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CNN Saturday Morning News

Obama, Economic Advisers Gather at White House; Blagojevich's Lead Defense Attorney Resigns; New Video Shows US Airways Flight Just After Crash; Pentagon Claims 61 Ex-Gitmo Inmates Returned to Terrorism; Interview With James Earl Jones

Aired January 24, 2009 - 06:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, as Betty just said, let's just ease into this day.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Ease into this day, shall we?

HOLMES: And here it's 6:00 in the morning. From the CNN Center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It's 3:00 a.m. out in California, where the Mac Computer was unveiled in Cupertino 25 years ago.

NGUYEN: Can you believe it?


NGUYEN: I can't believe it's been 25 years.

HOLMES: Twenty-five years.

NGUYEN: I don't even have a Mac yet, and they've already been around for 25 -- I'm getting one though. And I can't wait.

HOLMES: It's good to wait. Because you're waiting on them to get it right. You know, they keep upgrading, upgrading.

NGUYEN: It's been 25 years.

HOLMES: They got it right now. But...

NGUYEN: Yes, they do.

HOLMES: Hey there to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Yes, good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

You know, we got a lot to talk about, including President Obama -- yes, we know it is a Saturday morning. But you know what? He's going to be hard at work, because we do we have a financial crisis at hand. In fact, he's going to be meeting with his economic team at the White House in the Roosevelt Room at 11 a.m. We're going to take you live to the White House.

HOLMES: I still have to catch myself sometimes. Almost say President-elect Obama.

NGUYEN: Oh yeah. HOLMES: But it's President Obama now.

NGUYEN: Obama.

HOLMES: We got it right.

Another story here. You were the one that first brought this to my attention yesterday, about this Brazilian model, this rare disease she had.

NGUYEN: It's so sad.

HOLMES: And she had her legs -- actually, her -- her feet, actually, and her hands. There she is. Her hands and feet had to be amputated in an attempt to save her life. Well, she has, indeed, passed away now. We're going to be talking about this -- this young model -- 20-years-old -- and what exactly this rare disease was.

But this started, Betty, again, as something that's very common...

NGUYEN: Uh-huh.

HOLMES: a lot of women -- happens to a lot of women, something that's very common. That's how it started. But kind of just got worse and led to her death.

NGUYEN: Well, absolutely. Want to be looking out for that story.

And we are also following this for you, folks: look at this developing story from overnight: a manhunt is under way right now in Miami after someone opened fire in a residential neighborhood late last night. Two people were killed, seven others wounded, most of them seriously.

Now the shooting happened in Liberty City. That section of Miami is one of the rougher areas known for violence. But we are making calls to see if a Miami police official can join us live with the latest developments this morning. So we're on top of that story for you.

HOLMES: Also more details in the -- I guess another twist in the Caylee Anthony story. Her grandfather -- of that slain toddler -- has now been taken into custody, but not that kind of custody. This in custody for a psychiatric evaluation.

George Antony (ph) -- Anthony, you see him there -- he was found in a motel room with what police are describing as a five-page suicide note. He also sent text messages to his family saying that he wanted to be with Caylee and he no longer wanted to live.

His daughter, of course, Casey Anthony, the mother of that slain toddler, is currently facing charges in that toddler's death.

NGUYEN: All right. Stocks, they ended another volatile week with a mixed bag. On the New York Exchange, the Dow Jones Industrial average ended Friday's trading -- there it is -- down 45 points at 8,077.

And meanwhile, though, the border (sic) indices rose just a bit. The Nasdaq composite gained 12 points to 1,477. And the S&P 500 gained four-and-a-half points to close at 832.

Well, as I mentioned a little bit earlier, it may be Saturday, but not a day off for President Barack Obama. On his fourth full day as president, Mr. Obama will meet with his economic team at 11:00 this morning.

HOLMES: He also met yesterday, talking about the economy, with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders trying to work on that economic-stimulus package.

Our senior White House correspondent reports for us now that the president making clear that certainly getting the economy back on track, Job No. 1.


ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trying to end his first week on a bipartisan high note over the economy, for the first time President Obama called in leaders from both parties to say the $825 billion recovery plan is right on track.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I think unifies this group is recognition that we are experiencing a unprecedented perhaps economic crisis that has to be dealt with and dealt with rapidly.

HENRY: That show of unity completely different from a move the president made late in the day: signing a memorandum overturning a Bush policy that prohibited international family-planning groups from using U.S. tax dollars to promote abortion -- a decision that cheers liberal groups who support abortion rights and backed Mr. Obama's campaign, but casts the president in a much more partisan light.

So it was signed behind closed doors, a sharp contrast from earlier in the week, when the president make a big show of signing executive orders, ranging from shutting down the military prison at Guantanamo Bay to cracking down on lobbyists.

OBAMA: All set?

HENRY: It is still early, but obvious that this administration does not want to be pulled off a message of bipartisanship.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He wants to hear ideas, and hopes that -- that -- that Washington can put aside its partisan differences in order to get the American people what they deserve, and that is a package that will get the economy going.

HENRY: But the president is facing questions about whether the plan will really stimulate the economy, with projects like $200 million for the National Mall, including new grass. REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OHIO), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We expressed our concerns about some of the spending that's being proposed in the House bill, and the fact that it doesn't spend out very quickly.

HENRY: White House officials insist the plan will create up to 4 million new jobs in the president's first two years. And Mr. Obama is playing hardball to get his way, according to Democratic and Republican sources in the room.

When Republican Eric Cantor presented an alternative plan, the president said many of the GOP ideas will be included, but they'll have to live without other provisions, adding pointedly about the election: "I won," which may not sound so bipartisan after all.

Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.


HOLMES: Well all right. That -- that big package -- as you see there, there's going to be a lot of back-and-forth about it -- certainly a work in progress.

Here is some of the progress that's being proposed at least. The Senate Democrats, they put out a plan -- we just saw it yesterday -- and it calls for certainly some tax cuts -- $275 billion in tax cuts specifically. That plan also shares a lot with the House Ways and Means plan that was released earlier this week; they pretty much mirrored each other, those two tax plans.

Well, the biggest single tax break in the proposal right now is $145 billion, what's called a "make work pay" credit. That would be worth $500 per worker and $1,000 for working couples who file their taxes jointly.

We're going to be getting a lot more about this stimulus package coming up a little later this hour.

Our deputy political director and a friend of our show here on CNN SATURDAY and SUNDAY MORNING, Paul Steinhauser -- he's going to join us live from Washington at 6:30. Stay tuned for him.

NGUYEN: All right. So we've been tallying it up so far: nine confirmed, six to go. The Senate has now signed off on most of President Obama's Cabinet choices.

Still awaiting confirmation: Attorney General nominee Eric Holder. His hearing continues on Wednesday, and a vote is scheduled Monday on Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner. Among the latest picks confirmed by the Senate: Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, Shaun Donovan for Housing secretary and Ray LaHood for Transportation Secretary. Also Susan Rice as ambassador to the U.N. and Mary Schapiro as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

We do want to know what you think about all this. What issues do you want President Barack Obama to tackle during his first 100 days. E-mail us: We're going to read those throughout the morning.

HOLMES: Well, one of Chicago's best-known defense lawyers will not be defending Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Ed Genson is his name. He says he is resigning as counsel in the governor's upcoming criminal case because he's not being included in any decisions regarding the impeachment trial.


ED GENSON, GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ATTORNEY: I never require a client to do what I say, but I do require them to at least listen to what I say. I believe in this case, it would be better off, and I intend, to withdraw as counsel in this case. I wish the governor good luck and Godspeed.


HOLMES: Well, a suggestion there that the governor was not listening.

Well meanwhile, the governor, Blagojevich, he's vowing to boycott the impeachment trial, which is scheduled to start on Monday. He said he's going to skip it entirely because he says he won't be allowed to use some of his witnesses.


GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), ILLINOIS: There was an old saying in the Old West. There was a cowboy who was charged with stealing a horse in town, and some of the other cowboys, especially the guy whose horse was stolen, were very unhappy with that guy. And one of the cowboys said, "Let's hang him." And the other cowboy said, "Hold on. Before we hang him, let's first give him a fair trial. Then we'll hang him"

Under these rules, I'm not even getting a fair trial. They're just hanging me.


HOLMES: He lost me for the second with the cowboy and the horse, but I see what he's saying now.

Also, he says he won't be able to bring witnesses. Well, according to the -- the government there, according to the -- the statehouse, those who are trying to, as he said, hang him, he missed a deadline to get in his list of witnesses. That's why he's not being allowed to use witnesses.

Of course, you remember he is facing federal charges on fraud, conspiracy and solicitation to commit bribery -- of course trying to sell that Senate seat vacated by President Obama. Now he denies any wrongdoing.

You can hear the governor's own side of the story right here on CNN. He'll be talking exclusively to Larry King on "LARRY KING LIVE." That's 9:00 on Monday. NGUYEN: Meanwhile, this is such a great story -- and today, they are celebrating. Danville, California, throwing a huge welcome-home party for a hero. It's for the pilot who safely landed a US Airways jet in the Hudson River more than a week ago.

HOLMES: There he is. Sully is the name. He'll be honored by the city's mayor, the town council, his congressman, the garbage man, the street sweeper, everybody in town...

NGUYEN: Everybody.

HOLMES: going to honor him. And why wouldn't they? A hundred-and-fifty-plus people can say they are alive today because of this man. Everybody survive -- survived that plane crash, as you know.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, when Flight 1549 went down, it lost its left engine. But investigators have now pulled that from the freezing waters of the Hudson. You're taking a look at it there.

You can see it's pretty banged up. Officials say a large chunk of its outer shell appears to be missing but doesn't look like it's missing any oil or fuel.

Now I want to show you this. We have some new video of what happened seconds after the plane dove into the water. OK, you see it right there. See steam rising. Now watch the left-hand side of your screen. The emergency hatch opens -- there it goes right there -- and people start crawling onto the wings of the plane.

The video was captured on a surveillance camera by a gas and electric company, Con Edison.

Can you just imagine? This -- these are freezing waters here. Your plane just went down, and now you're getting out and trying to make your way to safety. What a story that is.

HOLMES: Yes, we're starting to get more views as more and more surveillance video comes out. A lot of cameras apparently were fixed on the Hudson River, and a lot of people caught it, and we're starting to see more and more video. But another vantage point of an amazing day there in New York.

NGUYEN: Some lucky people.

HOLMES: Well, accused terrorists behind bar at Guantanamo Bay have been released. But now are they back to their old ways?




NGUYEN: Wasn't that beautiful? I mean, just perfect. On note, on key, everything...

HOLMES: Notes are perfect.

NGUYEN: ...from Yo Yo Ma at the inauguration.

Yes, speaking of perfect -- here's what we're talking about, because what you heard wasn't necessarily what he was playing.







JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": President Barack Obama signed an executive order calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay within a year.

Actually, you know how you can close it faster? Make it a bank, OK? It'll sell.

Doh! Doh! Get me out of there!


NGUYEN: Oh, that was a low.

HOLMES: That's a good point though.

NGUYEN: But funny.

HOLMES: Yes, he's talking about that -- it was one of the first executive orders from the new president, President Obama.

Now it stirred up a few jokes there...

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: ...but also stirring up a lot of controversy out there.

NGUYEN: Indeed, especially when it comes to rehabilitation of the detainees. Last week, the Pentagon released information saying as many as 61 former detainees may have returned to terrorist activities. A new report says 18 are confirmed to have participated in new attacks, and 43 are suspected to have been involved. That's about 11 percent of roughly 520 detainees released from Guantanamo.

HOLMES: Now, maybe some disturbing numbers there. The Pentagon won't say how they arrived at the numbers. They say it's a security issue. They don't want to reveal any clues about exactly how they got that data. NGUYEN: All right. But the issue of the detainees getting out of Gitmo only to return to the battlefield is heating up, no doubt. And it -- it's hard not to ask what many of these detainees may do once they get out.

CNN's Brian Todd has more.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A key debate in the president's decision to close Guantanamo Bay just got hotter: the controversy over tracking detainees who are set free.

A U.S. counterterrorism official tells CNN this man, Sayid Shiri (ph), released from Guantanamo in September 2007, is now believed to be a key leader in al-Qaida's operations in Yemen. The official says Shiri may have been involved in a car bombing outside the U.S. embassy in Yemen last year that killed nearly a dozen people.

Analysts aren't surprised if he's there.

STEVE COLL, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: The fact that he's in Yemen reflects where al-Qaida is regrouping on the Arabian Peninsula.

TODD: But between Guantanamo and Yemen, Shiri, a Saudi national, was in Saudi custody in a government rehabilitation program. A Saudi source tells CNN he escaped from that facility, even though experts say the Saudi re-education programs are the best.

Terrorism analyst Ken Ballen's been to one, interviewed dozens of young men who've gone through. Ballen and other experts say at these centers, Saudi officials help young jihadists reintegrate into society, giving them and their families financial help, finding them jobs, even finding wives for some.

Ballen says they also bring in religious scholars to hit home one important message:

KEN BALLEN, TERROR FREE TOMORROW: That jihad, holy war, is defensive. It's not to try to convert other religions and other people. It's only if Muslims are attacked. Therefore, what al-Qaida does is not really a legitimate jihad in the minds of -- of learned Islamic scholars.

TODD (on camera): But Ballen and other experts tell us they're not all that surprised that the program didn't work with Sayid Shiri. They say not everyone can be deradicalized, and Ballen says only about five percent of the young men from the Saudi rehab centers go back to the battlefield, much less than the recidivism rate for criminals in the U.S.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


HOLMES: All right. You -- a lot of -- you familiar -- you -- do you like the Star Wars movies?

NGUYEN: Of course.

HOLMES: Of course. Darth Vader?

NGUYEN: Uh-huh.

HOLMES: All right. Everybody loves the voice.

NGUYEN: Absolutely.

HOLMES: But not a lot of people for awhile knew that was the voice of James Earl Jones.

NGUYEN: I didn't know.

HOLMES: You didn't know that?

NGUYEN: No, I didn't know it was him.

HOLMES: Yes. He didn't play the character; he wasn't in the suit. But still, James Earl Jones provided that voice.

Now, he's had a lot of roles over the years. But which one do you think was his favorite?

Take a listen. I think we have it ready.


JAMES EARL JONES, ACTOR: I can tell you a few that I cherish, and they're the ones that you might not have seen.


NGUYEN: OK, this is how I know...


NGUYEN: ...James Earl Jones' voice: "This is breaking news on CNN." That's how I know him. Not so much as Darth Vader.

HOLMES: How does he say it again, Betty?

NGUYEN: Yes, I can't even get there. Not even close.

HOLMES: No. No, really -- we...

NGUYEN: It was my version.

HOLMES: No, your mike was down. We didn't hear it the first time.

NGUYEN: Reynolds, bail me out.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, this is -- this is a great, great moment. This is a learning moment. You know, it's great that they selected him out of the Star Movies to -- for -- for, you know -- "This is CNN." They could have used the Wookiee.

NGUYEN: Oh get out of here.

WOLF: I mean, can you imagine having Chewbacca say, "Woaoah" (ph).


WOLF: I mean, it just doesn't translate. It really doesn't.

NGUYEN: Remember the Ewoks? Or any of them?

WOLF: Or an Ewok. An Ewok as a spokesperson for CNN.

HOLMES: That's a good point, Reynolds.

WOLF: All right.

Well, I'll tell you what: Take a look at these temperatures in Fargo. They're saying, 'Wookiee time' to things, I'm sure, this morning with 18 degrees below zero. That's your current temperature. A lot of cold air out there. It's going to be a cold time for many people in the Midwest.

Milwaukee and Chicago in single digits. Coming up, we're going to let you know how long this cold blast is going to last. And we're going to talk about some snow. And maybe Wookiees, too.

See you in a few.


HOLMES: Check this out: in Oklahoma City here, a wildfire that's going on right now. This is in the -- the metro area there. It's threatening a housing complex northwest of the city. Flames eating up a lot of the landscape right now. Fire crews were called in at about 4:00 yesterday, so this thing is still going, we understand.

Witnesses say that the fire was caused by a multicar crash. Again, that's happening in Oklahoma City. We will keep an eye out.

Reynolds Wolf in the Weather Center, and he's (ph) stepping over into your area. Always, thank you for having us.


HOLMES: What you got going? You were talking about subzero temperatures (INAUDIBLE)

WOLF: Yes, we're going -- well, we're going to make a jump from those fires to talk about the cold weather and some snow. Some places out in the Rockies, we're talking about several feet of snow, which is great if you're a skier.

HOLMES: This is true.

WOLF: Got to -- got to always put that for you. But the cold temperatures have been unbearable in Fargo; we're looking at temperatures around 18 degrees below zero.

What we're going to do is switch gears a little bit. We're going to pop over to that weather computer -- yes, the one that's over on the wall -- and show you some great things. Yes. Let's do that. Let's talk about -- I feel like Mr. Rogers.


WOLF: You know, like -- if I was putting on my shoes, my cardigan sweater, walking over and singing a song.


WOLF: Feeding the fish and waiting for Mr. Train to come along.


WOLF: Let's show you what we have.

Right now -- again, talking about places, like, say, the Northeast, you have the cold temperatures from now through about, I would say, Monday morning, in Syracuse, you could see anywhere from three to six inches of snow. Same deal with Michigan, especially in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.

But back in the Rockies, that's where the snow is really going to pile up. If you happen to be in Park City, Utah, that's an area where you might be seeing some of that snow really begin to pile up. We already have those winter-storm warnings that are in effect, if you happen to be, say, in parts of Colorado, like Steamboat Springs -- two to three feet of snow from about 8,000 feet higher. Anything below that could be a mixture of both some snow and some rain.

Temperatures -- we've got those for you. Frigid conditions just screaming in from the north. Take a look at the temperatures you can expect in terms of high today. In Minneapolis, 4 degrees. As we wrap things up, Kansas City 26; 48 in Denver; 65 in Los Angeles. Plenty of rain for the Golden State of California. Tampa with 73; Miami 74. New York and Boston, highs today right around 30 degrees.

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

HOLMES: All right. We appreciate you, Renny. We will see you again here shortly.

WOLF: You bet, neighbor.


NGUYEN: Back to this story that we've been talking about. He is the voice of CNN network commercials, but he is also the legendary voice of Darth Vader. How does it go?

HOLMES: Go ahead. I know you want to do it. Go ahead.

NGUYEN: Luke, I am your father.

HOLMES: I cannot believe you actually did it. But...

NGUYEN: It was really bad. They're booing me back here. See what you did.

HOLMES: All right. We're talking about James Earl Jones. Tomorrow, the Screen Actors Guild is honoring him with a lifetime achievement award. And our Kareen Wynter has the man of the hour, everything about his career. Also, about some politics.


KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with this big recognition that you'll be receiving on Sunday, the Life Achievement Award.

Tell me: What was your reaction, first of all, when you heard that you would be honored this way by your peers, the Screen Actors Guild?

JONES: I broke out laughing.

WYNTER: Did you?

JONES: I was in shock, you know?

WYNTER: But you've done so much over the decades, really. To be recognized in this way shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.

JONES: Oh, it's -- it's a great thrill, yes. It's -- it's very important.

I -- I think all awards are important if they take themselves seriously. And some try to. By that I mean, if they -- if they understand the meaning of these kind of celebrations. It's about, how do we make sure we understand how important our work is?

WYNTER: What is James Earl Jones' favorite movie of all time?

JONES: I can tell you a few that I cherish, and they're the ones that you might not have seen, like "Mate One," (ph), about the coal miners in West Virginia.

You didn't see that, did you?

WYNTER: I haven't.

JONES: Well, you're a bit young. But -- or -- or "Field of Dreams," you saw that, right? That's one I cherish.


JONES: That's Shoeless Joe Jackson.


WYNTER: How many times do fans ask you about doing the voice -- I know you know where this is headed -- of Darth Vader, and also being the voice of CNN?

JONES: When kids ask me to do -- to say, "Luke, I am your father," they know more lines than I do. Because I didn't memorize those lines. I read them (INAUDIBLE) on the page.


JONES (voice): I am your father.


JONES: CNN was just a great honor for me.


JONES: This is CNN...


WYNTER: Did you ever think that we would reach the era that we are in today, where you're -- you actually have the Obamas in the White House?

JONES: All I can say is, it's as it should be. It doesn't mean that it's not surprising, elating or shocking or nothing to jump up or down about. We should jump up and down about it. But the important thing is -- I think a young rap artist said in a -- in a -- in a paper recently. He said, "Obama is the door. We have to walk through it."

That's going to be the real exciting part, the real challenge. Not about him. He is at it should be. He's a -- he's a thinking person, and a -- and an aware person. We haven't had that for a long time.


HOLMES: We're sitting here just...

NGUYEN: Just mesmerized as we listen to him. He has commanding presence.

HOLMES: You just hear that voice, and you're paying -- you're like, 'OK, sir?'

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: You just sit up and you pay attention. You listen.

But a great honor for him. And the SAG Awards you said are on...

NGUYEN: I believe on Sunday.

HOLMES: On Sunday. OK. Not til the Oscar party. I don't do those SAG Awards.

NGUYEN: Is that what it is?


NGUYEN: Well, speaking of President Obama, as James Earl Jones just did, he is promising a quick response to the economy.

HOLMES: And we'll be talking about that.

Also, no love for the ladies? Some saying that President Obama not giving any love to the ladies out there, and the women are not being taken seriously. Full story coming up at the bottom of the hour.


NGUYEN: Welcome back, everybody. It's 6:30 Eastern on this Saturday morning. It's early, but there's a lot to talk about.

Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And hey there. I'm T.J. Holmes.

So glad you can be with us this early in the morning.

NGUYEN: All right. First up, President Obama gets back to work this morning, keeping his attention on fixing the economy. Mr. Obama is due to meet with his economic team in a few hours for further talks on his economic stimulus package. Now, the president met congressional leaders from both parties at the White House yesterday, and he told them he wants Congress to pass an economic stimulus plan by Presidents Day weekend.

Well, back for a second helping, mortgage giant Freddie Mac is now asking for as much as $35 billion from the government to help clean up its bad debt. That is on top of the almost $14 billion it received last year when it was seized by the feds.

Listen to this story, folks. A young Brazilian model has died from a rare and deadly bacterial infection. Doctors tried to save her by amputating her hands and her feet. Well, unfortunately, they also had to remove part of her stomach and both kidneys.

Mariana bridi da Costa's doctors say a urinary tract infection developed into septicemia, which causes organ failures. She was just 20-years-old.

HOLMES: Let's get back to presidential politics here. Talking about the first 100 days of the Obama administration.

The president huddling with his economic team today at the White House, keeping attention focused on fixing the ailing economy, saying getting Americans back to work is a top priority. He was talking in his weekly radio address today. He said that his $825 billion recovery plan should have a long-term impact.

Our Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser keeping an eye on Washington this morning, this early, early morning.

Good morning to you. Always good to see you, Paul.

You know, with what's happening in the economy -- and, of course, the job of president, you never really get a day off. But certainly he's making everybody work on Saturday.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Exactly, T.J. You're working this weekend, I'm working this weekend, but so is he, for two reasons.

Yes, he's show that he's taking this very seriously. But secondly, you're right, there is a lot to be done. And that's why he's going to meet later this morning with his economic team to talk about that stimulus plan.

Now, yesterday, he met with congressional leaders from the House, from the Senate, from both parties. And this was crucial here because not only -- you know, the Democrats have enough votes to pass this bill through Congress, but they really would like to get some of the Republicans on board. But T.J., there is pushback from Republicans.

Some say the $825 billion, it's too big a price tag. Some say that, you know what? We should be putting more towards tax cuts and less towards spending.

Now, this morning, just in the last half hour, he not only spoke on the radio address and on YouTube, but he also released some more details in that plan. And part of that plan, he's calling for 10,000 schools to be upgraded and he's talking about saving $2 billion a year by making federal buildings more energy efficient.

So he's releasing little details here about what's in the plan. But the key to this plan, as always, is jobs. It's about creating jobs, up to four million jobs, because remember, 2.6 million jobs were lost last year alone -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right. And I mean, it's just his first week.


HOLMES: So maybe the civility is still around in Washington right now. But there seems to be, at least it appears, that we're going to have this back and forth, a lot of this -- maybe, even, some might say bickering -- over a lot of little -- a lot in this package right now.

So when can we expect something to really happen? Will this thing dry out? Everybody's saying we need to get this thing done as soon as possible because we know the economy needs some help right now.

STEINHAUSER: You got it. President Obama keeps saying that -- urgent, urgent, this is urgent, it has to be done quickly to help jump-start that economy, which is needed so desperately.

Timetable, as Betty just mentioned a couple of minutes ago, Barack Obama says he would like to have this plan on his desk, passed by Congress, by February 16th, which is Presidents Day. Now, both houses of Congress are starting to meet on this in committee hearings. We'll see if they can get to keep that timetable because it's an ambitious plan.

HOLMES: All right. We will see.

Paul Steinhauser, we know you're going to be back in a little. We're going to be talking about several things, including the Bidenisms, I guess we can call them. We had the Bushisms, we've got Bidenisms. And also Jill Biden, she released -- said a little something maybe she wasn't supposed to say. I know you're going to be talking about that.

We'll see you here shortly, buddy.

STEINHAUSER: You got it.

HOLMES: All right.

Well, fixing the economy, right at the top of the list of what Americans want from the new president. But some are looking for other things to do as well.

Our CNN iReporters have some messages for the president.


DAVID WHITE, CNN IREPORTER: Now that the clock has started on the Obama administration, everyone wants to know, what is the first thing that should be done by the president now that he's taken office? My take, I believe he should do exactly what he campaigned on, putting people back to work, bringing people together to move forward an agenda.

JANET BEHLERO, CNN IREPORTER: I don't think I've ever seen products being contaminated as much as today, be it because they are from China and their standards aren't as, you know, rigorous as ours. Or even national products, say, for example, the peanut butter today, which is tainted with salmonella, or lettuce or spinach. And, well, a whole lot of things that -- products that were contaminated lately. So I'm wondering if the FDA will get their budget back and be able to have a little bit better control of these things before they get to the consumer.


HOLMES: And thanks to our iReporters -- just two of the many that we have gotten -- for contributing to our newscast here. We want to know what you think out there. What issues do you want President Obama to tackle during his first 100 days? E-mail us, We will be reading them throughout the morning -- Betty.

NGUYEN: You know, every now and then, T.J., we see a story where people are saved just in the nick of time.

Well, we've got one of those for you today, folks. Really, a matter of seconds and a woman would have been run over on the train tracks.

Josh Levs has this unbelievable rescue story.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, Betty, her life was saved even though she was actually still down by the train when it came barreling through.

We are going to introduce you to the hero.


NGUYEN: All right. So here's the "E-mail question of the Day." What is issues do you want President Obama to tackle during his first 100 days? We got a lot of good ones in already.

HOLMES: So far, got one here I'll give you from Michelle Drake (ph).

She says, "I'm hopeful that President Obama will be able to get our economy moving in the right direction." A lot of people about the economy right now. And she also says she wants him to "... end our country's addiction to mostly foreign oil and create job opportunities for millions of Americans in the process. What a hero he would be."

NGUYEN: And we got this from Eric in the Bronx. He says, "I'm 31 years old, use a wheelchair and a walker. And in the first 100 days of Barack Obama in office, I'd like him to defend disability rights by finding us jobs so we can be more independent and feel more proud of ourselves."

HOLMES: And one last one we got coming in here from Sherry (ph) that she says she actually just lost her job, but "I do not want a tax cut include in the stimulus package. It seems like a major waste of taxpayers' money that will not contribute very much to stimulating the economy. We tried this before. It didn't works. I would rather the president spend more money on infrastructure and creating more jobs."

And she signs off by saying, "Wishing I could have a chat with President Obama." A lot of people would like the ear of President Obama right about now.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. And you know, on Inauguration Day, while people were watching the historic events in Washington, they did not know about something really interesting that was happening underground. HOLMES: Yes. And what happened was a woman fell onto the tracks right before a subway train came along. An officer saved her life even though he could not get her back onto the platform in time.

NGUYEN: Our Josh Levs joins us now with that story.

This is quite remarkable, Josh.

LEVS: It's incredible. When you find out what actually happened, it was a matter of seconds. And you know what? Thanks to one of our iReporters who was there and alerted us to this. It was a Houston police officer who had come to D.C. just to help out around the inauguration, and he saved this woman's life.

So we called that officer and we got his story.


OFFICER ELIOT SWANSON, HOUSTON METRO: She had fallen off into the track line. And of course, people were hollering and screaming, drawing that to my attention.

I rushed over to that location there, and another patron was trying to help remove her from the track line as the train was coming into the station. I assisted with him to try and lift her up off the platform, as you see there. Quite a bit of a fall there.

LEVS: You're talking about a woman was on the track seconds before a train came along, right?


LEVS: I mean, this was really scary for a lot of people. This kind of thing, these tracks right here, is the area in which this woman had fallen. It was pretty far down. And Eliot, what you're telling me is that people had -- one patron had reached over to try to kind of lift her back up and that that wasn't working. So you came over; right?

SWANSON: Correct. The two of us together then tried to lift her up and get her back on the platform itself.

LEVS: But you couldn't do it in time?


LEVS: So what did you do? How did you save her?

SWANSON: Well, being there for the inaugural, Washington transit had put out a little safety class for us the day before and gave us some information about the rail and told us, as you can see there, there's a little cove underneath the platform that allows for a safe haven. So instead of trying to lift her up, I just reached down and more or less just pushed her down and kind of tucked her up underneath the platform. LEVS: Tucked her underneath the platform. Let's zoom back in on the screen one more time. I want to show everyone exactly what happened here.

You have a woman who fell down to this area. The patrons and this officer were not able to lift her back up here, so there's an area right underneath here, right underneath the platform.

You're telling me it's just a couple of feet, right, where you can kind of squeeze her in there, just seconds before the train came along?

SWANSON: Exactly. It was only about 2.5, maybe 3 feet wide. Just a lip underneath the platform itself.

LEVS: Wow. So in the process of doing that, you have your arms down there; right? You're trying to push her under there before the train comes along. How many seconds between when you get her in there, you pull your arm out, and the train comes along?

SWANSON: Just from my recollection, it's just moments. It's just within seconds there. I just got her down, pushed her up underneath there. I think she moved back out again. I pushed her back in, told her to stay there. And the train came through.


LEVS: And now we're told this woman is doing very well. Also, guys, this story gets even more dramatic.

The next day, this same officer, Eliot Swanson helped -- we have a headline about it here on -- he helped some people in Washington escape from a fire. And then this, back in Texas. Check this out. Fellow officers gave him award for his heroics at the subway.

Hey, Betty, doesn't that make you a little extra proud of your state this morning?

NGUYEN: Oh, always proud. But, of course, this gives it a little extra something.

What a story though. I mean, he wasn't able to actually get her off the tracks, but he did what he could to save her. And that woman is obviously very thankful today.

LEVS: Obviously. A tiny little space, just -- whoosh, the subway comes whizzing by and she's totally fine. It's amazing.

NGUYEN: Can you imagine being down there though and hearing that and feeling the wind of it. I mean, just one slight move and it could have been a whole different story.

LEVS: Plus, they had to shut down power while she was down there just to make sure no electrical currents got to her.

NGUYEN: Oh my goodness.

LEVS: But they did everything it took to save this woman's life, and it worked.

NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, Josh.

HOLMES: All right, Josh. Thank you.

Betty, I'm not sure how I feel about this next story.

NGUYEN: Really? OK.

HOLMES: I'm not sure how I feel about it. You know that music?

NGUYEN: Yes, I know.

HOLMES: And we built it up, Yo-Yo Ma, Yitzhak Pearlman. We were like, wow, it sounds great. And we heard it on Inauguration Day.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: But it wasn't really what it seemed.


NGUYEN: But it sounded beautiful, right?

HOLMES: Uh-huh.

NGUYEN: Why only the people in the first few rows got to hear the real performance.

HOLMES: Milli Vanilli sounded good, too, back in the day.

NGUYEN: Stop it.

HOLMES: I'm just saying.



NGUYEN: Completely perfect; right? Everything on cue. It sounded exactly as it should.

Well, actually, most people who listened to this musical symphony at President Barack Obama's inauguration were blown away by this classical compilation. But some are a little offended -- yes, offended -- now that there's word the live performance was prerecorded.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Yitzhak Pearlman and the other musicians made a decision a day before Tuesday's inauguration to use a previously recorded audiotape for the broadcast of the ceremonies. The director for the quartet says playing in such cold weather may have been disastrous because the instruments would not have been in tune.

OK. So there's a reason for this lip-syncing the way musicians would.

HOLMES: But, they said it was 28 degrees out there.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: They said strings can break. You just don't know how instruments that precious are going to react.

NGUYEN: And it may not sound as perfect.

HOLMES: But, you know, some people just feel a little slighted.

NGUYEN: Well, even Aretha Franklin said, you know what? As she sang, it wasn't perfect to her, because her vocal cords were cold.

HOLMES: Aretha is always perfect.

NGUYEN: Well, she was live though.

HOLMES: She was perfect.

NGUYEN: You know? She still went out there and did it.

HOLMES: Yes, she did.

Well, that got us to thinking about other incidents of some lip- syncing.

NGUYEN: Oh, here we go.

HOLMES: Let's just roll the first one and see if you recognize it.


HOLMES: Oh, wait. What's going on there?

NGUYEN: What happened here, folks?

HOLMES: You remember this one. This is Ashlee Simpson.

NGUYEN: Wait, hold up. She's going to exit the stage after her little ditty right there, whatever that was.


HOLMES: Yes. "Saturday Night Live" didn't go so well for young Ashlee Simpson. What was her reason? She was sick or something, wasn't she?

NGUYEN: Yes. She wasn't feeling well.

HOLMES: OK, yes. Well, this drew a lot of flack. She was exposed for lip-syncing on what was supposed to be a live performance on "SNL." And as you see, it was not.

NGUYEN: And you know -- there she goes exiting the stage. Boy, those memories.

Hey, who can forget this, though? Check this out. Listen for just a second.



NGUYEN: Don't let the gyrating fool you and all that. Those outfits are hot, though. You should try that next weekend, T.J.


NGUYEN: But we are talking about Milli Vanilli. You all remember this. You know the duo. I used to love this song.

HOLMES: Everybody loved Milli Vanilli. I don't care -- everybody loved them. And you felt a little cheated but, still, people like the music.

NGUYEN: "Girl, you know it's true."


You all right, Reynolds?

WOLF: I'm still heartbroken, man.

NGUYEN: Are you? Is it the outfits or the singing?

WOLF: It's both. That was one of the greatest groups of all time. I was a freshman in college when they came out.

You guys were, what, in first grade?

NGUYEN: The greatest group of all time? Come on.

WOLF: They were. They were great. "Girl You Know It's True."

HOLMES: Give me another one besides that one. Give me another one.

WOLF: "I'm in love with you girl, 'cause you're on my mind."

NGUYEN: Oh no.


NGUYEN: Oh, stop the madness.

WOLF: But let's see, is that lip-syncing.

NGUYEN: Yes. WOLF: No, it's not. But I'm...


NGUYEN: You know, maybe you should try lip-syncing. It might be a little bit better, Reynolds.


HOLMES: Can you name another hit besides...

WOLF: Yes, "Blame it on the Rain."



WOLF: I'm a weatherman. I should know that.

NGUYEN: How does that one go?

WOLF: "Blame it on the rain" -- la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. I can't remember all the lyrics to that one.

NGUYEN: You know what? I'm going to bail you out.

WOLF: Bring it on.

NGUYEN: Will folks be blaming it on the rain today? See, I was trying. I was trying to keep him from singing.


HOLMES: Let's turn back to President-elect -- president-elect? No, he's the president now.

NGUYEN: President Barack Obama.

HOLMES: President Obama. He got strong support from women during the election, as we now. He has since named half a dozen women to cabinet level posts, but some say that's not enough, that's not showing enough appreciation for the support her got from women.

NGUYEN: And coming up at 7:00 Eastern, two cute little dolls with cute little names, but the new first lady says, not so fast.


NGUYEN: They were with him in the voting booth, but now women's groups are saying President Obama needs to do more to keep them on board. They want jobs, and not only in the administration. So much more to that.

And our Christine Romans has the details.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Betty, 56 percent of women voted for Obama in this election, overwhelming support. Even more women voted for Obama than they did for John Kerry four years ago. And as the economy gets worse, some are asking, what are you going to do for us?


ROMANS (voice-over): He is a president surrounded by women.

OBAMA: How good looking is my wife?

ROMANS: The Harvard-educated wife, two young daughters. His mother-in-law lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. On the campaign trail, he invoked the hard work of the woman who raised him and promised equal pay for women.

OBAMA: Because I think about my grandmother and what she could have done if she had been treated equally.

ROMANS: He named Hillary Clinton his secretary of state, Janet Napolitano to head Homeland Security. So far, six cabinet level positions to women.

So why are women's organizations like NOW and The New Agenda disappointed?

AMY SISKIND, THE NEW AGENDA: We had high hopes for President- elect Obama going into this. And it's been very discouraging.

ROMANS: Just six out of 21 cabinet positions, they say, is not enough. Women are 52 percent of the population and 54 percent of voters. And 56 percent of women voted for this president.

SISKIND: We're clearly not getting the respect or the amount of power that the women in this country deserve. And it just shows you that Obama does not take this constituency very seriously.

ROMANS: Unfair, says author Naomi Wolf.

NAOMI WOLF, AUTHOR: I personally feel strongly that it's more important to have the right policies than a certain litmus number for gender.

ROMANS: But there's also a nagging concern that men will be favored in the 3.7 million jobs Obama wants to create, jobs building bridges around roads, alternative energy, and health care technology, fields dominated by men.

WOLF: What he could certainly do is make sure that his policy advisers invest as much in hospitals and schools and the kinds of sectors where women predominate.

ROMANS: A message the president's team has heard, loud and clear, recently estimating Obama's stimulus will save or create about 1.5 million jobs for women over the next two years.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ROMANS: Most agree it will be a challenge for the administration to create jobs for women. There will be a heavy emphasis on construction jobs. Just three percent of that industry is female. Engineering and technology also largely dominated by men -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. So we want to know what you think. What issues do you want President Barack Obama to tackle during his first 100 days?

E-mail us at We're going to read some of those throughout the morning.

HOLMES: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING, 7:00 Eastern Time, 4:00 out West.

Good morning to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Good morning, everybody, on this Saturday. Thanks for starting your day with us. Let's get right to it.

All right. So New York has a new snoi senator. Who is it? Well, it is Kirsten Gillibrand.

What do you know about her? Well, let me tell you what we know.

She's 42-years-old, she's an advocate for gun rights and a member of the National rifle Association. But there is much more to her resume, and we're going to go over it. Plus, why Governor Paterson chose her.

HOLMES: And President Obama, he's not quite a week in and he certainly has his plate full, or his desk full, or whatever you want to call it. But he's going to be a busy man over the next several years. And a big part of his role as the commander in chief is, in fact, what is he going to do about those two wars we've got going on, one of them in which he's promised to pull out American troops within the first 16 months of him being in office?

So we'll be talking about all things military with a guy who knows a thing or two about the military, retired four-star and former NATO commander, Wesley Clark, also former presidential candidate. He will be with us live.

NGUYEN: I'm looking forward to that. And have you seen these new dolls out by Ty Incorporated. You know, they make the Beanie Babies.

Check those out. Do they look like anyone that you know of? You know, I don't know. Maybe some new first daughters?

HOLMES: When you say the name, they certainly look like them.

NGUYEN: Yes, and here they are. Sweet Sasha is the name of one. The other one is Marvelous Malia. But they are not such a hit at the White House. We'll tell you why.

But first, a busy week for President Barack Obama with much time focused on, of course, the struggling economy.

HOLMES: And that focus continues this morning. The president is huddling with his economic team. He did not give them the weekend off.

The president is stressing the importance of his stimulus plan in today's radio address. Take a listen.


OBAMA: That is why I've proposed an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, to immediately jump-start job creation as well as long-term economic growth. I'm pleased to say that both parties in Congress are already hard at work on this plan, and I hope to sign it into law in less than a month.


HOLMES: And don't be fooled there, we do say radio address but he does release those on the Internet now. The president says his plan will save or create 3 million or 4 million jobs over the next few years.

NGUYEN: Yes, turning to the war on terror. And former detainees, well, some of them are returning to fight.

HOLMES: Yes, that's according to the Pentagon. They are defending a report on recidivism that's refusing also to disclose where the numbers come from. According to the report, 18 former detainees at Gitmo are confirmed to have participated in terrorist acts since being released from that prison. The Pentagon says another 43 are suspected of being involved in attacks.

Well, President Obama signed an executive order this week shutting down the Guantanamo detainee camp within a year.

CNN's Susan Candiotti is just back from Gitmo. She tells us now what she saw.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Typical beauty shots of Guantanamo are censored. Crash of waves are OK and so are some carefully-cropped tips of the coastline, but no government buildings are allowed to be seen. The military is happy to show you an open air sample of homemade migrant boats intercepted at sea.

But the only detainee camp we were allowed to revisit, Camp X- ray, that closed seven years ago after only four months of housing the first suspected enemy combatants. Press access to Camp Delta and other areas -- denied. File tape would have to do.

As always, the most interesting part of the visit was watching the now endangered military commissions in action. Sketched by Janet Hamlin, she tries to capture a moment in time. From behind the glass partition, I was fascinated by 9/11 defendants boldly bragging they're proud of the attacks. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed boasting he pulled off 9/11, not Osama bin Laden.

I watched the defendants talking with and passing notes to each other. But, of course, the big news, and not unexpected, came during the presidential balls. Word leaked that President Obama ordered the defense secretary to suspend the commissions at Guantanamo. In the next day, the order to shut down the detention camp within a year. All 245 cases will be reviewed. Human rights groups also on the trip were cheering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the most important part: Where? And that could be and should be in a federal, criminal court that is the standard American judicial process.

CANDIOTTI: The prison camps have cost the U.S. unending worldwide criticism, amid accusations of torture and unfair procedures. 9/11 victims' relatives there to witness what was an historic hearing, it may be the last, were beside themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, whatever process is speedy and expedient and efficient that's used to dispatch these people to hell is what -- much more than they deserve.

CANDIOTTI: In the coming months, we'll find out who's going where and whether -- because of tainted evidence -- some defendants, including the 9/11 accused plotters, can be tried at all.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: And speaking of New York, there is a new senator from New York, and she's taking Hillary Clinton's old seat. And New York's new senator introduced by Governor David Paterson on a news conference yesterday. Her name is Kirsten Gillibrand. She's a congresswoman from that state. She replaces the now Secretary of State Clinton and becomes New York's first senator from Upstate New York since 1970.


REP. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, (D) NEW YORK SENATOR-DESIGNATE: I appreciate the opportunity that you have afforded me and the trust that you've placed in me. We are all blessed to have an extraordinary, effective and committed leader during these very difficult times. And I look forward to being your partner as we lift ourselves out of this budget crisis and restore opportunity to all New Yorkers.


NGUYEN: All right. So, who is Kirsten Gillibrand? Well, we're going to check in with our resident expert for all things political -- that being Paul Steinhauser.

Good morning. All right. A lot of people waking up after hearing the news yesterday going, "All right, what do I know about this person?" So, what do you know about her? STEINHAUSER: You know, you're right. A lot of people are saying, "Who?"


STEINHAUSER: Because she's known in her district, which is New York's 20th congressional district. It starts at north of New York City and goes way Upstate. But, she was just re-elected. She was just sworn in for her second term as congressman for that district.

She serves on the House Arms Services Committee and also the agriculture committee. And for her district, that's very important, of course. And she worked as a special counsel for then-HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo during the last year of the Clinton administration.

And, Betty, that's interesting, because remember, Andrew Cuomo is now the attorney general of New York state, he was also considered one of the favorites to replace Hillary Clinton. He didn't get it. Gillibrand did.

NGUYEN: Well, why do you think it was her over him?

STEINHAUESER: A couple of reasons. I think it was her. A, I think there were some pressure on Governor Paterson to name a woman to replace Hillary Clinton. Well, she's a woman. Cuomo is not a woman. That's pretty obvious.


STEINHAUSER: Also, she's from ...

NGUYEN: Thanks, Paul.

STEINHAUSER: Yes. She's from Upstate. Now, right now nobody else in the New York delegation in the statewide office is from Upstate. There are a lot of voters up there. And they probably would like to see one of their own representing them in the Senate.

And remember, Paterson is up for election for the first time next year because he was the lieutenant governor when Eliot Spitzer dropped out and he took over. So, I think, he would like to have a moderate like she is with him on the ticket. So -- because there's politics here, Betty. Remember, there's a lot of politics at play. So, there are some good reasons why he picked her.

But remember, there are also some things that could hurt her. She is a moderate. She is supported by the NRA, as you mentioned. That could hurt her with a lot of liberal Democrats down state in the New York City area. In fact, one congresswoman from Long Island is already threatening to run against her in the primaries next year.

So, let's see how this one plays out.

NGUYEN: Already? She was just announced yesterday.

STEINHAUSER: Already. Politics -- oh, it never sleeps. NGUYEN: Exactly, and neither do you.


STEINHAUSER: Neither you.

NGUYEN: Paul Steinhauser joining us early this morning. We appreciate it.


NGUYEN: All right. So, hear what New York Major Michael Bloomberg has to say about the Senate pick.

Plus, the premier of's inauguration film. Watch "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JOHN KING" and the best political team on television. That's Sunday morning starting at 9:00 Eastern.

He knows all the ins and outs of New York state politics. We're talking about journalist Fred Dicker. He's going to join us two hours from now to talk about Kirsten Gillibrand's appointment.

HOLMES: Well, a salute to Sully. Danville, California, is throwing a huge welcome home party for Captain Chesley Sullenberger. He is the pilot, of course, who safely landed that U.S. Airways jet where a jet is not supposed to land, the Hudson River.

He will be honored today by the city's mayor, the town council, congressman, the manager at McDonald's, the town friar, and anybody else in town there, honored for what he did to save 155 people on board that plane when it did crash-land in the Hudson. Everybody, of course, survived.

When that flight 1549 went down, it did lose its left engine. It has been found now. Investigators pulled it from the freezing waters of the Hudson.

You can see it aboard that barge there. It's pretty banged up. They do believe they can get some info from it however. They say a large chunk of it, outer shell, appears to be missing but doesn't look like it's leaking any oil or fuel.

NGUYEN: Well, listen to this. A problem waiting in the wings for Barack Obama, and it's the one PR challenge no president wants or needs. We've got the former head of NATO ready and waiting to hash this one out.

HOLMES: Also, Reynolds wolf standing by for us in the weather center.

Chilly temperatures. That doesn't even tell the real story, but it's chilly.


WOLF: No. I think if you ask someone in Bismarck this morning, if it was chilly up there, I think so they'd smack you upside your head and say, "Dude, take a look outside."


WOLF: It's 12 degrees below zero right now, as much as 18 below in Fargo, zero in Pierre, and Minneapolis, you got 10 below.

Take a look at what you can expect for the next five days, very quickly. Your forecast in Twin Cities is going to be getting a little bit warmer. A little bit being the key phrase here, going up to 14 degrees by time we get into Tuesday, by Wednesday, 22. But take a look at this nighttime lows, subzero conditions. Nighttime low on Sunday, 12 below zero.

OK. So, you got your Twin City love. We're going to be talking more about your forecast coming up throughout the morning for the rest of the nation. We've got heavy snow to talk about, some rain in the Southeast -- a lot of discussions to happen. So, of course, stay tuned right here at CNN.

Let's send it back to you guys.



REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) MINORITY LEADER: You make it clear, you're now closing Guantanamo, but you don't have a policy in place to deal with those that are housed there, what do you do? And I'm concerned that some will be let go too soon, could end up back on the battlefield.


HOLMES: That kind of reaction almost as swift as President Obama fulfilling one of his campaign promises: Shut down the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay. He also intends to get into the -- possibly repeal the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy which made former President Clinton kind of unpopular with some U.S. troops.

Could Obama be looking at the same kind of chilly reception? Well, let's bring in retired four-star general and former NATO commander, Wesley Clark. Also, a former presidential candidate, I'll throw that with in there as well.

Let's start with Gitmo. Can you do this? Is this the right thing to do, to say you will shut it down, a date, without a plan for what you're going to do with these guys?

WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO COMMANDER: I think it's absolutely the right thing to do. The detention center at Guantanamo has caused the United States no end of problems. First of all, apparently a lot of the people who were there shouldn't be there. Secondly, it's a non- transparent facility. It's there as an alternative to an established system of justice.

Let's use our system of justice. We've got the best system of justice in the world. And it can certainly handle bad actors like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

HOLMES: But, as you know, the criticism there and the problem people have is these are the baddest guys on the planet, according to many. Many of the 9/11 plotters, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- I mean, you name them, they are there. So, nobody wants them on U.S. soil. And certainly, nobody wants to extend the same rights that U.S. citizen has to these guys.

CLARK: Well, I think, we have to understand, in the war on terror, that the most important thing is that we cut off the flow of recruits to terrorist camps. And in that sense, the starting point for success is changing the ideological terms of the struggle and Barack Obama has done that very successfully by announcing the closing of Guantanamo.

As far as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is concerned, he's absolutely a bad guy. On the other hand, a lot of people say the reason he can't be brought into court is because he has been tortured and the evidence he's given has not been -- is not legally admissible. And that's a very serious problem for democracy that believes in high standards (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: So, how do we get around that? I mean, several of this -- I mean, this will open up all kinds of evidentiary items that maybe don't need to be in the public domain. I mean, this is a problem we haven't gotten around yet. We don't have a plan for it.

CLARK: Well, I think that some of these evidentiary problems, insofar as they involve classified information, yes, they have to be protected in the courtroom. But others, insofar as they involve methods that the United States has rebuked elsewhere and turned away from, we need to confront that foursquare to restore America's legitimacy in the world and our own sense of moral commitment to this struggle.

HOLMES: All right. Last couple of things here. He did have a commitment to repealing the "Don't ask, don't tell policy" of the U.S. military. That might be pushed back a bit. He might not make that decision as quickly and take it up as quickly as some might have hoped. Should it happen sooner, in your opinion, as soon as possible, in your opinion?

CLARK: Well, the United States is engaged in a war in Iraq. It's engaged in a war in Afghanistan. We've got problems in the Middle East with Iran and Israel, trying to find a solution there. We know Pakistan is in danger.

So, I don't think that you could stand outside the system and say that "Don't ask, don't tell" is the most urgent problem facing the United States, national security apparatus. So, I wouldn't be in favor of moving it up.

On the other hand, you have to understand the armed forces today are considerably different than they were 16 years ago, not only because of the extended conflict that they've been in and the stresses it's put people under, but also, because people are little more tolerant. So, I think this is something that will come, and it should come.

HOLMES: All right. Again, former NATO commander, former or rather still four-star general, and also former presidential candidate, Wesley Clark, is with us this morning from Little Rock, Arkansas. Sir, always good to see you.

CLARK: Thank you.

HOLMES: Appreciate it. Good luck getting out there. I know it's cold. Good luck getting out on the golf course today.


NGUYEN: He's always talking about that. Boy, that's a dream for a lot of folks.

And speaking of dreams, an American school reduced to rubble in Gaza. How teachers are trying to get classes started once again.


HOLMES: Well, Palestinian students, they looked at the American International School as a way to make something out of their lives.

NGUYEN: Yes. And now, those dreams have been deferred with the school's destruction.

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports now from Gaza.


ALIYA ABUARAIBAN, SCHOOL LIBRARIAN: Ten thousand books just taken (INAUDIBLE). They'd just no respect. Why did -- no respect. Why did -- oh, God, what I would do (ph)?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Librarian Aliya no longer has a library. It and the rest of the American International School of Gaza are no more. Israeli aircraft bombed the school at 2:00 in the morning on the 3rd of January, destroying it.

ABUARAIBAN: I'm not angry. I am beyond -- let me tell you something, I am beyond -- eight years. This is a school that's been up here for eight years, making a difference. You know what it means to make a difference?

People tell you, you can't, but you know, one person is more than enough. And that's what you learn and that's what you teach. One kid is getting out, making something. Well, I've got 20 kids out and I could have had more.

And this is what they do. Why? Give me one good reason why this happened.

WEDEMAN: Israeli officials say they're looking into the circumstances of the school's destruction. In the past, Palestinian militants have fired rockets at Israel from around the school and we don't know whether Hamas fighters occupied the school after the Israeli offensive began.

But school director, Ribhi Salem, an American citizen, insists rockets have never been fired from inside the grounds.

RIBHI SALEM, AMERICAN INTL. SCHOOL OF GAZA: I challenge them to give me one piece of evidence, one single piece of evidence that this school has ever been used to launch rockets. No.

WEDEMAN: The U.S. consulate in Jerusalem told CNN, quote, "We're very upset and very sorry to hear about the destruction of the American school in Gaza," end quote. No protests, however, was filed with the Israeli government.

I visited the school a year ago. Like Gaza, it has seen its fair share of problems. Staff kidnapped, militants had fired grenades into classrooms at night. But it was a lively, happy place. Its student body -- a mix of children from well-off families and others on scholarships, including from the U.S. government.

It was the only school in Gaza to use a strictly American curriculum and was partially funded by U.S. tax dollars. And now, staff and students are asking why their school was destroyed.

SALEM: To be honest with you, I have no other explanation than this. The Israelis do not want anything good in Gaza. They don't want anything excellent, anything bright in Gaza. They want Gaza to live in the Middle Ages.

WEDEMAN: School records are now scattered in the rubble. Past transgressions don't seem so important anymore.

SALEM: What is this -- a warning, suspension?

WEDEMAN: Senior Abeer Obaid's dreams now on hold.

ABEER OBAID, 12TH GRADE STUDENT: I've missed two deadlines for the three universities I wanted to apply to because of this war. And I don't know if I'm going to even get my diploma this year.

MUHAMMED AL-KHUDDARI, 11TH GRADE STUDENT: It's not just a school. It's our house, our future, our hope, and our hearts.

WEDEMAN: And now, their school and everything else is shattered into a million pieces.


NGUYEN: Well, after the school was destroyed, the Israel defense forces said it had been used as a launching base for rockets and was a legitimate target. But in a statement to CNN, they say the incident is still being investigated and they added, quote, "For 22 days, the IDF fought an enemy in Gaza that did not hesitate to hide behind civilians and fire from schools, mosques, and humanitarian aid facilities."

So, let's bring in our Ben Wedeman from Gaza City. Ben, tell us about your experience at that school because, obviously, the fact that it is destroyed has left a huge void for the students there.

WEDEMAN: Certainly. As I said in the report, I had been there a year ago, and it was really quite a very nice school. It was well- run, the best school in Gaza by any standard. The children were happy. They were very excited, obviously, when a television crew showed up.

And so, it was one of those places in Gaza where you go there and you have hope, you have a feeling that, you know, there are people here who are really striving to get ahead, make a difference, change their lives. So when I came across this school, just hours after the Israeli cease-fire went into effect and I saw just the utter damage, the thing is just completely beyond repair, and I was shocked. I was obviously already shocked at just going around Gaza, seeing the destruction.

On the bright side, Betty, the school is trying to get going again. They're obviously going to have to move to different facilities. They're looking for apartment space in the city. They have 220 kids. So, they're going to have to find something that's big enough to house all of them, to house the classrooms.

They've lost all their textbooks, which come from the United States. So, they have to find a way to get those in. They don't have any desks, any tables. But they're trying to get back on their feet.

NGUYEN: Boy, it does seem like quite a challenge and a long road ahead. But judging from the determination there, it's something that will be done.

Ben Wedeman, thank you so much for your time today.

HOLMES: All right. Beanie Babies, it's been around for a while.

NGUYEN: A long time, yes.

HOLMES: Kind of popular.

NGUYEN: Kind of? They used to be the craze. Yes.

HOLMES: Two new ones you can add to your collection. Maybe everybody is going to love these, too. But ...

NGUYEN: Not the White House.

HOLMES: Not the White House.

NGUYEN: Yes, they're not so excited about these new dolls from the company that makes Beanie Babies. We'll tell you why.


NGUYEN: All right. So, we asked, you answered. Here's our e- mail question: What would you like President Barack Obama to tackle within the first 100 days?

And John from New Jersey writes, "I'd like to see President Obama pass a federal bill to cap credit card and mortgage rates to 4 percent or 5 percent right now. Media and government never addressed this true cause of the drain on our economy. I'd like to see this done immediately before the bread lines begin."

HOLMES: Fred chimed in as well, saying, "I believe that President Obama should repatriate the outsourced jobs from countries like India. Big U.S. companies should be penalized for sending our jobs over seas. As everyone knows, the middle class in the U.S. is disappearing and this is because the jobs are outsourced."

So, again, keep those responses coming. We will be using them throughout the morning. What issues do you want the president to tackle his first 100 days?

NGUYEN: All right. In the meantime, this is major issue for the White House.

HOLMES: A big deal.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. They have the names of the first daughters, but apparently, it is not a -- well, it is a coincidence, they're saying.


HOLMES: They're saying. Yes, let you be the judge.


HOLMES: The names of these dolls from the Beanie Babies company, Sweet Sasha and Marvelous Malia -- Sasha and Malia. Now, they have been added to the ...

NGUYEN: That's a coincidence though.

HOLMES: Yes -- the TyGirlz doll collection. The company spokesman denies the dolls are based on the Obama girls, the family, at least, the first family, Michelle Obama, press secretary, says they feel it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes. There is a quote from the spokesperson. You have it in front of you right there. It's a very key phrase or word that they use right there.

NGUYEN: Well, it says right here, "There's nothing on the dolls that refers to the Obama girls," and the person goes on to say, "It would not be fair so to say they are exact replicas of the girls because they are not."

HOLMES: The key word there, "exact replicas," but they could be replicas, nonetheless. But that is a heck of a coincidence right about now.

NGUYEN: Especially with the names. I mean, some of the other names that they have for their other dolls include Lindsey, Britney, Paris, Hillary, and Jenna. So, I don't know, are those, you know, just coincidences?

HOLMES: OK. According to the company -- hey, we're just reporting both sides. You figure it out.

NGUYEN: We just give you the information.

HOLMES: All right.


NGUYEN: In the meantime, though, Vice President Joe Biden has been accused of putting his foot in his mouth, shall we say? Take a listen to this.


VICE PRES. JOSEPH BIDEN, UNITED STATES: And that's the American will continue to get if George -- excuse me, if John McCain is elected president of the United States. Freudian slip.


HOLMES: So, will me be the next Dan Quayle, some might say? Will he become a target of some of those jokes? We'll answer that coming up in the 8:00 hour. Don't go anywhere.

NGUYEN: No. First, though, "HOUSE CALL" with Doctor Sanjay Gupta starts right now.