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Obama Fires Back at Bush; YouTube Rape Allegation; New Plans to Halt Flow to Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Aired May 16, 2008 - 15:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Saudi Arabia pumps more oil. The U.S. decides to hoard less, yet the price barrel budges. We will look at the market forces and political dynamics this hour.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Who are you calling appeaser? Barack Obama takes offense at Republican suggestions that he would be soft on terrorists and tyrants.

Hi there. I'm Brianna Keilar at CNN Center in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

OK. So, oil prices came down slightly after the Energy Department announced it's suspending shipments to the Strategic Oil Reserve beginning in July. Well, on Wednesday, Congress voted to stop the shipments in a move to lower gas prices. The Energy Department says its decision will protect against liability for unfulfilled contracts if the bill becomes law.

President Bush says the shipments should not stop. The Strategic Reserve was set up in the 1970s to protect against a disruption in imported oil supplies. It now holds more than 700 million barrels and is 97 percent full.

KEILAR: Barack Obama is taking on President Bush and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain. Obama blasted Mr. Bush today for using the word appeasement in yesterday's speech to the Israeli parliament. He also ripped into McCain for, in Obama's words, "suggesting that I wasn't fit to protect this nation that I love."

The president used his speech in Israel to criticize people who would be willing to meet with leaders of countries such as Iran. And it was widely interpreted to be an attack on Obama.

Today, Obama said the president's comments were out of line. He also criticized the president's own policies largely supported by John McCain.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On a day when we were supposed to be celebrating the anniversary of Israel's independence, he accused me and other Democrats of wanting to negotiate with terrorists and said we were "appeasers," no different from people who appeased Adolf Hitler. That's what George Bush said in front of the Israeli parliament. Now, that's exactly the kind of appalling attack that's divided our country and that alienates us from the world.


KEILAR: White House officials denied Obama was the a of Bush's remarks, but privately White House aides indicated the criticism was aimed at various Democrats, including Obama and former President Jimmy Carter.

LEMON: OK, so, the word appeasement, appeasement, do you think it's a negative connotation, right?

KEILAR: Well, historically, yes, very negative connotation.

LEMON: Yes, negative connotation.

OK, so the word appeasement, it generates so much scorn because of what happened just before World War II.


LEMON (voice-over): In 1938, Britain's prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, was determined to avoid a second European war, despite Hitler's aggressive saber-rattling. In September of that year, Chamberlain and the leaders of Italy and France met with Hitler and signed what became known as the Munich Pact.

Under it, Czechoslovakia was forced to give Hitler the region known as Sudetenland, where Germans were in the majority. In return, Hitler promised not to seize any more Czech territory. chamberlain returned home declaring that he had achieved peace for our time.

But less than six months later, Hitler broke his promise, invading Czechoslovakia and threatening neighboring Poland. Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler's aggression would go down as one of history's great blunders, and Europe was headed toward another bloody war.


LEMON: So, in World War II, millions of Jews were killed by the Nazis. President Bush's remarks were delivered before the Israeli parliament marking the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding.

KEILAR: Thirty years ago, a lot of lifelong Democrats began drifting toward the GOP and so was born the Reagan Democrat. Well, in this election cycle, many Reagan Democrats seem ready to return to their roots.

Here's CNN's Dan Lothian.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Restaurant owner Nita Etebar considers herself a Reagan Democrat, who after years of voting for Republican presidential candidates is finally coming home.

NITA ETEBAR, KENTUCKY VOTER: I will definitely being voting Democrat.

LOTHIAN: She's concerned about the bad economy, but it was the war in Iraq that tipped the scales.

ETEBAR: There's more wars going on and fighting going on and talk about how everybody is a terrorist. LOTHIAN: Builder Marty May is a Democrat who voted for Reagan and the first President Bush because he says they made him feel secure. Concerns over Iraq and national security have convinced him that he should be supporting his Democratic Party and Barack Obama.

MARTY MAY, KENTUCKY VOTER: Yes, we're in trouble, but he makes us feel like he has a plan.

LOTHIAN: Jeremy Horton, executive director of Kentucky's Democratic Party says there's a shift under way because the economy and the war have left many voters frustrated.

JEREMY HORTON, EXEC. DIR., KENTUCKY DEMOCRATIC PARTY: I think that you're seeing in Democrats in Kentucky a real quiet resolve to make sure that this vote that they have makes a difference.

LOTHIAN: In a state that twice voted for Bill Clinton and President Bush, John McCain would love nothing more than to hang onto those Reagan Democrats. Working-class voters weary of supporting a social liberal, or those like Jane Semones, who doesn't think Democrats have the political muscle to deal with Iraq and support the troops.

JANE SEMONES, KENTUCKY VOTER: There have been times I thought maybe they weren't even going to have the funds to back them up because of the way the Democrats have acted.

LOTHIAN: She's a Democrat voting for McCain. Horton says Democratic candidates can keep people like her from straying by delivering on campaign promises.

HORTON: You have to make governing less about politics and more about solutions.


LEMON: And you can hear from Obama supporter John Edwards and McCain supporter Mitt Romney when they appear live with Wolf Blitzer today in THE SITUATION ROOM, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

KEILAR: An Internet sex sting has netted a minister from a Texas mega-church. Police in Bryan, Texas, say 52-year-old Joe Barron had chatted online about sex with someone that he thought was a 13-year- old girl. It turns out it was a team of undercover officers.

Police say Barron drove from Plano, Texas, to Bryan, which is more than 200 miles, to meet the girl -- not really the girl -- and he was arrested. Officers say he had condoms and a Webcam in his vehicle. Barron is one of 40 ministers at Prestonwood Baptist in Plano. That's outside of Dallas. It has about 26,000 members.

Executive Pastor Mike Buster says the church is disturbed, saddened and praying for the Barron family and cooperating fully with police.

LEMON: A novel approach to fighting incest charges. We will tell you about polygamist Warren Jeffs, his appearance in court today.

KEILAR: A teenage girl says she was raped. Getting no satisfaction from the courts, she takes her case to YouTube.



And let's head now to Junction City, Oregon, where Hillary Clinton is holding a roundtable with Oregonians.



And if you think there are like three, four, maybe sometimes five people living in those houses, because, as I say, a lot of them are young, a lot of them are first-time homebuyers, you're talking about anywhere from six to 10 million Americans who could be out of their homes sometime this year.

And I also thought we should have frozen these adjustable-rate mortgages, because a lot of them were entered into under false pretenses. There were a lot of very shady dealings going on in at least other states. I can't speak for Oregon, but in -- but in other states, lots of bait and switch, inflated appraisals, prepayment penalties, and really decent, hardworking people all a sudden being told, OK, sorry, you have violated page 942 of your agreement, and you're out.

And I have heard heartbreaking stories from Nevada to Ohio to Florida about some of these tactics. The other piece, and Mike and I were talking about this as we were walking, is, I have advocated for many months now that we should have had a $30 billion fund that would have gone to states, communities, not-for-profit organizations, city councils, other efforts to try to help forestall foreclosures and prevent them in the first place.

A lot of people get into these mortgages without knowing any better and a lot of them get, unfortunately, the wrong end of the stick when it comes to the way the mortgage brokers and lenders treat them. Some cities are now going so far as to sue a lot of these big mortgage brokers because of the pattern of fraudulent behavior.

And I think we should have shored up the home market, because what's happening is that homeowners who are totally solvent, don't have any problem with their mortgage, are seeing their home values drop, which is, I know, something that the Melbricks (ph) are concerned about.

And it's understandable, because if you're in a neighborhood where you have got foreclosed-upon homes, that's not a good sign and very often it leads to increasing vandalism, and even kind of a magnet for crime, where people get attracted to these vacant homes. I don't know.

Do you know how many vacant homes or unfinished homes in this neighborhood right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, actually, as far as unfinished homes go, we haven't had the problem yet of starting homes and not finishing them. Now, obviously, you will see a lot of vacant lots in here, but that is a choice that the builder makes to not put more inventory into the marketplace.

CLINTON: Jason, let me turn to you now, because you have a tile business. And we always think of that as being absolutely essential to homebuilding and home remodeling. Do you want to talk a little bit about your business and what you have seen occur over the last year?


We have a tile business, like you said. We do retail. We do installs. The last three months, four months or so, our installs have gone way down. Therefore, our installers aren't working right now. So, I'm pretty concerned with that.

As for sales and stuff, when builders are slowing their building down, well, that, it all trickles down to all of us. Therefore, the sales start to slide quite a bit.

CLINTON: Well, so, you have run out of work for installers.

And I think you have run out of work for some of your crews.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We haven't run out completely.


CLINTON: Yes, but slowed down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not bad, like shutdown bad. It's -- it's just -- it's not like it was a year ago.

CLINTON: Yes. That's what I hear everywhere.


CLINTON: Yes. And talk a little bit about the gas price impact on your business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. It's -- freight is a big thing in tile. It has to be shipped here. Most suppliers are based out of big cities, you know, Portland. There's some in Eugene, Seattle, yes. A lot of stuff comes from California to us. So, it's hard to pass on -- every month, the freight bill goes up. You can't really pass that on to the customer, because then the customer won't buy it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, us, as a business owner, have to basically eat that. Therefore, it really affects the bottom line on how -- how we do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just seems like every month or so, our suppliers have to add that energy -- energy surcharge, bump up their freight to us. It's just pretty hard.

CLINTON: Well, I was at a small family business -- I guess it was a medium-sized family business in Indianapolis, Indiana, about 10 days ago.

And they're in the veneer business. So, they have to ship in all of the logs. And, obviously then they turn those logs into veneer. Then they have to ship them out to their customers. And the fuel surcharge is killing them.

They're paying on both ends. They're paying more to get their raw material, because they can't say, oh, don't send it to me, or they're not going to stay in business. And they're paying more to ship it out to their customers. And their customers are saying, we can't pay this. And their margin is shrinking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have the surcharge, plus the freight.

KEILAR: You're watching Hillary Clinton. She's in Junction City, Oregon, holding a roundtable there, just with some normal folks, talking about the housing crisis, talking about the economic hardships posed by high gas prices. And her march continues there on the campaign trail, despite the fact that many observers say they believe that Barack Obama will ultimately be the Democratic presidential nominee.

So, Oregon of course has a primary on Tuesday. It's actually a mail-in primary. So, today, Friday, one of the last days that people can be mailing in their vote there. As well, and, of course, in Oregon, Obama is actually expected to take that away. But Kentucky also holding a primary next Tuesday, and Clinton is expected to be the winner of that primary.

We will keep you posted on all election happenings right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. LEMON: We want to talk now about a CNN special investigations unit. A teenage girl says she was raped. Getting no satisfaction from the courts, she takes her case to YouTube.


KEILAR: It was a detestable act committed in the darkest hour of a family's life. But, today, there is some sense of relief for that family in Atlanta, this ring and one other, precious wedding rings, and they are now back where they belong, in the hands of a grieving husband.

Those rings were actually, if you can believe, taken from his wife's finger as she lay dead in an Atlanta hospital emergency room. The man charged with stealing them is in custody, but that's little comfort to a family coping with anger and loss.


ALAN ARMSTRONG, WIDOWER: My mom asked me today, she's like, you must feel good. I'm like, I don't feel good. I'm not going to feel good for a long time.

But I feel better. And the fact that, I mean, I Think this was just such a despicable, disgraceful, you know, sort of desecration, and, you know, the right thing happened. And, you know, I think the individual who did it finally made one good decision, and, you know, in the past two weeks, and when faced with overwhelming, compelling evidence that he's going to get convicted, decided, look, I will at least help and facilitate getting these rings back. And I appreciate that.


KEILAR: And that is Alan Armstrong. He lost his wife just a couple weeks ago in a car crash. The two of them have two little boys, who Alan wanted to give those rings to. We had him here in the CNN NEWSROOM. So happy that he's gotten those rings back.

But this alleged ring thief is actually a social worker at Atlanta's Grady Hospital, where his woman, Alan's wife, was taken after a car crash. And that man, that social worker turned himself in yesterday.

LEMON: Let's talk now about a CNN special investigation.

For as long as anyone can remember, rape has been a crime that had the perverse effect on stigmatizing the victim. Many rapes go unpunished because victims choose not to step forward. Something maybe changing with that. Increasing numbers of women are turning to the Internet with stories of alleged sex crimes.

And here with the details, Abbie Boudreau of CNN's Special Investigations Unit.

Abbie, this story is quite amazing and has gotten lots of attention. And I understand she has been bombarded with people wanting to hear her to share her story.

ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Absolutely. Already, a quarter of a million, more than a quarter of a million people have already viewed this online.

So, I mean, this story we're about to show you is actually pretty difficult to watch. It's about a 16-year-old who feels the state of Florida let her down. So, she posted a video of herself on YouTube about why she says she's so angry and upset.


CRYSTAL, 16 YEARS OLD: I need some help.

BOUDREAU (voice-over): This 16-year-old girl from Florida has gone online, hoping someone will hear her plea.

CRYSTAL: I have had to turn to this, to make a video, to post it on the Internet for somebody to hear me and help me, because I was raped by a 23-year-old man, and nobody wants to help me.

BOUDREAU: The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network says more and more alleged sex abuse victims whose cases never make it to court have been seeking justice online. But this is the first time a teenager has posted a video.

CRYSTAL: All I'm asking for is someone out there in the world, anyone, anyone that's watching this or listening to me, please, please help me.

Such a good girl.

BOUDREAU: This is the girl from that video, Crystal (ph). We're not using her last name. She tells us she grew up with a troubled mother and a father who was in and out of jail.

CRYSTAL: I didn't think I was going to live to be 13. But I did. I have lived a really hard life. And it's made me the person I am now.

BOUDREAU: Crystal says, when she was 15, she met then-23-year- old Casey Mundling at a party. She recalls a night of drinking and doing drugs. Then, she says, she passed out.

CRYSTAL: When I passed out in the middle of the night and I wake up to a man in me, it's not right.

BOUDREAU: She says that first time turned into many more. And it only became harder for her to stay away from him.

CRYSTAL: When I would tell him to stop, he would whisper in my ear that he loved me, that he was always going to be there for me, that I'm beautiful.

BOUDREAU: But when her estranged father found pictures of Crystal posted on her MySpace page posing with her 23-year-old boyfriend, he tracked her down. That's when she told the Orange County Sheriff's Office about her relationship with Mundling.

(on-camera): Are you telling the truth?

CRYSTAL: Yes. I'm telling the truth. He raped me and took advantage of me. And for those people who don't believe me, then, oh, well. They don't have to believe me.

BOUDREAU (voice-over): Last November, police arrested Mundling for having sex with an underage girl. They charged him with lewd or lascivious battery. Crystal and her father thought the case would be prosecuted, since Florida law states a 15-year-old cannot give consent to having sex. But then, just two weeks ago, Crystal learned her case was dropped.

CRYSTAL: God, the day they dropped my charges I thought I was going to die. I had an emotional breakdown. I cried for hours.

I'm tired of having nightmares 24/7.

BOUDREAU: That's when she made this video.

CRYSTAL: The state attorney of Florida doesn't want to prosecute a 23-year-old man that has raped me and drugged me.

BOUDREAU (on-camera): The state attorney's office declined our request for an interview. But these court documents show exactly why the case is closed.

(voice-over): The prosecutor concluded that the pair had consensual sex. And though Crystal was only 15 at the time, she was a mere one month from turning 16, at which time it would be legal to give consent.

We went to the Orange County Correctional Center to interview Casey Mundling, where he was being held on burglary and drug charges. At first, he agreed to the interview, but then backed out, though he did tell us he did nothing wrong. He's now out of jail and on probation.

CRYSTAL: I'm tired of being scared.

BOUDREAU: We showed Crystal's video to Trudi Novicki, a former prosecutor who now runs a center for sexually abused children in Miami.

TRUDI NOVICKI, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I think this is almost so obvious, it's laughable, is that's a cry for help.

BOUDREAU: While research shows a stunning one in four girls independent the age of 18 reports being sexually abused, Novicki says cases rarely go to trial, leaving many young girls feeling the courts let them down.

NOVICKI: And she's talking to a camera, and that's all she has to help her? That's a pretty sad situation. The only thing she can envision help being is to put who she sees as the bad man in jail. There are a lot of other alternatives, is what I'm saying to you. There is a whole system that has got to grab these children.

BOUDREAU: Crystal now lives with her father, trying to recapture the childhood she never had. She says she doesn't regret making the video and sharing her story. All she wanted was someone to listen.

CRYSTAL: I just want someone's help, please.


BOUDREAU: Once again, the case against Casey Mundling was dropped. And he insists, though he did have sex with Crystal, he did not break any laws. As for Crystal, she tells us, starting next week, she will be meeting with a counselor.

LEMON: I just -- I can't believe the story. When you -- you said more young girls are talking about their sex abuse cases online. But I kind of -- just for me, I think that's kind of dangerous.

BOUDREAU: Yes, well, absolutely. Experts say it can be very dangerous.

These girls are showing the world their vulnerabilities, and they could become the target for other criminals or other online predators. Also, they may find themselves getting unreliable advice, when they should be getting help from a trained counselor.

Now, we linked a secure chat room where sex abuse victims can go and safely talk about their experiences, that and so much more right now on You know, since this story went up on our Web site, Crystal's gotten, like I told you before, a quarter of a million, more than a quarter of a million views on her on her video.

This has been unbelievable. But that secure Web site that we were telling you about, they have seen a 200 percent increase in visits as well. So, it's doing a lot of good.

LEMON: Oh, my goodness. Yes. And a lot of people wanted her to share her story as well, a lot of other networks, but Abbie Boudreau and our Special Investigations Unit brought it to you.

Thank you very much for that, Abbie.

BOUDREAU: Thank you.

KEILAR: A novel approach to fighting incest charges. We will tell you about polygamist Warren Jeffs' appearance in court today.


KEILAR: Oil prices came down slightly after the Energy Department announced it's suspending shipments to the Strategic Oil Reserve. That begins in July.

On Wednesday, Congress voted to stop these shipments in a move to lower gas prices. The Energy Department says its decision will protect against liability for unfulfilled contracts if that bill does become law. President Bush says the shipments should not stop, though.

The Strategic Reserve was set up in the 1970s to prevent against a disruption in imported oil supplies and it now holds over 700 million barrels and at this point, it is 97 percent full.

LEMON: T. Boone Pickens -- do you like that name?

KEILAR: I love that name.

LEMON: You love that name.

Do you know who he is?

KEILAR: Honestly?

LEMON: It's right there.

KEILAR: Yes. I think he's a legendary Texas oilman and investor. Just a stab.


LEMON: Right.

Well, he sat down with CNN's senior business correspondent, Ali Velshi.


ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: At, check this map out. Those states in red are some of the biggest producers of wind power in the country. And the ones in yellow are the second biggest. Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens lives in one of those big red states. As far as wind production is concerned, he's going green. He's sinking $2 billion -- and that's just a start -- into a new wind farm in Texas, which could become the largest one in the world, with enough power to power 1.3 million homes.

T. Boone Pickens joins us now from Dallas.

Boone, good to see you again.

We have just heard that the president, in Saudi Arabia, struck out asking the Saudis to put more oil on the market and help us with lower prices. Again, record prices for oil today. Record prices for gasoline.

Are you looking at wind as the future for energy in the United States?

T. BOONE PICKENS, BP CAPITAL ENERGY: It's got to be part of it, because we don't have much oil.

VELSHI: What do you think is happening, in terms of oil prices?

You've been able to say, I think you said a little awhile ago you thought oil was going to hit $125. Goldman today saying over $140 this year.

Where do you think oil is going? And given what the president just heard in Saudi Arabia, what can we do about it?

PICKENS: Well, first the Saudis are producing all the oil they can produce. So going to them and asking them to open the spigot -- the spigot is open. There's no more. There's 85 million barrels of oil every day available in the United States. And that's all there is. So trying to get somebody to produce more, they can't.

So we have a demand of about 86 or 87 million barrels a day. And 85 won't cover 86 or 87. So we have to figure out something in this country, because we are now spending $600 billion a year for oil -- $600 billion a year. That is four times the cost of the Iraqi war. And none of the politicians say anything about it. They don't tell you what's going on.

VELSHI: All right. T. Boone Pickens.

You can see more of that interview on Monday on CNN's "ISSUE #1." "ISSUE #1" airs Monday through Friday at 12:00 Eastern here on CNN.


KEILAR: And as you heard, Pickens thinks the solution to America's energy problems -- well, it may be blowing in the wind.

Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with more on that.

Hi, Susan.


Well, you heard the man himself say we've got to figure out something else. Well, he and his company, Mesa Power, have placed a massive order for wind turbines. The nearly 700 turbines will produce enough power to light 300,000 homes. The plan is to eventually produce enough to power more than one million homes and create the world's biggest wind farm on the Texas Panhandle.

The Energy Department says wind could supply 20 percent of the nation's electricity needs by 2030. That's equivalent to the amount generated currently from nuclear power. Proponents note that wind energy is clean and renewable. But many feel those big windmills are just downright ugly, including Pickens. He says he won't put them on his own ranch.

A lot of us folks find oil prices ugly, too. Crude settled up more than $2, to a new record high. There was no change in oil's climb since the Department of Energy's decision this afternoon to stop filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. One oil analyst told me that the markets trade in less than one minute the amount that was put in the reserve for all of last week. And an oil trader told me that the amount is so insignificant that he compared it to the gasoline spill when topping off your tank. (STOCK MARKET REPORT)

KEILAR: Thank you so much, Susan.

LEMON: Well, back to court today for Warren Jeffs' legal team, with Jeffs serving time for accessory to rape. The polygamist leader's lawyers are trying to quash charges of incest in a separate case.

More from CNN's Gary Tuchman in Kingman, Arizona.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, for the first time since the raid on his ranch that separated more than 460 children from their families, we will see Warren Jeffs in person. He will be entering this courthouse behind me on Mohave County, Arizona. It's in the town of Kingman, near the border of Nevada and California. This is where he will stand trial on additional charges against him.

Now, we haven't seen Jeffs in the last six weeks in person. We are told he is under a suicide watch in the jail, the small county jail that is right behind this courthouse. We are told he's emaciated. We are told he's in bad shape. So we're anxious to see if he or his lawyers have anything to say about this huge historic raid in Eldorado, Texas.

Now, Warren Jeffs has already been convicted of serious charges -- being an accomplice to rape in the State of Utah. That's because the headquarters of the FLDS Church, which has up to 10,000 followers, straddles the state line. Thousands of the followers are in Hilldale, Utah. Across the street is in Colorado City, Arizona, with thousands of more followers.

He's charged with crimes in both states. So, in September, he was convicted in Utah. He faces 10 years to life in prison. Most likely that will turn out to be no more than 10 or 11 years. But then he also faces a trial here at a date to be determined on similar charges in the State of Arizona.

So we're anxious to see the reaction he has when he comes into court, what kind of shape he's in. We know he already tried to kill himself in jail in Utah. We also know, because we saw this on a videotape, that he told a relative of his, "I am not the prophet. I am not the prophet."

He is believed to be the prophet, a living prophet of God, by thousands of his followers. His followers now say -- and attorneys for him now say he's renounced that. He once again believes he is the prophet.

Either way, in the courthouse behind me right now are about 10 of his followers, waiting to see him for the first time in many weeks.

One other thing, Don, we want to mention to you. The charges against him here in Arizona -- you just mentioned this -- one of them includes incest, that he -- because he's accused of arranging marriages of children to their cousins who were older men. But under Arizona state law, it appears that to prove an incest charge, everyone has to be above 18. So there's a possibility that charge will be dropped, but he will still have the more serious charges of arranging these marriages against him -- Don.


So arranging marriages. We talked about that. But how many wives does he have, I mean, and what's happened to them?

TUCHMAN: Well, that's the amazing part of the story. I mean most of the polygamists who live in the FLDS have two, three, four wives at the most. It's believed that Warren Jeffs has at least 60 wives and more than 100 children. And from what we're told, the wives are split up all over the place. There is a secret compound, for example, in Colorado that we visited, where four of the wives lived. And they had a minder who kept an eye on them. But it's not clear where all those wives are right now.

LEMON: Oh, it's just amazing. And this story -- I mean it gets more interesting as the time passes. And, Gary, I have to tell you, I saw a story you did -- I think last week on a family. And the husband spoke out. And it was the first time I had seen any sort of interaction like that or a family open up.

Very interesting stuff. Nice job there.

TUCHMAN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Thank you, Gary Tuchman.

Thank you very much for that.

And more tonight on the Warren Jeffs' story on "A.C. 360." That's at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Pacific.

Well, two music stars team up to save the planet. Tommy Lee and Ludacris will talk with us about their new environmental TV series. It's called "Battleground Earth."


KEILAR: Well, she weighed over 200 pounds and the doctor said the extra fat was affecting her ability to breathe during exercise. That's when she knew it was time to get serious about losing weight.

The story in today's Fit Nation with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kelly Pless was a happy child who grew up running and playing sports. But as her age crept up, so did her weight.

KELLY PLESS, LOST 95 POUNDS: And by the time I graduated high school, I think I was 215, 220.

GUPTA: And after college, her self-image became a major issue. PLESS: I had tied my complete self-worth to how I looked. I think then I thought if I were only thin, you know, I would be happy and I would be worthy.

GUPTA: But Kelly would soon be inspired by a co-worker who reached his goal of running a marathon. She decided to start training for half marathon of her own. But her lungs wanted no part of it.

PLESS: I went to a pulmonary specialist to tell him that I needed help on my asthma because I was having a hard time breathing. And he told me that you don't have asthma and there's nothing wrong with your lungs. You just -- you have too much weight and it is compressing your lungs. And it was at that point that I was like wow, that's crazy. I'm 26, you know, and I can't breathe because I'm too fat. I was just -- and it just -- something just clicked.

GUPTA: So Kelly kept running, started eating healthier and stopped caring what other people thought of her.

PLESS: I wasn't thinking about losing weight to look pretty. I wasn't thinking about losing weight for someone else. I was just thinking about becoming more healthy.

GUPTA: Her weight loss philosophy was simple.

PLESS: I eat when I'm hungry and don't when I'm not. If it's got calories and it's going to put calories on me, I'd better be able to chew it. If you burn more calories thank you take in, you're going to lose weight. There's nothing magic about it.

I am Kelly Pless and I lost 95 pounds.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.



LEMON: So, Brianna, was hanging out with Johnny Colt yesterday, the drummer, right?

KEILAR: The original bassist for Black Crowes.

LEMON: The bassist.

OK. Sorry, Johnny.

KEILAR: It was one of my coolest moments in life.

LEMON: So while she was doing that, I was hanging out with rock star Tommy Lee. And he teams up with rap star Ludacris. I was hanging out with both of them. They have a new TV series, "Battleground Earth." It debuts soon on the Discovery Network's eco-channel or echo -- however you want to say it -- Planet Green. And the two stars say they are committed to the green movement and they prove you can be cool and still be green. Tommy Lee and Ludacris joined me early question in THE NEWSROOM to talk about their new venture.


LUDACRIS, RAPPER/ACTOR: Green was the favorite color even before going green. You know, we loved the money. But at the end of the day, you know, we're here to just create conversation about living a better lifestyle, man. And I mean it's not like we claim to know it all. We're going -- we're learning as we go along with the whole competition.


LUDACRIS: This show is called "Battleground Earth" on Planet Green. But we're learning as we go along.

LEMON: How are you going to get people to change their ways?

I mean we've got the big SUVs. We've got everything -- how -- just from your name recognition can you get people to...

LUDACRIS: I was, look, honestly...

LEE: That's the cool part is like, you know...


LEE: I think it's -- you know, it's a little spooky for people to be changing their ways after being a certain way all their life, right?


LEE: We're here to make it fun. We're learning, as well, as we go, you know?

LUDACRIS: Yes. The most important thing is we're not necessarily telling people that they must or they should, we're just letting them know they could and they can.


LUDACRIS: And that's what's most important is just making it fun to them and just showing them other things they can do.


LEMON: Pretty cool?

KEILAR: Yes, that was cool.


LEMON: Pretty cool. All right, so, listen, the new TV series will debut this summer. But my first question to them was about going green, is this all marketing, you know what I mean?

A lot of people are saying it's just marketing now and people are taking advantage of it. And they said...

KEILAR: Yes, what did they say?

LEMON: That's what they said. They said well, we can't speak for other people, but we definitely -- there is a need for it and some people do take advantage of it, but we need to watch our carbon footprint, so to speak.

KEILAR: There -- the footprint, the ubiquitous carbon footprint. That's right.

LEMON: There you go.

KEILAR: Well, you know, for some, protecting Mother Earth, it isn't just an idea, it's really a passion. And we're about to take you to Argentina to meet such a person. It's a teacher who takes her lessons far outside the classroom. And she is featured as today's CNN Hero.


CARMEN SALVA, TEACHER (through translator): It's what we call Mother Earth. In northern Argentina, you will find the town of Tilcara. It's a tourist area. I have made my whole life in Tilcara. There is no real environmental consciousness in Tilcara. We have a lot of issues to work on -- water contamination. There's so much trash.

Someone had to do something and I saw the opportunity.

My name is Carmen Salva.

I began an environmental group to clean up my town and its surroundings, together with children, young people and parents. I've been a teacher for 20 years. I believe that change begins with a child. They will teach how to care for nature and everything that's around us.

The name for our group is Hope for Life. When we go out to clean on Saturdays, there is about 60 to 100 people. We separate the recyclables. And when we return, we load the llamas with the bags of trash. When the students leave the group, they are the ones who pass on the lessons they have learned. It's really fulfilling when we come back to town and they feel like -- well, they feel like heroes.


KEILAR: And if you know someone that you think is a candidate to be honored, send their name and information to

LEMON: All right, so imagine trying to drive a bus while a guy is pounding your head with his fists. Police are trying to unmask the attacker.


LEMON: I like Caught on Camera, don't you?

KEILAR: I love it. It's great.


Who needs low budget horror flicks, Brianna?

Look at what we Caught on Camera today.

There are unruly passengers and then there are unruly passengers. Watch the masked man burst through the bus door at a stop in Milwaukee. He beats up the driver for a few seconds, then comes back and takes the wheel. Then punches the gas and he punches the driver some more. This went on for a couple of blocks, so you -- just so you know. And the bus eventually ran through an intersection and then it hit a tree. The attacker -- the poor bus driver. The attacker ran off and police are looking for him. The driver is bruised, but he should be OK there.

KEILAR: And, obviously, that is not why we like Caught on Camera. We like Caught on Camera for the next few stories that we're going to show you.

LEMON: Well, it's a -- hey, it's interesting to see.

KEILAR: It's interesting.

LEMON: I'm glad that guy is OK.

KEILAR: But that...

LEMON: But that's amazing video.

KEILAR: That's obviously not funny.


KEILAR: But this next story is -- this is the invasion of the frogs. Thousands of these tiny green frogs -- I think they're pretty cute. Well, they have invaded a Bakersfield, California neighborhood. Sometimes, as you can see here, they travel in groups and, as you can imagine, all that hopping around has many neighborhood residents feeling a little jumpy themselves.

LEMON: Yes, they're tiny little things.

All right. If you think frogs are scary, how about ants?

Ants not so much. Not just any ants, but thousands of tiny, hairy reddish-brown ants are spreading across five Houston area counties. They'll swarm up -- right up your arm if they get half a chance. They'll swarm up your leg and bite you everywhere. OK, so the good news is that they eat fire ants. The bad news is that they bite humans.

KEILAR: It looks like a carpet of ants.

And then the last part of our feature, well, it could only rival one of those mad scientist flicks.

This is my favorite story of the day.

What are these people doing?

Well, this is an experiment performed by high school students in Louisville, Kentucky. It involves the effect of 1,300 Mentos dropped in 1,300 diet colas. The result there, of course, as you saw, 1,300 Mentos, diet cola geysers -- enough to beat the world's record, set in Belgium earlier this year. Science marching on.

LEMON: Well, there you go. So we have to try that experiment right here in THE NEWSROOM.

What do you think?

KEILAR: I would love to.


LEMON: All right...

KEILAR: Right now.


LEMON: OK. The closing bell and a wrap of all the action on Wall Street straight ahead.


LEMON: Well, we've been hearing a lot about appeasement. And I'm sure Wolf Blitzer is going to be talking about it, as well.

What do you think?

KEILAR: I'm sure he is.

And he's standing by in "THE SITUATION ROOM" to tell us exactly what's coming up at the top of the hour -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, guys.

Coming up, two potential vice presidential candidates. My one-on- one interview with John Edwards only 48 hours after he endorsed Barack Obama -- why he did it, why now, can it help Obama's campaign?

I'll also speak with the former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney. He bowed out of the GOP presidential race with a powerful speech that still resonates. He could be a contender for the number two post, as well.

And President Bush's request for more oil rejected in Saudi Arabia. Leaders there announced that they already had beaten him to the punch by making their announcement.

All that, guys, and a lot more coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

KEILAR: All right. Thanks, Wolf.

And the closing bell is about it ring on Wall Street.

LEMON: Susan Lisovicz is standing by with a final look at the trading day on this Friday -- Susan.

LISOVICZ: Hello, Friday. I love it.

Brianna and Don, let me tell you about a controversy that is brewing over Starbucks, which reintroduced an updated version of its original logo. There is a Christian group called The Resistance that is boycotting Starbucks over what it says is a naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute. That is a quote. It also says it's in extremely poor taste and that the company might as well call themselves Slutbucks. That is also a quote.

The company, in response, says that it is based on a 16th century Norse wood cut and that it is a two-tailed mermaid. And that it is just currently used for hot beverages. It'll bring back its original green logo in just a few weeks. So, presumably, the controversy will end at that time.


KEILAR: Well, I may be wrong, Susan. I think that's actually the logo they used at the original Starbucks in Hyde Place Market in Seattle, right?

LISOVICZ: Correct. Absolutely. And they brought it back, an updated version of it, but just for a short time. And some people noticed.

LEMON: I just -- I can't believe you said Slutbucks on television. I just said it, too.


KEILAR: I have not said it today, thank you very much.

LISOVICZ: That was coffee.


LISOVICZ: See you guys next week. Have a great weekend.

LEMON: Have a great weekend, Susan -- thanks.

KEILAR: Thanks so much.

Now let's head to "THE SITUATION ROOM" and Wolf Blitzer.