tv CNN Newsroom CNN April 10, 2010 10:00am-11:00am EDT
monopoly over to newer things, even card games, strategy games, einar kay games. what i love is certain allow you to play for tokens, you can accrue tokens and potential win a price up to $10,000. >> and see your entire day just disappear because you don't know what you did, because you were gaming all day. >> absolutely. >> thank you, elizabeth. well be right back here for "your bottom line." right now it's time for a check of your top stories in the "catherine newsroo-- "cnn newsr" have a great weekend. from the cnn center, this is "cnn saturday morning." good morning to you all. i'm t.j. holmes. >> and i'm brianna keilar. we have a lot of breaking news
this morning. >> the top story we've been keeping a. this happened in the wee hours, but the president of poland is dead, looks with his wife and you will several other top dignitaries of the polish government. the entire country is mourning right now you are seeing the wreckage of the plane that went down in the western part of russia. on the right of your screen, you're seeing what we have been watching for the past hour or so now. that's a live picture in warsaw, a country that's in absolute shock right now. again, i repeat, not just losing the president of that country, the first lady, head of the army chief of staff, the national security office head, deputy parliament speaker, deputy foreign minister, a number of dignitaries. right now we've confirmed 89 all together were lost in that
particular plane crash, but according to other numbers there could have been more people on the plane. so wait you for a good hard number. the prime minister came out a short time ago, trying to reassure the people of his country, but he wants toss victims to be remembered. >> translator: the speaker -- the deputy speaker of the polish government and representatives of polish political parties. the modern world didn't see such a drama for many of us, they were friends and acquaintances. the biggest tragedy is for the families of the people who were killed in smolensk. i wanted to say in the name of
all the polish people, to -- pass the words of condolences to the family of the polish president, to his daughter, to his mother, to his brother, and to all the families of all the victims. again, the president, 60-year-old lech kaczynski, along with his wife maria, along with others killed. the way it works in poland, the role of president until under their constitution is a largely ceremonial role with some powers, but most of the political power does lie in the hands of the prime minister. right now the acting president of that country is the head of the parliament. we'll have more details as they
continue to come in, also reaction from around the world, including from president obama. we'll let you hear his response straight ahead. the long wait is over and the results are not what the people of west virginia had hoped for. rescue workers found the bodies of four missing miners monday night. that brings the total number killed to 29. a family in tennessee adopted a son from russia, but sent him back, essentially saying he was damaged goods. the boy was 7 years old. according to the family, he was violent and psychotic, threatened to kill people, had actual hit lists, and tried to set the house on fire. the child, though, when he got back to russia, says the family was mean to him, pulled his hair and whatnot. the u.s. government is reportedly troubled by it all. officials are investigating now to see if anything actual criminal took place.
russia has suspended adoptions until the u.s. agrees to better regulate them. our big breaking story this morning, the president of poland dead along with his wife and many others of the polish government after a plane crash in the western part of russia. it was in smolensk, the western part of the country. phil black, what else have you been able to find out? >> reporter: this russian tupolev 154, the jet carry the polish president and the group of 89 or so high-ranking officials was on final approach to the military airstrip at smolensk. we're told there was very heavy fog and somehow something went wrong, the aircraft struck trees and the result -- witnesses have talked about the plane being engulfed in flames, and the debris is strewn across a wide area there. an investigation is already under way.
a key part of that will obviously be locating the aircraft's black box flight recorder, but for the moment it's not known precisely what happened to the plane, but a lot of that is focusing on the thick fog. >> and also the government is trying to focus on certainly taking care of their people. we've seen a couple high-profile officials come out try to reassure people. the mourning process is starting, but give our viewers an idea of how it works with their government and how it's set up with their constitution and who is running the country of poland. >> sure. as you mentioned the prime minister said the polish state will and must continue to run. under the system, the president does not hold overarches powers, the prime minister and his senior administrators, none of them were on board the plane, so the government will continue to function under the constitution. in the meantime, the speaker of
the parliament will step in and resume his duties, and an election must be held within 60 days. there won't be a vacuum, there will be continuity of leadership, but it's important not to underestimate what this loss symbolically means. to lose so many top ranking political, civilian, military officials in one go, the aftereffects will be felt for some time to come within that nation, t.j. >> phil black, thank you so much. we're going to let our viewers know a bit more. lech kaczynski, born june 18th, has an identical twin brother. they were first child actors and rose to prominence in the country before getting into politics. a full decade later, he became mayor of warsaw in 2002.
two years later he ran as president. he promised a moral revolution. he quickly named his twin brother to the prime minister position, and he served from mid-2006 until november 2007. there were a number of other dignitaries on this flight. they include the head of the national security office, the last president in exile, some additional lawmakers as well and deputy foreign minister were also on board. as you can imagine there's been aboutpouring of support. president obama has just issued a statement. i want to read a portion now. it says -- today's loss is devastating to poland, the united states and the world. president kaczynski was a distinguish statesman, widely admired in the united states as a leader dedicated to advancing freedom and human dignity. with him were many of poland
distinguished civilian and military leaders who have helped to shape the inspiring democratic transformation. president obama going on to say we join all the people of poland in mourning of their passing. here now listen to the russian president, dmitri medvedev. >> translator: so that all the officials accompanies -- i've been in contact with our partners. >> that's president medvedev of russia. you can imagine people are just in shock after hearing the news of this accident. let's show you what we saw just a short time ago, the outpouring of emotion there. this is in the capital. we saw crying, we saw singing, and we see a lot of people stopping to leave flowers and notes. these i'm told, once again returning to live pictures, again, this crash is still
about, what is it, about seven hours old, news of it just about seven hours old. this square, this particular area of warsaw has been packed with people leaving flowers and notes. condolences pouring in on social media sites as well. josh levs is taking a look this morni morning. >> a lot of people thinking of the presidents and his wife, but also the other people on the plane. the dozens of lives that were lost in this plane crash. while we look at this, another thing i'm seeing on the internet is organizations are organizing other events. i have polish expats organizing
their own events. let's come over to my screen. first of all, there's a facebook page that's gone up specifically for that. r.i. proficiency, rest in peace polish president. you can see one of the messages down here. we are sharing your sadness. from turkey, we've also been interacting with you on facebook. adam said, such a tragedy, my thoughts and prayers are with the people. let's jump over to twitter. here's just one. this tragic, heartbreaking for poland. good reminder your life is short and you never know your expiration date. we have all sorts of breaking details at cnn.com, and we'll be bringing you every detail as we get it. keep it here with us on tv, and also stay with us online, as we
learned more about what happened. t.j., brianna, thanks to you. thanks very much. we'll have more on the terrible crash, including a closer look at the plane. plus michael steele speaks today at the southern republican is it leadership conference, the party faithful confident they're seeing a resurgence. also supreme court justice stevens leaving the high court. who will be nominated to fill that vacancy? we're live in washington with potential replacements. [ female announcer ] last year, the u.s. used enough plastic water bottles to stretch around the earth over 190 times. each brita filter can take up to 300 of those bottles out of the equation. up to 300 of those bottles
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and about 3:00 p.m., grand raps, and the express will wrap up the day with in lansing. >> the tea party leaders pretty much patting themselves on the back for bart stupak's decision not to run for reelection. also in new orleans, odeputy political director and friend of our show, paul stein hauser is this morning. paul, we talked about this. the tea party, we knew this was coming, but they want to take full credit for stupak getting out of game.
>> they're pretty happy campers. this is their third national bus tour, targeting to democratic lawmakers in this. they started in searchlight, nevada going after harry reid but the other person they say they were targeting was bart stupak. they put up ads and had all these rallies. it would embolden the movement overall as they continue on and get involved in the midterm elections. >> a gathering of conservatives, republicans there in new orleans. sarah palin goat the crowd fired up, as she often does. what do we expect to see? >> reporter: among the speakers today, michael steele, you know,
i know that he is really facing some tough times, really under the gun for his handling of the party committee and some of its expenditures. so he's building his support, trying to keep the job. also speaking today, a bunch of people who may want to run for their party's nomination, including from next door in mississippi, haley barbour. and the former senator from pennsylvania, rim an tomorrow. also the results of a presidential straw poll, so we'll keep a klee eye on that. >> i know you'll keep an eye on things for us there, paul, someone who can clear a room like nobody else. good to see you, buddy.
>> reporter: ahead! >>. candy crowley will be lived in new orleans tomorrow. a former rnc chairman shares his thoughts. candy and the best political team on television will also explore the phenomenon of sarah palin. candy hosts "state of the union" sunday morning. should the chairman of the republican national committee resign? my next guest says no way. if all you know about us is... duck: aflac! ...then you don't know quack. to find out more visit getquack.com. [ engine revving ] [ gorilla ] nice move.
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poland is a nation in mourning. as you can see from the latest pictures in warsaw, following a plane crash that killed the nation's president, first lady, the head of the military, and a number of other top dignitaries, civilian and military officials. we're talking about the head of the national security office. presidential aides, the deputy speaker of the parliament. the list continues to go on and on. there are several of these top dignitarie dignitari dignitaries. in this plane crash, you can see across the country and also across the world, a lot of outpouring and a lot of mourning. the president, the role of president held by lech kaczynski, very much largely a ceremonial role, the prime minister holding the strong executive powers, but all of these civilian and military
officials being killed, very much affecting, as you can see, the people of poland. we'll continue to cover this breaking news as we follow the investigation into exactly what caused this crash. he's the first person to ask for steele's resignation. my next guest says that would be a huge mistake. lenny, good to see you, you tell everybody out there. >> first and foremost, t.j., leaders don't step away, they
step up. one of the major criticisms about former governor sarah palin attempting to go after the white house in 2012, should she choose to do that, it's because she stepped away from her post. the republicans cannot continue to have messages where people step away from his images. >> lenny, that's a little different of a situation. some would say steele stepping away would be a good things, they could wash their hands and get rid of the bad press. >> they said the same thing about governor palin, where she had all these controversies, ethical allegations up in alaska, but now being bantered around as being a candidate. at some point in time when you're at the crux of history, you have to go back to humble servant leadership. if you're able to do that, you can work through a crisis and lead people in the direction they need to do.
michael steele has done a good job raising money, there's been significant elections where he's led victories on, and we're at a point where the republicans can help bring the nation back to where it needs to be. it's a time to step up. >> you make a good point there. you talk about the $11.4 brought in last month, so a lot of things people can point to and say he's done a good job on. but let me show you from something from jon stewart on "the daily show." it might be amusing, and then i'll ask you about it on the other signed. >> mr. chairman, you're honestly saying the criticism you're saying can be chalked up to race. >> that's what i said. >> all that is just racism.
straight bib, baby, can i get a word-word. hammer time. >> okay. you get there. they're making light of the chairman. he canceled an interview with them, so they brought out a puppet. is that part of the problem, though, he's become in many ways a late-night laugh line, and he might have a tough time from this point on, doing his job? >> you could say that, but i can point back to, and i know it's a different role, but george w. bush wasn't exactly the most respected president in the united states when he was coming up for reelection, yet he still won and the republicans still held on to control of both houses every the congress. there's still a way to republicans to win. people forget that under michael steele's leadership there's been
a level of diversity that we haven't seen in the republican party in decades. do you really want to sacrifice that when you have 33 congressional african-american candidates out there, a couple latino candidates going for gubernatorial races, marco rubio down in florida, do you want to jeopardy dies that when there's still a way to move past this controversy? again i go back to humble servant leadership. if we can get the rest of us combining around that message, i think we can get past it and still be effective in november. >> just quickly, you agree with him when he says he has a slimmer margin for error, because he is a black man? >> i think we have to focus on we're at a crux in history, and both obama and steele have very historic decisions to make. >> lenny mcallister, always good
to see you, republican from north carolina, a friend of our show. we'll see you again soon. for all things political and more stories from the best political team on tv, go to cnn.com. the president, first lady and many -- a large number of top government officials, civilian and military, have died. they were killed in a plane crash in russia. josh levs has more. >> we're going to tell you all about them and share some of your reactions. h the best coverage in america- including a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. that's 40,000 more miles than ford. chevy silverado half-ton. a consumers digest best buy and the most dependable, longest lasting full-size pickups on the road. get 0% apr for 60 months on 2010 silverado half-ton models
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morning" the story we've been following, the president of poland along with the first lady dead and a number of other government officials. the pictures we got in just a short time ago of the wreckage, they were trying to land their plane in the western part of russia, apparently in heavy fog. if we can take this picture up full behind me, but this is the wreckage of that plane, some 89 people on that plane, the reports that possibly more, but this was made up of high-ranking government officials, the army chief of staff, a number of high-ranking officials. the country we're told in shock after what happened. president kaczynski is not necessarily like the head of state here in the u.s., largely a ceremonial role, but most of the executive power is held in
the prime minister, who was not on the plane, i should note, but a figure who had been in the spotlight over in poland since he was a child. he was a child actor, came up through the ranks, a beloved person, as we see in this pictures, the mourning process is going on right now. >> important to note in this day and age there has not been a question raised whether this is terrorism related. that's not a concern that's been raised. the investigation seems to be focused on whether this is a mechanical error, though one of i guess maintenance facilities said they don't think that's what it is. certainly they'll be looking at whether it's pilot error, and reynolds wolf has been researching this plane. the tupolev 154 is not something we're familiar with. what have you found? >> it's compared to a boeing
727. certainly 189 people was in range for being on the plane. this really has been the backbone of air travel in that part of the world. the three engines, this is configured to land not just on perfect runways, but gravel runways or dirt run waist, which to be honest is the type of a workhorse you need for an agrarian area look where it landed. we have two air basses, one that's an airport south of the city, then a bit farther north, the air bass. it has an airstrip only about 5,000 feet long, but the base itself, that strip is about 8,000 feet long. we've been showing you video all morning long, certainly some of that wispiness may be the fog.
this air base was actually for the russian military. back in 1990 they dismandled it, and now it's civilian use. now, there was some information about the pilot using an airstrip he may not have been familiar with. usually when you have pilots, they fly vfr, visual flight rules or ifr, which is instrument flight rules. i would imagine this guy with his experience would be ifr, but still a lot of information coming in. i will guarantee you that certainly the foggy conditions, the trees certainly did help matters whatsoever in this particular incident. back to you. >> recommends, we appreciate you gives us insight. and of course the big question here, how did this
happen? let's bring in bob francis, the former chairman of the national transportation safety board. bob, tell me a bit about what you're hearing that maybe the plane actually disregarded instructions to land at a different airport? >> i heard that, and i think that, you know, this is one of the -- one of the cases where you wonder what's motivating pilots to do things certainly there's a possibility there's a maintenance issue or something else but this was a polish military aircraft, they have good maintenance capabilities, so you wonder if in fact the reports are true there were two or three go-arounds before the accident took place. what mott investigated the pilot to go to that particular airport. maybe that he was familiar with it, it may be that the ceremony
was in fact taking place very close to that and he wanted to get the president as close as he could but ultimately, as someone was saying this is a very popular aircraft. it's not the most modern airplane in the world, but that probably doesn't make any difference. the question of maintenance, and we've heard from a director of the factory in russia, where they said in december -- so just a few months ago, they completed a major refurbishing, repair of the plain. do you think then this could be a maintenance issue? when you look at the factors in a crash like this, what are you considering? take us through the different factors here. >> i think an accident
investigation looks at all of the above i do think when you see the weather looked like this, and you see an event was taking place and it was close to that airport, the pilot's incentive to go down as low as he can and try to get the president there is certainly something that can't be ignored. the presidential aircraft in any country is going to -- one assumes it's going to be pretty well maintained. the polish are capable of doing that. they have a good aviation structure. will that be looked at, maintenance? absolutely. the big issue is the recorders, how good are the recorders, how many parameters do they have. a good recorder will probably tell you more than anything else. >> the last we heard, bob was
that they had not yet found these black boxes. do you think they will? and how essential is it? >> very, very important, and the chances of land that they won't find them are infi ntissemal. it will be interesting to hear the conversation between the pilots in terms of that motivation or reasoning, to try again or the third time, whatever that was. but the conversation in the cockpit will be very, very interesting. then obviously the flight data
recorder will be recording the controls and how it actually happened, what the rate of descent was, et cetera. >> maybe reveal something about whether this was pilot error and what was going on, if they were aware of the weather situation. bob francis, the former chairman of the national traffic safety board, thanks for being with us. a teenager who lives with an agonizing disease, eases the pain for others by turning the pages. he's you're cnn hero of the week. ♪ who's born to care this life was protected... ♪ seems you've always been right there ♪ this life was saved... ♪ soothing sadness ♪ healing pain and this life was made easier... ♪ making smiles appear again because of this life.
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we are covering the breaking news this morning, the president of poland, his wife and several other top members of the government killed in a plane crash after trying to land in the western part of russia. you're seeing the wreckage of it there. at least 89 people we know were killed aboard the plane, and the cause believed to be they clipped some trees and some really horrible visibility, trying to land that plane in western russia. cnn's richard quest has been looking into the safety of the plane. richard, tell me what do we know about this plane? for our viewers here in the u.s., this is essentially their air force one equivalent? >> yes, it was their equivalent.
it was a tupolev 154, the mill tier version, about 20 years old, delivered to the airlines in 1990, then transferred to the polish airport some years later. the tupolev 154 may not be familiar to americans, but it was the workhorse of the old soviet airlines and across eastern europe. more than 1,000 of these planes were actually made, 205, 220 or so are still flying in eastern parts of europe. in fact, it is an old plane, not greatly used in service anymore, but that doesn't necessarily of course means there was anything wrong. in fact within the last couple hours we have learned that this aircraft actually underwent a complete refurbishment, new avionics and electronics in december. it certainly was airworthy. >> you called it a workhorse, if you will.
this plane, not just the one he was on, but this particular type of plane, pretty good and reliability safety record over the years? >> yes, i mean, you know, whenever we talk about safety records, i'm always tempted to say no better, no worse. if you look at a boeing 737 or the 727, three engines in the backs is the 6727, very similar. there have been about 60-odd serious incidents with the tupolev 154, and when you put that in the perspective of the 20, 30, 40 years they were flying, you then add in the sheer numbers and rules, one of the things to bear in mind about the 154, because of the somewhat primitive nature of the old soviet airfields, particularly in rural parts every the former soviet union, this plane was built for very difficult flying conditions, not only meteorologically, but physically, very large
wheelbases, so it may have been old, but it certainly was a stable aircraft. >> and still, what we're hearing right notice, it appears things are not pointing to any mechanical failure at this point. there were some weather conditions and issues going on possibly with visibility. we haven't seen anything else that pointed to anything not only the plane, but just the conditions outside. >> we know there was very heavy fog, zero visibility at the time when this plane was trying to land. presidents' planes are almost given purple corridors, they're called, to ensure they fly safely, quickly and without delays. certainly in russia, that would have been the case with this aircraft. whether it has the necessary avionics for a complete autolanding, whether it had the avionics that would have allowed
the pilots to land in that visibility, we will only know. prime minister vladimir putin of russia has been appointed to lead the commission of inquiry into the crash, but they will certainly -- my gut feeling this afternoon is this will be focusing on the weather. >> we appreciate you hopping on and giving you some detail. thank you very much. >> pleasure. coming up, some controversial remarks about the tea party from a democratic lawmaker. we're going to have him live to explain them. ask me what a cloud feels like... and here are the first real people to sleep on those brand new clouds. ask me what it feels like to be comforted by a cloud. a new tempur-cloud supreme... by tempur-pedic... ask me why we love our cloud... ask me how it's soft as a cloud... and still supports me. ask me why this is a million times better than my pillow-top. a pillow-top may look nice and puffy, but underneath are hard metal springs--- ask me why it's
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that didn't take too kindly by some folks, they came from a second-term congressman, when steve cohen compared the tea party movement to the kkk in such a way. he was a guest on a satellite radio show. go ahead and play the clip. we're going to show it, and then talk about it. >> they have really shown a very hard-core, angry side of america that is against any type of diversity. >> all right. that is what he had to say then. let's see what he has to say now. the congressman from memphis joins us now this morning live. sir, thank you for being with us on this saturday morning. you know those comments got a lot of reaction and response to you, some threats coming your way. i want to ask you now to explain. it's one thing to say the tea
party folks are angry, but you used the comments they were angry without the robes and the hoods. what did you mean by that? >> well, you know, i've gotten a lot of criticism, but i've gotten a lot of support, too. the civil rights hero. when the leadership and people don't stand up and speak out against something, it hurt the whole tea party movement, certainly there are tea party people that don't have those type of attitudes, but there are predominantly 99% white, they don't represent diversity in our society, which is the beauty of america. >> i guess what a lot of people have with it. there are a lot of moms, dads and middle-class folks, and it
sounds like a member of congress is labeling them as racist. is that the case? >> i would say they're 99% crowd. >> that doesn't mean they're racists, though, you go to the floor of the senate and you see a lot of white people. >> that's true. certainly they're not all racist, but when you're against health care and against government programs that have a de facto effect upon minorities more than they do others, and dr. martin luther king said one of the greatest inhumanities in our society was the unequal distribution for health care. he was assassinated in my city. we remembered that event last weekend. to think that 42 years later we finally get health care, and people are against it, to me it's inhumane. no they're not all racist, no question, but the fact is they're against government spending action against programs
and there are certainly similarities in their tactics to people who have historically been against civil rights and progress. >> of course they would say maybe they like some points, they're against some of the big spending and some of the parts of the health care reform, not just against it for the sake of it. do they have a role to play in moving forward and the political dialogue of this country is it or do you dismiss them as a whole as just frankly racist and on the fringes? >> they're against what i think would be the greatest progress and social reform this country has made since the '60s. they're against government spending. they first started against the
t.a.r.p. bill, a very difficult vote. but that worked, and it was a bill that's all that money has been paid back and paid back with interest. but they were wrong -- if we didn't pass the t.a.r.p., the economic financial structure of this country and the world would collapse. those are good programs. >> the last thing before i let you go, and that you did -- it was a calculated move to stir people up in your district, you're in a predominantly black district, and you're going to be going up in the primary a guy who's pretty popular way, willie harrington, who his supporters has said that the seat you hold is an african-american seat and a black american needs to be in it, and you're doing it as a political maneuver to stir it
up. i'll let you respond. >> not at all. i won the general election by 89%. when i did that program, it was a satellite radio show in los angeles. to be honest with you, while the hosts have become my friends, one of them i met when he was in town, i had no idea anybody listened. i just didn't realized that people listened and it becomes viral. i basically thought i was talking to these fellows in los angeles and a couple thousand people would hear it and that was it. there was no calculation at all. >> you know how these things sometimes take off, and this one did. we appreciate you taking the time to give you a chance to explain what you meant. sir, we'll be following that race, and i certainly will, as being a guy from that area. >> and brianna, you have to be around more often. >> i will be. i live on the hill. thank you, congressman.
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