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CNN NEWSROOM

Top Dems Call on Weiner to Resign; Arizona Blaze Hops State Line

Aired June 11, 2011 - 19:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: I've made some mistakes. I've acknowledged it. I'm trying to make it up to my wife and my family. But I also have to make it clear to my constituents I want to get back to work for them. And it's not easy to do in this environment, but I'm doing the best I can.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: That was Anthony Weiner just this morning.

But just this afternoon: a change in plans. The disgraced congressman taking a leave of absence from his job so he can go get treatment. And that's just one of the big developments in the story today.

"The Best Political Team on Television" is here to break it all down.

Comedian Tracy Morgan's rants against homosexuals, even saying he would kill his own son if he were gay. Tonight, reaction from his comments pouring in, including the thoughts of his "30 Rock" co-star Tina Fey.

A college athlete on the verge of a career in baseball now paralyzed after a horrible on-field collision. You might think the dream of being a big leaguer would end here, but you would be wrong if you thought. He's live with us this hour with the latest chapter of this story and it's going to leave you smiling.

I'm Don Lemon, live from the St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, where CNN is getting set to host a GOP presidential debate. Those stories and much, much more this hour right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

We start with breaking news -- several breaking angles as a matter of fact -- this hour, on the Congressman Anthony Weiner scandal. Weiner is now seeking professional treatment after the strongest call yet for his resignation, all because of his graphic online flirtations with women.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is one of three top Democrats members of his own party who want him gone.

And in just the last hour, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz gave this statement. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: It is with great disappointment that I call on my colleague, Representative Anthony Weiner to resign. The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Representative Weiner's continued service in Congress is untenable.

This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction from Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House. And for the good of all, he should step aside and address those things that should be most important, his and his family's well being.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right. I want to read now Nancy Pelosi's statement: "Congressman Weiner," she says, "has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents and the recognition that he needs help. I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a member of Congress."

I want to bring in now Dana Bash.

Dana, that is a carefully worded statement from Pelosi there. This scandal has been out there for about two weeks now.

I want to talk about the importance of these leaders asking him to step down.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): It's huge. I mean, you cannot overstate how big it is that these leaders decided that it was time to come out and say this publicly and, Don, I'll just tell you that I am told that these conversations happened privately, individually, with Nancy Pelosi, Steve Israel -- who is another member of the leadership, another member of the New York delegation, and a friend of Weiner's -- they happened this morning where they called and said, enough is enough, you've got to step down.

This is something that was clearly coordinated because actually four -- four leading Democrats have now said that it's time for him to step down and it was building.

The bottom line is that it was just a week ago that Debbie Wasserman Schultz that you just saw there told me in the hallway she thinks that this is personal and that it's nothing for her to talk about. And then, of course, Anthony Weiner had his press conference earlier this week where he had his mea culpa and said that actually it is true, that he sent these lewd photographs to women on Twitter, and things began to change.

This was something that leaders in his party were pressing him to do, really since late last week, privately. He was very dug in, very insistent that he wasn't going to go anywhere, and guess what? He still is. He's still saying he's just going to take a leave of absence. He is on his way to get treatment.

That is not satisfactory to Nancy Pelosi and other leaders. They still think he needs to go.

LEMON: Hey, listen, as I get my act together here, Dana, I just got a statement from Chuck Schumer. But I want to talk to you about the importance of these Democratic leaders, these women. These women are calling for him, top Democratic members.

What is the significance of that here?

BASH: Well, you know, it's actually funny -- it just so happens that women now are in these top jobs. And Nancy Pelosi is the top leader. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the Democratic national chairwoman. So, it just kind of is a coincidence that women are now in leading roles.

But I can tell you that just to give you a little bit of a back story of what I'm hearing about what happened in these conversations is that when -- at least one official I talked to who is familiar with one of the conversations, what he said was he was not going to resign yet, or will not make a decision yet until his wife, Huma, who is -- works for Nancy -- excuse me, works for Hillary Clinton. She is on a trip abroad with Hillary Clinton, until she gets back. And that is not going to happen until late Wednesday or early Thursday morning.

Another thing that I was told is that one of the discussions -- he was described as turbulent. Turbulent, in terms of the way he reacted to these calls, from people who are his own party leaders. To say, you know what? It's time to go.

It's important to underscore -- this just doesn't happen very much, that generally it's sort of a glass houses thing, that people in Congress are really reluctant to tell other members that you have to go because it's up to their constituents. That changed dramatically with just the story after story after story, and the fact that they're incredibly frustrated.

They did not want to come back into town -- they've been gone -- they did not want to come back into town next week with more Anthony Weiner stories and not stories about what they want to talk about, like the budget and Medicare.

LEMON: Yes. Dana, it's becoming a distraction. Great reporting. Thank you very much, Dana Bash.

Now, I want to go to that statement that CNN just received from Chuck Schumer, and here's what it says. It says, "I am heartbroken for those of us who are long-time friends of Anthony Weiner, his wrongful behavior is distressing and saddening. It's clear he needs professional help and I am glad he is seeking it. U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer."

That is coming in.

And, of course, it is mounting -- the pressure is mounting on him now.

I want to bring in CNN's Jason Carroll.

Jason, you talked with Weiner today. You walked with him. And he seemed to be adamant about hanging on to his seat.

So, what is his office saying about this treatment he is going in for now?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, you're right, Don. He certainly did. We had that sort of impromptu interview with him earlier today, walking to the ATM, to the dry cleaners to pick up shirts -- perhaps he was picking up items to take with him as he was going to seek treatment. It's not clear at this point where he will be seeking this treatment and how long it will be for.

His office did release a statement. Let me read part of it to you. It says, "Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and a healthier person. In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well."

Well, obviously this morning, that was just one of the questions that we put to the congressman. We asked him about all these calls for his resignation and what he was going to do. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: Just to reconfirm about resignation, at this point you have no plans --

WEINER: I have no news for you today. Nothing is changing. Nothing has changed.

REPORTER: So, you're not resigning?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: So, obviously, as you heard him say there, nothing has changed, Don, so the last -- one of the last things he said he was anxious to get back to work. But it's clear now, work will have to wait. Treatment will come first -- Don.

LEMON: You know, you've heard the support and you've heard people actually saying he should, you know, go and get this treatment. But he's not without friends, though. He's been getting some advice, hasn't he, Jason?

CARROLL: That's a very good point. And, in fact, he has been getting advice. He talked about -- I asked him about the support that he does have here in the community in his district. He is very well aware of that. He also said that he has been reaching out, speaking to people.

And I want you to listen to the exchange I had with him when I asked him about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: You've been reaching out to a number of people. Can you tell me about what advice -- have you spoken to the Clintons? And how are they advising you with this?

WEINER: I'm having conversations with people, you know, friends, neighbors, members of the family. You know, look, I've made some serious mistakes here and I have -- I have to redeem myself, and I'm going to try to get back to work. But these were personal failings, so I'm trying not to let them get in the way of my professional work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: So, very interesting. He didn't say who he was having those personal conversations with, Don, but in fact, he is still very much in the process of seeking advice from those who are close to him.

LEMON: All right. Jason Carroll, excellent reporting as well. Thank you very much.

You know, I had a chance to talk to some of the Republican candidates for president as we prepare for Monday night's debate here. They have definite opinions on Weiner, but two of the candidates I spoke with are not jumping on the dog pile to get him to resign.

Here's what Congressman Ron Paul said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Step down? What do you think?

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whatever -- whatever he wants to do. It's his decision.

But, personally, I think he's a negative for the Congress, you know? It's a negative image. I think it's a negative for the Democratic Party.

Republicans probably hope he doesn't step down because it's all this partisanship going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And my conversation now with former Senator Rick Santorum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can check this, but I'm pretty sure I've never, in all of my political career, said that someone should resign. I think that's a decision that they have to make.

I can tell you what I would do, I would be -- I would -- I would pack up and get home and take care of my wife and take care of my family, and try to put my life back together because he obviously has some serious -- has some serious issues he's got to deal with, and trying to run the country and be a leader in the country is not the most important in my opinion right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Developments are still coming in on this story and we will continue to follow it for you here on CNN.

In the meantime, a massive forest fire in Arizona could affect people far from the blaze, if flames get too close to a critical power line. A live report is just ahead here on CNN.

Also ahead, a crippling injury fails to stop this college baseball star from being drafted by a Major League team. You're going to meet Johnathan Taylor. That's up next.

And contact us throughout this newscast. You can reach us on Twitter, on Facebook, on CNN.com/Don, and on Foursquare.com as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We're coming to you live from New Hampshire on the St. Anselm campus where CNN is getting ready for Monday night's GOP presidential debate. More on that coming up.

You know, Johnathan Taylor was one of the most promising baseball players for the University of Georgia. That was until March when a collision with a teammate on the field broke his neck and left him paralyzed. You might think that that would end his dreams of joining a Major League team. But you would be wrong.

This week, the Texas Rangers picked Johnathan the 33rd round of the draft and Johnathan joins us now, along with the man who scouted him for the Rangers, Ryan Coe.

This is the first time Johnathan and Ryan have seen each other since January -- excuse me, since the injury.

And, Johnathan, what does it mean to you to be drafted by a Major League team now, considering what's going on with you?

JOHNATHAN TAYLOR, PARALYZED PLAYER DRAFTED BY RANGERS: I mean, it's a real pleasure to be drafted by a Major League team after all that I've been through. I'm just very shocked. The first day the coach called me, I was like -- I didn't believe them for a minute. But when he told me that, and then you know, my trainer, Mike Dillon, told me, too. I was like, oh, my gosh, I can't believe I got drafted after all I've been through.

LEMON: So, Johnathan, this is the first time that you're seeing Ryan since your injury. What do you want to say to him? TAYLOR: I mean, I just want to say -- I mean, thank you a lot. It's a real pleasure to be drafted by the Texas Rangers. It's one of my favorite teams, I play with them on the video games and I'm just -- you know, it's just a real pleasure. I just thank the Texas Rangers organization for what they've done for me, so far.

LEMON: Yes. How did you find out the Rangers drafted you? And did it come as a surprise to you?

TAYLOR: I was actually -- it was around 12:00. I was eating lunch with my mom, you know, and then Coach Perno called me. I missed the first call. I was like, I was wondering, why is he calling me?

Then I called him back later on, about 15 minutes later. And it was like, congratulations, J.T., you got drafted by the Texas Rangers. I was like, for real? He was like, yes. He's like, congratulations, man. I was like, OK. Appreciate it.

And then Mike Dillon called me, too, said the same thing -- saying congratulations to me, too.

So, that was really surprising for me that day.

LEMON: Yes. It was a very cool way to find out.

You know, the teammate that you collided with, Zach Cone, was also drafted by the Rangers. You're close friends.

Have you spoken with him since the draft? And if so, what did you say to each other?

TAYLOR: Yes. Actually, the day on Wednesday I got drafted, he came up later on that night and he was like, what's up, baby? It was like -- we're on the same team once again. I was like, man, this is awesome.

So, you know, him just coming up that day, unexpectedly, you know, really put a -- it was really special to me. So --

LEMON: You know, Ryan, you have watched Johnathan since his high school days. What did you see in him then? And what do you see in him now?

RYAN COE, SCOUT, TEXAS RANGERS: You know, first of all, I want to say this young man deserved to be drafted, you know, injury or no injury. This guy was a great baseball player, he's a fun guy to watch. A table setter type guy, could really run, play defense.

And I was just happy to be able to be the one that drafted him because this young man, you know, injury or no injury, this guy deserved to be drafted and he was a great player.

LEMON: Hey, does this mean that Johnathan is going to have some kind of role within the Rangers organization?

COE: I sure hope so. I think there's a lot of discussions right now as to what exactly we're going to be able to do and not do. I can't really comment at that time because we don't really know exactly what his role is going to be. But we do want him to be a part of our organization and he can be nothing but an asset to the Texas Rangers organization.

LEMON: So, Johnathan, I have to ask you this. You're in physical rehab now. You think you'll ever be able to play baseball again? Because doctors do say you can regain your ability to walk.

TAYLOR: Yes. I believe I can get back on the baseball field. All I have to do is, you know, keep on working hard every day, 9:00 to 5:00, you know, just keep getting stronger every day, continuing to make progress.

And, you know, just ignore all the negative criticism that some people might say about me. You know, not being able to walk.

But all you've got to be able to do is fight and continue to work hard and trust in God and everything -- I think I'll get out there again.

LEMON: We're all praying for you. Our thoughts are with you, and congratulations, it's very exciting news to both of you and to Ryan. Thanks.

TAYLOR: Thank you. I also would like to say one thing, thank Shepherd for what they've done for me, you know, right from the start, and continue to work with me and all that stuff. And they have great nurses, techs and everybody -- just thank you for all they've done for me.

And I also want to thank, you know, St. Mary's, Dr. Willper (ph). I can't remember -- I mean, I messed up. But I also want to thank her for what she's done for me. If I didn't get that surgery done sooner than what it was, you know, I wouldn't be right here right now.

LEMON: You're talking -- you're talking about the Shepherd Center Rehab Center in Atlanta.

TAYLOR: Yes.

LEMON: Listen. Best of luck, I'm sure you will get back on your feet and you'll be back on the team, and we're looking forward to that. Again, thanks to both of you guys.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

COE: Thank you.

LEMON: And coming up next here on CNN, the wildfire fight intensifies in eastern Arizona. Winds are picking up again, making containment even harder. Thousands still can't go home.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We are back, everyone. Coming to you live from St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, where CNN is getting ready for Monday night's GOP presidential debate. We're going to have much, much more on that shortly.

But, first, we have a dangerous situation in Arizona to tell you about. You know, the "wallow fire" that we've been reporting on, it's in northeast Arizona. It's now burned an area the size of Houston, more than 400,000 acres. That's a lot of acreage. That makes it the second largest blaze in state history.

And already, there are signs it's spreading into neighboring New Mexico.

CNN's Jim Spellman joins us now live from near the fire lines in Apache County, Arizona.

So, Jim, 6 percent containment is better than nothing, right? But it's still a small percent.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they have been able to make a small bit of progress in the last two days with low winds, Don. They hope that the return of high winds don't eliminate all their gains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SPELLMAN (voice-over): From the air and on the ground -- over 3,000 firefighters battle the massive wallow fire, back-breaking work in grueling conditions.

ROCKY GILBERT, FIREFIGHTER: Folks have been putting in 18, 20, 24-hour shifts.

SPELLMAN: The long hours the firefighters are putting in are beginning to pay off. For the first time since the fire began, they now report partial containment. Lower winds have created more favorable firefighting condition.

SUSAN ZORNEK, FIREFIGHTER: It gives them a chance to actually make some progress in attacking the fire, making some good fire lines.

SPELLMAN (on camera): Even though you see a lot of fire and smoke in this neighborhood, this is a good sign for homeowners. These are fires set intentionally to burn away potential fuel so that when the front of the fire gets here, there's nothing for it to burn and the homes will stay safe.

GILBERT: We can actually have fire move away from the town as we light it instead of Mother Nature blowing it down the hill on us.

SPELLMAN (voice-over): They hope this buffer zone will hold, protecting the evacuated cities of Springerville and Eagar. The fire has already destroyed over 20 homes in nearby Greer.

STEPHEN MILLER, FIREFIGHTER: We don't want everybody to let their guard down because even though the winds have subsided a little bit, we still have dry conditions. SPELLMAN: And the break in the winds are only expected to last until Saturday afternoon. While conditions remain favorable, they'll keep on working and try to take advantage of any breaks they can get.

ZORNEK: Yes, we need a lot of luck and you need a lot of factors to fall in your favor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SPELLMAN: And, Don, as predicted, those high winds have returned this afternoon. Firefighters hope that all the progress they've made in the last two days will hold until they get their next break in the wind in a few days -- Don.

LEMON: Let's hope they get a break sooner. Thank you very much, Jim Spellman.

Accused of her daughter's death, the murder trial of Casey Anthony, the latest testimony includes details about duct tape, hair and bugs.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. We're coming to you live from New Hampshire where CNN is getting ready for Monday night's GOP presidential debate. More on that in moments.

In the meantime, an insect expert testified today in the trial of a Florida mother accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Casey Anthony heard him say that flies indicated something had been decomposing in the trunk of her car maybe for three to five days.

The defense tried to show the flies could have been attracted by leftover food. Well, prosecutors had been trying to show Anthony killed her daughter with chloroform and then stored her body in the trunk before dumping it in the woods.

You know, we're live in New Hampshire, gearing up for the big presidential debate. The list of presidential candidates could grow. There are still a few who are undecided here.

But CNN's Mark Preston, he's going to tell us why one politician's swagger isn't sitting well with voters.

Plus, those who survived the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, are trying to dodge another deadly bullet, a rare fungus that's already claimed at least one life.

But, first, the national crime prevention council says six out of 10 teenagers sees someone being bullied every single day. Some ignore it while others join in to try to stop it.

Well, CNN education contributor Steve Perry reports a teen rock band is encouraging more kids to stand up and do something.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): Teen band, Radio Silence NYC is making some noise about bullying with its first single "Renegade."

(on camera): You're starting to write your own music. When the wheels stop spinning, how do you end up on bullying?

WYATT OFFIT, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: We had this idea. Let's make three lists: things we love; things that we kind of don't really care about and things that we really don't like. And we all wrote the word haters on the list of dislikes.

PERRY: What's that? What's a hater?

OFFIT: Someone who makes fun of you for what you like, your style. And we're like, that's it -- that's the song we want to write about. It's something that has affected us in our lives.

PERRY: How?

DYLAN BRENNER, HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR: Well, we've all experienced it, but probably me the most, because I've always been on the shorter side.

So kids just like got a hoot out of either verbally, you know, picking on me or sometimes even physically.

PERRY: When I look at bands like the Ramones and others, they must have been outcasts. Tell me about that experience of being on some level, by design, outcasts.

ZACH ALLEN, HIGH SCHOOL SOPHOMORE: I guess you just have to try to learn that it's OK. And you just have to be your own person and not care what other people think.

PERRY (voice-over): To spread that message, the band teamed up with dosomething.org, a non-profit that provides tools for young people to create social change. Together, they spoke out and rocked out at several high schools in New York and New Jersey this year.

(on camera): What do you want kids to take from this?

TIM HOLMES, HIGH SCHOOL SOPHOMORE: We're trying to get kids to, you know, like stand up and say something to the bully, be like, "Stop that. You know, it's not cool."

PERRY (voice-over): Steve Perry, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: It's time now to get you caught up on this hour's top stories. Susan Hendricks at the CNN World headquarters in Atlanta holding down the fort. What do you have for us, Susan?

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN ANCHOR: (INAUDIBLE) Don, thanks so much.

Checking some of our top stories, Congressman Anthony Weiner is seeking professional treatment now after the strongest calls yet for his resignation. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi is one of three top Democrats, members of his own party, who now want him gone. This week, the married congressman admitted to graphic online communications with women after initially denying it.

Al Qaeda has lost another top leader, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was killed after refusing to stop at a Somali check point in Mogadishu. The U.S. considers Mohammed a senior Al Qaeda operative in East Africa. He is thought to be one architect of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa that killed 225 people. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton calls his death a significant blow to Al Qaeda. Mohammed had evaded capture several times in the past.

Eight people made it through one of the worst tornadoes on record, only to battle a rare and possibly fatal fungal infection. The coroner says three of the eight survivors of the Joplin, Missouri, tornado have died. It is confirmed one of the deaths is from a rare infection that can occur when soil gets under the skin. The cause of death for the others is still under investigation.

And from Montana to Missouri, people are trusting sandbags to keep the rising water at bay. Floods will threaten areas along the Missouri River for the next several weeks at least. Despite that danger, some homeowners are staying put.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RODNEY VIZCARA, FT. PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA HOMEOWNER: Besides this big house, it's also a home. And you know, a home is memories and it's hope and it's, you know, it's not always the past, good memories but it's the future hope that you have. Living anywhere else is not like living here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: Well, federal officials are planning to release record amounts of water from six reservoirs to relieve pressure on the dams and make it a little easier. Now back to Don in New Hampshire. Don?

LEMON: All right. Susan, thank you very much. We're coming to you live from New Hampshire, as Susan said, where CNN is getting ready for Monday night's GOP presidential debate, and, boy, it's going to be great. You'll want to stay tuned.

Let's talk about someone who is going to be here, Newt Gingrich. He says he's running for president. Well, we'll just have to take his word for it because he is by himself on this one, literally, because all but one of his senior staff members walked out. All right. An embarrassing show of no confidence. So I want to bring in our senior political editor, Mr. Mark Preston. Have you ever seen anything like this? What does this mean for him? MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR: Very rare. I mean, we saw back in 2007 the John McCain who eventually went on to win the Republican presidential nomination, he had his whole staff quit, or a lot of senior aides quit. But to have Newt Gingrich come back from a Mediterranean cruise and have his staff leave calls into question whether he is actually dedicated to running a hard campaign, raising money, doing retail politics, and his senior staff didn't think so.

LEMON: Yes and I bet a Texan with some swagger is probably going to benefit from this, right?

PRESTON: Right. If he decides to run, and we're talking about Rick Perry, the Texas governor, yes, he has that swagger, that Texas swagger. It doesn't do well in a CNN opinion research poll with Republicans nationwide, by and large, only 40 percent of Republicans want to see him run, but here's the deal. For Rick Perry, he does very well with Tea Party supporters. He does very well with social conservatives and in a Republican primary that's important.

LEMON: This is just the beginning, but what's on the line for the other candidates here?

PRESTON: Well, let's tick through them quickly. You have Rick Santorum.

LEMON: Right.

PRESTON: You have Michele Bachmann. You have Herman Cain, who are not very well known to the masses.

LEMON: Yes.

PRESTON: So Monday is their coming out party, so to speak. They want to introduce themselves to people beyond social conservatives. For Tim Pawlenty, he wants to prove that he can be the one who's better than Mitt Romney. For Mitt Romney, he's got to be able to survive Monday night, and then, of course, really for Newt Gingrich, it's really all in the line.

LEMON: What do you mean, he's got to be able to survive?

PRESTON: Well, because he's the front-runner. He's certainly the front-runner here in New Hampshire. He's considered the front- runner. Everybody you would expect will be turning their fight towards Mitt Romney to try to take him down.

LEMON: Yes. He's a big name in these parts. One of the radio stations they were saying - that sometimes they feel he's a little too robotic and he will come here and do national speeches and that's not what they want. They want him to go to barbecues, to pancake breakfasts and they want to hear him talk in a real way to them.

PRESTON: And act in a real way. In fact, when he did his roll out that he was actually running for president, the official one, he didn't wear a tie. He's trying to, at least his campaign team is trying to humanize him. He's a very successful businessman. But you're right, the criticism is he's robotic.

LEMON: A few seconds left here but you know, I was talking to Ron Paul yesterday about it and I agree with him. He said it and I was thinking it, America loves a comeback story. If Newt can turn this around, he could indeed, you know, make something of it.

PRESTON: He could make something of it and in fact, for him to do very well Monday night is for him to go out and not look like he's been shaken by what has happened. But as what you said for Ron Paul who I left off the list, he has to prove he can keep it going and I bet you he'll raise a lot of money after Monday night's debate.

LEMON: Isn't this a beautiful campus?

PRESTON: This is gorgeous.

LEMON: Don't you love it? Mr. New England voice. I love your accent. Can you say that?

PRESTON: Well, I'll say it's St. Anselm. They'll say that's not the case but I'm from Massachusetts -

LEMON: We had these cards printed for folks like Mark who -

PRESTON: Who grew up down the road.

LEMON: Who grew up down the road and are saying St. Anselm. What do you say?

PRESTON: It's St. Anselm, right? Of course.

LEMON: Yes.

PRESTON: But where I'm from that's where you really learn how to speak.

LEMON: Thank you, sir. I had a little fun. We'll see you. You're going to be back here at 10:00. Will keep you working. All right.

The U.S. is famous as a nation built by immigrants, but yet another state is saying enough is enough, and no one is young enough to evade the law. It not only targets undocumented workers but school children as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We're back, coming to you live from New Hampshire where CNN is getting ready for Monday night's GOP presidential debate. You know, candidates are already fielding questions about immigration and the federal government's failure to tackle that issue.

Alabama meantime is the latest state to try to address the problem, but the sweeping new law isn't just worrying illegal immigrants, it's also worrying business owners. Rafael Romo has the details from the town of Alabaster. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new immigration law in Alabama is apparently having a chilling effect already. Some say the message for immigrants, legal or otherwise, is you're not welcome here.

DENISE CASAREZ, ALABASTER RESIDENT: Many are afraid, they're planning to go back to where they come from.

ROMO: Some immigrants are particularly concerned about the clause of the law that makes it a criminal offense to provide transportation to an illegal alien.

WINSTON GARCIA, HONDURAN IMMIGRANT: You've got a friend, a Mexican, you never know, is he legal or is he illegal? So if they're in your car, you never know it.

ROMO: The legislation was signed into law this week by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, a Republican. He says he's confident the legislation is constitutional.

GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY (R), ALABAMA: The sponsors of this bill really worked hard on that. They looked at laws across this country and they looked at the challenges across the country, and they did an excellent job in evaluating those. You know that some of those have already been upheld, some of the Arizona bills have already been upheld.

ROMO: But Hispanic leaders say they're worried about discrimination and racial profiling.

ISABEL RUBIO, HISPANIC INTEREST COALITION OF ALABAMA: We think this bill really opens up the opportunity for folks to be profiled. So anybody who looks a certain way and speaks a certain way, we think is at risk of, you know, we're talking about reasonable suspicion and what does that really mean.

ROMO: Rey Brito, an immigrant and the owner of three grocery stores, is concerned about the clause that penalizes employers who hire undocumented workers.

REY BRITO, SUPERMARKET OWNER: It's not good for nobody. It's not good for the economy of the state, it's not good for nobody.

ROMO: The law also makes it mandatory for schools to check the citizenship of students. It will also require law enforcement officers to determine the legal status of a person suspected of being illegally in the country.

CLINT TILL, BIRMINGHAM RESIDENT: For me, for me, I do think there is some cause for concern, so - which is why I'm supportive of the bill, because I just want to make sure, you know, we just want to make sure that people that are here are coming here legally.

ROMO (on camera): The law doesn't go into effect until September 1st, but many in the immigrant community are already concerned about the way it's going to be implemented. Law enforcement officials say jails are already overpopulated and they lack the resources and personnel to cover the additional responsibilities under this new law.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Alabaster, Alabama.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: All right. Rafael.

Texting and sexting, it's rapidly becoming a popular hobby, of, get this, middle-aged people. Why the draw to something that can result in exactly what happened to Anthony Weiner. We talk live with our tech savvy expert, Katie Linendoll, about the trend.

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JAY LENO, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": I've never done this, but this whole taking a picture of your crotch thing, you know? I mean, when you're taking a picture of your penis, before you press the button on the camera, do you still say cheese? How does that --?

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LEMON: Jay Leno. Talking about the gift that keeps on giving for comedy writers, the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal. As the congressman proved, it's not just young people sending naughty pictures of themselves back and forth, it seems like a growing number of older people are into it now, too. So it's also like the adults need lessons from the kids on this. We've spent so much time telling kids don't do it, now the adults are doing it.

Let's talk to our tech whiz, Katie Linendoll, about this. Katie, what's the appeal for sexting for the older crowd? Shouldn't they know better?

KATIE LINENDOLL, TECH WHIZ: I know, you would think so, but you know, sexting, as you said, it's typically only associated with teenagers, but the numbers are actually pretty fascinating when it comes to adults as well. I want to show you those statistics to hone in on my point here. Thirty one percent of those 18 to 29 have received sexts and 17, 30 to 49 have also received sexts. But what's really interesting here is the number not represented on that graphic.

I've learned a lot this week, according to the AARP, Don, seniors are hopping on board the sexting trend. And the reason for that, according to relationship coach Susan Blake for AARP - they want to flirt and it makes them feel lively and young and it's kind of passing up on that old-fashioned prose of sending notes. They're using technology to feel like kids again.

So if you are 55-plus and you are interested in sexting, you can head to the AARP web site and they'll give you a number of different options but also give you some tips on how to keep it fresh but also remember there is digital ramifications involved here.

LEMON: I have just about heard everything. But you know, maybe the people who have nothing to lose, they've retired, it's like they don't care, maybe, you know, go on with your bad self.

Let's talk about younger people here. There are minors out there who may not realize that there can be legal consequences for sexting.

LINENDOLL: I think this is the most interesting problem. Because according to an AP and MTV poll last year, 25 percent of teenagers are involved in sexting. That is a huge and a very scary number. And a lot of parents and teenagers don't realize the legal ramifications. So much in fact that in the most extreme consequences, every single state's law is different. But you can actually, as two minors sexting back and forth, you can be charged with child pornography and/or have to be registered as a sex offender. This is a stamp that as a mistake as a teenager early on can stay with you for the rest of your life.

Now, New York is one of just over 12 states that are trying to actually find the balance between an appropriate punishment, but we have seen in the most extreme of cases, in 2009 in Pennsylvania, a few teenagers were sexting back and forth. They were up for child pornography charges. They ended up just getting curfew and also some community service. But you can imagine the scare not only for the teenagers going through that and the embarrassment already but also for parents. So if you are a parent, it's time to perk up and have that conversation.

LEMON: Yes, I found the irony, I have to mention that Anthony Weiner's own state of New York is trying to pass one of those laws. Hey, can you quickly tell me about the app of the week, Katie?

LINENDOLL: Oh, yes, we're actually going to get to the app of the week. I'm all over this. OK. App of the week is Houzz, is the Wikipedia of interior and exterior design. We like to provide you with an app that is resourceful and fun but actually very practical. Now this is a free app and a web site. If you like have your mom out and she's always clipping out of magazines and she's bookmarking web sites and it's getting a little crazy and expensive to try to find ideas for the living room and the kitchen and how you can spice up your home. Well, this site has over 125,000 photos to choose from. Five thousand bathroom images alone, Don. That's some pretty interesting stuff. Houzz.

LEMON: That's a cool app. I'm going to have to check it out. Hey, Katie. Always a pleasure. Thank you.

LINENDOLL: Thank you.

LEMON: All right. Tracy Morgan fired from NBC. That's what some people are demanding after making a gay joke at one of his shows. Well, Tina Fey weighs in on the controversy and so does our own very own, Shannon Cook. And the Anthony Weiner scandal sparks an online clothing boom. We'll tell you about all those stories.

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LEMON: We're back and we are coming to you live from Manchester, New Hampshire, where it is chilly. What is it? In the 50s now. We are getting ready for a big GOP debate. Coming up on Monday, we have gone from '90s to '70s yesterday. Now it's in the '50s. Unbelievable. Now this.

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KEVIN ROGERS, WITNESS TO TRACY MORGAN'S HOMOPHOBIC RANT: I knew that I was going to see a comedian that does push the envelope and was expecting to hear, you know, all sorts of different, probably inappropriate humor, but I didn't expect to hear an attack on the gay community.

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LEMON: All right. That man's name is Kevin Rogers. He was there when comedian Tracy Morgan, known as "Tracy Jordan" on "30 Rock" joked about stabbing his son if he were gay. It happened at a Nashville performance on June 3rd. The NBC star of "30 Rock" has said that he's sorry, but his apparent homophobic humor is drawing a line between those who support him and those who don't.

And so for the latest on the comedian's controversy. I want to turn to CNN entertainment reporter, Shanon Cook. So Shannon, good to see you.

SHANON COOK, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Hey, Don.

LEMON: Some would want to see Tracy Jordan fired from NBC. Do you think that's an actual possibility?

COOK: No. I don't think so.

LEMON: Tracy Morgan, I should say.

COOK: Yes, Tracy Morgan. If you look at the statement the NBC chairman released yesterday, he basically said Tracy was given a very stern warning that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated, looking forward. Tina Fey, the executive producer of "30 Rock" also released a statement which was actually kind of funny. She said she made a few little jokes. She said that Tracy Morgan's too sleepy and too self-centered to be mean to people. And even though she said that she thought that his rant was disturbing, that it was very much at odds with the Tracy Morgan she knows. You kind of get a feel for the tone of the two statements. I think the network is basically saying, "You kind of have been a bad boy, Tracy, but you're still our guy."

LEMON: Yes. And if Tracy Morgan is fired, that means "Tracy Jordan" is fired, too. Because that's his character on the show.

Listen, Shanon, a lot of comedians these days, they really thrive on being controversial. He's one of them. I wondering though if this is the tipping point though. COOK: Well, it's really hard to say. One of the interesting things is that people in the audience were actually laughing at these so-called jokes when Tracy Morgan made them. And you know, laughter is the ultimate affirmation for a comedian. If people are laughing at your jokes, you're just going to keep on going. So does he deserve - is he allowed sort of a break for artistic license here? Maybe. But when you focus on the actual words that he said, it's very easy to see why people really think that he just went too far.

LEMON: All right. We're going to talk about that on CNN because it's really - the internet, Shanon, is going crazy over this -

COOK: It's kind of a big deal.

LEMON: Comedians are weighing in. Wanda Sykes among -

Yes, it is a big deal.

COOK: yes.

LEMON: Let's move on though, we're going to talk about another major figure who is mired in controversy this week. I'm talking about Congressman Anthony Weiner, of course. His scandal started - what's being called a Weiner wear trend. Can you explain that?

COOK: I like that. Weiner-wear. Although it sounds a little bit strange with my Australian accent. Weiner? That's kind of a weird word for me to say. Yes, Cafepress is an online site which allows its customers to design their own merchandise, basically. All these little t-shirts are coming out with all these Weiner inspired slogans. Some of them are incredibly funny. You can basically buy underwear, pajamas, aprons, shot glasses. Anything, we're seeing Tweiner. Anything with a funny Weiner pun you can buy on this web site.

They actually have more than 5,000 products that users have designed. And if you poke around Ebay there are some pretty funny items of clothing popping up there, too. The other day, Don, I found a pair of gray underpants which the seller is saying - a replica of the gray underpants that Mr. Weiner was wearing in one of his Tweeter pic. Needless to say, I would not be bidding on it, but it's still on sale so you just knock yourself out.

LEMON: I think I will take a pass on that one. I want to talk to you finally though about - this one is an ultra bizarre file. That's how we can put it. What's this about Alice Cooper almost killing Elvis? What is that?

COOK: Well, this sounds like something that took place at a deranged celebrity gathering. So I kind of believe that it might have actually happened. Alice Cooper told "The Daily Mirror" in the U.K. that when he first went to meet Elvis in 1971, he went up to Elvis' penthouse suite in a Vegas hotel. Elvis apparently gave him a loaded pistol and said, "Kill me." And Alice Cooper didn't get to because the gun got kicked out of his hand, but he actually contemplated for a second thinking, "If I kill Elvis, I will be the most famous man in the world." Bizarre story.

LEMON: All right. Shanon, it is a bizarre story. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

I'm Don Lemon in Manchester, New Hampshire, the site of the big Republican presidential debate. Time for me to get off, the clock is ringing me out. I'll see you back here at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.