Return to Transcripts main page
On the Terror Trail; Bush and Abdullah Talk
Aired April 26, 2005 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.
We are back on terror's trail in Iraq today. How close did U.S. troops get to capturing Zarqawi, the most wanted man in Iraq? Exclusive details this hour from the Pentagon. We'll get to that.
Hand-holding and tough talk in Texas. The president pressing the Saudi prince for more oil and getting a promise of sorts in return.
And what happened to the two small children found dead in a sewage pond in Georgia? They are searching for answers today, on this AMERICAN MORNING.
ANNOUNCER: From the CNN broadcast center in New York, this is AMERICAN MORNING with Bill Hemmer and Soledad O'Brien.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.
Welcome back, everybody.
Also ahead this morning, we're talking about one of Oprah's many big ideas. Her magazine, called "O," is celebrating its fifth anniversary. And unlike some relatively new publications, this one is selling like gang busters. We're going to talk this morning with the magazine's editor about the secret of their success.
HEMMER: Also, this is how we do our jobs, by the way. This is a Blackberry. Sanjay is going to join us this hour. We're talking about Blackberry thumb. You get it from using the Blackberry like a maniac. People are right -- there it is, right there. Sorry. You get that now? People around here, well, we use it a lot. We'll find out what you can do about it, too, in a moment. It has to do with like tendonitis, things like that.
O'BRIEN: It's a real medical diagnosis now?
HEMMER: Getting close to it. You know, like carpal tunnel they had on the keyboards on the computer? This is similar to that. But you have the Treo model out there, too. A lot of kids are on their pagers and on their cell phones doing text messages, too. So Sanjay has that.
I just got an e-mail from Soledad, and it's right here.
O'BRIEN: I don't talk to you, I just e-mail you during the show, right -- good morning, Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello.
CAFFERTY: Coming up in "The Cafferty File," family friendly versions of movies like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Titanic" are being made without anybody's permission.
Social Security checks could get smaller if you have an unpaid student loan.
And you may not be able to see him or touch him, but now you can smell him.
HEMMER: Ooh, boy.
HEMMER: Running right down the road.
O'BRIEN: I don't know why I say ew, but I say ew.
HEMMER: Thank you, Jack.
CAFFERTY: Don't do too much ew on that one. It's a religious thing.
O'BRIEN: Oh, OK.
HEMMER: Thanks, Jack.
To the headlines now.
And Carol Costello starting us off -- good morning, Carol.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.
Good morning to all of you.
Now in the news, Syrian soldiers on their way home this hour after 29 years in Lebanon. Thousands in Lebanon are celebrating this milestone, dancing and singing and waving flags. Syria is leaving under pressure after a former Lebanese prime minister was assassinated earlier this year. Syria continues to deny any involvement in that. CNN's Brent Sadler takes you live to the Bekka Valley in Lebanon later this hour.
Autopsy results for the two Georgia toddlers found dead on Monday could come back as early as today. The bodies of the 3-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl were discovered in a sewage pond near their home. Police say they have not singled out any suspects in the case and there was no indication of foul play, at least not yet.
The woman who says she found a finger in a cup of Wendy's chili is expected in a Nevada courtroom today. Anna Ayala has been charged with grand theft. Wendy's claims it has lost millions of dollars since the woman went public with her allegation. Still no word on whose finger it was or where it came from. Hopefully we'll find out more, because I want to know.
We've been following the steroid scandal in professional sports for months, but new university and government research shows that girls are using the same testosterone pills, shots and creams, some as young as nine years old. Researchers say many girls are using the drugs for sports, but others want that sculpted look they find in Hollywood magazines of models.
And one of Michael Jackson's ex-wives is taking the stand in his child molestation case. Debbie Rowe is expected to testify she was manipulated into praising Jackson on tape to repair his image after a damaging documentary. In the meantime, defense attorney Brian Oxman is leaving Jackson's legal team. No reason given for the departure, but he was seen having an apparent argument with the lead defense attorney, Thomas Mesereau -- back to you.
HEMMER: All right.
O'BRIEN: Messier and messier, that case.
COSTELLO: Creepier, creepier.
O'BRIEN: All right, Carol, thanks.
Well, government officials are now confirming that they nearly captured terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi earlier this year. We're on "Terror's Trail" this morning along with Barbara Starr.
She's at the Pentagon for us -- hey, Barbara, good morning to you.
What's the very latest on this?
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Soledad.
The very latest, there are new indications that Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted man in Iraq, have been in communication quite recently. U.S. officials are now confirming the details of an incident that CNN first reported several weeks ago, that U.S. troops had come very close to capturing Zarqawi in Iraq.
It all happened February 20 near Ramadi, west of Falluja. U.S. troops had been tipped off that Zarqawi might be in the area. Those troops chased down a suspicious vehicle. When they stopped it, they did not find Zarqawi inside. He, apparently, had just escaped.
But what they did find was perhaps even more unsettling. In the car, they found a computer with what they call a treasure trove of information about Zarqawi; also, information about bin Laden. But multiple sources now telling CNN that one of the men arrested in the car at the time was a "trusted lieutenant of Osama bin Laden," someone who had entered Iraq on bin Laden's behalf and was obviously meeting with Zarqawi. This, of course, Soledad, would be a matter of great concern. U.S. officials had been saying for several weeks they had evidence of recent two way communication between bin Laden and Zarqawi. And this now seems to prove it -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us.
Barbara, thanks -- Bill.
HEMMER: In the meantime, the president sitting down with Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah yesterday. And the surging cost of oil just one of many topics there.
This morning, Suzanne Malveaux has more on the meeting at the Texas ranch.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is an important relationship and I'm -- I've got a good personal relationship with the Crown Prince. I look forward to talking to him about a variety of subjects.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A complex relationship that spans the September 11 attacks, the war on terrorism, the politics and peace process of the Middle East, and a subject currently close to Americans' pocketbooks -- gas prices.
BUSH: The Crown Prince understands that it's very important for there to be a -- to make sure that the price is reasonable.
MALVEAUX: President Bush wants Saudi Arabia to pump and export as much oil as possible to help keep U.S. gas prices down. But the Saudis, who've already pledged to boost their production over the next four years by as much as four million barrels a day, say there is little more they can do.
ADEL AL-JUBEIR, SAUDI FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: It will not make a difference if Saudi Arabia ships an extra million or two million barrels of crude oil to the United States. If you cannot refine it, it will not turn into gasoline.
MALVEAUX: And as for the pledge Saudis made one year ago to bring oil prices within a range of $22 to $28 a barrel, their spokesman said that's no longer realistic.
AL-JUBEIR: It is obvious, given the last year or year-and-a- half, that that price band is unrealistic given the supply-demand situation.
MALVEAUX: President Bush, also determined to spread freedom in the Middle East, starting with Iraq, is pushing its neighbor, Saudi Arabia, to embrace democratic reforms. But that may come with a price.
MARTIN INDYK, SABAN CENTER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: We cannot beat the Saudis over the head on the issue of democracy -- Saudi Arabia is far from a democracy -- and at the same time, expect the Saudis to help out with, on the question of oil production.
MALVEAUX: And later in the day, following the formalities between the two leaders, a surreal scene -- royalty in Crawford's only hamburger joint, which also sells gas at $2.18 a gallon.
(on camera): Both U.S. and Saudi officials declared success. The White House got more Saudi oil production and the Saudis are on the verge of a deal to ease their way into the World Trade Organization.
Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Crawford, Texas.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
HEMMER: All right, let's take this a step further this morning.
Ron Brownstein, CNN political analyst, columnist with the "L.A. Times," with me in D.C. -- Ron, welcome back.
Good morning to you.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Bill.
HEMMER: Oil is a big issue. But one thing that's getting an awful lot of attention is this image of these two men holding hands.
What are you to make of this image from yesterday, Ron?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, first of all, not the first time. I think they've been photographed holding hands before. The White House says well, look, the crown prince, first of all, 81 years old. Second of all, the White House says gesture of respect, traditional in the Arab world and not unusual in that way.
But, of course, Bill, I think underlying your question, the reality is this is a symbol of a very close relationship between the president and the Saudi Arabian government at a time when oil prices are making very many Americans uneasy. And it's a mixed blessing for him. As an oil man and someone who's close to the Saudis, I think he's held to a high standard by the country that expects progress on these problems.
A poll came out this morning, "Washington Post"/ABC, just 35 percent of Americans say they approved of his handling of energy policy. Only 40 percent on the economy. So our focus on things like Social Security and judges here in Washington, a lot of the country is worried about what oil prices are going to mean to their pocketbook and the overall economy.
HEMMER: Yes, and also about this whole thing about respect and friendship, you also have to wonder how this plays in the Arab world. They see this image. They see this picture, and clearly the president knows it. BROWNSTEIN: Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean he has never been -- he has never moved away from this, never been hesitant about expressing his support and close relationship with the Saudi Arabian government. You know, in the 2004 campaign, there were attacks from Democrats and Democratic interest groups on this relationship, as well. But it is something that the administration has never wavered on, even amid criticism, at times, from conservatives, who have urged him to press them more aggressively to move toward greater democracy and freedom.
HEMMER: Suzanne just mentioned this, did he get satisfactory concessions yesterday at this meeting regarding oil?
BROWNSTEIN: Probably not politically, I think. You know, what they basically -- what the Saudis basically said was that over the long-term, they will make -- they will take significant steps to increase their capacity, but there is nothing they can do right now. And as you saw in the report, they argue that even if they did, it would have no effect on oil prices.
I think presidents are judged by their results and the reality is that unless oil prices go down, you're going to see discontent at the pump among Americans, and that will have a price on his approval rating.
HEMMER: Let's talk about another topic.
Tom DeLay is getting on board the presidential plane, flying back from Texas today, later today, picking up, what, a stop in Galveston, I think?
HEMMER: Clearly, they may mention this whole issue of Social Security when you consider what city workers in Galveston have been doing for the past 20 years under their own system.
What do you make of the symbolism, though, a man under fire in D.C. on board the president's plane?
BROWNSTEIN: The White House says, obviously, it's not unusual to bring back a member of Congress from -- when the president appears in their area, as the president is today with Tom DeLay. But they are aware that they are sending a signal of support.
I don't think this is Alamo level, stand with you, the back against the wall, come what may kind of support from the White House. But I do think that they are aware that they are putting a hand on his shoulder at the time when he is under fire. And like most Republicans on Capitol Hill, based on what's come out so far and putting on the other side of the ledger his record as a very effective and forceful majority leader, they are still rallying around him. I'll tell you...
HEMMER: Is it also...
BROWNSTEIN: I don't think that will last forever...
HEMMER: Is it also...
BROWNSTEIN: ... but for now, that's where they are.
HEMMER: ... also quintessential President Bush, too, saying I'm a tough guy, I'm going to stand by you no matter how hot the temperature is in that water?
BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely, you know, and you see the same thing with John Bolton, as more questions come out with his U.N. nominee. More Republicans expressing concern. Karl Rove, in an interview yesterday with a newspaper, underscoring again, they expect him to be confirmed.
This president's strategy usually is to double down. I mean he tends to stand with his base and count on them to stand with him at election time. And so far it's worked out reasonably well for him.
On the other hand, right now they are looking at some tough numbers in public opinion, especially among independents and moderates, both for Republicans on Capitol Hill and for the president's approval rating. So there is some price to this strategy. But it is the one he pursues.
HEMMER: Thanks, Ron.
Ron Brownstein down in D.C. -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: A quick look at the weather this morning.
Chad Myers down in Atlanta for us -- hey, Chad, good morning to you.
Things improving here, at least where we are.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's warmer where you are than in Atlanta.
HEMMER: In a moment here, "It Is Never Too Late." That's what we call our retirement series here. Today, why more and more Americans are working into their golden years and liking it.
O'BRIEN: Also, the latest workplace hazard -- Blackberry thumb. We're "Paging Dr. Gupta" to find out why the trendy gadget is causing so much pain for so many people.
HEMMER: Also, the fifth anniversary of Oprah Winfrey's magazine. It's called "O." Of all the covers -- and she's been on every one -- which one is her favorite? The magazine's editor-at-large is our guest a bit later this hour here on AMERICAN MORNING.
O'BRIEN: What happens when you reach the right age but you still can't afford to retire? It is a question we are tackling in our retirement series. It's called "Never Too Late."
CNN's personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, joins us -- good morning.
Nice to see you.
GERRI WILLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, good to see you.
We showed you yesterday how to plan for retirement, but what if you can't afford to retire? Here are stories of two women who've stayed in the workforce and learned to love it.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
IRENE HELM, COSTCO: This has got sea salt on it.
WILLIS (voice-over): At age 69, Irene Helm didn't expect to be handing out samples at a California Costco.
HELM: My vision at 65 was to retire and never, never work. I didn't really think I'd be here. But I'm outliving my money, is what I'm doing. And so I've got to make some more.
WILLIS: A former entrepreneur, Irene went back to work part-time for some extra cash. And, in a way, she is one of the lucky ones.
Teri Cusano, a widow in her early 70s, works full-time at a Pitney Bowes factory in Connecticut just to survive.
TERI CUSANO, PITNEY BOWES: It's financial that I'm working for. The cost of living is very high and I need to pay my utilities and what I use at home.
WILLIS: A nation apart, both drawing Social Security, these women share a common bond -- dreams of living a life of leisure in their golden years are gone and they have company.
Workers 65 and older have been on the rise since the early '80s. And with an aging baby boomer population, that number is expected to grow and grow and grow.
So what's behind it all? Are baby boomers just bad savers?
John Challenger is a job trends expert.
JOHN CHALLENGER, CHALLENGER, GRAY & CHRISTMAS: Companies used to provide pensions so when someone retired in their early 60s, they were basically covered a health care and in terms of ongoing income. That's just not true anymore.
WILLIS: However, Challenger points out, with later retirement comes some benefits.
CHALLENGER: There's just much less discrimination today as the retirement age of 65 is disappearing and companies more and more focus on just what can this person do for me, are they productive. If they're productive, who cares what their age is?
WILLIS: And according to Irene and Teri, working past 65 isn't all bad.
HELM: It's a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to get out and talk to people.
CUSANO: I have a good time at it. I love working because I socialize with people every day and it gives me great fulfillment. At the end of the day I go home, I'm tired, and it was a great day for me.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WILLIS: So it's not ideal, but for some people working into their 60s and 70s, it's providing rewards that they did not expect -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Are there certain industries where people who are at retirement age could actually look to find jobs?
WILLIS: Absolutely. You bet. Industries that tend to employ people of retirement age include professional services such as accounting and bookkeeping, but maybe not Wall Street; education; health care; retail; and even manufacturing.
O'BRIEN: Which employers are known for treating the older worker the best?
WILLIS: Well, the AARP has come up with its own list of best employers, which includes Deere & Company, Pitney Bowes, Vanguard Group. There are a lot of regional players, too, especially in the health industry, like Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas on that list.
O'BRIEN: One has to imagine, though, if you're talking with people who are 65 or early 70s, as one of those ladies there, don't they face age discrimination when they go in and submit a resume and try to get a job?
WILLIS: I think age discrimination exists, absolutely. But the Supreme Court recently issued a ruling which will make it easier for older workers to appeal on the basis of age discrimination. And there's an economic reason that so many companies are looking for older workers. That's because of the dearth of the baby bust generation is making it difficult for companies to find the employees they need.
Gerri, what are you talking about tomorrow?
WILLIS: Tomorrow we're moving on to easy living. We'll talk about what you need to consider before choosing a location to live out your retirement.
O'BRIEN: Hmmm, interesting question.
All right, Gerri, thanks.
O'BRIEN: We also want to mention that you can find out much more on our retirement series on our Web site, cnn.com/am -- Bill.
HEMMER: Like that title, "Easy Living," Gerri.
In a moment here, U.S. agents capture one of the world's most wanted drug kingpins. Details of his massive heroin conspiracy and how authorities finally got him. That story is still to come this hour on AMERICAN MORNING.
HEMMER: Fans in Detroit last night previewed last night. Springsteen's new album is out today, "Devils and Dust."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM CONCERT)
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: My sweet Janey, I'm sinking down, here darling in Youngstown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: This concert, Fox Theater in Detroit, kicks off a three month international tour. The 13th album for Springsteen, going solo for the first time in nine years. The collection of songs a bit on the -- you know, Springsteen tends to dabble in the dark side of humanity. It's not as dark as some of the other albums he has had.
O'BRIEN: Do you love it?
HEMMER: Then there are a few points (INAUDIBLE)...
O'BRIEN: I'm sorry.
Why did I ask does he love it? He loves Bruce Springsteen.
HEMMER: It's getting great reviews.
O'BRIEN: Of course you love it.
HEMMER: And, I'll tell you, it's a mellow album and it has a bit of a country pitch to it, too. So I'm thinking it's perfect for Jack Cafferty maybe...
O'BRIEN: A gift? Wrap it up. Oh, oh my goodness.
CAFFERTY: Is it...
HEMMER: Jack, would you listen to that? CAFFERTY: Is it 10:00 yet? At 10:00 we're out of here.
O'BRIEN: A small token...
O'BRIEN: Ooh. He giveth, he taketh away.
He's not giving it up.
CAFFERTY: A wise choice.
CAFFERTY: The saying is nice guys finish last. And, in fact, there might be something to it, at least at work. A new study in the "Journal of Economic Psychology," which is a book we all read around here with regularity, claims that how much you're paid is influenced by your personality. The more disagreeable and devious you are, the bigger the paycheck. Nice guys don't make as much money. They studied 3,000 people to come up with this conclusion.
And the question is this, which pays better at work, being nice or being a jerk?
Ed in Warren, New Jersey: "It's something I just haven't been able to figure out. To be really successful at work, I'm supposed to go to church on the weekends and then lie, cheat and steal during the week."
Randy in Ontario writes: "I think the key to money and power is to be a nice jerk."
Mike in South Carolina: "It all depends on who you work for. If it's a government agency, being a kiss up, kick down type works for getting ahead. In the private sector, being nice goes farther. Fair, but nice."
And David in Ames, Iowa writes: "I have found that being nice at work is the best thing for me. Every time I have been a jerk, it's come back to bite me. So I started trying to be the best person I can at work. I found myself being happier and more content. Let others be miserable. I like being nice."
O'BRIEN: I like David.
CAFFERTY: David, of course, has filed for bankruptcy, but...
O'BRIEN: Oh. I was like, Jack, I can't believe you read that letter.
CAFFERTY: He doesn't have the...
O'BRIEN: That's a fantastic, heartwarming... CAFFERTY: He doesn't have a price of a bowl of soup in his pocket, but he's a nice guy.
HEMMER: Yes, he's passing the hat.
O'BRIEN: No. He's happier. He's more content. He feels like a better human being. David, I salute you.
CAFFERTY: Maybe he'll go out and see Springsteen when he comes to Iowa.
HEMMER: They can wallow together.
O'BRIEN: Good for David.
O'BRIEN: I think that's great.
O'BRIEN: Thanks, Jack.
CAFFERTY: That's for you, darling.
O'BRIEN: I know.
I appreciate the one shout out in an hour and a half.
Oprah Winfrey's magazine "O" is celebrating its fifth anniversary. She has graced every cover along the way. We're going to talk to "O's" editor-at-large about the stories behind those covers just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
Stay with us.
HEMMER: We are "Paging Dr. Gupta." Today, the carpal tunnel syndrome of the new millennium. It's called Blackberry thumb. Why the little gadget is causing so much pain to so many. That's ahead next on AMERICAN MORNING.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.
It's just about half past the hour on this AMERICAN MORNING.
In just a few moments, the queen of daytime television reigns on magazine racks, as well. Oprah's "O" magazine now five years old. One of "O's" editors is going to join us and tell us why she thinks this magazine is oh so popular.
HEMMER: I like that. Also, we're looking at all the damage done to digits by gadgets. Sanjay gives us a report today on something called Blackberry thumb. This is a Blackberry. You can e-mail, you can make phone calls.
O'BRIEN: I am so fast on that thing. Not to brag, but I'm really good on mine.
HEMMER: We can't live without it.
So, we'll get to Sanjay in a couple of minutes on this.
First, the headlines.
And Carol Costello again with that.
O'BRIEN: Hey, Carol -- good morning.
COSTELLO: Good morning.
Good morning to all of you.
Angry words this morning from the Italian journalist injured by American gunfire in Baghdad. The Pentagon released its findings on Monday, clearing all U.S. troops of any wrongdoing in the incident. Juliana Sgreina, who had been held hostage in Iraq, was injured last month just minutes after her release. The man who helped rescue her, a top Italian security agent, was killed.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com