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Funeral for Another Tucson Victim; Security Concerns After Shootings; Clashes in Tunisia; Green Jobs Lost to China; Texter Gets Soaked; Gadgets for 2011; Eight Grade Math Wizard; Health Care Debate to Resume in Congress; New Jersey Governor Backs Off Palin Comments; Bill Could Slow Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell; Unpublished JFK Photos Released; Hollywood's Golden Night; Golden Globes Fashion

Aired January 16, 2011 - 14:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: A victim of the Arizona shooting is now in a mental facility against his will. We'll tell you what landed him there.

And a new revised zodiac chart is released, stirring up a huge controversy and a whole lot of confusion. An astrologer joins us live at 4:00 Eastern to explain.

And then it's Hollywood's golden night. Stars of film and TV gather for the most unpredictable award show of the season, the Golden Globes. We'll take you live to the red carpet at 5:00 Eastern.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

There's an ironic twist in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings. A 63-year-old man wounded in the attack is in a mental health facility after threatening an Arizona Tea Party member.

James Fuller, a former campaign volunteer for Gabrielle Giffords, has publicly blamed gun right activists for the shootings. He was taken into custody at a town hall meeting yesterday after an outburst during a discussion of gun control. He told Tea Party member Trent Humphries, "You are dead." Fuller was arrested for disorderly conduct and making a threat, and sent to a mental health facility for evaluation.

And there will be a funeral today for another victim of the Tucson shootings. Dorwan Stoddard was a retired construction worker. He died shielding his wife from the gunman's bullets. Stoddard's widow, Mavy, suffered three gunshot wounds in the attack.

CNN's Ted Rowlands spoke with her.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventy-six-year-old Mavy Stoddard says she and her husband Dory were living a fairytale.

MAVY STODDARD, TUCSON SHOOTING VICTIM: We had as good a marriage as I believe anyone in this world could have. ROWLANDS: They were classmates who shared a first kiss in a school but didn't marry until they were in their 60s. Both were widowed, both had raised four children. For the past 15 years, Mavy says she and Dory had a ball.

Last Saturday, the couple decided to meet their congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords.

STODDARD: Tell her how we admired her for going in person out among the people.

ROWLANDS: When the shooting started, Mavy says Dory put himself between her and the bullets.

STODDARD: He threw himself over me. I don't know whether he threw me down or whether I -- my first thought was, get down when I saw what was happening. I think it was the last shots that killed him.

ROWLANDS: Dory was pronounced dead at the scene.

STODDARD: He died in my arms -- on my leg, actually, on the side of my leg, with me talking to him and telling him I loved him and kissing him. So he saved my life and gave his for it, and you can't ask for much more. And he would have protected me with his dying breath, the same way he loved me.

ROWLANDS: Mavy says she feels sorry for everyone involved, including the man responsible.

STODDARD: It's a horrible thing that happened. It touched so many lives. It hurt so many people, and that's why I feel no real animosity. I do forgive the young man. I hate what he did, but I don't hate him.

ROWLANDS: Mavy was shot three times in the leg. She'll make a full recovery, but she'll be without the love of her life.


WHITFIELD: That was Ted Rowlands reporting.

Funeral services for Mavy Stoddard's husband, Dorwan, will take place at 4:00 Eastern Time today at Calvary Chapel East in Tucson.

Also in Tucson today, a walk for peace to honor Congresswoman Giffords and the other victims in last week's shooting. Hundreds turned out. A former classmate of Judge John Roll was among them.


MIKE URBANSKI, JUDGE ROLL'S FMR. CLASSMATE: The high school that Judge Roll went to, and I was a classmate of his, so we went to his funeral. We went to Christina Green's funeral. We took a bunch of our kids from our high school to work at Christina's at the reception after her funeral. And so we've spent the whole week kind of working with our kids and helping them through this process, talking to other alumni. We really love the Tucson community. So I think it's rocked us all.


WHITFIELD: Judge Roll was laid to rest last week. Today's walk for peace ended at Giffords' Tucson office.

The Arizona shooting rampage is raising a whole lot of questions about congressional security. Just how well are lawmakers protected? And are they concerned about their safety as they prepare to return to work this week?

Here now is CNN's Sandra Endo.


REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D), VIRGINIA: What do you think about health care?

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just another day in the life of Congressman Gerry Connolly, pressing the flesh in Prince William County, Virginia.

CONNOLLY: Don't worry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please don't let it.

CONNOLLY: I'm not going to support repeal.


ENDO: As he and other lawmakers get back to regular legislative matters on the Hill this week, the mood and mindset are different with colleague Gabrielle Giffords still recovering from being shot in the head while at an event with constituents.

CONNOLLY: But you can't live with fear. You've got to do your job and you've got to -- you can't allow one crazed individual to pervert and distort the Democratic process.

ENDO: But the cloud of concern is inevitable. Lawmakers are in the public eye, sometimes targets of anger and discontent.

Last week, the House Sergeant-at-Arms sent this memo to members and staff with guidelines on how to stay safe. For example, members should contact their local police when they have a public event; report any individual threats; and request a security survey of district offices.

Safety is a top concern for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.

REP. ROSA DELAURO (D), CONNECTICUT: So let's take precaution. My staff, I've asked them think about that, because it's not just the safety of members. We have staff, and we have seen that tragedy can befall their lives.

What should we do? How should we make this a better and a more safe environment?

ENDO: A lot of unanswered questions, how to strike the right balance between being assessable but staying safe.

Congressman Connolly's aides are trying to take things in stride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we're in the public a lot. And that's just part of the job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've always felt safe at all the events in the two years I've worked for him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, you can't put barriers between ourselves and the public we serve. Otherwise democracy itself gets compromised.

ENDO: But lawmakers may have to make some compromises in the name of safety.


WHITFIELD: And Sandra Endo joins us now live from Washington.

So what will likely be the business at hand on Capitol Hill this week?

ENDO: Well, Fred, as you know, after a week of grieving for the victims of the Arizona shooting, now lawmakers will be back on Capitol Hill resuming business as usual. And on tap, on the agenda, is the debate over health care.

As you know House, Republicans want to repeal the reform law. Democrats want to make sure it stands. So that is a big debate.

It was heated the first time around. This time we'll see what the tone is like, because, as you know, President Obama called for everyone to tone down the rhetoric. So it will be interesting to see what lawmakers say. Many today are saying, hey, look, let's have a more civil tone, a civil debate, and work together to get things done -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And what about the issue of gun control and laws already on the books? Might there be any discussion about that?

ENDO: Yes. You're hearing a lot more talk about gun control laws, especially in the light of this shooting in Arizona.

A lot of lawmakers are talking about it. It's in the forefront of the public debate right now. As it stands, though, there's nothing officially slated on the agenda in terms of gun control, but of course we'll see that coming up in the weeks and months to come.

WHITFIELD: All right.

Sandra Endo in Washington. Thanks so much.

ENDO: Sure.

WHITFIELD: A state of emergency. Overseas, looting and violence breaking out in Tunisia after the president there flees the North African country. A live report on the efforts to restore order.


WHITFIELD: A battle for control of a U.S. ally, Tunisia. Since a popular uprising forced its president from power, tanks and soldiers have taken to the streets.

Our senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, joins us now from the capital of Tunis via broadband.

So, Ben, we understand there's fighting near the presidential palace. And you're joining us via broadband. You're inside a safe place in a hotel because you're unable to do a lot of reporting outside of the confines where you are. Right?


Well, basically, there's a 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. curfew. We're not allowed out. And, in fact, the police went around from room to room to make sure we all have our windows closed and there's nobody filming the battle that went on in the street for about two-and-a-half hours.

There was a very loud gun battle between soldiers, and we're not altogether sure. Some people think they were battling against former members of the presidential security service.

So there is that going on. There's also, in one of the suburbs of Tunis, Carthage, another gun battle going on around the presidential palace there. But by and large, people are really concerned that after the excitement of the overthrow of the old regime, that chaos is spreading between looting and poor and angry, hungry people looking for food, and these elements of the old regime still out there armed and taking revenge on people for the overthrow of the government, that the security situation is becoming very dodgy.

Despite that, the thrill has not worn off. They were able to overthrow a 23-year-old dictatorship.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And so now who --


FAHMI GIBALI, TUNISIA RESIDENT: This is the most historical moment in the whole history of Tunisia. People here are paying in their life. And what we want to say is the U.S. has to change their policy against those regimes. They have to support freedom before those regimes collapse.


WEDEMAN: And, of course, you asked who is in charge. That's not altogether clear.

We know that they formed a national unity government, the details of which will be announced tomorrow. But certainly the single strongest force in the country at the moment is the army -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Wow. In General, do people feel -- residents feel rather fearful? Are they concerned or are they hopeful?

WEDEMAN: Well, they are all of the above. They are fearful because the excitement of the overthrow has been followed by some very serious -- really a very serious deterioration in security. But they are hopeful that they've managed to unseat this dictator from 23 years, so they are hoping that something good will come out of it -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Ben Wedeman, thanks so much for that report from Tunis there. We'll check back with you throughout the day. Appreciate that.

All the unrest and uncertainty are keeping many people in Tunisia off the streets this weekend, as you just heard from Ben. So iReporter Helmi Lahiani (ph) sent us some pictures of the damage done by looters. His life, like so many others, disrupted.

He was supposed to get married yesterday. The wedding, of course, is now on hold until he can safely travel the 18 miles to where his fiancee is.

Back in this country now, GM recalls trucks and SUVs. Details straight ahead.

Plus, how a Nebraska teen made history at the Miss America Pageant.


WHITFIELD: Some insight into how students are reacting to the Tucson tragedy in a moment, but first a look at the headlines.


WHITFIELD: All right. More than a week later, people are still talking about the Tucson, Arizona, shootings.

CNN Student News anchor Carl Azuz talked to some young people to get their perspectives on what took place, how they are kind of digesting it.

And what are their questions about moving forward?

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Well, a lot of them are looking for what can be learned about this.

What I keep hearing over and over again and seeing on our blog at is students asking, why wasn't this congresswoman better protected? It was par for the course for Gabrielle Giffords not to have security at a lot of her public events, but students think she should have, and they're sad that we live in a world when that's needed. You'll hear that in this comment coming first from a student named Ben.

He says on our blog, "This has proven to be a flaw in U.S. defense." He's saying, "There wasn't enough security to prevent this from happening."

But again, you hear them sort of lamenting that we need that security. He's saying if we lived in a civilized society, there wouldn't need for this.

And another comment I have this afternoon for you comes from Aubrey. This was at her Facebook site.

Aubrey saying, "When things like this happen, I wonder, what were the signs this was going to happen? Why didn't we stop this in advance?" Going on to say, "You never know what might be going on in people's heads, what they're thinking, what they're capable of."

So there is an awareness among students that we live in a dangerous world, and they sort of regret that we do. They sort of regret that we need more security at things like this.

WHITFIELD: Do they have much to say about trying to, I guess, create some kind of link between the discourse that we've been hearing people talk about?

AZUZ: It's an interesting question. There was a student who said, "One of my parents is a Republican and the other is a Democrat, and we still find a way to get along all together."

But for every student who brings that up, or for every student who brings up the issue of gun control, we have other students, as you're about to see in this next comment, who are saying this was more of an isolated incident, this is something that we should have seen coming, something that we should have protected against.

And Jacob saying, "In order for someone to carry a gun, they need to have a mental stability test." And Jacob's comment, like the next one from Justin, sort of underscores a student perspective that this is somebody who was mentally unstable, this could have been an isolated incident.

But Justin taking it a step further, saying, "If he was mentally unstable, he did plan this out. He was stable enough to target the congresswoman, he should be tried and thrown into prison."

So a lot of different perspectives coming in from students. But the main ones I'm seeing have to do with security, why wasn't this congresswoman better protected. And a lot of other kids saying this was sort of an isolated thing.

It kind of goes along with a poll we saw recently, a national poll that found most Americans didn't feel, necessarily, it was political rhetoric that led to this. It was more of a sort of incident of somebody who, in one student's words, was simply "psycho."

WHITFIELD: Wow, some strong thoughts and comments, as always, from a lot of young people, whether it be on this or other matters that we talked about in the course of the past few months.

AZUZ: I'll keep bringing them to you.

WHITFIELD: Carl Azuz, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

AZUZ: Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Well, after weeks of flooding, the damage could take years to repair now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've seen high water before, but never like this.


WHITFIELD: We'll get an update on floods that have swamped Australia and several other countries around the world.

And sadly, a death at a Tennessee zoo from an 8,000-pound elephant. The elephant being blamed for the death. Details on what went wrong straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: All right. Meantime, hundreds of people around the world have lost their lives in too much rain, flooding, all of that.

One of the hardest hit areas, the Philippines, where at least 47 people have died. Hundreds of homes are damaged or destroyed. The country has been hit with heavy rainfall for weeks now. More than 1.5 million people are affected.

And similar scenes are being played out in Brazil, where the death toll is nearing 600. Most of the deaths and damage are in mountain towns outside Rio de Janeiro.

And in Australia's state of Queensland, authorities say it could take years to repair the damage from record flooding there. It is blamed for at least 18 deaths.

And today flood warnings are also in place in the state of Victoria. An update now from reporter Alex Hart with Australia's Seven Network.


ALEX HART, REPORTER, SEVEN NETWORK (voice-over): The scale of the disaster is enormous -- 43 towns, 1,400 properties, and more than 3,500 people affected. The premier's conclusion --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This flood is one of the worst in Victoria's history.

HART: And getting worse at the northern border town of Echuca. Access to the Kanpaski (ph) River not such a selling point right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've seen high water before, but never like this.

HART: Authorities believe the levee will hold, but it's all hands on deck just in case.

To the west, in Horsham, they are preparing for a once-in-a-century event tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be vast tracks of land that will look like inland lakes.

HART: For towns like Chilton (ph), it's the second major flood since September.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could live with that, but this is phenomenal. This is (INAUDIBLE) than that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The river (ph) we crossed now is (INAUDIBLE).

HART: The water is starting to recede at Rochester, but it's slow- going no matter what mode of transport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never seen it this high either, so this is the worst.

HART: Higher than the previous record set in 1956 --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody knew this was going to happen.

HART: -- the cleanup has begun for some. Others will have to wait a while longer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just don't know where to start.

HART: At least the main highway to Adelaide's (ph) reopened, allowing hundreds of stranded truckees to get back on the job.

Alex Hart, 7 News.


WHITFIELD: And in this country, on the West Coast, they are gearing up for the Golden Globes Wards tonight. We'll have an update coming up.


WHITFIELD: All right, if you thought green jobs were the future of this country, listen to this next story.

A Massachusetts solar panel maker is shutting down its main American factory laying off hundreds of jobs here and shifting production overseas to China, this after receiving $43 million in aid from the state of Massachusetts.

So how did this happen? Ian Bowles is the former energy and environment chief to the Massachusetts governor, he joins us now from Boston.

So explain to me how is it that a company that receives assistance in the tune of $43 million from the state of Massachusetts could now say, you know what, we're bolting?

IAN BOWLES, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT CHIEF: Well, you know, I mean, in terms of the company they'll face -- have to give some of that funding back. But I think for our country really the larger question is how is it that a company like this could be fought over by four or five states three years ago and now conclude it really can't effectively manufacture in the United States at all.

And I think it really points to the massive subsidies that are being given by other foreign governments and the lack of support from the federal government.

WHITFIELD: So how does the U.S. get ahead of that? If other countries are going to offer great incentives to say we would love for you to, you know, make house here, what should, if anything, this government, U.S. government or state government do?

BOWLES: Well, I mean, first and foremost, clean energy industry in the United States needs a strong congressional new law calling for clean energy. I mean, clearly China is making a massive bet going on five years from 0 percent of world's solar production to now more than a third.

I mean, they are making a trillion dollar bet on clean energy and so is Europe. The United States is just deeply out of step with the rest of the world and losing a very large industry. It's hard to see.

WHITFIELD: So in a case like this, what did China offer that the U.S. can't assure this company in order to keep it here?

BOWLES: Well, I mean, low interest financing for their factory is one. You know, in our case the state provided maybe less than 10 percent of the capital 400 million or so that was invested in the private side.

In China, you know, two-thirds of the capital will be provided by the state, guaranteed customers, price support, things of that nature. And so, you know, we really are fighting this with a pop gun compared to what is happening all around the world.

WHITFIELD: So it's just not enough when you hear the Obama administration, the president himself saying, we're going to try and offer more tax incentives so that American businesses can continue to do business here perhaps export, but it's not an issue of American businesses closing up shop and leaving, those tax incentives are just not enough?

BOWLES: Well, you know, I mean, first of all I think the president has done a great job, but Congress has really failed to act on the question of advancing the clean energy industry and that's really the principle failure.

But the Recovery Act was really orientated toward new projects so Evergreen built their factory in the year prior to the Recovery Act so they couldn't get money from it and then the follow on the Recovery Act I think in the president's eyes was congressional action on clean energy and that's where we've fallen short so the markets aren't here and certainly the direct support is not here.

WHITFIELD: So as China's President Hu Jintao makes his way to the White House this week for an official state visit, something he wasn't able to get in '06 under President George W. Bush, why do you suppose President Hu is able to say that I believe we're going to be able to find common ground.

He's quoted in "The Washington Post" today as saying that is what he is hoping for and he feels quite assure there will be common ground between the White House and China this week.

BOWLES: Well, you know, I hope there will be. I mean, right now, there's a brewing trade dispute between the United States and China relative to clean energy because companies like Evergreen and you know, solar manufacturing is really just plain departing the United States in the last couple of years.

And it's facing an insurmountable competition from the Chinese government policies and so, you know, I think we do need to address that and make allow the United States to be more competitive. That's not there, but some of the failure is on the part of the Congress where again as I mentioned before they have not moved forward with a clean energy mandate, which is vital and makes all of the sense in the world.

WHITFIELD: Ian Bowles, former Energy and Environment Chief for Massachusetts governor. Thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.

BOWLES: Thanks for having me on.

WHITFIELD: All right, well, this young man is one smart kid.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we saw how bright he was in sixth grade that's when we put him in high school Algebra.


WHITFIELD: My gosh. How a math wizard is inspiring his classmates and the goal that he's set for himself.


WHITFIELD: You tech geeks can't wait for this. We'll be checking out the latest high tech gadgets right after a quick look at the top stories. About 200 people staged a walk for peace in Tucson, Arizona, today. It ended at the district office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She's still in critical condition, but breathing on her own a week after last weekend's mass shooting.

And later today the funeral for Dorwin Stoddard, he was killed trying to shield his wife from the gunman.

And celebrations turned to lawlessness in parts of Tunisia. The president fled the country on Friday amid growing unrest. Since then we've seen rioting and looting in and around the capital of Tunis.

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports the army is trying to impose order with a dusk to dawn curfew. He says a unity government has actually been formed. The details are to be announced tomorrow.

Italy's prime minister denies accusations that he had sex with a 17- year-old nightclub dancer calling it, quote, "mud." Silvio Berlusconi says his opponents have gone too far this time. The woman in question also denied the charges in an interview with an Italian television station.

Watch where you walk especially if you are texting. One woman found that out the hard way.


WHITFIELD (voice-over): Watch as she falls into a mall fountain. That is too embarrassing. That couldn't have really happened.

After getting soaked, you see there she kind of climbs out, tries to brush me off. Nobody saw me, right? Well, we can laugh about it because she is unhurt. She goes on her way thinking no one saw that, but now the world is watching. That's what happens when you text and walk.


WHITFIELD: All right, well, tens of thousands of people attended the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. The latest high tech gadgets were all on display and soaking it all in.

Syndicated technology writer, Marc Saltzman, Marc joining us via Skype from Toronto. I know you felt like a kid at a candy store. It was fun, wasn't it?

MARC SALTZMAN, SYNDICATED TECHNOLOGY WRITER: You know it. It's - nirvana if you will.

WHITFIELD: Nirvana that's good. OK, well, before we get into the best of show picks, where were the biggest trends or did you notice there was one, you know, singular trend?

SALTZMAN: Yes, without question it was the tablet and no surprise there given the success of the Apple iPad and soon the iPad 2, but more than 50 new tablets were on display at the 2011 Consumer Electronic show ranging in sizes from 5 inches up to 12 inches.

Some had slide-out keyboards. One had a 3D display. I also saw one that could wirelessly communicate with a TV. It was a Panasonic model so you can watch two things at once, definitely a big trend in 2011.

WHITFIELD: My gosh. I mean, if we're not multitasking enough and now it's just being taken to the next level. Well, remember the woman who was texting and walking. See what happened to her.

OK, so, along to the best overall picks now not including the tablets, tell us about the Motorola Atrix. What is that?

SALTZMAN: Right, the Motorola Atrix is built as the world's most powerful Smartphone. It's the first to have a dual core processor and one full gigabyte of RAM or system memory, which is twice that compared to other phones.

So it's - it almost runs like a PC now and speaking of which, you can snap the Motorola Atrix into accessories like the laptop dock, which turns it into a laptop. So instead of using your fingertip on the four-inch screen, you now have a full sized corded keyboard, 11.6 inch screen and a mouse pad and you can access all of your apps and all that on the big screen. So it's going to be I think a real big hit when it comes up this spring.

WHITFIELD: My gosh, this is insane. It's just - it's unstoppable. So now tell us about the Ion Book Saver. What's that all about?

SALTZMAN: This is a neat gadget that will digitize all of your paper books, magazines, and comics. So if you buy an E-book reader instead of buying everything all over again digitally, all you do is you scan your books. Press a button. It takes two simultaneous pictures of each page and you manually flip the page and repeat the process.

The company says you can do about 200 pages in 15 minutes and then you import that digital book or article or magazine or comic into your E- book reader.

WHITFIELD: Wow, I realize what it does, but it's funny. I mean, everything else is getting smaller, but that's the largest contraption that I have seen in the whole tech world. What's going on here?

SALTZMAN: Yes, sure enough.

WHITFIELD: OK, so finally Sony has added some interesting features to its coming Bravia XVR TV. I don't know what that is. What is that?

SALTZMAN: That's their high end LED 3D TV. It's coming out in March from 46 to 65 inches. Two call out features, one of them is a built- in camera that can detect faces. So if you're sitting too close to the TV, it will give you a warning and even turn off if the child doesn't move back so -- and it will also --

WHITFIELD: We're in trouble in my household then.

SALTZMAN: It will also prevent him from accessing inappropriate content as well. Another cool feature in these TVs is Sony acquired a company called Grace Note.

So what this means is you can be watching a TV commercial or a movie or a favorite show and you hear a song you like, but you don't know who sings it, you press a button on the remote and it goes online to the Grace Note data base and then will tell you the name of the song, artist and if you want to buy it right then and there.

WHITFIELD: So when you were at this Consumer Electronics Show, please tell me that you experienced some sensory overload because just from the segment, I'm at sensory overload right now. I can't imagine being in a big place in Vegas with all that technology around me.

SALTZMAN: I did feel like a kid in the candy store because I'm so passionate about this stuff. But yes, it is a blast to the senses. Two million square feet of showroom floor space -

WHITFIELD: My gosh -

SALTZMAN: -- or the equivalent of 30 football fields.

WHITFIELD: I couldn't do it. You know, somebody would have to like, you know, resuscitate me or something. All right, thanks so much, Marc Saltzman. Good to see you.

SALTZMAN: Likewise. Thank you, Fredricka.

All right. An eighth grader in Florida is, by the way, a math wizard. He's racking up some serious academic honors including an impressive SAT score. Rick Elmhorst with CNN's Tampa affiliate Bay News 9 has the story.


RICK ELMHORST, BAY NEWS 9 (voice-over): In a school filled with smart kids, Abhinav Venigalla is a rock star academic.

SHARON NEUMAN, PRINCIPAL LAWTON CHILES MIDDLE ACADEMY: When we saw how bright he was in sixth grade that's when we put him in high school algebra.

ELMSHORST: That's just the start. He's gotten a perfect FCAT for two years, won accounting math competition, a robotics competition and in a Johns Hopkins competition as a seventh grader, he got the highest SAT score in the state that includes a 790 out of 800 in math so close to perfect.

ABHINAV VENIGALLA, STUDENT: It was kind of like -- I was really mad sort of because I was trying to think what did I miss and what did I do wrong?

ELMSHORST: In front of a bunch of students in the school's TV studio, I had him ask me some math questions that he figured were pretty easy. Is that English?


ELMSHORST (on camera): OK, say it one more time.

VENIGALLA: OK, if x squared plus 3 x plus 6 equals 0 what's next?

ELMSHORST: I have no clue. I have nothing for you. What is it?

VENIGALLA: It's actually negative 3 plus minus square root of 15i by 2.

ELMSHORST: That's easy?

(voice-over): You have to work at it to be that smart, but for Abhinav Venigalla, that work is fun.

VENIGALLA: I don't know. I think I just try to practice a little bit more. Like, I don't take school as like something of a grudge. It's more like it's fun.

ELMSHORST: And that fun paid off. The school board just recognized Venigalla for his achievements and his proud dad was there to soak it all in.

LAXMAN VENIGALLA, FATHER: He doesn't look at it as accomplishment or winning, but more of an interest in whatever he's doing.

ELMSHORST: Winning by being smart, that's pretty interesting too.


WHITFIELD: You know, Abhinav is unbelievable so he's already set his sights on a higher goal. He wants to get a perfect score on the SAT and that's a combined score of 2,400 on all three parts, math, reading and writing and then he would like to pursue his dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer. Something tells me he's going to do anything he wants to with those scores and that smart.

All right, the health care debate that is back. We'll have a political update straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: Time for a CNN Equals Politics update. We're keeping an eye on all of the latest headlines on the CNN desk. Here's what's crossing right now.

The congressional health care debate is back. It was put on the back burner after the Tucson shootings, but House Republicans now expect a vote on repealing the health care law later on this week.

And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is trying to explain some comments he made about fellow Republican Sarah Palin. He recently told "The New York Times" that Palin, quote, "rightfully has been criticized," unquote, for following script. Today, he says his comments were not criticism, but instead it was about an observation.

And just one month after Congress repealed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a congressman is drafting legislation that could put the brakes on dismantling the policy. Republican Representative Duncan Hunter of California thinks gays serving openly in the armed forces could hurt combat readiness. He plans to introduce a bill requiring the president, the defense secretary and top military officials to certify that the armed forces are ready for the change.

And you're about to see photographs of John Kennedy and his family that have been locked away for decades.


WHITFIELD (voice-over): White House photographer Cecil Stoughton snapped these pictures capturing President Kennedy and his family in both private and public moments. For some reason they were printed and logged and then filed away until now. A collector purchased some 15,000 unseen pictures from the photographer's family and gave CNN the first peek inside the boxes.


WHITFIELD: All right, there's a lot of nervous energy right now in Hollywood. The coveted Golden Globes will be handed out tonight. We'll tell you who the top competitors are and what, of course, they might be wearing on the red carpet.


WHITFIELD: One of Hollywood's biggest awards show kicks off tonight. It's the Golden Globes as you know by now. And CNN's Ninette Sosa reports this year's competition is fierce.


NINETTE SOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The social network has already received critical acclaim and now it's being recognized by the Hollywood foreign press association as one of the year's top dramas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.

SOSA: It will compete for a Golden Globe against "Black Swan, the Fighter, Inception and The King's Speech." Natalie Portman and Nicole Kidman are up for best actress in a drama and Jesse Eisenberg, Colin Firth and Mark Walberg are among the nominees for best actor.

Johnny Depp is up against himself in the category of best actor in a comedy or musical for his roles in "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Tourist." Both films were nominated for best comedy.

On the TV side, some familiar names are back. Last year's best drama "Mad Men" is nominated again along with "Dexter, the Good Wife," AMC's "The Walking Dead" and HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."

Last year's winner in the comedy or musical category "Glee" is back for an encore. It's up against "30 Rock," "The Big Bang Theory," "The Big Sea" and "Nurse Jackie." Alec Baldwin took home a statue for best actor in a comedy last year. He'll be up against "Glee's" Matthew Morrison and Emmy winner Jim Harsons from the "The Big Bang Theory." In Atlanta, I'm Ninette Sosa.


WHITFIELD: All right. Well, enough about the awards. Who's going to win it because of the best fashion statement? Hal Rubenstein is the fashion director of "InStyle" magazine and I asked him yesterday via Skype what to expect on the red carpet tonight.


HAL RUBENSTEIN, FASHION DIRECTOR, INSTYLE MAGAZINE: It really is probably the strong reasons for color in memory. This is not -- I'm not saying no one will wear a black dress, but if you do wear a black dress, it better be sensational. This is not the season for black.

This is really and when I say color, I don't mean pastel pink or ice green. It's big, bold, solid color. It's fuchsia. It's mustard and melon and bright green. It's really the season for that.

The difference between the red carpet I think and a real fashion show is that real fashion shows are about the unexpected. As much as we say we want to see the unexpected, I think people come to this with a kind of preconceived notion of what Hollywood glamour is and when they get surprised they sometimes don't react very well.

WHITFIELD: Let's bring on to the accessories because Angelina if you remember that she had those dynamite emerald earrings on. It was killer, killer, killer. Let's talk about the accessories now and the jewelry if that's going to make a big statement on the red carpet too.

RUBENSTEIN: Jewelry always does. I mean, in fashion right now, it is a kind of cleaner moment in terms of accessories. I was talking to a couple accessory designers who don't want to be attributed to right now and don't want to blow their chances for certain people, but I think because this year because the dress -- I don't say you won't see accessories because there's so much fun and I certainly hope we do and that's what "InStyle" is all about.

But I think because the -- you can either have a jewelry that dominates or dresses that dominate -


RUBENSTEIN: And I think because this is such a big season for impactful fashion that the dresses really is going to be front and center and the jewelry make take a back seat where people are into right now very much. I think that those emeralds last year on Angelina Jolie really did spark a trend of really big stones.

WHITFIELD: My gosh, I still remember it. It was jaw dropping. I remember that moment thinking, my gosh, those are the most beautiful emerald earrings I have ever seen.


WHITFIELD: I'm still thinking about them a year later. All right, Hal Rubenstein. Thanks so much for joining us and of course, you will all be watching red carpet tonight.

And you're also be watching tomorrow night the premiere of "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT." Piers' very first guest is Oprah Winfrey. After their sit down, Oprah told CNN that it was one of her toughest interviews in 20 years. Here's a sneak peek and Oprah talking about her long time love, Steadman Graham.


OPRAH WINFREY: I had been betrayed by somebody in my family who had gone to the tabloids and for, you know, $20,000 had sold me out and Steadman came into the room with tears in his eyes. We knew that it was coming out.

Steadman came into the room with tears in his eyes and he said the story is out. I have a copy of it if you want to see it and I'm really sorry. You don't deserve this. It was that moment.

PIERS MORGAN: And you looked at him and you thought I love this man?

WINFREY: No, I looked at him and thought here's somebody who is willing to stand in and stand up for you and that's what love is.


WHITFIELD: After Oprah, Piers -- this premiere week all of the guests include Howard Stern, Condoleezza Rice, Ricky Jarvis and George Clooney. It all kicks of tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT," don't want to miss it.

That's going to do it for us right now, but join us again in the 4:00 Eastern hour. We're bringing in an astrologer to help us understand what's behind this new change in the zodiac chart. What's it mean for your sign.

Plus in the 5:00 p.m. hour, a new nation might be born in Sudan in Africa. We're going to talk to two Sudanese Americans about their hopes for their former country. And also at 5:00 Eastern Time, how to land your dream job.

"YOUR MONEY" is coming next.