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CNN NEWSROOM

Duel in the West; Higher Temperatures, Less Fuel; Flood Threat in China's Quake Zone

Aired May 27, 2008 - 10:59   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. You're informed with CNN.
I'm Tony Harris.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.

Developments keep coming in to the CNN NEWSROOM on Tuesday, the 27th of May.

Here's what's on the rundown.

Home sales rise, home values plummet. Today's new economic numbers, what they tell us about the battered economy.

HARRIS: Gas prices jump to another record high with summer driving just down the road. Find out how hot fuel could cost you cold cash.

COLLINS: New this morning, close to half a million homes in China collapse today. Powerful aftershocks -- in the NEWSROOM.

This hour, the presidential campaign shifts to the West. Fresh from a weekend swing in Puerto Rico, Hillary Clinton is in Montana now. That state's primary one week from today.

Barack Obama, talking about the mortgage crisis in Nevada. Obama marked Memorial Day with veterans in New Mexico.

And John McCain criticizing Obama for not going to Iraq lately. McCain tells the AP they should visit the war zone together. Today McCain will get help from the man he wants to replace President Bush. Appears at a McCain fund-raiser in Arizona.

And in just one hour from now, McCain is expected to turn his attention to nuclear security in a speech in Denver. We're going to have that coming up for you live, noon Eastern.

Meanwhile, CNN's Mary Snow is in Denver for us this morning.

Hi there, Mary. What are we expected to hear today?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Heidi.

We expect to hear Senator McCain talking about Iran and North Korea. And in a hint of what is to come, he co-authored an editorial in the Asian "Wall Street Journal" edition today. And in that editorial, Senator McCain basically says that the U.S. needs to be tougher with North Korea, saying that American leadership is needed on North Korea.

And you know, also, Heidi, one of the things that he has been hitting when he talks about national security and also dealing with allies, he has been talking about working with allies around the world. This is kind of distancing himself in the past couple of months from President Bush and the notion that the United States could go it alone. So we expect to hear some of those themes when he addresses the University of Denver later on today.

COLLINS: Well, what about the fund-raiser that's happening in Phoenix today? A lot of people wondering about that.

SNOW: Yes, because the big question is, with President Bush's disapproval rating at 71 percent and the Democrats really trying to tie John McCain with President Bush, will this be damaging for him? This is the first time we'll be seeing Senator McCain and President Bush together in two months. You might remember they were at the White House right after John McCain became the presumptive Republican nominee.

TV pictures, cameras will be kept pretty limited at this event. It is closed to the press. There was a question about whether or not that was intentional. The McCain campaign says, no, it wasn't.

John McCain has been embracing President Bush's support, but on the other hand, he's also been distancing himself on the campaign trail from the administration's policies. So it is a very delegate dance that he is doing there.

COLLINS: All right. Well, we will be watching.

CNN's Mary Snow for us today in Denver.

Thank you, Mary.

HARRIS: Your money, your concerns. More new numbers out last hour, and there is a mixed picture of the economy. A surprise on new home sales, up 3.3 percent last month. That is the first gain in six months, but home sales are still near the lowest level in 17 years.

Your home's value still suffering. This morning, we learned that U.S. home prices fell a record 14.1 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Also this morning, a gloomy assessment of how you feel about the economy. Consumer confidence plunging to its lowest level in almost 16 years. And U.S. motorists have hit the brakes. The government says in March, Americans cut back their driving at the steepest level ever recorded. The reason, ever-climbing gas prices.

Today's national average, almost $3.94 a gallon. That is the 20th straight day of new records. Now, you can measure your gas pains by varying degrees. It turns out the higher the temperature, the less fuel you get for your money. It makes sense.

To explain, here's CNN National Correspondent Susan Candiotti.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As if pain at the pump wasn't bad enough...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gas prices just going through the roof right now.

CANDIOTTI: ... now add summer heat to the equation. When gasoline gets hot, its molecules expand. So there's less energy per gallon.

JOAN CLAYBROOK, PRESIDENT, PUBLIC CITIZEN: So, if you think you're buying ten gallons of gas, you may not be buying ten gallons of fuel. The consumer is overpaying for that gasoline.

CANDIOTTI: Consumer Group Public Citizen estimates Americans are forking over an extra $3 billion a year in hidden charges because of hot fuel. For years, the oil industry has used 60 degree gas as its price-setting standard. Using that figure, a car getting 25 miles per gallon would go 500 miles. But that same car using 90 degree gas would go only 490 miles.

JOHN MASON, INDEPENDENT TRUCKER: 78.9 degrees. This is right from the tank.

CANDIOTTI: Florida trucker John Mason drives his rig 25,000 miles a year.

MASON: Just being 70 degrees I'm paying $1,200 more a year at today's prices.

CANDIOTTI: 84.6 degrees -- that's a high temperature. Miami fuel distributor Max Alvarez just got a hot fuel delivery, but he says the oil supplier shaved 75 gallons off to compensate him for the heat.

MAX ALVAREZ, SUNSHINE GASOLINE DISTRIBUTOR: If that was not adjusted to me, I would probably have to charge more. So the consumer is getting exactly what they're paying for.

CANDIOTTI: Consumer groups don't buy it and are urging Congress to mandate retro fitting gas pumps to adjust for temperature. Canada has done it for years to compensate for cool weather.

MASON: Everybody wants to do something. Well, here is something. It's right there. The door is open. Get it done.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Aftershocks jilt China this morning. State media reporting more than 420,000 homes collapsed in the quake zone. The strongest aftershock measured at magnitude 5.7. And right now, tens of thousands of people are being evacuated because of the potential for massive flooding.

CNN's Hugh Riminton has that from Mianyang, China.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUGH RIMINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Behind me flows the Foo (ph) River that goes through the heart of the city of Mianyang, a city of some five-million-plus people. Down here ultimately will come the water that is flowing down, will potentially flow down if there is any breach of this largest of the 30-odd quake lakes that have developed since the earthquake on May the 12th.

How large is this lake? To give you some idea, the engineers on the scene say the water has a mass now to the depth of half a mile, more than 725 meters. It is continuing to rise. As it rises, the weight of that water builds up pressure behind the landslide that is holding it back.

Now, they're trying to avoid a catastrophic collapse, of course. And engineers on the scene, plus soldiers, are trying to dig a spillway to ease some of the pressure. They've also laid in 10 tons of explosions with the mind to making a controlled explosion to try to have a controlled release of the water. As a final contingency, there's even talk of aerial bombing to try to release some of the water, but not all of it.

Now, if this doesn't go to plan, they've ordered the immediate evacuation of 150,000 people downstream. In the worst-case scenario, if the entire dam front was to break, they say 1.3 million people would be directly affected. There would be an immediate need of the evacuation of all those people.

And in the last few hours, just a further reminder of just how unstable all of this is, two major aftershocks, one 5.4, the other 5.7 magnitude. And that will put fresh anxiety into the minds of the people trying to control this new threat in this earthquake zone.

Hugh Riminton, CNN, Mianyang, China.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: New this morning from Myanmar, military rulers ignore international appeals and extend the detention of a major opposition leader. The editor of an exile newspaper leader tells CNN the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi has been extended now for another six months. She's already been confined to her home for the past 12 years. Suu Kyi has become the face of Myanmar's pro-democracy movement.

Meanwhile, more aid for victims of that deadly cyclone. International aid workers were finally allowed into the delta region today. They've been blocked for more than three weeks by the country's military leaders. HARRIS: He lost his home and war medals to a tornado.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER AMBROSE, TORNADO VICTIM: It was kids, it was adults, it was Boy Scouts, and one of them came up to me and said, "Here you go." Whoa. I thought, yeah.

HARRIS: Heart and hope -- in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Memorial Day shooting spree. This morning, New York police are looking for whoever shot and wounded at least six teenagers in Harlem.

It happened around 10:00 last night. Police say they got a call about a group of teens leaving a park about the same time shots were fired. The victims were found in different spots within a six-block area. Two other people were shot in what police say were separate incidents nearby.

COLLINS: A fiery, six-vehicle crash kills five people in Los Angeles and injures 19 others. Police think it started when a van ran a red light. Another driver at the green light crashed into it. That sent the van flying. The van burst into flames and then collided with four more vehicles.

Three people, including two children, died at the scene. Two others died later at the hospital.

(WEATHER REPORT)

HARRIS: Help for Colorado's tornado victims. President Bush has approved federal aid for the areas hit last week. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed. Residents devastated; their memories scattered in the rubble.

More now from Adam Chodak. He is with Denver affiliate KUSA.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ADAM CHODAK, REPORTER, KUSA (voice over): The last Monday in May is a time to stop and think about all those who gave. For Peter Ambrose, it's an important day.

AMBROSE: I was in Vietnam from '68 to 1970.

CHODAK: Ambrose himself gave. Not his life nor his limbs, but he gave. That's why he has two Purple Hearts.

AMBROSE: One was up in caisson (ph) when the rocket landed.

CHODAK: Thursday, it was a tornado that landed.

AMBROSE: There was noise -- I had everything breaking -- tree branches.

CHODAK: Since then, it hasn't been about what Ambrose gave, but what he lost.

AMBROSE: I couldn't say where it's at.

CHODAK: Ambrose hasn't been looking for his house. It's gone.

AMBROSE: There's nothing on it except a few cinderblocks that held up the mobile home.

CHODAK: He's been looking for what was inside.

AMBROSE: Something I just always kept in my drawer and my dresser.

CHODAK: His Purple Hearts.

AMBROSE: You have thousands of items, but then you put importance on maybe one or two items.

CHODAK: On Saturday, the warped medal met the mettle of man.

AMBROSE: I must have had, you know, 100, 200 people. It was kids, it was adults, it was Boy Scouts. And one of them came up to me and said, "Here you go."

CHODAK: He handed over two boxes. In one of them this...

AMBROSE: Whoa. I thought, yeah. Yeah, it was a happy...

CHODAK: In the other box...

AMBROSE: It had the ribbon, and didn't have the Purple Heart in it.

CHODAK: In its place, there's hope.

AMBROSE: Maybe find it, maybe no. I don't know. But you just keep looking.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Peter Ambrose is not alone. As many as 78 homes in the area were destroyed. Hundreds of others had major damage.

COLLINS: Not getting enough Zs? Well, a new study explains why a sleepy brain can be a dopey brain.

Coming up in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Well, looking for number two. Barack Obama quietly begins the search for a running mate. Who might be on the short list?

CNN's Jessica Yellin takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The candidate is staying mum.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I still have to win a nomination.

YELLIN: But the political world is buzzing with news his search for a running mate is on. The question on everyone's mind, will Obama choose one of his primary season rivals, Senator Hillary Clinton or John Edwards? Each could bring the blue collar vote, but Edwards is said to be more interested in attorney general, and it could be difficult to bury the hatchet with Clinton.

Instead, Obama might woo Clinton's base by running with a Clinton surrogate who'd help deliver a swing state Obama lost, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Ohio Governor Ted Strictland, or Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. The downside, none of these candidates has significant national security experience.

Another alternative, appeal to Latino voters by running with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. He has significant foreign policy credentials.

Or Obama could look to Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. She's a Democratic Party darling who could attract women voters. But this pick could alienate some Clinton supporters who would be angry Obama would run with a woman other than Hillary.

Finally, there are the national security experts who would help with the commander in chief test. Virginia Senator Jim Webb, a Vietnam vet and former secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, brings bipartisan appeal. Senator Chris Dodd, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, seems to have a good rapport with Obama. Delaware Senator Joseph Biden is also considered a possible secretary of state in an Obama administration.

Others in this category, former NATO commander and Clinton surrogate, General Wesley Clark, or former senator Sam Nunn, one-time chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Both would bring significant defense experience to the ticket.

(on camera): Other names floating around include former senator majority leader Tom Daschle, who could help with Obama's small town appeal; Republican Chuck Hagel; or former Virginia governor Mark Warner. Democrats who have advised past candidates on this choice say Obama is likely to pick his vice president based less on the candidate's resume and more on the person with whom Obama feels most comfortable.

Jessica Yellin, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS: New pictures from Mars. That's what NASA is expected to show off a little bit later in a briefing today. These are the first pictures snapped by the Phoenix Lander shortly after touching down. It will take about a week before the craft starts digging in the Martian dirt looking for signs of life.

NASA gives us its update t a 2:00 Eastern, so keep it right here for all the details.

HARRIS: So, a runaway balloon ends the world record free fall attempt this morning. French skydiver Michelle Fournier was supposed to be 130,000 feet in the air over Canada, but instead his balloon took off without him. It separated from his transport capsule just after being filled with helium.

The 64-year-old Fournier was trying to break the record for highest free fall. That's him there in the bright yellow suit after today's attempt. Yesterday's planned flight was grounded by the weather. We don't know when or if he'll try again.

COLLINS: Massive evacuations ordered in China's earthquake zone. Emergency crews rushing to get thousands of people out of the way of possible floods.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Coming up on the half hour. Welcome back, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Tony Harris.

COLLINS: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.

Want to get some information out to you, the story that we've been covering, of course, in Myanmar, otherwise known as Burma. We've gotten a statement from the president regarding the very latest. I'm just going to read it to you, because we're going to be bringing up our Elaine Quijano shortly to talk a little bit more about it.

Here's what the statement says. "I'm deeply troubled by the Burmese regime's extension of National League for Democracy general secretary and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest on May 27th." Just a little while ago we reported to you that that had been extended.

"Aung San Suu Kyi's current house arrest dates back to May, 2003, when she was detained following the murderous assault by regime- sponsored thugs on her motorcade. The United States calls upon the regime to release all political prisoners in Burma and begin a genuine dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy, and other democratic and ethnic minority groups on a transition to democracy."

"The United States will continue to help the people of Burma recover from the devastation of Cyclone Nargis and will continue to support the Burmese people's long-term struggle for freedom. Laura and I look forward to the day where the people of Burma know true liberty and democracy."

Again, a statement from the White House and the president of the United States regarding Burma.

HARRIS: Aftershocks rock China this morning. More than 420,000 houses in the quake zone collapsed. That's according to Chinese state media.

And right now emergency workers are rushing to evacuate tens of thousands of people because of a potential for massive flooding. Landslides after the quake created so-called quake lakes.

Our Hugh Riminton tells us the water behind the landslides is about a half-mile deep. Officials fear it could break through the unstable rock barrier, sending water down the stream. Emergency teams are trying to carve a channel to drain the water. They hope to finish the evacuations in the next hour or so.

Rare criticism in China. Parents blaming shoddy construction for the collapse of a school during the earthquake.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Rare criticism in China. Parents blaming shoddy construction for the collapse of a school during the earthquake, their children killed.

CNN's Wolf Dennick reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOLF DENNICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ziang Wong Chiun (ph) wants answers. Why her 10-year-old, Leo Wen Bao (ph), died. With 128 other children in the town of Yufo (ph). The three story primary school collapsed. The only building in this town to fall.

We always thought something was wrong, she says. Because our children were told, never jump up and down in school, the building was too weak. A banner in town reads, "the children did not die in the disaster but in bad buildings."

Parents refuse to leave the school grounds without answers, asking to see the school's building permits, but they say they're being ignored. Some accuse local governments of cutting corners on construction to save money. For China, such outspoken criticism is rare, but these people are furious. When officials moved in to clean up the rubble of the school, parents tried to stop them, fearing any investigation could be ruined.

(on camera): This is an official government notice with the promise to investigate, but exactly who will be doing the investigating? How will it be done? And will anybody be held accountable for this? There are just no clear answers.

(voice-over): There are building standards in China, says Leo Jao Ku (ph), an architect. But often the poor areas cannot meet them. He says more government money is needed. Each family receives about $720 from the government for every child killed. That's about a year's wage here. This is my only child I raised for ten years, says this father. No amount of money will do. He wants someone held accountable. The families vow to protest in Beijing if they do not get answers soon.

We followed Ziang (ph), back to her village. She has little left. Her home destroyed in the quake, Leo Wen Bao, was her only child. I said good-bye one morning to my daughter, she says, and that night I brought back a body. Now buried near her home next to her grandmother. Without answers, she says, it is hard to let go.

Wolf Dennick, CNN, Yufo (ph) Village, China.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Capturing the quake. A wedding photographer clicks away as everything around him crumbles.

CNN's Kyung Lah has the story from southwestern china.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Frozen in time. The moment the quake struck. A bride in her wedding dress, her church in ruins. Young couples who had all scheduled wedding photos taken months before their wedding day, as is Chinese custom. They hope to capture their joy and were now immortalized in horror. This is one of the young couples, minutes after the quake.

I heard people shouting earthquake, she says. I couldn't run anywhere. I fell forward, crawling on the ground, until I found my fiance. He held my hands tightly as the ground was shaking and shaking.

Photographer Wang Qiang, never stopped taking pictures. I could hear the walls crashing, but my mind was blank. I started taking pictures out of instinct. Through the aftershocks, they managed to crawl out of the rubble. Their shoes, wigs, and wedding veils left behind. They made it to this village, or what was left of it.

Jiang You Cong's home was destroyed, but that night he shared everything he could. Clothes, food, and a fire to stay warm. They're not local, says Jiang, but we are all one nation. How could I not help them?

A coal truck gave them a lift out of the village. Back home, their families were all safe. Their homes, still standing.

(on camera): There were six couples having their wedding pictures taken that day. Some 33 people were inside this building. All of them somehow managed to make it out alive. There are very few signs that this was once a church, but a few remain.

(voice-over): The story of this church and the images have made their way around the world on the Internet, embraced as a symbol of hope amid ruins. They're something we'll keep nor the rest of our lives, says the groom. They're the most important wedding photos for us. It's a moment that's changed them as a couple forever. They do have a few photos before the quake hit. But it is the ones after and their life together that they will cherish.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Bailu, China.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: You can help at CNN.com. We have a special page on the devastation in China and Myanmar. Plus, there are links to aid agencies that are organizing help for the region. It's a chance for you to impact your world.

HARRIS: So, with Memorial Day over, summer campaigning begins, and what a long, hot summer it could be. All three candidates stumping in western states today.

Fresh from a weekend swing in Puerto Rico, Hillary Clinton, is in Montana. She holds a town hall-style meeting at a Native American reservation. Montana's primary is just one week from today.

Barack Obama, talking about the mortgage crisis and foreclosures in Nevada. Obama marked Memorial Day with veterans in New Mexico. John McCain is criticizing Obama for not having been to Iraq lately. He tells "The Associated Press' they should visit the war zone together. McCain is expected to turn his attention to nuclear security at a speech in Denver.

We will have that speech for you at noon eastern right here in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Raising money for John McCain. President Bush heading to Arizona today far private affair.

CNN White House correspondent, Ed Henry, has a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two months after President Bush tap danced at the White House, waiting for John McCain to show up for his endorsement. There will also be some fancy footwork this week as the duo embarks on their first joint fund- raiser.

While the event was initially planned to be open to cameras at the Phoenix convention center, it's been moved to a private residence and is now closed to the media. So there will only be brief pictures of McCain and the president on an airport tarmac.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: If John McCain is to win in November, it's not going to be on a Bush coattail.

HENRY: Democrats already used chummy photos for ads charging a McCain victory will amount to a third Bush term.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is John McCain the right choice for America's future?

HENRY: A McCain aide acknowledged the Arizona event was originally supposed to be open, but chalked up any confusion to the campaign still working out the kinks on its first event with the president. The McCain aide said the senator is absolutely not trying to minimize public photos with Mr. Bush. And the White House agrees.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The McCain campaign has a practice of having their fund-raisers as closed press.

HENRY: Closing the fund-raiser gives McCain the best of both worlds. A candidate trailing the Democrats in the money chase gets help from the fund-raiser in chief, without getting too close to a president whose disapproval rating reads 71 percent, in the latest CNN poll.

The "Phoenix Business Journal" reported the event was moved to a private home because tickets were not selling well. So McCain was worried about not filling up the convention center. A McCain aide told CNN that report is, quote, "not based in fact." But the campaign is refusing to release how much money they're expecting to raise.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(on camera): On Tuesday night, we're not expecting to see the first picture of the president and Senator McCain together until after the fund-raiser. That just so happens to also be after the nightly newscasts.

Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.

COLLINS: Interesting potential vice presidential candidates is also heating up. You can find out about all of them -- is that right? Find out about -- as well as information on the presidential candidates at CNNpolitics.com. Your source for everything political.

HARRIS: You know, you will need more than coffee to get you through this day. How your lack of sleep is all in your head.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Sleep deprived? Losing a night of sleep may cause your brain to suddenly shut down. Trying to figure out how this is news. But they are new findings this morning. And chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is joining us with more.

So, Sanjay, what's happening to my brain -- I mean, the brain?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there was this belief that if you went without sleep for some time, your brain would sort of gradually start to shut down. It would be a gradual process. And what they're finding out now is that in fact you have these sudden changes in your brain, this sudden sort of instability, where you sort of flipped back and forth between being awake and having periods of microsleep. Like you said, some people may have sort of noticed this before, but now there's some actual proof showing what happened.

Let me see, they have some images here of the brain. This is what it sort of normally looks like -- a person is awake, he's looking at something, several different parts of the brain sort of lighting up here. People are looking -- and this is an area of the brain that sort of responds to vision and sends signals to this part of the brain, letting you know that everything's OK.

Take a look what happens when someone is sleep deprived, though. All of a sudden, different parts of the brain lighting up, fewer of them. For example, you're still seeing -- your eyes may be wide open, but it's not sending signals anywhere. So you're not actually getting that signal sent to the forward of the brain actually processing that information. And that is so critical. Your eyes are open, lights are on, but no one's home, supposedly. You know, that's one way of thinking about it.

Also, if you know, if you think, well, gosh, how do I know if I'm sleep deprived, one things the study authors pointed out as well, is that typically takes someone about 10 minutes for someone to fall asleep once their head hits the pillow, if you're falling asleep in five minutes or less, you're more prone to having some of these unstable sort of effects.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: To get your daily dose of health news online, log on to our Web site. You'll find the latest medical news, a health library and information on diet and fitness. The address is CNN.com/health.

HARRIS: A question of respect. Hillary Clinton's campaign pushes on and pushes back against pressure to drop out.

CNN's Brian Todd has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She is standing up for you.

BRIAN TODD, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The former president tells voters to ignore calls by "People on television for Hillary Clinton to drop out," and says she has been getting a raw deal throughout the campaign.

BILL CLINTON: I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running.

TODD: Pleading for time, he tells an audience in South Dakota his wife still has a chance.

B. CLINTON: Why have all these people tried to run her out of this race? They are trying to get her to cry "uncle" before the Democratic Party has to decide what to do in Florida and Michigan. TODD: The former president says he also sees an effort afoot to strong arm undecided superdelegates to make their choice, fast.

B. CLINTON: I cannot believe it. It is frantic the way they are trying to push and pressure and bully all these superdelegates to come out.

TODD: The superdelegate count has recently tipped in favor of Senator Clinton's rival Barack Obama. In the last week he has picked up 17 to her 5. Obama, for his part, has tried to take the high road, praising Mrs. Clinton at every opportunity.

OBAMA: As she has set the standard, she has broken through barriers and will open up opportunity for a lot of people, including my two young daughters.

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: Well, he does not want her to feel disrespected and her followers to feel that she has been disrespected.

TODD: Will that be enough for Obama to win over her voters if he becomes the Democratic nominee?

ROGER SIMON, POLITICO: A lot of her supporters, women supporters, feel she definitely has not been treated respectfully and they believe that the best sign of respect that Barack Obama could deliver is to pick her as his vice president.

TODD: Even Bill Clinton reportedly believes that if his wife does not win the nomination, she has at least earned a shot at the number two slot. But for now the Clintons are focusing on the top job, campaigning together in Puerto Rico.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Let's stay with politics for a moment longer here, long enough to tell you that John McCain has several events today. We've been talking a lot about the fund-raiser with the president later. But Senator McCain is in Denver, Colorado right now for a speech to be delivered in that hall in just a couple of minutes. We understand the focus will be on foreign policy and nuclear disarmament. When that speech begins, scheduled for noon Eastern in the NEWSROOM, we'll of course bring it to you live.

COLLINS: Are record gas prices killing your budget? You may be downright grateful when you learn what's fueling this protest. It's among our next stops, in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Over the past three weeks, Americans have seen a new record for gas every day. And we're getting off cheap, compared to Great Britain. Truckers there paying about $9 a gallon. Today they're demanding relief. Hundreds of truckers parked their rigs and created a massive traffic jam in central London. They want the government to lower fuel taxes for trucking companies.

(BUSINESS HEADLINES)

COLLINS: Quickly want to bring you some pictures that we are getting from our affiliate, WTMJ out of Shorewood, Wisconsin.

As we hopefully will zoom in a little bit here, we'll see that a car has gone off that roadway. You see quite a switch back there on this bluff. And it's actually happened at Atwater park. Again, Shorewood, Wisconsin. And the car has rolled over. Don't know how many times -- but there you see some of the video that came in just a little while ago for us here at CNN. The area of Shorewood, I believe, is just a little north of Milwaukee near Lake Michigan is what we're hearing.

Again, Atwater park, pretty nasty-looking accident there. Don't have any word on people that inside that vehicle. You can see a couple of -- looks like law enforcement officials there on the scene. So we will continue to follow that for you and hopefully if there's anybody inside, there will be a very quick rescue attempt there.

HARRIS: A sheriff's deputy is on patrol, getting more smiles per gallon. Record gas prices and unexpected rewards. We go along for the ride.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Award-winning director, Sydney Pollack, is dead. He was diagnosed with cancer nine months ago. Pollack is linked to some of the best films Hollywood has produced, directing movies like "Three Days," "The Condor," "Tootsie," and "The Firm." But it was 1985's, "Out of Africa," that earned him his only Oscar for Best Director. He was also an actor. We saw him in last year's award-winning movie, "Michael Clayton." Sydney Pollack was 73.

HARRIS: In Kansas today, funeral service for Zelma Henderson, the last surviving plaintiff in the landmark case, Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka. That 1954 Supreme Court ruling made it illegal for schools to segregate children based on race. Henderson died last week, she was 88 years old.

COLLINS: Record gas prices. Many of us are changing our driving habits, but maybe no more dramatically than one Ohio sheriff's department. The officers now putter around on the beat.

Details from reporter, Andy Hurst. He's with affiliate WBNS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDY HURST, WBNS REPORTER (voice-over): In the quiet village of Breman, you know when the sheriff's in town. But if something looks out of place, it's because deputies patrol these streets in a golf cart.

SGT. FORREST CASSEL, FAIRFIELD CO. SHERIFF'S DEPT: These are changing times. Gas prices are going to go up and departments need to find other ways to patrol the areas.

HURST: Sergeant Cassel, tells 10-TV, they tested the cart out late last year, then brought it back to fight the high prices at pump.

CASSEL: You can't compare the costs to fill this up compared to a cruiser.

HURST: The cat has caught the attention of some who lives here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems funny to see a police driving a golf cart.

HURST: But deputies say they can use it no matter what the situation.

CASSEL: I have everything I need to go on any call.

HURST: Sergeant Cassel calls ate perfect fit for this town of about 1,200 people, and aside from saving on gas, he finds it's improving the relationship between the sheriff's office and the community.

CASSEL: It humanizes you more. Because when people see you in a cruiser, they see the cruiser and they kind of shy away from you. When I get out in the neighborhood and talk to the neighbors, I can find out what's going on.

HURST: And Cassel calls that something you can't beat at any price.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Those golf carts can be fast too.

HARRIS: Yes.

COLLINS: CNN NEWSROOM continues one hour from now.

I'm Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: Until that governor kicks in. Then you've got problems, head over feet.

I'm Tony Harris. You know, before we leave, can we see the little man one more time?

COLLINS: Aww, look at him. There he is again.

HARRIS: Yes, there he is.

COLLINS: That's Owen, our new baby. Not Tony's and my new baby. My husband's and my baby.

HARRIS: Hey, Matt.

Do we have pictures of the baby in the bucket? COLLINS: Oh, baby in the bucket again.

HARRIS: Let me see the pictures of the baby-man?

COLLINS: Now people will wonder what this is.

HARRIS: So, what is it?

COLLINS: Well, it was our cheaper version of something that was offered online for about $50. Trying to sell this baby in the bucket thing.

HARRIS: Well, you don't need much when you've got a baby that size.

COLLINS: Yes. It's the perfect -- keeps them feeling secure. And real small and tiny so they can't go floating around anywhere.

HARRIS: Mom, where are you going?

COLLINS: So we found a pail.

HARRIS: All right, there's Dad. All right, OK.

COLLINS: And we gave him a bath in the bucket.

HARRIS: Look at Riley, man. Look at the big Riley.

COLLINS: Yes, Riley likes him. So far, so good on that.

HARRIS: How's sleep going?

COLLINS: Sleep is pending.

HARRIS: Yes it's conditional. It will be. Got to go.

ISSUE #1 with news on the economy begins after a check on the headlines.

COLLINS: Have a great day, everybody.

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