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CNN Saturday Morning News
Sources: White House Ready To Draft Own Health-Care Bill; 911 Caller Arrested in Georgia Massacre; CDC Expert Discusses Swine-Flu Risks; Investigators Believe California Station Fire Was Set By Arsonist; Georgia Man Faces Eight Murder Counts; Obama Approval Ratings Slipping
Aired September 05, 2009 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, everybody. From the CNN Center on this CNN SATURDAY MORNING for September the 5th. It's Labor Day weekend. Hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. Happy Labor Day weekend. I'm in for Betty Nguyen this morning.
BALDWIN: So you don't have to. Thanks for starting your weekend with us.
First off, we're talking about the president. Yes, he - he's not laboring, at least so far. He is at the Camp David for a vacation getaway.
But we're talking this morning - he has a couple big speeches this week.
BALDWIN: First up, Tuesday, and there's a lot of controversy surrounding this video address he's supposed to be giving in schools. He says it's a back-to-school address, but some parents say, 'Not so fast. No - no partisan politics should be taking place in schools.' So we'll have to see what shakes out.
HOLMES: Two big speeches, two very different audiences...
HOLMES: ...coming up next week for the president.
Of course, this is the unofficial end to summer. Kids going back to school - a lot of kids not happy to hear that. But a lot of doctors not happy to hear it either because it's going to make it easier for swine flu, this H1N1, to spread. We are talking to a CDC expert this morning to hear what she has to say, and already, where some schools are already back in session, they're starting to see more of the disease, more of swine flu already. So it's - it's taking a toll.
BALDWIN: It's amazing seeing the numbers in schools.
We're also talking numbers when it comes to the manufacturing sector. I spent a couple weeks up in Manhattan...
BALDWIN: ...working and went up to the fashion district, the Garment District in Manhattan. It's sort of this bastion for manufacturing jobs. Not a lot of people realize that. You think of high-end designers, big names.
BALDWIN: But it's the sewers, the pattern makers, the machine, you know, cutters who all really make it sing. But it's starting to unravel because of the economy. We'll take a look, talk to some of those workers and see what they're saying, coming up.
HOLMES: Now let's give you some of the big stories overnight you may have missed.
One of the biggest is that we have an arrest in the murders of those eight people north of Brunswick, Georgia. Police now believe that 22- year-old Guy Heinze Jr. -- there you see him - he was behind last weekend's killings at his father's mobile home in Glenn County.
Heinze, you may remember, was the one who called 911 and told police that he found the victims when he had arrived home. And among those victims, yes, Heinze's own father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF MATT DOERING, GLENN COUNTY POLICE: Two pieces of information came forward to us. We took those two pieces of information, compared it to the whole of all the evidence collected all week long. We were satisfied that that led us to believe that Guy Heinze Jr. is the responsible person for the murders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Well, funerals for seven of the eight victims are today. Meanwhile, there's a 3-year-old who was injured in this whole thing who was still in the hospital, and according to one family member, he is holding on for his dear life. We'll get a live report from Brunswick a little later this morning.
BALDWIN: We are also staying on top of the story out of Antioch, California. Authorities there continuing to investigate kidnapping suspect Phillip Garrido for other crimes.
You know the story here. Investigators pulling now a van from the backyard of Garrido's northern California home just yesterday. He is the man who is jailed on 29 counts related to the kidnapping, imprisonment and rape of Jaycee Dugard.
Dugard getting reacquainted now with her family after 18 years living in those tents and sheds behind that house.
HOLMES: Well, the firefight in California is also now a murder investigation. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in that Station Fire in LA County. Authorities now believe that fire was deliberately set and now treating it as a murder case because, if you'll remember, two firefighters did die fighting that fire.
This fire has burned more than 150,000 acres so far and destroyed more than 70 homes.
Well, August is behind us and a lot of lawmakers are happy about it. They didn't fare too well when they went back home for a lot of those town-hall meetings about health care. So we got a new month now and maybe a new plan.
CNN has learned that the White House is talking about possibly writing its own version of health-care reform. This is what a lot of people thought the president should have done in the first place. This new version could possibly be delivered to Capitol Hill Wednesday night after President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress. A source close to the White House is leaning toward dropping the public option from that health-care plan.
BALDWIN: Now, the White House proposal would cover most of the 46 million - 46 million uninsured Americans and it would include popular insurance reforms like ending the insurance-industry practice of pre- existing conditions to deny coverage.
Well, the Tea Party Express is in Louisville, Kentucky today for a rally. The event is to protest what organizers believe is out-of- control government spending. The Tea Party Express bus heading now for Washington for that final stop, that final gathering. And that'll happen on September 12.
On the other side of the agenda here, the group Health Care for America Now is holding a rally in Bristol, Pennsylvania.
The president resetting his strategy on health-care reform come next week. And we mentioned two big speeches, not just the one in schools on Tuesday, but Wednesday, the president will be addressing a joint session of Congress that evening. And you can watch that right here on CNN.
Also, we will have analysis, of course, from the best political team on television. You won't want to miss that 8:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN.
HOLMES: And as we mentioned, on Tuesday, the president plans to address to students, creating a lot of controversy right now. We'd like to know what you think about it. And it's not just the fact that a president is speaking to student; it's that lesson plans went out that a lot of critics say was pretty much in support of the president, telling the kids, really, to - in a political way, almost, to support the president. And that's what a lot of people had a problem with. Please, let us know what you think. Get up. We know you're getting up and starting to move around. So log on; turn that computer on. Go over there and go to our blog, cnn.com/tj. Send us your comments.
Also, you can find us as well on Twitter and Facebook.
Well, the August unemployment figures show job losses still on the rise, hitting 9.7 percent. That's the unemployment rate. That's the highest we've seen since 1983.
But according to the vice president, the economy's turned the corner, and much of the credit goes to the Obama stimulus plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The Recovery Act has played a significant role in changing the trajectory of our economy and changing the conversation about the economy in this country. Instead of talking about the beginning of a depression, we're talking about the end of a recession eight months after taking office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Feeling better about your job security? How's that bank account of yours?
Well, let's take a closer look right now with our deputy political director and friend of our show here on CNN SATURDAY and SUNDAY MORNING, Paul Steinhauser.
Paul, do the people out there, do they see eye-to-eye with the vice president on this thing?
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think the answer there is yes and no, but they definitely don't see eye-to-eye with him on whether we're still in a recession or not, T.J.
Nine out of 10 people questioned in a new CNN-Opinion Research poll - you know what? They say that we're still in some kind of recession, be it mild or serious.
Also, we asked, are - are things going badly right now? And you know what? Nearly seven in 10, 69 percent, said that things are going badly in the country right now. So that's the bad news.
The good news, T.J.? That - that 69 percent is lower now than it was at the beginning of this year. So people are maybe getting slightly more optimistic.
HOLMES: Well, slightly - we'll take the slightly more optimistic.
HOLMES: But at the same time, you know, when people - things aren't going well, we're always looking for somebody to blame. So who - who are Americans right now blaming for the mess that we are in? STEINHAUSER: They are still blaming Republicans more than Democrats for this recession. But the number of people who are blaming the Republicans is going down; the number of people who is blaming the Democrats is going up.
Remember, this used to be George Bush's recession. But I think these polls suggest that as time goes on, maybe this economy becomes more and more Barack Obama's economy, T.J.
HOLMES: All right. And we heard the vice president talk about - or at least attribute a lot of - of the turnaround so far to the president's stimulus plan.
Do Americans agree with him on that point, that maybe this stimulus plan is doing what they said it would do?
STEINHAUSER: You know, we asked that in our poll, and we found that only four in 10 right now say that they think the president's plans are helping to bring an end to this recession. About another quarter say that, well, they're not helping yet, but they may. And the rest say, they're making things worse.
And the other thing we know - we asked as well is, 'Do you support what the president's doing? Do you like the stimulus and all that?' A majority still do, but T.J., that number as well is deteriorating throughout the year.
HOLMES: Yes, a lot of the president's numbers on a lot of things going down and support for a lot of what he's doing. We'll see if he can turn it around.
Paul Steinhauser, always good to see you, my man. Thank you so much.
STEINHAUSER: Thanks, T.J.
BALDWIN: All right. So it's Labor Day. Happy Labor Day weekend.
BALDWIN: Yes, you know, I'd kind of like to be at the beach...
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Mm-hmm.
BALDWIN: ...sunning with some sand, sandcastles, maybe having a beer later today.
But it's some serious stuff for folks up at Cape Cod. Cue the - the "Jaws" music because, look out for sharks. Five big sharks, include a great white, were sited off of the shore of Chatham, about a mile away - a mile away, Reynolds, from this public swimming area. Officials say the beaches will remain open, but they're asking swimmers - obvious caveat there - swimmers, be careful.
But is this - is this normal to see great whites this close to the shore?
WOLF: Well, let me answer that with a - with a public-service announcement.
You know, there's never been a shark attack on land. So if you stay on land, the odds of getting attacked by a shark...
BALDWIN: You're good to go.
WOLF: ...are in pretty good shape.
BALDWIN: That guy, he's safe.
WOLF: Yes, I would say so. It's the same with these kids.
But yes, I mean, I get - we - we do have these sharks that - that - that are off our coastlines. Believe it or not, the No. 1 place for shark attacks in the United States, or at least off the coasts, happens to be in parts of Florida.
But yes, the farther north you go, you can see some big sharks. And that's apparently (ph) the case up in Cape Cod. Again, a great white one of the sharks mentioned. I believe one of them was actually a basking shark, which is actually harmless.
But, you know, I'll - I'll tell you...
BALDWIN: You're up on your sharks, Reynolds.
WOLF: Yes, and I like to stay away from them, too.
BALDWIN: You know?
HOLMES: Reynolds, the stat: four. They have had four shark attacks...
WOLF: Four sharks. Four?
HOLMES: ...since 1670.
BALDWIN: That's far too many in my book. Far too many.
HOLMES: The last one was in 1936, all right?
WOLF: Were any of those guys attacked, or - or females...
WOLF: ...as the case may be...
WOLF: ...were any of them on land? Any?
HOLMES: I think one was.
BALDWIN: I - I think...
HOLMES: I'm teasing? I'm - what (INAUDIBLE).
HOLMES: Come on, Reynolds. You fell for that?
BALDWIN: In the water, gentlemen. In the water.
HOLMES: All right, Renny. We appreciate you.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
HOLMES: We'll get back to you soon.
Well, the H1N1 virus, swine flu as many call it - how worried should you be about it? Also, they're working on a vaccine. When might it be ready? We're talking to the CDC, coming up.
BALDWIN: Also coming up, we're talking about a little boy who's hit in the head during a baseball game. It is the worst accident this town has ever seen. We'll tell that story coming up.
BALDWIN: Well, this morning we want to continue our conversation when it comes to swine flu, or H1N1. And you know, it only began with 10 cases. But now, check the numbers here: we're talking 2,000 -- in fact, more than that in just the first week of class at Washington State University.
School officials say 10 percent of students have come down with the virus, and about 200 students come in every single day with some kind of virus-like symptoms. They also say students who feel sick - here's the big message: Stay home.
HOLMES: Well, we heard about the H1N1 virus for the first time just months ago. Now, a new White House report warns that up to 50 percent of the U.S. population could be infected by the virus by winter. President Obama says he wants to be ready with answers before that ever happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're also making steady progress on developing a safe and effective H1N1 flu vaccine. And we expect a flu-shot program will begin soon.
This program will be completely voluntary, but it will be strongly recommended.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Well, Dr. Beth Bell, an epidemiologist with the CDC joins me now.
And ma'am, thank you for being here. We just heard the president say there that we are making steady progress on developing a safe and effective vaccine for this H1N1.
How close are we to having a safe and effective vaccine right now?
DR. BETH BELL, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: The clinical trials are going right now, and we are anticipating that vaccine should be available by mid- October. We're working as fast as we possibly can, and we know people are eager to receive the vaccine. And so we are focusing on getting this done as soon as possible to make sure that we do have a safe and effective vaccine.
HOLMES: All right. And you feel pretty good that you're working on something - you say trials. And you think you'll have one by - by October or so. So it sounds like at least you have something you believe will be effective.
These vaccines are being made in the way that's very well-known to us, that's very similar to the way we make seasonal influenza vaccines. And as you probably know, more than 100 million people receive seasonal influenza vaccines each year. And so we have every expectation that we will have a safe and effective vaccine.
HOLMES: And Dr. Bell, tell us - there's a lot of talk out there about one of - once a vaccine comes out, what it will look like. Will this be one vaccine, or will people need to get two separate shots?
Which way so far are we leaning on that?
BELL: Well, that's one of the big questions that we expect to answer with the clinical trials. We think that probably at least some people, maybe children, will need two doses of the vaccine. But we really won't know for sure until we are able to look at all of the study data when the clinical trials are completed.
HOLMES: So I guess, Dr. Bell, how problematic could that be if people have to get one shot, and then go back a few weeks later to get a second? And I guess they're not fully covered and I - I guess protected against this until later in the year. We could be going for another month or two or maybe beyond with everybody running around in this country still not - not necessarily immune, but with no resistance to this swine flu. BELL: Well, you know, even now with the seasonal-influenza vaccines, children 9 years and younger do need two doses. So it's not surprising that some people might need two doses of the new vaccine as well.
You know, this 2009 H1N1 really has not gone away at all since it first appeared in the spring. We continued to see activity throughout the summer; there were outbreaks in camps. Now that school is starting, I think we can expect to see disease increasing and actually even now, in the southeastern part of the country where schools opened a few weeks ago, we are starting to see increases in disease activity in many parts of the Southeast.
HOLMES: So do you think that is directly the cause of some - I was going to ask next where we're seeing it, but some of the locations we're seeing it, do you - do you attribute that to the fact that people are starting to go back to school?
BELL: Well, you know, one thing about influenza is that it's very unpredictable. And we've always seen lots of variation across the country in terms of what areas have a lot of disease at any particular time. And so it's hard to be sure of exactly why disease appears to be increasing right now in the Southeast.
BELL: But it's certainly possible that one factor might be that schools opened just a few weeks ago.
HOLMES: All right. One thing here, and I want you to break this down as simple as possible, because I know this on the minds of a lot of people, just a - a very - I guess a simple way to break it down: I don't get the flu vaccine every year. I know I should, but I don't get a flu shot.
I got the flu last year. I - I fought it off. I drank my fluids, I got some rest and I was fine. Now, if I don't get a swine-flu vaccine, an H1N1 vaccine and I happen, God forbid, to get H1N1, will my body be able to fight it off just the same way as the seasonal flu, or do I have more to worry about?
BELL: Well, you know, anybody can get very ill from seasonal flu, although most people do fine. And it seems that things are fairly similar in terms of the 2009 H1N1.
HOLMES: OK. Well, we - a lot of people are - we are trying to educate folks because a lot of people seem to be - certainly are, and should be concerned. But we don't want everybody to be necessarily just alarmed at the same time.
So we appreciate you coming on and continuing to educate us about this. Thank you so much, Dr. Bell.
BELL: Thank you so much for having me.
BALDWIN: So having listened to that interview, my question perhaps is: How do we track the spread of the H1N1 flu?
Here is Josh Levs - Josh.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Brooke.
You know, officials are actually hoping that people will be using the Internet in some brand-new ways this year. In fact, one of the biggest Web sites is tracking your searches. I'm going to show you.
BALDWIN: All right. If you're a parent and you're hearing all this news about H1N1 and you're sending your kids off to school, you got to be a little bit concerned...
HOLMES: And confused maybe is (INAUDIBLE).
BALDWIN: ...and confused about all of what's going on with the virus. And so a lot of people out there are turning to Web sites.
In fact, scientists hope the Internet will play a huge role in fighting the virus.
HOLMES: And Josh Levs explaining that for us this morning.
Good morning to you, Josh.
LEVS: Hey, guys.
T.J. and Brooke, I learned a new term this week: infodemiology.
BALDWIN: That's a big word.
LEVS: It's a big word, yes, and it sounds all fancy. But basically what it means is, is that scientists will share info online, and that actually could seriously help the fight of the H1N1 virus.
Here's what's going to happen: I'm going to show you some key Web sites right now. You don't have to write anything down; everything I'm going to show you is listed in one place, which I'll show you at the end.
So let's zoom right in. First of all, CNN.com has a really good spread on this, and it's easy to find: CNN.com/H1N1. Or you can say, /swineflu. Same thing. It gets you all our latest reporting. It gets you videos, advice from Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It gets you everything we know about the symptoms to date, all sorts of stuff. Great.
Now check this out: healthmap.org. They follow all sorts of illnesses around the world, and they will alert you when there are some. But this is specifically - I clicked on "H1N1," and then I clicked on the United States. And everywhere that they have a yellow mark is the latest reported case. And you can see in any case, you just click on some of these, they'll give you the latest information, what they know and links for even more than that.
Couple more to show you. This is - check this out: Google Flu Trends. You know, Google does something interesting in general; Google tracks your searches, no matter where you are, all over the world. If a lot of people are suddenly searching for a topic, they'll check it out.
So they've created a special page for flu trends, and they're planning to alert people. So if suddenly a lot of people in Australia or New Zealand or here in the U.S. - let's say, in Kansas - are suddenly searching for flu symptoms, they say historically they've found that a lot of searches for something means that people might actually have it.
So they're going to alert people, 'Hey, tons of people are searching in this area. Maybe there's something to be concerned about there.'
Finally, flu.gov, from the administration. That's where the Obama administration's putting out all sorts of info. And everything I've just showed you is right here at our blog, cnn.com/josh. You can click on all of it.
Let's go to this screen, and I want everyone to see how we do this. We have a graphic.CNN.com/josh. Also Facebook and Twitter. I got a graphic for you, if we can go to that. In each case, it's - no, you don't have it? All right. Facebook and Twitter, it's /joshlevscnn. It's all posted right there for you. You cannot miss it. I want you to check it out. Let us know if these are working for you, if there's a different site that works for you.
And guys, if there is, if someone comes along to us and says, 'Hey, I found a better site,' we will share that with you, right here - T.J. and Brooke.
HOLMES: All right. Josh, we appreciate you.
HOLMES: A lot of information people are trying to get right now about just exactly what's going on. And it's hitting - it's hitting before flu season, the regular flu season, not supposed to start a little - until a little later. But we got this swine flu, or H1N1 season that's kind of kicked up already.
BALDWIN: Great interview, by the way, with the CDC gal. It was interesting.
HOLMES: You know, I had some questions just of my own, you know? I'm getting questions for the viewers, but I'm curious myself about a lot of those things.
All right. So a growing number of you are not just confused - concerned about the H1N1 virus. Take a look at this poll here: A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll showing 39 percent of you worry that a family member will get swine flu. Back in May, only 17 percent voiced that concern.
And then, when asked if you plan to get vaccinated against the virus, 66 percent say "yes"; 32 percent saying "no."
Dr. Sanjay Gupta here, hot on the trail, going to the nation's health secretary to get some answers on the real threats of H1N1 flu. Could the answer to the nation's health-care issues be found in Cleveland? Discover why many experts actually saying, 'yes.' Plus, learn why a drink tonight might help you and your mind later in life.
"HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta coming up, 6:30 Eastern time right here, after this newscast.
HOLMES: What kind of drink?
BALDWIN: I don't know. I was - a glass of wine.
HOLMES: Is that what he's talking about?
BALDWIN: Your dirty martinis?
HOLMES: Maybe. All right.
BALDWIN: Moving along.
HOLMES: Well, coming up here, we know we've been keeping an eye for a good week now on the - the fires out in California, especially the one - you see video of it - the Station Fire in LA County. It's done a lot of damage; two firefighters died fighting this thing.
Well, would you believe somebody started it on purpose? That's what investigators are saying, saying it's arson; it's now a murder investigator. Detectives looking at the clues. We're following up on the investigation coming up.
BALDWIN: It just makes you think, 'Why? Why? Why?'
HOLMES: Who would star that? Yes.
BALDWIN: Plus, our Reynolds Wolf was on the front lines of the fire doing amazing work out there. There he is. He will tell us what it was like for crews battling those flames.
HOLMES: Well, hello again. Welcome back to this CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm T.J. Holmes.
BALDWIN: Good Saturday to you. I'm Brooke Baldwin sitting in for Betty again this weekend. Thank you for starting your day with us.
Want to start with one of our top stories here we're staying on top of: an arrest here in the killing of eight people in rural Georgia. He's 22-year-old Guy Heinze Jr. He is the man who has been charged with last weekend's killing at his father's mobile home. That's just north of Brunswick, Georgia. Heinze's father was among the victims. A 3-year-old is the only survivor from the incident. That toddler at latest check remains hospitalized. Funerals for seven of the victims will be held.
HOLMES: Well, a 4-year-old boy is in a drug-induced coma in Ohio after being hit by a foul ball during a minor-league baseball game.
Now, the boy - you see him there - he was sitting on his dad's lap in the front row when he was hit by this line drive. He was taken to a hospital. Doctors say it may take five days for the swelling in his brain to go down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JAMES BESUNDER, AKRON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: It caused a fracture or break in his skull and actually the bone was depressed and down into the brain.
NICOLE HOLKO, VICTIM'S MOTHER: He's always happy and he's very affectionate; he -- 50 times out of nowhere, he goes, I love you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: You hate to hear that, kid just enjoying a baseball game. The boy's mother, you saw there, says, they are not going to stop going to baseball games. Won't stop sitting in the front row. Even says, she doesn't blame anybody. Things like this just happen. Unfortunately it happened to her son.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR, CNN SATURDAY MORNING: Just a couple of minutes ago we were talking about sharks off of Cape Cod, now we're talking cougars. Seattle's largest park off limits this holiday weekend, after cougar sightings. State wildlife agents have now set two traps to try to capture the cougar. There have been four sightings just in the last week. In fact, one woman who was driving home said she saw the cougar next to her house. Yikes! She drove toward it until it ran off.
HOLMES: Trying to hit it, or something?
BALDWIN: I don't know.
HOLMES: She was trying to take care of the problem.
BALDWIN: Yes, I guess so. I guess so.
HOLMES: Lot of stuff on the loose this weekend. Out in California, meanwhile, they think an arsonist is on the loose. The latest on that massive wildfire is that it has grown to over 200 square miles in size; 76 homes and dozens of other buildings have been destroyed by this thing.
BALDWIN: But the biggest piece of news, here, investigators are saying that it was set on purpose. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has now offered a $100,000 reward for information on the suspected arsonist. CNN's Brian Todd has more on what investigators are now looking for.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The remains of a fallen firefighter are driven past his saluting colleagues. His death, and that of another firefighter, mean the biggest wildfire in Los Angeles County history is now a homicide case. That is because investigators are now calling this arson.
The incident commander adds another phrase.
CHIEF MIKE DIETRICH, INCIDENT COMMANDER: Any act of arson in the wild consists of domestic terrorism. That's my personal opinion. I believe that other folks have said that, because it affects communities, citizens, firefighters, law enforcement officers. And what else could it be?
TODD: This could be ground zero, mile marker 29 on the Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest, roped off with red flags carefully placed. Veteran investigators tell us it's likely they believe this is the point of origin.
Officials here are not commenting on a "Los Angeles Times" report that incendiary material was found here. The source for that information didn't specify what material that is. Tom Fee, a former Pomona fire chief, who has investigated thousands of wildfires all over the U.S. says it could be a range of things.
TOM FEE, WILDFIRE INVESTIGATOR: Probably they either found the match that was left there, the lighter that was left there, the incendiary device that was left there. The road flare used to start this fire.
TODD: Fee takes us through the CSI of wildfire investigations. Clues, he says, are everywhere.
FEE: Paper on the ground like this, also becomes good indicators.
TODD: These, he says, are indicators of the direction the fire burned in at the point of origin. And investigator on scene elaborates.
RITA WEARS, U.S. FOREST SERVICE: Indicators can be things such as burned rocks. It can be soil that has been damaged.
TODD: Fee says while these clues reveal the direction, arson is revealed by anything from something on the ground to a confession.
But another key question:
(On camera): In a territory that is the size of a major city, burned acreage for as far as the eye can see, not only finding that point of origin but determining that it is arson, really fairly quickly, in a matter of a few days? How do they get to that point in just a few days? FEE: Well, each fire is a little bit different. But the things that we use are early on aerial photographs, sometimes satellite photographs, witness statements, the firefighters that first arrived, they will know what the area involved was, at the time they arrived.
TODD: And with those methods, he says, they can narrow down the point of origin to an acre or less, maybe even a man-made object, like this burned out bottle. He says they comb through the area with everything from sifters to dogs. And then, of course, they look for witnesses.
Brian Todd, CNN, Tujunga Canyon, California.
HOLMES: Here with Reynolds, now. You were out there covering those for a few days.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: In that canyon.
HOLMES: It's amazing to think somebody started this thing on purpose. Who knows what might have been going through that person's mind. They certainly think somebody started it on purpose. Maybe they didn't want it to get this big. Why start the fire?
WOLF: It's crazy. It really is. There's no explanation for it at all.
But that being said, you have to remember that wildfires in this part of the world, doesn't make it right, but it is a natural occurrence. It does happen naturally out there. But to know that this did happen at the cause of someone's hands it is beyond belief.
HOLMES: They are starting to make some ground firefighters, now, on this thing, no doubt about it. We were talking last week when the thing first started, about are they going to get any help? Any rain? You said wasn't coming any time soon. So, we are a week out. We are starting to getting a little help, weather-wise?
WOLF: A little bit. Over the last couple of days there has been increased moisture, during the evening hours. Talking about higher humidity. Today we're going right back into the ' 90s, maybe some 100s out in those canyons. Winds are picking up, to around 20 to 30 miles per hour. Stronger than it was when the thing originally started.
I mean, shoot. You think about the fires, normally Santa Ana winds are a big component of them. But that wasn't really the case when these things first popped up. It is something that is going to be quite a mess. We're going to walk over and show you a forecast.
As you look at this video at home. Let me tell you, man, these canyons, especially a place like Tujunga Canyon, where a I spent a couple of days, it is just brutal to deal with. And very quickly, let me show you what you have right now. Temperatures along the coast mainly in the 60s and 70s, back inland, like in spots like Pomona, just north of Santa Clarita, high temperatures will be later on today, not in the 60s, but going into the 90s, and possibly in the 100s. So they certainly have a mess. No question about it.
It is just amazing to see these fires and see these flames, in some points going up about 100 feet, in the air. Just to see it firsthand is just an amazing thing. As I mentioned I had a chance to head out and visit this, see this, the carnage firsthand.
WOLF (voice over): Take a look at this house over here to my immediate left. You can see there's not much left. You have the chain-link fence and but off there in the distance, one of the signs that this was indeed a home. You can see the chimney. It is just a scene that we've seen played up and down this stretch of roadway; a scary thing to see.
Watching for traffic. Running over on the other side, here, Kyra. Wait until you see this, too. At one point, just a few days ago, we had a wood beam that ran of course of these areas here where you have these cinder blocks. You had 21 mailboxes. The fire came through, super heated at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the wood is gone, the mailboxes remain. And boom, they fell to the ground.
There was a fellow that came by, a local, wanted to check and see if he had any mail. Thankfully no power bills. Certainly, rough times. This is, again, just a testament to the extreme heat we've been dealing with in this area.
If you want more signs of that, you can look to these houses, or even these trees. You can look at these hills, where the topography is just crazy. We often talk about the fires that we fight, out in place like Oklahoma, Kansas, even parts of Texas, where things are relatively flat. That's tough enough to battle, but when you're dealing with terrain like this, mountainous conditions, the San Gabriel Mountains. My gosh, man, I mean, how do you fight this thing?
WOLF: You know, the weird thing is when we were back in the studio, with had people asking to white balance our camera, and give more like, give the skies a better hue. We had to explain to them, that's the color out there. We had that orange color because you had so much smoke that was in the sky. The sun trying to filter down to the earth below. I mean, you just had this weird hue.
The smell out there is indescribable, you have not only the smoke, but there is this awful smell of death. There are animals all over the place, in ravines trying to escape the heat. In other situations where animals have been trapped in -- say, cages and what not, when people were trying to evacuate very quickly. It was just a nightmare situation.
You have two firefighter that's lost their lives. You have 42 percent containment. This thing is far from over. And with the winds accelerating again today, 20, 30 miles per hour. They got a way to go. They do think they've turned the corner on this fire, you really can't let your guard down on something of this magnitude. They've been able to keep most of the flames away from Mount Wilson. It's great news. That's the key communication point for not only parts of the city but really for the southern half of the state. And you see just the footage there, they attacked us on the ground below, from the skies above, with helicopters and all kinds of airplanes. They have a DC-10, a 747 at their disposal. They are going to be using to really try to get -really pin point the hot spots today. It is going to be a huge endeavor and they are certainly up to the task.
Amazing men and women. The last thing to mention. You know, these guys are tired, they are covered with soot, they are covered with smoke. There is no other place they would rather be. They are there for the fight. It's amazing to see the dedication and we owe them a debt of gratitude.
BALDWIN: You did a very good job as well.
HOLMES: Really. Reynolds, we appreciate you, as always. Really bringing that perspective, some things that we don't think about. The smell, like you said, even the color of the sky.
BALDWIN: I never covered a wildfire, have you?
HOLMES: Yes, I lived in California for a while. I've covered those things. They are no joke. You don't realize, as well, it is always fascinating to me, you can't outrun them. You think about flames, they can go 30 or 40 miles per hour. You can't outrun them.
BALDWIN: The flames?
WOLF: As fast as the wind carries them, absolutely. That's something you have to really get training to be out. I know Reynolds covered plenty of it, but you have go through that training to cover a wildfire even.
So, Reynolds, we appreciate you, as always, buddy. Talk at you plenty more this morning.
WOLF: You bet.
BALDWIN: All right. Poll numbers going south. President Obama's popularity is not what it used, but the surprise may be, who is changing their mind.
HOLMES: Yes, health care is at the center of the popularity problem. But now the GOP has a plan of their own, kind of, sort of. They want a do over.
WOLF: Can you believe it? We've got Dragon Con, here in Atlanta?
BALDWIN: Dragon Con!
WOLF: I know.
BALDWIN: It's at 10:00 a.m., baby!
WOLF: It's is off the charts crazy, kooky for coco puffs. You want to throw down and party, you have to go with Dragon Con. Because really party with a guy that has Spock ears, you've arrived.
BALDWIN: I think there is an important distinction between Comma Con in San Diego, and Dragon Con in Atlanta. Not quite sure.
HOLMES: Please explain the difference.
BALDWIN: Wow. Wow.
WOLF: It is like to parallel universes coming together. It is an amazing thing.
BALDWIN: Look at a map for you.
WOLF: First let's begin with the Telluride Film Festival. It is the annual Labor Day film fest, a great time there. Also, in Chicago, you have the Jazz Festival, organized by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. It runs through September 6. Fiesta De La Flores, in El Paso, Texas. It is the oldest Hispanic festival in the Southwest. It runs until September 7.
And here we go, right back where we started. Dragon Con, right here in Atlanta. Science fiction, comic fair runs until September 7th. Hell City Tattoo Festival, yeah! That's what I'm talking about. That actually has seminars that run through September 6, in case you are interested.
HOLMES: We couldn't make it this year. We usually don't miss that, Reynolds and I.
WOLF: I know.
BALDWIN: Tatted up, underneath here.
WOLF: Here's the last one, guys, check this out. Yum, yum, give me some. I'm talking about the National Buffalo Wing Festival, of course, in Buffalo, New York.
WOLF: That's what I'm talking about. For college football weekend, what more do you need than doing those Buffalo wing thing?
HOLMES: It's a good Labor Day weekend. A lot of good events going on.
WOLF: There are some great things happening.
BALDWIN: College Football Game Day happening in Atlanta, as well.
WOLF: It all begins. That's right, Alabama and Virginia Tech. And let's hope -- I won't say who I'm voting for.
BALDWIN: Let's hope somebody -
WOLF: Someone other than Alabama, wins the game. But I don't want to give the illusion I don't like the Crimson Tide.
BALDWIN: OK. We're talking fashion, gentleman. Coming up here, went inside this factory. You think of economy, you think of tough times and people aren't necessarily buying some these high-end clothes. Who does that affect? It affects the people who are sewing them. We'll talk to them coming up. See what's up, coming up.
BALDWIN: Think about it here. Some people you don't necessary associate the bright lights and big city of New York with being a bastion for manufacturing jobs, but it is especially when you step inside of Manhattan's garment district. I recently discovered, I was there, thanks to the down turn in the economy, the apparel industry's manufacturing sector is really starting to unravel.
BALDWIN (voice over): In New York's world of high-end fashion, big brand designers mean billions of dollars in business. But before the cat walks and cash come the clothes, cut and sewn by hand, by thousands in Manhattan's garment district.
Timmy Rosales has made a career here for the last 15 years. His pay, almost $12.50 an hour. But with slumping sales and a down economy, the city's apparel industry has hit a snag. In the last year and a half Rosales' factory has slashed its staff by 60 percent.
(On camera): Is this a busy time?
MANUEL "TIMMY" ROSALES, GARMENT DISTRICT WORKER: It should be, but we are not.
BALDWIN: I see machines over there that are dark?
ROSALES: Yeah, because we have to move people and put it closer, try to save electricity, because there's no work.
BALDWIN: Manhattan's garment district is home to about a third of New York's 29,000 apparel manufacturing jobs. Nationwide the number of jobs in that sector has fallen by more than 60 percent.
TONY SINGH, FOUR SEASONS FASHION MFC.: Now that the business is shrinking --
BALDWIN: Factory owner, Tony Sing, fears his business may go the same way. He says the recession, rising rent, and cheap overseas labor are destroying jobs in the garment district. Only 3 percent of the clothing sold in the states is made in the USA.
SINGH: It is tough. They are sending most of the work overseas like China, Indonesia, India, and those places. That's why the businesses are -you know, they are going more for cheaper labor. That's why there's not enough work in the United States.
BALDWIN: Manhattan's apparel manufacturers see their future in the high-end, small batch production, that designers don't want to send overseas. It is work that would preserve the now 9,000 manufacturing jobs in the garment district.
ANDY WARD, GARMENT INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT CORP.: Those workers are the ones that created this industry. And without the workers, we really won't have an industry.
BALDWIN: Workers like Timmy Rosales.
ROSALES: This is what I learned. This is what I love. I love to do this job.
BALDWIN: Who hopes his job will survive both this economic unraveling and a global shift. And keep Manhattan at the heart of this billion- dollar fashion industry.
BALDWIN: So, you know, you see in the video and it's pretty slow inside that one factory. And think about it. It's September now, September fashion week in New York is coming up. You know that is when the big-name designers showing off their spring collections. Typically it translates into considerable work for the sewers, the pattern makers, the cutters, the machine operators. But as we found, it is just not the case right now. It is very tough.
HOLMES: So, fashion week is coming up. When exactly is that? I don't keep up.
BALDWIN: I think it is September 10th, that is beginning of it.
HOLMES: I'm usually on top of those things.
BALDWIN: Whatever, you're front row. Be honest.
HOLMES: That's unfortunate, you don't think about those things.
BALDWIN: You don't.
HOLMES: It all seems fashion and fabulous. But you don't think about those folks.
BALDWIN: It is the people behind the big people that make all of the difference and they're going away.
HOLMES: We hope it gets better. We'll keep an eye on fashion week.
Also something we're keeping an eye on this morning, a huge break in the case in the family found massacred in a mobile home park.
BALDWIN: What lead officers to make that arrest? Next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOLMES: Yes, this ain't no party, this health care reform. Part of the problem has been a lot of people complaining there are so many plans out there. There are three different plans in the House, at one point, a couple different ones in the Senate. This could be a new health care plan.
BALDWIN: Are you confused? I'm a little confused myself.
HOLMES: I've been trying to keep this thing together. But all those plans, we could get another one. This one could come from the White House. Yes, CNN has learned the White House is considering drafting its own version. They are thinking about it, maybe, kind of, sort of, we might do it. Maybe we won't. But at least they are talking about the possibility of putting together their own plan. Sources close to the White House say the administration is leaning, as well, towards dropping that controversial public option in its plan.
BALDWIN: The White House proposal would cover most of uninsured Americans. We were talking numbers. That is somewhere in the ball park of 46 million people that could include popular insurance reforms, like ending insurance industry's practice of using pre- existing conditions to deny people coverage.
HOLMES: Well, at least one Republican would like to see the health care debate go back to square one. In the weekly GOP address, Minnesota Congressman John Kline says that Democrats need a do-over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN KLINE, (R) MINNESOTA: No wonder Americans are scared. Health care reform is being imposed upon them, rather than developed with them. And the potential costs are far too high. And sadly, monetary costs are only part of the picture.
Many are concerned that Democrats' plans may cause patients the right to see their family doctor, or have any input into life altering, if not life saving medical treatment. They also fear, and rightly so, that it may cost them their jobs, a devastating prospect in an economy that has already lost 6.7 million jobs since this recession began.
Democrats have crafted this legislation behind closed doors, creating a partisan blueprint that, at last count, clocked in at more than 1,000 pages. It's complicated and convoluted and it is quite simply not going to work. It's time to press the reset button.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: We just went through all of this on health care reform. This whole debate. We've got to start over?
Well, Kline also, the top Republican on the House education panel, and this week he sent a letter about the speech President Obama will give to the country's school children. That's supposed to happen on Tuesday. It has been awfully controversial. Kline asked for a preview. He wanted people to be able to see the speech, and parents could see it, so they could judge for themselves whether or not they would send their kids to school, and even see the thing, or whether the school districts could show it.
That is, in fact, what is going to happen. The president expected to release the text of his speech on Monday. So parents can make a determination if they want their kids to see it on Tuesday.
Don't you just love that graphic?
BALDWIN: I love it. Ali Velshi, traveling man.
HOLMES: They don't let him drive the bus actually. He has been taking the pulse of the people on the latest CNN Express Tour.
BALDWIN: Mr. Velshi wrapped up the week in Madison, Wisconsin, finding two issues that are apparently keeping people up at night.
ALI VELSHI, CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Brook and T.J., on this tour around America we found is that the conversation tends to revolve around the economy, or health care. Now those two topics came together in Evansville, Indiana. Where Whirlpool has just announced it is shutting down a refrigerator plant and moving much of that manufacturing down to Mexico. Even though people there were very concerned about economy, and about trade, the conversation still gravitated back to health care reform.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Health care to me is a moral issue and it's a civil right. We need to move with the rest of the developed world, and have a real health care program.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
VELSHI: Let me get a sense of that from you. How many people think that the administration is on the right path with respect to health care reform, roughly on the right path? How many think the administration is not on the right path with health care reform?
OK, one of you want to tell me about that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I disagree that health care is a civil right. I think it's a civil right to keep your own income, and buy with it what you want. This is -- the health care crisis highly over-exaggerated. It is not something that the government should be running.
I'm sorry that people will be out of health care, but everybody has been at one time or another. And you go out and build yourself back up again and you get it. It's not everybody else's responsibility to give it to everybody else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We pay 17 percent of our gross national product for health care. Canada pays 9 percent and covers everybody. We leave all of these people uncovered. 20,000 people die every year because they don't have insurance. This is a real number. That's more than six time as many that died in 9/11 and it's happening every year.
VELSHI: Do you think health care is the biggest issue facing us right now? Put up your hand if you think health care is the biggest problem facing us.
One up. OK, I'll give you another option. How many of you think jobs, unemployment. How many think that's the bigger problem?
Some of you voted twice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got to say, once we get past that socialist smoke screen that we hear so much about, everything that any government does is socialist, OK? Let's at least on the health care, why don't we at least give catastrophic coverage to the young families. You can go to any store or gas station, you walk in, there's some poor young family, got a little four-year old daughter dying of leukemia. Insurance is not covering the care for it. They have to have charity benefits, ask for donations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If on the 5:30 news we can brag about million dollar a shop weapon systems, why can't we keep -- why can't we help save our dying children, at least?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Now, Brooke and T.J., a lot of people are concerned about the fact even if they had health care through their employers, because of that plant closure, more and more people are going to be dependent on some other option, either COBRA or finding insurance privately. That's why unemployment is continuing to cause a concern for people when it comes to health care. These new employment numbers that just came out only serve to make that problem a little bit worse. Brooke, T.J.?
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks to our Ali Velshi.
Meanwhile, from CNN Center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING for this September 5th. The Labor Day weekend is underway.
Glad you could be here. I'm T.J. Holmes.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: September 5th, can you believe it? Where did summer go?
Good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin, in for Betty. Thank you for starting your day with us.
A whole lot to talk about other than the fact that summer is just about officially over here. Boo hoo.
Anyway, President Obama is officially on vacation up in Camp David for the weekend. But we're talking about what is on tap for him coming up this week. Tuesday, he's supposed to be giving this "back to school" address, message essentially is, hey, kids, stay in school, study hard.
But some parents are saying, hey, we don't want our kids sitting in and having to watch this message. We don't want partisan politics taking place in our schools. So, we'll have to see what some parents are saying and we want to know what you think.
HOLMES: That's coming up.
Also, the cash for clunkers program not over just yet, however, replace the clunker part with appliance. You get cash for your clunker appliances, I guess you should say. A new program is going to be starting up probably and we'll see if that old refrigerator or microwave, or whatever else you have in the house, if it is eligible. We'll tell you about the program coming up.
But big stories want to get to and let you know. Some things you might have missed overnight. Of course, here, the California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is offering now $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest in the station fire in L.A. County. Authorities believe this was not deliberately set and they're now treating this as a homicide investigation because, of course, as you know, two firefighters died fighting that fire. It burned over 150,000 acres, and over 70 homes or buildings have been destroyed.
BALDWIN: International investigators were taking a closer look now at the scene of a deadly NATO attack that happened in Afghanistan, happening now. As many as 90 people -- that's the latest number we have -- 90 people were killed in the bombings of a pair of fuel tankers hijacked by insurgent. Investigators want to know if any civilians were killed. We will have much more on that developing story with a live report coming out of Afghanistan in just a couple of minutes.
HOLMES: And you remember the horrible case, eight people who were murdered in Georgia. A lot of press about this case came because of a 911 call that we had. A lot of people were playing it on the air. We played it here of a man calling in and saying, "They're all dead. My family has been murdered." Well, that guy, police say is the one who murdered the family.
You're seeing pictures of him here. He's charged in all of killings. His name is Guy Heinze, Jr. He's 22 years old. Police believe he's the one responsible for all of killings last weekend at his father's mobile home. This is north of Brunswick.
Again, listen now to that 911 call.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OPERATOR: OK, tell me what's going on, sir. What... GUY HEINZE, JR.: I just got home out last night. I got home just now and everybody's dead.
HEINZE: My dad's dead. My uncle is dead.
OPERATOR: How many people are there?
HEINZE: There's like six. My whole family's dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: So, the voice you're hearing there, the one that called in and said his whole family is dead, police say he's the one that killed them.
Our Sean Callebs is outside the Glynn County Police Department in Brunswick.
Sean, good morning to you. And did they have their eye -- the police have their eye on him the whole time?
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, actually, they had him not ruled out. He was a person of interest. However, we talked to the police chief, Matt Doering, last night and he said he was not a suspect until late yesterday afternoon. So, think about that.
Now, the crime scene here, we have some pictures outside the mobile home park where the eight people were brutally murdered. You heard that 911 call coming in. Well, right after, police did arrest Guy Heinze, Jr. He's charged with three crimes. He had a little bit of pot. He lied to investigators, according to authorities and also tampering with evidence, for allegedly taking a shotgun out of the house and putting it inside his car.
Now, he was locked up until late yesterday, and then, he was actually freed on bond about 4:15 Eastern Time in the afternoon. Some pictures of him actually walking out of the detention center. About two hours later, he received the word he was being charged with those eight murders.
Now, the police chief in this case, Doering, has been extremely tight- lipped. Somewhat to the frustration of people in this area, many who wondered, is there monster walking around our midst. Well, the police chief said, two significant items of information came to his attention late yesterday. That's all he would say, would not provide any insight into what those two items were.
But listen to why he said he was being so tight-lipped and we can expect more of that in the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you tell people in the area to reassure them that you believe you have the right person and can they sleep well?
CHIEF MATT DOERING, GLYNN COUNTY POLICE: Well, I can tell, it all started from the very outset. We will do everything we can to ensure we get the right person. And that time has arrived. It is here now. I can only assure the community we have the best team there is and I can assure you that this person is responsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CALLEBS: It has been a long week here in Glynn County. I want to briefly walk through a time line. Well, the call came in a week ago. Then Heinze Jr. was arrested. Now, on Tuesday, I spoke with his attorney, Ron Harrison, and Harrison said that we deny any involvement in the murders.
And then I spoke with some of the family members on Thursday, then an interview with them on Friday. They were simply devastated by the news. At the time they said they had no reason to suspect that Heinze Jr. could have been involved in this.
Quickly, T.J., I want to walk through the breakdown of the people in that home. There was a father, four of his children and Guy Heinze, Sr. So, the authorities are accusing Heinze of killing five of his family members, as well as his father. Those were his cousins and uncle and there were two family friends there as well. That adds up to eight all in that small mobile home.
We have no idea when the next court appearance will be, but that's the very latest here. We can expect very little coming out of the Glynn County Police. We're going to continue to try and find out what could the possible motive have been.
HOLMES: And, Sean, I want to be clear on this. I know it's so frustrating for people who are living there. It was frustrating for reporters. But he just would not say -- people want to know, do I need to be watching out? Is there a killer on the loose, somebody capable of killing eight people? So, again, it sounds like I was hearing pretty clearly there from the chief that, in fact, they don't believe -- at least at this point anymore, they got the right guy, nobody else out there running the streets, that is possibly any way connected to these murders.
CALLEBS: Well, the chief would not go that far.
CALLEBS: He was specifically asked last night, "Do you believe there's anyone involved in this?" He said, "No comment at this time."
I want to point out one other item as well. The family members were at a viewing last night, seven caskets in one room in a funeral home about 45 miles from here. The family wanted us to be there because they wanted people out there to see these caskets to remind that there were people behind this -- this horrible tragedy. And the family members actually found out during that visitation that Guy Heinze Jr. has been charged with the crime. HOLMES: Wow.
CALLEBS: Very somber -- very somber evening.
HOLMES: Wow. And we understand, there's one more, I think, a 3-year- old who's still in the hospital right now, according to a family member in pretty bad shape, holding on to dear life right now.
Sean Callebs, just a horrible story. But hopefully, they got their guy and nobody else is running around. Keep trying to get that answer out of the police chief there. Sean, we appreciate you.
BALDWIN: President Obama is taking a little R&R this weekend at Camp David. But before he's doing that, he did give his weekly address and he outlined new initiatives for American families to plan for their future. Part of his message here targeted senior citizens -- maybe you're one of them. You lost your nest egg because of this recession.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Throughout America today, tens of thousands of recovery projects are underway -- repairing our nation's roads, bridges, ports and waterways; renovating schools; and developing renewable energy. We're putting Americans back to work doing the work America needs done -- and mostly in private sector jobs.
But even as we take aggressive steps to put people back to work, it's also important that we keep faith with men and women looking back on a lifetime of labor; hard working Americans who deserve to know that their efforts have resulted in a secure future, including a secure retirement.
For this recession has not only led to the loss of jobs, but also the loss of savings. The drop in home values, for example, has also meant a drop in the value of the single largest investments most families have. And the decline in the financial markets has led to a decline in the value of 401(k)s and other sources of savings and retirement security.
As a result, over the past two years, the American people have lost $2 trillion in retirement savings. This carries a painful toll.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Now, the initiatives are expected to compliment the president's proposals to boost participation in both IRS and match retirement savings.
HOLMES: Well, after more than dozens of speeches and dozens of interviews, the president still hasn't been able to quite sell his plan. Not everybody is on board just yet. So, what is it? Do people just not like the plan or maybe there's a bit of Obama fatigue. We've got some new numbers to show here. And according to the latest, this is our CNN/Opinion Research poll, the president's overall job approval rating now at 53 percent. It's down from 56 percent we saw in early August.
Our Paul Steinhauser who is a friend of our show here on CNN SATURDAY and SUNDAY MORNING, our deputy political director, joins us with some insight behind these numbers.
So, obviously, somebody is not as happy with the president. So, is there a particular group that's behind some of the decline we're seeing in the numbers?
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, we are looking at independent voters, T.J. In this poll, for the first time, independent voters, a majority of them disapprove how Barack Obama's handling his duties as president. And they are very important. Remember, they are very large, an important voting bloc. Because of them, they are one of the reasons why Barack Obama won the White House last year.
HOLMES: Well, right now, Paul, it seems like all we've been talking about is health care and a lot of people say that is the reason for the drag on some of the numbers. Was there anything else out there on people's minds?
STEINHAUSER: Yes, health care and the economy. Those seem to be the big two right now, and those are some of the reasons why you're seeing the president's overall approval rating drop. Check this out, on specific issues, you can see -- taxes, health care, budget deficits, you can see the president is under 50 percent now. He used to be above 50 percent in a lot of these things. He's slipping on these key issues, and that is why he's slipping overall on his approval rating, T.J.
HOLMES: And you talked a minute ago about the independents and the president maybe losing some of their support. So, does that mean if he's losing their support, are Republicans gaining that support, or are they just going back to being independent again?
STEINHAUSER: Now, yes and no on the Republicans. They are making gains on some crucial issues -- more Americans are starting to think the Republicans can do a good job on these issues. But, overall Americans still think the Democrat's policies will move the country in the right direction rather than the Republicans, but they are making gains, T.J.
HOLMES: All right. How is this going to affect the president moving forward? Because we know he was so popular that it seemed like he had those political capital to get things done. So, I guess, how is this effecting how he's going to make policy and govern moving forward?
STEINHAUSER: That is the big question. And that is why we spend so much time talking about it because you can equate an approval rating for president to political capital or clout. The higher the rating, the more he can get done. And, of course, this president wants to get a lot done, health care, the economy, you name it. So, that is why we spend so much time looking at these numbers. Does he still have enough clout? We're going to find out in the next few months.
HOLMES: Yes. And you do spend a lot of time looking at these numbers, Paul.
STEINHAUSER: I need a life.
HOLMES: We appreciate you always bringing the numbers to us. Paul Steinhauser, as always, we appreciate you, buddy.
BALDWIN: Well, we mentioned big day Wednesday for the president. He'll be resetting his strategy, mapping out his strategy on health care reform next week. He is addressing the joint session of Congress Wednesday night. You can watch it right here on CNN.
Also, of course, analysis of that speech and what exactly he meant by some of the things he's saying, reading -- according to this wire -- CNN has learned that the White House is quietly working to draft health care legislation. So, talking about that, I'm sure, among the best political team on TV. That is 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
HOLMES: Well, that's Wednesday. He's got to get past Tuesday as well, because he has a different audience on Tuesday, students. He's going to address the country's students as they go back to school, but it's creating a bit of controversy. Why, the president speaking to students? That sounds like a good thing. Some say, though, the classroom isn't the place for politics. Others are saying, of course, it's a great opportunity.
What do you think? Go to our blog, CNN.com/TJ. Send us your thoughts, also at Twitter, also at Facebook. Some of those are coming in already. We'll be sharing them throughout the morning.
BALDWIN: All right. Do you have a clunker microwave or clunker -- your microwave is kind of (INAUDIBLE).
HOLMES: We got it fixed though.
BALDWIN: I remember random things like that. But you've heard of cash for clunkers. It was a pretty big success for carmakers. Now, in the case for cash for clunker appliances, how you get a new energy saving stove or dishwasher.
HOLMES: All right, we go to home schooling here. We got Clyde in with us.
Good to see you this morning.
CLYDE ANDERSON, FINANCE EXPERT: Good to be here.
HOLMES: He's going to be talking about home and stuff like that, but we're still kind of talking about the home, but we're talking about appliances in the home. Cash for clunkers, very popular program.
HOLMES: That was for cars. We got a problem now for appliances.
ANDERSON: We do.
HOLMES: Now, do we know for sure this is going to happen? It's not in place just yet though, right?
ANDERSON: It's going to happen. It's coming. In the next 30 days, it will be here. And so, pretty much, you really have to look at it. It's a great opportunity to get some money for those old appliances.
HOLMES: Now, the cash for clunkers for the cars. That was a federal program. This kind of sort of is, but still, the individual states can make their own rules.
ANDERSON: Exactly. It's still using some of that stimulus money. So, it's still coming from the same pool, but the states are making their guidelines.
HOLMES: OK. Which states are we talking about here? We have a lot that already do have somewhat, similar rebate program?
HOLMES: Separately totally from the federal ones.
HOLMES: So, which states? I guess we have a graphic here to show which states we're talking about. Several states already have their own programs.
We don't have that graphic. We'll try to get that up. But several states, and people might want to check on that.
ANDERSON: Right. Exactly.
HOLMES: This one, we're talking about the cash for clunkers. But still, you might have -- a lot of states already do this.
ANDERSON: Exactly. And so, what's going to happen here, I mean, the cash for clunkers was huge. I think 600,000 used it. So, this is a great opportunity. Again, we're still trying to stimulate the economy, but now you've got an opportunity to get rid of those old appliances that may not be helping our carbon footprint. HOLMES: Which ones are we talking about? Which appliances? I mean, anything in the kitchen?
ANDERSON: Yes. For the most part, the list is pretty long. I mean, you got refrigerators, you got washers, you got driers. Several things that, you know, that help us to be green and to reduce our carbon footprint.
HOLMES: How do we know? How will people know which appliance is eligible?
ANDERSON: I think you really just got to go out here. Check on the Net, and find out which appliances. There's a long list. There are several sites that tell you exactly. All you have to do is go in and look at it, cash for appliances.
HOLMES: But that trade kind of a thing with the cars, you had to get a car that was so fuel efficient and whatnot. So, do you have to get an appliance and buy a new that's also...
ANDERSON: You know, that's what you're looking for, Energy-Star appliances. So they're going to have to introduce that logo on there. And so, that's what you want to make sure. Those are the fuel efficient or carbon -- you know, low carbon footprint appliances.
HOLMES: Now, I guess, they're easy to find. I mean, that's probably out there. A lot of people probably are not even aware that this stuff is Energy Star. Do you have to take the old appliances in like that of your car?
ANDERSON: You don't. You don't have to drag your refrigerator in and take it down and turn it in. You don't have to do that. But you can turn it in, you know, and they can recycle it or do whatever they need to do it, but you don't have to do that.
HOLMES: All right, last thing. How much money we talk about we can possibly get back?
ANDERSON: Just $50 to $200 apparently is what they're talking about for the appliances. So, it's definitely not as much as a car, the $4,500 that they have for that. But it's still something. You're thinking about getting a new washer and dryer, you know, you maybe able to get a little money off of it, making sure that is Energy-Star.
HOLMES: All right. Clyde Anderson, new -- the new look Clyde Anderson. It's still him, he looked a little younger there, plus the facial hair.
HOLMES: I'm sorry. I always have to do something.
ANDERSON: I'm good.
HOLMES: All right, good to see you -- Brooke?
ANDERSON: Good to see you, too.
BALDWIN: All right, we'll be talking about the California wildfires here, but what really does it cost? Josh Levs is crunching numbers for us this morning.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, Brooke, we look at the economy and what's going on in the economy, it is important to keep in mind that this kind of natural disasters and other disasters we hear about, also have an impact on the entire country, a huge one. I'm going to show you how much we all pay for the wildfires.
HOLMES: All right. A lot of people think about the Bay Area and they think about bridges. They think of the Golden Gate first. But actually, the most important bridge is this one, it's the Bay Bridge, you can't make out -- and actually, we have bridge picture. This is from their online site.
But the Bay Bridge this weekend -- there's another shot of it -- it's closed this weekend. Yes the Bay Bridge, Oakland, San Francisco, back and forth, a very important bridge is closed for the Labor Day weekend because they are doing some upgrades to this bridge. Essentially, it's part of a project that's going to eventually have this thing, this whole bridge stable enough that they can withstand a certain strength earthquake.
So, as a part of that, they have to remove a 300-foot section of it and put a different section in there. So, all of that work, you've got to shut down the bridge sometime. They chose the Labor Day weekend to do it. It won't open until Tuesday morning.
But these are just live pictures from the Web site. It's constantly updating people about the work. But that is a mess, if that had to happen during rush hour time. So, they're trying to do it on a holiday weekend at least where people aren't trying to get into the city to go to work. But it is a mess.
BALDWIN: Is it the Bay Bridge that goes to Berkeley and Oakland?
HOLMES: Yes, it heads over from San Francisco, across the bay into Oakland. That's the one.
BALDWIN: OK. I was getting confused.
HOLMES: It has upper deck and a lower deck. Yes, that bridge. But it's shut down this weekend. But everybody got a heads up. This is something you had to let people know about so people made the proper arrangements hopefully.
Well, we have been talking firefighters staying out west here. Firefighters, wildfires -- two firefighters have been killed in the massive efforts underway to try to, you know, quell the flames, 42 percent containment, I believe so far. But what a massive task. Reynolds was out there telling the story. We'll talk to Reynolds about their efforts and, really, the cost here -- the cost when it comes to fighting this thing in California and how that translates to the rest of the country.
HOLMES: Yes, and it is not cheap, certainly, in California where they are already cash strapped -- probably one of the most cash-strapped states we have.
Josh Levs is looking at the cost for us this morning.
Good morning, again, Josh.
LEVS: Yes, good morning to you guys. And as I saw this, this week, I started to wonder, how is it impacting the whole country? We have some video. Let's just show you this video, because the video has been so powerful, what's been coming to us throughout the week of these massive wildfires and how many -- you can see, it's so powerful.
What I want to do is show you some of these financial facts. Let's go to this. There's a government agency out there called the Western Forestry Leadership Council. They say -- when you hear about suppression cost, right, like it may cost $50 million to suppress a fire, you might need to multiply that up to 30 times to figure out how much it ultimately cost the country, when you factor in jobs that are lost and efforts to the land repair, health problems, environmental problems, up to 30 times.
And then this next screen shows a private group out there called the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center, they say you might need to multiply it 50 times to figure out what the long-term costs of the fires. It's huge.
And "The Los Angeles Times" has done something interesting. They point out to just one major government agency here, the Forest Service -- the Forest Service was spending about $300 million 10 years ago to quash fires. That by last year, had gone up to $1.37 billion just for that one government agency and that's just to try to fight these fires and the reason is right here for you. They say, because these fires are becoming bigger, fiercer and costlier -- in this full screen for you; and this is what the "Los Angeles Times" is saying California has been facing.
And you know what? That in turn affects the entire country.
So, guys, basically, you think about the suppression cost, right, and then you multiply it, whether it's 30 times or 50 times how much it can be, that is the impact it's having financially on this country -- back to you. BALDWIN: What about, Josh, I know it might be an odd question, would there possibly be any kind of benefit financially speaking from the wildfires?
LEVS: Yes. You know what? Yes, I'm glad you said that. Because there actually are a few, to be fair we should mention that. Basically, there are some jobs that are created short term. There are some jobs created long term. And there are also -- believe it or not -- actually some species that are ultimately helped by that which can affect the economy in a positive way.
So, yes, we should keep in mind, there are few benefits as well. Big picture, it's still a massive cost, Brooke.
HOLMES: All right, Josh, we appreciate you this morning. Thank you so much.
We'll get to our top stories again at the top of the hour when CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues here live.
BALDWIN: But, first, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta is starting right after this break.