Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Eye on the Economy; Web Tool Helps Swine Flu Patients

Aired October 09, 2009 - 10:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Checking stories happening right now.

We'll get more details in a couple of hours on this weekend's National Equality March on Washington. Activists are calling for full equality in civil law nationwide for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The march is being talked about as a first step to constructive grassroots network in all Congressional districts.

Two new sports are going to be part of the Olympics at the 2016 summer games. The International Olympic Committee today voted to include rugby and golf. Rugby was last played at the Olympics in 1924. Golf was last a part of the games more than a century ago. It's about darn time.

A perfect strike, you saw it here on CNN. NASA scientists deliberately fired an empty rocket from a satellite into the moon then crashed the satellite into a crater. Photographing all of the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and the orbiter that launched the satellite; NASA hoping to find water on the moon in all of the dust that that rocket kicked up so it can one day build a base there.

Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner. Not many people, including the President, expected to wake up to that stunning news this morning. The honor seems mostly based on his promise of peacemaking rather than his actual accomplishments.

The committee recognized several areas. One, his effort to reduce nuclear weapons. The committee also applauded President Obama's efforts to ease tensions with the Muslim world. And maybe most importantly, his larger international efforts to build bridges. He has vowed to replace unilateral American action with more diplomacy and global cooperation.

We are expecting to hear from the President himself little bit later this hour. We're going to carry those comments for you live. But first, let's go to the White House and CNN's Dan Lothian with more on this. So, what are we going to hear from the president, Dan?

DAN LOTHIAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I guess we'll probably hear more of that initial reaction that we got this morning that the President was humbled by this prize that he received. We were told by a senior administration official this morning, Robert Gibbs talking to me earlier this morning, told me that he was the one that made the call to the President shortly before 6 a.m.. to tell him that he had won this prize. Now, it's very interesting and it took the White House by surprise and a lot of other people by surprise because this is something that's typically extended to - when we talk about presidents - no longer in office or those who have signed some agreement to end some kind of conflict. So here he is nine months into office and he's recognized, it was certainly a shock for everyone, including this White House, Heidi.

COLLINS: Yeah, aren't you just dying to really know though, Dan exactly what the President said when Robert Gibbs called him? Is there any way to find out? Not this "humbled" stuff. What did he really say?

LOTHIAN: Yeah, I'm sure there was some screaming, some other words that came out. I don't know. It'd be wonderful to have some kind of microphone inside the White House, but perhaps you know, we're waiting for the President to come out here, perhaps the President will tell us a little more beyond just saying that he was humbled when he learned of this.

COLLINS: I do wonder too, everybody talking about this morning, what it will do as far as the politics surrounding all of it because obviously the politics came into play almost immediately upon this announcement.

LOTHIAN: That's right, and it's really unclear a how this will all play out but certainly some could think that this could give the President, for lack of a better term, some juice, as he's pushing so many of these major agenda items, trying to figure out the way forward in Afghanistan, trying to deal with Iran and North Korea, trying to get health care passed.

This is something that really could help the administration. In fact, I did talk to an administration official who told me that he really hoped something good could come out of this.

On the other hand, there are those, in fact I talked to a Republican who was in the Bush administration who said that this really could provide sort of fuel for the fire of critics who really see this - this whole opportunity could backfire. So you know, we'll have to wait and see how this all plays out.

COLLINS: Yeah, political pressure could obviously be ramped up opn many of these different issues that he is handling right now.

LOTHIAN: Right, and you know what, I should point out as well, we started out this day really thinking that we were going to be focusing on this latest meeting the president's having with his National Security Team.

COLLINS: That's right, the fourth one.

LOTHIAN: The fourth of five meetings, and this has sort of overshadowed that, but that's still taking place. The focus again, the President trying to determine what the strategy will be and as early as today they could be discussing troop numbers, whether or not they'll be, you know those 40,000 to be sent into Afghanistan. So that's still something on the agenda for today.

COLLINS: Of course, we all know that the President has had General Stanley McChrystal's assessment in his hands for quite some time now as everybody's waiting for the final decision obviously. Alright, Dan Lothian waiting to hear fromt the President along with the rest of us. Rose Garden, 10:30 is when that's going to happen. He is set to make that statement, what is it, in about 25 minutes from now. Of course we'll bring it to you live when it happens.

So, as the President is recognized for peacemaking efforts, also serving of course as the Commander in Chief of two separate wars, will today's honor affect how he moves ahead on some of these critical decisions you just heard Dan Lothian talking about.

This possible troop buildup in Afghanistan. First and foremost, I want to get to our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr now with more on that. Very interesting sort of side story to all of this Barbara, is it not?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well it sure comes at an interesting time Heidi, because as Dan and you were just saying, if this afternoon, later today when everyone sits down yet again at the White House for a discussion about what to do in Afghanistan. The President, Commander in Chief of two wars, Iraq, ramping down, Afghanistan potentially ramping up with some real decisions to be made on the way ahead even as this announcement comes from the Nobel committee.

Now, we are now hearing reaction, not surprisingly from Taliban. A Taliban spokesman making a statement to news agencies condemning the award to the President saying "We've seen no change in strategy for peace. He's done nothing for peace in Afghanistan. We condemn the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for Obama." Perhaps most interesting there, such a speedy reaction, the Taliban obviously watching the news as well.

And no surprise, spokesman for President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan offering congratulations of President Karzai of the award to President Obama. But now, really, the hard work ahead, the decision to be made. More troops, how many more troops? How much of a commitment for Afghanistan. How much of a commitment across the border to Pakistan. Heidi.

COLLINS: And how long it will take to make those decisions. Obviously we don't have a decision yet. But the troops themselves are now starting to speak out on this, right?

STARR: Well, they're starting to be more aware and think about it on the level especially of the Army and the Marine Corps. And those are the troops that are expected to do the heavy lifting if more troops are to be sent.

Both the head of the Army, General George Casey, the head of the Marine Corps, General Jim Conway, offering their thoughts over the last several days. If the decision is made to send tens of thousands of additional troops, what will it do to the boots on the ground? What is it going to do to these young people? The calculations now being made about what it would mean on how much time troops could spend back home with their families.

If more troops go, it's going to be much tougher to give troops the required time back home with their families, the time to unwind, rest and recuperate. Troops are exhausted so this is going to be very tough when all of this comes down, Heidi.

COLLINS: Yeah, very critical point to be talking about as far as they can maintain their health. Both physically and psychologically in all of this. Barbara Starr, thank so much, the Pentagon for us today.

The Nobel announcement took Europeans by surprise and even elicited a highly negative editorial. CNN's Paula Newton joining us live from London with more on this. Paula, as we try to gauge the international reaction here to this surprise announcement, what are you hearing from where you are?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well I'm surprised it didn't wake you guys up this morning. Europe kind of woke up and went, gasp, "What is happening here?" And it didn't take -- I mean, literally within a minute - three of the major newspapers here in London had polls going, "Does he deserve it?"

But some of the stuff: the "Times" calling it "absurd." "Political and Partisan" called it a mockery of the prize itself. Look at this one Heidi, "The Telegraph." "Barely a senator, now barely a president, yet in the land of Euro Weenies, the great and the good remain in his throw." I mean, it really wasn't fortunate in the sense that it was scathing.

Now, "Le Figaro" in France being a little more charitable and perhaps echoing what a lot of people fear and saying, look, the Nobel committee didn't really do the president any favors by awarding him this prize in terms of raising expectations on what should be done. And Angela Merkel congratulating the President but also reiterating what the Nobel committee itself was trying to say which is, look we expect great things from President Obama and we do expect him to deliver on peace.

COLLINS; Yeah, it's just so fascinating. I'm glad we have you to look at some of that from the European countries, anyway. Is it going to change, you think, the way he's perceived?

NEWTON: I mean look, we're just a few minutes away from the President speaking about this. A lot of people waiting to see his posture. What's key here now is, as I said, a lot more will be expected of him, and the attitude will change if they actually see a president who engages internationally.

You know we're in the middle of this huge health care debate. The economy, the dollar sliding. I think when Europe and the rest of the world see that, they wonder how can you motivate a president to engage on these other issues? I think a lot of them are hoping in the most positive sense that this does put more pressure on him to engage positively on the international scene.

COLLINS: Yeah absolutely, the whole discussion about whether more pressure or whether it's a boost to his momentum, if you will, however much you may believe he may or may not have. The timing is fascinating. Paula Newton, thanks so much, we really do appreciate it live from London this morning.

And just last hour, we heard from former president Jimmy Carter, himself a past winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He congratulated President Obama for the honor and said it sent a strong message. Here's exactly what he said. "It is a bold statement of international support for his vision and commitment to peace and harmony in international relations." Mr. Carter went on to say, " It shows the hope his administration represents, not only to our nation, but to people around the world."

Not everybody being so gracious, and that includes some Republicans. Here's what we heard last hour from Michael Steele, as you know, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. He said this, "The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished? It is unfortunate the the President's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights."

Steele goes on to say, "One thing is certain, President Obama won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action."

Well, as you know, we have been talking about this all morning long and waking up to the news, some of you just now hearing it in fact, depending on the time zone you're watching from. Of course, President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, announced very early this morning.

We do want to know what you think. Head on over to our blog, if you would. and tell us what your reaction is. And, of course, we will hear about this from the president himself in about 20 minutes or so from the Rose garden today.

With stocks seesawing, gold prices soaring and the dollar dipping even more, we do we put our money to make money? We'll get advise from financial expert Peter Morici.


COLLINS: Alright, let's take a quick look at the Big Board right now. We're at the positive by about thirty five points or so. Dow Jones Industrial average is resting at 9,822, just hovering under that 10,000 mark that everybody would like to see us go over. So, we'll continue to watch those numbers throughout the day as always.

Meanwhile, the value of gold is going up, I'm sure you heard about this, oil prices are down and so is the dollar. And boy, is it ever. So what do we do? What does it mean to you? We want to turn to our financial expert, Peter Morici, in Washington today, an adviser to presidents and Congress, Peter let's start with the big picture. Good or bad, when you weigh all of those things together?

PETER MORICI, FINANCIAL EXPERT: Well it's not a good thing for the dollar to lose so much confidence in the world. It's a reflection of the fact that people just don't have enough confidence in Congress and the American presidents, and I use that in plural because I don't want to point to Mr. Obama to manage the economy effectively. Our debts are too large.

COLLINS: Well, right now, we were just talking to Christine Romans, our correspondent, earlier and since President Obama came to office, the dollar has lost 12%. I don't know that everyone at home really understands exactly what it means to them personally.

MORICI: Well, in terms of traveling to Europe, for example, it becomes much more expensive.

COLLINS: Oh yes.

MORICI: Or importing European or Japanese or Canadian goods, it becomes more expensive. However, the dollar is fixed against the Chinese Yuan because the Chinese intervened to make that happen. It's one of the reasons it's falling so much against other currencies. But those coffeemakers at the Wal-Mart, they stay about the same.

COLLINS: Well, what does it mean for our debt when the dollar is weak like this?

MORICI: Well, if the dollar stays weak like this, sooner or later the Saudis are going to start pricing oil in something other than dollars and they are going to start buying something other than U.S. bonds with the money that they have left over.

You know they sell much more oil than money they can spend.


MORICI: Once they start doing that, it's going to be tougher for us to have these huge deficits, because the Middle East oil exporters are just one important group that buys our debt. The other are the Chinese.

COLLINS: Yes, and in specific, I mean, if that all happens, I think about, you know, the future generations, obviously. I mean everybody wants to know what to do with their money right now and how to save it and how to spend it in the current economy.

But when we look forward, and you have these possible changes, and I understand a global currency is very different than just talking about trading oil on something else other than a dollar. How do you look at that? How do you look at the future?

MORICI: Well, I think our children are going to have an enormous debt to pay off, even though the Chinese keep rolling over the debt they hold. Because we have so much of it and it's growing so rapidly, the interest burden is becoming very large. It's a couple of thousand dollars per year per American worker. If you look at our overseas obligations, which are in the range of oh about $7 or $8 trillion, and it's going to get worse. At some point we're going to have to do two things, balance the national budget, live within our means, and also export as much as we import.

If we don't do that, the economy won't recover effectively and as a consequence the burden of the debt will get larger, because not only are we borrowing so much but we're growing so slowly.

COLLINS: So we're not the gold standard quite a while ago. What is it, like 1975 or so that we went off the goal...

MORICI: '71.

COLLINS: '71. We go off the oil standard -- I mean, excuse me, off the American dollar not trading on -- for oil anymore. I just wonder how that looks to the global economy. What happens if in fact this takes place?

MORICI: I don't think the rest of the world is going to much be affected, whether oil is traded in euros or dollars.

COLLINS: Yes, but doesn't everybody want oil?

MORICI: Well, yes, so they'll buy euros to get their oil just as they buy dollars now to get their oil. Now right now dollars are very cheap.


MORICI: And euros are very dear, but they have a way of going up and down. You know exchange rates move a lot just like the price of oil. The folks for whom it has the greatest consequences are the Americans and the Europeans if the Saudis go on the euro. Simply because it makes their currency more valuable, their debt easier to peddle, and our currency less valuable and tougher to peddle.


MORICI: Longer term, for not managing our economy effectively and keeping our debts in order, we're going to pay a price.

COLLINS: Yes, absolutely. Quickly before we let you go here, gold, boy oh, boy. Can I get some now? No, because it's too expensive for me to buy, right?

MORICI: Absolutely. It's trading at about $1,050 an ounce, depending on what you get.

COLLINS: Record.

MORICI: Which is a record level. And this reflects a lack of confidence in the Obama administration and the Congress and the huge deficits we're projecting. You know not only do we have a $1.5 trillion deficit this year but we're likely to have a deficit of more than a trillion dollars for each of the next four years before we even begin to worry about whether health care is going to be deficit neutral or not.

At some point the United States government is going to have to figure out how to get to economy, exporting and how to balance its books, or we will just collapse under the burden of debt much as the British economy did in the '50s and '60s.

COLLINS: How much time do we have?

MORICI: Not much. We're running out of time. The fact that there is all this chatter about taking the oil off the dollar and the fact that we are borrowing so much means that we're running out of time.

Unfortunately, the Congress doesn't take this seriously. You know, national health care's an interesting issue but creating jobs, getting the economy going again, should be on the front burner but it's hardly seems to be much of a concern when you look at congressional activity.

COLLINS: All right. Well, we are certainly watching all of it closely here. Sure do appreciate it, Peter Morici, University of Maryland, which we for got to say. Got to say that, of course. And go Terps.

MORICI: Yes, go Terps.

COLLINS: All right, thank you, Peter.


COLLINS: Sick with the swine flu, and don't know if you should head to the hospital or stay home and rest? A new Internet tool may help you find that answer.


COLLINS: Checking our "Top Stories." At least 49 people are dead, 105 wounded in Peshawar, Pakistan. Today's blast targeted a busy market on a day when most people were off to work. The attack comes as Pakistani authorities announce the arrest of the suspected mastermind of Monday's bombing of a World Food Program office in Islamabad.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves today on a six-day overseas trip. She's traveling to Europe and Russia, among other places. Aides say Clinton will talk with key allies about President Obama's emerging strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan and international efforts to get North Korea and Iran to end their nuclear weapons.

The father of the suspected -- suspect, excuse me, accused in a New York City bombing plot has been indicted now. Mohammed Zazi will be in federal court in Denver later today. A grand jury indicted him yesterday for lying to FBI agents about his son in a matter involving alleged terrorism. Najibullah Zazi is still on jail on charges of conspiracy to detonate explosives.

There's been a lot of talk about avoiding swine flu. But not as much talk about what to do if you actually come down with the H1N1 virus. Well, now there is some help and it's just a computer click away. Here to tell us more about the new swine flu Web tool, which I can barely say, is our CNN medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen.

So what's the deal? You can go to the computer and get health care?


COLLINS: Sort of.

COHEN: Right. You get guidance. You get advice. I know, I've gotten e-mails from friends in the middle of the day saying, I think I have H1N1, what do I do? People don't know what to do. Do you go to the doctor? Should you stay home?


COHEN: So that's what these Web tools are all about. One of them was from Emory University and Microsoft and the other one is from the government.

Let's take a look at these URLs. or And what happens is you go to either one of these, and they're both quite similar, and you answer a series of about 25 questions. Do you have a fever? Are you dizzy? How long have you been feeling sick? Are you able to keep foods down?

And questions like that. And it will tell you either you're not all that sick. Don't worry too much about it. I'm sure they don't put it quite that way. Or call your doctor or get in the car and go to your doctor, or hey, you need to go to an emergency room. So it's sort of a little bit of a computer triage, I guess, you could say.

COLLINS: Ah, interesting. So is this advice that you're going to get there going to be any different than what your doctor would tell you?

COHEN: You know one of the things that I find most interesting about this is that the doctors I've been talking to were, like, if you have H1N1, we don't want to see you basically unless you're at death's door. Because there's not much we can do for you. There's -- we're not going to give you Tamiflu most likely.

And so we don't want to see you. You're just going to get other people sick. This sets the bar a lot lower. This sends you to the doctor at a much earlier stage. So I don't know how much the doctors are going to like this.


COHEN: Because the doctors I know pretty much don't want to see you if you have H1N1.

COLLINS: Yes. And -- well, I don't know. And then you don't want to wait too long either...

COHEN: Right. Exactly.

COLLINS: ... and have it irreversible so I don't know.

COHEN: Exactly. That's why you need to look for red flags. I mean there are certain things...

COLLINS: Symptoms.

COHEN: Right. Symptoms. There are certain things that tell you, oh, my gosh, you need to get to an ER or to a doctor very quickly.


COHEN: Right. So let's talk about those. If you're having difficulty breathing or your breathing is fast, and that's not the case with most people with H1N1, you need to get medical care quickly. If you can't keep down fluids, if you're throwing up everything you're taking in, get to see a doctor.

If you turn blue or gray, I guess that would be a little...


COLLINS: I'm thinking...

COHEN: Right. Let's go to the doctor. And if you get better and then you get worse, that's another sign that things are not going your way and you should get to the ER or to a doctor.

COLLINS: Do I look blue or gray?

COHEN: No, you look great to me.

COLLINS: I'm sorry. I shouldn't make fun because some people...

COHEN: No, no, no, because it's a sign you're not getting the oxygen you need.

COLLINS: Of course.

COHEN: Yes. But it is -- but if that happens, definitely go.

COLLINS: All right. Well, very good. We certainly do appreciate the information. In fact we had a little bit more of it today as well.

Thank you, Elizabeth, very much.

Coming from the CDC, officials are expected to brief the public on the H1N1 vaccine supply. The clinical trials and the number of swine flu cases now are across the country. So find out what they say right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Also, we will soon hear from what President Obama -- President Obama himself, in fact, what he has to say about winning this year's Nobel Peace Prize. We thought it was going to be at 10:30. Actually been moved now to 11:00. That's our best guess on the notes coming from the White House. So we will continue to follow that story and bring it to you live when it happens.

ANNOUNCER: "Daily Dose," brought to you by...


ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Heidi Collins.

COLLINS: President Obama, the surprise winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. And in just about a half hour from now, the president is expected to give a statement. You see the podium there from the Rose Garden. When it happens, we will bring it to you live.

The Norwegian Nobel committee announced its decision early this morning, citing President Obama's, quote, "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy." The committee says it attached particular importance to Mr. Obama's efforts to curb nuclear proliferation and his outreach to the Muslim world. The choice shocked many Nobel observers, who believed it was too soon to award the president the honor.

Here's some more information now about the Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama becomes the third sitting U.S. president to win it. He joins Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and woodwork Wilson in 1919. Here are some other notable Americans who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was recognized in 1964. Henry Kissinger shared the prize in 1973. Then in 2002, former President Jimmy Carter was awarded the prize. And two years ago, it went to former vice president Al Gore with his intergovernmental panel on climate change.

Well, there's no doubt about it, this is a great time to buy a house. Mortgage rates are low. Prices are low, and sellers are often willing to go lower still. Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with a look at the best places to haggle.

Hi there, Susan. We should be clear, first-time homebuyers, really great, but if you have a house to sell, it's a six and one- half, right?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. For a first-time homebuyer, if you can get that $8,000 tax credit, it really is just gravy on top of a very favorable situation if you qualify to buy. But for homebuyers in general, Heidi, let's face it. We're paying thousands less than the asking price., which tracks this kind of thing, says the median discount is 3 percent below the listed price, , which translates to about $6,500 last month alone. Best places to haggle, not too far away from you, Heidi. All in Florida. You name it. West Coast, East Coast.

COLLINS: That feels really far from me right now, Susan.


COLLINS: The beaches of Florida.

LISOVICZ: I don't know. It's an easy weekend. Easy week. A lot of building there. The median discount in a lot of Florida cities, 7 percent to 9 percent, or up to $20,000. So, it's something to think about if you are qualified.

No discounts for stocks, Heidi. We could see four for five winning days for the Dow, the NASDAQ, the S&P 500, all up at least a third of a percent now.

COLLINS: Yes. They sure are. So, we will watch that all of way to the close, obviously. As we mention, the flip side here we have to talk about, our sellers who are clearly in trouble, taking big losses on their homes.

LISOVICZ: It's a double-edged sword. It typically is. Zillow says in the past nine days, 25 percent of homes on the market were reduced. Median reduction on unsold homes, 6.5 percent, on a $200,000 house. That's $13,000.

Now, we should say also separately, the government says its program to prevent foreclosures has met its first target. Half a million borrowers were put into trial mortgage modification since April, and that milestone was reached only half the government put pressure on loan servicers (ph). The program reduces borrowers' monthly payments and should help -- should help to stem foreclosures. But the ultimate goal is to help 4 million, 4 million homeowners.


LISOVICZ: And we certainly hope that, that goal is reached.

COLLINS: Everyone does, I'm sure. Susan Lisovicz, thank you.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome.

COLLINS: The fight over climate change is costing one of America's most powerful business groups some of its members. Felicia Taylor has our "Energy Fix" from New York. Hi there, Felicia. What is this all about?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Heidi. Well, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce does have about 300,000 members, but that number has actually been reduced in just the past few weeks. Several big companies have announced they're quitting or at least reducing their role because of the Chamber's aggressive opposition to greenhouse gas regulation. Obviously, that doesn't sit well.

Apple is the most high-profiled defection. It resigned this week, calling the Chamber's position on climate change, quote, "frustrating." It joins three utility company who have already left, and sneaker giant Nike recently quit the Chamber's board for exactly the same reason. The CEO also of California's PG&E, also one of the quitters, said it's time for business, quote, "to get real about global warming."


PETER DARBEE, CEO, PG&E: Climate change is coming. The reality is that every time we look into the facts behind it, it looks to be worse and sooner than the last look into the study of climate change.

And, therefore, it's a question of sooner or later. There will be controls on carbon. The point I make is the sooner you start to work on a big problem, the less disruptive it is to a company, to an industry, to consumers, the less expensive it is. So, let's get on with it.


TAYLOR: So, some environmentalists think this improves the chances of a climate bill passing through Congress, since it could suggest big business opposition is now weakening. Heidi?

COLLINS: I imagine the Chamber of Commerce has something to say about all of this, yes?

TAYLOR: Yes, of course. The Chamber isn't happy, and it's firing back. It says it doesn't deny the existence of global warming, and, of course, it supports federal legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions. However, it does oppose the climate bill that passed the house in June. The Chamber says that measure would raise energy prices and put U.S. companies at a global disadvantage. So, I think pretty much we haven't heard the last on this one. It's a story that's going to continue. Heidi?

COLLINS: All right. Felicia Taylor, nice to see you. Thank you.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

COLLINS: Unacceptable language. That's what Catholic bishops are saying about a part of the Senate's health care reform bill. And they vow to fight it unless changes are made.


COLLINS: Checking our top stories. The Senate Finance Committee is set to vote on its health care reform bill on Tuesday. Now, top Catholic bishops are threatening to oppose the measure if lawmakers don't change some provisions on abortion. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops outlined their concerns in a letter to members of Congress.

At least 97 people are dead from landslides and flooding in the Philippines. Rescue groups say nearly 200 others are probably dead. The destruction was triggered by a downgraded typhoon's pounding rains on saturated ground. Rescue trucks were stopped in some places by floodwaters at roof height.

The House Ethics Committee has expanded its investigation of Congressman CharlieRangel. The New York Democrat has been under fire over several issues, including failure to report assets and pay taxes. He heads a committee responsible for writing tax laws. Republicans made an unsuccessful attempt to get him removed from that post.

Water. It's something many of us take for granted, but for tonight a global broadcast and webcast kicks off -- we told you about this yesterday -- all to raise awareness about the issues of water from a variety of perspectives, including humanitarian struggles. The live event will take us through 14 cities and five continents. Famous celebrities and musicians will take part. The theme: Moving Stars and Earth for Water.

The Atlanta area still recovering from last month's record rainfall, which flooded hundreds of homes. The last thing you'd expect anybody to want is more rain. But one local brewery actually welcomes it. Reynolds Wolf tells us why now in this week's "Solutions."


REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the 5 Seasons Brewery in Atlanta, they've been preparing for the perfect pour. They claim to be the first brewery in the world to serve a micro-brewed "green" beer.


WOLF (on camera): Just like this?


WOLF: One -- one good -- good hit?


WOLF (voice-over): Master brewer Crawford Moran gave me the honor of tapping the very first keg.


CRAWFORD MORAN, 5 SEASONS BREWER: Not only does it make the beer better, but it's -- it's a green-oriented.

WOLF (on camera): When you think about "green" beer, most people think about that stuff you have on St. Patrick's Day or that six-pack that you left in your car on a really hot day.

(voice-over): But here, the term takes on an entirely different meaning.

(on camera): Crawford, what does -- what does "green" beer mean here? MORAN: It means something different than St. Paddy's Day stuff. It means beer that is made with pure, pristine rainwater, which is harvest straight out of the clouds and just the way Mother Nature intended it to be.

WOLF (voice-over): Heard him right: The beer is made with pure rainwater. Now, the concept isn't new. People have been harvesting rainwater for drinking, cooking and farming for centuries. But what is new is the brew pub has teamed up with Rainwater Harvest System (ph) to create a beer made from 100 percent rainwater captured onsite.

RUSS JACKSON, BREWER: Basically, what you do is you put this big tank under your downspout, and you're collecting water. When it rains, the water comes off the roof, comes through the downspout, goes through a series of different filters and collects in the tank. And then from there, we pump it through some more filtration into the brewery. And that's where we start with the beer.

WOLF: The management here insists that the water is cleaner than city water, and it's softer, too. One secret of making better beer.

MORAN: As brewers, we really like to see soft water. So not a lot of mineral content in there. And rainwater, that's what it is.

WOLF: But don't just take his word for it.

MORAN: There you go.

WOLF: The proof is in the drinking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's actually very smooth, very mild in flavor, really tasty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The -- the flavor of it's a little bit different. I actually like it a lot better.

WOLF: Reynolds Wolf, CNN, Atlanta.


COLLINS: Explosion on the moon. NASA crashes an empty rocket into our celestial neighbor on purpose. Why, on earth, you ask would they do that? Stick around for the answer.


COLLINS: Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner. You weren't expecting that, were you? We got the surprising news earlier this morning, and in about 15 minutes or so, we will be hearing from the president himself from the Rose Garden.

But first, we want to check in with CNN political analyst Gloria Borger with more on this. Gloria, I want to get straight to it. A lot of people look at this as sort of an international event, obviously. But, boy, we have got a statement from both the RNC, which we had earlier in the show, and now from the DNC. I'm going to let you go ahead and handle that, and then we'll talk about how things have, in my opinion, instantly ratcheted up here.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's unbelievable. There weren't any kind of perfunctory congratulations at all, Heidi. This just shows you the mood of Washington, because in response to the RNC statement, which as I said, did not even congratulate the president, the Democrats came back and said something like, quote, "The Republican party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists, the Taliban and Hamas this morning, in criticizing the president for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize."

I mean, Heidi, they go on to say the Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics, and now they're criticizing the president of the United States. It goes on from there. It just shows you exactly what we're -- what we're dealing with in Washington, and in a way, Heidi, how this sets the bar higher domestically for this president. Because the Republicans are going to say, folks around the world, yes, they love him. He's a celebrity. But can he deliver at home?

COLLINS: Yes. In fact, we should at this point, since we have the DNC statement, we should put the RNC statement as well on the screen that we had earlier, just in case people missed it.

This is from, obviously, Michael Steele. He said, "The real question Americans are asking, what has President Obama actually accomplished? It's unfortunate the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain. President Obama won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility or backing up rhetoric with concrete action."

So, that's the full statement by them. I guess it just brings the spotlight back to these domestic issues with this international award.

BORGER: Sure. You know, absolutely. And also his foreign policy. I mean, look, the president had a decision to make when he became president. Terrible economic situation. Would he just focus on that and give up on the rest of his agenda, or would he continue with the rest of his agenda domestically and internationally?

The decision was clearly made that he would continue with what he had talked about. Just on the foreign policy front. Closing Gitmo, we don't know what will happen with that. Mideast peace, we don't know what will happen with that. Denuclearizing Iran. That's still a big question.

COLLINS: I'm hearing the Saturday Night Live skit all over again.

BORGER: Right. Well, but you know, look. These things take time. President Obama's supporters will tell you he's working on it. These things take time. So, it's kind of interesting to have -- to have a prize that anticipates history rather than one that is reflecting history. What they're saying to him is, "atta boy," giving him a pat on the shoulder and saying, "Go ahead, we like what you're saying. Continue to pursue your goals." It's a different way of awarding a prize.

COLLINS: Yes. And also certainly without a doubt ratcheting up the pressure on him as well to deliver.

BORGER: Absolutely. Absolutely.

COLLINS: All right. Gloria Borger, CNN political analyst. Thanks for that.


COLLINS: Stick around, Gloria, because you might be interesting to hear what some of our bloggers are saying about this. In fact, we have about 300 comments from our viewers in just the last hour on this. We asked you what you thought about the president getting the Nobel Peace Prize announced early this morning. Here's what some of you had to say.

The first one here, and again, remember, go to and register your comments there if you have them.

Here we go. "I have always been a firm supporter of Obama and the message he shares, but I believe he has yet to prove himself worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. There are many other candidates that should have received this honor. I do feel, however, that Obama should not be attacked for winning. Winning has added more fuel to the fire for Obama's detractors."

And then one says this, "The headline for nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize were to be postmarked by February 1st, 2009. But Obama was inaugurated on January 20th, 2009. So, he was nominated for the Peace Prize before he even did something for which he won the prize. I believe this was a political move and nothing more."

So, just a couple of comments we're getting in. A whole lot of them. Remember, it's, if you would like to let us know what you think about it.

Rob Marciano joining us from the Severe Weather Center. We are talking about flood threats in the central part of the country, right?



MARCIANO: So, congratulations to them. This is a mile high. Let's go a little bit higher than that. How about 238,000 miles high? This is the launch of a rocket that went up in June to make this happen, this LCROSS mission that was a rocket that sent up in June, circled the earth, got their systems ready to go to take aim at the south pole of the moon and it did that -- it did that this morning at 7:30.

I kind of speeded this along to give you an idea of what happened. Two rockets kind of separated. The first rocket went in, made an explosion and then the monitor of that kind of came in about four minutes later and measured to see if there was any sort of, well, ice or hint of water. And that would be huge for the moon because then we could go up there and hang out and live quite a bit.

Moon, 240,000 miles away. As I mentioned, very cold place. We have been up there a few times, as you know. A number of countries have, as a matter of fact. A lot of craters on the moon. They don't have wind. They don't have water. They're (INAUDIBLE) is a waste. They kind of hang out for quite a long time, and this is the crater that they hit earlier this morning, about 100 kilometers away from the -- from the south pole there.

Very cold. Temperatures there, in the shade, minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit that. Will keep ice around for billions of years. And that's the idea.

COLLINS: Yes. Very cool. We will talk more about it. Rob, thank you.

MARCIANO: You got it.

COLLINS: NASA scientists are calling it a perfect strike, in fact. They wanted to crash a rocket, as you were just hearing from Rob, and its satellite into the moon, and they did. So, what's it all about? It's about water.

Here to answer more of the questions of what has gone here today, the deputy manager of the mission himself, John Marmie, who is in Mountain View, California this morning. Hello to you, John. Calling it a success, right?

JOHN MARMIE, DEPUTY PROJECT MANAGER, LCROSS: Yes, programmatically, right now I think we can call it a success. Our goal programmatically was to actually just create a plume in a permanently shattered region that's observable and then actually collect science from our LCROSS instruments as we flew through the plume.

COLLINS: So, the deal is this...

MARMIE: So, the results actually...

COLLINS: Sorry, the deal is this.

You take one rocket, you slam it, if you will into this crater, and then that kicks up a bunch of dust and then another rocket, if you will, and I'm not sure if I'm using the right terms -- flies through that dust to try to collect any possible water molecules. That's how you will determine whether or not water is there, right?

MARMIE: That's correct. The first one is the upper stage of the rocket that put us on our path or trajectory towards the moon. We call that the upper stage of the Sentar. The second part was actually the LCROSS spacecraft, the lunar crater (INAUDIBLE) and sensing satellite.

On there, we had a suite of nine instruments that fell four minutes behind the Sentar after we separated them. We separated Thursday night. We've had that four-minute delay, and then we flew through as that plume evolved between 30 and 100 seconds...


MARMIE: And we had our second impact ourselves.

COLLINS: All right. So, when will we find out whether or not there is water on the moon?

MARMIE: Well, right now they are holding a press conference on NASA TV, where the scientists are actually walking through the preliminary results. So...

COLLINS: Oh, come on, tell us!

MARMIE: It is yet to be determined.

COLLINS: Come on! We can't direct our viewers to NASA TV. What's the deal? When will it be made public right here on CNN?

MARMIE: Well, it will take a while for the scientists to actually comb through the data and to calibrate the data and make sure what they put out is accurate. So, you know, it's up to our scientists to determine when that's going to be.

COLLINS: What's the big deal if water is found on the moon?

MARMIE: Well, water is actually the basics for human sustainability. So, for it to put a human on the moon or beyond, water is the basic for that. So, water is H20, can be broken down into oxygen for breathing. Hydrogen is a rocket fuel. And, obviously, water for human consumption.

COLLINS: All right. Very good. We were just getting a look at the actual crater, the cavous crater where the LCROSS went into there. It's very fascinating. We will continue to follow this and wait for that announcement and bring it to our viewers as soon as we learn definitively whether or not water is on the moon.

Thanks so much, John Marmie. We sure appreciate it. Deputy project manager for the LCROSS mission at NASA.

MARMIE: Thank you so much. Thank you.

COLLINS: And we will be taking a quick break here, remembering that the president is due to talk a little bit further about him winning the Nobel Peace Prize. It happened early, early this morning. He was actually woken up with the news. He will be speaking from the Rose Garden in just a short while. We're back in a moment here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Checking stories happening right now. We will get more details in a couple of hours on this weekend's National Equality March on Washington. Activists are calling for full equality in civil law nationwide for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The march is being talked about as a first step to construct a grassroots network in all congressional districts.

Two new sports are going to be part of the Olympics at the 2016 Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee voted today to include rugby and golf. Rugby was last played in the Olympics in 1924. Golf was last part of the Games more than a century ago.

A perfect strike. You saw it here on CNN. NASA scientists deliberately fired an empty rocket from a satellite into the moon and then crashed the satellite into a crater. Photographing it all, the orbiting Hubble space telescope and the orbiter that launched the satellite. NASA is hoping to find water on the moon so it can one day build a base there.

There you have it. Have a great weekend, everybody. Thanks for watching. I'm Heidi Collins. CNN NEWSROOM continues now with Don Lemon.