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CNN NEWSROOM

Healthcare Reform Bill; Shootings at Ft. Hood; Cleveland Serial Killings

Aired November 7, 2009 - 15:00   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: What goes on inside the mind of a killer? Larry King tries to find out when the ex-wife of a D.C. sniper speaks out to him, as well. An emotional LARRY KING LIVE, Monday, 9 p.m. Eastern.

Hello, again. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

A crucial debate taking place this hour on Capitol Hill. House members are debating a Democratic health care plan. The bill would overhaul the current system, guaranteeing coverage to almost all Americans and offering a public option. This morning President Obama made a rare trip to the hill to lobby for the bill. He says the House and Senate have made more progress on health reform than any Congress in the past 70 years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: No bill can ever contain everything that everybody wants or please every constitchantcy and every district that is an impossible task. But what is possible. The Democrats right now has that chance to prevent a future where everyday 14,000 Americans continue to lose their health insurance and every year 18,000 Americans die because they don't have it. Future where crushing costs keep small businesses from succeeding and big businesses from competing in the global economy. A future where countless dreams are deferred or scaled back because of a broken system we could have fixed when we had the chance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN's congressional correspondent Brianna Keilar is following developments on Capital Hill. Brianna when are House members expected to vote on this plan, we know that they are on the floor, right?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are on the floor and began debate on this and it is going to take several hours. So after that we're expecting there will be a vote, but it's going to certainly be a while. We are really only in the beginning of this debate, but Democratic leaders say they are optimistic that they are going to be able to get those votes they need to pass their health care reform bill. That it's certainly going to be close.

WHITFIELD: So before the vote on health care reform bill, we're going to see a vote on a proposed change to the bill as well, an antiabortion amendment. Is that right? KEILAR: Yes, that's right. This is something that was brokered last night, a deal brokered by anti abortion Democrats. There are dozens of them in them in the Democrat in the House of Representatives and they said to Democratic leaders, look, we need something a little stronger here before we are going to vote yes on this bill. So, this is an amendment, a change they proposed that is expected to pass. Democratic leaders expect it will pass because they are expecting that Republicans will join ranks with these dozens of Democrats or some of these antiabortion Democrats to pass this and that it would become part of the bill.

But here is basically what it does. For those Americans who would get subsidies, low class, middle class Americans who would get several dollars to help them pay for their insurance, they would not be able to use that subsidy to buy insurance a comprehensive plan that includes abortion coverage as one element of that plan. What they would have to do is buy what is called a rider; they would have to buy a supplemental policy with their own money that would only cover abortion. But this also goes a step forward. Because of the way it works, it would also affect some Americans who are only using their own money. They are not getting federal subsidies, so it would affect those people as well. They would have to purchase separate insurance to cover abortion. This is something that the antiabortion Democrats lobbied for as they were in close contact to Catholic officials who really helped lay out exactly what they wanted to see. Listen to Brad Ellsworth one of those Democrats who helped broker this deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BRAD ELLSWORTH, (D) INDIANA: They wanted some kind of blessing by the bishops and so we were in there talking about what would the bishops accept. What is the language that they preferred? What made them comfortable? The Catholic bishops want health care, they want a plan, they want something they can endure and get their arms around. But obviously a deal breaker is abortion. That's what we were trying to move toward with them. I can't commend them enough for their involvement. Several other members to craft this language, it's like any negotiation. There's wrangling and back and forth, at the end of the day we came out with his amendment and I think it's going to be a good thing and I think it will pass over well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: But this proposed change has many liberals just livid with the idea of these antiabortion Democrats getting their way here. Listen to Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. She's one of the many, almost 200 members of the so-called Democratic pro-choice caucus. She's apposed to this change. Here is what she said to us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D) ILLINOIS: It's ridiculous. With all due respect, not something, an idea a woman would come up with. Of course, if one finds that you need an abortion, it's not something you have thought of before. This is a very serious decision for women and generally not one that they ever want to have to make. No one is going to buy a rider for an abortion. They are going to have to go around the country and try and find a doctor or scrape up the money, but it will not be available in any plan according to this amendment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: So, you can see here the left and the right side of the Democratic Party at odds over this particular issue. Fred, this is just really interesting. After months and months of trying to figure out how to move forward, Democrats moving forward with their healthcare reform bill it really comes down at the last minute here to this very divisive issue of abortion. It's going to play out I think with the fireworks on the house floor.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much. Brianna Keilar, Capital Hill. Thank you.

The White House says President Obama will attend a memorial service at Ft. Hood on Tuesday after spending time today at Capitol Hill. He's now made his way to Camp David.

Thirteen people died at the Texas army post during a Thursday shooting spree. The alleged shooter army psychiatrist Nifsl Malik Hasan which wounded along with 37 other people. Texas Governor, Rick Perry today visited a hospital in Texas where ten of the victims were being treated. He discussed the attack with reporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY, TEXAS: I think it communicates less about the safety of our society or for that matter, the condition of the human soul, as much as it is about the way people particularly neighbors is to the military base take care of their own. From the instance that the perpetrator opened fire, the better element of human nature kicked in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: That was Governor Rick Perry. All right. Joining us live from Temple, Texas, CNNs Samantha Hayes right outside that same hospital. Samantha.

SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, you mentioned the many victims in this shooting massacre that happened on Thursday, 14 are still in the hospital. Six are here at the Scott and White Medical center and the remainder are at a hospital at Ft. Hood. Some good news that we received from a news conference this afternoon, four patients have been released. Doctors here believe that one more patient may be well enough to be released by this evening.

The chief of surgery talked about two patients who are in the intensive care unit and said at this point he really can't predict the rate of recovery that only time will tell. He also added that the psychological toll that this has taken on the victims is widespread and that something that will go on for quite some time that they will have to deal with.

You just heard from Texas Governor Rick Perry talking about the strong bond between those in the military and the community here in this area. He visited with some of the patients here at this hospital today including one of the heroes that emerged during this tragedy. Officer Kim Munley. She was credited with stopping the suspect from shooting anymore on Thursday. Here is what the governor had to say about her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY, TEXAS: She is very understated. A person who understands the gravity of what occurred, but also a classic public servant who is not interested in anything but getting on with her life and hopefully never having an event like this ever occur, again. But a true professional, as you have seen from other reports. This is not the first time that she has been called to action and this is a -- this is a self-less public servant that we should be thankful that we have people like that in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: In terms of the investigation authorities are waiting to talk to the suspect. He was moved to a hospital in San Antonio. In critical but stable condition was the last word that we had on him. And yesterday investigators went through his apartment; they spoke to neighbors there and also of course many, many people who have known him over the years. We mentioned that there will be a memorial at Ft. Hood on Tuesday. The president and the first lady are expected to attend that. And also there was a tour today at Ft. Hood for members of the news media to get a sense of sort of the sprawling campus that is Ft. Hood because of issues pertaining to the investigation.

I couldn't get very close to the Readiness Center where the shooting happened on Thursday but shortly Fred, we to be sharing some pictures with you of other areas around Ft. Hood and a Resiliency Center where soldiers are able to reflect and also meet with family members. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much Samantha. Appreciate that.

All right. Today in his weekly and radio Internet address President Obama spoke at length on the tragedy at Ft. Hood ordering U.S. flags to fly at half mass until the upcoming Veterans Day. And striking a clear line between the alleged attacker and his victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: Even as we saw the worst of human nature on full display, we also saw the best of America. We saw soldiers and civilians alike rushing to the aid of fallen comrades. Tearing off bullet riddled clothes to treat the injured. Using blouses as tourniquet, taking down the shooter even as they bore wounds themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: We're going to be talking much more about the Ft. Hood shootings in our next hour. Also, we'll take a closer look at those serial killings in Cleveland. Our Josh Levs is here with a preview of those discussions in that very full bodied hour.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we have an interesting show ahead today Fred. Let me show you what's going to be coming. We'll be spending that hour looking at both topics but also hearing from you about the both of them as well. Lets zoom in a little bit. Go to CNN.com for the latest on all these stories. Get the details as we are talking. Take a look here. This is the news room blog. These are the questions we are talking about. The shootings, your thoughts. We are encouraging you to send in your thoughts.

This is actually from Ashley, who is the wife of a man who is deployed and is based at Ft. Hood. We will overcome this act of hatred. He did not or will not break us. We are strong and stand as one. We'll continue to hear from you about that.

Also, about this story, sex offenders in the wake of the story we are following in Cleveland. We want to encourage you to send in your comments and your questions. Go to our blog or facebook and twitter. You have facebook.com or twitter.com/josh levs. We have a lot of comments and questions on both of these. We can talk about who is going to be joining us. We have a criminal profiler who will be talking to us about what you look for, that's one of the big question we will see.

WHITFIELD: Right and we also have a city councilmember who is out of the Cleveland area, we will talk about how his mother actually lived in that very neighborhood and he's among those people who actually said something is not right in this neighborhood. We are going to have a host of people that will be with us as well as family members of one of the victims from this very tragic investigation. Josh thanks so much. Appreciate it.

All right. Well the shootings at Ft. Hood certainly changes the lives of dozens of families. Tonight, a CNN prime time special continues to search for answers, the post, the suspect, and the wounded. A CNN special investigation "Inside the Ft. Hood Shootings" that is tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

A survivor tells a gripping story of how she and her suspected serial killers house of horrors and actually lived to talk about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: I'm sure there was a story that you saw on any one of my shows that makes you want to comment. We have made it easy for you to do so. Go to my blog at CNN.com/fredricka, you can comment on anything you see and you can also go to my facebook page at Fredrickawhitfieldcnn and there's yet another way. You can pick up the phone and call this number, 877-742-4760. Some of your comments will actually be used on air.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: A heroing story of survival as more victims of the Cleveland serial killing are identified. Nancy Cobbs had been missing since April. Police say she lived a few blocks from suspect Anthony Sowell. The remains of at least 11 people have been found on Sowell's property in the past week and he is being held on five counts of aggravated murder. Susan Candiotti interviewed the woman who says she was abducted by Sowell and survived. A warning this story contains graphic language that some might find offensive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Unspeakable horror overwhelming to so many in Cleveland. After the remains of 11 strangled women were discovered inside and outside the home of Anthony Sowell, who is now charged with several counts of murder.

TANYA DOSS: I could have been one of them.

CANDIOTTI: Tanya has no doubt she may have been spared the same fate. Last April, she says she had an encounter with Sowell that scared her out of her wits.

She had agreed to watch a televised basketball game in his upstairs bedroom. Off and on since 2005 Doss says she said she occasionally shared a beer or barbeque at Sowell's place. He liked to drink, she liked to drink. Tanya Doss has had several brushes with the law mainly over drugs, including one felony conviction. Police say some of the victims found at Sowell's home have had similar troubles. Doss said she had no idea Sowell was a registered sex offender who spent 15 years in prison for attempted rape. She says he gave her a different story.

DOSS: He took the rap for one of his brothers. That's what he told me.

CANDIOTTI: He didn't mention anything about a rape or attempted rape. After several beers she said Sowell's mood suddenly changed.

DOSS: He caught me off guard. He leaped on me like this.

CANDIOTTI: So you are on the bed here?

DOSS: On the corner of the bed. He grabbed me and mushed me up on the bed like this. OK. Trying to -- trying to get out, but I couldn't. I held my breath and tried to take my, you know, stick my neck where he couldn't. He had a grip on my throat. My eyes, really I started -- couldn't breathe or talk. He said [ bleep ] knock on the floor three times if you want to live. I did, like this.

He was still choking me. It was like [ bleep ] you could be another [ bleep ] in the street dead and nobody would give a [ bleep ] about you. I said why you got to act like that, Tony. He said you think I'm playing? [ bleep ] take your clothes off. He did not rape her.

CANDIOTTI: Doss complied but says to her surprise Sowell did not rape her. Were you afraid?

DOSS: I laid in the corner on the bed like this. I just closed my eyes and prayed myself to sleep.

CANDIOTTI: In the morning Doss says she faked a phone call telling Sowell she had to rush to the hospital to meet her daughter.

Tanya, did you ever report this to the police?

DOSS: No, I didn't.

CANDIOTTI: Why not? Why not?

DOSS: Because I had been raped before.

CANDIOTTI: She says when she went to authorities about that previous rape, her attacker got a light sentence and relatives blamed her for what happened. CNN could not confirm her allegation.

DOSS: When I saw him on TV and all the bodies, and I was there.

CANDIOTTI: Tanya's friend Nancy Cobb was reported missing the same month of Doss's alleged attack. She broke down when asked about her friend acknowledging she was overwhelmed by guilt. Friday, authorities identified Cobb as one of those whose bodies were found in Sowell's home.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Cleveland.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN tried, but was unable to reach Sowell's public defender for any comment. Apparently there is a storm that is gaining some tropical storms strength, our Jacqui Jeras is in the Severe Weather Center. She's going to update us right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: I know it seems late in the season, but apparently we still have to worry about tropical storms and potentially even hurricanes. Let's check in with our Jacqui Jeras where she has her eyes on one. Right now it is a tropical storm right.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLIGIST: Right. Barely it is almost a hurricane.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, November 30th. That's the end of the season.

JERAS: That would be the end.

WHITFIELD: I count on you for corrections all the time.

JERAS: You know, the majority of hurricanes happen mid-August to mid- October. This is late especially when it's been a slow season. We have been sleeping for months then here you go. This is one that has a decent amount of potential here for additional strengthening. We could see a hurricane by the end of the day we are not that far away with it. So maximum winds right now 75 miles per hour, 74 is what you officially need for a hurricane. We have a big explosion of strengthening that's been going on across parts of the western Caribbean really for the last 12 hours or so.

Where is Ivan going and do we need to be worried about it here in the U.S.? Yes, we do. We're probably not going to be having a land falling hurricane, but we will have impacts very likely from Ida, whether or not it makes land fall on the Gulf Coast. I think we're going to have a lot of moisture coming in ahead of this system and we'll see showers and thundershowers and like some flooding rain.

That is not going to happen until Tuesday or Wednesday. We could be making a run for the Peninsula. Tropical storm warnings have been posted here as well as Western Cuba. We have some moisture already moving in ahead of the system. We are talking two or three days before anything happens. Today, we're starting to pull in some moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. We'll watch that increase through out the day tomorrow and then we will start to see those rains come in late tomorrow night. We also have some very heavy rains in the Pacific Northwest along with heavy snow and incredible waves. We'll talk about that when I see you again.

WHITFIELD: OK. Look forward to that. Thanks, so much, Jacqui.

CNN is profiling small businesses that are not only surviving and thriving these tough economic times. A cosmetics company in Los Angeles found a winning formula by using organic products. CNN's Mary Snow has the story in today's "Turnaround."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's become a place where Hollywood hair stylists turn to for beauty products. Simply organic's hair products has rised to fame was far less glamorous. Its starts as near disastrous. Jon Mostrom and Joe Bolster founded the company in 2001. Would you put it on your salad? Why would you put it on the skin of your head?

But the effects of 9/11combined with a bankrupt supplier posted a challenge.

JOE BOLSTER, FOUNDER, SIMPLY ORGANIC: It got so bad, that I had to sell my house, it got to that point where every dollar we could make went back in.

JON MOSTROM, FOUNDER, SIMPLY ORGANIC 2004, I said we are not going to recover unless something dramatic happens. Let's step back and look at where we are. That's when the boys stepped up.

SNOW: And step up, they did. Their sons Jeremiah, Gino and Cory decided to take over the business.

MOSTROM: They taken a beaten down horse and turned it back up into a racehorse.

JEREMIAH MOSTROM, PRESIDENT, SIMPLY ORGANIC: It was definitely nerve- racking, not knowing where our source of money was going to come from.

SNOW: But the boys partnered with a smaller local manufacturing company who gave them discounts on raw materials. They focused on the internet to help drive sales. They went beyond hair styling products and introduced lip balm and candles.

J. MOSTROM: We literally went from salon to salon telling our story.

SNOW: A growing fan base.

MICHELE NADEAU, SALON OWNER: I'm so excited. It's a product line that I actually believed in but then also gave me results.

SNOW: It also pumped up the bottom line. When the boys took over, sales were less than $100,000. This year, the company is on track to make close to $4 million. The future of Simply Organic looks just as promising.

J. MOSTROM: I look at it as something I will pass down to my kids some day and build an amazing family business.

SNOW: Mary Snow, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The shooting rampage at Ft. Hood we'll have the latest on the investigation and we will also update you on the conditions of the suspected shooter and the police officer who brought him down.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Well, some progress is being made in the case of some of the victims from the Fort Hood shootings. This is what else we know about this investigation. Investigates say Major Nidal Hasan fired more than 100 rounds. Two dozen of the 38 people wounded are still in the hospital, 13 people were killed.

Hasan has been moved to Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He's in critical condition and under heavy guard. The dead were flown to Dover Air Force Base where autopsies will be conducted.

So, all the facts are not quite in yet, but a sketchy picture is beginning to emerge about the alleged Fort Hood gunman. Investigators are collecting evidence from his home, his office and they're talking to his neighbors. Our Kate Bolduan has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Law enforcement in search of evidence removed a trash dumpster near the Texas apartment of alleged shooter Nidal Hasan. Neighbors say FBI agents took a computer which Hasan frequently used. All part of the ongoing investigation into just what happened at Fort Hood and why.

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATL SECURITY COORDINATOR: What they were doing overnight was looking at all his -- sort of the things you would you imagine, his communications, his Internet postings, his cell phone usage. They're looking for connections. The real question is one of intent.

BOLDUAN: Law enforcement sources say an FN 5.7 millimeter semiautomatic pistol like the one shown here was used in the shooting. One of those law enforcement sources adds Hasan purchased it legally in August at this Killeen gun store.

CNN obtained surveillance footage from a convenient store showing Hasan just hours before the shooting.

COL JOHN ROSSI FT. HOOD DEPUTY COMMANDING GENERAL: At this point, we have one suspect, as we said, the lone shooter. That's all the indications, a lone shooter and he's the suspect.

BOLDUAN: But Fran Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser to President Bush, says finding out whether anyone else you was involved remains a focus.

TOWNSEND: Whether or not there are co-conspirators, because you want to get them into custody and you want to interview them. No question. That's first and foremost in their mind.

BOLDUAN: According to the Associated Press, law enforcement were aware of Internet activity under the screen name "Nidal Hasan." One online posting compared a soldier jumping on a grenade to suicide bombers. The FBI would not comment on the posting or who wrote it. A former FBI official says tracing the origins of such a message may be an impossible task.

TOM FUENTES, FMR FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: It is very easy for someone to use the computer anonymously to send messages or the use someone else's name to post a message. And it would be very difficult to absolutely identify the individual in this case.

BOLDUAN (on camera): Investigators face more questions than answers at this point. For example was one person or group being targeted? We're told law enforcement are being very meticulous in their work, here. The alleged shooter is in stable condition and they want to carefully preserve their ability to pursue a criminal case.

Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And were it not for a quick response of a civilian police officer, the death toll at Fort Hood might have been even higher. Kimberly Munley is one of two police officers who helped take down accused shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. She was shot in both thighs, Munley also sustained a gunshot wound to her wrist. Her partner , Mark Todd, was there as well and he explained how the suspect was subdued.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SGT MARK TODD, FT HOOD POLICE DEPT: When I seen him, he was standing there. When I ordered him to drop his weapon, I didn't find myself -- I mean, he raised his weapon and tried fired a couple rounds and then we both took cover. And then he went around one side of the building and I started to go after him, the bartender (ph) said, no he came around, he came around. And I came around the other side of the building and then that's when I seen him again and I ordered him to drop his weapon and he raised it and fired a couple more rounds at me and then I (INAUDIBLE) and then he fell. I went up and secured his weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The Fort Hood shootings, what happens now, in our next hour, we'll take an in-depth look at the impact on the military, the victims and their families. Joins us today at the 4:00 Eastern hour.

All right, big New York welcome to the Navy's newest edition. A military band played and sailors fired off cannons as the Navy commissioned the "USS New York." The ship has a special meaning to New York. It was built with tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center. Our Josh Levs has been gathering information about the "USS New York."

JOSH LEVS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Seven point 5 tons of steel, to be exact. It's a beautiful thing. Let's just go to this video and I'll tell you more about it. You know, people have been visiting it in New York for days now because it's been (INAUDIBLE) and it really is an incredible thing.

We've been looking at this information. Just so that everyone understands, I mean, the 7.5 tons of steel were originally part of the World Trade Center and they were taken from the destruction and used to build this beautiful new ship that's not having its commissioning.

It weighs more than 25,000 tons, it's as long as two football fields. And you're looking at crew members, here. This is interesting, 13 percent of the 361 crew members hail from New York. And if you are an aficionado of ships, if you're specifically interested in this, I have got some fun facts for you. Length 684 feet to this ship. The beam is 105 feet. Displacement, approximately 25,000 tons at full load. It can go at 22 knots, that's 24 miles-per-hour. And we're looking at the aircraft that can hold up to four CH-46C night helicopters get onto there.

And you know, tens of thousands of people have been pouring into that area to check out the "USS New York" and to see this beautiful new ship. And you know what it symbolizes, the history that it comes from and that's what it's all about.

Let's do this, let's come to the screen behind me, too, because I want to see -- I want to show you where you can learn more. First of all, at the Web site for the ship USSNewYork.com. Let's zoom in on this for a second and you can see they kind of tell the story when you get to the Web site, about what the background is. They say, "Out of the ashes of 911 comes a ship forged forever (sic) on the steel of the World Trade Center." Then they show you some of the forging process and then they look back at that history and then emerging from it they have this beautiful views of this new ship that people have been pouring into, to go check out.

Let me take you on a little photo tour they offer over here. This is some of the construction. They show you over the years and years and years. It goes back to 2004 that they've been working on this ship. So obviously, it's a long time in the coming. We've known about it for a long time and now it's finally arrived.

And I grabbed a couple photos here. Just, you can see people on the inside getting a chance to kind of climb around inside the ship since it has been visible. And over here, CNN.com, we have our own story filled with photos from our iReporters. I encourage you to check it out. Plus, this is the all new CNN.com, we have embedded video inside the story. So, check those out, too. All there, CNN.com. A little bit of happy news amid everything, today.

WHITFIELD: I know, I love that happy news. You know what, I know you probably know this, but the person who kind of came up with this idea or one of the people who came up with this idea of using this steel for the debris of the World Trade Center, he was a voluntary firefighter, New Jersey volunteer firefighter, Steve Cohen (ph), so when he first articulated the idea, people thought he was crazy, they were like are you kidding me, but then it all came together and it turned out to be a brilliant idea.

LEVS: That's one of the most amazing things about it. He was a firefighter, he had this concept, it has come to fruition. And look, from his idea into this ship.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, I love it. That's nice. All right, thanks for bringing that to us, Josh. Appreciate it.

LEVS: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, two words striking fear in the hearts of workers everywhere right now: open enrollment. Grab a pen and paper, Gerri Willis has some pointers that you'll want to jot down.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, major development today on health care reform. At this hour, House members are debating a Democratic bill that guarantees coverage for 96 percent of all Americans. The bill also includes a government run public option plan. This morning, President Obama made a rare trip to Capitol Hill to lobby for the bill. Republicans say the $1.1 trillion measure is simply too expensive and gives the government simply too much power. This is what President Obama had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: No bill can ever contain everything that everybody wants or please every constituency in every district. That's an impossible task. But what is possible, what's in our grasp, right now, is the chance to prevent a future where every day 14,000 Americans continue to lose their health insurance and every year 18,000 Americans die because they don't have it. A future where crushing costs keep small businesses from succeeding and big businesses from competing in the global economy. A future where countless dreams are deferred or scaled back because of a broken system we could have fixed when we had the chance.

REP JACK KINGSTON (R), GEORGIA: It raises premiums. It raises taxes. It cuts Medicare. Mr. Speaker, America doesn't need a government takeover of health care. We need jobs. If your kitchen sink is leaking, you fix the sink, you don't take a wrecking ball to the entire kitchen. This is bill a wrecking ball to the entire economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: House members will also debate a Republican health care plan and it would expand coverage to just 3 million uninsured Americans compared to 36 million more under the Democratic bill. Votes on the measures could come as early as tonight.

OK, so it's open enrollment time at a lot of big companies across the country. And that's when you can sign up for health coverage and other benefits for the next year. But all those choices can be rather confusing. So, these tips now from personal finance editor, Gerri Willis.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, Fred, this can all be very confusing. We made a checklist. The main things to consider as you go through these options. No, 1, cost. You have to compare the premiums for each plan, that's the amount you pay each month for health coverage, then compare how much the plan requires you to put in for co-pays and co-insurance. These are the two biggest factors to determine how much you'll have to spend with each plan.

No. 2, is your doctor in network? Costs for going to out of network are going to be higher than ever this year. If you really like your doctor, it might be worth choosing a more expensive plan that keeps your doctor in network. It could save you big bucks in the long run.

No. 3, cover your spouse, obviously, and dependents. And you have to do some math, here. Figure out whether it's cheaper to go with your spouse's company's plan or yours. Or if it's better that you each have your own coverage.

And No. 4, carefully consider high deductible plans. Some companies are offering these. They would require you to pay a lot from $1,000 to $10,000 before your coverage actually kicks in. now, the good thing about these plans, they offer, low, low, low monthly premiums, but you could end up paying a lot if you have a doctor that you visit often. These are really best used if it's your only health insurance option.

And No. 5, flexible spending. You absolutely should enroll in a flexible spending account. If you don't, you're really giving money away. These accounts let you put cash in every month, tax free to pay for medical expenses and childcare. But there is a catch, if you don't use the money in a year, anything that's left over goes back to the employer. So, figure out how much you think you'll spend on health care next year, put it in an FSA. Then Fred, you just got to make sure to use it all.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Yeah, because you don't want to waste any money. All right, thanks so much, Gerri.

All right, bringing harmony to the battlefield with a simple song. The extraordinary story of a World War II vet and the power of music.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, Jacqui Jeras in the Severe Weather Center and we're going to talk about Ida.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Ida's the one that's going to stick with us for another couple of days here, Fredricka. It's still way down in the Western Caribbean packing winds 70-miles-per hour, so a lot of intensification today. Not too far away from a hurricane. You have to be 74 miles-per-hour in order to do that. It will be bringing in some heavy rain to the Yucatan Peninsula as well as into parts of western Cuba where hurricane watches and tropical storm warnings have been issued.

After that we're expecting it to move into the Gulf of Mexico, and we do expect it to be approaching some cooler water temperatures in addition to some wind shear. Another area of low pressure could get caught up in the system. But bottom line is whether or not we have a U.S. landfall. We're going to have some flooding rains early to midweek along the Gulf Coast.

Today we're seeing a little bit of return flow starting to move in between now and tomorrow and then we'll start to watch the moisture move in well ahead of the storm system.

Our other big weather storm today, in the Pacific northwest we've got onshore flow here, and there's an area of low pressure, a storm system, way up in the gulf of Alaska and that's what's bringing in these huge swells in the Pacific.

Today, offshore, we have been talking about 25 to 30-foot waves, believe it or not. Heavy snow into the higher elevations, one to two feet expected in the Washington cascades, up to 18 inches in the Oregon cascades, and this is going to be ongoing throughout tonight and into early tomorrow. So, really hazardous travel across the Pacific northwest. Most of the rest of the country, Fredricka, is fantastic like it is here.

WHITFIELD: Oh I know it is glorious. This is gorgeous fall weather.

JERAS: Doesn't get better. We have been waiting a few months for it. WHITFIELD: I know, but we deserve it, because boy have we been through it. Right? All right, thanks, Jacqui.

All right, in today's "Veterans in Focus" photo journalist, John Torga, has a story of a World War II vet who found harmony in terrible times.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a 70-year-old trumpet. It's been with me on all my combat missions all through World War II. I never went anyplace without it.

Here we are. Marjorie Rogers, she and I have been married now 68 years. We finally got this P-47. It was a dream to fly. That's why I named it after my first daughter, Roseanne. I would love that propeller like I loved that little girl.

I took it in a little canvas bag tied to my parachute. I figured if I ever got shot down, it would go with me. Covering the beaches we saw two million men, 10,000 ships. We had 3,000 feeders, our altitude, and we just shot at everything we could, and we witnessed the invasion from a ringside seat, and I remember feeling pride and sadness as I saw the bodies, 4,000 killed in two hours on D-Day.

Two weeks after d-day, we were the first fighter squadron on a strip that was built there after a bad day attacking this German panzer division. Seeing innocent civilians massacred that were held up on top of the tanks. That's why I had to play that night.

As I took my trumpet out of the canvas bag at 10:00 that night, and there was still one German sniper, I thought to myself that German sniper is as lonely and scared as I am. How can I stop him from firing?

So I played that German's love song, "Lily Marlaine," and I whaled that trumpet over those apple orchards in Normandy and he didn't fire. The next morning, here came the military police up. And the military police said: captain there's a German prisoner down on the shore and he keeps saying, who played that trumpet last night? It was a 19- year-old German, and he cried and he said: I couldn't fire. He stuck out his hand and I shook the hand of the enemy. He was no enemy because music had soothed the savage beast.

My ambition as the last action on my part as a veteran is to hit high "C" and fall right into the grave.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Oh, that is beautiful. So if you liked that piece, then you will love next Saturday at 3:00 p.m. when we show our special program, "Veterans in Focus" in honor of veterans.

American, Muslim, and enlisted, battle bound soldiers and the frayed trust that they may feel following the Fort Hood mass shooting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Many Muslim-Americans cringed when it was revealed that the man accused of the Fort Hood rampage is a Muslim. Some Islamic leaders fear that their efforts to erase anti-Islamic stereotypes took a step backwards when the bullets rang out. Muslim-American troops know that well. Here is our Mary Snow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Watching the Fort Hood massacre unfold, former Marine Qaseem Ali Uodah says beyond his shock and horror, he felt something else.

QASEEM ALI UODAH, FORMER U.S. MARINE: I was praying that it was not a Muslim because of the potential negative adding to the negative image that seem to have -- people seem to have in regards to Islam or Muslims.

SNOW: But when the military identified the alleged gunman as Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an American Muslim, former Marine, Robert Salaam, knew what it could mean.

ROBERT SALAAM, FORMER U.S. MARINE: Fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are looking at their Muslim comrades and are a little bit worried, they're a little bit more skeptical. And it's human nature. And I -- I experienced it. Muslims all over the armed forces experience it today.

SNOW: Twenty-nine-year-old Salaam converted to Islam while serving in the Marines shortly after 9/11. He says he was not harassed, but he says with the U.S. at war in Muslim nations, he felt he had to work harder to prove he wasn't a Muslim extremist.

SALAAM: You have to prove that you're not one of them. And just as you feel that they're starting not to see you as the Muslim soldier, sailor or Marine, but they're starting to see you as just one of the other members of the unit, things like this happen and you don't even want to get out of bed. You don't want to go to formation.

SNOW: Salaam recalls in 2003 when a grenade was thrown into a tent filled with U.S. soldiers in Kuwait, killing two officers and injuring 14 others.

Army Sergeant Hasan Akbar was later convicted and sentenced to death. His lawyer said he was mentally ill and said he wanted to stop U.S. forces from attacking other Muslims.

Salaam says among young recruits, the question of Muslims fighting in Muslim countries does come up.

SALAAM: But I tell other Muslims who want to join the military and who are in the military that you're not fighting Muslims, you're fighting those who claim to be Muslim but are doing -- they're the will of Satan.

SNOW: And former Army Sergeant Abdul Rashid Abdullah says with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Muslim soldiers are better positioned than most in working with locals.

SGT ABDUL RASHID ABDULLAH, FORMER ARMY SERGEANT: The military needs to look at the Muslims as -- as an asset. A lot of times we bring in, through cultural or our linguistic capabilities that can really help in these situations.

SNOW: The director of the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council told us while there have been some cases of harassment reported to his organization, he says the military was actively resolve had had in resolving them.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO TAPE)