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AMERICAN MORNING

'Kamber & May'; 'Paging Dr. Gupta'

Aired February 9, 2005 - 08:32   ET

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


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. 8:30 here in New York City. In a moment, Condoleezza Rice continues her mission today overseas, rebuilding relationships with European allies. And if early indications hold true, Rice may be a big hit with the French. We'll talk about that and that development with Kamber and May in a moment here, also get to the budget speak as well.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Also this morning, Dr. Sanjay Gupta back with us this morning with medical insight into what may be one of the most irritating problems on the human condition, whether you're taking a test or if it's in sports. What makes some people choke when the pressure is on? Well, it turns out that prevailing with a cool head might be linked to having a little teeny-weenie brain. We'll talk to him about that. Sort of a good news/bad news story there.

HEMMER: That's right, we flip a coin.

Here's Heidi. Good morning, Heidi -- the headlines.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Why do we go into me with the story? Anyway, moving right along.

HEMMER: Implying nothing, by the way.

COLLINS: Now in the news this morning, a CNN security watch, at least 42 people are injured this hour following a powerful car bombing in Madrid, Spain. Police say the vehicle was packed with some 110 pounds of explosives. A caller claiming to be with the Basque separatist group ETA reportedly warned a Basque newspaper about a half hour before the attack.

Stay with CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

In the Middle East, Israel plans to reopen a key crossing between Gaza and Israel today. The move comes one day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced a cease-fire agreement in the region. The Islamic militant group Hamas says it is not bound by that agreement.

And Pope John Paul II is improving and is, quote, "truly in good shape." That's the word from a Vatican official who has just visited with the pope. The 84-year-old pontiff is resting at a Rome hospital until at least tomorrow. He will miss Ash Wednesday prayer services at the Vatican today for the first time in his 26-year term. I'm sure he's pretty upset about that.

HEMMER: On the road to recovery, hopefully, though, too.

Thank you, Heidi.

Budget battles in Congress, in a big way. And Condoleezza Rice reaching out overseas.

From D.C. Now for political point/counterpoint on both topics, and more, welcome back to Democratic consultant Victor Kamber.

Vic, good morning to you.

How's the shoulder?

VICTOR KAMBER, DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT: It's healing. It will be about two more weeks and this cast will be off.

HEMMER: Nice. It wasn't your shoulder, it was your wrist. I'm sorry.

Cliff May is also down there, former RNC communications director.

Cliff, good morning to you. Nice to have you.

CLIFF MAY, FMR. RNC COMM. DIR.: I did not do that to victor, I just want to make it clear to the viewers.

HEMMER: Really, are you sure?

Victor, start us off, a $2.6 trillion budget. What don't you like?

KAMBER: That it's not a real budget. It's now true. And I liked what Jack said earlier. This is -- I don't think he used the word baloney, but I think that's as close to it as possible. We have a budget that doesn't reflect the war in Afghanistan or Iraq, it doesn't deal with the Social Security, that frankly, he's going to have more problems, or as many problems, with his own party. And we've heard already about everything from Amtrak, beach reclamation, vocational educational, prescription drugs for veterans, that Republicans are going to fight. So it's a budget that's unrealistic, that doesn't tell us the true story, and it's the president just again shooting from the hip.

HEMMER: What about it, Cliff? from the hip, Not the true story. I hear you smirking there.

MAY: Well, no, I hope -- I don't mean to be smirking, but look, everybody wants to cut the deficit. Nobody wants to cut any programs. Unfortunately, you can't do one without the other. You can't say we don't want the tax taxpayers to pay for this, we want the government to pay. It's all the same thing.

I think this budget begins to get us on the road back to fiscal responsibility, but it's just a beginning.

And, hey, Victor is right, there will be as many arguments among Republicans as with Democrats. In fact, you're going to see some odd coalitions.

KAMBER: There are ways to cut.

MAY: Tell me one.

KAMBER: You don't have to make the tax cuts that he's made permanent, which would allow an increase in revenue. You don't have to spend what they want to spend on the war in Iraq. You don't have to do the Social Security program, for sure, at this point. There's a number of things. And yes, you should cut fat from waste programs, but not from veterans drug benefits at a time when we're calling veterans our heroes.

HEMMER: Do you see any fat that's being trimmed effectively, though, Victor?

KAMBER: Well, I haven't seen the details of every program. All I know is that when you start cutting the basic programs that service this country and service the people domestically, and when, on top of it, you're really not going to make much of a dent in the budget by all of those cuts, it doesn't make sense. I don't know if this is the wisdom of the new policy Karl Rove, the new domestic policy person at the White House, and all he's doing is applying political litmus tests to things he doesn't like. I don't know why they made the judgment.

HEMMER: $2.6 trillion, there's plenty to talk about. We're going to be back to this topic for days, if not weeks to come.

Let's go to another topic. And, Cliff, start us of here -- Condoleezza Rice overseas, how is her first major mission going as secretary of state?

MAY: I give her an 'A.' I think the secretary did really well. She stood up for American principles, which have been different from European principles since, oh, around 1776. She gave a robust defense of the Bush administration's policies, and essentially, she diplomatically challenged the Europeans to get on board for a policy that promotes freedom and democracy in areas where those values are lacking. She was complimentary to the French, which they liked, but overly so. When she says, look, look what we accomplished together during the Cold War, anybody who understands knows the Cold War knows that the French were sort of neutral during the cold war. It was perfectly respectable to be a French communist then. But I think she's been doing a very good job, she seems to getting good reviews, and she hasn't backed an inch from the principles I think she should stand for.

HEMMER: Victor, you on board with that?

KAMBER: Well, I think she did a good job, given what she had to work with, which is the program of this administration. I thought most importantly, she reached out for the first time that George Bush and -- with his foreign policy had not been willing to reach out in the way that she reached out.

I thought some of the analogies she used to justify the position of America were a little over the top. The comparison with Rosa Parks, the talking about the French Revolution, all of those things were over the top.

But I give her high marks for going, for talking, for reaching out. The only way to solve Iraq is if it's a world united against the terrorists, and we needed to reach out. She started doing that.

HEMMER: I heard a guffaw from Cliff doing that. What's going on over there?

MAY: I liked that, what Victor didn't. What she did was to draw a straight line, from blacks in the South, who didn't have a right to vote, and she comes from a family in the South that was denied the right to vote. And that's why her, I think, it was her grandfather became a Republican, because they gave her that right, to Iraqis who dipped their finger in the ink and said I don't care if the terrorists know I voted, I'm voting and I am willing to risk my life. She drew the line and made the comparison, and I think it's a very powerful argument, and I think it's a correct argument.

HEMMER: Thank you, gentlemen. We'll talk again.

Victor, Cliff, thanks. Two weeks and counting down, Victor. We're watching the calendar on your behalf.

KAMBER: Thank you. Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Virginia lawmakers, they've got a little warning -- they say pull up your pants or pay the price. Yesterday, state representatives passed a bill that would impose a $50 fine on people this guy right there or that guy right there, anybody whose boxers, or briefs or thong peeked above the pants or their skirt. The bill's sponsors says his constituents are offended by exposed underwear.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEL. ALGIE HOWELL (D), VIRGINIA: I think that undergarments were made to be worn under other clothes, not to be exposed in the public.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Undergarments should be worn under clothing. It is not clear, though, if the fine would apply to carpenters, or plumbers or other laborers who have some problems with low riding pants. ACLU says the bill is unconstitutional. The bill now goes to the state senate.

And now more on a real fish story that we told you about yesterday. Back in 2002, a man who was experiencing some marital problems decided to put his wedding ring on the bill of a sailfish, which he later released into the water. Then just over two weeks ago, that same guy apparently caught the same fish again with the same wedding ring still on the bill. It's an amazing story. Is it true, though? Here to tell us that story, Eric Bartos. He is the owner of the ring. And also his fellow fisherman and friend, Jamie Artzt. They're in Miami this morning. Nice to see you guys. Thanks for being with us.

Eric, we're going to start with you this morning. I got to tell you, when we were talking about this story yesterday, I know everybody started their interviews with you this way as well, it sounds unbelievable. It sounds, actually, just completely ridiculous and that you're actually trying, kind of, to pull off some sort of hoax. As we mentioned, 2002, your marriage was ending. Instead of melting down your wedding ring, instead of chucking it overboard into the water, in fact, you caught a sailfish, you put the ring on the beak of the sailfish -- the bill of the sailfish -- and sent that sailfish back into the water.

Bring me to the present day. What happened a couple weeks ago?

ERIC BARTOS, FISHERMAN: We were fishing a tournament out of Miami. It was a really slow day for us, and right before lines out in the tournament, we had a sailfish come up on one of our baits and we managed to hook the fish. And we were just happy to get a fish that day.

And as the fish got closer to the boat, one of our other buddies, Blake (ph), grabbed the leader to get the fish, and realized that it was the famous ring fish. We were all kind of shocked and stunned, and you know, it kind of blew us away. We recaptured the same fish we had let go two years earlier.

O'BRIEN: And in fact, he said hey, it's the ring fish, which is kind of a strange thing to say. And you all knew exactly what he meant. Jamie, when you heard him say it's the ring fish, what went through your head?

JAMIE ARTZT, FISHERMAN: Yes, I mean, I didn't believe it at first. I immediately looked over the side of the boat. And you know, I could see the ring on the bill of the sailfish and you know, I was just totally blown away.

BARTOS: I was shocked and I was anxious for Blake to go ahead and get the fish on the boat, because I knew my camera was below deck and if we didn't get a picture of the ring and the fish, no one would ever believe the story. Needless to say. When the sailfish is on the leader boat side, it's very tenuous. A lot of times that's when they break off and swim away. It would have been heartbreaking for the fish to break off and swim away with the ring after we saw it and knew we had that fish back and not be able to get the photographic evidence. And we ended up getting the ring back, of course.

O'BRIEN: And of course, we just showed a moment ago, the picture of the ring. It left a scar on the bill of the sailfish. Many people have said it's that scar that helps sort of convince them of your credibility. Do you know just to what degree people would think you guys were completely full of it when you came back to land? BARTOS: Well, you know, thank god we had pictures, because without those, we would have had some difficulty. Even with the pictures, we had some trouble having people believe us. At some point, when we were trying to get the story in the local paper, we had volunteered to take polygraph tests, just because, you know, we knew the story was true. And that's kind of the only way someone's going to believe us.

O'BRIEN: You passed the polygraph test. Your ex-wife -- again, this whole thing came about because of you ditching the ring, you know, from the marriage in a little bit of trouble. Your ex-wife was one of the first people who said, hey, I believe the guy. I've heard her say that she hopes it's sort of a sign of bigger things, like maybe a little reconciliation -- not that you get back together, but maybe you can have more of a friendship than you have.

BARTOS: Yes. We have two small children together, and I hadn't spoken to her in 26 months, since the divorce, and I received a phone call from her yesterday, and she's like, I think it's a sign for peace. So if nothing else comes out of this story, if I can have peace with her and it's a positive, you know, for our children, then I'm very happy about it.

O'BRIEN: That's a huge positive. Eric Bartos and Jamie Artzt. Thanks guys, for talking to us. I think I actually believe you now. We appreciate it.

HEMMER: Good way to end.

Until 2004, the Red Sox did it for 86 years. They choked under pressure. A surprise, though. Medical research now shows all that failing may have been a sign of future success. The good doctor explains right after this on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: The smarter you are, the more likely you are to choke under pressure. We are "Paging Dr. Gupta" about a new study that measures working memory. Sanjay's at the CNN Center this morning. Hey Sanjay, good morning.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. Really interesting study talking about smart people and people who choke under pressure, finding out if there's a correlation. You think that the brainy, straight-A students are always going to be those ones who perform the best under high pressure situations. Researchers found that that may not necessarily be the case.

Interesting study. A small study. 93 students. They tried to figure out -- identify something known as working memory. This is strongly correlated to I.Q. It's the ability to remember information, not only remember information, but also apply it to a task at hand. When given math tests, for example, at first people with high working memory tend to do very well. They tend have the highest scores on math tests. People with lower working memory tend to have lower scores. What they found, though, is if they started to add some pressure to it, time constraints, peer pressure, monetary rewards, things started to change. For example, those people with the highest working memory, again, had a 10 percent lower score in the high pressure situation. Whereas the lower capacity memory people -- again, memory capacity is correlated with I.Q. -- they tended to do the same score regardless of the amount of pressure on them.

So Soledad, what these researchers are trying to focus on is if you add high pressure to a normally good student, how much does their score fall, versus someone who typically has a lower working memory, in terms of their score falling -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Sanjay, I guess the big question would be, why does this happen?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, this is interesting. I think it's one of the most interesting things about the study. They tried to figure out, when you have a high working memory, where is your attention going? Certainly, you're looking at the problem, but how much of your attention is actually focused on the problem, versus focused on performance?

And what they found was that people with high working memory tend to focus a lot of their attention on performance. So when you start adding a lot of pressure -- again, time constraints, monetary rewards, things like that, they tend to focus on those pressures, more than the test itself, which is why their scores drop. People with lower working memory, their attention on performance doesn't change at all from high pressure to a low pressure situation.

O'BRIEN: So what can people do if they want to try to improve their ability on tests or things like that, even if the pressure is on?

GUPTA: Well you know, and I think people have known this intuitively for some time -- but basically, practice makes perfect in this situation. Think about people taking the S.A.T. tests, other standardized exams. Practice those similar problems repeatedly. That's the first step. \

The second step, the more crucial step, really, is that practice needs to come under simulated, high pressure conditions so that you don't get that 10 percent drop when test day actually shows up, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Sanjay Gupta for us this morning. Sanjay, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Bill?

HEMMER: We're going to break here in a moment. Breaking business news this morning. One of the most powerful players in the computer business now getting the boot. Andy's back with that. "Minding Your Business" after this on AMERICAN MORNING. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina out. What does that mean for investors? Andy Serwer -- this is a big story -- he's here "Minding Your Business."

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: It is a big story. I mean, she's one of the most high-profile CEOs in the United States, certainly one of the most prominent women CEOs, along with eBay's Meg Whitman. And she clashed with the board reportedly and is out as of this morning. HP is the 11th biggest company in the United States, with $80 billion in revenues, very respected in the tech business, venerable company.

In the business circles, she was known simply as "Carly," but she was unable to move this company forward. Her big downfall was a May 2002 $19 billion merger with Compaq. And here's what went wrong. HP's crown jewels business is its printer business. And what she did was to double down in the PC business, which was a poor business for Hewlett-Packard, by putting that together with Compaq. In the process, she ended up selling over 37 percent of the printer business, because that's how much they gave away to get Compaq.

The scathing article that my colleague, Carol Lumis wrote, just recently, sort of lays it all out. And right now, Jack, it looks like, you know, there's talk of splitting this company up into the printer business and the PC business. And my understanding is that the board wanted to do this more than she did, and that's sort of what led to the immediate split.

CAFFERTY: Actually Hewlett-Packard, if I remember right, wasn't doing badly under her leadership before the Compaq deal that actually she'd come in and taken over the top job and the printer business and the copier business and things they did best, the company was doing all right. This was a huge tactical error, to decide to go into the computer business.

SERWER: I think that's right. And if you look at the stock since she became CEO in July of 1999, you'll see that it's been flagging. In fact, it's underperformed IBM, certainly underperformed Dell, underperformed the overall stock market and underperformed Lexmark, which is a vital competitor.

This morning, HP, which is a Dow stock, is up, something no CEO ever wants to see. But again, that probably has to do with the fact that she's leaving and didn't want to break the company up, and that's what could be happening -- could be happening going forward.

CAFFERTY: And apparently the street likes that idea. Therefore, the stock's up.

SERWER: Exactly.

CAFFERTY: Thanks, Andy. Time for the "File" now, Wednesday, things people say, beginning with this: "You and I have both suffered in trying to spread religion around the world. I hope you regain your health in the near future," Mehmet Ali Agca; this is the guy who shot the pope in 1981, wishing him a speedy recovery in a letter from his jail in Istanbul. Can you spell chutzpah?

SERWER: Nice.

CAFFERTY: "While it's an honor to serve the first family, it's the same thing, night in and night out over an extended period." This is Walter Scheib, the White House chef, ever since the Clinton days. He was fired, he says, for failing to satisfy first lady Laura Bush's stylistic requirements, whatever those are.

"Democrats have been the Nancy Reagan party, which is just say no." Matthew Dowd is a pollster for President Bush on Democratic opposition to White House initiatives.

"The victory was not sweet. I'm not gloating about it. I just hope the girls learned a lesson." This is this woman Juanita young of Colorado, who sued two teenagers for $900 in medical bills after they delivered homemade cookies to this ungrateful witch, startling her so much she had to go to the hospital, shaking and with a tummy ache. Sued these kids for 900 bucks.

SERWER: Ungrateful witch, OK.

CAFFERTY: Well, how would you describe it?

SERWER: No, that's perfect.

CAFFERTY: Thank you.

And finally, this, "I can't believe that you have a street with that many housewives and nobody has a butt. Who has a street with that many thin women?" Oprah Winfrey talking with the residents of Wisteria Lane on "Desperate Housewives."

SERWER: That was good, too.

CAFFERTY: A street with no cabooses.

HEMMER: Thank you, Jack.

2005 marked CNN's 25th anniversary. The day, in fact, is the first of June. As part of the celebration, Anderson Cooper takes a look back at the men and women who made headlines then and now.

Here's Anderson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a shocking sideshow, captured by TV crews gathered at the L.A. County courthouse to cover the Robert Blake hearing in 2003. Attorney Gerald Curry was at the courthouse for an unrelated case when William Stryer approached him, asked his name and opened fire. Stryer then calmly walked away. He was apparently angry that Curry was representing Stryer's sister in a dispute over a trust fund. Curry was shot in the neck, both arms and shoulder and taken from the scene by paramedics. Curry survived, recovered completely and still lives and practices law in Southern California.

GERALD CURRY: When I leave the office, when I go to court, when I go to the parking structure, I tend to keep my eyes open, look around.

COOPER: Curry's shooter, William Stryer, was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial and remains in a state hospital, but Curry says he doesn't harbor any bad feelings for Stryer.

CURRY: The odds of this happening were probably one in a million. And so therefore, I try to not to let it affect my life or not have any bitterness and try to maintain a positive and optimistic outlook.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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