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Pope's First Visit to America; Sky-High Merger: Delta & Northwest Plan to Join Forces; Deadly Riots Over Food Prices in Haiti

Aired April 15, 2008 - 14:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It is big. In fact, it could be the biggest in the world. Now that a proposed merger is announced, what's next for Delta, Northwest, and you, the flying public?
Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live here at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And before we get to our newsroom, I want to welcome back Kyra Phillips, who's just returned from assignment in Baghdad. We'll talk a little bit about that with her later on in the NEWSROOM. But right now she is in Washington awaiting the arrival of the pope.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, I'm here to cover the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI. I'll be reporting on his first visit to America.

Shepherd One already due to arrive at Andrews Air Force base in just a few hours. We're going to have much more on the pope's visit throughout the day, and this week in the NEWSROOM, of course, including some special guests today who I'll tell you about in just a few minutes -- Don.

LEMON: And what do you call him? Do you call him Your Highness, Your Eminence, Your -- all those things?

PHILLIPS: We are going to talk about the protocol coming up in a few minutes. I would stick with Holy Father.

LEMON: Holy Father.


PHILLIPS: Guru of all things spiritual.

LEMON: Just call him something nice. That's it. OK.

PHILLIPS: There you go.

LEMON: All right, Kyra. We'll check back. Thank you very much.


(NEWSBREAK) LEMON: In the meantime, the airline industry as we know it here in the U.S. could be forever changing. Delta and Northwest are planning to join forces in a deal that would spawn the world's biggest carrier and could -- it could set the stage for more mega mergers.

Now, we know this -- this is a big deal. But will it take off. And is bigger necessarily better, especially -- especially when it comes to you and your ticket?

Let's go straight to our senior business correspondent, Ali Velshi.

Ali, I guess people want to know, what's in it for me? How does it affect me, someone in the flying public?

ALI VELSHI, CNN SR. BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, here's how it affects you. You're probably going to see your airfare's go up, but you were going to see your airfares go up anyway.

In fact, since January, we've seen an average of about $100 if you're looking at a domestic fair, much more if you're looking at international fares. And that's entirely tied to the cost of fuel.

So, while this will become a more efficient airline theoretically -- that's when you have a big merger like this, it becomes more efficient -- the airline will probably become more profitable as a joint airline. It's not clear that it's going to help you out very much.

It will be called Delta, it will be based in Atlanta. It's going to be the world's biggest, getting to 390 cities and 6,700 countries, with more than 75,000 employees.

The hub structure, those main cities that they use as hubs in the United States, will stay the same. Tokyo and Amsterdam will remain international hubs.

But this needs approval, probably six to eight months of approvals from the Department of Justice, transport, shareholders, and then several months to integrate. So no changes.

If you've got frequent flyer miles, don't worry about it, they'll integrate them. But there'll be no changes to that.

Now, here's a piece of advice for you. I was speaking to the CEO of FareCompare. They track the -- they tracks airfares. He was saying that, while some people are doubtful and you might be inclined to making your ticket purchases maybe for summer because you're not sure what's going to happen, it's actually the other way around. It might be better to book your tickets now, because we've seen such increases in fares because of oil prices that you'll probably see increases if you wait.

So, don't worry about it, just book your tickets, and hope that your fares don't go up too much.

LEMON: Keep your fingers crossed. All right.

Senior Business Correspondent Ali Velshi.

Ali, thank you.

VELSHI: All right.

PHILLIPS: Well, we're watching the skies and the clock, as an airliner some call Shepherd One draws ever closer to Washington. The name alludes to the passenger, of course.

Benedict XVI beginning his first papal visit to America. He'll be only the second pope ever to set foot in the White House, and the White House is going all out. This morning, Press Secretary Dana Perino talked about the circumstances behind all the pomp and circumstance.


DANA PERINO, PRESS SECRETARY: This is a little bit different in that the head of state is also the head of the Catholic Church that is visiting the White House, and so I think we've struck the right balance and that it's perfectly appropriate for the White House to welcome the pope and have one of the songs performed tomorrow by Kathleen Battle, who we are very happy to have at the White House. She'll be singing "The Lord's Prayer." And many people across America and across the world say that prayer in order to provide themselves comfort and confidence in getting their day started, and so we think that's perfectly appropriate.


PHILLIPS: Now, apart from the red carpets and fine China are a litany of preparations and accommodations with a much more basic purpose -- to keep the pope alive.

Jeanne Meserve joins me now with an inside look at papal security.

And they are going all out, no doubt. Not only on the visit, but security.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: They really are. I mean, at this point administration officials say they know of no threats to either the pope or any of the places he's visiting. But he is a religious symbol.

He was mentioned in a recent audiotape from Osama bin Laden, and he is visiting two high-threat cities -- New York and Washington. So security is going to be very tight.


MESERVE (voice over): This is the pope. Not Benedict XVI, but the man who plays him in security rehearsals for this week's visit. The Secret Service has been preparing for these four days for five months, enlisting 27 state, local and federal action agencies to help out.

JEFF IRVINE, U.S. SECRET SERVICE: Every security aspect that you've ever been exposed to will be deployed. And quite frankly, quite a few that you've never even seen deployed.

MESERVE: One of three pope mobiles has been shipped in to move Pope Benedict around Washington. A Virgin Mary will watch over him and heavy bulletproof glass will surround him. But because you can see him and because the car sticks out, some standard security tactics cannot be used.

RENEE TRIPLETT, U.S. SECRET SERVICE: Clearly, that will make this a little more challenging than when we can play different shell games or moving the vehicles around and moving the protectee around.

MESERVE: The guest list for the pope's meeting with religious leaders was modified for security reasons. Sikh representatives will not be there because they wanted to where their ceremonial daggers.

But the stadium where Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate mass in front of 46,000 people poses the biggest challenge. Larry Cunningham knows. He handled security for John Paul II's visit to the U.S.

LARRY CUNNINGHAM, FMR. SECRET SERVICE AGENT: By the sheer numbers and size of this building, it's difficult to control.

MESERVE: A mile and a half of the nearby Anacostia River will be shut, patrolled by Coast Guard boats with machine guns.

(on camera): So, if anybody poses a threat, they're in trouble?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can use force.

MESERVE: Air traffic restrictions will also be tightened, and local roads and bridges will be closed to traffic.


PHILLIPS: Now, what else will folks see as they're coming in?

MESERVE: Well, there will be mobs of people coming into the city, and they're trying to get them to take the metro rather than driving because between the volume and the number of street closures, it could really be a mess here. But those who do get into the city are likely to see snipers on rooftops, they're going to see dogs sniffing around for bombs, they're going to see a lot of police presence.

But the Secret Service says that's only part of it. There will be a lot more that you will not see. There will be people under cover, there will undoubtedly be technologies that they'll be employing here.

PHILLIPS: Now, the fact that the pope is a religious leader, does that take this to any type of different level? MESERVE: Well, it does in the sense that he attracts a very large and very diverse group of people. And some people have suggested to us that security officers often do behavioral detection, they look for the anomaly in the crowd. But this will be such a wide assortment of people, and there's likely to be so much fervor, that in some instances it can make that job a little bit more difficult.

PHILLIPS: Well, and you brought up an interesting point, the fact that Osama bin Laden mentions him. That's bizarre.

MESERVE: He mentions him. Well, he didn't directly threaten him. This was a tape that just came out in March, so very recent. But it was actually a tape about those -- that famous Danish cartoon, and the pope is mentioned in that.

PHILLIPS: Right. And he made the speech -- I think it was back in 2006.


On a lighter note, at the beginning of your piece, tell me who this man is that plays the pope when they go through these security run-throughs. That's pretty interesting.

MESERVE: He's a Secret Service agent. And I will tell you, the Secret Service wanted us to know this wasn't just someone dressing up as the pope. Obviously, as they go through the exercises it makes it easier to identify who it is who is playing that figure. But they also say the way he's dressed impacts their security.

If they have a protectee who's in a bad situation, oftentimes what they do is reach out and grab the waistband and pull them out of the way. Well, the pope is not wearing conventional pants, he's wearing a robe.


MESERVE: And so they wanted to sort of work with that and see how they were going to deal with it.

PHILLIPS: The only other person allowed in the special truck -- because they wouldn't let you guys in there, of course.

MESERVE: Oh, no, no, no.

PHILLIPS: That's off limits.

MESERVE: They let us pose for pictures next to us, but no, no, no. No entry into the pope mobile for us.

PHILLIPS: Jeanne Meserve.

Hopefully everything will go smoothly. Appreciate it.

Well, if you'd like to know more about Pope Benedict's life or see pictures and videos from his trip to America, check out You can also send and share your i-Reports of the pope while he's here. All of that at -- Don.

LEMON: Have you ever gotten to see him up close, Kyra, the pope?

PHILLIPS: Not this pope, but John Paul, yes. And let me tell you, because you're probably leading into you had a chance to see the pope.

LEMON: Well, I was saying, every time -- you know, I've covered him twice. And every time you see him, I would get nervous just before my life shot. "The pope is coming! The pope is coming! The pope is coming! Can you tape me?"

And then my voice would go up like this. I mean, he is obviously someone who makes you nervous, and larger than life.

PHILLIPS: It's a spiritual energy.


PHILLIPS: Absolutely. It's a very different feeling. It's like meeting Mother Teresa. When I met her decades ago, there's something about that that just impacts you. It never leaves you.

LEMON: Yes. You meet people -- you know, normal, everyday people, and we interview a lot of folks.

PHILLIPS: We're lucky.

LEMON: And they don't have that effect you on you. But for some reason, there's something about the pope when you're there.

PHILLIPS: You know why? Because he's looking over you wondering what you're doing and what you're up to. It's that moral conscience, you know, that starts knocking at the door watching everything.

LEMON: Or it could be the kevlar surrounding you that they cover everything with too.

PHILLIPS: That's right. The snipers on the roof like Jeanne mentioned. That'd make me a little nervous too.

LEMON: Absolutely.

All right. We look forward to talking more...

PHILLIPS: All right.

LEMON: ... about this with you, Kyra. And also talking about your trip to Iraq. So we'll check back with you in just a little bit.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Don.




PHILLIPS: So basically we've got to put our vests on, and then we'll have armored cars taking us from the airport to the bureau. It's actually...


PHILLIPS: That's all right. An unclean shirt is OK. It's actually one of the most dangerous parts of the trip.


LEMON: Well, I'm sure you know and we're glad to know Kyra made it to the bureau just fine that day. Obviously she's back and she is reporting. But she spent eight weeks bringing us slices of life from all walks of life in Baghdad.

Kyra, it's good to have you back here in the U.S.

Tell us more about the people you met, because you spent a lot of the time doing what we call slice of life, talking to real people, rather than just military folk there.

PHILLIPS: That's true, although it's very important what the military is doing there, obviously. I didn't want to do the embeds, and I didn't want to spend all my time with the U.S. soldiers.

I really wanted to dig in and see how the Iraqis are living their lives and dealing with this war zone, and all the chaos that is -- that they're immersed in. And this was the first story that I had a chance to work on when I got there.

I wanted to do this story last year, but it wasn't up and running. It's the Iraqi air force and the U.S. military. In particular, the U.S. Air Force is helping these young Iraqi pilots get trained in these Cessnas so they can eventually being become strike fighter pilots.

Now, of course when we think of strike fighter pilots, we think of the famous movie "Top Gun," right? You would be amazed the influence of that movie on these young Iraqi men.

Listen to what Lieutenant Majid told me when I asked him what convinced him to do this.


PHILLIPS: Why do you want to be a pilot?

LT. MAJID, IRAQI AIR FORCE: I have three answers. First, this is my dream. And the second one, I want to serve my country. And I like "Top Gun."

PHILLIPS: "Top Gun?"

MAJID: Yes. PHILLIPS: The movie "Top Gun?"

MAJID: Yes. I saw this movie three times. So he motivated me to be a pilot.

PHILLIPS: So you're Maverick and I'm Goose?

MAJID: We are.



PHILLIPS: Unbelievable, Don, that he told me that. It kind of caught me off guard, actually.

Now, Lieutenant Majid is one of about 180 young Iraqi pilots hopefully that will graduate by the end of the year and start to rebuild this Iraqi air force. As you know, they want to be able to have that control from the skies. So, once the U.S. military leaves, they will be able to drop bombs when necessary and add protection to troops on the ground whenever there is a conflict.

LEMON: And let's talk about what's always the hardest, Kyra -- old people and children. And I'm sure you met many along the way, and you were touched by that.

PHILLIPS: Always. In particular, Iraq.

And my mother is a teacher in deaf education, and she's also dealt a lot with deaf and blind children. And I've grown up interacting with these kids.

And when I got to Iraq, I wanted to find out, OK, is there a school for the deaf? Yes. I did a story on that.

And also, is there a school for the blind? And sure enough, resources are so scarce, but these kids are absolutely just inspiring.

I mean, living in a war zone is hard enough. Being blind and living in a war zone, it's just -- it's unimaginable to me. But these kids were so strong.

They're learning English, Arabic and reading Braille. You can see here by the books. And there was a young man in particular, young Murtada, that just touched my heart. When I asked him for a mike check before we started our interview, look at what happened.


MURTADA, STUDENT: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23...


PHILLIPS: And I have to tell you, Starmad (ph), my editor and shooter, every now and then if we were having a rough day in Baghdad, he would play that sound bite, Don, so we could all hear it in the bureau and you would hear little Murtada, "Sixteen."

So -- and he tells me he wants to be a translator. He wants to teach English when he grows up. And no doubt I'm sure he'll be doing that.

And coming up next hour, we're going to take you inside another story, Saddam Hussein's cell, Don. I got exclusive access into where he spent his final weeks. And also, not only will you get a sense for how he lived the last part of his life, but how he was treated, what he did, what was of interest to him.

And also, he kept a very detailed journal. And for the first time, I had a chance to really dig into that and translate some of the poems and the writings, and you'll hear about that coming up in the next hour.

LEMON: You know, I have an interesting idea for you, because I know that you're involved with kids as well and mentoring. Maybe you should show some of the kids at the schools we talk to that video to see how eager these children are in Iraq about education, and maybe they can become eager as well, because it is important.

PHILLIPS: You know what, Don? You bring up a very good point. And this is something that I told so many of my friends and family when I got back. The children there are so incredibly humble. You don't hear kids begging for toys or wanting to watch TV.

LEMON: Or sassing people.

PHILLIPS: No. No back talk.

It is unbelievable. They're some of the most disciplined, well- behaved children you'll ever meet in your life. And they're happy with nothing, with very little. To them, it's just about their family and going to school and being responsible. It's -- it's pretty amazing.

LEMON: OK. Kyra, thank you. And we look forward again.

We're going to look at Saddam's cell. I remember seeing that, and we look forward to seeing it again.

Thanks, Kyra. We'll check back and talk more about the pope as well.

Let's talk now about anger and chaos in the streets and cities around the world over rising food prices. A global crisis even here in the U.S., but why?

We'll investigate.


LEMON: Well, some experts fear humanitarian crisis as food prices continue to soar, triggering riots in poor countries and pushing more families into poverty.

CNN's Brian Todd reports on the cause and the effect.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In Haiti, deadly riots over food prices. Several killed in recent days, and the prime minister is tossed out of office.

The U.N. secretary-general says food inflation has reached emergency proportions. He says it could wipe out seven years of gains in fighting poverty, a sentiment echoed by the head of the World Bank.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't afford to wait. We have to put our money where our mouth is now so that we can put food into hungry mouths. It's as stark as that.

TODD: From the White House, a promise to try to help.

PERINO: We are in a process right now of looking at ways to meet some of the ongoing food needs of certain countries beyond what has already been provided.

TODD: It's hitting everywhere, from plentiful supermarkets in the U.S., to rice markets in Bangladesh, where according to the president of the World Bank, enough rice for a family of six for one day can take up half its daily income.

Why is it happening? Experts say it's partly bad weather, but also high oil prices increasing the transportation costs, more demand in China and India as people can afford better food. And some say competition with ethanol fuel, as more corn grown by farmers is used to make that fuel instead of being sold for food. Good for energy independence, but a big tradeoff.

JEFFREY SACHS, EARTH INST., COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: We're taking this valuable food, we're putting it in the gas tank with a big subsidy. That's also driving up world food prices.

TODD: Aid officials say it's more than just a humanitarian problem. Recent protests over high food prices in Egypt, Ivory Coast, and half a dozen other countries suggest it could become a global security problem as well.

ANDREW THORNE-LYMAN, U.N. WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: The people who are being hit the hardest are really the urban poor. That's why you're seeing a lot of instability like you're seeing in places like Haiti, in urban areas.

TODD (on camera): To address the crisis, the World Bank has asked for half a billion dollars from donor countries by May 1st. So far, it's reported receiving pledges for about half that amount.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: All right, Brian.

And on Earth Day, April 22nd, CNN will air an encore presentation of our special "Planet in Peril" documentary. It's also available online and also in stores.

The polygamist moms back on the ranch, but many without their children. They want the kids back, and do they have a case? That's the question. Do they have a case?

A legal expert will weigh in.


LEMON: All right. Look at the time. Less than 10 hours until the midnight tax deadline here on the East Coast. If you're like most Americans, it took you more than a day of preparation to get to this point. Probably a lot of procrastination as well.

Susan Lisovicz joins us now from the New York Stock Exchange. I've got to be honest. I'm an extension kind of guy here.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I was real close to that point, but as of about 7:00 p.m. last night, I got mine in Don.

LEMON: You got it.


LEMON: Yes, that is a feat. Congratulations.

LISOVICZ: In plenty of time. April 15th late in the night I'm at the main post office in Manhattan, which I think ...

LEMON: With that line -- that crazy line.

LISOVICZ: And the circus-like atmosphere.

But, in any case, we know tax preparation is a big headache. The National Taxpayer's Union has put a price tag on it, dollars, cents and hours. The average person spends more than a day, 26.5 hours to be exact, to compile receipts and fill out the forms. It will cost the average person more than $200 for tax software, tax preparers and other expenses. Both figures by the way are up from three years ago, but then again, so are many things, right, Don?

LEMON: Tell me about it. But there's an incentive this year to get it done on time, because the sooner you get it done, the quicker you get back those stimulus checks right?

LISOVICZ: That's right, effects millions of people. Those payments will typically be $600 for individuals, $1200 for couples, plus $300 for each child under 17, the IRS -- will start sending them out next month.

LEMON: You're tired from doing those taxes. Right? LISOVICZ: I am. I am. And because that is such a big incentive it could mean a record year for tax filings. Through April 15th, the IRS is -- nearly 97 million returns have been filed up nearly 10 percent from a year earlier.

Oil prices also going up, and they are a big focus on Wall Street yet again as they surge to record highs for a second straight day. Crude right now up about -- nearly $114 per barrel. Weak dollar among the factors boosting that, and that is stoking inflation overall. The wholesale price report shows prices rose 1.1 percent in March, much worse than expected. Wholesale prices up nearly seven percent over the last year. Airline stocks taking a big hit on that.

Delta and Northwest both seeing double-digit percentage increases despite the merger that's supposed to save them money. The DOW Industrials right now on the plus side of 51 points or about 0.5 percent. The NASDAQ is up about a third percent. Coming up, which airlines may be next after the official announcement today from Delta and Northwest?

Don, Mr. Extension, I guess you have a few months now, so you rest easy.

LEMON: Yes, but then I'm using -- with the extension time because I'm still like rushing to get it done.

LISOVICZ: Panic mode. Been there, done that.

LEMON: You have, too, so you know what I'm talking about. All right, thank you very much.

And since we're talking about taxes here, Susan, chances are you do owe, if you waited until today, tax day, to file your tax return, and you're definitely not alone.

Here's our senior correspondent Allan Chernoff.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: The only thing as certain as death and taxes for some is procrastination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll wait until the last minute, maybe I'll hear a tax tip on television or something that might help me.

CHERNOFF: Millions of us, the IRS says it doesn't know exactly how many, rush to accountants as the deadline approaches, and wait until the final day to file.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good cash management.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I don't have time. I'm busy always.

CHERNOFF: There are as many excuses as there are taxpayers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delay the pain. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not fun to do, there's always something else to do.

CHERNOFF: Psychologist Barry Lubetkin says filing taxes can be traumatic, a reason for taxpayers to put it off, as long as possible.

BARRY LUBETKIN, PSYCHOLOGIST: Taxes cause them to feel phobic, fearful, anxious, worried about their financial security, and while they may be very effective in other areas of their lives, when it comes to paying taxes, they're paralyzed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because my accountant didn't finish them until now.

CHERNOFF: The blame the accountant excuse is among the best, because they're often guilty as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do my own taxes anyway.

CHERNOFF: Are you an accountant?


CHERNOFF: You're an accountant and you haven't filed yet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it's an oxymoron, but no, I haven't. Not yet.

CHERNOFF: Joseph Anabe claims his accountant told him he doesn't have to file by April 15th.

JOSEPH ANABE, TAX PROCRASTINATOR: He's been filing for me for three years now, so he told me that.

CHERNOFF: He told you that you can wait until after the 15th?

ANABE: Sure.

CHERNOFF: Your accountant? Of course, certified procrastinating accountants would rather not be accountable for their delay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a CPA, so you know.

CHERNOFF: You're a CPA, and you haven't filed yet?


CHERNOFF: What's your name, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Forget it. Bye.


CHERNOFF: Well, that accountant has plenty of company. Last year, more than 10 million Americans filed for an extension. Don, I understand that you are in that line as well this year. Well, here it is Form 4868, I'm right here at the post office. Want me to file it for you?

LEMON: Are you right across from Penn Station?

CHERNOFF: Exactly.

LEMON: I know that place well. I've been there late a bunch of times. So not a crowd right now though, right Allan? Around you are people like scurrying in to get their taxes filed on time?

CHERNOFF: Right now inside of the building, we've goes dozens of people. I was just in there, dozens of people actually working on their taxes right now with their W-2 pay stub forms trying to do it during their lunch hour. Some way to go.

LEMON: Some way to go. Hey, real quickly I've got to ask you, if you get an extension, does that clear you of a penalty?

CHERNOFF: Well, if you are going to receive money from the government, no penalty. But if you owe, you're actually supposed to pay the government. So if you owed last year, send a check at least for the amount that you owe, otherwise you actually could be penalized, even if you're granted that automatic six-month extension.

LEMON: All right. Allan Chernoff.

CHERNOFF: So keep that in mind, buddy.

LEMON: I will. Allan Chernoff, from my tax day home for many years at the main post office across from Penn Station in Manhattan. Thank you, sir.

Let's go back now to that ranch and the mothers of those children that they are missing and that they want back. The women of the FLDS Polygamist sect say the state of Texas has no right to keep their children. Many of them have returned to that YFZ Compound without their children. The state is keeping them in San Angelo. These moms are usually tight-lipped, but one of them opened up to Anderson Cooper about the custody situation.


KATHLEEN, FLDS MEMBER, MOTHER OF FIVE: The state of Texas has confiscated our children on an alleged allegation that has no facts and now they're holding our children, and we want the children back.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And whose idea was it to come forward and talk to the media?

KATHLEEN: It was ours, because the nation has been so prejudiced against us, that they have a false image of what we are. It's the nicest community in America. For instance, my children had never seen a firearm in their life until they had a firearm put in their face and told to load on a bus, you will never see your father and mother again if you don't get on the bus and do what we tell you to do.


LEMON: So what kind of case do these moms have, if any at all? You can see, there she is right there next to me, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin. She's going to help us with that. She joins us anywhere.

Are you in New York today?


LEMON: Hey, thank you for joining us. OK, so a lot of us have been paying a lot of attention to this story. It's been on the news a lot and it's very intriguing, because we get to hear about a part of society that we don't hear much about. OK. So they have not found this alleged 16-year-old girl who called, which led them to the ranch. So then is this illegal? Is this searching someone's priority without warrant?

HOSTIN: Well, you know, you do need a warrant in order to search someone's property, but they had a warrant in this case and it is true that they haven't found this 16-year-old sort of informant that led them to execute the warrant.

But the bottom line is if law enforcement officers relied on the warrant in good faith, which apparently they did, everything that happens pursuant to that warrant is completely legal. So we're hearing a lot of people saying, well, the bottom line is they haven't found the 16-year-old so the warrant gets trashed and that means this case goes away. That is not what happens in the law. This case is not going away.

LEMON: So even still, they would say that they had what is it? Proper circumstances or extenuating circumstances, I'm not sure of the legal term, but enough cause in order to go in, right?

HOSTIN: That's right. There's a good faith exception. Again, good faith exception.

LEMON: OK. Let's talk about this, Sunny, and I want to make sure I get this right so I'm going to read the top part here. I hear that the children under five -- mothers who had children under five were allowed to stay at the temporary shelter with their children, many of the mothers returned back to the compound and some of them didn't.

But the ones that returned back to the compound, do they have any rights regarding their children, access to their children? These children are now considered wards of the state.

HOSTIN: They are considered wards of the state, and certainly it's really going to come down to what happens as Thursday's hearing. What is in the best interest of these children.

And, I have to say, I'm a mother, this is horrifying. It's every mother's nightmare that their child is taken from them. But, if you listen to what the woman said, she said people from the outside, she's sort of using all this jargon, this sect jargon and I don't think that a judge is going to determine that it's in the best interest of these children to go back to a compound where there -- it has been alleged that there's widespread sex abuse.


HOSTIN: Religion doesn't protect sex abuse.

LEMON: Yes, but again, again, they're saying it's alleged, alleged widespread sex abuse. Now, we don't know for sure. Obviously, maybe the government or prosecutors think that they have enough to go on, but they haven't presented that yet.

But, I mean, there's sex abuse in the larger society as well and we don't pay that much attention to it. Why so much here? Are these people's rights really being trampled on in this case, Sunny?

HOSTIN: You know, I have to say, Don, the bottom line is this investigation is in its infancy. It's going on. But it's been reported that some children were found 16-years-old and under with three or four children, and so ...


HOSTIN: ...that in and of itself in Texas is a felony, it's child sexual abuse. And we're hearing about this over and over again. And so yes, they're just allegations and it's too soon to do anything, but it is also too soon to say these kids can go back to where these allegations occurred ...

LEMON: Hey ...

HOSTIN: ...the investigation continues.

LEMON: Hey Sunny, I'm being told to wrap it up, but I think this is very important. I need to know, what's going to happen at this hearing on Thursday? What might we hear from this judge?

HOSTIN: I think we're going to hear the judge determine whether or not these kids are going back to their families and that's going to be a very ...

LEMON: That's important.

HOSTIN: ...important determination.

LEMON: Yes, that's the important part because I mean, you know, hopefully, we hope that none of this -- I do hope that none of this is true, no child was being abused there, but a child being separated from their family and from their mother, you know, that's a sad thing.

Sunny Hostin, thank you very much for breaking this down for us. We always appreciate your perspective here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

HOSTIN: My pleasure.

LEMON: And we don't see you enough. We see a lot of Jeffrey, we love him, but we don't see you enough as well. So, join us more will you?

HOSTIN: Well, I sure will. Thanks.

LEMON: All right, and we also want to tell you, the audience, at 3:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., there's going to be a press conference with authorities involved in that raid on the polygamist ranch in Texas. We'll bring that to you here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Let's talk now about the battle over Barack Obama's words. Will the quote, "elitist" charge made by Hillary Clinton resonate on primary day?


PHILLIPS: Well, topping our political ticker right now, John McCain outlines his plans to boost the country's economy, the preemptive Republican -- or presumptive Republican presidential nominee rather, wants changes to the income tax system. Government- backed mortgages for foreclosure risks and a vacation from the 18 cent a gallon federal gas tax.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The effect will be an immediate economic stimulus, taking a few dollars off the price of a tank of gas every time a family, a farmer or trucker stops to fill up.


PHILLIPS: Senator McCain's gas tax holiday would run from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Senator Barack Obama ended a scripted speech today with some ad lib comments about angry voters. It was a reference to the continuing controversy over his recent remark about some small-town voters feeling frustrated and bitter. Obama says that Americans have plenty of reasons to feel that way, but they still shouldn't give up hope.

And the founder of Black Entertainment Television has waded into the campaign race issue. Bob Johnson, a friend and supporter of Hillary Clinton suggests that Barack Obama's success and color are linked. Johnson told the "Charlotte Observer" "Geraldine Ferraro said it right."

Critical Pennsylvania primary now just one week away, and that means that we likely haven't heard the last of the campaign charge that Barack Obama is an elitist.

The latest now from CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And on the third day, Hillary Clinton hit him again.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think he really gets it, that people are looking for a president who stands up for you and not looks down on you.

CROWLEY: Facing the Pennsylvania primary, which hinges on working class voters, Barack Obama is accused of being an elitist. She never let up over the weekend, sporting her working class creds with tales of when she first learned to shoot a gun and photo ops sipping beer and tossing back a shot.

Looking to stand the issue on its head, Obama told a crowd of steel industry workers to beware of Washington insiders with promises.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They'll even come around with TV crews in tow and throw back a shot and a beer. But if those same candidates are taking millions of dollars in contributions from the pacts and the lobbyists, ask yourself, who are they going to be toasting once the election's over?

CROWLEY: The way Hillary Clinton sees things, this is not just about a big win in Pennsylvania, it's about a big message to superdelegates.

CLINTON: Democrats have reached out to me to say that we can't afford for people to believe that the Democratic Party is elitist and out of touch.

CROWLEY: Elitist in Democratic Party jargon means unelectable. Think Michael Dukakis, think Al Gore, think John Kerry, products of privilege, Ivy Leaguers who tried but largely failed to connect to culturally conservative, working class and rural voters, people Democrats think vote against their own economic interests because they see the party as too liberal and disdainful of their way of life.

It is why he goes bowling and she visits diners. It is why it's important this Harvard-educated lawyer pushes back.

OBAMA: I wasn't born into a lot of money. I didn't have a trust fund, I wasn't born into fame and fortune, I was raised by a single mother with the help of my grandparents who grew up in small-town Kansas and went to school on the GI bill and bought their home through an FHA loan. My mother had to use food stamps at one point.

CROWLEY: And it is why this Yale-educated lawyer keeps working on it, on the ground and in the air.

NARRATOR: Barack Obama said that people in small towns "cling to guns or religion as a way to explain their frustrations."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very insulted by Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just shows how out of touch Barack Obama is.

CROWLEY: The jury is out on what it all means when Clinton brought the subject up at one event, she was jeered.

The question is what bothers voters more, the original words or all that followed?

Candy Crowley, CNN, Philadelphia.


PHILLIPS: All the latest campaign news is available right there at your fingertips, just go to We also have analysts from the best political team on television. That and more at -- Don?

LEMON: All right, Kyra, thanks.

He wants to bring Hamas to the table, but Jimmy Carter's idea on how to achieve peace in the Middle East is meeting some stiff resistance.


LEMON: Well, here's what some of the scenery in Colombia looks like now. Wow, amazing pictures. A volcano, awake and busy. The Nevado del Huila has been blowing hot ash today. Scientists are watching the mountain closely.

They're afraid the volcanic heat could melt the snow and ice on the mountain and trigger flooding in the valley below. A few thousand people nearby have evacuated their homes just to be safe. Man, those are incredible pictures.

Former President Jimmy Carter laid a wreath at Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He did that yesterday. He also angered Israel's government by embracing a Hamas politician during a visit to the West Bank. Now, Carter's schedule also includes a meeting with a Hamas later this week, a stop that has stirred controversy, both in the United States, and in Israel as well.

CNN's Atika Shubert has more on Carter's earlier welcome in Jerusalem.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter got a first hand look at the effect of near daily Palestinian rocket attacks in an Israeli town of Sderot.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm obviously distressed to see this happen. I think it's a despicable crime for any deliberate effort to be made to kill innocent civilians. And my hope is that there will be a cease-fire soon.

SHUBERT: He's here on what he calls a tour for peace, not as a negotiator. But Carter insists he wants to talk to Hamas, the group that Israel holds responsible for these rocket attacks.

CARTER: It's absolutely crucial that in the final dreamed about and prayed for peace agreement for this region, that Hamas be involved and Syria be involved.

SHUBERT: U.S. and Israeli officials do not agree with the former president. The U.S. has listed Hamas as a terrorist organization. The Islamic militant group now controls all of Gaza and nearly half of Palestinian territories. That Carter insists is why Hamas cannot be ignored.

Israelis did not give Carter a warm reception.


SHUBERT: This woman was rushed away by security as she tried to give him this complaint ...

"He's always defending the Palestinians," she says, "but he's not defending us."

Many here are uneasy at welcoming the man who brokered Israel's peace with Egypt three decades ago but, in a recent book, compared Israeli policies to apartheid South Africa.

Sderot's mayor welcomed Carter, but admits he has mixed feelings.

MAYOR ELI MOYAL, SDEROT, ISRAEL: Well, he's not that loved in here, in these very days.

SHUBERT: Whether or not to meet with the former president has stirred its own debate in Israel. Carter met with the parents of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, abducted by Hamas more than a year ago.

(on-camera): Others were not so forthcoming. He did meet with Israeli President, Shimon Peres, but no cameras were allowed. Carter says he also requested to meet with Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, but was refused. The prime minister's office refused to comment on any aspect of Carter's trip.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Jerusalem.


LEMON: There's possibly new information coming out of Texas regarding that replying polygamist sect. You can see a room there where Child Protective Services is about to hold a press conference at the top of the hour. We'll bring that to you right here, in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: New images from a ranch where children from a polygamy compound have been taken. How are the children doing? A live update this hour on their condition. And we'll hear from one of their mothers in an emotional interview. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT