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Child Abuse Caught on Tape; Peaceful Protests in Myanmar Turn Bloody and Violent; Oroville, California, Schools on Lockdown
Aired September 28, 2007 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The military have the weapons, the people have their anger. That word from a U.S. envoy in the chaotic capital of Myanmar three days into a bloody military crackdown on pro- democracy protesters. We'll get as close as any western journalists are allowed to get.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Also, a monstrous act of child abuse is caught on tape and now police all over America want to catch the abuser too and rescue his victim. It is a horrible story but you may be able to help.
Hello, everybody. Good afternoon. I'm Betty Nguyen in for Kyra Phillips today at CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta.
LEMON: It's hard to look at this picture...
NGUYEN: Hopefully we can help resolve it.
LEMON: Absolutely and I'm Don Lemon. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
A young child is in danger and authorities urgently need your help. The Nye County Nevada Sheriff's Office released these images earlier this week. They were taken from a videotape that shows a man performing acts, sex acts on a little girl. Authorities say she can't be more than 4 or 5 years old and today an enhanced photo of the suspect several times her age.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF ANTHONY DE MEO, NYE COUNTY, NEVADA: This is a face of a female, a young female, who is not showing any emotion in the tape whatsoever from those who viewed it and apparently this is not the first circumstance which she's been exposed to this type of brutality. The upside of it, we actually narrowed the timeline down to at least January 2005 until May of 2007.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, the sheriff, well he says he'll release more information next hour that could help identify the child or the suspect. Make sure you watch for it. It is at 2:00 Eastern right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Take a look. These are holy men on a very dangerous mission. Buddhist monks in the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar leading one of several and growing protest marches demanding an end to harsh military rule in their country. That's a common sentiment in Myanmar, but public displays of opposition despite just a few days ago resulting in a violent crackdown.
People who are there are telling us about guns and beatings and killings by police and armed security forces. The official death toll is nine civilians and some witnesses say the figure is very low, but there are claims that it simply can't be verified at this point.
Now, thousands of miles from Myanmar, dissidents are logging on to relay witness accounts, eyewitness accounts of the bloody events in their homeland. CNN's Phil Black reports.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ko Htike is a man with a laptop sitting in London a long way away from his home in Myanmar. He has become a key middleman in the effort to expose events in his country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BLACK: On this morning, Ko Htike has e-mailed this photo. Apparent visual evidence that police raided a monastery. That Buddhist monks inside were beaten and arrested.
From a London apartment Ko Htike he acts as a conduit for his contacts in Myanmar. He logs on from 3:00 a.m. every day to receive the latest digitally smuggled photos, video and information.
KO HTIKE, INTERNET ACTIVIST: It's too dangerous for them. If they get caught, you will never know their future, maybe just disappear, maybe life in prison or maybe dead. You will never know.
BLACK (on camera): Why do they do it?
HTIKE: They thought that this is their duty for the country.
BLACK (voice-over): Around 20,000 people are visiting the site every day. But maintaining it is taking its toll.
HTIKE: You know, I even want to feel crying you know because I can't bear -- sometimes I shake my hands, it's true. BLACK: But Ko Htike isn't alone. There is a global force of individual online activists and from Norway's capital regular broadcasts from the democratic voice of Burma, a radio and television station whose undercover journalists in Myanmar are responsible for much of what the world knows about what is going on there.
AYE CHAN NAING, DEMOCRATIC VOICE OF BURMA: We have a people on the ground. We have been running as a radio station for the past 15 years. We have our own trained journalists and also we do have lots of contacts throughout the country who are giving us information as this is happening.
BLACK: When the government used brutal force to put down the democratic uprising of 1988, few people saw it. Technology and courage mean that can't happen again.
VINCENT BROSSELS, REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS: They're ready to I think to die for that. I mean, I spoke with the Burmese (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this morning in Yangon and he told me that now I don't care about anything. I'm ready to be in jail. I'm ready to die for that.
BLACK: Ko Htike says he longs to be protesting on the streets with his countrymen but he believes he can make a bigger difference at his computer.
HTIKE: I'm just trying to support (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and I'm just trying to stop killing our people inside Burma so if I can publish these kinds of photos and these kind of news inside to the world so maybe they might stop a little bit.
BLACK: One man and a laptop fighting to change a nation.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
LEMON: We go inside the Myanmar story in the CNN NEWSROOM just a little bit later. But first I want to get you to the NEWSROOM and a developing story, a fire, Fred. Where is it?
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Well this is in Mint Hill, North Carolina, not from Charlotte, North Carolina. It's a pretty serious apartment fire. Just take a look at some of the pictures we've been able to get in. Apparently this fire has nearly wiped out or completely engulfed an entire end of an apartment building.
We don't know anything about whether people were actually inside this apartment building at the time of the blaze, nor do we know exactly what may have ignited it but it is pretty significant. We'll try to bring you the pictures when we get them more available and up and running. Charlotte fire department officials are also on the scene trying to assist in this apartment fire that's taking place on Oak Drive near Margaret Wallace (ph) and Idlewild Drive (ph). When we get any more information on this fire and just how serious it is, if you got a chance to look at the pictures which we will show you in a moment, it is a serious looking blaze but again we don't know who, if anyone -- here we go with some of the images right here.
You can see the entire side or corner of this apartment building which has been engulfed in the flames and seriously damaged, again, we don't know about who may be jeopardized from this fire, if it was even occupied at the time. When we get the information we'll bring it to you, Don.
LEMON: Oh, those are...
WHITFIELD: Yeah, pretty frightening images, right?
LEMON: Pretty frightening and you know we hope no one was at home...
LEMON: ... and a huge building there. Fred, stay on top of this for us. We'll come back to you...
WHITFIELD: I will.
LEMON: ... if you get more information. Thank you so much for that report.
On to other news now, she survived the crash but the bureaucracy, well, that's what almost killed her. A 33-year-old woman near Seattle crashed her SUV last week on her way home from work. She was trapped at the bottom of a ravine for, get this, eight days and rescuers finally got hold of her cell phone records, they found her well in just minutes, so what took them so long to get up to speed? Her husband tells CNN a tangled web of red tape got in the way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM RIDER, CRASH VICTIM'S HUSBAND: I knew she was missing. I knew something happened and no one would believe me except operator number 65. He's the one that started the case. No one would believe me. They all thought that she's an adult. She can go where she wants.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did you think she had been in an accident or did you think that maybe somebody had taken her?
T.RIDER: I didn't -- I thought somebody had taken her or she was in an accident. I thought all kinds of things, and the only way that I was able to not crumple up in a little corner was to think, you know, the least damaging to anything was that maybe she just didn't want to be around me for awhile, but I still wanted her found.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Wow. Eight days, can you imagine, betty?
NGUYEN: She actually survived and...
NGUYEN: ... make it through, she's in critical condition right now. Is that right?
LEMON: Yeah that's -- yep, her husband, Tom Rider, who you saw said she is in critical condition. A spokesman for the King County sheriff said employees followed standard procedures in all of that. And we'll talk more about those procedures in the 3:00 Eastern hour right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: Well, Don, there are still no real answers here in a mystery on the high seas of South Florida. The Coast Guard has suspended its search for the four missing crew members of a fishing boat based in Miami. Two men who chartered that boat remain in custody on unrelated federal charges. A bond hearing for Kirby Archer and Guillermo Zarabozo has been postponed until Tuesday.
Now authorities indicate they don't believe Zarabozo's claim that hijackers killed the boat's crew members. The "Joe Cool" was found abandoned Sunday night a long way off its planned course in Bimini. Archer and Zarabozo were found on a life raft some 12 miles away.
LEMON: Lorenzo is a sure and Karen is threatening. Tell us about those two names, Chad Myers. Who are they or what are they I should say.
NGUYEN: Well critics aren't ready to call him a champion of the environment just yet, but some other leaders think President Bush at least broke the ice when it comes to climate change and what to do about it but is it too little too late? Miles O'Brien has those ideas a little bit later in the NEWSROOM.
LEMON: Plus, if you get sick -- we hope you don't -- does your health insurance have your back?
NGUYEN: Hope so.
LEMON: Good question, yeah. We'll hear from a woman whose coverage came up short and she has crippling medical bills to prove it.
NGUYEN: And Republicans bashing Republicans in a GOP debate. Apparently you had to be there to be spared. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
NGUYEN: Halfway around the world, it is a little country from which little news emerges and when it does, it's rarely good. Myanmar, formerly Burma, is deep in crisis again today. The hard-line military government again clashing with a fed up public demanding democracy. Now, CNN has no reporters or cameras in Myanmar. We've been banned and just like all other international media, but our John Vause is in neighboring Thailand and he joins us live now. John, what's the latest out of that country?
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Betty. It's very difficult to find out just precisely what's going on. After all those videos, all those photos, which were coming out of Myanmar in recent days, well they've slowed considerably and that is just another indication proof if you like that the Myanmar authorities have now severed the Internet connection to the outside world, but some information is getting out.
For example, one resident in the city of Yangon contacted CNN and said that Army soldiers were sweeping through city streets, warning residents not to leave their homes after 12:00 noon local time but the word from bloggers is that thousands of people defied those orders and gathered at the city marketplace, also there are reports that there have, in fact, been widespread gunfire across much of the city.
Now this comes a day after government forces fired on pro- democracy demonstrators and there is a new disturbing video of just what happened on Thursday. It comes from a group known as the Democratic Voice of Burma which is also known as Myanmar and it shows one man being shot at very close range as the other shots ring out, the crowd scatters.
Now it's believed the man who died is a Japanese journalist, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The Japanese government wants a full explanation as to what happened. The Myanmar authorities say his death was an accident. One of nine people who died according to officials on that day Western diplomats now say the death toll must be much higher. There are reports of 35 bodies piled up on the streets of Yangon -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Yeah, it's so hard to confirm all of this information. And as we watch, what can the world really do to help? I mean can economic sanctions work? Will they work?
VAUSE: Well this is exactly what President Bush is struggling with right now. The United States can impose sanctions as much as it wants on Myanmar and it has over the years but unless countries like China, Thailand and India, all those countries that do business with Myanmar, unless they actively participate in those sanctions, as well, well, the generals who run that country, the dictators who run that repressive regime will continue to get hard currency. The regime will continue to be propped up and so those sanctions by the United States really will cause discomfort but will not bring that regime down -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Which means a lot of eyes are on China right now, which is looking forward to hosting the Olympics. There is a big image on display. What is China likely to do? VAUSE: Well, the last thing China really wants is a bloodbath on its doorstep, but it's difficult for China because what it really wants is for all this just to go away and it wants stability in the region. It wants to get into Myanmar. It wants to get access to Myanmar's vast natural resource. Stability is the key to that.
That's not happening right now. The problem though is when you look at the history of China when it comes to dealing with dissent, as in Tiananmen Square in 1989, Beijing is not likely to support any mass democratic movement -- Betty.
NGUYEN: All right. CNN's John Vause joining us live in Thailand as we are banned from Myanmar. Thank you, John.
LEMON: Authorities fear for this child. Take a look. They've released her picture in an urgent move to find her. Coming up, a Nevada sheriff and the latest on his investigation into a bizarre sex tape as we stand by for a live news conference.
LEMON: Another developing story. Fredricka Whitfield working it for us. What do you have, Fred?
WHITFIELD: Well, Don, this time shots being fired in a California high school and it has led to an entire school district to shut down, on lockdown. This taking place in Oroville, California, as we zoom in there on the map at exactly where in California this is. The Oroville Union High School District on lockdown, all the schools on lockdown as a result of reportedly a male student reportedly firing shots at Las Plumas High School and we understand according to officials that a teacher and possibly three to ten other students may be held in a classroom or somewhere in this school at gunpoint and that's what investigators are working on right now.
These are the brief details that we have on this incident, but most alarmingly, this has led to an entire school district now to be on lockdown. When we get any more information we'll be able to bring that to you. But that's exactly what we're working on.
LEMON: Every time you hear it, you just go, oh, boy.
LEMON: OK, Fred. Keep us updated. Thank you.
NGUYEN: Well the agreement was reached Wednesday. Now we're starting to get more details about the tentative deal struck between General Motors and United Workers Union. CNN's Susan Lisovicz, she is at the New York Stock Exchange with those details and what it might moon for Ford and Chrysler -- hi there, Susan.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of hills to climb yet, Betty. The UAW is scheduled to hold a press conference in less than 30 minutes, so we could learn a great deal very shortly. Leading up to that a report from "The Wall Street Journal" saying that as many as 24,000 workers could be bought out and G.M. could hire lower paid workers to replace them.
In addition, many jobs once considered core and worthy of a big benefit package will now fall into the category of janitors and landscape workers who would receive about half of what other union workers get. From the worker perspective, "The Journal" says not only will G.M. fund a retiree health care trust, but it will backstop that trust with up to $2 billion if health care costs accelerate, as they have. The trust will start with about 70 percent of the $51 billion G.M. owes its retirees in health benefits -- Betty.
NGUYEN: All right. So we got G.M. now, what about Ford and Chrysler?
LISOVICZ: Well if it agrees to a similar deal, the UAW, Betty, could be in control of a fund twice the size of Harvard's $35 billion endowment.
LISOVICZ: A lot of money, a lot of responsibility, but the deal with Ford may not be identical to the one with G.M. The "Detroit News" says Ford may want more concessions from the union than what is in the G.M. deal. Ford is financially worse off than G.M.. It lost nearly $13 billion last year alone, and it wants to negotiate different terms.
Ford shares are down 1 percent, and the overall market is down today or at least this afternoon or at least right now it's down, it's been fluctuating. Strong report on consumer spending has some concern the Fed may choose not to cut interest rates again when it meets in late October. Right now the Dow industrials are down just 5 points.
The NASDAQ is down 2 points, so very marginal moves and kind of a quiet day in terms of trading, but a lot of news coming out today. In the next hour some people are opening the mail and finding a credit card they never requested. Is it easy money or a privacy violation? We'll talk about that in the next hour. In the meantime I'll throw it back to you, Betty.
NGUYEN: Yeah, I get those all the time.
LISOVICZ: Those are applications. These are actual credit cards.
NGUYEN: Oh, so...
NGUYEN: ... signed them up. Oh that's even worse. OK.
NGUYEN: Yeah, we want to talk about that. Thank you, Susan. LISOVICZ: You got it.
LEMON: We also want to talk about this, the warming planet. Global warming, a hot topic in Washington today. President Bush addresses an international climate change conference in Washington. Live reports from our Miles O'Brien later in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
NGUYEN: Hi everybody. Hello. I'm Betty Nguyen in for Kyra Phillips today. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: We start now with a developing story. Fredricka Whitfield working on a school lockdown, right Fred?
WHITFIELD: Right. Only a little bit more in this Oroville High School, school district where all six schools in the school district are now on lockdown because one student who was an alleged gunman now is now holding possibly a teacher and possibly three to as many as ten students hostage in the Las Plumas High School. This taking place not long ago and apparently this male student did allegedly fire some shots but no reported injuries.
That's the good news, but what's frightening to any parent who has a school -- has a child in that school district is that all of the schools in that school district are now on lockdown as police try to negotiate the freedom of this teacher and possibly the other students and also try to talk this student into handing over this weapon and discontinuing whatever it is that they are up to, so that story we're following there in Oroville, California. As you see, in northern California on the map there.
LEMON: And you know in these situations, Fred, don't take any chances. We understand the SWAT team is on the scene ...
WHITFIELD: That's right.
LEMON: ...as you said as well as the sheriff's department. Do they -- do we know if they have someone in custody, is it a male student? What's going on?
WHITFIELD: Well, we don't understand anyone to be in custody right now, but that they are trying to negotiate or find the best way to approach trying to get this student, who is the alleged gunman, to release that weapon and release the people that he just might have that they're holding -- that he may be holding in some classroom or somewhere on that school campus.
LEMON: OK, all right, Fred, we're just -- I asked you that because it's sort of conflicting information. Thank you so much for that. We're going to continue to follow that story.
As a matter of fact, Charity Bailey, who's a reporter on the ground covering this story now, Charity, are we hearing there's only one suspect in all of this? Is it just one person they're looking for? What do you have?
VOICE OF CHARITY BAILEY, REPORTER: There is just one suspect, he is a student here at Las Plumas High School. Now, apparently he walked into the classroom this morning at about 9:15 and opened fire. They say he's a disgruntled student. He has out against his teacher for some reason. Butte County officials say that they don't know what the problem is between him and his instructor.
However, the whole school is on lockdown at this point. There are three students with him inside the classroom in addition to the teacher. The high school is about 1400 or so students is on lockdown.
LEMON: Right, OK.
BAILEY: Now, what's happening now, the SWAT team is inside and they are going to be releasing the students classroom by classroom and bussing them over to a nearby church.
LEMON: So, students have not been allowed to go out of the school yet. They've just locked them down, held them in place, and then they're going to look to take them to a safer spot. Is that correct ...
BAILEY: That's right.
LEMON: ...to this church?
BAILEY: That's correct.
LEMON: So tell us, you've got one student in there, a male student. I imagine some of the people who are coming out, if any, they would know who this person is, correct?
BAILEY: The other students might know who he is.
BAILEY: The sheriff's officials don't know who he is.
LEMON: OK, so they're saying that he is possibly a beef, not sure, with the three students he's holding and the teacher?
BAILEY: Yes, now, the reason -- the reason that they're giving us right now for him going in is they say he's disgruntled.
LEMON: He's disgruntled, OK.
BAILEY: He's upset with his teacher, yes, not his fellow classmates. Apparently, he's upset with the teacher.
LEMON: Yes, and we know there's lots going on there, Charity. It sounds like you've got a lot going on, and since we don't have any pictures out there on the ground, we have a map. Can you describe to us the situation there, what it looks like in the area you're in around the school? Talk to us about what -- the atmosphere and what it looks like.
BAILEY: Right now, I'm in an area that has dozens and dozens of county sheriff officials. We have CHP on the scene as well as the SWAT team -- we have the SWAT team actually walking past me going into the school.
Also, there's parents, about a mile from me there's parents sitting on the curb, they're looking for their students. One woman, as I was arriving at about, maybe about 30 minutes ago, was running past me screaming, she said two of her girls were inside the band room with the shooter and she said, I just simply want my babies out. She was on a cell phone screaming and crying and I stopped her and asked her what was going on.
Now, about a mile north of me, there's cars lined up because the parents want their students, so they've gotten in their cars causing almost -- somewhat of a traffic jam to get in to their students. Like I said, the one-block-mile radius around the campus is closed off and it's flooded with sheriffs and with CHP.
LEMON: OK, you know what, Charity, we've got to move on because we're also working our sources and people in the area to try to get a live picture from there. But my partner here, Betty, had a really good question. When they -- was it shot into the air? Did they fire at someone else? Do we know at this point?
BAILEY: Well, the officials here on the ground with me said that he shot into the air. They said it was a revolver.
LEMON: OK, OK, great. Charity Bailey, our affiliate there, Charity, what's your station again? I'm sorry, I didn't get it.
BAILEY: It's KHSL and KNVN.
LEMON: Thank you very much for that report.
We'll continue to check back with you and we'll continue to follow this developing story that's coming out of California now. Thank you so much for that -- Betty?
NGUYEN: Actually, I believe we have some sound dealing with that story.
NGUYEN: OK, I'm being told that it's a different piece of sound and we're going to move on to this story.
President Bush is turning his sights to an issue many critics feel that he has simply ignored, and that is climate change. The president addressed a White House-sponsored global conference today, saying each country should find its own way to curb carbon emissions and pledging the U.S. will do its part with cleaner, greener technologies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will set a long-term goal for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. By setting this goal, we acknowledge there is a problem, and by setting this goal, we commit ourselves to doing something about it. By next summer, we will convene a meeting of heads of state to finalize the goal, and other elements of this approach, including a strong and transparent system for measuring our progress toward meeting the goal we set.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: The president still refuses to sign on to mandatory emission reductions requested by many other countries.
Well, Germany's environment minister says just getting Mr. Bush talking about the issue is a good sign.
Let's ask our chief technology and environment correspondent Miles O'Brien. Miles, was there any meat to the president's speech today?
MILES O'BRIEN, CHIEF ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's progressively an indication that the president is recognizing the problem, is also conceding the fact that human beings are at the root of global climate change, but the thing that everybody -- not everybody, but many of the people in that audience wanted to hear was the U.S. embracing in some way, shape or form some sort of mandatory caps which would ultimately lead toward reducing the amount of greenhouse gases put into the air.
Many of the people who are critical of the president today say, there has never been a pollution problem solved in our history that in some way, shape or form didn't have some sort of mandatory law built into it. The president is saying, it can all be done voluntarily. Skeptics would say that's not the case.
As a matter of fact, a lot of climate change scientists say if mandatory caps are not put in place soon, the climate could literally spin out of control and a so-called tipping point could be just over the horizon.
There are a lot of signs of this wherever you look, Betty, and one of the places you might look for indications that the climate is changing and changing in ways that perhaps we don't fully understand are the Great Lakes. Just this past month, Lake Superior set a record, all-time low point for the month of August since records were kept, and those -- that record has many people concerned about climate change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RALPH WILCOX, FISHERMAN: That was all water last year.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Ralph Wilcox (ph) is a fifth generation Lake Superior fisherman.
(on camera): Is it possible this is just part of a natural cycle and it's going to come back?
R. WILCOX: Nope. I'll bet you it's not.
O'BRIEN: Why not?
R. WILCOX: Because I've been here 65 years now, and it's not -- it's not natural. It's too low, it went too quick.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): He's still hauling in some amazing white fish. These beauties will be on a Manhattan restaurant table in 48 hours. But it's getting harder all the time. Ralph's wife of 46 years, Shirley (ph), runs the restaurant here.
(on camera): Why do you think they're so low? What do you think's happened?
SHIRLEY WILCOX, WILCOX'S FISH HOUSE: Well, the global warming, I think. Yes, everything is changing. We don't have the weather, you know, especially our winters are changing. We don't have the ice coverage on the lakes that we always have had.
O'BRIEN: The ice keeps the water from evaporating, and there's much less of it these days, and a long drought here has reduced rainfall and the snow pack, which feeds the lakes with water in the spring. But the folks who keep the freighters moving on the lakes, the Army Corps of Engineers, are not convinced.
SCOTT THIEME, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: I think the jury is still out on that. There's a lot of research still being done in terms of what climate change really means and if this is in the normal range of variability we've seen before or not.
O'BRIEN: The core has commissioned a five-year study, but many people say now is the time to take action. They worry by the time the research is done, the Great Lakes may not be worthy of their name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: That's just an excerpt of a piece you'll see tonight on "ANDERSON COOPER 360," 10:00 p.m. Eastern time -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Miles, we will be watching. Thank you so much.
LEMON: It was billed as a chance for Republican presidential candidates to talk about issues important to minorities. But there was just one problem, the party's four top candidates, well, they didn't show up. Scheduling conflicts, they said. Oh, one of the forum's co-hosts, he did not let the no-shows off the hook.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM JOYNER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Let me take a moment right here and now to say hello to those of you viewing from home, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senator John McCain, Governor Mitt Romney and Senator Fred Thompson.
JOYNER: Yes, you know I had to call them out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, the frontrunners took some heat at last night's forum, but wherever they were, their ears were probably burning.
Let's bring in our chief national correspondent John King who has been following the story. John, do the four no-shows have anything to say for themselves today?
JOHN KING, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, they say they had long-term scheduling conflicts. Most of them were out raising money and doing campaign appearances, and this happens from time to time.
Remember, both Democrats and Republicans have complained there are too many debates, too many forums organized by interest groups and news organizations, but this one is extra sensitive, of course, because of long simmering questions about whether Republicans are sensitive enough, are committed to reaching out to the African- American community. So, certainly the four frontrunners are taking heat for skipping this debate.
Again, they say perhaps it could have been rescheduled to a later date. There's a big fundraising deadline coming up that they have to focus on the high priorities in this campaign because New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, come first because they need to raise the money. So they have what they would say, are legitimate excuses.
But they are taking, as you could just hear Tom Joyner there, some fierce heat from the African-American community, saying this was an opportunity to address the issues that don't come up every day in Republican primaries, an opportunity to address a community that come the general election, maybe not in the primaries, but come the general election in close states, could help the Republicans.
LEMON: Absolutely. John, you know, the guys who did show up, they seized on the opportunity. Let's listen to what a couple candidates who did show up last night had to say about the no-shows.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Frankly, I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed for our party, and I'm embarrassed for those who did not come because there's long been a divide in this country, and it doesn't get better when we don't show up.
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK, (R-KS) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I apologize for the candidates that aren't here. I think this is a disgrace that they're not here. I think it's a disgrace for our country. I think it's bad for our party, and I don't think it's good for our future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, John, you would think like, I don't know, they seized on the opportunity and maybe at the last minute, we were talking this morning, it could have been a good strategy for them to show up at the last minute and say, you know what, maybe we should go, because the party's trying to reach out to minorities.
KING: That bigger question, Don, the party reaching out to minorities is a huge issue. President Bush got nine percent of the African-American vote in his first run in 2000. He said he was going to do better than that, and he proved it as Texas governor that he could reach out and he could build. Well, he got just 11 percent in his re-election run in 2004.
And we are looking again at a very competitive presidential election where in a state like Ohio, in a state like Florida, in the big industrial states, if the Republicans could just increase their percentage in the African-American community and the Latino community, for that matter, by just a point or two, it could make the difference. So many of those organizations are saying, put your mouths where you keep saying you're going to commit to us, you're going to reach out to us, well then, show up at our events.
So, these candidates will face heat for this. Again, they say they had long-running scheduling commitments. Two of the candidates were out in California, but this is an issue that will not get quiet just because this one event has passed.
LEMON: Yes, and even in important states like South Carolina and Florida, you know ...
KING: You're absolutely right.
LEMON: ...where there's a huge African-American and Latino voters.
John King, thank you so much for your report. Always a pleasure to have you.
KING: OK, thanks, Don.
NGUYEN: Authorities need to know, have you seen this little girl? Her life may be in danger. "America's Most Wanted" is also trying to find her. They have a correspondent from that show who is going to update us on the search and we're standing by for a news conference that's going to begin at the top of the hour. We hope to bring you much more news on the case right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: All right, we're following some developing news coming out of Oroville, California, the entire school district there is on lockdown after a student, a suspect believed to be a student went into the high school this morning. We're told fired off three shots into the air and then took some hostages, anywhere from three to 10 people. Again, the school is on lockdown. Parents are starting to gather outside of Oroville High School, Las Plumas High School, we're told there, but again, the entire school district on lockdown. We have an affiliate reporter on the scene and we're using all of our resources here at CNN to try to get you the updates on this developing story. We'll continue to follow it for you.
NGUYEN: Well, there's another story, Don, that we're following very closely, as well. And for that, we want to take you to the news room and CNN's Fredricka Whitfield with details on some new information coming in dealing with the UAW.
WHITFIELD: That's right, Betty.
In fact, possibly a big step toward ending the dispute between the United Autoworkers Union and General Motors. Apparently, the local leaders of UAW in Lansing, Michigan, have approved of a contract which is considered pretty groundbreaking because it would mean that for the first time, the Union would have control of retiree health costs. And now that the local leaders have agreed on this deal between GM, it now has to go for a vote among the 74,000 members strong union. And that could happen sometime next week.
So, it's a step, it's not the final step, but it's a step before finally ending this huge impasse or disagreement or dispute, however way you want to put it between the UAW and General Motors -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Well, there for a little bit, it was a strike, in fact, so ...
NGUYEN: ...we'll see how it progresses. Thank you, Fred.
And we do expect to learn more at the top of the hour on the desperate search for this little girl. She's seen in a videotape that surfaced in Nevada being sexually brutalized by an adult man. Now, authorities say she can't be more than four or five-years-old, and they've released these images in the hopes that you may recognize her.
New today though, we have also been able to get our hands on an enhanced photo of the suspect. There he is.
CNN's Tony Harris caught up with the Nye County sheriff this morning in the NEWSROOM.
SHERIFF ANTHONY DE MEO, NYE COUNTY, NEVADA: You know, Tony, that a lot of these victims of child pornography are unknown people.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
DE MEO: We never see their pictures and their faces, and this is a face of a female, a young female, who's not showing any emotion in the tape whatsoever from those who viewed it and apparently, this is not the first circumstance where she's been exposed to this type of brutality.
The upside of it, we actually narrowed the timeline down to at least January of 2005 until May of 2007. We believe that the suspect we arrested, Darren Tuck, was in possession of this video and we arrested for possession and exhibiting that video, had that video since May 2007.
So, timeline is getting a little closer where the enhanced photo that we got from the FBI and the FBI is still working diligently to get as much information from that video as possible, along with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, who has been fantastically assisting us in this investigation.
Both those agencies, you know, are really helping us ...
DE MEO: ...to identify this victim, identify the suspect. That suspect, that suspect, that picture of that suspect will bring us to some type of a resolution to this case along with the female. We are -- we have a press conference scheduled for 11:00 our time on the west coast.
HARRIS: 2:00 p.m. Eastern, sure.
DE MEO: Exactly, on the east coast, and we believe that by releasing additional information, this additional information that -- will bring us closer to identifying this female and possibly identifying this male, as well.
HARRIS: Outstanding summary of where we are right now. I want to drill down on this Tuck guy, this Darren Tuck guy who you guys have charged. I want you to hear the comments from his attorney last night on Nancy Grace's show on CNN "Headline News," and then let me follow up with a question.
DE MEO: Sure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY KUEHN, ATTORNEY FOR DARREN TUCK: You have to consider too, what kind of concerns my client had. He's previously dealt with the sheriff's office in Nye County. It was previously unsatisfactory. I mean, in fact, as soon as I told the sheriff's office that he wouldn't take their phony computer voice stress analyzer test, they went out and arrested him. That's the way he's been treated by Nye County. It seems to me any intelligent person would be reluctant to go to someone who's going to treat him in that manner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: It seems -- go ahead, Sheriff.
DE MEO: It's just interesting. The contact he had with the Nye County Sheriff's Office, in 2006, he was a suspect in domestic battery. And as early as -- oh, as recently as 2007, in July 2007, we stopped him for traffic violation, he was issued a ticket for suspended license.
That's his contact with the Nye County Sheriff's Office. For his attorney, who may be uninformed in reference to the technology behind the computer voice stress analysis machine -- which we use for our background checks for our hirees -- it -- you know, it speaks for his lack of information.
NGUYEN: Now, Tuck faces charges of promoting and possessing child pornography, and if convicted could be sentenced to life in prison. At the moment, though, he is out on bail. You'll want to stay with us, because we're going to bring you the sheriff's news conference at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: She had a job. She had insurance, but still ended up being crushed by medical bills, and she is not alone. Find out why your insurance may not be enough. That's straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
We're also going to continue to monitor the lockdown situation in a high school in Oroville, California. The news keeps coming in, and we're going to keep bringing it to you.
You're watching the CNN NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: Well, we are learning from the sheriff's department out there in Oroville, California, that the suspect in that school standoff, and possibly hostage situation, has been taken into custody.
We learned a little bit earlier today around 9:50 a.m. local time shots were fired into the air at that school after a student entered the building, a disgruntled student, after having some dispute between him and a teacher, shot -- opened fire, I should say, into the air and at this point no one has been injured as far, as we know. And at this hour we have understood from local officials there that that student has been taken into custody.
We'll get much more information on if, indeed, there was a hostage situation and other details regarding that incident as we continue to follow this story -- Don.
LEMON: Time now for news for medicine. Think your health insurance has you covered? Well, maybe, maybe not. Many Americans who have insurance are landing in deep financial trouble after getting sick.
Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us how it happened to one woman.
LISA CRISTIA, CANCER SURVIVOR: They didn't cover 3669, and the next one, $525.11. There's one here for $1,200. This is so old that I'm not even sure what it's for. But it's for $305.25 which is sometimes more than I make in a week.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lisa Cristia is a cancer survivor. Diagnosed with tongue and throat cancer four years ago. These are just some of the medical bills that are still piling up. Even though she has health insurance.
CRISTIA: I did have insurance. And I thought that it was enough and that it would cover me. And that the only battle that I would have to fight was the battle against cancer.
GUPTA: After going through $5,000 in savings and $14,000 in her 401(k), Lisa was still $65,000 in debt because of what her insurance didn't cover. Eventually she was forced to file for bankruptcy.
CRISTIA: I have fought what I thought was the fight of my life fighting cancer and now I had to fight these creditors and people harassing me every single day.
GUPTA: Lisa still needs follow-up and medications, and that means more medical bills. Bills she keeps in a box because she doesn't know when, or if, she can pay them.
CRISTIA: That's a lost future, you know? At 38 years old, I'm never going to be able to buy a house. I'm never going to be able to buy a brand new car. No matter how hard I work and how much money I make, my credit's completely ruined.
GUPTA: According to Ron Pollack, executive director of the consumer health advocacy group Families USA, Lisa's story is not unusual.
RON POLLACK, EXEC. DIR., FAMILIES USA: Health care costs is the number one cause for people declaring bankruptcy in the United States today.
GUPTA: A commonwealth fund study published two years ago estimates that 16 million adults were underinsured in 2003.
POLLACK: The average cost of family health coverage purchased through a group is more than $12,000 a year. So, even if you're making, say, $60,000 a year, that's one-fifth of your income devoted just to premiums.
GUPTA: Lisa pays as much as she can, whenever she can. And knows now that having health insurance isn't enough if you get seriously ill.
CRISTIA: I think most Americans don't understand that we're one cancer diagnosis away from complete bankruptcy.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Washington.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
NGUYEN: Well, you don't want to go away, because we are following two stories coming up at the top of the hour. Want to give you a live picture right now of the hospital there in Washington State. Seattle, to be exact, after a woman was found eight days since she was involved in an accident. Her vehicle went over a ravine. She did survive. She is at the hospital. We'll get an update on that.
We're also going to get an update and live news conference out of Nevada dealing with this little girl. She was seen in a sex abuse tape found in the desert. We're going to get more details on that search and investigation. So stay with CNN. The news is coming straight at you.
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