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CNN NEWSROOM

Broken Government; Rebuilding Harlem; All Downhill for Lindsey Vonn

Aired February 17, 2010 - 14:00   ET

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


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here's what I've got "On The Rundown" right now.

In East Palo Alto, California, three people are dead after a small plane crashed into a neighborhood. The victims were all on the plane. No one on the ground was hurt. No word yet on the cause of the crash. There was fog in the area, although that's quite common around there.

In Haiti, those 10 Americans detained at the border with a busload of kids are still waiting to hear their fate. A judge is due to make a decision on bail, but his ruling could be delayed because the electricity is out at the courthouse. The missionaries facing kidnapping charges. They say they were just trying to help the kids or trying to start an orphanage.

The White House is cautiously celebrating the one-year anniversary of the stimulus plan. President Obama says it saved or created at least two million jobs. Others take issue with that number. He also says too many people are still out of work.

We'll continue on that story through the hour.

Now let's get to our lead discussion -- government gridlock, partisan politics. Call it what you like, but the people who were elected to Capitol Hill don't seem to be getting much done.

Health care reform, a new energy policy, a jobs bill -- nope, nope, and let me just check on that third one -- oh, yes, nope. A lot of you are frustrated, and we hear you.

Our polling shows two-thirds of voters think most members of Congress should not be re-elected, so we're going to be looking at the holdups on Capitol Hill, trying to figure out some fixes for this broken government, but that is easier said than done. Just ask President Obama.

Let's rewind to the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: After eight years of broken politics in Washington, eight years of failed policies from George Bush, and 21 months of a campaign that has taken us from the rocky coasts of Maine to the sunshine of California and everywhere in between, we are one week away from changing America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Hopefully. We were one week away from changing America.

Fast forward to this year's State of the Union a month ago. A different story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I'm not naive. I never thought that the mere fact of my election would usher in peace and harmony and some post-partisan era. But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day.

We can't wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side. A belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: What the heck happened? In one year we went from being a week away from change to a man who sounds almost defeated about the ability to get things done in Washington.

CNN Political Analyst Roland Martin is joining me here in Atlanta. Senior Political Analyst Ed Rollins joining me from New York.

Gentlemen, thank you for being with us on the show.

Let's just take the focus off the president for just a second, and let me ask you some very basic questions here.

Is this an exaggeration?

We'll start with you, Ed.

Is this an exaggeration that the government is not working as it should? Evan Bayh, who -- the Democratic senator from Indiana, in announcing that he is not running again, said government is not doing the work of the people.

ED ROLLINS, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's not focusing on issues that are bothering Americans. The economy is the critical issue here, and we are now into our second year of the Obama administration, and a jobs bill is still floating out there. And at the end of the day, there is always an opposition party.

The Republicans are now the opposition party, and that is their prerogative. But the Democrats are having problems within their own membership. And Evan Bayh, being a centrist Democrat, condemns sort of the progressive side. And I think the reality is, if Obama can't get 218 votes out of a way more number than that in the House, or get sufficient votes out of his 59 senators in the Democratic Party in the Senate, then it shows a lack of leadership on his part.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Ed is absolutely right, Ali. But let me just cut to the chase. All of those people, all of the American people in the poll we were just talking about are full of it. You know why?

VELSHI: Do tell.

MARTIN: Because they are the ones who re-elect these incumbents every single year -- the folks who are there 15 to 20 and 30 years.

VELSHI: Yes.

MARTIN: And what also happens is you have the people on the left who are the liberals who want to force Democrats to be even more liberal. You have the folks on the right who want to force the Republicans to be more conservative.

VELSHI: Yes.

MARTIN: I mean, look what happened to Senator John McCain. People were saying, oh, he's not conservative enough. So what happens, it forces people to take strident positions, and then it it's all about re-election.

VELSHI: So Ed just pointed out that the Democrats have a problem in and of themselves.

MARTIN: They do. They do.

VELSHI: They've got a fight going on. The Republicans are having their lunch eaten by an emerging conservative movement called the Tea Party.

I mean, we can call them a bunch of Independents, but they are eating the Republicans' lunch more than the Democrats' lunch, Ed. Wouldn't you say that, Ed?

ROLLINS: No. I dispute that.

The Republican Party is now a conservative party. I think the Tea Party -- some of whom are Republicans, some of whom are conservatives, some of them are sort of the old pro types -- basically aren't satisfied with any of it. And I think the Republicans are a conservative party, as Roland said. The problem is reapportionment.

MARTIN: Absolutely.

ROLLINS: You know, we now have districts that are safe Republican districts, safe Democratic districts. And the only thing you have to worry about is getting primaried (ph) on the left, on the Democrat district, or on the right.

There aren't very many competitive districts. There's more this year because of the unhappiness. There's probably 60 out of 435 that are competitive districts. There ought to be 100 or 200 every year. There ought to be basically be real competition, and then people have to pay attention to the voters.

VELSHI: OK. Interesting, because I was going to ask you guys who was to blame, and you guys both seem to be saying the voters might be to blame.

Hold your thought. Hold your thought, because I want to continue this discussion when we come back.

OK. We're getting down who is to blame, but that is actually not the point here. The point is, who actually fixes it? How do we get out of this? Who do we turn to lead us out of broken government?

When we come back, these two guys who know a lot about this are going to give us some clues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: Let's get right back to CNN Political Analyst Roland Martin, here in Atlanta with me, Senior Political Analyst Ed Rollins in New York. We're talking about broken government.

Guys, there is nobody who I have interviewed or spoken to who says everything is going fine, Washington is ticking along like a Swiss watch. The fact of the matter is, everybody agrees something has to change.

Ed, starting with you, who do we turn to, to change it? Who drags us out of this morass? Who actually is supposed to be doing it and who will do it?

ROLLINS: Well, first of all, the president has to sit down with leadership in Congress, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and say this is what I want. Next year, this is my agenda. Tell me if you can get the votes for it.

If you can't get the votes for it, then I have to compromise some things. I have to basically go to the Republicans and say, what is it that you want in order to get on this particular bill? And if you get three or four or five, 10 things that bring the Republicans in, then you've got some bipartisan support.

If not, Democrats still have the votes to move a legislative program forward. They just aren't willing to do that. They're fighting inside, and it's about one extreme versus the middle. And I think at the end of the day, it's not good for the American public.

MARTIN: I absolutely agree with Ed. And I will say this here -- obviously, the Republicans need to compromise. You need to have leadership on the Republican side saying forget this nonsense of putting a hold on 70 appointments by one person, we need to also come up with our own ideas. But I want to deal with the Democrats.

And Ed nailed it. They have an 18-vote majority in the Senate. They have a 78-vote majority in the House. President George W. Bush never had those kinds of majorities, and so it is time for Democrats to actually lead.

Now, I will give you an example.

Democrats don't like Democrats filibustering, but they don't want to get rid of the filibuster, which is not even in the Constitution, it is a Senate rule. So, I see the Democrats, and they're afraid to get rid of it because they think, well, when we are in the minority one day, we want to be able to use it as well. If you don't truly like it and if you think it is hindering progress, then have the guts to get rid of it.

The second thing, the president, when it comes to his appointments, Mr. President, if you have people that have been sitting there for longer than six months, you should go ahead and say recess appointments. Appoint your people now.

VELSHI: And he said he would do it.

MARTIN: No, no, no. He said, I will consider doing it. It was a threat, but the point I am making is, if you control the White House, if you control the House, if you control the Senate and you have gridlock, if you're in the leadership, you lead. That's why you were elected.

VELSHI: I want to ask something you just said.

Ed, where is the Republican leadership coming from right now? There does appear in most quarters to be a vacuum there. Where is that going to come from?

ROLLINS: Well, I think the House and Senate leadership are about being an opposition party. The future of our party will come, I think, from one of the governors.

Obviously, until you have a nominee and you get into presidential politics in two years, which actually start in a year, you don't really have a national leader who can lead you to the promise land. But right today, the technical people who lead the House and the Senate are, more or less, arbitrators of the programs and leaders of opposition.

VELSHI: Would you like it better, though, Ed, if there were someone who was emerging as a at least a bit of a leader so that that movement had some stability?

ROLLINS: You know, I think some of the young House Republicans are pretty effective, but ultimately, I think it is going to come from our. We've got some great governors.

Mitch Daniels, a former protege of mine, worked with me at the White House, a great governor of Indiana. A lot of other governors across the country, they have to do -- that's the test model out there, what governors do, and they ultimately are the ones that have to make it happen. MARTIN: But Ed, they don't have to have one leader. John Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, there are existing leaders.

I agree with you, when you're in the opposition, you are to put up your own ideas. But also, at some point they also have to say, guys, we just can't say no to everything. And you're right, the White House and the Democrats want to listen to the ideas and incorporate them, but you can't have Republicans in Congress still saying no, no, no, only to win in November.

VELSHI: Last quick word to Ed.

ROLLINS: They would say yes if you had some realistic things that adhered to their Constitution and their ideology. If you would have had tort reform in the health care bill, a lot of Republicans would have been supportive of that,. Democrats wouldn't go there.

MARTIN: They put tax cuts in the stimulus bill and they all voted against it. Come on. Let's just be honest.

VELSHI: I knew why I liked the two of you here, but I've got to move on.

Thank you very much. It's a pleasure and an honor to have both of you.

MARTIN: What, do we have a little gridlock here, Ali?

VELSHI: We've got a little gridlock.

Always nice to be with you.

MARTIN: I love it, Ed.

VELSHI: Ed Rollins and Roland Martin.

All right. Coming up, you are not going to want to miss this. Anderson Cooper goes to Harlem.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: This year we are using CNN's people, resources and technology to tell the stories of people "Building Up America" -- our economy, our infrastructure and spirit, including New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. So, starting Monday, February the 22nd, we have the CNN Express on the road and across America.

Tom Foreman will be on it, and I'm going to miss it, but hopefully I'll get to jump on the bus from time to time.

So, in today's "Building Up America," the man you are about to meet could have launched his career just about anywhere with his Ivy League business degree. Wall Street would have been an obvious choice.

Anderson Cooper has his story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harlem, long the epicenter of African-American culture, has seen its share of hard times. Central Harlem is one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City, and during this recession it owns the city's highest unemployment rate. More than a third of the people now live in poverty.

Joe Holland is determined to change that.

(on camera): So why did you come to Harlem? You didn't grow up here. You went to Harvard Business School. You probably could have had a lot of different opportunities.

Why did you come to Harlem?

JOE HOLLAND, OWNER, "GOSPEL UPTOWN": It was out of a sense of wanting to get back to my community. I believe in the biblical mandate, "To whom much is given, much is required." And I saw Harlem as a place where I could make a difference.

COOPER (voice-over): Joe and his business partners, his sister and brother-in-law own and operate "Gospel Uptown", a soul-food restaurant with a twist.

(on camera): What was the vision? You wanted more than just a restaurant?

HOLLAND: Yes. We see it as a live music, fine dining destination; a throw-back to the Harlem renaissance where you had the great places, small paradise, the cotton club.

COOPER (voice-over): Joe was close to realizing his dream and investors were lined up, then the economic crisis hit.

HOLLAND: We had qualified a number of people ready to go in the fall of 2008. We went forward and signed the lease, and then the economy went crazy, and the portfolios started to shrink and everybody backed up.

COOPER: Joe didn't give up and eventually secure aid federally backed small business loan. He now employs more than 50 people.

HOLLAND: There's kitchen and wait staff, bar staff, hostesses and we're an entertainment destination, so we have production staff. We have sound engineer, light engineer.

COOPER: Joe hosts several bands and individual artists at his restaurant showcasing homegrown Harlem talent.

(on camera): It has to feel good to be in the community and say I've been able to employ 50 people.

HOLLAND: Yes. That's really the key because I've been in this community for almost 30 years as a lawyer first and then a minister and entrepreneur, a government official, and what I've learned is the best thing that you can do for the community is to build the economic base and create jobs.

COOPER (voice-over): Elsa Garcia is Holland's pastry chef. She was unemployed for two years before hired to create desserts for Gospel Uptown. What did you think when you finally got this job?

ELSA GARCIA, PASTRY CHEF, GOSPEL UPTOWN: It was my dream come true. I was so excited. A second income is what we needed. I have three children, and we had one income, my husband's income. It's helped a lot.

COOPER (voice-over): Joe knows the restaurant business is tough especially in New York City where businesses open and close almost daily. Tonight as he introduces a live musician by famed Jazz musician Jimmy Heath, Holland is thankful his dream of helping others is being fulfilled with an added bonus.

HOLLAND: That it would feel this good to have a great house with great music, people enjoying themselves, eating great food. This is really what it's all about. It's a dream come true.

COOPER: Business is picking up each month, he says. Holland wants to expand his restaurant to communities like Harlem around the country. Until then, he's happy to personally impact those he's employed and help rebuild the community he's grown to call home.

Anderson Cooper, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELSHI: Starting Monday, February 22nd, we continue "Building Up America." The CNN Express is on the road across the nation to tell the stories of America's renewal and recovery.

Saved or created two million jobs and kept the U.S. out of a deeper recession, but on this one-year anniversary of the plan, he also said too many people are still out of work.

NATO-led forces have made some early gains five days into Operation Moshtarak in southern Afghanistan. The Afghan army able to raise their country's flag today in Marjah, which has long been a Taliban stronghold. Some firefights are still going on around the town, but the State Department says it looks stable enough to start setting up a local government.

A founding member of Hamas' military wing was found dead in his Dubai hotel room last month, and now the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has turned into an international murder mystery. Police say hotel surveillance video shows 11 suspects scoping out their target. And yesterday, an international arrest warrant was issued for the arrest of 10 men and one woman.

All right. When we come back, we're going to visit with Chad, who says that from a historical context, this January, which was full of snow and cold weather for most of us, was actually particularly hot.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WEATHER REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: Mark McKay is our man at the Olympics. Let's go over to him in Vancouver right now. The much-anticipated alpine skiing with Lindsey Vonn, American skier, is under way right now.

Mark, what have you got?

MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we will certainly be following this throughout the day here in the Vancouver days, Ali, as Lindsey Vonn finally takes to the slopes.

Much anticipated, indeed, as she arrived at these games a week ago with an injured shin. The shin has healed, in large part, that she hasn't had to ski because of the weather. But it is a brilliant day here, a clear sky. Overnight, there were freezing conditions up at Whistler Mountain, making ideal racing conditions for the women's downhill here at the Vancouver games -- Ali.

VELSHI: All right. She has had some history of injuries. She crashed on a training run in Torino in 2006, but she competed anyway and she finished, and she placed eighth there.

What is the thinking about her chances here?

MCKAY: Well, I think her chances are great. She comes here with five disciplines, Ali, that she is enrolled in.

She could win. If she is healthy and is really at the top of her game, Ali, she could come away with at least three gold medals. She has been tearing it up on the women's World Cup circuit all over Europe and parts of North America, so Vonn is ready to go, the shin has healed. She's ready to come down the mountain.

VELSHI: And she's come off a couple good years, she won back-to- back World Cup champions in 2008, 2009.

What other stuff are you following right now, Mark?

VELSHI: We're also looking back at men's figure skating. The men's program got underway at Pacific Coliseum, it saw the defending Russian come out of retirement. Yevgeny Plushenko said, I was done after Torino, I have a gold medal in hand, but he wants another one and he certainly showed it. He is in the lead after the opening program of men's figure skating.

Couple of Americans to watch. Right now in silver medal position is Evan Lysacek, he is the U.S. skater, and his U.S. teammate, Johnny Weir, is sixth. Did you know that Johnny Weir was so nervous before the competition yesterday, before he arrived that he went and dusted his apartment, Ali. VELSHI: Dusted his apartment? All I know from you about Johnny Weir is that he designs his own costumes. We're going to be watching that.

Mark McKay in Vancouver, covering the Olympics for us. Thanks, Mark. Good to see you.

When I come back, I'm going to be talking to Josh Levs about where the stimulus money has gone, how it's worked. I'm also going to be talking to Jared Bernstein, the economic adviser to the vice president who is in charge of the stimulus bill. He's standing by at the White House; Josh is standing by next to me.

We're going to update you on the first anniversary of the stimulus bill when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: Happy birthday, dear stimulus. Our producer Ben Tinker (ph) baked this cake. It is a stimulus happy birthday -- first birthday cake, which is also a pie chart. It is the birthday of the stimulus. It is actually very --

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They didn't understand how to make a pie out of a cake, so they got confused.

VELSHI: You can put that down.

But, serious topic. We have been tracking the stimulus, the money that's gone out to projects item by item. Josh Levs has been doing this for a weeks, we have been doing it together, but josh has really been on the case.

Give me a big picture. It's a year into the stimulus bill, tell us how it has worked?

LEVS: All right, I'll give you two big figures here. First of all, the total that we know is going to cost the country now, from the CBO we have this for you, $862 billion over 10 years. It's massive.

And over on the next screen we have for you is how much has actually been spent. Because, keep in mind, most of it is not for projects. People think it is all for roads and stuff.

VELSHI: Right, right.

LEVS: Most of it is for tax cuts and benefits like unemployment. This is how much has actually been paid out. You have $119 billion in tax cuts have gone out, $179 billion in additional spending has happened, including $31 billion on projects. So that is how much we've actually seen hit the economy so far.

VELSHI: All right, Josh. Thanks very much. Stay with us, because I'm going to have a conversation about the Recovery Act, the stimulus bill. When it comes to the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the White House says we ain't seen nothing yet. In year two, spending per month is due to increase and the more will go to projects, the reinvestment part, as opposed to the short-term aid and the recovery part.

In year one, this is the first year that we've been in, take a look at this -- job loss has slowed to a relative trickle, but jobs gains, you can see them at the end of the chart there, they have not really started in earnest. We saw a month of job gains and we saw more losses.

With all that in mind, let's bring in Jared Bernstein, the chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden. Mr. Biden, as you know, is the White House point man on the stimulus.

Jared, good to see you again. Thanks for joining us.

JARED BERNSTEIN, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER TO VP BIDEN: Thank you, Ali. Nice to see you.

VELSHI: You too.

We've been following this, you and I have been talking about this for some weeks now, because CNN has been --

BERNSTEIN: For awhile, yes.

VELSHI: -- trying to follow the stimulus money. Let's cut to the chase. We know that there are disputes about how many jobs have been either created or saved. There are some people who have come out in recent weeks and said, it has not created a single job and it muddies the waters to mix up created with saved.

Give me your take on that.

BERNSTEIN: Look, there's just absolutely no way to defend a statement like that. In fact, when I heard Senator Scott Brown say that when he was sworn in, I thought I heard even the press corps give an audible gasp.

That the -- I have traveled around this country with the vice president and have seen for myself teachers in the classroom, workers in a solar panel plant outside of Toledo, Ohio, I have seen construction workers fixing bridges. Now, the 2 million jobs saved or created thus far, you mentioned a bunch of different estimates, well in fact there are and they all kind of hover around that number.

And we can have great arguments, and you and I have had some of them, about how that number is -- about how that number is used and what it means, but you can't deny that there are classrooms today that would not have teachers in them. There are cops on the street who would be unemployed were it not for state fiscal relief.

VELSHI: But if you were not in your job with the White House behind you and you were studying the numbers, you understand the argument that it is basically impossible to guess at what would have happened if this money were not spent in the stimulus, right? So, the problem is the baseline, the reference is hard to reconcile.

BERNSTEIN: Exactly. See, here is the thing --

VELSHI: Yep.

BERNSTEIN: Every time -- and it is not just us. Every single past president who has done this, has done the same thing with the same models. You have to take a guess about where the economy would have been otherwise. It is an educated guess, it's a statistical guess, it's one that the independent Congressional Budget Office made, and their estimate was that the act created or saved as many as 2.4 million jobs thus far. So this is tried and true.

But I think what's better in this case, and I think you did some of this on your own reporting, is to go out to actually see the jobs in the field. To see the teachers in the classroom, the cops on the beat, to see the construction workers, to see the guys and the women making the solar panels, expanding the smart grid, the (INAUDIBLE) all that.

(CROSSTALK)

VELSHI: We have been doing that. You are right. Earlier in the show we had somebody on --

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: So how can you -- so let me ask you, Ali. You have been doing that yours.

VELSHI: Right.

BERNSTEIN: You have seen it with your own cameras.

VELSHI: Right.

BERNSTEIN: And what do you make of the claim this has not created one job yet?

VELSHI: Well, I think the waters got muddied when we changed it from creating jobs to saved and creating jobs, because there is no way to verify that at all. That doesn't mean we didn't create jobs, I'm just saying it's hard now to make that comparison. I don't think we give much sway to people who say nothing was created, it's just hard to actually respond and say something was created, cause jobs were lost.

BERNSTEIN: I think, when you see it, you got to believe it.

VELSHI: I hear you that you've seen jobs being created and I about the teachers and I hear about the police and I get that. I'm just saying it's hard when we talk about net creation of jobs, we are talking about the jobs, as you know, that have been lost versus those that have been created.

But let me ask you this, phase two, the next year of this thing, I spoke to somebody earlier from the Club for Growth, the Fiscally Conservative Club for Growth, who feel that none of this should have been done, particularly the part that involves the extension of unemployment benefits, because he said it was encouraging people to stay home and not look for jobs. And I took issue with that, but what about those who are now saying just cut taxes across the board?

BERNSTEIN: Let me tell you something. These are the folks who drove the car into the ditch and are sitting there now on the sidelines pointing fingers and telling us, no, don't get it out that way, get it out our way.

We have tried what was called supply-side economics, the notion is if you just cut taxes for the wealthy, don't try to pay for it, just cut taxes for wealthy and that will create all kinds of economic activity that will trickle down -- trickle-down economics -- to the rest of the economy and everything will be all better. Well, in fact, it got us into the mess that we are in.

This president does not start from there. President Obama, Vice President Biden, less than a month after they got here worked with the Congress to sign the largest recovery act in the history of this country. The economy, as you know, was contracting at a rate of 6 percent when we got here thanks to those failed policies. Employment was hemorrhaging, 750,000 per month, thanks to those policies.

VELSHI: It was 750,000 in one month, I know --

BERNSTEIN: No, no, wrong. Wrong.

VELSHI: January of last year was 750,000, we haven't crossed 700,000 in any other month, Jared. You guys need to stop saying that.

BERNSTEIN: OK, well here we -- no -- OK, here we have a factual disagreement that we will work out after this airing. I will get it, we'll get it to you. On average, on average --

VELSHI: All right, I'm going to ask my control room to pull up the graph, cause we've got it. The job losses from the entire year from 2009 while we're talking. I'm just -- I'm not quite sure why you guys continue to say an average of 750,000 a month.

BERNSTEIN: For the first three months of this year, average job loss was 750,000 per month for the first three months of January, February, March, 2009. That is a fact.

But, look, what I can tell you, and you said it yourself a minute ago, was that at the end of this year, that loss rate had been diminished to a rate 20,000 in the past month. That's still too many jobs lost, but that's the kind of pulling back from the brink that this recovery act has helped to accomplish.

VELSHI: All right. Jared Bernstein, we are going to have a good discussion in the future about jobs lost and jobs created. Thank you for taking the time to continue to come out to talk to us about this. Still a lot of work to be done in getting the nation back on track, so we do appreciate your time. BERNSTEIN: My pleasure.

VELSHI: Jared Bernstein is the chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden who in charge of the execution of the stimulus act.

When we come back, we will go back to the White House for "The Ed Henry Segment." By the way, if you want to know what we are talking about, follow me on Twitter or follow Ed Henry on Twitter at @EdHenryCNN. He's going to come back and talk about at least one job being created and Suzanne Malveaux is with him, too.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: She might be in, too.

VELSHI: We will be back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: We have been waiting on a development from Port-au- Prince, Haiti about the 10 Americans who were being held facing kidnapping charges for trying to take 33 children out of Haiti after the earthquake that occurred on January 12th. John Vause is in Haiti right now with an update.

John, what have we got?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hey, Ali.

We spoke to the judge a short time ago. (INAUDIBLE) he did say that some of the Americans would be released today, but -- and there was a pretty big "but" in all of this, and that is that they need to follow the due process. And the (INAUDIBLE) in the last couple of days the judge needs to get this brief from the prosecutors and then he must make his decision based on that and he has yet to receive that brief. And it is going on 20 to 3:00 in the afternoon and this building, this justice building closes down at 5:00, and he needs a couple of hours to look at that brief. So unless he gets it soon, unless he has a chance to make that decision, then there's every possibility that the 10 American (INAUDIBLE) missionaries could be spending another night in jail, Ali.

VELSHI: And they are waiting release on bail, so charges aren't being dropped against them. John Vause is staying on this story, we'll check in as soon as we have an update from Haiti on the fate of those Americans.

John, thanks very much.

It's time now for "The Ed Henry Segment." As you know --

(LAUGHTER)

HENRY: What song is that?

VELSHI: -- every day, our senior white house correspondent Ed Henry joins us to give us the look from inside the White House, the look that you don't always get if you're just talking to regular White House correspondents at those other networks.

Ed, what have you got for us? I understand that you might have another job. You might be signing up for another job. We may not have you for very long.

HENRY: Well, depending on how you treat me, I think I've seemed to have lost it. But there's a help wanted ad that's literally out there to be the personal tweeter for President Obama. The Organizing for America, sort of the outside group not directly connected with the White House, wants someone because the person whose sort of doing the Twitter updates for the president and did when he was a candidate, because it is not usually the president's voice, it's someone else, that person is leaving, so they are looking for someone.

So, Ali, I appreciate you nominating me, but I actually thought since I have more followers than you on Twitter, it would be better for me to stay on Twitter in my own name, but maybe for you, if the show does not work out -- and I'm sure the show's going to work out, but if the show doesn't work out, maybe you can --

(CROSSTALK)

VELSHI: But what about you -- I mean, you certainly tweet more than would seem possible for a guy whose as busy as you are, so maybe your personal tweeter might be available. You do have one, right? You have --

HENRY: I do have a personal tweeter, Suzanne Malveaux, she's not --

VELSHI: Was that her you just showed her -- I was going to say, yes.

HENRY: I just showed her a minute ago, Suzanne Malveaux. She does a lot of my tweets in between breaking news, and she's here now in fact. I don't know if she wants to comment or not.

Have you ever tweeted for me?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I can't even hear anything here, but I just want you to know for the record that that is not true. And secondly, this "Ed Henry Segment" OK, this is cool, wait for "The Suzanne Malveaux Segment" in "THE SITUATION ROOM." That's all I have to say. I'll be over here though, OK.

HENRY: She's crashing my segment. She just crashed the segment, what is that?

VELSHI: This happens a lot to you. You had Katie Couric crash the segment the other day.

HENRY: Katie Couric crashed it and now Suzanne.

You know, here is a funny thing that happened as well. Is that at the briefing today, Robert Gibbs was being asked about, because he was asked yesterday about now that he is tweeting, you know, the privacy issues, because the 1978 Presidential Records Act. Everything that Robert Gibbs tweets, just as if he e-mails something, has to be archived as part of the Presidential Records Act, as if he were writing a memo. And so it's kind of a new thing.

So the question came up, well, what if, for example, Ali Velshi tweets Robert Gibbs, is that archived? We're learning from Robert Gibbs, he has now consulted with the White House lawyers, that would be archived. But if you retweeted something, Ali, to both of your followers on Twitter, then basically that would not be archived, because it is just you sending it out, you're not sending it directly to Robert Gibbs.

Now I was kidding about the fact that you only having two followers. I stole that joke from Robert Gibbs, who actually said to Michael Sheer of "The Washington Post" joked with him and said, if you retweeted something from both of your followers, and everybody sort of got a groan in the briefing room. So it's kind of interesting because it's not just you and I doing the trash talking about Twitter, even Robert Gibbs is engaging everyone.

VELSHI: Well, there you go. You just enjoy your lead while you have it, Ed Henry. And for those of you who have not noticed, he has posted the little thing. He always has this thing in the background there, follow Ed Henry.

HENRY: Well, guess what. I am taking this sign tomorrow to Vegas, because we're going to there with President Obama for the next couple days. He's got some fundraising, he's going to be talking about the economy there. And let's just say I have a couple of surprises for you. "The Ed Henry Segment" live from Vegas, Thursday and Friday. I got a couple things up my sleeve.

VELSHI: Which sort of lays waste to the idea that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

HENRY: Exactly.

VELSHI: Ed, we will see you from Vegas. "The Ed Henry Segment" every day right here on CNN.

Listen, I have got some breaking news for you right now, this one you might want to tweet. The PGA has just announced that 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, Tiger Woods will make a statement. We will, of course, cover that live here on CNN. We don't have details as to where he'll make that statement or how he's going to do it, but 11:00 a.m. Friday, and it is 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, Tiger Woods will be making a statement, and of course, we will all be eager to hear exactly what he has got to say.

OK, when we come back, we're going to talk to an old friend of mine. Valerie Morris joins us from Tucson, Arizona with financial tips for women of color. But you know what? The kind of financial tips she's got are kind of useful for everybody -- women, men, no matter the color. There is Valerie Morris, she is standing by and she is going to give us some tips when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: All right, I want to bring you this news. We have been hearing from the PGA that at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, Tiger Woods will have a press conference from PGA Headquarters in Florida. Tiger Woods will be delivering a press conference from PGA Headquarters West Palm Beach, Florida, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Friday. We will bring you that, we'll cover that and find out what he has to say. Obviously, a lot of people very interested in what Tiger Woods has to say. We will keep you updated on that and Rick's folks are working on that to bring you more information as we get it right now.

Let's turn to Black History Month, which we have been focusing on all this whole month and talk to an old friend of mine, Valerie Morris, who joins us from Tucson, Arizona. Valerie was a colleague of mine and we worked together for some years and she has since devoted herself to helping women of color on a number of fronts, including the financial front. Valerie joins us now with some great advice for women of color, but it is advice, Valerie, that anybody can use. You've got some quick tips on how people can improve their financial situation.

Welcome and good to see you again.

VALERIE COLEMAN MORRIS, FINANCIAL LITERACY SPECIALIST: Well, good to see you, Ali, and yes, let's really be clear, because bad financial habits don't know color, they do not discriminate, they just can cause problems. And African-American women unfortunately as a group tend to be steadfast in their spending habits even during this financial crisis, so I always like to give suggestions that are do- able and real.

VELSHI: All right.

MORRIS: And I say to them, number one -- you know there are some good ones, and we can talk a little bit about those.

VELSHI: All right, let's do that. One of the things that you are very big on is people furthering their education so that they can increase their income potential. If you want more money, it is one of the more obvious ways to do it.

MORRIS: Absolutely, because I believe that money management is a long-term commitment. It is a continuing education. So, if you want to up the ante on your income and therefore your finances, educate yourself. You know a master's degree will get you over your lifetime about $2 million, and bachelors degree about $1 million, a master's 2 million. If you get an advanced degree, a Ph.D. or other professional degree, $4.4 million over your lifetime.

So educating yourself is important. And not only as far as younger people, older people as well, but I certainly encourage young people to make sure they look at a job that has an absolute growth pattern, a new job potential. Maybe not in this country, it could be elsewhere.

And then my final suggestion, Ali -- and the word temporarily I am using, because you know I am committed to 401(k) savings -- but if you are trying to get yourself out of debt, you may need to temporarily suspend your 401(k) contribution and use that money to pay down the debt.

VELSHI: Right, that's a controversial one, because a lot of people say never to touch it, but it is better to suspend your 401(k) contribution or reduce that than to be paying a whole lot of money on credit card debt. I mean, one outweighs the other quite clearly.

MORRIS: Absolutely. And remember, I am saying temporarily. That is just a little stop gap, your money is the living thing, you have to adjust it depending on what is happening in your life. So temporarily suspending that, not touching the principal that you have there, I think that is one good way to go about it.

And the reality is, black is beautiful, but being in the black is the state of mind with regard to your money.

VELSHI: Good point. Let's go back to something you said in the beginning where you said you try and counsel African-American women to change their spending habits in a changed environment, and that is harder to do than you might think.

What are some of those spending habits that you try to encourage people to change?

MORRIS: Well, it is a very hard thing to do, but as I always say, if you mind over your money matters, that is the best way to do things.

One of the ways that we can do this is to understand that we need the dreaded b-word -- budget. African-American women tend to be shy on that, and even if we have a budget, it may be is not properly done. So pay attention to that one.

We also tend not to be as invested in mutual funds, stocks and bonds and also in the retirement account. So take the bull by the horn, the easiest money you save is money you never see. So have an automatic deduction from your paycheck, because that will jump start your savings.

And I think that another thing that is just a very important thing is to remember, we tend to be really generous with family, religious institutions and so forth. All of that is good, but a budget needs to tell you what your discretionary amount is that you can use.

VELSHI: Valerie, great to see you, as always, and thanks for your commitment to financial literacy. It really -- it was always important when you were doing it, but these last couple of years has made it absolutely crucial that every one of us pay attention to it.

Valerie Coleman Morris is a financial specialist, a financial literacy expert joining us from Tucson, Arizona. Always great to see you.

MORRIS: Great to see you, Ali.

VELSHI: All right, I think that we are taking a quick break -- well, I am waiting -- we're going to take a quick break. We're going to come back, we've got this information happening on what Tiger Woods is going to do. We will get you the updated story on that when we come back on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORRIS: All right. We are following this news, Tiger Woods is going to be making a public statement, he is going to be addressing -- he's actually going to be having a news conference Friday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern at PGA Headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida. We don't have information on what he is going to say or whether there's any more information. We don't' know if he will take questions. For now, we understand it is a statement to the press that he will be making. We will be covering it. Rick's group is working on this, they're trying to get more detail on exactly what is going on.

I will say good-bye to you for now. I'm Ali Velshi, I'm with you every day at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 10:00 a.m. Pacific. Take it over to "RICK'S LIST" now.