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Obama's World Tour; Obama Meets with French President; Prosecuting Polygamy: Senator Links Sects to Organized Crime

Aired July 25, 2008 - 11:00   ET


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

Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM for Friday, July 25th. Here's what's on the rundown for you.

Wall Street feeling a bit of a rebound. Mixed reports on the state of the economy, but markets bump up.

Candidate on the continent. Barack Obama now in Paris. The world trip rolls on. A live picture there at Palace Elysee.

And a little blue pill saving little ones' lives. Viagra for babies? The story in the NEWSROOM.

Let's see if we can turn to some of these pictures from just moments ago.

Now in Paris, Barack Obama arriving just moments ago, the latest leg of his European tour. He is meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy today.

Obama left Germany after a speech aimed at both European and American audiences. Berlin police say he drew a crowd of about 200,000.

And here are the pictures from just moments ago of the Illinois senator arriving at the Palace Elysee. And there's the handshake, there is the greating, Senator Obama and the French president, Sarkozy.

John McCain heading to Colorado today. He will speak at a veteran's convention and meet with the Dalai Lama.

Last night McCain got his own taste of Germany. He addressed business leaders at a German restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.

We are talking to both candidates. CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley sat down with Barack Obama.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right now you're about three, four points in the polls. We are month away from your convention. You're three months away from this election.


CROWLEY: And we're sitting in Berlin.

OBAMA: Right.

CROWLEY: Why is that?

OBAMA: Well, obviously the priority on this trip was traveling to Afghanistan and Iraq, where we've got enormous commitments, and we've got to get that right. Part of getting that right is having the Europeans engaged and involved in this same battle that we're involved with against terrorism, to make sure that we're creating a climate where nuclear weapons can't fall into the hands of terrorists, dealing with the situation in Iran, trying to broker peace in the Middle East.

All those issues are ones where we can lead, but only if we've got serious partners. And so it was very important for me to have a chance to meet with Merkel. I'll be meeting with President Sarkozy of France today, Gordon Brown tomorrow, just to deliver the message that Americans want to partner with these countries in order for us to be successful, and also to relieve some of the burden on our fighting men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq.

CROWLEY: But what's the message to Americans? Because if they're sitting back there going, "What is my foreclosure on my house, the gas prices have to do with him giving a speech in Berlin?" Does it -- I mean, they don't see any relationship.

OBAMA: Well, it's very specific. If we have more NATO troops in Afghanistan, then that's potentially fewer American troops over the long term, which means that we're spending fewer billions of dollars, which means we can invest those billions of dollars in making sure that we're providing tax cuts to middle class families who are struggling with higher gas prices.

If we've got serious commitments from the Europeans to deal with these energy issues in the same ways that we need to deal with them, that will have an impact on our economy. Issues of trade. Issues of the economy. All these issues are now connected in this globalized economy.

And so -- but I also wouldn't underestimate the degree to which people in Ohio or people in Michigan or people in Missouri recognize that our long-term safety and our long-term security is going to depend on how we can interact with key allies. And you know, it's amazing how often I get questions from people about, when are we going to be able to reassert respect in the world? And that's part of the message that we're sending here.

CROWLEY: Let me go back a couple of days to your visit to Israel. We are learning that a defense committee in Israel has now given a green light, has to go through several more steps, but given a green light for 20 new homes in the West Bank.

And your advice on that is what? Is that OK as far as the U.S. is concerned?

OBAMA: You know, as you said, we haven't seen the whole process move forward, but, as a general proposition, the Israelis, sitting down with the Palestinians in Annapolis, and in previous agreements, have recognized that these settlements are not helpful. And I think it's important for Israelis to abide by their commitments when it comes to settlements in the same ways that the Palestinians abide by their commitments for cracking down on terrorists in the West Bank, and previously in Gaza. Now obviously Hamas controls Gaza, so it makes it more difficult to Abbas to assert himself there.

But the key is for both parties to do what they say and build trust and confidence so that they can move forward. And the United States has to be a significant presence in that process.

CROWLEY: But President Obama would say don't do this?

OBAMA: President Obama would say follow your commitments.


HARRIS: And you can catch Candy Crowley's full interview with Barack Obama on CNN's "THE SITUATION ROOM." That's at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, 1:00 p.m. Pacific.

Also today, Wolf talks with John McCain in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

The race for the White House is tightening. CNN's latest Poll of Polls now shows Barack Obama leading John McCain by only 3 percentage points. Forty-four percent of registered voters say they support Obama, 41 percent back McCain. Fifteen percent of those surveyed July 18th through July 23rd say they are still unsure.

A week ago, CNN's Poll of Polls showed Obama leading McCain by six points.

The U.S. presidential candidates have traveled the world, and that means costly security. The Secret Service is asking for more money.

The agency that protects the president and presidential candidates says it needs an extra $9.5 million. That would push its budget for the 2008 presidential campaign cycle to almost $107 million. The cost for 2004 was $73 million.

Homes and lives in shambles in New Hampshire, as we turn to weather now. Violent storms, including possibly tornadoes, ripped through the state yesterday. One person was killed, about a dozen others were hurt.

The property damage, as you can see in these pictures, widespread. At least six homes were destroyed and many more were damaged.

Trees snapped like twigs, and debris is just littering the streets, including a couch we're told found wrapped around a tree. FEMA crews are on the ground today assessing all of the damage.


HARRIS: Wall Street upbeat. The Dow opening higher this morning after plunging 238 points yesterday. What a ride that was.

Right now, the Big Board. The Dow up 60 points, at 11,414. All of the major indices are up.

The Nasdaq up 17. The S&P up 5.

Driving the markets this morning, June factory orders for big- ticket items. Stuff like cars and appliances rose at the fastest pace in four months. Good news there.

The government says orders were up eight-tenths of a percent, much better than expected. But new home sales fell six-tenths of a percent. They're down 33 percent from last year.

But consumers are feeling better about spending. The Confidence Index came in at 61 after hitting a 28-year low of 56 in June.

Going beyond child sex abuse to get at polygamist sects. A Senate leader wants to target what he calls organized crime.


HARRIS: Barack Obama meets with French President Sarkozy in Paris today.

CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is in Paris with the latest.

And Christiane, you know, I keep waiting for some real news to be made on this trip. Yesterday was a terrific event, to be sure. And I'm thinking about the meeting today between the Illinois senator and the French president.

Is this much more than a first date between these two men?



AMANPOUR: This is the second time they're meeting. And in fact, I was told by a French journalist who was traveling with French President Sarkozy yesterday that he actually called Barack Obama "Mon copain," which is "My pal."

So, clearly -- and there was a great show of back-patting and looking towards the huge numbers of press here as Barack Obama drove up, really in a welcome fit (ph) for a head of state, or a head of government, even though he's not elected and he's just a candidate. Even the French press here are beginning to ask people like myself, I mean, "Don't you think this is a little bit of a circus? Don't you think it's a little strange, for instance, that when John McCain came here he got absolutely none of this, or at least a small fraction of this kind of coverage?"

And -- but the thing is, he's popular here. There's been a small crowd outside, certainly small compared to the massive crowd that greeted him in Berlin.

No, there hasn't been any news committed, and perhaps he's studiously avoiding committing news. He keeps saying that he's here as a citizen, not as a candidate. He's well aware of the sensitivities of saying that he's campaigning abroad. But clearly what he's doing is trying to show himself to the world and show American voters what he means to the world. And I think that's about the sum total of it, despite the fact that people all over the world, quite frankly, are ready for a change in the style of American leadership, if nothing else.

HARRIS: And I suppose on some level, Christiane, it's not bad for the leaders of these countries to be in photographs, in photo opportunities, with someone who is viewed in their country as popular. I know it gets a little silly, but I guess on some level it makes some sense.

AMANPOUR: Well, yes. And in fact, you speak precisely to the conundrum of Nicolas Sarkozy.

His poll rating has been pretty low for the last several months. He's beginning to gain some traction again, some of the policies, some of the votes he's won in the national assembly. His wife, Carla Bruni, has just released a CD which has shot to the top of the French charts.

Things are looking not too bad for Mr. Sarkozy. So of course, he also basks in the reflected glory of his highly popular American president (sic).


AMANPOUR: But listen, Tony. What's also really important here is that this is France, where there are many, many African-French. They're not called "African-French," because everybody in France is French, colorblind apparently. Taboo to discuss race, religion and all those things that separate people.

But the fact is that there are virtually no elected black officials in France. Not in the national assembly, not amongst the mayors.


AMANPOUR: And so people here, the black people, are having a bit of a black consciousness movement of their own here. And so they also are getting quite a lot of juice, if you like, from the phenomenon of Barack Obama.

HARRIS: Yes. What an interesting observation. CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour on the meeting today between the French president and the Illinois senator, Barack Obama.

Christiane, good to see you. Thank you.

Polygamist sects like the Mafia. One Senate leader links groups like the FLDS to organized crime, and he wants the feds involved.

CNN's David Mattingly has the story.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A Texas-sized raid so big it made polygamy history; 400-plus women and children taken into custody; a mammoth court battle and now indictments against six men with allegations of child sexual assault. But none of it would have been necessary says the Texas Attorney General if authorities elsewhere had been more coordinated.

GREG ABBOTT, TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: The state of Texas situation would never have occurred had we had in place the kind of law enforcement ideas that are being talked about today.

MATTINGLY: To avoid another raid like it, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants a Federal Polygamy Task Force targeting what he calls organized crime, crossing state lines, and going beyond the sexual abuse of young girls.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Welfare fraud, tax evasion, massive corruption, and strong-arm tactics to maintain what they think is the status quo.

MATTINGLY: At a hearing, on Capitol Hill State and Federal Prosecutors called for more resources in cracking insular polygamist groups like the FLDS. Former sect members talked of how leaders ordered young girls to marry.

CAROLYN JESSOP, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: I never knew what it meant to feel safe until I was 35 years old.

MATTINGLY: And what reassigned wives and children to other men, emotionally devastating entire families.

DAN FISCHER, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: I had nightmares for a year. I still have nightmares.

MATTINGLY: Jailed FLDS leader and Prophet Warren Jeffs was convicted in Utah on two counts of being an accomplice to rape. Now he's among the men just indicted in Texas; he's accused of marrying girls as young as 12.

WILLIE JESSOP, FLDS SPOKESMAN: That's exactly right, mere allegations.

MATTINGLY: Your prophet has done nothing wrong? He has not married any underage girls?

W. JESSOP: They're just that, allegations. And what you see here today is people with a biased opinion making more allegations that can never be proved out in the court of law.

MATTINGLY: Five FLDS members attended the hearings but were not invited to speak. Sect spokesman Willie Jessop accused Senator Reid, a Mormon, of a personal vendetta.

You've got criminal charges against your prophet in multiple states. Are you accusing all of these state officials of a personal agenda?

JIM BRADSHAW, FLDS ATTORNEY: Criminal charges have to be dealt with individually. You deal with them one at a time. Each case is separate. You deal with the case and you address it. But to come in here and say that this group of people commits crime and this group of people is guilty of some offense, that's wrong.

MATTINGLY: Wrong or not, the Senate Leader put the FLDS on notice. Locking up polygamist criminals is no longer just a state and local priority.

Prosecutors say the success of any case they try to build depends on witnesses coming forward from inside polygamy groups. Senator Reid says he wants Congress to come up with the money to keep these witnesses safe and to help them build new lives.

David Mattingly, CNN, Capitol Hill.


HARRIS: Well, they're clapping now, but you see those oxygen masks hanging aboard that plane? These passengers had quite a scare in the air.


HARRIS: Well, an Oklahoma man is in trouble with the law, and here's why. Authorities say the driver of that silver vehicle there, that car, took off after being pulled over during a traffic stop.

He led police on a high-speed chase through Oklahoma City. Officers eventually -- you'll see it here -- spin him to a stop. And then they took him into custody. They took him down, too, pretty severely.

Police say the suspect did hit other vehicles in the chase. Yes. Yes, there's the takedown. But fortunately, here no one was hurt.

We all know why adults use Viagra, but babies? The little blue pill is proving to be a real lifesaver at a Florida hospital.

Here's Josh Rojas of affiliate Bay News 9.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOSH ROJAS, REPORTER, BAY NEWS 9 (voice-over): Little Noah Nero was only 10 months old, and his mom gives him Viagra every day.

CHERISH NERO, SON GETS VIAGRA TREATMENT: Still kind of a joke about what a stud Noah is because he's on Viagra.

ROJAS: The little blue pill, or Viagra, is a popular treatment for erectile dysfunction. Cherish Nero says that was a concern when doctors at All Children's Hospital prescribed it for Noah.

NERO: The first thought in my mind was, what else is it going to do for him besides work as a pulmonary dilator?

DR. GUL DADLANI, ALL CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Infants and young children don't get the same effect as old men do with their Viagra therapy.

ROJAS: Dr. Gul Dadlani says Viagra is a wonder drug for babies who are born with pulmonary hypertension.

DADLANI: As the blood flow goes to the lung, the arteries in the lung become constricted or tightened. With Viagra therapy, it relaxes those vessels and allows more blood flow to go to the lungs, and it improves the symptoms for the patient.

ROJAS (on camera): Now obviously, babies can't pop the little blue pill, so pharmacists have to crush it and give it to them in liquid form.

(voice-over): Dr. Dadlani says because of the success they've had with Viagra, more and more babies are prescribed the medication.

Sophie Sanders (ph) has been on the drug for two years.

TANYA SANDERS, DAUGHTER TREATED WITH VIAGRA: I would say that Viagra did save her life at one point. Right now we are weaning off of it.

ROJAS: Nero credits Viagra for doing the same for Noah.

NERO: It definitely has saved his life. It's what got us off of the ventilator and out of the hospital.


HARRIS: You know, actually, Vanderbilt University has been giving some infants Viagra for pulmonary hypertension since 2004, and the drug's benefits for patients with the condition has been known since at least 2002.

You know, this is the last weekend to nominate someone you know as a CNN Hero. We're talking about ordinary people making an extraordinary impact in our country and around the world.

A CNN Hero is someone like Dave Schweidenback. He is changing lives half a world away with a bicycle. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): For 20 years I walked with a little wheel barrow, selling house cleaning products for six or seven hours a day. With the money I earned, I buy food for my family and medicine for my wife, who has cancer.

The situation is tough. A bicycle could really help me.


My name is Dave Schweidenback. I'm the founder of Pedals for Progress. I collect bikes for people in the developing world.

You ready to part with this?


SCHWEIDENBACK: When I was a Peace Corps volunteer down in the Amazon Basin, everybody walks everywhere they go, all the time. I knew that a bicycle could change someone's life for the better.

I decided to run bike collections, and send them to people to help give them a better life. We break them down, load them into containers, and when the containers arrive overseas. the bicycles are sold at low cost to the local people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Now things are better. I sell more because I do my rounds quicker. Because of a bicycle, my life has changed.

SCHWEIDENBACK: My goal is continue to collect as many bikes as I can and ship them to as many places as there are poor people who need them.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360" (voice-over): July is the last month to nominate someone you know as a CNN Hero for 2008. Go to


HARRIS: Next Friday is the last day for nominations, so go to right now to get yours in. We may share your hero story with the world, and they could be further honored at an all-star tribute Thanksgiving night right here on CNN.

Coming together to watch "Black in America" and address issues facing the African-American community. We check viewing parties around the country.


HARRIS: Welcome back everyone to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris. Talk about a frightening flight. Imagine for a second hearing a loud crack, and then oxygen masks start falling aboard your flight. That's exactly what happened on a Qantas jetliner from Hong Kong to Australia. The plane lost cabin pressure due to a hole in the fuselage. The skin of the aircraft, a Transportation Security Agency official tells CNN a preliminary investigation shows it was not related to terrorism. All indications are it was a mechanical or structural failure. The plane made an emergency landing in the Philippines.

Reporter Paul Marshall has more from Manila.


PAUL MARSHALL, REPORTER (voice-over): This is the Qantas 747 on the ground of Manila airport, all 346 passengers and 19 crew off safely. And these pictures show the hole in the side. That is luggage poking through. QF30 started in London, landed in Hong Kong and had left for Melbourne when passengers heard an explosion.

DR. JUNE KANE, PASSENGER: It was a terrific boom and bits of wood and all the debris just flew forward in first. The oxygen masks came down and we were told that one of the rear doors, a hole was blown into it. In fact I've since looked at the plane and there's a gigantic, gaping hole in the side of the plane. It was absolutely terrifying but I have to say, everyone was very calm.

OWEN TUDOR, PASSENGER: There was an almighty crack and you could hear something happening and then the oxygen masks fell down and you started dropping down, ears popping, that sort of stuff.

MARSHALL: Qantas has said only that there is a hole in the fuselage but not what caused it. In the 1970s, two DC-10s lost their cargo doors in flight. They came off completely. One of the planes crashed. But from the photographs, it's not a door on the Qantas plane, but a piece of the fuselage that's come off. The debris flying through the cabin would have been from the depressurization. The pilots made an emergency descent and diverted to Manila.

MARINA SCAFFIDI, PASSENGER: My partner was upstairs. I thought maybe he's gone, I don't know. I had no idea.

STEVE PURVINAS, AIRCRAFT ENGINEER ASSOCIATION: We just hope that Qantas will take the necessary steps to ensure that the rest of the Qantas fleet is safe to fly.

MARSHALL: Qantas is sending another plane to bring the passengers home.

Paul Marshall, 7 News.


HARRIS: An airplane catches fire during takeoff in India. All 252 passengers and crew had to escape through an emergency exit. Imagine that. Officials at New Delhi's main airport say the Air Maruritius pilot braked suddenly as the plane prepared for liftoff. That may have sparked a fire that spread to the jetliner's undercarriage. Some people reportedly panicked but no one was injured.

Barack Obama meets with President Sarkozy in Paris today. CNN's senior international correspondent Jim Bitterman covers Paris for us on a regular basis. He is here in Atlanta today.

I saw you just across the room here. Had to grab you because I absolutely want your perspective on this trip. There's been a lot of frustration voiced, Jim, with this trip by Barack Obama. That there's no real news going on here. We saw the massive event yesterday in Berlin. And now, Barack Obama is meeting with the French President Sarkozy.

I'm wondering, who's getting the most out of this meeting today?

JIM BITTERMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is kind of a mutual schmooze that's going on today. For Sarkozy, certainly a lot of advantages to this. I mean, his poll ratings have been in the dumps now for months. And just starting to creep up recently he got up to about 38 percent or so on the ratings. And Obama being a very popular guy.


BITTERMAN: Kind of thing that I think that Sarkozy can expect a little reflective glory coming his way. For Obama of course it's the leadership, it's the statesman-like bearing that he can have, having met with a lot of world leaders and whatnot. I think everybody is benefiting from it. I'm not sure that the political process is being moved forward a whole lot by it.

HARRIS: We're just not getting, I don't know what kind of news. Were we a bit naive to expect that there would be real news made on this trip?

BITTERMAN: I think that the Obama people probably were hoping there would be no news whatsoever except just a lot of great pictures would be, and there's been that. And there hasn't been a whole lot of mistakes that anybody can point to, I don't think.

HARRIS: What did he do so far? What have you heard?

BITTERMAN: I think that it seems very positive from what I can tell so far. And today, the French press was writing stories about how popular he is in France, and you know they took a poll fairly recently that indicated that something like 85 percent of the French would vote for Obama if they had a choice between Obama and McCain. There's so much frustration there about not being a part of the American political process. Because of what America does influences everybody. That in fact there are some French Obama committees that have been set up, these are French, obviously they can't vote for him, but they're just set up to show support for him.

HARRIS: But you know what, Jim, I know you're following the real nuts and bolts of this, as well. I know that there were a lot of people in Europe who want to know sincerely where Obama stands on issues like climate change, on all kinds of internationalist issues. What's the read you're getting in terms of to what extent he has provided some real substance?

BITTERMAN: One thing he said so far that has raised a few eyebrows in Europe that I can tell is a question raised yesterday about Europeans doing more.


BITTERMAN: And so of course, they want to know specifics about what exactly is he talking about. A lot of Europeans obviously balked at when George Bush asked them to participate. So what is he talking about specifically?

HARRIS: He's talking about more help in Afghanistan. More help with Iraq, sure.

BITTERMAN: The questions they want to know exactly what he means there. Because I'm not sure that there's going to be a lot of give and that sort of thing.

HARRIS: I think you're right about that. Jim, had to talk to you. It's great to have you stateside. And we love your work overseas and all the crisscrossing across Europe that you do for us. Appreciate it, great to see you.

You crash at my pad I'll crash at yours. A popular vacation option in other parts of the world. Maybe we can talk to Jim about that. We're back in a moment.


HARRIS: Up for a vacation but lodging costs getting you down? How about a house swap. CNN's Zain Verjee has that story.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 20 years, Lauren Kahn has been welcoming total strangers to her home. She's about to meet Ken and Shirley Bullock for the first time, and hand over her house keys. The Bullocks are trading their home in Australia, for Lauren's in McLean, Virginia, for a month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not everybody's idea of a conventional vacation.

VERJEE (on camera): If you want more than a one-night stay for free, all you have to do is go to some of these home swapping Web sites, and your entire world is open.

(voice-over): It's already popular in Europe. Now, it's picking up steam in the U.S. and elsewhere, as eager swappers showcase their homes.

Oh, Kenya, nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an adventure.

VERJEE: This will be Lauren's 35th house swap.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you do get is a lot of cross cultural experiences.

VERJEE: They also swap cars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lauren and ourselves were exchanging cell phones. So she'll be using ours, we're using hers here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But don't call China.

VERJEE: Travel editor Keith Bellows champions house swapping but warns, do your homework.

KEITH BELLOWS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER: You really need to think through, am I willing to leave my home in someone else's hands? Somebody I've never met before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the question that people keep asking. You're going to let people in your home, they say? But you'll be in their house.

VERJEE: Even with careful research, you could be in for a surprise.

LAUREN KAHN, HOUSE SWAPPER: The worst one was the house in Bavaria, which was absolutely filthy, the car didn't work.

VERJEE: The rules, a clean home, and advice for guests.

KAHN: How to drive the car. I have a new car. Make it a car with less than a thousand miles. Where to go to get food. Where to go for other shopping.

VERJEE: On (INAUDIBLE) island in Australia, the Bullocks leave Lauren treats.

KAHN: Oh, some chocolates.

VERJEE: And a welcome first meal. A couple vacationing in the U.S. spends, on average, $250 a day in meals and hotels. The Bullocks are spending only $75 per day.

Is it the money that you save.

KAHN: I'd still save money because the (INAUDIBLE) last. It's the people. I also do it of course to save money. But I would never have had the quality of vacations that I've had and the experiences that I've had without all my exchanges. I wouldn't give them up for the world. Because what I like more than anything else is to travel.

VERJEE: Zain Verjee, CNN, McLean, Virginia. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: And Zain tells us, besides the economic benefit of free lodging, swapping also lets you live like a local. You're not at a hotel. So you meet the neighbors, get invited to things. But still you want to do your homework and make sure you learn as much as you can about the people you're swapping with and the places you're visiting to make sure it is safe.

A "Black in America," issue through your eyes. We share your i- Reports next.


HARRIS: You know, this housing downturn has been called the worst since the Great Depression. And a new survey shows the picture has grown even more bleak. Susan Lisovicz is on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with details on foreclosures.

Susan, I tell you this cycle that we're in now. You got into a little trouble with your job. You fall behind on your mortgage and now the bank's all over you.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, we've seen the jobless rate rise that does not help things any better.


LISOVICZ: That's for sure. In the last hour we talked about how new home sales declined less than expected. But foreclosures, they're rising and rapidly. In fact they doubled in the second quarter -- 700,000 homes received notices of default. Auction sales and bank repossessions. Those numbers from RealtyTrac, which translates into about one out of every 170 households getting a filing. The highest rate of foreclosures no surprise, Nevada, California, Arizona. The proportion of bank repossessions is growing which suggests that lenders are trying to purge those bad loans right out of the system -- Tony?

HARRIS: Speaking of that, you know a of lenders have gone bankrupt because of let's call it what it is, these lax standards. What about the ones that are still around? Are they going to feel any heat, Susan, so this doesn't happen again?

LISOVICZ: Yes. And it's certainly much-needed. That new housing build that we've been talking about quite a bit, would create a tougher regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Federal Reserve would serve as a consultant. The AP is also reporting the federal grand jury investigating Countrywide, New Century, IndyMac, all had exposure to subprime loans to say the least. Seeking e-mails, phone bills, financial records which would suggest that prosecutors are looking for evidence of fraud.

On Wall Street, today, well, we're, you know, we're clawing our way to a rally. The Dow right now is up 53 points. The NASDAQ is up 28. Oil is down two bucks, Tony, and gasoline is down for the eighth day.

HARRIS: Love it.

LISOVICZ: In a row, as you head off into your weekend.

HARRIS: Still way too high. But it's trending in the proper direction.

LISOVICZ: That's right. Right direction.

HARRIS: All right, Susan, appreciate it. Thank you. Have a great weekend.

LISOVICZ: You too.

HARRIS: A CNN special documentary "Black in America." More than a television news event it has become a call to action for African- Americans around the country to come together to talk about problems and search for solutions.

CNN's Susan Candiotti reports.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When are we going to stop talking and start doing something. Meaning that everyone in this room can touch someone else.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For some watching "Black in America" is a call to arms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The time is now. The burden is on us, we have to do everything that we can do to make sure that our people are successful.

CANDIOTTI: Invited by the mentoring networking group 100 Black Men of Greater Ft. Lauderdale, an overflow crowd weighed in on the CNN documentary. Jeffrey and Bernadette Edwards are a working couple married just two years. They were intrigued by the story of an Arkansas man who seemed to have it all. A successful job, beautiful home, three sons, then one of them was arrested for assault.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't have to end up that way, but it did, you know. The father was devastated about the situation.

CANDIOTTI: Bernadette Edwards was surprised by the story of an educated young man with two daughters who struggled to find a steady job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had some college, he was intelligent, he was well spoken, you would think it would be easy to find a job.

CANDIOTTI: For 18-year-old Jerome Blair who is starting college in the fall -- a segment about nearly 60 percent of all black children growing up without a father hit home. Jerome's father abandoned him when he was only 3. Jerome is convinced he'll be different. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know what it feels like and I'll never let it happen.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Organizers of this event say for them the importance of "Black in America" is to outline problems for a national audience and then localize them and find solutions. Susan Candiotti, CNN, Ft. Lauderdale.


HARRIS: CNN aired the second installment of "Black in America" last night and since then our i-Report Web site has been overwhelmed by your reaction. Veronica De La Cruz joins us with your thoughts online.

Veronica, if you would, first of all, good morning. Give us a sampling of what you're seeing.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. And overwhelmed is right. There's been a whole lot of reaction online, Tony.

Let's go ahead and start with Porscha Pollack, she really enjoyed the documentary Tony. She said that she found it eye-opening. Here she is, she's in her cap and gown at her graduation ceremony. She was raised by a single mother. She says the documentary made her realize that she needs to get more involved in the black community.

And Vennard Wright, he had issues with the documentary. He says he was disappointed with CNN's portrayal of the black man. He said someone who watched the special last night and didn't know any better would've looked and thought we were either in jail or unsuccessfully trying to find a part-time blue collar job to support four or five kids by different women.

Vennard considered himself to be the average black man Tony and he doesn't think that CNN told his story. He said, "Most black men I know are good fathers, good men, good people all around, but they would never make it on TV because they're just living their lives."

Finally Tony, Ayana Gooden says, "There is a lot that she could say on this topic, but she thinks most importantly black people and white people need to come together. We need to publicly acknowledge the wrong doings of the forefathers of this nation not to place blame or to make people feel guilty, but so that we can truly cleanse our hearts and minds of the poison that still lingers from centuries of ignorance, greed and exploitation. It is not just up to black America, but it is up to all of America. It is our history."

So we're still asking at this hour, Tony, what do you think it means to be "Black in America?" You can always send us an i-Report by logging on to and, Tony, we're going to continue to reading through the submissions and we're going to try to get those on the air throughout the day.

HARRIS: What a conversation, all right Veronica, thank you, appreciate it.

Sixty years ago tomorrow, President Harry Truman ordered the U.S. military desegregated. Earlier Heidi talked to an African- American soldier who rose through the ranks to become a general. Retired major general Jerry Curry shared some poignant memories.


MAJ. GEN. JERRY CURRY, U.S. ARMY (RET.) Truman integrated the army in 1948. The war had started with Korea, of course, a little later than that, and then I ended up coming in as a private enlisting as a private and worked my way up to major general before I retired and had some fascinating -- for example, I was at Ft. Benning, Georgia and I didn't know about segregation and the way they do it in the South.

So I get off the bus and I arrive there. And here's this sign that says colored water fountain, white water fountain, you had two separate lines to drink your water out of your fountain. And then I go off for officer candidate school. I'm in school and one of my classmates, white classmate, from I think it was Tennessee says to me, look, he said my pappy told me that the reason you black folks ride on the back of buses is because you are inferior.

And so I thought about that one and I said, you know, I could take this guy out permanently. I said, but if I do that, they'll kick me out of officer candidate school. What I did was nothing. I just walked away, I let it go, I didn't say a word to anybody. But two weeks later, I was standing on the same sidewalk when the bus pulled off and my little classmate was on the bus waving good-bye at his other classmates. And I waved good-bye. And he had gotten kicked out of school for academic deficiency.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, see. There you go.

CURRY: Yes. And I said how sweet it is.


HARRIS: How sweet it is. Curry is the author of the book an African-American soldier rises through the ranks. And if you miss any of CNN's ground breaking documentary, "Black in America," you can see the whole show this weekend "Black in America" this Saturday and Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern time.

Nice day for a game, huh? Let's go to the ballpark. All right, watch the managers argue a bit. And whoa, brawl ball. In the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: How about this? A wild night at a minor league ballpark in Dayton, Ohio. Take a look here. A big argument, there's some shoving there amongst the managers and then what is that? The Dayton Dragons in Peoria, Chiefs mixing it up in the first inning. The Peoria pitcher Julia Castillo, you saw it a moment ago, threw a baseball at the Dayton dugout, but this is class A ball and he missed.

Well, it hit a fan. The fan taken to the hospital, but the fan's OK. Castillo taken to jail, now facing a felonious assault charge, 15 players and both managers were given the heave ho after the 10 minute fight. But the decision was ultimately reversed after both teams complained pitchers would have to play the outfield. My goodness.

CNN NEWSROOM continues one hour from now.

"ISSUE #1" with Gerri Willis and Miles O'Brien starts right now.