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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Presidential Candidates Campaign; Political Analysts Examine Presidential Debates; CNN Hero Bring Education to Afghanistan's Girls; Egyptian Journalist Spray Paints Controversial Posters; NFL Referee Lockout Ends
Aired September 29, 2012 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN Saturday morning.
Abortion, gun policy, the war on drugs. They're just some of the social issues shaping the presidential race. All morning, we're putting them in focus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could see in his face that there was a lot more to her story than what she was willing to let on.
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FEYERICK: Women hold up half the sky. That's the message from the new documentary from New York Times columnist Nick Kristof. In an interview exclusive to CNN he sits down with the celebrities from the film.
They're back -- on the field, that is. As millions of fans cheer the return of NFL refs, we break down the fallout for Roger Goodell and the league.
And good morning, everyone. I'm Deborah Feyerick in for Randi Kaye today. We begin with a surprising admission from the intelligence community. They're now saying that the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack. The original statement after the September 11 attack was that it was a violent end to a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim film. But an investigation found evidence to the contrary. That investigation is still going on.
President Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the phone for about 20 minutes yesterday. The White House says the president reaffirmed his commitment to Israel's security and agreed they must prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. The president has been criticized for not meeting with Netanyahu in person. Netanyahu has expressed frustration with the U.S. for not taking a more aggressive stance on Iran, the U.S. instead relying on diplomacy and sanctions. Later, Mitt Romney also spoke to Netanyahu by phone.
Well, there are only 38 days left until Election Day. Early voting has already started in a few states and even more kick it up next week. Also next week, the first presidential debate. That's on Wednesday. But the candidates are already warming up for that.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Change is going to take more than one term or one president or one party. It's not going to happen if you write off half the nation. Election day, 47 percent of people did not vote for me, but I said I may not have your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president, too.
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FEYERICK: And to the battleground state of New Hampshire where the Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is speaking right now at a campaign rally in Derry. CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser is there for all the fun. Paul Ryan firing up the crowd. What's he saying?
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: He is talking about the economy, talking about the deficit, talking about four years of President Obama would be detrimental to the country. It's pretty plain and simple. Number one is President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are laying low today because they're getting ready to prepare for the debate. And number two is the candidates on the campaign trail.
Right behind me here, here's Paul Ryan stumping here in New Hampshire, a crucial battleground state. When he's done here, he goes to Ohio later today, another very big important battleground state. And that's the whole idea here, as the president and Mitt Romney get ready for the debate. Paul Ryan and vice president Joe Biden are on the campaign trail, specifically New Hampshire. The race here is kind of close. The most recent poll shows President Obama with a five-point advantage over Mitt Romney. Definitely a very close contest here in New Hampshire. This is a state that may not know Paul Ryan very well, but knows Mitt Romney very well, who was governor of neighboring Massachusetts. He owns a vacation home here in New Hampshire. He spends a lot of time in this state.
FEYERICK: Thanks so much. We're going to keep an eye on it. Certainly get ready to hear those debates. Thanks so much.
Ann Romney has been a pretty constant presence on the campaign trail. Now she's opening up about a big concern.
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ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: I think my biggest concern, obviously, would just be for the -- his mental well-being. I have all the confidence in the world in his ability, in his decisiveness, in his leadership skills, in his understanding of the economy, in his understanding of what's missing right now in the economy, pieces that are missing to get this jump started. I think for me it would be the emotional part of it.
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FEYERICK: By the way, Mitt Romney is 65 years old. He would be the second-oldest president in the past 150 years.
A consultant for Congressman Todd Akin is comparing him to cult leader David Koresh from the Waco, Texas, incident. This week akin refused to drop out of the Missouri Senate race. He came under fire for comments he made saying that women can biological prevent pregnancy after a rape. Consultant Kelly Anne Conaway told the Washington watch weekly that Akin was successful in his holdout.
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KELLY ANNE CONAWAY, CONSULTANT FOR REP. TODD AKIN: The first day or two, it was like Waco with David Koresh. And then here comes day two and you realize the guy's not coming out of the bunker. Todd has shown his principles to the voters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: Akin is facing incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill is the Missouri Senate race.
Social issues in the presidential campaign. So which ones could move the needle on Election Day? Maria Cardona and Amy Holmes are coming up and they are going to sort it out for you.
FEYERICK: FDR the first to use radio, remarkable. There are only 38 days left until Election Day. This morning, we're focusing on social issues and how they could affect the outcome. And here's what we're talking about -- 48 percent of you think health care is the top social issue, 33 percent say it's education. But there's also guns, abortion, same-sex marriage.
We all know that the economy is actually issue number one with most voters, but social issues still play a big part for voters in making their final decision. Joining me now to talk about the potential impact of these issues, CNN contributor Maria Cardona and Amy Holmes, anchor of "Real News" on "The Blaze." good to see both of you. Maria, what's number one in your book in terms of social issues?
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it's interesting, because while you mentioned health care, I think a lot of voters also see health care as an economic issue, because that's the number one concern when they look at health care is costs, and what that is going to mean for their family. So I think health care is a big issue. And in some respects, if it's looked at as a social issue, I think it actually helps the president because he's the one who was seen as putting health care out there. And even though the health care act itself is not incredibly popular, pieces of it -- the fact that those pieces have actually helped families do what they need in terms of taking care of their families, are very, very popular and, frankly, have made Romney basically say that there are pieces of the health care act that he would keep in place.
FEYERICK: And of course, with health care when you think about it, many people say well, it's not too unlike the plan that governor Romney put forth. Amy, what do you think voters are thinking about in terms of the health care debate?
AMY HOLMES, HOST, "REAL NEWS": I think Mitt Romney has it right in the sense that Obama care is unpopular. Pieces of it might be popular, but Mitt Romney's been campaigning that he would repeal Obama care and replace it with pieces that are popular, but this whole idea about social issues I think is so fascinating and underreported that really it's the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party that has tried to make this a social issues election, even turning questions of taxation into a question of fairness, not one of fiscal responsibility or sobriety because, as the president himself said, you don't raise taxes in a recession, and we're still certainly struggling along in this economy.
So taxation has been turned into a social issue. We saw in the mid- term election that 31 percent of gay men and women actually voted for the GOP. So what did you see at the democratic convention? Gay marriage being touted.
Finally, on women's issues -- if you were to listen to the Democratic Party, apparently there's some deficit, some shortage of condoms, but women care most about the economy. Democrats tried to focus female voters on issues of reproduction rather than jobs and the economy.
FEYERICK: What they're trying to do is they're basically taking the economy, tying it to social issues, so everything goes into one big pot with. The economy the way it is, with foreign policy so critical, you know, are social issues going to be the deciders as they have in past elections, or do you think voters are basically going to wipe the slate clean and say no, no, no, we've got to focus on getting the economy, the economy, the economy, social issues can go by the wayside. Maria?
CARDONA: Sure. Well, that's such an interesting question, Deb, because this is something that I've actually written about. This is where I think Republicans have really gotten it wrong. Yes, the economy is the number one issue. But guess what, Mitt Romney has now lost his edge on the economy and President Obama is now outpolling him on who is trusted more with the economy.
So with that, what will happen when voters go into the voting booth, they will look at the economy and how both candidates will deal with economic issues, but they will always -- and this is even including when Romney had an edge on the economy, they will always look at other issues because American voters are not monolithic.
So, for example, if you're a Latino and you go into the voting booth, you're going look at how these candidates deal with immigration. If you're a woman going into the voting booth, you're going look at how these candidates have treated women's issues. And by the way, it wasn't the Democrats that put abortion on the front line. It wasn't the Democrats who have talked about legitimate rape. So that was Republicans that put it front and center.
FEYERICK: Let me have Amy jump in on this, because, Amy, you're really the one who said the economy equals social issues, equals how people are going to vote effectively, if I understand you correctly. Do you think for women, for example, is there more of a tendency for women to merge economic and social issues compared to men who may see just sort of economic issues as the key indicator of how they're going to vote?
HOLMES: Well, it really depends on which women you're talking about. So again, going back to those mid-term elections, which I think is really driving the democratic campaign, that they don't want that again. They don't want this GOP wipeout, as what happened in 2010. And in 2010, the women's vote split evenly between Democrats and the GOP.
However, if you were to look at it generationally, young women voted overwhelmingly for democratic candidates, whereas women between 30 and 64 narrowed that game, 64 and over overwhelmingly Republican. So even among women, there are different issues that are a different importance.
But if you were to listen to the Democratic Party, you would think that contraception and reproductive rights is the number one women's issue when it clearly isn't, and the mid-term election beared that out. And I would also point you to a memo written last fall in November, where they explicitly said to inject abortion into the presidential election to try to get those women defectors -- women who voted for Obama in 2008 who did not intend to vote for him again. And the way the reach them was through these reproductive rights issues.
FEYERICK: Basically to talk about reproductive rights. Maria, Amy, do not go anywhere. With the first presidential debate a few days away, we're going to get a little help from you in terms of what the debate prep is scheduled to look like.
But first, a question for all of you political junkies as you drink that coffee or tea or whatever you drink in the morning. When was the very first presidential debate? The answer coming up straight ahead.
FEYERICK: Before the break, I asked you if you knew the question to when was the very first presidential debate? The answer 1960 and the famous Kennedy-Nixon debate. There won't be another one until Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter until 1976.
So let's get back to politics now and the first presidential debate coming up Wednesday. As always, both sides playing the expectations game, tamping down a little bit. Let me bring back Maria Cardona and Amy Holmes. Amy, as you see it, who's got the advantage, President Obama who's done so many, or Mitt Romney who frankly had to do it just to get the nomination?
HOLMES: Exactly. Well, the president obviously has the incumbent advantage and he's been president the last four years and dealt with these issues on the front lines at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. As you mentioned, Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee, he had to go through quite a gauntlet against very talented debaters in Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and the rest of the lineup, Michele Bachmann and others. So I'm not sure that one person has the edge over the other. I think the question will be, you know, who gets off the best line and who's able to address the voters' concerns most directly and most pervasively.
FEYERICK: Maria, same question. Who do you think has the edge? A lot of people have been saying, Mitt, where are the details? Who do you think that is advantage right now?
CARDONA: Well, it's interesting, because going into it on issues and substance, of course I think that President Obama has the advantage, because he's the one who has been a lot more clear and has offered a lot more specifics on what he would do to continue to grow the middle class, to grow this economy from the middle class out, from the 99 percent out, if you will, and Mitt Romney's going into this with a deficit, and obviously will have to answer his 47 percent comment because that's what voters are left with.
But I will say this. Mitt Romney has certainly had a lot more practice in the last couple of years, as Amy pointed out, and he is the one who has the greatest expectations, because even Republicans are saying that if he does not have a game-changing night that the trajectory of this campaign will not change, and that's going to be bad for Romney campaign.
FEYERICK: Right. So each of them have really sort of gotten their practice in, one could argue. We talked wins and losses, expectations. Both sides basically trying to play it down a little bit just so it's better to manage expectations than to not accomplish expectations. What do you think the voters are expecting? Are they expecting something civilized? Are they expecting attacks from each separate candidate, Amy?
HOLMES: I think they're expecting their issues to be addressed and to be addressed thoroughly and convincingly. But I love debates, because you have these completely unexpected moments, like when Al Gore, in his debates in 2000 with George Bush, was sighing and rolling his eyes and walked out onstage with this crazy clown face, and that ended up sort of overwhelming the debate. Another debate, where with Hillary Clinton, when her competitor was running for the Senate, crossed the stage in a physical image of intimidation.
So I think the viewers will be looking at the two candidates of who they are, who they are as men. Are they comfortable in their own skin? Are they commanding? Do they project leadership and confidence? All of these things play. You mentioned the Nixon-Kennedy debate, people who listened to that debate on the radio they thought Nixon won. People who watched it on TV, they thought it went to JFK.
FEYERICK: Obviously those famous moments, "You, sir, are no Jack Kennedy." Maria, what do you think?
CARDONA: I think that's right. And you pointed to a famous moment that didn't do anything to fix the outcome of the campaign for the Democrats. So while there could be those moments onstage, it's really up to the voters whether those moments are going to become game- changing for the campaign itself.
And let's be honest here. Both candidates are going to be very well prepared. Both candidates have tremendous strengths going into this. Both candidates are going to be well-versed on the other's record. They've had tremendous policy briefings. They're going to be holed up for two or three days. So we're going to see two very prepared men going into these debates.
And I think Amy is right. It's going to be the unscripted moments that are really going to give us a clue into -- at least for those three people who are undecided out there.
FEYERICK: Exactly, to see whether those moments define or distract. Maria Cardona, Amy Holmes, thanks so much as always. Appreciate your insight.
CARDONA: Thank you, Deb.
HOLMES: Thank you.
FEYERICK: Each week we shine a spotlight on the top ten CNN heroes of 2012. This week's honoree is from Kabul, Afghanistan. Razia Jan fearlessly opens her school to girls each day while terrorists do their best to prevent those same girls from getting an education. Here's her story.
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RAZIA JAN, CNN HERO: In Afghanistan, most of the girls have no voice. They are used as property of a family. The picture is very grim. My name is Razia Jan, and I'm the founder of a girls' school in Afghanistan. When we opened the school in 2008, 90 percent of them could not write their name. Today, 100 percent of them are educated. They can read, they can write.
I lived in the U.S. for over 38 years. But I was really affected by 9/11. I really wanted to prove that Muslims are not terrorists. I came back here in 2002. Girls have been the most oppressed. I thought I have to do something. It was a struggle in the beginning. I would sit with these men and I would tell them don't marry them when they're 14 years old, they want to learn.
How do you write your father's name?
After five years now, the men, they are proud of their girls when they themselves can't write their name.
Still, we have to take these precautions. Some people are so much against girls getting educated. We provide free education to over 350 girls. I think it's like a fire that will grow. Every year, my hope becomes more. I think I can see the future.
(END VIDEOTAPE) FEYERICK: And you can help us decide who will be our CNN hero of the year. If you'd like to vote for Razia Jan, go to CNNheroes.com and cast your vote. You can vote up to 10 times a day every day.
Award-winning journalist Mona Alkahawi joins me next. She was arrested for spray painting a controversial anti-Muslim subway ad. Was she right or was she wrong? And would she do it all over again? Her side of the story on the other side.
FEYERICK: And welcome back, everyone. I'm Deborah Feyerick in for Randi Kaye. Here are some stories we're watching this morning.
The U.S. has warned Iran to top providing arms to Syrian president Bashar al Assad. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also asked Syria's neighboring countries to prevent Iran from using their land or air space to transport those weapons. The warning comes as the U.S. has announced $15 million in nonlethal support for Syrian opposition forces.
Staying in Iran, the country's Farz News agency getting by folks at "The Onion." Farz published and took credit for a satirical story that claims a Gallup poll found that rural white Americans prefer Iran's President Ahmadinejad over President Obama. Farz later removed the story once the agency realized that, well, "The Onion" wasn't a legitimate news organization.
That trip to the gas station is getting a little easier on the pocketbook. AAA reports that the national average for a gallon of gas is $3.78, the fourth consecutive decline.
So where is the line between free speech and hate speech? Take a look at this new ad that's up in about 10 New York City subway stations. They were produced by a Judeo-Christian law firm and they read, "In any war between the civilized man and the savages, support the civilized man, support Israel, defeat jihad." Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders alike have called the ads hate speech. But a federal judge ruled the ads are protected under the first amendment so, legally, there's not much the critics can do. But that did not stop Mona Eltahawy from spray painting one of the posters. You may recognize her as a frequent guest here on our network, reporting on Egypt.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me. Tell me what you're arresting me for. Is everybody watching?
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FEYERICK: That is the scene that took place in the subway just a few days ago. Mona joins me now. So Mona, you were arrested, you spent about 22 hours in police custody. What made you do it? Was it worth it? MONA ELTAHAWY, EGYPTIAN COLUMNIST: Well, Deb, good morning. I decided to spray paint that poster because I considered the poster racist and bigoted. I'm a big fan of the First Amendment and I'm a big fan of freedom of speech and protected speech. I believe that that ad was considered by a federal judge to be protected speech and I believe what I did was protected speech.
I acted out of principle, and I also acted out of the knowledge that as an American, I'm an Egyptian-American. But as a U.S. citizen, I have a long and proud history of peaceful civil disobedience to draw on when facing injustice like racism or any other kind of movements throughout this country's history in which civil disobedience has been used, such as the women's rights movement or in the protest in the war in Vietnam.
FEYERICK: Obviously this took place when the United Nations general assembly was in town. Here you are asking police what you're being arrested for. What were you charged with?
ELTAHAWY: Eventually -- I wasn't told on the spot. I was neither read my rights nor was I told what I was being arrested for. But later at one of the precincts where I was held, and before I was taken to central booking, I was told I was charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti, and possessing a graffiti instrument. I was after 22 hours arraigned before a judge and I'm supposed to return in November to see whether I will be put on trial on these charges or not.
FEYERICK: Do you think that spray painting this particular ad was a form of peaceful disobedience? Was that what you were trying to sort of -- the message you were trying to send?
ELTAHAWY: My two messages were this, that I believe the poster is freedom of expression and I believe what I did was a freedom of expression in answer to that. I chose a very nonviolent, peaceful method. I mean, I chose the color pink. You don't get more peaceful and nonviolent than pink.
And I chose not rip the poster. I saw a man in another subway station earlier that day actually physically rip the poster. I wanted to leave the poster where it was. But I wanted to express myself on its expression with the color pink to make a point that this is a nonviolent form of civil disobedience and also freedom of expression.
There are a lot of Jewish groups that actually spoke out about this particular advertisement. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs called it bigoted, divisive, unhelpful. The Union for Reformed Judaism said it not only slammed Muslims and they pollute America's own public square. The New York regional director of the Anti-Defamation League said the ads are offensive. Pro-Israel doesn't mean anti-Islam.
FEYERICK: Let's get to the woman who is at the heart of all of this, Pamela Geller. She is very, very divisive, this particular woman. She was one of those who stirred things up when they were down at ground zero, trying to get an Islamic center built there. The source of these ads, isn't that part of the problem? Aren't you sort of calling attention to somebody who is known for saying really outrageous things?
ELTAHAWY: You know, I reported -- I commented, rather, for CNN from Egypt about three weeks ago during the protests that broke out around that film that was taken from YouTube and shown on some TV channels. I understand that some people are saying well, by protesting, you're giving her more attention, but this is slightly different. The film, "Innocence of Muslims" was on YouTube and largely ignored until it was shown on some TV stations and violent protests broke out. This is a different matter. This is an ad put up in the New York subway used by 1 million people. The MTA itself did not want to put that ad up, recognizing that it was racist and bigoted.
And unlike in San Francisco, where similarly racist and bigoted ads appeared, our MTA in New York City did not put an ad next to it saying -- or a disclaimer saying that we do not support the message of this ad. So as a New Yorker, as a Muslim, and as an Arab, I chose a nonviolent, peaceful method of showing my freedom of expression to protest. I believe in the right to peacefully protest that offense.
Pamela Geller is known -- she has a long and disgusting history of anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, and Anti-African-American hate. She's racist and she's bigoted. And I'm proud that I took part in this protest. I'm proud to hear of all these Jewish groups who have spoken up. And I also proudly took part in protests against her hate and bigotry when an Islamic community center was planned for ground zero. We're New Yorkers. We don't support racism in New York. As a New Yorker and an Arab, I'm against racism and hate in all its forms against anyone.
FEYERICK: Sure. Mona, very interesting. We'll clearly follow to see what happens with all of this. The woman who tried to stop you, she may file charges. But keep us posted on what happens to you after your court date November 29th. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.
ELTAHAWY: Thank you.
FEYERICK: Meg Ryan tells CNN why she cannot forget a 14-year-old Cambodian girl who lived a life of unimaginable hardship. It is a CNN Special Report just a few moments away.
FEYERICK: Around the world, women and young girls are trying to stop years of exploitation and abuse. "New York Times" columnist and author Nicholas Kristof and several celebrity activists are talking to CNN about a new documentary on the "Women who hold up Half the Sky."
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NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: We're going to be going on a journey to some of the places of the world where the repression of women and girls is truly at its most extreme. We'll be traveling to six different countries and we've invited six American actresses to join us. We're going to meet some people who have so impressed with the work they're doing to build a better Sierra Leone, a better Cambodia, a better Vietnam, working on issues like sex trafficking, violence against women, and also solutions such as getting more girls into school and keeping them there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: And one of those actresses, meg Ryan. She tells us about her journey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEG RYAN, ACTRESS: I went to Cambodia because for some reason, I have this -- I don't know why, exactly, but a real soft spot for these third world girls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't want to be here, but they have no choice. If somebody gave them money, they leave here.
RYAN: The more faces I saw, the more innocence and the beauty of these little girls and the fact that they are kind of on the front line of abuse. And they are, actually these NGOs and humanitarian organization talk about when you are the one to fix the third world, this group of people is who you look to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you spent time in Cambodia with one girl in particular, Samana. She was 14 when she was kidnapped.
RYAN: She's the girl in my segment who has no eye. They wanted her to have sex with somebody and she said no, so they gouged her eye out. And her name is Samana, which means forgiveness. But she changed her name and she became forgiveness after this thing happened to her. And she's so mutilated, but still this big smile on her face. So it's always this feeling of, oh, heartbreak and triumph in one little face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's interesting that you talked about a girl who had her eye gouged out by a brothel, yet you are talking in the context of hope, of transformation, of feeling kind of inspired by what you saw.
RYAN: I think a lot about the first day I was in Cambodia, and all of those girls were telling their stories I think maybe for the first time to an outsider. And they held each other's hands, this little chain of really awful stories. And these girls were supported by one another in order to express the thing that had been the most difficult for them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's singing, her heart is breaking. "I'm just four years old and they sold me in the brothel."
RYAN: They made a song out of their particular experience, you know, in the brothels. And when I looked around, the other girls in the audience knew the words to all the little girls that were singing their song, the other girls knew the words. So for me, the power of community and feminine community, but community of sharing your most vulnerable self, and this creates a brand of community that's very, very strong, and that has stayed with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP) FEYERICK: So moving. Well, next hour, actress Gabrielle Union tells us about meeting a courageous 15-year-old girl in Vietnam. "Half the Sky" airs on PBS Monday and Tuesday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
FEYERICK: And we have this breaking news into CNN. "The New York Times" reports its former longtime publisher Arthur Sulzberger has died. He passed away today at his Southampton home following a long illness. He took the helm of the "Times" in 1963, and during his 34 year tenure he transformed it into a nationally recognized multi- billion-dollar brand. It was on his watch that the times published the Pentagon Papers. Arthur Sulzberger was 86.
And it's official, the deal is done. The refs are now officially back on the football field. We'll have more on the contract that was signed just moments ago.
FEYERICK: And this just in to CNN. Football fans, go get your footballs and get ready to spike. The deal is done. NFL refs making it official and signing a new contract for another eight years. A blown call -- you know the one I'm talking about -- by a replacement ref in a key game helping both sides get back to the bargaining table.
Ben Reiter is a "Sports Illustrated" staff writer. He has been watching all this. Ben, finally a deal, it's official. It's fascinating to me, what was the sticking point? Because there are three games now that a lot of people will say let's just scratch them and start, you know, with the next round of games.
BEN REITER, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED" STAFF WRITER: Right. Well, something unprecedented happened on Thursday night in Baltimore, Deb. Fans actually gave a standing ovation to NFL officials. That's how bad this has gotten. Monday night, of course, the botched call, changed the outcome of the Seahawks-Packers game in favor of Seattle. That kind of led to a public outcry. This cannot stand.
And 17 hours of negotiations between the NFL and the officials on Tuesday, finally late Wednesday night, they had an agreement in principle. Now finally the agreement has been formalized. The referees are back on the field and Sunday's games will be fully staffed by the proper officials.
FEYERICK: You know, what's interesting is that one of sticking points is that NFL owners wanted the referees to become full-time NFL employees. A lot of these refs hold other jobs. And that was one of the reasons that the owners were so unwilling to compromise. Why? I mean, these are very dedicated, professional referees. Why should that technically be an issue?
REITER: This is one of the things that gave the referees a really strong position in the bargaining. Take the most famous referee, Ed Hochuli. He works 50 hours as an attorney and another 50 as an NFL referee. That meant that he wasn't relying on the NFL's paycheck, so he could wait it out until the referees got a fair deal. They did get a deal.
I think it's unfair to say that most of the refs do not give their full attention to their jobs. They're the best in the world. They do. In the future, I think that they will probably all be full-time as the NFL wants. But right now, this is one of the reasons that the referees were able to stick it out as long as they did and really score a rare victory against the most powerful sports league in the entire world.
FEYERICK: It's so fascinating, we see football player salaries, you're talking about a 16-game season, and you're talking about a salary that's going to go from about $149,000 up to $173,000 next year, and then I think it goes above $200,000 in 2019. You're basically talking about 16,000 a game, give or take. It sounds like a lot of money, but it doesn't sound like a lot for the NFL. It's a $10 billion business.
REITER: Yes, and they fought tooth and nail about giving any concessions to the referees. This is an eight-year deal and these referees will be making an average of $204,000 in 2019. So yes, we can say that the referees did win. They did stick it out. But bottom line, this really is a drop in the bucket for the NFL. This isn't going to be impacting the owners that much.
FEYERICK: Yes, which is really remarkable, especially since you look at this season and some people may think that some of the games deserve to have an asterisk by them is. This a black eye on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, or do you not think it was his fault?
REITER: Well, let's remember a few things. One is that Roger Goodell is serving at the pleasure of the NFL's 32 owners. People kind of view a sports commissioner as these all-powerful King Solomon type figures. They're not. Goodell is an employee of the owners, just like the players are really. So he was kind of -- you know, the hatchet man here. He took a lot of the arrows. But at the end of the day, he was really doing the owners' bidding here.
FEYERICK: All right, well, we'll see where it goes. Ben Reiter with "Sports Illustrated," always good to talk to you. Thanks so much.
Samuel L. Jackson is appearing in a new political ad and you could call it a mix between his foul-mouthed pulp fiction character and a children's bedtime story. Huh? OK. We'll explain.
FEYERICK: Samuel L. Jackson is famous for his eloquent use of swear words in movies like "Pulp Fiction." Now he's using that colorful language to put President Obama in an online political ad. May I remind you of the mock children's book he narrated, "Go the Bleep to Sleep"? Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mom, dad, election is coming up soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're tired right now, honey, go back to your room. SAMUEL L. JACKSON, ACTOR: Sorry, my friend, there's no time to snore. An out of touch millionaire has just declared war. On schools, the environment, unions, fair pay. We're all on his own if Romney has his way. He's against safety nets. If you fall, tough luck. I strongly suggest that you wake the (bleep) up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: And that ad was paid for by the Jewish Council for Education and Research, a super-PAC supporting Obama.
Massages, facials, perhaps a mani-pedi, we'll have some advice on how to get the most out of your day at the spa.
FEYERICK: Spas used to be a special treat on vacation, but now they are the destination. Holly Firfer gets spa-ified in this is this week's "On the Go."
HOLLY FIRFER: Massages, facials, hot tubs. Spa vacations are a great way to unplug and relax.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You should go to a spa to relax your body, to relax your mind, to have some time off, to give yourself a break from the rest of the world.
FIRFER: To make sure you get the most out of your spa vacation, give yourself time to slow down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It often takes people a couple days to actually fully relax and go with the flow of being quiet. And so arranging a spa vacation for at least two to three days allows you to decompress and release all that energy from the outside.
FIRFER: She also suggests arriving the night before and staying in a less expensive hotel. That way you wake up the next morning refreshed and ready to go to the spa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Consider traveling to a spa resort midweek and scheduling your treatments at off times to get great deals.
FIRFER: But don't overdo it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know it sounds fantastic to get a massage and a facial and a mud bath and a swim and a yoga class. However, if you overbook yourself, you'll not allow time to actually relax.
FIRFER: Holly Firfer, CNN.
FEYERICK: And we have much more ahead in the next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING, which starts right now.