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An Airliner Has Crashed in Spain; Suspense Builds Over Number 2 Spot; Violent Crimes Lead to City Curfews

Aired August 20, 2008 - 10:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Want to get to this right off the bat, breaking news out of Spain where an airliner has gone off the runway at Madrid airport. There are reports of possible deaths. Among the 160 people believed on board that jet. One airport official tell CNN an engine fire may have caused the Spanair to leave the runway. Clouds of smoke as you see there and then seen billowing from the side. And the official says there are believed to be other serious injuries.
Our Al Goodman is in the area and we will be getting a report from him. I believe we have him now.

Al, what more do you know at this point?

VOICE OF AL GOODMAN, MADRID BUREAU CHIEF: Heidi, some Spanish media are reporting seven dead, 20 injured. We can say that CNN does not have that confirmed. In fact, I just talked to Madrid ambulance officials who say they have no information of any dead. They don't even have confirmation of how many are injured. She says there is a field hospital that's been set up by emergency workers at the airport runway where the accident occurred as this plane was taking off, a national flight heading for the Spain's Canary Islands from Madrid.

At the moment that I talked to her just a few moments ago, that she didn't even know that any people injured had been moved from the airport in ambulance toward hospital. The hospital is on pre-alert, she said but she doesn't have information that anybody's actually gotten to a hospital yet. Heidi.

COLLINS: Well, oftentimes I know you know this well, Al, it takes quite a while to actually get in some of these figures and fatalities because the situation is clearly still unfolding. Was there any talk, Al, with this particular individual about this possible engine fire on takeoff that we're hearing about?

GOODMAN: No. Not with the ambulance official, but with the airport officials, they say this happened as the plane was taking off. It was -- the company is called Spanair. It was flight 5022. It was heading from Madrid to the Canary Islands. That's about a two- and-a-half hour flight. Media reports say 160 people were aboard and that plane was not full. There have been various reports that there was an engine fire and that's what may have caused the plane to overshoot the runway and crash. We clearly saw huge columns of smoke coming from that -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Yes. We're actually looking at that right now. All right. We will stay on top of this breaking news. Al

Goodman, sure do appreciate it. We'll check back with you later. Our Madrid bureau chief.

Presidential politics, the suspense is building over who's number two. We expect an announcement from Barack Obama any day now on his choice for a running mate. One name widely thought to be on the short list, Delaware Senator Joe Biden.

Biden told reporters yesterday he had no inside information after telling them this earlier.


SEN. JOE BIDEN (D),DELAWARE: I promise you don't know anything. I have no idea. I've spoken to no one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you spoken to --

BIDEN: I have not spoken with anyone.


COLLINS: Biden has been rising quickly to the top tier of VP contenders.

The buzz over Obama's running mate is leading up to the Democratic convention. It starts Monday in Denver. CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider is already there.

So, Bill, what are you hearing on the VP search? Do you have the inside scoop for us?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Nobody has the inside scoop, but everybody talks.


SCHNEIDER: Nobody knows anything. Everybody talks. Most names that are at the top of the list -- Bayh, Biden and Tim Kaine and Obama is going to be campaigning in Virginia today and he'll be with Tim Kaine, again in Virginia tomorrow. Those are the three names at the top of most lists. There are a few other names that are on the list, not in the top tier but still possible. Hillary Clinton still a good possibility. She's on the list. Kathleen Sebelius, another woman, governor of Kansas. She's on most lists. And he campaigned with Bill Richardson just the other day, the governor of New Mexico. So there are five or six names that are really running around this convention. Nobody knows anything.

COLLINS: Well, obviously this choice is pretty darn important because the race is extremely tight. We've been putting a poll on the air today that shows that Obama's lead has been cut in half now. He leads by three percentage points, this is the poll of polls that were done here at CNN. What are people saying about that? SCHNEIDER: Well, it's making Democrats a little nervous because it's not going the way they expected, going into the two conventions, one after the other, starting next week, it looks like this race is becoming deadlocked. There have been several national polls that have come out this week, more maybe coming out today. All of them showing the race getting tighter and tighter. Most of them show the result within the statistical margin of error, which means the race really is deadlocked going into the convention. And a lot of Democrats look at that with consternation. They say, given the way the economy is, given the weariness with the war, given the tremendous unpopularity of President Bush, Obama should be much farther ahead.

And they're worried about why, and I can tell you if there are 4,000 delegates to this convention, there are 4,000 suggestions as to what Obama has to do to turn this race around. But I think the consensus is he is under performing. And there's proof of that. One of the polls asked, would you prefer to elect a Democrat or Republican president? The Democrat was ahead by 12. Would you support -- are you supporting Obama or McCain? Obama is ahead by only five.

COLLINS: All right. We are watching all of those numbers, and looking forward to the convention and certainly this announcement of the vice president. Bill Schneider live from Denver, thank you.

Is Barack Obama dropping clues now about his running mate? You'll hear from him this hour and what they're saying, the candidates in their own words.

A week and a half into the Russia-Georgia conflict, it appears Moscow still hasn't fulfilled the pledge to pull back all of its troops. Germany is now pressuring Russia to withdraw. The world's major industrial countries now calling for increased economic support for war-torn Georgia.

An international prosecutor war crimes prosecutor says he is looking at evidence of alleged crimes committed by both Russia and Georgia. A U.N. refugee agency estimates almost 160,000 people have been displaced by the fighting.

And two U.S. Navy ships and a Coast Guard cutter getting ready to take humanitarian supplies to the former Soviet state.

Tropical Storm Fay back over open water. Florida residents once again on edge. Right now, the storm is lurking along central Florida's Atlantic coast. Forecasters say it could strengthen to a hurricane and make its third Florida landfall probably tomorrow. The likely target? Somewhere around Jacksonville. So far Fay has kicked up damaging winds and spun off at least seven tornadoes. Outside Orlando dozens of homes were damaged.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was sitting in my daughter's room reading a book and all of a sudden there's a loud, loud noise came and all of a sudden, the roof just came off and flying glass and everything just started flying around. And it just went.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was sitting on the computer and the wife was watching T.V. And all of a sudden this awful roar and tremendous noise came through, and I don't know. I come outside, and the roof -- this whole carport was gone completely. I don't know where it went to, but it's gone.


COLLINS: Some parts of Florida have seen 10 inches of rain. Georgia could face even more if Fay comes back ashore as expected. So let's find out more about what is expected. Rob Marciano is standing by in the extreme weather center now with the very latest.

Boy, you know, it's just lingering and hanging out. We really want Fay to go away.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Fay to go away. Fay's been fickle. All that kind of stuff. It's been bobbing and weaving, that's for sure since it tried to develop over a week now. And it just have a tough go of it. It's been a pretty big circulation, pretty weak, tough to get going. And when it's weak and broad like that, sometimes forecasters have a hard time getting a hold of it, certainly our computer models have had a tough time with it -- 45- mile-an-hour winds, now gusting to 65. That's what the hurricane hunter aircraft are confirming.

And it is expected to strengthen just a little bit now that it's trying to get offshore. Couple of cool i-Reports I want to show you with Fay, it's not all doom and gloom. You can fish in their front yard if you need to. Actually, this one is Jim Stafford. This is Lakeworth, Florida, which had its share of little storm surge there on the lake. We got Caroline (INAUDIBLE), we got her, pictures of here and her front yard? Well, there's more a the lake. Little bit of damage there.

All right. Here we go. Little video, fish in the front yard of Caroline (INAUDIBLE) house, some carp. That's good eating right there. Get them out of the koi pond and into the fry pan. There you go. All right.

Here's what's happening with Fay right now. By the way, if you want to send us your i-Report, send it to Here you go, as far as the center of circulation is concerned, right on Cape Canaveral, the eastern flank of the storm is seeing some -- a little bit of development over the waters of the Atlantic. Here's what's happened in the past couple of hours or past couple of days. It's really churned up the waters offshore here. So unless it gets to the gulf stream, which is pretty much right here, we don't expect it to strengthen like explode into a cat 1 or cat 2 hurricane, which was the fear yesterday.

Because the waters have been churned up close to shoreline, they're a little cooler than they were a week ago so that's good. Right now the forecast track is for it to come back into northern Florida, probably late tonight, early tomorrow, and likely as a tropical storm. Then it gets into the panhandle, heavy rain expected through here, maybe getting into the Gulf of Mexico again. So that would be one, two, three potentially four U.S. landfalls, not including Cuba. All right. Let's move along and show you a couple of things on what's going on nationally.

Rain, heavy rain across parts of eastern Texas, still flash flood watch and warnings for parts of Dallas and the Red River Valley as well. So that's a concern. Also, unusually strong storm across parts of the Pacific northwest. And that's good news because they've had bad fires especially across parts of Washington state. And this will help in the firefighting efforts there in Washington.


MARCIANO: There you have the weather coast to coast. And Fay is going to be with us whether you like it or not still for another few days.

COLLINS: Yes. All right. Well, let us know if we need to come back to you, Rob. Appreciate it.

MARCIANO: All right. Got it.

COLLINS: In Oklahoma now, the flooding is bad and could get worse. Some parts of southern and central Oklahoma got pounded with up to nine inches of rain in a 24-hour period. Look at that. More is on the way. Nearly two dozen counties are now under a flash flood watch. There have been some evacuations and rescues from stranded cars. So far no reports of injuries.

In the Grand Canyon, a happy ending in that search for 11 hikers. Rescue crews have tracked down everyone who was considered missing. Weekend thunderstorms caused a dam to give way washing away trails and overflowing creeks. Over the course of two days, more than 250 people had to be airlifted out of the canyon.

A city tries to bring down crime by taking away opportunity. Is a strict curfew working in Hartford?


COLLINS: You are warned. If you are under 18 and on the streets of Hartford, Connecticut, after dark, you could be arrested. So far police have issued 50 warnings to curfew violators as part of a city- wide campaign to curb rising violence. CNN's Jason Carroll is live now from New York.

It's an interesting concept, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very interesting. Just a bit of an update now, Heidi.

As of this morning, they've now issued 70 of those warnings. And here's what's going on. In order to deal with violent crime, cities like Helena, Arkansas, and Washington, D.C., have adopted curfews. Now Hartford is doing the same and so far police say it's working. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL (voice-over): The sounds of sirens. Police on the run. Crime tape twisted around another street corner. This is Hartford, Connecticut, a city on the small side, population about 125,000. A murder rate almost four times the national average.

CHIEF DARYL ROBERTS, HARTFORD, CONN. POLICE: There's a sense of hopelessness and also I think these young people equate manhood with using a firearm.

CARROLL: Hartford's police chief grew up on these streets and thought he had seen everything until two weekends ago when the city's West Indian day parade ended in more gun fire.

ROBERTS: ...shootings, all under the age of 21, one homicide and two kids under the age of 10 that were shot. One clearly wounded, shot in the head and another baby shot in the leg.

CARROLL The city decided something need to be done right away so a curfew was put into place. No one under the age of 18 allowed out after 9:00 p.m. without a parent or a guardian. Violators are detained or taken home, their parents given a written warning.

ROBERTS: Things happening between the time of 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 in the morning. And most of these are young men between the ages of 13 and 25.

CARROLL: These women agree. They say most shootings are done by teenagers here. All three of their sons were victims. Carmen Rodriguez's 16-year-old Carlos was gunned down in front of her.

CARMEN RODRIGUEZ, MOTHER OF CARLOS GARCIA: I get flashbacks every time I hear gunshots. My whole body shivers and shakes. I can't sleep. I think about what happened to my son.

CARROLL: Pamela Joiner's son Jumar was killed this past May, shot she says during an argument with a friend.

PAMELA JOINER, MOTHER OF JUMAR JOINER: That's what hurt me the most. Losing my child, but from losing it to someone that was in my house, that went to church with me.

CARROLL: They joined a support group called Mothers United Against Violence. They are not convinced the city's curfew will help.

RODRIGUEZ: Some kids don't listen. They don't care about curfew. I've got kids of my own. I'll be telling my daughter and my son. They don't care.

CARROLL (on-camera): Those skeptical of the curfew say the most recent shootings that occurred here in Hartford didn't happen in the middle of the night, it happened right in broad daylight.

CARROLL (voice-over): The curfew has been in place for several nights now, and the city's mayor says the streets are calmer. MAYOR EDDIE PEREZ, HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT: Our first job is to keep citizens safe. That's all we're doing.

CARROLL: The curfew is in effect for 30 days. Then the mayor and police chief will decide whether to extend it. But these mothers say it's time they found a long-term solution to end the violence here.


CARROLL: Police say since the curfew went into effect on Thursday, August 14th, there have been no shootings. And, again, as of this morning, police have given out 70 warnings to those breaking the curfew -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Jason, I have to wonder what residents think of this. Is this something that they're in favor of? Because obviously, there was some questions and probably still are, speaking with the ACLU and some, you know, matters of constitutionality here.

CARROLL: Right. When it comes to whether or not it's constitutional or not, you know, and speaking to some of the police officers that we came in contact with, they say if someone wants to challenge it in a court, let them. Because by that point, the 30 days, in effect, will be over. And as for the residents who are out there, Heidi, we definitely came across a number of people who felt as though this was a quick fix, and not something that is going to be able to solve the problem in the long run -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Well, interesting. We know that you will follow it for us. Keep us updated, Jason Carroll, thank you. Live from New York this morning.

John McCain and Barack Obama "Revealed." Tonight on CNN, two documentaries will tell you who the presidential candidates really are. Last hour you saw a preview of John McCain "Revealed." And now CNN's Suzanne Malveaux looks at Barack Obama's early days as a community organizer.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barack Obama's job was to help Chicago's forgotten residents learn to help themselves. What Obama wanted was to organize Chicago's south side pastors to better help their own community. Working together in what Obama calls god's army, entire congregation now turned out for meetings.

LORETTA HERRON, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: Barack's job was to build organization. He did a great job on bringing in churches.

MALVEAUX: Loretta Herron was active in the community along with several other women. They become foot soldiers for Obama. They also tended to mother him, earning them the nickname Obama's mamas.

HERRON: I felt so protective of him. You know, are you eating right? Are you getting enough rest?

MALVEAUX: Did he listen to you?

HERRON: I doubt it. I doubt it.

MALVEAUX: Yvonne Lloyd was also one of Obama's mamas.

YVONNE LLOYD, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: He always stayed in the background and he'd always tell us, this is your community. If I go out front, people are going to say, who's he?

MALVEAUX: Obama made Loretta Herron his point person for a desperately needed job center for the community. Herron ran into trouble at a meeting with city officials.

HERRON: The director was really talking over me, and she had that high-handed attitude about, well, you don't even know what I do and whatever, you know. I was trying to get a word in edgewise without being really disrespectful.

MALVEAUX: Herron says when Obama saw her struggle, he spoke up.

HERRON: He started calling. He said, let Loretta speak. Let Loretta speak, you know, in that voice of his. And so people kind of picked it up, you know, and so she backed down.

MALVEAUX: The residents got their job center. Mayor Washington came to the opening and complimented Loretta's work. Obama beamed.

HERRON: He taught us to speak for ourselves. He gave us the strength that a lot of people never gave, you know. To this day, I am an empowered person.


COLLINS: Tune in for the back to back specials tonight on CNN at 8:00 p.m., John McCain revealed and Barack Obama revealed begins at 9:30 Eastern only on CNN, your home for politics.

Bankruptcy. What you need to know if you're considering this last resort.


COLLINS: Foreclosures are at an all-time high. Consumer debt is over $2.5 trillion and consumer bankruptcies are increasing at a faster pace. If you are thinking about filing, personal finance editor Gerri Willis is here with what you need to do.

All right. We should probably start with the first step. What do you do?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, you know, I just want to say here the numbers. Let's go over them for just a second. The big factor behind the spike in bankruptcies, rising foreclosures. As folks default on their mortgages, many are turning to bankruptcies as a way to get out of their debt. Numbers are sobering especially considering that in 2005 the bankruptcy laws, Heidi, were changed to make it tougher to get your debts discharged through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

For the month of July, consumer bankruptcy filings were up almost 50 percent from the previous year and now they are on track, we'll probably see about 1.2 million filings up from 800,000 last year.

COLLINS: Well, obviously this is not something that anybody wants to do. I mean it's a big step to say I have filed for bankruptcy. What are some of the downsides?

WILLIS: Well, you probably already know. Look at the black mark on your credit report. No doubt about it. It can stay on that report for seven to 10 years. Of course, it lowers your credit score but guess what it makes it harder to get a loan, apply for a job or get a good insurance rate.

Look, if you have a government job or a job that requires a high level of security clearance, your position could be in jeopardy. You may not get certain professional licenses or certifications since your financial data is part of that decision making process by the employer. And if you have a mortgage or a car loan, you'll still be responsible for making payments to your creditors even in bankruptcy. Otherwise the assets are taken away. Look, most states exempt a certain amount of property you that can hold onto. For example, if your home is exempted up to $200,000 in some states. But the reality is you may owe $425,000 on it so you're going to be forced to sell it anyway to keep that $200,000.

Of course, state laws vary state by state. In some places, Texas, Florida, there's a Homestead Act exemption for creditors so your house is safe. But bank accounts, stocks, bonds, CDS, mutual funds, all of that can be taken away, even IRAs, 401(k), pensions, 529 plans -- those are actually protected from creditors. So it's a thicket of detail and sometimes when you declare bankruptcy you're not even thinking about these details.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, yes. It's an emotional choice I'm sure as well. How do you know when it's the time to declare bankruptcy?

WILLIS: Well, as you were just saying, Heidi, bankruptcy that's the last resort. Make sure you've gone to a credit counselor and explored every other alternative before settling on bankruptcy. If the following scenarios are familiar to you, one or more of them apply to you, you might want to think about bankruptcy. Consider if most of your debt is from credit cards or medical bills, if your total debt is more than what you could pay off in five years, excluding mortgage of car loan.

If you have lawsuits against you, debt collectors calling all the time. Now, keep in mind there are some debts that you can't wipe out, including student loans, back taxes, child support. So, you're going to have to be prepared to face some of this back. Last resort, bankruptcy. That's the bottom line. COLLINS: Now, what if you're facing foreclosure? Can declaring bankruptcy actually help you? Well, you know, that's why a lot of people do it because it delays foreclosure. It doesn't make it go away but it can delay it. Creditors can't take action until there's been a decision by a bankruptcy court. If you file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy where your debts are discharged off the bat, you won't be able to save your home. Chapter 13 allows you to catch up on with whatever due payments you made before you filed, before keeping up with current payments. And of course, if you have any questions about this, I know this is hideously complicated, send them to us at We love to hear from you.

COLLINS: All right. Gerri Willis, we sure do appreciate it. Thank you.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

COLLINS: So who would you pick for vice president? Some of you aren't shy about saying. Your i-Reports prove it.


COLLINS: Breaking news out of Spain to tell you about. An airliner has gone off the runway at a Madrid airport. There are reports of possible deaths among the 160 believed aboard the jet. Spain's leading newspaper reporting at least 25 people have died. CNN has been unable to confirm those numbers. One airport official tells CNN, an engine fire may have caused this (INAUDIBLE) air flight to leave the run way. Clouds of smoke, as you see there, have been seen billowing from the site. We'll stay on top of that story for you.

Meanwhile, this just in to the CNN NEWSROOM now. Switching over to all things political, I want to let you know that we have been able to confirm that Senator Joe Lieberman will be speaking at the Republican National convention. This comes to us from a source with the McCain campaign. Once again, what we have is the Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman will be speaking at the Republican National convention. That's about all I have here. I was going to let you know exactly when he would be expected to speak -- oh, here we have it. This official is telling us Wednesday -- no, that's today. We learned today that he will be speaking, but, not sure what day during the convention that will happen.

Let's go ahead and listen in. We have a little bit of sound here for you regarding this announcement.


SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: I know it's unusual for a Democrat, even an independent Democrat like me, to be supporting a Republican candidate for president. But, you got to forget parties when it comes to the country. That's the way John McCain has always been. And I just feel very strongly that John McCain is by far the best prepared to lead our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: So, there you have it. Once again Senator Joe Lieberman, apparently going to be speaking at the Republican National convention.

CNN bringing you more of what the president candidates are saying in their own words. It's part of our efforts to help you make an informed choice on election day.

Here now, John McCain on an oil rig in the Gulf, talking about offshore drilling.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As people prepare for the winter, it's time for us to be more serious about our home heating oil needs and other issues that face American as far as energy is concerned.

That means we need to start drilling offshore and advanced oil rigs like this one. This rig survived a hurricane, they have been here for nine years and they have produced a whole lot of oil and natural gas. As we speak, they are producing 10,000 barrels of oil a day and 15 million cubic feet of natural gas.

Senator Obama opposes new drilling. He said it won't solve our problem and that it's quote, "not real." He's wrong and the American people know it. And I hope he'll see the opportunity to come out and pay a visit like this one. I think it will probably change his mind.

We all want to conserve, but, we all know that conservation will not put us -- will not be sufficient to put us on the road to energy independence. The nation is sending $700 billion every year overseas to countries that don't like us very much. And when I'm president, that's going to stop.

We're going to achieve energy independence and we're going to do it by using every resource at our disposal to get the job done, including new offshore drilling. New drilling has got to be part of our energy solution. It won't solve this problem alone. Alternative energy will not solve this problem alone. And conservation alone will not. It will require aggressive development of alternative energies like wind, solar, tide, biofuels, natural gas. And it also requires expanding traditional sources of energy like clean coal, nuclear power and offshore drilling like that done on this rig.

It's been a real pleasure to be out here to see the technology of the United States of America at work. Dedicated and professional workers who come out here two weeks at a time and work on behalf of their families. But they also do great work on behalf of supplying the energy needs of America's families. I'm grateful for them. When I'm president, there will be a whole lot more like them. Not only here in the Gulf, but also off of our east and west coasts. We need to drill offshore, and we need to do it now.

If I were president, I would call Congress back into session and tell them to get to work. Get to work on the part of the people and help put us on the path to energy independence.


COLLINS: John McCain talking about energy and oil drilling in his own words.

The guessing game over. Barack Obama's running mate has reached a fever pitch. Political pundits are scrutinizing every word. Like yesterday in Raleigh, North Carolina, when Obama refed to his ideal running mate as a he.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me tell you fist what I won't do. I won't hand over my energy policy to my vice president without knowing necessarily what he's doing. I won't have my vice president engineering my foreign policy for me. The buck will stop with me because I'll be the president.


My vice president also, by the way, my vice president will be a member of the executive branch. He won't be one of these fourth branches of government where he thinks he's above the law.


But here's what I do want from my vice president. I want somebody who has integrity, who's in politics for the right reasons. I want somebody who is independent. Somebody who is able to say to me, you know what, Mr. President? I think you're wrong on this and here's why. And will give me -- who will help me think through major issues and consult with me, will be a key advisor. I want somebody who is capable of being president and who I would trust to be president. That's the first criteria for a vice president.

And the final thing is, I want a president who shares with me a passion to make the lives of the American people better than they are right now.


I want somebody who's not in it just because they want to have their name up in lights or end up being president. I want somebody who's mad right now that people are losing their jobs and is mad right now that people have seen their incomes decline and want to rebuild the middle class in this country. That's the kind of person that I want. Somebody who in their gut, knows where they came from and believes that we have to grow this country from the bottom up.


COLLINS: Barack Obama in his own words.

OK. We're hearing from all kinds of analysts and pundits about who the candidates might pick for their running mates. But what do you think?

Josh Levs is tracking what our iReporters are saying.

OK, Josh. What's everybody saying?

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're exactly right. We're hearing so much from the pundits. But, in the end, obviously it's about the voters. So, this is what we asked you -- there's the question right there: Who should be VP? And I love piecing through these, seeing the intelligent responses we get.

Let's go to this first quote right away. Let's just bang right to it. Some are saying Barack Obama here should support Joe Biden. And we have a graphic for you. This person says this:

"If Obama knows what's good for him, the party, and America, he'll place his bet on Joe Biden. Biden has the foreign policy experience that Obama sorely lacks, and his knowledge of the energy crisis is second to none. He's tough and has the wisdom to consider consequences before decisions are made."

Thanks, Nick Parsons, in California there.

Now someone wanting Evan Bayh to get this (INAUDIBLE). Evan Bayh.

This person says: Hillary is too divisive. Biden has great experience. But, a major loose cannon. Kaine, in his view, no experience. Bayh -- here we go. Snag Indiana, or least make McCain work for it. Also, Bayh's charisma is there without out-doing Obama. He's Obama's Al Gore. Bayh is the guy.

Let's go straight into this one, who still wants to see Hillary Clinton. There's a lot of people writing us saying, we really want to see Hillary Clinton to get this slot.

This one here is from David Dunnmire (ph) who writes us this:

"Hillary supporters are still not behind the nominee due to a lingering disrespect that suggests Obama doesn't need us or the Clintons. This arrogance and lack of reaching out feels like a slap in the face. Plus, McCain record paints him as a maverick. Hillary as V.P. or McCain is my choice for 'change'."

And we're also hearing from a lot of people who disagree. In fact, we've got a video iReport from Wayne Phillips in Concord, California.

Let's listen to him:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's absolutely no way that complements Obama on the ticket. And lastly, I mean, people don't vote for vice presidents. I mean, John Edwards, I like the guy, but he couldn't deliver North Carolina, the state he's from for John Kerry when he was vice president in 2004.


LEVS: The debate still racing on all the way through to today.

I want to show you one more quote that we got here because I think it summarizes the way a lot of people feel our there.

This one comes to us from Morgan Byers and let's go to that graphic. He's from Poughkeepsie, New York.

And he writes us: Actually "I don't know what a Vice President really does. I'll just say I think I would be a great VP."

Now, Heidi, before I go I'm going to show you -- yesterday we were looking at this, the veepstakes, if I can get there. This is where people online are bidding fake money. It's just Monopoly money. You get $5,000 to bet as though there's a market. Today on the Democratic side, Joe Biden leading Kathleen Sebielius. A lot of people betting on Biden. Again, imaginary money.

And over on the GOP side, who's leading right now? Can we get there? OK, screen's freezing up. We'll look at it next hour.

If you want to see what who the big players are, we've got that for you at The 12 major players, but, it seems to be boiling down to just a handful right now. And obviously when we get the news, we'll see if everybody predicted right. And we'll get iReports about how everyone feels about that -- Heidi.

COLLINS: OK. Very good, interesting.

Thank you, Josh. We'll check back a little later on.

LEVS: You got it.

COLLINS: And this reminder now. Tune in to those back-to-back specials, tonight on CNN at 8:00 pm: "John McCain Revealed" And "Barack Obama Revealed" begins at 9:30 Eastern, only on CNN, your home for politics.

If you plan to fly this Labor Day weekend, good news. Both your flight and the airport may not be as crowded this year. But, this isn't great news for the airline, of course.'s Poppy Harlow has our Energy Fix from New York.

Hi there, Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Good morning, Heidi.

Well, people are planning to stay much closer to home this Labor Day. The Air Transport Association saying it thinks about 16 million people will fly on American carriers over Labor Day weekend. But, that's a million fewer people, Heidi, than we saw just a year ago, a 6 percent drop -- Heidi. COLLINS: Yes. Well, I mean, why is that happening?

I can come up with reasons of my own, but, why do people say generally that they aren't flying? Is it just too hard, too expensive? What is it?

HARLOW: It's a combination of all of those, Heidi. You're probably thinking like a lot of people out there. This all comes down to oil prices, energy costs. That's a big part of it.

We're seeing prices way up from a year ago, but a little lower than in the past month. The airline industry though, says jet fuel is the most costly transportation fuel that is refined from crude oil. It is up a staggering 80 percent from a year ago. And since the end of last year, 12 U.S. carriers have either shut down completely, or they filed for bankruptcy.

The others are doing a variety of other things to cope. And many are not sitting well with customers. The airlines face higher airfares, scheduling cuts -- some reasons people are flying less. This really hits people in small towns the hardest, the smaller airports have seen the most dramatic cuts.

Gas prices also are a factor here as well, for the cash-strapped consumer. What they don't mention but what is obviously playing in here is the extra fees for bags and even water on some planes. Those two may be encouraging some people to stay home.

The good news is, as Heidi said, for those of who are planning to fly, it should be a little easier, planes should be less crowded, fewer delays possibly. But you're the only one that can actually tell us if that happens. So, log-on to Tell us about your Labor Day flight, if you're flying, what you're doing instead -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Very good.

Poppy Harlow, thank you.


COLLINS: The windy city. New York? Wait a minute. The Big Apple wants to move in on Chicago's territory.


COLLINS: Want to take a moment now to check on Fay, who we just can't seem to get rid of.

Rob Marciano standing now in the Weather Center to tell us a little bit more. Looks like you have an update there.

MARCIANO: Don't -- yes, I do. You know, don't trash-talk Fay. She's just going to get angry, you know how that goes.

COLLINS: I'm just thinking about the people in Florida. MARCIANO: Yes. We're definitely showing sympathy for them, I'll tell you that.

Although it wasn't a hurricane, that's good news. And unlikely to become one on its next go-around, that's also the good news. This is the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Actually it's their technical discussion so I'm just kind of -- it just came off the printer. I'm just kind of wading through it.

50-mile-an-hour sustained winds. So, it's come up about 5 miles an hour since the last update. It's starting to interact with the Atlantic Ocean here, the center of which is really on the coastline near Cape Canaveral, pretty for the most part, give or take. It's moving very slowly to the north at about 3 miles an hour.

Still noting that the last -- the earliest couple of frames of this loop from late last night show an eye that popped out of nowhere as this thing made landfall. So, it actually strengthened as it made landfall, and that certainly gave us reason for concern.

I'll run down some of these and then we'll get to the specifics of where this thing is right now. These are rainfall tallies for the most part that are on the east side. And that's where we saw most of the action of this thing -- central and east Florida. Winds actually gusting to hurricane strength on the Lake in Okeechobee. Cocoa Beach, there in "I Dream of Genie Town," 62-mile-an-hour winds and Ft. Pierce similar.

Take a live shot -- or a shot that we just saw a little while ago, Jacksonville, Florida. You're seeing winds 16 miles an hour. Folks there may very well be breathing a sigh of relief tomorrow morning if we can get this thing inland south of you before it turns into potentially a hurricane.

Right now the forecast is for it to come ashore probably around Daytona Beach. It's going to do one of these kind of things. And probably just strengthen to strong tropical storm status. Of course, Heidi, this thing hasn't done anything that we've expected it to do so, there's no reason for us to really believe anything I'm saying at all.

COLLINS: Anything you say.

MARCIANO: Exactly!

COLLINS: I wasn't going to say it, but --

MARCIANO: Well, you know we like to -- we have computers --


MARCIANO: We have the National Hurricane Center. There's lots of people to blame besides me.


MARCIANO: And just the atmosphere which is in constant motion and ever fascinating because of it.

COLLINS: Well see, there you have it. Beautifully put.

All right, Rob Marciano, we'll check back with you a little bit later on.

I want to get back to this plane crash we've been telling you about in Spain. We are now learning that, of course, and as you would imagine in something like this, the NTSB is sending a Go-team to Madrid to try and figure out what happened with this plane crash. We are getting new information every second as it comes into us here.

Our Al Goodman is in the area. We'll check back with him a little bit later on.

But once again, that plane crash in Madrid -- NTSB now sending a Go-team to help with the investigation.

Meanwhile, move over, Chicago, New York is looking to be the next windy city. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a plan that could change New York's famous skyline. Stephanie Elam is at the New York Stock Exchange with details on this.

Hi, there, Stephanie.


Yes. It's being called Mayor Michael Bloomberg's boldest environmental proposal ever. Speaking at an alternative energy conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, New York City's mayor proposed a plan that would put wind turbines on the city's bridges and skyscrapers and in its water. The plan is still in the early stages, but analysts are already saying it would take years to turn New York City into a major source of wind power. And even though the initial costs are likely to be huge, the city maintains the idea of renewable power in New York City as realistic.


ELAM: Heidi, back to you.

COLLINS: OK. Very good. Thanks for being quick, Stephanie. Appreciate it.

Olympic medals in perspective now. A Team USA coach looks at winning and losing through the lens of a family tragedy.


COLLINS: Want to get you to Beijing now where our Larry Smith is standing by to do some more reporting for us on the Olympics, of course.

And wow, Larry, we've got something really interesting to report here now, the fastest man in the world breaks yet another world. This hasn't happened in a very, very long time. Carl Lewis, I think, back in 1984.

LARRY SMITH, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: That's right, Carl Lewis the last man to win the 100 and 200 in the same Olympics. But Usain Bolt is making these his games if you take Michael Phelps.

The 21-year-old from Jamaica who turns 22 on Thursday shattering the world record, running the 200 in 19.30 seconds to break Michael Johnson's mark he set at the 1996 games. That world record standing for 12 years. In fact, Bolt was so dominant that he won this race by more than half a second. And so two world record, two gold medals now for the young Jamaican, Usain Bolt. And at only 21 years old, 22 tomorrow, what a bright future he has.

You know, for all the feel-good stories and electrifying moments that these Beijing have produced, there's still that one dark cloud that won't go away anytime soon. On the first day of competition, the father-in-law of men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon was killed by a knife attack at a tourist spot in central Beijing. McCutcheon understandably left the team, but returned a week later and sat down with me in hopes of getting out a message to say thanks to all of those who supported him.


SMITH: Hugh, thanks again for stopping to sit down. Can you take me through that day? What were you doing when you got the news?

HUGH MCCUTCHEON, USA MEN'S VOLLEYBALL COACH: I was here at practice. We were in the middle of a drill, and my team leader received a phone call and then said, hey, you better call your wife. And so I called my wife, and, yes, away we went.

SMITH: As an athlete and Olympic coach, you've traveled the world enough to feel safe almost anywhere, how does this affect your comfort level?

MCCUTCHEON: Yes. I mean, it's -- it just proves that random acts of violence can occur at any time. And -- I don't think Todd and Barbara and Elizabeth were doing anything other than being tourists. They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Obviously this is a senseless and tragic thing that's occurred, but I'm not sure that we're going to somehow isolate ourselves from the rest of the world as a result of this.

SMITH: You're in the quarter-finals now. Does a gold medal take on a greater significance?

MCCUTCHEON: That's an interesting question because I think, to me personally, it probably means less in some ways because, if anything, this event gives you a much different perspective on the value of life and being with the people that you love. The overwhelming thing we take from this Olympics is the tragedy and the loss.

However, if we can also come away with the possibility of finishing this journey like we've been talking about with a gold medal, then I think that's going to be a wonderful achievement and we should embrace that and celebrate that as well well.


SMITH: We appreciate Hugh's candor in sitting down and talking with us. His mother-in-law was also seriously injured in that attack. She underwent eight hours of surgery here, and since has gone back home to the states where she is recovering.

Now, as for the volleyball team, as we mentioned they're in the quarter-finals, going 5-0 in the preliminary round, but losing right now to Serbia, one set none, though they're trying to rally in the second set and try to advance to get that gold medal.

Heidi, let's go back to you.

COLLINS: I think the whole world -- well, hopefully anyway, the whole world will be rooting for them because it's been so incredibly tough for him.

Larry Smith live from Beijing this morning. Thank you, Larry.

Should the national drinking age be lowered? That debate ahead in the NEWSROOM.