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Gingrich "Glitter-Bombed"; 513 Migrants Found in Two Trucks; Lower Mississippi Set to Crest; Obama Mideast Speech Preview; Al Qaeda Appoints New Leader; CIA Stealth Drones in Pakistan; Congress Mulls Cutting Pakistani Aid; Rethinking U.S. Aid to Pakistan; IMF Head Pressured to Resign; Oprah's Star-Studded Farewell Shows; Possible Extreme Makeover Hoax; Feds Auction Unabomber Items; Lotto Winner Uses State Aid; Yale Fraternity Suspended Five Years

Aired May 18, 2011 - 10:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: It is 10:00 a.m. on the east coast, 7:00 a.m. out west. I'm Carol Costello in for Kyra Phillips. Good morning to you. Here are some of the stories we're following right now.


COSTELLO (voice-over): An interesting campaign stop for Republican candidate Newt Gingrich. Today, a gay rights protester hits Newt Gingrich and his wife with a glitter bomb in Minnesota at a book signing in Minnesota. We don't know exactly who shot the video, however, it was posted online.

Mexican authorities stopped two tractor trailer trucks suspected of carrying illegal immigrants. They never suspected there were 513 people crammed inside in awful conditions. They each paid $7,000 to travel to the United States.

And it's a disaster in slow motion on the lower Mississippi River already at record levels. It's expected to peak tomorrow. The Army Corps of Engineers says the water levels will stay abnormally high for weeks to come.


COSTELLO: President Obama will give a major speech tomorrow about U.S. relations with the Middle East and North Africa. Details are starting to trickle out as you might expect.

Of course, a lot has changed in the two years since he spoke to the Muslim world in Cairo with the uprisings and the end of Osama Bin Laden. CNN's Ed Henry at the White House. Ed, give us a preview.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, one thing that White House says they want to stress. The president will not do is give a speech to the Muslim world. As you mentioned he did that two years ago in Cairo.

They want to stress, this is a broader speech, not just aimed at the Muslim world, but the entire world, out of all these protests, all these upheaval in the Mideast, as well as North Africa, and try to present a coherent U.S. strategy, U.S. policy to deal with all of that and bring stabilities to the region, number one.

Secondly, this will not be just a speech about the Mideast peace process. The Israeli/Palestinian issue obviously something this administration has focused on from day one. But they've had some troubles in recent day with George Mitchell, the president's Mideast envoy abruptly announcing Friday he's going to be stepping down on the eve of this speech.

It certainly will cast a pall over this to whether or not this is really going to - there's going to be any progress in the days ahead. Having said that, the president will address the peace process and I think that's something we're going to watch very closely.

Because it's one of the things he's weighing, we stress weighing, he hasn't decided on this is whether or not to get a little bit more specific and for example, calling Israelis to go back to the pre-1967 Arab/Israeli war of borders.

That would be a concession for Israel to try and bring the Palestinians along on some of the other very, very thorny issues here, Carol.

COSTELLO: Something else we hear he's going to mention, Syria and possible sanctions against Syria. What are you hearing?

HENRY: Absolutely, U.S. officials are saying in private, you can expect the president to mention it, but also that this administration is putting together some specific sanctions aimed at the Assad government in Syria. We've seen the violent clashes. The crackdown on peaceful protesters, number one.

But number two, what has been particularly alarming for this administration, particularly alarming for Israel as well, is the fact that along Israel's border, we've seen, you know, all of these activities, attempts to cross the border.

There have been some bloody clashes already and I was talking to one official yesterday who said they fear here there are going to be many more bloody clashes in the days ahead. And that's one reason we can expect the president to address Syria in this speech as well tomorrow, Carol.

COSTELLO: Ed Henry live at the White House, thank you. Of course, you can see the president's Middle East policy speech live right here on CNN tomorrow. That will come your way at 11:30 a.m. Eastern. And the president will be live from the State Department.

New developments in the Osama Bin Laden story. Al Qaeda has named a new leader. He is Saif Al Adel, an Egyptian who has played a key role in al Qaeda. A source with knowledge of the terror group says he's only a caretaker until the various affiliates of al Qaeda work together to appoint a permanent replacement.


COSTELLO (voice-over): For months, the CIA reportedly used stealth drones to fly covert mission over the Pakistani airspace to monitor the compound where Osama Bin Laden was killed. That report is from coming "The Washington Post." The drones were specially designed to avoid radar detection.

And there's growing support in Congress to trim U.S. aid to Pakistan. Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Arms Services Committee suggests Pakistani leaders turned a blind eye to terrorists who were after U.S. targets.


COSTELLO: Stan grant is live in Islamabad. So Stan, Pakistan and the United States are -- I guess, they're still allies on the war on terror, even though it doesn't seem like it these days. But what if the United States does pull aid from Pakistan? What would happen?

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's really critical, you know. Many people talk about this, Carol, a relationship as an alliance. Really, it's a transaction. So much money has been pumped into Pakistan, particularly since 9/11.

I think over the last 10 years some $20 billion flowed Pakistan's way. Currently, it runs at about $3 billion a year and that's directly for the war against the insurgency here. There's also extra money, which comes in here to help social services and civilian assistance and so on.

So you can see this adds up to a lot of money each year. Now with this relationship falling into a new low, particularly with the questions being asked about what Pakistan knew about Osama Bin Laden being inside this country, many in the United States, we're hearing from lawmakers and others saying, why are we paying this money?

Are we getting what we're actually paying for? That has been heightened as well to the Pakistan prime minister to China, calling China Pakistan's truest and most trusted friend. If you're in the United States and spending billions of dollars here, that's not the sort of message you want to hear, you know.

COSTELLO: Stan Grant reporting live from Islamabad, Pakistan. Thank you.

The pressure is on for Dominique Strauss-Kahn to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund, after all, it's tough to keep the global economy stable when you're locked up on Rikers Island fighting sex charges.

A deputy director is running the organization. The French and Austrian leaders say Strauss-Kahn should resign and the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner has also weighed in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TIM GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: He's obviously not in a position to run the IMF and I think it's important that the board of the IMF formally put in place for an interim period somebody to act as managing director. And they have in John Lipsky -- it's not the constitution or the succession, but the legal order of succession. He's very capable person, lot of experience.


COSTELLO: And there is a new poll in Strauss-Kahn's native France. People were asked what they think about the case, more than half of them believe that Strauss-Kahn is a victim of a conspiracy.

The grand jury in New York will hear the alleged victim's story today. CNN's Deborah Feyerick tells us where the case stands right now.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're learning right now is that the 32-year-old West African who's at the heart of what's now become an international incident is set to testify before a grand jury today.

That's according to her lawyer who spoke on a morning show earlier. After laying low, we are also told that she was finally reunited with her teenage daughter yesterday. That's according to a friend.


FEYERICK (voice-over): Now, this woman is set to testify before the grand jury and will likely recount the story on how she allegedly walked into the hotel room in order to clean it as she was instructed.

That's when she has said that Strauss-Kahn grabbed her from behind and the sexual assault took place. The lawyer, her private lawyer, says this incident has turned her world upside down.

JEFFREY SHAPIRO, ATTORNEY FOR ALLEGED VICTIM: She's frightened. Yes, totally frightened. This is a person who assaulted her, raped her. And any television program that she turns on, he's pictured on it. She has to relive this. It's a nightmare that keeps recycling in her mind, and she can't escape from it. She has no point of refuge.

FEYERICK: Now Dominique Strauss-Kahn was supposed to be in Europe, as you mentioned meeting with world financial leaders to try to figure out the debt crisis over there. Instead, after that handcuffed walk out of the police station house, which you saw, that's something that the French call outrageous and illegal.

In fact, he's been put on a suicide watch at Riker's Island, this just a precaution. Technically, he's not suicidal. They do this for many of their high profile clients or I should say people who are incarcerated, just as a precaution to make sure, that, you know, in fact the fall from grace doesn't affect him as deeply as it might.

Now his lawyer has said that forensic evidence will show that the encounter was not forced. That if indicted, Strauss-Kahn will plead guilty. The woman's lawyer disputes suggestions that in fact this was consensual saying that in no way was this consensual.

We're learning that the woman fled New Guinea. She came here to the United States seeking asylum. She's been working at the Sofitel on the books for about 2-1/2 years. Her lawyer calls her intelligent, somebody without an agenda, Carol.

COSTELLO: Deb Feyerick reporting from New York. Talk about a surprise guest, Maria Shriver shrugs off this week's media frenzy to be there for her good friend Oprah Winfrey. There they were on stage at the United Center where Oprah was taping two of her final shows.

Our entertainment correspondent Kareen Wynter was there too. So Kareen, when Maria Shriver walked on stage, what was the crowd's reaction?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Everyone was floored. It was an absolute surprise. The night was really all about Oprah. She was surprised all night long with the celebrity guests.

But I have to say, that one moment had everyone just kind of stepping back and saying, is this for real. You have to think what she's going through right now. The very, very scandalous split from Arnold Schwarzenegger, no one thought -- there were rumors of whether or not she'd be there that night and she showed up.

Did you see what she was wearing? She was wearing that beautiful, beautiful navy sequins gown stepping out on stage. Look sewing confident and smiling, looking directly at Oprah. These are really the women that Oprah aligns herself with.

Despite what they're going through, she's strong. She's independent and she was fearless. She stepped out on stage. It was really brief, her speech, but it was very pointed. She thanked Oprah for their years of friendship.

She's known Oprah for more than three decades and she also thanked Oprah, Carol, for teaching her honesty. And when she did that, Oprah interjected saying "here's to the truth." And the audience really, really applauded her.

They stood up. They embraced here. There were no words said. In fact, no specific reference to what we all knew, you know, was going on at that moment, but just a lot of love not just for Oprah, but Oprah's very dear friend. A great moment last night.

COSTELLO: Yes, I mean, Oprah's show has always been about empowerment. Maria Shriver was there, dressed to the night. She was empowering herself to go on bravely and kind of like that. She wasn't the only big star though there, was she?

WYNTER: No, in keeping on the theme, Carol, we love this ride of women who show so much power. You're about to see a couple stars I spoke with who are backstage. We caught all the action. The night was about Oprah.

These are people who really reflected on what this woman has done for them through their careers. What she's meant really for the TV industry, for audiences all over the country. Let's listen to what they had to say.


MADONNA: The great thing about Oprah, even if you don't know her personally, you feel like you know her personally. That's a talent that she has. She's very accessible.

ROSIE O'DONNELL: I have watched every single episode. I taped it back before TiVo. I used to tape it on VHS tapes.

ALICIA KEYS: She's someone that I love to know that you can be a very good stand-up person and achieve everything you dream.


WYNTER: And believe it or not, Carol, Rosie, we spoke with her last night, she actually is going to be right by Oprah's side. You know, Oprah launched her brand-new channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network, in January.

The ratings haven't been great and so she's finishing her daytime talk to focus now on her channel. She's hoping it will be better, but guess what, Rosie is going to have a new show on OWN. It debuts in the fall and she's taking over Oprah's old studio in Chicago.

COSTELLO: That is something. That's great for Rosie O'Donnell because she's had her problems in the past, but must have been a fascinating time. I envy you, Kareen Wynter, thank you.

WYNTER: It was great.

COSTELLO: It was nothing. Thanks so much.

A reality TV happy ending turns into a tragic soap opera instead. A family gets a home makeover because the two kids were listed as having a serious immune disorder. Now, we hear it could all be a lie.

The feds raffling off the personal belongings of Ted Kaczynski, aka, the Unabomber. We'll tell you who stands to gain from the auction and what exactly they're selling.


COSTELLO: The happy endings on the reality TV show "Extreme Makeover" has been a ratings winner for eight years now. Now comes word, though, at least one of those tearjerker conclusions was all a big fat lie. Let's get more on the story from "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT's" A. J. Hammer. This is awful. A.J. HAMMER, HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": It is a terrible story. ABC's "Extreme Makeover Home Edition," Carol, has been one of my favorite shows for a long time. They've been helping out people who are down on their luck, bringing viewers to tears really, including myself since 2004.

Sometimes, you're watching the show, and you think the stories of the families featured seem too sad to be true. And in this case, just coming to light now because of a recent court case in Oregon, it seems the well intended makeover gang were in fact duped by one family falsely claiming to have two very sick young daughters.

Here's how the story goes, according to reporting done by the Oregonian, Chuck and Terry, they got a brand-new home from the "Extreme Makeover" crew in Las Vegas. This was in early 2009. When Terry made her appeal to the show, she said she and her 10 and 8-year- old daughters, Molly and Maggie, suffered from combined immunodeficiency disease.

And the children had to wear masks that way they could guard against the toxins in the air of their run-down, mold-filled house. So as usual "Extreme Makeover" parachuted right in. They built them this fantastic new home with air filtration systems and elevator, solar-heated swimming pool, all the usual trimmings, the flat screen TVs, the whole deal.

But by the fall, the couple said they couldn't afford the increase cost of operating this larger home so they sold it and moved to Oregon, which is where they came under scrutiny at Portland area hospital for suspected child abuse.

Now the state took temporary custody of the girls and the ensuing court case told a totally different story than the one presented on television. Six doctors testified that the daughters weren't sick at all.

And the mom, of course, was the one who would claim that, but the doctors then believed that their mother had a syndrome causing her to seek medical attention for her children for her own gratification.

The judge agreed but said the girls' father, Chuck, was a capable parent. So he sent the kids back home and within days of regaining custody in Oregon last month. Terry moved with the girls back to Las Vegas without the husband. Not such a happy ending at all. What a twisted, twisted story, Carol.

COSTELLO: I am stunned by that. What a strange and sad twisted story, you're right.

OK, let's move on -- actually, this "Dancing with the Stars" story is not so happy either.

HAMMER: No, at least not for the person who got bounced last night. Season 12 of "Dancing with the Stars," of course, is in the final stretch. And it was Ralph Macchio and his partner Karina Smurnoff who were tossed off the show last night. Now that they're gone, Ralph and Karina slamming the show's judges. "Showbiz Tonight" of course, right there last night and here's what those guys told us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On my shoulders --


RALPH MACCHIO, ELIMINATED, DANCING WITH THE STARS: Or if the hands weren't right, early in the season. We worked on that in "Romeo & Juliet." We solve that. Those are smart notes. This felt like, you're not worthy to be with this group.

KARINA SMIRNOFF, ELIMINATED, DANCING WITH THE STARS: They wanted to be the stars, if they wanted to be the stars, they should have auditioned to be as contestants rather than the judges.


HAMMER: So, Carol, you have Chelsea Kane and Hines Ward remaining. I'm firmly on team Kirsty.

COSTELLO: I don't know who am going to root for. It's kind of a sore loser sort of thing so I don't know how to feel about that, but always interesting. A.J. Hammer, many thanks.

If you want information on everything breaking in the entertainment world, A.J.'s got it tonight on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" at 11:00 p.m. on HLN.

Their members once included future presidents of the united states. Now, an elite yale university fraternity gets a big smackdown. What a youtube video has to do with it.

tonight" at 11:00 p.m. on hln. >

Their members once included future presidents of the United States, but now, an elite Yale University fraternity gets a big smackdown. What a Youtube video has to do with it. That's next.


COSTELLO: Checking stories cross-country now. Happening now in Atlanta.


COSTELLO (voice-over): An online auction of personal items that once belonged to convicted Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Proceeds of the sale will go to some of his victims. Kaczynski who is 68 now, he's serving a life sentence in Colorado's Supermax prison. Things will go into the auction like that hood and dark sunglasses.

In Auburn, Michigan, people want to know why a recent $2 million lottery winner is still using food stamps a year after winning the jackpot. Leroy Fick justifies using Michigan's welfare system by saying he's paid close to a million dollars in taxes on his lottery payout.

The chanting "no means yes" that's the video that got Yale's Delta Cap Epsilon fraternity a five-year suspension from campus. Fraternity members involved in the video were also disciplined individually.

As you know that video went viral a few months back. The dean of Yale announced the suspension of the Delta Cap Epsilon chapter in an e-mail to students and staffers yesterday.


COSTELLO: Alexandra Robbins has written extensively about fraternity and sorority life at Yale. She's a Yale graduate herself. Alexandra, welcome.


COSTELLO: So refresh our memories about this video.

ROBBINS: Say it again?

COSTELLO: Can you refresh our memories about this video and what went down on it?

ROBBINS: Basically, the fraternity members of Delta Cappa Epsilon are making a rape joke about women. That's what they were chanting.

COSTELLO: So they're going through a campus chanting "yes means no" and worst things that we cannot let out --

ROBBINS: That's why I was hesitated.

COSTELLO: OK, so Yale has decided to suspend the activities of this fraternity, is that a big deal or not?

ROBBINS: Yes, I'll tell you why it is a big deal. Usually fraternities and sororities are governed by their national headquarters. National headquarters of these groups often tell students that when national rules conflict with university rules, national rules triumph, which is interesting.

So there's always been a back and forth between who has authority over these groups. Yale is now stepping up and saying, we're not allowing this, which is a big deal in campus life.

COSTELLO: As far as discipline for the individuals, do you know what their punishment was?

ROBBINS: I don't know yet what their punishment was. But it's very important that Yale is not only penalizing the group, but also penalizing the individuals. It sends a strong message to fraternity and sorority members at Yale and also across the country.

COSTELLO: This is a fraternity whose former members include both Bush presidents, George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush. They have a lot of prominent members, a lot of prominent alumni. So can Yale kind of continue to control the future of this fraternity?

ROBBINS: Yes, certainly. What Yale is doing differently than before, Yale is a very old boy culture. And DEC as a fraternity yet is known for being particularly as old boy. They are not normally concerned with women issues. So the fact that Yale is doing this, sends a strong message that other fraternity behavior or misbehavior won't be tolerated either.

COSTELLO: Alexandra Robbins, thank you for joining us this morning. We appreciate it. By the way, Alexandra is the author of "Pledge, the Secret Life of Sororities." Her new book is in stores now and currently on the "New York Times" bestseller lists. It's titled "The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth."

We've had a day to absorb the shock. Details are coming out about the scandal in the Schwarzenegger house. We know Maria Shriver have visited her buddy, Oprah in Chicago. We know her children are expressing their feelings via Twitter. But what's Arnold doing now that the secret is out? That story is next.

And it's been a tough week for presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich. He got some major flak after he attached the GOP proposal to overhaul Medicare. And then he suffered another kind of attack, a glitter attack. We'll show you that coming up.


COSTELLO: We are learning more and more about the scandal inside the Schwarzenegger/Shriver home. The ex-governor admitted to fathering a child with a household staffer.

Now "The New York Times" is reporting the child is a boy. He's 14 years old. They're also saying his mother was working in the home while she was pregnant and while Shriver was pregnant with the couple's youngest child.

Thelma Gutierrez joins us with the latest from Los Angeles. It just gets uglier.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure does, Carol. Well, a source close to the former governor told us last night that Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Los Angeles, that this is a difficult time for him. The source says that Schwarzenegger realizes he made a terrible mistake, that he has a lot of work to do to repair his relationship with his family.

We're also told that Schwarzenegger is doing everything he can to take full responsibility to take the spotlight off of his wife and children. He's maintained a low-profile since the news of the separation broke last week, and we're told that he will continue to do so. Those around him are under a clear directive not to talk about his relationship with Maria Shriver or his children, Carol.

COSTELLO: His children are tweeting. I'm just going to read our viewers some of the tweets from the Schwarzenegger kids. Seventeen- year-old Patrick writes, "Some days you feel like" expletives. "Some days want to just quit and be normal for a bit. Yet, I love my family till death do us part."

And this is from his older sister Katherine. She says, "This is definitely not easy but I appreciate your love and support as I begin to heal and move forward in life. I will always love my family."

You mentioned some of what Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to do to take the spotlight off of his family. At some point, he's going to restart his movie career. And that's just going to put the spotlight right back on him, right back on his family. Has he made any statements other than the "I'm sorry" statement he made yesterday?

GUTIERREZ: Well, Carol, we do know that he is in touch with his family. A source close to him told us that he talked to his children the night before the statement was released where he admitted to fathering a child. We're told that he apologized to them, that he also talked to Maria. That he wants to make sure his family has everything they need to get through this.

Now, according to that source, he says he would do whatever they want him to do. If the family wants space, he will give it to them to allow them to heal. If they need him to be nearby, we're told he will be there. So, he's pretty much doing what he needs to do to keep his family together, carol.

COSTELLO: Thelma Gutierrez, live in Los Angeles. Thank you.

It's time for Political Buzz, a rapid-fire conversation hitting the hot political topics of the day. Each of our brilliant political observers get 20 seconds to answer three probing questions. Cornell Belcher leans left. Dana Loesch is a Tea Party supporter and conservative. And once again, comedian Pete Dominck will lend his own unique perspective.

So, let's it rolling out here. Here's the first question. Tomorrow, the president will give a speech at the State Department. In it, he'll unveil his road map to peace for the Middle East. But should he bother? Cornell?

CORNELL BELCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first let me say thanks for putting me on top this time. This is the first time I think I've been on the top of the pyramid.


BELCHER: Look, the Middle East has stymied presidents going back for as long as I can remember. And a lot of people are saying at this uncertain time, why get in it? He's getting in it because he says we've got to take on the tough issues and not kick the can down the road. This is a tough issue, and I give the president a lot of credit for taking it on. COSTELLO: Dana?

DANA LOESCH, TEA PARTY SUPPORTER: I - I -- best of luck to him, but it's going to be a really hard-fought battle, especially when you have one entity that refuses to play nice with others. I mean, we sort of saw this road map for peace in 2004. Didn't work out so well. In fact, we saw a more militarizeded entity.

So, it all depends. If everybody actually wants peace, then we'll have it.


PETE DOMINICK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Pete, you've got 20 seconds to tell me what you think the president should say about the Middle East conflict? Oh, my gosh!


DOMINICK: Listen, damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. It's a very hard situation. This president finds himself in a more difficult situation than at any other recent time on this one. He's not going to say anything that anyone hasn't predicted. I guarantee that.

COSTELLO: Oh, Pete, that was beautifully succinct.

Second question: Newt Gingrich -- Newt Gingrich has had a really bad week, and it's only Wednesday. A big bill at Tiffany's, his ill- received criticism of the Ryan plan, and look at this liberal blog video. It shows Gingrich covered in glitter.

Man, is his campaign over? Is it in trouble? Dana?

LOESCH: I think Newt Gingrich is a very smart man, which is why I don't think he misspoke in his interview on Sunday morning. I don't get the glitter, though. Of all things, that's such an idiotic thing to do.

But I feel bad for his PR people right now. So bad. I don't know how he can come back from this, I honestly don't.

COSTELLO: Cornell?

BELCHER: I don't know how you spend $500,000 in Tiffany's. I've been in Tiffany's. I just don't understand how you spend $500,000 in Tiffany's. But --



BELCHER: Maybe it's because I'm a guy. But yes, everyone said that Newt is undisciplined, and it turns out to be true. You can't start your race for president by apologizing for mistakes that I have made and then by flip-flopping on the radical Republican budge plan and (INAUDIBLE) on Medicare -



DOMINICK: Well listen, the glitter shower is the best thing that's happened to Newt Gingrich all week. As a matter of fact, I think he looked relieved that he wasn't doused with something else much, much worse. Or maybe he thought the glitter was actually diamonds from Tiffany's.

Listen, one time - one time when one of these guys gets heckled or doused with something and somebody says, good to live in a free country, I'd love for Newt or somebody to be ready with a pie to slam back in his face. But knowing Newt -


DOMINICK: -- he'd accidentally hit his wife with it.

COSTELLO: Coming up, we've got the last question, our Buzzer Beater. Willie Nelson's Teapot Party has endorsed a former Republican governor for president. A major plank in his platform? Legalizing marijuana? We'll be back with that question after this.


COSTELLO: OK. Let's bring our Buzz panelists back in for one final question. We call it our Buzzer Beater. On the right, Dana Loesch. On the left, Cornell Belcher. On the bubble, Pete Dominick. So, here we go.

This time we have 10 seconds each. It's a challenge. Willie Nelson's Teapot Party has endorsed a former Republican governor for president. A major plank in his platform, tax it, regulate it, legalize it, as in marijuana. So, can we expect a cap and a post for Cheech and Chong II? Cornell.

BELCHER: I got to tell you, when I was in college, I would have been all for this. But truth of the matter is, public opinion has been moving on this. It's not that farfetched in ten years. This may be the law in a lot of the parts of the country, especiallyout west.


LOESCH: I think we may see a graduation towards this, but I don't think it will work. I think it's an excuse for big government to spend more. They have something more to tax.


DOMINICK: I'm suddenly feeling very hungry. I think I've got the munchies. Marijuana, it's costing us millions every year. Legalize it. This is ridiculous. Let's take this joke and take it a little bit more seriously.


DOMINICK: This is ridiculous.

COSTELLO: Beautiful consensus this morning! I love that.

Thank you all for playing our Political Buzz this morning. We appreciate it. Political Buzz will come back tomorrow.

Checking stories cross-country now. Authorities in Cherokee County, Georgia arrest a woman who hours earlier told them she had been kidnapped. But investigators say the 44-year-old woman's story did not add up. They track her down by cell phone, and now she faces charges of making false statements.

Shoppers in select cities will be able to pick up a wedding dress at Costco. It has couture-inspired gowns ranging from $699 to 1,400 bucks. Special 10-day rollout event began in San Diego.

And in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, a personal milestone that earns national attention. That's Don Gorske. He's eating his -- that's number 25,000 in the Big Mac department. Oh! And it happened on the 39th anniversary of his first.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords faces new surgery, perhaps as soon as today. We'll have an exclusive interview with her surgeon who talks about the procedure and explains why it's a positive part for her recovery.


COSTELLO: Doctors could operate on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as early as today. The timing of this new surgery comes from "The Houston Chronicle." Giffords will undergo a procedure to reinsert part of her skull.

CNN's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here. You spoke exclusively with her surgeon. Tell us about the procedure.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, the procedure was very interesting because when she was shot, there was a lot of swelling in her brain, which is what happens.

And so, to get rid of that swelling, they cut a hole in her skull. It's a big hole. We'll have a picture of it in a second. I mean, it's bigger than a lot of people would expect.

So, the next step in her recovery will be to put an implant in that hole to cover -- you know, to make it a skull again. You can see right there, you can see Dr. Don Kim, who is her neurosurgeon is attaching it with plates and screws. He's chief of neurosurgery --

COSTELLO: It's actually that big?

COHEN: It is actually that big. And people have holes in their skull that big before they get it put back on.

COSTELLO: Oh, my gosh. So, is this a serious procedure? I mean, it seems like it would be.

COHEN: You know, it's interesting. I think it's kind of a meat- and-potatoes procedure for neurosurgeons. I mean, they do this all the time, so it's not a particularly risky operation. And what's interesting is --

COSTELLO: I ask that because her husband is in space and you know, maybe he would want to be there.

COHEN: Right. And it's important to say that we don't know when this surgery is going to happen. But that it is the next step. And it's the next step so she can get out of there. And also so she doesn't have to wear this.

This is a helmet that people wear when they have a hole in their head from the craniotomy. And so, anybody -- her, anybody else when they have that hole in the head, if they want to get up, walk around, do physical therapy, they have to wear this.

COSTELLO: So, while she was watching the launch, she was probably wearing a helmet like that?

COHEN: I would imagine that she would be, because we're told that patients in general when they're up and about, they need to be wearing this. Once she gets that piece on there and she doesn't a hole anymore, she can walk around. I mean, she's free just like you or me.

COSTELLO: Will she be discharged then from that rehabilitation center and sent somewhere else?

COHEN: The way it was described to me by Dr. Kim is that when patients get that piece of skull back on, it's sort of a step towards discharge. I mean, it is getting you close to discharge because then you can go home, you can do your physical therapy on an outpatient basis. So he said, many patients do have the surgery and pretty soon afterwards are discharged.

COSTELLO: Well, our best to her. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

COHEN: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Some stories making headlines later today. Next hour, President Obama will deliver the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.

At about 1:20 Eastern, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at the 50th anniversary of the State Department's operation center. She'll be joined by former secretary Madeline Albright and Lawrence Eagleburger.

And at 2:00 Eastern, a comprehensive study on the causes of U.S. Catholic priests abusing minors will be released. Now, this report was conducted by researches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. In a story that continues to send shock waves around the world, the head of the International Monetary Fund accused of sexual assault in New York. Now the alleged victim's lawyer is headed to CNN's primetime show "IN THE ARENA." Joining us for our primetime preview is "IN THE ARENA" anchor E.D. Hill. Welcome, E.D.

E.D. HILL, ANCHOR, "IN THE ARENA": Hi, carol. You know, it is going to be a fascinating interview. Eliot will be talking to the attorney for the maid. And what we have learned today is that the hotel key cards - you know, we don't use the regular keys anymore. It's those little cards you insert in and the door opens up. We're able to watch as she opens the door, find out how long it stayed open, find out when it closed. And that kind of time stamp is probably going to be one of the key factors in determining who's telling the truth in what is going to be a he said/she said argument.

COSTELLO: I know he's sort of like -- I guess his defense attorneys are thinking about maybe arguing it was a consensual encounter. And actually, if she entered the room at noon, and he went to lunch with his daughter at 12:28, that's a really short amount of time.

HILL: It certainly is. And you know, there's protocol at these - at most hotels now. That is, when people come in to clean the rooms, they leave the door open, they leave the cart in the way.

Now, if you're assuming that there was an a consensual encounter, it seems just logical to me that you're closing the door. You're not leaving the cart out there. So, if the time stamp on that card shows that she in fact did leave the door open, I think that then gives her story much more credibility.

But we're going to find all of this when Eliot gets the chance to talk to her attorney.

And we're also, of course, following what's going none Afghanistan. We're going to have a debate of whether or not we are winning and can win there. And this comes on the heels of Senator Kerry's trip to Pakistan, where he met with the prime minister and he says he got some key concessions. Well, the only one they'll elaborate on is they've agreed to give us the tail of the helicopter back, which, frankly, OK. You've had it for two weeks. You've probably gotten everything you need off that. So, is that really a big deal?

What we want is Pakistan to take a really serious effort against the Akhani (ph) terrorist network that's using Pakistan as a base to attack our forces in Afghanistan.

COSTELLO: E.D. Hill, thanks for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

You can hear all of that and more beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on "IN THE ARENA"

The death of Osama bin Laden is prompting concerns about homeland security. Now, Congress will be taking up that issue. That story's ahead in our Political Ticker.


(1050 CAPS)

COSTELLO: There was a preview of a possible baseball playoff series last night that had the same kind of October dramatics. St. Louis leading Philadelphia, the eighth inning, when the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins. There he is! He pops it up. And you'd think this would be simple, but the Cardinals' Tyler Green drops the ball! Green was actually in as a defensive replacement. Rollins would later score to tie the game.

Aye! And then in the bottom of the ninth, the bases loaded for the Cardinals, Lance Burkeman lines the single over the drawn and outfield. Cards win 2-1, and they also win the two-game series.

And Major League Baseball has lost a legend. Harmon Killebrew died after battling cancer. He was 74. Killebrew played almost his entire career with the Minnesota Twins. Only Babe Ruth had more 40- home run seasons. The Twins will wear a number 3 patch to honor him this year. And the target field grounds crew has buried a picture of Killebrew underneath home plate.

Making forward progress by going in circles. CNN's Tom Foreman explains the riddle in the latest installment of "Building Up America."


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North of Indianapolis in the suburb of Carmel, Mayor James Brainard has been going around in circles for years over traffic jams.

MAYOR JAMES BRAINARD, CARMEL, INDIANA: Roundabouts work everywhere.

FOREMAN: He has done away with traffic lights at 80 percent of his town's major intersections, replacing them with roundabouts, whirlpools of traffic that keep people moving.

BRAINARD: It's made a huge difference in the way our city looks and feels and the way people get around.

FOREMAN: Roundabouts -- not to be confused with bigger more intimidating rotaries on the East Coast -- are designed to smoothly sweep drivers in from any direction, slowly guide them around, and just as easily let them out and on their way.

Since cars don't stop, commuters save time and officials say use 30 percent less gas at intersections.

BRAINARD: A roundabout can handle about four to five times the amount of traffic in the same amount of time that a stop light intersection can have.

FOREMAN: The mayor says intersection accidents are also way down, improving insurance rates and the city saves money, too.

BRAINARD: We don't have to buy a $150,000 signal. We don't have to buy electricity every year. We don't have to replace it after 15 years when all that mechanical equipment wears out.

FOREMAN: Some drivers and pedestrians don't like roundabouts, but local officials insist this simple idea is building up the quality of life here, and that's building up the business climate all around.

Tom Foreman, CNN.


COSTELLO: Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM with Suzanne Malveaux, flooding around the Mississippi has not only driven out people, it's also forced animals like alligators, snakes, and even bears from their home. A member of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation tells us what's being done to keep the animals and the people's faith. We'll also discuss the impact of the flooding on the area's flood supply.

Plus, a CNN in-depth report. A look at job openings based on sector, demographics, and region. That and much more next on CNN NEWSROOM with Suzanne Malveuax.


COSTELLO: The death of Osama bin Laden is prompting a hearing on Capitol Hill. CNN's senior political editor Mark Preston is here to tell us about it. Hi, Mark.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR: Hey, good morning, Carol. Yes, the House Homeland Security committee chairman, Peter King. He's from New York. He plans to hold a hearing next week. The title of that hearing: Threats to the American Homeland After Killing Bin Laden. He said the hearing is going to focus on the security of our homeland in the near and in the long-term future.

And listen to this warning, Carol, that Peter King has. He says a victory in our war against al Qaeda, as well as increased risk of retaliatory attacks against America's soil, even though we might have got bin Laden, we perhaps could be seeing an increased amount of attacks here against the homeland. Carol.

COSTELLO: Well, Mark, on the subject of the death of bin Laden, it's sort of restarted the debate on torture techniques, especially from one potential White House candidate who seems to be quite at odds with a former colleague who kind of knows all about torture.

PRESTON: Sure, sure. And what you're speaking about is Senator Rick Santorum. Expect him to run for the Republican presidential nomination. He was interviewed on the Hugh Hewitt radio show yesterday. Hugh Hewitt asked him about his disagreement with John McCain regarding the idea of interrogation -- enhanced interrogation. John McCain would call it torture. Rick Santorum responded he doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works. Now, of course, Rick Santorum had to backpedal off of that statement because John Mccain, as we all know, was a decorated military figure back in the Vietnam War who spent a lot of time in Vietnamese prison, and in fact was tortured. So, Rick Santorum, backing off that a little bit. Although he's not backing off the policy differences, I spoke to one of his close advisers today, and they said this is a policy difference. And in fact, he has a lot of respect for John McCain's military service.

COSTELLO: And of course, Rick Santorum is arguing that torture ultimately led to the death of Osama bin Laden because torture techniques got the information about the courier who ended up living in Pakistan in that compound with bin Laden.

PRESTON: And that's absolutely correct.

COSTELLO: Yes. Mark Preston, many thanks.

We'll have your next political update in one hour. And a reminder, for all political news, go to our Web site, CNNpolitics.com.

We're going to toss it to Suzanne Malveaux. I'll be back shortly to talk about peace in the Middle East and whether or not America can actually do anything about that.

SUZANNE MALVUEAX, CNN ANCHOR: Whether that's possible. A very elusive goal for so many.

COSTELLO: Certainly so. President Obama will be giving that big speech tomorrow. So, we'll see.

MALVEAUX: We'll be all over it. All right, thank you, Carol.

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