Return to Transcripts main page
Massive Mudslide: River of Mud Hits Oregon Community; Romney on the Attack; Race, Rhetoric Heating Up Between Huckabee and Romney
Aired December 12, 2007 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning again, everyone. You're with CNN. You're informed.
I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
Developments keep coming in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Wednesday, the 12th day of December.
Here is what's on the rundown.
They've got a lot of shoveling to do in Oregon. Rivers of mud invading homes and roads.
HARRIS: Iowa, hundreds of miles from the Mexican border, so why are hawk eyes all worked up over immigration?
COLLINS: George Mitchell steroid report about to be released. Dozens of major leaguers expected to be called out.
Playing hardball -- in the NEWSROOM.
Unfolding this hour, boy, take a look at these pictures for yourself here. A town essentially swept away by a river of mud. Don't take my word for it. Again, the pictures.
A week's worth of rain unleashes a nightmare in one Oregon community.
CNN's Katharine Barrett is in Clatskanie, Oregon.
Katharine, OK, we've got some daybreak, and how does it look at daybreak? And I'm wondering, how much notice did the folks of that good town get that trouble was lurking?
KATHARINE BARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, thankfully, there were no lives lost, no injuries in this disaster, even though it all happened in just a matter of minutes. A whole mountainside came down on the town. Northwest Oregon was only just beginning to mop up and dry out from the torrential rains and flooding of a week earlier. And, in fact, it was the after-effects of that initial storm that caused this massive slide.
What you see behind me, now that we've got daybreak, are buried houses, four homes buried and broken by the force of the water, wood, and mud that roared down the mountainside at 40 miles an hour. The shattered shell on the road here was home to the Crom family. Just a week before this disaster, they had to flee their flooded yard by boat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PEGGY CROM, HOME DESTROYED IN MUDSLIDE: I guess we'll not only need a Christmas tree this year, we'll need a house. Yes.
There's not really anything -- there's no words to put to it. I mean, we saved it Monday and lost it today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARRETT: Still, they are grateful that they had warning in time to get out with their lives. The slide, as I said, came down in minutes.
These massive trees that you see them clearing here came two miles down the mountain, again at 40 miles an hour, like some kind of horrible luge. The water is still coursing over the road.
Highway crews must clean not only the road's surface, but also culverts and drainage under the road before it is safe and they can even make sure it hasn't washed out beneath the road's surface. So a huge reconstruction project obviously for the road, but also for these people's lives.
Tony, back to you.
HARRIS: Days and days and weeks and weeks here. All right.
Katharine Barrett for us this morning.
Katharine, thank you.
HARRIS: Political countdown and one final showdown. Less than three hours away, your last chance to see the Republican presidential candidates debate before the Iowa caucuses. Just three weeks away now.
Mitt Romney may be feeling the heat. His campaign vows to be more aggressive. He's just not showing it to our John King, who, as you know, is part of the best political team on television.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Call this is skywalk scrum, Mitt Romney courting votes and avoiding questions.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we're going to get with the media chat in a moment.
KING: It was a promise he repeated.
ROMNEY: We will chat a little later.
KING: But ultimately did not keep.
ROMNEY: We have got to find the guys that are in charge here. Where's Matt?
KING: As the candidate and his wife, Ann, took their lunchtime stroll, aides insisted this was a photo-op only. And when pressed, Governor Romney would not discuss his new attack ad or the reaction of its target.
(on camera): Would you care respond to what Governor Huckabee said today?
ROMNEY: I haven't seen him yet.
KING (voice-over): It was an odd event for a candidate top aides promised would be much more aggressive in Iowa this week. It is just three weeks until Iowa votes. And, while some campaigns are in jovial moods, the value of Romney's big investment is in question, $20 million of his own money, yet the lead he built here this summer is suddenly gone.
ROMNEY: Get out and vote at the caucus now, all right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Thank you.
KING: Trying to turn things around requires digging deeper, more TV ads, this the first direct attack ad of the 2008 campaign cycle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN AD)
NARRATOR: The difference, Mitt Romney stood up and vetoed in- state tuition for illegal aliens, opposed driver's licenses for illegals. Mike Huckabee supported in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants. Huckabee even supported taxpayer-funded scholarships for illegal aliens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And glossy new mailings in Iowa and other early battleground states.
Huckabee is priority number one in this new Romney South Carolina mailing. "Supports de facto amnesty" is Romney's charge.
High school math teacher Mike Boyd isn't swayed by the new Romney attacks.
MIKE BOYD, HUCKABEE SUPPORTER: I do believe that immigration is a big, big issue.
KING: But this Huckabee volunteer in Iowa's conservative northwest corner acknowledges that with Huckabee's rise comes attention and more and more questions about the Arkansas record.
BOYD: Some people are asking, well, about what his stance on this? I said, you know, go to the Web site. See what Web site has to say, and get the facts there. We have been getting some flyers in the mail from other candidates saying some things about Governor Huckabee that I believe are not true.
KING (on camera): As for those promised tougher attacks, or contrasts, as the Romney campaign likes to call them, aides say the governor decided the skywalk was not the proper venue, but that they will come on illegal immigration, taxes and spending, here in Iowa over the next several days.
John King, CNN, Des Moines.
COLLINS: The race and the rhetoric heating up between Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.
Dana Bash is in Des Moines, Iowa, now for us this morning.
Dana, Romney's Mormon religion also becoming an issue between the two of these candidates. Tell us a little more about that.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Heidi, the large reason for Mike Huckabee's rise here in Iowa is support he gets from evangelicals. Evangelicals make up about 40 percent of the Republican electorate, and, you know, despite that, the former preacher, Mike Huckabee, has really tried to avoid commenting on what he calls the theology of Mormonism.
However, take a look at what he told a reporter for ""The New York Times" magazine, an article that will be published this weekend. He asked the question, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"
Now, the Church of Latter-day Saints -- well, the Mormon Church -- says that kind of question is generally used to smear Mormons, and listen to what Mitt Romney said about this on "The Today Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I think it's totally appropriate in a political process for people to contrast their own record with the opponent, to talk about their differences on issues, but I think attacking someone's religion is really going too far. It's just not the American way and I think people will reject that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, a spokeswoman for Mike Huckabee says that you need to look at the full context of what Huckabee was saying in that upcoming "New York Times" magazine article, that he was, again, trying to deflect questions about Mormonism. Yet, this raises questions, really criticism, that Mike Huckabee is hearing more and more about, Heidi, that he is saying that he's not running on his religion, he's not running necessarily as a man of faith, and that's why evangelicals or any Republican voters should vote for him.
Yet, he still puts an ad up that says "Christian leader," he still has press conferences with pastor who is say that they support him. He's relying on the support of the religious and faith communities.
So the criticism is that he's really trying to have it both ways on his faith, tabbing his faith, yet making perhaps at least with this new comment some -- what some believe may be some coded messages about the Mormon religion -- Heidi.
COLLINS: All right. Well, it's fascinating. We'll be watching. That is for sure.
Thank you, Dana.
Two big presidential debates that you will be able to see here on CNN. This afternoon, the Republicans will face off from Iowa live from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern. And tomorrow the Democrats take their turn, live from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern as well.
See them both right here on CNN, home of the best political team on television.
And if you want the most up-to-the-minute political news anywhere available, CNNPolitics.com is your one-stop shop. The Internet's premiere destination for political news, CNNPolitics.com.
HARRIS: Waterboarding -- a journalist demonstrates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your body has this natural reaction where your throat closes up, and it's difficult to describe, but I guess it kind of feels like you're shackled to the bottom of a pool.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Torture? You judge for yourself in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Explosions, one after the other, rocked the Iraqi city of Amara. At least 27 people dead, more than 150 wounded.
Live now to CNN's Harris Whitbeck in Baghdad.
Harris, what explains, if anything does, what explains this violence in this particular town today? HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Tony, because it is one of the largest attacks affecting civilians in that province in quite some time. There are two Shia militias that operate in the area. One of them is loyal to a radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and it is believed that there is some infighting.
The infighting between these two militias increased after British troops left that province last August, leaving responsibility for security in Amara and the outlying provinces in the hands of Iraqi forces. The Iraqi government today reacted forcefully to the attacks. It sacked its police chief there. It sent a high level team from Baghdad down to Amara to investigate, and the Iraqi prime minister said that the attack today is a desperate attempt by the "enemies of Iraq" to draw attention away from the fact this they are achieving stability in other parts of the country.
Nevertheless, 27 people were killed, dozens and dozens wounded. Area hospitals are overwhelmed by the amount of wounded people that they're trying to tend to -- Tony.
HARRIS: And we haven't seen pictures like this it seems in a while.
CNN's Harris Whitbeck for us, the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Harris, thank you.
COLLINS: The head of CIA is back behind closed doors today. Michael Hayden faces lawmakers' questions over the destruction of videotapes. On those tapes, the interrogation of terror suspects. Hayden says he can't answer many of the questions because it all happened long before he took the job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL HAYDEN, CIA DIRECTOR: The taping was done under Director Tenet and destroyed under Director Goss. It was before my time. There are other people in the agency who know about this far better than I, and I have committed them to come on down and answer all the questions that the committee might have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So what is waterboarding? Is it torture? You're about to see a demonstration. Last night, a journalist who underwent the interrogation technique shared his experience on "ANDERSON COOPER 360."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAJ LARSEN, REPORTER, CURRENT TV: Your body has this natural reaction where your throat closes up. And it's difficult to describe, but I guess it kind of feels like you're shackled to the bottom of a pool and you can't get any breaths of air, and you begin to panic as the water keeps going down your throat.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": But, I mean, you know you're not drowning, but it feels like you are?
LARSEN: Sure. Rationally, in your mind you know it's a controlled environment, but that doesn't prevent your body from screaming out in terror. And it's not a rational experience. I have had this done to me twice -- one time when I was in the service -- and both times it felt like I was going to die, even though I knew they weren't trying to kill me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Larsen, who is also a former Navy SEAL, put his investigation on his network's Web site. That address, current.com.
HARRIS: You know, it's the time of the year where we feast, but should you be fasting instead? Elizabeth Cohen with a fascinating report.
COLLINS: Gunmen open fire at a school bus stop. This morning, suspects on the run. The story ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Well, you know, this one gives a whole new meaning to open house. An Alabama couple renting out rooms in their home and getting revenge at the same time.
Tiffany Craig of affiliate WKRG looks at a neighborhood feud.
TIFFANY CRAIG, REPORTER, WKRG (voice over): You can't miss the "For Rent" signs. They're posted in the yard and the trees.
BOBBY WHITE, HOMEOWNER: I will be here renting out rooms to sex offenders, ex-murderers, and ex-thieves.
CRAIG: The reason? Bobby White says he and his partner, Giles Ham, can't live on River View (ph) Avenue in peace.
WHITE: I have been threatened at the mailbox. I've been shot. Our house has been threatened to be burned down.
CRAIG: Their Dog River neighbors tell us the signs just popped up one day.
ELENI TYLER, NEIGHBOR: They've got signs up, and I'm having to explain to my daughter what this means. The neighborhood is extremely upset about it.
CRAIG: It's no secret that Ham was convicted of a sex crime in 1990. Everyone got the notice.
(on camera): Neighbors say that people used to run and walk through this neighborhood, but they don't anymore. A sign like that would stop anyone in their tracks.
(voice over): Eleni Tyler claims an inappropriate comment was made to her 11-year-old daughter.
TYLER: They were cat-calling her, "Hey baby," and their excuse was they were looking for their dog.
CRAIG: White says the couple wanted to move out but can't even do that.
WHITE: They want us out of the neighborhood so bad, then leave our real estate agents alone.
CRAIG (on camera): That doesn't make sense to me. If they don't want you in the neighborhood...
WHITE: It doesn't make sense to me.
CRAIG: ... why would they mess up the selling the house process?
WHITE: I have no idea.
CRAIG (voice over): So their idea is to open the doors of the 3,500 square foot house.
WHITE: They will be up until my house is sold or they burn it down or I'm laying out in the road dead.
CRAIG: Both sides have called the cops. Police say nothing criminal is going on.
Tiffany Craig, News 5.
HARRIS: A takedown at the truck stop. Police in Alabama arrested a truck driver on charges of kidnapping a woman. Police say she had been kept inside the truck for several days, been beaten and possibly raped. Another trucker saw police take the woman out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She got out of the truck with just a blanket on her. Her face to me looked like it had been beaten.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has kidnapped this female in the state of Alabama but taken her outside the state to numerous other states.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: The woman is in the hospital. The trucker appears in court this afternoon. He could face additional charges.
(WEATHER REPORT) COLLINS: A tragic story to tell you about unfolding now in eastern China. Investigators are looking for what sparked a deadly apartment building fire. China's official news agency says 21 people died in this blaze, happened this morning, either from burns or smoke inhalation. Two other people were hurt. Firefighters battled thick smoke to help residents to safety. They saved more than 200 people. The building also houses a flower shop and recreation center.
HARRIS: Money matters in the race for the White House. New poll numbers show the economy now topping Iraq as the top issue.
Details from senior political analyst Bill Schneider.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice over): Remember "the economy, stupid?" That was Bill Clinton's winning issue in 1992. It was also the last time we had an election about the economy.
1992 saw an economic downturn. Now, for first time in more than four years, a majority of Americans say the country's in recession. The economy is now the biggest issue in the presidential campaign.
Is the economy that bad?
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've described the economy today as kind of a trapped door, where you're one medical diagnoses or pink slip or missed mortgage payment away from just dropping through and losing everything.
SCHNEIDER: Republicans prefer to look at the big picture.
RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What country has had more success in creating a society of fairness and decency, in creating a society in which people move out of poverty, in which people have social mobility, have a chance to succeed?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, but what about gas prices, home foreclosures and lagging wages? Can Republicans look to national security to save them?
Terrorism, Giuliani's issue, ranks low in importance right now. Security in Iraq may be improving, although that, too, is in dispute.
JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The senator from New York, Senator Clinton said, "I would have to suspend disbelief in order to believe that the surge is working." Well, anyone today would have to suspend disbelief to not believe that the surge isn't working.
SCHNEIDER: But there's no evidence of growing public support for the war. Sixty-nine percent, the highest number yet, want to withdraw some or all U.S. troops.
The news that Iran may have halted its nuclear weapons program might not help Republicans. Most Americans believe the Bush administration deliberately misled them about Iran's weapons program.
HARRIS: Bill Schneider with us live from Manchester, New Hampshire. Bill, good to see you.
I'm wondering if there's anything else in the poll numbers you can share with us, and one other note. Is there any truth to the story that Fred Thompson is essentially moving most of his operation out of New Hampshire and concentrating on Iowa now?
SCHNEIDER: Well, that's what we're reporting. That's what we're hearing from the Thompson campaign, that he's concentrating on Iowa, as well he might, because our poll just out, done with WMUR and the University of New Hampshire shows Fred Thompson in the Republican race down to 1 percent. He's not doing very well here.
The Democratic numbers are the big news in that New Hampshire show. They show virtually a tie, 31 percent for Clinton, 30 percent for Obama. This state, New Hampshire, where I am, has -- was supposed to be Clinton's firewall. Well, it's not holding up very well. Obama has gained eight points since last month. Clinton has declined a few points. It is neck and neck here in New Hampshire.
On the Republican side, not much has changed. Mitt Romney, who is fighting for his life with Mike Huckabee in Iowa, is still ahead here in New Hampshire with Giuliani and McCain running second, and Huckabee, who doesn't have much of an evangelical voter base in New Hampshire, is running fourth. So lots of turns and twists.
HARRIS: And if you're into the horse race, what a race is shaping up here. Bill Schneider for us from Manchester, New Hampshire.
Bill, good to see you. Two big presidential debates, and you will see them both on CNN. This afternoon the Republicans face-off from Iowa live from 2:00 until p.m. 4:00 Eastern Time. And tomorrow it's the Democrats' turn, again, live from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. See them both right here on CNN, home of the best political team on television.
COLLINS: Shopping for that political junkie on your list? Well, how about the Larry Craig doll?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not gay. I never have been gay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's poseable. You can put even him in his famous wide stance, which has been in the press so much.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN ANCHOR: Bathroom stall not included?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Wow. 'Tis the season for silly political gifts? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HARRIS: Good morning again, everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris. Watch this move. Shake your money maker. The Village People out of retirement? Don't hurt them, Hammer!
COLLINS: A story to tell you about that we are learning from our affiliate in North Carolina, WCNC. You see the wreckage there that we are showing you now of a plane crash. This was an experimental aircraft, apparently, that went down according to our affiliates in the area. We are also learning that this is a fatal plane crash. We do believe that there was one person on board. It happened just before 10:00 a.m. this morning, about one mile west of the Statesville Municipal Airport, if you are familiar with the area. Once again FAA describing the plane as experimental. The engine in the back of the aircraft and something happened on takeoff here.
Republican presidential candidates debate in Iowa this afternoon. Immigration sure to be an important topic. How does it hit home for Iowa voters though? CNN's Gary Tuchman takes a look.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marshalltown, Iowa, is more than 1,100 miles away from the Mexican border, but that hasn't stopped the anger and anxiety that accompany Mexican immigration from stirring things up in Mayor Gene Beach's city.
MAYOR GENE BEACH, MARSHALLTOWN, IOWA: It's not the Iowa I moved to. But it's the Iowa we have today and the Iowa we're going to have to have in the future.
TUCHMAN: In the nation's first presidential caucus state, long considered one of the whitest and least Latino states in the nation, life is rapidly changing.
(on camera) At the beginning of the last decade, 1990, roughly how many Mexicans do you think lived here?
BEACH: Probably none.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But now more than one out of every five residents in this city of 26,000 is from Mexico. Some here legally, an unknown and probably large number illegally.
They are all here to fill a continuing void of mostly unskilled jobs.
Beatriz Ordas is on of those here illegally. She works at a Mexican-owned clothing store and says she's been trying to get legal papers for the ten years she has been here.
BEATRIZ ORDAS, IMMIGRANT (through translator): With the immigration crackdown, less and less people come in here. We're scared of being deported.
TUCHMAN: Because that's what has happened in Marshalltown. The largest employer of Mexicans is this pork processing plant. Twice in the last year, immigration authorities have busted illegal immigrants, arresting more than 100 and sending some back to Mexico.
Immigrant Ricardo Alvez works there.
RICARDO ALVEZ, IMMIGRANT: I grabbed the ham and put it on the machine and literally take off the skin from the ham.
TUCHMAN: He says he finally got his green card last year and is in Iowa to stay.
ALVEZ: There's not much violence like in Mexico.
TUCHMAN: Jorge Hernandez was arrested at another plant nearby and charged with being illegal. He is battling not to be sent back to Mexico.
JORGE HERNANDEZ, IMMIGRANT (through translator): In this country, everyone came here from somewhere else. This is the land of the free. I am a North American. Why should I be told that I can't be here?
This is America.
TUCHMAN: The mayor says because so many Iowans have left the state, he wants and needs legal Mexican workers.
(on camera) If all the Mexican immigrants were sent back, all the illegals, do you think you would be short of workers here?
BEACH: We're short workers now.
TUCHMAN: But as the presidential candidates crisscross Iowa with the illegal immigration issue looming larger and larger, there are many in Marshalltown who want more aggressive efforts to send undocumented Mexicans back.
STEVEN GIBBONS, RESIDENT: It's been so stressful, you know, with all the Hispanics around here because they, you know, a lot of them don't speak the language and it just gets really frustrating.
TUCHMAN (on camera): The culture, the climate, even the cuisine. Iowa feels nothing like Mexico. But as the politicians continue to talk, there are no signs that Mexicans will stop coming to places like this, where there are plenty of jobs for the asking.
(voice-over) And plenty of anxiety as the immigration debate heats up in this most unlikely of states.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Marshalltown, Iowa.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS: To the big presidential debates. You will see them both on CNN. This afternoon the Republicans face off from Iowa live, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern. And tomorrow the Democrats will have their turn, same time, 2:00 to 4:00 Eastern. See them both right here on CNN, home of the best political team on television.
HARRIS: About 14 minutes -- 13 minutes from now, YOUR WORLD TODAY at the top of the hour. Hala Gorani standing by with a preview.
Hala good to see you. Hello
HALA GORANI: Good to see you guys as well, Heidi and Tony hello. There is a lot going on over the last few days. International news topping the agenda. This time from Lebanon, yet another violent political assassination. This time a top military official just as the country Lebanon remains mired in a political impasse, unable to elect a new consensus president, and it has Europe and the United States very concerned.
Also, the shocking case in Canada of a Muslim father accused of murdering his 16-year-old daughter because she allegedly refused to wear the Islamic head scarf. And there's a picture of the young lady who died as a result of this alleged murder. We're going live to Canada to talk more about this case.
Also, we're going to be taking you to Bali. Our Dan Rivers is there for the Bali conference on climate change. We're going to tell you what latest country just signed up to the Kyoto agreement, and criticizing some over there the U.S. for not having signed up to the Kyoto agreement. We'll have that and a lot more at the top of the hour. Join Jim Clancy and myself. Back to you guys.
HARRIS: That's alot.
COLLINS: Thank you, Hala.
HARRIS: It is a holiday tradition. Oh, you love this, don't you? Heidi --
COLLINS: I love it. What's not to like?
HARRIS: All right. The White House, gone to the dogs. Barney cam 2007.
HARRIS: OK, to business news now. Exxon Mobil is floating a plan to bring natural gas to the shores of New Jersey. Stephanie Elam is at the New York Stock Exchange with details. Stephanie, good morning.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Tony Harris. Yes, Exxon Mobil says it wants to build a floating natural gas terminal 20 miles off the coast of New Jersey and about 30 miles off the coast of Long Island. Exxon says the new facility would cost about $1 billion, and would supply more than 5 million homes in New Jersey as well as New York. Exxon says if it gets approval from regulators, the new terminal would be operational in the next decade. It would also be connected to the mainland by an underwater pipeline. Now, Exxon is working on a similar project in Texas as well, Tony.
HARRIS: Let me see here. Regulators, maybe environmentalists. I'm assuming there is some opposition to this plan.
ELAM: You know, it sounds like there would be. But there's not as much you would probably think. Exxon says the location of the project will be out of shipping lanes and recreational areas. Natural gas actually burns cleaner than coal, so the project has reportedly won the support of the New Jersey Sierra Club. The environmental group says the offshore location makes it safer. An onshore version actually could probably be more of a target for terrorism because of all of the highly explosive material inside. So not as much opposition as you would think.
HARRIS: So I don't know, is there much of a downside to this, looking forward?
ELAM: Of course there is. While it is cleaner than coal, natural gas still does put out CO2, or greenhouse gas emissions. Another problem, cost. High natural gas prices have sent electric bills soaring in parts of the country and some analysts believe the problem could get worse in the future.
All right. Take a look at Wall Street. Prices are higher after the federal reserve announced a deal with other world banks to ease the credit crunch. But stocks are off their highs and still have not made up from losses that were posted yesterday. We dropped about 300 points on the blue chips (ph). Right now, checking the numbers, the Dow on the upside by 121 points, up just under one percent at 13,554. Nasdaq is up 1.5 percent.
Tony, back to you.
HARRIS: All right. Stephanie great to see you. Thank you.
COLLINS: Police officer doesn't bust crooks, but he busts moves, that's for sure. Dancing with the cars. Get down.
HARRIS: Oh, the dancing cop is back on the beat. Oh, yes! Tony Lepore blowing his whistle and doing his version of the electric slide. Sure. The retired Providence, Rhode Island police officer has been sworn in for his annual holiday duty. Lepore has been delighting drivers and pedestrians with his dance steps for two decades. Coincides with the anniversary of Michael Jackson's Thriller, just thought I'd throw that in.
COLLINS: Still searching for the perfect gift for that political junkie on your list? CNN's Jeanne Moos may have it for you.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We couldn't find a real snow globe containing all the presidential candidates. But maybe you can bring joy to the world of political junkies on your gift list with a few of our favorite things we did find.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the talking Ann Coulter doll.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least the right-wingers (INAUDIBLE). There's a point.
BLITZER: We present the best political gifts of the season -- from impeachments to the talking Larry Craig doll.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's posable. You can even put him in his famous wide stance, which has been in the press so much.
BLITZER (on camera): Bathroom stall not included?
(voice-over): Stupid question. But that's OK, since many of these items come from Stupid.com -- which more than lives up to its name, with items like the yodeling pickle.
MOOS: Liberals seem to offer more gifts than conservatives. For instance, these disappearing mugs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The inconvenient coffee cup.
MOOS: When you fill it with hot liquid, coastlines vanish. Watch Florida recede before your very eyes.
There's also the disappearing civil liberties mug and the Democratic dream mug -- just add coffee and all those red states turn into blue states.
MOOS: One item popping up on mostly conservative Web sites recently is the Muhammad Bear -- a poke in the eye to radical Islam, because the Sudanese government threatened to punish a British teacher after her Sudanese schoolchildren named a Teddy bear Muhammad.
There are the usual doggy chew toys. Michael Moore is so popular, he sold out at Stupid.com. And The Huffington Post is offering a poster of famous Bush administration phrases -- "axis of evil," "slam dunk," "shock and awe," "the in Internets."
And what item merits this praise?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By far, it's the best-selling political item we've ever had.
MOOS (on camera): Ever had?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MOOS (voice-over): Featuring stainless steel thighs.
MOOS: Visitors to the Hillary Nutcracker Web site voted that Ann Coulter should be the next nutcracker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not go to war just for oil?
We need oil.
What do Hollywood celebrities imagine fuels their private jets?
How do they think their cocaine is delivered to them?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: Imagine that under your tree -- the dolls, not the coke.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
COLLINS: A lot of good gift items there, don't you think?
COLLINS: It's right up there now with the yule log and fruit cake. The holiday traditions you look forward to.
Barney Cam, this year Barney's fascination with the national parks.
And the president's daughters get in on the act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA BUSH, PRESIDENT BUSH'S DAUGHTER: Hey Barney, did I hear you and Mrs. Beasley are trying to become junior park rangers?
JENNA BUSH: That's great, we love the national parks. Remember, I got engaged in one?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Barney and Mrs. Beasley take us on a tour of the White House, all decked out for Christmas. They daydream about becoming junior park rangers and running into famous people. The view from Barney Cam 2007. Love it.
HARRIS: Production value getting better and better every year on these.
COLLINS: Yes, you got it.
HARRIS: Good stuff.
COLLINS: CNN NEWSROOM continues one hour from now.
HARRIS: YOUR WORLD TODAY is next. I'm Tony Harris.
COLLINS: I'm Heidi Collins. Bye everybody.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com