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CNN Sunday Morning

Craigslit Murder; Is Your Child at Risk?

Aired October 28, 2007 - 09:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: She answered an on-line ad for a babysitting job, but now she's dead. A warning to us all. Do you really know who you're talking to on Craigslist?
Plus, it's deadly and hard to treat. Is your child at risk? Schools across the country are cleaning, scrubbing and sanitizing.

I was hoping to hear a little Beatles music, there. But let me ask you this, do you think you know everything about the Beatles and their "White Album?" Well, sit down because we have the real inside story.

From the CNN center in Atlanta, bringing you the news from around the world, good morning everybody on this Sunday, I'm Betty Nguyen. T.J. Holmes is off this morning, but our Reynolds Wolf joins us fire ravaged southern California.

Good morning.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Good morning Betty. People in Rancho Bernardo are working together and it's a beautiful story. This morning, what they're going to do to they're going to gather for inspiration. Their story is coming up in just a few minutes.

NGUYEN: Looking forward to that. In the meantime, though, a scary night for students on one college campus. The campus locked down after shots were fired just before midnight. Right now, the two suspected shooters are still on the loose. The lockdown was ordered and then it was lifted just a short time ago at Northwest Missouri State in Maryville. Police now say that they suspect the suspected shooters fled campus. The incident raises memories, though, of last April's massacre at Virginia Tech. Luckily, no one was injured in last night's shooting.

Lots jittery nerves this morning in southern California, dryer air is expected, which is not good news when it comes to fighting those big fires. Fire officials say at least two of the regions 23 major wildfires were deliberately set. Arson investigators are sifting through 1,700 tips as they hunt for a pyromaniac. California's governor made it clear that the arsonists would be caught.


GOV ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I want everyone to understand that we will hunt down the people that are responsible for that and we will arrest them, we will prosecute them to the full extent of the law. We are working diligently with local authorities, the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to make that happen. And believe me, we will not fail.


NGUYEN: The governor also had tough words for price gougers, warning of no mercy to anyone caught trying to take advantage of fire victims.

Well, he did have some good news for those who lost their homes and cars. The state will provide grants up to $10,000 for fire victims to obtain housing, buy medicines, get transportation, and replace household goods. The state grants would be in addition to federal assistance.

Let's take you back now to Rancho Bernardo. Our Reynolds Wolf is there.

And, you know, Reynolds, on this Sunday, I'm sure people are really turning to faith to get them through.

WOLF: Oh, they really are. And what's so incredible, Betty, is that there's going to be a special service scheduled here this morning of the damaged Rancho Bernardo Baptist Church. The neighborhood is coming back together, in part of an army of volunteers that we have, and that including youth pastor Ken Nellis.

What's so maying about the people of this church, including Tim, his wife, Natalie -- got to go through the list of the great kids we have here. We got Justin, we got Josh Tuo (ph), we've got Kenny Becker, Athan Raptus (ph), and James Hagen (ph). They're all with us this morning.

And, you know, what really strikes me about this whole thing, Tim, is how during a time when many people would go in, you've actually gone out to help the community. Correct?

PASTOR TIM NELLIS, RANCHO BERNARDO BAPTIST CHURCH: Yeah, that is correct. It's been actually fantastic. We've been out dealing with people, not only from our church, but whoever needs it. And yesterday we help a Jewish family that lives around the corner. Their house burned down and we met them last night and made a good connection with them. They have a high school daughter, so hopefully she can get connected with us or with someone that will give her support.

And we've families that we've just met and families that we've known for years, so it's been a really cool thing in that aspect.

WOLF: So again, you're helping people who are not only parishioners in the church, but also people who are outside of the church, correct?

NELLIS: Yeah, that's correct.

WOLF: And how have you been received in that regard? NELLIS: It's amazing when people, they kind of know us as a church with a hole in it, right now. And they are just so grateful. And it's a lot of things that might have separated people in the past are no longer barriers, right now. And so it's just really neat to see people coming together in community in ways that might not have happened before.

WOLF: Now, how long have you been out helping people during this event?

NELLIS: Well, as soon as they opened up our neighborhood, they had to close down for fire damage and stuff, and so they opened it and the afternoon it got opened we were out working. And we haven't stopped since and we'll keep going today, so.

WOLF: I see. I see. And is that the game plan? What exactly will be the game plan today? I mean, I Nicole that you've go, of course, you have the service today. You're going to go to that, but then what else is on the agenda?

NICOLE NELLIS, PASTOR'S WIFE: We're actually going to probably -- we kind of camp out in front of our youth center and see if there's any family that is come up to us and need some help. But, we also send teams of people out and we're just going to go up to people's houses. Some people want help with their yard, some people just want face masks. You know, we have rakes and shovels and stuff if people need that and see what the needs of the community are.

WOLF: Well, it's a beautiful thing. I thank you both for your time this morning. Guys, go get some sleep I know it's going to be another busy day for all of you. OK.

Goodness. You know, that really is the whole story of this wonderful community, Betty. I mean, it's just a -- this is the kind of place where you want to raise your family. I mean, it's a wonderful thing, very, very good people in light of the tragedy. So, let's send it back to you in Atlanta.

NGUYEN: Oh, and the great thing is that they will continue to raise their families there, because they are going to rebuild. Many people will. They've got a strong spirit, there. Thank you for that, Reynolds.

Let's take you now to Bonnie Schneider; she's in the CNN Severe Weather Center.

I guess the question today, Bonnie, is how's the weather be playing out today when it comes to fighting those fires? Because, nine major fires are still burning.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well Betty, the weather provided some help over the past couple of days, we had that moist, cool air coming in off the water, the onshore flow, and it did bring a trace of rain, not much, but a trace of rain to downtown Los Angeles and into Burbank. But today the weather pattern has changed. We're looking at drier conditions. Right now, as we zoom into the region, we can't really find much rain, we had a trace of it kind of work its way from Catalina Island earlier this morning. But now winds coming in from the northeast with high pressure here over the Great Basin to the north and to the east. Low pressure offshore, mainly into the Pacific, to the north, that allows moist air coming in, but mainly to the north of the fire area.

So, we'll be looking at drier conditions coming through and the winds will not be as intense. So, that's some good news.

I want to show you an i-Report now. This is going back to Monday when we had those fierce Santa Ana winds. This comes to us from Sterling King over Stevenson Ranch in California. He was incredibly close to flames, flying overhead dropping flame retardant. You can hear the planes and see up close what it looked like.

Sterling actually had to climb on top of areas of people's homes in the hills to get this vantage point. And we appreciate his perspective. If you have an i-Report to send us, go to and send it in. We want to see it.

So, today the forecast for the firefighters, for the folks in southern California, the dry, warm wind continues, but Betty, it won't be as intense. The winds won't be as strong. So, that's very, very important.

NGUYEN: That is good news. And you know, I want you to listen up, Bonnie, because this next story is pretty frightening. Police say she answered a help wanted ad on Craigslist and now she is dead. It is a warning for everybody who responds to on-line ads.

Also, Minnesota police discover a body of 24-year-old Katherine Olson in the trunk of her car. In fact, this is the same person I was talking about who responded to that ad on-line. On Thursday, she was supposed to have an interview with what she thought was a family needing a nanny. In fact, she had answered ads like this before.


SARAH RICHTER, SISTER OF SLAIN WOMAN: It seemed kind of fishy, but she was just going to check it out and meet them.

ROLF OLSON, FATHER OF SLAIN WOMAN: If it didn't work, she assumed that she'd be able to turn around and leave and come home and it didn't work out that way.


NGUYEN: No, it did not. But this time, police say, the job poster was actually a 19-year-old man who is now in custody. The police chief tells the "Minnesota Star Tribune" that he is confident this is the killer.

We'll stay on top of that story for you. In the meantime though, a vigil is being held this weekend for two restaurant workers killed at a local pizzeria in Nashville. Police say they were shot in a robbery on Friday and a search is underway for this man. Take a good look, 21-year-old Jason Bobo. Police say he is a former employee who was fired back in May for theft.

Well, right now, high above us, space shuttle "Discovery" astronauts are taking a little walk. Look a this, these live pictures coming to us right now. They're doing some construction work at International Space Station and this morning, here's what they've done. They've unhooked a 35,000-pound girder from the station and started moving it to another part of the outpost. The girder will be installed Tuesday during another spacewalk.

So, you're talking, but nobody's listening. That is how some new Yorkers feel. And this morning, they can say: "told you so."

Plus, how many times did your mother tell you to wash your hands? See why a deadly infection has more people finally taking their mom's advice.



ANNOUNCER: Payless Shoesource is the largest specialty shoe store in the U.S. and CEO Matthew Rubel says he's determined to keep it that way.

MATTHEW RUBEL, CEO, PAYLESS SHOESOURCE: In order to be a successful leader, you have to understand the environment that you're operating in. What do you want to achieve?

ANNOUNCER: Rubel wants to bring fashionable shoes to people at the lowest possible cost. He sends buyers to Europe to study fashion trend and he's updating the story's look.

RUBEL: Driving change is all about creating a vision which can take people someplace, making sure that's well clarified and then you staff to it. But, it's a constant monitoring and constant resetting of what that vision is.


NGUYEN: I want to give you a heads up now for all you parents out there, a deadly infection in schools. Is it really spreading? And how can you prevent it? Well, we have those answers for you right after this break.


NGUYEN: You know, it's 15 minutes after the hour on Sunday morning, we want to give you some "Quick Hits", right now. An unwanted letter will be coming to some American diplomats starting tomorrow. The State Department is now picking prime candidates for forced service in Baghdad. Yeah, forced service. Seems the danger there has made it hard to find volunteers. And what a mess in Manhattan this morning. Take a look at this. The back wall of a vacant building gave way, tumbling down in a heap. Now there are bricks and rubble just everywhere. Luckily, though, there were no injuries. The collapse comes two weeks after firefighters questioned the stability of the building. I guess they knew what they were talking about after all. Look at that.

And here's warning for all of you trick or treaters out there. Be careful with your costumes. A Washington woman is recovering from second degree burns she got while working on her son's Halloween costume. Here's what happened, she dropped a can of Chinese-made spray-on hair color and it exploded, burning her and coloring her walls black.

Let's get the latest now on so-called "Superbug," it's been making the headlines, I'm sure you've heard about it. But, how dangerous is it? Well, one confirmed case will keep more than 10,000 kids out of school tomorrow in eastern Kentucky.

The Pike County school system has an alert on its Web site about the one-day shutdown. What it doesn't say though, is that drug resistant staph called MRSA is the reason. Classrooms, locker rooms, cafeterias, even buses and sports facilities will be disinfected.

So, are Kentucky officials overreacting? Not if you ask some of the parents whose kids attend this Brooklyn school. Seventh grader, Omar Rivera died from MRSA earlier this week. Health investigators say there's no way to know where Rivera picked up the fatal infection.

Of course, there is plenty of fear out there about MRSA. So, what are the facts? Well, we wanted to get to the bottom of it, so Dr. Katherine Heilpern is with Emery University's medical school. She's joined us this morning to talk about it.

First of all, when we say "Superbug," help us understand not only what it is, but what it does to the body.

DR KATHERINE HEILPERN, EMORY UNV SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Staph is a bacteria and it's ubiquitous, it's everywhere, it's on surfaces, it's in our noses, it's very common. But because of overuse of antibiotics and this bacteria's ability to become adaptive to its environment, it's become resistant to very common antibiotic.

NGUYEN: So, it's very, very hard to treat. What kind of symptoms? I mean, is this a flesh-eating infection? I mean, has it?

HEILPERN: It can be a flesh-eating infection, but I just want to caution us that that's a pretty rare complication. Most people who get this infection present with boils or abscesses, which can be treated with drainage and with fairly typical antibiotics. Occasionally, this infection can go deeper into the skin, it can cause flesh-eating infections, it can cause severe pneumonia. There have been cases of meningitis. But, for most people it stays on the skin and says on the skin.

NGUYEN: And we say it's drug resistant. I mean, how do you treat it? Can you treat it or is it often just fatal?

HEILPERN: No, it is not often fatal. It's rarely fatal.

NGUYEN: That's important to note, then, because we've seen the cases in the news where it is fatal.

HEILPERN: Yes, it can be fatal. But, in most cases, again, people can be treated with drainage, lancing the infection, opening it up, letting the pus come out and then treating it with standard antibiotics. But one of the most important things to recognize is that what we need to is keep these opened wounds covered and we need to treat them with good caution.

NGUYEN: Because it can be passed from person to person. I mean, we've seen the case in Kentucky. We've got the boy in Brooklyn who died. Now we've got a security guard in New Jersey who has come across with this "Superbug." Is this truly spreading?

HEILPERN: It is spreading. And staph has a propensity to do this. It's done this throughout the last several decades. It will rise up and then it will ebb away. So, right now, we're in the middle of this staph aureus epidemic, or MRSA.

But again, I think if people use an abundance of caution, and they wash their hands frequently, they don't share towels or razors in locker rooms, they keep using good, normal hand hygiene, most people are protected and we shouldn't panic.

NGUYEN: But you know, that sounds well and good, but when you're in high school, you play sports, you're using locker rooms, you go to bathrooms, whether it's school or just the workplace. So, besides washing your hands, is there anything else that you can do?

HEILPERN: I think parents need to teach their children that they need to use their own towel and they need to use their own razors and I think that the wall-mounted water-free soaps and gels are actually really great. There would be no reason that children couldn't carry them in their backpacks to school and frequently wash their hands. If they have open sores, parents should know that these need to be covered with a clean, dry bandage and that will prevent that person from spreading it to friends.

NGUYEN: All right, here's what we've learned. That it is spreading and it can be deadly, though that's rare, right?

HEILPERN: Correct.

NGUYEN: And the things that you need to do is protect yourself. Wash your hands, make sure that if you're in a locker room, use a towel, use your own razor, that sort of thing. But, in the medical field, what is being done to try to find a way to treat this?

HEILPERN: We have antibiotics that will treat it. One of the most important things is the recognition. So, one of the reasons this is making the news is because there have been a lot of journal articles that have expressed how common this is now. We've been dealing with this in the hospital setting. The difference now is that it has gone into the community and now these two, sort of. hospital- acquired and community-acquire are melding, they're merging. And so, we are studying it very, very carefully. We're also very vigilant for it and we're very, very aggressive in treating it.

NGUYEN: Well, thank you so much for really helping us learn a little bit more about it, because when you hear it, there's a lot of fear that comes with the word "Superbug." Thank you, Doctor, we appreciate it.

HEILPERN: Thank you.

NGUYEN: Well, a popular radio talk show host doesn't want you to go shopping this Friday. And the reasons behind the shopping blackout? Well, we'll explain those right after this.


NGUYEN: Take a look at this guy, he is giving praise for getting out. That's Genarlow Wilson going to church today with family and friends. This is actually video of him leaving the prison. He was released on Friday. He served two years of a 10-year sentence for having consensual oral sex with a girl when they were both teenagers. And today, he will be worshiping at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, right here in Atlanta, and he is expected to make a few comments. Of course, we'll keep you posted on that.

In the meanwhile though, Wilson will talk with CNN's Rick Sanchez for his first primetime interview. It airs tomorrow night at 8:00 on CNN's OUT IN THE OPEN.

The Genarlow Wilson case and other recent incidents that many say reflect social injustice are prompting calls for a national boycott this Friday. One activist wants people to hold on to their cash, don't spend a cent. CNN's Don Lemon explains.



WARREN BALLENTINE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What's up, truth fighters? It is me, the people's attorney, Warren Ballentine. Welcome to my courtroom today.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is on 23 radio stations across the country and on XM Satellite Radio, nationally.

BALLENTINE: I'm drinking Red Bull and coffee, that tells you how much energy I require.

LEMON: Warren Ballentine is also an attorney. But as a radio talk show host, he says he's on a mission to wake up America to a long list of important issues.

BALLENTINE: I just want social change man, you know? It's so many things that's going on in this country. Will you take the challenge? Will you step up?

LEMON: Ballentine is calling not only on his three million daily listeners, but the entire nation, to a one-day boycott -- a national blackout across the country where no one spends any money. The Friday, November 2 protest is directed toward the leaders in Washington.

BALLENTINE: We hire the politicians. We gave them their jobs. We can take their jobs away from them.

We're asking for the blackout for the mortgage crisis, for the jobs being outsourced, for the educational systems, for injustices in this country.

LEMON: Injustices like in Jena, Louisiana, the Genarlow Wilson case in Georgia and the Megan Williams rape in West Virginia, along with a rash of nooses being hung around America recently.

He says if only African-Americans were to stop spending for one day that would be $2 billion taken out of the economy. Ballentine, as the organizer, is depending on bloggers and e-mailers to spread the word and he is calling on his colleagues, too.

BALLENTINE: Because it's something we can't do it alone. You need the radio guys to come together, from Michael Baisden to Tom Joyner to Steve Harvey to Rickey Smiley to Howard Stern, especially when you're dealing with something like this, when you're trying for a blackout that's affecting every American, not just one particular group.

LEMON: But not everyone is on board. Even some African-American business owners wonder if a blackout is a good idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As an individual, it's OK, but as a business it could be detrimental to you.

LEMON: Don Lemon, CNN, Atlanta.


NGUYEN: The Reverend Al Sharpton and others plan a November 16 March on the Justice Department to demand more federal action on civil rights and hate crimes.

(Beatles Song)

Oh, yeah. Hear that popular Beatles tune? Well, one insider wasn't thrilled with it. Can you believe it? Ken Mansfield tells why "The White Book" is really the Seinfeld version of the Beatles.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally, no termites.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Finally, no termites.


WOLF: That's right. You heard them. No termites here. You'll get to meet one couple that's finding humor in this wildfire, in this big disaster that's been affecting so many, that story right ahead.


NGUYEN: Welcome back everybody, on this Sunday morning. I'm Betty Nguyen. We're going to take a look at our top stories. Warmer, drier air is expected today in southern California. That is not good news for fighting big fires. Fire officials say at least two of the region's 23 major wildfires were deliberately set. Arson investigators are sifting through more than 1,700 tip as they hunt for a pyromaniac.

And our viewers are still sending us lots of i-Reports video of those devastating wildfires. These pictures now show how ferocious the wind and flames were in Santa Clarita on Monday. Just listen to that wind.

The video was shot by Sterling King and we do want to invite you to keep sending your pictures in.

Let's go back out to Rancho Bernardo where our Reynolds Wolf is in this morning. Good morning to you.

WOLF: Good morning go you, Betty. You know, Betty, we've been out here for a couple of days already and we're seen so many things and we've met the most interesting and incredible people. In fact, there's a couple here in San Diego who lost everything that they have in this recent fire. But what they have, is they have each other and they're finding humor in all of the chaos.


JIM WALL, LOST HOME IN FIRE: There's some wires over here, so watch that.

CAROL WALL, LOST HOME IN FIRE: Well, Monday night we saw it on TV. We could see my car sitting in front of the house, but no house behind it.

J WALL: When we saw it, I mean, we both cried because it was -- you know, it was everything that we had is just gone in smoke, literally. There's so many neighbors around here, they've lost a lot of things, too, so wanted to do something that was just going to lighten everybody up and just turn everybody around if we could.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it caught my eye, caught my attention.

J WALL: I'm Jim wall.

C WALL: I'm Carol Wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was trying to figure out where were they coming from?

J WALL: Knock knock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They got a big, bold sign.

J WALL: Finally, no termites.

C WALL: Finally, no termites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was expecting a sign to say "keep out."

J WALL: We're trying to lighten the neighborhood up, we're trying to inspire people, let them know that this is not the end of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally no termites. Well, you know, it just really shows that some people have a sense of humor in all this despair.

J WALL: There's a -- living room is on this side and the family room is on that side.

C WALL: Yeah.

J WALL: And the upstairs is downstairs.

C WALL: Is right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least it's a little humor in the face of something so bad like this.

J WALL: Battling termites for years. And so, finally, finally, all 132 million of them are gone. When we came in with the sign, we came in with the flag, people were applauding, they were running over and it's just changed the attitude of most of the people here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least someone has, you know -- can bring some smiles to someone, you know?

J WALL: Carol and I have been married 25 years. We've had a lot of ups and downs in our life. We had a daughter pass away last year. We've had a business that failed three years ago. So, we invest in ourselves often, picking ourselves up for quite a while.

The grill is still here and functional. I think we can clean this up and take this with us. Then, the hose didn't melt.

C WALL: That should have been gone.

J WALL: So now we have a hose and we have a grill. What do we take away from, you know, something like this is before you can understand happiness, you have to feel sadness. Whatever's happened yesterday is done and there's nothing we can do about it. So, we're just moving forward.

And they lived happily ever after. (LAUGHTER)

C WALL: That's a pretty good one.

J WALL: Yeah. And we will. We will.

C WALL: Yeah.


WOLF: CNN photo journalist Emanuel Tom Bacacus (ph) put that together. And the amazing thing about this is what a beautiful and incredible story. I mean, certainly, something that you can really feel in your heart, something you can take with you long after this event ends. And what's so amazing about it is he could have done this story, Betty, with so many couples.

NGUYEN: Really?

WOLF: I mean, it's just an the example of a kind of spirit you have in this community.

NGUYEN: How good to hear. Yeah, you know, it's such a feel-good story. It really is. I mean, if we all just had an attitude like that. And I'm happy to hear that everyone isn't just distraught. While it is devastating, people are taking a good attitude about it all. Because, you know what? Those are just things. They can rebuild, they're still alive, there's still so much to do and see.

WOLF: It certainly puts things into perspective. You're absolutely right, Betty.

NGUYEN: All right, thank you, Reynolds.

In other news, a major battle in Afghanistan today. U.S.-led coalition troops facing off Taliban fighters in a dangerous southern Helmand Province. About 80 Taliban fighters were killed in a six-hour battle. This is the fifth such battle in the region since the beginning of September. Helmand province is home to some of the largest poppy fields.

Al Qaeda is on the run in Baghdad. The top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, now says the terror group no longer has any solid footing in Baghdad's neighborhood. Here's what he told the "Washington Post," "In general, we think that there are no al Qaeda strongholds at this point. They remain very lethal, very dangerous, capable at any point in time of coming back off the canvas and landing a big punch, and we have to be aware of that."

Angry over the past, worried about the future. Thousands across the nation marched in the streets yesterday, protesting the Iraq war on the fifth anniversary of the day the Senate approved it. From Seattle to New York, about a dozen cities held marches. Iraq war veterans even got into the mix, encouraging others to speak out against the war. Off and running today in Washington, thousands of runners are taking part in the People's Marathon. Look at that. The Marine Corps marathon going on right now, so many people across that bridge. In fact, the leaders have already passed the halfway point. The course winds past some of the major monuments in Washington and northern Virginia.

I want to give you a programming note, right now. Be sure to tune into CNN's THIS WEEK AT WAR, host Tom Foreman has new details on the mysterious Israeli airstrike in Syria. Plus, tough new sanctions on Iran. THIS WEEK AT WAR comes your way at 1:00 pm Eastern, today.

All right, so talk about history repeating itself. Could you imagine if the Democrats lose the next presidential election because of Florida? Yes, Florida, home of the chad, remember that? Well, wait until you see what Florida is doing now.

Plus, the government's way of holding a news conference without reporters?



ANNOUNCER: "Money" magazine takes on the Windy City as one of the top five best places to live after work. The traffic, the construction, with so much to offer, Chicago may be an ideal place to live after work if it wasn't for all the noise.

But, "Money" magazine has found a way for you to enjoy the city life without living in the middle of the hustle and bustle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a wonderful, vibrant city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always happening, always something to do.

ANNOUNCER: Chicago South Loop's once abandoned warehouses is now full of trendy lofts. The area is also home to the Chicago Bears Soldier Field as well as several museums. And with a 15-minute bus ride, you're shopping and dining on Michigan Avenue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have beautiful parks. We have wonderful museums, theater, opera.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love the restaurants. I love Michigan Avenue. It's just a great city.


NGUYEN: Coming up, disasters don't rattle him, but something really ticked off Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Find out what it is, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NGUYEN: Nearly 40 minutes past the hour on this Sunday morning. Want to give you some "Quick Hits" now to get you more news in less time.

In Minnesota, listen to this story, a young woman is found dead in the trunk of a car. Police say it happened after she answered a Craigslist on-line ad for a nanny job. They're holding a 19-year-old suspected of placing that ad.

Well, we bet the queen is not amused about this one. Oh no. U.K. police say they have arrested two men who were trying to blackmail someone in the Royal family with an alleged sex act caught on tape. But who? Well, the "Sunday Times" won't say for "legal reasons." We'll stay on top of that one.

And embracing their inner dill (ph) birds or should we say their inner Dwight? Fans of the popular sitcom, "The Office" headed to Stanton, Pennsylvania this weekend to meet cast members and celebrate all that is Dunder-Mifflin. Bobble-heads optional.

Well, in the middle of the wildfire disaster in California, the Federal Emergency Management Agency held a hasty news conference. It was meant to brief reporters on the government's response to the fires, except the briefing was all smoke and mirrors. It was fake. Josh Levs is here, keeping them honest.

All right, let's get to the bottom of it. Why would they do something like this?

JOSH LEVS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That's what everyone's trying to figure out. What were they thinking? In our industry, it's so obvious. It's just a basic no-no. and we can't even think of times we've heard something like this.

And what actually happened here, basically, was that they did throw together this news conference and you'll see now what their reason is. But what it boils down to is they pulled a bit of a rouse, here.


(voice-over): You know how news conferences are supposed to work. Reporters ask questions, officials answer. But what if reporters aren't asking the questions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, this is the FEMA press briefing...

LEVS: Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a news conference in Washington about what it was doing for victims of the California wildfires. But the agency announced it at the last minute, so FEMA says no reporters showed up, they just called in on a listen-only phone line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we understand the secretary is...

LEVS: So, who's asking the questions? FEMA says it was their employees. The agency released this video of the news conference.

QUESTION: Are you happy with FEMA's response, so far?

HARVEY JOHNSON, FEMA DEPUTY ADMIN: I'm happy with FEMA's response so far.

LEVS: Not exactly hard-hitting journalism. Word got out, embarrassing the White House.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY: It is not a practice that we employ here at the White House and we certainly don't condone it.

LEVS: FEMA apologized. In a statement, Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson called it an error in judgment and said the intent was to provide useful information. A spokesman added that that questions were based on things that reporters had contacted FEMA about.

AARON WALKER, FEMA PRESS SECY: We know we did a bad job, but we're doing it -- we're getting back on track.

LEVS: That didn't stop Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who oversees FEMA, from tearing into those responsible.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECY: I think it was one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I've seen since I've been in government. I made it ambiguously clear in Anglo-Saxon prose, that it's not to ever happen again and there will be appropriate disciplinary action taken against those people who exhibited what I regard it as extremely poor judgment.


LEVS: And actually, the story doesn't end there. Here is the kicker. That news conference, in which Michael Chertoff made those remarks, FEMA didn't invite all the media to that. FEMA officials say there was only one TV crew that they invited, Betty, and that one was from the "Associated Press." So, we weren't even there to ask questions about it.

NGUYEN: Yeah, and there you have it in Anglo-Saxon prose.

LEVS: In Anglo-Saxon prose.

NGUYEN: OK, let me ask you that, though. This is really ironic, because, you know, FEMA was getting a bad rep after Katrina and all that happened with that. And actually, this time around they were getting some praise, so why in the world would they do something like that?

LEVS: I know, this was their big shot. I mean, if you look at what's been going on in California. Right here, in a lot of ways, this is the opposite of Katrina, especially in terms of the press. She's right. I mean, what's happened here is that FEMA and a lot of people credit it for jumping on the ball, being there really early on, having learned lessons from Katrina. And in a way, that's why this happened. FEMA wanted opportunities to speak to the press. They were doing it in California. This news conference was supposed to be a chance to talk to the Washington Press Corps about it, and keep that positive press going. What they ended up doing instead was creating some of the fiasco that people won't forget for a long time to come.

NGUYEN: Oh no, they won't.

LEVS: Big deal, here.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Josh. We do appreciate it.

LEVS: Thank you.

NGUYEN: We want to turn now to some political gain, shall we say. No one, though, is fighting for Florida. The Democratic presidential candidates are shunning the state that making for a weird state party convention this weekend, to be frank about it. CNN political editor, Mark Preston, joins us now from Washington.

All right, Mark, you know, we all remember the hanging chads, we all remember how important Florida can be to a presidential election. So, with the Dems pretty much saying I'm not going to the primary, is that going to hurt them in the long run?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: You know, Betty, I don't necessarily think so. I think it's terribly embarrassing for the state party. I think this is terribly embarrassing for the DNC.

But, come November 2008, I think people in Florida, as they are across the country, are going to try to vote for somebody that they think is going to be the best leader, you know, especially with all these issues we're facing right now with the Iraq war, with Social Security, all the issues around that, all these domestic issues. So, I don't think it's officially going to hurt them, but it is terribly embarrassing.

NGUYEN: Let's shift over to the Republicans for a minute because Senator John McCain pretty much took a shot at Hillary Clinton this week, referring to her Woodstock project where he says, I don't know too much about it, because I was tied up and that was really foreshadowing or just referring back to his time in a POW camp in Vietnam.

We haven't seen him use a lot of his war history, haven't really played much of that in the media. Are we seeing him really starting to focus on that now? Is it going to help him or hurt him?

PRESTON: You know, I think it's actually going to help him. You know, he really wasn't spoken a lot about it, Betty, he's really kept a lot of those experiences to himself. He doesn't go around and boast about, you know, surviving all those years in the POW camp.

But, right now we're looking at less than 70 days before Iowa voters actually are going to cast the first votes for president. You know, this election really is going to be about national security, foreign policy. John McCain has those credentials. He can point back and say, look, I served in Vietnam, which is always a big measuring stick for a lot of people in elections.

And I think that John McCain, you know, not surprisingly, was attacking Hillary Clinton, who is a front-runner, you know, trying to compare his experience during those times with her trying to get $1 million for a Woodstock museum. You know, so I'm not surprised that he did it, actually.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, but is he pulling ahead, though? Because there was some talk, you know, he is just really not pulling in the numbers and the other Republicans are way out in front. So, is this a sign that he's the comeback kid, right now?

PRESTON: You know, I don't know if I would necessarily characterize him as the comeback kid, but he has incredible staying power. You know, back this summer, his whole campaign imploded, he was the front-runner for the Republican nomination, top advisers left and realized that, you know, his campaign had -- was spending money, throwing it out the window, throwing it out the door.

A lot of people really left him for dead. But you know something? He's really held firm, at about 17 percent in the latest CNN National Poll, at this point. He's really focusing on New Hampshire. I don't think you can count McCain out at this point.

NGUYEN: Neither can you count Hillary Clinton out. You know, she celebrated her 60th birthday in New York, this past week. And despite what the other Democrats are trying to do, especially the candidates in trying to get a leg up on Hillary, she seems to remain above the fray. What is it about Hillary that keeps her as the front- runner?

PRESTON: You know, no question, Betty, she's a pro. Look, she's been criticized for all the years that her husband was in office. She's already put in six, seven years right now in the Senate. She's a pro. She's used to taking attacks.

You know, just yesterday alone, we saw Barack Obama and John Edwards both criticize her. But, she's got this fantastic machine in place, you know, that has been lying in wait ever since her husband left office in January 2001. She is a professional politician. She really knows how to get her message out. She knows how not to get, you know, her feathers ruffled when asked a question out in public. And she really does have these fantastic advisers around here that are advising her. So, look, she's the front-running right now and that's why we see everyone gunning her.

NGUYEN: And according to that video we just kept showing, she's obviously a big hugger too. So, that might help, as well. All right, Mark. Thank you. We do appreciate it.

PRESTON: Thanks, Betty.

(BEATLES SONG) NGUYEN: Working like dog. That is for sure. Oh, back to the story. After "A Hard Days Night" did Paul McCartney sleep in or go to work? Well, our next guest knows the answer. Ken Mansfield gives us the inside scoop right after this.



NGUYEN: The Beatles "White Album," critically acclaimed a favorite of most fans. But, what's the inside story of the Fab Four? Ken Mansfield joins us live from New York. He worked for the Beatles for years, even hosted them several times in Los Angeles.

I want to get right to it, because there are things in this book that have never been heard or seen before. So let's go through the list. All right, when we talk about the Beatles, Paul McCartney, tell me something that no one's ever heard about him before.

KEN MANSFIELD, AUTHOR, "THE WHITE BOOK": Wow! Somebody that's been written about that much. I don't think people realize just how almost much boyish and I always say he was like a hyperkinetic child. This guy was going all the time. Here I'm working with the famous people in the world and I'm begging off, you know, spending the night, because like 5:00 in the morning, I'm ready to go home and he's still going.

NGUYEN: I imagine. Hey, it's a hard day's night, right?

MANSFIELD: Yeah, you bet.

NGUYEN: Here's something that I read, though, Paul McCartney surprised you with an all-expense first-time every trip to Europe, is that true?

MANSFIELD: I casually mentioned to him that I had never been to Europe and I didn't know they were going to ask me to run their company in America at that time. So, I put him on an airplane and admired a medallion he was wearing around his neck, and he put it around my neck and said, "The next time I see this, you'll be in London." And then I got the call that they wanted me to come aboard and run the company for them in America.

NGUYEN: All right, John Lennon, what do you know?

MANSFIELD: John Lennon was about as complex as anybody that you'd ever want to meet.

NGUYEN: You don't say?

MANSFIELD: Yeah. Now, there's a big news break for you.

NGUYEN: Right.

MANSFIELD: You know, he was so into world peace and very complicated worldwide things. And then in person, it was hard to understand sometimes what he was about.

NGUYEN: And Ringo Starr, didn't you go with him to an Elvis concert? What was that all about?

MANSFIELD: Well, Ringo called and wanted to see when Elvis when Elvis came back in Las Vegas at the MGM things. So, we snuck him into the showroom that night and we're crammed in the showroom. Nobody knew they were sitting next to a Beatle.

NGUYEN: Really?

MANSFIELD: And we thought we were going to sneak back out and then Elvis introduces him from the stage. You could just see us trying to get out of showroom...

NGUYEN: It was a mob scene, I'm sure.


NGUYEN: George Harrison, tell me about him.

MANSFIELD: George was what we called the gentle Beatle. He was kind, he was a very, very easy person to be with. People -- somebody that famous, it was hard to imagine what it was like when you're in a room alone with him or just working. Very, very kind, gentle person.

NGUYEN: Take a look at this album cover. I'm sure you remember it very clearly.


NGUYEN: And the words at the top, what did he write to you and why?

MANSFIELD: Well, you know, I never asked the Beatles for autographs or pictures, because I figured the fans were doing that and that's not what they wanted. So, when the "White Album..."

NGUYEN: Oh, I bet you're kicking yourself now.

MANSFIELD: Well, yeah, but -- so, George said well, "I'm going to sign the album. What do you want me to say," basically saying I'll say something to make you look good to the world. And I said just say something groovy with "love George." And that's exactly what he wrote. You know?

NGUYEN: That's what he did. OK, I got to get to this, though, because you were with the Beatles during the Beatle Mania, you were also with them during the breakup. And there was a lot of talk and speculation even today about what broke this group up. A lot of people may say, hey, it was Yoko Ono. You were there, what was it?

MANSFIELD: You know, they give Yoko way too much credit.

NGUYEN: Really? MANSFIELD: This band had been together a long time. You know, if you want to break a band up, just let them be successful. That's the first thing that breaks a band up. Here, they had been mass successful for that long. They started up this big company. They all had gotten married, they were starting to go their own way, you know, musically. And it was just a natural thing. Then I think when they couldn't agree on a change in management, it was just a time for everybody.

NGUYEN: Time to go, yeah.

MANSFIELD: Time to go, yeah. It was a very natural thing.

NGUYEN: This book is really interesting, it's called "The White Book." And there's a number, it's labeled just like the album was at the time and you were in those recording sessions, you even partied with them in the swimming pools, you even took their irate calls. So, you have the inside scoop and we appreciate you spending a little time with us and sharing a little bit with us, today. Thanks so much.

MANSFIELD: My pleasure. Great to be here.


Now it's time to check in with Howard Kurtz in Washington to see what's ahead on CNN's RELIABLE SOURCES.

Hey there, Howard.

HOWARD KURTZ, RELIABLE SOURCES: Good morning, Betty. Coming up, hundreds of journalists descend on California to cover those devastating wildfires. We'll assess their performance and how they dealt with victims from CBS's Harry Smith, ABC's Claire Shipman, and CNN's Kyra Phillips. How do you cover the story live on television when your own house is burning to the ground? San Diego TV correspondent, Larry Himmel talks about his excruciating ordeal.

Plus, wives of the presidential candidates spank the media for exaggerating their influence or do they just resent the spotlight?

All that and more ahead on RELIABLE SOURCES.

NGUYEN: Good stuff, I'll be watching. Thanks, Howie.

KURTZ: Thank you.

NGUYEN: Well, a sick little boy just wants to forget his chemo treatments and play. Not only does he get Fenway Park in his backyard, he gets a once in a lifetime trip. We have that story, next.


NGUYEN: All right, before we show you this next story, first a disclaimer. We are not condoning this and would never do it ours. You hear that, boss man? You hear it? But here it is. For a fee, a website will provide you with a realistic funeral notice, doctor's note, jury summons or even any other excuse you want. If you have the guts to try it, here's what you can do, it's called Not a bad idea for ditching a blind date, though. Hey, that's a way to get out of it. But do beware, because you could actually lose your job or even get into some serious legal trouble if you try to pull it on the wrong people. Trust me. I've written down the Web site. I don't know if I'll use it or not. Don't think so.

Let's take you to Portland now, Portland, Maine, to be exact. A mini field of dreams for a young Red Sox fan with a rare blood disease. Players from the Portland Seadogs, minor league team, turned his backyard into a miniature Fenway Park. Look at that. It was done through Make a Wish Foundation. And get this, a neighbor treated him to tickets and a limo ride to the real Fenway Park for the World Series.

And if that story made you feel good, you will love this one. Karen and Mark Cline (ph) were teenage sweethearts when they married in 1980. Being so young, they had little money and couldn't afford these wedding photos that you're looking at right now. So, this week, the photographer, who is now 80 years old, tracked Karen down in Mansfield, Ohio, and presented her with her wedding album.

You know, that is so very special to her. And I'm sure, you know, when it comes to people who have lost so much in the fire, those pictures that they really want to be able to salvage.

WOLF: Yeah, it's the little things, Betty. It's those little, tiny things that mean so much to those people and there's no question about that. That is a wonderful story.

Betty, also one of the most talked about stories in the California firefighters. Check out this video. This is really making a lot of the news and here's what we have. A San Diego area reporter showing viewers his house burning down. CNN affiliate KFMB reporter, Larry Himmel is on RELIABLE SOURCES, that's coming up in just a few moments.

And then on LATE EDITION, Senator Barbara Boxer joins Wolf Blitzer to talk about evacuations and the wildfire recovery efforts.

It's all coming up right here on CNN. But first, as check on the morning's top developments.