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Severe Weather Kills Eight; Democratic Candidates; Conserve Gas; Guam Matters

Aired May 3, 2008 - 12:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: All right, severe weather on the march again today and another line of storms pushing across Kentucky and Tennessee right now, this after storms killed at least eight people in Arkansas, yesterday.
Take a look at this funnel cloud as it moves across an Arkansas field. It's part of a storm system that tore up parts of four states, Oklahoma, Arkansas, eastern Kansas and western Missouri, all hit hard by storms. Two dozen people were damaged, 350 homes damaged or destroyed. And forecasters are telling us that more than 25 tornadoes may have touched down in the last two days.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get out, there's a tornado heading towards there. Get out right now!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am so glad you are alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not real. When you watch it on TV, it's not real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until it happens to you.



WHITFIELD: And we have been keeping close tabs on the storms as they move into the southeast. Our Sean Callebs is in Damascus, Arkansas, he joins us live.

And Sean, it seems like the poor folks in Arkansas are hit all too often.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You are exactly right and where we are standing, about two miles from here, less than three months ago, a tornado punished that region as well. But, just look at this devastation from yesterday. From what witnesses tell us, a couple of tornadoes actually came in right over the horizon and these were well defined, very broad at the top, then and narrowed down to where the winds were extremely punishing.

Look at the tree. We are not talking about an old diseased, dead tree, this was a giant, healthy tree with an active root system, just picked up and tossed down. But this is really what stands out when you drive down into an area, this house, simply splintered, the foundation is actually back there. It was picked up and tossed down and just smashed right by this road.

We're actually about a couple of miles from Highway 65 which was really hit. Here you see a gentleman with the local utility company. They're out right now trying to restore power.

I want to point your attention down that way. You see a house with a blue roof on it. We came back from there, that place is simply devastated. That is Doyce Stevenson's. He's 69-year-old, he has lived there 20 years. Well, one year ago he had the foresight to build a shelter, an underground shelter. We spoke with him a couple of minutes ago, he was able to go back in the shelter just minutes before the storm hit, and that probably saved his life. Listen to what he has to say.


DOYCE STEVENSON, TORNADO SURVIVOR: You don't want to go through it because it is not fun. Inside that storm there was literally no oxygen and outside, so dark you couldn't see.

CALLEBS: Can you open it up and give us a look? Now, what happened, the storm was coming through...

STEVENSON: I run in here and then I stood and held that door so it wouldn't pull back out.

CALLEBS: So, you grabbed this?

STEVENSON: I was holding that and behind that wall.

CALLEBS: About how long?

STEVENSON: Oh, 10 minutes at least.

CALLEBS: And what was it like? Describe what it was like beforehand and once you were in there. What did it sound like, what did it feel like?

STEVENSON: It sounded like a dern train coming through. It was rough. I'm lucky.

CALLEBS: You holding up okay, sir?


CALLEBS: I know it's got to be tough, you lost some friends yesterday and your daughter over there, they lost their home, and you got a lot of friends here helping you today?

STEVENSON: Oh, yeah. Plenty.

CALLEBS: Tell me a bit what the conditions were like. You say it was so dark just before the tornadoes come over the horizon. Will you ever forget seeing the two tornadoes? STEVENSON: No, I will never forget it, and I hope that will hold up as well as it did this time.

CALLEBS: Sixty-nine years old, but I imagine, you've never had 10 more terrifying minutes in your life.

STEVENSON: No, never have, and I hope they don't happen again.


CALLEBS: Boy, Doyce is country tough and very difficult day, yesterday.

You see a live picture now, utility companies out. They're beginning to stretch the lines, if they can, to restore the power back to this area, which has been in the dark now for more than 24 hours. And about a quarter mile over that hill, a house took a direct hit. We talked about the neighbors that Doyce lost in the tornado, a home just splinter, three people perished there among the eight people who were killed in Arkansas, yesterday.

Fredricka, what a dramatic change in weather conditions. Today, you see these blue skies, these white puffy clouds, people are looking at it and thinking you know, maybe this is a sign of a rebirth, maybe we're going to come back together, heavy hearts from the loss from yesterday, but really, people trying to just put their best foot forward, today -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, well, that's the best way in which to do it, I guess. All right, Sean Callebs, thanks to much.

Well, a Michigan couple credits divine intervention with saving them from violent weather.


TIMOTHY NELSON, HOME HIT BY LIGHTNING: I had the computer on as we were doing our Bible study, and all of the sudden we heard this explosion, and it seemed like the room had exploded. It jarred us to the point where we were like knocked back. Yeah, and fell on our knees.

SAUNDRA NELSON, HOME HIT BY LIGHTNING: We started to smell smoke and my husband ran outside and he saw a fire on the side of the house.


WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh, close call. Lightning shot through the couple's Detroit home, blowing the thermostat off of the wall and damaging the molding. The lightning strike also ignited a fire on the house siding. The firefighters were able to put it out.

Real close calls, but violent weather all of the way around. Reynolds Wolf is in the Severe Weather Center.

Violent weather in the past 48 hours, which has been extraordinary?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it has been pretty severe, no question about it. We've had the tornadoes in many places. We've had tornadoes in Kansas into Missouri, Louisiana; we talked about some in Tennessee. It has been amazing, of course, we had the lightning damage in parts of the Detroit area, up in Michigan, so it has been crazy.

We have good news though, Fred. I'm sure you want to hear it. Let's tell you the good news. As we go to the weather computer, you will notice that the tornado watch no longer in effect, but we still see this big yellow box in parts of Alabama and parts of the Florida Panhandle, that is your severe thunderstorm watch, that will remain in effect for the next hour. However, many of these storms moving offshore into the Gulf of Mexico which is fantastic news because the farther out into the Gulf it goes the fewer people that they will effect, and that is certainly wonderful thing to see.

At the same time some of the showers that we see in parts of southern and central Alabama, light to moderate showers, not the same dynamics that produced the round of severe weather that we saw over the past couple of days. And the farther north we go, the more tranquil the weather becomes and even farther up into the U.P. Of Michigan, we're seeing just a little bit of snow forming just way north of Green Bay and not far from Traverse City, this is your area of low pressure, your frontal boundary, very well defined.

And as this storm system moves a tough the east, you have a lot of dry air that's vecting (ph) into parts of, say, Missouri into Arkansas where Sean Callebs was reporting live, just moments ago. They may have temperatures below the freezing point, tonight. So, we're going to have a much, much drier, cooler, more stable air mass that is going to be replacing the rough weather we have had over the last 24 to 48 hours. Fred, back to you.

WHITFIELD: OK, thanks so much. I know you're going to be busy throughout the day.

WOLF: You bet.

WHITFIELD: All right, thank you, Reynolds.

Well, now let's go to presidential politics. Every delegate counts in the race for the Democratic nomination. This morning the fight focuses on caucuses conducted earlier today in the tiny U.S. territory of Guam.

Early results show Barack Obama leading. The focus now shifts to North Carolina and Indiana, their primaries just three days away. We go live now to CNN's Jim Acosta in North Carolina where Hillary Clinton is campaigning there, today -- Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka, that is right. Hillary Clinton will be campaigning at the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame later today and there is no checkered flag in this race for the Democratic nomination yet, but Hillary Clinton is gaining on Barack Obama, here in North Carolina. If you look at the latest CNN Poll of Polls, Hillary Clinton just nine points behind Barack Obama, 51 percent for Obama and 49 percent for Hillary Clinton, and that is a narrowing of the gap that Senator Obama held in this state in recent weeks, and better news for Hillary Clinton and one of these key remaing states in the battle for the Democratic nomination.

Both of these candidates, last night, were the headliners at the Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner, a Democratic Party dinner in Raleigh, North Carolina, a different part of the state, last night, both of these candidates are making their final arguments this week. And Hillary Clinton, who proposed that gas tax holiday, earlier this week, she told the crowd she will be the true champion of working class voters.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Democratic Party is the party of working class and middle-class families. It's the party of progress, it's the party of all of those who need a president on your side, and a champion in your corner. I'm running for president to be that champion, and to be that fighter to make sure we take our country back.


ACOSTA: As for Senator Obama, he has been sharply critical of that gas tax proposal. He is promising what he considers to be more realistic solutions for the American people. He is saying to voters, here in North Carolina and in Indiana, that it is time for the voting public out there to turn the page.


BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can spend $10 billion a month in Iraq, we can spend $10 billion a month right here in North Carolina putting the American people back to work and creating the infrastructure for the 21st century.



ACOSTA: And as for Senator Obama, he is spending the day today in Indiana, we will see him ice-skating, yes ice-skating with his daughters in one part of the Hoosier state and then earlier in the day, before he goes to that ice-skating event, he is expected to have a potluck dinner at a home that was once owned by his mother's side of the family. So, that might sound familiar. Barack Obama emphasizing some of his roots there in Indiana, sort of like Hillary Clinton did in Pennsylvania before the big primary there in the keystone state, Fredricka. And so, both of these candidates fighting hard for these last minutes undecided voters as we get very close to both of these primaries on Tuesday.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, fighting hard and burning a lot of calories, all of this athletic prowess that we're seeing, particularly with Obama, basketball court now ice-skating. What's next? All right, Jim Acosta, thanks.

ACOSTA: Car racing.

WHITFIELD: Oh, OK, car racing. Thanks so much.

All right, much more campaign coverage straight ahead on CNN coming up at 3:00 Eastern, BALLOT BOWL gives you a chance to see and hear from the candidates themselves, only on CNN, you're home for politics.

Well, Democrats complain he's unrealistic about Issue No. 1, but President Bush says he's been clear and candid about the economy, he predicts that tax rebate checks that started to arrive in mailboxes this week, will turn things around quickly.


GEORGE W BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This package will help American families increase their purchasing power and help offset the high prices we're seeing at the gas pump and the grocery store. It will also provide tax incentives for American businesses to invest in their companies, which will help to create jobs.

Most economic experts predict that the stimulus will have a positive effect on the economy in this quarter and even a greater impact in the next. Americans should have confidence in the long term outlook for the economy.


WHITFIELD: And there are hints of optimism, the DOW is back above 13,000. The dollar rose last week and the unemployment rate in April fell slightly.

Well, another trip to the gas pumps, another day of pain. We'll get some tips on savings straight ahead.

And we all know that energy prices are high, so why would anyone be smiling about it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, it is kind of fun to be here. You can go hunt and fish, too.


WHITFIELD: Hunt, fish, work, play, boom time in Wyoming. You're in the newsroom.


WHITFIELD: All right, gas prices, everyone is paying more and it hurts, but gas prices have inched down just a little bit, at least this weekend. AAA indicates that the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular is $3.61, that's down about a penny from yesterday, but it's up 60 cents compared to this time last year.

So, many of you are looking for ways to conserve gas and save money. CNN's Kathleen Koch has some tips. She joins us from a service station in the nation's capital.

Help us to save money and still be able to get from point A to point B.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And you know, Fredricka, these tips are pretty practical, they are things that people have heard before, but let's go over them, because the experts say though we may have heard them, very few of us really following them.

First of all, check your air filter. By using a clean air filter, putting a new one in, you can boost your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving you some 35 cents a gallon. Now, you can save another 35 cents a gallon by simply getting an alignment, and that's because poorly aligned tires not only wear unevenly and they wear out more quickly, but they force your engine to work harder and that makes it less fuel efficient.

Another way to save some money at the pump is to get a tune-up, and that's because a properly tuned engine saves about four miles a gallon, or boosts mileage by four percent and saves some 14 cents a gallon. We also talked to the Energy Department; they said that the drivers are save money where the rubber meets the road.


DAVID RODGERS, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY: Don't forget to check the pressure on the tires. Driving around on tires that are underinflated is going to cost you an extra seven cents a gallon at the pump. To find the right pressure, be sure and check your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations which can be found in your owner's manual or on the inside of the driver's door, because pressures do vary by vehicle.


KOCH: Now, another thing that drivers can do and that's to get rid of the junk in the trunk, too many people, I know the weather is great, they're carrying around golf clubs, they may have a bag of kitty litter from the winter to improve traction on the ice. What experts tell us is that for every 100 pounds you remove from your vehicle, you can save four cents a gallon.

Another way to cut your fuel consumption is don't speed. For every five miles an hour that you reduce highway speed, you cut your gas consumption by seven cents. So in other words, if you're driving 70 miles-an-hour on the highway, slow down to just 65 miles-an-hour, you will save 25 cents a gallon.

Then when you're standing still, when you're idling and you're off of a main roadway, experts say, shut the car off. For every two minutes that you don't idle, you will save one penny a gallon in fuel, and it may not seem like a lot, but, you know, Fredricka, in these days and times, every little bit help. WHITFIELD: Yeah, all these pennies are adding up, we're seeing that and feeling it, that's for sure. All right Kathleen, good tips. Thanks so much.

Well, next hour on YOUR MONEY, is there any other way to save on gas? Plus, a look at America's workforce and retail worries.

Hearts on the sleeves and ready to help. Coming up, U.S. troops on a mission to heal their combat wounds by helping others.


WHITFIELD: After numerous protests in other parts of the world, the Beijing Olympic torch finally arrived in mainland China, today. Organizers promised this will be a trouble-free national tour. Relay runners carried the torch past the Las Vegas-style casinos in the former Portuguese capital of Macau. And hundreds of supporters waved China flags and shouted "go, Beijing, go."

Well, Chinese officials say a deadly child virus appears to be spreading. A nationwide alert has been issued in an effort to control the virus which has already killed 22 children. More than 3,000 are sickened, the virus causes fever, mouth sores and rashes with blisters and mainly hits children 10 years or younger.

Well, this next story takes us to the hard to reach areas of Honduras. We're going there because that's where a group of American troops are carrying out an unusual mission. It is a journey to heal the combat wounds of Iraq by finding ways to help some of the world's poorest people. Our Barbara Starr went along with them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, let's go.

BARBARA STARR, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Air Force Chaplain Jeremy Bastian leads the troops into the hills of Honduras. After crossing a river, we hiked deep into the countryside. These troops have donated $900 of their own money to buy food for the people here. They are backpacking to remote villages to distribute more than 200 bags of food to people who desperately need it. Before the morning is over, many of the troops, fresh from Iraq, say that this journey to help others helps them to heal from months of combat.

JEREMY BASTIAN, U.S. AIR FORCE CHAPLAIN: We've got a lot of guys that come straight from the warzone here and it takes them a while to adjust.

STARR: Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Jicha, an Iraq vet himself says it's great to see the children smile.

LIEUT COL GREGORY JICHA, U.S. ARMY: You can see the children and you realize they're not that much different than us, than us. They're not different than the kids we have back home.

STARR: The need for help is enormous. Crops have failed in this area, just as the price of rice, flour, and beans have skyrocketed. While shopping a day earlier the chaplain had to make a grim decision, beans were too expensive.

BASTIAN: We had to bypass the beans and we're going to have to buy something smaller, so we can distribute to more of the people.

STARR: This is a pure volunteer effort, not part of the official U.S. military mission in Central America. This is enthusiasm the Pentagon just can't order up. The children get stickers, toys and candy.

This Honduran mother says that food prices now make it hard for her to feed her four children. For Major Mike Angell, another war veteran, this is part of his journey back from the frontlines.

MAJ. MIKE ANGELL, U.S. ARMY: Kind of a walk for everybody to kind of see what can be, I think, almost, as far as relations go between countries.

After 12 months, 15 months, 18 months in Iraq, you really start feeling like no matter where you go, everybody's trying to do something to you personally.

STARR: Here, the American troops get to do something personal for the people in these hills.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Humuya, Honduras.


WHITFIELD: And in the fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the focus today is on Guam, but why is this tiny island mattering in the battle for the White House?


WHITFIELD: All right, bottom the Noon Eastern hour. Here's what's happening across the world. The southeast on guard for more dangerous storms, right now in this country, we're tracking new tornado watches and possible warnings in the Severe Weather Center, all day long. Twisters killed eight people in Arkansas, yesterday -- people across the state cleaning up and picking up the paets of their lives.

And results are slowly coming in from Guam's Democratic caucuses. Right now Barack Obama holds a sizable lead over Hillary Clinton and you can watch the progress there at the bottom of the screen. Neither candidate set foot in Guam, actually, but both did a fair amount of advertising and media interviews.

And as we watch the returns from Guam, you may wonder, why does Guam even matter in the U.S. elections? Well, CNN's Brian Todd went there to find out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Score one for the little guy. For a few hours, Guam becomes the epicenter of the Democratic race.


LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Normally, no one -- even the fourth tier of the campaigns, would pay the slightest attention to what was going on on Guam. There hasn't been this much attention to Guam since World War II.

TODD: That was when the U.S. lost the island, then won it back from the Japanese. Now, this remote American territory, nearly 4,000 miles southwest of Honolulu, population 175,000, is drawing unprecedented attention from the Democratic hopefuls for its caucuses, which are more like a primary.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama took out radio and print ads. Obama has had three staffers on the ground for weeks. Neither candidate has set foot on the island during this campaign. But Senator Clinton did stop there as first lady, a connection she cited in a recent videoconference for a rally on Guam.

CLINTON: I so fondly remember my visit to your beautiful island in 1995. When I got home, I told my husband that if he went, he wouldn't want to come back.

TODD: Clinton and Obama are expending this energy for a total of eight pledged delegates from Guam, who only have half a vote each. In addition, five superdelegates each get a full vote, so Guam sends 13 delegates to the convention, but carries nine total votes.

With the Democratic race so tight, a former governor of Guam, who supports Obama, says those votes matter.

CARL GUTIERREZ (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF GUAM: Now is the time for Guam and the other territories to be able to select. And maybe their votes may be the ones that would put one of these two candidates over the top.


WHITFIELD: All right, Guam matters, but in terms of the Democratic presidential nomination, Indiana and North Carolina really matter and they'll be holding their primaries Tuesday.

Senior political analyst Bill Schneider is with the CNN "Election Express" in Indianapolis. Good to see you again, Bill.

All right, so we understand why ...


WHITFIELD: Yes. We understand why Guam matters in terms of the number of delegate votes that count come the convention, but let's talk about the signal that will be sent from Guam leading into Indiana and North Carolina for those candidates, just three days away now.

SCHNEIDER: Well, every -- both the candidates are trying to get some bragging rights and you know, Obama claims he's won more states than Clinton, she claims she's won the bigger states, anything they can use as a point of pride, they're going to use.


SCHNEIDER: So, if one of them wins Guam and Obama is ahead right now, he'll say, hey, I won another, well, "state," but not quite a state.

WHITFIELD: All right, yes, and while we're talking, we are looking at Barack Obama. He's in Indianapolis, he's still in that state. Meantime, Hillary Clinton is in North Carolina, both of them doing what they can to crisscross ...


WHITFIELD: ...both of these states before Tuesday. So, when we talk about the psychological benefits that might come from a Guam win, how would these candidates actually use that as a -- continue their stumping in Indiana and North Carolina?

SCHNEIDER: Well, Barack Obama's had a bad couple of weeks, I mean, he lost -- in March, he lost Ohio, then he lost the big primary in Pennsylvania. Right now, things are neck-and-neck here in Indiana. He's running ahead in North Carolina, but his lead is now down to single digits. Our Poll of Polls shows Obama nine points ahead in North Carolina.

So, he really needs to do something to show he's back on a roll, and Guam doesn't mean a whole lot with nine delegates, but it means something, it means he can point to it and say, maybe this is the start of something.


SCHNEIDER: A comeback, each one is making comebacks every month.

WHITFIELD: Yes, and I kind of would have thought that Guam -- and it's not over yet -- but it does seem like a nail biter. I would have thought that Guam really might be kind of in the bag for Obama given that, you know, Hawaii is one of his places, one of his favorite I guess electorate locations and Guam is not far away.

SCHNEIDER: It is. It is a Pacific territory, and you know, he's done well in the small states. She's done well in the big states. While Guam isn't a state, it's a pretty small place ...


SCHNEIDER: ...he tends to outorganize Senator Clinton and he had some organizers on the ground in Guam.

WHITFIELD: Yes, and, too, it is a big U.S. military installation, too.

All right, well, these two try to -- they're trying to differentiate themselves as best they can, and the gas holiday or the proposed gas holiday is one way. Is that helpful?

SCHNEIDER: Well, it may be. You know, look, the consumers and tax payers are hurting right now. Voters are angry, they want some relief. They're No. 1 complaint is gas prices. When we ask them what's the biggest issue, they say the economy. What's the biggest economic issue, they say inflation and what costs bother you the most: gas prices.


SCHNEIDER: Well, relieving the voters of the gas tax isn't going to mean a great deal. But it's going to do something ...

WHITFIELD: Yes, like it translates to just over $30 over three- month period.

SCHNEIDER: $30 is $30. They can use any help they can get and it has a symbolic importance. Hillary Clinton and John McCain are both saying we're going to do something to help you. Maybe it won't help a lot, it won't really make a big difference in the long run, because it's temporary, but the fact is they're saying, I'm ready to act.


SCHNEIDER: So, in that sense, they may have the advantage.

WHITFIELD: Yes, and I'm looking for something immediate right now. All right, Bill Schneider ...


WHITFIELD: ...thank you so much from Indianapolis, getting a lot of busy work out of Indianapolis.

Meantime, right there, Barack Obama, let's listen in to what he's saying there in Indianapolis.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ...and every party who desperately wants change in Washington. Now ...


OBAMA: ...I have no illusions about how far we have to go. Our road is still long, our climb is still steep. But 15 months later, I also know that our mission is even more urgent, because the challenges facing people across Indiana and across this country are growing by the day. And I'm not telling anything that you don't know.

You don't have to turn on the news or follow the stock ticker or wait for all the economists and politicians to agree on what is or is not a recession, to know that our economy is in serious trouble. You can feel it your own lives, see it in your own communities, I hear it everywhere I go.


OBAMA: I think of the young man I met in Pennsylvania who lost his job, but can't afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one. Or the woman from Anderson who just lost her job and her pension and her insurance when the Delphi plant closed even while the top executives walked away with multi-million dollar bonuses.


OBAMA: Or the families across this country who sit around the kitchen table tonight and wonder whether next week's paycheck will be enough to cover next month's bills, who look at their children without knowing if they'll be able to give them the same chances that they had.

But here's what Washington and Wall Street don't get. This economy doesn't just jeopardize our financial well-being. It offends the most basic values that have made this country what it is. The idea that America is the place where you can make it if you try, that no matter how much money you start with or where you come from or who your parents are, opportunity is yours if you're willing to reach for it and work for it.

It's the idea that while there are no guarantees in life, you should be able to count on a job that pays the bills. Health care when you get sick. A pension for when you retire, an education for your children that will allow them to fulfill their God-given potential. That's who we are as a country. That's the America most of us here know. It's the America our parents and our grandparents grew up knowing.

This is the country that gave my grandfather a chance to go to college on the GI bill when he came home from World War II, a country that gave him and my grandmother, a small town couple from Kansas, the chance to buy a their first home with a loan from the government. This is the country that made it possible for my mother, a single parent who had to go on food stamps at one point to send my sister and me to the best schools in the country with the help of scholarships.

This is the country that allowed my father-in-law, the city worker at a water filtration plant in Chicago to provide for his wife and two children on a single salary. Now, this was a man who was diagnosed at the age of 30 with multiple sclerosis, who relied on walkers to get himself to work and yet every day, he went and he labored and he sent my wife and her brother to one of the best colleges in the nation.


OBAMA: That job that he held didn't just give him a paycheck. It gave him dignity, gave him a sense of self-worth and gave him a sense of place and a sense of community. It was an America that didn't just reward and honor wealth, but the work and the workers who helped create it.


OBAMA: And we're here today looking for an answer to that same question, where is that America today? How many veterans come home from this war without the care they need? How many wander the streets of the richest nation on earth without a roof over their head? How many single parents can't even afford to send their children to the doctor when they get sick, nevermind to four years of college?

How many workers have suffered the indignity of having to compete with their own children for a minimum wage job at the local fast food joint after they gave their lives to a company where the CEO just walked off with a multi-million dollar bonus?


OBAMA: And most of all, how many years, how many decades have we talked and talked and talked about these problems while Washington has done nothing or tinkered around the edges or sometimes made them worse?

There is no doubt that many of these challenges had to do with fundamental shifts in our economy that began decades ago, changes that have torn down borders and barriers and allowed companies to send jobs wherever there's a cheap source of labor.

And today, with countries like China and India educating their children longer and better, the revolutions in communication technology, they can send the jobs wherever there's an Internet connection.

And I saw the beginnings of these up close when I moved to the south side of Chicago more than two decades ago to help neighborhoods that were devastated when the local steel plants closed. I saw the indignity of joblessness, the hopelessness of lost opportunity.

But I also saw that we are not powerless in the face of these challenges. We don't have to sit here and watch our leaders do nothing.


WHITFIELD: All right, Barack Obama in Indianapolis there, perhaps responding to the many allegations of being an elitist or out of touch. He's painting a picture there of not just his family, his personal journey and that of his wife and the opportunities that they were able to take advantage of, but the hope he is expressing that perhaps more Americans would be able to afford the same kinds of opportunities.

He asks, where is that America? This is his closing argument, this is what it's being called, his closing argument here in Indianapolis just three days before the primary in Indianapolis and North Carolina.

Meantime, join the best political team on television for complete coverage Tuesday night May 6th starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN, your home for politics.

A family relies on prayer, a child dies. What does the law say? Our legal team is ready to go into session.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): From the intrigue of the Forbidden City to the famous Great Wall, China is a place worth visiting.

STEPHANIE OSWALD: This is a very exciting time for China and really all of Eastern Asia, because they are going to be rolling out the red carpet, welcoming people from all over the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks to the Olympics, many people are looking to head East while political considerations may keep some away from China. But experts say for those who do go, working with a travel agent may be the best way to help you get there.

OSWALD: China is a very complicated destination, compared to some other Olympic destinations and the main site of the games is Beijing, but there are also different events spread out all over the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some travel agencies may charge a fee and it may be worth paying.

OSWALD: There are a lot of logistics that you might not be familiar with. One, you need a Visa and a passport. Public transportation is the best way to get around and also, because of the Olympics, they are going to have a lot of restrictions.



WHITFIELD: A test of faith or a child in desperate need of medical care? Criminal charges have been filed against the parents of an 11-year-old Wisconsin girl. Madeline Neumann died March 23rd from untreated diabetes. Her father says it was a test of faith, but the state of Wisconsin says it's second degree reckless homicide.


JILL FALSTAD, MARATHON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: During the last 48 hours of her life, she became unable to speak, unable to eat or drink, unable to walk, and she showed signs of breathing difficulties. During the final hours of her life, she was comatose.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Our legal experts are here to weigh in on this one. Avery Friedman is a civil rights attorney and law professor. Good to see you.


WHITFIELD: And Richard Herman is a New York criminal defense attorney and law professor. Good to see you as well.


WHITFIELD: I saw both of you shaking your heads on this case, because I know it is a tough one. And these parents felt like they were doing the right thing, but the law says another, but second degree reckless homicide. Avery, is that harsh or is that about right?

FRIEDMAN: It's exactly right, Fredricka. We're dealing with behavior where 11-year-old Madeline never had a chance. And you can be -- you can exercise your religious rights all you want up to the point that it affects you, but when you're involved with a child, it was so obvious here, that this child needed care, this is exactly the correct charge.

WHITFIELD: So Richard, what about other people in their life, other people who could have been privy to what her condition was all about, are they pursued or are they held in any way legally responsible, too, for not you know, jumping in, not intervening in some way?

HERMAN: They're not, Fred. And as shocking as this may sound, Wisconsin incredibly has a statute that says if you heal your child by religious means, if you do healing based on religious means, you do not have the criminal intent required for a conviction. And these parents, Fred, there's a very good chance that they're going to be acquitted in this case. It's incredible. Oh, Avery ...

WHITFIELD: Well, wait a minute, if the statute is such, then why would prosecutors even challenge it?

HERMAN: Well, look, they have to. They -- you know, they run for political office. This is so shocking and the legislature in Wisconsin has to change it. I mean, if the parents, if the parents have diabetes and they don't want to go to a doctor, by all means, good luck to you, but their children, the courts routinely trump parents on the best interest of the child. This is outrageous.

WHITFIELD: OK, Avery, you disagree?

FRIEDMAN: No, you use objective standards in this. Again, your religious freedom ends with you. When you're responsible for a child, there is no way that that defense is going to work in this case. There is simply no way.

In fact, it was the grandmother, frankly, who wound up calling from California I think to get help, medical help and it was too late. I mean, they're going to get this conviction.

HERMAN: It should be a slam dunk. Avery, it should be a slam dunk and this case is not a slam dunk and that's a big problem in Wisconsin.

FRIEDMAN: Well, I disagree. I think -- I think they're looking at 25 years and ...


FRIEDMAN: ...I think they're going to get the conviction.

HERMAN: I hope so.

WHITFIELD: All right, it is a sad case all the way around.

Let's talk about Gary Hilton.


WHITFIELD: Folks became very familiar with his name, he's the man who confessed to murdering that Georgia hiker. Well now, he is being extradited to Florida and accused of killing a nurse there.

So, Richard, are we talking about a serial killer because I haven't heard that term being applied to him, but this case, the one in Florida and there are other cases that he is allegedly being linked to as well.

HERMAN: Boy, you know what, Fred, it sure looks that way. You know, this extradition proceeding took place and in those proceedings, the issue is this, did the other state -- is there an indictment against him, did both governors sign an extradition order and are you the person that they're talking about, that's it.

He represented himself. And uniquely, in an extradition proceeding, it's civil not criminal. He was not entitled to an attorney, he had to represent himself and 30 days, his appeal rights are up. He's going to Florida, he's facing the death penalty.

FRIEDMAN: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: So Avery -- oh I see, so it's the death penalty issue, because I was about to ask you, Avery, why, I mean, why even bother with Florida when he's already confessed here in Georgia, and is facing, you know, a stiff penalty.

FRIEDMAN: Yes, well, yes, and the difference is he's got life in prison in Georgia. Florida officials want to get their hands on him. In fact, that's really why this case is important because he went into extradition, he is heading to Florida, he may very well be facing the death penalty.

WHITFIELD: OK, well, this also another Florida case, very, very different.

FRIEDMAN: Love this case.

WHITFIELD: We're talking about -- yes, I know, this is the bizarre one. I knew you guys would love this but ...

HERMAN: Good water down there, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, something is, I guess.

Port St. Lucie, a biology teacher has a part-time job, it involves fishing a boat and topless trips and then she loses her teaching job.


WHITFIELD: What's the matter with this one, Avery?

FRIEDMAN: Well, actually, she wasn't topless but she's going to win this case. I love when you have -- you couldn't make this up, it couldn't get crazier (ph). Her name is Tiffany, love that and ...

WHITFIELD: What are you saying?

FRIEDMAN: Tiffany and she's a divorced mother of three trying to take care of the family. The problem here is that even if there's legitimate reason, what the government public school district did here, Fredricka, was just got rid of her, no hearing, no opportunity ...

WHITFIELD: Right, you can't do that ...

FRIEDMAN: be heard.

WHITFIELD: ...just dismiss them.

FRIEDMAN: She's got a right (ph) to due process

WHITFIELD: Yes, you just dismissing someone because you don't like what they do on the side.

FRIEDMAN: Right, great due process, Constitutional case.

WHITFIELD: But not breaking any laws. All right, Richard, you got a final word on this one, real quick though.

HERMAN: You know, Fred, she's got three kids, she's trying to earn extra money, she doesn't make it teaching. She spent two days on the charter, she earned more than she did for a whole week of teaching.

WHITFIELD: And she said, wait a minute, this is about fishing. I'm a biology teacher.

FRIEDMAN: Right, about fishing.

WHITFIELD: I was out fishing. HERMAN: It's funny, the pictures came out and then they fired her. But one other thing, she's missed 30 days of school unexcused this year ...

FRIEDMAN: Never had a hearing, never had a hearing though.

HERMAN: ...and this was what -- that's what they're saying.


HERMAN: She'll have a hearing, she'll have a hearing, it'll be sustained and that'll be that.

FRIEDMAN: I don't know about that.

WHITFIELD: All right, I knew you guys would love this case.


WHITFIELD: And I know (ph) you wanted to finalize it, lost (ph) a whole segment with that.

All right, Avery, Richard, thanks so much. Good to see you, have a great weekend.

FRIEDMAN: Good to see you. Take care, Fred.


FRIEDMAN: All right.

WHITFIELD: All right, grocery prices, everyone can identify with this one, out of control. High prices busting the best of budgets. We've called in some help, a coupon clipper extraordinaire. She's got some tips to save you money. You don't want to miss it.


WHITFIELD: All right, grocery prices climbing, one woman wants to save you money. She's the author of "Greatest Secrets of the Coupon Mom." Stephanie Nelson is best known for her Web site actually, where a quarter million members find grocery deals.


STEPHANIE NELSON, "THE COUPON MOM": I call it strategic shopping ...


NELSON: ...which is, you know, it's not about changing the way you eat, it's just about changing the way you buy the food that you like. And one simple step is tracking the prices of the items that you buy, but only probably your top 10 common items.

WHITFIELD: So really, you know, reading all those inserts in the newspapers, that kind of thing ...

NELSON: In the newspapers.

WHITFIELD: get an idea what's going to be on sale?

NELSON: Right, looking at the stores. You do want to plan your meals around what's on sale and that's kind of the opposite of what most people do ...


NELSON: ...but what you do is you see your common items, one for my family is boneless chicken. It's usually $5 a pound. I only buy it when it's half price, $2 a pound. I know it goes on sale every other week, because I just tracked 10 items.

WHITFIELD: And you're going to buy them in bulk and you're going to store it in the freezer.

NELSON: In the freezer and that simple habit on one item saves my family $325 a year.

WHITFIELD: OK, but I can I be honest with you? You know, when I say I want to eat something, I want to go to the store and I just simply want to get it and I don't want to be bogged down with cutting coupons and then trying to figure out a place to put them in a cabinet or in a drawer because now, you got to read the fine print, expiration -- my goodness, this is no fun.

NELSON: Well, I think the key is you just want to hone in on your top items, a handful of items. You also want to go ahead and take advantage of store savings programs. So, let's suppose you have the item that you like, it's on sale at your store, that's what you have that week and you buy something for next week. You don't have to have a year's supply of anything.


NELSON: And the other pieces, people think it's hard to use coupons.


NELSON: But it isn't.

WHITFIELD: Yes, I do, I mean, I've tried it, I've done the whole cutting and then there are just so many reasons why I can't use that coupon at that time.

NELSON: The old fashioned way is hard, but the Internet's made it so easy. I mean, ...

WHITFIELD: Reall, how?

NELSON: Well, takes the best sale items at the grocery stores across the country in 50 states, we match it up with coupons for you. So, you don't have to figure that out, you only cut out the couple of coupons you need when you need it and you can also print grocery coupons, which people love.


NELSON: And coming up, pretty soon, we're even going to have grocery coupons on our cell phones ...

WHITFIELD: Wow, oh my gosh.

NELSON: Very easy.

WHITFIELD: Oh, God, this is killing me.

NELSON: I think you can do that.

WHITFIELD: OK, so, I think -- I might be able to handle that even though I still don't text message, but anyway, all right, so you do save thousands of dollars and this is why you're a huge proponent of all these cost-cutting measures.

NELSON: That's right, and I think I ...

WHITFIELD: You're living proof of why it works.

NELSON: We save $2,000 a year on groceries and we have 400,000 members of that tell me they're saving money too. They must be.


NELSON: And it is a free service. I want to throw it that out there.


WHITFIELD: Isn't she awesome? Stephanie Nelson trying to save you money and for free, her service is.

Well, you want to keep watching CNN. Our money team has you covered as well, whether it's jobs, debt, housing, savings, join us for "ISSUE #1" the economy all week noon Eastern.


WHITFIELD: A trucker is protesting soaring fuel prices in a rather unusual way. He crushed one of his dump trucks. Ohio businessman Tony Whitmore (ph) says he wants to make a point to the politicians. A year ago, he says he could fill up that dump truck for $800, well, today, it takes $1,200. Like his truck, Whitmore says he's feeling the financial crush of $4 plus diesel. He is making a point.

We'll look at the top stories in a moment. "YOUR MONEY" is next. Here's a preview.