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First Couple's N.Y. Data: A Campaign Promise Kept; GM Board Meets as Bondholder Deadline Passes; Interview With 2009 Scripps Spelling Bee Champion

Aired May 31, 2009 - 06:00   ET



BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi. How are you doing?

HOLMES: How are you this morning?

NGUYEN: I'm getting it together.

HOLMES: You getting together? It's...

NGUYEN: Hello, everybody.

HOLMES: ...6 a.m. We start at 6 now.

NGUYEN: Yes, we do.


NGUYEN: (INAUDIBLE) for a little while.

HOLMES: Hello to you all. From Atlanta, Georgia, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It's the last day of May. I am. T.J. Holmes. And you are...

NGUYEN: Betty Nguyen. Good morning, everybody. Thanks for being with us.

Yes, it is early; 6 a.m. here in Atlanta; 5 a.m. in Little Rock; and 3 a.m. in San Francisco. Thanks for starting your day with us. Let's get right to it.

It was date night for the Obamas, but not everybody is thrilled about their dinner and a play in New York City.

HOLMES: I guess that's what's happened when you're president, you get criticized for every...

NGUYEN: Everything.

HOLMES: ...move you make.


HOLMES: We'll be getting into that in a moment.

Also, some new travel rules go into place tomorrow. We'll tell you where you'll need your passport now starting on Monday morning.

NGUYEN: But first though, General Motors clears a final hurdle for an orderly bankruptcy. "The New York Times" reports that bondholders agreed on a plan to swap the debt that they own for a stake in the restructured company.

Now, they own about half of GM's $27 billion debt. They'll get up to 25 percent ownership. GM is expected to declare bankruptcy as early as tomorrow, the government's deadline for restructuring.

Take a listen.


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I know the president encouraged that whatever happens at the deadline, that the progress that is being made to restructure General Motors and put it on a path, as I've said, to being a viable auto company.


NGUYEN: At 8 Eastern this morning, the Detroit bureau chief for "The Wall Street Journal" will join us to talk about where GM goes from here.

Want to tell you about this right now: Pakistani intelligence officials say the army is involved in heavy fighting in south Waziristan, which is a major Taliban stronghold. Officials say 50 insurgents and two Pakistani soldiers have died in the fighting. Twenty-three people were injured. We're going to get more on this month-long offensive in a live report from Islamabad in just a few minutes.

But in a meantime, a frightening discovery on an Iranian passenger jet bound for Tehran. A crew member found a bomb in the bathroom according to Iranian news agency. Now, security officials diverted the flight and diffused the bomb; 131 people were on board. Now word on who placed the device on that flight - T.J.

HOLMES: All right, Betty. Over here with Reynolds, checking in with him early this morning because we got some severe weather to talk about and some video here to talk about as well.

This was last night in Indiana. And Reynolds, we see this stuff and all - often times, we have to wait for confirmation of an actual tornado. So do we know if it was the case yet last night in (INAUDIBLE)?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, we had two trained spotters in the area that saw some yesterday afternoon. Not exactly sure about the one that occurred in Tipton. From what we've seen so far, it could be straight-line winds; it could be tornadoes. But bottom line, people are going to be waking up this morning without power in many spots.

And we could see it happen again today, this time a little bit farther back into the Midwest. But still, what a scary sight, you know? And especially these - when they happen at night. You can't see them, but you can hear them. And it's just a frightening event.

HOLMES: And a lot of people even - I think this happened in time, but a lot of people go to bed at night and not even realize some of the warnings are out there and are happening. They don't watch the news, and maybe they just sleep through it sometimes.

WOLF: Absolutely.

HOLMES: But sometimes...

WOLF: They...

HOLMES: No word of injuries, we should note. No word of any serious injuries or anything there. But working to see if there were actually tornadoes in this area.

WOLF: Yes, no question. We'll do - the National Weather Service is going to actually fly over and do some aerial reconnaissance later on today, maybe Monday at the latest. And when they get overhead and they take a look at the damage, they'll look at the debris field. They see the direction that the damage has been pushed, and that's when they determine as to whether or not it was a tornado or straight-line winds.

HOLMES: And I - are you going back here now? Or...

WOLF: We're going to be going over there, but first thing I want to show you...


WOLF: the shot we have in Atlanta right now. Let's go ahead and show you. Here is Centennial Park. Looks pretty nice right now. Wind is fairly gentle. You see the flags moving there a little bit.

And we're going to hop on over here and show you what you can anticipate later on today. Now, we were telling you how it looks like the best chance of severe weather today is not going to happen in parts of the Ohio Valley. But as you come back to me over here on the Magic Wall, what I'm going to show you - again, back to me on the Magic Wall. There we go.

We're going to see some rain popping up across parts of the Rockies, into the northern Plains. But then take a look at this: When you get back into the Arrowhead of Minnesota - I would say from the Twin Cities southward to spots like, say, South Dakota, perhaps even into Fargo in North Dakota, could deal with some strong storms into the afternoon hours. Isolated storms also possible across parts of the Great Basin. But very warm for you in the Southeast.

Atlanta, about a 20 percent chance of scattered showers, maybe some storms late into the afternoon. Now, let's take a look at those high temperatures again today. Dallas, you got up to 91 degrees yesterday. Today, going up to about 93. The high humidity, it's certainly going to be in the picture for you. And some of that humidity could form as some fuel into the afternoon that dry line out into West Texas, that (INAUDIBLE) - that is between the humid air and the dry air. Could see some strong stuff there later on today.

D.C. going up to 80 degrees; 71 in Chicago; 78 in Salt Lake City. And San Francisco with 63.

That is a wrap on your forecast. Let's send it back to you at the news desk.

HOLMES: Well, Reynolds, I was asking which direction you were going because as - again, yesterday, you had broken the Magic Wall.

NGUYEN: The Magic Wall.



WOLF: They've basically gave the no-touch policy with the exception of just this - this little contraption over here.

NGUYEN: All right.

WOLF: But I do tend to break everything, so....

NGUYEN: Well, control yourself today, will you?

WOLF: We do what we can.



NGUYEN: It is a big week ahead for President Obama. Tomorrow, he has his usual White House meetings. And Tuesday, he flies to Saudi Arabia. He meets Wednesday with Saudi King Abdullah. And then on Thursday, he goes to Cairo for meetings with Egyptian officials.

Friday, he'll visit the World War II Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. And on Saturday, President Obama travels to Normandy in France for ceremonies commemorating the 65th anniversary of the D- Day invasion.

He then returns to Washington next Sunday.

So it is indeed a busy week for the president.

HOLMES: So he needed a little down time last night before a big week, wouldn't you say?

NGUYEN: Yes, but a lot of people are criticizing that as well, saying...

HOLMES: Of course.

NGUYEN: ... 'Hey, you flew to New York on taxpayer dime to have a date night at a Broadway show. Is this really the right time for that to be happening, when we - you know, look at GM possibly facing bankruptcy on Monday?'

HOLMES: And a lot of people could probably guess where that criticism is coming from.


HOLMES: But again, the president was making good on a campaign promise he made, actually. So he made good on it last night; did take his wife to see a Broadway show. And he actually told her that he would do this after the campaign.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: Of course, campaigning almost two years, not a lot of time. So said he would do it; he made good last night.

NGUYEN: Yes, and the first couple jetted to New York for a dinner in the East Village. Then it was off to the show, that show being "Joe Turner's Come and Gone."

And as Susan Candiotti reports, New Yorkers were just excited to have the first couple in the audience.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands of onlookers were cheering as the president's motorcade was escorted to the theater. Several minutes later, Mr. Obama stepped outside his presidential limo and began waving to the crowd.

A moment behind him, the first lady in black; her hair appeared swept up.

The hottest ticket in town? It sure was this night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be unbelievable. It's something that may never happen again in my lifetime.

CANDIOTTI: The play, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," is written by Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson, a prominent African-American playwright who chronicled decades of history set in the 1900s, over the course of 10 plays.

This one is staged in a Pittsburgh rooming house, and deals with black Reconstruction and the search for identity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't deny the fact that he's black, and the historical importance of slavery must be a part in terms of his own thinking. CANDIOTTI: This man was surfing the Internet Saturday, found out the president was coming, and struck gold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the president's coming, the first lady. And logged to (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anybody picking up their ticket...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...for it, and they did. So I just kind of took it, last minute. So it was a - it was just a great shock, and...


CANDIOTTI: Actor Ernie Hudson says for him and the cast, it's a great night.

ERNIE HUDSON, ACTOR: I'm very excited about it. I mean, I've never really met a - a sitting president. So it's really good that he's going to be here, and hopefully he'll like the show and, you know, you - you think, 'What could you do different?' But the reality is, you just do your show, and hopefully he'll like it.

CANDIOTTI: Broadway's been fighting for its share of the entertainment dollar in a struggling economy. The arts community says the president's support is a shot in the arm.

BERNARD GERSTEN, LINCOL CENTER THEATER GROUP: I think when the president attend a show on Broadway, it's one of the great things in the theater, because it mean that the theater not only has significance for the people of New York and the people of the country and (INAUDIBLE) from around the world, but to the president himself. And we're always very excited and thrilled when high officials - when the president more than anybody else, comes to see one of our shows. It's...

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Dinner and a Broadway show, a box-office boost for the Great White Way and a campaign promise fulfilled. Not to voters - to his wife.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: All right. As Betty mentioned, not everybody happy about this.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: There was some criticism coming from the Republican National Committee about this night out. Released a statement, actually, before the Obamas left the White House.

Read you part of this statement - we'll put it up for you. It says, "As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattan's theater district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway Show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills."

NGUYEN: Well, the White House has not revealed the cost of the evening, but noted the first couple took a small plane to New York, not Air Force One.

And we do want to hear from you this morning about that night out for the president and the first lady. Let us know what you think about it. Was it warranted? Is this criticism warranted?

You can send us your thoughts to our Facebook pages or our Twitter pages, or you can just e-mail us,

HOLMES: Yes, it was kind of a - I guess, the statement at the RNC is kind of misleading. It was a smaller jet. Any plane that the president's on - he can be on a Cessna and...

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: ...and it'll be Air Force One. So it technically was Air Force One, but...

NGUYEN: It just wasn't that big jet...

HOLMES: Not...

NGUYEN: ...that they normally fly on.

HOLMES: ...the one we're used to.


HOLMES: But a - they had a - a - I guess a - an "aircade," if you will. They had to take three planes up there with....

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: ...the press and the staff and so, we will talk about - a lot of comments already.

NGUYEN: Yes, weigh in today. Oh yes, people already fired up about this, one way or the other.

HOLMES: And more on GM's restructuring plan coming up, and what tomorrow's bankruptcy deadline means for the future of that company and for American-made cars.

NGUYEN: And T.J. and I talked to the winner of the National Spelling Bee. You will see why her spelling skills aren't the only thing impressive about this 13-year-old.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a champion.



NGUYEN: And the pressure of it all over now. You see the winner right there of the Scripps National Spelling Bee was - what? - Thursday? Friday night? Thursday night. Yes. Thursday, 8:00, 13-year- old Kavya Shivashankar from Kansas won it all.

HOLMES: Did you see her dad hop - how quick he hopped up out of that chair?


NGUYEN: Yes, because he worked really hard for that win.


HOLMES: He did.

NGUYEN: He was her coach.

HOLMES: He - and he could tell as she got through those letters, you could tell he knew the word as well, probably.

NGUYEN: He could spell that just as could as she could, I imagine.

HOLMES: See - well, he - every letter, he - that smile got bigger on his face.

But Kavya is an impressive 13-year-old young lady. We got to talk to her ...


HOLMES: ...right here yesterday. Take a listen.


SHIVASHANKAR: I was just hoping to get words I was either familiar with or that I could figure out by asking questions. And I think I was pretty lucky this time. Even though I got a word I didn't know, I was able to figure it out.

NGUYEN: I don't know if it was luck, though.

HOLMES: Wait, you -- you're telling me you -- when you heard that last word, you think -- the first thing that went through your head was a little bit of panic, because you really didn't know that word?

SHIVASHANKAR: Oh, no, I did know my last word. But I think one of the words in the ESPN Round Four I didn't know my word, and ... HOLMES: Wow.

SHIVASHANKAR: ... and I had to figure it out, so ...

NGUYEN: You know what I think is so cool about you is the fact that you actually spell the words out on your hand. That's a - that's a really neat technique.

Talk to us a little bit about how you study for this and how you came up with that technique.

SHIVASHANKAR: Well, I just finger a word on my palm, because it helps me visualize the word and make sure that all the information fits and that I have the word straight before I spell it. So...

HOLMES: And -- and Betty was kind of asking about this as well -- and a lot of people, we don't realize -w e watch this spelling bee every year, but how -- what do you all get as far as study guides?


HOLMES: Do they give you all a book full of words, or how does it work?

NGUYEN: The encyclopedia, the dictionary? How do you study?

SHIVASHANKAR: First of all, there are a couple lists that the Scripps gives out. There's a "spell it" - there's a list called the "spell it" every year, and there's a consolidated word list, which is like the basic list, and I study those.

My dad's my coach, and he really helped me out. There was no way I could have done this without him. But...


SHIVASHANKAR: We -- he would sit down. He would help me, and we would focus a lot on roots. We don't memorize these words...


SHIVASHANKAR: and so I learned a lot of roots. And that helped me out especially with a word I didn't know. It was "ergagia" (ph).

NGUYEN: Ah ha.

SHIVASHANKAR: And I asked the definition.

HOLMES: Oh yes, of course.

NGUYEN: We use that word all the time around here.


SHIVASHANKAR: And I could figure out the root word, and I was able to get it that way. And that's my technique; I focus a lot on roots and not memorization.


SHIVASHANKAR: And -- and using a lot of other information, like the language of origin helps me.


NGUYEN: So many -- how many -- Let me ask you this: How many hours a day do you study for a spelling bee?

SHIVASHANKAR: I try to do it daily, but there's no specific amount of time I do this, because I have so much homework in eighth grade, and I -- I have extracurricular activities, such as violin, dance and other stuff.

So I just have to find time to do this.

HOLMES: Well, we - we...

NGUYEN: You do it all, it seems.

HOLMES: Kavya, We have to let you go.

But give us one little -- did you see some kid or something that happened during the spelling bee maybe, we didn't see it as viewers that -- I don't know, some kid did something weird, or - I mean, just some little behind-the-scenes something about this spelling bee you can give us?

SHIVASHANKAR: Well, I think what a lot of people might not know is that everyone has such great camaraderie ...


SHIVASHANKAR: ...and there's so much -- and there's great sportsmanship, and everyone's congratulating each other and wishing each other good luck, even though we're competitors, because we know the only thing that can get us out is the dictionary, and that's our greatest foe.

NGUYEN: Ah. You know what? And you...


NGUYEN: She -- really a fascinating young lady right here. And I know you want to be a neurosurgeon. Maybe our Dr. Sanjay Gupta can give you a call and give you some pointers on that.

But you got a little sister. Do you think she's going to follow in your footsteps?

SHIVASHANKAR: I hope so. She's pretty interested. And she's in second grade right now, so I -- we'll have to see how it goes.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NGUYEN: She's in second grade now.

HOLMES: Second grade. Give her a minute.

NGUYEN: But we'll see how it goes, yes.


HOLMES: Well, the competition started out with 293 spellers. What you're seeing there - we post video as well on our blog. You can always catch that as well.

But again, 15 rounds. The kids are age 9 to 16. But Kavya, your winner for this year.

NGUYEN: She had been in it four times prior to this and had always, I think, placed in the top 10 or something like that.


NGUYEN: And then this time, she took home the grand prize, 40,000 bucks. And good for her.

HOLMES: Congratulations.

NGUYEN: Great kid. Yes.

HOLMES: She was great to talk to.

Coming up next thought, we're going to turn to the Defense secretary, Robert Gates. He has some pretty strong words for North Korea.

NGUYEN: Yes, and Josh Levs is here with a look at the area - the area? Josh, what are you talking about?

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm going to take you guys into this area, the DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone. We got this virtual tour we're going to be able to give you. And I know for a fact that Reynolds didn't break this screen, because check this out - we're going to zoom you all the way in.


NGUYEN: Well, we want to say a happy birthday to Big Ben. Yes, the famous British landmark celebrates his 150th birthday today.

HOLMES: Started ticking on the 31st of May in 1859. The giant bell inside the clock tower struck for the first time six weeks later. It's been telling Brits what time it is every since.

NGUYEN: Well, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has a message for North Korea: the U.S. will not be bullied or intimidated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region, or on us.


HOLMES: The communist nation defied international sanctions and went ahead with a nuclear test. Gates offered no specifics on how the U.S. might respond if North Korea moves against key American allies in Asia, but Moscow and Tokyo agree that nuclear tests merit a strong response and threaten international security.

Now, let's get a bigger picture here. The Korean peninsula's Demilitarized Zone is considered one of the most fortified locations on the planet. But what does it look like, and what exactly is going on there?

NGUYEN: Yes, our Josh Levs has been looking into the strip of land that separates the two Koreas. He joins us now live with the latest on that.

Hey, Josh.

LEVS: Hey there, guys.

What I wanted to do was start off with the United States, because I want you to see the perspective. I want to kind of zoom everyone - we're going to shoot west. Let's just do it right now, from the West Coast of the U.S. over here to the Koreas. It helps to do that because it reminds you, it's not all that far away.

North Korea, South Korea - we're going to zoom in here now to this yellow line, which separates the two Koreas. That's where you get the DMZ. And we're going specifically to this place, the Dorasan Observatory. And the reason for that is we actually have a CNN report from there.

Let's listen to what we heard from there.


PAULINE CHIOU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Behind me is the Southern Boundary Fence, which runs the length of the DMZ, which is 248 kilometers long, and four kilometers wide.

In the distance, you can see the North Korean flags. That's where the North Korean flag propaganda village sits. It's still unclear if anyone actually lives there. It was built for show several years ago.


LEVS: And I really like that report from Pauline, because you can physically see what's going on on both sides of the DMZ.

Now, let's zoom out a little bit more. What I want to do is show you and give you a sense of what's going on along this line. So you have the DMZ line here; you also have troops on both sides. Woops - that's not troop. But you have troops on both sides now. So you have North Korean troops that have gathered up on this section; you have South Korean troops that have gathered just south of that. And there's more and more troops there.

Let's zoom out - again, I want to shoot up to the capitals. Because a lot of people hear about this place called the DMZ, and what they end up hearing - there you go. There's some - some videos of troops.

OK. All right. I guess maybe (INAUDIBLE) is a little bit broken. We lost the rest of it.

But this is the basic idea: You got some North Korean troops that are along here. They're kind of zooming around that area; more and more troops you find are building up along that DMZ line. And so one of the concerns is - what we're hearing more and more from U.S. officials and from the U.N. is, if you have more and more military troops along that line, what could happen next? Could we see conflict break out? And if so, what are we have to be concerned about?

You have all of Asia; you have to be concerned about China, Japan. You also have the United States, which as I showed you at the beginning, is not all that far away.

All right. Now I think we're back to Google Earth. I want to show you one more thing, and then we'll zoom back. This is Pyongyang right here, which is the capital of North Korea. Let's shoot south; I want you to see one more thing, and we'll end on that.

We're going across the border, down to the capital of South Korea, which is Seoul. The reason I want you to see this - look at how many homes, look at how man people. In both cases, it's not all far from the DMZ.

In fact, let's zoom back out. You get a whole picture of the region.

So when you talk about the DMZ, you're not talking about this far-away place that may or many not have an impact. What you are talking about is this line right near lots and lots of people, lots and lots of countries not that far from the United States. All of it could have an impact on us - there you go, guys. (INAUDIBLE) little virtual tour, that's the basic idea for you.

NGUYEN: All right, Josh. We appreciate it. Thank you.

LEVS: Thanks, guys.

HOLMES: Well, taking the fight to the Taliban deep in Pakistan's tribal area. We're live from Islamabad on new developments in this month-long military offensive.

NGUYEN: And months after Election Day, there is still an unresolved Senate seat. What this means for the balance of power in Washington.


HOLMES: Well, good morning, again and welcome back, everybody on this "CNN SUNDAY MORNING." I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Yes, hello, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. Thanks for joining us.

All right. Top stories right now.

General Motors clears a final hurdle on the way to bankruptcy. "The New York Times" reports that bondholders agreed on a plan to swap the debt that they own for a stake in the restructured company. Now, the own about half of GM's debt and they will get up to 25 percent ownership. GM is expected to declare bankruptcy as early as tomorrow, the government's deadline for restructuring.

HOLMES: Well, this morning, people in Indiana checking for damage after severe weather last night. Possible tornadoes hit there. You can see some of this damage, downed trees and whatnot. Police in one community say 60 mile-per-hour winds whipped around. Also, we saw video of hail that came down pretty hard in that area.

NGUYEN: Pakistani intelligence officials say the army involved in heavy fighting in south Waziristan, which is a major Taliban stronghold. Officials say 25 insurgents and six Pakistani soldiers have died in the fighting since last night.

Well, CNN correspondent Reza Sayah is on the ground in Islamabad, Pakistan, and he joins us now.

Reza, are they going after Taliban leaders holed up in South Waziristan?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Betty, with the offensive against the Taliban going on in the Swat region, we were very curious to see if the Pakistani military is using that momentum to launch an offensive against militants in South Waziristan, in the tribal region along the Afghan border.

And we spoke to the Pakistani military's top spokesperson, and he said there is no offensive per se, but there are clashes; a couple of them happening overnight. Twenty-five militants killed, according to Pakistani military officials in a couple of incidents where officials say they were ambushed. The military convoy and a security check force (ph) were ambushed by militants, and they repelled them. And in those clashes, 25 militants were killed.

It's important to note, South Waziristan, in Pakistan's tribal region along the Afghan border, a whole separate area from Swat. It illustrates how widespread this fight against the militancy is throughout Pakistan - Betty.

NGUYEN: Ask you this, Reza - with - since, you know, the offensive is going on in the Swat Valley, are analysts and people close to this issue expecting that an offensive will take place in South Waziristan after this Swat Valley offensive is over?

SAYAH: Well, they're anticipating it. We continue to ask military officials if that's going to happen. But so far the they have stayed away from it. All the focus has been in the Swat region. In that region, they are saying victory is coming.

The big news this weekend is the taking back of Mingora City from the Taliban, Mingora the largest and most prominent city in the Swat Valley. And , and over the weekend, military spokesperson said Mingora is in full control of security forces, and there are pockets of resistance in areas in the east and the west. But they do say they have Mingora City and they say in about a couple of weeks they will have electricity there, 21 doctors already in Mingora City, getting a civil hospital. So they are making progress, but some work remains, Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. Reza Sayah, joining us live. Thank you for that.


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR, CNN SUNDAY MORNING: Betty, it's a big week ahead for the president, a busy week, really. Tomorrow he'll have his usual meetings at the White House. You can expect the security briefing, his economic briefing as well. Then on Tuesday, he will fly to Saudi Arabia. He'll be meeting with the Saudi King Abdullah. Then on Thursday heading over to Cairo, for meetings there; Friday he will be visiting the World War II Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. And then on Saturday President Obama travels to France to Normandy for ceremonies commemorating the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Then, returning Sunday to Washington.

Well, November seems like a while back now. That was seven months ago. But there is still an unresolved Senate race. Where? Minnesota. Our Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser joins us now live from Washington.

Paul, good morning to you, as always. I did not realize we are still on election coverage, essentially.


What is going on in Minnesota? When are we going to see this thing over?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR: We may see it over soon. And here is why. Tomorrow, Monday, in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Minnesota state supreme court will hear the case, Frank and Coleman. What's at state here? Well, Coleman, Norm Coleman, trailed after the recount earlier this year by about 325 votes, T.J., out of almost 3 million cast. He claims that over other votes that could not put him over the top were not counted in that recount. So, the Minnesota state supreme court is going to hear their case. It was already in a lower court, which ruled for Franken. And we don't know when the Minnesota state supreme court will rule. They meet tomorrow. So this thing could be over in a couple weeks, T.J., but then again, if Coleman looses he can always go to the federal courts.

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness.

STEINHAUSER: This thing could keep going, and going, and going.

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness.


HOLMES: OK, it's one thing to just not want to give up your job and give up your seat, but there is a lot more at play here and a lot more at stake besides this one man, Norm Coleman and his one seat.

STEINHAUSER: Yeah, that's why this thing -there's so much cooking on this race here. And that's because right now the Democrats have 59 votes in the Senate. There are 57 Democrats and two Independents who vote with them. So, if Al Franken were to win, he is the Democrat, if he were to win and get this seat, Al Franken would become the 60th Democratic vote in the Senate. Why is that important? Because of something called a filibuster. It is a move by the minority party in the Senate to basically shut things down. You need 60 votes to break a filibuster. If Al Franken gets in, he becomes the 60th vote for the Democrats. That's why there is so much at stake here, T.J.

HOLMES: All right. Let's take a little transition now back to the president and about date night. Of course, as president of the United States just about everything he does - if he ties his shoe, somebody is going to criticism for hit.

But some criticism here seemingly taking what looks like a glamorous extravagance at a time when so many Americans are hurting, and at a time when we're probably see, tomorrow, GM file for bankruptcy. His date night, last night, is this going to get traction? Or is this just going to be seen, this criticism, as sour grapes by the Republicans again.

STEINHAUSER: That's a really good question. Listen, the White House is really under the gun now, I guess, to try to release the amount that this trip cost. Well, you know, listen. Do president's do this? Yeah, the previous presidents have taken trips like this.

As to your question, I think, the best way to see if it's going to have some legs, if it is going to have traction, watch CNN's "State of the Union" with John King in a couple hours. Watch the other Sunday talk shows. See if this is a big talker. Also, tomorrow, Monday, see if the Republicans come out again with more attacks on the president, whether they want to keep this thing going or not, T.J.

HOLMES: You know it seems wild that even a date night would be criticized. But more at play here, talking about money and things, and given the times. So, we will see. Paul Steinhauser, we will see you again, here, shortly. But our Paul Steinhauser, deputy political director and friend of our show here on CNN SATURDAY AND SUNDAY MORNING. Good to see you as always. See you shortly.


HOLMES: All right, Betty.

NGUYEN: We do want to hear about you about what you think about date night. You can find us on Facebook or Twitter, or just e-mail us at

I want to read some of the responses that we're already getting. Let me go to my Facebook page real quick.

Wolf2001 says: "How many Crawford trips did we pay for? Same RNC that did not want to help GM at all."

Let's see, JohnUPS says, "Is the criticism warranted? And last I checked the president of the United States has people working on issues for him. Not doing it on his own."

So, we are getting some people, obviously, in support of date night. Saying, look, you know, it's not that serious folks.

But, you know what, there are others out there who say he flew up there on taxpayer's dimes at a time when GM is struggling, the nation is struggling. Is this really the right message to be sending? Send us your thoughts. We will be checking our Facebook pages, and out Twitter pages. You can also reach us by e-mail,

All right. So, a son that cannot communicate and a mom determined to find a way.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My teeth. Brush? Oh, you want this toothbrush? You want this toothbrush? Oh.


HOLMES: How she is using hip hop to help her son and others. You need to hear this story.


NGUYEN: Well, small businesses have it tough these days. Taylor the Tailor is one success story, though. He sells custom made suits fitted in your office or your home. Here's Ted Rowlands, from Los Angeles, with the story.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With swatches of fabric and measuring tape, Ryan Taylor sells clothes before he makes them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.

RYAN TAYLOR, OWNER, DROBE: We eliminate the money that it costs to have your clothes tailored. We eliminate the time that it costs to go shopping.

ROWLANDS: And the cost of inventory. When a sale is made, half of the money is collected up front, which helps pay for the cost of materials. Taylor says his custom-made clothes are about the same price as you would find at a department store.

TAYLOR: Our business model is remarkably fit, lean. We have no inventory. Our inventory, quite honestly, is simply fabric.

ROWLANDS: When he started his company, DROBE, which is the word "wardrobe" without the "war", Taylor was selling clothes the old- fashioned way, making them first. This is a photo of his booth at a Las Vegas trade show in 2001. He did not sell a thing.

TAYLOR: When I came home from that show thousands of dollars in the hole, I said, how can I create a better story?

ROWLANDS: So, he created the new business model. One of his first clients was the late comedian, Bernie Mac.

TAYLOR: I called "The Bernie Mac Show", rest in peace. And the stylist there said, come on in, let me see what you have. And he was my first celebrity client.

ROWLAND: Taylor now sells to several celebrities, including musician Johnny Gill, who recently bought some clothes at his home in Beverly Hills. Other celebrity clients include Martin Lawrence, Jay Leno, Al Pacino. But Taylor says most of his business comes from average Joes, who hear about DROBE through referrals. Taylor says his love for making and selling clothes never changed, but changing the way he does business has allowed him to thrive in a tough economy.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.





NGUYEN: Go Reynolds! Go Reynolds.

HOLMES: Yeah, our crew back there, they should have their hands on some buttons and on the phone.

NGUYEN: They should be working, you think? Well, we're playing this music because of this story. Parents and some psychiatrists can't stop praising a new DVD series that uses hip hop to teach toddlers to read.

HOLMES: Yeah, and we have Reynolds to thank for the music, at least, this morning.

NGUYEN: Yes. HOLMES: But the interesting part here is how this whole thing got started, check out our Fredricka Whitfield.



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Six-year- old Emerson Carter is slow to start the day.

C. CARTER: You have to go to school. No kicking.

WHITFIELD: He won't respond to words, but his mother, Candy Carter, says a song gets him moving and gets him to do just about everything else.

C. CARTER (SINGING): Walk with mommy, walk with mommy

WHITFIELD: You can see, even the little things, for them have not been easy.

C. CARTER: I give birth, and my son has a hole in his heart, a big hole in his heart. Once we got all the physical stuff taken care of, he still wasn't-something is wrong. My husband kept going, something is not right. He wasn't doing what other kids were doing. He could not sit up at one years old.

WHITFIELD: Candy says doctors discovered a rare disorder called Chromosome 8p Deletion.

C. CARTER: And I distinctly remember sitting with the geneticist and her saying you know it causes mental retardation, severe speech delay, and she went down the list.

WHITFIELD: By the time Emerson was three, Candy and her husband realized how tough it would be.

C. CARTER: He would literally scream from the minute he woke up until the minute he went to bed. He would want things and he could just not get - that's why he screamed, I think, a lot, because.

JOE CARTER, EMERSON'S FATHER: Right, he was frustrated.

Do you like green eggs and ham?

EMERSON CARTER: Green eggs and ham?

WHITFIELD: Nothing seemed to get through to their son.

C. CARTER: And one day he just -- just screaming, tantrum, screaming. And really, for my own sanity, I just started singing. I really wanted to stimulate him, so I just got right in his face and I was like (RAP SOUNDS). And he literally stopped. He just went. And I just kept doing it. And he was quiet. And I was like, OK, we got something here.


Emerson Carter, Emerson Carter.

WHITFIELD: She says her songs helped Emerson accept the little transitions in daily life that used to paralyze him. Like getting to bed and taking his bath.

C. CARTER: So, I made up a bath-time song. It's bath time, boom, boom.

WHITFIELD: And a tooth brushing song.

C. CARTER: Say, brush my teeth, brush my teeth. Oh, you want this toothbrush? You want this toothbrush.

That worked. There were no more tantrums. I wasn't dragging him.

WHITFIELD: Emerson found his beat.

J. CARTER: We kind of found a way to reach him. It makes us happier, which I think makes him happier, which makes us happier. So it is kind of a loop. And I think it works with his teachers as well.

C. CARTER: Emerson has a neurologist that we go to. And so he's seen a lot of progress in him, but what he says is he's so happy. You know, it's working. There is something working.

WHITFIELD: Candy wondered if her songs could teach other kids as well.

C. CARTER: So, I asked my husband, I said, look, I work in TV. I think I can do this. We'll get some of the neighborhood kids. Let's put a video together.

CHILDREN SINING: Hip, hip-hop baby, ready, set, go

WHITFIELD: Hip Hop Baby was born.

C. CARTER: I said, I can do numbers, I can do colors. I can do animals. I can do all this stuff that like toddler need to learn. But we can make it hip.

WHITFIELD: Candy posted her video on the Internet. The DVD took off and the success stories came pouring in.

C. CARTER: This grandmother wrote to me about her granddaughter: "I wish you could see what it has done for this little girl."

WHITFIELD: Candy produced three more DVDs for kids with and without special needs. All were inspired by the special moments she shared with her son.

C. CARTER (SINGING) Waiting on the school bus, school bus.

J. CARTER: Especially, the special needs child. Any progress you make is awesome. And it is a huge leap every time he does something new or he does something on his own.

WHITFIELD: An often bumpy road now made smoother because of a mother's melodies.

C. CARTER: Bye, Emerson. Mommy loves you.

WHITFIELD: Fredricka Whitfield, CNN.


NGUYEN: What a great way of communicating with your child and making it fun.

HOLMES: It is fascinating how she just happened upon it. She just started making a beat one day felt she was on to something.

NGUYEN: Yeah, even a lot of would you know, sing to their kids or whatnot, but she's really found a niche, in a way, to get the point home, but make it fun for children.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. And it's not just for kids with, you know, special needs - I mean, a lot of people do that. I rhyme with my daughters. I mean, I'm not Walt Whitman, come on, or Robert Frost, or --

NGUYEN: Give us a rhyme, come on.

WOLF: More like Clint Eastwood. I'm like, you know, don't be rude, eat this food. Or get in bed, or you be dead. Very effective. Both effective, they work.

HOLMES: Especially that last one.

NGUYEN: Yeah, you be dead.


NGUYEN: Reynolds' approach is frighten your children.


HOLMES: Whatever works.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, and you know, Mrs. Wolf, you know, she is tough mama. You know, got to be tough mama. So, I am all talk.

HOLMES: Threaten to kill the children?

WOLF: Not specifically, but come on! Goodness gracious.

NGUYEN: We won't be seeing that on DVD anytime soon.


NGUYEN: We're giving you a hard time, Reynolds.

WOLF: I'm turning red.

HOLMES: All right. Well, starting tomorrow, we've got some changes to tell you about. Some of you travelers out there, who may be on your way out of the country.

NGUYEN: Yes, and we have been talking a lot about tent cities popping up and homeless communities. Well there is one community camping out in a cave. You have to see their way of living.


NGUYEN: I love that song.

HOLMES: Maroon 5. One of their better ones. They're the best. Love Maroon 5.

NGUYEN: As we took a look there live over Chicago, this morning. That was a beautiful site. Look at that.


NGUYEN: Sun coming up.

HOLMES: That is one of the best summer cities on the planet.


HOLMES: Winter, not so much.

NGUYEN: It's a little tough in the winter, no doubt.

HOLMES: All right. A lot of people may be planning a trip to Chicago, or you might be planning a trip somewhere else. Maybe just to Canada or Mexico, but you better bring that passport along starting tomorrow.

NGUYEN: Really? You have to bring a passport to go to Mexico and Canada. You will need it, or something equivalent to get back in without a hassle. Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve goes over these new rules.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At certain times, at certain places, it can take hours to cross the border from Canada into the U.S. Some fear new rules will make the wait even longer.

ANNOUNCER, PUBIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Starting June 1st 2009 new document requirements...

MESERVE: Ad campaigns in the U.S. and Canada are spreading the word that starting June 1, travelers crossing into the U.S. on the northern border will need to present one of the following: a U.S. or Canadian passport, U.S. passport card, a trusted traveler card, an enhanced driver's license, like those offered by a limited number of states and provinces.

U.S. officials estimate that only about one in three Americans has one of those documents. Although people living near the border are much more likely to have one, officials are promising to be flexible about enforcement in the beginning.

JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY, HOMELAND SECURITY: We hope that people appreciate, however, that as we implement, we are going to do it with common sense. We want to be fair, but that that is the law, and my responsibility is ultimately to make sure that law is enforced.

MESERVE: Every day, about 300,000 people cross the U.S./Canadian border, and every minute, $1 million worth of trade goes back and forth. Business and travel groups worry the new rules will create bottlenecks.

PERRIN BEATTY, CANADIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The last time a shot was fired in anger between Canada and the United States was in the War of 1812-14. And yet we are putting barriers between our two countries which keep on getting higher and thicker, and we are moving in the wrong direction.

MESERVE: But U.S. officials predict things will go smoothly. Some of the documents are enhanced with radio frequency identification tags that can be read before a vehicle gets to an inspection booth, and may actually speed travel.

(On camera): So what happens if you get to the border without one of the required documents? You will get more scrutiny, and that will take time, but in the end, if you are a U.S. citizen, you cannot be denied entry. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


HOLMES: Tomorrow could be the day for GM. We are looking ahead toward the big bankruptcy news that we are expecting tomorrow. So what is in store for that company's future and how is the president supporting the automaker?

NGUYEN: And the president's pick for Supreme Court judge justice may put the Republican Party in a pickle. How the Latino-Hispanic factor all comes into play. That's straight ahead.


HOLMES: What is the other version? Counting Crows.

NGUYEN: Counting Crows, yes. That's the one I'm used to hearing.

HOLMES: That is the version I love.

A live shot of Atlanta, you are seeing there. You see, the -

NGUYEN: It's going to be a nice day here.

HOLMES: It maybe a hot day in Atlanta.

NGUYEN: Well, it's May. It's almost June.

HOLMES: They do call it "Hotlanta", don't they?

NGUYEN: Yeah, 100.

HOLMES: Well, we'll talk about California, right now. Officials out there are working to shut down a huge homeless camp. They have just discovered under one of the states busiest freeways.

NGUYEN: Yes, they are describing it as a hidden city. CNN's Kara Finnstrom tells us it is the biggest they have seen in almost 30 years.


KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Beneath the noisy freeway of Las Angeles, Cal Trans workers shine a bright light on a cave-like underworld.

PATRICK CHANDLER, CAL TRANS SPOKESMAN: There is about 35 to 40 people living in here.

FINNSTROM: A homeless encampment about half the size of a football field with clearings up to 20 feet high. The stench is urine. A syringes pokes up from the floor. The workers armed with masks, rubber gloves and huge garbage bags, clear a filthy hazard.

CHANDLER: Spiderman toys, bedding, umbrellas, ski boots, whatever, it was in there.

FINNSTROM: But what Pearl Mibbs sees:

PEARL MIBBS, HOMELESS: They collected everything.

FINNSTROM: Is the destruction of a home.

MIBBS: There was a girl that lived in here. The brothers lived here. There was two elderly gentlemen that lived in here. They all had their -it was almost like rooms. They had a couch in here. They had carpet in here. They had a home.

FINNSTROM: Mibbs says she has lived on the streets just outside, for more than five years. She'd crawl into the cave to escape the cold, to bathe in water warmed by a burning fire.

MIBBS: You don't have to worry about being out there. You don't have to worry about somebody stumbling over you, somebody trying to hurt you. You have walls, you have a roof.

FINNSTROM: And in hidden catacombs, 15 to 20 feet off the ground, sheriff deputies found bassinets and baby bottles. They believe children may have been tucked deep inside, away from rats and away from sprawling spider webs. Mibbs says she never saw children here. MIBBS: We are not hurting nobody, all this stuff is just here. I don't know why you guys just keep taking things from us. We're not even recognized, we're just swept underneath the carpet like a piece of trash.

FINNSTROM: County officials stress they are helping the homeless who did live here find safer shelter. But everyone admits welding this cave shut is a sorely insufficient fix for a much greater problem.

Cal Trans workers have cleared and sealed the cave before only to have the homeless to find a way back in.

MIBBS: You close your eyes, what do you hear? You hear the ocean forever.

FINNSTROM: Mibbs says that muffling drone of cars calls her back.

MIBBS: It's quiet. You don't have to hear anybody yelling, nothing.

FINNSTROM (On camera): Cal Trans officials say the massiveness of this makeshift shelter was extraordinary it is not unusual to find homeless encampments hidden along the states freeways and bridges. Kara Finnstrom for CNN, Los Angeles.


HOLMES: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, George, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING on this May 31st. Hello to you all. I am T. J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Hey, T.J. How you doing this morning.

HOLMES: I am well.

NGUYEN: It's a great morning, isn't it?

Hello, everybody. Thanks for joining us. I am Betty Nguyen. It is 7 a.m. here in Atlanta, 6 a.m. in Nashville, and an early 4 a.m. in San Diego. Thanks for starting your day with us.

OK, well, he promised the girls a dog and Michelle a Broadway play, but date night for the Obamas was a little more than dinner and a play. But it also included three planes and a staff. Now, the president is getting some criticism from Republicans.

HOLMES: Yes, and you can imagine who is coming from Republicans. No surprise, maybe, there. But still a lot of people have opinions about this trip that he took. And we'd like to hear what you have to say. A lot of you have been chiming in already.

Does it give a wrong impression to take a taxpayer funded, what some would say, kind of a glamorous night out on the taxpayer dime last night? Or, hey, he's president -- he works hard, he deserves a night out?

Send us your comments. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter and

We don't know if the president hooked up with Prince Harry when he was in New York yesterday. But we know the prince was there as well, describing his trip as fantastic. He had a two-day visit that wrapped up yesterday with a morning stop in Harlem.

He was at the Harlem Children's Zone, that's an organization focusing on educating disadvantaged children. In the afternoon, we face off in a charity polo match. This is his first official visit to the U.S.

Also, Chrysler could find out tomorrow if it could sell most of the company to Italian automaker, Fiat. A bankruptcy judge is expected to approve the deal some time on Monday despite some aggressive challenges. If he does, the judge, Chrysler could potentially emerge from bankruptcy protection within weeks -- that is as long as there are no lengthy appeals.

NGUYEN: We'll also going to find out tomorrow what happens to General Motors. And it's looking very likely the auto giant will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Now, "The New York Times" says bondholders have finally agreed to swap their debt for up to 25 percent ownership in the restructured company. And the company has to decide what it's going to do by tomorrow to meet a government-imposed deadline.

So, what does all of this mean for the consumer? Here is CNN's Kate Bolduan.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As President Obama flew to New York for an evening on the town, General Motors faced a looming deadline that will determine its future.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president is encouraged that whatever happens at the deadline that the progress is being made to restructure General Motors and put it on a path -- as I have said -- to being a viable auto company.

BOLDUAN: Previously, G.M. received nearly $20 billion in federal loan to stay afloat, and could see another $30 billion as part of the restructuring effort. The automaker is shedding its European brand, Open, and the United Auto Workers has agreed to major concessions to reduce labor cost. Two more signs G.M. is heading towards bankruptcy.

Analysts say, once it emerges from that process, G.M. will be a much different company.

PETER VALDES-DAPENA, CNNMONEY.COM: It's going to be a leaner company with fewer brands, fewer employees, and they've already announced they are cutting quite a number of dealerships.

BOLDUAN: So, what could this mean for G.M. customers? VALDES-DAPENA: I wouldn't be terribly nervous of buying a G.M. product because it's pretty clear -- look, this company is going to survive.

BOLDUAN: A sentiment echoed at this Maryland G.M. dealership just miles from the White House.

MIKE MILAN, CORVETTE OWNER: General Motors is, you know, a stalwart -- part of our history. You don't have a company that's been around for 100 years without some bumps in the road.

BOLDUAN: And the White House is banking on the premise those bumps in the road today will mean a stronger, more viable G.M. in the future.

(on camera): Next week, Obama administration officials, including cabinet members, will be panning out across the Midwest to the states hit hard by the floundering auto industry. According to the White House, these officials will be talking about the federal recovery efforts to help auto communities and workers.

Kate Bolduan, CNN, the White House.


NGUYEN: This is the top story on, for all things with the auto industry. All you have to do is check out

HOLMES: A Republican senators are looking closely at President Obama's decision to nominate a female, Hispanic judge to the Supreme Court. But vigorously opposing Sotomayor could alienate Hispanic voters.

CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser is joining us once again from Washington.

Hello, again, to you, Paul. This -- a lot of people say this is pretty savvy move by the president. He is really putting conservatives and Republicans in a tough spot. It's going to be difficult to go after this woman.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, they really are in a pickle at a way. And here's why, T.J. Conservatives really would like to see Republican senators go after Sotomayor hard because they disagree with her on a lot of policy. But, at the same time, as you mentioned, Sotomayor will become the first Hispanic or Latino on the high court, making history. If the Republicans want to come back from major elections defeats in 2006 and 2008, one thing they need to do is increase their number of Latino or Hispanic voters.

And I want you to take a look at these exit polls. These are national exit polls and they really tell the story here. In 2004, you could see John Kerry, according to exit polls, won 53 percent of the Latino or Hispanic votes, George Bush 44 percent. Look how that went down four years later -- John McCain only winning 31 percent of the Latino and Hispanic vote, according to exit polls; Barack Obama winning two out of three of those voters, T.J.

So, Republicans have a lot of work ahead of them when it comes to grabbing back some of that vote. If they go hard against Sotomayor in these confirmation hearings, that could be a problem.

HOLMES: Well, they have a lot of work ahead. But so does she, it appears, this week -- a lot of meeting and greeting. Does it help her cause during her confirmation hearings, depending on how these meetings go this week?

STEINHAUSER: You know, these meetings are kind of like the pre- game stuff. These will be cordial meetings. You're not going to see a lot of tough questions from senators. That will come during the confirmation hearings. But it all starts off on Tuesday, that's what the White House says when Sotomayor will go up to Capitol Hill. She'll meet with the top Republican and Democrat on the committee, on the judiciary committee, and also the top Republican and Democrat in the Senate, T.J.

HOLMES: All right. But she can, at least, help herself. I know this is supposed to be very informal, but still, can she make an impression that could help her down the road?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, she could make an impression, good or bad, during these meetings. But, again, these are more cordial affairs.


STEINHAUSER: And the tough grilling we'll see later this summer.

HOLMES: All right. Paul Steinhauser, our deputy political director and friend of our show here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING -- always good to see you, buddy.


HOLMES: Well, the president wants Sotomayor on the bench before the next term starts for the Supreme Court in October. He'd like to see the Senate confirmed her before August, that's because Congress will go on recess for that month. Republicans, however, want more time to consider her nomination. They want to vote after the break in September.

The next court term starts on October 5th; the president wants Sotomayor seated well before that date. So, if we have any problems in September, this could run into the Supreme Court's next term.

Well, this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION," two U.S. senators weigh in on Judge Sotomayor and talk candidly about the gender issue. And they're going to be talking to our John King. He's hosting his show, "STATE OF THE UNION," this morning, starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time -- Betty?

NGUYEN: Well, we've been asking you -- what do you think about the president and the first lady taking a date night in New York. Well, here are some of your responses. I want to take your first to my Facebook page.

And Men (ph) says, "Of course, that makes sense. I had steak tonight while G.M. is going out of business. So, shame on me. I was going to finish my meal with cheesecake, but then I thought of Chrysler, so I refrained."

So, a lot of people today speaking in support of the president's date night out, and saying he's a real person, and everybody needs a night out every now and then.

But as we've been talking about this morning, the Republicans have criticized the president for doing so, saying, you know, it is sending the wrong message right now and G.M. is facing bankruptcy on Monday and many Americans are struggling to pay their bills.

So, we want to hear both sides of this. Let us know what you think about date night. Just e-mail us:, or go to our Facebook and Twitter pages, and sound off. We'll be reading some of your replies on the air.

Well, the longest college baseball game ever played last night. And guess where? Austin, of course.

HOLMES: I know where it was.

NGUYEN: Yes, Texas won. Hook 'em horns. We'll tell you how long it went, though, coming up.

HOLMES: Also, do we have this picture of our guy? Is Rick Horrow in place? Our sports business analyst, Rick Horrow, is going to be joining us after the commercial break. There he is, looking good, looking sharp this morning.

But would you believe, he's usually here talking to us about sports. This guy has a special connection to the Supreme Court, Betty.

NGUYEN: Oh, really?

HOLMES: A very -- you will never believe it. Also, he's going to be talking to us about Judge Sotomayor. Who knew? Rick Horrow, Supreme Court.

NGUYEN: I would never have thought it.

HOLMES: Stay tuned.




NGUYEN: Lose your accent. Come on. None of you are from Texas.

HOLMES: You don't have an accent. NGUYEN: I'd like to say y'all with the best of them.


NGUYEN: All right. We are playing this song because my beloved Texas Longhorns versus the Boston College Eagles. This game is historic because it lasted 25 innings, folks -- the longest in NCAA history. The game went on seven hours, three minutes -- yes, I did not watch the end of it, because it ended at 2:00 a.m. Eastern this morning. That was about the time I was getting up to go to work.

And Texas actually won 3-2, off an RBI single. But -- OK, this went 26 innings. And the previous record 23 innings, back in 1971, Louisiana-Lafayette beat McNeese State.

So, hook 'em horns. Way to go.

HOLMES: It was -- I was told, a couple of pictures for your guys, just an amazing performance. One coach described it as one of the most amazing pitching he's ever seen. One of the guys is like 13 no-hit innings. They only use a couple of pitchers in 25 innings.

NGUYEN: In all of that.

HOLMES: In all of that. So ...

NGUYEN: You know, someone's got a sore arm this morning. Wow. What a game!

HOLMES: And would you believe, Betty, that the longest college football game history --Arkansas versus Ole Miss, 2001.

NGUYEN: So, we got a little something in common, right?

HOLMES: We got something in common. All right. Our alma maters can go long haul.

NGUYEN: Yes. Go the distance.

HOLMES: We'll get with some politics here. Politicians and pundits sort through Judge Sotomayor's position on issues. You know, the big issues that you hear about, affirmative action, gay marriage, abortion, and things like that. She also has a fashion for sports and she has made an impression with a major ruling involving pro-baseball.


OBAMA: In a decision that reportedly took her just 15 minutes to announce -- a swiftness much appreciated by baseball fans everywhere -- she issued an injunction that helped end the strike. Some say that Judge Sotomayor saved baseball.


HOLMES: All right. Let's bring in our guy. Rick Horrow, business and sports analyst. He joins us now from West Palm Beach. Good morning to you, Rick. You're reading some of this stuff, and you hear the president there, "she saved baseball." Is that fair to say?

RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: Well, it was a collective bargaining agreement that was reinstated by the judge. There was a lockout -- remember it canceled the 1994 World Series, and they made the players go back to work under the old conditions while they continued to bargain.

It surely saved the season, but maybe not saved baseball.

HOLMES: What -- I guess, what is fair to say? I guess, historically, her impression that she has left or made on baseball given that decision?

HORROW: Well, she caused everybody to go back to work. She said you've got to play by the rules. And over the five years afterwards, the Yankees made it to the series most of those years because the playing field wasn't leveled, they still had $50 million in television revenue nobody else did.

What saved baseball was the structure that was put in place with a revenue sharing luxury tax deal. It kind of leveled the playing field. That's why the Rays and the Cardinals and all of those have come to the World Series.

So, for the next five years, nothing saved baseball except the desire to see the playing field leveled. She did, though, get people back to work, saved that season, and continued the process. So, I guess, good for her ruling in that case.

HOLMES: Well, another major decision she was part of, and a lot of people will remember, this young man. It was kind of a tragic story, Maurice Clarett from Ohio State. Explain her position there.

HORROW: Well, in 2002, he led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the national championship over Miami, I might add. And a couple of years later, he wanted to get into the NFL draft and he was blocked. There's a rule that says you had to be three years out of your high school class to be eligible.

And she overturned that prohibition against that and said they violate the antitrust laws. She was then on the second circuit court of appeals, and said, no, the NFL can create its own rules that are legitimate and reasonable. This was. So, it ruled or hailed as a player's ruling in baseball, and a management ruling in football. The bottom line is: she knows the $750 billion business of sports -- which is a good thing.

HOLMES: All right. And I want to bring this up as well. And we are proud to be -- I know it's not something you wanted to brag about or anything like that, but this is a neat little tidbit here maybe people didn't know. First, you went to Harvard Law School, which everybody just sat up on their couches at home is like, what is he talking. Yes, he went to Harvard law. But you also roomed with Chief Justice John Roberts.

Now, how did his career goes so well and yours didn't so much?


HORROW: That's very well put. Well, we both reached our goals. He is the chief justice of the Supreme Court and I'm giving you grief every weekend. So, you know, those are our goals.

We did play squash and other events. And, by the way, he's a great sports fan. He's obviously, a great leader, and he's well thought, of course. And you know the arguments we could have we're not even close because his intellect was clearly superior. We played squash on a regular basis.

HOLMES: Betty, what's squash?

HORROW: I am not able to talk about the results.

HOLMES: What is squash?

NGUYEN: I never played squash.

HORROW: What is squash?

HOLMES: I thought it was a vegetable.

HORROW: It's not a vegetable. It is a vegetable. But it's a game that you could only aspire to play to.



HORROW: You know, your thing is about basketball.

NGUYEN: Yes, we see where your aspirations took you.


HOLMES: Do you all keep in touch? When was the last time you talk to the chief justice?

HORROW: Yes, he was at my daughter's -- well, he was at my wedding, and he stayed in touch and we stay in touch on a regular basis.

NGUYEN: Oh, that's wonderful.

HORROW: So, it is an honor. And he is a fantastic individual obviously. No sports. But bottom line is: He is a great jurist.

HOLMES: We have you on talking about sports. You should be the CNN legal analysts. You have that the inside to the Supreme Court.

NGUYEN: To the Supreme Court, exactly. HORROW: Yes. Did everybody hear that?

HOLMES: Everybody heard that.


NGUYEN: Folks, it's just an idea, and it has not been approved.

HORROW: I want that tape by the way.

HOLMES: Rick, it's always a pleasure to see you, buddy.

NGUYEN: Always.

HOLMES: Thank you so much. Enjoy the rest of your day.

HORROW: Thanks, T.J.

NGUYEN: We love giving him a hard time, don't we? Thank you.

HOLMES: A lot of people at Harvard Law ...

NGUYEN: That's a big deal.

HOLMES: And Rick Horrow.

NGUYEN: Rick Horrow, when you told me that, I wasn't sure you were being honest about that, and that's the truth.


NGUYEN: You know, another smart guy we want to talk to right now, that being Reynolds Wolf.

Hey there, Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Jacksonville State University in the house.


HOLMES: That's OK.

NGUYEN: And you play squash as well. I'm sure.

WOLF: Exactly. Hey, I do like to eat fried and baked in the oven.


WOLF: Yes, that good stuff.

Hey, let me show something that's not so good. That was the rough weather we have in parts of the Midwest that is actually now moving through parts of the Carolinas and into Virginia and Richmond this morning. Some scattered showers for you. In Raleigh, not a whole lot for the time being -- but give it a few minutes, you'll certainly have those showers rolling through there as well.

You know, something else I'm going to show you. On the national perspective, it looks like as this system is beginning to move its way out to the eastern seaboard, we got another area of rough storms that may develop into the afternoon, especially for parts of the central and northern plains and then back into, say, parts of Minnesota, and even into Iowa.

Ironically enough, in Iowa, we got something else for you. Take a look at this video that was picked up by some law enforcement. It is amazing to see. Keep your eye. There you go. A deer jumped across several lanes of traffic over the hood of a Crown Victoria vehicle. Thirty-two feet, the vertical, 70 inches wide, and then bo- boom.

T.J., I don't know what you are thinking but this deer can fire three, and do some decent crossover, dribbles and dribbles around the back. Maybe the Atlanta Hawks can sign him off.


WOLF: Pretty decent runner, I'm guessing.

NGUYEN: That is wild.

WOLF: Crazy stuff. You know, it's not something you see every single day in Iowa. You know, giving out of ticket for jaywalking for a deer, not exactly sure where you send the bill to, send the ticket to. It's kind of hard to enforce that.

NGUYEN: And the deer is fine and didn't get hit or anything like that.

WOLF: Just fine and ran off and ...

NGUYEN: Just leaped over about 12 cars and one town.

WOLF: And now living with his (INAUDIBLE) friends out in the forests.

HOLMES: I'm sure he's on a dining table somewhere.


WOLF: With that squash that we were talking about earlier. Nice and yummy.

HOLMES: Reynolds, we appreciate you, buddy. Thanks so much.

WOLF: You bet, guys.

NGUYEN: All right. Coming up: There is more that you may want to check out on the Web today. Josh Levs joins us with that.

Hey, Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I can't beat the deer and the squash, though.


LEVS: We do have some stuff. And it's kind of interesting. There is some real progress in battle against drugs. It's interesting to hear from a top official. We're going to show some concrete results and I'm going to show you something over here -- an atheist billboard that's turning some heads in New Orleans. We'll explain.



BOB HOPE, COMEDIAN: The Beatles arrived from England, and they were 40 pounds overweight, and that was just their hair.


HOPE: The Beatles are kind of a barbershop quartet that couldn't get weighted on.



HOLMES: That is one of the world's greatest entertainers and now he's being immortalized.

NGUYEN: Yes, the United States Postal Service rolled out a commemorative stamp dedicated to the late great Bob Hope. This is San Diego yesterday on the deck of the USS Midway. CNN iReporter Chris Morrow was on the scene and talked with the comedian's daughter.


LINDA HOPE, BOB HOPE'S DAUGHTER: I look back on his amazing life, and I was privileged to share it for 60 some-odd years before he died at 100. My mother just turned 100 two days ago. And he was a remarkable man.

And, you know, one of the stories that I remember apropos of his coming and going to visit the troops, my brother, who's a year younger than I am, when we were both small, we were always waving hello and good-bye at the airport. And so, we were there, and we saw my dad and he was just returning from having been away for two weeks entertaining the troops, and my brother yelled out, "Good-bye, Bob Hope," so he was a little confused as to whether it was coming or going.


NGUYEN: Well, Hope performed twice aboard the aircraft carrier. And if you have any pictures that you want to share, send them to

HOLMES: Well, we've all seen a lot of stuff out there, and some other stories that may turn your head right now. A lot of religious billboards out there -- you don't see a lot of them from atheist usually out there on the highway.

NGUYEN: No. But a new one is literally turning heads on the highway. Our Josh Levs is here with that and some of the other stories from our CNN affiliates.

Hey, Josh.

LEVS: Hey there. I didn't know about this either. But apparently it's making a lot of news there in New Orleans. And this is from our page It's worth checking it out, because it's all there's great stories that are -- you usually kind of missed during week, you see a whole list of them over there.

Check it out. Let's see if we can zoom in to this story that comes to us and let's see if we can see what it says. It says, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." This comes to us from WDSU. And it's also -- it's about this group, NOSHA, New Orleans Secular Humanist Association, which is saying that all these religious billboards, they wanted to let people know if they are atheists or this group calls a non-theist, they have a group as well. It's interesting to see what kind of responses they are getting.

Also, this is interesting. I didn't know about this either. This comes to us from El Paso, Texas, but it's from a state over there.

It's about the border czar who's saying now that there's actually some real progress in the war against drugs. And this is from our station, KBIA. And they're saying over, they've seized more than $23 million and more than a thousand weapons at ports of entries along the southwest border in the effort to crack down on drugs.

We actually had the border czar on CNN the other day. Here's what he told us.


ALAN BERSIN, U.S. "BORDER CZAR": For the first time in the history of the border, and the bilateral relationship, we actually have a president sitting in Los Pinos, in the Mexican White House who has declared war on the cartels. That's a completely different posture than has been taken in the past.


LEVS: So, you can get a lot of more of this in And, Betty and T.J., let's bring it back in because there's one more thing I want to show you guys. You already know this. But it's up on the same page. So, I just want to point out.


LEVS: Archie, the big story, Archie having to choose between Betty and Veronica.

NGUYEN: Well that's an easy choice, right? (LAUGHTER)

LEVS: I know. I feel saying this. But you guys know the big result? It's out. There he is. There's his ultimate quest in life. And he has officially decided.


LEVS: He went with veronica.


LEVS: Archie chooses Veronica. He's popping the question to her. And we'll just have to see how that pans out for them.

NGUYEN: Well, someone needs to consult that man.


NGUYEN: Just giving you a hard time. Thank you, Josh.

LEVS: You got it, guys. Thanks.

NGUYEN: You know, in churches, they are moving in social networking sites, and we're going to take you to Dallas where parishioners twittering while listening to the sermon?

HOLMES: Yes, I was doing other things in church, usually while ...

NGUYEN: Are you serious?

HOLMES: Reading Archie comics. No.

NGUYEN: Not falling asleep, I hope.

HOLMES: Also, this story made a lot of news in the past week or so. A former Catholic priest who's now dating -- there you see him -- well, he holds his first sermon today as an Episcopalian -- coming up. That's in the next hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Susan, how do feel right now?

SUSAN BOYLE, "BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT" CONTESTANT: I think the best people won.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's very gracious of you. You said to me that you came runner-up to a very deserving winner. Do you feel that?

BOYLE: I really do. They are very entertaining lads. Lad, I wish you all the best.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's gracious. Susan, can I just say, on behalf of us all here on "Britain's Got Talent," it has been amazing to me. Thank you so much for taking part.


NGUYEN: What a way to win. So gracious.

You know, a lot of people thought she was going to take the top prize, but she lost out to a dance group called Diversity. And, in fact, they got 25 percent of the 4 million television votes. There they are right there. That's some pretty good moves.

But Susan Boyle not the winner, but I have a feeling that she's got a career ahead of her.

HOLMES: And, you know what? I can't remember how many hits, but 5 million-plus maybe hits on YouTube.

NGUYEN: YouTube, yes.

HOLMES: Who knows what's going to happen? Everybody assumes she was a shoo-in after that because she became a sensation. But here in the U.S., we weren't watching this, we don't know what her competition was actually.

NGUYEN: Well, there you go.

HOLMES: There you.

NGUYEN: There goes the winner right there. And I have a feeling that both are going to do quite well


NGUYEN: All right. Well, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta starts right now.