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President Obama Praises Senate Deal on Health Care; Snow Storms Slams Northeast
Aired December 19, 2009 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With today's developments, it now appears that the American people will have the vote they deserve on genuine reform that offers security to those who have health insurance and affordable options for those who do not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DREW GRIFFIN, GUEST ANCHOR: Maybe, maybe not -- next in the CNN NEWSROOM: the president gets the one vote needed to keep the health care bill alive, but not so fast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: If they were proud of this bill, they wouldn't be doing it this way. They wouldn't be jamming it through in the middle of the night, on the last weekend before Christmas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Republicans say the fight for what they call a better bill is not over.
Wow, a powerful snowstorm slams into the northeast, and a cop brings a gun to a snowball fight. Then it gets really weird.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Drew Griffin in for Don Lemon tonight.
The northeast may have been dreaming of a white Christmas, but this weekend's snowstorm has been a nightmare. From the Carolinas to New England, cities have been buried under a blanket of snow; the blizzard has left at least five people dead in Virginia while two airports around Washington, D.C., saw record amounts of snow.
Do you know what that means? Flights cancelled, in fact all of them cancelled and stranding travelers who are now bunking at terminals.
It's even impacting football, the kickoffs pushed back for two NFL games tomorrow. The Bears are in Chicago, can't get to Baltimore period. The nation's capital is shut down except for the Senate. And can you believe it, despite the storm, senators made it into work and may even have a deal on health care.
Karen Maginnis, you are going to cover the weather part of this, not health care, okay?
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. And yes, this couldn't come at a worst time.
One of the biggest shopping weekends before Christmas, retailers were really looking forward to this. From the mid-Atlantic to New England, some of those hopes may have really been crushed because of this massive nor'easter that's still making its way up toward New England.
New York right now -- I'll show you a live picture coming up in just a second. But they are really getting heavy bands of snowfall. We knew this system wasn't really going to wind up there until this evening. And really about, 4:00, that's when we really started to see that snow pick up.
It's still snowing at Dulles, also at Reagan. They did see record snowfall totals there, 13 plus inches of snowfall for the date. So it's record snowfall for the date, this is still going to traverse its way up toward New England.
The snowfall totals for Washington, D.C., are going to rival those of the knickerbockers storm in 1922 when they felt 28 inches of snow. What will Washington D.C. see as a final total? Maybe around 24, 25 inches; some locally heavier amounts and maybe a few lesser, but we have generally seen right around 15 to 20 inches of snowfall in most areas.
Now, this is Herald Square near Broadway, and this has gotten worse and worse and worse over the last several hours; visibility greatly reduced. And for New York City we are expecting between 10 and 15 inches of snowfall.
Look at this, Philadelphia 16 inches already. And Drew, BWI snowfall and reduced visibility; I say that, because the Bears are supposed to be flying in there at 11:00 tonight.
GRIFFIN: We'll see about that.
MAGINNIS: We will see.
GRIFFIN: Thanks a lot.
There's a lot of weird stories going on all over the country. Including one of a woman who was really on her way home to Ohio, she's just about to make it and she gets pulled off and sent to a shelter instead. This is happening in West Virginia.
We want to talk to her right now, Amanda Ucklesbay (ph) is on the phone with us. Where are you Amanda and how are you doing. AMANDA UCKLESBAY, STRANDED BY THE STORM (via telephone): I'm ok. I'm actually in Lewisburg, West Virginia right now at a church -- a Red Cross Church shelter.
GRIFFIN: Is it crowded there? We're seeing shots from Virginia but this is the same storm that stranded you. Was it just terrible going and is it crowded?
UCKLESBAY: It actually was crowded earlier today. A lot of people were going eastbound, so they had less, but people that are going west (AUDIO GAP) because I-64, I-67 are slow so west-bounders are still here.
GRIFFIN: And are you in for the night, or are they saying you might get back on the road as the storm moves on?
UCKLESBAY: No, in for the night. They probably won't get out until sometime tomorrow morning or afternoon.
GRIFFIN: All right. Well listen, good luck to you.
UCKLESBAY: Thank you so much.
GRIFFIN: I'm glad you're in somewhere safe and warm for the night.
UCKLESBAY: Thank you.
GRIFFIN: And wish everybody a happy Saturday.
UCKLESBAY: Thank you.
GRIFFIN: Thank you, Amanda.
For last-minute Christmas shoppers, the storm couldn't come at a worse time. The blizzard deprived some people of much needed time in a mall. And that was also bad news for retailers who were counting on this last weekend buying blitz.
Susan Candiotti is in the heart of Manhattan. She's been speaking with shoppers all day. Boy Susan, the snow wasn't sticking earlier, it is now?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Drew, they're still out shopping at this hour, at 10:00 at night. You know we started doing live reports at 2:00, 4:00 -- 5:00, 6:00, 7:00, it was nothing then. It's really coming down now.
How often can you stand out in the middle of 34th street, Macy's is right over there, (INAUDIBLE) right over there, 7th Avenue here at midtown Manhattan. I'm sort of in the middle of the street, there's a limo going by. All kinds of traffic, it isn't slowing down the traffic one bit.
But look the snow before it wasn't sticking, it is now. They are talking as you heard, getting hit with about up to 15 inches possible in the New York metro area.
The question of course, on the minds of retailers is how are they going to make out this very busy weekend, the last one before Christmas? Are the shoppers coming out?
Take a look.
CANDIOTTI: Will the pre-winter blast of white stuff keep shoppers from laying out the green?
SCOTT KRUGMAN, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: This is crunch time for the retail industry.
CANDIOTTI: Shoppers are expected to dive into their wallets this weekend even if they have to get out a shovel to do it.
ELLEN DUKES, SHOPPER: We'll be out shopping even in the snow, yes; 6 to 10 inches, but we'll be shopping.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to do what you have to do. Wait until the last minute, I guess.
CANDIOTTI: Weather forecasters suggest using your head before hitting the road.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: In the three or four hours that you're shopping in some of these spots, you could get 6 to 8 inches of snow on top of the car, and then you can't get out of the parking lot.
CANDIOTTI: Retailers are counting on last minute shoppers to help save another year of sinking sales; expected to drop 1 percent this year, a slight improvement over a 3-percent decrease last year. Customers may think the longer they wait the better the deal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably after Christmas will be better.
CANDIOTTI: Don't be too sure. To head off drastic price cuts again, retailers say inventories were kept down on purpose.
KRUGMAN: This is not the year to play chicken with the retailer, if you wait too long to purchase your merchandise, that striped sweater you wanted may only be available with polka dots.
CANDIOTTI: And if the weather gets too bad to hit the mall, there's an app for that too. Retailers say you can always go online.
CANDIOTTI: But there's nothing like going to a store and touching and feeling whatever it is that you want to buy; nothing like doing that in person. And as I said, people are doing it even at this hour in the middle of a snowstorm in midtown Manhattan, including these three ladies that are so bundled up, I can barely see some of their faces. Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. How are you?
CANDIOTTI: Is there someone there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
CANDIOTTI: Look at all of the stuff. Look at all the packages now. You are -- are you done shop?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, we're not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're still going at it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes.
CANDIOTTI: How come the snow didn't prevent you or stop you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, I love the snow.
CANDIOTTI: This is the anonymous shopper here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love the snow. And it's better to go shopping in the snow, because there's not much people in the stores as there would be on any other times.
CANDIOTTI: I don't know, I talked to one out-of-towner who walked and she said she walked inside the store of a major department store here and turned right back around because it was so crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is.
CANDIOTTI: How in the world are you going to get home with all of this stuff?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The subway. I'm taking the subway. It's the safest way to go.
CANDIOTTI: And what about when you get home? What are the streets, the sidewalks going to be like?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not going to be clean at all, I know that for sure. It's not going to be clean.
CANDIOTTI: How do you expect to be able to get out if you're socked in tomorrow?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walk slowly, take my time. But I'm out there again. I'm not finished yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to be at work at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow.
CANDIOTTI: And you have to be at work at 5:00 a.m. but that didn't slow you down either? I'm sure the retailers are happy about that. The question is what is all of this going to look like tomorrow morning? As we said, we're supposed to get hammered in the overnight hours. And I think those predictions might just come true.
Drew, back to you.
GRIFFIN: Thanks Susan.
Quick update, the Bears I'm told -- right guys -- are in the air? The Chicago Bears are in the air flying to Baltimore, hopefully they can land.
There's a big deal on Capitol Hill, Democrats thrilled to announce an agreement on the health care reform in the Senate. But disappointed Senate Republicans are calling it a train wreck.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: If they were proud of this bill they wouldn't be doing it this way. They wouldn't be jamming it through in the middle of the night, on the last weekend before Christmas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: We'll tell you what happens next. Why senators already plan to hold a vote after midnight tomorrow.
Plus, snowball fights are always fun until the police show up. You won't believe what happened today at this free for all in Washington.
GRIFFIN: Senate Democrats celebrating a deal tonight that looks like it's going to ensure passage of their health care reform bill; they say they've made history. Republicans call it a big mistake. They predict voters will make them pay for it too.
Here's our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Drew, intense negotiations with Ben Nelson started early yesterday morning and didn't wrap up until about 11:00 p.m. last night with a handshake and a phone call with President Obama on Air Force One.
One senator involved in those talks and many others all year long called bridging the Democratic divide on health care, quote, "the hardest thing he's ever done".
BASH: The lone Democratic holdout was in. Senate Democrats finally secured enough votes for health care.
SEN. BEN NELSON (D), NEBRASKA: Change is never easy. But change is what's necessary in America today. And that's why I intend to vote for cloture and vote for health care reform.
BASH: Getting moderate Democrat Ben Nelson's support wasn't easy, especially on the issue of abortion. To reassure him no taxpayer dollars would go for abortion, Democratic leaders struck a deal allowing states to opt out of abortion coverage, and requiring people getting government subsidies to pay for abortion insurance with separate funds.
NELSON: Walls off that money in a very effective manner and makes certain that the plans do not -- will use federal dollars to fund abortions.
BASH: Abortion was the final sticking point but Democratic leaders made several other delicate compromises to get both moderate and liberal Democrats on board. Instead of a government-run health care option, conservative Democrats opposed the measure sets up not for profit private plans, overseen by a government agency, the Office of Personnel Management.
To appease liberals, angry about no public option to compete with private insurers, Democratic leaders strengthened regulation on insurance companies, requiring them to spend 80 to will 85 percent of people's premiums on their medical expenses.
Not all senators who braved blizzard conditions came to celebrate a breakthrough. Republicans accuse Democrats of jamming the bill through while Americans are preoccupied with Christmas.
MCCONNELL: They're playing these kind of games with the nation's health care. This is an outrage and needs to be called at.
BASH: To slow things down --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Comments to subtitle A.
BASH: Republicans forced the Democrats' compromise to be read.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 2, subsection g.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Substance provided in Paragraph 2.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Section 1301-A of this act.
BASH: ... out loud all day long.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the senate Democrats new measure would cost $871 billion over 10 years, slightly more than the original bill and extend health coverage to 30 million people in part by dramatically expanding Medicaid.
That was another obstacle in getting Ben Nelson's support who worried about the long term burden that would put on state budgets. So to secure Nelson's vote, Democrats added a sweetener for his home state. The federal government would pay 100 percent of Nebraska's tab for expanding Medicaid indefinitely.
We asked the Senate Majority Leader and he described it this way.
SEN. HARRY REID, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: It's compromise. We worked on different things to get a number of people's votes.
BASH: And how do Democrats pay for the nearly $900 billion price tag? About half in spending cuts, especially to Medicare, and the rest tax hikes.
But one of the most notorious taxes on cosmetic procedures including botox has been dropped, in place a new 10 percent tax on tanning beds -- Drew.
GRIFFIN: President Obama -- no surprise here -- is pleased with the process on his signature issue. He wasted no time calling reporters to the White House so he could urge lawmakers to keep pushing forward. And he took a moment to promote health care reform as a way to cut the nation's budget deficit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Under this bill the family will save on their premiums, businesses that will see their costs rise if we don't act will save money now and in the future. This bill will strengthen Medicare and extend the life of the program.
Because it's paid for and gets rid of waste and inefficiency in our health care system, this will be the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: There's still plenty of work to do, Democrats in the Senate say they're on track to hold a final vote on this bill on Christmas eve, and from there it has to go back to the House, and I just did get a note from Dana Bash.
She's quoting one of her House Democratic leadership sources as saying, there's no chance of a conference between Christmas and New Year's in the House. So that means there is going to be no bill for the president to sign by New Year's.
We are going to have special coverage tomorrow night beginning at midnight actually, Monday of this senate vote, which is due to take place at 1:00 a.m. in the morning, which would get this bill moving past that 60-vote count that we've been hearing about for so many months now.
So please stay tuned for that, and again, that will be a historic vote, and we'll go there live at midnight tomorrow night.
While a New Jersey man fights to get his 9-year-old son out of Brazil, President Obama and some members of Congress are trying to help. But will Brazilian officials be swayed? We're going to take you inside this international custody saga. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GRIFFIN: An American father fighting for custody of his 9-year- old son has been invited to spend Christmas with the boy's Brazilian family -- invited. David Goldman has been locked in a legal battle with that family of the boy's dead mother for about five years. The family's attorney says it's time for the two sides to get together.
On Thursday, a Brazilian Supreme Court justice blocked Goldman from taking his son back to New Jersey despite a ruling by a lower court.
The Goldman case is not unique. Attorney Christopher Schmidt has been involved in several of these international custody cases. He's with us tonight from St. Louis. And also joining us on the phone is Christopher Savoie, a father who traveled to Japan to get his son but he was arrested instead when he tried to actually grab his son and come back to the U.S.
Let's begin with you, Mr. Schmidt. This case in Brazil is a little different in that it seems to me very less complicated than many. Here's the biological father, and the child is down in Brazil. The biological mother who had been holding that child in Brazil is now dead. What is the legal issue here?
CHRISTOPHER SCHMIDT, CIVIL LITIGATION ATTORNEY: You're exactly right Drew. This case is straightforward. And the fact of the matter is, it should have been decided years ago, even when the mother was alive.
Under The Hague, the obligations of signatory countries are to act expeditiously to return the children to the country from which they were taken. That has not happened here. And Brazil is failing to meet its treaty obligations to the United States.
GRIFFIN: So is this Brazil just not living up to the agreement that it signed on to?
SCHMIDT: That's exactly right, and the reason they're not and it's actually a common mistake, the Brazilian authorities have tried to treat this case more as a custody issue. It's ultimately not.
This is a child abduction issue. The mother wrongfully removed the child Sean from the United States and under The Hague, the child should be sent back to the United States and any custody issues can be dealt with here.
Christopher Savoie, you're on the phone with us now. Your son is in Japan taken there by your ex-wife -- correct?
CHRISTOPHER SAVOIE, CHILDREN TAKEN TO JAPAN BY EX-WIFE (via telephone): Yes, my son and daughter.
GRIFFIN: You in September tried to go get your son, but were arrested instead. Why? SAVOIE: Japan is not a party to the Hague Treaty and actually, in this case as well, it's been sometimes erroneously referred to as a custody case -- an international custody case. It's actually not. Most of these cases are not, including mine. My ex-wife illegally, by U.S. law, took the child -- took the children to Japan in violation of state law and federal law. So this is not really a custody case, I've been awarded 100 percent custody after the abduction. It's really a kidnapping case.
GRIFFIN: Let me ask Mr. Schmidt in this case, I'm sure you're familiar with the Savoie case.
SCHMIDT: I am.
GRIFFIN: Japan is not part of this treaty, what do you do?
SCHMIDT: You're in a very difficult situation. There are a few options available to you. One is you can pursue criminal sanctions here in the United States and try to seek extradition of the abducting parent back to the United States. Of course, countries are often reticent to permit their citizens to be extradited back to a foreign country.
The other option is you can bring diplomatic pressure to bear, which is Mr. Savoie is doing at this time.
A third option is you can try and take matters into your own hands, as Mr. Savoie did. Of course, that is problematic, because you can be arrested and the State Department strongly urges parents not to take that course not only because you can be arrested but it can make diplomatic efforts more difficult and take away some of your moral leverage as well.
GRIFFIN: What do you make of the invitation that David Goldman now has to go to Brazil and spend Christmas with his son and with this family who has basically kidnapped his son.
SCHMIDT: At this point I think it's a complete ploy. They made that invitation at the same time that they made a threat to Mr. Goldman that they had information that they might disclose against him that would somehow make the case different.
At this point, the only option is to return the children to the United States. And the family down in Brazil -- it would be in their best interest to do that as soon as possible.
GRIFFIN: Mr. Savoie, let me just ask you as a final question, in these cases, do you feel that a man, a father has a tougher go than -- when he's trying to fight the mother of the child. In other words, is there a gender bias where the mother is believed to be the better rearer of a child than a man?
SAVOIE: I think that we're definitely up against some cultural bias in every society that traditionally women have been the child- rearing partner in relationships and families. So I think that there is that stereotype. But I would say that, you know, people are changing their minds. It's very important that both parents, we've seen in all of the research that the best outcomes with children are when both children after a divorce, both parents are involved in the kid's lives. That's very clear, everyone knows that. So that's an unassailable argument.
GRIFFIN: Mr. Savoie, we wish you luck. Christopher Schmidt, thank you for joining us from St. Louis.
SCHMIDT: Thank you.
SAVOIE: Thank you.
GRIFFIN: Thank you both very much.
A really weird story coming out of D.C.; a cop brings a gun to a snowball fight. Yes, it gets even weirder. We have the story.
GRIFFIN: Making the most of it in Fredericksburg, Virginia today; one of the cities slammed by this big nor'easter.
Anybody on the East Coast waiting to take a Greyhound bus is out of luck. A short time ago, the company suspended nearly 300 bus routes due to this storm. Passengers should not expect buses to start rolling again for at least 10 to 12 hours, depending on when the storm moves out. Greyhound says the Red Cross and Salvation Army are going to bus terminals to help keep stranded passengers comfortable through this stormy night -- Karen Maginnis.
MAGINNIS: Yes, it is. And lots of folks stranded and attempting to get on the interstate, even if the interstates look good, some of those ramps are very, very dangerous. Interstate-95 in particular, 81 and 77 are the interstates that are primarily affected but secondary roads and neighborhoods almost -- I'm sure a lot of people are going to be there for at least a day, and days in some cases.
Take a look at Annapolis, 20 plus inches of snowfall. Reagan national -- now over 16 inches of snow. Here are some of the current temperatures, didn't get out of the 20s today all the way from Washington to Boston.
Take a look at some of the winds that we're now picking up. I looked at some of the latest information. And some of these coastal areas are seeing 50 plus mile an hour wind gusts. And it is only going to get worse as we go through the evening hours because we are expecting some wind gusts as high as 60 miles an hour in some coastal sections of Cape Cod where they have blizzard warnings in effect. They have close Dallas. Not just the runways aren't operating, they've closed the facilities. They're saying that Reagan, the runways aren't operating, but the facility is open. Either way since about 6:00 this evening, nothing has been going on there, folks are stranded. It's a miserable, miserable time, Drew. And it looks like it's not going to get any better starting in New York City tonight. GRIFFIN: All right, Karen, here we got a really weird story out of D.C. You're going to watch this. Now, somebody decides they're going to Twitter everybody else and do a little Facebook and invite people to one street corner to have a snowball fight. Do I have that right, John Gonzales with WJLA?
JOHN GONZALEZ, WJLA TV: You got it right. Somebody doesn't like the snow today. On top of the extremely messy roads here in D.C., there was a mess of a different kind in the downtown area. What was supposed to be, Drew, a friendly massive neighborhood snowball fight turned chaotic and unruly, when a D.C. police detective's personal vehicle was pelted with several snowballs.
Drew, he jumped out of his truck with his gun drawn and began threatening people to put them in jail. Now, you know, this massive neighborhood snowball fight was announced early this morning through social web sites such as Facebook and Twitter. By 3:00 today 200 people were here for that snowball fight in the middle of downtown D.C.
Now police officers did arrive when some of the cars driving by became involved, found themselves in the snowball crossfires, if you will. But things got much more serious when the plain clothed police officer jumped out of his truck with his gun drawn. Needless to say, a lot of folks disbursed when they say those guns.
GRIFFIN: Just a totally weird story. What's with this cop?
GONZALEZ: We don't know. You know, his name hasn't been released. We got a statement from MPD, Metropolitan Police today. They said that he wasn't the only one that drew his gun actually, there were other officers that drew their guns because they got a 911 call that a man was at the snowball fight with a gun.
When the officers realized, wait a minute, this guy's one of ours. They obviously put their guns back, they said tonight that they're going to investigate to see if the detective was in the wrong. They say that considering the circumstances, their officers, their uniformed officer did the right thing but they're going to investigate this.
GRIFFIN: Let me just ask you, we're seeing the video there. I want to make sure we're clear, we see a uniformed officer carrying a gun. Is there a plain clothed officer in a parka who is a person who drew the gun first? I don't want to unnecessarily -- this guy right here, do you see him?
GONZALEZ: There's an African-American officer, plain clothed detective, he's also holding a walkie-talkie if that helps.
GRIFFIN: This African-American detective in plain clothes who was first to pull out the gun, and then the responding officer in the uniform was responding to a call of a man with a gun?
GONZALEZ: Exactly. And like I said, when they arrived they realized this is a detective for our police force, you had at least two guns drawn, what was supposed to be just a joke, a fun snowball fight here in downtown D.C. Definitely turned ugly.
GRIFFIN: We're going to have to follow this one. It's going to turn into a little political dustup. The mayor says they're investigating it. Thanks. One of the weirder stories of this crazy snowstorm. >
Beauty was in the eye of the beholder, now a days it's all about the mega pixels as cameras and computers conspire to make models perfect, what's that doing to the rest of us.
GRIFFIN: Fashion's always been about fantasy, but digital cameras let style editors do much more than remove red eyes, they're changing the size and shape of models and possibly altering our perception of beauty and as Jim Bittermann found out. In many cases you simply can't believe your eyes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a fairy tale world full of beauty and grace. Where it's hard to mistake designer's dreams for reality. A French legislature is concerned young ladies just might. With two teenage daughters of her own, Valerie Boyer worries that the fashion industry bombards people with images that may encourage anorexia.
VALERIE BOYER, FRENCH PARLIAMENT: We are forced to imitate bodies that do not exist, and this affects people, especially women.
BITTERMANN: Madam Boyer has drawn up legislation that would require all photographs, which had been retouched to be labeled as such. Which would mean French fashionista says that 99 percent of fashion photos would carry the disclaimer. Grazie magazine editor says retouching is used to enhance everything from landscapes to dress color and it's ridiculous to say it's only used to make already thin models thinner.
YSEULT WILLIAMS, GRAZIE MAGAZINE: The other day the art director retouched a model, not to make her look thinner, but to make her look fatter.
BITTERMANN: Legendary photographer, Dominique Isserman, who shot almost every top model for almost every top name in the business, from Chanel to Vogue, says digital photography has made retouching an essential part of image making.
DOMINIQUE ISSERMAN, FRENCH PHOTOGRAPHER: The digital now, you have to find the emotion again. Not in front of the person, but in front of the image of the person on the screen.
BITTERMANN: She and her long time friend Designer Karl Lagerfeld agree that the whole point is to create a more beautiful world not one that is less so.
KARL LAGERFELD, FASHION DESIGNER: Unreachable beauty is a reminder to make an effort. Maybe you cannot reach what you see, but can you make an effort. If you see something, you don't have to make an effort any more, everybody can go. Let it go, I think it's very unhealthy.
BITTERMANN: But Madam Boyer argues that the fashion world is what she calls a frustration factory, based on deception.
BOYER: Why is lying with words dishonest when we can do everything we want visually without telling the readers? I think it's an ethical issue we have to tackle with the media. How far can you go with images?
BITTERMANN: At least one retoucher asks the same question. Kristov says he's gotten out of the business of beautifying photographs and not just because it was so difficult to make someone like an aging correspondent look good. But because the fashion clients were pushing him to go too far. To distort reality in a way he couldn't live with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It never will be the reality. It's only for the eyes.
BITTERMANN: Using legislation to force labeling of retouched photographs some may believe is foolish. But debating about what modern photography can lead to he says is probably not such a bad idea at all. Jim Bittermann, CNN Paris.
GRIFFIN: Some don't appreciate the fashion industry's concept of beauty. It's quite a touchy topic. We'll delve into this more after the break.
GRIFFIN: Before the break, we showed you how fashion photographers using technology to remake models. That's been sparking a debate over the impact on the rest of us. The impossible measurements of the altered image on the left in this Ralph Lauren ad led to an uproar. Ralph Lauren responded with an apology saying that Ralph Lauren takes full responsibility for the poor retouching job.
These images are not consistent with our standards. We have implemented a strict system to ensure moving forward our images accurately represent our brand values. We have a couple guests who know both sides of this issue. Darryl Roberts, Director of (inaudible) Beautiful also leading a boycott against Ralph Lauren and Mark (Baptist), noted model and fashion photographer. Darryl, why the protest?
DARRYL ROBERTS: Basically, after Ralph Lauren apologized for the Fillippa Hamilton Travesty, I'll call it. We found other images that were just as bad. And not only that, even today, as of yesterday, on his web site, he still continues to run ads of models that portray a very unrealistic, unhealthy idea of beauty. So it seems as what you just said about going forward, he will run pictures that portray his brand loyalty or whatever he said, then evidently he's not going to change, because they're still on his web site.
GRIFFIN: Mark, why does the fashion industry seem to be obsessed with anorexic women?
MARK BAPTISTE, PHOTOGRAPHER: That's a good question. The fashion industry is such a youth driven market. They'll try to enhance it the best they can to make the product more attractive, and to -- because of the age of retouching these days, so anorexia for one reason, it's a big problem among young women.
I think the image is real, but it's not. It's pure fantasy. Look at the picture of Fillippa Hamilton picture for example. Her hair look a lot larger than her head. That a false advertisement and I'm glad Mr. Lauren came out and do apology because it's not true to themselves. Fillippe as a beautiful young woman and she's not that skinny, but they enhance the ad anyway they can. I'll go even further, Twiggy did an ad for Oil of Olay, which is the present UK (inaudible). They have to pull it because she's a 59-year-old woman they're made to look like she's 30, which is also false advertisement. She's a beautiful woman, but led the 59 women look like she's 59 and not like 30.
GRIFFIN: Is there anything that could be done with the photographers, can they say don't touch up my stuff? Or these women? I don't understand why these women want to be portrayed as almost --
BAPTISTE: Not to cut you off, as a photographer, our job is to -- we are in charge of the image making to a certain extent. It's up to the account executive that when they take the picture from you and take it to another researcher. I'm trying to control my image and try to do my own retouching in house and control the outcome. I'm the father of three young women, so I do not want them to think that that image they see in a magazine or portray in movie or videos is accurate, because it's all altered and tampered with.
GRIFFIN: Darryl, you get the last word on this, where does your protest go. Is it going to get any reaction? You said that Ralph Lauren still putting out some of this stuff?
ROBERTS: I will say this, I started out a Facebook page and 7,800 people joined the page. On December 10th, we took an image off his web site and put it there so 7,000 women could comment on it. They talked about how it looked like her hips were missing and all these complaints.
On December 12th, I went back, and somehow, it looked like the hip had been photo shopped on this image. I have the before and after. So I think they're listening, they won't come out publicly and acknowledge it. All we want is for Ralph Lauren to give us a solid commitment that he will cease photo shopping images and then in the future portray a more healthy and realistic models in his ad. You know, models that look healthy not models that create such an unrealistic idea of beauty that it gives young girls low self esteems and eating disorders, and body image issues.
You know we're trying to -- you know further humanity here. GRIFFIN: Darryl Roberts, thank you so much. Mark Baptiste, appreciate the conversation, gentlemen. And we'll be right back.
GRIFFIN: Baltimore, Maryland today, doesn't that look pretty? Skiing down the street in Baltimore. Trying to find out if the Bears have made it to Baltimore tonight to play the football game tomorrow. Plenty of drama about that game, which may or may not be going out at 4:15 tomorrow Eastern time.
Well, in snowy D.C., Senate Democrats say they're on track to pass health care reform by Christmas. Party leaders have convinced hold out Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska to support the bill. Giving them enough votes to overcome Republican efforts to block it.
Now once it passes, the Senate bill will have to be reconciled with a version passed last month by the House of Representatives. And as our Dana Bash reporting tonight that is not going to happen until the House gets back in session after the New Year.
There is still a lot of work ahead, after an all day Sunday sessions Senators will reassemble late tomorrow night to vote on a crucial make or break amendment to the healthcare bill. CNN is going to bring you that coverage starting at midnight tomorrow night, very special coverage here on CNN as we follow this health care debate like no one else. Join Tom Foreman and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for this special report.
It has been another record year for crime and violence in the city of Chicago. Ahead we're going to talk about how city leaders plan to get a handle on it as yet another new year approaches.
GRIFFIN: No suspects, no movement, no closure in one of the latest high profile shootings in Chicago. Eleven year old, Ashton Wise and his father were shot last week while sitting in a parked car. Ashton was killed, his father survived the attack. Police have yet to make an arrest. That shooting happened in Alderwoman Sandi Jackson's District, the 7th District is on Chicago's south side.
I asked her frankly what is going on in her city? And what are elected officials doing about it.
GRIFFIN: We saw Arne Duncan and Mayor Daley make some big grandiose announcement a couple of months ago after that video tape shooting or cellphone beating, I should say, and yet there doesn't seem to be any groundswell of the neighborhood saying, you know what, no more, we're going to tell you who these people that are doing these shootings. We're going to help the police. The police are going to come in. Where's the outrage?
SANDI JACKSON, CHICAGO 7TH WARD ALDERWOMAN: I would beg to differ with you on that. There is a ground swell within the community that is taking charge and saying, we're going to do something about it. There are any number of community groups that are out now, that are walking the children to and from school.
Here in Chicago, it's called safe passage. We have groups like Cease-fire and Black United Fund on the south side. Strong black men and women who are out trying to ensure these children are able to come out of their homes safely and make it to and from school. We have community leaders talking about these issues every day.
What we need to see more of, though is parental involvement. We need to figure out what is happening in the homes of some of these children who are acting out. And who don't see the value of life and whose first response to criticism is to pick up a gun. Somewhere in here we have got to stop that process, we have got to teach them that that is not the rational way to respond when you have a problem that crops up.
And so again, securing the kind of funds that we need to secure has been a difficult process. And we all know that crime is happening up over the country. But i can tell you that the unemployment rate on the south side of Chicago in my ward specifically is nearing 60 percent for African-American males.
GRIFFIN: Alderman Jackson. We thank you, we wish you -- certainly we wish you luck, and we hope that whoever did see -- whoever killed Ashton Wise will come forward and tell the police who did it and at least solve that crime.
JACKSON: That is our hope and that is our goal. We would encourage that person to do that.
GRIFFIN: Well, as far as holiday headaches go, this is one is migraine. The latest on the blizzard that buried the northeast and what Sunday might hold for the region.
GRIFFIN: That's Ashville, North Carolina today, this thing is starting to move up into New York. We've seen big snow coming into New York. Where is it headed and what is going to be happening overnight?
MAGINNIS: It looks like from about Baltimore to New York and Boston, that's going to be the corridor that can expect 10 to 20 inches. It looks like the further you go toward New England, that's what we're looking at. Blizzard conditions, they do have a blizzard warning in effect.
I want to show you what's happening on flight explorer. Here is Virginia, this is Maryland, Pennsylvania. JFK is still operating. There was some confusion about Dallas and Reagan national. A distinction without a difference really. Essentially their runways were not operating, their flights were not coming in, flights weren't going out. But the facilities were open. So there really wasn't much going on there. If you wanted to exchange a ticket maybe you could do that. But here's where the snow is now. It looks like New York City you could see 10 to 15 inches of snowfall.
GRIFFIN: Thanks a lot. I'm Drew Griffin in Atlanta. Christine Romans explores how we worship and how we spend in America.