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Big Storms, Tornado Threat; No More Honeymoon?; Pastor Killed on the Pulpit; Charles Barkley in Tent City; Dreams for Sale

Aired March 8, 2009 - 1900   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Some of the stories we're covering for you today, a pastor gunned down in the pulpit right in front of worshipers. Why did this happen? We're on the scene there.

Plus this --

Yes, the American Dream being auctioned off, one person's loss, another's gain. We're at an auction where foreclosed homes are up for grabs at bargain basement prices. Stick around for that.

She said she was told she'd never be on the cover of "Vogue." She proved everybody wrong. Tonight, my conversation with Beverly Johnson, America's first black super model.

The news starts right now.

And the news starts with some breaking news as it concerns weather. We're told that there are some tornado warnings. Let's get straight to our Jacqui Jeras with the very latest. Jacqui what do you have?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes Don, we've got two warnings and both of them are in effect for major metropolitan areas right now, one of which has a history of producing some damage. We want to show you the areas that we're talking about.

First of all, we'll take you into Cincinnati, Ohio. This is on the south side of town. This is the storm that we're concerned about right there. This is for Campbell and Kenton counties in northern Kentucky. This includes the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport. This is the Doppler radar indicated tornado at this time but we could get ground truth.

There are spotters on this storm and the airport has a ground stop in effect because of the storm at this time.

Now, we're going to take you up to the north into Ohio where we also have a tornado warning that includes the Toledo area. These pictures that you're seeing here, this is from Indiana and the Helenville area which is right near Bedford. This is about three hours ago from our affiliate WTHR there. You could see some tornado damage; it's damaging some homes, tearing the roofs off and mostly looking at some moderate damage. We haven't seen major damage thus far.

At least 17 tornadoes have been reported from Missouri into Illinois and also into Kentucky and Indiana in the last six to seven hours. There you can see the Toledo storm that I was talking about right here. This one does have a history of producing tornadoes as well as damaging winds in excess of 70 miles per hour. This is going to be ongoing through the evening hours, guys, as those watches continue to stay in effect.

There's that ground stop I was talking about out of Cincinnati, delays in Chicago at O'Hare and Midway because of the rain that we've had there. There's also some flood watches and warnings in effect because of this storm system.

This is a biggie but the good news, Don, is that it's a fast moving storm system so this is going to move in the northeast tomorrow. Expect airport delays here in the morning but gone by the afternoon.

New storm comes in so watch out for the plains states, north of Dallas and Oklahoma City, and just south of Kansas City for tomorrow afternoon.

LEMON: All right.

Jacqui Jeras is following breaking weather news. Jacqui Jeras if we're getting any more information and bring it back to us, thank you.

JERAS: Yes.

LEMON: We turn now to focus on the economy and the question on everyone's mind these days, when will things ever turn around? And really, you know, will it turn around at all?

Our John King put the question to President Obama's Budget Director on CNN's "State of the Union."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 651,000 people out of work just this last month; 8.1 percent unemployment. So I want to ask you the question Americans are asking including this one right here on the front page of "The Times Daily" in Northwest Alabama. When do we bottom out?

PETER ORSZAG, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: Look, it's very clear the economy is facing some tough times. We are inheriting the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression. Job loss began in January of 2008. It's going to take some time for us to work our way out of this.

But we acted quickly. Within the first month after the President took office and after the Recovery Act to start back on the path to economic growth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, make sure you tune in at the top of the hour to catch highlights of CNN's "State of the Union." The primetime edition airs every Sunday night right here on CNN 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Well, we're 48 very eventful days into the Obama presidency. And given the tough talk between the White House and Republicans some are asking how long will the honeymoon last or is it already over?

Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Mr. Bill Schneider. Bill, according to I guess the polls, he still is in good favor --

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

LEMON: -- with the American public so I would think the honeymoon period is still on.

SCHNEIDER: The honeymoon is on. There are some unwritten rules somewhere that the honeymoon is supposed to last a hundred days. I think that dates back to Franklin Roosevelt back in the '30s who had a big and ambitious program like President Obama.

Right now we're about halfway through that hundred-day period but right now, also, his job ratings which are a key mark of the honeymoon are still very high, they're in the 60s. What we're seeing is a lot of economic anxiety, feelings about the economy rather pessimistic but feelings about the President very positive and a lot of optimism about what his administration is likely to accomplish.

LEMON: All right, our senior political analyst Bill Schneider. Bill, we appreciate it. Thank you.

Stocks have been mixed yesterday I should say on Friday but it was a really weak week on Wall Street. The DOW fell 6.2 percent last week and the S&P 500 dropped seven percent.

CNNMoney.com Poppy Harlow is in New York tonight. Poppy, the market doesn't appear to be responding to the stimulus so far and that is not good come Monday when they open up.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: It's not good, Don, and you can sum it up in one word. It is a lack of confidence -- three words, lack of confidence. Yes, but it's all about confidence. That one word is critical to the markets and there is none of it out there right now.

When people don't have faith in our economy or the global economy they're not going to put their money into the market. When you look at the numbers year-to-date for the market it is horrific.

The DOW and the S&P are both down almost 25 percent. The Nasdaq, the tech heavy index down a little bit less but still 18 percent. I mean, look at those numbers, folks. That is just a few months into this year.

It really, really we're near 12-year lows for the DOW and for the S&P, Don. And what's going on is as we see unemployment accelerating people literally don't know if they're going to have a job in a week or in a month and therefore if they have any money to save they're sitting on it.

We have proof that Americans are saving more than they have in many years. They're not putting it into the market so the question is, until they do that, until there is some stability and confidence, we don't see the market responding in a positive way at all and we're back to those big swings, Don, again.

Last week a lot of 300-point swings that we saw a few months ago.

LEMON: Well, saving, I mean you don't have any other choice. What are you going to do with it, hearing all of this news? Poppy, we appreciate it. And we'll be looking forward to see what happens in the markets on Monday.

HARLOW: Yes.

LEMON: And we appreciate that preview for us.

Let's turn now to war, is the U.S. winning in Afghanistan? In a word, President Barack Obama says no. He tells "The New York Times" that U.S. troops are doing an extraordinary job in a very difficult situation.

But Taliban militants are getting bolder. The President says, quote, "In the southern regions of the country you're seeing them attack in ways that we have not seen previously." Mr. Obama is also hoping U.S. troops can reach out to more moderate Taliban members, something Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he would welcome.

Thousands of U.S. troops will soon leave Iraq. Yes, the military announced 12,000 troops will be redeployed over the next six months and will not be replaced. President Obama's plan to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2012 -- 2010, I should say, August of that year and this is believed to be the first official reduction announcement since he revealed that plan.

Right now there are 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq; 4,000 British troops will also be transferred from that country.

The U.S. credits increased stability for reduction but the streets of Baghdad were anything but stable today. Take a look at the aftermath of the suicide attack that killed at least 30 people and wounded more than 60. The Iraqi government says a man with a bomb, a bomb-filled vest drove a motorcycle into a group of police recruits.

This has been a busy week and it's going to be a busy week ahead for the President as well. On Monday he is expected to lift restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

On Tuesday the President will talk Education Reform at a meeting of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. And on Thursday, he and Vice President Joe Biden to lead a conference on the stimulus package.

We want you to tell us what's on your mind and we always ask for your feedback here.

And here's what some of our viewers are saying. Check it out.

This is what Mead -- Mead says, "Ask people if media is overdoing doom and gloom negativity. 24/7 cycles is too much. I find its paralyzing people from spending."

Morgan Ice, one says, "Discuss how many people who once had excellent credit are being denied jobs due to poor credit resulting from previous lay-offs."

Twoolf says, "Sorry to speak from the atheist point of view but how does God help in a time like this? Is he handing out free money?"

It's a good question. Thank you for your responses at Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and iReport.com, that's where you can go. And we'll get your responses on the air. Hey, we'll hum it, we'll take it; it doesn't have to be a good one.

In the meantime, a church shooting leaves a pastor dead this morning. We'll take you there live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Well, we're going to go straight now to Maryville, Illinois where a gunman this morning shot and killed a Baptist preacher in cold blood in front of his horrified congregation.

Ray Preston of our St. Louis affiliate KMOV is live on the scene with the very latest. What went on Ray?

RAY PRESTON, ST. LOUIS AFFILIATE KMOV REPORTER: Well Don, there are three Sunday morning worship services here. The first one began about 8:15; witnesses say this happened about 20 minutes into that service.

Now, the gunman walked calmly but deliberately down the center aisle of the church. He approached Pastor Fred Winters. Now, church members say Winters stopped and said something to him either greeted the man or asked what he wanted. The man pulled out a gun and then fired.

Now, some church members rushed the man who had also pulled a knife. Two of the congregation members were wounded. They held the man until police arrived. The gunman also wounded in the neck during the scuffle. Some church members thought the shooting was at first part of a skit.

Here's what Illinois State Police say happened this morning when the gunman walked up to the pastor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY TRENT, DIRECTOR, ILLINOIS STATE POLICE: But right now the only thing we know is that the suspect said something to the pastor and the pastor said something back to him. We don't know what that was. It was almost as if the pastor may have recognized him but we're not sure about that at all.

There was something spoken but people that were closest to them at the time couldn't say what that was. The suspect raised his hand, fired the first shot, hit the pastor's bible. When it did, it hit the very top of the bible and exploded the top of the bible into what many in the congregation thought was confetti.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESTON: Now, there's a red jeep still parked in the parking lot of the church. Illinois state police have been keeping a close eye on it. We haven't yet confirmed that but believe that may be the suspect's vehicle. He is from nearby Troy, Missouri.

I know, Don, you used to work in the St. Louis market and you probably remember Troy is a town only a couple miles from here. We still do not know, though, why this gentleman did what he did. He was in surgery latest word we had from police. So they have not yet been able to question this man -- Don.

LEMON: Ok. So I'm glad you said that, you know, no motive yet. But my question is, did he know this Pastor or was he a member of the congregation? Did he have a relationship with the pastor at all?

PRESTON: Everybody we've spoken with and some of the police officers that we have been able to talk with all at this point tell us the same thing -- no one recognized this man.

LEMON: Ok.

PRESTON: No one believes that he has any sort of relationship with the church or any church members here or any of his family has any sort of relationship with the church.

LEMON: Ray Preston, KMOV we appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

The man who said he is not your children's role model reported to jail yesterday but first, Charles Barkley held a news conference. Was he contrite? I think you can guess the answer on that one.

Plus, still beautiful after all these years -- hasn't been that many years but she is still is beautiful. She was the first black woman to appear on the cover of "Vogue" magazine. She's an African-American first. And you'll get to know her in just a bit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: You know the adage every dog has his day even those some might call coyote ugly. Beauty and the beast this contest is not. We'll explain, dog-faced.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: It was supposed to be a fun day at the circus but it turned into a real zoo for some children in Indiana. At least 15 children were injured when an elephant they were waiting to ride was startled causing a scaffolding filled with people to collapse. It happened at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Saturday morning. The children, ages 8 through 12, were taken to first aid stations on site but most suffered only a few cuts and bumps. Two down one to go for NBA commentator and former player Charles Barkley, who began serving his three-day jail sentence for DUI yesterday morning. Barkley reported to the Maricopa County, Arizona jail, the infamous Tent City. We saw him do that yesterday in an amazing press conference. That's where Sheriff Joe Arpaio calls him a model inmate.

The former pro basketballer also has good things to say about Arpaio as one might expect. Barkley endorsed the sheriff's autobiography a dozen years back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER NBA STAR: I don't think Sheriff Joe goes around just saying let me pick people who are driving around DUI. I mean, you come here when you screw up. And I don't blame anybody for this situation but myself.

Let's be realistic. I am used to being famous. I accept the good with the bad and this is just one of those things but like -- let's don't -- I know you guys get overly dramatic on things but let's be realistic. I mean, I'm not going to kill myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Why is the Sheriff Arpaio so positive when it comes to Sir Charles or Chuck as he calls him? Well, tell me the last time you heard a jail administrator holding a joint press conference with an inmate holding up his book, all of that. That's what happened in Phoenix and I asked Sheriff Arpaio, what's the deal with all of this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He apologized. You said that he has paid his time, he was a gentleman and took his medicine, all of that. Do you think by being kind of chummy with him calling him Chuck a number of times in the press conference that people may say, hey, this guy got off easy?

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: I'm not the guy who sent him to the tents. Talk to the judge. I just run the hotel. And everybody in those tents -- 2,000 -- are convicted. I'm an equal opportunity incarcerator. I treat everybody the same whether it's him or anybody else. I had Mike Tyson in the same tent that he's staying in.

LEMON: Okay. We got, when we were listening to this press conference, got a little bit political. Pop culture came in, things that are happening in the news here. He talked about Chris Brown. He talked about Chris Brown and Rihanna obviously. Talked about the president; called him a good friend. Talked about Bernie Madoff, Martha Stewart. Who else, Rush Limbaugh.

Are you surprised that Charles Barkley would bring this up at a press conference when it's really about him and whether or not he is paying for his crime? ARPAIO: No. Chuck's chuck I guess. Watch the television. He has a history of saying what he wants to. I have a history of saying what I want to, too. He's not the sheriff, though. He's on the other side of the fence right now. But he can bring up whatever he wants.

LEMON: Okay. Last question. So, you know, prisoners have to wear pink. Does that include pink underwear where you are?

ARPAIO: You mean, in the tents? Everybody wears pink.

LEMON: Pink everything. Will Charles Barkley have to wear pink?

ARPAIO: No because he's on a special program work release so he gets out during the day to go to work so we don't place our people under that program -- that was ordered by the judge by the way -- in pink and stripes.

LEMON: Always outspoken, Joe Arpaio, top lawman in Arizona's Maricopa County, he is the sheriff there. Thank you.

ARPAIO: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The conversation happened yesterday just moments after that press conference. A lot of people weighed in on that and a lot of you are weighing in today on the stories that we're covering.

MusicalQT says, "That is so sad about the pastor. My prayers go out to the family and the congregation and the suspect and his family as well."

Barbgrewen says, "Remember how long it took the surge paid off? It took years for the crisis to happen. Have patience with President Obama."

Akashmagoon says, "We need to endure during these tough times and hopefully the man above will help us prosper."

Alfie says, "I love the troops coming home but is it 12,000 more unemployed?"

That's a good question; Twitter Facebook, Myspace, iReport.com. We'll get them on the air. Your comments are really good this week and I appreciate it.

Still don't think times are tough? I want you to take a listen to this.

When a single job opening for a janitor came up at a school in Ohio 500 people applied and the list is growing.

Plus, hopes and dreams up for sale. More and more foreclosed homes on the auction block.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: We want to update you on the stories that we're following for you today here on CNN. Horror unfolds before a church congregation in Illinois as a gunman shoots and kills a pastor. Two parishioners and the suspect were wounded. Police are still trying to find a motive.

More bad news from the land of Lincoln; strong winds left their mark in parts of two counties there today. This barn tossed around near Athensville. In nearby Green County two people had to be hospitalized.

We're following President Barack Obama's pledge to gradually withdraw American troops, soldiers from Iraq. Today the U.S. military says it will redeploy 12,000 American troops stationed there over the next six months.

Edison Junior High School near Canton, Ohio has a job opening -- one job opening. That job opening is for a custodian -- there you see the ad right next to me. And it is -- it pays $15 an hour job but it has benefits. That's good. The school district has already received more than 500 job applicants. By Monday, it expects to have 800. Maybe more.

Now, remember, this is for one job at one public school. The applicants are not entry level. Many are highly qualified, highly experienced people in construction and manufacturing. Being a janitor is not exactly what they were aiming for but they're still going to give it a go because they need a job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARRY MASON, BUSINESS MANAGER, PERRY LOCAL SCHOOLS: Plumbing, tile work, electrical, carpentry, people certainly in the, I guess, residential building industry who are looking for a good, stable job and good pay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: This next story you really should pay attention to because it's really about the American dream. You know, home ownership being auctioned off.

While many Americans lose their homes to foreclosure for others those homes are a ticket to the American dream that we talk about.

CNN's Susan Candiotti followed one family as they showed up at an auction in New York today looking to buy a home they couldn't afford, not until now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At any foreclosure auction, grab your ear plugs, your wallet, and prepare for a mad house. Victor Guevares's family is preparing for much more.

VICTOR GUEVARES, BUYING FIRST HOME: This is my dream.

CANDIOTTI: After 12 years of renting and saving, the Brooklyn native is ready to buy his first home in the foreclosure market.

GUEVARES: I just have a feeling that within six to nine months I think we're going to start to see a resurgence in the market. So, I think, now is the time for us to get into it if we can.

CANDIOTTI: He'd like to get his family into this three bedroom, 1,300-square-foot home in Queens that was once valued at more than $500,000.

GUEVARES: Now it's asking bid $90,000.

CANDIOTTI: So the opening bid is $90,000. How much do you hope to get it for?

GUEVARES: $90,000.

CANDIOTTI: Don't laugh. U.S. home auction says places are going for 50 percent to 60 percent off their highest values.

ROB FRIEDMAN, CHAIRMAN, USHOMEAUCTION.COM: I hate to say it but take advantage of the marketplace. Get in there and buy. Help us turn these houses back into homes for the communities.

CANDIOTTI: 8-year-old Devon Guevares has his eye on his own bedroom and privacy.

DEVON GUEVARES, VICTOR'S SON: It's like I'm by myself. It's not like there's people living downstairs.

V. GUEVARES: I feel all this is happening to me is now. This is the time, Victor. This is your property. You're going to get it.

CANDIOTTI: Will he get it? Hold on. Guevares is at the auction with the required good faith $5,000 cashier's check but is competing against who knows? 375 properties in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are on the block.

After more than four hours, his dream home comes up. Opening bid blows by. At least two others are challenging him. Guevares wins at $230,000 but he has to bring it up to code before he'll get a loan. He's almost too tired to celebrate.

GUEVARES: The first part of my journey. I've computed (ph) this. Now I'm on my second, final stretch.

CANDIOTTI: For winning bidders who need a loan, auctioneers predict a better chance of awarding foreclosure again because banks are getting stingier. But will these properties hold on to their value?

Well, that's another issue.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Very interesting story there. President Barack Obama plans to reverse his predecessor's policy on stem cell research. Tomorrow he is expected to sign an executive order overturning the limit on federal funding put in place by the Bush administration. CNN's chief medical correspondent tells Campbell Brown why it's welcome news to the medical community.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN HOST: Explain to us why medical researchers are so excited about stem cell research and what they hope to accomplish ultimately.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If you take an embryonic stem cell it is a what's called a pleuripotent cell, a cell that can grow into just about anything. And what's exciting about that is so many diseases simply need new cells - Parkinson's disease, diabetes, after someone has had a heart attack, heart cells die. Could you somehow replace those heart cells? That's where the exciting part starts to come in.

If you can take these embryonic stem cells, put them in the areas of the body that need those replacement cells maybe you could start to see improvements in these chronic diseases for which we really have no cures as of right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Conservatives oppose the planned move and they contend destroying human embryos ends a human life. We're going to get some of your feedback on about all of these stories. Here's what zeenee62 says, Don, this economic decline is two generations in the making. We need a lot of money to get out of it and replace 15 million jobs.

Meede says love the sheriff in Phoenix. Tired of criminals being treated better than the victims. KP Express says, so when do we get to hear from the other inmates? Why does Chuck get the special buddy buddy treatment? That was our question yesterday. That's what I asked the sheriff. He explained why. Make sure you join our community. You can get your comments on the air at twitter, Facebook, myspace, I-report.com. That is where you go.

College basketball's March madness means millions, millions to universities and book makers. Time to break down the numbers for you. Plus, meet an all American athlete who appears unswayed by the big bucks. Is he? I don't know. We're going to ask Rhodes scholar Myron Rowe. He's live in our studio. You can smile.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. Shrinking entertainment dollars means sports teams are pulling out all the stops to draw in paying fans. One way is to play a historic rivalry such as Duke and North Carolina. When the game is a must see, the expectation is it will help the bottom line. That's the expectation. CNN's sports and business analyst, Mr. Rick Horrow, you're at the game. Don't rub it in. You always have props, too. Is it a viable strategy to pump up the volume on those rivalries, though?

RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS AND BUSINESS ANALYST: Yes. Well, big time because we talk about economic stimulus all the time. This is a built-in stimulus. $30 million, $40 million impact in this triangle region, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh. By the way, Duke and North Carolina? I have family that went to both schools, going to both, North Carolina wins, Duke doesn't. That's gone, this is on. But you start with the big-time college football, basketball now, and the deal is the bottom line is $100 million of economic impact. That's the key.

LEMON: Yes. I was just in, just thought about this when you said $30 million to $40 million. I was in Charlotte last week for the CIA tournament and the city was packed and someone said you know they really count on those dollars every year from those events like this. Here's what I want to ask you. The competition of sports and entertainment sports tickets, struggling. More people staying home just watching TV, some free, some of it they're paying for.

HORROW: Yes. Let's put it in perspective, Don. It's a trillion dollar business, sports and entertainment but it is competitive between the two. You know, movie goers up 17 percent from last year. Yet sports television ratings down about eight, nine, 10 percent. Daytona 500 down, even the Super Bowl down three percent or four percent. So movies on the other hand, Texas, Florida, Michigan, tax breaks to make more movies from economic impact. So like everything else in this world in the turbulent economy, it is big-time competition. High stakes.

LEMON: Well, here's a, you know, I would think that when times are tough if you kind of join and have a partnership that it might make it easier on you. Maybe some sort of I don't know, synergy between sports and entertainment?

HORROW: Yes. And that's the other thing. There are some synergies. Kenny G co-hosted an event at the PGA tour Honda classic this week. Samuel Jackson is now crossing over with some golf announcing. "Dancing with the Stars," a very successful show on another network. Julio Castronevez, Emmett Smith, Monica Seles, all world class athletes adding to the luster of the entertainment world. So, yes, there are examples.

LEMON: As we call it here, cross promotion. Hey listen, you know what I want to ask you because we always talk about these really sky high salaries that these you know, pro athletes get especially when they leave college. Has that started to come down yet, the amount of money that teams are offering or that the athletes are asking for?

HORROW: Every year it's Armageddon. There's a free agent period. Free agents aren't getting enough money they say. But the bottom line is it's going to take a while for those salaries to decrease. There is a salary cap. It's lowering in basketball a little bit. So we're going to see some of that. In football though, the salaries are still there. It still got some big-time contracts. Your buddy Myron Role, he is pursuing education but is leaving a lot of money on the table by the way. LEMON: Yes and you know that he is here and also spent some time with him in Florida just a little while ago. We're going to talk to him in just a bit. Rick, appreciate it. Enjoy the game.

HORROW: OK. See you.

LEMON: Athletes as role models. You heard Rick Horrow talk about Myron Rolle. Some are better than others. Considering the daily police blotter reports that we hear so much about. So let me introduce you to one of the best, definitely at the top of the list here Florida State University's Myron Rolle. Here is a guy passing up his shot at pro football at least for now so he can continue his collegiate studies. But, hey. That's you know a Rhodes scholar and that's what a Rhodes scholar and a scholar does. Good to see you again.

MYRON ROLLE, RHODES SCHOLAR: You, too.

LEMON: So are you taking a little time off before you head to Oxford now? Is this some down time for you in Atlanta here?

ROLE: A little bit of down time. I love Atlanta. The city's great. But you know, I've been speaking in different colleges around the country, different groups. And I've been working out still and preparing myself for the NFL draft as well working out and I head to Oxford in September. So I'm entitled for that.

LEMON: Good. We'll talk about the role model part of it in just a second. Let's talk about the salaries and all of that. Some people were saying you know what when we did the story on you which aired on "AC 360" a couple of months ago, we did the story on you. They were saying, hey, he should take the money now because he doesn't know when you know, he's done with a year or two in Oxford the whole thing could have change. The whole field, so to speak, playing field could have change. And some say he's going to do better especially in this climate with going for academics because then he can possibly go much further and if he gets injured he'll have this brain. Tough choice for you. What do you think about what I just said?

ROLLE: Well, it was very tough. It was very difficult. You know, y family and I never had huge sums of money but money was never a driving factor for me. It was never a motivation. It's always been pursuit of education, pursuit of knowledge and I certainly believe at Oxford, I'll be able to do that, build that foundation, that knowledge base where I can go and impact the world. And I think the impact that I'll have as a physician after I'm done at Oxford and am done with my medical school studies will be far greater than an impact making a huge tackle on the football field. Not to say I don't love football and don't want to play in the NFL but I certainly feel that education is more important.

LEMON: Yes. And that's one of your passions as well. I mean you're just as passionate about football as you are about education. So you're not concerned at all that once you come out people will go oh Myron Rolle, that guy, I remember him. No?

ROLLE: No, I'm not. I think my skills will continue to be there.

LEMON: All right. A lot of people will consider you a role model and for a good reason. So when you see, you know, these stories as we saw yesterday with Charles "Chuck" and athletes being role models does it - did that compel you in any way because of what you read in the news and because of, you know, that stigma, to do what you're doing and really to raise your game?

ROLLE: Well one thing that the coach says to us all the time at Florida State is you know, you have the spotlight on you. If you make a mistake and it gets into the newspaper, it's front page. But if another student makes the same mistake it doesn't. So you always have the spotlight. People are always watching you especially young kids. They look up to you as role models, as athletes. So when you're an athlete you have a platform where you can make a positive difference but if you mess up, you know, it certainly will be on blast everywhere.

LEMON: He said he's not and he shouldn't be. He's always said that.

ROLLE: That's true. I love Charles Barkley but I have to disagree with him on this one. People look up to you and you certainly should hold yourself as a role model the way you speak, the way you dress, the way you carry yourself.

LEMON: I'm glad you smile. You know he's got a really great sense of humor. And you know, you were so serious during the interview. I mean, when we were playing Charles Barkley presser, I mean we were laughing. It's funny. I mean, was it not bizarre? I know you saw it.

ROLLE: It was pretty funny. I guess the sheriff calling him Chuck, that was hilarious to me.

LEMON: Myron, we appreciate it. Myron Rolle, Mr. Myron Rolle soon to be maybe some even president or something like that. Thank you very much. We appreciate it. Keep doing what you're doing. Very proud of you.

ROLLE: Thanks.

LEMON: A lot of you are responding to things that we're putting on the air here. Here's what jacob622 is saying about time a smart football player, there you go, Myron, this is about you, is staying in school, not going to the NFL. Elton_gumbel says, did a great interview with Myron Rolle. Kudos. Publiside says Myron Rolle is the best story in college athletics in years. How do you feel about that?

ROLLE: Sounds pretty good. I like that.

LEMON: It's not like we're roasting you or something. Myron Rolle, thank you very much. We want your comments on the air as well. Twitter, Facebook, myspace, I-report.com and we love to hear from you. Love to hear from you. Thank you for that.

Meantime we've got some breaking news. Confirmed tornadoes spotted in Ohio. Jacqui Jeras?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, this is in the Toledo area, Don. A confirmed tornado now. This is by the Perrysburg Police, this was near interstate 75 and route 795. This was near the Mumme(ph) area, Northwood, Harbor View, are all included. There you see the storm, it is east of the downtown area right now but still moving towards northward and Harborview is heading towards Lake Erie. You need to seek shelter immediately.

We've got our affiliates and also calls in to find out if we got damage with this one. But this is a very populated area and likely to be damaged now that the National Weather Service is confirming there was a tornado as well as Perrysburg Police right along i-75 and route 795. We'll continue to track this severe weather situation throughout the evening. Don.

LEMON: Jacqui Jeras on top of it. Jacqui, thank you.

She was one of the most beautiful women in the world back then and right now not much has changed for the first African-American to grace the cover of "Vogue" magazine. Beverly Johnson is tonight's "Up from the past."

Plus this, a scene in Alabama that sent shock waves across the globe, back to Selma 44 years later, we'll take you there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: 44 year ago hundreds marched across the Edmund Pettis Bridge from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The march is known as Bloody Sunday and the event ultimately caused lawmakers to pass the Voting Rights Act which opened southern polling places to blacks. Well today on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, attorney general Eric Holder and a few hundred others made the 50-mile journey across that same bridge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Some take the view that when it comes to civil rights that we have already reached the promised land. But we know better. And some people view that justice and equality have been achieved for all Americans. But I know better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Peggy Wallace Kennedy, the daughter of segregationist Alabama governor of the 1960s George Wallace introduced Holder at today's ceremony. Wallace later apologized for his segregationist views.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Let's talk about African-American firsts now. Beverly Johnson. She is beautiful. She is accomplished. She is an icon. The first black super model they call her, the first African-American woman to grace the cover of "Vogue" magazine. I got the opportunity to spend time with her at her Palm Springs home. It was a candid conversation and it's for our continuing series "Up from the Past, African-American firsts."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON (voice-over): 1974, the Jackson Five topped the charts. Nixon's resignation. And the Godfather II. It was also the year of change for the American black woman and her image worldwide. Ushered in by this fresh face, the first black one on the cover of American "Vogue" Beverly Johnson.

Did you know that you were the first?

BEVERLY JOHSNON: No, no. I was like, I can't believe I'm the first black woman on the cover of "Vogue." in 1974? Where have they been?

LEMON: That air of defiance as well as her looks fueled Beverly Johnson's modeling success. As a girl, she never thought she was attractive despite being 5'8", lean, muscular, from years of being a competitive swimmer and swimming instructor.

JOHNSON: Very famous in Buffalo.

A lot of people know how to swim.

LEMON; Just missing qualifying for the 1968 U.S. Olympic swim team Johnson began studying law. She took a job at a Buffalo, New York department store where a co-worker saw her modeling potential and slipped her the phone number of a New York boutique owner.

JOHNSON: He said if you ever give this idea about being this lawyer, I want you to call this woman.

LEMON: One year later at college in Boston, her swim instructor job was cut, her $28 a week salary went away.

JOHNSON: So I'm like I don't have a job. I don't want to go back to Buffalo, what am I going to do? And my roommates and classmates were from New York City. You know, I hang out with the cool girls. They said what do you mean? You should be a model. A model. I mean what do they do? Go to a magazine and she said they do this. They stand there with their hands on their hips. You can do that.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNSON: They make $75 an hour. I said what? I said, I've got this number of this woman. I kept that slip of paper and I called her.

LEMON: That woman got Johnson the audition with "Glamour" magazine. They hired her on the spot. That's really in the modeling business that's like an overnight sensation.

JOHNSON: I would think so.

LEMON: But that's where things got hard. Top modeling agencies like Ford and smaller ones turned her down. The one that finally signed her, still mocked her for daring to hope for modeling summit. The cover of "Vogue." JOHNSON: This top agency, the owner said you'll never be on the cover. Who do you think you are? OK.

LEMON: Determined, Johnson left that agency, joined another, five "Glamour" covers followed, then came "Vogue" twice. But under pressure to succeed, she became anorexic and bulimic.

JOHNSON: And I didn't know it until my mother kind of put me in a three-way mirror and I went home one time. And I was like, what's wrong with you? She took me in the room. It was a three-way mirror, I looked, I was like, ah! I really didn't know.

LEMON: Even then she never slowed down. Achieved another first, the cover of "French Elle" in 1975. She even started her own wig company, starred in movies, marriage came and ended in divorce. She lost custody of her only daughter to her ex-husband because she traveled so much.

JOHNSON: I am Beverly Johnson. I was the first African-American to grace the cover of "Vogue" in August of 1974.

LEMON: She slowed down a bit but is still working. She's got the look, the modeling version of "American Idol" airs on of TV land. Johnson has reunited with her daughter, also a model, and is healthy.

And on a late-night round of golf behind her Palm Springs home, she confesses this game and her father's death helped her to get it together.

JOHNSON: For me that was one of the hardest things, for me.

LEMON: Do you still talk to him?

JOHNSON: Oh, yes. When I have a problem, I talk to him. He gets right on it, too.

LEMON: Does he?

JOHNSON: Yes.

LEMON: He pulls you through?

JOHNSON: He does.

LEMON: Now, looking back, because it's not all great, not all diamonds and roses and, you know, soft landings. Are you glad you did it?

JOHNSON: Oh, yes. Whew. Thank you. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

LEMON: Beverly Johnson, an African-American first, still beating the odds.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Besides being an avid golfer, Beverly Johnson still models. You can look at her. She can still do it. She has a show on TV land too. It's called "She's got the look." She also writes book and is an avid advocate for health care. And she is a really nice lady. Thank you, Miss Johnson, for doing that interview with us, an African-American first.

Let's talk now about the threat of tornadoes hanging over the midwest tonight. Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras has the latest forecast.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: You've been watching this newscast, you know, we've been reporting a lot about the weather because of the big storms are moving across the midwest tonight. And it could mean big travel headaches tomorrow. Jacqui Jeras is on top of it. Jacqui.

JERAS: We got an update on that Toledo tornado with three touch down in Perrysburg. So hopefully there wasn't any damage. Still checking on that. Also all clear here for now. The warning has expired and the storm has moved over Lake Erie. So that's some good news. In the meantime, we're still monitoring that threat for severe weather.

Our tornado watch expires at the top of the hour. But a severe thunderstorm watch still in effect across central Ohio, down into eastern Kentucky, sometimes you still get tornadoes even though it's a thunderstorm watch. So be aware of this threat. We're starting to get pictures in now of some of the damage that has occurred throughout the day today. 17 reports of tornadoes overall.

These are aerial pictures from WTHR TV out of Indiana. This is the Bedford area. We got damage in Heltonville, and also one injury now being reported in Fayetteville, Indiana. That's all from this one same storm, we think, or one tornado. Apparently a bus was thrown into a residence there. That's where we got the injury. There you can see the roof blown off that house in its entirety. The storm system continues to push off to the east.

We got travel delays right now in Chicago and Atlanta. Watch for them in the northeast tomorrow morning. Don.

LEMON: Wow, Jacqui, you're busy. Pay attention to Jacqui. Thank you very much. Only look at the story because I know you like animals.

JERAS: OK.

LEMON: So beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but ugly is just quite obvious. With that in mind here's some of the sights and the sounds and the contestants in the 14th annual ugly dog contest near San Diego. That dog doesn't look ugly to me, it's cute, right?

JERAS: It's ugly accessories, I think, on that one.

LEMON: It's a pop-harsh. It's just wrapping up canines from various breeds and backgrounds compete in 14 different categories, Jacqui. And from those who look most like their owner to those who are the most beautiful.

JERAS: I love that.

LEMON: To, of course, the contest name sake, ugly ugly.

JERAS: Do you have a dog?

LEMON: Just remember, every dog, no matter now no matter how aesthetically challenged is beautiful.

JERAS: Do you have a dog, Don?

LEMON: Do I have dog? I had a dog. travel too much. I had to have it adopted. If Gracey is out there who is a Great Dane. She's watching. Hello. She's a lovely dog. I don't think any dog is ugly.

Guess what, Jacqui, the pageant's proceeds went to an area, animal clinic. Very interesting. You have a pooch, right?

JERAS: I used to.

LEMON: OK.

JERAS: I'm sorry.

LEMON: We'll cry on each other's shoulder later.

JERAS: I'd like another one but my husband doesn't really want one.

LEMON: All right. Jacqui, thank you.

Comment time now. Pretty pearl sixes, I absolutely enjoyed the interview with Beverly Johnson. Ky304qurl says I have always thought Beverly was a beautiful woman and her wigs are wonderful and she was always such a nice, caring lady. You got that one right on. Proserve says nice interview with Rolle. It is important that African- Americans learn that Rhodes scholars can be better model than NFL.

HolyGhostTee says it's amazing how so many political spokespeople expect President Obama to improve an eight-year plummeting economy in eight weeks. Comments? Questions, criticisms? Everything from the peanut gallery, we're taking them. Twitter, Facebook, myspace, i- report.com.

All right, everyone. I'm Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. I'll see you right back here, 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Time now for "State of the Union" with Nr. John King.