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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Decision Day in Washington; Threat of Another Catastrophe in China; More Tornado Damage in the Midwest
Aired May 31, 2008 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It's May 31st. Good morning. I'm Rob Marciano. T.J. Holmes is on assignment.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Rob. Good to have you today. He'll be here tomorrow as well.
Hey there, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.
A big day for politics, it is decision day in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Democrats in those two states have 2.3 million votes, and they deserve to have those votes counted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Yes, but Florida and Michigan, they are rule-breakers. So, what will the rule-makers in the Democratic Party decide about their delegates? The best political team on television is covering it all for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILF DINNICK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is really a first view of this monster "quake lake" that the Chinese government and so many Chinese people are worried about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: Going where no Western journalist has gone before, the threat of another catastrophe in China. We've got an exclusive look.
NGUYEN: Plus, another night of storms. We're going to take you live to the latest town waking up to walls blown out and belongings scattered all around.
But our top story is that pending decision for Democrats. The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee meets in 2 1/2 hours from now.
MARCIANO: Yes, the committee is going to decide what impact Florida and Michigan will have on the vote and at the convention. But, you've got to understand this, because it gets a little complicated. We really need to start from the beginning. NGUYEN: Yes. All right. So, here's how it shakes out -- Florida and Michigan lost their delegates because they broke party rules by holding primaries before Super Tuesday which was on February 5th. Now in Florida, none of the candidates campaigned. Hillary Clinton won, though, with 50 percent of the vote. Barack Obama had 33 percent. More than 1.5 million votes were cast.
MARCIANO: In Michigan, Obama and John Edwards weren't on the ballot and didn't campaign, but Clinton took 55 percent of the vote there, 40 percent voted uncommitted.
NGUYEN: OK, here are some of the big questions for today -- how many of Florida and Michigan's delegates will be seated? If they have delegates reinstated, who gets them? Plus, will their votes count in the overall primary popular vote?
All right. So, to help us out with all this, for more on the Democrats' decision today -- let's turn to CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser who is at the hotel in Washington, where this important meeting is taking place.
Paul, were there any agreements overnight because I understood that they were able to get together, at least some of them, behind closed doors, which seemed a bit of a surprise to me, since the meeting doesn't happen until about for another 2 1/2 hours?
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Exactly. Two and a half hours from right now, right here in Washington, D.C., and Betty, if you'd told me we'd be making a big deal of this meeting months ago, I'd say you're crazy. But there is so much on the line, and that is why we are covering this meeting like it's almost the political convention.
As you mentioned, the members of the committee last night met, they had a dinner and met behind closed doors for up to five hours, and we staked them out. We spent all night there. CNN was there, and we spoke to a couple of them after they came out of the meeting. There was no resolution.
Here's what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAROLD ICKES, CMTE. MEMBER, CLINTON SUPPORTER: It was a full discussion, and I think there was some agreement on some issues and still some disagreements on others.
ALLAN KATZ, CMTE. MEMBER, OBAMA SUPPORTER: There's a strong push from the Clinton campaign to try and make believe those primaries were real primaries that everybody competed in, just like they did in everything else.
JAMES ROOSEVELT, JR., PANEL CO-CHAIR, UNCOMMITTED: I can't predict that it would be unanimous. I do think that it will be unifying for the party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEINHAUSER: You know, Betty, as you and Rob mentioned, two big questions today - how much and what percentage of the delegates from each state would be seated, 50 percent, zero, or 100 percent? And then even more importantly, how do you divide the delegates up between Clinton and Obama?
STEINHAUSER: There is a lot at stake here today. There's going to be quite that party atmosphere outside, probably demonstrators. Five hundred tickets were snatched up immediately. There's a lot on the line today, Betty.
NGUYEN: And there is, and like he says, you know, it may not be unanimous, but it will unify the party. Not so sure about that, as we wait to see what the decision is going to be. But as we look at this holistically, Paul, is this going to change anything delegate-wise between Senators Clinton and Obama?
STEINHAUSER: Obama right now, Betty, is 202 delegates ahead of Hillary Clinton. He's only 42 shy of the 2,026 needed to clinch the nomination.
Even if Clinton's campaign gets their way today by dividing up the delegates according to the way they voted in the primaries, it's not enough for her to catch up, but it will help her if they count the popular vote, because remember, lately she's pushing her argument that she's ahead in the popular vote. If they count the popular vote for Michigan and Florida -- that will help her a lot, that will make a difference.
NGUYEN: OK. So, delegate-wise, she won't catch up if she gets all the votes. But, as the popular vote goes, she will. Is that what you're saying?
STEINHAUSER: She will.
STEINHAUSER: Yes, she would -- yes. If Florida and Michigan are counted, and she's expecting to win big tomorrow in Puerto Rico, that could put her ahead in the popular vote.
But remember, again, at the end of the day here, this battle for the Democratic nomination is one for delegates, not for the popular vote. She's using that argument to try to persuade those superdelegates, the remaining undeclared superdelegates to come to her side. It's probably going to be those undeclared superdelegates that put either Obama or Clinton over the top.
And remember one last thing, this could be decided today, it could not. Clinton would appeal. This thing could go all the way to the convention in August.
NGUYEN: Paul, my head is spinning already, all right? (LAUGHTER)
NGUYEN: We don't need any more kinks in this because it's confusing as it is.
All right. Paul Steinhauser, we'll be talking with you shortly, as well, as you are there at the hotel where it's all going down today. Thank you. Talk to you shortly.
MARCIANO: Paul seems excited about having to go all the way to the convention.
NGUYEN: He does.
MARCIANO: Job security for sure.
Well, while the surrogates battle it out in Washington today, the candidates are back on the trail. Hillary Clinton is in Puerto Rico ahead of tomorrow's primary there. Barack Obama is campaigning in South Dakota. That state's primary is Tuesday. Obama arrived there late last night and got a good look around Mt. Rushmore -- it's quite a sight if you haven't seen it.
The pair are staying active ahead of the final three primaries. They're making several campaign stops today, but you can bet their attention is probably on Washington and the DNC Rules Committee.
Be sure to join the best political team in television. For complete coverage of the final primaries, we're in Puerto Rico for the tomorrow's vote. Plus, tune in for live coverage from the CNN Election Center Tuesday night as Montana and South Dakota wrap up the primary season.
And join Wolf Blitzer, of course, for DECISION DAY, our live coverage from the Democratic National Committee meeting starting at 9:00 a.m. this morning on CNN, and of course, on CNN.com.
NGUYEN: Well, a Texas deal that would have reunited more than 400 children with their polygamist parents is now on hold. Earlier this week, the Texas Supreme Court upheld an appeals court ruling, which said that the state had no right to remove the children from the compound, but a judge in the case refused to sign an order that would release the children to their parents until all 38 mothers involved in the case are able to sign.
Now, that could take a while, since they're scattered all across the state. Lawyers for the parents say they are considering legal action. As part of the deal, the parents must agree to stay in Texas, visit with child services, and take parenting classes.
MARCIANO: We've got a tornado watch which is in effect already. Usually you don't have them this early in the morning, but Reynolds Wolf is on it in the severe weather center.
Good morning, Reynolds.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning.
MARCIANO: It's a busy night, too, Reynolds.
WOLF: Yes, I'm telling you what -- it's been a crazy time. Pretty much all the rules that we have in terms of your weather that we normally follow have been thrown out the window. As Rob mentioned, usually we have these watches set later in the afternoon, but that's not the case this morning.
We currently have a tornado watch in effect through parts of Ohio, back into Pennsylvania, even into West Virginia, including spots like Pittsburgh this morning, where we've already had one band of heavy rain move through. The second area is coming right through Wheeling and just south of Cleveland at this time.
But what we're going to be seeing later on today is much of this development move farther off to the east, in places like New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., perhaps even as far north as Boston, where you could see another round of rough weather. And we're talking about namely -- damaging winds, large hail and perhaps even tornadoes once again.
So, let's see, this will be 10 days in a row of just unbelievably bad weather, if a lot of this plays out into the afternoon hours. It's just amazing, amazing rough spell, no question.
Let's send it back to you.
NGUYEN: So, is this going to be a record year when it comes to tornadoes?
WOLF: Certainly, it's possible. But, I mean, you have to remember that the technology is so much better now in detecting these storms. You know, each year that passes, things get better. So, in terms of weather records, yes, and they certainly measure up as one of those, but, you know, we can't go back 200 years and, you know, check out our tornado ...
NGUYEN: Of course, you can. You can do anything over in that weather center. Come on. I've got two meteorologists here, I mean, you can do anything.
MARCIANO: I haven't told her about the matching button yet. (INAUDIBLE).
WOLF: We're in trouble now, man.
MARCIANO: All right. Thanks, buddy.
WOLF: You bet.
MARCIANO: Another round of tornado damage in the Midwest, this time people rushing for cover in Indianapolis. We'll have an update from the scene right after this.
Also ahead... (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Epificer -- E-P-I-F-I-C-E-R -- epificer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: I don't even know what that means, let alone able to spell it. The annual ritual known as the National Spelling Bee. We're going to tell you who won and which word. Get out your dictionary, folks, because you are going to need it.
NGUYEN: Well, good morning, everybody. Here are some of the top stories that we are watching for you today.
It is decision day for the Democrats. So, who gets the delegates? Well, the national committee's rules committee is meeting this morning in Washington, and they're trying to decide what to do with the delegates from Florida and Michigan. Both states lost their delegates as punishment for moving up their primaries to January.
And we're covering all of it for you live.
MARCIANO: And New York's Building Commission has suspended all construction crane work until Monday. It's reviewing safety inspection procedures after a crane collapsed yesterday, killing two construction workers and seriously injuring another. It's the city's second deadly crane accident in less than three months.
NGUYEN: Still no cause yet for that deadly plane accident in Honduras -- look at this video. Officials say seven people were killed, but some 80 others were able to make it out, although they are injured. When this plane overshot the runway, it raced onto a busy street, crushed three vehicles and cracked into pieces yesterday. Amazingly, though, as I mentioned, many passengers were able to walk away from that accident.
MARCIANO: And we have a tornado watch in effect. Reynolds Wolf has been watching this all morning long, and sleeves are rolled up, jacket's off. That's never a good sign.
WOLF: No, it isn't. No, it isn't. I mean, you know, this has been -- what's the day -- I guess it will be day 10 today, if we any more rough weather. And certainly it appears that's going to be in the cards for us. We have that tornado watch in effect until about 11:00 a.m.
Last night, yesterday, we had some rough weather in parts of Indiana. Take a look at this video that we've got for you. This video shows, again, just widespread damage, and it doesn't take much when you have one of these strong storms roll through to just rip a house to pieces, and that certainly is the case here in Indianapolis just yesterday. And still this storm is going to make its way to the east. Right now in Pittsburgh, things are looking OK. As we take a look at our Pittsburgh tower cam, you see the three rivers there, skies overcast, expecting some scattered showers and storms. We already had one band of storms roll through the area.
And as we go to the weather computer, you can see those leaving parts of Ohio now. Now, the brunt of this weather really moving into parts of extreme northern West Virginia and back into parts of the Keystone State of Pennsylvania. So, Pittsburgh this morning, windows are going to be rattling like crazy as these storms drive on through, but then later on today, we're going to really see the focus of this move into parts of the northeast.
If you're tuning in this morning, say, from New York and things are fine in Manhattan. Later on today for you, you could be dealing with some large hail, damaging winds, perhaps even tornadoes from New York southward to Philadelphia, even into Washington, D.C., out by the tidal pool, and telling you what -- it could be very, very rough.
Any morning plans you have, you're going out to take a jog, that kind of thing, get to it early, because into the afternoon hours, things are going to be very rough to say the least.
That's a look at your forecast. Let's send it back to you at the news desk.
NGUYEN: Yes, we have some more information to bring folks at home, especially coming out of Indianapolis.
MARCIANO: Yes. Reynolds, take a look at these pictures.
We've got some aerials now coming in from Indianapolis of some of the damage there. Our affiliate WISH is bringing these live to us. Now that the sun is up, often this is when, obviously, folks start to assess the damage, try to figure out whether this was a tornado, was just a straightline winds. Either way, they've got to be blowing pretty good to get that sort of roof damage.
So, you're seeing them as we see them here in the CNN newsroom. Live pictures from the chopper at our affiliate out there in Indianapolis, Indiana that's got hammered by storms last night. And we'll hope to get a report from the ground before this hour is done.
NGUYEN: And they're also trying to figure out there how many people could possibly be missing as a result of the storms. So, we'll stay on top of that.
And this -- coming up: Josh Levs has a behind-the-scenes view of the presidential candidates that you have not seen before.
Josh, this is really interesting.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's going to be fun. Good morning to you guys. Obama's is a hoops star. Clinton's has been called a mythical figure. And McCain's has to do double duty. Coming up: I'm going to tell you about the candidates' body people -- Rob. MARCIANO: Also -- thanks, Josh. We'll see you in a sec.
Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMEER MISHRA, CONTESTANT: Hyphaeresis -- H-Y-P-H-A-E-R-E-S-I-S -- hyphaeresis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kulturkam -- K-U-L-T-U-R-K-A-M ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: Yes, sure. That sound -- all I know how to spell is really CNN.
NGUYEN: Yes. Pretty easy.
MARCIANO: We'll tell you who won the National Spelling Bee and what they had to spell to do it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MISHRA: Guerdon, G-U-E-R-D-O-N?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a champion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven years of studying in that family paying off. His sister three times, his fourth time's the charm. I don't think he expected to win, but I know it feels great right now. Sameer Mishra, champion of the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Check him out. He was a little shocked by it. He put his hands up on his face, thinking oh, my goodness.
NGUYEN: Yes, just waiting for him to wave now. What a word, though, guerdon. In case you were wondering, it means something that is earned or gained, and that championship was definitely guerdon.
MARCIANO: Let's try to use that word more than 10 times before this hour's out. The perfect word for this year's spelling bee champ, for sure. Sameer Mishra, as you just saw, takes home more $40,000 in cash and prices. We may very well get him live on this channel here in the next couple of hours.
NGUYEN: Yes. Well, the cool thing about it is his sister had been in the spelling bee, in previous, you know, spelling bees and she'd done really well, but she had never won. And so this time around, she was helping her little brother, and he took it home. So, it will be fun to talk to him a little bit later this morning. So, stick around for that.
In the meantime, though, the U.S. housing market, it continues to cool, but for investors, things, well -- they are beginning to heat up.
MARCIANO: Yes. CNN's Ali Velshi takes a look at how the real estate market can get you Right on Your Money.
RON DRALUCK, MORTGAGE EXPERT: A lot of people think it's a terrible time to invest. Well, that's not so at all.
ALI VELSHI, CNN SR. BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mortgage expert Ron Draluck says money and good credit could have you cashing in on today's real estate market.
DRALUCK: Interest rates are close to a 45-year low, which means your house payments on the new mortgages will be low. And since we are in a crisis, the mortgage banks and companies have tightened up in their criteria to qualify for loans.
VELSHI: Draluck believes it's also a good time to turn your new real estate into rental property.
DRALUCK: People that normally could have bought a house maybe two years ago can't do it anymore. There's more renters out there than almost ever before.
VELSHI: To get the most bang for your buck in this unstable housing market, Draluck suggests investing in locations where property values are likely to go up.
DRALUCK: Areas that may be fast appreciating may be close in to work, shopping centers, and hospitals and that sort of thing.
VELSHI: No matter where you buy, the best time to invest in real estate may be right now.
Ali Velshi, CNN, New York.
MARCIANO: And this reminder, you can see Ali and Gerri Willis, Ali Velshi and Gerri Willis -- they're not married -- on "ISSUE #1" all week at noon Eastern.
And join Rick Sanchez for a CNN special on the gasoline crunch, "4 Bucks! What's Next?: America's Fuel Nightmare." That airs at 8:00 Eastern tonight right here on CNN.
NGUYEN: Well, residents in parts of Indiana will be cleaning up and assessing storm damage this morning.
MARCIANO: And we have reports that several people may have been injured when high winds ripped through an apartment complex in Indianapolis.
Phil Sanchez of our affiliate WISH joins us live from Indianapolis.
Sun coming up now, Phil. What can you tell us?
PHIL SANCHEZ, WISH CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rob, 18 people have been taken to the hospital. The damage here is extensive. I'm going to step out of the shot to give you guys a better look at what we're looking at here from the scene, from across the street of the Falcon Point Apartment Complex here in Indianapolis.
Now, this complex, along with the nearby Pinnacle Square Apartments, which is another apartment complex here on the east side of Indianapolis, were pretty much completely destroyed during this storm. Take a look at some video we shot for you overnight, as you can see roofs and walls gone, dozens of people now basically with nowhere to go.
Authorities say that the Falcon Point Apartment Complex, which is just across the street from us here, has more than 200 units, most of which have been evacuated. We're told 18 people were taken to the hospital. Everyone else was brought to nearby John Marshall Middle School, which is right here just across the street from the apartment complex or the First Church of Nazarene, which is just about a mile away from here.
I want to pull out of that video and give you another live look at the damage here. The Marion County Health Department will be here at some point today to survey the damage, and so will the Weather Service, to figure out what this was. Was it a tornado? Was it just a storm?
That is where we are at this point. And of course, we said, 18 people have been taken to nearby hospitals. No serious injuries at this point.
Live tonight from the east side of Indianapolis, Phil Sanchez, CNN.
MARCIANO: Hey, Phil, one quick question for you. How was it last night? Was there a warning when this thing came through? I assume it was pretty rough going in Indy.
SANCHEZ: It was rough. I was actually -- I was actually home when this all came about, got called in, obviously, working in news, but it was very bad driving in. I got here this morning. The storm has cleared away, but as you can see, the damage it left behind is extensive.
MARCIANO: All right. Phil Sanchez reporting from Indianapolis this morning -- thanks, Phil. NGUYEN: Well, it is decision day for Democratic Party leaders.
MARCIANO: That's right. Still ahead: The Democratic National Committee is deciding what to do about the primary votes in Florida and Michigan and their delegates.
MARCIANO: Well, evacuations are ordered now in China for almost 200,000 people near these "quake lakes." Those are the lakes that were created from landslides after the earthquake earlier this month.
NGUYEN: About 1 million other people, though, have been told to be ready to leave their homes at any moment's notice.
MARCIANO: Our Wilf Dinnick has an exclusive report from the "quake lake" region.
DINNICK: This is an astounding, new perspective of that monster "quake lake" that the Chinese government and the Chinese people are so worried about. Just down there is that massive pool of water.
Now, there's a big swath of green, a bit dark there. If you look beyond that, you can see there's a huge pool of water. It's been swelling at about two to three meters a day, and the government here is very concerned that it will eventually overflow its banks and pour in an uncontrolled fashion downstream and hit all those villages, towns, and cities, where millions of people already affected by the earthquake are living.
Now, in front of that dark green spot is a camp, and it's a military camp where there are engineers, there are backhoes, diggers, and they're trying to create a manmade lake -- sorry, a manmade river to ease the water out of that lake, and eventually, they're going to let the water rise up and then flow down in a controlled fashion.
Now, how this all happened in the first place and created this huge pool of water -- if we just slowly pan over here on my right, there's a big swath of the mountains that has just washed away and that's because of the earthquake. And rubble, trees, rocks, all pouring down into that river valley, cutting off the river, and that's how the water swelled up and caused this huge problem.
And those backhoes and diggers down there are at the bottom of it, creating that new manmade river that will eventually ease the water out. Now, it's a very difficult operation, a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week job. And it's remote, because all the roads have been cut off. So they're using a huge, Russian-made helicopter to ferry in all those diggers and backhoes, but of course, the diesel, too, to make sure they're working around the clock. This place is lit up at night.
Now, commanders have told us that it will be several days until they know it's successful. Now, we didn't have a chance to come in by helicopter because of all those roads were cut off. It took us six hours to hike up and down mountains, a very remote area. We scrambled over some of the landslides -- very difficult. So, you can imagine just how difficult it is, the conditions here for this people.
Another challenge is the weather. Those helicopters can't operate in high wind and rain. So, big challenges here.
A commander told us a short while ago it won't be a few days until they know whether all this work was successful and they've been able to avert a crisis.
Wilf Dinnick, CNN, Beichuan, China.
NGUYEN: Well, back here, it is decision day for the Democrats, at least as far as Florida and Michigan are concerned.
MARCIANO: Yes. The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee meets in about two hours to decide. They're going to decide what impact those states will have on the vote and on the convention, but the committee members didn't wait for the public hearing. They met in private last night after a little dinner and met behind closed doors.
NGUYEN: Yes. CNN political editor, Mark Preston, is live at the CNN Election Express this morning. Both of them parked right in front of the hotel where the DNC's Rules Committee is meeting.
So, Mark, tell us about the late-night discussions, because I didn't see that on the agenda. How did that happen?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, you know, usually when they come in for these meetings, they try to get together, break some bread, have a discussion before they have these public meetings. We were here late into the night.
The meeting started at 8:00 on Friday night. It did not break until 1:30. They were trying to reach a compromise. They wanted to get together. They wanted to have some kind of unified theme as they were going into this public meeting today, this -- what could be a ruckus public meeting today.
And here's what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ICKES: It was a full discussion, and I think there was some agreement on some issues and still some disagreements on others.
KATZ: There's a strong push from the Clinton campaign to try and make believe those primaries were real primaries that everybody competed in, just like they did in everything else.
ROOSEVELT, JR.: I can't predict that it would be unanimous. I do think that it will be unifying for the party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESTON: Now, of course, what they're talking about now is the Democrats are trying to figure out what to do with Michigan and Florida, two states who did not count in the Democratic primary. It's caused a lot of heartburn in this presidential race. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have differing ideas.
We expect a lot of protestors out here today trying to voice their opinion about what should happen. You know, if you're Barack Obama, you want to see these delegates split 50/50. That is not something Hillary Clinton wants to do. We'll see what happens today.
NGUYEN: All right, Mark. Well, let's go back to that late- night, behind-closed-doors meeting, because Rob and I were talking about it this morning, and this, like I said, this wasn't something on the agenda. So, how many people were there meeting? Was it the full committee or was this, like Rob said, some kind of "Survivor"-like thing where you're trying to form alliances?
PRESTON: Well, I'll tell you what -- it was "Survivor" for us, you know, who had to wait outside for all those hours to hear what they had to say. Again, you know, they were really trying to hash out their differences. You know, on this committee, 28 of the 30 members were in there breaking bread. Many of these members are Hillary Clinton supporters, many of them are Barack Obama supporters. They, too, have different ideas about how to get this done.
I think what they were trying to do is not come out in public today and look like they were broken apart, that they were not together on the issue. I will tell you, they came out at 1:30 in the morning, there was no resolution. They had no plan necessarily that was going to unite them last night that they could take in this morning. What all that means is that we are going to hear it all air out in public today.
NGUYEN: Yes, and you know what -- hey, we may not even have a full decision today. This thing could carry over, correct?
PRESTON: That is correct. You know, there was some optimism from the Hillary Clinton campaign supporters as well as the Barack Obama supporters that perhaps they would reach an agreement. It might not be a unanimous agreement. They might not all agree on what the final plan, is but you're right, this could stretch into July, perhaps, and there is some talk, of course, this could go all the way to the convention.
NGUYEN: OK. Well, let's hope something gets accomplished today. Mark Preston joining us live -- thank you, Mark.
MARCIANO: I envision a lot of like smoke-filled meetings, you know, people barking at each other.
All right. Let's talk numbers. Here's where the Democratic delegate count stands right now. Barack Obama has 1,984, that includes 323 superdelegates. Hillary Clinton has 1,782. Obama is now just 42 away from clinching the majority. Well, everyone knows who the candidates are, but you probably even know their spouses, I guess.
NGUYEN: Yes, you do, but behind each candidate is a man or a woman who is vital to the minute-by-minute campaigning, yet remains mostly anonymous to the public.
Josh Levs joins us with the latest on these people, and their title is this -- get this, OK, imagine this on your business card -- body person.
LEVS: Body person, yes.
NGUYEN: What is that?
LEVS: It sounds a little disturbing at first. We thought it was like a body double ...
LEVS: Which actually, fortunately, is not what it's supposed to be.
MARCIANO: I mean, not a body guard.
NGUYEN: I mean, they don't even look alike.
LEVS: Not even. And sometimes they're not the same gender, so, a really not the point like the body double kind of thing, but this is pretty cool when you find out what it is. It's an unenviable task. These people have to anticipate every possible need and stay right nearby the candidate pretty much at all times. That's why they're called the body people.
LEVS (voice-over): As the candidates scurry all over the country -- talking, shaking hands, and posing for pictures -- who makes sure all the right people get talked to, the most important hands get shaken, the best photos snapped? That often falls to the top personal aide known as the "body person."
HUMA ABEDIN, CLINTON TRAVELING CHIEF OF STAFF: Right here. OK.
LEVS: for Clinton, it's Huma Abedin, traveling chief of staff. Her work, catching every detail for Clinton over the years as she's helped turn into what the "New York Observer" called a mythical figure in New York and Washington politics.
Amid campaign chaos, it's up to her to make sure everything runs smoothly.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. Reggie love. Give it up for Reggie Love.
LEVS: At a rally in Charlotte, Barack Obama recently thanked his body man, a 26-year-old former Duke basketball player, whose duties include playing with the senator and other tasks.
OBAMA: Come on up here, because I want to get rid of my jacket. Reggie, Reggie.
LEVS: "The New York Times" reports that Love carries a tide pen to wipe spills off the senator's tie, saying he, quote, "has turned himself into a dispensary of sharpies, stationery, protein bars, throat lozenges, water, tea, Advil, Tylenol, Purell and emergency Nicorette."
John McCain's campaign has sometimes has a double up on how many tasks one person takes on. The "New Yorker" reported in February, "In a campaign that has been forced to do more with less, his press secretary, Brooke Buchanan, also served as his "body woman," taking care of everything from spraying down stray strands of hair, to making sure that he's well caffeinated."
As the campaign wears on, having a body person lets the candidate know someone's got his or her back, often literally.
LEVS: And the job means knowing candidate's quirks, too, like the specific foods they want, their favorite kinds of bottled water, even the movies they want in their hotel rooms. And sometimes, these folks have to carry out the superstitions that the candidates want to have every Election Day. Guys, it's up to the "body people" to make sure all of that happens smoothly every time.
NGUYEN: That's fascinating.
MARCIANO: Well, you know, celebrities will have those, too, they have a handler or a personal assistant, but that continues. What happens after...
NGUYEN: The campaign's over, yes?
MARCIANO: ... the election -- what happens? What do these people do?
LEVS: It doesn't sound like it can necessarily be much of a career. For some people, it is. Now, if you win, then, you get be basically the "body person" to the president. We have some video here of Blake Gottesman.
NGUYEN: I remember the administration, as they like to call themselves.
LEVS: Yes, you are. Yes, you are a member of the administration. This was him, Blake Gottesman. He was the "body man" to President Bush during his election in 2000 and he actually stayed as part of the campaign for a while. He left, I think, the White House in 2006, and he went to Harvard Business School, even though he didn't have an undergraduate degree.
NGUYEN: Really? LEVS: They made an exception for him to let him in. So, you know, it can open up some doors. But, other people, your candidate doesn't win, you've got to go to somebody else.
NGUYEN: Is that your official title? I mean, seriously, I joked about it earlier. But if you put it on your resume, do you put, you know, your name, "body person"?
LEVS: No. You have other titles too, like traveling chief of staff but your including the body person, traveling this, traveling that.
NGUYEN: Traveling chief of staff -- that's nice.
LEVS: Yes. But you are the body person everyone knows.
NGUYEN: That sounds so much better than body person though.
All right. Thanks, Josh.
MARCIANO: Thanks, Josh.
NGUYEN: Yes. Well, right now, you are watching us, but your local gas station -- probably changing the numbers on you. And you're not going to like it, either.
Also ahead, you wait for your repairman to deliver a much-needed part. I hate it when that happens. That's sort of what it's like for the international space station crew awaiting today's launch of the shuttle. We'll be right back.
MARCIANO: A stormy night in parts of the Midwest, hammered by strong winds and severe thunderstorms. Look at this -- walls ripped away from an apartment building in Indianapolis, a scare for those inside, for sure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got into the bathroom, and then as when we were trying to open the door, my neighbor, we could see in his house, everything is gone. We closed our door back, and then all of a sudden, our roof just landed on us, and he pushed me out of the way, then the roof came in and we came outside and we've been here ever since. So, we lost everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: My, goodness. That is terrifying. And folks were hurt, too. Our reporter with one of our affiliates tells us at least 18 people were taken to hospitals as a result of that severe weather.
NGUYEN: But here's the deal, though, it's not over yet. In fact, we have a tornado watch in effect right now. Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf joins us with a look at that.
Hey there, Reynolds.
WOLF: Hey, guys, you're right. You know, seeing those images -- Rob, I know you've been covering this for ages -- it's so (INAUDIBLE) to see the different wreckage in different parts of the country. The places are different, but the terror and just the outright -- the sorrow of the people is always the same. We could see more of that unfold in the northeast.
As it stands, we do have this are we're watching. This area, we shade in red, tornado watch in effect for from now until about 11:00 o'clock local time, but I'm starting to think that as this action begins to move into parts of the Keystone State, we're going to see this, again, to get scaled back, perhaps into more Pennsylvania, back into parts of Maryland, too, before it's over.\
Right now in Pittsburgh, we've been seeing some heavy rain move right through there in some places, back towards the west in Columbus, you're getting in the clear.
We have a live image from WBNS in Columbus at this time, where skies are overcast, but drier, cooler air will be moving through. So, you're going to have a beautiful day out by the area, actually up by the river and down by Ohio State University, out by the shoe. It should be fantastic.
Meanwhile, later on today, our focus is going to be on parts of the northeast. I mean, it's true that we could see some scattered showers and storms from parts of New England back into the central plains, but it's really going to be into parts of the extreme northeast where we're going to have a good chance of large hail, damaging winds and perhaps tornadoes, to spots like New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
Now, farther to the south and Cape Canaveral, for today's launch of the shuttle, it should be just picture-perfect. In fact, what we've got for you is an interesting story about today's forecast. In fact, I have all today's shuttles missions -- of all the shuttle missions, today's launch, the Discover could be one definitely for the books.
And you're looking at a live image right now of the shuttle on the pad. The weather couldn't be better. And if it holds, it should be just perfect for lift-off, which will take place just after 5:00 Eastern time.
Now, CNN's space correspondent, Miles O'Brien explains why this particular mission is quite unique.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Space shuttle crews have done a lot of things over the years. They have repaired communications satellites, they've launched and maintained the Hubble Telescope, and they've built the international space station, but this mission will forever take the number one position in shuttle lure as the orbiter carries with it some very important relief for the International Space Station crew.
The one and only toilet on the station in a Russian module has been on the frits for more than a week now, and in the absence of gravity, the toilet relies on suction to capture waste. The pump that separates liquids from air failed, forcing the crew to resort to some less-convenient manual backup modes. The crews swapped in two spare pumps. They both failed not long after installation. No one knows why.
A NASA employee has hand-carried yet another 35-pound pump in a diplomatic pouch from Moscow overnight Thursday. Technicians loaded it onto Discovery after removing some other less important gear to make room. The Russians say they tested this pump thoroughly.
Cosmonauts on the station will install it as soon as it arrives. If Discovery launches on time, it will be Monday. The ISS crew will no doubt be watching the countdown intently, hoping there are no delays.
Of course, the potty problem isn't the main reason for this mission. Discovery is carrying a Japanese laboratory to the space station. The bus-sized lab is called Kibo, or hope in Japanese. The facility greatly expands the scientific potential for the station and is a key milestone as the station partners prepare to double crew size from three to six about a year from now.
Miles O'Brien, CNN, Washington.
NGUYEN: But that potty problem, I bet those astronauts are so ready for Monday to hurry up and come here.
MARCIANO: Well, you know, we've always wondered, you know, what they do up there in space. Now we know.
NGUYEN: Well, now they've resorted to manual efforts to try to solve the situation. Yikes.
MARCIANO: You know, I had a bit of a launch lately myself -- look at this.
NGUYEN: Oh, OK.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: This gravity thing is right (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: What a self-serving tool.
MARCIANO: That is just ridiculous.
NGUYEN: You are one brave man, Rob.
MARCIANO: Well, you know, there was a news hook to this. It wasn't just for the free ride. This was a lot of fun.
We'll talk more about the free-falling escapade, my great Leap of Faith, after this.
NGUYEN: Well, does your car need some gasoline? I sure hope you filled up yesterday, because gas prices are up once again.
MARCIANO: Come on, shocking.
NGUYEN: They keep going up every single day.
MARCIANO: It's almost like you don't have to watch this to hear about it.
New numbers out this morning from AAA and they show the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.97. That is, yes, another record high. It's more than 78 cents higher than a year ago. Prices are already above $4 a gallon in 12 states and in Washington, D.C.
NGUYEN: So, join Rick Sanchez for a CNN special on the gasoline crunch, "4 Bucks! What's Next?: America's Fuel Nightmare." It's part of our ISSUE #1 coverage. You can catch it at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tonight right here on CNN.
And the rising cost of oil has everybody talking about fuel- efficient planes at the Berlin Air Show. Have you heard about this?
MARCIANO: I haven't, but that's where our Tech Effect Report is coming from this morning.
CNN's Diana Magnay has more on alternative fuel innovations.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There's not much that's flying as fuel-efficient as this, but here at the Berlin Air Show, the big industry players say they're trying their best to produce aircrafts which are less dependent on oil.
Egon Behle, chief executive of German engine-maker MTU, shows me what the future of flying might look like and how radical new designs might drastically reduce the amount of fuel needed to fly.
EGON BEHLE, CEO, MTU AERO ENGINES: It is possible to do that and to achieve as I said, one liter per person per 100 kilometers, 1/3 of an Airbus A380 fuel consumption.
MAGNAY (on camera): How long until we can see that in the skies above us?
BEHLE: It's still ahead. I would say 2030 is a good figure.
MAGNAY (voice-over): 2030 seems to be a date which, of course (ph), have a lot. By then, Airbus says it hopes to have phased out kerosene-based jet fuel altogether. Even now, Airbus says its gigantic new A380 consumes only as much fuel per passenger mile as a medium-size car, but it hopes by 2030 that the entire Airbus fleet could be powered by a bio-fuel made from slow-going algae, which it says wouldn't compete with food stock.
ROSS WALKER, AIRBUS FUEL SYSTEMS ENGINEERING: Fuel from algae, then an area decides (ph) about by the world with aviation kerosene.
MAGNAY: In the shorter term, though, the big plane makers are exploring other ways to improve fuel efficiency. One working solution -- hydrogen-powered fuel cells.
(on camera): This is a regular Airbus A320, but inside it, for the first time ever since demonstrating its new fuel cell technology. Now, the fuel cell, it says, will never be able to power an entire plane. It won't be able to replace kerosene altogether, but what it will be able to do, Airbus says, is at least fuel all of the electrical systems inside.
(voice-over): One key advantage here is that a byproduct of fuel cell technology is water and that could then be used in the aircraft's waste systems, meaning there is less water to turn sport (ph) in the first place.
For many spectators of the air show, though, the high price of oil is a secondary concern. It's stunts and military might which your average air show enthusiast is after, and there is nothing fuel- efficient about that.
Diana Magnay, CNN, Berlin.
NGUYEN: Well, you know, Rob took a big Leap of Faith this week.
MARCIANO: Yes. Lived to tell about it, some would say completely self-serving. Yes, I wouldn't disagree with that. We'll tell you all about it when we come back.
WOLF: Hey, guys. We certainly had some rough weather this morning and we had some last night, too. Take a look at this video that we've got for you, this widespread damage that we're seeing in parts of Indianapolis. Still waking up to it in Indianapolis this morning, chances are, we could see more of that occur in parts of the northeast later today.
The full story is coming up on CNN.
NGUYEN: You know, most people, honestly, would not jump out of a perfectly good airplane. You may want to put that on the personal to- do list.
MARCIANO: Well, there are some (ph) other people that do this all the time.
NGUYEN: But you're not most people.
MARCIANO: You know, French adventurer, Michel Fournier, you know, he was the guy who has tried to set a record, jumped from 130,000 feet, sky-dived through the stratosphere. Well, that didn't work out from last week because the balloon kind of floated away, but it kind of gave me this idea.
MARCIANO: With all this excitement about the French sky diver that wants to jump from 130,000 feet, kind of got me fired up to jump myself, much lower, about 14,000. Here at free fall event in New Jersey, we're going to give it a go.
(voice-over): I got geared up with safety instructor, Range Lotta (ph).
(on camera): I'm a little nervous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need the harness.
MARCIANO: All right. Is there at all a chance for this to come loose from you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
MARCIANO: Never happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never happened.
MARCIANO: Not once?
(voice-over): Range and I will be hooked together for the jump in tandem, a way for beginners to sky dive.
(on camera): All in the name of safety.
(voice-over): There's a lot to remember when you're falling at 125 miles an hour, like when to pull the rip cord.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll tell you to pull at 5,000 feet.
MARCIANO: Pulling the cord later could make a sky diver land too fast and lose control of the chute.
(on camera): If you jump at 130,000 feet, you need a pressurized space suit, a helmet, oxygen, the whole nine yards. From 14,000 feet, altimeter, some goggles, not even a helmet. For me, not even a parachute, because I don't know what I'm doing. That's what Range (ph) is for. You know what you're doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know.
MARCIANO: You've got the chute?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got the chute.
MARCIANO: Let's do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's do this.
MARCIANO (voice over): Our group climbed to nearly 15,000 feet. I was getting light-headed and antsy. Others -- not so nervous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Rob?
MARCIANO (on camera): These things in my stomach, are they supposed to be there?
(voice-over): My turn to jump.
(on camera): All right. Let's give this gravity thing a try.
(voice-over): Gravity pulls me quickly downward while the plane's motion forces me sideways. Soon, our velocity is locked in. All I hear and feel is the wind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice.
MARCIANO: Oh, man, that was crazy. That was fantastic. Thank you.
Well, it was like on a roller coaster ride. Your heart pounding, you're losing your breath, a little chilly. But it's just unbelievable.
NGUYEN: That is so cool. OK, so let me ask you, you say it's kind of like, you know, on a roller coaster ride. You know, when you lose that feeling in your stomach and just want to throw up.
MARCIANO: It goes away pretty quickly. I mean, about 10 seconds of losing your stomach and then you get to this constant velocity of 120-130 miles an hour and you really just floating around. I mean, the ground's coming up pretty fast and it's a lot of sound, but it's pretty.
By the way, the guy who shot that video, who jumped out of the plane before me, his name, no joke, is Dave Pancake and he's made like 10,000 successful jumps. I have no problem there.
NGUYEN: So, and then, he points as you saying, all right, I don't know if I want to do this anymore. MARCIANO: Well, yes. When that door opens up, the butterflies keep cranking (ph) but everyone is excited.
NGUYEN: But you got the guy behind you. The (INAUDIBLE), he's like, they're going.
MARCIANO: There's an (INAUDIBLE), you just do it.
All right. Next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING starts right now.
NGUYEN: From the CNN center in Atlanta, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. Hello everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.
MARCIANO: And I'm Rob Marciano in for T.J. Holmes.
No plan, no resolution from a closed-door meeting last night. We're counting down 90 minutes to the public meeting, the Democratic Party's rules committee. They're going to decide today if votes in Florida and Michigan count. The best political team on television is bringing it all to you right here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best that we have that's been given to us by our founding fathers is to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: A polygamist group promises to go to the polls this fall to kick out the people responsible for taking more than 400 children away from their Texas ranch.
MARCIANO: And today's gas prices make some of us wish for those economy cars of the 70s, remember them, stylish Gremlins, Pintos, Rabbits.
NGUYEN: Whatever happened to them?
MARCIANO: (INAUDIBLE) this morning. I'm going to talk more about that this segment. First we start with those critical deliberations among Democrats, deciding what to do with Michigan's and Florida's delegates.
NGUYEN: Oh, what to do. Well the 30-member DNC rules and bylaws committee does have a tough job ahead of it. Here's some of the big questions that they face today, take a look, how many of Florida and Michigan's delegates will be seated? OK, that's question number one. Number two, if they have delegates reinstated, then who gets them? Plus, do their votes count in the overall primary popular vote?
Well, both states lost their delegates as you'll recall as a punishment for holding their primaries early.
MARCIANO: A lot at stake, the meeting now just 90 minutes away, but the committee members didn't wait for the public hearing. They met last night late in private. CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser is live with the CNN election express this morning, both of them parked in front of the Washington hotel where the DNC's rules committee is meeting.
But Paul, they just couldn't wait. Describe for me this meeting. I just envision it back door, closed door, locks, smoke-filled things going on, sleeves rolled up, people just going at it. I mean it just seems old school.
STEINHAUSER: I don't know about how much smoke there was but yes, it was a dinner. It started out as a dinner right here at this hotel in Washington, D.C. where they're having the public hearing today. It went on for five hours behind closed doors as you mentioned. You had Clinton supporters. You had Obama supporters both on the committee and they were talking among themselves, trying to see if they could reach any kind of early agreement.
We staked it out, our CNN's Mark Preston and Josh Rupert (ph) were there for five hours and when the meeting was over and they came out, Mark and Josh spoke to some of the members. Here's what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ICKES: It was a full discussion. I mean there was some agreement on some issues and still some disagreements on others.
MARTHA FULLER CLARK, CMTE MEMBER, OBAMA SUPPORTER: How do you recognize the people who didn't vote and how do you recognize the people that did vote and how do we at the same time maintain the integrity of the process and there are no easy answers.
ROOSEVELT, JR.: I can't predict that it will be unanimous. I do think that it will be unifying for the party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEINHAUSER: So no resolution last night, which means 90 minutes from now the big showdown and we're going to carry all this live of course. This is such a big deal. There is so much at stake and you guys laid it out earlier before you came to me. Here's the thing. Florida and Michigan are two very big important states. The Democrats really want to have those states in their camp come November. They want to take back the White House Rob.
MARCIANO: Put this in perspective now. Last night, how many people were (INAUDIBLE) 28 and how many are going to be at the meeting today?
STEINHAUSER: Thirty today totaling; 28 were there last night; two couldn't make it and so you got the 30 members of the committee and then the states today. They get to make their case. The two campaigns get to make their case. Then after they do all that, they're going to take a break. They're going to come back this afternoon. They're going to talk among themselves, try to have some resolution. Maybe there will be a vote. Hopefully we'll have to all settled later this afternoon. MARCIANO: Hopefully those people didn't make much progress last night, but we'll certainly be counting on you to tell us about it. Paul Steinhauser in D.C. this morning, thanks Paul.
NGUYEN: Well, no doubt the campaigns are watching what happens in Washington, but the candidates still have hands to shake and babies to kiss. Barack Obama is in South Dakota today. He arrived there last night. Take a look at this. He got a good glimpse of the majestic Mount Rushmore. Well, South Dakota and Montana have closed out the primary season on Tuesday.
Let's talk about Hillary Clinton now. She is in Puerto Rico this weekend. Its primary is tomorrow and what about the presumptive Republican nominee? Well, John McCain has no campaign events scheduled today.
CNN has the best political coverage on TV and the web. So here's what we want you to do. Join Wolf Blitzer for "Decision Day." It's special live coverage from the Democratic National Committee meeting. That starts at 9:00 Eastern this morning on CNN and cnn.com.
MARCIANO: A Texas deal that would have reunited more than 400 children with their polygamous parents is now on hold. Earlier this week, the Texas supreme court upheld an appeals court ruling saying that the state had no right to remove the children from the compound. But a judge in the case refused to sign an order that would release the children to their parents. So all 38 mothers involved in the case were able to sign. Meanwhile, El Dorado, residents say they're worried about a new wave of polygamist voters promising payback in November.
Our David Mattingly has more.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If anyone in Schleicher County, Texas thought they'd heard the last of the secluded polygamists from the Yearning for Zion ranch, they were wrong.
WILLIE JESSOP, SECT SPOKESMAN: The only chance that we have that's been given to us by our founding fathers is to vote.
MATTINGLY: It's a promise of a voting booth showdown, November payback aimed at one of the leaders of the April, Sheriff David Doran.
SHERIFF DAVID DORAN, SCHLEICHER COUNTY, TEXAS: If we had had a mass registration out of retaliation purposes or what have you, yeah, that concerns me that there could be a different factor coming in with the election.
MATTINGLY: Doran was the leading vote getter four years ago with just 903 votes. There are less than 1900 registered voters in the whole county. A flood of angry FLDS voters means change could be on the way. And this is where it began, this little stone building next to the county courthouse. We've learned that representatives of the FLDS have already been looking for hundreds of voter registration forms. Now imagine the surprise of county officials, who rarely see more than two or three voters signed up in a single month. It's already the lunchtime topic of conversation, Rose's restaurant, where I find that residents here are worried about what's to come.
JO KOTSCH, RESIDENT: If they've got so many people out there, they could overpower people that vote here.
CAROLYN MITTEL, RESIDENT: I think this is just the beginning and I think they closed their eyes to it for so many years.
MATTINGLY: FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop predicts the sect will eventually register 500 to 600 new voters. That means no county candidate would be safe. Most on the November ballot are unopposed, but hundreds of write ins could change any race. Will there be somebody from that ranch in public office in November.
JESSOP: We're not ruling out any possibilities.
MATTINGLY: The candidate who should be most concerned is the county commissioner, who represents that sparsely populated area where you find the compound. So few people vote there, that all it takes is just 200 write in votes for an FLDS candidate to land on the county commission. And there is plenty of time for residents of the YFZ ranch to beat the October registration deadline and make their displeasure known to the government they once tried so hard to avoid.
David Mattingly, CNN, El Dorado, Texas.
NGUYEN: Well, in China this morning, evacuations have been ordered for almost 200,000 people near the quake lake region. Chinese officials say the rising water is threatening to wipe out the town of Mianyang.
MARCIANO: About a million people told to be ready to leave their homes at a moment's notice. Chinese officials say more than 30 new lakes have formed because of landslides caused by the earthquake earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Myanmar's military leaders are under fire again for their handling of that deadly cyclone. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is now saying the regime's obstruction of international relief efforts has cost tens of thousands of lives. He says the U.S. is not going to use force to deliver aid to survivors.
NGUYEN: Back here in the U.S., clean up is getting under way this morning in Illinois and Indiana after a wave of strong storms hit the Midwest. In Illinois, lawmakers had to scramble to the basement of the state capital due to tornado warnings and in Indianapolis, walls of apartment buildings ripped apart.
Phil Sanchez of our affiliate WISH joins us now from Indianapolis. Phil, first of all, talk to us about the injuries. How many and hopefully no fatalities at this point. SANCHEZ: Well, Betty, we're looking at 18 injuries, no casualties at this point, but more on them in just a sec. Let me set up the scene for you here. We're on the east side of Indianapolis. As you can see, a lot of police activity here at this hour, keeping us, the media, a good distance away from this damage. Authorities telling us this morning again, 18 people were taken to area hospitals, none of their injuries said to be life threatening.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): The damage is extensive. A pair of east side apartment complexes torn apart by mother nature.
VENUS BLACKBURN, STORM VICTIM: When the windows started shaking, I said come on. Let's go in the bathroom. By that time, everything started falling down.
SANCHEZ: Moments after Venus Blackburn felt it, she saw it.
BLACKBURN: I have never seen nothing like this before in my life because I'm from Chicago and I never seen this before in my life.
SANCHEZ: A possible tornado striking the Pinnacle Square apartments and the Falcon Point apartments.
DEBBY SANDERS, APARTMENT MANAGER: I was asleep and woke up and I seen green. The next thing I know I heard everything coming in.
SANCHEZ: Debby Sanders is the property manager of Falcon Point. She also lives there.
SANDERS: I have nothing left except - well, last time I seen it was my front room that I don't even know if that's still there.
SANCHEZ: Debby and other displaced residents were taken to nearby John Marshall Middle School, but it too was hit by the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED FIREFIGHTER: The reason we're using the cafeteria versus the gym, three quarters of the roof was blown off of the gymnasium here at John Marshall High School also.
SANCHEZ: The destruction to both complexes is tremendous. Roofs and walls blown away, people now have to try to put their lives back together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then I went back upstairs because I remember I didn't have my wallet and I knew I had to get my wallet so I went upstairs to get my wallet and the whole ceiling was gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I walked past my friend's house. Her house is caved in. They live on the bottom. I don't even know how they got out of there. The house is caved in. Windows are crashed out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tree branches are everywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was crazy. (END VIDEOTAPE)
SANCHEZ: (AUDIO GAP) the storm. Reporting...
NGUYEN: All right, we're having a little bit of audio difficulty there, but obviously a lot of work to be done, a lot of cleanup to be done in Indianapolis following those storms.
MARCIANO: Yeah, it's not over. There's rough weather rolling across Pennsylvania. There was at least a little while ago a tornado watch in effect. CNN meteorologist Reynolds Wolf keeping an eye on it.
NGUYEN: Well, Scott McClellan, he is on the record.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCCLELLAN: What happens in Washington, D.C. today is you have a lot of good people that come there for the right reasons to make a difference, but they get caught up in this permanent campaign culture where it's all about manipulating the narrative to their advantage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: And talking about his controversial new book and defining himself against attacks from his former bosses at the White House.
MARCIANO: Also head, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, guys. Coming up on "HOUSE CALL," a candid talk about Larry King's past health mistakes and what he's doing now to make up for them.
Plus, is your grandma really sick? Or maybe is she just overmedicated? A look at the downside of prescription drugs. And why one man swears blogging helped him lose over 100 pounds.
We'll have his story coming up on "HOUSE CALL" at 8:30.
NGUYEN: It's time now for a quick check of some of this morning's headlines.
MARCIANO: All construction crane work in New York suspended until Monday after that deadly accident. Check out the cell video from the "New York Post" shot just minutes after the collapse. Terrifying, two construction workers were killed, another seriously injured. It's the city's second deadly crane collapse in less than three months.
NGUYEN: Well, the countdown is on for the space shuttle Discovery. Here's a live look. NASA has begun fuelling Discovery for the scheduled lift-off this afternoon. The weather not expected to be a problem. Job number one for the shuttle is delivery of an important toilet pump to the international space station. They are ready for that thing to arrive, let me tell you. And you can see the launch live right here on CNN at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.
MARCIANO: Waiting for number one and two reasons.
Decision day for the Democrats, who gets the delegates? The national committee's rules committee is meeting this morning in Washington. They're trying to decide what to do with the delegates from Florida and Michigan. Both states lost their delegates, you may remember as punishment for moving up their primaries to January. We're covering it all live for you.
NGUYEN: Let's keep all things political here because a former White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, he is defending himself and his new tell-all book. Here's what it does. It blasts the Bush administration on issues ranging from hurricane Katrina to the run up to the war in Iraq. McClellan served as press secretary for nearly three years beginning in 2003.
In his book, McClellan writes that President Bush and top aides favored a propaganda campaign in the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq. McClellan told our Anderson Cooper that he was concerned about the rush to war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCLELLAN: I was giving the administration the benefit of the doubt in terms of the build up to the Iraq war and the decision to go to war like a lot of Americans were. I was concerned about the rush to war, whether or not we needed to do it. I was concerned about the necessities to some extent because I'm a personal from a moral standpoint that believes we should not be going to war unless it's absolutely necessary.
But when I really started to become disillusioned with things was when I found out that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby basically right before media reports were going to chill it, that they had knowingly misled me. This is a White House that doesn't like to look back. The president doesn't like to spend time reflecting and that's understandable to some extent, but our elected leaders need to have more reflection in order to be able to learn from their mistakes.
I think in many ways he's learned from his mistakes. He says knowing that he knows today, he would still make the same decision to go into Iraq. I think he believes that. He's convinced himself to believe that, but I don't think it's true. I know him and I know he's politically savvy enough to know that he would never make that same decision.
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NGUYEN: Well, the White House is trying to downplay McClellan's accounts. In a statement, current White House Press Secretary Dana Perino says Scott, we know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House. For those of us who fully supported him before, during, and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. The book as reported by the press has been described to the president. Now I don't expect a comment from him on it. He has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers, end quote.
MARCIANO: Well, are Americans going to give up their SUVs and start driving more fuel-efficient cars?
NGUYEN: It's happened before and Josh Levs says it's happened before, so is it going to happen again, Josh?
LEVS: Yes, it did. Once upon a time gas crisis led to a massive downsizing of the American automobile and a whole lot of these tiny imports.. We're going to take a road trip down memory lane. And your chance to join us for it is around the corner.
MARCIANO: Hey, listen all music in the '70s was good and some of the cars were (INAUDIBLE) . You may be surprised to hear we're getting to our point in a second -- that gas prices up again. AAA says that they went up another cent from yesterday, $3.97 per gallon.
NGUYEN: It's almost a daily ritual these days. Americans have been over a barrel before so to speak. Josh Levs has been revisiting the gas shortage of the 1970s and how the look of the American automobile went through a drastic change as a result.
LEVS: That's true.
NGUYEN: Words like Gremlin, come to mind.
LEVS: Did you know about this? I wouldn't recognize a Gremlin. I'm told you know cars.
MARCIANO: I want to see the Gremlin. Maybe the vision will bring you back.
NGUYEN: It was kind of round-ish.
LEVS: This is the idea that Americans lived through this gas crisis 35 years ago. The problem then wasn't price, it was supply. Gas stations dried out due to the Arab oil embargo. First let's do it. A little U.S. car history. A lot of people regard the '50s and '60s as the golden age of the American automobile, especially the muscle cars.
You have the giant chariots and these huge engines, tons of horsepower. Then comes the oil embargo. So American cars shrank to itty bitty things with the four cylinders, no (INAUDIBLE) interiors -- here you go guys, Pacer, Hornet. You have a gremlin, the Pinto and the Bobcat.
NGUYEN: Also had that La Car (ph) whatever that was.
LEVS: I'm learning this stuff. You have the imports like the Rabbit, the Civic and the Corolla. Those became household words at that time.
NGUYEN: There's a Gremlin, right?
LEVS: (INAUDIBLE) couple attempts at electric cars (INAUDIBLE) Can you imagine? But maybe they would have built on it. I don't know.
NGUYEN: Just the spoiler, that's all.
LEVS: And some spinners. I don't want to be in that thing in a thunderstorm. American Motors was responsible for two of the most well known subcompacts of that era, the Gremlin.
NGUYEN: The Gremlin, good-looking car.
LEVS: The thing in those days, gas was cheap and nobody cared about gas mileage. Car makers didn't even have to list it at the time. But these cars got up to 30 miles a gallon. Perhaps the infamous subcompact, the Ford Pinto and its identical twin the Mercury Bobcat fell out of flavor because their design flaw, the (INAUDIBLE) risk of bursting into flames.
NGUYEN: That'd be a problem. But good gas mileage, though.
LEVS: Yeah. By the way it might burst in a wreck. Japanese car makers like Honda and Toyota got their first real entry in the U.S. car market during the '70s. This is the Datsun 510 sedan and the Datsun later became Nissan. Does anybody remember the Yugo?
NGUYEN: Yes, I do remember the Yugo.
LEVS: We used to joke about the Yugo when we were little. It took off for a little while. They joked it was the first disposable car in the world. Just drive it until it run out of gas and then leave it and go get another one. There's still some die hard fans out there of those 1970s economy cars. And we want to know if you have one, send us your I-reports, your photos, videos, your stories.
Go to ireport.com. You can't miss it. And be sure to tune in tonight 8:00 Eastern for our issue number one special, more bucks (ph), what's next? It's an eye-opening hour with Rick Sanchez about what's behind the run up in gas prices and what you can do about it. But I don't want to think about what's next. (INAUDIBLE)
NGUYEN: You may want to get a Gremlin. Those I-reporters that are coming in with pictures of it, that car may be for sale soon.
LEVS: (INAUDIBLE) in your garage. We'll use it.
NGUYEN: Thanks, Josh.
MARCIANO: Some high school students in Kentucky went back to the old ways to offset rising gas prices. They returned to the true meaning of horsepower Friday when they rode horses to their high school rather than drive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gas prices are up, so my truck is very a gas guzzler. And I'm sick and tired of always being at the gas station getting gas and not having enough money to always get gas. We need a solution to get to school instead of riding the bus.
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NGUYEN: Well, the principal gave the students permission to saddle up and ride on into school. The horses were given food and water from the school's agriculture building. Complete plan there. Accept for that and someone's going to have to clean that up.
MARCIANO: Every vehicle has an exhaust.
A 13-year-old became the national spelling bee champion. But can you spell the winning word?
NGUYEN: Straight ahead, the word that the smart kid aced to earn the title and thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.
MARCIANO: OK, spelling bee time. Can you -- well, do you -- first of all, do you know what this word means: guerdon?
MARCIANO: I know because it says it right here. It says it's something ...
NGUYEN: That's the only reason.
MARCIANO: ...it's a reward of some sort. It's something that's earned or gained.
NGUYEN: Boy, was it a reward for Sameer Mishra. His guerdon is $40,000 in cash and prizes. Plus -- this is the best part of all -- the glory of being ...
NGUYEN: ...the best speller in the U.S. of A. It's only fitting though that the winning word was, well, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MISHRA: Guerdon -- G-U-E-R-D-O-N.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a champion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven years of study. And in that family ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Very cool. We're going to be speaking with him shortly. And we will bring that interview to you tomorrow morning.
MARCIANO: Nice work, all right.
MARCIANO: But first, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta starts right now.