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Video Appears to Show Missing U.S. Soldier; Lone Female Suspect in the Billings Killings; Chicago Teens Shot Outside Church; America Mourns Death of Walter Cronkite

Aired July 18, 2009 - 22:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has not been able to confirm this information, and the Pentagon has not released his identity. When the man speaks into the camera, he addresses several topics, including his thoughts on being held captive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scared I won't be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The video contains no demands for obtaining the captive's release. And at one point, the man is prompted to make some comments directly to the American people. He also talks about his family and his fears that he might never see them again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have my girlfriend who was hoping to marry. I have my grandma and grandpas. I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America. And I miss them every day. When I'm gone, I miss them. And I'm afraid that I might never see them again. And that I'll never be able to tell them that I love them again. I'll never be able to hug them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Well, the military is distributing pamphlets in eastern Afghanistan in an effort to find the soldier, who's been missing in the region since June 30th. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for his capture, days after the soldier first went missing. A senior U.S. military official said the American along with three Afghan soldiers were captured by low-level militants who then sold them to a warlord's clan.

Let's bring in now our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. She has been working her sources.

Tell us what you know tonight, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, I think this may come as a surprise to so many of our viewers because they haven't heard much about it since that very quiet announcement by the military almost two weeks ago that an American soldier had been missing and was presumed captured by militants.

Now, in fact, as a senior U.S. military official told me just a few moments ago, this is the proof of life that they had been waiting for. They are being very cautious. It is a very sensitive matter, to identify this man in public, to state his name and his unit. That has not happened yet. That will be a decision made at the highest levels in Washington. There is nothing more sensitive, of course, that when a military person is being held captive.

The 28-minute video has been seen by government officials. They have watched it very carefully. They are looking for any clues in this tape about where he is being held. There will be things that they will be looking at to see if it gives them any clues. That also a very sensitive matter, of course.

LEMON: Barbara, in the video, it is believed that he says the date.

STARR: Right.

LEMON: I think he says July 14th, am I correct?

STARR: Right. According to the Associated Press, Don, that is distributing this material, and the U.S. military is aware of it, that he stated July 14th as a date. That's a proof of life signal, if you will, that he at least was alive on July 14th.

I asked the senior official quite bluntly if they thought this young soldier was still alive. They said they have every reason to believe that he is. They are continuing to scour this remote border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan for any sign of him. The hunt does go on. They're using every asset, every tool, they tell me, that they possibly can. And they are just looking to get him back as fast as they can, Don.

LEMON: All right. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, we appreciate it.

Let's get more perspective from David Isby. He is a journalist and military analyst who covered al Qaeda and has written three books on Afghanistan.

Thank you, sir.

You have -- we have been in this position before. We have seen it in the news. And you have knowledge of this. What happens at this juncture when there is tape, usually, of a captured soldier? This ramps it up. It takes it to a different level now.

DAVID ISBY, DEFENSE ANALYST: Yes.

LEMON: And as Barbara was saying, you have to be really careful at this point.

ISBY: Absolutely. Unfortunately, this is not good news. The best time to get someone back is soon after they're captured. Within a few hours. When it becomes days, weeks, getting them back alive becomes more and more difficult, more and more problematic.

Unfortunately, right now they've announced it to the world. That means al Qaeda leadership, Taliban leadership, all knows about this guy, and no one can cut a private deal to turn him loose for money. So it's going to be, I'm afraid, like the Israelis who have been held prisoner by Hamas or Hezbollah.

LEMON: At one point, we said that he is on tape talking about, you know, Americans -- that Americans and the military can save him. But this is a direct message that his captors want to take to the public. And then propaganda in some sense.

ISBY: They are very good at that. The insurgents and al Qaeda are very good at making DVDS, getting messages up. And what we saw are captives being sold up the chain. This, unfortunately, has happened before with Afghans. People who have been kidnapped by common criminals, end up in high-level confinement. And they could be in the next cave to Bin Laden.

LEMON: And, you know, it is always sad when there are these types of situations. I wonder if you have any insight on this. What happens now with the family?

Obviously the military has notified them. But are there certain things that happen with the family about protection and about what to say and not to say if they're contacted, or what have you, that the military -- does the military instruct them on certain things?

ISBY: Well, I hope they would. In this situation, everything is unique. We haven't had American soldiers held in this situation since the 1991 Gulf War. And then the fact that they were not liberated by our own forces, but rather by the cease-fire, has got to be sobering.

LEMON: All right. David Isby, really appreciate it. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

ISBY: Thank you.

LEMON: An American fighter jet crashed in Afghanistan earlier this morning, killing the two-man crew. The Air Force says the F-15 Eagle was apparently not hit by enemy fire. Investigators are now looking at the crash site in Ghazni Province to determine if mechanical problems during the flight. 50 coalition troops have been killed in Afghanistan so far in July. Already the deadliest month of the war for NATO forces. >

Also tonight, police are investigating a multiple murder along the Tennessee-Alabama state line, and they have a suspect in custody. Police held a news conference just hours ago. They say five bodies were found in two homes in Lincoln County, Tennessee. Some of the victims are related.

Police also found another crime scene linked to those deaths on the same street. A sixth victim was found across the state line in Huntsville, Alabama. Police identify the suspect as Jacob Lee Schaeffer. Murder charges are pending.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF MURRAY BLACKWELDER, LINCOLN COUNTRY, TENNESSEE: This is one of the worst crimes that Lincoln County has ever seen. This is a tremendous crime. We've never had a situation like this. But in a serious situation, once we determine exactly what it is, we back out and then start processing the scene from the outside in. And that's what's taking place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, so far, we don't know the identities of the victims, and we don't know the cause of death or a motive, but we'll keep following the story all weekend. And when we get new details for you, we'll bring it to you right here on CNN.

Government agents in Iran use tear gas to break up a demonstration, allegedly beating and arresting at least 40 people. Witnesses say the demonstrators were hauled away in unmarked cars, including a human rights lawyer. The crackdown came as ralliers and a powerful cleric called for the release of prisoners arrested during last month's election fallout. Protesters believe more than 2,000 people are still behind bars after the highly contested vote that gave the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a landslide victory.

Searchers in Jakarta, Indonesia have uncovered a ninth body while sifting through the damage at two bombed hotels. Now here's what we know tonight. Surveillance video from the Marriott shows a man pulling a suitcase just before a blinding blast. Moments later, another bomb ripped through part of the Ritz-Carlton. There's no claim of responsibility, but suspicions are rising that the blast were masterminded by a militant Malaysian fugitive.

Rumors and speculation all swirling around that deadly home invasion in Florida. We are digging deeper for you.

Plus, is any place safe for kids? A Chicago priest speaks out after two teens are shot outside his church.

Plus, a tribute tonight to an icon.

(VIDEO CLIP)

A human rights icon gets a serenade from half a world away.

Happy birthday, Mr. Mandela.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: In the Pensacola, Florida area. Stunning new details keeps surfacing in the wake of a deadly home invasion. We're going to go in depth into this story this hour. First, a small safe allegedly taken during the home invasion was recovered. Buried in the backyard of Pamela Long Wiggins.

CNN's Susan Candiotti takes a closer look at the lone woman suspect in the double killings of Byrd and Melanie Billings.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Charged as an accessory after the fact to murder, Pamela Long Wiggins smiles as a camera captures her under police escort. She's the only woman among seven men accused in connection with the shooting deaths of Byrd and Melinda Billings. Police say cameras that captured the suspects were also rolling inside the home.

SHERIFF DAVID MORGAN, ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA: It's just an incredibly odd mix of people, and an incredibly interesting story that sadly is also a tragic story.

CANDIOTTI: Wiggins wasn't there, but police say her minivan was, used as a set get-away car, carrying guns and the family safe. Important evidence was found on her property. A safe allegedly stolen from the Billings home containing jewelry, passports, and children's medication, was buried in Wiggins' backyard. A pile of bricks covering the spot.

Police say her husband was the one who tipped them off to the safe. A source involved in the investigation says Wiggins kept it to himself until police found the couple on a 47-foot boat called "The Classy Lady." Police say Wiggins' husband cooperated. He is not charged -- she is.

She's a woman with at least six aliases, including Pamela Link and Pamela Coco. All of them apparently from former marriages. She's a real estate agent who also owns this waterfront home, currently under foreclosure. And a well-known antique mall in the area. Wiggins has ties to the suspected ringleader in the Billings case, Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr.

Investigators say she rents a home to him. Records show he witnessed one of her marriage certificates. How does a businesswoman wind up allegedly linked to the brutal murder of a couple that adopted and cared for more than a dozen special needs children at their spacious home? It's a crime that has Pensacola's Gulf Coast reeling.

MORGAN: All of us in this community are giving that second look now over the shoulder. Because here's a family that opened their home to children with special needs. And because they had this casual relationship with the wrong people, sadly, they were targeted.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Wiggins remains free after posting a $10,000 bond. She's scheduled for a court date in a few weeks in the thick of a still mysterious home invasion robbery investigation.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Pensacola, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: You know, "The Pensacola News Journal" has been digging on this story since it broke. And one lead reporter really to point out has been doing a really great job of uncovering information and learning about this strange case. We're going to talk to him live just moments away.

Plus, he laid the groundwork for every journalist who followed. The world remembers Walter Cronkite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: There is more than one motive. And again, because we're in a game of high-stakes poker at this point, the defense attorneys are coming on and interviewing their clients. We're being very, very careful in every move that we make, that we coordinate this with the state attorney's office to ensure that, again, information that is releasable is released at the earliest opportunity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, that was Sheriff David Morgan in Florida earlier tonight on CNN. He said robbery might not have been the only motive in the brutal home invasion near Pensacola that left a mother and father dead and more than a dozen children without parents now.

KRIS WERNOWSKY, PENSACOLA NEWS JOURNAL: is a reporter with "The Pensacola News Journal." He has been on this story since it broke.

Kris, we appreciate you joining us. The sheriff says there is more than one motive. What have you learned about that?

WERNOWSKY: Really, we don't know much about any other motive at this time. They've been very, very careful about what they've released to us and the timing they release things to us. And it's a little, you know -- due to the attention that this case has drawn, it's a little unusual for this area, because, you know, generally, you know, we can get access to these things pretty easily. But as it starts to sort of trickle out over the next week or so, I think a lot of that will become clearer. And I think we'll have a better sense of what happened, probably by next week.

LEMON: And you know what's very interesting? You have this sort of disparate characters that you wouldn't normally put together. And what is also interesting is about how they know each other through businesses and other ways. How do they, all these suspects, know each other? How do they connect?

WERNOWSKY: Well, some of the suspects, they worked at a car dealing -- a car detailing shop over about two counties east of here. And from what we understand and from what we've been told by the sheriff, that two of the suspects also did some work, power washing work, out at the Billings house here in rural Escambia County.

So, and again, that's another thing that that they've been very careful about saying. I think they've called it casual friendships and business associations. If I know --if can remember back.

LEMON: Hey, let's talk about that safe. Because that safe seems to have played a pivotal role, getting one person arrested. Does it appear that that safe had been opened before being buried in one of the suspect's backyard?

WERNOWSKY: The last we heard about the safe was yesterday at a press conference that the sheriff held. And he said that it is still being processed. And it was an electronic safe. So a lot of those safes, he said, have like little memory cards that can be analyzed to show what kind of activity goes on with them. So it's not clear if it was open and something was taken out before, before the investigators found it, before it was buried, or whether what was in it was what was in it.

LEMON: There's some speculation about the suspects, that maybe they had been to the Billings house before.

Do you have any information about that?

WERNOWSKY: Well, like I said before, at least two of them had been connected to some power washing work that they did out there. But as far as we know right now, and as far as we've reported right now, there doesn't seem to be any apparent -- immediately apparent connection between the Gonzaleses and the Billingses and all of the other characters that are involved in this right now.

LEMON: Kris Wernowsky, reporter for the "Pensacola News Journal. Thank you very much.

And Kris says there's some information that's going to come out tomorrow that we may be a bit surprise about, but you can't tell us about it now, right?

WERNOWSKY: Not right now. i urge people to visit our website. and just keep watching us too.

LEMON: All right. We'll bring you back tomorrow. And depending on what the information is.

Thank you, Kris.

WERNOWSKY: Thanks for having me.

LEMON: The funeral for the slain couple was something that the city of Pensacola won't soon forget. Another reporter who was there joins us as we dig deeper into this story that everybody is talking about.

Plus, it was part speech, part sermon, all of it stirring. We'll read between the lines of President Barack Obama's speech to the NAACP.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Funerals were held yesterday in Pensacola, Florida, for Byrd and Melanie Billings, victims of a brutal home invasion. Here's CNN's John Couwels.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN COUWELS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds gathered Friday in Pensacola to say their final farewells to Melanie and Byrd Billings murdered just over a week ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is not the day to focus on the vicious crimes. Their lives were cut way too short. But their legacy will live on.

COUWELS: The couple known for their kindness adopted many children with special needs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By example, Byrd and Melanie taught us to overlook disability, to be color-blind, to be patient with others, and to give of ourselves.

COUWELS: Thursday, during a three-hour visitation, a constant flow of people came to pay their final respects.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were the sweetest people you'd ever want to meet in your life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Went to pay our condolences.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the toughest thing that's ever happened to this community. We never had this in my 44 years living here.

COUWELS: Following the memorial Friday, Melanie left first. Pink roses draped her coffin. Byrd followed behind, his with red. The motorcade stretched for miles, it seemed, as it snaked to the cemetery. The pastor read a letter from the Billings' daughter to her newborn son.

UNIDENTIFIED PASTOR: We will tell him how the world wept with the injustice that took them both. We will tell him that we are loved, and how we can use this love to spread in the world.

COUWELS: During a light moment, one of the Billings children got excited when he saw balloons attached with notes from the children to their parents.

UNIDENTIFIED PASTOR: Byrd and Melanie Billings. They're home. Their life is coming. In this, they will never be forgotten.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: CNN all platform journalist John Couwels joins us now tonight.

John, we appreciate it. A lot of people have been emailing and writing saying, you know, we're hearing about the suspects, the suspects. We want to hear more about this family. And you went to the funeral.

Talk to us about being there. COUWELS: I went to the -- first to the viewing which ended up being a closed casket. So it was mostly a visitation. And as you walked in, it was very much a very somber event. People were standing around, talking with each other. You know, you had this scent of flowers in the air all throughout the church. They were playing music and playing a slow progression of pictures on video monitors throughout the church, you know. And with billboards and posters of the family, and people talking and milling about.

And the day of the funeral was a very somber event. Even at the cemetery where I followed the caravan over to the cemetery. And it was a very uplifting but at the same time, you know, a very somber event.

LEMON: And, John, give us a sense of what the community is like. The outpouring, I would imagine, for this family.

COUWELS: Yes, it's -- around town it's been much of the talk of -- there's been so much discussion about the criminal trial and the criminal case and the arrests and how quickly it happened.

But the fact that, you know, there are so many children now with special needs that are now going to need to find a way to be cared for. Whether it's going to be members of the family and who's going to be able to take care of them, because the Billings obviously had a special skill to care for such, you know, needs of children who needed such special attention.

LEMON: Yes. And we understand -- we've got to run, but we understand they have set up a fund for the children, I think, so that they will be taken care of.

John Couwels, an all-platform journalist for CNN, we appreciate it.

Thank you.

COUWELS: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll update our story for you in just a moment.

We've gotten a lot of video, gotten a video I should say, apparently showing a missing U.S. soldier in the clutches of Afghan militants. You'll see and hear from him.

Plus, a priest's fury.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every Friday night, we open up our ark for safety. And the reason we have it open is for kids to be safe on Friday nights.

Two kids shot outside his church, now Father Michael Pfleger wants some answers. We'll ask him some tough questions, live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We want to update you tonight on the breaking news that we have. The video is a potential first evidence that a U.S. soldier believed to be held by the Taliban in Afghanistan is alive. The Associated Press is distributing this video. A portion of which has been provided to CNN.

The AP says the full 28-minute tape clearly shows the man's U.S. military dog tag, including his name and I.D. number. CNN has not been able to confirm this information, and we're waiting on the Pentagon to release his identity. The man talks about several topics, including his thoughts on being held captive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scared I won't be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: At one point on the video, the man is prompted to make some comments directly to the American people. He also talks about his family and his fears that he might never see them again.

On to other news now, back here at home. Closer to home. It is supposed to be a place of safety. A place for kids to go in a neighborhood, in a city grappling with a wave of violence.

Last night in Chicago, a frightening reminder that no place is truly safe. Police say two teens were shot outside St. Sabina Catholic Church. The pastor of that church is Father Michael Pfleger, a long-time activist against gangs and guns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. MICHAEL PFLEGER, PASTOR, ST. SABINA CHURCH: I'm hurt and amazed. Kids are being shut up over this damn city.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Father Pfleger was extremely, extremely upset in that video. And you can see him there now, live. He joins us now from Chicago.

Are you doing OK, sir?

PFLEGER: Much better today, Don, than was last night. It was very painful last night. When I heard the gunshots, I ran to the gym. Right inside the doorway, I saw two young boys shot. One laying there, blood gushing from him, and screaming for help. And to see that in the entranceway of a building that you built as a place of safety and a sanctuary for safety for kids all year around was hurtful. And I was angry. And I was very -- very sad by it, to see this reality brought to my door.

LEMON: Yes. And I can see that you are still hurting... PFLEGER: Yes.

LEMON: ...about it right now, Father. Because I know you, and you look upset.

PFLEGER: Right.

LEMON: How are they doing?

PFLEGER: One boy was released today. The other one was very critical last night. He's still in serious condition, but stabilized right now. That was the last report I got about two hours ago. So we're hoping that he pulls through and that he survives. He has three gunshots in him.

LEMON: Suspects, Father?

PFLEGER: We have had tremendous help from the neighborhood. People have really come forward and offer information. We've got names. We've got addresses. And we've given that over to the police. And they are questioning people now and picking people up, and we hope that in the next 24 to 48 hours we can have some charges brought. The people were really angered that this happened at St. Sabina, and they've been tremendous help. So hopefully we'll have somebody.

LEMON: Is it true that you're offering a $5,000 reward?

PFLEGER: Yes. We traditionally offer rewards when any child is killed in this city. Even though nobody was killed here, the fact that it would come to our door -- we said -- we want to help kids. And we want -- we want to love them. We want the best for them. But understand when you shoot, and when you put children in danger, we want you. We want to find you.

LEMON: You have -- you have a very strong message, you said, to -- not only to local leaders in Chicago but really all the way to Washington.

What do you want?

PFLEGER: We need help. We've had some 45 children killed this school year. A couple weekends ago, 11 people killed. 60 some shot in a weekend. Those are numbers like you have in Iraq or you have in Afghanistan. This gun violence is going on around this country. I get calls from Baltimore to Oakland. We're asking for the White House, and we're asking for the capital. We need your help. Ban the assault weapon. Call for a national summit on violence. Just like we did on swine flu.

Swine flu is a possibility that it could get worse. Gun violence is worse now. It's an epidemic. So we need the resources. We need to get the easy access to guns stopped in this country. I'm not against Second Amendment. I just want to stop the excess that we have. Register guns like we do cars. A title from the manufacturer.

And we want parents step-up, community step-up. Know where your children are. And we can't -- we can't get immune to children dying. What kind of madness is this? We need help.

We want communities to say, no more. And we want young kids to know, understand, we'll help you. But if you shoot, we're coming for you. You cannot shoot children and get away with it and stay in somebody's house.

LEMON: Father Michael Pfleger from St. Sabina Church in Chicago.

Father, our thoughts and prayers are with you, with the two boys and their family, OK.

PFLEGER: Thank you very much.

LEMON: I appreciate it. Thank you.

Straight ahead here on CNN, we'll read between the lines of President Barack Obama's speech to the NAACP with none other than Stephen A. Smith.

Plus, happy birthday, Mr. Mandela.

(VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Cindy Lauper and Lil' Kim together at last. And it was a tribute to a human rights icon that brought them to the same stage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. Let's talk now about "What Matters." President Barack Obama says he wants African-American children to aspire to be more than the next great athlete or entertainer. He spoke at the NAACP centennial celebration in New York this week.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It also means pushing our children to set their sights a little bit higher. They might think they've got a pretty good jump shot or a pretty good flow, but our kids can't all aspire to be Lebron or Lil Wayne.

I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers. Not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court justice. I want them aspiring to be the president of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. See that man right there? That's Stephen A. Smith. He's a journalist and a former ESPN anchor, a radio analyst. He's also a trumpet, one of the pre-eminent voices in the African-American community.

OK, Stephen, you heard the president's comments. We appreciate you joining us. You heard him. He said he wanted the next generation to reach beyond sports. But you know what -- and entertainment. But you have to admit, in sports, that, you know, whoever ran the fastest, ran the fastest. It is helped level the playing field for many African-Americans.

STEPHEN A. SMITH, JOURNALIST/FORMER ESPN ANCHOR: Well, it's an a meritocracy. We all know that. At least that's what the perception is. I mean, it's definitely the closest thing you have to a meritocracy, because if you perform, obviously you end up reaping the benefits from it, more so than in corporate America because that proverbial glass ceiling is always there.

But I also understood where he was coming from. Regardless of the a meritocracy that exists in a world of sports. The fact is is that whistle one in a million shot. You've got a better chance of being a doctor, or lawyer, and accountant, or journalist, et cetera, et cetera, than you have of being a professional athlete. You're not going to be Kobe in more instances than not. You're certainly not going to be Lebron James, 6'9", 250 pounds, chiseled muscle, making $100 million. That's not going to happen.

LEMON: And you should know that, from, you know, what you do in your profession.

I want to ask you, do we have that poll? There's a poll that CNN asked about race relations. Do you think that -- I think it's, "Will race relations always be a problem in the United States?"

Blacks said yes, 45 percent. Whites said yes, 42 percent. No, blacks says 50 percent, and no, whites 56 percent. There is a separation. And maybe there's a two different realities, do you think?

SMITH: Well, it is two different realities, because what white America doesn't realize is that black America perpetually believes that there's two different worlds and two different rules. There are rules that apply to mainstream, and there are rules that apply to the black community. But in fairness to white American, times have gotten considerably better. There is no denying that.

LEMON: But here's a thing, though.

SMITH: There's not denying that.

LEMON: You know, it's weird that you say that, because I was having a conversation -- I was trying to have a heartfelt conversation with friends, even just last night, talking about the Supreme Court justice nominee, and all those things.

SMITH: Yes.

LEMON: Race and "BLACK IN AMERICA 2." And some people just have their perceptions, and it's hard to even, if you don't live it, to understand it.

Yes?

No?

SMITH: Well, it's hard to understand it, but does it really matter, Don? What it comes down to is this -- listen, listen.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: OK.

SMITH: You've got to perform. The fact is that if you don't get the job -- and guess what, if I'm an employer and I hire a black person, and they're not getting the job done, I'm going to fire them just like a white person would. It doesn't matter to me.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes. But it does matter in the sense if you're trying to reach some common ground or some understanding or come to a certain point where you understand each other. It's not always about who's right and who's wrong.

SMITH: Wait, wait, wait. Sometimes it is, when it comes down to a result-oriented world. The fact is is that if you're talking to students or what have you, it's about the classroom. Then you're teaching them. There's a nurturing process that takes place. There's a maturation process that must kick in.

But in corporate America, in the real world, where you've got to pay bills and you are competing with people that have to pay bills themselves, may the best person win. And if you don't get the job done, you get kicked out. And that's what people in the black community, a lot of the young minds in the black community, certainly not most of us, not all of us, but some of us within the African- American community, have to get with that program.

Nobody wants to hear excuses. They want to hear results. They want to see results. Otherwise, you can go someplace. Nobody is trying to hear it, so why focus on it.

LEMON: Stephen A. Smith, you need some energy. You need to go drinking energy drink or something.

SMITH: I got one right here.

LEMON: I knew something was up.

Hey, appreciate your perspective. Thank you so much. And we'll try to get you back on. I like your perspective, and I like that you're open and honest.

Thank you so much.

SMITH: No problem. Take care.

LEMON: All right. Have a great evening.

We want to show you that, CNN Wednesday night, at 7:00 Eastern, "The Moment of Truth with Steve Harvey and Tom Joyner," live from Times Square. Then at 8:00, the premiere of "BLACK IN AMERICA 2." That's the first part. That's followed by President Obama's news conference at 9:00. And then at 10:00," Black In America 2" the second part continues. That's Wednesday night, right here on CNN.

A rough ride on the rails for dozens of commuters in San Francisco. What happened here?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A San Francisco commuter hub in chaos after one rail car rear-ended another. Paramedics and firefighters swarmed the platform and searched the crumpled cars this afternoon, finding at least 44 injured commuters. We're told no one is seriously hurt. One car was apparently stopped on the tracks, when a second car hit it at slow speed. The crash is under investigation. But a police source tells CNN, it appears one of the conductors mishandled a turn. We'll update you on that.

Astronauts have wrapped up the first of five planned spacewalks on the latest shuttle mission to the international space station. Two astronauts successfully attached what amounts to a porch on the side of the space station. It will be used for outdoor experiments. There are a record 13 astronauts currently aboard shuttle "Endeavour" and the international space station right now.

Look at those live pictures. Aren't they beautiful? Just being over that for a little while. Today's spacewalk is the 201st by U.S. astronauts since the "Apollo 11" mission 40 years ago.

Very nice pictures. We'll look at those all day.

OK. Time for your feedback now.

Jnyce247 said, "Glad to see you're covering the St. Sabina shooting."

Of course, we are.

Minister_Bo says, "Another Obama screed? Do we get that right? What's that word, guys? Is it screed? All right. Yes, that's a wrong word. Find out what it is.

"His NAACP speech, all blacks should be insulted as Barack Obama puts on his black face."

All right. We want to get that one right. We'll bring it back if we have time. Make sure it's right.

Webber933 says, "It was hard to watch the video of the captured American soldier. I hope he makes it out of there OK."

That was me. That was re-twitted. I put that on Twitter.

RockerChick says, "President Obama's speech to the NAACP was soul-stirring. It moved me to tears." Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or iReport.com. Tell us what you're thinking. We'll get it on tonight.

When you think of Brazil, you may think of a picturesque beach, a vacation there. But just off the beaten tourist path, it is a different world. Crowded shanty towns where survival is a daily battle.

Tonight's CNN hero is showing kids there, who live there how to fight for a better life.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: This is CNN HEROES.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FLAVIO CANTO, CHAMPIONING CHILDREN: I've never seen any place as beautiful as Rio de Janeiro, but it does have its dark side.

There is violence all over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): The bad things that happen here are the shootings.

CANTO: It's the kids who have it toughest here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): Sometimes I get scared.

CANTO: They don't have many options. Kids die every day from making the wrong choice.

But every time I see this, the first thing that comes to my mind is potential.

My name is Flavio Canto. I'm a judo Olympic medalist, but the best thing about my life is changing people's destiny through sports.

I usually tell the kids that we can't let ourselves get used to the violence that surrounds us. We have to fight back somehow.

Instead of fighting in the streets, they learn how to use their energy in the right way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel less afraid. Flavio helps me win lots of championships, and he helps me feel very proud of myself.

CANTO: Helping kids avoid the wrong choice is one of our goals. They don't need to follow the destinies everyone told them they would have. They can change it. They're the true heroes.

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LEMON: You can nominate a CNN hero of your own. Just go to our Web site, cnn.com/heroes. And July is the last month to get your nominations in. So you've only got two weeks to tell us about a hero you know. When the economy started going to the dogs, so to speak. It gave one struggling business woman an idea. She has now become a doggone success story.

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LEMON: Unemployment is high and money is tight as the recession drags on. But many financial experts say it is a great time to start a small business. In tonight's "Money and Main Street," we meet an out of work veteran who is getting a clean start by becoming her own boss.

CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti has her story.

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SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the eight years since she retired from the Air Force, Lori Lawrence has had three different jobs. She quit one and was laid off twice. After the last layoff in February, she started rethinking her options.

LORI LAWRENCE, MY PAMPERED POOCH: I started thinking, I'm tired of going through this. What would I really enjoy?

CANDIOTTI: Though her aging husky Cody is too old to need much grooming anymore, Cody inspired her to set her sights on opening a dog-grooming business in the upscale Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City. But money was tight. So she swallowed her pride and opened a fruit stand.

LAWRENCE: It is not doing anything like what I had hoped that it would do, but it's more money than I had last week.

CANDIOTTI: Fruit is only bringing in a few hundred dollars a week. Compared to that, dog grooming looks like a gold mine.

LAWRENCE: People spent $42 billion last year on their pets alone. You know, it's there. How do I -- how do I get in? I want in, you know?

CANDIOTTI: Lori attended a number of SBA seminars and Googled business plans of other startups, then drafted her own. Small business experts Dani Babb and John Rutledge offered to take a look.

DANNY BABB, THE BABB GROUP: She has a specific idea in her head. And about what this is going to look like and what the consumer is going to walk away with.

CANDIOTTI: John and Danny helped Lori reduce her startup costs from $147,000 to just $35,000. They showed her how to save money on labor and equipment. They suggested she look for free advice online instead of hiring an attorney and CPA. And they're helping her negotiate a better lease in the down-and-out commercial real estate market.

JOHN RUTLEDGE, RUTLEDGE CAPITAL: In your plan, you have also things like pet sitting, dog taxi...

LAWRENCE: Uh-huh.

RUTLEDGE: Retail, a bakery, all those things, ways of adding more revenues on to just the basic wash your dog.

CANDIOTTI: For the time being, dog washing is all Lori offers, but she hopes to be providing the pampered pooches in her area a full range of services by the end of next month.

Susan Candiotti, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: He was affectionately called Uncle Walt by millions.

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WALTER CRONKITE, REPORTER: Good evening from the CBS news control center in New York. This is Walter Cronkite reporting.

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LEMON: The world says good-bye to Walter Cronkite, a man who helped define the news.

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Plus, a birthday party to remember for Nelson Mandela.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRONKITE: Good evening from the CBS news control center in New York. This is Walter Cronkite reporting.

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LEMON: The one and only Walter Cronkite, a fixture in millions of Americans' homes for decades as anchor of the "CBS Evening News." Cronkite may have touched more lives than almost anyone else in his generation. President Obama spoke for millions of people as he offered this remembrance of Cronkite, who died yesterday at the age of 92.

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OBAMA: He was the first to share the devastating news of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Crystallizing the grief of a nation while fighting back tears of his own. He cheered with every American when we went to the moon. Boldly exploring a new frontier. And he brought us all those stories, large and small, which would come to define the 20th century. That's why we loved Walter. Because in an era before blogs and e-mail, cell phones and cable, he was the news.

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LEMON: All right. Another icon we're talking about tonight, human rights icon Nelson Mandela turns 91 today. So what was his birthday wish? Well, he's asking his supporters to follow in his footsteps in honor of Mandela Day.

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NELSON MANDELA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: Mandela Day will not be a holiday, but a day to volunteer, to service. It is our hope that people will dedicate their time and effort to improve the conditions within their own community. We thank you for participating in Mandela Day.

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LEMON: Well, the call to service got a roar of applause from the A-list crowd at his New York birthday bash. Celebrities, pop stars and political powerhouses all sang praises of the anti-apartheid activist turned South African president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLA BRUNI SARKOZY, FIRST LADY OF FRANCE (SINGING): How many years can a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (SINGING): Yes and how many years...

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LEMON: OK, yes. That was the French first lady, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, singing before a packed house. Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Queen Latifah were also on the performance list. But Mr. Mandela blew out his candles back at home in Johannesburg.

Happy birthday, Mr. President.

Boy, what a celebration. We are watching it here in the NEWSROOM tonight. And we were like, is that Carla Bruni? Very interesting.

It's been a great show. We appreciate your feedback, especially on Twitter, on Facebook, and MySpace. We got a lot of it on. And what was the word? Screed. You were right, I was wrong. I just mispronounced the word, sorry about that.

I'm Don Lemon in Atlanta. I'll see you back here tomorrow night 6:00, 7:00, 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Have a good evening.