tv CNN Newsroom CNN May 11, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
>> we have a large tornado on the ground causing damage. large tornado on the ground causing damage. plus, a story you'll only see here. our cnn correspondent makes a dangerous four-day journey to the nigerian village where hundreds of schoolgirls were abducted. she talks exclusively to a girl who escaped the terrorist. here your harrowing account and how they are living in a constant state of fear. we begin in virginia, where at this hour, the university of richmond is holding its commencement tinged with sadnes. two university employees were onboard that hot air balloon that caught fire and crashed. a somber search is under way in a wooded area for the third victim of the crash.
alexander field kpa alexandra field joins us now. >> three were in the basket, two involved with the women's basketball program. they were also graduates of the college and former collegiate athletes themselves. shortly before that final ride, one of the women even went to her instagram account posting several pictures which show their apparent excitement. one of their last pictures posted on instagram, two friends smiling in the basket of a hot air balloon, getting ready for what might have been a great adventure. another snapshot from their tethered practice flight friday morning. it was hours before this fateful assent in the blue balloon. tried it at 6:38 a.m. but was too foggy. will go up this evening. #anxiety, writes jenny doyle, a basketball coach for the women's team at the university of richmond. hours later, spectators at the
mid-atlantic balloon festival see a balloon burning after hitting a power line. >> the hot air balloon appears to be still smoking. >> the basket has come off, so we're trying to find that right now. >> advise all units that the airborne balloons aren't the issue. need to locate the basket. >> doyle and her co-worker natalie lewis were onboard the balloon with their pilot. >> he was taking every effort he could to manage the situation and extinguish the fire. >> reporter: but after a small explosion, the basket and the balloon separated. >> during the investigation, we will examine the man, the machine, and the environment. >> reporter: witnesses say as the balloon burned, they saw two people jump or fall. >> and you could hear them screaming, "please dear god, sweet jesus, help us, oh, my god, please help us." >> and today the university of richmond is holding their
commencement, obviously honoring two members of the program who were also alumni of the college. a very somber tone for this graduation ceremonies today. two of the bodies have been found. more than 100 deputies and troopers from the virginia state police have been involved in this search. they are still looking for the third body. >> terribly sad. alexandra field there in new york. also, a historic moment for one player, the nfl, and the world of sports. the first openly gay nfl prospect was drafted in the seventh round last night. victor blackwell has more on michael sam's next step. >> reporter: with the historic pick of michael sam, the reaction was immediate in st. louis, and from president obama. >> with the 249th pick of the 2014 nfl draft, the st. louis rams select michael sam,
defensive end, missouri. >> reporter: with that announcement, michael sam becomes the first openly gay player drafted by the national football league. he got the news by telephone from the rams head coach jeff fisher, who told him you are a ram, the wait is finally over. for the all-american defensive end from missouri, it was an emotional moment. >> i am overwhelmed. i'm excited, and i'm proud to be a ram. i knew he was going to get picked somewhere. and every team that passed me, i was thinking how i'm almost their cornerback. >> reporter: president obama said from the playing field to the corporate boardroom, lgbt americans prove every day that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are. the nba's jason collins who became the first openly gay athlete in any of the major four american sports when he came out in 2013 tweeted this comment.
i wanted to see congrats to @mikesamfootball. and @st. louis rams. great pick. meanwhile, the coach says it's time to get to work. >> he's done an outstanding job dealing with things. i believe he's prepared to discuss the situation and then get on to football, helping us win. >> reporter: and st. louis rams fans could not agree more. they want to see michael sam hit the field. last season the team finished 7-9 and at the bottom of the nfc west. >> he's got to prove himself. i think he'll make a good player for the rams. >> will he be a distraction? >> i don't think so. i don't think so. he's a good player. so i think he'll prove himself. >> it's time to play some football. time to shut up and play some football. we need him. >> reporter: and although michael sam has made history, he still has work to do. he has to go through training camp, and of course, make the team. >> victor blackwell keeping it
in perspective there. so, what impact overall might this have on the nfl's image after a few recent hits in particular? you might remember the bullying scandal that rocked the locker room and the ongoing controversy over the name the washington redskins. joe carter joining me now. is this a moment that is not just a bright spot for michael sam, but a real bright spot for the nfl? >> i think it's a bright spot for the nfl, for michael sam, and for sports. i really do. there was a moment yesterday when michael sam was able to celebrate his accomplishment and celebrate that without hiding. celebrate that openly and honestly. it's that moment that we get a peek inside his life, where the cameras for the first time during the draft were actually on him. because they're with him the whole time. they weren't allowed to actually take that until he was drafted. took that live picture and you see the raw emotion coming from michael sam's face, that he's finally going to realize his dreams. this guy has come from a really tough background. a lot of adversity.
first to go to college in his family. first openly gay player. the weight of the world on his shoulders. for him to be able to embrace his boyfriend, or whoever that gentleman is, we're assuming it's his boyfriend. usually they kiss their spouse. they kiss their mother. their girlfriend. we've never seen that image before during an nfl draft. it was a powerful image. it was a big step for sports and a positive moment for the nfl, despite all the negative stuff that we've been talking about lately. >> and you mentioned his up bringing. his life has been pretty tough. tough family structure. but when we talk about tough, too, and the former players that you talk with on a regular basis will tell you training camp is tough. being in the nfl is tough. so really the work is about to begin in a big way for him. >> it's a production-driven business. and if you cannot perform, it is called nfl for a reason. not for long. so michael sam, even though he is a draft pick, he still has to earn his way on to that team. so yes, he'll have training camp
in august and he's going to be fighting for a job and it's most likely going to be on the special teams. the team he's going to is not only a good fit for him professionally, but also geographically, because the university of missouri is only two hours away. so the people in that state are very familiar with michael sam, so he's going to get a lot of support. he's really going to be looking for a job in special teams. so that's where he's got to go forward. get a job on special teams. maybe two or three years later, he can be a starter. >> missouri home for him. it's been home for him. what a great feeling that must be to now be at the home team. >> it's a great story. three big stories this draft. johnny manziel, then michael sam. >> thank you so much. appreciate that. later on this hour, a former st. louis ram and a well-known sports agent both join me for the inside perspective on what life in the nfl just might be like for michael sam. that's coming up in about 20 minutes or so from now.
the worldwide bring back our girls campaign just got another high profile supporter. pope francis tweeted his four million followers a short time ago. he said, "let us all join in prayer for the immediate release of the schoolgirls kidnapped in nigeria, #bringbackourgirls." david cameron also joined the campaign today during a tv show. he and christiane amanpour held a sign together with the popular hash tag on it. cameron promised that britain will do what it can to help find the girls. officials say the terrorist group boko haram wielded guns and forced over 200 of those schoolgirls into seven cargo trucks last month. but one of those girls made a bold dash for it and escaped. now the girl is telling cnn a firsthand account of what happened that day.
in a cnn exclusive, we talked to her. nema made a dangerous journey to the town where the kidnapping took place. it took them on a four-day treacherous journey to get there. it started around the capital and traveled around 500 miles before making it to the town. it took four days to travel roughly 500 miles. she is the only journalist to reach that town where the kidnapping happened. she is joining me now with this exclusive interview. tell us more of what you went through to get there and what this young lady went through. >> reporter: i think especially since we were talking about pope fran circumstances i think it's really important when you hear about all these high-profile pledges of support and all this assistance, to really give you a sense of what it's like there.
one of those days that we lost on the road was because there continues to be a presence of boko haram militants along that road. there was actually an exchange of fire just the day before we got there between police and militants. this is still a very, very scary place for people who have already been through so much. this young lady who managed to jump off the truck after it was loaded with these almost 300 girls, she took that risk, she jumped, she said, for her life because she would rather face death than go off with them. even she was too afraid to show her face but she showed incredible bravely by agreeing to talk to us at all. take a listen to what she said, fredricka. by an absolute miracle some of those girls managed to escape on that horrifying night, but even for them, this nightmare isn't yet over. one of them has agreed to speak to us, but she's asked that we don't identify her in any way, that we don't give away her name, family house, anything
that could bring about what she fears the most, that the kidnappers could come back for her. >> he said, go into this car. >> reporter: what kind of cars? one or more? >> seven. >> reporter: seven lorries? >> yes. >> reporter: and this was at 10:00 at night? >> in the night. >> reporter: did that make you feel like they had come to get you, the girls? that's when you knew that they had come to kidnap you? >> yes. they say, okay, enter this lorri. i will drop down. >> reporter: that was really brave of you. >> would rather die than go. we run in the bush. >> reporter: you run in the
bush? and what happened then? >> we ran and we were gone. >> reporter: can you describe the men? what did they look like? were they wearing civilian clothing or military uniforms? what were they wearing? >> i don't understand. >> reporter: what was their dress? what were they wearing? >> i feel afraid. >> reporter: did they look like soldiers? you feel afraid. you don't want to talk about what they look like. it's okay. i understand. i'm sorry. one of the villages we spoke to described it almost like a shopping trip, thabo -- they took a huge risk because of that ever-present threat that the my
about t -- militants would come back. they want more pressure, more information to get out there. they want more to be done to bring home those girls. >> and nima, the night of that kidnapping, do people -- are they expressing that there was any warning that this terrorist group was coming? >> reporter: there is definitely a real sense there that this could have been stopped. a lot of the people we spoke to said that they had received warning phone calls from villages along the route that that convoy came along. because when you think about it, seven lorrys, some pickup trucks, motorcycles to round up any girls that tried to escape, that is quite a large movement of cars and people. how could it not have been seen? that's really also what's adding to that trauma, that sense of
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is. cleaning up after an apparent tornado last night. there's been no word on injuries. officials estimate about 80% of the town, which is east of kansas city, was affected. an entire silo, in fact, crumbled to the ground from the powerful winds. one woman actually said it looked like they got bombed. and then, guess what, more
severe weather on the way today. 60-mile-an-hour winds are expected from texas up to the great lakes region. let's check in with jennifer grey joining us now. this is a frightening prospect. >> yeah. it's a frightening setup. a lot of similar areas for today and even tomorrow. we do have a new watch in effect. including portions of iowa. we even have a tornado warning that just popped up in southern iowa. this cell right here, it's going to be affecting towns. russell and melrose. this is going to be in effect until 1:45 central time. if you were in the path of this storm, get into a small interior room, lowest level of your house. stay there until at least 1:45 or 2:00 central time, until the
threat is over. these are very powerful storms. very gusty winds. 60 to 70-mile-per-hour winds. a cloud-to-ground lightning. very, very dangerous scenario. on the complete flip side of all of this, we are talking about snow in the rockies. some of the higher elevations, up to two feet of snow with the combination of the very cold air mass and this very warm air mass coming in from the gulf of mexico. this is going to meet severe weather. we have that upper level energy. we have very cold air in place. that warm air. the combination of all of this with that area of low pressure. this is the area we were talking about, anywhere from the hill country of texas, including chicago. primary threat for the most hail. the largest tornados will be from des moines all the way to wichita, including kansas city. >> potentially scary stuff. stay tuned. thanks so much, jennifer. >> overseas now, the separatist
vote is under way in eastern ukraine. despite the ukrainian government and the u.s. calling the vote illegitimate. and cnn has spotted some people actually voting twice. so, what could happen after this vote? we'll talk about that next. my lenses have a sunset mode. and an early morning mode. and a partly sunny mode. and an outside to clear inside mode. new transitions® signature™ adaptive lenses are more responsive than ever. so why settle for a lens with just one mode. experience life well lit. upgrade your lenses to new transitions® signature™. visit your local visionworks today. to ask about our new transitions® signature™ lenses with chromea7™ technology. and start living a life well lit.
right now, people are voting in several cities in eastern ukraine on whether to declare independence from ukraine. the polls are close, the ballots are being counted in sloviansk, and in other cities, polls are set to close in the next hour. the election committee is claiming a high voter turnout, although many voters are registering at the polls. and look, a cnn crew saw several people voting twice by casting multiple ballots. also, there doesn't appear to be any system preventing people from voting at multiple polling stations. the u.s. and other western nations say the vote is illegitimate. russia is accused of aiding and organizing the separatists who are taking over government buildings in those cities. the separatists seemingly defy vladimir putin, who said the referendum should be delayed. joining me now from berlin is simon shuster.
he co-wrote the story for this week's edition focusing on vladimir putin's popularity and aspirations in ukraine. simon, let's talk about why these people want independence. what's really driving this vote? >> initially, i think it was driven to a large extent by frustration when the new government came to power in february in ukraine. via a revolution. it was driven to a great extent by russian propaganda that portrayed the new government as fascist. that rallied quite a bit of separatism in ukraine. from russia to help fight the separatist cause. it just turned into a cycle of anger, violence, and animosity between the people of east ukraine and the central government.
>> so if eastern ukraine votes, what may happen next? >> i don't think this vote could create anything like a new entity on the map of the world. it would give the separatist leaders some cause, some air of legitimacy as they try to pursue further political and military goals. right now, their only mandate at legitimacy has come from the barrel of a gun and their ability to seize buildings. now they've been able to point to some kind of vote saying that they are representing a majority. which is quite questionable. >> and you write putin's mission has been to restore russia's place in the "ranks of great powers" and that it's easier now than a decade ago. why? >> i think the system he's put in place in russia to western
leaders might worry about things like elections, things like popular support. i mean, he has very strong mandate and is very popular. but he can freely rule russia for the next ten years. there isn't that sort of cyclical change of leadership in russia. so he's thinking about the kind of legacy that would be closer to atar, taken in russian history rather than the kind of legacy of an american president with a four-year term in office can hope for. >> okay, simon shuster for "time" magazine, thank you so much. >> thank you. back in this country, the nfl draft made history last night. the st. louis rams picked up michael sam, making him the first openly gay player to be drafted. but he still has a long way to go. what he has to do now. i'll ask a sports agent and a former rams linebacker next.
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it was a historic moment for the sports world and the lgbt community. but for michael sam, the first openly gay nfl prospect, being drafted was a very emotional and personal moment. that's him on the phone there finding out that he has been selected by the st. louis rams. so he's a brand-new ram. but guess what, now he actually has to prove himself on the field. he's already getting a welcome from hall of fame ram eric dickerson. dickerson tweeted this. congrats to @mikesamfootball on becoming a st. louis ram. welcome to the rams family. i'm joined now by a sports agent, good to see both of you.
chris, let me begin with you. now the work begins because this is how little i know about football. i'm thinking you're drafted, you're in. wait a minute, no. he still has to make the team? what? >> absolutely. now he has to get on the field, and you have to play. his numbers were about could he get on the field and play? and now you have to show it. now he's found his team. he's there in st. louis. what he has to do, he has to prove that he can play in the nfl. >> tell me about all that took place before michael got that phone call. we envision the huddling taking place, the gms, the coaches. they're in the back rooms. these players don't necessarily get to see all of that. but what is the stuff they're talking about? what are they comparing notes on as to what leads them to the decision, i want this guy? >> it was a proud day for the nfl because he was judged, michael sam, as a football
player. he made a smart pivot after his big announcement. if he can rush the passer, he'll be well-accepted. they looked at his triangle figures. he's a little undersized and in between two positions. but he can rush the passer. and that day yesterday, draft time is not realtime. it's water torture time. tick, tick, tick. every second seems like an hour. i was at garrett gilbert's house, who was the pick before michael sam, in the sixth round by the rams. and he watched the time go by, and you know there's certain teams that are interested in a player. it's just a question of whether or not he'll be available when
their turn comes. the moment of being drafted is exultation. it's joy. it's something that young man's been pointing towards since he was 5 years old. >> yeah. >> so it's ecstatic. and kudos to the rams, because if you look at the statements that jeff fisher made, other players or front office, they were all about tolerance, acceptance. and i think that five years from now, we won't remember that there ever was a time when sexual orientation was a bar to playing. >> and chris, you see this as really transcending, going beyond the nfl, going beyond sports. but at the same time, as it pertains to the sport, to the game, michael sam, now the real work begins too with training. i mean, this still potentially could be a bit of a distraction, or do you think no, he's got his head in the right place, and given what he's been through, what could distract him? >> it can still be a distraction, but it doesn't have to be his fault.
it's just the fact that he is the first openly gay player in the nfl, that there's going to be cameras always around. when you look at st. louis, they really have a track record of being the first. they were the first to have an african-american on their team with kenny washington, the foirs have a female majority owner. so this kind of goes right in line with that.irst to have a female majority owner. so this kind of goes right in line with that. so even if there are the distractions, as long as he's committed to playing football, he's going to be all right. >> as a former ram yourself, what advice would you give him to be now in the ram family? and, you know, for him, it's kind of home turf advantage because he went to school, you know, at mizzou. but what advice would you give him? >> i would say absorb it. love it. i mean, love every moment. i mean, this is bigger than just -- this is your dream is here, enjoy it every day. there's going to be cameras around. but enjoy the moment. and remember what you came here for. you came to play football. >> awesome. lee, what would be your advice to him if he's listening? >> to do everything you can to
display a skill set. that will get him accepted. it's much more important for the larger transcendent gay community that he make the team and that he be accepted. so he's got to showcase his skills very early in training camp. the good thing is that we have a salary cap, which means that those players in lower rounds make it more because that's the way they balance the cap. superstars backed up by rookies. so he's got an excellent chance to make this team, and he's doing just the right thing. he's focusing on being one of the guys being productive, and he'll get to training camp this summer, which is an intense experience, but he's shown the maturity coming through what he came through from texas on, and he's already been accepted by
his missouri team. imagine there were 100-something players on that team, they all knew he was gay, no one said a word. >> right. >> and he was their leader. >> he has shown incredible poise throughout. that's for sure. thank you so much. appreciate it, gentlemen. overseas, the kidnapping of hundreds of nigerian schoolgirls. it's impacting so many people around the world. but for one of our very own corresponde correspondents, it hits very close to home. she tells me why next.
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their leader said he planned to sell the girls into slavery. that has many around the world outraged, including first lady michelle obama. this is what she had to say during her first solo weekly address. >> in these girls, barack and i see our own daughters. we see their hopes and their dreams. and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now. many of them may have been hesitant to send their daughters off to school, fearing that harm might come their way. but they took that risk because they believed in their daughters' promise and wanted to give them every opportunity to succeed. >> she also said that president barack obama has directed his administration to do everything possible to help the nigerian government. 26% of kidnappings worldwide actually take place in nigeria. but in this most recent incident, a startling report from amnesty international says the nigerian government had
received advance warning. it said nigerian military commanders knew the terror group was on its way to raid a boarding school at least four hours before the girls were actually taken. our very own correspondent zane asher told me what it was like for her and her family growing up there. >> we're from the southern part of nigeria, very far -- it's on the other side of the country from the north where boca haram has their stronghold.ko haram has their stronghold. my cousin, my uncle, rather was visiting nigeria from england, from ireland, from where he stays, and he was driving home to my grandparents' house and kidnappers basically came in through the compound behind him, they hit him over the head, and they took over the vehicle and drove five hours into the middle
of the night. now, fortunately, the only reason why my uncle managed to escape was because the car broke down. the kidnappers panicked, and they let him go. but kidnappings in nigeria are very common. >> thank goodness for that. so your uncle is okay. now, as it pertains to these boarding schools, particularly those for girls, and you speak of the security and how many people have many reasons to be worried about their security. do a lot of families grapple with the idea of sending their girls off to the boarding schools, or is there a feeling that they're going to be safe, they are going to be most safe at a boarding school? >> reporter: so here's the thing. one thing i want to make clear is that education and boko haram, they have their stronghold in the north eastern part of nigeria in borno state. a lot of the schools actually closed because there was so much fear. people actually decided well, is it worth me sending my child to have an education where she
could get killed by boko haram, or should i just keep her home? people in that part of the region, education for them is a situation of life and death. for that part of the country, one idea that i've heard people talk about is this idea of making sure that there are armed security guards at every boarding school in that part of nigeria, which, you know, i don't necessarily know how comfortable i feel with nigeria moving to those kinds of drastic measures. i think it would be much better for the government, the nigerian government, and through accepting help from the united states and the united kingdom, to really try and destroy this terrorist group boko haram. >> do you have a word about your own personal safety when you go home? >> yeah. i mean, absolutely. so as a nigerian who's grown up abroad and also in nigeria, i go back. when i go back, my mother gives me instructions, and those instructions are don't tell too many people you're coming back. don't let anybody know where you're staying. and when you do stay in a
particular hotel or with your family, don't stay in any one location for too long. because there's just this idea that if you're from the west and you're coming back to nigeria, that you are a target for kidnappers. it's just the reality. and, you know, it's one thing for me because i can come back to the united states, i can go back to england. but for the girls who have to live in that environment every single day, it's heartbreaking. my heart does go out to them. >> so this story hit you in a very personal way. >> oh, absolutely. as a woman, i was educated in nigeria, albeit briefly. i went to middle school there for a couple of years. part of the reason i've been able to be successful as a cnn correspondent is because of education. and for that part of the world, education really is freedom. that is all you have to be able to escape from that life of poverty, of corruption, of terrorism. and to think that those girls are having to grappling with this idea of education being a choice between life and death,
either i go to school where i could be killed, or i stay home and not get an education, but live to see another day. i mean, it is heartbreaking. especially as a nigerian who has benefited from education throughout my life. >> indeed. all right, zain asher, thanks so much. appreciate it. >> of course. >> and again, the group, amnesty international, claiming that the nigerian government had at least four hours notice that the terrorist group boko haram would be abducting these girls. coming up, i talk with a representative with amnesty international on information they received, and how that was received by the nigerian government. and we're also going to take a very big turn from there. coming up, it is the last week for this icon on regular television. barbara walters, the television icon, is ending her 50-year-plus career this week.
night live" last night poking a little fun at herself. this week, the television news icon says goodbye, retiring from her regular broadcasting duties. she shows her sense of humor, but just last month, she shared with cnn's a.j. hammer it's been a sometimes serious and always amazing journey. >> you know, i haven't really thought of what it's going to be like when i no longer have a schedule. i've always worked. i don't know what it's going to be like to get up and not have, you know, a list of things to do. but i look forward to it. it's been a long and exciting and sometimes difficult road. so it's time, it's time. >> so she has been breaking barriers and news for more than 50 years. let's bring in our candie crowley. barbara walters was the first female co-host for nbc's "today" show back in 1966. first woman to anchor a network evening news program. and then brought the panel genre
to television with "the view." her impact is huge. >> it is. it's not just that her impact is huge. it's that it's huge over a half a century. remarkable staying power. >> when you think about how the view has been copied and what an enormous success it has been, and that's in the latter part of her career, i mean, that's amazing. so yes, she absolutely broke down barriers. but she just continued to produce. she continued to work. >> it's admirable. it's incredible. so she left nbc, kind of reflecting now back in the '60s, she left to co-anchor abc evening news, and got a lot of heat for getting the higher salary at the time in network news. $1 million. he wasn't happy for that reason and there were other reasons, too. so while breaking barriers, did barbara also help level the
playing field? >> i mean, heaven forbid a woman should make more than a man. she did. absolutely, she did. because, you know, the first one's the hardest. of anything. but the fact is even she would tell you it's not level yet. but boy, she went a long way towards starting that process, and for herself, i think personally, she more than levelled the playing field. but i think she would say looking at the larger picture, it is still a struggle. it is still something that has to be corrected. but wow, she plowed that field. >> there still is that disparity for sure. so you were interviewed by her after you made history yourself. solo moderating one of the 2012 presidential debates. what did she say to you when you appeared on "the view" with her? >> you know, it's a little bit of a blur, but they asked me about interrupting or responding to something mitt romney had said about benghazi, etc., etc.
but at one point -- and honestly i can't remember if it was on the air or whether she said it to me after it was over, but she looked at me and said, i thought you did a great job. and i mean, come on. if barbara walters tells you that, you go okay, i'll take that. >> something about getting the endorsement from barbara walters. >> exactly. it doesn't hurt. >> right. and is it interesting that she would be retiring the same time roughly that monica lewinsky's tell-all is out in "vanity fair," and recall that it was her interview, barbara walters' interview with lewinsky, 70 million people watched back in 1999. she also, barbara, you know changed the art of interviewing. not just with that interview, but there were so many examples in which she did make an imprint. >> i was thinking about this, that if i -- if someone handed me three different interviews on paper and i read them, i'd bet i could i.d. the barbara walters
interview. an interview was an interview and she found a point of interest and she got news out of them. so i think she broadened the interview and she just created her own style. >> yeah. well, we all celebrate barbara walters and bid her adieu, even though we know we'll see her again in different forums even after her last day on "the view" on friday. candy crowley, thanks so much. and happy mother's day! >> and happy mother's day back at you. thanks, fred. >> thank you. and we're going to talk again about barbara walters. a close friend and also a former co-host of the "today" show deborah norville will be joining us to talk about her special friendship with barbara walters.