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CNN Sunday Morning

Hurricane Paloma Hits Cuba; Haitian School Collapse; Obama's To Do List

Aired November 09, 2008 - 07:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It is November 9th. Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.

We got several developing stories this morning. First, we've got pictures to show you out of Cuba. Hurricane Paloma is slamming that island. You go heavy wind, that heavy rain. Reynolds Wolf is keeping an eye on all things Paloma. He'll have the latest from the hurricane center here in just a second.

NGUYEN: Also, we have new developments related to that school collapse in Haiti where dozens of children were killed. The death toll has climbed and the owner of the school is in police custody.

HOLMES: Also, a Canadian journalist kidnapped in Afghanistan, held in an underground cave for weeks, is free this morning. So, we'll get into that story.

NGUYEN: Yes. And, the future first family -- they are preparing to tour their new home.


NGUYEN: That, of course, being the White House.


NGUYEN: Plus, we do want to salute those who have served as we take a look ahead to Veterans Day. It's a busy day right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING. So, let's get right to it.

Anguish and fear: Searchers have been at work through another night, looking for children in the deadly collapse of a school in Haiti.

Oh, man. Family members obviously full of grief yesterday, the owner of the school turned himself into police. And he's not been charged. But Haiti's president is calling for a review of construction guidelines.

Our David Mattingly has more from Port-au-Prince suburb there.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Official estimates are placing the number of children who could still be buried in all of this rubble at 100 to 200. This three-story school building came tumbling down during school hours on Sunday morning. So far, over 100 have been injured with serious head injuries and broken bones.

There is a death toll, official death toll that's over 80. That is expected to go higher. Earlier this evening, we were watching U.S. crews -- search and rescue crews going through the rubble punching holes in some of the areas and forcing in small video cameras looking for signs of life. We wish we could tell you differently but they are not finding any signs of life at this hour. But we're told that is not a reason to give up hope.

MICHAEL ISTVAN, USAID SEARCH AND RESCUE: Throughout history there has been people found 48 to 72 hours later, still alive, in good shape. Are they injured or are they just trapped? So, you know, those are the things that we have to think about.

MATTINGLY: The biggest concern for search and rescue operations right now is actually the rubble itself. They're all worried that there might be some kind of vibration that would cause these massive pieces of concrete to slip and cause more harm to the people who are here. So far that hasn't happened and they have taken steps to try and shore up some of these large pieces to prevent that from happening. But they've got a long way to go and, so far, no signs of life at the scene. But they are looking for signs of hope.

David Mattingly, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


NGUYEN: The U.S. military is helping. It's donating $10,000 in medical supplies to Haitian hospitals. The hospitals report shortages in vital supplies after recent tropical storms and Hurricane Ike.

HOLMES: Speaking of tropical storms and hurricanes, Paloma, we've been keeping an eye on over the past several days.


HOLMES: A look now at some of the waves. Look at this -- this is what it created passing through Cuba.

NGUYEN: That's a mess.

HOLMES: It lashed the Grand Cayman Islands as well with heavy rain and wind. That was yesterday. It has weakened a bit. So, let's just bring in Reynolds Wolf here.

It's weakened to what? What is this thing now, Reynolds?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is now at this point a tropical storm. Its winds have dropped below 74 miles an hour. In fact, the latest, we have winds of 70 miles per hour. You know, in that video moments ago, you saw some buildings on the coast and parts of southern Cuba, and there are buildings up to five feet, oh, are not, five stories, and you had waves, you had some of the waves that are actually crashing that look like (ph) the size of these buildings. It's just ridiculous, just the enormity of the power of the storm.

The storm has weakened as we mentioned. A lot of times, we talk about how these storms weaken once when they interact with land, when they're away from that primary power source being that warm ocean water, and that certainly has been the situation here -- winds of 70, gusting to 110 miles per hour.

The question is now: Where in the world is the storm going to go? Well, the latest that we have is, from (ph) National Hurricane Center, has the storm crossing over the island nation and moving south from the Bahamas. If you look at Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, the storm is hardly going to move, just kind of meandering back and forth a little bit. It's expected to weaken as we get into Wednesday.

That is the latest we have on your storm. However, Cuba, of course, devastated, certainly, the eastern half of the island.

We have CNN correspondent Morgan Neill, he just woke up.

Morgan, what are your first impressions when you look outside this morning?

MORGAN NEILL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (through phone): Well, we're just starting to see the light come up here, Reynolds. And my, honestly, my first impression is to come away where we are, appears to have gotten off rather lightly compared to what we expected to see. You've got branches down but we are not seeing power lines down. We're already seeing some traffic in the streets.

And I can tell you, just comparing to hurricanes Gustav and Ike that we saw just about two months ago, there was no mistaking the day after those storms that damage was massive. Now, I should say that the biggest damage we expect to see is about an hour's drive to the south of here, in Santa Cruz del Sur where this storm made landfall as a category three. And that's where we're headed this morning.

WOLF: Now, Morgan, for you personally when did it seem like conditions really began to deteriorate yesterday, and then last night, and, of course. when you woke up this morning -- when was the worst of it? Obviously, it looks like the storm has now left, you are now on the wake of the storm -- but when was the full brunt of it being experienced by your location?

NEILL: Well, as you know, Reynolds, the storms are tricky because they will come and you'll see torrential rains, sometimes on the outer most bands of the system, and then you get closer to the center and all of the sudden, it will seem as if nothing happened. And that was, again, the case yesterday. We only have started to see consistent hurricane winds about, I would say, 10:00, 11:00, midnight last night is when they really started to pick up here and come away.

So, I would have to say that was the high point of the storm here was in midnight, around midnight.

WOLF: I see. Morgan, it looks like it's going to be a rough day, no question, for people in Cuba. The cleanup begins. Storms move off. Thanks so much for your report. Please be safe today.

Betty and T.J., again, you saw that video just towards the top. If we get a chance to rerack that later in the show, we're not going to do necessarily right now, but I want to you, again, to look at that five- story building and you see the top of that wave...

NGUYEN: Right there.

WOLF: ... the spray from that wave going right over it. I mean, just unbelievable the power of these storms. There you go. Take a look at that. Goodness gracious.

NGUYEN: Five-story building, you've got waves right at the roof of it.

WOLF: Absolutely. And, Betty, you know, we experienced this firsthand with Hurricane Ike along the Texas coastline. I mean, it's just a devastating to see. And you think about how Cuba has been a punching bag of these storms over the centuries, over thousands and thousands of years. Certainly, it's going to be a rough time for them today. And the season is not over yet.

NGUYEN: All right, Reynolds.

HOLMES: Thanks, Reynolds.

NGUYEN: We do appreciate it. We'll stay on top of it.

And our iReporters, they are helping tell the story of this late season hurricane. This is Seven Mile Beach in the Cayman Islands, usually, a resort. It doesn't look the place that you want to be right about now. I-reporter Colin Doyle sent us this video. The damage in the Caymans -- minimal so far.

HOLMES: All right. We turn to Barack Obama's transition and part of that transition, he needs to transition into a new house, and he's getting a look at that new house before he moves in. That house, of course, is the big white one up in D.C. President-elect Obama will check out the new digs on Monday. He and his wife Michelle are meeting the president and first lady at the White House.

Our deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser -- good morning to you, kind sir. Good to see you, as always. What's this going to be like on Monday? Is this just -- hey, how are you doing, let's some tea and crumpet, or it's going to be a little business discussed there as well?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think it's going to be a little bit of both. Yes, it's going to be a -- hey, take a look at your new digs. You don't move in until January 20th. But take a look, you can measure the drapes, finally.

But there is some serious discussions to be have between President- elect Obama and President Bush. You know, you've got two wars, war on terrorism, and the financial crisis. So, I think, they have a couple things to talk about. Barack Obama on Friday at his news conference gave a little description of the meeting for tomorrow. Take a listen.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT-ELECT: President Bush graciously invited Michelle and I to meet with him and First Lady Laura Bush. We are gratified by the invitation. I'm sure that in addition to taking a tour of the White House, there's going to be a substantive conversation between myself and the president.


STEINHAUSER: You know, there was a lot of tough talk during the campaign by Barack Obama directed at the White House, T.J., but so far, you are hearing a lot of kind words from Barack Obama and from George Bush on transition.

HOLMES: Yes, since the election is over, everybody can talk nice.


HOLMES: We'll see how long that lasts, though. President-elect Obama now -- he has got a lot of work to do with this transition but he has a lot of new friends to make.

STEINHAUSER: Oh, yes. Do you think he gets the weekend off?


STEINHAUSER: Not happening. He's getting a lot of calls from a lot of, I guess, you can pretty important people from overseas. Just yesterday, he spoke with the Russian president and Polish president among others, and this is interesting because on Wednesday, the day after the election, there was some tough talk from the Russian President Medvedev regarding that missile shield that the Bush administration wants to build in Poland and in the Czech Republic. That something Kremlin really doesn't want to see happened.

Medvedev spoke yesterday with Barack Obama and the Kremlin said that early bilateral meetings should be arranged. No statement on the Obama side with that. But he also spoke with the Polish leader, and Poland -- Warsaw put out a statement yesterday saying that Obama wants that missile shield to continue to be built. The Obama office is saying not so fast on that one. We need to take a look and listen a little more on that.

HOLMES: All right. Let's turn to McCain now. We have seen his, I guess, former running mate now, Sarah Palin, the past couple of days defending herself against some nasty things that have been put out there allegedly by some McCain aides. But we haven't seen him.

What's he up to? What's he going to do next? Is it just him going back to his day job in D.C.?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, he's laying low right now out in the ranch in Sedona. Not a bad place to hang out. But he will -- you're going to see him this week actually. He's going to be on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show." So, he will make a public appearance.

And then, as you mentioned, he's got a day job. It's a pretty good one -- a U.S. senator representing Arizona. He will be back here in Washington a week from tomorrow when the lame duck Senate session returns. We've confirmed that with his Senate office. So, he will be back in D.C. at the old job.

Remember -- it was four years ago that John Kerry in a similar situation, running for president, lost, came back to D.C., and took his job very seriously. And I would expect you would see that from John McCain as well.

HOLMES: All right. We will keep an eye on him and all things transition-related.

Paul Steinhauser, our deputy political director -- it's always good to see you. We appreciate you, buddy.


HOLMES: And the president-elect as we've been reporting, assembling that transition team. We're breaking down the Democratic agenda. Plus, what's next for the Republican Party? John King hosts "Transition to Power." That's tonight at 8:00 o'clock and that is right here on CNN.

NGUYEN: Well, they swoop in to rescue wounded troops and we're actually flying with them. What it's like aboard a military medevac. Plus, inside a war zone E.R., we're going to show you all of it.

HOLMES: Also, this story is going to get you. An 11-year-old, all he wanted to do was feed the homeless.


UNIDENTIFIED KID: I had a great time and until my time has come, I'm going to keep having good times.




CAPT. CHRISTOPHER KLINE, NATIONAL GUARD: Hi. I'm Captain Christopher Kline, keeping it real here at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. I'm from Montgomery, Minnesota. And I just want to say thanks to everyone in the community sending us the food, cookies, and cards. Keep them coming. Happy Veterans Day.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOLMES: Well, onboard a U.S. military medevac in Afghanistan, our Barbara Starr flies with a exceptional medical evacuation team as they risk their lives to save a wounded soldier.

NGUYEN: She has that story now from Bagram military base in Afghanistan.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Minutes after the call for help, two Blackhawk helicopters liftoff from Bagram airfield -- one to rescue the wounded, the other, to protect against enemy fire. CNN is flying with the extraordinary medical evacuation troops of the 101st Airborne Division.

A 24-year old Specialist Jay Kenney is a flight medic.

JAY KENNEY, 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION: Imagine an ICU in a closet.

STARR: Carrying ventilators, monitors and even a flight surgeon, it's an ICU traveling 150 miles an hour.

KENNEY: There's nothing we can't do on the back of an aircraft.

STARR: When the helicopters land at a remote land outpost, you can see where the unit is called "shadow dust top." This time, it's a wounded Afghan soldier. We quickly head for the busiest combat hospital in Afghanistan. Back at Bagram, a hospital staff takes over.

Captain Melissa Buzzbee is in charge of the E.R., like so many troops in this war, she already has served in Iraq.

CAPT. MELISSA BUZZBEE, E.R. NURSE, BAGRAM, AFGHANISTAN: I was in Balad last year from January to June, which was one of the busiest time periods that Balad has seen since the beginning of the war. And ironically enough, I'm in Afghanistan now.

STARR: Caring for the combat wounded is job one, but most of the patients here are Afghan civilians, victims of a war where the U.S. troops may be there only source of care. Khan (ph) was injured by an IED.

COL. DAVID GEYER, U.S. AIR FORCE: We actually didn't think he was going to make it for a while. He's getting better. The real issue is now where do we, you know, where do we transfer him to? That's going to be a significant problem because there just aren't a lot of facilities in this country that can take care of a patient with this kind of injury.

STARR: Captain Buzzbee sees these injuries every day but doesn't despair.

BUZZBEE: This is what I'm supposed to be doing and I know that. And it's amazing to be able to do it. There are miracles happening in this facility every day. STARR: One of these miracles Khan (ph), a few days after our first visit, he was able to walk a little, something that surprised even his doctors.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Bagram, Afghanistan.


HOLMES: On this Veterans Day, be sure to join our Heidi Collins with the "CNN NEWSROOM" live from the deck of the Intrepid. That coverage begins at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, right here.

NGUYEN: A Canadian journalist who was kidnapped in Afghanistan last month is now free. Melissa Fung was released yesterday after negotiations by tribal leaders and government officials. Fung says her captors kept her blindfolded in a small underground cave that she could barely stand in, but she says they did not hurt her. Afghan intelligence agents say they've arrested three people suspected of being involved in that kidnapping and are looking for three others.

HOLMES: Were religious Americans a key to Barack Obama's victory on Tuesday night?

NGUYEN: Well, our Josh Levs has the answer to that.

Good morning.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you.

How people of different religions voted and how the results were different from the last presidential race. We'll show you.



BETSY REED, 107-YEAR-OLD VOTER IN FORT WORTH: I was proud of him. I had to cry. And I didn't ever think, never crossed my mind that we'd ever have a black president. And I'm proud for him.


HOLMES: Yes, she's proud. Tuesday's presidential election had special meaning to a lot of folks and especially to that lady you just saw. She's Betsy Reed out of Fort Worth, a life-long dream for her, really, 107-year-old lady now. She was elated to help elect Barack Obama, the first African-American president. She is the granddaughter of a slave and actually attended segregated schools as well. So, a big day for her.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. You know, as part of his campaign, Barack Obama made an effort to reach out to religious Americans.

HOLMES: What did that effort pay off for the faithful and key to his victory? CNN's Josh Levs is here with that -- Josh.

LEVS: Yes, you know, it's interesting when we take a look at these numbers. I'll show you the breakdown.

Let's zoom right to the screen, I want you to see this. This is the vote in this race by religion. Protestants went to McCain, but all the other groups went to Barack Obama. About half of the U.S. population is protestant. You can see here. They went to McCain, 54- 45. But Catholics went to Obama by a similar margin, and Jews, and those whose identify as other religions went to Obama big time.

Let's scroll down a little bit. We can see here, if you just look at white voters, McCain did get the Protestants, he also got Catholics just barely if you're just looking at white voters. But even still, all of the other groups went to Obama.

And one more thing I want to show you, guys, here. We just scroll down a little bit. You can see this at If you go by church attendance, those who attend church most often voted for McCain, 55- 43. Those who go occasionally or never, went to Obama. And when you look at those numbers, you say, yes, it did help Obama a bit.

NGUYEN: All right. So, how does this compare to the last presidential race? Are we seeing any similarities at all?

LEVS: We are seeing some similarities. We're also seeing some success for Obama in this case.

Let's look at this graphic here from the Pew Forum, they put out a study, it just came out. They say among nearly ever religious group, Barack Obama received equal or higher levels of support compared with John Kerry back in 2004. Now, it's not necessarily a giant jump that he achieved there but it was a bit. And those figures to do suggest that his outreach to religious voters by Obama this time did indeed pay off.

You can see all of the details here at and, of course, anything you want to know about our exit polls, just go to and click on the exit polls and you can see all sorts of stuff. It's truly interesting.

NGUYEN: It is all there. OK. Thank you, Josh.

LEVS: Thanks, guys.

HOLMES: Well, a disaster to tell you about in the Sea of Japan. The Russian navy is piecing together what caused the deadly accident aboard one of its nuclear submarines.



STAFF SGT. MICHAEL LINDSEY, NATIONAL GUARD: Hi. I'm Staff Sgt. Michael Lindsey, stationed in Joint Base Balad, Iraq. I'm from Fort Worth, Texas. And we want to thank all of you that support us while we do our job over here. Have a great Veterans Day on November 11. We appreciate it.


NGUYEN: And we are celebrating (AUDIO BREAK). We want to share some of your photos. Here are some pictures from our producer Deanna. Her grandfather, Robert Howdy (ph) was in the Navy during the World War II. Now, last month, he and his shipmates from the USS Talladega got together in Minneapolis. They were stationed in the South Pacific for two years.

We want to hear from our veterans: what did do you in the war? Send us your iReports by going to Also, military parents, you're probably getting tough questions from your children. So, send us your pictures and video to


HOLMES: Hello, there. Welcome back to this CNN SUNDAY MORNING. I'm T.J. Holmes.

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

HOLMES: Let's start about talking about that collapse, that school collapse in Haiti. Just a horrible story we've been keeping an eye on here. The search is continuing now for possible survivors in that collapse. We were told some 700 children might have been in there, at least 100 injured. So many more we know have been killed, at least 84. Most of them were students. Now, 150 is actually the number now on the injuries.

Now, a lot of parents were also at the school when it collapsed on Friday. The owner of that school has turned himself into authorities. No charges filed just yet. Haiti's president wants a review of construction regulations. He says the three-story structure was, in his words, really weak.

Well, Hurricane Paloma is no longer Hurricane Paloma. It's lost strength in the last few hours, now a tropical storm. Take a look at what Paloma looked like when it hit the Cayman Islands as a hurricane from one of our iReporters, Will Jacobs is his name. He says Paloma brought 80-mile-an-hour winds to Grand Cayman. He says the rain was coming down in sheets and he said it's now sunny and calm.

Back to being the vacation spot that it is, Reynolds, in Grand Cayman Island there. Paloma, you know what? These things downgrade and when you hear a tropical storm or whatever it may be, it doesn't sound so bad but still these things could be dangerous as well.

WOLF: Well, absolutely, no question about it. I mean, this was the strongest storm on the planet just yesterday. In fact, we're talking a category...

HOLMES: Cat four.

WOLF: I know, a category four storm. And now, it has weakened considerably. In fact, you take a look at the map right behind me and I'm going to give you an idea of where the storm is heading. You see the numbers -- winds is 70 miles per hour, now gusting to 110 miles per hour. It's moving north-northeast and doing so only around five miles per hour. The storm is expected to weaken and kind of meander quite a bit.

In fact, take a look at this that we have from the National Hurricane Center. You see the storm rumbling its way through parts of the Bahamas, as we zoom in, we take you from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday. Again, storm dropping from 45 miles per hour sustained to a tropical depression south of the Bahamas. It's kind of staying in place and not really moving all that much. We have some video that we had earlier that showed you issues we have in parts of Cuba like in many other situation like this there's no question that you're going to have the storm surge dealing with same time power outages around a good part of the island and we're talking about the Caymans as well as parts of Cuba. It is just going to be a tremendous mess. Thankfully the storm system is not expected to affect the United States and should continue to weaken.

The deterioration of this tremendous storm is certainly great news. Very quickly let me show you the reason why the storm is not going to be affecting the U.S. That is all because this frontal boundary that we see that's well over a thousand miles long, this frontal boundary is going to push the storm keep it well out into the Atlantic. However, on the other side of this boundary we're going to have high pressure that's going to be building into the southeast. That's going to keep things very cool but also farther to the north of the Great Lakes we're talking about a big snow event some places near Buffalo you could see a foot of snow by tomorrow evening. So again, here we go making a transition from tropical system talking about winter stuff. It's crazy like that.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: It is. Already a foot of snow and we're not even at thanksgiving yet.

WOLF: I know. I know, crazy times.

NGUYEN: OK. Thank you, Reynolds.

WOLF: You bet.

NGUYEN: Another undersea disaster to report on board a nuclear Russian submarine. 20 people were killed. 21 injured when the fire safety system malfunctioned on one of the country's Pacific fleet subs. This is new video coming in to CNN. Now, the sub was on a test run in the sea of Japan. A military official says the accident did not damage the submarine's nuclear reactor. Eight years ago though all 118 crew members died when a Russian sub sank after an onboard torpedo explosion.

African leaders from the southern African development community met this morning in Johannesburg to discuss the mounting conflict in the democratic Republic of Congo. Other agendas on the table included the political power sharing system in Zimbabwe. The newly-elected Zimbabwean president shared that summit. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe also attended.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the transition to power is under way now and one of the things on the plate among many for president-elect is how to deal with Afghanistan. Well, the Bush administration we learned now could be pushing for the Afghan army to step up so U.S. forces can eventually withdraw. That is a report coming to us from the Associated Press.

NGUYEN: And it says the Bush White House is reviewing its war strategy in Afghanistan and working to come up for guidelines for the new administration.

HOLMES: Well, the president-elect team meanwhile denying claims from Poland's government that Barack Obama is planning to move ahead with a missile defense system in eastern Europe. One of Obama's foreign policy advisers said the president-elect did talk with Poland's president but however he did not make any commitment on that missile shield issue.

NGUYEN: Well now that Barack Obama has been elected, a whole lot of people have high hopes.

HOLMES: Expectations through the roof now. We've been hearing around the clock from our i-reporters who say they have messages for the president-elect. Josh Levs has some of those. Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hey, guys. We've been going through a lot of these. They're really interesting. I want to start with a video we have for you. This comes from James Flinsch in St. Paul, Minnesota.


JAMES FLINSCH, IREPORTER: President-elect Obama, I'm one of the formerly cynical newly impassioned younger voters who voted for you with pride this election and I just want to know what we can do to help you as we go forward to help this country become a better place and deliver on the promises and potentialities that you discussed in your campaign.


LEVS: We're seeing a lot of these, a lot of hope and a lot of people who want to get similar messages. Let's zoom in on the board. I want to show you a few striking ones. This first one says - I don't know if you can see it there - "you will be my son's commander in chief. Pray for wisdom." That comes from Leslie Smith in Guam.

Let's go over here. "Don't let Washington change you" from Brian (Lankin) in Illinois who says he only wants Barack Obama to stick to his beliefs and not allow Washington to "corrupt his judgment." Let's do two more. This one says time to heal. It's time for our nation to heal. That's from Carlos E. Galindo.

And finally from Jerry (Ringet) over here who says that he feels that gay families on election day were "kicked off the bus." Please protect us. Interesting the kinds of things that we're getting at All you need to do is go to and it explains right there what to do. You can send videos, your stories and any message right now that you have for Barack Obama. We're calling it "Dear Mr. President." We're going to keep showing you some right here on TV in the coming days. T.J., Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, Josh.

Well, President-elect Barack Obama off and running with just a little over two months until he takes office. Our colleague Don Lemon sat down with members of Obama's inner circle including the co-chair of his transition team.


DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No rest for the weary.


LEMON: Now you're in charge or at least you're part of the team that who's going to help with the transition.

JARRETT: Yes, absolutely. So you know what? We'll rest in eight years. Right now we're just going to focus on making sure that he's surrounded by absolutely the best team he can have. He's always quick to say I need to have people in the room. A lot of diversity of opinion who come from a variety of different perspectives to push me to make the best possible decisions. So that's the business we're about right now. We want him to be ready to hit the ground running.


NGUYEN: That was Valerie Jarrett and you'll hear more from her plus Obama's new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, tonight at 6:00 and 11:00 here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Well it seems like everyone wants to own or make a profit off of this historic election. You see the t-shirts, you see all these things on the streets.

HOLMES: Suzanne was showing us watches.

NGUYEN: Watches. Exactly.

HOLMES: Obama watches.

Well, the day after Barack Obama's election win, newspapers from Seattle to New York and right here in Atlanta as well were flying off the shelves. You can find them, where else? Ebay. A copy of the "Atlanta Journal Constitution." A paper that would normally cost you 75 cents is on sale on ebay for up to $25, if you would like to own that piece of history.

NGUYEN: Really but before you buy that just know that today is Sunday. And the AJC has a special edition. So you may want to pick that one up before you have to pay a pretty penny for it come Monday.

HOLMES: It's a fine publication. 25 bucks -

NGUYEN: That's a lot, right?

All right. Well an 11-year-old boy - boy this is a story. 11 years old, given just two weeks or a few weeks to live. What's one thing that he wanted to do?

HOLMES: He wanted to help out other folks. His remarkable story is today's "Faces of Faith."


I had a great time. And until my time has come, I'm just going to keep having a good time.



HOLMES: Well, just about everything seems to be getting more expensive these days including the cost of an education. In today's "Right on your Money" Christine Romans shows us ways to save on college tuition.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The cost of college is up. Way up. According to the nonprofit college board, tuition and fees for private colleges jumped an average 5.9 percent in the past year. The cost of four years at an in state public school rose 6.4 percent.

ANYA KAMENETZ, AUTHOR "GENERATION DEBT": It's really important that entering students think very strategically first of all about their choice of college and also their path to college. So I think the most important thing a lot of students can do is think about graduating on time or maybe even trying to graduate early with summer courses and just a quicker path for that degree.

ROMANS: And as tuition increases, so does the need for financial aid.

KAMENETZ: Your number one stop should be your college's financial aid office. They do offer the best information about loans and for the lenders that are pooling out in some cases they can find substitute loans.

ROMANS: Shop around. Websites like let you compare rates to get the best private loan. And start planning early.

KAMENETZ: The number one recommendation for parents with students who may be reaching college age is the 529 education savings plan. That is tax deferred or tax advantage. The savings plan is just like a 401(k) where you can start saving now and let that savings grow tax free until it's time to pay for college.

ROMANS: And that's this week's "Right on your Money."


NGUYEN: We'll go to our "Faces of Faith" in just a moment. But first a little bit of news to tell you about. Louis Farrakhan is scheduled to give a big speech in Chicago this morning. The nation of Islam minister is expected to discuss the spiritual significance of Americans voting for the first black president. Farrakhan, you may remember, supported Obama early in the race. A support that Obama's campaign was quick to denounce. The speech begins around 11:00 Eastern and it will be streamed live on the nation of Islam website.

Well, California's newly passed gay marriage ban and the fight to overturn it. We're hearing from our sources that Proposition 8 opponents will go to St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco this morning to talk with parishioners. We'll continue to follow that and bring you more information as soon as we get it. Meanwhile though California is seeing some of the largest protests against Proposition 8 since it passed on Tuesday. The police say as many as 20,000 people rallied against it yesterday in Los Angeles and San Diego. Police say marchers were peaceful. No one was arrested.

HOLMES: To our "Faces of Faith" this morning heartbreaking lessons of courage and selflessness from an 11-year-old boy Brenden Foster of Washington state had everything taken away from him but even though he may have only weeks to live, Brenden wants to keep giving. We have his story. Elisa Jaffe of our affiliate KOMO has his story.


ELISA JAFFE, KOMO 4 NEWS REPORTER: Brenden Foster is only 11 years old but his time to die has come.

BRENDEN FOSTER: I should be gone in a week or so.

JAFFE: Brendan was the kid that ran the fastest, climbed the highest and dreamed of becoming a marine photographer. Leukemia killed all that but not his dying wish to help others.

WENDY FOSTER, BRENDEN'S MOTHER: He's always thought about the better of others wanting to help others. He's never complained about having to go through this. Ever.

JAFFE: In the last days of his life, it's this homeless camp that captured Brenden's heart.

BRENDEN FOSTER: Well, I was coming back from one of my appointments and I saw this area full of homeless people. And then I thought I should just give them something.

JAFFE: Brenden is too ill to leave his bed and feed the homeless. He walked into an emergency room last December and hasn't walked since. But tonight a group is gathering and making sandwiches to carry out Brenden's wish.

JENNIFER MORRISON, PARTICIPANT: We're making 200 sandwiches. Half ham and cheese and half peanut butter and jelly. He said he didn't want to do just all peanut butter and jelly in case someone was allergic to peanut butter.

BRENDEN FOSTER: They're probably starving. So give them a chance.

JAFFE: Brenden is now surrounded by love and urges all of us to follow our dreams. He's relapsed for the last time. There's no more chemo, no more transfusions just comfort medications.

WENDY FOSTER: It's devastating. But I find great peace in knowing we've had our time together and that we will see each other again.

JAFFE: His next wish, become an angel who accomplished even more in heaven than he did on earth.

BRENDEN FOSTER: I had a great time. And until it's time, my time has come, I'm going keep having a good time.

JAFFE: Don't cry for Brenden. He doesn't want leukemia to get any more tears. Alyssa Jaffe, KOMO-4 NEWS.


NGUYEN: What a strong little boy. Just to be so composed and just have the wisdom of years for an 11 year old.

HOLMES: Hard not to cry for Brenden to hear a story like that. To get lessons from an 11 year old. It's amazing his attitude. Everyone around him is down. It's hard to see that story and not tear up a bit. But he's saying don't cry for him. Lessons from an 11 year old. We could all use those.

NGUYEN: I think he's already an angel.

HOLMES: All right. Well, stay here with us. We'll tell you a story here about a man who is drafted but could have avoided war after a medical diagnosis.

NGUYEN: Well, instead he chose to fight and we're going to share the story of this amazing U.S. veteran.



COL. PETER BLENDONOHY, NATIONAL GUARD: Hi, I'm Col. Peter Blendonohy of the 244th combat battalion. I'm based in Iraq. I would like to thank everybody back home, Buffalo, New York, for the great support for our troops and sharing your love with us. Happy veterans day.


NGUYEN: Tuesday is Veterans day. We must remember our troops that are risking their lives now and those that risked their lives in the past.

HOLMES: And CNN photo journalist Jim Castell sat down with his father-in-law, a World War II vet to reminisce. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT MCNAIR, ARMY VETERAN OF WWII: I was drafted. I went down to the armory in San Francisco and got an examination and everything and they found out that I was cross-eyed and I was given a choice of going or not going. So, I thought, let's get it over with. So, I joined the Army in October of '41.

I believe I was told at one time, don't be too friendly. You could be walking someplace or wherever and a bomb could go off and your friend is gone. And then you'd wonder, why him and not me? A bomber who had come over every night, if he decided to drop a bomb, he'd drop a bomb. Well, not too far away from us - I'm talking about a quarter of a mile or less - he decided to drop a flare and he dropped a bomb. Two of these buddies were together, and the bomb went off, and it took their feet off, just their feet. And I remember during the night, pitch black, somebody whispered, you know, something, and I grabbed a hold of one of the gurneys out of the ambulance, and I carried it over and they had a double-plot tent where the medic was. And I went in, and I had the lower end of this - no feet.

Veterans day to me was like visiting World War II memorial in Washington this past June. I thought of my friends that will never see it. On our visit, I walked ahead, and a lady tapped me on the shoulder. She said, sir, are you a veteran? I said, yes, ma'am. And she said, "thank you." That's all I needed.


NGUYEN: We don't say thank you enough. Well, for more stories like that one, you can logon to and check out our special "Veterans in Focus" section. "Impact our World" that is for more information on how you can donate to veterans' causes, go to

HOLMES: All right. This political season, seems like the theme has been change. Everybody is talking about change. Well, for one politician, an Oregon mayor, it's more than a campaign slogan.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. It is another historic first. You don't want to miss this one.



NGUYEN: That song, heavy rotation on T.J.'s ipod.


NGUYEN: "I saw the sign" popular back in 1994.

HOLMES: Who sang that?

NGUYEN: You should know. It's on your ipod.

HOLMES: Who was it? Ace of Base. NGUYEN: Ace of Base, we're being told. OK. 1994, folks, the last time the unemployment rate was as high as it is right now. We should have seen the sign. 6.5 percent back in March of 1994.

HOLMES: Yes. And a lot has to do with this tally of job cuts we're going to show you. This was this just week, this past week. Circuit City cut 7300 jobs. Ford 2,300. Also Fidelity, Mattel, the toy maker, GlaxoSmithKline. All with job losses as well. But there's more. La-Z-boy, Hartford Financial, the Bogota Hotel and Casino around Atlantic City. That's just for the weekend. That's a total of more than 15,000 jobs.

NGUYEN: 15,000 in just one week, last week. You know, joins thousands, though, from last month.

HOLMES: Yes. Pink slips had been mounting all across the country. For a while now and as a result, the unemployment lines are at a 14- year high and finances for so many families pretty low at this point. Ed Lavandera reports for us from Dallas.


ALAN CANNEFAX, UNEMPLOYED: Over here, over here. Get him!

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If there's a silver lining to unemployment, this is it for Alan Cannefax, helping coach his son's football team.

CANNEFAX: Get him. Oh, fumble!

LAVANDERA: Cannefax lost his job as an internet creative director six months ago. His severance package runs out next month. He and his wife are making a list of what will be cut from the family budget. The stress is building.

CANNEFAX: A couple of days ago I just went through things I need, thinking, oh, my gosh, where are we going to go, what are we going to do? This is my website -

LAVANDERA: Cannefax created a website to showcase his work, He networks and picks up freelance work. He's only been invited to two interviews. He finds companies are laying off just as quickly as they might hire.

CANNEFAX: It's tough. Once the door you see is open, all of a sudden you walk up to it and it suddenly shuts.

LAVANDERA: Business doors across the country are closing. Tens of thousands of jobs disappearing, leaving workers everywhere feeling desperate, like at this job fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My usual response is that y resume looks good but people don't have money to hire me.

UINDENTIFIED MALE: I've already consoled myself to the fact that I'm not probably going to be able to find the same type of paying job. LAVANDERA (on-camera): Many looking for work say they are amazed at how many different types of people are hurting. And those who do have jobs say they constantly worry that they'll be the next victim of the latest rounds of cutbacks or layoffs.

I know it might have to be entry level, but -

LAVANDERA: Ashley Porfilio has seen her commission-based income cut in half. She works in the mortgage industry, and even with a master's degree, the job hunt is dismal.

ASHLEY PORFILIO, LOOKING FOR WORK: I'm not hearing back from anybody. I've applied for 150 jobs.

LAVANDERA: Alan Cannefax says he's look for temporary work this holiday season and so until the next job comes around, Cannefax will enjoy football season.

CANNEFAX: Connor, Connor, Connor, got to wait, got to wait. It's OK, son. Come on.

LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.


HOLMES: Hello from the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia. This is CNN SUNDAY MORNING on this November 9th, 8:00 a.m. here, 7:00 a.m. in the heartland. I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. We do want to thank you for joining us today. You know topping our hour is this, the desperate search for survivors amid the rubble of a collapse school in Haiti. More bodies are recovered and now the school's owner is in police custody.

HOLMES: Also Paloma, well, a category four hurricane just yesterday. Today, it's not even a hurricane anymore. We're going to get an update on the strength of this storm as it pounds Cuba, leaving that island in the dark as well as underwater.

NGUYEN: And after millions of dollars worth of renovations and upgrades, an unbelievable unveiling of a new USS Intrepid Museum.

HOLMES: We will start down in Haiti, where there's mound of rubble -- people are still going through that, rescuers. But the sorrow mounds as well. The searchers haven't stopped looking for survivors since Friday's collapse of that three-story school building. Death toll is now at 84, 150 injured. Officials fear there could be as many as 200 people still trapped.

We get more now from ITN reporter, Julian Rush.


JULIAN RUSH, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): The Promesse Evangelique School collapsed without warning at 10:00 o'clock in the morning, burying the children and their lessons inside. In this crowded shanty town, the school was crowded, too. There are 700 children on the register.

This huge crowd who rushed to help, hampering the ambulances and rescue teams in the narrow alleys.

All day, they dug through the rubble, Haiti desperately pour and still recovering from the four hurricanes and tropical storms that have already battered the island this year.

Distraught, the children's mothers could only watch and wait. "I've lost four children," she says, "I just can't go on living."

Haiti's President Rene Preval visited the school. "The badly constructed two-story concrete building didn't meet building regulations," he said, "but the priority was to find those still alive."

Many of the injured were treated in a nearby clinic run by Medecins Sans Frontieres.

VOICE OF MAX COSCI, MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES: Unfortunately, in the last hour, since last night, the rescue teams are only -- brought (ph) dead bodies.

RUSH: The desperate rescue work has continued through the night, but today, hopes are fading that more will be found alive.


HOLMES: Well, the owner of that school there in Haiti has turned himself in to authorities. However, no charges have been filed. Well, a search-and-rescue team from Fairfax, Virginia, is helping out in Haiti. The U.S. military is also sending $10,000 worth of medical supplies to Haitian hospitals. Teams from the United Nations and the group Doctors Without Borders are there as well. Haiti hospitals stretched pretty thin after a string of hurricanes and tropical storms the past few months.

NGUYEN: Now, speaking of weather, Paloma losing its punch. That storm is no longer a hurricane. Paloma was a powerful category four storm yesterday with winds of 140 miles an hour when it hit Cuba. But now, Paloma has weakened considerably overnight. It is a tropical storm at this hour.

And this is central Cuba this morning. There are no reports of injuries, but now officials are worried about mudslides and flooding. So, let's see what this tropical storm is doing. Our Reynolds Wolf is in the CNN weather center.

Reynolds, when we spoke about it yesterday, this thing packed a powerful punch, category four.


NGUYEN: Not the case today. WOLF: Yes, I know. I mean, it's a sledgehammer and driving into parts of Cuba's southern shore, we had just incredible rough conditions there, the pounding surf. We had (ph), of course, had drenching conditions.

You know, in the high elevations, Betty, you mentioned moments ago that mudslides, when you have the heavy rainfall in areas like, say, parts of Cuba, especially the eastern half, you're going to have what they refer to as orographic lift. And when these storms get into higher elevations, they tend to weaken but it enhances the rainfall. So, there's a potential we could have these mudslides.

The storm, though, itself is beginning to die out considerably. I mean, you can see it, plain as the eye shows, just crossing right over Cuba then moving into parts of the Southern Bahamas. The storm is weakening considerably. But still, the winds at 70. That's some not to sneeze at. It's still pretty strong. Some gusts to 110 miles per hour.

It is moving to the north-northeast at five miles per hour, and in terms of movement, the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows it's not going to be doing a great deal of that once it crosses north of Cuba. In fact, it's kind of meanders a little bit, into Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Take a look this -- maximum sustained winds going from 45 miles per hour on Monday. By Tuesday, it's just a depression, winds, the same story, winds of 25 miles an hour.

The storm just kind of aimlessly moving by early next week, not expecting to make landfall along the U.S., and the reason why is very simple, the same frontal boundary we had yesterday that is going to keep the storm at bay. It's still going to be doing its work, but at the same time, not only it's a kind of shield in the atmosphere, it's also providing something else, that area of low pressure well to the north, pulling this frontal boundary that extends more than 1,000 miles-long is going to chug its way past the eastern seaboard, bringing a lot of cool air, cool and dry conditions for parts of the southeast.

In Atlanta this morning, you can certainly feel the difference. Farther to the north, say, back over towards Buffalo, New York, things are fine for you. But by the time we get to tomorrow, you might have a foot of snow on the ground from the lake-effect snowfall. Farther to the Northern Plains -- cool and dry, a touch of snow for the Rockies and along the Wasatch Range. And in California, look for a mix of sunshine and clouds, maybe few scattered showers as you make your way into tomorrow.

And this storm system you see pulling in to parts of the Four Corners, is going to bring some rain possibly to places like, say, Phoenix, maybe down to Tempe. But in terms of the Rockies, we could possibly see snowfall there, as well.

Let's talk temperatures because that is really the big thing you're going to notice today. In Atlanta, try this on for size, 59 degrees. We expect the high in Nashville, Music City, 50 degrees; Kansas City, about 47; by the stockyards in Dallas, 73 degrees; Salt Lake City with 50; Seattle, 56 degrees and the rain continues; San Francisco Pier 39 looking good with 59 degrees. Not a bad day to head out to Alcatraz; and Los Angeles, the L.A. base (ph) in a high of 68.

That's your forecast. I think we've covered all the bases.


WOLF: Anything we'll have to need (INAUDIBLE).


NGUYEN: It's a pretty good day to head out to Alcatraz.

WOLF: Even a good day, I have a cold (ph), probably not to be in Alcatraz, incarcerated there. No, they don't do that anymore. Then we're talking about...

NGUYEN: Yes, a long time ago. Thank you, Reynolds.

HOLMES: All right. Thanks, buddy.

Well, at least 20 dead, 21 injured as the Russian navy deals with another disaster at sea onboard one of its nuclear submarines. A military official says, the submarine had a fire safety system that malfunctioned; this was during a test run in the Sea of Japan. Well, eight years ago, you may remember all 118 crew members died when a Russian sub sank after an on-board torpedo explosion.

NGUYEN: A Canadian journalist who was kidnapped in Afghanistan last month is now free. Melissa Fung was released yesterday after negotiations by tribal leaders and government officials. Fung says her captors kept her blindfolded in a small underground cave that she could barely stand up in, but she says they did not hurt her.

HOLMES: All right. Transition to power and a major home upgrade. I don't know if you can get a bigger upgrade than this one. President- elect Barack Obama checking out his new digs on Monday, those new digs happen to be the White House. He and his wife, Michelle, are meeting the president and first lady at that home.

Our deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser, has only gotten the tour of the regular public tour of the White House. He joins us now.

All right. So, what's going to happen? Are we going to see him pull up to the White House in a U-haul, pull out his flat screen, 50-inch TV, his basketballs and everything? How is thing going to go?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, not yet. They actually don't officially move in until January 20th after the inauguration. So, they're just kind of getting a look at it, maybe measuring the drapes. Remember John McCain during the campaign kept saying that Barack Obama is measuring the drapes already? Well, he won the election. He's now allowed to measure those drapes.

They'll get a tour from the first lady and from the president. And then Barack Obama has also said that he and the president will sit down and have a serious discussion because -- hey, there's a lot of stuff needed to talk about, the financial crisis, the two war, the threat of terror. They have a lot to talk about. The president, of course, reached out and spoke to Barack Obama right after the election.

And so far, there have been some really nice words from both sides, talking about making a smooth transition, T.J.

HOLMES: Yes. And this is what happens -- we get nice words now, but Barack Obama was pounding President Bush during this entire campaign season, and now, he get to go hang out at his house.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, there was some tough language, but we know that's what campaign politics is all about. The election is now over and, I guess, you know, they realize a smooth transition, especially in a post-9/11 world is very important.

Hey, T.J., one other thing about Barack Obama and Michelle...


STEINHAUSER: They were able actually to go out last night and enjoyed Saturday night. They went to, one of their favorite restaurants, an Italian restaurant in Downtown Chicago. They both got dressed up. This was their first night out since the election. It's the same restaurant they went for their anniversary and for her birthday. So, you know, a rare night out for them.

HOLMES: Well, they really do like that place. I'm wondering if she's wondering, can you take me somewhere else, Barack? We keep eating at the same place. But, yes, it was a late night as well. It's like an 11:00 dinner, wasn't it?

STEINHAUSER: It is a three-hour dinner, they got out there at 11:00, yes.

HOLMES: A three-hour dinner? All right, give me some more details on that when you got a chance.


HOLMES: Let's talk about the Republican Party. I don't think they were out having fine dinners and dining and having a good time last night. It's a lot of work maybe needs to be done and maybe go back to the drawing board. What is the word out there, or is there a word just yet on what the Republican Party is going to have to do to try to right this ship? They lost so many seats in the House. The Senate doesn't look good for them, just lost the White House. What do they do?

STEINHAUSER: Yes. They've got a lot of questions they need to answer. And first of all is -- what do they do? What is their party all about? What are their core principles? Do they reach out just to those on the right, the conservatives? Or they also try to make a play for independents and for moderates? And who's going to lead the party, as well? A lot of questions -- we may start hearing some answers maybe this week. The Republican Governors Association, all 21 remaining Republican governors meet down in Miami. It will be the first time that party leaders will be getting together since the election. It's a long healing process that's going to start this week, T.J.

HOLMES: All right. Last thing here, you kind of brought up a point there. Who could possibly take the reins here? Who does the Republican Party turn to? Of course, President Bush is going to be stepping down from the White House or out of the White House in a little while. Who do they possibly turn to to be that national leader for this party?

STEINHAUSER: You know, there's lot of names out there, maybe some of the failed presidential candidate from this past campaign. Another the name that comes up, you're hearing from some conservatives, is Newt Gingrich. So, maybe, what is old is new again. We'll see.

HOLMES: What is old is new again. And like you said, some of the failed Republican candidates. So, that's all of them, I guess.


HOLMES: Paul Steinhauser, always good to see you, buddy. We appreciate you. We'll talk to you again soon.


HOLMES: And, of course, the president-elect, when he's not taking his wife out to dinner, he's working on his transition team. We're breaking down the Democratic agenda. Plus, what's next, as we just talked to Paul about, for the Republican Party? Well, John King is going to be talking about that in "Transition to Power," 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

NGUYEN: Hey, I don't blame them. When you find a restaurant that you like, you might as well just keep going back. You know they're going to serve something that you like.

HOLMES: Birthday, anniversary, everything.

NGUYEN: They enjoy it, instead of taking her out to someplace that they don't know if they're going to like and you get (INAUDIBLE) unhappy with. That's all I'm saying.

HOLMES: OK. So, like you've done this. You're like...

NGUYEN: Yes. I've tried too many new restaurants and never exactly get what you want.

HOLMES: All right.

NGUYEN: All right. The mayor-elect, this is quite a story, of this town right here, is the most popular guy around, and not just for his politics. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, I'm having more fun than a drunken cowboy with a brand-new pickup.


NGUYEN: All righty, then. Well, we are going to introduce you to this mayor which has people talking.

HOLMES: And we're going to find the drunken cowboy with a new pickup actually as well.

Also, the outrage continues as protesters marched in anger over the passage of a state measure banning gay marriage. Stay here.


NGUYEN: Take a look at this scary sight in Texas.


NGUYEN: It's a huge cloud of black smoke coming from a warehouse fire. Crews on the ground in Houston got it under control yesterday after just a couple of hours. Now, the warehouse is full of recycled paper materials, and that's what made it difficult for firefighters. The fire chief says it was like fighting a big trash fire.

HOLMES: Yes. Well, to California now, and the state is seeing some of the largest protests against Prop Eight since the measure banning gay marriage was passed on Tuesday.

Police say as many as 10,000 people rallied against that measure yesterday in San Diego. Thousands more demonstrations in L.A. Officials say the marches were peaceful. Nobody was arrested.

NGUYEN: Well, Barack Obama made a whole lot of promises on the campaign trail, but how much can he really accomplish by 2012?

HOLMES: And he already said in that speech, might not be able to get everything done in one year.

NGUYEN: One term.

HOLMES: Or one term.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: Not to say he's getting his re-election queued up already.

NGUYEN: Maybe (ph) he has laid a little groundwork there.

HOLMES: All right. But this weekend, we ask what you want him to get done. Josh Levs going through your answers -- Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you guys, picked up on that, too. It's interesting. So, here's the thing. We invited people to talk about what you want him to actually get done realistically by 2012. I'll tell you, people have been e-mailing us at, they are basically giving Obama their to-do lists.

And we just slapped a few of them on this document here. Let's take a look at this one. People can get pretty specific.

"I would like to see President-elect Barack Obama make a concentrated effort to capture bin Laden, bring him to justice in a military tribunal and make him held accountable. This would go a long way to silence Obama's right-wing conservative critics in this country. It would also prove to the world as a whole that he and his administration are deeply committed to the future security and welfare of the United States. And it would restore the levels of patriotism and unity that our great nation experienced just after that horrible event."

That's from Harold Cook.

Check out this list here. "I would like to see: health care for all, folks on fixed incomes able to eat regularly, legislation for lawmakers to get paid for days worked, stop paying for retired senators and representatives who are felons, reform Wall Street, a serious look at illegal immigrants that have worked here for years, because it's not right splitting up families, so make it possible for them to become citizens."

I'm telling you, people getting specific. That's Renee Estrada in Granbury, Texas.

We got time for I think one more here. "Hello. In the first term I would like to see the following five things done: 75 percent of the armed forces out of Iraq, health care for all, energy efficient vehicles, restructure the bailout, no Social Security contributions required from a second or third job." That's Scott G.

And finally this: "I would like to see Obama end America's dependence on foreign oil." Starting this week (ph), from Kaye Ladewig.

Now, you can send us your thoughts at or check this out, at, we have a section now called "Dear Mr. President." You can send video, photos, stories, just go to It will talk you through how to do that.

And, Betty and T.J., as you can see, our viewers getting pretty specific with Obama on what they expect, realistically, can he get done within that one term he was talking about, 2012.

NGUYEN: We'll see how it plays out.

LEVS: We will.

NGUYEN: OK. Thank you, Josh.

LEVS: OK. HOLMES: Well, we have a very special war veteran being honored. Not just any war veterans, the former aircraft carrier that's now a museum. Yes, the Intrepid reopens to much of delight of thousands of folks.

NGUYEN: Take a look at this. They are not just playing in dirt. They're actually making history. Why people are digging up part of Yankee Museum?



LT. COL. JOHN JONES, U.S. ARMY: This is Lieutenant Colonel John Jones from Kabul, Afghanistan. I like to wish a Happy Veterans Day to my father, John Jones from Hampton, Virginia.


NGUYEN: Well, in New York, the Intrepid, which is a World War II aircraft carrier-turned-museum, reopened for the first time since its multimillion-dollar makeover. And the cheering crowds could not wait to get on board. Here's a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (AUDIO BREAK) got a new dress on. She's now a new lady.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In these two years, Intrepid's exterior has been repaired. She has been given a complete fresh paint job and a contemporary set of interactive hands-on exhibits that tell the story from its commissioning right through to the present day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For us, it's an honor to be able to support the Intrepid reopening and the events surrounding Intrepid this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This ship has been part of the fabric of our city for years, and a great example of the fundamental joy and excitement and energy of our city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my goodness. I've been waiting for this since it left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came down here as a kid, you know, originally, and it was just amazing experience coming here. I'm really excited to come back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're Navy. This is a big Navy event, and we're actually excited to be here to celebrate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty cool, like coming back and actually seeing the grand reopening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have memories of the Intrepid for about the last four or five year. So, we thought it would be really exciting to see everything and be here for the opening day.

UNIDENTIFIED KID: There's a lot of new stuff opening, and we're really into Navy and Army.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So glad to be here. The museum is the best thing around, I'll tell you. It's a nice time.

VICE ADM. MELVIN G. "MEL" WILLIAMS JR., COMMANDER, U.S. 2ND FLEET: We think about our Navy core values of honor, courage, and commitment. If you were to go on the Internet and you were to logon and do a search for the Navy core values, I would ask that someday what would pop on that search engine is Intrepid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the count of three we're going to go. One, two, three.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm almost overcome with emotions because it's been such a battle for the last two years just bringing this ship back. And I'm the aircraft restoration manager, and it's the greatest job in the world. And it's not because I get to play with airplanes just because of the people I get to meet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you walk back into the space, really, even some of the veterans who came back in, it brought tears to their eyes because it made it come alive for them. They remember the times they're on this ship when it was brand-new.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I've come up from Florida, and I wouldn't miss this for all the tea in China.


NGUYEN: All the tea in China he wouldn't take to miss that day. And, boy, what a museum it is. Veterans Day is one to remember. Be sure to Heidi Collins for "CNN NEWSROOM" live from the deck of the Intrepid. Coverage begins at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

HOLMES: All right. We've got some other veterans to tell you about, who are showing up at Yankee Stadium. These are former ball players, though. Look at this -- they got some help from a group of young folks. They're digging up home plate and the pitcher's mound at Yankee Stadium.

Why would you do this, you ask? Well, the mound and the dirt from both is going to be taken over to the new stadium that's under construction, which is just right next door.

NGUYEN: Yes, not a far walk.


HOLMES: Don't have to go far.

NGUYEN: Well, politicians often say they reinvent themselves. However, a few do it -- well, most don't do it quite like this mayor- elect of Silverton, Oregon. We're going to introduce you to Stu Rasmussen, who is doing it in heels.


NGUYEN: Well, change definitely in the air this election. Take Stu Rasmussen, for example, OK?


NGUYEN: So, he ran for mayor of an Oregon town that he actually previously held this office but...

HOLMES: Yes, ran as a different candidate.

NGUYEN: Exactly.

HOLMES: You know, people reinvent themselves.


HOLMES: Didn't just switch parties.


HOLMES: Kind of switched teams, if you will.

Jack Penning from our affiliate KGW with the story.


JACK PENNING, KGW REPORTER (voice-over): A small town of 10,000 in the heart of the Willamette Valley, now a center of political attention.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations. We're very happy and everybody's happy for you.

PENNING: The mayor-elect is the most popular guy here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's very, very devoted to this town.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wants to maintain the integrity of Silverton.

PENNING: Stu won by 13 point, even though Stu...

MAYOR-ELECT STU RASMUSSEN, SILVERTON, OREGON: You're on the water street in downtown Silverton.

PENNING: ... doesn't look like a Stu.

RASMUSSEN: Some guys' mid-life crisis is sports cars or motorcycles, or climbing mountains or trophy wives or whatever. I always wanted cleavage, so I went out and acquired some. It's excellent.

PENNING: Don't get him wrong. Stu is still a man. He has a girlfriend.

RASMUSSEN: I identify mostly as a heterosexual male, but I just happen to like to look like a female.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations, folks. I want to say, "Hi."

RASMUSSEN: Thank you.

PENNING: Stu went public as transgender a few years ago. He wasn't sure what to expect.

RASMUSSEN: The first 30 seconds you think, am I in a freak show? Is there a camera behind me? Or what's going on here?

And then we get down to discussing whatever the issue is, whether it's city business or business or whatever, and they figure out, "Oh, well, this guy's different, but he knows what he's talking about." I was born here.

PENNING: Sure, Stu has been the target of insult and hate, but this little town gave him a huge vote of confidence.

RASMUSSEN: Well, I'm prejudiced but I think this is just about the coolest town on earth. You know, a little emotional. Sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's amazing that a small town like this could be so open-minded to someone that's made a life's change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lovely, how it happens the way you want it to.




PENNING (on camera): You are very well-known.

RASMUSSEN: Yes. Well, I'm hard to miss.

PENNING (voice-over): Never afraid to poke fun at himself, Stu can't wait to take office.

RASMUSSEN: And honestly, I'm having more fun than a drunken cowboy with a brand-new pickup. This has always been a bar.

PENNING: Finally confident enough to be himself as he runs his hometown in heels.


NGUYEN: All right. See, so he didn't switch teams per se.

HOLMES: Yes, but...

NGUYEN: He just wanted to switch the way he looked. HOLMES: I don't want -- yes. OK. He was born and raised there in the town, Silverton, been an elected official there for over 20 years. I can't -- OK.

NGUYEN: Right. To each of his own (ph).

HOLMES: OK. This is why we got a journalism degree, so we could cover stories like this next one -- birth control for squirrels.

NGUYEN: For a lot of people, this matters.

HOLMES: Yes, this is in UC Davis, in California. Students see little squirrels multiplying like little bunnies out there on campus, so they come up with a plan to help control them.

NGUYEN: So, starting this week, facility wildlife experts will catch the squirrels using humane traps, I might add. They'll mark them, release them, and study their behavior. And then catch them again in the summer. Boy, this is a lot of work.

HOLMES: A little bit.

NGUYEN: That's one official's plan to inject the squirrels with the hormone that keep them from procreating.

HOLMES: You have to catch the same squirrel that you...

NGUYEN: Well, apparently, because they're going to mark them and then make sure that they don't go and have other little baby squirrels.

HOLMES: They have to put (ph)...

NGUYEN: That's a lot.

WOLF: Is this really necessary, though? I mean, guys, I mean...

NGUYEN: Hey, look, it, you know...


WOLF: Can we -- if we just maybe get rid of the very wide records and them maybe (INAUDIBLE)...


WOLF: Maybe that might be the best time to kill with cold showers, cold showers maybe the way to go also.

HOLMES: OK. You suggest -- they want to do a study, you want to go and get rid of the (INAUDIBLE) of the sweet music and the setting. OK.

WOLF: It works and it makes perfect sense to me.

HOLMES: All right.

NGUYEN: All right.

HOLMES: And he talks about this with the tropical storm behind me. It's hard to take Reynolds seriously.

NGUYEN: Or any of us with this story.

HOLMES: All right.

NGUYEN: To tell this seriously.

HOLMES: Reynolds -- thank you, buddy.

Well, being president in a tough economy, we're going to be taking a look at the challenges Barack Obama is facing and exploring the calls from who say we need new reforms similar to FDR's New Deal.

NGUYEN: But first, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta starts right now.