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Cain Suspends Presidential Campaign; Little Relief from Winds in West; Avoid the Debt Trap When Holiday Shopping; McCready's Son in Protective Custody; Primary Suspect in Missing Woman Case Given Custody of Children; Former Penn State Coach Defends Himself for Four Hours

Aired December 3, 2011 - 17:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for watching. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. We're going to begin with big political news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So as of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: This is where it comes to an end. The last stop for the Cain train. Herman Cain today in Atlanta effectively ending his bid for the White House. The candidate who just a month ago was being talked about as the frontrunner for the republican nomination, suspending his campaign. In recent weeks, Cain has denied allegations of sexual harassment and Atlanta woman's claim that she had a 13-year affair with him. Well, today, his eyes hidden behind dark shades with his wife, Gloria, by his side. Cain broke the news to supporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: I am at peace with my God. I am at peace with my wife. And she is at peace with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK, even as Cain was announcing the end to his 2012 dreams, he was promising that he wouldn't be silenced and that he wouldn't go away. CNNs Shannon Travis standing by outside the Atlanta headquarters that Cain just opened today as he was suspending his campaign. Talk about bad timing there, Shannon. How did the crowd react to his wife and what else did he tell that crowd?

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, the crowd reacted in waves and spurts. At times, Don, when you heard, some of those crowd one-liner, crowd-pleasing lines that came often does, they were erupting like you just played in that clip right there. But at other times, you could hear a pin drop even though were outside next to a highway because the crowd was hanging on to his every word. At the beginning of the speech, a lot of people were unclear, even us, where he was going with it. But then when he dropped that "I'm suspending my campaign," you heard some guffaws, you heard some sighs in the crowd, I heard audible "don't go Cain, don't do it." So, the crowd was very emotional. There were some people in the crowd who were definitely here just for the spectacle of it all Don, do be honest. But most of the people, most of the people were loyal, Herman Cain supporters. So they were pretty disappointed.

LEMON: Yes. So, he is suspending his campaign instead of ending it outright. The difference really is, I guess at the base of this, suspending is a soft landing. It's an easier way of saying it.

TRAVIS: Yes, and it's an important distinction. Suspending a campaign for a candidate means that by federal law, they still are technically a candidate and they can still continue to raise money and spend that money on political activities, completely bowing out of the race, saying, "I'm dropping my bid" means that you can only raise money to retire your campaign debt or to retire any kind of campaign- related expenses. So, it's an important distinction and probably one that Herman Cain and his team weighed when they decided to suspend as opposed to completely just get out of the race.

LEMON: A little bit early, too, probably, you to talk about endorsements?

TRAVIS: Not just yet. I mean, that is the question on the table. He put it out there himself. He said, I will be endorsing someone in the coming days. My producer, Janet, after he was done, we caught him on the rope line and we tossed that question to him. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Are you endorsing Michele Bachmann?

CAIN: Thank you very much. Thank you very, very much.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Mr. Cain, will you endorse...

CAIN: Not making that decision until several days. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TRAVIS: So, now, why did Janet ask about Michele Bachmann? Because earlier I reported that I spoke with the Bachmann campaign and they told me two things, Don. They told me one, that the Bachmann camp and the Cain camp, that they have spoken and that, two, that many of Herman Cain supporters reached out to Bachmann's campaign and said, we are now supporting the congresswoman.

LEMON: Shannon Travis, thank you very much. We appreciate that. Many of the republican candidates are reacting to Cain's decision to suspend his campaign. Michele Bachmann says, Herman Cain provided an important voice to this process, his ideas and energy generated tremendous enthusiasm for the conservative movement at a time it was so desperately needed to restore confidence in our country.

This is what Jon Huntsman had to say, "Herman Cain offered a unique and valuable voice to the debate over how to reform our country's uncompetitive tax code and turn around the economy."

And Rick Perry is saying this, "I know this was a very difficult decision for Herman Cain. His family and his supporters, a difficult decision as well. He helped invigorate conservative voters and our nation with a discussion of major tax reform."

So, how did Herman Cain get to this point? Our Tom Foreman takes a look at his campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAIN: Love you!

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Tea Party favorite, Herman Cain was a little-known long shot for most voters when he entered the race. A former head of Godfather's pizza, a radio host and previous unsuccessful candidate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Herman Cain!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Then the debates began and suddenly his wit and simple approach to complex issues, like reworking the tax code, had everyone talking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: Nine-nine-nine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: In October, Cain's poll numbers rocketed past Perry, Gingrich, Paul, Bachmann, nearly overtaking Romney. But then came the stumbles. On the Occupy Wall Street movement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: I don't have facts to back this up. But I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: On Planned Parenthood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS: You said, Planned Parenthood was trying to put all these centers into the black communities because they wanted to kill black babies before they were born. You still stand by that?

CAIN: I stand by that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: On illegal immigration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: We're going to have a fence, it's going to be 20 feet high, it's going to have barbed wire on the top. It's going to be electrified. And there's going to be a sign on the other side that says, it will kill you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Later he said he was joking. But the controversies have added up. Among them, he said as president, he would negotiate with terrorists, then he backtracked. He said, China was trying to develop nuclear weapons even though the Chinese have had them for decades. His campaign manager appeared in an ad smoking, infuriating health advocates.

(on camera) And amid all that have come these accusations of sexual harassment, infidelities, cover-ups involving women Cain allegedly knew or worked with for a long time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGER WHITE, CLAIMS AFFAIR WITH HERMAN CAIN: I was aware that he was married and I was also aware that I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Did you know her for 13 years?

CAIN: Yes. But I did not have an affair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN (voice-over): So far, he has repeatedly denied doing anything wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: But his numbers are plunging. And with them, perhaps his chances of ever taking the White House. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Another big story we are following today, Jerry Sandusky is speaking out. The former Penn State football coach is talking about his relationship with children and the charges he now faces. You'll hear from him in just two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Jerry Sandusky says, he didn't do it. The former Penn State assistant football coach sat down for four hours with "The New York Times." He's accused of 40 counts of molesting children, beginning in 1994. It was not the first time he's addressed the charges against him. But this was his longest and most detailed offense to date. In the interview, Sandusky started describing his attraction to children. He did not get too far before his attorney jumped in to help. His attorney's comments are subtitled here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERRY SANDUSKY, FORMER PENN STATE ASSISTANT COACH: If I say, no, I'm not attracted to boys, that's not the truth because I'm attracted to young people, boys, girls...

BOB COSTAS, NBC NEWS: Yes, but not sexually, you're attracted because you enjoy spending time.

SANDUSKY: Right, I enjoy. That's what I was trying to say. I enjoy spending time with young people. I enjoy spending time with people. I mean, my two favorite groups are the elderly and the young.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Sandusky is currently free on $100,000 bail.

And in Syracuse, head basketball coach Jim Boeheim, well he says, he is sorry he did not take the allegations against assistant coach Bernie Fine more seriously. Fine was fired last weekend after explosive comments from his wife were made public. In a taped phone interview conversation, Laurie Fine said, she was aware of her husband's activities with boys but did not stop it. Boeheim who once staunchly defended Fine, now has deep regrets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM BOEHEIM, SYRACUSE HEAD BASKETBALL COACH: I believe I misspoke very badly in my response to the allegations that have been made. I shouldn't have questioned what the accusers expressed or their motives. I am really sorry that I did that and I regret any harm that I caused.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: No charges have been filed against Bernie Fine.

You just heard from Jerry Sandusky explaining his side of the relationship with young kids. Next, we'll look at why some say his speaking out only makes it worse for the boys he's accused of hurting.

But first, each week we're calling on friends of CNN heroes to shine the spotlight on our top ten honorees and their work as you vote for the one who inspires you the most. The CNN hero of the years.

Today, actress Kristin Chenoweth, well, she introduced us to Richard St. Denis after a skiing accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Richard overcame tragedy to help others like him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTIN CHENOWETH, ACTRESS: Hi, I'm Kristin Chenoweth. As founder of Maddie's Corner, I'm committed to celebrating the bond between people and their pets while lending a helping paw to those in need. Now, I am absolutely thrilled to introduce one of this year's top ten CNN heroes.

RICHARD ST. DENNIS, CNN HERO: Richard St. Denis, In Mexico, people with disabilities who can't get around have no options. Their world is the four walls of their house. When someone has a disability, the whole family has to pitch in to help them. If they don't have the money, the care they provide for them is the very basic care. My name is Richard St. Denis. I take wheelchairs to people in Mexico who can't afford them but really need them.

In 1976, I broke my back skiing and severed my spinal cord. I see what happened to me as an opportunity to help other people with disabilities. We collect used wheelchairs from the United States. We teach them how to use it. Mobility means being independent and more active. Someone said, Richard, I want to thank you for giving up your legs so we could have a better quality of life. When I see them happy, seeing their self-confidence, I know people's lives are getting better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Let me tell you, this is your last weekend to vote for the CNN hero who inspires you the most. You can vote on our Web site, cnnheroes.com or just scan the code on the left of your screen to vote for your -- from your Smartphone. And you can also use it to donate to any of their causes, then tune in live a week from tomorrow as Anderson Cooper hosts "CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute," 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Only here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Whether you believe Herman Cain's denials of sexual impropriety, one truth is undeniable, the accusations hurt his family. And that played a part in the republican candidate's decision to hold his campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: I'm suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, Cain and his wife, Gloria, have a grown daughter, Melanie, a son, Vincent, seen with him here at an earlier event. And to talk about what the Cain family maybe going through right now.

Two human behavior experts join us. Dr. Alduan Tartt is a clinical psychologist and then also, Doctor, psychology Wendy Walsh, the co- host of the TV show, "The Doctors," good to see both of you again. So, Wendy, listen, before we get to this whole patriarch thing, as a mother, someone who's been married before, what do you think that conversation was like? She didn't know about it. He said he didn't tell her about this woman. He gets home yesterday. He's got to turn the key, get in the door. What was that like?

DR. WENDY WALSH, HUMAN BEHAVIOR EXPERT: Let me tell you, Don, it wasn't pretty, I can guarantee that. Listen, women -- as much as wives fear infidelity in their husbands, they are more likely to forgive a sexual hook-up, if you will, than a long-term affair that may involve an emotional connection and indeed resources moving from the households. So this was all of that. And it's the big one. And I'm sure this wasn't fun for her. I'm sure it was very, very painful for her and the family.

LEMON: Yes. Doctor, you're nodding your head saying in agreement.

DR. ALDUAN TARTT, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Oh absolutely, women don't want to deal with infidelity. But when you start talking about taking money outside the house to another woman, that's something a double- edged sword.

LEMON: (coughing) Excuse me.

TARTT: That's all right.

LEMON: Dealing with a little allergies here. Sorry about that. So, listen, when the patriarch in the family Wendy, is attacked like this or when this happens, what does that do to the family?

WALSH: Well, this can humiliate the entire family. I mean, these are -- they may be adult kids, but this is still a very public shaming of the family about what he did during those years. I mean, we have to remind people, while he's saying this humiliation has been brought on his family by the media, well, let's go back and think what really caused the humiliation. The media came into his life because he sought the highest office in the land. But the truth is, it's his behavior that brought the humiliation on the family. I'm curious to see how the family fares going forward.

LEMON: Yes, also Alduan, at least (INAUDIBLE) with the marriage, what do you think? What is Mrs. Cain dealing with right now? Gloria, what is she experiencing?

TARTT: Well, of course, embarrassment, shame but also it could be pride and protection, this is my husband and for better or for worse, I'm going to stand by him and she's really upset that she has to do this. But that's the duty of a wife. She could feel that way.

LEMON: All right. And for at least some part, they feel like maybe this is over, at least this is the beginning of...

TARTT: The relief has to be just paramount for her.

LEMON: All right. Let's move on. Let's move on to talk about another story here of sex allegations. The case against Jerry Sandusky. "The New York Times" just released an interview with the former Penn State assistant coach. And in the clip that you're about to see, he talks about his last interview with NBC when Bob Costas asked him, quote, "Are you sexually attracted to young boys?" Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDUSKY: If I say, no, I'm not attracted to boys, that's not the truth because I'm attracted to young people, boys, girls...

COSTAS: Yes, but not sexually, you're attracted because you enjoy spending time...

SANDUSKY: Right, I enjoy. That's what I was trying to say. I enjoy spending time with young people. I enjoy spending time with people. I mean, my two favorite groups are the elderly and the young.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK, so Dr. Wendy, what do you make of that answer?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: Well, clearly in our culture we have a problem with the word "attracted." As soon as you say "attracted," there's this idea that it's sexual. And of course he used the word in its true meaning, which it means he moves toward certain groups of people. But now in the context of what's going on, you would think he'd figure that that wouldn't be the word to use so much anymore because so many people do misinterpret it.

LEMON: Yes. And I mean, Alduan, when you're accused of these sorts of things, you should be savvy enough not to, you know, they're not asking you if you're attracted to someone -- oh, I'm attracted to you, we're a good friend, we can go out and hang out and have beers. They're not asking that kind of question. They mean, sexually attractive. Bob Costas was explicit, he said, are you sexually attracted to boys? And I think "The New York Times" was the same thing, what was going on with him?

TARTT: Well, when you're a pedophile, typically, you lie. If you have that many victims, you're in a complete state of denial that you did anything wrong. So, you're not thinking about, what sounds good, you say, hey, this is how I defend myself. I'm not attracted to anyone. He's just lying. That's what pedophiles do. They're in a state of denial and that's why they don't stop.

One child victim Dr. Tartt, a child victim advocate says, Sandusky has re-victimized his accusers by doing these interviews. Explain that.

TARTT: Oh, absolutely, every time I see a space, every time he denies it, it makes them -- the trauma resurface over -- it's called vicarious traumatization. And they have to see it on TV over and over again with him denying it, it's excruciating.

LEMON: Dr. Wendy? WALSH: Well, also, remember that victims of child sex abuse often don't report because they blamed themselves, and they are very confused about it. Because their body did experience some arousal. So, it's very hard for them to come forward and say, this guy was all wrong. Because there was a piece of them that participated in it. Now, it was a not powerful piece, the child piece was manipulated. But the point is, when the powerful figure comes out and says, that wasn't abuse, I didn't do that, that didn't happen, they start to self-blame again. And that's the dangerous thing. That's the psychological injury for these kids.

LEMON: Thank you both. We appreciate it.

Our top story tonight, Herman Cain suspending his campaign for president. He says, he'll announce soon who he will endorse. We're asking our panel of experts who they think it will be, right after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Well, from frontrunner to effectively out of the race for president in about a month's time, Herman Cain today announcing he is suspending his campaign to supporters in Atlanta. And ironically, at an event that was originally billed as a grand opening of his campaign headquarters.

I want to bring in now LZ Granderson, the contributor to CNN.com and senior writer at ESPN. And then, Lenny McAllister, republican analyst and a radio host of "Get Right with Lenny McAllister." And then Dan Ronayne, he is a crisis management expert with the Howard Consulting Group.

So, thank you all for joining us. There's a lot of us here. So, we're going to get it all in. We're going to get it all in. Let's go to our guy -- we can call him our Saturday and Sunday, LZ, that's pretty much it for Cain. Listen, when I talked to my producers, LZ and I said, what do you want to talk about this conversation? I said, why are we still having this conversation? Isn't it over? Is this conversation even worth having?

LZ GRANDERSON, CNN.COM CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he still has supporters, as we saw today during his final rally, right? So, he still has supporters. That means that his endorsement still counts. And that also means that because he suspended his campaign, he's still able to use dollars and use those dollars to push his message and endorse a candidate that he thinks is the best fit for the presidency. So, he's still a factor even though he has suspended his campaign.

LEMON: So, Lenny, do you see a difference -- as I'm driving in, I'm listening to conservative radio. They say, why don't the Democrats always get away with sex scandals and Republicans don't? Do people respond definitely, I mean, because listen, president got in piece for sex scandal. Anthony Weiner, David Woo resigned. I mean, on and on and on, but there are republican candidates who are still in office now or who lasted longer. So, is the treatment really different or is this just... LENNY MCALLISTER, REPUBLICAN ANALYST: Perception is reality sometimes with some of this. Again, for example, you mentioned Anthony Weiner. And what did Anthony Weiner do at first? He did the same thing Herman Cain did, deny, deny, deny. The more evidence that came out, he still tried to deny it. He got to the point in time where he just couldn't deny it. He finally had to admit it. But at that point in time, he had to resign. He had to live. Same thing with Herman Cain. Deny, deny, deny. And more evidence came out, more evidence came out. More credible people came out. The stuff that was being laid on the table was just hard to refute. And at that point in time, when you finally say, well, we've all made mistakes in life like he said earlier today, it's too late. You're saying it while you're suspending your campaign.

LEMON: What does that mean when you say, we've all made mistakes, what does that mean to you?

MCALLISTER: That means, I'm admitting it without saying the words.

LEMON: Thank you very much. When someone says that, we've all made mistakes, and you said, deny, deny, deny. Also blame the media. That is the easiest fallback for anyone. If something comes out controversial about me, the media should not be delving into my personal life. It's the media's fault.

MCALLISTER: But you have that. But you also have the way people perceived the media nowadays, which is a liberal construct. So, if you're a conservative candidate, it is a very easy fallback to go on. Sometimes it's true. A lot of time it's not. It's just a convenient thing to grasp onto why you're trying to deny and separate yourself and distance yourself from the issues.

LEMON: I noticed that with the Lin Wood interviews. I was watching it on "Piers Morgan" the other night. The strategy seemed to be blame the media for what Herman Cain did wrong.

I want to play a sound bite from Herman Cain's attorney, Lin Wood, on can's CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" on Thursday.

This is for you, Dan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIN WOOD, ATTORNEY FOR HERMAN CAIN: It appears that this individual's accusations are going to be about alleged consensual conduct between adults. And, as a matter of principle, whether you or the media agree with it or not, I believe our political candidates and our public officials, despite their positions, still maintain some zone of privacy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Dan, there you go. It's the media's fault. and it's nobody's business. But it didn't seem to work very well. What should Cain's strategy have been? DAN RONAYNE, CRISIS MANAGEMENT EXPERT, HOWARD CONSULTING GROUP: When you decide to run for president, you can't decide what issues are in bounds and out of bounds. Cain's campaign didn't realize that. One of the things you have to do on a presidential campaign is, every morning, every day, you have to think of, what are the questions I'm going to get asked today, and do I have answers to those questions? Throughout the campaign, I think we saw evidence that that wasn't the case with the Cain folks.

LEMON: Dan, should he have known better? Many strategists that I speak to, both Republicans and Democrats, say, if you're going to run for the leader of the free world and you have these sorts of skeletons in your closet or these sorts of things that, even the possibility that they are true, or that might come out, then you should have better judgment than to actually run for president.

RONAYNE: And it shows in the numbers. We were talking earlier about his endorsement. He reached his high watermark in Iowa in the "Des Moines Register" poll at 23 percent. By the time they got to Wednesday, his support was down to 4 percent. There's no support left for his campaign. And these are things he should have thought of on the front end. And hopefully, we'll be able to get back to the debate and take a look at the Republican field that's going to be running against the president next year.

LEMON: Let me ask my strategists here, my consultants, if you will, or contributors, who you think he's going to endorse, if he does?

MCALLISTER: I think -- they're talking about Bachmann. But at this point in time, even if it is Bachmann, what does it really matter? Most of his supporters have swung over to Gingrich. He's seemed the coziest with Gingrich throughout this whole process. Don't be surprised if it's Gingrich or Bachmann.

LEMON: L.Z.?

L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & ESPN SENIOR WRITER: I agree, I think it's Gingrich just because he's a frontrunner and Cain doesn't like to be associated with losers.

(LAUGHTER)

So I'm pretty sure he's going to go with who he thinks is the frontrunner.

LEMON: L.Z., Lenny, Dan, thanks to all of you. We appreciate it.

MCALLISTER: Thank you, Don.

GRANDERSON: Thank you.

LEMON: Well, the weekend has brought little relief from the record- high winds in southern California. There's still a wind warning for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Winds of up to 60 miles per hour expected in some areas. Several cities are still in a state of emergency from Wednesday night's windstorms. Officials say recovering from the storm could take months.

CNN's Jacqui Jeras is in the Weather Center with more winds out of the west for us -- Jacqui?

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, hey, Don. This isn't going to be like what they saw on Wednesday night and into Thursday. But the winds remain strong and they're strong enough to still cause problems bringing down more tree limbs and potentially more power outages. Thousands still without power. And here are some of the gusts we've seen already today. Between 40 and 65 miles per hour. That is still significant. The advisories remain in effect through the weekend. And we've got another round that we think is going to be even stronger coming in sometime likely Monday night and into Tuesday. And the fire threat also remains very critical here. There have been a number of fires over the last three days, all of which are doing OK and have been able to be contained. But we'll watch it very closely in the upcoming days.

Our big storm maker, this is the one that causes the Santa Ana winds. Today, it's in the nation's midsection, bringing in a threat of flooding up ahead of it and snow on the back side up towards Minneapolis and into northern parts of Wisconsin. Today's winds being generated by this low and the strong high to the north. Our next round is going to be coming into play with that storm system into the Pacific Northwest.

Let me go ahead and show you what's happening in the upper levels of the atmosphere because this is what really tells the story. This is our jet stream. That's what divides the very cold and very warm air in the upper levels of the atmosphere. This cold air has been spilling down through the mountains. That's why we've seen the heavy snow across the four corners. We have video to show you out of New Mexico where some areas saw as much as a foot of snow in the last 24 hours. Take a look at that. Having a tough time on the interstates. New Mexico gets some more snow late tomorrow. And again the Santa Anas will be back late on Monday -- Don?

LEMON: Thank you very much, Jacqui. We appreciate it.

We all know the pressure of the holiday season. 'Tis the season, right now, time to buy gifts for friends and loved ones. But the problem is we don't have a lot of money to spend. And we're going to tell you how you can avoid the holiday debt trap? Some advice, in less than three minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: With all the latest toys and hot gadgets, how do you avoid getting trapped under holiday debt? Christine Romans tells us in this week's "Smart is the New Rich."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The debt danger signs are flashing everywhere, in Europe, in Washington and in our own bank accounts where incomes are falling and Americans are dipping into saving to pay the bills. Yet everywhere, you're being encouraged to spend money, lots of money for the holidays.

The National Retail Federation says you'll spend probably $704. But where is all that money coming from and have we learned nothing?

RICK NEWMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: You see these numbers about how much money people are spending for the holidays. It reminds you when people suddenly had expensive cars in their driveways, boats, fancy vacations. You wondered, how are people affording this?

(LAUGHTER)

We seem to be back into that situation. The fundamental situation here is that real income, after inflation, has been flat for the last year or maybe even down a tiny bit.

ROMANS: That means you have to be very careful about putting new debt on your credit cards. People say they want to be good spenders. 42 percent of people plan to spend less this year than last. That's according to a new bankrate.com poll. But the road to debt is paved with good holiday intentions.

LYNETTE KHALFANI-COX, FOUNDER, ASKTHEMONEYCOACH.COM: It's a lot of data to show that there's a disconnect between what people say they're going to do and what they actually do. Even when people say, I intend to pay off my credit card balances, for instance, they typically don't pay them off. That's why we have about 15 million people right now, in 2011, who haven't paid off their holiday shopping bills from 2010.

ROMANS: Don't be that person. A few smart things to consider before you spend a dime: If you can't afford it, put it down. Really think about your purchase and whether you need it. How do you know whether you need it? Make a budget. It sounds so simple, but make a budget and make a list. Think about what you want to buy and why and stick to it. You are smarter than the retail tricks. Stay to the list.

Also use technology. Comparison shop online. Use coupon codes when you can and never buy into this hype that these are the lowest prices you'll see all season. There are always lower prices and more sales ahead.

And take a time-out. If you see something not on your list you want to buy, wait 48 hours and go back later. You would be surprised how often the urge fades with time. Let's say your little cost center, your little kid's crying for that sold-out Leap Pad on the hottest toys list. A little advice from toy expert, Jim Silver, shop in person on Fridays from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the toy store. That's when toy stores restock for the weekend. That's when you have the best chance of finding that hot toy that no one else can.

For this week's "Smart is the New Rich," I'm Christine Romans in New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Christine, thank you very much. Police find a country music singer and her 5-year-old son hiding in a closet. How much trouble is she in now? Criminal defense attorney, Holly Hughes, will talk about the case. That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Let's talk some justice now. Singer Mindy McCready's 5-year- old son is in protective custody in Arkansas right now. Police say they found the country star and the child hiding in a closet in the home of McCready's boyfriend late Friday. McCready was in violation of a court order to return the boy to her mother, who is his legal guardian.

Joining me is criminal defense attorney, Holly Hughes.

Holly, McCready has had run-ins with the law with drug battles, with addiction and all that. She has visitation rights. She took the child from the mother's home during one of those visits. Will she be charged criminally for, number one, taking the child, number two, refusing to comply with the court order?

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & FORMER PROSECUTOR: She can be. This will depend on the judge. If he wants to hold her in contempt, she could be held in criminal contempt and civil contempt, which means she could be fined. She could be locked up for a period of 24 hours up to a week. She could also face custodial interference charges because she is not the physical custodian of that little boy. If she wants to change that, there are legal ways for her to do that, Don. She can go back to court and petition for a change of custody. But you can't just snatch the child and run.

LEMON: There are allegations here. She's asking the court to return custody because she's claiming her son is being abused at her mother's house. The mother denies that. And the boy's father says he doesn't believe the accusation. What's the basis of her abuse claims?

HUGHES: That's what we need to know. That's exactly what should have been put in a motion, in a petition to the court to modify that custody agreement. She should have also called in the Department of Child and Family Services and made a complaint. If she thought there was abuse, she could have taken pictures of a physical bruise, something that happened to the little boy, taken him to the emergency room, had a doctor look at him.

(CROSSTALK)

HUGHES: Right now, we don't -- we don't know that she does. And if she did, she should have petitioned the court in a different way to get that custody changed.

LEMON: What are her chances of getting the boy back at this point? She did herself more harm than good?

HUGHES: She absolutely did. She shot herself in the foot here, Don. She could have gone about it a completely different way to protect her child. She didn't take the right steps. This makes her look unbalanced and it makes here look like maybe she's gone back to the drugs and behaving erratically. We don't know that that's true. But an argument could be made that this is not stable, normal behavior.

LEMON: Did I see this on a soap opera. It's just --

(LAUGHTER)

You cannot write this stuff. The singer's publicist is now saying she is now pregnant with twins.

HUGHES: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

HUGHES: That was her excuse for not traveling back with the little boy was, well, I'm pregnant so I can't travel. Well, you traveled there with him just a few days prior. That's not going to hold a whole lot of water. I thin what we see here again is a celebrity who thinks, I'm not really going to get in trouble because I'm a celebrity. I'm afraid she might have misjudged that one.

LEMON: I want to go to another unusual custody case. This is happening in Florida. A Florida judge is ordering a missing woman's 3-year-old twins should be returned to their father. But here's the hitch in all of this. Gayle Smith (ph) is the primary focus of a police investigation into the disappearance of the mother. Her name is Michelle Parker. Parker vanished on the same day an episode of "People's Court" aired that revolved around the couple's broken engagement and their battle over the cost of a missing $5,000 engagement ring. Holly, why would the father get custody if he's a suspect in this case?

HUGHES: I have to tell you, the judge's reasoning for doing this -- and I completely disagree. I think the judge missed the boat on this one totally. The judge said, well, he's never been violent to the children. But he clearly has an anger problem. Don, this man has a very long criminal history. He was in the Marines for a period of time. And a lot of what happened there is still sealed. We won't be able to see those records. But we do know he was court marshaled at what point in time. He's got violence in his past. He took part in a murder, Don. There was a young man beaten to death. And while that young man was being beaten by other folks, he was kicking him. He was charged with that violence. We saw him when he was going into court for the custody hearing the judged in, he went and pushed over a cameraman and then made fun of the cameraman for being on the ground. What we're seeing here is an anger management problem.

Well, let me tell you something. 3-year-olds are going to test you and push the limit. So the judge -- the legal standard here should have been what's in the best interest of the children.

LEMON: Yes.

HUGHES: I think the judge really made a bad mistake here. With the anger problems, with him being a prime suspect -- they don't even call people suspects anymore, Don. We use that nice term person of interest.

LEMON: Person of interest. That's interesting.

HUGHES: They flat-out said it.

LEMON: What we're seeing, this is very low-rent behavior, as we call it. This week, police searched an area near Smith's home. Nothing was found. In the worst case scenario here, if it happened, and Parker's body is found, will the children be taken from Smith at that point?

HUGHES: Only if he's arrested, because, seemingly, the judge seems to think that as long as he's never clobbered one of the children, that makes him a fit parent. So even if they find her body, the argument is still the same. But you didn't prove he did anything to Michelle Parker. You didn't prove that he's responsible for this murder. So until we see an arrest for him, if, in fact, he did anything, I don't think the judge is going to change his mind. I think they need to petition a higher court and get this thing turned around.

LEMON: Here we go, another one of those missing case that is bubble up and we hear so much about.

HUGHES: Right. So sad.

LEMON: The worst case scenario, always.

HUGHES: The kids are the big victims here.

Thank you very much, Holly.

HUGHES: Absolutely.

LEMON: We appreciate it.

I want you to imagine this, a 70-year-old man whose goal is to run a marathon in every state. Pretty impressive, isn't it? Consider that he suffers from a rare cancer that usually kills within five years. Hear from him about what keeps him running. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Each week we like to profile someone who's accomplished something remarkable despite having to overcome a major obstacle. In today's "Human Factor," our Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to Don Wright, who refuses to let cancer get in the way of his passion for running marathons.

(HUMAN FACTOR)

LEMON: All right, Dr. Gupta.

The GOP presidential field now has one less candidate.

And the latest on the condition of evangelist, Billy Graham, after he was taken to the hospital. Those and other top stories, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Let's check the headlines for you.

Herman Cain is effectively out of the race for president after announcing today that he is suspending his campaign. In recent weeks, Cain has denied allegations of sexual harassment and an Atlanta woman's claim she had a 13-year affair with him. By suspending his campaign, Cain is still allowed to raise money to cover campaign debts.

Former Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky, tells "The New York Times" his decades of charity work with young people are being, quote, "twisted by prosecutors into something sexual." Sandusky spoke with the newspaper for four hours and denied the criminal charges against him. He's accused of sexually molesting eight children, dating back to 1994.

Ohio investigators have released the name of a third person they believe was murdered after answering a craigslist job posting. 16- year-old Brogan Rafferty (ph) is charged with aggravated murder, attempted murder in the killing. The latest victim was identified as 56-year-old Ralph Geiger, of Akron, Ohio. The suspect's mother says the mastermind behind the killings is this man, 52-year-old Richard Beasley, who has yet to be charged in the murders, but is in jail on charges of promoting prostitution.

Authorities in a German town evacuated 45,000 people this weekend as they get ready to try to diffuse a World War II-era bomb. The bomb contains 3,000 pounds of explosives and is one of the biggest ever found in Germany. It is sitting in 16 inches of water making it hard to diffuse. It was likely dropped by Britain's Royal Air Force during the war.

Vice President Joe Biden is in Turkey this weekend, calling for more openness around the world. Biden said political and social freedoms can create economic opportunities. He was speaking at a global business summit in Istanbul. The crowd applauded when Biden suggested the next new jobs could be a Turk, noting how Turkey's economy has tripled in size over the past decade.

Billy Graham's doctors say the 93-year-old evangelist is making good progress fighting a bought of pneumonia. Graham was admitted to a North Carolina hospital on Wednesday. Doctors say he is resting well and is up and walking around today. It is unknown when he'll be discharged.

I'm Don Lemon at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. See you back here one hour from now.

In the meantime, "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer begins right now.