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People Gather for Immigration Day Marches; D.C. Madam Believed to Have Committed Suicide; Here Come the Measles

Aired May 1, 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: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live here at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR: And hello. I'm Melissa Long, in today for Kyra Phillips.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And up first, this developing story out of Florida today. Police in Tarpon Springs say they have found -- police say they have found the body of a woman they believe to be Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so- called D.C. madam. They say Palfrey, who was 52 years old, appears to have killed herself in a storage shed near her mother's home.

Now, Palfrey, you may recall, was convicted just last month in federal court of running a prostitution service. Her operation reportedly catered to Washington's elite.

We will have much coming up on this developing story ahead in the NEWSROOM.

LEMON: And while we work on that, we want to tell you about Immigration Day, 2008. It is colorful, it is passionate, and maybe it's divisive.

Marchers and their allies say immigrants, both legal and illegal, deserve better treatment and more legal protections. But critics say people who came to the U.S. illegally have no business making demands.

We're covering events from coast to coast, from New York to Los Angeles to Washington. You're looking at marches already under way, one in Milwaukee and one in Chicago.

And people are gathering this hour at New York's Union Square for an immigration march and rally there. And our Jim Acosta is on the scene.

And Jim, I can see you have a number of people behind you. Pretty big rally?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, it is getting bigger as we go on through the afternoon here. And it's quite loud.

These are those sorts of demonstrations where the loudspeaker is sort of standard operating procedure, and we're seeing that here so far. But protesters calling for an end of immigration raids and deportations will be rallying here in New York and in big cities across the country today.

Organizers launched these May Day, Immigration Day, events back in 2006 to put pressure on the government to essentially, as they put it, have more respect for not only undocumented workers, but for legal immigrants. And last year in Los Angeles, these protests turned somewhat violent when protesters there clashed with police. And for that reason we're going to see a big police presence at these demonstrations coast to coast and right here in New York City.

As far as the immigration debate is concerned, advocates for immigrants say that the undocumented workers are a necessary part of the economy because they do many of the jobs that Americans are unwilling to do. But critics of illegal immigration say that they are a drain on local economies because they overwhelm hospitals and schools.

But against this backdrop of the immigration debate, you will see the Bush administration has stepped up its immigration raids over the last year or so. But advocates for immigrants say that those raids hurt families because what often happens is that the breadwinners in those families are deported and sent out of the country, leaving relatives behind to fend for themselves -- Don.

LEMON: Hey, Jim, what is this group's proposed solution? Do they have a proposed solution on a federal and local level?

ACOSTA: Well, on the federal level, I think what a lot of these groups would like to see is some sort of federal immigration reform. You saw the Bush administration try that with backers in Congress -- that included all three of the presidential candidates, by the way -- that would have created some sort of guest worker program. That obviously did not happen. That bill died in Congress and was not passed.

But on the local level, what these groups would like to see is for local law enforcement agencies not to be deputized by the federal government to be engaged in crackdowns on illegal immigrants. That is happening in states across the country. And these groups out here would like to put a stop to that -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Jim Acosta, Union Square, New York City.

Thank you, sir.

LONG: Now, from New York now to L.A., Immigration Day in Los Angeles means several different marches all converging downtown. Now, most people remember last year's violence. Police vow it will not happen again.

Let's check in now with CNN Ted Rowlands, who joins us live from Los Angeles -- Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here in Los Angeles, as Jim was talking about, they are expecting large numbers, not sure exactly how much. But they are expecting large crowds. And three separate marches are going to be taking place here in Los Angeles. We're in MacArthur Park, which is where, as Jim also talked about, last year things really went downhill when police and protesters clashed in this park. This year they're gathered here in this park. A few people have started to gather already.

Today, throughout the day, this will be one of the meeting spots. People will be leaving from this park and going down city hall to join other marchers.

Same theme. They're looking comprehensive immigration reform. A lot of these groups, they want more respect.

They really feel like two years ago especially, when the huge numbers came out across the nation, they had an opportunity to really change the way America looked at immigrants and illegal immigrants. And they're seizing on that.

And they want this to be an annual event. So there's a lot of pressure within the communities here in Los Angeles and across the country to come out and take part of this.

On the flip side, the Los Angeles police well aware that things went bad last year, and they've taken some of the blame. They've retrained a lot of the officers.

They have changed their tactics. They have a new plan. Instead of clearing people out when there's trouble, if there's trouble, they're going to go in and just take out that trouble, pull them away and let the peaceful protesters and marchers continue about their business.

There were a lot of mistakes made last year, according to LAPD. And they are vowing that will not happen again this year. We will wait and see and be here throughout the day -- Melissa.

LONG: Ted Rowlands, live from L.A., where it's 11:00 in the morning.

So we've covered L.A., we've covered New York, and now the nation's capital.

LEMON: Absolutely. A big rally is also planned in Washington.

Juan Carlos Lopez of CNN en Espanol joins us now from the National Mall.

And of course, Juan Carlos, this is where any laws would be made if it affects immigration. What are people saying there?

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN EN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to be a two-stage process in Washington. A group of about 35 people has been visiting both the DNC, the RNC, delivering a letter to the head of both political parties and to the presidential candidates, asking them for immigration reform and for a stop to immigration raids. That's the first thing they're doing. They're now in front of the Capitol building. And then around 4:00, they'll be at a park in D.C. And that's where they expect a large gathering.

Now, we have to say that in 2006, thousands came to the Mall and protested in different parts of the capital. But in 2007, the numbers went down. And we'll see what happens today.

For now, the numbers are low. But that's part of the strategy. There's going to be a press conference in a few minutes. And that's when we're going to hear specifically what they want.

But the main request they have is immigration reform, something that isn't happening right now in Congress. Only hearings to talk about border enforcement have been arranged. And that's been a source of controversy, not only between people who favor immigration reform, but also legislators. Members of the Hispanic Caucus have lashed out against the Democratic leadership saying that they're not working, that they're no different than Republicans on this topic.

LEMON: Juan Carlos Lopez, CNN en Espanol, joining us now from Washington.

Thank you very much for that, sir.

And if you'd like to watch any of the rallies or speeches taking place all across the country today, just go to CNN.com/live. We'll be streaming them live all day long -- Melissa.

LONG: As promised, we're continuing to follow that developing story out of Florida, where police in the community of Tarpon Springs say they have found the woman believed to be the body -- the body of the woman believed to be the so-called D.C. madam.

Let's bring in a journalist with radio station WTOP. It's an all news radio station out of the capital region. And the journalist's name, Neal Augenstein.

Thanks so much for your time, Neal.

NEAL AUGENSTEIN, REPORTER, WTOP: Thank you.

LONG: So, help us to understand, of course, as we're all trying to piece together the story, that police are saying now they believe it is Deborah Jeane Palfrey.

AUGENSTEIN: That's what the police are saying in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Hearing the news, I can't begin to say that I know what was going on in Jeane Palfrey's head. We did come to have a friendly professional relationship before and during her trial through e-mails and conversations on the phone, and even in court on the day that she was convicted.

She was always polite and understood the job that reporters had to do. But she was also unswayable in proclaiming her innocence.

I do know that several times Jeane said she would be dammed if federal prosecutors would convict her. And I know that she considered any jail time a life sentence, even though she faced far less time than that when she was sentenced in June. So, if it turns out that Jeane Palfrey killed herself to avoid spending even one day behind bars, I wouldn't be surprised.

LONG: She was facing -- I'm looking at the results of the trial -- a maximum, I believe, of 55 years. You're saying she would likely not have received a maximum sentence.

Earlier, our CNN producer, Paul Corson (ph), who's been covering the trial -- you mentioned you were covering the trial -- called her a fighter. Would you say the same thing?

AUGENSTEIN: I would say that those are very good -- very good words. She was a -- she was certainly very outspoken. She was a bit conspiratorial.

She did believe that this case was more than just a prostitution- based case. She believed that for some reason, federal prosecutors, perhaps from pressure from everyone from the CIA to the FBI to the White House, pressured federal prosecutors to go after her.

This is the first time that federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia ever used the racketeering charge to go after a prostitution-related person. And she believes that there was a more nefarious, more sinister reason behind the charge.

LONG: Neal Augenstein from the WTOP Radio all news network in that radio station out of Washington.

Neal, thank you so much.

And a reminder that that operation reportedly catered to Washington's political elite.

Again, the police in Florida, in that community of Tarpon Springs, believe they have found the body of the woman known as the D.C. madam.

It's a story we'll continue to follow for you today in the NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Also, we have new cause for U.S. combat vets to seek help for mental health problems. It's welcome news for troops who had reason to keep their problems secret.

LONG: Also ahead, what happens to young boys when the culture they're raised in says they're not needed?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LONG: The measles eradicated, finally wiped out. That's what the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, told us eight years ago now. Apparently not, though.

More than 60 cases of measles have popped up this year alone. And with those cases, a compelling argument for vaccinations.

Let me bring in CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, who joins us more with this big news story that's developing from the medical world.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And you know what? I think eight years ago no one saw this coming. No one saw this coming.

But as more and more parents have been just saying no to the measles vaccine because they're concerned it could cause autism, well, guess what? If you don't vaccinate kids against the measles, they get the measles.

And so this new report from the CDC that has just come out this afternoon, it has some numbers that are really quite stunning. As Melissa said, in 2000 the CDC said, hey, we've eliminated measles, they declared it eliminated.

2004, 37 cases. 2005, 66 cases. You can see it creeping up. In 2008, only between January and April 25, not even four months, 64 cases.

And Melissa, we have just learned of another eight cases in addition to that in Washington State, three confirmed and five suspected. And these are people who are all in one family.

LONG: OK. So, the 64, plus the eight you just mentioned, what do we know about them -- ages, demos?

COHEN: They are of all ages, and one-third of them are children -- babies, rather. Babies under the age of 15 months. And when you look at the older children who got the measles, most of them were unvaccinated because their parents don't believe in vaccinations.

LONG: Take us back. Remind us, what was it like before we even had access to that vaccination?

COHEN: Right, it's easy to forget because we're talking, like, 40 years ago. So, before the measles vaccine existed, this is what happened -- you would have three to four million people infected each year. Four hundred to 500 people dying of the measles each year. There have been no deaths this year. Forty-eight thousand hospitalized, and 1,000 people became disabled because of the measles.

LONG: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

And don't forget to the health page at CNN.com to get more insight from Elizabeth.

LEMON: Four hundred and sixty-three children taken from their polygamist community in Texas. Would it surprise you to learn most of the teenagers are girls? What happened to the boys? A young man banished by the sect tells us his story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BUSINESS REPORT)

LONG: Of course, the scars of war are not all visible. Acknowledging this and recognizing this, the Pentagon announcing today a new policy that considers the impact on troops' minds and their spirits.

To get more on this, let's bring in Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Melissa, the Pentagon is moving to ease the fears of thousands of U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with war-related anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, who fear that seeking psychiatric help or mental help will harm their careers and possibly cost them their security clearances.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, touring a facility down in Fort Bliss, Texas, today designed to help soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, announced that the Pentagon will change what he called the infamous question 21. This is a question that soldiers have to answer to get a security clearance, and the old question, simply said, "In the last seven years, have you consulted a mental health professional or another mental health care provider about a mental health-related condition?"

And that's the question that people were afraid to answer. They thought it might hurt their careers.

So they've changed the question. It's now essentially the same question, but it has a second part to it -- advice to the soldiers to "answer no if the counseling is for marital, family grief, not related to violence by you, or adjustments from service in combat." In other words, they'll no longer have to reveal their previous mental health treatment unless it was court ordered or involved violence. And it says right in the question, "Mental health counseling in and of itself is not a reason to revoke or deny a clearance."

The Pentagon today, the Joint Chiefs chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen, said he thinks this will make a big difference in the way troops view the problem of mental health and getting help for it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADM. MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Psychological health and fitness is no different than physical health and fitness. Both are readiness issues. Both are leadership issues.

Getting this question changed is a terrific step to achieving better readiness for the individual and for the service. I hope it's also a great first step in changing our culture.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MCINTYRE: Now, the Pentagon says the problem isn't as bad as some soldiers think. They say the reality is that less than one percent of security clearances are denied because of some mental health issues. But a survey by the American Psychiatric Association showed that three out of five service members believed it would hurt their career. And that's what this question is aimed at reassuring them, that they can have the kind of routine care that they need when they come back from a stressful situation without feeling that it's going to stop them from getting security clearances or advance in their career -- Melissa.

LONG: And so important to get that care because of what they've experienced, what they've seen. You know, that infamous question 21, is that being changed at this moment?

MCINTYRE: Yes. From now on -- it's actually a little bit longer than what we showed you on the air there. It has more explanation for why they can answer the question if they have to, how to explain it. And it tells them very specific times when they don't have to reveal any counseling that they've had. So, for instance, routine therapy, just to deal with the stress and the adjustment of war, that's not something they have to reveal.

LONG: Hopefully that will reassure them that they can get the care that they certainly need and often very, very much deserve after their care serving overseas.

Senior Pentagon Correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.

Thank you.

LEMON: We're going to update you now on a developing story coming out of Florida. Police in Tarpon Springs said they found the body of a woman they believe to be Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so- called D.C. madam.

They say Palfrey, who was 52-years-old, appears to have killed herself in a storage shed near her mother's home. Now, Palfrey, you might recall, was convicted last month in federal court of running a prostitution service. Her operation reportedly catered to Washington's political elite.

Joining us now by telephone, Senior CNN Producer rich Phillips, now on the scene.

What are you witnessing there, Rich?

RICH PHILLIPS, CNN SR. PRODUCER: Hi, Don. How are you today?

We're outside. This is obviously a fairly good-sized crime scene. We're being told that the body of the person that was found is still inside.

Also inside this modest trailer home is the mother who did find the body here. We're being told by police right now that, again, there still is no official confirmation as to who this is. But this is a very active crime scene. We're expected to be updated by police at about 3:30 p.m. here at this trailer park.

I've had a bit of an opportunity to talk to some neighbors here in this 55 and older community here in Tarpon Springs, which is just north of Tampa. And one person who I did speak with who did know Ms. Palfrey said he had seen her often here and that after everything had begun in Washington with the various troubles that she was facing, she just hadn't been quite the same.

She wasn't normal after she got here, he said. And like I said, right now we're awaiting the medical examiner to come here and begin the investigation here to try to identify who exactly this person is -- Don.

LEMON: And Rich, did you press them when they said not normal? Did they talk about her demeanor, her routine, what she did every day, how often they saw her?

PHILLIPS: The people I talked to saw her quite often here. She was a fixture here. People knew her.

Out of respect for her mother, they're really very hesitant to talk about this. And quite honestly, they're a little shocked at this whole thing. This is a small, peaceful community here. This kind of thing -- they're not used to this kind of media attention -- Don.

LEMON: Yes, I can only imagine.

On the scene for us, Rich Phillips.

Real quick, if you can just give us an idea of police officers, media, what it looks like from your vantage point, where you are, if you're on the scene, outside of the entrance to the park. Tell us what's going on.

PHILLIPS: Sure. We're actually inside.

I'm probably about 50 feet or so away from this trailer. It's a pink and white double-wide trailer, an American flag flying in the front yard. And lots of yellow crime scene tape -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Senior CNN producer Rich Phillips on the scene there in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where it is believed, police tell us, the body of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who is the D.C. madam, they think they found her in a shed on that property.

Details to come right here on CNN -- Melissa.

LONG: Four hundred sixty-three children taken from the polygamist community in Texas. Would it surprise you to learn the majority of those teens are girls? Well, what happened to the boys? A young man banished by the sect will tell you his story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Hello everyone, I'm Don Lemon live here at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. LONG: And hello, I'm Melissa Long , in today for Kyra Phillips.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

It's a busy day here in the CNN NEWSROOM. We're working on several developing stories. Including this one, breaking news out of Florida. Tarpon Springs police say they found the body of a woman believed to be the so-called D.C. Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey. She appears to have committed suicide. She was convicted last month on running a prostitution service that catered to Washington's elite.

One student killed and a dozen others were injured when a school bus collided with a dump truck today in northern Kentucky. Most of the children who were injured have been treated and released.

And rallies are being held around the nation this hour to mark Immigration Day. Immigration rights supporters are marching to demand legal status for illegal immigrants.

LONG: Let's get more now on that story Don just mentioned, police saying they found the body of a woman believed to be the so- called D.C. Madam. You see her there on the left, Deborah Jeane Palfrey in some file video.

Kathleen Koch joining us now live from Washington with more on this developing story -- Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Melissa, the news came out in a release from police in Tarpon Springs, Florida, which is just outside Tampa, that came out about 1:00 p.m. today. And they said they had found the body of a woman that they believe to be Deborah Jeane Palfrey, as you mentioned, otherwise known as the D.C. Madam.

The body has not yet been positively identified. But they are calling it an apparent suicide.

The release says they've concluded that in part because -- well first of all, let's talk about where the body was found. It was found in a small storage shed located on the west side of a mobile home on property that's owned by Blanch Palfrey. Palfrey, 52, was reportedly staying at the home of her mother.

The statement put out by police says, again, they conclude it may have been a suicide because handwritten notes were found on the scene that described the victim's intention to take her life. The release says foul play does not appear to have been involved.

Palfrey, as you may remember, was convicted last month in connection with a high-speed prostitution ring that catered to Washington D.C.s elite. She was found guilty of, among other things, money laundering, racketeering, mail fraud. She was awaiting sentencing in July facing potential of roughly 50 years in jail.

CNN has been able to reach one of her attorneys, Blair Sibley. He would not confirm the reports. But he did say he was, "devastated to hear news adding." Adding that, "if it turns out to be true, it is a tragic loss of life. At least one lawmaker, Louisiana Senator David Vitter, a Republican, his name turned up in the phone records of Palfrey's business. State Department official Randall Tobias resigned in May of last year after confirming that he too had patronized Palfrey's business.

According to those who covered her trial closely, Palfrey was a fighter. She always argued from the start what she ran was a legitimate, legal escort service. She had served jail time in the 1990s on other charges. And in a very telling interview with ABC News last year, she vowed she'd never go back, saying, "I'm not going to be going to federal prison for one day, let alone four to eight years" Melissa.

LONG: As you mentioned, convicted earlier this year, last month, of running that prostitution ring that catered to Washington's elite.

So what is everybody talking about today about this in Washington?

KOCH: What does this mean to the investigation? Does it then grind to a halt?

Obviously, that's something that many people are wondering -- where will it go from here. So certainly, one thing that many people are waiting now to hear from are the authorities in the case, the Justice Department, U.S. Attorney's office, what happens next. We may be getting some news from them in the next hour or so.

LONG: OK. Looking forward to hearing possibly news.

Kathleen Koch, thank you so much for the update.

Kathleen mentioned also waiting we're to hear from police, 3:30 in the afternoon we have found out they are scheduling a news conference. That's the police out of Tarpon Springs, that's outside of Tampa, Florida. When that starts, we'll bring it to you live here on CNN.

LEMON: All right. Well, they're born into a polygamist community. And until they become teenagers, they live a structured and an isolated life.

Look at this breakdown of the children taken recently from the polygamist ranch in Texas. The number of girls and boys are basically even, until they get to the age of 13. After that, the girls far outnumber the boys.

What happens?

In some cases, the boys are told to leave, to forget about their family and friends. Brent Jeffs considers himself the unofficial leader of these lost boys. Hundreds have been helped by Dr. Dan Fischer and the group he founded. Both are joining us today from Salt Lake City.

Thank you both for joining us. OK. So we hear a lot. We've been hearing a lot from some of the women who were inside of the sect. We don't hear a lot from the boys and from the men.

And I have to ask you, Brent, you had a lawsuit against the sect or one of the leaders of the sect. And then when Warren Jeffs was arrested and put in prison, you dropped it. Why did you do that?

BRENT JEFFS, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: Well, our whole purpose for all of this was to get Warren stopped and take him out of the seat that he was in in the church, and get him put away and get him tried for what he was charged for. And so our main goal was just to stop him and get him in jail where he belongs. So we felt the need that -- we got what we wanted in this.

LEMON: So Brent -- again, hang on one second, Dan.

We've been hearing a lot, again, about the girls, and then recent allegations about broken bones and also about abuse among the boys, physical, as well as sexual, abuse. It is suspected that many of the girls were sexually abused. But you say it's not just the girls, it's the boys as well.

JEFFS: Yes. It is the boys, also, just like the girls. The sexual abuse happens, and the physical abuse happens also. It's not just the girls.

LEMON: Dan, go ahead, make your point.

DR. DAN FISCHER, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: To the credit of these young boys who are involved in this lawsuit, these boys, each one independently, when I interviewed them, made it clear that they did not want anything to jeopardize the homes of their parents. This was not about money.

They were determined to try and bring a change, to try to bring security of the homes to their families. So these young men, including Brent, all stood up and said we don't want the money. We just want security.

LEMON: Brent, here is your chance. Really take us inside this sect. We've heard so many things, and some things have been -- there are allegations that people inside the sect who say this is simply not true, there's no sexual abuse going on. We don't have sex with girls who are underage. We don't have sex -- no one has really talked about the boys.

But take us inside. Why might these mothers be making excuses for their own children?

JEFFS: It's 100 percent -- it's fear. It's what they've been trained since they were young -- that this stuff that goes on is swept under the rug and no one is to know about it.

LEMON: Like what? What do you mean stuff that goes on? JEFFS: Well, these sexual abuses that go on, these underage marriages. These young girls getting married to these older men. They're taught to do exactly what these older men and the prophet tell them to do.

It's just all swept under the rug. And they are not to talk about it. And they do not talk about it in fear of them losing their children and their families.

LEMON: We were saying -- when you reach 13, at least when you're a boy, when you become a boy, the numbers drop off. You were there until you were 15.

JEFFS: Yes.

LEMON: Why do the numbers drop off? I think most people know. But I want you to tell us, since you were inside.

JEFFS: The reason why those numbers do drop off is these young men are -- they're competition for these older men getting these younger wives. And it poses a big problem for these older men. And a lot of these younger men, also, are now starting to figure things out and what's really going on in there.

LEMON: And so when the young men figure things out, what happens? Do they confront the older men? Or, again, are they just competition to the older men for the younger girls?

JEFFS: Well these younger men, when they start figuring out what's going on, the prophet, you will usually just say -- they'll tell the dad, you need to get him out of here. And so the dad will just -- they'll take the young man to the edge of town and drop him off. It's horrible.

LEMON: Drop them off and they have nowhere to go.

JEFFS: They have nowhere to go. It's such a sad thing. That's why we started this wonderful organization for these lost boys is to help them land on their feet and have some good education and everything else.

LEMON: And Dan Fischer, again, is the person who is helping with all of these lost boys, officially since July of 2004. But Dan, you said you've been helping much longer than that. Unfortunately, to both of you, we are running out of time.

But man, we certainly appreciate Brent you being so honest and Dan for you joining us, as well. And of course we wish you both the best of luck.

JEFFS: Thank you.

FISCHER: Thank you kindly.

LONG: Appreciate that honesty and that openness, of course. Well the Earth is on the move again. You may have actually felt it depending on where you live. A 4.4 magnitude earthquake shook the town of Lake Isabella, California. That's outside of Bakersfield, as you can see on the map right there. That was early this morning.

We haven't heard yet of any injuries or damage, or in Palm Springs, where another moderate quake jolted that area last night. Milder quakes have also been recorded in the past 24 hours near Mount Carmel -- that's in Illinois. That's where a 5.2 magnitude quake was centered last month.

A lot of people may be curious about the seismic activity. We've been following it now since last month, as we mentioned. Let's bring in Chad Myers.

Chad, help us to understand why we keep seeing these small, albeit, small, but still earthquakes happening in these communities.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Still aftershock -- I'm sure of the one here in Illinois -- still being aftershocks of the original one, Melissa.

But these are all of the earthquakes that have happened this week so far. So we kind of go back seven days. It doesn't start on Monday, it will start seven days ago today. You can see some actually fairly large quakes here in the four to five range.

There's the one right there, the 4.4, that happened in California today. And then another little red dot on top of it, kind of a 1.2 aftershock, 1.2, very small, even probably not feelable at that point, even though it was very shallow.

On the other side is where the new madrid (ph) area is down here. There have been a couple earthquakes here, not related to the original quake which was up here in Illinois. So yes, the Earth is moving, the Earth is shaking a little bit.

We can blame it on a few things if you'd like. One thing could be the lunar tides. The moon actually pulls the Earth, and so does the sun. As you start to get the new moon or the full moon, that pull is bigger. And you will know if you're an astronomer or if you're a furmarniner (ph), you will know that the spring tides, or the high tides of the year, and so that pull is a little bit bigger here.

So that pull happens on the new moon, and also on the full moon. That's when the Earth gets bigger and smaller because the tides go up and down.

Other than that, we're in pretty good shape. There hasn't really been anything significant, no real big underwater tsunami earthquakes in the past couple of weeks. And so it's actually been fairly tranquil as it all goes to go.

But we'll talk about something else in the next hour, snow coming into Denver and significant severe weather across parts of the Midwest for the next couple of days. Snow, storms and fire danger. Three different things you don't see on a map all the time at the same time, Melissa.

LONG: And three different things you also don't say on May 1.

MYERS: That's right.

LONG: All right. We'll continue to talk about the storm. Looking also forward to seeing more of those pictures from outside Denver. A lot of snow there.

Thanks, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

LEMON: Well you've heard what Barack Obama has to say about the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Well find out what Michelle Obama, his wife, has to say as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right so the political ticker starts with another dose of health care reform from John McCain. Again today, the presumptive Republican nominee is pushing his plan to offer tax credits to help the uninsured buy coverage. He visited the Cleveland Clinic on his second stop in northeast Ohio in ten days.

Both Democratic candidates are in Indiana, whose primary is Tuesday. Accompanied by her daughter and mother, Hillary Clinton discussed her ideas for helping working families. She says the government should give tax credits to workers who take time off to care for relatives.

Barack Obama plans three stops today speaking to senior citizens in Columbia City. He accused drug companies of charging too much for prescriptions.

LONG: Michelle Obama does not want to talk about Jeremiah Wright. But the former family pastor did come up during a lengthy interview with the wife of the Democratic front-runner. And that interview was with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You've been taken out of context. At what point did you stop empathizing with your pastor and you thought, here's something that's over the line, it's over the top, this is it? How did you make that decision?

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SEN. BARACK OBAMA: With all due respect, we're just moving forward. I think Barack was so clear and has been so open about this issue, and he speaks for me as well. And I think the timing and sort of the details and the process is -- it just isn't relevant to what we're trying to do.

So yes, it was painful. Yes, it's been difficult. But I think that, you know, the more difficult thing that this country is facing is really trying to move politics into conversations around problems and problem solving. And that's what we're going to be pretty determined to do. And I think -- this is about all I'm going to say on the issue. And I think that we're going to close this chapter and move into the next phase of this election. So with that, I'm hoping that we'll talk about something else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LONG: And you can hear more of that interview next hour in the NEWSROOM, including Mrs. Obama's views on a joint ticket with Hillary Clinton.

LEMON: President Bush may be the most unpopular president in modern history. A new CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll puts his approval rating at 28 percent, and his disapproval rating at 71 percent. The disapproval mark is the highest going back to the Truman administration. Public approval for the Iraq war has also hit a new low.

All the latest campaign news is right at your finger trips. Just go to CNNPolitics.com. We also have analysis from the best political team on television. It's all there at CNNPolitics.com.

LONG: And there are hard times on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDUARDO GUTIERREZ, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: I've seen the recession back in the '90s. But this is worse as far as I can tell. This is really bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LONG: How the U.S. economic slowdown is now hitting home in Mexico.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LONG: Almost lunch hour in Los Angeles. But people today are passionate on this third May Day event. People are marching through the streets, not only of Los Angeles, but so many cities across the country.

These live pictures from our affiliate KABC showing you the groups that are gathering right there, carrying American flags. And of course there was violence last year in Los Angeles focused around this May Day event. The police in L.A. vowing you won't see that this year.

There are three rallies going on L.A. today. MacArthur Park, Olympic and Broadway. And they'll all converge and meet and march to city hall. I mentioned Los Angeles, New York as well, Atlanta, Houston, Washington, Chicago. The rallies happening all around the country today.

We're following them for you on CNN NEWSROOM. And you can also follow those marches and rallies happening online by going to CNN.com/live.

LEMON: Melissa, millions of illegal migrant workers aren't working only for themselves. They send money back home to their families. And when times are hard in the U.S., they're hard in the migrant's home countries too.

CNN's Harris Whitbeck takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Times are tough in Tejaro, Mexico. Camilo Isquerido (ph) is 77-years-old and diabetic. His livestock is his lifeline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm sick and I have been sick for quite some time. The medicine keeps getting more expensive. And I just don't know what to do anymore.

WHITBECK: He and his wife have 13 children. Seven moved to the United States, including the eldest, Eduardo, now a legal U.S. resident living in Los Angeles. Every month he mails $200 back home to pay for his father's medicine.

But several months ago, the money stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He says things are getting too expensive over there. He even says things are worse there in California than over here.

WHITBECK (on-camera): As the money from his son started to dwindle, Camilo started selling off some of his goats to buy medicine. He used to have about 130 goats, he's now down to about 40.

But to make matters even worse, a drought in the area pushed up the price of the feed for his remaining livestock. Camilo is now really hoping the U.S. economy will rebound so at least some money will start flowing in.

(voice-over): Eduardo works as a window installer, his hours have recently been slashed.

GUTIERREZ: I've seen the recession back in the '90s. But this is worse as far as I can tell. This is really bad.

WHITBECK: Not being able to help his parents hurts.

GUTIERREZ: It is tough. In a way I kind of feel bad I can't help my parents.

WHITBECK: Lots of other families in Tejaro rely on help from relatives working in the United States. Eduardo says he's not thinking of leaving the U.S. yet, but knows Mexicans who are.

GUTIERREZ: They're doing bad right now. A lot of people are doing bad.

WHITBECK: Hard times on both sides of the border.

Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Tejaro, Mexico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: If you'd like to watch any of the rallies or speeches taking place all across the country today, just go to CNN.com/live. We'll be streaming them all day long, live.

LONG: Floodwaters in Maine forcing hundreds of people from their homes. Will they be able to return today?

LEMON: Back to the basics for a farmer in Oklahoma. Amid the rising price of diesel, a return to old school.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LONG: Sixty acres and a mule. Well actually, I'm sorry, two mules. Their names, Becky and Connie. And behind the reigns there, that's Lonnie Shockley. With the cost of diesel now about $4.25 a gallon, this Oklahoma farmer figured he'd park that tractor and save a little bit of money.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LONNIE SHOCKLEY, FARMER: I can cultivate it in a day's time with my mules.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LONG: Who can argue with him? Plus, you kind of get the feeling he likes this new ride. Shockley told our affiliate, KWTV, nothing like plowing on a windy day.

The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM Starts right now.

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