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CNN Sunday Morning

U.S. Troops Press Into Insurgent Safe Havens; Wildfires Out West Continue to Destroy Homes

Aired July 08, 2007 - 09:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just can't stop it. We get fire lines put in, two heads will pinch together, blow over our fire lines, and we're off running.


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR, CNN SUNDAY MORNING: A wildfire in Utah forces evacuations and threatens a power plant, railroads, bridges, much more. Major interstate, in fact, is closed. Traffic backed up for several miles. Also --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was trying to grab everything I could, our important papers. And I have three little dogs. When I pulled out of the driveway, it was raining fire on us.


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR, CNN SUNDAY MORNING: After the fire, the tough task of rebuilding and the risks of living so close to a potential fire zone.

It is Sunday, July 8th. Good morning you to all from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, Georgia. I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: We want to begin with the growing wildfire danger in the West. Evacuation ordered in several states, hundreds of thousands of acres already destroyed, record temperatures in the West making things even more difficult for the hundreds of firefighters who are on the front lines.

Worst fires in California, Nevada, Utah. One massive fire, in Utah, already has chewed up 250 square miles.

NGUYEN: There is some good news this morning. We heard from one Utah fire official just a short time ago who said the danger to residents and homes is lessening right now. With no mandatory evacuation orders that, is part of the good news we want to bring you. There is so much more to tell you about. Alex Cabrero of Salt Lake City affiliate KSL has the details. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): No matter what firefighters do to fight this fire --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing seems to be working.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty well doing what wants to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All day long this fire kept growing and growing. The wind pushing it faster than crews can handle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just back up and keep our firefighters safe and hope for the best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ranchers are hoping for the best, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're going to burn this all as a backfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to herd cattle out of the Kanosh area by foot and by truck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, we got 900 head of cattle out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Kanosh, Glenna Davis, and her family, decided it was time to go as the fire headed towards town making the sky dark and the wind hot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have seen fires, but it has not gotten this close to home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An evacuation order has not been put into place here but firefighters told residents to get ready just in case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We grabbed our purses, my eight-year-old, he grabbed some pillows, blanket and his stuffed animal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then there is I-15 with thick, dark smoke causing problems everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fire is going to hit the freeway here in about five minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forcing a closure between I-70 near Beaver and Cipio (ph) as the fire continues to burn, and grow, out of control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just can't stop it. We get fire lines put in. Two heads will pinch together, blow over the -- over our fire lines and we're off running.


NGUYEN: Let's get you the latest on this fire, and the weather outside because that is a big issue here, especially if the winds are picking up.

What does it look like, right now, Reynolds?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The weather is not cooperating out there at all. You have, first and foremost, the windy conditions that will persist again today. The very low relative humidity, which will help dry out the foliage. On top of that, intense heat. Forget about the heat just from the fires, you have regular surface temperatures that are easily going to be in the 90s, 100s for much of the desert Southwest.

In Utah, Salt Lake City, the high only 95 degrees. Not far from where these fires are taking place. However, by the time we get into Tuesday and Wednesday, it could be as high as 102. So, conditions are not going to improve.

Take a look at this video we have from Millard County, Utah. This is right near Ridgefield. It is not good. Very difficult for the guys aloft, in the airplanes, trying to drop that fire retardant for the fellows on the ground. You know it's difficult for the ground crews. It's going to remain a tough obstacle for them over the next couple of days to battle this blaze.

Let's show you what we're dealing with in terms of heat and other stories.


HOLMES: Well, engulfed by fire this time last week we were watching the same wildfire scene play out near Lake Tahoe, in California. That fire, completely contained now. But the feeling of loss still gripping many residents. CNN's Kara Finnstrom goes back with one family.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looked like a tornado of flames. The roar of it, you could hear it. It was so close.

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): So close to Molly and Van Marshall's home they had 10 minutes to escape.

MOLLY MARSHALL, LAKE TAHOE RESIDENT: I was trying to grab everything I could, our important papers. And I have three little dogs. When I pulled out of the driveway, it was raining fire on us.

FINNSTROM: Within 24 hours, the swift-moving inferno accomplished its chilling destruction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of these areas were open today.

FINNSTROM: The Marshall's personal nightmare was only beginning. They allowed us to go back home with them for the first time.

MARSHALL: It's like a death in the family. We're bewildered.

FINNSTROM: First, Molly and Van sifted through the home where they raised two boys.

MARSHALL: That's my stove. We hadn't put it in yet, and the refrigerator. I don't even see the refrigerator.

FINNSTROM: Then they took us to scorched land, just behind, where for two years Van had been building their dream home.

MARSHALL: And this is part of Van's tools.

FINNSTROM: They were weeks away from moving in.

MARSHALL: I'm so sorry that it's gone.

VAN MARSHALL, LAKE TAHOE RESIDENT: I'll build you another one.

FINNSTROM: The loss is overwhelming. The Marshalls now facing not just rebuilding two homes, but two lives.

MARSHALL: I have to call the utilities. I have to cancel my newspaper, which sounds crazy.

JENNY CARRICK, AMERICAN RED CROSS: What they're about to face is the hard process of figuring out everything that they've lost, reporting everything.

FINNSTROM: The Red Cross's Jenny Carrick, and others, at this disaster assistance center help families with everything from getting new driver's licenses and places to live, to getting help paying for it all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The building department --

FINNSTROM: These workers have been helping families in wildfire ravaged cities all over the West. Federal officials say more people are now living in traditionally wildlife areas. They say nationwide, wildfires have already burned at least 590 homes this year. And if this pace continues, this may be the most destructive fire year of the decade.

(On camera): What are you realizing now, that you lost?

MARSHALL: Oh, gosh -- not only our memories, but our families. Pictures that I didn't get out. You know, things that belong to our great grandparents.

FINNSTROM: At a time in life when the Marshalls and their friends had planned to retire, they're suddenly starting all over again.


FINNSTROM: Kara Finnstrom for CNN, Lake Tahoe.


NGUYEN: Well some folks are actually getting a break, especially from the rain in Texas. Devastating floods there already blamed for at least 15 deaths. Death toll rising with recovery of a six-year-old boy who was swept out into the Gulf of Mexico. One person is still missing.

And in northeast Oklahoma, two counties have been designated federal disasters areas after President Bush signed that order. They're now eligible for federal flood relief.

HOLMES: It was a frightening moment for some New Jersey diners, certainly got more than they ordered after part of a restaurant deck collapsed. This was in southern New Jersey marina, this is near Lower Township. Authorities say nine people were treated for minor injuries. Several staff members and customers were on that deck when it caved in.


AMANDA BASSE, WITNESS: We were on my side and we were in the Wind Jammer. We just felt a shake. We didn't know what it was. So all of a sudden everybody just came flying in and told us we had to evacuate our building that the Crab House side (ph) had just caved in. And there is a big hole in the floor. It was right in front of the hostesses stand. The lady in the gift shop couldn't get out. We had to have one of our girls, Robin, pull her out.


HOLMES: Not clear what caused that collapse. It is now being investigated.

NGUYEN: People aboard a sight-seeing helicopter in New York get more than they bargained for. Look at this. Instead of a tour of Manhattan, they end up in the Hudson River.

The Coast Guard says the chopper crashed yesterday, but all people onboard are safe. Some said to be suffering minor injuries. Authorities say they were pulled from the water by two good Samaritans in private boats. The FAA plans to investigate that crash.

HOLMES: Two people in Texas took an unexpected flight on a Texas lake. There they go. They were riding along on their Jet Ski having a good time, when they launch right over a spillway for about a 30-foot jump. You can see at the end there, somebody kind of flew in the air. Legs, you can you see them go aflyin'. You can see two people there. And there goes somebody, tossing off. The good news here, nobody was seriously injured in that.

NGUYEN: I'm surprised they stayed on the Jet Ski as long as they did, I mean to make it off of that.

HOLMES: It looked like some movie stunt or something.

NGUYEN: It did. The good news is that they weren't seriously injured. Although, apparently, there were some injuries.

Well, we want to show you a midnight mission. U.S. troops under the cover of darkness move into capture insurgents. We're inside with that assault.

HOLMES: Also music with a message. Lenny Kravitz, Madonna, The Beastie Boys, they all rock the world at the global Live Earth Concerts. We'll check out some of the performances.

NGUYEN: Later, how much you would pay for a bat used by The Babe? Huh? It could be yours this week if the price is right. CNN's SUNDAY MORNING continues in a moment.


NGUYEN: In Baghdad, two car bombs kill at least nine people and wound 15. It is the latest attack in a deadly weekend. Now, in the past two days, at least 162 Iraqi civilians have been killed in a series of bomb attacks.

Also, in the capital, an angry demonstration by followers of anti-American cleric Muqtada al Sadr. Protesters demanded the release of his senior aide. Meanwhile, tensions have risen between al Sadr's movement and Iraq's prime minister.

And the U.S. death toll in Iraq is climbing again. The Pentagon says a roadside bomb killed one U.S. soldier yesterday and wounded four others. It happened in the Salah ad Din Province, which is northwest of Baghdad. The U.S. death toll for July now stands at 28.

HOLMES: And in the midst of all of this, our Frederik Pleitgen is embedded with troops as they hunt for insurgents south of Baghdad. He has this exclusive report showing a night assault from the air.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Hovering into the target area, U.S. troops on a night-time air assault south of Baghdad. Their mission, capturing suspected insurgents, people the soldiers say they know were involved in killing American military personnel.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, move it!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White, one, Romeo, black five.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A-1 Romeo, bulldog, five, Roger, let me get those names again, over.

PLEITGEN: First Lieutenant Matt Sheftick (ph) is a squad leader, the key to finding insurgent leaders, he says, is finding enough evidence to put them behind bars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, they're like the mafia. They don't keep anything in their house for the most part. We have to look real hard to find different components and what not. PLEITGEN: Searching the property they find what they're looking for, ladders, pickets and barbed wire from an American patrol base, a base insurgents blew up three months ago killing, two soldiers and that was later looted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This tells a lot. This is good evidence here. This is a big success, if we don't find anything else, then this here is enough to bust this guy.

PLEITGEN: A success the soldiers say is made possible by the U.S. troop increase in Iraq, the so-called surge. More boots on the ground means troops can increase the pressure on insurgents. This unit alone has conducted 14 operations in just three weeks. The soldiers detained 12 people in all. They say since the beginning of the troop surge they've been able to conduct a lot more raids like this one. It is disrupting the insurgency and making it harder for them to plan attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The added troops are helping to focus the insurgents in different areas where they previously had safe haven, and were allowed to go and basically re-supply, re-arm. And now they're being followed there.

PLEITGEN: However, the soldiers say disrupting the insurgency is not enough. The question, they tell us, is whether the gains they're making now will last. Frederik Pleitgen CNN, Radwanea (ph), Iraq.


NGUYEN: You do want to stay tuned because Wolf Blitzer will have much more on the situation in Iraq. That is coming up on "Late Edition". Major General Rick Lynch joins him to talk about the troop surge and the on going strategy in the war, that is coming up at 11:00 Eastern.

HOLMES: In Pakistan, a senior military commander has died in that tense standoff at a mosque. Militants reportedly opened fire when troops blasted holes in walls surrounding the so-called Red Mosque. The troops were trying to create escape routes for women and children.

The government fears they are being used as human shields. The cleric leading the standoff says 1900 people are inside the compound. Pakistan's president says the militants must surrender or die. At least 27 people have been killed so far in the six-day standoff.

NGUYEN: Let's take you to the Middle East now and a gesture for peace. Israel's cabinet today approved the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners. An Israeli official tells CNN the move is intended to bolster ties between the Jewish state and modern Palestinian leaders. Israel says it will not release any prisoner linked to violence against civilians. A committee will publicize a list of names and the supreme court will allow 48 hours for any formal challenges to the planned releases.

HOLMES: BBC reporter Alan Johnston returned to Scotland yesterday just days after Islamic militants freed him in Gaza. The shadowy group, Army of Islam, had held him for four months. After his release Wednesday, Johnston said one of the most harrowing parts of his ordeal was imaging his parents anguish.

NGUYEN: Well, her majesty took the stage in London.


HOLMES: Is that the majesty you were talking about?

NGUYEN: I was thinking of the queen, but apparently it's Madonna.

HOLMES: A different kind of royalty there. Madonna, Lenny Kravitz and Shakira, music super stars, raising awareness at the Live Earth concert.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN DOT.COM DESK: You guys, it's really Maj, because people call her Maj, so Majesty. There you go.

NGUYEN: That was so witty.

DE LA CRUZ: Ba-da-bum.

Well, you out there have been weighing in with your thoughts on global warming. We'll have your e-mails next, when CNN SUNDAY MORNING continues.




HOLMES: Her Majesty, if you will, a global concert for global change. Madonna, one of the big names, one of the biggest who took part in the Live Earth show. She was in London. That is one of 11 venues on seven continents.

NGUYEN: She was rocking out.

(MALE SINGER): Yeah, yeah, yeah we have a little room

NGUYEN: And nobody does it like Lenny Kravitz. A crowd of about 400,000 on hand for the performance there in Rio. Around 100 musical acts playing on stages all around the globe to raise awareness of the dangers of global climate change.


NGUYEN: And, of course, we just had to replay that one for T.J. He loved it so much especially that part. Shakira shaking it in Hamburg, Germany. That show closed out with the artist formerly known as Cat Stephens playing his song, "Peace Train".

DE LA CRUZ: All right. That's it. Enough. Enough of that.

HOLMES: We have the most popular videos on the website.

DE LA CRUZ: I'm sure -- yes.

HOLMES: That is the most popular video we've had, on air, this weekend.

DE LA CRUZ: Absolutely. And we were just talking about Madonna moments ago. Her performance was amazing.

NGUYEN: I didn't actually see it.

DE LA CRUZ: It was riveting.

NGUYEN: You said you stayed up watching it, right?

DE LA CRUZ: Yes, I should have gone to bed but I watched it. She did this rendition of "La Es (ph) La Bonita"?

NGUYEN: Uh-huh?

DE LA CRUZ: Superb. It was so good.

But I have a funny story to tell you about Madonna. First of all, that video, her ode to global warming, "Hey, You" is now posted on YouTube. Take a listen.


MADONNA (SINGING): Don't you give up, it's not so bad, there's still --


DE LA CRUZ: All right. So it's just OK at least in my book. But it is topping the viral video chart this morning. And here's the thing, the singer owns five homes in England, she jets around the world on tour. And the BBC is reporting on their website that they tried to measure Madonna's carbon footprint. When the BBC submitted the carbon footprint survey to Madonna's publicist, the request was -- turned down.


DE LA CRUZ: But it's really --

NGUYEN: But it's not so bad. We can make a difference, right?

DE LA CRUZ: But can Madonna make a difference?

NGUYEN: We can -- we can -- make a difference, I guess is her point.

DE LA CRUZ: All right. We're taking the weight of the world off your shoulders Madonna, because that's how much we love you.

Also from last night's big event, Chris Rock. I mean this man he just can't keep it clean. This article off of Says the BBC pulled Rock off the air because he walked out on to the stage, and he swore. Big surprise, right?

When asked about his behavior, Rock said, and I quote, "I like to say those things. It's not good weed if you don't choke."

NGUYEN: No, he did not say that.

DE LA CRUZ: Oh, yes, he did. Oh, yes he did. I quote, by the way. That is out of Chris Rock's mouth.

OK, let's get you now to the e-mails. Your e-mails. We've been asking about whether or not you think there is a global climate crisis.

And Ron Miller says, "The hype over global warming is laughable and even entertaining, but it does detract from some of the real problems in the environment. The main issue that needs addressing is the overpopulation of the planet."

Ed in Sioux City, Iowa says, "Of course there is a climate crisis going on. My Environmental Chemistry teacher at Notre Dame talked about global warming and Co2 emissions when I took his class in 1985. While this is old news to some of us, it's the accelerated rate of the climate change that's really scary."

I have one more e-mail to share with you. This is from Edwin Spence in Toronto, totally off topic.

Edwin says, "So on the show we have a Betty and Veronica, so where do you fit into this Archie comic, T.J. Holmes? Because I have Jughead covered."

NGUYEN: Oh, wow!

HOLMES: That's a good question. You're right. Totally off topic.

DE LA CRUZ: You would be Reggie or Moose?

HOLMES: I'm not familiar with Reggie or Moose.

NGUYEN: Reggie or Moose? Should we just make him Jughead?

DE LA CRUZ: An honorary --

HOLMES: I don't know, Reggie works.

NGUYEN: Maybe we create a new character and he just be T.J.

DE LA CRUZ: That's boring.

NGUYEN: Is that boring.

DE LA CRUZ: I like Moose. Let's go with Moose.

NGUYEN: All right.

HOLMES: Give us a picture of Moose. Because I don't know the characters. Find Moose for me.

DE LA CRUZ: All right.

HOLMES: Find Moose for me.

DE LA CRUZ: I'll be right back.

HOLMES: Thank you, Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: Thank you.

HOLMES: We have some numbers that are in. We'll share with you, and Democratic presidential hopeful is winning the money primary. But what does that really mean? We'll find out.

NGUYEN: And speaking of money, bring your checkbook. Yes, we're going to show you how you can pick up an autographed Babe Ruth baseball bat, that is when CNN SUNDAY MORNING continues.


NGUYEN: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes.

Two top stories we're following this morning. A wildfire in Utah threatens to become the largest in that state's history. But an official says no homes or residents are currently threatened. More than 150,000 acres have been destroyed.

NGUYEN: Check this out. Parts of Oklahoma now a federal disaster area. As many as 800 home destroyed by flooding. President Bush made the declaration for two northeastern counties clearing the way for federal relief.

HOLMES: Well, money is to politicians what gas is to cars. And the money raised for the White House is being fueled by more cash than ever. CNN's Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider looks at the huge dollar amounts that candidates are raising.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice over): You think the voters are uninterested in uninvolved this early in the campaign? Think again.

SHEILA KRUMHOLZ, CTR. FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: This is a record- breaking amount of money. And this is a record-breaking cycle. This will be like no other presidential election before.

SCHNEIDER: Look at the amount of money being raised. In the second quarter of the year before each of the past three presidential elections, the total amount raised was well under $100 million. In the second quarter of this year, the top six candidates, three in each party, raised more than $110 million.

This year is unusual for another reason, Democratic candidates are outpacing Republicans. Second quarter of the year before the 1996 election, Republicans out-raised the Democrat Bill Clinton. Well, Clinton was running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Second quarter of 1999, Republicans way out-raised Democrats even though both party nominations were contested. Well, eight Republicans were running and only two Democrats.

Second quarter of 2003, Republicans again raised more money, even though nine Democrats were running and George W. Bush was unopposed.

Second quarter of this year, taking the top three candidates in each party, for the first time in recent years, Democrats out raised Republicans by more than $26 million.

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: I'm delighted by the vast amounts of money that the Democrats are raising compared to the Republicans...

SCHNEIDER: The figures suggest Democrats are more enthusiastic about their candidates.

JOHN DICKERSON, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE: You get the stories of people who come to these Obama events and say I haven't much been interested in politics but, here, I'll give you the money out of my handbag. That gives a sense of momentum, it gives a sense of movement.


HOLMES: We're now going to continue this discussion of money and politics with CNN political editor Mark Preston. Mark joins us from Washington.

Good to see you, kind sir. Let's talk about the $32.5 million man, Barack Obama, another huge, huge sum. He's leading the way now. What does that mean now and what is that going to mean later to have all of that money?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, now it means that Barack Obama is a viable candidate, T.J. There, you know, was some question of whether, you know, Obama might have been a flash in the pan. He comes out and raises $32.5 million, a little more than $30 million of that can be used just to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in January. You know, six, seven, eight, nine months ago we thought Hillary Clinton had this wrapped up. It means that Hillary Clinton's got a race on her hands for the Democratic nomination.

HOLMES: So, this is nothing short of a direct threat to Hillary Clinton, period?

PRESTON: Yeah absolutely. And if you look at what Republicans say about Hillary Clinton, they're still are laser focused on her. Before the deadline came on Saturday night for the second quarter, John McCain sent out this e-mail saying: "I'm the only one that can defeat Hillary Clinton."

Fred Thompson down in Florida, yesterday, talked about how the Clintons are coming after him. The Republicans are still focusing in on Clinton, but now they're certainly giving a little bit of a look at Barack Obama, now.

HOLMES: OK, what's going to on to have Democrats now raising more money than the Republicans? Is it a matter of there's just bigger names and top-tier candidates who can attract all that cash? Or is there something else going on?

PRESTON: Well, you know, there's certainly a couple things. First and foremost, it's Iraq. You know, you have a Democratic base who's certainly energized over the whole Iraq issue. You have Republicans who are deflated, frustrated about what's happened with Iraq. You have a president, right now, whose approval ratings in the 30s and 40s depending on what poll you look at. Democrats are starting to reach into their wallet, they see a chance of taking back the White House and they want to donate for that. You have Republicans on the other hand who are just frustrated with their current field, right now, and they're holding on to their dollars at this point.

HOLMES: Yeah, frustration, maybe John McCain is being hurt by that. He -- I mean you read some things out there and he's pretty much done, some people are saying. How much trouble is he in and can he recover?

PRESTON: Well, I'll take a different point of view on McCain. You know, a lot of people say look, he has $2 million in the bank, you know, he's been hammered over the past six months for his support for the Iraq war, for support for immigration, but John McCain is a fighter. He still has $2 million. He still has a very talented staff. He's already been through a bruising primary before. I don't think John McCain is counted out at this point. Right now Republicans don't have someone that they're laser focused on themselves who they want to be the nominee. So, don't count McCain out at this point.

HOLMES: Last couple of things here, quickly, Bill Clinton has been pulled out. They're use him in Iowa now. Should we read anything into that as it relates to Barack Obama raising large sums if they're bringing Bill Clinton into the fray, right now?

PRESTON: Look, Bill Clinton is still the most popular Democrat in the country. And also I think what the Hillary campaign is saying if you vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Bill Clinton, you're getting two for the price of one.

HOLMES: All right, and last thing here, American voters, tell the folks out there all this money being raised, is this simply a matter -- can you really buy your way to the presidency? Is it a matter if you got the most cash, you're the one who's going to get elected?

PRESTON: Absolutely not. It's a yardstick right not, that we use to kind of measure a candidate's viability, but we're also looking at polls, we're also looking at momentum, we're also looking at infrastructure that they're building in the early states. Because, what it really does comes down to is how a candidate fares in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and now Nevada. So, those are the states we're looking at. Right after that, we're looking at Florida and then February 5, T.J., we got 20-plus states that are likely to hold elections. So, you'll need the money.

HOLMES: And the money helps. All right, Mark Preston, always good to see you, sir. You have a good one.

PRESTON: Take care, T.J.

NGUYEN: As you know, CNN is your campaign 2008 headquarters. On Monday, July 23, the Democratic candidates square off in a CNN YouTube debate. Anderson Cooper hosts this first-of-it's-kind event live and interactive on TV and on line. You can see the Republican candidate's debate on Monday, September 17. Submit your questions right now. All you have to do is log on to

HOLMES: Well, they asked and millions of you answered. And now there are seven new Wonders of the World. We will check them out, that is coming up. Stay here.



MAUREEN KELLY, FOUNDER/CEO TARTE COSMETICS: I think successful leaders know when to let things go and not micro manage. So, you need to know what you're good at and what you're not good at.

ANNOUNCER: Maureen Kelly knows her strength. She started Tarte Cosmetic six years ago out of her one-bedroom apartment. The company now has 30 employees and last year's sales were over $15 million. Kelly believes it is essential to surround yourself with a good team.

KELLY: It's really important to hire people with the same work ethic as you and the same values that as you because you're going to be working with them day in and day out and they're really going to be helping your dream to come to fruition.


NGUYEN: Well it was supposed to be a one-time thing.


SUSAN L TAYLOR, EDITOR DIR ESSENCE MAGAZINE: We're going to do this one time-festival and people -- 250,000 people showed up over the three days and they said we're coming back next year. We hope, you know, you're going to receive us.


HOLMES: I'll be showing you a closer look at the Essence of New Orleans, that's a little later on this CNN SUNDAY MORNING. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Well, the Live Earth concert weren't the only places to hear live music this weekend. In New Orleans, a three-day Essence festival wrapped up its final day with show-stopping performances as well as seminars.

The annual celebration of black culture and music began as a one- time anniversary party for Essence magazine, but grew into so much more.


(voice-over): Essence is an American fashion lifestyle and entertainment magazine. It was the first monthly magazine for African-American women between the ages of 18 and 35.

TAYLOR: Even though the magazine is focused on African-American women, 30 percent of our readers are men, so a lot of men are listening in and they're not all African-American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three. Come on.

HOLMES: Essence music festival is an annual music festival celebrating contemporary African-America music and culture, the largest of its kind in the United States.

TAYLOR: From year one it was a party with a purpose.

HOLMES: And the purpose was not only throw one of the largest parties of the year, but to give the New Orleans economy a hand and a whole lot of food for thought.

TAYLOR: We can't go into the second poorest state of the nation and not have something for people who can't afford to buy a concert ticket.

HOLMES: New Orleans has been the host city every year since 1995, except for 2006 when it was held in Houston after Hurricane Katrina. But it's back where many say it belongs.

TAYLOR: What's so special for African-Americans is that the city is welcoming of us, the culture is ours. You come in at the Louis Armstrong Airport and you're hearing jazz and you're looking up and you're seeing these great black musicians. The food is for our palate. You know, it's one of the few cities in this nation that really honors African-American culture.

HOLMES: The essence music festival started as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine.

TAYLOR: We're going to do this one time-festival and people -- 250,000 people showed up over the three days and they said we're coming back next year. We hope, you know, you're going to receive us. And so here we are at year 13, back home.

HOLMES: Among the 200,000 plus people are some of the biggest stars in television, film, radio, music and politics.

SEN HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Such an honor and a great personal pleasure to be here.

SEN BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not that often, maybe once a generation, where we have an opportunity to put our shoulder against the wheel and move history in a better direction. We are in one of those moments now.

HOLMES: For the last 37 years, Essence magazine says it's been promoting the importance of having a healthy mind, body and soul with a contemporary fashion forward flavor. The Essence Music Festival is an opportunity for the magazine to come to the people.

T.J. Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.


NGUYEN: And there's great opportunity for the people to come back to New Orleans.

HOLMES: Yeah, it will be there to 2009. They signed a new contract, so a three-year deal. But yea, people were hurt to have to go to Houston last year. Not just because of what the city went through, but you talk to folks who went to the event in Houston and they say it was a logistical nightmare. Things were kind of spread out a little more there. In New Orleans, everything was walking distance, the hotels, the restaurants, the clubs and everything and also they complained about the food, even.

NGUYEN: Really?

HOLMES: In Houston. People are used to that New Orleans food.

NGUYEN: Well, I guess if you're used to that New Orleans food, you know, and the barbecue just doesn't do it.

HOLMES: It's back it is back, it is home, is what they call it, and that Susan Taylor, there, she's not ruling down the possibility that down the road it could go somewhere else.

NGUYEN: Oh really?

HOLMES: But someone would have to make a heck of a push and one heck of a presentation.

NGUYEN: How many people?

HOLMES: Two-hundred thousand is the estimate. Could be more, they had 230,000 the year before Katrina hit. So, it was growing, continuing to grow.

NGUYEN: That's really amazing considering that Super Dome was just, you know, up and ready not too long ago to host an even like this. HOLMES: Strange to stand in there. I think you know, that was my first trip there. So, to stand in there, and I've seen all the pictures of the, sort of, Super Dome when it went through (INAUDIBLE) to stand in there and to see this concert, see everyone stage and just to see this place and what it is and right now compared to the pictures.

NGUYEN: Big difference.

HOLMES: Big difference.

NGUYEN: All right, that was a great report. And here they are. We're going to tell you the new Seven Wonders of the World. The Great Wall of China, Petra in Jordan.

HOLMES: Also three sites in Latin America made the list. Brazil's statue of Christ, the Redeemer; Peru's Machu Picchu and Mexico's Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. And are rounding out the new Seven Wonders -- Betty.

NGUYEN: The Coliseum in Rome. That was my pick.

HOLMES: That was Betty's vote. And also India's Taj Mahal, I believe that was Veronica's. Well, she had a couple of votes.

NGUYEN: Yeah, she kind of cheated a little bit, but that's OK.

HOLMES: The new wonders were picked by 100 million Internet users worldwide.

Well, sports memorabilia going on the auction block.

NGUYEN: It is and it is a big money grabber. Babe Ruth's bat, we're going to tell you about the auction and talk to the man behind the big buys that are going on sale today.


HOLMES: You know that song?

NGUYEN: Not really.

HOLMES: You were bobbing your head to it, so I thought you might.

NGUYEN: It's got a good beat.

HOLMES: Well, the New York Yankees rolling out the welcome mat for two new players from China. A left-handed pitcher and a catcher. They're the first baseball players from China to sign with an American baseball club. After the Yankees announced the signings last week, the Seattle Mariners then introduced two other Chinese players and they've just been signed, as well.

NGUYEN: All right, so have you ever wanted just a little piece of the Babe to call your own? Well, this may look like an ordinary old autographed bat you to, but to baseball fans, it is a living link to history, the beginning of the Yankees World Series dynasty and it's just one of the rare items up for sale next week. David Hunt from Hunt Auctions joins us from New York to talk about all these impressive items that are going to be up on the auction block on Tuesday to coincide with the All-Star game.

Thank you for being with us, today.

DAVID HUNT, HUNT AUCTIONS: Great to be here.

NGUYEN: OK, let's get it to. The Babe Ruth bat. Tell us about the history and how much you think that thing is going to fetch.

HUNT: Well, in our industry, obviously it kind of starts and ends with Babe Ruth. This, is you know, virtually the inception of the Yankees world championship run -- 1923, this is a game-used bat that Ruth used attributed to the 1923 World Series, in which they played the New York Giants. And in and of itself, it's almost a 41 ounce bat. And if you think about what the players use today, mostly about 33 to 35 ounces; it's very impressive to see how he could have hit those sort of home runs with this type of bat.

Most interestingly, if you look down the barrel of the bat, the bat is actually autographed "To my friend, Art Neff from Babe Ruth. October 15, 1923" Now, in and of itself, just being autograph by Ruth, it almost adds -- makes it $100,000 plus bat just being signed. But Neff literally gave up a home run to Babe Ruth in the sixth game in the 1923 World Series which ended up being the clinching game to the Yankees first World Series.

NGUYEN: All right, so OK, with that history, I'm almost afraid to ask. Any idea how much you're going to get for this?

HUNT: Well, I think the whole thing about this piece and the beauty of this auction, especially the one at Major League Baseball's All-Star game, which is such a premier event -- you don't know. I mean we had one last year that was not quite as nice as this and we estimated 100,000 to 200,000 and it brought almost 500,000. This one's estimated at 200,000 to 300,000 and we certainly think it will do that, if not more.

NGUYEN: You know, here's the thing, though. When you look at items like that and the history behind them, you almost wonder why would someone want to put that on the auction block? Who are the people that put these things up for auction?

HUNT: It's a good question. I mean, we deal with a lot of players' families, you know, estates, collections. And everybody has a different reason. If you think about it, all of us, you know, we don't keep everything that's passed down to us. So, you know, everybody has different reasons, but the one common thread that they all kind of like is these things really go to people that appreciate them, you know, have them exposed to the public, just like your viewers that they can see things and really a part of baseball history. NGUYEN: You know, all week long you've allowed people to come in and bring the items and see if they're worthy to go up for auction. In fact, you got something that was really cool, Barry Bonds's 749th home run ball -- is that correct?

HUNT: Yeah. It's a great thing that Major League Baseball does every year at this event. They have free appraisals where we literally have experts on staff that, you know, just like a road show, if you will, where they'll bring in items and we'll appraise them for them and the young man who caught Barry Bonds' home run ball in front of a group of very unhappy, I might add, Yankee fans in San Francisco, brought it in. It will be added in late in the auction. And it's always fun, because you see people bring things in, they think are worth a lot of money that aren't and then vice versa. There's always that one gem where they bring it in and think it's going to be worth, you know, a few hundred dollars and it ends up being 10,000 or 20,000.

NGUYEN: My goodness, and talking about some gems here, you've got Ted Williams' jersey along with Willie Mays. Give us some history on those.

HUNT: Well, the Ted Williams jersey, 1955 road flannel jersey from the Boston Red Sox, all original. And that is part of the desirability of a jersey like this. Many times these jerseys were handed down to minor league players, which is how they kind of got out there, as you asked earlier, into the public hands. And then they would be altered, they'd change the team name from Boston to Norfolk and the number 9 to number 6. This one survived intact. In fact, back in the 1960s, it was auctioned in Boston area charity auction for $50. So, a pretty good return as now...

NGUYEN: I don't think you're get that thing for 50 bucks in the auction on Tuesday.

HUNT: No. We're going to add a few zeros on that it should be 50,000 to 75,000. So, a real nice return on that buy.

NGUYEN: And it's not just bats and jerseys, even baseball cards can bring in a whole lot of money. You've one from -- I guess one that deals with Ty Cobb. Is that true?

HUNT: Yeah. This is kind of an unusual card in that it's a Boston garter Ty Cobb card. And you might ask, well, what does that mean? Boston garter was the garter that were used to hold up the baseball players stockings and this was issued within the box of the guarders and as such, obviously a pretty rare thing to have survived, especially in this beautiful condition. And if you look back to these early cards, most of them are color lithographic art. It really -- very attractive and a lot of eye appeal, which attracts collectors, today. And this, again, being one of two copies known should beened 40,000 to 60,000, so very valuable.

NGUYEN: That is one -- very quickly we have to go, but if there was any one item that you would like to take home, what would that be?

HUNT: Well, you always hear about the 1932 called shot from Babe Ruth, that home run ball would be great. Last year we had is first home run in the history of the All-Star game and that brought in 800,000, so we'd love to top that one.

NGUYEN: All right, well, you got to have a whole lot of money to get any of these items. David Hunt joining us, in fact, from San Francisco. Again, the auction is on Tuesday and it will coincide with the All-Star game. Thanks so much for being with us today.

HUNT: Thank you.

HOLMES: Again, you know, my birthday is coming up.

NGUYEN: It is coming up. I don't know if I have that kind of money. I might get you a regular baseball card. It probably won't be Ty Cobb's.


HOLMES: Time for us now to check in with Howard Kurtz in Washington to see what's ahead on RELIABLE SOURCES.

Good morning, sir.

HOWARD KURTZ, RELIABLE SOURCES: Hi there, T.J. Coming up, the L.A. anchor that covered Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and wound up having an affair with him, even reporting on his marital breakup. Why does she still have a job at Telemundo?

The media's outrage over Scooter Libby avoiding jail. Didn't Libby's defenders once castigate Bill Clinton for committing prudery?

And Tina Brown weighs in on the celebrity culture that helped create Princess Diana and how it got out of control. That plus a look at the hot social Website, FaceBook ahead on RELIABLE SOURCES.

NGUYEN: All right, Howie, we'll be watching. Thank you.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN.COM DESK: All right, so one of our loyal viewers wrote in today comparing our team to the famous Archie Comic cast. And you know I'm Veronica and we you know, we have a Betty, but the mystery remains, who is T.J.? Who is he? I've got the answer right here.

NGUYEN: We've done research, too.

CRUZ: We have. And that answer when we return.


NGUYEN: Yeah, we have a big problem. Earlier we were going to review our e-mail and what happened, T.J.?

HOLMES: Somebody -- some genius decides to write in and compare us to the Archie characters, comic. There is a Veronica and Betty.

CRUZ: It's the burning question of the morning. We were talking about it (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: there's no T.J.

NGUYEN: So who's T.J.?

Who is T.J.? I mean, he's not Jug Head, right?

HOLMES: Let's take a vote on it next time.

CRUZ: Well, we've have taken an in-house vote. How's that? And this is what we've came up. Obviously, like we just said, we've have a Veronica, we have a Betty. And taking a look at the pages, I don't know how much I resemble this character. She's a Pisces, I'm a Leo. She is conceited, fickle. She is flirtatious.

HOLMES: OK, that works.

CRUZ: No. But, OK. I'll go with this. She is gorgeous, sophisticated and sexy.

HOLMES: You'll go with that?

CRUZ: OK, that's fine. I'll take that. I'll take that.

NGUYEN: Here's my character. First of all, she's blonde which really doesn't fit. Two, she's...

CRUZ: You're somewhat blonde.

NGUYEN: She's good at sports. It's all fake. She's good at sports. She can repair cars. No, I'm not good at that. She is artistic and can make her own clothes. So, essentially I'm a big nerd.

CRUZ: That's good. No, you're sweet. You're the girl next door it says.

NGUYEN: So that leaves T.J. Who has become, according to our vote, Reggie.

CRUZ: Drum roll, please. We're making him Reggie because listen to this" "Reggie is the ultimate wise guy, always looking to pull a fast one, he'll be the first to tell you how handsome he is."

NGUYEN: This is so true.

CRUZ: That's so true. That is you. I'm sorry, my friend.

HOLMES: Why is the crew laughing?

CRUZ: Also, also he believes he is the best at everything.

NGUYEN: Of course he does. That fits you to a T.

CRUZ: So, Reggie...

HOLMES: He is a good athlete, though. I'll take that. And he's a Leo and I'm a Leo. I'll go with that

CRUZ: See, you're so Reggie.

NGUYEN: And you kind of dress the same.

HOLMES: Please, the collar?

CRUZ: You look like him.

NGUYEN: And the crowd goes wild here in the newsroom.

CRUZ: All right, Reggie.

HOLMES: Can we get back to...

CRUZ: Reggie Mantle. New addition to our morning show team, Reggie Mantle.

NGUYEN: Real news here. Want to talk about a race for sanity which we need some up, here. But this time it's in Pamplona, Spain. Those in the race, of course, have no sanity, because why you would even do this? This, of course, the annual Running of the Bulls. We're watching day two action, here. The lightest -- ouch. That's going to sting.

The lightest bull this year weighs in at just a touch over 1,200 pounds. So, there's a lot of force behind that in case you're wondering, the festival has six days left. So good luck, folks.

HOLMES: Surviving for the next six days.

CRUZ: Fingers crossed.

HOLMES: We'll move on to the mayor and the mistress and the media straight ahead on RELIABLE SOURCES. Howard Kurtz takes a closer look at the scandal being played out at L.A. city hall and newsroom of Telemundo.

NGUYEN: Then on LATE EDITION, Major General Rick Lynch talks with Wolf Blitzer about the progress of the war in Iraq, that is coming up at 11:00 Eastern. But first, a check of the morning's top developments.