Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Tiger Woods Accident; White House Dinner Crashers Met Obama

Aired November 28, 2009 - 17:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Police just left the home of Tiger Woods and his wife. Our Susan Candiotti live in Florida.

The man who has followed and covered Woods' career takes us behind the scenes of his private life.

And the president out for a basketball game with his mother-in-law, his daughters, his brother-in-law, and we'll take you to the game as well.

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live here at the CNN world Headquarters in Atlanta.

He has achieved so much fame and fortune that he's known worldwide by only his first name, we're talking about Tiger. Well, today Tiger Woods at the center of a media storm as the world wonders what is really happened early Friday morning when he crashed his luxury suv after pulling out of his driveway.

Our Susan Candiotti is following a development source. She's live outside the exclusive gated subdivision where Tiger Woods' lives. We understand that the police were just there and they did not talk to Tiger Woods and his family? They were unavailable?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. We have been waiting all afternoon to find out that this meeting actually took place. In fact, a couple hours ago we saw two vehicles from the Florida highway patrol go inside the complex, inside this exclusive development to talk to Tiger Woods but moments ago, we got some information and announcement from the Florida Highway patrol saying the meeting never happened. They went inside, went to the house and they said they received information from Tiger Woods' agent that he was not available to be interviewed. And they -- as was previously scheduled.

So, instead, the plan is to talk to him tomorrow. That again is according to Tiger Woods' agent. So, again, it's just another question that's rising, what's the big deal? It's something that a lot of people want to know. This was a minor accident. All the police want to do is just to button this down is to first talk to the driver of the accident. That hasn't happened yet. Here is what we found out today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over) A cracked up front end of what's believed to be Tiger Woods' Cadillac suv. Accident photos provided anonymously to cnn affiliate wftv. The shots taken after police say the golfing phenom crashed into a fire hydrant at the end of his driveway and slammed into a neighbor's tree.

CHIEF DANIEL SAYLOR, WINDERMERE POLICE DEPARTMENT: He was on the ground, semi unconscious and had lacerations to his up and lower lip.

CANDIOTTI: Florida highway patrol investigators in two separate cars entered the gated upscale community on Saturday to hear firsthand from Woods about what caused him to apparently lose control of his car at 2:30 in the morning Thanksgiving night. Authorities say Woods' wife turned them away Friday night after he was released from the hospital, said to be in good condition. She told police her husband was sleeping. Just after the accident, the mother of two was described as frantic, standing over her husband when police arrived. They said she bashed out a rear window with a golf club.

SAYLOR: From what I understand, she explained to my office, the doors were locked and she could not gain entry.

CANDIOTTI: Florida troopers released an initial report that said the accident was not alcohol related. Woods has a squeaky clean image and is known for keeping his private life private. Even his boat is called privacy. Woods is not only golf's biggest draw, and record setting title holder, he's an endorsement powerhouse. Everything from Nike, Golf, Gatorade and Video Game Titan ea sports. His wife and two children are only occasionally seen at tournaments. When his son was born last February, Woods released this rare but heartwarming family portrait.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(on camera) And on one of the natural questions that is circulating is why was Tiger Woods leaving his house at 2:30 in the morning and what preceded it? Was there a problem in the household? When we put that question to the police chief, he told us that he had no information about any of that. Nothing to disclose. So, Don, at this point we're just trying to find out more about exactly what the circumstances were and whether Tiger Woods has any plans to follow through with attending a tournament on Monday. It's a tournament that, in fact, with the funds one of his own charity foundations. So, we'll have to wait and see on that as well.

LEMON: Well Susan, it seems for someone who is very private, and you can understand, it doesn't act to the intrigue. One, he's not available now to talk to police. They're doing it tomorrow. They haven't answered very many questions when it concerns is least Tiger Woods and usually Tiger is, you know, very transparent. He'll hold a press conference or put out a statement. But here is the interesting thing. Police were talking, we understand, because we had been making calls as well, we know that you were following the story. They were talking, getting back to us, and now what's the treatment? What's there happening in Florida where you are?

CANDIOTTI: Well, so far, Don, we have been unable to talk to the police chief today. We put out several phone calls to him and he's been very available in the past. We don't know why he's not returning his calls. I know that he said that theirs is not the investigating agency on this. The Florida highway patrol is. So, it could be for that reason that they are taking a step back. Frankly, at this point Florida highway patrol went to see him. He wasn't there. The agent didn't offer an explanation and we don't know why either. It could be for any number of reasons but the fact of the matter is there's a scheduled appointment for tomorrow.

LEMON: OK. We shall see. We'll get to the bottom of it.

Susan Candiotti, thank you very much. Susan standby, I'm sure we will be coming back to you throughout this broadcast. And in just a few minutes, you know I talk about Tiger Woods with Stephen A. Smith. He is a Sports columnist with the Philadelphia Inquirer. Steven has always has good information and is always a good guest here on cnn. He's going to talk about Tiger Woods and what's going on.

Getting unauthorized access to the most powerful man in the world, well it shouldn't be that easy. The gate crashers who finagled their way into the white house dinner actually shook hands with the president. At first, people didn't think that they got that close. Big smiles from Michaela and Tariq Salahis. Big embarrassment for the secret service of course and cnn's Kate Bolduan live at the white house.

Kate, what's the white house saying today?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there Don. Well, the secret service insists that President Obama was not in any danger as this Virginia couple, Tariq and Michaela Salahi, they had to go through several levels of security screenings like all of the guests attending Tuesday's state dinner, but in a statement released just Friday, the director of the secret service, Mark Sullivan, he says that the agency is deeply concerned and embarrassed. The statement goes on to say, "They should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely. That failing, he says, is ours."

Clearly the review of just what happened and how these supposedly uninvited guests got into the state dinner that will continue. Fran Townsend, a Former Homeland Security Adviser to President Bush, says she expects to see fallout. Listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: At best the uniformed division of the secret service agent who let them onto the property will be disciplined and at worst they could potentially be fired. I will tell you, it is a very serious security breach because, after all, bad people will watch this and watch how they did it and learn, and they may test the secret service in other circumstances if not at the white house as a result of this. And so it is a very, very serious case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: And the white house has asked the secret service for a full review of the circumstances surrounding this incident, but White House Spokesperson Nick Shapiro made a point of saying that the u.s. secret service still has the full confidence of President Obama. Don? LEMON: All right, Kate, you know, I have to ask you, what could happen next with the situation? Is someone going to be fired? Is security going to be ramped up? What happens next?

BOLDUAN: That's a really good question. It's really unclear since this is pretty unprecedented that this has happened, what the next steps will be. We do know at least on the part of this Virginia couple from their lawyer that they say that they did not crash the event and that through their attorney they say they look forward to setting the record straight soon, but for the secret service's part, they are not ruling out the possibility of criminal charges here and, Don, I will tell you that I spoke to administration officials just today and they said, made very clear that there was no request for clearance. These were not invited guests. They were not on any list.

LEMON: Dress fancy, smile, act like you belong, get right in.

BOLDUAN: I guess.

LEMON: That's what everyone always says. All right. Thank you very much, Kate. We appreciate it.

So many dimensions to this story. Coming up in less than half an hour, we're going to go to Scott -- talk to Scott Alswang, a Former Secret Service Agent for 20 years and he's got 20 years experience there. That's coming up at 5:30 Eastern. So, make sure you stick around for that. I want to get to the bottom of this from the secret service guy and find out how they could get in there.

President Obama on Tuesday is expected to make a key announcement on additional U.S. troop deployments to Afghanistan. The figure throated earlier this week is about 34,000 American troops. That's on top of the 68,000 u.s. Troops already there along with 45,000 troops from other countries. Well, today the British Prime Minister announced a high-level conference next month in London to work out a time frame for Afghanistan to take over its own security. The white house has endorsed the upcoming conference set for January 28th as an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues critical to Afghanistan's future.

And be sure you tune into CNN Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. That's when President Obama will announce his decision to send more u.s. Troops to Afghanistan and, of course, cnn will carry the presidential address live for you.

In Russia a second bomb has gone off near a train derailment that killed at least 26 people and injured about 100, 18 people are missing. Russian authorities suspect the homemade bomb with about 15 pounds of explosives went off under the tracks as the train passed by Friday night. As emergency crews were clearing the site, a second bomb partially detonated along the parallel tracks. No one was hurt by that blast.

In China a Cargo Jet cashed and burned early today while taking off from the Shanghai airport. Three Americans crew members were killed. Four other crew members were hospitalized. Apparently the plane's tail struck the ground causing it to veer off the runway. It burst into flames moments later.

In Bangladesh, a ferry packed with Muslim worshippers capsized as it was about to unload. At least 28 people are confirmed dead. The passengers may have all crowded to one side of the ship as it pulled up to the dock causing it to tip over. Well, the ferry could safely carry about 1,500 people but police say it may have been overloaded with up to 2,000 passengers.

Tiger Woods, he's already tried to keep his -- always tried to keep his public and private lives separate, but that's not the case after his car accident yesterday. Ahead, Sports Columnist Stephen A. Smith with information. He's going to join us.

The pilots of that northwest airlines flight that overshot the airport last month hear the cockpit recordings as the pilots try to explain what happened.

And the Black Friday rush, well, were you part of it? Glad I wasn't. How retailers rate this year's big shopping day. You might be surprised, and we want to you weigh in. That's how you can do it, look at the screen. Log right on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK. We're going to get back to our top story now. Just checking some of your feedback on the social networking sites. And you know, this man is a great person to talk to about this Tiger Woods investigation because he is reporting on them for years. Stephen A. Smith, Columnist of the Philadelphia Inquirer, he joins me now.

Hey, Stephen, what are you hearing? Are you hearing anything?

STEPHEN A. SMITH, SPORTS COLUMNIST, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER (voice- over): Well, I mean, basically right now, you're listening to people talk about how much the story that's been put out there doesn't make sense. The wife, you know, ran out of the house and crashed into the back window and she escalade and dragged Tiger Woods out, you know, because apparently he was bleeding and he was, you know, vacillating back and fort between consciousness and what have you doesn't seem to make much sense.

The reality of the situation is that he was driving a Cadillac escalade. I don't know how many people are familiar with that vehicle.

LEMON: It's a big car.

SMITH: Bunch of people -- but you smash in the back window, it doesn't seem like she would be big enough or strong enough to go through the back window to go to the front of the car and to drag her husband out of the driver's seat all the way through the back of the vehicle. Doesn't seem to make much sense right now. Seems to be a bit of holes in those stories, but that's all you can really say about it because none of us are a fly on the proverbial wall and we don't know for sure what happened. LEMON: We don't know exactly what happened yet and you have to believe whatever police are saying and whatever Tiger has said so far which isn't much. But I thought the same thing. If she, you know, if he is in and out of conscious and you were saying that vacillating. She is not a big, you know, woman and he's a big guy.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: He's a pretty big athlete.

LEMON: Yes. Also listen, Tiger Woods, I mean, he guards his privacy with, you know, with as much fervor as he can. So for him this is not a good thing. This is probably what he hates most in the world.

SMITH: Well, there's no question about that. I mean, the man is worth about $1 billion now according to Forbes magazine. He's pretty much worth over $1 billion right now, so if he's worth over $1 billion, imagine how much money he's worth to the people he makes money for, and obviously everything about his image is what, you know, is the prerequisite for him being able to make the money that he's been able to generate. So he has a reason, of course, for guarding his privacy the way that he should, but I do think that common sense sort of kicks into the equation. Rather than -- at least the way it seems, rather than come up with some cockamamie story or what have you.

Perhaps it would be in his best interest to say, Hey, listen, I was in the house or, you know, my wife and I were discussing something, and that was that and the rest of it is none of anybody's business. It's pretty simple, but, unfortunately, it seems like somebody is giving him bad advice right now because the story based on the story that's been put out there doesn't seem to make much sense at all. I'm not going to call him a liar or anything like that or cast any aspersions because I certainly don't know him personally, but at the same time the story that has been reported definitely seems to be holes in those stories.

LEMON: Yes, and you know, it's good fodder for the rumor mill and the blogs. And you know, in this internet, all you have to do is go on and Google Tiger Woods and you see what people are saying about it. This doesn't help, as you were saying it. So perhaps it's just, here is what happened and that's it, leave me alone, this is my business.

SMITH: Well, I think, Don, a lot of these athletes, especially this big-time athlete have a huge huge problem in telling the world to mind their business. That's really what this comes down to. Even though you were a public figure, everything about your life isn't public. Let's just say for the sake of argument and just throw out there, he was having some kind of verbal dispute with his wife. Guess what? Who doesn't get into an argument with their spouse? It's common. It happens. You're a human being. There's nothing big about that. Somebody wanted to make something big about it, it would be based on mere conjecture, but nothing necessarily factual and he could move on from there. By sitting there and putting a story out there that seems to have so many holes in it, what you're doing is creating fodder for those that want to sit there and get all up in your business and giving them a reason to do so even more diligently. I think that he'll rue the day that he elected to do that if, indeed, you know, the story is inaccurate.

LEMON: Yes and we don't -- not mean -- police are not talking about that. For all we know Stephen, he could have been going out for baby formula. We don't know. It's 2:00 in the morning.

SMITH: There you go.

LEMON: Yes. So, we don't know. Stephen, good stuff. Hey, listen, did you ever get to spend much time with Tiger?

SMITH: Never. Never. I wish I did. He and I spoke briefly at the nba finals when Orlando was en route to losing to the Los Angeles Lakers, but I have never had the pleasure of having a personal conversation with him or whatever. I just know him to be what everybody else knows him to be, the greatest golfer I have ever seen.

LEMON: And you know, you didn't play a couple rounds with him.

SMITH: I couldn't shine his shoes. I can't even count the handicap I have. I'm just learning the swing.

LEMON: Stephen A. Smith, I appreciate your honesty. You always bring realism to the story here getting really down to the bottom of the matter. Appreciate it.

SMITH: No problem, Don. Thank you.

LEMON: All right. You know what coming up at 7:00 Eastern, Sports Business Analyst Rick Harrow on the Tiger Woods phenomenon and what the story means, what this could mean to corporate America and whether this incident could cost him big bucks. What it means for his reputation as well.

Police officers are swarming South Florida right now searching for a Thanksgiving killer accused of murdering four family members in a post dinner rampage. This is the suspect, 35-year-old pail Merhige. He alleged killed his twin sisters, his 79-year-old aunt, and the 6-year- old cousin asleep in the bed. Two other relatives were hurt. Investigators say there had been ongoing family resentment. But they have not -- they are not sure what prompted the shooting that shattered the holiday calm in the quiet community of Jupiter, Florida. Merhige allegedly fled the home in a blue Toyota Camry before rescue crews could arrive.

A blown tire, a totaled minivan, and bodies thrown into a highway. The media there at -- Louisiana, Louisiana State Police say five people are dead, another eight are critically hurt after the gmc safari clipped a delivery truck on interstate 10 rolling 200 feet before landing right side up. Most of the victims are believed to be children.

A flight overshoots its destination by 150 miles. What were the pilots doing when they were out of radio contact for over an hour? And for the first time we're hearing audio tapes from last month's wayward northwest airlines flight. We'll listen in on them.

Busy highways and packed airliners. The heavy travel season is here and our Jacqui Jeras is checking the forecast.

Hi Jacqui, how was the turkey?

Jacqui Jeras, METEOROLOGIST: Hey, it was awesome. I hope yours is great as well.

We'll let you know what you can expect for the big drive back tomorrow.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You didn't see my face, I was going.

JERAS: I didn't. I can't see you on a monitor right now.

LEMON: Blowing out my cheeks because you know how turkey day is. Jacqui we'll see you on the other side of the break with the forecast.

JERAS: OK.

LEMON: We'll chat then.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK Jacqui, so I know you probably can't see me over there because ...

JERAS: I can see you.

LEMON: Oh, you can?

JERAS: I can.

LEMON: I'm putting up to see what's this is. Trail mix.

JERAS: Trail mix.

LEMON: That's all I'm going to eat for the next month.

JERAS: That's it?

LEMON: Oh my gosh.

JERAS: That's not high in fat you know.

LEMON: I went home for a week and I ate like every hour on the hour anything I could think of. I didn't even care, I just ate it.

JERAS: So you ate for like a month.

LEMON: So, I ate for like two months.

JERAS: Yes. LEMON: It was ridiculous.

JERAS: Yes.

LEMON: I'm sure everybody did that right? What did you do?

JERAS: Had turkey and stuffing and cornbread and pie. I could keep going.

LEMON: How is your family? Good one. Did you guys enjoy?

JERAS: Good, thank you.

LEMON: Good. I'm glad you have a great Thanksgiving. What's going on the weather?

JERAS: I'm glad you did too.

LEMON: Thank you.

JERAS: Well, weather is complicating things than fortunately for some people who are trying to travel or even just trying get outdoors and get across town to see their family. We've got some pictures that we want to show you of the storm system and what kind of impact it's having on the state of California. First off, there you can see traffic trouble along I-80 in California. That's due to a fresh round of snow. We had about six to 12 inches into the higher elevations of the Sierra.

Big Rig Jackknife there in Cisco grove, and you can see that the roadways were very slick and an accident will always back up travel. Now, on the plus side for you surfers, the storm system brought in big winds which meant big waves for you in Santa Cruz, California. High surf advisory still in effect until this evening. Those winds are kicking up 15 to 18-foot swells and also bringing in the threat of rip currents. Calmer seas are expected there for tomorrow. Now, we are looking at some rain showers and snow showers into the higher elevations across California, but our area of low pressure if you look you can kind of see that little counterclockwise swirl to hell you pick out where that low is and it's heading towards the four corners stage now.

So, we'll going to continue to see rain showers this evening and then tonight a little snow again and then we'll watch things begin to taper off. Now, the northeast, you guys aren't seeing a lot in terms of rain and snow other than extreme Northern New England, but what you can't see are the powerful winds. A lot of folks without power today because we've had wind gusts way up there between 40 and 60 miles per hour. Check out some of the peak gusts from this morning. Sixty one miles per hour in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Fifty three in Nantucket. Fifty one miles per hour in Islip and look at that 47 in Teterboro.

New York Central Park at 30 miles per hour as the wind causing some complications at the airport. If you're trying to fly, getting out of jfk, these are departure delays. Only, what is that, 25 minutes? That's not too shabby. It's the only one in the country, knock on wood when I say this. Tomorrow delays will be more focused from the great lakes down towards the gulf coast and the heaviest stuff down here from little rock down towards the Dallas area. So watch out for travel delays there. The coasts of the country looking a lot better -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Good, Jacqui. Just I'm so glad you're in front of the big monitor. I love it.

JERAS: Oh, I'm glad you love it.

LEMON: I like the big one, I missed it. We're going old school going back. Thank you Jacqui. Talk to you in a bit.

A picture is worth 1,000 words, but this one could be worth a whole lot more. We already know it's earned, you know, the secret service a huge headache. That picture right there.

And if you're looking for premium health care at work, all you need to do is get a job at this Florida hotel. We'll explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Want to give you top stories right now. Florida state troopers were unable to question Tiger Woods about yesterday's early morning car accident in front of his home. The troopers went to his home but were told Woods and his wife were unavailable. Woods' agent asked the troopers to postpone the interview until tomorrow. Woods was treated for facial cuts after he struck a fire hydrant and a tree with his luxury SUV.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced a high-level conference next month to work out a time frame for Afghanistan to take over its own security. The White House's National Security Council today issued a statement endorsing the conference set for January 28th in London.

On Tuesday President Obama is expected to announce his decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan. CNN will carry that for you live.

A picture worth 1,000 words, but this photo can be summed up with one, and that is embarrassing. Should probably be two, really embarrassing. Mikhail and Tareq Salahi crashed the White House state dinner on Tuesday, rubbing with the president -- you see them right there -- the vice president and several other VIPs. The Secret Service has released a statement saying, quote, "It is deeply concerned and embarrassed by the circumstances."

Scott Alswang is a former Secret Service agent with 20 years experience, protecting four presidents. He joins us live from New York. I'm grabbing something off the printer out of the frame for a second.

So good to have you here. So 20 years experience. Have you ever seen anything like this?

SCOTT ALSWANG, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Yes, during the first Bush administration there were people that tagged along on a group that was allowed into an event and they were, I think, the early goings on of social engineering. It was just kind of a game at that time to see if they could actually bypass our security and get in. and now in this reality TV era, I think that what these people pulled off is probably the gold medal of reality TV.

LEMON: So you said it was the first president Bush or second president Bush?

ALSWANG: The first president Bush. It happened I believe it happened two times by the same individual.

LEMON: OK. So if it happened then years ago, then what's the Secret Service not doing to make -- to keep it from happening?

ALSWANG: Well, I think, first of all, the Secret Service post-9/11 and during my entire career, a tremendous esprit de corps, a tremendous sense of trust and confidence by the agents and the officers employed by the Secret Service. I think the job gets tougher, not by the day or the week, but by the hour. The more travel, the more visits, whether they're domestic or international, whether it's our protectees like the president or vice president or...

LEMON: You're saying the Secret Service is overworked?

ALSWANG: I said the workload increases daily and hourly, yes. But the challenges are met. and agents are taught and instructed how to look at human emotions, to make decisions on whether someone is emotionally disturbed or might be a threat against the president. I think in this case, obviously, the director admitted there was a mistake, so we have taken blame. Someone did drop the ball, whether it was an agent, a staffer, a uniform division officer at the check point. Once the person got through the magnetometer, I think it was the White House's decision, because they were announced into the room to be put on the guest list, but there's a number of different security measures that are in place to make sure, even though they were face-up with the vice president and had pictures with the president, that their lives were never in danger.

LEMON: OK. So usually, when you go to events and the president and first lady are there -- and I haven't gone to many, but I have gone to some -- and you are either locked in -- they do a sweep, and then you're locked in and then they wait for the president and the first lady to get in, and then they wait for the first lady and the president to get in, then you can move around again, but not far, right? Does that happen when an event is at the White House? Were these people locked inside the tent until the president and first lady came in or did they hang out and wait for them to come in? Do we know?

ALSWANG: This was the first state dinner at the White House. They were in the tent. I would generally, from my experience, believe that everybody went through all the protocol. Obviously, they were not on the list so somebody did drop the ball, but that everybody in that tent stayed in that tent and there were plenty of agents and different security procedures in place, made sure everything was safe for the entrance of the president and the foreign dignitary.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And I would imagine that protocol is going to change. There's going to be some changes made, right?

ALSWANG: There will be changes. There will be procedures enacted to double-check, triple-check, and make sure that this embarrassment doesn't happen again.

LEMON: Yes. What do you think will happen with -- do you think someone will get fired from the Secret Service? Or reprimanded?

ALSWANG: I would think probably a reprimand would be in order if, in fact, someone admits, or it's found that procedure was not followed. I would hate to sigh anybody get fired over this incident just because of the dedication of duty of all of our employees and for the many incidents that -- obviously no one likes a problem, an incidents. But for the number of trips around the world that the Secret Service has done, foreign and domestic advances for, and the protection that President Obama had even while he was a candidate, the longest amount of protection in history, I think that our agency does a tremendous job.

LEMON: Quickly, can they be prosecuted for posing a threat or a security threat at all?

ALSWANG: Well, absolutely. They lied to a federal agent, if that's the case. They trespassed at the White House. But I don't think that's the big picture here. I think the big picture is that the president's safety and the protection of the people under our purview is paramount.

LEMON: I want you to take a look. You can see our air here? Can you see yourself and me here?

ALSWANG: No, I can't.

LEMON: OK, The president -- and I will show the video as we're talking about this. This is a post-Thanksgiving basketball game. It was on tap for the first family today.

ALSWANG: I can see it now.

LEMON: You can see it? OK. Of course, President Obama is big basketball fan, but the big attraction today was the first lady's brother, first lady's brother, Craig Robinson. He coaches Oregon State which was playing George Washington in the nation's capitol today. You can see the first daughters there, Sasha and Malia, as well as the president's mother-in-law. The Oregon State team won the game 64-57. What kind of precautions here?

ALSWANG: Well, the degrees of protection are outer, middle, and inner perimeter. So there's a number of different types of protection that are enacted. And the core around the president, for 360 degrees, is well-covered. And there's evacuation plans in place. There's emergency procedures in place. There are different layers of law enforcement in place to make sure that the president and his family are safe. So it's just another day in the life of an agent and another day of keeping vigilant tabs on the president and his movements and just ensuring his safety.

LEMON: Former Secret Service Scott Alswang, thank you very much. We know no one is perfect, no agency is perfect, but that's a big task, keeping the president safe. So let's hope they get it right and it doesn't happen again.

We appreciate your expertise, OK?

ALSWANG: My pleasure. Thank you.

LEMON: We're going to continue to follow this story. Join me in the "NEWSROOM" at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. eastern for the latest developments on that as well.

With President Obama relaxing this holiday weekend -- you saw him at a basketball game -- there's been a little news on health care reform. As members of Congress consider a final bill, they may want to consider what we found at a hotel in Florida. In addition to the restaurant and gift shop, there's a health care clinic, but it's not for the guests. It's for the employees.

Jim Acosta reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At this health clinic in Orlando, Florida, there's no such thing as no vacancy. It's located inside a hotel.

HARRIS ROSEN, HOTEL OWNER: How are you? OK?

ACOSTA: And run by the hotel's owner, Harris Rosen, who started the clinic 18 years ago to see if he could cover all of his employees and save money.

ROSEN: There is an apprehension, a fear, an anxiety on the part of most employers to step into an area they know very little about, but we did it, and at a cost that are a fraction of what the national averages are. Why? We emphasize wellness.

ACOSTA: Rosen dumped his insurance company, hired his own doctors, nurses, and support staff, all of it at little cost to his employees. But there's a catch.

ROSEN: If you smoke, Jim, you can't work for me.

ACOSTA: The employees have to follow Rosen's rules or risk losing their coverage. Smokers have to quit. Heavy-set workers have to go on weight loss programs, and so on.

ROSEN: So there is a bit of Big Brother looking over to make sure that you're following the regimen. ACOSTA (on camera): But you're big brother.

ROSEN (voice-over): Yes, and I don't like that very much, because I'm not very much a fan of Big Brother, any Big Brother, but I am.

ACOSTA: Chris Teague, the assistant manager at one of Rosen's hotels, lost 100 pounds with the clinic's help.

ACOSTA (on camera): You're glad they nudged you?

CHRIS TEAGUE, ASSISTANT MANAGER: Oh, yes. Yes. It's changed my life dramatically.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The clinic's approach does have its critics who say it's an invasion of privacy.

JEFFREY BLOOM, TRIAL ATTORNEY: The idea of providing wellness care is wonderful, but if I choose not to go back to a follow-up care with a doctor, that's my decision.

ACOSTA: But it's not the critics who worry Rosen. It's Congress.

(on camera): You'd think with the health care system Harris Rosen has put in place here, he'd be a big fan of Democratic plans for health care reform. But the message at this health care hotel is quite the opposite. It's do not disturb.

(voice-over): Under the Democratic proposals in Congress, Rosen says he'd save money by shutting down his clinic, forcing his employees into a public plan, and paying a government-imposed penalty.

ROSEN: I hate to close this facility down. It means so much to all of us.

ACOSTA: Including Harris Rosen, who seems to enjoy providing health care, whether it's in Spanish or French, more than he likes running the fanciest of his seven hotels.

ROSEN: Some of my friends will probably not be happy with what I'm about to say, but I do believe that it's a right.

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, Orlando.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: The holiday shopping season hits its stride. Shoppers crawled out of bed early on Black Friday. Some of them didn't even go to bed. Black Friday is the traditional start of the season. But were the numbers enough to put a smile on retailers' faces? We'll check on what they're saying.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK. Air-traffic controllers tried and tried to get in contact with the pilots flying Northwest flight 188, but for over an hour there was only silence on the other end. For the first time we're hearing the cockpit tapes from October's wayward flight that took passengers 150 miles past their intended runway.

Here is CNN's Homeland Security correspondent, Jean Meserve.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Northwest one eighty-eight contact Minneapolis center one two four point eight seven.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Northwest one eighty-eight radio check.

JEAN MESERVE, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over and over and over again, air-traffic controllers in Denver and Minneapolis try to make contact with Northwest flight 188, even asking other Northwest pilots in the area if they can radio the plane. Finally, after overflying Minneapolis by 150 miles, after 77 minutes incommunicado, the crew makes contact.

NW 188 PILOT: Minneapolis Northwest one eight-eight.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Northwest one eight-eight Minneapolis center, go ahead.

NW 188 PILOT: Roger, we got distracted and we've overflown Minneapolis. We're -- are over Eau Claire and would like to make a one-eighty and do arrival from Eau Claire.

MESERVE: Controllers ask if the crew is in control of the aircraft.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: You can stay right here and on this frequency and I just have to verify that the cockpit is secure.

NW 188 PILOT: It is secure. We got distracted and we were...

NW 188 PILOT: (INAUDIBLE) never heard a call and we just (INAUDIBLE).

MESERVE: Several minutes later another controller follows up.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Northwest one eight-eight, do you have time to give a brief explanation on what happened?

NW 188 PILOT: Just cockpit distractions. That's all I can say.

MESERVE: Again, the controller tries to get information.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Northwest one eighty-eight, is there any way you can elaborate on the distraction?

NW 188 PILOT: We're just dealing with some company issues here and that's all -- that's all I can tell you right now at this time.

PETER GOELZ, FORMER NTSB MANAGING DIRECTOR: It was pretty clear that they knew they were in hot water. They were not going to discuss it over the open channels. They knew it was going to be recorded. They knew they just didn't want to say anything.

MESERVE: The pilot and co-pilot later said they were reviewing crew scheduling procedures on their laptop computers. In a stinging rebuke, the Federal Aviation Administration accused them of a total dereliction and disregard of their duties, and revoked their licenses.

(on camera): The pilots have filed an appeal. Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, in hopes of coming up with a conclusive explanation for this frightening lapse on the part of the crew.

Jean Meserve, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Well, the first numbers are in on Black Friday, the first day of the traditional holiday shopping season, and they seem to suggest that the economy is getting better, at least by a little. The National Research Firm says total spending was up about a half percentage point from last year. Penney's and Sears are among the chain that is reported having a good day.

Well, the increase may get bigger when they total up cyber sales. One analyst says the average online customer spent 35 percent more yesterday compared to a year ago.

We'll talk to Jacqui Jeras and see if she went out for some Black Friday shopping.

The U.S. drawdown in Iraq. It's not just troops. Just ahead, how to pack and unpack when an Army is depending on you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMOLN: There are about 115,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq. Some are staying put, some are heading home, while others are preparing to head to Afghanistan. They celebrated Thanksgiving this week with truck loads of turkeys, 450,000 pounds, to be exact, also 61,000 pounds of stuffing and nearly 9,000 cans of cranberry sauce, a lot of food.

And as our Mohammed Jamjoom reports all of that food and the equipment needed in Iraq funnels through one very busy base.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Packing up and moving out. This is one of the U.S. military's most challenging missions in Iraq because the drawdown isn't just for troops. Most of the equipment's got to go, too.

COL. C. J. READ, U.S. ARMY: It's like any household, if you stay there long enough, you're going to accumulate lots of things thinking maybe the next unit might need it. The last one out the door is stuck with what is here.

JAMJOOM: From Humvees to generators, the U.S. military's 17,000 logistical soldiers in Iraq deal with everything. But they don't just deal with the hardware moving out. They also distribute the supplies coming in. PAUL WENTZ, BRIGADIERE GENERAL, U.S. ARMY: They do the water production, distribution, fuel, ammunition, parts. And move them around throughout Iraq, about 4,000 trucks a day are moving around, pushing sustainment supplies to the soldiers here in Iraq.

JAMJOOM: At Camp Victory, it all starts here at the central receiving ship point yard.

ELIZABETH CAL, 1ST LIEUTENANT, U.S. ARMY: Pretty much anything with a motor will come through here, including generators, light sets. You name it, we get it. We run 24 hours ops, 365, so on Christmas day, New Year's Eve, we're here.

JAMJOOM: The wheels roll mostly at night because it's tougher for insurgents to carry out attacks then. It's a colossal operation. On an average night, more than 120 convoys move throughout the country. Many of these vehicles will leave Iraq in days, bound for Afghanistan.

(on camera): This is the supply support activities yard. This is where the materials go that need to be distributed to the other troops in Iraq. We visited other yards today that included pieces of military equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Here are the items that are more mundane, everyday things like printer cartridges or water coolers.

(voice-over): U.S. forces have been here for more than six years, and moving this amount of equipment makes it the largest effort of its kind since the Vietnam War. It's a daunting job, but General Wentz feels they've mastered all the moving parts.

WENTZ: This process been going on for a while. We have refined them. We have been deploying and redeploying the forces for the last six years.

JAMJOOM: And his soldiers? They know their job is crucial and it's what keeps them going.

CAL: It's awesome. When they get on the phone and hear it's coming to them, that's good stuff.

JAMJOOM: A few bright moments in an otherwise routine, but sometimes dangerous, operation.

Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Baghdad.

LEMON: "The Situation Room" straight ahead. Suzanne Malveaux, in for Wolf Blitzer.

Suzanne, what do you have for us?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Don.

We've got a great show this hour. We're looking ahead at the president's announcement on Tuesday evening, his Afghanistan strategy. We're also looking ahead at his trip to Copenhagen on climate change. And I talk to Dr. Oz about the swine flu and everybody traveling during this holiday time.

Don?

LEMON: All right, Suzanne, looking forward to it. Thank you very much.

Eat too much turkey on Thanksgiving? Don't worry. We have just what you need to get back on track. Find out how to make your weight loss someone else's gain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So if you're like most folks, you probably ate a bunch, right, and you need motivation to lose weight after the holidays. Dr. Sanjay Gupta checked out an innovative program where, the more you lose, the more someone else gains.

(CNN FIT NATION)

LEMON: All right, so just one day after Thanksgiving, it was a big story, Tiger Woods. You're weighing in. Let's get some of your feedback.

This is from Colorado, Foothill. This is on Twitter. He said, "Tiger Woods' silence is only fueling speculation and negative rumors about him. His spokesman is not helping, either."

Here's what TemblantJB007 says, "I think it is something that is really none of our business. Let the couple be."

Hevensentshea says, "Whatever happens, he deserves his privacy. Everyone wants to know everything about everybody."

Beachlife2 says, "He was on his way to score some Black Friday deals."

Humm, that must be it, a little joke there.

"Please find out the truth about the Tiger Woods ordeal," TracyLJ.

Thank you very much.

And then there were other stories. Someone commented on the president and the basketball game, how do they protect him if he wants to go to the bathroom or getting food? So I don't know the answer to that, but I will ask a Secret Service agent.

Tiger Woods, you have heard about the accident, you hear our viewer feedback. The latest information, his interview with the police this afternoon canceled. What happened there? Why? We're exploring that and how Tiger's accident could affect his bottom line.

Thank you for joining us here at 5:00 p.m. eastern in the "CNN NEWSROOM." I'll be back here at 7:00 eastern.

Meantime, "The Situation Room" begins right now.