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Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Joining Obama Administration?; Fighting Words Between Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich; New Outbreaks of Violence in Pakistan Today

Aired May 16, 2009 - 08:00   ET



T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Are we going to have a problem this morning?

NGUYEN: Just a little bit of one. No, we're having a great morning. Hello, everybody. Welcome back, you're watching CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It is May 16th. Good morning. I'm Betty Nguyen.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR, SATURDAY MORNING: And hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes. 8:00 here in Atlanta, Georgia, 7:00 a.m. in Kansas City, 5:00 a.m. in Las Vegas. Thank you for starting your day right here with us.

NGUYEN: OK. So he is a Republican. He endorsed Senator John McCain for president, but now there is a shake-up. Is Utah Governor Jon Huntsman now joining President Obama's administration?

HOLMES: Also this is not a happy duo today. Some fighting words between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich. Gingrich says Pelosi is engaging in despicable, dishonest and vicious political efforts. A closer look at who knew what and when they knew it about the CIA's interrogation techniques.

NGUYEN: We start with this though, some new outbreaks of violence in the terror war today as the Pakistani army presses its offensive against the Taliban in the country's northwest region. A suspected U.S. missile strike hit a religious school near the town of Mir Ali. Of the 10 deaths, Pakistani officials say two were suspected foreign militants. Meanwhile though a car bomb exploded in the Pakistani city of Peshawar killing civilians.

CNN's Ivan Watson joins us from the capital of Islamabad. A lot going on today. Ivan tell us, what's the latest right now of what you know?

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More bad news, Betty. This car bomb in Peshawar was pretty deadly, killed at least nine people and police say it blew up next to a passing school bus. All of the victims they say were civilians and that city has been hit hard over the course of the past month. This is the main western Pakistani City, at least three deadly car bombs just this month.

And Betty, I'm pretty sure it's probably related to this Pakistani military offensive that's been going on in the nearby Swat Valley that Taliban militants are trying to retaliate by hitting targets in that city -- Betty.

NGUYEN: We were just looking at some pictures, Ivan. I mean this really is the first solid evidence, these pictures, that the Pakistani military is showing us that actual progress is being made in this offensive, correct?

WATSON: We had a very interesting briefing from the Pakistani military Betty. For the first time they showed video of captives, they say Taliban prisoners. They were shown on video and the military spokesman said at least one of them is actually not a Pakistani but he's from neighboring Afghanistan.

He said that several of these prisoners were actually students from a religious school, a madrassa. That's been a controversial subject here because many accuse the madrassas around this country of training and recruiting terrorists.

On top of that, the Pakistani military, they released footage of a series of air strikes against what they say are ammunition dumps in the Swat Valley where the fighting is concentrated right now, Betty. But the Pakistani military is still losing men to this battle against the Taliban. The Taliban are still fighting back. They say they've lost three soldiers in the last 24 hours -- Betty?

NGUYEN: All right, CNN's Ivan Watson joining us live from Islamabad today. Thank you Ivan. And of course we will continue to monitor developments in the story and bring you updates as needed.

HOLMES: I want to tell you about Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. You may not know the name if you don't live out west, but a Republican he is. He endorsed Senator John McCain for president. But why is he the man (INAUDIBLE) in that election. President Obama now possibly offering a job.

CNN political editor Mark Preston joins us now live from Washington. First, what is the job and why is he the guy?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, I'll tell you, T.J., there's something to be said. That famous saying from the Chinese general, keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer. Jon Huntsman, a western governor, somebody who has been on the short list for 2012 for the possible run for the presidential nomination for the Republican Party.

We could hear in the next hour or two perhaps that he will be named the ambassador to China. This is a very big job for the Obama administration. Of course China is such a huge trading partner for the United States.

In addition to that, there will be a lot of political questions, T.J., around this announcement. Why did Mr. Huntsman decide to take it? Why has President Obama decided to give it to him? I think some of the answers we can answer right now. Huntsman has a lot of experience over in that area. He has been the ambassador to Singapore. He has served as the deputy U.S. trade rep, so he seems to have the background. The pending question will be after this will Jon Huntsman somehow serve a couple of years in the administration and then perhaps still try to run for the presidential nomination? I think if he joins the administration, T.J., that would probably be slim.

HOLMES: And you say -- you kind of give some reasons there for why he might be qualified and why the president might want him, but what would the governors of -- what would his point be? Why would he want this job?

PRESTON: A very good question. He is a centrist Republican. We do know the Republican party right now is doing a lot of soul- searching. You have a struggle now between social conservatives and centrist Republicans about the direction of the party. Huntsman is a centrist.

We've seen Senator Arlen Specter, a longtime moderate in the party just recently switched from being a Republican to the Democratic party perhaps and of course we don't know this until we hear this himself, but perhaps Mr. Huntsman thought there wasn't a place in the party but in the very least maybe he thinks that this is the job that he needs to do. He has the experience.

He would be the third Republican, T.J., to join President Obama's cabinet. Robert Gates, of course, was kept aboard from the previous administration. He's the defense secretary. Ray Lahood, an Illinois congressman, heads up the Transportation Department and of course there's Judd Gregg, who is the New Hampshire senator, very well known here in Washington for his budgetary expertise, was tapped to head the Commerce committee (sic). He withdrew his nomination because he realized that his views could not be reconciled with President Obama's vision.

HOLMES: All right, just quickly here, do people think for the most part is it the view that the president is doing what he said he would do, keeping that promise of trying to reach out to Republicans? You just mentioned three there if Huntsman does join that would be in his administration at least. Is that enough? Is he reaching out?

PRESTON: You know, I think that if you talk to some conservative Republicans they will say that, in fact, he is not reaching out, that by putting people in some of these key spots, you know, that's a little bit but they want him to work across the aisle and I will tell you congressional Republicans, Republicans across the country are probably viewing President Obama as somebody who is not reaching across the aisle.

HOLMES: And just one more thing and real quickly want to get this question in about the speech at Notre Dame, a lot of a hubbub being raised about this speech. How is the president and the administration going to handle what they know is coming which is going to be a lot of (INAUDIBLE)?

PRESTON: We've seen protests all week, T.J.. Right now they've been very quiet. We do know that President Obama will address the controversy when he gives a speech tomorrow. However, he will not make a big deal about it, T.J.. He will probably touch upon it but what we've heard from the White House is that they understand that this is a ceremony for the graduates and not for him to be politically grandstanding.

HOLMES: All right, Mark Preston, our political editor, good to have you as always. Thanks so much.

PRESTON: Thanks T.J.

NGUYEN: We are inviting you to weigh in on all of this this morning. I want you to go to our Facebook pages, our Twitter pages. You can also go to CNN blog. We have one now. It's, I believe. It's all new to us, folks so bear with us.

Let' me get the latest right now from my Facebook page on the whole Nancy Pelosi versus the CIA, who knew what, who is telling the truth. Susan writes I don't think she's being honest. Why did she do the press conference yesterday? Not a good move. And then down below Raymond says the trap was laid and she fell for it. President Obama has to sooner than later make a comment about all of this.

HOLMES: Keep those comments coming into us about whatever topic. We're asking you specifically maybe about a couple of things. By all means if there's something you want us to talk about, you want to talk about, send that to us again, Facebook, Twitter and our blog. You can find us out there.

NGUYEN: In the meantime though, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is getting slammed by a man who once did her job. Pelosi says CIA misled her in briefings about certain interrogation techniques that some call torture but many don't believe her like Republican and former Speaker Newt Gingrich who said that to ABC radio.

Take a listen to his comments.


NEWT GINGRICH (R) FMR HOUSE SPEAKER: She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior. The fact is she either didn't do her job or she did do her job and she's now afraid to tell the truth. Speaker Pelosi's the big loser because she either comes across as incompetent or dishonest. Those are the only two defenses she's got.


NGUYEN: Wow and his words there. Current CIA Director Leon Panetta wasn't in charge at the time, but he also contradicts Pelosi saying his agency never lied to Congress.

HOLMES: Some scary moments for passengers onboard a flight to Buffalo, New York. Just as the plane was coming in for a landing, something went missing, a tire. You want to keep those when you're trying to land. You see the pictures of it there but the tire came off and rolled away. As you can see there was another tire there so it kind of held that side of the plane up so kind of averted disaster at least here. A spokesman for Colgan Airlines says the plane however was properly maintained. He blames the incident on a faulty wheel bearing.

NGUYEN: Also some nasty storms to tell you about in the Midwest and it looks like more severe weather could be in store today. It's an every weekend kind of thing isn't it?

HOLMES: It's that time of the year.

NGUYEN: Our Karen Maginnis will join us with an update on what hit and where.

HOLMES: Also coming up, your interview this morning I guess you'd call it an audition as well ...

NGUYEN: No, no. If it was, I did not get the job, that's for sure. We're talking about five-time Grammy winner Usher and you know, he's a successful entrepreneur and he's also been inducted to the boys and girls club hall of fame. He showed me around his studio and tried to get me to tap dance, of all things.


NGUYEN: That's all you're going to give us? Come on. Give me a little James Brown. What do you want?

USHER, SINGER: I want you to do it.

NGUYEN: You can't put me on the spot.


NGUYEN: My interview with Usher still ahead. You don't want to miss it.


NGUYEN: Well, speaking of center fold, "Maxim" is out with its top 10 list. You know "Maxim."

HOLMES: Wait a minute. Who put those pictures together? Let's show these pictures.

NGUYEN: You don't like the head shot?

HOLMES: What's the point? That's embarrassing.

NGUYEN: (INAUDIBLE) Did you do this? All right, speaking of, there it is, "Maxim's" hot list, typically focuses on young, sexy stars. They kind of broadened their view this year. We'll get to those young, sexy stars. Would you like to read some of their names?

HOLMES: OK. You might recognize some. I'm not a fan of the show. I don't watch the show but she's in the show "House," number one there is Olivia Wilde, Megan Fox, a lot of people remember her.

NGUYEN: "Transformers."

HOLMES: Yes of course. The third there Bar Refaeli I believe is her name but that's Leonardo Dicaprio's gal.

NGUYEN: She was also on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit edition.

HOLMES: And number four there, Akerman. She is in the movie "Watchman" that was big a couple months ago I believe and then the last young lady there, that's Mila Kunis, I believe is how you say the name.

NGUYEN: "That 70s Show."

HOLMES: "That 70s Show." She was in the movie

NGUYEN: (INAUDIBLE) It's a hilarious movie. But remember, 93, we want to talk about that one on the list because it is first lady Michelle Obama. For her accomplishments, her fashion sense and those defined triceps. Everybody wants Michelle Obama arms. I do at least.

HOLMES: I am still -- I am perplexed. We tease the top 100 and we have head shots of them.

NGUYEN: Maybe they can work it out for the next time we do the story. Stay tuned, folks. We'll try to get you other shots for T.J.'s viewing pleasure.

HOLMES: No, I mean, the magazine does not have head shots of them.

NGUYEN: Many people out there watching are very disappointed I'm sure.

HOLMES: All right. Karen, I'm sorry for that. I have to turn to you for the weather now, severe weather going on. Karen Maginnis in for us this weekend, in for Reynolds Wolf. But again, we're talking about severe weather once again.


NGUYEN: All right. Thanks so much for that, Karen. So if you are looking for a great weekend getaway, our Reynolds Wolf has just the spot for you right outside of Washington, D.C. Old Town Alexandria, has history, art and charm and all on the metro line.


REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just a quick metro ride from D.C. is a perfect weekend get away.

STIRLING KELSO, TRAVEL + LEISURE: Alexandria is a nice change from Washington, D.C. It's quaint and very sweet. It has that laidback Virginia vibe. The people there are very friendly and you're also right on the Potomac River so there's beautiful walks right along the water.

WOLF: By the waterfront there is the ultimate in historic refurbishing.

CLAIRE MOULEDOUX, TORPEDO FACTORY ARTISTS ASSN.: This building used to be a U.S. Naval torpedo station used to manufacture torpedoes during World War II but was changed over into an art center in 1974 and now we have 82 artist studios that are open to the public.

WOLF: Step more than 250 years back in time, we tour the historic homes and businesses. And today there's a great sidewalk scene.

KELSO: During the summer months is one of the best times to visit Alexandria just because a lot of the French bistros there spill out on the streets. They have little cafe tables that you can just pull up and have a cup of coffee.


NGUYEN: Well, the battle has been raging on and the viewers, they are weighing in this morning. Our Josh Levs will join us with how people are reacting to President Obama speaking at Notre Dame tomorrow.

HOLMES: Also a little later, the Preakness is happening. You know this is the second leg of that triple crown. Well, the park where the Preakness stakes takes place having some issues, some financial troubles and could be in its final stretch.


HOLMES: All right. Live picture to show you here out of Baltimore. Not a lot it appears going on there now though we assure you there will be a whole lot more happening. These folks get an early run on the Preakness stakes coming up a little later today, of course the second leg of the triple crown. A lot of people want the triple crown winner Mind That Bird, the long shot that won the Kentucky Derby in this race as well. But all eyes will really be on...

NGUYEN: The filly. Rachel Alexandra is her name. And you know, a filly hasn't won the Preakness since 1924, so this could make history today. We are going to be watching. Some of the other names on the list here, I love these names, Big Drama is one. Then you've got, let's see, Papa Klemm (ph), Flying Private and Tone It Down and of course Rachel Alexandra who is the favorite, it seems.

HOLMES: All right (INAUDIBLE) see a repeat, no suggestion that it would be but the horrible story we saw last year, the filly had to be put down, was also going into that race, the Kentucky Derby I believe it was going into that as kind of one of the favorites. So people here just getting an early start. There will be much bigger crowds there a little later. We'll keep an eye on the Preakness.

We turn now to another story though I've been keep an eye on tomorrow, the president at Notre Dame waiting to see how he's going to be received. A lot of people chiming in this morning. Our Josh Levs here to tell us what people are saying out there.

Hello there, Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's really interesting. In this particular dispute the Internet is playing an exceptionally big role. Take a look at this. The Internet plays a vital role. This comes from the newspaper at Notre Dame, the student-run newspaper. And what they do is they point to a series of web sites that have really taken the lead here in this fight.

One of the major ones is which is leading with a video. Let's take a look a clip from that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bestowing an honor on him is equal to bestowing an honor to those policies which are in contradiction to Catholic teaching.


LEVS: Today you're getting a sense of what that video is like there. Now I wanted to balance it out with a Web site that's run by students in support of the president coming. There actually isn't one. According to the school newspaper itself, that's the only one run by students but there are Web sites out there that some are taking part in that do support President Obama coming.

I have a graphic for you. Let's go straight to that. That's from one of the Web sites that's actually having a petition in support of him coming. And it says as you can see, "For decades, presidents of both political parties have been invited to Notre Dame for this occasion to engage in rigorous discourse about the most pressing issues of our day. Through this invitation, Father Jenkins is honoring the best of our nation's Democratic and religious values."

So you can get a sense there. What we're seeing is that there are these major Web sites on different sides and you can see several more. We've actually posted links to them at CNN blog and also at Facebook. So you're able to get a sense of how big these are, these petitions and guys, the major role that the Internet is playing in the whole debate.

NGUYEN: It's more than the blog. It's more than the Web site. People are talking about it and viewers are responding. What are you hearing from them?

LEVS: I don't think we can zoom in right now, but I'll tell you, we're getting a lot of responses here on Facebook and also on the CNN newsroom blog right here at Take a look at that, you're going to see your chance to weigh in.

Today at 4:00, actually, a whole hour is going to be about that. We're going to be reading those. We've also been posting for days at Twitter and at Facebook. I've got a question going right now on my Facebook page, Josh Levs, CNN. So you're seeing that kind of debate back and forth. Guys, I think you're seeing something similar on yours.

NGUYEN: Oh yeah. We've been checking it out all morning long and we've got some responses already. Let's go to my Facebook page really quick. (INAUDIBLE) says "Will graduating seniors at Notre Dame who are pro-choice be denied their degrees or does Catholic Church look the other way for money?"

Interesting there. But then we have someone down here that says, let's see, Linda C4251 (ph) says "There are many, many people at Notre Dame supporting Obama. Notre Dame encourages diverse opinions backed by education."

HOLMES: All right. We appreciate the comments on these stories and all others. There is one from my Facebook page saying it seems to me that some at Notre Dame may be holding President Obama to a higher standard than they hold themselves. Please keep those comments coming in to us.

We'll turn back to talking about the economy and the recession, coming up next, most of the country feeling the pinch of a recession right now. But for one city, kind of business as usual. How are they doing it in this city? What city are we talking about? We got the mayor coming up.

NGUYEN: And my interview with R&B superstar Usher. Take a look. Yes, he is a singer and entrepreneur, a five-time Grammy winner but he is also growing his empire. We'll show you the (INAUDIBLE)


NGUYEN: President Obama is expected to nominate a Supreme Court justice to replace David Souter within the next three weeks. Activists from one minority group say justice won't be done if they don't get representation on the high court.

CNN's Kate Bolduan has the story.



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Hispanic vote played a key role in Barack Obama's presidential victory. And Hispanics are looking for recognition of that support. Seeing a golden opportunity in a Supreme Court vacancy, they're not holding back.

ESTUARDO RODRIGUEZ, HISPANICS FOR A FAIR JUDICIARY: It's beyond symbolism. For us, it's sitting on that bench and hearing a case that may deal with voting rights or employment, labor concerns.

BOLDUAN: Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group. Nearly one in six U.S. residents. And advocacy groups are now pressuring President Obama to name the first Latino or Latina justice. CNN contributor and syndicated columnist Rubin Navarrette says their time is overdue.

RUBEN NAVARRETTE, CNN.COM CONTRIBUTOR: I've heard this debate for a long, long time on both sides. And Latino's are running out of patience.

BOLDUAN: Leading Hispanic candidates include federal appeals court Judges Sonya Sotomayor and Kim Wardlaw (ph), California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno (ph) and Interior Secretary Ken Salizar (ph). All come with well respected judicial resumes, but not without controversy. Sotomayor has faced stinging criticism from the left and right over perceived concerns about her temperament and intellect. She was even parodies on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

But fighting stereotypes isn't the only hurdle facing a Hispanic nominee. Political timing is another.

THOMAS GOLDSTEIN, SUPREME COURT LEGAL ANALYST: The only factor's that really essential for this nominee is that she be a woman. Beyond that, ethnic diversity, racial diversity that the candidate would be Hispanic is certainly a plus, but it's not going to be determinative.


BOLDUAN: Now sources tell CNN that private meetings at the White House this week with liberal groups, the message coming out of it was a little bit of chill out. It seems that the White House is trying to kind of call the lobbying effort here, as the president begins to near his final decision.

NGUYEN: The message, chill out. Okay, breaking it down for us, Kate BOLDUAN joining us.

BOLDUAN: Those are my words, not anyone from the White House.

NGUYEN: Oh, really, it wasn't typed on the official letterhead, chill out? All right, talk to you soon, thanks, Kate.


HOLMES: Heard in terms we could understand. We appreciate you, Kate.

Well, a small company is catching profits from the sea by thinking green. CNN's Richard Lui dives into a true fish story in this week's small and global.


RICHARD LUI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Going deep to make money and save the sea. Ocean Blue Sea Farms is raising fish in huge transparent mesh globes far from shore and pollution.

BRIAN O'HANLON, OCEAN BLUE SEA FARMS: In very deep water, the strong currents -- you are what you eat and you are where you live. So we're feeding the fish with the best ingredients that we can find and growing them in the cleanest water we can find.

LUI: The so-called aqua pods may be better for fish and the environment than coastal shallow water fish farms.

O'HANLON: The aqua pod is completely closed system. We like to call what we do free range fish farming.

LUI: The aqua pods are tied to the ocean floor off the coast of Puerto Rico and now Panama.

O'HANLON: Panama represents a great opportunity for us to diversify the business. Only 45 miles from the Atlantic to the Caribbean to the Pacific.

LUI: The fish start their lives in a fishery and are then transferred into the aqua pods to grow. The fish will be sold in the U.S. The company scored a half million dollars in revenue last year and 2009 is expected to be even better.

O'HANLON: I've got this passion for the ocean. There's a lot of opportunity out there for us to responsibly develop the high seas.


NGUYEN: Well, Michael Phelps back in the swim of things.


NGUYEN: We're going to be talking about that. Sports business analyst Rick Horrow will join us with a look at that.

HOLMES: And also going to be talking about the Preakness, the legendary event happening today. But it's -- that's some rough times right now. This is a live look there. A lot of folks just starting to gather there at Pimlico Park on the ground for the race coming up a little later today. We'll be talking about that.

Also, coming up after this break, we'll be talking to the mayor of what many say is a recession-proof city. Stay with us.


HOLMES: Recession? What recession? That's what some economists are saying. About just a couple cities around the country, including Oklahoma City, saying their financial stability is holding up pretty well during the country's economic shake-up. And the man leading the city right now is Mayor Mick Cornett. He joins us now.

Mr. Mayor, thank you for being here. We know the country is at about 8.9 percent unemployment. Your city sitting about 5.6 percent. Now in good economic times, where are you often with your unemployment rate? This is a bad time of year at 5.6 percent. In good times, where are you?

MICK CORNETT, MAYOR, OKLAHOMA CITY: Well, we were under 4 percent just a few months ago. So our economy has started to slow down. We're feeling the effects that are hitting the rest of the country. It just seems to be better off in Oklahoma City than it is throughout much of the country.

HOLMES: All right, a lot of people are sitting up and maybe a lot of mayors sitting up right now listening to you and saying how is he doing it? So tell us how are you all able to do this?

CORNETT: Well, we invested in quality of life. You know, housing prices are very low. Our air quality is very high. We have an abundance of fresh water. We have virtually no traffic congestion. Our entrepreneurs and our job creators are able to expand jobs, because we're recruiting a number of highly talented, skilled, and educated young people. And if you're attracting young people the job creators are probably going to have some success.

HOLMES: Have you diversified as well? There are so many, it seems, other cities who are dependent on one industry or another. Are you all set up in such a way that even if one business starts to fail a little bit, you got so many others to fall back on?

CORNETT: Well, absolutely. That's been the key for us. We're contingent on the energy industry historically, but we've expanded into aviation, the biomedical, and of course, our tourism numbers have been going through the roof the last few years. So we have very much diversified. And that's been a big benefit.

HOLMES: And do your home prices now continue to go up? I read that the median home price has gone up every single year since 2004. Does that continue to be the case there? It sounds unheard of.

CORNETT: Yeah, well, we've not had the big jumps in housing prices. We've not had that boom and bust mentality. We've had a very slow and steady increase through the years. But yes, home prices are holding steady. We're having a fewer houses sold, I mean, but prices are holding their own...


CORNETT: ...if not moving up consistently.

HOLMES: Well, let me ask you in those boom and bust times, it seems like you never get the big boom, but you never get the big bust either. So in those boom times when you sat back and you watched all these home prices going up around the country, and there were these numbers of homes being bought and the economy seemed to be just flourishing everywhere, did you sit back and were a little envious at those times?

CORNETT: Yeah, absolutely. When I saw the growth that was going on in Phoenix and Las Vegas, yes, I was a little envious at the skyscrapers that were being built and the thousands of people moving in.

But now when you see what that type of growth can do to your city, and how it's tough to keep up with that type of growth, I think slow and steady is a very good way to go. And our banks have been very conservative. And so our banks are all in really good shape. They're still lending.

HOLMES: And the last couple things here. How much did you all learn? Would you say a lot of this is due to the fact you all learned big lessons? I believe it was the Pin Square bank failure there in town. I think it was the early '80s if I have that right.

But did you all learn lessons there about what I guess some tricky business and economic practices? And did you learn some lessons there about to keep the straight and narrow and on the up and up? I mean, how much credit do you give that incident for you being on the path you're on now?

CORNETT: A lot, because this current generation went through that. That boom and bust cycle was disastrous to Oklahoma City's economy in the 1980s. We've come out of that very solidly. And we've created a city where people want to be.


CORNETT: You've got to create a city. You've got to create a high quality of life. You got to attract people. Then the jobs. The entrepreneurs and the job creators will have their opportunities to create those.

HOLMES: Last thing and just quickly, a quick answer, no -- every city is different. This may be unique to Oklahoma City, but do you think the model you all have deployed there can work in pretty much any city in this country?

CORNETT: Yes. I do.

HOLMES: All right, well I say it's short and sweet and to the point. And he gave it to me like that. Mayor Mick Cornett, again, Oklahoma City, sir. Congratulations on what you all have been able to do there. Thank you for coming in and sharing some of your thoughts with us, our viewers, and maybe some mayors who are out there listening to you.

CORNETT: Thanks, T.J.

NGUYEN: Yeah, it really does provide a little hope this morning, you know, when we talk about the tough economy. Speaking of providing a little hope, especially if you are a fan much of the Preakness.

HOLMES: Of course.

NGUYEN: That is taking place today. We're going to give you some live pictures right now out of Baltimore, Maryland. The second jewel in the horse racing triple crown. A lot of eyes will be on Rachel Alexandra. That is the only filly in the race today but a filly hasn't won the Preakness since 1924, so we will be watching.


HOLMES: We want to thank you again, Larry, for bringing in your Steve Miller CD. We appreciate it.


HOLMES: Yeah, we appreciate you. All right, Larry, of course, from CNN Sports going to be talking to us. Here what we're talking about is a girl on the go this morning, the early favorite in today's Preakness stakes in Baltimore is a filly. Ready to take on the big boys in the second race of the Triple Crown. And there are the big boys. We got Rick Horrow, our sports business analyst and also I got Larry Smith sitting here next to me.

Well, I want to start with you, though, on a different topic here if I can, Rick. And that is Michael Phelps. He is swimming for the first time this week since that suspension. What's the impact of him coming back to the sport?

RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: Well, the impact is we've got a guy again who is at the center of the sport suspended for three months by the U.S. Swimming Federation. Kelloggs dropped him as a sponsor. The famous marijuana blog and YouTube video everybody saw, he's persevered, he's survived.

His coach says you don't have to be perfect 24 hours a day, but he is. He's a role model. Omega sticks with him. He does a major endorsement deal on Wednesday. So he's back.

HOLMES: All right, end of the day, he wasn't hurt that much by this thing. Maybe as far as public image, but as far as in the pocketbook.

HORROW: No, not long term.


HORROW: That's a momentary blip on the radar.

HOLMES: All right, let's turns now to the Preakness, which is being hurt, Larry Smith. It doesn't seem -- a big race, you know, but this is the only time we talk about Pimlico and that's the problem.

SMITH: Yeah, it is a problem, because well a lot of problems are there in terms of financially race -- for the race. I mean, today, when you look up you're going to see, you know, the usual scene, over 100,000 people there cheering on the race, the second of horse racing's Triple Crown. But a couple days from now, the scene at Pimlico will be much different.


SMITH (voice-over): These seats will be filled at Pimlico racecourse Saturday, but the stables won't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they're off.

SMITH: And the cheers for the 134th running of the Preakness will be heard by precious few on the near abandoned backstretch of the famed track.

WILLIE KEE, MARYLAND THOROUGHBRED TRAINER: Any day now somebody could come and say, OK, we're done. Or they can say, OK, you have to move. I mean, that's what these last couple of years has been like.

SMITH: Willie Kee has lived his life in the horse business and loved nearly every minute of it.

KEE: I'm 50 now. I was 15-years-old. And my father, he said come on, come to the races, I'm going to teach you the game. And it's been a lot of fun. Up until recently.

SMITH: Pimlico is home for Kee, a home in desperate need of repairs. In September, the track closed its barn area for the winter for the first time since 1985. Hundreds of all hands like Elsworth Williams have been allowed to live for free above the stables to be closer to the nearly 1,000 horses they tended to throughout a meet. It's a necessary perk to bolster meager pay.

ELSWORTH WILLIAMS: The provided rooms, you know, places to live, plus employment. You know. But since then, it just started withering down to what we've got now, you know, which is nothing it's really when you come down to it.

SMITH: In March, the track's owner Magna Entertainment filed for bankruptcy and will try to sell Pimlico at auction in August. In the meantime, live racing has been cut to a mere 21 days, making a tough living even tougher to make.

KEE: A lot of people decided not to move back because by the time you get in here, it's time you leave. The meet has already been shortened a little bit by a little bit every year. And then this year it was just -- it's a joke. I mean, it's the Preakness and that's it.

SMITH: Pimlico's future has been debated in Maryland for years as horse racing's popularity has waned. But there seems to be one sure bet. Without the Preakness, odds are Pimlico would have been closed already.

KEE: The Preakness is this track. Without the Preakness, Maryland racing wouldn't exist.

WILLIAMS: This is like the oldest track in the country. Why should they let it go away?

TOM CHUCKAS, PRESIDENT OF PIMLICO RACE COURSE: We feel the same way. We don't have a disagreement with that. It's just right now, we're trying to do what we have to do to make sure come a year from now, two years or five years from now we're still here.

Larry Smith, CNN, Atlanta.


SMITH: Some great work by our producer Dave Wilkie there. You know, betting, T.J., is down 20 percent last year from 2007. And that's a big problem for this. They did approve slots, betting machines in November in Maryland. But six, seven months later those aren't even in place yet. So that revenue hasn't come in yet. You know, a lot of financial problems.

HOLMES: And I still have my guys, Rick Horrow, still standing by there with me. I believe he is. I do believe. Rick, on the same thing, how important is it -- and we're talking about Rachel Alexandra here, but how important is it to have some kind of a storyline like that? How much can that help?

HORROW: Well, especially since the second race of Triple Crown you've automatically got somebody who's still in the hunt for the Triple Crown. Mind that bird. Not the favorite.

But the bottom line from Larry's perspective is we talked to about 21 races this last year, 100, eight years ago. So the whole area around Pimlico, Maryland horse racing, $80 million of economic impact at risk.

SMITH: And what's hurting, too, is so many other states, and Rick, you know, this, too, Delaware, Pennsylvania, are offering more lucrative purses because of the betting dollars there and the support. And that's taking away from the racing there in Maryland.

HORROW: And Delaware with sports betting, too, which is important. They just passed that bill. So everybody's competing against everybody else. It's a mad world out there.

SMITH: It's crazy. This predates any major league sports league. You know, major league baseball, the sport of basketball, you know, back in 1870 did not exist.

HOLMES: Well, maybe horse racing has had a good run at least. We'll see what happens. Good to have you both here as always. Rick, thank you so much my man. And Larry, good to have you come upstairs as always.

SMITH: Always good to see you.

HOLMES: Good to see you.

SMITH: All right, take care, man.

HOLMES: All right, Betty.

NGUYEN: We have just really an amazing site to show you right now out of Columbus, Ohio. If we can take a live picture. There is a race going on, a Race for the Cure. And you see all of these pink wigs right there.

Well, there have been thousands who have come out today and what they're doing is they're not only taking part in this, but they're honoring the memory of a popular Columbus anchorwoman who died last year after a very public fight with the disease. Her name is Heather Pick. She was only 38-years-old, the mother of two young children. In fact, they've run out of pink wigs. So many people have turned out for this race for the cure today. And just look at this shot. It just shows you how important this cause is to so many, 6,000-plus runners.

We're going to be watching this this morning as they take off. But really a way to honor the memory of Heather Pick, who, unfortunately, lost her battle with cancer last year.

HOLMES: These are amazing to be a part of.

NGUYEN: Look at that.

HOLMES: I participated in several of these when I worked in Little Rock. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure...


HOLMES: ..happens every year. Collects -- they just shut down downtown, and people collect and run for this and raise money for breast cancer.

NGUYEN: There she is.

HOLMES: So there's a picture of her in particular there honoring. But every year these happen to honor those...

NGUYEN: In cities across the nation.


NGUYEN: I remember doing them when I worked for the CBS affiliate in Dallas. And you would have thousands upon thousands come out. Not only with pink wigs, pink hats, pink boas, you name it. Anything to signify they are there to help in the search for a cure.

HOLMES: And a great family event. You see kids out there. You see husbands running on behalf of their wives sometimes, and things like on, or on behalf of mothers. So it is a wonderful event. And a great shot here we can show you. Hopefully we'll have these live pictures the rest of the morning when the race gets underway.

NGUYEN: But we also have this coming up. I actually spoke with multi-Grammy winning singer Usher this week and decided to chat about him getting inducted into the boys and girls club hall of fame. He also tried to teach me how to tap dance a little bit.


NGUYEN: That's all you got to give us? Come on. A little James Brown. What do you want?

USHER: I'll put you on the spot.

NGUYEN: No. Wait, wait. You can't put me on the spot.


NGUYEN: Yeah, I was trying to get him to give us a little bit more, but all he would do is a little tap that morning. You know, he can dance and actually step out of his shoes, but he had boots on and that was going to be kind of difficult that...

HOLMES: He gets paid to dance. All right?

NGUYEN: Exactly.

HOLMES: He ain't dancing for free for us. But we're going to have more of the interview. And this is tap. Really, I wanted everybody to know, this is not Betty's form of dance.

NGUYEN: It's not my forte.

HOLMES: Other moves, she has. Not really her thing.

NGUYEN: All right, stay tuned for this interview, straight ahead.


NGUYEN: Usher for you this morning to wake you up.

HOLMES: We should interview a different artist every weekend just so we can...

NGUYEN: So we can play their music. Well, this is a good one, because he is a five-time Grammy winner. He's an entrepreneur. He's got many businesses out there including Cologne. He is also involved in the Cleveland Cavaliers which, by the way, he is rooting for no doubt. We'll get to that in our interview.

But we wanted to talk to him about his success, how he got started, and how he got to where he is today. Take a look.


NGUYEN: You started very young.


NGUYEN: 15 years old, you dropped your first album. You've got a new album coming out. Where does the talent come from?

USHER: You know, finding my way to entertainment was just a matter of finding something to do positive. You know, it actually was introduced to me in church. I found my way to the musical aspect of it through radio, you know, listening to songs, and going out, purchasing CDs or actually tapes at the time, cassette tapes, and then you know, wanting to, you know, be what I saw.

NGUYEN: Today this multi-platinum artist is still evolving, only now he's the one others want to emulate.

USHER: This is where we record all like live vocals. And live, you know, musicians will come in here and play.

NGUYEN: How much time do you spend in here?

USHER: How much time do I spend in this room?


USHER: I spend the majority of my time in it the booth.


USHER: Yeah, I kind of lock myself in this room. Yeah, so we'll go into the office. Now you can just see a little bit of the work.

This is my mother's office. You see me up there It was a special that I did for Showtime. We actually have a plaque and a diamond award for this. For those of you who don't know what a diamond award is, it's when an album sells 10 million copies in one region. This album specifically sold about 38 million. But anyway...

NGUYEN: But you do many things. You are an entrepreneur. You're part owner in the Cleveland Cavaliers. Man, what a team.

USHER: Yeah.

NGUYEN: How excited are you about them?

USHER: Got to love them Cavs, man. I'm very, very excited to be a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers family. I think that Lebron James is one of the most incredible athletes. I think that all of the Cavs players are very, very, impressive. And I think that we have a team that is going to go all the way.

NGUYEN: You mentioned Lebron, what, 2010 next year. He may be a free agent. What do you think about that? Are you a little worried?

USHER: I try not to get into those discussions. You know, I just only I bask in the moment. You know, this is an incredible run that we're having.

NGUYEN: When it comes to your business ventures, how do you choose them?

USHER: You know, in terms of being a young entrepreneur, I'm more so, you know, interested in the experience. And I think that timing is all about an experience. I think that branding is all about an experience. So finding those opportunities or those things that kind of represent a lifestyle.

NGUYEN: What do you still want to do that you haven't done just yet?

USHER: I want to go to the moon.

NGUYEN: To the moon?


USHER: You know, wherever life takes me, I hope that I can be the best that I can be (INAUDIBLE). I can be motivating. There's so much opportunity out there. You know, more than anything, I hope that, you know, I continue to be able to work this balancing act. You know, life is a three-ring circus.

NGUYEN: What's the best thing about it for you, being a father?

USHER: Now I understand what my mother was saying.

NGUYEN: About what?

USHER: About me.


USHER: And in time I think I'll grow to empathize with her even more.

NGUYEN: They're just like you?

USHER; You know, yeah. They embody everything about you as a child. You know, I just remember those little things that I used to do. I mean, they're young now. You know, very, very young. One is, you know, a year and a half. The other is 6 months. So, you know...

NGUYEN: You think they're going to be entertainers?

USHER: I think Usher probably is going to follow in my footsteps. Navida's a little bit too early to know.

NGUYEN: Right.

USHER: But he's chill. He's always talking.

NGUYEN: But you wouldn't mind if they grew up and got into the business? You're OK with that?

USHER: If that is their path, I definitely would support it. I want to support my kids in whatever they want to do.


NGUYEN: And he's supporting children all over, in fact. You saw a little bit of that billboard by the Boys and Girls Club of America.

HOLMES: Love it.

NGUYEN: There's this picture of him when he was just a little boy in school. And it says be iconic. You know, the great thing about that picture, too, is he still looks very much the same.

HOLMES: And that's the coolest thing about it. We see him all over Atlanta here where we are.


HOLMES: But it just -- it doesn't have his name up there or anything. You just look and you know exactly who that is when you see the picture.


HOLMES: I think it's the coolest billboards around town.

NGUYEN: Well, next hour, we're going to look at Usher's childhood and what life was like growing up and why the Boys and Girls Clubs of America was so important to him. You can also read more about this interview. Go behind the scenes and get extra info as well as some pictures on our blog. It's a new one that we have out. You want to go out and check it out at

HOLMES: All right, everybody wants and needs, no matter what, you want some extra cash.


HOLMES: So stick around. We'll have some tips to help you earn some extra money when you need it. This is good stuff here.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. And coming up, did you know that Bob Barker almost got his black belt in martial arts? I mean, we've seen him kick Adam Sandler in "Happy Gilmore" right? But a black belt, really? His trainer was none other than Chuck Norris.


BOB BARKER, TV GAME SHOW HOST: I was so impressed that I asked him if he would give me lessons. So he came over and we started working right out there on the lawn but I eventually had my garage all padded and had mirrors put in. And it became a karate studio. And we worked out there. And I worked with Chuck for eight years.


NGUYEN: For more stories about Bob, 85-years-old and he still says he's a lethal weapon. We'll see about that, Bob. But check out the blog. There is additional information there as well. Again,


NGUYEN: From the CNN Center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It is May 16th. Good morning, everybody. Thanks for joining us. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And hello there, I'm T.J. Holmes. 9:00 in the morning here in Atlanta, Georgia. 8:00 a.m. in Chicago. 6:00 a.m. for all you folks out in Los Angeles, California. Glad you could be here.

NGUYEN: Well he is a Republican. He endorsed Senator John McCain for president, but now there is a shake-up. Utah Governor John Huntsman now joining President Obama's administration. Well, President Obama is set to give the official announcement at 9:30 this morning.

HOLMES: Also, he's probably one of the most popular and recognizable game show hosts of all time, we're talking about Bob Barker here.

NGUYEN: Yes, but it's his famous last line that sticks in people's minds.


BARKER: If I'm remembered at all in the years to come, they'll refer to me as that old man who was always talking about spay and neuter.


NGUYEN: I had a sit down with Bob Barker at his L.A. home and nothing is off-limits. He talks about Drew Carey doing his old job. Why there will never be another Mrs. Bob Barker, and get this, how he almost became a porn star. Yes, we'll get to the bottom of that one.

Meantime though we are standing by for President Obama to announce that he has picked Utah Governor John Huntsman, Jr. to be ambassador to China. Huntsman is a Republican and a possible candidate for the White House in 2012. So who is Huntsman? Let's talk about his background and discuss why this is such an unusual pick.

Kate Bolduan joins us live from the White House. I mean, this is a guy, Kate, who could possibly run against President Obama in 2012.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it is definitely interesting and there is the potential that he could possibly still run but at least what we're hearing right now, Betty, he has another job to do, it seems that he may be focusing on in the near future.

We did receive some updated guidance from the White House just a few moments ago that the president will be making remarks at 9:30, in just about half an hour. And this being reported and you even said it that we are expecting the president to appear with his pick now to be the next -- his pick for -- his nominee for the next ambassador to China, John Huntsman.

Huntsman has extensive experience in this area. He's a former U.S. trade representative. He was the former ambassador to Singapore under George H.W. Bush. He also speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and has adopted a little girl from that area. But as governor he's known as a moderate. He's also very popular. A two-term governor, a Republican as you mentioned, of Utah.

But because of term limits he's barred from running again and now we see that he will be looking to a new job with the Obama administration but it's important to note, also, Betty, that as a nominee, he does need to be confirmed by the Senate so the process is not over yet once we hear the announcement from the president.

NGUYEN: Yes, but this is a guy who supported Senator John McCain for president. Do you know any information about this possible switch and throwing his support behind the Obama administration?

BOLDUAN: Well, what we know just from his background and what he talks about as governor, he's known as a moderate. He's not on the more conservative side of the Republican party. He does support civil unions between gay and lesbian couples. He does not, however, support same-sex marriage. You know, he's very progressive on environmental issues but we will have to see when we hear from them if he himself makes any remarks at 9:30 when we expect to hear from him.

NGUYEN: All right. We will be watching. Kate Bolduan, thank you for that.

HOLMES: President Obama is making a commencement speech tomorrow at the University of Notre Dame. It's drawing more protest as well. Anti-abortion groups are upset the Catholic university is giving the president an honorary degree. Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes and several others were arrested after going on campus yesterday to protest that speech.

And you can see the president's commencement address tomorrow 2:00 Eastern. We'll have that for you right here on CNN. And we ask you to chime in on this. A lot of you have been doing so far. But continue to reach out to us at Facebook, at Twitter, as well as and also at

NGUYEN: Did you get all of that?

HOLMES: I want to include our phone numbers here in just a second.


HOLMES: But you got a way to get hold of us. Chime in on this story and many others if you like.

NGUYEN: All right. You may want to be chiming in on the weather today depending on where you live. Karen Maginnis joins us now with a look outside. Hey, Karen.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Betty and T.J. We've got cloudy skies. We're looking live from the CNN Center. Overcast skies, more rain on the way. It's been a fairly wet spring but we're not the only area.

In the lower Mississippi River Valley, some pretty strong storms, a very sluggish weather pattern. It just doesn't want to give up and several areas could see one to three inches of rainfall but essentially an area stretching up and down the Mississippi River, as we're looking at perhaps some of the most significant rises on rivers and some streams that flow from the Mississippi River.

Flood warnings out all the way from Chicago to Bloomington and extending over towards portions of Missouri. At Peoria, some moderate flooding there along the Illinois River and Hannibal is reporting some minor flooding but we may see some fluctuations with the river there.

All right. I want to show you something pretty impressive over the next 48 hours. Take a look at the bull's eye that we're anticipating from Cincinnati extending down across north central Tennessee. And earlier had it stretched over to St. Louis. But I see that has backed off just a little bit. Anywhere between two and four inches of additional rainfall.

Then as we take a look across Texas, now this is an area I'm very familiar with, down here across extreme south Texas. Raymondville, Kingsville, one of the largest ranches in the country, 825,000 acres. They haven't seen much if any rainfall. In some cases, zip. They should see between nine and ten inches. But so far this year between a fraction of an inch and an inch.

In the forecast bull's eye as far as the wet weather is concerned right around Dallas and San Antonio. Looks pretty impressive. And thunderstorms from Ohio, Columbus, where they're running the race today, the race for the cure, could see a chance of thunderstorms materializing there today.

Back to you.

There's a live picture. WDNS, our affiliate there, doing a 5-k run there in honor of Heather Pick. She was only 38-years-old and she died in November. She was a local anchorwoman. So thousands have shown up in her support, in her memory on one of her last days that she anchored the newscast, she wore a pink wig. She had been diagnosed with cancer in 1999 so she survived for nearly 10 years and she leaves behind a husband and two young children.

NGUYEN: It is such a sad story. Diagnosed 1999, it came back in 2004, and then she fought courageously and, in fact, I attended many of these races for the cure events as well and so today they have come out by the thousands in memory of her.

HOLMES: All right. Karen, we appreciate you. We will keep an eye on that race. It's a good picture to see. You see all those wigs, those pink wigs. A lot of people running by that screen, wearing those in honor of her.

Well, in these tough economic times, any times, actually, everybody could use a little extra cash.

NGUYEN: Always. We, in fact, have 11 ways to help you earn a little extra pocket change.


NGUYEN: All right. So are you looking to earn some extra cash? It may not be as tough as you think. Joining us now is Janet Bodnar, editor at "Kiplinger's Personal Finance" magazine. I'm having a hard time talking right now, Janet. But you won't because you have 11 tips to save extra cash and the first one is really quite interesting to me. It's being a shopping spy. What is that?

JANET BODNAR, EDITOR, "KIPLINGER'S": Well, a lot of stores actually hire mystery shoppers to go in and evaluate the merchandise and evaluate the customer service they're going to get. What you need to watch out for is that if you're signing up for something like this that it's a legitimate organization and one of the red flags is if you're asked to put out money or come up with cash ahead of time. That's really a no-no.

You don't want to do that. But there's a good organization called which can tell you who the legitimate databases are. And by the way, any kind of Web site or company that I mentioned is on our Web site, So you can look them up if you don't have a pen or pencil at home.

NGUYEN: All right. Another thing is to sell your stuff online. What do sellers need to know to make sure that they're not only placing it on the correct Web sites and what not but they're getting the right amount of money for their items?

BODNAR: Well, first of all, you would deal with something, again a reputable online organization, something like a Craigslist or an Ebay. But also you have to do a little bit of homework. Price your items competitively. See what other prices or see what other items similar to yours are bringing online which is very helpful.

Another thing you need to know is that there are sometimes very specialized sites on line. There's a site, for example, called which specializes in electronics products. That sort of thing. So you know if you have something special, look for those niche sites that are dealing with something that you have.

NGUYEN: Got you. You know, I've never thought of this but this is also on your list. Actually renting out your home while you're on vacation.


NGUYEN: Is that safe, though?

BODNAR: Well, it depends. Now, obviously this is a choice that you would want to make but this is we're talking about a primary residence as opposed to a, you know, a vacation home. But we interviewed a person for "Kiplinger's" who has been doing this for like two decades. She happens to live in lives in Stowe, Vermont and there are, again, networks that you can tie into.

So you do have to, you know, there are insurance things that you would have to take care of and obviously you wouldn't want to leave valuables going about but it's kind of like doing a home swap. You can do this as long as, but again, be within the right network. So that you're not sort of out on a limb, taking a lot of chances.

NGUYEN: Exactly. And another suggestion, operate a virtual call center from your house. Well, that seems like it might be kind of tricky. BODNAR: Well, you know, but it's very interesting. Companies like Sears, J. Crew, even the Internal Revenue Service will hire people as freelancers. You'll have to get some training and you have to have some equipment. Obviously you need a computer, high-speed web access, internet access, possibly even a designated phone line but you can be the call center at your kitchen table. And you know this, people get upset when you call ...

NGUYEN: I was going to say, are you going to get all these complaints? I mean, people calling you day and night just ready to just rip your head off because they didn't get what they wanted from the store?

BODNAR: Well, first of all, you have to be good at this, right? And this is what other people complain about. They don't get help from their call centers so you're going to be the good one.

NGUYEN: I got you. OK. And this is something that people can see actually many times when they're watching TV, you know, those commercials that ask you to sell your gold jewelry.

BODNAR: Right.

NGUYEN: Does that make sense or are you getting a price that's way lower than what it's worth?

BODNAR: Well, what you need to know is first of all, for many of these sites and many of these companies, you are being paid for scrap gold on the basis of the weight of the gold. So if the gold -- if the jewelry is in good condition, if it has gemstones, you're not going to be compensated for that.

If you have really good jewelry that's still wearable, you'd want to maybe go to the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. And get some information from them or deal with a local jeweler who can give you more information about how much the item is actually worth. And that's what I would do if I had something that is still in wearable condition.

NGUYEN: Got you. And some of the other tips here, write for the web, tutor students, maybe be a babysitter. There are lots of things out there that people can do in their spare time to earn some extra cash.

BOONAR: Right.

NGUYEN: Thanks for your time, Janet Bodnar, the editor of "Kiplinger's Finance" magazine. Thank you.

You know, people are losing their jobs, watching their homes fall into foreclosure and seeing their savings just disappear. But some Americans are fighting back like starting a new business because the old one just shut down.

Tonight, join Anderson Cooper and Ali Velshi for real solutions from people surviving tough times. If you missed any of last night's CNN Money Summit, "Money & Main St. Primetime Special," you can see it again today and tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

And you want to check this out. It's a mix of stories this morning, a straight "A" student might not graduate because of the economy. You know a lot about this. In fact, you're getting a lot of responses on your Facebook page.

HOLMES: Yes, a lot. A number of stories. We're going to bring in Josh Levs because he's going to be looking at this one in particular for us. Also, a mystery individual won the lottery. That person doesn't know it, though. Also surgeons tweeting during a transplant operation. We have a tough time tweeting up here while we're trying to anchor a show. I don't want my surgeon doing that.

But also another piece of video that Josh sent me, I think it was yesterday, about a bikini parade that was happening. Set a record actually.

NGUYEN: What Web site were you searching yesterday?

LEVS: You want to know what Web site it was actually?

HOLMES: It was

LEVS: Yes. That's what it was. That was way too easy. I know you'd like that. But to be fair, remember, Betty, like a month ago, we had something -- some calendar with teachers taking their shirts off for charity, something like that? There's always good stuff. Check it out.

Just go right here and what you'll see is a whole list of affiliate stories at any given time. There's a bunch of treasures in here. Now, we're going to start off with a couple of serious ones that Betty and T.J., we were just talking about right here.

The straight "A" student who may now graduate after all. This is a beautiful story, comes to us from KTRK in Houston. Demi Roden wasn't able to graduate because her parents moved her from a private school to a public school and didn't have the money to keep her there anymore. They owed the private school money. They wouldn't release records. It just became a mess. Now, donors have stepped in. She's going to be able to graduate most likely, according to our reporting there.

This is also interesting. The tweeting surgeon, check this out here. I didn't know anything about this. This is from WFAA and what we've got here is a father and his three-year-old son, his son doesn't have kidneys. The father Chris Gilbreath is going to give his son one of his kidneys and in order to draw attention to transplants in America, they've allowed the surgeons to tweet during the operation. Really quickly, we got this one right here.

$400,000 lottery ticket remains unclaimed. That comes to us from WGAL. And finally we cannot end without this. The bikini parade over there in Las Vegas, from our affiliate there KVVU. They even had a Guinness Book of World Records officials online there to celebrate the festivities. 281 participants in the biggest bikini parade in history. So there you go. You got a mix of the fun, the serious, all here on at any given time.

NGUYEN: All right. So we gave you just head shots for the "Maxim" hottest ladies out there but we ended up with some bikinis after all in the show. All right.

LEVS: You got lucky there. Good point.

NGUYEN: All right. Thanks.

HOLMES: Thanks, Josh.

NGUYEN: You know Bob Barker as the famous game show host but his career could have taken a completely different turn. More on that in a bit. But first, some great moments from "The Price is Right."


BARKER: You win. Congratulations. Yes, yes, yes. Yes.



ANNOUNCER: Here is the star of the new "Price is Right," Bob Barker.


NGUYEN: Yes, Bob Barker, known more for "The Price is Right" than he is for his martial arts, but the game show host almost got his black belt training under an expert who went on to become pretty famous himself. So how do you think he took out Adam Sandler in the movie "Happy Gilmore." It's all laid out in his new book "Priceless Memories." And I recently saw down with Barker at his Los Angeles home to see if he still considers himself a lethal weapon.


NGUYEN (on camera): I read that you studied martial arts with Chuck Norris. Is that true?

BARKER: Right out there in that yard we started.

NGUYEN: Get out of here.

BARKER: No. He was a guest. This was long before he became a movie star. He was a guest on "Truth or Consequences" and he did a karate demonstration. And I not only had not done karate, I had never seen it. But I was so impressed that I asked him if he would give me lessons. So he came over and we started working right out there on the lawn and I worked with Chuck for eight years. Before he got into pictures. I was in karate for 22 or 23 years.

NGUYEN (voice-over): And it got him a part in Adam Sandler's movie "Happy Gilmore."

BARKER: How do you think I beat up Adam Sandler?

NGUYEN (on camera): I was going to say in "Happy Gilmore."

BARKER: And I didn't even kick him. I just hit him.

NGUYEN: And that wasn't a stunt person. That was you.

BARKER: No, that was me. Now let me tell you about that. The director sat down with me and he said this and he said that and he talked about the picture and what I would do and where and how and then he said don't worry about the fight. He said we have a stunt man here and he'll do all the fighting. I said, oh, no, I know how to fight. I said, I came up here to win a fight. I didn't come up here to see a stunt man win the fight. So I did it all.

NGUYEN: So, I also read at one point you said that your body is a deadly weapon.

BARKER: My body is a deadly weapon. It's killing me.


NGUYEN: And since leaving "The Price is Right" what is life like? What do you do? What are the things that you want to do?

BARKER: Well, let's see. What time is it? I know that I'm going to be doing animal work. I think in some ways my -- the things that maybe I accomplished in life are ahead of me and that I've really have started making, setting up endowment funds at the fine law school in the country, eight of them.

And I've set up another endowment fund at Drury University where I went to school, and that's for the study of animal rights and an undergraduate school, it's the only one in the country. Now I'm hoping that will spread all over the country. And I'm going out and working on all sorts of animal projects and will continue doing that. And if I have nothing else to do, I could keep busy just doing that.


NGUYEN: Yes, he could. We were talking about the end of every show it seemed he would say, you know, help control the pet population, remember to spay or neuter your pets, and he's continuing his work to help the animals. And you know, he has a little dog named Jesse which is a shelter dog. I tell you that Jesse pretty much has Bob wrapped around her paw, if you will, because anytime that she makes a move or groans, or anything like that, he is quick to pet her, even interrupted the interview.

HOLMES: People and their pets.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. And you can see more photos and untold stories about Bob Barker on my blog. Check out CNN newsroom, actually This is a new blog, folks. We're still getting used to it ourselves. We do have some behind the scenes information and some pictures as well. So you want to get there. HOLMES: All right. And coming up at 10:00, "It's D.C. or Bust."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to see somebody just step up to the plate, bring us some school buses, some Metro buses, some Greyhound buses. Come and pick these kids up and take them to Washington, D.C. ...


HOLMES: Can we get a ride? Hundreds of people in Kansas City planning to head to Washington for an education rally to get an education in an organization because it's not so organized. The event is put together by Al Sharpton in D.C. They were surely disappointed when the buses they were waiting for never came. Who dropped the ball here? That story.

Also the Reverend Al Sharpton in Little Rock, live with us at 10:00.


NGUYEN: We are back at the top of the hour, 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

HOLMES: But "YOUR BOTTOM LINE" with Gerri Willis starts right now.