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North Korea Fires Seven Missiles; Celebrating the Fourth; Jackson Memorial; Afghanistan Operations

Aired July 4, 2009 - 08:00   ET


TJ HOLMES, CNN HOST: And from the CNN center in Atlanta, Georgia, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING, happy Fourth to you all. I'm TJ Holmes.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And good morning, happy Fourth to you. I'm Brooke Baldwin sitting in for Betty Nguyen this morning. It is bright and early 8:00 here in Atlanta, 7:00 a.m. in your hometown, Memphis, 5:00 in Los Angeles.

What's the (INAUDIBLE) in New York, pretty pictures coming out of the Statute of Liberty. Huge news this morning because the crown of the Lady Liberty will be opening to the public for the very first time since the terrorist attack of 9/11. In December of '01 you could go to the island but you couldn't climb all the way up to the crown. So we'll bring you a live report from Lady Liberty a little later.

HOLMES: And also on this Independence Day, we got some fireworks to tell you about in North Korea. North Korea defying the world once again, according to South Korea. Pyongyang has fired seven short-range missiles towards the Sea of Japan. This all happened in less than a nine-hour window. It fired four you may remember on Thursday. The missiles have an estimated range of 310 miles per hour. More to come on this in just a second.

BALDWIN: An attack by Taliban insiders (ph) in eastern Afghanistan today has left two U.S. soldiers dead. That attack happening in Paktika province. It started when the Taliban detonated a truck full of explosives at a base shared by U.S. and Afghan forces. Four other Americans were wounded. An Afghan official says 32 Taliban fighters were killed.

HOLMES: Also, you only have a little while left or today at least, until tonight, to try to sign up and get your tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial. About 17,000 tickets are being given away through an online lottery. Again, that memorial happens next Tuesday. Ninety minutes after the registration opened, the site that went live, it pretty much crashed. It got hit with a half a billion people trying to get on there and trying to get tickets. Again the deadline to register is tonight. Winners will find out tomorrow. Again, 17,000 tickets available, only 11,000 of those are going to be able to go inside the Staples Center where the memorial happens. The other tickets will be for people to attend a screening of it or at least there will be a big screen set up at the Nokia Theater across the street if you go to that.

BALDWIN: South Korea says North Korea's launching of seven short-range missiles is a provocative act. Let's get more now from Sohn Jie-Ae in Seoul. She joins me now on the phone. Sohn Jie my first question, just to explain, we're talking about these short-range missiles. They fire about 310 miles into the Sea of Japan. What is a scud missile?

SOHN JIE-AE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (ON TELEPHONE): Well, scud missile is a type of ballistic missile. It is -- it is a missile that North Korea has about 700 of. It has -- it doesn't usually carry a nuclear warhead, but it is certainly deadly to the people that are on the other side of it. Now, the North Koreans have about 700 in their arsenal. Relatively shorter range than the one that they fired off today. It was actually belonging (ph) to people here in South Korea, because for South Korea, the fact that North Korea has these scud missiles with about a 300-mile range, which means that it has the entire South Korean peninsula under its watchful eye, is of great concern here to people in South Korea.

BALDWIN: Certainly concerning and alarming as you said and South Korea officially calling this act provocative, but let's also remember that this is happening during the Fourth of July, the Independence Day for us here in the United States and you can't say that this could be a coincidence Jie. What kind of message might this be sending to the states and perhaps the world community?

JIE-AE: Definitely. I mean, it's the type of missile that North Korea fired was a warning to South Korea. The timing of it actually seems to be aimed towards the Americans. I mean, they did fire seven on the Fourth of July. So it is something that they're telling the United States, they are not happy with Washington pressuring the Pyongyang government. It does seem definitely a sign on the Fourth of July.

BALDWIN: Sohn Jie-Ae for us this morning out of Seoul, South Korea, Jie-Ae, we appreciate it. Thank you.

HOLMES: All right. We've come to expect the unexpected with Governor Sarah Palin. Nobody saw this one coming. She's quitting; she's stepping down. She says she's not going to seek re-election in 2010, but not only that, she's leaving office early, going to hand it over to her lieutenant governor in about a month. Take a listen to the announcement she made yesterday.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R) ALASKA: I will support others who seek to serve in or out of office, and I don't care what party they're in or no party at all, inside Alaska or outside of Alaska. But I won't do it from the governor's desk. I've never believed that I nor anyone else needs a title to do this, to make a difference, to help people, so I choose for my state and for my family, more freedom to progress all the way around so that Alaska may progress. I will not seek re- election as governor.


HOLMES: Huh? Let's bring in or deputy political director Paul Steinhauser. Paul, we heard what she said, but what is she talking about? Why is she -- it's one thing to say you're not going to seek re-election, but to just quit? PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. This was definitely a very interesting news conference, TJ, or address by her. She said a couple things as to why she's quit, first of all, her family. She said she wanted to protect her family. Look, we know her family has been in the spotlight a lot over the last almost year now and she says she wants to protect them and the mockery that they've been facing.

Number two, she said she's doing this to escape ethics probes. Remember, she's been the focus and her family has been the focus of over a dozen probes. Some are still ongoing. She said she wants to leave office to help the state out. She thinks it would be in the best interest of the state. She also says by leaving office, TJ, she can better further her causes outside the governorship and finally, TJ, she said you know what, once I decided I don't want to run for re- election next year, she's up for re-election next year, she said I didn't want to serve as a lame duck governor finish out the remaining year and a half of my term. She said that would be politics as usual. She said I'm not about that.

HOLMES: You know what it sounds like, a lot of people are saying, including the biggest newspaper in Alaska, doesn't sound like she's about that, sounds like she's about herself. Nobody can make sense out of this. The way they put it is that this sounds like self-service and not public service. It sounds like really, it's going to sound like to a lot of people, Paul, that when the going got tough, the governor got going. How in the world down the road are people going to be able to -- some think she going to run, wants to run for president in 2012, how is she going to be able to get past this that she quit when it got tough?

STEINHAUSER: That's part of the argument here TJ and we really don't know what's in her mind. Maybe she just wants to get out of politics altogether and that's why she's doing this. She's just fed up with politics. But as you just mentioned, the other thought is that she is quitting early to make eventually or set herself up for a run for the White House in 2012 for the Republican presidential nomination. But you're right, critics have said, TJ, that one of her beefs against her last year when she was John McCain's running mate was that she did not have enough experience. Her resume wasn't big enough. She'd only been governor only about a year and a half.

By leaving now with a year and a half left in her office, that's not going to help build up that resume at all and as you mentioned, some people will see her as a quitter leaving office with a year and a half to go. But I think the flip side, other analysts have said this TJ is that, you know what, she's already so well known across the nation. She's got a very devoted following, serving as governor didn't help her anymore. So now this frees her up TJ. She's free now to criss- cross the country. She doesn't have the responsibilities of Alaskan governor anymore. She's free to campaign for Republican candidates this year and next year and she gets a lot more recognition and maybe that sets her up for a run for 2012 if she wants to do that.

HOLMES: Yeah, Paul, she's free all right, free to look out for herself and that is going to be the issue. She's not looking out for the people who gave her that job and told her to be in that job until at least the end of next year. What are the people thinking about her? I know she was really a popular governor before she was picked to be John McCain's running mate. What are polls showing us about her now?

STEINHAUSER: Her popularity in Alaska, you're right, has definitely gone down. It used to be almost 90 percent last year. Now it's down into the 50s and 60s. What about nationally? Take a look at these numbers. We did this poll, CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation of Republicans nationwide. Taking a look at a hypothetical race for the Republican presidential nomination, you know, this is all hypothetical here it's so early. But you can see Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, Romney and Huckabee of course made a run for it last time, all kind of tied right there at dead even, around 20 percent, just over 20 percent. So I mean TJ, it is wide open right now. She could definitely be considered one of the frontrunners if she wants to run down the road.

HOLMES: This just had us -- I know a lot of folks just scratching our heads trying to figure out what was going on here. So maybe we will learn more later and we'll have you back and we'll be chatting about it buddy. Paul Steinhauser, a friend of our show here on Saturday and Sunday morning and deputy political director. We will see you again here shortly.


HOLMES: We'll have much more on Palin's resignation throughout this morning.

Also, the guy who's getting a promotion because she's stepping down, the lieutenant governor Sean Parnell, he will be joining us live here in just a few minutes. Also radio talk show host Joe Madison rejoining us about this a little later this hour. The phone lines on the radio, this will be talked about for quite some time. Then coming up at 10:00, we'll be talking to an Anchorage television news anchor, Matt Felling about the Palin resignation to see what the people there are saying about this.

Wow. What do you make of it? We've been getting your responses this morning as well. Please continue to send your thoughts to us. You know how to reach us on facebook, on twitter, also the blog as well. You can find us all over the place. So please keep those coming. We'll be sharing those throughout the morning.

BALDWIN: It is the Fourth of July, time for fireworks, little barbecue and the presidential address. President Barack Obama today urging the nation to reflect on the spirit of our founding fathers, but he also sees that opportunity to argue for change.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now is the time to reform an unsustainable health care system that's imposing crushing costs on families, businesses, large and small, as well as state and Federal budgets. We need to protect what works, fix what's broken, and bring down costs for all Americans. No more talk, no more delay. Health care reform must happen this year. And now is the time to meet our energy challenge. One of the greatest challenges we've ever confronted as a people or as a planet, for the sake of our economy and our children, we must build on the historic bill passed by the House of Representatives and make clean energy the profitable kind of energy so that we can end our dependence on foreign oil and reclaim America's future.


BALDWIN: And for more on what the first family, including Barack Obama, what they have on tap this first Independence Day in Washington, let's ask our own Elaine Quijano joining us live from our nation's capital. Elaine, I know the president has a lot on tap coming up next week. What about the weekend?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, it's going to be fireworks here at the White House later on today, but as you heard there in the president's radio address, even on this holiday weekend the president, Brooke, is not taking a break from pushing his domestic agenda. We heard from the president himself there, citing the spirit of America's founding fathers while highlighting his top two domestic priorities. That is, overhauling health care and of course, developing clean energy.

Now the president said that country would need the same kind of unyielding spirit to tackle the problems of spiraling health care costs and developing clean energy. Meantime in the Republican address, the president's former rival, Senator John McCain, actually took a swipe at President Obama over Iran, specifically criticizing Mr. Obama for his handling of Iran, saying that the United States has a moral obligation to publicly voice support for Iranian protesters. Take a listen.


SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R) ARIZONA: There are those among us who warn that a strong and unequivocal declaration of moral support for Iranians would be used by the cruel regime and power there to convince their subject people that the United States is behind the civil unrest they have attempted to hide from the world. But the regime will make that claim no matter what we say or do.


QUIJANO: Now, since Iran's disputed election last month, as you know, President Obama has really tried to walk a fine line, on the one hand, denouncing the violent crackdown by the Iranian regime against these protesters, but also, Brooke, trying not to be seen as somehow interfering in Iran's internal affairs. So even on this Independence Day, politics, agenda items still moving forward here, at least being pushed in these weekly addresses. Brooke.

BALDWIN: Politics as usual. We should also mention Vice President Joe Biden speaking at Camp Victory with some of our troops there in Iraq today as well. Elaine Quijano, we appreciate it. Thank you.


HOLMES: A lot of people after Michael Jackson memorial tickets right now.

BALDWIN: A lot of people.

HOLMES: If you haven't registered you need to do it by the end of the day. More than a half million folks have actually registered. Time is running out. Still to come, we'll tell you how the ticket process is working out.

BALDWIN: Plus, the man who will take over Sarah Palin's job as governor will be joining us live right here in the newsroom, making a little time for (INAUDIBLE)

HOLMES: That's you, Reynolds.



BALDWIN: This morning we're continuing our conversation about the economy and in particular, men, a lot of them have been hit very hard, some of them dads in particular, losing their jobs.

HOLMES: But those that still do have jobs, in a lot of cases they have to work overtime, work some long hours, that means that's less time for the family. Josh Levs here with a new survey of dads.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. Since so many people are having that family time this weekend.

BALDWIN: Absolutely.

LEVS: And a lot of people are working a lot of weekends these days, so it's July 4th weekend people are looking forward to for weeks, even months in some cases. Let me show you what statistic that's new from Career Builder, that has a survey where they look at dads around the country, having missed a significant event in your child's life over the past year, 50 percent have missed one in the past year and 28 percent say they've missed more than three.

Here's what we did. We gathered this great panel of dads of diverse backgrounds, including a stay at home dad, and we talked to them about a few things, including sort of in a way the ultimate question of fatherhood, this.


LEVS: If you succeed as a father, what will you have achieved? What does success as a father mean?

KJ COPELAND: I think my ultimate goal is to raise, you know, three productive members of society and three kids that believe in the concept of being individuals and that believe you know, that want to be themselves and want to be an individual. JOE CERONE: I want her to be secure, happy, and loving and very strong. In this world today, I think she's going to have to be strong and we're trying to raise her to give the courage to accept other people's ignorance and in a sense learn from it. I mean, obviously we have issues that we have to teach her, that there will be prejudice against her. She's not part of it, but because of her dad, but we just want her to be strong, happy and confident and to learn from other people's weaknesses.

ORTEZ GUDE: I will feel that I have done a good job and have been successful as a dad if my kids are strong, independent, good people and they look for opportunities to make a difference in the world.

RIC RODRIGUEZ: I'm going to steal something from my brother, before I had my children and he had his girl, I asked him, I said, what do you want her to grow up to be, what profession should she choose? Who do you think she'll be or what do you hope for her, and he said, I just hope that she's happy. I hope that she winds up to be happy, you know. And I think that's so huge because it's a lot more to being happy as an adult than, you know, being in a good mood. I just want them to be doing what they love and to love being alive and you know, be happy.

LEE MAY: I think a picture of what would tell me that I'm a successful father is looking at my grandkids, are my grandkids loving and serving of others and being a commitment for the betterment of other people and I skip over to my grandkids because I think I will be successful if we have adequately taught our children now to be good people and to serve and love others and they can also pass that through to their children. And so that would tell me that I've done a good job as a father.


LEVS: That's interesting especially for me as a dad to hear those views maybe gather a little bit of wisdom. And of course we want to hear from you too. Here's how you weigh in. You got our blog going and you got facebook and twitter. Both cases it's/joshlevscnn and TJ and Brooke, I'll tell you, there's a lot of wisdom among these guys, even of all different backgrounds, some have only had kids for a few years but given a lot of thought.

BALDWIN: What's the number one piece of advice you took away?

LEVS: Number one piece of advice I took -- you know what's really interesting to me is no matter how much they work or whether they're out of work, the one thing that they all agree on ultimately is that there's no question what's most important in this world, passing on values to their kids and whether they only get that little bit of time or they get a lot of time packing it with quality. I know this sounds trite, but the truth is they have to make active efforts every day to really pack that time with quality. When you got your Blackberry, you got your computer, you got work, so got so many distractions, they're coming up with ways to just make sure that when they're with their kids that's where they are mentally.

BALDWIN: Quality time. Good stuff. Thanks Josh. HOLMES: We've been talking the bombshell up there in Alaska, Sarah Palin is quitting. Well, somebody else who was pretty surprised by it, the guy who is now getting a promotion because she stepped down. Lieutenant governor of Alaska joining us live. Stay here.


HOLMES: Why in the world would a sedative usually only used in hospitals be found in Michael Jackson's house? That's exactly what the Associated Press is reporting, that police found Diprivan (ph). This is used in hospital operating rooms to induce sleep. The cause of Jackson's death has not yet been determined. Toxicology results won't be back for several weeks. Now Jackson's memorial meanwhile is scheduled for Tuesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. More than 17,000 free tickets are available through a lottery. The winners will be notified tomorrow.

BALDWIN: Another major issue here is the custody of Jackson's three children. A judge has set a hearing for the 13th of this month, but so far there's still no word as to whether or not Debbie Rowe, remember she's the mother of two of Jackson's children, will actually try and get her kids back. CNN's Mary Snow has more on Rowe's role in their lives.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Debbie Rowe was married to Michael Jackson between 1996 and '99. The two reportedly became friends while she was a nurse for a dermatologist where Jackson was a patient. Rowe gave birth to Jackson's two oldest children, Michael now 12 and Paris 11. But as part of an $8.5 million settlement, she gave up her parental rights. Seen here in a 2003 Fox interview, she describes what she calls her non-traditional family.

DEBBIE ROWE, MICHAEL JACKSON'S EX-WIFE: My kids don't call me mom because I don't want them to. They're not -- they're Michael's children. It's not that they're not my children, but I had them because I wanted him to be a father. I believe that there are people who should be parents and he's one of them.

SNOW: Two years after that interview, Rowe was called as a prosecution witness when Michael Jackson faced charges of molestation. He was acquitted. Her testimony dealt a blow to prosecutors.

GERALD POSNER, AUTHOR AND INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: She showed up and gave testimony, sworn testimony, under the penalty of perjury, that in fact, he was a wonderful father.

SNOW: Rowe however cited the charges as one reason she went to court a few years ago to reopen the custody issue. In 2006, a California appeals court ruled that her parental rights had been improperly terminated, but Jackson kept custody of the children. Now 50, Rowe lives on this horse farm in Palmdale, outside of Los Angeles. Her attorney says no final decision has been made about whether she'll challenge Michael Jackson's mother Katherine over custody. Larry King asked Michael's brother Jermaine about the possibility she might seek custody.

JERMAINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: We'll see, Larry. The will is what it is and the will was really written well and it was executed by the executors and they did a great job. It's what it is.

SNOW: As for the custody of Michael Jackson's children, a judge has delayed a hearing until July 13th to decide whether Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson's mother, will remain temporary guardian of Jackson's three children. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


BALDWIN: Tonight and tomorrow night, CNN's Don Lemon will be taking a in-depth look at the life and legacy of the king of pop, Michael Jackson. We'll look at his childhood, his music, his finances and his influence, don't miss this CNN presents special "Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror" this weekend at 8:00 Eastern only on CNN.

After being MIA and then admitting he was on a romantic rendezvous with his Argentine mistress, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has to play a little damage control here, but is it too little too late?

HOLMES: Some saying you can't repair this damage that's been done because Republicans and Democrats, they are both asking him for him to resign. Still, what's next in that career and how critical is it, his wife's decision to his success. We take a closer look.


HOLMES: Hello, again. Welcome back to the CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm T.J. Holmes.

BALDWIN: And good morning again. I'm Brooke Baldwin. In for Betty Nguyen this Fourth of July. Thanks for starting your day with us. A lot going on news wise.

Let's get right to it. North Korea, this is a story we're following right now, North Korea just keeps defying the world. South Korea officially coming out saying Pyongyang fired seven -- what they're calling short-range -- missiles towards the sea of Japan in less than nine hours. It fired four this past Thursday. Those missiles have an estimated range of 310 miles.

HOLMES: Also, Taliban fighters attacked a base in eastern Afghanistan today, killing two U.S. soldiers and wounding four others. The attack happened, as you see there, in the eastern part of the country, in Paktika Province. This started when the Taliban detonated a truck full of explosives at a base shared by U.S. and Afghan forces. An Afghan official says 32 Taliban fighters were killed.

BALDWIN: And a bombshell from Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who says she is not going to be governor any longer. Palin started out yesterday in a news conference by saying she was not going to run for re-election in 2010, but then she followed that up by saying she didn't want to be a lame duck governor, so she said she will be stepping away by the end of the month. HOLMES: And with her stepping away, that means that Sean Parnell gets a promotion. Who is he? You don't know that name maybe. There he is. You will know the name and face soon enough. He is Alaska's lieutenant governor, who is now going to be moving up.

Sir, I guess I should say congratulations on a promotion. Sorry it had to come about this way. But tell me how you got the news. We got it in the shocking form on Thursday, how did you get the news she would be stepping down?

LT. GOV. SEAN PARNELL, (R) ALASKA: On Wednesday evening the governor contacted me and my wife, Sandy. We went to her office. The governor told us then.

HOLMES: Sir, what reasons did she give you about making this decision?

PARNELL: The very same reasons she gave the public. And what you heard matched exactly what she told us at that time.

HOLMES: I imagine, sir, if what she told you, matched what she told all of us, I would also imagine your reaction would have been similar to the reaction all of us had. Were you a bit shocked by this as well?

PARNELL: Well, she told me what her decision was going to be up front and then she explained her rational. And so I was very surprised at first, but then as she began to explain why she was doing it, I began to see it was Sarah Palin once again moving to put Alaska's interest first.

Remember the basketball metaphor she used where she talked about the full-court press being on her and how it's time for her to pass the ball to a teammate so we can progress here, in Alaska, with our agenda. And I think that was an apt way of describing how she perceived things.

Well, sir, a lot of people, you say apt, some would say inept. Some would say that that's not enough of a reason when the going gets tough, it sounds like the governor got going. Politics is tough and can be a nasty business sometimes and people that are in it have sacrifices they make, but her reasons, that makes sense to you, that because she might be seen as a lame duck, because things might be tough, because the press is talking about her, you think that's a legitimate enough reason to just essentially, as the paper there in Alaska said today, turn your back on the people of Alaska?

PARNELL: You know, I simply don't see it that way. I see us now being able to make a smooth, steady, stable transition. I see us being able to progress a natural gas pipeline so you all have cheaper energy in the other states of our country. And I'm looking forward to working on those issues.

HOLMES: Sir, would you ever vote for her for public office again, knowing what you know now, she would quit if it got tough? PARNELL: You know, I certainly support Governor Palin. I think she's served honorably. I think she has progressed our state in ways that have never been before. She's accomplished more in this -- these two and a half years than most governors accomplish in one or even two terms. So, sir, our governor has been a great governor. She is going to be Alaska and is Alaska's greatest gift to our country.

HOLMES: Again, sir, given what you know, though, she can be as great as she can be in a year and a half that she was in office, but they elected her to be in there a little longer than that. Would you vote for her again?

PARNELL: Absolutely I would vote for her again.

HOLMES: Well, Sir, what is the first thing you think you need to get across to the citizens of your state who are quite frankly a little upset with how things are going, with how this all went down. What is the first message you need to get across to them?

PARNELL: I've already taken steps in the last 24 hours, along those lines. I've contacted our legislative leadership, pledged my working commitment with them. I've contacted our commissioners, asked them to continue working as our team. My focus is going to be on getting a gas line, natural gas pipeline, from Alaska to bring our gas to markets in the other states. We're a resource development. We need all the energy that we can produce here in our country and I'm going to be focused on doing that and providing jobs for Alaskans in the process.

HOLMES: I want to get back to Governor Palin, here for a second, what would you say to those citizens? Maybe you say you see it one way, you can understand her rationale. But for those who don't and who are quite frankly downright angry that she would do this, and essentially abandon them, some are saying, what can you do to make them feel better? Calm their fears? And get them to see it the way you're seeing it which is she made a good decision for herself and for that state?

PARNELL: T.J., I don't think that's my job. I think my job is really to lead this state, to make sure that we are moving forward on resource development, making sure that people have jobs here. They're uncertain about the economy, just like they are in the other states. I'm going to make sure that we put our finances on a stable fiscal plane. Those are the things I'm going to be dealing with.

HOLMES: At the same time, Sir, like you said she's Alaska's greatest gift and you don't want people to have a bad opinion of her as she leaves. And you want them to be able understand why she did what she did, and right now they're not, they're angry.

PARNELL: I understand that people have different views and I think they are -- I'm willing to accept that.

HOLMES: All right. Sir, let me ask you then, are you going to see it through? Can you guarantee your citizens of Alaska you will stay in place and stay in office for the remainder of this term that you're now going to be sworn in to fulfill?

PARNELL: That's my intent.

HOLMES: Your intent. Come on now, you got to give the Alaskans something better than that. They're not feeling too good at what's happening up at the governor's office there.

PARNELL: I'm going to stay in this. I'm going to complete the term. But I also am conscience that, you know, we don't control life, so I may be dead tomorrow. And I'm not going to commit beyond that. But you bet I'll serve out the term.

HOLMES: Well, Sir, we certainly don't -that wasn't what I was meaning. We certainly hope you're going to be all right. Maybe we need to check on you every now and then. One last thing here, I know it's a long way out and you figured out on Wednesday you got the job. But are we going to be seeing you in 2010 running for governor of Alaska for your own full term?

PARNELL: Yes. I made that announcement yesterday, that I am seeking election as governor in 2010.

HOLMES: You don't mess around, do you? Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell, getting a promotion, going to be the governor come the 26th. Sir, I appreciate you taking the time. I know it's really early out there, but a lot of people were interested to talk to you this morning and I certainly appreciate you being here with us.

PARNELL: You bet. Happy to do it.

HOLMES: All right. Let's - whew! What is going on in Alaska these days? She has really thrown a monkey wrench in a lot of this political landscape.

We're going to continue with another story that really messed up the political landscape, someone else that has been along with Sarah Palin, his name has been out there for possibly seeking the Republican nomination coming up in 2012. And that is, that guy right there, the governor of South Carolina, Mr. Sanford, Governor Mark Sanford. Well, he has finally stopped talking about his Argentine lover and he has also stopped talking about crossing lines with other women, and a lot of people are happy he has stopped talking about it.

However, that hasn't silenced calls for the Republican's resignation, including pleas from within his own party to step down. Paul Steinhauser is CNN's deputy political director.

Paul, my goodness, gracious. We're here to talk about Mark Sanford. Let me just get your reaction. What jumped at you from listening to the lieutenant governor, there, of Alaska.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Sean Parnell has been an ally of Sarah Palin's for a while. I know you were trying to get a reaction from him, T.J., but he stayed the party, you know, the loyal lieutenant governor there in that interview. No doubt about it. But yeah, I think you're right, he has his work cut out for him and people in Alaska are definitely troubled, some, by Sarah Palin's unexpected announcement yesterday.

HOLMES: All right. Let's go ahead and move on to -- from strange to stranger, maybe with Governor Sanford of South Carolina. You know the revelations came out about him and his mistress in Argentina and about him lying about he had been on the Appalachian Trail, and all that. That was strange enough, but then he came out in this interview. And he talked about he was not in love -- he was trying to fall back in love with his wife, the mistress was actually his soul mate, what in the world is going on? Is he going to stop talking?

STEINHAUSER: You would think that people have told him to stay quiet, maybe TMI, too much information.

You're right, that interview he gave with the Associated Press, which came out on Tuesday, until that interview was released people were thinking, maybe he's going to survive it that morning, two of the largest newspapers in South Carolina said the governor should not resign. But when that interview came out, and since then, the remainder of this past week you've seen a number of Republicans in the state saying it's time for him to go.

Around half of the state senate Republicans have said it's time for him to go. The head of the Republican Party down there is questioning whether he should stay. That was a troubling interview, T.J. Why did he do it? Did he feel like he was forced to come out and say it? I don't know. But it's very funny the difference here between him and Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin, both governors having a year and a half left in office. She's giving hers up and he's fighting to keep his, T.J.

HOLMES: All right. And something, here, that a lot of people, and particularly a lot of women, were quite frankly pleased to see. We see so many political scandals where men come out, they're busted cheating on their wives. Then the wife is standing right there with him at some press conference, supporting him. And trying to help him save his job. Well, Mrs. Sanford did not do that, at all. Is that hurting him?

STEINHAUSER: He needs her if he wants to survive, no doubt about that. He needs his wife. His wife was instrumental in his runs for Congress and also in his two elections as governor South Carolina. She was one of his main advisors. He needs her and her support if he is going to survive this.

Now, T.J., they are down together, in Florida this weekend, with the family, with the four kids. And he is trying to repair damage. She put out a statement on Thursday, T.J., very interesting stuff.

She said, "There is no question Mark's behavior is inexcusable." But she goes on to say, "The real issue now is one of forgiveness. I am willing to forgive Mark for his actions."

So, if you believe her statement, they are trying to repair things this weekend. He'll be back probably Monday in South Carolina. We'll see what happens next.

HOLMES: We will see. Paul Steinhauser, we appreciate you on an interesting and strange political news weekend. Really. Paul, thanks so much, buddy.


BALDWIN: Well, interesting interviews, there. Sean Parnell, I liked how you said it's strange and possibly stranger. I don't know if you heard my stomach growling, now. No segue there. We're talking to Reynolds Wolf because he's talking about weather --

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hold on a second. You guys are talking about weird and then you come to me.

HOLMES: Well, that's how it goes.

BALDWIN: No connection, no connection.

WOLF: As if.

All right. Guys. We have a lot of great weather to share with you.

Go ahead, buddy.


WOLF: Hey, if you're thinking of something to do this weekend. Maybe take in a little bit of a weekend getaway. Well, I've got a story for you that might give you a few ideas.


WOLF (voice over): Step into the Breaker's Mansion at Newport, Rhode Island, the former summer home of the Vanderbilt family and return to the Gilded Age. The 70-room mansion is located on the famous cliff walk that winds along Newport's eastern shore.

TRUDY COXE, PRESEVATION SOCIETY OF NEWPORT COUNTY: If you're interested in history at all, and even if you're not, this is a community that is well worth visiting.

STERLING KELSO, "TRAVEL & LEISURE": Newport's downtown has one of the largest collections of 17th and 18th century homes, so a historic tour is definitely a must do. You should also take advantage of the outdoors when you're at Newport.

WOLF: Once a major U.S. seaport, Newport has several historic lighthouses and the water front. Eastern Beach is home to a vintage carousel and the Save The Bay Exploration Center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here, it's called a broad-clawed hermit crab.

WOLF: There's nearby Brenton Point State Park.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's windy here. So, you can fly kites. It's really fun.

WOLF: And Sachuest Point National Wildlife Park, known for its saltwater fishing.



HOLMES: A lovely picture out of New York, Lady Liberty. You know something special is happening today that we haven't seen in quite some time, actually since September 11th. The crown is opening today. A bunch of lucky folks got their tickets and they will get to go up today on this Fourth of July, when it is actually reopening.

BALDWIN: I think something like 20,000 people will be going to the Island. Just a couple hundred will get the coveted tickets. Susan Candiotti, our very own intrepid correspondent, will be getting one of those tickets going up to the tip-top of the crown. We'll be talking to her a little later live, when she gets up there. She can talk about the view from above, but she did get a sneak peek inside yesterday. Let's take a look.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a long climb, but here we go. This part's not bad because this is the pedestal, the start of 354 steps up to the crown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you're going to see Eiffel structure.

CANDIOTTI: How do you describe that, wow?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just overwhelming. You can't even say how wonderful it is.

CANDIOTTI: All right. Let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have 24 steps and then another 162.

CANDIOTTI: These steps are not bad at all. No feeling of closeness at this point. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People aren't that aren't able to go all the way up into the crown, they have four options to look up. Each yellow box represents an area that you can look up the skirt.

CANDIOTTI: So, we can look up the skirt?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can look up and see the spiral staircase.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The outer coat is only two pennies thick of copper.

CANDIOTTI: Still not bad. I guess we keep going up this way. Steps are very narrow; only a little over maybe a foot and a half.

The creases that you're looking at now, these are the wrinkles in the statute's dress and this is what it looks like from the inside. Also if you have any issues with height, it's kind of scary when you look over the side and peer down below.

Double railings are brand new. They were put in recently. And it really does help when you're going up here.

Still going.

We're here!. We're already up to the crown. It's magnificent. And if you thought it was going to be big, it isn't. Only 10 people will come up here at a time, and spend about 10, 15 minutes. But look at this view.

OK. We can see the bottom of the torch out the window. Lady Liberty's arm, her sleeve. Through the windows you can also see some of the points on Lady Liberty's crown. There are seven of them and they represent the seven continents, the seven seas, and the seven known planets at the time the statute was built.

These waves that you see in the ceiling, actually represent the curls on the other side, Lady Liberty's curls. If you want to experience this you can go online and buy tickets ahead of time. It only costs $15. They are sold out through next month.


BALDWIN: Probably good it's only 10 at a time. Because I was thinking, watching Susan climb the very narrow stairway, you're going to get to know your neighbor real well in line, crawling up there. That's a smart plan.

HOLMES: Wow, so many people want to go. And it's too bad, it takes forever to get up there and only 10 to 15.

BALDWIN: That's great they're opening it. Great symbol.

HOLMES: Yes, it's Fourth of July, a lot of people get that treat. Over in England they're going to get a treat as well. And Americans could get a treat, because three Americans on the center court in the finals at Wimbledon? A preview next.


HOLMES: Ah, you have to play your sister for a chance to win Wimbledon? The Williams sisters, yes, they will be going at it again. Also, another American is in the men's final. Rick Harrow, let's bring him in, a friend of our show on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. Our sports business analyst.

This is big. A lot of people here in the States sometimes don't pay attention to tennis, often times, until or unless there are big American names. This is a good deal for tennis, is it not? RICK HARROW, SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: It is. Fourth of July, patriotic, listening to the new lieutenant governor, it is my present intention to finish this interview with you, by the way, just so you understand. OK?


So, three out of the four finalists are Americans. The Williams sisters, Venus has won the last two Wimbledons. Serena has beaten Venus five out of seven times they've played in majors, but it's good for tennis worldwide. Last time they met in the finals, eight years ago, highest rated women's Wimbledon ever. You take a look at that, and then on the men's side there is another whole process going, too.

HOLMES: OK, so, it's good for tennis, not just -- well Americans are good for the finals, not just here in America, but around the world, it's good, people like these stars. Wimbledon, though, how are they feeling about it? You know, over there, across the pond, their guy, Murray, he got knocked out. So how do they like to see all these Americans in the finals?

HORROW: Andy is in the finals. Congratulations. But unfortunately, for the Brits, it's the wrong Andy. Had Murray been in the finals, they would be talking about $150 million endorsement payday, and this would have been the first time in 71 years that happened. Andy Roddick, there. He's lost to Roger Federer pretty consistently, by the way. He's made three times less career earnings, Roger Federer more, than Andy Roddick has. And he's been beaten on a regular basis, but yet, they thought -


HOLMES: He said he was going to finish the interview, didn't he?

BALDWIN: He did. And then wham, gone.

HOLMES: We lost Rick. He cursed himself.

BALDWIN: Cursed himself pretty much.

HOLMES: He does that all the time, actually.


HOLMES: All right. We're sorry. We lost Rick. Don't know how. We appreciate him. We'll have him on plenty more weeks to come.


Coming up we want to continue following the story out of North Korea. They have fired seven short-range missiles going about 310 miles into the Sea of Japan. We're on top of this story, finding out what kind of message this might be sending on our Independence Day.

HOLMES: Also, a whole lot more on Sarah Palin's resignation. Plus, we'll take you live New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival. All that top of the hour. Don't go far.


HOLMES: From the CNN Center this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING on this Fourth of July. Good morning to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.

BALDWIN: Good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin sitting in this Fourth of July for Betty Nguyen. It is 9:00 a.m., here in Atlanta, 8:00 a.m. in Chicago, 6:00 a.m. out in LA.

First let's take a look at some live pictures at something that is just quintessentially American, Lady Liberty. And some exciting news coming out of New York there, her crown will be opening up to the public for the very first time since 9/11. Our own Susan Candiotti, we saw her climbing those 357, or so, stairs to the top. We will take you live there coming up this hour.

HOLMES: We're just letting her catch her breath. Well got to her shortly.

BALDWIN: Catch her breath, keep her going.

Also the National Independence Day Parade will be kicking off, in Washington, this morning. It will be starting on Constitution Avenue at 11:45 Eastern Time. And then, big celebrations tonight on the capitol area, the capitol concert will be happening on the West Lawn. And in the next hour we'll talk to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. We'll talk to the Queen of Soul about the King of Pop as well. And she'll tell us a little bit about what's happening in D.C. in celebrations for the Fourth of July.

HOLMES: All right. Also though, we need to tell you about this. North Korea defying once again the international community. South Korea saying that Pyongyang fired seven short four missiles toward the sea of Japan today. Now these all those place within a nine-hour period. North Korea fired four missiles, you may remember on Thursday. Now the ones they fired, a lot of people suspected maybe they might be trying to test fire a long-range missile and that gives a lot of people pause because they have a long-range missile, people are saying possibly they have one that could reach Hawaii. However, these are shorter-range missiles with only a range of about 310 miles.

ANDERSON: Well, Sarah Palin - she has been full of surprises ever since she walked on to the national stage as republican John McCain's running mate and her latest announcement certainly no exception here. Have you heard, Palin now says she will be stepping down from her gubernatorial post at the end of the month. She did not exactly offer any real explanation for why she's doing this. However, she did reference a bitter after taste from the presidential election as she offered this.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: I told the most important people in my life, my kids, where the count was unanimous. Well, in response to asking, do you want me to make a positive difference and fight for all our children's future from outside the governor's office, it was four yeses and one hell yeah, and the hell yeah sealed it.


ANDERSON: All right. That was Sarah Palin just yesterday. You can imagine this move really has a lot of pundits, political pundits, wondering if we will see this kind of scene again with perhaps a bid for the GOP nomination on the 2012 ticket.

HOLMES: Yes, a lot of pundits wondering. Let's ask one talk show host, radio show host, Joe Madison. He lived in the D.C. area for more than 30 years. I know, you have a seen a lot of stuff, Joe. Have you seen anything quite like this?

JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: No, I've not seen anything like this, so here's the question, I know what you're going to ask, you know, what is this all about. First of all, I think if this is a strategic move it's a bad one. Her shelf life can be very short when you're not in the spotlight as a governor. Two, she's got over $500,000 of legal expenses and in Alaska, it's very difficult to raise that kind of money. So she's going to have to really get out to the east coast, the west coast, and raise money and legal defense fund.

Three, I guarantee you she's going to have a TV gig. I bet you anything that she's going to have a TV gig and then, four, the republican party needs a voice - I don't know if they'll accept her as the voice, but she has just as good a chance as anybody else out there. So I think that's what's going on. And of course, my good friend, Dick Gregory thinks that there's photos somewhere.

HOLMES: Well, I'm glad we got you and not Dick Gregory because there's no telling what he would say this morning.

MADISON: Dick is thinking about it.

HOLMES: Well, Joe, tell me, is this - can we take her at her word that essentially the going got tough so she got out of there? How in the world will that possibly play if you're trying to get people to vote for you and trust you, and you take off when things get tough?

MADISON: Yes. I mean, that's why I say, strategically it doesn't make sense. My goodness, you heard it before, T.J., if you're going to run for president of the United States, you've got to have, what, fire in the belly, and if she -- look, if she thinks it's rough now, she ought to look what's going on with the Obama children. Did I just not hear the other day someone refer to Michelle Obama as ghetto girl and who - and then it was Drudge that said that president obama has the evil eye.

HOLMES: Well, it's a tough business.

MADISON: I mean it's a really -- and it can get tougher. Now, what I really think this is about is she's got to raise money, and two, there's the - I can become or she can become the voice of the republican party and then finally, I don't know what you're doing in Atlanta, but I get to hear Aretha, tell Aretha to call me, man.

HOLMES: She's in D.C.. She's where you are.

MADISON: I know.

She's - I love her to death and we're fortunate to have a great fourth of July with her involved.

HOLMES: Let me get you back in focus here - you're going off on Aretha now. We're talking about --

MADISON: That's home girl here.

HOLMES: We're talking about Sarah Palin here. You said she has good a chance as anybody. How much of this and I know you mentioned she has that $500,000, the fee, attorney fees, essentially she has, how much of this is she needs to get out of there, and not necessarily raise money for a race, she just needs to make money.

MADISON: Oh, that's why I think there is a TV gig. What is it - how much is it for governor of Alaska?

HOLMES: I mean most governors make a couple hundred thousand dollars.

MADISON: No, I don't think in Alaska it's that much. Now, I'm not 100 percent certain of that, but I don't think it's nearly that much. And the laws in Alaska are such, the ethics laws are such, that she cannot really make a great deal of money. In addition to that, as republicans have noted, she will constantly be under attack. I mean, so as she gets out from under the scandal involving the state troopers. They're going to go after her, quite honestly, then I think and I'm not an Alaskan, but I bet you part of the problem also is, that people in Alaska want a governor who will govern Alaska and not necessarily spend the next two, two and a half years running for president of the United States.

So there's a whole conglomeration of things that are mixed here, but look for her to be somewhere on some talk show, I guarantee you TV. That will make her, allow her to become the voice of the republican party. Then three, she'll be allowed to make money. And four, she will - then the question is, is this a mistake because the shelf life of a non-elected official is very short.

HOLMES: All right. Well, I know, as we mentioned there, you talk about making money point, I'm being told her now that the governor of Alaska makes about $107,000. So you are right, it's not a couple hundred thousands. Not that much. She needs to make money. Joe Madison, good to see you this morning, kind sir. We'll tell Aretha that you said hello.

MADISON: And T.J., happy fourth of July to you and everybody.

HOLMES: You too. Enjoy your weekend.

MADISON: All right. God bless.

ANDERSON: Well, federal officials are now involved in the Michael Jackson investigation. This news comes after a new report by the "Associated Press" that police found a powerful anesthetic. It's called Diprivan, and they found this inside of Jackson's home. Diprivan is used in hospital operating rooms to induce sleep. Now, the cause of his death is still not known. Those toxicology results, those won't be back for - it's still a couple more weeks. But California's attorney general's office and federal drug enforcement officers all looking into the doctors who might have prescribed him medication.

Jackson's memorial is set for Tuesday at the Staples Center out in Los Angeles and more than 17,000 free tickets will be available through a lottery system on the arena's website. You can imagine that is blowing up right now and those winners will be notified tomorrow.

Also coming up here, related CNNs Don Lemon. He's been taking a very close look at Michael Jackson's life and legacy, all the way from his childhood through his finances. You won't want to miss our special "Michael Jackson Man in the Mirror." That is tonight 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

HOLMES: Well, our Reynolds Wolf - he's keeping an eye on your holiday weather. We assume it's going to be hot. Anything severe - hot can be severe as well.


HOLMES: But it's going to be, you know, people going to enjoy this weather?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I think so. I think so. It's going to be pretty nice. Obviously there are some places in the country that have been dealing with fairly chilly conditions, that being the Great Lakes where the temperatures have been into the 60s, 70s for a good part of the spring and into the summer. For the southeast though it's been a different story.

We have three big stories to share with you, kind of one, two, three. The first and foremost the warm temperatures like 80 degrees right now in Kansas City, even hotter the farther south you go, like in Dallas 101 the expected high, Memphis with 98 degrees, 92 in Atlanta, 93 in Tampa and back to Phoenix 103. I know they say it's dry heat, but hot is hot. Let's be honest with it. 90 degrees in Salt Lake City, 86 in Seattle.

Now you may see a few splash or dash of showers pop up, especially in parts of south and central Florida. Going to Disney World later this afternoon, you hear that boom of thunder, you may see a little bit of lightning out there. scattered showers also into the early evening for places like say the Ohio Valley and then back into Denver later on this afternoon, look for a chance of some thunderstorms.

Now in terms of your water temperatures, take a look at this. For the Gulf Coast, mainly 80s from South Padres Island, clear pass the Florida coastline even into the Florida keys. Water temperatures in the 80s. Pretty much the same when you get to the eastern seaboard until you get to the outer banks of North Carolina. You're going to notice those temperatures cooling down a little bit into the 60s and 70s for the Georgia or rather for the Jersey shoreline and back into Maine, obviously cooler there, back into the 50s.

That is a look at your forecast. It is going to be a great fourth of July for most of us around the country. We're going to talk more about your forecast coming up in mere moments. Back to you.

ANDERSON: All right. Well maybe 80s for the folks in New Orleans. Big weekend there.

WOLF: Absolutely.

ANDERSON: Big weekend. Lots of music. Exactly. We're talking about the Essence Music Festival and you can imagine the stars are singing and dancing all weekend long. It's a three-day festival. But there will also be some serious business to take care of as well. We will get a preview of that.

HOLMES: Yes, that's coming up. And also, look out below. I don't know if I could handle this. This is a skyscraper that makes you feel like you're walking on air. That's just weird.



HOLMES: Now, that's the jazz group Big Sam's Funky Nation, it's been part of the Essence Music Festival for years now. Musicians and bands crowd into New Orleans this weekend to celebrate black music. Also, they're going to be celebrating Michael Jackson as you can imagine. Well Marc Morial is a former mayor of New Orleans, there he is. And he is there to party, but also to get a good message out. You haven't been partying too hard. Some serious business to take care of, good morning to you, sir. How are you doing?

MARC MORIAL, FMR. NEW ORLEANS MAYOR: Hey, T.J., good morning. Great to be with you and happy fourth.

HOLMES: Thank you and happy fourth to you as well. Tell us first of all here, it was just starting when you were there as mayor, so tell me when it first started and when you - what you understood the Essence Festival to be, how did it grow from what it was then to what it is now?

MORIAL: You know, it was an incredible vision that the founders of "Essence" magazine had in 1995 to partner with the city of New Orleans, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of "Essence" magazine. What it's grown into is the most exciting and I think far-ranging celebration of African-American music and culture anywhere in the world, and under the new leadership at "Essence" with Michelle Eubanks and Angela Burt Murray, they've continued a tradition with New Orleans as only one place to hold this and that is New Orleans. The impact on the city is tremendous and the people who are here are from literally all over the country.

HOLMES: Has that impact never been more important - of course, well it was a huge infusion of people and money every single year, but after Hurricane Katrina, has it been even more important that that festival continues to come back to that city?

MORIAL: There's no question. You know, my present work as president of the National Urban League, we've been a strong proponent of the right to return and the rebuilding of New Orleans and "Essence's" continued presence here has been a vote of confidence in the future of New Orleans which is one of the most challenging urban communities in America today because of Hurricane katrina, because of many of the challenges, but this city's great assets, the Superdome, the people and their culture, I think combined with "Essence's" ingenuity and creativity makes this, I just think, an important part of the future of the city.

HOLMES: And lastly here, I want to hit on something I know is near and dear to you, an important issue you're trying to tackle, which is just getting a good head count in the black communities and I know it's been a challenge there in New Orleans, actually, since Hurricane Katrina. Nobody can get a good head count of how many people are there. But you're part of a advisory committee that's going to be a part of putting together the 2010 census. So what message are you trying to get out? Explain to folks, in particular black Americans, why it's so important that they be counted?

MORIAL: Because political and economic empowerment stem from the government's ability to get a complete, full and accurate count. And what I want to do today is just put the fact that the census will be taking place in 2010, in March of 2010 on people's radar screen and on people's agenda. And we'll have to come back on and talk more about the details of the census, but a complete count is in the best interest of the nation and there's no better day than July 4th I think for people to begin to focus on the future of the 2010 census.

HOLMES: All right. Marc Morial, again, former mayor of New Orleans, now the head of the National Urban League and like I said, part of that advisory panel putting together the 2010 census, Marc, enjoy yourself down there, wish we could be there partying with you.

MORIAL: They miss you down here, T.J.

HOLMES: They wouldn't let me come back after the last time I was there. It wasn't pretty. I'm teasing. Marc, good to see you, buddy. You take care, all right.

MORIAL: Thank you, man.

ANDERSON: We'll get that story during break.

HOLMES: I'm just kidding.

ANDERSON: You're red. Oh.

HOLMES: All right. Well, stay with us here. We're going to take a quick break. We are right back.


HOLMES: Well, attorneys for death row inmate Troy Davis say it's good news the Supreme Court has put off ruling on his appeal for a new trial until the fall. Davis was convicted of murdering a police officer 18 years ago, but still today, a lot of people are demanding that he get a new trial and demanding that he not be put to death. And here is why.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do we want it?






REP. John LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I've said it before and I'm convinced more than ever before, that he is an innocent man.

HOLMES (voice-over): But for 18 years the courts have ruled otherwise, upholding Troy Davis' death penalty sentence. Now there may be only one step left for the convicted cop killer -- the U.S. Supreme Court.

BEN JEALOUR, NAACP PRESIDENT: We have -- we're dealing with a case in Ggeorgia, troy davis. Of a man who appears to be stone cold innocent, but this country is still willing to put to death on procedural grounds.

HOLMES: Davis landed on death row for shooting off duty Savannah police officer Mark Macphail. News cruise and witnesses seemed abundant that night in August of 1989. This footage shows a fellow police officer doing CPR on Macphail in the back of an ambulance. After the trial seven of the prosecution's nine key witnesses changed their stories. Several claim police forced them to name Davis. One of those witnesses is Monte Holmes.

MONTY HOLMES, WITNESS: Trying to get me to say he did it, but he didn't do it.

HOLMES: Over the years, support for Davis has grown with the help of Amnesty International, Pope Benedict, Bishop Desmond Tutu and former President Jimmy Carter have called for a new trial, even former FBI director William Sessions joined forces with other retired judges, justices and prosecutors to ask the Supreme Court to send the case back. But there are those who feel just as strongly that Davis is a cold-blooded killer. Savannah police Major Everett Ragan headed the homicide investigation. He has not returned calls from CNN, but two years ago told us he stood by the arrest. MAJ. EVERETTRAGAN, SAVANNAH POLICE DEPT.: There's no doubt in my mind we arrested the right person.


HOLMES: Well, Savannah police have never wavered. Detectives have always said they arrested the right man. But Davis' sister is just as adamant insisting his her brother's innocence. Listen to what Martina Correia she told us right here last week.


MARTINA CORREIA, TROY DAVIS' SISTER: You know, Troy faced execution three times. I don't think anybody has had to do that before. We've had to say good-bye to my brother three times and there's a possible fourth. But we keep fighting because there's never been a case like this probably in U.S. history where you have seven out of nine eyewitnesss that have recanted their testimony. They just didn't recant, they recanted years ago but nobody would listen.


HOLMES: Again, Mark Macphail is the police officer killed. This is a response from his mother on the Supreme Court putting a decision on hold. She says, "I wish this was over. After 20 years it's tearing me apart. I know he's guilty and we want justice. We are the victims in this whole thing. It's not just what the witnesses said, there was evidence pointing to his guilt at the original trial. So many people want to forget that. There was evidence.

ANDERSON: Beacon of freedom is in the spotlight this morning.

HOLMES: And there she is. We take you to the re-opening of the Statute of Liberty's glorious crown.



ANDERSON: That will get you in the patriotic spirit. Stop laughing.

HOLMES: No. My producer giving me a hard time.

ANDERSON: Giving you a hard time in your ear.

HOLMES: A hard time about -

ANDERSON: Being patriotic, fourth of July -

HOLMES: Very much so.

ANDERSON: Proud to see the Statute of Liberty opening the crown.

HOLMES: Can we seet he picture? That's a lovely picture.

ANDERSON: You have tears in your eyes. HOLMES: Yes. The crown is opening. There she is. Going to be opening for the first time since 9/11. Now hundreds of tourists got tickets and get to go up on this special day.

ANDERSON: But first CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti. She will be going up to the crown. She will be joing those several hundred, ten at a time as we learned, to get up inside the crown and we'll take her live later on today. She did get a sneak peek inside the crown yesterday. Here is a look at her trip up.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It's a long climb, but here we go. This part's not bad because this is the pedestal, the start of 354 steps up to the crown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you're going to see the Eiffel structure.

CANDIOTTI: Now, how do you describe that? Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just overwhelming. You can't even say how wonderful it is.

CANDIOTTI: All right. Let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have 24 steps and then another 162.

CANDIOTTI: These steps are not bad at all. No feeling of closeness at this point. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For people that aren't able to go all the way up to the crown they have four options to look up. Each yellow box represents an area that you can look up her skirt.

CANDIOTTI: So we can look up the skirt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can look up and see the spiral staircase.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her outer coat is only two pennies thick of copper.

CANDIOTTI: Still not bad. I guess we keep going up this way. Steps are very narrow. Only a little over maybe a foot and a half. The creases that you're looking at now, these are the wrinkles in the statute's dress and this is what it looks like from the inside. Also if you have any issues with height, it's kind of scary when you look over the side and peer down below. Double railings are brand new. They were put in recently. And it really does help when you're going up here. Still going.

We're here. We're already up to the crown. It's magnificent. And if you thought it was going to be big, it isn't. Only ten people will come up here at a time and spend about 10, 15 minutes. But look at this view. OK. We can see the bottom of the torch out the window. Lady Liberty's arm. Her sleeve. Through the windows you can also see some of the points on Lady Liberty's crown. There are seven of them and they represent the seven continents, the Seven Seas, and the Seven known planets at the time the statute was built.

These waves that you see in the ceiling actually represent the curls on the other side, Lady Liberty's curls. If you want to experience this, you can go on-line and buy tickets ahead of time. It only costs $15. They are sold out through next month.


HOLMES: All right. Talk about the crown there, we're going to be talking to another lady who wears a crown of sorts because she's the queen of soul. Aretha Franklin going to be performing on Capitol Hill later today.

ANDERSON: We will have that for you as part of our ongoing coverage of independence day, but we are also continuing our conversation about Michael Jackson. We will talk to the queen of soul about the king of pop coming up live next hour.

HOLMES: But for now, we need to hand it over to "Your Bottom Line" with Gerri Willis. Brooke and I will be back at the top of the hour with more news. Thank you.