Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Zimbabwe Election Results; Truckers Protest High Fuel Costs; Control Your Money: How to Make a Budget

Aired April 01, 2008 - 14:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Record prices equal record profits. No mystery there, but what many in Congress want to know from big oil is, why all the tax breaks? Well, you'll want to hear the answers.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Elections aren't supposed to be mysterious, but welcome to Zimbabwe. Three days now after voting, the Mugabe era may be ending. We've got a rare look inside a very troubled country.

Hi there. I'm Brianna Keilar at CNN Center in Atlanta. Kyra Phillips is on assignment in Iraq.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

KEILAR: We've got breaking news into the CNN NEWSROOM. These are live pictures coming to us from our affiliate WKMG in Orlando, Florida.

WKMG reporting that a suspicious package has shut down a portion of the Orlando International Airport. Apparently, a portion of the departure section has been closed, and at this point the authorities are awaiting on a bomb squad.

This happens quite often at airports. A lot of time it's turns out to be -- well, a suspicious package in the end may be not much at all. We don't know what the situation is in this particular case, and of course precautions must be taken.

So, again, in Orlando, at the Orlando airport, concern about a suspicious package shutting down a part of the departure section. We're going to keep an eye on this and bring you more information as soon as it's available.

LEMON: Also, we are following developing news which is coming to us out of Zimbabwe. We want to report to you some new information regarding the elections there. We've been talking a lot about Robert Mugabe.

But let's go to our correspondent there. Nkipele Mabupe joins us now from the border.

We still aren't allowed in, Nkipele, but you have some new developments for us, I hear, concerning the elections. NKIPELE MABUPE, SOUTH AFRICA-ZIMBABWE BORDER: Well, Don, something very, very important is happening in Zimbabwe at this point in time. But we're getting conflicting information about exactly what this important thing is.

We've heard reports from very reliable sources that President Robert Mugabe is going to concede defeat, and that he will address the nation in a few hours from now. We've also had information coming through from a reliable source within MDC, a senior MDC member, who is saying that Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition, MDC, is sitting at about 49 percent of the votes, and Robert Mugabe is sitting at 44, which will lead to a runoff.

Now, they're saying that Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe were scheduled to meet today, but that meeting never happened. They were obviously supposed to talk about a smooth transition post this election process, but now this senior MDC source is telling us that that meeting has not happened and that President Robert Mugabe plans to install himself as the leader of Zimbabwe and give himself another five-year term at the helm.

So we're hearing these pieces of information, very conflicting, but something is amiss in Zimbabwe. They're either in negotiations between the MDC, opposition party, and (INAUDIBLE), or President Robert Mugabe is going to emerge once again as the winner of this election -- Don.

LEMON: Nkipele Mabupe, thank you very much for that.

And that news breaking, coming across the wires, and from our correspondent there on the border in Zimbabwe.

We thank you very much for that report.

And at the half hour, we want to let you know we're going to get a report from inside Zimbabwe from a journalist we're calling Lee. Her real name withheld to ensure her safety.


LEMON: Big wheels rolling? Well, not this week if independent truckers have their way. They're protesting soaring fuel costs the only way they can -- by pulling to the curb.

Here's CNN's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Word of an independent truck strike is rumbling across the country's highways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I turn the key off, we're done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to show some solidarity.

LAVANDERA: There are about 500,000 independent drivers nationwide, but it's hard to say how many drivers will actually join in this loosely-organized shutdown and turn off their engines for a whole week.

RON JONES, TRUCK DRIVER: If we shut down for five days, six days, we are making a statement that we are not going to put up with the prices like that unless our pay starts to increase.

LAVANDERA: Filling the gas tanks of a big rig can cost as much $1,000, about $300 more than it cost last year. That's having a devastating impact on the independent drivers like Ted Gennick. Most drivers aren't reimbursed for their rising fuel bills, so they eat the extra cost.

(on camera): Is it harder for the independent guys to kind of stay afloat?

TED GENNICK, INDEPENDENT TRUCK DRIVER: It is because we don't have the purchasing power. So we're not able to get the discounts that the large carriers get from both fuel resellers, maintenance and repairs, tires. We are paying premium dollar for those.

LAVANDERA (voice over): And at gas stations where the average price for a gallon of diesel fuel has passed $4, the owner of this popular trucker pit stop in Dallas says he has seen grown men brought to tears.

JOHN BENDA, GAS STATION OWNER: We're in for hard time in the next few months. It really is now affecting people and changing their lives and their lifestyles. And we'll see it over the next few months.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Three of the major associations that represent independent truck drivers are not supporting the shutdown, but they do say they understand what the drivers are trying to do. But of course all of this comes at a great cost, because truck drivers only make money when they're driving.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.


KEILAR: Your paycheck seems like it's shrinking, your bills are piling up. How do you survive these tough economic times? We'll have some tips on how you can make a dollar go father.

LEMON: Making a buck on Wall Street, a lot of investors are doing that today as stocks surge. We'll have the latest from Wall Street.

KEILAR: And the rains are subsiding, but the flooding problems are far from over. We'll get the latest on the weather situation in Oklahoma.


(WEATHER REPORT) KEILAR: Every four years one country gets to be the center of the world as it hosts the summer Olympics. And anyone with a grudge against that country gets to show it by threatening to stay away.

Fresh off of her visit with the Dalai Lama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Bush should consider -- just consider, that's what she said -- sitting out of the opening ceremonies this August in Beijing.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: I have not been one who supports a boycott of the Olympics. I've said that over and over again. The chancellor of Germany has put on the table the idea that she is not -- that she may not attend the opening ceremony. The president of France, President Sarkozy, has suggested that this is something to be considered. That is on the table.


KEILAR: The issue is Beijing's hotly criticized human rights record, and also last month's crackdown on Tibetan protesters in particular. Protests are expected to follow the Olympic torch around the world.

LEMON: Making a budget and sticking to it, it's not easy. But these tough economic times, well, it just might be necessary for a lot of people. We'll give you a how-to on how to do this.


KEILAR: Let's go ahead and bring you up to date on a story coming to us out of Orlando.

This is Orlando International Airport that you're looking at. Pictures courtesy of our affiliate WKMG there. And according to our affiliate, a report of a suspicious package shut down a portion of the airport.

We're hearing from representatives there at the airport that the departures quadrant on the A side of the terminal was evacuated, and that this happened shortly after 1:00 p.m. Eastern. That was about an hour and 20 minutes ago. And actually, one person was taken into custody by Orlando police because apparently this passenger was acting suspiciously.

From the airport, we're hearing that currently there's only been one flight delay. That is on Air Jamaica.

So, again, a report here of a suspicious package that has shut down a portion of the departures section of Orlando airport. And at this time, according to our affiliate, authorities there are waiting for a bomb squad to come in. One person has been arrested, a passenger who apparently was acting suspiciously.

We're going to continue to follow this developing story and bring you the details as they come in.


LEMON: Spending more than you earn, living paycheck to paycheck, behind on your bills? Making a budget might help you get out from under. But where do you start?

Our senior correspondent, Allan Chernoff, has some tips.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Twenty- three-year-old actor Ryan Watkinson has a couple of things that very few young adults have -- a part in a Broadway show, "Xanadu," and an aunt who's a certified financial planner.

ERIKA SAFRAN, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER: And the objective is for you to be saving at least 10 percent.

CHERNOFF: Aunt Erika Safran worked out a budget with Ryan so he'd have something else few people his age have -- savings.

(on camera): Do you like being on a budget?

RYAN WATKINSON, ACTOR: I enjoy having the freedom to know exactly where my money is going at all times. I walk around knowing exactly how much I have, not wondering, not worried about my financial situation.

CHERNOFF (voice over): How do you make a budget? Start with income.

Ryan is earning about $7,500 a month. Then identify spending -- fixed expenses like rent, taxes withheld, phone and utilities, transportation and insurance. Then add variable expenses.

Ryan tracked all his spending for a month.

WATKINSON: Whenever I made a purchase, I wrote it down, and at the end of the day I typed it up on my computer. And at the end of that month, I knew exactly where my money went.

CHERNOFF: Food, entertainment, clothing, gifts, all variable expenses.

SAFRAN: Take your income, subtract your expenses, and see what happens. Now, if you have a deficit, and that's not unlikely, now you want to identify which are the areas that I can improve on?

CHERNOFF: Erika had targeted saving nearly 20 percent of Ryan's salary. It turned out to be too tight of a squeeze on Ryan's wallet, especially with the recent rise in food prices. So Erika and Ryan adjusted the budget. Now Ryan is still saving $640 a month, in addition to the 10 percent he automatically contributes to a 401(k) plan.

SAFRAN: The purpose of a budget is to meet a goal. The purpose of a budget is to create -- to create wealth.


CHERNOFF: Safran says a budget also has to be livable, or else you're not going to stick by it.

Don't you wish that you had an Aunt Erika? Well, you do have our Web site, You can think of it as your savvy aunt on the Web, all about money. And if you go to the personal finance tab over there, you'll have a template to create your very own budget -- Don.

LEMON: OK. CNN Money is Aunt Erika now, Allan? All right.

I've got to ask you this. So, exactly, you told the guy -- he said you've got to, I guess, check everything. Like, he wrote down everything that he spent, how much money he spent. But where do you decide to cut back? Where did he decide? And where should other people decide where to cut back?

CHERNOFF: Right. You have to really look at where you're spending and figure out, what's discretionary? What is it that I like to have but I don't really need to have?

You can look at big-ticket items, such as a big flat-screen TV, for example. You can also look at your lifestyle. For example, if you own a home, maybe you have a gardener, you have someone who mows your lawn. Well, you could probably do that yourself. That's what we mean by discretionary, items where you can cut back without really feeling a pinch.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Aunt Chernoff for those pearls of wisdom.

Thank you, Allan.

KEILAR: A "Planet in Peril" report. The gray wolves of the West no longer considered endangered. But is that cause for celebration? We'll be taking a look.


KEILAR: Now, the Northern Rockies gray wolf nearly wiped out, but making a comeback when we visited them in Yellowstone National Park for our "Planet in Peril" series. They've been protected from hunting in Yellowstone since they were reintroduced there in the mid '90s. And when we visited last July, they were also fully protected outside the park on the federal endangered species list.

Well, starting this week though, not anymore.

Our Dan Simon paid a visit to Yellowstone.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): We're in Yellowstone National Park. The bison, elk and big horn sheep make for a memorable visit. But a bigger draw are the gray wolves, now thriving after 35 years on the endangered species list.

DOUG SMITH, YELLOWSTONE PARK BIOLOGIST: They're back here in the Northern Rockies, they're back here in Yellowstone. That's something to celebrate given their history of human hatred.

SIMON: The enthusiasm is far from universal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I would have preferred they never came here.

SIMON: Wolves have had it rough. In the 1930s, they were wiped out of Yellowstone and the western states.

SMITH: We did wolf extermination with a vengeance.

SIMON: Dug Smith is a Yellowstone biologist and an expert on wolf behavior.

(on camera): Where do they sleep in this climate?

SMITH: You know, they'll just curl up in a ball, put their nose -- tuck it in.

SIMON (voice over): Starting in 1995, Smith transplanted wolves from Canada into the park. They adapted so well and kept multiplying, that the government says they're no longer endangered. Or are they?

(on camera): As long as the wolves stay here in Yellowstone, they'll be safe. No hunting is allowed inside park grounds.

The problem is, oftentimes the wolves leave here in search of prey, and that will make them prey. Getting off the endangered species list means humans will once again be able to be hunt and kill them.

(voice over): Enemy number one? Ranchers. Bruce Malcolm is a Montana State representative and cattle rancher. He says he's lost nearly two dozen cows to the wolves.

BRUCE MALCOLM, RANCHER: There's nothing about a wolf that's sacred. I mean, it doesn't need to be treated that way. He needs to come down off the pedestal and fit into the ecosystem like all the rest of the animals.

SIMON: The government estimates there are 1,500 gray wolves across Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. But with the de-listing, the states are only required to maintain a total population of 300. Conservationists fear 1,200 could be killed by hunters or ranchers.

DOUG HONNOLD, EARTHJUSTICE: Instead of being within hailing distance of recovery and doing it right, we're going to go backwards and have to do the process all over again.

SIMON: Environmental groups are preparing a lawsuit to stop the de-listing. But federal officials say the science is on their side. ED BANGS, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: The wolf population is fully recovered. We have more wolves in more places than we ever predicted and we've had fewer problems than we predicted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one has said living with wolves is easy. Living with wolves is a compromise.

SIMON: Still, it is quite a turn around from extermination to admiration, at least in some circles.

Dan Simon, CNN, in Yellowstone National Park.



LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

KEILAR: And I'm Brianna Keiler in for Kyra Phillips. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: We are working on a number of stories for you here today in the CNN NEWSROOM and here is one of them. You're seeing live pictures now of the big board on Wall Street where stocks are rallying right now up. The Dow 316 points. It reflects some, some much-needed optimism among investors who are hoping the worst of the damage from the nationwide credit crunch is over.

Oil companies, are they making too much money while average Americans struggle at the gas pump? Right now, oil executives are getting grilled by a House panel looking into record oil profits and soaring energy costs. The executives say their companies profit and tax breaks are in line with other industries.

Tragedy among the floodwaters in Oklahoma. Searchers have found the body of a two-year-old girl who was swept away while her mom was carrying her across a creek.

There's also deadly flooding in western Tennessee and heavy snow across the upper Midwest.

KEILAR: Three days after a presidential election with no announced winner, conflicting reports now coming out of Zimbabwe. Some members of the opposition group, MDC say the party's been holding talks with President Robert Mugabe about stepping down. Now, other MDC officials deny that entirely and now the latest. Mugabe's own party says it's preparing for a runoff vote, not a resignation. The opposition has claimed victory in Saturday's election and has accused the government of trying to rig the vote.

As we reported, CNN and other international media have been barred from entering Zimbabwe for the election, but some journalists are inside of the country. One of them, a Zimbabwe native living in the U.S. who went back to see the political drama firsthand, we're just going to call her "Lee" to ensure her safety. We have Lee on the phone right now.

Thanks for being with us. And first off, I just want to ask you what is the situation there on the ground with Zimbabweans, because it seems like there's so much confusion here.

VOICE OF LEE, REPORTER IN ZIMBABWE: Definitely, Brianna. Right now, nothing is clear. There is talk of Mugabe stepping down. I spoke with three MDC officials earlier, and as far as we know, more officials have come forward concerning that there has been talk of a deal made between the opposition party and President Mugabe, top security officials.

There's been talk of a possible coalition government between the opposition party and independents and the ruling party down in Piez (ph) and there has been talk of this runoff. And right now, it's totally unclear.

I was told earlier that some opposition leaders said that they think this is all over, and that dawn has come to Zimbabwe, but details are sketchy and obviously, a lot of different results coming out.

KEILAR: Now, Mugabe has been in power for about three decades, known to be a ruthless dictator, and the opposition has largely been peaceful, Lee. And I'm wondering if there is any concern about violence because that's something we've been hearing in the last day or so.

LEE: Obviously, people have been getting very frustrated because the votes have -- the voting results have been taking so long to come out. This is not normal. We've been waiting three days to hear the results of this election and so, people wait.

So far, three days, waiting for results that were available to the public the night after the elections happened, they were posted on the polling stations directly after the elections, people can see these results for themselves. Yet the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has -- people said that they have been stalling releasing these results. We're not sure why. Why this waiting, no one knows.

KEILAR: And as we undergo a runup to an election here in the U.S., one of the major concerns of voters here is the economy. But what we're experiencing, this slowdown, by some accounts a recession, according to some economists in the U.S., is nothing compared to what Zimbabwe is experiencing, a total economic meltdown there. Lee, tell us what it's like to live there under the current situation with the economy.

LEE: Brianna, nothing is easy in Zimbabwe. We have a -- an official currency inflation of over 100,000 percent, and an unemployment rate of 80 percent. The country is on its knees. Even if you have a job, your money becomes increasingly worthless by the hour.

Basic necessities are not available in stores. Fuel is not available in the filling stations. People wait in lines for bread and the basic necessities: sugar, maize meal, meat, and most of them leave the long lines empty-handed. Even finding water in some areas is a struggle, despite recent heavy rain.

At opposition rallies held in the runup to the parliamentary and presidential elections for which the results we're waiting for right now, supporters' shoulder blades stuck out from beneath their shirts. People constantly tell me they're starving. They tell me their children are starving.

Cash is unavailable most days. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe simply responds to the inflation by printing more money in higher denominations. The most recent notes, $10 million.

KEILAR: That's right and I know the ...

LEE: So, people wait and why this waiting, no one knows.

KEILAR: And those $10 million notes hardly buying an apple as we heard yesterday. Lee, thank you so much for being with us. Lee, of course, we're calling her "Lee" to protect her safety, but she's one of the few journalists inside of the country since CNN and other international media outlets have been barred from reporting there.

LEMON: All right, now some news happening in this country that involves Hurricane Katrina. Having lost almost everything in Hurricane Katrina, many people moved into trailers supplied by the government only to learn much later the trailers are contaminated with formaldehyde.

Well, today some of those people are on Capitol Hill telling lawmakers they feel like, they said it, "lab rats."


LINDSAY HUCKABEE, FAMILY LIVED IN FEMA TRAILER: In the 29 months since we received our first FEMA trailer, our family has suffered many health issues. Four of my five children have been treated for asthma. Four of them are currently on prescriptions for breathing treatments, none of which were asthmatic before we moved into the trailer. My husband and I have allergy symptoms, sinus symptoms, and we have been tested for allergies and nothing shows up on a test.


LEMON: Lindsay Huckabee is in our Washington Bureau and she joins us now to share her family's struggle. Lindsay, you said it. You said you felt like lab rats. Why is that?

HUCKABEE: Well, after they knew about the formaldehyde up to a year ago, and possibly longer than that, the CDC, the ATSDR, they did nothing to find out what was going on. Essentially, we were being exposed to this poison and nobody was there to collect the results.

I feel like at the very least once they realized we were in this toxin, they should have started health studies right away instead of delaying them. LEMON: And Lindsay, we're looking at some of the pictures from your trailer, these photos that you took. I don't know if you can see them. But describe to us what we're looking at. Is this mold?

HUCKABEE: Yes, that's mold in the window sill. It's reoccurring. That is where the wallpaper started to buckle, we assume from moisture on the other side. I just thought that one was cute with the U.S. government sign surrounded by mold on the inside of my door. But you can tell that the hinges don't line up. There's -- it wasn't finished out properly.


HUCKABEE: I've been told that these trailers were made to the same standards as regular mobile homes. And I don't know anybody that would go at a lot and look at that trailer and take it home with them.

LEMON: Yes. This next picture that we're going to look at -- there's one where it appears there's insulation and some mold right next to it. And -- that is just -- I don't think I've ever seen anything like that.

Here's what I want to ask you. You said your children, especially Lelah and Michael, started really feeling the effects of all of this. And we have some pictures of Lelah before she had sinus surgery when she was well. If we can get those up. Just a beautiful, normal child there. And then we have a picture of Lelah after her surgery. And that's the bruising that goes with this. How is she doing?

HUCKABEE: She's doing much better today.

LEMON: And you smile as you look at those pictures.

HUCKABEE: I miss them. I've been gone for 24 hours, so -- she's doing better right now. We're in a hotel now. She's definitely breathing easier than she was in the trailer.

The sinus surgery was an endoscopic sinus surgery designed to widen her sinus passages, so it's letting her transfer air better than it was. She's a lot less sensitive. Whenever she takes deep breaths it doesn't hurt as bad. She appears to be doing better since getting the surgery and since we've gotten out of the trailer.

LEMON: And then also Michael, as well. Michael before and the Michael getting his breathing -- there's Michael before. And there's that smile on your face again as you see him. And there's him getting his breathing treatment there.

Really, after Hurricane Katrina, if up lost your home, this is really all you have, your children.

HUCKABEE: Yes, I do. They're my whole world.

LEMON: Yes. And to -- the thought of them, when you first started -- they started getting symptoms and seeing them having to get treatment, how did you feel as a mother?

HUCKABEE: Well, originally we had no idea what was going on. I had healthy children before the storm. We were only at the pediatrician's office for well-child checkups. And then all of the sudden we get in this trailer and everybody catches what seems to be every cold going around. And instead of it running it's course and getting over it, we end up in the hospital with pneumonia, asthmatic bronchitis.

I really felt like a failure as a mother. I was trying everything -- cleaning the house. I was at a loss. I had no idea. I didn't find out until April of 2007 that the formaldehyde was causing these problems, or could be causing these problems.

LEMON: Now you said the formaldehyde is causing the problems. Do you know that for sure? Have your doctors been able to prove -- has there been a connection, a firm connection made between the formaldehyde and what happened to your kids and other people?

HUCKABEE: I've been told by two separate pediatricians that they've made a definite link between an increase of symptoms and the way that people are sustaining the symptoms instead of getting over them rapidly like they usually do. And then also by our ear-nose- throat doctor that these are all symptoms of formaldehyde.

And if it had been one or two of us that were having problems, then it might -- could be accounted to an extra sensitivity, or something like that. But for a family of seven for every person in the household to repeatedly have these problems, it's undoubtedly the formaldehyde, or something in the trailer that's causing this.

LEMON: OK, Lindsay, also -- we have to give the other side here. Here's what Vice Admiral Harvey E. Johnson Jr. -- his response, because he testified as well.

We'll take a listen.


HARVEY E. JOHNSON JR., FEMA DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR: We've made some mistakes a long the way, all of us have. But it has occurred as the act has been in the service of providing assistance to disaster victims with the best of the intentions and we've all learned and gained a significant knowledge along the way. At no time has FEMA ever turned from the challenge because of concern for litigation or thought we might be criticized for our reactions.


LEMON: Your response, Lindsay?

HUCKABEE: I think FEMA has, again, turned away, once -- over and over again, because of litigation purposes. I do agree, and I hope, you know, from the bottom of my heart that their intentions were well to start with. I just think that the slow action is a result of them trying to defend themselves. LEMON: And, Lindsay, you moved out of that trailer, didn't you?

HUCKABEE: Yes, we're living in a hotel right now.

LEMON: And just so everyone else knows -- you have three other children, Katelyn (ph), Steven (ph) and Vicki (ph), and we have pictures of them, as well. Beautiful kids. There they are.

You may as well -- there's Vicki right there. There's Katelyn and there is Steven. And we wanted to show you your kids because you've been away from them testifying, not only be behalf of your family, but thousands of families who are in the same situation.

So we wanted to show you your kids and show the world your kids, as well. And we certainly wish you well and we admire your courage for being able to speak today as you did.

HUCKABEE: Well, thank you very much.

LEMON: Best of luck to you. Keep us updated on their progress and their conditions, OK?

HUCKABEE: All right. I sure will.

LEMON: All right.

KEILAR: On the campaign trail, Senator John McCain's biography bus tour is in Virginia today. We're going to listen to what he had to say as he sat down with our Dana Bash.


KEILAR: Leading our political ticker, a new push to seat Michigan's Democratic delegates, and now Congressman Bart Stupak wants the delegates apportioned based on the results from the state's January primary and on the popular vote in all primary contests nationwide. The Michigan Democrat has sent the plan to the Democratic National Committee, as well as the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

The DNC stripped Michigan and Florida of their delegates for moving up their primaries, as you probably recall. And with ten contests still to come, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, says the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama needs to run its course. She also says it's important for Democrats to get behind one candidate long before the party convention in August.

Rap star 50 Cent is singing a different tune. He is switching his support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. He tells MTV News he was moved by Obama's recent speech on race. He says, "I'm Obama to the end now, baby. Oh, yes."

LEMON: OK. All right.

Well, John McCain wants America to get to know him. He's on the second leg of a five-state tour where he's talking up his family history and patriotic roots. After kicking off his so-called service to America tour in Mississippi, he's visiting Virginia, including the high school he attended in Arlington.

He also sat down with CNN's Dana Bash to talk about some issues, including his well-known temper.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I say that everyone's life is a work in progress. I have a better and more impressive record of bipartisanship and working across the aisle in legislative solutions and leadership than anybody that's running against me by far.

And those leadership qualities required an even temper in those abilities to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats for the good of my constituents and the country are clear indications that that that's a very, very minor thing, as compared to my record of accomplishment.

And my record of accomplishment required even, mature and experienced judgment in order to achieve what I've achieved and I'm confident that the American people will judge that as well.

And I am confident that they'll look at my record and my vision, and that's -- and if they don't expect me to get angry when I see corruption in Washington, when I see wasting needlessly of their tax dollars, when I see people behaving badly, they expect me to get angry. And I will get angry, because I won't stand for corruption, and I won't stand for waste of their tax dollars and I will demand that people serve their country first and the special interests second.


LEMON: Well, you can watch Dana's full interview with John McCain straight ahead on "THE SITUATION ROOM." That's coming up at 4:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

And all the latest campaign news is available right at your fingertips, just go to We also have analysis from the best political team on television. That and more,

KEILAR: The truck stops here. Independent truckers protesting soaring fuel prices the only way they can, basically by parking their big rigs. We'll take you on the road, live.


KEILAR: Senate Democrats and Republicans have come to a deal on legislation, or at least working towards legislation to deal with the home foreclosure crisis.

Let's listen to Senate majority leader, Harry Reid.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS) SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: ... A bipartisan measure that will be offered. We're hopeful and confident that it can be that both leaders support. And, does this mean there will be no other amendments? No. But if we can have this package done, it will make sure that we deal with the basics that we need to deal with and not some of the fringe stuff that people want to deal with.

This is important. I think the picture that we have here says it all. This is a crisis that we have. The only way it's going to be solved is working together. We can both go and do our separate press availabilities and beat up on the other. The time has come for us to legislate, not continue our bickering.

I think this can be done. We have two of the most experienced legislators in the Senate with Dodd and Shelby. They both worked in the House as members. They're experienced over here and I think they see the overall picture.

I am confident and very, very hopeful that this is going to be a break through, not only for this piece of legislation but what can he can accomplish in this difficult political year -- Senator McConnell?


Let me just underscore that we've concluded on a bipartisan basis that we're not just going to have a check-the-box exercise, we're going to legislate, we're going to do it on a bipartisan basis. If you're looking for an example of how we did that very successfully, earlier in the year it was the stimulus package.

Senator Shelby and Senator Dodd as the majority leader has indicated are our experts. They're going to take a day here and see what they can agree to. We're optimistic that they will be able to agree to a proposal. And as the majority leader has indicated, that will be the core underlying bill off of which additional amendments will be offered.

This gives us the maximum chance of demonstrating to the American public that we can deal with important issues on a bipartisan basis quickly. So we've arranged a way to go forward that we think makes sense, not only for the Republicans and the Democrats, but for the American people.

I'm pleased to be here with the majority leader in that regard -- Senator Dodd?

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, let me thank the majority leader --

KEILAR: All right. You're listening in here to a bipartisan press conference there in the Ohio Corridor of the Capitol.

Now, Senate leaders from both parties have been locked in basically a stalemate because Democrats have proposed a plan to deal with the foreclosure crisis. Well we just heard Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, saying, we have come to a deal that's going to allow the Senate to take up this measure.

Now, a lot of Republicans, they had really opposed something that the Democrats were pushing -- basically a bankruptcy provision that would allow judges basically to reset mortgages on primary residences. Republicans really did not like that. And in this deal we've learned that that is going to be dropped and they're going to be working on a bipartisan compromise, which of course we will keep our eye on as they work on that for the next 24 hours.

LEMON: Are cell phones more dangerous than cigarettes? A new report links cancer to calling. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta gives us his conclusion.