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CNN NEWSROOM

Obama Administration Considering Tapping Into U.S. Oil Reserves; Libya's Dictator in Denial; Different Kind of Revolution; Checking The Truth-O-Meter; The Effects of Hard Knocks; Being A Brand; Diplomat's Family Forced Apart

Aired March 7, 2011 - 12:00   ET

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


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Let's get you up to speed.

Libya's civil war lurched towards a standoff today. Control over several Libyan cities seesawed between rebels and Gadhafi forces in recent days. This amateur video appears to back rebel claims that they held off the town of Misrata over the weekend.

Gadhafi's jets bombed rebels in Ras Lanuf twice today. Rebels seized the oil town on Friday. They pushed west over the weekend, toward the capital, Tripoli, but Gadhafi forces stood their ground, forcing them back.

The United Nations says more than 200,000 people have fled Libya for Tunisia, but the flow slowed to a trickle over the weekend. Officials say they're concerned that Libya is forcing people to turn back. U.S. military planes have been flying Egyptian workers back to Cairo.

And President Obama brought up Libya during his meeting with the Australian prime minister just this last hour. He had a warning for those taking orders from Moammar Gadhafi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to send a very clear message to those who are around Colonel Gadhafi. It is their choice to make how they operate moving forward, and they will be held accountable for whatever violence continues to take place there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: The Supreme Court refused again today to step into the legal fight over President Obama's birthplace. Justices will not rehear a petition that would have forced the president to prove he was born in the United States. The White House and the state of Hawaii released birth documents long ago, but so-called birthers don't accept them as proof he was born in the United States.

In Afghanistan today, Defense Secretary Robert gates apologized for the deaths of nine Afghan boys last week. U.S. troops say they mistook the group for the Taliban. This time, President Hamid Karzai accepted the apology. He rejected one earlier from U.S. commander David Petraeus, calling an apology "insufficient."

A serial rape suspect is set for arraignment in New Haven, Connecticut, today. Police link Aaron Thomas to 17 rapes in Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The crimes began back in 1997. A New Haven newspaper reports that Thomas asked police when they arrested him, "What took you so long?"

Well, both AAA and the Lundberg Survey say that gas now is averaging $3.51 a gallon, nationwide, across the country. Prices jumped 34 cents over the past 13 days. That is the fastest run-up since Hurricane Katrina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurting. They're hurting bad. They're going higher every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The economy, as bad as it is already, and then to have to put that much money out for fuel every time you fuel up, it makes it very difficult.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: It's something that has only been done twice before, tapping into U.S. oil reserves. The Obama administration is considering this, this option, because of rising gas prices.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL DALEY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The issue of the reserves is one we're considering. It is something that only is done and has been done on very rare occasions. There's a bunch of factors that have to be looked at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Chief Business Correspondent Ali Velshi joins us.

Ali, very impressive here. I mean, this is unbelievable. You rolled this thing in.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We haven't seen this for a long time. This is my oil barrel.

It's hard to sort of see in this light, but this is my barrel of oil. I used to talk about this all the time when gas was up at $3.50 a gallon, and then $4 and then $4.11 a gallon. Oil was at $147 a barrel during Hurricane Katrina.

This is very unusual, this idea of tapping the U.S. Strategic Reserves. It doesn't make any sense at all.

MALVEAUX: It was a tough decision under President Bush in tapping those reserves.

VELSHI: Yes. MALVEAUX: A tough decision, as well, for the Obama administration.

Do you think it's a good idea, a bad idea?

VELSHI: No, I don't. And let me tell you why.

This is crude oil. Right? We talk about gas prices. There's no mystery to this.

Gas prices are high because crude oil prices are high. It's as simple as that. Now, the idea of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is that you have to have a certain amount of oil going into our refineries, most of which are on the Gulf Coast, to produce gasoline.

Our gas prices aren't high because there's not a shortage of oil going into the refineries. They're high because the price of oil is high around the world because the Chinese use a lot of oil and the Indians use a lot of oil.

It's a ruse to think that this has a lot to do with Libya, because the bottom line is, we don't actually have any shortage of oil just yet. Until we don't have oil going into our refineries, we don't need to touch that Strategic Petroleum Reserve. There are 727 million barrels of oil in there.

Look at the gas prices around the country. OK. Here's your Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

It's four sites on the Gulf of Mexico, 727 million barrels. It's full. So that's about 35 to 40 days' worth of gas supply or oil supply in the United States.

The supply is not the threat. The price is the threat. And if you do fiddle with this thing, all you'll do is reduce the U.S. oil reserves, not really affect the price of oil or gas that much anyway, and then you will have to buy back that oil to fill it up.

MALVEAUX: So, Ali, what affects the price of oil then? What's the outlook and the impact --

(CROSSTALK)

VELSHI: Well, there's two things, right? There's demand, which, as I said, is increasing in China and India and places like that, not increasing in the United States. Our demand has been flat for years.

We're driving less. We're driving more fuel-efficient cars. That's not what's having the effect.

The other thing is it's a market-traded commodity, so it's speculation. It's the idea that, can I make more money in three months because of what's going to happen in the world by buying oil now? And then that's what's happening, the idea that this unrest in the Middle East could spread. But at the moment, there's been no supply shortage anywhere. And that's why it's silly to touch the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Save it for when we really, really need to do that -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Glad you rolled that out.

VELSHI: Thank you. My trusty barrel. I suspect I'm going to be using this barrel a lot over the course --

MALVEAUX: There were a lot of guys it took to get this thing out there.

VELSHI: This is a real replica of an original standard oil barrel.

MALVEAUX: All right. Ali, thanks. I know you'll have more details on your own show. So appreciate it. Thank you.

VELSHI: Yes. OK.

MALVEAUX: Well, here's a look at what's ahead "On the Rundown."

First, Gadhafi's denial versus the reality of civil war that is taking place in Libya.

Also, a bobcat on the loose and on the attack. You're going to see that.

Plus, amazing pictures as lava spews from a volcano in Hawaii. Check out those pictures.

And the hearing on the radicalization of Muslims. Terror threat or witch-hunt?

And finally, does the government spend millions on NASCAR? We put the claim to the truth-o-meter. That, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Here's your chance to "Choose the News." We're going to tell you about three stories. You vote by texting for the one that you would like to see.

So, first, a father and daughter, living in limbo. What it's like leaving behind a family member working as a U.S. diplomat in Egypt.

Also, a family-run business making children's clothing is getting squeezed by the skyrocketing price of cotton. Hear how this business is changing merchandise to deal with it.

And finally, a Memphis renaissance making musicians sing a sweeter tune. After decades of decay, artists are getting their mojo back and strengthening the city's economy at the same time.

So all you have to do, vote by texting 22360. Vote 1 for "Living in Limbo"; 2 for "Squeezed by Cotton"; or 3 for "Memphis Music Mojo."

The winning story airs later this hour.

Well, Libya, now a full-blown civil war. It seems everyone knows it except for Moammar Gadhafi. The dictator is in denial, despite sending troops to fight rebels in several cities and towns.

Our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, he joins us.

Nic, you're in Tripoli. You just got back from Zawiya. Tell us what that was like. There seems to be a disconnect here between Moammar Gadhafi's description of what is taking place and what you have seen on the ground.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. His government had said since Friday that the government forces took control of Zawiya from what we saw about a week or so ago as being about 2,000 armed opposition supporters. The latest numbers from inside the city are perhaps a couple of hundred or a hundred armed rebels in there now.

But the government has said now for three days it's had control. They wouldn't let us go. They wouldn't take us there to go, but we went to take a look for ourselves.

We couldn't get into the center of the city. We got within a mile of it. We could hear heavy anti-aircraft gunfire, hear the sounds of heavy artillery thuds as artillery landed in that area, but also a lot of small arms gunfire.

It is very clear to us that the government doesn't control that city, as they say they are. They are still battling rebels.

Indeed, as we drove out of the area just about an hour or so ago, we saw at least 150 fresh recruited troops heading into that battle zone. The government has pushed out its checkpoints in that area, ostensibly to hide the fact that it's beefing up its troop presence. But they're actually rushing in more troops now.

They don't control it. The government says they do -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Nic, we have been following this story for weeks now. What is the most important thing that we should know about what is taking place on the ground now?

ROBERTSON: That the rebels and the government are in a slugging out -- slugging it out in a fight, and no sign it's going to back down. There's going to be no easy victory, military victory, for either side, and that this battle is going to takes some time.

Gadhafi is going to hold onto power. He looks pretty strong in Tripoli. We talked to opposition members today. They say that they just don't have the weapons in this city to start up a fight, so they still have a long way to run as it looks right now -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And Nic, I know there's a European Union diplomatic delegation that is in Tripoli. What are they hoping to accomplish?

ROBERTSON: Well, really, they're looking at this sort of foreign national interest. They're looking at the European Union citizens. They want to make sure that any that want to leave can leave, and any that want to stay will be able to stay safely.

The delegate was meeting with foreign ambassadors here today, European Union ambassadors. He said he also met with the foreign ministry, was planning to make sure that other foreign nationals, non- Europeans, were safe, that they were getting out if they needed to get out. That he was going to head back to Brussels to report. But what he wasn't going to do, he wasn't going to try to go to Zawiya or any of these other battlefronts to make an assessment of the battles that are going on there -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right.

Nic Robertson, out of Tripoli.

Thank you very much. We'll come back to you as the details warrant. Thank you, Nic.

Well, now taking you "X Country," courtesy of our affiliates.

A bobcat is on the loose in east-central Florida. Wildlife officials have spotted it, but they haven't been able to catch it. They say the wild animal has bitten a woman and may have attacked several dogs.

Trappers fear that the bobcat may be sick. The woman has been treated for rabies just in case.

Well, check out this surveillance video, a man choking in an Atlanta restaurant. His waiter rushes over and performs the Heimlich maneuver.

Matthew McConnell (ph) says it was just part of his training.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW MCCONNELL (ph), PERFORMED HEIMLICH MANEUVER: "Hero" might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but I think anybody would have stepped in and did the same thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's definitely a hero. And if I wasn't a broke college student, we probably would have tipped a lot more than we did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Worthy of a big tip.

Video we can never get enough of, lava pouring out of Hawaii's -- a volcano there in Hawaii that's been erupting on and of for about 28 years.

(WEATHER REPORT)

MALVEAUX: Well, just within the hour, Defense Secretary Robert Gates apologized for the deaths of nine Afghan children at the hands of NATO forces.

We're going to have the latest on that story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: We have watched as popular uprisings spread across the Middle East, as well as North Africa. But the violence in Libya is a reminder that these are very different nations fighting very different dictators.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX (voice-over): When the uprising first began in Libya, the besieged dictator Moammar Gadhafi told his people in no uncertain terms he would die before stepping down. His son Saif backed him, saying, "This is no Tunisia or Egypt."

While Gadhafi is known as a leader prone to diatribe, on this point he's right. The uprisings across the Arab world do not represent a single movement. The revolutions in Tunisia and then in Egypt, marked by popular uprisings, were essentially tolerated and finally conceded by long-standing dictators.

We certainly saw violence, but there's a difference between tear gas and air strikes, batons and bullets. That's where Libya has proven to be uniquely brutal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: So, should the United States be taking action, even unilateral action in Libya?

I spoke with William Cohen, the chairman of The Cohen Group. That's an international consulting group which has among its clients major U.S. defense contractors working across the world. He gave me his take.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM COHEN, FMR. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We shouldn't be talking about unilateral action taken by the United States, but collective action that we're now discussing what might be done in NATO. And that means 26 nations and not the United States. And I think we have to be very careful that this not be seen as the United States taking action, unilaterally intervening, in this conflict, and thereby sending a signal to others in the region that maybe untoward toward them and lead to consequences that we haven't really thought through.

MALVEAUX: Do you think that it would be overreaching, overstepping if the no-fly zone was put in place for Libya?

COHEN: Well, first of all, a no-fly zone means we not only take out aircraft that are airborne, or those on the ground, but taking out all the surface-to-air missile sites. That can be done, but it requires a lot of destruction, and it is, in fact, an act of war directed against the government as such.

Secondly, it's not easy as it sounds, because you just don't just fly over a limited area, and you can't put all the aircraft on one aircraft carrier, so you have to have some land-based capability, as well, probably out of Spain. So it's a major operation. In addition, you have to have search and rescue teams to back up those planes that might get shot down and the American pilots being taken hostage.

MALVEAUX: So you would not endorse it?

COHEN: I think you have to be careful of something -- a no-fly zone can quickly have mission creep into no-drive zone, and then you're talking about people on the ground. I think you have to be very careful, and that's why the president's correct to talk about NATO international operations and collective action, not unilateral action by the U.S.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: The U.S. is apologizing once again to the people of Afghanistan over the killing of nine Afghan boys mistaken for insurgents. This time, Defense Secretary Robert Gates apologized to the Afghan president shortly after arriving in Kabul.

Joining me now is our senior international correspondent, John Vause.

John, great to see you here for our "Globe Trekking" segment.

Essentially, he offered this apology. How did this go down?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is Gates' 13th trip to Afghanistan as secretary of defense. Pretty much straight off the bat, he offered this apology up.

We have some sound from that news conference. So let's listen to the apology from Secretary Gates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I would like to begin by joining General Petraeus in offering my personal apology for the accidental killing of nine Afghan boys by coalition forces last week. This breaks our heart. Not only is their loss a tragedy for their families, it is a setback for our relationship with the Afghan people, whose security is our chief concern.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Yes, indeed, it has been a setback for U.S.-Afghan relations. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, was also at that news conference. He accepted the apology, but it came with some conditions. This is some of what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAMID KARZAI, AFGHAN PRESIDENT: Civilian casualties are an issue that the Afghans fail to understand, because we, the Afghan people, are allies with the rest of the world in the war on terror. We are victims in the war on terror. So, for us then to continue to suffer civilian casualties is something that we fail to understand and becomes a major issue of grief and disappointment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And just a bit of background about what actually happened here.

MALVEAUX: Sure.

VAUSE: This all happened last Tuesday, in Kunar province. A coalition base came under attack by insurgents, they were hit by a couple of rockets. They called in two NATO attack helicopters who opened fire, killed nine people.

Later found out that the nine dead were, in fact, nine dead boys aged between 9 and 15. They were out collecting firewood.

And this is causing a lot of concern in Afghanistan. General David Petraeus apologized. Karzai refused to accept that. President Obama expressed his regret. Karzai refused to accept that.

But now --

MALVEAUX: And this is something that's been going on for a long time. I mean, a real sense of frustration with Karzai in approaching the Obama administration.

Could he not just accept this apology, or was there some sort of politics that went along with this?

VAUSE: Yes, indeed. The problem for Karzai right now is that if you look at the civilian casualties in Afghanistan, they're at an all- time high. According to the U.N., they're up 25 percent last year alone. So this is a big issue.

On Sunday, there was a demonstration. People took to the streets, started burning American flags. They wanted the U.S. forces out of Afghanistan.

So this is a very big political issue for Karzai. He needs U.S. support. Privately, without the U.S., he cannot stay in power. But he has a lot of political -- a lot to gain politically if he stands up to the U.S., especially over these civilian deaths.

He also made mention that just last month, there was another attack on civilians that killed 60-something people, 20 women, 15 children. So this is a big issue in Afghanistan, a big issue which is straining relations right now between Washington and Kabul.

MALVEAUX: You get a sense he's fed up with all this.

VAUSE: Yes.

MALVEAUX: All right.

John, thanks. Appreciate your being here. Thank you, John.

VAUSE: Sure.

MALVEAUX: The growing debate over homegrown Muslim radicals. We're going to talk to an expert on extremist groups in the United States.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Here's a look at what's ahead "On the Rundown."

A hearing on the radicalization of Muslims is raising concerns. Some perspective from a group that tracks hate crimes and domestic terrorism.

And a little later, is Wisconsin broke? We put the governor's claim to the test with the Truth-o-Meter.

And radicalizing Muslims in America. It is the focus of hearings this week in Congress. The head of the House Homeland Security committee Peter King says that something from within the Muslim community is a threat that needs to be explored. But the first Muslim elected to Congress, Minnesota representative Keith Ellison, says that singling out one community is just wrong. The two discussed it on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING (R-NY), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: I said time and time again the overwhelming majority of Muslims are outstanding Americans. But at this stage in our history, there's an effort to radicalize elements within the Muslim community. And I've said whether we (ph) were going after the Mafia, the Italian community, the Westies, the Irish community, New York, Russian mob. They go into the Russian community in Brighton Beach in Coney Island.

And right now there's an effort -- and this isn't just me saying this. Eric Holder said he stays awake at night worrying about the numbers of young Muslim men being radicalized.

CANDY CROWLEY, HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": But do you worry - and let me ask you, Congressman - do you worry about that message being September to Muslim Americans that there is an investigation going on because there's a threat within the community to their country essentially?

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: I worry about it. Everybody I talk to worries about it. We're concerned about the breadth of this.

I think there's -- it's absolutely the right thing do for the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee to investigate radicalization. But to say we're going to investigate a religious minority, and a particular one, I think is the wrong course of action to take. I mean, taking up on the chairman's point, you know, look. If we talk about gang violence, I don't think it's right to talk about, you know, only the Irish community and the Westies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: The most recent figure from the Pew Research Center shows more than 2.3 million Muslims in the United States, that's about .6 percent of the population. Roughly two-thirds of Muslims in America are immigrants.

I want to bring in an expert on extremism. Mark Potok is with the Southern - Southern Poverty Law Center, rather. One of the most highly regarded nongovernmental operations that are monitoring hate groups. He joins us from Montgomery, Alabama.

And Mr. Potok, if you can from your study of tracking radical groups, potentially hate groups, what do you think of this hearing? Is al Qaeda radicalizing Muslims? Is that our biggest homegrown terrorism threat right now?

MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Well, I think it's not our biggest domestic terror threat. I think that pretty clearly comes from the radical right in this country. Although I would certainly not minimize the threat of jihadist terrorism in this country. Obviously, we have seen a fair amount of it.

But what is completely false is, first of all, the idea that Peter King has repeatedly said that most Muslims are good Americans and so on. You know, in fact what he has said is that 85 percent or 90 percent of the imams running mosques in this country are radical. They're jihadist. And everything suggests that what he says is false.

He has also suggested that Muslims are not cooperating with law enforcement. And, you know, we work very closely at the Southern Poverty Law Center with law enforcement officials, and that is absolutely not with they're saying. They're saying they're getting a great deal of cooperation, and in fact, something close to half of the jihadist terror attempts that is have occurred in this country since 9/11 were found out, in fact, because of Muslim informants.

MALVEAUX: So, what do you think the hearings might accomplish?

POTOK: Well, I think at their best, as Representative Ellison said, looking at the process of radicalization is a useful thing to do. The reality is is that both on the radical right, hate groups and so on, and on the jihadist front in this country, the vast majority of people seem to be operating entirely on their own. So-called lone wolves.

So, the question is not really how are large organizations like al Qaeda working to radicalize Muslims in this country. It seems to me it's more how do the individuals become attracted to these kinds of ideologies and ultimately cross the bridge into criminal violence? And that is something that is very much common to hate groups, jihadists, individuals and so on.

MALVEAUX: You said --

POTOK: So, I think they could serve a useful purpose.

MALVEAUX: You said in the beginning it was not the idea of radicalizing Muslims, that that really was not any kind of significant threat when it comes to homegrown terrorism that -- are there other groups to be concerned about that take center stage?

POTOK: Sure. Let me say I do think it's a significant threat. I don't mean to minimize it, but there's even larger threats out there.

An example, to respond to your question, is within the so-called anti-government patriot movement, what we used to think of as the militia movement back in the 1990s. There is a whole and rapidly- growing kind of sub movement called the Sovereign Citizens' Movement. These are people who believe the government has no right to control them in any way, to pass laws that affect them, to require them to pay taxes. Even to require things like driver's licenses and auto registrations.

Well, you know, May 20 of last year a father and son team in fact of these Sovereign Citizens murdered two officers, police officers, in West Memphis, Arkansas, and badly wounded two others before being killed themselves. You know, this was at an ordinary traffic stop --

MALVEAUX: -- right.

POTOK: Set off out just of the blue sky so -- you know, we're hearing from all over the country from law enforcement officials who are very worried about the Sovereign Citizens' phenomenon It's extremely dangerous.

MALVEAUX: OK. Mark Potok, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate your perspective.

Well, two worlds, two truths. Does freedom of religion mean freedom from suspicion? Our CNN Soledad O'Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible Belt. "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door." That airs Sunday, March 27 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Don't forget to "Choose the News." Vote by texting 22360 for the story you'd like to see in detail. Vote 1 for "Living in Limbo," a family forced to leave a U.S. diplomat, who's also a wife and mother, in Egypt. Vote 2 for "Squeezed by Cotton," how the spike in prices is forcing a family business to change its ways. Or 3 for "Memphis' Music Mojo," why this Tennessee town knows the blues is no longer singing a sad tune. The winning story going to air at the end of the hour.

Well, actor Charlie Sheen, he shattered another Twitter record. Sheen has surpassed 2 million followers and he only joined Twitter -- I guess less than a week ago. Our "Showbiz Tonight" host Brooke Anderson joins me from New York.

Brooke, right? A week ago?

BROOKE ANDERSON, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" CO-HOST: Less than a week ago. Oh, boy. Well, to us, Charlie Sheen had quite a weekend, Suzanne. But by his standards, it was probably just average, if that, really.

But yes. The Sheen phenomenon is still in full force. On Friday, though, looked like Charlie was going to lose one of the two goddesses. The porn star reportedly packed her bags, moved out of the house Friday night. But she couldn't stay away. She was back on Saturday, and she told TMZ, it's all good now.

And like you said, Suzanne, been less than a week and he's already garnered more than two million Twitter followers and as he tweets it, another record shattered? "We gobbled the soft target that was two mil like a Troll House zombie chow" whatever that means.

Charlie also launched his own Web cast over the weekend, Suzanne. It's called Sheen's Korner, and that is Korner with a K. It is a multi-part series that attracted more than 100,000 views. Sheen called the Web cast, a quote, "violent torpedo of truth" but he admitted this morning that it was a total train wreck. And sorry, Charlie, but I agree. It was a complete mess. It was like he had prepared nothing. Zero. Zilch.

And lastly, Suzanne, more Sheen news coming from Dallas today. Billionaire Mark Cuban, primarily known as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, owns the HD Net television network. And he told "The Dallas Morning News," yes. He's reached out to Sheen about trying to work together. So, we'll see if that happens.

Also, Sheen was the focus of the folks at SNL. They did a really terrific job. Sheen even liked it. Suzanne, he tweeted "It was brilliant."

MALVEAUX: And real quick, Miley Cyrus, also on SNL?

ANDERSON: Yes, she had a little bit of fun hosting SNL. Actually appearing in a skit that regularly makes fun of her. She also opened the show, did a little musical number where she pointed out that she really hasn't been that bad. If we have time, can we take a listen to a few seconds?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILEY CYRUS, SINGER/ACTRESS (singing): I never stole a necklace or got a DUI. I never cheated on my wife like that golfer guy. So, what you can see? A little boob from the side? I'm sorry that I'm not perfect - (END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: So it could be worse. Suzanne, pretty funny and some good press for Miley.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thanks, Brooke. We have to leave it there. Thanks again. Brooke Adnerson.

Well, what you hear and what is fact may be entirely different. We are getting ready to test statements on Wisconsin's budget, government money for Nascar and Michelle Obama's staff with the Truth- o-Meter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: We've heard lately a lot about Wisconsin's financial state, the government sponsoring Nascar and the first lady's staff. So, what is true and what's false?

I want to check in with our Bill Adair. He's editor of Politifact.com and the Washington bureau chief for "The St. Petersburg Times."

Bill, nice to see you again. We keep hearing from Wisconsin's governor that the state is broke and has been for years. True or false?

BILL ADAIR, EDITOR, POLITIFACT.COM: That one gets a false. It's just not -- and it's just not an accurate way to describe the state's finances. Indeed, the state is facing a shortfall, but it is not broke. Broke means having no money. We checked with experts who talked to PolitiFact Wisconsin about this. And so this one gets a false.

MALVEAUX: What about Congresswoman Betty McCollum's claim that the U.S. Army is spending $7 million to sponsor Ryan Newman's Nascar team?

ADAIR: That one gets a true. And this was surprising to us. You know, I think --

MALVEAUX: Really?

ADAIR: Particularly with finances as tight as they are, that, yes, that they would spend that kind of money. $7 million on a Nascar sponsorship. But the Army says it pays off. They get a lot of recruiting leads out of it from people who come to the races and are attracted by the sponsorship. So this one earns a true.

MALVEAUX: OK. A surprising true for us.

OK. Finally, this claim from radio talk show host Glenn Beck that First Lady Michelle Obama has 43 people on her staff, while Nancy Reagan just had three.

ADAIR: This one gets our lowest rating, pants on fire. And it's just ridiculously false. We looked into the numbers. We found that he's way off on both ends. Michelle Obama has about 25 employees, which is roughly the same number that Laura Bush had. Nancy Reagan didn't have three. Nancy Reagan actually had about 15. We talked to someone who was on her staff and we confirmed it with some checks of some of the historical records. So our lowest rating for that one, pants on fire.

MALVEAUX: All right. Bill Adair, thank you so much for keeping it honest on the Truth-O-Meter. Appreciate it. Thanks, Bill.

Professional athletes give it all they have, but some wonder if all the hard knocks are worth it. New research suggests it may be time for some new rules.

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MALVEAUX: Football, boxing, hockey. All very physical sports. Those athletes, they get beat up, knocked out and they get back up. But the recent suicide of former pro football player Dave Duerson has given people pause. It's raised some new questions about the long term effects from numerous hits and concussions. Duerson believed that he suffered from CTE. Those are symptoms that include memory loss, blurred vision and severe depression. For the very latest, let's go to our CNN's Jason Carroll.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, I'm sure you've heard about it happening to football players and to boxers. Now research shows it is also happening to hockey players, as well. Researchers at Boston University have found a brain degeneration disease in two former NHL players.

Most recently, in Bob Probert. You'll remember he died last year at the age of 45 of heart failure. In hockey terms, Probert was the type of player called an enforcer, known for fighting opposing players. The result, years of blows to the head. Head trauma is what causes chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. The co-director of Boston University's program says the NHL has taken some action, but he says it simply does not go far enough.

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DR. ROBERT CANTU, BOSTON UNIVERSITY: The NHL stepped up, put a foot forward and said, you can't blindside hit the head anymore. That's one step forward. Now they have to put the other step forward and simply say that all purposeful hits to the head need to be taken out of ice hockey.

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CARROLL: For now, you can only determine if someone has CTE after they have died. The news about Probert obviously has deeply concerned some former NHL players, as well as some current ones.

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ROB RAY, FORMER NHL PLAYER: When you start hearing things about Bob Probert and other guys that played in other pro sports, you really start to think about it. And you look back and you go, hey, I wouldn't have changed anything I did. I lived my dream. I was able to play in the NHL, but at what price?

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CARROLL: Both the NHL and its players union are aware of the research. We reached out to them for an interview. They would not speak to us on camera, Suzanne. The NHL did gave us a written response saying, quote, "the findings are interesting and certainly something we'll add to a much broader body of knowledge, but we're not going to react or make changes based on findings related to just one player." Dr. Cantu says he hopes to study more NHL players, especially skill players. Those are the kind of players that, Suzanne, obviously don't take the same amount of abuse as some of the enforcers, like Probert took.

Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Jason.

We've seen some improvement in the job market, but it's still an employers' market and recruiters are still pretty skittish about adding new hires. So, how do you get the edge on your competition? Our Christine Romans takes a look.

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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What do Lady Gaga, a can of Coke and Apple computer have in common? More than you think. They're brands. You recognize them immediately. You know what you're getting.

But it's not only the uber famous who can brand themselves. Digital media, Twitter and FaceBook, make it easy for almost anyone to create a brand. From skateboarder Tony Hawk --

ROMANS (on camera): It's something that you started before everyone was trying to become a brand.

TONY HAWK, PROFESSIONAL SKATEBOARDER: The first thing, you have to have something to offer, you know what I mean? I don't really believe in being famous just because you're famous.

ROMANS (voice-over): To chef Paula Dean.

PAULA DEAN, CHEF: You know, you kind of have to reinvent yourself. You know, you have to keep things fresh. I did start this little lunch business called The Bag Lady, y'all.

ROMANS: What about the average person? Could creating your own brand give you an edge?

SAM CHAKO, JOB SEEKER: I don't know how to market myself to get employers to notice me.

FORD R. MYERS, CAREER COACH: The market is too tough. Unemployment numbers are still high. Every candidate needs to find a way to stand out.

ROMANS: So, how do you create your own brand? Career councilor Ford Myers has some tips.

MYERS: Every candidate can identify what is their unique selling proposition or what is their special brand. Look through their own background, their own resumes, their letters of recommendation, their performance reviews and find what stands out.

ROMANS: Leadership and management author Bill Taylor has a cult following.

ROMANS (on camera): You walk into the boardroom --

BILL TAYLOR, AUTHOR, "PRACTICALLY RADICAL": Right.

ROMANS: When you walk into the job interview. When you walk into your dining room --

TAYLOR: Yes.

ROMANS: You are now a brand.

TAYLOR: Yes.

ROMANS: Are we all becoming brands?

TAYLOR: I think, you know, being a brand is not being flamboyant. It works for Lady Gaga. It wouldn't work for you in your organization. Being a brand, as everybody knows, when I meet Christine Romans, this is what she stands for, this is the impact she was trying to have.

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ROMANS: Suzanne, think of it as your personal mission statement and trying to hue to that mission statement. Let everybody around you know what it is you stand for and that you -- that you follow through on. This is what you're about. OK, not everyone buys into the idea that you're like a can of Coke, that you're an instantly recognizable brand. But let's just say you do. So make sure you make your FaceBook, your Twitter, your Linked In pages unique, professional as possible. And, again, thinks of, what is your mission statement and try to make sure that whoever's hiring you or whoever you already work for knows what you can do and that you're consistent in it. And that's what being a brand really is all about.

MALVEAUX: "Smart Is The New Rich," that's your brand. I got your brand. Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: Thanks, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Your votes are in. It's super close, we're told, the winner for "Choose The News." That's up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MALVEAUX: Now here's your "Choose The News" winning story. Evacuated family members of American diplomats in Egypt are forced apart, waiting and worrying about their loved ones. Our Sandra Endo reports on how one family is coping.

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BEVERLY DEMPSEY, DIPLOMATIC EVACUEE: This is our apartment. It's not big, but it's a good size. Here's a picture of me and my mom and I in India riding an elephant.

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A few cherished mementos are what 10-year-old Beverly Dempsey displays in her temporary apartment in Falls Church, Virginia. She and her father had to evacuate Cairo during the uprising in Egypt.

ENDO (on camera): What was the whole process and the journey like for you?

B. DEMPSEY: First came the tears, because I had to leave my mother and that was pretty upsetting.

ENDO (voice-over): Her mom had to stay behind for essential work, even as American diplomatic families got only eight hours notice to leave. The violence was right at their doorstep.

B. DEMPSEY: We saw all the protesters walking by our house and that was really freaky. And once we had a tank roll by, which I was scared.

ENDO: Forced to depart with just a single suitcase per person, the Dempseys have already been here more than a month.

ENDO (on camera): Has it been tough for you not knowing when you're going to go home? Are you counting the days?

B. DEMPSEY: Yes. I'm trying not to count the days because then I'll get, like, I'll feel sad and upset.

ENDO (voice-over): But her father Jim tries to make their life as normal as possible, even though it's her first time attending an American school. Her friends, her hobbies are all in Cairo. Many displaced diplomatic families are staying in the same apartment complex.

JIM DEMPSEY, DIPLOMATIC EVACUEE: All right. Here we are.

ENDO: Sharing a unique bond.

J. DEMPSEY: Which we all kind of go up and down as to be expected and say, oh, come on, we can do that. Even now, although things have calmed down, we still don't know when we're going back.

ENDO: For now, Beverly just clings to the comforts and memories of her distant home.

B. DEMPSEY: I want to go back really badly, but doesn't mean I don't want to be here, I just want to be able to say good-bye.

ENDO: Sandra Endo, CNN, Falls Church, Virginia.

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