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Warren Buffett: Raise Taxes on Millionaires; Checking the Truth-O-Meter; Mitt Romney Speaks in New Hampshire; Stolen By An Adoption Agency; Dozens Injured In Stage Collapse
Aired August 15, 2011 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: It is the top of the hour. I'm Drew Griffin, in for Suzanne Malveaux.
Let's get you up to speed today on the news.
President Obama is on the road getting ready to talk with everyday Americans about the nation's problems, and he may get his ear chewed off. He begins a three-day bus tour with a town hall this hour in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. He also has a stop in Iowa tomorrow, and on Wednesday he will go to Illinois.
Gallup's daily tracking poll shows the economy and Washington's dysfunctional ways have cut the president's job approval rating down to 39 percent. That is an all-time low.
CNN NEWSROOM plans live coverage of the president's town hall in Minnesota scheduled 45 minutes for now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please join in a moment of silence for all of those that were impacted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: These are people remembering the dead as the Indiana State Fair reopened today. If you missed it, five concert-goers were killed Saturday night when a strong burst of wind did this to a stage.
Structural engineers plan to get a look at that stage scaffolding today. Authorities say the collapse appears to be nothing beyond a tragic accident. A witness says the crowd knew a thunderstorm was coming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNA GIOE, WITNESS: They had come onto the stage and they had let us know that there was some severe weather coming our way. They were going to try to proceed with the concert.
They gave us an evacuation plan, and then they said to just hang tight, that they were going to try to continue on and Sugarland should start in just a couple of minutes. And as people started to evacuate, a gust of wind came in and took the stage area, actually, and it just took it and it swayed it to the right, and it just completely crashed right all over the area and the people on the track.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Along with five people dead, several people injured, and they remain in critical condition today, some of them with life- threatening injuries.
Angry crowds. This is outside a Cairo courthouse today in Egypt.
Supporters and opponents of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak threw rocks at each other. Security forces were caught in the middle.
Mubarak arrived for today's court hearing on a gurney again, and he was placed in that defendant's cage. The judge ruled courtroom television cameras will be turned off from now on. Mubarak is charged with ordering security forces to fire on anti-government protesters, killing 800 people last winter.
And more trouble in Syria. Forces there shelled residential areas of Latakia, Syria, for the third straight day. Opposition groups say attacks by tanks and Navy gun ships killed at last 24 people on Sunday. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues a brutal city-by-city crackdown trying to crush a popular uprising against his regime.
Back in the U.S., the Dougherty gang siblings are in court today in Pueblo, Colorado. The two brothers and their sister are charged with trying to kill a police officer during the high-speed chase that led to their capture last week. The Doughertys eluded police for eight days this month after they allegedly went on a crime spree in Georgia and Florida.
The risk of autism among brothers and sisters may be much higher than anybody thought. A study today in "The Journal of Pediatrics" found babies with an autistic sibling have a 19 percent chance of developing the disorder by age 3.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALYCIA HALLADAY, DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH, AUTISM SPEAKS: This study is an update from the last studies in the past 10 years or so that put the recurrence rate of siblings at three percent to 10 percent. So this number of 19 percent is a lot higher than previously reported.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: And researchers add this: parents can't use today's report to determine their risk of having a second child with autism. Genetic and environmental factors have to be considered, and many of those are yet unknown.
Gas prices have been falling since the outlook on the global economy turned pessimistic. This is the Lundberg Survey, finding that gas prices dropped almost a dime over the last three weeks due to falling demand. The national average stands at $3.61 a gallon.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has often said the rich should pay higher taxes as a matter of fairness, but now he is getting real specific. In a "New York Times" op-ed today, Buffett says, "While the poor and middle class fight for U.S. in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress."
Alison Kosik joins us now.
Alison, Warren Buffett says he should be paying more. What did he pay in taxes last year?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Drew, he paid almost $7 million in taxes to the federal government last year. But yes, he says, you know what? It should be more.
He's made similar claims in the past. The latest effort is coming in this "New York Times" op-ed that came out today. And in it, he points out he paid a tax rate of just 17.4 percent. That's actually lower than many upper middle class Americans pay.
But I've got to point this part out to you. Opponents of higher taxes, they note that less than one percent of the top earners in this country account for 20 percent of total taxes paid to the federal government last year. That's a big chunk.
Of course, though, Warren Buffett disagrees. He says, you know what? It's a matter of fairness -- Drew.
GRIFFIN: Well, Buffet could certainly volunteer to pay more, but what is he suggesting should be done?
KOSIK: Well, the reason Buffett and people like him pay lower tax rates in the first place is because of something called capital gains taxes. These are taxes that are paid on dividends and other income from investments, and capital gains are taxed at 15 percent.
That is actually slated to rise next year, and not just on wealthy Americans. When that capital gains tax rises, it's going to rise on average Americans, too, who invest right here on Wall Street.
Now, in Buffett's case, he makes most of his money from his investments, and so the bulk of his income is taxed at 15 percent. But what he's saying is, if you make over $1 million in taxable income, that should be taxed at a higher flat rate regardless of how you made the money. And if it's above $10 million, that rate should be even higher.
And Buffett is calling on the super Congress to make those changes, of course. And if you want to read more about this, Drew, go to CNN Money. It's got some great stuff, including what a tax hike would look like and how that may help fix the budget deficit. Some interesting stuff there -- Drew. GRIFFIN: Yes. And he is also criticized because he is getting paid basically in dividends, and a lot of people argue those dividends already come from money that's already been taxed once by the government. So it's sort of an interesting argument.
KOSIK: Yes, it is.
GRIFFIN: Alison, thanks.
KOSIK: I will keep my mouth shut on this one.
GRIFFIN: Hey, what's the Dow doing? Is it up 113 so far -- 114?
KOSIK: We are. We're holding on to our gains. We've got investors scooping up those bargains. We've got some deal-making going on.
It's kind of giving a little inspiration to the market. We'll see if we can hold the gains until the close of the day -- Drew.
GRIFFIN: Alison, thanks.
Here is your chance to "Talk Back" on one of the big stories of the day. Today's question -- and it's a whopper -- What does President Obama need to tell middle America?
Middle America, Carol Costello? I need to tell myself to speak slower.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, that was funny.
GRIFFIN: I'll turn it over to you.
COSTELLO: We get your drift, Drew. No problem.
What does President Obama need to tell middle America? That's the question today.
President Obama knows all too well that most Americans have had it with Washington. So he's leaving -- just temporarily, of course.
Today he kicks off a bus tour of the heartland, the White House says, so he can hear from Americans about their economic struggles. It's worth noting he will be visiting Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa, states he won handily in 2008, but he won't visit Ohio or Indiana, swing states he won by the skin of his teeth.
In the lead-up to the 2008 election, candidate Obama spent 29 days campaigning in Ohio. Last year, Mr. Obama stopped at a Youngstown steel plant that created jobs thanks in part to federal stimulus money.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Youngstown can compete against anybody. Got the best workers. There's no reason why we can't compete with anybody if you guys have the support that you need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Fast forward to today. Ohio is mired like the rest of the country in high unemployment, and it isn't feeling the love.
Youngstown University professor Paul Sracic says, "There's clearly a perception in middle America that President Obama does not feel their pain." Sracic says that, "To win over the Rust Belt, Mr. Obama has to do more than just give a stump speech." In other words, less talking and more listening.
So the "Talk Back" question today: What does President Obama need to tell middle America?
Facebook.com/CarolCNN. I'll read your comments later this hour.
GRIFFIN: Thanks, Carol. We'll see you in a little bit.
Here is a rundown of some of the stories we are covering over this next hour.
First, we're going to take you live to the president's town hall in Minnesota later this hour.
And where is the best place to live in America? We have the top 10 list, and you may be surprised. These are not big cities.
Then our Truth-o-Meter tests politicians' statements from Michele Bachmann to Harry Reid.
Also, not everyone in the Jackson family is happy about a tribute concert being planned for the late King of Pop. So I'm going to talk to Michael Jackson's mom, Katherine. She's going to explain what's going on there.
And later, a woman is about to be reunited with her kidnapped child in Guatemala, but there is a loser in this reunion. That child's adopted mother, from Missouri.
GRIFFIN: President Obama talks jobs today. The president holding a town hall meeting in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. It's supposed to happen later this hour, 12:45 Eastern. We're going to take you there live when it does happen.
The town hall, the first stop on the president's three-day bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
Well, this is a tough job, but somebody has got to do it. The question is, can they? Can the so-called super committee of six Democrats and six Republicans come up with a way to slash the deficit by $1.5 trillion?
Last hour, I talked with one member of the panel, Democratic Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina, about the monumental task they are facing.
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REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: I do believe that those of us who were elected from all across the country, 12 heads, to me, are better than one in this instance. And maybe we can do something that we'll find favor with a majority of both sides of the Capitol when we finish.
If we don't, to be sure, it's already built in that there will be some automatic cuts coming on both entitlement side and the defense side. And I'm one that's particularly interested in these cuts being surgical, not allowing the triggers to be pulled, because I don't want to see any undue damage done to entitlements, and I certainly don't want to see any undue damage done to defense spending.
I'm in South Carolina, next door to Fort Jackson. My hometown of Sumter has gotten a nice Air Force base headquartered there. The --
GRIFFIN: Yes. I understand all that. I just --
CLYBURN: I want to protect all those things.
GRIFFIN: Yes. And everybody on this panel is going to want to protect their individual things, which is why I guess I'm asking, where is the hard-line leadership that's going to come from 12 partisan politicians in a group of 12 that are squared off six and six, rather than have some kind of leader coming forward and presenting a plan that we have to deal with these very serious troubles?
CLYBURN: Well, I don't think that we will be working in isolation. Between meetings, we will be meeting with our leadership.
I think the president is going to be involved in this. I think that the leadership on both sides of the aisle and in both sides of the Capitol are going to be involved in this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: We'll see.
Meantime, here is a guy who wants to lead the country, Rick Perry of Texas, the latest Republican to jump into the race for president. This is live in Iowa. They call this the soapbox, but I think he is just standing on a bunch hay bails, or around there.
Let's take a listen to what he has to say.
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GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me give you just a -- this is such an obscene, crazy regulation. They want to make -- if you are a tractor driver, if you drive your tractor across a public road, you are going to have to have a commercial driver's license. Now, how idiotic is that? How idiotic is that?
Senator Grassley, last night -- I said, "Senator, I heard that in the last two days, that they were going to put that type of regulation in place." And your United States senator sitting there at the table said, "That's right." And I said, "What were they thinking, Senator?" And he said, "They weren't."
GRIFFIN: OK. There is Rick Perry speaking to the crowd in Iowa, obviously an Iowa-targeted conversation, talking about tractors and roads and commercial licenses.
We'll continue to monitor and see if he says anything that we think you should know about.
Meanwhile, jobs, the economy and the debt crisis are hot topics for politicians these days. But can we believe what they are saying?
It's a good time to bring in Bill Adair, Washington bureau chief for "The St. Petersburg Times" and editor of Politifact.com. He and the staff have been putting the politicians' comments to the Truth-o- Meter tests and joins us with the results.
Bill, that was interesting. I think we're going to have a little political chat on what he just said down there about the --
BILL ADAIR, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "ST. PETERSBURG TIMES": Absolutely. In fact, Drew, we're already working on it.
Perry said that yesterday, and our colleagues at Politifact Texas pointed it out. So we will be putting that one to the Truth-o-Meter.
GRIFFIN: All right. Well, let's get what we have on the Truth- o-Meter right now.
It starts with a quote from Michele Bachmann on the credit downgrade. She says, "When Standard & Poor's dropped our credit rating, what they said is we don't have an ability to repay our debt. I was proved right in my decision that the debt ceiling should not have been raised."
ADAIR: That one got a false on the Truth-o-Meter, and the reason is that's not what Standard & Poor's said. If you look at the report, there were two main points that Standard & Poor's made. One is that the debt is large and a big important thing for the country to deal with, but more importantly, their main point was that the political system seems unable to deal with it. So the report didn't say what she said, so she earns a false for that one.
GRIFFIN: All right. Michele Bachmann gets a false.
Here is a quote from another candidate, Jon Huntsman, Republican. He says -- and again, he was governor of Utah -- "We created a flat tax in the state of Utah."
True or false?
ADAIR: That one got a mostly true on the Truth-o-Meter. And the reason is that it's flatter, but not quite flat.
A flat tax would have just one rate, and the Utah system has one rate, but it also has credits that allow people to take deductions. And so people don't actually pay that flat rate, for the most part. They pay the -- the rate is five percent. Instead, they pay four or three percent.
So, mostly true on that one.
GRIFFIN: OK, mostly true.
Finally, a statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, blaming the big job losses on the Bush years. He says there was a loss of eight million jobs during the Bush eight years.
Bill, is it true or is it false?
ADAIR: That one is so false, it gets our lowest rating, "Pants on Fire." And the reason is, in fact, if you look at the net job gain or loss under Bush, there actually was a net gain of about one million jobs.
The loss of eight million is, if you take the last year of the Bush presidency and the first year of the Obama presidency, really when the recession was at its worst, and there was indeed a loss of eight million at that point. But you can't blame it all on Bush. So Reid gets a "Pants on Fire" for that one.
GRIFFIN: All right, Bill. Appreciate it. Appreciate the work you guys are doing. And I look forward to the big answer on the tractors crossing roads.
ADAIR: Thanks, Drew.
GRIFFIN: We'll see you in a little while.
Well, ever wonder if where you live measures up? Well, now you can see if your town made the list of the best small towns in America. We'll have the top three of those right after this.
GRIFFIN: Lots of politics and politicians on the road this morning. This is Mitt Romney in New Hampshire speaking.
Let's take a listen to what he has to say.
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MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- a strong central government, a king, if you will, that told Americans how they would live their lives and where they would live, and what they do and how they would get paid, and who would make what. But instead, they said no, we're going to let the American people choose their own course in life.
And by virtue of America becoming a land not just a political liberty, but personal liberty and economic liberty, people from all over the world came here. This was the land, the gathering place for pioneers and innovators, these men and women, to match our mountains, so to speak, our challenges, so to speak, and that built the nation which is the envy of the world economically, today militarily, hopefully spiritually an culturally at points in our history as well.
And now we face some real challenges, in my view. I think we have a president who we didn't know very well. And we elected a guy who didn't have a track record, who had never worked in the private sector, who really didn't understand in some respects how the economy works, and he took the reins of the country at a critical time.
But I think he was over his head. I don't think he understood what it takes to make an economy work because he hadn't worked an economy like ours.
And so he went about his job, but unfortunately, what he did has not worked, it's failed us. You have today 25 million Americans -- it's a number that's unthinkable -- 25 million Americans out of work, stopped looking for work, part-time jobs that need full-time work. Twenty-five million Americans.
Home values, still going down. Three years into the president's four-year-term, home values going down, record foreclosures.
And the president was on "The Today Show" shortly after getting elected, and he said, "If I can't turn this economy around in three years, it's a one term proposition for me." I agree and I'm here to collect.
GRIFFIN: That's Mitt Romney speaking in New Hampshire. And the president, whose job he is trying to take, is going to be speaking in Minnesota very soon.
That's where you find Brianna Keilar standing by, where the president is going to hold a town hall meeting. This, in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Drew.
Yes, we're in Cannon Falls, south of Minneapolis, awaiting the president's arrival at this town hall-style event, one of five that he will be doing here in the next three days. Folks here are gathered around picnic tables in front of the Cannon River, where the president will be talking to them. And Drew, a lot of this is going to be listening, the president listening to the concerns of people in this community. He will be talking about accelerating, hiring, job growth, but we're not really expecting to hear him lay out any new proposals, certainly some of the things that he and the White House had been pushing before, extending unemployment benefits, the payroll tax cut, extending that as well, and a few other ideas. But nothing particularly new.
And that's where some of the criticism is coming in from Republicans like Mitt Romney, that you just heard, who are calling this a no jobs tour. But the president and the White House stressing that this is a chance for the president to get out of Washington, get on the road, listen to people.
And the communities, these five communities, Drew, that he's going to be visiting here over the next few days, they actually have lower unemployment than the national average. All of them ranging somewhere between 4.8 percent and up into the upper 6s, which is significant below the national average of 9.1 percent.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said one of the things that the president wants to do is get ideas from folks where the unemployment is lower and see how they have been able to deal with the situation in a way that other parts of the country haven't -- Drew.
GRIFFIN: Yes, I did see that. And it was kind of interesting that he picked these areas where the unemployment is much, much lower than the rest of the country.
Brianna, so many of these events are staged, the people are selected, who is going to ask a question. Do we know anything about the staging of this? Is this likely to have the president facing some people with real concerns and real criticisms of what has been going on in the country?
KEILAR: You know, of course it has yet to be determined, but it appears he may, because we did just speak with a woman in the audience who said that she went to get a ticket at City Hall yesterday, and it was first come, first serve. So, obviously, if that's the case, then there would be a chance for people who have some frustrations to voice their frustrations.
But you are certainly hearing that from Republican presidential contenders who are hitting the president very much, saying that he is on a campaign event. And no doubt, this region has been helpful to the president, or was helpful to the president in 2008. And certainly, this event has a campaign sort of feel.
You can expect the president to be making unscheduled stops. But the White House emphasizing, from their point of view, that this is the president getting out on the ground, getting away from Washington, and talking to real Americans who, you know, maybe less so here, but are struggling certainly with the economic woes that everyone in our country is facing.
GRIFFIN: All right, Brianna. We hear the president might arrive a little bit early, so we'll have you stand by, and we'll certainly join you and the president as he arrives there in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
Michael Jackson -- even in death, the King of Pop still sparking controversy. We're going to tell you about this massive tribute show that at least two of his brothers don't want to see happen yet.
GRIFFIN: It's being billed as a massive tribute concert for Michael Jackson, featuring some of the biggest names in pop music. All paying their respect to the fallen King of Pop. But like most things involving Michael Jackson, controversy erupting over the event, especially the timing.
We are joined by Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson's mom. How do you do? Along with Paul Ring and Chris Hunt, who are producing the show.
Katherine, thank you so much for joining us. There is always -- two groups in the country always seems to be gridlocked, it seems. Congress and the Jackson family. Jermaine and Randy Jackson are objecting to the timing of this concert. Set for October 8. They say the timing is wrong because of the criminal trial going on surrounding Michael's death.
And here's what they posted on Twitter. "There will come a time and place for an amazing and deserving tribute to Michael, but we feel the most important tribute we can give to our brother at this time is to seek justice in his name." You are the mom of all three of these guys. Are they right?
KATHERINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S MOTHER: I can understand how they feel. I feel sort of the same way, but at the same time it has been two years. And the court has to do what they have to do. But this is a tribute to my son, and I support it.
GRIFFIN: And what do you want this tribute to be? What do you want for the world to take away from this concert?
JACKSON: Well, I just want them to remember Michael. And this concert is going to be a very good concert. That's why I join with my partner here to support it.
GRIFFIN: Where is the investigation as far as Michael's death? Do you feel like justice is being served?
PAUL RING, HEAD OF U.S. OPERATIONS, GLOBAL LIVE EVENTS: Now, we're here only to talk about the tribute concert, please.
OK. Well, let's talk about the tribute concert, please. Paul, is that you or is that -
RING: That's Paul, yes.
GRIFFIN: So, the idea of this show, what is it all about? RING: Well, we want to take a Saturday in Wales to celebrate Michael's legacy. We are going to raise money for the charities that he was passionate about when he was alive, and to just have a very positive moment around the world.
GRIFFIN: Chris, this show is going to sell out fast. How can fans get tickets to the show?
CHRIS HUNT, PRESIDENT AND CEO, GLOBAL LIVE EVENTS: Okay. Well, we're holding a pre-registration period, which is now open, so people can register on the Web site. MichaelForeverTribute.com. And then they will be able to choose a price band, register for a ticket and this period will be open for a few days.
The reason we are doing this is to sort of stop the rush, and also because people will come from different countries and different time zones. We didn't want to make it so it was easier for people in one country than another to take part.
So, once they've registered, they have a chance to make a charity pledge. They don't have to, and there's nothing obliging them to do so and they don't get any worse chance of getting a ticket if they don't register. And then after a few days we will let people know what tickets they have got and take it from there.
Obviously, we hope people will make a charitable contribution because there are two charities involved, both of which were supported by Michael in his lifetime. And we'll be supporting it as well. But we'd just like to get - the most we possibly can for those two charities.
GRIFFIN: Yes, I want to ask you about the acts because you have some incredible acts booked. But what about the money? Somebody must be making money on this, right? this is not all going to charity?
HUNT: We prefer not to lose money on it, but we're not expecting to make very much.
GRIFFIN: And what acts you have booked?
HUNT: Well, to date, we've already announced a number of acts: Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green, JLS, Leona Lewis, Smoky Robinson, Alien Ant Farm, and Craig David, not to mention various members of the Jackson family, including Three T.
But also today I want to announce a few more, and I think Katherine may have something to add to this. From the UK, two young pop stars, Pixie Lot and Alexandra Burke who's now got a very big, international career. But also the street dancing sensation Diversity, who will do their own unique kind of tribute to Michael Jackson.
Mrs. Jackson, if I can ask you, you said it has been two years. Is it difficult planning this as the mother for Michael Jackson, planning all the details to try and make this a concert that he would like?
JACKSON: I am sure he would like it. That's why I am supporting it. It hasn't been hard, because -- what is your name?
RING: Well, we are trying to make sure that this is going to be something that Michael would have been very, very happy about. We're trying to pick artists and do things that are through Michael's eyes. So, I think that in the end, the fans are going to be very, very happy with the result.
GRIFFIN: Mrs. Jackson, just real quickly, how are Michael's children doing?
JACKSON: They are doing fine. Thank you.
GRIFFIN: OK. Well, thank you so much for joining us. Good luck with the concert.
And Mrs. Jackson, good luck with managing that family. It's always interesting, certainly a talented family you have had throughout these decades. Thank you so much.
RING: If I could just add quickly that we did want to announce KISS is joining the artists performing at this, which we're exciting about it. It will be amazing to watch them do Michael's music.
GRIFFIN: Terrific. That will be interesting. Thank you so much, guys.
RING: OK. Thank you.
GRIFFIN: Well, the president gets ready to take questions from everyday Americans. Americans angry over unemployment and hyperpartisanship in Washington. His town hall, live from Minnesota, is a few minutes away.
And we will have it here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
GRIFFIN: Just a reminder that we expect to hear from the president very shortly up on that stage. He is holding a town hall meeting in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. The topic is jobs, scheduled to begin at 12:45 Eastern. We hear he might be a little bit early and we'll certainly break in and let you know when that's about to happen.
Right now we are going "In Depth." Who wouldn't want to live in the best little town in America, but what makes up such a great place? Here are some of the things Americans care about: job opportunities, quality schools, safe streets, a place with lots of things to do.
"Money" magazine and CNNmoney came out with their annual list of the best small places to live. CNN's Poppy Harlow is here with a look at the top three. So, Poppy, what are they?
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Well, these are all towns between about 8,500 and 50,000. So, not big cities.
But one thing they all have in common, similar to where the president is speaking today is that they all have pretty low unemployment rates.
Let's start with number 3. It is Solon, Ohio. Unemployment just over eight percent. It's a small town, but it's got a big tax base. Major employers there include Nestle and L'Oreal. Also, you probably know it for the Cleveland Clinic. That world-renowned clinic creates a lot of jobs and brings a lot of folks to Solon, Ohio.
They also, Drew, when you look at their school system, were voted the best school system in the entire state last year. So that's number three on the list.
And then number three on the list. Number two on the list, Milton, Massachusetts. That is right outside of Boston. Pretty small town. Population, 27,000. Their unemployment rate even better,6.6 percent. And their homes have not decreased in value much since the peak in 2005, when you can barely say that for any city out there right now. They also have a top-notch school system. And the only downside to Milton, according to this list, is that they have pretty high taxes. But as you'll notice, Drew, it's all about jobs and education in these towns.
GRIFFIN: Yes, usually school districts involved with towns that have not lost home value. What is number one.
HARLOW: Right. This is a place that I have never been, but it sounds beautiful. Louisville, Colorado. About 18,000 people live there. Their unemployment rate, 6.3 percent. A lot of jobs in tech, telecom, aerospace, clean energy, health care. Home prices, again, they have not been hit by the housing crisis. They have among the lowest crime rates in Colorado.
And look at it. I mean, who would not want to live there? That is just picturesque.
GRIFFIN: Yes, where it is?
HARLOW: Doesn't exactly look like New York City. It's right near Boulder. It's right near Boulder. And just it looks like a little slice of heaven to me, but I never see grass because I live in the concrete jungle.
But I want to point you to something fun that we have here on the site. For the first year every, people are looking at the list. You can see the whole list on CNNmoney.com. But Drew, also, people are taking pictures of their favorite local foods on iReport, sending them in and then people are voting on small town best foods. So, little fun.
GRIFFIN: Oh, that does sound fun. Thanks, Poppy.
Well, you have been sounding off on the "Talk Back" question. What does President Obama need to tell middle America? Carol Costello is here with your responses. Carol?
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know we'll soon hear what he has to say, but we're giving him a preview. This from Toi. He said, "The truth. We have painted ourselves into a corner to where we have no choice but to both cut spending and raise taxes in order to balance the budget."
This from Ronjit. That "He will be doing a big a big favor for the country by not running for re-election."
This from Paul. "Just give us all some specifics on what he would like to do to boost job growth. I realize he can only do as much as Congress will let him, but at least we will know he has some ideas and maybe it will put an onus on his opponents to do the same."
And this from Tyler: "I feel he has to tell middle America just what his plan is. It is rather important that the uncertainty created by this downgrade is managed so that business owners can decide what their budge will be, and whether or not it will include more hiring."
Please keep the conversation flowing. Facebook.com/CarolCNN, and thanks as always for your comments.
GRIFFIN: All right, Carol. Thanks.
And President Obama takes off on a Midwest tour and CNN's Wolf Blitzer takes you along for the ride. Join Wolf for a look at the bus tour today, and then a one-on-one interview with the president on Tuesday. What are his plan to turn the economy around, and will he convince voters in the key states he is traveling around in?
The president, his interview tomorrow is going to be at 5:00 p.m. Eastern with Wolf. That should be good.
Well, she was stolen in Guatemala, brought to Missouri by an adoption agency, and now her adoptive parents have to let her go. Rafael Romo has this little girl's heartbreaking story.
GRIFFIN: Just a reminder, we're at a live event here. This is in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. People jumping up and down, can't wait to see the president. He's holding a town hall meeting there. We're going to go there live. It's the first stop on the president's three-day bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
Rafael, they gave me just a little heads up. It's just a minute away or two, but we're going to try to get this story in with you about a little girl born in Guatemala, been kidnapped by an adoption agency. Now she's going home. Rafael Romo has that story.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice- over): Loyda Rodriguez broke down in tears after hearing the decision. For the first time a judge in Guatemala is giving her the possibility of seeing her daughter who she says was kidnapped.
LOYDA RODRIGUEZ, MOTHER (through translator): I have fought so hard for this. It's been almost five years and this surprising ruling makes me very happy.
ROMO: It happened almost five years ago. Rodriguez told authorities she was arriving home in Guatemala City with her three children when a woman grabbed her then two-year-old daughter and got into a waiting taxi. The girl, who's now six years old, was apparently sold to an international adoption agency and eventually adopted by an American couple in Liberty, Missouri.
RODRIGUEZ: All I want to tell them is to return my girl. I don't feel anything against them because perhaps they took my daughter without knowing that she had been stolen for me. That's why I want to ask them to return her to me because I have been suffering for five years.
ROMO: Loyda Rodriguez searched for her daughter, posting flyers, talking to officials, and even staging a hunger strike at one point. Adoption reform advocates say this is an emblematic case.
USHA SMERDON, ETHICA: Just an absolute tragedy. But if this is -- if something like this is what it takes for there to be real reform and oversight over the international adoption process, that portion of it is a good result. But I would never wish this on anyone.
ROMO: The American couple apparently had no idea that the girl they were adopting was kidnapped. They had no comment when a local station in Missouri asked for an interview.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would just have to think about, like, what if the situation were reversed and my own child was kidnapped. It's sad to know that somebody in our community is going through that.
GRIFFIN: And Rafael joins me now.
And I mean the parents, the adoptive parents, had been quiet until now I understand.
ROMO: Very quite. But just about a half hour ago, the family's spokesman issued a statement. And the statement says, and I quote, "the family will continue to advocate for the safety and best interest of their legally adopted child. They remain committed to protecting their daughter from additional trauma as they pursue the truth of her past through appropriate legal channels."
And, Drew, it is so tragic because this family didn't know anything about the girl's past. They trusted the adoption agency. But apparently the adoption agency somehow bought this girl after she was kidnapped and that's the problem because you have a family in Guatemala who is in this situation. They did not deserve this. And then you have a family in America who's also brokenhearted because of this. GRIFFIN: I mean what about the adoption agency and whoever did kidnap her (ph)? Are their charges being pressed? Are they finding these people?
ROMO: There's an investigation going on and a number of people who were already prosecuted in Guatemala -- and Guatemala has been a country with international adoptions -- many problems there actually. Adoptions have been suspended in Guatemala because of cases just like the one we're talking about. So it remains to be seen how many more cases we see before we see an end (ph) to these investigations.
GRIFFIN: And when will the child be reunited with her biological mother?
ROMO: Well, the order from the judge in Guatemala City says that she has to be reunited within two months. What we don't really know at this point is how legally binding his decision is in the United States. Again, it's the area of international law and there's not a lot of precedent here. So it remains to be seen what's going to happen.
GRIFFIN: And caught in the middle is this six-year-old girl who's right now wondering who is my mom, right?
GRIFFIN: Thanks, Rafael, appreciate that.
And, again, there was a moment of silence to start the Indiana State Fair today. It happened after this over the weekend. If you haven't seen this, it's incredible. A gust of wind before a thunderstorm literally brought that stage down, crashing on people, killing five people. Our meteorologist, Chad Myers, is going to try to explain wind patterns that caused this deadly accident. And we continue to follow the president as he is going to be holding his town hall meeting. We'll be back right after this.
GRIFFIN: Well, the most anticipated town hall meeting ever, it seems, is about to be held in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, with the president. We're expecting it to start anytime now we're told. We're going to take you there live when it does happen. It's the first stop on President Obama's three-day bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.
The Indiana State Fair re-opened today with a moment of silence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please join in a moment of silence for all of those that were impacted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: That was held as a memorial to the five people killed Saturday night when winds as high as 70 miles an hour did this to a concert stage. Structural engineers are going to try to see why this scaffolding collapsed, but so far there's nothing we're told to indicate that what happened was anything but a freak accident. A witness said many people actually ran towards that stand to help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNA GIOE, WITNESS: A lot of the men, though, had rushed the stage and rushed the scaffolding to try to get it to lift it up. But there was almost nothing that they could do to try to lift it. But a lot of people were just standing there in shock and were unsure what to do at that point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: They knew the storm was coming. There were warnings signs ahead of the storm. And CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has a close look at the wind gusts that brought this stage down.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Simply, that stage was not built for a 70-mile-per-hour gusts. Just that -- it's that simple. There was so much weight on top of it, that it was structurally unable to hold itself up with these little sticks on the side. The entire thing came down. It was because of what's called a gust front. It wasn't even raining. People were not prepared for this.
OK, there was a warning out. There was clearly a severe thunderstorm warning out a few miles just to the west of here. They had a 70-mile-per-hour wind gusts. That 70-mile-per-hour wind gusts came out of the bottom of a thunderstorm and it's not unlike the exact situation that happened with the dust storm in Phoenix not that many weeks ago, we showed you that dust storm video.
Rain comes down, wind comes down, it hits the ground, it cannot go anywhere else but out. Kind of like spilling a pail of water on the ground. The water stops going down and it starts going out. The wind gust was well ahead of the rain and that's the problem.
The warning came out at 8:39. The warning went to the people on the stage and near the area six minutes later. Maybe that's why you need to have an app on your phone that will give you the warnings right on time and not have that six minute delay.
But it wasn't even raining. I will give you a dot right there. That was the stage. Here is the storm well out to the west. You don't see anything on the rain. But now bring -- come over here. Come over here on this side.
I want to show you that same dot. I want to show you, this is Doppler radar. And it's why America spent millions, if not billions of dollars on Doppler radar back in the '80s. That line right there is the gust front. It's the air blowing out ahead of the storm making the wind gusts that knocked that thing down and killed those five people.
GRIFFIN: All right, Chad, thanks a lot for the explanation.
And we are right about on top of the town hall meeting in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. We'll be back right after the break.
GRIFFIN: We are going right out to Cannon Falls, Minnesota, where President Obama is talking. Drew Griffin with CNN. Randi Kaye will have it after the president.