Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Flight Attendant Goes into Frenzy; Santorum Leads in Kansas Caucuses; Annan Tries Diplomacy in Syria; Syrian Army Tanks and Artillery are Targeting the Town of Idlib; The 17-minute Film for President Obama will be Released March 15th; Senate is Pushing V.A. to Improve Its Services to Army Veterans

Aired March 10, 2012 - 16:00   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. This is the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. 4:00 on the East Coast. 1:00 out west. Let's get right to the news.

American Airlines is apologizing for a scary incident aboard one of its flight. Here's how it all unfolded, as the plane was taxiing down the runway yesterday a flight attendant grabbed the loud speaker and then went into a tirade - she said the plane was going to crash. A passenger caught it all of that on tape. Other passengers and a crew member were able to restrain the attendant.

American Airlines says both the attendant and another crew member who restrained her were taken to the hospital. The airline says it's continuing to investigate. Coming up in a few minutes, I'll talk to someone who knows the job well. A flight attendant turned author.

All right. Breaking news to report in the world of politics and the race to the White House now. CNN projects Rick Santorum has won the Kansas caucuses. He will take at least 20 of the state's 40 delegates. Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich skipped Kansas. Gingrich is in Alabama where he is drawing attention to Romney's grits comment from earlier in the week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well one of my competitors, I have had grits before. And now that may explain as much as everything, why everybody in Alabama and Mississippi ought to vote for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And this is from just a few hours ago. Ron Paul addressing a caucus crowd in Overland Park, Kansas. We'll have more on those Kansas results in a moment.

And Kofi Annan says his conversation today with the president of Syria was candid and comprehensive, and he met with Bashar al Assad today in Damascus and asked him face-to-face to stop the killing in his country of Syria. They plan to talk again tomorrow. Opposition activists say more than 60 people were killed today in fighting across Syria. And some tragic news to report. A world-class competitive skier was killed today during a race in Switzerland. Here is video of the race but we won't show you the horrible accident involving Canada's Nick Zorzajik. He slammed into the ski course safety netting at a very high speed after a jump, and then died shortly afterward. He was just 29 years old. The accident happened during the World Cup Ski Cross. That entire event has since been cancelled.

And this is new video coming to us from West Liberty, Kentucky. It captures the moment of impact of last weekend's deadly tornado. These images taken from several surveillance images in the area capturing an EF-3 tornado as it rips through the town. The tornado packed winds of 140 miles an hour. At least 21 people were killed in Kentucky alone.

Nothing appears criminal in nature in Whitney Houston's death. That's what a source close to the investigation is telling us. We're also hearing Houston's toxicology report should be complete on or around March 23rd. Singer/rapper Ray J who dated Houston on and off after her divorce from Bobby Brown was asked about her death yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY J, RAPPER: What I will say, though, that is the most important thing to me of all is that god is talking to me. God is talking to me right now, and now's the time for me to listen. So my ears are open.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Houston died the day before last month's Grammy Awards.

All right. Now to the Kansas caucus results, and the race to the White House. Let's get straight to CNN political director Mark Preston who's following developments from Washington. OK. So Santorum, clearly, must be celebrating what appears to be a victory in the state of Kansas. Getting a good number of those delegates.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: He is. In fact, his campaign just released some information for a victory rally tonight in Missouri right across the border. Rick Santorum has a good afternoon, Fred, as you said, he wins the Kansas caucuses.

Let's take a quick look at those numbers right now if we can just to show you how much he won by. It was a terrific showing by Rick Santorum. 53 percent of the vote out at the Kansas caucuses. We're still waiting for some of it to come in, but CNN projected it earlier last hour based upon the vote that had come in.

So Rick Santorum wins the Kansas caucuses and with that he wins at least 25 delegates. We're now estimating, not to be outdone, though, Fred, earlier today Mitt Romney won the Northern Marianas caucuses and the Guam caucuses and he'll walk away with 18 delegates in his pocket. And just to see the quick delegate update right now. If we can just take a quick look at that. This is the new fresh delegate update that we keep talking about in the race to 1144. And as we see from that delegate update, it shows that Mitt Romney still in the lead, 447 delegates, but Rick Santorum is now up to 195 delegates. So Fred, the race goes on and on and on. Next stop, Mississippi, Alabama Tuesday.

WHITFIELD: OK. And Alabama and Mississippi are definitely, I guess, on the bull's eye for Newt Gingrich. He's hoping to do well in the south. In fact he decided to forfeit his visit to Kansas in order to spend more time in Mississippi and Alabama. Is that because some polls are showing that he just might be doing better than earlier anticipated in those southern states?

PRESTON: Well, you know, Fred, he just realized he was not going to do well in Kansas and at some point he had made some scheduled stops in Kansas and he decided to change his plans. He has predicated that his campaign is based on winning the south. That's why he spent all of his time down in Alabama and Mississippi the past few days. Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Mark Preston, thanks so much from Washington for that update.

And of course, you want to join us every Sunday afternoon, 4:00 Eastern time when we dedicate an entire hour to the presidential contenders in this 2012 election. Join me tomorrow, 4:00 Eastern.

A flight attendant disrupting a taxiing flight had to be restrained, and then passengers pulled out their camera phones. Coming up a woman who was on that flight describes what happened.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: American Airlines is apologizing for a scary incident aboard one of its flights. It happened yesterday as the plane was taxiing down the runway a flight attendant grabbed the loud speaker and then went into a tirade. She said the plane was going to crash. A passenger caught it all on tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's crowded and --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So other passengers and a crew member were able to restrain the attendant. A woman on that flight described what it was like.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURIE GRABE, WITNESSED DISRUPTIVE FLIGHT ATTENDANT: In the beginning it was just, it seemed like it was an accident and she was maybe a little disgruntled with her job. I just remember thinking "Wow, she's not happy" and another stewardess saying "You need to shut that off. Don't talk like that on the PA" and then when she started talking about, you know, turning the plane around. Then the plane's not going anywhere unless everybody sits down. And everybody was sitting. So very confused. We were all very confused on what was going on and obviously realized that she was having some kind of issue within herself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So American Airlines says both the attendant and another crew member who restrained that flight attendant were taken to the hospital. The airlines say it is continuing to investigate.

All right. So joining us to talk more about this, someone who knows the job quite well. Flight attendant Rene Foss. She's also the author of "Around the World in a Bad Mood Confessions of a Flight Attendant." You've written about flying from a flight attendant's perspective. So give me an idea. What kind of frustrations and is this kind of incident - is it your view. Is this an anomaly or just kind of underscore there other frustrations or encounters that flight attendants have?

RENE FOSS, FLIGHT ATTENDANT AND AUTHOR (ON THE PHONE): Well, clearly, I think just not having been present and not knowing the individual flight attendant, I think that it's pretty safe to say that she has some sort of problem. She's suffering. She's unhappy about something. And I'm glad to hear that she's getting some medical attention, and that hopefully she can get through whatever this is that's bothering her.

But the main thing I think that you're trying to address is the idea of the passengers were scared, and now the safety part of it. And I think that people should rest assured that, you know, the airline industry is probably, flying a plane is probably one of the safest ways to go, safest way to go, I mean, as opposed to just taking a taxi to the airport is probably more dangerous.

WHITFIELD: Well, that's some - that passengers onboard kind of jumped into action tells you what about kind of the climate of how passengers, particularly post-9/11, how passengers are very intuitive, are paying attention to surroundings and willing to jump in. Even if they don't fully understand all that's taking place. Do you feel like that climate is pretty prevalent on just about any flight, domestically or abroad these days.

FOSS: I do. I think passengers as well as crew members realize that, you know, this particular incident took place on the ground, but in the air, and on an airplane, the research is there. It's like if you're at 39,000 feet, you can't call 911. I mean, so people do need to recognize that we all need to kind of work together to handle a situation, or respond to a situation like that.

WHITFIELD: And there was a statement -

FOSS: That's a good thing.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And there was a statement that's been released by American Airlines, I want to be able to share that with everyone. Saying this, in part - "Flight 2332 had left the gate at DFW bound for Chicago when an incident occurred involving some of the cabin crew. The aircraft returned to the gate where it was met by Department of Public Safety officers. Two flight attendants taken to local hospitals for treatment. We continue to investigate the details and circumstances and will have no further comment at this time."

We did hear, k, reportedly from some of those onboard that they thought they overheard some detail about medication being involved, or the flight attendant perhaps not having access to the medication. So we don't have any confirmation of that, but that was reported earlier. So what's your view, Rene, on how the airline thus far has been able to handle this? How do the passengers in your view handle this?

FOSS: Well, from what I can, from my perspective, I think it's been handled as well as it can be handled. It's an unfortunate situation. Clearly, the girl, the flight attendant, is suffering, and I think the airline is doing the best that they can do. I think the passengers responded, you know, appropriately from what I can gather. I wasn't there to actually see this. And - you know, it's like I said. When you think about how many planes take off and land every day in the world, or just even in America, in our own country, and how few incidents there really are, this is still a safe way to go and it's sort of the thing where a person is unhappy in the workplace. It's just not, it's not unique to airlines. I mean you hear about work issues at the hospital, the post office, it can be (INAUDIBLE) studio in Minneapolis, it could be anywhere where somebody is disgruntled, unhappy or disturbed in some way and reacts.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still unclear exactly.

FOSS: ... in an airport or an airplane, everyone pass through a metal detector.

WHITFIELD: All right. We're still not clear exactly - sorry I cut you off, Rene. But still unclear what the root of what really happened there. Again, American Airlines saying they are launching that investigation and they're still in the midst of it. So Rene Foss, thanks so much, author of "Around the World in a Bad Mood Confessions of a Flight Attendant." Thanks for your time and perspective.

All right. Millions of people are going on job interviews. But what you do after the interview could actually get you hired. Five things you need to know. Next in our "Reclaim your Career" segment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Rick Santorum there, Republican running for the White House. Perhaps with a little extra spring in this step. He's actually at a rally there in Springfield, Missouri. But surely he's thinking about his reported victory in Kansas where they caucused today and apparently according to some confirmation from CNN sources telling us that he won the Kansas caucuses. Maybe not taking home all 40 delegates, but it's a proportional states may be taking home at least 20 delegate counts from Kansas. Live pictures out of Springfield, Missouri. We'll keep you posted.

All right. Every week we focus on ways to get a jump-start in the workforce's in our "Reclaim Your Career" segment, closing the deal on a new job might be in how your follow-up is conducted after the interview. Deborah Shigley joins me now. She's editor at large of the grindstone.com. It's always good to see you.

DEBORAH SHIGLEY, EDITOR AT LARGE, GRINDSTONE.COM: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And congrats. We're now at seven months. Looking great. Feeling great.

SHIGLEY: Thank you so much. I'm feeling good.

WHITFIELD: OK. Fantastic. Sometimes people feel like, you know, let me send a little, a note.

SHIGLEY: Yes.

WHITFIELD: It's acceptable to send and e-mail now? But you have to do something?

SHIGLEY: Yes.

WHITFIELD: You need to follow-up.

SHIGLEY: The most important thing you need to do within 24 hours send that thank you note. Make sure it's personalized. Talk about why you loved the company, why you're the great candidate for the job, and, again, speed is key. If you can't get that handwritten note off quickly, make sure to send an e mail.

WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness. OK. Sometimes it's not just thanking the person that you directly met with, but others along the way. Like a receptionist, why?

SHIGLEY: Receptionist, assistant. Because you never know what role they're going to play in the hiring process. Oftentimes it gets narrowed down to a few candidates and the boss might say "Hey, what did you think of candidate so and so? And their opinion could make the difference. So you want to be on their good side.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. And then kind of go over the notes. What did you talk about? Review that interview. Why?

SHIGLEY: Well, you're kind of doing a postmortem in your head about what you thought of, what the company and also what they thought of you.

WHITFIELD: Before you drop in that note, for example, you mean -

SHIGLEY: Either/or. But the reason you're doing this is partially because you want to think about what well, what could I do to improve? What impression did I make but also the interview process is kind of a courtship. Is it the right fit for you, is it a right fit for them and think about, was this company a good organizational fit for me? What did I bring to the table and what did I bring to the table to me so that if they do offer it to you, you know what to ask for in your negotiation, you know whether it's a good fit. WHITFIELD: And when you say it's not a bad idea to perhaps give an idea or maybe you came across an interesting article, or something that's pertinent to that industry or business, and to share that?

SHIGLEY: Absolutely. Think about doing this maybe seven, 10 days later after you've sent that the first initial thank you note. You want to follow up with an e-mail or a phone call and show that you're in the know about the industry. So there might be an article. It might be referencing something particularly you mentioned in your conversation. Keep the conversation going, and the lines of communication open.

WHITFIELD: So when does that borderline, when it is past? Alert.

SHIGLEY: They might tell you. But the thing is again follow-up.

WHITFIELD: OK.

SHIGLEY: But don't be a stalker, right? You want to, in this day and age it takes a little chutzpah in order to get past that front door.

WHITFIELD: True.

SHIGLEY: And the only way you're going to stand out is if you follow- up on a consistent basis. Might be an e-mail, might be a call. Maybe once a month. Maybe every couple of weeks. Again, you can do it until maybe they tell you to stop, or until you break through and, a, find out if they're hired someone for the job or, b, if it's not going to be you this time ask for an informational follow-up to keep the communication open with this company if you're really passionate about that company.

WHITFIELD: Wisdom used to be, sometimes if get your foot in the door and you have that interview you stand a pretty good chance but now it really is in the follow-up, not just the performance in the interview?

SHIGLEY: It is. Absolutely. And the thing to remember is, if you do get that interview, you're miles ahead of many other hundreds of candidates often times. So you need to just maximize the fact that you got the face time and cultivate that relationship.

WHITFIELD: All right. Very good. Deborah Shigley, thanks so much.

SHIGLEY: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Smart is the new rich. Coming up, how you can make money just doing your homework.

And Mitt Romney whips out a southern accent. Y'all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I'm learning to say "y'all" and I like grits. Things are strange, things that are happening to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: All right. Is this how you win the south? Newt Gingrich doesn't seem to think so.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Time for a CNN equals politics update. Let's begin in Kansas where Republican voters held caucuses today and those caucuses have ended. CNN projecting Rick Santorum as the winner. Seen right there with 51 percent of the vote. He could take home at least 20. Or maybe even 25 of the state's 40 delegates. It's very close between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich as well. Romney has a slight lead. Ron Paul was in last. Live pictures right now out of Springfield, Missouri. Rick Santorum there at a rally.

All right. The GOP race for president seems never-ending these days. Right? Well, here's a quick look at the delegate count as it stands today. Mitt Romney is in the lead with 447 delegates. Ron Paul is in last with 67 delegates. Only he isn't letting that stand in his way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it's everybody's race to win. I'm sure even though Romney's not here he's hoping, if you know, always, for the best. I think we all do that. But I never think it's do or die for anything. Everybody's still in the race. There's no declared winner. So I think we're all going to keep doing what we're doing, as maximizing our chances to get more delegates and we feel good about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The GOP presidential candidates are focusing on the south, and this week Mitt Romney whipped out a southern accent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I'm learning to say "y'all" and - I like grits, and the things are strange the things that are happening to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Well, today Newt Gingrich jumped on the grits bandwagon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: Unlike one of my competitors, I have had grits before. And that may explain as much as anything, why everybody in Alabama and Mississippi ought to vote for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So the candidates are gearing up for this Tuesday's Alabama and Mississippi primaries. 90 delegates are up for grabs in those two southern states.

And for the latest political news, you know exactly where to go. Cnnpolitics.com.

All right. A lot of us are trying to save money. Any way we can. And there are things we can do to cut costs on the home front in particular starting with a cheaper mortgage. Here's this week's "Smart is the New Rich" with Christine Romans.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, HOST "CNN'S YOUR BOTTOM LINE": Here are four ways for homeowners to unlock the money in their house. If mortgage rates are at least two percentage points less than the rate you're paying you need to refinance. Even if you've done it recently. The 15 year is a popular refinancing tool at those rates. 3.36 percent.

Next, appeal your property taxes. Most people who do get money back. On average, around 1,300 dollars a year. That's according to valueappeal.com. Do your homework. Call the assessor's office first to make sure you understand the formula for determining your home's value. The assessment listed on tax bills is often only a fraction of the real value that determines your tax.

And do sweat the small stuff. They adds up. Using a programmable thermostat will save you $180 a year. This is according to Energy Star. And don't overpay for your technology. Bundle your internet, your phone, your cable, shop around. You can save up to $60 a month if you switch to a bundle plan. You got to make sure you assess your needs and you don't pay for too much. Are you paying for multiple boxes? Have you considered internet phone service? An hour of comparison shopping and several more hours of waiting for the proverbial cable guy could save you a bundle.

I'm Christine Romans with this week's "Smart is the New Rich."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Christine.

All right. The Obama campaign is coming out with a Hollywood-style documentary. Tom Hanks is the narrator. But what does this something like this cost out of the box strategy, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, for some top stories making headlines. CNN projects Rick Santorum as the winner in the Kansas Republican caucuses. He will take at least 25 of the state 40 delegates. We are also projecting Mitt Romney has a slight lead over Gingrich for second place with Gingrich in Third and Ron Paul coming in last.

American Airlines is apologizing for a scary incident aboard one of its flights. Here's how it all unfolded. As a plane was taxiing down the runway yesterday, a flight attendant grabbed the loud speaker and went into a tirade. She said she - she said rather to the plane was going to crash. The passenger caught it all on tape, and other passengers and a crew member were able to restrain the attendant.

Earlier I spoke with another flight attendant who is also an author. She said bottom line, this was a random incident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RENE FOSS, FLIGHT ATTENDANT, AUTHOR: I think that people should rest assured that the airline industry is probably -- one of the safest places to go, safest ways to go as opposed to just taking a taxi to the airport. That's probably more dangerous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: American Airlines says both the attendant and another crew member who restrained her were taken to the hop. The airline said is continuing to investigate.

Overseas now, people in northern Syria tell CNN that army tanks and artillery are targeting the town of Idlib. We are told that shells are landing every few minutes and that Syrian troops are going house to house arresting opposition activists. More than 60 people are reported dead in fighting today across Syria.

Given the dangerous situation there, it's hard to imagine what anyone would want to put themselves on the front lines. But CNN reporter Arwa Damon did just that. Last month she was in Homs reporting on the atrocities firsthand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Obviously been completely trashed, and the activists were telling us that the bombardment, you keep hearing it over and over again. The sounds of artillery falling, is nothing compared to what they've been through before. But this was once an ordinary home, an ordinary family lived here and we don't know what their story was. There are just bits and pieces of their lives left have been left behind, including this children's toy.

What happened to that family? What exactly was it that made them flee? Are they alive? There's so much still that we don't know and so much that still needs to be told.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So learn what it's like to be trapped in terror for 72 hours under fire. A special CNN presents tomorrow night, 8:00 Eastern time, right here on CNN.

President Barack Obama is the main character in a new campaign documentary that starts with Election Day 2008. Take a quick look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: This is just the trailer that hit the web this week. The actual film is more like an infomercial. It's a 17-minute look at the president's term. It is directed by an Oscar winner, Davis Guggenheim, the same filmmaker behind for candidate Obama four years ago.

Let's get our political director, Mark Preston, in here from Washington to talk more about this.

So, you know, Mark, this is an interesting approach. A 17 minutes to really document the first three years in office. Why did the White House take this approach?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, because they're trying to define the president before his opponents can define the president, and, of course, we were only able to see two minutes of the trailer. They're actually releasing the 17 minutes on the 15th of March and going to hold house parties all across the country basically politically organizing parties to try to get ready for November.

But everything in the film, of course, is very positive. It talks about the challenges President Obama faced and the decisions that he took and the successes he achieved. So this was a, you know, we're so used to these 30-second and 60-second commercials we see on TV. Well, this is a 17-minute commercial, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: OK. And this was done full blessings by the White House, narrating. You have got Tom Hanks. I mentioned the director already. And I also understand that this documentary is really less about President Obama, the man, and more about the America that this president, or this White House, is wanting to showcase?

PRESTON: Yes. Because, I think, they don't need to build the narrative any more about who Barack Obama is, where he came from, what his family life is. It's basically about the challenges we face right now in the United States. The economy, the job loss, the fact that people are still getting foreclosed in great amounts on their homes, as well as dealing with the wars, and dealing with Osama bin Laden.

So, what they're really trying to do in the 17-minute film, documentary, web video, whatever we are going to call it, is try to show what actions President Obama took in the way to turn try to things around. And of course, they take a very positive view on it.

In fact, listen to what Piers Morgan, an interview he had with Davis Guggenheim just the other night and what Guggenheim had to say about it.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS GUGGENHEIM, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: I think there are negatives in the sense that the challenges when you're trying to pass health care and in a really toxic environment. Or negatives in terms of the opposition he has had, in terms of the political climate in Washington. I think that's -- time and time again, you hear that from people who work closely with him.

They say, you know, they -- he really ran hoping to change the political climate in Washington and it hasn't changed. And this far, you know. He's wanted to bring people together. He is one of the compromise. He is one, you know; bring people together to make tough decisions. I say that in the movie and hasn't had the another side working with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESTON: Wow. So, clearly, Mr. Guggenheim, of course, he's nothing as -- nothing negative over the past two years or seen shortcomings of the president. I have to tell you though, Mitt Romney, well you know, one of the folks running for the president, for Republican presidential nomination took after the president on the campaign trail yesterday and said, well, you know, Mr. President, why don't you talk to the people who are losing their jobs, the soldiers who are coming home right now who can't find a job. So, in fact, this has become quite a political topic on the campaign trail now.

WHITFIELD: I'm sure the White House expected that. All right, Mark Preston.

PRESTON: Of course.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much. Appreciate that.

PRESTON: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right, the fight, faced by many American troops doesn't end on the battlefield. Many returned home way bigger struggle. Getting the mental health treatment they need after war, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: As troops return home from war more are in need of mental health treatment. But getting diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder can take time. Many forced to wait months before seeing a specialist.

CNN's Athena Jones talks with one veteran who wasn't able to get help until he was on the edge.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA RAINES, PAUL RAINES' WIFE: Another army achievement medal.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jessica Raines is proud of her husband's service. Paul Raines spent time his tour in Iraq investigating IED and suicide bomb attacks.

PAUL RAINES, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: You see a lot. One of the bombings in the market that killed women and children, I mean -- it changes your whole perspective on life. JONES: When he returned to civilian life in Maryland he had a hard time coping. He learned later that he had post-traumatic stress disorder.

PAUL RAINES: I drank like a fish when we got back. Really, just trying to suppress and kill the pain of what I saw over there. So, it took a little while for knee get actually around to the idea, that OK. I need help.

JONES: The Raines' contacted a veteran affairs medical center last May.

JESSICA RAINES: I didn't give any choice. It was time to make a change. His moods were all over the place. His eating habits were -- were up and down. We weren't even sleeping in the same bed, because he would have flashbacks or nightmares.

JONES: Paul got an appointment with the primary care physician but says the doctor didn't perform a full evaluation and instead gave him medications to combat anxiety and depression. The Veterans health administration's mental health handbook says all new patients must receive a comprehensive evaluation and treatment planning within 14 days.

The VA says 95 percent of cases meet the requirements. But the department's own survey found 37 percent of vets have to wait longer than 14 days for an appointment. And once referred to a specialist, 52 percent have to wait more than two weeks to be seen. That was the case for Paul. The pills he was prescribed in May only made matters worse and he didn't receive therapy. By July, he was suicidal.

PAUL RAINES: They admitted me into the psychiatric ward over at the V.A. clinic for a period of almost a week. I didn't meet the PTSD specialist until the end of August.

JESSICA RAINES: After he was hospitalized.

PAUL RAINES: Even though they all knew I had PTSD, it was the end of August before I could actually meet with an actually PTSD psychologist.

JONES: Lawmakers are putting pressure on the V.A. to improve.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: When a veteran has the courage to stand up and ask for help, the V.A. must be there with not only timely access to care but also the right type of care.

JONES: The V.A. says it is reviewing mental health services at all its facilities. For the Raines' some things are improving. They say Paul's psychologist is great but they meet just once, sometimes twice a month.

PAUL RAINES: I know I'm heading in the right direction. The question is will the V.A. actually be there to stand by me and help me through the process?

JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, Frederick, Maryland.

(END VIDEOTAPE0

WHITFIELD: And one-third of couples under the age of 35 face infertility issues. Coming up, why this has more people turning to medicine?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: We all know by now it's harder for women over 35 to get pregnant. But one-third of couples when the woman is under 35 have trouble conceiving and a lot of them seek fertility treatment.

Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more on what doctors can do to help families conceive in today's "health for her."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michelle and Mike Herring now have the family they always wanted but it wasn't easy. At 30 she had to use hormone therapy to get pregnant, the result, their son Levi who's now 7-years-old. Two years later had a hard time conceiving a second child, so, they tried hormone therapy and IVF, in vitro fertilization.

MICHELLE HERRING, FERTILITY PATIENT: By the third time I sort of knew, OK, it was becoming -- it was stressful.

GUPTA: But after rounds of unsuccessful treatments she learned she had premature ovarian failure. She couldn't produce viable eggs. So, she chose to use a donor and Mae was born.

MICHELLE HERRING: It was just an emotionally taxing journey. I knew that one day I would look back and forget the struggle, and -- and I did. I mean, it's hard for me to think about it now, but, you know, I mean, we have a wonderful family and I can't imagine it being any other way.

GUPTA: The decision to use sperm or egg donation is personal one. Embryologists, Dr. Peter Nagy, say it's often the best solution since donor egg and sperm and offer higher success rates.

DOCTOR PETER NAGY, EMBRYOLOGIST, REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY ASSOCIATES: Coming from women who are somewhere around 21 to 28, 29 or so.

GUPTA: So a 40-year-old woman says, I'm not making eggs, good quality eggs anymore. So, I'll take a donor egg.

NAGY: Correct.

GUPTA: From a 25-year-old. Has that woman's 25-year-old genetic material, and you combined with sperm from --

NAGY: From her husband. Correct.

GUPTA: That person's partner. Is this something that happens a lot? NAGY: Yes, absolutely. Here in the United States about 10 to 15 percent of all IVFs girls (INAUDIBLE) every donations.

GUPTA: Reproductive specialist, Dr. Dorothy Mitchell-Leef says more and more families are choosing this route to have a family.

DOCTOR DOROTHY MITCHELL-LEEF: They have a baby picture they can choose from and also know most of their background history, or what their genetic makeup is, their interests, maybe their education.

GUPTA: They get to choose their eggs.

MITCHELL-LEEF: They get to choose their eggs, yes.

GUPTA: How much does that process cost?

MITCHELL-LEEF: It is $16,500 and that includes everything.

GUPTA: If a woman in mid-40s, gets pregnant, has baby, is it almost assumed she had an egg donor?

MITCHELL-LEEF: I think I had five women that overall in 30 years, they got their pregnancy at 45 with their own eggs. That's not a lie.

GUPTA: Michelle and Mike say they plan to share conception stories with both their children.

MICHELLE HERRING: It needs to be OK, and not be looks at as some weird thing to use alternate methods. You know, non-traditional ways to have a family.

MIKE HERRING, HUSBAND OF FERTILITY PATIENT: If we're describing, in ten years ever fully -- it's like describes, you know, a visit to the doctor that it's become so prevalent that the stigma's gone. So, that will help, too. It's nothing we've worried about.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Each week CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta profiles innovators from all walks of life and all sails of endeavor. And the program is called "the Next List." Well, tomorrow he talks with a group of art collectors at Sin lab who create extraordinary art commercials and videos. Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We decided to build a 100 foot long double helix made out of 512 individually computer controlled full color L.E.D.S and then connected all that to a music source. We had a deejay come and the light sequences were pre-programmed to play along with the tempo of the music. And it was beautiful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. That's tomorrow, 2:00 Eastern time.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I said, Fred, isn't that -- I guess it's -- yes's. It's cool.

WHITFIELD: Yes, that's art. Where do you put that but it's so big. It has to be in some giant arena.

How you doing?

LEMON: I'm great. How are you?

WHITFIELD: Good.

LEMON: We called each other with a purple.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Got the purple thing going on today, that means a day of serenity. Right?

LEMON: Yes. It is.

WHITFIELD: A giving color.

LEMON: It's a color's royalty.

WHITFIELD: How are you?

LEMON: I'm doing great.

WHITFIELD: OK.

LEMON: You know you have been covering this story. I have been covering this story about the flight attendant who sort of lost it yesterday during takeoff. Saying the plane was going to crash, over the loud speaker. Can you imagine?

Now, imagine if you were on that flight, one of the other flight attendants what would you have done? What would you do?

Well, here's what we are going to --

WHITFIELD: Tough one to call.

LEMON: Yes, yes.

WHITFIELD: it depends on where you were sitting and a lot of things.

LEMON: Would get up and doing something.

WHITFIELD: OK.

LEMON: Yes, coming up at 5:00 Eastern, Fred. We are going to talk to one of the passengers who jumped into action, took five people to subdue her. One flight attendant actually injured doing it. The guy who helped was a former army soldier who couldn't just sit and watch. Several flight attendants also helped and other scramble to take the microphone away from the woman that was saying the plane's going down. She mentioned 9/11, I think they said.

WHITFIELD: Yes, that's tough one to call. It's always difficult to know what you could do, and if you were in a certain predicament because this was something that happened in an instant. There is no planning. So, instincts. What would your instincts have you do?

LEMON: Yes. Not everyone would. I know I would have done something. I would have got up -- at least screamed or something.

Also, getting a lot of attention you've been talking about, the network has been talking, a lot of people as well. This week about a new documentary targeting Joseph Kony, who is accused of kidnapping tens of thousands of young African children and forcing them to kill.

At 7:00 eastern tonight, Fred, we are going to talk to woman who is one of Kony's child soldiers. He managed to escape. And says unbelievable story to share, and there's also around this documentary, there's controversy about the awareness of as well.

WHITFIELD: Right.

LEMON: Because some people say, you know, Joseph Kony hasn't been here for years and years and it's actually harming the people.

WHITFIELD: Interesting conversation coming from that. All right we will be watching this evening. Thanks, don.

LEMON: All right. Thanks you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Next, a water spout forms. A tornado in Hawaii, and drops, can you believe that, Don? In Hawaii. You're in Hawaii there to enjoy the sun and sail and then there's hail.

LEMON: My God.

WHITFIELD: We're going to explain.

LEMON: Hail. Not hell.

WHITFIELD: Hail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, let's take a look outside in places. You have got a lot of sunshine.

Bonnie Schneider, our resident sunshine meteorologist right here. How's it looking?

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Fredricka, it's definitely not looking sun shining in places that normally see tropical paradise. I'm talking about Hawaii.

WHITFIELD: That's right, the hail.

SCHNEIDER: It's been incredible. You got to see the video of hail in Hawaii. It's unusually -- to say the two together. But we did see a lot of rain and a lot of thunderstorm activity in Hawaii. Take a look at these pictures. And these are some large hailstones. Remember, hail forms inside a thunder storm, when the updraft is blowing the ice particles up and down, up and down like an air popper in a popcorn going up and down.

Anyway, at some point the stone of the ice becomes heavy and falls avoided it, caused some damage there. Just to see the rainfall totals over the past week in Hawaii, they have been incredible. We are talking about more than a foot of rain in many locations.

Now, we do have rain right now in Texas. It's not as bad as we just saw. But just to let you know, the rain will be steady and heavy throughout the day today and into the evening in Dallas and San Antonio and even into Houston. A lot of this is working its way up towards Oklahoma City and something to keep a watch on not just for today but for tomorrow.

Look at Sunday's forecast. Severe storms are possible for the Dallas area, Shreveport, Louisiana and into Arkansas. This is incidentally the same area that got severe weather earlier this week. So, we're seeing kind a similar setup. Keep in mind if you're traveling or if you are driving, plan accordingly for severe weather because tomorrow's storms could produce strong hail. So, we are watching that.

WHITFIELD: It's never-ending. This is turning out to be a crazy prelude to spring. Isn't it?

SCHNEIDER: Yes.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Bonnie.

Bonnie, you might be into this, NCAA action. Are you getting ready for a little March madness? Whew. OK. Sunday selection, that's tomorrow. I'm actually going to fill out a bracket. I know, very scary. I know it.

LEMON: Lord.

WHITFIELD: Don! OK, so you and me. Don, we'll be competing on those brackets. Test your bracket skills against mine and you, too, Bonnie. It's going to be easy. You all will totally slaughter me.

But anyway, on cnn.com/bracket, that's where the action is.

LEMON: I'm going to cheat.

WHITFIELD: All right. Much more in the "NEWSROOM" straight ahead. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks, bye. Don, up next.

LEMON: Bye, Fred.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)