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'Political Pop'; Beastly Sun Block

Aired May 27, 2004 - 08:31   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: It is time for the newly minted segment we like to call "Political Pop." Newly minted being, we don't know what we're doing yet. But joining us this morning with their special brand of expertise, Paul Scheer. He's a VH1 contributor.
Good morning to you, Paul.

Also, political analyst Serena Torrey.

Nice to see you, Serena.

And Mark Pfeifle. He is communications director for the Republican Convention.

Nice to see all of you. Let's get going. You know the rules, or if you don't, you'll pick them up along the way.

Paul, we're going to start with you -- Bush daughters, the Kerry daughters, head to head.

PAUL SCHEER, VH1 CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, finally an issue America can get excited about. Who has the hotter daughter? Now we've been talking about it. It's come to a head.

O'BRIEN: At least it's something important.

SCHEER: Yes, finally, enough with the issues. We need to figure out who's hotter. Last week Alex, Kerry's daughter, was in Cannes, and she revealed herself in a very revealing dress. And then now the Bush twins...

O'BRIEN: She was practically naked.

SCHEER: Yes, she was.

O'BRIEN: Serena is going, no, no.

SERENA TORREY, POL. ANALYST: In fairness, Paul, the dress apparently was not at all transparent, until she got under the glare of the flashbulbs.

O'BRIEN: I've used that excuse, too, sometimes when you're on the set.

TORREY: It's always tough to be thrust into the political spotlight. Unfortunately for Alex Kerry, it was an especially bright spotlight. SCHEER: Exactly. But now the Bush twins have countered this, and now they're going to be appearing in "Vogue." So they're knocking it up. So now, where does Kerry's daughter go? That's my next question.

MARK PFEIFLE, COMM. DIR. REPUBLICAN CONVENTION: Well, I can't comment on the dress in France, because I don't own any see-through clothing, and I've never partied in France with Michael Moore. But I do know that it's a good thing that youth are getting involved, and the candidates' children are getting involved. Hopefully it will inspire more young children to get involved in politics and get more people out to vote. President Bush has a good campaign that people want to get involved in.

O'BRIEN: So do you think that young women or maybe soccer moms, or the single women, we talked about them the other day as being this big voting block, potentially, that never actually votes. Do you think that these young women sort of are appealing to those voters?

TORREY: I think that's what the campaign counts on, that these young people who are so knowledgeable about these candidates are able to connect with voters on issues, and in a way that some of these older folks might not be.

O'BRIEN: It is about the issues in the end; it's not about the press.

SCHEER: I'd like to see them both on the cover of "Maxim." Let America decide.

O'BRIEN: Not talking to you for the rest of the segment. "Maxim," please.

All right, Serena, question for you. Did you see this -- I'm sure you did, this incredible story about these seven Iraqis who had their hands cut off, I guess, under Saddam Hussein for various infractions that apparently involved sort of dealing with the finances in some way or money from foreign countries. They were at the White House. First, what do you make of this story? They've got prosthetic limbs.

TORREY: Clearly they've been through a terrible ordeal, and these are Iraqis who were held in the Abu Ghraib Prison under the Saddam Hussein regime, and have recently received prosthetic arms to replace the ones that were removed. And President Bush hosted them in a photo-op yesterday, as which he shook their new prosthetic arms. I've got to say, it's a tough day in the White House when your message of the day is, you think our guys were treated badly, look at Saddam's prisoners.

O'BRIEN: I know Mark's going to say, that wasn't the message, Serena.

PFEIFLE: It was a great event. It shows America's spirit. It shows the kindness that the American people have. One of these gentlemen made a phone call to see what the price of gold was, and Saddam Hussein cut off their hand to do it. These men can now do things they couldn't do before, like hold a child, drink a glass of water, tie their own tie, and other things like that. It shows that tyranny, that Saddam Hussein, that the Taliban projected upon their people. Now they're free because of President Bush and his leadership.

O'BRIEN: Did you see Jay Leno on this?


O'BRIEN: It's actually kind of funny. Let's take a look, I think.


JAY LENO, LATE SHOW HOST: Seven Iraqi men who had their hands cut off under Saddam Hussein were recently brought to the United States and fitted with high-tech prosthetic hands. The bad news, the first thing they did with the new hands, throw rocks at the U.S. embassy.


O'BRIEN: That was sort of funny. Oh, you guys. They're like, oh, not that funny. I was amused, but you know, what can I say.

SCHEER: I think that, yes, it was a moving thing, but it was still kind of creepy. It's like the school bully coming over your house for, like, a birthday party. It's like, don't we hate each other? But you brought me a cool gift. It's a little...

O'BRIEN: I disagree completely. All that was donated. The plastic surgeons donated their time as well. I thought it was...

SCHEER: They found seven people that like them in Iraq and they...

O'BRIEN: I thought that was a heartwarming story.

All right, Mark, let's talk about Al Gore. Did you see this?


O'BRIEN: I think it's fair to use the word rant in this speech that he gave yesterday. And he said "utter incompetence upon the part of the president has made the world a far more dangerous place." Here's what else he had to say. Let's watch it.


AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He planted the seeds of war, he harvested a whirlwind, and now the corrupt tree of a war waged on false premises has brought us the evil fruit of Americans torturing and sexually humiliating prisoners who are helpless in their care.


O'BRIEN: He went on and on. He talked -- he call for the immediate resignation of Ronald -- Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, other people as well. So do you think that that kind of rant -- and he got a little more animated as he went along. That part was kind of calm. Does it make an impact?

PFEIFLE: Way, way, way over the top. During Al Gore's time as vice president, we had a war declared over the U.S. five different times. We had American citizens killed four different times. And Al Gore now to make these comments that are so over the top, so irresponsible, in front of, an organization that has run ads that compare the president to Hitler, shows how out of touch and how angry the Democrats are these days.

O'BRIEN: Serena, does the Kerry campaign want this?

TORREY: Let's be fair, Al Gore received 600,000 more votes than George W. Bush. He speaks to an enormous constituency in this country that has felt disenfranchised. The Kerry campaign has certain things it can't say, and Al Gore...

O'BRIEN: There are some reports, though, the Kerry campaign said, oh, tone it down, that's not the image we're necessarily putting forth. Are you saying that's not true, the Kerry campaign says we can't say that, so go ahead, brother, do it for us?

TORREY: Al Gore is not the only one calling for resignations or using the word "incompetent," and he won't be the last.

SCHEER: I think that it's a traditional Al Gore move, where he's saying the right things, but just doing it in the wrong way. It's like he just seemed like a step away from having a shoe in hand and banging on the podium. It's, like, you want to get behind it, but it's like, just cool it down just a little bit.

PFEIFLE: It's kind of sad that Al Gore -- that John Kerry's two main surrogates are Ted Kennedy, liberal Senator from Massachusetts, and Al Gore, a guy who lost last time, by the electoral college, no matter what Serena says.


O'BRIEN: Not particularly fair. There's a lot of other people lining up behind John Kerry, but that's going to be the final word this morning.

Paul, and Serena and Mark, thank you very much. This is our second time of "Political Pop," and you know what...

TORREY: We're getting good.

O'BRIEN: ... I think I like it.

Yes, we're getting great.

Anderson, back to you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, British police arrest a terror suspect wanted in the U.S. He's nicknamed "The Hook." We'll hear more, coming up.

And as Midwest floodwaters begin to recede, what's been left undamaged? We'll take a look at that.

And you wouldn't want to look like a hippo when you're at the beach. But you may want some help from one. We'll explain, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


COOPER: Well, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is off today. In this morning's medical news, beyond sunscreen. Turns out the best kind of sunblock may be SPF beastly. How do you feel about hitting the beach after getting lathered in hippo sweat?

Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now to explain. Hippo sweat? How is this possible?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Doesn't that sound like a fun day at the beach, to be lathered in hippo sweat? That would be my way of spending the afternoon.

Scientists in Japan were looking at hippo sweat, and I'll explain why in a minute. It's reddish and brownish. In fact, some people say hippos actually sweat blood. But in fact, it's not blood, it's sweat. And when they looked at it, the chemical structure of the sweat -- there it is, dripping off the hippo -- was actually very similar to the chemical structure of sunscreen. And when they looked at it, it also had antibacterial properties. And Then when they took an even closer look, they found that it actually worked better than the kind of sunscreen you can buy in a drug store.

COOPER: I don't know how long it took that cameraman to get that hippo to sweat to get those photographs.

So how long is it going to before -- I mean, are we actually going to end up seeing products that are marketed as hippo sweat sunscreen?

COHEN: You know, hippo sweat sunscreen is probably -- oh, that's hard to say -- is probably not coming to a shelf near you anytime soon, and the reason why is that -- there we go. Those are the different kinds of light that each of them will -- that hippo sweat and that sunscreen will block out, and as you can see, that hippo sweat will block out a different kind of range, a better kind of range. You're probably not going to see it soon, because it turns out to be very unstable. It has to be encased in hippo mucus in order to stay stable.

COOPER: This just gets worse and worse.

COHEN: So it's probably not going to be the absolute best thing to put on the market.

But there are a couple of other ones that are interesting. They're not just looking at hippo sweat as a natural sunscreen. They are also looking at baby coral. There's a product called corizol (ph) that's being studied in Australia. Green tree extract. That' sounds a lot nicer than hippo sweat. Clover and soybeans. So they're looking at all of those as sunscreens that maybe possibly could work better than what's on the shelf now.

COOPER: All right, I never thought I'd hear the word hippo mucus, but...

COHEN: There you go, this morning.

COOPER: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.

Still to come -- no more about hippos -- if President Bush wins re-election, could some domestic programs face the chopping block? We'll talk about that, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. It's 45 minutes past the hour, time to take a look at some of today's other news with Heidi Collins.

Heidi, good morning.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. And good morning to you, everyone.

The government warns Americans to be on the lookout for seven suspected members of al Qaeda. Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller named them during a news conference yesterday. U.S. officials say credible intelligence shows potential attack could happen this summer. Ashcroft said the suspects all pose a clear and present danger to Americans and should be considered armed and dangerous.

British police now have a terror suspect in custody after acting on a U.S. extradition request. British police won't confirm it, but sources say Egyptian-born cleric Abu Hamza Al-Masri will be in court today. Al-Masri has one eye, and a steel hook for a right hand from fighting in Afghanistan.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is expected to have more details on the arrest at 10:00 a.m. in a news conference this morning.

Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon delivers a new pullout plan for today after his first one was rejected. The Israeli prime minister unveiling a four-point proposal to Israeli lawmakers today. The original U.S.-backed plan was turned down by Sharon's Likud Party earlier this month.

In health news now, a new study suggests a widely used test that screens for prostate cancer misses up to 15 percent of tumors in older men, including some aggressive ones. The PSA test, as it's called, has been used on millions of men for more than 20 years, and the new findings are now sparking debate on how results from f the test are checked. The study appears in today's "New England Journal of Medicine."

In the Midwest, people are struggling to save their homes as more flooding brings destruction to the region. Illinois's governor has declared disaster areas in two counties now. The river waters in Gurnee have crested more than 4 1/2 feet above flood levels.

In Livingston County, Michigan, a local state of emergency now, as massive flooding there damaged nearly 300 homes in the area. A lot of good news there for those folks, that's for sure.

O'BRIEN: Heidi, thanks.

Well, if President Bush wins a second term, who might feel the pinch? With that, and a preview of the market this morning, Andy Serwer "Minding Your Business."



"The Washington Post" has a very interesting story this morning, Soledad. It obtained a White House memorandum that shows what it says domestic programs that would be slashed by the president in his 2006 budget. These are programs, domestic programs, that he has supported during the campaign.

Let's check some of these things out. The Department of Education would have its budget slashed, according to this memo, by $1.5 billion. The interesting thing here, you guys, is that it's budgeted to have an increase of $1.7 billion in '05. So what this memo suggests is the president giveth, and then the president taketh away. Let's go to some of the others, Headstart down $177 million. Home ownership program, that would be down $53 million in '06, and it was budgeted to be up by $78 million in '05. The Democrats are crying bait and switch here. The president is saying this is just part of a routine budgeting process that will go on for the next couple of months.

O'BRIEN: I'm surprised to see homeland security on this list, down $1 billion.

SERWER: Yes, that's really, really interesting. That's just a small part of it, because I believe the budget for homeland security is over $20 billion. But it's a very important piece, and obviously, this is extremely controversial stuff. And the Democrats are also saying, this is what happens when you give these big tax cuts as well.

O'BRIEN: You've got a story about a European -- no, this is one we're going to talk about now. European firm giving out, I think it's fair to say, unusual perks to employees.

SERWER: Very much of a fringe benefit. This is very weird. A Danish technology firm noticed that a lot of its employees were spending time on the Internet at porn sites. So instead of simply just banning it and blocking it all, they said, you know, we're not going to fight it. What we're going to give this -- offer porn sites as a perk, and you can look at porn sites after work at home. And they said, it's just like giving out a free phone or a car.

O'BRIEN: No, actually, it's not.

SERWER: That's the difference between Denmark and the United States, isn't it?

O'BRIEN: Wow, interesting.

All right, let's talk about the market. Opens in what, we've got another 40 minutes to go.

SERWER: Quick one here. What we've got are futures higher. U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham in Moscow this morning saying, more oil is going to be coming online from Mexico, as well Russia and Nigeria. Also revision of the first quarter GDP just crossed the tape, Soledad. And the economy grew at 4.4 percent, up from 4.2 percent in the earlier projection. So more good news.

O'BRIEN: Great, Andy, thank you very much.

SERWER: You're welcome.

O'BRIEN: We'll check back in with you.

COOPER: And still to come, ahead this morning, Americans put on alert letter for potential attacks, and law enforcement is also calling for some help in the terror fight. We'll have more details on that. Stay with us AMERICAN MORNING.


COOPER: All right. Let's check in with Jack Cafferty and the Cafferty File -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Before we do the file, you just mentioned that the fellow that we've been talking about who's suing the Atkins Diet is going to be a guest on "ANDERSON COOPER 360" tonight.

COOPER: That is correct.

CAFFERTY: I mean, how cutting edge is your show? You're all over this stuff.

O'BRIEN: He's making phone calls from the anchor guest.

CAFFERTY: There we go.

Now, on the File. If your next visit to the doctor doesn't cure you, you may want to take a closer look at what he's wearing. Half the doctors' neckties disease-causing things on them, in a study done at the New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens. Researchers doctors' neck wear with those of hospital security guards. and found that the doctors' ties were eight times more likely to be contaminated with little cooties and stuff that could make you illin'. The author of the study say people don't wash their ties often enough.

A note to the author of the study: You don't wash your tie; you send your tie to the cleaners, OK.

OK, here's another story that may interest you, if your having marital problems. If your wife -- or your husband drives a Porsche, be very afraid. Half of German men who drive Porsches cheat on their partners...

O'BRIEN: Well, duh.

CAFFERTY: ... According to survey in "Men's Car" magazine.

O'BRIEN: Why do you think you buy a Porsche? Come on.

CAFFERTY: The other part of the study is half the people who don't drive Porsches probably cheat on their husbands, too. In second place were BMW drivers. Forty-six percent of them are unfaithful. And among German women, Audi drivers the most likely to commit adultery. So keep your eye on the woman in the Audi who pulls up next to you, could be a lead.

And the Calgary Flames are up 1-0 against Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup Finals. The fans are going nuts. They cannot contain their excitement, literally, or their breasts. They've been partying in the streets in Calgary with every victory, a lot of drinking and a lot of women flashing the crowds. Pictures of these women are all over the Internet. Some think it's all good fun. Others worry the message women are sending here is not the politically correct one. Meanwhile the Calgary police don't know what the hell to do about all of this. They are just telling people, please try to keep your clothes on.

COOPER: It's like Calgary girls gone wild.

CAFFERTY: Clearly. They don't call it the Calgary Stampede for nothing up there.

COOPER: Snoop Dogg better get out there and shoot a video.

O'BRIEN: That's right, roll tape.

CAFFERTY: It's a whole program in waiting there.

O'BRIEN: All right, Jack, thanks.

Still to come this morning, a small world story you may not believe: two relatives find each other after years of actually being together. We'll explain in our next hour, right here on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: And still to come on AMERICAN MORNING: Senator John Kerry has national security on his mind. He is ready to tell voters all about it. We're going to hear what he could gain from new effort, coming up.

Stay with us on AMERICAN MORNING.



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