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Autistic 8-Year-Old Found 24 Hours After Running Away From School; Will U.S. Hikers Held in Iran Get Released?; Underwear Bomber Trial Begins; White House Receiving Positive Response From Voters on Jobs Bill; Family Living in Poverty Interviewed; Arizona Attorney General Accuses Mexican-American Studies Program of Radicalism; Republicans Win New York Special Election
Aired September 14, 2011 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Randi Kaye, thank you very much. Have a wonderful rest of your Wednesday, and hello to all of you.
I want to begin by talking about this 8-year-old boy. He ran away from his elementary school back on Monday. He then disappeared into the San Bernardino National Forest.
But little Joshua Robb is autistic, meaning he may not have been able to understand what was going on. Plus, his tendency may be to hide from the very people who are trying to help and find him.
Add that to really horrendous weather, thunder, lightning forcing some of the crews just to run for cover, and that happened more than one time. And this area, this is video from the area. This is right around, if you know it, Lake Arrowhead, heavily wooded, mountainous.
With so much working against them, the searchers used a very unique approach. Get this. They blasted Ozzy Osbourne, you know, the song "No More Tears," to try lure Joshua out of these woods. Ozzy, as it so happens, is a favorite of Joshua.
So 24 hours after running from his school, one rescue team, they found him.
I want to bring in Justin Wheaton. He was one of the first to actually find Joshua. Justin joins me on the phone.
And, Justin, congratulations to you and your team.
Take me, if you will, to the moment your teams had been out there searching for some 14 hours in this the forest. You see some footprints, you see a rain-soaked T-shirt and then what happened next?
JUSTIN WHEATON, RESCUER: Well, we were waiting for some more resources, some people that were going to help us track from the T- shirt that we had identified 100 percent his.
So we were just sitting there trying to stay on rocks, stay off the tracks, and we were just waiting. And I heard a mumbling and grumbling maybe 20, 30 yards off in this the bushes. And the second I heard it, I knew. I was like, well, that's a kid. And we all jumped up and ran off in that direction. And sure enough, he was just standing there in a bush, no shirt, no shoes, just in his shorts and was very happy to be found.
BALDWIN: What did he say to you, Justin?
WHEATON: He didn't have many words. When we first found him, he said thanks. We tried, you know, getting him to eat something, getting him to drink something, put some clothes on him. As we were holding him because the helicopter was coming in, he said, "You saved me."
BALDWIN: Talk about this terrain. We were looking at some of the images. It looks like it could be steep slopes, loose rocks. I imagine that was tough enough for you guys to maneuver. You all are a professional search-and-rescue team. Let alone for this little boy to meander so far off the beaten path and survive.
WHEATON: Yes. It was rough. The search area that we had was only maybe about a mile, mile-and-a-half from the school, and it's level for a little ways, and then it just drops off into very steep terrain, heavily wooded, lots of rock, lots of loose trees, lots of animals out there and stuff, just not the kind of place anybody really wants to be.
BALDWIN: And then, Justin, other than the happy ending here, which we're reporting, what really caught our attention, the role of music in finding this 8-year-old, specifically Ozzy Osbourne and Alan Jackson playing over some loudspeakers? Why did some of the rescuers do that? Explain.
WHEATON: Well, it was a bizarre thing to be sitting there in your briefing and they give you the normal, oh, well, he's wearing a striped shirt, gray pants, sandals, and, oh, yes, he likes Ozzy Osbourne and country music.
So the parents had brought in a couple of CDs and there were teams up more in the neighborhoods driving around blasting Ozzy Osbourne to see if maybe he was in a house somewhere if he'd come out.
BALDWIN: So the reason for that, as we mentioned, he is autistic and it was the idea of bringing something familiar. So it was the father's voice and also these songs that hopefully was luring him back toward safety.
Finally, I mean, happy for you, it's a happy ending. It was a rescue, not a recovery.
OK. Justin Wheaton, again, wonderful job. Thank you so much for calling in. I really, really appreciate it.
And just to update you here on Joshua, he was airlifted to Loma Linda Medical Center to just make sure he was OK. He appears to be in good condition. But we can't tell you the story about Joshua without talking about his parents here.
Joshua had been removed from his parents, from their custody about three weeks ago after someone saw him tied to a pole as the family was packing to move. He was living with a teacher after that. And after his release from the hospital, he was turned over to child protective services. Reportedly, there is a custody hearing tomorrow.
Also this today, some new details we're getting on this flight that was evacuated in Washington just a short time ago. The United Airlines flight, it was headed from Dulles to San Francisco when an engine problem forced the pilots to stop the plane on the tarmac after it just left the gate.
We have also learned that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on board that plane. Her staff says she is doing just fine.
Jury selection begins in this case against the so-called underwear bomber, but as he's walking into court today, he delivers this loud outburst and it involves Osama bin Laden. That's ahead.
Plus, we're now hearing some of those frantic 911 calls during that dramatic rescue of a motorcyclist. We talked to the officer first on scene yesterday. Now you're about to hear directly from the strangers who saved this young man's life, what went through their minds as they lifted this 4,000-pound car inches from flames. Stay right there.
BALDWIN: We are getting some news just into us here at CNN regarding those two American hikers who say they just wandered into Iran from Iraq. They have been in an Iranian prison for the last two years, charged with espionage. They are Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer.
I want to bring in our senior State Department producer, Elise Labott, with the news.
Elise, what are you learning?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Brooke, we heard yesterday that perhaps President Ahmadinejad was ready to release those hikers. This morning, not so much. A judge apparently we're told is blocking the processing.
He has to personally approve the process. So we didn't see that release today, but now we're hearing that a plane from the Gulf country of Oman is headed to Iran to try and get those hikers released. An Omani envoy will be on the scene trying to negotiate those last-minute details and possibly get these hikers out. Obviously the families being very careful and the State Department here also being very careful about what they're going to say.
But, if you remember, last year around this time, Sarah Shourd, the third hiker that strayed into Iranian territory, allegedly, was released with the help of the Omani government. The Omanis sent a plane, an envoy there to get her out and then they flew out with her to Oman. So obviously this a good sign that there's a lot of hope, the Swiss government also working this.
The Swiss ambassador was in with the Iranian Foreign Ministry today. Swiss officials telling us no news yet, but again it doesn't look bad -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: That's right, Sarah Shourd, engaged to Shane Bauer. We had talked to the mothers back in May. They remained hopeful and I think the phraseology that you keep using as does the State Department, cautious, cautious optimism. We will continue to follow it and see if in fact the hostages are freed to leave. Both of these young men from the United States. Elise Labott, thank you so much.
Also today, we have that frantic 911 call from that fiery crash, an amazing rescue out of Logan, Utah. You remember there was that motorcyclist who was trapped underneath the burning car? Take a listen to the call.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like someone may be under the vehicle. Cars are burning. You better send somebody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'm going to back up. The motorcycle is spitting out fire and I don't know if it's going to explode or not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The motorcycle is on fire. The car is starting on fire right now. Actually, it's going to go right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Just shows you how dangerous the scene really was -- 21-year-old Brandon Wright, he was the young man pinned underneath this fiery car, covered in gasoline, his bike and the car, as you can see, on fire. There they were dragging him out.
A crowd of strangers came to the rescue, good Samaritans, nearby construction workers, lifting this 4,000-pound car, pulling him to safety.
By the way, more of those good Samaritans, they are coming forward today. They are talking. And here is what they told CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think my human instinct and, you know, the people who are trying to help, it's their human instinct who was the motive or who was like the -- that was driving them to help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw a lot of blood. And I saw how he was unconscious. And, at the time, we didn't think about ourselves. We had to pull him to safety. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Brandon Wright's family is obviously quite grateful for the actions of some of those strangers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYLER RIGGS, UNCLE OF VICTIM: The family, Brandon first and foremost, his parents, his siblings and everyone else are incredibly thankful for these angels who came to his aid yesterday.
Watching the video, it gives us chills. That car could have blown up at any time. And it was just amazing that they risked their lives -- 12 people or however many it was risked their lives to save Brandon's life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Amazing, indeed. By the way, Brandon Wright is still in the hospital.
Coming up next, as President Obama's approval ratings sink, there is a new poll revealing whether Americans trust him or Republicans more when it comes to the economy.
And as the president hits the road selling that jobs plan, he's trying to use a certain kind of leverage. Brianna Keilar is standing by. We're going to go live to North Carolina next.
BALDWIN: The president of the United States venturing into the Deep South today to try to sell his new jobs package, North Carolina, a state that went for Barack Obama by the slimmest of margins back in 2008. That could of course prove crucial come 2012. We will talk about that here in just a second.
But, first, I want to show you this poll. It's pretty good news for the White House here. It shows Americans trust the president more than they trust the Republicans when it comes to handling the economy. A solid majority, 74 percent, likes his plan to help the states hire teachers, hire first-responders. Another solid majority likes the idea of hiring unemployed workers to build roads, build bridges and schools.
And another solid majority likes his plan to cut the payroll tax on workers.
Here is the president today. Want to just play this clip, trying to turn that support into leverage for his jobs plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got to tell Congress to do their part. You've got some Republicans in Congress, they like to talk about how "We're in favor of America's job creators." Well, you know what, if you're in favor of America's job creators, this is your bill. This will actually help America's job creators. So we need to pass this jobs bill right away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Brianna Keilar live for us now in Raleigh.
And, Brianna, does the White House, do they believe it can harness all this backing for the president's jobs plan and then actually get something passed?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They do.
This is really the strategy, Brooke. Witness the "take it out of Washington' strategy, if you will, the idea here and we have heard the president say this here today, this was the third of his out-of-town stops the last six days, that he wants the help of Americans telling their members of Congress to help him pass the jobs bill.
Here today, someone yelled from the audience, "I love you, Barack." And this happens from time to time, Brooke. And he said back to them, "If you love me, help me pass this jobs bill."
It's sort of unclear if it's working at this point, bus this is the strategy that the White House is going to be doing here for months, for the better part of the rest of the year, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Speaking, though, Bri, of strategy, we know the president keeps saying, we hear this line, pass this bill, pass this bill right away, and I thought one could take it as, OK, pass this whole thing right away. But now I'm hearing this suggestion, maybe not the whole thing.
KEILAR: Yes. So it's been clear that the president's strategy has been, here's the bill, I even wrote it for you, just pass the whole darn thing. And if you don't pass the whole darn thing, I'm going to slam you for getting in the way of putting Americans back to work. That's the strategy.
But then yesterday, we heard that he said to a group of Hispanic journalists that he wouldn't veto bits and pieces of the bill because there are some provisions, in fact, the bulk of the bill that House Republicans are on board with. That is the payroll tax cuts portion of this. So the conventional wisdom here is, doesn't that undercut really the White House's argument, the president's argument to pass this entire bill?
They insist, though, that it doesn't and they're just sort of -- there's a reality of letting Congress do its work, Brooke.
BLITZER: OK. We mentioned this off the top. He's in North Carolina. Not at all a coincidence that the president is shopping his jobs plan there, is it? KEILAR: Yes. And you know this because this is your college stomping grounds in North Carolina, UNC. But you mentioned that he won here by the slimmest of margins, and, boy, did he, 0.3 percent, three-tenths of a percentage point over John McCain.
KEILAR: And that, of course, was when the president was very are popular. Right now his disapproval rating has hit an all-time high. So you can see that's quite slim. He didn't even get the popular vote here in North Carolina, and this is seen as a state, the 15 electoral votes he really must win for whoever his Republican challenger is.
He's really trying to hold on to North Carolina, if you will, and it's part of this kind of swing state swing that he's been doing, Virginia, Ohio yesterday, North Carolina today, although the White House does say, Brooke, it's not about campaigning for the reelection. They say it's about campaigning for growth and jobs. And they say they will be going to some non-swing states. None on the schedule yet, though.
BALDWIN: But as you mentioned, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, never a coincidence in politics, Brianna Keilar. You know that.
BALDWIN: Brianna, thank you very much live from Raleigh
Thanks for the shout-out for my school, by the way.
Still ahead, a man walks into this Arkansas courthouse, no criminal record, no priors, and he asks to see a specific judge, begins shooting. Find out how this man was prepared for war and his connection to this particular judge.
Also, we are getting a glimpse at the future of space travel. NASA revealing this new heavy-lift rocket today designed to go where humans have never gone before. That's next.
BALDWIN: Did you hear? NASA announcing its plans for its first new heavy-lift rocket that would carry astronauts beyond low orbit Earth where they have never gone before. Now that the space shuttle is retired, this is the next generation in spaceflight.
Let me bring in my fellow space geek John Zarrella in Miami with the big details on today's announcement from NASA.
So, John, explain really first what this thing looks like, configuration, including this it almost looks like an Apollo-era capsule.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF: Yes. And it almost looks like the space shuttle. And what they're going to do is they're going to put the capsule on top because of survivability. All the studies have said that it's 10 times more survivable to have a capsule on top if there's an accident than if you have like the shuttle on the side.
And a lot of this is going to be reusable. The external tank won't be, but the boosters on the side will be reusable, as will the capsule that will take the astronauts up to wherever they're going and then they will be able to come back and reuse it.
BALDWIN: What's the price tag?
ZARRELLA: Price tag is about $18 billion over the next six years, $10 billion for the rocket, $6 billion for the capsule, and $2 billion to retrofit all of the Kennedy Space Center.
But during the press conference today, Brooke, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said that this will ensure that NASA remains the leader in space exploration.
BALDWIN: So if we're talking beyond low orbit Earth, John Zarrella, are we talking Mars?
ZARRELLA: Yes, we're talking an asteroid probably first.
ZARRELLA: NASA's plan is by 2017 the first test launch unmanned, one launch a year after that -- 2025, astronauts go to an asteroid and in the 2030 time frame, that's when they would have plan areas to put astronauts on Mars if all goes well -- 2030 is a long way off, Brooke. I don't know. You will probably still be around. I may not be.
BALDWIN: I was just sitting here wondering, hmm, who's going to be covering that? Hopefully, you will be and I will be right along by your side, John Zarrella.
ZARRELLA: There you go.
BALDWIN: We do have some sound, what, from that news conference. Let's roll that sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: I don't want to raise the hopes that everything is going to go exactly in a box by an outline that has been put forward because we are pushing the envelope. We're going to the next iteration of space leadership, and this today I believe is the commitment that America is making to assure that we're not going to be the also-rans; we are going to continue to be the world leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZARRELLA: Now, you know, one of the interesting things about this, Brooke, this rocket is behemoth. It's going to be about the length of a football field.
ZARRELLA: The larger version will be bigger than the Saturn 5 rockets, and that's the one that will actually get humans out there to Mars.
BALDWIN: That's huge.
ZARRELLA: Bigger than Saturn 5, enormous.
BALDWIN: Ginormous, if I may.
BALDWIN: So we're talking 2017 for that first launch, price tag $18 billion.
BALDWIN: Can NASA deliver by that time and within that budget, do we think?
ZARRELLA: Well, $3 billion a year, and NASA says -- and there had been a lot of fighting between Congress and NASA to come up with this number because NASA said there's no way they could do it for what they were going to get in the budget. This is a compromise number. Congress appears to be on board and NASA says they can deliver.
BALDWIN: OK, John Zarrella, I will see you in 2017. We will be doing that together, all right?
ZARRELLA: There you go. Absolutely.
BALDWIN: All right. Thank you.
Now let me check some other stories unfolding right now on this Wednesday. We are hearing more details about what happened during a courthouse shooting rampage in Arkansas. The 48-year-old gunman fired more than 70 shots at this courthouse in Van Buren yesterday. He was shot and killed by police and an administrative assistant was injured in the leg during the shooting spree. Several witnesses fearful for their own lives hid in the building's vault and in the jury room. And for the first time, we are hearing the 911 calls.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Nine-one-one. Do you have an emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Help. I'm at the courthouse.
911 OPERATOR: You're at the courthouse? What's going on, ma'am? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a shooting. He's got an automatic.
911 OPERATOR: Where are you at? Who's got the gun?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know who he is. He came in looking for Judge Cottrell. And I have been shot in my leg.
911 OPERATOR: You got shot in your leg? Where are you at in the courthouse, ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm upstairs. I am in the top jury room.
911 OPERATOR: Is the guy still in there? What did he look like? Describe him to me, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's outside? He's outside.
911 OPERATOR: He's outside right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
911 OPERATOR: Is he a white male, black male? You're doing fine. Just work with me, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's white.
911 OPERATOR: What was he wearing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't see. I don't know. He has on a -- like a green jacket, I think is what it was. He's got an automatic.
911 OPERATOR: Listen to me. I'm going to transfer you to EMS, OK? Don't hang up on me.
I have a subject on the line right now at the courthouse. She's been shot.
Ma'am, tell him exactly where you're at inside the courthouse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am in the jury room up on the second floor, the jury room.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Police say that the gunman's weapons malfunctioned several times, but he kept firing, including firing shots at nearby motorists.
Also, a courtroom outburst today from the man accused of trying to detonate that bomb in his underwear while on a plane.
Here's what we're learning from our affiliate, WDIV, reporting Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab said -- quote -- "Osama is alive" and -- quote -- "I'm being forced to wear prison clothes." This is the first day of jury selection and the Nigerian national is representing himself. The judge has already rejected Abdulmutallab's request to be tried using Islamic law. He is accused of trying to blow up an airline bound for Detroit back on Christmas Day in 2009.
And a huge political upset in New York. Republican Bob Turner won that special election for the seat once held by former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner. Turner told a packed room that they were sending a message to Washington by electing him. The Ninth Congressional District is one of the strongest Jewish districts in the country. Turner says he believes many people there are unhappy with the president's position on key issues, including jobs and the economy.
Two Memphis twin boys -- look at these little guys -- they are now able to look at each other face to face for the first time. The 7-month-old once-conjoined twins, they were separated in this 13-hour surgery last month. Doctors at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital say this is the most complex case they have seen in the hospital's history. Jacob and Joshua Spates were a particularly rare type of conjoined twins. They were joined back to back at both their lower pelvis and spine. Right now the babies are recuperating in the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADRIAN SPATES, MOTHER: Of course I was scared. Of course I knew that this or that could have happened, but I just prayed and just stayed faithful, you know, and just basically I had a lot of people with me. So I think I'm overall happy with the decision that -- with them being separated. I'm glad I made that decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Doctors say the boys have some health problems that will require ongoing medical treatment, but they hope both will eventually be able to walk with the help of braces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would you like to aspire to?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are your dreams?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, I have none.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Candid, heartbreaking words from this young boy living in poverty. Right now, he and his mother, they are having trouble eating, just flat-out living. These are the faces right here of poverty. And you're going to hear how they get by.
Also, as opinions swirl over how to create jobs, President Obama is asking the advice of General Electric's CEO. Jeffrey Immelt sits down and talks about what he thinks will fix America's crisis. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: With the nation's unemployment rate still lingering at 9.1 percent, it seems like everybody from the smallest business owner to the largest corporate mega manager has an opinion or two about how to get Americans back to work. But who has a plan that will work?
This weekend, Fareed Zakaria cites down with the president's job czar, Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric. I want you to listen to his sense of the jobs crisis and how America will overcome it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN' S "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": A lot of the problems you see that needs to be fixed to get American employment up, to really transform the jobs situation, these are big changes, the long-term challenges -- educational system, whole system of reforming the bureaucracy, getting much more deeply invested in infrastructure. We're not doing most of these things right now. Are you confident we're going to be able to do them?
JEFFREY IMMELT, CEO, GENERAL ELECTRIC: Look, I'm optimistic and confident because I believe in the end our system works. I actually look at where we are today as a natural progression of economic crisis, anger, fear, all of that kind of playing out. In the end, we've got to work together. You know, in the end we've got to find ways to drive common solutions to bigger problems.
I think that's true for the private sector, businesses working together. I think it's true between the public and the private sector. So ultimately what we have to get to is we have to have a logical discussion about infrastructure, about education, about solving some of the problems, because they're not going to be involved on their own. You know, education in this country is not going to be magically solved by cutting the budget deficit. In fact, it gets tougher.
So I believe ultimately in our system. I just think we're in a particularly tough time right now because we're coming out of a crisis where people are still angry, and that's understandable. And I kind of get that. But ultimately there's a sense of teamwork that's very much a part of the American culture, a sense of partnership that is very much a part of the American culture that I think is -- will ultimately play out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I should mention Fareed Zakaria will join me in the newsroom live both tomorrow and Friday. This weekend, make sure to watch a special edition of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," Sunday night 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
And more than 46 million people in the United States now live in poverty it. That is the highest level it's been since 1993. You sit there and ask, what is considered poverty? The government sets the poverty line for a family of four with an income of $22,314 a year.
Poppy Harlow revisited a family living in poverty to see if life has improved for them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN VALDEZ, LIVING IN POVERTY: Come outside, meet the people in the community where you live, meet the people in the communities where you work and meet the people in the communities where you represent.
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: See the face of poverty.
VALDEZ: See the face of poverty.
HARLOW: We met Ann Valdez a year ago. She was living under the poverty line like millions of Americans. We decided to come back a year later and see how Ann's doing.
VALDEZ: My grandparents were one of the first tenants to live here, 1954.
HARLOW (on camera): Has the situation gotten better for you?
VALDEZ: No, it actually hasn't changed very much. Right now I'm living on approximately $200 cash a month, $360 food stamps. I do not have a full-time job on a daily basis since about 2004.
HARLOW: How important are the safety nets out there for you right now, the things that are paid for by the government?
VALDEZ: Well, the safety nets are very important, and the more that they get cut, the scarier it is to think about tomorrow. I buy a lot of nonperishables so that this way there's always something to eat. Most of the jobs they try to get for us are minimum wage jobs. So if I get a minimum wage job, they're still going to leave me to apply for Medicaid and food stamps. So I'm still dependent on the system.
Sometimes you have to forget about getting what's healthy because you can't afford what's healthy. Food for five.
HARLOW: Brian, your mom grew p up in poverty. You've grown up so far in the same situation. What are your aspirations? What do you want to become?
JOSEPH VALDEZ, ANN VALDEZ'S SON: I want for high people in the high chairs like the senator, the congressman, even the mayor to come down here, see what's going on in these neighborhoods, see how destroyed these neighborhoods are, the spirits of these people. They are completely gone.
VALDEZ: So what would you like to aspire to?
HARLOW: What are your dreams?
JOSEPH VALDEZ: Right now I have none.
HARLOW: You were telling me before, Brian, firefighter?
JOSEPH VALDEZ: Yes. That's what it was. That's what I want to be, a firefighter.
BALDWIN: He is 12. Census figures show that without help from the federal government, millions more people would have sunk below the poverty line in 2010.
NASA is warning a defunct satellite is now falling from space will hit earth very soon, and the space agency is giving the probability that it could hit an actual person. Chad Myers is fired up about this one. We'll talk to Chad about this one next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: NASA is keeping its eyes on the heavens, on the lookout for a defunct, no longer working, satellite that's expected to plunge back to earth in the coming days. Chad Myers, um, OK.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And parts are going to hit the ground.
BALDWIN: So there's a satellite, it's falling. This is par for the course for NASA. So where is it and where will it fall?
MYERS: Nobody knows because it's going around the earth and the earth is spinning under it. So when it decides to actually come out of orbit, had then we'll know within hours advance, within 6,000 square miles where it will actually land.
BALDWIN: So is it actually in its entirety make its way, or does it burn up in the process?
MYERS: It will break up, but they still think the biggest piece that hits the ground will be 300 pounds. That's going to leave a mark.
BALDWIN: Yes, it might leave a mark or two. Take a look at this. Show me.
MYERS: Those are not bugs. Those are real satellites that are really going around the world right now. And one called the UARS, Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, is going to fall from the sky because when it was decommissioned about five years ago, they used the last gasp of energy and brought it down to a lower orbit because they knew it would eventually fall to the earth and burn up. They didn't want it just sitting up there. So it's on its way down, and sometime at the end of September or beginning of October it will actually fall to the ground. Here's the problem. It it's pretty big.
BALDWIN: That's the satellite?
MYERS: That's it, about 10,000 pounds worth of stuff up there. And about 30 pieces are big enough that will make it through the atmosphere and will not burn up.
BALDWIN: So as Rocky said in the commercial, what's the over/under? What's the likelihood it hits one of us? We shouldn't laugh.
MYERS: No. The likelihood it hits land is less than 50/50. Think of the Pacific Ocean.
BALDWIN: I'm still not loving that probability.
MYERS: I know. I get that part. The chances of you being hit by a piece of space junk in your lifetime is 1 in 3,200. That seems really low to me. I don't know anyone that's been hit by anything.
BALDWIN: I just didn't realize. We learn something new every day. I didn't realize defunct satellites they just let them --
MYERS: About one per year falls to the ground every year. This one we know about, we know it's coming down, maybe some hard hats before it it's all done. I don't know. Likelihood that it splashes in the ocean but there's a chance it hits land.
BALDWIN: One in 3,200. I can take those odds. Chad, thank you so much as always.
Now, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM HORNE, ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL: There was a very radical group of teachers who were teaching kids that the United States is dominated by a white male, racist, imperialist power structure.
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BALDWIN: Arizona's attorney general wants to ban classes that he says are radical and promote an overthrow of the U.S. government. Now the classes are even more popular than ever. Teachers are suing as the fight is hitting a fever pitch. Some question he whether the attorney general even knows what he's talking about. CNN is investigating this one, next.
BALDWIN: Everyone remembers when Arizona shined a spotlight on itself with the passage of its tough new immigration laws. Now the state is facing this constitutional showdown over a controversial measure banning educators from teaching about Latino culture. Supporters of the ban on ethnic studies say such classes promote the overthrow of the American government. The teachers say, hang on, that's a lie. Thelma Gutierrez looks at the emotional issue.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Arizona, it's a battle for the classroom and the right to teach American history, government, literature, and art from a Mexican-American perspective.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Culture clash tackles what kind of issues would we call those? Social justice issues.
GUTIERREZ: Ethnic studies instructors call it an academic awakening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want people to know we're proud of our contributions from a Chicano perspective.
GUTIERREZ: But former state superintendent of schools Tom Horne, now attorney general of Arizona, says he couldn't disagree more.
HORNE: In the Mexican-American studies program there was a very radical group of teachers who are teaching kids that the United States is dominated by a white male, racist, imperial power structure that wants to oppress.
GUTIERREZ: Horne says textbooks used in class like "Pedagogy of the Oppressed," "Occupied America," and "Critical Race Theory," are radical and have no place in the classroom. A law passed in Arizona last year bans courses that, quote, "either promote the overthrow of the United States government or promote resentment toward a race or class of people."
But Sean Arce, director of the Mexican-American studies program, says Horne is misrepresenting the curriculum and never spent a day in their classrooms.
SEAN ARCE, DIRECTOR, MEXICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES PROGRAM: We don't teach racism. We teach about racism, about injustice.
GUTIERREZ: A group of ethnic studies teachers in Tucson, Arizona, are fighting back in federal court, arguing the ban is unconstitutional.
ARCE: If students don't see themselves in the curriculum, they're not going to be as engaged in school.
JOHN HUPPENTHAL, ARIZONA STATE SUPERINTENDENT: It's that racial identity that we have severe problems with.
GUTIERREZ: Current state schools superintendent John Huppenthal commissioned an independent audit to assess the curriculum. While they did find a, quote, "overabundance of controversial commentary in an introductory part of the curriculum," they found no evidence the program promoted the overthrow of the American government, promoted resentment toward any race, nor evidence that it advocated ethnic solidarity.
CURTIS ACOSTA, HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER: That's one of the more prouder moments that I've had is knowing that our state superintendent, his own auditors found what we've been saying.
HUPPENTHAL: It was obvious to us that the audit was a whitewash, didn't truly represent what was going on in the classes. ACOSTA: That accusation frustrates me and angers me because he's been in my classroom and I would never change it. I invited him back.
GUTIERREZ: The audit also found that student who is took the curriculum had a better chance to graduate than those who didn't. But unless the federal government intervenes, the Mexican-American studies program will be closed.
Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Tucson, Arizona.
BALDWIN: Thelma, thank you.
Don't forget to catch CNN's next "IN AMERICA" documentary. We're calling it "LATINO IN AMERICA II: IN HER CORNER." As always, Soledad O'Brien is hosting this one. You can catch it Sunday night, September 25th, 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
Ron Paul was one who got applause at the CNN Tea Party debate Monday night when he suggested if a sick person doesn't want to get health insurance, it's their choice and he or she would have to face the consequences.
Well, we are now learning one of his former staffers died without health insurance. We caught up with Congressman Paul. We asked him about this. That is coming up.
Also, one of President Obama's former advisers is now running for Senate. Paul Steinhauser is standing by with new information fresh from the world of politics. Be right back.
BALDWIN: The trial of Dr. Conrad Murray a little later this month is sure to draw attention from millions of Michael Jackson of fans, but no one will watch as closely as the king of pop's family, who still believe his death could have been avoided. And one of those brothers, Jermaine Jackson, sat down with Piers Morgan ahead of the trial.
Take a listen to what he told Piers.
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PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN'S "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Is it possible knowing Michael that he could have just ordered and demanded that Conrad Murray give him his drug. Conrad Murray, I believe he's going to claim, had tried to resist it, but eventually succumbed to pressure. Is that possible?
JERMAINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: Whether it's possible or not, being a doctor, you take an oath to care for your patient, not to kill them.
MORGAN: How many of the people directly around him at the time he died do you think are culpable for a former responsibility for his death?
JACKSON: See, that's a question I have. That's a question we have as a family because I've said in the book, why didn't somebody call me or Jackie or Tito, Marlin, his family, to say come down, your brother is not acting normal. Had we been called, he'd be alive today.
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BALDWIN: Jermaine Jackson, Thursday night, 9:00. You know the time.
And now, to Washington we go. Let's go to CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser with the news fresh off the CNN Political Ticker. Paul, let's talk poll numbers. What do you have?
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: You got it, Brooke. First, I want to apologize because usually, you get Wolf Blitzer, the main man.
BALDWIN: Steinhauser, we're happy to have you.
STEINHAUSER: I have no beard, I'm not an anchor.
But we'll try this. Here we go, let's talk about those poll numbers. These are brand new numbers from CNN-ORC, national numbers. We did them over the weekend after this president gave the speech Thursday night to Congress and the nation on jobs. The first number, do you approve or disapprove of how President Obama is handling his duties in the White House. Let's go with this number first because that's the one on the screen. This is who do you trust more in the economy? You can see right there they trust the president more than Republicans in congress, 46 percent say the president, only 37 percent say Congress, and the bottom 13 percent say we don't trust either to handle the economy.
But go back to that either number. The overall approval- disapproval for the president -- 43 percent. So he didn't get really much of a boost of all at all out of that speech and 55 percent say they disapprove of how he's handling his duties. Brooke, that is an all time high.
And again, where is he today? North Carolina, where was he yesterday? Ohio. Friday, Virginia? What they have in common? Three battleground states he won in 2008, and he's going to have a tough time keeping them. And so location, location, location.
BALDWIN: But by the slimmest of margins in North Carolina. Brianna Keilar was reporting this, it was 0.3 percent.
Second topic, a former Obama administration official now throwing in her hat for the U.S. Senate.
STEINHAUSER: Elizabeth Warren is her name. You all may be a little familiar with her because she used to work right here in Washington D.C. for the Obama administration. She was the head of the consumer protection -- I'm sorry, the consumer financial protection bureau. I wanted to get that right and messed it up. She basically developed that consumer protection financial bureau.
And she went back to Harvard university, where she's a law school professor and today, she announced for the Senate. They're now eight Democrats up there running for the Senate nomination next year and one wants to be the winner to go against Scott Brown, the Republican senator up there. Remember, he won that special election last January to fill the seat of the late Ted Kennedy. This seat has been in democratic hands for generations. They think they can grab it back.
BALDWIN: Speaking of historically Democratic areas, let's talk New York. We're reporting on this yesterday that the special election for Congressman Weiner's old seat is close, and now we've learned Republican Mr. Turner took it.
STEINHAUSER: He did.
And this -- basically, you look at this district in New York city in the boroughs, partially Queens and Brooklyn, overwhelmingly a Democratic district, three to one for the Democrats. But the Republicans tried to tie the Democratic candidate in this race to President Obama, tried to make it a referendum on President Obama. Yes, there were local issues in the area. But the Republican came out a winner.
And they won that other special election in Nevada. Republicans are crowing right now. They are very happy. They're saying this is a referendum on president Obama. Democrats say these are special elections and they really don't have a bearing on what's going to happen next year in 2012. They may have a point, because back in '09 and '10, the Democrats won a lot of special elections, but they didn't do so well last year in the midterm elections, did they, Brooke?
BALDWIN: No, that's a good point. We can't really say it's a harbinger of things to come. Paul Steinhauser, thank you very much. Nice job taking Wolf's spot, by the way. Come back any time. That is your Political Ticker nor this hour.