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CNN NEWSROOM

Breakthrough in Miner Rescue; Dozen Overdoses & Assault at Party; Suiting Up for Comic Con; The O'Donnell Effect; Girl's Suicide Linked to 'Sexting'

Aired October 9, 2010 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Now on CNN:

Drugged for sex -- that's what police say happened to nearly a dozen young women at a college party. At least one suspect caught in the act when the cops arrived. An update from the police and university -- moments away.

And don't laugh at those people you call posers anymore. They may know something you don't especially when it comes to landing a job in this economic climate. Advise from the expert who did the eye-opening study in just minutes.

And if you like TV, movies, comics, anime, video games, novels -- boy, have we got something for you and perfect for a Saturday. We're taking you to Comic Con in New York City with very a lovely and talented tour guide.

(MUSIC)

LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you for joining us.

We begin tonight in Chile with a developing story, where the days in the dark are numbered for the 33 miners trapped.

(VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That's a celebration on the surface as a rescue drill finally reached the men. They've been stuck for more than 2,000 feet underground for 65 days. But it will take a few more days before they feel the sunshine, again.

And our Karl Penhaul is in Chile. And he is going to walk us through the next steps -- Karl.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First of all, they have to pull the bars out of the rescue shaft. That's where the drill hammers attach. And that's the process that's going to take six to eight hours. Once that is completed, the miners themselves on the ground will have to place about four pounds of explosives around the base of the hole that has been left by that drill and blast that dynamite.

What that will do is create a small, inverted cone at the bottom of the rescue shaft so that when they finally come to dropping down that rescue cage that has been dubbed "The Phoenix" capsule, then it will be able to move around freely, towards the bottom of the rescue shaft and so the miners can actually board it. But before that rescue shaft does get dropped down, engineers will drop a camera down the shaft to make sure that there's no risk of rock falls. If they do think there's a risk of rock fall, they're going to have to encase the whole shaft with steel tubing.

But engineers think they're going to get away with just the encasing the first 100 meters or 100 yards. And what does that mean, of course, because the question on everybody's lips is, so, when? What day? What time?

Well, the Chilean government rescuers believe that the first miner could be extracted as soon as Tuesday, Don.

LEMON: We are hearing a lot about Camp Hope, that camp that has been set up around that site by the miners' families. How are they reacting tonight, Karl?

PENHAUL: Well, you should have just seen the faces this morning even at 8:05. That was the local time when breakthrough came and we were on hand here. And as soon as the word came out to the families, they erupted in jubilation. They were hugging all around and they were cheering. And then a few moments later, it just seemed to dawn on them that this really did mean that the final countdown had now begun.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: And as Karl Penhaul was just saying, rescue workers still have some decisions to make before they try to bring the 33 miners to the surface.

Let's talk now to our Jacqui Jeras who has been following this rescue effort.

Jacqui, give us an idea of just how critical this -- and it's dangerous, too, the next couple of steps are.

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, everybody is so optimistic right now and want to stay focused that way. However, there's a lot of obstacles that we're going to have to deal with. And keep in mind, this whole thing started because the mine was unstable to begin with and we had a collapse, right?

LEMON: Yes.

JERAS: So, it is a very fragile situation. And that drill that went down, they went through four bits and then a fifth one to go through, to give you an idea of how hard the material is. And so, when you do that kind of jolting, you know that you're creating another cracks and fissures and pressure within the system.

So, now, as Karl said, they're going to put the camera down there and inspect these walls and see how they are because what would happen is if they put the capsule in right away, it could bang up against these walls. It's not a straight line down, right? So the curve line, the jaggedy. And so, it could break off more pieces of the wall as the capsule went on through.

LEMON: Send it down into the mine, right?

JERAS: Exactly. So, that's why they want to do this casing, right? And let's just use this as an example to give you an idea. You know, a smooth casing is going to bring that capsule down there very smoothly.

LEMON: But it's not going to go -- it's not -- because it's like you said, on the St. Louis Arch, because going down is like riding the elevator in the arc.

JERAS: Exactly.

LEMON: Yes.

JERAS: There's going to be lots of jolts and lots of bumps along that place. So, any casing is going to make it a smoother ride for them and create some less risk. But, hopefully, you know, everything is going to be OK. Then the next step is the capsule itself, right?

LEMON: Yes.

JERAS: This is about, what, 21 inches around.

LEMON: About 21 inches around.

JERAS: Yes, can you see that? Yes, this is --

LEMON: And that's flexible.

JERAS: We'll have Ty (ph) -- we'll have Ty come over, and it gives you an idea of just how tight quarters this is. They're going to have oxygen in there. They're going to be able to take their heart rate and also have communications in their while they go on through.

But it's very tight. A lot of miners have lost a lot of weight, since they've been down there, 20 to 30 pounds in fact. And that's a good thing because, apparently, nine of them weren't going to be able to get in to that capsule when they started off. They've also been doing exercises by the way down there.

LEMON: Yes. They hired a trainer to come at the surface and talk to them, you know, down in the mind. But the healthiest ones and the most experienced one will come up first in case there -- something happens, they want him to be able to be calm. So, that experience will count.

JERAS: Scary moment.

LEMON: Jacqui Jeras -- thank you very much for that.

And we turn now to another developing story, this one out west and it is concerning 12 young people overdosed and a sexual assault is attached to this as well. Police in Washington state say it all went down at one party where investigators believe young women were targeted.

The scene is this home in Roslyn, Washington, where about 50 people gathered last night. Most were students from Central Washington University.

Police say the victims' drinks were spiked. Investigators went to the house after someone called 911 about an unconscious girl in a parking lot. Friends told them to go to the house.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHIEF SCOTT FERGUSON, CLE ELUM-ROSLYN POLICE (via telephone): Whatever occurred, it certainly wasn't consensual. People reported feeling more intoxicated, more different than what normally would have occurred having consumed just one or two alcoholic beverages.

LEMON: Why would you get the idea that this was sexual in nature?

FERGUSON: Well, what made it sexual is as the officers were sweeping the house for victims, one of the members of the sheriff's department walked in and actually observed an individual, a male individual, engaged in sexual activity with a semi-unconscious female. That's where the sexual assault had occurred.

LEMON: And that was the only person believed to be sexually assaulted or were the other victims who were taken to the hospital, do they believe to be sexually assaulted as well?

FERGUSON: No, no indication of any other -- any other situations or incidents similar to that. No.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Here is what the chief also tells us. That the house belongs to a Central Washington student's parents. In the last hour, we talked with a spokeswoman from the university. Her name is Linda Schactler and she is the schools director of public affairs.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LINDA SCHACTLER, CENTRAL WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY (via telephone): We'll get all the students together in their residence halls and talk to them about what we do know, talk to them about what our university and state policies are for underage drinking and drug abuse and what the processes are that are available to them here on campus, for students who are upset and want someone to talk to.

LEMON: If it turns out that any of the allegations against the students are true, that they did lure young women into this home and drugged them for sex acts, what happens to the students as far as the university is concerned? SCHACTLER: Right. Well, Central Washington University has a comprehensive approach to student behavior. In fact, we hold students accountable to university behavior standards regardless of whether or not they're on campus or not. And so, what will happen is we'll find out the identities of the students involved, and then each one of those students will have a hearing in front of our student conduct council. And the parents of each student may be contacted, depending on the severity of the student's behavior. And then the result of that process, it depends on what, you know, what, the student's behavior was.

So, they could be, for example, required to take an extensive drug and alcohol education course. They might be referred to a certified alcohol and drug counselors for assessment and for treatment. Or, you know, if the behavior warrants it, they may be suspended from school.

LEMON: Or expelled?

SCHACTLER: Possibly.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Police say at this point, one person remained in the hospital, awake and talking. All the overdose victims were women, police say, except for one of them. Police won't elaborate on what the substance was in the spiked drinks. We'll follow up on that.

You know, time is running and the political pressure is rising. Just 24 days away from midterm elections and there could be some big changes all across the country. Straight ahead, a closer look at a potential political shift.

And don't just sit there. Become part of the conversation. Send us a message on Twitter or Facebook, or check out our blog, CNN.com/Don. Look for us at Foursquare.com as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The pressure is mounting on political candidates, 24 days and counting until the November 2nd midterm elections. And they could usher in big political changes and have a huge impact on President Obama's agenda.

We've got some interesting new numbers in our latest CNN/Opinion Research poll to tell you about. And here they are.

On the so-called generic ballot for Congress, 52 percent of likely voters say they will vote Republican and 45 percent say they'll vote Democrat.

Another potential trouble spot for the Democrats: Republicans have a huge lead among independent voters, 62 percent of independents tell us they'll support the GOP and only 31 percent side with the Democrats.

So, what's going on out there? Let's go out there and find out. Are voters ready to give control of Congress to Republicans or will the Democrats be able to hold?

So, let's go inside these numbers for you.

Ford O'Connell is standing by. He is a Republican strategist and chairman of a civic forum PAC, Project Virginia.

And Celinda Lake is a Democratic pollster and president of Lake Research Partners.

Thanks to both of you for joining us.

CELINDA LAKE, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Thank you for having us.

FORD O'CONNELL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thank you.

LEMON: So, Celinda, let's start with you. What about that generic congressional ballot that shows 52 percent of likely voters say they will vote Republican? Are you worried?

LAKE: Of course, I'm worried. But I'd say the biggest thing that we have to focus on is these last three weeks is getting Democrats out to vote. Part of that gap is because Democrats are less enthusiastic about this election than Republicans are. And I think as the elections near, Republicans will -- Democrats will understand what's at stake and Democrats will understand what the alternative is, and that will energize them and I think the numbers will close.

LEMON: So, Ford, listen, Republicans look pretty confident. And sometimes, confidence can cause you to stumble. I'm wondering if there's anything that can cause them to stumble in the next 24 hours, especially, you know, the rules of war, rules of sports and even politics, don't under estimate your opponent even when you think you're ahead.

O'CONNELL: Absolutely. You know, if this were a baseball game, it's the eighth inning and the Republicans were up by a couple runs. The biggest problem in my mind for Republicans is their get-out-the-vote program. I'm not sure that they've actually put enough resources into it. And that concerns me a lot.

So, Ms. Lake is right. They are very fired up. I was down at the Virginia Tea Party convention today and I have to say, they are fired up. And if I were someone like Congressman Perriello, I would be worried. But at the same time, I'm a little concerned about the get- out-the-vote effort across the country.

LEMON: You're concerned about the get-out-and-vote. Well, just because -- I guess because Republicans may be seeing on the news and reading on the polls saying, you know, oh, we are ahead, we are ahead, and people may feel that they may not need to go to the polls, is that what you are saying?

O'CONNELL: Absolutely. But I also think that they're -- for example, in the Senate, the Republicans need to net 10. I believe that if Raese in West Virginia, Rossi in Washington and Angle in Nevada win, it's very likely that the Republicans will take the Senate. My biggest concern is the Democrats have some serious GOTV advantages out there that I'm not sure the Republicans can overcome at the last minute.

LEMON: OK. All right. Point taken. Point taken there, Ford.

Hey, Celinda, I want -- I want you to listen to this. I'm going to talk -- show you this poll and then we're going to talk about it. Our poll found that Democrats have big problems among white voters who call themselves blue dollar. Look at this poll: 71 percent of white blue collar voters say they will vote Republican.

How do Republicans lose a blue collar vote, that's a vote that -- that's a block that's usually on the Democrat side.

LAKE: That's right. And that is a real warning to us. And I'll tell you, the warning is particularly blue collar women. We have seen blue collar women shift away from the Democrats. And as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, it's up to the women. Blue collar, independent women, are going to determine who wins this election right now.

LEMON: Why are blue collar women shifting away from Democrats?

LAKE: They are disappointed in the economic policies of the Democrats. They think that neither party is particularly in touch with their families. They tend to think that, you know, the kind of conversation that we're having is macro-economics rather kitchen table economics. But they haven't made up their minds yet. They are still undecided. They're still tentative in their vote. They're so focused. As Vice President Joe Biden says, don't focus on God the almighty, focus on the alternative.

For us, what's really important is to lay out what the alternative is here. And also, what our vision is to help families, to help small businesses. And we've got to get that message out in the next three weeks.

LEMON: All right. Celinda, you said lay out the vision.

And, Ford, you said, don't be overconfident and get people out to the polls. And that will help the Republicans.

O'CONNELL: Well, I'd also like to --

LEMON: You said that will help the Democrats. Go ahead. I'll give you a quick last word here.

O'CONNELL: It's clear what Americans want. They want fiscal conservatives who speak from Main Street. The party that does that is the party that's going to win in November.

LEMON: OK. Thank you both. Appreciate your time.

LAKE: Thank you.

LEMON: You know, anyone who is looking for work will tell you it is pretty tough out there. We don't have to tell you that. You know it. A lot of you have been looking for work really for years now. We'll talk with some people who may be able to help you land a job. It has to do with the way you sit and stand. Posing. We'll explain.

And Bank of America is halting foreclosures all across the country. Did the company move too quickly to take some family's homes?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. There you see it, breaking news. We want to go to Chile now and CNN's Karl Penhaul, where we understand a press conference just wrapped up with some very important news.

Karl, what can you tell us?

PENHAUL: Yes, with the Chilean Mines Minister Laurence Golborne giving that press conference. And I guess the headline out of this is that he expects the first of the 33 miners to be hoisted back to the surface on Wednesday.

Now, let me break it down for you. Why Wednesday? What is going to happen between now, the day that breakthrough is heard and Wednesday? Well, the mines minister said that at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, the miners themselves placed about four pounds of explosives just around the base of that rescue sharp and blew slightly wide the hole, just in the base of the shaft. And that will allow the rescue cage to get down there freely without any obstructions.

But also this afternoon, engineers from the surface lowered down a camera down the entire length of that rescue shaft to see how solid it was, to see how solid the granite walls were. And they say that it is very good. The condition of that is very good, there are very few cracks and hence there's very little risk of any rock fall.

They say that the only slightly unstable area is right at the top of the shaft. So, what they're going to have to do is encase with steel piping about the first 96 yards of that rescue shaft. That is a process the mines ministers says could take about a day and a half. But it's beginning immediately. He says it's going to begin tonight and 15 yard sections of steel piping will be sent down and welded together just to make sure that the top area of that rescue shaft is stable.

And then, after that, what they're going to do is move in a wench and pulley system. Now, he estimates that could take about two days to get in place. And so, add all that together, and he says that by Wednesday, maybe a little earlier, things can move ahead a little bit before. And as we've seen throughout this entire rescue operation, timelines have been telescoped as soon as things get on the move. So, it could maybe before Wednesday.

But certainly, by Wednesday, the first of those 33 miners will be hoisted back to the surface. And he says that by Friday, all 33 will be back on the surface, back with their families, Don.

LEMON: Karl Penhaul with our breaking news from Chile.

According to the Chilean mining minister, the first of those 33 men will be pulled out at least as early as Wednesday.

Karl, thank you very much. We'll update you on that developing story here on CNN.

In the meantime, we have some other top stories to tell you about.

A British aid worker being held hostage in Afghanistan has been killed by her captors during a rescue attempt. Linda Norgrove was being held by two Taliban commanders who were killed in the raid. She was among five people kidnapped late last month.

A terrifying and seemingly random attack on a child in a Long Island restaurant arcade. Listen to this, police say a 23-year-old Evan Sachs walked up behind an 8-year-old boy and stabbed him five times with a folding knife. The victim's father and another witness held Sachs until police arrived. The boy suffered a punctured lung and other wounds. Police say he was randomly targeted. Unbelievable.

Bank of America is putting the breaks on foreclosure sales. The bank says it will stop those sales as part of a widening investigation into flaws in the process. There are reports that some mortgage lenders ceased homes without proper documentation. The foreclosure freeze is expected to last several weeks.

Millions of Americans are looking for work right now and we'll talk with some folks who can tell you how to strike a pose to help you stand out above other applicants. This is serious, folks. Their advice -- next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK. Remember you'd see people and you're like in bars or whatever and go, that guy is such a poser, right? But job hunters, you want to listen up because the way you sit before and during an interview can make all the difference. That's what we're told.

Two university researchers say you can pose in certain ways to feel more powerful. Their just released study found these positions change a person's chemical output, making you feel more assertive and more willing to take risks.

Here to tell us about this study, their study as a matter of fact, Professor Amy Cuddy from the Harvard Business School and Professor Dana Carney from Columbia's Graduate School of Business.

So, you, guys, are heavy hitters. So, this is -- you believe this stuff to be true.

Professor Cuddy, let's focus on this position. It's what I call the "I got it made" pose. Explain how this makes someone feel more powerful. I mean, if you go in and you sit up and put your feet up on the desk, won't a potential employer go, hey, come on now?

PROF. AMY CUDDY, HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL: Yes. So, this is -- this is really a classic high-power pose because as you can see, she's sort of expanding her body. She's stretching out her limbs. She's basically taking up more space and these are the signatures of high- power poses in both humans and in other animals.

And as we know, we have known for a long time, these poses reflect power. So, high power individuals do these things. They take on these non-verbal behaviors.

But the question that Dana and I wanted to ask is, can it work the other way around?

LEMON: Yes.

CUDDY: So, can you actually use these poses and make people more powerful. And that's exactly the question that we were asking. So, we -- what we wanted to say is that for both men and women, you can change their biological and psychological profile to match the profile of very effective leaders who can think quickly, who can make decisions well --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: OK. I get you. I get you, I get you, I get you. And I understand.

But that is a typical guy pose with the hands behind the arms, you know, behind head or whatever. That's like a guy pose.

CUDDY: Right.

LEMON: If a woman does that, especially with a dress on, someone may go, OK, what's going on here.

Professor Carney, let's take a look at the low-profile pose. And this is the kind of pose that I can see someone do during an interview. So, why is this not good to do?

PROF. DANA CARNEY, COLUMBIA GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Yes. So, you can see that she's collapsing inward. She's sort of contracting on herself. And when you are in a position where you're in an interview, the interviewers presumably hire on power than you. And we know from research that we kind of counter the person that we're with.

So, if we're interacting with a really powerful person, we're going to kind of collapse inwardly. The problem with this is that your testosterone, which is a dominance hormone is going to drop and your cortisol, which is a stress hormone, is going to rise. And so, this is not going to be very good for you internally, nor is it going to be very good in terms of your performance in the actual interview. And so, the key here is that --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That's what this really is about, really about testosterone, about cortisol and about chemicals in your body that you release.

CARNEY: Yes.

LEMON: Maybe even pheromones or whatever. And certain ways you sit will cause certain, a number of them to be released or not released.

There's a very high-power pose that you say, especially for women and you call it -- show us. What is it? The Wonder Woman pose, can you show us that?

(LAUGHTER)

CUDDY: Here you go. I think you got to have the legs spread as well.

CARNEY: We were doing it in the backroom before we came on.

CUDDY: Yes, that's right, getting ready.

LEMON: You're doing the Wonder Woman pose.

CUDDY: This is the hands on the hips.

LEMON: I wan tot say - listen, some people may be sitting are home going - oh, come on really. In this job environment, in this environment, any edge that you can have over someone else, I think I would take it.

CARNEY: Absolutely. And I think one of the key points that we want to get across is that you don't actually have to do these high-powered poses while you are in the interview. Do them beforehand in preparation for the interview to kind of pump yourself up, to get yourself ready to do as well as possible.

LEMON: All right. Professor Carney, Professor Cuddy.

Strike a pose. That's all we have time for.

OK.

LEMON: Sorry. Strike a pose. That's all we have to do. That's the last piece of advice. If you go in for job interviews, strike the right pose. Thank you guys. We appreciate it.

CARNEY: Thank you.

CUDDY: Thank you.

LEMON: You know, it's one of the most closely watched midterm elections and she is one of the most watched candidates. A lot has been said about Christine O'Donnell and her run for the Senate in Delaware. Of course, coming up, hear her in her own words.

And it's one of the most unique conventions that you will probably ever see. Look at Katie. What is she doing? Attendees can even dress in costumes. Like our Katie Linendoll there. I'm talking Comic Con. And it's taking over New York City this weekend, right now. We are going to take you there. Katie is going to show us around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: It almost looks like Halloween came early in Manhattan this weekend. I want you to check out the line wrapping around the building for this year's New York Comic Con. Look at that. Look at all those people (INAUDIBLE). One of our i-reporters snapped this before heading inside where you got to wear a costume if you want to fit in. It is a party that our tech wiz, Katie Linendoll couldn't pass up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATIE LINENDOLL, CNN TECH WIZ(on camera): I planned to attract a lot of geeks, which I'm excited about. This is the mecca of all geeks.

Any of you seen Mario. Excuse me, sir, have you seen Mario? Have you seen Mario? You have some really great creations here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

LINENDOLL: Tell me what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is all my work that I have been working on for the past 12 months for the Comic Con.

LINENDOLL: We have an anchor, Don Lemon, and it bears a very strong resemblance to Don.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Kurt Russell.

LINENDOLL: You weren't supposed to say that.

LOU FERIGNO, ACTOR/FITNESS CONSULTANT: How are you?

LINENDOLL: The man, the legend.

FERIGNO: Thank you.

LINENDOLL: Lou Ferigno.

FERIGNO: Look at that box.

LINENDOLL: Forget the box, dude. These muscles are jacked up. So let's talk about Washington.

FERIGNO: OK.

LINENDOLL: I feel like somebody like you, you know, a lot of big names come in there and they run for Senate, they run for governor. Is there anything we should be looking for?

FERIGNO: I would rather not be in politics because it's a dirty game. And you know, some people don't. I would rather just love all people.

LINENDOLL: But Lou, I just want to break it down for you. If you were in politics, people would listen.

FERIGNO: Yes.

LINENDOLL: You know, if the bill doesn't get passed, you just jack somebody up.

FERIGNO: Exactly. If I go I will get the bill passed.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

LINENDOLL: Yes, mimic that. Mimic that. You won't. Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Listen, I'm with CNN and we have some breaking news. Mario, the princess is in another castle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no.

LINENDOLL: Don't freak out, we got it under control.

Don Lemon is on the case. Well, we have seen it all today here at Comic Con, from the interesting to the wacky to even a little weird. But at the least, we all have made a few friends.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: She's trying to drag me into all this. You're trying to drag me into this, Katie. Listen, OK, first question though. It looks like you had fun. But for those of us who are, you know, over 30, barely, what were you dressed as. I didn't know what you were.

LINENDOLL: Yes, so I was the question box in Mario. When you hit it, you get like a coin, you get a flower, you get a one-up. You know, from the old school times.

LEMON: OK. All right. Got you.

What was the coolest thing you saw besides Lou Ferigno?

LINENDOLL: Oh, my goodness! There's actually a lot of cool stuff. A lot of people hear Comic Con and they think simply comics, but there's a lot of illustrators and a lot of toy designers. And there's a lot of big announcements. Like Stanley announcing that he's coming out with a new comic series. It's also going to integrate TV and web. So it's really just like a geek utopia, which is fun for everyone.

LEMON: OK. People didn't bat an eye at you when you were walking and you were asking for Mario. That's really what it was all about. So you said, you know, it was a geek fest. Are you a self-professed geek?

LINENDOLL: Yes.

LEMON: And are most people there self-professed geeks?

LINENDOLL: Yes. But it's all about pop culture. And I think what's really cool, you know, you hear about San Diego Comic Con, which actually is an affiliate of New York Comic Con but it's a sense of pop culture and it's a sense of identity for, you know, us kind of geek- types to get together and really appreciate the latest in toy design and the latest in illustration, the latest in comics and what's coming out. What's happening. So I think it's fun and it's something different and it's definitely gaining traction, which is awesome. LEMON: All right. Katie Linendoll, I'm going to say and to all of you geeks out there, I'm one too. Don't send me e-mails going "you don't know about Mario and Super Mario." Katie, you look great, even out of, in and or out of costume. We appreciate it. Geek, nerd.

LINENDOLL: Good times.

LEMON: See you later.

OK. Listen, a hard turn here but it's a serious story we have been covering all week here on CNN. We are talking about school bullying, more than just teasing and calling kids' names. With cell phones, computers and social media, it's having some devastating consequences.

Coming up, the heart breaking story of a 13-year-old girl who thought there was no way out.

Plus, many people are keeping a close eye on Delaware's midterm elections, including CNN.

Up next, one of the most talked about candidates, Christine O'Donnell speaks out on several issues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. Let's talk some politics right now, shall we? Specifically Christine O'Donnell with just 24 days until voters head to the polls, you have no doubt heard of her. She's made a lot of headlines lately. She's one of the most talked about candidates in one of the most closely watched races of the midterm elections.

The Delaware Republican Senate candidate talked to Jim Acosta in an exclusive interview. Her first interview, in fact, since she vowed not to speak to the national media. O'Donnell talked about a number of issues including the controversies surrounding her 1999 appearance on Bill Maher's talk show politically incorrect, in which she said she had dabbled in witchcraft.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Have you been embarrassed by those clips?

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, DELAWARE REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: No, I'm not embarrassed. I'm not saying that I'm proud. But you know, obviously, what they are trying to do is paint a picture of who I was 20 years ago. You know, I have matured in my faith and matured in my policies. Today, you have a 40-something woman running for office, not a 20-year-old. That's a big difference.

ACOSTA: Isn't repealing health care reform really unrealistic?

O'DONNELL: That kind of throw in the towel mentality is what got us to this mess that we are in the first place. Repealing Obama care is absolutely realistic. I heard a statistic this morning that one out of four Democrats are for full repeal of Obama care. ACOSTA: So you think you could get Democrats to go on board and perhaps override a veto? Is that what you're saying?

O'DONNELL: Well, not even - here is what I think is realistic. A couple of things. Number one, a lot of Democrats are coming forward saying we want to come forward. We want to scrap this bill. We all made a mistake. We didn't read it. We didn't know about the unintended consequences.

As elected officials, our first priority needs to be taking care of the most vulnerable in our society. So we do need real health care reform, but if the House and the Senate passes a bill to fully repeal Obama care so that we can clear the way to start over with true reform that helps the most vulnerable, and then the president goes and vetoes that bill when the will of the people has been made very clear, if Barack Obama vetoes that the year before his re-election, he's setting himself up to be very vulnerable. I have seen many Hillary for president ads running.

ACOSTA: Should creationism be taught in public schools?

O'DONNELL: That doesn't have anything to do with what I would do in Congress.

ACOSTA: But do you think it should taught in public school.

O'DONNELL: It has nothing to do with what I would do in Congress. My opinion on that is irrelevant.

ACOSTA: Let me ask you about Afghanistan. The president's time table for withdrawal, good idea or bad idea?

O'DONNELL: We need to make our foreign policy decisions based on their effectiveness, not based on time. So we need to take a serious look at what's going on over there and before we make any decisions, we need to examine whether or not it's weakening our own security.

ACOSTA: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be president?

O'DONNELL: Is she running for president?

ACOSTA: I don't know, you tell me.

O'DONNELL: Well, again, hypotheticals. I mean -

ACOSTA: I heard you talk on the phone with her. Does she advise your campaign?

O'DONNELL: She does not advice our campaign.

ACOSTA: Does she give you advice?

O'DONNELL: She gives me, "you go, girl" advice. Don't listen to them.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: That was CNN's Jim Acosta with Christine O'Donnell. And you know, the rise of Christine O'Donnell is just one of the big stories of this year's political season. And it's been a hot topic for the host of CNN's newest program "Parker Spitzer" which airs week nights right here on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SPITZER: I think when we look at the substance of what she says here, a lot of people are going to say, "you know what, we're not sure she's ready for the Senate."

KATHLEEN PARKER, CO-HOST "PARKER SPITZER": You know, I feel for the girl a little bit.

SPITZER : Right.

PARKER: She was a sweet girl when she was on the "Bill Maher Show," right? She was 20 years old. She actually - if you look at some of those tapes, she had a lot of personality. She's spunky and cute. You know, she was just saying things I don't think she intended to be taken terribly seriously.

SPITZER: I agree with that.

PARKER: And now it has taken a life of its own.

SPITZER: I think all that is not only fair to her but accurate. And I even defended her with that sort of crazy ad, "I'm not a witch." Because you know, she's trying to diffuse a tough situation. But then when you step back and as you get closer to November 2nd, then you say, wait a minute, there are serious issues here. I don't think she passes that threshold.

PARKER: Now, there are a lot of people who are cute and spunky that I don't want running the country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: That's CNN's "Parker Spitzer" and be sure to watch Christine O'Donnell go toe-to-toe with her rival, Democratic candidate Chris Coons in the Delaware Senate debate. And you can catch the face-off right here on CNN, the only network to cover the event live for you. Join Wolf Blitzer and the best political team on television, Wednesday night, 7:30 Eastern time, right here on CNN.

A devastating reminder to tell you about of the power of bullying. Up next, the tragic story of Hope Witsell (ph) and how one photo changed this middle schoolgirl's life forever.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We want to turn now to what can only be described as a national disgrace. School children bullied to the point of suicide. In Tampa, Florida, a middle school student admittedly made a bad mistake by sending an inappropriate video to her boyfriend. But what followed but relentless, merciless bullying and teasing by most of her classmates.

CNN's Randi Kaye found the bullying continued after she died.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hope Witsell was a good student, but about a year ago, Hope did something so unexpected, so out of character, it changed everything.

(on camera): Friends and family say this all started in the spring of 2009 at the end of the school year when Hope sexted a picture of her breast to her boyfriend. Another girl at school, they say, got their hands on that photo and sent it to students at six different schools in the area.

Before Hope could do anything about it, that photo had gone viral.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she just love everybody.

KAYE (voice-over): Hope's mother, Donna, said she warned her many times about the dark side of cell phones and computers.

(on camera): So after all those conversations, you never imagined that she would sext a photo of herself to someone.

DONNA WITSELL, MOTHER: No. No. Absolutely not.

KAYE (voice-over): The photo made hope a target. She was in middle school, 11, 12 and 13-year-olds, and suddenly bullies everywhere.

KAYLA STICH, HOPE'S FRIEND: They would walk up to her and call her a big slut and a whore and like they would sometimes - sometimes they would call her skanky and like just be really cruel to her.

KAYE: Hope hid her pain from her family and school officials. They knew about the photo, but she never told them about the ridicule and she couldn't escape it. On-line friends say bullies wrote horrible things about Hope on a myspace page called the Shield's Middle School burn book. Anonymous bullies created a Hope hater page to taunt her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every time I see it I think back to Hope and what people were saying about her.

KAYE: And it got worse. In school, friends formed a human shield for her.

ABBY HUDSON, HOPE'S FRIEND: Because people would try come by and hit her or push her into a locker or something.

KAYE (on camera): So you walked as a crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KAYE: Protecting her?

LEXI LEBER, HOPE'S FRIEND: She was like afraid to walk alone because she was afraid somebody was going to do something to her, like verbally attack her so she would always have somebody come with her.

KAYE (voice-over): Her parents did not know what was going on.

(on camera): Did you see a change in her behavior? Could you tell something wasn't quite right?

WITSELL: I could tell that she was struggling to overcome this mistake that she made.

KAYE (voice-over): On a Saturday as school was starting last year, Hope helped her dad mow the lawn. Ate dinner with her parents and then went upstairs to her room. Her parents turned on a TV show.

WITSELL: When we had finished watching the program, and I went upstairs to go in her room and kiss her good night, like I always do, is when I found her.

KAYE (on camera): What happened when you walked in her bedroom?

WITSELL: I screamed for my husband as I was putting her on the bed and doing CPR.

KAYE (voice-over): It was too late, Hope was already dead. The 13- year-old hanged herself from her canopy bed, she used her favorite scarves.

(on camera): The before she died, Hope met with a social worker at school. A spokesperson for the school said the social worker was concerned that Hope may have been trying to harm herself, so she had her sign what's called a no harm contract, in which Hope promised to speak to an adult if she was considering hurting herself.

Her mother told me she was never told about that contract. She found it crumpled in the garbage in Hope's bedroom after she had died.

(voice-over): The school told us that the social worker had tried calling Hope's parents but the parents say the school dropped the ball. And still, incredibly the bullying was not over. After Hope's suicide, her sister, Samantha, found more cruel comments posted on Hope's myspace page.

SAMANTHA BEATTIE, HOPE'S SISTER: There was people putting comments on there, likes "oh, my god, did Hope really kill herself? I can't believe that whore did that." You know, just obscene things that I would never expect from a 12-year-old or a 13-year-old.

KAYE: Obscene things written by children, so terrible. Hope Witsell thought there was only one way to escape.

Randy Kaye, CNN, Tampa, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: This is National Bullying Prevention Month and you can see more of our reports at cnn.com. And tonight an "A.C. 360" special town hall discussion about how to protect your children and stop bullying. That's coming up at the top of the hour right here on CNN. So make sure you tune in.

Disturbing news for an already troubled economy, a new study finds obese workers are creating problems for productivity in the workplace. Find out how much it's costing employers and you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: This is our time on Saturday when we catch you up on some of the news you might have missed throughout the week. You know, Kenya's ultimate family man has died. Known by the nickname danger for his ability to woo women. He reportedly had 100 wives and nearly 160 children. He said the size of his family made it impossible to keep track of them. Danger was in his 90s.

Routine trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles could save your life. Drivers in the nation's capital now have the option of getting a free HIV test at a DMV branch in southeast Washington. And they get $15 if they do it. The pilot program is funded through a $250,000 grant. It's aimed at curbing one of the highest HIV rates in the country. That branch was chosen because the infection in that part of Washington reportedly is on the rise.

A new study finds obese workers are a big drag on workplace productivity. Researches from Duke University say obesity is costing employers more than $70 billion a year. The big hit comes from the lack of work on the job due to health problems. The research was reported in the "Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine." Duke says it's the first study to put a number on how much is lost from obesity in the workplace.

I'm Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. An "AC 360" special town hall discussion about how to protect your children and stop bullying starts right now.