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CNN Saturday Morning News

Candidates Getting Ready for Super Tuesday; What Issues are Driving Students to the Polls?; Extreme Weather Creating Delays; Groundhog Day: Will We See More Winter Weather?; Rebel Fighters in Chad; Patriots Vs. Giants

Aired February 02, 2008 - 07:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning, everybody from the CNN Center in Atlanta. It's Saturday, February 2nd. Do you believe we're already in the second month of the year?
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: I was just thinking that.

NGUYEN: Isn't that crazy?

HOLMES: Now that you say it out loud ...

NGUYEN: It resonates. Hi there, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

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

A busy weekend for a lot of folks, including candidates getting ready for the biggest election of primary test, yes (ph), coast-to- coast, campaigning like we have never seen before. We are covering it all for you right here.

NGUYEN: Yes, they may be young but they don't plan to be ignored. I visited several college campuses to see what issues are driving students to the polls. You definitely want to hear why the youth vote will walk this presidential election.

HOLMES: Also, extreme weather creating lots of issues this morning. Trains stuck, flights canceled, major traffic delays. We'll get you the news you need before you head out any where.

NGUYEN: Oh, yes and not-to-forget, look at this, why are these people here in.


NGUYEN: Because it's Groundhog Day. Who can resist Punxsutawney Phil's annual prediction? We'll bring it to you live on this CNN SATURDAY MORNING.

So, are you stuck in the snow like these folks right now over Donner Pass in the Sierras? Amtrak is trying to get a passenger train moving again. It's one of two that became stranded yesterday when a snowplow got stuck near the summit. Workers had been able to get one train moving again and it's heading to Reno. They're trying to clear the tracks so that the other train can get going again. Amtrak says passengers on the train that are stuck do have heat, light, and food.

HOLMES: We want to pass this along as well, a story we're following, unfolding now in the central African nation of Chad. A diplomatic source telling CNN, rebel fighters have entered the capital city from several directions. The source said, heavy gunfire could be heard until just before a short time ago and now, the parliament building being ransacked. No information right now on the whereabouts of Chad's president. We are keeping an eye on this story, a close eye and we're going to continue to update you this morning with information as we get it.

NGUYEN: That is disturbing news.

HOLMES: We will turn to politics here now. Tuesday, millions of folks are heading to the polls in what is the closest thing that we have seen to a national primary, maybe ever.

NGUYEN: Yes, 24 states are in play and we want to give you a look at the Super Tuesday map, it's a big one, very busy there. No one can officially lock up the nomination on Tuesday but they can come pretty darned close.

HOLMES: And one of those battlegrounds for the Democrats is going to be in Connecticut, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are expected there on Monday, and CNN's Jim Acosta expected there for us right now live from Hartford, Connecticut.

Good morning to you, sir.


It's being going to feel like Groundhog Day for these candidates this weekend, they better have their running shoes on as they race across the country for votes on these final days before Super Tuesday. Barack Obama will be in Idaho, Minnesota, and Missouri, while, Hillary Clinton will be out in Los Angeles.

They are starting their way or starting out west and then, making their way across the country in these final days before Super Duper Tuesday, and with more than 20 states up for grabs, Obama and Clinton are essentially making appeals to those last-minute undecided voters, which may explain why Hillary Clinton is trying to make the case that she is the candidate of change, while Barack Obama is making appeals to working class voters, an area where she has had an advantage in the past.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm excited. I am so incredibly excited about what we can do again in our country. I am tired of the fear-mongering and the fatalism that has undermined our capacity to dream big and to set big goals, and to move into the future with confidence and optimism.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You talk about living wage. Teachers, you know, I've been traveling across the country. I'm meeting teachers who are working in doughnut shops after school lets out, just to pay the bills and then, they're digging on their pockets to buy school supplies for their school because, for the class, because the schools don't have enough money.


ACOSTA: And with 20 states up for grabs, Obama and Clinton cannot be in two places at one time so their chief surrogates are hitting the campaign trail on their behalf, John Kerry, the Democratic nominee in the 2004 race, he will be in California campaigning for Barack Obama, while Hillary Clinton's chief surrogate, her husband, Bill Clinton, the former president, will be campaigning down south, where he can make a difference.

Both of these candidates will be meeting up, not really person- to-person but they'll be in the same state almost at the same time and of all places here in Connecticut on Monday, as this race comes down to the wire -- T.J.?

HOLMES: They (ph) of all places and Connecticut there, how big of a deal will Connecticut be? Any idea how close they are in polls there, and I guess what's really at stake there as far as delegates go?

ACOSTA: Well, the delegate count is actually not as high as places like California but on par with states like Massachusetts and Minnesota, and Missouri. So, it is fairly important, but at the same time, this was not guessed to be one of those battleground states. Hillary Clinton in recent weeks had had a considerable lead here but Obama has closed that gap as he has in many of these states which explains a lot of what is happening here on Super Tuesday.

You know, a lot the political observers feel that Hillary Clinton goes into Super Tuesday with a considerable name recognition advantage but because Barack Obama has had so much momentum lately, this is definitely becoming a fight to the finish here for votes -- T.J.?

HOLMES: All right. Jim Acosta there for us in Hartford, Connecticut, Jim, we appreciate you this morning.

Folks, we're giving you another chance to hear the candidates. Catch replays of this week's Democratic and Republican debates from California, the last debate before Super Tuesday. We'll play them back-to-back tonight starting at 7:00 o'clock Eastern.

NGUYEN: While there are still four candidates left in the Republican race, but much of the attention lately is going to just one, that being John McCain. He is collecting endorsements almost as fast as primary wins.

CNN's Mary Snow joins us live from New York this morning as we head into Super Tuesday. It sounds like he's feeling pretty confident.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is, Betty and here in New York this is the second biggest prize in terms of delegates and also in the northeast, Republicans will really be battling it out.

John McCain won the endorsement as we all know now, of Rudy Giuliani who dropped out of the race, that's expected to boost his momentum not only in New York but New Jersey, Connecticut, and he's going to be campaigning later this weekend in Massachusetts, which is really seen as the home turf of his chief rival, Mitt Romney, who used to be the governor of Massachusetts.

This, as the candidates, just like on the Democratic side, are crisscrossing the country, Senator McCain is going to be in the south today in Alabama, Tennessee, those are some of the stops he's going to be making. Yesterday, he was campaigning after they all left California in Illinois, Missouri. He was asked about whether or not he thinks can he win on February 5th and make himself the nominee.

This as Mitt Romney, his rival keeps hammering away at John McCain thinking his strong point is the fact he's trying to tout himself as the conservative candidate and the candidate who can best move along the economy.

Here's a little bit of what those candidates had to say.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: From what we see in the polls, I think that there's a very good chance it could be over on Tuesday, but I think there's still a lot of undecided voters, but I'm hoping that we can, we can -- the sooner we get that done, the sooner I can go to work on uniting the party

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My friends, Senator McCain is a wonderful person, is a national hero and I respect him.


ROMNEY: No, he's a person I respect greatly and he has a number of things that are great strengths of his, but he happened to say that the economy was not his strong suit. Well, at a time like this, in a country like this, I think it's important to have a president for whom the economy is his strong suit.


SNOW: But Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is also in this race, saying that he believes he can do well in the southern states, that's where he was yesterday and some of the midwestern states and he's been taking some jabs at Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee saying that he is the one, Mike Huckabee, as the most conservative candidate and he took a stab at Mitt Romney saying that he only reached political puberty, in his words, just recently, trying to criticize him for switching positions on things like abortion and same-sex marriage -- Betty?

NGUYEN: Wow, only reached political puberty just recently? Pretty tough words.

SNOW: Yes.

NGUYEN: Yes, they are and that going into Super Tuesday. If so, we'll see how that plays out. Mary Snow joining us live from New York, thank you, Mary.

And before you tune into that other ball game tomorrow, you definitely want to check out the CNN "BALLOT BOWL," that's today. It is your chance to hear from the candidates unfiltered. "BALLOT BOWL" coming up at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, only on CNN.

HOLMES: For the first time in four years, the country has lost jobs. The latest employment report is adding to concerns about a possible recession. Labor Department says, employers cut their payrolls by 17,000 jobs in January, yes, shall the first time in four years we've seen numbers like that. President Bush said, it's all the more reason for lawmakers to approve an economic stimulus plan and get those rebate checks in the mail.

Well, this is pretty good work if you can get it, one that pays you $1,300 a second.


HOLMES: That's how much money Exxon Mobil made in record- shattering profits last year. Consumer groups accused the oil industry of profiting at the expense of drivers facing high gas prices. Exxon Mobil says, it earned more than $40 billion last year, more than $11 billion in the fourth quarter alone, those are the highest quarterly and annual profits ever for a U.S. company.

NGUYEN: And that was $1,300 not per hour, but per second.

HOLMES: Per second, so ...

NGUYEN: Gee, just give me an hour doing that job, right?

HOLMES: They earned more than I make in a year and we'll be reading that story, I guess.

NGUYEN: All right. Well, Midwesterners may be used to snow but it doesn't make getting around any easier. Yes, plows were out in force to keep runways clear in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Farther north, this was the scene yesterday at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, where about 500 flights were just canceled, 600 flights were canceled the day before, so, you can imagine that there are some people sitting at the airport right now, maybe even watching us, who are ready to get home.

Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is keeping track of all of the winter woes and he joins us now. In fact, you were out there in some of that mess yesterday.

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, yes. Yes, I was. And you and T.J. were here enjoying the 70 degrees in the studio. How lucky of you.

NGUYEN: Hey, look at it this way at least you're not stuck in an airport right now. You were able to get to your destination.

WOLF: You know, you're absolutely right about that. I mean, a lot of people yesterday, they were so frustrated with the travel. Today is going to be a little bit better. But take a look of what we have on the map in terms of air travel, people leaving Detroit, much of the northeast corridor without any problems. This is our flight tracker. Every airplane you see on the map indicates a flight that's taking off, in flight or landing.

Right now, we have a shot out of Chicago, take a look at the conditions that we have for you with our camera there. Dark as can be, we got cloudy skies and possibly a touch of snowfall once again in the windy city before all is said and done.

We'll have more come up very, very soon. That is the latest on your forecast. Let's send it back to you guys.

NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, Reynolds.

OK. So, talk about feeling energized about this election. Let's take a listen.


NGUYEN: And you actually had butterflies when you watch these primaries?

LAUREN SALZ, COLUMBIA UNIV. YOUNG REPUBLICANS: My knees feel weak like right before the exit polls come in.

NGUYEN: Seriously?

SALZ: It's so exciting for me.


NGUYEN: Butterflies and her knees feel weak, man, that is some serious excitement. I traveled to several universities to see what issues are driving young people vote and you definitely want to hear what they have to say.

HOLMES: You all look like you could be roommates, freshman year.

NGUYEN: I've got a few years on her.

HOLMES: Also, we got a lot of pictures here: Pennsylvania, you probably recognize the scene. We're going to have six more weeks of winter or what? Phil, spill the beans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of the inner circle and make their way up here. Just squeeze together.



NGUYEN: This election season we are seeing a lot of young people energized by the campaigns. In fact, 44 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 will be eligible to vote. That is a lot of ballots at stake. Especially, with so many delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday. So, I traveled to several universities to see what issues are driving the youth vote.


NGUYEN (voice-over): Whether it's on college campuses in Georgia or New York, here's what matters the most to young people across party lines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Resolve this Iraq war.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Immigration is a super important issue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Making sure both our borders and our economy are secure.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our education system.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fighting back against corporations.


NGUYEN: While the issues may vary, many students agree there's a certain excitement surrounding this presidential election. Just listen to Ian Rivera, a sophomore at Saint John's University in Queens.

IAN RIVERA, SOPHOMORE, ST. JOHN'S UNIVERSITY: You know, you look at the primary's record turn out in Iowa and record turn out in New Hampshire, you know, over 500,000 people voting down in South Carolina, and the number of young people that are actually turning out and being engaged, I think that people are seeing more so than they did before how this is affecting them.

NGUYEN: Rivera is a Hillary Clinton supporter who interns with her campaign twice a week. After class, he heads to a bus, and then, takes two subways for the hour-long trip to her headquarters in Manhattan.

RIVERA: I have strong feelings about, you know, my responsibility in terms of taking a direct effect in this election and the way the country is going. NGUYEN: And he's willing to go the distance. Once he finally reaches the Clinton camp, he mans the phones in an effort to dial up support.

RIVERA: So, we're happy and we're ready to go on this end.

NGUYEN: But phone banks are now getting help from Facebook and other Internet tools that reach the masses in split seconds.

AMANDA SOPKO, EMORY STUDENTS FOR BARACK OBAMA: I think it's really, really changing the campaign this year. It's changing how people are campaigning. It's changing how volunteers are talking to each other and I think it's going to end up when we look back being a vital part in how the younger people are going up to vote.

NGUYEN: And the candidates know it, all have their own Facebook pages, but it's more than just a Web site.

(on camera): Politically, you can get messages out by using this.

SALZ: Definitely. Say you join a campaign group, say supporting John McCain, they can send messages to remind to you vote or ask you if you can find people to fund-raise or volunteer for the campaign.

NGUYEN (voice-over): It's a tool Columbia university student, Lauren Salz uses to express her enthusiasm for the election

(on camera): You actually get butterflies?

SALZ: It get so exciting like my knees feel weak right before like the exit polls come in.

NGUYEN: Seriously?

SALZ: It's so exciting for me.

NGUYEN (voice-over): OK. So, not all young people are that thrilled about picking the next president. But with a little music and some nudging, that could change. A nonpartisan group called Headcount goes to concerts across the country, registering young people to vote. Sebastian Freed is a volunteer who says the goal is to get 200,000 people registered this year.

SEBASTIAN FREED, HEADCOUNT VOLUNTEER: It's not just about voting. It's about sort of raising awareness. You know, registering to vote is just a catalyst for people to get involved in democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is the best candidate to lead the country?

NGUYEN: So far, the primaries have shown young people are involved. They're turning out in record numbers. And that's what keeps Rivera going.

RIVERA: You know, getting one voter who gets one voter who gets one voter is something substantial.

NGUYEN: Regardless of who wins, he knows young people have real power in this election, and he's not afraid to step up to the responsibility.


NGUYEN: You know what's really refreshing when you talk to these college students, they are engaged and there's a lot of you know, skepticism out there when a college student, you know, goes to a voter, young people in general, they say, yes, they talk about it but they're not going to show up at the polls.

But we do have research, the Center for Information Research on Civic Learning and Engagement shows that back in 2004, voter turnout among young people surged to its highest level in more than a decade, 11.7 million young people voted, that was 47 percent of those eligible. So, they are showing up at the polls and they do care and they will make a difference in this election if they do show up in those numbers.

HOLMES: Do they seem like they're engaged this time? Because you know, you always see those voter registration drives and kids getting involved. Does it seem like this time they actually have candidates they're excited about?

NGUYEN: They are and when I talked to them, believe it or not, it's not like they were leaning toward any particular person. I know it, when we have a lot of talk about young people getting behind Obama, it just ran the gamut. I mean, the girl that we spoke with was for McCain and of course, we got Ian who was for the Clinton campaign. So, I mean, they're just all over the map and they're very excited about it. We had one that was voting for Edwards, of course, she's going to have to figure out where she wants to send that vote this time around but you know, they are really engaged in this election.

I think it's because it's a real race this time around, that's what I kept hearing from all of them. It's really a race and so they want to get in on the action.

HOLMES: All right. Betty, back on campus.

NGUYEN: Back in school. Teachers, be very afraid.

HOLMES: All right.

Well, folks, we had a very famous weathercaster here, maybe the most famous of all-time. I know what you're thinking: Reynolds Wolf. No, Punxsutawney Phil, does it every year, so, will he or won't he see that shadow today?

NGUYEN: Well, that's the big question. You know, but he doesn't have anything on our meteorologist Reynolds Wolf.

HOLMES: Nothing.

NGUYEN: Nothing at all. We're going to go behind the scenes on location with Reynolds.

HOLMES: Look at that.


HOLMES: That's a weathercaster there folks. Punxsutawney has got nothing on that guy.


HOLMES: All right folks, we got more news in less time here for you. We've got the Quick Hits.

NGUYEN: Yes, in California, almost three million gallons of sewage spilled in the San Francisco Bay. Yuck. Forcing officials to close some beaches well, I'd say so. The spill happened Thursday when a treatment plant overflowed. Officials say the sewage had been partially treated, but I guess that's a little bit of good news. Right now, though, they are working to determine any health concerns.

Listen up, parents. Do you have this car seat at home? Well, we're going to try to get you that graphic. What it is -- is Evenflo is recalling about a million discovery seats made since 2005. The company says, the seat may detach from the base in a high impact side collision. If you have one of the seats contact Evenflo, they'll send you an extra fastener that will keep the seat in place.

HOLMES: All right. A California court has granted Britney Spears' father limited legal control over the pop star's life and finances. Spears returned to a Los Angeles hospital Thursday, the second time in the month this happened, she's undergoing further psychiatric evaluations. The court issued a restraining order against Sam Lutfi, Spears sometimes manager, sometimes friend, strange kind of relationship there, so, the saga continues.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thousands of people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat.


NGUYEN: That's my life like every day, no I'm kidding. You remember this movie, that actually playing on CBS today, you know, when you wake up and it's the same day over and over and over again.

HOLMES: Do you feel like that sometimes, Betty?

NGUYEN: Sometimes I do, I have to admit.

HOLMES: How was today for you? How was this morning?

NGUYEN: It's great. Well, you know, in fact, I should say today is much of the same because it's Groundhog Day.

HOLMES: It is and you know, for as the sun shines (INAUDIBLE), so far will the snow swirl in May?

NGUYEN: Are you OK?

HOLMES: I can't come up with something -- poetics every once in a while.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a first time for everything.

NGUYEN: What did you say?

HOLMES: That's a little bit of the old folklore that's actually attached to Groundhog Day. That is where kind of all came from but we just have a Groundhog Day.

LEVS: Groundhog Day, let's not pretend there's more than one Punxsutawney Phil.


NGUYEN: I think there are over the years. Looks like he may be coming out right now, and if he sees his shadow, how does it work? If he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he doesn't, there will be an early spring. Let's check out this. It's huge, though. You think of this cute little groundhog, and they turn him around. Look at this thing. Wow.

LEVS: He's kind of been overfed.

NGUYEN: What has the guy been eating?

WOLF: I don't really know, but back home where I'm from that means dinner is served. That's what it's all about. I'm telling you, man. This was all about.

HOLMES: Take pictures of dinner and all that stuff.

WOLF: That's what I'm saying in the oven, 350.

LEVS: Reynolds, the goal is for him not to see his shadow. Can't they just blindfold him?

WOLF: Yes, that's a great idea. You know, I was talking to T.J. right during the break, you know what's interesting is usually when you have bad weather for Groundhog Day, you would think with the lack of sunlight he wouldn't be able to see his shadow. The worst the weather, the better of it's going to be. However, with all of the flash bulbs and with all the lighting up there ...

NGUYEN: He's going to see his shadow.

WOLF: Which means that, you know, don't put away your parka just yet.

HOLMES: Who's makes the determination whether or not he sees his shadow. He doesn't tell us, does he? Ooh, there's my shadow. WOLF: I think the mayor of Punxsutawney actually speaks Groundhogese they call it.

LEVS: Only one person at a time is allowed to understand the language they say on their Web site.

NGUYEN: OK. I think we have a declaration coming up. Oh, asking him right now.

WOLF: He's keeping his distance which makes me believe that Punxsutawney Phil needs a mint. He probably has some serious halitosis just ...

NGUYEN: It looks like a decision has been made, folks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye on gobbler's knob on this fabulous Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2008, Punxsutawney Phil, the seer of seers, prognosticator of all prognosticators rose to the call of President Bill Cooper and greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths. After casting a weathered eye towards thousands of his faithful followers, Phil consulted with President Cooper and directed him to the appropriate scroll which proclaims as I look around me, a bright sky I see, and a shadow beside me. Six more weeks of winter it will be!


WOLF: Oh, my goodness!

NGUYEN: I cannot remember that conversation being that long.

WOLF: You know, it's just ridiculous. You got to be angry. You know, Phil when does this, he actually does it alone. When I go out on location I need an entire team.

Here's a look behind the scenes.


WOLF: Hi, folks. Today, I'm coming to you from snowy St. Louis, where of course we're covering this winter precipitation. When it comes to covering stories for CNN in terms of weather in the field we cover everything from tornadoes to flooding to heat waves, it's always something going on around this great country of ours to cover in terms of the strange weather.

But the thing is when you put a story together, it really takes a lot of stuff, takes a lot of elements other than just being in front of the camera. We've got all of this equipment that you see here, you got your tripods, you got your lighting, all crucial parts of telling the story.

The other big part is just this truck itself, it's a rental vehicle and in the field this tends to be our office. You see right there, you got my backpack, I got my cell phone, my blackberry, my sharpie, always have to have one of those, that pad to help you jot down perfect points.

Something else that is obviously a very important element is the handsome shooter. Take a look at this guy. This is Jay Schesnyder (ph). I've been lucky enough to work with Jay for a while in the field and Jay knows full well how interesting this unpredictable weather stories could be.

What we're going to do is we're going to show you some other elements of the story. You see these cables, we're going to step over carefully, all of these sending the energy to the truck, all the signals that will help us get the story out to you. And of you look at the top of the truck, there's the dish that sends that signal up in space to the satellites and then back into your homes, so, you can see what we're doing.

But another huge part of the story is the truck and the people in it. Two very important people, one of them is Alex Walker. Alex Walker is, think of him as kind of being the mother hen. He's our field producer, he keeps us in line and freaks like have to me listen to what he says and he's pretty much the brains behind the operation. Michael Humphrey that you see there is pouring the coffee makes an incredible cup of coffee on a cold day. He is the guy in charge of getting that signal, sending it from the truck up into space and then back to your home.

Guys, how are you holding up? OK?

ALEX WALKER, FIELD PRODUCER: Close the door, it's cold.

WOLF: Close the door, it's cold. Unfortunately, I hear that a lot. We hear that quite a bit out here in the field. Well, anyways, you get an idea of what we do here behind the scenes, the kind of story behind the story if you will. We'll see you guys soon.


WOLF: OK, so you got four guys versus one groundhog, you know.

HOLMES: Who's accurate?

NGUYEN: I think the groundhog is winning here.

WOLF: I man, I'll let it build up and let it percolate and come back later on.

NGUYEN: Should that be an e-mail question, who is more accurate, Punxsutawney Phil or Reynolds Wolf?

WOLF: I'm just going to go away and cry. Guys, I'm leaving a sec. I'll see you later.

NGUYEN: No, Reynolds.

LEVS: I'm just bottling it up. I'll do some calculations this morning.

NGUYEN: Well, you're keeping folks honest. So, the answer would be?

LEVS: I am. (INAUDIBLE) He doesn't want me to tell so I can't tell. We'll wait until after the break.

NGUYEN: So, we'll shift to the campaign trail.

LEVS: Over the campaign trail, yes, we're keeping them honest over there today, too. Because there's something big going on I want to tell you guys about. You know, when voters step inside that booth, what ultimately makes that decision for them? How do they decide at that last second?

Well, I listened to figures and it turns out people in all the different states are giving exactly the same answers. This is how the candidates are tailoring their messages and we're going to tell you all about that. That's coming up guys in a couple of minutes.

NGUYEN: All right.

HOLMES: All right. Thank you, kind sir. We'll see you shortly and we're also gearing (ph) up. There's a game tomorrow.

NGUYEN: Yes, big game.

HOLMES: Yes, pretty big game tomorrow, we're going to be talking about the hype, the economic impact with our guy, pretty Ricky.


NGUYEN: All right. So, there are just three days to go until Super Tuesday, where voters from coast to coast will choose their candidates.

HOLMES: Yes, about 24 states in all with more than 2,600 delegates up for grabs. Here's where the candidates are standing right about now. John McCain leads the Republican race, he's got 97 delegates; Mitt Romney not too far behind with 74; 1,191 is the magic number on the Republican side to clinch the nomination, more than 1,000 Republicans delegates at stake on Tuesday.

NGUYEN: Well, the Democrats have more than 2,000 delegates at stake. Here's how they stack up right now. Hillary Clinton leads with 232 delegates, Barack Obama, 158. 2,025 delegates are needed to take the nomination.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain picked up important endorsements in California from the "Los Angeles Times" newspaper. This is the first time the "L.A. Times" has endorsed presidential candidates since 1972. But it may be important to note that the paper's parent company was sold to an investment group last year.

HOLMES: And be sure folks, stay with CNN for our extensive coverage of Super Tuesday. This is a marathon and we've been getting in shape for this thing, we have been training hard. We should have a bit of rocky music training now, we've been training like that. The best political team on television, hunkering down in the CNN Election Center to bring you 40 straight hours of coverage. It all takes off 6:00 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday night.

Of course, we know who the front-runners are ahead of Super Tuesday, how did they get there? What are the issues, the promises, personalities, what was it?

NGUYEN: And the personalities could be key in this election. Josh Levs has been just poring over the exit poll information, with the primaries, the caucuses and all of that. And you really found some revealing information?

LEVS: Yes, it was pretty stunning to me. Because we're talking about 24 different states, right? And if you look at the different states so far, you keep getting different results. So, my theory was obviously people in different areas are having different takes on the election, looking for different things.

So, I pulled out these exit polls and what I found that's so striking is how incredibly similar Americans are and their reasons for why they vote the way they do. Wherever you go in the country, the exit polls are showing exactly the same thing, the candidates know what they're looking for and that is how they're tailoring their messages.

So, I want to do now is summarize for you what they're looking for. All of these different states, let's start with the Democrats. When you ask Democrats after any of these elections what was most important to your vote, same breakdown everywhere, 60 percent of the issues, 40 percent personal qualities.

Now, think about that, when you watch a debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton or any of their ads or any of their stumping, you're hearing a lot of important, like really exploration of specific issues, how you're going to get something done, a lot of talk about issues because that is a clear edge.

Not so, for the Republicans let's go over there now. Everywhere around the country you're finding the same thing, Republicans are split, 50 percent issues, 50 percent personal qualities which means, in the Republican contest there's no clear edge to getting really down into the nitty gritty. Instead, you find that their personal qualities carry just as much emphasis and that's why they're running a little differently on that one.

NGUYEN: So, personality is a big factor in this election on both sides. But when it comes to that personality, what kind of qualities, what kind of specifics are voters looking for?

LEVS: Again, same thing. That's also really interesting, voters all over the place answering that question the same way to this. Let take a look at that one actually. Republicans when they say the number one quality they want to see in whoever their candidate is, shares my values. They all give the same answer. There hasn't been a single state where the answer's been any different. Republicans everywhere, number one quality, shares my values. So, you do hear a lot of talk about value, a lot of positioning that way by candidates. Now, let's go over to the Democrats, no surprise, cha-cha-cha- cha-cha-change, that's what they're looking for on Democratic side, every single state giving the exact same answer by a very big margin. That's why when you see the Democrats talk about change so incredibly often. It really plays out, number one quality they're looking for.

So, as we look ahead to Super Tuesday right with all these different states, we really do know that among Democrats and Republicans nationwide, there's a lot of similarities in the voters. That's why the national messages actually can work, can be tailored to reach all of them.

NGUYEN: Yes, because when you watch the Democratic CNN debate, you could see that they were getting really detailed about their health care plan so that people would understand the differences between the two.

LEVS: But not so for the Republicans like I said.

NGUYEN: That's a good point. OK, thank you, Josh.

LEVS: See you Super Tuesday.

NGUYEN: Yes, definitely, we will be here.

And: A reminder, you can hear the candidates and their own words on today's "BALLOT BOWL." It airs from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

And a lot of snow plus that wintry mix out there. Reynolds Wolf joins us here thankfully because he was out in it yesterday and look at the flights behind you.

WOLF: Yes, I know. I mean, it's getting really busy out there. Certainly, it's a better day for people at Chicago at both airports, not as much in terms of snowfall for today. But it looks like we may have some problems in portions of the Midwest and back into the central plains, definitely in California. We're going to get to that coming up in just a few moments. Right here on CNN.

HOLMES: All right. Thank you, Reynolds. We'll see you shortly.

One is dubbed the ladies man, the other, the boy next door. Which is which, Betty? Tom Brady, Eli Manning, which one is the boy next door, which one is the ladies man?

NGUYEN: Brady is the ladies' man and I will say Manning is the boy next door.

HOLMES: Why would you say is he's a ladies' man?

NGUYEN: Well, I'm just saying.

HOLMES: We're going to be talking Patriots versus Giants, Brady versus Manning, pretty Ricky.

NGUYEN: With the pink helmet.

HOLMES: Good morning.

RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: A lot of stuff here, all of this stuff.

HOLMES: Super Bowl tickets in your left hand there?

HORROW: Right here. We got right here, yes. Again, you can't have them. They're not for you, OK?


NGUYEN: Cut his mike. He's done. We're going to commercial break, folks. We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marry me. I'm the real Miss Brady!

TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: I got a few Miss Bradys in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could I be one of them?

BRADY: You could be.


BRADY: No, I'm a one-woman man.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Brady with his supermodel girlfriend, what do you make of the comparison?

ELI MANNING, NEW YORK GIANTS: You know, I don't read the paper comparing my life to his life. You know, it doesn't mean much to me. It doesn't matter to me. You know, this is about this game and that's all that's important and he's a great player, had an unbelievable season, he's won championships before so, you know, my focus is trying to get our team ready to play.


HOLMES: OK, I asked you earlier which one was the ladies man and which one was the boy.

NGUYEN: It's apparently obvious especially when you've got someone in the crowd saying "marry me."

HOLMES: I guess we got that worked out. I don't need to remind you, folks. It's Super Bowl tomorrow kickoff, scheduled for 6:18 p.m. Eastern time.

NGUYEN: Yes, set your watches, folks. The Patriots and the Giants are the main attraction at the NFL's biggest party and our buddy, sports business analyst Rick Horrow is live in Phoenix this morning. And my first question to you, Rick, is: did you leave our tickets at will call?

HORROW: Yes, your tickets are here, you pick them up and by the way the check is in the mail. So, remember last week, we talked about $700 face value for these? The first Super Bowl, $6 face, 1980, $40 face, so these are more valuable. The answer is still no, you're not getting them.

But I'm going to put all of this stuff down because we've got $100 million in Super Bowl merchandise; we've got the official mascot, Spike. We've got the helmets; we've got the party tickets, which we can talk about as well. So -- I understand.

HOLMES: How much and who's making all of this money on Sunday?

HORROW: Well, the NFL is making a lot of money, but the Arizona chamber, the valley of the sun, $500 million, they've got a new stadium, University of Phoenix stadium, they made a major investment in this deal and of course, the retailers, the shops, the hotels by the way is $700 a night minimum, four-night stay on average. But here's the latest information, if you need a place, there is a monastery.

NGUYEN: I was about to say, yes.

HORROW: Our Lady of Guadalupe, three miles away.

NGUYEN: Yes, because no partying, there's no drinking, there's none of that stuff going on if you stay at monastery.

HORROW: Free beds but you got to be a little quiet.

NGUYEN: Yes, $250 a night I believe.

HORROW: Yes, the nuns won't put a four-night minimum on it though, I don't think.

NGUYEN: Really? Then you got to get out.

HOLMES: What about the game itself and everything surrounding the game. There's even some trash talking going on in a major way right about now.

NGUYEN: Yes, speaking of, I understand they're trying to trademark the 19-0 for a perfect season. I mean, this is before that, the Super Bowl is even played. There's no way, I mean you can say this before the game has hit the field.

HORROW: Oh, there's a game? Yes. Of course that's the problem here. Yes, you can't, you're not going to trademark it, as a Miami Dolphin fan, I'm predicting the Giants 21-17, because my heart is in that perfect season for the Dolphins. The bottom line is this pursuit for perfection will probably make this the most watched Super Bowl ever, clearly, last year's Colts-Bears game 93 million Americans watched and this, that's going to dwarf this. You have the two largest population centers in the northeast and that pursuit for perfection.

HOLMES: How much money you got on the game and how much money will everybody else have on this game? This is a big betting -- is this the biggest betting, sporting event we have every year Super Bowl?

HORROW: Yes, sir no, comment first question. Second question is a lot of significant dollars, $100 million changes hands. And by the way, it's not just the score; 100 to 1 odds, whether Tom Brady at halftime will trip and fall off the stage. Honestly. Who has the first safety? It's 12-1, overtime 12-1 odds it won't go into overtime, even the length of the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner. You've heard it here.

NGUYEN: Oh, my goodness. They will place a bet on anything, in fact, my bet is that you've been out partying. You're looking a little rough today.

HOLMES: A little bit.

NGUYEN: I must add. What have you been up to? Where are the parties that you've been to?

HORROW: My bet is nobody asked you how I looked but the bottom line is $2,000 or so to get into the playboy party, there was a John Travolta party on the Strip near Glendale and the bottom line of all of that is, there were about 600 events, most of them exclusive, if you wanted to buy tickets to all of the parties, you couldn't go, but it's a status symbol you tell your friends, it would cost you nearly 10 grand.


NGUYEN: Six hundred different events?

HORROW: Right, exactly over this two-week period. That's why there's $500 million of impact here.

NGUYEN: What? No pictures, no hidden cameras, no nothing, you didn't come with goods today?

HORROW: This is the second week in the row that we want some serious information for the viewers.


HOLMES: Rick, it's always good to see you. Enjoy yourself, enjoy the game. We can't wait to talk to you.

HORROW: Marginally, good to see you guys, folks.

HOLMES: Why do we continue to invite him back?

NGUYEN: I don't know, it's just abuse, isn't it? HOLMES: My goodness. Of course, Super Bowl Sunday the one time we actually look forward to the commercials of course, especially if game is no good and maybe a blowout like some people are predicting the Patriots might do. Well, coming up at the 10:00 hour we look at the Super Bowl ads, we'll keep talking.

NGUYEN: Not Richard Simmons.

HOLMES: Long after the game is gone and forgotten. Yes, we actually stop and watch the commercial, this is one time a year, we all do.

NGUYEN: And they call him whiplash. You got to see this, I love whiplash. They're showing how the real cowboys ride.

HOLMES: That is ridiculous.

NGUYEN: With chaps and everything.

HOLMES: A mini monkey.

NGUYEN: Look at him. He's the greatest.

HOLMES: You are too excited about this monkey.

NGUYEN: Yes, I am. It lighten my day. He's a trick monkey. A miniature monkey coming up on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. We have it all, folks.



WOLF: Hi, I'm Reynolds Wolf and this is a look at today's cold and flu season report.

And if you're not feeling very good, you're kind of drowsy, you've got a little bit of a fever and your nose is running, chances are you're sick. You may have the cold or flu and you could be living in well, virtually any spot in the country, because if you'll notice much of the map is covered by the blues, the purples and the reds which indicate local activity, regional activity or widespread activity. But there are three lucky exceptions, that being Maine and West Virginia and Florida, those are shaded in green where the activity is only sporadic.

That is a look at today's cold and flu season report.



HOLMES: A really tough start, bloody start for things in Iraq for this month. At least 98 people killed in two bombings in Baghdad on Friday, top Iraqi government official says, the attacks involved mentally disabled women, blown up by remote control and possibly unaware of their fate. It blast happened in a crowded pet markets in different parts of the city. The U.S. military calls both attacks suicide bombings, they blame al Qaeda in Iraq.

NGUYEN: Former U.N. chief, Kofi Annan says, Kenya's government and its main opposition group have agreed on a plan to end the violence plaguing that country. The first thing, though that, leader will try to do and that is to end the bloodshed and restore fundamental rights within 15 days. The Red Cross says, nearly 900 people have been killed and more than 250,000 driven from their homes since violence broke out following disputed elections. Opposition leaders accuse Kenya's president of rigging the vote.

HOLMES: Also, more bad weather for China. The Chinese government said, they expect 10 more days of freezing rain and snow. Disappointing news for thousands of travelers desperate to get home for the New Year. This morning the Chinese government urging them to cash in their tickets and just stay put.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, that's just really devastating because a lot of those migrant worker there, this is their only time to get home and New Year is such a big deal. So, I think (ph) they just need to stay put, that's going to really shatter some of those New Year's resolutions and plans.

Well, Reynolds is up with a look at who is getting bad weather here this weekend in the states.

HOLMES: And later, thousands of job losses and company in an economic downturn but oil companies posting records and profits, that's coming your way at 8:00 eastern.


HOLMES: You'll love this story.

NGUYEN: I do love that little guy.

HOLMES: We're talking about the guy.

NGUYEN: A face only a mother could love right there, huh?

HOLMES: Where is that mama?

NGUYEN: Check out the chaps though. Cowboy hat, get those nice chaps on, even a little monkey can get all dressed up like a cowboy. But this monkey is no ordinary one. His name is Whiplash, this little son of a gun can ride. People are laughing but this is no joke. This guy has been at it for 18 years.

HOLMES: Did you say this is no joke? There's a monkey on a dog and this is not a joke?

NGUYEN: It takes some skill for that monkey to do those things. Look at his tricks. He's going to lean over and touch the ground. Look at that.

HOLMES: He's falling. And he's strapped on to the dog.

NGUYEN: That is part of his tricks.

HOLMES: That is not a trick. He's falling like, somebody get me off this dog.

NGUYEN: Poor Whiplash. See, look, he's reaching toward the ground.

HOLMES: And to do what? Oh, my, gosh.

NGUYEN: To show you how flexible he is.

HOLMES: So, why they call him Whiplash, Betty?

NGUYEN: Well, because he does all kinds of tricks back and forth. I don't know. I'm not his agent. All I know is that he's a cute little monkey on a dog and we don't see it every day so I'm enjoying this. The tiny cowboy has performed more than 30 times during his current two and a half week show at the Ft. Worth stock show and rodeo. He's really a big draw and I'm hoping in the past 18 years, he's gotten some cash for that because he's been put hard to work. You like Whiplash, don't you?

HOLMES: No, I can't get over how much you're into Whiplash.

WOLF: It's terrifying. It's like an episode of "Curious George" gone horribly awry. I mean, I keep expecting the man with the yellow hat with a taser to take care of business. It's the scariest thing I've ever seen.

NGUYEN: Stop it. We're going to get him into the studio one of these days.

HOLMES: He is tied to that dog. He wants to get off. Please.

WOLF: T.J. is right.

NGUYEN: No, he's not. Stop hitting on Whiplash.


WOLF: Let's go right into our forecast and true (ph), no flying monkeys this time. We're just going to talk to you about some flying snowflakes right now mainly up in New York back in Vermont, even to New Hampshire. And in Bangor, Maine and points north (ph), we're seeing a little bit of freezing rain. Meanwhile, back to Chicago, things are dry at the time being but south of Des Moines, north of Columbia, near Kansas City, we're seeing some freezing rain. Heavier snow out west.

We're going to talk with that coming up very soon, right here on CNN.

HOLMES: Hi, you there. Good morning, folks. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, CNN SATURDAY MORNING right here. And I'm T.J. Holmes.

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

Let's get to this report (ph). Extreme weather, certainly affecting your weekend. Snow is stranding some 400 passengers on an Amtrak train. Flights are delayed. The roads are a mess. We have all the news you need this morning.

HOLMES: But we are going to begin with your financial security. Payrolls down, pink slips up, more signs of the troubled economy.

NGUYEN: If you're feeling insecure about your job, it's no wonder. The Labor Department says employers cut payrolls by 17,000 jobs in January. That is the first overall job loss in four years. The Senate votes Monday on its version of a plan to boost the economy with rebate checks. Senators want to expand the House version.

HOLMES: Well, you may feel like you need a home equity loan to fill up your gas tanks these days. But I don't know if you're going to find much sympathy from some of the shareholders at ExxonMobil.

CNN's Brian Todd explains.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Numbers that might make you want to pull away from the pump, ExxonMobil makes the highest yearly and quarterly profits ever for any American company, nearly $11.7 billion in the last three months of 2007, $40.6 million for all of last year. Don't bother doing more math. We can tell you that's $1,300 a second. It's got some politicians again accusing oil companies of gouging.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Children living on the street in America, while ExxonMobil makes $40 million.

TODD: For those in Congress who deal with energy issues, the problem is not so much the profit.

REP. ED MARKEY (D), ENERGY & COMMERCE COMMITTEE: What's wrong is when after reporting the highest profits in the history of any company in the history of the world, that they then turn around and ask for bigger tax breaks.

TODD: Exxon says for every dollar it makes in profits, it pays $2.50 in taxes and denies critics charges that it's keeping supplies down. Oil analysts say we all better hope these companies make big profits. Why? Because it costs more money to find more oil. Analysts say much of the reserves we're now tapping into in the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East may not be available much longer.

The head of Europe's largest oil company recently wrote after 2015, easily accessible supplies of oil and gas probably will no longer keep up with demand, demand from places like China and India. The U.S. government projects those supplies will last much longer, but analysts say oil companies are already trying to explore and drill in harder to reach places, might even have to go into environmentally off limits areas like the Arctic before long and none of that is cheap.

TOM WALLIN, ENERGY INTELLIGENCE: Very deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico or offshore west Africa, the incremental costs of bringing on these kinds of reserves are way, way above the cost that companies have been facing say 10 years ago.

TODD: There's also the challenge of refining. It's getting more difficult and expensive to build and operate refineries and getting harder to find places to build them where communities won't resist. In fact, a new refinery has not been built in the U.S. since the 1970s.

Another big problem, countries hostile or competitive with the U.S. economically have nationalized their oil industries. As a result, Venezuela has pushed Exxon and Conoco Phillips out of large oil fields there. Russia has done the same thing with Shell and BP.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


NGUYEN: The slumping real estate market is taking a toll on the world's largest home improvement retailer. Home Depot says it is cutting the workforce at its Atlanta headquarters by 10 percent. Now that's about 500 jobs. A company spokesman wouldn't say specifically what kind of jobs are being cut, but he says workers will be paid through April 4 and according to its Web site, Home Depot employs more than 345,000 people worldwide.

HOLMES: Well, Ford Motor Company recalling nearly a quarter of a million vehicles to fix a faulty cruise control system. It's Ford's second attempt to fix the problem which the company says can cause some vehicles to catch fire. Recalls involve 1992 through 2003 Econoline vans, the 1992 through '98 Crown Victorias and Grand Marquis, the 1993 Broncos, I guess O.J. needs to check his vehicle maybe, 1995 through '97 F-series stripped chassis with gasoline engines, the '93 to '95 Ford Taurus SHO, also the '92 through '95 Town Cars and the '93 F-series pickups with gasoline engines.

Now, Ford says it will begin notifying owners this month. But you might want to go check out that list online and be sure yourself. (INAUDIBLE) serious problems, also fires with these (INAUDIBLE)

NGUYEN: And look at how long the list is. There's going to be quite a few people that they're going to have to notify because of that. You know what, we are following a story that is unfolding right now in the central African nation of Chad.

HOLMES: A diplomatic source telling us here at CNN that rebel fighters have entered the capital city from several directions and the source says heavy gun fire could be heard until just a short time ago and now the parliament building is being ransacked. No info tight now on the whereabouts of Chad's president. We'll keep you updated as we get more info on this story. NGUYEN: Let's get you some politics right now. Just three days to go until super Tuesday, 24 states in all set to hold primaries, caucuses or conventions. And we do start our coverage off with the candidates on the Republican side. John McCain is riding his way with momentum while Mitt Romney tries to avoid getting washed out to sea.

CNN's Mary Snow joins us live from New York and I know that they're holding a primary coming up on super Tuesday. It's a big one for the Republicans.

SNOW: It is, the second largest prize among the states, Betty, so the Republican candidates, Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney are going to be here in the northeast later this weekend into Monday. But as you said, Senator John McCain is trying to build on his momentum as the front runner and he is hoping that Tuesday will seal the deal, that he'll have enough delegates to be able to become the Republican nominee.

Mitt Romney is trying to stop him in his tracks. Mitt Romney has spent at least $35 million of his own fortune on his campaign. He is hoping that the discontent among conservatives with John McCain will help him and he's trying to build himself as the conservative candidate. Well Mike Huckabee says he is the one with the conservative credentials and he wants to remind people, he says, this is not a two-man race, that he is still in it until super Tuesday.

Here's a little bit of what all the candidates had to say yesterday.


MCCAIN: We are a party that's a conservative, principled, less government, lower taxes, national security, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan party and we have got to unite our party. And I promise you, when I'm the nominee, I will unite this party. I know that I can.

ROMNEY: You strengthen our families by making sure that they have good health care so everybody knows they're going to get the care they need and you strengthen our families by making sure that every child understands that before they have babies themselves, they should get married. It's in the home. It's in the home that kids learn from their mom and dad those enduring values, those enduring values that America rests upon.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm counting on you and the people of Arkansas to help us next Tuesday because if we can get these states like Arkansas and Oklahoma and Missouri and Tennessee and Alabama and Georgia, I'll be on my way to becoming the 44th president of the United States of America.


SNOW: Now, Mike Huckabee feels that he will do best in the south. He's going to be in Alabama today. Senator McCain will also be in Alabama and campaigning in Tennessee and Georgia. Mitt Romney today is going to Utah. Gordon Hinckley, the former president of the Mormon Church passed away earlier this week and Mitt Romney's going to be attending his funeral taking a pause from the campaign trail before he heads out back again later today -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right, CNN's Mary Snow joining us live from New York. Thank you, Mary.

SNOW: Sure.

HOLMES: And the Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama focusing their attention in the west and the Midwest today. On Monday, they're both expected to campaign in Connecticut, one of the battleground states on super Tuesday. It seems like they're all battlegrounds these days. Our Jim Acosta covering the Democrats live for us in Hartford, Connecticut.

Good morning to you again, sir.

ACOSTA: Good morning, T.J.

It's going to feel a lot like Groundhog Day to these candidates, waking up in different places and giving the same speech all over again. They better have their running shoes on because they've got a lot of ground to cover in these final days before super Tuesday. Barack Obama is going to be in Idaho, Minnesota and Missouri today, at least that's his schedule. They're (AUDIO GAP) Los Angeles.

They're starting out west and then racing across the country east, ending up in of all places here in Connecticut which has emerged as one of those battleground states. The place behind me that I'm standing in front of right now is actually the scene for a Barack Obama rally later today. The candidate will not be here, but there will be some supporters here whipping up support for him in this state.

But with 20 states, more than 20 states up for grabs and all of those delegates, these two candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are making their final appeals for undecided voters. Barack Obama is reaching out to working class voters. That's an area where Hillary Clinton has had an advantage in the past.

Meanwhile, the junior senator from New York is making the case that she is the candidate for real change.


CLINTON: I am excited. I am so incredibly excited about what we can do again in our country. I am tired of the fear mongering and the fatalism that has undermined our capacity to dream big and to set big goals and to move into the future with confidence and optimism.


ACOSTA: And the candidates are unable to be in two places at one time as much as these campaigns would like to clone these candidates and put them in different states, they can't, so they're sending out their chief surrogates on their behalf.

John Kerry who was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004, he'll be campaigning in California today which is a huge delegate jackpot of more than 400 delegates. Bill Clinton, the chief surrogate for his wife, he will be campaigning across the south today where he can make a big difference for her -- T.J.?

HOLMES: All right. Jim for us there in Arbor, Connecticut. We appreciate you this morning.

ACOSTA: You bet.

NGUYEN: Well, she is Barack Obama's running mate, not in the presidential ticket, but in life and in an interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien, Michelle Obama talked about the Democrats' history making run for the White House.


MICHELLE OBAMA, BARACK OBAMA'S WIFE: I know that there are people of all races who look upon this with a level of pride and maybe even with a level of amazement. And I hear this all the time. People who come to me or walk up to Barack in tears and they say they never thought that this day would come where they would see, you know, a person of color in the White House, but people say the same thing for a woman as well.


NGUYEN: Michelle Obama says she initially tried to talk her husband out of running for president. As for questions early on about whether he was black enough to appeal to African-American voters, she calls that quote, silliness. We're giving you another chance to here the candidates. Past replays of this week's Democratic and Republican debates from California, the latest debates before super Tuesday. We'll be playing them back to back tonight starting at 7:00 Eastern.

HOLMES: And ongoing weather nightmare in China. Take a look here folks, heavy snow causing problems across the country. The government putting the cost of the storm so far at more than $7 billion. They're expecting even more snow

NGUYEN: And that can cause more trouble for travelers, hundreds of thousands are still waiting at train stations. They're all desperately trying to get home for the lunar New Year on Friday.

HOLMES: The snow here has moved on, but the upper Midwest is still dealing with the aftermath. This is O'Hare airport, Chicago yesterday. The storm canceled more than 1,000 flights Thursday and Friday.

NGUYEN: In the Sierras though, check this out, two Amtrak trains with 400 passengers were stranded overnight when a snowplow got stuck on the tracks. One train returned to Reno for the night but the other had to stay where it was. Amtrak says the passengers do have heat, electricity and food. HOLMES: In the Pacific Northwest, heavy snow blocking mountain passes in Oregon. Authorities warn motorists of high winds, blowing snow and whiteout conditions.

NGUYEN: Bundle up because Punxsutawney Phil has spoken, oh yeah, we speak his language and here's what he said, six more weeks of winter. There's the big guy right there. The groundhog popped out of his barrow this morning. He didn't really pop-out. They pulled him out.

HOLMES: They yanked him out.

NGUYEN: They sure did. They woke him up and yanked him out and of course he's not going to be happy and that's why you're getting six more weeks of winter. In fact, he did see his shadow and everybody gets bad news because of that. But Happy Groundhog Day everybody and for reasons that we're just simply not clear about. some people find this a romantic event.

Witness this wedding proposal. Oh, my goodness, right in front of Punxsutawney Phil's house and he got on the ground to do it. How romantic. I mean yeah, every woman wants this right, every girl's dream. You just want Punxsutawney Phil to pop out in the middle of it for some reason (INAUDIBLE). These people are excited. Not my choice of locations for such an important ...

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness, look at that.

NGUYEN: Who was that?

HOLMES: This is too much. Oh, several people did this?

NGUYEN: It was more than one couple? Maybe it's lucky. Maybe it's a lucky thing to, you know, be proposed to right in the front of Punxsutawney Phil's home on Groundhog Day. If anyone's ever going to do this, you think like maybe a meteorologist would, right.

WOLF: There's no way.

NGUYEN: You didn't do this Reynolds?

WOLF: No, not at all. It's just amazing.

NGUYEN: I think your wife may have killed you.

WOLF: No question about it. Still might, still early in the day. It's only 8:14.


NGUYEN: You painted a perfect picture.

WOLF: We do that. Call me Picasso. There you go.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Reynolds.

WOLF: See you guys.

NGUYEN: And when we come back, we're going to tell you about the drama of the fake crosswalk.

HOLMES: What happened here? The guy says the city would not put in a crosswalk at a busy intersection so he took it upon himself, paint my own crosswalk.

NGUYEN: He was doing his civic duty.

HOLMES: And then he got to step it all the way to jail. We'll explain.

NGUYEN: But first, a preview of today's "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


"HOUSE CALL" is coming to you from L.A. this morning. It's Super Bowl weekend as you know and here's what's in the lineup. Intense ballgames get the adrenaline rushing but could the excitement be bad for your heart? Plus a close encounter on the sidelines gave one man the shock he needed to charge of his life. His story may inspire you. And the story of a wounded warrior, an inspiration of the battlefield and the football field.

We'll have the details on "HOUSE CALL" at 8:30.


NGUYEN: We are following a story that is really unfolding right now in the central African nation of Chad. A diplomatic source tells CNN rebel fighters have entered the capital city from several direction and the source says heavy gun fire could be heard until just a short time ago and now the parliament building is being ransacked. We are also just learning that the U.S. embassy is telling non- emergency U.S. government personnel and eligible family members to leave the country because of the uncertainties about security.

The State Department is not sure where they are in this process of evacuation. At the moment, they have authorized it but as you can imagine, it takes a while for people to start leaving. But again, the U.S. embassy is telling non-emergency U.S. government personnel in Chad to leave due to the uncertainties about securities. Also there is no information on the whereabouts of Chad's president. Of course, a lot going on in this African nation. We will stay on top of all of it and bring you the latest information as it becomes available to us.

Right now though, to get you more news in less time, let's make sure that I got that correct, he's a look at our quick hits.

HOLMES: Officials here in Marin County, California, they say nearly three million gallons of nasty stuff, sewage, spilled into the San Francisco Bay when a pump failed at a waste treatment plant, tests now being done to determine how far the contamination has been spread. To Indiana now where a man took matters into his own hands when the city refused to pay for a crosswalk at an intersection in his neighborhood. Whitney Stump (ph) is his name. He decided to paint the crosswalk himself, like you said Betty, doing his civic duty.

NGUYEN: At least what he thought was.

HOLMES: Thought it was dangerous, people kept ignoring the stop signs there. He was actually charged with mischief for painting the crosswalk because of possible unintended consequences of it, could be dangerous, but he thought he was doing the right thing. He actually painted it once and went back to touch it up and was charged again for a second charge.

NGUYEN: And then went to jail, didn't he?

HOLMES: He had to go to jail because he missed a court date because of it and kind of a mess. But he was trying to do the right thing. But they say a whole walking study needs to be done.

NGUYEN: I think one of the city officials are saying, if someone walks out there thinking it's safe and it's not an official crosswalk, someone gets hit and there's legal ramifications and on and on and on. But the guy just thought he was doing the right thing.

All right. Well, you know it's Groundhog Day and you know what the groundhog said today?

HOLMES: I don't really know what the groundhog says.

NGUYEN: You didn't speak groundhog-ese.

HOLMES: Reynolds does, but we can believe what this guy says. We can believe Josh Levs. We can believe Josh.

NGUYEN: We can believe him, but what about the groundhog? Is Punxsutawney Phil actually right most of the time when he sees his shadow or maybe when he doesn't?

LEVS: That's what I'm trying to find out and the thing is, OK, if he is or isn't, why don't they just bundle him the best forecasts that are out there so that he'll be getting it right every time. We're going to explore that. I'm going to tell you more than you could have ever wanted to know about that little critter coming up right here at CNN, the most trusted name in news.


HOLMES: All right, folks, boy, the French, their politics, their sex. The relationships, oh, this stuff just keeping getting better and better. Yes, that is the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the AP now reporting that he has in fact married his latest girlfriend and now his wife. Carla Bruni is her name, former model. This is a woman he met not too long after he divorced his ex-wife now back in October. It's his second, three time's a charm hopefully (INAUDIBLE). But Sarkozy is 53 now. Bruni is 40-years-old, but of course it's been in a lot of the tabloids about these two spotted here and there and yonder. They haven't been together too long apparently and now being reported by the AP that the two have in fact married in Paris.

NGUYEN: And in case you're wondering out there are you ladies, the bride did wear white. She was ravishing as usual. She's a former supermodel. She's gorgeous.

HOLMES: Can't see her that well there. But she has been rumored to have dated Mick Jagger, I think Kevin Costner is on the list. I think there's even Donald Trump thrown in there somewhere.

NGUYEN: Really? You know all about this lady.

HOLMES: Well, I just know her, it's my job to know these things.

NGUYEN: I see some pictures up on the computer. You've been doing some research, apparently. Close that. It's a good things it wasn't a two-shot, folks.

HOLMES: All right, well congratulations.

NGUYEN: Congratulations, exactly to the new couple.

Have you had your eggs and toast this morning?

HOLMES: No, I have not, but maybe you can give me breakfast here.

NGUYEN: How about some green eggs and ham?

HOLMES: We'll be talking about the green eggs when we come back right after the break.


NGUYEN: Topping our water cooler today, check this out. Is there something wrong? I mean, these aren't eggs that have been colored for Easter. And I know it's, you know, an important thing to remember that there really are green eggs out there and ham. But these green eggs came the natural way.

HOLMES: Really, come on.

NGUYEN: That's what they say.

HOLMES: Something's up.

NGUYEN: That chicken right there is laying the golden-green egg.

HOLMES: They say that no dyes, no artificial coloring involved here. And so, quite naturally, I'm sure there's a pig out there that can throw out some green ham.

NGUYEN: Some green ham. I don't know, maybe Dr. Sanjay Gupta can, you know, help us understand exactly why this is happening.

HOLMES: I don't know, he's ...

NGUYEN: He can diagnose the situation. In fact, he's coming up right now.