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CNN SUNDAY MORNING

Tracking Hurricane Ike; Anniversary of 9/11

Aired September 7, 2008 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. Thanks for starting your morning with us. It is September 7th.
I'm Jennifer Westhoven, in for Betty Nguyen.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes. It's 7:00 a.m. right here on the east coast.

And talking about storms -- goodbye Hanna, hello Ike. Back-to- back storms now. Look at some of this damage we got. Tropical Storm Hanna wasn't so bad but left a bit of a mess in places. The road you're looking at in Massachusetts that buckled and split after rain just overwhelmed a storm drain. Also, we got Ike, a category four now, pounding the Caribbean. We are your hurricane headquarters and we got you covered.

WESTHOVEN: And this week marks the anniversary of 9/11. This morning, go with us as one air force colonel returns to the Pentagon for the first time since that tragic day.

We're going to get you started with Hurricane Ike. It is now at about 135 miles an hour as it tears through the Caribbean. Ike is leaving a trail of destruction in the Turks and Caicos Islands this morning. We've heard reports from Grand Turk Island that about half of the homes there have lost their roofs.

And, Haiti just devastated days ago by Tropical Storm Hanna, now, it's getting hit with some of Ike's heavy winds. So, we're going to take a look at the areas that have been affected.

HOLMES: Ike could have Florida Keys in its sights next. The folks there, the people who live there, they're getting their marching orders. Mandatory evacuations are being put in place. Anybody, if you know about the Keys, you know there's only one road in and one road out. So, of course, that's causing all kinds of backups, people are trying to get out of there, also, causing some backups at gas stations. People got to fill up before they leave.

We saw long lines yesterday and expected to see more. We got about 15,000 tourists who have already been ordered to evacuate. They were supposed to get out yesterday.

And we have our Karl Penhaul who is in Haiti for us this morning, keeping an eye on that spot, which is certainly getting pounded. He is watching the effects of Ike and the aftermath of Hanna. We'll hear from him in a few minutes.

Our Susan Candiotti there for us in Key West this morning with more on those evacuation plans.

And, Susan, let's get right to those evacuation plans. Tourists were supposed to leave yesterday. So, what's the word on people who live there, the residents -- when are they supposed to get out?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, T.J., there have been talk about pushing back the time to start those evacuations or even possibly canceling them altogether. But moments ago, authorities down here decided to go forward with the evacuations as scheduled starting in just about an hour from now, ordering residents also along with visitors to leave the Keys starting at 8:00 o'clock this morning Eastern Time. That would be for the lower Keys, including Key West. The middle Keys around noon time and the upper Keys around 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, to give everyone time to make an orderly exit from the Florida Keys.

Now, you might ask why do they have to stagger these times. Well, that's because we're talking about 150 miles or so from here to Miami, sometimes two lanes, sometimes four lanes. If there's an accident, you can forget about it.

As you see here, the streets are pretty dead in Key West. All the partiers have gone home, but, you know, the question is -- will people adhere to this latest order? A little while ago, the mayor talked about why he made this decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, WFOR)

MAYOR MORGAN MCPHERSON, KEY WEST, FLORIDA: Oh, it's frustrating. It's expensive. That's why we are as elastic as we could be as far stretching it out before we made sure that it was final. But, overall, safety is our primary concern and the difference, like I said, between a category one and a category three or four is going to be minute here. If it stands on its path right now and if it's golden (ph), and we're still looking at a category one and we're still looking at between four and seven feet of tidal surge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: So, even if they lose a ton of money and they did lose $10 million when Tropical Storm Fay passed through here just last month, they don't care. Authorities say here they're not willing to sacrifice safety, not one cent -- T.J.

HOLMES: Susan, take us back here. You said at the top there -- there was some consideration of going through with the evacuations? There was some debate about whether or not they should actually order them and go through with them? I guess, why the back-and-forth, why the debate about they think the storm is going a different way -- why?

CANDIOTTI: That's right. Because the forecast track, in fact, has shifted west and a little bit south. The Keys is very close to being outside of the cone. They're still going to face tropical storm force winds here because, remember, we are still within that range of 125 miles away from the center of the storm. Hurricane force winds only extending out about 45 miles, but still, they're going to feel the brunt of it.

But if there is just the slightest shift in that forecast track, the Keys could face a lot of trouble. And as you can see, people here have started to board up some of the businesses here. I think you can see it from here. And people have been leaving. The question is -- will the residents pay attention to these orders?

HOLMES: All right, yes. Better safe than sorry, certainly, but, yes, good thing. A lot of people are getting out of there.

Susan Candiotti, we'll be checking in with you again there in Key West. Thank you so much.

WESTHOVEN: And Susan just mentioning about how they might be changing things, based on how it could be moving, that cone of uncertainty about where this powerful storm is headed. We're going to get the very latest on that. Meteorologist Karen Maginnis is here in the hurricane headquarters tracking Ike.

Thanks, Karen.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: All right. Jennifer and T.J., what we're looking at is a category four hurricane. This is very scary and very impressive looking on our enhanced satellite imagery as well.

It is moving across the Turks and Caicos, the Turks being across the southeast and to the northwest of that are the Caicos. But technically, we're looking at a system that is about 650 miles to the southeast of Key West, Florida. It is moving not swiftly and not slowly. It's moving just south of due west at about 15 miles an hour.

Just to give you an example, yesterday, Hanna was zipping along to the north and northeast at about 22. So, this is moving mostly to the west at just about 15 miles an hour.

All right. It has sustained winds of 135 miles an hour. Here's a close-up view as to what is happening. Here is the Dominican Republic, here is Haiti. We think it's going to move right across the eastern edge or perhaps the north central portions of Cuba as we go in towards Wednesday.

What can we expect? Flooding rains, but the storm surge between 13 and 18 feet, will move somewhere, maybe split the difference, through the Florida Straits and weaken a little bit and then move into the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico and reemerge perhaps as strong as a category three hurricane. It bears watching. It's going to take us about a week to see what the conclusion to this is going to be -- Jennifer and T.J.

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness.

WESTHOVEN: Wow. HOLMES: Just to look at that cone and see the gulf and New Orleans, anywhere close to being in that cone of uncertainty it's called, my goodness, that just gives you goose bumps.

Karen, we appreciate your keeping an eye on it. We'll check in with you plenty this morning.

WESTHOVEN: Thanks. All week, right?

HOLMES: Oh, yes.

WESTHOVEN: Hurricane Ike could dump as much as a foot of rain on Haiti. Flooding from three previous storms has already taken a deadly toll.

CNN's Karl Penhaul joins us live from Cap-Haitien with the latest.

Karl, can you hear me? I was about to check on (INAUDIBLE). Oh, there you are. Karl, what's the latest?

(CROSSTALK)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jennifer, we're well south of where the hurricane winds are being felt right now but we are within the bounds of the tropical storm force winds but also the rain. And that really is what is worrying the Haitian authorities here. Since late last night, there has been consistent downpours here, and that will really aggravate the misery that many Haitians are already feeling. In the last 10 days to two weeks, they've had a hit from Gustav, they've had the effects of Tropical Storm Hanna, and now, these heavy rains.

It's, of course, in the city of Gonaives where the impact has been most devastating. Civil protection authorities say 167 people so far reported there. Many others reported missing. And they say that 56,000 people have been left homeless. Principally, from the effects of Tropical Storm Hanna but they say with what is going on now with the rain that is coming now, then things could only get worse there, Jennifer.

WESTHOVEN: Karl, thanks for bearing with me through this delay a little, we got a satellite delay. But, what is happening now in terms of when are some supplies going to get in? Do they have any idea, I know they had been hoping for Monday but maybe with this storm coming in, that's even going to be possible. You know, is there any kind of best case scenario for when rescue groups might be able to get -- start getting a lot of packages of aid there?

PENHAUL: Well, some of the aid has been getting in in drips and drabs. They've been using zodiac boats. They've also been using helicopters. The United Nations, for example, here has a heavy presence, as do some of the other international aid groups.

But the main problem by getting massive supplies in by roads is that it flooded the bridges, the only roads to that city have been washed out. And that this rain is only going to aggravate that. Some of the alternative passes that they were using through some of the river beds and stuff will be washed out because of this rain.

And even within the city itself of Gonaives, we were told yesterday that an aid convoy, United Nations aid convoy tried to get through to the downtown area within the city itself but that rain has washed away huge gullies within the city. And so, even that aid convoy had to turn back.

So, a lot of people are still going hungry there. The aid really hasn't kicked in. And as we saw back in 2004 when there was massive flooding in Gonaives, that days without aid then leads to violence and leads to a lot of frustration by the citizens there, Jennifer.

WESTHOVEN: All right. Karl Penhaul live from Cap-Haitien, Haiti.

Thank you so much for giving us a closer picture of what's happening there. Hope we could talk to you a little bit later on this morning as well. Of course, really, a lot of trouble happening in Haiti.

Humanitarian groups are working to get aid to flood victims in Haiti. We'll also talk with the director of care in Haiti more about the relief effort later on this hour.

HOLMES: A story coming up here for you. You want to see about a man who, the last time he was actually in his office, a plane slammed into his building -- Jennifer.

WESTHOVEN: Yes. CNN cameras are at the Pentagon as one survivor returns to his office for the first time since the 9/11 attacks. Painful memories, recalling the day that changed history.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WESTHOVEN: Hurricane Ike dominating everybody's attention this morning, but Hanna still making life miserable all along the east coast. The tropical storm is drenching the Atlantic seaboard all the way from the Carolinas up to New England. Now, right now, it is moving up and out of the northeast.

But these are videos from South Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, and they really tell the story. You can see roads broken up. There have been a lot of -- there a car flooded, branches down. Heavy rain event, some flooding, damaged neighborhood roads. A high school in Allentown, Pennsylvania lost part of its roof possibly due to a tornado. We get those after storms like this.

But overall, FEMA is reporting minimal damage from Hanna and says that no states asked for federal help.

Storm runoff carved a big slice out of this private road in Moore County, North Carolina. That's an amazing shot there. The worse part is -- this road is the only access to a subdivision which means nobody can get in or out of that area until that road is repaired. That's going take some time.

HOLMES: Of course, when you leave a job, you need to leave with your money. You need to know the best way to handle your 401(k). In today's "Right on Your Money," Christine Romans has some tips on how to protect your retirement savings during this change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Transitioning into a new job could potentially damage your 401(k), and figuring out what to do with your nest egg can be a challenge.

LYNNETTE KHALFANI-COX, PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: You really have four options. You can you cash out your 401(k), roll over into your new employer's 401(k), leave your 401(k) assets with your old employer, or you can roll over your 401(k) into an IRA, an individual retirement account.

ROMANS: But some experts say cashing out is not the best option.

KHALFANI-COX: Now, there are pros and cons with each of those, but by far and away, the absolute worse thing you could do is take a withdrawal and have that cash come right to you. The reason is that you're going to pay exorbitant amount of taxes and penalties on what you think might be a nice chunk of money. The best thing to do is to roll it over from your old 401(k) plan to your new one.

ROMANS: Whatever you choose to do, keep saving for your family and your future.

Christine Romans, CNN, New York.

(END VIDOETAPE)

WESTHOVEN: Vulnerable islands in danger as powerful Hurricane Ike tears through the Caribbean this morning, 135-mile-an-hour wind.

HOLMES: And it's actually taking aim on areas that don't need to be taking aim at. They're already been battered and broken by Tropical Storm Hanna. We'll take you there for a firsthand account.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: A big, bad hurricane just took a pounding on a tiny little island of the Turks and Caicos this morning. Some people did get out ahead of that storm and others got ready, they stayed around, they had those sandbags and things ready, had their places boarded up.

Storm and winds caused extensive damage on this vulnerable island chain.

We want to get on the phone now from the capital of Grand Turk, radio reporter Audley Astwood is with us.

Audley, we appreciate you. Tell us just how bad is it there for that little island chain? AUDLEY ASTWOOD, JOURNALIST (through phone): It's really bad down on this side, you know? I'm just taking a look. I'm outside. The storm now -- perhaps you can hear the (INAUDIBLE) and the background but I'm just taking (INAUDIBLE).

The building that I'm in now, in certain parts, it looks like vandals, just pretty much vandalized this place. The roof has been ripped up and there's debris and other matter just scattered all over the place as I go from room-to-room. And trees are pretty much torn down; leaves all over on the ground. And just, even now, reports of vehicles being turned over.

From the looks of things here, this is pretty much going to run the Turks and Caicos Islands into the millions of dollars to fix a lot of stuff (INAUDIBLE). Hurricane Ike definitely proven to be the worse thing since Hurricane Donna in 1960.

HOLMES: 1960 -- I was about to ask you how much experience, I guess? When I hear so many storms hitting through the Caribbean and hitting so many islands, I'm talking about Haiti and Cuba often, but not that often Turks and Caicos. So, was the island, would you say, as prepared as it could have been for this storm, like you said, you don't get that many?

ASTWOOD: No, we don't get that many, T.J. We are often considered a blessed country where hurricanes are normally projected they normally pass Hispaniola which is located in the Dominican Republic, and Hispaniola (INAUDIBLE). So, most times, hurricanes got downgraded before they can actually build up their full speed, they pass through the Turks and Caicos. So, if we get anything, the damage is usually minimal but that was not the case as we got a direct hit with a category four hurricane.

HOLMES: And, Audley, tell me, since so people are, I mean, since you don't get hit with them that often, and often like you said, people are used to them being downgraded and your country there not being affected, did people heed these warnings and take this seriously and get out of there and board up or did a lot of people think this is going to pass them by, too?

ASTWOOD: Yes, they did, and I'll tell you why, T.J. Because Hurricane Hanna pretty much caught a lot of people off guard. But being a tropical storm, a lot of people didn't take it serious. I hate to be a hypocrite but I was pretty much one of those persons also because we normally don't get hit.

But this was not the case with Hurricane Ike because Hurricane Hanna sat over the Turks and Caicos Islands for about three days and dumped a lot of rain. There was some heavy flooding about 40 percent to 45 percent of the island. So, that was just a few days ago. So they knew what the tropical storm could do, especially a category one. So, imagine a category four hurricane.

HOLMES: Yes. That's a good point.

ASTWOOD: So, it was a tip (ph). But, T.J., what do you do when you have winds up to 135 miles per hour plus? You know?

HOLMES: Yes.

ASTWOOD: A lot of the buildings were sandbagged and board up properly, but they just couldn't hold up to...

HOLMES: Couldn't hold up.

ASTWOOD: ... the ferocity of Hurricane Ike.

HOLMES: Yes, not much can hold up to 135-mile-an-hour winds.

Well, again, Audley Astwood, a radio reporter coming to us from the capital of Grand Turks in the Turks and Caicos. Audley, appreciate your time and giving us some perspective being there on the ground and good luck to you and everybody there in the country. Thank you so much.

ASTWOOD: Thank you. I'll send you video footage.

WESTHOVEN: All right. We're going to have our eye on this storm all morning, but let's got to presidential politics now. John McCain is taking on foreign oil at a rally in New Mexico yesterday. McCain vowed to cut our nation's dependence on foreign oil and support energy alternatives like nuclear power, domestic offshore drilling. So, here's John McCain in his own words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, SATURDAY)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll stand up against the oil companies and I'll stand up against the special interests and I'll fight for energy independence. We must achieve energy independence. We must stop.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

MCCAIN: My friends, we must stop -- we must stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don't like us very much and we will stop this and we will stop this energy dependence. We will become independent.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

MCCAIN: And, yes, my friends, we'll drill now. We'll drill our shore and we'll drill now. Yes, we'll drill now. Yes.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

(CROWD CHANTING)

MCCAIN: And Senator Obama doesn't want to drill offshore.

(CROWD BOOING)

MCCAIN: And he doesn't want us to use nuclear power.

(CROWD BOOING)

MCCAIN: And he says he wants us to become energy independent. My friends, that doesn't match up. But let me just say to you again, we need all of the above. We need wind, tide, solar. Solar, that's a great future of New Mexico and Arizona.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

MCCAIN: We need nuclear. We will develop flex-fuel, hybrid, and electric automobiles and we'll give you a big tax credit in order to purchase one. My friends, America can do it. America can do it and, by the way, nuclear power is clean and it's safe. I'll tell you...

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

MCCAIN: ... there are veterans here in this audience who served in the United States Navy aboard nuclear powered ships and they'll tell you that it's safe. By the way, we'll reprocess that spent nuclear fuel and we'll use a lot of the talent and innovation that's right here in the state of New Mexico in our national labs in order to do that.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

MCCAIN: A great talent, a great team that starts here. By the way, in case you haven't noticed, the French, the French -- who we always want to imitate -- 80 percent of their electricity is generated by nuclear power. They reprocess their spent nuclear fuel and if you haven't noticed, we now have a pro-American president of France which shows if you live long enough, anything can happen in the world.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTHOVEN: We're going to hear from Senator Obama in a few moments on the same topics.

HOLMES: All right. Well, Hanna but put a damper on a lot of weekend activities all up and down the coast but it didn't a damper on a lot of our iReports. Our josh Levs is keeping an eye on those iReports.

Good morning to you, sir.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, T.J. It wasn't until I saw the iReports this morning that I realized how bad the flooding was in one city.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENHAUL: The problem is torrential rain is already bringing with it, because in the last ten days, Hurricane Gustav came here and Tropical Storm Hanna caused an immense amount of damage and now we got these extra rains coming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: And that's our Karl Penhaul in Haiti for us where Hurricane Ike, a category four storm is about to hit the impoverished island.

Hello to you all and welcome back. I'm T.J. Holmes here in our CNN headquarters, our hurricane headquarters over here.

And that's our Jennifer Westhoven. Hey.

WESTHOVEN: I'm Jennifer Westhoven in for Betty Nguyen.

(LAUGHTER)

HOLMES: Jennifer, all right.

Well, folks know right now, it is time to go like Mayor Nagin was telling his citizens during Gustav -- get your butts out of there. Well, Ike is on the way and people are getting their butts out of Key West and part of the Florida Keys right now. They're not sticking around to find out exactly where the storm where this storm is going and not taking any chances. Mandatory evacuation orders go into effect in about half an hour. This is going to be a phased evacuation with people in the lower keys, Key West being the first to go. But not everyone is planning on obeying those evacuation orders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't left for one yet. So not about to leave this t time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Karen, unfortunately, we hear that all the time. People say I've been here all my life and some that has and some that haven't. They just think they can ride them out. And God bless them and hopefully they make it through but man it's not the recommended thing to do.

MAGINNIS: I lived at a beach, at a home at the beach and it is very difficult to leave everything that you have behind. It really is. And if you've got pets, a family, it's very difficult to uproot everyone. I understand. But this is a tremendous hurricane. Right now, category 4 moving through the Turks and Caicos. I tried to get some observations out of the Turks and Caicos, Inagua, we have a report, there's a 6,300 foot runway there and tried to get an observation there and was unable to do that.

Here is a close-up look. There we can see a clearly defined eye. It rolls along just to the south of due west and moving at about 15 miles an hour. That's not fast. It's not slow. It's not fast like yesterday when we saw Hanna zipping along at about 24, 25 miles an hour. This is the problem. It's going to move across the Turks and Caicos, the southeastern Bahamas and brush by Hispaniola and then what looks to be a fairly accurate depiction, National Hurricane Center's computer models suggesting right across Cuba where there are warnings that have been issued and then into the Gulf of Mexico. A little closer view. There you can see keeping it at a category 3, possibly a category 4.

Here are our hurricane watches and warnings. This is Cuba. This is Hispaniola. We're going to see perhaps a storm surge on the order of 13 to 18 feet. Could see in some areas as much as 20 inches of rainfall. We'll stay on top of it. Remember, there are mandatory evacuation orders throughout the entire Florida Keys beginning at 8:00. T.J.

HOLMES: Beginning today, like we heard, some people still are not going anywhere. Karen, we appreciate you. We'll talk to you again shortly.

WESTHOVEN: And of course, what is left of tropical storm Hanna, the remnants of that big rainmaker moving off the northeast coast right now but it's still a major weather event in terms of the rain and the gusty winds. Take a look at some of the damage that we're seeing here in New Hampshire. Roads torn up. Hanna though has lost enough intensity that the National Weather Service is no longer issuing advisories. But it is not much comfort for all the folks who got washed out this weekend by Hanna. Many people sent us in their i- reports to CNN. Josh Levs has been sorting through all of them and he's got some of the best. Josh, what are you seeing there?

LEVS: You know, I didn't realize how bad it is. In Fairfax County, West Virginia, I was just talking to Karen about this as well, we did not know it was going to be this bad. And then I'm seeing these I-reports this morning, they're stunning. One of them is on the board behind me but you know what, let's just go to these graphics that we have because I wanted to fill the whole screen so you can see.

Look at this. We're getting these out of Fairfax County. And we're told in a lot of places, where these people were driving, it was waste-high or higher. This one comes to us from Steven Kappler and we also have some more. We're going to scroll through here. We have more pictures in that area from Kevin McHugh also in that area and also - there you go from Kevin McHugh through there. And basically what we're seeing, we can look at more of these, is a lot of people trying to get around in Fairfax County. And they say that this park was washed out. A lot of things in that entire area were washed out and people did not expect it to be this bad. All of out i-reporters that I've seen who have sent us pictures from that area, are all saying, you know what, they didn't know it was going to be this bad.

Now, this one is a little fun. Let's go to these now. This one if from Daniel Dreifuss. I like these pictures because there was a celebration that was going on up in Philadelphia and it got kind of rained out but people had fun anyway. I think we have a few more of these. There was a soap box race going on. You can see, they're just skidding there. I'm showing you these because I'm told everybody was completely fine and the crowds were still there. It was some kind of red bull soap box race in Philly and you know, I guess that show must go on. So people showed up with their umbrellas. They had a good time. They really enjoyed it.

Now, as though it's not tough enough the bad weather everybody is dealing with. One of our i-reporters decided to rub it in by sending us a picture where she is. And this is just ridiculous but I'm showing it to you because it's gorgeous. This comes to us from Venice today. Look at that. From Marie Sager who just thought she would take this day to send us a picture how she had perfect weather and a perfect sunset and was completely escaping everything going on on our side of the Atlantic this day. Thank you, Marie, for making us very happy.

Obviously, we love to see what you got. Your photos, your videos, your story. Send them along I-report.com and throughout the morning we will show you more of the stuff of what we get and also got the preparations for Ike with those I-reports as well.

WESTHOVEN: Josh, thanks for that.

LEVS: Sure.

WESTHOVEN: Glad to see those guys in Philly still having fun.

LEVS: Yes, they're having fun.

HOLMES: All right. We will be turning to Barack Obama. don't know how much fun he's having right about now on the campaign trail. Maybe a little bit. He was in Terre Haute, Indiana yesterday. He was on the attack though. He was attacking John McCain's energy plan. Senator Obama says his own plan consists of cleaner energy alternatives that will provide jobs for many out of work Americans. Let's listen to Obama now in his own words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Change is not continuing the same energy policies of George Bush's. The same energy policies over the last 30 years that have led us to each and every year, increase the amount of oil that we import from overseas. Borrowing from China to pay the Saudi Arabia. That's not change. John McCain, he actually said something I agree with. He said, you know, the reason we haven't seen any serious energy policy for 30 years is because politicians in Washington have just been doing debating on the special interest. He's right about that.

Here's the problem. He's been there 26 of those 30 years! And he, during that time, he has opposed renewable energy. He has opposed wind farms. He has opposed solar energy. So for him to suddenly get up in front of, you know, on these ads, he's in front of a windmill, saying, he's looking out in the distance. He is saying that I'm going. This is me, you know? And I'm going to make us energy independent.

If he had had his way in the Senate, there wouldn't be a wind tower there. There would be a gopher hole. There wouldn't be anything there. That's not change. So here is what we're going to do. Here is what the Obama administration is going to do. We are going to work with the auto makers so that we are creating the fuel- efficient cars of the future, not in Japan, not in South Korea, but right here in the United States of America, right here in Indiana and in Michigan and Ohio.

We're going to - we are going to invest $15 billion a year for ten years. We are going to invest in wind power and solar power and biodiesel and hydropower and geothermal and all of the clean energy alternatives of the future and we will convert old steel mills that have closed to make wind turbines and we'll convert old plants to make solar panels and we are going to create five million new green energy jobs that cannot be exported and pay good wages right here in the United States and end our dependence on middle eastern oil.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: It's all this weekend with the return of CNN's "Ballot Bowl." We will have those extended excerpts for you from the campaign trail. The candidates unfiltered in their own words. "Ballot Bowl" starting at 4:00 Eastern today and it's only right here on CNN.

WESTHOVEN: 700,000 Muslim American voters live in key battleground states like Florida and Ohio and they could make a big difference this November, especially if they choose to back a single candidate. "Faces of Faith" takes a look at politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Well, Muslim Americans and most Americans right now certainly have a keen interest in the upcoming presidential race but for Muslim Americans, for them eight years ago they were solidly for George W. Bush but in the aftermath of 9/11, many believe they have become scapegoats on the war on terror. So, in '04, threw their support behind John Kerry. The question now who will they back this time?

Joining us from Washington to explain some of the key election issues for Muslim Americans is Mukit Hossain, president of the Muslim American Political Action Committee. Sir, thank you for being with us. Maybe we won't know until election day exactly who Muslim Americans will support if their support will go one direction or another. But tell me, which candidate do you believe right now is doing the most, at least, to appeal to those Muslim voters?

MUKIT HOSSAIN, MUSLIM AMERICAN POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE: Well, certainly one of the problems that we've been facing is that the Barack Obama campaign seems to be keeping its distance from the Muslim community. Now, when the Obama candidacy started, there was almost a sense of euphoria in the Muslim community. A lot of Muslims couldn't identify with him. He's a first generation American. He's a member of the ethnic minority. There's a lot of things about him which were appealing to the Muslim community.

HOLMES: So why is he keeping his distance, would you say?

HOSSAIN: Well, that is a political decision that he has made and, apparently, he thinks that the Muslim community somehow is too radioactive or whatever they have decided. The interesting thing about the Obama candidates is that because of this distance that he has created, it has also made the Muslims suspicious about him. One observation that I keep going back to is that the candidate who has actually broken the race barrier in presidential campaigns also seems to be strengthening the religion barrier against the Muslims -

HOLMES: Wow. That's an interesting way to put it. And tell me, just hearing you here, that's got to hurt in a way. Like you said, it sounds like you almost want to support a - Muslims would love to support him but he hasn't done anything to get that support in. And articles saying that he has issued forceful denials and even have heard him say that it's a smear when people try to say he's a Muslim. Do you take those things so personally, does it make it that much harder to support him?

HOSSAIN: It does. And he had a wonderful opportunity to proclaim his religion, which he has done. He has established quite emphatically that he is a Christian, which is perfectly reasonable. But, at the same time, he had an opportunity to tell the country that there's nothing wrong in being a Muslim and religion should not be an issue. But, instead, the emphasis with which he has talked about the first part of it, and not even touched the second part. It has made the Muslim community rather painfully aware that, in some way, he is actually lending credibility to the claims of the hate mongers that there is something particularly wrong in being a Muslim.

HOLMES: Wow. So would you say that now it leaves an opening for John McCain? I know so oftentimes we speak of voters, certainly minority voters, the Hispanic black or Muslim or whatever it may be in a monolithic block where they support one candidate or another. But certainly, do you think this would leave an opening for John McCain to make some inroads to the Muslim communities or do you think many Muslims might sit this one out or it could possibly might split the vote between the two candidates?

HOSSAIN: A little bit of all of those possible scenarios. It would also depend on the outreach that the McCain campaign might end up doing and the communication that we can establish with the McCain campaign. Here is an interesting story. I was in a social event last night. About 50, 60 people. When I first got in, of course, the topic was election. We start talking about election. Almost 100 percent of the people started talking about how they would support Obama but as the conversation progressed and people are talking about the way Obama campaign has been snubbing the Muslim community, I could see how the support was eroding away. By the time I left around 10:30, 11:00 in the evening, I figured about four or five still standing for Obama and the rest of the crowd has either shifted to McCain or saying, well, it's all the same, let's not vote. So out of 50, over a period of two or three hours, five were still Obama fans at the end of the evening.

HOLMES: All right. Mukit Hossain, again, the head of the Muslim Political Action Committee. Sir, I appreciate you giving us some time this morning and certainly airing out your concerns that you have for both candidates but certainly Obama this morning. We appreciate your time. Thank you so much. I'm glad we were able to finally make this work. We had a few hurricanes that had to cancel this last week, but thank you so much for being with us.

HOSSAIN: Thank you very much.

WESTHOVEN: All right. Smoking in the boys room? A plane load of people diverted to North Carolina, why officials say a fist fight broke out at 30,000 feet!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN , watched by more Americans than any other news channel. Now, back to CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

HOLMES: I'm ready. I'm ready now! I don't like silly people like this messing with your lives. Folks, we're going from Boston to Ft. Lauderdale on a plane. They got stuck in Raleigh, North Carolina. Weren't supposed to make that stop because a couple of folks decided to get in a fight on the plane. Now the TSA says a fist fight broke out after somebody was smoking in the bathroom as we all know, you're not supposed to do that. They make the announcement about 18 times before you take off. Well, the plane was operated by JetBlue, again it was going from Boston to Florida, had to make an emergency stop, is what they call it. Now witness say the scuffle involved two brothers and it happened after one of them went into the bathroom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE DESCHAMPES, PASSENGER: And all of a sudden he comes out of the bathroom and his brother realized he was smoking. And his brother encountered him and he punched him in the face. I don't know what happened but they got in a little scuffle. They got into a fight and argument. He cut his head. And he was bleeding a lot. And we had to turn the plane around and we had to land in Raleigh, North Carolina where the FBI came and they checked out the plane. They arrested the two. They even made the other cousin get off the plane and everything like that. So, after that we were stuck in Raleigh for, like, an hour. And we had to be cleared by the FBI to depart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: They have to stop serving drinks on the plane. Some people just don't know how to behave. Again, it seems that one person, one brother was upset that the other brother was smoking in the bathroom. Again, 88 passengers were on board that flight. All of them, like you heard there, had to be interviewed by the FBI before that plane could take off.

WESTHOVEN: Oh, that's a delay. Yes.

HOLMES: Yes.

WESTHOVEN: All right. Heading to higher ground. The threat of more flooding forces hundreds of people in Haiti to evacuate. The city of Gonaives, Hurricane Ike could dump 6 to 12 inches of rain on Haiti and flooding from three previous storms has already killed hundreds of people there. A tropical storm warning is posted for Gonaives and all of the northern peninsula of Haiti. So we have an update now on efforts to get relief supplies to the flood devastated areas of Haiti. On the phone, from Port-Au-Prince, joining us Sophie Perez, who is the director of C.A.R.E. in Haiti. Sophie, thank you so much for joining us. Tell us how the relief efforts are right now.

SOPHIE PEREZ, DIRECTOR, C.A.R.E.: You know, the situation is quite very difficult especially today because Ike which is passing north from Haiti is affecting the country again. The rain is falling very hardly today. And the access to the flooding area remains the main issue and the main concern for humanitarian relief.

WESTHOVEN: Sophie, tell me what it's like for you there, just you know, from your view what it's like when you look around, what you're seeing and what people are dealing with right now. You get a firsthand view.

PEREZ: Yes, Gonaives has been the worst area affected by the flooding. We estimate that about 130,000 people now affecting more than seven (inaudible) centers that have lost all of their belongings. The most priority needs are for the moment food, water and hygiene kits.

WESTHOVEN: All right. Thank you very much. Sophie is joining us there from C.A.R.E. in Haiti.

HOLMES: Well, the last time he was in his office, a plane actually slammed into the building. Our CNN cameras at the Pentagon as one survivor returns to his office for the first time since the 9/11 attacks. Those painful memories and recalling the day that everything changed for us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Well, The Pentagon today is sponsoring freedom walks across the country. They are honoring the victims of the September 11th attacks and Americans who fought and died in the wars that followed. The biggest one is happening in Arlington, Virginia.

WESTHOVEN: You know, this morning you said. Wow, it's been seven years.

HOLMES: It's tough. It's amazing isn't?

WESTHOVEN: Sometimes to me, it seems just like yesterday. But you know, thousands are going to march from the national cemetery to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and our Jamie McIntyre profiles one walker. A September 11 survivor who is participating for the first time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: So this is the first time we actually try to find exactly where you were on September 11th.

JOHN LEECH, 9/11 PENTAGON SURVIVOR: That's correct.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): For years, Retired Air Force Colonel John Leech had no desire to his old Pentagon office. It was too painful.

So you would have been somewhere in this area here, right?

LEECH: Yes.

MCINTYRE: But Leech agreed to take CNN there. Now that he's about to re-engage with the past.

LEECH: We would have been in this area. This area right here when the aircraft struck. As I said this was the far wall. The aircraft as you know drove in at an angle and it went actually I believe it hit the first floor. It drove in three rings. And it hit with such force I've never experienced anything like it in my life. It just rattled you right down to the bone. The office filled with smoke. The roof started disintegrating. I ran out the door and I stood right about there and secondary explosions started erupting and people were screaming out and just blood curdling screams.

At first, there was that adrenaline rush and within a few minutes I was scared. It's the first time I was really scared. It was like, my god, this is, we are under attack. I was so lucky. If you look at the diagram of how the aircraft entered the building and the damage it did, it's like we were in a protective cocoon right there. We were virtually untouched. I mean, I inhaled a lot of jet fuel vapors and I got dusted up but that was the extent of my injuries.

MCINTYRE: Have you seen this before?

LEECH: No, I haven't seen this one.

MCINTYRE: Down the hall about 120 feet away from where Leech figures he cheated death, hangs a color coded chart showing where some people were at the very moment time the plane hit. Red for dead, blue for injured, green for unhurt and orange and yellow for people who were away.

For instance in this conference room here -

LEECH: Yes. It's the army guys that were killed.

MCINTYRE: Two people killed. These were all seriously injured. And miraculously this lieutenant colonel escapes injury. It's the randomness of it.

LEECH: Yes. It is. Just where you happen to be.

Yes, I've had a lot of people say to me god with you that day. I think it's ridiculous to say something like that because not these other people. It's a horrible occurrence.

MCINTYRE: Another first for John Leech, reviewing videotape of the destruction he escaped. LEECH: This is where 90 something personnel were killed on the first floor. The devastation is unbelievable. It makes you feel weak in the knees to see the pictures again.

MCINTYRE: This is looking on the desk here you can see a pair of glasses. A bowl of candy is tipped over there. Last stop, the Pentagon Chapel where in a photo album, John Leech finds a friend that was with him September 11th, Navy Captain Jack Punches.

LEECH: I've avoided this for the past six years. Avoided anything to do with 9/11. It feels good to be here. I mean, a lot happened that day. A lot of good people died. A lot of very good people.

MCINTYRE: Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WESTHOVEN: For so many people still something hard to talk about. 9/11. Well the freedom walk to the Pentagon will kickoff at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time. Our Jamie McIntyre is there and we will have some live reports.

HOLMES: Good morning to you all from the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia for the CNN SUNDAY MORNING, September 7th, 8:00 a.m. here at our hurricane headquarters.

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

WESTHOVEN: And I'm Jennifer Westhoven, in for Betty Nguyen.

We're tracking Hurricane Ike, a category four storm, now in the Caribbean and is heading toward the Florida Keys and the Gulf of Mexico.

HOLMES: And keeping a close eye on Hurricane Ike this morning, tearing through the Caribbean. The category four storm battered Turks and Caicos Islands with 135-mile-an-hour winds. Haiti also got hit by the southern edge of this hurricane. Ike now is moving closer to the Bahamas, also northern Cuba.

The path can also take it dangerously close to the vulnerable Florida Keys. A new mandatory evacuation order for residents is going into effect as we speak. As for a time ago, Key West mayor talked about that decision to evacuate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, WFOR)

MAYOR MORGAN MCPHERSON, KEY WEST, FLORIDA: This isn't a, you know, University of Florida versus Miami game where there's 21 points out there. This is a game of life and we would much rather err on the side of caution than err on the side of somebody losing their life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Err on the side of caution. Our Susan Candiotti is down in Key West for us right now.

And, Susan, we hear so often times, people have talked about, you know, folks -- it's hard to leave their homes. So, they say, hey, I've been riding these things out all my life, I'm going to do it again. That's not the best advice but still they do it. Are they doing it this time around as well?

CANDIOTTI: Yes, you are always going find that in the Florida Keys. The fact of the matter is, they have very laid back attitude here. So, despite warnings, some people will stay. Despite evacuation orders, some residents will not get out.

This is this morning's paper headline, "Bracing for the Worst." And, in fact, they were just on the edge of that forecast track. Nevertheless, emergency officials are ordering all residents, tourists left yesterday, to get out of the Florida Keys. You see how empty it is here. The church service, the pastor I spoke with says he doesn't expect very many people to show up. But, in fact, they are under orders if you're living in the Florida Keys to get out starting now.

Now, we talked earlier with some people who are tourists and others who are residents. First, you're going to hear from a woman who is leaving, a tourist, and then, from a resident, who's going to stick around.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, WSVN)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, the hurricane is coming in. So, we were told to evacuate so we're getting a flight out. We'd like to stay longer but couldn't take a chance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, anywhere else you go, you're going to do the same thing. If you go, like, to New Orleans or any place like that you're going to get the same thing. So, I just try to ride it out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: And as you can see, some people have taken precautions, they have boarded up their businesses, you got some shutters up and down the street here. But, others have not. Just look over here -- glass windows, no protection whatsoever.

So, T.J., you see a little bit of everything down here.

HOLMES: Yes, and certainly, that area, the Keys depends so much on tourism and I suppose they could take a hit if they had to shut down for a couple days. People have to, you know, go home and they don't have people full in those hotels and in those shops, those restaurants. But, I guess, the fear more so that so much damage could possibly be done that the tourism industry could be shut down there for a while.

CANDIOTTI: Now, authorities do not want to take any chances. Even though they lost, for example, $10 million during Tropical Storm Fay just last month with only minor flooding, they don't want to risk anyone's safety here. So, they're sticking to that evacuation order even if it means a loss in tourism dollars.

HOLMES: All right. Our Susan Candiotti is keeping an eye on things for us this morning in the Florida Keys. Thank you so much. We'll see you again here soon.

CANDIOTTI: OK.

WESTHOVEN: Heavy rain and wind from this ferocious Hurricane Ike has also been battering northern Haiti this morning, and the worst of it in Gonaives. Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna had just swept across Haiti in the past two weeks causing massive flooding there already. So, now they got Ike on top of that.

Hanna is blamed for more than 150 deaths. Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless. And now, the rain from Ike is threatening to wash out many critical roads that are being used by relief convoys. Bridges have been out as well. We're going to bring you a live report from Haiti coming up in the next hour.

Now, the Turks and Caicos also taking a direct hit this morning. People prepared for the storm by boarding up, going to shelters. Just a short while ago, we talked to a journalist Audley Astwood from the isle of Grand Turk.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

AUDLEY ASTWOOD, JOURNALIST: The building that I'm in now, in certain parts, it looks like vandals, just pretty much vandalized this place. The roof has been ripped up and there's debris and other matter just scattered all over the place as I go from room-to-room. And trees are pretty much torn down; leaves all over on the ground. And just, even now, reports of vehicles being turned over.

From the looks of things here, this is pretty much going to run the Turks and Caicos Islands into the millions of dollars to fix a lot of stuff (INAUDIBLE). Hurricane Ike definitely proven to be the worse thing since Hurricane Donna in 1960.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WESTHOVEN: Of course, that storm, Donna, in 1960 also hit the Florida Keys pretty hard. Astwood told us many people boarded up and took shelter before Ike made landfall. So, hopefully, a lot of people got to some safe spots.

HOLMES: The communities along the east coast are cleaning up from tropical storm Hanna. Yes, that one still had quite an effect. What's left of the storm now off the coast of New England. Video here we're seeing from New Hampshire, South Carolina, Virginia, kind of telling you the story here. A few things out in the road but for the most part it was about rain -- a whole lot of it.

Overall, though, FEMA reporting that there was minimal damage from Hanna and that no states have been asking for federal help. That certainly a good thing. I guess Hanna, Karen, looks like a sweetheart in some ways compared to what we're seeing with Ike. Now, we heard that, Audley, that reporter Astwood, talked to us about Turks and Caicos kind of been blessed over the years and that so many storms come through but don't really get a direct hit but mentioned back in 1960.

MAGINNIS: Donna -- and now, I did little investigation once I heard that earlier interview that you did. Donna was in 1960. It was exactly 48 years ago today that Donna was moving across the Turks and Caicos, moved across the southeastern Bahamas.

This is the track that Donna took. Take a look at this -- moved just about over the middle Florida Keys -- this is in 1960, September 7th -- and sweeps back over through Florida.

Now, let's show you what we anticipate the track of Ike is going to be. Hurricane Ike is expected to move just about over this north central or central sections of Cuba. So, a very different scenario but we heard the journalist from Turks and Caicos say -- this is just about the worst that we have seen since Hurricane Donna back in 1960. It was exactly 48 years ago today.

Well, right now, we're dealing with a category four hurricane and there are hurricane watches and warnings out, but unfortunately it looks like for this north central coast of Haiti, it's going to mean perhaps a storm surge between 13 and 18 feet.

We have seen a little bit of a change with Ike. And that is that its forward speed has changed. It slowed down a little bit. It was moving just to the south of due west earlier at about 15 miles an hour. Now it slowed down to around 14 miles an hour.

Here's a close-up view. Turks and Caicos, I believe, right here, we got Great Inagua, that's the southern most island of the Bahamian chain, the Bahama Archipelago. This is what we anticipate according to the National Hurricane Center's computer models; it's expected to move through Cuba, brush by, perhaps the central or southern Florida Keys, perhaps as a category one hurricane, move through the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, increasing in intensity, and perhaps by Friday -- Friday is a long way away -- perhaps as a category three hurricane.

I turn it over back to you at the news desk.

HOLMES: That's a little eerie about Donna, 48 years ago to the day it's moving through now in the same spot.

MAGINNIS: Yes, fascinating.

HOLMES: Karen, we appreciate you looking into that for us. We'll see you again here soon.

As we just mentioned a moment ago, FEMA says damage from Tropical Storm Hanna has been minimal and that no states have asked for any federal help. That's awesome.

WESTHOVEN: Yes. Of course, that may depend on your definition of minimal.

Josh Levs has got some storm images that it brings it home because for some people, right, they're certainly not be asking for help but they may need...

HOLMES: Need something.

WESTHOVEN: Yes.

LEVS: Yes, I can smile about this because I'll tell you, before we see what we're about to see that everyone is fine but this is some powerful stuff.

Let's go straight to this video we're getting this morning from our affiliate, WCVB in Boston. They went to Milford which is just outside of Boston and there is a road there that was torn up. A 50- foot stretch of road was torn up by these powerful rains and wind. Apparently, a manhole is destroyed down there. This is -- I mean, you can see, it's beyond repair.

Now, somehow, allegedly, they're going to try to make it drivable within the next couple of days but it's going to take a long while to actually fix it. And you can see there what looks to be a torn up manhole, apparently some bricks that were surrounding that area.

Fifty-foot stretch of that road and -- although everyone is fine -- you can imagine the inconvenience in that area and it gets even worse inconveniently speaking. Their weatherman spoke with someone, his name is Steve Lacy (ph) and he just spoke with someone just minutes ago who has their own story to tell. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, WCVB)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I'm joined by Tara who lives right here on the street. She's actually due to go to the hospital to give birth tomorrow. And right now, she's blocked in the driveway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am. I hope they fix it quick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVS: Birth tomorrow. First of all, we all are grateful that that didn't happen, you know, one that she wasn't going to give birth at the time that was happening. So, it gives her a little time to work it out.

Now, a couple more things I want to show you, guys. That's not the only place where a road was torn up. A couple photos we have for you here from the "Associated Press." First of all, we have this one which was also torn up from Hanna as well. That's Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina and that's a road. I mean, that was a road we're told, that was severely damage.

Also, I was just talking to you, guys, yesterday about beach erosion. That being a big concern, look at this -- we're told here, this is some beach erosion that took place yesterday. The "Associated Press" says this is people looking at beach erosion in that area, at the east end of the Ocean Isle Beach. So, that was a road that's along basically along the beach line there and a whole bunch of erosion right there.

We'd love to hear whatever you got. Send us your latest photos, videos and stories at iReport.com and keep it here at CNN.com. We'll bring you the latest on Ike as it comes your way -- guys.

WESTHOVEN: I'm sure that lady in question has a backup plan, right? She's not just going to wait for the driveway to get fixed.

LEVS: I am assuming she's going to sleep somewhere else tonight. I know that I would. I know that my wife would. So, I'm betting she's OK for now.

WESTHOVEN: All right. Thank you for all those shots.

(CROSSTALK)

WESTHOVEN: Good luck to her.

A deal to save mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be getting closer.

HOLMES: But, Jen, our business correspondent, what's it going to cost me? That's what I want to know.

WESTHOVEN: Yes, the 64 million or billion dollar question.

HOLMES: Oh, yes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: All right. Look at that live picture we have up there for you. It's coming to you from Arlington, Virginia. The freedom walk is about to start at the National Cemetery there. It's going to start up about 45 minutes from now.

WESTHOVEN: Fifteen thousand people are expected to be walking to the Pentagon to honor the victim of the September 11th attacks and remember those who died in subsequent wars. Other walks are taking place in all 50 states and 12 other countries. And it's all sponsored by the Pentagon.

HOLMES: Well, Barack Obama and John McCain are making a joint appearance this week. No politics involved. They're going to "ground zero" together to mark the seventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

The two released a joint statement saying, "All of us came together on 9/11 -- not as Democrats or Republicans -- but as Americans. In smoke-filled corridors and on the steps of the Capitol; at blood banks and at vigils, we were united as one American family. On Thursday, we will put aside politics and come together to renew that unity, to honor the memory of each and every American who died, and to grieve with families and friends who lost loved ones." So, a nice time-out in this heated political season.

You can hear more from the candidates today, probably more on the political side however, with the return on of CNN's "BALLOT BOWL." We'll have extended excerpts from the campaign trail. The candidates unfiltered, in their own words. That's our "BALLOT BOWL" starting and back up and it starts at 4:00 o'clock Eastern today, only right here on CNN.

WESTHOVEN: All right. The economy -- issue number one -- and today, a deal to save mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be getting closer. Now, those companies either hold or they back about half of all of the mortgages in the United States. A proposed government takeover could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

Joining us on the phone to talk about this is CNN personal finance editor and host of CNN'S "OPEN HOUSE," Gerri Willis from New York.

Gerri, what's the latest? We hear there's going to be a news conference later this morning.

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR (through phone): That's right. Jennifer, we're expecting to hear details of this plan in just a few hours. As we've been discussing, the broad strokes of the plan is that the U.S. Treasury will announce the government will takeover Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, putting them into what's being called conservatorship. An analyst yesterday described that to me as kind of the equivalent of going into bankruptcy.

Details this morning that are being reported that it is possible that this will not necessarily require an immediate injection of capital from taxpayers. The question: How much does this going to cost taxpayers and when? And some reports this morning that that's not going to happen immediately.

Let's talk for a second about why this is important. As you were saying, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are responsible for half of mortgage debt in this country. The housing market, as you know, is ailing significantly. The two companies have lost $12 billion since last summer. Their share prices in the tank here.

As part of this plan, it's expected that not only would these companies go into government operation, but they would also strip out senior management and put in new people in place. And, of course, one thing to keep in mind here, we don't really know the details of the plan. They haven't been announced.

But it's expected that this plan would be temporary. This isn't a final solution. The government won't operate these companies forever. It's a temporary solution to what has been a really difficult problem, Jennifer.

WESTHOVEN: Gerri, we recently had some government intervention when it came to the situation at the brokerage of Bear Stearns. Now, we got Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is seen as the biggest government intervention we know taking over a company in American history. We've also have heard about Detroit starting to ask for money as well.

You know, at what point are we starting to look or analysts starting to say that maybe that idea of deregulation may have gone a little bit too far because look at the mess these companies have gotten themselves into?

WILLIS: Well, it's a great question. I guess, the difference for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is that they started life as government entities. Now, these aren't private concerns from the get-go. They actually played a public role for a very long time.

How serious is this problem? Well, keep in mind, we just had a report this week that proportion of mortgages that are overdue 9 percent -- the highest in 39 years. Stabilizing the housing market is important not just to Wall Street but also to Main Street, to regular people out there who want to take out mortgages and buy homes.

WESTHOVEN: All right. Gerri Willis is joining us on the phone from New York. Thank you so much. And certainly, we do hope since this is going to cost taxpayers a lot of money potentially that it does help to stabilize the housing market.

Get all the in-depth information that you need on the mortgage crises at CNNMoney.com.

HOLMES: Of course, a lot of people like to fly JetBlue because you get your own TV on the plane. That's kind of cool. Well, at least, one flight also got a boxing match. This flight was going from Boston to Florida. But they had to make a stop in North Carolina to let the fighters off. Yes, a fight broke out.

TSA officials say it started after one of the two involved in the fight was smoking on the plane in the bathroom specifically. Witnesses say it involved a couple brothers and happened after one of them went into that bathroom and lit up a square.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, WFOR)

PETER CHICCHETTI, PASSENGER: He was told that he couldn't smoke, and at some point in flight he started smoking. Apparently, I guess, one of the guys on the other side, his brother got upset, jumped on him. Hit him. We heard the commotion, turned around. And as he moved back, I could see blood every where but I think that's what set him off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Why do you think you can smoke on plane? I mean, even the Wright brothers, they couldn't smoke on their plane.

WESTHOVEN: Yes, if your brother does smoke, do you punch him?

HOLMES: Yes, obviously.

(LAUGHTER)

HOLMES: That's the way to go. One person had to be taken into custody after that plane landed in North Carolina. I would love to hear the follow-up to this story we can get to you, well, I'm sure it's interesting. We'll pass (inaudible).

WESTHOVEN: Remind me not to fly with you.

HOLMES: You're not supposed to smoke.

WESTHOVEN: I'm not going to smoke but -- all right.

The U.S. Secretary of State sits down with man once branded as a terrorist. Find out what Condoleezza Rice talked about with the Libya leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WESTHOVEN: Welcome back to CNN Center.

Nearly a year after assassins killed Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, her widower is elected president. Now, Pakistan is considered a U.S. ally in the war on terror. Asif Ali Zardari hailed his election as a triumph for democracy. He'll be inaugurated on Tuesday and will take office the same day.

Zardari took over Bhutto's party after she was assassinated late last year. He replaces President Pervez Musharraf who was forced to resign last month.

HOLMES: The United States government once had branded Moammar Gadhafi a terrorist. That makes his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice all that more significant.

CNN's State Department correspondent Zain Verjee talked with Rice about her talk with the Libyan leader.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The meeting was more than half a century in the making -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Libya with leader Moammar Gadhafi.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I thought he was serious. He said at one point that it has taken too long and that the lessons of history had to be learned.

VERJEE: For decades, the U.S. branded Gadhafi a terrorist, best known for the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 that killed 280 people.

Victims' families are outraged Rice is even here.

RICE: I fully understand the deep feelings that people and families and the American people have. But we are pleased that we now have a way to compensate those families and we're pleased that we can now work on major issues of terrorism with Libya.

VERJEE (on camera): Can you trust Gadhafi?

RICE: Well, I will trust actions. And we will see what actions there are, but we've seen the end of the weapons of mass destruction program verifiably, completely verifiably.

VERJEE (voice-over): Rice was surprised when over dinner, Gadhafi said, he was worried about the U.S. military presence in Africa.

RICE: I found him someone who thought deeply about a lot of these issues and who had some views about the United States and how we play our role in the world, and it was actually very interesting.

VERJEE (on camera): How much is the agreement and the warming of ties with Libya about oil?

RICE: Well, it's really about the strategic decisions that Libya took.

VERJEE: But Libya has strategic oil (INAUDIBLE).

RICE: Absolutely and there's nothing wrong with that. You know, we do need -- we absolutely need reliable sources of oil and gas from diverse sources.

VERJEE (voice-over): Rice put diplomatic business aside for a minute to reflect on her historic trip.

RICE: I felt it when the airplane touched down. There was something about the United States of America plane touching down in Tripoli, that's when it struck me that 55 years was a long time.

VERJEE: A past, Rice says, will take time to overcome, as the U.S. and Libya embark on a new chapter.

Zain Verjee, CNN, Tripoli, Libya.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Now, again, Rice is the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit Libya since the Eisenhower era. The visit ends almost three decades of hostility between the U.S. and that African nation. Libya is now an elected member of the U.N. Security Council. It has voted with the U.S. on issues like the Iran's nuclear program and it's helped with the crisis in Darfur.

WESTHOVEN: All right. If you don't like spiders, don't look over my shoulder.

HOLMES: Yes.

WESTHOVEN: Close your eyes or something. You may want steer clear of Liverpool.

HOLMES: Yes, we'll show you what has taken to the streets there.

WESTHOVEN: Whoa, big.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WESTHOVEN: All right. So, you know spiders can web.

HOLMES: Yes.

WESTHOVEN: Usually, you know, make sometimes big in the woods.

(CROSSTALK)

WESTHOVEN: I do not want to see the web spun by this thing. This is a 50-foot huge mechanical spider. Here, you see it in Britain. It's known as "La Princess."

HOLMES: Oh, so beautiful, isn't it? Listen to the music there. If you can see what this all is. It's pretty dramatic stuff here because it's part of a theater production in downtown Liverpool. Those are actors who are on this thing, who are operating as scientists. They work in couple of coordination to make this thing move and operate these big old legs.

Now, the same production company created giant mechanical elephants that lumbered through London a couple years ago.

WESTHOVEN: That music is making all the difference for me, you know.

HOLMES: Not for me, really.

WESTHOVEN: Because it could have creep me out but it's kind of neat.

HOLMES: It's still creeping me out. I think the music is making it creepier for me.

Let's move on to this thing. Having a bird, not all fun and games here because police in Trenton, New Jersey -- they kicked in the door of a home because they thought someone was being hurt, in need of help. It was actually that bird right there, that cockatoo that was yelling, "Help me, help me," over and over again.

WESTHOVEN: And it's not the first time that this cockatoo has ruffled some feathers. A few years back, Child Welfare called neighbors because they thought they heard a baby crying for hours, it was just the bird practicing a new sound. Maybe he needs some different sound.

HOLMES: Or maybe she needs a new pet.

(LAUGHTER)

HOLMES: Again, we are keeping an eye on this storm. This one, of course, the one we turn our attention to, Hurricane Ike. Haiti is already reeling from Hanna. It could be affected more about the arrival of Ike, just adding to that devastation. We'll take you there live at the top of the hour.

WESTHOVEN: But first, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and that starts right now.

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