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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Woman Gets 20 Years For Warning Shot; Mayes' Wife Charged With Murder; Travolta Accused In Groping Case; Weekend Weather; Birds Dead In Chile and Peru; Same-Sex Marriage Timeline; CNN Hero Wanda Butts; Romney's Bullying Issue; Manhunt Ends in Death
Aired May 12, 2012 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is WEEKEND EARLY START.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNY MAYES, BROTHER OF ADAM MAYES: Anyone that was directly involved with Adam pretty much lived in fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: That the brother from Adam Mayes, the man blamed for kidnapping two girls and killing their mother and sister, who is now dead. New details in the shocking conclusion to a massive manhunt.
And, today, we put same-sex marriage in focus. What President Obama's new stance on the issue means for his campaign and how the issue has evolved in the national conscience.
And then there's this. Service dogs helping veterans back from war. We have the dogs and their people live on set.
It is Saturday, May 12th. Good morning, everyone. Glad you're with us. I'm Randi Kaye.
We start with new developments in several high profile legal stories that have captured the nation's attention this week.
Three more people have been taken into custody for allegedly helping Adam Mayes evade police. Mayes killed himself in the woods near Alpine, Mississippi, earlier this week, as soon as police closed in on him. Next to him at the time were the two sisters he kidnapped after killing their mother and their older sister. Authorities say the girls are still shaken. Here's Mayes' brother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNY MAYES, BROTHER OF ADAM MAYES: We don't even plan on claiming the body. I mean that's just -- that's just how we feel. Anyone that was directly involved with Adam pretty much lived in fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Mayes' wife has been charged with two count of murder in the case.
Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law faces life without parole now after a Chicago jury found him guilty on three counts of first degree murder. William Balfour killed Hudson's mother, brother and seven- year-old nephew. Jennifer Hudson was the first of more than 80 witnesses to take the stand for the prosecution.
The former police officer convicted of shooting an unarmed man at a train station in the San Francisco Bay area was back in court this week. Johannes Mehserle is asking to have his conviction overturned. He served a year in prison for killing Oscar Grant. Cell phone video showed him shooting Grant, who was unarmed, in the back. The incident lead to violent protests in the Bay area. Grant's family is upset that they didn't know about the hearing this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY JOHNSON, OSCAR GRANT'S UNCLE: We're angered, we're hurt, and we're here to express that we felt that we were denied our right to be at this hearing.
JACK BRYSON, SONS WERE FRIENDS OF OSCAR GRANT: The community, the family, the friends of Oscar Grant, Johannes Mehserle, we are not going nowhere. We are not going nowhere. We will follow you wherever you go. We will make your life miserable, just like you made Wanda's life miserable, like you made Bobby's, like you made the community miserable. We will follow you and we will make sure that you will never enjoy life again like you're trying to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Grant's family says Mehserle went to court because he wants to get his job back with the transit police.
A Florida woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a gun into the air. Marissa Alexander's defense was Florida's Stand Your Ground Law, but a judge ruled that the law didn't apply in the case of Alexander firing a gun into the air to supposedly scare off her abusive husband. There were two kids in the house at the time, that led to three charges of aggravated assault. Prosecutors were blasted for being overzealous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jacksonville is my home. I have lived here all of my life. And clearly it was no justice in this courtroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And let me just tell you. I just found out about it. And this is the beginning, not the end.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the beginning. Clearly there is institutional racism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no way she was overcharged by the prosecutor, period.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Overcharged. She never should have been charged.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: The jury convicted Alexander after only 12 minutes of deliberations.
So let's bring in Holly Hughes, a defense attorney and former prosecutor here in Atlanta.
Twenty years for firing a shot, a warning shot. What is your reaction to that?
HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it's crazy. And here's the problem. When you have what we call mandatory minimum sentencing, the judge's hands get tied because the law says, you know, if you use this equation, there's this many victims or this much, you know, criminal activity going on, they are stuck within those boundaries. So the lady that we just saw, that clip we watched where she said she was overcharged, that's exactly right, because once a jury convicts you on aggravated assault, and that can be -- that doesn't even have to necessarily be pointing it at the children, it's just firing in the direction of them. So this is a woman --
HUGHES: It -- it's --
KAYE: Twenty years. She never even hit -- I mean the bullet didn't hit anybody.
HUGHES: Right. And she wasn't trying to, Randi.
HUGHES: And that's the really sad part. Because when we talk about the law, we talk about what's your intent. You have to have two things to commit a crime. You have to do the act and you have to intend to do the act. And here all she wanted to do was get her abusive husband away from her. So we see another domestic violence situation which has gone completely out of control and sadly the victim in this particular case is the one who's going to be behind bars now.
KAYE: Yes. We're glad you're with us this morning because we're talking about all these different legal stories. I want to get your take on the Adam Mayes case.
HUGHES: Yes. KAYE: His wife and his mother both charged.
KAYE: This is the guy who took these girls, killed his -- killed their mother and their oldest sister. Will this go to trial? I mean he is dead, but the wife is charged. And, if it does, will these little girls, eight and 12, have to testify?
HUGHES: They will have to testify if it goes to trial, Randi, because they're old enough. When we talk about child witnesses, what you want to know is, are they competent? And so the judge will make an inquiry ahead of time. You know, can they understand the difference between the truth and a lie. And basically that's something that they'll find out from the children by questioning them ahead of time. You know, is it right or what's a lie. It's if you make up a story. That kind of thing.
I don't foresee it going all the way to trial, though. I think these women will probably work out a plea deal somewhere along the way. We know because the wife, Teresa, she has flat out confessed.
HUGHES: I mean she said, this is what I did, this is what I saw him do, this is how I was involved. I'm curious about his mother, though. His mother Mary. We might see her push it to trial because we don't know how she even got implicated. And I'm wondering if Teresa's statements kind of put mama in the soup and say, yes, she was there or she was aware of it or helped him, or something like that. So she might fight it all the way. I think Teresa's counsel is probably going to say to her, look, let's get you the best deal we can.
KAYE: I also want to ask you about the case that, of course, has Hollywood buzzing. This is the case of John Travolta allegedly making sexual advances, including groping.
KAYE: Two unidentified men have come out saying that these kinds of things happened. How does he defend himself, a big celebrity like this, against -- really this is a he said/she said sort of case.
HUGHES: Well, that's exactly what it is. And so what you're going to try and do at this point is either one of two things. You're going to minimize the damage by saying, let's settle, let's make it go away. Or, if you're totally innocent, you're going to stand on principle and say, no, you're basically trying to extort money from me through the legal system and so therefore I am going to push it all the way to trial. I do want you to have to get on the stand, and even though sexual abuse victims aren't identified, they're still going to have to testify in a court of law, even if it's a closed courtroom. So it's a matter of how far do you want to push this. And, you know, John Travolta's got a family, too, Randi. So, you know, does he want to subject them to that? I think it's going to be a team decision. He's going to sit down with his wife and say, what are we going to do? KAYE: Yes.
HUGHES: Because, again, how much later do we hear these allegations made? Did that person go running from the room screaming, like we've seen with a lot of victims?
KAYE: Right. Well, he's (ph) already saying, well, they knew I was in Atlanta or they knew I was in Beverly Hills, so, of course, they can make these allegations.
KAYE: But who knows what really happened.
HUGHES: Exactly. And where's the evidence?
KAYE: Yes. We'll continue to follow that.
KAYE: Holly, nice to see you.
HUGHES: You too.
KAYE: We're going to check back in with you later on as well.
HUGHES: Wonderful. I'm stick around. Thank you.
KAYE: I'm glad you're here.
The major business story of the upcoming week may be Facebook's IPO. The company is looking to raise around $12 billion from investors and one of Facebook's co-founders is making interesting plans to get ready. Eduardo Saverin is renouncing his U.S. citizenship. Saverin owns less than 5 percent of Facebook, but this move could help him avoid paying taxes on the expected windfall from next week's IPO. Saverin became a U.S. citizen in 1998. He's originally from Brazil but lives in Singapore now.
Also making news this morning, North Carolina's governor is upset with voters who passed controversial Amendment One this week. Amendment One bans same-sex marriage and civil unions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BEVERLY PERDUE (D), NORTH CAROLINA: This is wrong for North Carolina, clearly and simply. People around the country are watching us and they're really confused to have been such a progressive, forward-thinking, economically-driven state that invested in education and that stood up for the civil rights of people, including the civil rights marches back in the '50s and '60s and '70s. Folks are saying, what in the world is going on in North Carolina? We look like Mississippi.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KAYE: That last part, well, didn't sit so well with Mississippi's governor. He said he's disappointed with the comments and says that apparently North Carolinians are more in tune with his state's traditional values than with the values of Governor Perdue.
Noted car designer Carroll Shelby has died. His name really is synonymous with speed. Shelby may be best known for developing the Cobra and several version of Shelby Mustangs. Besides Ford, Shelby also designed cars for Chrysler, including the high performance Viper. Carroll Shelby was 89 years old.
Well, wondering what the weather might bring this weekend? Let's see what meteorologist Reynolds Wolf has in store for all of us.
Good morning, Reynolds.
WOLF: Good morning.
The big weather story we have today is the potential of having some flash flooding along parts of the Gulf Coast. We're talking about the big easy. Places like Biloxi. Maybe even into Mobile, Alabama, before the day is out.
As we take a look at the weather maps, the reason why we might see it is pretty simple. We've got that area of low pressure that's setting up right along the Gulf Coast. That could give us some strong storms. And with it, that flash flooding is going to be all but certain in places that have very, very poor drainage. We're going to talk about that coming up in just a few moments. But, overall, a fairly nice weekend with the exception of the Gulf Coast.
Back to you.
KAYE: OK, Reynolds, thank you.
WOLF: You bet.
KAYE: And here's a rundown of some stories that we're working on for you.
Same-sex marriage was front page news this week. North Carolina banned it and President Obama embraced it. We're putting this issue in focus and looking at how it came to the national stage.
And Mitt Romney's been accused of bullying when he was a teenager, but he says he doesn't remember. Do voters care? We'll find out.
Plus, "Time" magazine's controversial breast feeding mom is sparking the conversations. Are mothers who breast feed their pre-school aged kids better than mothers who don't?
And, finally, we'll introduce you to some dogs who are not only man's best friend, they are a veteran's greatest companion. As troops return from war, these animals are helping to rebuilding their lives. We'll have one right here in studio.
You're watching CNN WEEKEND EARLY START, where news doesn't take the weekend off.
KAYE: Welcome back, everyone. It is 12 minutes past the hour.
It has been a rough year for birds in South America. More than 7,000 birds have turned up dead in both Chile and Peru. Five thousand alone in Peru. And at least 2,300 along beaches between Cartagena and Playa de Santo Domingo, Chile. Reynolds is joining me now to talk about this.
So, do we know why this is happening and are -- is this all related?
WOLF: It's really hard to say at this point. And a lot of people are pointing towards the nets, saying perhaps the nets might be a reason that we see the number of birds drop off. Many of the injuries the birds have are kind of in line with what they might have. They were tangled in nets.
But the thing that's odd about this is, they've been using basically the same type of nets off the Chilean and the Peruvian coast for quite some time and they've never had these kind of numbers of birds die before. Now the nets they have, many of them have the hatches in the bottom where sea turtles can get out. But in terms of the aviary variety, we're talking about the birds, really they have been using just the same stuff. And this is really an anomaly. It truly is.
KAYE: It's really heartbreaking to see. I mean, so the question is, though, of course, is there anything that they can do about it? I mean, will the numbers keep rising like this?
WOLF: That's really interesting to say. The number one reason why you might have a bird killed would be basically because of something they eat, not because of something they'd be struck in --
WOLF: But rather a digestive issue. And they have had numbers of fish kills along the coast. What happens is you have this (INAUDIBLE) process in many years. This year it has not been much the case because we have what appears to be an El Nino developing, which means less oxygen in the water, which means you've got a lot of dead fish. So they've been feeding on a lot of the dead fish. Could the fish be contaminated? Could that be an issue? We don't know at this point.
I can tell you that when they get the birds and they take the samples of them, they basically will perform, very similar with people, autopsies. But the fastest you're going to get any kind of information, it's going to take at least a week or so. We have our timeframes that we as people like to get answers. Unfortunately, science takes a little bit of time. So it may be at least five days before we get answers.
KAYE: We have no patience for that.
WOLF: We don't. We definitely don't. KAYE: All right, Reynolds, thank you very much.
WOLF: You bet.
KAYE: So, you've got a little competition here, by the way, Reynolds, just so you know. Prince Charles shows off his forecasting skills with wife Camilla right by his side. We want to you take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE CHARLES: The best of the dryer and brighter weather will, of course, be over the northern isles and the far north of the mainland. So a little hazy sunshine for the Castle of Mey in Caithness, but a cold day everywhere with temperatures of just 8 Celsius and a brisk northeasterly wind. Thank God it isn't a bank holiday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: So, Reynolds, how do you think he did?
WOLF: I'm impressed.
WOLF: Well, first of all, let's be honest, he's so charming. And, number two, he's got the most incredible voice.
KAYE: He's a prince. Of course he's charming.
WOLF: He is. He is a prince for heaven's sake. But, no, he has great delivery. He's just very smooth. He's very comforting to hear his voice. He's got the nice tones. I thought he did great.
KAYE: I'm hoping, and we'll see how this goes, but I'm hoping that maybe you'll do the forecast for us in a -- in a British accent today.
WOLF: I will do the very best I possibly can to give you a forecast that sounds a little bit --
KAYE: Oh, my.
WOLF: A little royal for you. But he needs to keep his job. He's got a pretty good gig right now.
KAYE: Yes, he does.
WOLF: I don't think he needs to hop over and get into meteorology, although he --
KAYE: No, but it's a good start for him.
WOLF: You bet.
KAYE: All right, Reynolds, thank you. That was fun.
Same-sex marriage front and center. President Obama gave his bold endorsement this week. But while he says it was a personal decision, it could have some very public consequences.
KAYE: Welcome back.
The issue of same-sex marriage jumped front and center this week with two landmark events. A vote in North Carolina, where voters approved a measure that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions. Plus, there was President Obama, just a day later, with this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At a certain point I've just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: We are focusing on same-sex marriage this morning. And here's a look back at how the issue has played out across the country over the past few decades.
KAYE (voice-over): We start our look back at same-sex marriage in Illinois. In 1962, the land of Lincoln became the first state to decriminalize private homosexual acts between consenting adults.
The 1970s saw a slew of state court cases aimed at same-sex marriage. The first was in Minnesota in 1971. A couple sued for the right to marry, but lost the case.
In 1984, the traditionally progressive city of Berkeley, California, became the first to approve equal benefits for couples in same-sex domestic partnerships. A pre-cursor to same-sex marriages.
Twelve years later, in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a controversial law on same-sex marriage. That was the Defense of Marriage Act. The law set the federal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. But it also confirmed the right of each state to make its own policy.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I believe historically for 200 and something years, marriage has been a question left to the states and religious institutions. I still think that's where it belongs.
KAYE: Massachusetts was the first to act. In 2004, shortly after a state supreme court ruling, it became the first state to allow same- sex marriage and call it marriage. Governor Mitt Romney opposed the move.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Less than a year after I took office, the state's supreme court inexplicably found a right to same- sex marriage in the Constitution written by John Adams. I presume he'd be surprised. KAYE: Four years later, California became the largest and highest profile state to legalize same-sex marriages. But that would only last a few months. In November of 2008, voters approved Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriage. Court challenges followed and this past February an appeals court ruled Prop 8 was unconstitutional. But same- sex marriages in the state are still on hold until the Supreme Court rules.
That leaves New York as the biggest state to allow same-sex marriages. The state's legislature approved the move in mid-summer. Now, after Maryland and Washington state approved same-sex marriages this year, though the laws haven't taken effect yet, when they do, there will be eight states and the District of Columbia that allow same-sex marriages.
KAYE: And we will have much more on this divisive issue throughout the morning. Next hour, we'll look at the political side of the debate and see how the president's support could play with voters in November.
Beachgoers scream for help as a huge shark attacks a tourist. Wait until you hear the dramatic 911 call.
KAYE: Good morning, San Francisco. Hope you're waking up with us here on WEEKEND EARLY START. We're glad you're with us. Grab some coffee. Stick around a little bit. We have a great show on tap this morning.
We are looking at stories making headlines across the country now.
Chaos in Vero Beach, Florida, as paramedics rush to help a woman attacked by a shark.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: What bit her? What bit her?
WITNESS: A shark.
911 OPERATOR: It's a shark bite?
WITNESS: Yes it is. It's huge, ma'am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: The woman has undergone surgery but it will be several days before she can leave the hospital. Experts say by the size of the bite it was likely a bull shark or a tiger shark. They emphasize that shark attacks are very rare.
In New Mexico, police say a man was drunk when he drove on to a horse track and, yes, he started doing laps. The suspect told police he wanted to drive like he was in NASCAR. He didn't even stop when the police were chasing him. Martin McDonald of Texas is now charged with driving under the influence and trespassing.
And in Atlanta, a kindergartener made an unassisted triple play during a youth baseball game. Six-year-old Ross Breath has really made his dad proud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC BREATH, BOY'S DAD: So it was bases loaded. No outs. We were just praying the ball would be hit to the right kids. And they hit it right -- the pop up right to Ross and he snags it out of the air, ran to third base to get the force out from the runner there and then he turned to look to see what was going on second and basically dove and tagged the runner out that was coming from second and that was it, triple play.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you caught the ball, what did you think?
ROSS BREATH, EXECUTED UNASSISTED TRIPLE PLAY: I was happy and excited.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did you think, I can get a triple play?
R. BREATH: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did.
R. BREATH: If (ph) I can do it every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Wow, pretty confident. And just so you know how rare this is. There are only 15 recorded unassisted triple plays in pro baseball since 1909. Sign that kid up for the majors!
This Mother's Day weekend, I want to introduce to you a woman who has made a big difference in the lives of children after losing her 16- year-old son in a drowning accident. Meet CNN Hero Wanda Butts (ph). She's started a non-profit to teach minority kids how to swim.
WANDA BUTTS: Just went to spend the night with friends. Had no clue that they were coming to Bird Lake. Right about here is where Josh was, where the raft capsized, and he went down. Very hard for me to believe that just like that my son had drowned and he was gone.
My father, he instilled in us the fear of water and so I, in turn, didn't take my son around water. Children don't have to drown.
My name is Wanda Butts. I save lives by providing swimming lessons and water safety skills.
Jacob Kendrick (ph).
African-American children are three times more likely to drown than white children. That's why we started the Josh Project, to educate families about the importance of being water-safe. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the ring buoy and throw it right at the victim.
BUTTS: Many parents, they don't know how to swim.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was afraid of the water. He was the first in my family to learn how to swim. And he has come a long way from not liking water in his face, to getting ducked under.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Feel better in the water? Do you like it? All right!
BUTTS: Because I'm so happy to see that so many of them have learned how to swim.
Good job! That's one life we saved.
It takes me back to Josh and how the tragedy was turned into triumph and it makes me happy.
BUTTS: All right.
KAYE: And, remember, CNN Heroes are all chosen from people that you tell us about. If you know someone like Wanda who is making a difference, just go to cnnheroes.com. Your nomination could help them help others.
A fast moving father comes to his daughter's rescue in China. I'll tell you how she landed in the middle of this busy intersection.
KAYE: It is half past the hour. Welcome back. I'm Randi Kaye. Thanks for starting your day with us. Grab your coffee, here are the headlines you may have missed while you were sleeping.
Police say they may arrest more people connected to Adam Mayes. Three people have been arrested so far. Police say one of them gave Mayes the gun he used to kill himself. Police found Mayes and the two girls that he kidnapped in the Mississippi woods. Police say he killed the girls' mother, Joanne Bain and her oldest daughter after kidnapping them in Tennessee. Mayes' wife is charged with two counts of murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBI BOOTH, ADAM MAYES' SISTER IN LAW: My sister and his mother will carry the weight because people want justice and I understand, if my sister took part in this I want her to be punished but I want her fairly punished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: The two sisters have been reunited now with their family.
Emotional but relieved, that's how an Illinois state attorney describes the reaction of Jennifer Hudson and her family after her former brother-in-law, William Balfour, was found guilty of murdering the singer's mother, brother and nephew. Balfour will be sentenced to life without parole. His defense team says they plan to appeal.
Anti-government protesters calling for regime change marched in Syria last night, the same day a bomb went off near a government office killing a guard. And a human rights group reports at least 22 other people have been killed in violence across the country. CNN cannot conform the authenticity of the video because of restrictions on journalists in Syria. More than 1,000 people have died since the cease fire went into effect last month.
And look at this. A chaotic scene in China, where this man, saved his daughter from being hit by a taxi, after she fell out of their car. Look at that, a police officer says the four-year-old climbed in the front seat while her father was driving and accidentally opened the door. Incredible bravery there, he jumped out, as you saw, of the moving car and ran towards his daughter as that taxi drove up. The girl incredibly suffered only some slight bruises. What an incredible scene there.
To politics now, Mitt Romney is sticking to the script when it comes to the campaign, even in the face of bullying allegations coming from his high school days. Here is CNN's Jim Acosta.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Randi, Mitt Romney was asked again about the alleged bullying incident but he gave the same answer he has offered before. It was just the latest example of how the GOP contender wants to talk about the economy.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The story followed Mitt Romney to the battleground state of North Carolina, popping up not in a speech but in an interview with the local TV station.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was one who did some stupid things in high school, and if anyone feels they were offended by that I certainly apologize.
ACOSTA: Romney declined to say whether he remembered the incident first reported in "The Washington Post," that back in 1965 at a private school in Michigan a young Romney and group of friends held down a classmate and cut off chunks of his hair. The GOP contender's inability to remember what happened isn't sitting well with Romney's former classmate, Phillip Maxwell, who told CNN he is still haunted by what he claims he saw.
"I know what an assault is," Maxwell says, "this kid was scared, he was terrified, that's an assault." Romney says he doesn't remember it and "I find it difficult to believe." "It's unfortunate that Mitt simply hasn't owned up to his behavior." The Romney campaign is quietly trying to put the matter to rest by issuing statements from former classmates like John French who said "Mitt never had a malicious bone in his body, trying to imply or characterize him as a bully is absurd." A Romney campaign spokesperson acknowledged French did not witness the incident.
KERRY HEALEY (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS LT. GOVERNOR: The real question: Is Mitt Romney a bully? And the answer is no.
ACOSTA: Romney's former lieutenant governor went on CNN to defend the GOP contender's character.
HEALEY: That his impulses are very kind impulses, and there should be no debate about whether or not Governor Romney is a bully.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sometimes people forget the magnitude of it.
ACOSTA: In a move to change the subject, the Romney campaign quickly pounced on the president's comments at a Seattle fundraiser that became a new Republican party add
OBAMA: And sometimes people forget the magnitude of it, you saw some of that I think in the video that was shown. Sometimes I forget.
ACOSTA: Mr. Obama's line "Sometimes I forget" instantly ping ponged among Romney's staffers on Twitter.
ROMNEY: This recovery has been the slowest, most (INAUDIBLE) since Hoover.
ACOSTA: Romney didn't forget to bring up the president's comments in that interview in Charlotte.
ROMNEY: I don't forget that I see that every day. I will do everything in my power to get people good jobs.
ACOSTA: And look for Romney to stick to the subject of the economy this weekend even though he is scheduled a visit to Christina conservative Liberty University in Virginia. He's only expected to touch on the issue of marriage. Excerpts from Romney's speech released by the campaign are all about jobs. Randi.
KAYE: Jim Acosta, many thanks.
And as Jim mentioned, Mitt Romney is speaking at Liberty University -- that is at 10:30 Eastern time this morning. We'll bring you some of that speech live right here on CNN when it happens.
"Time" magazine's new cover is making some people pretty angry. It features a mom breastfeeding her three-year-old son. Doctors say it's fine. Other moms, well they say it's gross. We'll have more on the controversy.
KAYE: "Time" magazine has sparked a few controversial water cooler conversations this week. Their new provocative cover features a mother breastfeeding her child years longer than most. This style of mothering is called attachment parenting and while doctors say it's healthy for the child some are calling it inappropriate.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick has more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were a lot of people who were surprised.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For dancer, Heather McFadden, breast feeding her three and a half year old son is the most natural thing in the world.
HEATHER MCFADDEN, BREASTFEEDING MOM: It is a relationship between the mother and child. And so, as long as both are happy doing it, then why not?
FEYERICK: Yet "Time" magazine's latest cover is making a lot of people very uncomfortable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When they can walk and they can talk they can go to the refrigerator. It's gross.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it stops at 12 or 18 months. That is where you stop. You draw the line there.
MCFADDEN: Society is looking at me like I'm the weird one and we're not. We're not weird. We're actually quite normal, it's just in this culture, in our culture, it's viewed as weird.
FEYERICK: "Time's" newest cover girl told "The Today Show" she understands the negative reaction even from some breastfeeding advocates who say the cover ignores the nurturing side of the experience.
JAMIE LYNN CRUMET, "TIME" MAGAZINE COVER GIRL: I understand what they are saying but I do understand why "Time" chose this picture, because it is going to be such a -- it did create such a media craze.
FEYERICK: The cover is so "in-your-face" it could backfire.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST "HLN'S DR. DREW": That it's an important part of attachment, it is healthy for the child. But to look at these -- sort of extreme opinions about it might turn some people off to the whole thing.
FEYERICK: Behind the controversial photos is a decades-old debate on the benefits of attachment parenting, which says babies develop a strong emotional bond and feel secure the more they are held and the more sensitive parents are to baby's needs. That includes extended breastfeeding, bed sharing and baby slings. Pediatrician Dr. William Sears started the movement 20 years ago. DR. WILLIAMS SEARS, ATTACHMENT PARENTING ADVOCATE: The kids who are most attached early on, who learn the concept of trust, these kids actually grow up to be the most independent and naturally secure children.
FEYERICK: But for mom blogger Jennifer Levinson, who had five kids in under five years, breastfeeding she says was not in the cards.
JENNIFER LEVINSON, MOTHER OF FIVE CHILDREN: My approach to parenting is surviving, making it through every day with nobody hurt, and everybody fed. Maybe bathed if we're lucky, and happy. I don't judge those that breastfeed, and those that breastfeed should not judge me.
FEYERICK (on camera): The "Time" magazine article is mainly about Dr. Sears. And although editors did consider putting the famed pediatrician on the cover, they chose instead to go with an image that would be immediately recognizable as to the gist of the story. Of course, ask yourself which cover you would stop and look at.
Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.
KAYE: And we would, of course, like to hear what you think about mothers breastfeeding, how old is too old, do you think, for a mother to breastfeed her child? You can tweet me @randikayecnn. And we'll read some of your opinions on the air later in the show.
When I say airmen, you think of the men and women serving in the air force, probably, right? But you may have to rethink that image because these airmen, yes, these are airmen, they are among the most deployed in the military. You'll meet some of them.
KAYE: Welcome back, everybody, a little bit of Atlanta there waking up with us nice to see.
REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Indeed.
KAYE: Reynolds is back with me. We're about to show you a story that may re-define how you see airmen. You actually met up with a couple of these so-called airmen.
WOLF: Absolutely. You know, when you think of elite airmen or elite warriors, you often think of the Green Berets, you think of the SEALS, but this is a different type of warrior, it is the four legged variety. We're talking about the canine corps, canine airmen. They are cute, they got, of course, the tails, but remember at same time they're indeed elite warriors.
WOLF (voice-over): Robbins Air Force base in Georgia is home to some 7,000 airmen, six of them are among the most deployed and most vital in the military.
(INAUDIBLE), a five-year-old German Shepherd, yes, he's a dog but he's also considered an airman.
STAFF SERGEANT ROCKY FOREMAN, U.S. AIR FORCE: They are not people but almost like that, they are our partners, so that is how we look at them.
WOLF: Staff Sergeant Rocky Foreman is (INAUDIBLE) handler. He says there is a lot more to his job than just holding a leash.
(on camera): What is his specific role?
FOREMAN: He can find certain types of explosives or narcotics. He is also a patrol certified dog. So that means he can do the bite work, escort, the detention and apprehension of suspects.
Get him! Get your dog! Get your dog off me!
FOREMAN: Good boy. They can save lives just like soldiers and airmen can. They can stop the whole line of patrol before you even get to a detonation or hazardous area due to their detection sense. That's when you would halt everything and basically whoever is with you that is how many lives you saved because of his nose.
WOLF (voice-over): It's estimated that these dogs save an average of 150 lives each.
LT. COL. TOM MOREA, COMMANDER, 78TH SECURITY FORCES SQUADRON: The dogs don't know they are being heroes, they are just doing what they think is right between the relationship that they have with their handler and themselves.
WOLF: That partnership is critical to their success.
MOREA: It's extremely important that we find the right handler with the right dog. The better the relationship the better the detection capability, the better the capability they're going to be having when they're going out there doing any kind of mission.
WOLF (on camera): How do they decompress? How do they separate themselves from a very frightening situation?
MOREA: They have some down time where they can relax and it might be just that handler having time with the dog. Petting it, playing with it a bit more and then they go out and do the mission again. It becomes routine. And it becomes something the dog looks forward to.
WOLF (voice-over): Staff Sergeant Foreman is relying on that relationship.
FOREMAN: Azik out, sit.
WOLF: The two will head overseas in a matter of weeks.
(on camera): Do you feel confident when you're deployed having this guy with you?
FOREMAN: I feel completely confident with him by my side overseas. We're good to go.
KAYE: Have you ever had a dog that well behaved?
WOLF: I don't have a kid that well behaved, my goodness. Amazing animals.
KAYE: They sure are. Really special dogs. And by the way, we have another one actually, another really special dog in studio with us, that is Tazzy and her owner, Jeff. He's an Iraq war veteran, and Jeff says that adorable dog with him there helped rebuild his life after he returned home from war.
KAYE: Welcome back. Here is a startling statistic. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 20 percent of the nearly two million soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. That is nearly 400,000 men and women.
Jeff Mitchell is one of them. He went to war in 2003, serving two tours of duty in Iraq. But in 2007 he was forced to leave the Army after being diagnosed with severe post traumatic stress disorder. He's only now starting to get better thanks to a very special friend. Jeff joins me now with his four year old, Saluki mix, Tazzy, along with us, of course, Arthur Benjamin, the chairman of the advisory board for Paws for People, the organization that had actually helped put Jeff and Tazzy together. Good morning to both of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning.
KAYE: And good morning to Tazzy here.
Jeff, I want to start with you. You have said that actually your dog, Tazzy , saved your life, how so?
JEFF MITCHELL, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, when I first got out of the military, I was, you know, a complete and total isolation. I didn't go anywhere, I didn't do anything. And was struggling with pretty severe depression, drinking a lot. And she has -- she's just opened the doors in order for me to do things that normal people would take for granted.
KAYE: She has even given you the courage to come here today, right?
MITCHELL: Yes, I wouldn't be here without her. That is for sure.
KAYE: So you were diagnosed with PTSD, how bad was it?
MITCHELL: It was -- it was bad.
KAYE: And nothing else was helping you?
MITCHELL: Nothing helped. You know, I have been in different forms of treatment since 2006, been on -- I think the most medication I was on at one time was 13 different antipsychotics and anti-depressants, and working with these dogs, one of the things that it's done is just given me the option to do things like go out to dinner, go to the grocery store.
KAYE: She is whining for some attention from you, I think I'm not sure if our viewers at home can hear her, but she is whining a little bit. So Arthur, tell me what your organization does. It's Paws for People but it's also Paws for Vets as well.
ARTHUR BENJAMIN, CHAIRMAN, PAWS4PEOPLE: And it's Paws for Prisons. And what we do is a very unique program. We train dogs, this particular animal is a Ferral Afghan dog, who came over from Afghanistan, who is a friend of the troops, was shipped back and after Jeff went through his first dog that he wasn't quite ready to work with, Tazzy came -
KAYE: So how did it connect them?
BENJAMIN: Well, when Tazzy back from Afghanistan, Tazzy lived through the same kind of situations and stress that Jeff lived through, we thought we would give it a shot and they trained each other -- it's really amazing and bonded with each other. The dogs are trained in prisons. They're trained to 100 different commands. Actually more than 100. They are then matched with either a soldier in Paws4Vets or they're trained or matched with a disabled youth under 14 years of age, who has severe disabilities.
KAYE: And did you -- Jeff, did you notice anything in Tazzy, I mean did she have the sort of doggy PTSD as well?
MITCHELL: She definitely did. She struggled the first couple of years that she was in the states. It was very difficult to find a match in the prisons for her as far as the training goes. And I was -- I got a phone call asking if I would foster her for a couple of weeks, and just decided over those couple of weeks that I wanted to keep her.
KAYE: So Arthur, how do you find the right vet? I mean are there certain requirements? Can any vet just get a dog or do they have to meet certain requirements?
MITCHELL: There's a long application at Paws4People, Paws4Vet (INAUDIBLE) but more than that, we do what are called bumps, where we take a group of soldiers, a group of vets into one of the prisons, or to a mutual meeting place, the dogs choose the person and you can clearly see it.
In a group of dogs all the dogs are the second bump will ignore a particular person except for one dog who will not leave and continues to look for a command.
KAYE: Jeff, your family, of course, they say that you've come a long way in the year that you've had Tazzy, have you seen changes in yourself? MITCHELL: It's -- you know, if I look at a difference from yesterday to today, no. There is really not a difference. If I look at myself today compared to two years ago, three years ago, four years ago, yes, there is pretty dramatic difference.
KAYE: Is she ever not at your side?
MITCHELL: No, she goes everywhere I go.
KAYE: I know obviously you helped train her as well, is there one specific trick or anything she does that we would be impressed by?
Mitchell: You know, not really. She is not one for tricks. If you had a rabbit or squirrel running around the studio I think she would have a good time with that.
BENJAMIN: This is her trick.
KAYE: This is her trick. Right here, just being a nice sidekick for you. Well, both of you, thank you so much. I think the program is wonderful and I'm so glad that you're doing that.
BENJAMIN: We would love to get your viewers to go to paws4people.org, and see how they can help.
KAYE: All right. I'll put the link on my Twitter page @randikayecnn as well and Jeff, it's so nice to see you're doing well and thank you for coming in and bringing Tazzy to us as well. Appreciate it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
KAYE: In our next hour, we are going to take you live to Tennessee where two missing girls are back with their family after a multi-state manhunt. See what is in the kidnapping investigation.
And Japan's counting down to what could be its own extinction, why researchers are raising an alarm.
KAYE: Japanese researchers are concerned the nation could become extinct in about 1,000 years. They've created a population clock counting down to when that could happen. The big concern the country's declining birth rate. They say the population of children under 14 is shrinking at the rate of one every 100 seconds. So they hope the clock will encourage discussion on the issue.
Thanks for starting your morning with us. We've got much more ahead on CNN SATURDAY MORNING which starts right now.
From CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING.