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Mosque Explosion Latest in Iraq Violence; Mitch Landrieu Enters New Orleans Mayoral Race

Aired February 22, 2006 - 08:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: You're watching AMERICAN MORNING with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. Ahead this morning, we're talking about the Donald versus the Martha. Can I call her the Martha?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN ANCHOR: I think you can. I think she's at that level.

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, they used to be friendly. She actually is kind of reeling because the Donald's been making some public remarks about the Martha. Not so nice. Actually, downright nasty remarks.

MARCIANO: He's so competitive though.

O'BRIEN: A tad.

MARCIANO: And he just likes to step on you when you're down.

O'BRIEN: And his "Apprentice" has really killed her "Apprentice."

MARCIANO: Pretty much.

O'BRIEN: Bashes her, bashes her show, bashes her daughter. The list goes on and on. We've got that story for you ahead this morning.

MARCIANO: Also who not to bash? Little e-mails.

O'BRIEN: What not to do.

MARCIANO: You ever fire off an e-mail when you're a little bit too fired up?

O'BRIEN: Maybe save draft first.

MARCIANO: We're going to go over e-mail etiquette.

O'BRIEN: Those stories are ahead.


O'BRIEN: We make a turn now to a very tough story this morning coming to us out of Iraq. An attack, as we've been telling you about this morning. It happened at a Shiite holy shrine in Samarra and now it is inciting retaliation attacks across the country.

New videotape to show you this morning to CNN. Serious damage. Just take a look at this mosque. Officials say a group of men who were dressed like police officers stormed the building, and then they just set off the explosives. Ten suspects now have been arrested.

What can be done to stop insurgent violence in Iraq? The Pentagon and the Bush administration seem to think that only one thing's going to help. They're pushing for it hard after two weeks of increasing bloodshed.

Let's get right to Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, joining us this morning.

Hey, Barbara, nice to see you, as always. What's the one thing that's going to help?


That mosque bombing just the latest round in sectarian violence. The U.S. saying the Iraqis must begin to take control of the security situation.


STARR (voice-over): A car bomb parked at a Baghdad market killed 21 people and wounded at least 25 others Tuesday, one of the worst attacks on Iraqis in weeks. As the country is racked by ethnic violence, the Bush administration is stepping up the pressure for a new national unity government to be formed.

ZALMAY KHALIZAD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: The sectarianism and ethnic conflict is the fundamental problem in Iraq. Iraq is going through a period of state and nation building. The insurgency and the terror that is part of the scene is a reflection of this conflict.

STARR: A conflict that remains deadly for U.S. troops. Twenty- one-year-old Private First Class Matthew Conley (ph) was due home from Iraq next month. Now, his family mourns his death last Saturday in an IED attack in Ramadi.

EMILY CORDES, BROTHER KILLED IN IRAQ: It's been hard. It's very sad and everybody is in shock. And we just -- we really all keep thinking we're going to wake up and it's all going to be a nightmare. Mom keeps hoping he's going to walk through the door.

STARR: His pregnant wife, awaiting the birth of their child.

According to the Pentagon, more than 900 U.S. troops have been killed by explosive devices, more than 9,000 wounded. The Pentagon has stepped up its efforts to find and dismantle IEDs, but the attacks by insurgents have increased in the last two weeks, Pentagon officials confirm.

GEN. PETER PACE, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: They are now trying to stop the peaceful organization and stand-up of the government that's been elected through peaceful elections.

STARR: There are successes. Southwest of Baghdad, U.S. soldiers found 600 60 millimeter mortar rounds, IED material that won't be out on the roads.

COL. JEFFREY SNOW, U.S. ARMY: Out in the rural areas is where the insurgents dig in these IEDs and put numbers of them together. That constitutes a little bit more significant threat to our forces.


STARR: U.S. commanders say it is at the point, unless Iraqis can begin to take control and improve both the security and economic situation, the insurgency simply will be kept alive by disaffected Iraqis -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: OK, so they have recognized what the number one thing has to happen is. How do they make that happen? How does the U.S. military make or help Iraqis take control?

STARR: Well, the thing to watch for now really is the stepped-up training of Iraqi police forces. That is the major concern, that the police forces are a counterweight to any ethnic militias. And there is going to be much more stepped up training for the police and for Iraqi counterinsurgency forces, as opposed to the regular army. They really think this is the area they need to pay a lot of attention to to get handle on this sectarian violence -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: And it's such a sad story when you look at the lives lost, really, Barbara. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us this morning, thanks for the update.

STARR: Sure.

O'BRIEN: Coming up tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING, we've got a pretty important question for the military. Is the Army lowering its standards just to try to fill the ranks? We're going to talk with an Army recruiter about a stunning new report that's out. That's coming up tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING.


MARCIANO: Soledad, we've gotten word this morning that Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu will run for New Orleans mayor. Senior campaign officials tell CNN he'll make that formal announcement later today. Landrieu comes from a famous political family in Louisiana. You may recall his sister, Mary, is a senator.

Dan Lothian with more now on what could be the next mayor of New Orleans.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If New Orleans was knocked off its feet by Katrina, Mitch Landrieu wants to get his city standing again by walking in his father's footsteps. MITCH LANDRIEU, NOLA MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I think it can be done. But there's nothing but hard going. This is not an easy task for anybody.

LOTHIAN: Landrieu, Louisiana's lieutenant governor, is the son of former New Orleans mayor Moon Landrieu and the brother of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. Nine children in all, raised in a home where politics and public service were a daily staple at the dinner table.

MOON LANDRIEU, FMR. NOLA MAYOR: I can share with them some historical knowledge and some instincts, and they can choose to use it or not use it.

LOTHIAN: Madeleine Landrieu, a civil district court judge, says their father never pushed, just provided inspiration.

MADELEINE LANDRIEU-SENSENBRENNER, NOLA CIVIL DIST. COURT JUDGE: If it is your passion, then do it, but for no other reason than to serve the public.

MITCH LANDRIEU: It was really interesting to see...

LOTHIAN (on camera): Landrieu acknowledges the stakes will be much higher in this race than in his past political campaigns. There will be tough questions about how to handle his city's monumental disaster, and this local race will get national attention.

(voice-over): As he and wife Cheryl (ph) dropped off one of their five children at school, Landrieu talked about the decision to run, that some compare to walking in a mine field.

MITCH LANDRIEU: It was a tough decision. I came to it early, reluctantly, because people said, you know, well that's dangerous, don't go do that.

UNIDENTFIED FEMALE: Several folks rode the storm out there.

LOTHIAN: But with the homes of three family members heavily damaged...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can see the mold all the way up.

LOTHIAN: ... and the lakeside getaway wiped out, Landrieu felt compelled to run.

MITCH LANDRIEU: You go where you're most needed and where you think you can do the most good. It's really no more complicated than that.

LOTHIAN: Incumbent Ray Nagin had been considered a shoo-in before the hurricane. Then some say he made some mistakes. Now three friends -- Nagin, Audubon Institute CEO Ron Forman and Landrieu -- top the field of more than a half dozen mayoral candidates. Some political experts say Landrieu's pedigree and reputation as a very politician give him the advantage. EDWARD RENWICK, DIR., LOYOLA INST. OF POLITICS: I think he is the person to beat, but I don't think he can go home and go to sleep and think he's been elected mayor. I think it's going to be quite a contest.

LOTHIAN: If Landrieu can win, he would be the first white mayor in this mostly African-American city since his father got elected in 1969. He appealed to blacks by promising to give them key roles in his administration, and he delivered.

MOON LANDRIEU: For the first time, I think a white candidate in a deep southern city spoke to racial equality and racial justice.

LOTHIAN: Mitch Landrieu says he's not focusing on race, just issues, but he will be all ears for whatever advice his father can provide.

(on camera): Will he give you any advice?

MOON LANDRIEU: Well, I hope so. I hope so.

LOTHIAN (voice-over): This Louisiana family, rooted in politics, supporting yet another candidate for perhaps the toughest job in America.

MOON LANDRIEU: His mother and I have told him we'll love you whether you run or you don't run, whether you win or whether you lose.

LOTHIAN: Dan Lothian, CNN, New Orleans.


MARCIANO: We'll see in the coming months. The New Orleans mayoral primary takes place on April 22nd -- Soledad.

AMERICAN MORNING is going to be in New Orleans next week. Mitch Landrieu is going to be among those we will be talking with, not only obviously about his candidacy, but of course about the rebuilding.

It's been six months. I mean, remember these pictures. It's Katrina six months later. (INAUDIBLE) has devastated the Gulf Coast. Starting on Monday, we're live from the Gulf. We're going bring you special coverage of the Mardi Gras celebrations on Tuesday.

But we're also there to tackle some of the key issues and the key problems that are facing not only New Orleans, but the entire region.

AMERICAN MORNING coming to you live from the Gulf Coast, and that begins on Monday.


O'BRIEN: What's coming up on "Minding Your Business?"

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Soledad, will you be able to afford health care a decade from now? Plus, the government paying for stomach-stapling surgeries. We'll tell you all about that, coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: A classic he said/she said, but way meaner. We're talking about Martha versus the Donald, of course. Martha Stewart says that she was supposed to fire him on her version of "The Apprentice." See, wouldn't that be funny? Well, Donald says, oh no. No, no, no, no.

In fact, he wrote an open letter to "People" magazine, or that was obtained by "People" magazine, and he says this, and it's not pretty: "Death Martha, it's about time you started taking responsibility for your failed version of 'The Apprentice.' Your performance was terrible in that the show lacked mood, temperament and just about everything else a show needs for success."

OK, that's pretty mean.


O'BRIEN: Hang on, it gets worse. "Essentially you made this firing up just as you made up your sell order of ImClone." OK, going in a whole new direction. Kind of mean. "The only difference is -- that was more obvious."

That's all a quote. That's a quote that "People" magazine is running.

SERWER: Who do you root for in this one now?

O'BRIEN: Martha says Donald Trump, you know, they were friends.

SERWER: Oh, yes!

MARCIANO: Yes, but now they're competitors, and he's such a fierce competitor.

O'BRIEN: And she's surprised by the very mean-spirited attack. He's also gone on, you know, to attack her daughter, to attack her personally, to attack her daytime show. He's like, I have a line! You can say my show is...

MARCIANO: Don't mess with the family. Leave the family alone.

SERWER: I just say let them go at it, and we can watch it and have fun.

O'BRIEN: Oh, I know. It is kind of a spectator sport.

SERWER: It really is.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk about health care.

SERWER: Yes, let's talk about biz and health care, and everyone knows the cost of health care is going up, up, up. A new government survey, however, confirms our worst fears perhaps. Health care spending in this country will account for 20 percent of the economy within 10 years, up from 16 percent now. Get this, $4 trillion a year in 2015. That would be $12,320 per person.

O'BRIEN: Is it because people are getting -- living longer and, ergo, having more diseases, or is it because there's less preventive medicine, so people are getting sicker by the time they get in the health care system?

SERWER: Well, I think it's more former, and it's also the health care industries foisting more and more technologies, and prescriptions and pills upon us. You know, there's good news and bad news here. We're spending more. We have a great health care system, but life expectancy is up, so we have choices. Do we spend an additional $10,000 for a surgery that might increase your life by 18 months. Also the gap between the rich and the poor grows here. You know, this 12,000, obviously, someone is going to get 25,000. Another person will get 500 bucks or zippo.

Another thing we want to talk about here as far as medicine goes, Medicare is saying it will now pay for obesity surgery. This is called bariatric surgery. You might known it as gastric bypass or stomach stapling.

Previously, they had done this on a...

O'BRIEN: I hate when we roll these videotapes.

SERWER: Yes, the obese people.

O'BRIEN: None of those people had had...

SERWER: Did they sign a release?

O'BRIEN: We've can roll skinny people who have had gastric bypass.

SERWER: Yes, 65 percent of American adults are overweight. And of course the good news here is that this could actually save money because even though these procedures cost thousands of dollars, they are dangerous, there's mortality, but it could cost more. You might need coronary bypasses or medicines.

O'BRIEN: Yes, you save big money theoretically if it goes well.

SERWER: Right, if it goes well.

O'BRIEN: All right, Andy, thank you.

SERWER: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Have you ever, like, fired off an angry e-mail to somebody?

MARCIANO: Sadly, yes. I think we all have.

O'BRIEN: Really? SERWER: Yes, I did. And the consequences were not pretty.

O'BRIEN: Really. Well, we're going to have that in our next hour, for sure. Also ahead this morning, we're going to talk to the great grandson of Emily Post. He's actually got some advice for people like you. And I did that once, too. It was embarrassing. It wasn't horrible, but it was embarrassing.

SERWER: Comes back at you.

O'BRIEN: It so comes back to bite you. We'll talk about that in a little bit.

Then we have "A.M. Pop" this morning. Johnny Cash's oldest child, Rosanne Cash, live in the studio. She's got a new album out, fantastic album. And also she's going to talk a little about the family legacy that inspires her and her music, too.

That's all ahead. Stay with us. We're back in a moment.


MARCIANO: Well, Tuesday, we told you about an e-mail war of words between two Boston attorneys. Diana Abdala fresh out of law school, verbally accepted a job offer from attorney Will Korman, but when she decided the job didn't pay enough, she sent an e-mail reneging her acceptance.


DIANA ABDALA, SPARKED E-MAIL EXCHANGE: I had kind of lost respect for Attorney Korman, and I didn't think he really merited anything but an e-mail.


MARCIANO: Well, the e-mails didn't stop there. The words escalated and ended up on the Internet.

Joining us now from Burlington, Vermont, for a refresher course on e-mail etiquette is Peter Post. He's Emily Post's great grandson and director of the Emily Post Institute.

Peter -- I should say, I mind my manners and refer to you as Mr. Post. Good morning and thanks for joining us.

PETER POST, EMILY POST INSTITUTE: Thank you for having me. Peter is just fine, really.

MARCIANO: Thank you. All right, Peter. Well, listen, what's that -- what e-mail blunders -- what happened here? What kind of rules did this person break through this e-mail? What were the many?

POST: There were several. But the cardinal rule that they broke was that they forget that e-mails are public documents. You know, when you write an e-mail, be sure that it's -- you don't say anything in that e-mail you wouldn't be willing to post on a bulletin board for anybody to see. If that's the case, you got to ask yourself, is that what I really want to say? Because it could get out, and if it does, it hurts you.

MARCIANO: How easy is it to make a blunder? I mean, do you -- do we need to reread our e-mails three or four times before we send them out?

POST: Absolutely. I think people should take time. We used to take time when we did memos and things like that. Today, it's so easy to hit the send button. But, you know, the send later button -- take a minute to go back and read it again, delay the send by a minute or two, whatever it is. But look at it again. You've got to check for mistakes, those kinds of things, spelling, grammatical errors.

Remember, what's on that e-mail is who you are. So if do you a lot of mistakes, somebody is going say to themselves if this person makes mistakes in their e-mail, is that the kind of work they're going do for me in a contract or whatever else it might be?

MARCIANO: Peter, let's talk about another example, because quite honestly, this is kind of fun. This is from CEO to his managers a few years back. He says: "As managers, you either do not know what your employees are doing or you do not care. If you have a problem and will fix it -- or you have a problem, you better fix it, or I'll replace you. You have two weeks. Tick tock." What happened there?

POST: True story. He sent this e-mail out to all of his managers because people weren't showing up on time for work, and he didn't like the fact the parking lot was empty. Well, the problem was is the e-mail went out to the managers, but somebody didn't like that and eventually -- not eventually, the next day, it appeared out on the Internet and within three days, the company stock had dropped 20 percent. Now, that's a problem for a CEO.

You know, these things escalate very quickly and you got to be really careful about what you're willing to put out there and what you're not. Think about it before you send it.

MARCIANO: OK, well, let's give our viewers something to take home with. You have four basic rules of thumb. You've already mentioned the fist one, which is office e-mail is always public. Your second tip is quality, not quantity?

POST: Right. Quality, not quantity. E-mail is a quick type of a process, so keep those things short. You don't want to have somebody have to read three or four pages worth of stuff when it could have been said in three or four sentences.

MARCIANO: Take your time, I suppose, and maybe breathe a little bit if you're upset?

POST: Absolutely. Take your time, both from the mistake point of view and as you say, to breathe. But, you know, really have -- be a little bit considerate about this thing, because it is who you are. It represents you. Be very careful.

MARCIANO: And what about the tone? How do you mess with the tone of an e-mail? I mean, you put up those smiley faces? Does that downplay it or is that unprofessional?

POST: I think what you want to do is you want to read it back to yourself, literally out loud even makes a better way of doing it. And see whether or not as you read it it sounds angry, it sounds frustrated. Is that what you really want to say to the person?

It's so easy to fire that response or, having gotten a phone call, you know, go you idiot, I can't believe you said that. And you really didn't want to say it that way. Maybe you'd be a little bit more considerate, a little more careful, and your tone would be more business-like. And that might be much better for you than what's going on. Blah blah blah, it doesn't do it.

MARCIANO: No, that's not good. Peter, we're out of time, but one other point that you've made is that, you know, about 24 hours response time when you get an e-mail is really the proper etiquette, is it not?

POST: It is, indeed. And that doesn't mean you have to give the person all the information they want in that 24 hours, but at least just send them a note and say, got your e-mail, I'll be back to you in a couple of days when I can get the information. That way they know you got the e-mail.

MARCIANO: Good points. Peter Post, thank you for the e-mail etiquette tips. Have a good morning.

POST: You're welcome.

MARCIANO: Soledad.

O'BRIEN: A look at the day's top stories are straight ahead this morning. We're back in just a moment. Stay with us.



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