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Reagan Funeral Schedule; Gathering of Leaders: High-Level Talks; Scott Peterson Trial: Prosecution Strategy

Aired June 9, 2004 - 9:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: President Ronald Reagan embraced one final time in his home state. Now the emotional farewell goes to Washington.
President Bush with world leaders on Sea Island. Will his fiercest critics now rally around his plan for Iraq?

And a huge debate springing up in Washington. What did the attorney general tell the president about torture and interrogations? We look for the answer on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ANNOUNCER: This is AMERICAN MORNING, with Soledad O'Brien and Bill Hemmer.

O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome back, everybody. Bill Hemmer is in Washington, D.C. this morning. He's watching the funeral preparations for President Reagan. We'll check in with him in just a moment.

Some of the other stories we're following as well this morning, Jeff Toobin joining us to talk about the Scott Peterson trial. Some pretty dramatic testimony yesterday from members of Laci Peterson's family. They talked about their earliest suspicions. And we'll take a look at how the defense responded.

Also this morning, J. Lo made it into "90-Second Pop." It's going to be OK, Jack. Don't worry. We're taking a look at her wedding. Did it really happen or did it not? We'll figure out why we can't get a straight answer about J. Lo.

I'm done. That's it. That's all you have to listen to about J. Lo.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: It's just painful.

The "Question of the Day," up there in Boston, Massachusetts, where they're going to have the Democratic National Convention this summer, they're going to begin random searches of passengers' bags and checking IDs on the city's commuter trains and subways. Good idea or no? Part of the war on terror. is the address. I'm going to go downstairs and drive nails in the back of my hands to take my head off the J. Lo story.

O'BRIEN: I think you secretly really like it. CAFFERTY: No, I secretly really don't. I secretly have much stronger opinions about it than I'm allowed to express on a family television program.

O'BRIEN: Oh, yes. And I appreciate that as well.


O'BRIEN: Thank you, Jack.

Let's go out to Bill in Washington, D.C. Good morning, Bill.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Soledad, good morning to you.

We've moved across the country last night, as the focus shifts to Washington. An amazing twist of irony. Back in 1981, when Ronald Reagan came as was sworn into office, he physically moved the inauguration proceedings from the east side of the Capitol building to the west side so that he could honor his roots looking west back toward California.

Now the east side of the Capitol building is under construction. A massive visitors' center is being built. Therefore, later this evening, when the president's body is flown here, his casket will be brought up those same Capitol building steps where his -- the first lady, Nancy Reagan, will be waiting there at the top of those steps to greet him and that casket carrying.

And meanwhile, we're looking west this morning. Final preparations are being made at the library in Simi Valley, California. Candy Crowley up early out there, live in Simi Valley with more from there.

Candy, good morning.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: In a couple of hours, former first lady Nancy Reagan and the president's children will be arriving here to escort President Reagan's body back to Washington for one final trip to the East Coast. We expect that to happen around 11:15 Eastern Time this morning.

They will begin bringing the casket out here with a military escort, and then go on to Point Magoo. That is where Reagan flew in and out of his home in Santa Barbara during his residency.

About a four-hour trip from there. And at about 5:00, they expect he'll arrive at Andrews Air Force Base. He'll be flying aboard a Special Air Mission 28000, as they've been calling it. It's a Boeing 747; it has been used as Air Force One. That will be escorting the president's body home, at least to his Washington home.

Then we expect a procession in Washington, a horse-drawn carriage carrying the coffin of the former president, taking him up to the Capitol where he will lie in state. That is expected to begin about 6:00. Again, on Eastern Time. Californians had their final chance to say good-bye to their former governor and, of course, the former president. We're told about 100,000 people from California and points beyond filed by the casket of the president here at his library in Simi Valley. We were told about 33 hours straight they lined up to come and see and say their final respects.

One of those that came to see the former president is John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, who was out here for his daughter's graduation from film school. Kerry came by, was allowed, of course, to cut into the line, spent about a minute beside the coffin, placing his hand over his heart, making the sign of the cross, and then moved on. Kerry, we are told, is also expected to be at the funeral Friday in Washington, D.C.

We want to show you a live picture now, too, of where people have left their tokens of appreciation to the president outside the gates of the library. There are coming in posters, American flags, private messages, flowers, stuffed animals, people's way of saying good-bye, people's way of saying thank you. So California has had its chance -- at least Californians, public citizens -- had their chance to come by and say good-bye. As you know, Bill, the president's body will return here, in fact, to the library for a private burial on Friday -- Bill.

HEMMER: Candy, thanks for that. Candy Crowley in Simi Valley.

Meanwhile, back here in Washington, Lieutenant Colonel Tracy Bryant is regimental deputy of The Old Guard at Fort Myer, Virginia. They have a huge task throughout the next couple of days. He'll be leading the first marching unit in the Reagan funeral procession later today. He's our guest now.

Colonel, good morning to you.


HEMMER: Where are you in relation to the casket, the caisson?

BRYANT: I will be leading the first march unit, the first of two march units. So I will be near the head of the main funeral procession. The caisson and the casket will be in at the rear of the funeral procession with the motorcade.

HEMMER: There will be a black horse that will stand out, a horse by the name of Sergeant York. Tell us about this horse and the involvement today.

BRYANT: Sergeant York was donated to The Old Guard in 1997. Since that time, we've used Sergeant York as our caparison horse, our riderless horse. He participates in funerals in Arlington Cemetery on a regular basis.

HEMMER: The Reagans have veto power essentially over everything that happens today. Nancy Reagan has been very active for years in the planning. Have you had to do anything special as a result of the request from the family?

BRYANT: There is a generic special state funeral planned which we rehearse on several occasions throughout the course of the year, and this particular plan has been tailored based on the Reagan family wishes to meet family requirements.

HEMMER: Do you expect any moments? I mean, certainly there are a number of things that we're all going to watch over the next two and a half days. But many people harken back to 1963 and John F. Kennedy Jr. standing there at attention as his father passed.

BRYANT: Certainly, those of us who are participating in the funeral proceedings feel the spirit of the American public as we participate in this funeral. We can't avoid that. And there will be special moments, and it will occur for different people at different times.

For the service members who are participating in the funeral, many of us conduct funerals in Arlington Cemetery on a daily basis. And there've been a lot of special moments over the last couple of years, especially since 9/11, as a lot of our great heroes have been lain to rest. And so the pride and honor that we feel when we participate in funerals in Arlington Cemetery, we're going to feel that again this week as we bury President Reagan.

HEMMER: This is a big moment for you, isn't it?

BRYANT: It is. It is. It's been 30 years since there was a state funeral of this magnitude. The first time here in D.C. And so it's a big event.

HEMMER: Thank you. And good luck. Lieutenant Colonel Tracy Bryant. Nice to talk to you this morning here in Washington.

BRYANT: Thank you.

HEMMER: Also, to our viewers, stay with CNN. Starting at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, about two hours from now, our live coverage, "Remembering Ronald Reagan," will begin. Later in the day, a special report on the state funeral of Ronald Reagan. That comes your way 4:30 Eastern Time, 1:30 back in Simi Valley.

Back to Soledad now in New York -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, Bill. Thanks.

The U.N. is backing the U.S.-British plan for handing over power to Iraq. The Security Council voted unanimously in favor of it yesterday. It was also the first day of the G-8 summit in Georgia. Senior White House correspondent John King live for us in Savannah, Georgia, today.

The U.N. vote obviously good news, John, for the White House. But literally and specifically, what kind of affect do you think that vote's going to have on the summit? JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of the tone of the atmosphere, it has already had a dramatic effect, Soledad. You had the president of Russia yesterday, Vladimir Putin, a fierce critic of the war in Iraq, a fierce critic of President Bush and how the policy before the war played out, called this a major step, applauded Mr. Bush's leadership in getting the resolution through with the United States -- United Nations.

Mr. Bush sat down with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. He refused for months to speak to Mr. Schroeder because of his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq. Everyone described it as the warmest meeting they have had in years and said all the bitterness is behind. These two countries and two leaders are close friends again.

Now, how does that atmospherics affect what is done? No one at the White House is expecting Russia, France or Germany to send new troops into Iraq. But they do expect some quick help at reducing Iraq's debt, and they also expect those countries to now help the president as he tries to sell other initiatives here at the G-8 summit and in other international forums.

So, Soledad, overnight the mood has changed dramatically. We'll see in the next few days of this summit whether that turns into just nice talk or actually nice results.

O'BRIEN: And, of course, it's ironic, because Iraq really isn't technically on the agenda at all, is it?

KING: Well, there is a broader Middle East initiative on the agenda, though. The president is trying to push the G-8 to endorse -- and this will happen later today -- his call for all of the governments in the Middle East to do more, economic reforms, political reforms, empowering their people.

The president says that is the long-term cure to all this unrest that causes terrorism. Give people a strong economy, give people democratic political rights, and you will see much less terrorism. And the representatives of the new Iraqi government will be here for that session.

The president just said in a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he will tell the Iraqi government, the new interim government that he is pulling for them and that the United States will do all it can. And what is significant, from the president's view, is when he says that now, that the United States will do all it can, he can point around the room and say all of these people who opposed the war, they're promising to help you, too.

O'BRIEN: John King for us this morning. John, thanks.

It's now 12 minutes past the hour. Time to take a look at some of today's other news with Heidi Collins.

Good morning, again.

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

The Pentagon is reportedly increasing the number of U.S. forces in Iraq. According to USA Today, around 145,000 troops could be in Iraq this summer. That's up from the 140,000 now stationed there. A senior official claims force levels could go even higher as the tours of duty for Marines already in Iraq are extended.

Pakistani security forces battling suspected al Qaeda members. The clash is happening now near the border with Afghanistan. Intelligence sources say at least eight foreign fighters have been killed. Reports of rockets and mortars still being exchanged in the area.

U.S. intelligence agencies, not individuals, are reportedly being blamed for not detecting the September 11 terrorist attacks. That's according to members of the commission investigating the attacks interviewed by The Associated Press. The panel cites intelligence failures and communication breakdowns leading up to the catastrophe. The panel's final report is due July 26, but portions have already been sent to the White House.

In sports now, the Lakers win game two of the NBA finals. The series with the Detroit Pistons now tied one game a piece. Kobe Bryant scored a three-point shot with just seconds left to send the game into overtime. The final score there, 99-91. Game three will be played in Detroit tomorrow.

And in Florida, a goof. Yesterday's Tampa Tribune carried this mistaken editorial: "The Tampa Bay Lightning didn't win the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup last night, but the team had a championship season nevertheless." Hmm.

Tampa Bay actually beat the Calgary Flames Monday night 2-1. The newspaper publisher says it's still not clear how the mistake happened and apologizes to its readers and the team. Yeah, a goof, I guess.

Back over to you, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Obviously, the editor not a hockey fan.


O'BRIEN: Heidi, thanks a lot.

More testimony today in Scott Peterson's double murder trial as the prosecution continues to try to build its case. Yesterday, jurors heard Laci Peterson's stepfather tell of have the family's suspicions about Scott Peterson that grew after Laci vanished. CNN senior legal analyst, Jeff Toobin, with more on that testimony and also how the case is going so far.

Good morning.


O'BRIEN: What do you think was the most interesting thing from the stepfather's testimony yesterday?

TOOBIN: Well, it's really no one smoking gun piece of evidence in this case. It's an accumulation of suspicious facts about his behavior.

You know, he says he was a fisherman, but Scott bought a fishing boat and never told him about it. This fishing boat, according to the prosecution, is the instrument of murder. It is -- it was purchased by Scott Peterson, says the prosecution, in order to use it to kill his wife.

He didn't tell his stepfather -- stepfather-in-law that he bought this boat. You would have thought a fellow fisherman, he would have thought (ph) the same thing.

O'BRIEN: But for all...

TOOBIN: That's the kind of facts that are being accumulated here.

O'BRIEN: For all the ado about, you know, who goes fishing Christmas Eve, actually the stepfather said in cross-examination he went fishing on Christmas Eve.

TOOBIN: Quite a surprise in the courtroom yesterday. This is one of the, you know, arguments that's been made. Not so much by the prosecutors...

O'BRIEN: In the public.

TOOBIN: ... but sort of in the public. It's like, you know, come on, what kind of ridiculous story is it that you go fishing on a cold Christmas Eve morning? In fact, the stepfather went fishing. Although, as he pointed out, he went to a nearby fishing place. Not...

O'BRIEN: In the afternoon.

TOOBIN: Right.

O'BRIEN: Not first thing in the morning.

TOOBIN: And not 50 miles away in the Berkeley Marina.

O'BRIEN: All of this various family testimony, it's been fairly emotional about Scott and his behavior, that they describe as distant and unemotional and disinterested when they were all searching frantically for Laci. What kind of impact does that really have on the case?

TOOBIN: It's hard to say. You know, this -- the prosecutors did no begin this in a conventional way for a murder case. In a murder case, usually the prosecutors begin with, here's the victim, here is the body, this is how he or she was found. Look at the terrible wounds, look at what happened here.

Instead, the prosecutors are sort of going in chronological order. She was missing, this is how Scott behaved.

You know, it's not as compelling, frankly. It's not as dramatic. And the evidence, you know, is susceptible to both incriminating and not incriminating interpretations.

O'BRIEN: It sounds like you're saying you don't love what the prosecutional doing so far. You're not impressed by their take on this?

TOOBIN: There's a long way to go in this case. They have the opportunity to put in a lot more evidence. But, no, I'm not terribly impressed so far.

O'BRIEN: Well, as you say, a long way to go.

TOOBIN: Yes, months.

O'BRIEN: A lot more evidence is going to come up.

TOOBIN: Right.

O'BRIEN: All right. Thanks, Jeff. Appreciate it.

Time to check on the weather now. Chad Myers at the CNN Center for us this morning.

Hey, Chad. Good morning again.


O'BRIEN: All right, Chad. Thanks a lot.

Time to check in with Jack and the "Question of the Day."

CAFFERTY: Thank you, ma'am.

Boston gearing up for the Democratic National Convention in a few weeks. The city's transit system will be the first in the nation to begin to randomly search passengers' bags and check their identification. Transit police will search riders on subway and commuter trains beginning next month.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the program might violate the Constitution's ban on unreasonable search and seizure. I think that's the Fourth Amendment. So the question is this: Is the random searching of train passengers a good idea?

Tim writes from Boston: "I refuse to comply with the,. It's about time someone stood up to the growing police state in this country. Whatever happened to the proposition that giving up our rights by giving into our fears means letting the terrorists win?"

Ernest in Ohio: "The ACLU has done more to destroy this country than anyone else. We're at war. Searches are OK in my book. If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about." Jack in Pittsburgh: "I can't imagine that random searches will accomplish anything. Anyone planning an attack would likely have other options. This is simply an effort to make appearances of being vigilant against terrorism."

And Andrew in Pine Forrest, Texas, offers this one: "Like so much else related to the new order of things since September 11, random bag searches will be unpopular until a train is bombed. And then we can start investigations into why they weren't done.", we'll do maybe one more batch of these.

O'BRIEN: And you know Andrew is exactly right. I mean, if anything happened, there would just be investigation after investigation into why the ball was dropped.


O'BRIEN: All right, Jack. Thanks.


O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, Congressman Dick Gephardt gave up his bid for the White House months ago. But you might be able to hold on to those "Gephardt for President" signs after all. We'll explain in just a moment.

Also, the attorney general in the hot seat over al Qaeda prisoners. We're going to talk with Senator Patrick Leahy and find out what he wanted to hear from Ashcroft.

And what do everyday Saudis think about Osama bin Laden? The answer might be a little bit troubling.

We're back after this short break.


HEMMER: Welcome back to Washington, D.C., for this special edition of AMERICAN MORNING. We are live in the nation's capital today, having traveled across the country late last night. Now the Capitol building, as you see, about 11 hours away. The public will then be able to pay their final respects as the casket of the late President Ronald Reagan will be brought and sitting in that Rotunda building.

The next three days really loaded with tradition and loaded with history. We will see an awful lot of the influence of Nancy Reagan as well. The planning for these services has really been under way for almost 15 years.

In 1989, when the Reagans left the White House, they are, according to custom, required to file some sort of funeral planning or get the process in motion, anyway. So that started way back in 1989. And the tradition here is truly tremendous. Ronald Reagan's body, once it lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda, will sit on a wooden platform that was used for Abraham Lincoln back in 1865. And you will hear so much about the tradition and the history as we move forward over the next two and a half days.

The other thing you're going to hear an awful lot about is the level of security here in Washington, D.C. It has been 31 years since the city -- city, rather, held a state funeral, going back to President Johnson in 1973. But it is the first event of this size many argue that we have seen in this town since 9/11, going back two and a half years ago. So that is a subplot as we move forward in the events later this afternoon and into the evening hours.

Also, in California, Senator John Kerry paying his respects to the former president. He was there yesterday for a brief time. Senator Kerry suspending his regular campaign events this week while the observances for Ronald Reagan's funeral go on. The Democratic candidate will be at the Washington National Cathedral on Friday, when President Bush delivers the eulogy for the former president.

They're saying 106,000 came to that area in Simi Valley. Each one given this placard as a memento to recognize their presence there for the late Ronald Reagan. "With gratitude for your expression of sympathy in honoring the life of Ronald Wilson Reagan, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California."

Last night on CNN, if you saw this program, Larry King had Gerald Ford and Betty Ford on last night, taking time to remember Ronald Reagan. Here is how President Ford remembered, in part last night, here on CNN.


GERALD FORD, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I look upon Ronald Reagan's career. Number one, he was a firm believer in the strength of the United States, and as a nation that was going to be the leader of the free world. Secondly, he firmly believed in the ideology that was the prevailing point of view in the United States. He had firm views that I admired, I respected, and he was a great statesman who we miss very badly.


HEMMER: President Gerald Ford from Colorado last night with Larry King, now the age of 90. Mr. Ford said he and his wife, Betty, will attend Reagan's funeral in Washington come Friday morning. So we will all watch the history unfold.

It's going to be an amazing two and a half days, Soledad. And one just wonders what the images will be captured over this period of time here in our nation's capital. It's going to be truly amazing to watch. A part of history, no question.

O'BRIEN: And no question about that. All right. Bill, thanks.

Still to come this morning, the ongoing romantic adventures of J. Lo. J. Lo and Marc Anthony keep the rumor mill churning. All of us, of course, guessing. So is she or isn't she? "90-Second Pop" just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


HEMMER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) picture again from the presidential library in Simi Valley. Just a short time away, Ronald Reagan's body and casket will then be transferred to a naval station on the West Coast, then flown to Andrews Air Force Base just outside of Washington. Expect that arrival in D.C. at 5:00 local time, and the procession up Constitution Avenue to the Capitol at 6:00. We'll be watching this from here -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right. Here in New York, the opening bell is ringing on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average starts trading at 10432, up more than 41 points yesterday. At the Nasdaq market site, the Composite Index opens at 2023, up nearly three points at Tuesday's close.

And it is just about exactly half past the hour on this AMERICAN MORNING. In just a few moments, there was a real scene yesterday in a Senate hearing, as Democrats pressed the attorney general on torture and interrogations and what he advised the president about it. We're going to talk to a member of the committee, Senator Patrick Leahy, about how far the Democrats are willing to take this.

Also this morning, "90-Second Pop" is just ahead. And we're asking, what's going on with J. Lo? She supposedly got married, but her new husband's not exactly talking. And now there are rumors of a baby on the way. We're going to try to get to the bottom of all of that this morning.

But first, we start back in Washington, D.C., which is where Bill Hemmer is.

Good morning, Bill.

HEMMER: Soledad, good morning to you.

The other story here in Washington deals with the issue of torture. It was contentious yesterday in the Senate hearing. The attorney general, John Ashcroft, faced Democratic questions over a memo that some allege helped open the door for torture of suspected terrorists. At one point, the sparring between Senator Joseph Biden and John Ashcroft, who both have sons in the military, took a rather personal turn.


SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: And there's a reason why we sign these treaties. To protect my son in the military. That's why we have these treaties, so when Americans are captured they are not tortured. That's the reason in case anybody forget it. That's the reason.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, as a person who's son is in the military now on active duty, and has been in the Gulf within the last several months, I'm aware of those considerations. And I care about your son.


HEMMER: As this debate moves forward, can Congress force the White House to make these memos available? That's our question today for Vermont senator, Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, live today here in Washington from Capitol Hill.

Senator, good morning. Welcome to you here.


HEMMER: What do you believe is in this memo?

LEAHY: Well, you know, we're seeing more of the memos from the press than we are from the White House. There is just no justification for the attorney general refusing to give this. There's no claim of executive privilege.

The president of the United States has said he wants us to get to the bottom of this. Well, unfortunately, a lot of it begins at the top, not at the bottom. And that's where we have to go, from the memos from the White House, did people act thinking they had a green light from the White House for torture?

I think it was a very unfortunate performance by the attorney general. I couldn't help but think if President Clinton's attorney general had refused to answer questions like this during his administration, the Republican-controlled Senate would have had 20 subpoenas out by now. It just -- you know, you can't have the president, on one hand, saying we've got to get to the bottom of this torture, on the other hand, have the person who actually knows what the legal memorandum was say I'm not going to answer questions.

HEMMER: Senator, the bottom line in this argument is whether or not there is something that's being hidden. Do you believe something's being hidden right now?

LEAHY: Oh, I do think something's being hidden. And I -- I think Senator Biden raised a very good point when he said we have to set the standards.

My youngest son is a former Marine. He was called up for action during Desert Storm. I certainly worried about how he might be treated, had he been captured. Fortunately, the war is over, so nothing (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in harm's way.

But we can't have the United States say we expect the highest standards on the part of everybody else; however, we, the most powerful nation on earth, don't have to follow those standards. And that's almost the attitude that's being taken.

HEMMER: I want to go back, Senator...

LEAHY: It was a very, very, very discouraging performance by the attorney general.

HEMMER: Let me go back to the original question. Here's how John Ashcroft answered the question about whether or not he would release it at this time or at any time. Here's John Ashcroft.


ASHCROFT: I am refusing to disclose these memos, because I believe it is essential to the operation of the executive branch that the president have the opportunity to get information from his attorney general that is confidential.


HEMMER: Yes. He is saying yesterday that the administration flat out rejects torture. He said that many times yesterday in your hearing. He's also saying you cannot force him to release these memos because its would sacrifice any sort of confidential discussion he would have with the president. How do you come down on that argument, respecting that?

LEAHY: Well, the answer is very easy. Only the president can claim executive privilege. The president has not claimed executive privilege. The president has said publicly he wants everybody to get to the bottom of this.

So the response of the attorney general makes no sense whatsoever. Only the president can claim executive privilege.

We're asking him about memos, most of which had been in the press. There is no -- there is no way that any -- any member of the cabinet can refuse to answer such a question, unless the president himself claims executive privilege, and then you go into question what it is. This is very, very well (ph) settled. Certainly, the same Republican-controlled Congress during the Clinton administration never would have accepted an answer like that, and, frankly, they never should have.

HEMMER: We will continue to track it. We called it the other story here in Washington, given the events of Ronald Reagan's services continuing later today here and lasting through Friday afternoon. Patrick Leahy, the senator from Vermont.

Thank you for your time this morning, Senator.

LEAHY: Thank you very much.

HEMMER: All right. About 24 minutes now before the hour. Back to New York again and Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, Bill. Thanks.

In medical news, soda and women's health. A new study is warning that women who drink a lot of the sugary beverage are at risk for a serious one-two punch: weight gain and diabetes. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us with details on this. Weight gain and diabetes, why -- what's the link with soda?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think people have understand stood the weight gain link to soda for some time. It's just a lot of empty calories that you're drinking. A lot of times excessive, more than you think, from those sugary sodas in particular. But the diabetes actually a little bit more interesting. And that's something that's been thought for some time, but now maybe proven in some large studies.

There's this nurses' study that's the hormone replacement therapy. There was about 91,000 nurses that were studied, and all sorts of data are coming out of that study, including this: they actually looked at data from 1991, 1995, and 1999. So they followed them along for eight years and tried to figure out who was drinking what.

And what they found, just sort of simply put, one of the researchers says drinking one soda or more daily actually increases your risk of diabetes. They're unwilling to say exactly how much it increases your risk of diabetes, but it's clear that it does.

Now, why would it happen, your question. When you get diabetes, oftentimes you're taking sugar and you're unable to convert it into energy for some reason. That sugar basically just stays around, increases the sugar in your blood, which is what diabetes is. What they think is that when you're drinking sugary sodas in particular, you're getting such a large dose of sugar so quickly, that perhaps that's over time leading to the diagnosis of diabetes.

O'BRIEN: I found it fascinating that they're really talking about one soda. I mean, just one increases your risk.

GUPTA: One soda a day they're saying increases the risk. And the largest gain, the largest risks seem to be those women who used to not drink that much soda but then suddenly started increasing their increase of soda -- their intake of soda.

The reason being, perhaps, that you don't think about it. You don't think that all of a sudden you're getting an extra 1,200 to 1,300 calories a week that you weren't previously getting. A lot of that in the form of these readily disposable sugars.

O'BRIEN: Is there any sense to think that -- I mean, obviously, this is a nurses' study, so it's done on all women.

GUPTA: Right.

O'BRIEN: But that it was -- that it could be extrapolated to men as well? Across all populations?

GUPTA: Probably all populations, all demographics, all ages as well. And you and I talk a lot about kids. This is something that kids in particular have to be worried about. We talked about the vending machines, with all those sugary sodas in schools. This is a real concern. It's no big surprise that eating a lot of sugar perhaps could increase your risk of diabetes. That makes sense. But it doesn't seem to be as true in foods as it does in these sugary sodas. They appear to be particularly sensitive to this.

O'BRIEN: So obviously, diet sodas don't count?

GUPTA: Diet sodas don't count.

O'BRIEN: They don't have the sugar that the regular sodas have.

GUPTA: That's right. And they made a big point about that, actually, because, again, that would make sense. Diet sodas don't count.

But two things. One is that there was no increase risk of diabetes. You could see that. And the women who actually switched over to diet sodas, as you might predict, the study now proves tended to lose weight long term as well. Not a lot, but they tended to lose more weight than other women.

O'BRIEN: Interesting study. All right. Sanjay, thanks, as all.

GUPTA: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, it's a year behind bars for the wife of a former Enron big wig. And it won't exactly be club fed. We're "Minding Your Business" in just a minute.

Also, J. Lo keeps the tabloids in business pretty much all by herself. Why are the tongues wagging this time? You'll find out in "90-Second Pop," coming up.


O'BRIEN: I need to know, because there's a lot of confusion of what we're talking about today. It's time for "90-Second Pop" on a Wednesday, with a panel that puts the "pop" in pop culture, as we like to say.

We've got questions. They've got answers. Andy Borowitz is joining us this mornign from Also, Sarah Bernard, contributing editor for New York Magazine, and B.J. Sigesmund, staff editor from US Weekly.

OK. So wedding, happen or not happen?

SARAH BERNARD, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: It happened. We saw pictures of that in US Weekly, right?

B.J. SIGESMUND, STAFF EDITOR, US WEEKLY: Yes. The wedding definitely, definitely happened. The thing is, this wedding wag planned for two weeks, but the media didn't really know about it until a day or two before. And J. Lo doesn't let anything leak out to the media unless she wants it to. So I believe this thing about the baby.

O'BRIEN: You believe this thing...

SIGESMUND: I believe...

O'BRIEN: Wait, wait, wait. Which brings us -- wedding to baby.


SIGESMUND: Go ahead. Go ahead.

ANDY BOROWITZ, HUMORIST: First of all, can we call them Marciffer? That's what I want to know.


O'BRIEN: First of all, can we say I was so right...


BERNARD: ... Soledad, the new correspondent for US Weekly, who called it on Monday.

O'BRIEN: She's pregnant. People are reporting that she's pregnant and that she's told her friends that she's pregnant.

BERNARD: Yes. You're totally right.

SIGESMUND: And you called it on Monday morning, yes.

O'BRIEN: All right.


BOROWITZ: But to pregnant women have a radar that enables them to detect other pregnant women or not?

O'BRIEN: Absolutely.

BERNARD: Yes, that's obviously what's happening. But wait. OK, forgetting that this is J. Lo for a second, this is a very real phenomenon that happens. Women who put off having children for their careers, often, right, in their 30s, decide they want...

O'BRIEN: Marry a superstar.

BERNARD: ... decide that they want to have a baby. They really want to have a baby. And the guy is almost secondary. It's very important to get on with it. And it feels like, if she really is pregnant, is she really, you know, decided at the last minute that's what she's doing, she wants to have a child.

O'BRIEN: She's only 35 or something, right?

BOROWITZ: Most 35-year-old women want to have a baby...

BERNARD: But in celebrity years, times 10.

BOROWITZ: People her age want to have a baby and a celebrity fragrance. Those are the two most important things.

O'BRIEN: She got...


SIGESMUND: But don't forget, what about being a step mom? Didn't she want to try being a step mom? Because Marc Anthony has three kids, including one who's not even one. So she can hold the baby and play with that for a little while.

BOROWITZ: I'm still stuck on a much earlier point, which is that Marc Anthony is not actually saying that he's married to her. This came out. He...

O'BRIEN: Well, he's just saying he doesn't like to talk about his personal life. Unlike -- have you not seen J. Lo on "Dateline?"

BOROWITZ: He will neither confirm nor deny the marriage. I just think that's his way of keeping some mystery in the marriage. You need that to keep a marriage alive.

O'BRIEN: You guys, as always, thank you all very much. Andy and Sarah and B.J., appreciate it.

Let's go back to Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Soledad. Thanks.

Back here live in Washington, D.C., in a moment exclusive videotape taken a short time ago inside the Rotunda. On Capitol Hill, the preparations, the final preparations now under way. Back in a moment. We'll show what you they're doing inside, after this.


O'BRIEN: Forty-six minutes past the hour now. Time to take a look at some of the other stories that are making headlines this morning with Heidi Collins.

Good morning, once again.

COLLINS: Good morning, Soledad.

We want to get straight to Iraq this morning. President Bush says he envisions a wider role for NATO in Iraq. Standing side-by- side with president -- British prime minister , that is, Tony Blair, this morning, President Bush is hoping to build on the momentum from the unanimous U.N. Security Council vote. Yesterday, the council passed the resolution, which turns power over to the Iraqi government on June 30.

More violence in the Middle East today between Palestinians and Israelis. Israeli troops fired tear gas at about 1,000 Palestinian demonstrators. They were protesting Israel's construction of a separation fence near the West Bank settlement of Ariel (ph). Israeli says it is -- Israel says, that is, it is building the barrier to keep out suicide bombers.

A new survey coming out of Saudi Arabia shows wide support for Osama bin Laden's views. Almost half of the 15,000 Saudis polled say they have a favorable opinion of bin Laden's sermons and rhetoric. But very few said they wanted him to rule the Arabian Peninsula. The poll conducted last year was overseen by a Saudi national security consultant.

A government-appointed panel will meet this month to discuss ways to preserve the Grand Canyon. The canyon is losing its shorelines and rare species of fish are dying off. Environmental groups blame Hoover Dam, but power officials worry about lost revenue from adjusts to the river flow.

Some wild weather in Texas to talk about. In Wharton, more than 20 people got hurt from flying glass and debris after a tornado passed through. Windows in a shopping center were blown out. It's still a soaker in Ft. Worth, too, where yet another day of rain is keeping people from their flooded out homes. Certainly something Chad's been talking about this morning.

O'BRIEN: Right. It's always amazing to see those pictures, too, just the devastation that happens there.

COLLINS: Yes. And when you're there, it's always worse, too.

O'BRIEN: Right. All right. Heidi thanks.

Weather now. Chad Myers at the CNN Center with the very latest.

Chad, update us on this region. How's it looking now?


O'BRIEN: All right. Chad, thanks a lot.

In business now, an Enron official is headed to prison. It won't exactly be easy time. With that, and a check of the market, Andy Serwer "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Let's start with the markets, shall we?


O'BRIEN: What were you watching this morning?

SERWER: Stocks are retreating right now, Soledad. Let's check out the Big Board.

Dow is down, what, about 18 points. There you can see. A couple stocks moving.

Tommy Hilfiger trading down and seeing some weakness in its business. Bank One going to be renaming all 1,800 branches. Remember they were bought by Chase. They'll all be called Chase by the end of the year, losing that brand name completely. And Coca-Cola president and COO, Steven Heyer, leaving the bank. A lot of management -- I mean leaving Coca-Cola, excuse me. A lot of management turmoil at that company over the past couple months.

Let's move on and talk about Enron. A real shocker yesterday in Houston. Lea Fastow, a former official there and wife of former CFO Andy Fastow, she pled guilty to one misdemeanor charge, sentenced to one year in jail.

O'BRIEN: Wasn't she negotiating for a lot less time?

SERWER: She was, but she did get that one year. Everyone was expecting club fed for her. No way. She is going to a federal detention center in Houston, downtown Houston. Let's check out some of the specs.

This is a hard-core prison. Got to get up early, go to bed. You've got to do a work day, and she'll be doing all sorts of -- a job that's going to pay either 12 or 40 cents an hour, menial kinds of stuff like working in the kitchen as a plumber. You know, restricted phone calls. Not at all one of these campus situations that possibly Martha Stewart is facing up in Connecticut, but a real jail.

O'BRIEN: Who are the inmates who are in with her?

SERWER: Felons, convicted felons. Bank robbers, people who were complicit in murderers and that sort of thing.


SERWER: So really a very difficult year for her.

O'BRIEN: Well, I'm sure there a lot of people who work at Enron who think she's getting what she deserves, and maybe even a little bit less than she deserves with just a year.

SERWER: Yes, that's right.

O'BRIEN: We'll see. Andy, thanks.

SERWER: You're welcome.

O'BRIEN: Appreciate it.

Still to come this morning on AMERICAN MORNING, Daryn Kagan is going to talk to "Bridget Jones' Diary" author Helen Fielding. She's got a new book out and a whole different direction for the writer. That's in the next hour on "CNN LIVE TODAY."

We've got more of AMERICAN MORNING in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Jack's got the "Question of the Day."

CAFFERTY: The "Question of the Day" is, up there in Boston, they're doing these random searches ahead of the Democratic convention on commuter and subway trains, checking IDs, checking bags and things like that. Good idea or not? Part of the war on terrorism.

Will in Nashville, Tennessee, writes: "Random searches, as well as non-random searches, have been part of our public culture for more than a decade. We have submitted to searches at sporting events and when we board aircraft. If searches on trains are declared unconstitutional, it will set a dangerous precedent for the above mentioned searches and further endanger public safety."

Scott in St. Albans, West Virginia: "We're in trouble when the authorities have to resort to the appearance of doing something. Time and money would be better spent running down individuals in Boston with bogus or expired visas."

And Roy said this: "As a commuter on the T" -- that's what they call the subway in Boston -- "I can say that in less than 24 hours after the Madrid bombing, the MBTA, the transit authority, removed all trash cans from all lines heading to and from Boston. The authority is doing its best to provide a safe means of transportation, and I think any inconvenience to the passengers is worth our own peace of mind."

Thank you for your letters this morning.

O'BRIEN: Good e-mails today.

CAFFERTY: Yes. A really interesting topic, and I would guess New York will be watching this closely.


CAFFERTY: We have the Republican convention coming in August. We've got lots of commuter railways and subways here. So we'll see how it works up there.

O'BRIEN: Right. Something to definitely get concerned about. All right. Jack, thank you very much.


O'BRIEN: We're back in just a moment. Stay with us, everybody.


HEMMER: Thank you very much. The pictures inside the Rotunda on Capitol Hill. The exclusive videotape here as the preparations get under way, the final preparations. This black cloth they're working on sits on top of what is known as the catafalque. A catafalque is this -- really, it's an old and ancient wooden structure that was first used when President Lincoln was assassinated. His body lie in a casket on top of this catafalque.

So, too, did the body of President Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Later tonight, when his body is brought up to the Capitol Hill, his body, too, will sit on top of this catafalque, and that black cloth that we saw as well.

I'm Bill Hemmer, live in our nation's capital. I'll be back here again tomorrow and Friday for a special edition of AMERICAN MORNING, as we watch all the history and the events unfold here in Washington.

For Soledad and Jack, thanks for watching us today. Let me get to Daryn Kagan for the next hour of coverage.


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