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CNN Saturday Morning News

Obama To Reverse Bush Limits on Stem-Cell Research; Unemployment Hits 25-Year High; Obama Claims Stimulus Package Will Create More Jobs; Interview With Dolly Parton

Aired March 07, 2009 - 06:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, everybody.


HOLMES: It's T.J. This is Betty.

NGUYEN: How are you doing?

HOLMES: I'm well. Are you OK? We got it together this morning?

NGUYEN: You're getting there. It's one of those mornings. But you know what? It's going to be a great one because we do have a lot to talk about today.

HOLMES: We do. And at 6:00 Eastern, 3:00 Pacific, thank you so much for being with us on this CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I am T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. It is Saturday, March 7th. Thanks for starting your day with us.

You know, it is a topic that comes with plenty of debate: stem- cell research. Well in a controversial move, the president is set to sign an executive order reversing a policy that limits federal spending on embryonic stem-cell research. And our Dr. Gupta explains what this could mean for millions of Americans.

HOLMES: Well, and also, we are starting here at 6:00 a.m. Betty and I will be here on the air until noon. And do you know, in that time, those six hours, 1,440 homes will go into foreclosure. That averages out to...


HOLMES: ...13 per second, four per minute, 240 per hour. We will get into more of this foreclosure mess this morning.

Also, it's something that I -- that Betty and I are kind of embarrassed about what happened yesterday here at our CNN studio.

NGUYEN: We're not embarrassed.

HOLMES: Well, we should be embarrassed about that.

NGUYEN: Well, we just should work on our singing skills a little bit better, right? HOLMES: All right. Let's take a look here.




NGUYEN: Yes, you see we let Dolly Parton take the lead on that one. Although she actually changed some word to her song "9 to 5" just for us.


NGUYEN: We're singing with Dolly a little bit later this morning.

But first up, President Obama and his family are headed to Camp David today. The short trip comes after more dreadful news about jobs: 651,000 jobs lost in February. Despite those numbers, the president told a group of police cadets in Columbus yesterday that the huge stimulus package is saving jobs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Engine start. One, zero -- and liftoff of the Delta 2 Rocket with Kepler on a search...


HOLMES: Kepler is on its way. It's going to be busy for the next three-and-a-half years. NASA is setting out to learn if we are really alone in the universe, a question folks have been asking and not quite answering for a long time.

Kepler is the name of it. It launched about 10:50 Eastern time last night. On board, a telescope that will look at 100,000 stars. Now the goal is to find other Earth-like planets and maybe planets that could support some water so in -- that way they could support life probably.


HOLMES: Are we alone? Finally, maybe have the answer in three- and-a-half years.

NGUYEN: I just -- if we're not, I wonder what they look like. Interesting stuff out there, folks.

In the meantime though, listen to this story: eight people dead in a bombing in Pakistan. Most of the dead were police officers, but one was a civilian. Police got a call about a body in a car on a road around Peshawar. When they got there, the attacker set off the bomb with a remote control.

HOLMES: All right. Administration officials are saying -- sources are coming out saying that President Obama is going to lift key restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem-cell research, expecting that to happen on Monday.

NGUYEN: Yes. This is a big deal.

In 2001, President Bush barred funding for research on almost all embryonic stem cells, restricting it to a set created before August of that year. Now, social conservatives applauded the move as potentially saving innocent human life.

So what exactly is a stem cell? Well, our chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, breaks it down for CNN's Campbell Brown.


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's walk people through this.


BROWN: There are different kind of stem cells. Explain to people what's so controversial about what the president is going to announce on Monday.

GUPTA: Well, you know, when you talk about embryonic stem cells, the thing that's so controversial is, in order to get these cells, you have to destroy embryos. That's a simple way that you can put it. And that has led to controversy that has extended many, many years.

But your point is a good one. When you say stem cells sort of as an umbrella term, you are referring to several different types of cells. Adult stem cells are not controversial. You take those from adults. You can take them from their bone marrow, their liver, their blood.

There's also something known as IPS, induced pluripotent cells. You don't need to remember the name, but remember this: you can take normal skin cells and expose them to certain viruses that also make those skin cells revert backwards into embryonic stem cells. Those are also not controversial.

But this idea of creating federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research is something people have been talking for some time. And we're hearing, like you are, there's going to be a reversal of the existing policies on that very issue on Monday.

BROWN: And explain to us why medical researchers are so excited about stem-cell research and what they hope to accomplish ultimately.

GUPTA: If you take an embryonic stem cell, it is a -- what is called a pluripotent cell, a cell that can grow into just about anything.

And what is exciting about that is so many diseases simply need new cells, Parkinson's disease, diabetes. After someone has had a heart attack, heart cells die. Could you somehow replace those heart cells? That's where the exciting part starts to come in.

If you can take these embryonic stem cells, put them in the areas of the body that need those replacement cells, maybe you could start to see improvements in these chronic diseases for which we really have no cures as of right now.


HOLMES: Well, coming up in our 7:00 a.m. after (ph), we're going to hear from actor Michael J. Fox. And his foundation funds Parkinson's disease research.

NGUYEN: You know, Sanjay has taken himself out of the running for the job of President Obama's surgeon general. Well now, a new candidate is emerging. Senior Democratic officials tell CNN that Howard Dean is a possible pick.

This onetime National Democratic Party chairman is a medical doctor as well as a former Vermont governor who championed health reform.

All right. Let's get to what everyone is talking about: unemployment at an all-time -- well, a 25-year high, I should say.


NGUYEN: It feels like an all-time high.

HOLMES: Something we have -- I mean, many people ...


NGUYEN: For us, yes.

HOLMES: Yes. Certainly folks who are working right now, a lot of younger folks, never seen anything like this -- 12 and a half million people out of work. And according to, more men are losing jobs than women. Also teenagers seeing the highest job loss, then followed by African-Americans and Hispanics.

Now, we are trying to help out here as much as we can on CNN SATURDAY and SUNDAY MORNING by asking for your resumes and hooking you up with someone who can help you with that resume. You can e-mail your resumes to us at Coming up at 8:00, we'll have a expert going to go through some of those resumes, offer advice, here live on our show.

Send them our way and we might be giving you a call and waking you up in just a couple of hours.

NGUYEN: All right. So now that you're armed with the new jobless numbers, President Obama says passing his $787 billion economic- recovery plan was the right thing to do.

HOLMES: And our White House correspondent Dan Lothian traveled with the president to Columbus, Ohio, where he says some jobs -- the president says -- have been created from that stimulus package.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Far from unexpected, more grim unemployment news: the country lost 651,000 jobs last month.

In Columbus, Ohio, President Obama called the latest numbers astounding.

BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't need to tell the people of this state what statistics like this mean.

LOTHIAN: Confronting a crisis in confidence, the president came to Columbus to prove that the stimulus money is already working to turn the economy around: Twenty-five police cadets who got pink slips in January were saved by the bill.

OBAMA: I look at these young men and women, I look into their eyes, and I see their badges today, and I know that we did the right thing.

LOTHIAN: In January, the city of Columbus was forced to cut $13 million from its 2009 budget. That meant the cadets had to go.

Shocking news for Josh Vandop, a father of two children.

OFFICER JOSH VANDOP, COLUMBIA POLICE: Initially, it was just kind of shock. We went into a survival kind of mentality.

LOTHIAN: While attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman pushed the president and other officials to get stimulus money flowing to his city. He received more than $1.2 million to save the cadets.

VANDOP: It was a huge relief, you know, for myself. And I called my wife, and it was just a weight off our shoulders. You know, we had a way to provide for our family.

LOTHIAN: But it's a temporary reprieve. Their jobs are only guaranteed through the end of the year, when the stimulus money runs out.

(on camera): What happens beyond that?

MITCHELL BROWN, COLUMBUS PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR: Well, what happens beyond that, we'll deal with it when we get to it.

LOTHIAN: The rookie officers say they're hoping that the economy will turn around by the end of the year, or that more slots open up when older officers retire.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Columbus, Ohio.


NGUYEN: All right.

So the price of homes on the market are spiraling down and fast. In fact, listen to this: In Miami, you can buy a house today for the same price it would have cost you six years ago. I'm going to show you a million-dollar home that just simply will not sell.

HOLMES: All right. And something I mentioned a moment ago -- and we should be embarrassed...

NGUYEN: Really?

HOLMES: ...on how we handled ourselves yesterday.

NGUYEN: Oh. With Dolly Parton?

HOLMES: We just weren't prepared. We were thrown off guard. We were really unprepared by Dolly Parton being in the building.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: But we had to use even her purse.

NGUYEN: Yes. It was impromptu.

HOLMES: Yes -- to help us do our job.

NGUYEN: Her purse saved the day.


PARTON: I'd like to point out (INAUDIBLE)

NGUYEN: Oh yes. Take a look.

PARTON: You sitting here and you'd think it'd be worth a fortune. Well, they had to use my purse to prop up their microphone. Now, he wasn't kidding about not being prepared. They just came down and just threw me in the chair, sat down in the chair...


NGUYEN: She's calling us out.

HOLMES: She is. It's the weekend show.



HOLMES: Hey, we do what we got to do.

NGUYEN: OK. But you know, we didn't exactly throw her in the chair. This is Dolly Parton.

HOLMES: This is Dolly Parton.

NGUYEN: We gently placed her in the chair.


HOLMES: But that's coming up. We will show you our full interview with her and you'll find out why Betty and I were actually so unprepared. Also, she'll be talking about her charity work, singing at the White House, the economy as well. And also, the question that she is just tired of answering.

Stay with us.



HOLMES: You want to be a singer bad, don't you?

NGUYEN: I do. Maybe in my next life, if I'm so lucky.

Reynolds hates this song. That's why I'm teasing with it.



HOLMES: But it's appropriate. We need it for you to make the segue right now.

WOLF: Guys, my ears are bleeding.

NGUYEN: Didn't he tell you, the Steve Miller Band, some of the best songwriters out there?

WOLF: By far -- far and away. Huge fan. I celebrate their entire collection.

NGUYEN: "Abracadabra."

HOLMES: That's the jam right there.

NGUYEN: That's your favorite one, right?

WOLF: Yes. That's my all-time favorite, Betty. Thank you.

NGUYEN: All right.

WOLF: I need to go over here and (INAUDIBLE)

NGUYEN: Shall we get to real news. Well, kind of sort of.

Benjamin Franklin suggested it would save money on candles. We're talking about daylight-saving time. So don't forget to set your clock ahead an hour. Not until tomorrow morning though, OK? Don't do it just yet.

(CROSSTALK) NGUYEN: I guess you could go ahead and do it right now.

HOLMES: Which way are we going?

NGUYEN: Ahead. So we're...

WOLF: We're -- we're springing forward.

HOLMES: Forward. So we're losing an hour.

NGUYEN: So we're losing an hour.

WOLF: If you lose an hour -- of course that -- that's the way it always aims. Doesn't it feel like even in the fall, when you're supposed to fall back and you gain an hour, doesn't it feel like we're still losing sometimes, too?


WOLF: I'm not trying to be a -- a -- you know, a glass-is-half- empty kind of person, but it just seems weird.

NGUYEN: I kind of like the extra hour. I don't like when you spring forward, because I feel like I lose an hour.

WOLF: I'll be darned if I said this last year: why don't we just keep doing, just us as a little experiment -- we just add an extra hour of sleep each weekend. And then, you know, in about a month's time, we'll be starting at around 4:00 in the afternoon.


WOLF: Wouldn't it be great? That's the way we ought to do this thing.

Hey, if we got to get to weather, let's go ahead and do that. That's the whole purpose of being here, at least for this little segment.

We do have some rough weather to talk about. We've had some rough times in parts of the Central Plains, some fires north of Texas, into Oklahoma. Let's show you that video right now. We're not going to get to it, and abracadabra, it's going to pop right up. A little Steve Miller there for you.

You see the scattered -- well, not showers, but rather, fires. They've been popping up across parts of Oklahoma, keeping fire crews very busy. You know, when you have that dry foliage and those winds that have been coming in not from due south, but rather southwest from parts of Mexico, that dry air, low humidity -- well, that's going to keep those things going.

And it's going to be a rough time for them today, although in parts of Oklahoma, they may get a little bit of a break in the action due to some scattered showers that are in the picture. But I'll tell you, at this time, the biggest shower activity we're seeing takes you across to parts of the Midwest.

Let's go ahead and take the camera that we have right here, and we're going to show you some of those areas. We're going to go up towards Chicago, south of Minneapolis, where you see some scattered snow showers. But when you make your way a bit farther to the south, you're going to be seeing some rainfall. Possibly some great conditions in places like -- take a look at this, WTVF in Nashville got that shot.

And of course, in Nashville, it's hard to believe that just a short while ago they were dealing with some snow showers. In parts of Tennessee, they had up to a foot of snow, especially back towards Memphis. But today, snow is not going to be the issue. Instead, the warmer conditions.

Let's come back to me for a moment if we can. Again, thunderstorms in Cedar Rapids along parts of 380. Chicago this morning, it's been a -- well, a rude awakening for you. Just some booming thunder that we've been dealing with. Nothing severe at this time; we could see that later on today.

So we take you from Chicago back over to Peoria and even to places, like, say, Nashville, where temperatures today going to 74 degrees.

Let's talk about some warmer conditions, like, say, Dallas and back to Houston. It's going to be certainly warm there. Parts of the Central Plains are going to be about 20 degrees normal of what you should be for this time of year. In Parts of the Southeast, about five degrees above. Still kind of cool and sort of clammy for you in parts of the Pacific Northwest.

That is a look at your forecast. Let's send it right back to you guys at the desk.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, Reynolds, you've been on the covers of magazines, right?

WOLF: I've been on that little thing, the little -- you know, at the post office, you see up there, the "missing." But not magazines, no.


NGUYEN: All right. Well, one of the days, you may be on the cover of, say, Oprah Winfrey's magazine. Because now, she is allowing more than just Oprah to grace that cover.

HOLMES: Yes, but it took a lot. This magazine...

NGUYEN: The First Lady, maybe?

HOLMES: Yes. This magazine's been around about 10 years, maybe? I think somewhere around there. But on every single issue, there's Oprah. And why not?

NGUYEN: And Oprah all by herself.


NGUYEN: She says, you know, why have someone else on my magazine? It's my magazine. I'm going to be on there.

Well, in the latest edition.

HOLMES: Well, look at that.

NGUYEN: ...she is standing there with, of course, Michelle Obama. This hits the newsstands. And, you know, it really shows off this relationship that the two have formed throughout the campaign. And now that the Obamas are in the White House, she interviews Michelle Obama on everything from decorating to the hopes that she has for women and how she can help them with her new role.

HOLMES: Well, yes. First time we have seen this.

And something else she talks about in there, just the -- the first weekend they were in the White House together, it was -- she said it was like a big a -- a big extended, formal wedding. You have people like family left over that we just couldn't get rid of. They were just in the house...

NGUYEN: Stragglers.

HOLMES: ...all weekend kind of a thing. So she gives a little insight into the house and just trying to keep it normal for the girls who hear the helicopter coming down, know daddy's home. And now they don't even want to see -- oh, OK, we've seen it before. No big deal.

NGUYEN: That's just so interesting to say. You know, children will hear the garage door open or someone drive up. But to hear a helicopter and go, "Oh, Dad's home."

HOLMES: Marine One. I hear Marine One out there.

NGUYEN: It -- it's a totally different thing.

But -- but look -- just really -- really quickly, just look at the -- their mannerisms here. You see Oprah in kind of this prayer pose. I -- I don't know what the conversation was. She may have been clapping or -- or whatever. But it's just a really...

HOLMES: A candid shot.

NGUYEN: ...interesting shot.


WOLF: It's contemplation. It's basic -- she's contemplation.

NGUYEN: Is that what it is?

WOLF: Yes. She's thinking, gosh, this is going to be a great cover.


WOLF: And you know what's amazing? I mean, T.J., you -- you're the same way. Betty I don't know if you're in this camp, but T.J. and I have every single edition ever.


WOLF: Every -- every single copy of -- of Oprah's magazine. I've had several subscriptions.

NGUYEN: Yes, right.

HOLMES: Actually gave it to each other as gifts a couple Christmases ago.

NGUYEN: OK, you all need to stop right there.


NGUYEN: ...and stop talking.

HOLMES: It's Oprah, OK?

WOLF: That's right.

HOLMES: All right. Thanks, Renny.


NGUYEN: I don't know if he did you any good there.

But anyways, thinking about the economy, it can be depressing. But there is a silver lining.

HOLMES: We've been looking for one for awhile.

Josh may have found one. Good morning, sir.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you guys. CNN SATURDAY MORNING to the rescue on that front, hopefully.

The experts are saying that if you want to find a job, the No. 1 thing you have to do is behind me, right here -- .com -- is be optimistic. But how exactly are you supposed to do that?

Well, check this out: We have a list of more than 100 things that might help you on that front -- T.J.

HOLMES: People will take that help right about now. Josh, thank you. We'll see you here in just a minute.

Also, folks out there, of course, worried about their job security. Our Gerri Willis breaking down who's getting laid off, but also who's hiring. Stay with us.


NGUYEN: It has been a jaw-dropping week for those worried about job security out there. The unemployment numbers are out, and it's at a 25-year high.

Gerri Willis joins us now with the latest on these numbers.

Really staggering, Gerri.


You know, Betty, 8.1 percent of Americans are out of work. That's a very large number. It means that 12 and a half million Americans don't have a job.

Now this isn't just concerning to people who are staying home and have no place to go during the day. It's also concerning to people who are in the workplace and worried that their job might be next.

NGUYEN: And looking at those in the unemployment line -- I'm looking at the numbers here. Men, eight percent. Women, six percent.

But when you break it down to the minorities, it seems like they're getting hit very hard. Why is that?

WILLIS: Yes, racial minorities are getting higher -- hit harder. In fact, people who are disabled get hit harder. And that's because there are so many people out -- out of work right now, and they're all looking for jobs. And you find that in -- even in this kind of economy, there are people who are still discriminating against racial minorities, and that sometimes comes out in this kind of environment.

NGUYEN: All right. OK.

So from the unemployment line to those who can't make their mortgages, the numbers out say one in nine are actually behind on that mortgage payment.

WILLIS: Yes. Staggering numbers here.

The problems in the housing market -- this is where all this trouble started, remember? People have -- you know, were getting their homes foreclosed on. They're out in the street. This is how the problems started. Twenty percent of American homeowners owe more than their house is worth right now. And that is very troubling, deeply troubling to the administration that has been trying to come up with programs to solve this crisis.

But it seems to be getting worse, not better. In fact, the numbers we got recently show that there is one foreclosure every 13 seconds. So try to process that. These -- you know, we have -- you know, I know a lot of people who have been reporting these numbers for a long time. They're all shocked and amazed by where these numbers are going right now -- Betty.

NGUYEN: That is absolutely frightening, because by the time that we're finished -- we've been talking for, like, a minute or so -- there's been several foreclosures happen, if it happens every 13 seconds.

WILLIS: Right.

NGUYEN: All right.

So let me ask you this: who's actually hiring out there?

WILLIS: Well, you know, it's interesting, because people think, Well, nobody must be hiring. But that's not true.

And in fact, you can find some companies where they're letting some people go, but they're hiring others. So don't think you really know what's going on until you actually get in and check the ads, you -- you go to job fairs. You've really got get out there and put yourself out there.

Health care a big sector that's adding right now. Manufacturing, of course, is not. Green jobs are a very big part of what's going on in this economy. And those don't necessarily take more training.

We, of course, are seeing in software development, the Web. Technology is a big area for the growth of jobs. And the good news here is -- you know, these Boomers, they're retiring, and they're opening up jobs that people thought would never be open for a long time, like engineering. That's another big area where we're seeing more and more hiring. And in fact, some employers can't even find the people they need because there are so few people training in these categories.

So there are jobs out there. There are certainly not as many jobs being created right now as are -- as are being lost. But I think the take-away some people get when they hear the numbers we're talking about on TV, they think, oh, well, there are no jobs at all.

NGUYEN: Right.

WILLIS: That's not true. There actually are jobs. And you just got to drill down and make sure that you get your resume out to as many people as possible.

NGUYEN: Because they are out there, indeed.

All right. Gerri Willis, as always, we do appreciate it. Thank you.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

NGUYEN: And CNN's personal-finance expert, Gerri Willis, comes back on at 9:30 this morning. Check out "YOUR BOTTOM LINE." She's going to have more on where the jobs are and how to hang on to the biggest investment of your life, that being your home. All that and much more, 9:30 Eastern, right here on CNN.

HOLMES: And for the past couple weekends, Betty, we've been asking folks to send their resumes.


HOLMES: And we've been hooking them up with experts, getting some advice here live on the air. Keep doing that,

Also people looking for advice to find a job anywhere they can get it. And a lot of folks, one challenge is tough: just trying to stay optimistic...

NGUYEN: I know.

HOLMES: ...about finding a job in the first place.

NGUYEN: But supposedly, that can be the key. Josh Levs is delving into that.

What did you find?

LEVS: You know, guys, it was really striking.

I mean, you've seen this new spread that CNN just unveiled yesterday on .com, Check it out. I want to zoom in, because I want to see -- everyone to see the main headline we've got right here. Look at this -- "Experts: Ignore bad news to find a job."

In fact, let's go over to this version, you can see even better: "To find a job, ignore doom-and-gloom news, experts say." And that gets right at something we've been doing here on this show. We've been inviting people at my Facebook page, joshlevscnn, to send us the positive side, to talk about the positive side.

And I want to start off with one that's kind of a reality check. We have it in a graphic here for you. This is something a lot of people have said, but here's one really good example that says, "You know what? The vast majority of Americans are not in foreclosure and do have jobs." That comes from John David English.

And that is an important way to look at this. Even with the growing numbers, by far most people do have jobs. Hold on to that if you're facing interviews.

Let's zoom in on the board. I'll show you a few more. People talking about why they're positive now.

It says, "Hi, Josh. This downturn is really good. I know a few of my friends started their own company, and they say that they earn more than what they would have if they were working back in their software company."

Some other people just writing about great things going on in the world, why this isn't such a bad time. Gina says, "People are becoming more involved in their communities." That kind of thing.

But, you know, the more we take a look at what people are writing us, the more positivity we see.

In fact, one more thing -- take a look at this. One more graphic. This week, mid-week guys, we opened up a different question. We said to everyone -- we want to know, "Are you feeling more or less confident about the economy?" And I was really surprised at the responses we got.

By far, more people saying, "yeah." And I'm just going to show you one Lisa said, "I really appreciate the Obama administration taking action. To try and fix the problems in the financial system is an uphill battle, but I like the initiative that encourage the use of renewal energy."

More and more people saying they're feeling confident right now. So it's something. If you have ideas that are positive, you can weigh in at the Facebook page.

Also, just if you want some inspiration. Take a look. We've got more than 100 there, guys. So it's something for people to hold on to when they head into those interviews. Something.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. It might give you that little extra confidence.

LEVS: That'll be good (ph).

NGUYEN: OK. Thank you, Josh.

HOLMES: All right. Thanks, Josh.

Well, Betty and I have a (INAUDIBLE) -- face people see here a lot on CNN....


HOLMES: ...on the weekends, Paul Steinhauser. He's a friend of our show. He's not just up in D.C. today. He is sitting right next to us. He's coming up next. We got some serious things to talk about, some of the issues -- the president always has a busy weekend. Going to have another busy week.

But Paul, it's good to have you here with us, my man.

NGUYEN: Yes, good to have you in the studio.

HOLMES: This is just the tease, but we're so excited to have you, we thought we'd just mix it up and say hello.

But we're coming up, about to talk about with the president (ph). Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOLMES: Well, the president spending the weekend at Camp David. Yesterday he was in Ohio talking to police recruits there where jobs were saved, he says, by the stimulus plan. The president admitted, however, that the current job losses are, in his words, astounding. But he says the recovery package already doing what's supposed to do.


OBAMA: All together, this recovery plan will save and create over 3.5 million American jobs in over the next two years. Because of this plan, those who have lost their jobs in this recession will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits and continued health care coverage. Because of this plan, 95 percent of working Americans will receive a tax break that you will see in your paycheck starting on April 1st.


HOLMES: As we said, a friend of our show here, Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser, in Atlanta.

Good to have you here, in studio, with us. Good to see you, sir.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I just woke up in Atlanta. I don't know how it happened. Here I am.

HOLMES: You're all over the place. You probably don't know how you end up in city to city.

Let's talk about this. 25 jobs, that doesn't sound like a lot. We're talking about 25 here, 25 there, there, there, maybe this will eventually all add up. But he's still selling this thing and he's doing it on the smallest scale possible, showing people this is how it works. And I've got 25 recruits I can point to, to show you that my stimulus package is working.

STEINHAUSER: Good point, sir, you're right. You know, we thought would the sales job end after Congress passed the stimulus - no. He needs to keep doing this for another year or two to show that it is really going to make a difference. And 25 jobs doesn't sound a lot, but you're right. He's saying its 25 here, 25 there, 25 across the country.

On the same day that President Obama was in Ohio, you have Vice President Biden in Florida doing something very similar. And they're basically saying the stimulus money is going to allow communities to keep officers, or get new police officers, nurses, schoolteachers. Stuff like that. Jobs that would have been lost because states and communities are in such tough times they would have to cut jobs.

HOLMES: What is he possibly seeing behind the scenes, or possibly hearing out there that he feels he still needs to sell it? He already won, through Congress, it's the law of the land. So, it seems like it's a victory already. But it seems like now, still, he needs to sell this thing. STEINHAUSER: Yes, because the economic numbers keep coming in. They keep coming in -- we saw yesterday, that was a very bad jobs report, over 8 percent now. And the markets keep tumbling. So even though he gets things passed through Congress and he's passed a lot already in his first month and a half, he needs to show this is going to work. But, guys, he's telling America, it's going to take some time.

Now, you know what as the markets keep tumbling down, that is one indicator, not a very good one. But look at public opinion polls. They're still giving President Obama definitely the benefit of the doubt. He's still very high in his approval rating. People are saying it is not his fault, yet. But when it becomes his fault, this economy, that's when the trouble begins.

HOLMES: And slowly become his economy and not just his predecessor.

All right, coming up, we're going to use you -- we're going to be using you every five minutes on this show. We got you in town.

STEINHAUSER: Uh-oh, I'm in trouble.

HOLMES: We'll be expecting to hear more economy in his address this morning?

STEINHAUSER: Yes. In his radio address and his Internet address, he once again talking about what he's done so far, but also the tough road ahead.

HOLMES: All right. Paul Steinhauser, really, we're excited to have you here.

STEINHAUSER: Going to be here.

HOLMES: We'll see you back here shortly.

HOLMES: All right, Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. In the meantime, we do want you to send us your resumes. E-mail them to Because coming up at 8:00 a.m. We're going to have a expert who is going to go through your resumes and offer advice. So send them our way. We may call you live on the air.


NGUYEN: All right. So it's another week and another bank failure. Freedom Bank of Georgia is the 17th to go down this year. If you go to there is an interactive feature. You see it right there on your screen that tells you where the banks are failing. There are 25 bank failures in all of 2008. And state regulators seized the bank after the stock markets closed yesterday. Well, Northeast Georgia Bank has agreed to assume all deposits.

So let us remind you about's special online report "Where The Jobs Are." I know you want to know where they are. We have it for you. If you're unemployed you want to check out our Web site to see who is hiring in your area and the best places for work around the nation. All that and so much more at

HOLMES: All right. We know the working person's anthem "Working Nine to Five." Yes, the whole Dolly Parton.

NGUYEN: What a way to making a livin'.

HOLMES: OK, we -- it doesn't plot us.

NGUYEN: No, because we work six to noon.

HOLMES: 6:00 a.m. to noon.

But we've got Dolly Parton to mix it up a little bit and give Betty and I a new anthem for this show. Check her out.


PARTON: Working six to noon what a way to make a living, barely getting by ...



NGUYEN: You know what I love about her, not only did she play along with us, but she was actually playing a musical instrument on her nails, and it was working for me.

HOLMES: It was working just fine. But she did that for us. We had -- we're going to have to pay her some royalties for that.

NGUYEN: It's our new theme song.

HOLMES: It's our new theme song for this show. Yes. We sat down with Dolly Parton yesterday. Boy, oh, boy, hear some of the things she had to say about the economy and about, again, the question she just gets tired of people asking her. Stay tuned for that right after this break.


HOLMES: I love Dolly Parton. I tell you, this woman is amazing, and what a life story.

She has a heck of a story. That story continues. We got part of her story yesterday. Betty and I were somewhat unprepared. Betty wasn't wearing the right outfit, I hadn't shaved. But we had to go down and see her.

NGUYEN: We were hard at work until we found out Dolly was in the building. Check it out for yourself.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NGUYEN: OK, so we were upstairs and got word that Dolly Parton was in the building. We had to come down and say hello to you.

Hi, Dolly.

PARTON: Well, hi, you. When you down, I went, oh, it's them! I watch you all the time. I think it's so funny when you meet people that you watch on TV.

NGUYEN: Right. You feel like you know us.

PARTON: Big stars.

HOLMES: We're serious. We didn't plan on -- I didn't even shave today.

NGUYEN: I have a sweater on.

HOLMES: We're a mess. But we ran down because you were in building.

PARTON: I think you look good. I'm happy to get a chance to talk to you. We're doing work with our Imagination Library, my literacy program. So we teamed up with the Rotary to kind of sponsor that whole thing. So we've just been doing a lot of press today and came up here to do some stuff. I'm glad we got to do this.

NGUYEN: Yes. That is a wonderful project. I want to ask you about this, with the economy the way it is. You have some really good insight. I mean you, singer, songwriter, businesswoman, you have reinvented yourself in many ways. How do you stay successful and what advice do you have to people who have fallen on hard times?

PARTON: It's very hard right now for everybody. I think everybody is kind of scared. But there's really no -- you don't really know how to give advice. I try not to give people advice. But even like being in business with me, like at our Dollywood, we're always very conscious of the economy and have to kind of hold back a little bit to see how things are going.

But we're very encouraged by the fact that season ticket sales are going good. But we just have to say, just keep your head up, keep your faith. You've got to kind of believe that things are going to be better. I hope that they are going to be. It's just scary right now.

HOLMES: You've done so much with your career, the philanthropic work, but what is it, would you say, maybe a question out there that you get a lot of that you love to answer but maybe another question you get sick of talking about? What question -- you know there's got to be something. I'm tired of talking about that but you still answer it. What would it be?

PARTON: Well, I've had it all. I guess, probably, I get a little sick of people talking about the plastic surgery. Have you done this? Have you done that? That's all part of it. I know people are curious. You think, they should know that by now. Yes, I have. You know, I always say, see something sagging, dragging, and bagging, I get it nipped up or sucked away. You get all that. And you just really hope that people will ask those questions and then get on with the things that you want to talk about.

NGUYEN: Move on.

PARTON: But I've been blessed. I've been lucky. I don't mind talking about anything. I try to do it all with a sense of humor. And enjoy my own life and my own work.

NGUYEN: Let me say, you look fabulous. It doesn't matter what's been done because you look great, honey.

You know, let me ask you this, too, because a lot of people are struggling these days with their families and their relationships as it relates to the economy. You have been in a marriage for years, and a successful one. How do you make that work?

PARTON: Well, I always joke about it and say that the way it works is because I stay gone.


NGUYEN: He's not here today, is he?

PARTON: There is some truth in that, we're not in each other's face all the time. But we're not in the same business, either. I think that often helps. I think it's very hard when people are in the same business and doing different projections.

My husband is a home body. He doesn't really like to get out that much, unless we're planning a vacation or something. And then we have a little RV and we like to travel around in our camper. But we have a lot to talk about. He's not very flamboyant. He loves that I love what I do. And we're good friends.

NGUYEN: It's a good balance?

PARTON: Yes. We've been together -- we met in 1964, got married in '66, and been at it ever since. He's a good guy.

NGUYEN: That's great.

HOLMES: Let me ask you about what everybody seems to be talking about, what everybody was excited about last year, people were paying attention to politics. And for good reason, with the candidate we had in particular Barack Obama, but also just because everybody was looking to move forward, looking for a change if you will, from the last administration.

Where are you as far as your optimism, your pessimism, about the tone in Washington; about actually getting sides together and getting something done? Are you hopeful about that and would you like to end up at the White House one of these days in the administration?

PARTON: No. HOLMES: No, not to run. Just to perform.

PARTON: I've always said there's -- we have enough boobs in Washington. They don't need me there.

HOLMES: No, no not to run, to perform it.

PARTON: Actually I would like to perform. I have been there in years past, back when Jimmy Carter was there. I've been in the White House when Bush was in, too. I'm sure I'm looking forward to meeting Obama, too.

I really love what's going on as far as the new excitement. In fact, one of the songs that I wrote for the "Nine To Five" musical, that's opening on Broadway in April is called "Changes." It's really kind of about -- it had nothing to do with his story, but it's basically the same story he has about making change. And like, if you're going to make a change, you've got to do it yourself. Everybody's got to get in there and help.

And I do get sick of politicians just fighting because they're on a different side. Like the you're this, you're that. I think we all need to pull together right now. I'm very hopeful. I think it's great all the new excitement that Obama has brought. I think people wanted a change. It's a big change. It's new and it's different. So I think that -- I think it's going to be great. I'm look forward to seeing what all happens in the next few years.

NGUYEN: Speaking of change, should you ever have a remake of "Nine to Five," our suggestion, since our early morning hours are six to noon, maybe you could sing.

PARTON: Working six to noon, what a way to make a living, barely getting by ...


PARTON: Somebody was asking me on the "Nine To Five," because, they said, well, are you in the movie? Are you in the play, you and Jane and Lily? Are you doing -- I said, no, no, no, it's still called "Nine To Five" not 95.

NGUYEN: Oh, please.


PARTON: Actually Jane Fonda is opening on Broadway at the same time, I am, on a different play. It's ironic that 30 years later, here we both are, neither of us ever been on Broadway, and we're there. So, it's going to be fun. But I do think, you're right. It needs to be changed from nine to five, nobody works nine to five anymore.

NGUYEN: Yes, we work six to noon.

HOLMES: It's going to be our new theme song.

PARTON: It's 24/7, too.

NGUYEN: And that's how you stay successful.


NGUYEN: Thank you so much for spending time with us today.

PARTON: Thank you for coming down here.

HOLMES: It's a pleasure.

PARTON: Now, go shave.


HOLMES: I did shave this morning though, Ms. Parton. But Larry sat down with Dolly Parton as well. We've been running that. You can see that, again, as well. It will be on tonight 9 o'clock Eastern, 6:00, Pacific Time.

NGUYEN: A little bit later we'll show you, she really rips on us a little bit because ...

HOLMES: For good reason.

NGUYEN: As we said, it was very impromptu. We heard she was in the building, we went down there to talk to her. We didn't even have enough microphones for all of us, so we had to borrow her purse to set one of the microphones on. She said, this is CNN, don't you all have a budget around here? Apparently not, at least we don't.

HOLMES: Weekend budget. It's different.

NGUYEN: A small one.

HOLMES: Why are you laughing? We're serious.

NGUYEN: Speaking of budget and the economy. Listen to this, one day after a dismal jobs report, President Obama tries to calm the nation. We're going to have his radio/web address just released a little while ago.


HOLMES: One British protestor really went after a lawmaker. And you remember that, what, Nickelodeon, where they slime people?

NGUYEN: Yes, right.

HOLMES: He kind of got slimed.

NGUYEN: Yes, this is a real-life edition of it. She gave him a mouthful, in fact. It's the latest in a string of in-your-face assaults on politicians. It's fast becoming a grand British tradition.

CNN's Phil Black has the story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Peter Mandelson was flashing a politician style until he met Leila Dean, the British business secretary was slimed.

LEILA DEAN, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: For the third runway and the fact that he corrupted our government in order to bring about something that is going to destroy the climate.

BLACK: Her work done, Leila strolled off with a bounce in her step, leaving behind a splatter of green custard. Leila Dean belongs to the group, Plane Stupid, seen here invading the roof of British parliament last year. Humiliating Pete Mandelson is the latest tactic to fight government plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

DEAN: The only thing green about Peter Mandelson is the slime coursing through his veins.

BLACK: Mandelson cleaned himself up and tried to laugh it off.

PETER MANDELSON, BRITISH BUSINESS SECRETARY: We need to get back on to the positive stuff, I think, about the future of our economy and not bother too much with adolescent protests.

BLACK: Even the British prime minister tried to get a joke out of it.

GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Anyone doubted the greening of Peter Mandelson and his willingness to take the green agenda on his shoulders, we've seen it on practice on our television screens already this morning.

BLACK: For sheer flamboyance, it's up there with last year's George Bush shoe throwing incident in Iraq. But it's also part of the grand British tradition of publicly assaulting politicians.

This is the one people still talk about. In 1991, then-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was hit by an egg. He responded instantly, thumping the protestor on the jaw. Three years later, former Prime Minister Tony Blair was targeted with flour bombs while speaking in Parliament.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Order, this house is now suspended.

BLACK: More flour was spilled back in 1995 against Conservative politician Brian Mulroney. And here's another former minister getting roughed up. It was Claire Short (ph), the issue was Iraq. Now Peter, Mandelson joins the list. It could have easily been something other than green custard, but Mandelson says he's not worried about security.

MANDELSON: I don't, you know, invite these sorts of incidents, but I also don't think that anyone should overreact. And there if there's a security issue, it's not for me. It's for the police and others. BLACK: A colorful argument. Democracy, British style.

Phil Black, CNN, London.


WOLF: Rough weather, very rough weather.

HOLMES: All right. But can you imagine that? Something like that happen to our secretary of State, or someone?

WOLF: It's crazy.

HOLMES: That person would be taken down by Secret Service like you wouldn't believe.

WOLF: I mean, just insane to see that happen. You know, we were talking about the House of Commons, if you ever watch that.

HOLMES: Oh, yeah.

WOLF: I mean, it's just -- oh, it's insane. It's like Wrestle Mania IV. You know? All you need are the folding chairs and you have everything that you want.

HOLMES: They are rough out there. A lot going on weather-wise as always.

WOLF: Absolutely. There are parts of the Midwest where people are not going to need the alarm clocks. I'm not sure why you need them on the weekend unless you happen to be us.


WOLF: There you go. But we do have a rude time for many people this morning. Windows rattling across parts of the Midwest.


WOLF: We have a whole lot more coming up. We'll send it back to you guys at the news desk.

NGUYEN: Oh, yes, you do. You say a bunch of bees went on attack?

WOLF: That's right. We're going to show you all the buzz about moving 40,000 bees out of a suburban Atlanta home. Gives you the heebie-jeebies.

NGUYEN: Holy moley.

WOLF: Yes, I know, exactly what I'm talking about. A sweet story we're going to share with you coming up in just a few moments. Amazing to see how a beekeeper, an actual professional bee removal technician, how she makes her living. Amazing times. And her name, get this, folks, is Cindy Lee Bee. That is her actual name. NGUYEN: Get out of here.

HOLMES: No way.

WOLF: I'm totally serious.

NGUYEN: OK. Thank you.

HOLMES: OK, thanks. See you in a minute.

Now go to Miami where people are really having a tough time selling their homes. Take a look.


NGUYEN: How difficult has it been for you in these current times?


NGUYEN: Just wait until you hear what is a realtor to do. Stay with us.


HOLMES: Hey there, everybody, from the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING; 7:00 here on the East Coast. Good morning to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Yes, good morning everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. It's Saturday, March 7th. Thanks for starting your day with us.

Well, first up, President Obama releases weekly radio/Web address. That just happened a few minutes ago. He touched on the hardships that millions of unemployed Americans are facing. Take a listen.


OBAMA: Like every family going through hard times, our country must make tough choices. In order to pay for the things we need, we cannot waste money on the things we don't.


HOLMES: We'll be showing you more of that radio/Web address. The president plans to continue to help this economy, which is still struggling right about now.

NGUYEN: Plus, homes, they are now selling at 2003 prices. I take a tour of homes that just simply cannot sell, even with steep discounts. You want to watch that.

HOLMES: Also, our Reynolds Wolf kicking somebody out of a home. Well, not somebody, thousands of some bodies, those bees in particular. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF: I think I just sat on something. Wow that will wake you up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, what a place for your first sting.

WOLF: That's what I'm talking about. Aya-yai-yai.


NGUYEN: You know what that was? He got a bee right in the back side. We have the rest of that story right here on CNN.

HOLMES: First, let me tell you something here, a lot of people looking for those tax refunds, waiting for that money to come in. Well, a lot of folks in California had to wait. But word now that they will finally start getting their tax refunds.

Arguments over the state budget held up people's checks for more than two months. And many are depending on that money.


ROSLAND TAYLOR, TAX REFUND RECIPIENT: Oh, hooray! I am so glad. I needed my money. I got some work to do around my house and everything. So, yes!

It's a real big deal. It's a blessing. Oh, thank you, Jesus.


HOLMES: Yes, thank you, Baby Jesus.

Last month, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a budget package and it's designed to close the state's $42 billion deficit. So, yes, those checks will finally start going out.

NGUYEN: Well, the number of Americans receiving food stamps is rising. The latest count has a record 31.8 million people enrolled. That is an increase of 700,000 in a single month. Individuals receive a monthly food stamp benefit of $115, households get $255.

HOLMES: Administration officials say President Obama on Monday, will overturn a Bush era policy that limited fund for human embryonic stem cell research. Embryonic stem cells can grow into any type of tissue in the body. And advocates are hopeful that opening research will lead to cures for a lot of different diseases. So, they're hopeful.

NGUYEN: Well, this may not have you that hopeful -- unemployment at the highest level in 25 years. In fact, that doesn't escape President Obama. He's been working on that.

HOLMES: Well, of course. All he's been working on, it seems right now. The president is sounding confident, though, in his weekly radio address. And our Paul Steinhauser, our deputy political director, a friend of our show here on the weekends, a face you use to seeing up in D.C., Boston, or wherever it may be. But he's here with us.

We're glad to have you here. So, every radio address is probably going to be about the economy.


HOLMES: But, what do we hear this morning?

STEINHAUSER: Yes. It was a sober address this morning. He talked about, you know, the challenges ahead, and he said, this thing is far from over. But he said, I'm on the case.

That was really the message today and it was the message yesterday when President Obama was in Ohio. That he is working on this from the stimulus plan, to the home foreclosure plan, to the bailout, to the budget -- which he calls a much more responsible budget, to tackling skyrocketing healthcare costs. He says, "I'm on the job."

But his message is, T.J., as well -- this is going to take some time. And we keep seeing these tough numbers every week. The stock market, unemployment numbers, other financial reports. But he's basically saying, give me a little time, we are working on this non- stop. That is his message. There's, of course, pushback from Republicans.

HOLMES: Yes, how many more, I guess there have been so many plans and so many packages passed. And it seems like he's attacking various things. But is he just need -- does he just need to buy himself some time now? And like we were talking about last hour, he's trying to go and sell this package now. He just needs people to hold on and hang in with him, because, as we know, some of those approval numbers are not going to stay at those sky-high numbers that much longer.

STEINHAUSER: Right. And we've seen him come down a little bit, even in our own polling. It's gone from the 70s down to the 60s. And that's kind of natural. But you're right, the other polling, though, shows that Americans are going to give him a little bit of time.


STEINHAUSER: They realize it's not all his fight. They're still blaming a lot of this on the previous administration. But, how much time? That is the big question. Is it a year? Is it two years? How much time does he have to turn this around?

Americans realize it doesn't happen overnight, this takes time. But, how much is the big question.

HOLMES: How much are Republicans still being viewed by some as the "party of no"? STEINHAUSER: That's a good question. And you've seen them pushback against so much of what he's already laid out just in the first couple weeks of his administration. Their approval numbers are definitely lower than the Democrats in Congress.


STEINHAUSER: And -- but, I think what they're gamble may be is that his plans are not going to work, his plans are too expensive, and they're going put this country in bigger debt. That's why they're pushing back. But you're right, we haven't seen from them a lot of what they would do instead.

HOLMES: All right. And they're still looking for a leader, meanwhile, a face at least of the Republican Party. So anybody out there looking for a job, there's an opening at the top of the GOP right now. No.

Paul Steinhauser, good to have you here with us. We'll be talking to you throughout the morning. Really, good to have you here with us.

STEINHAUSER: Glad to be here. Thanks.

HOLMES: Betty?

NGUYEN: President Obama held a summit on the cost of healthcare this past week. And Congressman Roy Blunt was there and he is voicing concerns in the weekly Republican address.


REP. ROY BLUNT, (R) MISSOURI: Some people are spending a lot of time talking about how to spend more of your money on bigger government-run programs. I'm concerned that if the government steps in, it will eventually push out a private healthcare plan that millions of Americans enjoy today. This could cause your employer to simply stop offering coverage, hoping the government will pick up the slack.


NGUYEN: The president has talked about creating a new government-run insurance program, but Republicans say that will create too much competition for private insurers.

HOLMES: Well, as we've been doing over the past couple of weekends, we continue this morning. We want you to send us your resume.

We've got a ton of this in and what we're doing is hooking you up live here on the air with experts who can help you with your resume, how to improve that resume probably, maybe you could change it all together, maybe you need to be finding a different line of work, maybe you need to move, or whatever it may be. But advice right here, one-on-one with people. We might be calling you live on the air this morning. But even if we don't call you, still, a lot of tips you can pick up just by hearing a lot of people get that advice here live on the air. So, continue those resumes, continue to send them in to us.

NGUYEN: Yes, absolutely. And if you're looking for work, we are looking to help. CNN has a special Web site,'s "Where the Jobs Are." It's a special online report with your job coverage. We're going to tell you who's hiring, where the hot spots are for jobs around the country. All of that --

I want you to imagine this for just a second. Buying a home today what it would cost you six years ago. Sounds like a bargain, right? Except when you are the one trying to sell. I traveled to Miami to see how the mortgage meltdown is affecting what used to be one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation.


NGUYEN (voice-over): Living in a multimillion dollar neighborhood has never been so depressing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very hard for us, especially for my children.

NGUYEN: That's because Grace Thomas (ph) is trying to sell this house so the family can join her husband in Utah. He took a job there. That was a year-and-a-half ago. Still, no buyer. It's a far cry from what they planned when purchasing this property for $292,000 in 1992.

What used to be here?


NGUYEN (on camera): So this is part of the exterior of the home, the yard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The yard. We took part of the yard and we built a formal living room.

NGUYEN: Formal living room. So, you've added square footage to the home.


NGUYEN (voice-over): And lots of it -- almost 1,000 square feet, not to mention the upgraded kitchen. Still, no buyers. Even after dropping the price $400,000.

(on camera): So, you went from, what, $1,550,000.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To $1.149 million. NGUYEN (voice-over): It's not just older homes that have dropped significantly in price. Experts say you can buy a new place for what it would have cost in 2003.

RONALD A. SHUFFIELD, REALTOR ASSOCIATION OF GREATER MIAMI: So, this particular unit that we're in, we sold this unit at one time for about $100,000 more than we're currently selling them for.

NGUYEN (on camera): Why is it this area, the Miami-Dade, the Miami/South Florida area that's been hit so hard by this?

SHUFFIELD: Well, it's simply the supply that we built. You know, we were building condominiums here as fast as we could put them up because the demand was there. We had too many investors on the market.

NGUYEN (voice-over): Many of those investors bought multiple condos hoping to sell them at a profit. Now, they need to unload in the middle of this mortgage meltdown.

President Obama's stimulus plan promises to help both individual homebuyers and sellers. Something Miami's mayor is counting on.

MAYOR MANNY DIAZ, MIAMI: And developers told us all time that they have buyers. You know, the problem right now to a very large extent is being able to access the market, the financial markets. They just -- they just can't get their sells financed. Or if they can, it's outrageous amount of, you know, deposits that they have to put down.

NGUYEN: It's a downward spiral that continues to plague housing markets across the country. In January, new home sales were down 48 percent nationwide compared to a year ago. That's the biggest decline since the government began keeping track in 1963.

(on camera): There's a trickle-down effect for people like you who are in the business to sell. I mean, how difficult has it been for you in these current times?

SHUFFIELD: Well, about 25 percent of our industry has gone on to other occupations. So ...

NGUYEN: Gotten out of the business completely.

SHUFFIELD: Gotten out of the business completely.

NGUYEN (voice-over): So will the stimulus plan bring all sectors of the housing market back? Looking at its price tag? That's a $75 billion question that is yet to be answered.


NGUYEN: All right. So to give you some perspective, when it comes to condos, OK?

HOLMES: OK. NGUYEN: The realtor we spoke with says that they are sitting on two years worth of inventory. Normally, they only have about half of that. So, it could be quite a while before the housing market does rebound.

HOLMES: Yes. A lot of people hoping. Here's an option though. We know a lot of people right now can't afford to stay in their homes. You can't get rid of it. You can't sell it.

How about this? Maybe you can trade it.


DAVE DESSECKER, HOUSE TRADER: It's getting a little easier now because people are more motivated from -- for a while there, it was very difficult because people felt the market was going to bounce back real quick. Well, it's not happening. And we don't see it happening for several more years. So, right now, the only way to really make things happen is to do exchanges or trades.


HOLMES: Yes, you heard that right, folks. This is happening out in California. The homeowners are trying to ride out the recession getting pretty creative here. Some of them are actually swapping homes.

How this works -- you're essentially trading down on your home to save some money on the mortgage. There's a Web site to help people find the right place for them. It's called Experts say it could be several more years before -- and Betty just mentioned -- before the housing market comes back in a lot of areas. California included.

NGUYEN: So, I assume what you do is -- you're afraid that you can't make your mortgage, so you trade down for a home that doesn't cost as much. I mean, in a way, you're kind of losing the house that you invested in ...


NGUYEN: But it's better than losing it to foreclosure.

HOLMES: You're losing it all together; you still have a roof over your head.


HOLMES: You're saving a little money. And at least month to month, you're just trying -- everybody is just holding on for dear life.

NGUYEN: I know. The best way they can.

And we'll -- listen to this, speaking of holding on for dear life. Reynolds Wolf gets up close with some folks with stingers. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF: Oww. I think I just sat on something. Wow, that will wake you up.

CINDY BEE, MASTER BEEKEEPER: What a place for a first sting.

WOLF: That's what I'm talking about. Ayayay!


NGUYEN: Bees, and they really took a -- took a liking to Reynolds and bit him in the rear, shall we say, or stung him in the rear. There's no biting involved, although I'm sure it felt like it.

HOLMES: Yes, need we say more, folks.


HOLMES: Reynolds, what are you doing?



WOLF: It's a two-shot.

HOLMES: No, but this is all about you.

NGUYEN: Are you still licking your wounds from these bees?

WOLF: I'm trying to think -- it's a matter of pride, Betty. It's a matter of pride.

NGUYEN: Is that what it is?

WOLF: When you're dealing with bees and you get stung in a place that's unmentionable on national television.


NGUYEN: I'm surprised you're sitting down today.

WOLF: I should -- I'm going to be under the desk in a few seconds. It's not how it ...


NGUYEN: All right. So, tell us what you were doing.

WOLF: Basically, I went out and was on the job with a bee removal technician ...


WOLF: ... removing a bunch of bees from a suburban house here in Atlanta. And -- I'm just going to let you see the video. It's just an amazing and compelling story for both man and beast.



WOLF: I'm coming to you from outside this dwelling in metro Atlanta, where today, we're here to serve an eviction notice, not for the people who live here but rather, for the thousands of bees that called this place home. Today, we're on the job to find out what it takes to be a bee removal expert.

(voice-over): And for that, we turn to Cindy Bee. Yes, that's her real name. And part of her real job is ripping up the floor and finding the hive.

CINDY BEE, MASTER BEEKEEPER: What I'm feeling for here is warmth. I should be able to feel the hive.

WOLF: It actually radiates heat. And this is a huge one -- home to roughly 40,000 bees. Once found, we've got to take it out.

We cut through the floorboards, and here they come. Make no mistake about it, these bees are angry.

(on camera): Now, what do you think their mindset now? They're pretty freaked out, you think?

BEE: Yes, they're surprised. We flooded it with light. But you can see they didn't just all fly out. What we're going to do now is we're going to vacuum.

WOLF (voice-over): Now, remember, the job is to remove, not exterminate, the bees. And to do that, you need a vacuum and a big container. Now, we're going to keep the honeycomb because Cindy will rebuild their hive and take it away. But, why go through so much work to save these bees?

BEE: We need our honeybees. We need them for our food source. We need them for pollination and the honey.

WOLF: So, basically what you're telling me is that everything that we do, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, depends on -- depends on these bees.

BEE: Everything goes back to the honey bees because of pollination -- even the air we breathe.

WOLF: Because they're responsible in some way for one-third of all the food we eat, we obviously owe these bees a lot. But still -- trust me -- no one wants to get stung.

(on camera): Oww. I think I just sat on something. Wow, that will wake you up.

BEE: What a place for a first sting.

WOLF: That's what I'm talking about. Ayayay!


WOLF: And so, that's it. They're out of the house and Cindy is making a new home for them. Now, I guess they're going to be OK now, huh?

BEE: They're going to be great. They're going to continue to pollinate and make honey.

WOLF: Now, how is that for a sweet ending?

Reynolds Wolf, CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: What was that?

NGUYEN: Did you just eat part of that honeycomb?

WOLF: I -- no, actually, I ate a bee.


WOLF: Of course, I ate the honey. Yes, and the neat thing about the honey is honey, you know, they can actually sit for thousands of years and you open it up and you eat it, and still, it's good as it was the day that, you know, it was first made. The neatest thing about the bees, one of the cool things about them is the way their society is structured. Bee men, the drones, they basically, what they do is they make ...

NGUYEN: They cater to the queen bee, I love it.

WOLF: They cater to the queen bee. But the thing that's amazing is the females are, obviously, the queen but also they're also other workers. They do all of the work. They're just smart. They've got the brains behind the hive which is ...

NGUYEN: But, of course.

WOLF: ... pretty similar to our newsroom, isn't it?


HOLMES: Exactly.

WOLF: That's what I'm talking about.

NGUYEN: Wait. Why are you all laughing? There should be no laughter, only applause.

OK, let me ask you this.

WOLF: Absolutely.

NGUYEN: Who helped you get that stinger out?

WOLF: There are stories that are meant for on air and there are others that -- no, actually, it just -- it may be in there, as far as I know.


WOLF: We actually explain quite a bit.

HOLMES: But you said she was actually stung eight times while you were there.


HOLMES: But what -- how many for you?

WOLF: Oh, just one time. It was right towards the end, the last 15 minutes of the shoot, and get stung right in the buttocks. But the rest of the time -- the rest of the time, you know, Cindy, who you'll notice, she didn't use gloves when she was been doing this.



WOLF: She's used to it. She's been doing this for many years. Her family has been doing this for many years and she's kind of used to it. Many people say that bee stings have a medicinal effect if you happen to have arthritis. It can be the thing for you.

HOLMES: How are you feeling?

WOLF: I feel great. A little twitch here, but (INAUDIBLE).

NGUYEN: Well, the good thing about the honey, too, they say, if you eat local honey, it helps with allergies and whatnot.

WOLF: Absolutely. There's no question.

NGUYEN: You better not get sick at all this year. You should be fine, right?

WOLF: Definitely. I hope they didn't hear that in H.R., but I take that weekend off, they might know, yes.

NGUYEN: All right, Reynolds.

WOLF: They're not watching.

NGUYEN: Good luck with that bee sting of yours.

HOLMES: All right, Reynolds, we appreciate you.

NGUYEN: Josh, have you ever been stung?

LEVS: You know, I hope now, I'm really scared, I wasn't scared before, so I'm surrounding myself by this though.

Hey, check this out. Look -- bees, hey, Reynolds, I don't want to take the spot, Reynolds, but look at this. I just found this on dotcom, OK, I'll tell that to you fast.

According to a famous quote, how many years would man have left to live on earth if the bees died off? What? Have you ever heard anything like this?

WOLF: That's amazing stuff.

LEVS: Four years.

WOLF: Four years.

LEVS: I don't know what this is about. But, apparently, we need bees in order to survive. So, maybe not so scary.


LEVS: All right. We've got to get going.

Here's the thing. President Obama is planning to sign a bill. He said he's going to sign it. It has billions of dollars in pet projects in it. But he made a promise during the campaign. We have that promise on tape. And we are going to show it to you -- coming right up.


NGUYEN: All right. So, one of the biggest questions facing President Obama right now is -- is he breaking a promise?

HOLMES: Yes, a lot of promise to keep up out there on the campaign trail.


HOLMES: He spoke out -- one of the biggest promises was against earmarks, you know, those pet projects, that pork you hear so much about that lawmakers stick into those bills. Well, a lot of people say right about now it doesn't seem like he's keeping that promise, Josh, given the last couple of bills we have seen make it through Congress.

LEVS: Exactly. That's what a lot of people are talking about right now. And now, we're focusing on that huge $400 billion spending bill. The president has said he will sign.

Check out this story behind me, this is from, which is linked to CNN. "Does Obama Have a Double Standard on Earmarks?" I want to show you, guys, the key quote from this.

This is what they're saying. "Despite the fact that congressional Democrats crafted much of this bill after Obama was elected, the White House argues that this pork-laden bill is part of the prior administration's legacy." And this is the idea here. This bill that we're talking about is to keep the government running through 2009. And White House is saying President Obama's real first budget will be the one he puts together for 2010.

But the fact is, he does not have to sign this bill with billions of dollars in earmarks inside of it. And, guys, he has said that he will.

HOLMES: All right. How many other promises we got out there we're trying to keep up with?

LEVS: More than 500.

NGUYEN: Really?

LEVS: Yes. Well, some people are. I mean, yes, I'll show you guys that in a second.

Yes, it's a massive list. It keeps growing. And here's what we did.

What we're looking at today, we have this clip of a promise that he made in a debate when Senator McCain was accusing then-Senator Obama of downplaying earmarks by saying they accounted for only $18 billion in federal spending.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: The point is, that you see, I hear this all the time, it's only $18 billion. Do you know that it's tripled in the last five years?

OBAMA: John, nobody is denying that $18 billion is important. And absolutely, with need earmark reform. And when I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.


LEVS: That was the key, guys, "line by line." So, the question now, is he keeping that promise.

And, this is what we're just talking about, has what they're calling the Obameter where they track a lot of his promises. They're calling this one, number 512. And this is their ruling on it. I have it for you here in a graphic. They're saying he's compromised on this one.

They're saying basically this. They say, you know that economic stimulus bill we're reporting on, Obama took a strong and vocal stand against these earmarks. The bill was not earmark-free as he claims but it was close.

But now, this omnibus -- this huge spending bill we're talking about, they say it's loaded with earmarks. "Obama and the White House could have used the bully pulpit to criticize them. But they have not been very critical, not have they indicated any attempt to go 'line by line' through this bill," guys. So, that's how they got to that ruling.

NGUYEN: All right. Very good. Thank you, Josh. We do appreciate it.

LEVS: Thanks.

HOLMES: All right. Well, a lot of people may have already heard that Dr. Sanjay Gupta ...


HOLMES: ... will not be the next U.S. surgeon general, even though his name was out there and he was considered.

NGUYEN: Yes, exactly. A lot of people are excited about that. But here, what we're going to find out why he passed on the possibility to work in President Obama's administration. You're going to hear from him in his own words.


HOLMES: All right. Our colleague, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, good friend of ours -- well, we thought he was going to be leaving us here at CNN, but he's not now.


HOLMES: We thought he was going to take another job -- in the Obama administration.

NGUYEN: Surgeon general, to be exact.

HOLMES: Surgeon general, yes.

NGUYEN: Well, last night, he told Anderson Cooper why he took a pass on joining the Obama administration.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Sanjay, we're certainly happy that you're going to stay at CNN. What made you decide to withdraw your name?

GUPTA: Well, you know, let me say, first of all, it was a very, very hard decision, a tough decision. Certainly, it's -- you know, I was very flattered and honored and humbled even to be considered for this.

For me, I think it really came down to personal issues, you know, my third daughter is coming any day now, Anderson. You've actually talked about my other daughters when they were born on your show and you know how much family means to me.

And I came to grips with this idea that I probably have to live for years away from them, sort of commute back-and-forth. And this job of ours -- you know, you and I have traveled all over the world -- it takes us away from the people we love. I think too much already. So, I think that it was just going to be too hard.


NGUYEN: Well, the White House is familiar territory to Sanjay. He was a White House fellow in Hillary Clinton's office in 1997 and 1998. And it was on a non-partisan appointment.

HOLMES: But Dr. Gupta, Sanjay, glad you're going to be sticking around here with us ...


HOLMES: ... so you can do things like what's about to come up.

NGUYEN: Yes. In fact, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Gupta is up next.