Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Selling Women and Children as Slaves Into the International Sex Trade; Did Joran Van Der Sloot Admits to A Role in the Death of Natalee Holloway?

Aired February 03, 2008 - 22:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Its globalizations evil under belly. A $9 billion a year industry.



Selling women and children as slaves into the international sex trade. A special investigative report tonight.

Also, Did Joran Van der Sloot admits to a role in the death of Natalee Holloway? That's a subject of the new documentary. We've got the exclusive new details.

It's Super Bowl Sunday, but in the political world, the big game is still two days away. Who's gaining, who's losing and what they can do about it. We take a look at what's now being billed as Super Duper Tuesday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, everyone is running to try and get a sit, because we all know we could be stuck on this train for hours or possibly days.


HARRIS: How long do you think a 300 mile train ride should take? What about 27 hours? It's not extraordinary in today's China.

Most golfers have a hard enough time mastering the sport with two working eyes but tonight this blind golfer comes up aces. It's enough to make you, "You've got to be kidding." You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And good evening, everyone, I'm Tony Harris. We want to warn you right off the top. Our lead story is disturbing. It involves women and children who are sold into the sex trade by the thousands. It's an estimated $9 billion a year global industry. Chris Rogers of CNN's British affiliate independent television news filed this three-part series. Again, we must tell you the story contains disturbing sexual images and graphic language. It may not be suitable for all viewers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. You've reached the EUrotica.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. I just want to see you if (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like a young Poli and experienced (INAUDIBLE).

CHRIS ROGERS, ITN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You just heard men desperate for bareback. That's unprotected sex for young girls. What they don't know is that the brothel they're calling doesn't exist. It's called EUrotica. We placed an advert in a prostitute-resource website to prove the demand for girls that could be sex slaves.

If you could give me a bit of an idea of what you like?

Some men admitted their profession to request discretion.

In just two hours we received 400 bookings that would generate 40,000 pounds of takings. Some men asked if we offered girls much younger than 18. Like hundreds of other advert on this website, the girls we offered are typical trafficking victims. Young, providing unprotected sex and from Eastern Europe.

There are an estimated 25,000 sex slaves in real British brothels. Hidden in the most unlikely places. The map of prostitution is spread from cities (INAUDIBLE) into detached family- looking homes, like this one, in the prestigious village of (INAUDIBLE).

They offered sex with a choice of four Eastern European girls. Hundreds of brothels are advertised in newspapers. This is one of 80 offering Eastern Europeans in Croydon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's one of our top girls. Very sexy. She can speak perfect English.

ROGERS: We called just some of the hundreds of brothels advertised in local papers across the country. The madam described the Eastern European girls and offer, and then books an appointment to see them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beautiful curves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yesterday, we have some (INAUDIBLE).

ROGERS: Perhaps suspecting we're police, some brothels gave false nationalities. We were told these girls are British.

That's a very nice accent.

If any of the girls we've seen are victims, their cries for help are muted. Sex slaves are imprisoned with fear, not chains. This parlor offers a choice of 15 remaining girls just arrived. Some were very young, clearly under strict control. Romania has become a huge resource for traffickers. But how do they end up here? We traveled to Romania to meet a convicted trafficker who was enslaved and then sale local girls to foreign brothels. He agreed to explain how victims of broken in and ready for prostitution. They are gang raped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We keep her isolated in a house. You invite friends over and you tell them, "Hey, I've got a beautiful girl and she's available for sex but she won't want to have sex with you." These guys come because they want to get laid. Eventually, she'll give in and then she starts making money.

ROGERS: Everyday, another Romanian child or teenager goes missing. Hundreds are believe to be enslaved on Romania's human market.

(on-camera): We believe there are some underground brothels on this street here, so we're going to see what we can find. We believe there are number of trafficked girls in this area.

(voice-over): Do you have some girls tonight?



They are rented out for an hour.

ROGERS: I would like to buy some girls.

Offered a few hundred pounds for sale for good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1000 to 2000.

ROGERS: So this girl is for sale for good?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For you, anytime.

ROGERS: And this is just the start of their slavery. Soon these girls could be sold, perhaps brothel in your city, town, village, even in your street. Chris Rogers, News at 10.


HARRIS: You know, the details of this story just get more and more disturbing.


ROGERS: Prostitution is legal and right here. It's also a shop window for human traffickers looking for sex slaves to buy. I'm about to do business for the gangs that bring girls from Europe here and then sell them.


HARRIS: And coming up, part 2 of Chris Rogers' series on international sex trafficking. You are in CNN NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: Its globalizations evil under belly. A $9 billion a year industry.




Selling women and children as slaves into the international sex trade. A special investigative report tonight.

Also, Did Joran Van der Sloot admits to a role in the death of Natalee Holloway? That's the subject of a new documentary. We've got the exclusive new details.

It's Super Bowl Sunday, but in the political world, the big game is still two days away. Who's gaining, who's losing and what they can do about it. We take a look at what's now being billed as Super Duper Tuesday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, everyone is running to try and get a sit, because we all know we could be stuck on this train for hours or possibly days.


HARRIS: How long do you think a 300 mile train ride should take? What about 27 hours? It's not extraordinary in today's China.

Most golfers have a hard enough time mastering the sport with two working eyes but tonight this blind golfer comes up aces. It's enough to make you, "you've got to be kidding." You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And welcome, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris. Tonight, a series of women and children who are sold into the sex trade by the thousands. It is an estimated $9 billion global industry. We want to remind you that the story prepared by Britain's independent television news contains disturbing images and graphic language. It may not be suitable for all viewers.

Again, here's ITN's Chris Rogers whose investigation led from Britain to Romania.


ROGERS: This girl is for sale for good?

(voice-over): You are witnessing the purchase of a Romanian sex slave.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think?

ROGERS: So 600 euros.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's tart with 400. So to 500 euros?

ROGERS: We're posing as British brothel owners and offered Monica pimped by older prostitutes on the streets.

To avoid suspicion, I have to behave like the men who force girls into prostitution through fear or exploitation. We've teamed up with a charity that saved the most vulnerable victims like Monica before they sold abroad.


Her owner is called in to authorize her sale.


ROGERS: OK. 800 euros and take her away for good.


ROGERS: No comeback?


ROGERS: Yes, take her away for good, says her pimp. This is normal. A sex slave, believed to be just 14 years old, sold for 500 pounds.

As far as she is concern, she's being taken away by another gang of traffickers to go to another country. What's more she's being told, she seems quite relax. But at this stage, she's living her life. This is all she knows.

Like a pet dog with a new owner, Monica doesn't struggle as we lead her from the taxi to our van. What she doesn't realize is that in 12 hours, we'll arrive at a safe house for trafficking victims. As we start our journey, Monica offers us sex to prove her loyalty so a charity worker decides it's time to tell her the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After telling Monica what's going to happen to her. We're going to take her to Young Heart (ph) Rescue Center. She is now in shock. She started crying and she's shaking all over now.

ROGERS: Hours later, Monica reveals the story behind her tears. She claims her parents gave her to the local trafficker when she was 9. I ran away twice to government safe houses but I was abused so I returned to what I knew best, she tells me. It's hardly surprising, Monica, is reluctant to trust what this new day offers her. But in time, girls like her do make the reaching out Romania's safe house their home. Its location is secret to protect the all the rescue girls from the traffickers from whom they escaped. The (INAUDIBLE) project offers a future away from the sex industry. Now Monica has a chance to experience something she's never known. Trust, love, and understanding, but it's a fragile process.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's in this situation since she was 9 years old. She doesn't know any other kind of life and she's afraid. I talked to her and she told me that she's afraid that she's not able to live a normal life, because this is what she's used. She doesn't trust anyone. No one whoever promised help didn't help her. Why should she trust you or why should she trust me?

ROGERS: Unable to cope with her new life, Monica left the safe house two months later. She had just been diagnosed of syphilis. If untreated, she could die. She left without her medication. Chris Rogers, News at 10, Romania.


HARRIS: And when we come back, Chris Roger's goes undercover part 3 of our international sex trafficking series. And you don't want to miss it. You're in CNN NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: The conclusion now to our three-part series on international sex trafficking. Again, we want to remind you that this story prepared by Britain's independent television news contains disturbing and sexual images and some graphic language. It may not be suitable for all viewers.

Here's ITN's Chris Rogers, whose investigation led from Britain to Romania and now to the Czech Republic.


ROGERS (voice-over): Prague, a city of culture, popular with British tourists. A city of sin for the many stag parties it attracts. Prostitution is legal and right here. It's also a shop window for human traffickers looking for sex slaves to buy. I'm about to do business with the gangs that bring girls from across Europe and then sell them.

(on-camera): I'll be posing as a buyer for UK brothel. Gang experts would advise me on how to look, how to dress, and how to behave to be convincing. Gangs faced who they're dealing with so I have to create a cover. I own a network of British brothels called EUrotica. Gang members are being given my business card so they can establish contacts.

(voice-over): Two gangs have agreed to meet us in Dubi, a small town just outside of Prague. It's riddled with brothels. Our first meeting is at Love Story where girls don't stay for long. This is Radish (ph), the owner. His cousin, Darin (ph), says he already has girls working in Manchester and his friends, Sadanic (ph), deals with girls mostly. And this is Gabriella, the freshest of their stock. They order her to strip, to show us what's on offer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand up and turn around.

ROGERS: Gabriella' owners, explain that girls are not for sale. They are for rent for six months. I'm also told that girls paid half their takings to me, the rest is sent to them.

How much is (INAUDIBLE) here for six months.

ROGERS: Six months, for one girl? 4000.


ROGERS: We're not in the business of bringing girls into Britain. We don't want any part of that. The girls arrived. They have I.D.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I know. We won't with you if you don't with anyone. Then you have a deal.

ROGERS: We're on our way to meet Alex. His boss is one of the main suppliers of girls to brothels in this area. He also has stock available for brothels abroad. Alex says his job is to take care of the girls. One of them is Sonia, she's 21.

We've been looking for girls that we can control. Girls that will stay with us. Girls that will behave.

Again, they are sent to British brothels on lease.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's already worked in Germany, Holland, Berlin, Holland. Everywhere she's been everywhere, France. I was only in London for 3 months.

ROGERS: We're offered another two girls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But first this girl has to go over as a trial. Turn. Show him your bum. Take it off. You have to listen to me.

ROGERS: Do you want to bring the girls to London for me?


ROGERS: I need to know how much he is charging for the girls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we want 3,000 for now and then we'd take the rest on delivery.

We didn't return to secure our deals with the Dubi gangs but if we did, their girls would have been delivered to us in Britain just a few days later. Chris Rogers, News at 10, Czech Republic.


HARRIS: And still to come, a major new twist in the Natalee Holloway investigation. Hidden camera footage of a one-time suspect doesn't amount to a confession or is it just a lie? The latest details in a live report.


HARRIS: Closed, reopened, and tonight, a new twist emerges in the Natalee Holloway investigation. A one-time suspect reportedly tells all in a hidden camera interview. Yet, Joran Van der Sloot says he doesn't expect to be arrested again and that it was all a lie.

CNN's Frederick Pleitgen joins us tonight from the city of the Hilversum in the Netherlands where what seemed like a private conversation that aired a short time ago. Frederick, go to see you. What was said and how damming does it appear?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS: Yes, Tony, good to see you. Yes, this is a potentially, a very big development in the Natalee Holloway case. For the first time, Joran Van der Sloot apparently admitting that he was present when Natalee Holloway died. Here's what happened.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Aruba's chief prosecutor had closed the case on the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. Joran Van der Sloot was once a suspect but never charged. Now a Dutch crime reporter appears to have caught Van der Sloot on tape claiming the 18-year-old high school student died suddenly while they were making out on a beach in Aruba.

All of a sudden what she did was like in a movie. She was shaking. It was awful, he says, and I prodded her. There was nothing.

Van der Sloot describes calling a friend he says was never questioned by police who had a boat nearby. Van der Sloot says that they carried Natalee Holloway's body to the boat.

He went out to the sea and then he threw her out like a rag.

Van der Sloot is heard on the tape saying neither he nor his friend were certain Natalee Holloway was dead. But he seems to say, it didn't bother him. I felt fine. I didn't lose a minute of sleep over it, he said.

The recordings of Van der Sloot talking to another man were made in a car outfitted with hidden cameras by Dutch journalist Peter de Vries. We searched for Joran Van der Sloot in his home town in Arnhem in the Netherlands but he was nowhere to be found.

(on-camera): This is where Joran Van der Sloot's grandparents live and press report said that he had been staying here but we just talk to his grandfather and he says that Joran is not here and he doesn't know where he is.

(voice-over): In the Dutch TV program, we've able to track him down here on Friday. His confession he said on the phone were lies. That is what he wanted to hear so I told him what he wanted to hear, he says. Investigators in Aruba say now they are reopening their investigation into the case of Natalee Holloway.


PLEITGEN: Now, Tony, one of the things is that the Aruba State prosecutor is still being very cautious about this. He says, that while all of this looks like very compelling evidence on TV, we have to wait and see how that translates into court evidence.


HARRIS: All right, Frederik Pleitgen for us in the Netherlands. Frederik, good to see you. Thank you.

So if I were some kind of celebrity and I told you who I was voting for, would you care? I'm thinking no. So why do we pay attention to the celebrity political endorsements. You know, there's a whole slew of it, new ones. We'll lay it out for you after the break.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Super Tuesday approaching and the big names of political endorsements are flying tonight like Super Bowl footballs. Who likes who? First, the Democrat. It's not your husband's choice. California's first lady, Maria Shriver, threw her support tonight behind Senator Barack Obama. The political line in the house of Schwarzenegger remains clearly drawn.

Then there's author, sometimes actor and radio funny man, Garrison Keillor. He also endorsed Barack Obama in a less flashy fashion, though. In a letter, Keillor calls the Obama candidacy, quote, "Full of promise for our country."

Republican John McCain this weekend got love from Steve Forbes. Six House members, both senators from Georgia, and curiously, the former governor of Massachusetts, home turf of McCain rival, Mitt Romney.

Of course, when you were talking about endorsements, let's not forget the biggest and the loudest one handed out this election season. Excitement and energy and millions of hardcore fans follow Oprah Winfrey wherever she goes. Her stamp of approval on anything seems to translate instantly into the most valuable of commodities. Buzz. Here's CNN's Jill * on the Oprah effect.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Oprah Winfrey isn't running for president, but then who needs that when you're already, according to "Time" magazine one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

OPRAH WINFREY, OBAMA SUPPORTER: Let me just say, it is amazing grace that brought me here.

DOUGHERTY: With affirm that in her own life, moved mountains, she inspires the same emotion in millions of fans who call her simply "Oprah".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A woman of wisdom and I really look up to her.

DOUGHERTY: Oprah's website chronicles her life. Born in Mississippi in 1954 to poor, unwed parents. She talks openly of being sexually molested as a girl. But at age 17, she managed to land a job at a local radio station. And she told Larry King, she's been talking ever since.

WINFREY: I think the real job of your life is figuring out what is the job of your life. You know, what is your calling? I think everybody is called here to earth to do something special.

DOUGHERTY: Her talk show has been number one since she started 21 years ago. With an audience of 46 million viewers in the U.S., it's broadcast internationally in 134 countries. She's the only black female billionaire. Owns her own production company, co-founded a media company and has starred in movies like the "Color Purple."

She's a Broadway producer, has two lifestyle magazines, and her own website with more than 6 million viewers per month. In 1996, she launched Oprah's Book Club, the largest book club in the world. Promoting everything from Ken Follett novels to Tolstoy. When Oprah talks, fans, like student, Lisa Kaiches (ph), listens.

LISA KAICHES (ph), STUDENT: I think it's just that she came from such a modest background and that she really does know what women like. And I feel like she actually does look into them. And I think that she definitely picked a lot of stories that women liked, especially about love and romance.

DOUGHERTY: Oprah has turned her celebrity status into charitable endeavors, like her Leadership Academy for girls in South Africa. She pushed for a National Child Protection Act and got it signed. But she's largely stayed out of politics until now.



WINFREY: I'm not here to tell you what to think. A lot of people say, am I thinking this is going to be like my book club.

DOUGHERTY: Oprah's endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was a media sensation. But will it win votes?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. A lot of people watch Oprah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think a lot of people would vote for Obama just because of Oprah, though.

DOUGHERTY: According to "The New York Times" CBS News Poll, only one percent of Democrats polled say they'll vote for Obama because Oprah supports him.

(on-camera): If that holds, it may be the only area where she hasn't created the so-called Oprah effect. Jill Dougherty, CNN Washington.


HARRIS: So two days until Super Tuesday. 24 states are set to vote. Will either party emerge with a clear frontrunner? I asked the NPR political editor, Ken Rudin, to give us his predictions or lack of them.

KEN RUDIN, NPR POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, I do predict that this year's Super Tuesday will fall on a Tuesday. That's about as much as I can predict. I mean, we've been wrong on everything. We were wrong about John McCain. He was left for dead last summer. We were wrong about Barack Obama. We thought Hillary Clinton was coming back after New Hampshire.

We don't know what to think. And that's what makes it so great because so many voters are turned off because smart guys like us, you know, want to tell what's going to happen. We don't know what's going to happen. That's the way it should be.

HARRIS: Wait a minute, Ken, there's going to be a knock-out blow for someone here. Come on. You know -- maybe it's Ron Paul. But there's a knock-out blow for someone here on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Come on.

RUDIN: Well, it's more likely on the Republican side because there are more winner-take-all primaries. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, are all winner-take-all. If Rudy Giuliani's endorsement of John McCain makes any difference at all, make a difference in those states. That can be great states for McCain. McCain also has a lead in California. So, you know, it's possible. Republicans like it neat and tidy.


RUDIN: You know, with Reagan and Nixon and both Bush's and Bob Dole. They like their nominee early. Whereas the Democrats like a, you know, rock them sock them, straight to the end.

HARRIS: Well, talk about the Democrats for a moment. How do you see it playing out? I mean, boy, I guess you would have to go to a map. But I know, you've got this on your head at this point. So how does it look?

RUDIN: Well, you know, I think what we've seen so far is that when you have time -- when the candidates have time to meet the voters to go state by state, to go with everybody's living room, Barack Obama does much better. He did that in Iowa. He did very well in New Hampshire. Of course, he had that big win last Saturday in South Carolina.

But with 22 states going up for the Democrats at once, I think the institutional advantages that Hillary Clinton has will be to her advantage on Tuesday. She has a big lead in New York where she represents the Senate. She has a lead in New Jersey. She had a big lead in California. But, you know, Barack Obama has raised an amazing $32 million in the month of January.

HARRIS: Can you believe that? One month, January, $32 million.

RUDIN: That's more than what I make at NPR, if you can imagine that.

HARRIS: You know what, Wolf, raised an interesting question in last week's debate on whether or not we were looking at a possible dream ticket here. Do you hear any rumblings of such a thing?

RUDIN: Well, you know -- first of all, it's hard to imagine an Obama-Clinton ticket. I can't imagine Hillary Clinton being anybody's vice president. And, you know, to be honest with you, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, it's hard to be -- it's hard to be Hillary Clinton's vice president when Bill Clinton is lurking in the background. But, you know, they look very chummy, chummy.

We know, last Saturday, they look like they wanted to carry each others heads off in South Carolina so who knows what's going to happen after February 5th. Let's see who wins the nomination first.

HARRIS: Do you believe -- a lot of folks seem to believe this -- that Barack Obama lost an opportunity during that last debate before Super Tuesday to really sort of sharpen the message, sharpen the differences, that there were some opportunities there that he just left begging.

RUDIN: Well, we were wondering about that. We know, the CNN debate was amazing because we were all sitting and wondering whether they were going to go at it, continuing their feud from South Carolina or try to tone it down a bit. When Barack Obama opened up the debate with a very conciliatory message, it was obviously the latter.

Now, the thing is -- I think on health care, I think Hillary Clinton did have a clear advantage and Barack Obama did seem stymie to many of his answers. But on the war in Iraq, I think his argument is still better than hers for the Democratic Party. That is, the issue is not who is ready for day one but who's right from day one. And her argument is that on the war on Iraq, he opposed it in 2002, she voted for it in 2002.

HARRIS: Hey, you know, you're so good on this. How many times has a senator been elected president?

RUDIN: Well, that's what so amazing about this. Only twice in history. Well, as you well remember, Tony, Warren Harding in 1920. That was a good campaign. And John Kennedy in 1960. Only twice in history has an incumbent senator been elected. He who have the likelihood of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain for that matter. So, you know, aside from the history of an African-American or a woman being elected president, you'll have less (INAUDIBLE) with a possible senator being elected.

HARRIS: Ken Rudin, thanks for your time. As always, great to see you.

RUDIN: See you, Tony.

HARRIS: For the Republicans, it is a duel for delegates ahead of Super Tuesday. CNN's Wolf Blitzer spoke with two of the contenders. He joins us with the details.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Tony. Today, on "LATE EDITION," I interviewed not one but two Republican presidential candidates. Governor Mike Huckabee and Governor Mitt Romney. It's clear they are fighting for every delegate going into Super Tuesday. Listen to this.


MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's time for Mitt Romney to step aside. You know, I'm leading in the states that are going to be real critical on Super Tuesday throughout the south. Substantially ahead of Mitt Romney in these states and I think it's ludicrous for him to suggest that with only 8 percent of the delegates counted and us being very close to the same delegate count, that somehow that makes me irrelevant. If he wants to call it a two-man race, fine. But that makes it John McCain and me.

BLITZER: All right, what do you want to say to Governor Huckabee?

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wow, obviously he's smarting. I don't want to see him get squirrelly like that. But the truth of the matter is, he is a good man. Everybody has every right to stay in this race to the very end. You know, we all battle in Florida and Senator McCain and I came in number one and number two, very close. And he came in a distant fourth.

And I think by virtue of that, I think most people around the country have said, OK, it's been narrowed down to a two-person race. But, you know, he'll win Arkansas. He may win some other states. That's great. I wish him the very best. He's a good guy, but, frankly, you know, I think you're going to see this narrow down a little bit more.


BLITZER: I also asked Governor Romney about the heated rhetoric with Senator John McCain about who is capable of capturing the conservative heart of the Republican Party. Romney took on McCain's claim that he's the real conservative.


ROMNEY: First of all, it's interesting to see how Washington and politicians think about action. For them it's reaching across aisles and committee meetings and bills. Action, where I come from, means getting the job done. Actually making things better for Americans. That means getting health care for citizens. It means balancing the budget. It means cutting out wasteful spending. It means creating jobs. That's what I've spent my life doing.

You know what I don't disagree with Senator McCain on every issue, of course not. Particularly on Iraq, for instance. We're on the same page on that. But there are a number of places where he took a very sharp left turn. McCain-Feingold was one. It hurt the first amendment and hurt our party.

Then McCain-Kennedy, which gave amnesty to all illegal aliens in this country, other than criminals. That's absolutely not conservative. The new Mccain-Lieberman which puts this 50 cent charge on gasoline, that's not conservative. Voting against the Bush tax cuts, that's not conservative. So Senator McCain is a fine man and I understand why right now why he's going to dress himself in conservative garb. But his track record and the bill he fights for are long way from conservative.


BLITZER: Governor Romney, also criticize the other leading presidential candidate says lacking real world experience outside the Washington beltway.


ROMNEY: Does anyone really think that at a time when our economy is struggling, that the right course for America is to chose somebody whose never had a job in the real economy? Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Senator McCain, for that matter, have spoken about all the things they do but they've lived their lives in Washington.

And if people really think that a life-long Washington politician can guide our country to build our economy to make sure it remains the most powerful economy in the world without having ever worked in the economy, then they've got a different perspective on how the world works than I do.

You see, I think right now, it's more important to know how America works than know how Washington works. I think we have enough of the politicians and it's time to have somebody from outside Washington, like Ronald Reagan was outside Washington. Go there, shake it up, and get it back on the right track.


BLITZER: So, Tony, there's clearly a lot on the line for all the presidential candidates on Tuesday. We'll be covering it all day and night right here on CNN. And of course, tune in to "LATE EDITION" every Sunday, 11:00 a.m. Eastern, to get the in-depth interviews with all the presidential hopefuls throughout this election year. Back to you.

HARRIS: Wolf, thank you.

More bad weather in the forecast for China, where millions of people could face a humanitarian crisis as food and fuel reserve dwindles. We will bring you a live report.


HARRIS: Well, cars backed up on ice-coated highways for nearly 45 miles. Millions of others stranded and scrambling to get away trains that are hardly moving. Southern China is in its fourth week -- can you believe it -- of absolutely freakish winter weather. Hugh Remington joins us right now.

And Hugh, I'm wondering if conditions are improving and by that, I mean, more trains running and better weather conditions?

HUGH REMINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, across the country, there are food shortages now. There are power blackouts in the large parts of the country. The weather is said to be about to take a big turn for the worst and of course, we still got hundreds and thousands of people everyday trying to pass through this.

One train station alone behind me, Guangzhou Train Station here in Southern China. But the authorities in Beijing are now fully aware of what's going on. They've had a week to try to get themselves geared up. They've got the full apparatus of China, now in place trying to make this better. It's all about exerting control.


REMINGTON (voice-over): The crowds are still coming. Hundreds of thousands pressing in waves at Guangzhou train station. All in a race against people and time, to make it home for the Lunar New Year Festival, China's most essential holiday.

But if the crowds are here still, so to now is the crowd control. With the death of a young woman from injuries suffered here Friday, in what is officially being described as a stampede, the authorities are leaving nothing to chance. 306,000 soldiers have been deployed in Southern China. That's nearly twice as many troops as the U.S. has in Iraq.

The real frontline, though, is being held by police. 12,000 of them at the train station alone. This officer, who won't give his name, says he's been manning the barricades for five days.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE (through translator): We have to keep things in order and stop people from being trampled. Things are much more in order today.

REMINGTON: But he says he's tired. This is what he's confronted every hour of every shift. Nearly half a million people have now made it on to trains through this station but at a price. The dignity and comfort. The weather is certainly helping. This is the first blue sky day we've seen here in more than a week.

But the police presence can't be underestimated. There's almost strangulation level of control seems to be diffusing the tensions among these frustrated travelers. There are still outbreaks of anger, but not the general sense of frustrated rage of three or four days ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think its fine today. I thought it would be really crowded but it has turned out to be OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There are so many police and also a lot of soldiers. I think they've done a great job.

REMINGTON: The key date is Wednesday. The New Year's Eve, the most important day for families to be together. Soon, anyone who's going to make it this year would already have had to have gone.


REMINGTON: Well, I can tell you today's blue skies have resolved and have moved on. A cold mist has come in with occasional bits of drizzle. It's definitely got a little bit colder in the last few hours.


HARRIS: My, goodness. Hugh Remington for us in Guangzhou, China. Hugh, thank you.

So can you imagine being stuck in a crowd of angry, desperate people for hours with absolutely no idea when you will be mobile again? CNN's Dan Rivers ended up doing just that. He was on a train in China for 27 miserable hours. Here's his reporter's notebook.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the largest annual movement of humanity on the planet. Some 180 million people desperately trying to get home. The authorities struggle to maintain order. We were in the middle of it all, experiencing it just as China's migrant workers were then suddenly we get a break. A train is leaving and we're on it.

(on-camera): So I think everyone is running to try and get a seat because we all know we could be stuck on this train for hours or possibly days.

(voice-over): There is panic as passengers sprint along the platform. This may be their only chance to get home. Many have been waiting for this train in freezing conditions for days. And there aren't enough seats. These people are already at their wits end but its two hours before the train actually leaves. Soi A (ph) is a construction worker who hasn't seen his family since last January. He says this is his third attempt to get on the train home. But he's determined to succeed. This is the only holiday most of these people get. They worked hard to save their families. They are the engines of the Chinese economy and they are burned out.

Some earn as little as $160 a month. They sleep where they can and so do I. For the next day, it's clear, our progress is painfully slow. But I find out more about the tough lives of these tough people. Cheng Ju Go (ph) works in a plastic factory. She says many firms prefer to employ women so her husband stays in their village with the kids.

(on-camera): We've made very, very slow progress. We've only covered about 100 kilometers, about 65 miles, and that's only about a fifth of the total journey. Most people thought they'd be home by now. Their food has run out.

(voice-over): Most people thought they'd be home by now. Their food has run out. The train is filthy and there's nothing to buy, not even water. Railways staff are taking the heat from angry passengers. Finally, an unscheduled stop. A chance to buy supplies. No one is allowed on or off, but this man doesn't care. He's coming aboard anyway. For the few children here, this journey must seem eternal. But this little passenger knows soon he'll be seeing his grandparents. But it's 4:00 a.m. before we arrive.

Well, finally, this epic exodus across China is over. It was supposed to take ten hours but it's actually taken us 27 hours to get here and I, like everyone else, am absolutely exhausted. For some people, though, it's not over. They scramble for another train and one last push to make it home. Dan Rivers, CNN, Changsha, China.


HARRIS: All geared up for Super Tuesday, but watch out. There's some serious weather hitting parts of the country that day. Bonnie Schneider checks your forecast.


HARRIS: You know, Super Tuesday will also be crummy weather Tuesday for those of you in some voting states. Here's Bonnie Schneider with the forecast.


HARRIS: Still, while we're supporting heavy coats, this spirited group of lovely ladies is dotting something a leap to more glitzy. Let's do the wave. Oh, yeah, ladies.


HARRIS: We commend the spirit but get ready for a Super Bowl size -- you've got to be kidding. This line of glitzy gladiators, none other than the Sun City Palms., they hail from Sun City, Arizona. As you can see, they 18's (ph).

They were hoping to add some sparkle, some sizzle to the sideline of tonight's Super Bowl, but at last, they'll have to wait until the next time Arizona host the game. The ladies say their routine will be even better by then. You go girls. Kind of hot.

See the guy upfront and center in the orange? He is facing child pornography charges tonight in Florida. He is also unemployed. He is no longer a spokesman for the Department of Children and Families in Tallahassee. The state agency is also reviewing its hiring policy and background checks.

And Tiger Woods, step aside. This 92-year-old Florida man is a sight to behold on the golf course, Leo Fialco (ph). Just thanked his first hole in one after playing the game for six years. Only, he didn't see it. He's blind.

Luckily, plenty of people were around when he ace what is consider the toughest Par 3 on the course. By the way, his sight is so bad, someone had to line him up in the direction of the green. Way to go.

I'm Tony Harris. Thanks for joining us on the CNN NEWSROOM. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.