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CNN Sunday Morning

New Orleans Mayor Wins Reelection

Aired May 21, 2006 - 07:00   ET


MAYOR RAY NAGIN (D), NEW ORLEANS: It's time for us to stop the bickering. It's time for us to stop measuring things in black and white and yellow and Asian. It's time for us to be one New Orleans! [ cheers ]


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: The margin wasn't big and it certainly wasn't easy, but the New Orleans mayoral race is finally over. Incumbent Ray Nagin claims victory, and challenger Mitch Landrieu agrees it's time to get back to the path of rebuilding the city. A live report is just ahead.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, while you were sleeping, on Capitol Hill -- check this out -- FBI officials searched Louisiana democrat William Jefferson's office. It is part of a bribery investigation. Now you'll recall Jefferson's New Orleans home was searched last August. One official says this may have been the first time the FBI has ever raided a congressional office. We're going to have a live update on what they were looking for.

HARRIS: At the White House this morning, President Bush is expected to weigh in on the formation of a permanent democratic government in Iraq. We are looking for him to make those remarks next hour. The president issued a written statement yesterday congratulating Iraq's new leaders on achieving the milestone.

NGUYEN: Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is to undergo emergency surgery today for a life-threatening injury in yesterday's Preakness. The stallion shattered his right rear ankle just 12 seconds into the race. The Preakness was also marred by a false start when Barbaro charged through the gate early. Now, a veterinarian said that did not cause the injury, though. But by the way, there was a winner; who was that winner?

HARRIS: Yes, Bernadini won the race.

NGUYEN: Bernadini was the one who took home the crown of that race yesterday. We'll stay on top of the story for you.

HARRIS: All right, Giant's slugger Barry Bonds is now tied with Babe Ruth for career home runs. Bonds smashed, and he really -- look at this -- obliterated this ball. Number 714 into the right center field seats during yesterday's 4-2 win over Oakland. But the achievement is overshadowed by persistent rumors of steroid use. Sports business analyst Rick Horrow will join us in about 20 minutes to explain what this means for Bonds as a bankable name.

NGUYEN: What you doing there, Tony?

HARRIS: I'm just all discombobulated here.

NGUYEN: You're all connected, yet not connected. Can you get it together up here?

HARRIS: There. For now.

NGUYEN: All right, now we can go on. From the CNN Center, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING, 7:00 a.m. here in Atlanta, 6:00 in New Orleans. Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HARRIS: And good morning everyone, I'm Tony Harris. Thank you for being with us.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gets to keep his job. Voters re- elected him to a second four-year term favoring Nagin over Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu, but it was a narrow victory. Nagin will now lead the city through a long and difficult reconstruction period after hurricane Katrina. CNN's Sean Callebs is in New Orleans with more. Sean, the morning after, the sun is up. Good morning to you.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, sun's trying to come up, Tony. We're only about an hour behind, here, but yet, dawn is peeking. For anybody who went to bed before 10:20 Central Time last night and wondered who won, look at the morning paper. It's Nagin. It's that simple. And the margin was 52 percent to 48. It really wasn't that razor thin that a lot of people had thought. But now comes the real difficult task.

How are they going to begin putting this city back together? I mean, it's been nine months. If you go in the areas that have been flooded, it largely looks, a lot of this, much the same. I mean, they've moved the debris around, they've gutted a lot of houses, but a lot of work ahead. It's been somewhat controversial the way Nagin has run this campaign, the things he has said over the past months. But when he came out last night for his victory speech, he was conciliatory and looked toward Washington.


MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS: To President Bush, I want to thank you, Mr. President. You and I have probably been the most vilified politicians in the country. But I want to thank you for moving that promise that you made in Jackson Square forward. We now have $3 billion for levees, we have $8 billion for incentives, we have $10 billion for housing. You are delivering on your promise, and I want to thank you for all the citizens of the city of New Orleans.


CALLEBS: A lot of money coming into the city in the coming months ahead. For his part, Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu will go back to his job, presumably. He won a majority of the white vote, but didn't get enough of the African-American vote to push him over the top. Still he said he wants to work with Mayor Nagin, he wants to turn this city around. He, too, was very gracious in defeat, looking forward.

A lot of work to do here, as I mentioned, Tony. It is going to have to start almost immediately. A lot of people had been looking to this election knowing that whoever wins is going to guide this city the next four years. Despite the controversy, despite not a lot of polls being up because a lot of people didn't know how to actually conduct a poll, considering so many people had left this area. But the voters have made their choice, and Mayor Nagin will continue in his job for the next four years.

HARRIS: And now, Sean, it seems to me it's about getting in those federal dollars, the billions of dollars, I guess in the order of $10 billion. And the money starts rolling in late this summer, is that correct?

CALLEBS: That's certainly what people are hoping for. Initially, the money to repair the levees has already been rolling in here. What they really need to do, though, is get housing back here. If you go to the eastern part of the city, the southern part of this area, the areas just below, the areas that were simply hammered, it's difficult for outsiders to get a grasp of just how much damage still remains out there. So they want to begin getting all that money in for the people who are expected to get about $150,000 through a federal program to begin rebuilding. And that is going to be a key to breathing life back into this city.

HARRIS: Sean, I think you're right. Folks have really no idea, unless you've walked that city, just how devastated it really is. CNN's Sean Callebs for us in New Orleans. Sean, appreciate it, thank you.

And coming up in the 9 o'clock hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING, we'll get some insight into New Orleans, the election from Marc Morial. He is a former mayor of the crescent city. And from the Reverend Jesse Jackson. You may recall Jackson said he would challenge the election results in court because voter rights were violated. We'll find out if he still plans to do that. That's all coming up in the next two hours.

And speaking of politics, all week long, "LARRY KING LIVE" will broadcast from the nation's capital. Tune in tomorrow for a political roundtable featuring the best political team on television. Our own reporters and analysts will join Larry with an inside look at everything from the immigration battle to the war in Iraq. That is Monday night, 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

NGUYEN: Well, in the meantime, the FBI searches the Capitol Hill office of a U.S. congressman. One official says it is the first time that has ever happened. Agents were at the office of Representative William Jefferson last night. Government officials say it is part of a bribery investigation. CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden joins us on the phone with much more on this. Terry, I understand that agents are still there. What are they looking for? TERRY FRIEDEN, CNN JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PRODUCER: Yes. Good morning, Betty. They are still there, and they have been there now for about 12 hours searching Congressman Jefferson's office in the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill here in Washington. Although they won't say what it is specifically that they're looking for, there is really little doubt that they're searching computer files and papers for specific information which could link him to the allegations of public corruption, such as violation of a bribery statute.

Now, in fairness to the democratic congressman from New Orleans, we have to stress that no charges have been brought, and certainly he and his legal team have emphatically denied any wrong doing. He has insisted that he's not going to resign. He had a news conference this past week, I'm sure you remember, and he has said he's violated no laws. But it's also true that Jefferson does appear to be in jeopardy because two of his former associates have already pled guilty in this case, they've declared that Jefferson has demanded money in exchange for his help in putting together business deals in Africa.

NGUYEN: Give us a little more perspective on this investigation and these deals, these alleged deals in Africa. Give us some history behind this investigation.

FRIEDEN: Well, I guess what's important is that Congressman Jefferson was a key lawmaker who oversaw a committee -- subcommittee that deals with Africa and development, and he was supposedly -- this is according to these associates who have now pled guilty -- putting pressure on business. Particularly one businessman who has already pled guilty, and claims that he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to the congressman and his family to put together a telecommunications deal in Nigeria, I believe it was.

NGUYEN: I have to ask you, though, we've heard people say that this is the first time this has ever happened. Have you ever seen anything like this? What kind of response are you getting, or at least reaction, from Representative Jefferson?

FRIEDEN: Well, Congressman Jefferson, to our knowledge, has said nothing, though his lawyers insisted that this is an outrageous act. Some officials this morning are saying that, yes, indeed, they cannot recall a previous instance in which a congressman's Capitol Hill office was searched like this. Although you and I can both tick off a number of cases where members of Congress have been the subject of investigations. So it's possible that -- we know the congressmen's homes have been searched. This may be a first on Capitol Hill.

NGUYEN: Terry Frieden, a producer there, a justice producer for CNN. We appreciate your insight and your time this morning. Thank you -- Tony?

HARRIS: No official word yet on the cause of a deadly coal mine explosion in Kentucky. The state's governor says family members of five miners who died want answers. He says early indications point to methane gas.


GOV. ERNIE FLETCHER, KENTUCKY: There's a sealed-off area of the mine that probably had a leak, which allows both methane to get into the operational side, as well as oxygen to get into the sealed-off portion. Then a spark or something ignited the methane, and we had a very extensive explosion.


HARRIS: One miner survived yesterday's explosion. Relatives say he complained that his emergency oxygen tank lasted only five minutes. The investigation at the mine will get started as soon as the ventilation system is rebuilt.

And still ahead, the FBI is looking for you...

NGUYEN: Really?

HARRIS: Well, especially if you are Arab-American. Details on a new recruitment plan still ahead. Plus...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corporal mortification is harmless to your health, it doesn't cause any physical damage whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't make you bleed?



NGUYEN: This is in relation to "The Da Vinci Code" movie that's out. Yes, dispelling some of the fact from fiction. Opus Dei, is it a cult? Do its members actually beat themselves? A rare look at some of "The Da Vinci Code's" worst villains.




NGUYEN: Well, an unusual outreach effort as the FBI tries to fight terrorism. We're going to have details about this in about 15 minutes. Plus...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I seen it in his hit, I'm like, wow, that's going to be pretty close.


HARRIS: Well, he plucked the golden ball from the air, but is this lucky teenager even a Barry Bonds fan? CNN SUNDAY MORNING continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NGUYEN: There it goes. Not just any swing, folks, this one connected with number 714. Big number there. The homer that ties Barry Bonds to Babe Ruth. They're in second place on the all-time list behind Hank Aaron. Now not everybody likes seeing the controversial Bonds in that company. Not even the lucky guy who caught Bonds' home run ball. Holly Juscen from our CNN affiliate KRON reports.


TYLER SNYDER, CAUGHT BONDS' HOMER: Shocked. Pretty much shocked.

HOLLY JUSCEN, KRON CORRESPONDENT: 19-year-old Tyler Snyder of Pleasanton is overwhelmed as he's escorted out of McAfee Coliseum, just moments after catching Barry Bonds historic home run number 714.

SNYDER: I knew I had a pretty good chance at it. I seen it in his hit, I'm like, wow, that's going to be pretty close.

JUSCEN: Snyder has been an Oakland A's fan his whole life. He grew up loving the A's and hating the giants. And he's no fan of Barry Bonds.

SNYDER: I don't really want to make him sound like a [ expletive ] like he already is, but you know, everybody basically sees it.

JUSCEN: Snyder says he has no desire to meet Barry Bonds, and if Barry wants the home run ball back, well...

SNYDER: It depends on what he's offering.

JUSCEN: Despite his disdain for Bonds, Snyder knows he does hold the lottery ticket: a historic home run ball that could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

SNYDER: I guess I've got to be grateful now. Yes.

JUSCEN: Yes, could you have a little more compassion, a little softness in your heart now?

SNYDER: Yes, I guess.

JUSCEN: Snyder left the ballpark immediately after catching Barry Bonds' home run number 714. Said he is going home to put it in a safe deposit box. And as far as selling it, he said, "I don't know. I just hope it's worth a lot." Reporting at McAfee Coliseum, Holly Juscen, CNN.


HARRIS: He's not supposed to be able to hit the ball that far anymore, right? You know, he's not on the cream, he's not on the stuff, he's not on the juice.

NGUYEN: Don't get me into that controversy. HARRIS: So he's not supposed to be able to hit an upper deck shot any more, is he?

NGUYEN: Well he did, though, didn't he?

HARRIS: And he should be down to like 180 pounds now, right?

NGUYEN: Stop it, Tony. You are too much.

HARRIS: It's just outrageous. All right, here's our email question of the morning. Where is Rick Horrow when you need him? Does the baseball steroid controversy tarnish the home run record chase? Let me read that again, I think I botched that up. Does the baseball steroid controversy tarnish the home run record chase? Send your thoughts,, and we will read your comments throughout the morning.

How about this: base brawl in the windy city. The White Sox A.J. Pierzynski, wow. Barreled over Cubs catcher Michael Barrett at the plate. Then Barrett --

NGUYEN: Oh wow! Right hook. Oh no.

HARRIS: Just cold cocked Pierzynski in the face.

NGUYEN: And of course, we need to show it again.


NGUYEN: There's the offense, and here comes the hook.

HARRIS: Oh I'm sorry but, I'm sorry, but...

NGUYEN: Bam, right there.

HARRIS: And take that with you. Take that to the bench with you.

NGUYEN: Oh man.

HARRIS: You know we're into inter-league play right now, and we have cross-town rivals taking it on. And there you go. What is he so pumped about?

NGUYEN: And he wanted crowd reaction from that. Did you see him trying to get the stands to cheer and clap?

HARRIS: Do we care about the score of the game or the outcome of the game?

NGUYEN: Go ahead, tell us.

HARRIS: The White Sox won the game, 7-0. Yes.

NGUYEN: Who's watching the game after that?

HARRIS: I'm so distracted. NGUYEN: We all got distracted. HARRRIS: Go baseball fans (ph). NGUYEN: Also on the topic of baseball, Joe DiMaggio's uniform from 1951, the World Series, fetched nearly -- listen to this -- $200,000 at auction. It was the Yankee Clipper's final series appearance. Now also at the auction, Marilyn Monroe's passport and a photograph that she signed, "I love you, Joe."

Well, building bridges with young Arab-Americans, something that's ahead on CNN SUNDAY MORNING. We'll tell you about a unique recruitment plan for the FBI.

HARRIS: And later inside Opus Dei, we'll go behind the scenes of the shadowy religious group at the center of "The Da Vinci Code." CNN SUNDAY MORNING continues in a moment.

NGUYEN: And we're going to keep talking about baseball and Barry Bonds, number 714 with this guy.

HARRIS: Does he know he's on camera?

NGUYEN: Ties on straight, looking good, Rick. Talk to you soon.

RICK HORROW: Thank you, you see me now.

NGUYEN: I do see you. That's always a good thing.

HORROW: That's important to me.


HARRIS: And good morning again, everyone. Now in the news, four more years for Mayor Ray Nagin. New Orleans voters re-elected him yesterday. He narrowly defeated Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu. Nagin's second term begins the day before hurricane season starts on June 1st.

NGUYEN: Almost here, yes. Well, in Washington, President Bush is expected to tell us what he thinks about Iraq's new government in about an hour from now. CNN will have live coverage of that. The first permanent government since the fall of Saddam Hussein was sworn in yesterday. And the U.S. hopes the action might help reduce violence in Iraq and eventually lead to a drawdown of U.S. troops.

HARRIS: Well, now that Iraq has a full-term government, other countries are considering withdrawing their troops. Japanese media reports that Japan could begin a troop pullout as early as July. The prime minister won't confirm that, he would only say the government is discussing whether and when to leave Iraq.

NGUYEN: It could be a first. FBI agents searched the Capitol Hill office of a congressman last night. Officials say Representative William Jefferson's office was searched as part of a corruption investigation. The Louisiana democrat has declared his innocence.

HARRIS: They thought it would happen. Now it has. Prosecutors asked the Texas court to reinstate a conspiracy indictment against Tom DeLay. It accuses the former house majority leader of conspiring to violate state election laws. The appeal may postpone a trial for DeLay on a separate money-laundering charge.

NGUYEN: Well, good morning to you on this Sunday. The FBI is looking for a few good men and women. The agency is reaching out to young Arab-Americans and trying to improve its image in the Muslim community. The story now from CNN's Sumi Das.


SUMI DAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Call it show and tell, FBI style.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: These are steel-toed boots, so if you step on something, it won't go through your foot.

DAS: At Giants Stadium in New Jersey, young Arab-Americans and their parents are learning about FBI agents' work, and the bureau is getting some face time with a community it's trying to better understand and whose help it needs to fight terrorism.

LESLIE WISER, FBI, NEWARD DIVISION: We are trying to reach out to the kids of the Muslim community. I think it's very important that we establish a dialogue with them.

SUZANNE LOUTFY, THE EGYPTIAN-AMERICAN GROUP: Education is what is going on here today, exchange of knowledge. Who are you? Who am I? Who are you?

DAS: Some Muslim-Americans say they felt a backlash after 9/11, which led to a distrust of the FBI.

KAREEM LOUTFY, 18 YEARS OLD: It's just removing the negative stigma of law enforcement to the people, showing that law enforcement are just regular people that shouldn't be scared of them.

DAS: The FBI isn't looking to sign up new recruits at this event, but it does hope to spotlight what it can offer.

BRETT HOVINGTON, FBI COMMUNITY RELATIONS UNIT: Youth are very important, and that's across all communities, whether you're talking in the Arab community. We have to do a better job of creating sort of a track atmosphere where youth come in and they are actually put through a process, sparking their interest, whether it's forensics, whether it's cyber crime, whether it's white-collar crime, to give them the flavor of what the FBI does.

DAS: While not a traditional choice, some Muslim-Americans say teens are considering careers at the FBI.

RABIA AHMED, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: It's becoming more and more of an option for Muslims, because they are part of the fabric of this society. And they, too, want the security of this nation.

DAS (on-camera): The 9/11 Commission cited the FBI's lack of Arab-American agents as an area needing urgent attention. Officially, the FBI won't reveal how many it has. Privately, officials as of early last year, say there are about 20 in the entire bureau, but it does admit employing Arab-Americans at all levels of the FBI is important. In the words of one agent, the FBI wants to look like America. Sumi Das, CNN, Washington.


HARRIS: Betty, just for a moment, we're going to turn back to the Barry Bonds story. The San Francisco slugger tied Babe Ruth's career home run record last night with a tremendous blast. A 19-year old Oakland A's fan walked away with the ball, so here's the question: Will there be any big pay-out for this home run? And how will this affect the marketing, if at all, of Barry Bonds? The author of "When the Game Is on the Line," sports business analyst Rick Horrow joins us from his usual perch there in West Palm Beach, Florida. Rick, good morning to you. We got you to work today (INAUDIBLE).

HORROW: Yes, you know, the string breaks on the tin can a couple of minutes ago, you didn't get me, so you go nuts. You need me. You realize, you do need me.

HARRIS: I need you on that wall, got to have you. You know what? I have to ask you, though. I mean, he's really not supposed to be able to hit a ball that far anymore, is he?

HORROW: No, he's not. But he did it at least two times this season. The bottom line with him, by the way, is that there was a survey done, Davy Brown (ph) celebrity spokesman survey, 1,500 celebrities, and he was rated 1,485th in likability and 1,488th as a defective product spokesman. That's just ahead of Osama bin Laden, probably, and Saddam Hussein. Hey, the bottom line, though, is he'll get some endorsements, tops is doing commemorative . greeting cards (INAUDIBLE)

HARRIS: Oh come on Rick. Rick, stop, he's not --

HORROW: The Franklin Company did action figures of he and Ruth holding hands.

HARRIS: Are you kidding?

HORROW: It's a big deal, 50 percent decrease, absolutely, 50 percent decrease in total endorsement value for him, regardless of who caught that home run.

HARRIS: So what happens with this? This baseball, this 714, this baseball isn't going to be worth a dime, a plug nickel, is it?

HORROW: Yes, it will be worth something. It may be worth low six figures. We'll see in auction. All of these home runs, his 71st, his 72nd, his 73rd, they all go for a lot because it's what people want. This was caught on national television. For baseball itself, you've got to remember something, though. When he started his home run hype, baseball was on the brink of labor Armageddon. They were about to go through strikes, McGwire, Sosa, and he, with all of that together, they are now worth about $380 million per franchise. The national sold for $450 million. Keep everybody's eye on the ball. Those three guys helped baseball get to the next stage. Whether you like what he's doing or not, the last few years have been very good for baseball, and he's been part of that. HARRIS: All right. You know, we are getting a lot of e-mails already this morning, Rick. I guess folks have a lot of opinions on this. We will get to some of those in a moment. Here's the question: Does the baseball steroid controversy tarnish the home run record chase? Here's our address, Do you want to weigh in on this?

HORROW: Well, of course it tarnishes it because it's an enhancement, and people are trying to figure out where the asterisk goes after Maris in '61. It has nowhere else to go. But it gives people a lot to talk about and he did it under those conditions. People are going to question whether or not he would have done it under other circumstances. And so it certainly is fodder for that discussion. I'm not sure they should throw out all of the records. I'm not sure they should make him a hero. It's probably going to be somewhere in between.

HARRIS: Once again, has the man ever tested positive for steroids?

HORROW: You and I have had that discussion.

HARRIS: Yes, we have.

HORROW: The truth will -- yes, we have, and no, he hasn't. But there's been a lot of evidence in the book. George Mitchell is coming out with a major investigation; some say it's too strict, some say it's not strict enough. And you heard what I said a couple of minutes ago, that you've got to take the good with the bad. There were 400 home runs in a four-year period that baseball really needed. He was one of those three guys that did that. So whatever problems Barry Bonds has caused baseball, look at what happened positively five, six, seven years ago.

HARRIS: There you go. That's Rick Horrow, the author of "When the Game Is on the Line," West Palm Beach, Florida, on a Sunday. We appreciate it Rick. Thank you, good to see you.

HORROW: See you next week.

NGUYEN: I can't wait to read these e-mails and see what others are saying about it. It's definitely something that people are talking about this morning. Speaking of things people are talking about, we are going to give you a rare look inside Opus Dei, the controversial Catholic organization whose members are portrayed as villains in "The Da Vinci Code" movie. But how do its members really practice their faith? That story in about six minutes.


NGUYEN: With the debate over immigration raging in this country, there are all kinds of technological solutions being considered. But what can employers do to ensure that they are obeying the law? Welcome to the future.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're here to make money. That's the American way. That's why I do what I do. I just do it legally. When I'm out trying to make a living, doing it the honest way, and someone else is short-cutting the rules, then it makes it very difficult for me, as a business owner. It's going to be a challenge, as an employer, to verify that the paperwork is true and accurate. The more illegals we have, the tougher it will become, as a legitimate business owner, to run a business.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Many employers in businesses like landscaping, construction, food service, struggle to stay legit in arenas flooded with illegal workers. How can employers protect themselves and stay afloat?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have 12 million people in this country whose names we don't even know.

O'BRIEN: Just one reason why Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute says immigration reform is vital for employers, as well as immigrants.

TAMAR JACOBY, MANHATTAN INST.: Why are we forcing them to be in the black market when we could have them on the right side of the law enhancing our security, enhancing our rule of law and actually enhancing workplace relationships.

O'BRIEN: Right now, employers can use a government Web site to ensure job seekers are legal. But of 5.5 million employers in the country, a mere 5,000 are enrolled in the program.

JACOBY: The databases are not as accurate as they should be. So right now it's an experiment on the way to the program that we need.

O'BRIEN: If current reform bills become law, the verification system would include biometric ID cards to prevent fraud, and would make it mandatory for all U.S. employers to screen their workers, from mega-corporations to families with household help.

JACOBY: Once you make sure that these -- you can't get a job if you're illegal, that's how you're going to control who comes and who doesn't come.



NGUYEN: And the winner is? Ray Nagin. But it was close. Nagin eked out re-election as mayor of New Orleans over Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu.

In other news, FBI agents searched the Capitol Hill office of Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson. The bureau says the search is part of an ongoing bribery investigation. Jefferson's New Orleans home was also searched last August. President Bush will comment this morning on the formation of a new Iraqi government. It's the centerpiece of what's going on in the war in Iraq, and that event occurs about an hour from now at the White House. CNN, of course, will provide you with live coverage.

HARRIS: Religion at the box office. Looks like Hollywood has a winner. The movie "The Da Vinci Code" had a big opening day, not the kind of news critics of the film were hoping for. One religious group, the mysterious Opus Dei, is particularly interested in how the film is being received. CNN's faith and values correspondent Delia Gallagher takes us inside this controversial group in a story you saw first on "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


IAN MCKELLEN, ACTOR: Witness the biggest cover up in human history.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the center of the controversy is a real-life group called Opus Dei, unwillingly cast as the villains in Dan Brown's book and brought to life on film by an evil bishop and a killer monk who lurks in shadows and whips himself bloody. But what is Opus Dei? Opus Dei describes itself as a Catholic organization whose mission is to enable people to serve God through work and everyday life.

But in "The Da Vinci Code," Brown describes it as a deeply devout Catholic sect, a brainwashing cult, and a secret society. From the first page of the book, Brown sets the stage for his tale of conspiracy inside its $47 million headquarters on Lexington Avenue. This is the actual building. It is 17 stories tall with separate entrances for men and women. Inside, separate facilities divide male and female members, called numeraries. They make a life-long commitment to celibacy and to living in an Opus Dei residence. There are his and her chapels, dining rooms, classrooms, and fitness centers.

TONA VARELA, OPUS DEI MEMBER: This is the exercise room, also known as the torture chamber.

GALLAGHER: Ah-ha, the real torture chamber.


GALLAGHER: Tona has been a numerary for 25 years.

VARELA: In Opus Dei, we are about holiness and holiness, you need to be free to love God.

GALLAGHER: Do you feel brainwashed? Do you feel like you belong to a cult?

VARELA: I hope I don't look brainwashed to you. I am completely free. I am very happy and free. GALLAGHER: Not all members of Opus Dei are celibate. The majority of the roughly 3,000 American members are what's called supernumeraries. They can marry, have children and live in their own homes. Terri Carron is one of them. A wife, mother of four and public relations consultant, Terri is one of several members the group has been providing to the media in recent months. What is the biggest myth perpetuated by the book or the movie about Opus Dei?

TERRI CARRON, MARRIED OPUS DEI MEMBER: I think the biggest myth about Opus Dei is that it's some kind of religious organization, you know, involved in conspiracy to find some elusive holy grail, and the reality is much more down-to-earth. We are just people, lay Catholics looking for God in our everyday life.

GALLAGHER: As for "The Da Vinci Code's" hulking albino monk named Silas, who steals, murders and then tortures himself...

PAUL BETTANY, ACTOR: Is there a secret you would die for?

GALLAGHER: Opus Dei wants you to meet a real Silas. Far from hulking or albino, Silas Agbim is a Nigerian-born stockbroker who lives in Brooklyn, works on Wall Street, and stands just five foot five.

SILAS AGBIM, OPUS DEI MEMBER: I'm not a monk, nor albino. I'm married with a wife and three children.

GALLAGHER: And no murders?

AGBIM: No murders.

GALLAGHER: In your background?

AGBIM: No murders in my background. All you'll find in my background is a jolly fellow.

GALLAGHER: For all the debate about the book and the movie, neither Dan Brown nor the filmmakers are the first to portray Opus Dei in a negative light. Some former members have told stories of fear, entrapment and brainwashing on this Web site, the Opus Dei awareness network, which claims to describe the group's questionable practices in vivid detail.

"COLLEEN," FORMER OPUS DEI MEMBER: Opus Dei is a cult. I want people to know that a year ago, I would have never said that. Looking at this makes me feel sad.

GALLAGHER: Colleen was a numerary assistant in Opus Dei for 20 years, living and working in its residencies throughout the U.S. including, the one in New York. But last year, Colleen left for good.

"COLLEEN": Opus Dei preaches goodness and peace and love, but really what they do is not ethical. It's deceptive, and it's scary, and it's not so good. I still have nightmares every night that I'm in Opus Dei and I can't get out.

GALLAGHER: Colleen says she was expected to practice strict rituals like corporal mortification, striking herself with a knotted whip called the discipline and wearing a spiked metal chain, the cilice, as a reminder of Christ's suffering. "COLLEEN": We believed that the more you mortified yourself, the more graces you would win for people.

GALLAGHER (on-camera): The albino monk in "The Da Vinci Code" wears a cilice so tightly he makes himself bleed. This is an actual cilice worn by numeraries around their bare thighs for two hours a day. You can see for yourself just how sharp these spikes are. Depending on how tightly you tie it, it could be pretty painful.

REV. MICHAEL BARRETT, OPUS DEI PRIEST: Corporal mortification is harmless to your health. It does not cause any physical damage whatsoever.

GALLAGHER: It does not make you bleed?

BARRETT: Not a bit.

GALLAGHER: Reverend Michael Barrett insists that Opus Dei is not a cult and thinks that "Da Vinci Code" director Ron Howard should have left out any mention of Opus Dei in the movie.

BARRETT: The trailers that I have seen are so sensational I have this little bit of hope that maybe it's going to fall on its own foolishness.

GALLAGHER: He says it's a work of fiction.

BARRETT: It's a work of fiction, but it still doesn't entitle a person to say whatever he wants about real institutions.

GALLAGHER: Opus Dei asked Sony pictures to add a disclaimer to the movie, reminding viewers that its fiction. But Ron Howard declined, saying spy thrillers don't start off with disclaimers. What would you say to moviegoers of "The Da Vinci Code"?

BARRETT: I'd say to see the movie with your eyes open, not to just take things in as though everything presented is fact and true.

GALLAGHER: Delia Gallagher, CNN, New York.


HARRIS: Man. You can see more stories like Delia's on "PAULA ZAHN NOW." Watch weeknights 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 p.m. Pacific.

NGUYEN: A milestone is celebrated, but will people honor Barry Bonds the man? Rumors about Bonds bring us to our e-mail question. Boy are we getting lots of responses. It's a good one. OK here it is. Does the baseball steroid controversy tarnish the home run record chase? As you know, Bonds hit 714 last night. E-mail us We'll read your responses after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: I shouldn't be laughing. But yes, he's a little hot right now. In Chagrin Falls, Ohio, local daredevil Ed Bashler (ph) was up to his old tricks last night, reviving a stunt he used to perform annually until about 20 years ago. Bashler sets himself on fire, as you see right there, and then leaps into the falls, nice cool down, which gives the town its name. He survived, thank goodness, with no serious injuries. You have got to be out of your mind.

HARRIS: He looked like De Niro in "Cape Fear." Remember that? He's on fire at the end.

NGUYEN: He looks crazy. No normal person will set themself on fire. OK, and so, do we need to say it? Please, don't try this at home.

HARRIS: Yes, we have to say it. Wacky video so far this morning. We've got this guy, and then we've got the baseball, and we have our e-mail question of the day. Appreciate your response so far to this. Man, here's the question: Does the baseball steroid controversy tarnish the home run record chase? Catherine from Raleigh, North Carolina writes, "Absolutely it does. I've lost respect for the sport due to the steroid scandals."

NGUYEN: And Gary says, "Yes, steroids tarnish the home run record chase. This is just one of the factors that have caused me to turn my back on all professional sports. Where are the role models? There is too much self-centered greed." And by the way, Gary is a Cowboy fan.

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE) Dallas thing in here whenever you can. M. Lewis writes, "I think Bonds deserves all the credit in the world for his home runs. It takes eye and hand coordination to be able to hit the ball." And he's right about that.

NGUYEN: And Art from New Jersey says, "It sure does, but the true controversy is how the Babe did all those great things when the game of America was tainted by racism and would not allow any blacks or Hispanics to play. Any players who achieve anything during this era should have an asterisk next to their accomplishment."

HARRIS: Is anybody screaming about that? Is anyone yelling about that? I don't think so.

NGUYEN: You don't here a whole lot about that. Here's the question. We invite you to keep sending in your thoughts. We got some really good ones this morning. Does the baseball steroid controversy tarnish the home run record chase? E-mail us,

HARRIS: And the next hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING begins in a moment.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NGUYEN: There you go. In New Orleans, the winner is Mayor Ray Nagin. It is a second, four-year term for Nagin. The incumbent mayor eked out a narrow victory over Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu. Nagin captured 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Landrieu.

President Bush will comment this morning in just a few minutes from now, about 8:40 Eastern Time on the formation of a new government in Baghdad. It is the centerpiece of going to war in Iraq. Now the president will make his remarks at the White House, as mentioned, just about 40 minutes from now, and CNN will carry those remarks live.

FBI agents continued searching the Capitol Hill office of Louisiana congressman William Jefferson last night. The bureau says the search is part of an ongoing bribery investigation. Jefferson's New Orleans home was searched last August.

HARRIS: Afghan civilians are the victims of a suspected car bomber. The explosion east of Kabul killed the driver of the car and two civilians. Six others were wounded and in southern Afghanistan, three Afghan national army soldiers and one coalition soldier were killed in a fire fight with militants. At least 26 other soldiers were wounded in the battle.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas met with top Israeli officials in Egypt today. It is the highest-level meeting between the two sides since Hamas took over the Palestinian government in March. The meeting may lead to a possible summit between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Years of training and promise gone, and an instant at the Preakness stakes, Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro must undergo emergency surgery today. The stallion shattered his right rear ankle just 12 seconds into yesterday's race. The long shot, Bernadini, won the $1 million Preakness stakes.


NAGIN: To some of the folks who went on the other side, you entered the red-light district. I forgive you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will speak with one voice. We will get behind the mayor. We will do everything we can to bring this great city back again.


NGUYEN: Mayor Ray Nagin, another term.

From the CNN Center this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING, May 21st, 8:00 a.m. at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, 7:00 a.m. in New Orleans, where Mayor Ray Nagin has been re-elected. You heard some of what he had to say. Boy, good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HARRIS: I'm just trying to write it down.

NGUYEN: Something about going to the red light district. HARRIS: The other side, the red light district, I forgive you. OK, we'll talk about that in a moment. Good morning, everyone, I'm Tony Harris. Thanks for being with us.

NGUYEN: New Orleans voters have spoken with their ballots, and everything old is new again. CNN's Sean Callebs is live in New Orleans with the election roundup. Boy, that was quite a speech from Nagin.

CALLEBS: You know what, it was interesting. I was listening to you and Tony talk, and Nagin and a bunch of others from here went to Amsterdam to see how their pump system works to keep that area from flooding. Maybe he picked up the red light --

NGUYEN: Let's put that in context, shall we? That would make a lot of sense.

CALLEBS: I'm trying to help any way I can at this point.

NGUYEN: Good deal. Well, talk to us about the election results and how many turned out, and all of that.

CALLEBS: You know the turnout was pretty good. A lot of people thought it would be less than the April 22nd, the first time that the mayoral candidates ran, but it was just about right in line. However, Mayor Nagin got an overwhelming percentage of the African-American vote, about 85 percent, and he got just enough of the white vote to push him over the top. Now, both of these candidates are liberal Democrats.

But it was interesting I was talking to Silas Lee who you will chat with in just a minute to get some real perspective on this. He said it's a weird marriage of conservative voters and liberals. A lot of conservatives are somewhat apprehensive of the Landrieu family. Moon Landrieu was the last white mayor in this area. One of his children is a judge here. Another is a U.S. senator. Some concern about the fact that perhaps if indeed he were elected, Mitch Landrieu would raise their taxes significantly. So, certain degree of fear led to all of this.

NGUYEN: What does Mayor Nagin say is going to be first on his agenda? Have you had a moment just to gather that from him?

CALLEBS: The first thing he said last night is he's going to sleep late. So I hope it's not the way he's going to begin running the city this time. But he said all the right things last night. We're going to work as one. Reached out to George Bush, and reached out to the governor. Nagin and the governor have been going at it for months on end now. But it's easy to say these things, and actually doing it is going to be something entirely different.

Just go through this area, the 80 percent of the city that was flooded is still in horrific disrepair. There are hundreds of thousands of people that evacuated and want to come back, but they can't. They have an immediate housing problem and a jobs problem, education, health care. I mean, where did you begin? He has a ton of stuff he has to do, and they have to do it now.

And remember, what, we're a week away from the hurricane season. So that's the real apprehensive time. We know the levee system; the only thing that keeps water from flooding into this area isn't going to be ready by June 1. So good luck to him, he's got a lot on the plate.

NGUYEN: A lot of very good points, and now that the votes are counted, people are going to want to see some action. So we will be watching. Thank you, Sean -- Tony.

HARRIS: So with the daunting task of rebuilding of New Orleans ahead for him for the next four years, Mayor Nagin last night highlighted what has been accomplished so far.


NAGIN: Ladies and gentlemen, this city is positioned for growth. This great city, New Orleans, is ready to take off. We have the levees being repaired. We have incentive dollars for businesses and for people. We also have the CDBG money to bring back our housing. We are ready to take off.


HARRIS: So will the rebuilding of New Orleans really take off? A political analyst Silas Lee joins us now from New Orleans. Silas, good to talk to you.

SILAS LEE, POLITICAL ANALYST: Same here, good morning.

HARRIS: I have to ask you -- well, we'll work on the audio here, as we talk. I have to ask you is this a bit of a -- how would you describe this? A bit of a political comeback for Ray Nagin? For so long he seemed down. He was down early in the polls. Is this a comeback? A bounce back for him?

LEE: Without a doubt, it's a resurrection of Ray Nagin. Keep in mind, this guy's political obituary was written in January. And many people said this guy's done. What really happened, you had two dynamics here. It was an unusual political marriage. Some would call it a political shotgun marriage, where you have conservatives coming together with aggressive African-Americans for diverse reasons to re- elect Mayor Nagin.

And Mitch Landrieu ran as the alternative, rather than the challenger, to a large degree. And for a lot of voters, they could not distinguish between Mitch Landrieu effectively and Mayor Nagin.

HARRIS: I got to ask you, race and politics in this mayoral race, ferret it out, and sort it out. Help us understand, put it into some kind of context for us.

LEE: Well, race was a factor. For some people, it was a dominant factor. For others, it was a minor factor. However, it was a subtext in this election. And what you had in this particular election was the fact that, for some African-Americans, race was a factor in reference to the symbolism of the office; versus for others, it was a question of the survival and the restoration of the community.

For whites, it was a question about who would be the face, as well as -- the face of reconstruction, the rebuilding of New Orleans. So, race was a factor, but just depending on who you talked to, but for many African-Americans, it was a strong, symbolic component, and for many whites it was the question about the image.

HARRIS: So Silas -- go ahead.

LEE: Mayor Nagin will represent the image, the face of rebuilding around the world and to the nation to our federal government, to business leaders, and that's why this election was so critical in reference to the rebuilding effort.

HARRIS: A couple of quick ones. Let me see if I can try this out on you. Did the black folks begin to believe that Ray Nagin was being scapegoated for all that was going wrong in the recovery effort, and did that help him, ultimately, in terms of a backlash that ultimately helped him?

LEE: Mayor Nagin had to build a political base in the middle of a political campaign. That's unusual. Keep in mind, his previous political base dissipated. They were dispersed, as well as they pretty much defected from him. Because he was elected in 2002 with 85 percent of the white vote, however, in 2006 he gets reelected by the reverse 85 percent of the African-American vote, and about 20 percent of the white vote.

So he had to build a political base in the middle of this campaign. And he was successful at enhancing his image. Also, another irony is the fact that to some degree, hurricane Katrina gave Mayor Nagin a veil of sympathy. Many people, after they got over their anger, they said, well, no one else probably could have done better.

HARRIS: Yes, I have to ask you, though, one final question. You look a bit like a divided city, racially, here. I'm wondering how you move forward? And I guess, the real question is -- white folks who live there, are they waking up this morning and saying, they are throwing their hands up in frustration, saying, OK, you wanted a chocolate city, it looks like you have it again.

LEE: Yes, you're absolutely right. This is a very divided city. Mayor Nagin has a lot of healing to do. As the mayor, he must be part healer, part visionary as well as part political Houdini, in terms of bringing all the pieces together to expedite the rebuilding process. And Mayor Nagin did, to a large degree, set the standards high for himself. He told voters, you should re-elect me so that we would not have any loss in continuity and momentum in the rebuilding process. So he did set the standards high for himself, and voters expect to keep this on track. And there's no time for a learning curve, because he's already in place.

HARRIS: Yes, so much to do, political analyst Silas Lee. Silas, we appreciate it. Thanks for your time. Good to talk to you. LEE: Thank you. You're welcome. Same here.

HARRIS: And coming up next hour, we'll get some insights into the New Orleans election from Marc Morial, he's a former mayor of the crescent city, and from the Reverend Jesse Jackson. You may recall Jackson said he would challenge the election results in courts because voter rights were violated. That's next hour on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

NGUYEN: There is political progress in Iraq. Praise from the White House. This hour, President Bush comments on the formation of a new Iraqi government. It is a step that could speed up the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Now, we expect to hear from the president in about 30 minutes from now, and we will have that live right here on CNN.

But right now, White House correspondent Ed Henry joins us with a preview of what we can expect. Talk to us about what we are hoping to hear from the president in just about 30 minutes from now -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Betty. Rare on-camera comments from the president, obviously, on a Sunday morning. A clear sign of just how eager the White House is to tout this good news out of Iraq. In this case, of course, the president will be in the diplomatic reception room, and he'll be talking about yesterday the fact that the Iraqi parliament has approved the cabinet for the new Prime Minister-Designate Al Maliki in Iraq. President Bush's poll numbers, as you know, have been dropping amid all the violence in Iraq.

In fact, just today, this morning, at least 17 Iraqis were killed in three separate attacks in Baghdad. The White House here trying clearly to push back and show some optimism and some hope coming out of Iraq in the formation of a new government. We got a preview, in fact, of what the president will say today yesterday when he put out a written statement that tried to temper the optimism, nonetheless, when the president said, "Iraq's new leaders know the period ahead will be filled with great challenge, but they also know that they and their great country will not face them alone. The United States and freedom- loving nations around the world will stand with Iraq as it takes its place among the world democracies and as an ally in the war on terror."

And, clearly, what we're seeing from the president, he's walking a fine line. He wants to tout good news, and he wants to temper the optimism and not go too far. He knows we're going to see some of the violence coming out of Iraq day after day, and the next question, as you noted, Betty, clearly, when will U.S. troops come home? More than 130,000 U.S. troops still there. This week Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a Senate panel, he'd like to say there will be a major withdrawal of troops this year, but he said he just cannot make that promise. In fact, despite some of the good news we're seeing coming out of Iraq, we're also hearing basically rumblings out of both Italy and Japan that they may be pulling their troops out of Iraq soon. That could put even more pressure on U.S. troops to stay to finish the job, Betty.

NGUYEN: And no doubt, the pressure is on, plus, you know, Americans, that's what they are going to want to hear in this speech today when the president does talk in about 30 minutes from now. They want to know, basically, when are American troops coming home? So we'll see what the president has to say, if he's going to talk about that at all.

Ed Henry, thank you.

HENRY: Thank you.

HARRIS: The best political team on television joins the king of talk for the inside story, on everything from the Hayden hearings to the CIA leak investigation, the immigration battle and more, all live from the nation's capital, Monday night, 9:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

NGUYEN: In the crosshairs of the FBI, with his Capitol Hill offices searched by investigators last night, in fact, we understand that investigators are still there at this hour, Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson cries foul. We'll have more on that story in just a moment.

Plus, a look at your current weather conditions and look who is here for that, Jacqui Jeras. So nice to see you.



NGUYEN: You know, I don't even know what that music is, but look at the pictures! Who does that? In Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a local daredevil does. His name is Ed Bachelor, and he was up to his old tricks last night reviving a stunt that he used to perform annually until about 20 years ago. Bachelor sets himself on fire and then leaps off the town's namesake falls right there. Yes, he needed to cool off. Well, that is definitely one-way, Tony, to burn some calories.

Now here is today's "Bod Squad."


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can working out before bedtime interfere with a good night's sleep? One study published in the "Journal of Physiology and Behavior" studied college students who exercised in the evening and found no significant effect on students falling or staying asleep, but, Dr. Rosenberg says some types of late workouts may lead to sleeping problems.

DR. RUSSELL ROSENBERG, NORTH SIDE HOSPITAL, SLEEP MED INST: I do have a slight concern of the lifting weights at nighttime, and whether some of those weightlifting activities might actually cause some slight discomfort at points in the middle of the night that could wake you up.

COSTELLO: Dr. Rosenberg encourages his patients to exercise, but to stop intense workouts three hours before bedtime. This allows the body time to cool down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you exhale --

COSTELLO: A preliminary study by a Harvard researcher found 20 minutes of yoga may help you fall asleep.

SAT BIR KHALSA, HARVARD UNIV: The subjects who have done the yoga practice on a regular basis have actually improved their insomnia.

COSTELLO: Carol Costello, CNN.



HARRIS: In news from around America this morning, clouds of smoke and flames rose over a petroleum refinery in southern Louisiana overnight. It all began with an explosion, according to a spokesman in St. Charles Parish; the fire is now under control. No one was injured. And no evacuations were necessary.

Rain, grunge, now Seattle has a new nuisance complaint, black bears wandering out of hibernation and looking for food. Bears have been sighted in several areas going through garbage, and residents are being told to lock their trash cans, take bird feeders down and clean their barbecue grills.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a collision at the plate and Pierzynski not only bangs into Barrett, bangs on in the plate, and here they go!


HARRIS: Look at that! Nothing like a little cross-town rivalry to punch up a ballpark.

NGUYEN: Is that wrestling or baseball?

HARRIS: We get a bench-clearing brawl between the White Sox and the Cubs.

NGUYEN: Here it comes. Bam. Right there.

HARRIS: And you and your friend here, take that one, too. The players in the center of the slugfest, A.J. Pierzynski, that guy there. He was the one that was...

NGUYEN: He's still fired up.

HARRIS: Yes. And the Cubs' catcher Michael Barrett, four ejections, Betty. After the fight, they actually played a little baseball.

NGUYEN: Oh yes?

HARRIS: Well, the White Sox did. They won it 7-0.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fastball. That's his bread and butter. For Bonds he's better going to left field than trying to pull this guy.

Barry Bonds deep drive right field, 714!


HARRIS: He's not supposed to be able to do that anymore.

NGUYEN: Oh, with the controversy?

HARRIS: Yes, he's not supposed to be able to do it.

NGUYEN: But he did.

HARRIS: He did.

NGUYEN: 714.

HARRIS: He hit it very far. So much excitement over one swing of the bat, and a big hit for Barry Bonds, who ties the great Babe Ruth for second place on the career home run list, 714 of them. Still a ways to go, though, to catch Hammer and Hank Aaron at 755.

NGUYEN: Speaking of it, it leads us to our email question this morning. Does the baseball steroid controversy tarnish the home run record chase? We're getting lots of thoughts from you. Keep them coming, though, at We are going to read some of your comments throughout the morning.

HARRIS: Quickly, lets get upstairs now to Jacqui Jeras a check of the nations weather. Jacqui good morning.



NGUYEN: 68, that's not too bad for mid-May.

JERAS: Yes, but it's raining.

HARRIS: Yes, yes.

Appreciate it. Thank you.

NGUYEN: Barry Bonds ties the Babe, but does the steroid controversy tarnish the home run race? We want to know what you think. E-mail us; our address is

HARRIS: And we're about 20 minutes away from President Bush making live remarks on Saturday's formation of a new government in Iraq. We will bring you those comments live around 8:40 a.m. Eastern Time. Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS: OK. All morning long -- Katie, can you bring those up here? Thank you.

NGUYEN: I tell you; the service around here is not up to par.

HARRIS: It's unbelievable. All morning long we've been asking this e-mail question, and you've been great in giving us your thoughts on this. Does the baseball steroid controversy tarnish the home run record chase? You want to start, Betty?

NGUYEN: Sure, I'll start. Give me that page. This from H.C. Knight in South Carolina. It says, "The taking of steroids discounts the success of any athlete. What part of cheating don't we understand?"

HARRIS: Wow, OK. And this from S. Johnson from Phoenix, Arizona, "No it should not, because baseball is a finesse sport, and you need exceptional talent to hit the curve balls the exceptional pitchers throw these days. The signs and distinctions between what is a steroid or not is objective."

Something to think about this morning, keep sending in those responses. Your thoughts this morning to this question: Does the baseball steroid controversy tarnish the home run record chase?

NGUYEN: OK those were your words. Let's listen to what Sir Elton has to say. He had a few choice words for the press corps last night at the Cannes Film Festival. John was presenting a trophy to a young Canadian actor Kevin Ziggers (ph). Now, when photographers kept interrupting, well, in true style, John unloaded.


SIR ELTON JOHN, ENTERTAINER: I sincerely believe that he will be a huge star and a great actor for many, many years to come. And you saw "Transamerica." I'm talking, you [ expletive ], and [ expletive ]. You should all be shot.


JOHN: You should all be shot. Thank you.


HARRIS: What was the first part of that?

NGUYEN: You see, my mouth dropped. What?

HARRIS: I missed it. He...

NGUYEN: I don't even know what he said. Well, it's a good thing we bleeped it out. Wow, OK, Elton John, let the man speak, OK?

At 9:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN SUNDAY MORNING, we're going to talk about something completely different. Yes, get over that for a minute, because we're going to get to our soldier story. This is really good, folks: why and how shoes play a crucial role for a Michigan family. They are dealing with the loss of their son who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting in Iraq. We will show you what they are doing, stick around for that.

HARRIS: But first, "House Call" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and your top stories are straight ahead.