Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Allowed to Stay; Herman Cain's Rise to the Top; Rick Perry Plan: Drill to Create Jobs; How to Get Americans Back to Work; Saving a City from Flooding; 15 Elephants Stranded On a Roof; Hero Helps Children In Haiti; Cain In Tennessee; London's Big Ben Tower Leaning; Interview with Steve Case

Aired October 14, 2011 - 12:00   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, top of the hour. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Let's get you up to speed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): New York police dodged a showdown with Occupy Wall Street protestors today, but people arrested 14 people for blocking traffic and turning over trash cans, as this CNN iReport video shows.

Officials had told demonstrators to get out of the park they call home base so it could be cleaned up.

But then Michael Bloomberg, the mayor, says the park's private owner called off the cleaning. The company says it got telephone threats from city officials.

Occupy Wall Street protesters have been living in the park for almost a month now, and there's growing concern about sanitation. Businesses in lower Manhattan have complained.

A confrontation did materialize in Denver today. Police say they arrested at least 24 protesters who refused to leave a park near the Colorado state capitol. Like New York, Denver officials wanted to get things cleaned up. And now that the protesters are gone, the city says the park is closed there indefinitely.

President Barack Obama is about to land in Detroit. He and South Korean's president, Lee Myung-bak, will tour a GM plant to highlight a new trade deal. It opens the door for GM, Ford and Chrysler to be competitive in the South Korean market.

On another topic, Iran, the president's ambassador to the United Nations plans to meet today with her Iranian counterpart. Susan Rice will confront Iran on the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- to apply the toughest sanctions and continue to mobilize the international community to make sure that Iran is further and further isolated and that it pays a price for this kind of behavior. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The U.S. accuses this Texas used car salesman of ordering a hit on the Saudi ambassador at the request of the Quds Force, part of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard.

Apple geeks waited in long lines all night. They wanted to be the first to get the new iPhone 4S. It went on sale today. Apple says it sold a million phones online in the first 24 hours.

Watch this happy customer and you will know exactly why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels amazing. It feels amazing. I mean, this is truly a wonderful piece of technology.

I'm just holding it in my hand. I can't wait to use it. I can't wait to get started.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: He's pretty excited.

And then, take a look right there. Yes, he looks familiar, that man, right? That's Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, showing up on his Segway at his neighborhood Apple store.

He waited in line as well all night to get his 4S. Wozniak says, sure, he could have made a phone call or two and avoided the wait, but he didn't want to ruin the excitement.

The iPhone 4S is basically its predecessor on steroids. It's a lot faster. Apple techies grumbled because it wasn't the all-new iPhone 5. That disappointment, however, seems to have been forgotten already.

Admitted celebrity hacker Christopher Chaney went to federal court in Jacksonville, Florida, today. Chaney is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles, where he says he'll plead guilty to all charges against him.

Chaney hacked e-mail accounts belonging to actress Scarlett Johansson, among others. Nude photos of Johansson eventually turned up on the Internet. Chaney says he wasn't after money. He claims he was simply addicted to hacking.

Hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam must report to federal prison in 45 days. At his sentencing hearing in New York, prosecutors called him the modern face of insider trading. He scored millions of dollars on illegal stock tips.

The judge gave him 11 years in prison and a $10 million fine. The judge also ordered him to repay $53 million in restitution.

Police plan to release more information about Wednesday's horrific salon shooting that left eight people dead in Seal Beach, California. They have scheduled a news conference for two hours from now.

Police say the suspect, 42-year-old Scott Evans Dekraii, faces multiple counts of murder. He was arrested without incident near the shooting. A custody battle reportedly set off the suspect. His ex- wife, she is among those dead. She was a stylish at the hair salon.

And last night there were tears and candlelight for all the victims. The shooting has rocked that close-knit community.

All right. Bangkok could see its worse monsoon floods in decades this weekend.

Thai officials are counting on flood walls to keep the city's center dry, but many surrounding waters are already under water. Rising water has forced 15 elephants on to the rooftop of their sanctuary. Workers at the elephant sanctuary say they are having a hard time getting enough food to the stranded animals.

And the International Monetary Fund's man in Turkey had to bob and weave during a university speech. Students through eggs and shouted "IMF, get out!" Security guards quickly hustled protesters from the auditorium.

All right. Back to our lead story: showdown averred. New York police will not force Occupy Wall Street protesters out of the park where they have been camping after all. Officials have backed down from a plan to clear out Zuccotti Park so that it can be cleaned.

Our Susan Candiotti joining us live now from lower Manhattan.

So, Susan, the cleaning is off for now. So what is the overall atmosphere?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka.

Yes, the protesters here are very happy about what happened before dawn, when they got word that in fact the people that own this private park -- it's not a city park -- backed down from telling the police to move the protesters out so they could clean the park. That's what they said. But the protesters said this is really just a veiled attempt to stop this protest, and if we can't occupy this park, then there is no Occupy Wall Street.

Now, they got help, as it turns out, in the middle of the night from a lot of public officials who were said to have called the owners of this park threatening them, in the words of the mayor of the city, with some sort of future action to make it uncomfortable for them if they went through with the eviction. That didn't happen, and there subsequently have been some scuffles, minor scuffles, with some of the protesters out on the streets here. Fourteen people arrested. Other than that, it has been very peaceful today.

Joining us now is Mark Bray (ph).

You're a member of this group. You're also a member of the so-called press team. MARK BRAY (ph), PROTESTER: That's right.

CANDIOTTI: How do you think people felt? There was a lot of excitement today when the park backed down.

BRAY: It was really euphoria in the park, because we had been threatened with this cleaning situation which we really took as a notice of eviction. And so a lot of people came down, more than 1,000 this morning, and with the support of unions and community groups and the wider public, we managed to send the message to the city that we're a legitimate movement that deserves its right to protest peacefully in the park.

CANDIOTTI: Do you know anything about these alleged threats made by public officials to the owners of this park?

BRAY: I can't speak specifically to anything that I would refer to as a threat, but I do know that a lot of public officials and politicians had put in calls to the city to try and encourage them to rethink this decision. And ultimately they did.

CANDIOTTI: They did.

You're not stopping now. You have a lot of things planned for the weekend.

BRAY: That's correct. Tomorrow, we have large demonstration at 5:00 p.m. in Times Square. We encourage all our viewers to come out here. And then, at 11:00, we have a march around the financial district, and at noon we have a student meet-up in Washington Square Park.

CANDIOTTI: Thanks very much.

And also wanted to note that this might not be over, because the owners of the park put out a statement saying that this isn't over, that they're still trying to negotiate something with the protesters so they can move them out, get the park cleaned, and try to get the park back to what they call "normal."

I don't know whether that's going to happen, Fred. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: OK. Susan, meantime, last hour you spoke with two men who apparently are not who they said they were. What more do we know about them?

CANDIOTTI: That's right. In the last hour, we did a live interview with two men who said that they were Wall Street bankers and who oppose this protest. It turns out that those two men are actually comedians who were playing the role of Wall Street bankers, and CNN regrets that error.

WHITFIELD: All right. Susan Candiotti, thanks so much in lower Manhattan.

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: In the race for the White House, one of the Republican front-runners, Herman Cain, has kicked off a two-day bus tour. Live pictures now from Cain's first stop, Bartlett, Tennessee.

Cain was born in nearby Memphis. The former Godfather's Pizza CEO has surged in the polls. He's getting a whole lot of attention, particularly for his 999 plan, which would overhaul the nation's tax system.

So, Herman Cain is the first African-American to have a shot at the Republican nomination, but the issue of race is not something Cain is focusing on.

Here now is CNN's Shannon Travis.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: Hello, Chicago!

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER (voice-over): In 2008, Americans watched as one African-American kept his eyes on the prize and won it.

OBAMA: It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

TRAVIS: Fast forward three years, another black man also eyeing the prize, also generating buzz, but who's reluctant to mention his race in the story of his journey.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain also believes the notion of racism is overblown.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as an excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve.

TRAVIS: Many of Herman Cain's conservative supporters agree, race should not be a major issue.

Why are conservatives reluctant to talk about Cain being a black man? For one, many say it's liberals who overly focus on race and politics. The candidate himself says this --

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Why is the Republican Party basically poison for so many African-Americans?

CAIN: Because many African-Americans have been brain washed into not being open minded, not even considering a conservative point of view.

TRAVIS: A second reason concerns the Tea Party. Critics have accused it of harboring racist elements, something Tea Partiers deny.

Though Cain's popularity is rising in recent polls, the former radio talk show host has long been a Tea Party favorite.

CAIN: What do you think about this whole Tea Party citizens' movement?

TRAVIS: He's been a sought after speaker at Tea Party rallies. He's won presidential straw polls with strong Tea Party support and many activists say they want him on a presidential ticket either at the top or as VP.

Organizers cite those facts against claims of Tea Party bigotry.

Jenny Beth Martin is co-founder of the nation's largest Tea Party group, the Tea Party Patriots. She thought CNN, "I think that having an African-American with so much Tea Party support is another example that the Tea Party movement is not racist. It shows that we're looking at the issues and we're not looking at skin color."

Yet questions regarding Cain's skin color will likely continue. As many people celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. at this weekend's dedication of his Washington Memorial, Herman Cain has his own take on the dream.

CAIN: I have achieved all of my American dreams and then some because of the great nation, the United States of America. What's there to be angry about?

TRAVIS: Shannon Travis, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right. Meantime, Herman Cain, he's hot, hot, hot. And so is his 999 tax plan. Well, leave it to David Letterman to kind of complicate things.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": We have put together for you an educational video, "Get to Know the 999 Plan." Here. Watch this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 999 plan takes the complex issue of taxing Americans fairly and makes it simple. U.S. citizens under the age of 9 pay a 9 percent flat tax, while citizens older than 9 but younger than 99 pay a 9 percent flat tax, plus a 9 percent national sales tax.

The 999 plan does not tax individuals older than 99. Corporations pay a 9 percent tax on revenues, with installments payable on the 9th of each month. A simple formula results in 99 percent of charitable contributions qualifying for a .9 percent reduction in the 9 percent flat tax on those contributions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Did Cain get the 999 plan from a video game? "Sim City" has had a 999 plan for years. A spokeswoman for Cain's economic adviser doubts it. Apparently, Cain is not much of a video game person.

All right. For the latest political news, you know exactly where to go -- CNNPolitics.com.

All week long, Alina Cho has been telling us about all the hot fashions on the Paris runway. Well, this weekend it all comes together in a half-hour special. She's about to give us a sneak peek after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. The biggest names in fashion, the biggest secrets of the season, and the shoes. Don't forget the shoes.

Alina Cho gives us a sneak peek at her weekend special "Backstage Pass," from Paris.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This week, it's been my pleasure to introduce you to some of the people that I think are the creme de la creme of French fashion.

And tomorrow it all comes together in my half hour special, "Fashion: Backstage Pass From Paris." We'll take you inside the world of Chanel and its iconic designer, Karl Lagerfeld.

What makes you do that?

KARL LAGERFELD, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, CHANEL: I don't know. I have a flash like this. don't ask questions.

Thank God I get answers. I don't know from where. When I make big efforts, it's for the garbage can. When I make no effort, then suddenly, I don't what happens. It's much better, but you cannot count on it.

CHO: And the biggest fashion story out of Paris, who will replace John Galliano as the next designer of Christian Dior?

We're backstage with the front-runner, Mark Jacobs, and also the decision-maker himself, Dior's CEO.

You know who has magic hands? Is Mark Jacobs.

SIDNEY TOLEDANO, PRESIDENT AND CEO, DIOR: I heard about it.

CHO: Have you made a decision? May I ask you that?

TOLEDANO: As I say, for people who know are not talking, and the ones who are talking are not knowing. So, no, no, I cannot make any comment.

CHO: And last, but certainly not least, the man behind those iconic red-soled shoes, Christian Louboutin. CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN, SHOE DESIGNER: (INAUDIBLE) and then it comes from the person, from head to toe. Well, a pair of shoes are a bit like that.

CHO: We're also backstage with the hottest makeup artist, the hottest model, and my pick for designer to watch.

All tomorrow, "Fashion: Backstage Pass From Paris."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right. We look forward to that.

So don't miss Alina's special, "Fashion: Backstage Pass From Paris." It airs this Saturday, tomorrow, October 15th, 2:30 Eastern Time.

AOL founder Steve Case is about to join me live. Find out what he has been telling the president of the United States about jump-starting the economy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Here's a rundown of some of the stories we're working on.

Next, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry reveals his energy plan. He says it would create a lot of jobs. We'll take a closer look.

Then, Steve Case gives advice to President Obama on putting Americans back to work. We have got a live interview with the AOL founder.

And later, flooding threatens homes, businesses, historic sites, and elephants in Thailand.

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry has just wrapped up a speech on creating jobs in America. He wants to do it by opening up restricted oil fields to drilling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The plan that I present this morning, energizing American jobs and security, will kick-start the economic growth of this country and create 1.2 million jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: For a breakdown of Perry's plan, Alison Kosik joins us now from the New York Stock Exchange.

So, Alison, how exactly does Perry's plan work to create those 1.2 million jobs?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: OK, Fredricka. Well, some critics sum it up as Perry's version of "Drill, baby, drill," and it's essentially a jobs and energy plan.

His idea is to boost how much oil is produced in the U.S. in order to create jobs. And he looks at it this way of how it would come about -- you would open up more federal lands and oceans for drilling, and that includes protected lands in Alaska and off the East Coast. He wants to boost production in the Gulf of Mexico as well. Perry also supports hydraulic fracturing in the Northeast, also known as called fracking, and he's against more federal restrictions and the EPA's new emissions regulations -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: OK. So what about all the other industries that would be affected, people or businesses around the fracking or near the coast? How might it affect them?

KOSIK: Exactly. And that's why his proposals are controversial, for that very reason.

You know, take fracking. What fracking is, is when water and chemicals are injected into the Earth to unlock natural gas. And the big issue -- it's a big issue right now in New York and Pennsylvania. A lot of people are coming out against this because there's growing concern and anger that it could damage the water supply.

Farmers that were interviewed by CNN Money are against fracking. They want to make sure there's clean drinking water for their animals.

As for offshore drilling, the Florida Visitors Bureau is against boosting drilling. The big worry, of course, what if something goes wrong? What's fresh in their minds is that BP oil spill. So that's what they are worried about -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And ultimately, would Perry's plan help reduce our dependence on foreign oil?

KOSIK: The oil industry came out last month with a report saying that Perry's plan will help a lot. And you can look at it in two ways.

For one, if nothing changes, our domestic oil production, it's going to grow anyway to nine million barrels of oil a day by 2030. Now, the other way to look at it, if those areas that we mentioned are opened up for drilling, the industry could actually produce 15 million barrels a day, and that's very close to the amount we consume every day.

So it would help us to be sort of weaned off of foreign oil. But you have to consider this -- with any policy change, there are always winners, there are always losers. But, of course, if he becomes the Republican nominee, voters will ultimately decide if Perry's plan is worth the risk -- Fredricka.

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much.

Alison Kosik, at the New York Stock Exchange. All right. President Obama is focusing on ways to put Americans back to work. This week, the president heard back from his jobs council, tasked with finding ways to help grow the economy.

AOL founder Steve Case is a member of the president's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness -- good to see you -- joining us from Washington.

STEVE CASE, COUNCIL ON JOBS AND COMPETITIVENESS: Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: OK. So what's the number one piece of advice that you have given to the president or want to give to the president about how to get the economy jump-started, how to get companies to actually hire again?

CASE: Well, the key is to focus more on entrepreneurship. And the story of America really is the story of entrepreneurship. That's why we're the leading economy.

Great companies and great industries started here. We really need to double down on our nation's entrepreneurs, and we outlined when we met with the president a whole framework including some things the administration needs to do, some things the private sector needs to do, but also some things that really needs bipartisan support in Congress to make sure we have the right framework in place to help companies get started and help them scale.

That's the big job creator. The Kauffman Foundation data says 40 million jobs have been created in the last 30 years from these high- growth entrepreneurial companies. It really accounts for all the net job creation. So, if you want to focus on jobs, you want to focus on the economy, you've got to focus on entrepreneurship.

WHITFIELD: So when you say in the last three decades about 40 million jobs have been created by young firms, how does the White House or government as a whole try to open up those opportunities for that kind of entrepreneurial venture that you're talking about? Because a lot of people feel like, I need money in order to make money or start that business.

CASE: And that's part of our recommendation. Congress needs to do in a bipartisan way. There are a number of things to make it easier for companies to raise capital. Both at the early stage with crowd funding of angel investments, create some incentives, lower capital gains for early-stage investments, make it easier for companies to go public.

Ninety percent of jobs are created after companies go public, but the Sarbans Oxley regime has made it more costly. Either companies go public or they go public later. As a result many companies also get sold and we lose some acceleration in terms of job creation.

We also talked about the need to take a fresh look at immigration particularly around high skilled workers. We know it is a complicated sensitive issue, but the reality is high-skilled workers, engineers and entrepreneurs, we want them to stay here and create companies here. Right now, we educate them here at some of our great universities. Give them a PH.D. in computer science, say, then we kick them out of the country and force them to go to other countries to start companies that compete with us and that's crazy.

So we need to unbundle this high skilled worker piece from this broader this discussion around immigration and get that done, too. We focus on that and win the global battle of talent. We focus on capital access. We make it easier for companies to go public.

Those are things Congress can do right now if they really focussed in a bipartisan way. In addition to the administration, we outlined seven things they need to do, four things the private sector needs to do.

There's no silver bullet. There's nothing magic about this. It just requires a comprehensive effort from all sectors.

WHITFIELD: Well, it seems like there are two different messages though coming out of the White House because while the White House is celebrating their jobs agreement that was passed just a day and a half ago and the president taking the South Korean president to Detroit to really tout American-made with GM, Chrysler, Ford, et cetera.

At the same time part of this trade agreement is relying on or hoping that there will be significant U.S. exports in which money will be made. But there again is part of the problem -- entrepreneurship, you've got start the businesses, get those made-in-America products to multiply.

CASE: No question. But that's really what America's always been about. As I mentioned, some of the great industries, automobiles 100 years ago in Detroit was really dominated by creative American companies.

The last 50 years, obviously technology in the Silicon Valley and the whole internet revolution more recently has been the key driver. We've been the leader in health technologies, biotech and pharmaceuticals. So we've always had the innovation secret sauce.

We just need to double down on that and as you say, make sure the government gets out of the way and creates the right framework so that private investment, private capital and the entrepreneurs really can get these companies started.

The number of new starts has gone down over the last five years, it's gone down 23 percent. If it stayed at the same level we'd have 2 million jobs more in our economy right now.

We've got to make it easier for companies to get start and for companies that are working to scale and access capital an access talent and capitalize on some of these global opportunities.

It's a big opportunity and with bipartisan support, we could really move on this quickly. WHITFIELD: And Steve, let's talk about another Steve, Steve Jobs, the last Steve Jobs, one of this country's greatest innovators and one who was also a good friend of yours. He was a really unique individual. What thoughts do you have about how the kind of innovation that he represents could be a real contagion in this country?

CASE: Obviously, it is a sad time because he was a friend, but also a great innovator. As you say, really one of America's most iconic entrepreneur. I said probably the greatest entrepreneur of our generation. So it is a big loss.

But what he always focused on was moving forward and trying to figure out as you note what are the next innovative moves you need to make, digital music with the iPod or re-inventing the phone with the iPhone or the iPad, but he's not alone.

There are a lot of great American entrepreneurs out there. We need to do as a nation and particularly do here in D.C. is get government out of the way and really create the right incentives so that these entrepreneurs can build these great companies. We can create the next Steve Jobs for the future.

WHITFIELD: Steve Case, thanks so much for your time from New York.

CASE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, floodwaters are rising across Thailand. The disaster is growing and the race is on to save the capital.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A major crisis right now in Thailand. Entire towns and cities, farms and factories are submerged in some of the country's worst flooding in half a century. The capital Bangkok has not been spared. Floodwaters are rising and people are frightened that the worst is yet to come. Our Paula Hancocks is in Bangkok.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a neighborhood off Bangkok, an eastern suburb of the capital. Now this is a perfect example of many other areas around the inner city of the capital that are affected at the moment by the floods.

The water here has been here for at least three days, and the water levels are just expected to rise as more than 1 billion cubic meters a day is reaching Bangkok. For this particular area, it is one of the areas the government is willing to sacrifice so that the business district is not affected.

This area is sandwiched in between a river on this side and the floodgates on the other side, which are protecting the inner city. And you can see the chaos that it has created. The water itself has turned many of these roads into rivers.

And obviously there is gridlock here as people are trying to go about their business, but obviously it is very difficult. Many cars are getting stuck in the water. Now of course there is another fear for this neighborhood. This is the time of the high tides.

As well as seeing a deluge of water coming from northern parts of Thailand, from the 13th to the 16th of October, they are also seeing high tides so that obviously is a concern that the two will meet in the middle and make these waters rise even further.

Now we have seen significant floodgates being built up around the inner city. Millions of sandbags are being used and the government is really wasting no resources to try and protect those areas. Here people are having to fend for themselves a little more.

They will get some handbags handed out to them, but it is almost a futile attempt to try and protect their homes and protect their shops, as many of these places are already flooded. Paula Hancocks, CNN, in the eastern suburbs in Thailand.

WHITFIELD: There's growing concern for animals across Thailand. Fifteen elephants are on a rooftop to escape the floods at an elephant sanctuary. They include seven mothers with babies and a 9-year-old known for its painting skills.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EWA NARKIEWICZ, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, ELEPHANTSTAY (via telephone): They are obviously very concerned because none of us have any idea how water was going to hit. Now the elephants have actually left there because the babies are very young and they wouldn't survive in the floodwaters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Workers at the elephant sanctuary say they're having a hard time getting enough food to the stranded animals.

This is the fifth anniversary of CNN Heroes honoring every day people who are changing the world. Coming up, we'll introduce you to one of the top ten CNN Heroes of 2011. He is a cancer survivor who teaches soccer along with life skills to Haiti's poorest children.

But first, here's some free money advice from the "CNN Help Desk."

CARTER EVANS, CNN CORRESPONDENTA: Time now for the "Help Desk" where we get answers to your financial questions. With me now, John Ulzheimer, President of Consumer Education at smartcredit.com, and Manisha Thakor is a personal finance expert.

The first question comes from Joe. Manisha, he wants to know the current rules regarding mandatory withdrawals of 401(k) savings at age 70.

MANISHA THAKOR, PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: This is so cruel, Carter. It's like when you get out of college and you suddenly discover you have to pay for water and electricity. You actually have to spend that many that you've accumulated because the government wants their tax bite out of it. So at the calendar year after you turn 70-1/2 you have to start taking out minimum required distributions. Bankrate.com has a great web site and a calculator where you can go to see exactly what you need to pull out and you really want to pay attention to this.

The bite that will get taken out if you don't do it -- nearly 50 percent, Carter! Yes, expensive. You want to pay attention to it.

EVANS: Pay close attention. OK, this one comes from Fee in Stockton, California. She says her husband and she are both in their 60s, retired. They had a 30-year mortgage, 5.75 percent interest. They have a $280,000 balance. They've been paying $20,000 extra a year. So they're wondering if they are possibly going to be able to pay this off next year. Should they refinance now because rates are so much lower?

JOHN ULZHEIMER, PRESIDENT OF CONSUMER EDUCATION, SMARTCREDIT.COM: Congratulations to them for being so aggressive in paying down that mortgage. It will be nice to not have a house payment. Here's the issue. They've only got one more year left to pay this off.

When you refinance a mortgage there is a cost involved with doing so. Even though they may in fact lower their payments over the next 12 to 14 months, the cost to refinance might actually outweigh the savings that they accumulate by paying less. I would say state course. Just pay is off in the next year or so and be done with it.

EVANS: OK, if you've got a question you want answered, send us an e- mail any time at cnnhelpdesk@cnn.com.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All year we've been introducing you to everyday people who are changing the world. We call them "CNN Heroes." And I'd like you to meet one of this year's top 10 "CNN Heroes." After being diagnosed with cancer, Patrice Millet dedicated his life to helping children in his native Haiti. His non-profit youth soccer program gives equipment, coaching and food to hundreds of kids. He's joining us right now on the phone from Port-au-Prince.

Well, Patrice, first, congratulations for being a top 10 hero.

PATRICE MILLET, TOP 10 CNN HERO FOR 2011 (via telephone): OK, thank you. Thank you to CNN for this nomination. I'm really happy for the Haitian kids.

WHITFIELD: Tell me how this soccer program works. How is it you're able to reach so many children and bring them the gift of soccer and give them some real hope?

MILLET: Well, you know, since I got diagnosed for the cancer, and I decided to go to this program. And mostly when I traveled, it was mostly love, you know. I went directly with my hurts (ph). And since then, I tried by myself to re-unite all the kids, you know, and having done (ph) this soccer and tried to teach them to do education by sport. WHITFIELD: And it also sounds like this program has really been good medicine for you.

MILLET: I don't hear you.

WHITFIELD: How much of this program helped you? How much has it brought good medicine or therapy for you?

MILLET: Oh. You talk about the (ph) happy?

WHITFIELD: Yes, how it's been benefiting you to give so much that I imagine that you're getting an awful lot back by the kids.

MILLET: Oh, yes. Yes. Definitely. It has me lot (ph). You know, to see joy -- joy in the kid's face, you know. When you go home and you feel you have completed something good working with underprivileged kids, you know, and I always love kids. I always like -- love -- like to see them play, giving them their childhood, you know? And it helped me, I think, in -- it helped me a lot to keep going.

WHITFIELD: Patrice Millet, thanks so much for your time from Port-au- Prince and all the best and congratulations again on being a top ten "CNN Hero."

Go to cnnheroes.com now online and on your mobile device to vote for the "CNN Hero" who inspires you most. All 10 will be honored live at the "CNN Heroes," an all-star tribute hosted by our own Anderson Cooper, Sunday, December 11th.

All right, this weekend thousands of people will be in Washington, D.C., for the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It was originally scheduled to be dedicated in August. Well, that was postponed because of Hurricane Irene. Well, earlier this week, I talked with Martin Luther King III and his sister, Bernice King, about their father's legacy, what the memorial means to them after 14 years in the making.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. BERNICE KING, MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'S DAUGHTER: This particular monument took less time than most of them. If not all of them. So I think that speaks volumes that we were able to move it along in that time period. But, you know, it's -- the irony is that his life span, in terms of impact in this world, was just about 14 years. So there's some kind of parallel to the work that he did as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right, throughout this weekend you'll be hearing more of my interview with the King children beginning tomorrow at noon Eastern Time. The memorial dedication is taking place Sunday morning in the nation's capital. President Barack Obama and civil rights leaders Joseph Lowery and Andrew Young are also scheduled to be there.

I want to take you right now to Bartlett, Tennessee. And there you see Republican candidate Herman Cain. Let's listen in. HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is wonderful! Now, one of the best kept secrets about Herman Cain is that he was born not too far from here. I was born in Memphis, Tennessee. But I got a lot of relatives that live in Bartlett, Tennessee. And as far as I'm concerned, all y'all are my relatives today!

It is great to be here and thank you for coming out. You could be somewhere else, doing something else, but you decided to come out to show your support for me. And you don't know how much that encourages me because, as I told a group earlier this week, I don't know how to spell the word "quit."

Now, this is October. Two months ago they had something called the Iowa straw poll. And at the end of the Iowa straw poll, we ended up in fifth place and many of the pundits, many of the so-called political media experts, were predicting that that was the end of the Herman Cain campaign. That's what they were predicting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go Herminator.

CAIN: But you see, here's what I have learned in the past several weeks and in the past couple of months. It didn't just start with that Florida straw poll. It didn't just start with that National Federation of Republican Women straw poll, or all of the other straw polls. Here's what I learned that finally, finally some of the pundits are finally getting it. The voice of the people is more powerful than the voice of the media.

There's my auntie over there! I told y'all I got relatives here!

The voice of the people are going to decide who's going to be the nominee. And the voice of the people are going to decide who's going to be the next president of the United States of America. Because the American people are sick and tired of business as usual in Washington, D.C. The American people have decided enough is enough. The American people have decided that they do not like --

WHITFIELD: All right, Republican candidate Herman Cain in Bartlett, Tennessee, stumping there, not far from his birthplace of Memphis, Tennessee. We'll continue to monitor his comments there out of Tennessee.

All right, overseas, there's something going on with London's famous Big Ben clock tower. It's leaning. We'll check in with Reynolds Wolf to find out what's causing that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, if you visit London soon, you might notice something a bit odd at the famous clock tower that holds Big Ben. Does it look like it right there. It's leaning, actually. Reynolds Wolf has checked it out for us. I think you can really see it in still photographs more than you can with a naked eye, apparently, from a lot of folks.

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, think so. WHITFIELD: (INAUDIBLE).

WOLF: Exactly. You know, I think some of that was a little creative photography or not (ph). But it is, believe it or not, it is, they believe, starting to tilt just a little bit.

WHITFIELD: By how much?

WOLF: Well, we're going to get to that in just a few seconds. But the interesting thing about this, this has been around for quite a long time. And you see pictures of it right here. It was actually finished construction back in 1859. They were a little bit behind schedule, but, sure enough, it's up. It's an iconic thing. A beautiful thing to see. Certainly a must view if you happen to go to London.

And, obviously, we can't get to London immediately, so with the help of Google Earth we're going to zoom in and give you an idea of where it is, where it's set up. You see Parliament. You see the Thames River. And, there you go, there is Big Ben. A beautiful thing to see. And, yes, if you happen to go there and you notice that might be tilting a bit, well, I'll tell you what, it is exactly doing that.

As a matter of fact, if we take a look at this graphic, we're going to compare it to another tilting thing that we have. And that, of course, is the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which actually is -- it has a little bit of a tilt to it. Anywhere from 12.8 feet. Not so much, though, for Big Ben. The tilt that we've had is a little bit more of a slope (ph) at 1.5 feet, but it is slowly moving in the direction, possibly getting a little bit more as we pass each day.

But, I'm telling you, it's not something that's going to happen very quickly. If you were going to try extrapolate time and try to get Big Ben something close to say the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you'll be waiting for quite a long time. In fact, they believe that you'd be waiting for about 11,000 years.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness.

WOLF: Yes, keep in mind, I've got full confidence in British construction. But I'm telling you, I don't think that this structure would last for 11,000 years. That is a very long time. Clocks, maybe so, but I don't think the building will. So, again, we're waiting a little bit of time to actually catch up to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But, still an amazing thing to see.

WHITFIELD: Amazing.

WOLF: And the reason why they believe it's happening, Fredricka, is they've actually had some construction in the area. They believe might have actually softened a little bit of the ground. So maybe that is one of the reasons, one of the catalysts why it's been tilting a bit to the northwest.

WHITFIELD: I wonder if that means stopping the construction or trying to figure out a way in which to get Big Ben to get back to its original -- WOLF: I think a lot of people are going to be looking for answers.

WHITFIELD: You know, (INAUDIBLE) question. Yes, I think so, too.

All right, Reynolds, thanks so much.

WOLF: You bet ya.

WHITFIELD: And we're going to have much more of the NEWSROOM coming up with Randi Kaye after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)