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Supreme Court Orders New Hearing for Troy Davis; Two Top Taliban Figures Arrested; Gastric Bypass and Insurance; Biggest Credit Card Breach in U.S. History Allegedly Pulled Off By Self-Taught Programmer; The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Buying a Foreclosed Home; Status of Public Option in Doubt

Aired August 18, 2009 - 10:00   ET


SANCHEZ: He's a convicted cop killer sitting on Georgia's death row. But this morning, Troy Davis eloped with a new lease on life. The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered a new hearing, and Davis's family says new evidence will clear him of the 1991 murder of an off-duty police officer.


MARTINA CORREIA, TROY DAVIS' SISTER: We felt like if they gave Troy an evidentiary hearing, they would see that there's so much doubt in this case that he should not be executed.

MARK MACPHAIL JR., MARK MACPHAIL'S SON: It's very frustrating, yes. It just see that, you know, they're all looking on Troy and not looking at what my father gave up. My father lost his life.


SANCHEZ: So what happens now? We turn that question to a nationally recognized legal scholar who loves to be introduced that way, I'm sure. Jonathan Turley, he's a Maurice C. Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University Law School. We usually just refer to him as that guy that knows all about constitutional law.

You know, it's amazing that in our day in time that there would be someone on death row where there would be a legitimate question as to whether or not they actually did what they may be killed for.

JONATHAN TURLEY, PROF. OF LAW, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV.: You know, what's fascinating about this case is that you had a divided Supreme Court and the issue that divided them was whether, in fact, you do have a constitutional right to be able to present evidence of your innocence. In descent, Justice Scalia calls this a fool's era and said that the Supreme Court had never said that even if judges were convinced someone was innocent, they're entitled to an evidentiary hearing.

Now, that may strike people as rather odd. But in fact, the Supreme Court has never really gone as far as it did in this case. It's a very important case where the court is saying if there is real evidence here of innocence, we don't want to execute someone without an evidentiary hearing. SANCHEZ: You know, rarely is a legal case scandalous but this next story that I'm going to share with you, Jonathan, I think it could be considered scandalous. Let me tell you about this one, it too, involves a case that a judge had to make. It was a judge who was dealing with a possibility of a death row.

Sharon Keller of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the name of the judge in this case. The judge faces charges of misconduct now. Let me see if I get this right, she refused to accept a last-minute filing to delay an execution and literally had somebody in her office says, we're done working at 5:00.

TURLEY: Yes, what's fascinating about this case. First of all, Keller went home early to meet a repair man, and yet she really couldn't be bothered to keep the court open. In fact, some people at the court wanted to keep it open, really for a matter of minutes. The lawyers said they had computer problems and this was a final round death appeal. To make things worse, the Supreme Court that afternoon had said that it would look at lethal injection and whether in fact it was constitutional.

And so, she now faces these charges. She is known as a very conservative judge and she is known as a hanging judge in Texas by people who don't like her, but these charges were found to have merit and she's going to stand to answer them. Obviously, for the inmate, it's too late. He was executed that day.

SANCHEZ: This is amazing. I mean, the idea that somebody who is a judge would close their offices at 5:00 when a man's life and a decision this important hangs. As a matter of fact, we got a story. Let's watch this together, if we can, Jonathan. This just came in to us. It's James Munoz. He's the reporter with CNN San Antonio affiliate KENS. Let's watch.


JAMES MUNOZ, KENS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Judge Sharon Keller was first elected to the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals in 1994. Today she is at the center of a rare hearing to gather facts. A commission will review the findings to determine whether or not Judge Keller responded appropriately to attorneys who tried to file a last-minute stay of execution.

On September 25th, 2007, Michael Rashard was to be executed at 6:00 p.m.. He was convicted in the 1986 sexual assault and shooting death of Marguerite Dixon. That morning, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review lethal injection practices. Attorneys for Rashard wanted to request a stay of execution but were told the clerk's office closed at 5:00 p.m.. Rashard was executed at 8:20.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. Supreme Court was not able to, based on their own rules to issue a stay, even though they issued a stay on the next person who the court case came to them and the one after that and there were no more executions for another seven months.

MUNOZ: The case has energized groups against the death penalty. Inside the court room the only goal is to hold Judge Keller accountable if in fact, she failed to uphold death penalty policies in Texas.

(on camera): A commission will review the findings from this hearing. They could issue a public censure, dismiss the case or recommend the judge be removed.

In Texas, James Munoz, for CNN.


SANCHEZ: Can you imagine a lawyer calling a judge's office and saying, hey I need to talk to the judge, I got new information that might actually prove my client's innocence and getting a message from the judge or his assistant saying, sorry, the judge doesn't work past 5:00? Now in fairness to her, Jonathan, apparently there's a discrepancy now as to whether the person just didn't know that this was about the death row case and they were just responding that the judge stops working at 5:00, period. So -- but if she did, if the judge did this, should she be disbarred?

TURLEY: I actually think that putting aside a question of disbarment, I think it is warranted to look at whether she should be removed from the bench. She may be punctual but she appears to lack any element of mercy. And you know, we would be put out if he were standing in a sandwich shop that said, sorry, we make the last sandwich at 5:00.

Here we are talking about a man's life. What is also sort of odd is that you had other judges who did stay after 5:00. They were aware of the death penalty case but they weren't aware that the judge had closed the office. And so, what really this does, it undermines the integrity of the system. It undermines all judges and lawyers because it's hyper technical and in so many ways this is a perfect pairing with the Supreme Court case.

On one side, you have people who say look this is all about keeping the courts working and we can't have endless appeals. People have got to comply with the rules. And then you have on the other side people saying, yes, but at the end of the day, our legal system is measured by the quality of justice not his punctuality.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you another question, I'm curious about. I think you're the perfect person to ask since I was thinking about this. Do we have that video, by the way, do we have the video from Phoenix yesterday where these gun advocates showed up? Look at this fellow.

Some people, and I know the blogs have been criticizing me overnight saying that I described it as an assault rifle. It's an AR15, 13 and maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. I don't know, it's a big gun. Let's leave it at that. He's there where the president is going to be speaking, our reports independently now confirm there may have been 10 or 12 other people there with guns.

I would think that would be a very difficult assignment for Secret Service if a lot of people start showing up with these. Here's the question to you. I know as a reporter we can't fly our planes or helicopters near the president. There is a safe zone, an air space that's created whenever the president travels. Would it be constitutionally considerable to have a no-gun zone within a certain jurisdiction when the president travels, as well?

TURLEY: You know, it's a wonderful question because there is a real legal anomaly here. It's actually easier to control flight patterns, which are under the ultimate control of the federal government, even though they have some local jurisdiction.


TURLEY: The problem with the Secret Service is that you have had in the last few years a radical expansion of gun rights laws that include the right to bring guns in the church, schools, bars. You know all these passed in the past few years. And so they go into these areas that have state law guaranteeing the right to carry non- concealed weapons in many cases.

The Secret Service always has the ability to hold someone on suspicion of a threat. But it gets very, very dicey when someone is engaged in a lawful activity because for gun rights advocates, their position is, look, there's first amendment rights and they can't stop people from speaking and there's second amendment rights and you can't keep us from having guns and that's part of the sort of the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision recently that did find that guns are an individual right protected by the Constitution. We may have to deal with the question you just gave.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it's interesting how laws can sometimes be conceptionalized and sometimes it happen through a process like this. We'll watch it and we'll see what happens. Jonathan, always good to see you.

TURLEY: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks for being with us.

It's a make or break month for health care reform. That's why the music is playing underneath me and one major part of President Obama's plan is up in the air right now. Here is what we now.

The White House now says the president is still keeping a public health insurance option on the table, which is very different from what they said yesterday, which is different from what they said back in July. Nonetheless, this after some administration officials made it seem like he would drop the plan, if it took that to get it passed.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seemed to do just that right here on CNN Sunday. Now, the public option would be a government-run alternative to a private insurance companies. Dropping it would please conservatives, but it would anger many Democrats who are supporters of the current plan who say, we may not vote for anything if it's not there. Democrats have taken their lumps over the president's plan at a lot of recent angry town hall meetings and now Carol Costello tells us they're starting to rally their own supporters to show up at these things and fight back.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was like a good old-fashioned duel. On one side, those opposed. Armed with sharp words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop Obama now! Stop Obama now!

COSTELLO: And signs that cut right to the chase. But this time Obama supporters roused themselves and fought back, but they didn't exactly throw stones.


COSTELLO: And at this protest they didn't carry signs calling the other side controversial names.

SARA EL-AMINE, ORGANIZING FOR AMERICA: They're staying respectful. We are, you know, out for - for the first time, I feel like it's a turning point for us. Folks have been really focusing on the other side and we've outnumbered them, at least three to one today, if not more.

COSTELLO: The pro-Obama crowd is part of the president's Organizing for America grassroots network. The same network that worked so hard for him during the 2008 campaign. It's just one weapon the democrats have been using lately to combat combative town hall meetings.

ANNOUNCER: Why is Congressman Boehner taking the side of the insurance companies in the health care debate?

COSTELLO: These ads are part of the strategy, too. Paid in part by pro-Obama union groups. Some analysts say it all comes way too late.

LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: A lot of democrats would say it's about time or it's past time. The administration lost control of the message on health care and once a president loses control of the agenda, it is very difficult to get it back.

COSTELLO: Sabato says the president never did control the message because he didn't come up with his own plan. Leaving that to lawmakers who crafted several plans, all open to interpretation and rumor, like the death panel law. When something like they want to kill grandmas out there, it's tough to fight, even though the president has tried.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary, what is truly risky is if we do nothing. COSTELLO: Well, his supporters are now trying to do something more.


COSTELLO: Even if they only succeed in drowning out the competing noise.

(on camera): But analysts like Larry Sabato say scary seems to be working right now. A major health care plan was not passed by the Senate before the August break and although the president denies it, his administration left some wiggle room in the favored public health insurance option. Sabato says if that goes by the wayside, expect the president to pass the plan, but one that has been seriously scaled back. Carol Costello, CNN, Washington.


SANCHEZ: And guess what, you're going to be hearing more questions, more opinions on health care reform and town hall meetings across the country today. They include Congressman Barney Frank session in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will hold a town hall meeting in Chicago and some other congressmen are going to hold town hall meetings, we understand, in Florida, in Oklahoma and in Texas and our cameras will be there.

Now, if you want to know more about the health care debate and how the reforms could affect you and your family, check out our special health care in America section at and you can get the very latest from town hall debates, fact checks, I-reports and other health care news. Just go to

So who's doing well today? Look at that. 62, that's enough. See the plus side in front of the 61 now? That means so far, at least, it looks like the market is up, a bit of a rebound from yesterday.

The good guys to the Taliban zero. We're going to tell you about some big arrests on the other side of the world. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: Sixteen minutes after the hour. I'm Rick Sanchez. Thanks for being with us this morning.

Let's go to Pakistan, shall we? Pakistan, the government says it's taken two terrorists off the streets. I got a map for you. They say one of the Taliban members is a commander who was arrested out of Islamabad Hotel. He's being treated from injuries from a drone plane attack. OK. The other guy is a spokesman for the militant group. Now, this is interesting. One would not think that a militant group would have a spokesperson, right? There you go. Things we learn every day on CNN.

Two days before historic elections in Afghanistan, fresh attacks have rocked the capital. The Taliban is claiming credit for this morning's rocket attack on the presidential palace. Later in Kabul, a suicide bomber targeted a military convoy. So, things are certainly hot and heavy there. Seven civilians, we understand, were killed, by the way, and 53 others were injured. Now this is the latest violence since Taliban insurgents vowed to disrupt Thursday's historic elections there.

President Obama is urging patience with the Afghanistan war. His message aimed at those who know the difficulties of battle and know it all too well. They are the Veterans of Foreign Wars. That's who the president went to take his message to. A stern message about Afghanistan - it was at their annual convention in Phoenix and the president called for patience.


OBAMA: There will be more difficult days ahead. The insurgency in Afghanistan didn't just happen overnight and we won't defeat it overnight. This will not be quick or easy, but we must never forget.


SANCHEZ: The president also stressed that this is not a war of choice. He says that the United States ignores the Taliban, it's going to provide an even bigger safe haven for its cousin al Qaeda.

President Obama facing a full schedule this afternoon. And we're going to follow it for you. First he's going to meet with Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and also laying the ground work for Middle East peace talks and the problems there. Multi-fold, at least, when it comes to Egypt. Those efforts stalled in recent months, by the way.

Later, Mr. Obama is going to meet with former President Bill Clinton. It will be their first face-to-face meeting since Mr. Clinton traveled to North Korea earlier this month and won the release of two American journalists.

Three tropical weather systems have been on our radar over the last, oh, 72 hours or so, potentially the most dangerous is Bill. However, there's actually good news about Bill. Look at that. See that cone right there? Look where it's going. Do you see it touching part of the United States? No. That's good news.

Category 2 hurricane is getting stronger. But the move is taking it into the Atlantic. Jacqui Jeras is not only telling us about Bill, but she's also going to be telling us about Ana and she's going to be telling us of what is left of Claudette. There are some of the pictures from Claudette. It moved inland yesterday. Really, a surprising storm.

It took parts of the southeast by surprise. Then it continued going up after it went past the Florida panhandle and some parts got as much as 4 1/2 inches of rain. Jacqui joining us now. You know, the one I'm really interested in because Claudette is history and Bill looks like it's not really going to happen.

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. SANCHEZ: I'm really interested in Ana.

JERAS: OK. Let me tell you about all of them but you know, I don't want you to do this yet about Bill.

SANCHEZ: Really?

JERAS: Not yet. It's a week out. Come on.

SANCHEZ: You know, I got to tell you...

JERAS: It's a week out. Come on.

SANCHEZ: You know, I got to tell you my buddies down there at the National Hurricane Center, when they draw that cone and it's so far away from the U.S., 99 percent of the time, they're right.

JERAS: It's all about timing and, actually, I got a great graphic. It's like two winds, so be patient, my friend. But I got a great graphic to explain to you what's steering Bill and why we don't think it's going to hit the U.S., at least, not yet.

But like I said, things change and if timing doesn't sync up exactly right - you know, timing is everything here. All right. Bill, here's where it is now. It is a hurricane 100-mile-per-hour wind. So that's a category 2 and not too far away from a category 3. It has to be a 111 for that to happen.

One thing to note here on the satellite pictures - look at that eye. It was really nice and tight before and now you can how it's gotten much bigger. It's in the middle of what we call an eye wall replacement cycle. So it's probably bringing itself down a little bit. But when that happens, it ultimately tightens back up and usually becomes a stronger storm altogether.

Now where is Bill going? Yes, we think it's going to continue on this northwesterly track and start to churn on up to the north. Why do we think that is happening? Well, high pressure is controlling Bill right now and steering it in that northwesterly direction. Here you can see the high in the middle of the Atlantic and it's moving that way.

Now if the weather pattern stays put, exactly how it is right now, we would be a lot more worried about it's U.S. impact on Bill. But there is this big trough or this cold front basically that's coming through the U.S. by this weekend that in essence is just kind of block Bill up and put it on up to the north. We'll still be watching places like the Canadian Maritime.

Now if this doesn't sync up exactly right, we could see some changes in the forecast down the line. So stay tuned with the latest on what's going to be happening here with Bill.

All right. Now, what is left of Ana, Ana is just basically an open area, just a cluster of thunderstorms. It's not even a tropical depression any more, but it still could be problematic. Why is that? Well, right now, it's bringing heavy, heavy rainfall across parts of Cuba and you can see some of these moisture already moving in across South Florida and into the Florida keys.

All of this moving is going to be moving westward over the next couple of days and we're a little concerned about what's going to happen when these remnants gets here into the Gulf of Mexico because the winds are still pretty light. Temperatures here though, ocean temperatures are like bath water. We're talking 80 to 85 degrees.

So things are still right for development in this area, which is right where Claudette developed, by the way, so don't write Ana off just yet and don't write off Bill either. But Claudette is done. It's history, you can mark that one off.

SANCHEZ: Keep an eye on Ana. It's all about Ana. I'm telling you.

JERAS: I'm not disagreeing. I'm not disagreeing, my friend. We're on the same page. Same team, buddy.

SANCHEZ: Enjoy the conversation. All right. Jacqui, appreciate it.

He's just 22, in college with a 3.9 GPA and things are great for him - except. He has this weight problem. He weighs over 600 pounds. His insurance says they won't cover a gastric bypass and many of you are saying, you know what, it should be paid and then many of you are also telling me on my twitter board here, nope. It's a personal responsibility. This is an interesting question. And we've got tons of reaction. We'll stay on it. Stay with us, we're looking back at the story.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. Volunteers are now being vaccinated for the H1N1 virus but it could be Thanksgiving before many of the rest of us could get the swine flu shot. Federal health officials say there won't be nearly as much vaccine on hand by mid-October as they thought. 45 million doses instead of the anticipated 120 million. Bill Hall, Health and Human Services spokesperson says it is a delay in manufacturing, it is not a shortage.

All right. Let's see what you're saying about this. We told you the story about the 600-pound man who wants to have gastric bypass and he wants the insurance companies to pay for it. Now we've learned from you and our own research that sometimes insurance does pay for it, in his case, not.

Here's what you're saying. Mixed bag here. Let's go right first to my twitter page. This is - pardon me. This is You see right there. Well, this guy says right there in that one. That I'm highlighting. No way. It's an unnecessary procedure. Exercise, self-control and personal responsibility work wonders.

All right. I'm going to flip you over to Heidi's blog and here you have just the opposite response. See right here in the middle. Yes, insurance should cover it. For some, it could be life-changing and saving. That's an interesting question.

If we can put a picture up of this gentleman, this 600-pound fellow who says, look this thing can save my life. You're going to see who it is we're talking about. There he is right now. He says he's being denied. He says he can't help his weight. His mother says he's been a big kid since he was little. She called him, in fact, I think, a chubby monkey, which we all got a kick out of.

Let's bring Elizabeth into this, our medical correspondent. Elizabeth Cohen. This is a curious case, getting tons of reaction on this. Should an insurance company pay for this because of what they're going to save in the end or should they not because it's really a case of personal responsibility?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rick, I was actually a little bit surprised to hear that his insurance wouldn't pay for it. Many insurance policies will pay for gastric bypass because well it usually works. I mean, you have someone who is 600 pounds who will lose weight because of gastric bypass and it will save insurance companies in the end because he will be much less likely to get heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure. So, yes, many insurance companies do pay for it, again I was surprised that his doesn't.

SANCHEZ: Let me play devil's advocate with you and just take the side of those folks who have been writing and kind of paraphrase what they're saying. They seem to be telling me on Twitter and on the blog, as well, that if we do this as much as your heart goes out to someone like this, are we not sending a signal then that someone can be irresponsible?

I know it's a loaded word and I know there are people out there who say he can't help it, but some people would argue that when someone gets this heavy that somewhere along the lines somebody should have stopped him. If the insurance company comes in and takes care of his problem, are we then denying that personal responsibility thing that we always talk about today?

COHEN: All right. Rick, I have two responses to that. One, as I said, insurance companies have been paying for gastric bypass for many years now. We still have heavy people, right?


COHEN: I mean...

SANCHEZ: Heavier than ever.

COHEN: Right. Exactly. Are you going to tell someone who smokes, sorry we're not going to treat your lung cancer because you smoked. I mean, golly that would be a big, big step to take. And as a society, we have not decided to do that.

SANCHEZ: Is this what's going to be a part of the discussion as we move forward with health care reform. Well, let me ask it this way, should it be part of the discussion, prevention?

COHEN: Right. Well, prevention is definitely a part of the discussion about health care reform. How do you keep from becoming 600 pounds? But what's interesting is as I was reading through the bill -- this is the House bill but there are similar provisions in the Senate bill. I was reading through it and I thought, you know what, health care reform actually could change the situation for this young man.

Health care reform may make it so that insurance companies have to pay for gastric bypass. It won't absolutely happen, but it may happen under health care reform that the government would say to insurance companies, you've got to pay for this. You don't have a choice.

SANCHEZ: This is an interesting -- I mean, we've really hit a nerve because we really got a lot of people responding to this. Good stuff. Thanks for giving us the facts on this.

COHEN: Of course,

SANCHEZ: Elizabeth Cohen, as usual.

130 million credit card accounts stolen? Someone tapped into 130 million credit cards? This is called the biggest heist of its type, ever. We're going to tell you how prosecutors say this megacrime went down. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: I tell you. This is a real head turner. It is being called the biggest credit card breach in U.S. history. One man, allegedly the ringleader in this heist that resulted in millions of stolen accounts.

Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with details. I think we've short-shrifted this story, the way we wrote it. Let me tell viewers, really, what's going on. Millions of dollars nowadays is nothing. This guy tapped into 130 million credit cards. Let me repeat that. This guy allegedly tapped into 130 million credit cards. Susan, that sounds crazy.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sounds crazy and what also sounds crazy, Rick, is that this guy has been involved with the authorities before on either side of the fence. Either helping authorities or hacking into computer systems. His name is Alberto Gonzalez, he's 28 years old, high school graduate, self-taught programmer and, needless to say, he is a huge star in the cyber underworld.

The feds say that he and two unnamed co-conspirators hacked into huge corporate computer networks and secretly placed malicious software on them, which allowed them back door access to steal data into these millions of accounts. Now, Gonzalez is already in jail for allegedly stealing 40 million other accounts. This is, you know a much smaller scam, if you will. And I put that in quotes. Yes. He's sort of like that movie "Catch Me If You Can," Leonard Dicaprio. He's this big scam artist and he ultimately helps authorities with legitimate -- with legitimate, you know, programs, except that he then once again delved into the underworld, according to authorities. And it just goes to show you that the breaches into this very personal information for all of us, they keep getting bigger, Rick.

SANCHEZ: By the way, when we say he stole -- some people are reporting he stole 130 million credit cards. He didn't take the credit cards. He got into accounts that gave him access to each of those credit cards, and he could either take, change, shift money for all these people. It is amazing to think that somebody could do that to one of our accounts.

LISOVICZ: Well, it just goes to show you the kind of mind that is going on. These programs were able to tap into existing transactions and then take these numbers and put them on other computer servers and then do what you will.

We don't know yet the implications of this with these 130 million accounts. We do know that he targeted customers of 7-Eleven, customers of Hanaford Brothers (ph), which is a regional grocery store based in the Northeast and Heartland Payment Systems. You may not know that latter name, Rick, but it is a huge credit card processing firm. So, more to come for sure about this.

SANCHEZ: It looks like the market is doing a little bit of a rebound today. That's good news thus far.

LISOVICZ: A little bit of a rebound. The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500. Each up about half a percent after a tumble of 2 percent yesterday.

SANCHEZ: All right. You're going to be watching it for us. Thanks so much, Susan.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Fewer new homes are being built. Housing sales fell about 1 percent last month. But even as demand for new homes remain sluggish, there is hunger for another type of property, foreclosures. Well, duh.

Poppy Harlow has the "The Breakdown" for us from New York. If it's cheap, we want it, right? What's cheaper than a foreclosure?

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: That's true, Rick. I will tell you some information that's not "duh" because I don't think you would have known that a lot of these homes are selling in a day, and that's what we're seeing more and more. Some of these homes selling in a matter of hours.

Data out from saying that a lot of these homes that we're seeing now are in contract less than 90 minutes, Rick, after they hit the market. And the big driver here is the pricing because the banks are getting more and more of these foreclosures on their books and they just want to get rid of them because when they see a home, the banks pay the property taxes and pay the maintenance and the energy bills, and that's what happens when they hold the homes on their books month after month.

What we're seeing, especially in bubble markets, is that this is what is happening. The prices keep falling on these foreclosures. Like in Florida and California, just so the banks can get rid of them. It's not, though, just these foreclosures. What we're seeing, and this is helpful to anyone who is trying to buy a home right now. The prices continue to fall.

One real estate tracker that says 25 percent of all the homes on the market right now, Rick, have had at least one price cut. When you look at a market like California, you see 67 percent of homes on the market there have already had a price reduction from June to August. The deals could get better with foreclosures. One realtor told us this story outside of Detroit. He said, listen, this house should have sold for about $200,000, and the bank listed it at 129 grand and they got 13 offers, Rick, in two days. They just want to get the houses off their books.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you a question, though.


SANCHEZ: Because I know a lot of people are watching and they are thinking I have a little extra money and these things are getting so cheap, I can go in and buy one. What is the risk of getting in and buying a foreclosure?

HARLOW: It is a great question, Rick, because you see the top line number and think, I can afford that. There's a ton of risk. You have to get these homes carefully inspected. You never know what a buyer did -- an owner did before they left. You hear stories about people pouring concrete down the toilets, et cetera because they are so mad they're being kicked out of their homes.

So, have it inspected. Be aware that your maintenance costs will probably be higher for the first three to five years when you buy a foreclosure. More details on this story. We'll pull it up for you quickly right on Some interesting news for first-time buyers, not if you have to sell your home, too, though.

SANCHEZ: All right. Thank you, Poppy, appreciate it.

HARLOW: You're welcome.

SANCHEZ: Jacqui standing by, and she will tell us about Bill and Claudette and Ana. I am going to Americanize Ana. I'm going to call her Anna just to make you mad...

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I don't care what you call her.

SANCHEZ: I'm going to Americanize her. JERAS: Yes, the World Meteorlogical Foundation might not be happy with you, however. But hey, between friends, Rick. Hey, you know, Ana could be making a comeback, and just for you and your viewers, I have interesting graphics and computer forecast that shows what Ana -- or what is left of Ana could potentially do and how it could impact the United States, coming up.


SANCHEZ: Jacqui Jeras and I got this thing going on where I tell her that Ana is the one to watch, and she says don't discount Bill just yet. Let's keep it going with Jacqui.

JERAS: You think I'm disagreeing with you and I'm not, my friend. In fact, look at this, Rick. This is going to...

SANCHEZ: I'm looking, I'm looking.

JERAS: ... because our magic wall of technology combined with your interest in Ana will bring some really good information to our viewers right now. We'll start out by showing you the remnants of Ana, not even a tropical depression anymore, bringing in incredibly heavy rainfall here across parts of Cuba. Now, there's no organization to this just yet, but it's all drifting westward, and as it does that, that's when we start to get concerned about what this thing could do and possibly regenerate.

Now, this is a computer model forecast from WSI, which is the company, our vendor. It brings us our weather data. Like that's how we get our satellite information and computer model stuff. First up on this, I want you to notice, this is Bill. There you see Bill moving into the picture. However, look over here. Look what happens as we go late into time. This is late Thursday and nto Friday. And look at the legend down here on the bottom, or over here on the side. That blue that you see in there is the equivalent of a category 1 storm.

So, here's a new model that is just detecting the potential for Ana to become a Cat 1 into the eastern Gulf. We'll watch that. And the water temperatures, like I said, are like bath water in the Gulf of Mexico. Take a look at this. There you can see the Gulf and this dark orange area that you can see in here. Thirty degrees Celsius, that's 86 degrees Fahrenheit. You've got to have 80 degree water temperatures to sustain a hurricane. Eighty-six is like -- it's almost too warm to swim in that.

And, Bill, by the way, we should get an update on Bill coming in very shortly and see the intensity of it right now. Right now, 100 miles per hour as we get that new updated track and updated intensity, and we'll bring that along to you in the next hour. Rick?

SANCHEZ: I miss doing this with you. Man, we have such a great time on weekends...

JERAS: We do. You keep me on my toes, friend.

SANCHEZ: I will. Thanks so much, Jac.

The White House said the public option is still on the table, but is it about to drop off? I mean, this is crazy. We heard over the last 72 hours everything from the public option is gone to the public option is back on. I mean, let's talk to two members of Congress with their own ideas about this controversial health care plank, and they're going to join us in just a little bit. Stay right there, everyone.


Over the last hour and 49 minutes, I have been telling you that this thing is getting very hard to follow. Is there a public option? Is there not a public option? You remember what happened Sunday. Kathleen Sebelius went on the Sunday talk shows, and she seemed to suggest that the public option was all but dead. The White House wasn't going to be pushing for it any more. Well, she just made a comment moments ago. We captured it, and we'll turn it around. Listen to it for yourself.


KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: All I can tell you is that Sunday must have been a very slow news day because here is the bottom line. Absolutely nothing has changed. We continue to support the public option that will help lower costs, give American consumers more choice and keep private insurers honest. If people have other ideas about how to accomplish these goals, we'll look at those, too. But the public option is a very good way to do this.


SANCHEZ: Eddy Bernice Johnson is Texas Democrat and a registered nurse. She's also a congresswoman. Congressman John Shadegg is a Republican from Arizona, and both of them are kind enough to join us.

Congresswoman, let me begin with you. If the president takes this public option off the table, would you vote for this bill in any form?

REP. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON (D), TEXAS: Not likely. I don't see any other way that we can achieve what we're trying to do. The people that are not being insured now are not being insured because the insurance companies in business will not do it. We've to find some way to get them insured and to control some of the costs that people who are insured are paying now and getting less.

SANCHEZ: John Shadegg, let me ask you, Congressman. If the public option is in the bill, if it's mandated by the Democrats, would you vote for health care reform?

REP. JOHN SHADEGG (R), ARIZONA: I would not vote for health care reform. I do agree with Congressman -- Eddie Bernice Johnson that we need to get these people insured. I don't think the public option is the right way to do that. Americans are generous. They want to make sure everyone has coverage. Indeed, all the Republican proposals out there cover every single American, and they also want to cover those who have what are called pre-existing conditions or chronic illnesses. But I don't think the public option is the way to do that...

JOHNSON: How is it going to be done?

SHADEGG: Go ahead.

JOHNSON: How would you do it?

SHADEGG: Well, my own legislation gives a stipend, cash, to Americans who can't afford to buy their own plan and lets them use that cash from the government to buy their own plan. And what I think the advantage to that is, is if you buy your own plan, two things happen.

One, you can hold it accountable, if it doesn't treat you right, you can fire it. In a government program, you can't fire it and, second, if you buy it even with a stipend given to you by the government, you take personal accountability and responsibility. My concern with the public plan is that it will destroy the health care coverage that 83 percent of Americans like. Let's solve the problem without doing damage...

SANCHEZ: A stipend, though? A stipend? In other words, you would take my money as a taxpayer and give it to someone so that they can then take that money and give it to one of the health care companies that is making millions and millions of dollars in profit. I mean, some people...


SHADEGG: The reason they're making those profits is that the rules are rigged right now in their favor. What I want to do is force them to compete. The truth is...


SANCHEZ: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Let's just try...


SHADEGG: No, let me answer your question.

SANCHEZ: No, I just want to understand it, though.

SHADEGG: There's no competition in health insurance in America today.

SANCHEZ: But you wouldn't be adding competition if you are just giving them government money...

SHADEGG: Oh, yes, I would be adding competition because, let me explain.

SANCHEZ: OK. SHADEGG: What we do is make them actually compete for our dollars. Right now, health insurance companies will only have to market to our employers. They don't have to market to us. If they abuse us, if they charge too much, if they cheat us, we can't hold them accountable because we didn't hire them. Our employers hired them.

Why did our employers hire them? Because our employers can buy health insurance with tax-free dollars. You and I have to use after- tax dollars. That cheats every American. What we need to do is make those health insurance companies compete for my business. The auto insurance -- let me make this point. The auto insurance industry competes for our business.

You see a Geico ad, a State Farm ad, an Allstate ad everyday. And they keep telling us they can do better for us at lower costs. When was the last time you saw health insurance companies run that advertisement begging for our business, saying...

SANCHEZ: No, I love your passion, and I love the novelty of your idea. Let me let the Congresswoman in here. Why not? Why don't we just take the government money and give it to people so they can put it in these insurance companies and buy something that will work for them, Congresswoman?

JOHNSON: It doesn't work. The insurance companies will not insure people that are sick. They will not insure people that are older. It is clear. That's why they've manipulated to make sure that Medicare is the first payer after someone gets to be 65. After you paid into this insurance company all of your adult life. Give me something that works that substitutes for the public option, and I might be able to do that. My way is...

SANCHEZ: Are you going to tell, Congresswoman -- by the way, are you going to tell the White House that? Are you going to pick up the phone today, call the White House and tell them what is your message on this because I talked to Rick Sanchez on CNN, and he's confused and he's trying to figure out for himself as is the entire network. Is public network on? Is it off? Why are we getting so many mixed signals from the White House on this?

JOHNSON: I haven't gotten any mixed signals from the White House. When I heard that on Sunday, I called the White House and I was told that everything was still on the table. We are not in session. We can't change anything right now.

SANCHEZ: So, you think it is still on the table right now?

JOHNSON: It is still on the table. It is the best option we have. But we'll look at other places, and the other thing is, too...

SANCHEZ: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on. Let me get the other side's take on this. Republican Congressman John Shadegg, do you think it is still on the table?

JOHNSON: I think the Congresswoman has an excellent point. The insurance companies have been able to refuse to insure the sick and those with chronic conditions. We shouldn't let them get away with that.

I introduced legislation that would require every state to cover all high-risk people and make sure that every American that has a pre- existing condition -- I have a sister with breast cancer. She was in job lock for years. That's not fair. She's right. We not only need to give people choice but we need to force the insurance industry to take even the sick. And what I would propose is that we do that through high-risk rules so every American gets coverage. Then we force the American industry to compete like the auto insurance industry, like the life insurance industry and any other industry.

SANCHEZ: I love your passion about this. It's like you come in with an idea, you're pushing for it. Good for you.

By the way, yes or no from you. Do you think the public option is still there, Congressman?

SHADEGG: Oh, absolutely. It is going to remain a part of this debate until this bill is done.

SANCHEZ: All right. You guys have been great, wonderful discussion, good, smart talk. My appreciation to both of you for coming on with us this morning.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

SHADEGG: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: If you want to know more about the health care debate and how the reforms could affect you and your family, check out our special "Health Care in America" section. It's at, and you can get the very latest from the town hall debates. We'll cover them for you. Fact check reports and iReports and other health care news. We're committed to bringing you the truth on this thing. Go to


SANCHEZ: Here we go. Fans hoping to get their hands on some kind of pop memorabilia. They're going to have to wait just a little bit longer. A judge decided to delay the approval on a three-city exhibition agreement of Michael Jackson's memorabilia. Until he hears testimony from Katherine Jackson, the singer's mom. She wants the agreement negotiated. So as it goes, so will we, in that tell (ph).

I'm Rick Sanchez. Really enjoyed it. Heidi will be back soon. CNN NEWSROOM continues with the Drew-miester, Mr. Griffin. Here he is.