Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Controversial Comments: Hillary Clinton Apologizes; McCain Hosts Social Gathering; Tornado Damage: Colorado Community Closed; Gas Prices & Holiday Travel; SUV Sticker Shock in Reverse; Farm Fresh & Cheaper

Aired May 24, 2008 - 10:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Threatening skies, severe weather warnings. Powerful tornadoes ripping through Oklahoma and Kansas.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... in California. You know, I just -- I don't understand it.


VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN ANCHOR: She doesn't understand it. Hillary Clinton there apologizing for comments on the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. We're going to tell you all about what she said.

HOLMES: Also, consumers aren't the only ones feeling the pain at the pump. Changes hitting the auto industry as well.

DE LA CRUZ: The pain at the pumps.

HOLMES: Painful.

DE LA CRUZ: Painful if we talked any more about it, you know?

HOLMES: Yes. We will.

DE LA CRUZ: We will. We will.

From the CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM, and it's Saturday, May 24th. We're going to talk more about the pain at the pump. I'm Veronica De La Cruz.

That's coming up, of course, amongst other...

HOLMES: Amongst other things.

DE LA CRUZ: I just can't get it out of my head.


DE LA CRUZ: Four dollars, it's right around the corner, folks.

HOLMES: Well, to you all, I'm T.J. Holmes.

It's 10:00 a.m. here in Atlanta, 7:00 a.m. on the West Coast. (WEATHER REPORT)

HOLMES: We want to turn to politics for now.

And working weekend for the major presidential candidates. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in Puerto Rico today. They're not taking a long vacation or a long holiday weekend. They're actually searching for votes ahead of that territory's June 1st primary.

Puerto Rico has 55 pledged delegates at stake. Now, that is the same amount awarded in Colorado's contest, and more delegates than Delaware, Rhode Island and Vermont combined. So there is a lot at stake there in Puerto Rico.

Senator Clinton, however, campaigning there in Puerto Rico, still dealing with the controversy over remarks she made in South Dakota. She told the editorial board of a Sioux Falls newspaper that Democratic races have traditionally gone into the summer.

She dismissed calls for her to quit. Backing up her position -- and here's the controversy -- a mention of the 1968 campaign of Robert F. Kennedy. Clinton later clarified her statement, as well as apologized.



CLINTON: My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June.


CLINTON: Right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know, I just -- I don't understand it.



CLINTON: I regret if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, and particularly for the Kennedy family, was in any way offensive, I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever.


HOLMES: All right. Well, Senator Obama's campaign quickly responded to Clinton's remarks.

Our senior political producer Sasha Johnson keeping a watch on all things political this morning.

Hello again to you. You're here from -- or joining us from Washington, D.C. I talked to you a little earlier this morning. And you talked how this controversy about her comments kind of being kept alive by the media. And here we are talking about it. So let's just get through it here.

Tell us what Obama, his campaign, responded in saying about these comments, and kind of how this dustup seems to be much ado about nothing.

SASHA JOHNSON, CNN SR. POLITICAL PRODUCER: Well, you know, they responded by saying these comments were unfortunate. Barack Obama himself didn't talk about them at all on the campaign trail yesterday. In fact, he congratulated Senator Clinton on the race that she's run so far and called her a formidable opponent and, you know, said she was a great politician and a great asset to the Democratic Party.

I think it's -- you know, if you look at this, I think the people that are probably looking at this most closely, as we talked about earlier, are superdelegates, who do not want the tenor of this race to get nasty. And I think that this comment might give them some sort of pause as to, you know, perhaps why they're sitting on the sidelines. Maybe we'll see some more come out for Barack Obama in the next week or so.

Those that have been sitting on the sidelines, let the process play out. We'll see. I mean, this wasn't a good moment for Hillary Clinton.

HOLMES: All right. And we'll turn to her husband now, who's having a bit of a to John McCain and Cindy McCain. We were trying to talk about this a little bit earlier, but finally, her tax returns have been released. They're out there now.

What do we -- tell us what we found out. We found out that she's doing well, but also, will this become a political issue? There's a lot of talk, well, why hasn't she released them? What is she hiding before? But now that it's out there, what do we know?

JOHNSON: Well, she released her 2006 returns and a summary of those returns. That's what we have. It's about a two-page summary.

She received an extension on her 2007 return, so we haven't seen those yet. But the campaign says that they will be put out.

I mean, look, you know, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, to a certain extent, have made transparency in government and good government a mantra of their campaigns and, you know, trying to change Washington. Barack Obama, we heard him talking how he doesn't want to run Washington the way that it's been run. So John McCain, therefore, is kind of being put in a position where he always needs to be a bit more transparent.

We saw him institute a very strict lobbying policy for members of his campaign staff and volunteers affiliated with his campaign. He lost some members of his staff. So I think that they sort of felt a bit boxed in and felt that they were trying to, you know, be transparent, give the people what they wanted, and to release some of her information about her vast wealth, which we have a little bit, but frankly not a ton so far.

HOLMES: All right. We'll turn to her husband now, who's having a bit of a barbecue this weekend.


HOLMES: And some of those people who are invited to that barbecue could get a burger and maybe a nod, nod, wink, wink -- hey, how would you like to be on my ticket? That's what you might think when you see the guest list, but...

JOHNSON: Right. The guest list includes people like Mitt Romney and Florida Governor Charlie Crist, two people that have been mentioned as possible number twos for John McCain as he, you know, heads into the convention.

But look, I mean, the campaign has said this is not -- these are not interviews. They're not going to talk about the vice presidential slot. But as we talked about before, John McCain really does like to feel comfortable with people that he works with, and you can see that by the people who travel with him, aides that have been with him a long time.

You know, Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina, is not only John McCain's sounding board, but his best friend. He travels with him often.

So John McCain likes to have a comfort level with people, and I think perhaps that might be part of what this weekend is about. You know, seeing how he likes these guys on a personal level.

HOLMES: Hmm. No discussions at all.

JOHNSON: We'll see.

HOLMES: Yes, we will see.

Sasha Johnson, we certainly appreciate you taking us through all things political this morning.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

HOLMES: You enjoy your holiday weekend.

JOHNSON: Thanks. You, too.

HOLMES: And we'll be bringing you the very latest live from the campaign trail when "BALLOT BOWL" comes your way this afternoon. It begins at 3:00 Eastern, only right here on CNN.

DE LA CRUZ: Slow cleanup in Colorado. Tornadoes leave a broad path of destruction there this week. One community particularly hard- hit. Many of the residents still not able to return to their damaged homes. In fact, a lot of them still displaced as we head into the holiday weekend.

Lane Lyon of our affiliate KMGH joins us live now with their stories.

Good morning to you, Lane.

LANE LYON, KMGH REPORTER: Good morning, Veronica.

We can tell you that many of those residents are hoping that they will get the news they've been waiting for. And that is, today will be the day they will be allowed back into their homes.

I'm going to step out of the way and show you a typical sight here in Windsor, Colorado. There is damage just about everywhere you look in the southeastern part of town. You see that home heavily damaged.

Also here, the National Guard blocking off about a one-square- mile restricted area. This is where some of the hardest-hit homes are. Homes either that were destroyed or heavily damaged in this tornado.

More than 100 families have not been allowed back into their homes since this tornado happened here in Colorado on Thursday. Many people were injured. One person died, you may know.

Now, in that restricted zone, crews have been going house to house, looking for gas leaks, downed utility lines, anything that may be unsafe. And the National Guard is here protecting that area, not letting anyone in until that time.

There is a meeting in about an hour, we can tell you, to let folks know when they will be allowed in. Many are hoping that is today.

We can tell you that power has resumed to parts of Windsor, Colorado. We understand it could be a few more days before the affected areas receive power. Water and sewer lines are back up and running.

And we can tell you, Veronica, there are signs here in Windsor that this community is pulling together. Over the last couple of days we have heard amazing stories of volunteers helping out, donations coming in, so much so that they've had to say, stop, we're doing all right. And that is certainly a good sign here in Windsor -- Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: All right. Lane Lyon with our affiliate, KMGH.

Hopefully folks there will get the news that they will be allowed to return home today.

We do appreciate it, Lane. Thank you. You know, this Memorial Day Weekend travelers are feeling the tug on their wallets because of rising gas prices. Still ahead, a look at how these record prices are impacting your holiday driving.


DE LA CRUZ: You know, just in time for the holiday weekend, those gas prices going up once again. AAA is saying that the nationwide average now is $3.91 a gallon.

We have reporters on both coasts, both the East and the West. Let's go ahead and take a look at what's going on on the West Coast. We're going to head out to Kara Finnstrom. She is in Anaheim, California, just outside of Disneyland.

I believe we're going to find Kara at a gas station there.

Good morning to you. What's the situation there?

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, very busy out here. And you know, just in time for this busy holiday travel weekend, those gas prices here in California have topped $4 a gallon for regular self- serve.

You can see just behind me at this gas station, it's going for $4.06. Across the street, for $4.09 a gallon.

And while California certainly does not want to be a leader when it comes to gas prices, as you mentioned, right now the national average right around $3.90. Well, analysts say within the next several days, that is also expected to top $4 a gallon.

Despite those high prices for gas, the nation's highways are expected to be very busy this weekend. AAA has released a survey that suggests that while most Americans say they will be traveling, or a smaller percentage of Americans actually say they will be traveling 50 miles or more from their home, that's only about 1 percent. So a lot of Americans still hitting the road, and they'll be doing things like looking for cheaper accommodations, spending less on souvenirs and food.

We, as you mentioned, are just about a block way from Disneyland, which is one of the travel hot spots here in southern California. And it didn't take us long to find a couple that is going the distance and paying handsomely for it. This is a newlywed couple from Canada that is tugging along a trailer.


RYAN WILLSON, NEWLYWED: So it will be -- yes, it's going to be...

JULIE WILSON, NEWLYWED: Probably about $900 an the way home.

R. WILLSON: Yes. I wouldn't be surprised if we get about $2,000 to come down here and go back home. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a lot.

R. WILLSON: And we're just over the border, too. So, yes, that's a long -- that's a big...

J. WILLSON: It's a good chunk of change for our fund.

R. WILLSON: Yes, for a holiday.


FINNSTROM: Now, those newlyweds say, yes, they probably could have gotten plane tickets for cheaper, but they do have their dog in tow. And Veronica, they say they just wanted the adventure of a road trip.

DE LA CRUZ: I know, Kara. These days, it doesn't matter whether you drive or fly. It's like, the cost of gas is going to get you any way you look at it.

So Kara Finnstrom, thanks so much. That is the report from the West Coast.

Coming up, we're going to be checking in on Nicole Collins. She's going to be live on the East Coast with the situation in Annapolis, Maryland.

In the meantime, I will send it back to you, T.J.

We just can't escape the costs. I mean, $4. And also saying next week, $4 is what we're looking at.

HOLMES: Yes. Well, thank you for that optimistic outlook, Veronica.

All right. We will return to talk about some weather here in a moment as well. In fact, severe weather that's cutting a wide path of destruction. New pictures coming to us from Kansas, hit for a second straight day.

That is coming your way in the NEWSROOM.




DE LA CRUZ: All right, T.J., pay attention to this, because...


DE LA CRUZ: ... the cost of gas as it shoots up, the resale value of that SUV that one might have plummets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some '07s worth $50,000, $60,000 just three, four months ago. And they're in the high $30,000s now. It's just -- it's amazing.


DE LA CRUZ: Oh, I'm sorry, T.J. T.J. drive as minivan. I was mistaken. I'm sorry.


DE LA CRUZ: Yes, the whole thing is kind of turning the market upside down.

HOLMES: Yes. The trucks and the SUVs just won't sell. But hybrids flying off the lot. We'll talk about the future of the car industry.


HOLMES: And we do want to turn to what you're seeing now live on your screen, Barack Obama, who is campaigning in Puerto Rico right now, making a speech down there to veterans at Bayamon, Puerto Rico, at the actual University of Puerto Rico.

We will take a listen in. He's hitting on a number of subjects, including the GI bill, also some comments from John McCain coming out of his mouth today.

Let's take a listen.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... reaching for our veterans isn't being too generous. It's the least we can do for our heroes. And I will continue to fight in the months to come to give those who have defended America the chance to achieve their dream.

But there's so much more work that has to be done for our veterans. Just look at the VA hospital here in San Juan. This hospital was built nearly four decades ago, and it is in desperate need of renovations and repairs.

There's not enough room. It's not designed to help women veterans. And it's not well equipped to provide care if you're paralyzed or disabled.

That's unacceptable. When I'm president, we'll review what's wrong with the VA hospital here in San Juan and with all our VA hospitals, and solve any problem we find swiftly. We need...


We need to make sure that the veterans here in San Juan are getting the same quality care as veterans in Chicago, in New York, in Los Angeles, in all the 50 states. And that those who have worn the uniform of the United States of America are being treated with the respect and the dignity that they have earned.

That's why I pledge to build a 21st century VA as president. It means fixing our system so it works not just for servicemen, but for servicewomen. It means no more red tape.

It's time to give every service member electronic copies of medical and service records upon discharge so that everything is processed efficiently and in a timely way. It means no more shortfalls. We will fully fund the VA health care.

It means no more delays. We'll pass on-time budgets.

It means no more means testing. It's time to allow every veteran into the VA system.

It means making sure our veterans are laid to rest with honor. And it means continuing that the work I've begun on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and having a policy of zero tolerance for homeless veterans. We should not have any veterans sleeping on the streets anywhere in the United States of America.

HOLMES: And again, listening in to Barack Obama there, talking about the GI bill. Also talking about John McCain's opposition to that bill a little earlier in that speech he's making in Puerto Rico, which, of course, coming up with a primary there on June 1st. He's still in a battle with Hillary Clinton in this primary season -- 55 delegates up for grabs there.

We will continue to tune in and monitor what he's saying there. So stay with us. We'll bring you much more on the political scene this hour.

DE LA CRUZ: In the meantime, want to get back to those rising gas prices. You wonder why you still see so many giant SUVs around with gas these days nearing $4 a gallon. You wouldn't if you tried to sell one lately or maybe even trade one in.

CNN's Chris Lawrence reports on SUV sticker shock in reverse.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's been weeks since David Lobby (ph) put his truck on the market.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody's offering what I want.

LAWRENCE: He wants out so he can buy a small car, but gas prices have sent SUV and truck sales plummeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get a lot of calls. People are looking for a better price.

LAWRENCE: So what's flying off the lot now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chevy Impalas, Malibus, Fords, you know, cars that weren't that popular before.

LAWRENCE: Call it revenge of the nerds. But when comparing new to used, remember this -- last year the government adopted a new mileage formula to correct the exaggerated claims made when those old economy cars were first sold. Still, that hasn't stopped the run on four-cylinder cars.

(on camera): What do people say when they bring in SUVs like this Excursion and say, hey, this is what my truck is worth?

JORGE FERNANDEZ, WHOLESALE AUTO DEALER: When they find out what you think their truck is worth, they think you're trying to rip them off or something. Some '07s were worth $50,000, $60,000 just three, four months ago, and they're in the high 30s now. It's amazing.

LAWRENCE (voice over): Some owners now owe $20,000 on a truck that's only worth $12,000. They're as upside down as a bad mortgage and think buying a small car will save them.

But what they might be doing is spending thousands of dollars to save hundreds.

LAWRENCE: Kelley Blue Book editor Jack Nerad says if the numbers are working against you, don't sell your big truck.

JACK NERAD, KELLEY BLUE BOOK EDITOR: Because if you make a trade, you're most often going to spend more to make that move than you would just sucking it up and paying the extra gasoline prices.

LAWRENCE (on camera): Some officials at Kelley Blue Book say we've really reached a tipping point. In the day of SUVs and trucks dominating the market, that's done.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Los Angeles.


HOLMES: And those sky-rocketing gas prices, drivers certainly don't like them. And the three big automakers, well, they've got to feel a little worried as well. They're selling fewer vehicles. That can mean more losses, more jobs cuts, more plant closings.

Joining me now, Neal Boudette, The Wall Street Journal's Detroit bureau chief.

Detroit's got to be a little worried with all that's going on right now. Tell us, though, how much of this and what we're seeing right now is the auto industry's inability to adjust. Or was it a miscalculation on their part to adjust and realize what was going to be coming down the pike and that you can't continue to depend on these SUVs and big trucks?

NEAL BOUDETTE, DETROIT BUREAU CHIEF, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, there was a big miscalculation. You're absolutely right there.

If you look back, 2005, to just give one example, GM closed a bunch of plants, but they left all of their truck plants open, believing that truck sales, pickup trucks and big SUVs, would continue to be very strong going into the fewer. Obviously, they've gotten to this point and they found out that they were very wrong.

So there was a miscalculation, and it is very difficult for them to change, because it takes a couple of years to design new vehicles and overhaul your plants.

HOLMES: So how bad a shape? You talk about that, they have to redesign vehicles, they have to make adjustments in their plants. All that stuff takes a whole lot of money to do at a time when they're hemorrhaging money.

BOUDETTE: You're absolutely right again. GM and Ford both are being watched very closely by Wall Street for how much cash they have, because this has cost billions of dollars to design new vehicles, overhaul your plants, and change your product plan, especially when you're talking about developing new technologies, hybrids or battery- powered vehicles. So it's going to put a lot of pressure on them in the next couple of years, and at the same time, they're still losing money.

So that's a big outflow of cash from these companies. It's going to be very tough for them.

HOLMES: And Neal, what is this going to mean long term? We see, for so many years, that SUVs and trucks made up such a large percentage of the market here in the U.S. Well, if that shifts, are we talking about a real sea change in the auto industry and a real change in what Americans drive?

BOUDETTE: It seems to be. That's what Ford concluded this week. They came out with an announcement and said, in 2009 they will not be profitable as they had expected. And what they said is that they see a tipping point here, that gas prices have reached such a point, that truck buyers are -- the hard-core, dependable truck buyers are leaving that segment and going for smaller vehicles, and they think it's more or less a permanent change going forward.

HOLMES: All right. Well, let's -- here to wrap up -- and let's give people a little advice here, because everybody's running trying to trade in those SUVs, losing money, and trying to buy whatever hybrid might be out there, and Priuses and whatnot, and a lot of these dealers now marking up the price of these hybrids and these Priuses, and then you get hit with several extra dollars, thousands in markups. So really, it might not be the best idea right now to go try to run out and get you a hybrid.

BOUDETTE: I think it's probably a good idea to just wait and see a bit. We talked to a dealer down in Houston this week, and he has no Priuses on the lot. He has got 36 on order. All of them have cash deposit.

So there's kind of a hysteria about getting out of big vehicles. And, you know, if you wait a couple of months, that may die down and prices might be a little more favorable. HOLMES: All right. And for folks out there who are thinking about it, it takes you years sometimes to make up the difference in whatever you're going to pay in thousands over the sticker price to make it up in gasoline prices.

BOUDETTE: That's right.

HOLMES: So you need to keep that in mind.

Neal Boudette, good luck to you and the folks there in Detroit.

BOUDETTE: A pleasure to be here. Thank you.

HOLMES: Thank you so much this morning.


DE LA CRUZ: Well, you know the rising cost of gas, the rising prices at the supermarket, it has most of us looking for ways to save money. And for some shoppers, the answer is down on the farm.

CNN's Kate Bolduan explains.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's see. Probably seven of these and maybe five of the butternut.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Customers of this Virginia farmer's market say it's all about buying the freshest food possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the food tastes a whole lot better because it's fresher, it's local.

BOLDUAN: But a growing number of people are taking their green grocery shopping one step further, going straight to the farm.

ABBIE TURIANSKY, SHOPPER: I really like to know where my food comes from. So coming out here I can see where it's grown, I can see that it's grown in a way that I feel comfortable with.

CARRIE VAUGHN, C.S.A. FARM MANAGER: The customers pay one lump sum in the spring, and then every week during the course of the harvest season, they come to the farm or to one of our pickup sites, and they get one portion of what we've harvested.

BOLDUAN: Known as community-supported agriculture, CSAs have become popular among the health conscience and those concerned about the cost of transporting foods around the world. The trend is even described in the "New York Times" bestseller "In Defense of Food" by author Michael Pollan.

MICHAEL POLLAN, AUTHOR, "IN DEFENSE OF FOOD": The advantage of eating this way or shopping this way is that it ends up being cheaper than going to the farmer's market. You know, mine costs $15 a week. And you get a substantial amount of produce.

It gets you out of your rut. So you find yourselves cooking things that you might not have bought at the market.

BOLDUAN (on camera): And CSAs may have more financial benefit than you think. With ever-rising gas prices driving up the price of food, CSA customers say now spending a few hundred dollars for a season of produce is a bargain.

JOSHUA THOMAS, SHOPPER: First we signed up for it because it's a good deal, the fresh foods. And now groceries are getting more expensive, so this is actually -- this turned into an even better deal.

JAN SLOAN, SHOPPER: By far, this is very much a benefit for us as a large family, because vegetable prices are much higher this year.

BOLDUAN (voice over): CSA farms acknowledge that along with sharing in their harvest, customers also share in their risks if the harvest isn't successful. But customers say the risk is worth it, compared to risking an expensive trip to the grocery store.

Kate Bolduan, CNN, Upper Marlboro, Maryland.


HOLMES: And I think it wasn't too long ago...


HOLMES: ... I was actually at the gas station. I think I literally saw somebody crying at the gas station.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes. Well, I know if they were you, in your SUV, you're paying, what, $80 a gallon? That's painful.

HOLMES: It's about $80 to fill up the SUV. Yes, it is.

DE LA CRUZ: Eighty dollars to fill your tank.

HOLMES: I might be crying. I might be one of those crying next time I fill up.

DE LA CRUZ: It might as well be $80 a gallon. What is it, $3.91 now, or LOL?.


HOLMES: While some of you folks out there driving and maybe doing a bit of crying, the Internet and maybe your cell phone can help you dry up some of those tears.

DE LA CRUZ: That's right. Josh Levs is going to be surfing the Web for those money-saving tips coming up after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DE LA CRUZ: You know, we've been talking a lot about travel in the air, travel on the roads this holiday weekend. And these days, if you are filling up, if you're hitting the road, you definitely know what to expect at the gas station -- higher prices. $3.91 is the national average.

Let's take a look now at how motorists are dealing with that. And Nicole Collins is standing by at Sandy Point State Park. She's along the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, Maryland.

What's it looking like, Nicole?

NICOLE COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's beautiful out here, Veronica.

We're right under the Bay Bridge. And there are a number of families out today celebrating Memorial Day. There's some people over here flying some kites, families barbecuing, having a good time on the beach, hanging out. Doing some fishing.

But the reality is that Memorial Day travel is expected to go down this year for the first time since September 11th, the Memorial Day following September 11th. And here is why.

Take a look at this graphic. What a difference a year makes. Huh?

One year ago on Memorial Day, gas cost $3.23 a gallon. This year, it's up to $3.91 for a gallon of self-serve regular. So, a number of Americans across the country are certainly feeling the pinch of that extra 68 cents.

We talked to some people here today at Sandy Point, and they say they're from the D.C. area, Virginia, Maryland, and that they came here instead of going to the Eastern Shore to save some money on gas. And, of course, there are other people here who did travel.

We've been talking to people all day. They say that they're just putting their blinders on and they're going for it. They just want to have their vacation. Some say a vacation, a well-deserved vacation, is much more worth it than paying for the gas.

So we also talked to some people earlier about summer travel, because Memorial Day is a good indication of what's coming forward. So take a listen to what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we usually just take one vacation a year, and it will be fine to drive. It will be cheaper than flying somewhere with the rising costs of airlines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, if I could ride my bike to work, I would. Or, you know, do anything to conserve on gas, I would definitely do that. But as far as vacationing goes, you know, if it's something that I want to plan to do, the price of gas isn't going to stop me. Unless they raise it to $10 a gallon, then maybe. But right now it's still manageable.


COLLINS: Well, certainly not manageable for everyone. I spoke to a truck driver earlier today who was working through the weekend. He says he's lost his big rig, his pickup truck, and his house in foreclosure. So certainly having a strong effect on other people across the country who are not going out, not traveling this weekend, and some who are actually working through the weekend -- Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: All right. Nicole Collins with the situation there on the East Coast. She's in Annapolis, Maryland.

Nicole, thank you so much.

On that note, if you have got the gas gauge blues, filling up right now can easily cost $40, $50, $70, sometimes $80 or more depending on your car. So finding the cheapest gas has definitely become a priority.

HOLMES: And fortunately, you don't have to drive around to find it. You can actually navigate the Web.

DE LA CRUZ: That's right.

HOLMES: Our Josh Levs, the .com/DESK, has found some excellent tools that could save you a few bucks at the pump, at least. We'll take a few.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, I'll tell you guys, even though we've been reporting on this for weeks, when you actually get to the gas station and you see how much you're paying, it's still stunning. I stood outside a gas station yesterday agape after filling the tank.

We've got a live picture coming to us right now from Anaheim, California. Take a look at this -- $4.09 for the cheapest, for a gallon of self-serve regular.

So let's say you're in that area or somewhere else, and you want to find the cheapest gas around you. There's a bunch of Web sites that say they help you.

I've fiddled with all of them. I'm going to show you my favorites.

Let's start off right here. This is What I like about this is it offers you a map that you can start off with right here.

All you need to do is double click on any city in America. I've already brought it in randomly to Columbus, Ohio.

Now, as Scott (ph) comes in here, let me show you. See all these? These marked different gas stations, and exactly what it costs in a different place. This one says $3.93, $3.95. Sometimes you'll see something a little bit lower. This says there's something for $3.35 if you go down there. If you click on it, it gives you directions.

That's A very helpful tool.

Let's also take a look at this, This one is shaped a little differently, but I like it.

What I do here, I just type in my city and state. So I randomly typed in Los Angeles, California, just to see what comes up there. And you immediately get a list where it's ordered by how much it costs.

So, the cheapest they found in that area was $3.85. It keeps going down if you scroll down. And all you need to do is click on "map" right here to find out how to get there. It's a great little resource.

Now, I know some of you are already traveling. You might be on your Memorial Day trip somewhere, you might be in a hotel. You might not have access to the full Internet. Maybe you're even in your car right now listening to us on XM Satellite.

I tried one of the cell phone systems. And I want to show you this quickly before I bring it back to T.J. and Veronica.

A lot of the sites say you can use your cell phone via the Internet connection to find some cheap gasoline. Well, I found this. Let's see if we can get this on camera.

This is from I went to I guess it's not going to come in that well, but what you have here is a list.

I just typed in Atlanta, Georgia, and it's giving me a list of sites near me and how much it costs to get gasoline. And it did again start with the cheapest, and I could click on "map" and it will give me directions from where I am directly to those places.

So look, in the end, it's not cheap overall. I mean, we're talking about a matter of maybe five or 10 cents in general. Less than other places around. But you've got a big car, you've got a lot of gas to go, hey, why not go for that? Plus, in the end, if you're paying for the exact same product, why not save a little money?

So there you go. A few little sites to keep in mind --,, and Hopefully they're going to help you save a little bit of cash this Memorial Day Weekend -- guys.

DE LA CRUZ: And Josh, I've actually got one more -- That's something else you can bring up on your mobile device.

LEVS: Exactly. That's actually the mobile phone version of gasbuddy right here. It's the same thing, yes. DE LA CRUZ: Yes. A really, really good one.

Thanks, Josh.

LEVS: Thanks, guys.

HOLMES: All right. We'll switch now. Talking Memorial Day, and for a look at a Memorial Day giveaway.

DE LA CRUZ: A Memorial Day giveaway. One Independent League baseball team putting a new spin on an old favorite. So what got these kids hanging out giggling?

We're going to explain next in the NEWSROOM.


HOLMES: Now want to take to you a lighter story here, and a playful jab at Senator Larry Craig. You remember him, the famous wide stance, the foot-tapping and whatnot in the airport men's restroom. He's now being immortalized by one independent baseball team.

We get more from Jeffrey DeMars of affiliate KARE in St. Paul, Minnesota.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm behind home plate.

JEFFREY DEMARS, KARE REPORTER (voice over): In their latest attempt to fill the stands, the St. Paul Saints may have gone a little too far for some folks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It bobbles up and down. It taps.

DEMARS: In celebration of National Tap Dance Day, on May 25th the Saints will give away 2,500 bobblefeet.

DEREK SHARRER, SAINTS GENERAL MANAGER: The phones definitely lit up after this hit the wire, I guess.

DEMARS: The bobblefoot, which appears remarkably similar to a man with the wide stance sitting in a stall with an uncanny ability to tap his foot, may have earned the Saints execs a ninth inning, two-out grand slam homerun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does it remind me of? It reminds me of that senator from, what is it, Oregon?

DEMARS: That's strike one, but they're close.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. DEMARS: The bobblefoot is designed complete with a sales ad on the stall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "For a good time, call..."

DEMARS: The number connects you to the ticket office where they've sold hundreds of seats for the bobblefoot's Sunday night premiere.

SHARRER: Certainly, you can look at the bobblefoot doll and you make the connection, but when folks sit in the ballpark that night, it's going to be about the same family fun that you have any other time you come to a Saints game.

DEMARS: Family fun.

(on camera): The bobblefoot does lead to that lingering question of what to tell the kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's cool, though.

DEMARS (voice over): And at Golden Valley playground...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to the bathroom!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to the bathroom.

DEMARS: ... the feet that dangle from a box is a hit and sparks more parental creativity than any controversy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks like a walking locker.

DEMARS (on camera): But what is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, somebody taking a timeout.

DEMARS: Jeffrey DeMars...


DEMARS: ... KARE 11 News.


HOLMES: Moms, creative. A timeout.

DE LA CRUZ: I don't even know -- I don't what you would say to the kids.

HOLMES: She does pretty good, a timeout.

DE LA CRUZ: I guess timeout is one thing, but how do you explain the story, though? I guess you don't.


DE LA CRUZ: You just -- you plug their ears.

HOLMES: Just go with that, what that mom said.

DE LA CRUZ: La, la, la, la, la! Right, I got it.

Well, the Democratic presidential contenders turning their attention today to Puerto Rico.

Coming up in the next hour, we're going to tell you why there is no holiday break for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

HOLMES: Also ahead, Texas televangelist John Hagee and Republican presidential contender John McCain, well, a bit of a political divorce between those two. We'll hear from Hagee.

Those stories and much more at the top of the hour. Stay here.


HOLMES: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Good morning to you all. It is the 24th day of May.

I'm T.J. Holmes.

DE LA CRUZ: And I'm Veronica De La Cruz, in today for Betty Nguyen.

Nice to be here.

HOLMES: Thank you for being here.

DE LA CRUZ: Thanks for having me.

We're going to begin with some weather. We want to tell you about these scary storms sweeping across the Plains. What is in store for the holiday weekend? Reynolds Wolf is keeping a close eye on all of it.

HOLMES: Also, Hillary Clinton has stirred a storm of her own with comments referring to Robert F. Kennedy's assassination.