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Travelers Spread Swine Flu; Obamas Host First State Dinner; Congress Looking to Stimulate Job Growth; Florida Charities Helping Make Thanksgiving Dinners; Mothers Plead for Release of Their Kids; Mumbai Terror, One Year Later
Aired November 25, 2009 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. It's Wednesday, November 25th. I'm Christine Romans, in for Kiran Chetry this morning. Nice to see you.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. It's great to see you as well.
I'm John Roberts.
Here are the big stories that we'll be telling you about in the next 15 minutes here on the Most News in the Morning.
It's getaway day for Thanksgiving travelers. Millions of Americans will be on the move this weekend. Our Rob Marciano will tell you what you can expect and Jeanne Moos looks at how holiday travelers may be spreading the swine flu virus.
ROMANS: Why did the U.K. follow the U.S. into Iraq? Military families across the Atlantic are hoping for some answers as Great Britain begins its most in-depth look yet into the war. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to testify.
ROBERTS: And the first couple hosting their first official state dinner at the White House last night. Weeks of intense planning went into the event. White House staffers sweating out every small detail and it went off without a hitch, except for one small glitch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I propose a toast to all of you.
Does the prime minister get a glass? Thank you.
Just logistically, we want to make sure the prime minister has a glass here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Yes, well, you can take my drink.
Jill Dougherty on dinner and diplomacy Obama-style just ahead. We begin with the Thanksgiving travel rush. Millions of Americans will be driving, riding and flying to their holiday destinations today. It is one of the busiest if not the busiest travel days of the year. So, what can travelers expect?
Rob Marciano has got the travel forecast for us. Jeanne Meserve tells us the swine flu bug may be hitching a ride with holiday travelers. Let's start, though, with Rob who's in Atlanta.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, John.
No major glitches as far as computers go today. That was -- that's a good thing. Take a look at our flight explorer. We've got over 2,600 planes that are in the air successfully so far. That number will likely climb to well over 1,000 by day's end.
As far as the rain on the radar is concerned, it's mostly across the Great Lakes and also across parts of western Pennsylvania.
As far as what we're looking at for flight delays right now, there is a ground stop at the Atlanta airport because of low visibility; also seeing a ground stop right now at -- delay at Philadelphia. And most of the action I think today is going to be across the western Great Lakes.
There you go, the Atlanta airport seeing that ground stop until 9:30. So, planes are not allowed to take off. If they are headed towards Atlanta, so be patient there. I know John has a flight coming here. Philadelphia, 45-minute delays.
As far as the travel is concerned for your forecast, windy and cold across the western Great Lakes, that will be the main weather point the next couple of days, and that cold air will be driving south and east throughout the holiday weekend.
Keep an eye on your bottom third of the screen there. Your holiday travel banner will be played throughout the morning today and tomorrow here on CNN -- John.
ROBERTS: Whoa! Hang on. Ground stop in Atlanta? What the heck?
MARCIANO: Until 9:30. I don't think your flight takes off until 11:00. So...
ROBERTS: Yes. But there's got to be a plane leaving from Atlanta to get here to fly back. What's causing the ground delay?
MARCIANO: A little bit of low visibility. We've got some moisture -- it will lift. Don't worry.
ROBERTS: I need to know. And this Philadelphia thing, is it going to spread to New York, Rob?
MARCIANO: Keep it tuned here. We'll update you throughout the morning.
ROBERTS: All right. Thanks. Appreciate it.
ROMANS: All right. So, millions of Americans will be on the move this weekend and spreading the H1N1 virus as they go. Jeanne Meserve is covering that. She's live at Reagan National Airport in Washington.
Good morning, Jeanne. How are you?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. I'm fine, Christine.
So, if you've got your vaccination, you're all set. If you have not, H1N1 virus is one more thing to weigh as you set out on your holiday travel.
MESERVE (voice-over): As if anyone needs another reason to stress about holiday travel, now H1N1 anxiety is part of the mix.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was this lady sitting like across the aisle from me like blowing her nose. And I was like, all right, I'm glad we have that distance because I don't want to get sick. And there is no way you can really get away from it when you're on a plane.
MESERVE: This animation from Perdue University shows how a sneeze propels germs around an airplane. Government health officials have a few simple words of advice for travelers: wash your hands often, don't touch your eyes or nose, cover your cough, and for Pete's sake, don't travel if you're sick.
JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Don't get on a crowded plane and spread the wealth. It's time to stay home.
MESERVE: Airlines have briefed crews about H1N1. Air Tran even enlisted a former head of the Centers for Disease Control to answer employee questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I contract swine flu from loading bags?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maurice, the bags will not transmit the flu.
MESERVE: But flight crew vigilance has inconvenienced the small number of passengers. Mitra Mostoufi had an upset stomach and was taken off a United Flight.
MITRA MOSTOUFI, PASSENGER: The crew does not feel good about you flying because -- you might be sick. I didn't know they were all physicians.
MESERVE: It turned Mostoufi did not have h1n1 but United says it removed her as a precaution, to protect the health of other passengers.
Despite the specter of H1N1 infection, many Thanksgiving travelers are undeterred and unconcerned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something you got to live and you just have to make some adjustments. And, yes, you can't let it stop your life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. And there's no reason to get, you know, so uptight about it.
MESERVE: So, if you get on a flight and you're sitting next to someone who's obviously sick, you can ask to have your seat changed, but, the airlines are very heavily booked this week and so you may not be able to get another seat on that flight, the next or the one after that. You'll find yourself in a different kind of bind.
Christine, back to you.
ROMANS: Jeanne, the best bet for everyone: if you are sick, stay home. Jeanne Meserve, thanks to you.
ROBERTS: Developing now in California: firefighters are battling a wildfire just east of Anaheim Hills in Orange County. People who live in the area are being advised to have their escape plans ready. Wow, it's going to be a heck of a Thanksgiving for them.
The fire broke out last night and it's fueled by the Santa Ana winds. A red flag warning has been issued for the whole area.
ROMANS: As the military's Fort Hood investigation intensifies, the post has announced new security measures. They include positioning armed guards in key locations, including behavioral health facilities. Army Psychiatrist, Major Nidal Hasan, is accused of murdering 13 people there on November 5th.
ROBERTS: This morning, commanders in Afghanistan already drawing up plans for the thousands of troops that President Obama is expected to request. According to "The Wall Street Journal," a majority of manpower will go to securing southern Afghanistan, and reverse Taliban gains in the city of Kandahar.
ROMANS: The party's over. It's back to business as usual this morning for the president and the first lady. But just a few hours ago, the South Lawn of the White House was a place to be.
ROBERTS: Hollywood heavyweights, high-powered politicians, are all gathering for the Obama administration's first state dinner.
Our Jill Dougherty live at the White House.
And, Jill, it takes extraordinary planning to pull off an event like the one that we witness last night, and by all accounts with one or two minor exceptions, things went off pretty much without a hitch. JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. You know, it really is a logistical nightmare and they begin planning for it as soon as it's announced, that was two months ago. So, they've been planning for two months. And it had double the usual number of people. It was outside, so there are a lot of factors.
But you'd have to say that this dinner was politically-correct and environmentally-sensitive.
DOUGHERTY (voice-over): The first lady dazzled in her strapless champagne gown, the creation of an Indian-born designer. On her arm, traditional Indian bracelets. The menu eco-friendly and diverse, a potato and eggplant salad made with White House grown arugula. Potato dumplings with chick peas and okra for vegetarians like the honored guest. Caramelized salsify and smoked collard greens for the more epicurious (ph).
Another environmentally conscious touch, the Obamas hiring a new florist for the occasion, the tented dining room adorned with sustainably harvest magnolia branches and ivy.
JENNIFER HUDSON, SINGER/ACTRESS: A place for us.
DOUGHERTY: The entertainment -- can't miss headliner Jennifer Hudson, though the White House wouldn't let her performance be photographed. Among the 300-plus guests, Hollywood A-list heavyweights like Steven Spielberg. Big names from network news like Brian Williams, Katie Couric and a brain surgeon we're proud to call our own, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
And the Washington crowd included former Secretary of State Colin Powell, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a slightly bewildered energy secretary.
OBAMA: To the future that beckons all of us...
DOUGHERTY: Even the toasts were short and sweet.
OBAMA: Let our two great nations realize all of the triumphs and achievements that await us. Cheers.
DOUGHERTY: And here at the White House, it's back to traditional American meal or actually not, because today, the president is going to be pardoning officially the Thanksgiving turkey -- John, Christine.
ROBERTS: Jill Dougherty for us this morning -- Jill, thanks so much.
Looked like a great event last night, wasn't it?
ROMANS: Yes, sure did. ROBERTS: I wonder how late it went because in the Clinton administration, on occasion, these things would go until 3:00, 4:00 in the morning.
ROMANS: Wow. I'm told that Dr. Sanjay Gupta left at midnight. You know, Sanjay, he can really cut a rug. So, I don't know if he was dancing until midnight or not. But...
ROBERTS: A new inquiry into the Iraq war underway in Britain. "The New York Times'" John Burns joins us in just a couple of minutes to tell us more about what's going on, what they hope to find, and what they'll do with the information when they get it.
It's 10.5 minutes now after the hour.
ROBERTS: Thirteen minutes after the hour.
Developing story this morning, Military families across the Atlantic are hoping for some answers as Great Britain begins its most in-depth look yet into the Iraq war. Hundreds of pages of secret reports are coming to light with some real implications back here at home.
John Burns is covering the hearings for "The New York Times." He is the chief foreign correspondent for "The Times" and he joins us this morning from Cambridge, England.
John, good to see you. There's already been two inquiries there in Britain into the Iraq war, mostly looking into intelligence failures.
Why this inquiry and why now?
JOHN BURNS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, why now, is because the last British troops were withdrawn from southern Iraq in July. And Gordon Brown, the prime minister who succeeded to that job two years ago had made a promise when he did take over from Tony Blair that there would be a broad inquiry of the kind they haven't had before looking at the causes and the conduct of the war and that began with formal hearings yesterday in Westminster (ph).
ROBERTS: The head of the inquiry has said that no one's on trial here. That proclamation aside who is on trial? Is it the Blair government? Is it the Bush administration? And what's the upshot of all of this going to be?
BURNS: You got it right. It's the Blair administration -- the Bush administration, and the Blair government. The first day's testimony made very clear that a major focus, if not the principal focus of this inquiry is going to be on the relations between Britain and the United States that led Britain to war.
This has been a deeply, deeply unpopular war in Britain. That unpopularity of course has now spilled over into the British military commitment in Afghanistan. And people want answers.
ROBERTS: The first day of hearings, John, revealed the fact that British officials had secretly discussed the prospects for regime change in Iraq back in late 2001. The question that many people might have is, did they come up with that on their own, or were they heavily influenced by the Bush administration on that point?
BURNS: No. The whole -- the whole import of the questioning and the answers yesterday was this. We're talking about senior civil servants who made no -- left no doubt that they themselves felt extremely uncomfortable on the course to war.
And the questioning went to the issue of at what point did Britain -- where the bureaucracy and the Foreign Office and the Defense Ministry strongly opposed regime change -- at what point did Britain abandon what was known as the containment strategy. That's to say an approach that sought to get Saddam Hussein to abandon his weapons of mass destruction. What point did they abandon that for regime change which as we now know had been favored by the Bush administration from early days in office.
ROBERTS: You know it's remarkable, John, that the secret documents that we're seeing coming out of this inquiry published in some of the dailies there. In London you have some information about it as well.
One was a secret document that illuminates the strains between the U.S. and the British militaries and in his interview with J.K. Tanner quoted saying "the whole system was appalling. We experienced real difficulty in dealing with the American military and civilian organizations that partly through arrogance and partly through bureaucracy dictate there is only one way, and that is the American way."
So, some tensions coming to light now that we weren't really even aware of back then.
BURNS: Well, you have to remember that the special relationship between Britain and the United States is like any marriage, there are good passages and bad passages. Anybody who is familiar with the history of D-Day and its aftermath on the march on Germany will know that General Patton and Bill Marshall Montgomery didn't get along well either, but we know what the outcome of that war was. There were strains, we knew about them.
The British particularly spoke about them early on the war. Those relieved as the war went on, I have to say. British commanders ended up by the time of David Petraeus took control in Iraq in deeply - in deep admiration of the American commanders. The American Army, they discovered, was a learning Army and did correct its approaches to the war.
But it also needs to be said there was another side to that story. American commanders, had they spoke within the same frankness and probably they did in communications we haven't yet seen, would have said they felt that the British too often took the easy way out and the result was that much of the area of southern Iraq, which the British were responsible for, fell under the influence, if not control of Shiite militias and criminal gangs. So there are two sides to this story.
ROBERTS: And the criticism coming out of the hearings, not limited to the Blair government or the Bush administration. Also being leveled at the Obama administration, the British Defense Secretary Bob Answorth criticized the President for waiting so long to announce this troop increase saying that British public opinion is eroding as well and it's difficult to keep people in Britain enthusiastic about going forward in Afghanistan while the President is taking this time in making this decision.
BURNS: He did say that to the House of Commons Defense Committee yesterday. I think you have to bear in mind the extraordinary pressure that the British government is under. About 70 percent of the population according to some reliable opinion polls here wants British troops out of Afghanistan soon. The Brown government and the Torryes, who seem likely to succeed them next summer after general election, have no intention of doing that. They are committed to the Afghan adventure now, as far forward as we can reasonably see.
What was surprising about Mr. Answorth's statement yesterday was it's unusual for a British Cabinet Minister of that rank to directly criticize the President of the United States. And I can't tell you for sure but I think we can assume that Mr. Brown will have been very unhappy that Mr. Answorth did that.
ROBERTS: All right, John Burns of "The New York Times." John it's always great to catch up with you. Thanks for taking the time. I really appreciate it.
ROMANS: All right, people want jobs. They want to grow jobs and grow the economy. Are we doing enough? What more can be done? And when will these jobs start coming back? That's next.
ROMANS: Welcome back to The Most News in the Morning.
A warning for holiday shoppers, too many toys are still toxic or hazardous. A Colorado Public research group has put out its 24th annual trouble in Toyland report and there are three major concerns. Some toys contain things like lead and (INAUDIBLE) other pose choking hazards, and some are simply too loud, exceeding the 65 decibel limit.
ROBERTS: Also new this morning, four NBC affiliates have banned a PETA ad from airing during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade tomorrow. It's encouraging people to go vegan on turkey day.
We'll pick it up in the middle of a young girl saying grace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Special thanks for all of the chemicals and pop in the turkey we're about to eat. Thank you for rainbows. Amen. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: One station manager said he banned it because it's not appropriate for the spirit of the parade.
ROMANS: And for millions of you the holiday season doesn't really begin until the Macy's thanksgiving parade makes its appearance on the streets of New York and with the parade a little more than 24 hours away. This afternoon crews will begin inflating those big balloons that helped make the parade world famous. The new balloons this year include the Pillsbury Dough Boy, Ronald McDonald, Sailor Mickey, and of course, Spiderman.
ROBERTS: We remember in Ghost Busters when the Pillsbury Dough Boy was walking down.
ROBERTS: But it would be a reenactment of that.
Donny Osmond's dance card may be full now that he won dancing with the stars. Osmond and Kym Johnson took home the mirrored ball trophy for the show's ninth season. They beat singer Mya how was runner up and fan favorite and Kelly Osbourne. Last night's finale also featured the return of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The hammer dropped out of the competition in the third week after suffering stress fractures in both feet.
ROMANS: That's a lot of dancing to get stress fractures in both feet.
We're going to talk a little bit next about network farming. Jason Carroll is going to talk about this fascinating report about localization, farmers trying to find local customers for their products and they are finding great success at this as consumers also want to stay local.
We'll have that story right after the break.
ROMANS: Welcome back to The Most News in the Morning.
Even before the recession, plenty of farmers were struggling, slips and demands and dips in the market, leaving less cash in hand after harvest.
ROBERTS: But a new idea called network farming is connecting farmers directly with customers and its boosting profits at the same time. Jason Carroll is here with the final report in our A.M. original series "Success in Sour Times."
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning.
It's definitely working for these guys. You know, some farmers were having a rough go at it even when the economy was doing well. So a group of farmers in the Pacific Northwest have been taking matters into their own hands.
Hard bread spring hoist
CARROLL (voice-over): Fred's family has been working this land here in Lincoln County, Washington, for so long, President Grover Cleveland deeded the property to his great-grandfather more than a century ago. Fleming jokes how he used to be addicted to traditional farming like his forbearers but not anymore.
FRED FLEMING, FARMER: I'm a recovering conventional farmer; I'm ten years into my program, my name's Fred.
CARROLL: He smiles but for years Fleming worried and wondered why there wasn't a better way to sell his wheat other than the conventional way, selling it through the commodities market where prices fluctuate so much it drives some farmers to bankruptcy. So Fleming stopped doing things the old way.
CARROLL (on camera): You are doing something different in that you are marketing directly to those who want your product.
FLEMING: Right, right. We actually develop a relationship with our customers.
CARROLL (voice-over): Fleming formed Shepherd's Grain, a network of 33 farmers who bypass the commodities market selling directly to customers.
FLEMING: It's sort of like what Starbucks did with coffee. They put pizzazz to it. What we're doing is we're putting pizzazz to wheat.
CARROLL: Fleming got his friend Karl Kupers to help, together deciding they would set their own prices based on production costs, allowing for more stability especially in troubled times.
KARL KUPERS, SHEPHERD'S GRAIN CO-FOUNDER: And if you're going to be sustainable you at least have to cover your cost of production. Agriculture doesn't play in that game. Hasn't played in that game. And that's -
CARROLL: You're playing a different game.
KUPERS: This is the uniqueness of Shepherd's Grain.
CARROLL: It appealed to mike when the recession hit. He joined Shepherd's Grain two years ago.
MIKE KUNZ, SHEPHERD'S GRAIN FARMER: It's a long-term plan that I think has shown more popularity and it's going to increase in the future.
CARROLL: And that approach has attracted customers across the Pacific Northwest. Our thread said stable prices and a local connection equals more sales. There are customers like seeing the Shepherd's Grain label and tracing products back to their farmers.
As we started marketing that sales have just exploded.
CARROLL: Higher sales and consumers knowing the farmers like they did, Fred's great-grandfather would be proud.
FLEMING: We've excited my customer base, and they truly are what have our future in their hands. When they buy products from us, then they can truly impact the world.
CARROLL: And Fred gets so emotional about that because he cares about it so much. The Shepherd's Grain model is so popular there is a waiting list right now for other farmers to join. They hope that this model will be picked up by other farmers across the country.
ROBERTS: It's great to know where your end product comes from. I've read that book the Omnivores Dilemma, and they tried to trace a bushel of corn through the process. It's just impossible.
CARROLL: It's so funny you that you just said that. And you know the reason why because Fred asked me that very same question. And asked me if I had read that book. And said you must read this book.
ROBERTS: Oh yes.
CARROLL: So Fred, I'll read the book now that John mentioned it.
ROBERTS: You won't want to eat anything that you don't know after you read that book.
CARROLL: I'll check it out.
ROBERTS: Jason, thanks.
By the way, you can read more about all three of Jason's report in "Our Success in Sour Times" series plus leave a comment telling us how you're succeeding in Sour Times, it's all online at cnn.com/amfix.
ROMANS: Checking our top stories for the hour, the Shuttle Atlantis successfully undocked from the International Space Station early this morning. The ship then made a fly around the station, taking hi-resolution photos, and right about now the crew is inspecting the shuttle's heat shield to assure a safe re-entry into the atmosphere. It's scheduled to land Friday at Kennedy Space Center.
Three airlines fined $175,000 for their roles in stranding passengers on a cramped and increasingly smelly regional flight for six hours back in August. It's the Department of Transportation's first ever fine for something like this. The flight from Houston to Minneapolis was being operated by Continental's regional partner Express Jet. Bad weather forced it to land in Rochester, Minnesota after midnight. The only employees left there at the time were from another airline and those people refused to let the passengers in because the airport was closed, so they had to sit it out on the tarmac until morning.
ROMANS: And "The Washington Post" announcing plans to close its remaining domestic news bureaus in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago by the end of the year. It's the latest in a series of cost cutting measures. "The Post" executive editor says the paper needs to concentrate on its journalistic fire power on covering the nations' capital.
Turning now to the economy, and with unemployment at 26-year high a lot of Americans are wondering where is the recovery we keep hearing about? President Obama has scheduled a job summit for the first week of December, and Congress is already looking at ways to stimulate jobs growth.
Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio is co-chair of the bipartisan Jobs Now Caucus. She joins us live from Detroit this morning.
Good morning, congresswoman.
And let me ask you first about this idea that we need something else, some new piece of legislation or some new big push to actually create jobs. What we've seen to date has been programs really meant to mitigate the feeling of joblessness, it's been jobless benefits, also some infrastructure spending in the stimulus. But do we need something bigger and something new?
REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D-OH), CHAIR, CONGRESSIONAL JOBS NOW CAUCUS: I think that's why we formed the Jobs Now Caucus with over 130 members on a bipartisan basis to keep the focus on job creation.
I think what's happening, Christine, is that the incorrect tools to solve what was wrong in the banking system, the incorrect approach has really dried up credit across our country. And the housing foreclosure crisis has not been solved. It's been going up. And that really tripped the economy into a deep, deep recession.
ROMANS: You think the incorrect tools, you think the focus on helping the banks, it wasn't done well, it wasn't done correctly, and so now you have banks not lending, and that lack of lending is starving job creation?
KAPTUR: That is. And so, we have to look to the systemic problems that we're facing, but also with 15.7 million people minimum unemployed across the country. In Ohio it's now over 628,000 up in a year, 200,000 more than last year. And here in Michigan, of course, the state has the greatest amount of unemployment, we have to be much more focused about what we are doing as a country. And the Jobs Now Caucus intends to do that on a bipartisan basis.
ROMANS: Let's talk about the stimulus, though. We have a $787 billion stimulus, there is still some $600 billion left to spend. It was time released frankly over two years, it's meant to keep going out. It would be very unpopular to ask for another stimulus. People are already questioning how this one's been spent and even where we can point to successes in the stimulus, there is a little bit of skepticism. Can you sell spending more money on creating jobs?
KAPTUR: I think we have to look at where this money is going. Only 22 percent of the Recovery bill has been committed at this point. And it stopped the hemorrhage of police officers and teachers across our country. There has been some limited investment in roads and bridges and so forth.
But I think we need to help put America back to work. And this particular bill I think was not properly targeted in some cases. And we want to look at the TARP money and that money coming back in, where that's being spent.
People want to work, and we have a responsibility at the federal level to help relieve some of this pain. You know, when Franklin Roosevelt was president in the first three months of his presidency, with the help of Harry Hopkins, there were over 350,000 people that were put back to work. Hundreds of thousands of people were employed and many more came online later.
I think we need more rigor, we need more push behind a federal program that can really help reemploy people.
ROMANS: There are plenty of economists who tell that you the government can only create jobs in a very short term basis, that it has to be private industry that's back on its feet that's creating jobs on a larger scale. Small business creates I think 60 percent of new jobs.
Do you need some sort of mix of small business tax cuts, of some things that can make the environment better for creating jobs? But government by itself can't really create jobs, can it?
KAPTUR: Government because of the way the banking crisis was handled has killed jobs. When credit dries up small business generally gets loans from local institutions. They're not lending. And the home foreclosure crisis is getting worse.
The first time home buyer credit really has made a difference in the real estate market. There was a little bit of an uptick in the third quarter. And we have to look at ways of targeting bottom-up job creation, and we have to look back at what's happened in the banking system.
But we've also got to sop up some of this high level of unemployment across the country in the areas that are being hardest hit. And I know that our caucus is going to focus directly on that when we go back next week.
ROMANS: And certainly the president and his summit will discuss this on the December 3rd as well.
KAPTUR: We welcome that.
ROMANS: Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, thank you for joining us. KAPTUR: Thank you very much.
ROBERTS: This is probably the busiest day of the travel season so far. It might not be the busiest day -- it might not be the busiest day of the year overall, but certainly a lot of people trying to get from here to there today.
Any delays so far? We've got a little bit of bad news for you. Our Rob Marciano is tracking it all and he's up next.
ROBERTS: In the spirit of the holiday season we are profiling people who are going the extra mile to help those just struggling to get by.
ROMANS: Last year we introduced you to Paul Snow, a man who for 20 years has been serving those less fortunate. Our John Zarrella is live in Hallandale, Florida. And John, he's busy today.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christine and John. You can see here that we've already got a line here at the food bank. They set up the tents here, and getting some help from the Florida Marlins baseball team out here helping to serve the food. They have bread, they've got vegetables, and they're handing out turkeys.
They expect to hand out 1,500 turkeys this morning. You look down here, you can see -- you can't see the end of the line. All of this has been made possible by a man who for two decades has put himself first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was waiting for a disability check.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of the ladies brought pancakes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it didn't come.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have pasta.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A friend of mine said gee, there's a place down there at the United Methodist Church that gives out packages of food. I came down and I said to the director at the time, I said, "If you ever need anybody, call me." She called me that afternoon, and 20 years later I'm still here.
They are coming from St. Marie's Catholic Church and they're bringing food, about 100 cases of food or more. Most of our people are over 55 and hurting because of the economy. I'm seeing people now that ten years ago were donating to the pantry, and now they're coming for help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people who come here really deserve our help. Truthfully, they do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It pulls your heart apart, but we help them, and we never turn anybody away, never. Not one day have we ever turned anyone away.
"God bless you," "I wouldn't make it without you," "Thank god you're here," I hear this every week. That's enough to take home with you to make it a great, great day. I mean, I've had my problems, but my problems can't even compare with somebody only having water in their refrigerator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel good when I leave here. I go home with a smile on my face, I can sleep good, I'm happy because I know I done something to help somebody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes it's real sad. You go home almost heartbroken to think that this is happening. But you think maybe I made a dent.
ZARRELLA: You know, even in this pouring rain and terrible weather we've got here in south Florida, you can tell the need by the numbers of people that have shown up here this morning. And Maddie (ph), you've been coming for what now?
MADDIE: For 15 years.
ZARRELLA: For 15 years. How many times have you come for the turkeys?
MADDIE: Every year.
ZARRELLA: Why? Why are you here?
MADDIE: Because it's hard for me to find. There ain't no jobs out there. And he's like our big daddy. We got a big daddy in Lauderdale.
ZARRELLA: You're talking about Paul Snow who's done so much good for everybody here. You're obviously very pleased with what he does for folks.
MADDIE: Yes, I am. He's very nice to everybody in the neighborhood. He's our big daddy.
ZARRELLA: So you are having a big turkey. You know, 20-pound turkeys they are giving out.
MADDIE: I could eat off of that for a month. Thank you.
ZARRELLA: Thank you, Maddie (ph). It's a pleasure.
So you know everybody here you can see still good spirits, despite this terrible weather we're having here. And a really, really great cause that Paul Snow and the Florida Marlins are fulfilling the need of so many people here in South Florida. A sign here, microcosm of what's going on in many parts of our nation -- John, Christine.
ROBERTS: Certainly is. Yes -- big tough times out there, John.
ROMANS: Towns everywhere people are doing this right now.
ROMANS: Taking their kids and having the kids help give out turkeys you know show them how to be thankful and give back. So it's happening in towns across the country. It's nice to see.
ROBERTS: That's a great thing.
You know in this Thanksgiving we've got to remember too that there are three Americans who are being held at Evin prison in Tehran. They crossed over the border from Kurdistan in northern Iraq into Iran and now they've been charged with espionage.
Well, their parents, their mothers have issued a new plea for their release. And we'll tell you a little bit about what they're trying to do to get their kids out in just a couple of moments.
It's 46 minutes after the hour.
ROMANS: Welcome back to The Most News in the Morning.
The mothers of the three American hikers jailed in Iran are sending a new video message to their kids and the leaders of Iran. After four months the families still hope they'll be released.
ROBERTS: Earlier here this morning I spoke with one of the moms and asked her what they're hoping this video will do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA FATTAL, MOTHER OF JAILED HIKER JOSH FATTAL: We want Josh, Shane and Sarah to know that we are working our very, very hardest to get them released. We're trying every possible way to have them released. And we thought at this time of year, to hear our voices, to see our faces, it will give them great comfort.
We are hoping that the Iranian authorities will show compassion and release our children as soon as possible. This has gone on way too long.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: The three hikers were arrested on the 31st of July. They say that they accidentally wandered from Iran --- into Iran at least from northern Iraq. ROMANS: A year ago it was the deadly and horrific Mumbai terror attacks; our Sara Sidner goes back to that event and talks to one of the true heroes of the carnage one year later.
ROBERTS: Seven and a half minutes now to the top of the hour.
One year ago on Thanksgiving Day we watched as one of the most bold and bloody terror attacks of all time played out on television. It was in Mumbai, India's New York City; it's financial capital. There were hostages, daring raids to rescue them and blasts that knocked reporters off their feet.
Pakistani prosecutors just charged seven men with planning in helping execute the attacks. No one covered it better than our Sara Sidner who has a look back for us this morning.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One year ago the city of Mumbai was under siege. Ten gunmen arrived in the city, their weapons blazing, their targets numerous, their aim to terrorize a nation.
It started almost simultaneously, two gunmen here caught on surveillance tape inside the city's main train station.
NIRMALA SHANKAR, VICTIM: All I knew is people just dying in front of me. Being just shot and just falling off to the ground.
SIDNER: Others opened fire outside a popular restaurant. Gunmen also took over a Jewish center, torturing those inside and turning a toddler into an orphan, his parents among those killed.
A hospital was targeted.
And the remaining gunmen stormed three of Mumbai's five-star hotels, killing and injuring every step of the way.
APUVRA PAREKH, VICTIM: We ran until there up for the fire exit and the moment we were able to reach the fire exit, we could see that person coming up. And he was just shooting with his machine gun, ruthlessly at everybody.
SIDNER: The reign of terror lasted 60 hours. The last firefight here at India's iconic Taj Mahal Palace and Tower.
CNN crews were there as the chaos unfolded. By the end of it, more than 160 people were dead. Often suspected terrorists, only one was captured alive. His name, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, he is now standing trial.
(on camera): For some 60 hours in 2008 the city of Mumbai stood still. Now, one year later it's buzzing like it always has.
AKSHAY KUMAR, ACTOR: Bombay never stops. It never ever stops, it keeps on moving on.
SIDNER: The attacks now etched into Mumbai's long history, moments of terror no one is likely to forget.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Mumbai.
ROMANS: It's 55 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: CNN Heroes past and present, they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Tomorrow we will honor those Top Ten Heroes of 2009 in an All-Star tribute.
ROMANS: This morning we're taking time to look back at past honorees and the impact this recognition is having on their work.
One example, Marie Da Silva, a CNN hero nominated in 2008 for the school she founded in Malawi for AIDS orphans.
CAMERON DIAZ, ACTRESS: Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to present this CNN hero to Marie Da Silva.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since becoming a CNN hero, life for Marie Da Silva and her Jacaranda Foundation has changed completely.
Thanks to nearly $100,000 in donations from CNN viewers Da Silva was able to leave her job as a nanny and devote herself full time to her foundation which educates AIDS orphans in Malawi.
(on camera): How's life at the school changed?
MARIE DE SILVA, CNN HERO, 2008: The school has been built. Actually we built the school within six months after CNN nominated me as a hero.
COOPER (voice-over): Today the school has 320 students.
Da Silva has been able to hire certified teachers, purchase text books, desks, blackboards, even toilets for her school.
(on camera): I understand you had the first class actually graduate from your school.
DA SILVA: Exactly.
COOPER: That must have been incredible.
DA SILVA: For six years we didn't have the materials and the means. Sixteen children took the exams, and seven passed.
COOPER (voice-over): All seven graduates are continuing on to college with their tuitions donated by CNN viewers.
DA SILVA: Until CNN happened, I was just scrounging for anything I could do to keep the school alive.
COOPER: Now it's not only alive but thriving. with more than half a million AIDS orphans in Malawi Da Silva welcomes the opportunity to continue making a difference.
DA SILVA: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Continuing the conversation on today's stories, go to our blog at cnn.com/amfix.
Thanks for joining us today; really good to have you around. We'll be back again tomorrow.
ROMANS: Have a really happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully we'll see you in the morning.
Here's "CNN NEWSROOM" with Heidi Collins -- Heidi.