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Boy's Shattered World Rebuilt; Text Messages Revealed; Global Warming Debate Heats Up; Teen's Incredibly Painful Ordeal; $3500 Jeans

Aired November 25, 2009 - 17:00   ET


OBAMA: Every single day I am thankful for the extraordinary responsibility that the American people have placed in me.

I am humbled by the privilege that it is to serve them and the tremendous honor it is to serve as commander-in-chief of the finest military in the world.

And I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to every service member at home or in harm's way. And we're proud of you. And we are thinking of you and we're praying for you.

When my family and I sit around the table tomorrow, just like millions of other families across America, we'll take time to give our thanks for many blessings.



Happening now, a new look at 9/11 -- a whistle blowing Web site releases hundreds of thousands of text and pager messages sent by ordinary folks on the day that America was attacked.

As relatives of American hikers jailed by Iran are voicing now new concerns about their fate, a journalist recently freed by Iran says he may have heard one of those Americans being interrogated in a neighboring cell. My interview with "Newsweek's" Maziar Bahari.

And the parents of a Florida teen who was set on fire, horribly burned -- they speak out today about their son's ordeal and his first difficult steps toward recovery.

Wolf Blitzer is off.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux.


Big news. Israel today declared a temporary freeze on construction of new housing in its West Bank settlements. Now It's a bid to restart those frozen peace talks. And the Obama administration is giving a relatively cool welcome. But Palestinian officials -- they are outright scoffing at this move.

Our CNN's Kevin Flower is in Jerusalem. KEVIN FLOWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, today the Israeli government announced a 10 month moratorium on new settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. In a televised statement, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said the step was a painful but necessary move to try and jump-start negotiations with the Palestinians. He also outlined the Israeli limitations on the settlement freeze.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It will not include the schools, the kindergarten, the synagogues and the public buildings necessary for the continuation of normal life over the period of the suspension.

FLOWER: The Israeli move was met by derision by Palestinian officials, who said Israel's refusal to halt construction in Arab East Jerusalem would prevent peace talks between the two sides from resuming.

HANAN ASHRAWI, PLO EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: I think the (INAUDIBLE) is the sort of spin doctor who's trying very hard to say one thing and it's opposite at the same time and to create the impression that he's committed to peace when he's undermining the very foundations of peace. There is no way in which anybody -- Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, Christian -- will accept the fact that Israel has unilaterally and illegally annexed Jerusalem and therefore wants to persist with its settlement activities in and around Jerusalem.

FLOWER: U.S. special envoy for the region, George Mitchell, who has been pushing the two sides hard to return to the negotiating table, said the Israeli movement was positive, but had some tough language for the Netanyahu government.

GEORGE MITCHELL, U.S. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY: As has been stated by every previous administration which addressed this issue, the status of Jerusalem and all other permanent status issues must be resolved by the parties through negotiations. The United States also disagrees with some Israeli actions in Jerusalem affecting Palestinians in the areas such as housing, including the continuing pattern of evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes.

FLOWER (on camera): At this point, the resumption of talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis seems highly unlikely. But the Obama administration says it is committed and it will not easily be deterred -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thank you.

President Obama will travel to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point -- that's next Tuesday -- using that as a setting to brief the nation on his plans to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Our CNN's Elaine Quijano -- she has information about the deployment.

I want to go straight to the Pentagon -- Elaine, obviously the White House being a bit mum on this. But you're getting information from the Pentagon and your sources that are a bit forward here.

Tell us about that.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. As President Obama prepares to make that Afghanistan announcement next week, CNN has learned some new details about the military's plans.


QUIJANO: (voice-over): The first wave of additional U.S. forces to Afghanistan will start deploying in late December, according to a U.S. military official. CNN has learned soon after President Obama's announcement next week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will get the paperwork to deploy 1,000 Marines from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Those will be the first of the roughly 34,000 troops anticipated to be added to Afghanistan over the next year. But getting any additional military personnel into the country will take time.

LAWRENCE KORB, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: You have to develop the facilities to -- to house them. I mean that's -- I think people forget that you just can't drop them over there. And you've also got the winter coming.

QUIJANO: Once additional forces arrive, the to-do list is daunting.

FREDERICK KAGAN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: The -- the Taliban now currently has the momentum. I think that the Taliban is -- is winning.

QUIJANO: Military analyst Frederick Kagan helped develop the idea of the 2007 Iraq surge. He says one lesson the U.S. learned -- you need to convince the local population you can turn the tide against the Taliban.

KAGAN: And whether we're going to win or not -- because they don't want to line up with us and then have us bail on them and then have the enemy come and kill them.

QUIJANO: The immediate focus -- protecting population centers and prying loose Taliban strongholds, like the southeastern city of Kandahar.

KORB: I think basically to secure more of the south and the east. So if you can secure more of that, that will prevent the Taliban from increasing their foothold. And then once you do that, I think you will have -- you'll be able to start the reconstruction and training the Afghan security forces.


QUIJANO: And officials say training those Afghan forces has been a main topic of discussion in those White House strategy sessions. The challenge -- how to ramp up that training to ensure Afghans themselves will ultimately be able to keep hold of any security gains the U.S. makes -- Suzanne. MALVEAUX: Elaine, thank you so much, at the Pentagon.

The generals responsible for carrying out the president's war policies -- they all got their starts at West Point. The U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, he graduated in 1976. Well, so did the U.S. commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno. Two of their key deputies were also classmates. The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan is retired General Karl Eikenberry, West Point class of '73. And the former head of the U.S. Central Command, retired General John Abizaid, was his classmate. Now, the current CENTCOM chief, General David Petraeus, he finished the Academy just a year later.

Two perpetual thorns in the side of Washington -- they're coming together today as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, wrapping up a South American tour highlighting Iran's growing ties in South America.

Our CNN senior Latin American affairs editor, Rafael Romo, is joining us live now -- and, Rafael, tell us about -- what have you learned and has there been any breakthroughs in these kinds of meetings taking place?

RAFAEL ROMO, SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well, Suzanne, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be running out of friends in some other regions of the world, but he found very willing partners in Latin America. On his three nation tour, he visited the left-leaning president of Brazil and two populist leaders who have much in common with the leader of Iran.


ROMO (voice-over): President

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was given the red carpet treatment in Venezuela and full military honors. His meeting with President Hugo Chavez was the last stop of a Latin America tour that included nations friendly to Iran.

President Hugo Chavez called Ahmadinejad "a leader and a brother" as he held the Iranian leader by the shoulder.

In Brazil, Ahmadinejad got a bear hug from President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

As Iran becomes isolated from the rest of the world over its nuclear ambitions, Ahmadinejad has found sorely needed partners in South America.

PRES. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRAN (through translator): We must look to put an end to the humiliation and military and aggression being perpetrated and ensure that both countries search for a world free of weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons.

ROMO: Brazil has some of the world's largest uranium deposits, but both presidents insisted they want to work together to make electricity, not bombs. Ahmadinejad also said he wants to increase trade between the two nations from $2 billion to $15 billion.

Ahmadinejad supporters and opponents held demonstrations in Brasilia, while in Rio de Janeiro, hundreds of people, including gay rights groups, Afro-Brazilians and Jews, protested his visit.

In Bolivia, Ahmadinejad made a joint statement with President Evo Morales, saying that as long as it's for peace, all nations have the right to develop their own nuclear energy programs.

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): Myself and my brother, Eva Morales, are committed to working for the development of the country, freedom and progress for our nations.

ROMO: President Evo Morales established diplomatic relations with Iran for the first time ever in 2007.


ROMO: But it is Ahmadinejad's relation with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez that worries Western leaders. Both countries are rich in oil, are united in their hostility toward Washington and have had a military agreement for five years -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And, Rafael, I was there covering when President Obama first shook hands with President Chavez. And they said, obviously, that senior administration officials looking at this meeting. They want to make sure that they keep U.S. ties open to Venezuela, as well as Iran to keep those talks going.

Thank you so much, Rafael.

New developments in the case of those American hikers being held in Iran. I'll talk with a recently released journalist who says that he was in prison right next to one of them.

Also, a teenager set on fire and severely burned -- how his parents -- now they're talking to CNN about this nightmare ordeal and the long and painful path to recovery.

Plus, new controversy over climate change, as computer hackers target some of the world's top researchers. Details of what leaked in those e-mails revealed.


MALVEAUX: The families of three young American hikers charged with spying by Iran are stepping up efforts to gain their release. Laura Fattal tells CNN that her son and two other captives are apparently in good physical health, but are held in isolation.


LAURA FATTAL, MOTHER OF JAILED HIKER: We are hoping that the Iranian authorities will show compassion and release our children as soon as possible. This has gone on way too long. It is just short of four months. I believe it's 117 days. And we cannot imagine why it is such a protracted detention.


MALVEAUX: "Newsweek" reporter Maziar Bahari knows exactly what those hikers are going through. He was freed in October after being held by Iran. And he has new information for those families about their loved ones.

Now, I spoke with him just a short while ago.

Here's what he said.


MALVEAUX: There are still some Americans who are being held hostage in Iran, those hikers. Their parents have come out with a message pleading for their release.

What would you say to their parents now, who -- who know that their children are -- are there or even to those hikers, who are almost four months now in Iranian custody?

MAZIAR BAHARI, "NEWSWEEK" REPORTER: Well, to their parents I can tell them that I heard their voices and they are -- I think they are in a good physical condition. But unfortunately, I think that they are the hostages of the Iranian government. And I think that the Iranian government wants to use them as a bargaining chip in any kind of negotiations that they have with the American government.

I can talk to them, if they want. They can contact me and I can tell them what I heard in prison. But they are in a good physical condition. But unfortunately, we have to accept that we are talking about a government that specialized in hostage taking.

MALVEAUX: Are you saying that you know or have heard anything about their conditions in the Iranian prison?

BAHARI: I heard them. I heard their -- I mean one of them was -- I'm not sure which one, but I heard one of them. He was interrogated in the room next to me. And I also heard the voice of the woman. I mean, I heard the voice of an American woman in prison. So I think that she was one of the hikers.

MALVEAUX: What did you hear?

BAHARI: I just heard that she was trying to make small talk with the guard, who could not understand her. And she sounded OK. I mean, of course, she's a prisoner. But I think she was in good physical health, at least.


MALVEAUX: Maziar Bahari was held for four months himself and he recalls some of his darkest moments in Iranian captivity.

Here's what he said. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: What was that like, the morning of June 21st, that horrific morning when you were first taken into custody?

BAHARI: I mean, as soon as I knew that I was going to be imprisoned in notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, I remembered all the interviews I had done with former prisoners of Evin and the horrific stories that they had told me. Especially I remembered one specific interview with a former communist activist who was in prison and before the revolution for 24 years and after the revolution for 10 years. And he told me that one day in an Islamic prison equals 10 years in the Shah's prison. So I was really worried.

MALVEAUX: When you first got there and you saw the wall and they took off the blindfold, what did you see?

BAHARI: I saw three sentences. "Help me, God," "My God, I repent" and "God have mercy on me." It was not a very welcoming sign.

MALVEAUX: And these were from former prisoners who had been in that very same solitary confinement?

BAHARI: Exactly. All the walls were covered in scribblings. And there were lots of markings on the walls, you know. Different prisoners had marked how many days they had spent in prison. And I looked at one of them and it was 49 days. And I thought to myself, my God, 49 days. I cannot be here for 49 days, because that's supposed to be a temporary situation. But I happened to be there for 118 days.

MALVEAUX: When you were in solitary confinement, tell me about your lowest point. I understand there were times that you thought yourself that you were considering -- really thinking about taking your life.

BAHARI: Yes. I contemplated committing suicide twice. I looked at the very same glasses and I thought that, you know, I could just break the lens and slit my wrist with it. And I thought about how long does it take to bleed to death. But then it was very short. I just thought about it may be for a few seconds, because it was -- I didn't know what was happening outside. I did not know about the international campaign. I -- I thought that there was a campaign, but my interrogator kept on telling me that no one cares about you.

And, also, he was threatening me with execution for almost three months. So being lonely and being threatened with execution almost, you know, every interrogation session, it made me really depressed. But when I thought about my family, my wife, my child, my mother, then, you know, I said that I should not do their job for them. If they want...

MALVEAUX: Were you tortured?

BAHARI: Yes. I mean, they thought that they did not torture me. I was not tortured in the classical sense of the meaning. I was not waterboarded or I was not -- they didn't pull my nails. But there was a lot of psychological torture, of course; but, also, physical torture. They beat -- I mean, my interrogator beat me a lot. He slapped me. He punched me. He kicked me. He hit me with a belt. He squeezed my ear. But the worst part was the psychological torture, because they are really the masters of psychological torture. They know how to put pressure on people psychologically.

MALVEAUX: At what point did you find out that there was an international campaign for your release?

BAHARI: Well, you know, the best day in my imprisonment was one day -- I think it was some time in September. One of the prison guards called me Mr. Hillary Clinton. And when I asked him why do you -- why you are calling me Mr. Hillary Clinton, he said because Hillary Clinton talked about you last night on television. And there and then I knew that there was an international campaign going on. Otherwise, Hillary Clinton would not have talked about me, because I'm not an American. So it was the best day of my imprisonment.


MALVEAUX: A stampede death on one of the busiest shopping days of the year -- what retailers are planning to do this Friday to prevent another tragedy.


MALVEAUX: Fredericka Whitfield is watching all the stories that are coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- hey, Fred, what are you following?

WHITFIELD: Hello, again, Suzanne, and everyone.

And, Suzanne, I know you're looking forward to this. The day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, when stores hope that price cuts and door buster sales will change their bottom line from red to black. Well, this year retailers were thinking about something else, too. They're finalizing plans to avoid a tragedy like that of Black Friday 2008, when a rush into a New York Wal-Mart resulted in the death of a store employee. Wal-Mart says it will simply stay open all night long now.

And Judge Lance Ito -- you remember his name. Well, he presided over the O.J. Simpson trial. The price for fame is paid by anyone trying to actually find Ito courtroom. According to the "L.A. Times," the placard that identifies his courtroom has been stolen over and over again. Judge Ito has tried replacing it and gluing it down, but now, if you need to get to his court, you simply have to ask in the lobby.

So here's a hint -- the next time you have to end up in his courtroom, it's on the ninth floor.

And in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the presidential Christmas tree was cut, wrapped and loaded today for a trip to the White House. It will be delivered by horse drawn wagon to the White House North Portico. And that is on Friday -- and, Suzanne, we'll allow you, as the White House correspondent, to fill in the blanks later on, when it's actually decorated, what it will look like and when it's actually lit.

MALVEAUX: Oh, it's going to be exciting. It's going to be Friday.


MALVEAUX: The first lady...

WHITFIELD: I want to (INAUDIBLE) do it now.

MALVEAUX: OK. I'll get you all those details, Fred.


MALVEAUX: It's going to be very exciting -- every year.


MALVEAUX: Well, the day America was attacked, a whistle blowing Web site released its half a million text messages sent by ordinary people on 9/11.

And Tea Party protesters are planning their own national convention. And they're giving top billing to former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.



Happening now, after an accident where four members of a family died at 120 miles per hour, Toyota has announced a massive recall of Toyota and Lexus cars. We'll tell you if your car is in potential danger.

Plus, President Obama will head to West Point to deliver next week's speech laying out the new Afghanistan strategy. Our CNN White House correspondent, Dan Lothian -- he's going to be here with all the details.

And a Congressman who says he was "Palinized" -- his bipartisan attempt to help those at the end of life turned into death panels who would kill grandma. Oregon's Earl Blumenauer will join us.

Wolf Blitzer is off today.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux.


Fire crews in Southern California will be spending Thanksgiving battling this 60 acre blaze in Orange County. Right now, their biggest concern is the wind -- gusts up to 50 miles an hour forecast for this afternoon. And right now, no homes are in danger, thank goodness. But it was a very different scene just a year ago, when a wildfire, you may recall, destroyed an entire neighborhood in another part of the region and the story of one boy's loss, reported here on CNN, inspired a tremendous outpouring of generosity from around the world.

Well, one year later, CNN's Kara Finnstrom -- she's reporting on the blessing that that family says it is receiving this Thanksgiving -- Kara, give us the update.

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, it has been a huge year for the Reyes family. We first reported on them during the immediate aftermath of that fire when they were bracing for the impact it would have on their son. Losing your home would be difficult for any child, but their 7-year-old Jonathan is also autistic.


JONATHAN REYES: I am thankful for my house which keeps me safe.

FINNSTROM: One year ago in this class Jonathan Reyes wrote a note to give his parents on thanksgiving.

JAN REYES, MOTHER: When he brought it home, we cried a lot.

FINNSTROM: Because before they ever read the letter their entire neighborhood had been ravaged by a wildfire.

AUGUSTINE REYES, FATHER: This is all that's left of my house.

FINNSTROM: Jonathan's father Augustine was the first to see the destruction, and the thought of telling Jonathan overwhelmed him.

A. REYES: He's autistic, and he doesn't do well with change, so this is going to be very hard to explain to him.

FINNSTROM: Augustine knew his son thrived on familiarity and routines. Now Jonathan was bewildered and afraid.

A. REYES: That's why I want you to be real careful, OK?

FINNSTROM: Everything he had loved was gone, from the cherished blanket he clutched to sleep to his fixation, more than 500 Hot Wheel cars.

J. REYES: One of my cars.

JAN REYES: I wanted to go and try and find him one of his Hot Wheels because he has none.

FINNSTROM: The toll on Jonathan was huge. He cried whenever he heard sirens, refused to eat and suffered from tantrums at school and night terrors at the family's temporary home.

JAN REYES: He'd wake up screaming. Really the autism kind of overtook him. FINNSTROM: But then slowly over months the intense therapy started working, and the support of hundreds of people touched by Jonathan's story lifted the family. Letters arrived from others with autism. A parent who had lost a son to cancer sent his hot wheel collection to Jonathan. More hot wheels came from Mattel headquarters, and even from soldiers in Iraq.

J. REYES: They decided to send me some Hot Wheels, and -- and then mommy and daddy started to cry.

JAN REYES: Here they are fighting for us, and they took the time out, a whole troop, who saw Jonathan in Iraq.

A. REYES: We saw how people really opened their hearts to us.

FINNSTROM: And now one year later a long-awaited return.

A. REYES: Are you ready to go home?

J. REYES: Yes.

A. REYES: Yes. How long have you been waiting for?

J. REYES: Every day.

FINNSTROM: The Reyes have left their apartment.

J. REYES: Bye.

A. REYES: Bye.

FINNSTROM: One of the first to rebuild in their beloved neighborhood.

A. REYES: Welcome to the new and improved Reyes residence.

FINNSTROM: Jonathan showed us his room.

J. REYES: Here are some of my Hot Wheels. I bet that you're going to want to see.

FINNSTROM: This thanksgiving Jonathan drew his new home for his parents.

A. REYES: Sort of just like a, gosh, like a little bird spreading his wings basically all over again.

FINNSTROM: And the Reyes say they couldn't be more grateful.

A. REYES: He's Jonathan. He came back.


FINNSTROM: An incredibly strong family, and Suzanne, they are going to be cooking up the turkey tomorrow for family and friends in their own home. MALVEAUX: They certainly are blessed. Thank you so much, Kara.

Well, a new look at 9/11. A whistle blowing website is release what appears to be transcriptions of text messages sent by ordinary folks on the day that America was attacked. Our CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve is joining us.

Jeanne, do we get a sense, does it give us a fresh look or a new look at that terrible day?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's not clear what new information there is but it's certainly a different perspective than what we've had. The logs per put to be text messages of 9/11 on Skytel and web link wireless networks. There are more than half a million of them. It's unclear how much new information may be gleaned from them, but certainly they bring back the horror, the panic and the pain more than eight years after the attacks.


MESERVE: At 8:45, the first plane hit the world trade center. By 8:509 first text indicating something is wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An aloha call is starting. This is for a fire at 2WT.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN said they think it was a plane that hit the building.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world trade center has just blown up. We seen the explosion outside our windows.

MESERVE: At 9:05 another plane hits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a deliberate attack; a second plane just flew into the second tower.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New York is under a terrorist attack.

MESERVE: By 9:25 the personal messages have grown more frequent and more frantic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, call my work as soon as you get in the office. I need to know you're safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wondering where you are. Are you OK? Give me a call back ASAP. I just need to know these things. Even if it's collect. Call me, Darryl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I do not hear from you by high noon, I'm going to pick Laura up at school and tell her father is dead.

MESERVE: Texts bring some people good news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Urgent. It's Tim. I'm OK. Call me at home. I was outside the build when text proceeded. I am fine. MESERVE: Others have to wait and worry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pete's OK. He can't find his brother who works in the world financial center next to the trade center

MESERVE: The Pentagon is hit, a fourth plane goes down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the twin towers in New York collapse and rumors are ramp ant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a hijacked plane circling Dulles Airport. Please call me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unconfirmed reports of plane crash at Camp David now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think one more plane may have been hijacked and headed towards the capitol building. Not sure.

MESERVE: And running through the texts, fear, panic and love.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you have a new relationship and do not care about me, but just in case anything happens know I love you, hon. Miss ya. Good-bye

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to hold you now.

MESERVE: Some of the texts have been verified and believe they are all authentic.

DANIEL SCHMITT, WIKILEAKS: I fully understand this is very emotional material, but this doesn't mean that it's not part of our historic.


MESERVE: Wikileaks will not say if the source was in government law enforcement industry or was a private citizen with the capability to intercept messages. Privacy experts are not pleased to see personal communications released and even less pleased that they were collected and then stored for these eight long years -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: I'm curious if there's any reaction from the 9/11 families.

MESERVE: We reached out to them and asked if they had something to say, the groups which represent 9/11 said, no, they didn't want to comment on this. My guess would be there's a rake of reaction, that some find it disturbing and others think it brings attention back to a pivotal moment in American history that we should be paying more attention to.

MALVEAUX: Thanks very much.

Hacked e-mails are now providing fodder for those who doubt climate change.

Plus, Sarah Palin is set to address a convention of the tea party movement. Are we seeing the birth of a potential third party?


MALVEAUX: President Obama will go to Copenhagen next month for a major climate change summit. That word today coming from the White House and it comes as Congress is still divided over new climate change legislation. Meanwhile, the global warming controversy, that is heating up as well, after hackers have made public some of the sensitive e-mails. Our CNN's Brooke Baldwin has the story.

Brooke, tell us what this is about, the center of this controversy over the e-mails.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, how about the timing of all of this. Yes, we are talking about hundreds of e-mails and documents spanning just about a decade here among prominent climate scientists and they have been hacked fanning really debate over whether some scientists my have exaggerated their case for manmade climate change.


BALDWIN: The consensus that the climate is changing, that the burning of fossil fuels is a significant factor goes way beyond the pop culture sensation of Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" and his appearance on last week's episode of "30 Rock" on NBC.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Kenneth, encourage your lawmakers to take action and recycle everything, including jokes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, sir, what?

GORE: Quiet. Oil is in trouble. I have to go.

BALDWIN: So when a reputable climate research institute has its computer server hacked and hundreds of its private e-mails made public, the news gets around fast, especially from groups that don't believe the global warming consensus. One e-mail attributed to the research center's director had this cryptic excerpt referring to the, quote, trick of adding in the real temps to each series to hide the decline in temperature. Because there's very little context in that e-mail and the others, it's hard to know what they will all add up to. A climate research unit in question posted a message calling this e- mail hack job mischievous and saying it is helping the police to confirm. Senator James Inhofe for many years has portrayed this data showing the warming trend as a hoax and sees the e-mails as evidence.

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: I'm pleased by the vast and growing number of scientists, politicians, reporters, all over the world who are publicly rejecting climate alarmism, alarmism. This is those who want to scare people into some kind of action, you know. The water is going to rise up. The world is coming to an end.

BALDWIN: But the White House energy czar points to the 2,500 climate scientists all around the world who agree the climate is warming and that these e-mails aren't changing that. As for the American public, according to a "Washington Post"/ABC News poll out this week, the number of Americans who believe global warming is happening is down from 80% to 72% from last year, down but still a large majority.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We really do have a global warming. The polar bears are getting in trouble and the glaciers are melting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do think that we tend to blow things a little out of proportion, but I do think we need to be concerned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is over hyped. I think some of it is attributed to man but not all of it.

BALDWIN: That same "Washington Post"/ABC News poll shows since 2006 the increase in climate skepticism is driven largely by a shift within the Republican Party and independents. There was also a dip among Democrats but small. Still, a majority of respondents support a national cap on greenhouse gas emissions.


BALDWIN: Now back to those hacked e-mails and the documents. We also want to point out that it suggests some scientists pressured journals not to publishing work of those who questioned whether the earth is in fact warming but, again, here, all of this coming out weeks as you mentioned Suzanne ahead of Copenhagen's climate summit where President Obama will in fact be attending, and today the White House announced that the president has prepared, speaking of those caps, to put on the table a U.S. emissions reduction target in the range of 17% below 2005 levels. That deadline for 2020, and by 83% by 2050, and you know this will ultimately be in line with targets laid out in a bill passed by the House earlier this year -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Yes. OK, thank you.

Obviously a problem potentially for the administration, relying on Congress to make this thing happen so thank you very much.

Well, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is going to get top billing at what is being called the first national tea party convention. The event scheduled for February is also going to feature a rising Republican star, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota. Our CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is joining us.

Candy, tell us about this movement here. How much power does it really have?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We'll see. Here's what we know. We know they can get an awful lot of headlines if they disrupt the town hall meetings. We know that they -- the tea party people went up to New York 23 and helped push a Republican candidate out of the running in favor of a conservative -- more conservative candidate who ultimately lost. The question of whether that is a national power is something else. We clearly -- clearly that's what they want to establish as their power. This isn't a national meeting. This is a national convention so it has all of the trappings of power. Reminded Tip O'Neill who wrote a book who said sometimes the perception of power is just as good as power as itself. Do you have the trappings, a convention?


CROWLEY: Will they make people pay attention?

MALVEAUX: The goal for them to become a legitimate third party, do you think?

CROWLEY: It's unclear, and even if it becomes a third party, and certainly if you talked to Dick Armey, former Republican leader Dick Armey, he certainly sounds like a man who believes the time for a third party has come, but there are more than 50 third parties in the U.S. and have had a hard time putting anyone in power at the national level and at the presidential level but third parties do tend to go ahead and most conversation. Lincoln was the last successful third- party candidate. Why? Because he took an issue, anti-slavery, and that's what he rode into office so third parties tend to take issues. Ross Perot, anti-deficit.


CROWLEY: And put it on to the front burner and that tends to be their biggest power.

MALVEAUX: And there's certainly a lot of attention being paid to this so we'll see where it goes and develops. Thank you very much, Candy.

Well, the president's new war strategy, he's going to announce it to the nation next week from west point, and we'll hear from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and a Florida teen who was set on fire and horribly burned takes his first tough steps towards recovery. His parents are speaking out.


MALVEAUX: The parents of a Florida teenager who was set on fire and horribly burned, they are speaking out in detail for the first time about their son's ordeal and his first grueling steps towards recovery. They talked to CNN's Ed Lavandera. What are they telling you?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, I asked if they had learned anything through their son's ordeal, they said they learned how strong he is. When you hear what he's going through right now, you'll know why he says that.


LAVANDERA: For Michael Brewer the pain is excruciating, simply touching the hair on his head sends pain through his body. They see the agony in the young man's eye. VALERIE BREWER, MOTHER: When he manages to get a smile, it really makes it easier to get through the day. It's a struggle. It's a daily struggle. It hurts him terribly just to take a drink. Just to live his arm up like this, he can lift it this far and then he has to put his head forward this far just to take a drink because it hurts so bad to move.

LAVANDERA: Brewer's family and doctors sound more hopeful about his chances of surviving, he's breathing on his own. He's started three hours of daily physical therapy. Doctors say it's crucial to move the burned joints.

DR. NICHOLAS NAMIAS, JACKSON MEMORIAL BURN CENTER: When it hurts and you really just want to lay down and curl up in a ball and make the pain go away, that's when you have to move the most and he's having to go through that right now.

LAVANDERA: Brewer's parents say it's nearly impossible to watch their son suffer through the therapy but nothing is worse than watching nurses give Michael a bath.

BREWER: In the shower they take a piece of gauss and they wipe off all the dead skin. They give him painkillers for that, but it's incredibly painful and it breaks my heart every time they have to do it because it's just incredibly painful.

LAVANDERA: Is that what you call the torture hour?

BREWER: That's what we call the torture hour, yes.

LAVANDERA: Ozzie Osborne helps Michael get through the shower every day. The singer sent him a gift package with the CD.

BREWER: He focuses on Ozzie and he gets through his torture hour.

LAVANDERA: Brewer's parents say Michael doesn't talk about the teenagers who set him on fire after he reported them for stealing a bike. Jeremy Jarvis has been arrested but has not been charged. He offered brewer an apology.

JEREMY JARVIS, DEFENDANT'S BROTHER: I will pray for Mikie to grow stronger every day and for Mikie's speedy recovery.

LAVANDERA: Michael saw the statement from his hospital room.

MICHAEL BREWER, FATHER: I said do you know who that is? He said yes, it's Jeremy. I said do you know what he said? He said something about me, that's about it.

BREWER: He used to have bouts of anger, but he doesn't anymore. He's very focused on his recovery.


LAVANDERA: The Brewers also tell me that none of the accused teenagers nor their parents have reached out to them in any way to express their condolences, but it doesn't sound like a phone call they are willing to take at this point. There's really nothing to say to them at this point.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you Ed. We wish him a speedy recovery.

President Obama is poised to announce his next move in the Afghan war. His press secretary talks to CNN about the highly anticipated decision.

Plus the humble blue jeans once reserved for cowboys and rodeos but it is now the choice of politicians and runway models. We'll take you to those runway shows in France.


MALVEAUX: They're an American original, but the French are taking jeans to a new height, and price tags to match. Jim Bitterman is in Paris with that story.


JIM BITTERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure the backside of a cow tanned into leather might find its way to the luxury goods shelf and cowboy jeans are never out of fashion for a cowboy on a bull or a bronco. And the American president following suit, maybe his baggy bomb jeans did beg for a little French touch, when you see the world's makers and shakers sporting rivets and blue cotton twill, maybe jeans have permanently left the rodeo circuit behind.

SABINE LE CHATELIER, PREMIERE VISION: They're the values that are interesting.

BITTERMAN: So interesting that a designer decided to move them toward jet set jeans with a business to business denim show.

CHATELIER: It's a very low price, but you can find them for a very, very high price.

BITTERMAN: How high? Well, if you shop at the relentlessly chic Paris boutique Collette, you might run into a member of the velvet underground reading poetry at the downstairs water bar, upstairs you can spend just about anything on a pair of jeans, $150 for a pair of cutoffs, to more than 2,000 Euros, about $3,500 for a pair studded with fake diamonds.

LUBINA PLAYOUST, COLETTE: You can like wear it after skiing all day or you can wear them to a party.

BITTERMAN: And even though my beat up Lees have never been to a either shellac or a cocktail party. How much are these?

PLAYOUST: I would say between $150 and 200 Euros.

BITTERMAN: Perhaps I paid so little because I wore out my jeans myself. If you have someone do it for you, it can run a whole lot more. Visit any department store and you'll find plenty of designer made holes and bleach blotches.

Trying to work out why one pair of jeans cost so much more than another is interesting. This one for instance with it's patching and embroidery and holes in all the right places are worth about the 120 Euros or $180 you have to pay for them. Contrast that with this pair, this pair has got no embroidery no patches and looking pretty distressed here, they're 240 Euros, about $360 a pair. At the French fashion institute, a hot house of design for the young creators and designers of tomorrow said that when jeans started to become luxury goods, price really was not a concern.

PATRICIA ROMATET, FRENCH FASHION INSTITUTE: What would be a realistic price, I don't think you're buying just the jeans, you're buying a kind of treatment and you buy the opportunity of sharing the universe of the brand.

BITTERMAN: At the school they like to remember what the business manager once said about jeans, without a doubt, he observed, they are the most important article of clothing of the 20th century. Any fashion designer that does not have an ongoing dialogue with the streets, he said, is not in dialogue with his times.

JIM Bitterman, CNN -- Paris