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Swaying the Undecided Voter: Dems Campaign in Pennsylvania; Gas Prices Hit a New National Average High; Chinese Officials now say Deadly Problems With Heparin Began in U.S.
Aired April 21, 2008 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it is out there somewhere. Maybe just around the corner. A gas price high enough to really put a dent in consumption. You know what it's called? It's called the tipping point. And if yours is $3.50 a gallon, well, your tipping point has already arrived.
VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, yes. The pain, I feel it. And the Pennsylvania primary has finally arrived, almost. We'll check the final poll of polls on primary eve and watch the candidates try to tip the scales in their direction.
Hello, I'm Veronica De la Cruz, in today for Kyra Phillips, at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
LEMON: With all the hoopla surrounding tomorrow, it's like I thought it was almost Election Day, right? It's built up so much. We shall see. We've got it all covered here.
I'm Don Lemon, you're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
OK, let's get right to it. Weeks of intense and intensely negative campaigning heading for a climax. It all happens tomorrow. CNN's Jim Acosta is in Philadelphia.
Fair to say you're kind of at ground zero there, huh?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Don. And Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, they're turning up the heat, they're stepping up their attacks against one another as they crisscross and barnstorm the Keystone State in search of those last-minute undecided voters.
Hillary Clinton was in Scranton, Pennsylvania this morning, she was emphasizing her blue collar biography, her roots in that part of northeastern Pennsylvania, she likes to say it in front of the crowds in that part of the state, saying that her grandfather once worked in the mills there. But she also suggested to the crowd that a vote for Barack Obama is a roll of the dice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've been very specific in this campaign, telling you what I will do and how I will do it, and asking you to hold me accountable for producing results for you. Because I don't want you to take a leap of faith or have any guesswork. We've had enough of that. We unfortunately ended up electing a president in 2000, and we didn't have a clue about what he was going to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, after taking a few jabs at Hillary Clinton over the weekend, Barack Obama returned to what his campaign has been based on, the premise of his campaign, almost since the beginning, as he told a crowd in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, this morning, he is ready to change what he calls Washington-style politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've been running for president for about 15 months, and the reason I decided to get into this race despite having the young kids at home and the wife who can be skeptical sometimes about my political work, was that I thought that the country was really ready for a different kind of politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, Hillary Clinton, she knows that she has nothing to take for granted and that is because she has seen her lead shrink in the polls from double-digits -- to according to the latest CNN Poll of Polls -- seven percentage points, and that is with still undecided seven percentage points. Seven percent of the Pennsylvania Democrats here say they still haven't made up their minds who they're voting for, which is why Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are attacking each other and their bases of support.
Barack Obama plans to wrap up his day in Pittsburgh, where Hillary Clinton has been very strong. And Senator Clinton is planning to come here to Philadelphia, where Barack Obama needs to win big to pull an upset here in the state -- Don.
LEMON: All right. Jim Acosta in Philadelphia. Jim, thank you very much for that.
We're going to take you now to -- There is Bill Clinton, he is speaking in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These pictures courtesy of WTAE, out stumping for his wife, tomorrow is the big day, Tuesday, primary day, in Pennsylvania. If Hillary Clinton comes up to the stage and when she does we will listen into this event, just as we listened to Barack Obama about an hour ago when he was in Bluebell, Pennsylvania. But there he is, former President Bill Clinton out stumping for his wife. As soon as Hillary comes up we will take that.
But hours from a primary that could make her campaign or break it, Senator Hillary Clinton, well, she sits down with our very own Larry King for a one-on-one interview. That's "LARRY KING LIVE," it's tonight, it's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, of course it's only here on CNN.
WHITFIELD: They are from all walks of life. All ages, religions and colors, but they do have one thing in common. They're new to the polls, we call them the league of first time voters and they're a fresh-faced force to be reckoned with.
CNN's Rick Sanchez and his team traveled around the country to talk with various groups. Here's his chat with University of Pennsylvania students ahead of tomorrow's crucial primary.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we have noticed is there are so many people all over the country who are so passionate about voting in this election. These are people who are either newly energized, that's to say they haven't voted in a long time but this time they are truly committed. Or people who are voting, you people for the very first time in their lives. They're juiced, they're pumped, they're all over the country. This first piece comes from Penn State University.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the time we went in that it was agreed upon by Republicans, Democrats, the world stage alike, that going in was not going to be as terrible as an idea as people make it out to be. Hindsight is 20/20. You can't make a historical decision with hindsight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Barack Obama were to become president and we were to pull out all our troops immediately we'd leave it in chaos.
SANCHEZ: What is it now?
UNIDENTIIFED MALE: It's a good deal better than chaos right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're going to talk about the evangelical vote, religious right, while they might not love John McCain, he might not have been their guy, I don't believe they're going to vote for Hillary for Obama over ...
SANCHEZ: No, but they'll stay home. They won't vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the scary part.
SANCHEZ: By the way, we've been hitting a lot of colleges in Pennsylvania, in Scranton we talked to two groups, young women who are for Barack Obama, more seasoned, more mature women who are for Hillary Clinton. Again, ardent supporters in both cases.
Then we'll travel the country. Were going to be going to Detroit where we're going to talk to Muslim students, we'll be going to Atlanta and we're going to talk to an historically black university where they're also for Obama rather passionately as well, as we continue this league of first time voters, LOFTV is what we call it for short, scouring the country looking for people who want to tell their stories about their passion for voting this time around. They're real, they're committed, they're ought out there and we're going to find them for you.
In Philadelphia, Rick Sanchez, CNN.
(END VIDEOTAPE) DE LA CRUZ: And you can join the LOFTV, as Rick was calling it, at CNN.com, you can get accurate easy to find information about voting, express yourself and connect with others, want to check it out? It's at CNN.com/league. Go ahead log on and you can become a member -- Don.
LEMON: Well, read it and weep. For the first time ever, we're up to $3.50 a gallon for regular, unleaded gasoline according to AAA. You can see the cost has risen almost 25 cents in a month, 64 cents in a year. Our Rusty Dornin is standing by at a pump in suburban Atlanta and seeing what folks are saying there. I can only imagine what they are telling you off camera.
They probably won't say that on camera, Rusty?
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is as painful as ever to fill up your car, Don. Some folks are not filling it up all the way. Here at this station in Doraville it is $3.44 a gallon. The average as you were saying across the nation is $3.50. But cities really vary. San Francisco is $3.97, Atlanta, $3.49, I was in San Diego over the weekend, that was $3.89. So it's all over the place.
Even all over the place - you have to shop to find the best price here in Atlanta. We're here with Chris Holland, who is with Southern Seasons Lawn Care. He's got some personal and business stories to tell. Of course, now, not only do you have to figure up the trucks for your business, but you also have to fill up the mowers and that sort of thing.
CHRIS HOLLAND, SOUTHERN SEASONS LAWN CARE: Correct.
DORNIN: How tough has it been for you with all the price changes?
HOLLAND: I'm trying to not go up on customers, but eventually yes. I started last year going up a couple dollars here and there and now I'll have to go up a couple more this year.
DORNIN: So you're having to raise your own prices.
DORNIN: How about personally in terms of your own life? Has your own life changed because of gas prices?
HOLLAND: My family and I don't go out to eat as often as we used to, we keep it at about one night a week. Weekends we stay around the house, maybe instead of going out and doing things that cost money, we might just go to the park, maybe rent a movie, something like that, just trying to save some money.
DORNIN: Any other hardships in terms of your business?
HOLLAND: I see a lot of, you know, fuel and then it trickles out to parts, the equipment goes down, I have seen it anywhere from $3 to $5 increase on parts just from the dealers to try to, you know, fix the stuff. So I shop the Internet a lot now, try to find better deals.
DORNIN: So you're seeing it on all levels. You're seeing it in retail, personally, I mean, just a personal story for not only his business, you can see how this ripples down through the economy, of course, today reaching an all-time high, $3.50 a gallon.
I've got to tell you, personally, my personal high, $50 a gallon. I cannot put myself to put more than -- I mean, $50 for the entire tank into my car. I just stop there. I find myself, I can't do it.
LEMON: No more than $50. So you don't fill, you just go $50 and I'm done.
DORNIN: That's it. I'm done. I don't care. I'm done. I've talked to some other folks doing similar things. I did talk to a guy that said he's cut Starbucks out of his life. He doesn't go to Starbucks every day so he can fill his car up.
LEMON: I don't do the expensive coffee anymore, either. Really, it's just too much. Then you go to the store and the price of fruit, it's crazy. And people are probably watching this as home saying you guys have these great jobs and you're complaining but I think it's really tough for everyone thee days.
DE LA CRUZ: Don tell Rusty how much it costs you to fill up?
LEMON: Rusty, I'm not telling -- 75 bucks.
DORNIN: You have a much bigger tank than I do.
LEMON: I have an old car, let's put it that way. OK. Rusty, thank you. Time to buy that hybrid that I've been thinking about. Thanks very much for that. Gas prices that we've been talking about up, food prices up as well, our pocketbooks are feeling the pinch. We'd like to know what you're doing to save money. We really want to know that. People can use tips right now.
DE LA CRUZ: I know what you're going to do. You're going to spend a lot more time in that hammock of yours.
LEMON: Well, you can send your ideas to CNN.com and we'll pass it along a little but later on. But seriously, though, Veronica, I think people need tips and help in these times.
DE LA CRUZ: The guy that said shopping online was a good one.
LEMON: Fresh Direct and all those places. You can only get them on the East Coast -- you don't really get that in the South.
DE LA CRUZ: You don't want to do that. That's expensive to begin with.
Listen, the e-mail question, if you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org -- email@example.com. We'll read some of them right on the air here.
DE LA CRUZ: There's always the hammock solution, Don.
We talked last hour about the global food crisis, specifically the misery it is spreading in certain developing nations.
CNN's Barbara Starr reports the price is setting off alarms among those in charge of our national security.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Pakistan, the poor line up to buy flour, and troops are deployed to guard warehouses of grain. An already fragile political situation made worse by skyrocketing food prices. In Egypt, police turn out riot gear to quell protesters, subsidized bread is the difference between life and death for millions.
Congresswoman Jane Harman, an eight-year veteran of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee and a long time al Qaeda watcher warns Egypt's riots could be a sign of what's to come.
REP. JANE HARMAN, (D) C.A.: If these riots and if the absence of food creates mass starvation, which we've seen across North Africa and elsewhere, that, then, creates huge pools of refugees and the opportunity for these disaffected people to join terror movements.
STARR: The crisis, now global. Morocco, trying to deal with Islamic extremism has seen food riots. Further east, Kazakhstan has stopped exporting wheat. And in Indonesia, an Islamic group organized street protests demanding food prices be cut.
PAUL RISLEY, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: We're very concerned in Pakistan, in Bangladesh and in Afghanistan, we have already seen evidence of when higher food prices hit specific local areas, there are often riots, there are civil disturbances, there is great cause for concern.
STARR: And in Africa, millions remain in desperate need. The World Food Programme just announced it's cutting rations in half to more than two million people in Darfur, because bandits have been attacking food convoys to steal bags of grain that are worth more every day. The U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon are watching all of this.
One U.S. official telling CNN, our intelligence agencies need to be ready, if the U.S. has to take any action. Experts say nobody should be surprised if terrorists take advantage of desperate and hungry people.
STEWART PATRICK, CENTER FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: The inability of a country to provide for the basic food intake of its people, which is a basic social benefit, is often an indicator of great instability.
(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: All right, well, that was CNN's Pentagon reporter Barbara Starr with that story, Barbara was supposed to join us here in the NEWSROOM so we could -- why don't we bring in Barbara Starr now.
Sorry about that. Had a bit of a technical glitch here.
Why don't you talk about -- Sum up your report for us.
STARR: Right. No problem. Well, I think it probably raises the question for a lot of people, would the U.S. military ever get involved in this? And we've talked to a lot of commanders. What they tell us is really their role continues to be delivering humanitarian assistance when asked, getting the food to where it needs to be. But even today with the military stretched so thin in Iraq and Afghanistan, even humanitarian assistance is a stretch.
Of course, in the world's most desperate place, perhaps Darfur, for example, partly because of politics, but partly because there's just simply not the military muscle power available, there are no plans for any U.S. military involvement. Don?
LEMON: All right. Barbara Starr, thank you very much for that report, Barbara.
Who is to blame for the deadly --
Move up the prompter, we're in a different spot here, thank you.
Who's to blame for the deadly problems with the blood thinner heparin? Chinese officials are now on the defensive and we'll tell you where the blame might lie.
And for some Pennsylvania voters it's a matter of faith. We'll take a look at how some Catholic voters may shape the outcome of tomorrow's Democratic battle in Pennsylvania.
LEMON: Chinese officials say deadly problems with heparin may have their roots in the U.S. instead of China. So far, at least 62 deaths are linked to the problems with the popular blood thinner. And CNN medical correspondent, Judy Fortin, joins us now with the very latest on this.
What do you have for us, Judy?
JUDY FORTIN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, you can expect to hear a lot more about the blood thinner heparin later on today. Both the FDA and the manufacturer of the tainted heparin disagree with the Chinese suggestion that the contamination occurred here in the U.S. Both are expected to release more information later this afternoon.
But let's take a step back first. Earlier this year the FDA was getting so-called adverse event reports related to heparin manufactured by Baxter. Some patients who received large doses reported having severe allergic reactions including difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating and sudden rapid drop in blood pressure which could lead to shock.
At the end of February, Baxter's heparin was pulled off the market. The FDA received hundreds of these adverse event reports since January of last year and there have been 62 deaths associated with the drugs, however none of them have been linked to the drug, they could have been easily caused by something else.
LEMON: The question is, does the FDA know what caused the problem with the drug?
FORTIN: Well, the investigation is ongoing. In fact, we spoke with the FDA just a short while ago and Baxter as well. While Baxter manufactures heparin here in the U.S., they imported components of the drug from China.
Here's where it gets a little bit complicated. Last month the FDA had a inspectors in China inspecting the plants and in their investigation they found a contaminant in the product another company provided to Baxter's Chinese supplier.
According to the FDA, the contaminant mimics what heparin should do, but it shouldn't be in the drug in the first place. So far neither the FDA nor the manufacturer of Baxter have been link able to link this contaminant to the reports of people getting sick. And evidently at the press conference at the Chinese embassy earlier today, Chinese officials seem to be pointing the finger at Baxter's New Jersey plant, suggesting the contamination happened here in the U.S.
And just to reiterate both the FDA and Baxter tell us they disagree with this scenario. The FDA will report in about an hour from now that their tests show a link between the contaminant and the supplier in China. A little confusing.
LEMON: But some people need the drug. What if you're a patient in need of heparin?
FORTIN: That's a good question. A lot of people still need the drug and will get it. While Baxter isn't distributing their heparin right now, there is another manufacturer supplying the drug, which does not use the same suppliers and hasn't been linked to these reports of illness and death. So we're going to hear more on this later on today and tomorrow as well, at a congressional hearing.
LEMON: Judy Fortin, always a pleasure, thank you very much.
FORTIN: You're welcome.
DE LA CRUZ: So-called stun grenades are supposed to confuse and disorient a potential threat, but why are they hurting the very authorities they're meant to protect? Details on a CNN special investigations unit probe in the NEWSROOM.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DE LA CRUZ: Well, on Wall Street, two record highs, but these are records that most of us don't like to hear about.
Susan Lisovicz is live for us at the New York Stock Exchange with these escalating numbers on oil and gas, not good news.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, unfortunately we've seen this trend develop for some time now, Veronica. AAA says the national average for a gallon of regular gas topped $3.50 for the first time of the bad news is that things could get worse since the peak summer driving season is yet to begin. Some analysts say the $3.50 threshold could become a psychologically important mark and prompt more people to make real lifestyle changes.
Oil prices of course are a culprit. They have also been trading at record levels. Crude hit $117.60 a barrel today. A Japanese oil tanker was hit by a rocket near Yemen. Hundreds of gallons of fuel were leaked. Meanwhile, a militant group in Nigeria says it launched two more attacks on oil pipelines in the region. Oil's real close to $117 right now, Veronica.
DE LA CRUZ: Yikes. All right, Susan.
You were just talking a moment ago about these lifestyle changes that people are making. I understand we're seeing record numbers for hybrids.
LISOVICZ: That's right. Hybrids are a tiny part of the overall market, Veronica, just over two percent, but it is growing. A survey from R.L. Polk says new hybrid sales surged 38 percent last year to a record high.
By comparison, overall vehicle sales actually fell. High gas prices, environmental concerns, more options are attracting buyers in addition to the Toyota Prius, and Honda Insight, there's also the new Nissan Altima, Saturn Aura and Lexus 600 hybrid sedans, as well as hybrid versions of the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Mazda Tribute SUVs.
Don Lemon should be listening because there's more options for that gas guzzler that is going to sell him to the poor house.
DE LA CRUZ: Did you hear that, Don?
LEMON: I did. Honestly, I've got to tell you this. I hate to drive and I would not have a car, but really mass transportation in this city is not the best. If the city stepped up and had better mass transit, we would get rid of those gas guzzlers.
LISOVICZ: It's MARTA, right? The transit system?
LEMON: Yes. I don't want to say, but it's not real good. It doesn't go everywhere. So I have some pretty crazy work hours.
LISOVICZ: Or come work in New York where we'll get you ...
LEMON: Thanks for putting me on the spot which by the way both of you.
DE LA CRUZ: She heard $70 every time you fill your tank.
LEMON: And I'm not alone.
LISOVICZ: Oil's up and stocks are down today. We've seen that a lot as well.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, Susan.
DE LA CRUZ: Susan, good to see you.
Sorry about that.
LEMON: Thanks for putting me on the spot guys. I can't win with you two. Man.
It is a great time to get good mileage and we'll show you a man in Ohio who takes his MPG, which is miles per gallon, very seriously. And a reminder. Our e-mail question of the day, what are you doing to save money? Send your tips to this address, firstname.lastname@example.org. And we'll read some of them on the air for you.
LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN Headquarters in Atlanta.
DE LA CRUZ: And I'm Veronica De La Cruz in today for Kyra Phillips.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: 2:30 now in the East Coast. Here are two of the three stories that we're working on now.
Texas lab workers taking DNA samples from the 400 plus children taken from that polygamist ranch more two weeks ago. They're trying to figure out family relationships in what's become a massive and confusing custody case.
Too many guns, too many gangs. That's what Chicago Police Chief -- that's what the police chief there blames for this string of weekend shootings. More than 30 people reportedly shot, six fatally.
The State Department is dismissing an offer of truce from Hamas, after meeting with former President Jimmy Carter, the militant group's exile leader is offering Israel a decade long truce if Israel withdraws from the territory it seized in the 1967 War, but he adds Hamas would never formally recognize Israel -- Don.
LEMON: Here's a guy that was thinking, with the price of gasoline hitting another record high, well he is squeezing every inch out of every drop of gas in the tank. Every inch, out of every drop of gas. Would you do this? Consider it.
Here's Reporter Eric Flack, of CNN affiliate WLWT in Cincinnati.
ERIC FLACK, REPORTER, WLWT: Jud Engels isn't the fastest driver.
So if you're not holding up traffic you'll go below the speed limit if you can.
JUD ENGELS, HYPERMILER: If I need to, sure.
FLACK: And he doesn't mind taking a wrong turn on two.
ENGELS: I'm trying to select a route that is the most level, so I do not have up hills and down hills.
FLACK: So we didn't go down the hill because --
ENGELS: I would have to go back up and then it would burn more gas to do that.
FLACK: Engels is what's known as a hypermiler, a group that takes good gas mileage to extremes. When you explain to this people, do they ever think you're kind of goofy, or take it a little bit too seriously?
ENGELS: Well, they do until I pull up this screen and it shows that we've just got 99 miles per gallon.
FLACK: Engels has a hybrid car that he customized with aerodynamic hub caps, an internal antennae to cut down drag, and an on board computer that monitors engine performance. But he says hypermiling is something anyone can do.
ENGELS: Actually, the people that have the regular cars can turn out better percentage results than the hybrids do.
FLACK: So how can you increase your gas mileage by 50 or even 100 percent? Along with using better-known tricks like proper tire pressure, and keeping your windows up and A.C. off, hypermilers try to keep constant motion because they say stopping and starting uses too much gas. They try and time traffic lights, try to avoid braking, where it's safe, and they even park near slopes so they can just throw the car in gear and roll away without hitting the gas. After all, prices like these --
ENGELS: You'll sit on the sidelines and complain, or let's do something about it.
FLACK: Make us all a little hyper.
DE LA CRUZ: So the bottom line here is we've been asking some of you what you're doing to save money, because it just -- it really, really is tough --
LEMON: Yes, it's important. Everyone can use tips and some people may feel like they're at the end of their rope. So, hope these will help you out. Here are the e-mails we've been getting from people who say they are pinching pennies. Bob from Michigan writes this he said, I plan every trip, buy most food in bulk, and don't go anywhere far. He says he pays $150 a tank. At $150 a tank for my SUV it hurts.
DE LA CRUZ: Yes. Well, that's one guy, who has you beat out $75 a tank.
LEMON: Yes, he has a lot of people beat.
DE LA CRUZ: Yes, $150 a tank. James is cutting back on eating out. He writes, my wife and I skip going out to eat once a week, saving $50, Don. When we do go out, we order ice water instead of drinks and we leave only a five percent tip. So this really kind of is, it goes full circle. It really affects everybody.
DE LA CRUZ: They ditched the coffee and bagel every morning at the coffee shop.
LEMON: A lot of people say they're not buying the expensive coffee from whatever the coffee maker is -- whatever one you might go to. Here's one from Jen. Jen says she's also cutting back on food, but in different ways. She writes, my family is saving money by purchasing grocery store brands, selecting lower quality cuts of meat and eating smaller portions. So there you go.
That's what folks are doing there. Cutting back, those are the tips we can offer right now. We'll read more if we get more right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
So, what are you doing to save money? E-mail us at cnnnewsroom.com, and we'll have more of your money saving ideas straight ahead right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Hillary Clinton has widened her lead in our latest poll of polls in Pennsylvania. It suggests 50 percent of likely Democratic voters are in her corner -- 43 percent support her Democratic rival, Barack Obama, seven percent are undecided. And just last week Clinton led by five points. The poll of polls is an average of three surveys in Pennsylvania.
Leading our political ticker today, the final countdown in Pennsylvania, tomorrows Democratic primary is seen as crucial for Hillary Clinton. On this last full day of campaigning she's crisscrossing the state with rallies in Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Barack Obama is also doing some last minute campaigning on his schedule.
A town hall meeting in McKeesport, and a rally in Pittsburgh. Obama is predicting a victory tomorrow in Pennsylvania for Clinton, but the Democratic front runner says his goal is to keep it close. And Obama says, he'll do a lot better than people expect him to do. Pennsylvania is the biggest of the ten contests left on the election calendar.
Obama says even John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, would be an improvement over President Bush, but Obama says either he or Hillary Clinton would be better than McCain. Obama has said more than once that a McCain presidency would amount to a third term for George Bush.
Hillary Clinton now speaking in Pittsburgh at a rally. Earlier we saw her husband introduce her.
We're going to listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
CLINTON: ... Work hard for 54 years until he retired and raised his three sons, and sent my father to Penn State to play football in the 1930s. Governor Rendell asked me if Joe was there then, and I said, I think so. But my family believed in the promise of America, and so do I.
I just want to be sure that that promise is alive and well for our children and our grandchildren, and I know, if we get the leadership that we deserve to have starting next January 20, 2009, we're going to show ourselves and the world there isn't any problem we can't solve if we start acting like Americans again.
So here's what we're going to do. To turn the economy around, we are going to take out of the tax code every single penny of benefit that still goes to companies that export jobs out of Pittsburgh to any foreign country.
We're going to make sure the tax code is fair again, because I don't think it's right that a Wall Street money manager making $50 million a year, pays a lower percentage of his income in taxes than a teacher or a nurse or a truck driver, a worker right here in Pittsburgh making less than $50,000 a year.
LEMON: Hillary Clinton speaking in Pittsburgh talking about taxes and how to make them fair and equal among all Americans. She said it's not fair for business owners and people who make lots of money, more than the average American, to pay less taxes, at least percentage wise. Hillary Clinton today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Barack Obama was speaking earlier in blue bell, Pennsylvania. He will end his day in Pittsburgh as well. They are stomping the whole state, obviously, with tomorrow's primary just a couple of hours away. Veronica?
DE LA CRUZ: And you know, for millions of voters in Pennsylvania, tomorrow's primary is not just a matter of politics, it's also a matter of faith.
CNN's Jim Acosta explains. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ACOSTA: With Catholics making up a third of the Democratic vote in Pennsylvania, they are a force to be reckoned with.
MAUREEN KELLY, CATHOLIC VOTER: I would love to see a woman in office.
ACOSTA: Maureen Kelly who spends her lunch breaks at mid-day mass in Philadelphia is passionate about ending the war in Iraq.
KELLY: And, that's why a lot of people do not want to vote Republican. Because if John McCain gets in, that's going to be a continuation of the Bush administration of war. We need to stop it.
ACOSTA: Hillary Clinton is heavily favored to win over keystone state Catholics, and may get a hand from Barack Obama, who offended some Catholics when he talked about his own daughter's abortion rights.
OBAMA: If they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.
ACOSTA: But Democratic Senator Bob Casey, Obama's top surrogate in Pennsylvania, and a pro-life Catholic himself isn't so sure that punished with a baby comment will be decisive
SEN. BOB CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: That's a difficult burden for someone that young to bear, and I think that's the point he was trying to make.
ACOSTA: Casey believes the Democratic Party is actually engaging Catholics in a way not seen in years by speaking more openly about its faith.
CASEY: It had the image years ago of being a secular party, and I think that was a mistake. So we should talk about it more in a way that's constructive, not as a way to divide, not as a way to dictate.
ACOSTA: And the pope's message to America, which sought to heal, rather than divide, could resonate in Pennsylvania, according to religion and public policy expert, Ram Cnaan.
PROF. RAM CNAAN, UNIV. OF PENNSYLVANIA: I expect a much larger percentage of Catholics in Pennsylvania to go to vote than if it was without the pope visit.
ACOSTA (on-camera): Because they'll be energized.
CNAAN: They'll be energized...
ACOSTA (voice-over): Maureen Kelly is inspired, but says she's uncomfortable mixing politics with her religion.
MAUREEN KELLY, CATHOLIC VOTER: I think the last president emphasized religion, and I don't think he has proven himself with his so-called Christian beliefs.
ACOSTA: She insists her vote is much more than a leap of faith.
DE LA CRUZ: All right. That was Jim Acosta reporting for us -- Don.
LEMON: All right. I think Jim joins us now.
Jim, are you there in philadelphia?
OK. We had a problem with Jim's shot there.
All right. Well, hours from a primary that could make her campaign or break it, Senator Hillary Clinton sits down with our own Larry King for a one-on-one interview. That is "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight at 9:00 Eastern, only on CNN.
And make sure you check out CNN.com/live all day long for campaign speeches, interviews, and much, much more. We're streaming a balanced mix all day long. Again, that's CNN.com/live
Well, so-called stun grenades are supposed to confuse and disorient a potential threat. But why are they hurting the very authorities they're meant to protect? Details on a CNN special investigations unit probe straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
DE LA CRUZ: A hate-filled diary and a frightening plot add up to tight security at a South Carolina high school today -- 18-year-old Ryan Shallenberger (ph) accused of plotting to blow up his classmates. He was arrested on Saturday and today, he was given lawyer at a hearing. The first call to police came from Shallenberger's own parents after bomb-making materials arrived at their doorstep.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF SAM PARKER, CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, S.C.: He admitted to some of my investigators, and myself, that in the past he's experimented with pipe bombs and tried -- in the experimental stages of making explosive devices. The community right now is devastated. This is one of these young guys that just doesn't happen. We just don't see it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DE LA CRUZ: Now police say his Shallenberger's journals suggested that he planned a Columbine-style suicide attack. He's expected back in court tomorrow for a bail hearing.
It is testing day for hundreds of children taken from a polygamous sect in Texas. DNA tests were ordered to help sort out the confusing family relationships. Swabbing the cheeks of all 416 children could take much of this week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN HAYS, ATTORNEY FOR ONE OF THE CHILDREN: Anytime there's a question of parenthood in Texas you're going to have a DNA test. And that's what's going on. And there's no way that was going to be avoided, particularly in this situation where there's so many questions about parentage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DE LA CRUZ: Authorities raided the Yearning For Zion ranch and seized the children based on a phone call alleging abuse. Texas rangers say they're investigating this Colorado woman, Rosita Swinton. They say she might be the caller who claimed to be 16.
LEMON: OK. So they're known as flash bang grenades and that's what they do. They flash, they bang, but they're not supposed to maim or kill. Not at all. Well -- they're certainly not supposed to hurt the federal agents or the soldiers who got them from a contractor right here in Georgia, which has just been hit with a federal indictment.
Our correspondent, Abbi Boudreau, over with CNN's special investigation unit, is here to tell us about that story.
So they're supposed to flash, but not really hurt anyone -- and bang, but not really hurt anyone. But it turns out they may be hurting.
ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Exactly. The indictment is full of some very serious allegations of a coverup to deceive the FBI, bribes to a federal official and a visit to a strip club to influence government contracts. The indictment is against a company called Pyrotechnic Specialties Incorporated, also known as PSI.
It manufactures different types of ammunition, including stun grenades, or flash bang grenades. When a flash bang is detonated, it produces a bright flash and loud bang. They're used to confuse and disorient potential threats.
They're considered nonlethal weapons, though can be very dangerous. PSI had a $15 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to supply these flash bangs. The indictment charges that some of those flash bangs were defective, but instead of fixing the problems, PSI just relabeled the defective flash bangs, and sold them to the FBI and other local law enforcement agencies claiming they were safe.
The indictment also charges that at least three FBI agents suffered, "serious injuries" when those defective flash bangs went off prematurely. Today U.S. attorney Maxwell Wood announced the indictment against PSI and its top officials at a news conference.
Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAXWELL WOOD, U.S. ATTORNEY: Just an unusual situation in this time where we're in a war, and law enforcement and military is -- we're at the forefront of our social consciousness. For an allegation like this to occur it just sort of sticks out in a special way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOUDREAU: The indictment also alleges that PSI's CEO took a Marine official for a "free visit" to the Gold Club, a now closed gentleman's club in Atlanta. Prosecutors say that Marine official later tried to get the Navy to do business with PSI.
We've contacted PSI for comment, and left messages. We have yet to hear back from anyone there.
LEMON: All right. Let's talk about the indictment. Does it mention anything about why PSI didn't just fix the flash bangs?
BOUDREAU: Well it does. It actually says that there was a way to rework the design of the flash bang, and actually fix the problem, but it would have cost about $3.72 to fix that problem. And according to the indictment, the company chose to just slap another label on the defective flash bangs and then resell them.
Of course we're still waiting to hear back from PSI.
LEMON: Very interesting story.
Abbie, thank you very much for that.
BOUDREAU: Thank you.
DE LA CRUZ: A former U.S. president trying to talk peace in the Middle East. Is it doing any good?
DE LA CRUZ: Well, the exiled leader of Hamas says the Islamic fundamentalist group does not plan to recognize Israel, at least not formally. And he rejected Jimmy Carter's request to stop firing on Israel from Gaza.
Khaled Mashal spoke to reporters in Damascus after meeting with Carter. Earlier today, the former president announced Hamas was prepared to live in peace with Israel, if certain conditions are met.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If President Abbas of the Palestinians, and Prime Minister Olmert reach an agreement for peace, and if it is submitted to the Palestinians and the Palestinians themselves approve it, in a referendum to be monitored by the Carter Center and international observers, if the Palestinians approve it, they, Hamas, will accept it, even though Hamas might object to some features of it. Yes. (END VIDEO CLIP)
DE LA CRUZ: So while Carter's outlook is optimistic, officials with the State Department are a bit more skeptical.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM CASEY, DEP. STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: I think if you look back at the history of the rhetoric from Hamas, you see all these -- language about truces and other kinds of issues. But the bottom line is Hamas still believes in the destruction of the state of Israel. They don't believe Israel has a right to exist. And it's pretty hard to see how Hamas becomes any kind of legitimate partner for Israel, or for President Abbas for that matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DE LA CRUZ: U.S. and Israeli governments consider Hamas a terror group and have publicly condemned Carter's talks with Hamas leaders.
LEMON: Crowds of people are fleeing Somalia's capital after a violent weekend that left dozens dead. Somalis describe streets were filled with bodies after clashes between government and Ethiopian troops and Islamic militants.
The Human Rights Group says at least 81 civilians were killed. It accuses the militants of using civilians as human shields and the troops of shelling residential neighborhoods. The militants are trying to seize control of Mogadishu from Somalia's shaky transitional government.
Meantime, just off the coast, pirates are holding 26 crew members from a Spanish fishing boat. Spanish state radio says it reached the pirates by phone, and they want money for the crews' freedom. A senior Spanish official says the government hasn't received any demands. It sent a ship to the area and reached out to the African Union and NATO for help
DE LA CRUZ: Well, a trip to see the girlfriend. It's not usually big news, even for Britain's Prince William, unless you arrive in a major piece of military hardware.
DE LA CRUZ: Well, if you're an ordinary guy with a pretty girlfriend and the keys to a fast car, well, you don't pick her up on a bike. Same goes apparently for the future king of England, except instead of fast car, insert Chinook helicopter.
ITN's Nick Thatcher explains.
NICK THATCHER, ITN REPORTER: If you want a sure-fire way to impress the girlfriend, then landing your helicopter in her back garden might be hard to beat. William, who was recently awarded his R.A.F. Wings, touched down in the field in the grounds of Kate Middleton's family home earlier this month.
The prince was flying a Chinook helicopter, similar to this one. It was the same aircraft he used on a separate occasion to pick up brother Harry en route to a stag party.
Defense officials insist it's all part of his training, but the nature of the flights have raised a few eyebrows in military circles.
COL. BOB STEWART, DEFENSE ANALYST: I think behind the scenes they're furious. This is a shot in the foot you don't need, quite honestly. It's not a big deal, but they're upset because it's an unnecessary piece of adverse publicity at a time when we're so short of helicopters in Afghanistan.
THATCHER: The prince has been on attachment with the R.A.F. as part of preparations for his future role at the head of the Armed Forces.
In a statement, the Ministry of Defense said "Battlefield helicopter crews routinely practice landing in fields and confined spaces...as a vital part of their training for operations." And it says, "This was very much a routine training sortie that achieved essential training objectives."
William is due to complete his flying training at the end of the month and his next attachment with the Royal Navy will see him swap the helicopters and planes for the ships.
Nick Thatcher, ITV News.