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CNN NEWSROOM

GOP Hopefuls Go South; Limbaugh Fallout Continues; First-Time Unemployment Claims Tick Upward; House to Vote On Jobs Package; Iran Cleaning Up Traces Left by Nukes?; One Wisconsin Lawmaker Goes After Single Parents; Woman Wins Lotto, Stays on Food Stamps

Aired March 8, 2012 - 11:00   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, HOST, "CNN NEWSROOM": Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips. It's 11:00 on the East coast, 8:00 on the West. We've got a busy hour ahead. Let's get straight to the news.

The Republican presidential hopefuls gone south. Newt Gingrich just wrapped up a stop in Jackson, Mississippi, part of a day-long sweep of that state that also takes he to Tupelo and South Haven. He's pinned his campaign's hopes on a strong showing in Tuesday's Mississippi and Alabama primaries and he's still going after Mitt Romney, this time in reference to gas prices.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president seems to suggest to you just like Dr. Chu. You know, Dr. Chu is the secretary of anti-energy.

And he said - because he was honest in Washington, he said that before he became secretary that he had wanted Americans to pay nearly the levels of $9 or $10 a gallon.

So, last week, I give him credit for being honest. Last week, he testified in the House and somebody from Mississippi actually said to him, "Gas prices are really hurting people. What are you going to do to lower gas prices?"

And to be fair to Dr. Chu, he honestly said, "Nothing."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Now, Newt Gingrich rather has plenty of company in Mississippi. Mitt Romney is there as well holding a rally later today in Pascagoula. Rick Santorum is next door, rounding up support with three stops across Alabama.

First-time claims for unemployment benefits ticked upwards last week. Labor Department says that 362,000 people filed for benefits in the week ended March 3rd, 8,000 more than the previous week. The number had been trending downward.

Today's numbers actually dampen expectations for tomorrow's monthly employment report expected to show the unemployment rate is unchanged. Jobs are one thing the White House and congressional Republicans ought to be able to agree on and this may be the day. The House is expected to vote soon on a package of measures called "Jumpstarting Our Business Startups." That's right. The acronym is "JOBS."

The goal is to help small businesses go public sooner and thus grow faster. The package should clear the House with votes to spare, but parts of it have been stalled in the Senate for months. We'll keep you posted.

Cindy McCain says she won't be watching the new HBO movie, "Game Change." She tells our Piers Morgan she believes it will give an inaccurate portrayal of her husband, Senator John McCain, and his former running mate, Sarah Palin. She says Palin has been unfairly criticized.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CINDY MCCAIN, SEN. JOHN MCCAIN'S WIFE: Sarah Palin is a remarkable individual and, whether you agree or disagree with Sarah, she has served our country loyally. She's been a good stalwart for many, many years. And I think any depiction of any woman particularly that is unfair in that way is just wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Well, Cindy McCain, of course, got to know Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign. She says everything she's heard about "Game Change" is fiction and, in her words, "I can go to Disneyland for fiction."

Growing concern Iran may be cleaning up radioactive traces left behind by nukes. The new info is based on satellite images photos at the Parchin military base. CNN has not yet seen the photos. These ones that we are showing you are actually a few weeks old.

Western diplomats say that the new photos show trucks and earth- moving vehicles at the site. The sources say that, while the photos clearly show cleanup activity, it's not clear what actually is being removed.

And new reports from Syria claim that the government is using hospitals to torture patients. A warning that some may find the following pictures disturbing. Wounded patients are seen chained to their beds, their bodies showing marks of beatings and electric shocks.

Now, CNN has not independently verified the authenticity of this video. We can tell you at least 60 people have been killed across the country so far today.

And I'm proud to say today is "International Women's Day." We're looking live now at pictures of the Washington event that's honoring ten extraordinary women from around the world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and first lady, Michelle Obama, are part of the celebration. And U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says, although gender equality is improving, it still has a long way to go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: I urge governments, civil society, and the private sector to commit to gender equality and the empowerment of women as a fundamental human right and a force for the benefit of all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Women around the world turned out for walks, rallies, and protests.

Wells Fargo is about to hit more customers with a $7 a month fee for checking accounts. The bank is already charging all new customers as well as existing customers in several Western states. In May, at least six more states will be added to the list.

Wells Fargo isn't saying which ones yet, but the bank says there are ways around it. Customers can actually maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance or make direct deposits of $500 or more each month to avoid the fee. They can also get a $2 discount by opting for only online statements.

Apple and five major publishers may be in trouble with the feds. "The Wall Street Journal" says the Justice Department plans to sue them for allegedly conspiring to raise the prices of e-books. If that happens, it might result in cheaper e-books for customers.

Filmmaker James Cameron directing his own real life epic adventure, nearly seven miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. That's right. The man behind "Titanic" and "Avatar" is also a deep sea explorer and CNN got to go behind the scenes down deep into the Marianas Trench.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CAMERON, EXPLORER/DIRECTOR: I want to get down there and look around and image and use these 3D cameras and bring it all back so people can see what's there. You know, I mean, it's the last unexplored frontier on the planet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: The project is a joint effort between Cameron and the National Geographic Society.

Take a look at these amazing pictures. Images of the sun whipping up a massive storm. It's radiation from the flares that's hitting the earth right now at a speed of about 4 million miles an hour.

That's causing problems with radio signals, power grids, satellite navigation systems, and airplanes. Scientists say this is probably the strongest event of its kind in nearly six years.

Single parents, listen up. One lawmaker wants to target you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): I think that Senator Grossman is just completely out of touch.

(UNKNOWN): I find this bill, quite frankly, insulting.

Why this state senator wants to pass a bill making single parenting child abuse. He joins me live next.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

But, first, an inspiring high school student we could all learn a few things from. This is Jacob Goldberg, a senior in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He was awarded the "Spirit of Sport" award from the National Federation of High Schools.

But what you don't know about Jacob is that he's legally blind and he has Tourette's syndrome. But you know what? Put that aside.

Jacob is an all-star athlete, has a 4.65 GPA, and is heading to Harvard and he's turned his disabilities into a cause. He and his sister founded "Together We See," which has now raised $60,000 to help blind and disabled kids go to summer camp.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACOB GOLDBERG, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I live to make a difference. I love what I do. It just makes me happy to see other people happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Jacob, you are extraordinary and you're our rock star.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, almost 30 percent of American families are headed by single parents, moms or dads who are divorced, widowed, or have never been married at all. That's hardly new, but this is -- a bid by a Wisconsin lawmaker to single-out single parents as potential dangers to their own kids.

Republican state senator, Glenn Grothman, serves on the state's child abuse and neglect prevention board and has written a bill that says -- and I quote -- "the board shall emphasize non-marital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect."

To say that struck a nerve would be the understatement of the week. So, we're pleased that Senator Grothman is with us now from Madison to make his case.

Now, Senator, you're not married yourself. You don't have kids. So, on what do you base your claims about unmarried people with kids?

STATE SENATOR GLENN GROTHMAN (R), WISCONSIN: Well, statistics from the United States Department of Health. Now, I know there are many, many wonderful single parents out there.

But you've got to look out and be aware that if you choose this lifestyle, you've got to watch out for what happens to your kids, frequently because of what's done by the new boyfriend or new girlfriend in your life.

Right now in the United States, if you have a child raised by a mother or father with their boyfriend and girlfriend, that child is 20 times more likely to be a victim of sexual abuse than a child raised with their natural mother and father.

When the statistics are this overwhelming and the statistics are pretty overwhelming for physical abuse as well, I think it's something that ought to be talked about out there because, right now in the United States, single parenthood is becoming more and more of an option.

"The New York Times" reported last week that 60 percent of the women under age 30 who have a child are having a child out of wedlock. If we're headed this way in this country, I think people ought to be aware that there are possible dangers of going this way.

PHILLIPS: OK, let's get back to the bill for a minute because I do have the government study that your bill is based on and you just quoted from it and it does cite, as I look at it here, correlations between family structure and child welfare.

So, just let me read from it directly here. It says, quote, "compared to children living with married biological parents, those whose single parent had a live-in partner had over ten times the rate of abuse."

So, now, this study specifies single parents with live-in boyfriends or girlfriends, but your bill targets all single-parent families. Why?

GROTHMAN: Well, if you look at that study, the greatest difference is with a live-in boyfriend, but it's still a great problem if you don't have the mother and father, if you have stepparents or what have you, so there's still a greater -- a much greater possibility of abuse in other situations as well.

And what I'm saying is, if we as a society are going to go to the point where it becomes outright rare that a child be raised with their biological mother and father at home, we ought to be talking about these statistics a little bit because I think this --

PHILLIPS: Well, it's not rare.

GROTHMAN: -- is a huge sea-change. Oh, it will be. We're headed rare. PHILLIPS: Let me get more to the point here. Family structure is also one of many factors that's linked with these higher rates of child abuse and neglect.

And, as I look further into the government report, it cites parents' employment, socioeconomic status -- yes, family structure that you mentioned -- but also family size and whether the family lives in an urban or rural county.

So, why, again, single-out single parents?

GROTHMAN: Because this is something that kind of has to be pushed on the social welfare establishment. Other things that lead to child abuse, for example, alcoholism, something like that, that's not controversial. Any social worker can say that.

But, if you say that a child may be a little bit more at risk raised in what used to be called a broken home, that's very politically incorrect among the chattering classes today and, since it is politically incorrect, we may have to introduce a little legislation to force these social workers to talk about it.

PHILLIPS: But wait a minute. Just because a parent is a single parent doesn't mean it's a broken home.

GROTHMAN: I never said that.

PHILLIPS: There are fabulous single parents all across this country raising amazing kids. My mom was one of them.

GROTHMAN: Right. There's no question. I said most single parents are wonderful, but, if you look at the statistics, as we as a society shift away from the traditional family with mother and father at home, and when you read off those statistics from that report, you have to wonder if nationwide it is going to lead to an increase in abuse, both physical abuse and sexual abuse of the children.

That's something that's not being talked about right now.

PHILLIPS: The study that your bill is based on -- and I think a lot of people might be surprised by this -- says that family size actually makes an impact here. It says, quote, incident rates of child endangerment in the largest households, four or more children, were more than twice the rates of households with two children.

So, do you plan to go after large families next?

GROTHMAN: I don't think the difference is anywhere near as dramatic and I think, if they would cross-correlate that with mother and father compared to a family raised with a single parent or a single parent and a boyfriend/girlfriend, I think they would find that's where most of that abuse comes from.

PHILLIPS: Do you have numbers? Can you cite exact numbers or where exactly you determined that? GROTHMAN: Mo, those numbers were not in the -- those numbers were not in that study. I would have loved to see in that study if they would have broken it down between, say, a family with five kids and mother and father at home compared to a family of five kids with a single parent.

Obviously, a family of five kids and a single parent very, very difficult thing to do.

PHILLIPS: Well, we'll see what happens with this bill. Senator Glenn Grothman, appreciate your time.

GROTHMAN: Glad to be on the show.

PHILLIPS: Well, the Catholic Church in Maine has decided to stop campaigning against same-sex marriage. Is it about money, or has the church shifted its position?

The bishop of Portland next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, in the battle over same-sex marriage, a stunning move by the Catholic Church in Maine. The church says it will not actively campaign against a November referendum asking voters to approve gay marriage.

Now, that stands in stark contrast with the church's position in 2009 when it waged a campaign to overturn a law passed that same year legalizing same-sex marriage.

Now, the gay activist group, Human Rights Campaign, says the church spent nearly $2 million in the fight to repeal that law.

Joining us now, the bishop of Portland, Richard Malone. Bishop, thanks so much for being with me.

You're not going to take an active role, from what I see here, in fundraising, staffing, advertising, or campaigning against the gay marriage referendum this time around. Why?

RICHARD MALONE, BISHOP, PORTLAND, MAINE: Good morning, Kyra. Well, let there be no confusion about the fact that the diocese and I will still be very involved in the effort to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

But we've decided this year that our best efforts can be to put our energies and resources into educating our Catholic community better about the very nature of marriage.

PHILLIPS: So, Bishop, let me ask you. You know, this plan of action has changed quite drastically since 2009. You know, where you had very active campaign, and now you're moving toward education and putting funds towards that. Are you softening your stance on same-sex marriage? MALONE: Not at all. It will be even stronger and more vigorous. One of our discoveries in 2009 was that really, many of our Catholic people in Maine could use a bit more profound understanding of how the church has understood marriage for 2,000 years.

So, I decided, while we will certainly be in close contact with our allies who will lead the political battle, we intend to focus on the education and formation of consciences of our people.

PHILLIPS: Now, let me ask you, Bishop, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, right now -- this is a recent survey that was conducted -- Catholics are more supportive of legal recognition of same-sex relationships than members of any other Christian tradition and American overall. It reports 43 percent of Catholics nationally favor gay marriage. Is that why you're taking a different approach here?

MALONE: Well, you're on to something there, Kyra. To the extent that we can trust that those numbers are accurate -- and that's always a question, of course - but that proves exactly the motivation for the approach that we're taking.

We're taking no chances that our people will not have a really accurate understanding of what marriage is and to the impact on society should anyone try to change that definition of marriage.

PHILLIPS: So, bishop, times are changing. Views are changing. You're changing your tactics even. Or your -- I guess you say your strategy. So, why not get on board with the 43 percent of Catholics?

MALONE: The 43 percent who --

PHILLIPS: Who have no problem with gay marriage.

MALONE: Their thinking is outside the realm of Catholic teaching for 2,000 years. And those are the folks that we want to focus on so they'll perhaps be able to have what I would call an intellectual conversion about a very key building-block of society, that is, the nature of marriage as the union of one man, one woman.

PHILLIPS: Bishop Richard Malone, thanks for your time.

MALONE: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Well, he doesn't have nearly as many delegates as Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum. Yet Newt Gingrich is determined to stay in the race. Has his time come and gone to get out?

Plus, Mitt Romney says it would take an act of God to prevent Romney from becoming the nominee. Is he right? That's all fair game next.

First, though, a quick question for our political junkies. When was the last time a Democrat won Mississippi and Alabama in a presidential election? Be first to tweet the right answer @kyraCNN. I'll give the winner a little shout-out right after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Before the break I asked, when was the last time a Democrat won Mississippi and Alabama in a presidential election? The answer, 1976. Jimmy Carter won both states. It's been all Republicans ever since.

Congratulations to Jared from Athens, Georgia, who was the first to tweet the right answer.

All right, let's talk more politics, Southern-style this time. Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are in Mississippi and Rick Santorum is spending the day in Alabama. Both states holding primaries on Tuesday.

It's all fair game with Lenny McAllister, Republican analyst in Chicago and Ed Espinoza, a Democratic consultant in Austin, Texas.

All right, guys, a lot of talk about who's in, who's out. Gingrich says he's not leaving the race, but a Romney aide said it would take, quote, "an act of God" to prevent Romney from being the nominee.

Now, here's Santorum on that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What won't they resort to try to bully their way through this race? You know? If the governor thinks he's now ordained by God to win, then let's just have it out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: All right, Ed, Lenny, both of you are now God, OK? Who's right? Ed?

ED ESPINOZA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It might take an act of God for Mitt Romney to get more than 50 percent of the vote in any of these primaries. But, so long as there's three candidates in the race, he does a little bit better. So, he doesn't need 50 percent.

I think that, in this case, Gingrich is playing spoiler. He alone is prolonging this process and preventing it from being competitive between two viable candidates and, for Democrats like me, I love Newt Gingrich. I think he's making this primary a lot more entertaining.

PHILLIPS: Lenny, do you agree?

LENNY MCALLISTER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, I don't, but if the Mitt Romney camp's looking for acts of God, they'd better ask God for more support from the conservative base to get behind Mitt Romney and they'd better ask God for independents to start shifting back towards Mitt Romney. Those are the acts of God they need to be focusing on. Other than that, they're going to continue to gain delegates. The other two are going to have a hard time catching them as long as there are three people actively chewing at the delegate race in addition to Mitt Romney.

But, as long as there's an enthusiasm gap and as long as President Obama is starting to get the independents back on his side, he's going to need to do some praying in order to catch up in those overall national polls.

MCALLISTER: True story.

PHILLIPS: Now, Newt Gingrich called off Kansas, the site of Saturday's caucuses. So, Ed, what does that tell us?

ESPINOZA: You know, I've worked a lot of presidential campaigns. I've worked caucuses. I've worked primaries. Caucuses are very difficult to organize. They're generally just for one election for the president. You have to get your hard-core supporters out. You have to get them to vote. And there's nothing else on the ballot.

It takes a stronger campaign organization to win in a caucus state or even compete in a caucus state than it does in a primary state. Gingrich has Super PACs who can put up commercials in primary states and people will show up and do the work for him. Not so in a caucus state.

PHILLIPS: Lenny, you agree?

MCALLISTER: I agree with that, and on top of that, Newt Gingrich doesn't have anything to really give him momentum going into caucuses for people to speak up on his behalf.

Let's say there were a debate on Thursday, like we've had throughout most of this campaign. If there were a debate on Thursday where he can do very, very well, he can invigorate people going into those caucuses. He would have more of a shot doing something and doing more damage there. However, at this point in time, the way everything's structured, he might as well stay down south, make sure he wins those two southern states on Tuesday, and can claim more momentum moving through the rest of the month.

PHILLIPS: While I've got you both, I wanted to ask you about Obama.

(CROSSTALK)

Go ahead, Ed.

ESPINOZA: Excuse me. Gingrich is much better at winning debates than he is at primaries. Lenny is right on with that.

PHILLIPS: You guys are agreeing.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MCALLISTER: Not down south. Down south, he's been doing pretty well.

PHILLIPS: Let's talk Obama. You're probably going to disagree on this. He's got this 17-minute video that is out now, and it's narrated by his huge supporter, Tom Hanks. Take a little listen to this. I've got a question for you guys.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decision, that time has surely passed.

(MUSIC)

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: His advisers were to ask where to begin? Which urgent need would he put first?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Here's what's interesting. It's slick. It's dramatic. It goes back to that historic day, right, where President Obama broke so many barriers. He won the presidency of the United States. As you both know, there's been a lot of disappointed people with the president. So do you think this video will have any impact, this push, on those that have been disappointed with Obama and maybe might see this and think, oh, yes, that's right. That's why I voted for him in the first place. I'm coming back -- Lenny?

(LAUGHTER)

MCALLISTER: Those that are caught up in the "American Idol"- style of politics will get caught up in this. Those that are looking at pink slips and watching the unemployment claims rise this week, those that may be watching the unemployment rate either stay flat or continue to rise through the rest of 2012, they will not be swayed by this. This still goes back to jobs. When you have a president that says, hey, things are getting better.

Unemployment's only at 8.3 percent. Hey, African-Americans, unemployment is getting better. Your unemployment rate is only about 12 percent, 13 percent, that's not enough. If you're caught up in the things that give you a thrill up your leg, like Chris Matthews likes to say, yes, this is great for you. If you're living in America nowadays and you're looking at the unemployment rates, you're looking at the angst, you're looking at the tension, this say feel a good thing for 17 minutes, and that's it.

PHILLIPS: Ed, are you getting a thrill up your leg, as Lenny put it?

(LAUGHTER)

ESPINOZA: This is the thing, 23 straight months of job growth, higher than expected job growth in February, close to one million jobs in these months. You look at the record of accomplishment in the past three years, and this administration has had a lot of historic landmarks. But we live in a Facebook status update, G chat, Twitter world in an era of high speed media where information comes in bits and fragments. It's helpful to have videos like this that tell the whole story because we don't always get the whole story.

PHILLIPS: Ed Espinoza, Lenny McAllister. Guys, thank you very much.

That's "Fair Game."

MCALLISTER: Thank you. God bless.

ESPINOZA: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Michigan is strapped for cash. But somehow this lotto winner received state benefits, food stamps. Is she beating the system, or is the system broke? Coming up, the lawmaker trying to prevent this from happening again.

But first, a study you may not want to take at face value. Scientists from New Zealand and Canada showed 200 women photographs of 19 men with beards. Then they showed them the same men cleanly shaved. Guess what? The women thought the bearded guys were older, more aggressive, much less attractive, than the same guys without beards. So facial hair, you had a good run, but I guess we can say your 15 minutes are up. Of course, we at CNN do a pretty strong counter feeling. Yes, we mocked up the cover, but I rest my case.

Wolfy, don't change a thing.

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: So are you looking for someplace to spend a few relaxing days? If you knew our John Zarrella, he is the king of relaxation. Even though he works very hard covering space, Florida, everything else, but he does know how to unwind and get away from it all. He's going to take you to his favorite place right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm John Zarrella. This is the southern tip of the Florida Everglades. And this is Florida Bay here behind me. People from all over the world come here to canoe, to kayak, to bird watch. But what I like to do when I come down here is fish.

(voice-over): Sunrise, even on a cloudy day, is spectacular out here. Florida Bay is a giant nursery and home to dozens and dozens of species of fish. Mangrove Islands crop up everywhere like chocolate chips on a cookie, and that's the best place to fish.

(on camera): So this is what we come out here for primarily, the redfish. This one's a good size, about 23 inches.

This is jack. Jack is Jerry Simonson's son, my cameraman, who is behind the camera.

We changed spots a couple times.

You like that, boys? That's called the keys fishing, baby. Homestead, Everglades National Park.

Put the anchor in the boat. T

That's a good size snapper.

(voice-over): Jack's having all the luck.

Unless the weather's bad, there are always folks out here, and always dolphin swimming nearby. Tough to catch on camera. Teasing us today.

(on camera): So we're heading in. Had a great day out here on the water. And now everybody knows my favorite spot and the kind of fishing you can do out here. So the only thing I ask, don't tell everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: But it's out. John Zarrella, taking advantage of a little work time for our travel insider.

Other CNN'ers are putting together their favorite places to visit as well. We're going to air them each Thursday right here on the CNN NEWSROOM.

NCAA March Madness is almost here. Selection Sunday just days away. Yes, I'm filling out a bracket. Are you? If you are, test your bracket skills against mine, will you? Visit CNN.com/brackets to join the March Madness CNN group. So who do you think is going to be in the final four? Let me know your March Madness picks. Go to my Facebook page @KyraCNN.

She won $1 million but still collected food stamps. Is she bilking the system, or is the system broken? The lawmaker trying to prevent this from happening again, Michigan State Representative Dale Zorn, joining me live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Whether it's housing, schools, employment, Michigan has been devastated by this recession, which is why what we are about to tell you will probably outrage you. 24-year-old Amanda Clayton hit a $1 million jackpot last fall. There's the check. After taxes, she banked more than $500,000.

Here's the outrage. According to affiliate, WDIV, Amanda was getting $200 a month in state welfare. That's right. Still collecting welfare. Your taxpayer money, after she won the lotto. That is, until the story went public. We just learned the state has now cut her off. But this is a woman who used her lotto money to buy a new car, a second home, yet she can't buy food?

Michigan Representative Dale Zorn, trying to get that law changed to prevent this from happening again. Representative Zorn is with us from Lansing, Michigan, via Skype.

Representative, we're going to get to Clayton in just a minute. How could the state not know that she hit the state lotto?

STATE REP. DALE ZORN, (R), MICHIGAN: There hasn't been any law set in place to make the connection between the Lottery Bureau and the Department of Human Services.

PHILLIPS: Why is that? It just doesn't seem to make sense when you have so many people on welfare receiving money and then a big a story as winning the lotto, how could that connection not be made? Don't you run the name and the Social Security number and get all that information?

ZORN: There's a loophole that provides for a person, when they win the lottery, to receive it either in a lump sum -- (AUDIO PROBLEM)

PHILLIPS: Representative Zorn, I'm having a hard time hearing you. I'm wondering, is it possible you can come a little closer to your computer. I know it's Skype. This is always tough. Is there a way you can adjust a little bit? Let's try again.

ZORN: OK?

PHILLIPS: OK, there we go.

ZORN: Is that better?

PHILLIPS: Much better. Please repeat that. I apologize.

ZORN: There has been a loophole that's been found when the winners collect their winning prizes, and that loophole, if they collect it in one lump sum, it becomes an asset. If they collect it by the month or other payment methods, it becomes an income, which is caught by the department. It's the assets, when they collect it as one lump sum, they do not catch that.

PHILLIPS: What are you propose to go do so others cannot abuse the system like this?

ZORN: The legislation proposed is a two-package bill. My legislation provides that the Lottery Bureau will notify the Department of Human Services, which will then, by the second bill in the package, will provide an asset test to that winner to determine if they're still eligible to receive public assistance.

PHILLIPS: All right. So final question. I'm sorry that our connection is so bad. But we're going to try to get one more in here. We reached out to the Michigan Department of Human Services, and I want to read you this quote. "Under DHS policy, a recipient of food assistance benefits must notify the state within 10 days of any asset or income change. DHS relies on clients being forthcoming about their actual financial status. If they are not and continue to accept benefits, they may face criminal investigation and be required to pay back those benefits. Michigan DHS does not currently have the ability to verify a person's lottery winnings in determining benefit eligibility."

So what Clayton did, was it legal or illegal, and could she face criminal charges?

DORN: Well, I'm sure that every individual deserves a right to go through a fair investigation. And if there has been any fraudulent activities, I'm sure the department will do all they can to make that discovery and deal with it appropriately. But all people in the state of Michigan deserves a fair investigation.

PHILLIPS: Representative Dale Zorn, your state is in a tough, tough time. Sure hope that something happens after this story. Appreciate it.

Millions of bucks just thrown away. The money was supposed to dress hundreds of low-income job seekers. Instead, an audit shows it only helped two people. What went wrong, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Time for stories making news at "Street Level."

For all the kids out there, wait just a second before you decide to light up that cigarette. The surgeon general's latest report says cigarette companies are targeting youth and young adults with their products, and advertising them in convenience stores like candy. Flavored cigarettes, especially menthols, are being made especially for young smokers.

Here in Atlanta, Georgia, an attorney for Whitney Houston has filed her will in probate court and her judge validated it. The late singer's entire estate goes to her daughter, Bobby Kristina. The money will be placed in that trust until the 19-year-old turns 21. Houston's mom, Cissy, is the executor. Houston's former husband, Bobby Brown, is mentioned, but he gets nothing.

Out of Bowling Green, Ohio, remember Joe the Plumber, who made headlines during the 2008 presidential race? Now he's on the campaign trail. While we were watching Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum battle it out in Ohio on Tuesday, Joe the Plumber beat a fellow Republican in his race for Congress. Now he's up against a strong candidate 15-term incumbent representative, Marcy Kaptur.

Joe was on CNN earlier today. Take a listen to his defense of anti-gay remarks he had made in the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SAMUEL WURZELBACHER, (R), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I have spoken with Jimmy Salvio (ph). We're both proud. And with my agreement that I'm going to work for all Americans, homosexuals, straight. They want jobs. That's what it comes down to. I'm allowed to have my opinions as an American. But it seems the left becomes very intolerant when you have an opinion other than what they state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: We'll keep you up to date on his campaign.

Let's head to Columbus, Ohio, where the city's schools are going after parents for lunch money. You heard me right, lunch money. And we're not talking chump change. According to affiliate, WCMH, parents owe more than $1 million to the school lunch fund. After two years of trying to get parents to pay up, the school district is turning the delinquent parents over to a collection agency if they owe $50 or more.

Down to San Antonio, Texas, where a little boy saved his best friend's life by performing the Heimlich maneuver. The amazing part is this is just a kindergartner we're talking about. His friend starting choking during lunch and he stepped in before a teacher could even get there. And here's what he says now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Nicholas was choking and I saw his face turn red. He was choking on a big Cheeto.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Thanks for saving my life, buddy.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: Choking on a big Cheeto. He says he learned the first aid move on TV.

In Detroit an audit of the city's Department of Human Services found evidence the department mismanaged millions of dollars. It includes part of an $11 million grant meant to help dress up 400 low- income job seekers. According to "The Detroit News," that money only helped two people over 11 months. The audit found Detroit's Human Services failed to safeguard the grant money, among other serious issues.

Heading back east, Fall River, Mass., an 85-year-old vote learns some pretty disturbing news when she went to vote in the Massachusetts primary. 84-year-old Maureen McCloskey went to her polling place on Super Tuesday. And according to affiliate, WBZ, poll workers told Maureen she couldn't vote because she was dead. Clearly, that's not the case. In fact, she's pretty lively. She jokes about double checking the obit section in the paper. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAUREEN MCCLOSKEY: First thing I look at is the obituaries. I said, I didn't even find my name on the obituary page.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: Luckily, the mix up was fixed. Maureen got to vote after an hour of waiting.

A U.S. Senator wants the armed forces to pull the plug on Rush Limbaugh. And he's not just any Senator either. We'll tell you what he hopes to see happen in our "Political Ticker."

But first, a quick question for our "Political Junkies." Tennessee has trended toward Republicans in recent years. Can you name the last Democrat to win a Tennessee Senate seat? Tweet the right answer to KyraCNN and I'll give you a little cred after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Before the break I asked you to name the last Democrat to win a Tennessee Senate seat. Here's the answer, Al Gore, 1990. Congratulations to Laura, who is the first to tweet the right answer.

Time for the "Political Ticker" and the one and only Mark Preston, our political director.

Mark, I hear the Rush Limbaugh controversy made it all the way to the Pentagon, at least that's what one Senator is hoping. Tell us what's going on.

MARK PRESTON, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Rush Limbaugh can't get away from this controversy. The remarks are echoing throughout the country. Our own Ted Barrett caught with Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin on Capitol Hill and asked him about the controversy.

I'll tell you what Carl Levin told Ted Barrett, he said, "I would hope the people that run the American Forces Network, which is seen all around the world by our servicemen and servicewomen, that they could see how offensive this is, and they would drop it on their own fruition." What he means by that, Kyra, is that Rush Limbaugh is heard on American Forces Radio all around the world. And Carl Levin is head of the Armed Forces -- or the -- gosh, I am just falling all over myself. The head Senator --

PHILLIPS: Start again, Mark. Let's start again.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: We're going to rewind here. Rush Limbaugh, getting it from the pentagon, or so says possibly one politician.

PRESTON: Let's boil it down right now. The Senate Armed Services Chairman would like to see Rush Limbaugh dropped from the American Forces Network. He's not going to legislate it though, Kyra. I'll tell you what, he would like to see it dropped. So this Limbaugh controversy continues on.

PHILLIPS: Yes, it's interesting. It began with outrage from women's rights group. And then it got more political. It made its way all the way to the Pentagon. You tend to wonder how far this is going to go. What's the buzz? He's really got himself in a lot of trouble this time around.

PRESTON: He's got himself in a lot of trouble. We've seen a lot of advertisers that have dropped from his show. We've seen some commercial radio stations in the U.S. dropped as well. If we start to hear more of this on Capitol Hill, there probably will be increasing pressure on the Pentagon to drop his service. But right now, Rush Limbaugh continues to remain on. And in some ways, he's taking all this incoming and trying to turn it around and he's just dismissing it. This is a controversy that will continue to go on and on and on.

And as you said, Democrats are politicizing this. Carl Levin, the Senator that I mentioned, he is a Democrats. Democrats are raising money off of this. So it goes on and on.

PHILLIPS: Mark Preston, you need to get some sleep. Big Tuesday night. We'll see you tomorrow.

Thanks for watching, everyone. You can continue the conversation with me on Twitter, @KyraCNN, or Facebook. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Suzanne Malveaux.