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California Residents Clean Up After Moderate Quake; Reid Apologizes for 'Negro' Remark; Florida Battles Record Cold; Americans' Job Satisfaction Falls to Record Low; Mystery Figure in CIA Bomber Video ID'd as Terror Leader

Aired January 10, 2010 - 06:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It is January 10. Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And hey there. I'm T.J. Holmes. It's 6 a.m. here in Atlanta, Georgia, where we sit; 5 a.m. in Fayetteville, Arkansas; 4 a.m. in Boise, Idaho; and it's 3 a.m. in Eureka, California, where a lot of folks can't really see this newscast.

NGUYEN: No, electricity is out.

HOLMES: This morning - yes, we got a problem there, because we had a pretty significant earthquake there last night, a 6.5 as you see there. It didn't cause a lot of major destruction, but it did, like I said, leave a whole lot of people without power. We're going to bring you a full update in just a minute.

NGUYEN: And then the story that is shaking up the political world, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized to the president after a new book reveals Reid's stunning comments about candidate Obama. Among the quotes: he lacked a "Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one" - end quote. Just amazing, and certainly one of the biggest talkers on the blogs today.

We want to know what you think about all this, and we know you have a comment about it. So hit us up on our Facebook or Twitter pages, bettynguyen@CNN or tjholmes@CNN. Or you can always go to our blogs,,

HOLMES: Let's get back and tell you more about that earthquake right now. Crews working to restore power to thousands of people near Eureka. This is well north - some 270-plus miles north of San Francisco in California. No serious injuries were reported from this 6.5-magnitude quake.

A lot of nerves were rattled by this thing though. Now, we would love to bring you a live report from the area, but, like I said, power is out, including to our local affiliate there, who can't get up and do any reporting for us this morning. This earthquake was followed by several aftershocks, the biggest of those at 4.5.

One of our iReporters though sent us some of these pictures of the damage. Now you - you're seeing this, and it might not look like a whole lot's going on, but, again, it was shaking enough to - to rattle some folks and get some stuff off their shelves. So you can imagine what that person might have been going through in the house.

There are some reports of some isolated water-line breaks, some downed power lines and broken windows. But again, no major injuries or destruction.

NGUYEN: Well, our other top story is, of course, the weather outside. People across most of the nation fighting to stay warm in this bone-chilling deep freeze.

Here's what it looked like in Nebraska - boy, almost a whiteout there it seems. A sea of white, in fact. It's a state that is no longer a stranger to the cold and snow. But now, temperatures around zero, and the wind chill - well, that is below zero. It has become dangerously cold there. People being warned to protect themselves against hypothermia.

HOLMES: Well, police in Vermont warning people to stay off some frozen lakes after a deadly snowmobile accident. Three people killed, including a three-year-old girl, when the ice broke and they fell through.

They reportedly had been riding with other folks when this accident happened. We were told it - it was actually six snowmobiles all --- excuse, three snowmobiles all together carrying six people. They all fell through, but again three killed, three survived.

Then in Georgia, kind of a similar story: Two teens dead after they fell through the ice into a - a semi-frozen pond. A third boy has been hospitalized. Rescuers say he was able to pull himself from the water, but his friends got trapped under the ice for nearly an hour.

NGUYEN: Well, the Senate Democrats' top man in the Senate, of course, that being Harry Reid of Nevada. And he is finding himself in some hot water.

The Senate majority leader is apologizing for making racially insensitive remarks about Barack Obama during the presidential campaign.

HOLMES: Yes, authors of the book "Game Change" that's coming out on Tuesday quote Reid as saying privately that Obama could be successful thanks to, in part - and I'm quoting here - his "light- skinned appearance and speaking patterns, with" - again, I'm quoting here - "no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one."

NGUYEN: In a statement to CNN, Reid said - quote - "I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans, for my improper comments."

Now, last night, CNN's senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash talked about how this impacts Senator Reid.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) VOICE OF DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (by telephone): It looks like at least for now, in terms of his position as the top Democrat in the Senate, it - it looks like he's OK.

The biggest problem for Senator Reid, Randi, is his own viability just as a senator. He is already in a very, very, very tough battle this election year, in 2010, to keep his seat. And just today, a new poll in his home state of Nevada came out showing he is just pretty not well-liked. His favorability ratings, meaning how much people like him, are - are very low. Unfavorability, 52 percent. That's the highest in about a year.

And the problem for him back home is that people know him very well. So they know him, and the majority don't like him. And he trails three potential Republican candidates. So the biggest problem for him is that he's already been fighting for his political life to win his seat again in the Senate, and this is just another, in the words of one of his supporters - I just got an e-mail, from one of his supporters - "just another straw to break the camel's back."


NGUYEN: Well, President Obama responded, issuing this statement - quote - "Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today. I accepted Harry's apology without question because I have known him for years. I have seen the passionate leadership he's shown on issues of social justice, and I know what's in his heart. As far as I am concerned, the book is closed."

Well, we want to know what you think about the senator's comments. E-mail us on our Facebook and Twitter pages - pages. And we'll read some of those comments a little bit later this morning.

All right. Back to the weather outside. We just cannot escape it, it seems. This unbearable cold is gripping most of the nation. Didn't spare Florida, a state that is used to being, you know, out of the mix when it comes to this wintry mix.

HOLMES: Yes, that's where people go to escape...

NGUYEN: To escape it, yes.

HOLMES: ...this mess.

NGUYEN: Not even the citrus crops can escape this.

HOLMES: Yes, our Martin Savidge describes now the search for warmth in one of the last places we expected to find winter.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In South Florida, the arctic blast fell as a raw rain, forcing a new kind of beach attire.

In Orlando, runners in this half-marathon ran partly for sport and partly just to stay warm.

JUSTIN MIKHALEVSKY, MARATHONER: It means you earned it a little more. It makes you feel prouder about finishing. So, I mean, there's nothing you can really do.

SAVIDGE: In Hollywood, Florida, the entire Borden family, including little Roxy (ph), shivered waiting for the repairman. Their furnace went out a long time ago, but that didn't matter until this week.

JOEL BORDEN, FLORIDA RESIDENT: I tried it two weeks when I had a real cold day. I tried it, and it, and it just kept blowing cold air. Never - it never stopped.

SAVIDGE: Fortunately, the repairman showed up minutes later.

For Rafeal Lamboi, it's been days of long hours and frantic phone calls from home owners.

(on camera): How do they react when you drive in?

RAFEAL LABOI, UNIVERSAL AIR AND HEAT: Very happy to see me, and very happy when I leave, because they got heat.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Space heaters have been flying off the shelves, and that will put a further strain on the state's electric grid, which set a new winter record only Tuesday that's likely to be broken tonight.

But while some businesses benefit, others are threatened. It'll be another nervous night for the state's huge citrus industry, which so far has been spared the worst. Other growers rushed to protect their plants, even their tropical fish, housed in outdoor polls.

When usually we talk to Chuck Lanza, it's about hurricanes. Now, he worries Broward County may be totally unprepared for a different kind of weather threat: ice.

CHUCK LANZA, BROARD COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE EMS: We don't have the ability to de-ice and do any of that stuff. We have some real problems here if we had any type of heavy ice or even if we had the unfortunate circumstance of having snow.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Mm-hmm. So even sleet or - or - or a freezing rain could be an emergency situation?

LANZA: It certainly could be significant. Weigh down the wires; we could lose a lot of our power and our ability to communicate with 911. It would be a difficult situation for us for at least several days.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Meanwhile, in Dade County, Barbara and Richard Sanchez (ph) have their own way of coping with the cold: Just throw another log on the fire.

Something Henry Ladue will be only too happy to sell you: for about $150 a pickup-truck load.

(on camera): What kind of calls do you get?

HENRY LADUE, FIREWORD SALESMAN: Desperation calls mostly. How much, when, how long, can I come get it.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): These days in South Florida, the business of wood is good.


HOLMES: Yes, we're talking about how cold it is there.

Now, most people are trying to stay inside and stay away from it. Some people went right outside to get in it this morning.

Take a look at this picture; we're not playing, folks. About 20- plus thousand people have gotten together for a marathon. This is the Disney World marathon weekend. This is of a - a weekend of events. They did a half-marathon yesterday. I think it was about 30 degrees this morning when they started this thing. And they started about a half an hour ago for this marathon.

Now, in Florida, they have it this weekend. You have it in Florida because you think the weather's going to be fairly decent.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: Thirty degrees, maybe, when they started this morning.

NGUYEN: At 5 in the morning. We were watching them warm up a little bit earlier, and they were dancing and doing everything they could just to keep the heat on in their bodies.

You know, -- look, I think I would do a half of a half of a half marathon if I was in Florida today, if I could even do that in this cold weather. But good luck to them out there.

HOLMES: No doubt (ph).

NGUYEN: So the question is, is there a warm-up on the way?




NGUYEN: Yes, that's kind of the motto in some parts, because folks not able to drive too slow when they are slipping and sliding out there. That's kind of out of control.

HOLMES: Yes, that was a live picture of Atlanta we were showing you there. Or we had been...

NGUYEN: The varsity. HOLMES: Yes, speaking and sliding here for awhile.

And it's still kind of bad out, some of the side streets. I mean, you think it's OK because the main highways and whatnot are cleared.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: But then you get to going on those - some of those back roads.

NGUYEN: And some of them have been cordoned off, in fact, with caution tape. I've seen that in - in some of the areas through downtown.

I want to show you some video, too. Milk trucks, they have overturned. Some 2,000 gallons of milk - that's not ice, folks; that's milk frozen on the freeways there, almost immediately. As you can imagine, it went from liquid to solid. The truck driver was injured and conscious.

The accident - the cause of that - well, we're not really so sure at this point. Still checking on that. But police say that the ramp curb may have busted a tire there. So interesting situation with milk on the freeway.

HOLMES: That's frozen milk. Is - so is it ice cream now?

NGUYEN: Yes, frozen milk. I guess. I mean, I don't know.

HOLMES: Well, yes, that was in New Hampshire. They're having issues up there; we're having issues all over the place right now.


NGUYEN: So what do the jobless numbers really mean for you and your search for work?

HOLMES: Yes, Josh Levs looking into the details behind those digits.

Good morning to you, Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning to you guys.

Yes, we're going to be taking a look at this map, too, which shows you how bad unemployment is in different states, but also how to find jobs in your state.

Now, the real unemployment figures that we generally hear are actually - or, the real unemployment figures are actually different from the ones we're hearing all the time.

But you know what? There is a bit of good news this morning for you in the latest jobs report.

I'm going to show you what that is. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


NGUYEN: Well, can you get it at work? Want to know how you feel about your job.

Well, if you are like most Americans, you're not feeling so great about it right now.

HOLMES: Yes, we got a new survey out that finds Americans more dissatisfied...

LEVS: Yes.

HOLMES: ...with their jobs than ever.

Josh Levs looking into for us. Good morning again, Josh.

LEVS: Good morning again to you guys.

So this survey has been done every year since 1987, and never before has it been this low. In fact, now until very recently did they find that the majority of Americans are disliking their jobs. Here's the figure for you - take a look at this. It's from the Conference Board. They spoke with thousands of people all over the world.

Forty-five percent - only 45 - or rather, all over the country. Only 45 percent of Americans right now are saying that they're satisfied with their jobs, and they're ready to give lots of reasons why they are not satisfied when you look at what's in this survey.

Now, we spoke with a couple experts yesterday in the "CNN NEWSROOM" with Fredricka Whitfield. We spoke with - they're two of our favorites, Ken and Daria Dolan, about what this figure means, and about how this dissatisfaction can ultimately have a really big impact on the entire economy.


DARIA DOLAN, DOLANS.COM: First off, they are not keeping pace with inflation.


D. DOLAN: Their wages were up in the last count two-tenths of a percent.


D. DOLAN: And - but their -- their health costs and everything else, their taxes, the prices of food, the prices of gasoline...

WHITFIELD: So how do you...

K DOLAN: Here's the problem we have, Fredricka, if, in fact, people stay dissatisfied and with a large percentage: You're going to have dissatisfaction, lower productivity.


K. DOLAN: It's going to stop the economy.


LEVS: That's a pretty big statement, but he's not the only one saying that. If you stop and think about what happens, dissatisfied people, when they're at work, are at lot less productive. That, in and of itself, the dissatisfaction isn't just unfortunate, it's a serious economic indicator that can slow down our whole country. So clearly, there's some stuff that needs to be done about that.

But we also need to keep in mind that people, a lot of the people watching right now, are saying, 'Hey, I'd love to be dissatisfied with job. I don't have one at all.' Keep in mind these latest unemployment figures here, that just came out. This is 85,000 jobs lost in December, 4.2 million jobs lost last year. The unemployment rate has stayed at 10 percent.

And the real unemployment figure is even a bit bigger, because you got another 6.3 million people who have given up looking for work. And then you have 9.2 million people who only have part-time.

But I am going to get this in: There's one little piece of good news in the latest report, which is this - the encouraging news, about temporary workers. A net increase, 46,000 net jobs - temporary jobs were added to the economy, and that is actually a really good economic indicator. Because as a rule, employers out there will bring on temporary workers before they start hiring more full-time workers.

So Betty and T.J., that was one little piece of good news in the latest reporter. If you have more people out there doing temporary hiring, maybe it means that in the next few months, we'll see more actual hiring. And maybe that ultimately will help fix the economy. We'll see how that goes.

NGUYEN: All right, Josh. We appreciate it. Thank you.

LEVS: Thanks, guys.

HOLMES: Well, a lot of people tired of this cold weather. Adults though not the only ones sick of the cold, in Nebraska, at least.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when the second storm hit, and the first storm, I felt torn - torn out. I was, like, just stressing.


NGUYEN: You know it's bad when even the kids are stressing out over the weather.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NGUYEN: Togo's national soccer team pulls out of a competition after the machine-gun attack on the bus on Friday. It happened near the border of Angola and the Republic of Congo. As many as three people are dead, including an assistant coach.

The team was on its way to the Africa Cup of Nations Tournament.

HOLMES: Well, the CIA is vowing not to let the brutal murders of seven of its agents in Afghanistan derail them from their mission of stopping al-Qaida. A video released yesterday shows the double agent believed to be behind the attack vowing revenge for the killing of a Taliban leader.

Humam al-Balawi is his name, and he said his faith was not for sale, which raises questions as to how well the CIA can penetrate militant groups. In an editorial in "The Washington Post," the CIA director, Leon Panetta, said - and I'm quoting - "The CIA cannot speak publicly about its major victories, the plots foiled, the terrorists neutralized. In the past year, we have done exceptionally heavy damage to al-Qaida and its associates. That's why the extremists hit back, and it is all the more reason why we intend to stay on the offensive."

NGUYEN: Well, one of the seven CIA agents killed in that suicide attack was laid to rest yesterday in Portland. Dane Paresi was working as a CIA security contractor at a remote military base in the borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan when the suspected double agent detonated the bomb.

He was a retired, non-commissioned officer and a master sergeant previously based at Fort Lewis. He was 27 years old.

We also now know the mystery figure who appeared in that video beside the suspected double agent.

HOLMES: Yes, CNN's Arwa Damon reveals his identity in this report she filed from Islamabad.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The video was released in Pakistan on Saturday. In it, you see a man speaking on the right. That is the alleged CIA bomber, Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi.

In this video, he's stating that the attack that he is going to be carrying out is in revenge for the U.S. drone strike that killed former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in August.

Sitting to his left is the current leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, who in October, vowed to avenge Baitullah's death.

That the strike carried out against the CIA in Afghanistan.

PERVEZ HOOBHOY, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: It's very clear that there is no real distinction between the Taliban on this side of the border and that side of the border, that this is now international at least to the extent that it is something that crosses between the Pakistan and Afghan borders.

But then it draws strength from Jordan. It draws strength from Iraq, And there is a fusion of Iraq, of the Iraqi al-Qaida with the al-Qaida here in Pakistan.

And so all of this is getting tied together by one single thing, and that is a common world view and a common ideology.

DAMON: Until now, the Pakistani Taliban largely focused on domestic attacks. What we're seeing now is it carrying out a strike across the border in Afghanistan, the operative that it sent an Arab, a very startling development that is sure to see even more pressure being put on Pakistan to target all militant groups operating within its borders.

And that could further threaten the already-fragile stability in this country.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Islamabad.


NGUYEN: All right. So what's harder for firefighters: Putting out the fire in the heat or in the cold?

HOLMES: Well, the heat can be pretty brutal on those guys and pretty dangerous, but how difficult is it if you're trying to put water on a fire, and the water keeps turning to ice?


HOLMES: Hey there, everybody, and welcome back to this CNN SUNDAY MORNING. I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Yes, good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: Now, take a look here at what some crazy folks are doing down in Orlando this morning. I call them crazy because it is about 29 degrees according to our Bonnie Schneider, when this race started. The marathon they are having down there in Orlando, the Disney World Marathon. Expecting 23,000 to 24,000 who actually signed up for this marathon this morning that started at 5:40 a.m.; 24,000 signed up. I think only maybe 200 showed up because they got sense knocked into them with the cold air, but they still had a good turnout clearly, but they are hoping to make it -- is it better to run a marathon in the cold or the heat?

NGUYEN: I was about to ask that. I mean, do you even break out a sweat when it is that cold outside? It is a marathon, after all. I guess your body heat does increase after a lot of running, but you see some of the folks with that -- it looks like aluminum foil kind of wrapping around them. That's supposed to keep the heat in. I think I would wrap my entire body head to toe with that and make a jump suit if I was running in that kind of weather. Good luck to them out there because it is cold outside. HOLMES: Somebody let us know, please, you runners out there, let us know, is it better to run in the heat or do you prefer to run in the cold? That's a good question.

NGUYEN: How about this, not just the cold, but below freezing. How about that?

HOLMES: Exactly.

NGUYEN: Bonnie Schneider is coming up shortly with a look at the forecast. We'll show you how cold it is really going to get today.

HOLMES: And some of the top stories we'll pass along to you now.

Have you heard this one yet? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, yeah, he's apologizing to the president. Why? For some racial remarks he made during the campaign about then Candidate Obama. There's a new book coming out called "Game Change." It claims Reid privately said that candidate Obama had a good chance of winning, thanks to his, quote, "light skinned looks" and also his, quote, "no Negro dialect". Reid then gave this statement apologizing to the president, apologizing for his remarks, saying, "I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments."

The president accepted Reid's apology and put out a statement of his own. Next hour we'll talk about damage control now with some political strategists.

NGUYEN: Well, an earthquake off northern California has knocked out power to tens of thousands of people. No serious injuries, but a lot of nerves rattled. The 6.5 magnitude quake hit near Eureka yesterday afternoon, it was followed by several aftershocks, the biggest measuring 4.5. These are pictures of the damage taken by one of our iReporters.

We are hearing reports of isolated water line breaks, downed power lines, broken windows. Of course, a lot of people are cleaning up the mess from all the things coming off of the walls, out of their cabinets, and you can even tell in the video, I don't know if it was shaking at a time, this is cell phone video, or a picture, I should say. But it looks like there's still movement in that. Again, no serious injuries have been reported.

HOLMES: Turning to Vermont now, where police are warning people to stay off the frozen lakes. They are warning them after we have seen a deadly snowmobile accident. In the accident, a man, his daughter, who is in her 20s, and granddaughter who is three years old, were all killed when the snowmobile broke through a thin sheet of ice. They were reportedly had been riding with three other people. They were on -- they were on three different snowmobiles altogether. Six people all together, went into the frozen lake. Three came out. Of course, three did not. Again, three people survived this, but, yeah, you would never know how thin or thick the ice is, so they are warning people to stay off of it. NGUYEN: Well, in Omaha, Nebraska, firefighters say the extreme cold hindered their efforts to save a small strip mall. Officials say several businesses were destroyed. In the video you can tell they were dealing with a whole lot. That appears to be ice from the water that they were putting on the building to try to put out the fire.

HOLMES: Yeah. They are trying to figure out if this was intentionally set in the first place. And they believe it started inside a bagel shop and spread quickly into other businesses. But yes, that is kind of what they are up against. If you have temperatures that are literally below freezing, then you put all the water on it. It doesn't take long for that water to freeze. It may have hampered some of the efforts to save this place

NGUYEN: Firefighting efforts, yes.

HOLMES: But you can see, it is amazing how pretty the stuff can look. You have seen plenty of burned buildings we all have, but for whatever reason, but this one seems to decorated in quite a way, by the ice.

NGUYEN: Yes, and there's been lot of record cold temperatures across the nation as well. Florida, the freeze is getting worse. And that's something folks there really weren't hoping for, especially with the crops they are trying to save.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right, tonight, T.J. and Betty, the Central Florida the temperature will get down to 28 degrees for a sustained period of several hours. That is terrible news to the citrus crops. Because once we get to 28 degrees that is when the fruit freezes, usually, the peels of the oranges kind of protect it from freezing, but when you have prolonged colds, that is when you have big problems.

Actually, tonight will see some of the coldest air we yet. As if it is not cold enough in Orlando where they are running a marathon, right now, the temperature at 30 degrees. We have 37 in Cape Coral. Remember, it is the wind chill factor that makes it feel so much colder, so the wind chill warnings are in effect across the entire state of Florida. It feels like it is in the teens right now, right where those citrus crops are in Central Florida.

It also feels like the 20s and 30s in South Florida. That's incredible when you consider the average high temperature down in South Florida to be 72 degrees in Miami this time of the year. So that's what we are looking at as you can see.

Temperatures are also cold across the Southeast. Watch out for black ice across much of the Southeast this morning. Well, we'll take a look at some of the severe weather from the Midwest to Florida. Here's CNN's Shelby Lynne.


SHELBY LYNNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Beyond the images of roads being cleared and cars covered in snow, there's the human toll of severe winter weather. Ann Alberts and her grandson were stuck in their Omaha, Nebraska area home for three days before help arrived Friday. Local officials had to get major roads snow plowed before they could get to their area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when the second storm hit, and the first storm, I felt torn out. I was like stressing.

LYNNE: Meanwhile, firefighters in the Midwest say the weather is having repercussions on how they do their jobs.

CAPT. PAT O'BRIEN, OMAHA FIRE DEPARMENT: At the added weight of the ice and snow, with your pack, your equipment, your gloves get frozen. I mean, your hands would be curled into one position and you can't move them.

LYNNE: Florida also continues to shiver. Parts of the Sunshine State even got a little snow, this in Putnam County outside Jacksonville. In Orlando runners in a half marathon clutched foil blankets after crossing the finish line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putting this thing on, it just kind of keeps the heat nice in and it keeps me warm.

LYNNE: In Fort Lauderdale space heaters, of all things, were flying off the shelves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I bought four, but I think I'm going in and get some more.

LYNNE: Forecasters expect warmer air will improve conditions on Sunday and Monday with temperatures much closer to average around midweek. I'm Shelby Lynne reporting from Atlanta.


HOLMES: Oh, my goodness. Well, Bonnie -- at what point, this has got to stop at some point?


HOLMES: It will, you are promising us?

SCHNEIDER: Maybe tomorrow.

NGUYEN: In spring? Oh, really that early?


SCHNEIDER: No, no, really. I think even this week, huge changes that will get a little closer to normal tomorrow. Then look at this, above normal across much of the West. That's all headed east. Have a little more patience, we're almost there, just a couple days away from feeling like it is supposed to feel in January, not like this.

NGUYEN: Which is cold, nonetheless, just not below freezing. Thank you, Bonnie. SCHNEIDER: Sure.

HOLMES: There have two incidents in the past that have forced airplanes to land before reaching their destinations.

NGUYEN: Yes, but they weren't terror or security threats, but unruly passengers. What did they do to cause all kinds of problems for the airlines?


NGUYEN: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is apologizing for racial remarks about President Obama during the campaign. A new book called "Game Change" claims that Reid privately said that candidate Obama had a good shot thanks to his, quote, "light skinned looks" and lack of, quote, "Negro dialect". Read gave this statement saying, quote, "I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African- Americans, for my improper comments."

The president accepted Reid's apology, and next hour, I'm going to talk damage control with some political strategists.

And this morning we have been asking you what you think about the senator's comments. You can go to our FaceBook page, our Twitter site, and go to our blog to let us know. We'll be reading some of your comments on the air.

HOLMES: Well, also, the father of the so-called balloon boy is defending himself against allegations that is this is a publicity stunt, even though he's already pled guilty to such.

In an interview with our Larry King, Richard Heene says he believed his son had taken off in that home-made experimental balloon. You know that thing by now. But he pleaded guilty to felony to prevent his wife from being deported to Japan. He begins his 90-day jail sentence tomorrow.

NGUYEN: Florida is normally a top vacation destination this time of the year, but you may want to wait a little bit before buying that ticket. It was snowing in Florida yesterday. That's the first time it's done that in more than 30 years. Temperatures dropped below 20 last night in some areas. And the bitter cold also has farmers scrambling to save their crops.


NGUYEN: All right. Whether airlines have developed zero tolerance, or the Christmas Day terror attempts, like the ones we saw recently has folks a little jittery. The instances of passengers behaving badly seems to be making the news more and more lately.

HOLMES: That might be it. Maybe we have a heightened sensitivity to it right now.

NGUYEN: Perhaps that's the case. HOLMES: Do you often see people cut up when you are on a plane?

NGUYEN: No, not really.

HOLMES: I don't see it that often either, unless, I'm the one cutting up.

We have some incidents we have seen. The latest we have seen, Portland, Colorado Springs, L.A., a passenger's behavior forced a Hawaii Airlines jet to return to Portland. He was arrested. This is some video we got from one of our iReporters onboard, of a man being escorted out. He could be facing some felony charges. Military jets had to escort that plane back to Portland.

Also, there was an AirTran flight -that's a picture of the guy from the Portland incident.

Also, an AirTran flight that was heading from San Francisco - excuse me, from Atlanta to San Francisco -- had a guy on that causing some issues. The airline says -called him an irate. Says he was irate with a flight attendant. There was another passenger we go a hold of who was onboard, as well. Here is how the passenger described the whole thing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the guy is just going off on the stewardess because she's telling him, you've had too much to drink. But he has no shoes and he has no shirt on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was just pointing and yelling. Even when we went to land, he wouldn't sit down and stood up in the back of the plane.


HOLMES: I think that qualifies as unruly.

NGUYEN: Yeah, just a tad.

HOLMES: No shirt on?

NGUYEN: What was he thinking? Really?

HOLMES: No shoes? What was he thinking?

NGUYEN: That would be "no service" in many places.

HOLMES: I guess the drinks were flowing on that flight. But, again, they take this seriously. No doubt about it and F16s, fighter jets had to escort the plane to make an emergency landing at the closest airport they could find, and that happened to be in Colorado Springs.

NGUYEN: Keep your clothes on, don't drink too much or don't be unruly or you could end up like that. HOLMES: That doesn't seem like you should have to put that in the list of rules on how to behave.

NGUYEN: Yes, right, keep your clothes on.

HOLMES: That seems like common sense rules.

It is not too late for a lot of you folks to make the new year's resolutions. If you'd like to set a resolution to get fit, a lot of people do.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. It is the time of year to do that. But what about having more sex to get fit? Well, researchers say it is one way to stay healthy.

HOLMES: It is better than running.


HOLMES: If people work out, they usually have more upbeat music than that.


HOLMES: But if they are going to work out like this, we are about to talk about, that is the kind of music they want.

NGUYEN: Yes, we're talking about them getting it on. If you don't like to exercise, you may want to try having sex instead. Yes, "The Journal of Sexual Medicine" --

HOLMES: Which we subscribe to here at CNN.

NGUYEN: Yes. It is publishing a study, soon, about the benefits of frequent sex.

HOLMES: Let's give you the highlights, shall we?

NGUYEN: Shall we?

HOLMES: It lowers your risk of heart attack, also lowers the risk of prostate cancer, also lowers the risk of breast cancer. Now, we are talking about frequent sex here.

NGUYEN: Yes, what does that mean?

HOLMES: What does that mean.

NGUYEN: Well, having sex 12 times a month is supposedly equal to running seven miles.

HOLMES: Really?

NGUYEN: I'll repeat. Twelve times a month equal to running seven miles.

HOLMES: There's so much that could be said right now.

NGUYEN: I think a lot of people are going to be subscribing to that. What is it, "The Journal Of Sexual Medicine." Just so they can get stuff like this, that will allow them to, hey, jog seven miles without having to do so.

HOLMES: Without actually doing it. That's -- let's move on.

NGUYEN: We are about to get in trouble.

HOLMES: Sasha Cowen talked with one couple who vowed to have sex every day for a month. And you can read their story at

NGUYEN: All right. (INAUDIBLE) also joins Doctor Sanjay Gupta this morning on "SANJAY GUPTA, MD", that is coming up at 7:30 Eastern. You don't want to miss that.

All right. Well, two comics, one network, one coveted late night time slot, who will be left standing on NBC? That's a big question.

HOLMES: This is a huge story and a huge battle that is brewing over who is going to rule late night again? Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien. They are supposed to be on the same team over there at NBC, but some are pitting one against the other. Rumors are flying that NBC is about to shuffle the deck bringing Leno back to his old 11:35 time slot. Both comics are dealing with the situation with what else, jokes.


CONAN O'BRIEN, NBC LATE NIGHT: A lot of rumors swirling around about the "Tonight Show," "The Jay Leno Show", and the rest of NBC's late night lineup. And there's a lot of speculation out there. And I just wanted to go over just some of the rumors that have been flying around. Just check these out.

The Jay Leno show is going to be canceled is one. Jay is moving back to 11:30, I'm moving to midnight, both of our shows will be on at 11:30 running simultaneously, in split screen; "The Tonight Show" will be an iPhone app, and the "Jay Leno Show" will become an Xbox game. Jay and I are quitting both our shows and co-starring in a new buddy cop drama called, "Coco and the Chin". Jay and I will be joining the case of "Jersey Shore" a new character called the "The Awkward Situation". I'm pregnant with Jay's baby, Jay's pregnant with my baby, we're both pregnant with Tiger Woods' babies. NBC is going to throw me and Jay in a pit, with sharpened sticks, the one who crawls out alive gets to leave NBC.



HOLMES: Well, Jay Leno's ratings have been shall we say, a little disappointing. So that causes problems for all the late local newscasts, around the world. Since they don't have a strong lead in, that hurts their numbers. NGUYEN: They are hurting from that.

HOLMES: So, that means that is hurting their bottom line. We'll see what happens.

NGUYEN: The funny thing is they are both, Leno and Conan O'Brien, joking about this, but for many, though, behind the scenes, I'm sure it is not a laughing matter. It is serious business.

HOLMES: I hate that for Conan, the poor guy, it seems like the stepchild has been put aside, and not even giving it a chance to work.

NGUYEN: Yes, but his numbers, not so great, either. We shall see.

HOLMES: Letterman is cracking up right now, right?

The big story we have been talking about this morning: Senator Harry Reid is apologizing to the president, apologizing to the country, apologizing to African-Americans over his insensitive comments he made about then-candidate Obama.

NGUYEN: Yes, really, how much hot water is he in? And will his comments impact the health care reform debate. I'm ask our team of political experts in just ten minutes.


NGUYEN: A little old school for you this morning, with Run DMC. Hard times is what they are talking about and a lot of people are feeling it right now. We want to talk about budget cuts on a mass scale. And it can get kind of abstract, but it is a different story when you start putting faces on those affected.

HOLMES: Our Kate Bolduan takes us to Frederick County, Maryland where state budget cuts are hitting the most vulnerable.


Oh, mommy found toys.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Four-year-old Carson Brewster has a rare chromosomal disorder. Her mother, Michelle, left a contracting job four years ago to care for Carson full time.

MICHELLE BREWSTER, MOTHER: She can't care for herself. You know, we have to change her clothes, she gets food -- fed through a tube. She's got over 22 doctors, so -

BOLDUAN (On camera): 22 doctors?


BOLDUAN (voice over): With $13,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses last year alone, Brewster says supplemental funds from the State of Maryland have been essential to her family's financial survival for years. But the economy has struck even this vulnerable segment of the population, faced with a $700-million budget shortfall, Maryland cut nearly $30 million from the state's Development Disabilities Administration.


BOLDUAN: For the Brewster's that means painful decisions. The extra help for things like diapers, medication and physical therapy dropped from $2,500 to just $300.

(On camera): What does that really mean for you guys?

BREWSTER: A struggle. A struggle to figure out how we are going to help our - you know, how to help our daughter, and make sure we have the money to make sure our other children get it, too. Me and my husband, we can wait. Our kids can't. And that's what it is all about.

BOLDUAN (voice over): Outraged by the state' action, advocates for the developmentally disabled launched a statewide campaign, holding town halls to fight the budget cut.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think people realize how this can totally devastate your family.

BOLDUAN: State officials say they understand, especially in this sluggish economy. Every cut hurts someone, but they defend the governor's budget decision.

CATHERIN RAGGIO, SECRETARY, MARYLAND DEPT. OF DISABILITIES: He was able to protect services for people with disabilities throughout most of the budget cutting rounds. But the choices are getting much more difficult to make. It is not easy anymore.

BOLDUAN: And not easy for states across the country. A recent report by the Pew Center suggests states' budget troubles are having far reaching impact on residents.

SUSAN URAHN, PEW CENTER ON THE STATES: As the states face increasingly severe budget troubles, the public is definitely going to feel it. They will pay more taxes, they will pay higher fees.

BOLDUAN: With the $2-billion budget shortfall projected in Maryland for 2011, Brewster says she has no idea what is in store for her family's financial future. She only hopes more cuts aren't on the horizon for her daughter, and so many others.

BREWSTER: They didn't ask to be disabled. We are not asking for hands out, we are just asking for a little bit of help, that's it.

BOLDUAN: Kate Bolduan, CNN, Frederick County, Maryland.


HOLMES: And the president is talking health care reform in his weekly message to the nation. NGUYEN: Yes, he is emphasizing the changes to insurance plans. And here's part of that message.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Insurance plans will be required to offer free 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 restrictive 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.


NGUYEN: President Obama says reform will mean the cost for health care will come down for families, businesses and government.

HOLMES: Hello, there everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING for January 10th. I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Good morning everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. Thanks so much for joining us. It is 7:00 a.m. here in the East, 4:00 a.m. in Eureka, California, where there are rattled nerves, broken glass and power outages. After what you are seeing right there, the result of a 6.5 earthquake that hit last night. We'll have an update as people start taking stock of all the damage.

HOLMES: Well, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in the middle of a big mess this morning. And we're not talking about health care reform. He is apologizing to the president after a new book revealed Reid's -- some would say -- stunning comments about then-candidate Obama.

Among the quotes, he says that the president lacked, and I'm quoting here, "a Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one." His point here was that candidate Obama was more electable because of that and some other things that we'll be getting into. We'll get reactions with both sides of the political aisle -- coming up.

And we do want to talk more about that earthquake. First, crews are working right now to restore power to thousands of people near Eureka. There were no serious injuries reported from the 6.5 magnitude quake. A lot of people were understandably shaken, though. The quake was followed by several aftershocks, the biggest was 4.5. So, these are fairly some significant shaking going on here.

One of our iReporters sent some pictures of what happened. We're hearing also some -- reports of isolated water line breaks and some downed power lines and broken windows. Now, of course, that's a lot of stuff -- it takes a lot to get the stuff off the shelves, but there was some serious shaking going on there. Again, tens of thousands of people are without power and they're working to get that back on right now.

NGUYEN: Well, the CIA is vowing not to let the brutal murders of seven of its agents in Afghanistan derail them from their mission, and that is stopping al Qaeda. A video released yesterday shows the double-agent believed to be behind the attack vowing revenge for the killing of a Taliban leader. Hammam al-Balawi said his faith was not for sale, which raises questions as to how well the CIA can penetrate militant groups.

In an editorial in "The Washington Post," CIA director, Leon Panetta, said, quote, "The CIA cannot speak publicly about its major victories -- the plots foiled, the terrorists neutralized. In the past year, we have done exceptionally heavy damage to al Qaeda and its associates. That is why the extremists hit back. And it is all the more reason why we intend to stay on the offensive."

HOLMES: And a whole new story of Vermont this morning, where a man, his daughter who's in her 20s and granddaughter, who was 3-years- old, were all killed when their snowmobiles broke through frozen ice. Well, this is a lake essentially and you can never really tell how thick this stuff is.

But there were six people riding altogether on three snowmobiles. All the snowmobiles apparently broke through the ice, but three were killed. The other three survived.

Now, officials say here that it is not clear exactly how thick that ice was at the time. Also, other snowmobiles had actually traveled over that same area near Salisbury before that accident.

On a similar note, here in Georgia, two teens dead after they fell through the ice into a semi-frozen pond. The third boy had to be hospitalized. Rescuers said he was able to pull himself from the water. His friends, though, got trapped under the ice for nearly an hour.

We turn to a story that is going to be another political football here, another political controversy. Democrats, their top guy in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, he is now in a bit of trouble over some comments he made.

NGUYEN: Yes, the Senate majority leader is apologizing for making racially insensitive remarks about Barack Obama during the presidential campaign. Authors of the book "Game Change" are coming out -- or at least that book is coming out on Tuesday and its authors have quoted Reid as saying privately that Obama could be successful, thanks in part to his, quote, "light skin appearance and speaking patterns with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," end quote.

Now, in a statement to CNN, Reid said, quote, "I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments."

As you would expect, Reid is getting criticism for a lot of folks these days in regards to that, and some, in fact, who want to replace him in the Senate.


SUE LOWDEN (R), NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: It's a pattern of bad judgment. Remarks that Senator Reid has made over the years, including the war is lost when our sons and daughters were over in Iraq fighting the war, including saying if you don't like the health care bill, then you must be a proponent of slavery. These are a series of remarks that the senator has made, not just one or two times, but many times. And it's just bad judgment on his part.


NGUYEN: Well, President Obama responded issuing this statement: "Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today. I accepted Harry's apology without question because I've known him for years. I've seen the passionate leadership he's shown on issues of social justice and I know what is in his heart. As far as I'm concerned, the book is closed."

What has been a week of damage control on Capitol Hill, but this morning, the headlines belong, as you can expect, to Majority Leader Harry Reid. And that is the first topic, but not the only one that I'm about to speak with our guests this morning.

Maria Cardona, a prominent Democratic strategist who served as the senior adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign for president. And she joins us from Washington -- as does Leslie Sanchez, a Republican strategist and former adviser to President George W. Bush.

Leslie, let me start with you. How damaging is this, Harry Reid's comments?

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It's tremendously impactful, more so because he's in a very competitive race in Nevada. He really is unpopular because of his support of the health care plan. You have a lot of Nevada voters who don't want that to pass.

But on top of that, it's really tired, old rhetoric that has come from the left. And it's a -- it's going to be interesting to see if the Democrats push back as severely as they should. If this were on the Republican side, I think there would be a lot of hypocrisy, calling for resignation and to step down, especially in terms of leadership.

But it's critical -- I think the president's response is very good. But will it ease the pain? It's tremendously hurtful to many in the ethnic communities.

NGUYEN: Yes. And you call it tired, old rhetoric.

But, Maria, a lot of people are saying, "Look, in this day and time, very surprised that Reid would make such comment."

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, absolutely. And I think it is a completely unacceptable comment, completely idiotic and unfortunate. And I think it goes to show you that even the smartest people, sometimes their brains take leaves of absence. And this is what happened in this case.

He did apologize very quick, very directly, very aggressively. He called all the leaders in the African-American community, which was the right thing to do.

The president accepted his apology without question. I think you have to take a look at his records to really take a look at what is in his heart to the president's comments.

And I think, in terms of his election, sure, it doesn't help. He's got a tough re-election, but I think that the voters are going to ultimately look at his record and what he has been able to deliver for Nevada, which, frankly, has been a good record. And I think, if he delivers health care reform, that is going to be an absolute plus for the voters of Nevada.

NGUYEN: Yes, I want you to weigh in, Leslie, because...


SANCHEZ: Yes, I was going to say, it would be a nail in the coffin.

NGUYEN: That's exactly my question. It was just a nail in the coffin because he's already in an uphill battle.

SANCHEZ: Yes, he's so unpopular in the state. I think if you read his internal polling, he would know that Nevada voters are very skeptical about this health care plan. They don't know what's in it. It's being passed in secrecy and it's really affected his popularity and his ability to look like a strong candidate, a strong incumbent in his state.

It's the sentiment of the American public. Republican, Democrat, independent are very frustrated especially with this bill. But this does not help his case at all. It was very hurtful what he said. And people will think of it and will look at it in the context of his career and past statements that he's made.

NGUYEN: But how much weight does the president's comment -- and all of them have come out very quickly ahead of the book's release to try to do some damage control -- how much weight does the president's comments weigh into all of this?

CARDONA: I think -- I think a lot because, clearly, that -- the comments -- the comments that Harry Reid made were about the president. So, everyone will look to the president to see how he handles this. That's why I think that the president -- the president's statement will do a great deal to close the book as he said in his own statement.

And then it will allow Harry Reid to focus on his re-election in terms of issues. He has delivered a lot for Nevada in the years of service that he has been senator. And to back -- going back to health care reform, what the voters of Nevada and I think the voters of the whole country are sick of is how political this has become, the political back and forth.

When they look at what health care reform will give them, which is accountability to health insurance companies which is health coverage to the 30 million Americans who don't have it and security to those Americans who do have it, who, tomorrow, the health insurance companies could drop their coverage and they will not be able to do that now with this. That's a plus.

NGUYEN: All right. Very quickly, Leslie, I see you're shaking your head. I got to give you the last word on this. Go ahead.

SANCHEZ: No very quickly. You know, this is not a slam dunk in terms of passing this health care reform because there are a lot of unanswered questions. You know, first off, why don't we -- didn't we have the transparency with C-SPAN showing and revealing what these negotiations look like. There's issues of verifying citizenship, issues of raising health care premiums, issues of why did Nebraska get certain benefits that other states didn't. There's a long road to go in terms of getting a compromise, bringing Republicans to the table who are anxious to work with Democrats on this.

We do need health care reform, but we need the right health care reform.

CARDONA: And we're closer than ever before to getting it.

NGUYEN: Well, ladies, I do appreciate you joining us today, and hashing out some of this, whether it would be health care reform or the future for Senator Harry Reid. Thank you both. We appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: Thank you.

CARDONA: Thank you, Betty.

HOLMES: And I have been fascinated by some of the comments. We've been asking you for your comments and your thoughts about what Harry Reid said. And our director, (INAUDIBLE), I don't know if you can get it, but I got them up on my Mac right now -- I don't know if you can pull on the screen. If not, I'll still read them here.

And Betty is pulling some up on hers right now.


HOLMES: Bu a couple I wanted to share which some people say it's idiotic, stupid, I can't believe he did that and so on and so forth. But there are a couple who are taking this a little bit deeper in a different direction.

And Douglas Manty (ph) is one of them. And he says, "Can you overcome racism if you can't talk about it? If it was the truth, why shouldn't he say it? And why should he apologize later for having said it? I guess some people think we should just keep pretending."

Along those same lines, another from Brick Terry (ph) who says, "Reid's observations were true. I'm sure political strategists thought the same thing but dare not say it. His comments are indicative of what's obvious to most black people -- racism, stereotyping is still prevalent in America."

What they are saying with some of the conversations you heard behind the scenes, but nobody wanted to come out and talk about.

NGUYEN: Say it publicly.

HOLMES: And that is, yes, Obama in a lot of ways, people would say, was non-threatening in a lot of ways. He was a light-skinned, a clean guy. You heard those comments from Joe Biden.

NGUYEN: Joe Biden.

HOLMES: But nobody wants to come out and say that and be honest about it. And that's what some people here have tapped into.

NGUYEN: Those are really good points. But you're also hearing a lot of people saying, you know, I cannot believe in this date and time he would say this.

So, quickly, Cass (ph), on my Twitter site, says, "It's pretty amazing America's illness, racism, it is so deeply rooted."

And more thing very quickly on my Facebook page that really gets to your point from C. Henry Brown (ph). He says, "You know, it's interesting. We always want people to be open and honest with their thoughts and comments."


NGUYEN: "But the minute you do it and it's something considered to be not politically correct, they come under fire. Believe me, Harry Reid is not alone in his thoughts. If we get offended every time somebody speaks off the cuff, then we need to be honest with our self about our own comments and thoughts."

So, a lot of people taking a look at this, stepping back from it and trying to see the root of it, perhaps.

HOLMES: Truly offensive to a lot of people, but maybe a conversation that does need to have been had. But, again, it's just a sensitive topic.


NGUYEN: It really is and a lot of people are still offended by those comments. So, we still want to hear what you have to say this morning. Send in your comments to us. We'll be reading them on the air. You can go to our Facebook and Twitter sites. Also, to our blog.

HOLMES: All right. We're going to turn to our Bonnie Schneider now, keeping an eye -- when we talked about how cold it is, Bonnie, we're not used to talk about Florida.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No. We're not used to talking about snow and fleet in Florida. You know, back in 1977, there was snow and sleet across the state. That made the news.

Well, it's also going to make the news in 2010, because tonight, temperatures are going to get even colder than where they've been. So, Florida freeze is ahead for tonight, but a warm up is ahead for the country this week. I'll have more coming up.

HOLMES: All right. Bonnie, thank you. We'll see you in a second.

And what do you get when you add your son with a home-made balloon? You get jail time. You also get to go on "LARRY KING" and explain yourself. We'll tell you what the father is saying now. Is he finally admitting this was a hoax?



HOLMES: Diana (ph) is doing a wonderful job in music.

NGUYEN: She's our producer of this show. Yes.

HOLMES: She's our DJ extraordinaire. She's just -- she's doing a good job.

NGUYEN: It may not be strawberry fields, but the citrus crops and a lot of other crops down in Florida, they are really bracing themselves. At least the farmers are trying their best to save what they can under these below freezing temperatures, trying to harvest some ripe fruits, spraying orchards with water.

You know, and I didn't really realize this until recently, that a thin layer of ice will insulate these blossoms and really help them during freezing temperatures. You know, you would think that if you're putting water on something when it is below freezing outside, it's going to cause it to freeze. But apparently, it serves as kind of a bit of a blanket.

HOLMES: It's ingenious.


HOLMES: And that's exactly what these strawberry farmers are doing. And, who knew? But they've been doing this long enough, they know how to protect themselves and they know how to be a little usually -- use some of that Florida, I guess, ingenuity down there. You do what you got to do.

NGUYEN: They are experts at it, aren't they?

HOLMES: They are.

NGUYEN: Well, let's talk to an expert about the weather. And Bonnie Schneider has been looking at the maps. She's been prognosticating and all that.

So, Bonnie, are we going to get out of this deep freeze any time soon?

SCHNEIDER: We are. But Florida is facing more frigid conditions tonight. And it's a good think they put the ice on the strawberries because the problem with what's been happening there is the temperature has been getting cold at night and then warming up during the day and getting cold again.

What happens to the fruit? Well, it rots under those circumstances. That's why they have to kind of pick those strawberries really fast when they are ripened. Unfortunately, it's going to freeze for a longer period of time tonight than it has all week long.

We are looking at six hours at 28 degrees in central Florida. This is where all the citrus crops are located, right in northern and central Florida. So dangerous tonight.

Currently where there's a marathon happening in Orlando, we have 30 degrees outside right now. The wind chill warnings are in place all the way down to Miami. It feels like its 25 degrees this morning in Miami. That is so unheard of. Plus, we have the snow in Daytona Beach.

Temperatures are frigid across the southeast. Watch out this morning for black ice in Atlanta. We've seen a lot of that in the forecast.

And I just want to mention that in New England, it's also very cold, too. The wind chill factor this morning in Boston is negative one degree. A big football game in Foxboro at 1:00 today. It's going to feel like it's about 10 degrees. So, bundle up.

NGUYEN: All right, Bonnie. Thank you.

HOLMES: She got the game in there.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: Good job there, Bonnie. (CROSSTALK)

HOLMES: Well, how would you like to turn 300 bucks and 30 million bucks.

NGUYEN: Hey, that's a deal. Josh Levs is here with the secret.

All right. All you need is a computer, really?

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And the thing is, you can go to Vegas, right?


LEVS: And take your chances or you can try this.

NGUYEN: But they aren't so great, right?

LEVS: Yes, you're probably going to lose. You got to watch out.

But you could also try this. You can make a short film about robots attacking a city. Post it on the Internet and then sit back while Hollywood launches a bidding war for your creative services. We got that and more -- the best viral videos coming right up.



NGUYEN: We are waiting. There it goes. It was not cued at the right time. Come on, Cedrick!


HOLMES: Oh, you called him out, didn't you?

NGUYEN: He usually does a great job, though. We love Cedrick.

HOLMES: All right. Well, "Ray of Light," let's go along with this next story here. It's a building in Texas unlike anything you've really ever seen before.

LEVS: Yes, our Josh Levs has that and more from the world of viral videos.

Hey, Josh.


LEVS: Hey, guys. All right, you know there's a new phenom among viral videos out there, the huge outdoor light shows. What's they're doing is they're taking these lasers, massive lasers and they're projecting images onto buildings.

We have this one from a building in Houston. Take a look at this. (VIDEO CLIP)

LEVS: This is racking up millions of views online. This was done over the holidays at the convention center there in Houston. They really have advanced these lasers. They are looking pretty 3D. They made the building look like it came alive.

Look at that. You got the eyes. You even got the sounds matching to it. People crowd outside to stare at these big things. And that's just one of the latest ones taking over millions of views online.

All right. Now, sometimes, the coolest viral videos are actually really simple, don't require any money and it will only take like 20 seconds. Check this out.


LEVS: Look at that. Look what he's doing. Outfielder Josh Womack of Long Beach Armada AAA team during spring training, you see he's letting go of the bat while swinging, but instead of it flying off, it spins a couple times and then he catches it. And no one can seem to understand how he's doing that. Again, millions of views online.

All right. All of that, without checking (INAUDIBLE).

We got one more for you. A video that not only went viral, it caught the attention of Hollywood. Look at this.


LEVS: A short film by a filmmaker in Uruguay called "Panic Attack." It's sort of "War of Worlds." That little boy is about to see huge robots, giant robots, coming into attack the capital city.

The filmmaker was quoted as saying he had to spend $300 to make this. Obviously, it wouldn't include all the equipment he already had and all the time.

It gets pretty violent. Take a look at this section here. Look at this.


LEVS: Check out the massive robots coming to town. Now, it sets the music that's called "Panic Attack" by Snake. And the video went huge. This filmmaker, his name is Fede Alvarez, he has now gotten a $30 million deal from Hollywood producer Sam Raimi, best known for "Spider-Man." So, he went from 300 bucks to $300 million. Not bad.

So, parents, if your kids are into posting videos on YouTube, it could pay off one day.

All right. You can always send us your favorite viral videos. You know how to reach us online, on the blogs, also Facebook and Twitter, JoshLevsCNN.

And, Betty, I got to tell you. We chose that first one for you. You know, Texas, Houston...


NGUYEN: Yes, I appreciate the Texas connection.

LEVS: Yes, not bad, huh? A pretty impressive stuff.

NGUYEN: Yes, thumbs-up for that. Thank you.

LEVS: You got it, guys.

HOLMES: You shouldn't be talk about Texas too much.

NGUYEN: Hey, my Cowboys won last night.

HOLMES: Yes. Well, what happened to the Longhorns?

NGUYEN: Longhorns? Look, you know, injuries -- must we replay that? Where were your Arkansas Razorbacks?

HOLMES: They were winning their bowl game.




NGUYEN: OK, anyway. We are going to a break while I strangle this guy. Be right back.



HOLMES: All right. Checking our top stories.

Togo's national soccer team pulled out of the competition after a machine gun attack on their bus on Friday. This happened near the border of Angola and the Republic of Congo. As many as three people are dead, including an assistant coach. The team is on its way to the Africa Cup of Nation's tournament.

NGUYEN: The father of the so-called balloon boy is depending himself against allegation that the drama was a publicity stunt. In an interview with our Larry King, Richard Heene says he pleaded guilty in the case to keep his wife from being deported to Japan. Take a listen.


RICHARD HEENE, FALCON HEENE'S FATHER: We searched the house high and low and -- I'm sorry. LARRY KING, "LARRY KING LIVE" HOST: It's OK.

HEENE: And I -- you know, after I saw him in this craft and Bradford told me that he went inside, I first didn't believe Bradford and I told him that perhaps all right. I just saw him and...

KING: Tell me, in substance, you believe your son was in the craft.

HEENE: I know he was in the craft.

KING: Well, you didn't know it, of course. It wasn't.

HEENE: No, in my mind -- in my mind. There was no other place because I visualized him, you know, I yelled at him not to go in there.

SHERIFF JIM ALDERDEN, LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO: Quite honestly, I'm shocked he would make such statements. The evidence against Mr. Heene and Mayumi at this point is really overwhelming. You know, there's no doubt in my mind that this thing was a hoax and I really doubt there's very few people in America who don't understand at this point that this was not an elaborate hoax perpetuated by Richard and Mayumi.


NGUYEN: All right. Well, Heene begins his 90-day jail sentence tomorrow. And you can see the rest of Larry King's interview with Heene and the sheriff of Larimer County, that is tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.


HOLMES: A lot of Muslims in the U.S. want everybody to know the suspect in the Northwest Flight 253 is the exception, not the rule to their religion.

NGUYEN: That's in our "Faces of Faith" segment, something that we do every Sunday morning, in the 8:00 hour of CNN.

HOLMES: More of your top stories coming up at the top of the hour when CNN SATURDAY (ph) MORNING continues. But this guy -- I mean, what's with the name change?

NGUYEN: "DR. SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." -- you don't like that? That's OK.

HOLMES: I mean, seriously, Sanjay. Your name is already...

NGUYEN: He put his name to the show.

HOLMES: It was already in the show, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

NGUYEN: Yes. But now, it's front and center. Hey, give the guy a break. He's a brain surgeon, OK?

"DR. SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." begins right now.