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Air Force Crew Falls Asleep on the Job; John McCain to Meet With Dalai Lama; Were Two American Kids Held Hostage in Pakistan?
Aired July 25, 2008 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: It's the stuff flying phobias are made of. An airliner trying to make an emergency landing with a gaping whole in its hull.
Two American children held captive at a madrassa in Pakistan. That's the claim made by a documentary filmmaker. But is it true?
We sort fact from fiction.
And, say you make $50,000 a year. How could you qualify for a $560,000 home loan. And, even if you qualify, should you?
Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips, live at the Time Warner Center in New York.
And you're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Air travel, rule number one, a giant hole in the airplane is a bad thing. The Qantas 747 landed today in Manila, giant hole and all. Something happened at 29,000 feet between Hong Kong and Melbourne. But the bottom line is, everyone is safe and sound. This is how the inside of the plane looked before the 346 passengers knew how their adventure would end, oxygen masks swinging, but no widespread panic.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): The 747's pilot is quoted as calling it an explosive decompression, pilot talk for, hey, there is a big hole in the airplane. A chunk of the floor in the passenger cabin ripped apart, exposing cargo and baggage. Part of the ceiling folded.
Those oxygen masks that are supposed to deploy in an emergency, they did.
OWEN TUDOR, PASSENGER: There was an almighty crack. And then you could hear something happening. And then the oxygen masks fell down. And then you started dropping down, ears popping, that sort of stuff.
PHILLIPS: The Qantas Airline jumbo jet was carrying 346 passengers and 19 crew members. At least one of them broke out a video camera.
ROB HENSHAW, TOOK VIDEO INSIDE DAMAGED JET: It was very scary, because, you know, we were just about to have our lunch. And suddenly the plane lurched to the left. It was quite a loud banging explosion going off. And then the cabin depressurized. And there was just a lot of pain in the ears, roaring sounds of the wind, and stuff sort of flying around, and the stewardesses kind of running to their seat. So, we kind of knew it was serious.
PHILLIPS: There's very little you can do inside about a gaping hole outside when you're an hour into flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne, little more than wonder if you're going to make it.
MARINA SCAFFIDI, PASSENGER: My partner was upstairs. I thought, maybe he's gone. I don't know. I had no idea. I knew there was a hole somewhere, but I didn't know what was going on.
PHILLIPS: Anxious passengers say wind swirled around the cabin. Bits of wood and debris flew through the air, but panic, hysteria? None. Investigators will try and determine what caused this plane to pull apart. But we will hear that later. Today, the sweetest sound at Qantas is this, safe emergency landing in Manila, and the flight crew's relieved and well-deserved sitting ovation.
PHILLIPS: Now, of course, planes can land with large pieces missing. But it's rarely pretty. Pilots managed to land this jet, an Aloha Airlines 737, after a section of the fuselage sheared off in the air. A flight attendant was killed and dozens of passengers were injured. That was in 1988 in Hawaii.
And one more air incident today, this one in New Delhi, India, an emergency evacuation on the tarmac after a fire prompted pilots to abort takeoff. Down went those inflatable slides. And all 241 passengers got off the plane safely. According to several sources, one or more birds were sucked into the engine.
And President Bush is deepening and widening sanctions against Zimbabwe. He signed an order today freezing the assets of more Zimbabwean companies today and barring U.S. citizens from doing business with them. The new sanctions package is a result of last month's runoff election in Zimbabwe, in which President Robert Mugabe ran essentially unopposed amid allegations of politically motivated violence.
This from President Bush today -- quote -- "No regime should ignore the will of its own people and calls from the international community without consequences."
Ships are moving again on the Mississippi River at New Orleans amid a massive cleanup of oil. Officials say it will take several days to clear the crush of vessels stranded north and south of the city. Shippers stand to lose millions of dollars now. That crash of a barge and a tanker that triggered the big spill is under investigation.
Three Air Force officers face possible punishment after they fell asleep on the job. That job involves controlling equipment with old launch codes for nuclear missiles. It's the fourth incident this year involving the Air Force and nuclear security.
Here's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Air Force officials acknowledge a minuteman three nuclear missile launch crew fell asleep on July 12th while in control of electronic parts that contained old nuclear launch codes.
It happened at a missile launch facility connected to Minot, North Dakota Air Force base. Air Force officials say the old launch codes were with the crew behind locked doors, guarded by armed military personnel and emphasize the codes were out of date and not usable.
But still, it was against regulations and the officers involved face possible discipline. This is the fourth Air Force incident involving nuclear security that has come to light in recent months. Last year, nuclear warheads were flown on a B-52 from Minot to Barksdale, Louisiana. The crew didn't know they were on board.
In March, it was discovered weapons fuses had accidentally been sent to Taiwan. And earlier this year an Air Force unit at Minot failed a nuclear security inspection.
(on camera): This latest matter was investigated by the National Security Agency which creates nuclear launch codes and commanders are still deciding on discipline for that sleepy crew.
Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.
PHILLIPS: In rural Colorado, a tragic end to the story of a serial spammer, three people dead in an SUV, including Eddie Davidson, America's so-called spam king. The other two bodies, those of Davidson's wife and 3-year-old daughter.
Police call it murder/suicide committed by the husband and father after escaping a federal work camp. Operating out of his home, Davidson profited millions of dollars by sending anonymous e-mails promoting high-risk stock and other products. He was sentenced to 21 months. A baby found in the SUV was unhurt. And a teenage girl survived a gunshot wound to the neck. We're not quite sure who they are.
He's dressed up like someone waging guerrilla warfare, but the guy in the camouflage is really paparazzi. His target? Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and the entire family. Security guards at the couple's estate in France said they found him hiding on the property Thursday. They say when they caught him, he attacked one guard, breaking his finger.
Well, a spokesperson for the Jolie-Pitts tells CNN the security team is familiar with this guy and that he's followed the couple in other countries as well. They're now going to try to file a restraining order. Jolie and Pitt have been at their place in France following the birth of their twins.
So, why are people so obsessed with celebrities? What drives the paparazzi to such lengths? Larry King takes a look tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern when he's joined by funny woman Kathy Griffin.
And I will see your Berlin speech and raise you a major religious leader. John McCain looks to make some headlines of his own when he sits down with the Dalai Lama.
And he jumped in the river and almost never came out again -- the story of a thrilling rescue in Delaware.
PHILLIPS: In the race for the White House, Barack Obama is beginning the last leg of his overseas trip. The Democratic presidential candidate is heading from Paris to London, where he will meet the British leaders, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
In Paris, he held talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy. Before leaving Berlin for Paris and London, Obama sat down with CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The priority of this trip was traveling to Afghanistan and Iraq, where we have got enormous commitments. And we have 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Republican presidential candidate John McCain is wrapping up another week of town halls. He's in another battleground state today, Colorado, where he addressed the American G.I. Forum convention just a short time ago. That's a largely Hispanic military group, by the way. And just ahead of that event, McCain talked about the campaign and his rival, Barack Obama, with our Wolf Blitzer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Now, you also made a very serious charge against Senator Obama. You have repeated it. You say you stand by it, that he would rather lose a war to win a political campaign, raising questions about his -- his motives.
Joe Klein, writing in "TIME" magazine, says: "This is the ninth presidential campaign I have covered. I can't remember a more scurrilous statement by a major-party candidate. It smacks of desperation."
Those are pretty strong words from Joe Klein, whom you obviously know.
But tell us, are you -- what are you charging? What are you accusing Obama of doing?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am accusing -- I am stating the facts.
And the facts are that I don't question Senator Obama's patriotism. I'm sure that he's a very patriotic American. I question his judgment, because he lacks experience and knowledge. And I question his judgment. I'm not prepared to see the sacrifice of so many brave young Americans lost because Senator Obama just views this war as another political issue, for which he can change positions.
And everybody knows that he was able to obtain the nomination of his party by appealing to the far left and committing to a course of action that I believe was -- I know was wrong, because he said the surge would not work. He said it wouldn't succeed.
No rational observer in Iraq today believes that the surge did not succeed. So, he just treats it as another political issue, because he doesn't understand, and he doesn't have the knowledge and the background to make the kind of judgments that are necessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: For the full interviews with Barack Obama and John McCain, stay tuned to CNN at 4:00 p.m. Eastern for "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer.
The new foreclosure numbers are out, and they don't look very good. I am going to tell you how exactly bad it is.
PHILLIPS: Checking the stories that matter the most to you and your money, the foreclosure mess continues to hit home at an alarming rate. More than 739,000 households received a foreclosure-related notice during the past three months. That's a 14 percent increase from the first quarter. And it's equal to one in every 171 American households.
The survey by RealtyTrac also found that foreclosure filings increased year over year in every state but North Dakota and Alaska. And everyone, including Gesille James, agrees that she couldn't afford a $565,000 house. So, how did she get two loans to cover the entire purchase price?
CNN's Allan Chernoff investigates.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gesille James hasn't paid her mortgage in a year. She received a foreclosure notice in November. But she's fighting to stay in the two-family home. Gesille, a librarian, was earning $50,000 a year when she bought this house 2 1/2 years ago. So she took out two mortgages to finance the entire purchase price of $560,000.
CHERNOFF (on camera): Did you think you could afford this house?
GESILLE JAMES, HOMEOWNER FIGHTING FORECLOSURE: No. No.
CHERNOFF: You never thought you could afford it?
JAMES: Well, the price that was quoted, and I kept getting back don't worry about it. They'll work with what you have. There's the financing.
CHERNOFF: Who said that?
CHERNOFF: Your broker?
JAMES: He's with financing -- yes.
CHERNOFF: He said don't worry about the price.
JAMES: Don't worry about the price.
CHERNOFF (voice-over): That broker is Anthony Brown who has his own real estate company nearby.
(on camera): Obviously she couldn't afford it.
ANTHONY BROWN, A PLACE FOR EVERYONE REALTY: Yes, that's true. But with a --
CHERNOFF: Why did you sell -- why did you sell the home? BROWN: No, I don't control her mortgage. You understand? I control the actual sales between her and the developer.
(voice-over): Brown claims the developer, Home Master Development Group arranged Gesille's financing with Alliance Mortgage, which is no longer in business. Home Master says Mr. Brown arranged the financing. Gesille says the same.
(on camera): Did he say you could afford it?
JAMES: He did. He did.
CHERNOFF: He did?
JAMES: He did.
CHERNOFF (voice-over): Gesille rented one of the two apartments in the house. But even with the income she still couldn't cover the mortgage payments.
(on camera): You see how much she earns?
CHERNOFF: How could you sell her a home that was so way out of her price range?
BROWN: Well, that's what she -- from her choice. That was her choice.
CHERNOFF: Well, it's your choice to sell it, no?
BROWN: I don't control -- I don't control what a person chooses to do. If they wanted to get a home, they get a home.
CHERNOFF: Alliance Mortgage quickly sold Gesille's loan to Morgan Stanley who told us they have no comment since the loan has since been sold off to other investors buying mortgage securities. Gesille's lawyer argues she was misled. And therefore has a right to fight foreclosure.
JEFFREY BENJAMIN, ATTORNEY FOR GESILLE JAMES: The goal is to keep the consumer in her home, where she should belong. But at a reasonable monthly burden.
CHERNOFF: Gesille admits she bears much of the responsibility. But says she can't imagine what she'll do if she has to leave her home.
GESILLE JAMES, FIGHTING FORECLOSURE: I'm fighting it. Because I need somewhere to live. I have to live somewhere. I can't live in the car.
CHERNOFF (on camera): Attorney Jeff Benjamin says he's hopeful of renegotiating Gesille's loan on this home, especially now that banks are being more flexible, since so many of their mortgages have gone bad.
Allan Chernoff, CNN, Bronx, New York.
PHILLIPS: Well, foreclosures are up, way, way up. but it's not all gloom and doom on the economic front. But did you really expect oil and gas prices to be the pick-me-up?
PHILLIPS: Well, a dip in the creek almost proved fatal in Delaware. We have got the incredible rescue.
PHILLIPS: Well, a close call for a Wilmington, Delaware, teenager and one of his rescuers. Look at this. After jumping off falls above Brandywine Creek, the teen was actually caught by the current. There you go. See him there? He managed to actually grab onto a rock in the middle of the stream. But, at one point, both he and the rescuer here were swept downstream. Luckily, both of them got out OK.
PHILLIPS: Yes, there you go. Boys and their toys and tempers, it flared at a minor league ballpark in Ohio. Come on. It's minor league, guys. We are going to tell you what touched off the dust-up.
PHILLIPS: Well, there's nothing like going to a minor league baseball game only to see a version of Ali-Frazier breaking out. One player ended up in jail after all this, by the way. And it all started in the first inning of the Dayton Dragons when they came in with the Peoria Chiefs. Now, in addition to the thrown punches, the Peoria pitcher threw a baseball at the Dayton dugout. He missed the players, but did strike a fan. The fan is OK, after a trip to the hospital. The pitcher is facing an assault charge.
Well, there won't be any Iraqi athletes competing in Beijing. The IOC closed the Olympics to Iraq this week, saying the government was interfering too much in the process. But Baghdad is trying to get the ban overturned.
CNN's Morgan Neill talked with disappointed, but hopeful athletes.
MORGAN NEILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The last time we visited Iraqi sprinter Dana Hussein, it seemed nothing could stop her. But today she's devastated. She's just learned the International Olympic Committee has banned Iraqi athletes from competing in Beijing.
DANA HUSSEIN, SPRINTER (through translator): After all the effort I have made, she says, they came and said you can't participate in the Olympics.
NEILL: The IOC suspended Iraq in June for political interference. After the government disbanded the Iraqi Olympic committee, saying the committee held meetings without quorums and had officials serving in one-year posts for more than five years.
One member accused the government of acting out of jealousy over the non-governmental committee's achievements. On Thursday, the IOC's suspension was confirmed. A letter to Iraqi officials read, we deeply regret this out come which severely harms the Iraqi Olympic and sports movement and the Iraqi athletes. But which is unfortunately imposed by the circumstances.
But why ban Iraq now? When teams led by the infamous Uday Hussein, accused for torturing athletes who didn't perform well were allowed to compete. The IOC didn't suspend Uday's committee until after the U. S. -led invasion in 2003.
In Baghdad, reaction was a mixture of sadness and anger. I blame the Iraqi government said this young teacher. They should not interfere in sports. This government worker still held out hope. We asked them to review their decision and to allow the athletes to participate in Beijing, he said.
Dana's coach tries to comfort her, saying she'll compete in 2012.
"In this horrible situation, she says, who can say I will even be alive in 2012."
(on camera): And that's why this decision is so heart-wrenching, first, for these athletes who have trained so hard in the midst of war, and, second, for a country struggling with its own sectarian division, where sport is often one of the only things that makes people feel united.
Morgan Neill, CNN, Baghdad.
PHILLIPS: Two teens being held captive in a Pakistani madrassa, that's the story being told by a filmmaker and a U.S. congressman. But is it true? We found the boys and got their story.
PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips, live at the Time Warner Center in New York.
And you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
3:30 Eastern time. And here are some of the stories we're working on for you right now.
A harrowing ride over the South China Sea. A Qantas 747 makes a rapid descent into Manila after a chunk of its fuselage cracks open. No one was hurt.
And John McCain unloads again on Barack Obama. Addressing veterans in Colorado today, McCain suggested Obama's record on Iraq represents the audacity of hopelessness.
Parts of the South -- well, South Texas clean up from a hurricane -- Hurricane Dolly, now a rainstorm over New Mexico. Authorities warn that receding floodwaters carry snakes, poisonous ants, even tarantulas.
Is it possible that two teens, both U.S. citizens, are being held against their will in Pakistan, prisoners at a religious school? One U.S. lawmaker is on record as believing it's true. A belief supported by a film documentary.
CNN's Reza Sayah went to see it for himself and made some startling discoveries. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a documentary with an alarming message for America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The story of the subjugation and indoctrination of youth behind the secrecy of these walls.
SAYAH: Two American teenagers held captive in a madrassa, a Pakistani religious school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I miss my family so much. I hate the food here.
SAYAH: Accusations of a Taliban-linked school training the boys to hate America.
REP. MIKE MCCAUL (R), TEXAS: It very much got my attention.
SAYAH: When U.S. Congressman Mike McCaul saw the film "Karachi Kids," he was convinced.
MCCAUL: Was clearly being held against their will.
SAYAH: CNN first learned about the boys when the filmmaker, Imran Raza, offered CNN the documentary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the next several years, Noor and Mehoob will be immersed into a world in which every moment of their lives will be spent actualizing the Deobandi ambitions and becoming emissaries of their totalitarian doctrine.
SAYAH: The film focuses on American teens Noor and Mehoob Khan. In 2004, their father, a Pakistani-born taxi driver in Atlanta, sent the boys to Karachi, to one of 13,000 registered religious schools in Pakistan, where students spend years studying every detail of their faith.
But in the film, Raza describes the teens as captives, being force-fed radical jihad. He started a campaign to return the boys to the U.S. Congressman McCaul offered to help, asking Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf to intervene.
MCCAUL: When I watched the documentary, they wanted out. It's a very radical madrassa. The fact that bin Laden has spoken at this madrassa and was associated with it is one piece of evidence.
SAYAH: In fact, some Pakistani madrassas have been linked to extremist Islamic groups. When we first spoke to the filmmaker, we asked him if this was one of them.
IMRAN RAZA, DIRECTOR, "KARACHI KIDS": There are connections between this institution and the Taliban. Osama bin Laden spoke there before September 11th. And these are things that are not being told to the parents. SAYAH: We came here to Jamia Binoria madrassa in Karachi looking for the two boys from Atlanta. It didn't take us long to find them. They were packing to head back home.
(on camera): This is your room?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
SAYAH (voice-over): The two boys, now 16 and 17, clearly missed Atlanta.
(on camera): So that's the food that you miss most, pizza?
MEHOOB KHAN, SON: Hot wings.
SAYAH: Hot wings.
(voice-over): While the previous four years had been tough academically, Mehoob was proud at what he had achieved. Hafez, the memorization of the entire Quran.
(on camera): How has it been here, how have these four years been here?
M. KHAN: The first year was difficult. The second year was a little difficult. Now it's easy.
SAYAH: They say they train militants, they train people to hate the U.S. Have you seen any indication of that here?
M. KHAN: No. I haven't seen it for the four years I've been here. I haven't seen any of that stuff. People just -- they talk about Bush and they talk about a lot of presidents. But they never talk about like guns and stuff like that.
SAYAH (voice-over): The principal of the school, the mufti, agreed to answer questions. The first, were you holding the boys against their will?
MUFTI MUHAMMED NAEEM, JAMIA BINORIA PRINCIPAL (through translator): The children were staying of their own accord. We didn't force them to stay. This madrassa is not some jail.
SAYAH: And he insisted, despite what the documentary claims, the madrassa had never hosted Osama bin Laden and has never had ties to any militant jihadi groups, including the Taliban.
NAEEM (through translator): Look, there are two things, one is upbringing. And within that upbringing is included that children throughout their life don't use drugs, don't commit adultery, don't drink alcohol, don't do wrong things, don't steal, don't plunder. Based on these principles, we tell them to live. Don't kill anyone. These are our principles. And these are what the religion teaches.
SAYAH: So where does the truth lie? In the words of the mufti or the congressman and the filmmaker? We'll provide some answers when we come back.
PHILLIPS: Continuing our look at "Karachi Kids," a documentary that sent ripples from Pakistan to Capitol Hill. These are pretty serious accusations, American boys held captive in a school that plants the seeds of radical Islam.
Here again is CNN's Reza Sayah.
SAYAH (voice-over): This is the Jamia Binoria madrassa, the religious school where the "Karachi Kids" documentary said Noor and Mehoob Khan were being held against their will in a school, the film, with ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda. We looked the boys madrassa up in the International Crisis Group report on Pakistani religious schools. A report sent to us both by Congressman Mike McCaul's office and the documentary producer.
What we found was startling. Under the listing for Jamia Binoria madrassa, quote: "Because of its name, this madrassa is often confused with the more prominent and powerful Binori Town Madrassa."
This is that Binori Town Madrassa, just across the street. The ICG report says it is the fountainhead of Deobandi militancy countrywide. It also boasts close ties to the Taliban. Intelligence sources tell CNN that is the school where Osama bin Laden spoke before 9/11, it's not the school the boys went to.
Did the documentary filmmaker spend three years working on his film at the wrong madrassa? We asked the U.S. State Department what it knows about the school the boys attended, the answer, it is known to U.S. officials as a moderate institution, favored by Pakistani- Americans for its moderate and tolerant Islamic instruction.
In fact, it didn't take long for us to find pictures of the school's principal posing with the U.S. vice consul general in the local newspaper.
Two days after the boys returned to Atlanta, we went to talk to them and their father. He says he was astonished by the allegations made in the "Karachi Kids" documentary.
FAZAL KHAN, FATHER: They have don't hold my children. If I knew something, something going on or something wrong in there against the United States or against the British or against anything, I will be happy to send my children? No.
SAYAH: Fazal Khan says his main goal was to teach his boys to be good people.
F. KHAN: For this purpose I send my children to learn good morals, good behavior, good citizens. NOOR KHAN, SON: I wasn't brainwashed at all. The only thing they taught me how to do was read the Quran. That's it. That's the only thing I learned was how to read the Quran and a little bit of understanding it, about the history of Islam.
SAYAH: The boy's father tells CNN his sons never needed rescuing, just an exit visa. He was surprised when he saw media reports that a congressman freed his children from an allegedly radical madrassa without asking him if they needed rescuing.
By now the story took a life of its own. Congressman Mike McCaul even sponsored a congressional resolution asking the State Department to bring home all American children from Pakistani religious schools.
Some blogs even called the two boys "home-grown terrorists."
So what does Congressman McCaul say about the apparent confusion of the two madrassas? He says, quote: "The Taliban is known to recruit from Deobandi madrassas, including Jamia Binoria, and train their recruits as terrorists. Any Americans among the recruits represent a potential threat to the United States because of their unfettered access to this country."
What does the filmmaker say now? He stands by his depiction of how the madrassa transformed the teens, but is re-editing his film to make some corrections.
RAZA: At the end of the day, I'm the director of this project. I have to take responsibility for the mistakes. I take responsibility for the error in the allegation that Osama bin Laden was there. I take responsibility for the error in that several of the Taliban leaders were there. Yes, I do need to take responsibility for these things in terms of these were errors that sort of spun out of control.
SAYAH: Raza tells CNN he has stopped printing his film. Meanwhile two boys sent to school in Pakistan to become better people, have returned home to learn that not everyone does their homework.
Reza Sayah, CNN, Karachi.
PHILLIPS: His daughter was killed by a drunk driver. At first, he got angry. Then he reached out to the man responsible. An incredible story of forgiveness and healing.
PHILLIPS: He suffered a parent's biggest loss, then learned how to turn his rage into forgiveness.
CNN's Carol Costello has a father's story.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Snapshots of daddy's little girl. Jessica Vetter grew up a tomboy, so much like her father, they dreamed of racing cars and opening up a body shop. But last year on this Maryland roadway, their dreams died with Jessica. Just 20 years old, she was killed by a drunk driver.
JEFF VETTER, DAUGHTER KILLED BY DRUNK DRIVER: It was the phone call you never want to get. That was the worst thing I ever had to deal with in my life.
COSTELLO: Every year, more than 17,000 people are killed by drunk drivers, more than 17,000 stories where sorrow turns to rage, as it did for Jeff Vetter.
VETTER: I was full of anger, hate, revenge. I was full of venom, ready to strike at any time. I was so tied down into that world of mad and anger that I had to try to do something to get out of it because if I didn't, I wasn't going to survive.
COSTELLO: But that changed when he decided to do what few can imagine, forgive. He reached out to the Jacoby family, and to their son, Michael, the man who killed his daughter. The power to do that came to him in court, when he saw not a monster but a fragile almost 24-year-old man pleading guilty to manslaughter, ready to be punished and filled with remorse.
VETTER: I saw your normal everyday boy, kid, family, such as mine. And I saw that they were going through, you know, the things that I was going through, total hell.
COSTELLO: And the Jacobys were going through hell, placing flowers at the accident site, praying not for their son but only for forgiveness.
TINA JACOBY, MOTHER OF DRUNK DRIVER: We wanted to reach out to them, but we didn't know how, other than to go to the site and to pray for Jessie.
COSTELLO: When forgiveness came, they fully expected Michael to remain in jail for the 18-month sentence, but Vetter convinced a judge to release Michael from jail so both could educate young people about the dangers of drunk driving. Michael is willing but still too emotionally fragile to appear on camera.
(on camera): Do you think he'll ever heal?
JACOBY: I don't know. I don't know. He's very remorseful to what happened.
COSTELLO (voice-over): As for what daddy's little girl would think of her father's astonishing gift of forgiveness?
VETTER: I was hoping you wouldn't ask that. She was a very forgiving person. I can feel her kicking me in back right now. She would say, go on, dad, give it to him.
COSTELLO (on camera): She would probably be proud.
PHILLIPS: Well, Mike Jacoby had a clean driving record prior to the deadly accident. He has been sentenced to hundreds of hours of community service and is on home detention.
A company depends on its own employees. So why shouldn't the company look out for the health of those employees? The concept, getting momentum, it's also the focus of today's "Fit Nation."
PHILLIPS: One company's investment in the wellness of its workers is paying big dividends. Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a closer look in today's "Fit Nation" report.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lincoln Industries looks like an old-fashioned blue collar plant, making motorcycle and truck parts. But at this Nebraska company, you're also going to find massages and stretching before every shift.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And shoulder rolls back.
GUPTA: All 565 employees also undergo mandatory quarterly medical check-ups. That's right, mandatory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hamstring stretch.
GUPTA: Employees are tested for flexibility, blood pressure, weight, body fat and they're given annual blood tests. Workers receive ranks like platinum and gold, down to non-medal. They also set goals for themselves.
Seven years ago, shift leader Howard Tegtmeier was in the non- medal category. The 49-year-old smoked, he drank, he was overweight. He took 12 pills a day to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
HOWARD TEGTMEIER, SHIFT LEADER, LINCOLN INDUSTRIES: I just made the decision that it was time for me to change my life and the wellness program showed me the ways to do that.
GUPTA: Tegtmeier says he no longer smokes or drinks. His weight is down from 230 to 180 thanks to diet and exercise. His cholesterol and blood pressure are also down. And he no longer needs any medication.
TONYA VYHLIDAL, WELLNESS DIRECTOR, LINCOLN INDUSTRIES: There's a way to engage everybody, even those that are really resistant.
GUPTA: The company spends $400,000 a year on the wellness programs and says it saves more than five times that much. HANK ORME, PRES., LINCOLN INDUSTRIES: We would like to have a return on investment like this in anything we did. Because the return is extraordinary.
GUPTA: Health care costs here are under $4,000 for employees, that's about half the regional average. So what's the pay-off for workers?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, gang, great job.
GUPTA: Well, if you're in the fitness platinum category, you get a company-paid trip to climb a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a beautiful view up here. It's a great feeling to make it to summit, especially with the entire team.
GUPTA: To qualify for the climb, you have to be a nonsmoker, maybe one reason the percentage of smokers at the company has been cut by more than half.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
PHILLIPS: The many uses of whiteout. One DUI suspect thought it might erase his bad breath, he should have used a stapler instead.
PHILLIPS: An Oklahoma man in trouble with the law. And here's why. Authorities say the driver of that silver car took off after being pulled over during a traffic stop. He led police on a high- speed chase through Oklahoma City. Officers eventually spun him to a stop and then took him into custody. Police say the suspect did hit other cars during that chase, but fortunately no one was hurt.
And you just never know what the camera's going to catch in the police booking room. Here's a drunken driving suspect in Omaha, playing with a bottle of whiteout on the desk. Yes, he takes a little chug-a-lug of the white stuff as if it were a bottle of Binaca. Apparently he thought it would erase the beer smell. Nice try. He was eventually convicted.
Time now to check in with CNN's Wolf Blitzer sitting by in "THE SITUATION ROOM" to tell us what he usually does with white out.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: With whiteout, I don't know what I'd do with whiteout. But we do have a very special edition of "THE SITUATION ROOM" coming up, Kyra. You're going to want to stick around and see this. One-on-one interviews with both presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama on the issues that matter to you. You'll hear what each candidate plans to do about the major concerns facing our country, the economy, the war in Iraq, terrorism, how to get Osama bin Laden. One of these men is set to be the next president of the United States, and you'll get this unique look at both of them. That's coming up in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
Plus, inside a passenger jet as it dropped 20,000 feet. Details on the terrifying flight. What might have caused the incident. Kyra, all that, and a lot more coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
PHILLIPS: Looking forward to it. Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: Well, the professor noted for "The Last Lecture" has died. Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch early today at his home in Virginia. Pausch was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in 2006. And in September, he gave what he called his last lecture celebrating life in the face of terminal cancer. It was viewed by millions of people on the Internet and actually became a best-selling book. Randy Pausch was 47.
The closing bell and a wrap of all the action on Wall Street straight ahead. Stay with us.
PHILLIPS: Well, take a look at this video and -- no, don't check to see if somebody put something in your soda. It really is a monkey dressed like a cowboy riding a border collie. This will probably cause you to drink. Former rodeo rider has put together this traveling dog and monkey show to help raise money for a variety of charities. Now this doesn't exactly happen in nature, so there's some training involved.
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PHILLIPS: All right.
Let's take you now to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf.