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Tropical Storm Edouard Forms in Gulf of Mexico; Heatwave in Texas; Anthrax Suspect Commits Suicide

Aired August 03, 2008 - 18:00   ET


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good evening. I'm Susan Roesgen filling in for Rick Sanchez tonight and we're starting with breaking news. A new tropical storm has formed in the Gulf of Mexico. It's called Edouard and it is packing 45-mile-an-hour winds right now, will probably get stronger. Parts of the Gulf Coast are under a storm warning. So we will go straight to Jacqui Jeras in the CNN Weather Center.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Susan. Yeah, we've had some developments here in just the last few minutes. Hurricane hunters have been flying into this storm. Here you see the track they left from Biloxi, Mississippi and did a crisscross pattern through this storm and they just recently flew into the southeastern quadrant and found those maximum sustained winds at 45 with gusts up to 60 now. That's enough to qualify this thing as a tropical storm. You have to have 39-mile-per-hour winds in order to classify as a TS.

We definitely are beyond that now. Additional strengthening, unfortunately, is expected. The center of this storm is about 95 miles away from the coastline but is moving in a westerly direction. So it is going to stay offshore for a couple of days. Tropical storm warnings have been issued from the mouth of the Mississippi River over to Intracoastal City. That means tropical storm conditions are expected in 24 hours or less. In fact we think even late tonight we'll start to see some big waves move in on the eastern shores here of Louisiana, where we could see somewhere between about two and four feet above normal tide.

Then tropical storm watches extend westward from Intracoastal City down towards Port O'Connor. That means tropical storm conditions are possible in about 36 hours or so. The big cluster of showers and thunderstorms has been remaining offshore now but we do expect to see some of that activity moving in to southern Louisiana by tomorrow.

With this change in intensity, it does pose something a little bit more significant in that we think the storm will likely be stronger near or at hurricane strength now prior to making landfall. There you can see, 70 miles per hour estimated by the National Hurricane Center. Late Monday night into Tuesday morning, we think landfall would be some time on Tuesday.

There is one little bit of good news with this, Susan. Despite the threats that we get with tropical storms and hurricanes, is that this will bring in cloud cover. It will be bringing in some showers and thunderstorms which will help suppress some of this oppressive heat that we've had across the Lone Star State. ROESGEN: All right, thanks. Especially in Texas, that's what we're talking about next here. Many people are feeling the heat tonight. It is dangerously hot from the southwest all the way to Denver. The worst of it is in Texas. At least three people have been killed by the heat with the temperature over 100 degrees. Here's more from CNN's John Lawrence.


JOHN LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not a fun weekend for this Dallas construction crew. Laying asphalt and concrete is hard enough during a nine-hour work day, then add in the soaring temperatures and you've got a recipe for misery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We try to stay cool out here because we know it's hot temperatures and you know what can happen.

LAWRENCE: Dallas has seen more than a week of triple-digit weather as part of a heat wave that has gripped parts of the central United States. This weekend, Dallas County officials confirmed the heat has caused fatalities. The weather has put a damper on the city's night life as well. Some bars and restaurants put out cooling devices to try and ease discomfort. Some people just chose not to take any chances.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We chose to sit inside. No one is really sitting out on the porch.

LAWRENCE: Dallas wasn't the only city feeling the big bake. This weekend, Denver saw a record streak of 21 consecutive days of 90-plus degree days continue. Also, the city is on pace to have its driest year on record. Forecasters believe Denver temperatures will drop back into the 80s early next week. I'm John Lawrence, reporting from Atlanta.


ROESGEN: The water looks nice, but a lot of people don't have it. You've got to eat a lot of ice cream cones to feel better in that kind of weather. And Jacqui Jeras is back again. Jacqui, you've said that this heat wave can actually stretch all the way to Chicago later in the week.


ROESGEN: You know, there is one mountain that is feared by mountain climbers even more than Everest and that is K2 in Pakistan. And it's feared for good reason. They call it the savage mountain. A group of climbers actually reached the summit of K2 this week, but on their way down an ice avalanche severed the group's safety ropes. Some of them were trapped above, can't get down. Eleven climbers are believed to be dead. K2 is the world's second tallest mountain behind Mount Everest but they say the technical challenge of being on this mountain, of climbing this mountain, is much greater than with Everest. If you've ever experienced mountain climbing in this area, let us know. Send us a picture. We'd like so see your i-Reports of K2 in Pakistan.

And we know more tonight about that scientist who committed suicide last week, the scientist suspected in the 2001 anthrax attacks. CNN has learned that there is a DNA link between Dr. Bruce Ivins' laboratory and the Anthrax that was sent out in the mail. And there is even more than that. "The New York Times" has this scary audiotape in which you can hear Ivins' therapist talking about being afraid for her life and afraid for the lives of a lot of other people. CNN's Brianna Keilar has the latest.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned there is DNA evidence linking the Anthrax used in the 2001 mailings to a flask used in Bruce Ivins' army laboratory, according to a source familiar with the investigation. As federal prosecutors grew closer to charging Bruce Ivins in connection with the Anthrax attacks, his therapist Jean Duley told a Maryland judge in late July that she was scared to death of Ivins and sought a temporary restraining order against him. In court tapes obtained by "The New York Times," Duley described a murder plot that troubled scientists laid out during a group therapy session.

JEAN DULEY, THERAPIST: He proceeded to describe to the group a very long and detailed homicidal plan and intention to -- that he had bought a bulletproof vest, had obtained a gun, a very detailed plan to kill his co-workers. To that because he was about to be indicted on capital murder charges, he was going to go out in a blaze of glory. That he was going to take everybody out with him. That he had been roaming the streets of Frederick trying to pick a fight with somebody so that he could stab them.

KEILAR: After that therapy session, Duley started the process to have Ivins involuntarily committed to a high-security mental health facility. She told the court she had been subpoenaed to testify against Ivins before a federal grand jury. As she made her case for a restraining order, Duley also said Ivins had been "forensically diagnosed by several top psychiatrists as a sociopathic homicidal killer," though CNN has not been able to confirm those diagnoses.

Just days after this testimony, Ivins killed himself in Frederick, Maryland. Prosecutors were so sure they had their man, they had scheduled a meeting to discuss a possible plea bargain with Ivins' attorney last Tuesday, the day Ivins died. Officials planned to reveal some of their evidence at that meeting.

But many people are skeptical the FBI has got it right this time, especially after repeated mistakes throughout the seven-year investigation. Jeffrey Adamovicz, a former bacteriology chief who worked with Ivins for 12 years at Fort Detrick's biodefense lab says it would have been nearly impossible for Ivins to pull off the attacks. JEFF ADAMOVICZ, FORMER COLLEAGUE OF IVINS: The labs were not equipped, for instance, with a lot of the equipment that would have been required to supposedly dry this material down and create the highly refined state that it was in.

KEILAR: Sources familiar with the investigation say authorities may publicly release their evidence against Ivins as soon as this week and then go ahead and close the case. According to those sources, that would happen after a federal judge unseals grand jury evidence and officials brief the families of those who were killed and injured in the 2001 attacks. Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.


ROESEGEN: And tomorrow on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING," one of Dr. Ivins' long-time co-workers will share what he knew about the Anthrax researcher. That's at 7:00 a.m. Eastern tomorrow morning.

In presidential politics, you can add a new name to the list of potential John McCain running mates. Here he is, Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor, a four-term congressman from the Richmond area. He's not really well known outside of his state but he's well respected in the party, especially among conservative Republicans. A source tells CNN that Cantor is getting a thorough vetting by the McCain team now. No comment from him or from the McCain campaign.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is promoting a relative unknown from her party to be Barack Obama's running mate. Pelosi says Texas Congressman Chet Edwards -- there he is -- would make a great vice presidential candidate. He is a nine-term congressman. He represents central Texas and that includes Crawford, Texas, where President Bush has his ranch. Nancy Pelosi told ABC that she would like to see a House member on the ticket but that she would also be happy with either Senator Dodd, Senator Biden or Senator Clinton.

Barack Obama is reaching out to delegates in Florida and in Michigan, the two states that could have been spoilers in this race in the primary season. Obama has sent a letter to the Democratic Party's credentials committee asking now that Florida and Michigan delegates get full voting rights at the national convention. You might recall that Democrats stripped Florida and Michigan of their full convention votes because those two states ignored the party and scheduled their primaries early.

Later in the hour, we're going to bring you extended remarks from both Barack Obama and John McCain in their own words. Part of our commitment to let you hear the candidates, hear what they are saying on the campaign trail, unfiltered, uncensored for yourself.

Just in tonight, there is word that a towering literary and political figure of the 20th century has died. Russian media reports that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is dead at 89. He was a Nobel Peace Prize winner for literature in 1970 and he is perhaps best known as a Soviet dissident who was exiled to the west in 1974. He spent 20 years away from Russia, most of those years here in the U.S. His work, "The Gulag Archipelago" chronicled the abuses of the Soviet prison system. He finally returned to Russia in 1994 after the fall of the Soviet Union. Dead today at the age of 89.

And the death toll is climbing in India. A stampede at a Hindu temple as panicked worshippers ran for cover.

And fire erupts at a Colorado home and now the firefighters have a grim task ahead.


ROESGEN: This was the horror scene in northern India. More than 140 people trampled to death in a crowd of religious festival goers. They were all trying to get out of a temple at once. Many children are among the dead. Witnesses say the massive people panicked when some stones started sliding down the hillside and at one point the police started hitting the fleeing worshippers with canes to try to keep them moving.

More talk, more negotiation, maybe. Iran's president says he's serious about finding a diplomatic way out of the nuclear standoff with the United States and Europe. But is anyone listening to him and is it too late? CNN's Reza Sayah is in Tehran.


REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can an Arab leader do what the U.S. and five world powers have not been able to do, and that is to resolve Iran's nuclear issue? On Sunday, Syrian President Bashar al-Asad wrapped up a two-day visit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Among the talks, Iran's nuclear program. On Saturday, Iran missed a deadline imposed by the U.S. and five world powers to respond to the latest freeze for freeze (ph) package. Many point to President al- Asad's visit as perhaps an attempt to try to get Iran to accept his proposal because Syria is a staunch ally with Iran. On Sunday, there was no agreement. President Ahmadinejad did agree to more talks.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, PRESIDENT, IRAN (through translator): We welcome the idea. For some time now we have said that we are always ready to negotiate, to talk, but the issues that need to be discussed are numerous.

SAYAH: Certainly numerous issues to resolve and without question, the sticking point is uranium enrichment. Iran says it's doing it for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. and five world powers fear they will eventually use it to build bombs. They are threatening with a fourth round of sanctions. Reza Sayah, CNN, Tehran.


ROESGEN: And while we stay on that story, now this. This time last week, this congregation was shocked by a shooting. Today, they're back together and they're remembering. We'll join them.


ROESGEN: The sun did come out today in Knoxville, Tennessee. This was the presentation of "Annie" last week in which a man started firing, killing people in the audience. A man and a woman died there. This is the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church where religious leaders say the shooting was devastating, but they also say it brought what they call unspeakable amounts of love afterwards. The alleged gunman Jim Adkisson is still in jail. He is charged with first degree murder and he'll be in court this week.

And also across America, firefighters in Denver have the grim task now of trying to find out if there are six people dead in a house fire. That would be the worst case scenario because several people were attending a party at the time of the fire and they have not been accounted for.

Drunk driving charges are expected against a man who crashed into a parade crowd in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Four people were hurt. Their injuries are not life threatening, but the crash ended a high-speed drama. Deputies were chasing the suspect in the car off the highway, into downtown Sheboygan. Bystanders actually had the driver out of the car and pinned on the ground when the officers got there.

How many times has this happened? Saved by soot. A 12-year-old girl fell 14 stories down the chimney of her New York apartment building. She landed in the cold furnace on a two-foot thick bed of ash and soot. The firefighters say that that cushioned the fall and might be what saved her life. She hurt her hip, but otherwise she's OK. She had been on the roof of the building showing her cousin the view.

A Washington state woman is dead tonight, apparently the victim of a terrible accident, a misunderstanding. It was bear hunting season in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and Joel Moreno from our affiliate KOMO in Seattle has the story.


JOEL MORENO, KOMO CORRESPONDENT: A woman hiker died near this cloud- covered summit, shot in an apparent accident by a boy looking to bag a bear. Deputies say the boy was hunting with an adult on Sauk Mountain. It's north of highway 20 near the town of Rockport and it is a popular spot this time of year.

RICHARD FRANK, SELLS HUNTING LICENSE: Lots of bears in the area now. Seem to be more populated now than it has been in the past.

MORENO: Richard Frank runs the only store that sells hunting licenses in the area. Bear hunters were out on the trails, and so was a 54- year-old woman who decided to go hiking with a friend. Deputies say at some point along the trail, she stopped to put something in her backpack. Nearby, the boy fired a single deadly shot.

FRANK: Yeah, I can see how a person bent over with a backpack and a hat on could look like a bear. But you know, it's just really difficult.

MORENO: Deputies say the woman tumbled down a mountainside after being shot. The area so steep, search and rescue teams had to help recover her body. Investigators say the victim is from Oso in Snohomish County, but gave few other details. The boy who apparently mistook her for a bear, he's from Concrete, just a few miles west of the mountain.

FRANK: I'm sure the youth is devastated. I mean I would be.


ROESGEN: Again, that was Joel Moreno, the reporter there from our affiliate KOMO in Seattle, where the bear hunting season is just two days old.

Small children barely old enough to go to school. But they're in tears, and they're in training for Olympic gold. What drives China's quest especially and only for gold medals?


ROESGEN: Alaska Senator Ted Stevens is in a lot of trouble but he is not the only Alaskan politician under investigation. Critics say there are some politicians in Alaska who are part of a club and wait until you hear the allegations, and the name.


ROESGEN: Back to our breaking news tonight, a new tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. Tropical Storm Edouard just 45-mile-an-hour winds so far, but expected to get much stronger. Here is a live look now from Houston from the tower cam there. Looks calm so far. But part of the Gulf Coast is under a storm warning. So let's go straight again to Jacqui Jeras in the CNN Weather Center. Jacqui?

JERAS: Well, Houston's going to be one of those places we're going to watch real closely, Susan. In fact, they could see a great impact from Edouard. Edouard does have the potential now to become a hurricane before making landfall. We feel like that's going to happen most likely on the Texas coastline, but we can't rule out maybe southwestern parts of Louisiana as well.

The hurricane hunters have spent the last several hours flying their pattern here within the tropical storm. They do this crisscross X- shaped pattern here. As they flew into the southeastern quadrant they found those stronger winds. And so that's why we got this upgraded now to Edouard and why we think the intensity of this will continue to grow.

We do have some warnings in effect here across the southeastern Louisiana coastline for tropical storm warnings, which means tropical storm conditions are expected in 24 hours or less. You can see the showers and thundershowers are still offshore but you'll start to see the wave action pick up late tonight and showers and thunderstorms tomorrow. The timing of this we think landfall could happen as early as Tuesday morning, as a strong tropical storm maybe a hurricane. We've got a lot of warm water out there, Susan. This will be a big impact storm particularly with some heavy rainfall.

ROESGEN: Yes Jacqui, do you see it being like Hurricane Dolly last week, really a flood maker more than a wind maker? JERAS: Right now I think that's a greater probability. Certainly we did see two to four inches common, isolated amounts maybe up to half a foot or so. We'll have to see how much this thing slows down after making landfall.

ROESGEN: OK, I know you'll be watching it all night tonight. Thanks, Jacqui.

Long-time Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens says he didn't do anything wrong, but he has been indicted for allegedly lying about $250,000 in gifts that he got from an oil services company. CNN's Joe Johns shows you how Senator Stevens is part of an Alaskan club known for corruption.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Grainy videotape of a bribe going down in a hotel in remote Juneau, Alaska. You are watching undercover video of an FBI sting on some Alaska state legislators nicknamed "The Corrupt Bastards Club."

Pulling the strings here is a powerful Alaska oil man, Bill Allen. At the time, he was CEO of Veco, an oil field services company. Allen was willing to pay to get some legislation that would favor his company. In his hotel suite, powerful Alaska politicians were taking their seats one by one, often sharing a drink and promising to do what it takes to make the oil man happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll get 'er done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you'll do it. I'm serious about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care, I'll get 'er done. I'll get 'er done. I'll sell my soul to the devil.

JOHNS: Seven players in Alaska business and politics have been convicted in the federal corruption investigation. But the biggest fish of all in the Veco case, Senator Ted Stevens. Eight years ago in 2000, Stevens did a big renovation on this place, his home near Anchorage. It is in disrepair now but we're told years ago Stevens put in a new basement, lifted the whole structure up and added a whole first floor. By some estimates, it doubled the value of the house. Remember this guy, Bill Allen? Well, prosecutors say he's cooperating with them now and those prosecutors say Allen's company basically paid for the labor and some nice extras. Total value -- more than $250,000.

MATTHEW FRIEDRICH, ACTING ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Veco contractors and employees performed a significant portion of these renovations. For example, Veco and its employees and contractors are alleged to have provided architectural designs for the renovation, assisted in lifting up the residence and installing a new first floor. Installed electrical, plumbing, framing, heating and flooring materials.

JOHNS: You get the picture. Stevens has long argued he did nothing wrong.

SEN. TED STEVENS (R), ALASKA: I will tell you, we paid every bill that was given to us. Every bill that was presented to us has been paid, personally with our own money and that's all there is to it.

JOHNS: This is arguably the lowest point in a monumental career. Stevens is one of a handful of politicians who literally built Alaska, thanks in large part to billions of dollars of federal earmarks, including money for those infamous, wildly expensive bridges to nowhere that launched a nationwide debate over how Congress doles out millions in pet projects.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're starting to see the end of this go-go era of earmarking, and that every round of indictments and hopefully convictions in some cases really creates greater pressure, the public creates greater demand there needs to be more accountability and transparency and they're even sicker of the system.

JOHNS: In some ways, Alaska has become the poster child of public corruption regardless of what happens to Senator Ted Stevens. But all of the indictments in this case have sent a message -- that no matter how far you are from Washington or how powerful, the Feds are always watching. Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


ROESGEN: And of course, charges of congressional corruption don't begin and end in Alaska. Stevens is just more than one of a dozen former and country members of Congress under federal investigation.

Martin Kady is a congressional correspondent for Martin, Senator Stevens is 84-years-old. He says he just didn't know about all that free work on his Alaska mansion. Is that the common defense in Congress, I just didn't know?

MARTIN KADY, POLITICO.COM: If you look at Ted Stevens' case, it is not as severe as some folks who have already been convicted. I mean, Duke Cunningham took bribes and gave earmarks. Bob Ney snuck in poker chips across the border. If you carefully parse Stevens' statements, you can see "I never knowingly did this." He said "I paid every bill I was presented with." Well, he wasn't presented with all the bills for all the work that was done. So you can already see the defense that's going to unfold.

There is going to be a trial in September and October of him. So his lawyer Brendan Sullivan is laying this out. They're going to try to pick apart the government's case. It is not a bribery case, it is a failure to file properly on your financial disclosure forms.

ROESGEN: Well, let's take a look at some of those other congressmen. You mentioned Congressman Ney, former congressman from Ohio. Then we've got Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi accused in a $700,000 land deal. There is Louisiana Congressman Bill Jefferson, he's under indictment, running for re-election but accused of stuffing 90 grand in his freezer. I'm sure you remember that. Former Ohio Congressmen, as we mentioned, Bob Ney, accused of taking a nice golfing trip to Scotland on lobbyist money, among other things. And convinced former California Congressman Duke Cunningham, who took nearly $2.5 million in bribes.

Do these guys do it because they need the money or do they do it because they've just got the power to cheat and it feels great to do it?

KADY: Well, there is a lure of power, but money is also something these guys are after. They don't make tons of money as members of Congress. They make a lot of money by American standards, $170,000 a year. But most of them are not multi-millionaires. You notice that the Rockefellers of the world are not getting caught up in the bribery scandals.

ROESGEN: Martin, my heart bleeds peanut butter for these guys. I mean, come on. We know that politicians scratch backs to get things done. We know that lobbyists get things done. But shouldn't we be outraged by this? I don't care if they don't make as much as a Rockefeller. They shouldn't be ripping off American taxpayers.

KADY: That's going to be the sentiment on Ted Stevens. I mean, he's lost a lot of support in Alaska. The latest poll that came out after his indictment, he's down 19 points but he was already down before this came out. There might and chance people of Alaska are done with Ted Stevens regardless of this indictment.

ROESGEN: OK, we will find out and we'll see if his lawyer will part and parcel it as you said. Thank you very much, Martin Kady reporting for us tonight.

Well just five days now until the Olympic Games kick off in Beijing, China, just five days away. And it is the gold or nothing for the Chinese government. Everybody wants to get gold. But in China, silver and bronze just aren't good enough. Critics say this pressure in compete something causing the country to push its Olympic athletes, even these little tiny ones in pig tails way too hard. John Vause reports from Beijing.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Raw recruits in China's Olympic army. Children as young as six hand-picked by the state for a remote chance to be national heroes. Here, they're pushed to their limits and sometimes beyond. Little girls barely old enough to walk to school, walking on their hands for three minutes, then 60 sit ups, balancing on bars. Yanyan Liang's father says he pushes his little girl because sporting success can mean a life of ease and privilege, the likes he has never seen.

"She's not very happy about the training," he says. "She doesn't want to go. Her mother and I encourage her and she listens to us."

And from there, the pressure only increases.

JOSEPH CAPOUSEK, FORMER COACH: Everybody's talk here about second or third place or silver or bronze medal, you are loser.

VAUSE: Joseph Capousek was hired to coach China's canoeing and kayaking team. Over the years, he guided Germany to 18 Olympic gold medals. But less than six weeks before the games, officials say he quit. He says he was fired for refusing to push his squad relentlessly seven days a week.

CAPOUSEK: The young people must enjoy the sport. They don't enjoy it. It's like work for them.

VAUSE: His Chinese language contract which he couldn't read stated he guaranteed a gold, while the copy in German said it was an aspiration.

CAPOUSEK: It is crazy to promise someone to --

VAUSE: Have you ever promised? Have you ever guaranteed?

CAPOUSEK: No, never. You have no guarantee.

VAUSE: More than 20 foreign coaches were hired by China to train their Olympic hopefuls. Recently at least four have either quit or been fired. Another reportedly stripped of all authority.

While others speak privately of being berated for not running their programs like military camps, that's an allegation Chinese officials have repeatedly denied in the past.

But when asked for a comment by CNN, there was no response. China returned to Olympic competition in 1984 and at recent games has steadily moved up the gold medal tally, third in Sydney, second in Athens.

SUSAN BROWNWELL, AUTHOR: Some people fear that if they get third in the total medal count or lower, that there will be a bit of popular discontent.

VAUSE: An indication of the pressure to do well, recently China's president made an unprecedented visit to many athletes saying the nation was looking forward to good news. While a recent study by a Beijing hospital found 14 percent of China's national divers had damaged retinas because of heavy training. Doctors describe that as staggeringly high. Basketball star Yao Ming will play despite suffering a stress fracture in his foot several months ago.

While the coach of Nu Shian (ph), the hurdler who became a national hero after winning gold in Athens told state media last year that government officials have warned "if Liu cannot win another gold medal in Beijing, all his previous achievements will be meaningless."

These Olympics with their flashy stadiums and minute attention to every detail are all about telling the world "we're here." And for China, it seems, nothing says that more than a record-breaking haul of Olympic gold, no matter the price. John Vause, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ROSEGEN: Wow! You can follow all the Olympic action on in a special section we call "Fan Zone." You'll have all of CNN's global resources right at your computer. Just go to

Bouncing back in this tight economy. Which presidential candidate do you think will be better for your wallet? Their words, your choice.


ROESGEN: It is your money and it's your vote. So who do you trust when it comes to the economy? A new CNN/Opinion Research survey gives the edge to Barack Obama on the big issues. You see them there. Jobs, the economy, gas prices, and taxes. In all these categories, Obama comes out on top. Though McCain's strongest showing is on taxes, 45 percent in our poll say he would handle the tax issue best.

John McCain and Barack Obama both claim to have the right answers for our ailing economy. So you're going to hear from them both now in their own words starting with Senator Obama. We're going to begin with a question that he got at a town meeting in Florida. It is their words and your vote.


QUESTION: How do you conceive to pay for the stimulus money that you keep giving? Aren't we borrowing this money from China? Where is the money coming from? We're borrowing money. Everybody is excited about it but that money has to be repaid. And if our country is heading toward a third world country right now because we aren't making the appropriate changes, how do we look to continue to get money to say, yeah, we are gating money but nobody's thinking about where's it coming from? Nobody's thinking how we going to replace that money that we owe that country.

OBAMA: It is a good question. Let me just talk about fiscal policy. When George Bush took office, we had a surplus. And our national debt was about $5 trillion. That's a lot of money, but it was manageable. And it was being paid down because we were in surplus.

Since George Bush took office we are now over $9 trillion in debt. So the first 42 presidents, over 200 years, added up to about $5 trillion. George Bush by himself number 43 almost doubled it, which is why when these folks call themselves fiscal conservatives, it is just a lie. It is just not true. They haven't been conservative at all when it comes to managing the federal government budget.

Now in fairness, some of that had to do with 9/11 and the fact that that was big blow to the economy, and we had to go after the Taliban in Afghanistan. Iraq, though, was unnecessary and ended up -- has cost us -- it will have cost us well over $1 trillion. Not only that, but Bush cut taxes not only for ordinary people, but for the wealthy at the same time as we were going into war. Never been done before.

We've never cut taxes particularly for the wealthy at a time when we were at war. So you combine all those things and it's made for a fiscal disaster. And we've got to -- we're in a hole now financially. We're going to have to dig ourselves out.

Now, the reason that it may make sense -- and I believe it does make sense, the first stimulus package made sense and I think a second stimulus package would make sense -- is that if the economy goes into a complete tailspin, what happens is so many jobs are lost, sales on businesses drop so much that you actually start losing so much tax revenue that you get deeper into the hole.

So if we can prime the pump a little bit just to keep the economy from going down real far, then you probably end up better off than you would if you did nothing.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama says he will only raise taxes on the rich, but in the senate he voted for tax hikes that would have impacted those making just $32,000 a year. He's proposed tax increases on income taxes, capital gains taxes, dividends taxes -- pretty much anything you can tax, he wants to tax more.

My friends, on Social Security, he wants to raise Social Security taxes. My position -- and I am opposed to raising taxes, including Social Security taxes. I have no doubt about my opposition.

And that's a debate we should have openly in good faith. I hope I can convince Senator Obama that it is not a good idea to raise taxes on American families who are hurting today. And we all know they're hurting today. Raising taxes in a bad economy is about the worst thing -- the worst thing -- you could do, because that would kill more jobs than we are already losing. We're already losing too many.

I'm going to keep current tax rates low and cut others and not because I want to make the rich richer, but because it keeps jobs in America and it creates new ones.

Senator Obama says that he wants energy independence, but he's opposed to new drilling at home. He's opposed to nuclear power. He's opposed to an innovation price for electric cars. My friends, we must begin immediately in drilling offshore so we can get some of the oil that's off our own coast. We have to begin that drilling, and Senator Obama opposes it.

He said that the high cost of gasoline doesn't bother him, only that it rose too quickly. Yesterday he suggested we put air in our tires to save on gas. My friends, let's do that, but do you think that's enough to break our dependence on Middle Eastern oil? I don't think so.

So, I believe -- I believe that every energy source needs to be part of the solution. We need to develop new alternative energies like wind, solar, biofuels, but we also need to develop more existing energies like nuclear power and clean coal. Nuclear power is safe. Clean coal technology is vital.


ROESGEN: And remember, for the very latest on the presidential race you can always logon to our Web site,, 24/7, it is the most politics on the Web.

Taking on a tough role. Actress Christina Applegate has her work cut out for her in a very personal role.


ROESGEN: So, what is this "Buddha's Warriors"? Well, last March a small army of exiled Buddhist monks began trekking from their home in India to the frontier of Tibet and their goal was to press for Tibet's independence. Our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour met the marchers and their leader as they began that journey. And she's sharing the story in the CNN Special Investigations Unit report, "Buddha's Warriors." Here's a preview.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tsundue and his army of marching monks will now put their training to the test as they start their peaceful protest from Dharamsala to Tibet.

TSUNDUE: So I think that would be the true test of non-violence.

AMANPOUR: The test comes on the very first night of their journey to Tibet. Indian police tell the marchers they can't even leave this state.

GYATSO: I think they may be getting some pressure from China, but I am not scared. I'm determined to go on no matter what.

AMANPOUR: That same night, monk Gyatso's determination is bolstered by news from inside Tibet.

GYATSO: I heard hundreds of monks in Tibet protested today and some were badly beaten. The reason for their protest is exactly the same as ours.

AMANPOUR: At the end of another day, their spirits are as high as ever. But every night of camping, every day of marching brings them closer to the state line, the one the Indian government said they couldn't cross. Tenzin Tsundue was the first to be arrested. Every one of the 100 marchers was taken away by the Indian police. The monks chanted their prayers and maintained their discipline and stayed nonviolent just as they were trained to.


ROESGEN: Fascinating report. And despite repeated attempts, the government of China declined CNN's request for an interview. You can see Christiane Amanpour's full report, "Inside the World of Buddhism" as they fight for freedom and democracy. "Buddha's Warriors" begins tonight at 8 Eastern.


ROESGEN: A new role for actress Christina Applegate. She is fighting breast cancer. A statement from her, from her publicist says "Christina Applegate was diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer. Benefiting from early detection through a doctor, ordered an MRI. The cancer not life threatening. She's following the recommended treatment of her doctors," they say, "and she will have a full recovery." Christina Applegate is 36-years-old.

And comedian Bernie Mac is in a Chicago hospital now. His publicist says he is suffering from pneumonia but responding well to the treatment. They say that he had an inflammatory lung disease. He is 50-years-old.

And then this story. Coming up tonight at 10, this Mexican immigrant lived in a tiny Pennsylvania town for years. He was married to a local woman, but they were harassed and he was ultimately beaten to death. Who did it? Well, three local teenagers are accused of killing him, and they're accused of a hate crime.


CRYSTAL DILLMAN, VICTIM'S FINACEE: He was always -- when he was home, he was always playing with them, always. He was a really good father. He always made sure they had everything they needed.


ROESGEN: That is a story you don't want to miss, tonight at 10:00. We'll see you then.