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CNN NEWSROOM

Hanna Heads For Carolinas; McCain Hits the Road Again

Aired September 5, 2008 - 15:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Boy, look at that, watching the waves and waiting for a one-two punch. The coastal Carolinas board up and batten down as Tropical Storm Hanna gets closer.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And what's behind Hanna may be even worse. Hurricane Ike takes a turn and heads toward the Gulf. They may have to evacuate the Florida Keys.

LEMON: And the day after John McCain's big night, after officially accepting the Republican presidential nomination, McCain joins Barack Obama in a sprint to November, less than two months to go until the big election.

WHITFIELD: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Kyra Phillips is on assignment.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

All right, we are keeping a close eye on some developing news right now on an incident happening next to the U.S. Capitol. CNN has confirmed that Capitol Police have a suspect in custody after finding a shotgun, some ammo, and some sort of explosive in his vehicle.

Now, here's we know so far. Capitol Police say the man pulled up to ask officers a question and police spotted a gun case. The driver apparently is still in custody at Capitol Hill Police headquarters. These are pictures sent in from our I-Reporters. Again, the suspect's car was swept by bomb dogs without finding anything. Nearby streets are closed off as a precaution. And we will update you just as soon as we get more on this developing story.

WHITFIELD: All right, Hanna is almost here. And storm warnings are out from South Carolina to Rhode Island. Winds could be so strong later on this afternoon, that Charleston's mayor is urging folks to stay off the streets completely.

All along the coastline, you see homes boarded up, the surf kicking up, and shelters opening up as well. And behind Hanna, well, a stronger, but smaller storm. Hurricane Ike is on track to cross the Florida Keys by next week and move into the Gulf of Mexico.

Severe weather expert Chad Myers joining us now, or rather in a moment, with the latest on these storms.

But, first, CNN's Kathleen Koch is in Myrtle Beach. Let's check with her to see how residents there are preparing. KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, I wanted to show you the headline from the local paper this morning, because it really says it all. Take a look. You see Hanna did not even rate the banner headline. John McCain got that.

And it kind of gives you an idea of how relaxed people here are about this approaching tropical storm. And perhaps that is the issue, because they're saying it's going to come onshore, yes, with strong winds, but only tropical-storm-force.

Now, what they're expecting here, they had said that, at this hour, we would have tropical-storm-force winds. We're not having that yet. So, I guess it's going to come a little later. This evening is when we're looking at perhaps the 70 mile-an-hour sustained winds, which will be difficult for some areas to handle. They're expecting some damage from that, two to four inches of wind, of course, the chance of scattered tornadoes.

That obviously is something it's very difficult to prepare for. But this is a tourist town and it relies on the tourism to really sustain the economy here. Some 100,000, 150,000 people were expected this weekend. A lot of them have left. We talked to tourists on the beach this morning who said, we're going to stay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're a little worried. But we feel really safe here at the hotel. And we think that it might be a bit more dangerous to try and get home in the airplane in this weather. So we want to try and ride it out and go home when it's a bit safer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Checkout is tomorrow. And we are going to stay through tomorrow and ride it out. I think it will be fun and exciting and different, an experience to tell the kids when we get home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: Now, there is some concern about the possible storm surge that could come onshore with Hanna, perhaps as much as nine to 10 feet, a lot of concern also because it could come right around high tide, 12:30 p.m. tonight.

So, the governor has issued a voluntary evacuation for low-lying areas, for people who live in trailers and also in campers, areas -- homes that might be very vulnerable to the high winds. They have opened a couple of shelters for them. But, so far, Fredricka, everyone is really approaching this with a great deal of calm. The only ones really leaving in great numbers, the tourists.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Well, it's good to hear that, because a lot of them probably have never been through a hurricane before. And a lot of the folks in Charleston, they have kind of been battered around quite a bit, but nothing quite as significantly as what Hurricane Hugo brought them a few years ago.

KOCH: Precisely. Precisely.

And what everyone is talking about here too, Fredricka, is Ike. They're really looking ahead. Everyone is wondering where will Hurricane Ike go? And they're looking at that Category 3. Will he veer into the Gulf; will he shoot up at the Atlantic seaboard? So we're hearing more concern about him really than Hanna.

WHITFIELD: Yes. All right. Kathleen Koch, thanks so much.

We are going to ask Chad Myers a little bit more about Hanna and Ike. He's in the Severe Weather Center right now. And so I guess we are going to begin with Hanna, because that one's coming first.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's coming first. And to be very honest, Ike is still too far away to tell you where it's going to go. The center of the cone is somewhere in the Keys on Tuesday for Ike.

But let's talk about Hanna, because Hanna made a little jog to the right. And it did that in the past three hours. And the aircraft, airplane, Air Force hunter now has found a new location for this center. And that's going to be a problem. The 11:00 advisory had it about 110 miles from Daytona Beach. Well, the 2:00 advisory should have been along this red line, because that's the forecast. But it's not.

It's about 50 miles farther to the east than on that line. And that's why there is a cone, because that's the middle of the line. I don't think we're going to hit the middle of the line. We are going to hit the cone somewhere, maybe up here toward North Myrtle, maybe a little bit farther to the east toward Holden Beach. That's why you're still in the cone over here and that's why there's a cone in general.

Hurricane hunter aircraft flew into the storm, found the circulation center in a different place, but still only found it at about 70 miles per hour.

The next big storm out here is Ike, Category 3 storm. It's 120- mile-per-hour. And it is forecast to get very close to D.R. and Haiti, maybe very close to Cuba and then make a run into the Florida Straits.

That said, talk about the cone. The cone is all the way north of the Bahamas and all the way south of Cuba. That's why it's so far away. That's why you have to give us a couple more days to figure that one out -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, we will do that, indeed. We will all try to wait very patiently, Chad.

MYERS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks a lot.

MYERS: All right. WHITFIELD: Well, along the Gulf Coast, chain saws, well, they are buzzing because the other storms that have already passed through. Utility crews are out in force trying to get power back on four days after Hurricane Gustav blew ashore.

Well, nearly 700,000 homes and businesses in the region are still without power. And some people are being told that it could take a month. The Red Cross is lending a hand, providing meals and shelter. The organization estimates that its relief efforts there could total $70 million.

Well, links to the Red Cross and other relief organizations can be found on CNN.com's Impact Your World page. Details on recovery efforts are also constantly being updated on that site, CNN.com/impact.

(BUSINESS REPORT)

WHITFIELD: Well, let's talk politics, shall we? The battle lines are drawn. The sprint to November is on. And on this day after John McCain accepted the Republican presidential nomination, he and his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, are back on the trail. And they're talking about the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are tough times. Today, the jobs report is another reminder. These are tough times. They're tough times in Wisconsin, tough times in Ohio, tough times all over America.

You're worried about keeping your jobs, finding a new one, struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home. All you ever asked of government is to stand on your side, not in your way. And that's what I intend to do, stand on your side and fight for your future.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You would think that George Bush and his potential Republican successor, John McCain, would be spending a lot of time worrying about the economy and all these jobs that are being lost on their watch.

But if you watched the Republican National Convention over the last three days, you wouldn't know that we had the highest unemployment rate in five years, because they didn't say a thing about what is going on with the middle class.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right, so what about now?

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is joining us now from the CNN Election Express, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. So, in between your shopping there, Bill, what are folks buzzing about in terms of the topics that they want to hear these candidates hammer down on?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they're worried about the economy, as both candidates acknowledge.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

SCHNEIDER: They didn't hear an awful lot of the specifics, certainly at the Republican Convention, not really all that much at the Democratic Convention.

But particularly in the last week, there is a lot of talk about McCain's character, his record, his experiences, his heroism, about the differences between the two candidates, about who is going to raise your taxes. But what the voters really wanted to hear was, who has got an economic plan that will turn the economy around? They didn't hear a lot about that.

WHITFIELD: But instead we're hearing from some of the candidates today and the running mates, Joe Biden making that point very clear today when in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, saying, wait a minute. He actually accused the Republicans of living in a different America than the America that he knows.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. Each candidate accused the other, his opponent, of not getting it. Obama said directly that it's not that John McCain doesn't care. It's just that he doesn't know what's going on.

McCain of course as you just heard talked about how tough the times are for Americans. But what he's going to do? That's what people want to hear. McCain said that Barack Obama is going to raise your taxes, and that will make the economy worse. Obama says, absolutely will not raise the taxes for 95 percent of Americans, certainly not middle-class Americans.

So, there's a lot of accusations going back and forth. What the voters aren't hearing is a plan. What are you going to do? And one of the reasons is there's not a lot of money the government has to spend to turn the economy around. There's just not a lot of resources out there without raising taxes.

WHITFIELD: And so as we get closer to perhaps the first debate between Obama and McCain, might that jump-start new dialogue that we're going to hear from these candidates as we inch closer to Election Day?

SCHNEIDER: I think they're going to feel enormous pressure to come out with a plan, to talk about how, as Bill Clinton once said, they're going to focus like a laser beam on the economy and exactly what they're going to do.

McCain did say in his speech last night -- he did talk about how he has an energy plan that is going to create a lot of new jobs with new alternative sources of energy developed here at home. We will be less dependent on foreign sources. And he said this would help create a lot of new jobs for the economy.

And Obama is basically saying a very similar thing. We want to hear how that's going to happen, where the money is going to come from for all these new investments in alternative energy.

WHITFIELD: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks so much at the Mall of America. You have got a big bus behind you, which means lots of room for lots of shopping bags. Help boost the economy, Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Right. Exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much. Good to see you.

And a bit later on this hour, we will talk about the race for the White House with Democrat Hilary Rosen and independent conservative Amy Holmes.

And you can hear more from the candidates this weekend of course with the return of CNN's "Ballot Bowl," extended excerpts from the campaign trail, the candidates unfiltered in their own words. "Ballot Bowl" starting at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Saturday only right here on CNN.

LEMON: All right, you see that? Well, as John McCain accepted the Republican nomination last night, police faced off with throngs of protesters outside of the convention. Almost 400 arrests were made on the final day, with police using tear gas and percussion grenades to control that crowd.

Police say most of the protesters were given citations for unlawful assembly and then released. In all, more than 800 people were arrested during the convention.

WHITFIELD: The top American general in Iraq says now may be the time for some troop cuts there. We will tell you how that might also impact the battle against militants in Afghanistan.

LEMON: And a rare sight, an American secretary of state in Libya. In fact, it hasn't happened in more than a half-a-century. We have got the latest from Condoleezza Rice's trip to Tripoli.

WHITFIELD: The misery in Haiti just gets worse. The country has suffered a crushing blow from three major storms in three weeks. We will show you the devastation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Don Lemon.

A bird cries wolf and cops cry foul after crashing his coop.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: There are about 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq today. But conditions may have improved to the point that some may begin rotating out of there.

Let's bring in our senior -- our Pentagon correspondent, I should say, Barbara Starr. She joins with the very latest.

How soon before they can begin rotating out, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, what we're beginning to hear from our sources in the U.S. military is that as many as 8,000 troops could begin rotating out of Iraq, some starting later this year, finishing up in January. It is a modest reduction, if you will,.

There are still 146,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. But why is it so important besides the troops want to get home to their families? Because the U.S. has to free up troops to go to the war in Afghanistan. That is the war that is heating up now.

Most years, what we have found is that the Taliban and insurgents in Afghanistan wind down their activities this time of year. As fall and winter approach and the snows approach, the fighting usually tamps down. Today, we heard from one of the top U.S. commanders in Afghanistan and his prediction for this winter was much different. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAJOR GENERAL JEFFREY SCHLOESSER, U.S. ARMY: I expect the enemy to continue to fight throughout Ramadan. For the first time, I think we're also seeing some indications that I'm paying close attention to that the insurgents are attempting to remain in numbers in Afghanistan over the winter.

I think they're going to decrease the level of activities just because of the tough winter weather that we normally have here in this part of Afghanistan. But I do believe that the level of significant activities, maybe violence, will be higher than any previous winter since 2002.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Very serious prediction there, Don, the highest level of violence possibly coming this winter, the highest level since 2002. And, of course, we here in the United States are one week before the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The war in Afghanistan goes on -- Don.

LEMON: Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr -- thank you, Barbara.

WHITFIELD: Hostilities over? Well, maybe not entirely, but how is this for a first step. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice landed in Libya today, the highest level official U.S. visit since the Eisenhower administration.

Well, she is expected to meet with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi later on today.

The atmosphere? Well, Libya has come some distance from the Libya of the 1980s. The country is now an elected member of the U.N. Security Council and no longer regarded by Washington as a state sponsor of terror.

Stay tuned to CNN. Later on this afternoon in "THE SITUATION ROOM," Zain Verjee will have an exclusive one-on-one conversation with Condoleezza Rice. That's in "THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER," which begins at the top of the hour.

LEMON: I-Reporters across the country have been sharing their reactions to John McCain's acceptance speech last night. We will hear what they had to say.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: So, millions across the country were watching as John McCain delivered his acceptance speech last night. What did you think?

Our Veronica De La Cruz has been going through your I-Reports. And quite a plethora of point of views.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. It was a mixed bag when it comes to reaction, Fredricka.

Let's go ahead and start here in New York in the Big Apple with D.R. McCale, Fredricka. He was visiting from San Antonio, Texas, and he decided to watch McCain's speech from Times Square.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

D.R. MCCALE, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Great speech by John McCain, absolutely fantastic. Very, very proud of the man, very proud of the party. As a Texan, as a conservative, as a veteran of the Afghan war, I am very proud of what he brings to America. I am very proud that we have a ticket of change and we have a vice president that's woman for the very first time. Be even more proud to see them in the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DE LA CRUZ: All right, so that was D.R. McCale, who thought McCain definitely hit a home run last night.

So did somebody who calls himself -- get this, Fredricka -- the Naked News Boy. Take a listen to what Jason Dinant had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON DINANT, LAS VEGAS: He's not afraid to even stand up at his own party's convention, like he did tonight, and tell the world that the Republicans were wrong, that they need to get back on track and fix their policies and corruption.

You know, that's a true maverick. That's an American hero.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. So, I think he wanted to get a little bit more attention for what he was not wearing than what he said.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: What do you think?

All right, so, a few I-reporters seemed to like the speech, as we heard right there. What else? And were they all wearing clothes?

(CROSSTALK)

DE LA CRUZ: Yes. Well, Jim Robertson was wearing clothes, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Just checking.

(CROSSTALK)

DE LA CRUZ: He was -- he said that he was pretty disgusted last night. He was so disgusted, he had to send an I-Report. He said that all the war-mongering, the fear and the hate that he heard at the convention actually drowned out McCain's speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ROBERTSON, JUPITER, FLORIDA: You stood up there and you told us how you're going to change the tone of the country, how you are going to bring both sides of the aisle together. But you couldn't even change the tone of your own convention. Everybody in your convention, except you, talked about hate and fear and demeaned us. So, how are you going to help us?

You know what? Change the tone of your party first, and then come talk to us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DE LA CRUZ: And David Kronmiller also said that he felt disappointed by the speech. He thinks that McCain simply missed the mark.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID KRONMILLER, NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA: I didn't see very many specifics tonight. The Republican strategy appears to be to respond only to the Democratic strategy. I haven't really seen them present any kind of real clear plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DE LA CRUZ: So, there you go, some people obviously thinking McCain's speech didn't have a lot to offer, Fredricka. Others thought the speech was exactly what they needed to hear. But we are asking you out there, what did you think? You can go ahead and send us an I- Report by logging on to ireport.com.

And throw some clothes on.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes, and keep the clothes on, please.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks, Veronica. Appreciate it.

Well, you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in for Kyra Phillips.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. As she said, you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

We want to tell you about some of the stories we're working on for you today right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

John McCain and Barack Obama hit the campaign trail fresh off his speech to the Republican National Convention. McCain campaigned in Wisconsin with his running mate, Sarah Palin. In Pennsylvania, Obama said the Republicans failed to talk about helping the middle class and spent their convention attacking him.

Tropical Storm Hanna making waves already in the Carolinas, Hanna expected to hit tomorrow, perhaps around Myrtle Beach, or a little farther north. Our weather team is working on that.

Business is brisk in South Florida with Ike on the way. Ike's path is still in flux. But the storm could hit as a major hurricane by early next week.

WHITFIELD: A short war with Georgia and now reports that Russia may be pondering a move on another former Soviet state. We'll have an exclusive interview with Moscow's foreign minister.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: The 2008 Republican National Convention, now history. But what happened there? And could it all have a huge impact on what's to come? Joining us from New York Democrat Hilary Rosen and independent conservative Amy Holmes. Good to see both of you.

All right, Amy, let me begin with you. Because you have said you thought John McCain was very statesman-like. If you're a Democrat or independent or a Republican on the fence. Did he say anything last night that perhaps certainly kind of cemented your view that you need to be going for McCain?

AMY HOLMES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I don't think he closed any minds last night. He kept them open. We still have debates to go where voters are going to want to see that candidate to candidate match-up. But he really stressed themes of bipartisanship. He said that he knows who he works for. He doesn't work for a party. He works for the American voter. He also expressed themes of trust. And we heard that thought the convention. Fred Thompson said, this is a guy we know who he is and we know we can trust him. Cindy McCain, said we can trust his hands at the wheel. He said I want to earn your trust.

And the reason he was using that word and really stressing that theme is because he did so well on the trust issue during the Republican primary. It's a large part of why he won that primary. His competitors, they were considered to do better on the economy, for example. But voters trusted John McCain.

WHITFIELD: So Hilary, Amy underscored what he brought. What do you think was missing?

HILLARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I don't think he dealt with the issues that voters have said consistently in this election are the most important. By the way, what the polls are showing over the last two weeks, Barack Obama is leading on, which is the economy and solutions to fix the economy, ways to make health care more affordable and education accessible. And ways to bring this war in Iraq to an end. John McCain didn't deal with any of those issues last night. They spent a lot of time this week on his narrative which frankly is like 35 years old now.

WHITFIELD: Why do you suppose that is? Why is it that more time would be spent on this is who I am when I think a lot of people feel like they know John McCain and not necessarily, this is what I will do?

ROSEN: Well, I think he was trying to redefine himself in some respects this week. He's done a lot of moving about on the issues this year. He was for an immigration bill, then he was against it. He was against tax cuts for the wealthy, now he's for it. So I think he spent this week trying to reinvent himself yet again for the voters and avoid the fact that he's been a senator for 27 years.

WHITFIELD: So, Amy, do you see it that way? Was he trying to reinvent himself and was it done effectively or no?

LEMON: I don't think he was trying to reinvent himself. I think that's a word that's sort of meant to cast a fig light on him. I think he was trying to do, though, was reestablish and reconnect to that maverick image he had in 2000. And which is supported by the record. This is someone who has gone up against his party. I can tell you when I worked for the Senate majority leader, there were times when the senator was saying things on the Senate floor, that were not in keeping with the rest of the Republicans down there. He was the first person to be calling for a surge and an increase in troops when that was going up against the president and criticizing Don Rumsfeld. But I think what he was trying to do, too, this reminds me of Harry Truman in 1948 and his whistle stop tour where he talked to small town Americans town to town and he also ran against the Congress. He ran as a reformer. You heard that theme again with John McCain. Certainly you heard ...

ROSEN: It's not going to work.

WHITFIELD: You heard that from Sarah Palin too. Making that same kind of parallel.

It's interesting, Amy, because just as most Americans feel like they know John McCain. When they now see him with Sarah Palin, do they feel like they see a different John McCain, given that you've got two mavericks now on the ticket, but very different?

ROSEN: You know, I don't think you really get that with John McCain going forward. I think with the Sarah Palin pick, he tried to grab a bit of the change message that Barack Obama has been so successful with.

WHITFIELD: And he used that term, in fact.

ROSEN: Let's remember, for the weeks leading up to the convention, John McCain was running as the experience candidate, not the change candidate. He flipped that around with the Sarah Palin pick. And now they've decided that that's who he is going to be. We'll see over this next couple of weeks whether that's successful.

WHITFIELD: So, Amy, is that telling it all, that we've heard John McCain actually utter the words change, when it seems like it's the opposition party, the Democrats who claimed that word change throughout all this campaigning? And then we heard it from John McCain last night.

LEMON: Well, Barack Obama I think very smartly seized on that. That is the mood of the moment. We want change. The American people say that we're on the wrong track. I think Barack Obama has been very deft at deploying that. And you saw that Hillary Clinton, she really struggled, she started using those words, but I'm real change, I'm change you can believe in.

And I think John McCain looked at this and saw in the Democratic primary that the candidate with the most experience didn't win. It was the candidate promoting this change theme. So John McCain is saying, hey, I'm going to be learning from what i saw Hillary Clinton go through and try to better that.

WHITFIELD: Change is coming. We'll see in what form in a couple of months from now. All right. Amy and Hillary, thanks so much. Good to see both of you.

LEMON: Thank you.

ROSEN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Of course, we can continue to talk politics here at CNN. Check out our political ticker for the latest campaign news. Just log on to cnnpolitics.com. Your source for all things political.

LEMON: A search and rescue exercise turns into a tragic recovery operation for the U.S. Coast Guard.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: For some people. It's easy to start a weight loss program. Others say they had to be scared into losing. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, introduces us to one such man.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just a few years ago, Phill Novak weighed in at 387 pounds. He was not happy with his weight. But it wasn't until he and a buddy went to a Steelers game that reality hit home.

PHILL NOVAK, LOST 192 POUNDS: We were walking back up to our seats, and I started getting winded and didn't feel right. Just started sweating and I didn't think I'd make it back up. We got up there, and my heart's beating a million times a minute. I'm like, wow, what's going on? I thought I was having a heart attack.

GUPTA: Luckily, it was not a heart attack. He was just badly out of shape. Phill says it was just as scary.

NOVAK: A lot of things went through my head. Not saying goodbye to my kids and stuff like that.

GUPTA: That day, Phill started his journey to weight loss.

NOVAK: I walked off my first 100 pounds. Walked it off. I gave it an hour a day and lost 100 pounds, 7 months.

GUPTA: Now 197 pounds lighter, he says his keys to success are a low carb diet, a lot of exercise and a lot of determination.

NOVAK: I feel like I'm a young guy. People always come up to me and say, you look good. I go, I feel a million times better.

GUPTA: So would he ever allow himself to get that heavy again?

NOVAK: No way. I'll never go back there. I feel too good to do that. There's no way. My name's Phill Novak and I lost 192 pounds.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right. Congrats to him.

All right.

For the second time in as many weeks, Casey Anthony walked out of an Orange County, Florida jail. This time under $500,000 bond. Prosecutor called her the prime suspect in the disappearance of her three-year-old daughter, Caylee. The 22-year-old mother was rearrested last week and accused of passing a bad check. Police fear that Caylee Anthony is dead. That little girl has not been seen since June.

Somber news from Hawaii, the U.S. Coast Guard confirms they've recovered the bodies of three crew members from a helicopter that crashed last night into the Pacific Ocean. A fourth crew member is still missing. A Coast Guard spokesman says the chopper went down five miles south of Honolulu's airport during a search and rescue exercise.

LEMON: Jail awaits Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. But he's hinting he's not done in politics. As part of his plea agreement for obstruction of justice, the scandal-ridden Democrat agreed to resign in two weeks and serve four months behind bars.

Addressing supporters last evening, Kilpatrick signaled he may not go away quietly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KWAME KILPATRICK, DETROIT MAYOR: I want to tell you, Detroit, that you done set me up for a comeback.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Under the terms of his deal, Kilpatrick also will pay a $1 million fine, serve five years on probation and cannot run for office during that time.

Another four years in prison for disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. A federal judge sentenced him yesterday for his role in corrupting politicians. He's already spent two years in prison. His four-year term will be served concurrently with time remaining from his conviction on unrelated charges in Florida.

WHITFIELD: A short war with Georgia. Now reports that Russia may be pondering a move on another former Soviet state. We'll have an exclusive interview with Moscow's foreign minister.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti, a U.S. Navy ship docked today as part of a humanitarian aid mission. USS Mt. Whitney is the Navy's Sixth Fleet command ship. Two other U.S. ships preceded Mt. Whitney. Some Russian troops remain in Poti anid Moscow today questioned why a war ship was used for the U.S. aid missions.

Well, most Russian troops are out of Georgia right now, but a war of words continues. Moscow blames the United States for starting the trouble. Washington and the West say Russia overreacted. Russia's foreign minister spoke exclusively with CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance in Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are very strong words coming out of Washington, out of the United States.

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Not the strongest. I've heard stronger.

CHANCE: This whole episode over Georgia, though, seems to have severely damaged relationships between the United States and Russia. Yet Russians don't seem to be too concerned about it.

LAVROV: It's not our choice. It's not our choice. Nothing we did there had anything to do with pipelines, gas pipelines or oil pipelines. As for the Georgia being small and democratic, well, small is beautiful. And Georgia is beautiful. I love Georgia. And I love Georgian people. But democratic, I would not use this term to characterize the current government of Georgia.

CHANCE: Is Ukraine next? Does Russia have territorial ambitions in Ukraine?

LAVROV: Well, I thought it's only in the capital of Georgia that you have -- that you can find now some medical cases. I heard the statement that Ukraine is next. I heard also a statement of the new American ambassador to NATO that says now the NATO members must protect the Baltic states. Probably it's, you know, nostalgic feeling. And the desire to find some front line states for NATO to get some mission to protect somebody. This is, again, a virtual project. A project which is aimed at painting us in black colors. We have no intention to raise questions about anybody's territory.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: A lot more of that straight ahead in THE SITUATION ROOM.

LEMON: And that where it's time to check in with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. He is standing by in "THE SITUATION ROOM" to tell us what's coming up in the top of the hour. Hey, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, guys. Thanks very much. Lots coming up in THE SITUATION ROOM. The convention parties are over. The candidates are wasting no time hitting the campaign trail. Taking on the economy and each other. We'll be live with both candidates.

Plus, just a few weeks to the vice presidential debate. How does the Alaska Governor Sarah Palin prepare to take on the Senator Joe Biden on questions of experience and foreign policy.

And Bob Woodward, the award-winning investigative journalist has a brand-new book coming out about Iraq and spying. And we're going to be giving all of our viewers a sneak peek, right here in THE SITUATIION ROOM. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: We look forward to that, Wolf. Thanks so much.

LEMON: Disgraced Olympics sprinter Marion Jones is enjoying her first day of freedom in months. The 32-year-old former gold medalist was released today from federal custody in Texas. She served a six- month sentence for lying to federal investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs. While Jones was forced to give back three gold and two bronze medals, one at the 2000 Olympics. WHITFIELD: A bird cries wolf. And cops cry foul after crashing his coop. We'll explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Police in Southern Ohio are looking for a bank robber who is apparently short on wheels, but long on thriftiness. The robber hit a Cincinnati bank using a taxi for his getaway. The cabbie says the man told him he had to go to the bank for a withdrawal, and he didn't realize what really happened until later.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHEIKH LAMINE, CAB DRIVER: On my way back I saw the police and I see something going on there. And I told them that I picked up somebody from this place. And he's probably the person they're looking for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it possible the money he paid you with was stolen from the bank?

LAMINE: Yes, I gave it back to police, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you worked and got nothing, right?

LAMINE: Hopefully I get my money back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Well, he's a good citizen, isn't he? Well, police said the suspect apparently did rob the bank. And he did so without using a weapon.

LEMON: Police in Trenton, New Jersey, are fresh off a run-in with this cockatoo named Luna, bird who cried wolf and prompted the police to knock down the family's front door yesterday. Luna's owner tries to explain it all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVELYN DELEON, BIRD'S OWNER: They heard somebody yelling for help. Help me, help me. I was like, oh, my God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. Well, the family came home to responding officers who had to explain what they did and why. Needless to say it's certainly not a feather in their cap.

WHITFIELD: Ha ha.

LEMON: Ha ha ha.

WHITFIELD: Well, CNN is your Japanese monkey sighting headquarters of all things. I don't know, that's what it says. Here is today's update. Remember this scene right here? A definitely out of place visitor to the Tokyo subway we showed you a couple of weeks ago. Well, he, or she, has been appearing all over the city. Including today, kind of darting around there. Police so far have not been able to catch the monkey, by the way. And it has not hurt anybody. You saw a couple folks with their cameras. It's been fun for folks.

Well, the policemen, well, they're a little humiliated because they have not been able to catch this little guy. But he's getting a lot of attention. And just in case you didn't hear me at the top, yes, we're the Japanese monkey sighting headquarters.

LEMON: Don't get mad at me, but what happened tranquilizer darts?

WHITFIELD: Maybe they don't find it humane. Maybe you have to have a good view of the guy.

LEMON: It doesn't hurt them. Just knock him out a little bit.

WHITFIELD: It might put his eye out. That's all you were seeing was his head.

LEMON: Don't send your letters to me.

WHITFIELD: You're not an animal lover, anymore. You revealed that to me once before.

LEMON: We're on national TV. Quiet. I love animals. Don't I, Susan Lisovicz.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can always go low tech and go for the banana. But they're expensive in Tokyo. Inflation is really high. Some excitement on the trading floor today. Ringing the closing bell. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist Brian Clay. Given all 10 events that he has to muster, he is considered the world's greatest athlete. Guys, can you name at least some of the 10 events that he won?

WHITFIELD: OK. There would be pole vaulting.

LISOVICZ: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Oh, shoot. I don't know the distance of the run. Is it 1,500 meters?

LISOVICZ: Yep.

WHITFIELD: Hurdles?

LISOVICZ: Yes. And you know what, because he has to do all these events, he has to consume 4,500 calories a day. He's going to be on the Wheaties box. That translates into 40 bowls of Wheaties a day. We had a late session rally. Have a great weekend, guys. See you Monday.

WHITFIELD: You, too. Later. That is going to do it for us.

LEMON: That is going to do it for us. I'm Don Lemon here with Fredricka Whitfield. Have a great weekend. Now let's turn it over to THE SITUATION ROOM and Wolf Blitzer. He's in New York. Hi, Wolf.

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