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FBI Investigates Roger Clemens; Prince Harry in Afghanistan; Explosion At Shopping Mall Outside Chicago; Democrats Have Difficult Decision to Make
Aired February 28, 2008 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Three o'clock here in the East.
CNN NEWSROOM starts with breaking news coming from Waukegan, Illinois. These pictures you're looking at courtesy of our affiliate WGN. There's been an explosion at a shopping mall there, and according to reporters and people on the scene and the police department, at least five people, possibly six, have been taken to the hospital. And the fire department is going through these stores now to try to figure out if there are more people inside of the stores.
Again, an explosion happening noon time Central, 1:00 here in the East, at this shopping mall. Several stores there, including a cellular phone store, a beauty salon and other, a tuxedo shop. All of the injuries so far believed to be at that beauty salon. This is Waukegan, Illinois, 40 miles north of Chicago, a very busy shopping district. And on this day, this very busy day, at least five people, possibly six injured in an explosion at a shopping mall. We will continue to update you.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And just to recap another story that we're following here in the CNN NEWSROOM, this has to do with Roger Clemens, the FBI saying today they are going to take up a request by Congress to investigate whether Roger Clemens perjured himself when he told Congress under oath that he had not used performance-enhancing drugs.
We told you yesterday that Congress had asked the Department of Justice to look into whether Clemens had perjured himself. You will recall earlier this month, he was adamant under oath before Congress saying he had not taken performance-enhancing drugs when he was sitting just a couple feet away really from the trainer who also insisted that he had injected Roger Clemens himself with performance- enhancing drugs.
We're getting justice correspondent, Kelli Arena, in place to bring us all of the details.
And let's turn a corner now talking about a secret that is now out. Britain's Prince Harry third in line to the British throne, he's fighting in Afghanistan.
CNN's Paula Newton reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The prince holds the lowest officer rank, known as Cornet Wales, as he is tasked with the job of being a forward air controller. He has to call in airstrikes and air support when necessary, guaranteeing the accuracy of bombing on the ground, guarding against incidents of friendly fire in the air.
PRINCE HARRY, PRINCE OF WHALES: You have got jets firing all over the place. And you're trying control them while looking at the screen, while trying to show a presence of force with the jets to get the enemy to go to cover, so -- to keep your guys in one piece and keep safe basically.
NEWTON: But keeping the prince safe is still a problem. He knows he's a marked man. His fellow soldiers call him the bullet magnet. The Taliban has him in its sights, eager to use even a close call against him as a propaganda coup like no other.
Still, if he stays safe, this could be a redeeming mission for the prince. After building a reputation as dirty Harry, the party prince, he will finally get the experience he's been training for and just maybe the respect he's been craving.
PRINCE HARRY: No, I don't miss booze, if that's the next question. It's very nice just to be here and be with all the guys and just sort of mucking in as one of the lads. At the end of the day, I like to sort of -- as you know, as I keep going about, it's very nice to be sort of a normal person for once. I think this is about as normal as I'm ever going to get.
NEWTON: For a boy who had far from a normal childhood, this front-line role may yet allow him a common experience with other British soldiers and the knowledge that he's risked his life for his country.
Paula Newton, CNN, London.
LEMON: Well, what's the reaction to the news about Harry in Britain? Our Alphonso Van Marsh has the very latest for us.
He joins us live -- Alphonso.
ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Don.
We're getting word from various parts of authorities and governments here, especially as word spreads that Prince Harry did indeed spend his holidays in the war zone. We are getting word from prime minister, Gordon Brown, saying that the whole of Britain will be proud of the outstanding that Prince Harry is giving.
We're also hearing from the Ministry of Defense first expressing in their words disappointment that that word had gotten out, that foreign Web sites, in their words, had put the word out that Prince Harry had been serving Afghanistan. But they're also saying what the last two months have shown is that it is perfectly possible for Prince Harry to be deployed just as the same as any other army officer of his rank and experience.
His conduct on operations in Afghanistan has been exemplary, that again the word from the Ministry of Defense here in Britain. We're also hearing from the communications office for the royal family. They're also saying that Prince Harry is very proud to serve his country on operations, alongside his fellow soldiers, and do the job that he was trained to do -- Don.
LEMON: Alphonso, what about Iraq? He was supposed go there first. That caused some controversy. And then they sent him to Afghanistan. Why?
VAN MARSH: Well, back in May, as you referenced, it was understood that Prince Harry was indeed scheduled to do a tour of duty in Iraq. But at that time, it was determined and eventually let known to the public that the military decided that he would be too much, for lack of a better term, of a target for insurgents, possibly putting not just himself, but other forces serving in Iraq in harm's way.
So, at that point, he was not deployed there. As you mentioned early on, and we heard in Paula Newton's package, details of Prince Harry's tour of Afghanistan were supposed to be kept a secret, for lack of a better term. Many news organizations, including CNN, had agreed or made an agreement with authorities here not to let the news out. But, of course, as we all know, the secret is out -- Don.
LEMON: Alphonso Van Marsh, thank you for your reporting.
KEILAR: Every since the Mitchell report about performance- enhancing drugs in baseball came out in early December, we have been talking about Roger Clemens. He was named as a user of performance- enhancing drugs in that report, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.
And at this point, we now know there is a new development that has just come out just moments ago. So, let's get to Justice Department correspondent, Kelli Arena.
Kelli, what's up?
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, government officials tell me that the FBI has opened an investigation into whether that baseball great, Roger Clemens, lied under oath to Congress.
The Department of Justice received a request from Congressman Henry Waxman to look into whether Clemens lied under oath. Clemens testified, as you know, before a House committee that he had never used steroids, never use human growth hormone, in direct contradiction to what his trainer told the very same committee.
So, the FBI is investigating veteran shortstop Miguel Tejada as well. So, lots going on here. Now, it's important to note that, when you testify before Congress under oath, it's just the same as doing this in a court of law. If you lie, you can be charged with perjury, making false statements. But just the fact that an investigation is opened obviously doesn't mean that there are going to be eventually charges. That decision is going to have to be made by prosecutors somewhere down the line -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Yes, so interesting to -- I'm just wondering if anything is really is going to come of this. We know that, of course, if it does, you're going to be all over it.
Kelli Arena, CNN's Justice Department correspondent, we appreciate it.
ARENA: You're welcome.
LEMON: Let's go back to one of our breaking news story, actually, our other breaking news story beside the Clemens story. This is coming from Waukegan, Illinois.
New information that we have is that "The Chicago Tribune" is reporting that this was indeed a gas explosion. Also getting reports here that most of the damage, all of the major damage was inside of a hair salon that's in this mall. And the rest of the places, although it looks bad, it looks bad, the windows are blown out, that it was just minor damage, glass blown out. Not sure if there are any injuries in the other parts of the mall.
But most of the damage, the major damage in the hair salon. And, again, we're getting reports of at least, according to the "Associated Press" and to our affiliates there on the scene, at least six people who were injured in all of this. And at last check, the fire department inside, looking inside of that hair salon to see if there were other victims or people are possibly trapped inside. We will continue to follow.
KEILAR: Believe it or not, Saddam Hussein thought performances like these were a threat. Our Kyra Phillips will take us inside of Iraq's revived National Theater.
LEMON: All right, breaking news into the CNN NEWSROOM. We have been following this. And there's new news out of it. We're hearing at least six people are injured in this explosion, and "The Chicago Tribune" is saying that it was indeed a gas explosion that caused all of this damage and caused people to be sent to the hospital.
Pat Rixie was inside of a submarine shop in this very shopping center, I believe. Pat is a manager there.
And, Pat, you said you thought it was like an earthquake?
PAT RIXIE, WITNESSED EXPLOSION: Yes...
RIXIE: ... somebody ran into the building. LEMON: You thought someone ran into the building. Take us through what happened when you were there, what you were doing, and what you heard.
RIXIE: We were working. And it just sounded like somebody -- a car drove right into the building.
LEMON: So, a loud boom and then a rumble, I would imagine, right?
RIXIE: Yes, yes, and then a lot of people running.
LEMON: Yes. So do you know this hair salon which is right down the way from you?
RIXIE: I'm sorry?
LEMON: Do you know about this hair salon which is in the shopping center right near you?
RIXIE: No, I don't.
LEMON: No. They're saying that there are at least five, maybe six people injured from this. And I imagine if you thought it was an earthquake or someone ran into the building, then you're not surprised by that?
RIXIE: Oh, yes. No, I'm not.
RIXIE: I'm surprised there probably wasn't more.
LEMON: What are you seeing? Are you still in your store?
RIXIE: I'm in my store, yes.
LEMON: What are you seeing...
RIXIE: Well, not my store, but...
LEMON: Yes, in the store you work in.
LEMON: What are you seeing now? What are they telling you?
RIXIE: I'm not seeing anything, truthfully.
LEMON: Yes. What are they telling you guys to do?
RIXIE: I'm sorry?
LEMON: Are they telling you, the fire department, police department, anyone coming around telling you to stay put?
RIXIE: Oh, yes. Yes.
LEMON: What are they telling you?
RIXIE: They just have all the streets blocked off, just to stay where we're at.
LEMON: Yes. Did you get a chance -- I know it's cold there. Did you get a chance to go outside and take a look anywhere?
RIXIE: Just a little.
LEMON: And what did you see when you went out?
RIXIE: Just a lot of people, a lot of smoke.
LEMON: Yes. OK. Listen, we're glad you're OK. We understand, though, Pat, that there are some other folks who are injured. We thank you for joining us today. OK?
RIXIE: Oh, thank you.
So, Pat Rixie is saying again that she thought it was -- she thought that someone ran into the front of the building, because she felt a rumble, heard a big boom. Also, someone else who was in that sub shop or Subway or however you want to call it, sandwich shop, that Pat was in said that they felt like it was an earthquake, like someone, again, had hit the building with a car.
But, again, this is happening in Waukegan, 40 miles north of Chicago. "Chicago Tribune" saying that it was a gas leak. Don't have exact confirmation on that yet, but we do know that several people are injured and they are searching for more. We are going to continue to follow the story and bring you all the latest details right here in the NEWSROOM.
KEILAR: Well, imagine if the president considered you one of his worst enemies. Pretty scary, right? Well, that's exactly how Iraqi dancers and actors felt under Saddam Hussein. But now performers at the Iraqi National Theater are savoring a newfound freedom of expression.
And NEWSROOM's Kyra Phillips is in Baghdad with more on this story.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Brianna.
I have a question for you. You live in D.C. I know you have been to the Kennedy Center to see a show. Did you arrive in armored cars and a flak jacket? KEILAR: No. And I have a horrible confession that I have never been to the Kennedy Center. But I lived in Manhattan and I love Broadway. So, you just stroll onto Broadway. It's just a fun, easygoing night out, right?
PHILLIPS: That's right. You don't have to worry about security.
And, by the way, you need to get to the Kennedy Center, my friend.
KEILAR: I know.
PHILLIPS: You better have that fiance of yours take to you the show.
Well, I had never done it before either until the Iraqi National Theater. And I really learned to appreciate and I guess in some ways take for granted what I'm able to do in the states after seeing what Iraqis go through just to get a little taste of culture.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): Remember that guy? We know him as Chemical Ali. Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction guru, holding conference in Iraq's National Theater. That was then. And this is now.
(on camera): So what's the different from the theater during Saddam's era and the theater now?
(voice-over): It's like putting your finger in fire and your finger in water. That's the difference. Theater Director Shafeek Al- Mehdi tells me. We were forced to do things under Saddam. When I was told to direct for him, I pretended to be sick and went to the hospital. Now look at me. I'm a healthy man. I can see the light.
Rawa Al-Nueimi is one of Iraq's rising stars. The daughter and wife of Air Force officers under Saddam's regime, she was forced to leave her home, but not the theater.
(on camera): How does it make you feel to dance, to be on the stage? To perform?
(voice-over): For the first time, I feel like I found my character. I have found myself. And that character matured here at Duke University. Just after the fall of Saddam, Rawa received a modern dance scholarship to the U.S. It changed her life.
(on camera): Do you think all the arts here helped Iraqi's morale?
(voice-over): Of course, Rawa, tells me. The Iraqi people are suffering in every poem, every play, every dance, including each role for each actor is needed to help our morale. And morale is everything for Rawa right now. You see, her dancing isn't just a profession. It's personal.
(on camera): I know you lost your brother and that was really hard. He was actually supposed to come pick you up from the theater. When you dance now, do you feel his spirit? Do you dance for him?
(voice-over): "Of course. I wish he was here to watch every step I take. He wishes me all the success at every level, with my home, children and work."
Now Rawa and other performances sell out. You see all ages here. Iraqis have missed this. The arts are bringing back our trust with life says Azmar Raqmed (ph). New life, Shafeek Al-Mehdi, cherishes.
"Because I'm an artist, because I'm a professor, I was Saddam's number one enemy."
(on camera): So now you walk in here and there is no enemy. You have complete freedom of expression. How does that feel?
SHAFEEK AL-MEHDI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL THEATER: I'm human
PHILLIPS: You're finally human?
AL-MEHDI: Yes. Yes.
PHILLIPS: And, Brianna, I appreciate these performers even more when I found out the risk that they took just to come to this theater to rehearse. You know, the insurgents try to blow up and do blow up everything that means something to the Iraqi people. And the Iraqi National Theater was one of those places.
Take a look at this video where they would come to rehearsal. The windows were blown out. Parts of the building were blown out. Sandbags were put up. And they would risk their lives just to come play their instrument, practice their play, because they wanted to have that freedom of expression and give it to the Iraqi people.
KEILAR: So, if performers have to take the risk just to come and rehearse, what if you're an Iraqi and you want to go see the theater? Are you taking a risk just to be a spectator?
PHILLIPS: Absolutely, every day. They have blast walls, barbed wire around this theater now. They have a security team. They even have a sniper up on the roof looking for any type of threats. So, when everybody came, they realized the pressures that they were under. But they come anyway.
And, Brianna, get this, on a Monday, a work day, the show sold out the day that we went. It was at 1:00 in the afternoon. That's how much it means to the Iraqis.
KEILAR: Wow. And I like going to the theater some time during the week or sort of a matinee, because it doesn't sell out. But that is really amazing and a beautiful package.
Kyra, thanks so much.
PHILLIPS: Thanks, Brianna.
KEILAR: Kyra Phillips from CNN NEWSROOM there in Baghdad for us.
LEMON: So, how did this young white man who was born in Massachusetts find his dream working for Martin Luther King Jr.? We will hear from him. Our Fredricka Whitfield has this inspiring story in the CNN NEWSROOM.
KEILAR: A conservative radio host declaring war on Senator John McCain and demanding apologies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CUNNINGHAM, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: He would have to apologize for McCain/Feingold, apologize for McCain/Kennedy, apologize for McCain/Lieberman, apologize for shutting down Gitmo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: And, actually, that's just a start. We're going to tell you the rest in the NEWSROOM.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CHIEF TECHNOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Blind since birth, Jim Gashel has never seen a letter. But these days, that doesn't stop him from reading just about anything.
COMPUTER VOICE: Rib-eye steak topped with sauteed mushrooms.
O'BRIEN: Jim is a power user of a powerful cell phone rigged up to read plain old text, a glossy menu, a magazine, money, even those bags of coffee in your hotel room.
JIM GASHEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR STRATEGIC INITIATIVES, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND: Because, otherwise, I'm going to end up with decaf when I don't want it.
O'BRIEN: The device is called the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader. Jim Gashel is not just a user. He's an executive with the company.
GASHEL: My life is entirely different today from what it was before I had this. And I have to remind myself sometimes, I can now read print for myself. O'BRIEN: The software is smart enough to help a blind person frame a picture, so the words are not cropped out.
COMPUTERIZED VOICE: Maintain position.
O'BRIEN: The device then reads the image with amazing accuracy.
(on camera): Wow, that's it.
GASHEL: I think it read that flawlessly.
O'BRIEN: Absolutely perfect. That was 100 percent perfect.
(voice-over): The reader has its limits. It's not designed to help read signs or labels while shopping. But that may be on the horizon.
GASHEL: Today, we read documents. Tomorrow, we read the world.
O'BRIEN: The Reader is just now available and sells for $2,000. Sound pricey? If you're in Jim's shoes, it's priceless.
Miles O'Brien, CNN, New York.
LEMON: All right, it's the bottom of the hour. It's 3:30 Eastern time here in Atlanta, 3:30 in the East.
Here's our breaking news in the CNN NEWSROOM. You're looking at live pictures coming from our affiliate in Chicago WGN. This is the Waukegan shopping -- OK. WISN from Milwaukee, I'm being told, with the aerials now. Our affiliate also WGN also helping us out with this.
Six people -- at least six -- five to six people injured in a blast in this shopping mall. According to "The Chicago Tribune," they're saying that this is -- it was a gas explosion.
And we're hearing that Peoples Gas, also North Shore Gas, on the scene here to try to make sure that there is -- there are no repercussions from that. As a matter of fact, joining us from North Shore Gas, Desiree Rogers.
Hi, Desiree. What's going on here?
DESIREE ROGERS, PRESIDENT NORTH SHORE GAS: Hello.
LEMON: What's going on here?
ROGERS: Well, we are currently at the site on Grand Avenue. It is a shopping mall, apparently, you know, maybe -- I don't know maybe eight to 10 -- a strip mall a block here in Waukegan.
At this point, we don't have as much information in terms of what has actually caused this explosion. We're currently securing the area by disconnecting the gas in the area. And so we're in the process of doing that to make it secure and safe so that the firefighters can get into the rubble --
ROGERS: Our equipment on the site we can't really get to until we have disconnected all of the gas service into that strip mall.
LEMON: So, Desiree, we don't know -- do we know yet if this was a gas explosion? We do know that there was an explosion, correct, but not sure if it was gas?
ROGERS: Exactly. We do know there was an explosion and we know there was a tuxedo store and also a hair salon and a couple of -- a bar. And at this point, it's -- until the firefighters get in there and actually we can get to our equipment and take a closer look, it is it's premature to say exactly what has caused this.
LEMON: Again, Desiree is the president of North Shore Gas.
Desiree, and I'm sure you're getting reports from the folks out in the field -- what -- what kind of equipment or might be there be some sort of main or line that runs underneath this store?
ROGERS: Well, there are -- I mean there are lines and mains that run underneath, you know, all of the -- most city streets. So, you know, like I said earlier, right now we are trying to secure those to make certain that we are not, you know, sending gas into the affected area.
ROGERS: So we expect to be done with that shortly.
LEMON: I expect --
ROGERS: And then be able to actually investigate the actual site more closely.
LEMON: -- I expect you must know something about this, but not absolutely everything, because I'm sure you're getting reports from the scene. Have you heard about the injuries, Desiree?
ROGERS: We just heard that, you know, five or six individuals were taken to a hospital earlier.
Desiree Rogers from North Shore Gas. We appreciate you joining us in the CNN NEWSROOM. If you get any more information, will you call us back?
LEMON: All right. ROGERS: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you very much.
Again, that's the very latest from the shopping mall explosion, according to the president of North Shore Gas. They do know it was an explosion. They're not exactly sure if it was a gas explosion, although "The Chicago Tribune" is reporting that.
Again, injuries, five to six people there. And at last check, they were going back inside to make sure that there were no other people inside. And they were going through rubble, as you can see, Brianna.
Just from looking at that, you see this roof was completely caved in. So I would imagine that rescuers are digging through that rubble now and trying to secure the scene and make sure that there aren't any other injuries.
KEILAR: And, also, we want to bring you up to date on another breaking news story we're following here in the CNN NEWSROOM -- the Roger Clemens drug scandal.
A new development here. The FBI saying today that it will investigate whether Clemens perjured himself earlier this month before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
You probably recall he testified before Congress. He was adamant that he did not take performance-enhancing drugs. But he was sitting, as you see the man to the left, two people away from him, Brian McNamee, his trainer, said that he himself had injected Roger Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs.
So, Congress yesterday asked the Department of Justice to look into whether the seven-time Cy Young Award winner perjured himself. A new development today -- the FBI saying that it will investigate this case. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that there will be charges. But, again, the FBI saying it will look into it. We'll bring you the latest if there are more developments.
LEMON: And coming up, how did this young white man who was born in Massachusetts find his dream working for Martin Luther King, Jr. ?
Well, we'll hear from him straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: Superdelegates could hold the key to the Democratic presidential nomination. A day after superdelegate and Georgia Congressman, John Lewis, publicly switched his allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, we're going to talk with two superdelegates with very different views of how they should vote at the convention.
First up, though -- first, up from Washington, Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. And then super-delegate David Hardt, president of Young Democrats of America. But, first, Congressman, we are going to start with you.
And first, I want do this real quickly, before we get into this. I want to play John Lewis -- what he said about what a tough decision this was for him to make. I mean he said it was equivalent to the decisions he made during the civil rights movement.
And then I'll talk to you after.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: It's been hard. This has been difficult. But there comes a time when you have to make a decision. As a super-delegate to the Democratic convention next summer, I will be casting my vote for Barack Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Why would a decision like this -- since you're there, you're a super-delegate, you're a congressman -- why would it be as tough as a decision to walk across the Edmund Pettis Bridge back in -- during the civil rights movement? Why do you think this is so hard?
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Well, I think John Lewis will have to answer that that question. Of course, he's the only one in a position to answer that particular question. I chair something called the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and, for that reason, have not taken a position in the primary because my role is to make sure we try and expand the number of Democrats in Congress and we work with both campaigns.
But I do think that the general principle that superdelegates could abide by is to follow the verdict of the people, unless there's some overriding reason to overturn it. There may be some instance that comes up between the end of the voting and the convention that makes it clear that the person who happened to get the most votes through the elected delegate process is unelectable. And, therefore, the superdelegates would have to come in and take kind of corrective action.
But, clearly, the burden -- the burden would have to be on a superdelegate who is going to overturn that decision to come up with a reason -- a very strong reason to do that. So, I think the presumption has to be that the person who got the most votes through the elected process, through the will of the voters, would be seen as the nominee -- unless, again, unless there was some intervening event that no one could foresee that would make it clear that person wasn't the right person and couldn't be elected.
LEMON: And the reason I asked you that is because I'm just wondering about the obligation that John Lewis is feeling -- and, you know, anyone who is elected to office -- feeling to his constituents, as well as what he's feeling in history and then friends, as well. So that's the reason I asked you that, because you have to sort of abide by -- even though you don't always think it's right, you have to abide by what your constituents think. But I want to ask you this now. You're the chairman of did the DCCC. Do you expect to take a leadership position on this -- on how the superdelegate is handled?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, we don't know exactly what role the superdelegates will play at the end. Although, if the campaigns take -- continue on their current trajectory, we may. A lot will depend, of course, on what happens in Ohio and Texas and Vermont and the other primaries this coming Tuesday.
But if it continues to be deadlocked, in the sense that you continue to have two candidates proceeding toward the convention, yes, the super-delegates are going to have to play a role...
VAN HOLLEN: ... and I will be involved at that point in time. But, again, I think the principle that most of the super-delegates should follow -- and speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is the chairman of the Democratic convention -- has made this clear, that she thinks they should follow the verdict of the people. Again, unless there's some overriding reason to change that.
And there would have to be a very heavy burden on the superdelegates collectively who have not decided to kind of overturn the will of the people. Something could come up that none of us know about right now. We don't expect anything like that to come up, but that would be the kind of course correction that might be needed by the superdelegates. And barring that, it's a very big sort of hurdle or presumption that you have to overcome.
LEMON: All right, great. Thank you very much, Congressman. Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. We thank you so much for joining us today in THE NEWSROOM.
VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.
LEMON: We're looking forward to see what's going to happen here. It's going to be interesting. Let's get -- before we bring in our next guest, we've got live pictures now of Barack Obama campaigning there.
I believe it is in -- is this in Beaumont, Texas where he is? Beaumont, Texas, Barack Obama campaigning. Joining us now to talk about the -- kind of a different take on the superdelegate situation, is superdelegate David Hardt, president of the Young Democrats of America.
You were listening to the Congressman? Do you agree with what he said? Disagree?
DAVID HARDT, PRESIDENT YOUNG DEMOCRATS OF AMERICA: Well, I disagree a little bit. I don't like the idea that somehow the will of the people has already decided this because we know, going into the convention, that neither candidate will have won enough delegates to be victorious. So I don't buy the argument that the will of the people has decided one candidate or another. I think we're still a very divided party. And part of the process of deciding our nominee is winning superdelegates. And those of us who are superdelegates knew this. The campaigns knew this going in from day one. And that's just part of the process. It's been that way for decades. And, you know, if people don't like that part of the process, then we should change it.
But it is what it is and I think we should abide by party rules. And I don't like the idea that somehow if my state votes for one candidate or another, that I should vote for that candidate based on how my state voted.
LEMON: Have you declared who you're going to support as a superdelegate?
HARDT: Not yet. I waiver back and forth every day. You know, one day I might be for Senator Obama and ask me the next day and I might be for Senator Clinton. It's just a very tough decision.
LEMON: Yes, why is that? Explain that.
We heard John Lewis. He said it really -- I mean it tugged at his heartstrings to do it. He's friends with the Clintons, but he thinks there's a wave afoot in the country that's swinging toward Barack Obama and change, as he puts it. And he said this was, you know, harder for him than the choices he made during the civil rights movement.
So why is it so tough for you? Is it a generational thing, do you think?
HARDT: Well, yes. I mean, obviously, my generation is overwhelmingly supporting Senator Obama. However, as a longtime party activist, I really appreciate and honor everything that the Clintons have done for our country. So I'm very torn.
You know, there's very little in policy between both candidates. But, you know, it's a very tough decision and I have to weigh a lot of different factors in. And I'm also elected as president of the Young Democrats of America. And I have to look at who's going to work best with our organization going into November. So that's of course, an important factor for me, as well.
LEMON: There are people who are saying you know what, if it comes down to the superdelegates, I am going to switch sides. I am going to remove myself from this -- and making a number of other accusations that -- things that they're going to do.
What do you make of this? I mean do you think people had this in mind, especially the Hunt Commission, when they came up with this whole thing about the superdelegates back in the '80s?
HARDT: I'm not sure they had this in mind. But to be honest, you know, it is going to come down to the superdelegates. Neither candidate is going to have enough unpledged delegates to win this.
HARDT: So someone will have to get enough super-delegates or automatic delegates to win this race.
LEMON: Now, I'm listening. Now, here's what I'm thinking, though. If it's not the candidate, it seems like if it's not the candidate that you're in support of, then people say, you know, they're going to change parties or vote for the other candidate. So it may just be a matter of that.
HARDT: I really don't buy that argument. I've heard that from a few people. But as soon as you remind them that your choice is either Senator Clinton, Senator Obama or John McCain, the clear choice is to stick with the Democrat.
HARDT: We have two incredible candidates that are well qualified to be president of this country and are, by far, better candidates than John McCain.
LEMON: The president of the Young Democrats of America, David Hardt, and a superdelegate. Thank you very much.
HARDT: Thank you.
LEMON: I don't know where his name is, but I'm sure it's somewhere. Thank you very much for joining us.
You know, this is a leap year and we decided to take advantage of it. So tomorrow, February 29th, get ready for even more from the best political team on television. We'll bring you extra political coverage all day long. It's something you'll see only here on CNN.
KEILAR: Forty years after driving Dr. King, one man is now revealing another side of the civil rights leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM HOUCK, DR. KING'S DRIVER: The human side, the fun side of Dr. King. Also, about this young white boy that found his own dream.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: A view of history from behind the wheel.
LEMON: Let's get an update now on our breaking news in Waukegan, Illinois.
Our Susan Roesgen is there -- Susan?
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don.
I'm looking at the wreckage right now -- glass across the street. This was a single building brick strip mall type shopping center. The latest word from the fire chief, he told me just minutes ago that they are 99 percent sure -- but not totally sure -- that there may be one woman still trapped inside -- an employee. This glass was so strong, Don, that it blew the roof straight up like the top of a saucepan -- a boiling saucepan.
And then as the roof dropped back down and collapsed the walls, shooting out windows on businesses across the street, spreading debris across the street and, initially, from mannequins -- plastic dummies from a tuxedo shop in this little shopping center wound up lying in the street, looking like victims.
The latest word now, nine people injured and taken to the hospital. We don't know the extent of their injuries. And, once again, there's a possibility that there may be one woman trapped inside.
But I can tell you, Don from looking at the workers here on the street, there isn't a lot of urgency to what they're doing. They seem to be very methodically picking up debris. And, again, the fire chief just told me he's 99 percent sure that they've got everybody out -- Don.
LEMON: Susan Roesgen reporting from Waukegan. Thank you, Susan.
KEILAR: He was an unsung member of the civil rights movement -- a young white man -- a high school dropout, in fact -- with a front row seat to history -- the driver's seat, actually.
CNN's Fredricka Whitfield has the story.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You know most of their names and faces -- the men who marched in the civil rights movement alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. . There were others mostly in the shadows, sometimes literally in the driver's seat.
HOUCK: I'm Tom Houck and I was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s driver.
WHITFIELD: You probably do not recognize him, but part of his story will sound familiar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "DRIVING MISS. DAISY")
JESSICA TANDY: What are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm trying to drive you to the store.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOUCK: Well, I'm not Hoke of that Hoke. I'm Tom Houck.
WHITFIELD: Tom Houck was just 18 at the time. Forty years later... HOUCK: It still gives me goose bumps. So it -- everyday I still think about it and the fact that I was able to be that close to a man that has changed the world.
WHITFIELD: And changed this Massachusetts native. At an early age, he was both a witness and a participant in the civil rights movement -- tagging along with a brother to picket Woolworths in support of those in the South doing the same thing.
HOUCK: That was my first demonstration at age 12.
WHITFIELD (on-camera): And did it feel right?
HOUCK: And I liked carrying that sign.
WHITFIELD (voice-over): That same year, his mother died. Houck moved south with an aunt. He left high school, lured by everything Dr. King's dream promised. In Atlanta, he joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the SCLC, which Dr. King founded. Then, one Sunday, King invited him over for lunch with the family.
HOUCK: Coretta had asked me if I had my driver's license and said would you mind taking the kids to school tomorrow morning?
WHITFIELD (on-camera): This is also the start to eye a great relationship with the kids.
What did they call you?
HOUCK: Well, Martin and Dexter called me Uncle Tom.
HOUCK: And Mrs. King, she said oh, don't call him Uncle Tom.
I'm hoping this new computer will translate and I'll be able to get -- and I won't lose anything in the process.
WHITFIELD (voice-over): Tom Houck -- gregarious, politically savvy and proud of his roots in the '60s, is now writing his memoir.
HOUCK: Marty and Dexter asked me to go out in the front yard and to throw the football, catching a pass.
WHITFIELD (on-camera): What you hoping yours will reveal that others haven't?
HOUCK: The human side, the fun side of Dr. King and also about this young white boy that found his own dream through Dr. King. He enjoyed music. I mean Dr. King would, you know, Dr. King -- he used to like groups like the O'Jays, Gladys Knight & The Pips, you know what I mean?
WHITFIELD: Which you'd play in the car?
HOUCK: We'd play it in the car. Sure. We listened to WAOK Radio in Atlanta. And this was before F.M. Took off.
WHITFIELD (voice-over): Houck hopes his book will be in stores next year in honor of Dr. King, his family and their impact.
Fredricka Whitfield, CNN, Atlanta.
KEILAR: A very cool story.
KEILAR: Interesting angle.
LEMON: I'm speechless. Yes, I'm speechless.
LEMON: I mean, obviously, he is an amazing fellow and, Fredricka, very well done.
LEMON: A very well done story.
Time now to check in with our very own CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
KEILAR: That's right. He's standing by in "THE SITUATION ROOM" to tell us what's coming up at the top of the hour -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Lots of news happening here, guys.
President Bush jumping into the political ring with sharp comments aimed directly at Barack Obama. You're going to hear what he had to say.
And live here in "THE SITUATION ROOM," the former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. We'll talk about Iraq, the upsurge in Israeli- Palestinian violence and whether he thinks the United States should be talking at the highest levels with Iran.
And he dropped out of the presidential race. Now he's backing a former opponent. My one-on-one interview live, that's coming up with Chris Dodd, on the future of the race and why he chose to support Barack Obama.
All that, guys, and a lot more coming up in "THE SITUATION ROOM".
LEMON: Thanks, Wolf.
KEILAR: And the closing bell and also a wrap of the action on Wall Street, straight ahead.
KEILAR: The closing bell is about to ring on Wall Street. LEMON: Susan Lisovicz is standing by with a final look at the trading day -- Susan?
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here's our headline -- there will not be a fifth day...
LISOVICZ: ... a fifth consecutive day of gains for the Dow and the Nasdaq.
(STOCK MARKET REPORT)
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