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Bush's Second Term Strategies; Cell Phone Bandit

Aired November 14, 2005 - 09:30   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm sorry. I'm laughing.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: OK, the set should be a scone-free zone. I just ate another scone.

S. O'BRIEN: OK, it has nothing to do with the scones. Did you see Miles? Just before that Pete cued us, he took a big bite of this scone. And they're quite delicious, but they're quite dry. Are you all right?

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, right now. So, yes, there's the scone in question. The remnants of said...

S. O'BRIEN: But his look of panic as they're...

M. O'BRIEN: Trying to swallow.

S. O'BRIEN: ... running the music. That was funny.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I know, and we had no water to give you, so it could have been dangerous.

S. O'BRIEN: Sorry, I've got some coffee.

M. O'BRIEN: Hey, this cold thing, you know, I still don't buy that.


S. O'BRIEN: What?

M. O'BRIEN: I just don't -- a virus is a virus. How does -- I still don't get the how cold...

S. O'BRIEN: The point is that we all carry the virus inside of us and that what happens is your body, you get vulnerable. As you know when you're stressed, you're more vulnerable.

M. O'BRIEN: I understand that, when you're tired. I understand the tired cold thing.

S. O'BRIEN: Well he's saying that tired is equivalent....

COSTELLO: No, but he said cold feet restrict the blood vessels in your nose somehow and that affects it.

S. O'BRIEN: It basically... M. O'BRIEN: So the toe bone's connected to the nose bone? What is that all about?

S. O'BRIEN: Basically, it makes you more vulnerable to a cold you already -- a virus you already have in your body.

M. O'BRIEN: Because you're tired.

S. O'BRIEN: Because you're healthy and you're strong. Because you're cold, you get chills. How many live shots have you done where you're freezing? You're outside all day and you know, within two days, you're going to come down with a raging cold. It has nothing to do with being tired. It has to do with having a wet head.

COSTELLO: You sold me, baby! I am sold.

S. O'BRIEN: I am so into that story. I'm sorry. And I knew I was right, because that was my prediction.

M. O'BRIEN: I knew I was right!

S. O'BRIEN: Call me Dr. O'Brien.


M. O'BRIEN: In the meantime, let's talk about the president. You know, second-term presidents, they tend to like to travel. Easier to control things that way. Score a foreign policy coup, that sort of thing. But in this second term, this president, things are not shaping up just that way so far.

Ron Brownstein is a CNN political analyst. He also is a columnist for the "L.A. Times." Ron, good to have you back with us.


M. O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the president's trip. A lot of people would suggest the U.S. policy in Iraq, the unilateral policy, the my way or the highway type of policy, is sort of coming home to roost for the president now, as he meets with other leaders.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, the irony here is that the -- by and large, there has been less conflict between the administration and other nations over this question over the degree to which the U.S. acts alone in the second term than there has been and there was, certainly, in the first term.

On Iraq, we're still not getting a lot of support from those who are critical. But when you look at the efforts to deal with the problems of Iran and North Korea, with Iran working with the European nations and with North Korea with the six-party nations, there have been conflicts and tensions certainly, but by and large, we've managed to keep in harness and have greater cooperation than we saw, by and large, in Bush's first term.

M. O'BRIEN: Now, just before the president left, he offered up a speech, defending his conduct of the war, the administration's conduct of the war, with some specific statements to his critics about the use of pre-war intelligence. Let's listen to the president briefly.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.


M. O'BRIEN: Interesting rhetoric for a Veterans Day speech in advance of an overseas trip. Don't you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, yes, you can understand why the president wants to -- has the instinct to punch back. Because he's certainly been taking a lot of intense -- a lot of incoming from Democratic critics. But do I have to question whether, at this point, given where he is that kind of confrontational language really makes the most sense. I mean, you could argue, looking at the public opinion really over the last year, that what he needs to do is invest the Democrats who supported the war more deeply in the ongoing effort to make a success of it.

And what this speech does is make a more partisan divide about the war at a time when the country's not only divided very sharply on partisan lines about the war, but about his presidency. You have enormous polarization. Not really sure more polarization is at this point the best strategy for the president.

M. O'BRIEN: So deeper divisions, as he goes overseas. Let's talk about what the goals are here. China, in particular, stands out here. What does the president hope to accomplish?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, every president comes with great expectations of changing the relationship with China and then realize there are so many irons in the fire, so many different interests that we have, that stability becomes a predominant interest in itself.

Right now, the domestic pressure on China, overwhelmingly, is economic. You saw it last summer when CNOOC -- the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company -- was trying to buy an American oil company. We see it in the concern about the trade deficit. There's a lot of anxiety in the U.S. about where this economic relationship is going right now, and that will put pressure on the president, both in terms of market opening, the Chinese currency, protection of intellectual property.

But by and large, Miles, you'd have to say that really since 9/11, Asia has been on a backburner. We really haven't looked for big changes in our relationships with Japan, China, South Korea, except for that very particular problem, North Korea, which will be the other focus of this trip, making sure we keep those six-party talks on track.

M. O'BRIEN: Time to put it on the front burner, maybe?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Well, North Korea is a -- you know, we've had a breakthrough there in September with the framework agreement. The last round of talks that have just completed have showed how difficult it is to move beyond that to the actual specific agreement. That's going to be a lot of steps. And China really is critical there. They are the one outside nation where the significant amount leverage. And I'm sure the president is going to be pushing hard at that front.

M. O'BRIEN: The devil's in the details.

Ron Brownstein, "L.A. Times" columnist, CNN political analyst, thanks for your time.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.


M. O'BRIEN: Take a good look at the woman who's about to come to your screen. There she is. She's the so-called cell phone bandit. Now she has struck four Wachovia Banks, only Wachovias in Northern Virginia. We don't know how much cash she's gotten away. They don't release that kind of stuff for some reason. We are learning a little bit more about her. Earlier I spoke to Maryanne Jennings. She is the director of public information for the police department in Fairfax County, Virginia, and she says police now have a name. They're confident they'll nab this woman soon.


MARYANNE JENNINGS, DIR. OF PUBLIC INFORMATION, FAIRFAX CO., VA. POLICE DEPT.: We're a lot closer than we were on Friday, Miles. You can now put a name under that picture every time you show it from now on.

M. O'BRIEN: And the name is?

JENNINGS: The name is Candice Rose Martinez. She's 19 years old, and we just identified her over the weekend. We do not have her in custody, but both Fairfax County and Loudoun County have arrest warrants with charging her with bank robbery. So we're anxious to get our hands on her and place her under arrest.

M. O'BRIEN: How did you identify her?

JENNINGS: Through the calls that we got beginning on, let's see, Friday, Saturday. They came in consistently. We got several dozen calls, and we were able to identify her, and we were able to find some evidence.

M. O'BRIEN: So people out there saw her and it was quite obvious to them who she was, and maybe used a cell phone to call you up. Who knows?

JENNINGS: Who knows. M. O'BRIEN: Based on that name, does she have any prior record, any sort of history with police? I can't talk about prior history. That's part of our law in Virginia, that I really can't go into any history.

I can tell you that she hasn't apparently been in our area a very long time. She comes from New Mexico, I believe, and -- but she has been in our area just long enough, obviously, to rob four banks. And she was saying stuff like uh-huh on the phone. That was pretty much it? What can you tell us about what she's been saying?

JENNINGS: I really haven't talked to our investigators about that. I've been more interested in finding out who she is and how we were going to catch her. And also to talk to all of the reporters who have been kind enough to try to get her some publicity on this and try to get her picture out, locally and across the country.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Do you think there's really someone at the other end of the line here, or is this part of some effort to be nonchalant and sneak your way up to the teller without causing any great alarm?

JENNINGS: We don't know. As far as I can tell from talking to our investigators, and I've talked to them al weekend continuously, so I don't know that we're sure about that yet. We are investigating it still, and we have a lot more t's to cross and i's to dot, but we're going get her.


M. O'BRIEN: All right, thanks to Maryanne Jennings. She's with Fairfax County Police Department. We should warn anyone who may come across Martinez, authorities consider her armed and dangerous -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, Madonna's new album hits stores this week. Does it live up to all of the hype? "AM Pop" is just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. We're back in a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: Here's a little quiz for you. Where do you think the most expensive land in the nation is? My guess would be Manhattan, New York. We'll have an update on the question for you in just a little bit. First, though, Andy's got a look at the market as well.

Good morning.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Good morning to you.

Maybe London, Tokyo.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, well, let's stick to the nation. Let's give people an edge here. SERWER: All right, yes, that sounds good. Let's talk about the markets, though, first of all, Soledad. Check out the Big Board. Down to kind of been treading water mode, maybe slipping a little below the surface there as we start off the week, and after the big gains we've had over the past couple of session, I guess, investors are just sort of taking stock, so to speak, this morning.

Now speaking about pricey land in the United States, it's not New York City. It's not L.A. It's not San Francisco. Would you believe, Spencer, Indiana, Owen County. That's right near Bloomington, about 60 miles southwest of Indianapolis. The most pricey real estate in the United States.

Well, there's kind of a wrinkle to this story, Soledad. They've got a one-square inch plot of land for sale there, and for tax purposes, the lowest price you can have, this is the county's auctioning this off, is $1,500.

S. O'BRIEN: For a square inch.

SERWER: For a square inch. A square inch would be about this big right here, and so if you had like a Sweet and Low, you couldn't put it on there without trespassing on your neighbors. See you couldn't, you'd be trespassing.

Now here's what happened. Someone apparently bought this land, because they wanted access to a nearby lake, so you had to be a property owner in the country to use the lake. Someone brought this tiny piece of land. The bank foreclosed. The county ended up owning it. They wanted to sell it, and then they had this single little parcel of land, and the minimum price they could offer it for it is $1,500. That works out to be $7 billion an acre.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, that's expensive.

SERWER: I mean, it's really a funny little story. I don't know why they don't -- they're trying to give it...

S. O'BRIEN: What could you put on this?

SERWER: You couldn't grow a flower on this.

S. O'BRIEN: A little teenie-weenie house.

SERWER: You could put -- you know what, ants could play checkers, right?

S. O'BRIEN: That's worth $1500, absolutely.

M. O'BRIEN: I'm so impressed with your artistic visual aid here.

SERWER: Well, I did.

M. O'BRIEN: You and Todd got together with a felt-tip pen.

SERWER: You heard us calling for a ruler back there. (CROSSTALK)

SERWER: You'd be trespassing there. I love that.

S. O'BRIEN: That's a good story.

SERWER: They're trying to give it away, and they can't.

S. O'BRIEN: Seven billion?

SERWER: For an anchor, if you extrapolate it.

M. O'BRIEN: It's lake-front property.

S. O'BRIEN: That's true, then there's that.

SERWER: It's near the lake.

M. O'BRIEN: Near the lake, right.

Not on it, no.


S. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Andy.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you.

Coming up on CNN LIVE TODAY, more real estate news, Betty Nguyen?

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, good morning. I'm here. How are you?

M. O'BRIEN: Hello. Good morning.

NGUYEN: All right, Miles. At the top of the hour, are you or your parents signing up for the new Medicare drug plan? Enrollment starts tomorrow, but signing up is proving to be a real problem for thousands of people, so we've got some must-see top five tips to help out.

Plus, suicide bombers. Two new movies try to take you inside the mind of suicide bombers in the Middle East. It's an eerie case of life imitating art. Good stuff coming up -- Miles, Soledad.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, we'll be watching, Betty. Thank you very much.

S. O'BRIEN: Still ahead for us this morning, "AM Pop." The Material Girl goes back to her club roots. She's got a new album. The verdict from the critics is just ahead. Stay with us.



S. O'BRIEN: It looks a little retro -- yes, she does look hot.

M. O'BRIEN: She's showing a little...

S. O'BRIEN: She's showing a little bum action going on.

M. O'BRIEN: ... her cheekbones she's got going there, if you know what I mean.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, she is. Let's review Madonna's history, shall we, for a while?

M. O'BRIEN: We don't have time. There are 47 iterations, aren't they?

S. O'BRIEN: Well, you did -- you had Madonna "Like a Virgin." Then you had Madonna less like a virgin -- there we go, remember, in the leather? And then you had religious Madonna, you had maternal Madonna. You had Madonna is British all of a sudden, and had that weird accent. And Madonna, Madonna, Madonna.

M. O'BRIEN: Kilts. Kilts Madonna.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, Kilts Madonna. And that's religious Madonna there. And now Madonna's got a new CD out, and Bradley Jacobs, senior editor of "US Weekly" has a review.


S. O'BRIEN: That's kind of like retro, but modern Madonna.

JACOBS: Madonna has gone back to her roots. She recently said in an interview that her life began on the dance floor, and that's what this album is all about. You know, her last album, "American Life," and the one before it, "Music," they were kind of heavy-handed, if you remember. You know, there was a lot of Kabbalah-influenced stuff, a lot of politics involved.

S. O'BRIEN: All less financially successful. That's why she's going back to the dance floor.

JACOBS: Exactly.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's be real.

M. O'BRIEN: Interesting.

JACOBS: She left all of that outside the studio when she made this album. It is just fun, fun, fun. It is, you know, the Madonna that wowed us back in the day, you know, with "Like a Virgin," et cetera. And I think that this is going to be definitely her most successful album in a few years.

It's like -- it's basically a dance album. And actually on i- Tunes you can download the regular album, or you can download a version of it that is just continuous, that goes from one track to another. This is the video for "Hung Up," the first single. It's very influenced by "Saturday Night Fever," you can see. There's a lot of ABBA in this album.

S. O'BRIEN: The girl looks good, I will give you that.

JACOBS: For 47 years old, hi.

S. O'BRIEN: OK, 47's not old, number one.

M. O'BRIEN: No, no, no, that's not.

JACOBS: Not saying it's old, but to see 47-year-olds in leotard out there, you know...

S. O'BRIEN: She looks good. She looks good. Do you think, though, that she -- you know, at some point, we keep having reiterations of the new Madonna that sort of stops working. I mean, because obviously, like reinventing herself has been a theme. At some point do you think that's not going work anymore?

JACOBS: But see, she's managed to keep it fresh every time. People have been writing her obituary since her second album came out. She always manages to stay ahead a curb. She does make mistakes. Obviously, we can all point fingers at mistakes that she's made to over the years. But basically, you know, she taught a whole generation of pop stars that we're now seeing out there -- Britney, Christina, Jessica, et cetera. She taught them how to do it, and she's still staying ahead of the curve.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, that's an interesting point, though. She's kind of the house mom for all these girls now.

JACOBS: She's the queen.

M. O'BRIEN: She's the queen. So who is her audience, though? Is she going after the same odd audience that these youngsters getting or is it the...

JACOBS: She's going after...

M. O'BRIEN: ... people like us who have been with her along the way. Not to bring in the ages here.

JACOBS: I mean, I think the core fans are going to buy any album of hers.

M. O'BRIEN: Right, whatever it is.

JACOBS: She is trying to please them, definitely, in this. But I think she's also trying to court the younger audience that's out there in the clubs that is going hear this album out there and doesn't want the politics, doesn't want the Kabbalah stuff, is fed up with that kind of Madonna, the shoving her politics down our throats. She's left all that, as I said, outside of the studio with this album.

M. O'BRIEN: But will it sell with those 20-something? JACOBS: I do think it will. I think we'll see this album do definitely do better than the last one, "American Life," which didn't even sell a million copies....

S. O'BRIEN: That was a deadly album. Sorry, but it was so bad.

JACOBS: And possibly better than...

S. O'BRIEN: What a waste of 15 bucks.

JACOBS: And possibly better than her 2000 album, "Music."

M. O'BRIEN: All right.

S. O'BRIEN: We will see. You're a big fan, anyway.

JACOBS: I'm there. I mean, you know, I'm downloading it at 12:01 a.m. tonight on iTunes, sorry.

S. O'BRIEN: Our point exactly, Bradley.

Bradley Jacobs is the senior editor of "US Weekly." Thanks, Bradley.

M. O'BRIEN: Tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING, Dr. Sanjay Gupta stops by to announce the winners of our "New You Resolution" for 2006.

S. O'BRIEN: We applied for that.

M. O'BRIEN: We applied. I think Madonna was one of the winners, right? Did we get her? No, we didn't get her.

We received thousands of applications. It's for couples. Six people, three teams of two made the cut. You will meet them tomorrow at 7:00 Eastern. And we are back in a moment.


M. O'BRIEN: Well, it's just about all of the time we have.

S. O'BRIEN: What, already?

M. O'BRIEN: Well, you could do little bunny foo foo, which she has been humming during the breaks. You can tell she has young kids. Betty Nguyen, she's doing little bunny foo foo.

S. O'BRIEN: That means it's the end of our day.


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