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CNN Saturday Morning News

Talking About the Economy; Race Crash

Aired April 05, 2008 - 09:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN, ANCHOR: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, hello, everybody on Saturday. I'm Betty Nguyen.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN, ANCHOR: And hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes. You guys filed your tax yet.

NGUYEN: Finally.

HOLMES: You did do it. OK.


HOLMES: I knew you were going...

NGUYEN: I'm stressed enough, wreck.

HOLMES: ...for a little while. Well, folks, if you don't have yours done. I bet your tax returns don't look like the Clintons' tax returns. Look, the former president -- it apparently pays to be a former president. Some big numbers we're going to be talking to you about. We'll talk to you what folks are saying now that Hillary Clinton has finally released her tax return.

NGUYEN: Plus, take a look at this picture. A race car wreck. The driver flipped several times. Just wait until you see the video. Start now you're your money though. Your money, your job, all of the "Issue number one."

HOLMES: And certainly, issue number one for those workers who got pink slips last month. And it's a lot of folks actually. The government says 80,000 jobs lost. That's the most in five years. The unemployment rate now at 5.1 percent. The Bush administration is hoping those rebate checks will help boost the economy. You might not get those check for a while, though. People are going to start getting them next month. So, they're on the way.

NGUYEN: Well, from jobs to pains at the pump, gasoline prices setting another record high. This morning AAA says the average price for a gallon of regular gas is $3.31 nationwide. That's up more than a penny from yesterday and up some 58 cents from a year ago.

HOLMES: Well, we'll stick with -- sorry, bad unfortunate unemployment news, also economic news. Got another airline to tell you about that is going under. This one is Ohio-based Skybus Airlines, out of business as we speak. The news of the shutdown came late last night. Officials blame those soaring fuel costs and the troubled economy. Skybus, the third airline to go out of business this week. Tacoma Newsome of affiliate WCMH has more from the airlines' home based.


TACOMA NEWSOME (REPORTER, WCMH): A late night posting on Skybus' website confirmed the worst for ticket holders. Skybus will cease all operations effective Saturday, April 5th. But what about passengers on the last working flight. Karen Riddell was on the last flight out of Ft. Lauderdale.

KAREN RIDDELL: We didn't think we were going to get home. We heard that there's a flight that lapsed another airport (inaudible).

NEWSOME: But she did make it home to Columbus. So did Nate Heckman.

NATE HECKMAN: We were worried about it. We were thinking about renting a car back in (inaudible).

NEWSOME: Both were surprisingly understanding about Skybus's fate.

RIDDELL: I just picked with the economy, with gas prices the way they are, they didn't have a chance.

NEWSOME: But what about employees? Rick (Owne)ph is a captain with Skybus Airlines.

RICK OWNE: I was a captain for Skybus Airlines.

NEWSROME: He said he heard the news just like everyone else.

RICK OWNE: It's quite a shock. You know, four kids to support and a family to care for, and tomorrow, I guess, Monday, I'll be in the unemployment line.

NEWSOME; And thought the company is doomed, passengers on the last flight say the flight home wasn't.

RIDDELL: It was nice, a real pleasant flight for everybody. The flight attendants, the whole crew, they were wonderful.


NGUYEN: Well, no one wants to pay anymore at the gasoline pump, so our financial expert, our personal finance editor, in fact, Gerri Willis has tips on how you can save when you're on the road. Gerri say you can use your cell phone to save on gas, and she's going to explain how that is possible.

GERRI WILLIS, CNN, PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: That's right, Betty. There are companies out there that will send you a text message with the lowest gas prices to your cell phone. Go to now. There you can sign up for free text messaging alerts to tell you when lower gas prices are available. offers a similar service. To get text messaging updates, hey you send an e-mail to, and a text message e-mail will be sent back to you shortly with the five lowest gas or diesel prices from the area that you request. Now, keep in mind that you don't pay for the services if you don't have a text messaging plan on your phone, cellular fees will apply. Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, that's pretty cool. The only problem is, I mean, cheap gas station, I mean 20 miles outside of where you live.

WILLIS: That's a great question. You know to find inexpensive gas, you want to check out big warehouse stores or even discount retailers like Costco or Wal-Mart. Now, these retailers sometimes have gas pumps with the lowest gas prices in town because they want to bring people in to spend money inside the store. It's like a lost leader. Of course, keep in mind, that with the warehouse stores, you probably have to pay for membership. That alone can eat up your savings. If you don't want to buy a membership, check out gas stations in the area because they may be having to meet those prices. And since there's a lot of competition, gas stations in the area may reduce their prices as well. Betty.

NGUYEN: That's a really good point. All right. So, what is coming up on "Open House"?

WILLIS: Well, coming up on "Open House." It's the started of the spring home selling season. We'll tell you what to expect if you're a buyer, or a seller in this very rough market and how to build a budget right now that will work for you and save you money immediately.

Finally, is there a silver lining to the foreclosure crisis? All the answers to that and more coming up on "Open House." The show that saves your money, coming up at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. Betty.

NGUYEN: We do invite you to keep watching CNN. Our money team, as it's called, has you covered, whether it is your job, your debt, housing, or even your savings. You can join us for a special report. It is called "Issue number one the economy." All next week at noon Eastern, only on CNN.

HOLMES: All right. Around the storms pounded the south yesterday. It still is not done.

NGUYEN: Oh, no. And the region could get hit again today. So, let's head over to Karen Maginnis who's in today for Reynolds Wolf. Good morning.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: And good morning Betty and T.J.. And it started to fire up already. We have a new tornado warning issued for Santa Rosa county. Now, that's in the panhandle of Florida. There you can see the line of storms and one particular embedded cell right across that area just right next to Mobile. They saw some severe flooding during the overnight hours.

Well, this is the border between the two states, between Alabama and Florida. I think it is this particular cell, it's moving across the Pensacola Bay area off towards the northeast, very heavy downpours. Here's a live picture out of Mobile, Alabama. There were saying some of the underpasses were impassable, because some areas picked up 6 inches of rainfall. Officially, Mobile did see in the last 24 hours, 4 1/2 inches of rain, but locally there were heavier amounts. In Atlanta, the rain keeps coming down as well. We've got, just kind of a broad shield of wet weather. We've also got a live picture out of Atlanta, keeping the morning very, very dreary. We'll keep you updated on the weather situation. The deep south is the focus of the weather for this morning, but other weather situations exist, Betty and T.J., we'll cover that as well.

NGUYEN: All right. Karen, we do appreciate it. Thank you.

HOLMES: Well, the polygamist Warren Jeffs is back in the spotlight. Texas authorities raided the group's compound yesterday taking away dozens of girls. CNN's Susan Roesgen is in El Dorado with the latest there.

SUSANE ROESGEN, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, T.J.. Child protective services here in Texas got a tip two days ago that there was a 50-year-old man in the compound who had married a 16-year-old girl and fathered a child by her. 16-year-olds are not allowed to marry in the state of Texas. That's under age here. So child protective authorities went with sheriff's deputies, Texas rangers and they went into that compound with an arrest warrant for the man and for a search warrant to get more information.

At last report, they did not arrest the man. We don't know if they have even found him yet, but they came away with more than 50 young girls and a lot of unanswered questions.


ROESGEN (voice-over): Escorted by the sheriff's department and trucks and jeeps, two white buses from a local Baptist church, drive down the dusty Texas road. It's hard to tell through the tinted windows but inside the bus are dozens of girls, some just a few months old. The girls were being removed from a sprawling secretive fundamentalist church of Latter Day Saints compound near El Dorado called the YFZ Ranch. Throughout the evening, dozens of girls were taken away.

MARLEIGH MEISNER, CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES: We have 52 young women from the ages of 17 to 6 months of age that we have taken from the compound. Not legal custody, but taken from the compound. Of those we have 18 that we have taken legal custody of. I can tell you that we are about halfway through the investigation.

ROESGEN: The fundamentalist church of Latter Day Saints has an estimated 10,000 members. Most of them in a tiny town from Utah and they are notoriously hostile to outsiders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I ask you a quick question?

ROESGEN: Nearly all of them are followers of Warren Jeffs, a man they call their prophet. Jeffs is currently in jail after being convicted on two counts of being an accomplice to rape. Critics of the sect say it forces girls as young as 13 into marriage. The investigation at the ranch began on Thursday after child protective services received a tip that a teenage girl at the compound had been sexually and physically abused. Armed with a search and arrest warrant, authorities drove out to the compound where some 400 members of this polygamist church live. The followers initially resisted, but the officials were able to get inside and investigate the claims of abuse.

MEISNER: I can tell you that we are still there. We are hearing these rumors as well. We really don't want to deal with rumors. We are really trying to get the facts, and the way we're getting facts is by interviewing those people at the compound right now.

ROESGEN: The state has taken legal custody of 18 of the girls saying there were exposed to an eminent risk of abuse. Many of them are being housed in a nearby community center. Stretched across 1,700 acres, the ranch is the largest polygamist community outside of Utah and Arizona. It has a towering white temple, a water tower, dormitories, and is guarded by armed men.


ROESGEN: Now, you heard the woman from Child Protective Services there talk about the rumors. Those rumors are perhaps that as many as half of the girls they took away, some 30 girls, perhaps are pregnant. Again, those are just rumors. We don't know yet whether that's true. We will be looking into that. And once again, those girls that were taken into protective custody will go to foster homes. They will not return to that ranch, although some of the other girls, if there are no allegations proven of abuse, then they could some day be returned to that ranch, to that compound. T.J.

HOLMES: You know, Susan, some tough details to hear. And folks around town, how are they taking this? Folks in El Dorado. Some of the headlines now that this is going on in their town.

ROESGEN: Oh, absolutely. You know our producers spoke to the editor of the local newspaper who said when this group moved in back in 2004, it was a flying saucer, as he put it. An alien culture here. He said they were folks here in El Dorado are suspicious of this group because they never came out, they're locked up inside. And they have a lot of questions about it. And now, of course, people are really wondering what's going to happen here next.

HOLMES: Right. A lot of questions still. Susan Roesgen, this morning for us in El Dorado. Thank you so much, Susan.

NGUYEN: Well, authorities are considering charges against a 14-year- old in the death of her baby. The eighth grader gave birth to a baby boy in the bathroom of a Texas middle school. Now, an attorney for the girl said she did not kill the child, but police said the newborn died after the girl tried to flush him down the toilet. The attorney said the girl never knew she was pregnant.

HOLMES: Now news about U.S. troops. Officials are expected to announce next week that they are cutting the amount of time troops spend in Iraq and Afghanistan. Right now tours last about 15 months, but the senior Bush administration official tells the Associated Press that starting this summer that will be cut to 12 months.

NGUYEN: And there are new developments with Zimbabwe's troubled election opposition party lawyers. Finally, getting into the high court to file an appeal. Police blocked them a little bit earlier this morning.

HOLMES: The opposition is trying to force the Federal Election Commission to release results from last weekend's vote. That hearing is now delayed until tomorrow. Opposition leaders are also asking the United Nations to step in fearing violence in the event of a runoff election.

NGUYEN: Wheels up. President Bush has left Croatia and is on his way to Russia. Now, before leaving he congratulated Croatia and Albania for their invitations to join NATO. President Bush will hold talks this weekend with President Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. His last meeting before Putin steps down next month. They'll meet at the Russian president summer home in the Russian Black Sea resort of (inaudible).

HOLMES: The presidential candidates, including John McCain, moving to the left. We are just talking geographically here though.

NGUYEN: Of course. And connecting with voters in western states. Josh Levs is looking at some of your heart-gripping descriptions of the day Martin Luther King Jr. died.

JOSH LEVS, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's really, it's amazing. 40 years later. How stunning these descriptions. Your chance to share yours, coming up here on CNN's SATURDAY MORNING.


HOLMES: All right. Let's turn to some politics, if you couldn't guess by the picture we are showing you. Western swing for all three presidential candidates, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton in Montana appearing at the same democratic dinner. Montana votes in June. Clinton starts the day with a pair of events however in Oregon. And John McCain, he is wrapping up his week long "Service to America" tour with his return to his home state of Arizona.

NGUYEN: Let's talk taxes. Not yours, although you only have a few days left to file. So better get those in the mail.

HOLMES: Is that it?

NGUYEN: That's it, April 15.

HOLMES: I didn't realize. I got mine done in January.

NGUYEN: I can't believe it. It's so long.

HOLMES: But this time we are talking about the tax records of the Clintons. Hillary Clinton, in particular, under pressure to release her returns. And now they are out in the open. CNN's Brian Todd takes a look at them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: She says she'll resend President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans if she gets his job. So, she got those breaks and didn't need them.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, I never thought I would say this, but you know, ever since my husband got out of full-time public service, he's actually making money. Much to both of our amazement.

TODD: Did he ever. Just released tax records show Hillary and Bill Clinton had gross income of about $89 million between 2000 and 2006. Nearly half of it from the former president's speeches. They got more than $40 million after taxes during those six years showing why she's classified by one watchdog group as one of the ten wealthiest senators. The Clintons figures dwarfed the combined incomes of Barack and Michelle Obama whose combined gross income was under $4 million for the same time period.

TODD: The Clintons also donated more than 8% of their income to charity. That was more than twice the percentage donated by the Obamas. Mrs. Clinton had been under intense pressure to release these tax records amid questions from the Obama campaign and others about at least one source of their wealth.

JEANNE CUMMINGS, POLITICO.COM: There are some questions about the former president's involvement with overseas companies and what his role was and what his compensation has been.

TODD: Specifically, a holding company called Yucaipa registered in the Cayman Islands. Bill Clinton, the record show, got a $15 million payout from Yucaipa from what the campaign calls his role as an advisor and investor. The Obama campaign had openly questioned whether Mr. Clinton's involvement in Yucaipa constituted some kind of tax shelter. A Clinton campaign spokesman told us, absolutely not. That the former president paid U.S. taxes on that income. The campaign says there are no shelters or hidden taxes in this return but tax experts and Clinton opponents will likely go over this information in great detail in the weeks ahead.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

NGUYEN: Observing the anniversary of an American tragedy. The presidential candidates finding different ways to remember Martin Luther King Jr., gunned down 40 years ago yesterday. Senator John McCain toured the Lorraine Motel saying he regretted voting against the MLK holiday. Hillary Clinton was also in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel. She spent part of the day in the church where he Dr. King spoken before his death. And Barack Obama, on the other hand, skipped going to Memphis, but he still talked about the impact of Dr. King while campaigning in Indiana.

HOLMES: And of course, many of you are sending in your personal recollections of that day that Dr. King was killed.

NGUYEN: Yes. Our Josh Levs has picked out a few that really, really have struck a cord. LEVS: Yes, people have a amazing specific memories of that day. A lot of them young children at the time. They are describing every detail of what was around them. It gets emblazoned in your mind. Let me show you some of the ones submitted to us via I-reports at We're going to start off with this from Michael Johnson who says "I was 11 sitting in a soda shop. The lady serving me was Miss Mary. A gentleman ran in and said, 'they done killed the King. The King is dead.' I saw Miss Mary start to cry, not just tears, but the crying that only an older lady could do, the type that a grandchild of a slave gave. It almost had a musical sound to it. In fact, for the next 40 years, I can hear it as clear and as sad as it was. I went out into the street and saw grown people stopping and crying. This was the a death that took the soul out of the air."

Now Geraldine Fisher in New Bern, North Carolina, "it was like you were in a cold room and there's only one candle keeping the light. The only thing keeping you warm. It was like the flicker of hope was dashed when Dr. King died.

Well, last one here. Collins Dillards in Memphis, "I was 5 years old here in Memphis. I remember the urgency of everything, the national guardsman, the curfews, and my parents locking doors at night. Little did I know the world had changed. Dr. King was a prophet leading, a modern day Moses lending all of humanity or leading rather all of humanity to a higher call."

Now, we're getting a lot of things at We have, it's really easy to get. Just go to, and click on I-report. You'll see a lot of the submissions we are getting of people sharing their memories right there.

And one thing that we are getting new is we're getting a lot of videos, including from some college students, some budding journalist at college talking now about a broader conversation about being black in America. Let's take a quick look at a clip from one of those.


JERMAINE FLETCHER: What exactly is black? And what does it mean to be American?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing that comes to the front of my mind is division, because the reality of being black is one reality you deal with, and the reality of being an American is an entirely different one. But America teaches that you to have individualism.

LEVS: You know I was looking for traffic for this. There he is. That's Jermaine Fletcher and his - at Florida A&M. They are getting really good traffic on this at our I-report website. Now, we have this long sense of videos, a lot of the college students trying to have this broader discussion that we're having via about the experience of being black in America and how it's being shaped over the decades since King's death, what it's like for different people of different perspectives today and guys in the coming weeks we're going to see more about what we get in the conversations with black America. And CNN will be doing more and more on TV and on-line about that.

NGUYEN: Those King e-mails were just so touching.

LEVS: Yes, you feel it in your heart. We were all too young for that. You read these things and you feel like you were there. You know, you can sense it.

NGUYEN: It really takes you back. All right. Thank you, Josh.

LEVS: Thanks.

NGUYEN: Well, outside a typical police station, but inside, get this, a haunted house?

HOLMES: Yes. The doors slam, a typewriter types, nobody is there. A mystery awaits.


HOLMES: Take a look at this video coming to us here from Canada.

NGUYEN: Yes, a massive fire and explosion just ripped through one of the city's most historic city buildings, the Quebec City Armory. It was built back in 1884.

HOLMES: And most of it collapsing a couple of hours after the fire started. It housed the Canadian Forces Reserved Unit and was undergoing some renovations. Firefighters are still looking into what caused the fire. No injuries though to report.

NGUYEN: Checking in with the Olympic tomorrow relay. Let's do that now. Because Russia holds the flame today. These are pictures coming from the closing ceremonies in St. Petersburg just a short time ago. Olympians started early this morning. They sprinted down the streets of the city carrying the flame. The relay is in London tomorrow.

HOLMES: All right. A haunted house. Tight situation we got going on for police at Homestead, Pennsylvania. They are having trouble. They can't solve the mystery that is right under their noses. It's at their own police station, folks. They even hired some of those paranormal folks to look into it.

NGUYEN: Yes, (Renee Kaminsky)ph, a CNN affiliate, WPXI, has a report that will give you the shivers.


DENISE KELLY, EMPLOYEE; The door slamming is one of the biggest things everyone in the station has heard.

RENEE KAMINSKY, REPORTER, WPXI: Slamming doors and creaking floors are one thing, but what police officers, staff and even the mayor of Homestead say they personally witnessed in the Borough Building cannot be explained away. We'll start with the phantom typist.

KELLY: There were 20 of us here in the meeting. There was a typewriter in the back wall and the typewriter started to type by itself.

KAMINSKY: When we turned it on, the back space seemed to be stuck, or was it? Others can't explain the attic door that no matter how many times it's bolted, springs open, or the burst of bone-chilling air that blows through enclosed hallways and around old cell blocks.

KELLY: But there were always noises in this room. He showed his flashlight there and that's when he saw the shadow.

KAMINSKY: I have to admit it, I was skeptical all the way up to the door slamming. Something my photographer denied.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't do it.

KAMISNKY: Yes, you did. The mysterious happenings aren't all inside the Borough Building. The mayor showed us a broken down sidewalk sweeper that somehow started up last November without a key or battery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Occasionally, we will sit here and type reports or whatever and you'll hear the back door or the footsteps, you'll lean back and look at the door and nobody is there.

KAMINSKY: And do you buy this? You think there's a (inaudible) roaming neighbor. What?

UNIDENTIFIED: That's the first I've heard that term, it is possible that something is here.

KAMINSKY: I'm back in the boiler room. And this is the room where the paranormal investigators did find something, but what it was, well, we'll have to wait.


NGUYEN: Oh, man. All right. We have to move on. T.J. doesn't believe it.

HOLMES: Yes. all right. WE got. Let's show this guy out of control. A driver, some spectacular video to show you here. We'll tell you what's going on. Well, you know what's going on but we'll give you details about this crash.

NGUYEN: Also, taking an unexpected tumble in Texas. We'll show you what happened when the car finally stopped.