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CNN NEWSROOM

Living former presidents meet at Oval Office; African-Americans hold high offices in Colorado; Israel sends envoy to Egypt for possible ceasefire

Aired January 7, 2009 - 14:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't acknowledge the fact that he was a police officer or nothing. He said, stop. Stop. We were like, for what? Who are you?

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM (voice over): And what happened next is the talk of Houston. Why would a police officer shoot a young man in front of his parents' house?

JOE THE PLUMBER: I'm a Christian. I'm pretty well protected by God, I believe. That's not saying that he's going to, you know, stop a mortar for me. But, you know, you've got to take the chance.

PHILLIPS: Oh, Lord, Joe The Plumber's got a new gig. It's got nothing to do with the pipes, it's got everything to do with Gaza.

And what now for the Senate appointee who keeps trying to get a seat?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(On camera): And Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips live in the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Today's three-hour truce in Gaza is long over. It didn't take long for both sides to start firing again. Israel plans to have these temporary truces every other day so food and supplies can be trucked in for civilians.

Aid agencies say it's a welcome first step, but they said three hours isn't enough to get the food to the people who need it. Palestinian medical sources say at least 680 people have been killed. More than 3,000 hurt.

Relief agencies have a lot to do and they say too little time to do it. Let's get straight to Paula Hancocks. She is at Gaza's border with Israel - Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Kyra.

It is a distant memory now for the 1.5 million residents of Gaza, that three-hour lull. And a more permanent ceasefire seems like a distant dream for them; so a 12th restless, sleepless, terrifying night for the residents of Gaza.

Now, certainly, that three hours we are hearing from aid agencies was a start. It is three hours more than they had before. But logistically it is impossible to try and get food, water and medical supplies to all those who need it in such a short amount of time.

The Israeli military says that this wont' be a daily occurrence, it will be every other day that they will have this three-hour lull. Now, the violence is continuing. Also, rockets are continuing to land in Israel. At least 20 rockets, we understand, have landed in Israel today, so even as the Israeli military is fighting Hamas and heading deeper into Gaza, they are still managing to fire these rockets. And as we are seeing, the longer this ground operation goes on, it started Saturday night, the higher the death toll, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Paula Hancocks, we'll continue to talk to you throughout the afternoon. I appreciate it.

As you know, Palestinians are mostly the ones caught in the middle of this conflict between Hamas and Israel. CNN Senior Editor of Arab Affairs Octavia Nasr gives us an Arab perspective of what's happening.

And it's interesting, because we can't get in there. So it's hard for us to be able to tell that side. We have to take it from the Israelis and the Palestinians. We're not able, really, to fact check and see for ourselves.

OCTAVIA NASR, CNN ARAB AFFAIRS EDITOR: That's right.

Actually, even Arab media are saying the same thing. They're saying it's hard for them to fact check. When you say, how many people killed? How many people injured? How do you know? You have Israeli sources giving you information. You have Palestinian sources giving you information. Even on the Arab media side, who have boots on the ground, they're saying it's hard to fact check anything.

PHILLIPS: OK, so what exactly are we seeing through the perspective of the Arab journalists?

NASR: If you're watching Arab media, for example, now, the big networks are Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya covering Gaza. The coverage is a bit different because, again, they have access that we, for example, do not have. They're on the inside. They're inside Gaza. Look at these images. You're seeing a lot of pictures of dead bodies, a lot of pictures from hospitals, from the streets. The focus is very much on the Palestinians.

Although they do bring in, like here for example, this is an Israeli guest on Al Jazeera, they do bring in the Israeli perspective. But the focus is a lot more on the Palestinians, because, again, the numbers. You know, when we talk about the casualties. The numbers are much, much higher on the Palestinian side. So the coverage is basically representing that.

PHILLIPS: Does it look - because a lot of times the numbers, that's the big discrepancy, right? Does it look like the numbers we are getting from various sources, Palestinian sources, Israeli sources, the same numbers that the Arab journalists are getting inside Gaza?

NASR: It seems like it, Kyra. It's very interesting, when you watch the Arab networks, you are seeing a lot of destruction. You're seeing a lot of dead bodies. You're seeing a lot of children. So when, for example, aid agencies are saying that half of those dead are children, and civilians. It seems to be true. If you look at those pictures, that's what you're getting out of Gaza, if you're watching Arab media.

Of course, the best thing will be when we can go in, and basically get a firsthand account on all these situations. But right now, that is not a possibility. As a matter of fact, the Israeli military spokesman appeared on Al Jazeera, earlier today and he explained why. He said that they are worried about the safety of journalists.

But, you know, the Al Jazeera anchors gave him a hard time and they said that if journalists want to go in and witness for themselves, they should be allowed to go in at their own risk. So that is a debate that continues, about Western journalists and other journalists that want to go into Gaza, whether they will be allowed in or not.

PHILLIPS: It's always tough for us. Octavia, thanks.

Well, it looks like loose lips sank Pakistan's national security adviser. Reports there claim the government fired Mahmoud Ali Durrani for running his mouth about one Mumbai terror attack suspect who is in custody. Durrani revealed that the suspect has ties to Pakistan. Durrani is the former ambassador to the U.S. and an ex-Pakistan army soldier.

Now to a club so small you can fit every current and former member in an Oval Office with room left over. And today that's just what happened. For the first time in 27 years, every living U.S. president was at the White House, along with the president-elect. And so was our Elaine Quijano.

Well, I guess you were there for the photo-op. You weren't necessarily in the room. Because that would have been a huge exclusive, Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, definitely. No. And I should tell you, I was not even part of the group that actually was in the Oval Office, because originally they were supposed to have this in the Rose Garden. Everyone was going to be allowed out there. They had to move it in because of the rain. So they only had the pool reporters inside.

But you know, an extraordinary image, Kyra. Let's take a look at it, five commanders in chief, past, present and future, all gathered in the Oval Office for that extraordinary moment. President Bush stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the incoming president, Barack Obama, as well as the three living former presidents. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush.

Now, the message here was unmistakable. President Bush noted that despite having different ideologies, all of those men want to see Barack Obama succeed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank the president-elect for joining the ex-presidents for lunch.

I am - one message that I have, and I think we all share, is that we want you to succeed. Whether we're Democrat or Republican. We care deeply about this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUIJANO: And President Bush went on to talk about how all of those men understand full well that the office of the president of the United States transcends any one individual. And again, he wished Barack Obama the best. And said the country does wish him the best as well.

Now, this was an extraordinary moment. Again, the White House said that this is the first such gathering of its kind since 1981. And just to give you a little bit more imagery, after that photo-op in the Oval Office, and the cameras were gone, all five of these men went into the private dining room just off the Oval Office. They spent about an hour and a half talking and eating.

And Kyra, we're waiting to find out exactly what topics they discussed. Kyra --

PHILLIPS: Well, it is sort of interesting to watch the body language, too. You see Clinton next to Carter. You feel that tension. You see Carter looking at Bush. You see the tension.

QUIJANO: Fascinating.

PHILLIPS: Yes, you just want to know what the little bubbles are above their heads, you know, when you can't hear when they're thinking.

QUIJANO: That's right, that's right. Really good stuff.

PHILLIPS: Elaine Quijano, thanks.

Before he set out for the White House, the president-elect filled another job opening. This time an opening he created. Barack Obama says it's time America had a chief performance officer overseeing federal spending and demanding results. His choice is a management consultant and former Treasury official named Nancy Killefer

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will be instructing members of my Cabinet and key members of their staffs to meet with Nancy soon after we take office. And on a regular basis thereafter, to discuss how they can run their agencies with greater efficiency, transparency and accountability.

I will also see to it that we apply these principles of budget reform to the economic recovery and reinvestment plan. This plan will call for dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy. Save or create 3 million jobs, mostly in the private sector. And lay a solid foundation for future growth.

In order to make these investments, that we need, we'll have to cut the spending that we don't. And I'll be relying on Nancy to help guide that process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: A little more about Killefer. She's a senior director at the management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, in Washington. And from 1997 to 2000 she was an assistant director of management at the U.S. Treasury. For five years after that, she served on the oversight board of the IRS.

Barack Obama's old Senate seat still empty, but maybe not for much longer. Day by day, meeting by meeting, craziness by craziness, Roland Burris comes a little bit closer to the post that he says is rightfully his.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: You've seen the last of this guy? Not. Now Joe The Plumber wants to flush out the truth as a war correspondent. I know, there are just no words. Stay here for details on his Middle East trip.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: The salt trucks are out in force as Boston and other parts of New England, and the Midwest, cope with snow, sleet and freezing rain. The sloppy wet mix forcing hundreds of schools closures and delays and many roadways are snarled with many insurance seminars. Heavy rains across the South have triggered flooding in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and West Virginia. Roads and bridges are closed in some areas due to high water and downed power lines.

This is what's left in a home in western North Carolina after a landslide. The earth loosened by heavy rain. Thousands of people across the state are without electricity. Crews from North and South Carolina are scrambling to restore power.

Your heart has to go out to that home owner, that's for sure. Meteorologist Chad Myers keeping an eye on all of the dangerous mess.

(WEATHER FORECAST)

PHILLIPS: Stopped by surprise, the who and the why, well, they didn't know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a gun and a light shining in our face. We did not know it was a police officer. We just thought, you know, who was this guy with this gun, and this flashlight. Who is this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Well, a minute later the officer opened fire. Now a young man is in the ICU and a Texas town is caught up in quite a controversy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Here's mud, or popcorn, in your eye. Leave it to a college kid to try adding some kick to your snack as you watch a flick.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Lots of comings and goings in the Illinois Senate seat saga, but not a whole lot of movement. Roland Burris back on Capitol Hill today. This time for a meeting with the two top Senate Democrats. He left with higher hopes than he seemed to have yesterday, but the bottom line is, he left. CNN's Brianna Keilar, she didn't leave, she is still watching everything.

Brianna, the action moves, or I should say the action movie, now to Illinois, right?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, to Illinois, because as Senate Democratic leaders are clearing rethinking their initial opposition to seating Roland Burris to replace Barack Obama in the Senate, well, we heard Harry Reid, top Democrat in the Senate say, was that once two things are out of the way he said we'll, quote, "assess where we are." Sort of vague, but that's what he said.

He said the number one thing was the signature from the secretary of state of Illinois, who's thus far refused to sign the certificate of appointment. This is going to play out in the Illinois supreme court, though. Roland Burris has filed suit. So, they're waiting for that to happen. And Reid said, obviously, the sense is that moving forward is contingent on getting the signature.

The other thing is that Roland Burris is going to go before this impeachment board, Democrats and some Republicans from the Illinois legislature, tomorrow, to talk about the circumstances surrounding his appointment. And basically he'll be trying to, you know, state his case that it was all on the up-and-up. But the bottom line for Roland Burris, as we heard in a press conference that he held just a short time ago, he was very happy, certainly very buoyed by this meeting with Senate Democratic leaders. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROLAND BURRIS, (D) ILLINOIS SENATE APPOINTEE: This morning I had a great meeting with Majority Leader Reid and Majority Whip Durbin. And in that meeting we discussed quite a few things. But I had an important phone call before I went to that meeting, and that phone call was from my friend, former president of the United States Jimmy Carter, and we chatted very briefly. And he indicated to me that, just tell everybody I said, when you're in the Senate, Roland, you will make a great senator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now, Senate Democratic leaders in their decision to block Burris have been really facing a lot of pressure, especially because some members of Congress even have brought up the issue of race. Roland Burris would be the first, or would be the only African- American senator if he were seated.

I just want to tell you, Kyra, this just coming to us from our congressional producer, Deirdre Walsh (ph), who was outside of a Congressional Black Caucus meeting, they met and they voted unanimously to support Roland Burris . So there you have it. Increasing pressure even as a lot of momentum is under way on the Senate Democratic leaders to go ahead and move forward with seating Roland Burris .

PHILLIPS: All right. Brianna Keilar live from the Hill. Appreciate it, Brianna.

The man whose signature supposedly could make Roland Burris a senator says that he's not to blame for the standoff. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White isn't saying much in public, but he did speak to WGN Radio. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you surprised at how that played out?

JESSE WHITE, ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, they could have seated him without my signature.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean?

WHITE: Well, my signature is not necessarily required. In order for the Senate to place the gentleman in the seat that was -- that he was appointed to by Governor Blagojevich.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the way the story's being told is different than that. It suddenly seems as though, maybe not suddenly, but it sure seems like your absent signature is carrying a lot of weight here.

WHITE: It carries a lot of weight, but my signature is mostly ceremonial, rather than that being a point of law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that's what the experts have been telling us, Mr. Secretary, that it's more perfunctory. You don't have the power that the governor does in appointing a senator, right?

WHITE: That's exactly right. So, if you understand that, then you can understand what the Senate did to Roland Burris yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the Senate did to Roland Burris yesterday?

WHITE: Oh, yes. They played a little built of a game with him yesterday. They have the authority to put the gentleman in place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: White says that he feels like the fall guy for a political position that Senate leaders may not want to admit. White's role and obligations, if any, may be spelled out by the state supreme court. We'll keep you posted.

If you notice as well, Jesse White is an African-American. And as we heard earlier, in the hour, there are accusations of being made that the whole issue of him not signing the certificate is a race issue. Well, that makes that argument pretty thin, wouldn't you say?

We also heard today from the secretary of state in Minnesota. That state, too, has been in a quandary over a Senate seat. Just this week the state elections board certified a whisker-thin victory for Al Franken. Though the Republican incumbent, Norm Coleman, refuses to quit. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says that the ballots were counted and recounted and the whole thing was fair and square.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK RITCHIE, MINNESOTA SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm a public servant, as were my other members of the state canvassing board, strong republican, strong independents, nonpartisan people. I think the people of Minnesota feel this was a very, very public and transparent, and accurate process. And we feel great that our system itself gives us the opportunity to really get an accurate final count of how the Minnesotans voted on November 4th.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Now, officially Coleman lost by 225 votes. But Ritchie can't issue an election certificate to Franken until all the court fights are over.

It's a new year, but Wall Street and millions of Americans are still dealing with the same old problems. Jobs are being slashed, salaries being frozen, and many companies aren't even hiring at all. Susan Lisovicz on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with all those numbers.

And also the job reports coming out Friday, not looking good, Susan.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: No, Kyra, and you know, really, we are in the throes of recession now. The market - the economy was handling the housing crisis pretty well in terms of jobs, even though the U.S. economy was losing jobs every month of the year. It was when the credit crunch really kicked in the fall, where you saw the job deterioration really accelerate. And that's what we're dealing with now.

There's a payroll firm called ADP, which came out with its estimate of private sector jobs cut in December; nearly 700,000 jobs cut for the month. The biggest losses in the service sector, which is the broadest part of the economy. Manufacturing, which has been hard hit as well. Small and medium-sized businesses were hit harder than big companies. It's harder for smaller companies to absorb losses.

And losses are what we're seeing across the board on the Big Board. The Dow industrials right now, the sell off accelerating, the blue chips down 248 points, or 2.75 percent. The Nasdaq and S&P each down about 3 percent, Kyra.

And by the way, that ADP report does come out two days before the government's more inclusive monthly jobs report. Something that is closely scrutinized on Wall Street, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So is this what we should expect from the government's report, nearly 700,000 job cuts?

LISOVICZ: Not as bad, but bad. I mean, the consensus for that report, Kyra, is 475,000 jobs cut. And for the unemployment rate to rise from 6.7 percent to 7 percent. Why the discrepancy? Well, the ADP report doesn't count government jobs. And that's been adding, that's a place that's actually been adding jobs. We're not just talking about Senate positions here.

The overall numbers for 2009, by the way, are likely to worsen. I'm talking about job losses. The Congressional Budget Office says the unemployment rate could hit 9 percent by 2010. And January job cuts are rolling in. ALCOA will cut 13,500 jobs, or 13 percent of its workforce. It will freeze hiring and salaries. Furniture retailer Ethan Allen is cutting 350 jobs. Both of those shares are under pressure. ALCOA shares down 10 percent.

And again, you know, a lot of economists say the job losses will get worse before they get better. There is some light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of folks say by 2010 things will improve. That's a long time off, unfortunately, Kyra.

That's why that stimulus plan is something that is so hotly debated right now.

PHILLIPS: That's right. And we've been talking about it every single day, you, or Ali Velshi, hammering out all the plans - or the bullet points of the stimulus plan. You can go to CNN.com and check it out there, as well. Study it, know it, right? That's our future.

LISOVICZ: IT is our future, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Susan.

Straight ahead, a promising athlete stopped by police.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a gun and a light shining in our face. We did not know it was a police officer. We just thought it was, you know, who was this guy with this gun, and this flashlight? Who is this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: A minute later the officer opened fire. Now a young man's in the ICU and a Texas town is caught up in an unbelievable controversy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: And it's 2:32 Eastern time. Here's some of the stories we're working on for you right now. There are hopeful signs that a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Gaza may be on the horizon. Israel has agreed to send envoys to Egypt to discuss a possible cease-fire. Still unclear whether Hamas, the group which governs Gaza, will send representatives, too.

It's a scene not often seen in Washington. President-elect Barack Obama huddled with the president and three former presidents in the Oval Office. What kind of advice did he get?

And Roland Burris may be inching his way forward to filling Barack Obama's old Senate seat. Today he met with the top two Senate Democrats, and it appears that the leadership may be rethinking their opposition to Burris. They're waiting on a ruling from the Illinois Supreme Court about what's needed to validate his credentials -- credentials, rather, for that appointment.

Now back to one of those stories that just got us talking in our morning meeting this morning and asking, what the -- ? A week after he was mistakenly stopped, then shot by a police officer, a 23-year- old Texas man is still in the hospital. And his family and members of the community are outraged over what they see as a racially motivated incident. Dozens of people attended a protest yesterday demanding justice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUANELL X, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: What we want to say is that the shooting of young Robert Tolan was absolutely unjustified, not necessary, and he was a victim of the worst case and the worst kind of racial profiling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: CNN's Ed Lavandera joins us live with more. And to this point, Ed, there seems to be no evidence that this young man was a threat to police.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, not yet. And really, the police there in Bellaire has clamped down. They are not talking anymore publicly about this case until they're done with their internal investigation, as well as the Harris County District Attorney's office there in Houston, which is also trying to determine whether or not charges will be filed against the officer involved in this shooting.

But it stems from a case last week with 23-year-old Robert Tolan, who is the son of a once-prominent Major League baseball player. His father played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds back in the '60s and '70s. Robert Tolan himself is an aspiring Major League baseball player as well. He's in the Washington Nationals organization.

He had come home -- it was 2 a.m. last week when he had come home from getting some fast food with his cousin. He had pulled into his driveway at his parents' house there. And when they got out, the cousin and family members describe an officer who had come up to them, holding a flashlight and gun. They say it was hard to tell that it was even a police officer at first.

The parents inside, hearing the commotion, came out to see what was going on. And the family says that the police officers pushed the mother up against the wall. That's when Robert Tolan tried to get up from the ground to kind of see what was going on and defend his mother. And that is when the shots were fired. The cousin, who spoke briefly last week, said it was all very confusing leading up to that gunfire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY COOPER, COUSIN OF ROBERT TOLAN: He jumped out the car and fled into the grass with a gun and (INAUDIBLE) light shining in our face. We did not know it was a police officer. We just thought it -- you know, who is this guy with this gun and this flashlight? Who is this?

He didn't say, hey, let me see some I.D. Let me see some I.D. or anything. He didn't acknowledge the fact that he was a police officer or nothing.

DAVID BERG, TOLAN FAMILY ATTORNEY: And there's no doubt in my mind that if these had been white kids, this does not happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: Kyra, so far, there's been no evidence that the two men had been drinking or were armed in any way or posed any threat, as you mentioned off the top there. As far as the officer involved in the shooting, he's a ten-year veteran of the Bellaire Police Department force. Has no record, according to the department, of any kind of misconduct in his time there with the police department as well. But they do say that allegations of racial profiling is taking it too far.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BYRON HOLLOWAY, ASST. CHIEF, BELLAIRE, TEXAS, POLICE DEPT.: I don't know what the officer saw, what they, you know, encountered. Anytime that someone is injured, we take it very seriously. But as far as any allegations of racial profiling, I'd probably say that that's not really going to float.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: So, Kyra, the district attorney's office there in Houston investigating the case to see if any charges will be filed. As for Robert Tolan, he's still in the hospital, as you mentioned. The family's attorney tells us that the bullet went into his liver.

And it's unclear right now if that bullet will be able to be removed, so whether or not his baseball playing career might be in jeopardy because of all this as well -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, I'll tell you what, Ed, we're going to stay on top of the story, that's for sure. Appreciate it.

And it looks like excessive force isn't just a Texas issue right now. According to a new survey of E.R. doctors, most think they've seen cases of excessive force by police. The data was published in this month's Emergency Medicine Journal.

Listen to this: Nearly 98 percent of the E.R. docs surveyed had treated patients who had claimed excessive force, or who the doctors suspected were victims of it. Close to half felt that they and their colleagues should be legally required to report these types of cases to the authorities.

So, what can you do if you think you're being abused by the law, law-enforcement officers who are supposed to protect you? Here's what we found out. If you'd like information on how to file complaints of excessive force, there are a couple places you can turn to if you don't trust your local police department. Log on to aclu.org or check out the Department of Justice's link. You can get there from usdoj.gov.

Hey, Joe, what do you know? No, seriously, what do you know? Since that whole plumbing thing didn't work out, I mean. Now, Joe Wurzelbacher is decamping to the Middle East. That's right, the plumber slash author slash singer.

His latest career gambit? War correspondent. He's going spend ten days in Israel reporting for the conservative Web site pjtv.com. And he says he hopes to air Israelis' views on the Gaza offensive. Lord, help us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE WURZELBACHER, WAR CORRESPONDENT FOR PJTV.COM: And it's tragic. I mean, it really is. I don't say that in any little way. It's very tragic.

But at the same time, what are the Israel people supposed to do? I get to go over their and let their average Joes show their story, what they think, how they feel. Especially with, you know, world opinion. Maybe get a real story out there.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIPS: Get a real story out there. Just want to remind you that Joe the Plumber has no journalism experience. No war zone experience either. But he thinks he's, quote, "pretty well protected by God."

So, what's Joe been smoking, drinking? Maybe he's even eating this popcorn? Apparently the idea just popped up. A college student noticed people sneaking into alcohol -- or sneaking alcohol into the movies.

So now, this guy's selling alcohol-flavored popcorn. He first tried flavoring his popcorn with real spirits, but that just didn't work. So now he uses non-alcoholic flavorings that taste like pina colada or beer but without the buzz.

Well, this guy may need a drink, a buzz, something to take the edge off. Disgraced money man Bernard Madoff could end up behind bars instead of his $7 million Manhattan penthouse. Joining us in New York with the latest, CNN Senior Correspondent Allan Chernoff.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kyra. This is really an incredible story. Bernie Madoff remains in his apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side. He's there under home detention after telling the FBI that he was running a $50 billion fraud.

Now, on Monday, prosecutors said they want Madoff in jail, and now we have details on their argument. They've released a letter that they sent to the judge right over here, and in this letter, they say that Madoff from his apartment sent lots and lots of jewels.

Let's just have a look at the list. In one of the packages, they say 13 watches, a diamond necklace, emerald ring, two sets of cufflinks. Then in two of the other packages, diamond bracelet, gold watch, diamond Cartier watch, a diamond Tiffany watch and other jewelry.

We understand these packages were sent to his two sons. The sons contacted their lawyer. The material was returned, or rather was given over to the government, handed over to the government. There were other packages as well, sent to the brother of Madoff and also sent to a couple in Florida.

And Madoff's attorney has told me that as soon as he found out, he said, look, you cannot do that. And Madoff tried to get the material returned, the jewels or whatever else was sent over there.

But anyway, the prosecutors are saying that in this case, Madoff has clearly violated the terms restricting him from concealing and disposing of any of his assets. And they want him in jail. We are anticipating that the judge may, may come to a decision on this question by the end of the week. Madoff, by the way, is confronting a securities fraud charge, potentially 20 years in prison -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And we'll track it. Allan, thanks.

So, how did Madoff rip off so many rich and successful people with the oldest con in the book? Find out this weekend. "Madoff, Secrets of a Scandal," it's a special investigation by CNN and "Fortune" magazine. Catch it Saturday, Sunday night 8 Eastern right here on CNN.

Lawrence Welk had tiny bubbles. The gadget industry hopes tiny fuel cells are its next big hit. Get your "Energy Fix," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: So, you tired of your smart phone or laptop battery dying on you after just a few hours of use? Well, tiny fuel cells could be the next best thing for mobile device users. Stephanie Elam has our "Energy Fix" from New York. Hey, Steph.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kyra. Yes, well, you know, as hand-held technology gets more advanced, our gadgets need more power, and batteries, they're just not keeping up. So, fuel cells have long been touted as the eventual solution. They generate energy by using a small amount of liquid fuel, and after years of testing, companies say they figured out how to make them small enough, and cost effective without overheating.

So, let's start off with Lilliputian Systems. They plan to introduce a portable butane fuel cell this year, with a larger rollout in 2010. Here's one plugged into an iphone that you can see in that image there. The company says the device provides 60 to 100 hours of power a charge. That's 20 times more than current batteries. The charger will cost about $150, with resale cartridges about $1 to $3 each.

Another company, MTI Microfuel Cells, plans to introduce a methanol fuel cell by Christmas. It provides 25 hours of cell-phone talk time and will also likely cost in the $150 range.

Now, not only do fuel cells provide longer lasting power, they are truly portable. There's no plugging into the wall to recharge, and you don't have to carry around separate chargers for all of your devices anymore either. Fuel cells can be used anytime, anyplace, even on an airplane. Both of these companies say their products are approved for air travel, which is key for a lot of us -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, those fuel cells you mentioned are still almost a year away, right? So, is there anything on the market today?

ELAM: Yes, there is. I mean, that's true. When you look at these products, they are about a year away. But there's something right now that you can get. It's from -- it's called the 24/7 power pack. This is from Medis Technologies. I just happen to have one sitting right here.

It provides up to 30 hours of cell-phone talk time. You can get it on amazon.com for about 40 bucks. And as you can see, it's bigger than a deck of cards here and it comes in various adapters. It has various adapters for your mobile devices. But it can only be refueled once. So, once it's spent, it's spent and there is to it.

But of course, if you need more of an energy fix, you go to cnnmoney.com -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Hard to bring you up every 15 minutes or so.

ELAM: Hey, I'm happy to come out and give you a fix whenever you need it, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Give me my fixes. Thank you. I love my Stephanie fix. And by the way, did you see --

ELAM: And I love my Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Yeah, and we got -- aww. All right. We'll move on. See you, Steph.

Well, Americans tossed out an estimated $100 billion, or a billion -- rather, 100 billion of them every year. And I'm talking about those plastic bags that you get at the grocery store. Do you know they can take up to 1,000 years to degrade? In our "Solutions" segment today, Rob Marciano talks to a woman who is tackling that issue one bag at a time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of bag did you want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plastic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Plastic for you?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the checkout line, most people use plastic. But in Nashville, Belmont University Art Professor Teresa Van Hatten-Granath (ph) checks out a few of her own bags.

TERESA VAN HATTEN-GRANATH, BELMONT UNIVERSITY ART PROFESSOR: I've been making bags. I've given away over 2,300 at this point.

MARCIANO: It started out as a project for herself and a few of her friends. But after launching her own Web site, greenbaglady.org, Teresa began giving away fabric bags to anyone who requested them, for free.

VAN HATTEN-GRANATH: But the catch is is that even though I'm giving them a bag for free, they have to use it instead of paper or plastic.

MARCIANO: She also asks for photos of recipients shopping with their bags. Using donated materials Teresa can make one fabric bag in less than ten minutes. She labels and numbers each bag, then mails them out. Doesn't even charge for shipping. With hundreds of billions of plastic bags adding up in U.S. landfills every year, Teresa says she is helping the environment and inspiring others to do the same.

VAN HATTEN-GRANATH: People also call it pay it forward. I'm giving somebody something, and then they're not using paper or plastic, so it's giving it back to the planet.

MARCIANO: Rob Marciano, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: As always, Team Sanchez back there working hard for his money.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I was just thinking about what U.S. presidents would say -- you know, wouldn't you want to be --

PHILLIPS: Is that why you're trying to look kind of presidential? You had that look on your face as the camera panned over to you, your hand on your hip and looking off into the sunset.

SANCHEZ: That was that forlorn look.

PHILLIPS: (LAUGHTER)

SANCHEZ: No, think about it, though. I mean, here's five -- four former presidents and the president of the United States in a room together. What do they talk about? What do they say? And then, you know, then there was that other time, back in the 1980s, when they all went to Anwar Sadat's funeral, where they'd gotten together as well.

You know, as an American you start asking yourself a whole lot of questions about what these guys represent and what they could learn from each other. Especially in the case of Barack Obama. Candy Crowley is going to be joining us. She's going to be talking about that, among others.

But one of the biggest stories that we're following today, and I think, you touched upon this earlier, is the incident that's taking place in Texas. You know, two guys, they pull up into their own driveway, in their own home. Police officers think they're in a stolen car. Their mother comes out and says that's not a stolen car. That's my son, it's his car, bang, bang, bang. Three shots are fired. And he's down.

PHILLIPS: Well, let's give some context. You've got a black male in a nice neighborhood in a nice car pulling up to a nice house. And I know at least one of the officers was white. Not sure how many were in the car. We can't get a police report. We can't get the police department to come on and talk about it. We had one small statement yesterday. I mean, come one, let's look at the obvious.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And it does scare you...

PHILLIPS: And it happens too much.

SANCHEZ: Oh by the way, the population of Bellaire, Texas, where this happened, 89 percent white.

PHILLIPS: Well, I'm glad you're tackling it. You of all people, Rick Sanchez.

SANCHEZ: All right. We will.

PHILLIPS: Talk to you later.

SANCHEZ: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Following in the stood steps of Barack Obama. For the first time ever, two African-Americans become leaders of Colorado's state house and senate. We're going to talk to them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: First Barack Obama, now two African-Americans are making history in Colorado. Terrence Carroll was sworn in today as Colorado's first-ever African-American state house speaker. Peter Groff holds the same distinction as state senate president.

And our CNN's Jim Spellman is in Denver. He got to witness a piece of history.

Hi, Jim.

JIM SPELLMAN, ALL-PLATFORM JOURNALIST: Hi, Kyra.

It's sort of the first day back to school here at the state capital in Colorado. And these two gentlemen both sort of citizen legislators. One is a lawyer, the other is -- and a college professor. The other is a lawyer and a former cop.

But they're so excited to be part of what they sort of -- they consider themselves part of this post-racial generation of politicians. And they're really excited to be leading their respective chambers there at the state capitol, especially in a state that you wouldn't expect to be the very first state to ever have African-Americans heading up both chambers. And I got a chance to speak with them this morning in the senate chamber right before they were sworn in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRENCE CARROLL, SPEAKER OF COLORADO HOUSE: First I'm honored and humbled that you know, my colleagues, our colleagues, chose us to lead the senate and the house. And it's even more humbling when you look at the fact that this is a state with 4 percent African-American population.

And so it just kind of leads you to believe and it just impresses upon you that they're more concerned about our character and our belief to lead as opposed to the color of our skin. Which is the way it really should be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPELLMAN: And they really point to that focus on character, the focus on policy, over focusing on race, to their success here in the state where it was unlikely that they would -- that would -- this would be the first state where they would rise up to lead both chambers, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, and it's interesting, too, Jim. I mean, this is where the Democratic National Convention was. This is where Barack Obama made his big speech. And you wonder if that had sort of some type of influence on the state there. And here's what's interesting, too, is that, what was it, 70 years ago the Klan was really active in this legislature, right?

SPELLMAN: Oh, yes. In the 1920s, the Klan basically dominated state politics here in Colorado. Both chambers of the house, they had a governor that was associated with the Ku Klux Klan. They would hand out voting tip sheets to all the voters. 35,000 Klan members in Colorado in the '20s. So, they really have -- I think it's fair to say they've come a long way here in Colorado.

PHILLIPS: Jim Spellman, appreciate it.

Ever wondered where President Bush ends and Will Ferrell begins? Sometimes it's hard to tell who's imitating whom.

(LAUGHTER)

The impressions -- he's doing impressions of the -- oh, I get it, the impressionater in chief. They always throw those words at me, Rick Sanchez. They're just too big. Has been coating W's (INAUDIBLE) tail.

Oh, help me out now. Ferrell is strategerizing -- forget about it. It's a whole parody SNL by the creative writers and the place and he hosed me. I'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL FERRELL, ACTOR: So, I'm leaving the White House to go tear Dallas a new party hole. But don't worry, the Tiger Woods guy is taking over. He seems to know a lot of stuff. But here's the thing I'm really excited about. After Farack Sema gets sworn in, I'm a free man and that means I can curse, fart, flip people off, and get pirated cable again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Well, coming to a theater near you, as long as you live near Broadway, Will Farrell as President Bush for one last hoorah.

Well, where there's a Will, there's a W.

Now, not sure if you can actually say a particular f word or party hole like he said on TV. But here you go. Will Ferrell will take his impressionation to Broadway from February 5th to the middle of March. The show is called "You're Welcome, America: A Final Night with George W. Bush."

Rick Sanchez is going to take it from here.

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