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Israel Strikes Palestinian Cabinet Building; President Obama to Visit Myanmar; Twinkie's Maker to Cease Operations; Warren Buffett Wants Hillary Clinton for President in 2016

Aired November 17, 2012 - 15:00   ET

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


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Gary Tuchman in today for Fredricka Whitfield.

An Israeli air strike blows op the Palestinian cabinet building in the Gaza strip. The explosion is just one part of the pounding the Gaza is getting in this third say of crisis in the region. Take a look at this video from Israel defense forces. It follows the track of one of its Navy missiles and are hits what they say is a Hamas building within Gaza. They say so far today 11 Palestinians have been killed. Now reports of death in Israel today. But Hamas rocket aimed for largest city in Israel, Tel Aviv, was intercepted. For a second time, air raid sirens sounded in that city.

World leaders are calling for both sides to stop, fearing a repeat of the 2008 war that left 1400 people dead, mostly Palestinians. Israel says it is mobilizing as many as 30,000 troops. Stay with us, a live report from the Israel/Gaza border is just moments away.

President Obama makes history this weekend with a three-nation tour of Asia. The president, as we speak, is on his way to Thailand, but it's the second leg of the tour that makes this trip most historic. He's visiting Myanmar, something no other U.S. president has done before. President wraps up his oversees trip in Cambodia. He will attend the East Asia summit before returning to the U.S. on Wednesday.

Rescue planes are still searching for two crew members missing after an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. At least 11 people were injured in the blast yesterday. Fortunately it was a small oil spill into the water; only 28 gallons went into the gulf. The fire is out, but federal authorities are investigating the incident.

Well, if you're a Twinkie fan, you better get to your local grocery store and do it fast. Just hours after Twinkie's maker hostess declared it would shut down for good. Grocery stores nationwide are seriously experiencing a run on Twinkies and the company's other iconic products.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I got Zingers and cupcakes and HoHos and everything else left over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What did you stock up on? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little bit of everything for the kids, some chocolate Twinkies, scary cakes, mini muffins, some cinnamon bread, that kind of stuff.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUCHMAN: I ate a lot of Twinkies in my time. Anyway, Twinkies merchandise is also hot on e-bay. (INAUDIBLE). A lunch box featuring Twinkie the kid started off, it started at $14.90 a week ago. Yesterday, someone bid $699 for it after word the company was closing down.

The fiscal cliff 45 days away and come New Year's Day, America could face a $7 trillion nightmare. A series of tax increases and major spending cuts will go into effect unless the White House and Capitol Hill reach a deal.

President Obama, meeting with congressional leaders yesterday but details of any deal are unclear. Democrats want to increase income tax rates on the rich. Republicans prefer closing loopholes and eliminating deductions.

I want to get back now to the escalating conflict in the Middle East. More rockets are flying and the number of casualties is mounting. Our colleague senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, is on the border between Israel and Gaza.

And thanks for joining us. And we are hearing 30,000 Israeli troops are waiting near the border. Another 7,000 reservists are being called up. Are you seeing evidence that a full-on assault might be imminent?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly, we are seeing a lot of armor is on the move. Tank transporters are going all around the area. We have seen armored personnel carriers moved as well. There does seem to be an amount of urgency in the deployment of forces around the Gaza Strip. Now, just an hour ago, we saw the iron dome anti-missile system in action. We saw a series of bright and sort of bright lights coming up from the horizon just in front of me and overhead exploding in midair, as we assume that is one of those anti-missile missiles hitting the rockets coming out of Gaza.

We also saw a large blast on the horizon behind me, which of course is the Gaza Strip itself. So certainly, all indications are that Israel is preparing for a large ground incursion into Gaza. However, it's clear they have yet to make a final decision on when or even if that's going to happen -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: You know, Ben, that iron dome is really a game changer. Remember the beginning of the gulf war in 2003, nine years ago, the patroness of the earlier version and it changed things, too. It's really such an interesting piece of weaponry that Israel has.

Now, Israel has targeted Hamas political headquarters and all but flattened it, we understand. Any indication at all, Ben, if Israel managed to disable the Hamas leadership at all? WEDEMAN: No, of course, they did assassinate (INAUDIBLE) who is the head of the military wing of Hamas, and they have targeted and successfully hit several other military leaders, but they haven't yet gone after the political leadership of the Hamas movement in Gaza. Their officials, for instance, Ismail Haniya, the prime minister of the Hamas authority in Gaza, has appeared in public several times already.

Now, just a few days ago at the beginning of this operation, Israeli, one Israeli official put out on their twitter account that any Hamas leader or operative had better keep his head down and stay hidden in the coming days. But as yet, they're targeting the infrastructure, but we understand that almost all of those buildings have been completely evacuated, as they always are when there are high tensions between Israel and the Hamas authority in Gaza.

So yes, they're destroying the buildings, but I can tell you back in 2009 when I went in to Gaza during the Israeli operation then, they destroyed a lot of those buildings that the government and Gaza used, and after four years, they were rebuilt and now they're being destroyed again -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Ben, a very important point. Just after 10:00 on the Israeli/Gaza border.

Ben Wedeman, thank you for joining us.

We have shown you rockets flying through the air. You have heard sounds of gunfire and air sirens warning of trouble. Coming up, we'll take a closer look at the fire power involved in the conflict in Gaza.

And America's top spy has fallen from grace. So, just what is general Petraeus' next move?

Plus a heart stopping car crash. Neighbors rush to save a mother and her little girl trapped in this wreck.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUCHMAN: There has been no let up in the fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza. In fact, Israel is now amassing troops and tanks near the Gaza Strip border.

Tom Foreman takes a look at the fire power in place.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's look at how the battlefield is shaping up over the Middle East. Here is Israel alongside the Mediterranean. It's about the size of New Jersey, 7.5 million people, 75 percent Jewish. The economy is good, unemployment below seven percent. Gaza by comparison geographically very small, only about twice as big as Washington, D.C., predominantly Palestinian, the economy there is quite bad, and unemployment is very high.

Globalfirepower.com has called Israel the tenth most powerful military in the world. So, let's break that down and see why. They have compulsory military service. That means every young person must go into the military for a while, a 176,000 active troops are available, and they have about a half million they can call up from reserves quickly. Ground forces also impressive, some 3,000 tanks. If you count all of the artillery pieces and mortar, things like that, you get about 12,000 units that can operate on the ground. And of course, their air force is formidable, about 800 aircraft there including some 200 helicopters. This is largely what they have used to have the strikes within Gaza.

Now, if you look at Hamas, their forces are much smaller in terms of their official forces. Certainly, if you look at people who are really in uniform, soldiers, police, whatever you want to call it, about 12,500. Of course, they have nothing like the weapons the Israelis have.

However, Palestinian militants do have lots and lots of rockets. I want to bring in a model of one of them here. This is a "Qassam 2." You probably hear about this a bit. These rockets are popular because they're cheap, they are easy to make out of steel tubes. They only weigh 70 to 100 pounds. And they're fueled essentially by commercial grade fertilizer and can pack a punch quite a punch. They're not very accurate, but if you fire enough of them, they don't have to be accurate. If you go beyond this to their more robust and better targeted rockets and missiles, then you are also start talking about range.

In this conflict so far, we have reports of weapons fired from Gaza traveling as much 50 miles to hit Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In fact, Israeli officials now believe as much as a fifth of the population of Israel is subject to these rocket attacks. That's something they said are certainly will not tolerate anymore and that's why we keep hearing all these talk and speculation about a possible ground invasion of Gaza.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: Tom, thank you very much. So far, that ground invasion has not happened, but there are plenty of new developments today. My colleague Nick Valencia is at our international desk.

Nick, what are you learning now?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gary, we have seen a crescendo of activities since Wednesday when this conflict began. We have been monitoring all of the nuances of the story as it happens here from the international desk in Atlanta.

I want to bring in two of our Middle East experts here, Youssef (INAUDIBLE) and Ali Younes. They have been monitoring this whole situation from early this morning. Parts of the Palestinian territories, Youssef, have been leveled by these IDF air strikes. You have one of the latest videos. Why don't you bring that up first and let's take a look at it.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING) YOUSSEF: This is a video our team shot in Gaza. It shows clearly the explosion of the skyline of Gaza city.

VALENCIA: So these are bombs being dropped by the IDF on Gaza?

YOUSSEF: Yes, out shelling. This is one of the sites the IDF shelled today.

VALENCIA: So Gary, this just the latest video, one of the latest examples that we are watching the clips as they come in. Ali Younes, also has also been simultaneously acting as an Arabic translator as well as monitoring, not only Arabic -language TV, but also Israeli TV. And I want to mention, we were looking at the IDF twitter page a little while ago and they said 240 rockets - 240 rockets had been intercepted since November 14th from Gaza into Israel. You have been watching this as they have put out information. What do you know?

ALI YOUNES, CNN INTERNATIONAL DESK EDITOR: Yes, well, the IDF have their own twitter page and they have multiple accounts that cover the Israeli government, the IDF, the air force, and different agencies in Israel. And that's testimony to their savviness (ph) and sophistication in terms of decimating the message they want to put out to the outside world. For example, like you mentioned, that while Hamas said they have fired rockets, the IDF counter that saying that we our iron dome interceptor have --

VALENCIA: That's part of the missile defense system.

YOUNES: Missile defense system, interceptive 240 rockets out of the total that Hamas, you know, fires into Israel.

VALENCIA: Thanks for the insight. Now, the casualties mounting overall 42 kills in the Palestinian territories, including nine today. That's the latest information from the international desk. Gary, why don't you take it from here?

TUCHMAN: Nick, my thanks to all three of you.

He was once revered and highly praised. But when the former CIA director announced he had an affair with his biographer, much of it went tumbling down, and the general's troubles may not be over.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUCHMAN: From Capitol Hill to the White House to CIA headquarters to the Pentagon, the probe of former CIA director David Petraeus keeps just on growing. Petraeus resigned after admitting an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Jill Kelley from Tampa, Florida who was a friend of the Petraeus family says Broadwell sent her threatening e- mails. Kelley then, asked a friend, FBI agent Fred Humphries, to look into the matter. Later, it was revealed that he sent her shirtless photos of himself. And General John Allen, who took over running the war in Afghanistan from Petraeus, exchanged questionable e-mails with Jill Kelley. It sounds like a horrible movie, but actually all true.

Carol Leonnig is a reporter at the "Washington Post." Carol, thank you very much for joining us.

CAROL LEONNIG, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Happy to be here, Gary.

TUCHMAN: Carol, tell us. What do you know about agent Fred Humphries and why was he so motivated to investigate these e-mails. By most accounts, something like that should not, we think, and usually would not rise to an FBI probe?

LEONNIG: Well, it's a great question, and what we found out that was the way that Fred Humphries was being described was really inaccurate. People had initially reported and Republican leaders had described him as a whistleblower who came forward, complaining to Cantor, house majority leader Cantor's office because he was worried the FBI investigation that uncovered an affair by the CIA director David Petraeus was stalled for political reasons. So, it was implied that he was concerned about the progress of this case and worried about it being shelved improperly.

And what we found in our reporting as sources very close to Humphries and aware of his account, briefed on his information, tell us quite a different story about the agent. He's a Tampa agent who had a long- standing sort of social acquaintance with Jill Kelley, the woman in Tampa. He basically forwarded some information to his Tampa FBI colleagues about harassing e-mails that were more interesting than everyday harassing e-mails because they mentioned a four-star general. And that's it. He was making a casual remark to a friend in his home state of Washington. That information was passed along to a Republican congressman in Washington who then asked for Mr. Humphries, the FBI agent, to talk to the house majority leader about what he knew about Petraeus. And what we're finding is, were it not for Fred Humphries making this offhand remark, it may have come to pass that general Petraeus may have never resigned or not resigned this quickly.

TUCHMAN: So fascinating. Carol, through your reporting, how do you characterize Jill Kelley's relationship with general Petraeus, his wife, and the Tampa military community?

LEONNIG: Well, it's got a lot of eyes rolling around the country because Jill Kelley and her husband were sort of Tampa fixtures. They had a beautiful home on Bay Shore Boulevard, the best block you could be on. And they used their good fortune, they said, to repay the military for all its services by hosting really, really lovely parties with caviar and open bars and tours of their humidor. But for the military brass in the nearby McDill Air Force Base where general Petraeus was the commander and General Allen after him was the commander. The eye rolling is because they sort of insinuated themselves into the center of military brass and made themselves critical hosts, key friends and supporters. And that kindness was welcome, but it also created odd bed fellows, no pun intended.

TUCHMAN: That does indeed sound like a pun. Quickly, what's next for Petraeus?

LEONNIG: You know, that is a very burning issue for lots of reporters. And I'm sure for the military and for the Obama administration. The investigation, the federal investigation of how Paula Broadwell, his mistress, obtained all this classified information, all be it right now what we know is a pretty low level of classified information. How did she obtain it? Did general Petraeus improperly provide it to her? Did he mishandle classified information, is the central question and how that is answered will decide his fate.

TUCHMAN: Carol Leonnig from "the Washington Post" reporting has been superb on this. Thank you for joining us.

LEONNIG: Thank you, Gary.

In today's welcome home segment, a U.S. marine who struggled to readjust to civilian life when he returned from Iraq finds a way back to normal. He did it through ballet. He tells his story in his own words.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAMON BACA, RETIRED U.S. MARINE CORPS: I'm Ramon Baca. I'm a U.S. marine, Iraq veteran. I'm also the director of the dance company. I started dancing at a smaller studio and that led to transitioning to larger studios.

Make sure your fingers are articulating.

As typical American, I took a lot of things for granted. I wanted to see if I could do something totally different than being an artist. I had something to prove to myself and I also wanted to help my country and so I joined the Marine Corps. 2005, we were called to deploy to Fallujah, Iraq. We got back in '06, six months after my girlfriend sat me down and said you're not OK. You're not the same person I knew before the war.

But, you could really do anything in the world, what would you do?

And beautiful.

I had this interesting choreography. I would start a dance company. It wasn't a primary goal to talk about the military, but it just wasn't me not to put that part of myself into that work.

And then she goes. And you pull back.

The whole tie-in is extremely important. And it's allowed us to do community service outreach to veterans.

Imagine all of the sadness and the grief of the hero who isn't true.

Warrior Writers is a group of military veterans who write about their experiences.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't handle the truth.

BACA: We brought together a group of veterans. They were skeptical in the beginning, as was I. But in the end, they were so emphatic about giving their stuff and seeing how it came together in movement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your life after death and message lives on.

BACA: I get up every morning and I again like when I was in the Marine Corps, know that I'm making a difference in somebody's life.

Nice job. Yes.

I didn't go to Iraq with 60 Marines that just wanted to go down and level a city. I went with 60 Marines that wanted to improve a city, so why would it stop overseas?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: I have two daughters who are ballerinas so I really appreciate that man. In addition to his work with veterans, Ramon Baca has also worked with students in New York City and in Iraq to teach them how to use dance to express their feelings.

In 45 days, America could fall over the figurative cliff, a $7 trillion cliff. Money expert Ben Stein has ideas on how to avoid it.

And what would you do if you saw this crash in front of your house? Without a second thought, neighbors who rushed to save a little girl and her mom who were trapped in the wreck.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUCHMAN: An Israeli air strikes blows up the Palestinian cabinet building in Gaza. The explosion is just one part of a pounding Gaza continues to get in this third day of crisis in the region. Take a look at this video from Israel defense forces. It follows the track of one of its Navy missiles as it hits what they say is a Hamas building. Media in Gaza says so far today, 13 Palestinians have been killed. No reports of deaths in Israel today.

A Hamas rocket aimed for Tel Aviv was interceptive. For a second time, air raid sirens sounded in Israel's largest city.

World leaders are calling for both sides to stop, fearing a repeat of the 2008 war that left 1400 people dead, mostly Palestinians. Israel says it is mobilizing as many as 30,000 troops near the border. Today, the Arab League said a delegation is headed to Gaza to show support for the Palestinians.

Victims of the Aurora movie theater massacre in Colorado will soon get monetary compensation. Donors sent in over $5 million to the Aurora victim relief fund for families of those killed or injured in the shooting. The fund's special master decides who gets how much. The fund was established by Colorado's governor and by a local charity.

And you have got to take a look at the surveillance video. A crash so loud, neighbors heard it in their homes. One of those neighbors jumped into action when he heard it. He said the scene wreaked of gas, he was afraid the cars could explode at any minute. But he heard a small child crying. So, he got closer, victim sighted. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHICO QUINONES, RESCUED CHILD FROM CAR CRASH: I found a little baby just hanging in her car seat, and that got my attention immediately. I had to work with her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUCHMAN: He's a hero. He crawled inside, got the little girl out of her seat and carried her to safety. Another neighbor helped rescue the girl's mother who was knocked unconscious. Believe it or not, everyone involved in the crash suffered minor injuries.

We're just 45 days from the $7 trillion fiscal cliff. No new deals were cut Friday between the president and congressional leaders. A series of tax increases and major spending cuts will go into effect on January 1st unless a deal is reached.

Earlier this week, Fredricka Whitfield spoke with Ben Stein, economist and author of the new book "how to really ruin your financial life and portfolio." They talked about his main concerns about the fiscal cliff and what need to be done to avoid it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST, AUTHOR: I would be worried about the cuts in defense. We live in an extremely challenging world. I would hate to see the U.S. cut even one dollar out of defense when as long as we have enemies like Iran and North Korea and a rising challenger in China.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, we are talking about compromise because you mentioned two things the opposite sides don't really want.

STEIN: I know they don't want it.

WHITFIELD: The president saying it's solvable. Quote, "I'm confident it can be done. I recognize that we will have to compromise, period." That, the operative word, compromise. Are we going to see that this go-around?

STEIN: I'm not sure if we're going to see it this go around. I think we may have to go over the fiscal cliff for a while. But the, let's remember Saudi, if we may, even with the fiscal cliff, we are still going to have a budget deficit next year on the order, very rough order of $5 billion, one of the five largest deficits of all time. So, we obviously not to go even farther than a fiscal cliff in terms of raising taxes, I hate it. I hate paying taxes. Unlike any others citizens, I don't like paying taxes, but we've got to do it. And Mr. Obama is completely right. I'm not a fan of Mr. Obama, I didn't vote for him, but he's completely right. It's arithmetic. It is not complex arithmetic. We have to get more money into the system.

WHITFIELD: And even said that, there were people who agreed with the approach even though they didn't vote for him. So, maybe they was talking about you.

So, Democratic senator Patty Murray had this to say about the looming of fiscal cliff. Let's listen in.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: I think the Republicans have a decision today. They need to decide whether they're going to stay and protect the wealthiest Americans from participating in this challenge that we have and if they do that, then we have no other choice but to go into next year when all of the Bush tax cuts expire and start over. I don't want to do that. I don't think we should do that, but that's what they could force us to do.

WHITFIELD: Your response to that.

STEIN: I think we may very well have to do that and I don't understand for the life of me why the Republican Party to which I have belonged a lot longer than most of the people in Congress, is so adamant about protecting the wealthiest people in the country. Most of those people are Democrats, anyway. What do we care about protecting them? We have to get more tax revenue.

And look, in my neighborhood, many people have two or three or four Bentleys. Do you think it is going to hurt them a lot to have one fewer Bentley? I mean, how many meals going (INAUDIBLE). We can tax the rich more. It's not going to hurt them. It's not going to hurt the economy.

WHITFIELD: So, what do you say about the sentiment that some say, you know what, so we go off the fiscal cliff. It won't be that bad.

STEIN: Well, I think it will be very bad for defense. That is what I'm worried about. My main interest is in defending the United States of America, and I'm worried if we go off the fiscal cliff and we have to drastically cut procurement of the number of people in the armed services. We will be in terrible trouble if they're need.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: Ben Stein and Fredricka, thank you very much.

After their meeting Friday, leaders of the Republican controlled house and Democratic controlled Senate suggested an agreement could be reached and they suggested it, but it could be reached before the end of the year deadline. So, we will see what happens.

Billionaire Warren Buffett tells CNN's Poppy Harlow why he isn't afraid to fall of the fiscal cliff, which is an interesting viewpoint, and who he wants to see in the White House four years from now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUCHMAN: We are just 45 days away from reaching that fiscal cliff we have been hearing so much about. There is a lot of pressure on Congress to do something so we can avoid the tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in on January 1st, 2013, six and a half weeks away.

But billionaire Warren Buffett is not alarmed. He talked with our Poppy Harlow.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Gary. Well, we had a chance to sit down with investor Warren Buffett here for an exclusive interview at his Berkshire Hathaway headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. We had a wide ranging conversation, but top of mind, of course, was the fiscal cliff.

Interestingly, Warren Buffett is not as alarmist about the fiscal cliff as many others at this point in time. I want you to take a listen to what he told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: What is the likelihood of the United States falling into a recession if we go over the cliff?

WARREN BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: I don't think that's going to happen. I think that if we go past January 1st, I don't know whether it will be January 10th or February 1st, but look, we are not going to permanently cripple ourselves because 535 people can't get along.

HARLOW: Even if we go over for two months, does that dip this economy back into recession?

BUFFETT: I don't think so.

HARLOW: You don't think so. That's interesting because the CBO believes that.

BUFFETT: Well, I mean, you know, we had hurricane Sandy which disrupted the economy for a period. We had Katrina many years ago. There are things that will disrupt the economy. I mean, 9/11 you know, was an extraordinary case, but we have a very resilient economy. We have had one for hundreds of years. And the fact that they can't get along for the month of January is not going to torpedo the economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: And of course, we also discussed taxes. Warren Buffett has been out front, talking about how he believes wealthy Americans should pay more in taxes. We wanted to know how much more, specifically how much more, especially when it comes to capital gains taxes or money made off of investment. Here's what he told us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUFFETT: We certainly prosper with capital gains rates more than double what they are currently.

HARLOW: So, we would be fine with 30 pest capital gains?

BUFFETT: Sure.

HARLOW: What about income taxes? BUFFETT: Well, income taxes, you know, they were revised 90 percent during my lifetime. Now, very few people got up there. But I saw lots of people paying, you know, federal tax rates of 50 percent and they went to work every day.

HARLOW: So at this point, there's no level you're --

BUFFETT: I think they could be significantly higher.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: And that puts Warren Buffett at odds with many other CEOs who argue if you increase tax rates, then, you're going to stifle growth.

Now Gary, also, a little bit of political news for you, Warren Buffett telling us who he is indorsing for president in 2016. He thinks it should be a woman. He thinks it should be Hillary Clinton, saying there's no better candidate for the job -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Poppy, very interesting. Thank you very much for that report.

Stores are getting ready for black Friday next week, but are you ready for the madness that black Friday is. We'll shear must-have Smartphone apps to help you outsmart the crowds and score the best deals this holiday season.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUCHMAN: With black Friday right around the corner, everyone is looking to get the best deals of the season.

Our CNN money tech reporter, Laurie Segall, put some holiday shopping Smartphone apps to the test.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: It's officially holiday season, and there are a lot of ways you can use your Smartphone to do more than just phone home. You can find a lot of great deals using your Smartphone. So, we decided to test it out. We're here at toys "r" us to start our morning.

This is an app called Red Laser to figure out where we could get a good price on one of the season's hottest toys, Furby. Type in the item you're looking for and it will find stores nearby that carry it. $54, it matches what it said on the app. It is Furby, so, I can get it right here.

But here is the catch. Just because your item is on the app doesn't mean it's in stock. So I just used Red Lacer to help me find something specific, but now I want to look for a good deal in my area, so I'm going to open up an app called black Friday and it shows me Kmart, right nearby, as 745 coupons. So, let's test it out.

So, the black Friday app showed a lot of discounted TVs here in Kmart. So, the first one they are showing is a TV for $88. Here it is.

Lots of great deals on the black Friday app, but the ads are mostly limited to major retailers. You won't fund local discounts from your mom and pop stores.

AFIYA GARCIA-AUSTIN, KMART CUSTOMER: I'm using app, especially Kmart's to see where I get the best deal because you know, it's the holiday.

SEGALL: So, let's say we want to do a little comparison shopping. Now, check out this DVD. It's $20. But, using an app called Snap, so, I can take a picture of it. And it's going to tell me the prices at the stores nearby. It's actually cheaper here and any stores in the area.

Snap works easily to help find the best price, but it's limited to books, DVDs, CDs, and video games.

One DVD. So, here's my receipt and I'm probably going to get a lot of these during the holiday season. One way to actually to keep tag and all these receipts, you can use an app called lemon and just take a picture. This way I don't have to carry around all of that paper.

So, as we enter the busiest shopping season of the year, your phone could be your competitive edge.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: Laurie Segall now joins us live. Seven hundred forty five coupons, Laurie, I don't have time to look at that many coupons. You know, maybe, 645. But some stores are opening early on Thanksgiving Day. And of course, we expect them to be very crowded. Will there be apps to help navigate us through the chaos that will ensue?

SEGALL: Sure. They're calling black Thursday, the new black Friday because you have Wal-Mart and target, all these stores opening up early. It's going to be pretty chaotic, but stores are offering up virtual maps that map out the locations of virtual stores. I'm going to show you both Wal-Mart and Target, all these stores opening up early.

So, ay you said, you can imagine, it is going to be pretty chaotic. But one thing we are seeing it here, that a lot of stores are doing, are they are offering a virtual map that actually map out the location of individual stores.

So, I want to show you both Wal-Mart and Target have different apps. And on these apps, you can find your local Wal-Mart, your local Target. You can take a look and see exactly where you're going in the store so when those doors do open up, you can say all right, I'm going to this specific aisle because this is what I'm looking for.

You know, all of these different apps are doing that. Right now, Gary, you're looking at Targets. This is going to be available in the next couple days. So, if you are looking for specific items, you can actually look ahead of time and you can see the different layout of the store near you.

Now, Wal-Mart has the same type of thing and Wal-Mart's is a little more in detail. So, let's say you're looking for the Furby. You can actually type in what you are looking for. It will show you the exact aisle, the exact price and location. So, you know Gary, are you going to go and look at the layout of your local store any other day besides black Friday? Probably not, but when you have all these people rushing in, you know, anything can be your competitive advantage -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Laurie, I'm going shopping with you.

SEGALL: Please.

TUCHMAN: OK. Laurie Segall, very interesting. Thank you for joining us.

SEGALL: Thanks.

TUCHMAN: For more high-tech ideas and reviews, go to CNN.com/tech and look for the gaming and gadgets tab.

You can get news anytime you want on the web and here are some stories that are trending right now on CNN.com.

Black Friday may not be a Good Friday for Wal-Mart. A group of Wal- Mart workers planning to stage a walk-out on black Friday. That group is building on a strike from October that started in Los Angeles.

Guy Fieri is firing back at the "New York Times" food critic who panned his new restaurant. He called (INAUDIBLE) review of guy's American kitchen and bar, quote, "ridiculous."

Are you a Wii fan? Then, you know the next generation is almost here. The Wii U comes out tomorrow. It plays most of the original games, but this one will have a 10 x 5 inch touch screen controller. That's folks, what is trending on the web.

She's a contender to be CNN's hero of the year. You're about to meet a woman who turned her son's drowning into a cause to protect other kids from suffering the same fate.

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TUCHMAN: We're just a couple of weeks away from knowing who CNN's hero of the year will be. One of the contenders, a mother who is trying to turn around the statistic. African-American children are three times more likely to drown than white children. Sadly, Wanda Butts knows firsthand what fear of water can lead to.

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WANDA BUTTS, FOUNDER, THE JOSH PROJECT: Just went to spend the night with friends. I had no clue they were going to the lake. Here is where Josh was, where the raft capsized. And he went down. Very hard for me to believe that just like that my son had drowned and he was gone. My father instilled in us the fear of water, so I, in turn, didn't take my son around water. Children don't have to drown.

My name is Wanda Butts. I save lives by providing swimming lessons and safety skills.

Jacob Kendrick.

African-American children are three times more likely to drown than white children. That is why we started the josh project, to educate families about the importance of being water safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the ring boy and throw it right at the victim.

WATTS: Many parents, they didn't know how to swim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was afraid of the water. He was the first in my family to learn how to swim. And he has come a long way from not liking water in his face to getting dunked under.

WATTS: I'm so happy to see that so many of them have learned how to swim.

Good job! That is one life we save.

It takes me back to Josh, and how the tragedy was turned into triumph and it makes me happy.

CROWD: Josh Project.

WATTS: All right.

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TUCHMAN: CNN hero, Wanda Butts, joins me now, live from Detroit.

Wanda, I am so sorry for what you have gone through in your life. I'm so thankful you are joining us today.

BUTTS: Thank you, glad to be here.

TUCHMAN: Can you describe the exact moment you decided to act on your son's death when you said I'm going to teach other kids to swim?

BUTTS: It was after I realized that drowning was preventable, and that it is a terrible thing to be a parent and to lose your son to drowning because it is preventable. So I wanted to help other mothers not have to suffer the way I do and will for the rest of my life from losing a child. So I said let's do something about this. Because it is a problem, it is sort of like an epidemic. So we started the Josh Project from that to educate parents, families about the importance of their children knowing how to swim and knowing water safety so they would not drown.

TUCHMAN: Wanda, Josh didn't know how to swim because you yourself were never taught? When did you learn how to swim? BUTTS: I am still learning. I still take swimming lessons, in fact, Saturdays is my day to take my lessons. But I have not learned how to swim yet, but I am determined to learn how to swim. Because swimming, it is a basic life skill and it looks like a lot of fun. And I want to know how to swim, and I believe that the biggest trip for me to give to my son would be my learning how to swim. And I want to do that. I will do that.

TUCHMAN: Wanda, why do you believe there is a lack of water safety education among some members of the minority community?

BUTTS: Why is there a lack?

TUCHMAN: Yes.

BUTTS: I would say education, and awareness, which is what I would say about me, as the reason why I didn't know how important it was for my son to know how to swim because no one were told me that. And I was just not aware of the statistics on drowning in our community.

TUCHMAN: Wanda, soon, CNN two weeks from now will award $250,000. What would you do with the money if you win?

BUTTS: I would expand our program. And I would look towards bringing in more children so we could teach more children how to swim, and increasing the awareness of the importance of children knowing how to swim and water safety education. I would do that for our community.

TUCHMAN: Wanda Butts, you are a true hero. What a wonderful tribute to your son, you're a good woman. Thank you.

BUTTS: Thank you, very much.

TUCHMAN: And I wish you the best and everyone in ceremony in two weeks. She is just one of our top ten honorees. One of whom will become the CNN hero of the year and receive a quarter of a million dollars. Who will it be? Know the people who decide. Go to CNN.com online and on your mobile device. You can vote up to ten times a day, every day, for the most inspirational hero.

A lot of questions on the veteran's parade tragedy in midland, Texas. It is a community with a rich, patriotic history, and that makes the loss all the more tragic.

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