crammed onto a commuter train but that train derailed, forcing them to find another way home. And take a look at these icy roads. What started out as a snowstorm, you knew that was going to happen. At least, he didn't hit another car.

HOLMES: Is that the pizza delivery guy?

NGUYEN: I hope not. Because let me tell, that pizza is not coming tonight. A terrible ice storm in Pennsylvania, that made driving treacherous. I wonder if they keep that, is that a rule if you don't get it in 30 minutes, it's free? HOLMES: It's free. They still do that. Well, he is not going to make it. But if he did, we should have him on the show because he should be commended.

NGUYEN: Hey, he didn't hit anybody else and looked like the car was still running. That's a good thing.

Richards Wolf has been watching all of this. Man, Reynolds, I'm not going to say it. But I almost said it could get any worse?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know, I mean, it starts off with pizza and ends look like ravioli. You know, when it shows up, what is this? Did I order this? Yes, you did, so enjoy it.

Hey, guys. Things are getting much better in parts of the northeast. This time, believe it or not, we don't have a single delay at any of the major airports. And that is certainly great news. This is, again, a representation of all of the flights you see that are either taking off, landing or mid flight and things are doing OK. One of the reasons why things are doing fine is because the storm system is finally leaving parts of the northeast.

But that doesn't mean it's completely over just yet because there are spots like in Long Island where you could see some scattered snow showers, nothing too heavy but still some snow showers along portions of 495 this morning, just north of Levittown and into downtown New York and may see just a sprinkle or two of that icy precipitation. Same story for you in portions of Pennsylvania, mainly up into northern Pennsylvania, central, near the campus of state college, as far south as Altoona.

But further south, in the Mid-Atlantic States back into the southeast, we're still talking about rainfall, that frontal boundary still slowly moving through and some of it has been pretty loud especially into central Florida. You got portions of 95, you got 75 and I-4 right here from Daytona Beach, southward to Orlando, even up to Jacksonville could be dealing with some strong thunderstorms.

Now, over the four corner, it is not rain but snow and that we could see later on today, we have nearly 30 feet of snow in parts of the central Rockies, expect that to increase a little bit more today and into parts of the Sierra Nevada and the coastal range, we could see upwards of a foot of snow through the weekend. That is the latest on your forecast. Let's wrap it up and send it right back to you at the newsroom.

NGUYEN: So, essentially, we have snow on both coasts.

WOLF: Snow leaving one coast, and moving into the other. That's basically how it's going.

HOLMES: Is that your snow move? Is that what they look (ph)?

WOLF: That's exactly how it moves. It's that (ph) will shift.

NGUYEN: They teach you that in meteorologist school? WOLF: It's a dance, Betty. It's a dance.

NGUYEN: All right. We're going to dance on, all right?

WOLF: You bet.

NGUYEN: We'll see you later, Reynolds.

We do want to talk about this some scary moments for an animal control officer and teenager trying to rescue a dog in an icy pond in Kansas. Take a look at this. A poor little thing there, well, the officer and the boy, they actually fell through the ice themselves.

HOLMES: Then, they tried to get back onto the ice but the teen's dog there, it's a black Lab, named Porter, struggled to keep his head above. See everybody goes into the water here. The officer fell through the ice; again, he eventually made it out and rescued the dog. Listen to the teenager talk about this, though.


GABE SIEM, DOG OWNER: His eyes, and he was crying, and I just couldn't let him drowned out there in front of me.


NGUYEN: Of course not.

HOLMES: The dog crying or -

NGUYEN: That's what he said.

HOLMES: - the animal control officer?

NGUYEN: I assume it was the dog. The dog's owner says he is grateful the officer risked her life to save little Porter. Can you just imagine the cold? Yes, I don't know. I mean, if that was my pet, I think I would jump in, too.

HOLMES: I think I would let my cat go.

NGUYEN: Stop it.

HOLMES: No, I'm kidding.

NGUYEN: You do have cats though. I'm kidding. They have nine lives they're fine. All right.

It's every mother's nightmare, when she leaves her child.


LINDSAY ADDISON, MOTHER: I started to see things I didn't like. Picked them up like bales of hay, like puppies or kittens.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NGUYEN: She's just moving around like they're some dolls or something, hard to believe, but that is not all. This isn't it, folks. Coming up, we're going to show you what else was caught on this nanny cam.

HOLMES: Also, split decision, one candidate is going, the other is a no-show. The fallout on who's not attending today's State of the Black Union gathering in New Orleans.


GEORGE CLOONEY, CELEBRITY ACTOR: Anyone who thinks if it's equitable or if you're a black or if you're a woman or if you thing except for a white male, you think it's equitable, it's not. It's an unfair business right now.


NGUYEN: But things might be different at the Oscars this is weekend. Kareen Wynter explains from the red carpet.


NGUYEN: Fifteen past the hour. Here's a quick look at some of the stories that are topping our news today. Hundreds of people gathered at a candlelight vigil in Reno, Nevada last night to remember Brianna Denison. They placed flowers and stuff animals (ph) in a field where Denison's body was found a week ago. Investigator say, the 19-year- old college student was the victim of a serial rapist and police are still trying to identify her killer.

HOLMES: $1.2 billion in taxpayer money came crashing down this morning. The Airforce says, a B-2 stealth bomber crashed on the island of Guam in the western Pacific, the first reported crash of one of these $1 billion planes. And the two pilots ejected before it went down shortly after takeoff from Guam's Andersen Airport base. The pilots are said to be in good condition. The crash is now under investigation.

NGUYEN: Police in Cottonwood, Minnesota say, a 2-year-old woman from Mexico is charged with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide and authorities believe the woman is an illegal immigrant. She was driving a van that went through a stop sign Tuesday, crashing into a school bus and killing four students. Police say, she did not have a driver's license, and gave them a false name.

HOLMES: All right. We will turn back to the story and this video we showed you just a short time ago. It is unbelievable.

NGUYEN: It truly is. Take a look, because a North Carolina mom had some suspicions about the nanny she hired to watch her infant twins. So, here's what she did. Oh, yes, it's hard to see, isn't it? She set up a camera to keep an eye on the woman who was taking care of her kids and this is what she found, Amanda Lamb of our affiliate WRAL has a deeper look into the story.


LINDSAY ADDISON, MOTHER: You are jumping, jumping, jumping.

AMANDA LAMB, WRAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Seven-month-old twins, Bryce (ph) and Gavin (ph) were born three months premature but now they're thriving. Last month their mother, Lindsay Addison, went back to work at set (ph). She posted an ad online and after interviewing six candidates she hired a nanny with glowing references. Last week, Addison installed a hidden camera to keep tabs on her children. She could check in them from her work computer.

ADDISON: I started to see things I didn't like.

LAMB: In one video clip, the nanny leaves Gavin (ph) unattended on the couch. He falls down and struggles. She ignores him.

ADDISON: I'm screaming there at my desk, pick him up, pick him up, and she proceeds to look at him and continue on doing whatever she was doing and that went on for six minutes.

LAMB: Addison eventually rushed home.

ADDISON: That was when I said enough's enough. I'm coming home.

LAMB: Addison told the nanny she'd been taped and asked her to leave.

ADDISON: She couldn't get out of the house fast enough.

LAMB: Then, she called police and started reviewing what the camera recorded. At one point, the nanny is so consumed with television, she allows Bryce (ph) to fall off her chest onto the couch.

ADDISON: And she doesn't pick him up right away. And his head is buried in the side of the couch.

LAMB: A few seconds later, she is dangling the baby by his feet.

ADDISON: And that when she flips him upside down.

LAMB: Another time, the nanny carries Gavin (ph) under her arm like a football.

ADDISON: And she carries him around the corner and he nearly hit his head on the banister.

LAMB: What really got to Addison was how the nanny continually moved the twins by grabbing their clothing.

ADDISON: And pick them up like bales of hay, like puppies or kittens and with no care as to how she was doing it, and sling them on the sofa.

LAMB: Addison only wishes she had got the camera earlier. She wants other parents to know the technology is easy to use and in her opinion, worth every penny. ADDISON: I probably never would have suspected, never would have known and she would still be here, had I not had the camera. And it scares me to think what could have happened to my children.


NGUYEN: That is frightening, and here's the thing. That's just one area of the room. I mean, I don't know what she did anywhere else. But just looking at that video, carrying the babies around like they were little dolls, just throwing them down?

HOLMES: The nanny is not her line of work. She's not cut out for that. I don't know how -

NGUYEN: Well, I would assume after seeing that tape, she's no longer a nanny.

HOLMES: No longer a nanny. And the kicker here, I mean, you look at that, we all look at that and every parent would say, that's criminal but police say something else. Actually police as we said in that report, they reviewed that tape and police say that nothing they saw constitutes a crime in the treatment of those children.

NGUYEN: I think others would say, you know, it's definitely neglect if nothing else. All right. Well, there you have it. And then, folks at home, maybe you want to make sure that your nannies are doing the right thing. I mean, we always hear with these nanny cams.

HOLMES: They work, don't they?

NGUYEN: Apparently they do. Hopefully you don't need one but there you go.

HOLMES: Well, we're going to turn to a story out of New Orleans. Now, some big names there this weekend, you got mayors, community leaders, even presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be there.

NGUYEN: So, who's missing in that?


TAVIS SMILEY, TALK SHOW HOST: I think that it's a missed opportunity on Mr. Obama's part.


NGUYEN: The fallout from Obama skipping the State of the Black Union gathering in New Orleans.

HOLMES: Also, baseball trading cards, a thing of the past. Well, jumping on the new bandwagon. We got some presidential trading cards.


HOLMES: Well, there's a who's who of black leaders meeting this weekend in New Orleans for the ninth annual State of the Black Union. NGUYEN: Yes, but perhaps more notable than who will be there is who will not. Here's CNN's Sean Callebs.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The convention center in New Orleans was the flash point for disaster in the aftermath of Katrina. Many of those in dire need were African-American. This weekend the convention center will host the annual focus on the State of the Black Union, an event led by talk show host Tavis Smiley.

TAVIS SMILEY, TALK SHOW HOST: And we owe it to them, those who survived, those who are still struggling to rebuild their lives, those who didn't make it. We owe it to them. We owe it to them to raise these issues now, louder than ever.

CALLEBS: Issues for African-Americans everywhere, that in New Orleans, are glaring problems -- crime, lack of affordable housing, entire communities that still lack hospitals or emergency care, even a fresh coat of paint means something to a school where 97 percent of the students qualify for a free lunch program. How and whether New Orleans should be rebuilt is still being debated.

(on camera): Is it pathetic that two and a half years after the storm, we're still trying to make the argument?


CALLEBS (voice over): State Representative Juan Lafonta is head of the legislative black caucus. He's raised eyebrows by supporting Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama. Lafonta says Clinton has been there when the region needed help.

LAFONTA: I don't support people just because they're black. I support people because they're qualified and they're committed to my issues that affect my constituency.

CALLEBS: Hillary Clinton will be at the State of the Black Union. Barack Obama won't. In a letter to Smiley, Obama wrote, he'll be campaigning in Texas and Ohio, quote, "Talking directly with voters about causes that are at the heart of my campaign and the State of the Black Union."

SMILEY: I think that it's a missed opportunity on Mr. Obama's part. I'm not interested in demonizing him for his choice but I do disagree with it.


NGUYEN: Well, today's meeting of the State of the Black Union begins at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, and CNN's Sean Callebs will join us with a live report during that hour.


TOM HOUCK, FORMER MLK CHAUFFEUR: Dr. King used like groups like the O.J.s (ph), Glady's knight and the Pitts (ph). You know, I mean, we played it in the car. He would listen to WAOK radio in Atlanta, and this is before FM took off.


NGUYEN: Oh, yes, the chauffer of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. He witnessed one of the world's most dynamic and committed leaders of peace. Now he is writing a book in part revealing the fun side of the slain civil rights leader. CNN's Fredricka Whitfield has that at noon Eastern today. You don't want to miss it.

HOLMES: All right. It's Oscar time as well, and it looks like we could have some history made at the Oscars this year.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whole institution of Oscar has grown up. We're fighting racism and prejudice and we're winning the war in a lot of areas.


HOLMES: And Kareen Wynter will explain it to us from the red carpet.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning, everybody. What would you like to know about the candidates, that they're not telling you? Well, coming up: We are going to have your chance to send in your questions and get the facts. Also this -


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a 1985 pickup truck. I say that it's got my dog in there and it's got my wallet in there, it's got everything in there.


NGUYEN: Yes, there is the doggone mystery in California, about who took this truck.


NGUYEN: Well, it's another busy day on the campaign trail. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are both in Ohio today. The critical Ohio and Texas primaries are still 10 days away, but both states allow early voting. While Clinton heads to New Orleans tonight to speak to the State of the Black Union symposium. And on the Republican side, John McCain is in Washington. He's going to speak at the Republican Governor's Association dinner tonight. Mike Huckabee is in New York for a planned guest appearance on what else but SNL, "Saturday Night Live".

T.J. HOLMES, CO-HOST: And setting the record straight: Secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice clearing up my rumors about a McCain/Rice ticket. Bottom line: Don't count on it.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: I have always said that the one thing that I have not seen myself doing is running for elected office in the United States. I have elected office because I didn't even run for high school president. You know, it's sort of not in my genes.


NGUYEN: Not in her genes.

HOLMES: A little grin, a little wink-wink, nod-nod, we don't know. Well, Rice says, she'll stick with her job until the end of her term and she will return to California.

NGUYEN: So, what are you saying, no always means yes?

HOLMES: No will just means maybe sometimes in politics.

NGUYEN: Yes, that way (ph) in politics.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She'd been (ph) asked that question enough. That's part of the 5,000 times she's been asked that.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, millions of people did tune in Thursday night for the CNN debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and after it was over, people just started scrutinizing and analyzing every word and gesture for insight into which candidate did better.

HOLMES: But the debates, aren't they supposed to be about debating, you know, issues, ideas, things like that, and they're not about that, are they? They're about just style sometimes. Mr. Reality you're here to answer some questions maybe that the candidates wouldn't answer. People have questions out there, that maybe they didn't get answered.

LEVS: Yes. I know, because if you watched the debate, I mean, this is the perfect example of noting what people really look for. You know, I mean, debates conceptually are really different ideas, right? How to tackle the problems in America. That's ideally what they're supposed to be about but if you were watching the other night, you might have started to wonder how many differences there actually are.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Clinton and I both agree on many of these issues.

CLINTON: Well, I would agree with a lot that Senator Obama just said.

OBAMA: Well, there's an area where Senator Clinton and I almost entirely agree.

CLINTON: I agree with that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVS: That's what you kept hearing throughout the debate. Now, I will tell you that there are some policy differences that these two have, such as in health care, analysts say, Clinton's plan moving much closer to universal because it includes a mandate, that's one example. There's also diplomacy that they'd talked about, she would not guarantee an advance of personal meeting with Cuba's new leader until the Cuban government has demonstrated some changes, Obama would. But those have been really covered extensively and they're really, really specific. What we want to know is, for people who have not decided who might be voting in one of the upcoming Democratic contests that could decide this entire thing over the next few weeks, what do you want to know about the candidates? If you asked the campaigns, you're just going to get spin. You ask us, you get what T.J. said, you get the reality. So, here's what you can do, write to us today: Let us know what you would like to know, that's not clear to you, that might help you decide. And we're going to give preference to people in Texas, Ohio, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, anyplace that still has a contest ahead. And a few ground rules here: It has to be a question, not an opinion, and be sure to include your full name and we will be answering some of them and showing you resources to help get the answers, we're going to do that tomorrow on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

And guys, you know, I feel like the race is a funnel. Like before, there were tons of votes coming in. Now, it's like a little tiny trickle but that trickle could really decide this thing. We could get rid of the whole superdelegate madness having to decide blah-blah- blah, based on what happens just in the next few weeks. These few votes could matter. So, these people, we're wondering what these people want to know, that they haven't been told yet. We provide you those answers that might help ultimately decide that race.

NGUYEN: So, Texas and Ohio and Rhode Island, those are the areas that you're really focusing on?

LEVS: And Vermont. Especially because those are the ones that are going to be voting March 4th and depending how that goes, it literally could end the race, depending what happens there.

NGUYEN: All right. So, give us your name and where you live.

LEVS: Name, where you live and your question.

NGUYEN: And of course, the question that you want to know and we're not going to give you spin, you're not going to hear that from us. You're going to get the facts. All right. Mr. Reality here, thank you, Josh.

So, in case you missed it or you want to see it again, so, you can hear for yourself, be sure to tune into our special replay of the Democratic debate from Austin, Texas. It comes your way at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tonight. HOLMES: Also, you can hear much more from the candidates this afternoon on CNN's BALLOT BOWL: To give you a chance to have your candidates unfiltered, hear it in their own words. You see BALLOT BOWL 2:00 o'clock Eastern time today.

NGUYEN: All right. From BALLOT BOWL to sports; Barry Bonds, right? The homerun king and free agent and baseball's odd man out. You know our Rick Horrow has many thoughts on why.

HOLMES: Many thoughts, many thoughts. He has many thoughts.


NGUYEN: A lot. Sometimes too many.

Also this -



CHARLES MCCOWAN, DOG AND TRUCK OWNER: I came back out, I'm going, hey, where's my truck?


HOLMES: Yes, where is your truck? Another question is: Who is driving that truck? We'll explain.


HOLMES: Well, let's take a look now at some other stories in the news.

NGUYEN: Yes, a bomb hidden on a bus in Sri Lanka explodes today. Look at the video. It injured four people so far. Video was shot by i-Reporter, Irshad Hameed. An alert passenger noticed a suspicious bag left behind and that's why everyone rushed off of the bus. Minutes later that bag had a bomb in it and then it exploded. So far, no one has claimed responsibility.


TOY'S ELECTRONIC VOICE: Kill James, kill James.


NGUYEN: Good grief. Is that Elmo making death threats? Elmo is suppose to saying 2-year-old James Bowman (ph) but James' parents say it started making death threats after they replaced the batteries. Fisher Price says they're looking into the problem. I bet they are. In the meantime, they've issued the Florida family a voucher for a new Elmo that doesn't make death threats. My goodness.

HOLMES: There's always a new Elmo. Well, this guy here, folks, has been arrested, that's not a typo on the screen, 416 times. And you know what? He's going to be out of jail in less than a year. This is Andy Davis. Police in Tennessee frustrated that a judge won't just lock him up for good. Now, arrested 416 times on a wide variety of things, including public intoxication, also threatening an officer with a box cutter, so he is, they call him a career criminal, a lot of petty crimes, if you will. Nothing - I mean, pulling (ph) a box cutter obviously is pretty obvious on a police officer but petty crimes and they can't get anything to stick long-term, that he keeps getting out and he's going to be out again.

NGUYEN: Four hundred and sixteen times he's been arrested?

HOLMES: He's 60 years old now and he is a career criminal. Petty crimes, and he has a record.

NGUYEN: Well, all right. We're definitely going to shift gears from that. No, wait, that's what max did.

HOLMES: Yes, an 80-pound boxer that managed to take a wrong pickup and roll away. Sharon Taylor of our affiliate, KCAL explains.


SHARON TAYLOR, KCAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Part of Charles McCowan's morning routine is to stop for coffee. This is him on the security tape. His dog, Max, moving around in the passenger seat. What happens next is you see the truck slowly rolling back through five lanes of traffic, and then stops at a fast food restaurant across the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's horrific, through there, at 9:00 o'clock in the morning, heavy traffic.

TAYLOR: When Charles walks outside, he notices his car is gone.

CHARLES MCCOWAN, DOG AND TRUCK OWNER: I came back out, I'm going, hey, where is my truck?

TAYLOR: He questions other drivers, and then, calls police.

MCCOWAN: It's a 1985 pickup truck, I said it's got my dog in there and it's got my wallet in there, it's got everything in it.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Any description on the vehicle?

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE RADIO OPERATOR: Negative, a secondhand, all we have is a truck with a dog inside.

TAYLOR: And so, the police respond. They check out the security tapes to get some answers. They find out that the truck was driven by Max, the dog.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Just an FYI, the dog had actually put the vehicle into neutral. MCCOWAN: I just walked across the street in traffic and I said, Max, are you OK? He's just going (INAUDIBLE).


NGUYEN: And the funny thing, because he ended up at a fast food restaurant, I guess he was ordering a doggie bag? I couldn't help myself. I love that story.

HOLMES: Let's let her be, Reynolds. Let her be.

NGUYEN: It's 7:40 in the morning, guys, cut me some slack.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I hate when dogs just take it upon themselves to go drive. They're notorious lead foots.

NGUYEN: You've had this experience before?

WOLF: Absolutely, they have real issues with the turn signals, too. Just don't let the dog behind the wheel. No matter how much they bark and no matter how much they whine, do not under any circumstances give them the wheel.

Hey, we're going to take the wheel in this forecast, it's been crazy in parts of the northeast, we've been talking about the ice and we've been talking about the snow. Let's talk about the fog, we got some fog this morning, people driving into Atlanta. Here's the shot. Do we have the Atlanta tower cam? And don't think so. That's all right, because we can just, you know, close your eyes for a moment and just visualize with what fog would look like. Yes, and that's basically what we dealt with this morning. Although, we don't expect that to be too much of an issue as we make our way over the next hour or two because the sun comes up and things begin to warm up, a lot of that fog will begin to dissipate. Right now, we're seeing some of that snow begin to dissipate in parts of the northeast, thankfully. What we are going to see is a much better forecast for you today. Although, we could see some scattered snow showers in places like Long Island, New York. I know, you're sick of the snow. Some places around New York got up to eight inches of snow yesterday, still a few flurries from Levittown back over to Brentwood (INAUDIBLE), and parts of 495, but it will be better for you. But parts of northern and central Pennsylvania, it's same story. Along the coast, much of the mid-Atlantic from say the outer banks of North Carolina, southward to Myrtle Beach, we've been seeing some scattered showers. But thunderstorms in portions of central Florida, you'll be dealing with the thunderstorms at least, I'd say for the next hour or so, from Daytona Beach back over to places like, say, Gainesville. So be prepared for that rough weather. For the four corners, it doesn't look like much now but we do expect about a foot of snowfall in parts of Colorado and back into the Sierra Nevada, even into the coastal range, Mount Shasta, over to places like, say Yosemite, you could see anywhere from one to three feet, maybe as much as two to four, not only the snow but also wind gusts topping 70 miles per hour as we make our way through the midday, afternoon hours and to much of Sunday. That's the latest we've got for you. Let's send it back to you at the news desk. NGUYEN: All right, Reynolds. As always, thank you and we'll be checking in shortly.

WOLF: Talk to you soon.

HOLMES: All right. Well, baseball spring training is in full swing in both Florida and Arizona but there's one familiar face who has not been invited to the party, Barry Bonds. One guy who never misses a party, our own Rick Horrow, Pretty Ricky what they call him, he joins us now from West Palm Beach, Florida. Good morning to you, sir. Barry Bonds is the all-time home run king and the man can't find a job. What's the problem?

HORROW: Well, you know, when you say good morning, will you at least let me say good morning to you back or are you going to start -

HOLMES: Well, no, I don't want to take time with the pleasantries, so, we could just hit -

HORROW: I don't know. I don't feel very well so, I'm very white (ph), I'm going to break out in a song if you don't be careful and watch yourself, OK? I know, Betty, I get. Hey, you know what? Record attendance in baseball, $4 million franchise values, the business is better than ever but the guy can't find a job. He hit 30 home runs or so last year, eight years of record attendance in San Francisco and the bottom line is -- that it's indictment, there is controversy around him, and so, maybe that's the reason. The other bottom line is -- that he really has a situation where maybe people don't trust him and don't believe him, but it's not a popularity contest. Roger Clemens has some issues with memorabilia as well and so, that shouldn't drive the decision and by the way it's not over yet. He may sign before the season begins.

HOLMES: He may sign, is there any indication? Because you know, there's been talk out there that the owners, the GMs kind of getting together behind the scenes and making a conscious effort to say, hey, we're not going to hire this guy.

HORROW: Well, you know, that's a nice thing to say, but you got a guy who has hit so many home runs in his career and can help somebody and you can always say, all of us being equal I'm not going to sign him but there's always one team that says, yes, but this guy could really help us, so, we'll see.

HOLMES: But that one team, no matter where he goes, if it's not in the bay area where he is loved but anywhere else, you know, are fans going to accept him anywhere else in any other ballpark in this country?

HORROW: There are a lot of examples in Major League Baseball and all sports where Attila the Hun can sign with somebody and if he hits home runs they're going to love him, embrace him and all of that. You know, the bottom line of this whole scandal which is important to remember is probably not one set of fans gave up their tickets and not one corporation stepped away from baseball because of it. So, now, we're not talking about the party or Roger Clemens or this or that or Capitol Hill. We're talking about stuff on the field and I think that's important.

HOLMES: All right. Let's talk about undefeated. We were talking about the Patriots. Everybody watching their run to perfection, of course they lost in the Super Bowl, as you predicted, but now, we got somebody else striving for perfection in college basketball, Memphis, the Tigers have a big test tonight, one versus two. They're playing Tennessee but are people going to follow this as a magical season as well? Are people starting to get into this and believe? Because this is a pretty historic thing if they're able to go undefeated during the regular season.

HORROW: Well, they sure are in Memphis and they sure are in Tennessee because remember, they played Tennessee today and Duke and North Carolina, big time rivalries, Kansas is there. We've got a couple of rabid fans very close to your heart in Texas and Arkansas. So look, the whole situation is that college basketball begins its real time now, March madness. What happens, you have people filling out those brackets. They don't know basketball but it's one of those social things. And when the tournament starts, you have lost productivity more than ever before, because this is a water cooler type of conversation. Believe me, and $500 million of economic impact as we get closer to San Antonio where the final four is.

HOLMES: Yes, and finally, you'd just mentioned, water cooler talk, we've got some more. Because we have a tennis story to tell you about or to talk about here -- tennis legend if you will, if we could put up his picture here, Rick, I need to you explain to me what is happening in this photograph.

NGUYEN: And why, for goodness sakes is your shirt off?

HORROW: Oh, my God.

HOLMES: What is going on? We call you Pretty Ricky but I called that before I even knew about this picture.

NGUYEN: We should have known.

HORROW: Wow, that's a really, really, really good picture. I have some -

HOLMES: Put it back up (INAUDIBLE).

HORROW: I know exactly where that came from. And that's good because that's one less person I have to put on my Christmas card list. That's pretty good.

NGUYEN: What's that Brett Adams (ph) beard thing going on? What's that all about?

HORROW: I happened to win that match, by the way. Well that was what you wore in the '70s, right?

HOLMES: Did you play the match with your shirt on or off?

HORROW: No, off. There are a lot of people in my life that want me to play matches with my entire body covered but that's for another day. I can't believe you guys did this.

NGUYEN: Well, we are so glad that you have your shirt on today.

HORROW: I'm taking a flight up to Atlanta today and I'm going to deal with you right now, OK?

NGUYEN: Oh, we're in so much trouble. Just keep the shirt on, OK?


HOLMES: We're so glad we could get that in. Pretty Ricky we're going to use that every week now.

NGUYEN: Every week.

HORROW: Yes, right. I needed this morning, right? Thank you very much.

HOLMES: Rick, good to see you. Hope you get to feeling better.


NGUYEN: That will cheer you up, maybe not for Rick.

HOLMES: He'll be after us. Oh, my goodness. Well folks, Fred as the babe (ph), McCains as Ted Williams, yes, forget baseball trading cards. We have candidate trading cards coming up to show you. Also, we've got something else coming up later.


GEORGE CLOONEY, CELEBRITY ACTOR: Anyone who thinks that it's equitable for if you're black or if you're a woman or if you're anything except for a white male, if you think it's equitable, it's not. It's an unfair business right now.


NGUYEN: But you know what? It's actually getting better in some unexpected ways. We're going to explain.


HOLMES: Reynolds, you know you're on the shot.

WOLF: I had no idea.

NGUYEN: It's crazy around here this morning.

HOLMES: There he is. Behave yourself.

NGUYEN: Yes, on your best behavior.

HOLMES: All right. Well, baseball cards folks, always going to be hit with the baseball fans but now, one card maker has thrown serious collectors a curve, Upper Deck has presidential candidate cards into regular packs baseball cards.

NGUYEN: Yes, never mind that most of the candidates are no longer in the race, and there's one card, though, the Hillary Clinton card that you cannot get unless you pay some serious cash for it on eBay. Hal Clement of affiliate KGTV in San Diego has the story.


HAL CLEMENT, KGTV CORRESPONDENT (voice over): So, are you the first kid on your block to have a Barack Obama card? Or a John McCain? This all began with the folks at Upper Deck cards realized this would be an exciting presidential election year.

KERRI STOCKHOLM, UPPER DECK: And we wanted to capture that excitement, I think that enthusiasm, but we wanted to do it in a way that was tied back to baseball.

CLEMENT: So, take the famous image of the Red Sox Carlton Fiske waiving his homerun fare at the World Series and turn former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney into Fiske. How about Fred Thompson as Babe Ruth, Barack Obama a big White Sox fan at the World Series? Upper Deck tried not to take sides politically.

STOCKHOLM: We wanted to be apolitical and neutral. We want the cards to be fun. We don't want them to be controversial.

CLEMENT: But there was the Hillary Clinton card, remember Morgana who used to run on the field and kiss ballplayers? Hillary Clinton is Morgana. Not a great idea.

STOCKHOLM: You know, we want the cards to be fun and humorous but definitely in good taste. And when we heard that might be problematic, we decided to pull that card.

CLEMENT: So, the few that exist are selling on eBay for thousands of dollars. The cards started as pencil drawings and then evolved. Rudy Giuliani, Yankee fan, as the young boy who deflected a Derek Jeter fly ball in the playoffs, it was ruled a home run. Red Sox great Ted Williams was a military aviator in war time and so is John McCain. Easy comparison.

(on camera): So, you go to the store, you buy your pack of upper deck baseball cards, on average, one of every eight packs of baseball cards will have a presidential predictor card, there we go, Rudy Giuliani. So, would you trade a Rudy Giuliani for a Rudy Sianez (ph)?

(voice over): They anticipate fans who are collecting these cards, who are trading them, are learning from them.

STOCKHOLM: Really, this is the first set of its kind.

CLEMENT: True, where else have you seen John Edwards' as Moonlight Graham (ph) or Al Gore in a pickoff play with George W. Bush and for TV fans, Jon Stewart in a tussle with Bill O'Reilly? Let the trading begin.


NGUYEN: Except for folks who don't have the Hillary card. I mean, we've got the cards here, and the thing about the Hillary card, that's where a lot of people are talking about this and making this an issue, I mean, if you look at the other cards, they're not sexual in nature at all, but the Hillary card.

LEVS: It's just dumb -

NGUYEN: Show the Hillary shot.

HOLMES: Well, the idea, the kissing bandit, the lady who was for years and years was a part of baseball, the lady who was kind of voluptuous, if you will. She would make her way down to the field and she was the kissing bandit.

LEVS: All right, enough, enough, enough.

WOLF: There's a lot worse.

LEVS: Yes, there are things a lot worst than that but they realized that they were sexualizing the image of a woman running for president, it's not a smart thing to do and so, they pulled back and now it's on eBay and really expensive and -

NGUYEN: How much is it going for?

LEVS: Well, you know, he showed it on the piece in the thousands. We looked on eBay just now, I saw one that was in the mid 300s but the bidding isn't over yet. You know, on eBay it still could go up into the thousands. There's only handful of them out there and you can't even get these cards in general. I mean, only one in eight packs of baseball cards has one of them. So, people are going buying hundreds of them.

NGUYEN: So, you're planning to make some cash with these? Is that what you're saying?

LEVS: You know what? I actually could use that.

NGUYEN: If you like these, go ahead. Go to and place your bid. No, I'm kidding.

LEVS: I got the Barack Obama one.

HOLMES: We need to explain though. It says "sample" on the back. So, don't come after us.

LEVS: You didn't have to tell them that.

WOLF: Does gum come with these?

NGUYEN: Don't we get something with them then? All right, thanks, Josh.

HOLMES: We appreciate it. Well, history has already been made with this year's Academy Awards nominations, but do you know why? The story ahead.


NGUYEN: Hey there, folks. The 80th Academy Awards is tomorrow night. It's the biggest ceremony for young Hollywood, old Hollywood, all of Hollywood.

HOLMES: And it's actually happening. We were worried about the writer's strike for awhile, we're all good. This Oscar party, my annual event -

NGUYEN: Taking place. Are you having a party?

HOLMES: Always.

NGUYEN: You're not having an Oscar watch party.

HOLMES: It ain't excuse. I didn't get the invite that's the problem.

NGUYEN: Oh, is that what it was?

HOLMES: I'm kidding.

NGUYEN: For good reason.

HOLMES: Well, this year Oscar, I might walk off that stage with a lot more women than usual. CNN's Kareen Wynter, a woman herself, explains.


KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A powerful performance by Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" landed her a supporting actress Oscar nomination at this year's Academy Awards.


WYNTER (on camera): Were you surprise?

DEE: Yes, I was surprise and then, I go to thinking back over the years when African-Americans weren't even part of the scene, you know.

WYNTER (voice over): For this scene, Dee is on the stage alone. The veteran actress is the only racial minority nominated in the acting categories. A far cry from 2005, when one fifth of those tapped for people of color.

GEORGE CLOONEY, LEAD ACTOR NOMINEE: Anyone who thinks that it's equitable for if you're black or if you're a woman or if you're anything except for a white male, if you think it's equitable, it's not. It's an unfair business right now.

WYNTER: For others in Hollywood, skin color is only one way to measure diversity at this year's Oscars. LAURA LINNEY, LEAD ACTRESS NOMINEE: I think there's much more diversity with nationality than with race. In my category for example, I think I'm the only American. There's Mary Olsen from France and Julia (INAUDIBLE) is English and Ellen Page is Canadian and Kate is Australian. So we're sort of the United Nations.

WYNTER: Laura Linney's best actress nod comes from her work in "The Savages" which was written by fellow nominee (INAUDIBLE). In fact, four of the 10 screenplays nominated were written by women, an unprecedented feat in Oscar history.

NANCY OLIVER, ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY NOMINEE: Percentage wise for us, that's huge, a huge accomplishment. I have never seen anything like it and it's one of the most exciting things about being nominated this year.

WYNTER: Despite the mixed picture of diversity in this year's Oscars, Dee says overall things are getting better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whole institution of Oscar has grown up. We're fighting racism and prejudice and we're winning the war in a lot of areas.


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR, SATURDAY MORNING: And CNN will be on the red carpet as the academy awards begin, Hollywood's gold rush airs tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern. The next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING begins right now.

TJ HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR, SATURDAY MORNING: And we start this hour with that nasty weather, check out the scene in Boston, Massachusetts, the winter blast pounding the northeast, at least nine inches of snow in New York City. More than 1,000 flights canceled yesterday, roads, sidewalks, all still a slushy mess. (INAUDIBLE) back to Boston now and yesterday passengers hoping to beat the snow crammed into a commuter train, but that train actually derailed forcing them to find another way home. And also, icy roads and conditions, wow, we're starting out as a snowstorm turned into a terrible ice storm in Pennsylvania of course that made driving treacherous for those trying to deliver pizzas and things as you see there. A lot of people, the idea was somebody was home, said I don't want to get out in this, so they send the pizza guy. This always happens and but just the ice condition was a mess. Once you get going, you can't stop that car.

NGUYEN: And we have been labeling it as the winter smack down. (INAUDIBLE) Reynolds Wolf has been watching all of this. It looks like not only is it really hampering things out in the east, but folks out west are dealing with a little bit of their own too.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, as one storm system exits, another one comes in. One (INAUDIBLE) in the east, another one is (INAUDIBLE) in parts of the west. What a mess they have in the northeast. The video of the pizza delivery guy, heaven help him. It's hard to eat a pizza when you have a crash helmet on. Today is going to be better conditions for them, still some scattered snow shower, but certainly nothing too heavy that they can expect. Something that will be heavy today will be traffic in the skies above.

Take a look what we have here on the screen behind me. You'll notice much of the northeast corridor and with that you see a lot of planes on the screen, each and every one of those indicates a plane that's taking off, landing or is in mid flight and as of things stand right now, we don't have any major delays to report, certainly a different scenario than we had yesterday. Right now some scattered snow showers forming on Long Island, but we're talking very light precipitation. More of the same back in Pennsylvania.

As we make our way down the eastern seaboard, what we're seeing in the mid-Atlantic states from the outer banks North Carolina, southward all the way to Florida, we're dealing with some rainfall. Some of this has been especially heavy, especially near Daytona Beach and just to the south of Gainesville. But out west, from the four corners over to the Sierra Nevada, snow is going to be the big story. And it could get very heavy, especially by later this afternoon into the early evening hours, we're not going to have just the wind, but the snow is going to be just incredibly deep in some places, from one to three feet, the highest peaks, farther to the south near Yosemite anywhere from two to four, those gusts nearing hurricane force by later in the day. That is your forecast, let's send it right back to you at the news desk.

NGUYEN: Hurricane force gusts there.

WOLF: Not good.

NGUYEN: Not at all, thank you, Reynolds.

Let's switch to politics right now and another busy day on the campaign trail for the Democrats. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have events in Ohio today. The critical Ohio and Texas primaries are still 10 days away, but both states allow early voting. Clinton heads to New Orleans tonight to speak at the state of the black union symposium.

And on the Republican side, John McCain is in Washington. He's going to speak at tonight's Republican governors association dinner. Mike Huckabee is in New York for a planned guest appearance on "Saturday Night Live."

HOLMES: A lot of talk about politics and a lot of talk about what's going on in both camps right now, in all camps, both sides, Republican, Democrat, and CNN deputy political director can cover it all for us, Paul Steinhauser joins us now from Austin, Texas this morning. Sir, always good to see you. Tell us what is going on there in Texas? Are Latinos going to be the key to what happens on March 4th?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: This is the big place, this is the big enchilada I guess you could call it on March 4th, almost 200 delegates for Democrats at stake that day. And last night, right here in Austin, you had Barack Obama, a big rally last night, anywhere from about 10 to 20,000 people. Austin is Obama country. This is where the University of Texas is. You got a lot of college students, a lot of young people here, a lot of liberals, upscale liberals which he does very well with.

Last night at the rally though TJ, he was saying a couple things. He was saying, my opponent criticizes me for being all style no substance, he says that's not true, I got a 10-point plan. That plan will put you to sleep it's so in depth and he was also talking about -- she's criticized him for not being tough enough to step up to the Republicans and fight them off. Ands he said, listen, it is not easy being a guy named Barack Obama when you're running for president. He's gone, she's gone, but their surrogates are here. Bill Clinton is campaigning in the state today. They're both are going to be back later in the week. So Texas is going to get a lot of traffic.

HOLMES: What's the strategy there to just make sure they're seen or are they using a lot of ads right now and spending a lot of money and is it evident from what Hillary Clinton is doing, from what you're seeing there on the ground that she is putting everything into Texas?

STEINHAUSER: Oh, yeah, yeah, they are spending a lot of - you're absolutely right. They are spending a lot money. They both got a lot of money. He's got more than her, but they are really spending a lot of money on advertising. In Wisconsin, he had about five times as many ads as she did and maybe it made the difference because he won by almost 20 points in Wisconsin last week. She's really stepped up the ads here in Texas, you can see it on TV. She's also stepped up big time in Ohio and some of her ads are going after Obama again, going a little negative saying that talk doesn't solve problems, solutions are the answer. So she has stepped up the advertising because she -- listen, we all know this, it's pretty much common knowledge now, I think general consensus, she needs to win here in Texas. She needs to win in Ohio if this race is going to continue on.

HOLMES: Any word, just real quick, any word if she doesn't win in Ohio and Texas, is it over or is she keep going to keep going?

STEINHAUSER: That's interesting, because she was asked that yesterday morning. She was doing all the television shows yesterday morning after the debate and she didn't answer that. That was the one question, you know that they asked her, regardless of what happens, will you continue on? She didn't answer. She said she's not into making political predictions. So maybe a little change there.

HOLMES: All right. Let's talk about McCain, any indication yet if he has written his thank you note to the "New York Times" for them doing that story. They write a story about him, it comes out and it's negative, about questioning his relationship with this lobbyist, this female lobbyist and now it has become a cash cow for him.

STEINHAUSER: It sure has, our John King found out yesterday, over $2 million McCain made off of that, because right after that happened, his campaign went out with e-mails to supporters. They made over $2 million in pretty much 24 hours and here's why. The "New York Times" is not much loved by the right. You know, this is not a newspaper the right really likes, so they're make the "New York Times" the enemy here. And another thing, besides the money, Rush Limbaugh and some other big commentators on the right who have had some serious problems with John McCain, they back McCain on this one and I think that also as well as the money helped him out big-time.

HOLMES: I'm sure, it sounds crazy but he would welcome a negative story from a lot of newspapers if it's going to get him a couple million dollars after the fact. Paul Steinhauser for us, Austin, Texas. Are you getting any good stories about our deal Betty Nguyen who was a UT grad while you're down there?

NGUYEN: Don't go digging, Paul.

STEINHAUSER: That's the talk of the town here. They keep telling me about it, all those crazy days.

NGUYEN: And no pictures, whatever you do.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, ma'am.

HOLMES: Paul, good to see you, sir, we'll talk to you soon. We're going to give you your own chance to see the candidates live. Our "Ballot Bowl" is back coming your way again this weekend. Tune in today at 2:00 Eastern time.

NGUYEN: And tonight the Democratic debate, it is your chance to see what you missed or if you just want to see it again, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton on the issues from Austin, Texas. You can see our special debate replay at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

HOLMES: And split decision, one presidential candidate is going, the other is a no-show.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that it's a missed opportunity on Mr. Obama's part.


HOLMES: Yes, why did Obama decide to skip this big event in New Orleans this weekend?

NGUYEN: And a sign of economic times, middle class Americans struggling to keep up with car payments or even losing their cars. We have that story on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


NGUYEN: Let's get you a quick look at some of the other stories today. Hundreds of people gathered at a candle light vigil in Reno last night to remember Brianna Denison. They placed flowers and stuffed animals in a field where Denison's body was found a week ago. Investigators say the 19-year-old college student was the victim of a serial rapist and police are still trying to identify her killer.

HOLMES: A Chicago man who had been a fugitive since 1969 has turned himself in. Joseph Pinnell (ph) is a former member of the Black Panther party who pleaded guilty to assault charges for shooting and wounding a police officer. Pinnell was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He will also donate $250,000 to a fund for the families of injured or fallen police officers.

NGUYEN: Well, less than an hour from now, the ninth annual state of the black union gets underway in New Orleans.

HOLMES: An opportunity for Africa-American leaders to discuss the important issues of the day. There's a long list of prominent speakers scheduled to appear. CNN's Sean Callebs is in New Orleans.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Organizers of state of the black union have brought their symposium to New Orleans for the weekend. They'll be discussing such issues as crime, affordable housing, health care and economic opportunity, issues that are important to African-Americans all over the country, but perhaps even more so here in New Orleans as this city continues to try to rebuild 2 1/2 years after hurricane Katrina.

Now ahead of the weekend conference, organizer Tavis Smily (ph) and scores of volunteers spanned out across New Orleans, in some areas painting schools in desperate need of repair. In other areas they were working to try and refurbish parks. It was called a day of service, something Smily said is important upon bringing the conference here to New Orleans.

But this year's symposium is also marked by somewhat of a controversy. Smily invited all presidential candidates. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will be here. However Senator Barack Obama turned down Smily's invitation. In a letter to Smily, he said he needs to campaign ahead of the important Ohio and Texas primaries, saying he will be talking directly with voters about causes that are at the heart of his campaign and the state of the black union forum such as affordable health care, housing, economic opportunity, civil rights and foreign policy.

Obama did offer to send his wife Michelle to New Orleans for the weekend symposium saying no one knows his record or his passion for leading America better than her. However Smily turned down that offer saying attendees want to hear directly from the candidates, not surrogates. Sean Callebs, CNN, New Orleans.


HOLMES: And our Sean Callebs will be joining us live for a report next hour when today's day-long symposium gets started.

NGUYEN: Easy credit and lessons learned the hard way.


ART CHRISTENSEN, COMMERCIAL SERVICE CORP: They over financed with their homes. They over finance with their cars, over finance with the credit cards.


NGUYEN: An economic reality check for America's middle class. It could mean a visit from the repo man.


NGUYEN: OK, here's what happened. A man with a gun walks into a bank and says, you took my house, now I'm taking your money. And it wasn't a joke. Tellers at a bank in Athens, Georgia say that's what a bandit told them when he held them up at gunpoint. Police are going over bank foreclosure records in search of possible suspects. And it's not just homes that Americans are losing in these tough economic times.

HOLMES: More and more folks are actually seeing their cars repossessed. Christine Romans has that story for us from New York.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Art and Zero (ph), repo men on their way to repossess a truck from an owner four months behind on payments. They'll take it back to Art Christensen's repo lot, like many across the country, full to capacity with vehicles Americans couldn't pay for.

ART CHRISTENSEN, COMMERCIAL SERVICE CORP: They over finance with their homes, They over finance with their cars, over finance with their credit cards.

ROMANS: Like homes and credit cards, defaults on auto loans are skyrocketing. And car repossessions at this lot are up 25 to 30 percent on all kinds of cars including luxury vehicles. Ratings agency Fitch sees rising defaults not only on riskier sub-prime car loans, but also on traditional prime loans made to buyers with good credit. These defaults a combination of loose lending, a weakening economy and job losses, so repo lots are filling up as repossessions rise.

TOM WEBB, MANHEIM CONSULTING: We were up 10 percent in 2007, probably up another 7 to 10 percent this year which would bring us up to the highest level in a decade.

ROBERT MANNING, AUTHOR, CREDIT CARD NATION: And it shows us how severe the downturn in the American economy is becoming that people are having to make a decision about whether to be able to afford to pay their car note or not.

ROMANS: Bottom line, people took out car notes they couldn't afford and lenders freely gave them.

MANNING: The reality of it is of course is that the consumer has to be responsible for their actions but now we're going to find out where were the regulators and why were lenders making loans that they knew could not possibly be repaid?

ROMANS: The owner of this repo'd truck says he just got behind on his payments.

CHRISTENSEN: Today or tomorrow he's going to pay his payments, pay the late fees and he'll get his car back. ROMANS: And that's exactly what he did.

(on-camera): Losing a car is the height of financial distress. For many this is the ride to work. And it's not just auto loans in trouble. Credit card and student loan defaults are also rising. Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: And join our Gerri Willis at 9:30 Eastern this morning for "Open House". She'll look at rising credit card delinquencies and who's to blame for that.

ROMANS: And more ways to keep your hard-earned money. All you have to do is go to Gerri has right on your money, right for your lifestyle. Then join Gerri all next week in the special CNN financial security watch to help you manage your debt. She'll even take your phone calls live. It's noon Eastern all next week.

His fourth wife is missing and his third wife is dead and now authorities call it a murder.

HOLMES: If Drew Peterson weren't already in the hot seat, he certainly is now. We have got the latest next hour.


NGUYEN: All right, so if you're a political junkie, you know there's stuff on the Internet 24/7 these days and all of the drama from the campaign trail.

HOLMES: And our Josh Levs, Mr. Reality, he surfs the web and helps us stay away from the mess, from the spin.

NGUYEN: He helps us manage the drama.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's turn to the other side. We're going to kick off your morning in a really cool way. It's a music video --

HOLMES: At 7:00 though, that's when we kicked off the morning. It's a little late in the day now.

LEVS: You guys started early, but some people are just waking up. Your morning is far more important than theirs. I'm the one who keeps that in mind because I'm Mr. Reality. (INAUDIBLE) at political, it's a site that reality checks the campaigns.

NGUYEN: That's kind of catchy. What did she say? Give me the truth.

LEVS: Give me the truth, yeah, yeah, give me the truth and this is a lot of that is basically the idea or they should all shut up. Way to start your morning right, so I'll tell you about politicalfacts. It's a great site to go to. They are a joint project by "St. Petersburg Times" and "Congressional Quarterly" and they basically do reality checks all the time. They have what they call a truth-o-meter, even a pants on fire rating. That's what we're looking at here. They're taking a look at some of the different claims. And for example they're looking now at the CNN debate. I'm going to show you what you're looking at right there. (INAUDIBLE) they're pointing to by Barack Obama in the CNN debate.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As has been noted by many observers including Bill Clinton's former secretary of labor, my plan does more than anybody to reduce costs.


LEVS: They're looking specifically at health care plan. They say his does more than anyone else to reduce costs and they looked at this (INAUDIBLE) actually rate his and Clinton's plans about the same in that respect. So guys, they keep updating every day. It's a great resource. There are comrades in an effort to reality check the candidates. And now they even have music, they have a theme song, all about the truth, couldn't make me any happier.

NGUYEN: In fact you're going to help as well, get down to the heart of the matter when it comes to these issues, you're inviting people to email you and you're going to do some fact checking of your own.

LEVS: Exactly, that's what we're doing today, especially because now it's down to the wire with the Democratic candidates. You guys were just talking with Paul Steinhauser and you know, Texas and Ohio could really be it. So we are inviting you, if you're someone who might vote in one of the upcoming Democratic primaries, write us today at, what your question would be for these candidates and we'll tomorrow morning, CNN "Sunday Morning," we're going to get you guys the facts. Let me emphasize, this is not opinions, I'm not going to read your opinions. It's for questions. But it's like we were talking about earlier, this is down to the wire. I mean this is the upcoming contest could decide it. Any information you feel you're not getting because there's so much spin, send it to us and we'll answer it.

NGUYEN: All right, Josh, thank you.

HOLMES: Well, sure, hockey is supposed to be played on the ice, but if you don't have ice, how about playing it underwater?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a game you play on the bottom of the pool, you have six people on a team. You're pushing a lead puck and it's just like soccer or hockey.


NGUYEN: Yeah, except you have to hold your breath. This team is at a high school in Cincinnati, underwater hockey hasn't caught on yet as a major high school sport.

HOLMES: I'm shocked.

NGUYEN: Just a guess here, but they don't have much competition. And that's another shocking little piece for you. But when it does, these guys say they will be ready.

HOLMES: They'll be the best at it.

NGUYEN: They're the only ones at it right now.

HOLMS: All right, keep it up folks, later this morning, we got the legendary Patti Labelle who's going to join us to talk about the fight against HIV in the black community. Don't want to miss what she has to say.

NGUYEN: But first "House Call" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta starts right now.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR, HOUSE CALL: Thanks guys. This is HOUSE CALL and we're making the rounds this morning with some of the most intriguing medical stories of the week. First up, would you know what to do if you're having a stroke, why the first three hours could be crucial in recovery. And it's all about image. What people in Hollywood are turning to for a boost of youth.

And the ride of a lifetime. Would you take the risk? I did. Watch and see what happens.

Plus how healthy is your city? We'll tell you all of this and more at HOUSE CALL.