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Pope Addresses Sexual Abuse Scandal at Mass; Polygamist Custody Battle in Chaos; Hillary, Obama Face off in Philly Debate

Aired April 17, 2008 - 13:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live here at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
Hi, Kyra.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Don. And I'm Kyra Phillips in Washington for coverage of the pope's first visit to America. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Well, it was a whole new ball game in the brand new Nationals Park in Washington, site of the first public mass of Pope Benedict's first papal visit to America. Almost 50,000 of the 70 million souls in the pontiff's American flock heard a homily that confronted, once again, the pedophilia scandal, as well as the evils of slavery and the persecution of Native Americans.

My colleague, Ed Henry, was there -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, it's fascinating. I was here about 4:45 this morning, because the crowd was anticipated to be so big, 46,000 people. Security is so tight. We all had to get here very, very early. It was quiet, but people started trickling in very quickly. This place got electric about a half hour before the actual mass, about 9:30 Eastern Time, when the pontiff got into the famous Pope Mobile.

He did a lap around the ballpark here behind me. And I can tell you, I was sitting amongst people who were getting their first glimpse of the pope up close like that. And they were on their feet, screaming at the top of their lungs, getting their first glimpse of the pontiff.

And it was, really, a sign of someone who has been a little bit shy about the public role of the pope in comparison to his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who embraced it so much. So that was fascinating. Then the pageantry of the mass itself.

But you're right; there was some serious business, as well, during his homily. The pope very directly addressing the sexual abuse crisis. You know, before this trip, there were some people predicting he might not mention it, he might gloss over it. This was now the third time in just a few days that he's dealt with it head on.


POPE BENEDICT XVI, LEADER OF CATHOLIC CHURCH: It is in the context of this hope, born of God's love and fidelity that I acknowledge the pain which the church in America has experienced as a result of the sexual abuse of minors. No words of mine could describe the pain inflicted by such abuse. It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention.


HENRY: The significance, obviously, this pope realizing there's still a lot of feeling left to be done among American Catholics in the wake of that scandal.

But also getting back to just sort of his personal chemistry with American Catholics here in this ball park near the end of the mass. It's was about an hour and 45 minutes into the mass. So the pope, who's 81 years old, obviously may have been tired. It would have been understandable if he had not gotten under his feet.

But Placido Domingo sang a song, the tenor. And it was amazing and it, again, lit up his ballpark. And the pope hopped out of his seat to greet, to embrace Placido Domingo. A great moment, because the Domingo got down on a knee, kissed the papal ring, to show his respect to the pope. Quite a moment, but again, showing how this pope is now really stepping out and embracing his public role as pontiff -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Ed. On another very serious note, OK, you live here in D.C. The National -- they're struggling. So did the pope get a chance to meet with the team, possibly bless members of the team, pray for the team?

HENRY: I certainly hope so. Not only am I Catholic, but I'm actually a season ticket holder of the Nationals, and I'm kind of downcast right now. If the pope could have given us a little bit of a blessing, I mean, let alone me. I mean, obviously, I want the blessing from him, as well, but if he can do anything for the Nationals, Kyra, I certainly hope so.

PHILLIPS: All right. Ed Henry, appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Well, today at mass, last night in a speech to U.S. bishops, and even on the plane en route to Washington, the pope has faced up to what he calls the gravely immoral sexual abuse of children by priests. And in his marching orders to the bishops, the pontiff said it's they who bear the burden of relieving the, quote, "enormous pain" inflicted on victims.


POPE BENEDICT XVI: It is your God-given responsibility as pastors to bind up the wounds caused by each breach of trust, to foster healing, to promote reconciliation and to reach out with loving concern to those seriously wronged. Responding to the situation has not been easy and, as the president of your Episcopal conference has indicated, it was sometimes badly handled.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIPS: And for many sex-abuse victims and their advocates, mere words, even from a pope, are not enough.


BARBARA BLAINE, PRESIDENT/FOUNDER, SNAP: Making those statements didn't bring about any change in behavior and action. We've documented many cases right now in the United States, where bishops and cardinals are still failing to turn over information to police. They're still failing to warn parishioners and be transparent. And they still leave innocent children at risk.

And until one of them is disciplined, our concern is that -- that this behavior will just continue.


PHILLIPS: And next hour, we'll talk live with David Clohessy. He's national director of the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests.

And also ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM, we're going to get the Muslim view of the papal visit, the pope himself and the state of Catholic- Muslim relations. We're going to look again at the ongoing damage from the U.S. Catholic sex abuse scandal, and we'll check out the role of women in the 21st century. Millions of women wish their roles were bigger when it comes to the Catholic Church.

And if you plan to attend a mass, or just greet the pope along his travels, please share your story with I-Reports. We'd love to see the video, the photos, the crowds and the scenes around you. That's at And you can get more on the life of Pope Benedict at

LEMON: And in other news happening right now in Texas, child welfare officials and a controversial religious group, they tried to hold a court hearing today on the fate of hundreds of children. But things didn't quite go as they had planned it.

Straight to San Angelo, Texas, now and CNN's Sean Callebs.

Sean, I'm hearing that one attorney called it unlawful and a lack of due process in these proceedings?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that for those people out there who thought this had the potential to be just a legal nightmare, it is living up to that billing.

I was in the overflow area of the courtroom earlier today. The way it began, Judge Barbara Walter coming in, trying to explain what was going to happen.

When the state was called up to begin making its case, the attorney said, "Look, we would like to have DNA testing of the children, the parents. We would like to have psychiatric evaluation of the children, and we'd also like to move the children out of the five-county area.

At that point, the objections began coming en masse. For about the next 30 to 40 minutes, just constant objections. Certainly, a degree of frustration for the judge, because a lot of them were about due process: would we be able to question witnesses? Her argument was like, "Let's sit back for a second. Let's see if this works. Then we can go on with the objections."

A very, very packed courtroom today, and we have some pictures of folks walking in and attorneys. Very -- a great deal of attorneys. Also, members of the FLDS sect. We tried to speak with a number them, and here's about the best information we could get from members of the FLDS.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give us a little bit of time to sort it out in here, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you finding that it's organized inside or a little chaotic?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment, thank you.


CALLEBS: That's about it.

Now, under Texas law, of course, we know by now that all 416 children must have his or her own attorney. Well, there's no way every attorney's case can go forward. It would just take months and months.

So what they've done is break them down into demographics. Say children -- boys 5 and under are one. Girls 5 and under are another. And they have given all of these different groups colors. And each of these colors has a lead attorney.

Well, a lot of the attorneys, Don, as you can imagine -- a lot of attorneys are worried, "Will I have enough say. Will my client be fairly represented?" So that's where we are right now.

LEMON: Goodness. I can imagine it's really overtaxing the system there. Now, you described these colors, Sean.


LEMON: And now from what I'm hearing, the judge was in a central place and then sort of ferreted out in other places to sort of in the satellite where the different children and their attorneys or what have you. An unusual proceeding there. Explain to us a little bit more about how that works.

CALLEBS: Right. I don't think the children are here at all. I'm not seeing any children. Behind me you can see the main courthouse here. LEMON: Their representatives were.

CALLEBS: Basically, it holds about 180.

LEMON: Yes. Their representatives were in other places, yes.

CALLEBS: Exactly. Some of the attorneys are in this main courtroom. Others had to go to an overflow area about a block and a half away. And there is a video hook-up so they can not only hear the judge, watch the proceedings go on; they can actually step up to a microphone and make objections and get involved in the questioning of the witnesses with the judge, with the court proceedings going on. So the judge would like to think that they are very involved.

However, clearly a lot of attorneys have problems with the way this is unfolding. But -- but as the judge said, you know, we're basically in uncharted territory. We are trying to do the best with the limited space we have and the great number of children that are involved.

But she made it clear: the burden is on the state right now. They must prove that these children have been abused if they would like to keep custody of the kids -- Don.

LEMON: We shall see. OK, Sean Callebs, San Angelo, Texas. Sean, we appreciate your reporting on that.

Several states are already taking steps to resume executions, following yesterday's Supreme Court ruling upholding the legality of legal injections. There was a seven-month moratorium on executions while states waited for the court's decision.

Virginia lifted its moratorium yesterday, and Florida, Mississippi and Oklahoma are among the states taking steps to resume executions, too. Some three-dozen states use lethal injections to carry out the death penalty.

Another look at America's working poor. We'll look at a place that's feeding a growing number of families, even those with jobs.

PHILLIPS: And do you really know your doctor? Our "Empowered Patient" segment will show you how to investigate the most important person you'll hire.


PHILLIPS: A pilot radios air traffic control. He's low on fuel and needs to land immediately. A government investigation has found that's happening more than ever at Newark Liberty International Airport.

U.S. transportation officials say that low fuel landings there have tripled over the past two years. Investigators say cost-cutting could be part of the reason. Another possibility: strong head winds on transatlantic flights.

The report found no safety regulations were violated and no passengers were in danger.

LEMON: Well, from jet fuel now to gas prices. They have hit a new record high, and filling up the tank is now soaking a much bigger part of our weekly budgets. You can better believe that.

Susan Lisovicz, on the floor of the New York Stock exchange, with the latest.

And Susan, we kind of joke about this when we talk, but really every time I go to fill up my car, I just -- I don't look, because it's painful.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's sticker shock, and you know, Don, you're in a better position to absorb the higher cost of gasoline. A lot of folks really are having a great deal of difficulty.

Gas prices have risen every single day to a new record high this week. To put it in perspective, there is a troubling new report from Nielsen, which says consumers will spend nearly one fifth of their budgets on gasoline. That's up 3-7 percentage points from last year, depending on the price of gas, which of course, fluctuates.

Nielson also says people are making more trips to the gas station, which suggests that a growing number of folks are going only to the gas station or getting as -- just as much as they need at the moment.

Also, that study says people are combining their errands and trips, eating out less and doing more things at home to make up for the extra cost of gasoline.

And by the way, AAA says the national average now above $3.40 per gallon, rising to a new record, which is up nearly two cents in one day, Don.

LEMON: So what will happen when we get those stimulus checks from the government, Susan?

LISOVICZ: Well, you know, the whole idea is that people would spend them. They go to the malls; they go out to dinner. And you know, there's been a lot of talk that people should just try to pay off debts. But also, there is more talk recently that people will also be paying for gasoline. That's one of the things they'll do.

So not quite the idea that the government intended, but it is something that certainly makes sense, given the rising price of gasoline.

And it's playing havoc with corporate earnings. We're right in the midst of them right now. Take, for example, Continental. You can imagine, for an airline, the exorbitant expense for fuel. Continental posting a quarterly loss because of, it says, rising fuel. It plans to mothball a bunch of planes and reduce the number of flights.

And U.S. Airways, by the way, this is something called the Choice Seat Award. It's going to charge an extra $5 for a window or aisle seat in the first several rows. Talk about nickel-and-diming.

Not seeing much action on Wall Street right now. The Dow is down 13 points; NASDAQ is down 12. You're seeing oil prices by the way, just under $115 a barrel right now, Don.

LEMON: Really, Susan, though, what's next with the airline? They're charging for everything. It will be, you know, if you want to ride on the wing. It's -- seriously. It's getting a bit ridiculous, I think when it comes to that.

LISOVICZ: I think that there would be a lot of people who would agree with that argument, Don.

LEMON: OK. Susan Lisovicz, we'll check back with you; talk about more rising prices, gas prices. And you know what else we're going to talk about? Food. A lot of people can't afford food anymore, and they are dealing with that issue. We're going to talk about that a little bit later on in the NEWSROOM.

They talked about each other. They talked about issues. Who came out on top in last night's presidential debate? That's our question. And let's see if Bill Schneider, our senior political analyst, can answer that for us in the NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: All right, let's kick off our political ticker with the latest CNN poll of polls. Among likely Democratic voters in Pennsylvania, no change from yesterday. Hillary Clinton continues to hold a five-point edge over Barack Obama, 48 percent to 43 percent.

Only one of the four polls in our survey was conducted entirely after the furor erupted over Obama's comments about bitter people in small-town America.

And remember our report yesterday that 75-year-old Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha had said John McCain was too old to be president? Well, McCain, who is 71, had a ready answer when our John King told him about Murtha's comments.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All I can say is that I admire and respect Jack Murtha. Speak for yourself, Jack. I'm doing fine.


LEMON: Well, McCain, Clinton and Obama all got to practice their skills at diplomacy today with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The prime minister hosted the presidential hopefuls in three separate 45-minute meetings at the British ambassador's Washington residence.

Gordon Brown and President Bush are meeting this afternoon at the White House and they're going to hold a news conference around 2:35 Eastern. You can you watch it right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Meantime, man, it was their last big chance to make a big impression before Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama squared off in Philadelphia last night for a two-hour presidential debate. And here to break it down, our Bill Schneider. He is in Philly with the CNN Election Express.

Have you been to Geno's, get a cheese steak yet? Any of that stuff?


LEMON: Not today.

SCHNEIDER: I'm still suffering from the seasonal allergies.

LEMON: Oh, same here. You know, mine are just better. I'll -- earlier this week, Bill, I tell you, I couldn't even concentrate. I could barely read the prompter. It's horrible.

OK. So let me ask you about this debate last night. Contentious, as usual, low key in some points. I'm going to start off with Hillary Clinton last night, because she has been saying for her strategy -- and I'm sure you'll agree -- is that Barack Obama is not electable. He is not electable, and that's been her strategy. But then questioned about it last night, she had something different to say.

Take a listen.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: The question is, do you think Senator Obama can do that? Can he win?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, yes, yes. Now, I think that I can do a better job. I mean, obviously. That's why I'm here. I think I am better able and better prepared, in large measure because of what I've been through and the work that I have done and the results that I've produced for people and the coalition that I have put together in this campaign.


LEMON: Was that a contradiction, Bill? Because at first she's saying -- and I don't want to get this wrong -- that he's not electable, that she is, especially going up against the Republicans. And now she's saying, "Yes, yes, yes"?

SCHNEIDER: Well, there was a serious concession on her part, because her campaign has been making the point throughout it would be difficult to elect Barack Obama president. He has many liabilities, his associations, Reverend Wright, the kind of statement he made to the fundraiser. For all these reasons, she was -- she is trying to get Democrats to wonder in their minds, especially super delegates, can this guy, about whom we don't know a great deal, be elected? Yesterday's debate really contradicted that. Because when she was really pressed to answer the question, does she think Barack Obama can beat John McCain, she said, finally, "Yes, yes, yes." That's a concession on a major point.

LEMON: OK. All right. We'll see how that part plays out. She's still ahead, though. As we look at -- we're going to look at some live pictures, Bill, now of Barack Obama as he's speaking in Raleigh, North Carolina. It's kind of interesting, though, that he is not in Pennsylvania. Before I get to the next part of it, does that say anything about his strategy, that he's not in Pennsylvania today and that he's in North Carolina?

SCHNEIDER: Well, I think the Obama campaign anticipates that Senator Clinton will win Pennsylvania, and they're trying to go on to a state that they expect to win, North Carolina, where the polling indicates that he's safely ahead.

There are two primaries that day, North Carolina and Indiana. Indiana is likely to be the close one, but he is concentrating on a state where he does expect to win. Because most people believe there has not -- in fact, there has not a single poll with Obama ahead in Pennsylvania.

LEMON: OK, yes.

SCHNEIDER: He wants to swallow a loss in Pennsylvania and go on.

LEMON: Yes, you're right, because the one, the poll that we did just before -- I think Kyra read it -- likely Democratic primary voters' choice for nominee in Pennsylvania, 48 Clinton, 38 percent Barack Obama, 9 unsure.

Let's talk about Barack Obama last night. This issue has clearly dogged him, Bill. We're talking about Reverend Wright. And what we're going to play now, clearly he was tired of answering it. But some people saw this as a fumble. I want you to take a listen and tell me what you think about it.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The notion that somehow -- that the American people are going to be distracted once again by comments not made by me, but somebody who is associated with me, that I have disowned, I think doesn't give the American people enough credit.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You disown him?

OBAMA: The comments, comments that I've disowned, then that is not something that I think...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you do believe he's as patriotic as you are?

OBAMA: This is somebody who is a former Marine. And so I -- I believe that he loves this country. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Bill?

SCHNEIDER: Well, you saw his discomfort in discussing this issue. He believes that he said what he had to say about it when he gave that major speech a couple of weeks ago about race. He laid out his thoughts at that time...

LEMON: Right.

SCHNEIDER: ... dissociated himself from Reverend Wright's comments, but not from the man as an individual. And he clearly wants to move on.


SCHNEIDER: He hoped this debate would enable him to talk about other issues, but he was dismayed to find out that both Clinton and the moderators of the debate insisted on dwelling on this and on his gaffes.

LEMON: Right.

SCHNEIDER: And I can tell you, that's got the Obama people very upset that the debate went in that direction, because his whole philosophy is move on.

LEMON: Right. All right, Bill Schneider, thank you very much for that. Bill Schneider in Pennsylvania for us.

PHILLIPS: Catholics aren't the only Americans sizing up an unfamiliar pope. What do American Muslims think? We'll find out.


LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, alone here. Where is my partner? Nobody's here.

PHILLIPS: Here in Washington, D.C. Hi, Don. I'm here for the pope's first visit to America, and all of you are live with us in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: We are working on a number of stories for you here today in the CNN NEWSROOM including this one. A huge child custody hearing began in Texas this morning at issue, the more than 400 children removed from the Yearning for Zion polygamous compound.

Opposition leaders want the U.N. to set up a crime court to prosecute those guilty of post election violence in Zimbabwe. They said supporters are being brutalized. There are still no official results from Zimbabwe's election held three weeks ago.

Heavy security as the Olympic torch was carried through New Delhi on its way to Beijing for the Olympics. India is the home of the world's largest community of exiles from Tibet, and many Tibetans have been protesting China's control of their country. One exiled group says at least 200 of its members have been arrested.

PHILLIPS: Pope Benedict's last full day in Washington is a pretty busy one. You know about this morning's mass at the brand-new ballpark of the Washington Nationals, and at 5:00 eastern about three and a half hours from now, the Pope will meet with Catholic educators, and after that, a couple hundred envoys from five other faiths. One of those envoys joins me now.

He's Eboo Patel, Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Core, and joining us from New Haven, Connecticut, Lamin Sanneh, a Muslim convert to Catholicism and a Professor at Yale Divinity School. Great to have both of you. Eboo, let's start with you. You were actually inspired to service by the Catholics.

EBOO PATEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INTERFAITH YOUTH CORE: That's right. When I was in college, I came across Dorothy Day's great book, "The Long Loneliness" and it articulated her faith-based path of service. That began my journey to discover the dimensions of Islam which called me to service. It was the beginnings of my idea for the organization the Interfaith Youth Core.

The notion is that all of our religious traditions inspire us to serve others, why don't we come together from different faith backgrounds and learn to cooperate and serve others together?

PHILLIPS: All right, we're going to talk more about that. But just need a little background on Lamin. Lamin, you're a Muslim that converted to Catholicism. Why?

LAMIN SANNEH, YALE DIVINITY SCHOOL: Yes. I was challenged by the witness of the Koran to Jesus and to Mary, and that laid a trail that eventually led me to the church.

PHILLIPS: What do you think is the biggest misconception between the two religions? Because, there so many similarities.

SANNEH: Indeed. I mean, the Koran has -- devote several sections of the Injeel of the witness to Mary and to Jesus, especially chapters three, five and chapter 19, which is named after Mary. So, there are many misconceptions, but I think only dialogue and conversation can dispel some of those misconceptions.

PHILLIPS: And, Eboo, how do you that in a time where there is so much stereotyping going on, and people think of Muslim religion as extremism, but there are so many similarities among these faiths. Is that the key to unity? How does the Pope do that?

PATEL: I think the key to unity is for people from different faiths to come together on the shared values of serving others. The best dialogue is the dialogue of action. How can those of us from different backgrounds end malaria, how could we reduce poverty together? How can we make sure that children are tutored together?

That's what we need to be doing and it's when you act together that you build genuine understanding and cooperation and respect for different religions.

PHILLIPS: Let me read a quote to both of you from a Newsweek article. Salam Al Marayati, Executive Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council said, "We had no indication that the pope would engage in any meaningful dialogue beyond the exchange of gifts and perhaps a photo op. We want a meeting with his bishops and key figures in the U.S. the topic should be Muslim-Catholic issues, but it doesn't seem to be a priority for them."

Lamin, what do you think about that?

SANNEH: I think there is already tremendous groundwork being laid for a meeting and dialogue between Catholics and Muslims in this country and elsewhere. I think that's a very pessimistic view to take of the Holy Father's visit. It really does, I think, misrepresent the real ongoing dialogue at the grassroots level and the evolvement of the Catholic churches.

PHILLIPS: Boy, I must say here in the U.S. it's exciting to see the younger generation excited about the Pope's trip. Let's a listen to one young Muslim gal who spoke to one of the reporters on the ground.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually it's different for me. It's exciting. It's going to be crazy. I wanted to get ticket, but it's just like overwhelming with everything that's going on. But, it's something definitely different for me.

PHILLIPS: As a Muslim, what are you looking for from this Pope?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's just a different perspective on religion, but -- I mean, Christianity and Catholicism is close to Islam, so it's just like a different view on like a monotheistic light as well. You know?


PHILLIPS: Eboo, I listened to this, and I just got back from Iraq. I actually went to a Catholic church with an Iraqi family, and then obviously I spent so much time with Muslim families as well. It seems like there is such a different understanding in the war zone to Muslims here in the United States.

PATEL: Well, I think that those of us who live in countries like the United States need to take the opportunity of the combination of religious diversity and religious devotion to begin interfaith action. This month, the Interfaith Youth Core has a great program going on called The Days of Interfaith Youth Service, where in cities all over the country and all over the world young people are coming together to serve others in tangible ways.

When I meet with his holiness the Pope tonight, what I'm hoping he says is can we begin a brought endeavor of cooperation between people of all faiths that genuinely reduces the challenges of the world.

PHILLIPS: And, Lamin, how can the Pope make that bridge? What does the Pope need to do? I mean, we are living in a war, not just in Iraq, but here in the United States we are feeling it. And, we are feeling the religious struggle.

SANNEH: Yes, I think the Pope has been very concerned with the challenge of secularism, which is a challenge equally for Christians and Muslims. And, I think the young lady who spoke really, about looking for guidance is an appeal for help against the forces of extreme secularism.

And here, I think Catholicism with it's track record in education and involvement in social action, can actually indicate how we might come together best to promote that. The other issue it seems to me we cannot avoid the kind of elephant in the room, is a question of human rights and religious tolerance.

It's all very well to promote tolerance in the west, but the Muslim world itself has to face to the challenge of religious pluralism and the need for religious tolerance.

PHILLIPS: Lamin Sanneh, Eboo Patel, wonderful discussion. This is something close to my heart, I can talk and pray about this for days. Appreciate your time today.

PATEL: Thank you, so much.

SANNEH: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Thank you. Well, if you plan to attend a mass or just greet the Pope along his travels, please share your stories with iReports and video and photos of the crowds and seen all-around you, we want to see it, we want to feel it. That's at You can get more also on the life of Pope Benedict, at

LEMON: A weakening economy, soaring food prices. I will show you what some Americans have to do in order just to put food on their table. You won't believe it.


LEMON: Another famine in North Korea, well the United Nations is raising that possibility. A spokesman for the World Food Program says recent floods have devastated agriculture in North Korea, and high global prices will make it hard for the impoverished country to import food. A 1990s famine is believed to have killed 1 million North Koreans.

If you have been to the grocery store lately, you know you are paying a lot more for certain foods and you are not alone. CNN looks at this growing food crisis with help from our correspondents around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANEESH RAMAN, CNN MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT: I'm Aneesh Raman in Cairo, where food prices are skyrocketing. Just since the start of the year on basic goods like rice and bread, in some areas the prices have doubled. And so, at stores like this in markets throughout Cairo, there is less shopping because about half of Egypt lives on less than $2 a day, and the rising prices are causing a lost frustration with shoppers who now have to stop buying certain goods.



SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sara Sidner in New Delhi, India, where the World Food Program says nearly 50 percent of the world's hungry live here in this country. The rising food prices have prompted the Indian government to put a band on exporting all but one kind of rice, and that's because the country wants to make sure it has enough stockpiles to feed its own people.

The country also, though, has one of the largest food aid programs in the world. Still, millions of Indians spend more than 50 percent of their salaries on food and a slight rise in price with high inflation has caused them to cut back on even the essentials of life.




Kenyans are dealing with the perfect storm of food price hikes. Biofuel prices have made food prices skyrocket. Thousands of farmers were displaced in the crisis here and they can't farm (ph). And finally, fertilizers are almost double the price of what they were a year ago.

It means that people need to spend much more on food and they are angry and frustrated.


LEMON: Well, surging food prices are having an impact right here in America, too. Take a look at one food bank, one food bank here in Atlanta.


CHRYSTAL OGLES, FOOD BANK RECIPIENT: She had a (INAUDIBLE) surgery when she was born. She does a lot better, but she still has breathing problems, you know. It's like yes, table food.


LEMON (voice-over): Chrystal and Ariana (ph), like some 16,000 other Atlanta-area families, depend on the Atlanta Community Food Bank for help.

The fourth largest food bank in the country was founded 28 years ago by Bill Bolling. He says his agency has never seen a higher demand and from people who never needed his services before.

BILL BOLLING, ATLANTA FOOD BANK: We're seeing almost half the people who are coming to our member agencies having a job, sometimes two jobs, and not being able to make ends meet.

LEMON: Joann Cainion uses the services. She has no health insurance. And even with two jobs, doing domestic work five days a week and alterations, she still can't afford to put food on her table. Add to that, the spiraling cost of driving across town to work.

JOANN CAINION, FOOD BANK RECIPIENT: It's sickening. Plus, if your gas keeps going up and your paycheck don't go up, you just be working to pay gas.

MARK WILSON (ph), FOOD BANK RECIPIENT: It's been two weeks. I just been cutting grass to make a float.

LEMON: Mark Wilson, a brick layer, mows lawns to make ends meet. He can't find a construction job. But he says he and his four children still have to eat.

WILSON: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're very welcome.

LEMON: America's working poor feeling the economic downturn, with food banks coming to the rescue.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.


PHILLIPS: Well, straight ahead, searching for a new doctor? One could be just a click away. But before you go online, become an "Empowered Patient" right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: OK, how do you find a new doctor? How do you find a new doctor? One way is the same way some people find a date -- some people -- online. In this week's "Empowered Patient" segment, our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has some tips on how to go about that.

OK, so I know about dating sites.


LEMON: Most of us know, but there are doctor -- are we dating our doctor? What's going on here? COHEN: No, no, no. But people are going online to find a spouse, right?

LEMON: OK, all right.

COHEN: And many people now are going online to find a doctor. There's a ton of these doctor ...

LEMON: The two could be major (ph) -- they could be the same thing, yes.

COHEN: I suppose, well, that's a whole other story we'll have to do.

But there's a ton of sites now where people go online and they dish about their doctors. You can either put in your doctor's name and hear what people have to say or put in your zip code and you can find out what people are saying about doctors in your area.

And here's an example of things that some people say. this is from "Dr. X is extremely capable and caring." Obviously, they say the real name, we're not going to do that here.

Here's another one. "Dr. X is quite pretentious and does not value patient-physician relationships."

So, you can learn all sorts of interesting stuff. And Don, everyone's getting in to the act. You know, Angie's List, where you go to (INAUDIBLE) ...

LEMON: Right, yes, I use Angie's List.

COHEN: They are now going to have -- well, you can use it to find a doctor. Soon DeGatz (ph), the folks who do restaurant reviews?

LEMON: Yes, yes.

COHEN: They are now going to start doing doctor ratings.

LEMON: OK, the only thing that scares me or that's kind of weird about online, you never know what's true, what's not. And people go online and they say terrible things about people.

COHEN: Right.

LEMON: And it's not -- you never know. So, if everyone's sitting, chatting through about the doctor, and saying this and that, how do you sift through and find out what's real and what's not with that?

COHEN: Right, there are a couple of specific things that you want to look for and we talk about this in our online column today. First of all, you want to look for specifics, not adjectives. Ignore the adjectives. You want to hear the doctor saw me the day that I was sick, he treated me well and followed up with me the next day. You want specifics. Also, look for patterns. If five people, for example, say that a pediatrician didn't see their kid the day they got sick and made them wait a couple days, if they're all saying the same thing, that is a big, huge red flag.

LEMON: Right, and you know, it's subjective, right?

COHEN: Exactly.

LEMON: So then, how do you again -- kind of the same question, but not really. How do you find the objective stuff that's really -- that gets to the heart of it?

COHEN: Now, that is a lot tougher. But there is objective information, there's actual data about doctors. If you go on our online column, you will see the links to these kinds of things. You can find out is my doctor board certified in his specialty. Has my doctor had a legal judgment against or a malpractice judgment against her? So, there places to find out but it's kind of tough to find. So, we give you the links to go right to it.

LEMON: All right, very good, good information. Thank you as always.

COHEN: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Well, if you think the vice president doesn't have a sense of humor, then you won't want to miss Dick Cheney's stand up routine. I went to last night's radio and TV correspondents dinner in Washington. We'll share some of the highlights of the evening.



DICK CHENEY, VICE PRES. OF THE UNITED STATES: I am modest enough to realize that all of you would rather see the pope standing here than me, but instead of the successor to Saint Peter, you are stuck with me, the successor to Saint Al.


LEMON: The vice president making jokes? It's one of those annual rites of spring in Washington. A black tie dinner put on by Radio and TV Correspondents Association. The vice president, you can see was there, as well as a lot of other people.

Our very own Kyra Phillips was one of the dignitaries in attendance, and she joins us now to tell us all about it. So everything went OK. I didn't get the 3:00 a.m. call from you or Wolf saying, come bail me out,s so I'm sure it was fine. So tell us about it.

PHILLIPS: Well, these events I always make sure I drink soda water. People get a little out of control, Don.

LEMON: Right, right.

PHILLIPS: But if you think the vice president doesn't have a sense of humor, let me tell you, I was quite surprised. Take a listen to this.


CHENEY: You in the press need to go easy on Senator Clinton on the whole business about running and ducking from gunfire in Bosnia. She made an honest mistake; she confused the Bosnia trip with the time I took her hunting.


PHILLIPS: He made light of his heart condition, too, believe it or not. He said, if you think I'm not sensitive with regard to the environment, every time I have to go to the hospital I always request a hybrid ambulance.

But really the one who stole the show, Don, Mitt Romney. Take a listen:


MITT ROMNEY (R), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. 5, I'd rather get fat, grow a beard and try for the Nobel Prize.


No. 4, I wanted to finally take off the dark suit and tie and kick back in light-colored suit and tie.

No. 3, once my wife realized I couldn't win, my fund-raising dried up.


No. 2, I took a bad fall at a campaign rally and broke my hair.


And No. 1, there was a flaw in our campaign theory, that as Utah goes, so goes the nation.

Thank you.



PHILLIPS: He literally stole the show.

LEMON: He should have done that in his campaign, huh?

PHILLIPS: That's what people were saying. Why wasn't he this loose and this funny and he's giving David Letterman a little competition, Don.

LEMON: OK, so listen, we want to see you last night. I know you have pictures. And knowing you, you hung out a little bit with the media people but I'm sure you were hanging out with the military.

PHILLIPS: Well, let me point out this one picture. I thought this was interesting. This is me and my guests, General Craig McKinley. He's the head of the Air National Guard.

LEMON: Woo-hoo, look at you.

PHILLIPS: Well, Don Shepherd, you know, our military analyst, used to have that gig. Now the general is doing that. And an amazing Air Force fighter pilot.

But notice behind him, Don -- see the beautiful blond in the white dress?

LEMON: I do. Who is that?

PHILLIPS: That is the wife of Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News. So now I understand why he's got all these beautiful blondes as anchors at Fox News, because his wife is a beautiful blond.

LEMON: Blondes on Fox News? No way.

PHILLIPS: Oh yes, and I think it's inspired by his gorgeous wife.

LEMON: I know. Whenever you see a brunette you're like, oh, there is a brunette on Fox? Oh, my gosh.

PHILLIPS: And then, just to point out, too, this is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, and I brought him over to meet our president, but our president was very busy talking to Roger Ailes, the president of Fox. So it was quite a competition, and the admiral said to both presidents, Roger Ailes and our John Klein, "So are you guys talking baseball scores?" And I said, "Admiral, they're probably talking about ratings."

LEMON: Uh-huh, no fisticuffs, though, right, you didn't have to jump in the middle and separate them or anything?


LEMON: OK, good.

PHILLIPS: There were no fights. It was all peaceful. And you know, we'll probably see the ad campaigns come out in about a week, and the billboards, you know, Fox News/CNN. But It was a great night. We had a good time. And it's nice to see all the politicians and the military types talking with the journalists and getting along, and not arguing about the he said/she said.

LEMON: Absolutely. Hey, Scottie (ph), I'm going to ask the director, can we back it up to the picture of her in the gold. Do you still have that picture, Scottie? We want take a look at that.

So let's see, I'm on the red carpet, Kyra -- who were you wearing?

PHILLIPS: Who am I wearing? I think that that's my TJ Maxx special.

LEMON: Well, you get the max for the minimum, so you look great.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

LEMON: All right, thank you very much, Kyra, look forward to more pictures. And we'll see you a little bit later on with some pope stuff.

PHILLIPS: All right, Nicole Miller thanks you.

LEMON: Glad you had fun.

OK, up next, she is a wife and she's also a mother.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is where we eat our meals. Most of the time it's full of children's noises, happy children eating their food. But it's quiet.


LEMON: Inside the polygamous ranch in Texas. How do they live? Where do they eat and sleep? CNN's cameras saw it all in a personal guided tour.


LEMON: All right, let's see what all the Web heads are clicking on over at Always interesting to find that out. A few of the most viewed videos, here they are. This lady has a beef with her soon to be ex-husband and is taking it to the Web. As you can see, dirty divorce laundry on YouTube.

And check out bus guy. He met his girlfriend, bus girl, where else? On the bus. Now he pops the question, where else? On the bus. What did she say? Well, you'll have to see for yourself. Not on the bus, but on

And what is this freaky-looking little rodent? That's the mom right there. That's the mom right there. Where's the rodent? Don't have her? Well, that's a good question. Some teenagers found it -- there it is -- Beside the road in Oregon. They finally found out what it's called and yes, it took a wrong turn to Albuquerque.

See all these stories and much, much more all around the clock and totally free, And the next of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.