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Georgia Authorities Release More Information on Infant Death; Severe Weather Slamming Much of the Country; Five Russian Fighter Jets Arrive in Iraq; President Obama Planning to Nominate a New Veterans Affairs Secretary Tomorrow; Flash Flooding in Memphis, TN; New Commercials from Verizon and Pantene Getting Big Buzz Online
Aired June 29, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Randi Kaye, in today for Don Lemon.
A big development in the case of the father accused of murder after his 22-month-old son died in a hot car. But first, breaking news here on CNN.
Breaking news now. President Obama is planning to nominate a new veterans affairs secretary tomorrow, Bob McDonald, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble. McDonald served as a captain in the U.S. army for five years, after graduating from West Point in the top two percent of his class. The White House official tells CNN, McDonald's 33-year tenure at Procter & Gamble prepares him well for leading a huge agency which provides services for more than eight million veterans a year. Obama's previous VA chief, Eric Shinseki resigned last month after a scandal on mismanaged and sometimes deadly wait times for veterans needing medical care.
If McDonald's nominations a proved, he would face a huge list of problems to solve inside that V.A. department.
I want to bring in correspondent Erin McPike, She is at the White House for us.
So Erin, tell us why the president chose McDonald for this position?
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Randi, if you remember, back from when Eric Shinseki resigned, people were talking about whether or not they had a short list, and there was no short list. They were talking about Rhode Island senator Jack Reid, some others but really, there was no short list because the White House was looking for someone who had both management experience, with a business as well as veteran. And that Bob McDonald, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble, they've gotten both. He graduated from West Point in 1975. He was in the army then for five years, received a medal for his service during that time. Then he started at P&G when he was in his 20s. I'm from Cincinnati, I know at P&G, they hire very young and they want people to move through the ranks. And he worked there for 33 years, as you mentioned there at the top, and rose to become the CEO.
So again, Bob McDonald, a veteran, and a CEO, Randi. KAYE: Erin McPike, thank you very much for the update from there.
Conflicting reports today from Iraq where the government is claiming success in efforts to retake the critical city of Tikrit. State-run TV says Iraqi forces have pushed ISIS fighters out of Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein which is about 87 miles outside Baghdad. But a resident who spoke to CNN by phone says there's no Iraqi government troops inside the city. But troops are nearby. The government has released this video of a military convoy which it says was quote "cleansing the road between Tikrit and Samarra."
Meantime, a Russian cargo plane arrived in the Iraqi airfield carrying five Russian fighter jets. Iraq's ministry of defense says Iraq and Russia have cut a deal for delivery of 25 warplanes.
Let's get some insight from CNN military analyst and retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona.
All right. So Colonel, what does this say then about Iraq's military, that they are apparently still unable to retake Tikrit, or are they? We are getting conflicting reported.
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. This is a real key issue. Now, the Iraqi army has committed to go back and take Tikrit. Now, this will be a test of the Iraqi army. Are they capable of going up there and dislodging ISIS from that city? If they are not, then the Iraqi army's in much, much worse shape than thought. Because they're going up there with tanks, artillery, air support, you know, the full range of military weaponry to dislodge a bunch of irregulars from the city. So if they can't do this, we've got real problems ahead of us.
KAYE: And ISIS today declaring itself an Islamic state, and announcing the creation of a caliphate that runs from part of Syria into Iraq. How significant is that?
FRANCONA: Yes. I think this telegraphing their intentions. They're not going to be happy with just Iraq and Syria. So they want to hold the whole area. If you look at their -- the translation of their name under ISIS, its Iraq and Shi'a which includes greater Syria, which includes Lebanon, Syria, parts of Jordan, parts of Israel, Palestinian territories, it's a much bigger area. And they're making it known that they intend to set up a caliphate over this entire area. And now, you are seeing other groups jump into this. I just read where people in Gaza are saying, yes, we are going to be part of the Islamic state.
KAYE: And what about Iraq's deal to buy the fighter jets from Russia. I mean, will this help them, do you think, in turning the tide against ISIS?
FRANCONA: Yes. Sure, it will fill in a gap in their military. They really don't have a good close air support capability, a ground attack capability. That's what the American f-16 was going to provide but they are not scheduled to arrive until this fall. So what the Russians have done is bring in these so COI (ph) 25s. It is an older plane. It is an airplane that the Iraqis had in their inventory. They've got people that know how to use them, fly them.
KAYE: They still do?
FRANCONA: I imagine because, you know, the Iraqi air force was not as designated as the Iraqi army was. So this give them a much needed capability. I have to tell you. The Russian did a really good job in getting things down there quickly. They delivered them in two days. And according to the commander of the Iraqi air force, they are going to be flying in two to three days. That's a real success story on the part of the Russian air force.
KAYE: So you know, they turned to Russia, and there has been a lot of talk, though, about the U.S. starting air strike there's. I mean, does that take pressure off the U.S. to now get involved, giving that these planes are now with the Iraqis?
FRANCONA: Well, we've always wanted the Iraqis to take the lead on this. So this gives them the tools to do that. And I think this will be better for us in the long run because as the president said, the Iraqis have to do this. They've got to stand up and do this on their own. This gives them the tools to do that. Control of the airspace is going to be kind of interesting where you've got the Iraqis up there, us, and Syrians want to play and the Iranians are wearing their drones. So, it's going to take battle space management.
KAYE: Yes. It certainly is the good way of putting it. All right, Colonel, nice to see you.
KAYE: Thank you.
The death of a toddler in a hot car was met by shock, sympathy, and now horror. People were shocked by revelation about the internet searches of the father. Well now searches by the mother are leading to the same questions.
KAYE: We begin with a dramatic twist in the case of a Georgia toddler who died after his father left him in the scorch car for hours. Turns out his father, Justin Ross Harris, is not the only family member who researched child deaths in hot cars. Police say the boy's mother also did research on children dying in hot cars.
Leanna Harris has not been identified in a suspect in her son's death. Her husband is charged with murder and second degree child cruelty. Little Cooper Harris was buried yesterday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His mother told the church full mourners that her husband's a wonderful father and she loves him.
National reporter, Nick Valencia is tracking this emotional story.
Nic, what else did you learn from the new police affidavit?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very limited details. Good evening, Randi.
A day after Leanna Harris def defended actions of her husband, she may have to defend her own actions. As you mentioned there, Leanna Harris also researched child deaths in hot cars. Yesterday, I was at the funeral, little Cooper Harris' small red casket placed in front of hundreds who came to pay respects.
VALENCIA (voice-over): Under a light summer rain in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 22-month-old Cooper Harris was laid to rest at a funeral service attended by hundreds. Not present, his father, Justin Ross Harris who is accused of killing the toddler. But he did call in from jail to thank funeral guests for supporting his son and apologized for not being there.
While he was on the phone, his wife Leanna said that she is absolutely not angry at her husband. She called him a wonderful father and said that the truth would come out. Harris could be heard sobbing over the phone as the crowd inside gave him a standing ovation.
Earlier Saturday, new starling details emerged about the 33-year-old. According to search warrants obtained by CNN, Harris told police, quote, "that he recently researched through the internet child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to occur." The police officer went on to say, quote, "Justin stated that he was fearful that this could happen." What remains unclear is exactly whether that search was done. Friends and family say the man police paint as a murderer is not the man they know.
CAROL BROWN, FAMILY FRIEND: I want that he would be able to forgive himself.
VALENCIA: Family friend, Carol Brown.
BROWN: It's just seems out of character for Ross and I know people change. It's been 15 years or so since we've had contact in the church. So, you know, people change. But -- it's just hard for me to imagine that that is the Ross, the sweet Ross Harris, sweet little funny boy that we knew.
VALENCIA: A lawyer has instructed Harris's family not to speak to the media. Those who have spoken off camera say a man with the moral fiber of Harris would not be capable of killing his son. Left for seven hours in his father's car under the blistering Atlanta sun, Cooper Harris died. What is still unknown is what could have motivated Harris as police say to kill his only child.
Outside the university church of Christ, friends and family grieve as they wait to find out if baby Cooper's death was a terrible accident or something more sinister.
VALENCIA: And in the search warrants released this morning, Randi, it was not said when Leanna Harris actually made that search for child deaths in cars. She stood in front of the church yesterday, near capacity, about 400 people in the crowd, and she defended her husband. They hope that the truth will come out and defend them -- Randi.
KAYE: Nick Valencia, thank you very much. Such a tragic story.
In New Orleans now, gunfire in the French quarter early today left nine people wounded. One is in critical condition, another underwent surgery. The other victims are in stable condition with nonlife threatening injuries. The shooting occurred about 2:45 a.m. on Bourbon Street, in an area popular with tourists. Police do not yet have a suspect or a motive.
Possible tornado threats could develop later tonight in the nation's midsection. Right now, flash floods are the problem in fem Memphis, Tennessee. Some drivers have been stranded in a trailer park flooded. Police are warning people to stay off roads until the rain subsides.
So let me bring in meteorologist, Alexandra Steele, has much more on tonight's forecast.
Alexandra, what can we expect?
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, Randi, national weather service calling what you just saw there in pictures earlier today a flash flood emergency. Those were the images and these are the numbers, just since yesterday, 10.3 inches of rain in little Dixie. This is Arkansas, Howell, 9.6. Memphis, 7.6. In areas around Memphis, they have a month's worth of rain in seven hour alone.
So, here the estimated rainfall totals, you can see six to 10 inches right in this quadrant from Little Rock to Memphis, this is the i-40. And predominantly (ph), this is cotton and soybean farms. And right now, at the beginning of the squaring process. So really, could do some harm there hindering this squaring process, you know. And the problem is, we've got more rain to come, believe it or not.
Another three to five inches potentially coming in this area. Also Chicago, severe weather potentially for you, two to four inches of rain. So a few big weather stories happening around the country. One, of course, the flooding here in the south. The other, the setup we're going to see for severe weather tonight.
Biggest cities impacted about 20 million could see severe weather. But Omaha, Des Moines, this is where the moderate risk tonight is for isolated tornadoes. Tornado watches have just been put up until 11:00 tonight. Hail as well. And even some gusty winds. And of course, those isolated tornadoes and downpours to boot.
Also, the third story, what we are going to see, Randi, here is it, it could be an area of low pressure right now off the gulf stream. So it's kind of sucking in all of the warm water. There's potential here, 60 percent within two days it becomes our first tropical depression, tropical storm first in the Atlantic. And these are all the potential trajectories of it.
All of the models very consistent. This could be July 4th weekend, Randi, all of the beaches along coast could be impacted by some tropical entity with an awful lot of rain. So, this is certainly a storm we are going to keep an eye until the next couple of days.
KAYE: Yes. A whole different kind of fireworks, I guess.
STEELE: That's right.
KAYE: Alexandra Steele, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
$2 billion, that's how much the White House could request to tacking the immigration crisis on our border. But money alone is not going to solve this problem. Many immigrants live in limbo in the U.S., part of our society, but separate. Ahead, one woman tells her own story what it's like to live like this.
KAYE: A new commercial is getting a whole lost buzz online. The ad makes a powerful point, that the way we talk to girls and young women putting more emphasis on being pretty rather than being smart can have a huge impact on their lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Samantha, this project has gotten out of control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be careful with that. Why don't you hand that to your brother?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our words can have a huge impact. Isn't it time we told her she's pretty brilliant, too? Encourage her love --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: The ad was by Verizon and it's one of three recent ads that seem to be all about empowering women. But do they really do that? And what's really in it for the companies?
Here to talk about that is Martha Pease, an ad expert and founder and CEO of demandworks.com.
You know, I found that ad, I don't know about you, but as a woman, I found that ad a little disturbing. I mean, is Verizon actually trying to sell phones with this?
MARTHA PEASE, FOUNDER/ CEO, DEMANDWORKS.COM: Well, I think indirectly Verizon is trying to sell phone. But I think they're actually raising the bigger issue of what happens to when half of the talent pool maybe isn't available to participate in jobs that are really going to make companies like Verizon competitive. I mean Verizon is a tech company, and I think what they're addressing here is how to become part of the conversation to help motivate and help set the stage for bringing young girls into science, and technology, and engineering and math since that really is the future for Verizon, and where they'll be competitive. KAYE: It is just amazing to see them say, don't touch the drill, give
it to your brother. And then in the end, she is putting on lipstick. I mean, does that help the Verizon brand?
PEASE: Well, I think Verizon actually had an opportunity. I think it does help the brand because they are at least engaging in the conversation to answer that question. I think Verizon has an opportunity to go farther and they didn't. They didn't turn the middle of the commercial into why is Verizon concerned about this and what are we doing about it, and what kind of impact can we all have together. They've missed an opportunity to move you to the Web site where they've got a big corporate initiative behind this.
PEASE: They are making big commitments to getting young girls into science and technology. And I think they kind of missed that opportunity in this communication. But I don't think that they're manipulating us into a position beyond giving us this insight. I mean, I don't find it manipulative at all. I think they're raising an insight which an important one.
KAYE: We mentioned that there were three of these ads. Another one is an ad from always, that just came out, the ad starts with this question --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me what it looks like to run like a girl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My hair. God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: All right. But then it turns around, asking the same question of young girls.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me what it looks like to run like a girl. Throw like a girl. Fight like a girl.
What does it mean to you when I say run like a girl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It means run as fast as you can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: All right. So I mean you saw the two different views there, you know. When did something like a girl become an insult or even so negative?
PEASE: Well, I think the question is more what's the connection between that and always? I mean, this is a message that supposed to be an insight being brought to us by a company that sells a fairly basic product. And I think the bigger question that at least resonates with me as a consumer, why? I think that to some degree they're picking up a dialogue that was started in advertising at least a few years ago with dove and the campaign for real beauty, which was very much connected to product, beauty, how women see themselves, how they reflect their own inner beauty connected to dove products. This doesn't have that connection for me. It's almost borrowed equity, to jump on that bandwagon, start a conversation I don't feel like they have a lot of insight to bring me.
KAYE: Yes. Let me share with you the Pantene commercial. Because a week ago, Pantene released an ad, telling women don't say sorry so much. Let's play a clip of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There he is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mind if I squeeze in here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was going to say --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a question. Why don't we go back to the original thing that we did?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning. Got a minute?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: So, what do you think? I mean, is that the same efforts? First of all, I always say I'm sorry. So I get it. I totally relate to that. But is that -- is that the same idea as the other two?
PEASE: Well, it's more of the same idea as always, it's not the same idea as Verizon. I mean, Verizon has a legitimate position on the conversation about girls and science. I'm not sure that Pantene -- I mean, if I look at that commercial and everybody says they're sorry. I mean, women and men say they're sorry. It is a polite way to redirect a conversation. So whether you agree with that or not, a separate issue. But what that commercial's telling me is if I work it backwards I use the shampoo, I get shiny hair, I'll feel empowered and stop saying sorry. And again, it done go there for me.
KAYE: You're not buying that.
PEASE: I'm just not buying that because I don't like to Pantene to give me the kind of sight that's going to change my behavior or materially change the conversation about empowering women. It's a bit formulated. Again, it feels like barrowed equity. And I feel like I'm kind of being drawn into a marketing promotion rather than a really authentic conversation about how we respond just to those situations and how we're going to react to them.
KAYE: All right. Martha Pease, great. Nice to see you. Thank you.
And also, don't miss Martha's article on the roll out of Hillary Clinton's new book. Did she missed the perfect opportunity to rebrand herself? You can find that in our Website, CNN.com.
This weekend is the anniversary of one of most pivotal events in world history, an event that set off the first world war. Sometimes the people that fought the war don't get recognition that they deserve. Our next guest is trying to change that with a great and largely unknown story.
KAYE: Breaking news now. President Obama is planning to nominate a new veterans affairs secretary tomorrow, Bob McDonald, former CEO of Procter & Gamble. McDonald served as a captain in the U.S. army for five years. After graduating from West Point in the top two percent of his clasp, he received the service medal. He presently serves on the board of directors for Xerox and U.S. steel.
President Obama's previous V.A. chief, Eric Shinseki resigned after a scandal over mismanaged and sometimes deadly wait times for veterans needing medical care. The V.A. has admitted that 23 patients died in recent years because of delayed care. A White House official tells CNN, McDonald's 33-year tenure at Procter & Gamble prepares him well for a leading a huge agency which provides services for more than eight million veterans a year.
This weekend marks 100 years since the one single event that nearly all historians agree permanently changed the shape of the world and this is the spot where that event happened. The street corner in Sarajevo. June 28th, 1914, a teenage radical shot dead, arch duke France Ferdinand on the spot. The assassination triggered World War I that created conditions for World War II which shaped the cold war and the world that we know today. It all started on the street corner 100 this weekend, World war I.
In five years, more than 8.5 million soldiers died in all, 8.5 million. And yet the great war is not as commemorated. The men and women who fought it not as celebrated as in more recent wars. Well, this man wants to change that. Max Brooks is a writer with a life- long fascination with World War I, especially one particular American unit. And he poured that passion into graphic novel called "the Harlem Hell Fighters."
Max Brooks, it is nice to see you. Nice to have you on the program today.
So first, tell us who were the Harlem Hell Fighters and why did you feel that you want to tell their the story this format.
MAX BROOKS, AUTHOR, HARLEM HELL FIGHTERS: Well, the Harlem hell fighters were a New York National Guard unit that were all African- American with mixed white and African-American officers. They were essentially set up to fail by their own government, poor equipment, poor training, given to the French, actually, thrown away, given to the French army and ended up coming home as one of the most decorated united in the entire U.S. army.
KAYE: And you say that our foreign wars, in our American society, are closely linked. I mean, can you explain that?
BROOKS: Yes. World War I was the first foreign war that the United States fought to literally make the world safe for democracy. It was the first time that we were set on the path of fighting for ideals and that's also forced us to live up to those ideals at home. And throughout the 20th century and 21st century, you can directly peg American social change for women, for racial minorities, and now for homosexuals directly to our wars, foreign, essentially make the world a safer place, a better place for everyone.
KAYE: And where does your fascination with World War I come from?
BROOKS: You know, my fascination came from the fact that my father was in World War II. And in studying World War II, I inevitably was drawn to World War I because we forget that World War II was the sequel. World war II was the reaction whereas World War I was the cause.
KAYE: And what about the hell fighters? I mean, what is their place in history, you know? It is not something that we learned so much about it in school these days.
BROOKS: Well, you know, I always feel that the worst thing you can do to a soldier is not kill them, not capture them, not even torture. The worst thing you can do to a soldier is forget them. Forget their needs while they're alive and forget their deeds when they're dead.
And this highly decorated unit, that really did make a difference in a war to end all wars was essentially forgotten by its own army, by its own government. And I don't think received the kind of valor and the kind of honor that they deserve.
KAYE: Yes. And the story, I mean, it really does, the story of the hell fighters, I mean, it looks tailor-made for a movie. I mean, is there any movement in that direction?
BROOKS: Yes. Will Smith's company has optioned the movie rights. I'm writing the first draft of the script. We are going to discuss their amazing combat record, discuss the fact the French treated them as equals when the American government didn't. And also as a side note, they helped bring our music, jazz, over to France.
KAYE: Wow, that's great news. And congratulations to you. That's fantastic.
Max Brooks, great story. Thank you so much.
BROOKS: Thank you.
KAYE: Kenneth Bae has been imprisoned in North Korea now for more than a year and a half. And here's the latest stumbling block to free him. A Hollywood movie one, believe it or not, one that North Korea calls an act of war. We are talking about a movie, folks, that's coming up.
KAYE: Hollywood loves making fun of North Korea. But this time a movie may have gone too far. It called "the Interview." And it is about an assassination attempt on the life of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Pyongyang, well, certainly isn't laughing. An official statement actually called the film an act of war and undisguised terrorism. It might seem silly, but North Korea is dead serious about this. And here's reason that we should all be worried.
Since November 2012, North Korea has held American Kenneth Bae in jail and last year sentenced to him 15 years in prison. Could this film cost him a chance at freedom?
Here to talk about this is David Sugarman. He is a sports agent who is also been a tireless advocate for Bae since he was imprisoned.
David, nice to see you.
DAVID SUGARMAN, NBA PLAYER AGENT: Yes. You as well.
KAYE: So first of all, I mean, how serious is this? I mean, North Korea sounds pretty steam over it.
SUGARMAN: I mean I think so. They put out an e-mail that I received, reporters, it went around the world, right, about how angry they were about the film. They went as far as calling it an act of war in this letter. So, they're clearly very unhappy with the fact that this movie's coming out.
KAYE: Do you think they have a right to be?
SUGARMAN: I understand -- I understand why they're angry. I mean, grant, we have, you know, freedom of speech and freedom of press in our great country. However, I see their point. I mean, it's a movie about the assassination of their supreme leader.
SUGARMAN: So, I wouldn't expect North Koreans to condone this film.
KAYE: Right, right. So what about Kenneth Bae? I mean, because that's really the issue here. I mean, is it going too far to say that this Hollywood movie could hurt his chances? SUGARMAN: I don't think so. I really doesn't think so. I mean,
first and foremost, Kenneth was imprisoned in a prison, North Korea, when the movie was made and came out. It hasn't come out but the reels come out, right? so, I don't think it will affect. But again, you know, you are talking about such a sensitive, sensitive issue. And to put a film out about the assassination, I mean, it doesn't help my cause.
KAYE: Right, right. Well, are you worried that North Korea will, you know, will -- and the leader, Kim Jong-un, will hold it against somebody like Kenneth Bae, I mean, an America who they have imprison there?
SUGARMAN: Not at all. I really do think that their supreme leader will ultimately do the right thing, I really do.
KAYE: I mean, it is certainly doesn't seem likely that Hollywood's going to pull it. I mean, it's supposed to come out in October.
KAYE: There certainly isn't word they're going to not show this movie.
KAYE: So, do you think that North Korea, I mean, is there something they'll get over?
SUGARMAN: I certainly hope so. You know, I sent a tweet to Seth Rogen twice, clearly he didn't respond to me on those messages. But you know, I really wanted to see him get behind this. And you know, also, what the North Korean government has to understand is our film business in the states isn't run by our government like it is in the DPRK. So it's two completely different cultures as well.
KAYE: Yes. What do you know about terms of Kenneth Bae now? I mean, how is he doing? How is he holding out?
SUGARMAN: I don't know. I really don't know. I'd like to have the opportunity at some point to get to North Korea and God willing have the opportunity to see him.
SUGARMAN: But I don't have any information on that at this point.
KAYE: All right. I certainly hope he's doing well. We all do.
David, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
SUGARMAN: Good seeing you.
KAYE: Imagine living in the U.S., working here, raising a family here, but knowing that you could lose everything because you came here illegally and you're undocumented. That is the story of a new CNN film and the story of our next guest after the break.
But first, a personal tragedy led to Connie Severs adding some unwanted weight. But Dr. Sanjay Gupta's "Fit Nation Challenge" helped her get rid of it.
DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 52-year-old Connie Severs staying in shape was never a problem.
CONNIE SEVERS, 52-YEARS-OLD: When we got married after college and we had three children weight was not a problem.
GUPTA: That is until her 3-year-old daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with leukemia. And Emily passed away just three years later. Throughout the ordeal, Severs gained more than 70 pounds and it's weight she was never able to get rid of.
SEVERS: I knew I needed to make a change.
GUPTA: So she applied to our Fit Nation Challenge and she got in.
Connie joined the team in Atlanta back in January. Uncomfortable in the water, not having been on a bike in almost 20 years, and unable to run. Now just four months later, she's a new woman. With the help of her coaches and her sassy six teammates, she conquered four swims in the Pacific Ocean, rode 45 miles on a the bike and jogged seven miles this week alone.
SEVERS: It is just incredible that we started from zero and now we can make it work.
GUPTA: Down 35 pounds already, Severs is looking forward now to race day and also beyond.
SEVERS: I'm really excited when the cameras turn off to have the next finish to try to cross and to try to work for. And it my little better time or a little longer distance, there's always a next something.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, San Clemente, California.
KAYE: Turning now to the surge of Latino children entering the U.S. illegally. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi toured a facility in Brownsville, Texas yesterday where many of these children are detained. Pelosi said the U.S. has a moral obligation to deal with the crisis in a compassionate manner. The Obama administration tomorrow will ask Congress for $2 billion in emergency funding to process the rising tide of immigrants, it's a thorny issue, both legally and emotionally, of course.
Listen to one man's ordeal from tonight's airing of the CNN film "Documented."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, PULITZER-PRIZE WINNING JOURNALIST: I have become kind of a walking, uncomfortable conversation. I get asked questions like, why don't you just make yourself legal? And I think it's really important that we go through an application process to become a citizen so that you understand where the problem lies, right? So, here's a worksheet from the Web site of the U.S. citizenship and immigration services, right? It asks questions like, number one, I am at least 18-years-old. Yes. Number two, I am a permanent resident of the United States and I have been issued a permanent resident card. No. So I can't even make it past line two.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Destiny Thompson is a lifelong resident of New York. She just completed her first year at Queens College. She is also an undocumented immigrant and he is joining with us now to share the story of her American journey.
Destiny, nice to see you. So, you are good student. You got scholarships to go to college, but yet you're prohibited from holding a job.
DESTINY THOMPSON, UNDOCUMENTED AMERICAN: Yes.
KAYE: So, first of all, I mean, how does that feel?
THOMPSON: Well, I was prohibited prior to Obama passing the deferred action bill, but before it's very hard because all of my friends were getting jobs and getting their license and other stuff like that. And they were asking me why I couldn't do it, because I obviously could not. It was very difficult, if I decided to explain. It was very difficult to explain why and even when I did explain, they still really couldn't understand. Usually people who are given something like they don't understand what it is to not have that ability.
KAYE: Right. Right. And we should mention, you mentioned deferred action program, you're part of that because you came here before 2007, younger than 16.
KAYE: When did you realize that in this country that you were here illegally?
THOMPSON: Not until my junior year, actually when everyone started getting their jobs and work permits.
KAYE: Did someone tell you?
THOMPSON: My mother, yes. She told me when it was time for me to get all of my important stuff, when I realized that I couldn't. So you know, I had to ask and she told me.
KAYE: And so, here you are, though, speaking out and joining us on national television. I mean, are you at all concerned that you could be deported back to Jamaica?
THOMPSON: Honestly, that has never really crossed my mind. I think I'm young lady living and I'm going to school, I'm working, I'm doing what I can. I'm not doing anything negative toward anybody. So I don't feel like that should ever be a problem.
KAYE: What is your next move, I mean, in terms of the fight for immigration reform? I assume you want to be involved in that and make that happen?
THOMPSON: Yes, I do. I'm just hoping that they make it legal because everybody like in the video, they ask why don't you just make yourself a citizen or get your residency, like it's not that easy u it's really not. I think that the law should be passed where kids like myself who did come here when we were younger, with no say in coming here.
KAYE: You were, like, what, two, right?
THOMPSON: Yes, I was 2-years-old. I had absolutely no say in whether I wanted to come here or not and deal with these consequences later in my life. I feel like we should not be punished for the decision, not that it was bad decision, but the decisions of our parents. I feel like we should be -- especially if we work hard in school like I did, I think we should be rewarded and we should get to do and have the benefits just like everyone else that was born here.
KAYE: So, you're considered a dreamer as they call it?
THOMPSON: Yes, I am.
KAYE: I mean, what is your main goal? I mean, I guess you want a state dream act passed, right?
THOMPSON: Yes, I do. State dream and then, you know, worldwide.
KAYE: What would you get from the state dream?
THOMPSON: I would become, you know -- I would be considered documented instead of undocumented. I would be able to get financial aid, which is one of the biggest problems as of right now, even though I did get a scholarship, but there are many other people out there that did not get a scholarship and who are not able to pay for school. And if they were able to apply for financial aid that would help them tremendously. So, financial aid is definitely, like, number one on the list, for me at least, being a young student, to get for dreamers.
KAYE: Yes. And I know -- when I say you're a dreamer, you're really a dreamer, because I know you want to go to medical school.
THOMPSON: Yes, I do.
KAYE: You want to become a surgeon.
THOMPSON: Yes, I do.
KAYE: So, you have a lot of work ahead of you. THOMPSON: Of course.
KAYE: Yes. Well, that is a great goal, Destiny. It is so nice to chat with you. Thank you.
THOMPSON: No problem.
KAYE: And thanks for sharing your American journey with us.
And be sure to tune in to CNN tonight to watch the film "Documented." That is tonight on CNN at 9:00 p.m. eastern time.
Well, Team USA is less than 48 hours away from a date with destiny. Does the team have a little magic left to move on to the world cup soccer quarterfinals?
KAYE: Returning now to our top story, President Obama is planning to nominate a new veterans affairs secretary tomorrow. The nominee is bob McDonald, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble. Procter & Gamble is based in Cincinnati where speaker of the house, John Boehner is from and he just released the following statement saying this.
"Bob McDonald is a good man, a veteran and a strong lead we are decades of experience in the private sector. With those traits, he is the kind of person who is capable of implementing the kind of dramatic, systemic change that is badly needed and long overdue at the V.A. But the next V.A. secretary can only succeed in implementing that type of change if his boss, the president, first commits to doing whatever it takes to give our veterans the world-class health care system they deserve by articulating a vision for sweeping reform. Our nation's veterans deserve nothing less."
People have been predicting it for years, but it looks like Americans are finally embracing soccer. The U.S. world cup team has survived the so-called group of death to advance to the knockout stage. And TV ratings have surged with some of the highest numbers for any sporting event this year. Will the love affair last or will Americans go back to their old stand boys, like football and baseball, once the world cup is over?
Let's ask Terrence Moore, sports contributed to CNN.com and a columnist for mlb.com.
Terrence, nice to see you.
TERRENCE MOORE, CNN.COM SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
KAYE: So, has soccer finally arrived, as they say?
MOORE: Well, I tell you what, Randi. I hate to be a killjoy here, but people have amnesia in this country when it comes to soccer. And a I will tell you, let's start with 1990. That was the first year that the United States was in the world cup in 40 years. So people were naturally gaga. That lasted a little while, died down. 1994, the world cup comes here, people go crazy again, dies down
totally until 1999, with Mia Hamm and that great woman's team, that was exciting winning the world cup and the rose bowl. And now, here we are with another sugar high for soccer. And it was last about the time until team USA loses.
My gut feeling is we will probably win or we should win on Tuesday against Belgium because all the stars are aligned, stars and stripes, fourth of July, get it? But after that, it's going to be another, say, four years before we fall in love with soccer again.
KAYE: I think I heard you compare it to a sugar high. I like that one.
All right. There's been talk though, Terrence, that soccer is the perfect sport for the millennial generation. They played soccer as kids. Of course, it is multicultural and it lasts two hours of baseball game. You know, as you know, America's pastime, you know this well, can take two, two and a half, maybe three hours, even longer. I mean, you are a baseball guy. But could soccer maybe replace baseball or you absolutely don't think so? You think this just a sugar high?
MOORE: I would think that we would have a better chance of the great pumpkin returning before that ever happens. And you know, here's no question, Randi that we are in a society now where even the microwave is too slow for a lot of people. You look at soccer. I mean, there's no doubt about it, the pace of a soccer matches tremendous. You take that game between team USA and Germany on Thursday, it started at noon. you basically had time to go and have a nice lunch and get back to work.
But here's one thing if nothing else that will always keep baseball ahead of soccer and that is at least in baseball, it does not taken a eternity for somebody to score.
KAYE: That is true. I mean, we are in the day of like the four- minute workout. So I guess soccer is a good thing, right?
All right. Let's talk golf. Tiger Woods returned to golf this week, his first tournament since March. He was a little rusty after some back surgery, but he said he was pain free. I mean, how big a deal is it, do you think, to have Tiger back?
MOORE: Well, I mean, this is huge! When Tiger was out for those three months, it was equivalent to, say, yanking the Washington monument and the Capitol out of the mall in Washington D.C., and then wondering why tourism was down. This guy, he is golf.
And another example, take the U.S. Open this year, the television audience was about half as much as it was last year. Win or lose, people wanted to see Tiger out there and that's going to be like that until he retires. And hopefully for all of our sake, particularly the TV executives, that won't happen any time in this century.
KAYE: All right. Terence Moore, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Nice to see you.
MOORE: And same here.