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CNN Saturday Morning News

Tropical Storm Barry in Florida; Tuberculosis Patient Speaks Out; Democrats Holding Debate in New Hampshire

Aired June 02, 2007 - 07:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello there everybody from the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia. It is Saturday, June 02. Hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Already into June, halfway through the year. Can you believe it? Hurricane season, it is upon us. Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. Thank you for starting your day with us.

And there is still a lot of buzz about that TB traveler. A lot of people wondering now whether or not he really got married in Greece. Andrew Speaker tells his side of the story this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going to be real good practice storm and I hope it gives everybody an opportunity to prepare.


HOLMES: Right on cue, hurricane season is officially under way and we're watching a tropical storm this morning. Barry is the name, expected to make landfall in Florida today. We're live on the coast.

NGUYEN: We're also live in New Hampshire where Democrats will face off in the next round of presidential debates. All the political news you need is ahead on this CNN SATURDAY MORNING.

We told you the beginning of hurricane season and we begin with some breaking news. We have two tornado watches in Florida now.

HOLMES: And of course we're watching tropical storms as well. And our Betty -- excuse me -- Bonnie Schneider. This is Betty to my right.


HOLMES: This is the other "B".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Betty, Bonnie and then Barbara, right, Barry.

HOLMES: And then Barry...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of "Bs" out there.

HOLMES: And Bonnie is keeping it all straight for us this morning. Good morning to you.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, T.J. and Betty. We have two tornado watches I want to tell you about. The first one includes the Miami-Dade area, Broward County and Palm Beach County. This is for the eastern half of those counties. That goes until 8:00 this morning. But this new tornado watch that was just issued moments ago now includes Orlando and Tampa. And this goes until 3:00 p.m. today. So that's going to be for quite awhile because as we're watching for Tropical Storm Barry to come onshore, the threat for tornadoes will increase.

Not just for South Beach and into Miami, but also further to the north. Looking at the wind and rain right now, you can see heavy rain coming in to areas north of Tampa. The winds have picked up. Here we are just to the south of Tallahassee. We're getting some winds coming in at 23 miles per hour. The wind from Tampa, not too bad and also at Port Saint Lucie they've picked up quite a bit. But they're not at tropical storm force strength just yet.

That will come later today when landfall occurs, or even just before. Here's a look at the latest track, you can see sustained winds with Barry are at 50 miles per hour. The storm has intensified since yesterday, since it actually became a tropical storm yesterday evening. Now we're going to take a closer look at the track. Here's the storm right now. By 2:00 today, landfall occurs somewhere as you can see in the region of western Florida, into the central region. Quickly crashes over the Florida peninsula, and then works its way right along the coastline of the southeast.

And the storm should stay fairly intense, with winds on Sunday morning at 45 miles per hour. So the threat for tropical storm force winds will start around noon today, for the west coast of Florida, and certainly for the east coast, as well. The winds are going to be a concern in terms of power outages and damages. But the good news is with this storm that the rain that's coming in definitely is beneficial.

Let's take a live look at Tampa, Florida, right now. And Tampa, Florida, is under a tropical storm warning at this time. You can see some of the raindrops on the camera there, but a little bit of the sun trying to break through the clouds. I don't think that's going to stick around too long. We also have a live picture of Orlando to show you in Florida, as well.

Central Florida getting hard-hit with rain no doubt about it. That's under a tropical storm inland warning, as well. So we'll see some strong wind in the Orlando, area. This is courtesy of our affiliate WESH, so rain coming down, the tropical storm warning continues for today as does the watch for the northward towards Saint Marks. We will be tracking Tropical Storm Barry throughout the day today and keep you up to date -- T.J., Betty.

HOLMES: All right, Barry, Bonnie and Betty.


HOLMES: I'm going to work this out.


HOLMES: We're going to get through the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You will be tested, my friend.

HOLMES: Thank you, Bonnie.


NGUYEN: Well Iowa is seeing some serious weather, as well. Take a look at this. Here's an I-Report photo of storms that hit Parkview and this was taken by Mindy Wahl. Also in Iowa, though, check this out. A community there just ripped to shreds by a tornado. That storm blew through three communities in the eastern part of the state, and it caused a lot of property damage. But no serious injuries were reported. That's the good news. The region was also, though, hit by a heavy rainstorm causing a lot of flooding in several traffic accidents.

HOLMES: Well, there's a new twist in the saga of the traveling TB patient. Andrew Speaker denies claims made by a local Greek official that he did not get married in Greece. A member of his family provided CNN with a wedding photo hoping to prove, yes, that the ceremony did take place. Meanwhile Speaker went public for the first time apologizing for making the trans-Atlantic flights while infected with a dangerous form of tuberculosis.

In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Speaker says health officials never warned him he'd be a risk to his fellow passengers. Speaker claims they only told him that after he was in Europe.


ANDREW SPEAKER, HOSPITALIZED WITH TUBERCULOSIS: I said what's changed? When I left I was told I wasn't a threat to anyone. When I was left I was told that I wasn't contagious. What's changed? Why are you abandoning me like this and expecting me to turn myself over for an indefinite time? What has changed? And they didn't have an answer to that.


HOLMES: Andrew Speaker says he can back up his claims because his father taped his conversation with health officials before that trip. Georgia law allows such recordings if it's done by a person involved in the conversation. Well, I spoke with Dave Rich who is a friend of Andrew Speaker yesterday. I asked him if Speaker knew the seriousness of his condition.


DAVE RICH, FRIEND OF TB TRAVELER: I believe that nobody really understood what his condition was, including Drew. But, again, you know, the details of his tuberculosis condition, I was not informed of. And I don't believe that Drew knew, as well.

HOLMES: How did you find out? When the story started to come across wires, newspaper reports and breaking news stories and here and there, did it hit in the back of your head, oh, my goodness, they're talking about my friend? Or did you know ahead of time that already that the authorities were after him?

RICH: Well, I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I mean, when I heard that there was a gentleman in Atlanta, who had tuberculosis, that narrowed it down a little bit. But then when I found out that a gentleman in Atlanta had returned from Greece, I said if this is someone else, the circumstances are just fantastic. So, obviously I didn't think it was a coincidence. I figured it was Drew.

HOLMES: And last here, if we all do believe him, and he says he had no idea, that he was that contagious, he knows he got the call while he was over in Europe that he should turn himself in, do you think he acted irresponsibly by not stopping right then and doing what he was told and going to authorities?

RICH: Well, T.J., I really -- I don't really want to get involved in the underlying case. Because, again, facts are coming out at all times. I can only tell you this, that in my time of knowing Drew, he's a close friend of mine, I know him to be a truthful and honest individual, I know him to not -- to be somewhat selfless and to be an upstanding member of the community, so when he says that he didn't know that, I trust him. But again, to the certain facts and circumstances of exactly what took place overseas, I can't state that, as I was not involved.


HOLMES: And again that was Dave Rich, who I spoke to yesterday about his friend Andrew Speaker.

NGUYEN: Well, the U.S. opened fire on a suspected al Qaeda operative. It happened off the northern coast of Somalia. And sources say the attack was launched by a U.S. Navy destroyer deployed in that area. Now there is no word on whether the destroyer hit the intended target. It's believed the al Qaeda operative was involved in the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Those attacks in 1998 killed 240 people.

OK, so if you haven't brushed your teeth just yet, you want to check that toothpaste this morning. There's a federal government warning for toothpaste made in China. The FDA says it may contain a dangerous chemical also used in antifreeze. So far, there have been no cases of anyone being poisoned by tainted toothpaste. The only bad batches found so far were in Miami and Puerto Rico. Now, the chemical has been used as a sweetener in some bargain brands. You can see the full list of the brands in question at

HOLMES: And we are talking politics this morning. And Veronica is doing some of that talking for us. Good morning to you...

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, good morning to you, T.J. and Betty. With the candidates hot on the campaign trail, getting the info you need is all just a click away. I'm going to explain next from the dotcom desk -- Betty.

NGUYEN: And a drive that is being rewarded. We are going to meet teen golf sensation, MacKinzie Kline. She is 15 years old, playing with a heart defect and competing against the world's best this weekend.


NGUYEN: Breaking news, we're taking a live look now at the weather in Florida. Those two tower camera shots, one of Tampa, the other of Orlando. And at the bottom you'll see the radar there. Here's what we're watching. Tropical storm Barry there churning in the Gulf and it's expected to land this afternoon. But because of the tropical storm, it has spawned some tornado watches.

In fact, two tornado watches in northeast Florida. Those are in effect until 3:00 p.m. Of course we're going to stay on top of all of this and bring you the latest with live updates from meteorologist Bonnie Schneider.

HOLMES: Well, it's time to talk. The Democratic president hopefuls are set to square off on Sunday. The Democratic debate will be seen live right here on CNN. The number one issue up for discussion pretty clear, Iraq.

And joining us this morning from Manchester, New Hampshire is CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider. Part of the best political team on television. Good morning to you, sir.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning T.J. Well lots of things have happened in the Democratic race, but you know what? Not much has changed.


W. SCHNEIDER (voice-over): In the months since the Democrats last debated, Congress voted to continue funding the troops in Iraq, without a timeline for withdrawal. Senate leaders announced the bipartisan compromise on immigration. Two new biographies of Hillary Clinton have appeared. Barack Obama has offered a health care plan.

Stories have come out about John Edwards investments, all those subjects are likely to come up in Sunday's debate. But one issue continues to dominate the Democratic race -- Iraq. Democrats in Congress split over the Iraq funding bill. Seven of the eight Democrats running for president opposed the bill including the front- runners, Clinton and Obama voted against it.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand why my colleagues had a tough time on it, but, I couldn't in good conscience say we are just going to continue on a course that is not working.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because the president will not change course. And so we are doing everything we can to persuade him to do that.

W. SCHNEIDER: Edwards denounced it.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They shouldn't have backed down on this one.

W. SCHNEIDER: No Democrat wants to appear less anti-war than the others. Not even the one who voted to continue funding.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You think by us cutting off funding he's going to withdraw troops?

W. SCHNEIDER: Has anything changed in the Democratic race? In five national polls of Democrats taken in April, before the last debate, Clinton led the field. Obama was running second, and Edwards third. The other declared candidates were all in single digits. In five national polls taken since the debate, the standings were unchanged.

Clinton first by a slightly wider margin. Obama second, Edwards third, others in single digits. Lots happened, but nothing changed.


W. SCHNEIDER: The Democratic race looks pretty stable, and Senator Clinton wants to keep it that way. All the other Democrats hope the debate will shake things up -- T.J.

HOLMES: Do we have a better chance of this debate shaking things up than the first one? The format's a little different.

W. SCHNEIDER: Yes, as I understand it, there will be more interaction with the voters. Because they'll have questions from ordinary New Hampshire voters who are very savvy. And maybe, just maybe, there will be some opportunity for the candidates actually to talk to each other. Because that's what a debate is about.

HOLMES: Well, wouldn't that be nice? Bill Schneider for us in New Hampshire. Thank you so much, Bill.

And of course Sunday you can join the best political team on television beginning at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time for a pre-game lineup of the players, their weaknesses, and who's expected to shine. CNN at 7:00 Eastern, Democratic candidates square off. And for the first time, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) taking questions from the voters, then immediately following those debates, who scores, who stumbles.

You can join Larry King, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, John Roberts and the Democratic candidates themselves live for "Raw Politics", a post debate breakdown. It all starts right here Sunday night at 5:00 Eastern.

NGUYEN: And T.J., has one of the most comprehensive political sites on the Web. And Veronica De La Cruz at the dotcom desk joins us to talk about it. I think what's so great about it is you can actually look at the candidates and compare them, right? DE LA CRUZ: Compare them side by side. I'm going to get to all of that in a second. First of all, welcome back.

NGUYEN: Thanks.

DE LA CRUZ: It's good to see you.

NGUYEN: I had a great vacation. But I'm glad to be here.

DE LA CRUZ: We're glad to have you back. You know I know that we're still about, what, 17 months away from the elections. But like Betty was just saying, has compiled everything you need to know about the candidates, the debate and politics in general in one easy-to-use place. It's going to help you make a well-informed decision before you cost your vote in 2008.

First you want to head over to the "Political Ticker". This has all of the latest news from the campaign trail. You can find that at The top story this morning on the ticker is Barack Obama in "Sin City". The Democratic senator from Illinois took a trip to Las Vegas, and told casino workers there that he will join them on the picket line if their contract negotiations break down. For that, the union workers gave him a standing ovation.

We have also launched a special report at This special section is the mother lode of all candidate information right there at your fingertips. You'll find candidate bios and see where each person stands on the issues, supporters, the money, the fund- raising. You can even compare the candidates by matching up various Democrats and Republicans.

And got to tell you about this, Betty, T.J. for a quick diversion, you want to try out the presidential pong game on the CNN election page. You want to pick your favorite candidate and try your skill. But I got to warn you here, it's a lot more difficult than it looks. And just an inside tip, Obama, he's actually -- he's actually a better player than all the rest for some reason. I've tried a couple of them out, and if you go with Obama, you might win the game.


DE LA CRUZ: So that's at

NGUYEN: So in the political match up of pong Obama is the man.

DE LA CRUZ: He's the man.

NGUYEN: OK. Thank you, Veronica -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right. Well, what should you be looking for during the debates? We're going to be talking about. What issues will you be listening for particularly in that Democratic debate? You can actually send us your comments. E-mail us at Tell us what you think. Hope to get to some of those e-mails, read them here on the air a little later today. NGUYEN: And here's a question for you, what should you be looking for during these debates? That's something a lot of people are asking today. Well, the early primaries are changing the game. And we'll explain that in our CNN "Reality Check".

HOLMES: Also, we're going to switch it up a little bit here and talk about this young lady who's an LPGA event. We'll talk about her a little later. She's a pretty strong competitor.

Also we need to show you this, though, something else we're keeping an eye on. A couple of tornado watches happening right now in Florida. Northeast Florida you see there, they expire around 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The folks there under the gun for several more hours, and of course, tropical storm bearing down on Florida, as well. Tropical Storm Barry just a day after the official start of the hurricane season. We're keeping an eye on all this stuff for you. Stay here at CNN.


NGUYEN: All right. Preparing for Tropical Storm Barry. That's going to be on a lot of people's minds today. Nearly the entire Florida Gulf Coast is on alert right now, and just looking at the satellite you see why with Barry expected to make landfall a little bit later today.

HOLMES: And for the latest now from Florida, we're joined by Ferdinand Zogbaum of our affiliate Bay News 9 at Hernando Beach. Ferdinand, give us the update. Good morning to you.

FERDINAND ZOGBAUM, BAY NEWS REPORTER: And good morning to the two of you. Yes, we're at Hernando Beach, which is north of Tampa Bay, about an hour and 20 minutes more or less and as you can see out here, it's sort of an eerie calm right now. This is the Gulf of Mexico and it is flat. That's partly because we have the winds coming offshore.

When Barry makes landfall later today, maybe midday, they're talking the winds should switch around to onshore. So this should become pretty choppy up here. We're actually expecting the possibility of some surge, some coastal flooding, two to three feet, maybe at high tide. The winds are going to pick up. And we should get some more rain.

So far we've gotten a lot of rain here in Hernando County in the Bay area around Tampa. It's been raining all night. Some of the streets are flooded. Not that bad. But we've needed the rain terribly so no one's really complaining. But Barry is supposed to make landfall here around mid-day, so all of this calm out here is going to change. So we will keep everybody posted. Back to you guys.

HOLMES: All right. We appreciate the update and do keep us posted. Ferdinand Zogbaum of our affiliate Bay News 9, thank you so much.

NGUYEN: And we're also going to continue to follow Tropical Storm Barry all morning long. We have a live update with our reporters on the ground. That's going to be happening throughout the day.

HOLMES: Also, politics we're talking about today. Our Joshua Levs is here to talk politics with you and the changing primary dates. Good morning, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And good morning to you. You know what, the early primaries are changing the game for everybody. They're squeezing candidates and spreading them out at the same time. That means this year the debates are quite different, and we are going to tell you what to watch for. That's coming up in the CNN "Reality Check" -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right, and then the man who flew with a rare strain of TB says he's sorry. And we're going to hear his tearful apology.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Protecting your house is important. But protecting your loved ones is top priority. Every family should have a disaster plan. It's easy to understand, and easy to memorize.

DARLENE SPARKS WASHINGTON, DIRECTOR OF PREPAREDNESS, AMERICAN RED CROSS: Individuals and families can get prepared by taking three simple steps. Get a kit, make a plan, and be informed. In that kit, people need food, water supplies for each individual for three days, a crank or battery operated radio, a crank or battery operated flashlight with extra batteries. The plan should actually include two elements.

One is a communications plan. In the communication plan, it should have all the important numbers. In addition the family should have an evacuation plan in case they need to get out of their home or in case they need to get out of the community.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's your tip of the day.

NGUYEN: And for more on how to protect your family and your home from deadly storms tune in to a special edition of "Open House, Prepare and Protect". That's today at 9:30 Eastern right here on CNN.


HOLMES: Tracking Tropical Storm Barry, expected to strike Florida today. We've got live coverage just ahead. We are your hurricane headquarters. And welcome back here to your hurricane headquarters, I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: And good morning, everybody, I'm Betty Nguyen. We want to thank you for starting your day with us.

HOLMES: And we are starting this day by talking about some breaking weather news. Of course we're keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Barry, but also we've got a couple of tornado watches there.

NGUYEN: Yes, two of them in Florida.

HOLMES: At least two in Florida we're keeping an eye on.

NGUYEN: Northeast Florida, in fact, those -- was that sparked by Barry the fact that it's going to be coming ashore later today?

B. SCHNEIDER: Yes, actually Betty, that's one of the typical byproducts we see from tropical systems, is the possibility of tornadoes as they come onshore. Remember the tropical systems coming on with a lot of force. The movement is about 25 miles per hour. And this big system as it comes in, actually has some friction with the land and the winds start to rotate in the upper levels and mid levels of the atmosphere and unfortunately tornadoes can often be a byproduct.

We have two tornado watches now in effect. This one you see here through south Florida, Broward County, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County, the eastern halves of these counties, this goes until 8:00 this morning, so we're almost done with that. But look at this to the north, Orlando, Tampa, who are also under a tornado watch and that tornado watch will go straight through 3:00 p.m. So we are looking at the threat for severe weather straight through the afternoon.

Here's a look at the precipitation. You can see heavy rain now working its way all along the west coast of Florida. A little bit of a break here to the south. And Miami much of the rain is offshore. At this time, not to say we won't get more storms throughout the day. The winds are picking up a bit, particularly to the north, some of them about 22 miles per hour.

In terms of tropical storm force strength or winds above 39 miles per hour, we're likely to see that more towards the noon area and it looks like this will mainly be concentrated in a smaller area more towards Sarasota and a little bit further to the north. So it won't be like very, very windy throughout the entire state of Florida, more in a concentrated zone.

Now taking a look at our satellite perspective, a couple of features happening here. As the storm is offshore we're seeing it becoming a lot less organized. You can see convection here with thunderstorms to the north, and also to the south and this break in the action, as I mentioned, further off towards the west coast of Florida. Here's the latest coordinates and the track. The winds right now are at 50 miles per hour. That's the center of the storm right now at 175 miles southeast of Tampa.

Now, as we put this map into motion, watch what happens. By Saturday afternoon, the storm is onshore, even as early as 2:00 today, and that's where we'll see that concentration of strong winds, possibly gusts over 40 miles per hour. And the risk, of course, for severe weather throughout the afternoon in terms of tornadoes and strong thunderstorms.

The storm will then work its way along the coastline, bringing wind and rain to areas in the coast, particularly in the southeast, and I've been mentioning this before, Betty and T.J., is that the rain we're getting through here is actually quite beneficial, because this zone right here, here's Gainesville up towards Lake City, that's where the fires have been burning. So, this rain will really come at a good time.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Bonnie. We'll be watching that.

HOLMES: All right. And of course, as you're hearing from her, we're keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Barry certainly churning away there in the Gulf Coast.

But also we're showing you video here of an accident that's been blamed on some of the bad weather we're seeing, as well. A double semi you're seeing went across a wet highway in Orlando. And it slammed, as you can see there, into a fire truck it ended up.

Just showing you this video just one of the problems seemingly caused by some of the bad weather we're seeing there in Florida. Of course the tropical storm warning there in effect in Florida's west coast, from really near Fort Myers north to the crook of the panhandle, pretty much the rest of the Florida panhandle under a tropical storm watch right now.

And CNN Gulf Coast correspondent Susan Roesgen is on the road in Florida, leaving Tallahassee. She joins us now on the phone. Hello to you, Susan.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (on phone): Good morning, T.J. We are heading southeast here from Tallahassee toward Keaton Beach, about midway between Tallahassee and Tampa.

What we are still checking with the National Weather Service, we've just learned that they're still expecting landfall between 1:00 and 3:00 this afternoon. I can tell you that on the road here, it's a steady, steady rain, not real heavy here. Really no wind to speak of.

But already just one day into the season, this is the second named storm of the hurricane season. The first, of course, was Tropical Storm Andrea back on May 9th.

And really, it is as Bonnie mentioned in her weather report, it's welcome in terms of the much-needed rain. And it's also a good psychological warm-up for Floridians here.

In fact, there's going to be no Florida sales tax until June 12th to encourage people here to stock up, T.J., on hurricane supplies. Get going, folks won't have to pay the six percent sales tax in hopes that they will get out and be prepared.

I think you may remember the recent survey that came out that said many people alone the coast are simply not prepared and simply don't feel vulnerable in a hurricane season.

And this one is supposed to be especially active. So, this may just be a good warm-up. The National Weather Service told us this morning not to expect much more than heavy rain, and occasional squalls, always the possibility of a tornado. But again, T.J., I think it's a good time for people to remember that we are now in the middle of the beginning of hurricane season, and things could get much worse.

HOLMES: All right. And that is wild to hear that some people still don't take it that seriously sometimes. Especially in Florida, all they've been through over the years.

Some people don't take it seriously. Maybe a good warm-up here and it won't be too bad, like you said this one, but at least get people thinking about it. Susan Roesgen on the road for us there in Florida. Sure we're going to be checking in with you later on. Thank you so much, Susan.

NGUYEN: Well let's talk in politics now, Fred Thompson is moving closer to a full-blown presidential run. The former senator from Tennessee and "Law & Order" actor filed the paperwork to create a fund-raising committee that allows him to gauge support before officially declaring his candidacy. Sources close to Thompson tell CNN he already has the backing of some big Republican donors.

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential hopefuls go head-to-head tomorrow, and you might think a debate this long before the election can't make much of a difference. Make or break a candidate. Well, think again. Because changes in the primary schedule mean a debate this early is more important than ever and Joshua Levs is here with the "Reality Check." Why is it so important for folks to stand out and now, this early on.

JOSHUA LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know why? Because this is not hyperbole. Viewers at this point are going to have more power than they've ever had before at a debate this early on.

Here's what's going on. You understand a lot of states around the country have made their primaries earlier. Well, what that's doing, folks, it's squeezing all the candidates, but it's also spreading them out.

It's squeezing them into a tighter time frame, but it's making them spread out all their financial resources and that means these debates will be a little different from what you've seen before.

Here's some of what to expect in the upcoming debates.


LEVS (voice-over): While the candidates have been slugging it out, the states in which they stump have been in a battle of their own. A race for relevance. And the winner is, a date. February 5, now one of the most important days in next year's political calendar.

All these states moved primaries or caucuses for at least one political party up to February 5th. And all these states are considering doing so, which is how it got the extremely official sounding nickname Super Duper Tuesday. Florida moved its primary for both parties even earlier, January 29th. The goal for each date is to get candidates chasing voters by making promises to help the states and by spending precious campaign cash. They can't possibly campaign hard in person everywhere so expect a ton of TV ads.

JOHN EDWARDS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm John Edwards, and I approved this message.

LEVS: But debates are an inexpensive way to reach people all over the country. And given the new calendar, the candidates need to reach you, fast.

So, expect more push and pull than you'd otherwise see, concise messaging and an intense effort by candidates to set themselves apart. While avoiding something like this from 2003, when Howard Dean was defending his remarks about reaching out to people with confederate flags on their cars.

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: I make no apologies for reaching out to poor, white people.

LEVS: One brief remark that plays badly politically could have seismic repercussions and in the shortened campaign season, there's less time to overcome it.

So expect these folks to duke it out while watching out for political landmines.


LEVS: And keep in mind that while this happening in New Hampshire, a critical early battleground state, they are going to be fighting really hard for your votes, wherever you are all over the country. In fact, that is, they're going to be fighting harder than they ever thought they'd have to this early.

NGUYEN: Is there also additional pressure on these debates early on because this is an open election?

LEVS: This election is amazing. This is the most open election you and I have ever lived through, actually virtually all of our viewers. This is the most open election in 80 years because we have no incumbent president or vice president on either side.

What that means is it's anybody's game on the Republican or the Democratic ticket, and you've got all these incredibly powerful figures in the political scene. People, you know, the first woman with a legitimate shot. The first black male with a legitimate shot, Rudolph Giuliani, whose public identity had a lot to do with post- 9/11. John McCain, a former POW. So what you can see in all these cases is a true, open election. Anybody's game, and that means that they're fighting really, really hard on both sides right now and so, yes, we've got two sets of debates to watch out for.

NGUYEN: And we're going to see them battled out in those debates. Thank you, Josh, because Sunday you can join the best political team on television, beginning at 5:00 p.m. Eastern for a pre-game lineup. The players, their weaknesses, and who's expected to shine.

Then at 7:00 Eastern, Democratic candidates square off. And for the first time, take questions from the voters. Then immediately following those debates, who scored and who stumbled. Join Larry King, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, John Roberts and the Democratic candidates themselves live for "Raw Politics: A Post-Debate Breakdown." It all starts right here, Sunday night at 5:00 Eastern.

HOLMES: Well, there's another conflicting story in the case of the traveling TB patient. Andrew Speaker denies a claim made by a local Greek official that he didn't get married in Greece. And a member of his family provided CNN with a wedding photo hoping to prove that yes, the ceremony took place.

Well, in his first television interview the 31-year-old Atlanta lawyer told ABC's Diane Sawyer he's sorry for making transatlantic flights. Speaker flew to Europe and back to North America, even though he had the drug-resistant form of TB. He apologized for putting his fellow passengers at risk.


ANDREW SPEAKER, TB TRAVELER: I don't expect those people to ever forgive me. I just hope they understand that I truly never meant to put them at harm. I never meant to hurt their families or them. And I just hope they can find a way to forgive me for putting them in harm, because I didn't mean to.


HOLMES: Speaker says health officials originally told him he was not a threat, that he has tape of that conversation to prove it, he says. Georgia law allows such recordings if it's done by a person involved in the conversation.

HOLMES: Well, a young athlete is making her first appearance in the LPGA and she is already making history. We're going to talk to our sports analyst Rick Horrow about 15-year-old MacKinzie Kline.

HOLMES: And you can call this science meets glamour. Don't know if the two should meet. The human skull here is worth its weight and more in diamonds. Kind of curious about this one myself.


HOLMES: I'm going to stick around for this story, actually Betty.


HOLMES: Just keeping you updated here. Folks in Florida under the gun right now, keeping an eye on the weather situation. Of course Barry is bearing down on them. Tropical Storm Barry expected to make landfall there, maybe as early as this afternoon around 2:00, 3:00.

But, with Barry coming, it's bringing a lot of rain and other weather, and two tornado watches that we know of in northeast Florida right now.

In effect, will be until at least 3:00 this afternoon. So a serious weather situation there, even though some of the rain is welcome. Some dry conditions there. But maybe some severe weather is going to come along with it. We're keeping an eye in our Severe Weather Center. Stay with us for the very latest.

NGUYEN: Well, we're also watching this because a teen is making golf history, not for her age or for how well she plays. No golfer MacKinzie Kline's in the history books for what she is not doing in the LPGA. So let's bring in our sports business analyst Rick Horrow who is in West Palm Beach, Florida. Hey there Rick, what do you have on? What is that?

RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: It's the tribute tournament. I was lucky enough to play in the pro am this week near Charleston. The $2.6 million inaugural tournament. Bobby Ginn did it right, he granted MacKinzie Kline the sponsor exemption. We've got to get Sanjay involved though, I've played the pro-am, my neck kind of hurts watching all those women pros blow the ball by me.

NGUYEN: I was about to say, you probably stunk it up.

HORROW: Let's not talk about that.

NGUYEN: Let's get to someone who doesn't, 15-year-old MacKinzie Kline, you know, she was born with this congenital heart defect, and she has been given something that's really unprecedented right now, and that's being allowed the use of a golf cart. And we say unprecedented, because despite her condition, this is something that the LPGA doesn't really do. Correct?

HORROW: Well, I really had the honor of spending a lot of time with her on Wednesday, before and after that pro-am, and she is an incredible spokesperson for the game, and the future, as well.

Yes, she has one ventricle. She had her first operation 11 days later, then 23 weeks later, she had one nine months ago, by the way.

And she's still out there playing. The most interesting thing is she's been the national spokesperson for the children's heart foundation since 10-years-old. She's raised about $750,000 for charity. She can't play without oxygen strapped to a golf cart.

The LPGA said no last year. Yes, this year. Bobby Ginn, the host and owner of the tournament granted her a sponsor's exemption. She didn't play very well that first day. She shot 89. There's a rule saying if you shoot 88 or higher you can't continue. But she's a winner no matter what.

By the way she speaks in 30 second sound bites and she's been doing it since she was 10. So both of you, if she wants to be a journalist, your jobs are not safe.

NGUYEN: Well you know, she is quite amazing. Like you said she had that heart surgery just nine months ago. And to be out there, this being her first time there on the open, and then just, you know, yeah she may not have done stellar.

But better than I could do. So let me ask you about somebody else, though, who is really young for the sport, as well. But she has done so wonderfully, and that is Michelle Wie. Now she played in the tournament but she didn't do so great, did she?

HORROW: No. And there is a different perspective here. You know, the LPGA generally is doing quite well. It's a great business, women's sports. Eight of the top ten players are under 27. And Michelle Wie has really been kind of the poster child, so to speak of the young phenoms.

Except for one thing, she forgot to win. She withdrew, she has a wrist injury. Some were skeptical, we were talking to people around that event as she withdrew. If she shot an 88, she couldn't have played for the rest of the year, so she hasn't been playing very well.

But yet the study came out last week for the top 50 earners, she's the top female athlete earner, $20 million or so off the course. She's number 22, and she hasn't won a tournament yet.

NGUYEN: Hmm, maybe that's how she hurt her wrist, counting all that money that she's making. She is doing phenomenal.

HORROW: Yeah, that's pretty cynical. But I think that might be accurate. There are a lot of resentment. You know, it helps everybody on the tour, corporations love her. She's got deals with Sony and Omega, and Nike. And that's part of her $20 million.

NGUYEN: All right. We are just running out of time. But, Annika Sorenstam is hosting this. And she's taking a bit of a comeback. Real quickly, how well is she doing?

HORROW: Well, very well, big deal, $7 million a year for her. Bobby Ginn has her in a hosting role, just like Jack Nicklaus this week at his memorial service, Arnold Palmer in Orlando, Tiger Woods will host a tournament on July 4th.

She has made some major strides. Women's golf is doing really well, a 10 percent increase in attendance. Bobby Ginn put this on. So everybody's a winner. The only loser, they may not get through this tournament this week. Tropical Storm Barry is bearing down. Now you've got the weather report.

NGUYEN: Yes it is and we're watching that because it's supposed to make land fall later today. Rick Horrow, our sports business analyst. Thanks for your time, as always.

HOLMES: Well, this question not really for you, Betty, but for others. How well can you spell? Yes, of course.

NGUYEN: And what does it mean?

HOLMES: Well, these kids, of course, took on some tough words. We'll show you how they did, that's coming up on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


HOLMES: We are, of course, heavy on politics this weekend, heading into tomorrow night's big Democratic debate.

NGUYEN: But there's plenty of other interesting news to tell you about. And Veronica De La Cruz at the dotcom desk has been scouting the Web for all of that. And she joins us now with it, good morning.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you guys. One of the most popular stories on this morning is a very bizarre piece of art out of London. Check this out, it is the ultimate bling.

Avant-garde artist Damien Hirst created a cast from an 18th century skull and covered it with diamonds. Don't they say diamonds are a ghoul's best friend? No. More than 8,600 flawless diamonds including a large pink one right in the middle of the forehead. If you've got to have it, you want to dig deep because the piece is valued at $98 million and those teeth, the teeth are real.

Also, out of the UK this morning, this video of the legendary Loch Ness monster. Well, the jury is still out. But, the image of something gliding across the surface of the Scottish lake definitely is intriguing. The video was shot last weekend and scientists are now analyzing it for more definitive opinion.

And Betty, T.J., you want to listen very carefully to this next one. It is the world's fastest talker Fran Capo telling a bedtime story.


FRAN CAPO, WORLD'S FASTEST TALKER: OK, kids, mommy's going to read you the three little pigs.


DE LA CRUZ: Excuse me? I definitely heard the word pig in there a couple of times. I'll be back next hour with more on tomorrow night's Democratic debates on CNN, including your i-reports from the campaign trail and we're going to be reading a couple of your e-mails.

We're asking you this morning what issues are you going to be listening for in the debates. You can send your e-mail to And if you have snapshots or video of the candidates, don't forget to e-mail us at Betty and T.J.?

NGUYEN: Just as long as you don't read the e-mails like she did.

DE LA CRUZ: I was going to do that. NGUYEN: OK, thank you.

HOLMES: Scare the mess out of the kid at bedtime.

NGUYEN: No, no, not another story, please.

HOLMES: All right, thanks Veronica. Well, you probably saw this week, the Super Bowl, for the super smart.


NGUYEN: That's exactly what I say. You talking to me? What? The Scripps national spelling bee, so how do the kids cope? That's C- O-P-E. We're going to spell it out with the quirks and all. Stay with us.



HOLMES: All right, well serrefine, I think I'm saying that right. Small forceps for clamping a blood vessel.

NGUYEN: You knew that, right?

HOLMES: I use that lot nowadays. Well, that's not all that it's actually good for.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are correct. You're the champion.


NGUYEN: That is your new champ, 13-year-old Evan O'Dorney is the nation's top speller, winning this year's national spelling bee with serrefine. Now this was his third time competing in the bee. Last year, he finished 14th, not too bad. But after winning it all the home-schooled eighth grader said he still preferred math and music. He said spelling was a bunch of memorization and it was boring.

NGUYEN: He must be really good at math and music, because he's the best speller. This year's bee not just about words, also about actions. And Jeanne Moos takes a look.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Why read a dictionary at spelling bee when you can read faces? The Scripps National Spelling Bee features words that make contestants squinch. Eye-popping words. Words that have kids looking for answers in the back of their head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stapahalo -- stafa -- staffalot ... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it didimus or is it didimis?


MOOS: (on camera) I guess you don't have to be monogamous to spell siphonogamous (ph). These words stump even spell checks.

(voice-over): And when these talented kids get stumped, they get the dreaded ding. For some the writing is on the wall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to ding.

MOOS: For others the writing is in their imagination.


MOOS: They wield invisible pens on their arms, on their hands, on their placards, in the air. No real pens are allowed. You can actually hear their fingers write what's in their mind's eye. If they could only doodle words like -- even experienced spellers are sometimes taken aback.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meliodoisis (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perforatious (ph).


MOOS: No wonder a handful of demonstrators hovered outside the spelling bee protesting the idiosyncrasies of the English language.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's end the I in friend and spell it like end in send and lend.

MOOS: When it comes to spelling bee mannerisms, these are a few of our favorite tics.


MOOS: Contestants know once they utter a letter they can't take it back. Some shield their lips until they're utterly certain. And we call this guy the cougher.


MOOS: He finally coughed out the word pterodology (ph) correctly. A spelling bee sure can sting. A spelling bee can be sweet as honey.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


NGUYEN: Well, hello, everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, you are watching CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes. We're so glad you could be here with us this morning.

Well, first, a new twist involving that TB traveler. He's speaking out and defending himself once again. You're looking at his wedding picture here, to prove that he, in fact, got married there in Greece. We'll be talking about him straight ahead.

NGUYEN: But first, we do want to start with a severe weather watch to tell you about - this in Florida. Preparations are underway for Tropical Storm Barry. That storm is moving closer to landfall, and it is expected to hit sometime later today.

Just take a look. Florida not just getting tropical storm warnings though, but we're also looking at some tornado watches.

So, let's get the latest now from Bonnie Schneider.

HOLMES: She's over in our weather center, keeping an eye on a busy morning and a lot of attention being directed at Florida this morning.


We have a tropical storm watch and warning still up for much of Florida right now. But looking at our satellite perspective, you see much of the thunderstorm activity is mainly to the north of Tampa at this time.

So, the tornado watch that was in effect for south Florida has expired. However, the one that includes Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, this will go until 3 p.m. today, because we still run the risk of severe weather in terms of very strong thunderstorms and tornados throughout much of this region.

Now, taking a look at the latest track, this has been updated for the 8 o'clock coordinates. We just got this in moments ago. The storm is now on the move, moving very quickly to the north-northeast at 20 miles per hour. That places the storm center right now at 84 miles southeast of Tampa, right through this region.

So, really, into Sarasota, the Sarasota area and to Tampa - that's where you're going to see some of the strongest winds when the storm comes onshore. Usually, it is to the right of the storm center. But really, since we're looking at a peninsula, I'd say on both coasts you'll be seeing some very strong winds.

In fact, according to the National Weather Service, a buoy off Cape Canaveral just recently reported a wind gust of 47 miles per hour. So, that is tropical storm force or greater, so we're likely to see very strong winds right through this region here.

Now, let's take a look at some of the warnings that we have posted, so you have a better idea of what to expect. A tropical storm warning continues from Keaton Beach all the way down to Bonita Beach, and that's all the way to the south.

Now, the ones to note are, the winds are going to be quite strong, but we're also looking at the potential of storm surge and some very high tides later on this afternoon when the storm actually comes in, so we could see wave heights as strong as 10 feet later on this afternoon.

Want to talk about rainfall, because, obviously, the beneficial rainfall continues for Florida, and it's actually raining right now where we have the fires burning. So that's some good news.

But the important thing to note is, as we look towards the rain, it will bring about three to five inches in some areas. In other parts of Florida, we could see as much in the next 24 hours as six to seven inches, maybe even isolated spots of 10 inches.

The heaviest rain will hug the coast, mainly the east coast, all the way from South Carolina through coastal Georgia, down through coastal Florida. You can see the areas here in red over the next 24 hours indicate about three to four inches of rain, with one to two mainly for the west coast.

Now, this is just one computer model, or actually a compilation of a few. But the important thing to note is we're looking at a rainmaker for an area that really does need it.

Once again, the tornado watch continues for Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, this area in central Florida, until 3 p.m. That's because the storm isn't expected to come onshore officially until this afternoon. But really, ahead of the storm, as early as the next couple of hours, we're going to see the winds pick up.

So, now is the time, if you haven't done this already, to secure anything in your backyard or your front yard that's loose. Bring it inside, because things will start to blow about.

Those tropical storm force winds are pretty intense. And even though this doesn't seem like a major storm, we could see power outages, and we're certainly likely to see some flooding, because we're going to get a lot of rain in a short amount of time - Betty, T.J.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Bonnie.

HOLMES: And also, what are people doing to get ready for Barry's expected arrival? We get that story from Chris Martinez of affiliate WFTS in St. Petersburg, Florida.


CHRIS MARTINEZ, REPORTER, WFTS-TV, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA (voice-over): Michelle Kosmitis spent the past few weeks getting ready for storm season, and she's now relieved she did. Her boat is her home, so she's now tying extra lines trying to lock it down, as she gets ready for what could be a bumpy few days at the dock. MICHELLE KOSMITIS, HOUSEBOAT RESIDENT, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA: The water hits the pier and then bounces back. So, if it's coming out of the south, it's going to be rocky and rolly.

MARTINEZ: That's really the worst of what people at this St. Pete marina expect, as they are now prepping their boats for Barry, the bay waters already giving a glimpse of what the next 24 hours should bring. And that brings some pre-storm jitters for Debbie Mazor.

DEBBIE MAZOR, RESIDENT, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA: When the water goes up here, we have a ceiling that we want to be careful not to hit. So, it depends on how high it goes.

MARTINEZ: For others, it's whatever winds Barry brings that is potentially the biggest threat. With gusts off the water already blowing in, Mike Smith is taking down his sails and anything else that could get carried away, hoping his "better safe than sorry" attitude will see him through.

MIKE SMITH, BOAT OWNER, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA: That's about all I can do, really, and hope for mild weather.

KOSMITIS: It's going to be a real good practice storm. And I hope it gives everybody an opportunity to prepare.


HOLMES: And please be sure to stay with CNN throughout the day for the latest on Tropical Storm Barry. We'll have a live report from Florida coming up in the next hour.

NGUYEN: And want you to look at this. Much-needed rain in Florida creates a traffic - whoa! Did you see that? A traffic mess right there.

Florida Department of Transportation cameras capture pictures of a semi truck as it just loses control. Here it goes. There you go. It slams into the rail there.

Now, the emergency vehicle that had the lights flashing was involved while the emergency vehicle was responding to an earlier accident.

Nothing but rubble. That's what left dozens of homes in eastern Iowa just in shambles after a tornado ripped through Friday.

Weather officials say the winds reached between 136 and 140 miles per hour - enough to shred trees and flatten houses and just destroy one post office. Officials say the storms caused major damage in three counties, but fortunately, only minor injuries.

Well, the traveling TB patient is on the defensive yet again. This story has twisted and turned. This time, Andrew Speaker denies claims by a local Greek official that he never got married in Greece. HOLMES: Well, here's some proof for you. A member of Speaker's family provided CNN with a wedding photo, hoping to prove that, yes, that ceremony did take place.

Meanwhile, Speaker publicly apologizes for taking commercial flights while infected with that dangerous form of TB.

CNN's Mary Snow has more.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK (voice-over): In an interview with ABC News, Andrew Speaker appeared contrite, even apologized for boarding crowded planes, knowing he had a potentially deadly form of tuberculosis.

ANDREW SPEAKER, TB TRAVELER: I never meant to hurt their families or them. And I just hope they can find a way to forgive me for putting them in harm, because I didn't mean to.

SNOW: Speaker disputes accounts by health officials who met with him before his wedding overseas.

DR. ERIC BENNING, FULTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT: We did tell him in no uncertain terms that he should not travel, and we told him the reasons why.

SNOW: In the ABC interview in his Denver hospital room, Speaker insisted he had proof to the contrary - tape recordings in which health officials told him he was not a risk.

SPEAKER: My father said, OK, now, are you saying you prefer him not to go on the trip because he's a risk to anybody? Or are you simply saying that to cover yourself? And they said, well, we have to tell you that to cover ourselves, but he's not a risk.

SNOW: Another point of contention is what happened when the Centers for Disease Control contacted Speaker in Rome and told him to turn himself over to Italian health authorities.

The CDC advised him not to get on a commercial jet and says it was working on options.

DR. JULIE GERBERDING, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (in telephone briefing): We're really looking for every single viable option that would possibly have allowed the patient to return to the United States and do that in a way that did not pose a risk to other people.

SNOW: Speaker was forceful in disputing that claim.

SPEAKER: That is a complete lie.

SNOW: Speaker says he was told the CDC couldn't provide a way out of Italy. And he says he defied the orders to stay in Italy, because he feared he would die if he didn't get to Denver for treatment.

SNOW (on camera): Speaker admitted to ABC that maybe it wasn't the best decision for him to leave Europe on a commercial flight. But he says he felt that the CDC had abandoned him.

In Denver, where he's receiving specialized medical care, doctors say he could be hospitalized for months.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: Andrew Speaker's father says he doesn't like the way his son is being portrayed in the media. Ted Speaker says his son would not have disobeyed doctor's orders, if he had been told point-blank not to travel. He says the media is exaggerating the situation.


TED SPEAKER, FATHER OF TB PATIENT: The way he's being shown and spoken about on TV is like a terrorist traveling around the world, escaping authorities. This is blown out of proportion immensely.


HOLMES: Well, and it turns out, Andrew Speaker's new father-in- law is a CDC researcher with expertise in - you guessed it - tuberculosis.


ROBERT C. COOKSEY, FATHER-IN-LAW OF TB PATIENT: I wasn't involved in any decisions my son-in-law made regarding his travel. I well appreciate the potential harm that can be caused by diseases by TB. I would never knowingly put my daughter, friends or anyone else at risk from such a disease.


HOLMES: Cooksey says neither he nor his CDC lab was the source of Speaker's tuberculosis.

NGUYEN: Well, here is a closer look at the specific strain of tuberculosis and why it has health officials so concerned. It's called XDR. That is short for extensively drug resistant. And some countries with excellent TB programs show a cure rate of only about 30 percent for patients with this strain.

There are several symptoms of TB, and they include weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats.

HOLMES: You need to check that toothpaste. Bad batches from China have government officials issuing a warning. What you need to know is coming up next.

NGUYEN: And he can spell words that can stump adults many times his age. Hear the secret to his success a little later on CNN's SATURDAY MORNING.

HOLMES: And on the eve of a big debate in New Hampshire, what makes that state so important for presidential candidates and the race.


HOLMES: He was sent to prison for second-degree murder. Now he is a free man - Dr. Jack Kevorkian, also known as "Dr. Death," the pathologist and supporter of assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

He was sentenced in '99 for as many as 25 years for helping a Michigan man end his own life. Kevorkian says he's looking forward to a few days of privacy.


DR. JACK KEVORKIAN, ASSISTED SUICIDE ADVOCATE: It's one of the high points in life.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you feeling?


HOLMES: And one of the terms of Kevorkian's parole - he promises to not help anyone commit suicide.

And Dr. Jack Kevorkian talks to Larry King live. That's Monday, June 4th, 9 Eastern, right here on CNN.

NGUYEN: All right. If you haven't brushed your teeth just yet, you might want to check the toothpaste first.

There is a federal government warning this morning for toothpaste made in China. The FDA says it may contain a dangerous chemical also used in antifreeze, of all things.

So far, there have been no cases of anyone being poisoned by tainted toothpaste. The only bad batches found so far were in Miami and Puerto Rico.

Now, the chemical has been used as a sweetener in some bargain brands, and you can see the full list of these brands in question at

A new spelling bee champ has been crowned, and that is 13-year- old Evan O'Dorney of California. He just breezed through the competition last night - actually, that was Thursday night - to win the 80th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. The home-schooled eighth-grader aced the word "serrefine." Can you spell it? Because he did. And he became the last one standing.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are correct. You're the champion.



NGUYEN: That is the new champ. And O'Dorney says he knew the winning word the moment that he heard it. How's that for you. He talked about his win on CNN'S AMERICAN MORNING.


KIRAN CHETRY, ANCHOR, CNN'S AMERICAN MORNING: What did it feel like when you heard the word and you knew that you knew how to spell it?

O'DORNEY: I saw that I was going to win. And I just saw that, because I had been studying really hard for two years, it just seemed like a natural conclusion.

CHETRY: Were you surprised that you won?

O'DORNEY: Not really.

CHETRY: You didn't look surprised that you won either. You were quite confident.

Tell us, what do you do to train for a spelling bee?

O'DORNEY: Well, we've gone through the dictionary and written down any of the words that we think I might have trouble with. And so - and during the phase of the dictionary, we don't attempt any memorization.

And then, once we've gotten through the dictionary, we started to use different coloring systems to help me remember the words and indicate which words were still giving me trouble.


NGUYEN: Hand signals work, as well. While O'Dorney enjoys spelling, he also prefers math. He plans to attend math camp this summer and will be taking calculus this fall at UC-Berkeley. That is one smart kid.


NGUYEN: Unbelievable. Thirteen years old. Unbelievable.

DE LA CRUZ: Well, a word that I can definitely spell - politics - we're talking politics online this morning.

I've got your e-mails and iReports coming up from the campaign trail. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, DENVER, COLORADO: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta from Denver, Colorado, for a very special edition of HOUSE CALL.

Behind me, the Atlanta lawyer, who gained attention for traveling while infected with a deadly tuberculosis strain, is being treated at National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

Now, he's being kept in isolation and infused with strong antibiotics that doctors hope will kill the drug-resistant strain that infects him.

We're going to talk to a surgeon who has more experience treating these kinds of illnesses than perhaps any other doctor in the country. We're also going to look at the type of tuberculosis that is such a concern for public health officials.

All of that and much more coming up on HOUSE CALL at 8:30.




CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK (voice-over): Your best workout partner may be the one with four legs - your dog.

Tiffany combines her cardio workout with some canine companionship. She runs with Reno, her Labrador.

TIFFANY CARRINGTON, OWNER, DOG RENO: She loves it. It gives her exercise and it makes her more relaxed. And she just loves to be out here in nature. And it's also great exercise for me, and gives us a chance to just kind of bond and be together.

COSTELLO: Border collie mixes Haley and Connor motivate their mom, Robyn, to exercise outdoors.

ROBYN HORTON, OWNER, DOGS HALEY AND CONNOR: When I first got Haley, I lost automatically like five pounds, because I was hiking and walking all the time.

So, it really forced me to get out and be more active.

COSTELLO: The Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Hills Pet Nutrition Company conducted the People and Pets Exercising Together study, and found that after one year of exercising and watching their diets, dogs shed an average of 15 percent of their body weight, and their owners shed five percent of theirs.

DR. JOAN BEAULIEU, VETERINARIAN: Animals get a lot of exercise, which they need to keep them healthy physically, but also mentally. And so, I think it's real healthy for people and their animals to run together.

COSTELLO: But for some people, keeping fit with Fido involves a bit of multitasking.

Carol Costello, CNN, New York.



HOLMES: Well, the presidential election is a year-and-a-half away. But already, plenty of folks are fired up, and Veronica De La Cruz is one of them. She's always ...

DE LA CRUZ: Fired up.

HOLMES: Well, my goodness.

DE LA CRUZ: Fired up. I think that you're actually more fired up than I am. Where is that bag of Twizzlers?

HOLMES: OK. Everybody knows I have a problem.

DE LA CRUZ: Everybody knows. His secret is out.

HOLMES: I have a problem, yes.

DE LA CRUZ: All right. OK.

Well, in our in-box ...

HOLMES: It's fired up, yes.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes. Fired up. The in-box is filling up this morning, and we've some e-mail, a couple of iReports to share with you.

We're going to start with this one. Jonathan Southgate (ph) sent us this photo he shot of Barack Obama speaking at a campaign stop in Charleston, South Carolina. Thanks so much, Jonathan (ph).

This one from Andrew Vergovan (ph). This is a picture of Hillary Clinton speaking to members of the National Organization for Women in San Diego.

Don't forget that you can send us your iReports by logging on to and clicking on that iReport logo.

Let's get now to the e-mail question of the day. We've been asking you, what issues are you going to be looking for in the debates?

Well, this is from Steve in Pennsylvania who writes, "I would ask each candidate whether he or she would be willing to pledge that they would not try to take the country to war with Iran using the same kind of junk intelligence that George W. Bush used to hoodwink the nation into supporting war with Iraq."


DE LA CRUZ: And - well, I said fired up, right?

HOLMES: Yes, a little fired up this morning, yes.

DE LA CRUZ: They're fired up this morning.

Don in South Carolina writes, "I heard that the man that plays on 'Law and Order' may be throwing in his hat for president? I'm sorry, I don't recall his real name at the moment, but I did want to say my says she will vote for him, 'cause he's a great actor. Go figure."

And more e-mails are coming in as we speak, so we're going to get to those a little later in the morning. And next hour we're going to be taking you through that special section online, because we're all fired up this morning.

I don't have a bag of Twizzlers, but, you know, somebody will share.

HOLMES: Well, I'm sorry. By all means, take some with you when you go. You'll be even more fired up.

Veronica, thank you so much. We'll see you again here soon.

NGUYEN: And New Hampshire is a traditional early battleground, a sort of make-it-or-break-it state for some, often setting the tone for the campaigns.

We want to get more now on the Granite State's impact from CNN's Dana Bash, part of the best political team on television.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE (voice- over): The Merrimack Restaurant walls offer a history lesson - snapshots of presidential ambition.

CONNIE FARR, NEW HAMPSHIRE RESTAURANT OWNER: This is Gary Hart when he first in 1982.

BASH: Owner Connie Farr relishes her part in a proud tradition.

FARR: We've been very privileged. I mean, it's not every day that you get to shake hands and sit down and have a bowl of soup or a cheeseburger with a president of the United States.

BASH: New Hampshire can be the gateway to the presidency, but is known just as much for derailing campaigns.

In 1968, a disappointing finish here convinced President Lyndon Johnson not to seek reelection. Another career-ender in 1972 - Democratic frontrunner, Ed Muskie, teared up in the snow, attacking a newspaper publisher for criticizing his wife. ED MUSKIE, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's proved himself to be a gutless coward.


It's fortunate for him he's not on this platform beside me. A good woman ...

BASH: Granite State voters expect lots of candidate face time ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Usually we've done a little homework on their records, and so, we can ask them questions and challenge them, and so on. But I think it makes a good training ground for the candidates.

BASH: ... and can elevate unknowns to contenders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A friend of mine had a coffee for Jimmy Carter in her living room. And we all said, "Who is Jimmy Carter, the peanut farmer?" And we went into her living room, and Jimmy Carter was there. And I thought, wow. This guy is really impressive.

BASH: Some of its lore comes from memorable public events.

JON BREEN, EDITOR, "TELEGRAPH": Can you turn that microphone off, please, for me, if you would?

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!

BASH: New Hampshire made Bill Clinton the comeback kid, helping him survive accusations of draft-dodging and philandering with a second place finish. Yet it doesn't always propel winners.

In 2000, John McCain beat George W. Bush in a landslide, and still lost the nomination.

BASH (on camera): But to borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan, "Here we go again." Its record in picking winners may be mixed, but its place at the head of the presidential primary calendar guarantees that New Hampshire and its legendary stops like this gets another chance at adding to its storied tradition.

Dana Bash, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.


NGUYEN: Mark you calendars, because on Sunday, you can join the best political team on television, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern for a pre-game lineup of the players, their weaknesses and who is expected to shine.

Then at 7 Eastern, Democratic candidates swear off and for the first time take questions from the voters. Then immediately following the debates, who scored and who stumbled. Join Larry King, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, John Roberts and the Democratic candidates themselves, live for "Raw Politics," a post-debate breakdown.

It all starts right here, Sunday night, at 5 Eastern.

HOLMES: And we want to bring you some pictures we're just getting in to the newsroom here of protests happening in Germany. Live pictures here - or this is actually new video. Or which is it? We're going with live pictures here.

All right, then. We've got live pictures here out of Rostock, Germany. This is where protestors are now gathering ahead of the G8 summit. The G8 summit takes place June 6 through 8, but a lot of people are gathering there ahead of it.

And they're coming here to protest a number of things, from a thing, that the group of eight industrialized countries is not doing enough to fight HIV and AIDS, poverty, climate change - all kinds of things - and also questioning the authority of the Group of Eight summit in the first place. Expecting some 100,000 protestors there over the days of the summit, and certainly tens of thousands of police officers have been mobilized, as well.

But the live picture we're bringing you this morning, certainly a situation and the summit itself we're going to be covering here at CNN.

NGUYEN: Well, we do have a bizarre piece of art that is worth its weight in diamonds. Check this out.

Where can you find it? Well, we'll tell you, up next.