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CNN NEWSROOM

George W. Bush's New Book; Doing Business in India; Selling Harleys in India; NASA Tweet-Up; Face to Face Actresses Kerry Washington and Kimberly Elise; Eyeing Jeb Bush in 2012

Aired November 6, 2010 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: OK, after a pretty long silence, former President George W. Bush is talking through his new memoir, "Decision Point" and he's also taken to the airwaves and talking. We've got Sandra Endo who is back with us in Washington. Sorry to cut you off there, we're talking about some of the things he decided to include. He has touched on a number of things in his memoir. Everything from water boarding, those techniques, to immigration, et cetera. And I was about to ask you before the break about the kinds of regrets that he may be expounding on. You want to tell me a little bit more about what he's admitting to regretting.

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, interesting Fred. Because, first before he admits on about some regrets, he does go on the defensive about water boarding, as you mentioned. But also, about his use of force in terms of his reaction to 9/11. He said that his blood was just boiling when he found out the country was under attack that day.

So, a lot of revelations and reflections about his time in office of course. But when you talk about regrets, specifically he talked about the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. And this is very interesting because it's something his administration had to deal with. And he got a lot of criticism for the way he handled it. But he said that in his book that he admits he should have recognized the deficiencies sooner and intervened faster.

The problem was not that I made the wrong decisions; it was that I took too long to decide. So a rare admission of fault there from former president George W. Bush. He also regretted not taking on the issue of immigration reform solely in his second administration. He said, you know, look, I took on Social Security Reform, and immigration. Had I just focused on immigration, it wouldn't be so polarizing as it is right now. Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Sandra Endo thanks so much from Washington. We're going to talk more about "Decision Points" and why a president even decides to write a memoir and how the decision evolves from what do I include, what I leave out, what do I try to straighten out. So we called upon well-known presidential historian Douglas Brinkley who's joining us on the phone. Good that you could be with us. You joining us from New Orleans?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN (via telephone): No, I'm in Independence, Missouri. I've been at the Truman Library all day. We're doing a forum here.

WHITFIELD: Oh, fantastic. All right. Well talk to me about why President Bush and maybe even his predecessors decide to even write a memoir. I remember seeing that you thought in one part this gives George W. Bush an opportunity to kind of reintroduce himself to the American public.

BRINKLEY: Well, in general, the American public tends to give an upward revision to most presidents. Nixon is an exception, because he left back all those hideous tapes where Nixon slurred a lot of people. But by and large, whether it's Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter during a post-presidency you can get a bit of a boost. Presidents now leave office; they raise money for presidential library. President Bush is doing that at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Then you write a memoir. You do it for money. You do it to set records straight. And you do it as the kind of a jump-off point. All historians from now on are going to be footnoting this book as an important primary source about what the president was thinking when he had to handle everything from 9/11 to the war in Iraq to Katrina.

WHITFIELD: And do you see that sometimes there is great risk that comes with trying to set the record straight?

BRINKLEY: Well, there -- you can. What I've noticed already, out of this book is that he's trying to be very, very Truman-like. Truman left office in 1952 with about a 27 percent approval rating, ranked very low. And today in most polls he's ranked number five as president, very high. So there's always that Truman hope. And Truman did it by salty talk, straight shooting, but I'm not somebody who's a flip-flopper. And so when you hear President Bush saying, using the word damn associated with water boarding or talk about how angry, his blood boiling at 9/11, he's trying to put himself, as he always has, in a kind of Texas, no-nonsense, Alamo, wanted dead or alive, kind of character.

In that American grain as his critics used to call it, cowboy president. He likes that image. It's why he had the ranch at Crawford and the hay behind him and the cowboy boots, and this memoir is playing into that. At one point, it was worried that Nixon wrote a memoir called on 12 crises and this has now become "Decisions Points" instead of crises. But I think it's going to be the number one book in the country. All these presidential memoirs are well-received. And particularly when you do a find of, every person in media wants to interview the former president, so it should be a big book.

WHITFIELD: In a moment I want to ask you about the timing of this book, after this GOP, you know, sweep, across the country after midterm elections. But first, you know, there's one thing that he includes in this book and I wonder if he will later regret it, and he's talking about how there was a moment, I'm sure he consulted with his former vice president, but there was a moment where he thought about replacing Dick Cheney.

BRINKLEY: No, I think that helps the president. Because there's a kind of feeling by a lot of people that Cheney ran the White House. That he was sort of Carl Rove and Dick Cheney were Bush's brains. And the fact that he was even thinking of dumping Cheney, I think, helps the president seem more hands-on, more in charge. The fact that he always knew he had the power to get rid of the vice president if he needed to.

So I don't think he'll regret it at all. And if you recall, second term Bush started distancing himself a little from Cheney. Of course, he got rid of Rumsfeld. And once he did, and Robert Gates came in, things calm down. Gates ran wonderful press conferences, still does. And the Iraq war started getting tampered down a little bit and the surge started working. So I don't think it ever helps him to be to closely associated with Rumsfeld and Cheney. I don't think either of those two are going down as beloved figures in mainstream history.

WHITFIELD: And here we are with the timing, as we look at this file tape of George W. Bush at a polling station just a few days after midterm elections, and the Republicans did very well. I wonder if the timing of this book and if this will allow people to look at George W. Bush differently or even the Republican Party, how much that might help with the Republican momentum this day forward.

BRINKLEY: Well, I hate to be so crass about it, but the presidency, once you leave the White House you're a brand name. And George W. Bush was a tarnished brand. And part of what his close associates, friends, paid advisers and lawyers have to do is how do you upgrade the brand? And the memoir is seen as part of that process. And the timing of the memoir is very important.

If this book would have come out in September it could have gotten involved in the midterm elections in a wrong way. Instead, the Republicans, and conservatives, saw this was going to be a big midterm election year for him, and it's smart timing to bring this book out right now, where some people are feeling down about President Obama, and have buyers remorse on electing him, and it's a good opportunity for people to say, you know, I kind of miss President Bush. You're starting to hear all sorts of Republicans say that.

And it also is giving the president an opportunity to remind people of his compassionate side. Remember, he ran originally as a compassionate conservative, in this book on dealing with border issues in Texas, and along with Mexico, or U.S./Mexican border. He's more sympathetic than the hard right on it's. It's a positioning book and it's somebody like Rick Perry, Governor of Texas who's got a book called "Fed Up" coming out might help him. The question is are people tired of Texas politicians or not? Remember we have Jeb Bush's political future in the next two, four years, where he may be re-emerging as a major Republican character, too.

WHITFIELD: We'll see where that goes.

BRINKLEY: Certainly politics are part of the game of releasing this book.

WHITFIELD: All right. Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, joining us from Independence, Missouri. Thanks so much for your take on "Decision Points," the memoir from George W. Bush. Thanks so much. And George W. Bush will be sitting down with CNN's Candy Crowley for a special edition of CNN's "State of the Union" that interview airs at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Sunday, November 14th.

President Obama announces some major trade deals during a business summit in India. Hours ago the president said U.S. companies are working on several deals, with India, worth billions of dollars. One of the deals in the pipeline is the sale of dozens of Boeing 737s to an Indian airline. The president told the group the relationship between India and the U.S. is one of the most important of the century.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: I am confident that we can and will forge new economic partnerships and deliver the jobs and broad- based growth that our peoples so richly deserve. And I am absolutely certain that the relationship between the United States and India is going to be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: India is the first stop in the president's ten-day, four Asian country trip.

All right. And new information about the recent terror plot involving cargo planes. A CNN counterintelligence official tells CNN that the U.S. learned in early October that something might be in the works, and the information came from Saudi Arabia. More from CNN's Homeland Security correspondent Jeanne Meserve.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: According to a U.S. counterterrorism official, about three weeks before those bombs were discovered in the UK and in Dubai, the U.S. had received a piece of intelligence with Saudi Arabia indicating that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula might be hatching a plot involving the use of one or two planes, perhaps simultaneously. This counterterrorism official tells CNN that the information we received in early October contained no mention of cargo planes or the precise details of the plot.

To include what planes might be involved where they might originate or who the perpetrators might be. No one knew. The official says, for instance, that AQAP was specifically targeting planes departing Yemen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: That was Jeanne Meserve, our Homeland Security correspondent. U.S. officials say they later received specific intelligence information from Saudi Arabia about the cargo bomb plot. Putting the two pieces together allowed them to act quickly.

Protests turned violent in Oakland, California, after the sentencing of a former transit officer. We'll take you there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Tensions flare in Oakland, California, where protesters react to the sentencing of a former transit officer. Protesters through rocks and bottles at police officers and broke windows last night. At least 152 people were arrested. Transit officer Johannes Mehserle, who is white, was given the minimum possible prison sentence for killing an unarmed black man on a train platform last year. Reporter Will Tran from CNN affiliate KRON surveyed some of the damage today.

WILL TRAN, REPORTER, KRON: I'm in the neighborhood a few miles from downtown Oakland, and the people who live here became unsuspecting victims of the protesters as they marched from downtown Oakland to the Fruitville B.A.R.T. Station where this whole thing started two years ago when Oscar Grant was shot and killed by Johannes Mehserle. You can see the damage to this neighborhood. This is just one of dozens of cars that was damaged as the protesters went through, kicked the cars; put a lot of dents on other cars around here.

There are beanies, caps, there's garbage all over the place. T-shirts hanging from the fences and a lot of people who were watching this on television, then all of a sudden the protesters moved down here, and that's where it became pretty violent, and pretty, for a lot of people, they felt violated. People like Nai, who owns that car that we just showed you. Nai what did you think when you turned the corner and you saw this?

NAI SAELLE, OAKLAND RESIDENT: My heart just sank. Like you said, I felt really violated. I was not hurt. I don't care about the windshield. But you just feel like someone personally attacked you. So, I mean, these people, in my opinion, they did not do anything to help the situation. At the end of the day, you know, they were arrested, and it's like what do they solve? Nothing.

TRAN: One of the people here I talked to them a little bit earlier, they said they were heartbroken because there's just no way to honor the memory of Oscar Grant.

SAELLE: I agree. I definitely think the people who were violated and vandalized people's property, you know, disgraced his memory. You know. Like most people disagree with the sentencing, but this is no way to change the system. You know, at the end of the day the system is still the same and these people are sitting in a holding cell. It's like, they did nothing.

TRAN: OK. Well thank you so much for joining us. I'm sorry about the damage to your car. And I can tell you, they caused damage along the way, because we see signs from gas stations, so obviously they did that before they got here. And the reason why this all ended at 7:44 last night local time is because one of the protesters grabbed a gun and a holster from one of the police officers. That's when the other police officers decided to move in and said it is over. They made the arrests for unlawful assembly.

Reporting from Oakland, I'm Will Tran. Now back to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Will.

Still no decision on a sentence in a deadly home invasion case out of Connecticut. Jurors who convicted Steven Hayes of murder have been deliberating since yesterday in New Haven, Connecticut. As they are trying to decide whether to give Hayes life in prison without parole, or death. Hayes was found guilty last month of killing a mother and her two daughters during a home invasion three years ago. The father survived the attack and actually testified during that gruesome trial.

A look at our top stories also coming up, including flaring tempers at the prestigious Breeder's Cup.

And of course we're also going to take a look at the hottest "Viral Videos" online. You know what that means. That's a cue for Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred. First of all we have probably the coolest and smartest group of cheerleaders around. We got a cat that discovers a new game and we have this guy, who just really feels for. Take a look.

WHITFIELD: Oh, no.

LEVS: He's OK.

WHITFIELD: That is not real.

LEVS: I'm going to tell you the story behind it. But the big question about it. And in addition, I got an NBA star who's become an internet sensation for dancing. All that coming up in "Viral Videos."

WHITFIELD: Can't wait!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Straight ahead we'll take a look at what's hot on the web. That means Josh Levs. He's waiting in the wings here. But first a look at our top stories.

Major mudslides and massive flooding are gripping Haiti after hurricane Tomas swept through the Caribbean nation. Today the U.S. military is conducting aerial assessment of the devastating damage. Many are still grappling with the effects of the killer earthquake, and a cholera outbreak from earlier this year.

And Pope Benedict XVI is making his second visit to Spain. He prayed at the tomb of the Apostle James and will consecrate a church that's been under construction for more than 100 years.

And so much for the gentility at the racetrack. Two of the jockeys went at it after the first Breeder's Cup race just last night. Look at right there! Have you ever seen anything like that? Jockey Calvin Boreal wearing green and purple went after Javier Castellano. He's the one in the yellow jersey you see right there. Oh, well you did see him. Boreal, a three-time Kentucky Derby winner was upset after Castellano cut into the path of his horse midway through the race. He did later apologize. Castellano was disqualified.

All right. Cheers to science. And it becoming what, the top "Viral Video?"

LEVS: It's one of my favorites of the week.

WHITFIELD: Really interesting, very interesting juxtaposition.

LEVS: Right. Not the kind of cheerleaders you're used to seeing, right? This is pretty amazing. I love seeing if this kind of thing goes viral. Take a look here. The science cheerleaders. These are former NBA and NFL cheerleaders who are now scientists, engineers, and doctors. They got together. They have all these routines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: They're engaging, but most important, in 2005, '06 and '07.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVS: We're hearing two different versions at the same time.

I think someone played the video twice just now. Basically it's USA science and engineering festival in Washington last month. They decided to play at, and they got together, they have all these cheers that they do. They talk about their careers. They talk about how far they've come. They talk about the things they did and how science is really cool. It's organized by Darleen Cavalier who is a former cheerleader for the Philadelphia 76ers. She's now a science advocate. If you skip to the second section of the video, we should hear her now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DARLEEN CAVALIER, FOUNDER, FORMER 76'ERS CHEERLEADER: I am a former Washington Redskins cheerleader. Got an undergrad degree in molecular biology.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Amazing.

LEVS: Well anyway, you're hearing from others.

WHITFIELD: That's her.

LEVS: And I talked to her yesterday, I talked to her about this. This is just a really interesting idea and it sends a really good message to girls, science is cool.

WHITFIELD: Yes, they do.

LEVS: Encourage people to come forward and do that.

WHITFIELD: I do, too. I like it. LEVS: All right, cool. Now, the guy I showed you before the break.

WHITFIELD: Oh, yes. Did he really fall asleep?

LEVS: He did. Let's take a look at the video.

WHITFIELD: I'm always a skeptic.

LEVS: I want to know who's holding the camera. I have a lot of questions about this one. But watch what happens. The subway doors open, and --

WHITFIELD: Ow.

LEVS: But two people come over and help him. He gets right up and he walks. So he's OK.

WHITFIELD: OK. Embarrassing.

LEVS: You can get really, really, really --

WHITFIELD: That's a weird place to fall asleep. He must have been really tired.

LEVS: He was really exhausted. I feel bad for the guy.

WHITFIELD: That's a tough spot to fall asleep.

LEVS: It's rough. But it's too bad it's caught on camera. Again, I think he's moving on, so he's OK.

WHITFIELD: Great.

LEVS: All right. Time for your weekly adorable.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Does it involve an animal?

LEVS: Yes.

WHITFIELD: OK. A child?

LEVS: No. This time it's just an animal. Always an animal. All right take a look at the cat, the cat that loved to be thrown on the bed. Watch.

WHITFIELD: Whee.

LES: So one time the guy throws him on the bed, he's like huh, I don't get it. Watch what happened. Keeps going back. Can't get enough. And then he figured out the system. Want to do it again. Want to do it again. He can't wait. He runs back.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh.

LEVS: That's cute, yes. So, our attempt at I-report of the week. We have a cool I-report from an engineering professor; he shared this video from his students' launch and recovery of a weather balloon. That is a balloon exploding in space. They sent it up, with a camera attached to it. And when it gets way up high it explodes into these pieces. And look at that. And then it falls, because they have the video, they have the footage, and you can actually see what happened with it. And you know there's always some of the funky sciency things that end up going viral because people are so interested. Special things bursting.

WHITFIELD: Almost had kind of a jelly fish effect, you know.

LEVS: And it is time for your video.

WHITFIELD: I get it today?

LEVS: Roll it guys, go ahead.

WHITFIELD: Exhale.

LEVS: If I lower my voice. This is Paulfromstokeuk.com. He creates these compositions. This is nice.

WHITFIELD: The rest of the news coming our way, right?

LEVS: Yes.

As always, all the videos posted to facebook. Take a look. Are you?

WHITFIELD: Load off my shoulders.

LEVS: I'm telling you, what music can do.

WHITFIELD: Let's go on a few more hours.

LEVS: Show the facebook page because that's where the link is for you. And you can send me your favorites. And tomorrow, Sunday, in the 5:00 p.m. Eastern hour we will have some of your favorites in tomorrow's "Viral Video Rewind."

WHITFIELD: I like it. More cute and cuddly. More Zen.

LEVS: More Zen. More cute and cuddly, more funny, more people falling unfortunately.

WHITFIELD: OK. Good. We look forward to all that. Thanks, Josh.

LEVS: You got it.

WHITFIELD: All right. Harley-Davidson revving up. Where consumers are? Guess what, it's got a new plant opening. India.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. News out of the president's India trip, U.S. companies are working out deals with India worth billions of dollars. Here are some of the deals in the pipeline: 33 Boeing 747s worth nearly $3 billion, ten Boeing C-17 military transport planes worth $4.5 billion. GE has a couple of deals involving jet engines, and gas and wind turbines. The white house says the deals would mean about 54,000 U.S. jobs. Outsourcing it's a major sticking point between American workers and India. Get ready for this one. Harley-Davidson, parts made in America, but the bikes assembled in New Delhi?

Here's CNN Sara Sidner.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Vikram Bhalla is fulfilling a childhood dream, sitting atop his prize possession, his Harley- Davidson motorcycle.

VIKRAM BHALLA, HARLEY-DAVIDSON RIDER: I always wanted a Harley. When I was growing up, I had posters on my wall. So I remember seeing Harley-Davidson and the Marlboro man, in the old movies, and just make people look so cool. So I thought why not.

SIDNER: But Vikram's not riding the open road in the U.S. of A where the brand has a cult-like following. Instead he's on the congested roads of India and loving every minute of it. Vikram is the first customer in India to take a Harley home, after the high-end brand went on sale in the country for the first time this year.

BHALLA: Riding Harley, it's sort of like meditation almost. It distresses me. You know, I can come back after like a 14-hour day, sit on my bike, go out at night, and back refreshed, happy, big smile on my face.

SIDNER: India's Harley-Davidson story started in 2007 with the U.S./India trade agreement we like to call mangoes for motorcycles. The U.S. agreed to allow India to export mangoes to the America market, in exchange the U.S. allowed to export Harley-Davidson to the Indian market.

ANOOP PRAKASH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HARLEY-DAVIDSON INDIA: I think it's best part for free trade, win/win for everyone. Indians get Harleys the U.S. gets some mangoes. It's a great exchange.

SIDNER: Sweet.

PRAKASH: Very sweet.

SIDNER: The company is doing something to make that deal a little sweeter for its bottom line and potential Indian customers. Harley- Davidson is building a plant in northern India, only the second one outside the USA. Right now, buying a Harley in India means paying double the price of those in America, due to India's sky-high import duties on fully assembled vehicles. Bringing in just the bike parts to be assembled in India means an 80 percent reduction in import duty tariffs, which should drop the price for consumers in India. Do you feel there might be any pushback from the American population who sees this brand as the American dream realized, that you're building a plant now in India? PRAKASH: Well, what we're doing is made in the USA, assembled in India which will have a positive job effect back home. That's really why we're driving this investment as quickly as we are.

SIDNER: As President Barack Obama is set to arrive in India, Harley- Davidson says its deal is an example of how to increase U.S. bilateral trade and investments with India, as well as create jobs in both countries. Something the Obama administration is keen on doing. Harley-Davidson, along with several other global luxury motor bike brands, are hoping this country is one of the keys to revving up profits for years to come, as India is second only to China as the largest two-wheeler market in the world.

Sara, Sidner, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right. A tweet-up at the Kennedy Space Center. We'll tell you who got invited and what they thought.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, NASA is now looking at the end of November for the launch of the space shuttle "Discovery." A fuel leak forced NASA to scrub yesterday's planned launch. It was the fourth postponement in a week triggered by either technical problems or bad weather. "Discovery's" mission to the International Space Station will be its final voyage.

Now to an extraordinary event at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA invited some elite twitter followers to a two-day tweet-up this week. They got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at NASA facilities and one of the people lucky enough to be able to attend, Bill Romanos joining us from best Palm Beach, Florida. Good to see you.

BILL ROMANOS, INVITED TO NASA TWEET-UP: Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: So it must have been very exciting. Tell me what happened?

ROMANOS: Well, NASA sent out an invite on twitter and about close to 3,000 people responded, and I got picked. 150 people got picked and we all got to go to NASA for behind-the-scenes, VIP tours and briefings by astronauts, and engineers, and program managers.

WHITFIELD: And we're looking at some still photos now. So give me an idea about what some of the behind-the-scenes look was. Because if anyone's gone to the Kennedy Space Center, it is huge. I mean it's many acres, wide, long, et cetera and there are a lot of things to see but I'm not really sure what you exactly had access to. So give me an idea what buildings, or what things you got a chance to see.

ROMANOS: Well, one of the best things we got to see was the vehicle assembly building. We got to go inside of it. And the public hasn't been allowed to go inside since about 1979. And it's one of the -- it's probably the biggest building in the world by volume, so that was very neat. And there was live solid rocket boosters in there when we went in there. We were told don't -- don't use your flash on your camera. Don't use a lighter, or don't bring in your car keys because of the static electricity.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh! So that was a little nerve-racking, too, then, wasn't it?

ROMANOS: Yeah, it was a little nerve-racking. Especially when my flash went off. But that was okay.

WHITFIELD: Glad --

ROMANOS: We got to see --

WHITFIELD: Go ahead.

ROMANOS: Yeah. And we got to see the -- the landing strip for the space shuttle. And the planes that the astronauts flew. We saw the astronauts flying their T-38s to practice even two days before the scheduled launch. And that was pretty neat. We also saw Robonaut II which is the new NASA robot made my NASA and GM that was going to be flown to the space shuttle to the International Space Station.

WHITFIELD: So who knew that tweeting would be your ticket to, you know, Cape Canaveral? So, once you -- you went through the tour, got a chance to see all these very cool things, for -- in many cases once in a lifetime opportunity, what did you end up tweeting about? What did people want to know mostly?

ROMANOS: Right. Well, a lot of us were broadcasting live so a lot of people got to see it live. We used a broadcasting service over the internet. And somebody had built a device for his iPhone to go on to home and he broadcast live on the internet. We basically showed pictures so we got really close to the launch pad and we showed pictures. People were really interested in that kind of stuff.

WHITFIELD: So then you had to be very sad about the potential demise of the -- the space shuttle program?

ROMANOS: Right. Well, everybody at NASA was very friendly. And they were like a family, and they really get excited about launches, and you think they wouldn't because they're there all the time. So, but everybody is worried about what's going to happen with the NASA budget, and --

WHITFIELD: Yeah.

ROMANOS: And whether we returned to manned space program.

WHITFIELD: Fantastic. Bill Romanos, thanks so much for your time. And congratulations for getting such a great opportunity to see up close and personal what very few people ever get a chance to see. Thanks for sharing.

ROMANOS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Let's talk about some stormy weather coming out west, unseasonably cold. There she is, Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hello.

WHITFIELD: Nasty cold stuff out there. But just in time to fall back.

JERAS: Right. Don't forget to do that.

WHITFIELD: I'm not going to forget because that means one extra hour of sleep.

JERAS: This is the one we like to do.

WHITFIELD: This is the one I like a lot.

JERAS: This is everybody's favorite. You get to sleep a little more. We love that. Don't forget to do it. Of course not everybody tracks daylight savings time. People in Arizona, parts of Indiana. You know who you are. Let's talk a little bit about what's going on with these seasonal changes. We've had a whole lot of crazy weather going on particularly temperature wise. We've had record heat across parts of the west. It's crazy cold in parts of the east and then we're going to flip flop things once again. We can thank this big cold front out west which is going to be bringing some big changes. You're already starting to see the rain showers across parts of the Pacific Northwest. We're going to see heavy snow in the Sierras, especially late tomorrow. We're talking over a foot in the higher elevations. We do think they're going to get down into the main passes along I-80. So be aware of that if you're traveling this weekend. As that front approaches it is going to bring an end to some of those crazy high temperatures. You'll still get it maybe across the Rockies and across parts of the inner mountain west tomorrow. 76 in Denver. Awesome.

WHITFIELD: Mm-hmm.

JERAS: The pick city of the weekend. The east, we're dealing with the cold temperatures now and that cold air is out there moving over warmer lake water so we've been getting some lake-effect snow showers and now rain showers as those temperatures have heated up throughout the day today. But it's so cold we even saw snow as far south as the Carolinas, yeah. That happened early this morning. Wasn't much but, hey, it was out there. And we've got freeze warnings in effect across much of the Deep South where temperatures are going to drop down into the upper 20s to middle 30s. A killing frost, 28 degrees for four hours or more, that's what it means. And that's likely what's going to happen as we've got some mums you're trying to save, maybe bring them inside and try and protect them for tonight. Temperatures 5 to 10, maybe even 15 degrees below normal here across the east. There you can see the temperatures way above normal for tomorrow. You can see the cooler air moving in from the west. So all of this is going to squeeze eastward the next couple of days. It's cold, grab a blanket. Sleep an extra hour.

WHITFIELD: I like it. Get a little hot cocoa from morning.

JERAS: I love that. WHITFIELD: I've got a plan. I've got a plan.

JERAS: I'll take coffee.

WHITFIELD: Okay, I'll do hot cocoa.

All right. Thanks so much, Jacqui. OK. They're very busy actresses. Wait until you hear what they do when they're not making movies. Straight ahead more of my face-to-face interview with Kerry Washington and Kimberly Elise, stars of the new film "For Colored Girls."

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WHITFIELD: All right. There's already quite the buzz about the performances in the new movie "For Colored Girls." I sat face-to-face with two of the actresses, Kerry Washington and Kimberly Elise. They talked a lot today in face-to-face about the challenges and personal transformations they underwent while filming. They say real life, too, can be just as remarkable. I started this conversation by talking with Kerry about her work as a member of the president's committee on arts and the humanities.

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WHITFIELD: You were coming face-to-face with people all the time, after being on the campaign trail with President Barack Obama before becoming president, and now, appointed in this position, so, what are you seeing out there in people when you talk to them about arts, and what are you seeing in just the -- the makeup of, you know, Americans and their temperament?

KERRY WASHINGTON, ACTRESS: Well, I'm -- I'm really proud to serve on the president's committee for the arts and humanities because I really do believe in the transformative power of the arts. I think that there is such possibility for us to understand each other as human beings through art, through literature, through music. I think it's how we can break down boundaries and understand each other more.

WHITFIELD: Kimberly, I know you continuously, you're just constantly busy. You know, you're doing a little bit of everything. Congratulations on your latest NAACP image award.

WASHINGTON: She's so good in this movie. She's so breathtakingly good in this movie. As is everyone. The whole cast. I mean, you've never see Janet like this before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can keep yours.

WASHINGTON: You've never seen Whoopi like this before. It will blow your mind. It really will.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You sent her there! You are the devil.

WHITFIELD: We know it's a given because every time you're in anything, you are a complete standout. So I wonder, you know, how is it that you, you know, juggle the demands, you become your character, at the same time you're juggling, you know, being a mom of two, you know, a lot of folks would still wonder, you know, how do you immerse yourself in your profession as you do, and at the same time be able to immerse yourself in your family?

KIMBERLY ELISE, ACTRESS: My children are very supportive. And they understand what I do, and I talk to them about it. And they're always first. They're always my first consideration, in anything that I do. And for this project, I, you know, I reminded them I have to go very deep, very dark, I'll be absent on some level. And they understand it. They kind of know, they kind of know the routine. And in my -- in my regular everyday life, I have support base --

WHITFIELD: Okay, so you do kind of stay in character for awhile? When you say your kids really support and they know, okay, she's in the zone. You stay there for awhile?

ELISE: Right. Yeah, but I don't play anybody dangerous or play anybody dangerous or scary. I may come home melancholy and kind of quiet, but they know and they understand. And my youngest one wants to be an actress. So she's learning about the process and that it's not just having your picture taken and red carpets.

WHITFIELD: It's work.

ELISE: On many levels. If you really want to do the craft.

WASHINGTON: Sometimes I think I'm leaving my character at work when I'm coming home and I'm not. You never know, because whereas with another artist, your canvas is your tool of expression. We are our tools of expression. There's no boundary. So there's no separation. There's not a piano where the art happens. All the art happens here. So we have to be available for whatever it takes and each role is different.

WHITFIELD: So I wonder the common denominator I see with the two of you and I think about the movies I've seen you in --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are releasing him. Now you need to do something, do you hear me? Do something!

WHITFIELD: I mean, all of these women are very strong, thoughtful, powerful women. These are strong women, even though they are dealing with stuff, you know, they are very strong at the core. So do both of you kind of look for characters like that, that do represent something or some kind of parallels of your own personal constitution?

WASHINGTON: We're really drawn to authenticity. The truth of it is that people are strong, and people are vulnerable. That each of us are a combination of those qualities.

ELISE: I can't really bring me into it. You go on the journey with Crystal and see where she arrives and hopefully that's an inspiration and an instruction to other women on what is such an important lesson I think for all women is to put your own oxygen mask on first. Love yourself first. That is so vitally important. It's a challenge for us as women. It's a challenge for me some days to do that. If you don't, as the woman, the centerpiece, we are the centerpiece, we are the light of humanity. And if we don't feed ourselves first, everybody else is going to suffer.

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WHITFIELD: All right, thank you, Kimberly and Kerry. They're so dynamic as you see right there and dynamic in that movie "For Colored Girls" out this weekend. We'll talk about it later on from a reviewer's standpoint. Also, next week, more "face to face" with music, fashion and business mogul Russell Simmons. His new reality show "Running Russell Simmons" debuted this week. He explains why he wants you to know about his work, charities and his spirituality. I asked him about this specific aspect of his new television show.

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WHITFIELD: Got a couple of interns who are profiled very heavily in the show, and you even tease, in the next episode there's a basic instinct moment.

RUSSELL SIMMONS, CO-FOUNDER, DEF JAM RECORDS: That wasn't a tease. That was a little bit upsetting. It was kind of funny and real life.

WHITFIELD: But decisions are made whether to include that kind of material and if that will distract from the message that you're trying to end.

SIMMONS: It will add to ratings.

WHITFIELD: Is that a conflict, the ratings versus the message?

SIMMONS: It has to have a balance. You have to have one foot in the world and one foot in the real world. I noticed Kim Kardashian has more twitter follows than the president. So I sent her to my school in Africa and we raised a lot of money.

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WHITFIELD: All right. Next Saturday face to face with Russell Simmons, you don't want to miss that. He's an extraordinary individual with his hands in a lot of things. You might learn a thing about his business acumen and his spirituality base as well.

All right well he is part of a presidential dynasty. Some GOP insiders say former Florida Governor Jeb Bush would be the guy to beat in 2012. That is, if he runs. That's next.

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WHITFIELD: All right. Time for our political ticker update. We're keeping an eye on all the latest headlines at the CNNpolitics.com desk. Here's what's crossing right now. Republican Senator Elect Marco Rubio says Americans have "had it with business as usual in Washington." Today, he delivered the weekly GOP radio and web address. Rubio said this election is a second chance for Republicans to be what they wanted to be. The candidate who narrowly failed in her bid to be Florida's next governor has a new focus for her criticism, the Obama administration. Democrat Alex Sink calls the white house "tone deaf." She says political leaders need to do a better job of listening to and understanding what Americans want. Sink lost the gubernatorial post to Rick Scott.

Will there be another President Bush? Some GOP strategists say former Florida Governor Jeb Bush would make a strong and viable candidate for president in 2012. Brian Todd reports.

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BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He was the first person to greet rising Republican star Marco Rubio when the Florida Senate race was in the bag. Jeb Bush was a key campaigner for Rubio and some GOP strategists tell us Bush would be a formidable challenger to a now vulnerable president in 2012 if he decides to run. What puts him at the top of the ticket at this point?

CHERI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Jeb Bush has the Bush family name, but he was able to stay independent while his father and his brother were president. That takes a lot of talent. He would do very well with Hispanics. He would do well with the tea party folks and across the country and he would still do very well with the establishment. I don't believe there's too many people out there who can carry that many things on their shoulders.

TODD: GOP insiders say the former Florida governor's wide fund- raising network would also be crucial, especially going up against perspective challengers Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. He was highly regarded by both parties as governor. In a critical electoral state, that's another strong attraction. One top Republican official in Florida, who is a close friend of Jeb Bush's, tells us important figures in the party are urging him to run. We couldn't get comment from Bush's office on that. CNN's John King recently asked him whether he would endorse Palin if he didn't run.

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I'm not running and if Sarah Palin is the nominee and she's running against Barack Obama, you betcha.

TODD: Analysts say it was Jeb who years ago who seemed to many inside Republican circles to be the most viable presidential candidate among the Bush siblings. Now for all his crossover appeal, some point to that obvious potential obstacle for Jeb Bush.

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TODD: How much does that name brand hurt him?

RAMESH PONNURU, NATIONAL REVIEW: I think there is no question that the number one political liability for a Jeb Bush presidential run is the dynasty issue. If he had a different last name but the same record of accomplishment, he'd be at the top of everybody's list.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: But the Bush name may not do as much harm as it once did. Just last month, in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, on who has been a better president, Barack Obama scored just two points higher than George W. Bush, compared to a year earlier, when Obama was up twenty-three points.

The former president's new book is also seen as something of a rehabilitation tour.

Brian Todd, CNN. Washington.