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Obama Announces Decision to Send Additional Troops to Afghanistan; Tips to Avoid Trouble on Cyber Monday; U.S. Troops in Afghanistan; Iran Wants to Build Ten More Uranium Facilities; Tiger Woods Accident
Aired November 29, 2009 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: A dramatic display of defiance. Iran's cabinet approves plans for 10 more uranium enrichment plans.
They're calling it a flat-out ambush. Four police officers sitting in a coffee shop, shot dead.
And Tiger Woods makes a statement about his Friday morning car crash. But police still have questions.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM where the news unfolds live this Sunday, November 29th. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Hello, everyone.
Our top story, Iran raised the stakes dramatically today in the international standoff over its nuclear program. Here's what we know. Iran's cabinet approved plans for 10 more uranium enrichment plants.
The move comes just two days after the International Atomic Energy Agency called on Iran to stop its enrichment program. And to abandon construction of a nuclear facility in Qom. Iran says the new plans will produce fuel for civilian nuclear power stations. The U.S. and other countries say Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.
So today's news from Tehran sent shock waves around the world. So exactly what is Iran up to? I asked CNN's Reza Sayah who has been watching developments from Pakistan.
All right. Reza Sayah joining us now from Islamabad. Reza, what's your understanding as to why is Iran doing this now?
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, this is nothing short of Iran playing hardball with Washington western powers ands the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, all of which have been calling on Iran to either stop uranium enrichment or at least curb it.
With this announcement on Sunday, Iran is essentially saying not only do we plan to continue enriching uranium, but we're going to enrich a lot more. We're going to do it legally, they say. There's nothing you can do about it. And what's remarkable is just six weeks ago there was at least some optimism that perhaps Washington and Iran would come to an agreement when it comes to Iran's nuclear program.
Of course, you had those talks in Vienna. And it seemed at least in principle that Iran was close to accepting a deal where it would send out most of its enriched uranium in return for fuel that will be used for medical research. Now you can argue these two sides are farther apart than they've been at least for the past couple of years.
With this announcements on Sunday, Iran has certainly raised the stakes. This is a government that's remained defiant in the face of a lot of pressure from outside, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: So is there a feeling that this is a cat and mouse game, or that, indeed, Iran plans to carry out its threats of building more plants?
SAYAH: Well, if it is a cat and mouse game, there's certainly a lot at stake. And you have the stability of the Middle East at stake. But they're sticking to their position that this is a peaceful nuclear program. That they're not going after nuclear weapons. Iran's argument is that in the next couple of decades, they're going to need energy, and these nuclear facilities, these enrichment facilities will help it gain that energy.
They also argue with this type of energy, electricity, it will open up its oil for export and that will help its economy. Of course, the western powers, Washington, Israel, do not buy that argument. They say Iran's nuclear program is a cover for them building nuclear weapons. Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: What about the timing? You mentioned the timing of the most recent U.N. threats of saying, you know, no more building of even the most recently revealed secret facility. Is Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, is this posturing for him, is this an opportunity for him to say hey, look everybody, pay attention to me, I'm in control, at the same time, I guess, posturing for the people of Iran to show that he is, indeed, a man of authority even after a disputed election?
SAYAH: Well, it's interesting. A lot of our sources in Iran tell us that Ahmadinejad actually wasn't against a deal with the west. And, perhaps, it was the supreme leader that wanted Iran to continue with its nuclear program. Either way, the timing of this illustrates Iran's defiance.
Remember, this announcement comes two days after the IAEA admonished Iran for continuing to enrich uranium and the construction of that secret enrichment facility in Qom. What does Iran do with that admonishment? Basically, it shrugs its shoulders and continues with its program, saying it's going to build 10 more facilities. Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Reza Sayah joining us from Islamabad.
In the meantime, Russia has close economic ties to Iran. But it recently joined in international criticism of the Iranian nuclear program. CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance joins us now from Moscow. What's the reaction there, Matthew?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's been no reaction yet, Fredricka, from the Kremlin on Sunday night. They're dealing with another sort of domestic crisis. There's been a train bombing here but certainly this will not be very well received. I expect by the Kremlin. They do have this long standing economic, very deep economic ties with the Islamic Republic, as you mentioned.
In fact, the Russians helping the Iranians build their first nuclear reactor. But at the same time, their position has been hardening towards the Islamic republic over the past several months in particular. Particularly since President Obama came to office. And they've been expressing their frustration with Iran's inability, unwillingness to negotiate over its nuclear program effectively with the international community.
It was significant that that IAEA resolution, the U.N. was very critical of Iran just a few days ago but was backed by the Russians. It was also backed by the Chinese who have also provided a certain amount of diplomatic cover for Iran in its controversial nuclear program, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Matthew Chance in Moscow, thank you so much. Meantime, the White House reacting very quickly to today's news from Iran. CNN's Kate Bolduan joins us live. Kate, what's being said?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fredricka. Well, just a short time ago the White House released a statement, this coming from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
And he says "if true this would be yet another serious violation of Iran's clear obligations under multiple U.N. security council resolution and another example of Iran choosing to isolate itself. The international community has made clear that Iran has rights, but with those rights come responsibilities."
Gibbs goes on to say "as the overwhelming IAEA board of governors vote made clear, time is running out for Iran to address the international community's growing concerns about its nuclear program. And as we've been talking about it here, Fredricka.
This announcement comes just two days after the United Nation's nuclear watchdog passed this resolution demanding Iran stop construction of that existing site in Qom following that IAEA resolution which was, of course, endorsed by the U.S. senior administration officials told CNN that they believe that that resolution sent a strong signal of the serious international concern over Iran's, "continued noncompliance."
Now today's developments really can only serve as more evidence Iran is further defying international calls for cooperation. Iran continues to say its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. But the U.S. and other countries don't believe it, accusing Tehran of working toward, as we've discussed, producing a nuclear weapon.
WHITFIELD: All right. Kate Bolduan reporting from Washington, thanks so much on that.
Of course, we'll get a closer look at what's going on in the administration and in Iran, and we'll get that point of view from an international security analyst coming up.
Also a live report from the Tacoma, Washington, area. Four police officers killed in an apparent ambush today.
And Tiger Woods issues a statement about his Friday morning car accident.
WHITFIELD: All right. Florida police will have to wait another day to get answers from Tiger Woods about his SUV crash. The injured golfer apparently turned down yet another meeting with police today. But the following statement is on Tiger Woods' web site. Saying, "this situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again."
Susan Candiotti is in Windermere, Florida. What more can you tell us about, I guess, turning away troopers while at the same time issuing this personal statement from Tiger Woods?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly the Florida Highway Patrol is as surprised as anyone is that he has canceled his appointment with them for the third time. After all, they said this is such a minor accident. They don't understand why. He had the option of not talking with them. And obviously he's chosen to do so.
A lot of experts have said his lawyer is probably giving him advice, and he didn't have to talk with them. So instead he is doing all he had to do. And that is he will have to provide his driver's license, his registration and his proof of insurance. And that's what the Florida Highway Patrol at the very least intends to get from him as they go on to complete their investigation, even without a statement from Tiger Woods.
So, of course, that doesn't end all the questions that are continuing to surround what happened. Even though he put a statement out, people still want to know more about what happened late Thanksgiving night about 2:30 in the morning when he left his house, at about 2:30, as we said, drove down his driveway, hit a fire hydrant, then banged into a neighbor's tree.
His wife then said she heard the crash, came outside, used a golf club to smash out some of the passenger windows in the back of the SUV to get him out of the car. And as you said, he put out statement saying, "I'm not perfect." And then he added, "although I understand, quote, there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible."
So, of course, the question is, what rumors specifically is he referring to? People have been wondering whether there was a fight possibly that preceded him leaving the house at 2:30 in the morning. But we have no further answers. We did ask, however, a sports analyst to give us his take on that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON WERTHEIM, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": This line in his statement that the promises it won't happen again, that obviously leads you to believe it's not just - you don't promise random accidents aren't going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: So, again, the questions go on. But we had another development today. We're also finally hearing the 911 call that was made by one of Tiger Woods' neighbors early that morning to police, telling them that an accident had happened. And here's an excerpt from it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: What happened? What's wrong?
CALLER: I have a neighbor, he hit the tree. We came out here just to see what was going on. I see him and he's laying down.
911 OPERATOR: He hit a tree? You mean there was an auto accident?
CALLER: Yes. There was an auto accident. Yes.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: And so, Fredricka, even though Florida Highway Patrol says it will move on with its investigation, it's not entirely clear at this point whether Tiger Woods will be able to move on from this without a lot of people parsing out that statement in the days to come. Back to you.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And what's interesting, too, Susan, on that 911 call very little is said. Oftentimes you can kind of get a real picture painted from a 911 call and envision exactly what's taking place there. The person who called never said anything more about what he was seeing.
CANDIOTTI: Well, you know, sometimes, Fredricka, you do get more details from these 911 calls. And sometimes you do not. Frankly, according to police, they say most of the time they don't get much out of these things. In this case, they certainly did not.
WHITFIELD: OK. Susan Candiotti, thanks so much from Windermere, Florida. Appreciate that.
All right. We're going to talk more about the fascination over the Tiger Woods case with a psychologist later on in this hour as well.
In the meantime, four officers gunned down while sitting in a coffee shop. A man hunt is under way right now. A live report coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: All right. Jacqui Jeras in the severe weather center. And take a look at these images. She's looking just as we are, too. The road after the dust settles. That's today's advice for motorists in southern Arizona. A dust storm near Casa Grande yesterday, pretty deadly. There were at least five accidents on a stretch of interstate-10 between Phoenix and Tucson. Two people were killed in one of those crashes. Wow. Jacqui, that's some nasty stuff.
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes.
WHITFIELD: It really is very dangerous. I guess people think initially it sounds very fascinating. Wow, dust storm. No. It's dangerous.
JERAS: It is dangerous. It just, you know, cuts off your visibility. And a lot of times you don't know it's coming. And these things kind of develop from the outflows of thunderstorms. So it pushes those strong winds, that kicks up that dust. And it can travel for miles and miles. That's going to be a concern at this hour as well.
In fact, a significant weather alert has been issued by the national weather service. This is for Penal County as well as part of Maricopa County. The Gilbert area as well as Apache Junction are under this alert. Because look at the thunderstorms which was developing. They are moving towards the north and west. They are heading towards the town and this is i-10 right here which is the same area that got hit hard yesterday.
So whenever you get thunderstorms like this the winds come down out of it very strongly and then can kick up that dust. We'll be watching this area very closely in the next couple of hours. This alert is expected to expire at 3:00 local time. And there you can see just kind of scattered showers and thundershowers across southeastern parts of Arizona.
We're getting that snow mixing in here as well across parts of New Mexico. We've had anywhere as much as four plus inches of snowfall. Higher into some of the northern mountains. And we're going to see the system slowly continue to slide on off to the east over the next couple of days.
We also got some of this rain across northern Texas as well as up towards Oklahoma City. Embedded thunderstorms possible here, including for you around the DFW area. And then you can see the widely scattered rain showers across the north. We'll be watching places like Chicago and Detroit as well as Indianapolis for potential airport delays.
Right now the delays have been pretty minimal. These are just volume delays. Not weather related, here. Two hours though at Teterboro. And then White Plains there in New York about an hour and a half. Tomorrow's forecast, looking like this, our system still continuing to impact this area. This is actually today's forecast. I thought I had tomorrow's up for you. But imagine this front just a little farther off to the east and we're going to start to see that rain begin to fill in across the southeastern quarter.
Warm temperatures in the plains. It's probably the best thing I can tell you but I think most of those travelers overall, Fredricka, doing pretty good when you're only talking about two airports, neither of which are really major airports.
WHITFIELD: Yes, a holiday weekend.
JERAS: Yes, a lot of people, I think, doing the road thing this weekend.
WHITFIELD: Oh, I know. Big time. I think we've seen a big surge.
JERAS: Yes. I saw five officers on my drive in, by the way.
WHITFIELD: You did. But you weren't speeding. You were driving carefully.
JERAS: Oh my gosh. I'm going like 50.
WHITFIELD: So you were nervous, right? All right.
JERAS: It always makes you edgy even...
WHITFIELD: I know. Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're just like...
JERAS: I'm not speeding.
WHITFIELD: All right. Good. Well, I'm glad you're driving safely at all times, Jacqui. Thanks so much.
Another top story we've been following, this involves a brazen attack today in Washington State. Police are now searching for a man who walked into a coffee shop and shot and killed four police officers. It happened in the Tacoma suburb of Parkland near the McCord Air Force Base.
CNN's Patrick Oppman is following the story. He's joining us now on the phone. So Patrick what can you tell us about the search for the gunman or gunmen?
PATRICK OPPMAN, CNN ALL-PLATFORM JOURNALIST (ON THE PHONE): Fredricka, even though, like what you said, a brazen execution style shooting took place five hours ago, still a very, very busy scene here in Lakewood. I'm just down the street from the coffee shop where the officers were sitting when the gunman burst in, apparently, and killed three male officers and one female officer from the Lakewood Police Department.
A little while ago a spokesperson from the sheriff's office described how that attack went down. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED TROYER, PIERCE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: They were getting ready to start shift. And they had met there. And their computers were open and they were actually doing work inside when the gunman came in and specifically targeted and fired upon the four Lakewood police officers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OPPMAN: And again, police are saying this was no accident. There was no robbery gone awry or anything like that. They believe the gunman looking for one individual right now, he's been described as an African-American male between 25 and 35 years old, who was seen running from that coffee shop after the shooting.
They believe this person went in looking to attack these officers. Very unusual tragic day here for the Lakewood Police Department. Medium sized police department, about 125 officers. Where I am right now, you're seeing police from just about every jurisdiction out in force trying to follow up on every lead they have, any possibility of bringing in the suspect or suspects.
Because there's a possibility that somebody helped this gunman, maybe even helped drive him from the scene. Out here in Lakewood looking at a very busy unfolding police situation. But at this point police have no one in custody, Fredricka and are really at a loss as to what triggered this very bloody morning here near Seattle.
WHITFIELD: So Patrick, in Seattle, just last October there was a killing of a police officer. And at the time, it was also described that it was a result of an ambush. Any connections being made here?
OPPMAN: A lot of connections. There are certainly a lot of similarities being brought up. Because that was also an ambush style attack described then. They do have a person in custody with that attack who they've charged. So they don't believe that somebody could have been behind both attacks.
But police did say at several of the briefings today they believed, they're looking at the possibility that it was a copy cat attack this morning. It could have been inspired by that also very unusual ambush style attack in Seattle. But they're at a loss as to why their officers here were targeted. Very unusual. They hadn't received any threats. And they're really kind of taken aback by this violence directed against their officers. Something very unusual and it turned out to be very tragic with the loss of four officers' lives this morning.
WHITFIELD: Tragic and very sad. Thanks so much, Patrick Oppman there joining us from Parkland, Washington. People there mourning the loss of four police officers.
An update on the top stories and Tiger Woods. Just the latest examples of why are so many of us so interested in the private lives of celebrities? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: All right. Let's get you taught up on the other top stories. Iran had approved building 10 more uranium enrichment plants. This is in defiance of the U.N. demand that Iran halt its nuclear program. A White House spokesman says the move will further isolate Iran in the world community.
And the death toll could rise in Russia following a terror attack that caused a train derailment. At least 26 people are dead. Russia media report another 18 people are missing.
And voters are choosing a new president in Honduras today. Tens of thousands of police and soldiers are on alert. The candidates face a challenge even before the ballots are counted. Defending their legitimacy. President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a coup this summer and he's urging voters to boycott this election.
So, a major high stakes address and it will be a tough sell. President Obama gets ready to talk to the nation about Afghanistan. We'll have a live report from the White House on that.
WHITFIELD: All right. The nation has been waiting weeks, if not months. Tuesday night President Obama unveils his plan for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Kate Bolduan is live at the White House. Kate, what are you hearing today?
BOLDUAN: Hey there, Fredricka. A lot of talk on the Sunday talk shows today. All eyes on Tuesday's announcement. And while there's no official word yet Defense Department officials do tell CNN they are preparing plans to send about 34,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.
According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, the president will take the time Tuesday to really explain why the U.S. is in Afghanistan, what the U.S. plan is in that country going forward, what the cost is for this new comprehensive strategy, and, according to Gibbs, the president will also make clear this is not an open-ended engagement. That ultimately the Afghan people will have to provide for their own security, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And what's being said about the out lines for this plan?
BOLDUAN: Well, at least coming out of today, it really seems as the president does face some obstacles ands challenges in selling this new comprehensive strategy to both the American people and skeptical members of his own party. Again today Democratic Senator Carl Levin voiced his concerns. He's the chairman of the Senate Arms Services Committee, a key military committee. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CARL LEVIN, (D) MICHIGAN: I do not believe we should send more combat forces at this time. That's been my position. Combat forces are where we are the ones doing the fighting without an Afghan partner. If we have Afghan partners that are fully involved in the fight, partnering with us, which is on the job training for them, critically important, I can be more supportive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: The president has some work ahead of him. So what about the American people? Well the latest CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll suggests that Americans are almost split down the middle on whether the U.S. should commit more troops to this 8-year-old war, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Kate Bolduan in Washington, thank you.
Again, President Barack Obama announces his decision about U.S. troops heading to Afghanistan Tuesday night. Our special coverage with the best political team on television begins Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
Meantime, the Obama administration says lenders need to do more to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. It's planning to announce Monday a revised government program to put pressure on mortgage companies. Lenders have incentives to reduce monthly mortgage payments. But a Treasury Department official says some lenders aren't acting quickly enough.
We will have more on today's stunning news from Iran. Was it just a gesture of defiance, or is something more happening here? We'll ask an expert.
WHITFIELD: A look at our top stories right now. Police in Washington State are looking for a gunman who killed four police officers. They were gunned down in a coffee shop in Parkland near Tacoma. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information in that case now.
The full Senate formerly goes to work on an $848 billion health care reform bill tomorrow. Democrats need 60 votes to start the debate now. They'll need 60 votes to actually stop it. Republicans are unanimously opposed to the Democrats' plan and are threatening a filibuster to prevent a vote on the bill. The debate is expected to last, actually, several weeks.
Iran is apparently thumbing its nose as international calls to halt its nuclear program. The Iranian cabinet has approved plans to build ten more uranium enrichment facilities. The White House says it's a serious violation of Iran's obligations under multiple U.N. resolutions. We've been talking about Iran's defiant decision to build another ten uranium enrichment plans. What exactly is behind this announcement and what can the U.S. or perhaps U.N. actually do? Let's bring in international security analyst Jim Walsh. Good to see you.
JIM WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good to see you Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. So let's tackle that. What can the U.S. do or even the U.N., since already Iran is snubbing its nose at the U.N.?
WALSH: Yes. I think the first thing to do is not overreact to this. I think in some ways, we all knew that Iran was going to react to the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and resolution condemning its action as Mr. Al Bardei exits from the agency. We knew there would be some reaction, were they you know pull out of the nonpubliberation treaty, were they going to cut back cooperation? Well this seems to be their response. But I want to underline here that this is an announcement of future plans to build additional plants.
WHITFIELD: Yes. How far away are we talking?
WALSH: Well if you look at the last -- the secret plant that was uncovered in October, well they started that, analysts speculate, sometime around the year 2000. Stopped and then now it's 2009. So even if they put shovels in the ground, that's going to be something that happens over the course of years. It would be terrible if it happened. Obviously it would not only be a violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions, it would be bad. Let's not jump too far down the tracks before it happens.
WHITFIELD: If that's eight or nine years to come to fruition, that's just one and we're talking about ten planned facilities, then I almost feel like I'm hearing from you that this is a pipe dream, this really isn't possible and it certainly isn't an immediate threat if it is possible?
WALSH: I agree with that. I think that's right. I think, you know, as we look over the last two months, Fredricka, we've swung from one extreme to another on a pendulum here. On September 31st, the day before the Geneva negotiations, everyone said there's no way we could have a deal. This is all, you know, talk. Nothing will ever happen. The following day we had a deal. Everyone said everything was going to be solved.
Two weeks later it didn't look so good because back home people were criticizing the deal in Iran. Everyone said the deal is dead. When dealing with Iran, an even keel and steadfastness are good qualities to have. They may do this. If they do, then they'll suffer the consequences from it. But I wouldn't assume it's going to happen.
WHITFIELD: Do you make anything about the timing two days after the IAEA says, you know, don't continue with the construction and perhaps two days now prior to President Obama saying something about Afghanistan, do you see any of this kind of related? Is this Iran trying to say, hey, wait a minute, pay attention to us, we matter, too?
WALSH: I think you're absolutely right to say is this a reaction to the U.N. -- excuse me, the International Atomic Energy Agency resolution. They had been threatening in advantage, some Iranian representatives had said don't pass this resolution or there'll be consequences. Which meant once they had the resolution they had to do something. So that resolution was passed, it was overwhelming. Iran said it had all the nonalign movement countries with them. That was not the case. There were only three votes against the resolution, dozens in favor of it. So they had to do something. Remember Fredricka this is a government that since June has been under a heat, political, domesticated home.
WHITFIELD: That question its legitimacy.
WALSH: And so they had always responded to these resolutions, it was certain they'd have a response this time. This is the particular flavor it takes. I actually don't think this is the worst possible -- if we were going to get something, this isn't as bad as it might have been. How about that for an unusual point of view?
WHITFIELD: I'll take it. You've comforted all of us, right?
WALSH: That's correct.
WHITFIELD: All right. Jim Walsh. Thanks so much. Appreciate it, always good to talk to you.
WALSH: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: It has been two days since Tiger Woods had his car crash. But everyone is still talking about it. Why are we so fascinated? We'll take a look into that.
WHITFIELD: All right. We're now on Tiger Woods after police for a third day attempt to talk to the golfer at his Florida estate. But to no avail. He's not talking to police. He did issue this statement on his web site. He says, quote, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be. Exactly what is the fascination over a public figure's private life? How much information need a celebrity like Tiger Woods share with the public? Let's bring in Dr. Mark Goldstein; he is a clinical psychiatrist in Los Angeles. Dr. Goldstein good to see you.
DR. MARK GOLDSTEIN, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Good to see you Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Does this simply come with the territory? A celebrity gets into trouble. It's the subject of everyone's conversation.
GOLDSTEIN: Well you know spectacular achievement such as winning a U.S. Open with broken legs excites us, and spectacular embarrassment excites us. We're kind of excitement junkies. You've probably heard the expression adrenaline junkies. Just like youth is wasted on the young, adrenaline is wasted on the young. For the rest of us we're dopamine junkies. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in our minds that is associated with motivation, associated with satisfaction; it puts a smile on our face.
Anything that excites us puts a smile on our face. I think when we see something spectacular such as the achievements that Tiger Woods can achieve as well as the embarrassments that he might subject himself to, I think that it excites that part of us and we've all become a little bit addicted to that.
WHITFIELD: So then how do you strike the balance because a celebrity says you know what I want some privacy, just let me deal with this privately. But the public then says, wait a minute, you owe us an explanation or we need to know more because, after all, I idolize you, you're a public figure. Give me more.
GOLDSTEIN: I think we have the opportunity for a public figure to take responsibility for making a mistake. We all make mistakes. But rarely do we see someone take full responsibility for it. We have yet to see how Tiger will do that. It gives us the opportunity to take full responsibility to not jump to conclusions, wait to hear him out, to understand, to maybe even forgive him and be able to move on.
I think Tiger is especially positioned to be that kind of person that we want to hear what he has to say to us so that we can trust him and continue to look up to him in the future. So I think it's an opportunity for both him and us.
WHITFIELD: I wonder if this statement that he put out on his web site, and he said in part, you know, this situation is my fault. It's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again. Does this kind of statement make matters worse or does this appease that appetite that you were just speaking of?
GOLDSTEIN: Well, it does both. Meaning it gives us some explanation that he's admitting wrong doing. On the other hand it leaves us wanting to know what he did. Actually one of the things that we want to see in order to forgive him, we want to see him being remorseful. We don't really see true remorse when people mess up and try and face the camera and face the music. We often see people expressing regret.
We actually want to see that if he did make a mistake, that he owns up to it. That he looks into the camera, looks into our eyes, realizes that we have to explain to our children what happened to our hero and take full remorse for that. I think after that what we want is some sort of a payback. The payback would be admitting wrong doing. I think what we really want to see is that he can learn from this so that it doesn't happen again so that we can go back to looking up to him, admiring and respecting him and trusting him.
WHITFIELD: So your hope is there are some lessons learned for the celebrity and maybe even for the fan, too, who idolizes a figure or thinks that they've got to be perfect, that nothing could possibly or should go wrong?
GOLDSTEIN: I think it's a great opportunity for both sides of the fence. The person who messes up and hopefully the part of -- we fans, Americans, that really want to forgive people if they will own up and take full responsibility. WHITFIELD: Wow. Are you at all taken aback at kind of the level of interest that this has taken, or do you feel like, you know what, I kind of expected this he is the billion dollar player?
GOLDSTEIN: I'm not surprised. Because I think what happens is when you -- when you get as powerful as someone like Tiger, and it may be that winning golf tournaments isn't exciting enough. Doesn't give you enough of the thrill then some of the things that you do is you start to take chances. Because taking chances and doing risky things can potentially give you some of that adrenaline rush that winning championships used to. But, again, I don't want to rush to judgment as I'm suggesting none of us do.
WHITFIELD: Yes, I feel like I got to correct myself. I don't want to call him a billion dollar player. So it's not taken out of context, I'm really just talking about him being an athlete, that billion dollar athlete out there. People feel like there are very high expectations that come along with that, too. Dr. Mark Goldstein thanks so much for your insight. Appreciate that from Los Angeles today.
GOLDSTEIN: My pleasure, thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. The kindness of strangers, more people are actually depending on it these days. We'll take a look at how.
WHITFIELD: This is really interesting. The Bee Gees hit, "Staving Alive," apparently can help save the life of someone who goes into cardiac arrest. Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen says one woman knew just what to do when her husband's heart stopped beating. Elizabeth explained.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What happened was Debra and Christopher, you see them here right in this spot, where they were taking a walk when all of the sudden Christopher collapsed. And Debra somehow suddenly remembered a PSA that she had heard that says when someone collapses; you should beat on their heart to the beat of the tune of "Staying Alive."
WHITFIELD: I had never heard of that before.
COHEN: A lot of people haven't. Even though the American Heart Association has done campaigns. Because it has gotten into a lot of people's heads, but Debra know it and because that song has 100 beats per minute it can get the heart going again. Let's actually take a listen.
BEE GEES: Staying alive, staying alive.
COHEN: She says she remembered to beat to the beat of "Staying Alive," and she even gain the ambulance directions. She's there beating on her husband's chest going staying alive, staying alive, and she had a cell phone. Take a look at the next tree. Staying alive. We're down at the next path. Unbelievable. She saved her husband's life. WHITFIELD: Even though she didn't know full CPR, she had someone on the line to help her through it that was enough.
COHEN: That was enough, she didn't do full CPR. Full CPR is with the mouth to mouth resuscitation. The American Heart Association says you don't have to do that. That just beating on the chest 100 beats per minute will do that. So that is what you need to do, so you can do hands only CPR and really does work.
WHITFIELD: I'm sure the Bee Gees are hearing about this story and loving it. They're on the verge of a comeback.
COHEN: How wonderful. They wrote a life saving long.
WHITFIELD: The staying power of "Staying Alive." I'm trying to go through the lyrics.
COHEN: Nothing about the lyrics, just the beat.
WHITFIELD: It's the beat. Who knew? Now we do. Always remember that.
COHEN: That's right. And if you go to CNNHEALTH.com. you'll see it now. You'll see the song. You will see the story about the song. Actually there's more than one song. You can find out about the other songs that can save your life. CNNHEALTH.com.
WHITFIELD: That is good to know. How a tune can help save a life.
COHEN: That's right.
WHITFIELD: All right. Elizabeth appreciate it.
The economy has certainly taken a toll on most of us. Tens of thousands are struggling to find work. It can be especially hard for single parents juggling multiple kids. There is help out there. It comes from complete strangers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER BANKS, UNEMPLOYED MOTHER: I didn't have any place to stay. No job. No kind of income coming in.
WHITFIELD (voice over): Eighteen year-old Jennifer Banks, a single mother of two, found it impossible to support her toddlers. Desperate, she decided to give them up. So that she could take the time to get back on her feet.
BANKS: I kind of felt like I was doing them wrong, leaving them. But I realized that, you know, it was the best thing for them.
WHITFIELD: But Banks didn't want her kids ending up in foster care like she had been through. Instead, she handed them over to complete strangers, temporarily.
AMY HARRIS, COORDINATOR, SAFE FAMILIES PROGRAM: We take in their children while they work to become more stable.
WHITFIELD: Amy Harris is a coordinator of the Safe Families Program in Atlanta.
HARRIS: A majority of the situations have been homelessness or job loss. Our calls have probably doubled in the past few months of families in crises.
WHITFIELD: So for an average of 45 days, parents participate in the program to work on becoming stable while their kids stay with unpaid volunteers like the Gordon's.
KELLY GORDON, SAFE FAMILIES VOLUNTEER: I think the biggest thing for us is thinking that maybe we can help transform a family. A family that might not have been able to stay together because of homelessness or something.
WHITFIELD: Kelly Gordon has a tough enough job raising her own three boys. But whenever she's need, she welcomes more. Six kids from the Safe Families Program have come to stay in her home so far. Including Jennifer's two.
GORDON: We love these kids. And then you send them back.
WHITFIELD: The program began as a local endeavor in Chicago. But has since grown to include 12 other cities including Miami and Atlanta. With more than 500 committed volunteers on board, child welfare officials are praising the program.
B.J. WALKER, GEORGIA HUMAN SERVICES: It is the way we would hope all to live. Is that there would be people who are willing to love and care for us, who are willing to help us rather than we have to depend on a program designed by government.
WHITFIELD: Jennifer Banks still doesn't have a job.
BANKS: I filled out a lot of applications, online and stuff. You know, for hotels and all kinds of stuff. I'm just looking for anything. I can't find one.
WHITFIELD: But she did find a place to stay, with relatives. So she took her kids back. And despite all that she's been through, Jennifer remains positive. Thankful for the kindness of strangers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: I wish Jennifer and her family the best. Someone you know may be counting down the seconds to cyber Monday. In just a few hours, people will be hitting up their computers and trying to make all the purchases they can. We'll have some advice.
WHITFIELD: This just in. We reported earlier that Tiger Woods opted not to talk to Florida Highway Patrol for a third time earlier today in connection with his SUV accident at his home. Now his agent, Mark Steinberg tells CNN this. Quote, "We have been informed by the Florida Highway Patrol that further discussion with them is both voluntary and optional, although Tiger realizes that there is a great deal of public curiosity. It has been conveyed to Florida Highway Patrol that he simply has nothing more to add and wishes to protect the privacy of his family," end quote.
Again, that's coming from the agent of golfer Tiger Woods about deciding not to say anything further, not to Florida Highway Patrol or anyone else for that matter about that SUV accident a few days ago.
Meantime, now, preliminary Black Friday sales results are in. Retailers took in more than $10 billion. That's up half a percent nationwide over the last year, according to Shopper Track. The west saw the biggest increase with shoppers spending 4.7 percent more. Midwest shoppers were even more cautious. Sales rose there just 1.3 percent. And in the south sales edged up 0.6 percent over last year.
The trouble spot was actually in the northeast with sales declining almost 5 percent. The real action this year seems to be online. Retail analyst's corps metrics reports that the average web purchase Friday was up 35 percent over last year. Just so you know cyber Monday officially begins at midnight. Many of the best deals will actually be scooped up within minutes. Be prepared.
To do that here's Josh Levs with what you need to know to get the best cyber Monday deals.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi. So my goal here is to help you strategize your cyber Monday by having important tips and important links to use. I'm going to talk you through some. You don't need to write anything down. At the end of this I'm going to show you where we have posted everything for you. Let's start off with this graphic. Because there are some points that we pulled off from a great site called Digitaltrends.com. the first thing they say is start early makes a lot of sense.
Look at the next two. No aggregate sites. They're listing tons of deals that you can take advantage of. What they're saying is you should still check directly with retailers even after you've gone to the aggregate sites. Zoom to the screen behind me. I want to show you what we're talking about. There are so many sites to use. For example, this one here is Cybermonday.com. Lists a lot of deals available on cyber Monday. This one here is Cybermonday.net and this one here is Cybermonday.fm. They're saying check these out but then go directly to the retailer.
For example, you see Best Buy listed here. Go to the Best Buy web site. You might actually find something better directly on the web site it is possible. I want you to see a few more pointers. This is interesting. This comes to us from Forbes. They're saying check out coupon codes. We link you to some places where you can get coupon codes. Plus sign up for price alerts if there are specific items you're looking for; they'll alert you when those things pop up.
This is another suggestion from Forbes. They're saying for cyber Monday you pretty much have to use your credit cards. Why don't you call your credit cards companies and say I'm going to be using my cards. How can I maximize my rewards? Get yourself maximum points, maximum miles, whatever it is.
Finally, look at this from Walletpop.com. There are a lot of bad guys out there ready to take advantage of you. They're saying beware of the scams. There are people who wait all year just to launch scams on Cyber Monday. If a company seems to be contacting you online for information saying, hey, we need to check your e-mail address again, or your credit card number or bank account number, don't trust it. Instead, call the company directly. Also make sure you've got up to date anti-phishing software on your computer.
All right. That's a lot of stuff to keep track of, we know. And I told you we're making it easy for you to find in one place. So here is the graphic we're posting. It's all up on our blog for you. CNN.com/josh. We've also put it on Facebook and Twitter. It's JoshLevsCNN. We hope those points will help out. Plus you can send in your links if you know other sites that are working particularly well for you. And good luck with Cyber Monday.
WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Josh, helping us all save money.