Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Holocaust Museum Closed Today After Yesterday's Shooting; Neighbors Talk About Von Brunn's Hatred of Minorities; Storms in Much of the Western Part of U.S.; Female Vote May Make or Break Hossein Mousavi; President Obama's To Hold Town Hall Meeting in Wisconsin to Discuss Health Care; Americans Spending More; Fed May Have Strong- Armed Bank of America to Purchase Merrill Lynch; Pace of Layoffs Is Slowing; Brazilian High Court Sends Sean Goldman Case Back to Appeals Court

Aired June 11, 2009 - 10:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: The Holocaust Museum in Washington today. It bears new scars of hate. Flags are flying at half staff in honor of the security guard who was killed there yesterday. The museum's director says he died heroically, you see his picture there.

His colleagues critically wounded in the suspected -- the suspect gunman that is also critically wounded. He is an 88-year-old white supremacist, his picture, as well.

CNN's Kate Bolduan has the very latest now out of Washington, D.C.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Museum visitors described a terrifying scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were just exiting and we heard shooting. I ran towards the glass doors to see what was going on, and I thought it was a joke or something. And there I could see a security man pull out his gun and shoot towards the shooter. I also saw another security man face down on his belly. There was blood everywhere.

BOLDUAN: Just before 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, police say this man, 88- year-old James von Brunn, a known white supremacist who has denied the Holocaust and preached hate on his Web site, parked his car in front of the Holocaust Memorial Museum, walked in with a rifle and opened fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People started yelling hit the floor, hit the floor. So my wife and two grandsons and I hit the floor.

BOLDUAN: Police say von Brunn shot one security guard before guards shot him. Stephen Tyron Johns, a six-year veteran of the museum security staff, later died at the nearby George Washington University Hospital.

SARA BLOOMFIELD, DIRECTOR, U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM: He was an outstanding colleague and he loved all of us, a great friend who greeted us every day with a wonderful smile on his face, and he will be sorely missed. BOLDUAN: Authorities believed von Brunn acted alone. And an FBI official tells CNN there was no prior warning or threat against the Holocaust Museum, the very museum that epitomizes the need for tolerance and peace; now the site of the very hate it fights to end.


COLLINS: Kate Bolduan joining us now, live out of Washington, D.C. So Kate, tell us a little bit more about the latest that's been going on this morning and also about the news conference that we're expecting.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely, Heidi.

Here at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, it remains closed today. As they said it would in honor to pay tribute to the security officer that died. We are expecting an update from D.C. police as well as the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office a little later in about an hour.

And we are expecting them to discuss possible charges, we would say at the very least would anticipate them to discuss unfortunately a murder charge here, Heidi, but that is if the suspect James von Brunn survives his gunshot wounds.


BOLDUAN: The latest from D.C. police is that he is in critical condition -- still is, but we're hoping for an update about that in the next half hour.

COLLINS: OK, very good, and let us know when you get that. Kate Bolduan, outside of the memorial museum there in Washington D.C. this morning.

We do want to tell you more about the guard who was killed. Stephen T. Johns was 39 years old and lived in Temple Hills, Maryland. He worked at the museum for six years.

Today that museum is closed in his memory. One person paying tribute to him, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, who was about 40 feet away when the gunfire began.


WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: The one guard who was shot and killed, Officer Johns, everyone owes a great deal to him because had he not stopped that individual, he might have gotten through the magnetometer and into the interior of the building and started shooting a lot of the young people who where there.

So it was very fortunate that he was able to do that. It cost him his life and we are deeply, deeply grieved by what has happened and grateful for that sacrifice.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: The former Secretary of Defense's wife, as you saw in that video was next to him. She had actually written a play that was to debut last night at the museum; its theme, hatred.

And in fact, hatred seems to have been a driving force in the life of suspect James von Brunn. Civil rights group say he was so well known for his hate mongering that they've actually been tracking him for decades. And neighbors say he shared his hate-filled beliefs with almost anyone who would listen.

This morning, investigator removed a number of bagged items from his home in Annapolis, Maryland. And a federal official tells CNN investigators found a notebook in his car that listed other locations in Washington that may have been targeted.

Von Brunn not only preached hate on his Web site, he also devoted a lot of time to denying the Holocaust. Authorities believe he acted alone.

Just hours after the shooting, CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke to a man who had lived with Von Brunn and his son.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, AC360: You lived briefly with Mr. von Brunn while rooming with his son -- I should point out you are not a white supremacist. This just happened because you knew his son, who you say is also very different than Mr. von Brunn. What was he like?

SCOTT AULBACH, JAMES VON BRUNN'S FORMER ROOMMATE: Mr. Von Brunn, he was just a very prejudiced person and he didn't like anything about the government. He was really prejudiced against black and Jews. Just a...

COOPER: And he would talk about this?

AULBACH: Yes, yes he would. He would talk about it at our home.

COOPER: You basically were living, what, with his son you had met through work...

AULBACH: Yes, sir.

COOPER: ...and why did his father move in also?

AULBACH: I think it was financial reasons. He had wound up coming to Florida from Maryland because of the financial reason; he couldn't support himself and his elderly sister.

COOPER: When you heard that he is accused of this attack today, what went through your mind?

AULBACH: It floored me. I couldn't believe it. Just, you know, I knew the guy, and I had heard some of the things that he had said and some of the things he did in his past, but I never would have expected this to happen. I mean, it's a tragedy. COOPER: It's interesting, though, a lot of times when someone commits a crime and then you talk to people that knew him they all say well, "I'm completely surprised, I had no idea, he was a really nice guy."

You're not saying he was a nice guy, I mean, you're surprised he resulted to violence, but the rhetoric certainly matches up to the actions. Is that correct?

AULBACH: Yes, yes, sir.


COLLINS: Next hour, law enforcement officials are expected to talk more about possible charges against von Brunn.

For the first time now, we are hearing from the father of another shooting suspect, Abdulhakim Muhammad, who grew up as Carlos Bledsoe. The Muslim convert is accused of opening fire at an army recruiting center in Arkansas last week and killing one soldier and wounding another. The suspect's father says the man who did that is not the son he knew.


MELVIN BLEDSOE, FATHER OF ARKANSAS SHOOTING SUSPECT: If we could have been warned or told that my son could possibly be a threat to himself or to others, we would do everything in our power to make sure that he got the right help that he needed.

Anybody would be in common sense at all and look into his face or hear the words come out of his mouth will know that this is not normal. This is an unstable kid and he needs some medical attention.


COLLINS: Abdulhakim Muhammad is charged with capital murder and 16 counts of engaging in a terrorist act.

Innocent victims, police say a car leaving a crime scene jumped a curb and hit a crowd of people, killing three children. The crash happened last night in north Philadelphia. A woman was also hit by the car and is seriously injured. She is the mother of one of the children who died. Police say the incident began with two men stealing a motorcycle at gunpoint. One suspect took off on the motorcycle, the other in a car. Both men have since been arrested.

In Kennesaw, Georgia, three people were seriously injured when an SUV hit an office building. Police say the 68-year-old driver suffered a seizure before the accident. All three people in the SUV were hospitalized, but no one in the building was hurt. The SUV narrowly missed a jogger on the sidewalk.

Rob Marciano standing by to talk a little bit more about all these storm clouds that we're seeing. Boy, these pictures are just incredible out of Texas -- Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: What have you got? Is that snow plows that you use to clear away hail?

COLLINS: Oh yes, where is that?

MARCIANO: That's a good question. It's likely in Colorado, we had some severe -- we had eight states reporting tornadoes yesterday.

Obviously, with severe weather you get some hail and boy, they had a whole bunch of it there in parts of eastern Colorado. Goodness.

Texas on the east side there, heavy rain moving through the Dallas Ft. Worth area; downdrafts reaching 70, 80 miles an hour outside of Dallas, so that's certainly enough to do some damage. And a matter of fact, we have our Dallas cam that we would normally show, but it got struck by a lightning this morning.


MARCIANO: So this is actually a shot from Ft. Worth looking towards the Dallas area across the Metroplex. As you know, Heidi, everything in Texas, especially near Dallas is very far apart. You can't even see it. WFAA, thanks for that shot.


MARCIANO: Still we're seeing some severe weather there today. Here's the forecast weather map for today, a lot of red on it. This is -- all this stationary boundary; we call it stationary because it's not moving and when the jet stream comes along and just these little -- these little areas of spinning air and pieces of energy kind of tap that boundary and the moisture and cause some thunderstorms.

And that's what we're looking at today.

Unfortunately, it pretty much in similar spots to what we saw yesterday, especially across the Ohio River Valley and across parts of Texas.

We got some storms that are rolling through southeastern central Texas, and these look to be falling apart a little bit, but that severe thunderstorm watch in effect for the next hour or two. No storms that were in Dallas moving quickly to the south and east.

Freshly-issued storm prediction center and severe weather watch for pretty much the entire state of Tennessee. Nashville, you're about to get beat up a little bit here. This is mostly just some gusty winds and probably some hail and certainly some heavy rain and definitely some lightning. So if you live in Nashville and you can see this, if you are outside and try to head inside. If you have to go outside, be quick about it.

Some showers and thunderstorms that were pretty intense across parts of Ohio, quickly rolling east over the Appalachians towards the New York City area which will get there later on tonight.

Another relatively cool day in New York, look at that 67 degrees, 80 meanwhile in D.C., 87 degrees expected in Atlanta and 75. So, it's still pretty cool to the north.

We do have a wide range of travel delays -- look at this, Dallas, those thunderstorms is obviously an issue both at Love Field and DFW looking at ground stops until 9:45, their time. Newark an hour plus. San Francisco getting -- I know there's some low visibility there. Philadelphia 30-minute delays, Chicago seeing some delays, La Guardia 30, that's pretty low for them and then both airports at D.C.

So -- I've got to stop showing these delay...


MARICANO: People who are at the airports watching...

COLLINS: Yes, exactly.

MARCIANO: But yes, I know.


MARCIANO: My flight is delayed enough.

COLLINS: Because they're just sitting there. But we do appreciate you clearing up the confusion about the word stationary, and let us know that means it's not moving.

MARCIANO: I am a walking dictionary, thesaurus.

COLLINS: You are. We'll check back later with you. So look for another one for us.

MARCIANO: Yes. See you.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, leading the charge for change. Women in Iran are playing an increasingly critical role now heading into tomorrow's presidential election.


COLLINS: An Iraqi judge says three of five American contractors detained in Baghdad can go free. The men worked for a private security company. Iraqi officials say they were initially detained last week on suspicion of killing a fellow American. But all five were ordered released due to insufficient evidence. Officials say two will remain in custody over drug charges.

The United Nations proposing tough new sanctions on North Korea in response to its recent nuclear test and missile test at the Security Council meetings yesterday. They agreed to push for forced inspections of cargo coming into the country and greater control over weapons and technology going out. North Korea promised to retaliate against any new sanctions, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates says it doesn't look like North Korea's military has started preparing for any kind of threatened response.

The Obama administration's special representative for North Korea policy is scheduled to appear at a Senate hearing this afternoon. He's expected to give members of the foreign relations committee a first-hand update on those proposed Security Council sanctions, the American journalists being held in North Korea and the administration's response to the missile tests.

Tomorrow is Election Day in Iran. We have seen massive rallies in the streets on the capital of Tehran -- you can see some of them there. Most of those demonstrators are coming out to support the opposition candidate hoping to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. They are expecting a record turnout for tomorrow's vote with women, front and center.

Joining us now from New York to talk a little bit more about this election is Fawaz Gerges, a Mideast analyst at Sarah Lawrence College. Thanks for being with us Fawaz.

We want to focus a little bit on this idea of the role of women in Iran now. Tell us a little bit more about that, especially because of what you wrote here. Let's look at that.

"President Ahmadinejad's broken promises to women voters could cost him the presidency on June 12th." What exactly, has he done that has so offended women?

FAWAZ GERGES, MIDEAST ANALYST, SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE: Heidi, in his last presidential campaign he promised to relax state control on women rights. He promised to give women more representation, but women now say that he has done the opposite. He has institutionalized discrimination against women.

COLLINS: How so?

GERGES: He has cracked down on women rights activists. He basically -- discrimination in custody battles, in workshops. In fact, he has intensified the morality police patrol that basically chase women from one place to another if they show their hair or dress in a particular way. There are thugs in Tehran who chase teenager girls because they wear a particular style of clothes.

In this particular sense, women say that he has institutionalized discrimination, and his broken promises could cost him the presidency. Heidi, what's happening in Iran today is really fascinating.


GERGES: Think of the stereotypes we have of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran has one of the most potent women movements in the Middle East.

COLLINS: I'm sorry to interrupt. It's so interesting when we talk about this opposition candidate, Hossein Mousavi -- you say he does appeal more to women, but specifically what I think is interesting that I don't think a lot of people don't know, is who that driving force is behind him, and it ends up being his wife.

GERGEZ: Absolutely. You know, Zahra, his wife is the vehicle behind his campaign. She's an inspirational voice. She's a scholar, an author, a former chancellor. She has taken on the term President Ahmadinejad on and she inspires the female vote. The female vote will make and break Hossein Mousavi.

And I believe that based on everything we have seen, that the women vote basically is the largest electoral constituency and the Ahmadinejad chip might go down as a result of his broken promises to women.

COLLINS: Yes, it's so interesting; we just saw some video of her just to let our viewers know. Who do you think is really going to win this election?

GERGES: Well, you know, Heidi. It's extremely reckless to speculate. Iranians have an act for surprises. I believe if there's a run up between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad, Mousavi has a good chance.

Remember, you have now out of the 46 million voters, almost 25 million voters are women. Women are the largest electoral votes in Iran.

COLLINS: Yes, I think it's 65 percent or so.

GERGES: Absolutely. And in particular, Zahra has been able to mobilize the female vote and the young voters, in particular, and who knows, in fact, the Iranian campaign, the Iranian elections could be decided on domestic issues, not foreign policy. It could be decided on women rights and also on the economy. Iran faces a great economic crisis, and this is why young voters are extremely mobilized.

COLLINS: That's right. We have heard that.

Do you think the voting process, the election process as a whole, is going to be fair? Are all the votes going to be counted properly?

GERGES: In fact, Mousavi and the Reformist candidates are extremely anxious. In fact, in the last few days, Heidi, that the ruling Conservative Mullahs are becoming more and more anxious because Mousavi and Zahra have been able to mobilize the female vote and the young vote. And they have threatened a crackdown if the Reformists make any trouble.

I would argue that tomorrow we might see a big surprise. We might see Ahmadinejad going down in the polls, thanks to his broken promises and also thanks to the empowerment of women and young voters in Iran.

COLLINS: All right, well, we will be watching very closely here, that's for certain.

Fawaz Gerges from Sarah Lawrence College, our Mideast analyst; thanks so much, Fawaz.

GERGES: Pleasure.

COLLINS: President Obama preparing to take questions. He is holding a town hall meeting in Wisconsin today and health care reform is expected to be topic number one. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: A focus on health care reform in Washington and Wisconsin today. Democrats on Capitol Hill are looking for possible ways to reach a compromise on a reform bill just as hearings get under way in the senate.

Meanwhile, President Obama is set to leave the White House right about now. Actually, I believe he's already at Arlington -- well, we're not sure. We're getting a look at the aircraft finding out when he's going to be leaving for Green Bay, Wisconsin. That is where he is going to be holding a town hall meeting a little bit later today -- expected to talk about plans for health care reform and the role of the federal government in it.

CNN's Elaine Quijano joining us now, live from the White House with more on this. Elaine, what do we expect to hear today?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're not expecting any kind of major announcements out of this town hall meeting today. Really, what this is about, Heidi is about building momentum or at least trying to build momentum to get health care reforms done by the end of this year.

So, in Green Bay the president is going to be focusing this spotlight on people who've had problems with the health care system as it stands now. The idea here is to really let people tell their stories and demonstrate the need for lawmakers to act, to help put pressure on them to move quickly.

Now, what kind of ideas are being thrown around out there? One idea that is emerging on Capitol Hill is a proposal by Senator Kent Conrad. He is the Senior Democrat on the finance committee or a senior Democrat on the finance committee.

The proposal is for health insurance cooperatives. These would be non-profit, privately operated co-ops. It would be owned by groups of residents and small businesses. The idea here, really, is to provide an alternative to a government-run plan and that really has been the sticking point for Republicans.

They argue that if there's a government-run option that's going to be competing with private plans, well, that will kill, in their view, any true competition. So, as that debate continues on Capitol Hill, as you noted, Heidi, this really is going to be the president's push to try to demonstrate that health care reform is something that cannot wait -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Ok, we are watching very closely as the president heads to Green Bay, Wisconsin, today.

Thanks so much, Elaine Quijano, in front of the White House this morning.

And we will have live coverage of President Obama's town hall meeting in Wisconsin, coming your way at 1:10 Eastern time. Make sure you stick around for that.

President Obama has said he'd like a health care reform bill on his desk by October, but what kind of reform exactly are we talking about? It's pretty complicated.'s Poppy Harlow has the break down for us now from New York. Poppy, lay it out for us. Help us all to understand exactly what's going to happen here. You have 30 seconds.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: I will try, Heidi. Because as you said, it is extremely complicated mainly because the details are so sparse right now. We have some options put out there by the Democrats waiting for the GOP to respond. But what we do know, folks, 46 million Americans are uninsured in this country and 25 million are underinsured. And if you add that up, that is roughly twice the population of the state of California.

What we also do know is what is not on the table. That is one big national health plan that everyone is enrolled in. That's not happening. Private insurance companies are here to stay, they're not going away, but this new plan would be a competitor to your private insurer if you have insurance right now.

A good analogy, Heidi, is public school versus private school. We all pay taxes that fund the public schools. Some parents still send their kids to private school -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Yes. What are some of the ideas that are out there for the public plan then?

HARLOW: Sure, what's out there, one idea -- there is even division within the Democratic Party -- we should note that but one idea is a government-run public plan as a fall back. For example, maybe you don't have a lot of options in your area in the state or city you live in, so you want to fall back on a more public government-run plan. And that would be paid for out of premiums and co-payments and medical providers, your doctor would not be forced to participate.

Another idea out there, as what Elaine Quijano just explained, that nonprofit cooperative where you pay fees into this, and they directly negotiate with your health care provider to try to get you lower rates. Again, not run by the government because this might be more attractive.

That bipartisan support here is so important, and Republicans really sort of shy away at anything that resembles a fully government-run health care plan, Heidi.

COLLINS: Yes. Everybody wants it to be cheap, but, really, do we have any idea how much it is going to cost?

HARLOW: Nowhere near cheap. We're talking about an estimate to a trillion dollars to insure those 46 million uninsured.

COLLINS: And that's just an estimate.

HARLOW: That's just an estimate. You know how things go in Washington, Heidi; they get more and more expensive.

One idea here is what we get that is tax free right now from our employer in terms of the health care coverage they cover for us, we could be taxed on that. That's an option is getting a lot of attention. And it's going to be interesting, Heidi, because if President Obama goes for that, it would be a complete turn around from the campaign trail when he criticized Senator John McCain for pushing that exact idea.

A lively debate in store for us, I'm sure, Heidi.

COLLINS: Yes. And a long one, too.


COLLINS: Poppy Harlow with the break down. Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: You're welcome.

COLLINS: Americans are spending more, but not necessarily in the stores. We'll run down the numbers for you coming up.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: You are spending more. The numbers actually show it. Retail sales up 0.5 percent last month. But going down, the number of families on the verge of losing their homes. That is a good thing, too, of course.

Let's check in now with CNN's Maggie Lake out and about in New York. Good morning to you, Maggie.

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi. You're right. We are seeing consumer spending finally moving in the right direction. A gain in May. First time in three months. In fact, looks like auto sales bounced back, and that helped a little bit.

But when you dig a little deeper, part of the gain due to rising gasoline prices, and, of course, that's not such great news. Those coming from the government statistics. But we wanted to get out and find out what's really going on. We're here at a Best Buy in New York City, and Crystal Stroupe joins me. She's a spokesperson for Best Buy. Crystal, what have you been seeing in the store? Do those numbers accurately reflect what you see with consumers and customers coming in?

CRYSTAL STROUPE, SPOKESPERSON, BEST BUY: Definitely. I mean, we continue to see an increased interest for technology entertainment, and that's what Best Buy's all about. We're very optimistic right now in the outlook.

LAKE: Have people changed what they're buying? A lot of, sort of, discretionary spending had stopped earlier this year. Are people coming back and buying some of those extras?

STROUPE: Definitely. I mean, people are being smart about shopping. They're researching and asking the right questions but definitely coming back in and making sure they have all the accessories and the complete package.

LAKE: You know, Heidi, we are seeing Best Buy stores that are well managed, benefits and some of their competitors have gone out of business. But when you look at the broader sector, we're hearing from industry experts that people are still trading down and very price conscious and going for the bargains and not spending necessarily on big-ticket items. Things are still very tough out there. The news encouraging, but still have a long way to go, Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Understood. We sure do appreciate that. Live report from Maggie Lake right there in New York City. The Best Buy.

Vice President Biden, highlighting the positives. He takes off his "road to recovery" tour this morning in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He's there, the groundbreaking of a bridge project financed with stimulus money from the government. Then he's off to Overland Park, Kansas, where they're getting another highway project off the ground.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are looking into the deal involving Bank of America buying Merrill Lynch. And the resulting federal bailout. Another House committee is hearing federal officials air their views on executive pay, and watching it all, our own Christine Romans, joining us now from New York. Good morning to you, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUISNESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi. Ken Lewis, gentleman you just saw right there, CEO of Bank of America, and he just began his testimony before that committee. And what they're trying to uncover, really, is what role the Fed played in Bank of America purchasing Merrill Lynch.

We knew Bank of America wanted to buy Merrill Lynch, and subsequently did, but it may have tried to back out of that deal when it saw how bad Merrill Lynch's books were last year. And new e-mails released by this committee show the Fed may have strongarmed Bank of America, basically threatening to get rid of the management and the board of this company, if they didn't do the Merrill deal and would later have to come back and accept some money.

Why do we care? Because after that Merrill deal was closed, Bank of America had to take another $20 billion of taxpayer money and guarantees for $118 billion in losses. That is an awful lot of money, and the chairman, the top Democrat of that House investigative committee is hearing this, called that money "a dowry for a shotgun wedding" and that the Fed basically made Bank of America purchase that Merrill Lynch deal even though it didn't want to.

You'll hear an awful lot about this here today. The Fed having no comments on this, by the way, and a Bank of America spokesman telling CNN that, frankly, they're looking forward and not looking back and all of this is in the context of a very chaotic, chaotic time with the government and the banking sector late last fall, Heidi.

COLLINS: The Fed having no comment, probably because they can't come up with anything as good as the whole dowry shotgun wedding thing. ROMANS: Yes, it's pretty good - sometimes the staffs -- sometimes these Congresspeople and their staffs have a way with words.

COLLINS: They work long and hard on those comments.

Christine Romans out of New York this morning, thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

COLLINS: The House financial services committee is taking up the issue of executive pay right now. Give you a live look at the hearing on Capitol Hill taking place and they're hearing testimony on efforts to limit salaries at all public companies. Yesterday, the Obama administration announced regulations on the pay for executives whose companies received federal help. We'll keep our eye on that for you.

Meanwhile, mixed news on the job market this morning, but on Wall Street, investors are focusing on the positive. Sounds good. Susan Lisovicz is on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange now with more details on this. That's what we like to do, only talk about the good stuff.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and that's what I'll start with, Heidi. The pace of layoffs is slowing. That is good news.

The bad news is it's still really tough to find a job, no question about it. New jobless claims fell by 24,000 last week to just over 600,000. That's a really big number, but keep in mind that this is the third out of four weeks where we have seen that number come down. And that's what we're hoping to see. Continuing declines in that number. But the continuing claims, which point to the difficulty in finding jobs -- right now about 6.8 million people and that is the 19th straight record.

So, really tough to find a job, but, you know, there is this trend that we've been seeing. We also got numbers on retail sales today, the number of foreclosures still huge, but slowing. And what you see is a rally. The Dow right now up 64 points at 8803. Positive for the year. Again, couldn't hold it yesterday, hopefully we'll be able to do that today and the NASDAQ is up 14, Heidi.

You know, I just want to point something else out. You like the positives. We're in a bull market. I really haven't been saying that because it wasn't, you know, it's been tentative sometimes. But the Dow and the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 each up at least 35 percent since the lows in March. That's a bull market. I know everybody says, "Oh, I lost so much money since '07." Look, we have a trend here. It's up. Double digits.

COLLINS: OK, we're watching it, we believe you. But what about the national unemployment rate? I don't mean to be negative. 9.4 percent and going up.

LISOVICZ: The buzz kill, Heidi.

COLLINS: I know, but it's reality.

LISOVICZ: It's reality, that's right. Most economists think that yes, it will go higher and perhaps into double digits. Why is that? Well, more people are trying to get a job. That particular number comes from a telephone survey. More people are trying to get a job, and that's where it's based and it's tough.

So, yes, it's problematic, but we are seeing signs of life with the consumer spending, for instance, one thing that people are buying. Good deals out there for big ticket items like cars, which means they're able to get credit and able to afford things like cars. I'm going to focus on that. I'll leave it at that. We have a rally going on.

COLLINS: All right, very good. We'll keep checking in with you. Susan Lisovicz from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

If you do need advice to cope through this tough economy, watch more on our series, "Money and Main Street" on CNN tonight at 8:00 Eastern.

Meanwhile, I want to show you this. New video just now coming in to us at CNN from the shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. that, as you know by now, happened yesterday. We have the very latest on that incredible video. Plus, a look at how the man who was killed is being honored in just a moment.

Also, Brazil's high court makes a decision in a custody case involving an American boy. We'll talk about it with a U.S. Congressman who is very familiar with the case.


COLLINS: Quickly want to show you these pictures right now. President Barack Obama getting ready to board -- actually boarding right now -- Air Force One. Obviously, Andrews Air Force base where it usually departs from, on his way to Green Bay, Wisconsin, talking about health care reform today. We'll watch for all of that to take place and bring it to you live when it happens here on CNN.

Want to get back to the story that we have been covering for several days here. Another twist, in fact, in the custody involving a 9-year-old American boy in Brazil. The high court says it does not have jurisdiction over who should have custody of Sean Goldman. Either his father in the United States or his Brazilian stepfather. The ruling sends the case back to an appeals court now in Rio de Janeiro. Here's how Sean's father, David Goldman, reacted.


DAVID GOLDMAN, SEAN GOLDMAN'S FATHER: Obviously, there was a lot of legal Portuguese I don't understand, so I'll have to go over the decisions and the individual votes by the justices. But there seem to be a lot of good remarks that they want to honor the Hague convention. They believe in the Hague Convention, and they want to return children. And hopefully they sent that message to the lower federal courts, and they will hear that message.


COLLINS: Want to just remind you, part of the story here. David Goldman's wife took their son, Sean, to Brazil back in 2004 and never returned. She remarried and then died last year. That's the case we're talking about.

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith has been trying to help reunite Goldman with his son. He even traveled to brazil with Goldman on a visit, one of many visits, in fact. And he is joining us today from Washington. Representative Smith, is this a good thing? I understand it's a very long process, but this is a positive step.

REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: Heidi, without a doubt. This is a real step forward for David Goldman in the reunification of his son. The man who is the abductor lost in the Brazilian supreme court, and it was a surrogate that brought the, you know, the action. It was a political party, frankly, on their behalf, and they're in the process of exhausting all of their misguided and I believe unethical legal challenges to a dad being with his own son. Let's not forget, Heidi, this is a man, Lens De Silva (ph), who is not related to Sean Goldman.

COLLINS: You're talking about the stepfather.

SMITH: Sean was not even adoptable. He has a father. You can't adopt a boy or a girl who's not adoptable. He is a child abductor and, finally, that's being heard by the Brazilian people.

And one thing that came out in the Brazilian supreme court case, they finally revealed to the Brazilians, now in open court, that three psychologists appointed by the federal judiciary, found that every day that Sean stays in this kidnap situation, he is experiencing emotional and psychological harm. So, every day he gets hurt. That lights a fire, hopefully and brings a sense of urgency to the three judges who will now hear it in Rio de Janeiro -- to just send Sean home and reunite him with his father and end this terrible miscarriage of justice.

COLLINS: So, a three-judge panel, that's the next step. How long could that possibly take? Is there any way to know?

SMITH: Great question. Nobody really knows, but given the strong remarks on the part of several of the supreme court justices in Brasilia -- our sense is that it should now move rather quickly, but, again, David has experienced so many setbacks. He is cautiously optimistic.

I talked to him late yesterday, you know, and he's glad he got the vote he got. Ten to zero, that's unanimous. But now these people have been very adept at throwing one legal maneuvering after another, one obstacle, one mogul after another in his way. Who gets hurt? Above all, Sean Goldman.

COLLINS: Sean. You know, we should say, as well here, that we tried to get comment or some sort of reaction from the other family, if you will. The stepfather. And we had an interview set up with a representative just the other day, and that was canceled at the last moment. So, we're trying to bring it to everybody.

SMITH: Their whole argument, Heidi, is collapsing like a house of cards. This is a child abduction, and the Brazilian courts seem to be finally recognizing their international operations under the Hague Convention, and they need to send Sean home and the other children. We send Brazilian kids home when they are kidnapped to the United States. The reciprocity has to exist to send our American children, and Sean's an American child and his dad wants him back.

COLLINS: All right, you'll keep us updated and continue to hear from David Goldman, as well, keep this story, obviously, in the news until it is resolved after a very, very long five years. Representative Chris Smith out of New Jersey, thanks so much.

SMITH: Heidi, thank you very much.

COLLINS: Quickly now, I want to make sure that we're able to show this to you. Obviously not too late to share your thoughts on this case. We've been getting so many of them. Go to Take a look at our blog. We've given you sort of an update on this hearing that took place and the ruling, and that's what we were just talking to Representative Smith about.

Also giving you a chance to hear some of the comments. Right now this one from Rian Santa Cruz. She says, "Although I'm generally proud of my country, Brazil," --obviously she is from there --"for all the giant leaps it has given on the last couple years, at this moment in time, I have to say I'm deeply disappointed at its legal system. We preach so much about the Latin love, only to deny a father his own right of being with his child. As a Brazilian, I apologize to David Goldman, as I am sure I am not the only one."

Another one to show you, again, getting so many in. We're up to 160 responses. From Andrew. "It's interesting to me as a Canadian to watch how completely different this situation is handled and portrayed by U.S. media compared to when the shoe was on the other foot in the case of Elian Gonzalez. Personally, I feel that the correct choice was made in that case, and I, of course, think the child in this case should be reunited with his American father." So that's just an idea of some of the responses we have been getting. We appreciate the interaction very much on this story.

And so many people sharing their shot thoughts about the security guard that was shot yesterday. We're going to read some of your comments on that as well from our blog.


COLLINS: Want to show you this video in the CNN NEWSROOM now. This is the front door of the Holocaust Memorial Museum. You can see it for yourself, at least four bullet holes right there in this horrible event that took place, again, at the Holocaust Memorial Museum where the security guard of six years actually died. Stephen T. Johns. And also, we have been able to get a glimpse of all the people coming by the memorial museum today to pay their respects -- leaving flowers, you can see all of that right there on the ground in order to honor the memory of Stephen T. Johns.

The shooting at the Holocaust Museum at the top of the hour. Law enforcement officials are planning to hold a news conference.

Here's what we know right now. Flags are flying at half-staff at the facility in honor of the security guard who was killed. That memorial museum also closed today. The suspected gunman, an 88-year-old white supremacist, is hospitalized and in critical condition. Police say guards opened fire when he walked into the museum and began shooting his rifle. The museum's director says the guard who was killed in the shooting spree died heroically.

A federal official tell CNN that investigators found a notebook in the suspect's car that listed other locations in Washington that may have been targeted.

The man killed in the line of duty leaves behind a son who carries his name Stephen Johns, Jr. Our Josh Levs has been looking into more of that. Some pretty emotional sounds we've been hearing from him, Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we got this from one of our affiliates. You know what? Eleven-year-old child, let's go straight to it.


STEPHEN JOHNS, JR., STEPHEN JOHNS' SON: To me he was a really, really great guy, and he was always there for me when I was, like, down or sad or all that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off camera): Had the right words, the right touch to pick you up?

JOHNS: When I heard about what happened I was just sad. Mad at the guy who shot him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your dad being in there may have saved a lot of lives.



LEVS: Well, there you go. He was outside the home in Maryland with his stepfather, Heidi.

COLLINS: Oh, boy. You just want to reach out and give him a big, fat hug.

LEVS: Tell me about it.

COLLINS: (INAUDIBLE) that would help. Boy, just heartbreaking. LEVS: Awful.

COLLINS: We also know that people are posting tributes to Johns on our blog. I would imagine they are saying some pretty incredible things.

LEVS: They are. Yes, CNN/ We're hearing from a lot of people. Let's zoom right in. I want to show you a couple examples.

Daniel wrote us this. "Terrible day for America when someone would kill another person out of hatred." Here, Tony. "Wow. Thoughts and prayers to the family. This terrible loss, what a heinous, cowardly act." And Ian (ph) here talking about this being terrorism. "I'm deeply saddened by the sensless loss of life taken by an American terrorist." And he goes on there to have a discussion there about what a terrorist is.

One reason I like the blogs so much, folks, and also Facebook and Twitter, is you can join the discussion even after the show is over. Keep it going. We have a graphic here for you that will show you all the ways to join us, -- you got my page -- /joshlevsCNN. It's a discussion. Let us know what you think, what your thoughts are. You can post your thoughts for the victim here and his family and, Heidi, we'll keep an eye on that throughout the day and tomorrow.

COLLINS: OK, very good. Josh, thank you.

LEVS: Thanks.

COLLINS: He's described as a white supremacist who denied the Holocaust ever happened. Next, we're going to hear from a woman who knows of the suspect and was at the museum during the shooting.


COLLINS: An update on a story we brought you at the top of the hour here on CNN. Police say a car leaving a crime scene jumped a curb and hit a crowd of people, killing three children. And now, at this hour, we are learning a woman who was also hit, the mother of at least one of those children, has also died at the hospital. The crash happened last night in north Philadelphia. Police say the incident began with two men who stole a motorcycle at gunpoint. One of the suspects took off on the motorcycle and the other in a car, and both men have since been arrested.

Last hour, we talked with Deborah Livstep (ph), who was at the Holocaust Memorial Museum when the shooting happened yesterday. I'm sure you heard about that. We have been following it for you ever since it happened here on CNN. She is also an author, professor and expert on Holocaust denials.


DEBORAH LIPSTADT, MUSEUM SHOOTING EYEWITNESS: It's widespread with the advent of the Internet. The Internet is a wonderful thing, a tool for education, but it also is used for these people to communicate one with the other and to spread their hate.

And the dangerous thing is if you put in certain words when you're in your search engine, whichever one you use, whether it's Anne Frank or Holocaust -- very often in many ways -- many places, you'll get a Holocaust denial site. Maybe not coming up first, but coming up second or third, and very easy for people to be fooled by them. Change the minds of deniers.

There's no changing the mind of a von Brunn or the people who sued me or others like that. I'm worried about the people who maybe instead of going to the Holocaust Museum are on these people's sites and being influenced by them.


COLLINS: That's what Deborah Lipstadt said, and some others are working at a Web site aimed at combating Holocaust deniers.

Flags are flying at half staff at the museum today in honor of the security guard that was killed there yesterday. You see his picture there. Stephen Johns.

I'm Heidi Collins. This developing story continues in the CNN NEWSROOM with Tony Harris.