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CNN SUNDAY MORNING
Obama Set to Announce Treasury Secretary, Top Economic Adviser; Is Your Doctor Sick of You?
Aired November 23, 2008 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING for November 23rd. I'm T.J. Holmes.
MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Melissa Long, in today for Betty who is on assignment.
Well, you can call them Obama's top money men. The president- elect is set to make it official tomorrow his pick for treasury secretary and a top economic adviser.
HOLMES: But everybody is wondering are these announcements going to help Wall Street at all. We're taking a closer look at that angle.
Also, say it ain't so, you're sick because your doctor is sick of you.
LONG: Yes. There's a new survey of doctors across the country revealing how doctors really feel about their practices.
HOLMES: Yes, interesting to hear.
LONG: We're also asking -- you know, they ask us how we feel. Now, we're asking them how they feel.
HOLMES: How they feel. So, we will talk about that, coming up.
But we will start with this transition to power here. Barack Obama's White House team is shaping up a bit. We're expecting to hear some announcements tomorrow, some names of those who will be trying to fix the nation's financial crisis. Yesterday, we got word also of who's on his communications team.
Let's head over to our political producer and friend of our show here on CNN SATURDAY and SUNDAY MORNING, Sasha Johnson, in Washington.
Good morning to you, ma'am. Tell us about this economic team.
SASHA JOHNSON, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Well, as you have talked about over the last couple days, we're expecting Barack Obama to roll out his economic team tomorrow in Chicago. We expect to see Timothy Geithner, who is president of the New York Fed be named as treasury secretary.
Also, Larry Summers, someone who was Clinton's treasury secretary and who's been an economic adviser to President-elect Obama throughout his campaign. We expect him to be named head of the National Economic Council, which was actually a council created under the Clinton administration and that's a fairly top economic post, that's actually -- it's a post inside the White House. And Summers will be responsible for sort of shepherding Obama's economic policy and coordinating it.
So, it's a pretty high-powered economic team. And, you know, the Obama Team hopes that by putting these folks out early, they are sending a signal to nation to have more confidence in the economy and that they're going to start creating jobs and help people get on track.
HOLMES: We always hear that word "adviser," an adviser, adviser. It sound like a very rudimentary position and nothing specific, if you will, but these are important posts that he has to fill.
HOLMES: Also -- we also have word of the folks who'll be doing battle with the press, I guess, over the next couple of years -- his communications team, his press secretary, important roles here but some familiar faces.
JOHNSON: Absolutely. I would always argue that probably is a headline that we kind of already knew but the headline out of this is that Robert Gibbs will be named the White House press secretary. He'll be sort of the most visible member of the administration. The guy that you'll see behind the podium in those daily briefings.
He's been with Obama for about four years. He was with him during his Senate campaign and then in the Senate, and then, obviously on the presidential campaign. What's really interesting is these guys are tight. I mean, they sit up in the front of the campaign plane together. They talk all the time. They have a very, very close relationship.
And it will be interesting to see how Gibbs handles himself as press secretary because he has had so much access to Barack Obama. You know, he can't know too much but he's also very close to the president-elect. So, it will be interesting to see how that works out.
HOLMES: That is an interesting point you make.
HOLMES: He's so close that very likely he's going to know everything but he can't tell everything...
HOLMES: ... when he steps to that podium.
All right. I know we're going to be talking to you some more this morning. So, next hour, give us what we call a tease in this business. What do we got?
JOHNSON: We'll take look at the Obama transition team vetting process and whether or not the extensive vetting process might be eliminating some good candidates. We'll talk about it.
HOLMES: All right. Sasha Johnson, it's always good to see you. We'll see you again soon.
JOHNSON: Good to see you.
LONG: Now, this probably won't shock you, it could be another wacky week on Wall Street. Investors are going to be watching the formal announcement tomorrow of President-elect Barack Obama's economic team. The market really moved on Friday after news that he had picked his new treasury secretary.
Another factor in play: a bunch of economic reports. We're going to get an update on home sales, third quarter GDP, gross domestic product, unemployment, and consumer confidence. And then we're going to get a break on Thursday, of course, since the markets will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
And then, there is Black Friday, the shopping version, not the Wall Street type. Will holiday sales be huge or horrible? We're going to have to stay tuned for this one.
HOLMES: All right. We will but let the free market rule. That's the message this morning from President Bush. He's at the meeting of Asian and Pacific leaders in Lima, Peru.
LONG: It's all about the economy. And the president is taking a tough guy approach on the issue of trade. Juan Carlos Lopez has the details now from Lima, Peru.
JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush is making an aggressive pitch. "The financial crisis is global," he says, "but the United States will continue setting the course for answers."
PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES: Nations are feeling the painful effects of the financial crisis, I understand that. And so, all of us need to be involved in the solution.
LOPEZ: That solution according to the president needs to be mindful of the past.
BUSH: One of the enduring lessons of the Great Depression is that global protectionism is a path to global economic ruin.
LOPEZ: President Bush is insisting on more trade, not less, and says he will pursue the Doha round, a world wide free trade agreement, reminding APEC leaders he'll do whatever he can while still president.
BUSH: I recognize I'm leaving office in two months, but nevertheless, this administration will push hard to put the modalities in place so that Doha can be completed, and so we can send a message: We refuse to accept protectionism in the 21st century.
LOPEZ: Bush once again criticized Congress for adjourning for the year without passing pending free trade agreements with individual countries.
BUSH: We concluded agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. And it is extremely disappointing that the United States Congress adjourned without passing these three trade agreements.
LOPEZ: Trade wasn't the only item on the agenda. North Korea was a major topic during a meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea, as well as Russia later in the afternoon who've all agreed on a new round of talks to be held early next month -- another step in the long road to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
(on camera): The president is meeting with Medvedev came on the fifth anniversary of the Russo Revolution in Georgia, one of several points of discord between the two leaders who tried to portray their relationship as cordial even though public statements paint a different picture.
Juan Carlos Lopez, CNN, Lima.
HOLMES: And we'll be going live to Lima next hour. Juan Carlos, we just saw there, will tell us what's going on behind the scenes at the APEC meeting. That's at the top of our 8:00 o'clock hour.
LONG: Iraqi lawmakers expected to decide something this week that's been a huge debate in this country: When U.S. troops need to be completely out of Iraq. The dates are laid out in a new security pact agreement which comes for a vote on Wednesday, possibly Thursday. And the showdown over it is already in full swing.
Arwa Damon joins us live from Baghdad today.
Arwa, tell us about the meeting yesterday and then where the agreement stands right now.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Melissa, yesterday, parliament held a mammoth six-hour long session where they debated this agreement. So, at this point in time, the debates are done. The agreement has been read out to parliament. We are waiting for that vote that we're expecting to have to take place, as you just mentioned, Wednesday or Thursday.
What parliament also needs to decide on, though, is the voting mechanism. Will it be two-thirds majority or a simple majority to try to get that draft agreement pushed through?
And this has proven to be much more difficult than anyone would have really imagined. When cabinet signed off on the draft of the agreement last weekend, everyone was fairly optimistic that it would be kind of easy to try to push it through parliament, but what we have seen over the last week has been quite the opposite.
On Wednesday and Thursday when parliament was trying to read out the draft of this bill, it erupted into pure and utter chaos. We saw MPs slamming books on the table, screaming, shouting, at one point, even storming the podium. There were scuffles between members of parliament and security guards there.
On Friday, we saw a mass protest organized by supporters of radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. His political bloc, the Sadrist, is one of the many of those that are opposing this agreement. They just want to see U.S. troops out now. Other opponents of the agreement have other concerns. The Sunni bloc wants certain guarantees from Iraqi government before they'll sign off on anything they say that gives this predominantly Shia government that much power. And some of the other blocs have concerns about handing power over to this current government as well. Quite simply, they don't trust it.
LONG: Arwa, you talked about the opponents' reaction, that chaos and the scuffles late last week. But what if this agreement fails to pass at all?
DAMON: Well, that's the big concern right now. If the agreement does not pass, the other option on the table is extending the U.N. mandate that expires at the end of December. And that's not really an option that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki or the U.S. government really wants to go for. What it would mean would be that things in Iraq would continue as they are right now. The U.S. military would retain a lot of the rights and ways by which it operates such as the ability to detain Iraqis at will, the ability to conduct military operations without notifying the Iraqi side of that.
This agreement and this is what the Iraqi prime minister is trying to convince the opponents and the public of, it's the best deal that Iraq is going to get right now so that it can maintain its sovereignty. He has come out and said that he's not necessarily 100 percent happy with the way it turned out, that he did have to make some concessions, but at the same time, this is a very critical step towards Iraq gaining its full sovereignty.
And that brings us back to the point that the opponents, some of them are trying to make, saying it's too soon to hand over that much power to this government. We don't trust it. We think it has and we don't really believe that it's a government of national unity or national reconciliation that has the nation's best interest at heart.
And many will tell you that until Iraq overcomes the trust issues and the deep divides that are going on here that we have seen caused such violence over the past few years, it's going to be very difficult for this nation to move forward.
LONG: Arwa Damon, live for us from Baghdad -- and again, the proposal laid out the vote Wednesday or Thursday. Thank you, Arwa.
HOLMES: And one person is dead after a shooting in a crowded mall and the gunman this morning is still on the loose. Police say this happened yesterday near Seattle. It may have been gang-related. One young man the police believed in his 20s actually is dead, another in critical condition. Authorities think the whole thing started over a fight between the shooter and the other two men.
LONG: One man is calling an international airport "home." We're going to tell you why he's refusing to budge. He's there willingly. He's not there delayed, that's for sure, like many of us have been.
HOLMES: Yes, he's been delayed for a while there.
Also, another story -- an update for you on a story we brought you last weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a legacy and he's 11. He's done more than most people ever even dreamed of doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: A sad update. An 11-year-old's dying wish becoming a legacy of selflessness.
HOLMES: More than 1 million of you voted, and Liz McCartney's relentless dedication towards helping survivors of Hurricane Katrina picking up the pieces and rebuild their homes, that makes our Hero of the Year.
LONG: Liz McCartney received the award at this all-star tribute at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood last night. You can catch the entire event hosted by Anderson Cooper, we're going to broadcast, Thanksgiving night at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
And we should point out, someone else was honored last night, our Hero of the Year Awards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, they're so wonderful because they're just ordinary people, just like you and me, but what they've done has found a niche. They found something that's really wrong with the world and they've decided to go out there and do something about it. They haven't been scared by the fact that it is either far away or it's going to take a lot of time and effort. They know that in order to make positive change in the world, they have to invest in themselves. And that's what they've done. In doing so, they have done so much good work in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LONG: Doesn't she look lovely? HOLMES: Oh, our little Betty Bop. Look at her. That's my regular co-anchor here, of course. She was on it last night. She was the winner of our internal -- it was among employees here that we could nominate someone who works at CNN. And she does a program. She shows -- she shares it with us every year, Help the Hungry Program. It provides aid and assistance to families in Vietnam. That's her home country, of course. And she goes back every summer.
LONG: Something near and dear to her and her family. They've been working tirelessly (INAUDIBLE).
HOLMES: Absolutely is. She's been doing it a long time.
LONG: Five or 10 years ago.
HOLMES: Every single year, she comes back and shows it to us.
And, Reynolds, I'll share this with you. You'll appreciate it, but she'll hate it that I'm telling this.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Go on, man (ph).
HOLMES: I talked to her last night, called her right before the event. She told me about that red dress. She said it was so tight that if she drank water she would bust out of it.
LONG: Why are you sharing this?
HOLMES: I just thought, share (ph) it to Reynolds.
WOLF: Now, keep in mind. I mean, it's a Sunday morning show (INAUDIBLE).
HOLMES: A great detail.
LONG: You can call Reynolds to tell him that.
HOLMES: It's a great detail to share.
WOLF: So, if you just brought (ph) like an eye dropper full of water close by, pop, it would explode. That's it.
LONG: She looks lovely.
HOLMES: But, yes, she looks great.
WOLF: Crazy times, crazy times for Betty. Boy, we love -- we sure love Betty and can't wait for her to get back. And that congratulations to her great times. Not to say to Melissa, we're not happy to have you here.
LONG: Oh, I'm pleased to be here.
WOLF: We're just glad to have you here. And I'll tell you what? In your home state of New York, you are getting some scattered snow showers this morning.
LONG: I know.
WOLF: Not quite as heavy as we had yesterday. Take a look at what we had right now on radar. Very quickly, we're going to zoom in on a couple locations right along parts of I-81. Back from Syracuse to Buffalo and even in Rochester, there's a light dusting and snowfall for the time being.
If you want to see more impressive snowfall, take a look at this iReport that we had and sent in just yesterday. We're going to pop that right now. And the iReport was sent in by, let's make sure I get this right -- Ray Richard, not Richard but Richard (ph). He shot this over near New Brunswick. This is the first snowfall that he's had this year. Dude's got a camera, knows how to use it, sent this in.
You can see that people are just making their way through the roads up and down in the roadways with the snow. And it's going to take some getting used to. You see the plow right there attached to the tractor. Later on, as we make our way into December, January, February, and March, we're going to be used to driving it but they're going to be sick of all the snow.
Well, the snow is going to taper off as we go back to the weather computer. Somebody else is going to be left behind now (ph). That cold air, Buffalo with 24 degrees this hour; Boston with 22; Portland, Maine, with 19; Caribou with 17, Washington, D.C. with 28. As we venture a bit farther to the south in Jackson, Mississippi, this morning, they currently have 49 degrees; 32 in Atlanta but we're headed for warmer things here in Atlanta, high today at 56; 43 in Washington D.C.; 45 in Chicago; San Francisco and L.A., not bad at all with high temperatures mainly into the 60s and 70s.
But for parts of California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, you're going to be dealing with some fog, possibly few rainshowers into the, I'd say, the western half of the Ohio Valley and into parts of East Texas and into Louisiana also.
That's a look at your forecast. We're going to be talking more about that coming up very soon.
Let's talk about something out of this atmosphere as in, well, out in space. Out of the world plans continue for day 10 for the astronauts on shuttle Endeavour. They've completed their spacewalk. That's right, their third one. Yesterday, they are working on the joint that generates the power for the International Space Station. And they're also expanding the station to accommodate a crew of six.
The fourth and final space walk of the mission is set for tomorrow. They got to be sick of drinking that tang, man. Being up there in the weightless environment, go figure.
And tonight, at 6:00, thinking green is nice, acting green, well, that's even better. CNN's Miles O'Brien shows you ideas that just might save the planet. All you got to do is watch "Green Warriors" for some ideas. It's a fight for solutions, at CNN tonight at 6:00 Eastern.
All right, guys. You know what to watch tonight. You saw what the astronauts are up to and you got a good look at the forecast. What more could you ask for?
LONG: You did it all. You handled them all.
WOLF: And without wearing the tight red dress.
HOLMES: Yes. She's going to kill me for that. But I think she's still sleeping out there in the west coast.
LONG: I think she may. Oh, word travels. (INAUDIBLE) business.
HOLMES: Yes, Reynolds...
WOLF: Yes, bring it on.
HOLMES: Reynolds, what was that ship, the vomit comet or something?
WOLF: The vomit comet, yes.
HOLMES: The vomit comet.
HOLMES: OK. We need to run that again. That was a good piece about weightlessness. We should find (ph) that again.
WOLF: Absolutely, well, we can do that for you, T.J.
HOLMES: All right.
HOLMES: Reynolds, we appreciate you, buddy.
WOLF: Any time.
HOLMES: All right. And again, back to the red dress, if you will, or at least about the CNN heroes, I've got to stop mentioning that dress. More than 1 million folks out there, you all voted for our Hero of the Year. And you can see the special moment when Liz McCartney wins during the all-star tribute hosted by Anderson Cooper with the special appearance for our Betty Nguyen. Again, that's Thanksgiving night, Thursday, 9:00 o'clock Eastern, only on CNN.
Well, primary care doctors ready to check out, like quit. No one is waiting in the wings to replace them.
LONG: Right. We have results of a new study. We're going to find out why your doctor maybe sick and tired.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LONG: The chances are, your family doctor is getting pretty sick and tired of the day-to-day grind. So much so, in fact, thousands of them say they're willing to do something else and within the next three years. If they do make this decision, there could be difficult consequences.
Dr. Walker Ray, the vice president of the organization that just was released the study on all of this, joins me in the studio this morning.
Good morning. So nice to see you. Thanks for waking up early, too.
DR. WALKER RAY, PHYSICIANS FOUNDATION: Well, thank you for the opportunity to be here.
LONG: You know, doctors are always asking all of us how we feel. You're asking doctors now how they feel. They seem to be very upset and disillusioned.
RAY: We have had -- our foundation, the Physicians Foundation is composed of medical leaders throughout the country. And we have had a lot of anecdotal information that things weren't so good. And so, we decided to do a comprehensive nationwide survey that we did, the largest of its scope.
RAY: And we sampled every primary care physician in the United States.
LONG: And this sample, you found that 49 percent are dissatisfied and actually want to stop practicing or see fewer patients. What is causing this dissatisfaction?
RAY: Well, the depth of the dissatisfaction was quite substantial and quite surprising. We have had anecdotal information that there were problems. The problem that we found, we asked in the survey, and the problem that we found was that they did not have enough time to spend with patients. This is why they became primary care doctors in the first place to spend time with patients. If you can't stop and talk with your family doctor, who can you talk to?
LONG: So, you're saying that they've been spending more and more time with the paperwork rather than with people.
RAY: Paper, HMO regulations, government regulations, same thing that patients complain about.
LONG: You were in practice as a pediatrician for some 38 years. You retired last year not because you said, "Oh, I need to retire," but because you were getting tired of it all?
RAY: Well, it got to be such that running an office is very, very difficult -- declining reimbursements every year, having to fight for reimbursements, regulations that we talked about, more paperwork, less time with patients, more and more barriers between the physician and the patient.
LONG: And it seems more and more people are feeling that way. In the study, we found that 60 percent would not recommend medicine as a career. That is alarming that they are so upset and so frustrated that they're discouraging future leaders in medicine.
RAY: And this is the way we depend on with future leaders to come in as role models, the role models are going. Word is getting back to the young physicians that primary care is not the place to be.
LONG: What do we do? What do you do as a leader in the medical profession and what do we all do to help doctors and the inspiring doctors?
RAY: Well, that's a great question. And we are in a year of health care reform. This is percolating to the top of the political agenda right behind the economy. We don't have all the answers. But we do have some thoughts. We want to call attention to the problem. Nobody is talking about it.
The political parties are talking about expanding health care coverage. If there's not a dedicated workforce, a robust workforce to take care of the patients that will come on board with insurance, then that's an empty promise. That's a broken promise. We need to train more primary care physicians and we need to improve the medical practice environment so that the physicians that are there now will not leave.
LONG: And it takes so long to train them as well -- 12 years of education to get to that point.
RAY: You can't open a speck and then a doctor comes out. It takes about 12 years to train a doctor, four years of college, four years of medical school, and four years of residency.
LONG: All that training and in 38 years of practice for you. Thanks so much for coming in to tell us about this alarming problem. Again, Dr. Walker Ray, the vice president of Physicians Foundation, nice to see. Nice to meet you.
RAY: Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity.
LONG: Absolutely. Thanks for coming in this morning.
RAY: Thank you.
HOLMES: All right, Melissa.
Consumer exports have advice that might surprise you about gift cards. Good information to have before you head out to do that holiday shopping. Excuse me. Christine Romans has the story on today's "Right on Your Money."
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gift cards are incredibly popular during the holidays. But this year, more than ever, a gift you should probably avoid.
TOD MARKS, CONSUMER REPORTS: More than 60 percent of people are going to be giving gift cards this year. That's an awful lot of money. And 25 percent of folks who receive a gift card for the holidays in 2007 have yet to use them.
ROMANS: And with retailers filing for Chapter 11 left and right, it's hard to know who will be the next to go.
MARKS: But I would suggest that what people do if thy have a gift card from a Circuit City or another store that happens to be in Chapter 11 right now, I would say run, don't walk, to that store and buy something quickly because just don't know when the plug maybe pulled.
ROMANS: For now, your Circuit City gift card is safe. A judge said the retailer could continue to accept them and even issue more cards while it reorganizes. But you can consider alternative gift ideas this year.
MARKS: I think you should either forget the idea of a gift card, give cash, or a check, or something else, or just simply give them a gift card from a company where you know it's not going to expire.
ROMANS: And that's this week's "Right on Your Money."
LONG: Now, even in this terrible economy, millions of people are going to travel this week.
HOLMES: Yes, nothing is going to stop them from getting to grandma's house.
LONG: To take a break.
HOLMES: Yes. Josh Levs is going to help you navigate the crowd.
HOLMES: Good morning, Josh.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning to you. So, this is the thing. If you think about all the things that could happen this week, but if you get stuck in an airport somewhere, or maybe you want to know which seat to choose on one of your airlines. Also, for road travelers, we've got here how to avoid car sickness. I'm going to show you how to get all those answers.
LONG: Good morning. Good morning. 7:30 in the morning East Coast time, in today for Betty Nguyen. HOLMES: Hello to you, all. I'm T.J. Holmes. Got a check of the top stories here for you.
LONG: After a quiet week, President-elect Barack Obama preparing for the big reveal of his top money guys. Obama is scheduled to introduce the leaders of his economic team tomorrow. CNN has confirmed that Obama will name Timothy Geithner Treasury secretary and Lawrence Summers to direct the National Economic Council.
HOLMES: Also the Thanksgiving holiday also signals the start of holiday shopping season. According to consumer experts, most Americans plan to substantially cut back on spending this holiday season.
LONG : More of you planning to stay at home this Thanksgiving holiday because of the terrible economy. That's according to AAA's holiday projections. Last year almost 42 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles to see families, visit with friends. This year the estimate is down to about 41 million people. AAA says almost a quarter of those travelers live in the southeast. Vast majority of them will likely hit the roads. The auto club also says there will be a very welcome news at the gas pump. Fuel prices I'm sure you have seen this and jumped for joy actually when you went to the gas station with gas down about a buck from this time last year. And it says that those low prices could actually encourage more and more people to take trips at the last minute.
HOLMES: Well a lot of you planning to travel. And if you are planning to travel at all you may be concerned about avoiding long lines and getting stuck somewhere you may not want to be.
LONG: Yes. Josh Levs joins us now to tell us how to get those travel tips no matter where you happen to be.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We got some good stuff here. We want to show you guys all these sites we pulled up on the board. I don't know if you know, a lot of people might not know it. We have a whole section on it at .com. Let's zoom in on cnn.com/travel. Just go to the main page and click on travel at the top. It's really cool. I was just playing with it this morning. If you search down here you can see all these different travel tips.
Choosing a greener cruise. How to use reward points to fund one of your trips. Avoiding single supplements is interesting. That's when you get charged more for being a single in a hotel room. But let's go to some of the toys we got. This shows you some of the top airports in America. And for each of these airports, we got information for you. Let's click on Chicago here. So let's say you're in the Chicago airport and let's say you're stuck. Word to the wise, hungry? Try Billy Goat Tavern and Grill and Ely's cheesecake. Both on Terminal 1. Really fun stuff. Also, let's go to one more. This one surprised me. We have information for picking people up, picking up some passengers.
This is the Philly Airport I just clicked on. Word to the wise. Drivers picking up passengers can park free at the cell phone lot. So lots of information whether you are traveling or just picking up someone who is traveling. Now we also have a video story that talks you through some of the top websites that exist. Websites ease travel woes. In fact, that's our Veronica de la Cruz. Hey, VDLC, big fan of this show, big friend of the show.
I want to give you the abridged version. 20 seconds here. Yapta.com, very cool. This is a personal travel assistant. Yapta.com will help you find the best flights and after you booked it, if the price for your flight drops, they help you get a refund and a lot of viewers have said they like it a lot.
And one more here, airlinequality.com. Viewers have gone on the site and have rated all of these different airlines and specific flights within the airlines let you know if they like it or not. Airlinequality.com. Now, as we've been reporting, not everybody is going to fly this year. Lots of people are driving. So check this out.
We have a whole section on road travel called Road Trips. You can't miss it. Lots of tips here. And again, I'm going to show you one before I go. I like this one a lot. This is from Dr. Sanjay Gupta how he treats his own car sickness. Check out that story. Avoiding spicy foods is one of the many things he's going to tell you. I know I need to go. But I just want to mention this quickly, if you're in an airport or if you're on the road and you want some information right then, try if you have the web on your phone, I'm going to hold up this camera right here. You can access it. It's not showing up. We'll show up. Oh, man, it's not showing up. Just go to cnn.com click on travel on your cell phone and it has almost everything I just showed you. And guys, we'll be back next hour with some of your i-reports about this holiday season including travel tips.
LONG: You know, one of the great specials about that American Road trip section, I work at CNN.com and our team worked very hard on terrific trips. So if you are driving to grandma's house, you want to stop along the way, some great suggestions.
HOLMES: There are little places on the side of the road. All right.
LEVS: Yes, inside of the U.S. and all over the world, great tips all over.
LONG: Thanks, Josh.
So how is it going to look Wednesday if you happen to be traveling on what is one of the busiest travel days of the year? Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf joins us. Good morning.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Putting the pressure on a man is what you're doing. That's right. Big holiday season coming up. And a lot of people are going to be traveling out here on Wednesday. A couple of places we're watching where there is a bit of concern. I would say the northeast if you happen to be say in Buffalo and maybe even to Cleveland, back in Detroit. Both airports could have some delays there. Maybe even O'Hare, a combination of rain, sleet and snow. Meanwhile as you head out back to the west, it looks pretty good for the Great Basin but when you get down to say Sky Harbour Airport in Phoenix, you may have some scattered showers and storms that might cause a few backups. So those are going to be the two troubled spots over the four corners and back in parts of the northeast. The southeast is fantastic and the central plains could not be better for your Wednesday.
Hey speaking of traveling, take a look at well some i-reports. We're going to travel our way over to parts of Ohio. This was shot by Joy Cobb who sent this in. This is her tractor from her backyard. You see the cobalt blue skies mixed in with a few clouds here and there and of course that lake effect snowfall. You know Kingsville is right on the snow belt. And this time of the year early part of winter and late fall, that's when that lake-effect snow fall really begins to build up. There's certainly evidence right there. Joy, thanks so much for those i-reports.
Hey, something else we want to share with you. Behold. Ski videos. Ski video from New Hampshire. There they are braving the winds, braving the flakes and enjoying that great ski action up there. There's a great spot up there, believe it or not. And how many people when you think skiing you often think of the Rockies but I'll tell you what there is some great skiing up there in parts of the northeast. Looks pretty good. Either of you guys ski at all?
LONG: I grew up skiing. Absolutely.
HOLMES: No. Never. Not going to do it.
LONG: Really. I was looking at that list. I was really impressed. Because you're not freezing as you're riding up the side of the mountain. You're all cozy in that little -
WOLF: Yes but see the doors open up and then the winter blasts. It's always a good time. I'm kind of like you, T.J. when it comes to skiing. I get to the bottom of the run. I just ski but when I get to the bottom of the run my nose is usually over here on my head. My face does not look the same at the bottom of a double diamond.
LONG: Oh, I don't go on a double diamond. I stick with maybe the blue squares.
HOLMES: And I don't ski.
LONG: We're going to have to get you out on skis.
LONG: You don't aim for them, you stay away from them.
HOLMES: There are no brakes on the skis, I understand.
LONG: We'll start you out on the bunny hill. You're going to do well.
HOLMES: Well, thank you, sir. We'll see you again here shortly.
Well it's his home away from home. The Japanese traveler actually living in an airport by choice.
LONG: Can you imagine living there? Trying to get cozy on those chairs? Where do you go for lunch, breakfast, dinner? CNN's Rosemary Church has more now on the unusual living situation that's going on right now in a Mexico City airport.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hiroshi Nohara is on an extended layover. It's been about three months surviving on handouts in Mexico City International Airport. Nohara inexplicably won't leave. The Japanese man flew in with a return ticket but for the time being has decided to stay. The peculiar airport tenant has set up residence in Terminal One since early September. Whether it's fast food dining or greeting curious tourists, airport workers say Nohara is calm and mostly just sits and eats all day. The Tokyo native has now become a bit of a local celebrity. His status perhaps stoked by the 2004 film "The Terminal" starring actor Tom Hanks who plays an Eastern European stuck in an airport in New York.
CATHERINE ZETA-JONES AS AMELIA WARREN: Are you headed for home?
TOM HANKS AS VIKTOR NAVORSKI: No, I'm delayed long time.
CHURCH: Some travelers have complained about the grungy traveler who simply won't leave but like the movie, frustrated airport and embassy officials can do little more than wait. The man who has overstayed his welcome actually hasn't. His tourist visa allows him to stay until March.
Rosemary Church, CNN, Atlanta.
LONG: In these tight financial times, some people are having to make some very difficult choices. A decision in fact that really tugs at your heartstrings. Choosing to pay bills or choosing to feed your pets.
LONG: As sad as it sounds, the sour economy means so many people are looking for one less mouth to feed. People are giving up their pets. Here's Todd Dunn with our Nashville television station, WKRN.
TODD DUNN, WKRN, REPORTER: Metro animal officer Billy Biggs stays busy capturing stray dogs. As the economy worsens, Biggs says he's seen an increase in the number of dogs being dropped off at the pound. BILLY BIGGS, ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER: These were turned in because the owners couldn't afford to keep them, you know, couldn't afford to care for them.
DUNN: When times get tough often pets are the ones who suffer the consequences.
BIGGS: I know one personally where the guy got foreclosed on. He left all five of his animals there and one had 11 puppies.
DUNN: In the adoption area, Metro Animal Control, there are a number of dogs which were turned in by owners who could no longer afford to care for them.
BIGGS: These were turned in because they were moving to an apartment where there's no pets allowed.
DUNN: And when the kennels are full, that means bad news for the animals.
BIGGS: It means, you know, more euthanasia. We have to make room for other ones that come in.
DUNN: The good news according to Biggs is that people are still coming in and adopting animals.
BIGGS: Adoption rates have been pretty steady but still there's not enough homes for all of them.
DUNN: There are plenty of animals just waiting for new homes this holiday season. In Nashville, Todd Dunn, News 2.
LONG: The animals looking for a place to call home.
We have heard a lot about the trouble facing America's automakers but here's a sign of just how widespread this financial crisis now is. This is a shipping port in California. It's clogged by the new cars being imported. Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan, normally the cars are moved to dealership showrooms within a week. This year even the foreign cars aren't selling. In St. Paul, Minnesota, this car dealership just announced its closing. That means 400 jobs eliminated. Montgomery, Alabama, it is the end of an era for a dealership that's been a family business since 1919. They're shutting down operations and the cost there 50 employees are being let go.
HOLMES: Well, it's a child's dying wish. It didn't include anything for himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
He has had the joy of seeing all of the beautiful response to his last wish. It gives him great peace and he knows that his life has meaning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: What we can all learn from an 11-year-old boy whose life was cut short.
HOLMES: An update now to a story we brought you a couple of weeks ago. It is in our "Faces of Faith" segment. We profiled a little boy who did something few people can claim. He left the world better than he found it. Brenden Foster just 11 years old, but he dreamed large. Here now with a followup, Alyssa Jaffe from our CNN Seattle affiliate, KOMO.
BRENDON FOSTER, LEUKEMIA VICTIM: I should be gone in a week or so.
ALYSSA JAFFE, KOMO-4 NEWS REPORTER: The day I met Brenden Foster, I met an old soul in an 11 year old's body.
What are the best things about life?
BRENDEN FOSTER: Just happening.
JAFFE: I didn't understand how this child, a year younger than my own son could be so courageous facing death.
BRENDEN FOSTER: It happens. It's special
JAFFE: Three years earlier, doctors diagnose Brenden with leukemia.
BRENDEN FOSTER: I'm scared.
JAFFE: The boy who once rushed through homework so he could play outside is now confined to a bed.
BRENDEN FOSTER: I had a great time. And until it's time, my time has come, I'll keep having a good time.
JAFFE: Brenden's selfish dying wish, helping the homeless but he was too ill to feed them on his own. So volunteers from Emerald City Lights passed out sandwiches in Seattle. People in Los Angeles held a food drive. School kids in Ohio collected cans. They gathered goods to feed the hungry in Pensacola, Florida and here in Brenden's hometown.
WENDY FOSTER, BRENDEN'S MOTHER: He has left a legacy. He's 11. He's done more than most people ever even dreamed of doing just by making a wish.
JAFFE: Brenden's wish came true and he lived to see it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has had the joy of seeing all of the beautiful response to his last wish. It gives him great peace and he knows that his life has meaning.
JAFFE: Days before dying, Brenden surprised us all with a sudden burst of energy. He wanted off oxygen and out of bed to buy a video game. Wise beyond his years but still a kid.
FOSTER: I've been so blessed to have this child. A mother couldn't ask for a better son.
JAFFE: V-Man as his family calls him had another wish. To save the bees by sprinkling wild flower seeds. Packets of seeds will be passed out at his funeral. Before dying in his mother's arms, Brenden said he's amazed that a young boy could make such a big difference.
JAFFE: What makes you sad, sweetie?
FOSTER: when someone gives up.
JAFFE: Brenden Foster never gave up.
Thank you, Brenden.
JAFFE: Even at the end Brenden kept giving.
FOSTER: Follow your dreams, don't let anything stop you.
HOLMES: And if you would like to find out how you can help the hungry or get involved in a number of other worthy causes including Brenden's go to our website, cnn.com/impact.
LONG: It's the luncheon meat people love to make fun of. Spam. But it's practically Hawaii's state food. And now, with the economy forcing people to cut back, Spam is back.
LONG: This troubled economy has brought us endless stories of job layoffs and spending cutbacks. And while most of us are now really watching our wallets, there is at least one company where employees are raking in the dough. And it's all because of what's for dinner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pork with ham, salt, water, modified potato, starched sugar, sodium.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spam.
LONG (voice-over): We tall it mystery meat in a gelatinous cube. And who could forget the classic Monty python diner sketch that made fun of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be Spam, Spam, Spam.
LONG: Invented around the time of the Great Depression. It was a staple for those who wanted the taste of meat but couldn't afford it. Then, as times got better, we got snooty. And eating the canned lunch meat became a major faux pas. Fast-forward to today. At the cost of $2 and change per can, Spam is making a huge comeback. Partly because of our withering economy. In fact, employees at this California supermarket say, it's flying off the shelves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to tell you, recently, we've had a little shortage on Spam. In fact, we just got it back in stock a few days ago, luckily. There was apparently quite a demand. And the supplier just couldn't keep up.
LONG: While most companies are laying off workers and cutting back, the Hormel Foods Company in Austin, Minnesota, the nerve center of the Spam dynasty, is overloading it's employees with overtime. Two shifts of workers canning Spam seven days a week and indefinitely. And more and more people are now actually admitting, they're putting it back on their shopping list.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slice it up and use it in a breakfast way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually I like it when it's not cooked. I just like it right out of the can.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well hey I'll have to put it back into my menu items.
LONG: Back into the rotation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LONG: That shopper says that he plans to jazz up his Spam dinner with a nice (inaudible). And if you need more proof of this resurgence of Spam? Check out the imitation version of the infamous canned meat.
LONG: T.J., ever had Spam?
HOLMES: I think it was when I was a kid. But I don't think I've had it in a long time.
LONG: A lot of people cook with it. I don't know if you're planning on cooking with it on Thanksgiving and you went shopping yesterday.
HOLMES: No intention of. Yes. LONG: People put it in pizza. There's a popular Hawaiian snack called "musubi" as well as Spam burgers. I'm sure you can be very creative. You're not going to serve it on Thanksgiving?
HOLMES: I am not going to serve it on Thanksgiving. I'm going more traditional things. You know, turkey. Is this the picture of it?
LONG: That's the pizza, yes.
HOLMES: Oh, my word.
LONG: That just looks like slices of tofu actually on the pizza.
HOLMES: My sister actually just turned the news off because she says she can't even look at Spam without getting sick.
LONG: Really. I have never tried it.
HOLMES: And there's imitation Spam. People are imitating Spam?
LONG: Because it's - apparently a hot commodity of sorts right now since people are dependent on it, I guess to try to get some meat tasting ingredients on the table.
HOLMES: All right. Well folks we're going to take a quick commercial break. Let's get a run downstairs and grab Spam breakfast.
LONG: That's on the priority list.
HOLMES: And we'll be right back.
LONG: No script required as actors and producers decide how to get paid. Both sides are negotiating royalties when actors rather for actors when distributing movies and television programs to new media. That includes mobile phones and the internet. Producers say actors should accept a contract similar to the ones that other union reps, writers, the directors, the stagehands accepted earlier this year. SAG, the Screen Actors Guild says it will convince members to strike.
A south Florida city wants to give the president-elect his very own street. The city of Opa-locka which is near downtown Miami hopes to change Perviz Avenue to Barack Obama Avenue as a tribute to his historic White House run. The city commission voted on this last week. A final vote comes next month and if it passes, the street will be renamed, appropriately, on President's day next year.
HOLMES: Well. Hello, everybody. From the CNN center, on this CNN SUNDAY MORNING, November 23rd, a few days away Thanksgiving, 8:00 here at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. 7:00 a.m. in the heartland. I'm T.J. Holmes.
LONG: Good morning. I'm Melissa Long, in today for Betty. She's on assignment. Thank you for starting your Sunday with us. President-elect Barack Obama is ready to make the big reveal tomorrow. We call them Obama's money men. Who are they? And what will they do for Wall Street? We're going to take a closer look. Also -
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HOLMES: A disturbing scene we're showing you here. And on top of all this, you see this chaos, this is happening at a child's funeral. A funeral fight. We'll tell you all about this one and tell you why it was happening. But we will start with these seasoned policymakers. With names you may or may not recognize. And yet they're going to have a big say on how to get America's economy back on track. You will know their names soon if you don't know them now.
LONG: Absolutely. President-elect Barack Obama has chosen his money men. Timothy Geithner is Obama's pick for the Treasury Secretary. Geithner is president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Lawrence Summers will serve as director of White House national economic counsel. Summers was Treasury Secretary under former president Bill Clinton.
The president elect has some pretty tough guidelines if you do want to work for him in his next administration. His vetting process said to be the toughest of any commander-in-chief in history.
CNN political producer, Sasha Johnson, joins us live from Washington this morning.
Good morning, Sasha. Nice to see you.
JOHNSON: How are you doing?
LONG: I am doing very well.
You have to wonder how the people are doing that they're going through this vetting process. He established -- what kind of got the moniker of "No Drama Obama" during the long campaign season. It seems there's some drama involved with the vetting.
JOHNSON: Well, it depends on how you look at it, this sort of came back into the headlines this week when Penny Pritzker, who was Obama's financial chair and kind of expected to be or one of the top candidates for the position of commerce secretary. She's a very established Chicago businesswoman and she essentially took herself out of the running for that post this week.
And some people surmised that it was because of the vetting process, because of her extensive business ties, and because of that 63-question vetting questionnaire that folks who are looking for that top spot are being asked to fill out. Everything from...
LONG: Sasha, what are some of those questions that they're being asked?
JOHNSON: Yes, well, it's everything from the obvious, have you been arrested? Tell us about your financial dealings. Tell us who you've been associated with, not just you, but you, your spouse, and your immediate family. Then it gets in to things like -- tell if you've ever sent any electronic communication including text messages, e-mails, instant messages, that may or may not embarrass the president-elect. Tell us, you know, tell us every writing you've done, every speech you've given, every testimony. It is incredibly detailed.
LONG: Sasha, this is atypical. It's unprecedented vetting?
JOHNSON: It is in some ways. And that's what people are saying. But if you look at the kind of political landscape, it's littered with politicians that want to be cabinet secretaries and administration officials who, perhaps, withheld information or weren't asked the appropriate questions in the vetting process, and these embarrassing things came out. I mean, look in 1992, Bill Clinton's nominees for attorney general. He went through two that had issues with domestic help that they've hired.
And so, the Obama administration wants to avoid those embarrassing incidents, wants to avoid those head lines, but also wants to know what's coming. I mean, even if they pick someone that may have some skeletons in the closet, if you will, at least they know what they're getting into and they won't have to deal with a surprise.
LONG: So, learning from the past.
LONG: Avoiding the past transition mistakes. But, could Obama's team be eliminating potential stellar candidates?
JOHNSON: I mean, it's always possible that they could. I mean, take again, look at Penny Pritzker. She's a really accomplished woman. But she, you know, could have also looked at that and said, "I don't want to put my family through this." But, at the same time, they also know that they're looking for a very high-caliber group of people. And they want people that can withstand that scrutiny because they really want this first few months of their administration to be focused on policy issues, on the economy, and on, as you mentioned earlier, any drama or headline.
LONG: Sasha Johnson, our political producer -- joining us live from Washington. Sasha, thanks so much. Have a great Sunday.
JOHNSON: Thanks. You, too.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the president-elect is being busy vetting everybody. He's also planning to make Afghanistan a top priority during his administration. Afghanistan's president says Barack Obama made that promise during a phone call yesterday. Hamid Karzai's office says Obama pledged to fight terrorism in, quote, "Afghanistan, the region, and the world."
LONG: A vote this week, on the future of U.S. troops in Iraq, the Iraqi parliament plans to vote on the proposed security deal sometime this week, Wednesday, possibly Thursday. Lawmakers met to read and debate this proposal yesterday. The plan calls for U.S. combat troops to withdraw from Iraqi cities and towns by June 2009 and all U.S. troops will be out of the country by the end of 2011, if this agreement is approved this week.
HOLMES: Bush is promising a new era of prosperity despite the global financial crisis. He is meeting Asia and Pacific leaders in Lima, Peru.
Our Juan Carlos Lopez is there.
Juan Carlos, thank you for being with us this morning, sir. What is on the agenda today? We heard from the president yesterday in a speech but does he have, I guess, big speeches planned or is he kind of doing some backroom dealing right now?
JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, T.J.
Today, the leaders signed their declaration and it's a statement where they agree they will not raise any trade barriers during the next 12 months. And that's something the president had asked for in his speech. So, that's what they're going to do. Then, he meets with the president of Peru, Alan Garcia -- the host country. And finally, it's funny shirt day.
And usually, what happens in these meetings, the APEC meetings, is that on the final day, leaders receive a colorful piece of attire from the host country and we'll see what the Peruvians come up with. But that's going to be the end of it and then, everyone goes home.
HOLMES: Yes. That's always an interesting picture to see, the last thing they do and then everybody goes home. Tell us how is the president being received? We all he's in that lame duck period right now. Are all of these leaders, quietly frankly, taking him and his policies and what he's saying seriously? Or would they like to wait and work with the new president?
LOPEZ: Well, they have to work with the new president. But they understand that the global economic crisis is so severe that they have to work with the current president. And the declaration will reflect that they listened to what President Bush was asking for and that is no more trade barriers for the near future, because, T.J., they understand that their economies depend on the U.S. economy.
LOPEZ: If Americans don't buy their products, then their economies don't grow. So, they want to do whatever it takes to help the American economy recover, to help Americans buy their products, and then that the world economic back on track. So, they happened to be very receptive of President Bush and the declaration reflects. He also had time to deal with other issues -- North Korea and Russia. So, it's been a very successful trip for the president.
HOLMES: All right. Juan Carlos Lopez for us, on the story, in Lima, Peru -- Juan Carlos, we appreciate you this weekend.
All right. Melissa?
LONG: Thank you, T.J.
No rest for the shuttle Endeavour astronauts. This is their 10th day in space. In fact, they completed their third space walk yesterday, working on that joint that generates power for the International Space Station. They're also expanding the station in order to accommodate a crew of six as early as next year. Their fourth and their final space walk is tomorrow.
So many people are traveling for Thanksgiving. We're checking on the forecast not only for Thanksgiving but for this week.
Reynolds, I always think of the students -- being a student in Upstate New York, in Syracuse, and walking the hill there in the snow.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know.
LONG: It's rough.
WOLF: I know. And you know what? Before the today is out, they're going to have up to a foot of snow in some places up in parts of New York. But the snowfall actually went as far south to State College in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, for the Penn State, in Michigan, say, again (ph), snow is coming down, that should taper off today. But still, that cold air is going to remain locked in place.
Currently, we do see some scattered snow showers, mainly in the north of Buffalo and north of Rochester. Right along parts of (INAUDIBLE) this morning, where temperatures are going to be into the teens. These are your current temperatures. Albany with 18 degrees: Buffalo with 24, Pittsburgh with 14, and Philadelphia with 26. Portland and Boston are currently into the teens and twenties, New York with 24 degrees. And your daytime high today, a little bit warmer for you.
In Atlanta yesterday, we stay in the 40s the entire day. Today, 56 is the expected high. Kansas with 58. Las Vegas and San Francisco mainly into the 60s and 70s. And speaking of California, Golden State, not too golden today. We're going to have some fog down in parts of, say, the San Joaquin Valley, it happened to be in Fresno, maybe into portions of Sacramento, you're going to have that to deal with. So, keep those lights at low beam. Otherwise, some scattered showers across the Midwest.
And looking forward to Wednesday, we could be seeing, again, a high pressure being the big feature along parts of the southeast, and should be just fine for you there. But you could see some issues in the northeast and over at Four Corners.
Take a look at this video. We got some video that is quite compelling. Here it is. Ski video from parts of New Hampshire. Take a look that. (INAUDIBLE) just driving that snow wind, certainly a chilly time there. These mountains that you have in New Hampshire, certainly not the magnitude in what you'll have in the north or central Rockies but still, great skiing up there this time of the year. And people are out there hanging in these (INAUDIBLE), making the very most of it.
OK. That's a wrap on your forecast. We'll have more coming up. Let's send it right back to you at the news desk.
LONG: Nice to have that fresh powder so early in the season.
LONG: Thanks, Reynolds.
Well, we know who is heading to the White House. But there are two Senate seats still up for grabs. Elections that are now in over time. We have a recount. We have a runoff. And the results could make one party filibuster-proof. We're going to talk about this uphill battle on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
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BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, they're so wonderful because they're just ordinary people, just like you and me. But what they've done has found a niche. They've found something that's really wrong with the world and they've decided to go out there and do something about it. They haven't been scared by the fact that's either far away or it's going to take another time and effort. They know that in order to make change of the world, they have to invest in themselves. And that's what they've one. And in doing so, they have done so much good work in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Oh, that's our Betty Bop there, my regular co-anchor. There with her mom actually, she took her mom to the event. CNN Hero of the Year Awards held last night. Now, don't think for a second Betty can get a date. She's just decided to take her mom. Betty was actually the winner of the internal CNN initiative called My Heroes.
She was chosen for her charity Help the Hungry, which I'm sure you have seen highlighted on this program. She goes and does this trips to Vietnam every year and has done this past seven, eight-plus years, I believe, now. The program provides humanitarian aid for families in Vietnam. So, she was picked our internal CNN Hero amongst the employs here.
But, who is CNN's 2008 Hero of the Year? It is Liz McCartney. She's been helping survivors of Hurricane Katrina pick up the pieces and rebuild their homes.
LONG: Yes, and along with our dear Betty, Liz McCartney received her award last night at the same Kodak Theater in Los Angeles in Hollywood. You can catch the entire telecast 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. You see Anderson Cooper there. He will host it right here on CNN television.
So, as you're digesting your Thanksgiving feast, turn on CNN and watch this terrific tribute program. More than one million of you voted for CNN's Hero of the Year. And, again, you can see that special moment on our special broadcast, 9:00 p.m., Thanksgiving night.
HOLMES: It's been three weeks since we watched the shower of red, white, and blue confetti rained down across the country on election night. But still, some races are undecided, two Senate seats still up for grab and that stake the balance of power.
CNN deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser -- a friend of our show here on CNN SATURDAY and SUNDAY MORNING -- in Washington.
Good to see you this morning, as always. What's the deal? When are they going to figure these two races out?
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I guess it keeps going and going and going, T.J.
STEINHAUSER: Well, let's start with your state, where you are, in Georgia.
STEINHAUSER: Nine days from now, they have a runoff election. And hopefully, we'll have a winner. What happened in Georgia was, the freshman incumbent senator, Saxby Chambliss, that's the guy on the right, he won a plurality of the votes on the Election Day, but he didn't win 50 percent. That's the law in Georgia, 50 percent plus one. Jim Martin, the Democratic challenger on the left.
T.J., what's going on down there, a lot of big names. They're having this runoff election in nine days. A lot of big names going down to help each side out. Today, Al Gore, the former vice president, will be there for Jim Martin. We saw Bill Clinton as well. Barack Obama cut a radio commercial for Jim Martin.
Saxby Chambliss is getting a lot of big names as well: Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, John McCain.
STEINHAUSER: That's what happens when you have a runoff election. You try to get big names down there, you get media attention because you got to get voters to the polls on the runoff election. And that's not easy.
HOLMES: And Minnesota is another place where big things are happening or things are still happening. But explain to folks, all these big names who are now coming to Georgia, why it's so crucial now? We're talking about the balance of the Senate and the balance of the power here.
STEINHAUSER: Exactly. And as you mentioned, they got that recount in Minnesota between Norm Coleman, the incumbent freshman senator, and Al Franken, remember him from "Saturday Night Live."
But why is this important? Because the Democrats right now, they have 58 seats. They won seven. They are at 58. Their goal is 60 seats. If you get 60 seats in the Senate as the majority party, you can basically squash and stop a filibuster. A filibuster is a move by the minority party, T.J., to basically bring the Senate to a stand still.
So, if the Democrats win both these remaining races -- and there see Al Franken on the left, and Norm Coleman, the Republican, on the right -- if take both these last two races, they get 60. That's their goal, T.J.
HOLMES: And quickly here, you know, has it changed? Have we seen these campaigns -- I'll just say the one here in Georgia, at least -- have we seen it changed a bit from the messages pre-election to now this post-election? Chambliss can go out and argue, you don't want him in here, the Democrats are going to be in-charge. And Barack Obama can come down here and say, "Hey, I need you to put my guy in." So, have we seen messages change post-election?
STEINHAUSER: Exactly. That's exactly what they're doing right now. That the Democrats are saying -- get Martin in there because Barack Obama needs those 60 seats in the Senate. And the Republicans are saying just the opposite, make sure, you know, Saxby Chambliss stays because you don't want the Democrats to run rough shot over us and over the nation.
HOLMES: Yes. It's going to be interesting to see how many people do show up for that runoff. A lot of people, you know, over the election. We've been covering this thing for two years, and now we got more voting to do.
Paul Steinhauser for us, our deputy political director -- it's always good to see you, my friend.
STEINHAUSER: Thanks, T.J.
HOLMES: All right -- Melissa.
LONG: Thank you, T.J.
A funeral for an infant, supposed to be a tragic of mourning, but then, an ironic tragedy. This funeral turned violent. We'll tell you why these people were fighting.
HOLMES: Victims of a bailout. Mortgage giant, Freddie Mac, got big bucks keep doing business. But, as we learn now from Kate Bolduan, there's a downside to that government intervention and it's putting homeless women and children at risk.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Facing a mortgage meltdown, the government took over mortgage finance giant, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in September to prevent them from collapsing, a save that could have unintended victims.
JUDITH DITTMAN, ALTERNATIVE HOUSE: For the past four years, we've had funding from them of about $50,000 that has helped to make this program the success that it is.
BOLDUAN: The program is the Alternative House in Virginia, a place for young homeless mothers, like Ana Ventura.
ANA VENTURA, MOTHER: They've done so much for me. At first, I felt like I was weak. And now, I feel like I'm strong. And that I'm ready to be out there on my own.
BOLDUAN: Fourteen percent of the Alternative House's budget comes from Freddie Mac's charitable arm. It's one of many programs Freddie helps. The foundations says it's given nearly $225 million in the D.C region since 1991. But future donations are now on hold as the government reviews all of the corporation's investments.
DITTMAN: With the current financial crisis, we're not sure whether or not that funding will be coming through this year.
BOLDUAN: Meanwhile, mothers like Latasha Ekeh still need help.
LATASHA EKEH, MOTHER: Our daughter's not going to have to struggle like I did with my mom. You know, I just, you know, if there weren't programs like this, I'd probably been homeless on the street right now, me and my daughter.
BOLDUAN: Ekeh and the entire program face an uncertain future, as they're forced to consider cutting back services and staff if they lose their funding from Freddie Mac.
DITTMAN: We can't have young mothers on our streets, homeless, with no place for them and their babies. And we can't have children sleeping under bridges. That's just unacceptable.
BOLDUAN (on camera): It's not just a problem of losing Freddie donations, the reality is, in a struggling economy, charitable donations, in general, are often the first thing to drop off. It just makes matters worse that this program's big donor is currently frozen for review.
Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.
LONG: A moment for mourning in Milwaukee turned ugly.
It was a funeral home viewing for a small child growing wild.
HOLMES: One dead after shooting at a crowded mall, and this morning, the gunman is still on the loose. Police say the shooting happened yesterday near Seattle -- maybe gang-related. One young man is dead. He's believed to be in his 20s. Another person is in critical condition. Authorities believe this started with a fight between the shooter and the other two men.
LONG: Violence at a Wisconsin funeral home. Family members were saying good-bye to a baby who died after a violent beating. When they started attacking each other, this fight was caught on camera.
Portia Young, with our affiliate WISN, reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, WISN)
PORTIA YOUNG, WISN REPORTER (voice-over): Family, friends, even strangers come to Serenity Funeral Home to say good-bye to Christopher Thomas, Jr. -- a baby with dimples on both sides of his smile, eyes with such joy and life, it's hard to imagine someone breaking his bones, but that's what his autopsy showed.
The violence continues after his death. A fistfight begins at the foot of his open casket and spills into the foyer in front of our camera. After a harsh exchange of words, Thomas' father, Christopher Sr. is attacked by family members from the maternal side of the family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not the way.
YOUNG: Great grandparents, Katherine and Frank Shaw traveled from Alabama for the service.
FRANK SHAW, GREAT-GRANDFATHER: We do want him to go home this way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.
SHAW: We want him to go home the right way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.
SHAW: That's not right what happened in there.
YOUNG: But emotions for raw as each side of the family blames the other for what happened to Little Christopher. There's further anguish over Christopher's older sister, Christiana who is now in foster care.
KATHERINE SHAW, GREAT-GRANDMOTHER: I beg the system to take her back (ph) to their home (INAUDIBLE). They didn't know what I'm saying. (INAUDIBLE).
YOUNG: On the paternal side...
DARLENE KEITH, GRANDMOTHER: I'm tired. I've been crying all week, everyday, everyday.
YOUNG: Christopher Sr.'s mother is also upset. She has another son who is married to Crystal Keith, the aunt accused in Christopher's vicious death. Now, the baby's father is bloody and battered, leaving his son's funeral in an ambulance.
F. SHAW: Have love for everybody. That's what I feel. You got to have love for everybody.
YOUNG: A final plea for the violence to end, and peace for Christopher Thomas, Jr.
In Milwaukee, Portia Young, WISN 12 NEWS.
HOLMES: Oh, an unfortunate situation there. Josh joins us now. Explain this, I was trying to make a sense of.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, I'm not going to tell you too much because I just get the teaser so they'll stick around but check this out. We're going to have a unique view of what the United States looks like. And you're going to have your chance to join in on that. Coming right up.
HOLMES: Oh, that is old-school Michael Jackson. Well, we're talking new-school Michael Jackson. That guy. The prince of pop still, as he's called.
He's actually due in court tomorrow. He'll testify. He's going to be in London to testify regarding allegations that he reneged on an album contract and never returned the money.
LONG: In fact, T.J., it's part of a $7 million-lawsuit brought against Mr. Jackson by a prince from Bahrain. Friday, Jackson's former personal assistance told the court, the prince was a friend. The money, again, $7 million -- a gift.
HOLMES: I don't have a friend that close. I don't even give people $20. Are you all right there, man? My photographer here is about to fall over or something.
HOLMES: Hey, this map.
LEVS: All right, yes.
HOLMES: OK. It's supposed to be -- what? Everybody is taking a picture here.
LEVS: Yes, it's a really idea. It's a unique view of what America looks like. Like imagine if we have Michael Jackson to the picture, I'll just throw out in the window (ph), right?
HOLMES: Wow. LEVS: OK. No one else is going to have that. But you have an interesting view. You might. I tell you -- hey, come over here now, our photographer is gone. I want to zoom right in. Check this out. This is what we've been done. Through iReport.com, we have individual photos that people have sent in from all over the country of what's the view outside their window looks like.
Let's just click on some random ones. This is some pretty stuff. This is (INAUDIBLE) Missouri, I love the mirror image and the lake. Each time we click on these, we're going to see a different photo and you see the description of what people are able to see. This one from Valerie Cox in Pennsylvania. These all are pretty ones.
HOLMES: Do you have from Arkansas photos (ph)?
LEVS: Well, you to -- hold on. Do we have one from Arkansas yet?
HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE), what is that?
LEVS: Yes, check it out. What do we got here? What do we have from Arkansas? There you go. We live in the middle of town. And yet, have the most woodsy, scenic view outside our house. It's Marcia Cheney (ph) who spotted (INAUDIBLE) outside her family room window on November 7th. Now, there's a few states. Betty is not here. So, we can make fun of her for it. But, we got nothing from Texas yet. Nothing from New Mexico.
Keep them coming. The goal here is to get hundreds or even thousands of these, and to see what our nation looks like outside people's windows all over this land. Very cool.
Well, before we go, Thanksgiving come up, right? One more cool assignment going on on iReport.com: "Say Thank You." People are writing in what they want to be thankful about particularly these tough economic times. I'm going to show a couple quickly.
This one is a picture of sisters. This is from Tamara Sherling (ph) in Rincon, Georgia, right near Savannah, who says she is very grateful for her three daughters. At this, they keep me going everyday with their hugs and kisses and "I love you mama."
And, T.J., given what we're talking about last week. I'm going to end with this right here, this is from someone in Brea Canyon, Carol Minkee (ph), who says she's grateful to all the California firefighters who saved so many homes in her area. She says, "I understand this is what you do professionally but I still can't believe you put your lives in the line for us everyday."
If anything, you want to say, thankful, what you want to be thankful for at this time, and share that, or you want to send your photo to us, it's so easy. iReport.com, send photos, videos, stories, whatever you got, well, keep them coming and it's a really good time to have a patriotic view of America. Join in -- T.J. and Melissa.
HOLMES: Well, I would like to be thankful for some asthma medication, just like to get something to work.
LEVS: Yes, I'm sorry, dude.
HOLMES: Again, folks, thank you all for sticking me. Again, I said, I'd just diagnosis with asthma last week. That's why I've been coughing. (INAUDIBLE) quite keep you (ph) there, Melissa, but we're going to hold on, we're going to soldier on.
LONG: T.J., I wish there was something I could do to help, but I really can't.
HOLMES: I wish there was something anybody could do. A doctor would be great. Mine, I'm going to give him a call.
LONG: If you're going to have to give him a call...
LONG: ... tomorrow morning, if not sooner, obviously.
LONG: The next story is about, potentially (ph), you may need cash and need it now, if you turn in your gun, one city will actually give you food and gas money in return. We're going to tell you about the unusual gun buyback deal and where you can find it.
HOLMES: But first, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
LONG: Maybe you can ask Sanjay.
HOLMES: I can ask -- we have a doctor on staff. I should talk to him. Well, he starts right now.