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Obama Presses Congress on Syria Strike; Anti-War Protest Planned Today; Battling for Congress' Approval; Montana Rape Case Moves to Higher Court; Dennis Rodman Leaves North Korea; Police: Man Secretly Exposed 300 Plus to HIV; Infant Motrin Recall; Bleacher Railing Collapses; 2020 Olympics Host City Revealed Today; USA Soccer Loses in World Cup Qualifier; Unicycle Football League; Wild Weather This Weekend; Secret Hospital Treats Wounded Syrians

Aired September 07, 2013 - 11:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks so much Suzanne and Victor. Good to see you this morning. We'll see you again tomorrow morning.

We're looking at our "Top Story" today President Obama's heavy lift on Syria puts his top diplomat on the move. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Europe seeking more support for a military strike against the Syrian regime.

And back home, thousands of people are taking to the streets and voicing a much different message. They're telling Congress stay out of Syria.

And in just a few hours, we'll know who is going to host the 2020 summer Olympic Games. Find out what cities are the finalists and what could make or break their bid.

WHITFIELD: President Barack Obama isn't wasting any time trying to convince the American people, Congress and U.S. allies that a military strike against Syria is justified. He sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Europe to secure international support for a limited air strike in response to Syria's allege chemical weapons attack.

Kerry met with European Union leaders in Lithuania today. Afterwards EU ministers insisted there is strong evidence the Syrian regime used chemical weapons. They said, quote, "a clear and strong response is crucial to make clear that such crimes are unacceptable and that there can be no impunity" end quote.

But they stopped short of supporting U.S. military action.

Back at home, President Obama is working the phones trying to convince Congress to authorize use of force in Syria, and he's also preparing to deliver a major speech to the nation Tuesday night. Brian Todd joins us live now from Washington.

So Brian, this is very much a working weekend for the President. He'll be making his case to members of Congress who are on the fence particularly, but so far how is the vote looking? BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not so good for the President right now, Fredricka. You know this is a weekend when he and his national security team are making a full-court press trying to convince members of Congress and the nation that they are making the case to strike Syria.

This morning in his weekly radio address to the American people, the President hit on a point he's been making on national security. This is his bottom line argument for punishing Syria for that chemical weapons attack.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we've seen out of Syria. Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again that they would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us. And it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons. All of which would pose a serious threat to our national security.


TODD: The President will take to the airwaves again on Tuesday evening with an address to the nation on Syria. Now, that is a critical moment on the world stage but also politically because the President is in a real battle to convince Congress to support him.

You look at the numbers in the Senate, a little deceiving there; 25 senators have said they'll support a resolution authorizing the use of force; 19 say they'll vote no. But you've got 56 undecided senators, so the Senate very much right now in the balance.

In the House, the President flat out does not have the votes, and it's unlikely he'll get them. Right now 24 House members say they will vote yes -- excuse me, 119 say they will not support a strike; 270 are undecided. 20 are unknown. Now, that dynamic may change after Monday when the top members of President Obama's security team give a closed intelligence briefing to all House and Senate members.

But right now, Fredricka this is an uphill climb to say the least for the President.

WHITFIELD: And we've heard from some Congress people this morning who said as soon as they get that kind of information, perhaps they will no longer be on the fence and they will be more definitive in their action.

TODD: Right.

WHITFIELD: All right thanks so much, Brian Todd. I appreciate that.

So the President indeed has his work cut out for him. The latest national poll shows nearly 60 percent of Americans don't support military intervention in Syria. And today thousands of people are taking that message to the streets. Protesters are gathering right now outside the White House and our Emily Schmidt is there. So Emily what are the demonstrators planning for today?

EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Fredricka good morning to you. As we have people who are gathering here, they are in front of the White House President Obama back in Washington hoping to make his case to the American people. Well, here right in front of the White House there are people who are hoping to make their case to him. They are part of a group called Their message, you see it, "Tell Congress vote no war against Syria." They're going to be gathering here over the next hour or so. Then they will take their message just up the street as they will take their message to Capitol Hill.

We are also hearing from a number of members of Congress that these aren't the only people who are telling them what they think should happen about Syria.


SCHMIDT (voice-over): Members of congress, like Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, are facing a tough decision.

(on camera): Tell me what you're hearing from your constituents. Do they want this to happen? Do they want the U.S. to take action in Syria?

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D), VIRGINIA: There are disparate voices. The dominant voice is we really don't want to get involved in Syria.

SCHMIDT: At all?

CONNOLLY: Well, it's hard to say that because if you get a chance to talk to people, then that opinion in some cases gets more sophisticated and some others it's just nothing, no how, I don't need to hear it.

SCHMIDT: Now, when he goes to events like this one --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the concern level in Congress of actually putting into power somebody more dangerous or just as bad as Assad?

SCHMIDT: With a County Bar Association, he spends most of his time talking about Syria.

CONNOLLY: History suggests when we do nothing in the face of this kind of evil, it leads to worse evil.

SCHMIDT: Where do you stand today on this vote?

CONNOLLY: I will not support the resolution submitted to Congress by the White House lawyers. It's overly broad and it's open-ended. No one in the House of Representatives has any appetite for that, including this member.

SCHMIDT: He's working with fellow Democrats to find language they can vote for fearing what happens if Congress can't agree.

(on camera): How tough of a decision is this for you right now?

CONNOLLY: For me this is a decision of conscience. So if I can find a way to really limit it but to uphold the international convention on chemical weapons, I will support that because I believe this is a profoundly moral decision with huge implications if we do nothing.


SCHMIDT: Congressman Connolly says he is definitely hearing from constituents, hearing from people. That's what they're hoping to do back here in front of the White House as people will be gathering. Fredricka they'll be here for the next couple of hours.

We will keep you posted with live reports as we see what they are saying about Syria -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Emily Schmidt -- thanks so much outside of the White House there.

So just down the street as Congress makes up its mind on whether to take military action against Syria, anti-war groups are getting ready to stage protests in Times Square in New York today and even many Syrian-Americans are against a military action.

Our Rosa Flores has more.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The unrest in Syria is thousands of miles away, but the fear of war is felt right here in the U.S. -- by Syrian-Americans like Dr. Ghia Moussa. He Skypes with his family in Syria every day.

DR. GHIA MOUSSA, SYRIAN AMERICAN: She's a physician in a hospital in Damascus.

FLORES: And says American military action in Syria is personal.

MOUSSA: I feel that every second of my day, when I sleep I'm closing my eyes and I'm saying tomorrow how many am I going to lose? It's not politics. It's human being and human lives on the line.

FLORES: That's why he and thousands of other Americans are demonstrating across the country. They Skype to organize.

MOUSSA: A lot of effort is being put into it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Anything for Syria.

FLORES: Dr. Moussa is on the board of the Syrian-American Forum, a group 2,000 strong. When President Obama started talking involvement in Syria, they started speaking against it.

MOUSSA: We're not there to cause any trouble. We're just going to say firmly and peacefully what's our position and where are we going?

FLORES: Their biggest national event is a march on Washington. They're bussing thousands of Syrian-American families from states as far as Florida and Michigan.

MOUSSA: You leave at night ok.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- about 7:30, 8:00 at night. I'm guessing it's like -- I don't know by car it's like seven to eight hour drive.

FLORES: Other groups are joining in too, like the International Action Center. They're making signs to gear up.

JOYCE CHEDIAC, INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER: When I hold up a sign, "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my government, hands off Syria," I think I will be reflecting the popular will of this country.

FLORES: They say thousands of groups from around the country are uniting with one common message -- hands off Syria.


WHITFIELD: And Rosa joining me live now from New York. So Rosa, tell us more about the protests that are planned this weekend there.

FLORES: Well, hundreds of protesters are expected to be here in New York today and hundreds of other protesters are expected in dozens of other cities around the country. Now, that group that we mentioned in this piece, Syrian-American Forum, they're getting together for their biggest national event and Fred that's scheduled for Monday. It's a march on Washington -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Rosa Flores -- thanks so much in New York.

So if you live on the East Coast and you were looking up at the sky perhaps last night, you may have seen a NASA rocket on its way to the moon. The unmanned rocket was launched from Virginia at 11:27 p.m. Eastern Time. And guess what -- it's expected to reach the moon on October 6th to study the lunar atmosphere and environment.

So launching a spacecraft relies a lot on weather, of course. Our Alexandra Steele is live for us in the Weather Center. So tell us more about this connection.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well you know Fred what's ground breaking about this is that in the past the way we've gotten images from space is through radio waves. But when you send radio waves, they could be sent through rain or shine. There's a limited amount of info kind of you can send at a time. But what's groundbreaking about now and what the NASA space is doing is now the communications is going to be sent through laser. So you know think of like a laser beam when you point it. It's so small and narrow, right? So that's what's happening.

But the problem is that narrow band can't be sent through rain. It actually has trouble even going through clouds. It really needs clear skies. So what's had to have happened here on earth from space is that they have to put in three different detectors on the ground here. So from space to the ground, what you need are clear skies, a clear signal so the three places they've chosen are New Mexico, California and Spain where they have a 90 percent shot of getting a clear signal, i.e., because of the weather clear signal and of course so it can get there without any weather problems. So we could see a clear image.

So it's groundbreaking in the way we're going to get images and then maybe eventually even get 3D video from it. So that's kind of like what this has been all about, what happened last night. And a lot of you saw it because there were a lot of clear skies as that entered the atmosphere. You can see today sunny skies here in the southeast. Tonight we're going to see a front move from western New York eastward. So a few showers, Albany, Scyracuse, Rochester, maybe northern New England as well.

But one of the big story is the incredible heat you can see where this maroon color is this is as bulge of high pressure. It's been persistently -- we've seen it for days. The last two days in Denver, Colorado, we have records. Today potentially -- today the record is 95. We're calling for 94 but it easily can get there.

Monday you can see we get to 80, but then Tuesday we get into the 60s. So in Denver they couldn't go to school yesterday at a couple of the elementary schools because it was so hot and no air conditioning. On Tuesday we're going to see temperatures in the 60s. So they'll be wearing coats but that's what happens this time of year. These undulations of temperatures, these big ridges of high pressure up front moves through and cools them down pretty dramatically.

A beautiful weekend in Boston, New York City, Washington in the 80s. So pretty nice there. Pittsburgh as well. A front will move through here even and cool things off for Sunday. You will notice tomorrow, Fred, you will be a little bit colder in the northeast and certainly wetter here in the intermountain west.

WHITFIELD: Ok I guess fall just kind of creeping in or summer are just kind of lingering.

STEELE: It's coming. We had patchy frost the last couple of nights in northern New England.


STEELE: We have Saranac Lake, it was in the 20s in New York.

WHITFIELD: Oh my God, do they wear coats and stuff in 60 degrees?

STEELE: Oh well it depends where you come from right?

WHITFIELD: Ok all I'm just checking.

STEELE: In Atlanta perhaps, in Maine I don't think so.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much. All right. The Montana judge who sparked national outrage when he sentenced a teacher to just 30 days on a rape charge was back in court to talk about the case. You'll see exactly what happened next.

U.S. Congress must decide, should the U.S. strike Syria? Congressman Charles Rangel joins me to talk about the politics behind his decision.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is hard, and I was under no illusions when I embarked on this path. But I think it's the right thing to do. I think it's good for our democracy. We will be more effective if we are unified going forward.


WHITFIELD: All right. The President while overseas; now, come Monday House and Senate members will get another private intelligence briefing from the President's national security team. And then Tuesday President Barack Obama takes his case straight to the American people with a national address.

But one democratic lawmaker the President normally can count on is not on board. A long-time New York Congressman Charlie Rangel is against taking military action in Syria.

Congressman Rangel, good to see you.

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: All right. You have quite the history with your own military experience. You've received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for Valor in the Korean conflict. So you know the realities of war. But why is it you believe the U.S. should not get involved militarily in Syria?

RANGEL: This country has been so good to me that if I thought for one hot minute that our national security was in danger, not only will I volunteer to do whatever an 83-year-old veteran could do, but I would insist on having a draft so that all Americans will have an opportunity to defend this great country.

But the threat to national security, the last time I heard language like this and limited war and we have to stop these evil people was Saddam Hussein. Now, that's been over ten years ago. 6,700 Americans, Americans, have been killed. We've spent a trillion dollars, and I have been elected to represent the people in my congressional district.

I could not possibly go before them and say that what I have heard from the President and the Secretary of State warrants going to war.

WHITFIELD: So a couple things here. You're drawing direct parallels between Iraq and Syria. So are you saying that the intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq is very similar to the intelligence now leading up to these limited missile strikes or limited strikes to Syria?

And then, second of all, you say that the U.S. is not in danger here, this is not a threat to national security, and you heard the President and the Secretary out laying that U.S. interests abroad would be potentially targeted if, say, this dictator or others like him were able to continue on with impunity.

RANGEL: Let me take the second part of your question first, and that is this is a dangerous man. He is a threat to the international community. I don't know why the community of nations just believe that you can kill people anytime you want with anything you want in a civil war except don't use chemicals.

Ok. So there is an agreement, we are a world power, we should enforce these agreements, but why America alone? This is absolutely ridiculous. In the whole world, 98 percent of the countries have solved this international agreement. We don't have the United Nations, we don't have the Security Council, we don't have the Arab League, we don't have Great Britain, we don't have the European Union. Give me a break. We're not the only one.

WHITFIELD: So if the Arab League, or if Turkey or even if there was another vote in parliament with Great Britain, if there were resounding yeses to be involved militarily alongside the U.S., then that might change your mind?

RANGEL: I think not because -- you know, we're going through sequestration. If you want a war it should be against those people that are not even thinking about the pain of sequestration. We've got millions of people that are living in poverty, old folks that won't be able to get their meals on wheels, clinics that are not able to take care of our children, jails that are filled with young people that should have been in school learning how to do high-tech so we'll be competitive.

I know what is a threat to our national security. And if internationally this criminal, and he is one, he should be dealt with by the international community. Even the communists in Russia said let's hold on before we get into a war. Let's see what more we can do diplomatically.

When I first heard that the President intended to do this, I prayed that he would bring it to the Congress and forcibly, he did. When I heard from Secretary Kerry, I thought if we didn't do it overnight that our nation would be in trouble. Now the President is taking a deep breath. Now the Congress will be meeting and the President will be going to the American people, and I just hope --


WHITFIELD: What are you hoping the President will say? What does he need to say to convince the American people, to convince you and other lawmakers who are already saying no to strikes, convince them otherwise?

RANGEL: That because he's been able to talk with the international community, they have found a way to isolate this monster, to cut off all sources to his income, to convince Russia and China that this is not just a threat to our nation, it's a threat to the world, and all of the people in the world. I hope they have a respect for not killing anyone.


RANGEL: That chemical gases should not be used even during a war and collectively our country will resume trying to get back to fight the people in congress that have the sequestration that won't let our country go back to jobs, back to education, and back to those things that will allow us to become everything that we hope and dream that we can be.


WHITFIELD: All right. Congressman Charles Rangel, thank you so much, appreciate your time and for joining us on this Saturday afternoon from New York. Appreciate it.

RANGEL: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Straight ahead, a man confesses he killed someone while driving drunk. Why did he do that?

And you'll hear a Montana judge try to explain what happened when he sentenced a convicted rapist to just 30 days in jail.


WHITFIELD: All right. New developments in that Montana rape case that has shocked the country. A hearing yesterday was canceled and the case is now headed to the Montana Supreme Court. The case sparked outrage after a judge sentenced a school teacher to only 30 days in prison for raping a 14-year-old student.

Our Kyung Lah has details.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Reporters packed the short hallway to Judge G. Todd Baugh's courtroom. But minutes before the start of the hearing the state Supreme Court stepped in ordering the judge to cancel, calling it clearly unlawful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All rise, please.

LAH: But that didn't stop Judge Baugh from holding court, even if the seats were empty.

JUDGE G. TODD BAUGH, YELLOWSTONE DISTRICT COURT: As many of you may have heard, we're not actually going to have a hearing today. LAH: It was a highly anticipated hearing -- a do-over for Judge Baugh who touched off a national firestorm last week in a child rape case. Cherice Morales was 14 when she was raped by her high school teacher Stacey Rambold. Cherice committed suicide before Rambold went to trial.

At the sentencing Judge Baugh gave Rambold just 30 days in jail saying Cherice seemed older than her chronological age. Protests sprang up across Montana and Judge Baugh was portrayed in national press and social media as a victim blamer.

Days after the controversial sentence, the judge said he made a mistake and should have sentenced the teacher to at least two years for child rape. He called the hearing and while it was canceled, the judge seemed to want to still set the record straight. And then handed it over to the state Supreme Court where the case has been appealed ending Judge Baugh's connection to this case.

BAUGH: That's about all I got to say.

AULIEA HANLON, MOTHER OF CHERICE MORALES: Thank God I don't have to deal with him anymore because I don't think he's really in touch.

LAH: Auliae Hanlon simply relieved that Judge Baugh is out of her life. She is Cherice Morales' mother. And while Judge Baugh's 30-day sentence still stands for the moment, Cherice's mother says justice may finally be in sight.

Your daughter isn't here today, but is this for her?

HANLON: Yes. I think she's looking down smiling. She felt real guilt.

LAH: The ball is now with the state Supreme Court where that appeal does sit. The legal minimum sentence is two years here in the state of Montana for Stacey Rambold. The prosecution though has been arguing he deserves much more -- 10 to 20 years behind bars.

Kyung Lah CNN, Billings, Montana.


WHITFIELD: And this stunning confession posted online this week. A 22-year-old man says, quote, "I killed a man while driving drunk."


MATTHEW CORDLE, DRUNK DRIVER: My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd, 2013 I hit and killed Vincent. This video will act as my confession.


WHITFIELD: The man says he wanted to come clean about what he has done and face the consequences that come with the crime. He has not been charged, but the Franklin County prosecutor says Matthew Cordle is a suspect in the deadly crash, and a grand jury will be asked to indict him for aggravated vehicular homicide.

Dennis Rodman, well, he's wrapped up his second trip this year to North Korea. We'll tell you what he said about helping to free an American prisoner held there.

And who will host the 2020 summer Olympic games? The announcement is out today. We'll tell you which city is the favorite. Hint -- it hosted the games back in 1964. Start Googling.


WHITFIELD: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Five things crossing the CNN news deck right now.

Number one, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Europe seeking international support for military action in Syria. Kerry met with European Union leaders in Lithuania today. Afterwards E.U. ministers insisted there is strong evidence the Syrian regime used chemical weapons. They also called for a, quote, "clear and strong response," but they stopped short of supporting a U.S. military strike.

Number two, former pro basketball star Dennis Rodman has left North Korea. He wormed his way out or did he worm his way in? He arrived in Beijing today after spending five days in the communist state. He hasn't said much about his second trip to visit reclusive dictator and basketball fan Kim Jong-Un. There was some speculation Rodman would help secure the release of Kenneth Bay, an American being held in a North Korean prison, but Rodman left empty-handed and told reporters that it was not his job to discuss the U.S. prisoner.

And number three, Missouri police say two more men are seeking to press charges against a man who confessed that he may have exposed more than 300 men to HIV. David Magnum is already charged with exposing his former partner to the virus that causes AIDS. Magnum told police that he didn't tell his sexual partners about his status because of his, quote, "fear of rejection."

And number four, Johnson & Johnson is voluntarily recalling 200,000 bottles of Motrin for babies. The company is worried tiny specks of something may be inside. The specific product is labeled concentrated Motrin infant drops original berry flavor. Johnson & Johnson says the plastic likely came from one of its suppliers so bits and pieces of plastic.

My goodness, so the cheers turned to cries as you saw right there of a section of the bleachers simply collapsing in Ohio. Our affiliate, WCMH, reports five students were hurt at a high school football game just outside of Columbus. The injuries were not serious, but reportedly at least two teens did suffer some broken bones.

And it is an event so big even though it is seven years away now, the excitement is already building. I'm talking about the Olympics, of course. Way far away. But today it's going to be kind of made present. The world will learn who will host, which city will host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. CNN's Shasta Darlington telling us which of these three cities is the front-runner. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The final countdown, we'll soon discover the next city to put on the greatest show on earth. The host for the 2020 Olympic Games will be announced on Saturday with Madrid, Istanbul, and Tokyo all fighting it out. The Japanese capital is seen as a slight favorite to win the vote with a bid built around reliable infrastructure and security, a safe choice.

The 1964 hosts have promised games that would share the power of sports with the world. But fears surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant, some 250 kilometers to the north of the city, continue to threaten the campaign. Madrid is running for the third successive occasion and has based its bid around austerity.

With an unemployment rate of 27 percent, some have questioned Spain's capacity to host an Olympics. But bid leaders insist an outlay of only $1.9 billion around a fifth the cost of the 2012 games in London, represents value for money. Not to mention that 80 percent of the venues are already in place. But if delegates want to take a new direction, they could decide to endorse Istanbul's bid.

The city promises a magical games and the IOC could decide taking the Olympics to a largely Muslim country for the first time represents a positive move. But Istanbul is fighting to recover from the negative publicity of anti-government protests in June and a recent doping scandal involving dozens of high-profile athletes.

Istanbul is still in this three-way race, but it's seen as the dark horse. The favorites tag can often be a curse. Paris was tipped to win the 2012 games only to see London snatch it away with a strong last-minute pitch. It still appears the battle for votes here in Argentina is too close to call. Shasta Darlington, CNN, Buenos Aires.


WHITFIELD: Guess what, join me today at 3:00 Eastern Time because I will have some Olympians right here to talk about that Olympic pick and other things. I'm talking about Gold Medalist Da Gail Devers and Jackie Joiner Kersee. They'll be here to talk about the big announcement and they are also going to talk about trying to inspire big people to act like kids. We're going to explain all of that straight that. We'll talk about Sochi games, too, because there's a lot on the plate.

Hi, Joe, good to see you. It's nice to have you in the house. We have some baseball to talk about.

JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS: Yes. Wow. I mean, here is the thing, you got a pitcher last night for the Giants who most people have never heard of, and he is literally on the front porch to entering baseball's history books. So close. Pitching a perfect game as we know is so rare in baseball. Only happened 23 times, and, well, Giants pitcher petite came excruciatingly close to making that history, bottom nine, two outs, full count. Really just needs one more strike or at least one more out, and you want to have your guy catch it here and you want him but he just can't get to it.

Afterwards, that's Hunter Pence who couldn't come up with the catch. He said he felt like he was in a dream where he couldn't run fast enough to get to the ball. He's only pitched 30 innings in the big leagues. Your heart breaks for the guy, but he joins a list of 11 pitchers throughout the history of baseball to fall just one out short of a perfect game.

WHITFIELD: He's feeling bad. It's the game, that's how things go.

CARTER: I feel bad for the U.S. men's soccer team because last night their long winning streak, the longest in the sports history came to an end last night. Team USA got beaten by Costa Rica. They got beat 3-1 and it was a World Cup qualifying game. They were on a roll, 12- game win streak going into this. You have a new coach, a lot of new faces, but still the heart and soul still around.

But the loss means that Tuesday's game against Mexico, sort of a must- win game for Team USA to have a sure in the World Cup coming up next year. If they were to lose against Mexico, there are some chances for them to get a World Cup spot, but it gets complicated with that, but brought some great video for you.


CARTER: I love this kind of quirky sports stuff. Unicycling meets flag football. Somebody somewhere in a tavern out there in Texas came up with this crazy idea. It's a real league that's been around for nine years. And these two activities you would think were never intended to go together, much like chicken and waffles but how it works.

WHITFIELD: I wonder, you have to be most proficient in football or most proficient in unicycling?

CARTER: Or just try not to get hurt.

WHITFIELD: It seems like your chances are very high.

CARTER: Bodies colliding and they play the sport on asphalt. They have helmets so I have to tip my hat to them for that. Definitely an insurance waiver is signed.

WHITFIELD: Not for me.

CARTER: A great video that you would enjoy.

WHITFIELD: Good to know. I had no idea for nine years, too. Where have I been?

CARTER: You weren't in San Marcos, Texas, because that's where they play.

WHITFIELD: Thanks for bringing all that to us, Joe. Good to see you. Appreciate that. All right, straight ahead, let's talk Syria again. What are the U.S. military's options in that country? I'll ask our military analyst if he thinks Russia would actually retaliate if the U.S. were to strike the Assad regime.


WHITFIELD: So what now for President Barack Obama on Syria? On Tuesday, he will address the country on his proposal to attack Syria in response to last month's alleged chemical weapons attack. This week the president failed to get international support at the G-20 Summit. And now Iran is threatening retaliation over a possible strike.

Let's bring in General James "Spider" Marks. He is a CNN military analyst and also a commanding general at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center. Good to see you.


WHITFIELD: Good morning to you. So Vladimir Putin says he has a plan in place in case of a military strike against Syria. Now we're hearing others say they to do, too. What potentially could these countries do?

MARKS: Well, specifically Russia has been supporting Iran in its efforts. I would not suggest for a moment that Russia would do anything directly against the United States militarily were the United States to strike into Syria. Clearly any response from Russia will be asymmetric as they say. It will be to disrupt our efforts either to galvanize additional international support. It will continue its support to Iran and Syria certainly. So the point is that Iran's threat against the United States really kind of gets into medieval weirdness, if you ask me.

WHITFIELD: And it was reportedly targeting U.S. interests like embassies.

MARKS: Very specifically U.S. interests in the region, the embassy in Baghdad and also some personal threats against the president, just really odd, very different kind of a response that you don't even want to pay attention to.

WHITFIELD: So you don't really believe it?

MARKS: Not that -- no, I would imagine that Iran very seriously would try to take some efforts against the United States at a very low level, but our ability, number one to detect those efforts and to do something about them is pretty profound.

WHITFIELD: You know, as it pertains to this argument, Congress trying to evaluate everything that the president is presenting, that the U.S. secretary of state is presenting, you heard Congressman Charles Rangel, who was with me earlier who said he's not on board, and he drew the parallels between Syria and Iraq. And he says this nation doesn't want another situation like Iraq. Do you see these as potentially very similar military commitments?

MARKS: No, Fred, not at all. Number one, to draw any kind of a comparison between what we tried to achieve in Iraq, what we have achieved in Iraq, and the intelligence leading up to the decisions to go to war in Iraq are completely dissimilar from what you're seeing here in Syria. In Iraq, there is a lot of inferential type of conclusion that is had to be drawn. All of our intelligence against Iraq before decision to go to war was gathered through technical means.

We didn't have human intelligence really to speak of that gave us a good sense, a feel for what was going on inside the regime of Saddam Hussein vis-a-vis what's happening in Syria, this is all dispositive. This is factual. We know that chemical use was in place. We can attribute that to the regime. Now, whether the United States should do something about that in light of the civil war that's taking place in Syria is an entirely different discussion, but there's no comparison between the factors for going to war.

WHITFIELD: All right, General James "Spider" Marks, thanks so much for your time. Appreciate that.

MARKS: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, guess what? We're in for some pretty wild weather this weekend in different parts, heavy rain, high temperatures all over the place, we'll have some details right after this.


WHITFIELD: All right, it's gearing up to be a hot and rainy weekend depending on which part of the country you live in. Our Alexandra Steele is at the CNN Weather Center. So you know, half glass full in some places and so much in others.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, exactly. You know, where we're really seeing the rain though has been in the west. We've seen so much rain it's actually led to flooding and even some mudslides.


STEELE (voice-over): Out west, strong showers and thunderstorms brought down trees and power lines in the Portland area up to 3 inches of rain flooded streets and businesses in Salem. KGW meteorologist, Rod Hill, said some 50,000 lightning strikes were counted across Washington and Oregon including the one that brought down this tree and split it in half.

MATT STAGEMAN, WITNESSED LIGHTNING STRIKE: So, it's literally like a place in between, just blew up.

STEELE: Meanwhile, clean up resumes this morning across Idaho after nasty weather caused flooding and mudslides. Jim Skelton's wife had to be rescued.

JIM SKELTON, HUSBAND: I looked over there, my wife sitting on top of the car with water all around her.

STEELE: And record heat in Denver was just too much to handle for some students, especially without air-conditioning. This elementary school was just one of six that closed early because of the high temperatures in the upper 90s.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Too hot for them to be in there and teachers, too, it's very hot.


STEELE: About when the kids go back to school on Monday, in Denver, it will be 17 degrees colder than Tuesday. They'll be in the 60s from 97. So here's where the heat is from Dallas to Minneapolis. Some rain moves through western and upstate New York and New England tonight, just some scattered showers. It cools them off tomorrow, and then the rain moves in from the Pacific Northwest into the inter mountain west and we see showers and storms there as well.

WHITFIELD: OK, all right, we'll take it as it comes, right. We have no choice. All right, Alexandra Steele, thanks so much.

All right, as the fighting in Syria continues, the wounded are trickling into secret hospitals along the Syrian border. That's coming up, next.


WHITFIELD: A secret hospital along the Syria-Lebanon border treats people wounded in a civil war, but as the fighting drags on, medical supplies are now running very low. Chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta has the details.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hard to believe, but these are the lucky ones. Most refugees end up scattered in camps like this with little medical care available. So four months ago, members of the Free Syrian Army took over this mosque in the Lebanese border town. They turned it into a very basic hospital.

(on camera): Types of injury, gunshot wounds, amputations, spinal cord injuries, you see all of those.


GUPTA (voice-over): We are just walking distance to Syria. Look over there. Just to those mountain passes. Dr. Nor is Syrian, as are all the medical staff here. They left their country to take care of rebels. To keep them safe, the hospital is secret. No signs outside. They only allowed us to take pictures on the patient floors and we agreed to limit what we would show that would identify people there.

(on camera): You don't want us to show your face. How worried are you about your own safety? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dangerous to do.

GUPTA (voice-over): There are many floors filled with patients. And inside this room, every man you see is a rebel fighter. Every one of them shot or injured in combat. A sniper shot this man in the leg. This man's arm peppered with shrapnel. They are all afraid. None wants to be identified. Including this 24-year-old who says he was walking to work in Damascus when a quote, "rain of missiles" came down. He says he felt heat on his back and soon found he could not move his legs.

(on camera): He did get a CT scan over here, which showed the fractures and ultimately made it to this clinic. He did get an operation. You can see the screws in the bones here to do the fusion. The problem was this whole process took way too long, three months. The operation was unsuccessful. Can I try and examine your legs, would you mind? Can I examine?


GUPTA: Can you try and kick up at all? Nothing?

(voice-over): It is not likely he will be able to walk again. In the last several weeks, Dr. Nor and his team have cared for more than 300 patients and the good news, he tells me all of them survived. The basics supplies are now running low. Dr. Nor said these shelves were once filled with antibiotics and pain medications. Now, he says there's just enough to last until the end of the month. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Lebanon.


WHITFIELD: We'll be checking in with Dr. Sanjay Gupta live throughout the day for updates on that story and others out of that region.

All right, we have much more straight ahead and it all starts right now the next hour.