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CNN Saturday Morning News

Update on Investigations of the Shooting Deaths of Two College Students; Blizzards Possible in Some Areas of the Country; Possible Primaries in Florida and Michigan: But Who Will Pay?; America for Sale

Aired March 08, 2008 - 07:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. From the CNN center here in Atlanta, Georgia, it's Saturday, March 8th. I'm T.J. Holmes.

HOLMES: Good morning to you. Good Saturday morning.

NGUYEN: Yes, it is. Good morning, everybody. Thanks for joining us. I'm Betty Nguyen.

We have some new information coming to us this morning about the shooting deaths of two college students, Lauren Burke and Eve Carson. You see them there. We want to update you on those investigations.

HOLMES: And some folks waking up to a blizzard this morning, 14 inches possibly of snow expected in parts of the country. We've got the latest on this extreme weather.

NGUYEN: And you can call it a do-over, call it a mulligan, call it a mess, really. The pressure is on to hold primaries or caucuses, again, in Florida and Michigan, but who's going to pay for the bill?

HOLMES: Also: America for sale. The U.S. dollar is at an all- time low and foreign investors are cashing in now. We'll show you who's buying up the properties that some of us cannot afford.

But we will start with those new developments this morning in the shooting death of an Auburn University freshman.

NGUYEN: And there are reports that a person connected to the Lauren Burke case has been arrested, Auburn police are not confirming the reports, but they are holding a news conference this morning at 11:00 Eastern and we're going to bring that to you live when it happens. As you recall, Burke died after she was found shot and wounded a few miles from campus on Tuesday. And police have released pictures of a car similar to Burke's 2001 Honda Civic. Her burned out car was found in a campus parking lot.

Now, anyone who may have seen the car or who may have information about the case should call the Auburn police tipline. Here's that number for you, it's at the bottom of the screen as well, 334-501- 7337. Again, we'll have a live coverage of the police news conference which begins at 11:00 Eastern today. HOLMES: Well, another college student being mourned to tell you about. This one, shot and killed this week, Eve Carson, remembered at her hometown of Athens, Georgia, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a student body president.

Family, friends shared her memories, her thoughts with Nancy Grace on CNN "Headline News."


NANCY GRACE, CNN HEADLINE NEWS HOST: What would you want people to know about Eve?

DORIS GRANUM, CARSON FAMILY FRIEND: The world has lost a potentially, someone who was going to be making changes across the world. She was already started, and she had already begun to do things that she saw that needed to be done, and she went after it.

GRACE: Why did she want to be a doctor?

GRANUM: Oh, I think that's part of her intelligence, that that was probably something that would keep her excited about life, and yet, something that would be of service to other people.


HOLMES: Carson was shot to death early Wednesday, not far from campus. Police are circulating a photo of a possible suspect to law enforcement agencies but they have not released that photo to the public.

Ohio bracing for a major winter hit right now, blizzard warnings in effect.

NGUYEN: Yes, parts of the state will be hit and hit hard by heavy snow, howling winds. Susan Roesgen is there and as she joins us live.

Good morning, Susan.


March sure came in like a lion. Let's hope it goes out like a lamb soon, Betty. You can see, it's snowing here, we are expecting perhaps as much as 15 inches of snow, they're saying. And already, it's affecting the roads.

Yesterday, it was just a mess, more than 600 accidents. More than 600 car crashes reported by the Ohio State Patrol. Now, they're out here, they're working it. Obviously, they're used to bad weather here in the Midwest, but get this, they have already laid 850,000 tons of snow on the roads, that's 200,000 tons more than last year. This has been a really wild, wet, snowy winter -- Betty, T.J.?

NGUYEN: You said they laid 200 tons of snow on the road?

ROESGEN: Oh, I'm so sorry, 850,000 tons of salt. I'm sorry. It is getting cold out here.


ROESGEN: There is some big difference: 200,000 tons more than last year and you know what, guys, they say that this is the worst winter storm in 10 years. It stretches all the way from Cleveland to the north, down here to Cincinnati, closing all kinds of things.

And guess what? Can you imagine St. Patrick's Day parade out here in this? Several St. Patrick parades had to be canceled. It doesn't feel like March at all out here.

NGUYEN: Oh, my goodness. And we're just thankful that you're up and you're actually coherent in that kind of cold out there because it looks like a blizzard behind you.

ROESGEN: It is a blizzard, that's exactly what it is, you bet.

HOLMES: All right. Susan, we appreciate it.

NGUYEN: Stay warm. Yes, get inside the live truck, quickly. Thank you, Susan.

Well, this morning, residents in Lake City, Florida are busy cleaning up from a deadly tornado. At least two people were killed.

HOLMES: And dozens of homes damaged there as well. The winds so strong, it actually knocked, look at this, the house on its side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I've seen the house fall, or the tree on the house behind us fall, and there was my dad, me, my mom and my wife, we was all in the kitchen. Well, we turned to go out and back into the living room, and that's when all of the doors blew open, and I grabbed a hold of her and my mom, and that's when the whole house just flipped over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scary. It was a scary feeling, I never want to experience again, never.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You've never been through like this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never been in a tornado like this, never.


HOLMES: Well, the storm also damaged homes in Tallahassee.

NGUYEN: Well, meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is in the severe weather center tracking some of the storms and many parts of the country today, and looking at Susan, and then, the situation that we saw with the tornadoes, looks like you've got your hands full.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I mean, it just happens. I mean, this is such a big, big storm. It's affecting so many people in so many different ways. We've had, of course, the sleet, the snow, the heavy rain, and of course, tornadoes.

And speaking of tornadoes, right now, let's zoom in on the outer banks of North Carolina. You're going to notice this big red box that we have. This has been put up by the storm prediction center. This is a tornado watch that is in effect for a good part of the, for the eastern half of North Carolina. As we zoom into the outer banks, this is the area that's going to be most susceptible to the morning hours.

Already, we've had some strong thunderstorms, no warnings at this point, but you'll notice in places like Havelock and back in to the outer banks, a lot of this rain is moving over the same topography. We call this a training effect. The ground will be saturated so there's a threat for not only for some tornadoes but even some flash flooding, especially in places with very poor drainage and low-lying spots, too.

Now, over in Norfolk back over into Richmond, scattered rain drops at the time being but we're expecting this to expire. This, a lot of this moisture to move out into the ocean and the tornado watch is going to expire about noontime. However, farther to the west, the snow is going to remain in place.

Susan was going live moments ago in Cincinnati. Take a look what we have for you, as you zoom in even more from Dayton southward to Hamilton, even into Cincinnati, we're seeing this snow coming in. Now, we've got a live image for you. Take a look at this from downtown in Cincinnati.

We're going to take a shot looking down towards the U.S. Bank building. Now, if you'll notice, you see almost a little wave after another, almost like waves on water of the snow. It has a pulsing effect when it comes in.

As we come back to the weather computer, take a look at what we've got behind me. Right on parts of the Ohio River you've got, again, just little waves that are moving right through Cincinnati. Now, we could see up to 14 inches of snow but when you have a blizzard, it's not just the moisture, it also has to do with the wind. And that wind is going to be quite strong at times, some gusts 40, maybe 50 miles an hour.

This area that you see is currently under a warning for the blizzard. We're going to keep an eye on this for you. We got a lot to talk about today, we always do.

Let's send it back to you at news desk.

NGUYEN: You are definitely earning your keep today.

WOLF: We try.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Reynolds.

HOLMES: Thanks, Reynolds. We'll turn to politics now. And the political landscape, relatively quiet today, at least compared to what we've seen recently. But there are two contests to tell you about a today.

NGUYEN: Yes, Republicans caucus in Guam, but most of the attention will be on the state of Wyoming. Twelve Democratic delegates are up for grabs and that may not sound like much, but in a race this tight, every delegate is critical.

HOLMES: And those caucuses there in Wyoming set to begin in about four hours. Republicans already held their caucuses there in Wyoming in early January. You remember who won those? That was so long ago (INAUDIBLE).

NGUYEN: I know it seems like forever.

HOLMES: It was Romney. Remember him?

NGUYEN: That's right. He used to be in the race, but no longer the case.

HOLMES: Back in the day.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, the Mississippi primaries are coming up this Tuesday but the next big test for the Democrats is next month, in Pennsylvania: nearly 200 delegates are at stake. Both the Clinton and Obama campaigns are already hard at work there.

CNN's Jim Acosta will have a live report from Pennsylvania next hour.

HOLMES: Well, Florida and Michigan might be holding their Democratic primaries. I know what you're thinking.

NGUYEN: Again.

HOLMES: Yes, didn't we hear it from them already? Well, they, yes, they had primaries in January against the wishes of the Democratic National Committee.

NGUYEN: Yes. And as punishment, none of the 366 delegates were awarded to anyone. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, they would love to have those now.

HOLMES: Yes, political leaders for both states went on Capitol Hill this week, trying to salvage their primaries. The big question is: who would take pay for these possible do-overs?

NGUYEN: All right. So, if Florida and Michigan want to seat their delegates at the Denver convention, they're going to have to come up with new plans within the next few days.

HOLMES: And a quick review for you, of the nomination math for the Democrats. These are the numbers and they're subject to change. But please bear with us. Right now, a total of 4,047 delegates due at the convention in Denver, 794 of them superdelegates. Securing the nomination requires a simple majority, so, 2,024 delegates. And the dual for delegates, the do-over debate in Florida and Michigan today, Democratic caucuses in Wyoming. We've got so much to talk about and we're going to do that with our deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser. He's coming for us at the next half hour.

NGUYEN: And prepare to be bowled over by our political coverage. CNN "BALLOT BOWL" that is, it's a place where you can get a chance to hear the candidates unfiltered. "BALLOT BOWL" kicks off today, 2:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 a.m. Pacific.

You know, one talented Iraqi boy wasn't shy to do a mike check for our camera. Check it out.


MURTADA, STUDENT: Twenty, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.


NGUYEN: He was excited about that. We're going to talk to some talented Iraqi students who have a whole new perspective on the war. Our Kyra Phillips takes to you Baghdad's only school for the Blind.

HOLMES: Also, are you looking for a deal on property in South Florida, a luxury home maybe? Well, you can get more bang for your buck, you can actually get more bang for your euros. Yes, international investors have an advantage here.



HOLMES: Well, here now, we got a look at some other stories we're following this morning.

NGUYEN: Won't you take a close look at these photos that we're going to put up for you?

New York City police want to talk to this bicyclist, in connection with the Times Square bombing. Surveillance cameras caught him just blocks from the military recruitment center. Now, you see him, we're really not sure. It's really hard to tell with the jacket on. But it was captured minutes after the explosion on Thursday. Police say they found this 10-speed near the street where that cyclist photo was snapped.

And crisis ended. And Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador settle a diplomatic spat that have threatened to get very serious. It started last week when Colombian troops raided Ecuador, and killed a rebel leader and 21 others. Now, there had been talk of war. But yesterday, at a summit of Latin American leaders, Colombia's president apologized for the action and he shook hands with the presidents of Ecuador and Venezuela. HOLMES: All right. We got some video here for you, a police officer talking with the man he pulled over. Did you see that? He couldn't make out there what happened but out of nowhere a suspected drunk driver rams into the police officer. This was in Ohio, this happened Sunday.

Well, the officer actually is OK. You can see the officer did pop back up in this video here but here it is another look at it. The driver now has been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. More charges on the way.

A falling real estate prices and a weak dollar can add up to a bonanza for bargain hunters, especially those overseas.

NGUYEN: Yes, right now, some of the most sought-after properties are luxury homes in South Florida.

And here's CNN's Susan Candiotti.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How about a back yard like this, close to sand and surf, year-round warm weather and exciting night life?

You have no trouble picturing yourself waking up to this view in the morning?

SILVIA FERRY (ph), REAL ESTATE INVESTOR: Yes, I love this area.

OMAR OREV (ph), REAL ESTATE INVESTOR: Yes, I can picture also boats.

CANDIOTTI: Right here on their own dock.

FERRY): I like it, here you can cook a lot.

CANDIOTTI: Silvia Ferry and Omar Orev are on the prowl for a home in Miami Beach. She's Italian, he's Israeli -- an overseas power couple -- investors with big money to spend.

FERRY: This two-bedroom home was listed last year. The listing price last year was 3.4.

CANDIOTTI: That's $3.4 million.

FERRY: Today, it were listed at $2.495.

CANDIOTTI: $1 million savings. Sylvia and Omar don't bat an eye.

OREV: The super euro is buying more than ever.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): International investors are diving into the American real estate market, thanks in part to a weak U.S. dollar, and in Florida, anyway, a 30 percent drop in prices. GREG MCBRIDE, BANKRATE.COM: The U.S. dollar is at an all-time low against the euro. So, those buyers have unprecedented buying power on a currency basis and with falling U.S. home prices, it's making it that much more attractive to them.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): That buying power has American developers openly soliciting European and South American customers, using slick Internet layouts, on-site tourists for brokers and print ads in overseas magazines.

FERRY: This is absolutely the best moment, because it's the best moment for everybody. People who don't make offers today are going to look back and regret, that they didn't buy.

CANDIOTTI: Florida isn't the only hot market for outside investors. Texas is reeling them in, and so, is California. Real estate agents say that main attraction, warm weather and vacation destinations. Is America for sale? Better than foreclosures, market watchers argue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not only do they buy houses, it's just the whole domino effect, they're going to buy house, they're going to remodel, they're going to buy carpeting.

CANDIOTTI: Keeping the economy going, and more often than not, plunking down cash for a piece of America.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.


NGUYEN: And if you point down some euros, it's even a better bargain.

HOLMES: Even a better deal.

NGUYEN: We need to get paid in euros.

HOLMES: Don't (ph), you'll be here from which asked for you (ph).

NGUYEN: Well, not actually our salary but the equivalent over there.

HOLMES: OK. I got you.

Well, folks stay here because we have a story about growing up blind in the middle of a war zone, but seeing hope for the future. Our Kyra Phillips has the story for us.

NGUYEN: And it's been a half century since this state was a player in the Democrats' choice for the White House nominee. Today, it is back in the spotlight.


HOLMES: Oh, look at this. I know you love the dog.


HOLMES: Operation Semper Fido. Several puppies adopted by U.S. Marines in Iraq, sent to the United States to wait their owners' return from deployment.

NGUYEN: Yes, the marines are all based at Camp Pendleton near San Diego and they cared for the dogs since the pups were just two weeks old. Now, the total cost of bringing them to the U.S., oh, about $14,000 but not to fret, because that money was raised through donations. How could you not want to help a little puppy like that? Semper Fido.

HOLMES: Semper Fido, a very creative, a very good name, very appropriate.

NGUYEN: Yes. Here's another story out of Iraq that you really have to see. It's a visit to Baghdad's school for the blind.

HOLMES: And it just might open your eyes to a brighter future for that country.

Here now is CNN's Kyra Phillips.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): As his delicate hands move across the braille, seven-year-old Saad (ph) learns how to read. This is the Al-Noor Institute, Baghdad's only school for the blind. Its resources are scarce, but its impact is tremendous.

Ammar Ali was born blind. He graduated from here 11 years ago, got a bachelor's degree in English at Baghdad University and came back.

(on camera): How does that make you feel? I mean, you were a student here and now you teach here.

AMMAR ALI, TEACHER: Oh, it's kind of -- it's a kind of feeling that cannot be described. Really, really, it's a kind of happiness that cannot be described.

PHILLIPS: Are you sharing that happiness with these children?

ALI: Yes, yes. I feel myself with them.

My mother is Mrs. Brown.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: My mother is Mrs. Brown.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): And these kids feel themselves in Ammar.

I think 11-year-old Murtada is next. He tells me he wants to graduate college, too, and become a translator.

If you have any doubts, well, just listen to his mike check before our interview.

MURTADA, STUDENT: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.


PHILLIPS: Murtada may have been born blind but to him, his gifts are quite clear.

(on camera): Why are you so special?

"God gives me things and takes things away," Murtada tells me. "Even though I'm blind, God gave me cleverness. The lowest grade I ever received is 85. And thanks be to God, I succeed every semester."

These students have quite a courseload. They're learning braille, Arabic, and English. As for history, they're living it.

(on camera): How do these kids imagine the war through sound?

ALI: Imagining things by sounds, they also can feel the things as they hear it.

PHILLIPS: So, how do they feel the war? How does it make them feel?

ALI: The blind people, from the very beginning, they have a great deal of difficulties, so the war adds a problem upon their problems.

PHILLIPS: So, how are you helping them not only deal with being blind, but also being blind in a war zone?

ALI: I put all my experiences at their hand. I always tell them about how to behave well, how to be normal people.

PHILLIPS: And they love you.

ALI: Yes. As I love them all.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): And because of that love, all these kids see is possibility.

Kyra Phillips, CNN, Baghdad.


NGUYEN: What excitement they had, a great story.

HOLMES: It is. And that guy, what insight at that young age to say, you know what? God took away my sight but I got other gifts.

NGUYEN: So many more gifts.

HOLMES: And coming up, a story you got to remember. We'll have this at 10:00 Eastern time, update on the Iraqi boy who touched the hearts of CNN viewers around the world. Youssif, if you remember, five-year-old boy who was attack and set on fire there in Iraq.

NGUYEN: And we want you to take a look at this new exclusive video of Youssif, running as he enters school, he's so excited, something that you wouldn't have seen months ago, but thanks to your donations, he is getting the medical help that he needs.

We're going to speak to his doctor, Peter Grossmann and Arwa Damon who brought us first Youssif's story. That's at 10:00 a.m. Eastern only on CNN.

HOLMES: And Joshua Levs has a reality check for us on the trail today. Good morning to you, sir.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. He even has a Superman backpack. Did you see that? I want to start bringing my stuff to work in one of those. Those are awesome.

All right. You're thinking politics today. So, how much did this week really change the Democratic race? Both sides are expressing confidence, but we are going to show you where the candidates really stand. That's coming up in a few minutes away -- guys?

NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, Josh.

And one life lost, two others changed for the worse. All because of just a few dollars in a tip jar.


NGUYEN: Well, good morning, everybody on this Saturday and welcome back. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And hey there, everybody. I'm T.J. Holmes. Glad you could be here to start your Saturday morning.

NGUYEN: OK. Let's talk about this Wyoming, front and center in the presidential race today. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are battling for the 12 delegates up for grabs in the Wyoming caucuses. Now, the process gets under way in less than four hours. Also on the political calendar today, the Republican caucuses in Guam.

HOLMES: The caucuses today, the do-over debate in Florida and Michigan, the next big battle, and those are just some of the hot topics in presidential politic this is morning.

CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser joins this morning live from us Washington. Sir, it's always good to talk to you. I got skip the pleasantries because we got a lot to get to.

Look, what is going on, Florida and Michigan? This is a hot mess they got going on. How can you possibly resolve this? You're either going to disenfranchise the voters or change the rules? What do they do? PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, they got to solve it though, T.J., because you're right, it is a big mess. First of all, 366 delegates at stake in these two states. That's a lot of delegates and that could help determine what happens in the race between Obama and Clinton.

Second of all, these are two very important states that the Democrats really need to win in November if they want to regain the White House. So, they got to fix this problem. Whether they hold two new contests in these states, whether there are primaries or caucuses, I think, something has to be done.

Because there is no way that the Obama campaign is going to let the original votes stand because Barack Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan, none of the candidates went and campaigned in either of these two states. I guess one problem though, T.J., is who's going to pay for the primaries if they hold new ones?

HOLMES: Have they made ground at all in that area, because there has to be a re-do, surely, somebody they're raising a lot of money here, that both camps could possibly throw in some money, is there any movement at all?

STEINHAUSER: You know, yesterday on "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer, James Carville was talking about this and he said, "Why don't the campaigns put in $15 million each and we'll get this whole thing solved."

I don't know if the campaigns really want to put in that kind of money, because, listen, they need the money to advertise and to campaign for president, but maybe there will be some kind of agreement that the campaigns would put in a little bit, the DNC doesn't want to do it either because, heck, their rules were broken by the states. So, they're still a little upset.

The states don't want to foot this, because that would be taxpayer money. This is a big quandary but, I think, the Democrats need to solve it and solve it soon.

HOLMES: Aren't there, don't they have a limited amount of time? Why is that they only have so much time to decide what they're go to do?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, because the primary calendar for the Democrats ends June 10th. So, if they don't have the primaries by June 10th, then, the window is over. Now, I guess, the Democrats could try to change those rules but they don't want to do that. So, the clock is ticking.

HOLMES: All right. Let's get ahead to couple of other things quickly. There's caucuses going on today in Wyoming, 12 delegates, I believe it is, up for grabs, not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. I know every delegate counts but really all eyes on Pennsylvania, weeks down the road.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, all eyes on Pennsylvania down on April 22nd. But listen, this is what makes it so crazy. How so much is at stake right now that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were in Wyoming yesterday. They went out there just for 12 delegates. Bill Clinton was out there as well.

They're not leaving any stone unturned, you know, the old expression. They need momentum. Right now, Barack Obama needs to win. He didn't do so well on March 4th. Hillary Clinton won the big contest last Tuesday.

Barack Obama thinks he can do very well in Wyoming, it's a caucus state. We got Mississippi coming up Tuesday, a large African-American population. Both candidates are campaigning there as well.

They're going to be everywhere but then, of course, as you mentioned, the big one, Pennsylvania, over 150 delegates at stake.

HOLMES: All right. And something else here that we're getting this morning we need to hit on, that everybody here in the newsroom just mouth going to drop when they read this, this morning. We have this sound we're going to play from a congressman, Steve King, a Republican of Iowa.

We'll listen to it. Let viewers listen to this and you tell us what in the world is going on. So, let's take a listen.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected president of the United States, and I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam?

Now, I would tell you that if he is elected president, then, the radical Islamists, the al Qaeda and the radical Islamist and their supporters will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11th, because they will declare victory in this war on terror.


HOLMES: What? They will be dancing in the streets, al Qaeda, in greater numbers than on September 11th if Barack Obama is elected president. What in the world -- is there any way somebody could explain this and it being taken out of context in any way? What is he trying to say here? And what place does this have in this campaign?

STEINHAUSER: Well, we're reaching out to his office to make sure that he is standing by those comments. He made them yesterday out in Iowa. He was announcing that he was running for re-election. He's from the fifth district of Iowa, it's in the western part of the state, it's a very conservative part of the state.

He is a Republican. He has said that he will be supporting John McCain. He's not most enthusiastic about supporting McCain but he will do it because -- and these comments, listen, I guess, what he's trying to say here is that Barack Obama would be weak on terrorism, you know, but these are pretty provocative comments.

He also brought up Barack Obama's middle name: Hussein, remember we went through this a few weeks ago when that radio talk show host in Cincinnati did the same thing. And listen, we've been through this stuff for over a year. Barack Obama is not a Muslim.

We went through this when Obama first entered the race. These are very provocative comments and the Obama campaign immediately came out and said, these comments have no place whatsoever in this campaign.

HOLMES: Well, when you hear back from Congressman King, by all means, let us know, waiting to hear if he's standing by these comments. But that's one thing to see him in print but we got him on tape there and we hear exactly what he was saying. So, we'll see if he tries to explain this, stand by these comments.

Paul Steinhauser, Paul, it's always good to have you. We appreciate you.

STEINHAUSER: Take care, T.J.

HOLMES: All right.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, we are just one week into March and already, the 2008 primary season is more than half over for the Republicans. There's no mystery left. John McCain is the presumptive nominee.

But for the Democrats, it is a tight race. So, how does the delegate count really stack up?

Well, CNN's Josh Levs is here with a reality check to give us the lowdown on where these numbers stand.

LEVS: All right. Yes, because, you know, we can get great analysis, a review (ph) from Paul and a lot of people that are going breaking that down. Excuse me, we're still waking you, I think.

But here's the problem. You know, it's so easy to get lost in these broad statements and the back and forth. In the end, this is a numbers race. And if you take a look, well, here's exactly where it really stands.


LEVS (voice-over): There's no doubt the race has changed fundamentally.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This nation's coming back and so is this campaign.

LEVS: Clinton's wins in the Ohio and Texas primaries proved this is a tight race that could ultimately go either way. The spin from both camps is that everything is flying high. SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm pretty confident that we're going to end up with more delegates, having won more states, won more primaries, won more caucuses.

CLINTON: The delegate count separating is very, you know, small, relatively. We are really feeling good about where we are.

LEVS: Where is that, exactly?

Here's the basic idea. To win the nomination, a candidate needs 2,024 delegates. At last count, Obama was slightly ahead with more than 1,500, Clinton more than 1,400. There are about 1,000 delegates still to be allocated, about 350 are superdelegates. The rest pledged delegates from state contests.

The biggest prize ahead is Pennsylvania, with 158 delegates in late April. Polls have showing Clinton in the lead there.

There's also the question of what will happen with the Florida and Michigan delegates who are not being counted. They have 366 delegates between them, but at this point, neither Clinton nor Obama can win with just pledged delegates.

Obama says if he ends up with more, then, the superdelegates should join him. The Clinton camp says superdelegates were selected to help choose the nominee. Their party leader seems to agree with Clinton.

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: Everybody knew what the rules were when they got into this. So, to change the rules in the middle of the game is clearly unfair, no matter which candidate it benefits.


LEVS: All right. So, for now, you've got Clinton and Obama both fighting really for every single vote because they want to get as close as possible to that magic number. But they also want to demonstrate to these all important superdelegates, that one candidate has the momentum.

And, guys, the ability to beat John McCain, which brings us back to some of the kinds of comments we're hearing. They're really looking ahead on the Democratic side who can beat John McCain. John McCain is looking to beat both of them. There you go.

NGUYEN: And they got to figure out which one it's going to be.

LEVS: Yes, it's a challenge right now.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Josh.

LEVS: Thanks.

NGUYEN: Well, if you're a political junkie, is the place for you. You can check out our new interactive delegate counter game where you can play real time what if scenarios with delegates and superdelegates. You can see how today's caucuses could affect the race, that and so much more all at

And CNN "BALLOT BOWL," it is your chance to hear the candidates unfiltered. "BALLOT BOWL" kicks off today, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 a.m. Pacific.

HOLMES: Also, off the coast and on the hook, will a massive shark land in the record books?

NGUYEN: Look at that thing.

HOLMES: That is ugly. Real scary.

NGUYEN: Frightening.

Reynolds Wolf is tracking severe weather this hour. That shot alone was severe enough for us, Reynolds.

WOLF: Yes, you know, and if I'm not mistaken, I think they caught that shark off the outer banks of North Carolina, and off the outer banks of North Carolina, you got a tornado watch in effect. It's going to be effect at noon today and then, on the other side of the system, we're talking about some heavy snow, even blizzard conditions in Cincinnati.

Coming up, we're going to give you the whole scope on what's happening weather-wise and how it will affect your weekend. That's moments away.


HOLMES: It's a special reunion for some talented men who transformed the gospel music.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we told them that we cannot use a hammer or nail to help you build a house, but we can bring hope to you with our music. And I think we did that.


HOLMES: That's coming up tomorrow morning on our Faces of Faith. After 60 years of making music, the blind boys of Alabama return to the place where it all started. That's tomorrow, 7:00 Eastern.


HOLMES: Oh, you're taking a look at Cincinnati, Ohio, a live look. It can make for a pretty picture but it's making things pretty treacherous for travel and just life there right now in Cincinnati, and the other parts of Ohio have blizzard warnings in effect there right now and it seems to be going a little fast given the conditions.

But Reynolds Wolf, don't you think that guy was traveling a little fast?

WOLF: Way too fast.

HOLMES: I mean, for the condition there.

WOLF: I mean, he shouldn't even be out there on the roads at this time when you have these blizzard conditions and when you're dealing with, not just snow but in parts, a part of blizzard is the significant wind and that's going to be a big problem. Whiteout conditions are possible for parts of Cincinnati area. So, if you can avoid by getting on the road, by all means, don't.

Watch after (ph) Susan, she's out there doing the best she can to stay warm and bring that story to you.

Let's see what we have, the biggest story with the strong storm system right now, not necessarily the snow but the most dangerous will be the possibility of tornadoes, the outer banks of North Carolina. In fact, south of Elizabeth City we go, we got some strong cells that are developing at this point, nothing severe at this time.

We don't have any tornado vortex signatures that are popping up on radar, but we could see not just the chance of some tornadoes but even some flash flooding. Much of this continues to move over places like Norfolk, (INAUDIBLE) into the outer banks of the ground is saturated. So, flooding may be a problem, it could certainly be a concern for many people.

You know, we were talking about Cincinnati, Cleveland, too, has been under the gun in terms of heavy snowfall. Take a look at this video that we have for you from Cleveland, and again, actually, this is the live image, WEWS shows pretty bad conditions there, too.

Now, I want you not just to focus on the snow on the ground but if you can, look up at that sign, it looks like a sign that you see going to give you signal to cross the street, crossing sign, right above CNN in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.

If you look up at the top, you can see that snow coming down. On the building on the right, you can see the wind just pushing, pushing, pushing those flakes. That's going to be a big, big problem. That's what we're talking about in terms of lowering the visibility.

Now, let's show you some different visibility by coming right back to me and we're going zoom in on Cincinnati, showing you not just, obviously, the snow but some of the temperatures. These are windchills that we have throughout parts of I-75 and 275, temperatures mainly into the single digits, a few places a little bit warmer but not that much in terms of the windchill.

So, when you Susan out there and she's bundled up, it's going to be the same thing for everyone else. They're going to be bundled up, too, if they're getting around Cincinnati, the cold air staying locked in place for tonight and into tomorrow, too, and certainly, throughout the day. Let's send it back to you at the desk.

NGUYEN: All right. Reynolds, I want to stay locked in place for just for a minute because I want you to check this out. WOLF: OK.

NGUYEN: Straight from West Palm Beach, have you ever seen a shark this big? Oh, my goodness. This is jaw-dropping. It's a hammerhead shark and it stretches, get this, almost 14 feet.

HOLMES: Hammerheads are just strange looking, right?

NGUYEN: Yes, especially one that big.

HOLMES: Oh, goodness. So, the scale actually stopped working at just over 1,000 pounds but it still apparently falls short of the record. The fisherman who reeled it in says he was actually hoping the shark would live to swim another day.


FRITZ VAN DER GRIFT, CAUGHT SHARK: It's such a majestic creature. I was really hoping that we could have catch and, you know, saw how huge and beautiful it was and just release it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in shock. I can't get over (ph) how big the shark was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was fake, honestly when I was walking by.


HOLMES: OK, here's one for you, folks. The shark apparently died because during the struggle, it became exhausted and drowned.

NGUYEN: And our question is, I don't know, Reynolds, can you help us here, how does a shark drown?

WOLF: Easy, very simple. The only way this fish breathe is with the water passing right through their gills. The gills is what pulls actually, if you will, it snatches the little bit of oxygen, the air from the water, and if the shark stops moving, it remains motionless and it dies. It's got to keep moving. Even when it's sleeping it's still moving them.

NGUYEN: I thought it was struggling though and then, it turned out.

WOLF: It is struggling. And you can see the shark's facial expression. It was not a good thing to see. He was pretty mad. He's sort of very, very angry. Yes.

NGUYEN: We would have to turn that corner there.

HOLMES: We should have known he'd have the answer.

NGUYEN: I know he would. And then, it falls within your realm.

WOLF: Filled with completely useless information. NGUYEN: No, good stuff, Reynolds. That's I couldn't make the big bucks, thank you.

WOLF: Thank you.

HOLMES: Thanks, Reynolds.

Well, a legend on the field looks to life off the field. Time to relax for one of the hardest working quarterbacks ever: one more Brett Favre tribute.

NGUYEN: Brett Favre.

HOLMES: Yes, you know his name now, after all these years.

NGUYEN: Yes, sports business analyst Rick Horrow joins us right after this. And he can pronounce Brett's name.



BRETT FAVRE, FMR. GREEN BAY QUARTERBACK: It was never my accomplishments. It was our accomplishments. And the teammates that I played with and I can name so many. It was never about me. It was about everybody else. It just so happens that the position I played got most of the attention.


NGUYEN: What an emotional day not only for Brett Favre but for the fans as well. A lot of them just hate to see him go.

HOLMES: He put a lot of years into that team, heart and soul, number four is saying goodbye, and yes, sometimes there is crying in football.

Our sports business analyst Rick Horrow, pretty Ricky is what they call him. He joins us now to talk about this and other things going on.

Brett Favre, Rick, don't we need more sports heroes like this guy? This is one that everybody could pull for us, set a good example. When he had problems in his life, he came out, and talked about it and dealt with it. Don't we need more guys like this?

RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: First of all, you know, a minute and a half ago, you cut me off during the tease. Now, you want information. So, you ask me the question.

All right. Yes. The answer is: we want heroes. And the bottom line is, it's especially significant today, my friend, with Pacman Jones and Michael Vick and Spygate and this gate and that gate.

Listen, Brett Favre went the highest improvement from one year to another in jersey sales over the last couple of years. It's his 17th year in the NFL and almost got to the Super Bowl, was a field goal away. Yes, football is trying today, not just Brett Favre.

HOLMES: Yes, you say, we needed this but wouldn't it be nice to have him stay in the game? This is the issue where he's just tired. There's a lot of wear and tear and, you know, he said he physically could still deal with it, but mentally it's a lot on these guys.

HORROW: Well, it's a hard job, I mean, when, you know, you're ready to step away, you're burned out and you can't perform very well at the top of your level, the same kind of deal. He's out at the right time. He still is a hero in Green Bay and all over the NFL. Now, the Packers may not be that appointment-viewing team they were before, but he sure earned his dollars in Green Bay.

HOLMES: All right. We'll take a shift here to baseball and baseball stadiums in particular. T.J. Holmes stadium -- that could be a possibility if I had the cash to pay for it.

HORROW: Well, yes, but you know, first of all you don't have the cash, and second of all, nobody knows the name. So, that's the bottom line.


HORROW: I've got Wrigley Field, OK? This is Wrigley Field and if you want it, it's yours. What's it going to cost? $5 million, $6 million a year.

They're breaking the Cubs from Wrigley Field trying to sell both of those. CitiField, Citibank, a lot of money in New York for the new Mets stadium that's opening up. Yankee stadium opening up next year after this year's all star game.

They're selling bits and pieces -- Fenway Park, Coca-Cola corner, Volvo area; they're taking 10 corporations and breaking up the assets. So, different folks for different folks, $5 billion in corporate- naming today, even with the economy in semi-shambles.

HOLMES: Did he say different folks for different folks?

NGUYEN: Yes, he did.

HOLMES: OK. That's all right. (INAUDIBLE)

HORROW: Hey, the day I want to you correct me is the day I'm retiring from whatever I'm doing. So, I'm sorry.

NGUYEN: See you later.

HOLMES: Make your goodbye.

HORROW: I understand. Let's get to all you can eat, right?

HOLMES: Yes, we'll stick with the ballpark. This is discussing and the great idea at the same time: People at some ballparks, all you can eat seats. You buy a ticket to the game, particular seat, you can eat all game long. HORROW: Yes, and 13 of the 30 teams love the idea, including teams that have some attendance problems: You got Kansas City and Pittsburgh and the Marlins in the race. If you have a $22 ticket, which is the average, and you also all the beer, all the hotdogs, $60, $70 value, you stuff your face.

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, this is seven times the fat content that is normal. That's the normal way you eat these deals, and the bottom line is, it's hotdog stuffing, it's beer stuffing, and it's money. When morning (ph) starts to look the other way, you know what's going to happen. Oh, some of them, the beer, too, especially in St. Louis.

HOLMES: Really? I didn't know some of the tickets came with beer.

HORROW: Well, here you go, go to St. Louis. You and I'll go to a game in St. Louis together and all you can eat, like your college fraternity days all over again, pal.

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness, there were no fraternity days. Rick Horrow, pretty Ricky you're a little worked up, you're a little feisty this morning, man. Good to have you.

HORROW: Buy Wrigley Field, man. I'll see you next week. Get ready for your college brackets. Here we go.

HOLMES: All right. We'll see you next week, pretty Ricky, have a good one, man.

NGUYEN: He's been working on the brackets. That reminds me.

HOLMES: That's coming up.

NGUYEN: Yes. Hey, a good Samaritan, listen to this, OK? A good Samaritan chases down thieves and then, ends up losing his life.


CHRIS KREUTZ, VICTIM'S BROTHER: You don't put a price tag on a life, you know? Because you can't, but yes, it's just senseless.


NGUYEN: Absolutely, and it all started at a Starbucks and with a stolen tip jar, worth only a few dollars.

Plus, do you remember this little Iraqi boy who came to America to undergo surgery? Youssif is his name. We'll find out how he's doing because I'm going to talk with the doctor who's performing that surgery, live this morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.


NGUYEN: All right. So, it began as an alleged theft of a tip jar with less than $5 in it that ended moments later, with the death of a bystander.

HOLMES: And now, a young man from Georgia faces serious charges in this case.

CNN's Susan Roesgen has the latest on a petty crime that quickly got a whole lot worse.


ROESGEN (voice-over): They look like ordinary customers at a Starbucks in suburban St. Louis. A young man and his girlfriend come up to the counter to buy the girlfriend a latte. While they wait, they wander around the counter looking at some of the items for sale.

After about a minute, another customer comes in, he is 54-year- old Roger Kreutz, one of the regular customers. While he orders his drink, the young woman leaves with hers and then, her companion swipes the tip jar and walks out, too.

CHIEF MIKE PAILLOU, CRESTWOOD, MISSOURI POLICE: I think it was just a target of opportunity, the male saw the tip jar and decided he was going to take it.

ROESGEN: That's when Roger Kreutz followed the couple to the parking lot. There, police say, the young couple was in their car and apparently panicked when Kreutz tried to stop them. Police say Kreutz was struck by the driver's side door and knocked to the pavement. Two days, later he died of massive head injuries.

PAILLOU: We were pacing the halls until we got the phone call.

ROESGEN: After repeatedly airing the video on the St. Louis TV stations, the cops got a tip that broke the case. They arrested 19- year-old Aaron Poisson. He's charged with involuntary manslaughter. Roger Kreutz's family can't understand how a few dollars in a tip jar led to his death.

CHRIS KREUTZ, VICTIM'S BROTHER: How do you -- you don't put a price tag on a life, you know? Because you can't, but yes, it's just senseless.

ROESGEN: The police say, if you see a crime happened, it's better to be a good witness than a Good Samaritan.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, St. Louis.


NGUYEN: Well, good morning, everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, it is Saturday, March 8th. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And hello to you all. I'm T.J. So glad you could start your day here with us.

And we're going to be talking this morning about that tight race. You may have heard about. The Democratic battle is being waged in Wyoming this time around, both candidates wrangling for votes and taking some serious swipes at each other. CNN's best political team on television has all the political news you will ever need.

NGUYEN: Absolutely, but those of you in Ohio are bracing for what could be a ton of snow today. Blizzard warnings are in effect right now.

HOLMES: People staying inside, some locations already look like ghost towns. We got a live picture here out of Cleveland. There it is.

NGUYEN: Look at that snow just blowing.

HOLMES: It's blowing like crazy there. They got blizzard warnings in effect. This is a shot of Cleveland. We also have a shot of Cincinnati.

That's where CNN's CNN Susan Roesgen is trying to hold on out there. Hello to you again, Susan.

ROESGEN: Hey, good morning T.J. and Betty.

The calendar says March, but it looks a lot more like Christmas. The good news is I think most people know this is a weekend and they don't have to go outside and the word from the highway patrol here in Ohio is if you don't have to go outside, don't go outside. Yesterday, more than 600 car crashes, more than 700 calls to AAA for help. Several people were injured on the road and at least one person was killed. So the warning today is stay where you are.

Now on the roads behind me here, it is really pretty empty. Of course, it's still early this morning, but there have been a lot of cancellations. You see a lot of white and not much green, no luck of the Irish this weekend, a lot of early St. Patrick's Day parades have been canceled.

Most businesses, many businesses across the state that don't have to be opened are closed and horseracing in this famous bluegrass country here, right on the border of Kentucky, T.J. and Betty, the horseracing here has been canceled as well. The horses are in the barns and most people are at home having a good cup of hot chocolate -- T.J..

NGUYEN: Where you should be, Susan.

HOLMES: Susan, we were debating about asking you a follow-up question but we feel bad for you so we'll let you go back inside (INAUDIBLE). Thank you.

NGUYEN: Maybe your lips can thaw out. It's so cold there. It's even hard to talk, heavy snow, rain and a mixed bag really across the country today.

HOLMES: Our meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is keeping an eye on that bag over at the severe weather center. Hello again to you, sir.

WOLF: Hi guys, how you doing this morning?

I wish I could say things were going to be getting much better for people in Cincinnati, but it looks like this is going to be an event that they're going to be dealing with for a good part of the day. One severe weather scenario that we're going to see at least through the mid morning hours into I'd say at least midday, will be the possibility of tornadoes in the outer banks of North Carolina.

Let's zoom in and you see the watch box popped up. This is going to be in effect until noontime. Already we have had some strong storms in places like Kingston and Greenville, some heavy showers (INAUDIBLE) too. They're getting a break now.

But farther out to the west, right along parts of 95, we're seeing huge cells develop. Another big story, of course, the snow. Not only the snow, but we're also getting some strong winds with it and with the wind and the snow and the temperatures that are well into the freezing point, we're going to be dealing with horrible conditions.

If you don't have to drive, by all means don't get out on the roads. It's going to be a mess for many people along highway 71, high profile vehicles, semi trucks getting very difficult for you to move because of course those big rigs almost like a giant sail, the wind that's going to be really strong.

Now in the Cincinnati area, I want you to watch this very carefully. You got the snow. It's drifting its way to the north. Then you got a little bit of clear spot drier that's going to come in from the south, moving into the north. So you're going to get a break in Cincinnati in terms of at least the cloud cover. So the sun is going to pop-out and the wind's going to continue.

But as you pull away a bit you'll notice we're going to be dealing with more snow coming in from the south. Temperatures that I mentioned single digits in many locations in terms of your wind chill and the snow is going to continue not only in parts of Cincinnati, but take a look at this point of interest for you.

In Alabama, very unusual, getting some snowfall at this time of year from Birmingham southward (INAUDIBLE) scattered snow showers are going to stick around. So it's going to be a big mess and later on today, that mess is going to move into parts of the northeast.

New York City could be a very rainy situation for you today, not much in terms of snow, but definitely a soaker for you in Long Island. On the top half of the system, could see more winds coming into parts of Michigan, southern Michigan getting in on the snow action as well.

That's your forecast. Let's send it right back to you at the news desk.

NGUYEN: Severe weather, all right. Thank you, Reynolds. What a way to start the weekend.

This morning residents in Lake City, Florida, they're busy cleaning up from some more severe weather. This time a deadly tornado, at least two people were killed.

HOLMES: And dozens of homes damaged as well. Take a look at some video we got for you. The wind was so strong, actually knocked a home on its side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we looked out the back window, out the backdoor and I see that big tree on the house behind us fall. And my mom and my dad and I and my wife, we was all standing in the kitchen. When we turned around to go back into the living room, that's when the whole house just tipped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It picked me up and threw me, that's all I know. I'm laying down on the ground and I could see was a hole from the refrigerator out to the window.


HOLMES: The storm also damaged a number of homes near Tallahassee.

NGUYEN: Let's turn to politics now, because there are two contests on the agenda today. One is the Republican caucus in Guam and the other is in Wyoming. The Democrats are holding their caucuses. Twelve delegates are up for grabs. That may not sound like much, but in a race this close, every single delegate counts. The Wyoming caucuses are set to begin in just about three hours from now. The Republican caucuses were held there two months ago.

HOLMES: All right, as always and as often as possible, we need to give you a review of this nomination math on the Democratic side.

NGUYEN: The numbers.

HOLMES: Yes. The numbers which are always subject to change. Right now though, a total of 4,047 delegates expected at the Democratic convention in late August; 794 of those super delegates and securing the nomination requires a simply majority, so 2,024 delegates.

NGUYEN: Well, in the Democratic run to the White House, Pennsylvania is the biggest race left with 58 delegates are at stake when voters hit the polls next month. And our Jim Acosta is in Philadelphia. It's still a month away, but a lot of focus still on Philadelphia at this hour, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Betty, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have circled April 22 on the calendar as they know all too well that the keystone state could hold the keys to the Democratic nomination and a battle will be waged in the city of brotherly love all the way out to the steel city.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Less than 12 hours after the ballots were counted in Ohio, Hillary Clinton's volunteers at this Pittsburgh union hall were already taking her blue collar message from the buckeye state to a steel city that's showing signs of rust.

COURTNEY PELLIGRINO, CLINTON CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER: I feel that people in Pennsylvania like the people in Ohio are looking for a hard worker. They're looking for a fighter. They're looking for someone who can really get results for the working people.

ACOSTA: Across town, team Obama is also just getting warmed up.

MARK ELLERMEYER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER: What I don't get is the way Senator McCain and Senator Clinton criticize him. I'm glad to be inspired. I'm looking to be inspired.

ACOSTA: But there are still plenty of undecideds. Take Pittsburgh's 28-year old Democratic Mayor Luke Ravenstahl He wasn't hold enough to vote for Clinton's husband in 1992 or '96, but that doesn't mean he's just another young voter leaning toward Barack Obama.

MAYOR LUKE RAVENSTAHL (D), PITTSBURGH: While any young mayor can represent certainly the youth of our city, I also represent the entire population and I need to make sure that before I make a decision, my decision is based on what I think is going to be best for Pittsburgh.

ACOSTA: That could mean another race that turns on the economy. While three-quarters of the population is urban and could Obama, a quarter of the workforce is blue collar, a number that may favor Clinton.

MARK HALPERIN, SR. POLITICAL ANALYST, TIME MAGAZINE: Pennsylvania on paper is a good state for Clinton, it's a lot like Ohio demographically. Like in Ohio, she has the support of the very politically active governor Ed Rendell (ph), so I think Obama's got his work cut out for him there.


ACOSTA: And when it comes to gaining some delegate ground, Pennsylvania is a good bet for Hillary Clinton. There are 158 pledged delegates up for grabs here making it a bigger prize than Ohio -- Betty.

NGUYEN: That's definitely a big prize and a lot of focus on Pennsylvania. Thank you Jim Acosta, joining us live. We'll be talking with you shortly.

HOLMES: And we hit on this a bit earlier today, these comments, some might see as controversial and maybe even inflammatory, but a congressman, Republican out of Iowa. The Obama campaign has now issued a response to these remarks and you're going to hear it again in just a second.

NGUYEN: And also you're going to hear for yourself what Republican Steve King of Iowa had to say in this interview with the "Spencer Daily Reporter." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected president of the United States, I mean what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam?

I will tell you that if he is elected president, that the radical Islamists, the al Qaeda and the radical Islamists and their supporters will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this war on terror.


NGUYEN: All right, did you hear that clearly? I hope you did. Indeed a spokesman for Barack Obama has issued a response to that statement saying, quote, these comments have no place in our politics and we hope Senator McCain will repudiate them like he has previous offensive comments from his supporters. Of course, we'll continue to follow this story.

HOLMES: ... your chance to hear from the candidates unfiltered in their own words. "BALLOT BOWL" is what we're calling it and it kicks off today 2:00 Eastern on CNN, your home for politics.

NGUYEN: Nightmare on the street of dreams.

HOLMES: Model homes are going up in flames as eco-terrorists start the fire.

NGUYEN: Also on track to take her punishment, Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones begins her prison sentence.

HOLMES: Also "HOUSE CALL" coming up at the bottom of the hour. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a preview.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks guys. Autism, vaccines and a possible link in one child. What does it all mean?

And we all need it, but most of us don't get enough. Sleep or sleeplessness in America. What can you do?

Plus, we'll tell you about a nationwide support group helping children help when a loved one has cancer. All of this coming up on "HOUSE CALL" at 8:30.


HOLMES: A quick look now at some stories making headlines.

NGUYEN: There are reports of an arrest linked to the shooting death of Auburn University freshman Lauren Burke. Auburn police not confirming the reports but they are holding a news conference in about three hours. We'll have live coverage of that when it happens at 11:00 Eastern. HOLMES: A visual there for another college student killed this week. Eve Carson, a study body president of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Police are circulating a picture of a possible suspect. The law enforcement agency that has not yet released that picture to the public. Carson was found shot to death early Wednesday.

NGUYEN: From track star to inmate. Athlete Marion Jones arrived at a Texas prison yesterday. She is serving six months for lying to Federal agents about her use of steroids. Jones pleaded guilty in October and was stripped on her Olympic medals.

HOLMES: Well, outside Seattle, million dollar homes burned to the ground. Did a radical environmental group start the fire?

Thelma Gutierrez reports.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Woodenville, Washington, flames ravaged multimillion dollar model homes on the street of dreams. Builder Todd Lockie wakes up to this on his television.

VOICE OF TODD LOCKIE, LOCKIE HOMES: The camera (INAUDIBLE) and I saw the flames coming through the roof and at that point I knew it was a loss.

GUTIERREZ: On a fence, this ominous banner signed ELF, Earth Liberation Front. The radical eco-terror group that has claimed responsibility for torching properties across the country it considers environmentally unfriendly.

Federal agents comb through the rubble searching for clues. Was this in fact the work of ELF or someone else? Like some unhappy neighbors who sued the developers to try and stop what they call McMansions or the builders who are sitting on sold property in a lagging economy for eight months.

VOICE OF DAVID GOMEZ, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: The FBI is treating this initially as a terrorism investigation. We're not ruling out any other motives.

GUTIERREZ: Todd Lockie says agents questioned him too about his finances and insurance policies. He says he has no problem with that. He says he didn't do it and wants the arsonists caught.

LOCKIE: If indeed it's this group, we also realize that they're hypocritical. Anybody that would put that stuff up in the air and all those chemicals down in the aquifer we're sitting on, whoever did this, them or an individual person, they're evil. Anybody who would do that has just got pure evil in them.

GUTIERREZ: Lockie says he and the other builders were chosen by the developer to construct expansive green homes in this location. Lockie's 4600 square foot spread (INAUDIBLE). It had cork wood flooring from sustainable sources, recycled wood shelving and energy efficient appliances. The home was rated four out of five stars by a non-profit green association endorsed by the Sierra Club. Still, Lockie admits lots of trees had to be cut down.

Would you call yourself an environmentalist?

LOCKIE: No. No. I don't believe in wasting things and purposely destroying things just because, but, no, I don't consider myself to be an environmentalist.

GUTIERREZ: So this was a good business move?

LOCKIE: I think so.

GUTIERREZ: And he says he and the other builders here did more to protect the environment than many other builders do. Lockie says even with insurance, he's lost a half million dollars but says he will build again.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Woodenville, Washington.


NGUYEN: A tough story to watch.

HOLMES: Oh, yeah, see those homes all that work. And like he's making the point, you're putting all that pollution and all that (INAUDIBLE)

NGUYEN: Not only in the air, but in the water system there. I mean, what's the point?

HOLMES: To be continued.

We'll turn back to politics, which it's certainly continuing and going on and on. More delegates up for grabs today.

NGUYEN: And our Josh Levs looking at what is behind one candidate's caucus record. Hey, Josh.

LEVS: Hey, good morning to you guys.

All right. Well, you know, Barack Obama in general has done well in caucuses. Why is that? What are his advantages in that kind of a forum? We're going to break it down for you coming up -- T.J.?

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

Also seeking single tabby, an 11-year-old girl sets up a match- making site for people and pets.


HOLMES: All right, folks, you may have noticed something in this pre-election season. Barack Obama has generally done pretty well in that format, the caucus format, other than the primaries. NGUYEN: Josh Levs has been looking into the reasons behind it in his reality check. Why is it that Obama is doing so well in the caucuses?

LEVS: We keep hearing this over and over (INAUDIBLE) When you see something is a pattern, you realize that there are reasons, it's not just success in a state. It's success in a format. Let's take a look at what some of the biggest reasons are.

You know, half of it is that in a way it disadvantages Clinton. There's certain reasons that it's a disadvantage for Clinton because some of her key demographic are less likely to turn out. You have to show up at a specific time and sit there for three or four hours.

For example, let's start with people who work evenings and double-shifts, in a lot of cases these are people who just cannot get off in the evening to be there by a certain time and sit there for all that amount of time.

Let's move on. Also a single parent, a lot of people who can't get child care for that night. There are those who make it, but as a rule it's tougher to get those demographics to turn out. And also some older people too, because in a lot of cases it's tougher for them to spend that many hours out another night. You can find cases where they do make it those obviously, but as a rule in general you do find that it's a little bit tougher for those key demographics for Clinton to make it to a caucus format.

HOLMES: Josh, we appreciate you this morning. Thank you so much, reality check.

LEVS: To be fair, I also want to mention there are also advantages for him too. Do we have a second?

HOLMES: I didn't mean to cut you off.

LEVS: I just want to show this too. Because the fact is if you take a look at why he's succeeding, is not just that she has trouble (ph) there. He's put a lot of investment into these states. And also one more thing, grassroots efforts. If you look at the states who do the caucuses, he got so much enthusiasm going really early on.

When people walk into these caucuses not knowing who they're going to support, so think about that. (INAUDIBLE) He's done so much investment, so much grass roots effort, people are so enthusiastic about him, it obviously draws a lot of people into that caucus format. (INAUDIBLE) There you go, (INAUDIBLE) and we'll probably keep seeing that.

NGUYEN: A girl with a plan. Yes, an 11-year-old puts people and pets together and she's going to tell you about her match making service.

HOLMES: Also high hills in hurry, a race that's not for the feint hearted or the flat footed.


NGUYEN: All right, so a match-making service with a little bit of a twist here. Because instead of finding compatible dates, one young girl is helping pets find new companions and vice versa.

HOLMES: Eleven-year-old Jenny Lufkin, she has set up her own match-making Web site. And Betty actually sat down and talked to this young lady about how this Web site works.


NGUYEN: How does your Web site work? Walk us through how rescued animals can actually find a match.

JENNIE LUFKIN, STARTED PET ADOPTION WEBSITE: I have my Web site advertised on Craig's list. And people who are looking for animals do come and they make comments like, you know, can you get me in touch with people who work have the dog to rescue and I send them an e-mail and from there, the people at the rescue take it over.

NGUYEN: How many matches have you made so far?

LUFKIN: I would say between 10 to 15, but I'm unsure because I tell people about certain animals all the time. But I never really get -- sometimes I don't get a response from them after. So I don't know the exact number.

NGUYEN: There's a picture of you and your birds. Do you have a favorite match story or just a particular animal that you are just really thankful that you are able to find a nice home?

LUFKIN: Maggie and Jay were two dogs and they lived together most of their life. And one of their owners died and the other actually got really sick so couldn't take care of them. So they ended up at the rescue, but a really nice lady with a couple of acres was interested in them and came down and actually adopted them and I was there to go say goodbye to them before they left.

NGUYEN: Do you get to meet many of these animals?


NGUYEN: That's wonderful. You're so young already doing this, what do you want to be when you grow up, be a veterinarian? Continue in this line of work?

LUFKIN: When I'm older, I'm going to be a vet, but if I make my money, I'm going to have my own rescue and a riding academy for horse back.

NGUYEN: I think you are well on your way. It's a wonderful thing that you're doing and I hope you find homes for all of the animals you come across. Jennie Lupkin, thank you for joining us today.

LUFKIN: Thank you for having me. (END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: If shopping is a sport, then this foot race in Amsterdam must be the -- she is getting it, isn't she? She is really tearing it up. The catch here is you have to run 350 meter race in stiletto heels. I would say ouch, but I can do it. Fortunately that's about a quarter mile.

HOLMES: It hurts, obviously, but it didn't hurt for one person, the person who one because that person got $15,000. And that can certainly help your feet feel a whole lot better.

NGUYEN: That can buy a whole lot of shoes.

Feast your eyes on 101 carets of pure perfection, folks. That is a beauty. Christies will auction, T.J., the giant white diamond on May 28. Mark your calendar. It will be the biggest one put up for sale in nearly 20 years.

HOLMES: You know what, you continue with this read because you're enjoying this story so much, go ahead.

NGUYEN: I do enjoy this, I just want to look at that thing.

The estimate on this rock -- get this, $6 to $8 million. Oh, it's priceless, and isn't there someone out there that deserves that?

HOLMES: Betty, calm down.

NGUYEN: Like me?

HOLMES: Are you OK?

NGUYEN: Only three other white diamonds bigger than 100 carats have ever been sold at auction. And right now, this one has no name. So, whoever buys it will have the privilege of giving it one.


NGUYEN: So start saving up.

HOLMES: You good?

NGUYEN: We could go in together.

HOLMES: We can.

NGUYEN: As long as I get the diamond.

HOLMES: Yes, that's sounds fair, Betty.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: Well, folks, coming up a little later, we're going to get away from diamonds. We're going to talk Youssif, you remember the five-year-old boy here, the Iraqi boy. He was attacked and set on fire.

NGUYEN: Well now, we want you to take a look at this new exclusive video of Youssif running as he enters school in California. He's going to take off in just a sec because he is just so excited to be at school. It's really a contrast from the images that we first showed you. And thanks to your donations, he is getting the medical help that he needs.

We'll speak to his doctor Peter Grossman and to our own Arwa Damon who first brought us Youssif's story. That's at 10:00 a.m. Eastern only on CNN.

HOLMES: But "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta comes your way right now.