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Holiday Travel Already Being Delayed; California Suing Toy Companies; Foreclosures Causing Crime in Cleveland?; Obama Ahead of Clinton
Aired November 20, 2007 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
EMILY ADAMS, GOT FREE TICKETS: And this nice man over her gave me and my sister two free tickets. And I'm very happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I saw her cry, I just started to cheer up a bit, man. It's like, I just felt so great. It means that much to these kids. And so bringing a little joy and maybe get a little joy in return one day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
ADAMS: I'm so happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tampa Bay's 10 News.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I never thought I'd cry over Hannah Montana, but that was a good story.
Good morning once again, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Stay informed all day right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here's what's on the rundown now.
You're gearing up to go. The weather gearing up to be quite a troublemaker. Holiday travelers get ready to hurry up and wait.
Toxins in toys. One state isn't playing around. Toy makers and sellers get slapped with a lawsuit just in time for holiday shopping.
Are foreclosures fueling crime in Cleveland? Our guests explain. It's a cnnmoney.com investigation, this Tuesday, November 20th. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Pack the car, grab the kid, get to the airport. The Thanksgiving countdown is on. But first you got to get where you're going. So we've got you covered no matter where you're headed. Our Ed Lavandera is in California's L.A.X. Airport. Susan Roesgen is at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. And Jacqui Jeras has what you need to know about flight delays and traffic conditions. But we want to go ahead and get started with Rob Marciano. He's in the weather center with what's going on all across the country.
Set it up for us, Rob.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: All right, Heidi, we have a number of different weather issues to discuss. We've got fog. We've got rain. We've got snow. And on top of that, we've got a developing store system that will last several days beginning later on tonight.
So on the weather map today, looks fairly tranquil but the fog is becoming an issue, as has the rain and snow across parts of the northeast. Fog across parts of Houston. That's been a problem. Looks like that advisory has been lifted. Dense fog advisory still in effect for parts of Los Angeles, including L.A.X. Earlier today had visibility less than a 0.10 of a mile. So that could pose some problems.
We did have some snow in areas over the last day or two. Take a look at snow out of Mt. Hood, just to the east of Portland, Oregon, where that's over the Highway 26 pass over Mt. Hood, about 4,500 feet. The problem is, you've got to get the chains on board if you want to get over the mountains over to the high desert and get to grandma's house. That is a common sight this time of year.
This is not. Check out these high temperatures. Eighty-six in Childress, Texas. Grand Island, Nebraska, 79. This morning it's 39 in Grand Island, Nebraska. So we have a serious cold front that's coming through the nation's mid section that is going to help spawn this storm system that will last a good couple days.
Tomorrow 39 in Kansas, 71 in Nashville. And that battleground of the warm and cold is where we're going to see problems it looks like during the day tomorrow. St. Louis to Chicago, that's where you'll see your biggest problems for travel and that will move to the east on Thanksgiving.
COLLINS: Not so good when it's right in the middle of the country like that, people trying to connect through there. Yikes.
MARCIANO: Just be patient.
COLLINS: All right, Rob, thank you.
MARCIANO: You got it.
COLLINS: Want to go ahead and get back to our reporters now covering this story, too. Ed Lavandera is at California's L.A.X., Susan Roesgen at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Jacqui Jeras who's got the latest on flight delays and traffic conditions.
Let go ahead and get started with Ed.
Hey there, Ed.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi.
Well, you know, the fog that we've been talking about all morning long here in Los Angeles is starting to lift quite a bit. We're able to see the control tower for the first time. And we do see planes taking off and landing here. And the initial morning rush has essentially subsided here. This was covered in a long line of people here this morning. You can see a picture from inside the security lines as people have been making their way through. So things starting to move smoothly here this morning, but we're in for a long week, Heidi.
We've been talking about Los Angeles, essentially a launching pad for us as we begin traveling across country, hopefully making it to New York in time for the Thanksgiving Day Parade there by Thursday morning. But we will be going through Denver and Dallas to get there. So we're able to get a good sense of what travelers are up against here in the next few days.
COLLINS: You know, if you're lucky, Ed, you'll be able to score a huge interview like I did a couple years ago at the Macy's Parade, The Wiggles. So hopefully you'll be able to get there in time for something like that.
All right, Ed, thank you.
LAVANDERA: My boys are hoping for Scooby-Doo.
COLLINS: Scooby-Doo. All right, that's a big one, too.
All right, Ed, good luck to you on your travels.
Meanwhile, Susan Roesgen is at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to give us an idea of how things are looking there.
Hey there, Susan.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Heidi, look who I'm traveling with today. We've got two twins, little twin girls. OK, I won't mess up your hair. And an almost two-year-old. This is the first time that the parents are flying from Chicago to Phoenix with all three kid. They bought seats for all three kids, Heidi.
What seats are you in, by the way? Maybe we want to warn people not to be sitting anywhere near you.
Yes, mom and dad, what do you have to keep the kid occupied?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, DVDs, games, books, that kind of thing.
ROESGEN: You think they'll be able to make it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope so. I hope so. It's a big gamble. But we're going to try.
ROESGEN: Well, listen, we'll follow you on into the security line. I know you've got about an hour to get your flight. So, good luck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. ROESGEN: Happy Thanksgiving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you.
ROESGEN: Now the security lines aren't really long here this morning, Heidi. It's like really a slow sort of start to the holiday season. But I'll get out of the way so some people can get through here at the security line. You know, I think what these three kids are getting is something if they continue to travel the way I do for my job, traveling is one of the most wonderful things you can do and one of the great things that parents do for their kids is travel with them, even on a holiday, and take them places and let them see things that they haven't seen before.
Again, they have not had any flight delays yet here at O'Hare, Heidi. And though you know you saw that I tried to get that man's seat assignment and flight number so that I could warn anyone else going from Chicago to Phoenix today to sit in a different part of the plane, I didn't get it. So if you're on that flight to Phoenix with them, you know, give them a break. Hold the baby for a while.
COLLINS: Exactly. People hopefully a lot more understanding this time of year, too. Even though everybody's patience seems to be tried.
It looks like things are pretty smooth going so far though out of Chicago International Airport. We appreciate that, Susan Roesgen.
I want to go ahead and get to Jacqui Jeras now. She has been monitoring all of the flights in the air and even some of the travel on the ground.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and, you know, big difference between what's going on right now and just an hour ago, Heidi. We talked about the number of planes in the air. There are literally a thousand more planes in the air right now than there were an hour ago. So traffic is really beginning to pick up. And when you see that, sometimes you get the volume delays instead of just the weather-related delays. Of course, the big focus has been on the eastern half of the country and now we're seeing a lot more activity push in across parts of the west.
We want to zoom in to a couple of cities that we've been having some trouble in. First of all we'll take you -- there you can see New York, LaGuardia. We've also had some delays in Philadelphia this morning. Those Philadelphia ground delays have now been lifted. So we're going to start out with a little bit of good news for you. But there you can see the reason why we've had trouble so far. This is a picture from about a half an hour ago from our affiliate there and we're looking at improving conditions hopefully throughout the rest of the day.
Now, Boston, just the opposite for you. Boston was looking at clear conditions this morning. But now look at what's going on there. Yes, snow beginning to fall and push in. We think we can pick up a quick one inch. No delays right now at Logan, but we could be seeing though as we head throughout the morning.
Now let's take a little trip out west because fog's been a big issue in Los Angeles. And we got up our Google Earth animation here to show you some of the realtime traffic conditions across the area. And whenever you see the red, that's where you know that you're in trouble. So we're going to zoom in. And we see a lot of red on the map here for today, especially just south of downtown.
Now let's zoom into downtown. We've had some problems on the Harbor Freeway, the 110 right there and you can see those yellow lines indicating some moderate traffic. And just north of town there, you can see some of these red dots, queering some of that information. California 110 south, speed 18 miles per hour. That is mighty slow going for this early in the morning already.
COLLINS: Yes, that's pretty darn slow.
All right, Jacqui Jeras, thank you so much.
COLLINS: If you are hitting the road or flying the skies, make cnn.com your first destination. Check out our special report, holiday travel, and get an online travel kit with tips on where to go and how to best get there. That and more at cnn.com/holidaytravel.
Kids in danger. Millions of toys recalled because of dangerous levels of lead. Now one state has had enough, filing suit against toymakers and sellers. CNN's Allan Chernoff is in New York this morning with more on this story.
Good morning to you, Allan.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi.
And this has been a problem, of course, all year long. Now California's attorney general and the city of Los Angeles are suing 20 companies, U.S. toy companies, like Mattel, as well as major retailers, including Toys "R" Us, charging that they knowingly exposed children to lead and didn't provide sufficient warning of the risks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROCKY DELGADILLO, LOS ANGELES CITY ATTORNEY: This lawsuit, I think, will allow us to put in place procedures, protocols that will work to keep our kids in a safe place and out of harm's way with respect to lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHERNOFF: The companies could be fined up to $2,500 per day per violation. And, theoretically, that can could mean a fine for every contaminated toy that is sold in California.
Now the attorney general there, Jerry Brown, says he hopes that companies settle by agreeing to tougher inspection. In a statement to CNN, Toys "R" Us said the company "shares the California attorney general's commitment to product safety." Toys "R" Us also said safety is its highest priority.
Now also this morning, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, known as PIRG, is releasing its annual survey -- here it is -- "trouble in toyland." It finds that standards are not tough enough to ban lead, especially in children's jewelry. One study in this report looked at a piece of jewelry and found it to contain 65 percent lead by weight.
Now, of course, the issue certainly has been on the government's watch list. The Consumer Products Safety Commission has recalled more than 100 million pieces of children's jewelry containing lead since 2004.
Heidi, back to you.
COLLINS: Wow. I think that's even more than some lead crystal that I have seen.
All right. Allan Chernoff, thanks so much. Live from New York for us this morning.
Toy recalls. So how do you know what's safe this holiday shopping season? Our Veronica De La Cruz has web tips coming your way in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Forty-three employees of a U.S. contractor detained in Iraq. Some of them accused of shooting an Iraqi civilian. You're looking at amateur video as police take them in for questioning. They all work for ALMCO, the Dubai-based construction company. The Defense Department says none of them are American. The shooting happened in this Baghdad neighborhood. The Iraqi government says ALMCO security guards fired randomly into the street. They could face criminal charges. The rest of the employees expected to be released soon.
More protests and signs of possible progress in Pakistan's crisis. The government says it freed more than 3,400 lawyers, activists and other opposition supporters in recent days. They had been detained under emergency rule. The protesters you see here want the release of those still in custody, about 2,000 by government estimates. And word this morning some 150 journalists were held following a demonstration in Karachi.
Aid workers bracing for a "second wave of death" from that killer cyclone in Bangladesh. Five days after the storm tore through the region, the official death toll has surpassed 3,100. Some say it could go as high as 10,000 once rescuers reach outlying islands. Millions of dollars offered in aid but supplies have reportedly been slow to reach survivors. One aid official says, after catastrophes like this, many more people die from lack of food, clean water and medicine.
Here's your chance to help. To take action, you can go to cnn.com and find out how you can help the people in Bangladesh that have been left homeless by the cyclone. Just log on and add your name to the growing number of CNN viewers grabbing the opportunity to "Impact Your World."
The rape case beyond belief. The alleged victim, 11 years old. The suspect, eight and nine years old.
COLLINS: California is suing big toymakers and sellers over dangerous levels of lead in toys. But don't stress when you go toy shopping this holiday season. Veronica De La Cruz is joining us now with tips from the web.
And I think that's what a lot of people are doing, Veronica, they're getting a little nervous about all these recalls they have heard about and they need to know where to go to get safe toys.
VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, you know, Heidi, you're right, we're running out of time. Thirty-four days, Heidi, until Christmas. Black Friday now right around the corner. Also Cyber Monday. And like you mentioned, Heidi, the state attorney general of California is suing some major toy manufacturers, also retailers. I think there are about 20 in all. I'm sure many people extremely confused when it comes to getting proper information on this recall.
So, Heidi, there are a lot of good web sites, pretty easy to use. We're looking at recalledtoyalert.com, which has pictures of all the toys deemed unsafe. Click on the images. Get product information. Find out why the toy is being recalled. And you can also sign up for e-mail alerts for future recalls.
Now, Heidi, one of the more obvious sites is the CPSC, or Consumer Product and Safety Commission web site. And truth be told, this one was pretty hard to navigate. And looking at the page it's pretty cluttered. You can barely figure out how to get to the main recall page. And once you're there, they have links to recalled toys and no pictures. So that one is pretty hard to navigate. And that's the main page we're looking at now. And if you take a look, it's just a bunch of links. No images of the toys. Which, I don't know about you, Heidi, but can you tell me all of the names of Riley's (ph) toys?
COLLINS: Yes, no, not even close. Not even close. A lot of little guys up there running around the toy run.
DE LA CRUZ: Yes, so you need to see the images.
We also want to show you a couple of other web sites. Web sites where you can look for some safe toys. We're going to start with this one. It's called top-toys-kids.com. That's a good web site to look at. Basically it is an aggregator of various retailers broken down into category. Boys, girls, dolls, video games. There's even a link highlighting toys made in the U.S. and Europe. You can click on a toy and it's actually going to take you to a retailer, so you can buy it online. Essentially, Heidi, it's one-stop-shopping. So it makes it all really easy for you.
COLLINS: Yes. We were talking a little bit earlier, I wonder if we would ever find any toys that are specifically made right at the North Pole. I think people would feel, you know, safe with those, don't you? I wonder, though, if I should be worrying that I might be paying through the nose, I mean paying a whole lot more money to make sure that my kids are only getting safe toys this year. I mean it seems ridiculous, but you never know.
DE LA CRUZ: It's always a big concern. I know that people are saying they're going to be spending a lot less this year. But you can be a savvy shopper. Wire.com has this great article about scoring deals online. And one of their simple suggestions, Heidi, sign up for e-mail newsletters from retailers that you might be shopping with and that way if they're offering an sale, maybe an e-mail coupon, then you can jump on it. So, I mean, there's FAO Schwarz. Sign up for their e-mail alerts and they might be offering a coupon or so.
Throughout the holiday season we're going to be sharing good online tips, deals. You can also send us yours to email@example.com.
COLLINS: All right. Very good. Thank you, Veronica. Appreciate the info there very much.
DE LA CRUZ: Of course.
COLLINS: Typecasting Arab style.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For 10 years I have one line (ph), "in the name of Allah (ph) I will kill you all." That's it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: But it's no laughing matter when the stereotype intrudes on real life.
COLLINS: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Heidi Collins.
The front lines of the foreclosure mess, leaving one neighborhood in ruin. Many of the homes picked clean.
COLLINS: OK. Look at this. Kind of exciting, isn't it? Dow Jones Industrial average is now up again above 13,000. You may remember yesterday it had quite a bit of a downturn there, if you will. The average loss about 218 points and closed below 13,000. So there you are, up about 91 points at this time. As well as the Nasdaq. It's up about 29 points. So, again, we are watching all of those business stories with you. And we understood that the stocks future would be up a bit or we thought they would be because of some gains in the overseas market. So we'll talk with Susan Lisovicz about all of that in just a few minutes.
Also we are hearing that just a few minutes from now the White House will be giving its annual turkey pardon. It's otherwise known as the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. All of those people gathered there to witness it. This is the actual 60th anniversary of this celebration. We're going to see the president come out in just a little while.
And alongside the president will be a humongous 45-pound, 21- week-old turkey from Dubois, Indiana. His name is Flyer (ph). So we'll see him here shortly. Also there will be -- and I believe that this happens every year as well, an alternate. Did you know that. So it looks like two turkeys cut a deal with the president. They will both be pardoned.
But, once again, this is something we see every year. Did you want to know -- here comes the president. The turkey is going to head first class to Disney World after this ceremony to be the grand marshal of Disney's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Let's go ahead and listen in to the ceremony.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning. Welcome to the Rose Garden. Thanks for coming. We are glad you're here at the White House.
Each of you is taking part in a tradition that goes back to the days of Harry Truman. And to paraphrase Harry today, we have a message for our two feathered friends. You cannot take the heat and you're definitely going to stay out of the kitchen.
I want to thank the representatives of the National Turkey Federation who have joined us, the chairman, Ted Seger.
I appreciate you coming, Ted. Thanks.
Ted brought his mom. Glad you're here. Seven brothers. And over 30 family members, I think it is. No wonder there's so many people in the Rose Garden. But we're glad you're here. Welcome.
I also want to welcome President Joel Brandenberger.
Turkeys in today's ceremony come from the Seger family farm in Dubois, Indiana. So I guess you can say they come with the chairman's seal of approval.
I also thank everybody who voted online to choose the names for our guests of honor. And I'm pleased to announce the winning names. They are May and Flower. They're certainly better than the names the vice president suggested, which was Lunch and Dinner.
The national observation of Thanksgiving goes back to the days of our founders. They asked Americans to give thanks for a nation that Benjamin Franklin famously compared to a rising sun. Over the years, Americans have found much to be thankful for. We still see our country the way Franklin did, or as the poet Carl Sandburg put it, "in the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the hand of God."
This Thanksgiving we are grateful for a harvest big enough to feed us all and millions more. We are grateful for citizens who reach out to those who struggle and from neighbors in need to the strangers they've never met. We're grateful for working Americans who have given us the longest period of uninterrupted job creation on record and a prosperity that lifts our citizens.
And we are grateful for one blessing in particular, the men and women of the United States military. They have worn proudly the uniform of our country. They have offered their lives in our defense. And each year thousands more volunteer to join their noble ranks and to keep us safe. And so on this Thanksgiving, we keep their families and their loved ones in our prayers and in our thoughts.
America's children also have a special place in our thoughts during this season. Don't you agree? Today we're proud to be joined from youngsters from the Campfire USA. We're glad you all are here. It's a nationwide organization that helps children become caring and competent future leaders.
One of the things Laura and I have been most thankful for over the years is the chance to meet children from across the country and to hear from thousands of others. Some send photos. Some offer prayers. Some of them ask about Barney. A second grader from California once asked me, "do you ever get a headache?" Not really. Only when I have a press conference. Some children send letters with the simple phrase, "God bless America." Others write about relatives serving in the war and they hope I remember them.
Earlier this year a little girl in Oregon sent me a picture she had drawn. It was a large American flag and it stood in the globe of bright, orange sun. The spirit that inspired Franklin and Sandburg and other generations of America lives in the heart of this child. She sees America in the light of a rising sun. And so do I. And so do millions of our citizens. It's hard to be anything but grateful when you live in a country full of compassionate and decent citizens. The land our fathers always knew was blessed by the almighty God.
And so now I have a task, and that is to grant a full presidential pardon to May and Flower. They will be shortly flown to Disney World where they will serve as honorary grand marshals for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I hope that honor doesn't go to their head. May they live the rest of their lives in blissful gobbling. And may all Americans enjoy a holiday full of love and peace.
God bless you all.
A little nervous. She was talking to me up there. COLLINS: There you have it, the presidential pardon, of I believe I heard the president say sort of under his breath that that one we are looking at is May. The other one is Flower. As in Mayflower, the alternate. I thought it was Flyer, but unfortunately, that was a typo in my information here. So, apologize for that. May and Flower, 2007 National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation pardon. And all of the children gathering around. Very, very cute. All right, so two lucky birds.
And as we were telling you a little bit earlier, they are going to be flown right after this ceremony first class to Disney World in Orlando, where they're going to be the grand marshals of Disney's Thanksgiving Day Parade. So, good for them.
All right, hurry up and wait. That seems to be a lot of what we are hearing today as weather slows Thanksgiving travelers. And just wait until you see tomorrow's turkey of a forecast.
COLLINS: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Heidi Collins. Tony Harris has the day off.
Want to go straight over to Rob Marciano right now to give us an idea of the weather scenario for this busy, busy week of holiday travel. Hey there, Rob.
MARCIANO: Did I hear you say before the break that we had a turkey of a forecast?
MARCIANO: Was that written or did you kind of thought that out loud?
COLLINS: I just pulled that right out of my really funny left brain there.
MARCIANO: Live TV. Got to love it.
MARCIANO: Good to see you, Heidi.
COLLINS: It wasn't a very funny one.
MARCIANO: No, no, it was cute. It was cute.
MARCIANO: Cool video out of Jackson County, Missouri. Take a look. Look out! That's a deer over the headlights. So, yes.
COLLINS: Geez! Don't they have those deer horns. You know, you can put those deer whistler things on the front of your car there?
MARCIANO: Apparently, this is from a dashboard camera.
COLLINS: Those are reindeer. I have no doubt in my mind.
MARCIANO: Oh, come on.
Hey, Jacqui Jeras here, Heidi. It's kind of scary stuff.
JERAS: It is scary stuff.
MARCIANO: It's actually a problem, you know, especially now that the sun goes down earlier, people are traveling more at night and obviously, people are traveling by day or by night trying to get to grandma's house ...
MARCIANO: ...and you got to be careful of those deer out there.
JERAS: You do, you know. And I've been there growing up in the midwest. And it is a scary thing. And not only do they have to watch out for those deer today, they have to watch out for the fog ...
MARCIANO: Got a lot of that.
JERAS: ...in parts of Iowa. Yes, check out this tower cam that we have out of the Des Moines metro area right now. Our visibility is down to a half of a mile, 44 degrees. The fog advisory is in effect there until 10:00 this morning. So, watch out for the deer, watch out for the fog. And take it real easy along I-35 and I-80 both.
Speaking of midwest trouble, Rob.
MARCIANO: Sensory overload. With all this information, now this is something that you really struck me last hour with. What do you have here?
JERAS: This is Google Earth, once again showing the realtime travel delays -- traffic delays, rather. And we're going to zoom into Chicago because we've got some real trouble here. And take note of all the red dots. That's the main thing that you want to catch your eye on here is that travel is very slow going on the interstates.
First of all, this is the intersection here between the Kennedy Expressway and Eisenhower Expressway. And look at that, the Eisenhower in particular moving very slow and these little red dots, those are all going out of town. So, if you're going westbound there. Now, if you're trying to get to O'Hare, we've got some delays there at O'Hare at the airport, but also trying to get to the airport and let's check out the Tristate right there, the Tollway. And we're going to query some of these delays for you and show you just how bad things are there. I-294 there north, 10 miles per hour. So, yes, that is slow going.
Chicago's going to see some trouble now really for the next five days. It's not looking pretty good -- or not very good. Once you finally get rid of some of this rain and the snow, you're going to be seeing very cold temperatures. So, if you're traveling there today, not so bad. Maybe a light jacket. But you're probably going to want to be bringing the parkas, yes, for down the line throughout the rest of the week.
OK, what are the rest of the airports looking like? Well, the O'Hare delays, as I mentioned, are now well over an hour. LaGuardia about 30 minutes. Thirty minutes at Houston Intercontinental, the delays are increasing there. Philadelphia also increasing delays and also at Washington D.C.
So, we've got a lot of travel trouble all over the place, Heidi. We're going to talk a little bit more about the west when I see you again.
COLLINS: OK, that deer video, insane. You know, I used to make my dad honk the horn every time we were driving at night when we were in the midwest, so that we wouldn't hit the deer. Look at this.
JERAS: Oh, it's amazing. Well, thankfully he didn't hit it. i mean, that was a good jump, you got to say.
COLLINS: It was a very good jump, professional. I'm telling you, they're reindeer. No question about it. All right, Jacqui Jeras, thank you.
Well, you know the Thanksgiving turkey is going to be delicious but, first, you got to get where you're going for the feast, of course. Let's see what's happening now in Chicago. Our Susan Roesgen is live at O'Hare International Airport. And Susan, a couple of times we have been talking with you, didn't really seem to be too much of a problem there?
ROESGEN: No, not much of a big problem. And you know, when I hear Jacqui talk about now this increase in flight delays they've started, the FAA says about an hour and a half average flight delay at O'Hare. If you've got all that much traffic out there, you want the delay because you don't think you're going to be able to get through the security lines.
But look at this, Heidi, I mean, this is honestly so empty compared to so many other times that I have flown out of this airport. People are nonchalantly making their way up. I haven't seen anybody run screaming through here the way I usually do saying, wait, wait, I've got to catch my plane. So, it's pretty calm inside.
And I want to show you why, Heidi. One reason that they say that this airport is not as congested as it's been in years past is because of what the American Airlines folks, for instance, call the dead dinosaur. And the dead dinosaur is that beige X-ray machine there at the end. Normally, you would see all this congestion around that X- ray machine because that's where, you know, you would check in and then you would haul your luggage over there to have the TSA run it through the X-ray machine there. But as you can see, no one's using the X-ray machine today.
Instead, what they're doing is they're putting the bags back the old fashioned way, right on the conveyor belt. You come into ticketing, into the baggage claim and you just run the bags through the conveyor belt and then the TSA is running them through an X-ray machine downstairs out of the line of traffic.
So, Heidi, this is something that as other major airports start to develop, this should really ease the congestion inside the airports at least. I can't speak for the runways ...
ROESGEN: ...but at least it doesn't look very crowded in here today -- Heidi.
COLLINS: Yes, well, that's a good first step anyway. All right, CNN's Susan Roesgen coming to us from Chicago's International O'Hare Airport. Thanks so much, Susan.
If you are hitting the road or flying the skies, make CNN.com your first destination. Check out our Special Report holiday travel and get an online travel kit with tips on where to go and how best to get there. That and more at CNN.com/holidaytravel.
We want to go ahead and tell you a little bit more about this huge fire overnight that has happened in New Jersey. T.J. Holmes is in the news room now with a little bit more information.
Hi there, T.J.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it turns out it is actually a deadly fire. But pigs are what we're talking about here, a lot of them, 1,500 pigs dead in this huge fire that you're seeing here. This was in Southampton, New Jersey, in Burlington County there, where this Pig Farm Recycling is what it's called, in Southampton township broke out last night and it took firefighters a good -- about seven, eight hours or so to get this thing under control. Went until about 3:00 in the morning.
Don't exactly know how this fire got started, but it was a huge, huge fire. And again, 1,500 pigs is the estimate that -- how many pigs were killed in this thing. The firefighters did, however, were able to keep the fire from hitting diesel fuel and some gasoline tanks that were there. So, that was kind of a big deal. But still don't exactly know how this started. No firefighters injured, no human beings injured.
But still, even though, Heidi, these pigs really didn't have a long, fruitful life to look forward to or anything. Most would end up as honey baked hams or maple bacon, still 1,500 pigs, that's a big deal and not how you want to see them go out and certainly going to be a financial hit for this farm as well.
COLLINS: Yes, that's an awful lot, boy.
COLLINS: 1,500 pigs. All right, T.J. Holmes for us in the news room today. Thank you, T.J.
HOLMES: All right.
COLLINS: On the upswing in Iowa, new poll numbers from the Hawkeye State give Mike Huckabee a boost in his presidential bid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ...and say that it's not about the money ...
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COLLINS: As gas prices soar, we're all looking for ways to save. Gerri Willis has some tips for Saving Money Now by cutting the amount of gas you use.
GERRI WILLIS, PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Transportation accounts for two-thirds of all U.S. oil consumption according to the Department of Energy. How you maintain, drive and even load your car can affect the mileage you get.
Save money on gas now. Hard driving wastes gas, accelerating vigorously means late braking, meaning you're on the gas longer burning fuel. And driving at higher speeds on the highway increases fuel usage. Not keeping up on maintenance can make an engine run poorly and waste gas. Fouled (ph) spark plugs can reduce fuel economy by 30 percent.
Underinflated tires increase rolling resistance and make the engine work harder. A dirty air filter increases the power an engine uses just to suck the air in. Get rid of excess items carried around in the trunk. Every 100 pounds of weight reduces your fuel economy by two percent. And don't strap anything to the roof. This creates aerodynamic drag that reduces a vehicle's ability to slip through the air.
And for every hour your engine idles, you burn a gallon of gas. If you're going to sit for more than a minute while waiting, shut off the engine.
That's this week's Saving Money Now. For more on saving money, watch "OPEN HOUSE" every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
COLLINS: Values voters. It's their support that's helping Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee get a boost in Iowa. Our Dana Bash is part of the best political team on television.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DANA BASH, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Each and every Sunday, Pastor Darran Whiting talks to his small yet devout flock about faith and family values. He thinks he's found a candidate for president who practices what he preaches.
PASTOR DARRAN WHITING, MIKE HUCKABEE SUPPORTER: Governor Huckabee stands on the issues that I stand for. Socially conservative and as far as being pro-life, as far as being pro-family, which is very much why I like to support him personally.
BASH: It's support among Evangelicals like Whiting that has propelled Mike Huckabee's surge here in Iowa, where some 40 percent of GOP Caucus voters are Christian conservatives and the former Baptist preacher is winning over more and more Iowa leaders with his staunch anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage views.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't question where he's at. We don't question what he believes. He's one of us, and his track record and his background has just kind of shown that.
BASH (on camera): So, this is it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is it.
BASH (voice-over): But at Huckabee's Iowa campaign headquarters, the huge challenge is turning his popularity into actual votes on election day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so, it really is a matter of getting the organization to catch up to where the governor is. And so ...
BASH (on camera): And are you there yet?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not there yet.
BASH (voice-over): The campaign stuff recently doubled from six to 14 people.
(on camera): This is what success breeds?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what success breeds.
BASH (voice-over): And added on to their tiny work space. Eight from Arkansas headquarters are now in Iowa.
(on camera): You're not just any staffer?
SARAH HUCKABEE, MIKE HUCKABEE'S DAUGHTER: Not just any staffer, I guess. My dad is Mike Huckabee.
BASH (voice-over): Including daughter Sarah, her father's field director. And this week, Huckabee began airing his first TV ad.
CHUCK NORRIS, ACTOR: Mike's a principled, authentic conservative.
M. HUCKABEE: Chuck Norris doesn't endorse. He tells America how it's going to be.
BASH: Aides, including his daughter, admit they're not sure how that's going to play in Iowa, but say at least Huckabee's getting buzz, a necessity for a still underfunded, understaffed campaign.
COLLINS: Dana Bash is joining us now live from Des Moines, Iowa. So, Dana, it seems like Huckabee's doing pretty well. But the more he does, then of course, the more opponents are coming after him.
BASH: That's right. The success definitely breeds scrutiny, Heidi. And he's getting a lot more of it. His rivals are really being a lot more aggressive about going after him on issues like taxes and immigration. They're pointing to his record as Arkansas governor and trying to tell voters, especially those conservative voters, that he might be with them on social issues but on other issues, they say his record shows that they could really be disappointed and trying to really take the votes away from him, especially candidates like Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.
Mitt Romney, Heidi, he really has focused his strategy and doing extraordinarily well here in Iowa to propel him and give him momentum and Mike Huckabee definitely threatens that.
COLLINS: Yes, and as far as the Democratic presidential candidates go, what about this ABC News poll where Obama is now leading Clinton?
BASH: You know, it is really thrown a monkey wrench into the whole sort of era of inevitability that Hillary Clinton is trying to have out there, there's no question. But what is most interesting I think -- the poll shows that it is perhaps within the margin of error with Obama now having a slight lead over Hillary Clinton.
But what is most interesting is when you look at the reasons why, Heidi. And you know, we've heard about this narrative on a national level, that change versus experience. Many more Iowans are apparently leading more towards change. That means leaning more towards Barack Obama. And it is no accident that Hillary Clinton, who is here in Iowa, was yesterday, and is again today, that she is hitting that issue, talking about the fact that the presidency is not a place for on-the-job training. No accident there.
The other interesting point inside this poll is the question of trustworthiness. It looks -- you look at the way Iowans responded to this, it looks like Hillary Clinton's opponents are being pretty successful in hitting her on the issue of trustworthiness.
So, look, Iowa is a place where, you remember four years ago, Howard Dean was riding high in the polls nationally at this time and he really plummeted because of what happened here in Iowa. And it really is a place that could change the dynamic in a big way, and talking to people here, Democrats and Republicans, it is still anyone's guess what will happen on the Democratic side and on the Republican side. COLLINS: Oh boy, that is certainly the case. All right, CNN's Dana Bash coming to us from Des Moines, Iowa this morning. Dana, thank you.
BASH: Thank you.
COLLINS: You did it once and now, it's time for history to repeat itself. Go to CNN.com/youtubedebates and post your questions for the Republican presidential candidates. The debate's coming your way Wednesday, November 28th. Your voice will be heard only on CNN, your home for politics.
The front lines of the foreclosure mess, leaving one neighborhood in ruin, many of the homes picked clean.
COLLINS: Foreclosures up a staggering 30 percent across the country. Cleveland among the cities hit hardest. One neighborhood, in fact, Slavic Village picked clean after the people pack up.
CNN Money's Les Christie is in New York and has a little bit more information on this story for us. Good morning to you, Les. Looks like ...
LES CHRISTIE, CNNMONEY.COM STAFF WRITER: Good morning.
COLLINS: ...about 800 homes are actually sitting vacant in this neighborhood. You can't really call it a neighborhood anymore. Why did it happen here?
CHRISTIE: Well, there were a number of reasons, but the economy in Cleveland has suffered the last few years with the loss of factory jobs. A quarter of all the factory jobs lost in the United States happened in Cleveland or Ohio. And there's also, though, been a history of lax oversight of lenders in Ohio. And that has perhaps been an even more important aspect of the story.
COLLINS: So, similar to the rest of the country but just really seems to focus in this area. And the other part of this story that is different than the other part of the country is how many homes have actually been looted or damaged that -- we are looking at some pictures now of exactly some of that damage on the screen.
CHRISTIE: Yes, there's a stat from the county treasurer's office that says that the average time between a house gone vacant in inner city neighborhoods and the time it's first looted is only about 72 hours.
CHRISTIE: And some even occupied homes have been stripped of some of their siding.
COLLINS: Yes, I wonder what that means as far as safety, for people who are living in or around these areas and are still in their homes when a neighbor's home gets foreclosed on.
CHRISTIE: One of the first things that happens after a home that's vacant is sometimes the looters move in, but then drug dealers move in and it's all -- they also become havens for criminals of all kinds. So, the safety aspect really is a major part of this story.
COLLINS: Yes, well what are the police trying to do to fight this? I mean, are there more police on the streets or aid or donations of some kind in order to get things back on track?
CHRISTIE: Well, I think Cleveland, like a lot of rust belt cities, has a real problem policing all the inner city areas to the extent that they would like to. There's money shortages and it seems sometimes that the community groups think that the police presence is less than it should be.
COLLINS: So much flight from these neighborhoods. Obviously, as we just mentioned, sometimes people just have to get out because they've been the ones to foreclose on their homes, but then the other ones want to get out because of the crime. Where are they going? I mean, obviously, they still have to live somewhere.
CHRISTIE: Well, Cleveland has a lot of suburbs to the south, east and west, and many of them are in very good shape still. But the Cleveland city center itself is shrinking. It was one of the largest cities in the country post war, over 900,000. Now, that's about half the population that it had then. So, that kind of shrinking also leads to very low home price appreciation, which can also impact the foreclosure picture.
COLLINS: Boy, it's quite a story in Cleveland. We appreciate you explaining it a little bit more about it. Les Christie from CNNmoney.com. Thanks so much, Les.
CHRISTIE: Thank you.
COLLINS: Heading out for the holiday? We've got you covered. Everything you need to know to get where you're going for Thanksgiving.
COLLINS: You're with CNN. Hello, everybody, I'm Heidi Collins.
Developments keep coming in to the CNN NEWSROOM on Tuesday, the 20th of November. Here's what's on the rundown.
Fog close holiday travelers in Los Angeles this morning. And a brewing storm could spell trouble for airport hubs across the heartland.
Lead in toys leads to recalls and now, a big lawsuit. Is your kids' holiday wish list hazardous?
A man opens fire to protect his neighbor's property. Good citizen or Rambo vigilante?
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