We're on the verge of an impeachment vote in the House... even as the United States continues bombing Baghdad.
NEWS 7 is on Capitol Hill with the latest.
And the Express clear the ice for Elton John... the prospects for a Superstar concert in Roanoke coming up.
Tonight in sports, a group a swedish hoopsters are giving southwest Virginia workout.
VMI has a new coach,
And Anthony Poindexter has yet another honor added to his resume.
Cloudy skies and rainfall on the way for the weekend. We'll have your complete five-day forecast coming up.[open]
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This is a day unlike any in American history.
We may not witness such a confluence of events again in our lifetime.
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U-S warplanes and cruise missiles are now striking Iraq for the third straight night.
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And the same time, Congress is debating whether to impeach the Commander-In-Chief.
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The debate is scheduled to last another four hours, then one more hour tomorrow before a vote in the House.
We'll check in with Ellen Qualls in Washington with the latest on our congressmen in a few minutes. We're paying particular attention to Virgil Goode who says he hasn't made a final decision.
First, let's get up-to-date on the impeachment debate.
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For that, we go to Jonathan Freed at the Capitol.
[SUPER=Jonathan Freed/CBS News;]
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As the historic vote nears, one Virginia congressman is under unusual scrutiny.
Virgil Goode is one of a very few Democrats who has indicated he may vote to impeach the President.
If he does, it could affect Goode's standing within his party for years.
But how would it affect his standing in his own district?
Scott Goldberg went to the heart of "Goode Country".
[SUPER=03-Rocky Mount; :00]
[SUPER=01-Don Hutcherson; :32 (2nd time he appears--QUICK!!)]
[SUPER=01-Charles Robertson/Volunteer Firefighter; :51 (QUICK!!)]
[SUPER=01-Barbara Roskowinski/Democrat; 1:02]
[SUPER=01-Ronnie Roskowsinski/Republican; 1:12]
[OUT Q=News 7, Rocky Mount]
((In Virgil Goode's hometown of Rocky Mount, the voters are a lot like the man they put into office.
Most consider themselves Democrats.
Most act like Republicans.
[IN Q=i vote]
((ROBERTSON: I VOTE A SPLIT TICKET EVERY TIME I VOTE.))
Goode is the popular Democrat who ran uncontested in last November's election.
But he could be getting ready to do something fellow Democrats won't like:
Vote to impeach President Clinton.
[IN Q=i think]
((HUTCHERSON: I THINK VIRGIL'S GOTTEN HIMSELF INTO A BIT OF A CORNER HERE AS FAR AS PARTY POLITICS IS CONCERNED ON THIS VENTURE.))
[OUT Q=THIS VENTURE]
Don Hutcherson hosts a local radio call-in show.
[IN Q=the other]
((HUTCHERSON: THE OTHER MORNING WE CONDUCTED AN INFORMAL POLL AND IT CAME OUT 3 TO 1 TO LEAVE CLINTON ALONE.))
[IN Q=in rocky mount]
((SCOTT GOLDLBERG: IN ROCKY MOUNT, JUST A FOUR AND A HALF HOUR DRIVE FROM WASHINGTON, BUT A LONG WAY OUTSIDE OF THE BELTWAY, THEY MAY NOT BE WATCHING EVERY MINUTE OF THE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS. BUT THEY ARE WATCHING VERY CLOSELY THEIR HOMETOWN CONGRESSMAN.))
[OUT Q=LOCAL CONGRESSMAN]
[IN Q= I THINK HE'LL]
((ROBERTSON: I THINK HE'LL DO THE RIGHT THING. THAT'S HOW MUCH FAITH I HAVE IN THE MAN. HE'S A GOOD CONGRESSMAN. ))
[OUT Q=GOOD CONGRESSMAN]
But what IS "the right thing?"
Like Goode, Democrat Barbara Roskowinski thinks what Clinton did was wrong.
[IN Q=he's doing]
((BARBARA: HE'S DOING A GOOD JOB RUNNING THE COUNTRY. I THINK THEY SHOULD LEAVE HIM ALONE, LET HIM GO ON WITH THE JOB OF RUNNING THE COUNTRY.))
[OUT Q=THE COUNTRY]
Her husband Ronnie is a Republican but agrees with his wife.
[IN Q=he lied]
((RONNIE: HE LIED ABOUT IT, YEAH, WELL, WHO WOULDN'T? I MEAN, THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS IT'S OUT IN THE OPEN, IT'S DONE WITH. LET'S GET ON WITH BUSINESS NOW.))
[OUT Q=BUSINESS NOW]
Rocky Mount trusts Goode, who has said he will vote based on the evidence.
But if that vote goes against the president, it could test that trust...and Rocky Mount's willingness to keep standing by ITS man.
Scott Goldberg, News-7, Rocky Mount.))
If Goode has indeed decided how he will vote, he's keeping that decision to himself.
Ellen Qualls is on Capitol Hill, keeping track of all three of our congressmen.
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[Live= Ellen full/KU-Digi]
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(Rollcue: "...here's what he says.")
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[IN Q=I said]
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[OUT Q= "...week after."]
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[Double Boxes=Keith & Ellen/KU-Digi][Butler]
With Virgil Goode standing as one of the few possible exceptions, the impeachment debate is generally following party lines, so far... in contrast to the proceedings against President NIXON, a quarter century ago.
[IN Q=The hearings were]
[SUPER=03-Washington, DC/1974; :00]
[SUPER=04-Last Week; :10]
[SUPER=01-Rep. Bob Goodlatte/R - Virginia/December 8; :20]
[SUPER=10-Rep. Caldwell Butler/R - Virginia/1974]
[SUPER=01-Roanoke/September 30; 1:08]
[OUT Q=and impartially.]
[IN Q=The hearings were]
((THE HEARINGS WERE FAIR.))
[OUT Q=were fair.]
Roanoke's Republican Congressman Caldwell Butler bolted the party in the 1974 Judiciary Committee, and voted to impeach Nixon.
A generation later, a former member of Butler's staff- -Bob Goodlatte, holds the same seat in Congress... also serving on the Judiciary Committee. Butler was Goodlatte's mentor.
[IN Q=He was one ]
((HE WAS ONE OF THOSE SEVEN REPUBLICANS WHO VOTED FOR THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT. AND I THINK IT TAKES GREAT COURAGE AND GREAT INTEGRITY TO VOTE OUT ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT OF YOUR OWN PARTY.))
[SUPER=01-Rep. Bob Goodlatte/R - Virginia/December 8]
[OUT Q=your own party.]
According to a story in the Wall Street Journal this week, the vote cost Butler a chance to run for Governor of Virginia in 1985, citing "still vengeful conservatives" in the G-O-P who "couldn't support a guy who voted to sack Nixon."
[IN Q=It does make]
((IT DOES MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR THE MEMBERS OF THE PARTY WHO HAVE SUPPORTED ME AND THE PRESIDENT IN THE PAST.))
[OUT Q=in the past.]
Butler was re-elected in '74 and twice more returned to Congress.
He says now that there was only that one person who publicly suggested the impeachment vote should have cost Butler the party's nomination for Governor.
[IN Q=And I must tell]
((AND I MUST TELL YOU THAT I ADMIRE THE WAY CALDWELL BUTLER HANDLED HIS ROLE IN THE WATERGATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE.))
[OUT Q=Watergate Judiciary Committee]
At a Republican fund-raiser a couple of months ago- -an event Butler attended- -Goodlatte praised his predecessor.
[IN Q=...because he set ]
((...BECAUSE HE SET A STANDARD FOR REVIEWING A MATTER FULLY AND FAIRLY AND IMPARTIALLY.))
[OUT Q=and impartially.]
Goodlatte and Congressman Rick Boucher have voted with their respective parties.
Congressman Virgil Goode may become the Caldwell Butler of the 90's- -voting to impeach his own party's President.[
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He thought the letter looked suspicious, and he was right. Still ahead on News 7, police say it's a letter bomb.
Next, will Elton John play Roanoke? We're not sure, but we do know the Express was asked to change a home date to make room.
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The Rocket Man may be coming to Roanoke.
Elton John is tentatively set to perform at the Civic Center February 19th.
No contract has been signed, but the Roanoke Express has been asked to adjust its schedule to make way for the rock-n-roll superstar.
[IN Q=They had the]
((THEY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO BRING ELTON JOHN INTO THE BUILDING. SO WITHOUT ANY FURTHER ADIEU, I MOVED MY DATE WITH TOLEDO. I'M STILL WORKING ON A DATE, BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO BE THE GUY TO SAY, "NO, ELTON JOHN'S NOT GOING TO COME TO ROANOKE BECAUSE OF A HOCKEY GAME."))
[SUPER=01-Tony Mancuso/Roanoke Express GM]
[OUT Q=a hockey game.]
The 51-year old Grammy-award winner just completed a U-S tour and is back home in England at the moment. Cellar Door Concerts has not returned our phone calls, inquiring about next year's Elton John concert schedule.
The Express has moved the Toledo Storm game up to January 5th.[Letter-Bomb]
The letter looked suspicious, and it was.
A man brought it to the Radford Police Department Wednesday, who in turn passed it along to State Police. They opened it and determined it did indeed contain an explosive device.
Now police are trying to learn who sent it, and why.
No one was hurt.[Henry-Murder]
Police in North Carolina are charging a second man in connection with the theft of a car-- a crime that ultimately led to the murder of a Henry County farmer.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Earnest D. Williams-- but he is not in custody.
Williams is the son of Clyde Howard Junior, the man accused of killing James Stanley Taylor earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the search continues today for Howard.
He has eluded authorities since the murder Tuesday afternoon in Spencer.
Wall Street shook off any impeachment worries today.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE ]
The Dow finished the week advancing 28 points to 89-04. NASDAQ jumped 42 points.
As you know, U.S. bombs and cruise missiles are striking targets in Iraq for the third night in a row.
Polls show strong support for our military action, but not everyone's in favor of it.
Protestors are holding a vigil at Lee Plaza in downtown Roanoke at this hour, to demonstrate their opposition.
They are members of the Plowshare Peace and Justice Center, and the Virginia Tech Chapter of Amnesty International.
Their protest vigil started at six.
It will be a very Merry Christmas for a South Boston man-- thanks to the Virginia Lottery.
74-year old Allie Puckett struck it rich on Wednesday's Lotto jackpot.
It's worth about four-point-six million dollars, but since Puckett is taking the cash option, he'll receive about half that amount.
Puckett says he'll get a new pickup truck and share the rest with his three children.
Coming your way tonight on News 7 sports, another postseason honor from Poindexter.
A new coach for VMI, a new name for Geoff Bodine.
And a whole new experience for a group of hoosters from Sweden who are visiting here southwest Virginia.
While his Cavalier teammaters are tuning up for their Peach Bowl date with Georgia, Anthony Poindexter is spending his days cheering in his team and picking up awards.
Earlier this week the hard hitter was named a first team all-american at safety, and today the state's sports information directors named him the top player in the state of Virginia.
He earns this honor despite missing the last four games of the year with a serious knee injury.
He is also the ACC's defensive player of the year.
The VMI Keydets have reportedly settled on Air Force assistant coach Cal McCombs to be the school's new head football coach.
Sources in Lexington say that is the case, but the school has yet to release a formal statement confirming the hiring.
Five years ago, the Keydets hired Air Force assistant coach Bill Stewart who at the time was coaching defense for the Falcons.
He was considered a perfect fit at the school until an alleged racial slur cost him his job.
It's been a littleless than 24 hours since reports of Dom Capers likely firing in Charlotte began surfacing.
[SUPER=03-Spartanburg, SC; :00]
Many of his players think such a move would be a huge mistake for a team that was in the NFC championship game just two years ago.
[super=01-Jeff Brady/Panthers Linebacker; :00]
[OUT Q=...PIECES TOGETHER."]
If he is fired, Steve Spurrier says he is not a candidate and will stay at Florida.[S-Sweden]
[TAPE#=SP-21 TC 1:46:43]
[GRAPHIC=High School Basketball]
One team is taking the Roanoke Valley high school basketball scene by storm.
A squad of 15 year olds from Sweden has been going to classes and playing a little hoop this week.
The team from Bankeryd, has beaten all the teams it's faced, including one from Northside.
Today's test was against players from Shawsville.
The young Swedes say the United States is a lot different than what they've seen on T-V.
[IN Q=It's a big]
[SUPER=01-Christian Helmersson/Swedish Basketball Player; :00]
[OUT Q=Homeless people]
They say playing basketball and the cheerleaders have been their favorite parts of the trip.
Former Northside star Chad Briscoe coaches the Bankeryd team.
He's the focus of this weekend's Sports Extra.
That's Sunday Morning at eight.
And finally tonight, NASCAR's 50th anniversary season produced some memorable moments, but if the current offseason is any indication 99 may be the real deal.
[SUPER=03-Daytona Beach, FL/Last February; :00]
Veteran Geoff Bodine who recently announced he will drive a car next season owned by Joe Bessey, says he wants fans to start calling him Geoffrey instead of Geoff.
He says he hopes the name change will help jump start his career.
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Many people put up some decorations for the holidays..but some people go all-out in the spirit of the season.
And, one group thinks it's part of a cultural trend that deserves a place in history.
Jean Jadhon is in our newsroom with details.
[Take Jean full]
Keith, Christmas decorations and displays are becoming more and more elaborate these days..
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Now, a group called the Blue Ridge Institute is trying to document some of the eye-catching holiday attractions.
Tonight, we'll take you on a tour of some area homes decked with lights, Santas and nativity scenes --all in the Christmas spirit.
We'll have that plus more news, weather and sports tonight on News 7 at 11.
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