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Corporate Tax Crackdown; State of the Outbreak; 8-Week Job Audition; Remembering Jack Kemp
Aired May 4, 2009 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we're pushing forward in pursuit of hidden profits or sheltered profits or tax-deferred profits, profits earned overseas by U.S. companies that are largely out of reach of the IRS but maybe not for much longer.
President Obama says it's high time to close some expensive loopholes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... the kind of tax scam that we need to end, and that's why we're closing one of our biggest tax loopholes. It's a loophole that lets subsidiaries of some of our largest companies tell the IRS that they're paying taxes abroad, tell foreign governments that they're paying taxes elsewhere, and avoid paying taxes anywhere. And closing this single loophole will save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Well, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux joins me now from the White House.
Suzanne, corporations aren't going to give these tax breaks up without a fight, are they?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely not, Kyra. If you just take a look at one statistic alone, the Government Accountability Office says 83 out of the top 100 publicly traded companies actually have tax havens overseas. These companies are not breaking the law here, but according to one senior administration official, they are taking advantage of a very bad law, a law in the tax code that is a loophole, allows them to do just that. And there are already 200 companies that have actually sent opposition letters to members of Congress saying we oppose this, we are not for this, and we don't think that you should actually sign on to this legislation.
There is going to be a big fight, a big battle over this, Kyra. and Robert Gibbs was asked about this at the briefing, whether or not this administration is really prepared to deal with this.
This is how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are happy to have a long discussion about the fairness of tax havens and tax loopholes that will let companies avoid paying the taxes, taxes like you and I pay each day, and instead, reward companies that are investing right here and creating jobs in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: So Kyra, this is something the administration says they are willing to take on. It is far from clear whether or not this is actually going to happen, this is going to pass through Congress, but this is something that they believe that should go on track, alongside with the $787 billion economic stimulus package. They say that U.S. taxpayers are basically being cheated out of billions and billions of dollars -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Those taxpayers who feel like they are being cheated and are being cheated want to know exactly what this plan is going to do for them and if they're going to see investigations that bring money back that help them, the struggling taxpayer.
MALVEAUX: Certainly. And it's an ongoing debate, whether or not this really is going to help. But at least the Obama administration outlining that they're going to take away some of these incentives to allow these companies to operate more cheaply overseas. They are also going to try to close those tax loopholes that are in the law that I mentioned before that make it legal, essentially, for some of these companies to go ahead and not check the box for subsidiaries and say hey, this is just a branch, if you will, of our company and avoid paying U.S. taxes.
They are also making the case here that they are going to put some teeth behind this. 800 IRS employees, to make sure that this is enforced. And bottom line, Kyra, they say this is going to save some money here, that it's going to raise some $210 billion over the next 10 years. They say it's money that is desperately needed for this economy. Far from clear, Kyra, whether or not this is actually going to happen, because it is so controversial.
PHILLIPS: Well, we'll following it, that's for sure.
Suzanne, thanks so much.
Swine flu on the upswing? Well, that's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which now counts 286 confirmed cases in 36 states, all over the country. Almost none of those illnesses serious, though.
And in Mexico, where the outbreak began, the government says that the worst is over. More on that in just a minute.
And you may have heard the pushback to the term "swine flu." True, you don't get it from eating pork, and the virus is a mix of swine, bird and human flus. But pigs do catch it, and Canada reports at least one case of human-to-swine transmission. Precautions are under way at many farms, and that brings us to Waseca, Minnesota.
CNN All Platform Journalist Chris Welch is there. Chris, tell us what's going on where you are.
CHRIS WELCH, CNN ALL PLATFORM JOURNALIST: That's right, Kyra.
Well, as you mentioned, we don't think that humans -- I mean, at least there's no cases yet -- that humans can get this from pigs, but what professors here at the University of Minnesota are stressing now is that they want to prevent the pigs from getting it from humans. They don't want any kind of diseases to get into these hog facilities, these production facilities.
And so today, I came down to southern Minnesota here at the university's research facility. They showed me a little bit about exactly how -- what it takes to get people inside these facilities, if you want to take a look.
We had to shower, clean off, put on special clothes, just to make sure that these hogs stay safe. I spoke to Professor Samuel Baidoo today. Here's a little bit of what he told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROF. SAMUEL BAIDOO, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: If we are sick and we come in here, we can easily transfer, especially flu, to these pigs. Now, to make sure that these pigs don't pick it up, we have to go through the precautions that we went through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WELCH: So they want to make sure that anyone visiting -- this includes the people who work in the facility -- shower off, wash their hair, wash their full body, and put on these special clothes so that you don't track any type of germs, disease, whether it's swine flu or not. These pigs are sometimes very susceptible to diseases, and we don't want that getting into the food supply.
Again, though, swine flu, if a pig were to catch it, it's treatable just like it is in humans, and these professors say the pig will be back up and running in three to four days.
PHILLIPS: All right, Chris. Thanks so much.
And in New York City, the local epicenter of the flu outbreak is a germ-free zone and once again open for business. That would be educating high school students who claim they're happy to be back.
CNN's Deb Feyerick has that.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, students at St. Francis Prep headed back to school this morning after a 10-day break for swine flu. The entire school was wiped down, the air purged with 100 percent fresh air.
Now, some teens said they were nervous, others embarrassed by all the attention. At least one girl carried sanitizing wipes. But for the most part, they were all happy to be back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not that nervous. Everything's clean.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a little nervous and I don't even know why. Scared. I mean, I know they sanitized the building, but I'm still a little nervous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm definitely confident that, you know, I don't think anyone's sick. And I'm glad that we're back in school to see each other again.
FEYERICK: St. Francis Prep is where the majority of New York's confirmed swine flu cases originated. Mayor Bloomberg was on hand to welcome everybody back over a public address system. He says there are now as many as 73 confirmed cases, the majority somehow connected to this particular school.
He was asked whether, in fact, closing schools was an overreaction.
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK: The natural reaction is to worry about your children's health and then your own health, and I understand that. I think it's the job of government to put things in perspective, provide a calming influence, and that will take place if people feel that government is doing what they can do.
FEYERICK: The principal sent a warning to all families saying it's important to remain vigilant so as not to reinfect the school. And they are urging anyone who is even remotely sick to stay home. The principal calls last week the lost week, but students were given plenty of homework to keep them busy -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Deb Feyerick, thanks so much.
Now, let's go over to Florida, where swine flu concerns have closed at least five more schools. The latest focus, Miami-Dade County and Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa. Last we heard, three confirmed cases and 15 probable cases were on the books. Cleaning is under way and the schools probably won't reopen before Wednesday at the earliest.
Mexico now sees a light at the end of the subway tunnel. Officials there say the outbreak has peaked. And while the danger hasn't yet passed, it's less than it was. Most of the businesses that closed last week are expected to reopen on Wednesday. Mexico officially counts more than 700 swine flu illnesses and 26 deaths.
The vice president on a train? Wait a minute, didn't he say he wasn't going near the swine flu express or something like that? We're going to check it out.
First, Chrysler, though, now GM. Fiat now says that plans to buy General Motor's European division. And if the deal pans out, the global powerhouse would be one of the largest carmakers in the world behind Toyota.
You'll recall that just last week, the Italian automaker agreed to take a 20 percent stake of the now bankrupt Chrysler. But a judge today postponed a decision on whether Chrysler can start transferring its assets to Fiat. He says people who object need more time to review that deal.
Civil disobedience, a righteous rebellion? What exactly does that mean, Reverend? I'll ask Jesse Jackson what he wants the auto industry to do for African-Americans and vice versa.
PHILLIPS: Well, the National Association of Realtors reports an overall increase in pending home sales. The number of contracts signed in March was up more than three percent from the number in February. The sharpest rise was in the South, but pending sales were down in the Northeast and the Midwest, and the group's chief economist says that buyers are taking advantage of housing affordability conditions that are at near-record levels.
People in the Chicago area who are facing foreclosure are getting the tools they need to fend it off and keep their homes. Over the weekend, the city hosted a "Fix Your Mortgage" event. It offered people access to President Obama's program to modify their home loans. It was a such a hit, that they couldn't even accommodate everyone, and they're planning another event just like this June 6th.
Millions of unemployed Americans are hoping for a paycheck and asking for a chance. In one state, that opportunity can come in the form of an eight-week audition. It's a unique and innovative program that may help companies as much as the worker.
CNN's Fredricka Whitfield explains.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Among the more than six million Americans out of work...
MARCOS GUZMAN, AUDITIONING FOR JOB: Two white and two powder blue?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
WHITFIELD: ... Marcos Guzman is confidently auditioning for a full-time job with a Decatur, Georgia, uniforms sales company.
GUZMAN: No jitters whatsoever.
WHITFIELD: Not the case initially, when laid off in January.
GUZMAN: When you first hear it and it's unexpected, you know, it's not a good feeling at all.
WHITFIELD: Guzman took the common next step. GUZMAN: I went down to, you know, the unemployment office and while I was in there, and they were going through the different -- telling you the information about different things and you apply for your unemployment and all of that.
WHITFIELD: But he overheard a conversation about the so-called Georgia Works program, an eight-week job audition of sorts with a select group of employers.
GUZMAN: It sounded interesting because I've never heard of a program through the Department of Labor to where they actually put you somewhere.
WHITFIELD: This is how it works. The unemployed, on audition, for two months don't receive a single paycheck from the companies, but still draw unemployment checks from the state.
GUZMAN: It's kind of like a training period, just kind of -- to see if you will fit, and if you do, I mean, you'll end up being hired.
WHITFIELD: Finding the right store manager was the primary focus for Rosie Cecil, owner of Domaro Uniform Service. She said the state Labor Department's program relieved her of a lot of stress.
ROSIE CECIL, OWNER, DOMARO UNIFORM SERVICE: Georgia Works is really good because they will kind of screen through those resumes that they get and they'll submit the ones that they think are pertinent to you and your position.
WHITFIELD: This audition for a job concept is the brainchild of Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, who started it more than five years ago. But in the last year, the recession has increased its popularity in state.
MICHAEL THURMOND, GEORGIA LABOR COMMISSIONER: The crisis has deepened, job seekers are feeling more desperate and there's this desire to get a foot in the door anywhere, so that I will have an opportunity to interview and to demonstrate my skills and abilities.
WHITFIELD: He says eight other states, but won't reveal which ones, have called for advice. THURMOND: Well, they say Michael Thurmond, tell me about this job auditioning programs you got down there in Georgia. It's different, it's out of the box, but we're at a critical time. I don't think that we can afford to just do what we've always done. We need new ideas, new strategies, new solutions.
WHITFIELD: The success rate: impressive. The commissioner says 60 percent of the trainees get hired. Still, he understands skeptics' points of view.
THURMOND: So, wait a minute now, I can train this person for a job, right? At no cost to me, you pay the unemployment insurance benefits and then at the end of eight weeks, I can make a decision about whether or not I'm going to hire them. They think that it's too good to be true, but it's not.
WHITFIELD: Back at the uniform shop, early signs of a good fit.
CECIL: He goes back, he looks at some of the historical things that we've done and then, he will think about it and project on perhaps we should consider doing things just a little bit differently and that's working out well.
GUZMAN: My mindset is taking a business and making it bigger than what it was. You know, everywhere I've gone, I've done that and I'm anxious to do it here.
WHITFIELD: Within days, this small business owner and this recently-laid off big corporate loan company employee hope to meet somewhere in the middle.
CECIL: I'm looking forward to Marcos being with us for quite some time.
WHITFIELD: Helping an enterprise grow, while assisting one man get back on his feet.
Fredricka Whitfield, CNN, Atlanta.
PHILLIPS: Warren Buffett isn't exactly turning cartwheels when it comes to the economy, but he's more upbeat about it. If you like analogies -- and we know you do -- you're going to love this one about the economy -- quicksand and the rope.
PHILLIPS: Well, as far back as the 1920s, Ford Motor Company began recruiting African-Americans in the South for its assembly line jobs in the North. Other automakers quickly followed.
By the end of World War II, blacks held 15 percent of the jobs in the auto industry, and it continued to grow. The reasons were clear -- relatively well-paying jobs with pretty good security and top benefits. But one research group says that blacks today have been harder hit by auto job losses than whites or Hispanics. One expert says the number of blacks in the auto industry fell from about 140,000 at the end of 2007 to about 110,000 at the end of last year. And that's a new cause for the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Speaking last night in Detroit, a city more than 80 percent black, and hammered by the recession, Jackson said, "The cause of the workers is a moral cause. It's time for a righteous rebellion, civil disobedience."
Jesse Jackson joins us now live from Detroit.
And Reverend Jackson, I've got to know, what do you mean by that remark? What exactly do you mean by "civil disobedience?"
REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Well, time for some major direct action to get attention to the fact that -- we met today with African-Americans, Native Americans, Indians and Asian-Americans as a body, all who are feeling the impact of loss of jobs, dealerships and contracts or suppliers. And so since federal money is now involved, civil rights laws of inclusion cannot be suspended. Equal opportunity, contract compliance laws must apply. So if there's a cutback, there must be some contour of fairness for the workers, suppliers and dealers involved.
PHILLIPS: So, but define for me, what do you mean by a righteous rebellion, civil disobedience? What are you asking from the black community, the black workers?
JACKSON: It's not just the black workers, I might add. When you go from 65,000 to 3,200 GM dealerships, and from 3,300 to 2,000 Chrysler dealerships, the hemorrhaging impact of loss of jobs and contracts and supplies is huge.
So while we're stimulating the top of the economy, stimulating banks, the hemorrhaging impact affects everybody. And so I think that workers can no longer be silent. You know, we have a (INAUDIBLE) stimulus plan, we're losing 600,000 jobs a month, 2.2 million home foreclosures this year, (AUDIO GAP). So people cannot just sit idly by and lose access to schools, jobs and businesses and not begin to march and fight back.
PHILLIPS: Well, OK. All right. So march and fight back. Is that what you are asking African-American to do, to boycott, to march?
What exactly are you asking from them? Because I hear "righteous rebellion, civil disobedience," and I'm thinking the civil rights and, you know, marching for specific rights.
JACKSON: Well, first of all, don't limit it just to blacks. I said that three times. We met with blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, who are feeling this impact in the employment vertically and horizontally in the cutback of jobs.
PHILLIPS: Then what do you want them all to do, blacks, Hispanic, American-Indian, whites? What is it you're asking?
JACKSON: Well, to get the attention, since congressional money is coming. With that money, comes an obligation for fairness in employment and contracts in professional services. So we want there to be monitoring and auditing for the money.
The money that comes to the top, doesn't get to the bottom, it's not fair. But there's a second issue of fairness within the industry and fairness for the industry.
I think it's just not right to give money to banks without limitations and don't make a loan to the automotive industry. The industry itself has been treated unfairly. This is both a crisis within the industry and the industry and global competition.
PHILLIPS: All right. So -- and I'm sorry if I keep repeating myself, but a righteous rebellion, civil disobedience. What are you asking people to do? Do you want them to march, do you want them to boycott, do you want them to show up at the office of their congressman or congresswoman and say hey, help me out, where's the money, I need the support?
JACKSON: Well, first, it means having congressional hearings. It means that.
It means within your neighborhood, a lot of homes are being foreclosed, and you have no place to go, maybe you should not pay until you, in fact, get some relief from the banks, the money has been promised. It means if you are going to lose your house and lose your job and lose your child in college, maybe it's time for demonstrations to show the concern that people cannot be silent and indifferent to the pain that is now being induced.
When you induce the automotive industry and the banking industry, you are cutting at the very heart of the American worker and the American middle class. And you cannot take that silently without fighting back in some way.
PHILLIPS: Reverend Jackson, I'm going to switch gears for a minute while I have you. It's something that caught the attention of one of our writers this morning in our editorial meeting. It's this ad for the Red House Furniture Store, and it's been garnering a lot of attention on YouTube. I want to play it for you and get your reaction.
Here we go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Richard (ph), a.k.a. Big Head (ph). I work at the Red House and I'm black. I like pumping iron and pumping furniture into people's homes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Johnny (ph), a.k.a. (INAUDIBLE). I work at the Red House and I'm white. I like deer hunting, bass fishing and extending credit to all people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm black and I love the Red House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm white and I love the Red House.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a black woman and I love the Red House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am white and the Red House is for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Reverend Jackson, what do you think about this commercial for the furniture store?
JACKSON: It's entertainment. I'm not sure I get what the real point is there, because that is just -- it's hilarious, but it's also a diversion from -- I repeat again that the headlines are the stimulus impact or the blood transfusion. If you are in a car wreck and went to the hospital, they would stop the hemorrhaging first and then transfusion. Right now, there's transfusion coming in, but the hemorrhaging impact of jobs and businesses and contract and kids in college is overwhelming. And we want to change that.
PHILLIPS: Reverend Jesse Jackson, thanks for your time today.
Billionaire investor, Berkshire Hathaway CEO, Oracle of Omaha, whatever you call him, there's no doubt that what Warren Buffett says makes headlines. In the past weekend, he threw his weight behind the government's extraordinary steps to boost the economy.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN BUFFETT, CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: Our economy back in September was like finding a friend of yours in quicksand up to his chest, and he was going down, and we threw a rope out to him. He ties it around himself, you hook it to a car and you yank him out.
Now, you probably are going to dislocate a couple shoulders, but you can't do it without some pain involved. But the important thing was to get out of the quicksand, and we got out of the quicksand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Well, Buffett made those comments at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting in Nebraska.
PHILLIPS: Joe Biden at a train station. Take that, swine flu.
Today, the vice president helped celebrate the new and improved Amtrak station in Wilmington, Delaware. In fact, he took the train home Friday from D.C. like he's done for years.
He's come a long way since Thursday, by the way, when he basically said he would stay away from confined places like planes and trains. The travel industry loved that, as you can imagine. The Obama administration toned Biden's words down just a bit, saying if you feel sick, you ought to stay off public transit.
Let's bring in our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.
Candy, we have so much to talk about. Let's go ahead and talk about the vice president.
He might not have swine flu but his foot in the mouth disease ain't exactly a remission.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And I actually love the imagery of him sort of going off the rails politically on Thursday, and now he's riding the rails. So I like that a lot. I don't know if they thought of that, but it's a great one.
Listen, it was not just the industries that he upset. It was the White House that spent a fair amount of time that day saying, well, no, he meant, you know, don't go to Mexico. Or, if you're sick, don't get on an airplane. Or, you know, it was that sort of thing. So clearly, the administration, which had spent its time saying take the necessary precautions but there's no need to panic, and then along came the vice president saying boy, I wouldn't fly on a plane or get on a subway. So they have him as we say, back on the rails at this point.
PHILLIPS: All right. Let's move on now to the Grand Old Party trying to be the Grand New Party, I guess you could say, getting on the road as well, getting feedback from voters, hoping to turn it into a winning strategy in 2010.
CROWLEY: It will be interesting, because there's a lot that this party has to do. And we have to say as a caveat that any time a party is out of power, they struggle a little bit. But this party is way out of power and are struggling a lot. And there's some logistical, kind of tactical things they have to do.
And really, they should look at what republicans have done because in some cases -- I'm sorry, look at what democrats have done. Because in some cases, the democrats looked at a district and said this does not have to be a down the line democrat. This is a swing district. We need a more moderate candidate here. And in that way, became so inclusive. I mean, there are democrats who are pro gun rights. There are democrats who are against abortion. So they have been able to kind of look at districts and kind of tailor the candidate for the district. So, there's that logistical part.
There's also the message and the struggle for do you want to be a party that is, as they say, ideologically pure or do you want to widen that party base, which means do you want to win elections, and welcome these alternative views. And then, who's the messenger?
So they have a lot to kind of figure out. I think this group which is Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and Eric Cantor from Capitol Hill, are going out and sort of trying to see what's out there, what would it take to kind of connect with voters.
And I should mention that Mitt Romney, of course, is often mentioned for someone who might run for president again. And I wouldn't bet against Jeb Bush in that same position. So these are two men that are worth watching at this point as they try to help shape the republican message.
PHILLIPS: All right, Candy, we're going to ask you to stick around for just a second here. Friends and relatives are paying tribute, as you know, to former Congressman Jack Kemp. I know that you knew him well. He died over the weekend from cancer.
Let's take a look back on his life now. Don Lemon takes us there.
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As a star quarterback in the old American Football League, Jack Kemp led the Buffalo Bills to back-to-back championships in 1964 and '65.
When he retired from football in 1970, Buffalo-area voters elected him to the House of Representatives. Kemp often said he was more interested in ideas than partisan politics, and he regarded his political foes as opponents, not enemies.
JACK KEMP, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE & PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER: You know what helped me? Playing football. When I got my head knocked off by Nick Buoniconti or Ernie Ladd, they are my best friends today and I realized they didn't make it personal and I don't take it personal. And I think politics can be the same way.
LEMON: In 1978, Kemp teamed up with Senator William Roth of Delaware to propose the Kemp-Roth tax cuts. After Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, much of that proposal became law.
KEMP: From 1981 to 1988, the top tax rate came down from 70 to 28.
LEMON: Those tax cuts established Kemp as a leading advocate of conservative supply side economics, but unlike many of the other conservatives of his era, Kemp actively courted African-American support.
KEMP: Our party could be a Lincoln party in terms of attracting black, brown and men and women of color and low income status and immigrant status who want a shot at the American dream for their children.
LEMON: Kemp made a bid for the 1988 republican presidential nomination. He was unsuccessful. But the man who won that nomination, the first President Bush, put Kemp in his cabinet. As secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Kemp stuck to his supply side philosophy, advocating tax breaks for inner city businesses and home ownership for the poor.
KEMP: We're here to tell every single resident in public housing in the United States of America, you, too, can manage and control and ultimately own your own property.
LEMON: In 1996, republican Presidential Nominee Bob Dole picked Kemp to be his vice presidential running mate.
BOB DOLE, FORMER U.S. SENATOR & REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like people around me of ideas. That's why I picked Jack Kemp for my running mate. Jack has ideas.
LEMON: On the vice presidential campaign trail, the former football star was a team player.
KEMP: I played second string quarterback a lot of times in my life.
LEMON: Dole and Kemp lost to the incumbent, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.
KEMP: I called Vice President Gore and offered my congratulations to him and the president.
LEMON: The defeat ended Kemp's career as a political candidate, but it did not dim his influence inside his Republican Party. He continued to write and speak about his ideas, inspiring a new generation of supply side conservatives.
KEMP: The only way to oppose a bad idea is to replace it with a good idea. And I like to think I have spent my life trying to promote good ideas.
LEMON: Jack Kemp was 73 years old.
Don Lemon, CNN, Atlanta.
PHILLIPS: So Candy, Jack Kemp's big push was trying to get the Republican Party to reach out to minorities. It seems he had a lot of foresight.
CROWLEY: Oh, absolutely. One of the things he said was he really hoped that by the time the year 2000 rolled around, that half of minorities, in particular African-Americans, would be voting for republicans, half would be voting for democrats. That clearly didn't happen. You now see the Republican Party struggling to expand its base. They know that they're going to have to reach a minority. So this is clearly something that Kemp saw coming.
I have to tell you, one of the more famous quotes -- it was interesting watching Don's piece, because he talked about the influence that playing football had on Kemp and the way he approached opponents in the political field. One of the quotes widely attributed to Jack Kemp and in fact, he told me in fact that he did say it and that was, when talking about reaching out to minorities, he said listen, I have showered with more African-Americans than most republicans have met.
So the locker room really proved to be a place where Jack Kemp began to form his -- the basis of his political outlook. So while he was very conservative on economic issues, he was definitely someone who reached out, who said listen, these economic issues can help those at the lower end of the economic scale, so that was definitely a part of his philosophy.
PHILLIPS: What a great story. Candy Crowley, thanks so much.
New pictures to bring you. Tornado damage in Louisiana. We are getting an update from Jacqui Jeras in just a second.
PHILLIPS: Earlier we asked you what you thought of that case in New Jersey, two employees fired for talking smack about the restaurant where they worked on MySpace in a members only discussion group. The boss read it, they lost their jobs and now they have what could be a precedent setting lawsuit.
Here's what you think. Richard Ellis believes expectation of privacy should not even be the issue here. Griping is part of human life and not a reason to fire an employee.
Not afraid thinks MySpace users are so out of touch. That privacy on the Internet is like Santa Claus and unicorns, they just don't exist.
Chiamusic (ph) says that she was fired for leaving a paper trail. Should have said it to face to face or on the phone, not left evidence.
And finally, the cardsharp (ph) writes, anything you put online is not safe. You would be a fool to think so.
Louisiana in the grip of some pretty powerful weather today. Jacqui Jeras watching it all for us.
PHILLIPS: T.J. Holmes is in for Rick Sanchez today, busy working on the next hour of NEWSROOM.
What'cha got T.J.?
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: We have what some are calling a Nixonian moment by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was actually taken to task by a college student at a pretty much an impromptu town hall or press conference if you want to call it when it comes to torture. You want to see this kid's video.
Also, we're going to be talking about a story out of Chicago. An unfortunate story, Kyra. A number of students really have been killed, murdered, in that city this year, but one murder is getting a lot of attention. A kid was beaten with bats, hit by a car, burned and shot in the head. We will be taking a look at that. Really just a story with tragic, because of the murder, but the circumstances are just unbelievable. That and much more coming up.
See you soon here, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: All right, thanks, T.J.
Well, you looking for a job? We will take you to a bilingual job fair where jobs are hot as hotcakes.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: Getting lost, swerving, stinking of booze? Not exactly qualities you look for in a limo driver, right? Especially when one is driving your kids from the prom.
Some Massachusetts teens talk about their scary ride home.
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BIANCA CROWLEY, STUDENT: When we were on the highway, he kept hitting the bumps that were on the side of the highway. Someone that was actually sitting in the front looked into the driver's seat and he took a big gulp out of a cup and they smelled booze on him.
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PHILLIPS: Oh, yes, booze smell that would make a corsage wilt.
The kids demanded the driver pull over. He was arrested, went to court today and has been suspended from his job, thank goodness. Parents are pretty livid, as you can imagine. The limo company will refund the teens' money and give them a free night out.
Well, it's apparently the last straw for the second wife of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. She wants a divorce and says she is fed up with his alleged history of flirting with younger women.
Wait. Isn't that what they do in Italy?
Anyway, former actress Veronica Lario says that the final straw was when her husband attended the birthday party of an 18-year-old. Her reaction, quote, "He never came to the 18th birthday party of his own children."
And in Florida, an outing for kids that went haywire. An officer at a state prison has been fired after zapping children with 50,000 volts of electricity from his stun gun. Get this. It happened during Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Sergeant Walter Schmidt says parents gave him the OK to shock the kids. At least two kids got zapped. An investigation has been ordered.
It's a tough job market out there, but you have to think about your skills, right? Well, some companies are spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars, to set up a job fair because they're searching for workers big-time.
Josh Levs spoke with a couple recruiters who just might be looking for you.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we talk all the time about how there are so many people clamoring for the jobs that are available. But what you realize when you come to a job fair like this is that there are companies that are doing the opposite. They're showing up here and they're saying we have jobs, please apply for them. We have availability starting right now.
We want to find out what this is like and how some people can take advantage of that. We're going to talk to a couple recruiters starting off here with Carlos Urey of the Home Depot.
CARLOS UREY, RECRUITER, HOME DEPOT: Yes, sir.
So talk to me about this. Why is it worth spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to come to a job fair where you can just post a job online and get lots of resumes?
UREY: Definitely. I mean, everybody knows the Home Depot brand, but we are interested in reaching out to our community, letting them understand that we need them. Especially the Latin American, Spanish- speaking community, we need them to service our customers better.
LEVS: This is interesting. It's a bilingual job fair. And you're saying that even though there are lots of resumes out there, lots of people looking for jobs, you need to target specific communities in order to get the people you need. That's a little promising for some people who meet that niche.
UREY: Yes, and not only Latin American, every community out there. This is just one of many. But our customer base is diverse and we need our personnel also to be diverse, to be able to help them out better and provide the customer service that they demand.
LEVS: So interesting. I know you have seen a lot of people today, it's been very busy. Hundreds have been showing up.
Another company that's here is Zep, Inc. And we're going to talk right now to a representative from there, Vera Jackson.
VERA JACKSON, ZEP, INC.: Yes.
LEVS: And you're a chemical company.
LEVS: All right, so what have you seen today and are you seeing qualified applicants? You also have a sign that says immediate openings, join us right now.
JACKSON: Yes. We are actually seeing a few opportunities in reference to candidates that are qualified for our sales positions. The turnout has been great. A lot of people are not familiar with the Zep name brand so we are here to represent in the community to let them know we are a 70-year-old company here in Atlanta and that we do have opportunities available.
LEVS: It's interesting because as we know, there are so many people applying for jobs. When we look at a situation like yours, it is a sign that if you have a niche ability like you're bilingual, certain talents, certain skills, there might be a job out there that's looking for you really hard that has to set up a booth to find you. JACKSON: Yes, that's true. Today, we are finding candidates are bilingual that are showing up at the table, however sales tends to intimidate people. We are a chemical manufacturing company. Most of our products are actually on the Home Depot shelves. So we are just trying to get our name out there, let them know we are a company here in Atlanta and are looking for a great candidate to work for a great company.
LEVS: It is really interesting. In fact, speaking of their products, I'm going to show you one thing they had on their table that they've been giving away all day. Always a good thing to have, maybe especially right now. A little hand sanitizer as hundreds, even thousands of people, come on through.
Josh Levs, CNN, Atlanta.
PHILLIPS: A tragic roof collapse caught on camera. Where else are these indoor practice facilities set up? We're going to tell you what we heard from the company that makes them.
PHILLIPS: An indoor practice facility built so the Dallas Cowboys could work out in bad weather under scrutiny today by government safety inspectors. Take a look at the dramatic video of it coming down.
Well, as assistant coach of the Cowboys, one of a dozen people injured by the falling roof, is undergoing surgery today. But the most seriously injured, Rich Behm, the Cowboys scouting assistant. His spine was severed, paralyzing him from the waist down.
KTXA's sports photographer Brett Kelly was actually on the field shooting the practice when the dome collapsed and he breaks it down, how it happened.
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BRETT KELLY, KTXA CORRESPONDENT: It was a practice just like any other that we covered here at the Cowboys facilities over the years. Because of the weather, we had been moved inside for the afternoon practice and everything was pretty much normal. There was a heavy thunderstorm passing overhead and we could hear the rain and the wind and we knew it was a big storm, but we really didn't think anything of it.
It wasn't until the lights on the roof inside the facility started to sway back and forth and then the walls of the facility actually started to billow a little bit. That's when we first realized that maybe this storm was more severe than we had ever seen before. And then within seconds, the entire structure started to break up and fall down around us.
I along with some other photographers, we ran towards a steel structure in the end zone that they usually use for having people watch practice. We took shelter underneath there and just kept shooting everything that was going on around us.
The players, the coaches, the training staff, some were coming out from underneath the tarp that was covering the field. There were people calling for help. It was really a chaotic situation.
Eventually, we exited the inside of what was left of the bubble and got to the outside and that was when I first saw how bad the damage was. That it was just, it was unbelievable. Just because this huge, you know, over 100-yard-long facility, 80 feet high, was just on the ground.
There were still a lot of people running around calling for help, looking for anyone who could offer assistance.
All the while, I just kept capturing what I could on video and was just doing my best to, you know, just cover the story as it happened.
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PHILLIPS: Well, Summit Structures made the Cowboys bubble dome. They also made similar facilities for the New England Patriots, the University of New Mexico, and Texas A&M University. We asked company officials to tell us what they're doing to make sure that those other structures are safe, but they declined our request for an interview.
Company President Nathan Stobbe issued the following statement about the dome collapse when we reached out. This is what he said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families. This is obviously a very difficult time for each of them and for the Cowboys organization. I have flown to Texas along with other representatives of our company to assist in any way possible. We will be working with the Cowboys organization and local professionals and officials to fully assess this severe weather event."
We, too, will stay on top of the story.
T.J. Holmes in for Rick today. He takes it from here.