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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  December 17, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EST

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iraq war hero. fulfilling a college dream, a college graduate. you'll remember the early days of the war she was taken prisoner and rescued in a daring u.s. raid. she got her batch lesh's degree and, fredricka, she wants to be a teacher. >> so fantastic. >> so long ago. still looks the same for the most part. remember those days. look at her there. >> what a symbol of courage. what a life lesson she'll be importing on her students. so future student body is so lucky to have her. she truly is a public servant. she has served her country and now she'll be serving so many communities. that really speaks to her heart, who she is. >> jessica lynch, following her
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dream as you are. you're going to continue to follow your dream. you'll be watching. this has been so super great working alongside you all these years. >> you know i love you. >> we'll all cross paths again. that's why i'm not saying good-bye. >> i'll call you later. >> so long. i'll tweet you. >> i'll never hear from you. >> just kidding. we'll be in contact. but everyone will continue to follow you and watch your career and grow and we'll all be rooting you on. >> thank you, fredricka. >> you're the best, t.j. >> you want me to stay? >> you want to stick around a little longer. >> i'm going to -- >> he's making a quick exit. thanks so much, t.j. all right. we've got a lot of big developments taking place today especially on capitol hill. the u.s. senate has given final congressional approval to a spending bill that will keep the government operating through september. it also voted to extend the payroll tax cut but just for two months.
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president obama is scheduled to speak in a half an hour. kate bolduan standing by on capitol hill. start with the spending bill. after so much partisan bickering, it finally passed but it wasn't easy. >> i'll tell you, this spending bill, it's a massive spending bill, fredricka. i think it was over 1,000 pages when this report came out. it got caught up, negotiated for months, caught up in the past couple weeks in this really intense battle and standoff involving the payroll tax cut. yesterday the house moved to pass the spending bill, fund operations through september as well as avoid a government shutdown, which everyone said was threatened yesterday. today the senate also did the same. they passed the bill pretty easily and pretty quickly in a vote this morning. so the next stop it will head to the president's desk. >> the payroll tax cut. they were talking about a
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two-month extension. why did that slip to two months? >> it slipped to two months, quite frankly, because the congressional leaders could not agree on the more comprehensive deal they will been working out. they could not bridge the divide. they had been working and negotiating intensely trying to extend the payroll tax cut and extend unemployment insurance for a year. they couldn't bridge the divide. they said this the best we could get in order to make sure the payroll tax cut does not expire. they are kicking the can down the road, punting to the new year. they will have a two-month extension. i'll say passed in the senate this morning but still needs to go back and pass in the house. it's unclear where support stand there. house republicans leading upon morning, not excited about a short-term extension. still some questions about where support stands in the house. we need to learn a little more about that, fredricka. >> thanks so much. we'll check back with you. again, in a half hour president
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barack obama will take to the microphones, airwaves and we'll take his comments as well. meantime iowa's largest newspaper, des moines register set to endorse a republican presidential candidate later on today. it will come one day after one of those candidates, mitt romney, picked up the endorsement of south carolina governor nikki haley. turn to cnn political reporter shannon travis in des moines. any idea who will get the paper's endorsement? any leaks? >> reporter: no idea. it's a big guessing game. i can tell you this much for sure, fred. everybody wants it. all the republican candidates want that bragging right to say this influential newspaper, des moines register, has endorsed them. it could tip the scales for a lot of undecided voters. we know from the polls a lot of people in iowa ahead of the caucuses are still not quite clear who they want to actually support in the republican race. as you mentioned, it will be announced later on tonight around 8:00 p.m. eastern we'll
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be watching. just to tell you it's not necessarily a measure of success. whoever wins the endorsement will win. a few factoids for you, only three candidates have gone on -- that the papers have endorsed have gone on to win the caucuses, bob dole in '88, bob dole again, george bush in 2000. only three have gone on to win the nomination. only one they endorsed won the white house, that would be george w. bush in 2000. the latest iowa poll showing gingrich still in the lead. the race seems to be narrowing. perhaps his lead isn't as great as it once was. what's going on? >> emphasis on narrowing and fluctuating. you might add that, too. new american research shows newt gingrich 22%, romney 17, ron
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paul 17, texas governor rick perry at 13, michele bachmann at 7 and rick santorum at 7 for iowa. again, newt gingrich is on top. previously romney was on top. so these polls are fluctuating. will newt gingrich be able to maintain the lead ahead of the caucuses? we'll have to wait and see. fred. >> shannon travis in des moines, we'll check back with you. you want to join us sunday afternoon when we dedicate an hour to the presidential contenders in the 2012 election. the occupy wall street movement is three-month-old today. it has spread far beyond a small park in lower manhattan. take a look right now. live pictures in new york. more evidence that the movement has not lost any steam. in fact, a lot of the organizers say it's picking up steam one more time. it started as a protest against the wealthy focusing on it calls a culture of wall street greed and the growing split between rich and poor.
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the critics say it really has no clear message having morphed into everything from a fight for job to anger over rising college tuition. again, people are reassembling in lower manhattan today. all right. more than 400 people are dead after tropical storm slammed into the philippines. many more missing. there are reports an entire village was swept away. government officials believe 100,000 people displaced. reporter maria ressa has more on the difficulties of dealing with this storm. >> the thing that was difficult in this situation, it was the tropical storm dumped heavy rain. it was actually the effect of the rain that caused the greatest damage and the casualties. the government said it warned residents to evacuate but most didn't because these areas have not been traditionally hit by flash floods and landslides. so what's next right now, you see officials trying to deal with unexpected problems that
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they are not necessarily prepared for. part of the reason we're seeing conflicting death toll counts. there are at least 20,000 people in evacuation centers around the port city. then you have others. really, the main problem of the people hit by this is drinking water, food, water, and clothes, dry clothes. so the government is continuing to ask for volunteers to help deal with the impact for the residents in those areas. >> and an emotional story of a veteran's biggest battle. >> there was a lot of partying going on, a lot of drugs were going on. >> as thousands of troops get ready to come home, a big effort to help them cope with life after war. plus the flag of command has been taken down in iraq. now all that's left is for the remaining americans to come home. welcome to idaho,
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the last american troops will be leaving iraq soon. u.s. troops lowered the flag of command that flew over baghdad this week in a military ceremony. it marked the end of the controversial u.s. military mission that lasted nearly a decade. coming up in the bottom of the hour, we'll go live to baghdad as u.s. military prepares to pull out completely. whether it's anger issues, drugs
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or posttraumatic stress syndrome, some returning u.s. troops and even older veterans get into trouble with the law. the veterans treatment court is offering them an alternative to jail. randi kaye goes in-depth with one man's journey as he turns his life around and gets a second chance. >> reporter: when you think about american troops coming back home after fighting overseas, you probably have this picture in your head, not this. >> this court is now in session. >> reporter: american veterans in court, arrested on any number of charges. that's exactly what happened to this man, manny welch. >> i come from a very good family. my father gave me the choice. he said, you either go to college, get a job, or you go to the service. so i took the naval exam and
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went to the navy. >> welch was stationed in alameda, california. he worked aboard "uss coral sea" aircraft carrier right after the vietnam ended. >> we were sort of in the peace time, so there was a lot of partying going on, a lot of celebrating going on, a lot of drugs were going on. >> reporter: after the service, welch's addiction took over. >> i was addicted to cocaine, marijuana, alcohol. they talk about drugs of choice. whatever was available, i used. >> reporter: he was arrested more times than he can remember. it robbed him of everything, his family, his kids, his job, his home, his dignity. >> october 25th, 2008, when i was rearrested in amherst, that was my darkest day, because i
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was at the end of the line. i was tired of being sick and tired. >> after 30 years of drug and jail time. >> hello, sir. >> how are you doing, your honor? >> reporter: he made his way into robert russell's veterans treatment court, the first of its kind in the nation and the model for dozens of others. it helps veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, brain trauma and chemical dependency. >> what judge russell seen were veterans coming through his court like manny and decided with his coordinator that maybe we could schedule a day and call it veterans day. that's exactly how it started. >> reporter: jack o'connor is manny welch's treatment court mentor. >> the motto about leave no veteran behind. they wouldn't leave me behind. they wouldn't give up on me. they kept me in there. i'm proud to be around jack. jack has done a lot for me. he's done a lot for me.
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he's my friend today, my buddy. >> how is the job going here? >> the job is going good. >> reporter: o'connor is now a vietnam vet who helps veterans now in trouble with the law reclaim their lives. >> a few weeks ago we had a situation where a mentor actually, a vet lost his job and lost his house, a series of tragedies. in one day two mentors -- actually very proud of this. one actually got him an apartment and the other one hired him. so in one day that person's life was changed. those mentors don't want their names mentioned, and i'll honor that. they just do it. >> reporter: following his latest arrest three years ago, welch was sent to rehab instead of to jail, reunited with his family. he got a job with the veterans administration, became a mentor himself in the veterans treatment court and is now about to graduate from college. >> i am responsible, you know,
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productive member of society today. >> reporter: his message to other veterans in need of help. >> if i can do this, they can do this, because over 30 years of using in my life, if not more, you know, i found a way out. >> reporter: randi kaye, cnn, atlanta. a war of words is raging in a small new jersey town. it's a word tied to the holiday season. some people don't want to see it hanging over their town. it's the christ in christmas argument after this. in america, we believe in a future
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not a coincidence that mitt romney camp is pushing family values since the rise of rival newt gingrich. smart is the new rich. this is the time of year when the temptation to overspend is highest because, of course, the holidays. credit card bills will come calling. here now is christine romans with tips to keep your season bright and debt-free. >> reporter: the worst present you can give yourself for the holidays is more debt. are you listening congress? don't buy into that hype. no hot sale, impulse buy 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 can pay in full when the bill arrived. worst case scenario, plan to pay it out no longer than three months. >> track your spending. the national foundation surveyed
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shoppers and found 66% had no idea where they spent their money bit end of the money. >> we work very hard for our money and spend it casually. you will never know where the leaks are until you write down every cent you spend for 30 days. seeing your spending stare back at you is a wakeup call. >> credit card debt is unfor gig even with new protections. aim to bay it off. the best boost is paying off big amounts of debt and paying off every time with a card after that. did you know a missed credit card payment stays on your credit history for seven years? finally make it your resolution to get out of debt and stay out of debt in 2012. >> print out your credit report to see how much you owe. organize your debts in terms of smallest on the bottom to largest on the top. start calling your creditors to maximize and reduce the interest rate. going into 2012, this is one of the best things we can do to organize our own financial
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futures and get that peace of mind. >> christine romans, cnn, new york. all right. the penn state child sex abuse case widens. the prosecution's star witness testifies against jerry sandusky and we learned two more former colleagues of sandusky will stand trial. our legal guys are next.
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all right. the chicago bears have dropped wide receiver sam hurd. this follows his arrest wednesday on federal charges of conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine. investigators say hurd was trying to set up a drug distribution network in chicago. he is free on a $100,000 cash
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bond. in georgia county school district suspends all high school band activities. no band practice, no halftime perform answers, nothing. school officials say it's connected to the beating death of a florida a&m drum major. his death has been ruled a homicide. let's bring in our legal guys to talk more about famu investigation. avery friedman and richard herman joining us. this is heartbreaking for the family of robert champion, the drum major. it's ruled a homicide. how is this going to redirect this investigation? richard, you first. >> it's horrible, fred. they are going to unturn every stone to look into the hazing activities that have been going on at this university. frankly hazing activity that goes on at universities all over the country. not only universities but high schools as well. every now and then we see a
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fatality, everybody gets in an uproar. they rant and rave how hazing must end. it dies down for a while. an incident like this comes to fruition. it's horrible. this death was unnecessary. the band may be taken away from this university for a while. i think that's what's going to happen. >> also at issue here is a pattern. avery, investigators are looking at other allegations of hazing incidents on tamp us. this death is being linked to an alleged hazing on campus. how are investigators going to look at how far was this common knowledge of such an alleged hazing on campus, violent or otherwise. >> well, let me tell you something, fredricka, this process of hazing, which is nothing more than assault and battery has been going on for 65 years. >> longer. >> at florida a&m it appears officials have been looking the other way. the bottom line is it will
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require an intensive effort to look into it. the president has fired the band director, the board brought him back. >> now even president ammons is under fire. the florida governor is trying to issue some pressure saying he needs to be suspended. the question, too, is how far up does this knowledge go. >> well, i think it goes all the way to the top of the fact is a&m counts on the marching 100 to generate lots of money, appearance fees alone, $300,000, probably eight figures. the battle will be how do you preserve the marching 100, which really identifies the university and get to the issue of how do you stop hazing. that's going to be a very, very difficult thing to do. >> so richard, this is a long tradition. the marching band, that is. now there are allegation there has been a very tradition stretching decades of hazing as
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well. will the university find itself in the middle of being held culpable? can the university legitimately defend they did not know about this. the people in the music department may have known about it. perhaps not the president's office or anyone else. >> fred, they can try to defend along those grounds. the more people that are interviewed and the more people that come clean and those who want to avoid being prosecuted themselves will just give it to everyone. they will lay it out, say it's perverse. everyone knew it. it was a rite of passage to be in this esteemed band, just like it is in fraternities all over the country of it's a rite of passage. i think in this investigation, heads are going to roll. when have you a death, it's horrible. it's tragic.
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more civil suits will rise out of this. it's a mess at famu. >> let's move onto penn state and the investigation. preliminary hearing, one that didn't take place. one that did take place involving faculty members curley and schultz. they say, yes, there's enough to go forward with trial. what stunned people earlier in the week it appears jerry sandusky's attorney made a smart moving delaying proceedings. that preliminary hearing was suspended. this has been an incredible week in this investigation. >> it's been a procedural week, fred. i think that's what it is, a procedural week. i think sandusky's attorney was afraid based on all the testimony coming in in the preliminary hearing that had those people got on the stand the judge on his own or motion
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of the prosecution would increase the bail, make it so high he couldn't afford it, would be incarcerated. if he gets convicted on these cases, he's going to stay in jail his whole life. >> that's right. >> his attorney made a strategic decision not to potentially put him in prison for the rest of his life. let him stay out and participate. i think it was a wrong decision. you get so much out of a preliminary hearing as a defense attorney. >> i think it's important to make the distinction between diswrerry sandusky who is charged with 52 sex crimes and what went on in harrisburg involving tim curley and gary schultz, the athletic director and vice president. >> who knew and didn't do anything. >> i'm stunned at the confusion about this, even misreporting and commentary. not elements of sex crimes but rather mike mcqueary's testimony
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about what he told them. that's the issue in this case. >> let's talk about that. that does potentially underscore there was knowledge. there was knowledge of enough details in which to do something more but not enough was. mike mcqueary testifying he saw severe, extreme sexual acts taking place on a boy in a locker room 2002, that he did report it. he testified he did go to paterno. he may not have given details but it was enough, in his view, to take it further, for someone on campus to take it further and it wasn't. >> yeah. you nailed the issue. >> did he recuse himself -- did he relieve himself of that responsibility that he did, indeed, report it? was that convincing, his testimony? >> two hours of testimony, i thought it was absolutely what he was supposed to be doing. again, he doesn't have to testify about the details. he has to testify about whether he reported it to the authority.
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the senior vice president oversaw the chief of police, fredricka. that's sufficient. he met his duty. these guys say it never happened. that's why there's been doubt over it. >> the individuals, the victims were not students of penn state. mcqueary's only obligation was to report it to his superior. that was his legal obligation to report it to his superior, which he did. >> we're going to talk about that case more because it's far from over. thanks so much, gentlemen. we'll have you back in an hour or so to talk about a story some believe it is outrageous. a white only sign at a swimming pool. it's reecal. the woman who hung it there is defending her decision to do so. we'll delve into that after this.
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straight to the white house, president barack obama. >> in the last few weeks i set out a simple principle. congress should not go home for vacation until it finds a way to avoid hitting 160 million americans with a tax hike on january 1st.
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extending the payroll tax cut that shows up in people's paycheck every week is an idea i have, working harder and harder, the average family would get from this tax cut makes a difference when you're trying to buy groceries or pay the bills, make a mortgage or make a repair. all kinds of independent economists agree the number one challenge facing business right now is the lack of demand from consumers, which is why more people spending money means companies more successful and more able to hire more workers. today congress agreed to extend the middle class tax cut into next year and another part of my jobs plan, extending unemployment insurance to millions of americans out there trying as hard as they can to find a job.
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this is spending money that also benefits families and businesses and the entire economy and it's a life line that would have been lost for more than 2.5 million people next year if congress had not acted. so i'm very pleased to see the work the senate had done. while this agreement is for two months, it is my expectation, in fact, inexcusable for congress not to further extend this tax cut for the rest of the year. it should be a formality. hopefully it's done with as little drama as possible when they get back in january. this really isn't hard. there's plenty of ways to pay for these proposals. this is a way to boost the economy that has been supported by these very same democrats and republicans in the past. it is something that economists
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believe will assure that the economy and recovery is on a more stable footing than it otherwise would be. my preference, and the preference of most americans, is we asked the wealthiest few americans to pay their fair share and corporations to do without special taxpayer subsidies to cover the cost. but i think it's important for us to get it done. we've got a lot more work to do for the people who sent us here. today i'm glad both parties in congress came together. i want to thank them for ensuring that as we head into the holidays folks at home don't have to worry about taxes going up. i have a chance to talk to senator reed and senator mcconnell. i thank them for their cooperation on this issue. i'm looking forward to the house moving forward and getting this done when they get back on monday. hopefully we're going to be able to make sure when everybody gets back next year we extend this
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further all the way to the end of the year. thank you very much, everybody. >> all right. president obama there offering some assurances. he's glad of the job that's been done thus far in capitol hill. senate voting on government spending and on the payroll tax cut. senate giving final congressional approval to a bill that will fund the government through september. so no more threats of the government shutdown at least as it pertains to this weekend. instead now some of that funding to get the government going through september. also voting in favor of extending the payroll tax cut through february. of course you heard from the president there, he's also hoping when the house gets back to business on monday they will do exactly what the u.s. senate did as well. our athena jones is there at the white house. let's go straight to you, athena. the president offering some real assurances there. he's glad the u.s. congress has gotten down to business there. it's not over yet, is it? >> no, it's not over. the white house has been pushing
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for this as a key provision of the president's jobs bill. they have been pushing to make sure 160 million americans don't see taxes go up in january. on some levels that's a victory. it's just a two-month extension. it kind of kicks the can down the road. they will have to return to this in a couple months. the president expressed his confidence this is going to be passed by the congress next year. it must be done, not hard to do. it's something we should agree on. he's coming out trying to declare a little bit of a victory. he didn't mention keystone pipeline, didn't answer any questions. he's also keeping the pressure on saying he's confident when the house comes in on monday they will pass this bill the senate passed, he'll be able to sign it. americans starting the first of the year will get an average $1,000 extra in their pay next year. >> athena jones, thanks so much from the white house. american soldiers coming home from iraq. we'll take you live to baghdad as the final troops prepare to
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just in time for the holidays, the final american military units will soon leave iraq after nearly a decade old war. joining us live from baghdad, arwa damon. how is america holding up in the middle of the troop pullout. >> reporter: it's quite disturbing the iraqi government seems to be coming apart at the seams before the last soldier departed iraqi soil. today the biggest bloc in parliament headed by former
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prime minister declared it was suspending its membership because they say nouri al maliki has no intention of implementing the power sharing agreement that allowed the formation of the government. the agreement being between the them. a few days ago the deputy prime minister, also part of iraqia said he believed nouri al maliki was a dictator. he said al maliki was playing a game with the u.s. and one day the u.s. would grow to realize this and regret their decision. not a lot of good indications there, fredricka. >> tell me about a mishap or something that involved a cnn photographer who was beaten in an iraqi square yesterday. >> fredricka, you know, one of the main cornerstones of democracy is freedom of speech. our iraqi camera man went down to the square to film anti-government demonstrations. after they ended, he was dragged down an alley way by pistol
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wielding pro government thugs who beat him up, took his camera away. what makes this even more disturbing, this happened in plain sight of the iraqi army. in fact, our camera man went to speak to one of the officer afterwards and he refused to help him out, turned around and walked away. added to that this camera man cannot speak out himself because of his own security concerns. he's afraid because being part of a western network can be a death sentence eniraq. he's afraid of iraqi repercussions. this is not isolated. they have been cataloging this not just against media but bloggers and activists, anyone speaking out since the anti-government demonstrations in february. that's just one example of what iraquis have to deal with that the nation of america is in the process of leaving behind. >> i know throughout the day you'll be keeping us posted on the troop withdrawal in iraq as many make their way back to u.s.
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soil. back on u.s. soil now a disney star, she has a stalker. the man charged with stalking selena gomez now says there's only one thing that will keep him away from her. we'll get into that with our legal guys next.
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a town in new jersey is divided on religious lines. the controversy over a banner hanging over a downtown street. avery friedman, richard herman, guys, we're talking about what some say is a well intentioned tradition where the sign has keep christ in christmas.
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but richard some say this is a violation between church and state. do they have a right. >> don't we see this every year at this time. people are celebrating. they are happy. >> in some form. >> they are happy, in the spirit. the true spirit and meaning is up. then you have these side groups that try to attack it and bring it down. is it a violation? potentially, theoretically it could be a violation if the police force and fire department -- if the police and fire department were used to hang this banner, perhaps it could be. i'm understanding it's on private property, has nothing to do with the borough or town. therefore i don't think it's going anywhere. >> avery, who is going to win this battle, avery? >> who is going to win is pittman, new jersey, hung up by knights of columbus, group on private practice, nothing to do
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with the clause. permissible. if an anti-religious group wants to put up a sign, they can do it, too. end of story, case is over. >> on to cincinnati, this is about a sign on a public swimming pool that says whites only. the owner says she put it there because she collects antiques and thought it was an interesting item. some say something is wrong with that. a battle of freedom of speech and civil rights. this particularly targeted a little girl, avery, who was black. apparently somebody at the school said her hair makes the water cloudy and that's why this pool should be white only? >> that's james hines, the landlord, threw her out. had the sign up. then she said i need to stand up for my white rights. is she on the way to a klan rally. she's a landlord, subject to fair housing act that's been the
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law of america for 43 years, fredricka. she's in a world of trouble. my white rights. they are american rights not black or white rights. she's in a lot of trouble for violating fair housing law. >> if avery from the great state of ohio says it's a violation of the fair housing in the ohio civil rights act i'm bowing saying he's absolutely right of he's the master of that. he's absolutely right 100%. >> i knew you were going to see that one eye to eye. >> that was an easy one. >> i know. now let's move onto selena gomez, the disney star. she's had a stalker for quite sometime. thom this guy is saying i do have a problem. i need a restraining order. that's the only way i'll be able to stay away from selena gomez. richard, this isn't usually the way it goes. >> i think he needs the boot.
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that's what he needs, fred. where do you draw the line on these crackpots cases. is this guy simply a flake job or do we take him serious? this is what we have to wrestle w does he have the ability to carry out threats? we don't know. the judge will make the decision. what is a restraining order? it's a piece of paper. if you had a penny for every violation on those pieces of paper, you'd be wealthie than you already are. >> what's that mean? >> i don't know. let's move on. talk about selena gomez here. i wonder, avery if someone says i have a problem with selena gomez, i can't stay away, maybe the court should shay restraining order isn't enough. should this person be put in a place where they physically can't get to this individual. jail, house arrest. >> well, he's already told the lapd he's had 50 conversations
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with god a day about killing selena gomez. that's kind of a lot of evidence for a court to grant the appropriate permanent injunctive relief. at the same time it's very clear there's something wrong with him. you've got to refer this guy on for mental health issues. refer him, get him help, write the restraining order of keep him out of selena's life. no doubt about it. >> something else. gentlemen, good to see you. happy holidays. >> merry christmas to you. we're not going to see you next week. >> i know. >> we'll miss you. we went through all the tissues in the studio with you an t.j. >> i know. >> sad. >> i'm thrilled for him. i know you guys are, too. >> he'll be great. >> he's a superstar, super great guy. we wish him the best but it is a little sad.
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the last time on the air. >> we'll see you guys later, much later in another weekend. >> happy holidays. >> happy holidays and happy new year because that's about the time i'll see you next. thanks so much, gentlemen. you do want to stick around to hear this. we had talked in the past about barry bonds and all he was dealing with in court. now case closed for the retired baseball great. a federal court in san francisco yesterday sentenced bonds to two years probation and 30 days house arrest. he also received a $4,000 fine. bonds was charged with obstruction of justice and a grand jury's inquiry into illegal steroid use by pro athletes. a campaign battle between newt gingrich and mitt romney has become a family affair. joe johns will be along to tell you why after this. i'm good about washing my face.
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to politics now. newt gingrich rising in the polls, the mitt romney camp release add secret weapon, the wife, ann romney. joe johns explains why we will see even more of the gop candidates' wives overall on the campaign trail. >> reporter: what usually doesn't work very well in a presidential campaign is for some guy to interrupt an event and start shouting embarrassing questions about the candidate's personal life.
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>> seems like you're cheating on your wife. >> how would you know, other than -- other than -- other than personal hostility. >> it's the velvet glove approach that's harder to deal with. for example, the wife of contender mitt romney in a living room in iowa with a few dozen supporters. >> i look back and think of how my has been the kind of guy you can count on. that's the personal side of him that people don't know pout. >> how long has mitt romney been married to the same woman? by the time it's over you might eventually have it memorized. >> i've been married to the same woman for 25 -- excuse me, i'll get in trouble, 42 years. >> reporter: presidential candidates like to think of wives as secret weapons. her appearance for values voters, women voters and voters for him trust is a big issue. >> strong family values. that's what matters to him. that's where his world is.
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>> reporter: contrasting romney with gingrich who has had a much more complicated personal life. >> putting ann romney out there to highly the couple's 42-year marriage and children and romney as a family man as opposed to newt gingrich right now on his third marriage. >> not only married three times but he's committed adultery, asked god for forgiveness, converted to catholicism, the faith of his wife callista. she's on the campaign trail but not heard as much. >> newt and are i determined to run a positive solution-based campaign. >> republican political veteran mary matlin says some voters might want to know more about the gingrich personal story. but for many it's news that's a decade old. >> people have discounted, they knew about newt's marriage history and discarded that as a concern about him. >> for her part ann romney is not trying to compare and contrast her husband's personal
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life with newt gingrich. campaign insiders have said they think the former leaders past personal life is one of his liabilities. joe johns, cnn, washington. a pro football player facing federal charges. now his tenure with the chicago bears cut short. what landed him in trouble next.
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a look at our top stories,
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president barack obama says he's very pleased with this morning's senate vote extending unemployment assistance and extending payroll tax cut through february. he spoke at the white house just a few minutes ago. mr. obama urged the house to follow the senate's lead. he also urged congress to pass a full year extension of the payroll tax cut after it returns from its holiday recess. a savage tropical storm has killed at least 436 people in the philippines and more than 150 people are still missing. five of the deaths caused by a landslide. most of the victims killed by flash flooding. there are reports one entire village was swept away. the government estimates 100,000 people have been displaced from their homes. bears dropped wide receiver sam hurd after charges of conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine. investigators say hurd was rig to set up a drug distribution


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