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AMERICAN MORNING

Northeast Waking Up Under the Weather Again; Associated Press Releases Complete Video of Beating in New Orleans

Aired October 14, 2005 - 07:00   ET

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


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Soledad O'Brien. The Northeast waking up under the weather again, an eighth straight day of rain. Flooding is getting worse, too. Residents leaving their homes. Travel becoming a real mess as well. We're live with the very latest.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Miles O'Brien. The early moments of an ugly incident. The Associated Press releases the complete video of that beating in New Orleans. Does it paint a different picture? We will examine the tape for you.

S. O'BRIEN: And back in front of a grand jury with a possible indictment on the line, Karl Rove is expected to testify for a fourth time in the CIA leak probe, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning. A fourth visit to the grand jury, and there is some who would suggest maybe he asked to visit with the grand jury.

Could be. But you know, as they describe it, it's almost like an iceberg. You know very little and you don't know what's going on behind the scenes there.

M. O'BRIEN: Hopefully, we -- well, anyway, we will ask some more questions about that, nonetheless.

Meanwhile, The rain is a big issue, remains a big issue here where we are in the Northeast.

Eight days and still counting. It refuses to go away. It's a persistent storm really, and that's what we're starting with this morning. Flood warnings, again, in effect for much of New Jersey. Northern parts of the state have seen four to six inches of rain in just the past 48 hours alone. Chris Huntington is in Lincoln Park, New Jersey this morning.

Hey, Chris. Good morning.

How bad is it there?

CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, I can tell you that it is worse this morning than it was last night. We were here yesterday afternoon to see the Lincoln Park Fire Department pulling people out of the houses in this Midwood Road section here.

Not far down behind me, you can see there is water up here that is up at least another, I would say, extend another 10 feet into this parking lot than it was last night. Down by those houses, there's six feet of water. This is not a unique situation, unfortunately, in this part of New Jersey, which takes the runoff from the mountains in the northern part of the state. This area is a big floodplain, an alluvia plain to be technical about it, laced with rivers and streams, and they are continuing to swell as the rain runs off from up north. Even though it has stopped raining now, it rained all night last night in areas from Wayne, New Jersey to Oakland, to Pompton (ph) Lakes, are still severely flooded. Homes throughout this area saturated. And the word is that these rivers are not likely to crest, to completely peak, for another several hours.

The good news is that there is not expected to be any rainfall in this immediate area today. There is expected to be a brief, perhaps strong shower of rain up in the mountains of northern New Jersey sometimes late today, perhaps tomorrow. That will eventually be runoff down here. So, Soledad, the situation right now, stable, still not in the clear, and there's still probably another 24 hours for folks to stay very wary in this area -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Six feet of water behind you. All right, Chris Huntington for us this morning. Chris, thanks.

(WEATHER REPORT)

M. O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the New Orleans police beating. Another little piece, another glimpse of it being released this morning. The Associated Press released some tape which shows short of the prelude what we've seen so far. So does it support the case of the 64-year-old man arrested, or the police? Well, the answer is yes in both cases.

CNN's Dan Simon reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The entire videotape shot by the agency's photographer runs five minutes. The extended footage shows a little more of what happened at the beginning of the incident. We see a woman try to communicate something to the officers, before she is shooed away by the mounted policeman. This appears to be the woman Davis has publicly asked to come forward to corroborate his story.

After the officers strike Robert Davis, the new tape shows the FBI agents watching the struggle for at least 15 seconds before they assist in the eventual takedown.

Moments later, according to one law enforcement trainer who watched the tape at CNN's request, it appears the officers are working against one another. One holding Davis in what's called a leg lock; the other, sitting on his back, effectively pulling and pushing Davis in opposite directions.

And listen carefully, this could be significant in court. You can hear the 64-year old yell, quote, "If you allow me to turn over, I will." It also appears one of the officers delivers a kick to Davis. Bear in mind, he is already on the ground restrained. Later, a witness can be heard, saying, quote, "Did you get that on film?" He surrendered to them. They then hit him in the back of the head, and that's when he started to fight.

As the drama continues to unfold, it's clear at least two additional officers -- state policemen from Louisiana and New York are also at the scene. It's not clear in what capacity. Then, this chilling cry, apparently from Davis.

ROBERT DAVIS, VICTIM: Oh, God. Almighty God.

SIMON: At the very end of the complete tape, there are a few more seconds of the handcuffing of Relief Worker Calvin Riles (ph), who told CNN he wanted to report the alleged brutal treatment of Davis, but was told to mind his own business.

(on camera): Because the case against the officers was filed in municipal court, legal experts tell me that any trial would be handled by a judge and not a jury.

Dan Simon, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

M. O'BRIEN: Of course there is a chance that the district attorney in the New Orleans parish would file additional charges which would change that picture and change that venue.

Now, meanwhile, Davis has pled not guilty to charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation. The three officers are suspended and have plead not guilty to battery charges -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: To Iraq now. Iraqis are heading to the polls to vote on the country's draft constitution. More insurgent violence, though, to report this morning.

CNN's Aneesh Raman is live in Baghdad for us.

Aneesh, there has been some early voting already. How are things looking?

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Soledad, detainees who have not been convicted of charges and also those who are in hospitals in Iraq began voting yesterday. They continue to do so today. We are expecting in tomorrow's vote a high turnout among some 15.5 million Iraqis that are registered to vote.

But all eyes will be on those Sunni provinces, not just to see if the Sunnis turn out to the polls. That would be a sign of success, if they are entering into the political process, but also if they have enough votes to reject this document. Despite an agreement reached earlier in the week between one major Sunni majority and the Shia-Kurd coalition, the majority of Sunnis it seems intent on rejecting the document and starting this political process all over again. Security, understandably, is incredibly high. The country's borders have been closed. A curfew is now imposed. But we've had five Iraqi policemen killed so far in attacks in polling stations in the Dialla (ph) province.

In January, on election day, we saw over 300 individual attacks. Now that ranges from gunfire all the way up to a suicide bomb. They're hoping something similar does not happen tomorrow. The biggest threat, we're told, suicide bombers. Cars are being kept off the road, and they're encouraging Iraqis who are in line at polls to keep distance from one another so as not to be a target for those suicide bombers -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: What are the biggest sticking points here, really, Aneesh?

RAMAN: Well, the main one remains federalism. The Sunnis are against any autonomous powerful regional government. They think the Kurds will have near autonomy in the north, and the Shia would have something similar in the south. It will leave the Sunnis, according to them, out of the natural resources, specifically oil, in terms of where they have the majority population. And that remains the biggest sticking point, and either way, whether this gets accepted or rejected, another referendum is likely to come next year, and that issue is likely to dog this process throughout -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Aneesh Raman is in Baghdad for us this morning. Aneesh, thank you -- Miles.

It's a desperate situation in Pakistan after Saturday's earthquake. The need, more helicopters, more cash, more tents. As a desperate effort continues to try to get relief to those who are injured, and also provide some sort of housing for millions who are without their homes.

Becky Anderson is there. She is in the midst of all of this.

Good morning, Becky.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles. And thank you very much, indeed.

We're live and exclusive at Rawalpindi Airport, which is the headquarters of the international relief effort. This is a race against time to get the much-needed aid up to some 2.5 to five million potential homeless up in the remote mountainous region north of here.

Now, the scale of the operation, there is some 20 countries now involved alongside Pakistan in this relief effort which, as I say, is headquartered here. And the Americans are here. They've been here for sometime. We've got eight choppers in from Afghanistan, two now from the U.S. Navy and two are on their way. There's 200 U.S. troops on the ground. They're flying these choppers 24/7. They're flying them up with much-needed aid and bringing back these very, very many injured. We just saw injured being brought up one of these Chinooks. And the dignity with which these people are being brought down to Islamabad is quite phenomenal, women, men, grandfathers and small children. Some of them without limbs at this stage, many of them bandaged, and many of them psychologically damaged by what has happened to them over the last six days. They cannot believe that this is really true.

Talking about this international relief effort, it is quite phenomenal. To have been here at Rawalpindi Airport and to have seen the sort of operation in full swing here. The Japanese have just arrived on a 747 with 100 troops. There, the Japanese just arriving at the airport here. A truly international effort -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Becky Anderson, exclusively for us from Islamabad. Thank you very much -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, senior white house adviser Karl Rove is expected to once again testify before the grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's name. "AMERICAN MORNING's" Bob Franken live at the federal courthouse in Washington D.C. For us this morning.

Hey, Bob, good morning.

Good morning, and I think it's fair to say, Soledad, that the White House is watching this very closely.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The grand jury room has become Karl Rove's home away from the White House. The president's longtime chief political adviser will now have to handle a fourth appearance. Rove had volunteered to return if needed, and the prosecutor has taken him up on it. But this time, Rove's lawyer says there's no assurance the Deputy White House chief of staff will not be indicted. Karl Rove comes back after "Time" magazine's Matt Cooper testified under threat of jailtime. Cooper told the grand jury that Rove had been one of his sources in the days before undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame was identified in the press. Plame is the wife of Joe Wilson, who had publicly questioned administration claims about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, according to sources, wants to reconcile Rove's testimony and Cooper's. As usual, the White House refuses to comment.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.: We will be glad to talk about it once it's over, but until that time, what we're going to do is let the special prosecutor complete his work.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FRANKEN: The grand jury is almost out of time. Fitzgerald can ask for an extension or decide what indictments, if any, he'll seek. And those, of course, are lingering legal questions, but the lingering political question is whether the White House, in an effort to discredit those who are criticizing its claims about weapons of mass destruction, release the name of somebody spitefully who was a member of the secret -- was a classified person whose name should not have been made public -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken this morning. Thanks, Bob -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Still to come on the program, was the president's televised conversation with troops Thursday, well, is rehearsed the term? Or is coached the term?

S. O'BRIEN: Choreographed? Staged?

M. O'BRIEN: In any case, the scene you saw here had a little preamble, which we'll tell you about.

S. O'BRIEN: Also thousands of hurricane evacuees are supposed to move out of the all of the shelters by tomorrow. We'll take a look at why that's probably not going to happen.

M. O'BRIEN: And it's our last day at "New You" checkups, and this is Soledad's favorite, right?

S. O'BRIEN: Not my -- they are all my favorites, Miles, but I love Sandra Garth. You know, she weighed 200 pounds when we met her, 200 pounds, and she wanted to lose the weight and also get back into an exercise routine. We'll tell you how she did.

M. O'BRIEN: I think she weighs 95 now, is that right?

S. O'BRIEN: No.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: You'll remember yesterday, the White House had that live teleconference with U.S. troops who were in Tikrit. It was held out of the White House when the president did a little back and forth with the troops. Well, listen to how the troops were prepared before we showed you that teleconference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALLISON BARBER, DEP. ASST. SECY. OF DEFENSE: You have to be prepared for Captain Kennedy. The president is going to ask some questions, and he may ask all six of them, he may ask three of them. He might have such a great time talking to you, he might come up with some new questions. So what we want to be prepared for is to not stutter. So if there there's a question that the president comes up with that we haven't drilled through today, then I expecting the microphone to go right back to you, Captain Kennedy, and you handle it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

S. O'BRIEN: That was the voice of Allison Barber, the deputy assistant deputy of defense. And joining us this morning from "Time" magazine is Mike Allen.

Hey, Mike, good morning to you.

MIKE ALLEN, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Hey, Soledad. S. O'BRIEN: You know, you don't get to see that usually on tape. You don't usually get to catch that. Are you surprised that there was this prepping of the U.S. troops before the president did his questioning?

ALLEN: Prepping for a presidential event? What a surprise.

S. O'BRIEN: Shocking.

ALLEN: No, Soledad, what the White House says about this was that this was rehearsed, but it was not scripted. What these soldiers said, they believed, and no one told them the exact words to say, and they loosened up as they went along. And I guess some reporters in the region talked to them after afterwards, and they expressed similar sentiments, but obviously this was embarrassing for the White House. It was unintended. You and I are talking about stagecraft instead of about how motivated the troops are.

S. O'BRIEN: So the embarrassing part is that they got caught doing what everybody does, warming up?

ALLEN: Well, they say that they weren't caught. What we have here is a little disconnect, I think, between White House culture and the Pentagon culture. Your viewers saw Scott McClellan, the press secretary, briefing about this afterwards, and he pointed out eight times that they'd saying they'd been coordinating with the Department of Defense on this.

And what I'm told is the Pentagon views this as briefing up the chain of command. That is a lower level officer is talking to the commander-in-chief, and you're never going to wing that. That's always going to be planned out in advance.

And right there you heard Ms. Barber say they'd been drilling the answers. Incidentally, she had been in Iraq working with this unit and her husband -- she's an Army wife -- her husband had served in Iraq for a year. And the pool was brought into to see the satellite window was open, and that's what's unusual about it. Usually, the White House is extremely particular about this. Ever since the BBC took the president getting made up before a war address, and then Michael Moore used it again. They've been very fussy about when a feed starts. The presidential slate is up until they're ready for people to see the president.

S. O'BRIEN: You don't want people to see what's behind the scenes. Here is what the Pentagon had to say. This is from Lawrence DiRita, the Pentagon spokesman: "The event was technologically challenging and required organization and preparation. The soldiers were advised as to the issues they should expect to discuss and decided among themselves who would speak to each issue as it may arise."

What do you make of that statement?

ALLEN: Well, Soledad, that is a nice way of saying that this -- any White House, not this one in particular, is about control. These people just seem to be better at it. And there's lots of ways it's controlled. Obviously, those people were chosen. They were put into this somewhat awkward pose that looks to me like a class picture. The president was asking the questions, which himself is a degree of control, and they sort of knew what the answers were going to be. It's just like a presidential event. Frequently they're ticketed. They basically know who is in the audience, to the degree they can. They screen for who is going to be in it, because when you're out with the president, you don't just take things by chance. That's why when someone in New Orleans had the opportunity to scream in (INAUDIBLE) at the vice president is was so unusual, because usually these leaders are in setting where some random person does not have the ability to do that.

S. O'BRIEN: Finally question for you. You look at the stagecraft part of it. It's not the first time that the president has been sort of shown behind the scenes of what's going on. You remember of course the landing on the aircraft carrier, mission accomplished, and then they brought in all those lights to Ellis Island to backlight the president for some speech he gave, and then there was speech that he was giving and they covered up all the "made in China," I guess labels.

ALLEN: Yes, supposedly, that was done on a box.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, on the box, and put "made in the U.S." apparently?

ALLEN: Yes, that was by a local volunteer. That was not an authorized...

S. O'BRIEN: So I guess are these issues just they become bigger than they really are?

ALLEN: Well, Soledad, if there's a great referendum this weekend, obviously, this will be forgotten. But the problem with this, like any damaging story, it sort of underscores or bolsters a perception that people already have, and critics will contend that this is an administration that relies too much on spin. Yesterday, you had the Senate Democratic leader putting out a statement about photo ops. And this just supplied ammunition for that. What the White House will tell you is that they are just trying to convey the president's message, trying to convey what is going on in a way that will be viewable and appealing to people.

Now, obviously...

S. O'BRIEN: Photo ops out of the white -- you know, we begin with a shocker and we end with a shocker. They do photo ops at the White House.

Mike Allen, "Time" magazine. Nice to see you, Mike. Thanks.

ALLEN: Have a beautiful day, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: And likewise -- Miles. M. O'BRIEN: Still to come, Andy "Minding Your Business." He's got the government's list of which cars will save you money on gas. Stay with us with for more AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

M. O'BRIEN: And, now, for a completely candid, completely unrehearsed moment with Andy Serwer. I'm looking at the list here. And I figured my car, the Yukon XL, which I call a rolling zip code, I figured would be on the list of least efficient cars, but no!

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: You don't quite make it, but I'm sure it's pretty close.

M. O'BRIEN: About a hundred bucks to fill it up the other day.

SERWER: That's amazing.

The best and worst of Detroit and auto cars, automakers around the world in the U.S., let's check it out and see what the EPA has in store here. First of all, the good news. What cars had the best gas mileage? Here they are, the top ones, right?

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, that's right.

SERWER: And you can see here that you've got a lot of cars made by foreign car makers. You've got a lot of hybrids. Moving down to four and five, we've got diesel cars. And in fact, the only U.S. car -- we did have a Ford there. The only one that...

M. O'BRIEN: Ford Escape.

SERWER: Yes, we have a Ford Escape. Its' a hybrid. You've got Toyota Corolla at number 10 is the only non-hybrid, non-diesel car.

M. O'BRIEN: What people need to consider is those diesel Jettas a lot cheaper than a hybrid and pretty darn good mileage, so you know you start figuring out the cost.

But now, at the bottom of the lists.

SERWER: Let's go the dogs and checks...

M. O'BRIEN: The big dogs!

SERWER: Yes. First of all, we've got some Dodge's, the pickup, nine miles a gallon. And if you get a manual, it's not going to help you out. You're still only getting 9 miles to the gallon. And some of the worst cars also are some of these luxury cars. These people can fill these tanks with champagne. You can see here, it doesn't really matter, because if you can afford a Ferrari Scag or an Aston Martin, which James Bond used to drive, but doesn't anymore, then you can put whatever you want in it. A lot of minivans also very close to the bottom, 17 miles a gallon, like the Ford Freestar, the Buick...

M. O'BRIEN: Really? Minivans? SERWER: Yes, minivans are actually worse than some of the SUVs.

M. O'BRIEN: I wouldn't have guessed that. Well, if you have to ask the price of a gallon of gas, you just can't afford it, I guess.

SERWER: Especially if you drive the Bentley Arnage.

M. O'BRIEN: The Bentley.

All right, Andy. Thank you.

SERWER: You're welcome.

M. O'BRIEN: Still to come, our final "New You" checkup for this year from Sanjay Gupta. Former fitness instructor Sandra Garth looked like this eight months ago. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how she looks now. That's later on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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