tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 19, 2011 8:00am-10:00am PST
tearful broadcaster broke the news last night on north korea's state-run tv. she reported that the 69-year-old died of a heart attack on saturday. he was a reclusive dictator who starved his own people while building a nuclear weapons nation. bill richardson who has traveled to north korea many times points to several major concerns now. >> the peninsula is a tinderbox. this we knew was coming because of the health of kim jong il. the issue is going to be will there be stability in the north korean leadership. will they continue the recent efforts of engaging south korea and the united states over food eight over nuclear snauks. newscasts showed north koreans weeping inconsolably for the man they called the dear leader. kim's youngest son, kim jong
un now in charge. very little is known about him, but the ruling workers party has already dubbed him the great successor. the white house says it is closely monitoring the situation in north korea. we are told that president obama spoke with his south korean counterpart reconfirming the u.s. commitment to stability in the korean peninsula as well as the freedom and security of america's allies. going to bring you live reports from around the world. well, the sudden death of the dictator leads an unsettling leadership vacuum on the korean peninsula. anna koran, she's joining us from seoul. anna, first of all we know that south core re's president convened an emergency cabinet meeting. what are they worried about? what are they discussing? >> reporter: well, at the end of the day, suzanne, it comes down to nuclear weapons. that is why south korea is concerned. that is why the region is concerned. that is why the united states is
concerned. north korea has nuclear weapons and the man now in charge of north korea is kim jong un. he's in his late 20s. he has little experience, little credibility, little knowledge of political affairs. he's been under his father's wing for the last couple of years ever since kim jong il suffered that stroke back in 2008, but as far as the succession process goes, it hasn't been very long. it's also believed that kim jong un was the man who engineered those attacks on south korea last year against the warship that led to the death of those 46 sailors and also to the south korean island in which two civilians and two military personnel were killed. that is the concern, that the man running north core reaction kim jong un, is a young inexperienced man. we're not sure he has a cool head on his shoulders now. america has a great interest in this area. there are thousands of troops on
the dmz which is an hour and a half drive from where we are. that commitment was reaffirmed -- reconfirmed, i should say, when defense secretary leon panetta visited south korea back in october which you would remember. he said that north korea poses a serious threat. so that is the situation that we are dealing with, suzanne. >> in light of the fact that there is so much tension between the north and the south and both kun trigs technically still at war, is south korea now on a higher state of alert? >> reporter: most definitely. the military here are on heightened alert, both military and police. you mentioned that the president here in south korea called that emergency cabinet meeting. he called for calm, relative calm. he said that this country needs to focus on the economy. you have to remember that south korea is a powerhouse. the stock exchange here, it fell about 4%, more than 4% on the death of kim jong il.
it finished just below 3%. this is the country that really needs to continue pushing forward and it desperately, desperately needs that stability. >> anna, what is the reaction from south korea to north korea's launch of a short-range missile that happened earlier today? >> reporter: it's interesting you say that. it happened about 8:30 a.m. this morning, and that was several hours before the announcement that kim jong il had actually died. authorities are playing that down. they're saying it has nothing to do with the death of kim jong il, that in actual fact it was fired out to sea. it wasn't facing towards south korea. so at the moment, suzanne, they are playing down that act. >> all right. anna, thank you so much right there in south korea. for much of the world the big concern right now, who controls north korea's nuclear arsenal? cnn's former senior asia correspondent is joining us by phone from los angeles. he is a senior fellow at the
university of southern california's u.s./china institute. 's written a book called "meltdown, the inside story of the north korean nuclear crisis." thanks for joining us. you're clearly an expert in all things north korea. the you number one concern regarding this nuclear weapons nation, do we think they are secured nukes? >> i think they are secure. the leadership keeps a very tight rein. the question is who's in the leadership now? obviously the north koreans have made it clear that kim jong un, kim jong il's son, is the designated heir, and the way the succession process is played out, the military and the ruling korean workers party appear to have been going along with kim jong il's making his son his successor, but the son is very young. he's not even 30. he's untested. we don't know how far his writ
extends. there's a lot of speculation about internal power struggles, but my sense is that the north koreans are going to hunker down, try to get through this immediate transition process and send very clear signals to the rest of the world, don't mess with us. i think this missile test that they staged, if it has any relationship to kim jong il's death, it's just a sign, leave us alone. don't think that we're vulnerable because kim jong il has died. >> let's talk about that a little bit, mike. we know that north korea is the most closed opaque country in the world. so now kim jong il dies. does it mean it's more likely to open up, more freedoms, or are they basically, like you said, going to react and say, look, leave us alone? >> i don't think there's any likelihood of north korea changing politically in the near or even the medium term. everybody, whatever faction you might be in north korea, has bought into the idea of the system. in the last few months there have been some interesting and
potentially positive signals. i was in north korea in august. there were clear signs that the north koreans were at least thinking about some experiments with more open economic system and they have been on a kind of charm offensive with the united states trying to re-engage washington diplomatically. i think one very important step now is to see whether or not the obama administration is going to continue to try and pursue dialogue. there were some indications of a preliminary agreement that the north koreans had signaled a willingness to freeze activity at their uranium enrichment facility in return for a pledge from the united states for food aid. so my own sense it's going to be very important for washington to send some reassuring signals and try to continue to engage north korea both on its own merits and to reduce the chance if the north feels the u.s. and south korea are out to get them at this time of vulnerability, that's when they're likely to be difficult and perhaps take some
provocative steps. >> mike, is there anything that we know about the son, kim jong un, that would indicate he'd be receptive and open to the obama administration reaching out to him? >> we don't know substantively where he stands on anything. it is known that he attended a boarding school in switzerland. he does speak english as well as german and it is interesting that in the last eight months or a year as he has been put forward as the successor, you had some interesting signs. as i said, when i was in pyongyang i noticed more restaurants, more markets, more cell phones. the north koreans have agreed to allow the associated press to open a bureau in beijing. they were reaching out to washington. whether this is kim jong il or whether kim jong un was encouraging him, we don't know. one of the reasons i think it's important to try to keep some lines open to north korea to push that process forward is there is an uncertain process. it's not preordained that it's
going to go one way or another and the actions of other countries, the united states and south korea in particular, how they respond to this immediate event, whether they are trying to send some signals of reassurance may affect the way the north koreans themselves respond, both in terms of how comfortable they are pursuing any kind of change internally and their external behavior. the chinese have signaled very strong support for north korea. the chinese have been pushing the north to adopt more of the chinese style economic reforms that have been successful in the people's republic. >> thank you so much, mike. more on the death of north korea's kim jong il. we'll bring reaction from around the world and from koreans here in the united states. a warning to our viewers. disturbing photos now out of cairo of a protester being dragged, exposed, and beaten by egyptian security forces.
the woman's identity is being p proprotected for her safety. it is one example of the violence that is going on now in tahrir square. the protesters have been clashing with the military for the last four days. the house meets today to decide whether or not your taxes are going to go up next year. lawmakers are going to take up an extension of the payroll tax cut. now the senate passed a temporary two-month extension, but the house speaker, john boehner, is calling for negotiations to come up with a one-year deal. going to go live to capitol hill on the latest on what could be another show down. and trustees at florida a&m university decided today not to suspend the school's president during a hazing investigation. now authorities suspect that the bands drum major, robert champion, was beaten to death in a hazing ritual. the medical examiner has ruled champion's death a homicide. the governor suggested that florida a&m president, james
ammons, be suspended while his death was being investigated. the board decided not to. next hour i'm going to talk live with robert champion's parents. last-minute holiday shoppers could have a lot of trouble getting around in the southwest today. that is because blizzard warnings are in effect right now from new mexico to kansas. alexandra steele is in the weather center with all the details. give us a sense. a lot of people on the highways, going to the malls. maybe they'll be seeing some snow? >> absolutely. good morning, suzanne. what we've got really is this blizzard bull's eye. it's in the southwest and southern high plains. you can see here delineated in the red, that's where the blizzard warnings are. not only will we see 12 to 18 inches of snow for some. the worst thing will be the travel. what we'll see in addition to the falling snow, we'll see near zero visibility. also again the snow coming down and wind gusts 25 to 35, even 45
miles per hour. some major interstates may be closed this afternoon. this whole thing is moving east. where is it going? does that mean snow for the east coast? we'll talk about that. thank you. here's a rundown of some of the stories we are working on next. the house debates something that affects you and your wallet. that is the payroll tax cult. also there is a new year and a rosier job outlook. more employers are now hiring in 2012. and later international reaction to north korean leader kim jong il's death including how neighbors in south korea are marking the moment in history. we are also looking at a slice of life in both koreas. these balloons are being used to paint a picture of life outside of the north.
whups again congress is once again congress is scrambling to come up with an answer for this issue. the house meets today to consider an extension of the payroll tax cut. so if congress doesn't approve the extension, your taxes are going to go up beginning at the beginning of the year. the average increase about $1,000. it is a wide range. if you make $35,000 a year, you'll pay $700 more. if you make $110,000 your taxes will go up by more than $2300. the senate has approved a short-term extension of this tax cut, but the house speaker opposes this temporary extension. he spoke to reporters just a short time ago. he said that creates uncertainty for people who actually create
jobs. >> democrats and republicans agree that the payroll tax cut needs to be extended for a full year and to provide the kind of relief that americans need in this struggling economy. the house last week passed a bill to do just that. instead of passing the house bill or another bill which extended the payroll tax credit to a full year, the senate democrat leaders passed a two-month extension punting the problem into next year. >> get the latest on capitol hill. congressional correspondent kate baldwin is joining us. kate, help us understand this. i think the speaker, he was drawing a line in the sand. it seems like he's reversing himself. i thought he approved of it and now he's saying, wait a minute. this isn't going to fly. do they have the votes to block this thing, this temporary extension passed by the senate? >> reporter: speaker boehner says that he believes they do have the votes in the house to block this senate compromise
that came over that was voted on over the weekend. as you heard right there, speaker boehner says that house republicans are opposed to the short-term extension because, simply put, he says they're done with short-term fixes or gimmicks, as he has said. if house republicans are going to go along with any extension of the payroll tax cut, they want it to be a one-year extension. i'll tell you, senate democrats, they do not seem to be budging. there is no indication amongst senate democratic leaders that they'll bring the senate back in to vote on anything. if the house changed the bill t would have to go back to the senate therks would have to vote on it. no indication they're willing to do that. as senate democrats point to, this two-month extension, it enjoyed broad bipartisan support. the vote was 89-10. senate democrats say they did compromise around this two-month extension and the only reason they did, just to remind our viewers, is on friday they came out with this two-month extension, suzanne, only because
congressional leaders could not agree and bridge the divide around a more comprehensive deal to extend it a year. that's where this came from. >> kate, what happens if this does not pass? what's next? >> reporter: so they're having this vote this evening on the senate compromise as we just said. senate -- house republican leaders believe it will fail. speaker boehner announced today they'll have another vote to move this whole process to conference. it's part of the process up here. it's basically a way for house and senate -- the house and senate leaders and conferees, there are negotiators appointed to sit down at a table and hash out the differences. the senate would have to agree to go to that conference. again, at the moment senate democrats do not seem to be budging. what i'm hearing from democrats is they say there's nothing stopping us from negotiating a one-year deal, but they want to ensure that this tax does not
lapse come january 1. that's why they want the house to approve this two-month extension, suzanne. >> kate, thank you. either way, it is a big deal for working families. so what do you think? should the house pass a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut? that's today's talk back question. you can post your thoughts on my facebook page at facebook.com/suzannecnn. we'll air some of your responses at the end of the hour. 2012 could be a better year for people looking for jobs. hear what employers are saying. with the capital one venture card we get double miles on every purchase. so we earned a holiday trip to the big apple twice as fast! dinner! [ garth ] we get double miles every time we use our card. and since double miles add up fast, we can bring the whole gang! it's hard to beat double miles! i want a mace, a sword, a...
details on that. so before we get to companies hiring plans, how are the stocks looking today after the death of north korea's president? any response to that at all? >> no response right now, suzanne. the dow down about 37 points, but really not in response to kim jong il's death. it's more so because of light volume. we are heading into a holiday. christmas is over the weekend. you usually see light volume. what usually happens is light volume can create more exaggerated trades. you'll see more swings. case in point, stocks were higher in the early going. we had the dow up almost 60 points. now as i said, the dow is down 39. fewer investors taking part in the trade. financials are being hit the hardest. it seems investors are pretty much content to sit out the next week or two and kind of ride out the last two weeks of the year. suzanne? >> i know you've got some good news here for folks who are looking to get hired next year. they might have better luck,
yeah? >> yeah, the jobs picture, it's looking a little brighter according to one survey saying that employers plan to do a little hiring at the beginning of next year. this is coming from staffing firm manpower. it looked at 18,000 employers and found out that 14% of those employers, they plan to hire, whereas, there were only 9% of employers plan to cut. you do the math, that comes out to a 5% gain in jobs compared to now. you break it down for more good news. they're expecting that hiring, it's expected to happen in every sector, the big sectors, mining, leisure, hospitality and retail. construction, there is expected to be some hiring in construction. essentially though expect companies to remain cautious, which means the hiring will be a bit slow to say the least. suzanne? >> alison, i think these folks might have been celebrating this new hiring news here. these are some seniors at a target in kansas. i want you to check this out.
♪ merry christmas ♪ i gave you my heart. the very next day you gave it away ♪ >> allison, it's a flash mob of seniors in laurence, kansas. somebody just uploaded this video to youtube. they're lip sinking. so it starts off with just a few ladies and then this one brave man comes in, gets in on the action. starts to stir it up a little bit. i don't know, what do you think? reaction to the good news here? is this in our future, alison? >> it could be. you know what i find most fascinating about this is that they even know what a flash mob s. think about it, grandma and grampa. i'm impressed. they dance pretty darn good, don't you think? >> i love it. kind of a spontaneous party that's happening in the target. we need to get in on that.
>> that's awesome. >> alison, thank you. kim jong il had an eccentric side as well, including a love for american movies. we're going to tell you a few more things you may not have known about the dictator. ♪ sen♪ co-signed her credit card - "buy books, not beer!" ♪ ♪ut the second at she shut the door ♪ ♪ girl started blowing up their credit score ♪ ♪ she bought a pizza party for the whole dorm floor ♪ ♪ hundred pounds of makeup at the makeup store ♪ ♪ and a ticket down to spring break in mexico ♪
♪ but her folks didn't know 'cause her folks didn't go ♪ ♪ to free-credit-score-dot-com hard times for daddy and mom. ♪ ♪ takes everything you've got ♪ wouldn't you like to get away? ♪ ♪ ♪ sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name ♪ ♪ ♪ you want to be where you can see ♪ ♪ our troubles are all the same ♪ ♪ you want to go where everybody knows your name ♪ ♪
here's a rundown of some of the stories we are working on. next, kim jong il's life and legacy. insight into the man called dear leader. then snowstorm hitting the southwest. people from arizona to kansas could see more than a foot of snow. at 11:43, which candidate got a boost from the tea party in iowa? north korea's kim jong il is
likely to be remembered for being one of the world's most repressive leaders. he also reportedly loved living the good life even though many of his people were starving. our dan rivers takes a look at kim jong il's life, his rise to power, and how he ruled. >> reporter: kim jong il always had a slightly bizarre figured. his stature and characteristic hair were parroted by some in the west. for the citizens of the democratic peoples republic of core reaction kim was the embodiment of this reclusive state. feared, loved, worshipped, he was deeply entrenched. his father was kim il sung. kim jong il was just a little boy when the korean war broke out in 1950. the soviet-backed north invading the american-backed south. after fighting ended, kim jong il became steeped in his father's philosophy of self-reliance.
the north became ever more reclusive. the north and south never formally signed a peace treaty and remained technically at war separated by a tense demilitarized zone. gradually kim jong il was groomed for the top making public appearances in front of cheering crowds. when kim il sung died in 1994 he was declared eternal president so his son instead became general secretary of the ruling workers party of korea, and by 1998 as head of the army he consolidated his position of absolute power. >> he will be remembered as a person who was responsible for awful things, for the existence of one of the worst dictatorships in probably not only korean history but in the world history and the 21st century. yes, he did not create his dictatorship, it was his
father's, but he took responsibility and he made sure that it continued for many more years. >> reporter: he was known for his love of fine wines, at odds in a country where food shortages and privation were common. the dear leader indulged in his appetite for finer things, his people were literally starving to death. the collapse of the soviet union hit north korea hard. then devastating floods compounded the famine. estimates vary for the number that died, but even the regime itself admitted that almost a quarter of a million perished between 1995 and 1998. some say it was more like ten times that figure. but in the capitol pyongyang the artifice of a successful state was maintained. an on pew lent subway, proof the dear leader would say of the progress under his and his father's leadership. kim jong il was well known as a
film buff. here visiting the set of a north korean production. his personal video library was said to include 20,000 titles with "ram bow" and "friday the 13th" supposedly topping the dearly disfavored flicks. in 2000 there appeared to be a thaw in north-south relations. the first ever summit meeting between kim jong il and his then counter part from the south, president kimday jong. the south's policy of engagement seemed to be bearing fruit. but kim jong il pressed ahead with his nuclear weapons program. the u.s. labeled it part of the axis of evil in 2002. a year later north korea withdrew from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. in 2006 the north conducted a nuclear test and test fired missiles. it added extra urgency to the six party talks designed to deal with north korea's nuclear program. a breakthrough came in 2007 when
kim jong il finally agreed to disable the nuclear reactor in return for fuel and better relations with the u.s. despite dramatically blowing up the cooling tower, north korea seemed to backtrack afterwards. the deal appeared to be in jeopardy. the capture of two u.s. journalists on the north korean border sparked another crisis in 2009. it ended when former president bill clinton flew in and successfully negotiated their release prompting hopes there would be further engagement. observers say kim jong il will be remembered as a nearly impossible man to bargain with, stubborn and fickle in equal measure. a man who kept 23 million people in a totalitarian nightmare. in one of the most repressive, reclusive regimes in the world. dan rivers, cnn. and that most reclusive nation in the world is mourning the death of their so-called dear leader.
find out how the rest of the world is reacting to news that north korea's kim jong il has died. ♪ girl started blowing up their credit score ♪ ♪ she bought a pizza party for the whole dorm floor ♪ ♪ hundred pounds of makeup at the makeup store ♪ ♪ and a ticket down to spring break in mexico ♪ ♪ but her folks didn't know 'cause her folks didn't go ♪ ♪ to free-credit-score-dot-com hard times for daddy and mom. ♪ for a hot dog cart. my mother said, "well, maybe we ought to buy this hot dog cart and set it up someplace." so my parents went to bank of america. they met with the branch manager and they said, "look, we've got this little hot dog cart, and it's on a really good corner. let's see if we can buy the property." and the branch manager said, "all right, i will take a chance with the two of you." and we've been loyal to bank of america for the last 71 years.
state-run media report, he died of a heart attack on sunday. stability, of course, is a big concern for world leaders, especially for north korea's neighbors. japan has issued a statement saying, quote, we express our con dole lenses on the news of the passing of kim jong il. the chairman of the national defense commission of north korea. we wish the sudden news would not affect north korea negatively. well, no con dole lenses being expressed from the white house. u.s. relationship with pyongyang has been strained at best. white house says it is closely monitoring the situation in north korea. we are told president obama spoke with his south korean counter part reconfirming the u.s. commitment to stability in the korean peninsula. korean americans are also reacting to the death of kim jong il. our thelma gut at this ez is covering that angle for us. she's live out of los angeles. it has the largest population, i understand, of koreans in the united states. what are people saying?
>> reporter: suzanne, i can tell you that the community here is 200,000 strong. the reactions have been misse mixed. not because they're in mourning, but they're wondering what comes next. many people have close ties to core rea. they have family members here, many, especially the older people, remember the impact of the korean war. they're watching this thing very closely, suzanne. we went to a diner this morning. it was interesting to see groups of people gathered around the table at the diners. they were looking at this newspaper and newspapers like this. you can see the headlines talking about the death of this leader. they were also watching the television sets. they were glued listening on their ipods and up to the radio, to radio core rea. we came here to radio korea and we were talking to the associate director. he said that they've been in rolling coverage ever since the news broke late last night.
>> reporter: what are people saying? >> they're shocked. shocked, shocked, shocked. they knew that kim jong il has been ill. >> reporter: he had been sick for a while. >> he had been sick for a while. they knew that he might not live for long, you know, but nobody expected him to be dead like this soon. >> reporter: now we also understand that radio korea has received dozens of calls all through the night, many more this morning. people very much concerned about kim jong il's successor, his number three son. they say we don't know who he is. we don't know much about him. we just learned his name. they're concerned, they say, because of that. but on the positive note, they've been calling in saying that he doesn't have a military background and also that he does have international exposure and that he was educated abroad and so that gives them a little bit
of optimism. again, people just very concerned about what comes next, suzanne. >> thelma, thank you. messages from above sent from south korea to its isolated neighbors in north korea. there is something in these giant balloons to explain what life is like outside the north. it could be a game changer for the race to the white house. we'll tell you which candidate just got a boost from the tea party in iowa. okay is there a woman i can talk to? [ male announcer ] progresso. 40 soups 100 calories or less. with two children and no way to support them. people told me i wasn't going to do anything. and i just decided i have more to offer than that. i put myself through nursing school, and then i decided to go get a doctorate degree. university of phoenix gave me the knowledge to make a difference in people's lives. it could be a game changer
just 15 days until iowa caucuses. horse race is heating up. jim acosta is live from the political desk in washington. jim, everybody saying it's down to romney and gingrich. you never know though in iowa. what de suspect? >> yeah, that's right. you never know. if this race boils down to a contest between mitt romney and newt gingrich, it basically will be a battle between the gop establishment and tea party activists. take a look at what happened over the weekend. the tea party patriots. this si big tea party organizing group. they came out with a straw poll. the results came out just this morning. it shows newt gingrich winning. 31% of the participants in that straw poll picked gingrich as their republican favorite followed by michele bachmann, and then mitt romney not doing too badly there. contrast that with some of the endorsements that we heard over
the weekend for mitt romney. the des moines register. nikki hailey. that was on friday. bob dole the former presidential candidate on the republican side in 1996. this is really shaping up as a tea party versus gop establishment battle between newt gingrich and mitt romney. if this continues to go on, we'll have to see what happens. suzanne, it is becoming increasingly clear as we get closer to iowa that we all have to keep our eyes on ron paul. he is hanging in there doing quite well in the polls in both iowa and new hampshire. it's not altogether clear he will win those states, but, my goodness, if he finishes a solid second in iowa and goes into new hampshire doing very well, you know, we're all going to have to keep our eye on ron paul. over the weekend his campaign says it raised $4 million in what they call in campaign talk a money bomb. that is basically a short burst of campaign fundraising
activity. ron paul raked in $4 million. that is more than a lot of the candidates in this gop field have raised in months. it just shows you how committed ron paul supporters are and how willing they are to open up their wall lets to get him elected. >> could be a game changer. jim, thanks. go to cnn politics.com. two koreas in sharp contrast. the north isolated. the south a democracy. we'll take a look at daily life in both countries countries. i won't go without it for my high cholesterol and my risk of heart attack. why kid myself? diet and exercise weren't lowering my cholesterol enough. now i'm eating healthier, exercising more, taking lipitor. numbers don't lie. my cholesterol's stayed down. lipitor is fda approved to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. it's backed by over 19 years of research. [ female announcer ] lipitor is not for everyone, including people with liver problems and women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant. you need simple blood tests to check for liver problems.
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kim jong il's economic legacy is a north korea meyered in poverty and disarray. north korea is one of the world's poorest countries. its people get by on an average of less than $5 a day. that's about $1800 a year. south koreans by contrast take home an average of $30,000 a year. that is 16 times what people make in the north. people in north korea, they are visibly upset by the death of kim jong il. this is video from north korea of people clearly not holding back any tears here. now their neighbors in the south, south korea, took to the streets raising the flag along with today's front page. it's a picture of two very different koreas. our reporter has reported on everyday life. you're a wealth of information. we've been talking about this all day. tell me about those pictures that we've seen of the north
koreans who are visibly upset, crying, very demonstrative. are we to believe that that is real, that that's sincere tears? are they trying to play act here because they're afraid of this leader who's now his son who has taken over? >> we just don't know. what we are getting is a glossy image that the regime has approved. everything that we see from north korea on kcna state-run media, that is all orchestrated, all released. whether or not those individual people actually feel grief it's very difficult to tell. these are people who have been raised to not have a religion but to believe in the religion of the regime. they believe these leaders are not just political leaders like the president here. they believe that he is more of a demigod. some of that grief may be real, but the more you grieve, people who have evacuated out of north korea, what they tell me, when the father of kim jong il died, they were expected, the more you
grieve, the more you showed, that was something that the regime would love to see. >> paint a picture for us, if you will. you've talked to so many people who live there in north korea about the two kinds of groups that are there and how they live very differently from one another. >> what we have is a royal who nation's capital is pyongyang, they are the pretty ones with more food so they aren't going to look at starved as the people would in the countryside. very few americans -- very few international people ever get to see the countryside. we only get to hear about it from the people who fled out of that area and they tell us we were pulling leaves out of the earth trying to pull bark off the trees, boiling that and that was our food. we have a very different picture of north korea once you talk to the people who escaped out of the countryside. >> you mentioned before, too, literally north korea, not just figuratively but literally is in the dark from satellite
pictures. explain that. >> if you look at satellite image of what korea looks like at night, you see an entire black hole where north korea is. that's because there is no electricity at night. but the south is literally bursting with electricity. this is one of the most wired countries in the world. you compare the internet here in the states, then go to south korea? it is unbelievable how vast it is. ethnically they are the same but they are worlds apart when it comes to infrastructure, power and information. >> is there any way that the south koreans are reaching out to the north koreans trying to communication and give them a different picture of what life would be like. >> south koreans are typically north koreans that escape out of the north, they're now in the south and basically the wool's been pulled off. they understand that there is a better world out there. so when they're doing is packing these helium balloons with baskets and they're putting in dvds of cnn, for example, putting u.s. dollars in there and they're launching also transistor radios that are not
affixed to one channel. kim jong-il radio. they're launching this into the air hoping it will fly into that region to try to inform the average person. the whole goal is to destabilize the population so they will rise up from within. >> how are people responding to this news of kim jong-il's death? >> people i've spoken to in the asia pacific region are very calm. they are certainly unsettled but they don't believe that just because we've seen this for a couple of years it is going to mean an immediate rush of the 24 million north koreans out of the country. no one really believes that that will happen. what we have to look at is the longer ball, six months down the line, one year down the line. what's going to happen as this young leader gets tested. >> what do they make of the young leader? what do they know about him? i hear he's a big fan of american basketball, for instance, the nba and maybe he had some schooling in europe but -- how do they feel about this guy? >> you have to look at that
picture of him and go, he looks exactly like kim jong-il, just a lot younger. so that's the first thing that everyone talks about. but they also talk about this is a man who actual ly gets a glimpse of the west. so perhaps in that there may be some engagement of the west. there may be some opening up and there may be less of this huffing and puffing we've seen from kim jong-il. >> thank you so much. excellent reporting, as always. at the top of the hour we'll look at how kim jong-il's death may impact national security. and instead of buying gifts, people now bracing for a blizzard. we'll show you just where. honey, i love you... oh my gosh, oh my gosh.. look at these big pieces of potato. ♪ what's that? big piece of potato. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. helps defends against occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating. with three strains of good bacteria
should the house past a two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts? jesse says it is clear the gop would rather let this country fail rather than tax the rich as it should be. this one -- nope, short fixes are not the answer and every two months they would be wasting time and money repeating this issue over and over again. danielle says this won't be popular but the tax cut was meant to be temporary. either make it perm fent oranen allow it to expire.
checking stories our affiliates are covering across the country -- we have unbelievable video out of arlington, texas here. this is the electric cart mowing down people after a high school football championship game. this unmanned cart sped from the end zone hitting seven people including the winning coach. someone eventually jumped on-board and stopped it. only minor injuries there. in marion, north carolina it wasn't just trashed being dumped from this garbage truck but this guy. a 24-year-old says he climbed in to the dumpster looking for a lost necklace when the truck picked him up with him in it. he screamed, no one hears him. truck made several stops, even compacting some of the trash and the man wasn't even discovered until he fell out with the trash at a transfer station. amazingly, he wasn't hurt. >> someone at this walmart in
ohio tee sided to pay off other people's bills. an anonymous secret santa paid off almost $9,000 in lay-away payments for 23 very grateful customers. so cool. >> what a great gift! >> wonderful story. i love it. unlike some of the news that you've got here, because we are talking about the plains, southwest bracing for blizzard conditions for shopping. >> we've got a blizzard bull's-eye. we'll get it in the southwest and southern plains. it is really today and tomorrow. goodness, it is a quick mover. by tomorrow afternoon it will be a done deal. let's walk to the wall here. you can see delineated in the red. that's where the blizzard warnings are. it is really the first big blizzard of the season. the heart of this thing really in the texas and oklahoma panhandle, southwestern kansas, and can you also see in really northeastern new mexico, that's
where the heart of this will be. how much? a food of snow at the very least, for some maybe 12 to 18 inches but the problem won't be just the amount of snow, which will be copious, but it is the blinding driving snow because of the wind gusts. that's why we have a blizzard warning in effect. we'll see low visibilities, maybe down to zero for many. winds up to 45 miles per hour. plus this driving snow. here's a look in terms of how much we'll see. 10 to 15, 8 to 10. but also the driving will be the most perilous. there is the potential for areas around i-40 and i-25 right from colorado 25 down to new mexico. the chance for these two big interstates -- portions of them anyway, to be closed close to this afternoon into tomorrow. this is the big picture where we'll be tonight at 6:00. on the back side of this, there is this cold front driving through. on the back side where it is cold enough to turn into snow. but ahead of it, we could see a
line of severe weather, thunderstorms. but that again will all change over to snow and first big blizzard of the season, it moves to the east, will not be a snowmaker for the eastern seaboard. can you see by tuesday morning it is almost a done deal. it finally moves out by tomorrow afternoon. then we'll see quieter conditions. but it will be a white christmas because there certainly will be an inch of snow on the ground, though not falling on christmas day. >> we'll take an inch. thank you. top of the hour. i'm suzanne malveaux. the sudden death of kim jong- jong-il. a tearful broadcaster broke the news last night on north korea's state run tv. she reported that the 69-year-old died of a heart attack on saturday. kim was a reclusive dictator who starved his own people while
building a nuclear weapons nation. a former u.n. ambassador bill richardson who's traveled to north korea many times points to major concerns now. >> north korea, the peninsula is a tinder box. this we knew was coming because of the health of kim jong-il. the issue is going to be will there be stability in the north korean leadership. will they continue the recent efforts of engaging south korea and the united states over food aid over nuclear talks. >> south koreans are weeping inconsolably over a man they called the dear leader. kim's youngest son kim jung unis also in charge. very little is known about him but the ruling worker party has already dubbed him the great successor. the white says it is closely monitoring the situation in north korea.
we are told that president obama spoke with his south korean counterparts, recon if i wering the u.s. commitment to stability on the korean peninsula and to the freedom and security of america's allies. world leaders also watching for the first sign of instability in north korea because it is a nuclear power. international security analyst joins us from boston. address the death of kim jong-il. does that impact security? >> i think the answer is yes. yes for different reasons. first, the u.s. has 28,000 troops, men and women, stationed in south korea who are sort of whether i was in seoul last thing, a senior officer told me their job is to deter north korea and to restrain south korea so that there isn't a korean war 2.0. we have assets on the ground. we have a stake in this game in
the future of the korean peninsula. there's obviously the broader issue of security on the korean peninsula, the nuclear weapons that north korea possesses. if it were to run into problems or collapse, if there is internal divisions, that would be implications for the region. refugees and our relationship with china and our relationship with south korea and japan. so a lot is at stake in this relationship. >> do we think that these nuclear weapons are safe? >> well, it is not like they are the soviet union. and to be clear, we aren't really sure what the stage of development is. they've tested nuclear devices but there is still some distance from having tested a device to having one you can place on a missile or plane. it is unclear where they are it and the intelligence community has estimated in years gone by, somewhere near a six, a dozen. but i don't think north korea's
looking to initiate a war. i think they know that if they use the nuclear weapons that would end life as they know it and if they fought a conventional war they would lose and lose badly. south korea's far more powerful than north korea. but the danger here is accidental war. inadvertent war, a war no one intends but you get just the same because people make mistakes and you get a crisis that escalates. >> and you have a son with no military experience. perhaps that could happen under his watch. but you mention about nuclear weapons, they were tested in 2006, 2009. today north korea fires a short-range missile over the east sea. is this something that the south koreaned should be worried about? i know they've gone on higher alert. >> well, first of all, that test appears to have been scheduled in advance but i would not be surprised if we see more missile tests that sort of commemorate kim jong il's life, send is a message to the north korean population we are strong at a
time delicate transition, to send a message to south korea and the u.s. don't mess with us during this period. so i think we may see more of that rather than less and, yes, the south koreans have gone on alert but again, all parties should be careful here because while it makes sense from a defensive standpoint for south korea to go on alert, if you're sitting in pyongyang, that may look like that's provocative. right? one person trying to beef up their defenses and security, may look to the other other person like you are getting ready to attack. so all the parties need to communicate, speak clearly and avoid misperception and miscalculation during this delicate period. >> very tense time. thank you very much. the world's attention is also on kim jong-il's youngest son, kim jong-un. north korean's state run news agency is calling him the great successor. details about the kim family. it is kind of sketchy but here's what we know about the family tree. kim jong-il had three wives and a mistress. had he two children with his
mississip mistress and two had his second wife. that wife is kim john unng-un b tristy lee stout has a little bit of insight. >> reporter: a little more than a year ago the world good a glimpse of kim jong-un. catapulted from on security only the day before catapulted from four-star general in the people's korean army. it cemented rumors circling around the state for a year that the kim dynasty would run to a third generation. but their lives are celebrated in great detail every day in the media, kim jong-un's life is a blank for most of north korea. the youngest of three known sons of kim jong-il, he was born into a life of privilege and luxury.
his mother was a japanese born korean and professional dancer. she studied as a teenager in an insurance school in switzerland, reportedly speaks english and german. hardly a typical north korean childhood. north korean propaganda mentions none of this, preferring to concentrate on the younger kim's deeds of the last year, playing up his military connections, modern technological skills, and his tireless support of his father. kim jong-il was already a seasons politician when he took over the family dictatorship in 94 as he served a 20-year apprenticeship at his father's side. thought to be only 28 years old and with so little experience, kim jong-un will have to rely on some powerful guardians. chief among them, north korean's pourer couple. his uncle, vice chairman of the
national defense commission, and his aunt, kim jong-il's sister and a four-star general. does h unconventional upbringing give hope for change or will his reliance on the vested interest of the old guard mean business as usual on the northern half of the korean peninsula. the world will be watching closely. christy lou stout. lawmakers are going to take up an extension of the payroll tax cut. the senate passed a temporary two-month extension but john boehner, the house speaker, is calling for negotiations to come up with a one-year deal. >> the idea that tax policy can be done two months at a time is the kind of activity we see here in washington that really has put our economy off its tracks. last week both chambers worked
together to pass a full-year bill to fund our government and i don't think this issue is any different. it is a big deal for working families, so should the house pass the two-month payroll tax cut extension? that's today's "talk back." post your thoughts on my facebook page at facebook.com/suzannecnn. we'll air some of your responses at the end of the hour. here's a rundown of some of the stories we are covering over the next hour. first, the autopsy report is in on the college drum major who died after alleged hazing incident. his parents join me to talk about how to stop future tragedies. also, a woman's stomach stomps on, a child beaten to death in egypt's tahrir square. we'll talk to a journalist about renewed violence against protesters. one man who had unusual access to north korean's kim jong-il. president jimmy carter.
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protected for her safety. but the egyptian military has weighed in and is defending the use of force. it is another example of the chaos unfolding in tahrir square right now. want to bring in egyptian journalist mona, you are no stranger to this kind of abuse yourself. you experienced this, you say, at the hands of the egyptian military. remind our viewers first of all what happened to you. >> well, my left arm and my right hand were broken by egyptian riot police about three weeks ago in cairo during a protest. i was also sexually assaulted by those same riot forces. i was detained by the police and military for 12 hours during which i was blindfolded and interrogated and i hold the egyptian military name lly supre council of the armed forces responsible for all of that because they are supposed to be ruling the country and as images
you've just shown us they are doing a terrible job of running egypt right now. >> when you see those images of that woman being dragged away, what do you think her fate is? >> first, i hope she survived. i hear that she did survive but i hope that she was able to recover. i hope that she was given the space and therapy and whatever physical and emotional care that she needs to recover becauseky not even begin to imagine what she went through. i've been unable to look at a lot of images that have come out of cairo over the past few days because they take me back to what i went through. but what this woman went through is incredible on so many levels. i salute her first of all for her courage in many there. this picture we are seeing right now is that it exposes once and for all and killed any denial about the egyptian regime, there was under mubarak or now under the military and the use of systematic sexual violence against women in egypt. it is a shame, it has been denied for too long and we must expose it on every level.
this tragic case has allowed us to do that very publicly. >> mona, this started as a revolution. there was a lot of support for this military. now it seems the military is turning against the people they say they were representing here. how do you manage this situation where security forces are not giving over their control to this new government? >> well. from the very beginning many of us were warning about the milita military. many of us thought it was the garden of the revolution but from the beginning the military's been violating people's rights, remember the virginity test in march. one woman taking them to court which are essentially sexual assaults was also detained in the past few days in cairo. from cairo we must tell the egyptian public that the military is not our friend. specifically the supreme council of the armed forces. they are not the guardians of the revolution and we need to move immediately to civilian
leadership in egypt. the field marblshal right now needs to go. washington needs to tell egypt -- because washington gives the egyptian military 40% of its budget. $1.3 billion a year. washington needs to make very clear to egypt that that money is going to violate people like that woman in those pictures, like myself, like so many other egyptians. every government that supports the egyptian regime must stop because the money that goes to the egyptian military is being used to abuse people and we need to revert to civilian leadership immediately. >> mona, thank you very much. i appreciate your perspective. next, i'm going to talk with the parents of the florida a&m band member who recently died in a suspected hazing incident. we'll ask them what they want to come out of this tragedy.
trustees at florida a&m university decided today not to suspend the school's president during a hazing investigation. here's what led up to today's action. last week florida's governor suggested that the university president james ammons be suspended. but over the weekend warned an alumni group that could jeopardize the school's accreditation. this follows the death of the band's drum major robert champion. we will talk with champion's parents in a few minutes, but first, george powell was at the board of trustees meeting today. tell us about the meeting and how they reached their decision. >> reporter: that meeting took place over a conference call so
all of the board members called in and no one was physically here for that call, dr. james ammons, the university president also called in but was not here physically in the report to participate in it. the board made two things clear -- they will not be pressured by outside influences to suspend the president. governor rick scott has been very vocal in his comments asking dr. ammons to step down or resign as this investigation continues. the board also made it clear they'll meet once a week at least for the next 60 days to discuss the murder investigation of robert champion. this conference call lasted for a good 30 minutes. we were able to listen to the full thing and we also talked to some people inside, faculty members who support the president. take a listen. >> the constitution of florida is very clear that university must be allowed to operate and
therefore the governor and no one else should interfere. we have an investigation going on. why there is this jump to get ahead of the investigation. let the investigation get completed and therefore the appropriate action can be taken at that time. already also want to give you the statement from governor rick scott that came through today. it says that we have a process in florida and that process has been followed. i totally agree with the decision made by florida a&m university board of directors. so at this point we are watching as the ves continues. also keep in mind that the head of the alumni association made it very clear that if this board bends in any way to political pressures, this school could lose its accreditation. at this point the decision not to suspend dr. ammons. >> george, what about where things stand with the band director and the band itself? >> well, keep in mind, the band director was fired and four students were suspended several
weeks back. but the florida department of law enforcement asked this university to hold on any disciplinary actions so those decisions have been basically rescinded. the university's band director back on leave with pay. those students were put back in to the band and all of this just pending as the murder investigation continues. >> next, i'll talk with robert champion's parents and ask them what they hope will come out of this tragedy.
beyond the headlines about hazing. the board of trustees' meetings and the investigation into the death of a young man with a bright future. robert d. champion was just 26 years old when he died last month. on friday the medical examiner's office released details on how champion died. authorities have ruled his death a homicide. joining us right now, his parents pam and robert champion. first, myco condolences to the both of you and just our appreciation for your being here and having the vestrength to ta about this. we saw the autopsy report and read some of the details. mock the details he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body that resulted in internal bleeding and this was an incident of hazing. when you read this report, what did you think about your son's final hours?
>> the brutality that he had to endure, the pain and suffering, i wouldn't imagine what my son went through. to see the part where they hit him all over his body. to know my son had to go through something like that. >> do you feel as if you've gotten information -- the kind of information you need to understand what happened to your son? >> i don't have all the information because everyone knows there's a lot of story going around. but what we've learned from the autopsy result is the anguish and pain that my son went through and the thought that he was okay with that, that's totally not acceptable. >> who do you want to address your concerns to? do you feel as if the university -- has the university reached out to you and explained
what's happening in this investigation? >> i haven't talk to the university. the university hasn't explained anything about what they're doing. what i'd like to do is see what they're going to put in place to make sure this does not happen again. it's clearly a cruel and hateful thing to have anybody go through. i want to see what they're going to put in place. obviously what they had in place is not working. >> you feel as if the university's doing the right thing, that the president is going to be part of the school, that he's not going to step down at this time. you have the band leader who was suspended and now will be back? >> well, i hope that everything will come out. if it leads to being removed from the school to make the school better for kits that's safer, that's the being a we
need to take. >> there was another student who was seriously injured as the result of an alleged hazing incident and your son tried to warn her about what was going to take place. i want you to listen to this part of the story. >> he told me not to let anyone touch me. >> were you aware that your son was trying to warn other students that there was this -- this kind of torture was happening? >> actually, this is the type of person my son is. he would tell other people, you don't have to be hazed. you don't have to be hazed to be a part of an organization. that's the way we raised our son. and for his death to be through hazing is something hard to take right now. >> did he ever express to you
any concern or fear about being part of the band, that there was hazing that was going on? >> no, not at all. robert enjoyed being in the band before and i not only the marching band but the conference band as well. he enjoyed the whole band. we never expected any concerns about being in the band. he was always -- when i talked to him, it was always excitement about the performance they just performed or the performance that they were on his way to a game, on his way back from a game. >> i understand that you've had a chance to talk it some of his friends since this happened. but something needs to be done. of course, everyone tells us how the kind of person and the -- the demeanor and character of my son and how he was, of course,
and that these are people instead that robert had said to them or advised them because he was a mentor, it didn't surprise me at all because that's the way he is. something needs to be done to stop it. >> what would you like to see come out of this if there is anything that can come out of this so that another parent doesn't go through the loss of their child like you have? >> well, we need some harder and tougher laws. we need laws that's going to make a person think of the actions that they do and think that this happened to another kid so we need to put the laws on the book and make sure that they understand the laws and if it happen again they will be faced with a tough penalty that will be put in place. >> is there anything that you'd like us to know about your son
that we don't? >> any time i'm asked to describe my son, he was always very easy going. always a smile on his face. and he was very laid back. he never let anybody -- let anything get to him. he was driven, determined, for whatever he decided he wanted to do. as i said before, robert was a mentor and he loved tutoring students and helping them, coming back to the different schools here in atlanta and working with them, their performances, helping them with their routines. that was just robert's way. he taught himself to play the keyboard. he played the drums in church. he was an avid christian. so robert was always involved doing things to help others. he would never do anything knowingly to hurt anyone else.
and if he was identified as doing something, robert would be the first one to step up and apologize. and that's just his demeanor. this whole thing, as my husband indicated, is just unreal. there should be stiffer penalties, stiffer laws. and the people that are involved should be held accountable for what they've been doing. they know it is wrong. step up and do what is the right thing. put education in place. >> do you think those students who were allegedly part of the hazing, should they face criminal charges? this is a homicide. >> yes. because if you don't use the people who are involved with this type of action for an example, that if you happen to behave and hurt someone, these are the actions that will be done to you.
so we need to show an example. had thank you once again. we really appreciate you taking the time an again my condolences. >> thank you. it is still not clear what the future has in store for north korea after the death of its dictator. we'll look at what kim jong-il's death means for his people and for american security.
right now we are refocusing on north korea. kim jong-il suddenly died of a heart attack. now stability in the region is a major concern. barbara starr joins us live from ramstein airbase in germany. barbara, first we know his son kim jong-un is going to succeed him. we don't know very much about him. i would imagine that the u.s. military having this be such an unknown is concerned. >> reporter: well, they are indeed, suzanne. we're here in germany traveling with general martin dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. we arrived here last night and the news broke overnight. general dempsey meeting with a small group of traveling press. cnn is the only american network with him an he spoke to us about this very question of the son of kim jong-il and will he really succeed and will he be able to
take control of the government and the regime of north korea. i want you to listen to a little bit of what general dempsey told us earlier today. >> it is my expectation as i sit here with you that he will be the successor. we've done a significant amount of work to try to understand him and i would only say at this point that he is young to be placed in this position, and we'll have to see whether in fact it is him and how he reacts to the burden of governance that he hasn't had -- he hasn't had to deal with before. so i done know, barbara. i worry about -- look, i worry about transitions every place. i'm worried about a transition in north korea. i'm worried about a potential transition in syria. i'm worrying about the continuing transitions in egypt. yes. >> reporter: general dempsey making very clear he is worried
about the transition in north korea. the u.s. military has seen no evidence just yet of any movement of north korean troops or north korean weapons. so one indicator of how little the u.s. really knows about what's going on inside north korea. later today these u.s. officials here acknowledge that they believe the north korean leader died on saturday but they only found out about it last night when it appeared on north korean television. >> barbara, we know that today north korea fired a short-range missile over the east sea and south koreans now going on a higher state of alert. does that trouble the u.s. military? do they believe that this could lead to an escalation here between these two countries? >> reporter: well now, as for those two short-range missile tests, they're saying those were expected. the north koreans were notified those were likely to take place. they don't believe it is related to any of the current situation. but the u.s. intelligence
community working with the u.s. military is now really 24/7 eyeballs on north korea, on the peninsula looking for any indication of troop movement, artillery, missile movement, any of these kinds of military indicators that the north koreans are moving things around and any potential indications of instability. >> all right, barbara starr, thank you very much. kim jong-il is dead, so what does that mean for the future of north korea? and is it going to change u.s. policy of denying aid to the repressive country? in the past three years president obama has increased sanctions on north korea calling the rogue nation a security threat to the united states. but former president jimmy carter says those sanctions have only hurt the people of north korea, not kim jong-il's government. i had a chance to talk to him about it back in may. >> the united states imposes on them an absence of food aid because they're trying to punish kim jong-il. >> those are very serious
allegations though, to use that -- to say that the obama administration is using this as a political tool to not provide food aid. >> i think that's accurate. we are obviously and publicly officially not providing any food aid to north korea right now because we disagree with the policies of kim jong-il. >> but the state department says -- >> people are suffering. >> the state department says you know better because they know kim jong-il is the one in charge of distributing the food and denying the food. >> so what? so we just stop giving the people food? >> who should be held responsible? should it be president obama? >> i'm not trying to hold anybody responsible. i'm just trying to convince the administration through the state department to make usaid to give food aid to the people starving in north korea. >> the white house says it is closely monitoring reports out of north korea right now. so far there has been no discussion of a change to u.s. policy. kim jong-il will be remembered as repressive but
also eccentric. we wanted to share with you some of the bits of information you might not known about the leader. kim jong-il was obsessed with movies. he is said so to have more than 28,000 in his direction. his favorite problems were said to be rambo and friday the 13th. he was also known as a wine lover. it is rumored that he had more than 10,000 bottles in his wine cellar. he reportedly had a fear of flying so he traveled by a private train. north korean state-run media also say that kim jong-il was an avid golfer, that he shot a 38 under par and awording inin ii to his official biography, he enjoyed muse calls. the race for the republican nomination just got a whole lot tighter.
wolf blitzer will have the latest cnn polling out of iowa. everyone believes in keeping their promises once a year. but we believe in helping people take steps to keep them every single day. that's why every day we help people across the country get into their first homes. prepare for a comfortable retirement and protect the people and things that matter most. at genworth we believe every day is the right day to take a step toward tomorrow.
for the people of north korea because his successor could quite likely be even worse than kim jong-il. that's why worse, with us together working with the chinese, the north koreans are actually working to help iranians obtain missile technology to deliver a nuclear weapon. this cannot be. >> the republican presidential hopefuls all weigh in on the death of north korean's leader kim jong-il. just released now, poll numbers showing no clear front-runner for the republican presidential nomination. in fact, we are now learning it is neck and neck between two of the contenders. i want to bring in our wolf blitzer to break down the numbers for us. wolf, what have we just learned? >> we learned in ow our cnn/orc poll of republicans and independents tending to vote republican nationally. nationwide, look at these numbers. gingrich and romney tied right now among republicans. 28% each. ron paul coming up third place with 14%.
everybody else in single digits. bachmann 8%, perry 7%, santorum 4%, huntsman 2%. but it is neck and neck nationally among the republicans. these are national numbers. again in national numbers we asked the republicans and independents, leaning republicans, their opinion of the candidates, who was the most likable, romney and gingrich. romney wins that category over gingrich, 30% to 15%. the most trustworthy -- romney 24%, gingrich 12%. who is the strongest leader? romney 26%, gingrich 42%. they think gingrich would be a stronger leader but not necessarily the most likable or most trustworthy. as far as undecideds and people willing to change their mind, how committed are folks right now? republicans are going forward. look at these numbers. only 35%. 1 in 3 of these republicans say they've definitely made up their minds, they would definitely
support the candidate. but 56% say they're open to changing their minds. 9% are unsure so it is still a fluid situation. only 15 days to go before iowa. we are seeing some movement. in 15 days all of these campaigns, you've covered these political races for long time, as have i, all of their strategists will tell you 15 days leading to iowa is a lifetime. >> still a lot of time for people to go back and forth and change their minds. thanks, wolf. the house is meeting today to decide whether or not your taxes are going to go up next year. lawmakers want to take up the extension of the payroll tax cut. so the senate passed a temporary two-month extension but house speaker john boehner calling for a one-year deal. "talk back" should the house pass a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut? dallas says, no, they should not pass a two-month extension.
short-term fixes are not the answer, plain and simple. fix the problem. kevin says -- when it came to extending the bush tax cuts for the rich, without any way to pay for them, no problem. but when it comes to working people, it is all of a sudden a problem. i hope americans remember this on election day. glen says -- no, they need to do their jobs and pass a year at a time. see all of the responses on my facebook page. the first step towards building your investments digging out of debt. right? not so easy especially during these holidays. well, in this week's "smart is the new rich," christine romans explains the best way to keep your spending in check. >> reporter: the worst present can you get yourself for the holidays is more debt. are you listening, congress? don't buy that hype that you need to add to last year's debt this year. no sale, no hot holiday toy, no impulse purchase is worth it at 20% on your credit card.
first, if you can't afford it, put it down. >> in a perfect world you would never charge more than you could pay in full when the bill arrives. worst case scenario -- plan it pay it out no longer than three months. >> reporter: track your spending. the national foundation for credit counseling surveyed shoppers and found 56% had no idea where they spent their money by the end of the month. >> we work very hard for our money, then we spend it very casually. you will never know where the leaks are until you write down every cent you spend for 30 days. seeing your spending staring back at you in black and white is a real wake-up call. >> reporter: prioritize your debt. credit card debt is particularly unforgiving even with new protections. aim to pay it off. the best boost to your credit score is paying off big amounts of debt, then paying on time every time with the card after that. did you know a missed credit card payment stays on your credit history for seven years? finally, make your resolution to get out of debt and stay out of debt in 2012.
>> go to annualcreditreport.com. organize your debt from smallest on the bottom to largest. call your creditors. going into 2012 this is one of the best things to start to organize our own financial futures and get that right peace of mind. >> christine romans, cnn, new york. the dangers of dumpster diving. that's right. a north carolina man gets a wild ride after ending up in a trash compacter truck. in america, we believe in a future that is better than today. since 1894, ameriprise financial has been working hard for their clients' futures. never taking a bailout. helping generations achieve dreams. buy homes. put their kids through college. retire how they want to. ameriprise. the strength of america's largest financial planning company. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you, one-to-one.
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secretary of state hillary clinton is expected to speak soon at the state department. she met earlier with japanese foreign minister and of course he's one of north korea's strongest allies. we expect for her to comment on the death of north korea's leader kim jong-il. as soon as she steps to the podium we'll bring you those remarks live. but first, what cities have the most generous givers in the country? according to a new study, here are the top five cities where at least 60% of people donated to charity this year. washington, d.c. comes in fifth place. greenville, south carolina, comes in fourth. harrisburg, pennsylvania in third. minneapolis, minnesota in second. what's the city in number one? we'll tell you she's this new robot we're trying out, mostly for, like, small stuff. wow! look at her go!
the economy's been hard on everybody this year but a new study says that americans were still pretty againous in 2011. according to a consumer research firm, these cities had the most residents donating to charity but what city is the most charitable? would you guess -- salt lake city. 68% of all households gave to charity there this year.
good for them! now to a dog lover with a big heart who's putting his skill as a pilot to good use. mike young flies up and down the northeast coast rescuing shelter dogs. he said he's made more than 20 trips on his own dime and he says he's going to keep taking to the skies to give dogs affected by the gulf oil spill one more last. >> my dog's name was conan. he was a german shepherd. we paid good money to have the cancer treatment. he welcomed the chemo but his kidneys failed. that's ultimately why we had to put him to sleep. now i'm on pilot and paws, which is a website that people have dogs that have to be transported pd these are rescue dogs pulled
from high-kill shelters post on this website they have dogs they need to get from point a to point b. i scan through the posts to see if there's any rescue flights that are within my area that i can do. hey, dog. how are you doing? >> saving more dogs. >> it's okay, bo. it's okay. >> they actually look like they know that they're about to be saved. this is different. there's people loving them. there's other dogs around them and they almost know that they're going to be going to their forever home. >> bo seems to want to be in the back seat. you know what? he just managed to get to the front. >> reporter: transporting dogs is one of the most important steps in saving dogs. you have to move them from rural areas typically to more urban areas where there is a higher probability that they're going to get rescued.
>> here you go. >> hi! what do you guys think of your new addition to your family? >> absolutely beautiful! i love her! >> you look into the new owner's eyes, for the first time they're going to get to hole their new dog. and they just hole their dog like they've just had them forever. you know that dog's going to have a good life. >> happy new year and thank you. you actually made our christmas. >> so how can i not spend my time and money giving to these dogs? giving the owners of these new dogs the opportunity to have the love that i have for these dogs? really, that's what it's all about. >> what a great story. "cnn newsroom" continues right