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Tropical Storm Barry in Florida; Tuberculosis Patient's Troubles; Protestors in Germany; Presidential Hopefuls; CNN Hero

Aired June 02, 2007 - 10:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: From the CNN Center, this is the CNN NEWSROOM, and it is Saturday, June 2nd, 10 a.m. in central Florida.
Good morning to you all. Thank you for being here. I'm T.J. Holmes.

BETTY NGUYEN, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Yes. Hi, there, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

The 2007 hurricane season sure didn't waste any time getting started this year. And right now, Tropical Storm Barry is drenching much of Florida. And tornado warnings, they are in effect.

We have complete coverage. That is straight ahead.

HOLMES: Also, the latest in the TB traveler's troubles. With all of his issues, can you believe he's having to answer the question, are they or aren't they married? Well, it depends on who you ask. We're talking about a new twist in the story.

Also, this.

NGUYEN: Goodness. Under attack in Afghanistan. We are going to take you inside the Green Berets.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

NGUYEN: Yes. We are watching breaking news out of Germany this morning. Look at these pictures of riot police moving in as protestors throw rocks and bottles.

This happening in the German port town of Rostock. This is new video into CNN ahead of the G8 summit that opens next week, on Monday, in fact.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is in Rostock, and he'll have live reports for us throughout the morning.

HOLMES: To get back to the U.S. now and our other big story this morning, Tropical Storm Barry bearing down on the Gulf coast of Florida right now.

CNN'S Susan Roesgen is keeping an eye on things for us there in Florida.

She joins us now from Steinhatchee, Florida.

Good morning to you.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT, STEINHATCHEE, FLORIDA: Good morning, T.J. A wet, soggy day here in Steinhatchee. But you know, weather that's bad for sunbathers is always good for boaters.

We've got some people actually here getting ready to go out in a boat. This is big red fish and trout territory.

I talked to a couple of boaters earlier this morning. They said they were out yesterday and the weather was about the same, but they had a pretty good haul. So, I guess they've decided to try it again.

This area is really low-lying. They got hit by a big tidal surge way back in 1993, that flooded just about every home here. So they're always concerned about flooding.

But as you can see, it's just a really wet day, a soggy day. It doesn't look like there's going to be anything too serious in this area.

And, in fact, you know it's a wimpy tropical storm, T.J., when the sheriff's deputy assigned to patrol this area is in his car with a game of solitaire on his laptop.

So, they're not expecting much in terms of anything serious here. Just, again, a bad day to be out if you're just strolling, a good day if you're going out boating. We'll see if these guys get anything - T.J.

HOLMES: Well, all right. Well, I guess the sheriff playing solitaire is a good sign and a bad sign in some ways. Susan, thank you so much.

NGUYEN: Well, let's get an eye on what is happening with this weather, especially watching Barry out there churning.

CNN's Bonnie Schneider is keeping a look on all of it for us this morning. Keeping you awfully busy, too, Bonnie.


Well, Tropical Storm Barry right now, it's about 80 miles to the southwest of Tampa at this time. We're waiting for the 11 o'clock advisory, then we'll have a new position statement for you.

But the movement is to the north-northeast at 20 miles per hour, with sustained winds at 50 miles per hour, so still a tropical storm. And we're not expecting it to strengthen. It should come in as a tropical storm later on this afternoon.

Here's a look at the track now. You can see, as it works steadily up the southeast coastline, eventually it'll work its way towards the Carolinas. This is actually bringing beneficial rainfall to this region.

But looking at the satellite perspective, it doesn't even look like much in terms of a tropical storm. That's because of wind shear. Strong vertical wind shear coming in in the upper levels of the atmosphere have really torn down this storm, and actually got going yesterday when it was over the warmer waters of the loop current, the water temperature there about 82 degrees.

Now it's starting to come into some cooler waters, a little bit more shallow waters. And as it does, it's also getting some strong wind, and that's why it's tearing down a bit and not really developing into anything major.

Nonetheless, there's still a tropical storm warning from Keaton Beach all the way down to Bonita Beach, and a tropical storm watch northward towards the St. Marks area in northern Florida.

Now, we are also watching very closely. Susan mentioned that it didn't look like a very impressive storm. But the problem is, when the storm comes onshore later on today, into the mid-day, 2 o'clock hour, we could possibly see more tornadoes get going.

We've had some tornado watches down in south Florida earlier. This tornado watch that goes to Orlando, through Tampa, Sarasota, this actually will continue straight till 3 o'clock today. So, we still run the risk of severe weather straight into the afternoon - Betty, T.J.

HOLMES: All right, Bonnie, thank you so much. We'll be checking in with you.

NGUYEN: And more on that breaking news out of Rostock, Germany today where riot police are in full gear. Protestors are on the streets ahead of the G8 summit.

Let's take you live now to CNN's Frederik Pleitgen, who is in the thick of things.

Frederik, have things calmed down any?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, ROSTOCK, GERMANY (via broadband): Well, Betty, at this very large anti-G8 protest here in Rostock, Germany, things have sort of calmed down a little bit here on site.

What we're seeing right now is basically a standoff between the protestors and the police, so everything is calm right now. But only minutes ago, as you said, this place erupted into a melee, as protestors clashed with riot police here, really, the protestors throwing rocks, also throwing bottles - throwing anything they could find. I saw a shopping cart fly.

But we also saw police use teargas to try and sort of break that situation apart.

In the end, the police officers here were so outnumbered, that they actually had to retreat from this area, basically leaving it to the protestors. And we saw the protestors, cheering that situation on, continue to throw rocks at those police officers who were having to retreat.

Now, right now, as I said, the situation has calmed down somewhat. The police are still moving backwards. So, there is some hope that this will a bit calm down in the next couple of minutes - Betty.

NGUYEN: Watching this throughout the morning. And as you mentioned, the violence will break out for a little bit and then it'll calm down.

Speaking with you earlier, you said that police were outnumbered 10 to one.

Do you have any idea how many protestors are there on the streets? Obviously, in the thousands.

PLEITGEN: Well, basically, what the organizers here of the protest actually said over the loudspeakers here, they say, they think that about 50,000 people have actually showed up for this demonstration.

Now, beforehand they were saying they were expecting up to 100,000 people. What the police here are saying is that they believe that about 98 percent of the people that are here are actually very, very peaceful people, who just want to protest against the G8 summit, and really don't have any violence in mind.

But on the other hand, of course, there were those two percent they say that did very much have violence in mind. And they say that those people infiltrated, but (ph) most of the protestors that were very peaceful, and then sort of started those riots going only a couple of minutes ago, Betty.

NGUYEN: And we're looking at the video of people bloodied, bandages on their hands, cars overturned.

Do you have any idea on the numbers of injured, or how badly folks are getting injured, because of what has broken out there?

PLEITGEN: Well, basically, what we have seen here from our position right here, we have seen people also with bloodied heads. We've seen a lot of people here trying to wipe teargas out of their eyes.

I have been in touch with the police leadership here in the area, and they say, all they can confirm right now is that several police officers have been injured in the melee that ensued. And they also say that several protestors have been arrested. And again, that information is still very fresh, and that's why they're saying they can't give us any specific numbers right now.

But certainly, there have been people injured, and some of them pretty badly injured in those scuffles, Betty. NGUYEN: Yes, we can see with the video that was coming in - and just, there you go. There's another person with a bloodied head there being bandaged, and cars overturned, rocks being thrown. I think you said even a shopping cart was thrown at one point.

But for the most part, this is a peaceful protest, although little intermittent areas of violence will break out.

And here are some more live pictures coming in. And as you see, the police in full riot gear making their way through the crowd there, as Fredrick was saying, some 50,000 people. It could be upwards of a 100,000 later today. And, of course, we'll stay a watch of all of this.

Frederik Pleitgen joining us live there from Rostock, Germany. Thanks for that report, and we will be checking in with you throughout the day.

HOLMES: We've got a new twist to tell you about in the saga of the traveling TB patient.

Andrew Speaker denies claims made by a local Greek official that he didn't get married in Greece.

Here's his proof. A member of his family provided CNN with a wedding photo, hoping to prove that, yes, the ceremony did take place.

Meanwhile, Speaker went public for the first time, apologizing for making trans-Atlantic flights while infected with a dangerous form of tuberculosis.

In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Speaker said, health officials never warned him he'd be a risk to his fellow passengers. Speaker claims they only told him that after he was in Europe.


ANDREW SPEAKER, HOSPITALIZED WITH TUBERCULOSIS: I said, what's changed? When I left I was told I wasn't a threat to anyone. When I was left I was told that I wasn't contagious. What's changed?

Why are you abandoning me like this and expecting me to turn myself over for an indefinite time? What has changed?

And they didn't have an answer to that.


HOLMES: Andrew Speaker says he can back up his claims, because his father taped his conversation with health officials before that trip.

Georgia law does allow such recordings, if it's done by a person involved in the conversation.

And I spoke with Dave Rich, who is a friend of Andrew Speaker, yesterday. I asked him if Speaker knew the seriousness of his condition.


DAVE RICH, FRIEND OF ANDREW SPEAKER, TB TRAVELER: I believe that nobody really understood what his condition was, including Drew.

But again, you know, the details of his tuberculosis condition I was not informed of, and I don't believe that Drew knew, as well.

HOLMES: How did you find out? When the story starting coming across the wires, newspaper reports and breaking news stories and here and there, did it hit in the back of your head, oh, my goodness, they're talking about my friend? Or did you know, ahead of time that already, that the authorities were after him?

RICH: Well, I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I mean, when I heard that there was a gentleman in Atlanta who had tuberculosis, that narrowed it down a little bit. But then when I found out that a gentleman in Atlanta had returned from Greece, I said that, if this is someone else, the circumstances are just fantastic.

So, obviously, I didn't think it was a coincidence. I figured it was Drew.

HOLMES: And last here, if we all do believe him, and he says that he had no idea that he was that contagious - and we know he got the call while he was over in Europe that he should turn himself in - do you think he acted irresponsibly by not stopping right then and doing what he was told and go in to authorities?

RICH: Well, T.J., I really - I don't really want to get involved in the underlying case, because, again, facts are coming out at all times. I can only tell you this, that in my time of knowing Drew, he's a close friend of mine. I know him to be a truthful and honest individual. I know him to not - to be somewhat selfless and to be an upstanding member of the community.

So, when he says that he didn't know that, I trust him. But again, to the certain facts and circumstances of exactly what took place overseas, I can't state that, as I was not involved.


HOLMES: Again, that was Dave Rich. I spoke to him yesterday about his close friend, Andrew Speaker.

NGUYEN: Well, on the trail in the Granite State, a long, major player there in presidential politics. But with a changing campaign calendar, is winning in New Hampshire still the key to the White House?

That question, plus this.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Air France has one flight a day from Atlanta to Paris. And on May 12th, the passengers who took the nearly nine-hour flight had no reason to think about the man in seat 30-H.

No one had warned them about Andrew Speaker.


HOLMES: CNN's Gary Tuchman takes a closer look at the "he said, they said" between Andrew Speaker and the CDC.

NGUYEN: And later, when grown men act like little boys. What is he doing? We are going to take you - oh, my goodness - out to the ballgame. That is later in the NEWSROOM.

HOLMES: A perfectly good explanation for this, Betty.

NGUYEN: Oh, I'm sure.

HOLMES: Perfectly good explanation.


NGUYEN: Fred Thompson is moving closer to a full-blown presidential run. The former senator from Tennessee, and "Law and Order" actor, filed the paperwork to create a fund-raising committee that allows him to gauge support before officially declaring his candidacy.

Now, sources close to Thompson tell CNN he already has the backing of some big Republican donors. His drawing power may be revealed tonight. Thompson is in Virginia to attend a major Republican fund-raiser.

HOLMES: Was that "Law and Order" music?

NGUYEN: It was.

HOLMES: OK. I just thought it was me, losing my mind.

All right. So, where is everybody else these days?

Republicans Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are working southern states, Romney in Tennessee, Giuliani in a rainy Florida. And as for the Democrats, many of them focusing on Iowa today. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Joe Biden will all be on hand for a big Iowa Democratic Party dinner.

Biden will also address the New Hampshire Democratic Convention today before heading to Iowa. That's the same schedule Bill Richardson is keeping - morning in New Hampshire, evening in Iowa. Democrat Chris Dodd also attending that state convention in Concord, New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama conspicuously absent from the events today in Iowa and New Hampshire. Instead, he's on a western swing through California and Washington state. But he'll be in New Hampshire tomorrow, joining the Democratic hopefuls for the CNN- sponsored debate.

And let's talk about those debates. Joining me now live from Manchester, CNN senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, part of the best political team on television.

All right, Bill. We know a lot of the primary dates have been moved around and moved up. New Hampshire always wants to hold on to what it has, being so important. Well, it is still as crucial as it's always been in the primaries.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE: As long as it's first, it's going to be crucial. And they are determined to be first here in New Hampshire.

The secretary of state says that he will officially announce the date of the New Hampshire primary in September.

We don't really know when it's going to be. But they are determined to be, according to their own state law, at least a week ahead of any other state. And that means, as long as they're first, it's important.

And the candidates are going to be here. They're all coming to the debate, the Democrats Sunday and the Republicans Tuesday. They're going to be spending a lot of time here, but they're going to be spending a lot of time in other states this year, as well.

HOLMES: I'm sure feeling some pressure as if, hey, maybe we are starting to lose some of our relevance, and we need to make sure we're first. Are they feeling that?

And also, what happens to the candidate, historically speaking, who does win New Hampshire?

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yes. Well, first of all, they are feeling a little bit crowded out. They've had meetings about it. I attended a forum right here at St. Anselm's College, where they agonized over whether Florida and California are trying to crowd them out.

You know, they do claim one special virtue in New Hampshire, and it's important. Not that they are diverse - they are not. It's a rural and overwhelmingly white state.

Their advantage is that they are small, and they have a lot of experience testing presidential candidates. So, they claim that they have - that they should be allowed the right to do it. And the parties allow them to do it, and they'll do it first.

Now, the candidates are all coming here. They're meeting face- to-face with the voters.

What happens to the winner in New Hampshire? Well, typically, the winner in New Hampshire gets a big boost. It doesn't mean that the winner always gets the nomination. He - or she, in this case, possibly - they do not.

John McCain beat George Bush in New Hampshire in 2000, but Bush came roaring back in South Carolina. He got the nomination.

Bill Clinton actually came in second here in New Hampshire to Paul Tsongas, and Clinton got the nomination. But clearly, Clinton and McCain were given a tremendous boost by New Hampshire.

HOLMES: All right. And we know how important New Hampshire is. But like we say, the primary schedule moving around, people moving their primaries up.

So, who else besides New Hampshire is going to be a bigger player, maybe than they've ever been before, with some of this scheduling going on?

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, of course, Iowa will come about a week before New Hampshire. But then the Democrats have allowed two other states to move up.

Nevada will have an early caucus. The Democrats wanted a state with a lot of union members - that's Nevada - as well as a large Hispanic representation - also Nevada.

South Carolina is also allowed to move up, the first southern primary. The Democrats allowed that to happen, because they wanted African-American voters in the Democratic Party to have an early say.

But then, what happened? Florida said they're going to vote on January 29th, before the official season even begins. And once Florida did that, South Carolina said, wait a minute. We have to be the first southern primary.

So, South Carolina may move up. If South Carolina moves up, New Hampshire could move up. New Hampshire may have its primary in Thanksgiving. We don't know.

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness. There's a primary in a couple of weeks, isn't it, and they're just not telling us yet, are they, Bill?

BILL SCHNEIDER: They're not.

HOLMES: Bill Schneider, part of the best political team on TV, there in New Hampshire for us. Thank you so much, Bill.

And you can be sure to join Bill and the rest of the best political team on television for the best coverage of the Democratic candidates' presidential debate. It all begins tomorrow at 5 Eastern, with special coverage of all the players and their weaknesses, and who's expected to do well.

Then at 7, Democratic candidates square off. And for the first time they are taking questions from the voters.

Well, immediately following the debate, you can join Larry, Wolf, Anderson, John and the Democratic candidates themselves, live for "Raw Politics."

NGUYEN: Embedded with the Green Berets and under fire by the Taliban, a documentary crew gets much more than it bargained for when it goes behind the lines.

And in the middle of a deadly explosion, you have got to see this dramatic story. It is straight ahead.

But first ...


KEN NOGUCHI (voice of interpreter): When I first climbed Mount Everest, it was full of garbage. Especially Japanese garbage stood out.

When European alpinists reproached me saying, "You Japanese have bad manners," I really felt terrible. It's obviously Japanese garbage. Anyone can see that.


HOLMES: Well, if you think cleaning up your neighborhood is tough, imagine trying to do it in a place that is sky high.

We'll tell you about a CNN hero doing his part to defend the environment. That is straight ahead, here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Climbing high for a cause. We are talking about today's CNN hero. All this year we're introducing you to some incredible people. And they're people who make a difference in some pretty amazing ways.

This morning, meet a young mountain climber from Japan. And he's making sure some of the world's most beautiful summits stay that way.


KEN NOGUCHI, ALPINIST AND CNN HERO (voice of interpreter): Before I was known for being the youngest one to climb the highest peaks.

But recently people say, oh, it's the garbage guy.

I started picking up trash on Everest eight years ago.

NOGUCHI: My name is Ken Noguchi, and I am alpinist, and also clean the mountain.

NOGUCHI (voice of interpreter): When I first climbed Mount Everest, it was full of garbage, especially Japanese garbage stood out.

Many European alpinists reproached me saying, "You Japanese have bad manners."

I really felt terrible. It's obviously Japanese garbage. Anyone can see that. So, I thought, if it's so obvious, we should clean it up.

Cleaning Everest is especially tough. Many times I thought I would quit, because it was so hard. But if I stop, all I've endured loses its meaning.

On Mount Fuji we clean year-round. First we teach the volunteers how to separate for recycling. But then, the important thing is to explain to them why we are picking up the garbage.

When I find this dangerous garbage, I feel the sense of crisis first hand. I do this because it's my social responsibility.

With such a mission, rather than doing it quietly, it is better to advertise. So, if I become a hero and lots of people start coming, then being a hero is a good thing, isn't it.


NGUYEN: Well, if you'd like to learn more about helping Ken and clean up some of the world's most famous summits, or you just want to nominate someone you think deserves special recognition for a CNN Hero Award, you'll find all the details at

HOLMES: Well, if you are just getting up this morning, we need to tell you that we are tracking Tropical Storm Barry across Florida today - landfall expected a few hours from now.

NGUYEN: CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider is following developments in the weather center, and we're going to check in with her straight ahead.

Also, a little bit later - hey. It's just the minor leagues, right?

What is he doing?

HOLMES: Serious.

NGUYEN: Yes. This is not minor anymore. A major meltdown on the field. He is going crazy.

We'll tell you what kicked off this tantrum, later in the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: We are watching the breaking news out of Germany this morning. Riot police moving in as protestors throw rocks and bottles. You see some of that here. This happening in the German port town of Rostock, ahead of the G-8 summit that opens next week. Now we're going to continue to follow the developments in this story and bring you updates just as soon as we get them.

HOLMES: Keeping an eye on the storm, tropical storm Barry, moving closer to making landfall. That's expected to happen some time this afternoon. Watches and warnings are in place up and down much of Florida's Gulf coast. We've heard there is already some coastal flooding north of Tampa.

NGUYEN: Let's check in now with CNN's meteorologist Bonnie Schneider, who is in the hurricane weather center, the headquarters, as we're calling it, watching this severe weather as it plays out. So we went through, what, Barbara, now Barry, and some tornado watches as well.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right, Betty. We are not out of the woods yet. This storm has yet to make landfall. We're actually waiting on the 11:00 advisory from the National Hurricane Center, but here's the latest information, right now the storm center southwest of Miami, about 80 miles away. The movement's to the northeast at 20 miles per hour. So it's a fast-moving tropical storm with maximum winds at 50 miles per hour. This will bring beneficial rain, actually, to a good portion of the southeast. The concern right now, tornadoes. The tornado watch continues until 3:00 today. It includes cities like Daytona Beach, Orlando, Tampa, and Sarasota, where we could see severe weather break out.

Right now we're just seeing some heavy rain, particularly north of the system, and we're also watching out for some strong winds as well. The winds haven't been too bad, but they are intensifying, particularly here to the north. You can see near Tallahassee, the winds are coming in at about 22 miles per hour. So we are going to see very strong winds, tropical storm force strength as we work our way through the next couple of hours. This is the visible satellite picture that shows where the storm is located, and we're going to be watching this very closely. As soon as we get that advisory, we'll bring it to you live. Betty, T.J.?

NGUYEN: Thank you, Bonnie. We'll be watching that, as well.

HOLMES: We are also watching yet another bizarre turn in the saga of that traveling TB patient, Andrew Speaker. He denies claim made by a local Greek official that his marriage in Greece never happened. Well, take that! A member of Speaker's family provided CNN with a wedding photo, hoping to prove that, yes, the ceremony took place. Meanwhile, the Atlanta attorney repeatedly apologized for traveling overseas with that dangerous form of TB, insists that doctors told him he was not contagious.

Well what did Andrew Speaker know about his illness and when did he know it? Well, when you ask those questions, it depends on who you ask. Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman with a timeline of events.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Air France has one flight a day from Atlanta to Paris. And on May 12th, the passengers who took the nearly nine-hour flight had no reason to think about the man in seat 30-h. No one had warned them about Andrew Speaker. But what was said to the 31-year-old man with a dangerous string of tuberculosis before he got on that plane? Health officials in Fulton County, Georgia, say they ordered him not to travel. DR. ERIC BENNING, FULTON COUNTY GA. HEALTH DEPT: We are not a police authority, but we did tell him in no uncertain terms that he should not travel and we told him the reasons why.

TUCHMAN: But through an open records request, CNN has obtained a copy of the letter that the health department wrote to Andrew Speaker, and it specifically says "it is strongly recommended" that you postpone your travel. As it turns out, Speaker never got the letter. It was mailed on May 11th, health officials thinking he was planning on flying to Paris on May 14th, but instead, he left a day after the letter was mailed. Officials say they learned that when they also attempted to hand-deliver the letter hours after he left. Speaker was adamant when he told "ABC News" why he felt it was OK to fly.

ANDREW SPEAKER, TB PATIENT: I had no symptoms. I was smear negative, and I was told that you are not contagious and you are not a threat. That's why we went on.

TUCHMAN: Speaker has known since January that he's had TB, but the county health department says it learned that fact on April 23rd from his private physician. On May 10th, health department officials determined it was a multi-drug-resistant strain. And then six days later, after his plane flight, they determined it was worse, the extremely dug-resistant variety of TB.

BENNING: At that point, we certainly wanted to make sure that we notified the patient.

TUCHMAN: But it wasn't until well after Speaker was in Europe, specifically in Rome, that the Centers for Disease Control was able to reach him by phone.

DR. MICHAEL LEONARD, EMORY UNIV. SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Public health officials were in contact with him in trying to come up with the safest way back to the U.S., and he chose an alternative route.

TUCHMAN: But Speaker says he wasn't offered any transportation, so he flew to Canada and then drove across the border into New York State. Earlier that same day, the CDC says it recommended he be put on a no-fly list, but he got through anyway. Now he is emotionally apologizing to the passengers that flew with him.

SPEAKER: I just hope they understand that I truly never meant to put them in harm.

TUCHMAN: Speaking from a Denver hospital under Federal order of isolation. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: Well, as we keep an eye on that strange story, we do want to look at what else we're covering this morning.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN.COM: Well, as you guys know, we are preparing for the debates online, preparing for the '08 race, and I'm going to be showing you how the campaign trail is shaping up with a couple of video blogs also known as vlogs. Those are next from the dot com desk.

NGUYEN: And on the front lines in Afghanistan with American green berets, a rare glimpse inside their world. The man who made the trip for "National Geographic" joins us this morning. That is ahead. It is a story of courage under fire, literally. You don't want to miss it.


NGUYEN: All right, get ready, because tomorrow night right here on CNN the Democratic presidential hopefuls square off for the second debate of the campaign season. And our special live coverage begins at 5:00 Eastern with the best political team on television.

HOLMES: And several of those Democratic candidates already in New Hampshire. They're speaking this morning at the state Democratic convention and CNN producer Sasha Johnson is there, as well, speaking with them. She joins us now on the phone from Concord. Tell us, I think you just got done with the senator from Connecticut, Chris Dodd. How's he doing? Is he pumped up?

SASHA JOHNSON, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, he is pumped up, actually. He just finished speaking and he got quite a number of standing ovations because of the anti-war sentiment that pulsed through the speech that he gave. But I talked to him right before he went in and obviously we don't have many big quote rock star candidates out here today. We have sort of what's called kind of that second tier who are out here in Concord speaking to these 800 delegates and guests, trying to press the flesh, change people's minds, convince people that they should join their team.

What Dodd said to me was, look, I really think a lot of New Hampshire voters haven't actually made up their mind and this is a great opportunity for me to come out, show that I'm here, show that I'm, you know, willing to talk to them, and maybe they'll join my team. So it's not all issues, you know. You have Joe Biden has spoken, Dennis Kucinich is speaking right now. The main issue is the war, obviously, because it's a huge issue here in New Hampshire. But like I said, it's not all issues. Candidates are running around with their staff, trying to pump people up. The visibility is a big deal here, tons of sons, tons of balloons, tons of chanting. But I have to say, the person that seems to have plod ahead the most, she's not speaking, but Hillary Clinton campaign handed out paper fans that say "I am a Hillary fan," and I have to tell you T.J., they're very, very popular, because the gym is about 100 degrees. Whether they're voting for Hillary or not, they like the fans, let me tell you.

HOLMES: All this going on, all the name recognition she has, the front-runner and she's going to pull it off because she provided people with a fan.

JOHNSON: Her staff sure thought ahead.

HOLMES: All right, Sasha Johnson, one of our producers there on the ground for us in New Hampshire. Thank you so much for the update. Good luck there. JOHNSON: You're welcome.

NGUYEN: You know somebody's getting a promotion out of that one. Well in preparation before the debates, Veronica De La Cruz of the dot com desk has been showcasing the political content on and there's quite a bit there.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes, yes, also other Web site, you're going to love this. The word on the street is that there is some great stuff off the beaten campaign trail. We were just talking about sites like YouTube, other video-sharing sites that have basically opened up the Democratic process to anybody with a little web cam. Some of the candidates are even using YouTube to hold online discussions with voters. Here's a response to Dennis Kucinich.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Congressman Kucinich. I'm James and I'm extremely impressed by how serious you are about dialoguing with the YouTube community. Even though your stint in the you choose spotlight was a couple weeks ago, you have continued to upload personalized video responses, a whopping total of eight so far. Not only have you been answering people's questions by name, you look like you're actually enjoying it. This is the kind of dialogue I'm looking for. And your campaign is making history with the unprecedented way it's reaching out to voters through online video.


DE LA CRUZ: Some good stuff there. Remember Ron Paul's show- stopping performance in the last Democratic debate? Well, if you don't, this young woman certainly does.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Internet. My name is Rachel, and I'm a junkie, a Ron Paul junkie. It started right after the debates in South Carolina, the second debates on May 15th. Ron Paul just inspired me so much, and he said so many of the things that I've been wanting to hear from a politician for so long, and there he was on the stage saying them blatantly. And I don't know, ever since then, I'm just totally hooked.


DE LA CRUZ: She's pretty passionate there. Or is she a phone operator? I can't quite figure that out.

NGUYEN: She's a junkie nonetheless.

DE LA CRUZ: But brace yourself for this one, Betty. This one is a response, a man's cheeky response to Mike Huckabee's question, do you want to get rid of the IRS?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you really want to take away the IRS and expose the world to the consequences? I don't think so. See, I think there should be a maximum wage just like there is a minimum wage and that richer people should pay more and not less taxes.


DE LA CRUZ: No, no, I think the answer is no, I don't want to see the IRS disappear. Do you?

NGUYEN: I don't know what to say. Is it safe? Can I open my eyes?

DE LA CRUZ: Blame the producers. I didn't pick that one. It's great video and it's on YouTube. It's on video-sharing sites. Get used to it!

NGUYEN: Full exposure.

DE LA CRUZ: Get used to it. The blogs are obviously here to stay.

NGUYEN: It's all out there.

DE LA CRUZ: Not quite all out there.

HOLMES: Is there a female version of that?

NGUYEN: I knew that was coming from you. Thank you Veronica. I'll smack him, don't worry.

HOLMES: Well, we will move on here and talk about some of the most elite forces in the U.S. military and they battle an unforgiving enemy in the mountains of Afghanistan. We are going to take you inside the world of the green berets. That is straight ahead here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


SCHNEIDER: I'm CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider. We now have a tropical depression. Barry has weakened to depression strength, meaning the maximum winds right now are at 35 miles per hour. The storm has also picked up speed. It's moving to the north-northeast at 23 miles per hour. We're still expecting three to five inches of rain across Florida as this depression works its way in. Right now it's just north of Tampa. Once again, Barry has been downgraded to a tropical depression.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to get the [ bleep ] out of here! Back this [ bleep ] up.


NGUYEN: That is an IED attack as it happened to a unit of Green Berets working in Afghanistan. The images captured by a crew working on a "National Geographic" special. Steven Hoggard is the producer and director of that special called "Inside the Green Berets" and he joins us now live from Washington this morning. Welcome. We really appreciate you being here with us. This is quite some footage that you were able to capture. And I understand that you were working for a year just to gain access and not only did you get that access, you were able to embed for 10 days. That's something that the Pentagon usually doesn't allow. How were you able to pull that off?

STEVEN HOGGARD, DIR., "INSIDE THE GREEN BERETS": Well, thanks for having me, Betty. We worked for quite a long time in building trust with the Green Berets and we didn't really know where we were going to go, even on the eve of our departure from the U.S., but once we got there, a lot of the imbed (ph) rules sort of melted away for us, rules about showing faces and length of stay and that sort of thing.

NGUYEN: Before those 10 days were over, you were actually involved in an explosion, one of the deadliest blasts in the war in Afghanistan and I want our viewers just to take a look, because your cameras captured that blast, at least some of it, before those cameras melted. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As truck number three comes up the lane, we feel it moving towards us from about 30 feet away.

The IED explosion blinds us and knocks our camera out of commission.


NGUYEN: Goodness. You were about 35 feet away from when that explosion took place, and I just want to read something that you say. After the initial shock of the explosion wore off, I remember I felt up and down, my arms and my legs. I was just terribly surprised that everything was still there. Walk us through that, because you obviously were aware that danger was out there, but were you even at all prepared for something like that?

HOGGARD: Well, unfortunately, we were prepared because they had spent about two hours prior to the explosion clearing seven IEDs from that hilltop. And they moved us back about 150 yards or so and told us very clearly that the kill radius of these things was a football field or so. So when it went off 35 feet away, you know, I realized very quickly how lucky we had been to survive.

NGUYEN: How did this experience affect you as a filmmaker, but also as an American?

HOGGARD: Well, you know, it's affected me profoundly, I think. I was just at a memorial service for one of the guys who didn't make it through that night, and I think it just reinforces the understanding of how much these guys sacrifice. And it still astounds me that after going through what we went through, these guys go through this sort of thing all the time, friends and buddies, and then go out again and again and again for multiple tours, so I think it just, the respect I had for these guys is exponentially higher now and maybe the insight into what makes them so dedicated is, I have a deeper understanding of that, I guess.

NGUYEN: It's got to be hard, though to go through an experience like that, where two people, two Americans were killed in that blast, people injured. You yourself were injured in that blast. And just to walk away, to go home to try to go back to normal life.

HOGGARD: Well, I think, you know in a way, we had been working on the film for about five months now since that event and I guess in some ways, it's been cathartic for us. I got a call the other night from one of the friends of one of the fellows who was killed and he said he had finally gotten the wherewithal to watch our film and thought it did that service, did the story justice and didn't pull any punches and conveys the complexity of what's going on out there, so that was a compliment that meant more to me than anything else anyone said about the film.

NGUYEN: Well, I can't wait to watch it. We thank you for your time today and just sharing your experience with us. Steven Hoggard, director of "Inside the Green Berets." And that film airs Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on the National Geographic channel. Thank you.

HOGGARD: Thanks for having me.

HOLMES: Well, we've seen snippets of this video a little bit this morning. This major league meltdown. It was a major league meltdown, but it actually happened in the minor leagues.

NGUYEN: Oh, it's not my -- what is this man doing? We are going to take you out to the ball game. At least, we think a ball game was taking place there. That's straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

SCHNEIDER: I'm Bonnie Schneider with a look at your lawn and garden forecast. Well, if you're wondering what to do with those old newspapers, they may actually help you in the garden. To prepare for planting season mix in shredded black and white newspaper to your soil and that will prepare it for planting vegetables. That's a look at your lawn and garden report for Saturday. I'm meteorologist Bonnie Schneider.


HOLMES: Kiran Chetry's here with us now. New developments almost every morning this week, certainly on the tuberculosis story. "American Morning" all over the story. She's here now with some of the highlights. Hello to you Kiran.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, good to see you, T.J.. We followed that tuberculosis story and the surprising revelations that kept breaking, the news about the father-in-law working for the CDC in a place that deals with tuberculosis, also the border crossing. It was a developing story all week and on Wednesday we spoke with the CDC director, Julie Gerberding, who was on the defensive when we asked if the initial response by health officials was bungled. Take a listen.


DR. JULIE GERBERDING, CDC DIRECTOR: It was a holiday weekend here and in Europe, so it took some time to get all the pieces together. I think everyone was working very hard. We haven't been in this situation for 40 years, so we kind of had to make up a plan as we went along.


CHETRY: Next week we're going to continue to follow the latest developments on that TB case, T.J. ...

HOLMES: The way it's been going, I'm sure there will be a lot of developments as well next week. Also, this story this week. This guy, a fun guy to kind of watch here, very unassuming guy. A big exclusive this week revealing the person who stopped the Ft. Dix terrorist plot.

CHETRY: That's right. We heard a lot about this person and he gave his first interview ever to "American Morning." Brian Morganstern, someone that a lot of people in law enforcement are calling a real-life hero, the Circuit City clerk who thankfully was paying attention when a customer asked him to dub a tape. He saw the suspicious activity. And then listen to how he describes what happened next.


BRIAN MORGENSTERN: I thought about whether or not it should be reported. I actually waited that night and weighed out my decisions. I went home, I talked to my family about it, thought their input would be very helpful in this situation. They agreed with me. And the next day I went into work and I told the management at the time that I was going to make the call and they supported me. Circuit City's been very supportive on this whole situation. And I called the police.


HOLMES: All right, and of course, Kiran, next week or actually, this weekend, Sunday starts a big political debates kicking off here on CNN. I know you all are going to be all over that coverage next week.

CHETRY: That's right, the morning after, when everyone likes to get together and rate how the candidates did and talk about some of the key issues. We're going to be live, of course, in New Hampshire on Monday, on Tuesday and Wednesday talking with all of the candidates as well as the fact checkers behind some of the claims that I'm sure will be made there on the podium in New Hampshire, T.J..

HOLMES: Of course and of course all the highlights and low lights. Well thank you so much, good to see you Kiran. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

CHETRY: You too, have a great one T.J. ...

HOLMES: And of course, you can start your day off just right (INAUDIBLE) with Kiran Chetry and John Roberts every week at 6:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

We do hear this from athletes all the time, I gave it 110 percent, how does that go, just like that. It's kind of overused, but sometime it's really true and take a look at this example.

NGUYEN: What is he doing? Well this time, it's not a player giving the extra effort. Instead it's the minor league manager Phillip Wellman (ph) of the AA Mississippi (INAUDIBLE) and that is a manager, folks. All of this craziness came after he was tossed from the game in the third inning. It doesn't really matter why. It's just kind of funny to watch him losing it there on the field.