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Tiger Woods Talks; Fan Reaction to Tiger Woods' Apology; Saving the Farm
Aired February 19, 2010 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, time now for your top-of-the-hour reset. I'm Tony Harris in the CNN NEWSROOM.
It's noon in Florida, where Tiger Woods apologizes for cheating on his wife, but does not announce his return to golf.
It is 11:00 in Austin, Texas, where investigators are looking for clues in the suicide plane attack on an IRS office.
And down on the farm. African-Americans claim victory in their long- running legal battle with the federal government.
Let's do this -- let's get started.
Tiger Woods doing it his way, to be sure. The disgraced golfer breaking his silence just last hour. In a carefully scripted, lengthy apology to family, friends, and fans, Woods saying sorry for the sex scandal that shattered his good-guy image.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: I know, I have bitterly disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did. I'm embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: OK. Tiger Woods covered a lot of ground in that carefully- orchestrated apology.
Let's get straight to CNN's Susan Candiotti. She is in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
All right, Susan. How did the grousing media handle being sequestered away from all the action?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, no one likes that, because we like to be right in the room to see where the person is speaking. And we certainly all knew ahead of time that Tiger Woods said and made it perfectly clear that he was not going to be taking any questions from anyone in the room.
Let's recap if you didn't already know it. Inside the room, there were strictly a couple of cameras in there, and this was controlled by Tiger Woods' representatives, as well as the PGA Tour. It was prearranged that there would be some pool reporters in there, but, again, they were not permitted to ask any questions.
And so, above and beyond that, you could have been in Alaska watching this just as easily as you could be where we were. And there was a ballroom set up in a hotel about a mile away from where Tiger was speaking, because they kept all the reporters there to watch via closed-circuit television about what was going on.
So, from there, I could tell you, you could hear a pin drop in the room. Only a couple of audible reactions, including at the very end, when Tiger Woods went over to hug his mother, and that lasted a good 15 seconds or so. That's probably the most reaction you heard throughout.
Certainly, you heard Tiger say time and again, "I'm sorry." He took full responsibility. He said, "I know a lot of people want to know about how many women I have been with and what's going to happen with me and my wife Elin and our marriage," but he said, "I'm not going to answer those questions."
Typical Tiger. He guards his privacy very jealously, and he said, "That is a matter that is going to be between me and my wife."
He said, "I'm not going to rule out a return to golf later this year," but he's not putting any specific timetable to it. And the other headline here is that he confirmed for the first time publicly that he was in 45 days of therapy, late December, early February, and that he's returning to therapy --
CANDIOTTI: -- tomorrow -- Tony.
HARRIS: Hey, Susan, anyone from his wife's family in the room?
CANDIOTTI: Well, we did not -- if there was anyone there from his wife's family, no one that I spoke with. Certain people who did know some people in the crowd, they didn't recognize anyone.
They did notice a couple of longtime friends of his who were in the room. And, of course, the PGA commissioner was also there. And Tony, he's going to be addressing all of us in about the next 15 minutes. He'll be taking questions.
HARRIS: Yes. I wonder what he's going to say about all of this.
All right. Susan Candiotti for us.
Susan, appreciate it. Thank you.
You know, all of this started the day after Thanksgiving last year. Early that morning, Tiger Woods crashed his vehicle outside his Florida home. A neighbor was on the phone to 911 almost immediately. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a neighbor. He hit the tree. And we came out here just to see what was going on. I see him, he's laying down.
911 OPERATOR: You mean there was an auto accident?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there was an auto accident. Yes.
911 OPERATOR: Is he unconscious?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
911 OPERATOR: OK. Are you able to tell if he's breathing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I can't tell right now.
911 OPERATOR: OK. All right. We do have help on the way. What color is his car?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a black Escalade.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HARRIS: Initially, Woods refused to talk to the highway patrol. A citation was issued and Woods was fined $164.
Then the sex scandal broke. Numerous women came forward claiming affairs with the golfer. In the midst of it all, his mother-in-law was rushed to the hospital. And on December 11th, Woods announced he was taking a break from his sport.
If you missed part or all of Tiger Woods' statement, or you want to watch it again in its entirety, you can just go to our Web site at CNN.com.
And some other top stories we are following right now.
A flat-out denial from Iran that it is trying to build a nuclear bomb. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the Islamic republic "... isn't seeking and doesn't believe in pursuing such weapons," his words, after the leak of a draft report by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency. It says Iran has repeatedly tried to mislead regulators and could be secretly working on a nuclear weapon.
The reaction from the White House?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We've always said that if Iran failed to live up to those international obligations, that there would be consequences. I think this report is -- demonstrates for the world, again, the obligations they are failing to live up to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: The denial by Iran's supreme leader came during the country's launch of a new destroyer armed with surface-to-air missiles.
Firefighters in Austin, Texas, put out hot spots in an IRS office building today. They've recovered two bodies. One is believed to be the pilot who deliberately flew his plane into the building, 53-year- old Joseph Stack. The other apparently an IRS employee.
Stack railed in an online suicide note about the run-ins with the IRS. Two people are critically injured from the crash and explosion, 11 others described as walking wounded.
Back to our top story now, the 14-minute-long apology from Tiger Woods.
Our Richard Roth is at the ESPN Zone in New York getting reaction from fans.
And Richard, how did this statement go over in that room?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what was amazing to me is when Tiger Woods first started speaking, and throughout the 13-minute remarks, it was total silence. This, in the ESPN Zone, which is usually a cacophony of television monitors, screaming baseball, football announcers.
There was just total silence. Nobody eating, really, or drinking.
With me, some sports fans, golf fans from Ohio and from New York.
I have Chuck and Lynn here. They're married. They may differ on the Tiger Woods' statement.
Chuck, what did you think? Give to it me straight.
CHUCK ASENTE, TIGER WOODS FAN: Tiger said he got in trouble because he felt entitled, that this was what his problem was. Yet, he went to this news conference where he dictated who was going to be in the news conference.
Were there going to be questions? No. Tiger was going to dictate because he was entitled to dictate how the news conference was carried out. Has that much changed? Is there much change?
ROTH: Did you accept all the apologies?
ASENTE: Tiger doesn't have to apologize to me. Tiger has to apologize to his wife. He said he was going to change. I don't see change when you're still using your entitlement to dictate how a press conference is carried out.
ROTH: Lynn, did you see change? What did you think?
LYNN ASENTE, TIGER WOODS FAN: As a mom and a wife, I felt those comments were nice. It broke my heart watching his mother there, but I accept his apologies. I can forgive him.
ROTH: What about his statements, the cheating? Do you believe he can change his behavior? He says believe in him at a future date.
L. ASENTE: I believe in people. And I think he can change. Anybody can change. Anyone can change.
ROTH: Lynn, thank you.
Sanford, what do you think? Golf fan. Tiger Woods, where does he stand in your mind?
SANFORD MARTIN, GOLF FAN: Well, obviously, golf is a game of immense concentration. I think it's going to be impossible for him to get up on the first tee, in his first tournament, back from all of this and be able to concentrate on hitting the ball accurately with the entire gallery behind him saying, Tiger, get it in the hole, get it in the hole.
I mean, there's just no way that a lot of people are going to be able to trust him again after this. I may be a golf fan, but I'm not really a Tiger fan after this. He doesn't owe me an apology personally. He owes the lord an apology and his family an apology. And I don't think he succeeded today in doing that.
ROTH: Yet you told me before, he didn't kill anyone.
MARTIN: No, he didn't kill anybody, but -- so it's going to take a while for people to forgive him, but they're never going to forget.
ROTH: All right.
Lynn, what do you think?
L. ASENTE: Good points. All of them are good points, but I still think people can change. And I hope he can. And I like what he said about his wife and his children -- leave them alone. She's been classy throughout the whole thing.
ROTH: OK. Lynn, Chuck, Sanford, thank you very much.
The view from middle America here in New York, and New York here at the ESPN Zone. Sports fans reviewing the 13-minute tape, you might say.
Tony, back to you.
HARRIS: Yes. All right.
Richard, appreciate it. Thank you. And thank those folks for us.
You know, we're going to get a woman's perspective on Tiger -- love the comments from Lynn -- on Tiger's statement last hour, along with the thoughts from sportswriters who followed his career closely.
And Charlie Reimer (ph), Charlie was a good player.
Oh, he's not with us? Oh, shoot.
First though, our "Random Moment" in 45 seconds.
HARRIS: So, a lot of Tiger news today, right? But our "Random Moment" is all about a zebra.
What did we find here? Oh. Well, you will forgive rush hour drivers in Atlanta if they thought they were hallucinating.
Yes, that is a zebra on Atlanta's main downtown freeway. The interloper got spooked, broke away from her handlers at a nearby circus.
Police shut down the highway and escorted the zebra off the road. This perp, already in prison stripes, our "Random Moment of the Day."
HARRIS: All right. This is going to be good. I'm just ready to get to it.
Tiger Woods apologizing publicly last hour for his infidelity. He blamed no one but himself for the scandal that shadowed him for months now.
So, what do we make of Tiger's true confessions?
With me from New York, criminal defense attorney Midwin Charles.
Midwin, why did we book you? You're a criminal defense attorney, a legal contributor to "In Session" on truTV. Are you going to defend Tiger Woods? We'll find in a second.
And Jim Gorant with Sports Illustrated's "Golf Plus" magazine.
Hey, Midwin, all right, whichever hat you want to put on here and offer up this analysis, what did you think of the statement from Tiger Woods last hour?
MIDWIN CHARLES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, look, I think he gets an A for effort. Right?
I mean, after all, it's been about two, three months, we haven't heard from him. And I think him coming forward, I think, was helpful. What he sought to accomplish from this I think was to try to get his sponsors back, frankly. This was not about trying to appease to his wife and his children.
HARRIS: Boy, didn't he sound like a corporation when he was talking there, Midwin?
CHARLES: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I don't really think that he nailed the job, because he never really said when he was going to come back to golf.
At the end of the day, that's what he needs to do. Remember Kobe Bryant? No, because he went back to play and won championships, and no one remembered that he was charged with a felony.
And, Jim, what are your thoughts on the statement from Tiger?
JIM GORANT, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Well, I thought he covered a lot of ground and he sort of -- it was a good first step. He did what he needed to do. You know, he covered a lot of bases. He shot down a lot of rumors.
He did say that he will come back to golf, not immediately. He sort of seemed to be walking a fine line. There were parts of it that were a little robotic and parts of it seemed a little more sincere. But overall, I think it was a good first step.
HARRIS: Hey, what did you think, Jim, about the anger expressed over the media coverage and the harassment of his wife and his children?
GORANT: Yes, I thought that was one of the missteps --
HARRIS: Now, why would you think that would be --
CHARLES: I agree.
HARRIS: You agree?
CHARLES: I agree.
HARRIS: That it was a misstep?
CHARLES: I do.
CHARLES: I do agree it was a misstep.
HARRIS: Well, someone tell me why.
CHARLES: Because I think he brought that on himself.
GORANT: I think it was OK to address those things and talk about them, but to say that those things made him angry, sort of at this point, people are, like, I don't care what make makes you angry. Sure, if you want to come up and say my wife never hit me, there was never any sort of physical abuse going on here, that's worth talking about. But saying those things that make him angry, nobody cares what makes him angry right now.
HARRIS: Well, I guess that --
(CROSSTALK) CHARLES: Well, if I may, no one cares, because he brought that on himself. If you're someone who claims to really want privacy, why would you go out and have these numerous affairs and not think that that would put the spotlight on him?
HARRIS: Midwin, that is his point. That's his point.
His point is, I did this, me, Tiger Woods. Not my wife. Not my kids. If you want to train your cameras on someone, train your cameras on me.
CHARLES: It's a little too late. If you're someone who is in the spotlight and in the media, you have to know that if you engage in such behavior, that the cameras will come looking for you, your wife, your children, your mother, and everybody else you know in your life.
CHARLES: He has to kind of get over this, oh, my goodness, I can't believe that the spotlight is on my family. Get over it. He brought it on himself.
HARRIS: Hey, Jim, did you -- do you expect at some point he'll do some big mea culpa interview? I don't think so. I didn't get that sense at all. Some Oprah sit-down? Did you get a sense?
GORANT: No, I think this was his version of that. You know, the interesting part was, was it a press conference, was it just an announcement? There was a lot of debate about that the last couple days.
And clearly, I think he looked at it as he was just making a public announcement about this, or a public speech, and covering a lot of these topics. But the truth is, those questions aren't going to go away because of this. And whenever he does play again or make an appearance, he is going to have to face the questions and a lot of others at some point. This is not going to make it stop.
Jim, share with people the special insight you have as a golf writer. You spend time in these news conferences with Tiger Woods. I've watched a lot of his news conferences on television. This felt like pretty classic Tiger, except that it was a little -- it was a lot more scripted than usual.
But this felt like Tiger. If he doesn't want to answer a question, he doesn't answer it. And if he starts to get a little ticked, you feel it in the room.
Didn't this feel to you like Tiger Woods, the Tiger Woods you've been covering for years?
GORANT: Well, yes. There's definitely an element of that. I mean, Tiger's all about control, from controlling his golf ball to controlling his life. And so there was definitely -- you know, when this was set up, there was a sense of that, and people reacted angrily to a lot of it.
But I think parts of it -- I think parts of what he said, you know, were sincere. And, you know, I think, like you pointed out earlier, he went very far in taking the blame and saying, this was my fault, I did this.
You know, his previous Web statement just used the word "transgressions." He said flat-out here, you know, I had affairs, I cheated. He seemed to be really trying to own up to everything and to say the right things, you know, and to make people believe that he really feels them and he's making a change going forward.
So, while there was definitely a sense of, this is classic Tiger trying to control a situation, trying to dictate how it's going to go down, you know, there was some other stuff in there.
Midwin, good to see you. Let's have you back on the program early and often.
CHARLES: Good to see you, too.
HARRIS: Jim, good to see you as well.
What is everyone saying about Tiger? Boy, I've been reading some of the comments from my blog.
And should we read some here? Should we do that?
OK. We've got some now.
Andy says, "I think Tiger's comments about the media, legitimate. I think it's ridiculous how the media makes a circus out of everyone's private lives. The media shouldn't be stalking his family just to get a story."
And it's all over the Web -- Josh.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
Tony, you know, in addition to the blog, which by the time I'm back with you in, like, half an hour, we will easily have passed 1,000 just on this. It's only been up for a few minutes.
LEVS: In addition to the exploding Tony blog this morning, and Josh blog, CNN.com/Tony or CNN.com/Josh -- you can join in -- we're also following Twitter. We're following Facebook.
This is what you call a predictable Web storm.
We also have coming -- the cloud arrived, and it is raining Tiger all over the Internet. What you have to say, plus the word "cloud," Tony, that shows you which words Tiger Woods used the most and least in his extremely watched statement today.
All coming up this hour, right here, Tony.
HARRIS: We'll be right back.
HARRIS: You know, they are a minority in the fields and struggle to survive. Discrimination against black farmers is what we're talking about in our "What Matters" segment.
Black farmers have been protesting across the country, saying the U.S. Department of Agriculture wrongly delayed or denied loans to them for years. The USDA acknowledged that bias back in 1999. Now the Obama administration has announced a $1.25 billion settlement to help tens of thousands of farmers.
Joining us from Washington, John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association.
John, it's good to see you. Good to talk to you.
JOHN BOYD, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BLACK FARMERS ASSOCIATION: Tony, it's good to be here with you.
HARRIS: Well, appreciate your time.
Look, you have been working on this for several years. What are your thoughts on the settlement?
BOYD: Well, the settlement is just a huge victory for black farmers. Black farmers have been waiting to receive this compensation for nearly 15 years.
In 1999, we settled the first settlement where 14,000 black farmers were meritorious, and we thought we were just heading for higher ground. And little did we know that nearly 80,000 black farmers came after the filing deadline. And today, as the president made the historic announcement, along with Secretary Vilsack -- and we want to commend the administration for doing the right thing by the nation's black farmers.
HARRIS: John, a big problem for black farmers was the length of time it was taking to get a loan. In some cases, it would take a black farmer a year to get a loan while white farmers would get loans approved in, what, about 30 days?
BOYD: In about 30 days.
HARRIS: Yes, in about 30 days.
Is this settlement going to fix that?
BOYD: I hope this settlement will set a tone at the Department of Agriculture that discrimination needs to come to a head and cease and desist. And I hope that's something that the secretary will move forward with it.
And Tony, as I'm sitting here thinking about the settlement and how historic it is, but we need Congress to act and appropriate the funds for America's black farmers. So, without the enactment by March 31st, then we may be starting all over again. So, if the leaders of Congress are watching today, Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid, we want them to do the right thing and appropriate the $1.25 billion for America's black farmers.
HARRIS: Well, wait a minute, John. You know how polarized this political environment is right now.
BOYD: Yes, I do.
HARRIS: You got to get 60 votes. The supermajority for Democrats is gone.
HARRIS: Do you think this settlement will be funded?
BOYD: Well, I'm hopeful that this is something that the president certainly can help us out with. This is the second time that he put the $1.25 billion, and included it in his budget. But I'm hoping that he will go a step further and reach out to the leadership in Congress and say, hey, this is something that is important to this administration, and it's important to him.
He actually sponsored my bill, Tony, when he was a U.S. senator, that allowed the 80,000 black farmers to have their cases heard based on -- based on their merits. So, I think that the president is sincere in doing the right thing, and I'm hopeful that he will reach out to leaders in Congress and ask them to appropriate this money so America's black farmers can see some justice.
HARRIS: John, we're going to keep watching this story.
BOYD: Thank you.
HARRIS: Appreciate it. Thanks for your time today.
BOYD: Thank you, Tony.
HARRIS: Yes, my pleasure.
And to read more stories that matter to all of us, pick up the latest issue of "Essence" magazine, on newsstands right now, or you can go online to CNN.com/whatmatters.
If you didn't get to see the statement from Tiger Woods, we're going to play it in its entirety. That is next, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Tiger Woods facing his demons. The disgraced golfer has delivered his first public confession about being unfaithful to his wife. We brought you the apology live last hour, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Let's roll it again, camera glitch and all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOODS: Many of you in this room are my friends. Many of you in this room know me. Many of you have cheered for me or you worked with me or you supported me. Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me.
I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in.
I know people want to find out how I could be so selfish and so foolish. People want to know how I could have done these things to my wife, Elin, and to my children. And while I have always tried to be a private person, there are some things I want to say.
Elin and I have started the process of discussing the damage caused by my behavior. As Elin pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words. It will come from my behavior over time. We have a lot to discuss. And, however, what we say to each other will remain between the two of us.
I am also aware of the pain my behavior has caused to those of you in this room. I have let you down. I have let down my fans. For many of you, especially my friends, my behavior has been a personal disappointment. To those of you who work for me, I have let you down personally and professionally. My behavior has caused considerable worry to my business partners.
To everyone involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors, and, most importantly, the young students we reach, our work is more important than ever. Thirteen years ago, my dad and I envisioned helping young people achieve their dreams through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow. From the Learning Center students in southern California, to the Earl Woods scholars in Washington, D.C., millions of kids have changed their lives, and I am dedicated to making sure that continues.
But, still, I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did. I'm embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry.
I have a lot to atone for. But there's one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that Elin somehow hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that. Elin never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever. Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin deserves praise, not blame.
The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable. And I am the only person to blame.
I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself.
I ran straight threw the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have far -- I didn't have to go far to find them.
I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone, apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me.
I've had a lot of time to think about what I've done. My failures had me -- have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before. It's now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made. It's up to me to start living a life of integrity.
I once heard -- and I believe it's true -- it's not what you achieve in life that matters, it's what you overcome. Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example. Character and decency are what really count.
Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe all those families a special apology. I want to say to them that I am truly sorry.
It's hard to admit that I need help. But I do. For 45 days, from the end of December to early February, I was in in-patient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing. I have a long way to go, but I've taken my first steps in the right direction.
As I proceed, I understand people have questions. I understand the press wants me to -- wants to ask me for the details of the times I was unfaithful. I understand people want to know whether Elin and I will remain together. Please know that as far as I'm concerned, every one of these questions and answers is a matter between Elin and me. These are issues between a husband and a wife.
Some people have made up things that never happened. They said I used performance-enhancing drugs. This is completely and utterly false. Some have written things about my family. Despite the damage I have done, I still believe it is right to shield my family from the public spotlight. They did not do these things. I did.
I have always tried to maintain a private space for my wife and children. My behavior doesn't make it right for the media to follow my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to school and report the school's location. They staked out my wife and they pursued my mom. Whatever my wrong doings, for the sake of my family, please leave my wife and kids alone.
I recognize I have brought this on myself. And I know, above all, I am the one who needs to change. I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to become a better man. That's where my focus will be.
I have a lot of work to do. And I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path, for me, is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don't realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist and I actively practiced my faith from childhood, until I drifted away from it in recent years.
Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.
As I move forward, I will continue to receive help, because I've learned that's how people really do change. Starting tomorrow, I will leave for more treatment and more therapy. I would like to thank my friends at Accenture and the players in the field this week for understanding why I'm making this -- these remarks today.
In therapy, I've learned the importance of looking at my spiritual life and keeping in balance with my professional life. I need to regain my balance and be centered so I can save the things that are important to me, my marriage and my children.
That also means relying on others for help. I've learned to seek support from my peers in therapy, and I hope some day to return that support to others who are seeking help.
I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don't know when that day will be. I don't rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game.
In recent weeks, I have received many thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from people expressing good wishes. To everyone who has reached out to me and my family, thank you. Your encouragement means the world to Elin and me. I want to thank the PGA Tour, Commissioner Finchem, and the players for their patience and understanding while I work on my private life. I look forward to seeing my fellow players on the course.
Finally, there are many people in this room, and there are many people at home, who believed in me. Today, I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: OK. If you missed any part of Tiger Woods' statement, or you simply want to watch it again in its entirety, just go to our website, cnn.com.
Let's get a quick check of our top stories now. Why is a man, who friends say was easygoing, crash his plane into a building in Austin, Texas? A note attributed to him on the Internet rails against the IRS. It had offices in that building. Two bodies have been recovered. Two people are in the hospital.
Toyota's top man plans to go before Congress, receiving an official invitation. Akio Toyoda says he will testify next week about some of the problems his company is having. The House Oversight Committee is looking into the accelerator issues. Lawmakers want to know what took so long.
We're back in a moment.
HARRIS: Let's do this. You know, speaking now and taking questions in the aftermath of the statement from Tiger Woods is PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. Let's have a listen.
TIM FINCHEM, PGA TOUR COMMISSIONER: I have not I mean, no, I haven't had any specific information from him in my conversations about what he plans to do. My sense is that, as candidly as always been the case, he will play when he's ready and he thinks he can compete. But he has prioritized clearly now over the last three months getting to a certain point with the issues he's dealing with before he wants to take that step. And only he can make that decision. And when he's prepared to say when he's prepared to do that, take that step, I'm sure he'll let us know. But I have no time line.
HARRIS: And that's PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.
We've got this statement just in from Nike. One of Tiger's major sponsors. And here it is. It reads, "Tiger has apologized and made his position clear. Nike fully supports him and his family. We look forward to him returning to golf."
For space shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station, it is time to part ways. After more than a week of being hitched, the shuttle will undock from the station tonight. Endeavour and its six crew members are scheduled to return to earth Sunday night.
HARRIS: Closing your credit cards and modifying loans. Our personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, gathers "The Help Desk" team for some tips on managing your money.
GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: It's time now for "The Help Desk," where we get you answers to your financial questions. Joining me this hour, John Simons is the senior personal finance editor at "Black Enterprise" magazine. Jacquette Timmons is a financial adviser and author.
Let's get right to those questions. Jules asks, "all of the money experts have told us not to close credit cards because it will cause our FICO score to drop. But now banks are telling me that our FICO scores dropped because we have too many credit cards and we need to close all our cards except for one. If we do this, will our FICO score go up? What's your advice?"
JACQUETTE TIMMONS, FINANCIAL ADVISER: Well, I'm a bit curious because which bank is telling them this and which card are they recommending them that they keep. Because each lender has a different process for assessing your credit risk. And while it's true that if you have too many credit cards, it means you have more access to credit and you can go further into debt. But I would be really surprised to hear that one bank is telling you to close them all and recommending that you keep one open. Who's the issuer of that credit card?
WILLIS: It's very tricky.
TIMMONS: It is.
WILLIS: And depends on how old that card is.
Let's go to Cheryl from Georgia who asks, "my mortgage company won't modify my loan because I'm not yet in default on my credit report. How do I get my mortgage company to modify my loan so I can make sure I can stay in my home with reasonable payments?"
John, this is very tricky. People don't understand how the program works. And, in fact, it's been a problematic program.
JOHN SIMONS, SR. PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR, "BLACK ENTERPRISE": Yes, it is. The bank -- what she needs to do in this situation is go over the bank's head. Go right to the federal government's loan modification program. Basically, to qualify for that program, you need to fulfill a couple of requirements. But the main thing is that you need to be paying a monthly mortgage payment, plus taxes and insurance, of more than 31 percent of your monthly income. That qualifies you for a modification. Not the -- not whether you're close to default or not. You need to -- basically she needs to go to makinghomeaffordable.gov and call one of the -- the government's loan counselors, loan modification counselors.
WILLIS: Great idea. And I love that, go over your bank's head. Great idea. Thanks, guys.
"The Help Desk" is all about getting you answers. Send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We might just answer it right here next week. You can also pick up the latest issue of "Money" magazine on newsstands now.
HARRIS: So, a lot of you have a lot to say about Tiger Woods' public apology. Let's get right to it with Josh Levs.
We're talking about tweets, blogs, I-Reports, everything, Josh.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Tony, like I said, it's a storm on the Internet. It's raining Tiger right now.
LEVS: I'm going to give you a quick tour of a whole bunch of little stops along the way, all right? Let's take a look. First, we've got to see this screen behind me from Wordle. What we've done is we took his statement, plugged it into Wordle, it creates what's called a word cloud. The biggest words here are the ones he said the most and the smaller ones are the ones he said the least.
Over here you have apology there. It's kind of (INAUDIBLE). See, there's apology.
HARRIS: Right. Right.
LEVS: Sorry's over here. You can see the words that come up most often. His wife's name is over here. Want is big at the top. No, children, behavior. People -- some people having fun with this online. It's sometimes interesting, especially when someone puts so much thought into the words, what words end up there the most.
All right, let's back (ph) this a little more. Oh, you can open these in the control room. Take a look here.
This is a company that takes a look on Twitter at what people's opinions are in general. We have before and after for you, so let's get right to those. This company called Crimson Hexagon. And they were looking around on Twitter, what beforehand people thought.
LEVS: Do they and beforehand we're seeing 11 percent of people there said they didn't care. Twenty percent of people were saying this is all over hyped, no more. And now they're taking a look at after. And you know what, based on the numbers I'm seeing here, it hasn't changed that much.
LEVS: It still showing (ph) people having similar opinions of him so far. Whether he's considered arrogant, whether he's considered cool, whether they're liking him. So far, in the immediacy, no change there.
All right. Quickly, before I get kicked out of here, let's go over to a couple of things. We've got a lot of things for you. We've got FaceBook. We've got Twitter. I want you to see a few of the ones we've pulled up here for. This is from Twitter. Let's go to this one right here.
"I wish Tiger Woods would just say, dude, I'm a kajillionaire. What did you expect? Now leave me alone and let's play golf."
Other people saying, you know what, I really care about this (ph). People weigh in.
HARRIS: Josh. Josh.
HARRIS: Josh, got to go, because the president is taking part in a town hall meeting in Las Vegas. Let's take you to Las Vegas.
Thank you, Josh.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And your own Dina Titus. Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford. You've got State Assembly Majority Leader, John Oceguera. Clark County Commissioner Chairman Rory Reid. Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen. Former Governor Bob Miller.
We've got -- first, can everybody give a huge round of applause for Tina Long (ph) for the great introduction of Harry Reid. Green Valley High School Principal Jeff Horn. There you go. Pump it up. Let's go. Obviously not exam time yet, because of the standing o. The Green Valley High School marching band that played at my inauguration. Give them a big round of applause. Thank you. They played "Viva Las Vegas" at the review stand. They did.
And finally, he (INAUDIBLE) I want to give special acknowledge to Greg Kohler (ph), the North (ph) Fire Department, who just returned from 14 days in Haiti giving medical assistance (INAUDIBLE). Thank you. We're proud of him. Thank you.
It's good to be back in Nevada. Good to be back in Vegas. Good to be back in Henderson. And good to be with my good friend, your great senator, Harry Reid.