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CNN Saturday Morning News
Tiger Woods Taking Leave From Golf; Obama Urges Banks to Lend More; CNN to Host YouTube Debate on Climate Change; White House Steps in To Close Healthcare Loophole
Aired December 12, 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: Well, hello there, everybody, and welcome to CNN SATURDAY MORNING for this...
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: How you doing this morning?
HOLMES: ...December 12.
I am in shock, OK?
NGUYEN: You and much of the nation.
HOLMES: Rest of the world over this whole Tiger Woods saga.
Hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes. But my goodness.
HOLMES: My goodness.
NGUYEN: Well, you know, and the number count keeps going up, and now we're hearing that Tiger Woods dropping his own bombshell, saying, 'Hey, I'm going to leave the game of golf.'
But we are asking you this morning, is it the right decision? You know, what kind of impact is this going to have on him, his career, his sponsors, his family?
HOLMES: Yes, and - and the game of the golf. The PGA I hear someone describe as being "in crisis" right now. Golf is not the same without Tiger Woods from a financial standpoint.
A lot of people have been talking about this. A lot of people on TV - you've seen doctors, you're seeing therapists. Also seeing a lot of sportscasters.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None of these endorsement deals would have been available to him if he were not the best in the game. Now, that's not to condone what he did. But that's something that he and his wife, Elin, have to deal with. At the end of the day, what we are concerned about, and what - why the reason we cared about Tiger Woods in the first place was because he was the greatest golfer, arguably, of our lifetime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: And for now, at least, the game of golf has lost its greatest golfer. We'll be talking more about Tiger Woods' decision this morning and hearing a whole lot more reaction throughout the morning about Tiger Woods' decision to step away from golf.
NGUYEN: And again, we want to know what you think this morning. Should he step away from the game of golf? Like you really have any way of weighing in on that, because he already said he is.
But what are your thoughts on it? Send us your comments. We'll read them throughout the morning.
HOLMES: Also, we're going to be hearing from our Barbara Starr. Take a look at her there. She's walking the streets of a once deadly and ghostly village in Afghanistan, something that couldn't have happened a year a go. We will take you to this success story in Afghanistan.
NGUYEN: All right. But first, let's get you a check of the top stories, the things that have happened overnight that we are following for you.
Wholesome kids or terrorists? Representatives of a Virginia mosque are standing behind five young Americans arrested in Pakistan and accused of planning terrorist attacks. The youth coordinator at the mosque in Alexandria says the men are - quote - "wholesome kids."
HOLMES: Well, contract canceled. The security firm formerly known as Blackwater no longer has a contract with the CIA in Iraq. The AP reports a person familiar with that contract says it was canceled earlier this year by the CIA director, Leon Panetta. Recent reports say the company personnel actually worked with the CIA agents on snatch-and-grab jobs in Iraq between 2004 and 2006.
NGUYEN: And in Orlando, Florida, a prosecutor explains why murder defendant Casey Anthony should get the death penalty in the death of her 2-year-old daughter.
During a hearing yesterday, the prosecutor speculated that Caylee Anthony was drugged and suffocated with duct tape. A judge will rule later on whether the prosecution can seek the death penalty.
NGUYEN: All right. So let's you back to our top story this morning, of course, the Tiger Woods saga. It seems like everybody is talking - I can't go anywhere and someone's not talking about this.
HOLMES: I mean, for one, it's everywhere. But it's just so shocking, I guess, just the sheer number. Infidelity - you hear about that often. Nobody's shocked about that, unfortunately.
But to hear the sheer numbers...
NGUYEN: The number, yes.
HOLMES: ...is shocking to people.
NGUYEN: And it has been just a tumultuous couple weeks for the golf phenom, and now, you know, he's saying that he is leaving the sport that he loves so much not just for, you know, a year or two or just to get things in order - indefinitely.
HOLMES: So we don't know what that means just yet. He's also admitting for the first time, even though the reports have been out there - the first time we're hearing him flat-out admit he cheated on his wife. He actually used the word "infidelity."
HOLMES: CNN's Randi Kaye now takes a look at the troubles facing this billion-dollar golfer.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It wasn't exactly sudden death, but Tiger Woods seems to have lost this round.
His troubles began the day after Thanksgiving with a mysterious one-car crash at 2:30 in the morning. Just feet from his own driveway, he hit a tree and a fire hydrant. His wife used a golf club to free him from his badly mangled SUV. A neighbor called 911.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: OK. Are you able to tell if he's breathing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I can't tell right now.
911 OPERATOR: OK. All right. We do have help on the way. What color is his car, too?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a black Escalade.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KAYE: Tiger seemed to hope silence would make the story go away. It didn't work.
Days later, he released a statement, apologizing for -- quote - "transgressions" in very carefully worded comments on his Web site that never mentioned the word "affair." That statement was released the same day this cover story in "Us Weekly" magazine hit newsstands.
In it, Las Vegas cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs alleged a nearly three-year affair with the golfer. She told the magazine they met in a nightclub when Woods tapped her on the shoulder and that he recently left her a voicemail warning her that his wife may be calling.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, it's - it's Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor.
Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KAYE: It didn't end there. More women came forward, cocktail waitresses, a lingerie model, even former porn stars, all alleging to have had a relationship with Tiger Woods.
But the golfer stayed silent until Friday night, when he admitted his -- quote - "infidelities" -- in a statement.
(on camera): Earlier this year, Woods hit the billion-dollar mark, earning an unprecedented amount of money in his career, including endorsements, appearances and business relationships with companies like Nike, which pays him an estimated $20 million a year to add his name to their line of golf gear.
"Sports Illustrated" reported Woods earned $105 million from sponsorship deals in 2008.
(voice-over): Through it all, Woods' major sponsors have stood by him. Nike released a statement saying -- quote - "Nike supports Tiger and his family. Our relationship remains unchanged."
Gatorade offered its support in a statement, too: "Tiger and his family have our support as they work through this private matter."
But commercials featuring Tiger Woods disappeared from primetime TV. The last one that aired was a Gillette ad on November 29.
On late-night TV, his personal pain became a parody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier today, I had an unfortunate incident with my golf clubs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was putting them away in the closet, and one of them dropped on top of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: It may all have become too much.
What else would drive the world's greatest golfer away from the game and the glory he's enjoyed for so many years?
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
NGUYEN: Well, in other news, the economy now, and the president's plans for getting things back on track.
HOLMES: Yes, and some of those plans include a pretty big meeting he has on Monday that could result in more money being available to you.
CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser for us this morning.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Good morning, Betty, T.J.
Pumping up the economy is Job No. 1 for President Barack Obama. With that in mind, Mr. Obama meets Monday with chief executives of some of the country's biggest banks. White House officials tell CNN that the president will push the bankers to lend more money to small businesses and consumers.
And with unemployment in double digits, don't be surprised to hear the administration talk more about creating new jobs. This past week, the president made a pitch for bipartisanship when it comes to rebuilding the economy.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Spurring hiring and economic growth, not Democratic or Republican issues. They are American issues that affect every single one of our constituents.
I am absolutely committed to working with anybody who is willing to do the job to make sure that we can rebuild our economy.
STEINHAUSER: But there's already a lot of pushback by Republicans against the proposal by Mr. Obama to spend unused Wall Street bailout funds to pay for new proposals to spur job growth.
Why is the president spending so much time talking about the economy? Because, as our new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll indicates, two years after the start of the recession, the economy is still by far Issue No. 1 with Americans.
Our survey also suggests that people don't see conditions getting better anytime soon, and that steady growth and optimism on the economy appears to have stalled - Betty, T.J.
HOLMES: Of course, another big item on the presidents plate, Afghanistan. The mission there - a lot of people are asking, what exactly is victory? What will that look like? What is success there for the U.S.? Well, we'll show you as we walk the streets of one Afghan town some are calling a success story.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And we are still a ways off from the official beginning of winter, but we could see several feet of snowfall in the Rockies and the High Sierra today. We're going to have that coming up in a few moments.
We'll see you, coming up right here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. Oh yes.
(MUSIC, FRANK SINATRA, "LET IT SNOW")
NGUYEN: (INAUDIBLE) get you in the holiday spirit early on a Saturday morning.
NGUYEN: And you know, it is snowing in many parts of the country, in fact.
HOLMES: Good transition right into weather.
NGUYEN: All right. Reynolds, we do appreciate that - T.J.
HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE) - the U.S. military is literally fighting in Afghanistan one town at a time. These, of course, smaller battles they're really fighting in the larger war in Afghanistan.
Well, in one particular town just south of Kabul, the battle there may have been won.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is in Baraki Barak with what some are calling a success story.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: This is a very busy town.
(voice-over): One year ago, this would have been unthinkable. We are walking the streets of Baraki Barak, a small village 30 miles south of Kabul, with Major General Curtis Scaparrotti
Last year, this marketplace was deserted. The Taliban ruled here. People stayed away. Now, you can readily see how busy it is.
The U.S. troops now rely heavily on Afghan forces.
MAJOR GEN. CURTIS SCAPARROTTI, U.S. ARMY: This was one of the areas that was considered a sanctuary and - you know, of the Taliban and the enemy. So we basically fought with them to clear the area, secure the people, protect the population.
STARR: Here in the east, the counterinsurgency strategy has had results. The troops are heavily focused on working with Afghan forces to improve security in places like this.
Here, Afghans control the town's checkpoints, trying to keep the Taliban from coming back.
SCAPARROTTI: We want to turn over the security of Afghanistan and these villages and towns to their own forces.
STARR: It's not been easy. Here in Baraki Barak, the police chief started with just five men. Now, he has 50. Still, just outside of town, there have been attacks.
The troops have arranged for tea and the local bread to be waiting for us at the village bakery.
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you. (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
STARR: Afghans and Americans crowd around.
SCAPARROTTI: We're sitting in a village in Afghanistan having non-bread (ph) and tea.
STARR: But the general knows this type of progress remains spotty. In many places, there are still daily attacks and insurgent strongholds. The military estimates there are as many as 4,000 insurgents operating in the eastern part of Afghanistan.
SCAPARROTTI: I think what you see in the east is, over the past year, the insurgency had - had expanded some in terms of the areas that it had influenced and controlled within RC East (ph).
STARR: When the additional U.S. troops arrive in this region, most will help train the Afghan forces. Combat operations will continue in order to try and put the insurgents out of business.
Scaparrotti says the latest intelligence shows the impact.
SCAPARROTTI: We've seen that the enemies had a harder time getting basic weaponry and ammo.
STARR: Barbara Starr, CNN, Baraki Barak, Afghanistan.
NGUYEN: Well, representatives of nations all over the world have gathered in Copenhagen for a U.N. climate-change conference. And something big is on the horizon there.
HOLMES: Josh Levs, good morning to you, here to tell us about it.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hey, good morning to you guys.
There is a CNN YouTube debate. It's taking place on Tuesday. And it's going to be watched all over the world. You can decide what questions about climate change will be asked. You can also submit a video. And I'm going to show you how you can do that, coming right up.
NGUYEN: Well, it was a huge hit during the election season, and now we have brought it back, but in a new way. We're talking about the CNN YouTube debate.
HOLMES: Yes. This one, thought, all about climate change. And you have your chance, as always, to have your voice heard worldwide.
Josh Levs here to show you how.
Hello again, Josh.
LEVS: Hey again to you guys.
Yes, this is it. You can actually see behind me, and you can get a lot of information on my (ph) YouTube.com/cop15. And I'm going to be telling you about it.
But there's actually a video that explains it. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copenhagen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your question for world climate leaders?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you know - what do you plan on leaving for my generation?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Submit it now through video at www.youtube.com/cop15.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS: That's it. When you get to that Web site, and you - you'll find at CNN.com as well. It tells you all about this. And you see right there, it's happening on December 15. Thousands of people all over the world have submitted their questions and their views about climate change. And they will be brought up at this debate.
In fact, people online are helping choose which ones will be raised there.
I have pulled out a few interesting questions that are submitted by viewers around the world. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Question: Will you allow nuclear power to be counted as a part in a clean-energy mix?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Global warming has been around for thousands of years. It can't be controlled. It could possibly be changed. But it - it can't be terminated. So I have to ask - I mean, aren't there more important things to fund?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Global warming, (INAUDIBLE), these are all truly fundamental issues for which people should have a vote. Why don't you let us decide?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS: Just a sampling of what you're seeing there.
We have a graphic for you that's going to show you where and when to see this. It's all going to be on CNN.com, instead of on TV. It's on Tuesday, December 15. It's going to be at 8 a.m. Eastern time, with a rerun at noon Eastern Time. And you have though the 14th to submit your questions. Get them in there.
I posted all the information for you as well on my blog, CNN.com/josh. We'll also get it going on Facebook and Twitter, joshlevscnn. So we encourage you, send in your questions or your views, and maybe they'll be brought up in this thing.
And then tune in on Tuesday at CNN.com for that worldwide CNN YouTube debate, guys.
NGUYEN: All right. Looking forward to it. Thank you.
LEVS: Thanks a lot.
NGUYEN: Want to check your top stories right now though, because the FBI has questioned some of the five young Americans arrested in Pakistan on accusations of terrorism. An American official says investigators are gathering evidence that could result in a conspiracy charge against the Washington, D.C.-area man.
Meanwhile, though, the youth coordinator at a Virginia mosque described the men as - quote - "wholesome kids."
HOLMES: Well, Tiger Woods - winning the Masters might be the least of his problems right now. He is stepping away from golf, released a statement yesterday announcing that he is taking an indefinite leave of golf. We have no idea how long that might be.
In a statement on his Web site, he apologized for - quote - his "infidelity" (sic), and says he's taking the time off to focus on his family. This is the first time he has actually come out and admitted - he did say "transgressions" before, but this time, the first time he's actually admitted to cheating on his wife.
NGUYEN: Well, South Carolina's governor now headed for divorce. Mark Sanford's wife filed the papers, citing adultery. It comes six months after Sanford admitted to have an ongoing affair with a woman in Argentina.
Jenny Sanford said she tried several times to reconcile their marriage.
South Carolina legislators decided earlier this week not to impeach Sanford.
Well, you know, it is a tough time out there looking for a job. It's survival of the fittest in many cases.
HOLMES: Yes, and we're going to meet a mother coming up who stumbled upon an opportunity and found a way to make it work.
HOLMES: Well, a lot of people out there looking for jobs right now, unfortunately. And sometimes it takes awhile to find that next job.
And we're going to introduce you now to a mom who spent months looking for work. And then she was inspired to start her own small business.
NGUYEN: Yes, you know, the idea started with a drawing that her daughter brought home from Girl Scouts.
And CNN's Tony Harris introduces us to Denise Garlow.
TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Denise Garlow has turned her garage into a virtual Santa's workshop.
DENISE GARLOW, TOY ENTREPRENEUR: Well, it's done.
HARRIS: This 48-year-old mother of two is designing a doll she hopes will give children comfort and expand her family's budget.
D. GARLOW: A lot of things come to me when I'm sewing.
HARRIS: She stumbled upon this entrepreneurial adventure last summer after searching for a job for months.
D. GARLOW: I worked in corporate communications for Hewlett- Packard for years and I just assumed that I could find something and -- and get back to work.
HARRIS: At the same time, her husband's consulting business dried up. Denise was inspired by a drawing on a plate her daughter made in Girl Scouts.
D. GARLOW: She said, 'Mommy, they're my representatives.'
GRACIE GARLOW, DAUGHTER: They come just as souls who are sad and lonely. They need a friend or need happiness in their life.
D. GARLOW: It just resonated deeply with me.
HARRIS: Denise came up with "The Representatives" storylines and started writing a children's book.
D. GARLOW: Every day I would sit at the computer doing work and rewriting my resume and cover letters, and then in between doing that, I would go over to my drawing table and work on this project.
And slowly over time, it just felt like this was what I really wanted to do.
HARRIS: Ultimately, she visualizes a cartoon.
D. GARLOW: I imagine that they come to children and they flutter in front of the child's heart and they listen very carefully to what the child needs. And then their ears flush with color. Bling, bling.
HARRIS: A friend convinced her to turn it into a business.
G. GARLOW: It's pretty amazing to see, like, something that I'd just been doodling come to life.
HARRIS: Denise bought the book "Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks for Dummies" and got started. She registered the terms, "The Representatives," "A Place of Good," which is the name of her business, and the term "song ears."
D. GARLOW: They actually listen, and their ears have notes of harmony so they hold concepts of song ears.
HARRIS: And she formed her own corporation.
The next step?
D. GARLOW: Figuring out to manufacture them and distribute them.
HARRIS: We asked her to share what she's learned about starting her own business.
One, do what you can with what you have where you are -- a line she stole from Teddy Roosevelt.
D. GARLOW: Friends in the legal profession will help me and guide me and help me set up the LLC.
HARRIS: Two, don't be afraid to have fun. D. GARLOW: I started saying to myself, just start having fun again. Be -- be creative. Get back in there, start painting, start drawing.
HARRIS: Follow what she calls "your heart intelligence."
D. GARLOW: If nothing comes of this in the marketplace, one of my original intentions was to just show my children how to honor their creativity, how to nurture an idea, how to take it out into the world, and to try.
NGUYEN: Good advice there.
Well, a group of potential investors are shopping the doll around with hopes to mass-market it.
HOLMES: And on a side note here, she got started - she had to spend $2,500 on materials, forming a company and registering her copyrights.
NGUYEN: Well, you know, it seems like everyone has an opinion on the Tiger Woods story. And we're going to hear reaction from some of the biggest names in the sports industry on what is next for Tiger and his sponsors.
HOLMES: Also, an openly gay woman could be the next mayor of a major U.S. city after a runoff election today.
NGUYEN: Hello, everybody, and good morning on this Saturday. Welcome back. I'm Betty Nguyen.
HOLMES: Hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.
One of the top stories, everybody's waking up this morning and finding out golf has lost its number one golfer, for now. We don't know how long after Tiger Woods in this mess we've seen on the last couple of weeks. He's finally come out and admitted, in fact, he's cheated on his wife. The latest we have seen on his web site just released late last night.
NGUYEN: Yes, because in the beginning he said "transgressions". That was the word. Well, this time he's using the word "infidelity". Let's get the latest now from CNN's Susan Candiotti.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): What a two weeks for Tiger Woods. In all began Thanksgiving night with a minor accident. A few days later he issued a statement on his web site saying he would never let it happened again. A few days later he talks about transgressions, as allegations of affair as begin to swirl around him. And finally, Friday night, another statement in which he admits that he was not faithful to his wife.
The statement reads in part, "I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try."
And he adds, "After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person."
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, "USA TODAY": I think this shows the magnitude of the problem. I think it shows that Tiger and his team is starting to get how big of a deal this is. The fact that he used the word "infidelity" for the first time, instead of transgressions. There's another step. And it shows a little window into the world in Orlando, Tiger Woods' world. The bunker he's in right now, how bad things are. How they seem to be getting it.
CANDIOTTI: The PGA has issued a statement. It says, quote, "We fully support Tiger's decision to step away from competitive golf to focus on his family." And on his website, fans also weighed in, about 50/50, some in favor, some not. One saying, quote, "I know the road to recovery takes time, good choice on your part about hiatus." But another one said, "Maybe you learned your lesson, but at what cost?"
Crisis experts say it may be time for Tiger to play the inside game.
HOWARD BRAGMAN, CELEBRITY PUBLICIST: You have to get a really thick skin for the next couple of months, and say I'm not going to read a newspaper, I'm not going to turn on the TV, and I'm going to do the business at hand. I'm going to walk the talk, I'm going to make breakfast, I'm going to change the diapers, and be the best husband that ever was for a little while.
CANDIOTTI: Will Tiger's absence on the greens make a difference? Experts say count on it. At some point they say he may have to face an interviewer before he once again faces the public at a golf tournament. Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.
NGUYEN: Well, you know, there's been so much speculation surrounding this announcement. A lot of people wondering, before we actually heard word, what he was going to do. And now he's going to take an indefinite break from golf.
HOLMES: And some of the biggest questions. How long? What does that exactly mean? Also, what does this mean for the sport of golf? He is the biggest draw. A lot of folks, you might be casual golf fans but you'll stop and watch if Tiger's playing. Other than that, people just keep going past the channels.
NGUYEN: Look at the monetary implications, too. At first people think, OK, well his caddy not feeling too great right about now. Others have pointed out that he has such a huge impact on the world of golf, it will cost lots of jobs.
HOLMES: It will actually cost --literally, folks, we are talking about if this man steps away, we are talking about millions lost. We are talking about sponsors, talking about tournaments, we're talking about his -- the folks who actually -- the companies he endorses. This is a lot of money on the line here, folks. Not just about a guy and some scandal. This is a big, big deal. That was a topic of discussion on Larry King last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: This isn't going to help. This is TV ratings will go down. It hurts the game, but on another level, who cares? This is about a man and his family and the image of the greatest icon in our culture in sports.
JIM GRAY, SPORTSCASTER, GOLF CHANNEL: Well, I think it's a sad day for sports, sad day for golf. We've been looking at perhaps the greatest athlete of our era. Jordan, in that vein, the Michael Angelo of golf and to have him step aside because of some self-induced problems here is really tragic, at the height of his career. So, there is a sadness and I think we've never seen anything like this. This has been a fall from grace as all of your guests have said, the likes of which we've never seen in such a short period of time.
STEPHEN A. SMITH, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER COLUMNIST: So it almost one of those situations where when it comes to the physical, there's quite a bit of men out here that are in constant rehab. We see something, we covet it. Sometimes we act right about it, sometimes we act wrong about it.
But if Tiger Woods is an addict per se, there's a whole bunch of addicts running around in this world and people just need to stop using that as an excuse, or whatever. Men covet what they see. And we have to reel ourselves in when we make that ultimate commitment because it's not the right thing to do to violate it. Period.
HOLMES: Steven A., always keeping it real. Making a point there, some people, he's making references that think he's a sex addict. That he needs to get some kind of therapy for that. And Steven A. says people too often use that as some kind of an excuse. Men like women, period. And sometimes that is all it is.
NGUYEN: And women like men, yes.
HOLMES: And men just make bad decisions. That was the point that Steven A. that we know, always --
NGUYEN: You hear a lot when you hear these cases of infidelity. A lot of times he'll come out and say I have a sex addiction and they'll go into treatment and therapy. I don't know, does it really smooth things over any by saying, look, this is a problem, its an addiction?
HOLMES: Like he was saying it is just a PR move and sometimes this is about a man making a stupid decision. We'll be talking more about some of his sponsors sticking with him, sharing some of the comments. Statements they have been releasing this morning. But the Tiger Woods saga continues.
NGUYEN: Well, on a much lighter note, positive note. Color barriers broken down on film as Disney casts the first black princess.
HOLMES: Top stories we are keeping an eye on. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair defending the invasion of Iraq. He tells the BBC it would have been the right move to remove Saddam Hussein even without evidence he had any weapons of mass destruction. That interview with the BBC set to be broadcast this weekend.
NGUYEN: Well, in Massachusetts, a 98-year-old woman has been indicted on a second-degree murder charge in the death of her 100- year-old roommate. Prosecutors say the pair lived in a nursing home in Dartmouth, and had argued over a piece of furniture. The victim was found dead with a plastic bag over her head back in September. An autopsy showed that she had been strangled.
HOLMES: The age old celebration of Hanukkah is underway. President Obama says the lessons of the holiday should inspire others. Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights began at sunset yesterday marked by the lighting of a menorah. The holiday commemorates the rededication of the second temple of Jerusalem following the victory over the Syrians in 165 B.C. Your history there.
We're right back.
NGUYEN: The arrest of five Americans on accusation of terrorism has shocked many of the members of their mosque back in Virginia.
HOLMES: And the youth coordinator at that mosque calls the young men "wholesome". He says he can't imagine how they could have formed radical beliefs. Our Brian Todd with the story.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At a small ranch- style house just yards away from strips of a suburban sprawl outside Washington, worshippers arrived for Friday prayers, this house converted to a mosque. The place where five young men arrested in Pakistan prayed, bonded, and according to leaders here who know them, acted like a lot of guys their age.
MUSTAFA ABU MARYAM, ISLAMIC CIRCLE OF N. AMERICA: They were wholesome kids. Very goofy, you know, talk about, you know, girls, you know. TODD (On camera): Maryam says in his dealings with them, he found them more interested in basketball, swimming, helping out at mosque functions, never in conflict or politics. He says he never suspected they would harm anyone.
(voice over): But in an interrogation report, Pakistanis say the five were of the opinion that a jihad must be waged against so-called infidels who commit atrocities against Muslims. That they planned to go to Afghanistan. And one of them, Ahmed Abdul Minni, went online to praise attacks against Americans.
None has been charged, but they remained detained in Pakistan. It was from this community that Minni, and the other four, went missing late last month. We pressed mosque leaders on whether they may have been radicalized at this place.
ASRAF NUBANI, ATTORNEY, ISLAMIC CIRCLE OF N. AMERICA: I think that the community, this mosque especially, has been very vigilant and taking it upon themselves to look into this and find out where the radicalization was coming, from if indeed there was radicalization in this situation. But certainly it doesn't come, you know, from mosque.
TODD: Mosque attorney Asraf Nubani says U.S. law enforcement backs him up on that. Radical is not a word local Muslim leader Mahdi Bray would use to describe one of the men, Ramy Zamzam, who Bray says he saw at several functions.
MAHDI BRAY, MUSLIM AMERICAN SOCIETY: I thought he was very articulate. I also thought that he was -- had leadership potentials, and things of that nature.
TODD: The man who mentored Zamzam and his friends says he's still in shock.
MARYAM: I've always known these kids as fun-loving, career- focused children that had a bright future for themselves. You know, I hope all of this is not true. I hope it's not what it seems to be.
TODD: Mosque leaders said the families of these young men were still not ready to speak publicly. They say while the law enforcement investigation proceeds, they'll conduct their own internal probe to make sure this mosque is not connected to any kind of extremism. Brian Todd, CNN, Alexandria, Virginia.
HOLMES: The first of the new troops headed to Afghanistan expected to arrive next week. Those troops are a Marine battalion headed for southern Afghanistan. The area focused on President Obama's new strategy. Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen says 16,000 troops have their orders for Afghanistan. He also says winter gear and other equipment already in the pipeline. Last week, the president committed 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. They're all expected to be deployed by the summer.
NGUYEN: Well, environment ministers from all around the world arriving in Copenhagen for a U.N. climate change summit, and many expected to put pressure on climate negotiators to work to reduce global warming.
Meanwhile, though, protestors have been demanding that world leaders take stronger actions, pledges made to cut heat, trap greenhouse gas emissions. Well, they are far below what scientists say are needed. And funding is also expected to be a key issue, especially among poorer nations. A draft agreement was sent to the 192-nation conference on Friday. And it sets no firm figures on financing, or on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
All right. So did you see it, the little princess while you were out last night in the theaters, perhaps? She is all of the rage these days.
HOLMES: Yes, a lot of little princesses out there. We'll tell you exactly why these ladies were lining up last night.
HOLMES: Willie Nelson.
NGUYEN: Yeah, what is that? Willie?
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You can call me Willie. You can call me just about anything today. We'll get --
NGUYEN: Kind of sick is what we'll call you.
WOLF: Yeah, really.
NGUYEN: You should have called in sick.
WOLF: I know. I probably should have been on the road, or not on the road at all. I should have probably hung out at the house.
I'm here, and we've got great things to share with people around the nation. Not the cold or flu, but rather some events. Got three of them.
We're going to start in Bozeman, Montana. That is where the ice festival. It's going to be taking place all the way through this weekend. It's actually promoting the sport of ice climbing. So, if you ever wanted to climb on ice, Bozeman, Montana is the place for you.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, for the video game awards. If you're into Xbox 360, the PS3, even the Wii, they've got great games for you there.
And we're going to finish up quickly on the other side, back over towards Florida. The Winterfest Boat Parade where yachts will be decked out with holiday decorations. They travel the Inter-Coastal Waterway. There are a nearly million people expect to show up for this event. It's a really happening thing. HOLMES: Big deal.
WOLF: Yeah, the weather down there should be somewhat OK.
NGUYEN: In the 70s?
WOLF: 70s to some low 80s. They've had some record temperatures there the last couple of days. But that's going to come to a screeching halt. Winter's on the way.
HOLMES: Why did you skip the grand marshal of the boat parade?
WOLF: I probably should have talked about that, but.
NGUYEN: Kim Kardashian. Are you wanting some video to roll here?
HOLMES: No, just details. He's so much attention to detail, normally.
WOLF: It is just like stepping up right to the very edge. Not exactly throwing myself off with that great information but that is important. Any time you have a chance to mention a Kardashian, you've got to do it, you've got to be there.
NGUYEN: All about the facts here, folks. OK, thanks, Rennie.
HOLMES: Thanks, Rennie.
NGUYEN: Well, little girls all over the country showed up at movie theaters last night for the opening of Disney's new film "The Princess and the Frog."
HOLMES: Yes, these are the members of the Boys & Girls Club we are showing you here, Boys & Girls Club of Atlanta, caught them showcasing their tiaras as they entered a local theater. Wal-Mart sponsored a pink carpet event at theaters all across the country.
NGUYEN: So, the reason for so much excitement, well, the movie features the first African-American princess. CNN Entertainment Correspondent Kareen Wynter gets reaction from children as they watch the movie in their classrooms.
(BEGIN MOVIE CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more time. It don't matter what you look like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It don't matter what you look like.
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Or does it? Check out Disney's new leading lady, Tiana. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I suppose you want a kiss.
WYNTER: She's the studio's first black princess, and many are taking notice. Even students at Los Angeles' Clover Avenue Elementary.
(On camera): Did you see anything at all that's different, that stood out from perhaps other Disney movies?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tiana was African-American.
WYNTER (voice over): The third and fourth graders we spoke with had no problem sharing their thoughts about Disney's new animation film "The Princess and the Frog", which they screened inside their classroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a first time for everything, and I think this was a really good start.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a goody diversity.
WYNTER: When it comes to diversity, Disney's come a long way since "Snow White" in the 1930s.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What a cute little chair.
WYNTER: Since then, there have been just three ethnic princesses, the Native American Pocahontas, and Chinese Mulan, and Arabic Jasmine from "Aladdin".
Question is, in the fantastic world of fairytale...
(On camera): Does skin color really matter?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It kind of isn't fair, because they should have had one a little earlier. It took them forever to figure out, oh, maybe we should have an African-American princess.
WYNTER (voice over): One of the film's own animators agrees.
ERIC GOLDBERG, SUPERVISING ANIMATOR, "THE PRINCESS & THE FROG: It's about time, I think, it's absolutely about time.
WYNTER (On camera): What took so long since introduction of "Snow White"?
GOLDBERG: I don't know what took so long. I'll be honest with you. We were there with different ethnicities, before this film. Maybe we needed to do those other films before we could actually do Tiana.
WYNTER (voice over): And like some princesses before her, Eric Goldberg says, Tiana is already a marketing machine.
GOLDBERG: Everybody is buying African-American Princess Tiana dolls. Doesn't matter what their background is. It's like this is a great popular character.
WYNTER: Some students note the princess's popularity shouldn't be lost on the film. That there's a deeper message here.
ROMAN, 3rd GRADE STUDENT: People that wanted to be princesses, but their skin color wasn't white, they say if she can do it, I'm sure I can do it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tiana is actually inspiring them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only seeing important is what's under the skin.
WYNTER: Kareen Wynter, CNN, Hollywood.
HOLMES: Well, coming up. A lot of people talking about a big run-off election happening in a major U.S. city today. And that city could elect its first openly gay mayor. We'll tell you which city and tell you about the chances she has in just a bit.
Also, at the top of the hour, the White House takes action on a loophole in the Senate health care bill brought to light by a advocacy group for cancer patients.
NGUYEN: Top stories now: South Carolina's first lady, Ginny Sanford, has filed for divorce. Her husband, Governor Mark Sanford, admitted to an affair last June with a woman in Argentina. Mrs. Sanford says she decided on divorce after, quote, "many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation."
HOLMES: We turn to Houston now, where polls there open in about an hour. And voters could elect the city's first openly gay mayor.
NGUYEN: Yes, candidate Annise Parker, has never made her sexual orientation a secret. But CNN's Ed Lavandera tells us how it's suddenly taking center stage.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Annise Parker is a veteran of Houston's big city politics. She served on the city council, spent the last five years as the controller in charge of the budget. Before politics, she worked in Houston's oil and gas industry. That's what gets the most attention. The footnote is that Parker is openly gay. She's been with her partner for 19 years, and they have two adopted children.
ANNISE PARKER, HOUSTON MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I have always stood up for the fact that I am gay. And as part of the resume I bring to the table, but it's just a piece of the package.
LAVANDERA: For months leading up to Saturday's run-off election, many Houston voters considered this campaign boring. That was until it became a two-way race between Annise Parker and Gene Locke, an attorney and civil rights activist.
(On camera): In the last few weeks, conservative groups and anti-gay activists have mounted an intense campaign against Annise Parker. They have thrown their support behind Gene Locke. Parker's sexual orientation had never really been an issue in this race, but now many are wondering if this last minute effort will hurt Parker's chances of making Houston, the largest city in the country, with an a openly gay mayor.
(voice over): Houston voters haven't always been that accepting of gay political issues. Just a few years ago Houston voters rejected a measure to offer benefits to same-sex partners of city workers. And 24 years ago, anti-gay candidates ran what was called the straight slate, in an unsuccessful effort to unseat a mayor who backed job rights for homosexuals.
Annise Parker was a young political activist then. She said the experience made her want to work harder. She became president of Houston's gay & lesbian political caucus.
PARKER: Houston is a multi-racial, multi-cultural, international city. And I think my election will send a message to the world that just kind of, Houston is a city that might surprise a lot of folks.
LAVANDERA: Parker and Locke share virtually the same positions on the issues. Houston political blogger Charles Cuffner says that makes the election a personality contest.
CHARLES CUFFNER, HOUSTON POLITICAL BLOGGER: It's kind of a matter of who do you really want in the driver's seat? I, as a voter believe that any of these -- any of the top three candidates would do a decent job. It's a question of which one do I think, you know, will do the best job?
LAVANDERA: The latest poll shows Annise Parker with a lead in the race. But with low voter turn-out expected it is a question of which candidate's voters are the most passionate. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Houston.
HOLMES: Good morning, everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING for December 12. I'm T.J. Holmes.
NGUYEN: Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. Thanks so much for starting your day with us. All right. Let's get right to it, something that everybody seems to be talking about -- and now, a new bombshell in the Tiger Woods saga. He says he is leaving the game of golf indefinitely.
Is that the right decision? And what kind of impact will it have on the game, his career, his sponsors, his family? I mean, there are a lot of questions. HOLMES: A lot of questions -- and a lot of folks are trying to answer them right now. Even though we really don't have the answers, a lot of people are talking.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN A. SMITH, COLUMNIST: None of these endorsement deals would have been available to him if he were not the best in the game, and that's not to condone what he did. But that's something that he and his wife Elin have to deal with. At the end of the day, what we are concerned about and why the reason we cared about Tiger Woods in the first place was because he's the greatest golfer arguably of our lifetime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: And that is the ever outspoken Stephen A. Smith. We'll be hearing more from him in just a bit. We'll be getting a lot of reaction throughout this morning.
We do want to take a look, though, right now in some of our top stories.
Wholesome kids or terrorists? Representatives of a Virginia mosque are standing behind five young Americans arrested in Pakistan and accused of planning terrorist attacks. The youth coordinator at the mosque in Alexandria says the men are, quote, "wholesome kids."
NGUYEN: Well, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is defending the invasion of Iraq. He tells the BBC that it would have been right to remove Saddam Hussein even without evidence he had any weapons of mass destruction. That interview with the BBC is being broadcast this weekend.
HOLMES: And a contract canceled. The security firm formally known as Blackwater no longer has a contract with the CIA in Iraq. The "A.P." reports a person familiar with the contract says it was canceled earlier this year by CIA Director Leon Panetta. Recent reports say company personnel worked with CIA agents on snatch-and- grab raids in Iraq between 2004 and 2006.
NGUYEN: OK. Back to our top story, something that so many people are talking about. I've heard it just about everywhere...
HOLMES: Oh, yes.
NGUYEN: ... I've gone and that is Tiger Woods. It's been a tumultuous couple of weeks for the golf phenom. And now, he says he is leaving the sport that he loves so much indefinitely.
HOLMES: And we're getting this word -- also getting word from him that he has, in fact, admitted to cheating on his wife. This is the first time he's come out and just flatly admitted that.
CNN's Randi Kaye looks at the troubles facing this billion dollar golfer.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It wasn't exactly sudden death, but Tiger Woods seems to have lost this round. His troubles began the day after Thanksgiving with a mysterious one-car crash at 2:30 in the morning. Just feet from his own driveway, he hit a tree and a fire hydrant. His wife used a golf club to free him from his badly mangled SUV. A neighbor called 911.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DISPATCHER: OK. Are you able to tell if he's breathing?
CALLER: No, I can't tell right now.
DISPATCHER: OK. All right, we do have help on the way. What color is his car, too?
CALLER: It's a black Escalade.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KAYE: Tiger seemed to hope silence would make the story go away. It didn't work.
Days later, he released a statement apologizing for, quote, "transgressions" -- in very carefully worded comments on his Web site that never mentioned the word "affair."
That statement was released the same day this cover story in "Us Weekly" magazine hit newsstands. In it, Las Vegas cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs alleged a nearly three-year affair with the golfer. She told the magazine they met in a nightclub when Woods tapped her on the shoulder and that he recently left her a voice mail warning her that his wife may be calling.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Hey, it's Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KAYE: It didn't end there. More women came forward. Cocktail waitresses, a lingerie model, even former porn stars, all alleging to have had a relationship with Tiger Woods. But the golfer stayed silent until Friday night when he admitted his, quote, "infidelities" in a statement.
(on camera): Earlier in this year, Woods hit the billion dollar- mark, earning an unprecedented amount of money in his career, including endorsements, appearances, and business relationships with companies like Nike, which pays him an estimated $20 million a year to add his name to their line of golf gear. "Sports Illustrated" reported Woods earned $105 million from sponsorship deals in 2008.
(voice-over): Through it all, Woods' major sponsors have stood by him. Nike released a statement saying, quote, "Nike supports Tiger and his family. Our relationship remains unchanged."
Gatorade offered its support in a statement, too. "Tiger and his family have our support as they work through this private matter."
But commercials featuring Tiger Woods disappeared from prime time TV. The last one that aired was a Gillette ad on November 29th.
On late night TV, his personal pains became a parody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier today, I had an unfortunate incident with my golf clubs. I was putting them away in the closet, and one of them dropped on top of me.
KAYE: It may all have become too much. What else would drive the world's greatest golfer away from the game and the glory he's enjoyed for so many years?
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
NGUYEN: All right. Well, it continues. It seems like every day, there's something new in this story.
HOLMES: Something new and this is a bomb shell. We might not hear from him for a while now that he has made this move. We have been hearing from you, a lot of you all chiming in on our Facebook pages, also our Twitter sites with some of the comments we've been getting.
NGUYEN: Yes, we have them awfully early this morning. A lot of you wanting to speak out and speak up about this.
Run Amok on my Twitter site says, "I think it's his way of being in control as usual. Sounds like he hasn't learned just yet." Interesting comment.
And then 3dsono says, "Don't sweat it. It's the right thing right now. People's memories are short. He'll be back."
HOLMES: I'll share a couple from my Facebook page.
Tammy Profitt at the top there says, "It's none of our business. Leave him alone." Some certainly disagree with her.
But Barbara Jo Stanley says, "I think it was a mature decision to put family before financial gain. Now we need to back off and give them the privacy they need." Just a couple of -- a number, several we are getting this morning.
Please continue to send those into our Facebook pages and our Twitter sites. We'll be sharing more of those throughout the morning.
NGUYEN: Well, a loophole in the legislation. We're talking about a possible cap on how much medical coverage you could get in one year. It was put into the Senate health care bill behind closed doors by Democrats. But we don't exactly know whose idea it was.
HOLMES: Yes. This was first brought to light by an advocacy group for cancer patients. And CNN congressional correspondent Brianna Keilar reports, after seeing the story on CNN, the White House says that loophole will now be closed.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: If you're a citizen of the United States, and you get sick, you ought not be shoved into bankruptcy.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a frequent call of top Democrats as they push to overhaul the nation's health care system. One of the ways they have said they would protect Americans was by stopping an insurance company practice of limiting a patient's insurance coverage, both over a lifetime and annually. In November, the House passed a bill that would do just that.
But in the bill now up for debate on the Senate floor, under the section that plainly states, "No lifetime or annual limits," it says insurance companies may not establish unreasonable annual limits. That one word "unreasonable," opens up a loophole for insurance companies to cap annual benefits.
(on camera): What does "unreasonable" mean?
STEPHEN FINAN, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: We have no idea. And that is part of the problem.
KEILAR (voice-over): At midday Friday, when we talked to the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network, they were up in arms about the change, worried it would cost patients.
FINAN: A stage-three colon cancer case can cost over $200,000. That's obviously a lot of money. What happens if the annual limit is $100,000?
KEILAR: We asked Senator Tom Harkin, the chairman of the Senate Health Committee.
(on camera): What is this going to mean for the colon cancer patient whose bills top $200,000 a year?
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: Well, again, one of the compromises we had to make -- we do have no lifetime caps. And we put in there no unreasonable annual caps.
KEILAR: But what does that mean?
HARKIN: Well, that's to be developed by the secretary of health and services.
KEILAR: After the story aired on CNN, the White House and key congressional staffers spoke with the Cancer Action Network and agreed to close this loophole. But now, without the caps, Democrats find themselves in a difficult situation of trying to keep down the costs of premiums for all Americans -- the very reason why they put this loophole in the Senate bill to begin with.
Brianna Keilar, CNN, Capitol Hill.
HOLMES: And while the Senate was busy with health care, the House passed one of the most sweeping bills since FDR was in office.
NGUYEN: Yes. It will change the way credit card companies do business. But since they've already raised your rates, what's the point? Well, our financial expert is here with answers for you.
HOLMES: Also this morning, Josh Levs with a program aimed at reaching 1 billion people.
Josh, that's a lot of folks.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's a lot of folks, almost one out of six people on earth. This is the biggest fight ever against world hunger. Can the U.N. get you to make slight changes to your online accounts like Facebook or Twitter that could in turn help feed the hungry? We're about to show you how.
REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Welcome back to CNN -- oh, it's all of us.
NGUYEN: It is all of us.
WOLF: We're all here. All right.
NGUYEN: We figured since you're feeling under the weather, we might help out a little bit.
WOLF: Please do. Yes.
NGUYEN: Although, don't count on us for the forecast. That's all you, but...
WOLF: Yes, I've heard that (ph).
All right. Guys, yes, we have a lot to talk about. We're going to get started parts in the northeast this morning. We're seeing some lake effect snowfall.
Let's show you what I'm talking about. Right here, we're going to expand our radar just a little bit. And we've had a prevailing wind that is mainly just from the west, right along the lake front from Watertown to Syracuse. We've seen the snow coming in. That should continue through mid-afternoon.
We have some video from yesterday's action. Let's show you that right now that shows the rough conditions for people driving up and down the freeway. As we go through that, you're going to see again, traffic beginning to stack up in many places where not just a few inches of snow, but several feet.
In the highest elevations, there's a chance that we might see some of that snow really begin to pick up. This was compliments of a station out of Buffalo. This is actually Ripley, New York. These shots, these people are going absolutely nowhere. But today, it should be a significantly better day for them.
And one of the things we are going to be seeing today around the country is the chance of some scattered showers along parts of the gulf coast. It could fairly heavy, maybe some thunderstorms embedded also. But when we go out west, this is really going to be the biggest storm that's going to affect our continent.
And, in fact, you can see from Sacramento to San Francisco, some scattered showers and a few storms. Nothing too severe at this time. But it's going to be in the high sierra where we're going to see this really unfold and bring some heavy snowfall. Some places several feet of snow, especially along parts of I-80, back towards Truckee and into Nevada before the day is out.
And in and along the coastal range and back to the central and Northern Rockies, snow could be a tremendous issue.
So, with that being said, look for this to be a big event that could really spill out over the next couple of days, to begin in the late Sunday and Monday. The same storm that's in effect in parts of California could be giving us a round of severe weather for much of the central and southern plains. That we're going to watch very, very carefully.
What we'd like for you to do is stay with us and keep watching CNN SATURDAY MORNING. We'll be back in a few.
NGUYEN: You know, the number is absolutely staggering. For the first time, 1 billion people on earth are hungry.
HOLMES: That's what we're hearing from the World Food Program. And they created a new program to fight world hunger.
Josh Levs is showing that to us.
Good morning, again, Josh. LEVS: Hi there. Good morning to you guys.
Yes, you know, the basic idea here is that because there are a billion people hungry, the World Food Program wants to get 1 billion people involved in fighting hunger. And here to tell us about it from the World Food Programme, Bettina Luescher, who is a spokeswoman for it.
Hey there, Bettina.
BETTINA LUESCHER, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: Hey, good morning, Josh. Thanks for having me.
LEVS: All right. Good morning to you. I want to start off showing our viewers a little bit of video that goes along with this Web site.
Take a look here.
What you guys do is, you trace through how incredibly much online activity there is every day. People Facebooking and tweeting and blogging. And then you say, now keep in mind how many people are hungry.
Bettina, why this angle? What's the thought process here?
LUESCHER: Well, it's a very simple thought. We have 1 billion people hungry and we, as an aid organization, thought how can we make it happen that those people get food? So, we came up with this idea that we saw -- and there are so many people online.
In a nutshell, for example, all of the folks who are using these tools, cell phones, you know, computers, if they help the ones who need a cup of food -- the billion online to help the billion who are going hungry.
And if you spread the word, if you just do a little tiny bit, if you go to your computer and you tell the story, and you spread it and you tweet and you blog and you link up with us, we can really change the world, we can make hunger -- you know, we can eradicate it. It's extremely powerful. What the Internet can do.
LEVS: And let's get pragmatic here. I mean, what you're talking about is getting the word out in the hopes that more people who hear about it, the more people who will decide to get money. Ultimately, this is a fund-raising activity.
LUESCHER: It's fund-raising and awareness.
Fund-raising, of course, this year has been really hard. We got very big donations from government, but clearly not enough. We had huge shortfalls. We had to cut rations all over the world.
So, we need new donors. We need more people to know about this. So, whether you're a CEO, whether you're a cleaning woman, whether you're a student, whether you're a teacher -- you can do your little bit. It costs 25 cents to feed a child for a day, to fill this cup. If people knew about this, they would do something about it. For $50 a year, you can feed a child for a year, think of that.
And I think as more people knew about it, with doing something very little, take your own little small step, you can change the world.
LEVS: You're making your message go viral, it's the idea.
Now, I want to show everyone how extensive you've gotten in your online efforts. Let's zoom in to the screen behind, because I've never seen anything at all quite like this. Look at this. This is called "A billion for a billion."
And here, what you've done is you have offered something for every online activity you can possibly think of. Hungrify your tweet and hungrify your Facebook statuses. You're coming up with ways to end tweet with different kinds of messages, to add images to your Facebook page.
And you also have this, which I find fascinating, called "The Wall Against Hunger," where people submit their photos, their videos, and they talk about how important these messages are and it gives you information about it. And you can kind of scroll your way along and find out about people around the world and what they're doing to fight hunger.
All of it at your Web site WFP.org.
Bettina, since this has launched, what kind of activity have you seen online? And is it making a difference yet?
LUESCHER: Oh, it's huge. On one weekend, we had half a million downloads of the video. We had like 6,000 external links, tens of thousands of blog entries and tweets about this.
But the number one thing is, that this campaign has already given more than 130,000 children -- think of that -- 130,000 children because of this campaign already got a meal. You know, how often...
LUESCHER: ... can you change the world by simply going to your computer and doing something? So, get off your couch, you know, and do something.
LEVS: No, stay on the couch. You can take your laptop with you.
Bettina, let's -- it's really fascinating to see what you're doing. We're going to keep an eye on this over the next year.
Bettina Luescher, thank you so much for joining us today. And now, just let our viewers...
LUESCHER: Thank you so much for having me.
LEVS: Thank you.
It's all at WFP.org, and we're going to post links for you right now at the blog CNN.com/Josh.
So, Betty and T.J., I'll tell you, you know, at this time of year, a lot of people thinking about charity, thinking about those less fortunate. This is one good and easy way to help out a little bit.
NGUYEN: Considering a hundred or a billion, I should say, a billion people are hungry.
All right. Thank you, Josh.
LEVS: Thank you.
HOLMES: And we'll take a look now with some of our top stories.
The Tiger Woods saga has gone beyond just being a salacious tabloid story. It has now huge economic implications. Tiger Woods is saying he is stepping away from the game of professional golf indefinitely. We have no idea how long that means.
He also in a statement last night he released on his Web site admitted -- first time he has come out and just admitted blatantly that he cheated on his wife. As we know, this all started after tabloid report that he cheated on his wife, was having an affair, and that car crash, of course, on Thanksgiving night. Again, this is the first time. Tiger Woods is coming out and saying that he is guilty of infidelity.
NGUYEN: Well, South Carolina's governor is now headed for divorce. Mark Sanford's wife filed the papers citing adultery. It comes six months after Sanford admitted to having an ongoing affair with a woman in Argentina. Jenny Sanford said that she tried several times to reconcile their marriage. South Carolina legislators decided earlier this week not to impeach Sanford.
HOLMES: Well, the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah is underway now. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Light begun at sunset yesterday and is marked by lighting a menorah. The holiday commemorates the rededication of the second temple of Jerusalem following the victory over the Syrian back in 165 B.C.
NGUYEN: All right. Time to discuss your money, talking about credit cards today, just about everyone has one.
And after months of talking about finance reform, the House just passed one of the most massive reform bills since Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office. But the Senate probably won't act on it until next year. And while lawmakers keep talking, credit card companies keep raising your rates while they can.
Let's bring in housing expert, Clyde Anderson, to explain what is going on and what you can do about it.
First of all, basically, is this a free-for-all when it comes to the credit card companies? Because Congress is dealing with it...
CLYDE ANDERSON, HOUSING EXPERT: Right.
NGUYEN: ... but until they, you know, bring down the hammer, we're going to raise the rates as high as we can.
ANDERSON: Exactly. I'll always tell people, credit is like a game. But right now in the game, they're changing the rules constantly. So, you really got to be on top of it. They're trying to get all they can before next year, before these new rules come into play.
NGUYEN: And how soon will those come into play next year?
ANDERSON: Well, they're slowly -- they said 15 months from this past August that they're going to start to see changes slowly implemented.
NGUYEN: Got it.
ANDERSON: So, we should be watching for some changes -- so, hopefully, sooner than later. But credit card companies know that they're going to take a hit on the other side. This is a great reform. This is a big bill, but, in the meantime, consumers, you know, are really getting the short end of the stick right now.
NGUYEN: Yes, especially during the holiday season.
NGUYEN: A lot of people finally feeling like they can get out there and spend a little bit of money. So, what can you do as a credit card holder to fight back in any way?
ANDERSON: Well, again, you've got to know the game. They have implemented the new Consumer Finance Protection Agency that's supposed to come into play next year, which is great.
NGUYEN: The SWAT team, right?
ANDERSON: The SWAT team.
ANDERSON: They're coming in. They're going to clean up everything. That's going to be one agency that you can complain to that will be that watchdog.
So, really, what you can do right now is really protect your credit by maintaining it, but using it -- now, because if you don't use it, you lose it. They're really going to go in there and start cutting off those limits. You don't want to be in a situation where you've got a $5,000 balance and they cut it to $2,500, you know? And then credit is going to take a big hit.
So, you really want to watch your limits and use the card, and make sure you have the activity so they don't cut you off, but also watch those rates. And if they give you a rate or increase your rate, call 'em, talk to 'em.
NGUYEN: How willing are credit card companies right now to, say, you call them up and say, this is outrageous, I can't handle this, to lower that rate?
ANDERSON: Not very well. Not very well.
And you've got to try and try again. It's one of those things. It's not -- you don't call up and say, "Hey, lower it," and they're going to do it. You really got to go after it. You've got to say, "Hey, this is why. I've been in a customer for this amount of time. I'm in good standings." Now, if you're not in good standings, it's going to be a little harder.
NGUYEN: I hear you.
ANDERSON: But you really got to be understanding and really, you know, go and tell them your case.
NGUYEN: So, really, you're kind of in a wait-and-see mode until we get this legislation?
ANDERSON: Wait and see watch. Legislation is going to change a lot. And, you know, we'll be talking about it coming up. But there are a lot of great things.
But in the meantime, you know, this is a big business and credit card companies want to get their money.
NGUYEN: It's all about the money.
ANDERSON: It's all about the money.
NGUYEN: All right, Clyde, thank you so much.
And there's much more to come right here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.
HOLMES: Looking at Atlanta, Georgia -- live picture, and listening to Alicia Keys, new album coming out in about a week. I'm looking forward to that.
This video, we just have to share this with you. Hobbies for 75- year-old grandmother...
NGUYEN: I am amazed. HOLMES: Look at this. That woman is 75 years old, folks, getting down with a guy who is 40 years her junior. But this is a British retiree, lives in Spain. She won a talent show with her dance partner. And her name is Paddy Jones, but take a look, that woman is 75 years old.
NGUYEN: She is just dancing like there is no tomorrow. He's throwing her -- look at this. I mean, there are many 25-year-olds who can't even do that.
And you may think when you first look at this, you know, it's a little bit fuzzy video, they're -- you know, at a distance. You're not even sure how old this person is, but when you hear 75, it just floors you.
HOLMES: And she says, she -- when she hears the music, she just wants to move. She feels lucky that she can do it at her age and will do it as long as she possibly can. But she won that particular competition.
NGUYEN: And you can see why, clearly.
HOLMES: Yes, there you go.
HOLMES: And she would win that, what's the show we have here?
NGUYEN: "So You Think You Can Dance."
HOLMES: "Dancing with the Stars."
NGUYEN: Oh, "Dancing with the Stars," yes.
HOLMES: She would win that hands down.
NGUYEN: No problem.
HOLMES: More of our top stories, and we will be back here in about 30 minutes. But right now, time to hand it over to the good doctor.
NGUYEN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta.