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GOP Race for President; Boehner's Tea Party Critics; New Airstrikes in Libya; Fatal Shooting of U.S. Airmen; Blood Clot Strikes Tennis Champ Serena Williams; A Look at the Relationship Between Mexico and the U.S.; Rodney King Speaks Out; NFL's Midnight Deadline; Setback for CIA Contractor

Aired March 3, 2011 - 09:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And we'll take our viewers live to Germany to find out more about this man in the coming hour.

Thanks to you both. Have a great day.

It's 9:00 a.m. on the East Coast and 6:00 a.m. in the West. I'm Carol Costello.

Right now we're watching Moammar Gadhafi using his military to pound rebels for a second straight day. Some bombs are falling on a hub of Libya's oil industry.

We're watching the job market here at home. A positive sign this morning the number of people filing for jobless benefits for the first time has not been this low in nearly three years.

And we're watching the NFL. The 2011 season is on the line. Today could be the deal-maker or the deal-breaker between players and owners.

The Republican field for the 2012 presidential race will start to take shape today. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, will likely announce he is entering the exploratory phase of a presidential campaign. He'll do that in Gingrich-friendly territory, in the south, in Georgia.

Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer will do the same in Baton Rouge. If you're saying, Roemer, who? He campaigned for John McCain in 2008.

And Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator, newly suspended from FOX News, is mulling a run.

So let's talk about all of this. Mark Preston is CNN senior political editor. He knows all.

Welcome, Mark.



PRESTON: Big day in politics.

COSTELLO: Big day in politics. Let's start with Newt Gingrich. When you delve into his past, it's amazing he's even thinking about running. Back in the day when he was House speaker, ethics problems dogged him. He had tax exempt funds to teach a college course. He was fined $300,000 for using text-exempt funds to promote Republican causes and that's not all.

So, Mark, will voters forget about this or have we reached a point in this country where votes don't care about a candidate's past?

PRESTON: And I think it's more of the latter right now, Carol. I think Americans are very forgiving. We don't have to look very far then -- look what happened to Bill Clinton when he cheated with an intern in the White House on his wife, and Americans have been forgiving of that.

Yes, Newt Gingrich has had some personal transgressions. He's on his third wife right now which some who are following this race for the White House think might not play very well with conservative voters, social conservatives. And that may be true. But I think Newt Gingrich getting in today will allow him the time to try to get these conservative voters, these social conservative voters on to his side.

COSTELLO: Also, FOX suspended Gingrich and Rick Santorum because they're thinking of running for president. But Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, they're still on the FOX payroll. And aren't they just as likely contenders?

PRESTON: Well, they are in the sense that there's been a lot of talk about Sarah Palin running. There has been a lot of talk about John Bolton, who is another FOX contributor, running as well. Mike Huckabee just last week told a group of us -- small group of reporters that he is on a book tour right now, that he is seriously considering it.

The thing is we haven't seen any of these candidates appear regularly at what would be conceived as presidential forum. So we're seeing Santorum and Gingrich both appearing in Iowa on Monday at what will be a presidential forum and I think that's why we saw FOX News take that action.

COSTELLO: All right. We'll keep our eye on it.

Mark Preston, many thanks.

Is House Speaker John Boehner losing control of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party? The head of one prominent Tea Party group says Boehner looks, quote, "like a fool." Because he's not pushing for more federal budget cuts.

Jeffson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation says he wants Boehner defeated in his next Republican primary race.

CNN's Shannon Travis has covered the Tea Party movement extensively. And Shannon, beyond the soap opera aspect of all of this, the rift between Speaker Boehner and the Tea Party could have an impact on federal budget negotiations. So does this rift make a government shutdown more likely?

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It absolutely does make it possible -- possibly more likely, Carol. On the one hand, look. You have these Tea Party activists pushing the Republicans to saying, look. $61 billion that the House just passed, and there's been a proposal, but that's not enough. They want more.

They are reminding Republicans that they promised the country $100 billion in spending cuts. On the other hand you have Democrats entrenched saying $61 billion, that's a nonstarter. That's way too much.

Remember, the Senate is controlled by the Democrats. The House by Republicans. So the fact that the Tea Party, that Tea Party activists are pushing Republicans to cut more could put us closer to actually difficult negotiations and actually closer to a government shutdown.

COSTELLO: So the two-week reprieve may mean nothing. We'll just have to see.

TRAVIS: That's right.

COSTELLO: Everybody wonders whether the Tea Party is really that influential. Is it safe to say today that it is?

TRAVIS: Yes, it's really safe to say that they are, Carol. You may not even be hearing these kinds of numbers. $60 billion -- $100 billion were it not for the Tea Party. Remember, they were very influential in electing and flipping the House towards Republicans.

And so they're saying, you know what? We helped you win. It's time for payback now. We want you to keep your promises and drastically, drastically cut government spending. So they are having an impact now and they'll likely have an impact heading into 2012.

COSTELLO: I was going to say things are going to be ugly, but they've been ugly.

Shannon Travis, many thanks. Live in Washington today.

Now we want to turn to the deepening crisis in Libya and the latest convulsions of embattled -- of an embattled dictatorship. Today Moammar Gadhafi has unleashed new air strikes on the rebel's strongholds.

For the second day in a row, government war planes bombed the eastern town of al-Brega. It's a vital hub in Libya's oil and gas production.

And that makes the port -- that makes the port of strategic piece of real estate. This is amateur video of yesterday's fighting between the two sides. Opposition forces managed to beat back Gadhafi's military. Doctors in al-Brega says yesterday's gun battles left at least four people dead and 23 wounded. And just a couple of hours ago the International Criminal Court announced that it will investigate possible war crimes carried out by Libya's military.

And here's another possible focus. The Netherlands says Gadhafi forces have taken prison three Navy personnel who were just trying to evacuate a Dutch citizen.

CNN's Ben Wedeman, we have him on the phone now. He is in al-Brega.

And Ben, tell us about this latest round of bombings.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, these bombings took place several hours ago. One took place near Ajdabiya where there's that ammunition dump that's been providing a lot of the weaponry and ammunition for the anti-Gadhafi forces. Apparently they missed the dump in this instance.

Also today in the morning, Libyan jets dropped bombs near the main gate of the refinery in Brega and also the main checkpoint just outside of town. The latest we're hearing is that now anti-Gadhafi forces are gathering, they are hoping to actually push forward to Ras Lanuf, which is another -- where there's another major refinery that's several hours down the road from there, but it appears that the Brega area is much calmer today, fortunately, than it was yesterday.

COSTELLO: Ben, yesterday at this time, a bomb narrowly missed you and your crew. We have pictures of that today. So let's take a look at the pictures and then I'll talk to you again.

Ben, that appears to be a huge blast. Tell us what that was like.

WEDEMAN: Well, I was -- actually, I was just next to our car, very close to where that bomb dropped. I was getting a bottle of juice because it was very hot. And, you know, I just hit the ground and what followed was complete pandemonium because everybody was afraid the jet was going to come back and bomb again, so everybody jumped into their cars and ran away.

We sort of repositioned about half a mile up the road just to watch and we saw ambulances rushing by coming from actually the battle in Brega itself. But it was -- it was somewhat of a nerve-rattling experience, I'd say.

COSTELLO: Yes. That's putting it mildly, I think. I'm just wondering at what point do we consider what's happening in Libya an all-out civil war.

WEDEMAN: I think we're getting to that point, because unlike in places like Egypt and Tunisia where it was really peaceful protests against the government, here, it's very much becoming a conflict between two armed camps, the pro-Gadhafi forces on the other and these sort of fairly poorly organized, but very enthusiastic anti-Gadhafi forces on the other. It's hard to say how this -- how long this is going to go on, how it's going to end. Obviously, if a no-fly zone is imposed it could be over much quicker than anybody thought, but at the moment we're all sort of settling in for a protracted conflict.

COSTELLO: Ben Wedeman, many thanks.

Americans are feeling the ripples of the uprising as close as the corner gas station. This time yesterday we told you the national average for a gallon of unleaded was $3.39 a gallon. AAA now says that price has climbed to $3.43 per gallon.

And buckle up. There's more pain at the pump ahead. Oil prices are at their highest level in nearly two and a half years. The benchmark for April delivery is now more than $102.

Just about four hours from now, President Obama is expected to face questions about Libya and the tough choices facing the U.S. and its military. He is facing the media during a joint news conference with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon. That's scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. And that'll happen live right here on CNN.

It comes amid rising tensions between the two countries. At the bottom of the hour we'll take a closer look at why.

We're learning more about the man police think killed two U.S. airmen in Germany. The suspect is being called a radical Muslim who was gunning for American troops.

And it didn't matter that she's 29 years old and a champion athlete. Serena Williams still got a blood clot in her lungs. We'll talk about how common that is.


COSTELLO: We now know more about the suspect who opened fire on a shuttle bus full of U.S. military personnel at the Frankfurt airport in Germany. Authorities say this is the man. He's a radical Muslim, they say, who killed those two U.S. airmen while shouting Allahu Akbar or God is great. His goal, according to German officials, was to kill Americans.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is on the phone from Frankfurt.

And Fred, I know you've been delving into the suspect's background. What more can you tell us about him?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's 21 years old. And the interesting thing, Carol, that the authorities told us about him is that apparently he became radicalized only a couple of weeks ago. They say they believe the process started about four or five weeks ago when he started visiting radical Islamist Web sites.

Some of these Web sites are actually run from people right here in Frankfurt. But then he became radicalized. And as you said, he then made that plot where he said he was specifically trying to kill American soldiers at the Frankfurt Airport.

And apparently, what he did there is he went to the airport with a handgun that he had obtained illegally and then he had first talked to the soldiers and he told authorities that he spoke to the soldiers to make sure that they were, indeed, American soldiers because apparently some of them were not in uniform and that's when he opened fire.

And the -- the other interesting nugget that we sort have been able to find out is that apparently the only reason why, at some point, he stopped shooting and ran inside the terminal building where he was then apprehended is because the weapon jammed at some point -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I was just curious. Were the U.S. military personnel armed on that shuttle bus? I guess they weren't because they were just being transported somewhere.

PLEITGEN: They were transported somewhere. They were apparently on their way to either Iraq or Afghanistan. They came in from London Heathrow to Frankfurt Airport, but then going to be shuttled to the Ramstein Air Base where then they were going to deploy into one of those war zones.

They were not armed when they were on the bus. However, they did apparently have some dismantled arms which obviously also didn't have any ammunition in them. And that they were also taking with them. But all of those were packed into cases. So the soldiers themselves were not armed.

The only ones who were armed there, except the shooter obviously, were the German security forces who then apprehended this man after he ran inside the terminal building -- Carol.

COSTELLO: And just a last question, Fred. The 9/11 hijackers, some of them met in Germany, remember that? So we know Germany has had a problem with radicalized Muslims. So what is that country doing about it?

PLEITGEN: Well, I mean, after the 9/11 thing happened, obviously, the Germans did tightened a lot of their terrorism laws. They beefed up their intelligence services and they have foiled a couple of plots. If you remember, back in 2007, there was a plot by a bunch of radicalized folks here in Germany to try to attack, among others, the Ramstein Air Base, and other American installation. That plot was foiled due to intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and Germany.

So, they have done that, but they say, obviously, they're also going to have to review their security process and their security procedures, especially dealing with American installation here. Security has been beefed up at the U.S. consulate here in Frankfurt and in other U.S. installations here in this area and they say they're just going to have to review the way they do business.

Now, on the other side, the U.S. is probably also going to have to review some of the things that it does because one of the things that, obviously, made it very easy for this man to identify these soldiers is the fact that the bus that they were going to be transported in was clearly marked as a U.S. military bus and, obviously, some of them were wearing uniforms. It was quite easy to identify them.

So, certainly, both sides at this point are reviewing their processes that they go through. But certainly, yes, this is definitely been a wake-up call for the German authorities. That's what they're telling us, Carol.

COSTELLO: Fred Pleitgen in Frankfurt -- thanks so much.

Serena Williams, she is young, she is fit, but a health scare might keep her from defending her Wimbledon crown. We'll find out how a champion athlete could get a blood clot in her lungs.

And Bret Michaels, rock star, reality show star, he talks to CNN about the health scare that nearly killed him.


COSTELLO: Time now to travel across the country for news from our affiliates.

And more extensive search is planned this morning in Palm Beach County, Florida, after the remains of two children were found in a canal. Police say they first recovered the body of a girl believed to be between the ages of 6 and 10. She was in a duffel bag. Later, they found the body of an older boy. He was stuffed in a suitcase.

Teachers in Springfield, Massachusetts, are negotiating with the school system as to how to pay back more than $1 million they've been overpaid this school year. The superintendent says the accounting error involves more than 1,400 teachers.

And to Carlisle, Illinois, a town that's paying tribute to the fighting men and women who call Carlisle home with signs like this. They also honor soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice from their country whether from Carlisle or not.

Serena Williams hoped she well enough to get back on the tennis court this summer. Right now, she is recovering from a blood clot in her lung. This is a woman who's young and she's fit. She won Wimbledon last year.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here.

And you wonder -- she is so fit, so active. She takes care of herself. How could this happen?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's funny, when it comes to the clots in the legs that break off and go to the lungs, pulmonary embolism -- it can really happen to anybody. And that's something that people always are reminded of.

Let me show you really quick what this looks like, what we're talking about. It's a clot that sort of develops in the deep veins, Carol, in your legs. This is something you could feel. If you feel the clots on the surface, that's not this. This is the deep veins.

Get a clot like that right around the valve of the veins, and it breaks off. And it's got a long way to travel, all the way through the vasculature of the entire body. But the point is, it eventually could end up in the lungs, block one of the blood vessels in the lungs, someone might start to have some chest pain. They might have shortness of breath. They could have rapid heartbeat.

And if the clot is big enough, I mean, this is a deadly problem. You know, within several minutes, someone could die from this.

COSTELLO: Yes. But if it's deep in your vein, I mean, is there any soreness you could feel if you touch your leg? Could you feel it?

GUPTA: You won't feel the actual clot but you might have soreness in the leg. Now, sometimes it can just be hard to tell, especially in someone like her because she was in a walking boot. You know, we saw that after some time and I think maybe a cast sort of thing at the upper part of her leg. You can see it there.

That's a risk factor. Immobilizing your leg like that because you're not moving it, it causes the blood to become stagnant, more likely to clot, also a smoking medication is a risk factor as well.

COSTELLO: And I know she was treated at the hospital and then she went to this red carpet event.

GUPTA: Right.

COSTELLO: Is that something normal that someone should do?

GUPTA: I was a little surprised by that when I first heard that. But, you know, if it was a small clot and it could be treated, then it's not that unusual she could get out of the hospital quickly. You put someone on blood thinners, that's what you need to do because you want to break up that clot that's in the lung, so you do I.V. blood thinners usually first and then oral -- you know, by-mouth medications.

It was interesting, a few days later, she had to go back into the hospital because she had a hematoma somewhere and that may have been as a result of the blood thinners because it just makes your blood thin. So, it's been a cycle of events for her.

COSTELLO: Is this a genetic thing?

GUPTA: Probably -- yes, in some cases, it could be. There are some people whose blood just clots easier. So, they're going to make blood clots more easily. But for some people, it's just those risk factors, you know, a cross-country flight she was on from L.A. to New York. Legs aren't moving. She was in a cast. Birth control pills are risk factor. Smoking is risk factor, dehydration. So, there are risk factors.

And, again, young and old, women and men, this problem can happen.

COSTELLO: So scary. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, many thanks.

GUPTA: You got it.

COSTELLO: We appreciate it.

Bret Michaels, he talked to CNN's Piers Morgan about his brain hemorrhage that nearly killed him last year. It's his first interview since his heart surgery back in January. Piers asked the rock star about the scary moments at the hospital.


BRET MICHAELS, MUSICIAN: When I went in the emergency room the night it happened, they -- you know, I was telling them, "I don't care if you got to saw my head open, do whatever you got to do, I want to live." I looked at the doctor and said, "Am I dying?" And he said, "You're in a lot of trouble. We're getting you to Barrow," the emergency at Barrow.

And I heard him say to Kristi, "I would bring your daughters down. If you have kids and they are awake, I would bring your kids to the hospital." And that for me was -- I call it the most surreal, out of body experience I've ever had.


COSTELLO: Really scary. Tonight at 9:00 Eastern, Piers talks with Matt Damon and the cast of the new movie, "Adjustment Bureau." The movie opens in the U.S. tomorrow.

Today, President Obama and Calderon meet at the White House. This at the time when it seems anti-American sentiment is growing south of the border. We'll look at why that maybe happening.

But, first, "Fortune" magazine put out its annual list of the most admired companies. Here's a look. At number five: Procter & Gamble. Number four: Southwest Airlines. Berkshire Hathaway comes in at number three.

Number two and number one after the break.


COSTELLO: We're coming up on half past of the hour here. Here are some of the stories we're following:

A second straight day of air strikes in Libya. Moammar Gadhafi unleashing his military on areas under rebel control. One of the targets is an oil facility.

Gas prices here in the United States went up about 4 cents while you were sleeping. The average price per gallon now is $3.43. That's according to AAA.

And we're learning more about the man police who think killed two American airmen in Germany. The suspect is 21 years old. He's from Kosovo. And authorities say he's a radical Muslim who was gunning for American troops.

The list is out. We're talking about the most admired companies. Before the break, we told you numbers five through three -- Procter & Gamble, Southwest Airlines, and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Now for the top two and for that -- let's go to Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange.

So, I'm sitting on the edge of my seat, Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There goes that drum roll, Carol. And the most admired companies are: we heard cymbals (ph) -- Google is number two. Apple is number one. It's actually the fourth year in a row that Apple is at the top.

You know, Apple is really setting the bar high. You know, before Steve Jobs took his medical leave, he said that Apple is firing on all cylinders. And, you know, I got as to agree with him. It's doubled its profits over the past year. It's had big product announcements one after another. The iPad2 introduced yesterday. The iPhone 4 is now being offered by Verizon. It's got its great cutting-edge technology.

And now, Google. Sure, Google is the king of search. It's technology tentacles are reaching into more and more devices. Did you know this? That 33 million phones run on its Android operating system.

If you want to hear more about this "Fortune" list, go to CNN Money to get the full list, Carol.

COSTELLO: I'm wondering, what's with the band?

KOSIK: Yes! They just came in. You know what? They are celebrating Mardi Gras a little early. You know what? Always an excuse to start partying early. It's like New Orleans here at the New York Stock Exchange!

COSTELLO: Well, hopefully, the markets are reflecting that because we have some new job -- we're getting some new job numbers in today. So, how might the markets react?

KOSIK: Yes, you know what? They are upbeat like the music here at the stock exchange. The unemployment claims report is definitely coming in much better than expected. It's the reason that we're seeing Dow futures up about 100 points. Wall Street did expect claims to rise. So, this is good news because they instead fell to 360,000 last week. It's actually the lowest level in almost three years.

We still got oil prices high. You know, hanging out at around $101 a barrel. But we think that stocks will get a nice boost at the open. Maybe it's the music helping, Carol.

COSTELLO: I hope so. Anything that helps is good. Alison Kosik, thanks so much.

KOSIK: I hear you. COSTELLO: President Obama welcomes the Mexican president to the White House today. The drug war will likely be on the docket. It's that war which some say has amped up anti-American sentiment in Mexico. Drug lords there are getting rich American -- getting rich on American dollars, I should say, armed with American weapons.

But is this anything new? In both 2002 and 2004, when Mexico hosted the United States for a soccer game, fans booed and chanted, "Osama, Osama."


COSTELLO: It was ugly. In 2007, during the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City, Miss USA, Rachel Smith, goes center stage. And you can hear -- you hear the booing.

Rafael Romo is out Latin American affairs expert. So, it's not anything new but it seems to be getting worse. Why?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well, it's -- you cannot make generalized case of Mexicans hating Americans. In these two particular cases, I think it's more of unruly fans. It's a situation that you would face if you went to a baseball game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

The Boston Red Sox are going to boo the Yankees, but it doesn't mean that Boston, in general, hates New York. And I think it's the same thing between Mexico and the United States. And, listen. There are 30 million people in the United States who were either born in Mexico or who claim Mexican ancestry so their relationship between these two countries is unique.

COSTELLO: Well, I was just going to say you might turn it the other way. There are many in the United States who aren't so fond of Mexico. So if that's true, like there's a great number of people in Mexico disliking the U.S. vice versa, how is that harmful to both countries? I guess that's what I'm really getting at.

ROMO: You know, a favorite saying in Mexico is "Poor Mexico. So close to the United States and so far from God." And that has been the general attitude over more than a century now. They have this conception of the United States being the bigger, richer, bolder neighbor who is always trying to control what Mexicans do.

In Mexico, if you are a politician, especially with President Calderon coming to the White House and you appear too cozy with America it's basically political suicide. But, at the same time, most Mexicans want that close relationship, that exchange of goods and services. And Mexico is the number three largest trade partner to the United States. And Mexico is the second largest market for the United States.

COSTELLO: Let me just play the cynic. Mexico didn't want to make America too mad because America's given them a billion dollars to fight the drug war there. Nothing seems to be happening. It's worse than ever. So is it any surprise that a lot of people in the United States aren't so fond of Mexico at this moment?

ROMO: It's not a big surprise, and it's been going on for generations because of the immigration tensions, because of Mexico blaming the United States for the violence problems and vice versa.

But the reality is that both countries are working together. U.S. Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton went to Mexico in January and delivered another aid package for half a billion dollars. Mexican law enforcement agencies routinely train with their American counterparts and routinely exchange intelligence.

So one thing is what can be said on the street. An entirely different thing is what governments are doing to cooperate and to work together.

COSTELLO: OK. So when the presidents meet today, what do you think will be said behind closed doors?

ROMO: Well, number one is, I'm sure that behind doors, American officials are really questioning whether President Calderon's strategy is really working. You said last year WikiLeaks released the cable saying that the Mexican security agencies don't cooperate and the Mexican --

COSTELLO: As far as cleaning up the drug problem in Mexico.

ROMO: Exactly. And that the Mexican army is risk-averse. So, I'm sure there will be some frank conversations as to, OK, four years, more than 35,000 deaths, what can we do together to make the situation better?

And the reality is that President Calderon has said, OK, in the past, my predecessors used to look the other way. Now, I change the equation. I started combating the trafficking organizations and that's the reason why we have the violence we have.

Whether President Obama is going to still trust the argument and believe what he has to say, it's an entirely different matter.

COSTELLO: We'll see what they say in public. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

ROMO: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Rodney King speaks out to CNN, reliving the moment that changed the way an entire generation thinks about race. We'll reintroduce you to the man who became a household name.


COSTELLO: It's a day to relax a bit for the crew on board the space shuttle Discovery. They are now past the halfway point of their 12- day mission which also marks the final voyage of the shuttle Discovery. The 30-year-old veteran spacecraft of NASA's fleet will be retired after its scheduled touchdown next Tuesday. Last hour on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING" Commander Steve Lindsey took stock of what he called a successful mission.


CMDR. STEVE LINDSEY, COMMANDER, STS-133: Well, so far, the mission has been fantastic. We've -- we've accomplished most of our major objectives already.

We had two successful spacewalks, accomplished all of those objectives, plus a whole bunch of extra -- what we call get-aheads. We installed the last scheduled U.S. pressurized module to the space station. We installed an external stowage platform with critical spares for the space station that have been transferring and working a lot of science as well. As well as some logistics and cargo transfer.

So, so far, the mission has gone just absolutely spectacular. We couldn't be happier with it and looking forward to a couple more days up here on our beautiful International Space Station.


COSTELLO: See? They aren't just floating around up there. The shuttle is due to leave the Space Station on Sunday, landing set for Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Let's take a quick look at some stories we're watching for later today. At 4:00 p.m. Eastern, the Navy is expected to announce the result of its investigation into racy videos shown aboard the USS Enterprise. The ship's commander, Capital Owen Honors was removed because of the controversy in January.

In Houston, prosecutors plan to ask a judge to dismiss rape charges against an innocent man. He's been in prison for 17 years. DNA tests on hair found at the scene of a 1987 rape proved George Rodriguez did not commit the crime.

In London, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, a giant stet of Olympic rings will be unveiled at the St. Pancras International Train Station. As the 2012 summer games draw closer other sets of rings will be placed on landmarks as the Tower Bridge and the London Eye Ferris Wheel.


COSTELLO: There is a buzz on Capitol Hill. One senator is set to retire, while another is going to face a challenge. Our political ticker is next.


COSTELLO: A long-time senator is announcing his retirement, making the fifth Democratic senator to do that this year. Our senior political editor Mark Preston is here with the story.

Why so many? MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, Carol, you know, I think a lot has to do with age and a lot has to do with the political environment. Daniel Akaka, the senator from Hawaii, has been on Capitol Hill since 1976. Last night he announced that he will be not seeking re-election. Had Daniel Akaka decided to run and had he won in 2012, he would have been 88-years-old, Carol.

COSTELLO: Oh, geez. OK, I get that.

PRESTON: Imagine that.

COSTELLO: Yes, I certainly get that. Go on.

PRESTON: Switching over to Vermont, there is another candidate that might be face a challenge now in 2012. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, he's a socialistic, he calls himself an Independent, aligns himself with the Democratic Party. However, Tom Salmon, the Vermont auditor, he is a Republican. He said last night that he is seriously considering challenging Sanders in 2012.

Interesting thing about Salmon is that Salmon is a Democrat who decided to become a Republican in 2009. In fact, his father was a Democratic governor back in the 1970s. Salmon, if he runs, is probably going to run on the line of fiscal discipline -- Carol.

COSTELLO: What else is there to run on these days?

Mark, we've heard some chatter that some Republican presidential candidates might skip Iowa and seek a different path to the GOP nomination.

What are you hearing about that?

PRESTON: Yes, Carol. You know, this is something that was much discussed back in 2007, when John McCain and Rudy Giuliani decided not to play in the Iowa caucuses, basically not going all-in in Iowa. It worked OK for John McCain.

This time around there is some chatter that candidates are going to look for a different path to the Republican nomination. Matt Strong, the Iowa Republican party chairman was here yesterday. He said that that would be a mistake. There's a misperception the Iowa caucuses are entirely dominated by social conservatives.

Social conservatives play a very important role in Iowa, but they're not the only caucus voters. In fact, we'll see Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum head out to Iowa on Monday to app at a social conservative forum. But remember, social conservatives are also fiscal conservatives.

So, we'll see what happens but I seriously doubt, Carol, that Iowa will not play a major role in the 2012 presidential election.

COSTELLO: Interesting. We'll see. Thank you, Mark Preston from Washington. We'll have your next political update in one hour. And a reminder, for all the latest political news, go to our web site,

From obscurity to a worldwide symbol of police brutality. Twenty years ago today, California's Rodney King went from nobody to household name. In advance of today's anniversary, Rodney King spoke to CNN's Don Lemon.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the 20 years since his life was turned upside down, Rodney King has relocated to suburban Rialto, California. He is 20 years older and, according to him, a lot wiser. He admits his past is riddled with bad decisions.

(On camera): If you could do it all over again, what would you do? Would you go out that night? Would you --

RODNEY KING, POLICE BEATING VICTIM: I would have stayed home. I think I would have stayed home.

LEMON (voice-over): For years after the beating, Rodney King continued to have run-ins with the law. In 1996, he was sentenced to 90 days for a hit and run involving his wife. He was also arrested several times on charges related to domestic abuse, drug intoxication and indecent exposure.

(On camera): Why after all that? That's what people would say. Especially black people. Why, after all that, Rodney, are you still getting in trouble?

KING: I guess the trouble that they see me in is a part of my life that I'm working on.

LEMON (voice-over): And 20 years later, Rodney King still lives in fear.

(On camera): Years after the beating, you wore a vest?

KING: Oh, yes.

LEMON: Do you still wear a vest?

KING: Yes, I do, I do.

LEMON (voice-over): He wears a bullet-proof vest in large crowds because threats against his life were all too real. The FBI once infiltrated a white supremacist plot to assassinate King.

KING: You know, I never feel safe. You know? It's just things that happen. When you are part of history and it changes for the better, you got a lot of devilish people out there that don't like it.

LEMON (on camera): When Rodney King had the blood on his face, that mug shot of you with the blood on your face, who was he then?

KING: Oh, man. A guy that was almost dead and just like happy to be able to still have that face to be able to -- to have that face to be able to see that face.

LEMON: And Rodney King now, all cleaned up, trimmed goatee, beads around his neck. Who is Rodney King now?

KING: I consider myself a decent, you know, good human being.

LEMON: Are you able to forgive those cops?


COSTELLO: Fascinating. Be sure to join us Friday night as "CNN PRESENTS" "Race and Rage, The Beating of Rodney King." That's Friday night, 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

Still ahead, a court ruling for a CIA contractor accused of killing two men in Pakistan. We're live in Islamabad after the break.


COSTELLO: Oh, the clock is ticking. Can you hear it? I can. This could be the last day for NFL owners and players to work out a deal. If not, maybe a lockout.

Jeff Fischel from HLN Sports is here.

Do you think they'll be a lockout?

JEFF FISCHEL, HLN SPORTS: Boy, the owners have certainly been preparing for that, right? Midnight tonight is the deadline and no one knows what happens if we get to midnight without a deal between the players and the owners.

The two sides do not appear to be even close to finding a compromise on how to share $9 billion. The owners want to add two games to the regular season to 18 games. The players are saying, hey, we get injured enough in 16 games. If you want us to play more, you need at least pay us more.

The owners also want to set a limit on how much rookies get paid. The question is, can a deal get done by midnight tonight? No one knows what happens if they do not get a deal done.

Will there still be more negotiations? We just don't know right now.

College hoops, number three, BYU playing its first game since big man Brandon Davies dismissed from the team and the Cougars just aren't the same without him. Phillip McDonald, the strong finish, and then again in transition, the Lobos flew out BYU last night. McDonald had 26. And Mexico wins by 18.

And we've learned why Brandon Davies was kicked off the team. The "Salt Lake City Tribune" is reporting it's because he had premarital sex with his girlfriend. BYU has a strict honor code that says students must be quote, "chaste and virtuous."

COSTELLO: How did they -- I'm just curious. How did they find out? FISCHEL: It's the -- there are not secrets, right?

COSTELLO: There are no secrets there.

FISCHEL: Davies actually admitted, ended up -- when questioned about it, he actually admitted. That's what happened. This could cost BYU a final four run.

All right. At Louisville, life is pretty good for senior Preston Knowles. It was senior night, he was honored before the game and then he dominated against Providence. This is the last thing in the first -- throws it up over his head to beat the buzzer. Watch him, knowing the clock is running out, just tosses it up and in. Twenty points, 10 rebounds for the senior. Louisville won big, 87-60.

NBA, Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls took a 14-0 lead against the Hawks but Atlanta fights back, playing fantastic D. Look at Marvin Williams, the block on Rose. Then under 30 seconds left, Hawks with the ball, down one. Jamal Crawford to Al Horford. Horford, 31 points. And the Hawks come back to win 83-80.

NHL, Islanders hosting the Wild. Michael Grabner, no, but look at that shot. Kyle Okposo, the rebound between the legs, that's fancy. There it goes.

COSTELLO: That's cool.

FISCHEL: Yes. Got it between the goaltender's legs as well for the goal. Nice Okposo goal. All right. Islanders gone to win 4-1.

Of course but again, Carol, all we're thinking about today, the NFL because seriously the owners have been very serious about saying, we are prepared to wait a long time for the players to cave in. So we will see if anything gets done today in negotiations.

COSTELLO: Yes, I think --

FISCHEL: I think they're going after nine days talk --


COSTELLO: Which side of the public is on, because if the owners lock out the players and there's no NFL season next year, I mean, will fans be more angry at the players or the owners?

FISCHEL: That's a great question. All we know for sure is the fans are going to want to see football, right?


FISCHEL: So ultimately, they're just going to want to see a deal get done.

COSTELLO: All right. We'll keep an eye on it. Thank you, Jeff.

FISCHEL: OK. COSTELLO: We'll following lots of developments in the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM.

Let's check in first with Stephanie Elam.


What do these cars, daycare and disability claims all have in common? I'm going to tell you. That's coming up in the next hour. And I'll tell you this, it's good.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Becky Anderson on the Tunisian/Libyan border witnessing what could become a humanitarian catastrophe. That's coming up in the next hour.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Henry at the White House where President Obama will have meetings with President Calderon of Mexico. Among the topics of discussion will include cross border violence, immigration reform, but also Libya as well.

COSTELLO: Thanks to all of you.

A lot has been written about the life of a touring rock band. Almost none of it was about a rock band touring Libya.

Coming up, a unique perspective of Libya from the band The Heavenly States, their brief tour and run-in with authorities. That's in our next hour.


COSTELLO: A setback for a CIA contractor in Pakistan today. A court ruled Raymond Davis, accused of killing two men in Pakistan last month, does not have diplomatic immunity.

CNN's Reza Sayah is following the story from Islamabad, Pakistan.

Reza, first of all, remind us what this case is about.

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, if you like high stakes drama, this case has everything you are looking for. It's about 36-year-old American CIA contractor, Raymond Davis. In January, he shot and killed two Pakistani men, he said it was self-defense that the men were trying to rob him.

Washington says he should be released because he has diplomatic immunity. Pakistani authorities say no, he's not a diplomat, he doesn't have immunity, and this was murder, and he should be put on trial in a Pakistani court.

What makes this case so thorny, so messy, so complicated is the widespread anti-Americanism here in Pakistan. Hardline religious groups have protested against Davis. They've called for his trial and execution. There is a lot of pressure on this very weak Pakistani civilian government not to release him. There's a perception here among the Pakistani public that there are CIA agents running around everywhere in Pakistan carrying out a very unpopular American foreign policy, so very difficult for this civilian government to let him go.

In the meantime, Washington continuing to put on the pressure on Pakistan. At the same time, they don't want to inflame the situation. Just an overall very thorny situation here with this case -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So what happened -- what exactly happened in today's hearing? And what's next?

SAYAH: Two things happened today in the trial court. First off, they put off and delayed officially charging him with double murder. They also ruled that he's not entitled to diplomatic immunity.

This was the first time a Pakistani court ruled on the diplomatic immunity issue, but it's important to remember that this decision today in the trial court has no bearing on the big hearing scheduled for March 14th. That's when the Lahore High Court is going to weigh in on this issue.

That decision is much more important, carries a lot more weight, and it's going to impact how this case moves forward -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Reza Sayah, thanks for updating us. We appreciate it. Live from Pakistan this morning.