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Clinton Visits Hurricane Evacuees; Bush Gives Rose Garden Speech; Hurricane Zone Deals with Mountains of Trash; Friend of Harriet Miers Shares Insights; U.S., Iraq Launch Offensive at Syrian Border

Aired October 04, 2005 - 13:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, HOST: Jacqui Jeras, working through the map. Thank you, Jacqui. That wraps up this hour of CNN LIVE TODAY. There is much more ahead on CNN's LIVE FROM with Kyra Phillips, which starts right now.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You see an end in sight to all this?

ANTHONY JONES, TRASH WORKER: No, I don't. There's trash everywhere.


KYRA PHILLIPS, HOST: Hurricane headache: 22 million tons of garbage, the largest cleanup in American history. Where's it all going to go?

Supreme Court spotlight. Longtime friend of Harriet Miers give us some insight into her personal side.

From the CNN center in Atlanta, I'm Kyra Phillips. CNN's LIVE FROM starts right now.

He never promised them a Rose Garden. But that's where President Bush stood today, promising conservatives his newest Supreme Court nominee won't go changing if and when she is sent to the bench. In first formal news conference since May, Mr. Bush said he knows Harriet Miers, his longtime confidant and current White House counsel, even if the rest of the nation doesn't.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know her well enough to be able to say that she's not going to change. That 20 years from now, she'll be the same person with the same philosophy that she is today. She'll have more experience; she'll have been a judge, but nevertheless, her philosophy won't change and that's important to me. That was important to me when I picked Chief Justice Roberts. It's important for me in picking Harriet Miers.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIPS: Same allegation, different charge. Same defendant, too. Former House majority leader, still Texas congressman, Tom DeLay. The same day DeLay moved to dismiss the conspiracy indictment handed up against him last week, the Austin D.A. produced a new charge, money laundering. Based on the same alleged scenario, that of funneling corporate campaign contributions to state candidates. Delay calls the new charge, and we quote, "an abomination of justice."

He addressed the first charge and D.A. Ronnie Earle in a phone conversation with KSEB radio.


REP. TOM DELAY (R), TEXAS: The law that connected conspiracy to the election code was passed in 2003. This event happened in 2002. So this crime didn't even exist. And -- and I -- I'm sorry for laughing. This is -- this is beyond -- it's just unbelievable. I mean, he's making the Keystone Kops look good.


PHILLIPS: Corruption probes, war costs, hurricanes and fiscal pains and sagging polls. The party in power, and the White House in particular, has some powerful issues to deal with above and beyond the president's second term agenda.

We get some thoughts on all this from analyst and pundit Amy Walter of "Cook Political Report." She joins me live from D.C.

What do you think, Amy? Any surprises?

AMY WALTER, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": No surprises today from the Rose Garden. It was quite interesting that -- you said it earlier. This is a president who came out, wanted to reassure conservatives, reassure them about his pick for the Supreme Court, but also reassure him about his second term agenda.

That even on issues like Katrina, and the funding -- which there has been concern from conservatives that there's just going to be sort of this free-wheeling, blank check kind of spending from Washington, that he's going to demand that there are cuts elsewhere.

So I think he spent the first chunk of that Rose Garden speech making sure to tell conservatives, "Don't worry; I'm still with you."

PHILLIPS: All right. Let's talk about that fiscal responsibility. Here's what he had to say.


BUSH: ... of our founding promise of equal justice under the law. I nominated an individual to the high court who embodies all these characteristics, than I'm nominating Harriet Ellen Miers.

I'm going to spend it in the short term on getting a budget out that is fiscally responsible, one that decreases non-security discretionary spending -- actually, decreases it, not increases it.

Secondly, I will continue to work with Congress to make sure our soldiers have what they need to win the war on terror.


PHILLIPS: All right. He's talking about spending, fiscal responsibility, yet he's talking about cuts.

WALTER: Right. Well, listen, we've already seen this tension between the White House and Congress before this Supreme Court pick recently. Katrina funding put this even closer into the spotlight, so to speak, where you have conservatives who have been frustrated now for the last couple of years, think that we need to spend less time expanding programs, more time cutting them. With the amount of money going to Katrina, there's concern on Capitol Hill there are not enough offsets.

And we did start to see members of Congress come forward and start to make those -- those considerations and wanted to get them heard. We'll see if this tension continues.

PHILLIPS: All right, now back to the tension over Harriet Miers, I guess, from some individuals, political leaders. The talk of cronyism, of course, coming about. This is what the president had to say when he talked about the character of his nominee.


BUSH: People know we're close, but you've got to understand, because of our closeness, I know the character of the person. It's one thing to say a person can read the law. And that's important, can understand the law, but what also matters, Adam, is the intangibles. To me, a person's strength of character counts a lot.


PHILLIPS: So he's talking about her character, strength of character. We all need to believe that he believes she's a great person. But you've got a president who is sinking in the polls. We don't know anything about this woman, Amy. So a lot of people want some answers.

WALTER: Well, this is what makes it very difficult. You're exactly right. You have a president who has his lowest approval ratings of his presidency, certainly on every major issue. He is struggling in terms of getting his agenda pushed forward, or getting support from the American public. A lot people now very upset about the direction of Iraq, about whether they think that this administration, this president is trustworthy.

That's not necessarily the best message to put forward to the American public to say, "But you've got to trust me on this person," especially in light of all the other troubles that some of the people within this administration have gotten into, in these last few weeks. Certainly, the director -- former director of FEMA, Michael Brown, a great example of that.

Here's another case where the president's going to have to stand behind somebody and, yet, his own credibility is being questioned by a lot of people, by the American public. And so that's really, again, something we're going to have to watch the president struggle through, not just with the voters, but also with his own party.

PHILLIPS: Amy Walter, the Cook Political Report, thanks for your time.

WALTER: Thanks a lot.

PHILLIPS: Well, former President Clinton is back in Louisiana today, having helped drum up $100 million in pledges and contributions for hurricane relief. He's hearing from officials and survivors alike. First in Baton Rouge.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm glad to be down here. And I really thank you for taking time to meet with me. But my concern here is just to do -- to listen to you and to talk about your problems and try to figure out how we can best spend this money we've got, to help the largest number of people who would not otherwise be helped by the government programs or by the incredible work that the Red Cross is doing. So that's all I'd like to say except I'm really sorry for what you've been through and I'm honored to be here.


PHILLIPS: CNN's Kelly Wallace is covering the Clinton visit. She joins me now by phone -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, you know, it's really been a fascinating two hours. The former president, spending just about two hours, in fact, with evacuees, about 25 of them, from the New Orleans' area.

He said in that sound bite he was going to do a lot of listening, and he has been. He has heard so much frustration from people, people who have been living in this shelter here in Baton Rouge for over a month now.

A common complaint, they say, is they want to get out of this shelter, but there is no housing available to them. Also, you heard over and over again, at this session this morning, people saying that they're just not getting any assistance at all from FEMA, or from the Red Cross.

And one woman, who broke down in tears, and she was asking the president -- the former president and also Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, who is here with the former president. She wanted to know what is the difference? What is the difference between what happened in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina was happening with Texas? And she was saying that when Hurricane Rita hit Texas, people were able to get out. Federal help was there. Military help was there. And she really broke down in tears.

The former president said he's here more for a fact-finding mission that he and former President Bush have raised, Kyra, as you said, well over $100 million, and they want to find out the best way to help people.

The former president saying he wants to try to find out where to give the money in the short-run, places where the federal government can't really solve problems or won't be able to in the short-run, or places where people or other agencies are falling through the cracks.

So a lot of it is a fact-finding mission and a lot of listening. From here, the former president will do a tour of this facility. And then he sits down, Kyra, with local and federal and state officials to get more of a briefing before he goes to New Orleans and gets a sense of the situation on the ground there.

It's likely to be, Kyra, a little bit emotional. Because we're told by the former president's office that, you know, Bill Clinton was raised in Arkansas. He was not a wealthy young man. And that the first trip he ever took as a young man outside of his hometown was to New Orleans. So it's a place he really loves. And obviously it will be a tough thing to see today about where that city is now, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Sure, and we'll be eager also to see where that money goes. Kelly Wallace, thanks so much.

No more door to door search and recovery operations in New Orleans, though corpses may and likely will continue to turn up. Crews are no longer looking for them, having thankfully found a whole lot fewer than they once expected.

Across Louisiana, the official death toll for Katrina stands at 972. Overall, it's 1,208. Debris, on the other hand, wreckage, garbage, former necessities -- niceties, rather, and necessities alike is everywhere, and moving it, clearing it, disposing of it remains a colossal undertaking.

Here's CNN's Rick Sanchez.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): It is a mountainous mess, an estimated 22 million tons of garbage and refuse that residents are now returning home to.

(on camera) What's it like to come home to a place that looks like it's been hit by a bomb?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Devastating. It's like -- can't explain it.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Essentially, contract garbage men from all over the country, hired by FEMA to take part in what is one of the largest trash removal projects in our nation's history.

(on camera) To get a sense of just how big a job this is, imagine if you would, 200 football fields, all of it stacked with trash, 50 feet high. That is what officials say they're dealing with here.

ALVIN CLOUATRE, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: People are coming home, little by little right now. And as they're coming home, they are hauling debris out from their houses and hauling it to the curbside where we can pick it up.

SANCHEZ: So that means you may pick up some neighborhood's trash today and have to go back there next week because somebody else came home and put it out?

CLOUATRE: That's correct, that's correct.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Army Corps of Engineer officials tell us the job will take six months to a year to complete. Residents are throwing out just about everything within their walls that Katrina's winds and rain ruined: furniture, refrigerators, carpets, in some cases, even the walls themselves.

The hazardous waste that has to be disposed of is estimated at three to 10 pounds per household.

(on camera) Do you see an end in sight to all of this?

JONES: No, I don't. There's trash everywhere.

SANCHEZ: Army Corps of Engineer officials say they're sifting and separating the hazardous materials from other debris like construction waste and fallen trees. They also say they have enough landfills to burn or bury the garbage locally, without having to take it across state lines.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, New Orleans.


PHILLIPS: Inspecting the Ethan Allen. A critical step in the federal investigation of Sunday's tour boat tragedy on the idyllic waters of Lake George, New York.

CNN's Susan Lisovicz has been covering that story for us. She's still there -- Susan.


Well, we have a couple new developments to tell you about. First, that the Warren County Sheriff's Department just minutes ago released five 911 calls. They're coming through -- through audio files.

There were hundreds of boaters in the area when Ethan Allen -- the Ethan Allen capsized on Sunday afternoon. And some of those boaters actually became very critical in the rescue operation. So we'll be able to turn them around and listen to what they have to say. And they may, in fact, become a big part of the investigation as well.

Secondly, in the last 45 minutes, members of the family that owns Shoreline Cruises, which is the tour boat operator, came out and issued a brief statement.


JAMES QURIK, PRESIDENT, SHORELINE CRUISES: OK, my statement is brief. It's basically, first of all that we are shocked and saddened by the events of Sunday's tragic -- tragic event surrounding the unfortunate capsizing of our vessel the Ethan Allen on Lake George.

At this time, our primary concern is for the families of the passengers involved. We have already met with some of the survivors and family members of those who survived to offer our condolences and assistance.

Our company, Shoreline Cruises, has been in passenger boat business on Lake George for more than 27 years. And until Sunday, we have had a perfect safety record. Its captain, Richard Paris, has been employed by us for more than 23 years. And we are fully confident in his judgment and his capabilities as a captain.

We continue to support fully with the NTSB and all authorities investigating the situation so that we can determine the cause of this tragic mishap, and we will refer you to them for additional comments as the investigation progresses. Thank you.


LISOVICZ: And Mr. Qurik mentioned Captain Richard Paris. The NTSB will hold its first formal interview with the captain today. The NTSB will be talking about that later this afternoon. They'll be holding a press conference.

Also, authorities getting their first crack at the Ethan Allen, which as you know was raised very dramatically from the waters of Lake George yesterday, authorities towing it under cover of darkness to a secure location. They will be looking at the hull, the engine, the water for clues of why this boat so suddenly rolled over and sank in calm conditions on Sunday.

And finally, divers returning to the scene of the accident today. But a very different mission today, Kyra. They're not trying to salvage the boat. That's already taken care of. They're try to salvage personal effects. There's some people who don't even have identification on them. Everything they had, their wallets, purses, things like that are still on the bottom of the lake.

Back to you.

PHILLIPS: All right, Susan Lisovicz, live from Lake George, thanks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIPS (voice-over): Next on LIVE FROM, supreme spotlight. The president calls her a pit ball in size 6 shoes. But what is Harriet Miers really like? A longtime friend join us with personal insights on a private woman.

Later on LIVE FROM, heartbreak in the hurricane.

HARDY JACKSON, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: I hold her hand, tight as I could and she told me, "You can't hold me."

PHILLIPS: How is Hardy Jackson doing now? He joins us live to talk about rebuilding a life with his children and grandchildren.

Also ahead, the scramble to save the soul of a city from the bulldozers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The architecture is absolutely critical. Without it, you do not have New Orleans.

PHILLIPS: Find out what's being done to preserve the past.



PHILLIPS: Pit bull in size 6 pumps, a trail blazer in Texas, presidential pal, all phrases that have been used to describe the president's new nominee for Supreme Court justice. We wanted to get more than a headline about Harriet Miers. So we're turning to a fellow Texan.

Rena Pederson joins us from Dallas. She's a former editor at large for "The Dallas Morning News" and has known Harriet Miers since the late 1980s.

Good to see you.


PHILLIPS: I'm curious. What do you think: it's got to be one of our favorite quotes, the pit ball in size 6 shoes.

PEDERSON: You know, I don't think Harriet was very fond of that quote. Because a pit bull is not your favorite pet. But she is tough-minded, but she's not mean. I think you have to make that distinction.

PHILLIPS: It's true, you hear something like that, you don't know a lot about her. Is there a soft side to Harriet Miers? And if so what is it?

PEDERSON: Oh, very definitely. She's very family oriented. Every Christmas, she hosts Christmas dinner in her home. And that's no small achievement, because she has an extended family of about two dozen people. And Harriet has always taken great pride in supervising the production of the dinner and having gifts for everyone, all the nieces, all the nephews. And over the years that got more difficult to do because she was in Washington, she was in the White House.

And her friends and family said, "Harriet, why don't you let us do it this year? We'll have it at my house."

And Harriet would say, "No, I want to do it." Because she didn't want to lose touch with the stuff of real life.

So Harriet would fly in the day before Christmas, go to the grocery store, buy everything for the Christmas dinner, buy presents for all the children. And sure enough, by Christmas Eve, Harriet would have a wonderful Christmas dinner, which she served herself. But that's Harriet.

PHILLIPS: You know, let's talk about the family side of her. She's not married. She doesn't have any kids. You know what it takes, you know, to work your way up in this business. We both, as women, you want to break that glass ceiling; you want to be focused and assertive.

At the same time, you always desire balance. Does she see balance in a different way? Did she ever want to be married? Did she want to have kids? Is that something that's ever been on her mind?

PEDERSON: You know, I think in a way she has been married to the law, to her profession. She is so dutiful. It's an old-fashioned word, but she's very dutiful, not just to the law, but -- but to her family, as we mentioned.

Her mother has been very ill this spring and this summer. She's 91 years old. And it's very typical of Harriet that Harriet would fly in, take the late-night flight from Washington, spend the night in the chair at the hospital, spend all day at the hospital, you know, doing such things, rubbing her mother's feet, trying to walk her down the hall in her walker, spend the night in the chair again and then get up the next morning and fly back to Washington and think nothing of it, say nothing to anyone, and just consider that it's her honor and her privilege to care for her mother. But that's Harriet.

PHILLIPS: Wow. Role models. Who...

PEDERSON: A great role model.

PHILLIPS: Yes, well, let me -- who was her role model? I mean, she obviously -- there was some -- you got to have it in your heart, too. But there had to have been someone who said no matter what anyone says to you, you can do whatever you want, you can go as far as you want. Who do you think...

PEDERSON: That's right.

PHILLIPS: Who was that person in her life? PEDERSON: Well, you have to remember, when Harriet graduated from law school, there were only 12 women in her class. And she could not get a job at first, even though she was tops in her class, as a lawyer in Dallas because they didn't hire women.

She went to San Francisco to work and came back, clerked for a federal judge and then got a job in a law firm and just steadily worked her way up.

One of the things that's refreshing about Harriet's success is that she didn't get there with sharp elbows. She didn't get there by running other people over or knocking them out of the way. She got there by sheer hard work and talent.

You had mentioned whether she's well rounded. She is, to my surprise, a very accomplished athlete. She played tennis in high school and in college. She played softball with her law firm team. I invited her to play golf once, because I told her she needed to learn it for a corporate skill.

PHILLIPS: That's right, hey, that's how you make all your connections is on the golf course.

PEDERSON: And I didn't think she'd be any good because here she spends her life, you know, in a law firm all day, 16 hours a day. And by golly, she got out there without a lesson and did very well. I played tennis with her once and I will say...

PHILLIPS: Who won?

PEDERSON: Oh, she beat me 6-zip. You know? She's a very good athlete.

PHILLIPS: How does she relax? I mean, obviously, athletics, one way. But does she read? Does she -- is church important to her? Where does she find peace of mind?

PEDERSON: She does read when she can. She likes to read a variety of novels and nonfiction, although I think she spends most of her time with law briefs. I think a former city council member said today that she knows the law like a good lawyer knows the bible. And I think that's true.

You have to remember, Harriet is one of the top lawyers in the country. She was rated one of the top 100 lawyers in the country. So it nettles me a little bit for people to question her qualifications. She's one of the superstars in the legal profession. In legal circles, if you say Harriet, they know who it is.

PHILLIPS: Well, Rena, you took these pictures at her 60th birthday party. She's opening up this memory box with all kinds of neat things in it from friends and family. Tell us something about her that we don't know.

PEDERSON: About Harriet?


PEDERSON: Well, you asked if her faith's important. It is important to her. But I think people make a mistake when they use the term of evangelical in a negative sense. Harriet wears her faith very quietly. She lives it. She reflects it. She is not the kind of person to shove it in your face. She just -- she just walks it.

PHILLIPS: Rena Pederson, good friend of Harriet Miers, author, journalist, thanks for your time. What a special interview.

PEDERSON: Thank you, it's an honor to be here.

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, cutting your risks for Alzheimer's Disease. It could be as simple as going for a walk. We're going to have details on that, straight ahead.

And this is no walk in a park, but it is a man, pulling a bus, with his earlobe. We're feeling strong, later on LIVE FROM.

ANNOUNCER: You're watching LIVE FROM on CNN, the most trusted name in news.


PHILLIPS: Now in the news, a new post for a retiring justice. Once Sandra Day O'Connor leaves the Supreme Court, she'll be heading for Williamsburg, Virginia. She's been named the chancellor of the College of William & Mary. O'Connor succeeds former secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, in this largely advisory post.

One prize, three winners. Two Americans and a German will take home this year's Nobel Peace Prize -- or Nobel Prize in Physics, rather. Here's Theodor Haensch celebrating. He and John Hall developed technology that could be used to develop global positioning systems and the precision of clocks. Roy Glauber won for his study of light particles.

Striking in the heart of Baghdad. Just hours ago, a car bomb exploded near the entrance to the Green Zone, where many government buildings are located. Two Iraqi soldiers and a civilian were killed. Seven others were wounded.

CNN's Jennifer Eccleston is just to the west of Baghdad in Haditha, where one of two major offensives is under way. She's embedded with U.S. forces there. She joins us by videophone.

Jennifer, we saw your piece yesterday, extremely moving. I want to talk to you more about that. But tell us about Operation River Gate.

JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's significant in a number of ways. First of all, it's the largest ever operation tacking place in western Al Anbar province along the Euphrates River, and that's because it's involving some 2,500 U.S. forces, Marines, Army and sailors, although the Marines make up the bulk of the force.

But there are also Iraqi forces involved, some three companies. That's about 500 men.

And really, what's most significant about this operation -- because as you know, there have been a number of major military offenses to try and root out the insurgents in this area, the road -- the main area from Syria leading west into the major population centers of Baghdad. They've been here before.

But then, they launched these operations. They stayed for a couple weeks and then they moved on, because they just didn't have troop levels. Right now what we're seeing here and what we're being told is that there's an increased number of troop levels, as witnessed by that 2,500 number, and they're going to stay.

When they come in and do what they call sweep and clean, sweeping through the city street by street, house by house, cleaning it out of the insurgents. Once they move on to other offensives there actually will be a remaining force.

Right now, that force will be predominantly American. But there will be Iraqis here. And in the future, these posts will be manned permanently by the Iraqis to create a better relationship with the local population and, eventually, Kyra, to keep this area safe, not only for a couple of weeks in the short term, but hopefully for the long term -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And, Jennifer, as you talk about this operation and you talk about the mission, as you are embedded there with forces, you really brought some pretty powerful pictures to us yesterday, and that was a real reality check of the civilians there and how they've been affected by this war and how they continue to get caught in the crossfire. No doubt, you've been able to really get an emotional side to this war, from an Iraqi perspective and from the soldiers.

ECCLESTON: Absolutely. That was yesterday we were in the Al Qaim region, which is farther west, along the Euphrates River, closer to the Syrian border, and that was in the town of Sadah (ph) and eastern Karabala (ph). And of course, as you saw in the package yesterday, civilians did not caught in the crossfire, and that's because the enemy here, according to the Marines, is just so crafty, so difficult to pin down. You can imagine, these are very small towns, very old buildings, very, very tight streets. And the insurgents are able to launch their attack, launch mortar, small-arms fire, and then run away, hide in buildings where civilians are staying, hide behind bushes, hide behind walls. And that was the case yesterday. They were trying to knock out what was believed to be a safe haven for some of these alleged insurgents who were attacking the Marines, and they fired off a tank round, but unfortunately, it decimated that wall, but it also went into a house where there was some civilians living and had suffered casualties.

So you know, it goes both ways. And Marines here have an objective, to fight the enemy, to fight the insurgents, and that they're unable to so because of these logistic challenge, because of the way these cities are panned (ph) out. And because people are still in these cities, it creates a certain amount of frustration. And of course on the flip side of that, it's a very a difficult time for civilian to be involved in these major operations. And as a result, they do often get caught in the crossfire.

I can say that as of now, we haven't heard anything about that from this new operation. In fact, anecdotal evidence, Kyra, from the Marines, says people are coming out, they're talking to the Marines, they're getting advice about where the insurgents are, so it's quite a different scene today.

PHILLIPS: CNN's Jennifer Eccleston, just west of Baghdad, thank you.

We're going to take a quick break. More LIVE FROM, right after this.


PHILLIPS: In medical news, if you still need incentive to get out and get moving, this may do it. Scientists in Sweden found that middle-aged people who exercise at least twice a week are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's or dementia. The study shows that exercise is especially beneficial for people at high risk of developing those problems.

A nonprofit research center affiliated with the University of Wisconsin Madison has been named to run the nation's first stem-cell bank. The goal is to establish a central hub to store and distribute the 22 lines of embryonic stem cells that remain eligible for federal funding. So far, the new bank has acquired rights to distribute 11 of those. The goal is to cut costs and help maintain quality control.

Well, he was among the first Katrina survivors to express his grief and loss right here on CNN. Hardy Jackson lost his wife and his home to that storm, but he's starting over. Here in Atlanta, we're going to talk to him live, next.


PHILLIPS: Other Katrina evacuees have travelled hundreds of miles in search of a new life, But Hardy Jackson is starting over right here in Atlanta. We first met him the day Katrina slammed into his home in Biloxi, Mississippi. You'll remember this. He approached a news crew for help. His wife had just been swept away by the fierce floodwaters.


HARDY JACKSON, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: I hold her hand tight as I could, and she told me, you can't hold me. She said, take care of the kids and the grandkids.


PHILLIPS: Well we can't even begin to count the number of e- mails and phone calls we've received about Jackson's plight from all over the world. Well, he joins us now here in Atlanta.

Hardy Jackson, so good to see you. JACKSON: Very nice meeting you.

PHILLIPS: I know it's probably not easy looking back at that videotape and remembering that day. But, boy, a lot has happened since then. You've been really blessed.

JACKSON: Oh, yes, I've been blessed, real blessed.

PHILLIPS: Well, you're here in Atlanta now.


PHILLIPS: And it's actually a musician, one of your famous musicians, who bought you a home here, is that right?

JACKSON: Yes, ma'am.

PHILLIPS: Tell us about that. Tell us how that happened.

JACKSON: Well, they got in contact with my sister, Charity, you know, my sister I was staying with.

PHILLIPS: And we're talking about Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, right?



JACKSON: They talked to me some, said they wanted to help me get back on my feet. And then -- I think two weeks ago, they took me and my sister out for dinner and stuff, you know. Then they told me that they were going to buy me a home and stuff. You know, it's just hard to believe, you know, just like a dream.

PHILLIPS: Wow, totally overwhelmed by just the love and compassion. You have -- so many people have responded to you.

JACKSON: Oh, so many. Blessed. That's what I call it, blessed.

PHILLIPS: Well, before you move into your new home -- I know you're in an apartment right now and it's you and your three kids and your three grandkids. My gosh, Hardy, how do you do it?

JACKSON: Oh, I can do it. You put your mind into it, you can do it. Cook for them, you know, get them ready for school. Everything that mom do, I do it.

PHILLIPS: And mom, of course, Tonette, she taught you well, boy, I tell you.

JACKSON: Oh, yes, I miss her terrible.

PHILLIPS: Have you been able to locate her body yet?

JACKSON: No. Since we've been up here, you know, they called us three times, they find the body, they I.D. her body and stuff, you know? And before we leave and get to Biloxi, Mississippi, no body. You know, just more pain on top of pains, you know. Then I have come back up the highway with my kids and my grandkids, you know, and tell them, you know -- it make me feel like I failed them again or something.

PHILLIPS: You haven't failed your kids or your grandkids. My gosh, Hard, you're taking care of all six of them.

JACKSON: But it's supposed to be my job, you know, to make sure, you know, that mama get a decent burial and stuff, you know.


JACKSON: But if they can't find her, you know, there ain't nothing I can do. You know, just wait. But that's it. You know, it's been over a month. It's hard. Those kids go to bed at night, you know, I can hear them, you know, dreaming, calling, Mama. It hurts, really.

PHILLIPS: What do you tell them? What do you tell about their mom when they want to see her or they want to talk to her? How do you comfort them right now, Hardy?

JACKSON: Well, I tell them, that mama's still here. You know, we just can't see her. But, you know, she here with us all the time, you know. And stuff like that, you know, tell them she's in a better place, you know.

PHILLIPS: Do you feel her spirit?

JACKSON: Oh, yes. Ooh, I can feel it all the time.

PHILLIPS; She's the one helping you deal with all the six kids?

JACKSON: Right. That's -- when I feel sorry for myself, she say, like she said, Hardy, don't feel sorry for yourself, you did all you could, you know. But still, you know, I wish could have I did more.

PHILLIPS: Well, your kids are in school.


PHILLIPS: They came home yesterday after the first day. What did they say? Did they say, dad, we love school?

JACKSON: Oh, yes, Dad, we like school. We've made new friends. You know, everything OK, so that makes me feel good.

PHILLIPS: So do you think you're going to stay in Atlanta?

JACKSON: Oh, yes, make this my home now.

PHILLIPS: Why? Why make Atlanta your home? JACKSON: I can't go back to Mississippi. There is too much pain, you know. Because every time I go down there, I go around where we used to stay at. You know, just a big old empty spot, you know, and I can see everything all over, you know, I can see holding my wife's hand and stuff, you know. Just pain, really. Hurts.

PHILLIPS: Well, I know you're getting a lot of support from people in the community. But even more so, your kids and your grandkid. I mean, when you wake up in the morning and you see all six of them, I have no doubt that inspires you to keep moving on.

JACKSON: Yes, keep moving on, you know. But first, starting off, I wake up in the morning, I look over there, say, Toni? And you know, it's an empty spot. Then I catch myself and say, you know, Toni's gone, you know. Just hurts, really. We've been together so long. Because we was planning on, you know, growing old together, you know.

PHILLIPS: Well, you have a piece of her within those children of yours.

JACKSON: Oh, yes.

PHILLIPS: And that's the most special thing. And, you know, what you're doing now, you're carrying on the family legacy and taking good care of them. And, like you said, she's with you 100 percent, Hardy.

JACKSON: Oh, yes. And plus my daughter, you know, she looks just like her mama. Latonia (ph). And every time I look at her, you know, it brings tears to my eyes because I see, you know, my wife. You know, we just gotta be strong, but it's hard. But I can do it.

PHILLIPS: I know you can.

JACKSON: Oh, yes.

PHILLIPS: I can see that and I can feel it.

JACKSON: Oh, yes.

PHILLIPS: I can see it in your eyes. Well, I tell you what, you're going to stay here in Atlanta. So we want to follow up with you and see how you're doing and how the kids are doing and the grandkids. So you promise to keep in touch with us?

JACKSON: Oh, yes.

PHILLIPS: OK. Thank you, Hardy Jackson.

JACKSON: OK, thank you.

PHILLIPS: You're a true inspiration, that's for sure, my friend.

JACKSON: OK, thanks. God bless you.

PHILLIPS: Thank you. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.


PHILLIPS: Thirteen months ago, terror gripped the Russian town of Beslan. Armed Chechen rebels took about 1,200 children and adults hostage on the first day of school. That siege ended three days later, with 339 of the hostages dead, Half of them children. Today, the grief is still overwhelming, but one man says he can help. Some wonder whether he's giving false hope instead, though.

CNN's Matthew Chance has the story.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine grief so intense you'll do anything, believe anything, to ease the pain. It's what the mothers of Beslan have suffered and perhaps why some of them are now grasping at the impossible for relief.

He's a self-styled mystic, widely regarded as a charlatan, exploiting the bereaved for money. But Grigory Grabovoi, a Russian spiritualist, insists he can work a miracle, raising the children of Beslan from the dead.

GRIGORY GRABOVOI, CULT LEADER: I think it is absolutely correct to start resurrecting people. It's just ideologically right to be doing this in a century when mankind could so easily be wiped out.

CHANCE: It's bizarre, even in a country awash with cults. Grabovoi combines the spirit world with science, he says, to detect faults with nuclear power stations and aircraft, as well as to resurrect.

Most ignore him. But among the mothers of Beslan, he's found devoted listeners; women like Susanna Dudiyeva and other leaders of the Beslan Mothers Community, throwing their support behind him.

SUSANNA DUDIYEVA, BESLAN MOTHERS COMMITTEE (through translator): I've seen my son in my dreams, just as all the other mothers in Beslan have seen their children. And all of these kids say, mother, I want to come back. I've spoken to the mothers, and not one of them can remember anything like this happening to so many people simultaneously. So let's just wait and see.

CHANCE: A year of desperation since the siege appears to have taken its toll. The Mothers Committee has been demanding an independent inquiry into what happened, accusing Russian officials of corruption and troops of mishandling the rescue. Support for the Resurrection Cult is something new, and observers say it's undermining what's emerged as a critical opposition force.

(on camera): Not all the mothers of Beslan have been taken in. Some are trying to distance themselves from the cult, acknowledging it will damage their credibility. But there are still questions as to why the Kremlin is allowing Grabovoi to continue his operations. Russian prosecutors say they're looking into his activities, but as yet, they say, he's not suspected of any crime.

(voice-over): Only, perhaps, of sidelining a campaign for justice, and giving some of the mothers of Beslan false hope.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


PHILLIPS: You know, we've been talking a lot about the investigation into the boat that capsized on Lake George in Upstate New York. Well, we just got the 911 call in. We want to play that tape for you.


DISPATCHER; 911, where's your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we got a boat tipped over, Lake George. A commercial boat, it tipped right over. There's 50 people on the boat.

DISPATCHER: 50 people?


DISPATCHER: Whereabouts are you now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right in Diner's Point (ph) in Lake George, right on the water. There are boats around to help them. (INAUDIBLE). It tipped right over.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God! Oh, my God! I saw a boat, a boat, a boat went over, just at the eastern alley (ph), just outside of Green Harbor!

DISPATCHER: Green Harbor? Can you tell me how many people there are on the boat?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It tipped right over! Oh, a lot of people! They're hanging on to the boat! It went right over! Oh, please, hurry!

DISPATCHER: Green Harbor?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Green Harbor, in Lake George, you know, Lake George.

DISPATCHER: Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, please send somebody really quick!

DISPATCHER: Yes, ma'am, will do.

(END AUDIO CLIP) PHILLIPS: It's pretty amazing how calm those 911 operators have to remain when you get a call like that. Those were individuals that were out on the lake that called in what they were seeing, and what they seeing was that tour boat with 47 elderly passengers aboard. You know, 20 people died when that boat was capsized. We can tell you right now that the operator's license for Shoreline Cruises, the owner of the excursion boat, Ethan Allen, have been suspended pending an investigation. Also we found out there were supposed to be two crew members aboard that tour boat. We have found out that there was only one, and that was the captain. He was supposed to have a co-captain. That was not the case.

So more details are coming about. Meanwhile, as you know, too, that tour boat has been raised. Divers were out yesterday. And now the NTSB is examining that boat, looking at the hull, the engine, the rudder and the throttle, setting to determine the speed of that boat. They believe it was the wake caused from another boat that caused it to capsize.

We're going to a quick break. More LIVE FROM right after this.