Return to Transcripts main page
CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
More Information on Suicide Attack in Afghanistan; Grand Jury to Subpoena White House Gate Crashers; Alleged Northwest Airlines Bomber Pleads Not Guilty
Aired January 9, 2010 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody, from the CNN center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It is January 9th. Good morning. Hopefully you're staying warm somewhere because it is freezing in many parts. I'm Betty Nguyen.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes. Glad you could start your day right here with us. And while you were sleeping, we had some developments in that suicide attack that killed seven CIA workers in Afghanistan that happened last month. Before that attack, a suspected bomber made a tape detailing his motives. We will show you that tape coming up in just a moment.
NGUYEN: The morning's other big story is the extreme cold. We're going to tell you what you need to know before you head out that door or you may not even want to do that. And if you think it's tough on us, wait until you see the deep freeze and what it's doing to the animals out there, not just humans suffering, but look at the animals at the zoo and what they're doing to try to stay warm.
HOLMES: And already we're talking about new toys for the tree next year. Yes, we've got new generation of high-tech gadgets that you could be buying for somebody for Christmas next Christmas. We'll get into all that this morning.
NGUYEN: Giving you an early start to that. Some of our big stories that we're following for you right now. A government news agency in China says a coal mine fire there has killed 12 people. That fire is being blamed on an underground cable, electrical shortage.
HOLMES: The Federal grand jury now looking into those party crashers, Tareq and Michaele Salahi. They managed you remember to get into November's White House steak dinner. "The Washington Post" now reporting that a grand jury is going to be looking into this. The paper says two Georgetown stylists who helped the Salahis get ready for the event have been subpoenaed.
They're expected to testify next Tuesday. Meanwhile, a congressional committee you may remember is investigating as well this thing and they subpoenaed the couple last month. The couple said they'd take the fifth if they had to show up.
NGUYEN: A 28-year-old graduate student from China now faces charges in Sunday's security breach at Newark airport. We'll show you this video of the suspect being taken into custody at his home in New Jersey yesterday. Police say the man ducked under a security rope to greet a woman after a guard left his post. The incident prompted authorities to shut down a terminal for hours and re-screen all passengers.
HOLMES: Well, like we mentioned just a moment ago, we are seeing new video just out this morning of the suspected double agent who is accused of killing seven CIA officers in Afghanistan. Also killed a Jordanian in that attack. In this tape now that we are just seeing, he seems to make his motives pretty clear -- revenge.
CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is in Amman, Jordan this morning with more on this video we're seeing and exactly where this thing came from.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's being disseminated by the Pakistani Taliban, the TTP. How do we know that? Because the leader of the Pakistani Taliban (INAUDIBLE) is sitting next to al Balawi (ph), the alleged bomber and killer of the CIA operatives in Afghanistan. We talked to Dr. Al Balawi's family. They say it is definitely him.
But the message is a direct put-down to Jordanian intelligence and the CIA because the doctor tells them directly that he is not about to sell his faith. And this is a clear indication that perhaps these intelligence agencies that thought that they had bought him off. He's telling him that's not the case.
What's very interesting here is according to the family, the doctor had become very angry and radicalized if you will, over what had happened in Gaza. Yet here we see him on this videotape saying that the bombing act he's about to carry out is an act of vengeance for the U.S. drone strike and killing of the Pakistani Taliban leader (INAUDIBLE) last year.
It seems quite strange, but that's what he says on this video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We will never forget the blood of our leader (INAUDIBLE) . May God have mercy on his soul. It will remain that we take revenge for his death in America and outside America. It is a trust on every person (INAUDIBLE) everything for the sake of God, whom (INAUDIBLE) supported.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: But, of course, this video is going to raise a lot more questions than it answers here because it gives this clear indication that Jordanian intelligence and the CIA thought that they really had an influence over Dr. Al Balawi and he's just telling them directly, no, you didn't.
NGUYEN: Well, the young Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Northwest flight over Michigan pleads not guilty. Security was tight at the plea hearing yesterday for Umar Faruk Abdul Mutallab. CNN's Deborah Feyerick is covering the story for us and she joins us now live from Detroit.
Deb, how did Abdul Mutallab appear in court yesterday?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was very interesting. He was very thin, very frail. His clothes that he was wearing really just way too big for him. He walked into the courtroom very slowly, deliberately and with some difficulty.
Remember, the alleged suicide bomber suffering from self- inflicted second and third degree lap burns that he got when he detonated the device on board that plane. He didn't say a lot. The judge asked him a couple of questions, including whether he had taken any sort of medication within the last 24 hours. He said, yes, he had taken some pain pills.
Other than that he really didn't say much except that he had finished secondary education. In fact, he has multiple degrees and was a post-graduate student in Dubai when he decided to set out on this course of radicalization and do this -- this -- this plot of trying to blow up that U.S. jetliner, Betty.
NGUYEN: He has a court appointed lawyer, a public defender. Did she provide any details on their strategy here?
FEYERICK: She did not. One interesting thing, there was a big question as to whether she might contest the detention. She didn't do that. She agreed to it. The judge said if you want to revisit it later, we can do that. She is very well known in this community. She's defended a number of terrorism suspects and she's defended them successfully. So it will be interesting to see the kind of case that she mounts or the kind of argument she makes as to why he did what he did. Betty?
NGUYEN: What happens next now?
FEYERICK: Right now the judge did not set any additional dates. He returns to the courtroom. An indictment obviously has been handed down against him. The charges trying to blow up the jetliner and kill all the people onboard the plane and the bomb that he used being described as a weapon of mass destruction certainly because of the number of lives it would have taken.
There will be additional hearings, most likely additional charges to follow. They'll do a superseding indictment but right now Abdul Mutallab, when you think about it, setting out on this long journey, thinking that perhaps it would end in a blaze of glory, waking up in morning in a small Michigan jail cell -- Betty.
NGUYEN: All right, CNN's Deborah Feyerick joining us live from Detroit. Deborah, thanks so much. Stay warm out there.
HOLMES: Well, the president of course has a lot on his plate. He's talked about the economy just yesterday. And he's been dealing with this whole terror threat. So now he's doing a bit of a reset talking about health care reform. Yes, that's still on the plate as well. He's talking about in his weekly message to the nation this morning. He's emphasizing the changes to insurance plans.
Here is part of what he had to say this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Insurance plans will be required to offer three preventive care to their customers so that we can start catching preventable illnesses and diseases on the front end. They will no longer be allowed to impose restricted annual limits on the amount of coverage you receive or lifetime limits on the amount of benefits you receive.
They will be prohibited from dropping your coverage when you get sick and need it most. And there will be a new independent appeals process for anyone who feels they were unfairly denied a claim by their insurance company. In short, once I sign health insurance reform into law, doctors and patients will have more control over their health care decisions and insurance company bureaucrats will have less.
All told, these changes represent the most sweeping reforms and toughest restrictions on insurance companies that this country has ever known. That's how we'll make 2010 a healthier and more secure year for every American, for those who have health insurance and those who don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: President Obama says reform will mean the cost for health care will come down for families, businesses, as well as governments.
NGUYEN: Get you the latest on the weather now because it is the other big story of the day. You're going to be able to see the current temperatures, any delays at the bottom of the screen right there. We do want to warn you if you head out today, many of you may want to watch out for the ice on the roadways. It is causing all kinds of accidents. Boom, just like that one here in Atlanta and the rest of the southeast, for that matter.
HOLMES: Also, coming up this morning, a lot of people out of a job right now. This might be a really good time for you to become your own boss. This might be the best time for you to go into business for yourself.
NGUYEN: The snow and the cold, when is it all going to end, is what many people are asking, even some of the animals like iguanas falling out of trees want to know when it is all going to end. Look at that. Cars in Atlanta slipping and sliding out of control.
HOLMES: You hate to see this stuff and again, Bonnie Schneider in for us today, in for Reynolds. And a lot of times, how in the world are we just lucky to get this video sometimes, these photographers. But it's the same, you can set up a camera and like clockwork you're going to find somebody that's going a little too fast or doing what they shouldn't do Bonnie and you're going to catch them sooner or later and you're going to catch them slipping and sliding.
NGUYEN: Scary too -- it's really -- and imagine that being that car also behind it.
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Exactly. You know the roads, of course, not being treated as well down in the southeast because we don't get a lot of snow though we do get it sometimes.
Even down the Florida we've had some reports of freezing rain in the Lakeland area and snow flurries in Inverness, Florida. To the south in Miami right now, it is raining and it's cold out there. Take a look at a live picture of Miami, Florida. And, yes, wow, look at that, a lot of water out there courtesy of our affiliate WSVN in Miami, the temperature is 46 degrees.
Now keep in mind the normal high temperature for Miami today is 76 degrees. So if you're looking for some sunshine and some nicer weather in Florida, unfortunately you're not finding it this morning. Some rough waves there as well right on the bay side. In Gainesville, Florida, the temperature is 30 degrees. That is cold enough for snow.
But what is happening across much of northern Florida, we are getting some freezing rain but we're also seeing such dry air. You probably feel how dry it is on your skin in the southeast. It's so dry that when the snow falls from the sky it actually evaporates before it hits the ground. Not to say you won't see flurries or see freezing rain, you certainly could. It's coming in on the radar picture across much of northern Florida at this time.
But big changes are ahead in the forecast. We have temperatures 10 to 30 degrees below normal, as you saw. But things are changing and they're changing for the better. I'm so happy to report that. It will be less cold by Monday. Temperatures will only be five to 10 degrees below normal in the southeast. Look at this ridge, milder air out west.
This is all advancing to the east. So that means by the time we get to Monday, we are going to be seeing some big changes out there. Temperatures will go from the 20s all of the way into the 30s and 40s and even into the 50s across much of the region. So back at 59 in Tampa. Finally changes from the weather like this.
All right. That is a look at your weather. Stay tuned. We have more coming up on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.
NGUYEN: Good morning, everybody, welcome back. All right. For people struggling in this economy and there's a whole lot of them, now just might be the perfect time to start your own business.
HOLMES: Well, why not? Some people are giving that advice might seem a little counter intuitive to some in this economy but Josh Levs here to introduce this lady to us. Good morning to you Josh. JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you guys. And that's what was so striking about her and when we heard this. A lot of people are agreeing with her. We met this economist. What she's done is she's studied decades of ups and downs throughout U.S. history. She also studies human behavior.
She says now is the perfect time to pursue that dream of yours to start your own business if you follow a key rule.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLOTTE PHELPS, ECONOMIST, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: This is the time to go into business for yourself. And the government is making credit more available now to help entrepreneurs. So my research, although it's based on economic history, shows that the entrepreneurs are at the vanguard of social economic change. They are the leaders of the economy.
LEVS: Really? Now is the time to take that kind of risk?
PHELPS: Yes. They are the ones -- you know, looking back on it, people will say, why didn't I think of that? When times are bad, that's an opportunity and only the people who have confidence and a desire for a long-term career involvement, those are the people who 20 years from now will be looking back on a successful career.
Count on your friends. It's the network of friendships, the network of social interactions can help you survive as a family, but they also, your friends can point you to opportunities. There are so many opportunities now because of the electronic age and the Internet. You have to be creative and think of a niche where you can sell your idea. And that's what will pay off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS: She's saying be open with everyone you know, be open with your friends, harness that technology. You have a huge chance of success. I'll tell you, we aired that once during this week and we had massive response to it, huge response. So many people partly wanting advice about how to go about it which is why I want to show you this. This is really cool.
Take a look at this, from cnnmoney.com. How to build a bullet proof start-up. And what they do over here is talk you through a few key steps that you should follow to choose your idea and to make it happen. We have taken this, along with that interview you just saw. We posted it online for you.
Let's go to that graphic to see how to access it. It's up at the blog, cnn.com/josh. I also have it for you Facebook and Twitter, joshlevscnn. So many people wanted to know how to go about this and what to do to make their dream happen.
Now obviously this is good for unemployed people, but there is a lot of people out there who just aren't happy in their current jobs, it can help you, too. In fact I have a new survey for you. Take a look at this figure, new from the Conference Board. This is the lowest figure in job satisfaction in the history of this survey, which has existed since 1987.
Only 45 percent, so less than half the people in America who still have their jobs in this economy are feeling satisfied. This economist is saying, you know what, maybe on the side while you have that job, you also start your own thing.
So Betty and T.J., not just obviously for the many millions of people struggling with unemployment. It's also for the people who are feeling kind of miserable in their current work and want something else.
NGUYEN: That was done by the Conference Board research group. They say that's the lowest number in two decades. Only 45 percent satisfied with their jobs. So we're asking you the viewer this morning. What do you think about this? Are you satisfied with your job?
Let us know. You can hit us up on our Facebook and Twitter sites. Really all you have to do is go to bettynguyencnn or T.J.holmescnn, also on our blog, cnn.com/betty or T.J. Let us know what you think because we will be reading your responses on the air, want to know if you like your job.
So, in with the new and, well, you know what to do with all those old gadgets.
HOLMES: Got some new gadgets to show you now. Have a look at the hottest gadgets at the consumer electronic show. This is a big deal, the one happening out in Vegas. Stay with us.
HOLMES: Give you an update now on some of our top stories. This you're seeing here, this is the latest video, actually video we're just getting in this morning of the man believed to be the suicide bomb their killed seven CIA operatives and one Jordanian last month. This newly released video aired on the Arabic TV network al Jazeera.
It shows Uman Khalil Abu Mulal al Balawi (ph). Al Balawi's brother in Jordan confirmed to CNN that in fact it is him. In the video, al Balawi vowed revenge of the killing of Baitullah Mehsud (ph). That is the man who led the Taliban in Pakistan, but was killed last summer.
NGUYEN: An arrest in the security breach at Newark's airport. Police say a graduate student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, the guy you see right there, is the person responsible for last Sunday's incident. Now, thousands of passengers had to be re-screened after a man walked the wrong way through the security exit. Police say the 28- year-old suspect faces a charge of defiant trespass.
HOLMES: A New York cab driver pleading not guilty in connection with an alleged terror plot. (INAUDIBLE) was indicted on allegations he lied to a Federal agent. Police arrested him Thursday in New York along with a second man who is also expected to be indicted. Authorities believe they're both linked to Naji Bulazazi (ph) who is accused of planning to bomb New York on the anniversary of 9/11.
NGUYEN: The annual consumer electronics show is going on through the weekend in Las Vegas. 2700 tech firms are showing off their newest innovative gadgets and CNN's Errol Barnett joins me now with all the buzz on the hottest tech forward gear. I understand there's been a whole lot of talk about this, 3-D television. It's all the rage this year right?
ERROL BARNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Betty. How do you feel about that? Viewers watch you in 3-D, something you would like?
NGUYEN: I don't know.
BARNETT: You're going to have to consider that later this year. 3-D televisions will be available. CES is where the VCR debuted, the CD player and the HDTV. And this yea, it's the 3-D televisions that everyone's been looking at. Check out some of the video. Just imagine Pinocchio's nose pointing directly into your living room. This specific television doesn't require glasses but you've got the big companies, Panasonic, LG, Samsung.
They'll all be releasing 3-D televisions later this year. Those will require you to buy those expensive goggles, though. Some of them ranging like about $100. DirecTV is planning on adding some 3-D channels. ESPN says they will broadcast some games, in fact, in 3-D. But the cost of this is just huge. 3-D TV technology has been around for a while. This year at CES they're refining it and they're making it slightly more affordable.
Betty, you want a 3-D TV?
NGUYEN: How much?
BARNETT: Well, they're not actually giving it a round number, for good reason.
NGUYEN: Wonder why.
BARNETT: But you can expect it to cost towards the upward range of what an HDTV costs. So it's going to be a while until this stuff is affordable.
NGUYEN: I don't want my nose coming into viewer's homes like that. It's not a good look for me. The glasses, you have to wear those inside your home to watch the 3-D TV?
NGUYEN: Call me when you don't have to do all that. Maybe I'll purchase one then. I also understand that one of the other new items out there is something that you can actually control with your iPhone?
BARNETT: Yes. It's actually a drone. It's called an AR drone. It's made by a French company called Parrot (ph). Take a look at some of the video. You should see it flying around. You can seek it with your iPhone or iTouch. And basically there's an onboard camera on this flying drone with a live feed to your phone. That's how you steer it, that's how you direct it around.
The price is yet to be determined. It will be available later this year. But this is raising some privacy concerns because you could very well fly this thing up in your backyard and spy on your neighbors. Of course, we do not suggest you do that. The company though will be releasing this to the public. It's brand new technology. It looks like a lot of fun and now smart phones can do just about everything.
NGUYEN: T.J. is excited about this drone where you can spy on your neighbors. He just looked at me and said, oh, that's awesome. Make sure that you don't live near T.J. or he may be spying on you. We're going to move from drones, shall we, to computers. And, boy, they have come a long way.
BARNETT: They have. There's new names for them, too, not just computers and laptops but there's something called netbooks and tablets. I think we have some video of the Lenovo U-1. It's a netbook that's available, it's basically portable, it's wireless, has this touch screen, has applications on it, you can access it to the web.
This one specifically though snaps into a customizable keyboard so it doubles as a laptop. That's what we're seeing more of. Not that there's one gadget that stands out, but it's one device can now do many more things. This should be available later this year, as well.
Apple is expected, not confirmed though, that they will be making an announcement on their own tablet perhaps later this month. So that could overshadow everything you've seen. But tablet computers and things like this are definitely a hot item that year Betty.
NGUYEN: And very quickly, I understand a lot of people get some flack for talking on the cell phone and driving but now you can actually Twitter and drive? You can actually get online and drive? What?
BARNETT: Yes, there's going to be a question about whether or not this is a good thing. Ford debuted some models that will allow the car to read your tweets to you as you drive. The display will be on either side of the speedometer. You won't be able to access the general web. You won't be able to send tweets verbally just yet. That vehicle will be available this year. They debuted it at CES.
The question remains, though, is this, you know, a good idea? With all this technology, it's great that you can do it, but should you do it? You'll be able to later this year with Ford and some other models. So now you really can tweet from everywhere.
NGUYEN: Especially if you're cursing out the person who just cut you off and perhaps they're following you on Twitter and just saw what you said.
BARNETT: Exactly and see how you think about this stuff? NGUYEN: I do. I think about it all.
HOLMES: You're a Twitter ...
BARNETT: Not negatively. It's a positive thing.
NGUYEN: It is a positive thing. You've just got to watch what you say.
BARNETT: And CES will continue through Sunday. We have a team there on the ground. You can follow them and myself on Twitter, not while you drive.
NGUYEN: On Twitter, I like the way you say that. You can follow all of us on Twitter. Errol, we'll see you soon.
HOLMES: Don't make fun of the brother. It's a good accent.
NGUYEN: I love him. I wish we all had an accent like that.
HOLMES: We're going to have you back a lot Errol. It's good to have you with us.
BARNETT: Good see you guys.
NGUYEN: See you soon. OK, we are following the severe weather hitting most of the country, many of you feeling it. Yes, because the deep freeze is having affects on us humans as well as these guys -- animals. We're going to show you how they're dealing with the bitter cold.
HOLMES: And an early start to the mid-term elections. Oh, say it ain't so. We're going to be taking a look at the hot button issues but also some pretty hot races that are going to be coming up. Things are going to be changing on Capitol Hill.
HOLMES: Well, we're taking a look now at some of our top stories. Just out this morning. New video we got just a bit ago from the Taliban in Pakistan showing the suicide bomber believed to have killed seven CIA operatives and also a Jordanian last month in Afghanistan.
Now, on this video, the man, Khalil al Balawi, vows revenge for the killing of a Taliban leader in Pakistan from last summer.
Also the mother of the suspected suicide bomber describes him as a loner since childhood. He was a Jordanian doctor recruited as a counter terrorist intelligence source. His wife says she was shocked to hear what he had done, but proud of her husband's mission.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEFNE BAYRAK, WIFE OF CIA SUICIDE BOMBER (through translator): In fact, I'm proud of my husband. My husband accomplished a very big operation in such a war. If he is a martyr, may God accept his martyrdom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Jordanian officials say they thought he had had been rehabilitated from his extremist views and he was being used to hunt down al Qaeda's number two man.
NGUYEN: Well, the young Nigerian man who authorities say tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane on Christmas Day has pleaded not guilty. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is accused of trying to set off an explosive device as the plane approached Detroit airport.
HOLMES: Also, take a look at this mess we got out there. It's one thing just to say it's cold but you can see in this video you might even get cold watching it. But a lot of people digging out with a snow and what not; but the traffic, the issues on the roads are not going away. You got snow and ice out there. At least nine deaths, we know of, are being blamed on this cold.
So everybody is asking, when is it going to improve? When are the temperatures going to head north a little bit? We'll have that answer for you just a couple of minutes.
NGUYEN: Right now though, it is never too early to start talking about elections, apparently. You know health care reform going to be a huge issue in the midterms.
HOLMES: And but it's likely to still fall, second to the economy. Still going to be, you know, the economy is going to be number one on everybody's brain out there.
So CNN's deputy political director Paul Steinhauser has more on the midterms and two Democratic dropouts.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Betty, T.J., less than ten months to go until those crucial midterm elections and now more troubling news on the economy as you got the unemployment rate stays in double digits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We knew this was going to be a long road. And we knew that along that road there would be ups and downs and bumps along the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEINHAUSER: The economy remains by far the most important issue with Americans. Bad economic times mean tough times for incumbents who are running for election this November. And there are more Democratic and Republicans defending their seats.
Plus, since Democrats control the White House and Congress, they get the blame. After that, the fair to average poll numbers for the president and you know what, you've got a rough political climate for Democrats. But it's not like Americans think Republicans have better prescriptions. Take a look at this. A recent CNN Opinion Research Corporation National Poll, it indicates that more people think highly of Democratic policies compared to what the Republicans are proposing.
Another big indicator is how many lawmakers will retire rather than face tough re-elections this year. Two high-profile Democrats called it quits this past week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: After 35 years of representing the people of Connecticut and the United States Congress, I will not be a candidate for re-election this November.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEINHAUSER: Chris Dodd's announcement actually may help his party. Dodd had a ton of political baggage and polls suggested he faced a very tough re-election in a state that Democrats dominate. With Dodd out, Democrats have a better chance now of keeping the seat.
But it's a different story in North Dakota where popular Senator Byron Dorgan also announced his retirement. Republicans now have a good shot of grabbing this seat.
At stake in all of this the Democrats 60-seat supermajority in the senate. Even with their filibuster proof margin they've had a tough time passing big bills. Health care reform is just one example. If they lose their super majority in this year's elections it'll be even harder for President Obama and Congressional Democrats to advance their agenda -- Betty, T.J.
NGUYEN: All right. Well, you know we've been asking you this morning, there's a new survey out that says only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their careers. That is a low, the lowest in two decades, in fact.
So we want to know, do you like your job? And we're getting a lot of responses.
Now, let me take you first to my Facebook page. And Gregory Farlow says, "I like it, just can't get any work; union electrician, Trenton, New Jersey." So he's putting that out there.
And Paul says, "I'll let you know when I find one."
So that's an indication of where the economy is right now.
But News Jockey does make a very good point saying, "Betty, you know that will be a difficult question for most to answer on Twitter. People might fear that their bosses will see it."
So we still want to know what you think. Do you like your job? There's a lot of people out there who say, yes, indeed, they do. Some of them say, "Yes, I love it if I could only find one." So keep those coming to us. Hit us up on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We're going to be reading some of your replies this morning.
Again, do you like your job? That's what we want to know from you this morning.
HOLMES: Now, a lot of people out there, like somebody I just mentioned, are looking for a job.
HOLMES: So a lot of folks don't have one right now. Well, more than a million Americans expected to be hired this year. We'll tell you who's hiring and we'll check on the pay for you as well.
NGUYEN: And that Arctic blast is causing animals, you got to see this, to actually fall from trees. Don't worry. The iguanas are all fine, even that one that fell from a tree. We'll explain.
NGUYEN: Well as census workers prepare to hit the streets to count the people living in America, they're also counting their blessings.
HOLMES: Yes they are counting blessings for finding much needed work.
CNN's Maggie Lake takes a look at one grateful employee.
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 2010 is the year of the U.S. Census and Alvin Aviles wants everyone in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn to know about it. In the spring he'll be pounding the pavement and helping with the headcount when the census work gets under way in earnest.
ALVIN AVILES, U.S. CENSUS OFFICE MANAGER: I got to do a lot of walking, a lot of knocking on doors.
LAKE: For years Aviles was a stay at home-dad caring for his two children and unable to find a job. He's now a census office manager, with employment guaranteed until October.
AVILES: Money wise, this job means for me that I can get rid of some extra bills that I incurred while I was unemployed. I can also buy my children an extra doughnut or an extra cookie. It helps tremendously.
LAKE: Aviles is one of about a million and a half Americans that will be hired to conduct this year's census nationwide. Much of the hiring will be done over the next few months. The employment boost will only be temporary but many economists say it will make a difference across the United States.
LACHMAN ACHUTHAN, ECONOMIC CYCLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: The timing couldn't have been better. What the census hiring is going to do is all but guarantee that we have a half a percent decline in unemployment, or more. It's going to take an upswing in employment that's already starting as a result of the recovery and give it a nice push.
LAKE: Many of these jobs will last only a couple of weeks or months, depending on the position. But these U.S. government jobs pay well, some more than $20 an hour. And as expected, they're in great demand.
PATRICIA VALLE, ASSISTANT REGIONAL MANAGER, U.S. CENSUS: The last time when I worked the 2000 census, when the economy was very different, we really had to sometimes beat bushes to get people to work for us and beg them to work for us.
That is not the case this time. The census is coming along at the right time for a lot of people.
LAKE: Around Bushwick, signs are up urging residents to participate in the census and explaining employment opportunities.
Alvin Aviles is looking forward to hiring many in the area.
AVILES: When I was not working I knew and I saw people who were looking for jobs and couldn't find one. And I know that through the census, you know, people in my community will definitely get employed.
LAKE: A once in a decade opportunity for many Americans struggling to find work.
Maggie Lake, CNN, New York.
NGUYEN: Checking top stories for you right now. This is video of the man believed to be the suicide bomber that killed seven CIA employees and contractors last month.
Now, this newly-released video which aired on the Arabic TV Network Al Jazeera shows you Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al Balawi. And al Balawi's brother in Jordan confirmed to CNN that that indeed is him. Now, in the video he vowed revenge for the killing of Baitullah Mehsud who led the Taliban in Pakistan.
HOLMES: Well, a New York cab driver pleads not guilty in connection with an alleged terrorist plot. Zarein Ahmedzay (ph) is his name. He was indicted for lying to a federal agent. Police arrested him Thursday along with a second man who is due in court today, according to the A.P. Authorities believe they're both linked to Najibullah Zazi, you might remember him, he is the one accused of planning to bomb New York on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
NGUYEN: Chinese authorities are investigating a fire inside a coal mine; a state-run news agency reporting that 12 workers have died after becoming trapped. Chinese officials say the fire appears to have been started by some underground cables that short circuited. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
NGUYEN: So humans aren't the only ones seeking shelter from this deep freeze.
HOLMES: Yes. John Zarrella is on this story for us from Florida. He's report that the monkeys are bundling up, turtles slower than ever, then there's something else altogether going on with the iguanas.
NGUYEN: It's a strange phenomenon really.
HOLMES: Take a look.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just throw me a blanket, will you? Even with all that hair, Bonnie, the orangutan wasted no time wrapping up against the cold at Miami's Metrozoo. Her buddy Mango sipped on a cup of hot chocolate, vet approved.
The tortoises, well, they're not too swift with their feet or their brains.
RON MAGILL, MIAMI METROZOO: We have to take actually plywood and lock them in there because they're not bright enough to know to stay in there. They'll go out and then they'll freeze and they will stop and they're frozen and that's it.
ZARRELLA: In Florida, the animals are no more used to this kind of cold than people. Zoos are doing what they can to provide creature comforts: space heaters for the parrots and the Komodo dragons; boxes for the primates.
This little guy shut his own door. Don't ever say dumb animals.
For beekeepers in Tallahassee where the temperatures have been in the teens the only hope, save the queen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as the queen and some of the bees make it through the winter, then we're fine.
ZARRELLA: No, you're wrong. That's not protozoa under a microscope. They're manatees, 300 of them. The heating system at a power plant was turned on to warm the waters for them.
Sea turtles lethargic and stunned by the cold are being rescued brought to marine life sanctuaries, nearly 100 so far.
(on camera): Now, to be honest, there are some animals here in Florida that just don't get and won't get any love.
(voice-over): So, how do you feel about rats? Maybe a foot long? They're not crazy about the cold either. Well, they're scrambling and slithering and squeezing their way into nice, warm homes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rats should be in New York, it shouldn't be in Florida and it certainly shouldn't be in my apartment with my kids.
ZARRELLA: And there are the iguanas, invasive species over- running south Florida. The cold weather puts them literally in a state of suspended animation. Not good when you live in a tree.
Florida's version of Groundhog Day: when the iguana falls out of the tree, six more weeks of winter.
John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.
NGUYEN: We want to let you know no iguanas were hurt in the shooting of that video.
HOLMES: They're fine.
NGUYEN: They were just asleep.
I wonder if they woke up once they hit the ground really hard.
SCHNEIDER: Probably they did.
NGUYEN: All right. Hey, Bonnie. When is it going to warm up so they can get back up in those tree?
SCHNEIDER: Yes. The iguanas will jump back up. I feel as though we say it's raining iguanas, that means it's cold. It is really cold actually in Florida. Cold enough that we just got reports in, in Daytona Beach, Florida, of sleet on the ground. That's all the way on the coastline.
So originally most of this white stuff was anticipated to hit areas in central Florida. But now we're getting cold enough air it's mixing and getting a little icy. Be careful if you're driving this morning in Daytona Beach.
What if you're on foot in Orlando, Florida, this morning? The temperature is a brisk 36 degrees. And I'll tell you why. There's a lot of runners heading out there for the half marathon. They're already on their pavement bundled up as if they're running the New York marathon.
Today we have about 7,500 runners for the half marathon. It's frigid. Normal temperatures in Orland, 72 degrees this time of year so when you sign up you think, it will be nice -- nice warm in Florida. The marathon tomorrow, where there's going to be 55,000 runners, the temperatures will be even colder.
Wow. Bundle up and good luck in that run. You're very brave to head out there this morning. That's what we're looking at in Florida. Some wintry weather; we had reports of sleet in to Lakeland area. But I have some good news. Despite the fact this weekend that temperatures are falling 30 degrees below normal, changes are on the way. Notice this ridge in the jet stream, this dip to the north. That's going to allow a lot milder air to come into the forecast.
By Monday temperatures will be a lot less colder; only five to ten degrees below normal. You will see a warm-up. I'll have more on that coming up on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. Stay tuned.
HOLMES: Could you imagine, your boss saying to you, you've screwed up so bad, you're not fit even to come in to work and sit at your own desk? That's essentially what this guy's being told. He's not fit to take the court.
That's what the NBA is saying about Washington wizard's star guard Gilbert Arenas. And the commissioner David Stern had suspended him indefinitely without pay. He's accused of bringing unloaded handguns into the team's locker room.
Federal and local authorities now investigating Arenas has joked about the incident time and time again. He does say, however, he is sorry but a lot of people are questioning whether or not that is authentic.
A lot of questions here now people are asking about Gilbert Arenas; how long should that suspension last? Just for a few games, the rest of the season, couple of seasons or should he be out of the league all together? Rick Horrow is a sports business analyst and visiting sports expert at Harvard Law School because Betty, when you think Harvard law...
NGUYEN: You think Rick Horrow.
HOLMES: Thank you very much. All right Rick.
Good morning to you, sir.
RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: You guys are too much, man.
HOLMES: Happy New Year. First time talking to you here in the New Year so go ahead, what are you trying to give?
HORROW: I'll give you the really quick weather report. In Palm Beach, snow flurries tonight, I can't wait. I'm getting my shovel out.
HOLMES: We got Bonnie for that but we appreciate you contributing.
HOLMES: Let's talk about Gilbert Arenas here. The big question, if this -- and a lot of people might not know this, Rick, I know you do. But even after all this came up, this week at a game in Philly he joked around in pre-game faking like he was shooting his teammates with his hands.
Now, Rick, what he did was bad enough, but his attitude afterwards, is that why he's suspended right now?
HORROW: Well, the big words would be authenticity of contrition, how does that sound? I don't know if he was serious about his apology. And so the guy has a contract that is $111 million over six years, so it's $147,000 a game that he's missing when the commissioner says you're suspension is indefinite. If he wasn't sorry before he sure as heck is sorry now.
HOLMES: So what is the league going to do with this guy? We have seen incidents before including Sebastien Telfair loaded a gun on a plane. He was only suspended two or three games. You had Steven Jackson firing a gun outside of a club. That was only, I think -- what was it -- five or seven games. So what do you do with this guy?
HORR: Well, it's a really good example, ok, because the guy has been a poster child for the NBA in some context. NBA live video game had him on the cover. He just did a PETA ad, ironically.
And frankly, the NBA is about image these days. It's a $5 billion business. Frankly, David Stern or anybody else around the NBA doesn't like somebody else pulling a gun loaded or unloaded in a locker room and then joking about it the next week. So an indefinite suspension means it could be a couple of weeks, it could be a couple of years.
I'm sure the meeting that David Stern is going to have with Gilbert Arenas is going to be a fun meeting to watch.
HOLMES: Last thing on this topic. How hard is he going to have to come down on Gilbert Arenas, quite frankly, to save face for the NBA?
HORROW: Well, it's not only saving face but it's sending a message that says you've got to play by the rules especially if you don't kid about those rules in advance. As we said before, there is a lot at stake here and it goes well beyond the one particular incident involving Gilbert Arenas.
HOLMES: All right. Last thing here quickly and we have some stuff to talk about next week as well. But on that kind of leading into next week, we've got the BCS Bowl Games, of course. We know you were there. And we have the Super Bowl coming up.
Now, these are just games in a lot of ways, mean a lot of things, for advertising dollars, people watching. For the communities they go to, can they change a local economy?
HORROW: All right. I'll take the hat off. Yes, the serious concept is if you talk about stimulus and you talk about economic impact half a billion dollars Tournament of Roses Parade, the Rose Bowl and the national championship for southern California. Now we go to south Florida where the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl together, first time ever, brings another half billion dollars in for not only the community, thanks to the Dolphins and the NFL, but also for hotels and restaurants and the like. We'll get into, as we said, the ad dollars and how south Florida is responding for the Super Bowl next week and the week after.
HOLMES: All right. Rick, always good to see you. Next week you will be back. We'll talk about the Super Bowl and how the ads are selling right now in this economy. Good to see you.
Happy New Year. First time getting to talk to you in the New Year. Thanks so much, buddy. We'll see you next week.
HORROW: Stay warm.
HOLMES: Sure thing. You, too.
All right. Quick break. We're right back.
NGUYEN: Secure Communities, a new homeland security program takes a closer look at illegal immigrants.
HOLMES: Yes. This is an effort to try to get dangerous criminals off the U.S. streets. CNN's Rafael Romo has the story for us.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice- over): Evan Mesadio (ph) has been in the United States illegally for at least three years. Even though he's been convicted of 12 charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer and cocaine possession, the 32-year-old was never deported because he lied about his status.
He was only identified, thanks to a new homeland security program.
(on camera): This machine here is going to connect you immediately with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security right away.
CAPTAIN JOHN SPEAR, GWINNETT COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Yes, it is.
ROMO (voice-over): In Gwinnett County, Georgia Captain John Spear oversees the new program called Secured Communities which checks a suspect's fingerprints against federal databases.
JOHN MORTON, ASSISTANT HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: What we're introducing to the process is the digital exchange of the fingerprints so that we can run the databases not only at the FBI but at the Department of Homeland Security for immigration purposes in a matter of minutes and get them back to the law enforcement officials. ROMO: But immigrant rights activists say the program targets migrants unfairly.
JERRY GONZALEZ, GEORGIA ASSOCIATION OF LATINO ELECTED OFFICIALS: It's open season for Latinos in Georgia.
ROMO: Jerry Gonzalez says the program takes away local law enforcement's flexibility to decide whose fingerprints are run, essentially reporting everyone to ICE, even people with minor offenses or extenuating circumstances.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has repeatedly said one of her department's priorities is the removal of illegal aliens who have committed serious crimes.
GONZALEZ: They're deporting people for minor traffic violations. And that's outside the scope of what Napolitano wants accomplished.
ROMO: The Department of Homeland Security insists its focus is on capturing the most dangerous criminals here illegally.
JOHN MORTON, ASST. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Secure communities is all about public safety. And it's all about trying to identify for removal from this country serious criminal offenders in local communities.
ROMO: (INAUDIBLE) who habitually drove without a license and used 15 aliases in Georgia and Florida was charged thanks to the program and will be deported to his native country after serving his sentence.
(on camera): So to those who have fears about racial profiling, what would be your response?
CAPT. JON. SPEARS, GWINNETT CO. SHERIFF'S DEPT.: Don't break the law. If you're not in custody, you're not going to be checked.
ROMO: So the far the program is available in 108 counties throughout the nation. And Gwinnett County, Georgia, it started last October. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security say their hope is that it will be available throughout the country by 2013 but Congress would have to approve significant resources for the security communities program to continue.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
HOLMES: From the CNN Center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING for the January. We're changing things in 2010.
NGUYEN: Is that what we're doing?
NGUYEN: Is that a new direction in which -- happy new year. HOLMES: It's a good January.
NGUYEN: It's off to a good start, apparently.
HOLMES: It's my first day on the air in the new year. Just working some of the kinks out.
NGUYEN: Some of that rust off.
HOLMES: I'm T.J. Holmes. Got my name right though this morning.
NGUYEN: All day long. And I'm Betty Nguyen. Thanks for being here, T.J.. Glad to have you back. It's 9:00 a.m. in Atlanta. 6:00 in Los Angeles.
HOLMES: We do want to start this morning though with some video we're just getting this morning. The chilling new tape that's in to CNN. It's the last words really or some of the last words from a suspected suicide bomber blamed in the deaths of seven CIA employees in Afghanistan.
Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson in Amman, Jordan for us this morning with more on the tape and exactly where this thing came from.
ROBERTSON: Well, it's being disseminated by the Pakistani Taliban, the PTB. How do we know that? Because the leader of the Pakistani Taliban Baitullah Mehsud is sitting next to Al Balawi, the alleged bomber and killer of the CIA operatives in Afghanistan.
We've talked to Dr. Al Balawi's family. They say it is definitely him. The message is a direct put-down for Jordanian intelligence and the CIA because the doctor tells them directly that he is not about to sell his faith. And this is a clear indication that perhaps these intelligence agencies thought they had bought him off.
He's telling him that's not the case. What's very interesting here is according to the family, the doctor had become very angry and radicalized, if you will, over what had happened in Gaza. Yet here we see him on this videotape saying that the bombing act he's about to carry out is an act of vengeance for the U.S. drone strike and killing of the Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud last year. It seems quite strange, but that's what he says in this video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We will never forget the blood of our leader Baitullah Mehsud. May god have mercy on his soul. It will remain that we take revenge for his death in America and outside America. It is a trust on every person who left everything for the sake of god, whom Baitullah Mehsud supported.
ROBERTSON: But of course, this video is going to raise a lot more questions than it answers here because it gives us clear indication that Jordanian intelligence and the CIA thought that they really had an influence over Dr. Al Balawi and he's just telling them directly, no, you didn't.
NGUYEN: Nic Robertson reporting for us there.
Well, two men are under arrest in connection with a New York terror plot. One of them is a New York City cab driver. The other, a Bosnian immigrant who was caught after a traffic accident.
CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti has the story.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Law enforcement sources say (INAUDIBLE) crashed into another car while the FBI's terror task force was tailing him. The sources say he was going faster and faster before he rear-ended another car. Just before the wreck, sources tell CNN Medunjanin called 911 before Thursday's accident.
The FBI served a search warrant in Medunjanin's home to get his passport. They said he voluntarily turned it over. After the FBI left, his family says he took off. Agents were following him. His attorney says he does not know why authorities moved against his client.
(on camera): Do you have any idea why they wanted to seize his passport now?
ROBERT GOTTLIEB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I have absolutely no idea.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Law enforcement sources say after Medunjanin was treated for minor injuries, he agreed to questioning. Hours later he was arrested. His attorney says attorneys were unnoticed to call him before any questioning but they did not.
GOTTLIEB: This is not a joke. This is not something to look the other way, when basic constitutional rights are violated. It was a despicable display of what is going on in this country by certain people, not everybody, in this case, shame on them.
CANDIOTTI: After Medunjanin was taken into custody, another man, New York cab driver (INAUDIBLE) Ahmedzay was arrested. Law enforcement sources described both men as friends Najibullah Zazi. He has pleaded not guilty to buying and testing bomb making ingredients with the aim of blowing up a New York are target. It's been called the biggest post-9/11 terror investigation.
Last (INAUDIBLE) both homes of both men were searched and his attorneys say Medunjanin was questioned for 14 hours. Agents made no secret they were following the two men. Sources say the surveillance never stopped.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ADVISER: The very nature of anti-terrorism investigations is that there is long-term surveillance of people under suspicion. Often, that leads to nothing. Sometimes, it can lead to a mother lode of evidence that people were up to no good. CANDIOTTI: Medunjanin's attorney says he has nothing to hide.
GOTTLIEB: He denies being involved in any terrorist activities. He spoke to them for countless hours explaining his relationships and that he's not involved in terror.
NGUYEN: And Susan Candiotti joins us now live from New York. All right. Susan, one of these suspects have already been arraigned. So when is the other one due in court?
CANDIOTTI: It is expected -- good morning, Betty. It is expected to happen this morning. But we don't have a specific time yet. And, as well, the particular person we're talking about, Medunjanin, this morning, he has not yet heard his charges against him. His lawyer is not aware of what his charges are. But we are hearing from a law enforcement source that they are expected to include receiving military training from a foreign terrorist organization.
One thing that this indicates is that this investigation into alleged thwarted plot that was supposed to take place on or about last year's anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is not over. Betty?
NGUYEN: All right. Definitely going to be following up on that one. Susan, thank you so much for that.
HOLMES: We're also following in a big way this morning the big weather story, (INAUDIBLE) seems like for a couple of weeks now. The ice, the snow, the cold, but in Oregon, it's the wind.
NGUYEN: Yes. That's a reporter trying to do a live shot, is what we call it, going live on the air to tell us, hey, it's windy outside, which we can apparently see. She's OK, hopefully.
Our Bonnie Schneider is tracking the cold, the wind, and the snow. And we're going to get an update after this.
SCHNEIDER: I'm CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider tracking extreme weather across the country.
First we'll head out west, near Portland, Oregon where we had incredible winds. And one reporter decided to brave the elements by standing up in 101-mile-per-hour winds. This is Keely Chambers near (INAUDIBLE) Oregon. And she's taking a tumble there. Pretty brave to try to stand up in winds that strong.
Today the winds are not going to be as strong as yesterday. But we still have weather advisories there. We are also tracking extreme weather with icy roads across Atlanta, Georgia, causing lots of pile- ups. There was a 27-car pile-up on i-285 not far from the airport.
And this is Roswell, actually north of Atlanta, where this one particular stretch of road is notorious for being icy and for people going pretty fast even when there is ice on the road. So we do have a lot of accidents there. And one cameraman just perched his camera there at that particular street and waited for it to happen, and it did.
Well, looking this morning we have cold air across the southeast. The winds coming in from the north creating a very unusual phenomenon happening right now in Florida. It doesn't happen very often. But today we're seeing snow flurry and sleet falling on the ground even as far east as Daytona Beach, Florida. We're also looking at wintry weather in the Orlando area. That's where we're running the half marathon this morning.
So it's really cold ant brutal for those runners. And then further off towards Lakeland we've also had reports of freezing rain. So the extreme weather continues across the country, but relief is on the way. I will have more on that coming up on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. Stay tuned.
HOLMES: Now, welcome back to this CNN SATURDAY MORNING and in our 9:00 half hour, as we do every Saturday, we talk health care. So right now, we're going to be talking about and trying to do a reset here for you. A lot of people, terrorism has been on people's minds, also the economy, but health care, it's time to start this back up again.
We've got two bills we're going to be looking at. So what exactly is in those two bills? We're going to refocus for you this morning. Two health care bills out there but do you know the difference between the two? Now give us just a few minutes here and we're going to break this down, the simplest way possible. Of course, I need some help to do that.
Our national health care expert Ken Thorpe back with us this morning. Always good to have you. Happy new year to you.
KEN THORPE, NATIONAL HEALTH CARE POLICY EXPERT: Happy New Year.
HOLMES: Welcome back here with us. We've got these two proposals. We got the House and we got the Senate. Now they're going to try to merge these two. Some of the difference, let's start with how many Americans would be covered in each bill?
THORPE: Well, in the Senate bill, the estimates are about 31 million people who don't have coverage would get insurance. In the House bill, it would be closer to 36 million. A part of it is because the House bill is more expensive. Cost about 1.1 trillion over the next 10 years. The Senate bill costs about $871 billion. So the differences in costs and differences in coverage.
HOLMES: Now, differences in coverage. You're talking about how many people would be covered. Some of these people are going to be covered because they're going to be forced to get insurance. There's going to be some fines also if they don't get it. So what are the different fines between these two bills to force people, incentivize them to get this health care coverage?
THORPE: Well, then again, there are differences. In the Senate bill starting in 2014, you would have to buy coverage or pay $95 fine. And by the time you get several years out, to 2017, 2018, up to $750 a month but capped at two percent of your income.
THORPE: In the House bill, a little different. You would pay up to 2.5 percent of your income if you don't have health insurance coverage.
HOLMES: This would get a little pricey. Before we move on to number three, are some people, is it going to work out for them to I guess balance it out, how much do I make, how much would the fine be, kind of thing?
THORPE: Well, I think it would. I mean, the House bill has a little bit of an advantage. It costs more but the benefit is that people would pay less for their coverage. So if you're a family of four earning $40,000 you would pay $430 a year less for health insurance in the House bill. People are going to have to make the decisions -- is it better to pay for the insurance or better to pay the penalty.
HOLMES: To pay the fine. All right. Let's go to the third one. This is the doozy here. The public option. This is going to be, would you say this is going to be the biggest issue between these two bills?
THORPE: Well I think that they're starting to resolve the differences here. The Senate bill really does not have a public option. They provide for two national plans that would be administered by the same group in the federal government that runs the health care programs for the members of Congress. One of those plans would have to be a not for profit plan.
The House bill still has a public option included. But it's not as robust as it was originally. It would allow the secretary to negotiate rates with private health plans but probably not a big premium difference between the public option and traditional private health plans.
HOLMES: It sounds like more and more we're starting to hear them back away from that public option. Even that language of public options has been such a political football. Let's move on to the fourth question here, between the two, who exactly and how exactly, I guess, but who is going to be paying for these two bills, the Senate bill and the House bill. I guess that's us but how are we going to be paying for that?
THORPE: Well, here there are really big differences. Both bills would result in reduction of a deficit over the next 10 years. They both save about the same amount of money in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. But what's really different is the revenue sources.
In the Senate bill, two sources. One is big fees on health plans in the drug industry, about $264 billion there. And secondly a 40 percent tax on health care plans that are Cadillac plans, for single plan $8,500 a year. For a family plan $23,000 a year. Something favored by the White House, something very strongly opposed by the unions.
The house side goes a completely different direction. They would impose a 5.4 percent tax on individuals who are in over $500,000 and for families who earn over a million. So they're going to have to reconcile those very big differences.
HOLMES: Very big differences. They get started off, I think the House comes back next week and then the Senate after that. And it's time to get it on. We are going to be seeing your face plenty. Get used to seeing that face, folks. Ken Thorpe, you're going to be hearing a lot from. We certainly appreciate it. As always, again, happy new year to you. We'll be talking to you again soon.
Betty, did you get all that?
NGUYEN: Yes, I'm taking it in. I took notes. We're good.
HOLMES: All right.
NGUYEN: There is a new due date, in fact, for the health care reform bill. Details on when the most sweeping change to the country's medical system could become law.
NGUYEN: I want to update you now on your top stories this morning. This is video of the man believed to be the suicide bomber that killed seven CIA employees last month. This newly released video which aired on the Arabic TV network Al Jazeera showed Imam Al-Balawi.
Now, his brother in Jordan does confirm to CNN that that indeed is him. In the video, Al-Balawi vowed revenge for the killing of a Taliban leader in Pakistan back in August.
Well, a New York cab driver pleads not guilty in connection with an alleged terrorist plot. Zarein Ahmedzay was indicted on allegations that he lied to a federal agent. Police arrested him Thursday along with a second man who is due in court today according to the "Associated Press." Now, authorities believe they're both linked to Najibullah Zazi. He is the guy who is accused of planning to bomb New York on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
And it is going to stay cold for most of you this weekend. The massive cold snap that's causing dozens of traffic accidents and has pretty much made things miserable for millions of Americans. The freezing temperatures are also being blamed for at least nine deaths.
HOLMES: Well, there is a new due date for health care reform in this country. If President Obama gets his way, the most sweeping change to the country's medical system could be law by next month.
NGUYEN: Well, of course, that overhaul is far from a sure thing and starting next week the White House will renew its focus on keeping every one of those democratic votes that it has and maybe even locking down a few more.
CNN's deputy political director Paul Steinhauser explains.
STEINHAUSER: Good morning, Betty, T.J. Democratic negotiators from the Senate and the House are working on merging two different health care reform bills into one. President Obama talked with the top four democrats in Congress this past week.
In the next few days he meets with the entire House democratic delegation. So expect the White House to stay very involved in the health care talks. Congressional democrats would love to have a finished and approved bill on the president's desk by the time Mr. Obama gives his state of the union address, that's mostly early next month.
But that could be tough. Why? Because the two bills have a lot of important differences to overcome. And rather than go the traditional route of holding a conference committee of both Democrats and Republicans from the two chambers, congressional Democrats are going it alone. They say they're doing that to prevent Republicans from using parliamentary rules to slow down the final drive for passage.
Republicans are crying foul and they're backing a push by C-SPAN to allow cameras in any negotiations. They point out that presidential candidate Barack Obama promised to have such important negotiations televised on C-SPAN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: But what we will do is, we'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEINHAUSER: While Democrats don't appear to be taking C-SPAN up on their offer, they do say the entire processes has been transparent and they add that whatever is agreed upon behind closed doors will be made public. If or when the democrats come to agreement, both chambers then have to vote again on the combined bill before it makes its way to the White House.
And even if a bill becomes law next month, the final health care is far from over. Some Republicans say parts of the bill are unconstitutional and they're threatening legal challenges in court. And expect the bill or law to be a very big issue in this year's crucial mid-term elections. Betty, T.J.
NGUYEN: All right. You have to stick around for this story. Because he invented hundreds of medical devices. Now Dean Kamen wraps his brain around the mind boggling subject of health care.
HOLMES: Hear what he has to say about the this debate and possible solutions. Stick with us.
HOLMES: Well, he's been called the Thomas Edison of our time. Dean Kamen, the inventor of over 400 medical devices.
NGUYEN: Can you believe it? Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, in fact, traveled to Kamen's idea factory, as they call it, and got a looked at his latest innovative inventions and his take on health care reform.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Dean Kamen does have his own idea factory. It's the neatest thing. Can you imagine having your own idea factory, just being able to put these ideas out there and actually turn them into real life solutions?
The reason I really wanted to talk to him is because his voice on health care is different from just about anything else that I've heard. In fact, he said that it's not that we're spending too much money on health care, he thinks in many ways we're not spending enough. Here's why.
GUPTA (on camera): Sir.
DEAN KAMEN, INVENTOR: How are you?
GUPTA: How you doing?
KAMEN: Terrific. Come on in.
GUPTA: Well, thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here.
(voice-over): Dean Kamen is an inventor. On a bitter cold day, I went to visit him at his home in New Hampshire.
KAMEN: Well, actually, just to give you a sense of how things are going to go today, I thought I'd light the situation up. So are we ready?
GUPTA (on camera): This is how you start an interview with Dean Kamen.
(voice-over): You've probably seen his most famous invention, the Segway. It was built on medical breakthroughs. He started building what became the first insulin pump when he was still in high school. He and his company, Deka, have developed more than 400 patents.
Here's a home dialysis machine. And this wheelchair, the I-bot, well, you can dance, you can spin, you can stand six feet tall.
KAMEN: You can fight with somebody in one of these, you're going to be the one that goes down.
GUPTA (on camera): What do you think of what's going on with health care right now, the whole health care debate? KAMEN: Well, sadly, I think it's a debate that has so polarized two sides that there's not a lot of common sense being said by anybody.
GUPTA: There does seem to be this inherent skepticism or cynicism even about big companies and big government to some extent as well. If you had a moment with President Obama and he was collecting all these opinions on health care now, just had a couple of moments, what would you say to him? Because he wants to spend less and get more. That's what he's saying.
KAMEN: I would say, Mr. President, I think that there's no investment, no stimulus package, nothing you could do that would have a better return collectively to the country, to our companies and to our citizens than to put more resources into finding really good sustainable solutions to our medical problems.
What better place to focus more and more of our collective genius and innovative capability than on health care. Why is the debate a fight to spend less time, less money, less resources in the thing that we all claim is the most important thing we want. It's crazy.
GUPTA: Well, it's a very different look at health care. If you listened closely to what he was saying, he's saying that we really need to put more money into innovation to try and curb some of the health care costs later on down the road. Think about that for a second.
He gives the example of the insulin pump, something he helped create. He said while insulin pumps are not cures for diabetes it could curb health care costs, which are in the trillions, by a third. By that one single innovation alone.
I spent the entire day talking to him and looking at his inventions and looking at his vision for the future, a long interview you can see this weekend on the show. But I can tell you he's one of the most fascinating guys I've ever met. Back to you.
NGUYEN: No doubt. Just see the light bulb.
HOLMES: You love that part.
NGUYEN: That is the coolest thing. I want one of those.
HOLMES: Well, we're going to work on getting Betty one of those while we take a quick break but we're not taking a break here on CNN necessarily. "YOUR BOTTOM LINE" with our personal finance editor Gerri Willis is coming up right now.