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Pastor Problems: McCain Rejects Two Endorsements; McCain's Health; Colorado Tornado Aftermath; Polygamy Custody Battle

Aired May 23, 2008 - 11:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning again, everyone. Good Friday to you. You're informed in the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Tony Harris.


HARRIS: And developments keep coming into the NEWSROOM on this Friday, May 23rd.

Here is what's on the rundown.

WHITFIELD: John McCain goes public with his medical records a short time ago. Plus, fallout after McCain walks away from two evangelical preachers.

HARRIS: Barack Obama courting Cuban-Americans in Florida today. His campaign beginning the search for a running mate.

WHITFIELD: A CNN iReporter at work in Colorado. A monster on tape. The tornado and its destruction -- in the NEWSROOM.

Thanks, but no thanks. John McCain rejecting endorsements from two influential but controversial televangelists.

Mary Snow is in Fountain Hills, Arizona, just outside Phoenix.

So what is it that made John McCain say no thank you?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of controversy, Fredricka. But just wanted to also point out that we are outside the building where everyone is going over John McCain's medical records. And we are going to hear from Sanjay Gupta momentarily. He has been going over the records, been reporting on it this morning.

That was the reason why we are all out here in Arizona. But one -- we thought it would be the big story, the unexpected glitch for John McCain. A big controversy yesterday where he had to reject endorsements from not one, but two pastors after very some controversial remarks.

Yesterday, John Hagee, the pastor who endorsed McCain, he's a prominent televangelist in Texas, had made a number of controversial remarks. McCain has been trying to distance himself over the past couple of months. But last -- but yesterday was the last straw. This was the story first reported on CNN, when it came out that Hagee had said in the 1990s that Adolf Hitler was being sent by God to send the Jews back to Israel. John McCain said that drew the line, he had to reject the endorsement. Hagee withdrew the endorsement.

Here is what John McCain had to say yesterday.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I just think that the statement is crazy and unacceptable. And certainly Reverend Hagee -- Pastor Hagee is entitled to his views. But we've reached the point where that kind of statement simply -- I would reject the endorsement and the expression of those kinds of views.


SNOW: And then also, Rod Parsley, an Ohio pastor, had made controversial comments about the religion f Islam, calling it inherently violent. That caused John McCain to also reject his endorsement.

And this, Fredricka, as Senator John McCain was trying to reach out to conservatives and evangelicals. But with that, trying to gain support from these endorsements, backfired really, and had to step away.

One of the things he is trying to do is try to distance himself between the situation between him and Senator Barack Obama and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his controversial remarks. McCain saying that he was never a member of these pastors' churches. Whether or not this will continue to hurt him down the line remains to be seen. But certainly, a headache, a glitch along the way he did not see coming -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Well, a lot going on involving the McCain camp.

Meantime, the health records that you were talking about, one reason why you are there in Fountain Hills. Another reason is that this weekend he will be hosting kind of a barbecue, or at least a get- together, and there will be some potential running mates, yes?

SNOW: Yes, certainly. And the McCain campaign is playing it down. Senator McCain said, listen, don't expect anything, it's a social gathering. But certainly when these three names popped up on the guest list -- Mitt Romney, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal -- certainly that fired -- fueled a lot of speculation because they have been widely seen as potential running mates, whether or not this is a tryout perhaps for that number two slot.

Again, Senator McCain saying, listen, it's just a social thing, but certainly a lot of attention being paid on it.

WHITFIELD: All right. Mary Snow, thanks so much, from Fountain Hills, Arizona -- Tony. HARRIS: Inside John McCain's medical records. Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, one of the few reporters getting a look at those files today. He also is live from Fountain Hills, Arizona, with the latest on what he's learned.

And Sanjay, 1,200 pages or so of information on the health of John McCain. It sounds like a lot to go through. What have you learned over the last I guess few minutes or so?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, you know, we are sort of going in and out of this room here where they gave us three stacks of records. His naval records, his records from the Mayo Clinic, and some summaries of records before 2000, before he ran for president last.

What we remember now is that, you know, the -- some of the things that we see, the prisoner of war medical data when he was a prisoner of war for five and a half years. He was beaten at that time, as we know. His joints, several of them, fractured. They were never set properly, which is why he still has some of that limited range of motion in his shoulders, for example.

We also know some of the medications that he is taking. In addition to cholesterol medications and baby aspirin, he also sometimes takes Ambien for trouble with sleeping. He's had bladder stones and kidney stones in the past that have been treated. These are some of the things that are starting to come out.

One thing that you know that I have been interested in is this melanoma that he had on his left temple.


GUPTA: That was a pretty significant operation that he had, and there was a lot of questions about why that operation was perhaps more aggressive than in cases previous. And I read through all the surgeons' notes just now, and they talk about the fact they, through an abundance of caution, wanted to make sure they removed lots of lymph nodes.

What I didn't know before just reading these notes is that after his first operation, he developed a large blood collection underneath the skin. Lots of swelling. And had to be taken back for a second operation at that time as well.

He does get a lot of his care at the Mayo Clinic. He often is checked in under a pseudonym under there, so it's made even deciphering some of these notes a lot harder, because you have two different names.

The cholesterol, you know, is about 193 now, which is pretty good. The doctors would probably like that a little bit lower. But again, he is on medication to try and treat that.

Slowly making our way through all these records.

HARRIS: Right.

GUPTA: Big, big stacks -- Tony.

HARRIS: Well, a couple of quick questions come to mind. Is Senator McCain required to release this medical information?

GUPTA: He is not. And this is an interesting point. And to keep in mind, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have not released their medical records as of yet.

I think a lot of people were asking to do so. And he did. And he did the same thing in 1999.

There's no specific sort of mandate either on a candidate or even a president, for that matter, to actually release any of these medical records. But we are making our way through them.

Besides the things that we reported on, there's been a lot made of his mental health back in 1999.


GUPTA: I want to look at specific records regarding that as well. And any more specific data regarding his heart, tests that he may have had to check out the function, as you would in anybody of that age.


Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta with us.

Sanjay, appreciate it. Thank you.

Another reminder for you. You can see more of Dr. Gupta this weekend. He explores the health demands of being commander in chief and the challenges facing presidential doctors. A one-hour special report, SIU, "The First Patient." Catch that Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Eastern.

And a busy day for the Democrats in the presidential race. Hillary Clinton looking for support in the West. She is campaigning in South Dakota today.

Barack Obama wraps up three days of campaigning in Florida. He addresses a Cuban Independence Day celebration in Miami. Obama is reaching out to Cuban-Americans after making an appeal to Jewish voters yesterday.

WHITFIELD: Well, it bounced through several Colorado towns. And when a powerful tornado finally passed, it left dazed residents and destroyed homes.

Our Sean Callebs is in the heart of the town of Windsor, Colorado.

The cleanup has begun, question mark? SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can put an end to that. Yes, a period. It has begun.

If you look down this road behind me, 9:00 in the morning here, just an absolutely beautiful sunny day out here in the plains area. You can see a great deal of trucks down there. If you look at the white truck with the cherry picker, that is a utility truck. They are going to be overburdened for the next couple of days.

I ran into one of these guys earlier. I said, "You're going to have a long day." He rolled his eyes. He said, "We're going to have a few long days."

If you saw that storm that just rolled through here yesterday, just simply terrifying, that black cloud. This was a very, very punishing twister that actually touched down and jumped along a number of areas.

And I want to bring you over to one of the stories that really could have been so much worse. This is actually a daycare. A hundred and forty kids were in that daycare when the tornado hit. It blew out windows, began to throw debris all about.

But listen to how the assistant director and the staff handled it.


SHAWNA BRUNTZ, DAY CARE WORKER: They were crying, screaming, you know. But they were really good. And our staff was really good about, you know, making sure they were all safe and up against the walls. And they all reacted really well and were fast-thinking.


CALLEBS: Well, after the tornado they began to smell natural gas. Clearly, a line had ruptured amid all the debris. So they took all of the 140 children out of the daycare center, took them to a safe, nearby bank, where they waited until authorities came in and gave the all-clear for the area.

But a lot of kids there, they range in age from 8 years old, all the way down to 4 months. And a lot of the infants, Fredricka, actually had to be put in cribs and then wheeled over.

WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh.

CALLEBS: But certainly the practice, the time that they went through to train for just such an emergency paid off in a huge way yesterday.

WHITFIELD: That is great. And so many times people go through these drills and they think, oh, it's just a drill. It's just a drill. We never have to actually use it. And they did. Frightening.

CALLEBS : Exactly. WHITFIELD: Sean Callebs.

All right, thanks so much, in Windsor, Colorado.


HARRIS: No proof of abuse. A Texas appeals court says the state had no right to remove children from that polygamist compound last month.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is on the case for us in San Angelo, Texas.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It is a scathing opinion issued by the Texas Court of Appeals. The nine-page decision blasts fellow judges and the Department of Family and Protective Services, ruling there was no evidence children would be subjected to sexual or physical abuse, that there was no evidence they were in urgent danger, and no evidence that required their immediate removal from the compound.

The appeal was brought by 38 mothers whose children were removed from the Yearning for Zion compound. The ruling only affects their children. But outside the courthouse a lawyer representing the mothers said the reasoning would apply to all of the children.

JULIE BALOVICH, LEGAL AID, TEXAS RIO GRANDE: The 3rd Court of Appeals has stood up for the legal rights of these families and given the mothers hope that their families will be brought back together very soon.

LAVANDERA: The opinion also throws out the earlier order granting temporary custody of the children to the state. The historic custody battle began in early April. Acting on phone calls whose authenticity is now being doubted by the court, authorities raided the ranch and removed more than 460 children. The FLDS denies allegations of sexual or physical abuse and says that they are being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Responding to the appellate court's opinion, a spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services released a statement saying, "We just received this information from the court of appeals and it is being reviewed. We are trying to assess the impact this may have on our case and what our next steps will be."

Kids are living in shelters across the state and will remain there for at least the next 10 days. That's how long the state has to appeal this court ruling or return the children to their mothers.


HARRIS: Ed Lavandera joins us from San Angelo.

Ed, great to see you.

Attorneys for the children say the state's case is dismantling in other ways. Explain, please.

LAVANDERA: Well, they point to a couple of things. You know, all of this going on in the appellate court this week at the same time that there has been a series of child custody hearings going on here in San Angelo.

And in case after case that have come before the judges here, caseworkers were asked to specify if they had any details of abuse in the specific cases they were investigating. They have been unable do so. They say they haven't found that. So you know that attorneys for the polygamist sect are going to be harping on that quite a bit.

The other thing is, early on in this investigation, state authorities had said that they had found 31 underage women that were pregnant. That number is now down to five. They point to these kinds of things as a reason they believe the state's case is disintegrating before their eyes.

HARRIS: Ed Lavandera for us in San Angelo, Texas.

Ed, appreciate it. Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right. Bigger isn't always better, especially on the road. Drivers are finding out that all those SUVs in their driveway, perhaps they are losing a lot of value.


HARRIS: Sky-high gas prices turning people off of gas-guzzlers. Ford responding by cutting production of trucks and SUVs. How will that affect the car industry and the economy as a whole?

Joining us from "Car & Driver" magazine, one of our favorite guests, Csaba Csere joining us now.

Csaba, good to talk to you again. .


HARRIS: So -- outstanding. Outstanding. Good Friday to you.

So Ford cutting North American production of pickups and SUVs. Is this, Csaba the death nil for the big SUV? Let's think the Explorer, let's think the Suburbans of the world.

CSERE: Well, it definitely doesn't help. And I don't know why anyone is surprised by this.

Gas is over $4 a gallon for regular right here in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I think it is much the same across the country. At that point, people who don't absolutely need a big pickup or a big SUV are going to buy something else.


CSERE: It's perfectly expected. And it's hitting the American car companies very hard. And that's why Ford made the announcement.

HARRIS: OK. Let's -- yes, let's drill down on that, the impact on the American car company.

Will people lose their jobs because of this announcement by Ford?

CSERE: Well, some of them might well. As recently as 2005, Ford sold over 900,000 F-Series pickup trucks in North America. Sales today are 40 percent under that figure.

The same can be said for the GM and the Chrysler pickups, and all of these big SUVs have fallen may even more over the past three years. Those car companies are working very hard to switch over to smaller vehicles, more fuel-efficient models.


CSERE: But that takes time. And in the meanwhile, plants are going to close and jobs are going to be lost.

HARRIS: Well, maybe we are expanding it just -- just where we need to at this point. Do you expect more of these kinds of announcements, say, from GM, say from Chrysler, in the months to come? Or are those two car companies better positioned with these gas sippers than Ford?

CSERE: Well, Chrysler certainly isn't in any better position than Ford is. Both Ford and Chrysler's sales are over 60 percent in the general truck category. So they are being hit very hard.

GM is slightly lower on trucks. Also, GM has been hurt by a strike in the first few months at America Axle. So their sales -- their production of the big pickups and SUVs has actually fallen back. So they probably don't have to close the plants immediately. But if this continues, they're going to have to make adjustment as well.

HARRIS: Well then, what is the tipping point? What is -- what is the price of oil? What does it need to go to? What is the price of gas? Where does that need to go to before the automakers run and not jog to more of these hybrids and making more of them available and bringing more of them to market more quickly?

CSERE: Well, they are running towards it. But what people forget is that the car business is very long term. And this is not just for the domestics. It's for everybody.

It takes three, four, even five years to bring a completely new vehicle to market. Nobody knows how to do it any faster. And, you know...

HARRIS: Well, Csaba, Csaba, Csaba, I mean, the industry has watched, as we have watched, gas prices rise. I mean, you have got to respond.

CSERE: Well, they are responding. But you can't respond as quickly as you might think. And keep in mind, you know, Katrina was barely three years ago. And nobody knew that gas prices were going to go up and stay up as they have been.

I mean, you know, gas prices were low for 25 years after the last gas crisis. We have seen fluctuations. And at this point I think that the car makers are running towards smaller vehicles.

But it can't be done overnight. It's a very complex business, and they are suffering in the meanwhile.

HARRIS: Let me push one more time on this. The auto industry could have moved faster, but didn't move faster because the truth of the matter is, the dirty little secret is, is there is not as much profit in these little gas sippers as there is in the big SUVs and trucks.

CSERE: Absolutely right. But keep in mind, you don't make profit in big SUVs and trucks unless people are willing and eager to buy them, which they were until very recently. Right now, when the sales of these big machines are falling, their profit is also falling very rapidly, because not only are they selling fewer of them, they have to put more incentives on them to sell the quantity that they are moving.

HARRIS: That's right.

CSERE: And the plants are running below capacity. So the profits are evaporating quickly. So even from terms of pure self- interest and profit-seeking, they want to build the small vehicles now. They simply can't do it overnight.

HARRIS: Csaba Csere, "Car & Driver" magazine.

Thanks for our time. Good weekend to you.

CSERE: My pleasure. Same to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Holiday slowdown. That's what it has come to. Soaring gas prices forcing some of you off the roads this Memorial Day Weekend.

Senior Correspondent Allan Chernoff joins us now from a gas station in Richfield, New Jersey.

Although, wow, that's some big rig behind you. So they are filling up there, too?

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: Not only a big rig, Fredricka. Check this line out.

We are talking seven cars waiting to get on one, two, three, four, five, six different lines. We are talking close to 45 cars here waiting to gas up.

WHITFIELD: Oh gosh. Not because the gas is cheap. CHERNOFF: Are they waiting for bargain prices?


CHERNOFF: Well, here in New Jersey, yes, the price is a little bit cheaper than it is elsewhere. Right now we are at $3.72, believe it or not. This morning they raised it by eight cents a gallon. But that is still a lot cheaper than nationwide.

As you know, the price nationwide getting very close to $4 a gallon, $3.87 today, just before the holiday weekend. And that, most definitely, is crimping some plans.

We spoke to a few people earlier today. Let's have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a place in Upstate New York and I decided not to drive this weekend. I'm not supporting the gas companies. I'm going to the Poconos, only an hour instead of two and a half hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to stay home and save my pennies, because, you know, hey, for what the barrel is going for and what they are charging, I don't know. Where are our reserves? I'm saying that as a citizen and a veteran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to work to buy more gas. That's what we're doing this weekend.


CHERNOFF: Yes, you would be working to buy more gas, too, if you owned one of these, a GMC Savannah is it?

And Eddie over here is about to fill up.

Yesterday you filled up. How much did it cost?


CHERNOFF: $110. That's some serious pain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It hurts a lot.

CHERNOFF: And you are still driving for Memorial Day Weekend?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Unfortunately, yes. It's going to be cheaper than the airplane, and carrying the whole family. Just do the math. You know?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's four people. It's still...

CHERNOFF: No alternative. Good luck to you, Eddie.


CHERNOFF: Fredricka...

WHITFIELD: Wait a minute. So he just filled up yesterday?

CHERNOFF: ... we're talking major pain here in New Jersey.

WHITFIELD: He just filled up yesterday, he's driven so much he has got to get more gas today?

CHERNOFF: Yes. He is driving a lot. And I don't think that this vehicle gets incredible gas mileage.

Eddie, what sort of gas mileage do you get?



CHERNOFF: He is telling me 16 miles a gallon.

Come on, really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Seventeen if you don't go over 75.

CHERNOFF: All right.

Well, the whole idea -- what he just said, keep it easy on that gas pedal. Do not go too fast.

You also want to make sure that your tires are properly inflated.

WHITFIELD: That's right.

CHERNOFF: Good strategy for the weekend -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Oh, man. That is so depressing. But that's the reality check.

But like you said, you know what? With the airfare being what it is, it is still going to be cheaper for him to drive that family to where it wants to go this weekend.

Allan, thank so much. I bet you're going to be hitting the road on your bike you showed us earlier in the week.

HARRIS: Oh, that's right. That's right.

WHITFIELD: That's going to be the way you go this weekend.

All right, Allan. Thanks so much -- Tony.

HARRIS: Many Cuban-Americans could buy into Barack Obama's call for change, but there's no sale on one key issue.


HARRIS: Welcome back, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.

WHITFIELD: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right. Well, we have got this going on just north/northeast of Memphis, Tennessee. See this 18-wheeler overturned, by the way. Unleaded gasoline in there, 8,500 gallons of it. Well, that's one problem. The other problem is where it overturned, right near a nursing home. And so it means 100 patients from the King Daughters and Sons Home are actually being moved to a safe location because of, obviously, the noxious fumes of potential dangers that come with a tanker overturning there with gasoline.

This taking place in Bartlett, Tennessee, as you see right there. Just north-northeast of Memphis. We understand all the patients to be OK. But, again, they have been evacuated. We don't know anything about the driver of this tanker. Obviously, you see in this video the emergency response teams that have descended upon this site here.

But of course, when we get any more information about the people involved, we'' bring that to you.

HARRIS: Barack Obama campaigning in Florida. And reaching out to an influential group -- Cuban-American voters.

John Zarrella live for us, from Miami.

John, you know, I believe this is the same group John McCain spoke to earlier this week. And I recall, he received a raucous reception.

JOHN ZARELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Tony, don't expect raucous today from this staunchly Republican group.

You know, it is interesting. Everybody says, you know, on bread and butter issues, Cuban-Americans are more in line with Democratic principles than they are with the Republican principles. But I can tell you that the Cuban-American National Foundation, staunchly Republican, before which he will be speaking today, the members here want to hear one thing and one thing only. Forget about the bread issues. They want to know what he is going to do Cuba and if he's still maintains what he said in the past, Barack Obama. That he would be willing to sit down and talk with Raul Castro. That clearly does not and has not been sitting well with Cuban-Americans. So that's what they want to hear.

But the reason he's here, one of the reasons is because there are signs of change in the Cuban-American community.


ZARELLA (voice-over): You are looking at a rare individual. Giancarlo Sopo, is a Cuban-American who publicly supports a Democrat for president.

GIANCARLO SOPO, CUBAN-AMERICAN OBAMA SUPPORTER: My family is on board with Barack Obama...

ZARELLA: For decades, Cuban-Americans have been powerful allies of the Republican party and its candidates. Staunchly backing a no- compromise stand against Cuba.

Sopo, represents a growing trend. Young Cuban-Americans weary of what they say are Republican promises, not delivered.

SOPO: In reality, all they give to Cuban-Americans is lip service. And I think Cuban-Americans of my generation and Cuban- Americans of previous generations are tired of the lip service.

ZARELLA: Many in this community would Senator Obama is promising. Loosening travel restricts on visiting relatives in Cuba and making it easier to send money to their families.

But Where Obama loses Cuban-American voters is by proclaiming his willingness to meet with Raul Castro. In Miami, something akin to heresy.

NINOSKA PEREZ CASTELLON, RADIO SHOW HOST: And I think that the fact that Obama now walks in and says, oh we can sit down and talk to Raul Castro because it hasn't worked the other way, it's absurd.

ZARELLA: Ninoska Perez Castellon hosts as Spanish language radio program. Perez says the vast majority of Cuban-Americans will vote for John McCain, and against change.

CASTELLON: The fact that he's firm on Cuba, that he is not willing to lift those sanctions, is going to help him in south Florida.

ZARELLA: Historically, at least 70 percent of Cuban-Americans turn out to vote. Large turnout that has given this small immigrant community plenty of influence and plenty of important visitors.


ZARELLA: Now another sign that there may be change on the horizon, interesting fact. Just very recently the number of registered Hispanic voters, Democrats, finally passed the number of Hispanic registered Republicans. So, more reason the Democratic party in Florida is reaching out and really sees what both parties do. See the Hispanic votes in Florida, as critical to which candidate wins the November election.

HARRIS: Thank you, Z. John Zarrella, in Miami for us.

John McCain rejects a key endorsement, read all about it at, your source for everything political.

He ditched his tractor and ran for the ditch. A Colorado dairy farmer feels the terror of a tornado. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAYLEE MARIE RADZYMINSKI, YOUNG WONDER: Listening to music, first of all, gets stress out and you relax to it. It is a big part of my life and it's a big part of theirs.

I've always had a very special place in my heart for the military. They sacrifice so much for us. Why can't I do a little bit to give back to them?

My name is Kaylee Marie Radzyminski.

I have been sending CDs and DVDs overseas to our troops to bring a little bit of home and a little bit of entertainment. I got to talking with the military personnel and I asked them what was the No. 1 thing he missed. First thing was of course, the families. But second to that was entertainment. Well, CDs, DVDs, those are entertainment.

So I started asking my friends and I got online together, and then we did a drive at school. And eventually it spread to the community and now it is a nationwide project.

They all get a sticker with the Tunes 4 the Troop e-mail address. So then all's you have to do is finish filling out custom forms and pay for shipping. Sometimes it does get very stressful, I missed my junior prom. But that is nothing compared to what these 18, 19 and 20-year-olds give up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It kind of takes you out of this place for a little while.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gives me a chance to feel like I was back home a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The project is awesome.

RADZYMINSKI: To have such a large outcome of happy soldiers is so worth it.



HARRIS: The drive to work four days a week instead of five. Save gas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My staff are very excited. Many of them are involved with weekend activities and if they could stagger their schedule to have more time with their families, it's a great benefit.

HARRIS: Now that would be wonderful. The shorter workweek solution, in the NEWSROOM. WHITFIELD: A tornado leaving devastation in its wake in northern Colorado. Dozens of homes, businesses, and farms have been damaged or destroyed. One person was actually killed. And 13 others injured.

The twister bounced threw several towns on its way through the area yesterday. The same storm system also pounded the region with golf-ball sized hail. Winds flipped cars and trucks off the roads. And pushed rail cars over as well. The governor has declared a local state of emergency and damage assessment teams are going into the hardest-hit areas today.

HARRIS: Caught in the fields targeted by a tornado. The life of a Colorado farmer flashed before him.

He survived and tells his story to a reporter Thanh Truong, of affiliate KUSA.


TROY MESBERGEN, DAIRY WORKER: Am I going to die? Is this my time to die?

THANH TRUONG, KUSA REPORTER: Those are the questions that ran through Troy Mesbergen's mind as the tornado moved over Brown Cow Dairy. He was feeding cows and riding in a tractor, when he noticed the wind kicking up.

MESBERGEN: All of a sudden it just got real dark. And I happened to looked up to the south down here and I saw a big wall of black cloud spinning.

TRUONG: He ditched the tractor and headed for a ditch.

MESBERGEN: Ran for a ditch, the closest ditch I could find and covered up. Just prayed for my life.

TRUONG: He thinks he got pelted by hail. These are the marks. The tornado's imprints are all over the dairy.

RICK HERTZKE, DAIRY OWNER: It's something you just never think would ever happen to you. But as you can see, it's -- there's nothing left.

TRUONG (on camera): As you can see, the tornado absolutely punished the inside and outside of this house. A few of the dairy workers heard the tornado coming in, ran downstairs to the basement. They got out alive.

(voice-over): A camper staying at this park, just north of the dairy, did not survive. The tornado's power leveled the buildings at the park and pummeled this tree. Whatever shelter the camper had, was no match for the storm.

Back at the dairy after all surviving cows are moved, they'll move ahead with demolition. HERTZKE: Yes, we moved in here, built it from scratch. Two homes and this 400-cow dairy in 1977. And yes, it's over. So, kind of hard to explain.


HARRIS: So the other dairy farmer mentioned in that story, well, rode out the storm in a basement.


All right. Fury of a storm.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. Oh, my god. Oh, my god. That's a tornado right there.


WHITFIELD: In pictures, iReporter, David Decker, sent us this video of that tornado that tore up the town of Windsor, Colorado.

David shot this from his home.

We welcome your iReport and video and photos as well. Go to and click on iReports. Or type into your cell phone.

But be safe, first.

HARRIS: A teacher and student wrestling in the classroom.

School of hard knocks, in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: A middle school teacher in Florida, possibly in trouble with the law, all because of this cell phone telephone video.

That's teacher, Stephen Berry, and whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. And a 14-year-old wrestling in the classroom at Clermont Middle School.

Berry resigned after the video came out and the Lake County sheriff's office was called. Hey now. The principal calls the wrestling inappropriate. Yes. The teacher says things well, just kind of got out hand.


STEPHEN BERRY, TEACHER: It was a little bit of playful, went too far. And when I tried to tell him that was enough, that's when the video clip kicks on and they get the very end of it.

DAVID COGGSHALL, MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Certainly, whether there was anything criminal or not, it was certainly not proper, and it was not the normal thing that would happen in school.


HARRIS: Well, what came before the video started?


HARRIS: It makes you wonder, doesn't it?


HARRIS: Students of the class told police the wrestling was harmless. The 14-year-old's family does not want to prosecute.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, it is hard to see any benefit in record high gas prices. But some workers in Michigan might beg to differ. One county planning to cut those costly commutes by cutting the work week.

Here's Anu Prakash, with affiliate XYZ.


ANU PRAKASH, WXYZ REPORTER (voice-over): With soaring gas prices and no end in sight, Julie Courtney, like so many others, could sure use a break. The cost of just driving to work is too much.

JULIE COURTNEY, OAKLAND COUNTY, MICH. EMPLOYEE: I live in Plymouth and I drive over 30 miles one way.

PRAKASH: But now, she and other Oakland County employees, could actually see relief. Thanks to a four-day, 40-hour work week plan proposed by Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson.

COURTNEY: It's just a great benefit to me to have that flexibility.

PRAKASH: Patterson says the plan will allows employees to cut their cost and drive time by 20 percent. And county offices would still stay open five days a week.

L. BROOKS PATTERSON, OAKLAND COUNTY EXECUTIVE: The work force would be staggered. So not everybody would get the Friday off. It would have to be rotated. The govern will be open between 8:30 and 5:00 every day. The work force would be staggered to a four-10.

BRENT RASEGAN, OAKLAND COUNTY, MICH. EMPLOYEE: But I know my staff are very excited. Many of them are involved with weekend activities and if they could stagger their schedule, they have more time with their families. It's a great benefit.

LYNN DOANE, OAKLAND COUNTY, MICH. EMPLOYEE: Having a day off. More time with my family, my son, and the cost savings for day care. And the cost savings in gas, it may add up.

PRAKASH (on camera): So what's next? Well, the plan will be presented to the board of commissioners early next week. If it's approved, Patterson says it could get started in 10 days.

In Waterford, Anu Prakash, Channel 7, Action News.


WHITFIELD: All right, the cost of gas shoots up, the resale value of that SUV plummets. Market turned upside down.


HARRIS: SUV owners are desperate to save at the pump. They are trading in and facing sticker shock, this time on the resale side.

Here's CNN's Chris Lawrence.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been weeks since David Lavi put his truck on the market.

DAVID LAVI, TRYING TO SELL TRUCK: Nobody has offered on it.

LAWRENCE: He wants out so he can buy a small car. But gas prices have sent SUV and truck sales plummeting.

LAVI: I get a lot of calls people are looking for a better price.

LAWRENCE: So what's flying off the lot now?

JORGE FERNANDEZ, WHOLESALE AUTO DEALER: Chevy Impalas, Malibus, Fords. You know, cars that fit in the -- weren't that popular before.

LAWRENCE: Call it revenge of the nerds, but we compare a new to used -- remember this, last year the government adopted a new mileage formula to correct the exaggerated climbs made when those old economy cars were first sold. Still, that hasn't stopped the run on four cylinder cars.

(on camera): What do people say when they bring in SUVs like this excursion and say, hey, this is what my truck is worth?

LAVI: When they find out what you think their truck is worth, they think you're trying to rip them off or something. Some '07s were worth $50,000, $60,000 just three or four months ago and they're in the high 30s now. It's amazing.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Some owners now owe $20,000 on a truck that's only worth 12. There is upside down as a bad mortgage and think buying a small car will save them.

JACK NERAD, KELLEY BLUE BOOK EDITOR: But what they might be doing is spending thousands of dollars to save hundreds.

LAWRENCE: "Kelley Blue Book" editor Jack Nerad says if the numbers are working against you, don't sell your big truck. NERAD: Because if you make a trade, you're most often going to spend more to make that move than you would just sucking it up and paying the extra gasoline prices.


LAWRENCE (on camera): Some officials at "Kelly Blue Book" say we've really reached a tipping point. And the day of SUVs and trucks dominated the market, that's done.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Los Angeles.



HARRIS: You know, It looked like something Jules Verne would love. Take a look. The long look. Not even an ocean can get in the way now. Now this is some telescope.


WHITFIELD: It's the stuff of dreams. Take a look at what's being called a trans-Atlantic port hole. This is Brooklyn, beneath the Brooklyn Bridge on the East River. Well, these people are looking at people in real time across the Atlantic in London. It's called a telectroscope, and it's really an art project. There is also one in the shadow of London's Tower Bridge. See there. People there can look right back, even wave to somebody that they just might recognize. All sounds so neat. Sure it does. Well, the artist is using fiberoptic imaging to make it seem like a giant telescope is actually watching the two cities.

HARRIS: Oh, I get it now! I wasn't sure about that. Yes, that's good. That's good.

WHITFIELD: All right, everyone. Thanks for being with us in the NEWSROOM. It continues one hour from now.