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GOP Pounces Reid Over Racial Remarks; UAE Sheikh Acquitted in Taped Beating

Aired January 10, 2010 - 18:00   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Fallout from Senator Harry Reid's comments about President Obama's race and dialect. There are demands for him to step down as majority leader.

No major injuries but a whole lot of shaking going on in California. New video from last night's earthquake.

A member of a royal family in the Middle East is on trial for torturing a man. His defense: one you need to hear, the verdict is in.

And a late night shake-up, Leno goes back to late night. What does that mean for Conan and Jimmy Fallon?

Hello, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye, in for Don Lemon.

Senate Leader Harry Reid has apologized to the president and just about everybody else you can think of. But Reid's racial comments that surface this weekend still have Washington talking.

Today, the Senate Republican in charge of electing more Republicans said Reid should step down from his leadership post and the Republican Party chairman is piling on as well.

This whole firestorm began when Reid's remarks surface in a new book about the 2008 presidential campaign called "Game Change." The authors quote Reid as saying then-Senator Barack Obama had a good chance of winning the White House because he was, quote, "light- skinned" and his speech had what Reid described as, quote, "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Yesterday, Senator Reid said he regrets his poor choice of words. "I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans," he said, "especially African-Americans for my improper comments."

President Obama, we should note, quickly accepted Reid's apology, saying, quote, "As far as I'm concerned, the book is closed."

Our Kate Bolduan is tracking the story for us in Washington.

Hi there, Kate.


Well, despite calls for him to step down, it doesn't sound like Senator Harry Reid plans to go anywhere any time soon. A statement from his spokesman says the majority leader will stay in his position and will continue to seek re-election. Reid's spokesman is also firing back at Republican critics for looking to politicize the issue.

Today, though, Republicans were coming out strong. Senator John Cornyn and others are calling on Reid to vacate his post. Cornyn called the majority leader's comments, embarrassing. Republican Party chairman Michael Steele said the comments were racist and accused the Democratic Party in reacting to Reid's comments as following a double- standard.

Listen here.


MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: Oh, yes, there's a big double-standard here. And the thing about it that's interesting is that when Democrats get caught saying racist things, you know, an apology is enough. If that had been Mitch McConnell saying that about an African-American candidate for president of the United States, trust me, this chairman and the DNC would be screaming for its head, very much as they were with Trent Lott.


BOLDUAN: Now, Trent Lott. What Michael Steele was talking about there, Trent Lott is a Republican and former Senate majority leader. He was forced from his post in 2002 following comments he eventually apologized for, "But that the country would be better off," he said, "if pro-segregation presidential candidate Strom Thurman had won the presidential election decades earlier."

But Governor Tim Kaine, the head of the Democratic Party, he came out and argued that there is no similarity in these two situations. Kaine says the case is closed here following Reid's apology and President Obama's acceptance of it.

Listen here.


GOV. TIM KAINE, DNC CHAIRMAN: Senator Reid, very appropriately, immediately went out and apologized for comments that were insensitive. They were comments made in the context of him praising Senator Obama and supporting his candidacy for president, but still, they kind of reflect a thinking of a day gone by. The senator was wise, immediately apologized and the president talked very specifically about how he knows who Senator Reid is and he accepts the apology.


BOLDUAN: Now, while conceding Reid's comments were insensitive, Kaine and other Democrats today really, Randi, are really trying to pour some serious cold water on this fire and very quickly, Reid is, as we know, in a very tough re-election fight, and the last thing Democrats want or need right now is to let anything shift the focus from getting health care reform finalized. But the big question is, what is going to happen in the days to come and how are more Republicans going to react to this?

KAYE: We will keep watching it, as I'm sure you will as well. Kate Bolduan for us in Washington -- Kate, thanks.

Northern California is a jittery place today after a strong 6.5 quake centered off the coast rolled through the area. This is what it looked like in a grocery store in a town of Arcata about 4:30 local time yesterday. This was much bigger than the smaller shakes that normally hit the area. People immediately headed towards the exits.

Despite the magnitude, the quake did minimal damage and caused no serious injuries. But nearly a dozen aftershocks have everyone on edge. About 20,000 customers lost power. But Pacific Gas and Electric says all the lights are now back on.

IReporters have been some of the best sources of images of what this quake was really like. Eureka resident Alison Pucamba (ph) sent us this video of the inside of her home. Check that out. Lots of things knocked over, some broken, including some flower pots there. Water from the pet's drinking dish sloshed all over the kitchen floor.

And check out this photo from Janet Cochrane in Eureka. This home on California Street completely knocked off its foundation. What a picture there. Cochrane says the quake was unlike any she had experienced before. She said it rolled and pitched and jerked, and the aftershocks had also been unsettling.

Jacqui Jeras in the CNN weather center has been tracking the aftershocks -- which, Jacqui, seem to be more upsetting to many folks and actually the quake.

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, it makes you nervous, right, especially if -- after having such a big one, and hadn't actually been on the coast, we certainly would have seen a lot more damage.

Now, in terms of aftershocks, let's go ahead and show you how many we had on there. There on Google Earth. We've had just about two dozen of them in the last -- it's been -- just over 24 hours. And so, all those little dots that you can see around here, those are all aftershocks -- most of which have been between 2.0 and 3.0, which is very minor and you probably wouldn't even feel that actually had it been over some populated areas.

So, it's something to watch, these aftershocks can happen for days after a larger one. So, we'll continue to monitor the situation. So far, none of them have been strong enough to cause any problems that they've all been kind of focused offshore in that same area -- Randi.

KAYE: That is good news. Thanks, Jacqui.

The father of the accused Christmas Day airline bomber has been invited to testify on Capitol Hill. But the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is still waiting for an RSVP from Al-Haji Umaru Abdulmutallab. That's the word from committee spokesman Fred Jones, who says, quote, "Mr. Abdulmutallab, who identified his own son as an extremist and threat to the United States has an important story to tell. And the committee would like to hear from him. Abdulmutallab contacted American officials with his concerns about his son just a few weeks before that botched attack."

Even with that warning, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab still managed to board a Detroit-bound plane allegedly armed with explosives. And federal officials say he got his training in Yemen where terrorist concerns are rising fast.

So, what role are American troops playing in the fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula? CNN's Fareed Zakaria put that question to Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


FAREED ZAKARIA, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" HOST: Have U.S. forces actually engaged al Qaeda in Yemen? Have we struck them directly?

ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: I'm not going to go into the details of our operation. This had been led and rightfully so by the president and Yemeni President Saleh, his forces. And it's been very clear that their leadership has been critical here.

We have provided some support in that regard. And we'll continue to do that to meet these challenges. But it is -- it has been, in my view, an impressive operation on the part of the Yemeni's forces and their improvements over the last couple of years.


KAYE: And meanwhile, President Obama tells "People" magazine that he has no intention of putting American boots on the ground in Yemen. That interview will be published on Friday.

Thousands of dollars worth of clothes ripped to shreds on purpose. What is the well-known store were they came from is saying about what was found in their trash?

Her gut feelings have made her millions of dollars. Now, companies are paying her even more to help make their business decisions. Is this woman really an intuitionist or just lucky?

And -- milkshake anyone? A big rig crash leaves a frozen mess.


KAYE: Things are slowly getting back to normal at the Cleveland International Airport. A power outage brought the Ohio facility to a standstill earlier today. Travel plans for more than 800 people were put on hold when a transformer exploded. The source of the problem was weather-related in a way. An airport spokeswoman blames road salt being swept into the air and getting into the transformer's power lines.

A lot of ashes tonight in the tiny village of Ashland, New York. A fire early this morning destroyed the town hall and fire department. Lost in the blaze were the town's brand-new fire trucks and ambulance. An old ambulance parked at the fire chief's house is the only piece of equipment left.

Ashland is a tiny community in the Catskill Mountains with 1,800 people. It's roughly 60 miles southwest of Albany.

Near Salisbury, Vermont, a frozen lake was not able to hold the weight of three snowmobiles and six people. Three people died yesterday when all three vehicles suddenly plunged through the ice. Five people went into the water. Two survived. A 4-year-old who was pushed to safety just as the ice was breaking.

State police say the victims were 50-year-old man, his 24-year-old daughter and his 3-year-old granddaughter.

Hard freeze warnings have Florida citrus farmers on edge and in action tonight. From the northern panhandle to the south Florida coast, farm and nursery owners are preparing for potentially crop-damaging temperatures. Some groves are reporting substantial damage from last night's plummeting temperatures. Much of the Sunshine State is under a hard freeze warning until 9:00 tomorrow morning. Citrus accounts for more than $90 billion of Florida's annual economy.

Let's check in with meteorologist Jacqui Jeras in the CNN severe weather center.

Florida's freeze may hit us in the wallet as well.

JERAS: Yes. Absolutely. Everyone will feel that impact, your oranges, your grapefruit, your strawberries, right? So -- lemons, limes, everything -- unfortunately, that could impact everybody across the country, absolutely, unless you don't like fruit.

The temperatures are going to be down there again in this area. And it's really interior parts of Florida -- especially central Florida, you're going to be staying below the freezing mark overnight tonight and into tomorrow morning. So, of course, they're trying to protect those crops and spray them because then it coats them with ice and that kind of helps it insulate the fruit just a little bit. So, hopefully, we're fare OK. And I'm also hearing, by the way, it could take weeks before they really have a good idea of just how significant the damage is.

So, these are the current temperatures: Jacksonville, 37; 40 in Orlando; 46 in Miami. So, everybody is above freezing right now.

But as we head into the overnight hours tonight, of course, clear skies. And so, the clearer the sky, the cooler the temperatures can be because any of that heat that's absorbed by the earth during the day just releases back out into the atmosphere at night. If you have a cloud cover, that kind of serves as a blanket and kind of helps hold some of that in. So, clear skies bad news, looks good during the day but not so much at night time.

There you can see the low temperatures. Tampa, 26, probably see about 25 degrees in Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, we think you're going to stay above that freezing mark.

Things are looking better across some parts of the upper Midwest, those temperatures are going to be starting to warm-up a little bit. So, some folks will be happy about that -- 22 might sound chilly to me and you but that feels pretty good in Minneapolis, compared to what we've been seeing; 30 in Kansas City; up into 40s for Atlanta.

And something else to think about as those temperatures warm up during the day. That's going to melt anything and then at night time, as the temperatures go back below freezing, that ices everything back up. So, the morning commute tomorrow morning is something you're going to want to think about. And there you can see tomorrow's forecast, the best thing I can tell you is that there's little in the way of precipitation with the exception of Pacific Northwest where things could get a little bit on heavy side in terms of flooding.

All right. Check out these pictures from Nashua, New Hampshire. Icy streets there cause a tractor-trailer to overturn. It would carry 2,000 gallons of milk. Unfortunately, it overturned on the highway, the milk instantly froze. They said it was actually kind of like ice cream. The driver was injured but not seriously. And big mess there to clean up.

A couple of other cool pictures from Ryan Julie (ph), my buddy in Miami, sent me these photos. The cold conditions there, that cold air, air is colder than the water. So, this is what we called steam fog, which is developed across the area, really kind of an eerie sight to wake up and see that kind of hovering over the ocean.

Randi, back to you.

KAYE: That is pretty cool. Thanks, Jacqui.

What does Jay Leno have in common with the NBC comedy show "Saturday Night Live"? Both apparently are not ready for primetime. Today, the network announced it was pulling the plug on Leno's relatively low- rated three-month foray into the 10:00 p.m. time slot. NBC Universal Chairman Jeff Gaspin says negotiations are under way with Leno, comedians Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon, so the network can keep all three for late night laughs at 11:30, midnight and 1:00 a.m. respectively.

Earlier this week, both O'Brien and Leno were using the topic to get laughs.


JAY LENO, TV TALK SHOW HOST: As you might have heard, there's a rumor floating around that we were canceled. I heard it coming in this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard it, too. LENO: So far, nobody said anything to me. But, Kev, you know, if we did get cancelled, give us time to maybe do some traveling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would be wonderful, man.

LENO: In fact, I understand fox is beautiful this time of year.


LENO: Hey, Kev, what does NBC stand for?


LENO: Never believe your contract!



CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": A lot of rumors swirling around about "The Tonight Show," "The Jay Leno Show" and the rest of NBC's late night lineup. And there's a lot of speculation out there and I just wanted to go over just some of the rumors that have been flying around.

Just check this out: "The Jay Leno Show" is going to be canceled, as one. Jay is moving back to 11:30 and I'm moving to midnight. Both of our shows will be on 11:30 running simultaneously in split screen. "The Tonight Show" will be an iPhone app and "The Jay Leno Show" will become an Xbox game. Jay and I are quitting both our shows and co- starring in a new buddy cop drama called "Coco and the Chin."


O'BRIEN: Jay and I will be joining the cast of "Jersey Shore" as a new character called "The Awkward Situation."


O'BRIEN: I'm pregnant with Jay's baby. Jay's pregnant with my baby. We're both pregnant with Tiger Woods' babies.

NBC is going to throw me and Jay in a pit with sharpened sticks. The one who crawls out alive gets to leave NBC.



KAYE: That was funny. NBC says Leno's show at 10:00 p.m. wasn't meeting the needs of its affiliates. The change is effective February 12th.

Media critic and CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" host Howard Kurtz joins us by phone from Washington, D.C.

Howie, we heard the rumor mill churning for weeks on this. Your initial reaction?

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES" (via telephone): Well, NBC refused to confirm this a couple of days ago but we all knew it was true. Jay Leno was unfortunately a flop for NBC in primetime. Obviously, to take the guy who was the king of late night for 17 years out of the time slot and try to put him in primetime was a disastrous blunder and NBC now is trying to repair the damage by sending Jay back to 11:30.

KAYE: And, you know, NBC, when they put Jay at 10:00, they called him visionary. Certainly, it doesn't look so visionary now. What was the problem with Jay Leno at 10:00?

KURTZ: The show wasn't very good, I'm afraid to say. I like Jay, personally, but to compete in primetime, he's not exactly the edgy guy. He's a mainstream comic.

And so, he would have somebody like Rush Limbaugh come on and he didn't really light the level, having a smart political little conversation. And he had these weird gimmicks where he had guests all around in his race track.

But more importantly, whether I think it was funny, or other people think it was funny, the NBC affiliates were in open revolt because their late newscasts were getting killed by a lack, I believe, in audience ratings dropping by as much as 50 percent in some cities. So, finally, NBC had to pull the plug on "The Jay Leno Show."

KAYE: Not to mention all the ad revenue those affiliates were losing. How should NBC spin this? Should they just come out and say, "Hey, look, it wasn't working"?

KURTZ: One of these days, I'm going to find a television network to come and say, "Boy, did we screw up." It doesn't happen very often in politics or in communications.

But NBC still has a problem on its hands. I mean, they are paying Leno and Conan so much money that maybe everybody will go for this new arrangement. But Conan is clearly not happy. I mean, he waited five years to get to "The Tonight Show," that's when it was announced five years ago. After a few months, he's now getting kicked out of the 11:30 timeslot, pushed back to midnight. He could walk -- he could go to FOX, which would love to have him, or he just grit his teeth, do a lot more anti-NBC jokes and take the money and stay there.

KAYE: And how about Jay? Doe he -- does Leno recover from this OK, or does he go back to his old show and his old timeslot with his tail between his legs?

KURTZ: Well, there's plenty opinion on that. I personally think that, you know, Jay was fine at 11:30 before and then he will recover much of his old audience. But look, let's face it -- he was tarnished by this experiment that NBC forced on him. It was not his idea. He was not a happy camper about it. And if things go according to plan, he'll be down to just a half an hour, which Jay will probably take 20 minutes not just for the monologue. So, I can't imagine he's ecstatic either. So, NBC has managed the rare fate of ticking off both of its highly-paid comics, alienating the audience and now, they got some cleanup work to do.

KAYE: And let's not forget the old "Saturday Night Live" comedian, Jimmy Fallon. He's looking at, what, a timeslot of starting 1:00 a.m. now?

KURTZ: Yes. I guess he could do whatever he wants at that hour because how many people are going to still be up? I mean, it is interesting because when Letterman used to be on -- excuse me -- when Conan used to be on at 12:30 at night, he was able to have somewhat edgier approach, he attracts younger viewers certainly more than the traditional older "Tonight Show" viewers. You can get away with more at 12:30 and 1:00 in the morning. But that's not where the big stardom is. And so, Conan (ph), I guess, is kind of a collateral damage in this whole thing.

KAYE: Yes. I still like Conan's idea of airing both shows simultaneously on a split screen. I think -- I think he's on to something.

KURTZ: That was a good line. These guys are funny at taking shots at NBC. Or maybe they're funny when they're angry, because they're clearly a little bit ticked off.

KAYE: Oh, yes. Well, David Letterman used to do that, too.

KURTZ: All the time.

KAYE: It's working in his favor with CBS.

KURTZ: All the time.

KAYE: All right. Howie Kurtz -- thanks so much.

KURTZ: Thank you.

KAYE: We first told you about it yesterday. Today, our first look at a horrible scene after a man poured acid onto a crowd and man tortured. The whole incident caught on camera. The accused attacker -- a member of a powerful Middle Eastern royal family. Wait until you hear his defense and the verdict.


KAYE: Using the world Allah has explosive consequences for Christians in Malaysia. Eight churches have been firebombed or vandalized over the weekend, all part of a dispute between Muslims and Christians over who has the right to call God "Allah." No one was hurt. Many Muslims are angry over a New Year's Eve court ruling that overturned a government ban on using the word in reference to a Christian God. Only about 9 percent of Malaysia's population is Christian.

"Free the mothers," chanting protesters gathered outside an Iranian jail today, demanding that dozens of moms be let go. The women were reportedly arrested yesterday while peacefully protesting against their children's deaths and disappearances during Iran's violent anti- government rallies.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran says more than 100 officers stormed Saturday's demonstration at a Tehran park, hauling in 33 members of the mourning mothers group. Witnesses claim the women were roughed up as they were arrested. But CNN has not been able to confirm that.

Freedom of speech, the right to gather, not if British authorities think your group is dangerous. The U.K. is getting ready to ban a Muslim organization that sparked outrage by planning a demonstration in the town that receives the bodies of Britain's war dead. The security spokesman says the ban would prevent Muhajiroun from having meetings or raising money, and being a member of the group also known as Islam for U.K. would become a criminal offense. The group's leader tells CNN that police cannot shot him down.

Police in Hong Kong have arrested a man in an acid attack last night a popular tourist spot. At least 30 people, including children, were injured when an attacker threw two bottles of acid off a roof top. The suspect was described as a Chinese man in his 30s. Police have not said if he is a suspect in at least four other recent acid attacks that injured more than 100 people.

New and somewhat surprising developments in the prosecution of a Middle Eastern sheikh caught on video literally torturing a man for hours. The sheikh's defense: the videotaped evidence could have been altered, he said. Plus, he was on medication to quit smoking. The verdict: innocent.

Here's CNN's Stan Grant.


STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This has always been a very complicated and murky story that goes to the very heart of the royal family here in Abu Dhabi. Now, Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahayan is a son of the founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed. His brothers include the crown prince and the president of UAE. Sheikh Issa had been charged with rape, endangering life, and causing bodily harm.

The charges arose from a videotape showing the sheikh torturing and beating an Afghan grain dealer.

Now, the grain dealer had allegedly overcharged the sheikh in a business deal.

On the videotape, the sheikh is seen beating the grain dealer with a plank of wood with protruding nails. He strikes the grain dealer with an electric cattle prod at one point, sets fire to the man's genitals, drives over him repeatedly in a car and pours salt into his wounds.

The videotape had been released by a former business associate of the sheikh. Now, during the trial, the sheikh claimed that he was suffering the adverse effects of medication to give up smoking. Medical witnesses were called who testified that the medication caused aggressive behavior.

Five other co-defendants in this case have been found guilty of various charges. Sheikh Issa, though, is a freed man. He is being cleared of all charges.

Stan Grant, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


KAYE: The most powerful man in the U.S. Senate and his race-filled comments about President Obama -- how does this affect the already tough battle for the Democrats to hold their filibuster-proof majority?

And 40 years after his service to this country, a former POW gets the appreciation he has been waiting for.


RANDI KAYE, CNN GUEST NEWS ANCHOR: Checking the headlines for you. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has issued apologies for his racist remarks about President Obama to just about everyone. But Republican Senator John Cornyn says Reid should give up his post. Cornyn leads the committee in charge of electing new Republican Senators. Democrats say it's time to move on, but Cornyn calls the remarks, quote, "embarrassing and racially insensitive."

New video into CNN of yesterday's 6.5 earthquake off the coast of California. This is surveillance video from a supermarket in the town of Arcata. The powerful quake shook up a lot of people but the damage was minimal. No one was seriously hurt. All power has since been restored.

NBC is drawing the curtain on the three-month old prime time programming experiment with comedienne, Jay Leno. The network has announced Leno is returning to a late-night time slot. NBC affiliates had been complaining of the show's poor lead-in numbers for the late local news. So here's how it looks. Leno returns to 11:30; Conan O'Brien, midnight; Jimmy Fallon, 1:00 a.m. That's as it stands right now.

Reaction to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's remarks, in true Washington fashion, is falling along party lines. The president and Reid's fellow Democrats are in a forgiving mood, Republicans, however, blasting the majority leader.

Let's talk about this with CNN's deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser.

Paul, what kind of legs does this Reid have, would you say?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: You mentioned that all of the national Democrats and local Democrats in Nevada are backing Harry Reid. This was more than a one-day event, no doubt about it. For one reason alone, here, tomorrow, Harry Reid has got an event, the majority leader has an event in Nevada, and I would assume that reporters, who will be attending this, will be trying to ask about the controversial comments.

Also, Randi, the Senate is not in session, but I think it's fair to say you can expect Republicans to keep the story alive, to keep it going. I spoke to a Republican strategist earlier today and he said something similar to that.

Also, and this is interesting, it's not related at all. Tomorrow, one of the national tea party organizations, in this case the Tea Party Express, they're up with an ad in Nevada that starts running tomorrow which calls on people out there not to vote for Harry Reid in November when he's up for election.

KAYE: You mentioned Nevada. Reid's poll numbers in Nevada are not looking too good, are they?

STEINHAUSER: Harry Reid has a tough fight to get reelected. Check this out. This is a new poll this weekend from the "Las Vegas Journal Review" and Mason-Dixon. This poll indicates only a third of people in Nevada have a favorable opinion of the Senate majority leader. You can see right there, more than half of those questioned have an unfavorable view. They survey also suggests that two of the Republicans running against Reid are beating him in a hypothetical matchup.

Now, you mentioned this could be a tough re-election for Harry Reid, but he does have a few things going for him, Randi. There is no one unified Republican candidate yet. And second of all, Harry Reid has raised a lot of money and is a fighter.

KAYE: Let's talk about a couple of big announcements. This past week, two big guns, two Democrats resigning. That's bad news for Harry Reid. It certainly comes on a tough week for Democrats in the Senate.

STEINHAUSER: Two high profile Democrats. But in a way, it's almost like a split decision. Let's start in Connecticut with Christopher Dodd. He had a lot of political baggage. With Dodd announcing he will not run for reelection for another terms, this may actually help the Democrats in the state that usually tends to favors the Democrats.

The other one who announced, right there in the middle of the screen, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota. In this case, this could hurt the Democrats. Dorgan was pretty popular in North Dakota, and this could give Republicans an opportunity to make a pickup. You saw that graphic there. There were three other Democrats not defending their seats this November.

But, Randi, it's not just the Democrats, even though they are out there right now. There are also six Republicans who will not be defending their seats come November.

KAYE: Let's talk about the bigger picture mid-term elections in November. Where do we stand right now?

STEINHAUSER: Why does this matter to most Americans, all this political mumbo-jumbo? Here's why. The Democrats have 60 seats in their coalition in the Senate. That is a super majority. With those 60 seats, they are able to push through their agenda, though maybe not always that easy, as you can see from the health care legislation, which is still making its way through Congress. If they lose the super majority come November, in the mid-term election, starting next year, President Obama and the Democrats will have a tougher time in the Senate passing their agenda. That's why this is so important. There's so much at stake come November, Randi.

KAYE: All right, Paul Steinhauser for us with all the answers. Thanks, Paul.


KAYE: When to buy and when to sell, ever wish you could look into a crystal ball and predict what's next for Wall Street? One woman says it is not financial hocus pocus. And she's made millions by going with her gut.

Poppy Harlow shows us how.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT, YOURMONEY.COM: When it came to calling the financial crisis, most of Wall Street got it wrong. But Laura Day says she got it right.

LAURA DAY, PREDICTS WALL STREET INVESTMENTS: I woke up and it actually had been a couple of weeks, and the market had been bothering me, by bothering me the same way, like a scab will itch you. I sold everything into cash.

HARLOW: She felt the stock market crash coming literally and then the oil sell-off.

DAY: I said I wouldn't be buying oil futures any time soon. Then two weeks later, the oil market tanked.

HARLOW: How does Day do it? She says by harnessing her intuition.

DAY: I literally do this in my sleep.

HARLOW: And she makes millions doing it.

Day says major corporations and hedge funds pay her $10,000 a month, not for her business acumen -- she's the first to admit she knows nothing about the market or the economy -- but for her gut feelings.

DAY: What they really are hiring me for is to predict and troubleshoot in the moment so problems don't happen.

HARLOW (on camera): What are some example questions? In that you've gotten in the middle of the night? Something these businesses pay you for.

DAY: They're saying they'll pull the deal if we don't give in on this point. Do you feel they will?

HARLOW: Are they bluffing?

DAY: Exactly. I'm not a risk factor to them. Because if I'm completely off, they would probably know.

HARLOW (voice-over): But is there science to back it up? Dr. Joel Voss and Dr. Ken Paller co-authored a study focusing on unconscious memory and implicit recognition at Northwestern University.

DR. KEN PALLOR, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: Our thinking about intuition is that there can be useful, intuitive ideas that come out of some actual implicit knowledge.

DR. JOEL VOSS, BACKMAN INSTITUTE POST-DOCTORAL FELLOW: What I'm skeptical of is the notion that someone can make an intuitive decision that's accurate in a field in which they have no expertise. That is against any known findings that I can think of.

HARLOW: While celebrities like Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt all praise her work on Day's web site, on Wall Street, the feeling is mixed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so.

HARLOW (on camera): What do you trust for that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I trust the history, not the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure, why not. Most people are pretty much akin to throwing a dart at a board any way.

HARLOW: Any sense the economy is getting better here?

DAY: I think that it's important for people to remember -- is that what the market is doing is not what you're doing. There are opportunities in every economy.

HARLOW: Opportunities you might miss.

DAY: Hello?

HARLOW: If you don't trust your intuition.

In New York, Poppy Harlow, "CNN"


KAYE: From your wallet to theirs. Remember that massive taxpayer- fueled bank bailout? Yes, who can forget that one, right? Well, it's bonus season, and those banks are planning on handing out big money to their employees. Goldman Sachs is on track to lavish some $22 billion on its workers for 2009. JPMorgan Chase could give out $14 billion alone. Experts say they better brace for public outrage.


CHRISTINA ROMER, CHAIR, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISORS: We've provided extraordinary aid and the idea that, as the financial system heals, they go back to business as usual, is simply outrageous.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So what do they do? What is the president going to do?

ROMER: What we're going to do is redouble our efforts on financial regulatory reform, because it had in it sensible things like Say on Pay, so at least the shareholders are minding the store. Sensible things like saying, for heaven's sakes, compensation should be focused on something so you don't have rewards for to risk taking. We simply have to put in place rules of the road so this system doesn't bring the economy to the edge of collapse like it did a year or so ago.


KAYE: The backlash potential has major banks adjusting their pay practices, pairing or replacing their cash bonuses with stock awards.

It is let-down weekend for college football fans. The NCAA is counting the cash, lots of cash. Sports business analyst, Rick Harrow, has his own definition for BCS. Don't worry, it is safe for television.



KAYE: He was tortured and abused as a POW during the Vietnam War, and badly wounded twice in battle. Lewis Meyer says he went over 40 years without as much as a thank you from the federal government, until now.

John SODERMAN with CNN's San Diego affiliate KUSI brings us his story.



JOHN SODERMAN, REPORTER, KUSI: Lewis Meyer, finally gets his due after a wait of 40-plus years and, boy, does this 77-year-old ever deserve it. On this day, he receives two Purple Hearts and a Prisoner of War Medal, the result of a hellish experience during the Vietnam War.

But the reason the emotions run high is not hard to understand. When rockets rained down on Meyer's unit during the battle for Qua City, the most bloody fight, historians say, of the Vietnam War, Meyer was seriously wounded. He and several others were captured and would become prisoners of war for the next five years.

While for the last 40-plus years, Meyer has struggled with a crippling bought of post traumatic stress disorder, still not as much as a peep from the federal government. The reason? Meyer was not a member of the U.S. military. He was actually an MCA asmirmark (ph) civilian fireman working alongside American troops. Today, America finally said thank you.


SODERMAN (on camera): Could you talk about your lowest moment during captivity?

MEYER: My lowest moment, it was mocked execution.

SODERMAN: A mock execution.

MEYER: And I said, I don't want to even think about it. I don't -- I completely forgot about it.

SODERMAN: Why is the ceremony such an incredibly big deal? It's easily explained. This week marks the first time in American history that these types of awards have been bestowed upon a civilian.

DUNCAN HUNTER, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: I think this probably is -- to my knowledge, this is the first time this has occurred.

SODERMAN: Why did it take so long?

HUNTER: Because, number one, if something that appears initially to be contrary to Navy orders.

SODERMAN: Talk about what it was like for most of your teenage years to not have your dad around.

JEFFREY LEWIS, SON OF LEWIS MEYER: It was hard. Well, my mom and brother and I, just formed a stronger bond between ourselves, and always knew he was coming back.

SODERMAN: I see the tears welling up in your eyes.

JEFFREY LEWIS: It's a long time coming and I'm so proud of him.

SODERMAN: Your son said that when he was a teenager and you were away, he never doubted you were going to come back.

MEYER: Well, I was pretty stubborn.



KAYE: Nice to be appreciated.

Thanks again to John Soderman and our friends at KUSI for the story.

The string of football bowls is finally over, and some TV widows, probably celebrating. But some college football officials are celebrating even more. Our sports business guru, Rick Harrow, joins us now.

Rick, is it true -- oh, you've got your football. You are ready to go. Is it true that you called the BCS the "buckets of cash" series?

HARROW: Well, that's true and, of course, there's nothing wrong with that, except 34 teams, 68 teams and a billion dollar payout. In the bowl championship series, congratulations to Alabama, obviously. But also congratulations to Southern California. A billion dollars of economic impact, half a billion for that region. And, of course, Alabama excited about their first national championship in a long time.

KAYE: Let's talk about coaching issues here. Three big time football coaches fired in the last month at Kansas, Texas Tech, South Florida, as a result of allegations of mistreatment of players. All of these coaches' contracts worth millions, which of course they stand to lose if they are fired for cause. Are we seeing a correlation with the economy? Are schools looking for ways to let these guys go without paying off the contract?

HARROW: Well, it's hard to say that because there are specific incidents of behavior that need to come out. And Rick Leech, of Texas Teach, was going to get am $800,000 bonus the next day. The timing is interesting. But that doesn't minimize the facts in each of those cases, so it's hard to generalize.

I will say there have been 25 coaches that have made more than $2 million a year over the last couple of years, doubled the year before. These are $100 million corporations, these college athletic football programs, and the coaches are more central to them than ever before, and it is big business.

KAYE: And speaking of big business, what is this about Tiger Woods' troubles affecting the stock market?

HARROW: "Vanity Fair" had a shirtless Tiger Woods. But it wasn't him who lost his shirt. It was all of the investors, by the way.


You know, companies like Pepsi, Gatorade and Nike and all of those big companies he was he was endorsing 13 days after the dalliances were admitted to. $5 to $12 billion of stockholder value was lost, according to a couple of University of California economists. So Tiger has a lot of explaining to do for those who invested in his companies.

KAYE: I'm sure he'll explain it all to you as soon as you find him.

HARROW: Yes, we'll all be looking for Tiger Woods.


KAYE: Rick Harrow, thank you very much. Have a good Sunday.

HARROW: You too.

KAYE: A national clothing retailer is being criticized for the way they are handling unwanted merchandise.

And a couple, looking to earn cash for their wedding, is interested in what you're throwing out, specifically your cans.


KAYE: A national clothing store's trash, or what they consider trash, is cloaked in controversy.

CNN'S Ines Ferre has the story.


INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the New York Clothing Bank, Luis Jimenez is taking off labels from clothing donated by various companies. He's convinced them to donate excess efforts to clothe the poor. He promises to protect their brand by tearing off their labels.

Jimenez says he is not surprised when he hears about mutilated garments found that could have been donated.

LUIS JIMIENEZ, NEW YORK CLOTHING BANK: I've seen truck loads of merchandise that has been damaged by a slit being cut across the front of the shirt or down the pant leg of a pair of jeans. That makes them -- unless you have somebody that could sew it and throw a patch on it or mend it, it's impossible to get that to the right folks.

FERRE: Recently a woman passing by the back of an H&M Store noticed what she called a mountain of bags filled with the store's garments, all of them slashed like an angry person took a box cutter to them. Her findings became a sensation on places like Twitter, with angry consumers wondering why the clothes weren't donated.

JIMENEZ: Many times clothes get damaged or inadvertently ruined, when they're trying to make sure it doesn't get out into the general population without any controls.

FERRE: one textile professor says, in today's market of social responsibility and shrinking revenues, destroying clothes doesn't make sense.

STEVEN FRUMKIN, PHILADELPHIA UNIVERSITY: I find it hard to believe somebody throws garments out, even if someone thinks they don't want others to be wearing it, because they can get some good value out of that type of attention.

FERRE: H&M said the incident was isolated and that the garments had been destroyed reasons, adding, "It's unfortunate the situation that happened on 34th Street was perceived as us discarding excess inventory or unsold goods."

(on camera): H&M said they're globally committed to donating as many items as possible. Separately, destroyed Wal-Mart clothing was found on the same street as H&M clothes. Wal-Mart sad that was put there by a supplier without their knowledge and that was not in compliance with their policy of donating as many clothes to charitable organizations as possible.

Ines Ferre, CNN, New York.


KAYE: A couple looking to tie the knot, well, they're coming up with a very interesting way to pay for it. There's a little clue for you right there.


KAYE: Of all the images of frigid weather around the country, perhaps none more graphic than these school buses near Omaha, Nebraska. Wow. Take a look at those. They were parked behind a bowling alley when the building caught fire. As firefighters fought the flames, the spray from the fire hoses froze all over the buses. That's not snow. That was the stuff. Then it all froze. The bowling alley could not be saved.

Something you don't see every day, especially in the south. There it is. Look up all the way up that building, a five-story ice sickle on the outside of a building in High Pointe, North Carolina. The building's heating and air-conditioning system sprang a leak and the sub-freezing temperatures did the rest.

It is not unusual to see cans tied to the back of a car with a banner reading "just married." What's unusual is using cans, hundreds of thousands of cans to be exact, to pay for the day.

Annie Bishop spoke with our Spokane affiliate KXLY. She has the story.


ANNIE BISHOP, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every can counts for Peter Geyer and his finance, Andrea Parrish.


BISHOP: Their living room is a recycling station.

ANDREA PARRISH, RECYCLING FUTURE BRIDE: Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Gingerale, Cherry 7-up.

BISHOP: Sorting, weighing and into a pile to pay for a wedding they've always wanted. The couple is anything but traditional. Andrea proposed to Peter with this opal earring.

Their wedding or how they pay for it wouldn't be any different.

PARRISH: To be completely honest, I got the idea at 1:00 in the morning and went, that's a stupid idea, forget about it. Then I couldn't go to sleep and kept thinking about it and kept thinking about it.

BISHOP: Soon Andrea created a web site,, a Facebook page and a Twitter account to get the word out.

GEYER: We're shooting for $400,000 cans, which equals about five tons of aluminum.

PARRISH: 400,000 is a lot of cans, but, again, I have faith in exactly how crazy people are and how crazy of an idea it might be, and that it could work.

BISHOP: And she's right. In the past month alone, they've collected 15,000 cans. They have another 100 pounds to cash in.

PARRISH: When it comes to cash, cans are the most easily available cash. They're anywhere between 35 to 36 cents a pound right now.

BISHOP: If they meet their goal they'll have between $4,000 and $5,000 to spend. They plan to tie the knot in July.

GEYER: I love everything she does for me. Just the person she is, and how she treats me.

PARRISH: I love the fact that she is much more logical than I am and that he thinks about us before he thinks about himself.

BISHOP: Aluminum, for a day they will never forget.


KAYE: We took a look at the couple's Facebook page. They have over 600 fans and quite a ways to go to meet their goal. So help them out if you can.

We have been talking about the Harry Reid story. A lot of you have been on twitter telling me your thoughts. I want to share tweets with our viewers today.

This one here from rainbowlite said, "Reid is old. He clearly said what many people thought. Obama's appeal is part good looks and excellent speaking skills."

Another from jayburax says, "He should resign" -- meaning Reid -- "because he's useless."

Laverne25 writes to me, "If black folks spent our time being angry at negative comments, we'd all be in a corner sucking our thumbs. Let it go."

Another one from Laverne25, "If the president forgave him, why won't the media let it go? Racism exists. People of color know that."

Two quick ones left. "Senator Reid should resign. He apologized sincerely. President of the United States accepted. Lessons here, tolerance, forgiveness and think before you speak."

Very good.

The last one coming from RosieA says, "Steele compares Reid to Trent Lott's support of Strom Thurmond. Here's a comparison of the two quotes."

Thank you very much for all your tweets and all your time today.