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Indy Champ Wheldon Killed in Crash; 4 Disabled Adults Locked in Basement; Occupy Wall Street Goes Global; CNN Hosting Next GOP Faceoff; Cain Surging as Debate Approaches; Out of Sing Sing -- Into Boxing Ring

Aired October 16, 2011 - 22:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Right now on CNN, shackled slaves in America in this day and time?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is only stuff that you see in movies.


LEMON: There are torture chambers, a basement and a roving one that carries the mentally disabled victims cross country for a even sicker motive.

And --

Raising Cain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aren't you angry with the history of America?


LEMON: But is this GOP hopeful leveraging a presidential campaign at the expense of his own race? We get answers two days before the next Republican debate.

Dedicating the dream.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In this place, he will stand for all time.


LEMON: The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is officially open on the National Mall with an emotional ceremony.

And living the dream, finally. He waited more than two decades in prison to win his innocence and a title.

All that right here, right now on CNN.

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Thank you for joining us tonight. We're going to start with a tragic day in auto racing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is open air in front of him. Oh! Here we go. Total contact and a huge crash! Up in turn number two. Oh! Multiple cars involved.


LEMON: What you're looking at right there, that's a video of a crash that killed two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon. It happened today in a horrific multi-car crash in Las Vegas.

The race had barely started with one slip set off this fiery chain reaction. Wheldon's car went airborne. The cars disintegrated. Flames and debris flew off in all directions. Wheldon was airlifted to the hospital but was pronounced dead just a couple of hours later.

An emotional meeting among the drivers. They agreed to cancel the race. Instead, they honored Wheldon with a slow five-lap trip around the track. Wheldon's No. 77 was put at the top of the winner's pole in the infield.

Let's bring in now CNN's T.J. Holmes tonight.

T.J., several other drivers were also taken to the hospital. What is going on where you are now at that track?

T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's just horrific. It's a sad day. And you know, we're used to seeing -- and we know that accidents are a part of racing. But we're used to seeing them get up and walk away so oftentimes no matter how horrific the crash looks. We're here at this track still and right behind me, to my right here, is really that first turn, turn one and two.

And this is the straightaway here with so much debris, really, the debris from where the wreck first started. The debris continued for about three quarters of a mile, to give you an idea. And these are cars that are going literally 220 miles an hour.

You can't stop. You can't just throw on the brakes when something happens in front of you. And that is what played out here. We'll give you a look at this. We do have that video. Just a horrible, horrible crash just about 11:12 laps into this race today.

Dan Wheldon was actually up for a $5 million prize as part of a promotion if he won this race. There were so many factors playing in to this accident. But this was built here, Don, as the race that was really going to help Indy going into next year. Kind of been a struggling series for the past several years. But the new CEO really was betting a lot on this particular race, promoting it. There were 34 cars. Just a record for this track. They were entered into this race. He had been promoting it on the Las Vegas strip and so many things that were a part of it.

And now to have this on this day is just -- is just horrific. I talked to a few folks who were still left out here after the race. Listen to them describe what they saw and also their feelings after the race.


LOU LIEBIG, INDYCAR FAN: You had probably three full safety crews around him. He was not moving in the car. I mean, we were able to get the aircraft in here, and it didn't look good.

HOLMES: You've been following racing since the late '50s, early '60s. Have ever seen anything like what you saw today?

STEW BLOEMER, INDYCAR FAN: No. No. That's what totally beyond anything I've ever seen. It was -- it was just total carnage for a while.


HOLMES: And, Don, it's a couple of things that will be talked about now after this race. Thirty-four cars were entered into this race. Again, that's a record for this track. That means there were going to be a lot of cars on the track going 220 miles an hour. These are not like NASCAR stock cars that literally bump each other as part of racing. These cannot touch each other. When these tires touch something, that's about to go tragically wrong.

That will be talked about after this race. The $5 million prize will be talked about as far as a special promotion. Did that factor into some of these drivers racing a little harder?

Also, you had two guys going up for the championship here. They were out here racing hard. You had two rookies going for a championship here as well. It was Danica Patrick's last race. There were so many storylines to this particular race. And people will be talking now and questioning whether some of that played some kind of a factor in how the racing was going and if it possibly played any role in this accident.

But right now, just the horrific pictures of the crash and racing lost one of its superstars today, Dan Wheldon.

LEMON: Yes. We're going to get to some of that. The number of people who entered that race. The number of cars as well. We're going to hear from Danica Patrick.

Thank you, T.J., for that.

We want to bring in now Patrick Snell of CNN Sports. Everyone knows auto racing is extremely dangerous. But when it actually happens like this, it is a complete shock. Let's talk about this. 225 miles per hour. And more cars for this race than normal.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Right. And the big concern is, Don, during practice, during the week, voice have been raised. Look, the speeds are getting up to 225, in excess of 225 miles an hour. You've got more competitors that you would normally be allowed to have in this kind of an IndyCar meeting. And basically, I think people perhaps got caught up in the whole crescendo. This was the season finale. We had two races going for the title -- Australia's Will Power and Dario Francitti of Scotland.

The emphasis -- the focus was on them and the exciting, spectacular razzmatazz, if you like, it's a seasonal finale in Las Vegas. And perhaps this went a little bit under the radar, the fact that there were safety concerns over the speeds during practice.

LEMON: And you have interviewed Dan Wheldon and did so quite recently.

SNELL: Dan Wheldon is a character. You know, as a fellow Brit, I'm mourning. There's no question about that. Extremely popular. Huge respect from his peers. That's come out already. We've had so many tweets about him and his achievement. There's no question, Don, that the world of motor sports has lost one of its favorite sons. That's very evident indeed. 33 years young, leaving behind a wife and two very young sons as well.

LEMON: Patrick Snell, thank you. And, Patrick, I wasn't to read this. This is from Danica Patrick.

Danica Patrick released a statement and she said, "Racing lost a wonderful champion today. Dan brought so much excitement and personality to the sport and its fans. He was a great driver and I feel privileged to have raced with him. I pray not only for him, but for his wife Suzi, their two boys Sebastian and Oliver, and the rest of his family."

Of course, there are many others who are praying for them as well.

And there is the family right there.

Our thanks to CNN's Patrick Snell.

Patrick, thank you.

We're going to move on now to other news -- in Philadelphia, where police have made a horrifying discovery. You're not going to believe this one. Four mentally challenged adults locked and chained in the basement of an apartment building. The three men and one woman are believed to have been there about a week. Now three people are now in custody. They are suspected of holding the captives to get their social security checks.

CNN's Susan Candiotti is in Philadelphia with more.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, it's almost too awful to think about what happened to four adults inside this apartment building. It was simply put a room of horrors.


CANDIOTTI (voice over): Police call it "an act of evil." In a basement below the basement of this Philadelphia house, a chain shackled one of four mentally and physically challenged adults to a boiler, all of them locked behind a steel door. One woman and three men aged 29 to 41.

LT. RAY EVERS, PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPT.: It looks like a dungeon. These people were stored like surplus meat in the basement.

CANDIOTTI: Held captive in a 15x15 foot room, emaciated, covered in bedsores and filthy conditions. The building's owner discovered them Saturday when he heard dogs barking inside. He pried the door open and couldn't believe his eyes.

TURGUT GOZLEVELI, LANDLORD: One person was -- from the left ankle with the padlock and chain. And even the police didn't have the tools to cut the chain. I got my hacksaw to them -- cut to the padlock.

DEP. COMM. RICHARD ROSS, PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPT.: Quite simply, this case just makes you shake your head. I mean, it's despicable and unspeakable. The mere fact that, you know, individuals would treat disadvantaged people like this is just ridiculous. I mean, it just simply makes us sick.

CANDIOTTI: Neighbors couldn't believe what was going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just crazy that somebody like this in real life can do something like this. This is only stuff that you see in movies.

CANDIOTTI: Three people are charged including Linda Weston who say police orchestrated the alleged kidnapping. Police say the suspects traveled with their victims from Texas to Florida and arrived in Philadelphia October 4th. They're jailed on six charges including kidnapping and aggravated assault. Investigators say they might have been stealing social security checks of the alleged victims. The FBI is looking into that. The four victims are now hospitalized.

ROSS: I don't know whether the motivation in this is financial or whether it is just out and out evil. I'm not sure. But either way, it's just a despicable act.


CANDIOTTI: The victims were in such bad shape the landlord told us if he had found them one day later, he believes they would have been dead, Don.

LEMON: Susan Candiotti, thank you very much. In Philadelphia for us tonight.

Martin Luther King Jr. has become the first African-American to be memorialized on the National Mall.




LEMON: Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul," among the celebrities and dignitaries at the dedication ceremony today. A 30- foot statue of King now stands between the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. Those who spoke today included some of King's children plus Congressman John Lewis, newsman Dan Rather and the president of the United States.


OBAMA: If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there, and the businessman can enter tough negotiations with his companies union without vilifying the right to collectively bargain. He would want us to know we can argue fiercely about the proper size and role of government without questioning each other's love for this country.


LEMON: A dedication was set for August but was postponed because of Hurricane Irene.

Dr. Cornel West recently told me he planned to mark the dedication of the King Memorial by getting arrested and he did. The Princeton University professor was among Occupy protesters in Washington. He was arrested on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court while holding a sign that said poverty is the greatest violence of all. West said being arrested was in the spirit of Dr. King's civil disobedience.

When we come right back here on CNN, we'll have a live report from where the Occupy movement all began and has now blossomed worldwide. Now what?

And later, a wrongly accused boxer spent two decades in prison. He's finally out. And at 52 years old, he just won his first pro fight. But also, it's his last.


LEMON: Thirty days and counting. The Occupy Wall Street phenomenon in New York has gone global with demonstrations this weekend in cities across Europe and Asia.

Let's head back to where it all started right now. And CNN contributor and political anchor for New York 1 Earl Louis in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan for us tonight.

So, Errol, it's good to see you. This is becoming your position for us. You're becoming our Occupy Wall Street correspondent here.


LEMON: So here's the question. They're still going strong. I would imagine -- I don't know, is the enthusiasm waning? And do they ever clean that place?

LOUIS: Do they ever clean that place? It's funny you should say that, Don. There is something going on right now as we speak. There is chanting going on on the other side of the park. I'm here on the south side. Apparently, a phalanx of police is trying to take down some tents on the other side of the park. And there is some chanting going on. We're going to go over and take a look in just a moment.

But, no, the morale is sky high, frankly, because they had it go international. That was the news of the day. I went over to the press area. I said, hey, what's going on? They said, well, you know, we went international yesterday.

They're very proud that there were protest marches in sympathy of their cause in Italy and in South Korea and in London and in Tokyo and all across the United States. So, they feel like they're very much on a roll. Although whether that's true tomorrow morning here down near Wall Street remains to be seen.

LEMON: So, Errol, here's the question, and just update us again. So what you're hearing is -- we know that they were supposed to clean the park and there was some consternation on the Occupy Wall streeters against the city. So right now, we're hearing that police were trying to take down some tents and then -- is that all we know?

LOUIS: Yes. That's all -- it literally happened just as we were going live. And I hear chants right now going on, and someone ran over and told us that this was going on. And, you know, it could be any number of different things. Frankly, you know, it's unlike most parks here. There is a very unusual sort of thing that non-New Yorkers wouldn't necessarily know about.

But this is actually a private park. But they made a deal with the city when they acquired the park that it would become open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

LEMON: All right.

LOUIS: So that is very unusual and --

LEMON: Hey, Errol, do us a favor --

LOUIS: You can't do it on a regular public park.

LEMON: Do us a favor. Check it out for us. As you get any information, will you come back and report?

LOUIS: Absolutely.

LEMON: Errol Louis in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan. Thank you, sir. We appreciate your reporting tonight.

We want to go to Las Vegas now where CNN is set to host the next major test for the Republicans' battling for the presidency. On Tuesday, they will meet for a debate co-sponsored by the Western Republican Leadership Conference. And our very own Jim Acosta is standing by live on the Strip in Vegas for us now and so is Steve Sebelius. He's a political reporter for the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Good to see both of you.

Hey, let's start with you, Jim. Every time we have one of these debates, it seems like there is a new attention grabber. This time around, of course, it is Herman Cain. It was other candidates before that. It was Michelle Bachmann and others. Now, it's Herman Cain's turn.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Don. You know, this is going to be a big test for Herman Cain on Tuesday night. And a lot of Republicans are going to be watching to see how he handles, how he responds to a couple of controversies that popped up just this weekend.

Don, you know, down in Tennessee, Herman Cain was campaigning and he talked about the fact that he would like to see an electrical fence down on the U.S.-Mexico border to keep illegal immigrants out of the country. And, you know, that really raised a lot of eyebrows. He said on "Meet the Press" this morning he was only joking.

But I would imagine that that is going to come up at the debate on Tuesday night. He's going to be asked about that. One of the other candidates may challenge him on it.

And his 9-9-9 tax plan, which he obviously has gotten a lot of air time and a lot of attention for. It came out over the weekend, Don. A couple of analysts looked at that tax plan and said it looks like lower and middle income Americans will be paying more taxes and Cain acknowledged that on one of the Sunday talk shows.

So, he's going to have to get through this test. He looks a lot like some of these other candidates you talked about, Don -- Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry. They both sort of emerged as the un-Romney in this campaign. They went up like a shooting star and then sort of imploded when they were held up to the media spotlight.

So we have to see how Herman Cain handles that.

LEMON: Yes. I guess fickle would be a good word at this point. But still, it's early on in this process. They're not in yet, it's not early on. But in this particular process, it's still fairly on.

So, Steve, let's talk about some of the issues in this debate that are really affecting Las Vegas or Nevada as a whole -- 14 percent unemployment in the city, lots of immigration issues for the state. And should these candidates be addressing these on Tuesday night? They will be, I'm sure. STEVE SEBELIUS, POLITICAL REPORTER, LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL: Well, yes, absolutely they should be addressing these Tuesday night. Nevada voters preparing for a caucus now on January 14th do want to hear about some of those things. I'm sure the thorny issue of Yucca Mountain, the proposed nuclear waste repository that's been so thorny over the last few decades is going to come up as well.

But really the unemployment and jobs issue, that is going to be the number one issue here on voters' minds. And that's certainly something the candidates would have to address.

LEMON: Who do you think -- which candidate is going to appeal most, do you believe, to Nevada Republicans and why?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think it's going to be Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney in 2008 captured 51 percent of the votes in the caucus. He still has an organization here. He's rehired the staff that he had in 2008. And the Mormon community here in Las Vegas, very small part of the population, but they turn out almost 100 percent.

So, I think it's Mitt Romney's game to lose right now. And that's especially true since the caucus date was moved up, leaving candidates with about a month less time to organize.

LEMON: OK. So this is for Steve and then -- Jim, I want you to weigh in on this.

You say it's going to be Mitt Romney, Steve. That's what you say. While Herman Cain is going up in the polls, Perry is seeing some surge in the polls as well, at least, and Mitt Romney is just level, going stagnant. So then, what is it about Mitt Romney in your estimation as a Nevadan that is not appealing?

SEBELIUS: Well, Mitt Romney certainly has appeal here. To Republicans though nationwide, he's running in the Republican primary, there's a strain of conservatism that says that Mitt Romney is just not one of them. I don't know how strong that is in Nevada.

But certainly Mitt Romney also gained by the fact that Herman Cain now says that out of solidarity with New Hampshire he's going to skip the Nevada caucus entirely. So again, it really does come down to Mitt Romney. He'll do well here. How well he does in other places, that's an open question.

LEMON: So, Jim, to you now. So then what does he have to do on Tuesday night? And also Chris Christie -- one would have thought that Chris Christie, the darling of the Republican Party, that it might have given him a boost. That didn't even happen.

ACOSTA: Yes. You know, Mitt Romney, you know, he has really done so well in all of these debates. I mean, whether you're a Republican or Democrat, a lot of independent folks have looked at this and said Mitt Romney has basically won all of these debates. If he comes in on Tuesday night and runs the table again and cleans up here in Vegas and wins this debate on Tuesday night, it is going to -- it is going to be hard to stop the chatter that he is the eventual nominee. You already saw that starting to emerge as a narrative coming out of last Tuesday debate up in Dartmouth.

If Mitt Romney has another strong performance, I think it's going to be hard for the other Republican candidates to stop that narrative emerging from what happens here on Tuesday night.

Herman Cain is going to try his best to throw Mitt Romney off his game. I think we're going to see the other candidates try to do that as well. But Mitt Romney's biggest challenge, I think, is something that you hear from what, you know, the Democrats are saying right now. David Axelrod was saying this earlier today on one of the Sunday talk shows.

Mitt Romney is sort of at this 20 percent to 25 percent plateau --

LEMON: Right, right.

ACOSTA: -- among Republicans. He has to figure out a way to get above that in order to capture the nomination, I think. And that's his biggest challenge at this point.

LEMON: Jim Acosta, Steve Sebelius, thanks to both of you. We will be watching. It's going to be interesting on Tuesday. Who will come out on top in the CNN/Western Republican presidential debate? Make sure you join us from Las Vegas Tuesday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern. CNN's Anderson Cooper will be asking the questions.




LEMON: Security forces accused of opening fires on demonstrators in Yemen. The dramatic tape, next.


LEMON: Checking your headlines right now around the world.

As dawn approaches in Yemen, gunfire and explosions are echoing in the streets of the capital. It is the latest sign that turmoil in Yemen is far from over.

A medic says at least five people were killed in the capital Sanaa on Sunday when security forces opened fire on a demonstration. Dozens were injured. Marchers carried signs reading Saleh kills and the world watches. They're demanding an end of the President Ali Abdullah Saleh's reign, and Saleh blames al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood for the unrest there.

The Arab League is considering the extraordinary step of suspending Syria in the face of its crackdown on protesters.




LEMON: Activists say security forces were on the move again Sunday. They reportedly fired on thousands of mourners at a funeral. The government insists it is trying to meet protesters' demands for reform and that a new constitution will be drafted in the next four months.

Senator John McCain worries that a White House plan to send soldiers to Uganda could mire America in a new war. President Barack Obama announced Friday he was sending 100 military advisers to help those Ugandan troops. They're fighting Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army. Those rebels have waged a campaign of rape, murder and mutilation that has killed tens of thousands of people. McCain didn't question the president's motives but said the decision fit a disturbing pattern.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I worry about with the best of intentions that somehow we get engaged in a commitment that we can't get out of. That's happened -- that's happened before in our history and we need an explanation. And I'm very disappointed again that the administration has not consulted with members of Congress before taking such action.


In other news, abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is one step closer to freedom. Israel has submitted the paperwork necessary to pardon 447 Palestinian prisoners. That's the first of two groups that will be released as part of a deal with Hamas to free Shalit. Israeli citizens have 48 hours to object. But the government warns that any changes are likely to scuttle the deal.

One of America's most beloved G-rated programs just got victimized by some X-rated hackers. That story straight ahead.


LEMON: It looks like porn hackers have commandeered "Sesame Street's" online channel. This is what you get if you try to visit "Sesame Street's" YouTube page. The channel is not available. That's what it says. Well, earlier, users saw sex videos instead of clips of Grover, Elmo or the other characters. At one point, the page also said that content was brought you to by the letter X, playing off a Sesame Street saying. So far, no response from PBS or from YouTube.

The FBI is investigating after a dead newborn baby was found on a carnival cruise ship. A crew member found the body while the boat was docked at the Caribbean Island of St. Maarten. The mother is a 20- year-old American woman. She stayed behind as the cruise ship returned to Florida. She's expected to return in the next 24 hours. No one has been charged. And the FBI says it is still gathering evidence in this case. The trial of Michael Jackson's doctor resumes on Tuesday. No court is set for tomorrow because a witness for the prosecution is unavailable. Prosecution is expected to wrap up its presentation this week. Dr. Conrad Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death.

Rising Republican star Herman Cain getting deep into political hyperbole on illegal immigration. Here's what he said at an event on Saturday.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I'm in charge of defense, we're going to have a fence. It's going to be 20 feet high. It's going to have barbed wire on the top. It's going to be electrified. And there's going to be a sign on the other side that said it will kill you.


LEMON: Sound a bit extreme to you? Well, Cain says lighten up. We're going to get into that.

But first, here's Alison Kosik with this week's "Getting Down to Business."

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Many Americans support the idea of higher taxes for the wealthy to help reduce the federal budget deficit. A Washington Post-Bloomberg poll has found more than two- thirds of Americans say the ultra rich should pay more in taxes. This comes as billionaire Warren Buffett revealed he made more than $62 million last year and paid less than $7 million in taxes.

And for all the Apple lovers who stood in line for a new iPhone 4S, don't throw away your old one just yet. It could turn into cash as sales of smart phones increase, trade-in sites have also grown. One company, Giselle, offered close to $300 for an iPhone 4 trade in.

And if you're planning to travel for the holidays, book your plane tickets now. Experts say travelers will pay around $40 more this year and they expect the price to go up about $5 a day. We'll get an overall reading on inflation Wednesday.

That's this week's "Getting Down to Business." I'm Alison Kosik.


LEMON: All right. It's getting down to the wire. More politics now. Herman Cain riding a huge wave of buzz into CNN's GOP presidential debate on Tuesday. But the boost in popularity is bringing more scrutiny for him and his policy ideas. I want you to listen to what he said in Tennessee on Saturday about keeping out illegal immigrants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CAIN: When I'm in charge of defense, we're going to have a fence. It's going to be 20 feet high. It's going to have barbed wire on the top. It's going to be electrified. And there is going to be a sign on the other side that says it will kill you.


LEMON: Boy, he seems serious there. But he walked back those comments on NBC's "Meet the Press."


CAIN: That's a joke, David.


CAIN: That's a joke.

GREGORY: That's not a serious plan?

CAIN: That's not a serious plan. No, it's not.

GREGORY: You got a big laugh, but that's not what you'd do.

CAIN: That's a joke. I've also said America needs to get a sense of humor.


LEMON: He has said it before about the exact same issue in almost the exact same way.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You upped the ante with, quote, "a 20-foot barbed wire electrified fence." Were you serious?

CAIN: America's got to learn how to take a joke.


LEMON: So what exactly does Herman Cain find so hilarious about the illegal immigration issue? I want to bring in CNN contributor Erick Erickson, editor of and Robert Zimmerman, a former CNN contributor and member of the Democratic National Committee.

Erick, I want to start with you. Why does Cain keep saying these things about illegal immigration and later saying that it was a joke and Americans need to lighten up? Why does he keep doing that?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it was a joke for Herman Cain. He is giving this line now for a number of years. It used to be that on the other side there was a mote two football links-long filled with alligators and if they could climb the fence and get through the mote and past the alligators, he'd give them a job. Unfortunately, he cut it down a little bit too much, but, yes, he's got a very good sense of humor. And now that he's at the top of the pack, people are saying maybe he needs to cut the joke telling. But he's got a good sense of humor.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CMTE. MEMBER: Erick, the big -- you know, Erick, the problem is he doesn't have a sense of humor, and it's a poor joke, because border and port security, which so important to our safety and so important to putting in comprehensive immigration reform, should not be taken lightly.

And I'm not defending my party for not doing enough on the issue and likewise, the Republican Party as well. It's been a bipartisan failure. But the idea that we have someone who pretends to be a serious presidential candidate mocking and minimizing the issue of immigration reform just demonstrates, a, that he does not have a good sense of humor and, b, that he's not qualified for public office, least of all the presidency.

LEMON: And in one breath, Robert, and correct me if I'm wrong, you can't say that I respect life about the abortion issue and then make jokes about killing people in the next breath.

ZIMMERMAN: Absolutely. I mean, there is somebody -- is this what Herman Cain said -- you're referring to, Don?

LEMON: Yes, yes.

ZIMMERMAN: Yes. Well, my point simply is that's just one more example. Certainly, the comments he's engaged in regarding race are equally divisive and hateful.

But the bigger issue is the fact that he's able to get away with this just demonstrate how extreme the Republican Party has become today. The concept of Reagan mainstream conservatism is really an issue for the Smithsonian, because ultimately Reagan would be an outcast in today's Republican Party because he raised taxes, he raised the debt ceiling and he negotiated with our adversaries.


ZIMMERMAN: It's really a commentary how extreme the Republican Party has gotten today.

LEMON: Listen, listen, hang on here. You're moving ahead a little bit. Because, Robert, listen, I want to say game on. He's at the top of the heap right now and that it brings this sort of scrutiny when you're at the top of the heap. So I want to talk about these issues.

When you make -- when you say things like African-Americans are brainwashed. You say President Obama's never been a part of the black experience in America. African-Americans use racism as an excuse. What does that say about Herman Cain? And some may wonder if Herman Cain is the mouthpiece for some conservatives and members of the Tea Party and he's just -- they're using him to voice their opinions about how they feel about this issue.


ZIMMERMAN: Don, is that for me?

LEMON: Yes, that's for you.

ZIMMERMAN: I'm sorry. You see, that's exactly the point. Herman Cain is playing the race issue to try to appeal to the extreme wing of the Republican -- the extreme within the Republican Party.

And when he makes the issue that African-Americans are brainwashed, he's trying to excuse why he doesn't have support from the African-American community.

When he denounces President Obama by saying he's not a strong black man, he's ultimately trying to use the issue of race to play the extreme fringes.

ERICKSON: Listening to Robert's tone here -- I think this is why Americans are so cynical about this. When you get to the top of the pack, apparently you have to have your sense of humor.

Robert may not like Herman Cain's sense of humor. I may not like Herman Cain's sense of humor. But he's got a sense of humor. You know, he is on top. He does say some things. Now, keep on mind as well, Herman Cain was running as an insurgent candidate. And insurgent candidate relies on grassroots not on money to get attention. And one of the things insurgent candidates do is they make typically more bold pronouncements. Bill Bradley did it when he was running against Al Gore back in 2000. The list goes on and on. They all do it. The game has changed --

ZIMMERMAN: That is factually incorrect, Erick.

ERICKSON: Hang on a second, Robert. He is going to have to elevate this now to a different level when he gets to it. But, you know, part of this was him getting nominated, part of this was sense of humor. And, you know --


LEMON: Robert, Robert. Hold that thought, Robert. Hold that thought, Erick, here.

So listen, Cain's rhetoric, though, is catching fire as we can tell with this very boisterous debate here. Is he going to amp it up enough on Tuesday night to pull off a big victory and get him the much needed money because he needs money to stay in this race?

Don't answer that. Both of you are going to talk about it after the break.


LEMON: All right. We're back. We're going to continue our conversation now. Before the break, we were talking about Herman Cain's surge in these days leading up to CNN's Republican debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

"Saturday Night Live" took notice, too, and had some fun with Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How to fight terrorism? My 5-5-5 plan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For every terrorist, America will send five airplanes, five soldiers and five of those dogs that caught Osama bin Laden.

How we fix health care? The 3-3-3 plan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time you get sick, you get three pills, three days off and three chicken noodle soups.



LEMON: I'm back now with CNN contributor Erick Erickson, editor of getting a good laugh here, Robert Zimmerman also getting a good laugh. He is a former CNN contributor and a member of the Democratic National Committee.

So clearly, Herman Cain has everyone's attention now. But Erick, here's a question. Is it going to translate into campaign money for him in states where he is lagging? He needs the money to stay in.

ERICKSON: I'm not sure that it matters at this point, because you've got Iowa and New Hampshire moving up their caucuses and primaries to January. You did you have a month into 2012 where he could raise extra money. But now that's all going to be curtailed through Christmas, people are not giving a lot of money.

So, he apparently had a surge of fundraising at the end of the last quarter. But still only $2 million or $3 million dollars with $1 million cash on hand, compared to Perry and Romney, for example, who had 15 and I think 20 on hand. And they have the money to be able to lay a ground game in an Iowa caucus state which is different than running a primary state -- New Hampshire primary, South Carolina primary at the same time.

Cain is saying he's going to bypass the Nevada caucuses for now, but that is probably more for fundraising than for solidarity with the other candidates.

LEMON: Go ahead, Robert. ZIMMERMAN: Erick, it's very important to decipher there is difference between political buzz and political clout and quotability with credibility. Sure, Herman Cain is getting a lot of attention. And yes, he's winning national polls.

But nominees are not picked out of national polls. They're picked by winning the early caucuses and primaries. Right now, Herman Cain is busy selling books in Tennessee on a book tour. He's not in Iowa organizing. He has no campaign to speak of in New Hampshire.

So when all is said and done, yes, he'll get his share of attention and maybe a lecture series out of this. But he's not a credible, viable candidate.

ERICKSON: Robert, I would say it is worth pointing out that one of the things that he did because he was so low on money is with this book tour. And largely, I think the book publisher -- I doubt the campaign would admit this -- was paying for him to get some high profile spots.

But now apparently I'm being told that his campaign is shifting into high gear going to Iowa trying to do this. But I'm not sure he's got enough time given how many people have been sapped up from other campaign.

LEMON: I was just going to say, he's going to have to do it fast because here's the question, though. Here's the question, Erick. Who's really in the lead here? You see Herman Cain going up in the polls. You see Mitt Romney sort of staying level. But Mitt Romney is raising a lot of money. Herman Cain is raising no money. And Rick Perry raising a ton of cash as well.

ERICKSON: Yes. Right now, I would say probably it still is a Romney versus Perry race. Perry has done horrible in these debates. Atrocious. We'll see how he does on Tuesday night. But he has raised -- he's got $15 million cash on hand. Romney has, I think, $20. His numbers haven't come out that I've seen, but a significant amount of money.

So they have the money for staying power. The other candidates don't have the money for staying power. And right now, this is a marathon and you need as much money as you can get.

LEMON: I want to ask you -- I want to ask you, Erick, who is going to be the nominee?

ERICKSON: Right now, the way the Republicans simply go, it's going to be a guy like Mitt Romney.

LEMON: All right. Not going to be Cain?

ERICKSON: Probably not going to be Cain.

LEMON: Or Perry?

ERICKSON: Well, I don't know. Perry could surprise us in the debate and turn around.

LEMON: Who can beat President Obama? Who out of the three can beat President Obama?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, it's my hope that President Obama is able to be re-elected. But the reality is any Republican who can reach independent voters or reach middle -- people in the middle, moderate voters, it makes this a 50/50 race.

Right now, none of these candidates have shown any ability to move to the middle and reach them. But that's what makes this debate coming up on Tuesday so critical because ultimately each candidate has got to really play a very dramatic strategy. If you're a second-tier candidate, you've got to have a strategy to get some attention and develop some traction. If you're Rick Perry, you've got to be able to put some senses together and have an economic program.

If you're Mitt Romney, you've got to find a way to break above 23 percent.

LEMON: Eric said none. Yes, you heard him. He said none of the candidates can beat President Obama. None. That's what he said.

Thank you guys. Have a great evening. That's going to have to be the last word. I appreciate it.

And I have a programming reminder for you. Just join us live -- make sure you join us live from Las Vegas on Tuesday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern. CNN's Anderson Cooper will be asking the questions.

President Obama goes on the road this week trying again to promote his jobs bill. That and more big stories in your week ahead.


LEMON: Now to the big stories in the week ahead. From Washington to Hollywood, our correspondents tell you what you need to know. We begin tonight at the White House.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Lothian at the White House. After a defeat of his jobs bill, President Obama hits the road this week for his second bus tour. It's part of an effort to get Congress to pass elements of his jobs bill. It's a three-day bus trip that begins on Monday and, of course, will focus on the economy. Mr. Obama will make several stops in North Carolina and Virginia.

Then on Thursday, the president will welcome the prime minister of Norway to the Oval Office where a top aide says he'll thank him for contributions to the NATO effort in Libya.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: I'm Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon, where on Monday Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will welcome the Italian defense minister here to the Pentagon and the Pentagon will continue to try to exert its political will on members of Congress as we get just weeks away now from the deadline for that debt reduction committee to come up with some sort of debt reduction plan. The Pentagon trying to make sure that doesn't include drastic cuts to spending.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: I'm Poppy Harlow in New York, where earnings season kicks into high gear this coming week, and Wall Street is waiting for those numbers for major corporations including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Apple and Coca-Cola.

Housing will also be in focus with the latest existing home sales numbers set to be released as well as other key home building reports. And we'll get the Fed's latest outlook on the state of the U.S. economy.

We'll track it all for you all week on CNN Money.

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, HLN'S "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": I'm "Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer. Here's what we're watching this week. The prosecution of the Michael Jackson death trial is wrapping up its case. Did they prove Dr. Murray's guilt? Plus, a "Showbiz Tonight Newsmaker" interview with rapper T.I., his big new moves after getting out of prison. That's "Showbiz Tonight," exclusively Sunday to Friday at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on HLN.

LEMON: All right. A look now at the nation's weather and tomorrow's commute tonight. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele.

OK. Good or bad commute for most of us?



STEELE: We have the same culprits we've been dealing with all weekend. The wind and the rain. Top five worst places.

So, good evening, everyone. Let's show you what we have. We'll start with number five and work our way to number one.


LEMON: Wow. But if you're going to be stuck anywhere, it can be Miami and South Florida.

STEELE: You may have to be inside.

LEMON: It would be nice if you're still by the pool and you're getting service at the hotel. That will be nice.

STEELE: There you go.

LEMON: Thank you very much. A little fantasy playing out in my head.


LEMON: Thank you very much. When we come right back here on CNN, a boxer gets a second chance at life and wins his first pro fight at age 52. It's a story that will inspire you.


LEMON: Our lead story tonight was two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon dying Sunday in a fiery crash. Our affiliate WGHP spoke a short time ago to Wheldon's father-in-law about the first moments when he heard about the accident.


SVEN BHEM, WHELDON'S FATHER-IN-LAW: We were watching the race. Of course, we are always rooting for Dan. And then my daughter was realizing that, you know, there was a terrible crash, and she was saying that it's Dan that is involved in the crash. And I said we're waiting. Yes, sure enough, he was involved. And then our daughter phoned -- Suzie and she says, Dad, you know, I have to go to the hospital, please pray that everything is OK. And, of course, it wasn't to be OK.


LEMON: Well, that race was canceled. Wheldon's fellow drivers pay tribute to him by driving in formation around the track at low speed for five laps. Wheldon was married and had two young sons. He was 33 years old.

Dewey Bozella has been a champion boxer for most of his life, but until last night in Los Angeles, his boxing prowess was little known outside of Sing Sing Prison.

Facing off against Larry Hopkins marked Bozella's first and only professional match. The 52-year-old Bozella was free from prison in 2009 after serving 26 years for a murder he did not commit. And ever since then, his dream was to fight just one bout as a free man. Well, Bozella easily dominated Hopkins and was declared the winner.

Congratulations to him.

Bozella was given many chances to leave prison if he would confess, but he always refused. He said he'd rather die behind bars than admit to something he didn't do.

I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for watching. Have a good night.