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Steve Jobs Resigns; Journalists Released; Bounty for Gadhafi; Hurricane Irene; Stages of Alzheimer's; Journalists Freed from Tripoli Hotel; New Ammunition for the GOP

Aired August 24, 2011 - 19:00   ET


CANDY CROWLEY, HOST, CNN'S "STATE OF THE UNION": Thank you, Joe. Good evening everyone. I'm Candy Crowley. John King is off.

We begin with breaking news about a man whose name is familiar to anyone, with a Mac, an iPad, an iPhone or any Apple product. Just moments ago CNN confirmed that Steve Jobs has resigned as Apple's CEO, its chief operation officer Tim Cook is taking over.

Our Poppy Harlow of CNNMoney joins us now with the very latest details. Poppy, at the crux of this, this may be a sad story about a man who is too ill to carry on, we don't know, because we have been told that he will still have a big function in the company, but what can you tell us about this and what it may mean for the Apple brand?

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY (via phone): Absolutely, Candy. It's important to note that the letter that Steve Jobs just issued to the Apple board of directors and the Apple community that is who he sent it to, it's very short, and he said, I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. But he asked, Candy, and I think this is important, he asked -- he said I would like to serve as the board sees fit as chairman of the board, director and -- as chairman of the board, so he's saying that he would like to stay on.

Clearly if you read through the lines, there are concerns about what does this mean for Steve Jobs' health. You'll remember that he was diagnosed with cancer a while ago, that he took a leave of absence. He then came back to Apple. He took a subsequent leave of absence, but of course still remained integral in the company. This is a man who completely turned around Apple to a company that affects each and every one of us. He has been named by "Fortune" magazine last year the CEO of the decade.

He is a man who clearly is a visionary, not just for Apple, but for business across the board. This is a day that some saw coming, but, again, the details of his health condition, his battle with cancer, has always been very, very private. Apple is a company that is not a company that allows a lot of information out to the press when it comes to, of course, their CEO, Steve Jobs. He very rarely, if ever, even speaks to reporters.

But, again, he's the face; he's the name of this company. He says he strongly recommends that the succession plan, Tim Cook, the COO, then, become CEO. It is clear now that that is what is going to happen. One thing I should tell you, Candy, is that this is a company that had a plan. They knew that their chief executive was ill and they had a plan. Tim Cook is also a very strong leader, seen by investors as a strong leader of this company.

I want to take a look right now at shares of Apple. They were on hold for a while, Candy, and they have just opened up, and Apple shares have fallen about seven, eight percent to about $356. So, obviously we expected some investor reaction, but, again, a pretty succinct letter from Apple CEO Steve Jobs asking to step down from that top role.

CROWLEY: Our Poppy Harlow again on the breaking news tonight that Steve Jobs has resigned as Apple's CEO. He does want to stay on and serve as chairman of the board and director.

Turning now to the man who ran Libya for almost 42 years, he is on the run, with a price on his head. The rebels announced a $2.5 million bounty for Moammar Gadhafi and say intense fighting near Tripoli's airport today is linked to the manhunt. Pro-Gadhafi forces are entrenched in villages just outside Tripoli, but in one of today's biggest headlines, Gadhafi's gunmen melted away from Tripoli's Rixos (ph) hotel where for the past five days they've been holding almost three dozen international journalists including CNN senior and international correspondent Matthew Chance.

We are very relieved to say that he joins us tonight. Matthew, it is very good to see you on the other side of the camera. I want to ask you -- I know that there had been as you had reported all along some attempts to talk to these gunmen who were hostile most of the time. Why do you think that today, after five days, they let you go?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's really interesting, actually, that issue because it came as a surprise, but, you know, it was one of the most interesting things about this whole experience, the sort of transformation that we witnessed on the part of these couple of gunmen that eventually surrendered their weapons to us. These were people who were die-hard Gadhafi loyalists. They believed they were following orders. They believed that Colonel Gadhafi was running Tripoli, running Libya, and they believed that they needed to carry out those orders to keep the journalists contained in that hotel. But, you know, that was just a lie, of course. Colonel Gadhafi does not control Tripoli.

That lie could not be sustained, and, you know, as the reality became more and more apparent to these people, that there was no Colonel Gadhafi in power anymore, that outside the gates of the hotel, where we were all stuck in, Libya had completely changed. They surrendered their weapons to us. They apologized to us and they said we could go free. So, it was, you know, it was a remarkable transformation from people who believed that, you know, Colonel Gadhafi, the dictator of Libya for 42 years was still in power and would always be in power to people who realized that, you know, the world outside the gates of the hotel had completely been transformed, quite incredible.

CROWLEY: Matthew, it would suggest that there still are folks out there, the pro-Gadhafi forces that are not aware that he is nowhere to be found and that perhaps are not aware that his compound has been taken over by the rebels.

CHANCE: Well, I mean, I don't know, but, I mean, certainly all along the government of Colonel Gadhafi, the Gadhafi regime has been spinning this line, that it is in control of Tripoli, it is in control of Libya, that it's got the rebels on the back foot, that it's broken the back of the rebels is the phrase that Saif Islam Gadhafi (ph) used to me a few nights back when he was describing the counter offensive that he said Gadhafi's troops were engaged in. But you know that's clearly not true. You can listen to the gunfire behind me.

That's not hostility. That's celebratory gunfire and it's been going on in the city for days upon days upon days. I mean it's difficult to, you know, keep on saying that you're in control of the place when the reality is, is that your forces are nowhere to be seen. And so if there are still, you know, die-hard loyalists to Colonel Gadhafi, and we understand that there are still people fighting for him in various parts of the country, that must be because they're tied to him in some other way, not because they just don't know the reality anymore.

CROWLEY: Our Matthew Chance in Tripoli, a free man tonight there. We are thrilled, and once we stop talking to you, I hope you get some rest. You will hear the rest of Matthew's harrowing story over five days inside that hotel not allowed to leave, later on in our broadcast.

In eastern Libya rebel authorities are calling oil workers to return immediately to oil terminals that have just been abandoned by pro- Gadhafi fighters. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen joins us from near Benghazi. Fred, what's going on there?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's going on right here is that there is, as you mentioned, a bounty has been placed on Moammar Gadhafi's head by a rich merchant here from inside Benghazi. It's about 1.5 million to $2 billion -- it's $3 million -- sorry -- three million Libyan denars (ph) that's been placed on his head, and it's for capturing him dead or alive as this rich merchant has said.

Now, this, of course, is aimed not primarily at the rebels here, but it's primarily aimed at people who are protecting Moammar Gadhafi right now. Of course he still does have some supporters, as we've seen. Some of those supporters now under increasing fire as the rebels are making moves here in the east of the country to take the stronghold of Sert (ph), which is Moammar Gadhafi's hometown -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Fred, what can you tell us about what that is aimed at? It seems to me when I listen to a businessman offering $2.5 million for Gadhafi, is that aimed at the prospect that there are still people willing to hide him, or is that aimed at kind of getting folks out looking for him?

PLEITGEN: Well, it's basically both. I think one of the things that it's mainly aimed at is that a lot of people here in Libya believe that, yes, Moammar Gadhafi certainly isn't coming back. He's on the run. His government is finished. But they don't think that this chapter in Libya's history, this very dark chapter as many of them of course see it will ever be closed unless Moammar Gadhafi is, in fact, captured or killed, so in that regard it's aimed both at people who might set out to try and find him and of course also to those people who at this point in time at least do still seem to be protecting him. Moammar Gadhafi himself, of course, has gone on the air in the past couple of days even as his government was crumbling saying that he was still in control, saying that he's able to fight back, so it seems as though that curse that looms over a lot of people here in Libya, will only evaporate if Moammar Gadhafi is, in fact, found -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Our Fred Pleitgen tonight outside Benghazi. Thanks so much.

The pro-Gadhafi resistance may be crumbling, but the prospect of a bloody last stand is very real tonight. Within the past hour CNN's Arwa Damon reported a barrage of artillery fire near her post at the Tripoli airport. CNN is the only news organization reporting live from the airport. Arwa joins us now. Every time I see you on the air Arwa, it just seems like there is a fierce gun battle behind you. How long has this been going on? Is there any sign that one side or the other is winning it?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Candy, it's really been intensifying throughout the entire day. In the morning there was a volley of grad (ph) rockets that were launched, and then there was very intense artillery lasting for hours. I mean, the airport compound was getting pounded to such a degree that we had to move our live shot position inside. The rounds were coming too often, too close.

They did manage at one point to hit some of the planes that are out on the tarmac. One of them went up in flames. There was a small explosion there. There's been heavy automatic machine gunfire exchanges throughout and it's really difficult to tell if the rebels are able at all to push these Gadhafi loyalists back. They were telling us earlier that they're getting incredibly frustrated because they say the bulk of these attacks are coming from the east. This is an area that the rebels do not control, and they're saying that the Gadhafi fighters are using villages, not far away from here, as cover to launch these attacks.

And this, the rebels say, is preventing them from launching counterattacks directly on them. Because they say they're worried about civilian casualties, that, they say, is also preventing NATO from targeting these Gadhafi military positions. And the intensity of the battle here, Candy, is causing the senior commander here to believe that it is directly linked to Gadhafi's whereabouts. He says the ferocity of it, the fact that they keep coming at this complex from multiple locations means that his loyalists out there are somehow trying to clear an escape route for him.

CROWLEY: So, they believe what you're saying that he may be headed toward the airport or trying to head toward the airport, which rebels clearly control?

DAMON: Well, they believe -- they believe that he's either trying to head from Tripoli through these lands in the east that the rebels do not currently control. They believe that he is on his way to either the southern central part of the country or he would be looping over to his hometown of Sert (ph) that we just heard Fred talking about. And they say that last night, actually, some of the rebels spotted a convoy.

Part of this convoy was a vehicle that was an armored Mercedes. The senior commander here saying that this could be the vehicle that was carrying Gadhafi himself, so they're most certainly keeping an eye out for him, but it's becoming very challenging for them, because they're really getting bogged down in trying to defend this location instead of getting out there, going after the loyalists, and going after Gadhafi himself.

CROWLEY: Arwa Damon for us tonight, thank you so much -- clearly the battle not yet over.

Hurricane Irene has some of the country's top vacation spots in its crosshairs. We'll bring you the very latest coming up.


CROWLEY: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is asking people up and down the East Coast to make preparations for Hurricane Irene. It's a dangerous category three storm with sustained winds of 120 miles an hour, and that's expected to get even stronger. Right now the storm's wind and rain are hitting the Bahamas as well as CNN's Jim Spellman who is in Nassau tonight. Jim, just give me an update of what is happening on the island. I know you are pre-hurricane at this point.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Candy, we're starting to just -- you can feel the beginning effects of the storm. The winds though have been picking up significantly every hour or so with lashing bands of rain coming in about every half an hour. People here on the island, they know this thing is coming and they are doing their best to get prepared. Almost all of the tourists that you usually would find on Paradise Island, in Nassau here, Cable Beach (ph) are almost all gone. Anybody who could get out, got out. Everyone else is hunkered down in some of the tourists' hotels here hoping that this impact --



SPELLMAN: -- winds coming, the storm surge we can get from this on such a low-lying island that the damage could be significant -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Jim, we're talking about an island that is like 20 miles long. Is there really -- is there any place to go on the island or is the only answer if you're seeking certain safety to be -- to get off the island?

SPELLMAN: That's right, Candy. This is really not enough space here to try to outrun the impact of the storm like you may be able to do on a coastal area in the United States, so for the Bahamians who live here, it's storm shutters over their windows and doors or plywood if they don't have those. For everybody else, even some (INAUDIBLE) moving into the big tourist hotels here which are nearly empty, those are all built to sustain heavy storms --



SPELLMAN: -- really no choice here but to ride it out. (INAUDIBLE) thousand people here live here on this island, Candy. It's a lot of people. There's just no way that they could all get off the island.

CROWLEY: Jim Spellman in Nassau, the Bahamas tonight. Thanks so much.

We know Irene is heading for the U.S. East Coast, but predicting exactly where it will make landfall is driving forecasters nuts. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers one of them, he's studying all the data and the possibilities of which I guess, Jim, there are still many.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: There are and the problem is the forecasts are wrong on average about 25 miles one way or the other every 12 hours, so, OK, I know this storm is going to be within about 15 miles of Jim. Jim by morning will have winds of about 100 miles per hour. We know that because it's so close. Now, you take that 25 miles worth of error, and then you make another 12 hours, and another 12 hours, and you get to get a cone, and the cone is what we always talk about, that cone of uncertainty.

The possibility of it -- well, we hope it turns to the right and stays out into the ocean -- the possibility of it staying and not turning is still there. I haven't seen it turn yet. It may not. And that would take it on the right side of the cone. If it turns early, it would take it on the eastern side of the cone here. But a category four hurricane over Freeport, over the Bahamas, 135 miles per hour and a category four, even if we don't get a direct hit, and that's not the forecast for a direct hit, but think of the waves, Candy, that are going to be coming onshore with 130-mile-per-hour hurricane out there and the waves could make flooding.

They could make beach erosion. There could be places where beaches don't even exist anymore with all of that sand being torn out to sea. Let me move you up to Saturday, a very close approach to Cape Hatteras, maybe even to Morehead City (ph). That's not out of the question, and the scariest part if we take this all the way up farther into Sunday, is that it could hit New York City. It could hit Boston.

Now think about the 25, 25, 25 miles, there's a big turn to the left or a big turn to the right. It misses everything, but there's a lot of people in this corridor right there. At least 30 million people are going to have to be at least watching this all weekend long -- Candy.

CROWLEY: And you're one of them, thanks so much, Chad Myers. Appreciate it.

MYERS: You're welcome.

CROWLEY: We'll talk to you tomorrow. All the projected tracks for the hurricane take it very near, if not over North Carolina's fragile outer banks. Tonight evacuations are under way. We have North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue on the phone right now. Governor Perdue, thank you for being with us. What are you doing to get residents ready and out or hunkered down?

GOV. BEV PERDUE (D), NORTH CAROLINA (via phone): And thank you, Candy. Y'all are doing the best job of all by reporting it and getting people to realize that this may be a very big storm. We are planning for the worst and we are praying for the best. That's how we do things in North Carolina, so as I speak, Ocracoke, Hyde County (ph) has been evacuated. We're standing up our emergency centers all over the coast.

We understand tonight that Dare County (ph) has decided to -- that's Dare (ph) up to the far end of North Carolina, up in the northeast, has decided to evacuate there starting tomorrow. Lots of tourists on our outer banks and we're trying to be safe, but we're also trying to be very, very systematic. And so we have everything in place. Our shelters will start opening tomorrow or Friday as we need them. But we're waiting on you guys at CNN to give us a great forecast that it's gone further east and that it's not going to hit our state.

CROWLEY: We're looking for that right-hand turn that Chad Myers was talking about. Can you tell from the reports you're getting, do residents, do visitors seem to be taking these warnings seriously?

PERDUE: Everybody is very focused on the storm, obviously. Real people who live here and our wonderful tourism community, we're all kind of waiting until late tomorrow to see where we think the final -- the final track might be. And we obviously know that it's going to come in on Friday afternoon, Friday night, and there's going to be high winds and a surge and some riptides, so, yes, we're taking it seriously.

We're hoping it will cut above Wilmington and above the Mideast part of the state, but who knows. Again it's -- this is a -- my mom's name was Irene, so I take this one personally, and she is a tough, tough woman and so she is packing the heat and she's ready to hit somewhere. We just hope it's out to sea.

CROWLEY: And we hope that along with you, Governor Bev Perdue in North Carolina, good luck to all of you there and in fact all the governors along the East Coast. Thank you.

PERDUE: Thanks so much, bye-bye.

CROWLEY: Later this hour new jobs numbers that aren't good news for Americans out of work. We'll have details.

And up next legendary basketball Coach Pat Summitt has faced tough competition over the years. Her latest adversary is off the court. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CROWLEY: The winningest college basketball coach in history just disclosed she's suffering from early onset Alzheimer's disease. University of Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt is 59 years old. Over the years her teams have won 1,071 games, eight national championships, and an Olympic Gold Medal. She revealed the diagnosis in this video.


PAT SUMMITT, TENNESSEE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH: I plan to continue to be your coach. For that reason, I will be relying on my outstanding coaching staff like never before.


CROWLEY: We are joined now by CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He's a neurosurgeon and the host of "SANJAY GUPTA, MD" and Lisa Genova, who is a neuroscientist as well as a novelist. Her book "Still Alice" (ph) is about early onset Alzheimer's. Thank you both for being here.

Sanjay, I want to play a little bit more of Summitt. This was from -- she sat down with "The Washington Post" after her initial announcement, and she described her symptoms. Take a listen to this.


SUMMITT: Well, just for one thing, getting up and getting ready to go to the office and, you know, not sure what time I'm supposed to be there, you know? And I think it was you know -- for me I was -- I was trying to figure it out. You know? And I think that's why -- that's why at times, you know, I'd stay here as opposed to going in early to work and, you know, just -- just to be around the house and be in a, you know, safe place.


CROWLEY: Sanjay, she also talks about feeling really low, second- guessing her decisions. I think we can all understand and all have had that feeling of I can't remember this, what is this about, but does the depression -- it sounds to me more like depression. I feel really low. I'm second-guessing my decisions. Is that a part of early onset Alzheimer's?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly can be. But, you know, Candy, people who have these sorts of memory problems oftentimes start to not be able to conduct their normal activities which is what you hear Coach Summitt talking about there specifically, skipping appointments, staying at homes, becoming more withdrawn, starting to have personality changes. So depression can certainly be a part of that, but oftentimes it's a progression of problems that is you know predicated on some of these initial problems, including the memory loss.

CROWLEY: Lisa, to you, you wrote so movingly in your book sort of from inside how it feels almost to be dealing with this early onset Alzheimer's. And I'm wondering as you listen to Summitt's description of what she went through, if a lot of that rang true for you and seemed within the pattern of what you've seen. I know your grandmother had Alzheimer's, although not early onset.

LISA GENOVA, NEUROSCIENTIST: Right. I came to know a lot of people who were diagnosed in their 40's, 50's, and 60's, and one of the things that everyone goes through is sort of the stages of grief. So, you begin with sort of denial, and then anger and bargaining. And there is some depression that goes along with that. It's the lack of confidence in the self that you're used to.

You're used to being able to multitask and depend on your memory and your cognition and your being able to call up words quickly. And when that starts to fail and you can't count on yourself, there's a lot of retreating to where it's safe at home. And that can lead to some alienation and isolation and further sort of perpetuate that loneliness and depression that can coincide with Alzheimer's.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you both, starting with you, Sanjay, we heard Summitt say I'm going to carry on being a basketball coach. I'm going to rely on my assistants more heavily than I have in the past, but I'm going to keep on being basketball coach. One, is that possible after a while? Is there just a natural progression where this will no longer be possible or can you keep going, relying heavily on others around you to do something as demanding as this job is?

GUPTA: One of the things about being a coach and I'm sure that it involves all sorts of different ingredients including judgment and that your judgment, your gut instincts, you know, making the big calls, while that can be affected as well, it is not as initially affected as the short-term memory problems and some of the other things that have been discussed. So, if that were one of the key ingredients, Candy, which I think it is for a lot of coaches, she may be able to do this for a while longer, how much longer hard to say because of this progression.

CROWLEY: Lisa, does it help to keep working? If you have a job and you get this kind of diagnosis, does it help slow the progression to keep working?

LISA GENOVA, AUTHOR, "STILL ALICE": We think it can. I mean, everything that's good for the heart is good for the brain. So, all these things we hear about getting enough sleep, reducing stress, increasing exercise -- exercise has been shown to sort of clear these amyloid beta plaques, these roadblocks that interfere with neural transmission, as much as any pharmaceutical we know of.

CROWLEY: Sanjay, you touched on this a little bit. But in every article that I read about Summitt, it quoted her as saying that at night now, she's doing some reading and doing crossword puzzles or puzzles of some sort to keep her mind sharp. I've talked to a number of people, neurosurgeons and neurologists who say, you know, most of the tests that they give you and say, sharpen your mind by doing this, make you better at the test. But they don't make your mind any better.

Can something like crossword puzzles and reading actually -- again, I think we're talking about slowing the progression obviously rather than any kind of cure here?

GUPTA: Yes. You know, I'm actually -- you know, I think there's more than anecdotal evidence now to suggest that, Candy, that, you know, actually, thinking of the mind as a muscle, exercising it in various ways can help slow down the progression. And people aren't talking about curing it or reversing it, but slowing it down.

I think that that's become more than as I said anecdotal evidence.

CROWLEY: And I want you both to listen to another sound bite from Coach Summitt. She was talking about her son Tyler.


PAT SUMMITT, TENNESSEE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH: The one thing I want him to do is, you know, he has his own apartment now. And once, you know, this all out in the open, I just want him to go have fun.


CROWLEY: This is such a mother speaking -- you know, yes, I've got this problem, but I want him to go have fun, he's a junior in college as we understand it. This is her only child and obviously the closest person to her, at least as far as we know.

How realistic, though, is it to think that going forward you can just sort of say, OK, we've got this all out in the open and now everybody kind of goes back to their places? Won't increasingly, isn't this, doesn't this become something that the family -- a disease the family also has in some ways?

GENOVA: Well, sure. But, you know, everybody reacts to the disease differently, and the family members that I've seen who go through this, including my own, sort of everyone reacts to it differently, even if everyone loves the person with Alzheimer's, some might want to take an active role and some may not be able to do that. So, yes, it affects everyone who is connected to that person, and it's -- as of now, there is no cure for Alzheimer's. There's no happy ending, so we are looking forward to a future where she will require more and more help.

CROWLEY: So, Lisa, are you hopeful that we might see a cure sometime within our lifetimes, although granted some of us have a shorter time than others?

GENOVA: Oh, absolutely. You know, what Sanjay was saying before, you know, this disease has largely been in the closet we haven't been paying a lot of attention to it because we're scared of it. And it reminds me of what cancer was like 40 or 50 years ago, we couldn't say the word, we called it the "Big C".

And so, now, with people getting it out of the closet and facing it and talking about it publicly, we can start to pay attention to it, put some research into it and, yes, we now have the tools to study what this disease. We know what causes Alzheimer's, now, the trick is designing compounds that are safe, effective, and that can clinically bind to it and eliminate it.

CROWLEY: Lisa Genova, author of the bestseller "Still Alice" -- thank you so much today.

Sanjay Gupta, always great to talk to you. Thank you.

If you believe the polls, there's a new front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, we'll get to that in a little bit.

But, next, a quick update on the hour's breaking news about Apple's Steve Jobs.


CROWLEY: Welcome back. Here's the latest news you need to know right now:

This hour's breaking story: Apple's CEO Steve Jobs has resigned and will be replaced by chief operating officer Tim Cook. Apple's announcement made no mention of Jobs' health but says Jobs does intend to stay on as Apple's board chairman.

Apple shares were suspended from trading before the announcement, but the market staged a late rally and the Dow Industrials closed up 144 points today. The NASDAQ and the S&P 500 also closed higher.

The Washington Monument is closed indefinitely for repairs because of cracks caused by yesterday's earthquake. One of the cracks is said to be at least four feet long and an inch wide.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" is coming up at the top of the hour, which is, again, why we have Anderson Cooper here with a preview.

Hey, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Yes, about 22 minutes away, Candy. We're going to have the latest on the breaking news tonight, a lot of breaking news tonight. Fighting continuing in Tripoli and, of course, so does the hunt for deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi. We're going to have live reports from all our correspondents in the capital.

As you know, Candy, some of the heaviest fighting has been at the airport, one possible location where Gadhafi could be holed up. Take a look at this.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Gadhafi forces had been stationed to the east, and they have for quite some time now the last few days trying to regain control of this airport. They have --

HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: If you need to take cover, do it.

DAMON: No, I think that's outgoing as far as I can tell. So, I think we're pretty OK where we are right now. That is rebel fighters shooting out of the airport complex.

Now, what they're trying to do is push these Gadhafi fighters back. They've entrenched themselves in these villages along the eastern part of the airport.


COOPER: Arwa Damon, remarkable reporting from her. We'll have live reports from Arwa and all the others in Tripoli.

Also in crime and punishment tonight, new and potentially important details on the disappearance of American women Robyn Gardner in Aruba. CNN's Martin Savidge has learned that Gardner's travel partner, who she met on the Internet, Gary Giordano is a beneficiary of a $1.5 million accidental death policy that he took out on her before the trip. This is the picture of the two of them the day that Gardner disappeared. We'll have more details at the top of the hour from Martin Savidge in Aruba.

Those stories, and the hurricane -- we'll have the latest on the hurricane path here in the Northeast. It's not without precedent. Remember the perfect storm? That wasn't so long ago. We'll take a look back at some of the biggest storms that have hit the region, all at the top of the hour, Candy.

CROWLEY: About 20 minutes from now. We'll be there. Thanks, Anderson.

One of today's most dramatic stories is also one of the most welcome here at CNN. Next, senior international correspondent Matthew Chance reports on the end of his five days of harrowing captivity in Tripoli.


CROWLEY: After five harrowing days in captivity, almost three dozen international journalists were freed today by pro-Gadhafi gunmen who had been holding the journalists in a Tripoli hotel.

CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance was among them. And virtually everything that happened to him today happened live on camera. Take a look.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's tough. We were hoping to negotiate an end to this crisis, this terrible experience we've all been through. We've managed to speak to the guys who have been in charge here. People have been given orders by the Gadhafi regime to, you know, not let the journalists leave. And they've been carrying those orders out, even though the whole world for them has changed inside this hotel. Hopefully, now they're going to get in those cars and they're going to take us --

CHRYON: The team says goodbye to other journalists leaving the Rixos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye, Matthew. Good luck. CHANCE: Good luck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye, guys. Good luck.

CHYRON: All of the journalists leave the Rixos in ICRC cars.

CHANCE: Hello? Hello?

CHYRON: Matthew does his first interview with CNN after leaving the hotel.

CHANCE (via telephone): Breaking news situation here. We have now left the compound of the Rixos Hotel. All of the 36 journalists that were kept inside essentially against their will in what we all considered all along to be a hostage crisis, have now been a -- a hostage situation, rather, have now been allowed to go out.

It's been a very complicated, a very frightening, a very, you know, emotional roller coaster of the past five days.

(on camera): Some of the Arabic-speaking journalists among our colleagues managed to negotiate with them, to convince them that, you know, the world has changed outside.

CHYRON: Producer Jomana leaves hotel.


CHYRON: Producer Jomana gives her first phone interview.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN PRODUCER (via telephone): One of the most difficult things for me was speaking the language, you know, speaking Arabic, I was involved in most of the negotiations between those guys who were holding us there and also trying to talk to people on the outside, trying to secure a safe passage for us at least or getting us out like we did today. It was a team effort.

We had an amazing group of journalists and, you know, and an experience like this, we did all really bond together and work as a team and make sure that we all got out of there together. It's amazing, and walking out of the hotel, I didn't really know what was going to be out there. And I came out to a new Libya.

I was actually shocked, the new Tripoli. I didn't see any green flags, I saw the rebel flags. I saw children waving the flags. I saw like a happy Tripoli. It was a very, very different one than the one I saw about a week ago before we were taken hostage.

CHYRON: Matthew live from Green Square.

CHANCE: They're celebrating their freedom. They're not celebrating my freedom. They're celebrating Libya's freedom obviously. But I have been given loads of flowers.

They realize, you know, we've just gone through this ordeal of being, you know, held captive essentially in the Rixos Hotel, and it's only now we've come out to speak to you because we've been essentially set free. It's amazing.

The whole country, the whole city, is celebrating its freedom, and, you know, I feel a bit of connection with them, I feel a connection with them because I'm celebrating mine as well.


CROWLEY: Next, Republicans pick up some major ammunition in their effort to add President Obama to the unemployment rolls.


CROWLEY: A new projection from the Congressional Budget Office will give Republicans fresh ammunition to use against President Obama. The real eye opener is the unemployment projections. When the election is held, it's projected in 2012, unemployment will be about 8.5 percent. It's 9.1 percent now. It is expected to remain above 8 percent until 2014.

Joining us, CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, is the political director and columnist for the "National Journal." And Jeff Zeleny is a national political correspondent for "The New York Times."

Gentlemen, thanks for being here.

Ron, first to you, on these unemployment figures. So, what we're looking at is 8.5 percent jobless rate in the middle of the election season next year. How does the president get around that?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, obviously first of all, the figures are a tragedy for millions of Americans and their families. As a continuation of what has been the worst decade of job performance since the depression. There are fewer Americans working now than there were in 2001, which is unimaginable given the growth in population.

And for the president, really, the reference to the depression is relevant, too, because no one's gotten re-elected since Franklin Roosevelt probably in the 1930s. Look, I think it means two things for him. He has to change the dynamic in two different ways.

First, he has to change the conversation. Like all presidents running in tough times, he can't allow this to be solely a referendum on his performance. He has to make it a choice. And that means trying to sharpen distinction with Republicans, possibly by doing a kind of a Harry Truman 1948 maneuver and coming back with a very aggressive agenda and daring Republicans to block it and then running on that.

But, perhaps, equally important, he probably has to change the composition of the electorate. They have a lot of time and a lot of money, and they have to build up turnout and registration among those groups most disposed to them, which would be minorities and particularly young people as well.

So, I think he has to do both of those things. But under any circumstance, you're talking about a big headwind for an incumbent president running in an economic climate like that.

CROWLEY: You are, Jeff, and as you and I were talking prior to coming on air, this isn't really just about an 8.5 percent unemployment rate. It's about unemployment rates that are even higher in really important places.

JEFF ZELENY, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Without a doubt. And, I mean, in some respects, the 8.5 percent is going to look like -- should it actually become that -- is going to look like sort of a beacon out there. There are many counties across Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, these key battleground states where President Obama hopes to do well, Indiana, Pennsylvania, that are far worse than this.

So, I think Ron is absolutely right, this president and this re- election campaign needs to change the conversation. What they are, of course, going to have by next year at this time is an opponent. So, they believe they will look better, that he will look better vis-a-vis his opponent.

But some Democrats are worried that that may not be enough, and they may be right. I mean, there are just not enough jobs out there. There are not the new jobs being created. So, he has significant headwinds, and they know it.\

And their best strategy at this point is running against the other person. But he'll have to show improvement on all these scores.

CROWLEY: Let's talk a little bit, because you both brought up that the president needs to run against his opponent as opposed to his opponent running against him. They're looking for that contrast at the White House and waiting really for a year from September when they got a guy they can run against. New Gallup poll out shows Rick Perry, the Texas governor, pulling ahead of Mitt Romney in this battle for the Republican presidential nomination.

What do you make of it, Ron?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think there's two things that really interesting thing about this poll is not only does it have Perry ahead of Romney nationally among Republicans. Obviously, these numbers can move around. But the really significant thing is the breadth of the appeal that Perry shows here. The promise or potential of Perry's campaign has always been that as a staunch social conservative with a strong economic record in Texas, that he has the opportunity to bridge the two wings of the Republican Party -- the more college-educated, upscale, economically-focused side, the more evangelical, blue collar, populist, culturally conservative side.

And in this poll, he leads Romney not only among blue collar Republicans, those without college degrees, which you might expect, but also leads Romney by double digits among college-educated Republicans, which has been Romney's strongest group before now. And in the same way, Perry is doing much better than Romney or Michele Bachmann among the religiously devout.

Now, all of this may change as he engages more with the other candidates, as they focus on his criticism of evolution or climate change. But for right now, he is doing exactly what he seems capable of doing on the drawing board, which is attracting support from the full breadth of the party to a greater extent than either Romney, Bachmann or certainly Sarah Palin as much for a downscale candidate could do.

CROWLEY: I want to talk about Sarah Palin in a second. But, Jeff, let me move you to a theory of mine, and I want you to totally agree with me here.

Jon Huntsman is looking for running room, like what part of the Republican electorate can he find. I mean, he is in the 1 percent and 2 percent in most all of these polls. And it seems to me over the past week, 10 days, he has made a de sided attempt to say, these people are all crazy here in the Republican Party. In fact, the Democrats have a new ad out saying, yes, listen to Jon Huntsman.

My theory is Jon Huntsman is now running for 2016 on the theory that someone who is too conservative for the country is going to get nominated and is going to get run over by Barack Obama.

So, go ahead and tell me about what Jon Huntsman's doing.

ZELENY: Well, he's clearly on plan B strategy here. I mean, he started out as the candidate of civility. He was not going to talk in a negative way about any of his opponents. That clearly didn't work. It didn't give him in the conversation.

So, he is in plan B here, and he is really, you know, sort of speaking his mind. I actually think he happens to believe most of what he's saying here about some of his rival Republican candidates are too extreme. I mean, if you look at his record as governor of Utah, he was beginning to become much more of a moderate.

But I'm not sure that 2016 isn't in the back of his mind. I think that's probably right. But he also is potentially trying to play cleanup role here.

We're still not sure how this is going to unfold. For all of the Gallup numbers now, for all of our talking in August, these numbers are not going to hold for Governor Perry.

I was out with him on the road in Iowa as he made his debut last week. He knows they're not. His advisers know they're not. That's why so many establishment Republicans are a little bit concerned about his introduction here.

I mean, it's very impressive in many respects as Ron was saying, his breadth of appeal across, you know, the age ranges, the demographic ranges, et cetera. But he has yet to be defined. People saw him introducing himself. He did a masterful job of rolling out his candidacy in a big Texas way. You know, drip by drip by drip, day by day.

But Mitt Romney has yet to go after him. He certainly will especially if these numbers hold. So, I think it's a little bit too early to say this is set in stone.

So, Governor Huntsman is still I think hoping for something in 2012. But I would never disagree with you, Candy, that 2016 is probably somewhere in his mind as well.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, Candy, I think Huntsman clearly has placed a bet, though, in the kind of demographic divide that we're talking about in Republican Party by -- in particular by his sharp criticism of Governor Perry, which as Jeff said and I noted before, could narrow Perry's support eventually.

But criticizing Perry specifically on his questioning of evolution and the science of climate change, Huntsman is sort of acknowledging that his one area of potential growth is this kind of more white collar, somewhat less religiously devout part of the party that you find on the coast and in New Hampshire. That's who he's got to talk to. If he does that successfully, he does cut into what has been Romney's base as well.

But I think that as that debate unfolds, it's clearly going to define -- if Huntsman continues in the debates next month, it will continue to define each man. It may make it harder to Perry to hold the upscale support and it may allow Huntsman to introduce himself to those voters in a ay that he's really kind of a blurrily defined everyone right now.

CROWLEY: Ron Brownstein, "National Journal" columnist and political director, Jeff Zeleny, "New York Times" national correspondent -- thank you both so much. We will take another snapshot look at this race, I'm sure, in the months to come. Thank you, guys.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you, Candy.

ZELENY: Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: And that is pretty much al from us tonight. Thank you so much for watching. "A.C. 360" starts right now.