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FEMA Trailers Are Toxic; Dangers of Formaldehyde; Still Testing John McCain; Rallies in Lebanon; Clemens on the Hill; HGH in Hollywood
Aired February 14, 2008 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We love the kiss! Oh -- good morning. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. Happy Valentine's Day. I'm Heidi Collins. You all right?
HARRIS: I'm better now.
COLLINS: OK. Good.
Wow. We've got all kinds of stuff coming your way live on this Thursday, February 14th. It is Valentine's Day. But here's what's on the rundown.
They said they were safe. Today government experts will tell Katrina's homeless to get out of FEMA trailers pronto.
HARRIS: Urgent search in California. Three kids kidnapped at gunpoint in a fast-food parking lot. Are their own parents behind it?
COLLINS: First sports, now the stars. Hollywood shoots up human growth hormone, forever young, in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: And at the top this morning, a new body blow from Hurricane Katrina. Federal health experts today will tell storm victims to get out of government trailers, and soon the reason formaldehyde inside those trailers could be poisoning people. They need to be moved, but the question is, where?
CNN's Sean Callebs is "Keeping Them Honest" this morning.
Sean, good to see you. What are we expecting to learn from FEMA today? It seems like there is a lot that could be covered here.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is not good news for people down in the Gulf Coast region. As you mentioned, people who've just been beaten up, people who've lost their homes looked to the federal government for help. The federal government's response was to bring a bunch of mobile home trailers as well as travel trailers, the kind you hook up to the back of a truck down into this area.
Well, about two years ago people started complaining about problems, became worried about potential formaldehyde poisoning. Well, now we know the CDC, after an extensive test, is coming out. They're going to hold news conference here in New Orleans in a few hours and they're going to saying exactly that. Yes, these trailers are dangerous.
CALLEBS (voice-over): Remember this? Miles of house trailers rushed to the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina. 120,000 in all that cost FEMA $1.8 billion. The agency bought way too many. So FEMA unloaded 10,000 trailers at bargain rates, 40 cents on the dollar.
So, wait. Back up. The trailers are going back to FEMA. "Keeping Them Honest," we wondered, what's going on?
Wanda Phillips in Purvis, Mississippi knows. She and her husband bought one.
WANDA PHILLIPS, PURVIS, MISSISSIPPI: We thought it was great. It's new, it was all new.
CALLEBS: That wasn't a new smell. Test showed high levels of formaldehyde, a solution used to preserve wood. The government now admits that formaldehyde could be at unacceptably high levels basically poisoning people.
So FEMA is offering to buy back all 10,000-plus trailers for the full price of the sale.
PHILLIPS: We replaced the tabletop, new cushions.
CALLEBS: FEMA won't pay those costs or reimbursed travel expenses.
Here's the deal: people have 60 days to return the trailers to giant lots like this one, which FEMA rents at a cost to taxpayers of $860,000 a year. The lot also happens to be right across the street from Wanda Phillips.
PHILLIPS: You could hear how hoarse I am.
CALLEBS: Apparently the collection of trailers concentrated from formaldehyde in the air. She's had test done and has documents that shows small levels of the toxin in the air.
Keep in mind, FEMA tells its employee, because of the potential danger of formaldehyde, don't enter trailers when it's sunny.
PHILLIPS: They're out of control, they're ungoverned. They're doing exactly what they want to do without a care in the world to what happens to the people.
CALLEBS: FEMA wouldn't talk on camera, but said "all information pertaining to the buyback program and formaldehyde has been posted on" its Web site. FEMA says more than 40,000 people are still living in trailers.
PHILLIPS: People don't realize how agonizing it's been, and what we've all been through. CALLEBS: Phillips is selling her trailer back, and that will solve one problem, but with thousands of others selling theirs as well, she expects another line of traffic in front of her home.
PHILLIPS: I felt cheated. I felt like my government, they're there to take care of us and they didn't take care of me.
CALLEBS: And Phillips says, they still aren't.
CALLEBS: We talked with Congressman Nick Lampson about this issue just last week and he said for FEMA to tell people to crack the windows, that's how they're going to mitigate the damage is just disingenuous by FEMA.
Well, Tony, we know they're going to hold a news conference in just a few hours, they're going to talk about two kinds of testing. They did short-term tests and they did long-term testing. That's what is important. And two different kinds of trailers as well, the mobile homes, which people are meant to live in for periods of time, and travel trailers, which people aren't meant to live in.
Now FEMA says that it's moving about 800 people a week, or month, out of FEMA trailers into hotels or other lodging, but a lot of people simply don't want to leave, Tony. The reason they've been kicked around, they had moved around a bunch.
HARRIS: Yes. Yes.
CALLEBS: They are in front of their homes now. They want to get their homes ready, they want to get out of the trailers, out of that 400 square feet of luxurious living and back into their homes.
HARRIS: Yes, exactly.
CALLEBS: So that's the challenge. And what people are saying is this is just a glaring example of how poorly the federal government, how poorly FEMA, was prepared for this disaster. Everyone in the Gulf Coast region knew the big one could come in, big storm surge, wipe out homes and people would have to find places to live. Why did it take so long for FEMA to react?
HARRIS: Oh, boy. All right. Sean Callebs for us. We'll be there watching that press conference this afternoon, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Good to see you. Thank you.
COLLINS: So what are the health risks of formaldehyde? Something to talk about certainly. Here to explain more, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
All right. We should probably start off by reminding everybody exactly what formaldehyde is?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes -- it's a colorless gas. You know it when you smell it because it has a very characteristic smell, but, you know, it's very common. I mean you see it in lots of different byproducts when you're doing stuff with wood, plywood for example, but also from things like cigarette smoke, tobacco, fiberglass, carpets.
Take a look at the list there. It's a long list. And you can -- as a result of that list you can see how -- just how omnipresent it is. Something interesting Sean said about what it does to people in terms of the sort of symptoms. That woman had that very hoarse voice.
GUPTA: It's very irritating. I mean, again, you smell it. It also irritates the eyes, it irritates the nasal cavities. People do develop that hoarse voice. It's also considered a carcinogen, something that could potentially cause cancer.
COLLINS: Wow. Are small amounts of it found in all homes?
GUPTA: Yes, you know, that's a good question. We looked into this a bit, Heidi, and it's hard to figure out an exact unsafe level, because it's dependent not only on the level but how long you're exposed to that level as well. So these things make a difference.
What they will say is that when they tested this, they found about 77 parts per billion. That number doesn't mean anything to most people. But it's about four to five times what you typically see in most homes and they felt that those levels were high enough to cause some of those symptoms.
Now one thing is important. They didn't prove at the levels that they found that it could actually make people sick. And formaldehyde was one of the only chemicals that were tested for this. I'll be interested to see what the CDC has to say about that specifically. Why didn't they test for other chemicals if this is a concern and how do they figure out what's safe and what's not safe here?
COLLINS: Yes. And also very interesting. I think a lot of people are going to wonder why some of these authorities were warned against going into these homes when the sun was out because of the heat.
GUPTA: Yes, you know, this is something that surprised me a little bit as well. Indoor air temperature and humidity are two of the biggest factors in terms of actually increasing formaldehyde levels. So the formaldehyde might be there, you add warmer temperature, you add the humidity and those levels can go up. It is in part probably why here now in February, before spring and summer rolls around, they're starting to address this, because, you know, it's going to get hotter and it's going to get more humid.
GUPTA: So the levels will just get worse.
COLLINS: What about safety standards? Are they out there? Are there guidelines? GUPTA: Well -- it's tough to -- because again you not only have to figure out the level but how long you've been exposed to it.
GUPTA: So Sean mentioned, for example, some of these are travel trailers. So by definition, you're in there for shorter amounts of time or for only different parts of the year. So that might be different than a permanent home, for example, in terms of what the safety levels are. We know that, on average, these are about four to five times what you find higher in versus other homes.
COLLINS: Yes. So what can you do to protect yourself? I mean if you're in this situation, and this is all you've got, this is the only place that you have to live...
COLLINS: ...what do you do?
GUPTA: Some of it is going to sound sort of obvious, but it still works. I mean, again, keeping in mind that high temperatures and humidity increase the levels, try and reduce those thing. So even opening windows, actually using fans, things like that can help, as getting out of the particular area. So if it's a travel trailer, not spending as much time, for example, in it.
You're right, though, Heidi. If it's your home, it's hard to not get exposed.
COLLINS: Yes. Maybe park in the shade? I mean, does that help at all?
GUPTA: Even things like that.
COLLINS: Yes. OK.
GUPTA: These are chemicals and they can be sort of activated in the levels increased by that humidity and temperature.
COLLINS: All right. Well, we're going to be following this story, obviously, for quite sometime.
GUPTA: Now keep an eye on that CDC briefing as well.
COLLINS: OK. Good. Very good. Thanks so much, Dr. Gupta. I appreciate it.
GUPTA: Thank you. Thank you.
HARRIS: Right now we want to, if you would, stay with CNN throughout the day for updates on this developing story, and again we expect to hear from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the CDC this afternoon. A news conference is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time and we'll, of course, bring it to you right here in the NEWSROOM. Let's take you to Beirut, Lebanon right now. Take a look at this massive protest. It's what we anticipated (INAUDIBLE). Three years now since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, on February 14th, 2005.
Boy, what has happened in that country since. The number of political assassinations since that time 22, and probably counting in all. Tens of thousands of people on the streets of Beirut right now in separate rallies and protests.
Again, three years since the political assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Our Brent Sadler is on the ground and we will bring Brent up shortly to describe that scene that you are seeing right there in Beirut, Lebanon.
Also developing this morning, three children allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint outside a McDonald's restaurant. Their biological parents on the run right now. Details from Melissa McCarty with affiliate KCAL.
MELISSA MCCARTY, KCAL REPORTER (voice over): AMBER alert signs are activated along all major freeways in hopes of finding 11-year-old Rebecca Barrios, 9-year-old Julissa Barrios, and 2-year-old Angel Amesquita. All three were abducted by their biological parents.
DEP. JOHNNIE JONES, LOS ANGELES CO. SHERIFF'S DEPT.: The father start -- got off out of the car, he went to take one of the kids and put them in the car. When the foster mother started to intervene because that wasn't allowed, the biological mother produced a handgun, pointed it at the foster mother and told her not to interfere.
MCCARTHY: The foster parents to the three kids called for an emergency meeting at this McDonald's in Carson, because one of the kids is sick with a fever. But instead of offering comfort to the child, all three were taken.
JONES: They're from Bellflower. We've checked their homes. We've checked places that we -- potentially places they might have gone and we've had no luck.
HARRIS: The family left in a 2000 green Landrover. The mother reportedly lost custody of the children after she threatened them.
COLLINS: Primary focus. The presidential candidates on the trail today in states with upcoming contests. Hillary Clinton has a stop in Ohio this hour. She's counting on March 4th primaries there and in Texas to help her rebound. Clinton is taking aim at Barack Obama telling supporters she in the solutions business while he is in the promises business. Obama trying to keep the momentum after eight straight wins. He is proposing a $210 billion plan to create jobs and rebuild the nation's infrastructure and he's taking shots at Clinton for her support of the NAFTA free trade agreement.
On the Republican side, John McCain holds a rally this morning in Vermont. The Vermont primary is March 4th along with Rhode Island, Texas and Ohio.
Rallying supporters, reassuring skeptics. Tests for John McCain as he surges toward his -- party's nomination. Details now from Dana Bash.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the Republican presidential candidate desperate to rally his party behind him, this helps.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: Clearly, I've had some disagreements with Senator McCain over the years, but I'm - I'm going to tell you, I've watched this presidential race unfold and I've watched John McCain be a strong advocate for the principles that I believe in.
BASH: So does this.
REP. ROY BLUNT (R), MINORITY WHIP: This contest is over and I think it's produced the best possible nominee for us to take back the House.
BASH: A show of support from formerly skeptical House GOP leaders on the heels of a Potomac primary sweep and John McCain's patience for Mike Huckabee is wearing thin.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of course, I'd like for him to withdraw today. I mean it would be much easier, but I respect and have repeatedly said I respect his right to continue in this race.
BASH: But McCain has moved on, test driving his general election message.
MCCAIN: The Democrats want to raise your taxes, or me, I want to lower your taxes. Whether it will be a heath care system run by the federal government or whether families in America will make their choices about health care.
BASH: In efforts to convince GOP lawmakers, maverick McCain is a team player. CNN is told, behind closed doors, a supporter read data on how much he's campaigned for House candidates.
REP. TOM COLE (R), OKLAHOMA: The next election's going to be fought in the middle.
BASH: The congressmen in charge of electing House Republicans this year says McCain topping the ticket will help.
COLE: I think independent voters are -- they're going to be the most important voting block going forward and I think John McCain has a demonstrated appeal to that group.
BASH: But some are still weary of McCain on issues like immigration. Congressman Tom Price wants to hear...
REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA: The border security first is the paramount importance for this nation. I need to look him in the eye, shake his hand, and get that assurance from him as well.
COLLINS: Dana Bash is joining us now from Burlington, Vermont, where John McCain is going to address a rally in just a couple hours.
But Dana, Senator McCain has really been concentrating his attacks on Democrats these days. Can we expect more of the same today?
BASH: Absolutely. You know, Heidi, he had been in kind of a campaign never-never land at least until this past Tuesday, until this Potomac primaries, and now he feels and his campaign feels much more confident about going after the -- their opponents in November, whether it's Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.
But it's really been interesting, Heidi. He really has been much more focused on Barack Obama as an opponent. You remember, on Tuesday night, he sort of -- it was not such a subtle hit at Barack Obama, talking about the need to not talk in platitudes.
Yesterday at that press conference with House Republicans, he was pretty tough saying that he looked into it and Barack Obama has the most liberal voting record in the Senate. Also talked about the fact that he hadn't seen Barack Obama much on the campaign trail, but then he thought that he was pretty short on specifics when he talks about his policies.
That is something you're going to hear more and more from John McCain particularly as, you know, it's really unclear what's going to happen on the Democratic side. But the fact that the McCain campaign, they seem to want to test drive their message about Barack Obama right now more than Hillary Clinton.
Maybe that is because of the fact that Barack Obama, they think, would be a much more difficult opponent. For Hillary Clinton, they know how to run against the Clintons. Barack Obama, quite different.
COLLINS: Yes. Boy, it's still going to be interesting, even though we think we know who these nominees might be. We'll have to see.
Dana Bash, thanks so much, Burlington, Vermont this morning.
HARRIS: Cold, wet and in the dark. That's the situation for many people in the northeast this morning. A powerful winter storm pounding the region with ice, snow and rain. Thousands of customers are without electricity from Maine to Maryland and in between. Hundreds of schools are closed. The storm dumped, look at this, a half foot of snow on the northeast. More in some spots.
In New Hampshire, three buildings collapsed under the weight of the wet snow. No injuries reported there, thankfully, but the storm is blamed for 15 deaths since Monday and flooding is now a concern as drenching rain combines with all of that melting snow.
COLLINS: A baseball icon ensnared in a steroids scandal. Did Roger Clemens make the right pitch when he needed it most on Capitol Hill?
COLLINS: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Honoring a slain militant, remembering an assassinated leader. Lebanese come out by the thousands for two opposing gathering. We'll travel there next.
HARRIS: Taking to the streets of Beirut. Tens of thousands of people gather for separate rallies by rival political factions. Live now to CNN Beirut bureau chief Brent Sadler in the Lebanese capital.
Brent, we've been showing folks these pretty dramatic pictures. If you would, describe for us what we're seeing.
BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: You're seeing two starkly contrasted viewpoints of Lebanon, which really do illustrate how deeply this country is divided. On the one hand, you have tens of thousands of Lebanese commemorating the third anniversary of the assassination of former five-time Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Many of these people staunchly anti-Syrian, many blaming Syria for having a hand in the Hariri killing. On the other hand, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Hezbollah stronghold, you have supporters of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's chief, really energizing one of America's most wanted terrorists. He was killed in a car bomb attack the day before yesterday in Syria. Hezbollah claims that Israel had killed Imad Mugniyeh, who was buried today, by Hezbollah.
Hezbollah's leader taking the opportunity of accusing Israel not only of killing Mugniyeh, but also wanted to provoke war. Hezbollah said the war of 2006 in the summer wasn't over and he declared ultimate war against Israel. Very strong rhetoric there. Very strong, powerful speeches from both political camps, really flexing their muscles in a very deeply divided and tense time here in Lebanon -- Tony?
HARRIS: Yes. And Brent, if we could, let's go back to the tribute for the former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. I'm just sort of curious where things stand with the U.N. investigation of his assassination and the participation of Syria?
SADLER: Well, as far as the United Nations tribunal is concerned that is still being put into place. It's expected perhaps to start operating as early as this year, and it's taken quite some time to get together since Hariri's assassination in 2005.
As Syria, on the other hand, has said that it does not, does not accept, if you like, the interference of a tribunal.
SADLER: It is support -- Hariri's legacy -- those that support the U.S.-backed government believes that Syria is trying to block that tribunal from its Lebanese allies notably Hezbollah -- Tony?
HARRIS: CNN's Brent Sadler for us this morning. Brent, thank you.
COLLINS: Still ahead, not a VALENTINE's day treat you want your kids to get. A metal blade found in a candy card combo.
COLLINS: Check that Valentine's Day candy. A Florida sheriff warning parents and teachers today, a piece of a blade is found in one package.
And Alexandria Hackett of affiliate WTSP reports.
ALEXANDRIA HACKETT, WTSP REPORTER (voice over): This is what was found inside a box of Pokemon Valentine's Day lollipops, a sharp object possibly the blade from a box cutter sealed inside the candy intended for exchange among kids.
SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA: The very edge of the sharp razor blade is sticking out of the pop. So just one lick on the pop would create injuries or cuts to the child's mouth.
HACKETT: The Pokemon lollipops manufactured by Sherwood brands were purchased by the mother of a fourth grader from this dollar general store in Lakeland. The 10-year-old was writing out his Valentine's Day cards Wednesday night when he spotted the sharp object.
CHRISTOPHER POTTER, FOUND THE BLADE: I was trying to give my sister some candy, and when I looked at it, it has a razor blade in it.
HACKETT: The candy was supposed to be handed out for Valentine's Day at Scott Lake Elementary School but has since been turned over to investigators. In fact, sheriff's detectives removed all the Pokemon candy from the shelves of the stores to have it X-rayed in search of additional metal objects.
JUDD: Once again, is it product tampering? Is it a mistake that happened at the factory? But we do know this. It was made in China and the quality control was no there.
HACKETT: The Food and Drug Administration is expected to launch its own federal investigation, but with kids across the country said to exchange Valentine's Day greetings today, there's no way to tell where else this same brand of candy might be.
JUDD: If there's a blade in one piece, there certainly could be a blade in other pieces.
COLLINS: For safety sake, the sheriff says just give the card and leave the Pokemon candy out.
HARRIS: Bright and alert, that's how a doctor describes evangelist Billy Graham after surgery. Doctors replaced a shunt in Graham's brain. It controls excess fluid. A Graham spokesman says the 89-year-old preacher will likely be up and walking soon. He is expected to remain in the hospital several days.
Here we go. Coming up on the half hour. Welcome back, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.
COLLINS: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
Moneyman on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers looking to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson for a prescription for the ailing economy. Some analysts say the housing and credit crisis have already pushed the economy into a recession.
Bernanke, Paulson and SEC chairman Christopher Cox appear before the Senate Banking Committee. That will happen next hour and we will monitor it for you.
HARRIS: You know, someone lied. Was it the baseball icon or the trainer who says he juiced? We'll talk to a sports attorney. That's next.
COLLINS: Quickly, we want to take a look at the opening bell. Should be ringing any moment now. Look at that. Isn't that fitting? Godiva Chocolates ringing the bell today, holding those big red hearts. Looks pretty good. Wonder if they'll actually pass those out to the folks doing their trading today as (INAUDIBLE) the ring. There you go.
Yesterday we had a pretty nice jump. 178 points to the positive, ended the day at 12542. Obviously the big headline in the economy or in your financial news this morning is going to be exactly what happens with Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury secretary Henry Paulson as they head to Capitol Hill. We will be watching for it as we said just moments ago right here alongside Susan Lisovicz.
COLLINS: Baseball icon Roger Clemens looking for a save. He went to Capitol Hill to convince lawmakers and the public he did not use performance-enhancing drugs.
Here now CNN's Larry Smith.
LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Roger Clemens has made a name for himself by throwing heat. Wednesday he tried to save that name by withstanding the heat from lawmakers who wanted to know if he's ever taken steroids.
ROGER CLEMENS, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: I'm not saying Senator Mitchell's report is entirely wrong. I am saying Brian McNamee's statements about me are wrong. Let me be clear. I have never taken steroids or HGH.
BRIAN MCNAMEE, CLEMENS' FORMER TRAINER: I told the truth about steroids and human growth hormone. I injected those drugs into the body of Roger Clemens at his direction.
SMITH: Clemens wasn't the only one questioning McNamee's credibility. Congressmen came into the hearing in attack mode.
REP. DAN BURTON (R), INDIANA: I want to make sure I got this straight. Your friend, Roger Clemens, you allegedly gave him these shots. You kept the needles for five years and went on and kept working for him because he was your employer, and then you said you felt bad, you felt bad about proposing, giving these to the Mitchell committee when you first started talking to them?
MCNAMEE: Yes, sir.
BURTON: Gee whiz. Are you kidding me?
MCNAMEE: No, sir.
SMITH: This was an equal opportunity bashing, meaning Clemens wasn't spared. There were even fireworks from the star pitcher's attorneys who sidestepped the rules and addressed the committee directly in defense of their client. But in the end, still no one is sure who is telling the truth.
REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), OVERSIGHT & GOVT. REFORM CHMN.: They don't disagree on a phone call or one meeting. They don't. They disagree on whether over a -- whether over a period of four years, Mr. McNamee repeatedly injected Mr. Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone. It's impossible to believe that this is a simple misunderstanding. Someone isn't telling the truth.
COLLINS: If investigators find Clemens or McNamee lied in their sworn testimony, that person could face perjury charges.
HARRIS: Did Roger Clemens walk off Capitol Hill with a victory or Brian McNamee come off as more credible? How about the national pastime? Is anybody talking that? Ryan Smith is a sports attorney and talk show host on BET.
Good morning, doctor.
RYAN SMITH, BET TALK SHOW HOST: Good morning.
HARRIS: You know what? What did you think?
SMITH: You know, Clemens did not have a good day yesterday. I'll say that straight on.
HARRIS: Why is that?
SMITH: More than anything, a little bit of a selective memory. He was not -- tried to be direct but in a lot of places got tripped up on the facts. The biggest thing for me was Pettitte's testimony that in '99 or 2000 a discussion where Clemens said he used HGH. Clemens said, no, that was my wife who used it but in the testimony yesterday, we heard his wife didn't actually use it until 2003.
In addition, Clemens we also found out, that Clemens at a deposition last week said that he didn't know that any of his family members used HGH, and he could never really give a straight answer about that.
HARRIS: He clearly -- I mean he's not a knucklehead here. He clearly knew that he was in conflict with the facts here. Why couldn't he admit to being wrong about the simplest things here?
SMITH: Because I think any admission for him of wrongdoing means everything would think he took steroids or HGH and he can't have that.
Tony, here's the clear thing. You can not tell if Roger Clemens took HGH or steroids unless he has a positive test. Roger Clemens knows that. I'm not going to step out on limb just yet and say he was lying but I will say this. If you believe that someone can't prove something about you definitively, it gives you a lot of room to state your version of the facts.
HARRIS: Wasn't it "Seinfeld" who said it's not a lie if I believe it?
SMITH: That was George.
HARRIS: Right. It's not a lie if you don't believe it.
I got to ask you, if feels like in all of this, baseball, the big loser. But I'm wondering about the Mitchell report. Going into this we wondered if this was viewed by the committee as honest, saleable. It looks like the Mitchell report holds up.
SMITH: I think it does. The good thing about it, I think the winner here was baseball and Bud Selig. You heard the congressmen talking how Roger, you only dispute your portion of the Mitchell report. Not the entire Mitchell report? Roger was fine with that. Brian McNamee fine with that. So I think what they're trying to say at the very least, everything in the Mitchell report is correct except for this dispute with Roger which is debatable or the Mitchell report is fine altogether, which helps baseball.
The other thing I'll say is how many times did you hear Bud Selig's name yesterday? Once I counted which means basically this was not about Bud Selig or baseball, it was about Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee.
HARRIS: How unfortunate is that? I mean I got to tell you it felt like Roger Clemens was being set up in a huge perjury trap. Did you get that sense?
And you know was wondering, if you had this factual basis or at least the affidavits and the depositions, why not as Henry Waxman suggested, write it up in a report? I guess it was Roger Clemens wanted his day before the committee.
SMITH: I was going say, I do think it was a very tough proceeding for Roger, because the idea is, this is not a court of law. Yet he's sitting there being accused of things and he isn't allowed to confront witnesses like Pettitte. That was tough. The bottom line fact here, he asked for this. He wanted to make a statement in front of the public.
So when you do that, here's the tough thing about a congressional hearing. When you do that, all bets are off. No one's going to step out there and try to protect your interests and your legacy. This was all about Roger Clemens having a 20-year career of excellence in pitching. Not so much about the hall of fame. He wants people to know I've done everything honestly all along.
HARRIS: Ryan, hang on a second because before I lose you, I want to play, a key moment when Roger Clemens placed squarely on the record, Congressman Cummings yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Now, Mr. Clemens, I'm reminding you are you under oath. Mr. Clemens, do you think Mr. Pettitte was lying when he told the committee you admitted to using human growth hormones?
CLEMENS: Mr. Congressman, Andy Pettitte is my friend. He will be -- he was my friend before this. He will be my friend after this. And, again, I think Andy has misheard.
(END VIDEOTAPE) HARRIS: OK. Ryan, any perjury here? Does this get referred to the justice department?
SMITH: I think they'll see some sort of perjury investigation. I'm not sure if that in and of itself qualifies as perjury. Here's why. I think you'll see the justice department pursuing if there's a material dispute like the existence of a positive test of steroid and HGH. Not on the basis of a little bit of he said/he said.
I think if they can find credible evidence, for example, in the syringes that contain his DNA and some sort of connection there, that the evidence itself stands up in a court, then I think you'll see a perjury charge.
HARRIS: Ryan, coming on strong. How's that BET thing working out for you?
SMITH: It's going great. We've got a great show going.
HARRIS: I'll give you a call. All right?
HARRIS: All right. Ryan Smith, great to see you.
Around the ballpark to the big screen, HGH is becoming a high priority in Hollywood. A closer look at that straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: For now, though, I want to a look at the weather situation across the country. Demands to do that. Reynolds Wolf, record snow in the Midwest, yes?
REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Record snow actually in parts of the Rockies. Some places in the Rocky Mountains had over 24 feet of snow so far this season stretching the season into May, could be. Hard to believe it's true.
The snow that we're talking about at this particular update is going to be the snow we're seeing in portions of the Midwest, back into Wisconsin even into portions of northern Michigan where at this time we have plenty of moisture at the surface. However, aloft, we're getting a little bit of dry air coming in from the north and northwest and what that's going to do, it's going to cause some of the snow to begin to taper off. As we speak, just south of Green Bay, we've got some scattered snow showers. Some near Madison as well.
On the other side of Lake Michigan, in places like Traverse City, even in Des Moines, could see anywhere from two to four inches of snowfall. As it stands, we still have those snow warnings in there and in effect for a good part of the middle at least, the middle part of Wisconsin and just a little bit of northern Michigan, too. However, these may be -- I would say there's a good chance they could be canceled due to the dry air. Also seeing snow warnings up near Mercer and Ashland and just to the north of Hayward. That's a look at your forecast. Coming up, we're going to take a look at a whole bunch of other stuff, including heavy rain in the northeast. The potential of flooding certainly exists. Back to you.
HARRIS: Reynolds, good to see you. Thank you, sir.
COLLINS: Rival mourners flooding Beirut's streets today. One group honoring a government leader. The other, a terror leader. Live pictures for you now coming in.
COLLINS: Looking for number nine. Barack Obama riding a tide of eight election wins in a row.
Details now from CNN's political correspondent, Candy Crowley.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Barack Obama campaigned his way through Wisconsin Wednesday, courting modest income, working class voters in the towns buffeted by factory closings and a downward economic spiraling.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should not be giving tax breaks to corporations who make their profits from another country with other workers. Before she started running fore president, Senator Clinton actually voted for this loophole.
CROWLEY: He is going after Hillary Clinton's base. Touring a GM assembly plant in Janesville, he hits Clinton in places that resonate in living rooms. Her early support for the North American free trade agreement, support for a bankruptcy bill seen by many as pro-big business, her support of the war.
OBAMA: John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for a war in Iraq that should have never been authorize and waged. A war that is costing us thousands of precious lives and billions of dollars a week that could have been used to rebuild crumbling schools and bridges, roads and building, invested in job training and child care and making health care affordable or putting college within reach.
CROWLEY: He is leading now in a number of states won in the overall tally of votes and in pledged delegates. So it's a two-front battle. Obama also has an eye on John McCain.
OBAMA: He took me on on economics because he's admitted, and by the way, John McCain's a great American hero, a war hero. We honor his service, but -- but economics is not his strong suit. I mean, he said, I don't understand economics very well. And after what he said, it shows because his main economics philosophy is to continue the same tax breaks.
CROWLEY: As Obama tried for his ninth straight election victory in Wisconsin, his campaign is busy building up his inevitability, with top campaign advisers telling reporters, the math ahead makes it all but impossible for her to beat him in pledged delegates.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Wisconsin.
COLLINS: Stay tuned for much more on the candidates as they crisscross the country. Don't miss a full however the CNN Ballot Bowl from noon until 1:00 eastern. Join us for live coverage as the candidates make their fixes and remember, CNN equals politics.
HARRIS: Katrina left them homeless. Now, storm victims are told to get out of their temporary housing. Toxic dangers in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Well, it's all about image. More of Hollywood crowd turning to human growth hormone for a youth boost.
Here's CNN David Mattingly.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In Hollywood, it's all about image, and relatively young stars could be the latest wave of customers turning to performance enhancing substances.
When people come to you, what are they looking for?
DR. ANDRE BERGER, PRESCRIBES HGH: Well, they come for generally two reasons. They want to feel better and they want to look better.
MATTINGLY: At the Rejuv-Life Vitality Institute in Beverly Hills, Dr. Andre Berger sees a growing number of stars spending up to $15,000 a year on HGH, an injectable human growth hormone that some patients and doctors claim can reduce fat, build muscle and boost energy. But where he used to see middle-aged patients, Berger is now getting calls from Hollywood 30 something's wanting HGH and rap artists inquiring about illegal steroids.
BERGER: If they feel that part of being a rap star is looking buff and having big muscles et cetera, so anything they can do to kind of bring themselves to look like that is just going to enhance the whole image.
MATTINGLY: So could some performers be going the way of baseball? Citing unnamed sources the Albany Time's Union reported that a New York probe named singer Mary J. Blige and rapper 50 Cent along celebrity customers sent shipments of HGH and steroids. Neither is accused of any crime and Blige denied taking any performance enhancing drugs.
Fans could be taking note. Markers for HGH therapy say it's become more than a billion dollar a year business, thanks in part to aging baby boomers who are willing to spend big bucks and emulate the stars whose looks never seem to fade. Some critics say HGH is nothing more than a dangerous placebo, elevating risks of cancer and diabetes. The FDA says HGH should only be prescribed for adults with a rare hormone growth deficiency or muscle loss from AIDS.
But older Hollywood has its own ideas. Suzanne Sommers says HGH helped her make 60 the new 40. Sylvester Stallone at 61 defends HGH as a way to reduce physical wear and tear.
DENNIS PELINO, USES HGH: You see the Hollywood side from here. Reminds me where I am.
MATTINGLY: Dennis Pelino is not a movie star but he lives like one. After taking HGH for five years, this businessman doesn't look or feel like he's 60.
PELINO: The only competitive advantage, I can keep up with people a lot younger than me. I'm not trying to set records. I'm just trying to stay in the game.
MATTINGLY: Pelino says he's been diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. Dr. Berger says one in four of his patients has a deficiency and is prescribed HGH for limited periods of time. He says many seeking a shot from a fountain of youth are turned down and surprised to learn that all of those Hollywood hard bodies still demand good diets and lots of work.
David Mattingly, CNN, Los Angeles.
COLLINS: Separated at birth. Twins meet 45 years later. Together again, in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: As we age, our vocal cords can get weaker.
CNN medical correspondent, Judy Fortin, tells us how to keep them strong in our 30s, 40s and 50s.
JUDY FORTIN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Ilene Leventhal has lost her voice. Diagnosed with food poisoning her body became dehydrated drying out her vocal cords.
ILENE LEVENTHAL, LOST HER VOICE: They showed me my vocal cords. They were kind of stuck.
FORTIN: Her voice got so bad she began to see a speech therapist. With exercises and breathing techniques, Ilene is beginning to talk again.
LEVENTHAL: This helped mentally. I mean I came in here last Monday and I was like this and ... FORTIN: Although they are two of the smallest muscles in the body, vocal cords, which are also called vocal folds, do an awful lot of work. Vibrating up to 400 time as second, they create sound when we breathe through them, yet as we age, many of us abuse our voices without knowing it.
DR. SUSAN MILLER, VOICE TRAINER/OTOLARYNGOLOGY: The voice is an instrument and it depends on how we play it. Many different reasons we don't play our voice correctly and many times just don't warm it up.
FORTIN: In our 30s, it's a good idea for lots of reasons to drink lots of water. As we age we don't produce as much saliva and keeping your vocal cords hydrated is important. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol. They can dry out your throat.
MILLER: Vocal cords have to be wet to be able to vibrate.
FORTIN: And begin to exercise those cords.
MILLER: This is like my biceps have less tone than they used to, go to the gym to do curls for the biceps, our vocal cords can lose the tone.
FORTIN: Try lip vibrations or hum in the shower for a few minutes before you start your day. That keeps your vocal muscles in shape as you age.
In our 40s and 50s, some medicines for blood pressure and heart illness can dry the throat. Health conditions like acid reflux common at this age can really affect the voice causing a raspiness and change in pitch.
MILLER: During the day acid comes up and can spill over on your vocal folds.
FORTIN: And give your voice a rest. Professional singers or speakers as they age sometimes scar their folds. Actress Julie Andrews actually grew polyps on her vocal cords requiring surgery that robbed her of her beautiful soprano voice.
As for Ilene Leventhal, she is gradually getting her natural voice back, and continues to do her exercises. Knowing it will help her vocal cords get stronger giving her the opportunity to talk and laugh like she used to.
Judy Fortin, CNN, Atlanta.
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