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Milosevic Autopsy; Gridiron To Battlefield; How's He Doing?; AM Pop

Aired March 13, 2006 - 07:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: You're watching AMERICAN MORNING with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: It's a little bit like Weathering Heights out there. Heathcliff. Heathcliff.


MILES O'BRIEN: We're going to be talking to Jeremy Staat. This is an interesting guy. Roommate in collage at Arizona State University with Pat Tillman, the late Pat Tillman, who, of course, Arizona Cardinal star goes into the Army Rangers and ultimately is killed, shot by his own people. Jeremy Stat, there you see him there, he's going to be joining us very shortly. Just newly minted Marine. Former Steeler. Former Ram and a roommate of Pat Tillman.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Inspired by Pat Tillman?

MILES O'BRIEN: Well, I think, actually, he might have had the idea first. This is what we'll get into with him.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Interesting.

MILES O'BRIEN: Anyway, in the meantime, let's check severe weather situation. Chad Myers has been looking at that.

You've got a busy map still this morning. Lots of people still feeling it, aren't they?


MILES O'BRIEN: Let's get right to Carol Costello.

Good morning, Carol.


Good morning to all of you.

Fixing what's gone wrong. That's the focus today as President Bush takes to the podium. He's launching a new series of speeches aimed at drumming up support for the war in Iraq three years after it began. CNN will have live coverage of the president's address for you. He'll make that address at George Washington University. It starts at 1:15 p.m. Eastern. Democratic Senator Russ Feingold says President Bush has broken a law and must be held accountable over his domestic spying program. The senator spoke with us just a short time ago.


SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD, (D) WISCONSIN: This is a way to restore the constitutional order on a bipartisan basis and allow us to get back to the main issue, which is fighting the war against al Qaeda and terrorism.


COSTELLO: Senator Feingold is expected to bring his censure resolution up in Congress later today. The Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist calls it a crazy political mistake.

Saddam Hussein's trial underway now in Baghdad. Hussein is not in the courtroom but we're hearing he could take the stand himself. That could happen as early as tomorrow. In the meantime, one of Hussein's co-defendants is admitting to giving the death penalty to more than 140 people back in 1982. A former Iraqi judge says he sentenced the men and each was given a fair trial.

A huge break in the case of a graduate student brutally raped and killed in New York. There's now DNA evidence linking a person of interest to the body. Police say blood found on plastic ties used to bind the hands of the strangled student matched samples from Darryl Littlejohn. New York police will go to the grand jury for an indictment this week. And, of course, Soledad, we'll keep follow that for everyone.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: All right. Everybody here in New York is following it certainly. Carol, thanks.

Coming within the last hour, word that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is going to be buried in Belgrade. Preliminary autopsy results indicated that, in fact, he died of a heart attack. But there's a dispute even over that. He was found dead on Saturday in his cell in The Hague. Let's get right to CNN's Paula Newton. He's live for us there where Milosevic was on trial for war crimes.

Hey, Paula, good morning.


You know even in death, Slobodan Milosevic is really stirring the pot here. His family has decided that he should be buried in Serbia. And right now, at this moment, there's a great debate underway there as to how he should be buried.

Also at dispute, whether or not his widow can attend the funeral in Serbia. She has an outstanding arrest warrant. She wants it to be lifted. The government has already said they won't do that. They are afraid that it will lead to a big spectacle in Serbia with nationalists really making the most of his burial there. At the same time, as you pointed out, more controversy over his autopsy. A Dutch toxicologist is pointing out that perhaps Mr. Milosevic was taking unprescribed medication in order to compromise his own health so that he could be released here from The Hague and go to Russia for medical treatment. We won't have any more definitive results on how he died. We know that he died of a heart attack. But what exactly was in his bloodstream when he died, we may have more of those details later today or tomorrow.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: What about the tribunal itself, Paula? Where does it go from here?

NEWTON: I spoke to the chief war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte. She says she is hard at work right now trying to get two outstanding fugitives delivered to The Hague. They are Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, to Bosnian Serb commanders who she accuses of genocide. She wants them here. She's trying to move on, trying to have some kind of -- trying to salvage all that evidence that she amassed against Mr. Milosevic and also use it against these two top commanders. You know, she seemed very, very frustrated, obviously, since she learned the death of Mr. Milosevic and she says she just wants the victims in all of this to get some kind of a justice that they need and they deserve.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Paula Newton at The Hague for us this morning. Paula, thanks.


MILES O'BRIEN: Well, which is tougher, NFL training camp or Marine boot camp? Not too many people in the world can offer a firsthand comparison, but Jeremy Stat can. He is leaving the NFL behind to fight for his country. The same decision his good friend, the late Pat Tillman, made. Jeremy Staat joins us from Bakersfield, California.

PFC Jeremy Staat, good to have you with us.


MILES O'BRIEN: First of all, the decision. You and Pat Tillman talked about this a long time ago. Was it your idea initially?

STAAT: You know, I don't believe so. I believe he had his own intentions. I had mine. It was just a matter of, he knew what was best for me at the time. You know, I had three games to go for my NFL retirement pension and he talked me into going in and getting the three games I needed to get the retirement. And after that, you know, the sky was the limit for me.

MILES O'BRIEN: So that was what made you delay your decision, was in order to qualify for -- to be vested, if you will, as an NFL retiree someday?

STAAT: Yes, sir.

MILES O'BRIEN: All right. What prompted you to make this decision?

STAAT: There was a lot of things. You know, I'm just giving back to all of those who have given me so much, the ability to sit here and give this interview. You know the Marine Corps has been around for over 200 years and I'm just following in the footsteps of every other ordinary man who's, you know, filled the boots of a Marine.

This is just an awesome opportunity to go out there and to be able to just give back so much. We've got to understand and remember that freedom isn't free. And, you know, what's going on over there in Iraq, there are some good things going on over there. We're liberating a country, you know, and those are things that we need to understand and remember. I mean there's still troops over there. At any time, any given point in time in any part of the day, there's a Marine standing guard and we need to remember those guys who are out there.

MILES O'BRIEN: I think a lot of people would look at you and say -- would not quite understand the decision. You're very successful in the NFL, making in excess of $600,000. To something that is a very dangerous, gritty, difficult job $20,000 paycheck. You've said before this isn't about the money. What is it about?

STAAT: It's a part of being a part of something. You know, being actually on be able to say, you know what, hey I might have played in a lot of football games but, you know, after the game's over, people don't remember those kind of things, you know. I mean you can ask a ton of people, you know, who won the Super Bowl last year and they'll tell you, I don't know, I don't watch sports, or I don't care. But, you know, they'll always remember, hey, you're a Marine, and that's something that's going to live with me forever.

You know, you tell people I played in the NFL and they're going to go, oh, wow, that's exciting, you know, tell me about it. And at the same time you tell them you're a Marine they go, wow, well, thank you very much, you know? It's not one of those things where, oh, who'd you play with? Oh, I played with the Steelers. Oh, the Steelers, you know, that's not my team, I don't like them. You know, but being a Marine they go, well thank you very much. You know, thank you for giving so much. It's just -- it's a part of . . .

MILES O'BRIEN: It's everybody's team in a way, isn't it?

STAAT: Oh, yes, sir. I mean the Marines are the number one team. I mean they've fought and, you know, every time and place and they're a part of America's tradition. I mean without the Marines, we wouldn't have the freedom we have today.

MILES O'BRIEN: You undoubtedly have watched very closely the investigation into the death of your friend, Pat Tillman, who ultimately was killed in Afghanistan, friendly fire, that euphemism there. And the Army hasn't done -- admittedly has not done a very good job investigating this thing. Did that give you any sort of pause when you thought about going into the military?

STAAT: No, sir. I mean, it gave me a little bit of pause about choosing the Army, you know. But I think the Marines have a little bit more integrity, I think that, you know. I really feel that after going through 13 weeks of boot camp that they're not just going to leave us out there to dry. You know, they're going to let their families know what had happened to their Marine. You know, the Army, the need to come clean. They need to stop covering this up and come out there and just -- and the truth needs to be known. You know, if the Army lacks discipline, they need to redesign their training. You know what happened over there, yes, friendly fire does happen in combat, but the way they went about it to try and hide it, it's not right. The truth needs to come to the surface.

MILES O'BRIEN: If Pat were with us today, what do you think he'd say to you on your decision?

STAAT: He'd probably look at me and shake his head going, why did you do it, you know, but he would understand. But, at the same time, he would still look out for me. You know, he'd still -- because that's just the way Pat was. He had the moral integrity to tell you if you were doing something wrong. And, you know, I think he would just kind of shake his head and just kind of give me two thumbs up.

MILES O'BRIEN: Jeremy Staat, two thumbs up from us. Semper fi as always. Good luck to you and be safe, all right?

STAAT: Thank you, sir.

MILES O'BRIEN: All right, Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Wow, that's a pretty remarkable story.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: A pretty remarkable thing to do.

MILES O'BRIEN: I hope he's safe.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Oh, gosh, yes, absolutely.

Let's talk about President Bush. A year ago, President Bush was freshly reelected and ready to spend his political capital. Today, he's stuck near the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, 38 percent, and he'll begin a series of speeches this week trying to sell his Iraq War strategy to the American people. AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken is on the streets of Washington, D.C. asking folks how they think the president's doing.

Hey, Bob, good morning to you. What's the buzz?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, one thing about where I am, Union Station, it is near the Capitol, which is just off to my left. It is near a number of offices, media offices, including, by the way, CNN's. It's also near a lot of associations and it's also part of a city where just about everybody has an opinion, certainly about President Bush. And in the last hour, we had heard quite a bit of support. This time around, well, some of the neigh sayers were talking to us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just seems like if it's not incompetency, then there's certainly no direction. There's no leadership and that is a real problem. America needs to get back on track and we need to do it pretty quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think his intentions in going in were more or less as he said, but I don't believe that the war was the right effort for the country at this time. And as it turned out, there were no weapons of mass destruction.


FRANKEN: And there's a reflection, however, of how the country is split. We heard a lot of positive comments about the president also. And now I'm going to talk to somebody, Bryan Davison, and I have absolutely no idea what your opinion is about the Bush presidency. Maybe you can tell us.

BRYAN DAVISON, MARYLAND RESIDENT: Well, I guess I'm mixed. Some mixed feelings, I suppose. I'm not a huge supporter necessarily, but he's done good things, I think like all presidents do. Some things that maybe were a bit questionable, I guess. The American public has looked at some of the things that he's done and we get a chance to look back, which probably isn't the same for him.

FRANKEN: Well, let's talk about this being nearly the third anniversary of the war in Iraq. Let me ask you to talk about your views of the involvement there and the entire war on terror.

DAVISON: Yes, and I was just reading some about it. You know, I think we found out later on afterwards that maybe we shouldn't have gone in for the reasons that we did. I think once we got there, we thought that we had to continue doing what we did. I think a lot of people are starting to think it's time for us to get out though and bring our soldiers back home. And I think that's important for us at this point. A lot of problems are still happening over there.

FRANKEN: Well, here we have somebody who's very unusual and that is somebody who doesn't really have strong opinions, sort of sees both sides of the issue, not all that common these days.


MILES O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, Bob Franken.

Andy Serwer is here.

ANDY SERWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am. And got some business news coming up.

First of all, don't tell us we didn't warn you. Stock exchange mergers are on the way.

Plus, imagine this, renting a car and never having to stop to pay a toll again.

We'll tell you all about that coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


MILES O'BRIEN: The London Stock Exchange. What do they call it over there, Andy?


MILES O'BRIEN: That's it? They don't have anything?

SERWER: The Lucy.


SERWER: That's -- I'm just making that up.

MILES O'BRIEN: The Lucy there.

SERWER: Right.

MILES O'BRIEN: Yes, we've coined a phrase.

SERWER: We have.

MILES O'BRIEN: In any case, NYSE wants to buy Lucy.


MILES O'BRIEN: Isn't that right?

SERWER: Well, we don't know about that. We know the Nasdaq . . .

MILES O'BRIEN: What about Ricky?

SERWER: No, Nasdaqi wants -- the Nasdaq . . .


SERWER: We'll back up. Here we go. The London Stock Exchange has rebuffed a $4.2 billion takeover bid by Nasdaq. This just came over the past couple of days. And probably what's going on here is the Nasdaq wants to buy the London Stock Exchange before the New York Stock Exchange gets its act together to do so itself. Now the New York Stock Exchange just went public last week and there has been all sorts of speculation that once it gets established as a public company, in fact John Thane, the head of the NYSE has said as much, that they will go out and make an acquisition. And the LSE is probably in his sights as one of those potential tarts.

So this is a preemptive strike by the Nasdaq. LSE said, not enough money. But you'd think that maybe they actually want a partner with the NYSE. So that may be part of what's going on here.

MILES O'BRIEN: So they're a little rope-a-dope with the Nasdaq and because the -- ah, whatever.

SERWER: They could be.

MILES O'BRIEN: All right, onward we go to rental cars with no tolls.

SERWER: Yes. And this is a hallelujah moment for people who rent cars, particularly in the northeast and the middle Atlantic where you have a lot of tolls. And there's a system in this part of the United States called E-Z pass where you can pay tolls electronically with a receiver that you put on the dashboard of your car. If you rent a car, however, you've got to wait in those very long cash lines. Very, very, very, very long.

MILES O'BRIEN: You don't want to do that.

SERWER: And you don't want to be there. Now a new program being rolled out by Avis and Budget will put these E-Z pass receivers into rent a cars. You pay about $1.50 or $2 and you pay the tolls, of course, and there you go.

MILES O'BRIEN: Or you could just travel with your E-Z. Put it in your suitcase.

SERWER: They don't let you do that. That is illegal.

MILES O'BRIEN: How would they know?

SERWER: How would they know? But I'm just pointing out that that would be illegal.

MILES O'BRIEN: Thank you very much.

SERWER: You're welcome.

MILES O'BRIEN: Andy Serwer.

Still to come in the program, remember the wayward whippet, the show dog that escaped from her cage at John F. Kennedy Airport?




MILES O'BRIEN: There's been a Vivi sighting. A break in the case a month later. Now there's a pet detective and some dogs dogging the dog, if you know what I mean. SERWER: Ace Ventura.


And "The Sopranos" is back with a bang, quite literally. They waited nearly two years for Tony -- and I Tivoed it but no one here on this program seems to care that I haven't seen it. They've told me everything about it. So there you have it. So we're going to spoil it for you too, in case you Tivoed it. That's ahead on "AM Pop."


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: You waited 21 months for "The Sopranos" to come back. Was it worth the wait. Warning now, we're going to talk about the surprise ending. If you don't want to know it, you've Tivoed it like Miles and you just, you know, Miles, this is for you, cover your ears. OK. You ready? Play the clip.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Wow! That -- we kind of cut right to the end. "Newsweek's" Marc Peyser joins us and he covers the TV industry.

Nice to talk to you.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: That was the highlight of what I thought was a pretty good show. What did you think?

PEYSER: Awesome. I mean, what more could you want, the big guy goes down in the very first episode of the last season. I mean it doesn't get bigger than that.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Well, he can't die, right?

PEYSER: Of course he can. It's the end. I'm not going to say he's going to die tomorrow, but of course he could die.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Oh, interesting. I don't know. I mean I actually thought the whole entire show was -- because they wove in, besides that scene, of course it's Junior who goes ahead and shoots him. I thought the stories that they wove in that weren't the main focus were actually kind of interesting, too. That guy Gene.

PEYSER: Right. We've never seen before. This soldier who wants to retire.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Right. And they sort of introduced him as if he's been recurring, but he hadn't.

PEYSER: Right.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: And he wants to retire.

PEYSER: Nobody retires. SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: That was a final hit and, yes, clearly nobody retires. Kind of a sad character, I thought.

PEYSER: But nice. I mean, interesting that they could bring somebody like that on board after all these seasons. There's this whole family who we know and here's a guy who we're into his plight immediately.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Yes, I mean, and resolved, sadly enough, by the end of the show. Then we have Tony's sister.

PEYSER: Right.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Has a baby.

PEYSER: Which like not only does she have a baby, but she's got like a weird, you know, Grateful Dead or, no, Rolling Stones tattoo.


PEYSER: Thank you very much. And it's like, Oh my God, how bizarre.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: And she's trying to get the kid into school.

PEYSER: And her husband is like into model trains and doesn't care about what's going on in his job. You know, bizarre, mundane stuff that makes this show so great.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Yes, it's really the story of a family -- kind of a weird, dysfunctional, killer type family. Do you think -- I mean when you're off the air for 21 months, nobody knows more than you that that can kill a show. That can get rid of all your fans. You've got "Desperate Housewives" up against "The Sopranos" now. I mean, what do you think?

PEYSER: I mean clearly I think that was something that they were worried, David Chase worried about a little bit, that people would not care so much anymore. But, in fact, it really was the opposite. Everybody was waiting for the return and they did literally come back with a bang. Of course, everybody's talking about it, except for Miles. And, you know, what more can do you to bring people back to your show? It's on for 12 more episodes this year. It's event television again.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Carmelo and Tony, at the end of last season, sort of had patched things up. This season, before he got shot, he got her a Porsche.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: They kind of brought them back together. What do you think happens with these threads (ph)? I mean, just to hard to say? To hard to guess?

PEYSER: Well, I mean, a big part of this show is his home family and their relationship has been exploited unlike any other television marriage in the history of television, I think. So, of course, there's going to be ups and downs. She's going to go through a lot of angst and second thoughts about her relationship with him now that he's in this position.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: All right, right, because, I mean, who knows. It looked like he was left -- he got -- you've got him grasping for the phone. Can't get it.

PEYSER: He's clearly not going to be well, whatever the case is in the immediate future.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Right. And maybe not dead. What do you think?

PEYSER: I'm not going to say. I don't know how it all ends.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: I know you don't, but, still, what do you think?

PEYSER: Yes, I'm not saying.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Giving nothing.

Marc Peyser, nice to check in with you, as always. Thanks.

PEYSER: Thank you.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Going to watch (INAUDIBLE). No more "Desperate Housewives" for you?

PEYSER: I Tivo. That's what Tivo's for, right?

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: That's right. Miles, that's what Tivo's for. Sorry we spoiled it for you.

MILES O'BRIEN: Yes, thanks a lot. Thanks a lot.

All right. Why did Junior do it? I wonder. All right. Well, I guess I can still watch.

In a moment, top stories, including Saddam Hussein back in court.

A leading Democrat wants to censure President Bush.

Andy Fastow back on the stand in Houston at the Enron trial.

And some 9/11 families would like to stop construction of the World Trade Center Memorial.

Plus, a massive cleanup operation underway following this weekends powerful storms in the Midwest.

Stay with us for more AMERICAN MORNING.



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