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Investigation Continues of a Polygamist Sect in Texas; Cesar Laurean is in Custody in Mexico; Campaign Trail Heating Up for Pennsylvania Primary; American Airlines Canceled More Flights Today; Protesters Calling for an Olympics Boycott

Aired April 12, 2008 - 07:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, everybody. Good morning from the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, Saturday, April 12th.
I'm T.J. Holmes.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. We do want to thank you for starting your day with us.

Up first, we're learning new details about life inside a polygamist compound and there are reports of another teenager claiming abuse.

HOLMES: And Barack Obama says some Pennsylvania voters are bitter. We know his opponent, Hillary Clinton had something to say about that. We'll have the comments from both sides.

NGUYEN: Plus, 200 more flights are just canceled today. Now, if you're watching at home or at the airport, we have all the news that you need on this CNN SATURDAY MORNING.

HOLMES: Plus, unfortunately, we do need to begin with these allegations, more allegations of abuse within the polygamist sect of Warren Jeffs. This time, we're talking about abuse possibly happening in Arizona.

NGUYEN: Right. In Texas and now, we're going to Arizona. CNN has learned that a 16-year-old-girl notified authorities of alleged abuse by a male relative in the FLDS home where she lives. And our sources in Arizona tell us the allegations are similar to those that lead to the raid at the sex compound in Eldorado, Texas.

HOLMES: Well, at the heart of the investigation into the 10,000- member sect, growing concern that the group's sacred rituals may have included the sexual abuse of underage girls.

NGUYEN: CNN's David Mattingly reports from Eldorado, Texas.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The discovery of what informant called sex beds it in the temple of the polygamist compound in West Texas was a surprise even to former members of this fundamentalist sect. They tell us these beds are unique to the Texas compound and could be evidence of disturbing marriage rituals created by the jailed leader, Warren Jeffs.

KATHLEEN, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: It's not a stretch to imagine that they would want to, after performing what they considered a sacred ceremony in their sacred temple do it and consummate it, so it would be valid in that holy (ph) property, what they considered to be holy.

MATTINGLY: Newly released lists of evidence show Texas authorities seized ceremonial white clothing from more than 70 men and women. Former sect members say these clothes were never to be worn outside the temple and were used for all marriages.

KATHLEEN: Yes, they would definitely be worn during the marriage ceremony. When I had my spiritual marriage, we wore white. Even though it wasn't in the temple and even the men dressed in white head to toe, white ties, white everything, white shoes. It's just a symbol of purity.

MATTINGLY: Attorneys for the compound have had no comment. Authorities also took 292 boxes of documents, personal letters, journals, family photographs and dozens of computers and hard drives. All presumed to be part of building a case of alleged sexual abuse of teenage girls.

(on-camera): The raid started with a phone call of a 16-year-old mother named "Sarah." She claimed that her husband physically and sexually abused her. But when officers got to the ranch, they could not find her. But the evidence they collected suggested that they tried to find a paper trail.

(voice-over): They confiscated medical records from multiple women named Sarah. They took lab receipts, a bag belonging to a Sarah. They also found a photograph of a Sarah, but is it the Sarah?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you found the 16-year-old mother?

MARLEIGH MEISNER, CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES: Again, we are hopeful that we have the 16-year-old mother but I can not confirm that at this time.

MATTINGLY: Out of the 416 children now in state custody, court documents show only 122 have been named. A few have multiple spellings, some list no last name. Gaining their trust and possibly collecting more evidence is so and costly.

Basic food and care is once $25,000 a day, official say. Services from the city of San Angelo to the shelters and support personnel, approaches $60,000 a day. And a judge has decided, all the children will remain in the shelters until a hearing late next week.

David Mattingly, CNN, Eldorado, Texas.


HOLMES: And our Sean Callebs has also been covering this story. He'll have the developments for us. It's going to be live for us throughout the morning. We're going to start talking to him live at 8:00 o'clock Eastern.

NGUYEN: He is suspected of killing a pregnant marine and burying her in his backyard. This morning, U.S. Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean is in custody in Mexico. Prosecutors say they don't expect him to fight his extradition to North Carolina. That's where he's facing charges in the killing of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach back in December.

Last year, Lauterbach accused Laurean of rape. Now, Lauterbach's mom believes Laurean is the father of the unborn baby. Yesterday, I spoke with her mom and the family attorney about questions they have for the military and the protection Maria received after the rape allegations.


MERLE WILBERDING, LAUTERBACH FAMILY ATTORNEY: We were trying to understand a number of the facts relating to the harassments that she had received, what the true facts are. We'd like to look at personnel records and medical records and have a better understanding of some of the discussions that took place between her and her compatriots, with her and her civilian victim advocate and her with her military victim advocate.

NGUYEN: Mary, as a mother, do you believe that enough was done to protect your daughter?

MARY LAUTERBACH, VICTIM'S MOTHER: No, I do not. Absolutely, not.


NGUYEN: A military investigator says Lauren will be given a paternity test to see if he is the father of Lauterbach's unborn child but that won't happen until he is back in North Carolina.

HOLMES: American Airlines has canceled another 200 flights today. That's in addition to 1,000 it canceled on Wednesday, more on Thursday, another 600 on Friday. So, folks are desperate trying to find other ways to get around. And again, since Tuesday more than 3,000 flights have been canceled.

All the planes grounded are MD-80s. Engineers are checking for possible problems with the wiring in the wheel wells. The airlines says, by tonight, most of the fleet should be up and running. If your flight was canceled, you can check with the airlines to try to possibly rebook or get a refund.

So, exactly, what are the complaints these days against the airlines? For stranded folks, we can assume what their complains will be right now. But I'm sure you've got some too, a travel writer Ben Mutzabaugh joins us later this morning to talk about the airline's performance this year. That live interview is coming your way 10:00 o'clock Eastern Time. You do not want to miss that.

NGUYEN: Well, parts of the southeast, they are waking up this morning to all the damage that was left behind as storms blew through there.

HOLMES: And talking about strong winds here, the driving rain, damaged homes and downed trees in several counties in Alabama. Officials say, a possible tornado touched down in the town of Parish. The storms knocked down power across parts of Northern Alabama. Lots of people saw hail. Some of that hail is golf ball sized.

NGUYEN: Now, that can do some damage. We know a state of emergency in Tennessee to tell you about. Where a possible tornado damaged 56 homes in Lawrence County, which is along the Alabama state line.

The storm uprooted trees and scattered debris all across a wide area. Officials say the severe weather also downed power lines and damaged more than 30 homes elsewhere in the state. At least five people were injured in Tennessee. Powerful winds also damaged homes in Kentucky.

HOLMES: A lot to talk about, a lot of severe weather to talk about. And you know ...

NGUYEN: Look who's here.

HOLMES: Reynolds needed a break from home so he decided to come in and handle severe weather for us.

NGUYEN: That's what happens when you have a new baby.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. That's absolutely, you goofy little weirdoes. (INAUDIBLE). It is great to get away and come back to work.

HOLMES: Welcome back.

WOLF: Hey, we got a lot to talk about, guys. You were talking about the rough weather we had yesterday in parts of Alabama and Tennessee, this morning, things are still a little bit tumultuous to say the least in terms of our rough weather. What we're seeing at this time, some scattered showers that are moving through parts of the southeast but in the top half of the system, take a look at this, we're getting some snow.

In fact, we've got some video for you we'd love to share. This is from the twin city's, some heavy snow fall yesterday. Take a look at it, coming down and, I guess, it disappears, that winter, is still in full force in parts of the country. That is what they're dealing with in Duluth, Minnesota. Much of the wind and much of the snow is now moving in to the western half of the Great Lakes. In fact, as we go back to the weather computer, you can see it moving up to parts of Northern Michigan where we still have a winter storm warning in effect.

Now, let's talk about the rough weather we had yesterday and what it's doing today. The same line of storms is now moving through parts of Georgia into Alabama, too. One line is just to the south and southeast of Atlanta. Another line is trying to form up near Rome, Georgia. We could see with this, certainly some conditions in parts of the state which is fantastic and remember, Georgia is still mired in a drought and places like Augusta National could be dealing with some scattered showers this morning as they are about to tee off.

Meanwhile, what we're seeing in Hartford, Connecticut, some strong storms, some of those are just to the west of Providence at this time. If you happen to be tuning in from Warwick or maybe even in Dracken (ph), you can hear the thunder, you can feel the windows shaking just a little bit. This is going to come right on through. But the cloudy skies will remain through a good part of the day. Meanwhile, back to the Great Lakes, this is the snow shower activity we were talking about from Marionette southward to Green Bay, the snow will continue but in Flint southwards to Detroit, it is going to remain, mainly a rainfall event.

That is a look at your forecast. Let's send it right back to you at the news desk.

NGUYEN: So, you come back and boy, we put you straight to work.

WOLF: Yes, it happens like that, doesn't it?

HOLMES: The name calling wasn't necessary though.

WOLF: It's a token (INAUDIBLE).

NGUYEN: We resemble that. OK, thank you, Reynolds.

Well, one little document that is carrying a whole lot of weight and some controversy.


SEN. SHERROD BROWN, (D) OHIO: We should use the games as an impedus (ph) to hold that country accountable on fair trade, on religious freedoms, on human rights.


NGUYEN: OK. So, what is the Olympic Charter that's driving a wedge between politics and the Olympics?

HOLMES: Also, a war of words over one word. That word is bitter and Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are sparring over it.

NGUYEN: Plus, roads full of potholes. We're looking at Issue # 1: The economy. One town is so pressed it can hardly fill the holes.


HOLMES: Well, the finance officials from the group of seven leading industrial nations reconvened talks this morning in Washington. The credit crisis is topping their agenda.

NGUYEN: Yes. The discussions are expected to focus on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Now, yesterday, leaders at the meeting pledged to tighten regulations of banks and other financial institutions.

And, I want to tell you about this. A winter of heavy snow and deep freezes has left cities across the snow belt with a major problem. That is that right there -- lots of potholes. One city is so hard hit, east of St. Louis, Illinois, with asphalt and expensive oil-based products. City officials say they can only afford to fill the deepest and largest potholes. And that leaves some large enough to break auto axles and puncture tires.


ROBERT BETTS, CITY MANAGER, E. ST. LOUIS: The problem has gotten so bad that I'm looking at introducing some legislation at the next meeting to declare the city's infrastructure a state of emergency.


NGUYEN: And in Chicago, officials say they've already have to fill 130,000 potholes so far this year.

Well, from filling hot holes to filling your gas tank. Economic issues, they effect (ph) us all. In the next week, join Ali Velshi and Gerri Willis for "ISSUE #1." It's from noon to 1:00 Eastern.

HOLMES: We will turn to politics now. Just over a week to go until the Pennsylvania primary, April 22nd, for those of you who are watching that calendar of yours. The contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is heating up now again, over one word.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser is in Philadelphia this morning. Paul, what's literally the word this morning?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: The word, it seems to be is bitter. And you know, T.J., 10 days left to go to the Pennsylvania primary, it's such a close race, everything, every word is being scrutinized. So, here's what happened in this latest kind of to do (ph) that just exploded yesterday. Barack Obama was at a fundraiser last Sunday in San Francisco and he was asked why some voters really aren't flocking to him, was it because he was a black man.

And he explained in his answer that's not the case, that maybe it was also because of his message of hope and his message of change isn't playing in areas that are really hard hit economically. Well, what he said, nobody heard because it was a close fundraiser until yesterday when the "Huffington Post" Web site, you know, wrote what he said and that's when the fire storm started.

Here's the words that he said that everybody were talking about: "You go into these small towns Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replace them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti- immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Well, when those words came out on the "Huffington Post" Web site, Hillary Clinton decided to speak out about it. Here's what she said and here's what Barack Obama said in response to that.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter. Well, that's not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania, I meet people who are resilient, who are optimistic, who are positive, who are rolling up their sleeves.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I'm in touch. I know exactly what's going on. I know what's going on Pennsylvania, I know what's going on in Indiana, I know what's going on in Illinois. People are fed up. They're angry and (AUDIO BREAK) and they want to see a change in Washington and that's why I'm running for president of the United States of America.


STEINHAUSER: In touch there. Barack Obama is saying he's in touch. What he was talking about also was John McCain's campaign. They came out and gotten to this as well. They said that Barack Obama was being derogatory towards working class Americans, that he was out of touch.

So, T.J., that's the big question here. Were the comments derogatory? Barack Obama says, no, not at all. I'm actually speaking the truth, that these areas are tough and these people are bitter. And that Hillary Clinton and John McCain have it wrong.

So, it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. I can just say one thing here in Philadelphia, T.J., this story did not even make the front page of the newspaper.

HOLMES: OK. But how -- he made these comments and now he's being criticized because he made these like you said behind closed doors in San Francisco along way away from Philadelphia and a long way away from Pennsylvania. Who knows that he would have said them there, but still, he's not really backing off the comments but he's being criticized now for, you know, being in a room full of millionaires, big time fundraisers and kind of being condescending and talking down about the folks in Pennsylvania.

Is that not getting any play as well in Pennsylvania? Will this get some play? Will it get some traction for that reason? He's now being seen as we have heard in the past, as kind of an elitist?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, I think the Clinton campaign and the McCain campaign hope that it does. Because what it appears to be that they're trying to maybe these comments to draw a wedge between Barack Obama and working class voters.

And remember, in this Pennsylvania primary, it could be determined by that large group of union workers, blue collar workers, and middle-class voters. It would be interesting to see how it plays out. We've got 10 days left. Remember though, we talked about the Reverend Wright controversy and how it could Barack Obama in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country. And so far, polling indicates that hasn't happened.

HOLMES: We'll see, you're right. Paul Steinhauser there in Pennsylvania for us. We're going to talk to you again a little later this morning, find out what the candidates are up to. But we appreciate the update on this story which like you say, has going to caught fire after it was posted on the "Huffington Post."

Paul, good to see you as always buddy.

STEINHAUSER: Take care, T.J.

HOLMES: And we're going to have more on the candidates on the campaign trail in their words at BALLOT BOWL, with that coming your way at 2:00 o'clock Eastern today.

NGUYEN: And tonight, Road (ph) 2008, a special look at the issues affecting you. CNN's senior national correspondent, John King travels across Pennsylvania stopping just long enough for tonight's live special. That's at 10:00 Eastern.

And all of that is the prelude to a very special event CNN event Sunday night. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama face the hard questions. "The Compassion Forum," live from Messiah College outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Join host Campbell Brown, tomorrow night, at 8:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

HOLMES: The fanning of the flames, the Olympic torch is attracting more protests and some are calling for a boycott of the Beijing opening ceremonies. We're talking to two Olympic athletes this morning to get their views on the "B."

Also, we got this is coming up.


RACHAEL PIERCE, NCCU FRESHMAN: We still have people racist (ph) here and it is still an issue obviously.

HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE) would you say this is a racist country?

PIERCE: It is. It really is.

HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE) 2008 the United States of America is a racist country?

PIERCE: It is.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NGUYEN: A real conversation about race. College students on what it means to be black in America, their candid comments about a sensitive topic.


HOLMES: They are the descendants of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. Black students like college students, they have options, they have opportunities in this country, but many still view America as a country plagued by racism. I talked to some of these students in past of couple of days as part of our Conversation with Black America.


HOLMES (voice-over): Black students at North Carolina Central and campuses across the country have inherited a better America from their grandparents and great-grandparents. But some seem to have also inherited racial resentment.

RACHAEL PIERCE, NCCU FRESHMAN: We still have people racist (ph) here and it is still an issue obviously.

HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE) would you say this is a racist country?

PIERCE: It is. It really is.

HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE) 2008 the United States of America is a racist country?

PIERCE: It is.

HOLMES: These students have never been forced to sit in the back of a bus. They have the right to attend the school of their choice and have enjoyed many other rights that generations of black Americans before them didn't have. Still, all say unequivocally that this is a racist country. When asked to explain their experiences, they have shake (ph) their opinion, they don't cite personal experience with racism, they cite news story: The Jena six.

VENISSA NELSON, NCCU FRESHMAN: Those boys -- I don't think like they were treated fairly.

HOLMES: Michael Vick.

JERMAINE GETER, NCCU FRESHMAN: Racism in America is like it's highest. I would say by right now in the past year. Because if you look at the news like last year Michael Vick was arrested for dog fighting, you know you've seen all over the news.

HOLMES: Some students like Donald say, many young people use racism as a pre-pass to underachieve.

DONALD LASTER, NCCU SOPHOMORE: This is their excuse (INAUDIBLE) for them not working basically. If they're having no work, they want to blame society and say just because I'm black, people looking down on me and I can't find a job. HOLMES: Those students we talked with haven't lived racism themselves, they have heard stories from older family members.

WESLEY LINZY, NCCU GRAD STUDENT: These are things or issues that everybody talks about on a daily basis. They may not say it in front of everyone's face, but I know they talk about it behind the scenes. And I'd just think it is a good topic and it is a good subject and, I think, it's something that we need to talk about and move on.

HOLMES: People are talking. It's the moving on that is proven to be difficult.


HOLMES: Yes, the moving on. That's the surprising part. The kid is not -- they all admit, no, I don't experience that blatant racism in my face but still, they see this is a racist country from the stories they've heard and the things they see on television. So, it really is interesting. It's fascinating to hear that they carry on, inherited some of that racial resentment, even though they haven't inherited the same America. Yes.

NGUYEN: But there's plenty of stories out there, I'm sure of, you know, their relatives that have felt it in the past and so ...

HOLMES: Oh, yes. And they have taken that on.

NGUYEN: They have taken that lesson with them.

HOLMES: They've taken the lesson, but again, that resentment that they harbor and still some of those emotions that they haven't experience but they've just heard about. So, the conversation continues. We, of course, are going to hit several other historic black colleges, but Central and North Carolina (INAUDIBLE) where I was in the past couple of days, I learned a lot talking to these kids.

NGUYEN: Good start. All right. Thank you, T.J.

HOLMES: We're talking about the Olympic Games this morning as well. Our Josh Levs, Mr. Reality, we're checking in with him, he's following the torch relay controversy that is circling the globe. Good morning to you, Mr. Reality.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, T.J. Welcome back down here to Atlanta.

HOLMES: Thank you.

LEVS: All right. So, we keep hearing about these two sides here. Everyone in this debate keeps pointing to this thing called the Olympic Charter. What does it actually say? It turns out this document could decide whether or not there will be protests at the games in Beijing -- Betty?

NGUYEN: All right. Well, this year's Olympic have sparked talk of the "B "word, that being boycott. So, what do the athletes think? Olympians speak out.


NGUYEN: Welcome back on this SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes. We're glad you could be with here with us this morning. We got to look at some of the stories that we are following.

NGUYEN: Yes. In Milwaukee, a Catholic archdiocese is slashing about 1/5 of its workforce in an attempt to help close a $3 million budget deficit. The archdiocese says it's been hit by the rising cost of health care and the cost associated with the priest sex abuse scandal. The archdiocese says, 15 new positions will eventually be created as part of a restructuring plan.

HOLMES: Election officials in Zimbabwe say they plan to recount ballots in nearly two dozens voting districts. The government still has not released results from the presidential election nearly two weeks ago. But the opposition party claims victory over President Robert Mugabe. Regional leaders are meeting in Zambia today to discuss the election crisis.

NGUYEN: Well, the Olympic flame heading to Tanzania for the only stop in Africa. That follows Friday's torch run for Buenos Aires, Argentina. There were a few attempts to disrupt the relay but nothing on the scale of what we saw in San Francisco, Paris or London.

HOLMES: And those events turned into forums to complain about China's human rights record, especially in Tibet. Our Josh Levs, Mr. Reality is looking into this controversy. This is supposed to be pleasantry, this just supposed to be the Olympics, the flame, to start (ph) and people are trying to put the thing out.

LEVS: Yes, no kidding. There are all over it already. And the thing is it's just going to get worse from here. We're going to expect a lot more in the coming months and now, I'm looking at this. Because this thing right here, the Olympic Charter is what every - it's going to look better in the piece I'm about to show you, it's more colorful.

So, this is what every sides point to right now, to try to make a case. And ironically, you're hearing both sides say this proves their case. So, what does the Olympic Charter say and could it prevent protest at the Olympic Games?


LEVS (voice-over): In the heated dispute over China hosting the Olympics, the different sides keep pointing to this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Olympic Charter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Olympic Charter. LEVS: A 100 page document from the International Olympic Committee. China says, it makes clear that politics should not be linked to the Olympic.

JIANG YU, CHINESE FOREIGHT MIN., SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): We hope that the IOC officials can eliminate the disruptions and stick to the clearly stated principles in the Olympic Charter.

LEVS: The charter says: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas." It has no say over public streets as the torch travels through. Many who support the protests say China isn't following parts of the charter.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and some other lawmakers say China's lack of certain human rights and its crackdown in Tibet violated the charter's call for a peaceful society dedicated to human dignity.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN, (D) OHIO: The Olympic Charter makes clear that the goal of an Olympic spirit which requires mutual understanding with the spirit of friendship and solidarity and fair play. We should use the games as an impedus (ph) to hold that country accountable on fair trade, on religious freedoms, on human rights.

LEVS: Can the participants in the Olympics tried to hold China accountable? Some French athletes want to make a statement with badges reading, "For a better world." The head of the International Olympic Committee says, participants may expressed opinions, but if the charter's prohibition against demonstrations at Olympic events is not enforced -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will be the end of the spirit of the Olympic Games.


LEVS: Olympic organizers are considering what kinds of things maybe allowed at the games whether for participants or for spectators. For example, if people tried to hold big signs, those could be viewed as demonstrations or political propaganda. And then, T.J., officials could enforce the Olympic Charter, say, you got to take those things down, you're here on our property and this is how it sounds.

HOLMES: OK. You know that through me off when I saw that part about no demonstrations, political or otherwise because throughout the Olympic's history it has been used as this forum for people from '68 with the sprinters using the black fist for about racial injustice. There were so many others over the years. Who is going to enforce this thing? How seriously do they take that line in there about no propaganda?

LEVS: They've got to be subjected. And that's the thing. That's why, right now athletes and spectators are having to ask the Olympic Committee well if we do this, will be OK, if we do this will be OK. There's even a question whether they can hang Tibet flags in their rooms because it's an Olympic venue which isn't an Olympic site, which means this Olympic officials get to decide.

Let me show you a quick quote here, because not everybody takes it that seriously. This one athlete here, I saw his quote at the "Times" in London, Matthew Syed. He's an Olympian.

"Is there, in the history of human literature a document more spuriously idealistic, more breathtakingly drunk on its own self- importance, than the Olympic Charter? It's as if the quadrennial festival, so beloved by," I don't remember right there, "dictators and tyrants, is about something more than one talented athlete trying to deny another place on the podium."

And that is significant. As we talk about China and, you know, people are very upset about China and its actions conflict with the ideals of the Olympics, we should remember, throughout history, all sorts of regimes have used the Olympics to put on a big show no matter what's going on.

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness. Most (INAUDIBLE) part with the case of Jesse Owens, (INAUDIBLE) down everything to Hitler.

LEVS: Perfect example.

HOLMES: All right. The elite (ph) games, right? There were swimming and those track and (INAUDIBLE), right? (INAUDIBLE).

LEVS: Remember that? We are headed to some drama in Beijing.

HOLMES: It's just starting.

NGUYEN: It's just a preview.

HOLMES: Josh Levs, Mr. Reality. We appreciate that this morning. Thanks, Josh.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, some kind of protesters have been tossing around the "B" word, that being boycott. They want President Bush and other world leaders to skip the opening ceremonies as a sign of disapproval at China's leadership.

Well, two Olympic athletes join us now from New York with their perspectives. Swimmer Craig Beardsley was shut out of the 1980 summer games when the U.S. boycotted Moscow, and Joey Cheek is an Olympic speed skater and founder of Team Darfur. I want to thank you both for being with us today.



NGUYEN: All right. Craig, let me start with you, you were slated to set a record and win the 200-meter butterfly back in 1980 but you didn't get to participate. You were shut out because of the boycott. Looking at the protests that we're seeing around the world, do you think there should be a boycott this year? Specifically, should the U.S. boycott in any way? BEARDSLEY: Absolutely, no boycott. I don't agree with. I experienced in 1980 boycott, directly in the summer games and it was really useless. It didn't accomplish anything and the only people who are affected were the athletes.

NGUYEN: It didn't make a statement?

BEARDSLEY: No. No one changed or altered their course. It did not make a statement and there are other ways and other means to make a statement. And I feel right now, the idea of a boycott is really been misdirected.

NGUYEN: So, does the boycott, Craig, just simply hurt the athlete who has been practicing and training for years on end for these Olympics? I mean, you experienced it. You know, what was the result of that? Do you regret it?

BEARDSLEY: I don't really regret it. It just doesn't hurt the athlete; it goes beyond just one single athlete. It hurts -- it affects their parents who sacrificed an enormous amount of time, I mean, I know, my parents did. Their coach, their friends, their family, it just goes beyond one single athlete. For me, there were people that I knew who were destined to win almost seven gold medals and they were denied that opportunity. And that was kind of a shame for those other people.

NGUYEN: It's definitely hard on the athlete no doubt. Joey, let me ask you about you because you competed in 2006 Olympics, in fact, you won gold along with some other medals during your Olympic games that you were able to participate in unlike Craig. What do you say to those who will argue, you know what, the Olympics should be about sports leave the politics out of it?

CHEEK: Right. Well, the thing that I have experienced about the Olympics, and I happen to think, first of all, I think it's a net positive. I think, ultimately, we - the world can be a better place because of the Olympic Games. I mean, it's about the idea that we set out especially in the Olympic Charter, as you just mentioned earlier, but something that, I think, that we can continue to strive and we can reach.

My experience from the Olympic Games is that there is this world community there and to really honor that, it is unfair thing to say that one member of that community is any less of a citizen than another member. And the athlete who stands on that Olympic podium or stands on their Olympic venue and represents their country, I think, also has a chance to influence the world.

NGUYEN: So, do you think there should be a boycott of any sorts?

CHEEK: No, I'm not a supporter of a boycott of any sort. I would never ask another athlete to have to give up something that I would not give up myself when I was competing. However ...

NGUYEN: But what about the president -- what about asking the president not to attend the opening ceremonies? CHEEK: Well, that's a little different. First of all, that would be making a statement that they disagree with the policy, in particular to China's human rights, which I think are pretty scanted at best oftentimes. However, he's not boycotting the Olympics. He's be boycotting a ceremony. He'd be interrupting the opening ceremonies.

I don't think any athlete should ever be threatened to lose that chance for them to celebrate the Olympic Games. However, you know, the president or whomever, whose the spectators in the opening ceremonies, if they can make a difference on human rights by avoiding a ceremony, I don't really see the problem in that.

NGUYEN: All right. Well, let me get to you, Craig, because you said in the beginning that boycotts have been ineffective in the past. So, what do you think about, the calls for President Bush not to attend the opening ceremony?

BEARDSLEY: I agree with Joey that boycott by political figures is strictly a political statement and it really shouldn't affect the athletes. I think, the opening ceremonies for the athletes, is an integral experience for them.

NGUYEN: So, do you think President Bush should boycott the opening ceremony?

BEARDSLEY: I don't think it's really ultimately going to make a difference as far as the issues, the major issues that are concern. I don't think anyone is going to alter their ideology or their course of action whether we have a political figure show or boycott the opening ceremonies. These issues have been going on for quite some time. If anything -- having the Olympics in Beijing has brought the issues to the forefront and that's kind of what we really need.

NGUYEN: Well, let's talk about that these issues for just a second because, Joey, I know that you are a part of an organization, in fact, the founder of team Darfur. And that's an important statement to be made as we're going into these Beijing games. Talk to me about that.

CHEEK: Sure. Well, just briefly, team Darfur is we're collection of over 280 athletes, some former like myself, some current who will be competing in Beijing and what we are doing is calling on the world community, but China in particular as the host of the Olympics to live up to the obligation it's made to protect the civilians in Darfur.

Now, this is something that everyone in the world community, almost everyone in the world community agrees with. We've got more than -- the entire Security Council of the U.N. passed a resolution calling for protection of troops. We're athletes that are concern about this area.

Now, what I think we are seeing which is a little bit different, obviously, is you're seeing real pressure from the IOC and from individual and national governing bodies for athletes to not be able to say anything at all, not have any right to speak their mind, if they don't want, if they want to or not.

Several Olympic committees, the British Olympic Committee, the Belgian Olympic Committee, the New Zealand Olympic Committee tried to pass contracts to their athletes saying if you compete in the games you're not allowed to speak anything ill at all of anything. The only thing you're allowed to do is thank mom and country.

NGUYEN: So, no political statements whatsoever?

CHEEK: No, political statements whatsoever, regardless if you're on the venue or not. And it's my opinion that these issues of free speech and these issues of, if an athlete wants to address this, I think they have the right and I think, you know, when you look at '68 or you look at Jesse Owens in '36, you know, those athletes, Jesse Owens, and Tommy Smith, and John Carlos, when they came back to the United States as gold medal winners, they came back as second class citizens.

And you know, of course, I think people would have loved for Tommy Smith to have just kept quiet and not made his statement, but the fact is, we expected him to go to the Olympics and win and then come back to the U.S. and receive second class citizenship. And that is, in my opinion, in direct violation of the Olympic spirit and it still continues in places today.

NGUYEN: All right. Well, we do appreciate both of you being with us today and speaking very candidly about this. Thank you.

CHEEK: Thank you.

BEARDSLEY: Thank you.

HOLMES: And those ceremonies happening 8-8-8, that's August, 8th of '08, this year, happening in Beijing.

And coming up, more sporting tradition to talk about. This time: the Masters. Your question maybe, is Tiger running away with the thing? We're talking to our guy, Rich Horrow.


HOLMES: Take a look at this folks. This is a spillway near New Orleans opening or being opened for the first time in 11 years. Yes, there were spectators, actually there to see this, only one of the few times in the 76-year history of this spillway for it to be opened. That's the water from the Mississippi that is now being diverted to the Lake Pontchartrain.

The Army Corp of Engineers opened the gates yesterday. They're actually doing this to spare the city any flooding from the mighty Mississippi and also to ease the pressure on the levees there. Again, just trying to make sure that city doesn't flood.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, a lot of people in the south have been getting rain but are they in the clear? Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is back from baby duty. And you know, Reynolds, you may have been gone, but we've been talking about it, seems weekend after weekend all this rain that just keeps coming down. I know it's spring, you know it's April, we get the showers but come on.

WOLF: Yes, I mean, we could use a bit of a break. We are going to get some rain today but we're not expecting the outbreak of severe weather that we've had over the last couple of days. And it's been a mix of flooding in some places, we've got severe storms in other spots.

Let's take a look at the flooding first. We've got some i- Reports and these are pretty compelling. We're going to show these to you now. The i-Reports are from, we get the name here, Roger Pemberton from Arkansas. And here they are. Take a look at these stop signs. That's right stop signs. They're popping up out of the water like shark fins. Shark fins that say stop on it.

Pretty amazing to see this is once a roadway, now its a lake. The water is expected to recede considerably over the week or so in Arkansas. But a lot of that water is making its way into the rivers now and moving back down towards parts of the Mississippi, thankfully at this point.

We're going to go from that to talk about what happened in Alabama yesterday. Strong storms near Birmingham, Alabama, producing all kinds of heavy winds and some large hails, some of it, in fact, golf ball or even baseball-sized hail in the Alabama, actually up in parts of I-65 and even on the along parts of I-20, certainly, some nasty conditions, all due to that round of storms.

Now, let's go back to the weather computer. As we do so, we're going to show these two pockets of rain moving to parts of Central and Southern Alabama and into Georgia as well. And there's some good components of this. One of the big components is, you have to remember the southeast is still mired into a big-time drought.

Another thing we've been dealing with in Southeastern U.S. has been extreme pollen, a lot of pollen. When you have rain like this, this really cleans a lot of the particles that's out of the atmosphere. So, that is certainly some good news.

Not good news if you are hoping for sunshine in parts of the northeast because the rain is coming down. Some strong thunderstorms right now is moving into the Boston area southward into Providence and Warwick. We'll keep an eye on this for you. And we're also going to talk about the chance of some heavy snow in Michigan coming up in just a few moments.

Let's send it back to you.

NGUYEN: All right. Reynolds, we do thank you. Congrats on the new baby, glad to have you back.

He's back. One reason you're back and so happy is because you're actually getting some sleep when you're here. Wait, did I say that on the air?

HOLMES: Wait, we can't take a picture of him because he's already asleep. He's now at the bed. Just kidding there (ph).

NGUYEN: All right. So, what we take for granted is now being allowed in one communist nation.

HOLMES: Changes is in the air in Cuba, could it spark a new attitude? That is in the next hour.

NGUYEN: Plus, playing a little golf. Yes, big money on the sport's biggest stage. Our buddy, Rick Horrow.

HOLMES: Look at this mess (ph) here.

NGUYEN: Oh, my goodness. What is that?

HOLMES: That's an $80 shirt, folks.

NGUYEN: I imagine, when you buy all of those different kinds of drinks in sporting event, that will cost you $80, that will sit you back, won't it?

HOLMES: He's got a receipt folks that he's going to tell us about and how much he had to spend there. But Pretty Ricky is coming up after the break.


HOLMES: All right. We turn to the Masters now. The first tee time, three hours away right now after the first two rounds while we're heading to the weekend now. Tiger Woods is already has a closet full of green jackets. Will he get another one?

Sports business analyst, Rick Horrow, Pretty Ricky is what they called him, in his green shirt this morning. We're going to talk about this merchandise and that green shirt and how much you pay for that in just a second but, is this the question everybody asks, first and foremost, and the most important question: How's Tiger doing? Is that the most important really that most folks want to know about in the Masters?

RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: First of all, good morning. How are you?

HOLMES: Well, I'm good, man. Not as well as you, it appears but I'm right.

HORROW: Yes, well. No, I'm green in envy, is that the line. There is a Tiger watch last night in traffic reports because when he finishes, 10,000 people leave and clogged up Washington road leaving Augusta. That's how important he is in the tournament but he's seven back, OK?

And so, Trevor Immelman, who's a South African, is seven up. Who knows what's going to happen? He's never been used to winning. Tiger has won $5 million in prize money at the Masters alone since he turned pro, so he knows how to get it done.

HOLMES: And they need him. The Masters' organizers need him to be in contention on the final weekend for TV ratings, and what not. They like to have him in contention.

HORROW: He drives ratings. By the way, ratings are a function of television dollars which may or may not include corporate endorsements and commercials. By the way, you walk into the Masters, you can bring water, but you've got to tear off the label, why? Because you buy Masters water, by the way and that's what happens to corporations, yes.

HOLMES: How much was that Masters water?

HORROW: Just $1.50.

HOLMES: And again, you'd saying , you had a sandwich there you have shown me, it's not expensive, really, once you get there.

HORROW: A turkey sandwich, $1.50. By the way, it's really hard to bring this in the car fill (ph) in last eight hours and not to eat it, $1.50 and it's green and by the way, here is the beer, cup a $1 for soda, and $2 for beer. That's all -- why are they green by the way? Because the Masters organizing committee so meticulous, that if it's put on the ground, you don't see the liter.

HOLMES: But why are they green? But why are they so inexpensive?

HORROW: Well, they're cheap because the Masters is, unlike any other tournament, they can decide what the concession tradition is. And that tradition will never change. You have a brand by the way, this took about five years in development, official Masters peanuts, $1.

HOLMES: OK. And this isn't necessarily like NASCAR, but the NASCAR race, you got corporate sponsors all over the place but this is all about the Masters. They haven't really, I guess, tainted the tournament in that way to have corporate involvement.

HORROW: The corporate involvement is three to four major sponsors paying large dollars for the right to have minimal commercials and no corporate logos on the ground. It's all about leverage and the ability to get this done. You're right, other sports on this end of the spectrum, Masters on the other.

HOLMES: And the merchandise, and again, we mentioned that shirt that you have on, it was $80 shirt. How much was the hat?

HORROW: Yes. Well, the hat was $35, here is the $1,000 merchandise coupon which has it's examples of stuff for friends, for family, for everybody. It's expensive and one of the reasons why is you can't get it anywhere than the Masters shop at Augusta. And so, there are long lines, after you watch Tiger, you sit in those lines and you spend over $300 per cap for merchandise and that is a big number. So, the organizing committee can do whatever they want to raise revenue. They choose to keep certain prices low and other prices pretty high.

HOLMES: And tickets themselves, I mean, how do you get in there? How expensive it is to just get pay (ph) the ticket?

HORROW: You've got to know somebody or be nice. It's very clear. The face value is nowhere near the price you pay for the tickets, much like the event we cover last week at the final four in San Antonio.

HOLMES: Well, I actually know somebody but I'm not that nice to them.

HORROW: Yes. If you know somebody, you better that nice to him.

HOLMES: All right. Pretty Ricky, you look good in green. Betty really likes that shirt on you. She told me to mention.

HORROW: $80.

NGUYEN: Well, don't try to expense it, all right, Rick, just know that. We're not accepting receipts around here.

HORROW: If $80 gets a compliment from you, it's well worth it.

HOLMES: All right. Pretty Ricky, you enjoy yourself down there. We'll talk to you again soon, buddy.

NGUYEN: Yes, have a good time.

HORROW: All right. Talk to you next week.

NGUYEN: Well, on the frontlines in Iraq carrying keepsakes home.


SPEC. NATHAN STOPPS, U.S. ARMY: The only think of sentimental value that I have with me is my wallet. And I got my blockbuster and library cards and the (INAUDIBLE) thing that I use here in Iraq.


NGUYEN: The sentiment not superstition. The little mementos that help U.S. troops make it through the war in Iraq.


NGUYEN: Troops on the frontlines in Iraq often face life and death on a daily basis.

HOLMES: And a lot of them carry small mementos and good luck charms to help them get through their ordeal but not necessarily because they're superstitious.

NGUYEN: Yes, they say the items simply provide a little piece of mind in a chaotic place far from home.


SGT. COLE WEIH, U.S. ARMY: Soldiers are far from home. And they don't -- they write letters, they phone, but they don't have that physical contact. So, it's a little piece of home that they carry with them. It's a reminder that you're not just a soldier, I mean, there is home still and there's something to come back to.

SGT. JON FLEENOR, U.S. ARMY: (INAUDIBLE) this is sitting next to my head. And I hit a land mine, an EID went up on the side of me, and melted all my stuff at my face, and all the flames were (INAUDIBLE) pretty much burned up my bear and turned it all black. I will carry these religious, I got my bear. I think there is no point to it. I don't necessarily believe in it but when I don't take it out when I got out one day, if I forget it, I don't feel right. So, I guess it works. I'm still alive so far.

SGT. JOSE REGALADO, U.S. ARMY: My wife sent me ultrasound pictures of my unborn daughter to get me through the next day until she's born. I guess I go home and see here.

LT. RUSTY MORRIS, U.S. ARMY:. This book was my grandfather's and as I read through it it's service man's bible from, you know, World War II. It reminds me that people come and go on. Here, people go to war and come back. And you know, I'll do the same I hope.

SPEC. NATHAN STOPPS, U.S. ARMY: The only think of sentimental value that I have with me is my wallet. And I got my blockbuster and library cards and the (INAUDIBLE) thing that I use here in Iraq. I also got a receipt from a time that I ate three burritos at this restaurant. They give you a t-shirt if you eat two burritos.

STAFF SGT. CHAD CALDWELL, U.S. ARMY: I'm not superstitious at all. I don't believe in good luck charms. So, basically, what I figure is that I am my own good luck charm. I'm what keeps me alive. They have thrown pretty much everything they can at me. I am super man. I cannot be defeated, I'm invincible.


NGUYEN: Good morning, everybody from the CNN Center in Atlanta. It is Saturday, April 12. Hopefully, you've got those taxes in. If not, you'd better work on them this weekend because that deadline is fast approaching on the 15th.

Hello, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: Hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes, glad you could be with us here this morning.

We have to start with this story, the secrets of a polygamist sect. In Eldorado, Texas, investigators have been searching a compound of the sect called the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, also known as the FLDS. They're finding disturbing details of possible sex rituals involving children inside the group's temple.

NGUYEN: CNN has also learned a young girl with the sect in Arizona has contacted authorities about alleged abuse in her household. CNN's Sean Callebs joins us from the city of San Angelo with the latest and Sean, this sounds a whole lot like the 16-year old who called Texas authorities.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really does and I know that's one thing Gary Tuchman, who has been in the town, Colorado City, off and on for the past couple of years, really following the cult leader Warren Jeffs. He's been following that story very closely.

We do there obviously as Warren Jeffs (INAUDIBLE) I doubt if this area, documents that were seized from the compound in Eldorado about 45 minutes from where we are in the town of San Angelo. Detail that there was correspondence between Jeffs and the members of that compound. Behind me you are looking at historic Fort Concho here in west Texas, the town of San Angelo.

In the 1800s, this was really a rallying point for the first white settlers who came to this area. Now it is being used to house most of the 416 children who were taken from that compound about a week ago, children ranging in the age from 17 down to just a few months old and they will remain here until a hearing that is scheduled to happen this Thursday.

There was some speculation that they were going to begin moving these children into foster homes, that is not going to happen, at least not until that hearing happens later in the week.

We had a chance to talk with child protective services about how they are coping here, how the children are coping, they're saying basically that they are doing about the best they can, that like many people who have been uprooted, they have interest in going back home, but that appears to be something that is not going to happen, certainly, not any time in the near future.

A lot of focus on the cost, how much it is costing to take care of not only the children here, but proceed with the legal proceedings. We know that the one expert, in terms of shelter, says it is costing his entity about $25,000 a day to take care of the kids that are here. And the city, the small town is paying about $60,000 a day. And as this moves on, that is going to be a big issue here in this west Texas town -- Betty.

NGUYEN: That is a lot of money. But, you know, as this investigation rolls on, there were some items that the police and authorities were able to take from that compound and they were really telling, one was dealing with cyanide, is that correct?

CALLEBS: That one line item, it was 88 pages, basically single- line spaced, a lot of items were taken from that compound during the raid. That one is certainly getting a lot of attention. We don't know very much about it. Just that it was one line item that said a cyanide poisoning document.

People in this area when they read that, heard about that, of course, you have to think about Jonestown, that happened in the 1980s, but we don't know much about that, only that that was one item seized. We hope to know more as these proceedings move on -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Yeah, we all hope to learn much more. Sean Callebs joining us live. Thank you, Sean.

HOLMES: CNN is on a lot of airports around this country and some of you watching in an airport might be stranded right now if you are on American Airlines. That airline has canceled another 200 flights today, forcing passengers to change their travel plans. All of the planes have been grounded are MD-80s. Engineers are checking for possible problems with the wiring in the wheel wells.

Since Tuesday, 3,000 flights have been canceled, that into an already rough month for the airline industry. In the last two weeks, five U.S. carriers have gone belly-up, Frontier Airlines this week, last week Skybus, ATA, Aloha, Champion has gone belly-up as well, partly caused by the higher fuel costs. American however isn't the only airline dealing with the flight cancellations and headaches. Southwest, Delta and Midwest Airlines have also grounded flights because of the same safety inspections.

You keep watching CNN, our money team has you covered. Whether it's jobs, debt, housing or savings, you can join us for a special report. It's called "ISSUE #1," the economy, all next week, noon Eastern only right here on CNN.

NGUYEN: Let's take you to Iraq now because there are more gun battles in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City. This is the seventh day of fighting between Shiite militias and U.S. and Iraqi forces. The U.S. military says 13 people were killed yesterday, but no American or Iraqi troops were seriously hurt. The fighting intensified in Sadr City yesterday after a top aid to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was killed.

Election officials in Zimbabwe say they plan to recount ballots in nearly two dozen voting districts. The government still has not released results from the presidential election nearly two weeks ago, but the opposition party claims victory over President Robert Mugabe. That election is the most formidable challenge yet to the president's 28-year rule. Now, regional leaders are meeting in Zambia today to discuss the Zimbabwe election crisis.

HOLMES: President Bush says he is still going to the Olympics in Beijing as a show of support for the American athletes.

NGUYEN: But the White House says no decision has been made on attending the opening ceremonies. There have been calls for President Bush and other world leaders to skip the ceremonies to protest China's human rights record. Meanwhile though, the Olympic flame is going to Tanzania, the only stop in Africa. The torch has passed through the streets of Buenos Aires. That happened on Friday in Argentina and largely that passed through the streets without any serious incident.

HOLMES: All right, we'll turn to politics here in the U.S. Just over a week to go until the Pennsylvania primary where Hillary Clinton and Barack Barack Obama are waging a bitter battle, the key word there being bitter over this quote made at a San Francisco fundraiser that we're just hearing from Obama.

In it, Obama said this, "You go into these small towns of Pennsylvania and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone for now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them and they fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to generate and regenerate; they have not. It is not surprised then that they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," end quote.

That was coming in response to a question he got about why some of the middle class workers and some of the blue-collar workers were not supporting his candidacy. CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser has been following this story. He's in Philadelphia for us this morning.

This got a lot of buzz, of course, once it hit the Internet. Do you expect Hillary Clinton, do you expect John McCain to come out and criticize the report, but Obama isn't necessarily backing away from what he said.

STEINHAUSER: Not at all, not at all. In fact, when this came out yesterday afternoon, it got a lot of buzz. Then we learned that Hillary Clinton was going to come out and speak out about it. And then after that Barack Obama had a response. She spoke out in Philadelphia. He spoke out in Indiana. Here's what they said.


CLINTON: It's been reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania, who faced hard times, are bitter. Well, that's not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania, I meet people who are resilient, who are optimistic, who are positive, who are rolling up their sleeves.

OBAMA: No, I'm in touch. I know exactly what's going on. I know what's going on in Pennsylvania. I know what's going on in Indiana. I know what's going on in Illinois. People are fed up. They are angry and they are frustrated and they are bitter and they want to see a change in Washington and that's why I'm running for president of the United States of America.


STEINHAUSER: Barack Obama there is saying I'm not out of touch. What he is commenting on is the McCain campaign as well jumped into it and they said that Barack Obama was being elitist, condescending towards American workers and that he was out of touch. T.J., that's what this seems to be all about, whether those comments were derogatory or whether Barack Obama was just really saying it like it is, that there are some tough places and with hard times and people without a lot of hope.

HOLMES: Where is everybody today and do we expect to hear more from them on this topic wherever they may be campaigning right now?

STEINHAUSER: Well, both candidates are in Indiana today. I'm not taking that personally. Every time I show up in Pennsylvania, they go to Indiana, but that's where they are today, Obama and Clinton. They both have campaign events which we'll be covering. And I think you can expect this to come up again today.

I think the Clinton and McCain campaigns maybe see a little bit of an opening here, that maybe they can show that Barack Obama is out of touch with middle-class workers. In Pennsylvania it is all about the middle class. Union workers, blue-color workers, they're the ones who are going to determine who wins this primary 10 days from now.

HOLMES: All right and yes, Paul, it is time for you to start taking it personally. Every time you're there, they're somewhere else and we know McCain is off today. He has the luxury of being the presumptive nominee. So he's taking a little time off. Paul Steinhauser, buddy, always good to see you. Thank you so much this morning.

STEINHAUSER: Take care, T.J.

HOLMES: And more politics for you this afternoon. Candidates on the campaign trail in their own words. That's "BALLOT BOWL" coming your way 2:00 Eastern today.

NGUYEN: And tonight, "Route 2008." It's a special presentation of CNN NEWSROOM looking at the issues affecting you. CNN's senior national correspondent John King travels across Pennsylvania stopping just long enough for tonight's live special. That's at 10:00 Eastern.

HOLMES: Well, some neighborhoods in the southeast will be cleaning up this afternoon after severe damaged homes and downed trees in at least two states.

NGUYEN: A possible tornado damaged more than 56 homes in Lawrence County Tennessee. The storm, it uprooted trees and scattered debris across a wide area. Officials say storms also downed the power lines and damaged more than 30 homes in Dials (ph) County. At least five people were injured in Tennessee. Powerful winds also damaged homes in Kentucky.

HOLMES: It is spring. Look at these springtime pictures.

NGUYEN: That's snow.

HOLMES: Yes. This is Duluth, Minnesota, folks, a winter-like storm. That is a winter storm, winter-like?

NGUYEN: No that's winter.

HOLMES: More than a foot of snow fell in parts of that state. Minnesota transportation officials advise people near that area to stay home because road conditions were just that bad. Wind gusts off of Lake Superior were recorded at up to 60 miles an hour. Officials opened the Duluth convention center as an emergency shelter for some folks.

NGUYEN: It is so interesting when you see the contrast. You've got all these spring showers and then you have these snowstorms. Reynolds Wolf joins us now. Reynolds, it looks like part of the nation is just confused when it comes to spring.


HOLMES: We got more signs of change in Cuba. Many Cubans are taking a different view of those who fled over the years, the full report from Havana just ahead.

NGUYEN: And do you remember the portrait of Ray Charles done in Post-It notes? Here's kind of a quick look. The young man who did that is back with another musician portrait, this time done with playing cards. You've got to see it.

HOLMES: And our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a preview of what's ahead at the bottom of the hour on "HOUSE CALL."


Here's a question for you. Could what you are doing right now affect how long you live?

Coming up on "HOUSE CALL," learn some steps you can take today to live a longer, healthier life. We have an expert panel. They're going to bring you the latest research and practical tips on living to 100.

That's coming up on "HOUSE CALL." at 8:30.


HOLMES: Well, a look now at some of the other stories that are making headlines this morning.

NGUYEN: He is charged with killing a pregnant Marine and burying her in his backyard. This morning U.S. Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean is in custody in Mexico. He was caught Thursday night and prosecutors say they don't expect him to fight his extradition to North Carolina.

HOLMES: We have a break in a cold case 27 years now after a baby was found dead in a trash can. New York police think they caught the person responsible. They have charged the newborn's mother with second-degree murder. Police made the arrests with the help of DNA technology. That technology wasn't available back in 1981.

NGUYEN: The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Milwaukee says it plans to lay off nearly a fifth of its staff next month to cut costs. A spokeswoman says 37 positions are being eliminated. In an e-mail Milwaukee's Archbishop Timothy Dolan said money is tight. He went on to say the crisis is caused largely by the financial impact from the actions of priests accused of sexually abusing minors.

HOLMES: There may be a changing tide in Cuba and it's sweeping away a long-held anger there. NGUYEN: People now are ready to accept the past and embrace the future of both Cuba and Cuban Americans.

CNN's Morgan Neill has that story.


MORGAN NEILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When tens of thousands of Cubans fled the country in 1980, then President Fidel Castro had this to say about those who left. Whoever doesn't have revolutionary blood, whoever has a mind that can't adapt to the idea of resolution, whoever doesn't have a heart that adapts to effort and heroism of a revolution, we don't want them. We don't need them.

And that was the attitude for years. Indeed, Cubans who left were often called husanos, worms. That's why this speech last week at a meeting of Cuban writers and artists had such an impact.

"I'm not ashamed of those who are outside Cuba, because my children are outside," said (INAUDIBLE) Havana city historian and long-time friend to Fidel Castro. "I'll never be ashamed of my condition as a father, nor will I take from them the name of Cubans." His words drew a standing ovation.

(on-camera): It may seem a small thing, but the speech has germinated a real buzz here that came just days after the prohibitions on cell phones, DVD players and other products were lifted and in this atmosphere of new possibility, (INAUDIBLE) words seemed to indicate a new attitude towards Cubans abroad.

(INAUDIBLE) Garcia, artist and member of the union says there's a feeling that changes are in the air. Everything has its moment. Everything has an opening, he says. A year ago, Raul pushed us to talk about all the things we had inside. Garcia, like hundreds of thousands of Cubans, has family in the United States.

And he was glad to hear the historian's words. One way or the other, we all have some family member abroad, he says. If I've got a child abroad, they are just as Cuban as I am. The tearful scenes every day in Havana's airport are evidence of just how many Cuban families are separated by the Florida straits. That's not likely to change any time soon, but it appears the public discourse about Cubans abroad has begun to change.

Morgan Neill, CNN, Havana.


NGUYEN: OK. So talk about man's best friend. A dog -- get this, that takes out the trash? No joke, folks.

HOLMES: I got to get a dog.

NGUYEN: Me, too.

HOLMES: We got to check in with Josh, who's here with us, talking about the Olympics. We mentioned this earlier.

LEVS: Yeah, we are going to give people a chance to weigh in on this right now coming up in just a few of minutes. We're going to ask you this, will the Olympics ultimately help bring positive change to China? Your chance to weigh in on that coming up right here, CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


HOLMES: All right. The running of the Olympic torch has actually lit a flame under protestors who are upset about China's crackdown in Tibet among other things.

NGUYEN: Josh Levs has been looking into this controversy. I think a lot of us have been watching it play out as we have seen the protestors.

LEVS: Sure and you know what happened? Because of the Olympics, it became one of the top stories in the world. Protests in general get attention, but the Olympics skyrocketed this and that's really important. That's one reason I want to give everyone a chance to weigh in here. A lot of the people around the world are concerned about human rights in China and about Tibet, about China's relationship with the Sudanese government.

The protests throughout the past week as the torch was traveling brought these into this glaring international spotlight. So in a way by hosting the Olympics, China is drawing much greater attention to these concerns that people have. So could it ultimately be a good thing for those who want change in China?

One interesting view this week came from an interview that our Thelma Gutierrez had with Helen Zia. She fights for human rights. She's Chinese American. She ran in the relay and she said the last thing you want is for China to withdraw from the world stage.


HELEN ZIA, TORCH RUNNER: What is happening now is they are becoming more open and we need China to be engaged in the world, to have dialogues about how they conduct themselves, whether it is in Africa and Darfur or in Tibet.


LEVS: But a lot of people taking part in the protests have a very different view. I'm going to show you Richard Gere here. He spoke to CNN. He's a Buddhist.


RICHARD GERE, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: What is interesting is this is becoming planetary. The whole world seems to spontaneously react to this situation and know that it is a fraud, what the Chinese are doing. It's a fraud. This is not an athletic game to them. This is pretty much a stamp of approval on repression and human rights abuses. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVS: So our question to you today, given what you have seen in recent days, will hosting the Olympics bring about a change in China? Write to us, Be sure to keep your answers brief, thoughtful, respectful, provide your full name and where you live and we're going to read some later on today, guys, in the 10:00 hour and we're going to keep piecing through these.

We know as you were just saying, a lot of people really concerned about this. A lot of people have a lot to say about this. In the end, will the Olympics be an impetus for change or not, big debate there, big question.

NGUYEN: We talked to some of the Olympic athletes, especially one who was in the 1980 boycott and he said it didn't bring about any change.

LEVS: A lot of people feel that way.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Josh.

HOLMES: Up next here, paying tribute to the late great Jimi Hendrix using playing cards, a lot of them. We'll fill you in after the break.

NGUYEN: Also ahead, everyone knows dog is man's best friend, but this guy goes well above and beyond.


NGUYEN: This is really kind of a fascinating story. Many Indian villagers believe a newborn is the reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Dorba (ph). Well a fierce, beautiful and also a warrior and this little girl named Lolly (ph) was born last month in a small village outside of New Delhi.

HOLMES: You can see folks, yes, she was born with two faces. Doctors say the child actually appears healthy. The eyes, noses, mouths all are functioning normally, my goodness. The parents say she can actually use both mouths at the same time, to maybe eat with one mouth and suck the thumb with the other, but that's really fascinated video there.

NGUYEN: Absolutely.

HOLMES: My goodness.

NGUYEN: Here's an incredible i-Report that we've just received. It took months of planning, 8,500 playing cards and 21 straight hours to create this one of a kind portrait of Jimi Hendrix.

HOLMES: An art student did this. David Alvarez created it to complete two credits so he can graduate in June. I hope he gets that certificate. He said he began planning this thing back in November and made it over two days. So we hope he graduates. NGUYEN: I can't believe he did it in two days. He is probably still sleeping right now. He doesn't even know that it made CNN.

OK, we're talking about this, taking out the trash, nobody likes to do it, right? So what do you do?

HOLMES: This is one man's answer, Ronin, a five-year old bull Mastiff in Hagerstown, Maryland. There he is. Ronin's owner taught him to take out the trash without inspecting the bag's contents.

Lloyd Weedon says Ronin loves to play fetch, and that gave him an idea for a cheap trash removal system.


LLOYD WEEDON, RONIN'S OWNER: I experimented. I was out in the yard one day, I happened to be working on a car, and there was a spare tire. And I asked him to get it. Believe it or not, he picked up the tire and brought it to me.


HOLMES: Lloyd there said it took a little bit of time, some attention and some love. And they said it also took lots of snacks to get the dog to do this.

NGUYEN: Well, that kind of makes sense. I mean you got to give him the snacks, right, so he doesn't go digging through the trash ...

HOLMES: Go through the trash.

NGUYEN: ...for something to eat. You have cats, T.J., you may want to invest in a dog.

HOLMES: They don't do anything. I can drop food on the plate, won't clean up anything.

NGUYEN: Not at all. But they will scratch your furniture.

Well, it is, you know, that time of the year. Tax season. And you only have just a few days left to file those returns. Personal finance editor Gerri Willis shares some last-minute tax tips. That's ahead in our next hour.

HOLMES: But up first, of course, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It starts right now.