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Hiring Picks Up; Mitt Romney Says Obama Hasn't Improved Unemployment Rate To Promises Made; Breaking Down The Jobs Report; People Are Angry And Frustrated; Gymnast Makes Olympic History; Congress Fixes Stock Trading Law; Gabby Douglas Takes Gold; Some Businesses Benefit from Drought; Gay Marriage Supporters Plan Kiss-In at Chick-fil-A; Space Exploration in Hands of Private Enterprise; Tropical Storm Ernesto Forms in Atlantic
Aired August 3, 2012 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Suzanne Malveaux. We're breaking down the July jobs report this hour. I want to get to get right to it.
Employers added 163,000 jobs in July. It is much better than the 95,000 that economist had predicted, so the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent. We're going to have the latest political spin as president Obama and Mitt Romney weigh in on this report. We're going to go beyond the numbers to find out what the report says about the state of our economy. We're also going to see how Wall Street is reacting.
President Obama and Mitt Romney did not waste any time giving their take on the jobs report. Romney is on the campaign trail, he's in Vegas.
President Obama had a meeting with middle class families at the White House. Romney points to the 42 months with unemployment above eight percent. Now, he says the jobs report is more proof that the president's policies have failed.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we continue to have 23 million Americans out of work or who have stopped looking for look or who are underemployed. And you're going to see job numbers that bounce around month to month to month, but there is no question that we now have 42 straight months with unemployment above eight percent. This is the president's administration who said from the very beginning, if they got their way on their stimulus, they would hold unemployment below eight percent. They set the measure and they have not been below eight percent since. And with this number of American middle class families struggling, it's very clear the president's policies have not worked the way they said they would. His team said that by now, we would have unemployment at 5.5 percent. It is still above eight percent. It's at 8.3 percent.
So, I'm not going to look so much at every monthly statistic as much as to say this continues a pattern of American families really struggling, having hard times, and the president's policies are to blame for not having gotten the economy back on track. And a lot of people are suffering in this country. I think it's an extraordinary failure of policy, a failure of leadership, and I think it's a moral failure for a country as successful and prosperous as our own to go now four years in a -- in a mode which feels to many people like a recession. I think there's some who said, if you are unemployed, it's a depression. And that's inappropriate sentiment. There are a lot of people having a hard time, and the president's approach hasn't worked. We've listened to him over the last several months, he gave a major speech on his economic plans to get people working and there was nothing new, just another stimulus.
MALVEAUX: President Obama says the report is proof that the economy is improving. Now, he is pointing to the 29 months of private sector job growth, but he says there is work that has to be done to recover from what he is calling the great recession.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's acknowledge, we have still got too many folks out there who are looking for work. We have got more work to do on their behalf, not only to reclaim all the jobs that were lost during the recession, but also to reclaim the kind of financial security too many Americans have felt was slipping away from them for too long. And we knew, when I started in this job, that this was going to take some time. We haven't had to come back from an economic crisis this deep or this painful since the 1930s. But we also knew if we were persistent, if we kept at it and kept working, that we'd gradually get to where we need to be.
Here is the thing, we are not going to get there -- we're not going to get to where we need to be if we go back to the policies that helped to create this mess in the first place. And the last thing that we should be doing is asking middle-class families who are still struggling to recover from this recession to pay more in taxes. Rebuilding a strong economy begins with rebuilding our middle class.
MALVEAUX: So, Mitt Romney says that his economic plan will recreate 12 million jobs in four years. We are going to talk about that with an economist coming up to see if he can actually live up to that promise. Right now, I want to break down the July jobs report, and we are exploring what sectors actually added jobs, where were the losses, and what does it say about the overall state of the economy? Christine Romans, she is looking at the story behind the numbers.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We have taken 40 pages of charts, graphs and tables and we've boiled it down into this, a visual snapshot of what's happening in the labor market. Well, you can see 163,000 net new jobs created in the month of July. It would have been better had it not been for 9,000 government layoffs. The private sector created 172,000 jobs in the month of July, and you can see that the trend has been the private sector leading the way in job creation for more than two years now. Every one of these black bars shows net job creation in this economy, but you want to see at least 150,000 jobs or more created in a month to just absorb new entrants into the workplace. We didn't do that the last few months, but we finally did again in July with 163,000 jobs created.
Where were the gains? This is important. Leisure and hospitality, 27,000 jobs created there, a sign perhaps, that the consumer -- the consumer is spending money this summer. We also saw jobs in transportation and jobs in manufacturing, 25,000 jobs created in manufacturing, a surprise to some people who are concerned about the Eurozone crisis. Europe is the largest destination for American factory goods, and, of course, American factory workers would lose jobs if you saw the Eurozone crisis get worse. We also saw health care jobs grow by 12,000. This has been a steady performer overall for the American economy.
Bottom line, you have an economy that looks like it is healing just a little bit, a labor market gathering a little bit of momentum at the middle of the summer. Christine Romans, CNN, New York.
MALVEAUX: Well, let's take a look at how the market is reacting. Stocks have actually been surging all day after the jobs report was released. I want to go to Felicia Taylor who is standing by in New York. Felicia, tell us why you think the markets are rallying today.
FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, Suzanne, the Dow, which is now up about 237 points, was really looking for some good news. Twenty-nine of 30 shares are moving to the upside, and one analyst says this is really the perfect number for the market. It was enough to demonstrate the positive aspects of the economy but not really strong enough for the fed to put its gun back in the holster. Christine was sort of showing us the pros and cons of the report. We had strong job gains last month, but it doesn't necessarily mean that another round of stimulus is off the table, especially when you consider the string of weak job gains that Christine pointed out that has been, you know, in the few, like three or four months, before this and, of course, this recent slowdown in economic growth.
It all comes down to perception. If the fed looks at the positive side of this, it could keep it from firing off that big bazooka that we've been talking about which is stimulus into the market. And part of the rally, of course, is due because of the last four days of losses for the stocks heading into the session and the averages were down about one and a half percent. So, sentiment was low because the fed and the ECP, the European Central Bank, didn't add any stimulus earlier this week which was really what the market was looking for. So, a good economic number but not great. We're still kind of treading water when it comes to jobs.
MALVEAUX: All right, Felecia, thanks. We've seen the breakdown in the jobs report, we've heard the political spin from both sides, but what does it mean for you if you are looking for work or you're worried about your own job. And what does the employment picture look like for various groups who have been suffering? I want perspective from Georgia Tech economist Danny Boston. Danny, it's good to see you.
DANNY BOSTON, ECONOMIST, GEORGIA TECH: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: You had mentioned when you saw this and we saw Felicia say, it wasn't a great report but it was -- you know, I mean, it was good enough. How do you see this overall?
BOSTON: Yes, this is -- really in many ways, it's very, very important because the recovery now has been taking place for three years. Believe it or not, it started in June three years ago.
MALVEAUX: So, we are in recovery mode still?
BOSTON: We have been in recovery. All right, but the recovery has been unusual in the sense it hasn't been a straight line recovery like we had in previous recessions. We've gone through these cyclical ups and downs, and you kind of saw that in the chart that Christine had. And for the last three months, three to four months, we've been on the downward cycle of that change, that expansion. And we've been looking to see whether or not it's another cycle and it's going to go up or whether we are going to stay down. And so this strong jobs creation number indicates that, in fact, we, perhaps, are in another cycle and will turn up, just as it has in the past.
MALVEAUX: So, you look at this and you think this is an optimistic view here. You think this is a good report. Tell me why there are certain groups that have not done well at all, when you look at unemployment rates, blacks, Latinos, and recent college grads who can't find work. All three of those groups now, you look at the numbers, and they have gotten better. They -- actually, more of those folks are now working. Why did that happen?
BOSTON: Well, they've gotten better because the economy has -- is -- actually, there's some strength in the economy that's not all visible on the surface. You see manufacturing increasing, you see professional business services increasing significantly, those areas of strength and, of course, education and health care. And then the government, although it's taking away, it's subtracting jobs, the adverse effect does not as strong as it has been in the past, and, of course, a lot of African-American in the government sector. So ,the sectors that African-Americans and Hispanics occupy disproportionately are the sectors that were very -- that were hit very hard by the recession. As those sectors recover, then African-Americans and Hispanics begin to recover jobs more so.
MALVEAUX: Why do things get worse for two groups ,women and teenagers? Those are the two groups that now --their unemployment rates is rising.
BOSTON: Right. Difficult to say for sure but one of the things that we saw in the umbers is that if you'll notice, the overall number went up from 8.2 to 8.3 percent. Now, the reason that number went up, if you dig beneath the numbers, what you'll find is that 153,000 people who were unemployed reentered the labor market.
MALVEAUX: All right, so you have people coming back.
BOSTON: Right. As those people come back, particularly if they were adult individuals, if they had a stable full-time jobs, they have professional kinds of jobs, there's a sorting that goes out -- goes on in the labor market. And it makes it more difficult, for example, for teenagers to get jobs. And, unfortunately, often times it makes it much more difficult for women to be employed. So, as the market covers, there's this kind of queue that has existed, and the queue really starts with white men, and then nit filters down, of course, to other minorities, and then, finally at the end, it's teenagers. And so, you will see that happen like that.
MALVEAUX : Yes, that's what we are seeing play out for these numbers --
MALVEAUX: -- for the last month.
MALVEAUX: Danny, thank you. Very good to talk to you.
BOSTON: My pleasure.
MALVEAUX: Have a good weekend.
MALVEAUX: Developments now about Syria and the world's efforts to end the conflict diplomatically. Well, just moments ago, the United Nations general assembly overwhelmingly passed a new resolution that is critical for the security council's failure to act more decisively there.
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MALVEAUX: Across Syria today, people are out in large numbers, angry, frustrated, waving signs with messages they will not stop fighting back against the governments of president Bashar Al Assad. Also today, opposition activist say government forces went on another killing spree, massacring more than 65 people in the city of Hama. In all, more than 100 people are reported killed today in fighting across Syria.
At the same time, fighting has raged for days in Aleppo, that is the country's largest city. Syria watchers expect a major all-out battle to erupt there at any moment. Just yesterday, the United Nations envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, quit. And at least one U.S. Senator hopes that will spark action in the international community. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, I hope that what we do would fail and would be a motivation for the United States to be more involved in stopping this massacre. The administration has been relying on sort of two flimsy reasons. One was that the Russians would convince Bashar al Assad to leave, the other, of course, was the Kofi Annan commission, both of which we were knew were doomed to failure. So, hopefully, this will motivate the administration to become more involved, provide weapons to a safe area, and assistance to stop the massacre.
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MALVEAUX: And here is what we're working on for this hour.
(voice-over): One amazing story of talent and perseverance at the Olympics. Gabby Douglas is the first African-American to win the all-around gold medal for gymnastics. Her mother says, it wasn't an easy road.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes it felt crushing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't think I would be able to keep her in the sport.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: The flip side of the drought. Some businesses are benefitting in a big way. We'll meet those entrepreneurs.
And the future of spaceflight is in the hands of private business. Hear how much money NASA awarded today and what those companies are exploring.
MALVEAUX: Insider trading. It's an issue most of us associate with Wall Street. But a new insider trading law aimed at politicians in Washington, it had one major loophole. Congress voted to actually close that loophole after exclusive reporting by our CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash and producer Deirdre Walsh. Well, Dana, she's going to join us live in a minute. But first, want to give you some background from her report that actually prompted Congress to do something.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The key to making sure lawmakers don't profit off secret information they learn on the job is based on a new rule, financial transactions over $1,000 must be reported within 45 days.
ROBERT WALKER, GOVERNMENT ETHICS LAWYER: So that the public could have more real time understanding of what their members and what senior staff and other high government officials were doing with their finances. What kinds of trades they were making.
BASH (on camera): On the Senate side of the Capitol, the Ethics Committee decided that the new rule must apply to lawmakers and their spouses and children. But over here on the House side, the Ethics Committee told its members something completely different, that spouse and children do not have to report their stock trades in a timely way.
SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: I'm obviously deeply concerned about that.
BASH (voice-over): All of this was news to the senators who sponsored the legislation. Needless to say, when we brought it to their attention, they were not happy.
BROWN: Let's say that I find out some information, I tell my wife and she goes and trades on it, what's the difference? I mean, bottom line is, we're supposed to have that level of transparency enough and have us be treated like every other member of the United States.
BASH (on camera): It specifically says that members of Congress do not have to have their spouse or their children file.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's wrong and I think it's unfortunate because the reality is, the whole point of this legislation is that we should play by the exact same rules as every other American citizen. And when all of America looks at Washington, they know it's broken.
MALVEAUX: Dana's joining us live from Capitol Hill.
Dana, so you managed to get something done that so few people are able to do, you made Congress actually move and act and do something in light of all of this partisanship. Tell us about the loophole and how did you it.
BASH: Well, Deirdre and I realized -- and we knew from the beginning -- that this -- ultimately the legislation was written in the House majority leader, Eric Cantor's, office. So we went to them as soon as we figured out that there was this loophole and pointed out the technical differences in the law that allowed the loophole to happen. They finally conceded, yes, we were right, that there was a problem with the way they wrote the law.
So over the past two and a half weeks or so, they were working on a way to fix it. And it just happened yesterday, right before Congress left to go home for recess, they passed something very quickly in the House and the Senate and it's going to go to the president's desk to sign. Again, just to make clear, that members of Congress' spouse and their children will also have to file regularly to make sure that they're not benefiting from information that they're -- members of Congress get because of the position of power. MALVEAUX: OK. So now Congress is on recess for a month or so. They squeak through. They get this legislation done here. Give us an overall sense, Dana, of what Congress has been able to accomplish and what they've left on the table.
BASH: Well, let's start with what they have accomplished. It's not a very long list, but here are a few examples. One, we were just talking about it, the insider trading ban. They also did extend help for student loans. And just yesterday, I believe, they pass an Iran sanctions legislation.
Now let's go to unfinished business. This could be, Suzanne, a very, very long list. We just picked three that perhaps have the most effect on people's lives. Farm and food programs. Legislation that they have to pass for a five-year program. That has not happened yet. Cyber security. A lot, a lot of senators on both sides of the aisle upset that this got stuck because this has to do with making sure that people's -- people are safe, basically. And then postal reform. This is important because the Postal Service could run out of cash in the fall. Critically important.
I want to show you also one other bit of information that sort of puts all this into context, that it's not just our imagination. Fewer laws are getting passed. In this 112th Congress, it's not done yet, but so far they've only enacted 151 laws. Very different, actually. Fewer than half of what they did before that 385 laws, and before that 460 laws. Now, obviously, right now, this there is divided government. That is definitely part of it. We sort of look through history and when one party rules Congress, either Republican or Democrat, they tend to get a lot done. And we should also note that just because Congress passes laws doesn't necessarily mean that's good government.
MALVEAUX: All right, Dana, thanks. Good to nudge them along a little bit there. Appreciate your reporting, as always.
BASH: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: At age 14, she moved away from her family to chase her Olympic dream. Well, now it has passed off. Gymnast Gabby Douglas has made Olympic history. I want you to hear my interview with her mom who says she has sacrificed everything for her daughter's dream.
MALVEAUX: Another Olympic first for the United States. Kayla Harrison has won the gold medal in judo. She beat the odds in her sport and is beating the challenges as well in her life. Harrison says she almost quit judo after being sexually abused for years by her former coach. Well now she's an Olympic champion.
A day after wing the all-around gold medal in women's gymnastics, Gabby Douglas has her own Kellogg's Corn Flakes box featuring her smiling face, of course. The 16-year-old gymnast, she is the first African-American to win the title at the Olympic games. She started with a stellar vault, ended with a dazzling floor routine. Her mom, Natalie Hawkins, takes us along Gabby's road to Olympic gold. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
NATALIE HAWKINS, MOTHER OF GABBY DOUGLAS: The competition started a long time ago. Who could run the fastest. Who could jump the farthest. Who could jump higher on the couch.
When she started really expressing an interest to do gymnastics, her sister, Arielle, kept saying, she's really good, mom, you got to put her in it. She wants to try it. You got to put her in.
After years of persuading me, I finally gave in and took her to a trial class. She just never wanted to come out of the gym. She loved it. She would just practice all the time. So, I saw then the hard work. I didn't realize when I got into this sport how expensive it was. Just the commitment over the years, sometimes it felt crushing.
I didn't think I'd be able to keep her in the sport. But then I would think about it and I would say, you got to fight. If I had to sell, I sold almost all my jewelry. And if I had to pick up extra shifts at work, whatever it takes.
When she began competing, it's hard. You go through this whole range of emotions. You're nervous. You're excited. Even when she was like a level four, we'd be on the edge of our seats.
Probably in about 2008, we were watching the Olympics at a friend's house. She said, I think I can do that. I can do what they're doing. You know, I'm working on that on the bars. She said, I'm going to the Olympics. I can do this.
You know, if we maybe pursued a coach who had gotten someone to the Olympics and kind of knew, you know, the ins and outs of what it took to get someone there, that, you know, she might have a valid shot. She started saying, I need that coach. I need Coach Chow. I said, well, I can't move the family to Iowa. I'm a single parent. I didn't have the resources to be able to do something like that. My two oldest daughters got together and wrote a list and said, OK, here's all the reasons. We're going to help you out here. And here's the reason why she shouldn't go. And the only thing on that side was that we would miss her.
I love that picture.
That was very painful. It was scary. How would I still be mom, you know, back in Virginia, when she's living in Iowa? How does that work? I think it was tough on everybody because Skyping is not the same as being able to reach out and touch her.
From day one, she began to improve. She said it was like learning again for the first time when she first started gymnastics. She just began to grow, just leaps and bounds. I almost can't wrap my mind around it. You know, because -- we talked about it for so long and now it's here. It hasn't quite sunk in with Gabrielle either because when I talk to her, she's like, mom, I'm an Olympian. I mean, I'm an Olympian!
MALVEAUX: She certainly is. Last hour I spoke with Gabby's mom, Natalie Hawkins, and she told me about how her daughter is handling this instant fame and how she hopes to prepare her now for the future.
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HAWKINS: It's just been all so surreal. We all feel like we're in a dream and any moment we're going to wake up. I reminded Gabrielle of something that she had said to me, you know, years ago. And she said, mom, you know, when I get on that stand, I get to, you know, bite that medal. And I said, yeah. So we found a picture online of her biting the medal. So that was pretty fun.
MALVEAUX: What -- you've been Skyping and texting. What has she been telling you? You spent the morning together. How is she doing? How is she feeling?
HAWKINS: Well, when I Skyped her this morning, you know, when the video first comes on, there's kind of not any real sound and she just came up like this and it reminded me of the movie "Home Alone." So, we laughed and I kind of mimicked it back to her. And I said, wow, you know, you did it. And she said, I -- it's still so surreal, mom. I still just --I'm still trying to grasp what is actually going on. It still hasn't sunk in yet.
And some of the other former Olympians, Mary Lou and Carly Patterson and Nastia (ph) said it would sink in when you get home. Apparently, that is what a lot of the former Olympians have been telling her -- when you get home, it will really start to sink in. Right now, she is just in an amazement zone. She is in awe right now.
MALVEAUX: Already on the box, a cereal box. I mean, life has changed. What do you tell her? What do you tell her for just the extraordinary change that is about to take place? She has -- the world is watching her. There will be scrutiny. There will be wonderful praise. There will be all of it. But her life, as it exists, will not be the same. How do you prepare your daughter, who is 16, for something like that?
HAWKINS: What I told her was just to remain really grateful and really humble. You know, I told her, just remember why you started this sport. It was for a love of gymnastics irk told her, don't ever lose that. And even from the beginning, her dream was to be able to inspire other people and inspire other kids. You know, she always says, I want other kids to say if gabby can do it, I can do it.
And so, for her to achieve her ultimate goal and be able to have children look up to her and say that, it -- she is just ecstatic right now. She is like, mom, I did it. I'm just so excited because if I could just, you know, help inspire one child, I would be so happy with that. And I'm getting messages from adults, saying, she is inspiring me.
So we are just elated. We are so excited for her.
MALVEAUX: We are inspired as well. Douglas not finished yet at the Olympics. She is going to take place in the finals on the uneven bars on Monday. Good for her.
One Georgia man in the recent drought crisis has actually created a cash crop.
Don't forget you can watch CNN live on your computer while you're at work. Head to CNN.com/tv.
MALVEAUX: As the drought dries up, the nation's farms -- the losses are adding up. The insurance that is going to be paid out for crop losses expected to break records this year. We are talking about an estimated $20 billion. The heavily subsidized insurance helped protect farmers from the financial drain of these disasters, like this one. Taxpayers will shoulder most of the burden along with higher prices at the grocery store.
But this drought is not bad news for everybody. In the south, the hard-hit area with bone-dry conditions, farmers, they have to do what they can to keep their crops irrigated. Well, that is leading to a rise in sales in one industry.
We are going to go "In Depth" with Martin Savidge in Fort Valley, Georgia.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Peach County, Georgia, they are plucking the last peaches off the trees. Peaches have been in Duke Lane's family for close to 100 years. He grows nearly 300 acres selling to the likes of Publix, Whole Foods and Wal- Mart.
(on camera): How's the peach crop looking?
DUKE LANE JR, PEACH FARMER, LANE SOUTHERN ORCHARDS: Well, all things considered, I think -- I think peaches look real good.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Peaches themselves may be smaller due to the drought but the demand is still high, which is why wholesale prices are up, by almost 50 percent over last year. And they taste better.
LANE: So, when these peaches are ripening, don't have the rains to come in and here and take the sugar away, so that is the plus, is being able to have this fruit at its highest maximum amount of sugar, which is a good thing.
SAVIDGE (on camera): So if I understand you, the less rain mean he is that a peach like this could be smaller but it's going to be sweeter and tastier?
LANE: That's right.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Peach fans aren't the only ones smiling about the drought. In nearby Marshallville, Georgia, there is something else growing in this farmer's field.
ELTON SHARP, OWNER, SHARP IRRIGATION SYSTEMS: Is that going good for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): A massive collection of pipes, spigots and sprayers that, when finished, will become a crop-sized sprinkling system. These Rube Goldberg-looking contraptions rotate ever so slowly in a giant arc around a central pump tied to an underground well, hence, the name pivots.
Elton Sharp's been selling pivots since the '70s. Recently, thanks to the drought, business has doubled.
SHARP: We have put in a lot of pivots in the last five years for people that never did have it before.
SAVIDGE: Systems like these can easily cost more than $100,000 each. Even so, Jim Reid says, these days, farmers would have a better chance gambling in Las Vegas than betting on nature.
JIM REID, REID BOS. IRRIGATION: The cost of production has gone up, and the risk of the amount of money you had invested in an acre of land is increased, then the necessity of irrigation became greater.
SAVIDGE: Which is why Reid has crews working close to 12 hours a day, six days a week, just to keep up with demand.
Thanks to the worst drought in half a century, whether it's peaches or pivots, both are finding business pretty sweet.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Peach County, Georgia.
MALVEAUX: Gay Rights activists are asking those who support gay marriage to show up and kiss your loved one at a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Now Chick-fil-A is now responding.
MALVEAUX: They appeared in a Tennessee court today, three anti- nuclear weapons activists, who breached security at a nuclear site in Oakridge. It is the only facility that process and stores weapons- grade uranium for the U.S. government. Officials say the activists, including an 82-year-old nun, cut through perimeter fence and reached the outside of a building where highly enriched uranium is stored. A bail hearing is set for today. And protesting Chick-fil-A with a kiss. Gay rights activists are staging a kiss-in outside Chick-fil-A restaurants, happening across the country. They are protesting comments made by the president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy. In a recent interview, Cathy said he, quote, "supports the biblical definition of the family unit." Earlier this week, Cathy's supporters made their position known by crowding into Chick-fil-A restaurants. Conservatives actually dubbed the day Chick- fil-A Appreciation Day. The chain issues this statement was issued, too, about the protests, saying, "At Chick-fil-A, we appreciate all our customers, and glad to serve them at any time. Our goal is simple, to provide great food, genuine hospitality, and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A."
Future of space exploration now in the hands of private companies. We are going to show you what projects got millions of dollars from NASA today.
MALVEAUX: NASA has a few new partners from today on the future of space travel and exploration. Three American companies will share more than $1 billion in contracts and they got their marching orders today to reach for the stars.
John Zarrella, you are following this from Los Angeles.
Tell us who these guys are, which companies, what are they actually going to do for the space program?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is really huge. It has been a long, anticipated announcement. We have not had a way to get U.S. astronauts to the space station since the retirement of the shuttle program. The idea was turn all this over to a commercial company. So what NASA did was. Today, they announced that the Boeing Company gets $460 million. SpaceX -- that's Elon Musk's company, based out of Hawthorne, California, not far from here, $440. And Sierra Nevada, based in Colorado, gets $220 million. And they will continue developing their spacecraft that ultimately one, two, maybe all three of them will be taking U.S. astronauts to the international space station by 2015, 2016 timeframe.
The NASA administrator, Charlie Bolden, saying today, from the Kennedy Space Center where he held a news conference, that this was a huge day for America and putting Americans back to work.
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CHARLIE BOLDEN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: Our commercial crew and cargo efforts are based on a simple but powerful principle. By investing in American companies and American ingenuity, we're spurring free-market competition to give taxpayers more bang for the buck, while enabling NASA to do what we do best, reach for the heavens.
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ZARRELLA: It is costing the United States $60 million a seat to fly astronauts to the space station on the Russia rocket, so this will eliminate that. Elon Musk told me he believes he can do it for $20 million a seat on his spacecraft. Again, it will be about a 2016 timeframe, they will start flying -- Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: John, a lot of talk about jobs in Florida, how many jobs lost. Will this bring back jobs?
ZARRELLA: Yes, very much so. I was talking to Mark Surangelo (ph) this morning from Sierra Nevada. He said, we are going to be doing everything out at the Kennedy Space Center for the most part. They have already announced program, putting people back to work. Elon Musk flies his spacecraft out of there. Boeing will fly from there. It won't be the numbers that we had during the shuttle program but, clearly, a lot of jobs will be coming back to the space center because of this.
MALVEAUX: And, John, tell us what is happening Monday morning.
ZARRELLA: Yes, the reason I'm really out here is because Monday morning, overnight hours, NASA is going to be landing the most ambitious probe it has ever sent to Mars, called "Curiosity," on the red planet. It has the ability to search for not life itself but the building blocks of life -- carbon, water. And it is a tremendously adventurous mission. Just getting on the ground. They call it the seven minutes of terror, the way they are going to have to do it. It is going to be a fascinating night Sunday, into Monday morning, all day Monday, as we await the first pictures from the Martian surface. We will be carrying it live for everybody to see -- Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Awesome stuff.
Thank you, John.
MALVEAUX: Looking forward to it.
If you have bad credit, probably want to know how to clear it up? Our CNN's Alison Kosik has some answers.
ALISON KOSIK, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. Here on the "Help Desk" today, we are helping you clear up your credit report.
With me now, Liz Miller and Doug Flynn.
Liz, this question is for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How I do clear up my credit report when debt keeps getting purchased from company to company?
(END VIDEO CLIP) LIZ MILLER, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER: That certainly can be frustrating. Your first call should be the original owner of the debt and they will usually refer you to the current owner. And that's how you have to negotiate it. Then I recommend signing up for one of those online credit reporting systems for a year-long membership and just regularly look at it. The original company will be notified and your credit will eventually be updated on that report.
KOSIK: Doug, do you agree with that? Anything else to add?
DOUG FLYNN, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER: I think things can pop on after falling off. So staying on top of it. Even after you think it's gone, it's something very important to do.
KOSIK: What kind of timeframe? Is a year enough?
FLYNN: With your credit -- something as important as your credit, something you want to keep yearly, especially looking to buy a new home or an automobile or something that is going to require credit. But you do want to stay on top of it even if you think something is off?
KOSIK: All right.
If you have an issue you want our experts to tackle, upload a 30- second video with your questions to our "Help Desk."
MALVEAUX: And we're keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Ernesto, churning in the Caribbean right now, expected to turn into a hurricane. We've got the forecast.
MALVEAUX: Get ready for the next named storm to head this way. It is Ernesto. It formed yesterday in the Atlantic.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I think it's going to be a hurricane. I think it's going to get in the Gulf of Mexico. It has to hit something. It can go out through south of the Florida Keys but that's very unlikely. Could be Texas. Could be Florida. That's eight days off. We're still talking about this. The water is very warm. We haven't had anything else to turn the water up. This water from Martinique is where it went through a bit ago. Yes, this is a potential hazard to America, but also hazard to all of the Caribbean.
Let me show you what the forecast models are saying and what it looks like here. We haven't had to talk about too many hurricanes. We've had a big lackluster season. Only had one last season, Irene. As the storm comes out and into the Caribbean there's an option for Honduras or Cuba. If it does get this far, you have to understand this is extremely warm water. There's not any water warmer than what's coming out of here right up through the areas around Cancun.
And there's something here called the loop current. We talk about the computer models. What are they saying? Some are confused. Some going left, some going right. The majority around Jamaica in a couple of days. Some place that could use the rain and doesn't become a monster storm would be Texas and parts of Louisiana. Look at Oklahoma City. There's a heat wave going on in 16 days in a row above 100. A bridge, because things expand when they get warm -- the same reason why a thermometer goes up when you put it in your mouth. The alcohol goes up because it expands. These joints have expanded and this bridge has buckled. 112 yesterday. The record all-time high is 113. That's close enough. I can't tell the difference.
MALVEAUX: That's unbelievable.
MALVEAUX: Do you think any relief will come soon?
MYERS: We would hope maybe if it brings clouds with this Ernesto. That's still ten days away. There's only threat today that it doesn't get and that would be a good thing. There were storms in Kansas last night. Those storms have created some clouds. The cloud there is making a little bit of canopy of cloud cover. That is certainly close enough. I can't tell the difference?
MALVEAUX: Some tough stuff.
MYERS: The forecast is 111.
MALVEAUX: Hope they stay cool.
Chad, have a great weekend.
A South Korean rapper's newest song has gotten more than 10 million hits on you tube. It is spawning a whole new dance craze. We'll show you how it's done.
MALVEAUX: Top of the charts today. Music lovers in the U.S. and South Korea obsessed with this.
MALVEAUX: That is Korean rapper Psy's latest dance video "Gangnam Style." The video has received more than 12 million hits on YouTube so far. With catchy lyrics, dance moves, Psy expresses his love for city women.
CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Brianna Keilar. Have a good weekend, Brianna. Good to see you.