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Clinton Campaign Shake-Up; McCain's Message: Surge is Working; Where To Put Your Money; Angry at the Airlines

Aired April 07, 2008 - 10:00   ET


Campaign shakeup. Hillary Clinton's top strategist now stepping down. CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is with us from Washington this morning to help us explain what happened.

Candy, good morning.


What happened, let's see, where do we begin? Mark Penn is a senior strategist for the Clinton campaign. He is also a senior executive at the largest PR firm, I think, in the world, certainly in this country. He went and talked to Colombian officials about a free trade deal between the U.S. and Colombia. That is lowering tariffs, lowering the taxes that generally come with importing goods into the U.S. and vice versa into Colombia. He was hired on to help push that deal. He's of course, senior strategist for Hillary Clinton and she's against that deal.

Now union leaders came out, talked about Penn's involvement here, asked that he be fired. Remembering now, Tony, that we are coming up on Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has a huge chunk of working class voters. Those making $50,000 and under. In general, unions and working class voters blame these kinds of trade deals for losing their jobs.

So, in that sense, it would have been a real problem for the Clinton campaign and still may be. I don't know if you remember, Barack Obama got caught up in the North American Free Trade Agreement when one of his advisers met with Canadian officials and the Canadian officials came away believing that what the adviser said was that they should sort of ignore the anti-NAFTA talk from Obama. And it hurt him in Ohio.

HARRIS: And, Candy, if you would, how important is Mark Penn to Hillary Clinton's campaign?

CROWLEY: Well, first of all, we should note that he's not actually leaving the campaign. His firm is still going to do the polling. He's still going to advise. But he's not the senior adviser.

But, listen, their strategy is in place. They are not going to change between now and the 22nd. I can assure you, there are many people at the Clinton campaign who are quite happy Penn has left. They found him divisive. They also found him off-kilter on a number of things that he did as far as strategy is concerned with the Clinton campaign. They blame him for some of the mistakes. But remembering that he's still going to have a part in the campaign.

HARRIS: And, Candy, just more quick one. Where do the other candidates stand on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement?

CROWLEY: Well, in general, on the free trade agreements, John McCain, you can count as what he once said was the biggest free trader around. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with similar stances, saying, listen, we have to make sure that these countries that we're getting rid of the tariff, we have to make sure that they have labor standards, that they have environmental standards, which would put them on a more even keel because what workers says is, in the U.S. say is, listen, we have much stricter environmental laws, we have much higher wages here and it makes it hard to compete.

So both Clinton and Obama have said, in general, they either want to renegotiate or, as Hillary Clinton says, put a freeze on some of these free trade deals and take a look at them. As far as the Colombian Free Trade deal is, both of them are opposed to that going through.

HARRIS: CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley. Part of the best political team on television.

Candy, good to see you. Thank you.

Let's talk a bit more about this. The Colombia Free Trade Agreement on President Bush's agenda today. We're hearing he will talk about the deal. Remarks in the Rose Garden this morning. And we will have it for you live at 11:35 Eastern Time.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, John McCain back on the campaign trail today. And we're going to hear from him live in about 40 minutes. He is at the National World War I Museum. But right now, CNN's Mary Snow is following the McCain campaign in Kansas City this morning. Mary joins us live.

Tell us about what you're expected to hear today.


Well, Senator McCain is going to be speaking with veterans of foreign wars and he's going to be making the case that the surge in Iraq has been working. He is going to be saying that the work in Iraq is not done yet. And trying to say -- make the case also that violence has dramatically been reduced in the past year. He's going to be taking aim at his Democratic rivals, saying that withdrawing from Iraq without taking a real hard look at the consequences is what he will call a failure of leadership.

Now as he makes these comments, he is also under fire from a liberal radio talk show host, Ed Schultz. Last week in North Dakota, at a Democratic fund-raising event, he spoke calling John McCain a warmonger. Now this was before Senator Obama took the stage. The Obama camp has made it clear that this was not one of their events. That he is not a surrogate for the campaign.

But still, created a controversy. And Ed Schultz was on CNN this morning, not backing down from his comments, saying he's not apologizing, not toning down his rhetoric. He spoke with John Roberts this morning. Here's what he had to say.


ED SCHULTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I don't need Barack Obama or any other senator to speak for me and I don't speak for the Obama camp. But I can tell you that there are listeners out there across talk radio in America who are very concerned about John McCain's position and I think I'm getting a lot of blog traffic supporting the fact that somebody's telling it like it is. The man's a warmonger.


SNOW: Now, the Obama campaign, over the weekend, released a statement saying that John McCain is not a warmonger. He should not be described as such. But it points out that Obama does not -- did not believe in a war that he did not authorize and wants to stress his differences with Senator McCain over the Iraq War.

Now Senator McCain, yesterday, was asked about the Obama response. He said he's satisfied with it. He wants to keep these things, he says, to a minimum. But also, the McCain camp reiterated that when a conservative talk show radio host made any inappropriate comments aimed at Obama a couple of months ago, that McCain swiftly condemned those comments, pointing out that the Obama -- Senator Obama did not do the same.

So that was some of the controversy over the past weekend. Highlighted now as Ed Schultz continues these comments. This, of course, one day before all three presidential candidates will be in Washington as General Petraeus testifies on Congress tomorrow -- Betty.

NGUYEN: But just to clarify, Mary, didn't Senator Obama say that he didn't hear the comment being made?

SNOW: He was not on stage at the time. And he said, to the best of my knowledge, the campaign said that he was not aware of that comment. And again, coming out saying that Senator McCain is not a warmonger. But also pointing out this was not their event. They did not ask Ed Schultz to speak. This was a Democratic event in North Dakota where Obama was speaking.

NGUYEN: It will be interesting to see if McCain responds to the comments again heard today.

All right, CNN's Mary Snow joining us live. And again, McCain will be speaking today at 10:45 Eastern from Kansas City and we'll be monitoring that for you.

HARRIS: Air travel. You don't have to fly often to complain a lot. Right now a new survey of airline quality is being released. The bottom line, passengers fuming. Consumer complaints against carriers jumped 60 percent last year. On-time arrivals dropped for the fifth straight year.

In fact, according to the survey, more than one in every four flights is late. Also on the rise, the rates of passengers bumped from over-booked flights and the number of bags lost, stolen or damaged. And we will break this survey down even more when a travel expert joins us at the bottom of the hour right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: Well, this is what's happening right now. There are angry protests along the route of the Olympic torch relay in Paris. Police are out in force. Some on roller blades. The protests are aimed at China's handling of Tibet. And twice now police have extinguished the torch. This procession had to board a bus just to make it through the demonstrations at times. Our Jim Bittermann reports at least five people have been arrested.

Let's take you to London yesterday. Police arrested about three dozen protesters along the torch relay route there.

HARRIS: What do you say we get another check of weather now. Rob Marciano in the severe weather center, talking about springtime in Denver. The crocuses are croaking (ph) and, you know, the sun, beautiful tents (ph).

Hi, Rob.


HARRIS: Street battles in Baghdad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he on the -- is he on the ground or is he on the . . .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's on the rooftop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the rooftop?


HARRIS: U.S. troops go after Shiite fighters.


NGUYEN: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Betty Nguyen.

Well, college students, are they partying a little too hard?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After that, a couple tear can canisters went out. After that, you see these dumpsters catch on fire. You see bricks thrown, bottles thrown. A couple of people get hit in the head.


NGUYEN: The riot police bust up the fun, in the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Well, right now in Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi troops are battling Shiite militants for control of Sadr City. It's a stronghold for the mehdi army which is loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr. And in an exclusive interview, Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, tells CNN's Nic Robertson, al Sadr has a choice, get rid of the militia or get out of politics.


NURI AL-MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER, (through translator): A decision was taken Saturday that they no longer have the right to participate in the political process or take part in the upcoming elections unless they end the mehdi army.


NGUYEN: Nic Robertson is on the front lines in Baghdad and he's going to join us live next hour with much more of that exclusive interview.

HARRIS: The military's top man in Iraq, General David Petraeus, heads to Capitol Hill tomorrow to deliver his progress report on the war. Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon with more on the hearings.

And, Barbara, it always feels like a big occasion when the general speaks to Congress. Tomorrow should be another case of that.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is certainly going to catch a lot of attention, Tony. Of course, General Petraeus will be accompanied by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. From both of those gentlemen, expect the real undercurrent to be politics.

Both U.S. and Iraqi politics. Because, of course, at the two hearings tomorrow, the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senators Clinton and McCain are members of that committee. Senator Obama, a member of the Foreign Relations Panel where the two men will appear later tomorrow. They will be wading right into the U.S. political fray.

Expect no real surprises. General Petraeus will say that the surge is going to come to an end in July and then they'll take the pause that they say they want to take to assess security. And, Tony, that brings you right to Iraqi politics.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki back and forth, a cease-fire, the fight is on, a cease-fire, the fight again today he says is on again against the Shia militias. But he himself acknowledges he can really only fight the Shia militias with the heavy support of the U.S. military. So for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to be a strong political figure in his country, he still needs a substantial U.S. military presence there. And that may not be politically what the senators want to hear tomorrow.

HARRIS: Yes. And, Barbara, how does the latest fighting in Sadr City impact what Petraeus will say to Congress? I've got to tell you, Nic Robertson's piece last hour, where he was embedded with U.S. forces in some of those neighborhoods, just to look at some of the exchanges between the U.S. troops and the Iraqi forces, my goodness, the Iraqi forces have a long way to go here.

STARR: Well, they do. They have made progress by any measure. But enough progress, enough progress that will allow Petraeus at some point to recommend that it's OK for more U.S. troops to come home. That the time is now. That's not going to happen tomorrow.

The fighting in Sadr City, the fighting in Basra, all of this latest campaign initiative, military campaign initiative, against the Shia militias, that's not something that Petraeus expected a couple of weeks ago he was going to have to even deal with when he came to Capitol Hill.

A lot of this may now fall to Ambassador Crocker, actually, because it's going to go to the question, are the Iraqi forces -- is the Iraqi political structure really strong? Are they engaged in political reconciliation or is this some sort of military accommodation, if you will, with the Shia militias. What's really going on? That's what we're going to learn tomorrow.

HARRIS: What's really going on?

Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us. Barbara, thank you.

And again, CNN will be there live this week. General David Petraeus delivers his progress report on Iraq and faces questions from Congress. He goes before the Senate tomorrow and the House Wednesday. Live coverage right here in the NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: Well, stocks are bouncing. Home values have taken a hit. So where can you put your money? Gerri Willis has some ideas in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: Rumblings, rumblings, rumblings about deals. Merger Monday. What's going on with Yahoo!, Microsoft, Delta, Northwest.

NGUYEN: And look what it's doing to the market.

HARRIS: Yes, yes, yes. I mean this is -- merger Monday, generally speaking, you know, the talk of possible deals pushing the markets ahead to the positive territory. At least early, inside the first hour of the trading day. The Dow up 39 points. The Nasdaq, I believe, up eight. We are following the markets, checking in with Susan Lisovicz in just minutes right here in the NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: Well, some will say the markets have had more ups and downs than a roller coaster lately. I know you felt it. So should you be stashing your hard-earned cash elsewhere? CNN's Gerri Willis is here with some answers.

Gerri, we are looking to you. And first up, here's the question. Where should you invest? I mean, is this really the time to invest right now?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Hey, there are opportunities right now. You know, I know it's tough to look at your 401(k) statement. But remember, the stock market is considered what they call a forward looking index. The stock market, hey, it begins to decline in anticipation of a recession and rise during the recession. Keep in mind the Dow Jones is down about five percent this year and that means there is a stock sale.

There are opportunities here if you have a long-term investment horizon of at least four to five years. Look, even people who are close to retirement should have money in stocks. If you don't, you're likely to outlive your money.

NGUYEN: OK. So this could be a good time, like you say, there's a stock sale. So where's the best place to put your investment?

WILLIS: Index funds aimed to replicate the movements of an index of a specific financial market. And since nobody is picking the stocks or timing the market, there are lower fees. Even active fund managers have a hard time beating those long-term returns of index funds.

And here are some picks from Morningstar. Vanguard's Total Market Index Fund, Fidelity's Spartan Total Market Index fund and Vanguard Total International Stock Index. Now you go directly to or to get more information. But that, at least, gets you started.

NGUYEN: What about mutual funds? A lot of people really like to invest in those. What are the best ones out there right now?

WILLIS: Well, mutual funds can be a good way to get into international markets, but you want to figure out what your asset allocation should be. Your asset allocation is just how much your portfolio is dedicated to stocks, bonds and cash. There are some calculators out there to help. Go to or

Now whatever you do, don't try to build your portfolio based on what the market is doing right now. Timing the market is something that even the pros don't get right. Make sure to investigate management fees -- fees are important -- and the track record of the manager.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, here's the deal, though, with all these ups and downs on the market, a lot of people just want to stash their money someplace. Just to stay on the sidelines for the meantime. So where's the best place to do that?

WILLIS: Well, look, even that is hard to do right now. Good CD rates are tough to find. But some banks may be offering teaser rates on some short-term products.

Look, unless you can get a great rate, don't lock your money in for more than a year. That's because the Fed, which is concerned about inflation, may raise rates in the latter half of this year. On a three and six-month CD right now, you can still earn rates close to four percent and you want to be above inflation. Check out to compare high yield interest rates.

And tune into "ISSUE #1" today at noon Eastern. We're talking to Russell Simmons. Plus, all the issues that matter to you -- your debt, your housing, your job, your savings. We're going to be busy in that noon hour. Also answering your e-mails live.

NGUYEN: Russell Simmons. That man knows a lot about money.

WILLIS: He sure does.

NGUYEN: He's got a lot of it.

All right, Gerri, thank you.

WILLIS: Thank you.

HARRIS: His personal economy is doing OK, huh? Diversified?

NGUYEN: He is doing just fine. Completely.

HARRIS: Boy, tens of thousands of jobs lost. Now this from economists -- expect more to come. Last month alone, 80,000 of you got pink slips. Now analysts are saying a recession may already be underway and it could cost about two million jobs before things start to turn around. They're looking for unemployment to top out at around six percent. I believe we're at 5.1 right now.

Today in Philadelphia, lawmakers holding a field hearing on the foreclosure crisis and predatory lending. A live shot -- a live view of it right now.

And at the White House, President Bush meets with small business owners. He will be talking about his economic stimulus package.

Brace yourself, gas prices are up again. A new all-time record. AAA, this morning, putting the average cost of a gallon of self-serve regular at about $3.34. Premium will cost $3.67 a gallon. And diesel about $4. Experts say more price hikes are on the way as refineries switch over to spring gas blends. Lovely.

NGUYEN: Well there is some turbulence in the air, grumbling on the ground. Airline travelers are up in arms about the way that they are being treated. We have a travel expert in the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Well, hello, everybody, on this Monday. Hopefully you're having a good one.

I'm Betty Nguyen, in for Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris.

Welcome back, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM.

Boy, air travel. You don't have to fly often to complain a lot. A new survey of airline quality makes it official. Passengers fuming. I'm not telling you anything you don't know, right? Consumer complaints against carriers jumped 60 percent last year. One-time arrivals dropped for the fifth straight year. In fact, according to the survey, more than one in every four flights is late. Also on the rise, the rates of passengers bumped from over-booked flights and the number of bags lost, stolen or damaged.

Our next guest knows the issues all too well. Ben Mutzabaugh is an air and travel correspondent for "USA Today."

Ben, great to see you as always.

BEN MUTZABAUGH, "USA TODAY": Good to be here.

HARRIS: Why, why, why, why is flying becoming such a pain for us? Not just last year, but it seems like for years now, at least the last five.

MUTZABAUGH: It's been a steady progress, there's no doubt about it. And, of course, like everything, it's a very complex issue. But the one thing that really cuts to the core of this is, there is no -- there is very little slack left in the capacity. So when things go wrong, boy do they go wrong. Now when things operate smoothly, things are generally OK with the airlines. But I think the reason that we've seen these spike in complaints, airplanes are flying at fuller levels today than they probably ever have.

HARRIS: Ben, let me stop you there. You used a phrase there that I don't quite understand. Slack in the capacity -- what do you mean by that?

MUTZABAUGH: If there was a problem with weather, you could shift people to another flight, or that airports are less congested a few years ago than they are right now. When there were disruptions to the system, there was more of a margin of error in the system for airlines to adjust and reaccommodate flyers, or to space flights out a little bit. When one flight arrives 50 minutes late, it's really hard for the airline to get the bag on the next flight. Even four or five years ago, we started to see deterioration. It's really hit a critical mass in the last year or so.

HARRIS: Well what do we need here? Fewer flights, more flights, fewer carriers? What do we need here?

MUTZABAUGH: There's no easy answer. The first thing the airlines will tell you, to give you their perspective, they blame the air traffic control system which they say is inefficient. And they're right. But, that said, there's a lot they can do on their own end to help fix the problem. We see a lot of big airports, New York being the prime example, where they have overscheduled the number of flights those airports can handle during peak hours.

Now how does that affect you in L.A.? If you're one of the flights coming from -- if you're flying from L.A. to San Francisco, your plane was coming from New York, your luggage could be late, your flight could be late. And so these things really can start --

HARRIS: Like a domino.

MUTZABAUGH: -- they can ripple everywhere.

HARRIS: OK. Late arrivals. Let's stay with that. Take a look at these numbers here. On-time performance, best in the business, now best in show, Southwest Airlines at 80.1 percent on time. Worst, Atlantic Southeast Airlines at 64.7 percent on time.

Why is it some airlines manage to get it right, and other airlines are just not in the game?

MUTZABAUGH: Well it's a complex -- of course, again, it's a complex answer. In this particular case, Southwest tends not to use hubs. So what happens for them is, whenever there's a disruption in Southwest system, their network of flights can more easily absorb random disruptions. So they kind of get spread out.

Now Atlantic Southeast is a commuter carrier that flies for Delta and they fly mostly out of Atlanta. So if there are thunderstorms in Atlanta, that means all of Atlantic Southeast flights are going to have problems getting in, and then they're going to have problems getting out. That messes them up.

HARRIS: What's the problem here with the hub? What's this hub and spoken word of hubs and spoken word of hubs -- and what's the problem with the hub system?

MUTZABAUGH: And it's easy, given that explanation, it's easy to point the finger and say why do airlines do this? But hubs are basically a way to get people from small cities to big cities. You would never be able to have, for example, a flight from Chattanooga to Los Angeles. It's just -- the markets aren't big enough to do that. So you've got to stop somewhere to change planes.

And that's a very efficient way for big airlines to route people between cities. However, doing that, the hubs do not respond well when there are big disruptions, whether it's weather or --

HARRIS: But that's the theme of our segment here. That's the theme, when there are big disruptions, OK, I got that.

So let's talk about lost luggage here. Take a look at these numbers for me, Ben.

MUTZABAUGH: They're not good.

HARRIS: Baggage handling, best, Airtran, worst, American Eagle.

MUTZABAUGH: Another thing to consider here too, remember how many jobs the airlines have cut over the years. Most airlines will not go on record and acknowledge that that's a problem. But if you listen to the unions, you've listened to the union workers, especially the big six airlines that -- United, U.S. Airways, Delta, Northwest, Continental, American, -- these airlines really, Continental less so, these airlines have really pared back their staffs.

What happens is they're just stretched to the limit. And in some places, whether that's morale, or whether it's just people on the ground, a lot of these big airlines struggle when you get --

HARRIS: Hey, Ben. One thing the airlines could do today to improve the experience for passengers?

MUTZABAUGH: One thing would probably be better communication. At least if people are getting what they expect, even if it's bad, they're going to be less likely to gripe about it.

HARRIS: That's good. All right. Ben Mutzabaugh with "USA TODAY."

Ben, appreciate it, as always. Thanks.

MUTZABAUGH: My pleasure.

NGUYEN: Let's take you to Texas because a birthday party turns tragic. A woman and a five-year-old girl are dead following a shooting at a child's birthday party. Fort Worth police say a man drove up in a car and then opened fire on the party at a duplex apartment.

The woman was giving the party for a granddaughter. Besides the woman and girl, the gunman wounded three other children and another adult. Police believe they'll catch the shooter.


LT. SCOTT CONN, FORT WORTH POLICE: We do have some leads. At this time I can't provide that to you. But we're confident that we will apprehend the individuals that were involved.


NGUYEN: Police say all of the young shooting victims are under the age of 12 and are in stable condition.

HARRIS: A fast-moving fire sweeps through a townhouse and kills two children. Now investigators in south Boston want to know if an arsonist is to blame. The fire broke out around 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning. The two sister, three and 14-years-old, were trapped on the third floor of the building. There are reports the girls' mother had been heard arguing with another woman just before the fire started.

The revival of a party with a rowdy past near the University of Michigan proved to be a weekend headache for police in East Lansing, Michigan.

Michael Rosenfield, of affiliate WXYZ, has details. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL ROSENFIELD, WXYZ REPORTER: Chaos on campus. Up to 4,000 partiers on the streets of East Lansing. A day of revelry celebrating the return of Cedarfest getting out of control in the early-morning hours. People toppling street signs, setting fires and throwing glass bottles at the 80 police officers trying to calm things down.

What started as a springtime party at the corner of Cedar Street and Water's Edge Drive, turned into a riot. And East Lansing police had to use flash bang grenades which flash and make a loud noise to try to disperse the overwhelming crowds. When that didn't work, police fired off several rounds of tear gas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was actually pretty peaceful in the beginning. A couple people started shaking the stop sign and just after that, a couple tear can canisters went out. After that, you see these dumpsters catch on fire, you see bricks thrown, bottles thrown, a couple people get hit in the head. And -- just not -- it got really out of control.

ROSENFIELD: Throughout the night police had to break up fights, detain girls who were taking their tops off and fend off bottles and beer cans that were being thrown. Cedarfest was banned in 1987 because of similar problems. But Michigan State University students tried to revive it this year.

In all, 52 people were arrested -- 28 of whom were actual MSU students and could face charges ranging from disorderly conduct to inciting a riot.

CHIEF TOM WIBERT, EAST LANSING POLICE: I can tell you that there were several injuries. I don't have a count. But several people were hit by bottles. Literally every police officer was hit by something during the night.


HARRIS: Well, police in East Lansing say those arrested could face charges ranging from disorderly conduct to inciting a riot.

NGUYEN: Looking ahead, the election, still many months away, but one man is already making plans for the next president.


HARRIS: A female Marine murdered, and her mom now speaking out. A CNN exclusive just ahead in the NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: All right, so while Democrats focus on the next primary, Republican John McCain has November on his mind. But one man in Washington is looking even further ahead.

The story now from CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The three presidential contenders still standing have plenty of advisers trying to help push them over the top. But come January, the winner will rely on key advice from this man, a relatively unknown bureaucrat already prepping the presidential transition.

(on-camera): So you're the man to see?


HENRY: Months before the president elect arrives here on inauguration day to take the reins from President Bush, he or she will first stop a few blocks down the street, picking up the keys to the government, like Vice President-elect Dick Cheney did for his boss in December 2000, after the Supreme Court finally settled who was moving into the White House.

BIBB: I think the main lesson we learned was to start earlier.

HENRY: So David Bibb has been working on next year's transition for three years, mostly to find a massive amount of office space for the incoming president to work from November until January.

BIBB: It's about 120,000 square foot needs. So it's not small. You can't walk just out normally on to the street and find that kind of space.

HENRY: Mr. Bush has budgeted $2.2 million for his administration to get packed up, and $6.3 million for the new team to get ramped up, assemble a cabinet and prepare a legislative agenda. No detail is too small. From security for the first post-9/11 transfer of power to these ubiquitous electronic devices for transition staffers working around the clock.

BIBB: We'll have BlackBerrys for one and all.

HENRY: Bibb says it's a privilege to play a small role in a Democratic process that's tidy, relatively speaking.

BIBB: Things do happen in an orderly way, and this is just part of that process, orderly. Of course, we've been watching the election returns, so I don't know if that's orderly or not, but it's been kind of interesting, and maybe chaos is the right term to use.

HENRY (on-camera): So the transition is ready. Now all we need is a new president.

Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.


NGUYEN: Well, the Colombia Free Trade Agreement is on the president's mind, in fact, on his agenda today. He's going to be giving some remarks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building this morning. We will have it for you live as it takes place at 11:35 Eastern. (BUSINESS REPORT)

NGUYEN: The Olympic torch runs into a built of trouble. Parisians boo the flame's final destination. It's in the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Outrage in Africa. A presidential election bogs down in legal limbo yet again. And some say Zimbabwe's democracy itself is at stake. The latest setback came hours ago from Zimbabwe's high court. It postponed a decision on whether to force the release of presidential election results.

The court's ruling is now expected tomorrow. And that vote was held nine days ago. The opposition says the results show its candidate has ousted longtime ruler Robert Mugabe. But unofficial vote counts by independent monitors say the race was so close a runoff is needed.

HARRIS: A Marine suspected of killing a pregnant marine still on the run, and now the mother of the victim says her daughter's murder could have been prevented.

Our Susan Candiotti has the exclusive interview.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is a mother in pain. Mary Lauterbach visits the graves of her murdered pregnant daughter, Maria, and unborn grandson, Gabriel Joseph.

MARY LAUTERBACH, MOTHER OF VICTIM: Preparing for Easter is very hard because Maria want holidays.

CANDIOTTI: Just a few years ago, her daughter was playing high school soccer and dreaming about a bright future. This is the first video of Maria made public.

MARIA LAUTERBACH, MARINE FOUND MURDERED: For after High School, I am going to Marines. So I'll probably going to be doing that for about 20 or 25 years and then hopefully after that becoming a cop.

CANDIOTTI: Two months after Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach was found murdered, her body pulled from a fire pit in a fellow marine's backyard. Her mother is on a mission.

MARY LAUTERBACH: My concern is I want women to be better protected.

CANDIOTTI: Last April, 20-year-old Maria was working the night shift in an office at Camp Lejeune with fellow Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean, when she claimed he locked the doors and attacked her. A month later Maria called her mom.

MARY LAUTERBACH: And said, you know, mom, I've been raped. Maria, you have to report this because you have to protect all the other marine women to make sure that doesn't happen to anyone else. She said, OK, mom. So the next day she went in and reported it.

CANDIOTTI: Corporal Laurean denied the rape. Maria Lauterbach became pregnant.

MARY LAUTERBACH: If there are perceived credibility issues, you still must protect the person making who is making those claims. You have to protect them. The problem is, when someone has a perceived credibility issue, they make themselves the perfect victim.

CANDIOTTI: While waiting for investigators to finish, Lauterbach reported being punched on base by an unknown attacker and having her car keyed. Then last December, about a month before Lauterbach's due date and a rape hearing on base, she disappeared. Her roommate found a note.

(on-camera): So the note said, I could not take this marine life anymore so I'm going away. Sorry for the inconvenience, Maria. Does that sound like your daughter?

MARY LAUTERBACH: It shocked me. No. And she never gave me any indication that she was leaving.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): A month later, Maria's body was dug up. Investigators say Laurean told his wife he had buried Maria under his barbecue pit after she slit her throat. He ran. The (INAUDIBLE) says Maria was killed by a blow to the head.

REP. MIKE TURNER (R), OHIO: And this is a matter that deserves a higher scrutiny.

CANDIOTTI: Lauterbach's home town Congressman Mike Turner wants answers from the Marine Corps, including why Laurean didn't submit DNA during the investigation. The Marine Corp defends its action as an appropriate and as expected to reply to the congressman soon.

(on-camera): What worries you about other women who might be rape, who are in the arms service, and whether they will come forward after they look at this particular case?

TURNER: Are they going to be very concern about their own safety and they're going to wonder whether or not, like Maria, as if they're alone in coming forward with the accusation. That fear has really have -- got to have a chilling effect.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Authorities are still waiting for the results of the paternity test to confirm whether Cesar Laurean is the father of Maria Lauterbach's unborn baby.

(on-camera): Charged with murder, Laurean remains on the run, believed to be hiding in Mexico. Will he be caught? Authorities say they hope so. Trying their best to cut off his resources.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Dayton, Ohio.


HARRIS: Bumped, delayed, hassled. How are the airlines faring with customer service? A new report card in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: An American icon, Charlton Heston, dead at 84. A leading man on and off the screen.

CNN's Brooke Anderson takes a look back.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Most people knew Charlton Heston as the actor who played God's right-hand man.

CHARLTON HESTON, ACTOR: Behold his mighty hands.

ANDERSON: The man who would play larger than life characters on the big screen says his love of acting grew out of his lonely childhood. Known for his strong screen presence and his chiseled good looks, Heston was a natural as the handsome hero.

In 1959, that distinction in the movie "Ben-Hur" won him the Oscar.

HESTON: Who are you?

ANDERSON: A rarity in Hollywood, his film career endured more than half a century. From technicolor epics to science fiction, that granite-carved profile intimidated opponents with a glare or few choice words.

HESTON: Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape.

ANDERSON: His talent commanded respect, and conveyed integrity on the big screen and the small one. It allowed him to hone his craft.

HESTON: Oh, my god!

ANDERSON: Heston boasted he had acted on every continent, except Antarctica. He was the longest serving president of the Screen Actors Guild. Later, he diverted much of his attention to conservative politics and fought the forces of gun control.

After four people were killed in a school shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Heston took command of the declining National Rifle Association, and turned it around with what became a polarizing phrase.

HESTON: ... From my cold dead hands.

ANDERSON: Tom Selleck called Heston a friend and mentor. The two appeared in the 1976 war drama, "Midway."

TOM SELLECK, ACTOR: You know, when Chuck started heading up the NRA, it put a face to an organization that, whether people disagree with it or agree with it, had been effectively demonized for quite a few years.

HESTON: Let me make one more point that I forgot.

ANDERSON: Heston was used to taking a stand. In the '60s he disagreed with segregation, supported Dr. Martin Luther King and campaigned for civil rights.

In 2002, the man who had lived his whole life in front of the public told America about his private battle. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

HESTON: I'm neither giving up nor giving in. I believe I'm still the fighter that Dr. King and JFK and Ronald Reagan knew. But it's a fight I must some day call a draw.

ANDERSON: Friends say Heston and his wife Lydia, whom he married when their careers were just beginning, plan to confront the disease together.

TONY MAKRIS, HESTON FAMILY FRIEND: They've dealt with a lot. And they'll deal with this as they've done the other things -- holding hands, very much in love, with their heads held high.

ANDERSON: In 2003 Heston was given the Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Charlton Heston himself has become one of the great names in film history. Charlton Heston has left his mark on our country as an artist, and as a citizen and as a patriot.

ANDERSON: Actor or activist, Heston loved the power he had with the crowd.

HESTON: Thank you for everything. Not only now, tonight, but through all the years. It's been a wonderful run. I'm going to miss you.