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Obama to Address Pro-Israel Lobby; Daniels Won't Run in 2012; Your Car's Odometer & Taxes

Aired May 22, 2011 - 08:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody.

Just days after President Obama angered many when he suggested Israel go back to its 1967 borders. He talks to a key pro-Israel lobbying group this morning. How is that going to play out?

Also, another Republican has made up his mind about the 2012 presidential race. Mitch Daniels says, "Thanks, but no thanks." Even says he's sorry. You'll hear his one reason for not running.

Also, happening right now -- we've been keeping a close eye on this throughout the morning and it continues as we speak 200 miles above us. This is coming to us from the International Space Station, where two astronauts have been doing a spacewalk. And they've got some serious work they're doing up here and have been at it for the past five hours or so. We'll give you an update about this historic Endeavour mission.

But from the CNN Center, this is your CNN SUNDAY MORNING for Sunday, May 22nd. I'm T.J. Holmes.

Also a big breaking news story we are following for you this morning: CNN has been able to confirm the earth did not end yesterday. More on that in just a bit.

But let me tell you about President Obama following up on his vision for peace in the Middle East as he addresses a group in about 2 1/2 hours. AIPAC is the name, the nation's largest pro-Israel lobby. And in general terms, can't be pleased with the president's stance as winds of change blow through the region.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Calls for change may give way in some cases to fierce contests for power. The question before us is: what role America will play as this story unfolds.


HOLMES: CNN's senior State Department producer, Elise Labott, live for us in Washington in advance of the president's speech.

Elise, good morning to you once again.


HOLMES: How is this supposed to play throughout the day?

LABOTT: Well, it's really a tense atmosphere that President Obama goes into. These are some of America's fiercest defenders of Israel, the Israeli lobby AIPAC. And they're really going to be looking for President Obama to kind of clarify what he said the other day about those returning -- that a Palestinian state should return to those '67 borders, which Prime Minister Netanyahu in the meeting the next day called indefensible -- really a tense meeting.

I think what they're really going to be looking for him to do is kind of re-affirm that deep bond with the U.S. has with Israel and try and talk about some issues that are important to them like Israel's security, what about some of those other areas of possible peace deals such as refugees, how do you deal with Hamas. They're really going to be looking for President Obama to show that the U.S. has Israel's interests at heart.

HOLMES: This is coming up in just a couple of hours. How will the president be received as well? Even some are suggesting they were warning their members don't boo the president.

LABOTT: Well, it's real rowdy crowd. There are thousands of people there. And you can't discount the fact that some people may boo him. They have booed U.S. presidents and secretaries of state in the past when they don't like what they say.

But at the end of the day, I think the crowd knows President Obama will give a speech talking about the close alliance between the U.S. and Israel. He'll also talk about some other issues in the relationship about how the U.S. will defend Israel against Iran, some of the other winds of change, as you were talking about earlier, in the region, what about Syria to its border.

It's not just about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that he's going to be talking about today. So, there may be a few boos, but at the end of the day, I think he'll be perceived pretty warmly.

HOLMES: All right. Elise Labott, always good to have you -- standing by for that speech in just about two hours from now. Thank you so much.

And, of course, to our viewers, CNN, this is the place to be. We will be covering the president's speech live happening at 10:30 Eastern Time. Plus, post-speech analysis with our Candy Crowley, host of the "STATE OF THE UNION," along with "The Best Political Team on Television."

Also on the Middle East, we want to tell you about the latest string of deadly bombings that have rocked Baghdad today. At least 18 people have been killed from an estimated 15 explosions in various parts of the Iraqi capital. 80 more people are hurt. Those explosions are coming from a mix of car bombs and roadside IEDs. The latest targeted: Iraqi security forces.

Iraq's interior ministry tells us the bomber wore an explosive vest and killed a dozen people, 23 others injured there.

We turn to what was certainly the developing political news overnight. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels says he is not running for president. While Daniels doesn't have the flash maybe of a Donald Trump or maybe the name recognition of Mike Huckabee, his decision could be sending some shockwaves through the Republican Party. GOP insiders were pushing him to get into the race as he was the clear fiscally conservative choice.

But here's how he summed up his decision in an overnight e-mail to supporters, quote, "In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, and that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all."

Coming up a little later, we'll hear a little more about his -- what some say -- is a complicated family dynamic and why Republicans wanted him to run.

Well, some nasty weather once again overnight that's left at least one person dead after a reported tornado ripped through a Kansas town and we're told it damaged just about every home there. This was in Reading, Kansas. At least 20 homes were destroyed.

Hours after the storm, that's when we finally got the official word from folks there that, in fact, one person had been killed. Two others were injured in this storm. And you can see in this picture here, it's kind of dark, you can't se what's happening. In that flash of light you see that ominous picture in the back.

Also, 200 homes suffered some sort of damage. The majority of the homes in the town got some kind of damage. We are efforting an emergency official from the state of Kansas to hop on the line with us here in a bit to give us an update about how folks in that state are doing.

Meanwhile, people in Oklahoma, look at the scare they got.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's coming! There's some power lines right here!


HOLMES: Storm chasers here capture this on video, a tornado there in Oklahoma. No reports of any damage or major damage or injuries to tell you about just yet.

Also, disturbing sign out of Yazoo City, Mississippi, where a few caskets are in the water here. They popped up out of the ground around a flooded cemetery.

Now, the Missouri governor, Haley Barbour, is also warning residents in the meantime, that the flood water around their homes maybe dangerous. He says recent testing found levels of E. coli bacteria around 200 times above normal. We will have much more on the flooding coming up your way in about 20 minutes.

Our Jeanne Meserve is watching the flooding. She's right along the Mississippi River. She'll tell you what people there are doing to try to hang on.

Also, some new storms popping up across the south and Midwest.

Let me say good morning once again top Reynolds Wolf.

Are we talking about the same storm system that caused problems last night?

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Same one in Kansas? Exactly. One of the same, everything's connected here.

You know, it's funny how we're seeing more of this stuff than we ever have before. It doesn't mean there's a greater frequency, everyone has got a camera, everyone -- every camera able to capture, document and share with others. So, we're seeing more of this.

HOLMES: Is that really what it is? Because it seems like the weather is like -- we know we get bad springs sometimes. So, is it really not that? Are we outside of the norm, if you will, for what we would get for a springtime?

WOLF: It's very active but we still have a long way before we're really done with the season. It could come to an abrupt end, but I don't think so. The thing is, though, with our technology world, we can, say, hone in on some of these spots, will able to detect more of the severe weather. So, certainly, numbers are increasing as far as that's concerned.

But in terms of are we having just an outrageous year, it sure seems like it. But numbers are still high, but it is not over just yet.

What we are seeing this morning certainly is a large number of storms, some moving just to the northeast of St. Louis, now east of Peoria. You're seeing these begin to fade apart.

But look what's happening in Arkansas. This morning, we had some storms that erupted quickly from Hot Springs to Little Rock. Little rock had this one element that came through, a little bit of a breather, now you got another batch developing near Hot Springs.

We could see a flash flooding situation here and the reason why is because you have that first round that came through, the ground is saturated. The second installment of rainfall could come through and bring another inch of rain in some location. That means the possibility of some street flooding.

Keep in mind, because we could more of that develop all the way from the central and western Great Lakes, clear down to the Central Plains through into the mid afternoon hours and perhaps evening, more tornadoes a possibility -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right, Reynolds. We appreciate you. We'll check in with Reynolds once again.

We are standing by. You know, we're trying to get some of those daytime images, these storms, this tornado, we were telling you about, hit overnight. So, we are waiting for daylight there in Kansas and maybe that will give us a better idea of just how bad the situation is.

On the line with me now Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for Kansas division of emergency management.

Ma'am, we appreciate you hopping on the line here. Just how bad did parts of your state get it last night?

SHARON WATSON, SPOKESMAN, KANSAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT (via telephone): Well, certainly, Linn County took the brunt of it, in the town of Reading. But we just had but 16 counts were impacted in some way but numerous touchdowns of tornadoes or strong winds and hail. So, governor has declared a state of disaster for the 16 counties just to ensure there -- this paves the way for state resources to assist them, and should we need federal help, that could be requested later.

HOLMES: And, ma'am, we got the confirmation that one person had been killed in these storms. Does that still stand? Has that number gone up? And also, can you update us on the numbers of injuries you have been getting?

WATSON: Yes. The one fatality in Linn County is the latest information that we have and about five people injured in that town. Of course, we expect numbers could change throughout the day. Those numbers -- the fatality came in about 3:00 in the morning. So, that was confirmed then.

But we do not have any reports of any other injuries in other counties. We did have a report of an elderly couple that was temporarily trapped in a mobile home that had been destroyed but they were OK. So, we were very fortunate in that sense but unfortunately we did lose one life in the town of Reading.

HOLMES: And, ma'am, how widespread is this damage? There are some reports of just about every home, hundreds of homes, in the town of Reading, at least damaged in some way, form or fashion. You talk about 16 counties. Are we talking about a lot of damage to homes and businesses?

WATSON: Most damage was certainly in the town of Reading, with about 200 homes, and also 20 homes completely destroyed in addition to those 200 that have some type of damage. But there were other counties with the same damage, not nearly to this degree but certainly some areas that had a mobile home or two that was significantly impacted and just a lot of damage with trees, as well as broken glass, hail damage throughout the area.

HOLMES: And, ma'am, is it fair to say -- I know a lot of parts of Kansas -- so, you have a lot of rural parts of your state. The areas, these 16 counties we're talking about, the area of the state, fairly rural, not major population centers. Again, I know it's not the most populous state we have in the Union, but still as far as your state goes relatively speaking, not very populous areas where these storms were hitting?

WATSON: That's correct, with exception of some damage in Shawnee, which is where the state capital, we got -- did have a report of a touchdown of a tornado there. But most of the damage in that county seems to be from hail and strong winds this morning. But most of the other areas would have been in more rural areas.

HOLMES: All right. Ma'am, we appreciate you taking time. Again, Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the Kansas division of emergency management. I know it's a busy time for you all. We appreciate you giving us and giving our viewers an update, ma'am. Good luck to you there.

WATSON: Thank you.

HOLMES: All right. We're at 12 minutes past the hour now.

To our viewers, something a lot of people are keeping an eye on yesterday. We can tell you that geologists are not reporting any major earthquakes anywhere on the planet or any other major natural disasters. The world is still here. The world still goes on.

So, what are you saying today about the failed Doomsday prediction from yesterday?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Better luck next time. That's all I can tell them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last time it was wrong, they said they had to recalculate. They recalculated to this date. So maybe they'll have to recalculate again.


HOLMES: So, you know the deal by now -- months and months went on and followers of Christian broadcaster Harold Camping were warning the world that the world would end yesterday. Not immediately clear what camping and his followers are saying today. We haven't heard from him just yet.

People around the world have been making light of it, making a lot of jokes, but this was something that certainly got a lot of people talking, got a lot of attention on the Internet, including on Twitter.

So, what exactly happened? At the bottom of the hour in our "Faces of Faith" today, yes, a lot of people have been making light of this, but it is still a very serious topic among some in the Christian community. So, we're going to have Brent Strawn, an ordained minister and professor of the Old Testament studies at Emory University. He will actually show you the serious side and give some theological perspective. That's coming up. Also, you might not have noticed there was a big fight last night. And it was good news for the old guys. Bernard Hopkins did something last night in the ring that has never been done before.

Also, Mitch Daniels, he's s saying, no, thank you. The Indiana governor, he is skipping out on this presidential campaign and he's doing it because of his family. We'll have more on him and what some call his complicated family life.

Stay with us.


HOLMES: Seventeen minutes past the hour.

Our friend Joe Carter from HLN Sports is here with us now.

So, officially, horse racing season is over now, right?

JOE CARTER, HLN SPORTS: Yes, I guess the common horse race fans are not going to tune in to the Belmont.

HOLMES: Yes, OK, we try every year for a Triple Crown. You had my attention, man, for two races. It's done.

CARTER: I know. It's tough. You know, for 33 years, we've waited for this next Triple Crown winner and we didn't get one again this year and will have to wait until against year.

But Shackleford.

HOLMES: Shackleford, where did this one come from? Anybody see this coming?

CARTER: No, no, just as much as they didn't see Animal Kingdom coming last week at Kentucky Derby. You know, coming in to this race, Animal Kingdom was the favorite because, obviously, he won the Kentucky Derby, but it was Shackleford walked away with the win.

But Animal Kingdom made a good race at the very end, really sort of just pushed to the end, had a chance and, you know, 50 yards more and perhaps Animal Kingdom would have won, came in second. Now, for those that bet on Shackleford to win, it paid pretty well. For every $2 bet, it paid $27.20. So, $100 put you about $1,300-plus.


CARTER: Not bad. Betting totals yesterday from all sources -- $67 million put on this race. So, somebody is paying attention. And attendance of the Preakness way up this year, over 107,000 folks showed up.

This has been a problem in years past because people have protested the whole not allowed to bring your own booze into the infield. They changed the rules. They introduced some nonconventional advertising to this year's campaign. People in the Baltimore area might recognize the (INAUDIBLE) ad, half man, half horse? Very entertaining.

HOLMES: OK. They throw booze into it and people -- oh, my goodness.

Now, this was a good one yesterday. I am a big boxing fan. And we all know boxing has fallen off, unfortunately.

CARTER: Unfortunately.

HOLMES: And the fight everyone wants to see, these two guys, Pacquiao and Mayweather, they just won't fight for whatever reason.

Bernard Hopkins making some news here. This is kind of crazy that he's this age.

CARTER: Forty-six-year-old Bernard Hopkins is now the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a major world championship. Now, George Foreman held the previous record winning at 45.

And look at that. Hopkins not only beat him physically but also mentally, doing push-ups between the sixth and seventh round. What's that say? I got you, man.

HOLMES: How old a kid in this fight?

CARTER: Eighteen years younger. He's 28. Yes, Hopkins says he actually plans to fight until he's 50! We joked earlier about how he's promised his mom he wouldn't fight past 40. He's had 11 fights since he turned 40.

HOLMES: And why not if you can still do it?

CARTER: And win.

HOLMES: And win. And you know what? What an easy fight, he had to mix it up a little bit to win that fight.

CARTER: He started out slow but then picked it up and put on pretty much a clinic about five rounds in.

HOLMES: OK. I like these throwbacks. We got one more story here.

This is good stuff. I love the uniforms. I like the throwback to the old days. I love this stuff.

CARTER: Well, it was turn back the clock night in Boston last night. 1918 was the last time the Cubs and Red Sox played each other in a series at Fenway Park. So, to commemorate these historic meetings, the teams had replica uniforms for that year, 1918. They also had a silent inning, no P.A. announcer. No music during one inning. They used a mega phone actually to make announcements.

HOLMES: That is cool.

CARTER: Very cool. You notice the Red Sox uniforms, how basic are those. Off-white tops, off-white hat, off-white pants and really no logos on their uniforms at all. Cubs were pretty decorative but the Red Sox uniforms all white. It's pretty simple.

HOLMES: Good stuff this morning. Very cool. Joe Carter, HLN Sport --

CARTER: Good to see you.

HOLMES: -- always good to see you, buddy. We'll see you again soon.

Well, 20 minutes past the hour. Speaking of boxing, he's the man they call the Golden Boy, considered one of the greatest boxers ever. Well, he's fighting again -- but it's not in the ring. We'll explain that a little later.

Also, you pay taxes every time you fill up your tank, of course. But there's a plan being floated out there to tax motorists by the mile. Your odometer and revenues, that's next.


HOLMES: All right. At about 24 minutes past the hour, time for us to welcome our good friend, Carl Azuz.


HOLMES: Once again, good to see you, buddy.

A lot of people may not realize, every time people they fill up, they're paying taxes, about 18 cents per gallon when they fill up. Now, how about the idea of being taxed by the mile you drive. How is that for an idea?

AZUZ: It's a controversial idea. We can safely say that.

The idea behind this is that we've had a couple presidential administrations, the last two in fact, the Bush administration, the Obama administration, telling us to buy more fuel-efficient cars. Side effect to that -- there's less federal gas tax revenue coming in. So, that's the main reason for this idea.

On the plus side, this tax I want to say is an idea. It is not a bill yet, hasn't been sent to the floor. And it would either replace or add to the current federal gas tax. So, this could essentially be a new tax.

On the plus side, you have increased revenue for the government. The Congressional Budget Office looked into this, said it would be easy to track now with electronic mileage counters. On the cons, there are privacy concerns. Should the government know how many miles we drive? Also varied commute, there are some people who live in rural areas and some critics are saying those folks have to drive farther to begin with. This would be unfair to them. And, then, of course, the obvious one, it would be a new tax.

HOLMES: Can they really track you? I know, again, this is just an idea. But how in the world would you administer this thing?

AZUZ: They would probably look through odometers when you maybe got your emissions check or something like that, the government would be able to monitor your odometer and therefore, tax based on the miles you actually drove. So, that's the idea that's being kicked around right now. It is still up in the air.

But if you want to talk to students about it -- I remember insurance when I was in high school -- painful. They don't want anything that's going to make driving any more expensive. You can imagine that.


AZUZ: We tossed this to our student audience. We have a quick poll at And it kind of gives us a general non- scientific idea of where kids stand.

They're saying keep the tax on gas, ditch the one on mileage. If they had to pick one between them, that was the question we posed them. But we had a couple of comments for you this morning.

One from Majia, who is saying that people are going to figure out how to take the miles off their cars. She said we're smart about cars, just not with money.

HOLMES: Yes, I'm thinking about how I'm going to do it, too.


AZUZ: Don't say that on the air.

HOLMES: Please continue.

AZUZ: Alicia, on the other side. Now, she's actually seeing some pros to this. She's saying folks are going to drive less, they'll be taxed less, air pollution could be reduced.

But on the other side, writing for the majority is Lily, who's saying the reason people buy fuel efficient cars is to save money on gas. And if the government decides to tax as by the mile, it's as if they're charging us for being fuel efficient.

HOLMES: Isn't that something? We're doing what the government tells us to do. And then they tax us for doing what they told us to do.

AZUZ: It's going to be a hard-sell, T.J.

HOLMES: That's a tough one. Again, just an idea right now, folks.

AZUZ: That's it, not an official proposal, up in the air.

HOLMES: All right. Carl Azuz, good to see you. I think we get you maybe on at two more weekends before the kids are out for the summer?

AZUZ: We'll see what we can do.

HOLMES: All right. Carl, good to see you as always, buddy.

AZUZ: Thank you, T.J. I appreciate it.

HOLMES: And to our viewers, take a look at the scene we saw play out in Oklahoma.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's coming! Some power lines right here!


HOLMES: These storm chasers, amazing that they do what they do. This was the scene in Oklahoma, but it was Kansas maybe that got the brunt of the severe weather.

I'm back in 60 seconds with more of this.


HOLMES: Hello again, everybody. Welcome back. We're at the bottom of the hour now. I'm T.J. Holmes. Glad you could be here on this CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

Hate to tell you the update about some severe weather we saw overnight that killed at least one person after a reported tornado ripped through a Kansas town. We're told that just about every home in that town was damaged. This was in Reading, Kansas.

Twenty homes we know of were destroyed. Number of injured has gone up. I talked just a short time ago to a spokeswoman for the state's emergency management division. She says at least five people were injured, anticipating that to go up as well. And the governor has declared a state of disaster for more than a dozen counties in eastern Kansas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's coming! Some power lines right here!


HOLMES: Yes, this is what some storm chasers caught up with in Oklahoma. They saw the funnel cloud forming, seeing this tornado. No reports of injuries from this one, however.

Also, out of Yazoo, Mississippi, as if it wasn't bad enough in some places -- this is what some people are having to deal with -- flooding there has washed some -- a cemetery, some of the caskets have now come up and are floating around in the water.

Floodwaters in the region aren't really going anywhere any time soon. Some places expect to still be underwater until at least mid- June. It's making it tough for a lot of folks, especially people who are living and working right on that river.

Jeanne Meserve has been on the river for us this weekend.

Jeanne, good morning to you. Tell us what they're dealing with.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're dealing with some very high water and some very strong currents. We spent some time out on the water with the folks who run this Vidalia Dock and Storage Company yesterday. They have tugboats.

They went down yesterday to link one a barge and towboat that needed some help on this part of the river. Ordinarily, this is pretty easy to navigate, we're told, but the current is just so darn strong that they're really having trouble making headway, particularly past the bridge which spans the river between Vidalia and Natchez, Mississippi.

Yesterday we had this tug and a tow boat both pushing between them, they had about 3,600 horsepower pushing and they still had trouble getting a single chemical barge over a speed of about one- mile-per-hour. That's just how strong the current is. They haven't seen anything like it here ever before, according to the people who work on the river.

As for the system as a whole, the levee system appears to be holding up. There have been some sand boils but they've been able to cope with those. The system has maintained its integrity thus far. And although water is rising in some points along the river and other locations, it is going down.

If you look at the building behind me, you can see at the water level that you can now see a yellow mark. That signifies where the water was and how the water has dropped but they're saying it will be mid-June or so before it gets back to normal levels and they can really assess the sort of damage that's been done fully -- T.J. back to you.

HOLMES: All right, Jeanne Meserve, we appreciate having you on CNN SATURDAY and SUNDAY MORNING this weekend. Thank you so much.

Let's turn now to our Reynolds Wolf, back with us here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING. The forecast over the next couple of days in the flood zone, there was a little rain what -- yesterday. How are they doing over the next few days?

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, I think they're going to be ok. I mean, obviously you're dealing with the flooding situation but in terms of the additional rainfall they're going to be seeing say over the next several days from the storm system as it pushes eastward. It certainly is not going to help matters, although things are pretty bad in parts of southern Louisiana, obviously Mississippi also.

So I would think that a stray thunderstorm or two is not going to make the situation much worse than it already is. It's already is bad. But certainly you'd rather have drier conditions.

Right now the type of rain that we're seeing is very quick moving. Some strong storms developing this morning especially in places like Arkansas. On this particular map you see Little Rock of course, some storms just popping up. Hot Springs has had some fairly heavy rainfall this morning. I would not be surprised at all if we have a little bit of flash flooding this morning in Little Rock and places that have poor drainage and of course, low lying areas.

The reason why we're seeing it, the major catalyst is this storm system driving from West to East. It already has spawned, of course, some tornadoes across parts of Kansas just yesterday. Now we may see that threat exist all the way from the central western Great Lakes clear down through the portions of the mid Mississippi Valley and then back into north Texas.

Dallas, Ft. Worth back over to Denton, Texas talking about you, maybe even later today as far as south as Austin. You may have a rumble of thunder, perhaps even an isolated tornado. T.J. that the latest cast (ph) for you -- back to you.

HOLMES: All right, back to you Reynolds. Come on over here.

WOLF: All right, all right.

HOLMES: Come on over here Reynolds. If many of you may have noticed Reynolds was not here yesterday and we were so happy that he was not but there is a very good reason.

Look at your television screens, folks. And say hello to the newest member of CNN SATURDAY and SUNDAY MORNING.

WOLF: He's quite a munchkin.

HOLMES: Is that what you saw with that.

WOLF: Absolutely. Yes, sir. This is my first born son. His name is William Patterson Rhodes Wolf. He is a -- an absolute mess. He's a great sleeper though, eating everything in sight. It's amazing. I mean, as you know very well, and maybe the viewers already know, I lost my father about a month ago. And now we have a new baby who's been named -- his first name William after -- after my father. A man he never had a chance to meet.

But it's kind of a healing thing. It's a wonderful thing for a family. Obviously we're very happy and very sleepy. Not a whole lot of sleep in the Wolf house right now.

HOLMES: It has been, you have been through and the family has been through a lot really in the past month or so but this is -- we couldn't be happier. You know we are excited. You got two little girls running around the house.

WOLF: Absolutely.

HOLMES: I guess three women all together if you throw in Erin. WOLF: Yes.

HOLMES: But now you got two guys, you got a -- you got a little homey there.

WOLF: It helps, it helps. You know and it's a -- you're right, I mean we're still outnumbered. I mean no question about it, but it kind of evens the score a little bit. And the kid has got -- he's definitely his father's son. I mean, he's got feet the size of aircraft carriers. He's now got huge feet to scare, it's ridiculous. You could surf on those things. I mean, just tremendous.

But he's -- he's something -- he's just a big skinny kid and we're so happy to see him. We -- we try to -- we -- I offered up the name T.J. But my wife wouldn't sign off.

HOLMES: And some viewers probably have some questions, we just don't even want to go down that road. So let me just -- Reynolds, congratulations, good have you back.

WOLF: See you my man, absolutely.

HOLMES: Thank you for sharing that with us. Thank you so much. There is Patterson.

All right, well, thank goodness Patterson just got here, his birthday just last Wednesday. And then Doomsday was right around the corner. Thank goodness that prophecy did not come true. We have confirmed here at CNN that the world did not end yesterday.

But for weeks followers of a Christian radio broadcaster have been warning us all of Judgment Day. Well, we're going to sit down and get some perspective here. We get if from an ordained minister and professor of Old Testament studies, to find out how the Bible played a role in the prophecy.

There he is. He's here with me. You'll hear from him right after the break.


HOLMES: Well, it is the day after Judgment Day. We're still here. You probably noticed. You're still here. We're all still here.

The predictions of the world coming to an end yesterday did not pan out, thank goodness, I guess. The man behind the prophecy is Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping. He did the math, he says, and he says it's all based on scripture in the Bible to come up with May 21st as the day. He and his followers have been warning about it for a while now.

Let's get some theological perspective here. Let's turn to Dr. Brent Strawn. He's an ordained minister and an associate professor of Old Testament Studies at Emory University. We appreciate you coming in. DR. BRENT STRAWN, PROFESSOR OF OLD TESTAMENT, EMORY UNIVERSITY: I'm glad to be here.

HOLMES: Are you surprised to be here this morning?

STRAWN: Relieved.

HOLMES: Relieved to be here.

Help us understand this because people have been making light and some would say rightly so. But this -- the whole idea of the rapture and end of days is deeply rooted in a lot of religious belief.

STRAWN: That's correct. A lot of this does go back to specific texts found in both the Old and New Testaments.

HOLMES: All right Let's share some of this with our viewers and I'll get some perspective. Let's put up the first one here for many of you, you might want to pull out your Bibles do you. Thessalonians 4:17. It says and I quote, "Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air and so will we be with the Lord forever".

Is this the idea? And there are many like that, that that's the idea of the rapture.

STRAWN: Yes, the idea of the rapture comes from this specific text but other texts that talk about the end of the world or the apocalypse they don't speak about it in quite that same way.

So, one of the real questions about these sorts of end-time speculation is the relation of one text to another text. So the rapture in particular though comes from that text you just read.

HOLMES: How many references are there? Are there a lot in the Bible to both? I mean, hundreds, thousands even?

STRAWN: It depends on how you analyze them. Right?


STRAWN: And a lot of texts will speak about the -- about God's coming but not necessarily coming in a final cataclysmic sense or end of the world kind of thing but coming in judgment. A lot of text about that but very few that speaks specifically about Jesus' Second Coming, or return to earth.

HOLMES: All right. Let's share one more about the Jesus' Second Coming. Matthew 24:36 -- and I'm quoting again, "But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

Now that seems to suggest you don't have to be a biblical scholar.

STRAWN: Yes. HOLMES: It sounds like nobody knows the date.

STRAWN: Yes, yes. That text is pretty definitive. And Jesus says something very similar in Acts Chapter 1 which seems to suggest that no one knows, right? Not even Jesus, only the Father. And so this sort of calendarization about the end times is misconstrued and wrong-headed.

HOLMES: Misconstrued. As a professor, do you find it even silly for anyone to try to predict when any of this is going to happen?

STRAWN: Oh, definitely. Definitely, in light of these texts that you mentioned, as well as the fact that people like Family Radio and what not that makes these sorts of predictions are relating texts that aren't manifesting or obviously related. So they draw direct connections between texts that are really disparate and different.

HOLMES: And one here -- and again, we -- we have -- and I certainly have and many people have out there -- been making light of this, but is there serious damage you think can be done to the -- to religion and to the idea of Christianity because maybe some casual observers out there are looking at this and saying, well maybe Christianity is not what I thought it was and maybe it leaves even some atheists were partying saying, all right, see, we told you?

STRAWN: Yes, yes, yes. I think it does cause some damage, especially to those who adhered to the particular belief. I mean, they're certainly -- they're disillusioned, disenchanted and dismayed today.

But these kinds of people also have very supple and flexible beliefs. They'll probably run the numbers again and come out with a different number in the future.

HOLMES: Don't tell me that.

STRAWN: But -- but -- but people need to know that Christianity is a complex phenomenon and that these sorts of groups that attach specific dates are very few and rare and they don't represent the mainstream of Christianity.

HOLMES: All right. Another date is coming, I'm sure we'll cover that as well. Dr. Strawn, we appreciate you coming in for giving us some perspective this morning. Thank you so much.

And to our viewers if you want to explore more about your faith, other faiths or the math when it comes to predicting the rapture, by all means, go to CNN's belief blog,

Now we're at 41 minutes past the hour now. President Obama had kind of a tough week on the issue of Israel. This morning he gets a chance to maybe mend some fences. It's time for Candy right after the break.


HOLMES: Oh it's about 17 minutes to the top of the hour.

It's time for Candy. Candy Crowley coming up at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN. Candy always it's good to see you. I know you're going to be part of our special coverage of the President's speech at 10:30 this morning to AIPAC.

Before I ask you about that, though, let me get your reaction to the news overnight. One more Republican making up his mind, Mitch Daniels says he is not going to get into the race. What kind of impact will that have?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": Listen, I think there is a group of Republicans right now saying, looking at the race and who's in or who they think is definitely going to get in going, we don't like any of these. I think that's why there was so much pressure on Daniels. In fact people saying oh, he looks good, he's had success in Indiana, he's conservative, he comes from the Midwest which looks wide open for Republicans this year.

I think all of that attention now probably turns to Jon Huntsman. Just in the -- anybody but who we already know is in the field. And so I think Huntsman gets more headlines out of this, if anything, as people sort of wait for him to do it.

At this time in the race, all the time, I think you find whether it's the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, a big group saying, oh, we don't like anybody. This just takes a while to play out and Mitch Daniels was the, "Oh, my gosh; the grass is greener guy." Now I think that group turns to Huntsman.

HOLMES: Let's turn to President Obama now. Does he have kind of a certainly a tough crowd, I guess we'd. Some even suggesting he might get booed when he goes to AIPAC in about a couple of hours when that speech is going to come. Pretty tough hill to climb today?

CROWLEY: Well, first, I'd be surprised if he was booed. But he did, as you're indicating, sort of rile up a lot of friends of Israel here in the U.S. AIPAC is a very important lobbying group, Americans supporting Israel who lobby for Israeli causes on Capitol Hill and at the White House here in Washington.

So listen, when the President said what he said, we had one group of people saying, well, because the President said that Israel and the basis for negotiations is the 1967 pre-war borders, that this is a huge change in U.S. policy. And we had another group saying well not so much, that's pretty much where the U.S. had always been, only in different wording. He nonetheless -- the reality of the politics of this is that he created a bit of a stir and caused some concern among pro-Israel supporters here in the U.S.

So insofar as this, which is a long-planned speech, by the way, that he is giving today, gives him a chance to clarify what he said and put himself firmly back into that strong alliance the U.S. has already had with Israel. I think he will do so.

HOLMES: All right, Candy is coming up here in about 14 minutes for your show, "STATE OF THE UNION". I know you're going to have Dick Durbin on as well but you're also going to be a part of our coverage. So folks are going to get a lot of Candy this morning.

So Candy, always good to see you. To our viewers, stay with us; the President's speech to AIPAC -- Candy is leading that coverage for us -- that starts at 10:30 Eastern time. Before we get to that, Candy for "STATE OF THE UNION", again in about 15 minutes, 9:00 eastern, 6:00 pacific, right here.


HOLMES: Well, about 12 minutes to the top of the hour now.

He says he has one reason and one reason alone for not running, his family. That's coming to us from Indiana governor Mitch Daniels. He says he has concern for his family and that will keep him out of the 2012 race.

Daniels was a popular pick among some in the Republican Party. Overnight though he released a statement to supporters saying, "No, thank you." Even offered a bit of an apology saying, quote, "If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry. If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise. I only hope that you will accept my sincerity in the judgment I reached."

Our Joe Johns now taking a closer look at the Indiana governor, his complicated family dynamic, and why some Republican leaders saw him as a good choice for 2012.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Indiana governor Mitch Daniels deciding whether to run for president has been a rough ride; a decision made even worse by all the guessing about his intentions.

GOV. MITCH DANIELS (R), INDIANA: If I switched from oatmeal to cornflakes, someone would say it was a move for the Iowa caucus.

JOHNS: Who is this guy anyway and what makes some Republicans think he has a shot at the White House? Friends and former co-workers say he's right for the job because he has a penny-pinching mindset to tackle the budget which many see as the country's biggest problem.

Chip Andreae who worked for him on the hill saw it negotiating his first salary with Daniels.

CHIP ANDREAE, FORMER SENATE STAFFER: He and I worked through what the monthly expenses would be for me, my rent, food and et cetera. He said, "I'll throw in an extra $100." I said, "Per month?" He said, "No, no, no, for the year."

JOHNS: But budget stuff could also be a chink in Daniels' armor. As a former budget director under President George W. Bush, Daniels was there when the country went from a surplus to the deficit. He says the problem wasn't him but that the bubble burst and we had a recession.

DANIELS: It wouldn't have mattered what policies you tried to implement --

JOHNS: He's been a conservative governor pushing for a balanced Indiana state budget, killing funding for Planned Parenthood, enacting one of the most aggressive school voucher programs in the country. But he's been whacked by conservatives for proposing a truce on social issues until the country gets its finances fixed.

RICHARD LAND, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: Someone who doesn't believe that the social issues are part of the agenda and are part of the total platform, that person is not going to be nominated by the Republican Party in my lifetime.

JOHNS: Daniels, the guy, has a colorful story. He admits he was arrested on a marijuana charge while attending Princeton but those charges were dropped in a plea deal. He paid a $350 fine for maintaining a common nuisance.

He and his wife Sherry divorced in the mid 1990s. She married another man and divorced him also. Later sherry and Mitch Daniels reconciled.

He was a lobbyist and executive for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly -- all issues that could get close scrutiny in a run for national office.


HOLMES: All right. So Daniels is out. In the race for the Republicans are Newt Gingrich; and also Texas congressman Ron Paul; conservative radio host Herman Cain officially got into the race yesterday; also in the race, former New Mexico governor, Gary Johnson; and tomorrow former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty expected to announce his candidacy.

Former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu hit the streets in Connecticut yesterday. Why? I'll tell you that in just a moment.


HOLMES: Well, a couple of stories making headlines across the country now.

Prosecutors in New York say they will not pursue perjury charges against former governor, David Paterson. Paterson has been under investigation for allegedly lying about accepting free tickets to the 2009 World Series.

Also former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke at a peace walk in West Hartford, Connecticut yesterday. He challenged hundreds of people who turned out including many young people to work for peace.



HOLMES: Having a little fun with the vuvuzela there. Proceeds from yesterday's walk and rally went to the Institute for International Sport that was founded right there in West Hartford, Connecticut.

He has fought and won boxing championships in six different weight divisions; he considered one of the greatest of all times. Now Oscar de la Hoya has another tough fight ahead.


HOLMES: Again a reminder here, we told you earlier the President's scheduled to address the nation's largest pro-Israeli lobby, AIPAC, in about 90 minutes. CNN will bring you that speech live set for 10:30 Eastern time and Candy Crowley will lead our post- speech analysis. Candy's also coming up at the top of the hour which is just one minute from now for "STATE OF THE UNION".

I want to give you a look though at some stories making headlines.

Sun is rising over Kansas this morning and people are getting more perspective about just how bad things are. A suspected tornado touched down last night destroying 20 homes in Reading and damaging some 200 homes.

Also, one of pro boxing's lived legends admitting he may need some help. ESPN reporting retired champ Oscar de la Hoya is in a rehab clinic California. In a statement, de la Hoya admits he has certain issues he needs to work on but does not elaborate on what those issues are. He also asks for privacy as he goes through the recovery process.

And we are keeping tabs on what they're doing, trying to figure out what they're doing up there. They're doing some work on the International Space Station. What you are seeing right now folks a live picture that we are able to bring you 200 miles above the earth. The astronauts of the "Endeavour" on its last mission are up there right now doing some work on the International Space Station.

Just amazing to always be able to bring you these pictures.

Always happy to bring you Candy Crowley right now, too.