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Rice in Iraq; In the Dogg House; 30, 40, 50; Wash-n-Wear Suit

Aired April 27, 2006 - 08:30   ET


M. O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice out of Iraq and we'll ask one of her advisors how that unannounced trip went. It was an important show of support for Iraq's new prime minister there.
Also, my aching back. More and more people feeling the sting in their spine, so what can you do about it? We'll take a look at that.

Good morning to you, I'm Miles O'Brien.


Lots to get to this morning.

We begin with Carol Costello. She's in the newsroom for us.

Hey, Carol, good morning.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. Good morning to all of you.

The hurricane season just five weeks away, so what better time to get rid of FEMA. Lawmakers looking into the way the government handed the Katrina disaster. Well they now say the Federal Emergency Management Agency did such a horrible job it should be scrapped, axed. A bipartisan committee set to release its report this morning. That's expected to happen around 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

Construction crews arriving this morning at the World Trade Center site here in New York City. They're finally starting work today on the new Freedom Tower. The construction begins after four- and-a-half years of debate over what to build there. New York Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg expected to be on hand as work gets under way this morning.

How would you like $100 to offset the price of gas? It could mean drilling in Alaska. Some Republican senators are pushing for the rebate. It could come up for a vote as early as today, but the bill is likely to face fierce opposition, don't you know. And it also includes a proposal to open up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration.

Kellie Pickler got canned, and you thought the cute blonde would win, didn't you? The "American Idol" wannabe was voted off soon after singing her rendition of "Unchained Melody." Listen.

You know this song. It was playing during the sex-free pottery -- the sexy pottery scene in "Ghost." You know when Demi Moore was doing that and, yes, you know that. Anyway, she's out. Five contestants are left. And of course we'll keep our eye on this and keep you posted, always.

That's a look at the headlines this morning.

Back to you, -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, Carol, thank you.

Yes, lackluster is what they said about that performance.

COSTELLO: Sad. That'd be so hard.

S. O'BRIEN: I know. I know. She handled it very nicely.

Thank you, Carol.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrapping up her impromptu visit to Iraq. She and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were there to show support for the country's fledgling government. Also, they say to find out what the U.S. can do to help. Listen.


S. O'BRIEN (on camera): Jim Wilkinson is a senior advisor to Secretary Rice.

Thanks for talking with us this morning. We certainly appreciate it. The secretary of state has met and had conversations with high level members of the government, including al-Maliki. Give us a little insight into those conversations, what's been said?

JIM WILKINSON, SR. ADVISER TO SECY. RICE: Well Secretary Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld arrived yesterday and spent hours and hours with this new government, including late into the night last night. Mr. Maliki is a very plainspoken man. He doesn't use a lot of flowery language. He talked about his key priorities, which were to take on the security situation. He wants to get the electricity on in Baghdad. But more importantly, he really wants to take on a new era of reconciliation and try to help heal some of the mistrust between the divisions in Iraq.

S. O'BRIEN: And it's going to be tough, you know 30-day deadline. He's got 32 Cabinet posts to fill, including the toughies, the oil ministry and the defense ministry and the interior ministry. Do you think really he's going to make this deadline?

WILKINSON: I think we need to be patient with this new government. He clearly -- this is a man who helped write the Constitution. He for some time has been working behind the scenes. He -- I don't want to upstage him, but he clearly has a plan of action. He'd like to put in place very early on in his tenure. But we need to be patient with the Iraqis. We need to help him try to heal these divisions. Remember, these are divisions of people that have fought for a long time and he's trying to bring reconciliation. S. O'BRIEN: Here's a little bit of what Secretary Rice had to say.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: The security issues here even have both a political element and a military element. We are here to look at Defense Department operations and I am looking at embassy operations to make sure that we're really properly organized to help this government hit the ground running.


S. O'BRIEN: As you say, the role of the U.S. is an important focus, too. How much leeway, how much time do you think is going to be given, because you have listed all these huge, frankly, obstacles and you know al-Jaafari frankly had four months and couldn't do it? Is that going to be enough time? At what point do people say it's not happening?

WILKINSON: I think the difference now is this is not a transitional government, it's not an interim government, this is a government that will have full sovereignty. What I was impressed with by Mr. Maliki was that he is not talking about 50 priorities, he's talking about 2 or 3 key priorities to really demonstrate early on to the Iraqi people that there is a different government, there is a government that's listening and wants to act on their behalf.

What we can do as the United States of America I think is both provide encouragement to the Iraqis during this tough process. Remember this is a democratic process that's never happened before in this part of the world.

But second, we need to provide technical expertise. We have professional competent individuals in the United States who can help them set up a ministry of interior and a ministry of defense. We can help them set up accounting systems that take on corruption.

This issue of corruption, for example, Maliki spoke last night about not just corruption with the ministers, but corruption several levels down in Iraqi society to make sure that we take that on.

S. O'BRIEN: Al-Maliki has talked about trust. And can you really have trust when you're dealing with sectarian violence and you're dealing with an insurgency that continues? I mean, as you well know, every day there is more insurgent violence to talk about. Isn't that a clear indication that you're just not getting to the trust? You're not even getting to the steps before the trust.

WILKINSON: Again, this is not an interim government, this is now a permanent government. And make no mistake, Maliki has an important job now to go gain that trust. He's going to have to travel around Iraq and listen to Iraqis. But it's just going to take time for these divisions to heal. But if you look at his comments, one of the big issues here is militias and how we take on the violence in the streets. And he's talked about how the government needs to have the power. The government needs to have the ability to take on security, not sectarian militias. That is not going to be easy. Baghdad is going to be -- or, excuse me, Iraq will have to have violence for some time.

S. O'BRIEN: Jim Wilkinson is a senior adviser to Secretary Rice. Thanks for talking with us this morning. I think you're exactly right with he's got a tough job. We all know that. Thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.


M. O'BRIEN: Well he may prefer sipping on gin and juice, but apparently the Dogg throws his whisky on the floor, not down the hissle (ph). Reports this morning that rapper Snoop Dogg is under arrest in London after an airport brawl at Heathrow. So far Snoop's posse and the bobbies are keeping mum.

CNN's Richard Quizzle (ph) live now from Scotland Yard with the latest.

Hello, -- Richard.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Scotland Yissle (ph) you mean. Scotland Yissle behind me.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

QUEST: Well of course. The bobby -- no one will actually confirm that it was Snoop Dogg and his entourage involved in this nasty little fracas at Heathrow Airport. That's the allegation. But everybody pretty much says that Snoop and the entourage are being held at a London police station pending decisions on whether to charge him.

What happened? That's the key. What happened was allegedly that Snoop was traveling first class on a flight to Johannesburg. The rest of his entourage were traveling in economy. They all tried to go into the first class lounge. Things got nasty, allegedly, and the police were called.

Even worse, the fracas spread to the Duty Free Shop. The police were called, injuries were suffered, people were arrested -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: So Snoop does not let the posy travel first class. That's an interesting little note right there. Now you recently coincidentally talked to the Snoop, what did you think of him?

QUEST: I mean this is a man who knows how to get publicity. I don't think he would particularly would want what's happening today. But he was intelligent, he was articulate, he knew if he wanted to get airtime he had to give proper answers. It was fascinating. I mean everybody thought that Snoop and myself wouldn't understand each other. I didn't even know whether to be calling him Mr. Dogg to start with, out of politeness, but this man knew what to do.

His security, his -- I mean you're talking about security guards.

M. O'BRIEN: I'm sure.

S. O'BRIEN: We can see them.

M. O'BRIEN: I'm looking at those two guys following you.

S. O'BRIEN: My god.

M. O'BRIEN: I would not want to cross them at all, ever. I hope you said...

QUEST: And I asked them -- I asked them -- I asked them how much do you weigh? I thought it might be a bit impolite, but I said how much do you weigh? Have a guess how much one of those guys said he weighed?

S. O'BRIEN: Three fifty.

M. O'BRIEN: Three fifty.

QUEST: Four hundred and sixty pounds.

M. O'BRIEN: No, whoa.

S. O'BRIEN: Sixty -- 460.

M. O'BRIEN: Man, man, man.


QUEST: Now -- now, I don't know -- I don't know who was involved and what's alleged to have happened, but I do know if anyone like that was involved in the Heathrow Terminal or in Duty Free well you don't expect that sort of thing at Heathrow Airport.

M. O'BRIEN: No, you don't, you don't, no.

S. O'BRIEN: Richard Quest interviewing Snoop. I just...

M. O'BRIEN: With the 450 pound...

S. O'BRIEN: Guys around.

M. O'BRIEN: ... bodyguard hanging around.

All right, well, Richard,...

S. O'BRIEN: Well that's a weird visual to even think about.

M. O'BRIEN: ... do keep us posted there. Thank you very much. Richard Quest at Scotland Yard.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Richard.

Thirty-nine minutes past the hour, let's get another check of the forecast for you. Reynolds Wolf is at the CNN Center.

Reynolds, how much do you weigh?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know I'm about 200, about 200, nowhere close to the 400 and what did he say, 400...

S. O'BRIEN: Sixty -- 460.

WOLF: Man, sweet mercy.

S. O'BRIEN Four sixty.

WOLF: That is a big dude.

M. O'BRIEN: And all he gets is an economy seat. How'd you like to be next to him?

S. O'BRIEN: That's why he's mad.

M. O'BRIEN: No wonder he's mad.

WOLF: Gosh.

S. O'BRIEN: I'm in coach.

M. O'BRIEN: Give the man a drink, will you?

WOLF: Imagine trying to sit next to that guy on a transatlantic flight.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

WOLF: Forget about it.

M. O'BRIEN: That's a seat extender, the seat belt extender, all that stuff, boy. Boy.

WOLF: Absolutely, that's a rough time. And don't get me started.


We'll send it back to you. Four hundred and sixty pounds she said, that's how big the guy was?

S. O'BRIEN: Four sixty, 4-6-0.

WOLF: That's a big guy.

S. O'BRIEN: That's a big old guy.

WOLF: No question.

M. O'BRIEN: Wonder how many stone that is? You know, you know how they do it?

S. O'BRIEN: It's a lot of stone.

M. O'BRIEN: A lot of stone. A lot of stone.

All right, questions for me, you probably have a few?

S. O'BRIEN: Where did you get that ugly tie? I'm joking.

M. O'BRIEN: That would be one. That would be one.

S. O'BRIEN: We're lucky.

M. O'BRIEN: And any way, if you have a question for me, and for that matter, Soledad, because I'll just bring the Miles cam in her office and ambush her if need be. There is the Miles cam right there. There is the office.

S. O'BRIEN: I guess someone cleaned up your office, huh?

M. O'BRIEN: Well, no, I pointed the camera up a little higher this time to hide the mess. 10:30 Eastern Time the Miles cam will come alive with answers to your questions. But you need to participate. Now if you have anything you'd like to ask us about the show, how we do the show,...

S. O'BRIEN: They have to send them in ahead of time?

M. O'BRIEN: Well it'd be helpful.

S. O'BRIEN: I...

M. O'BRIEN: It'd be helpful. At Well we can sort of do it in real time, but it's better if we you know sort of collate and...

S. O'BRIEN: Can prep you.

M. O'BRIEN: ... process and...

S. O'BRIEN: You don't feel like you're...

M. O'BRIEN: ... yes, and get cue cards.

S. O'BRIEN: ... ambushed.

M. O'BRIEN: Anyway, that's coming up at 10:30.

S. O'BRIEN: Why this tie was a gift.

M. O'BRIEN: CNN Pipeline, go to Pipeline.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, our health series for folks in their 30s and 40s and 50s continues today. We've got some tips on preventing back pain.

M. O'BRIEN: And later, a modern day miracle or so it is reported to be. A suit that you can put in the washer and then the dryer and then put it back on without even consulting with an iron or a dry cleaner. We're going to try this out. Andy Serwer and I are going to actually put on a suit, do it and we'll see how it looks tomorrow. The queer eye for the straight guy's Carson Kressley will be our adjudicator of all things fashion in this thing, so stay with us.


S. O'BRIEN: If you are in your 30s or your 40s or your 50s you certainly know about back pain. This morning our ongoing health series for those of us of a certain age, medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has your back.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You don't realize how much you use your back until you lose it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just laying on the couch watching TV and I just sneezed and I felt something pop.

COHEN: Hurt it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in a car accident, we were rear- ended.

COHEN: Or throw it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it really doesn't matter whether I'm sitting or standing at night or I'm in bed, it still -- it comes and it goes. I still suffer from the pain.

COHEN: Back pain is the number two reason people go to the doctor. Second only to colds and flu. As we age, our bodies change and so does our spine. In your 30s, focus on maintaining the flexibility and strength of your 20s through exercise. But most back problems are muscle strains and you should recover quickly. When you're 40-something, working 9:00 to 5:00 is taking its toll.

DR. MICHAEL SCHAUFELE, EMORY SPINE SPECIALIST: One of the most common problems is you're sitting at a desk job all day long, you don't stretch, you don't exercise but then on the weekends you want to keep up with your kids playing softball or soccer and that's how you get hurt.

COHEN: Doctors also begin so see more serious problems, degenerative or herniated discs.

SCHAUFELE: This little red thing here is a herniated disc. A herniated disc is when pieces of the disc material squeeze out and start causing pressure on the nerve roots.

COHEN: Your 50s could be the beginning of more chronic issues.

SCHAUFELE: Patients start complaining more of a dull, permanent backache, which may be related to some underlying arthritic changes that are developing.

COHEN: Doctors say most back pain is temporary and you will usually be better within a week and the pain will be completely gone in a month. If a back attack strikes, it's OK to stay still for a little while but then get moving.

SCHAUFELE: We have found that over the years being active and we recommend you continue the regular activities is much more effective in the long run than being completely still and in bed.

COHEN: Doctors also recommend trying different therapies, yoga, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, whatever works. But at any age, doctors say maintaining a healthy weight and staying active is the key.

SCHAUFELE: If you don't use it, you lose it.

COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN.


S. O'BRIEN: Believe it or not, lower back pain is the most common condition that chiropractors treat.

Coming up this morning, "People" magazine names the most beautiful woman in the world for 2006. We're going to tell you who it is.

And next, a way to save big money on dry cleaning, if it works. We are introducing the wrinkle free washer safe suit, washer safe. Carson Kressley of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," is going to help Miles and Andy put it to the test this morning just ahead.


M. O'BRIEN: All right. How's my -- how's my runway walk?

Carson, good to see you.

CARSON KRESSLEY: We need to work on the runway walk a little bit.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Hey, Carson, good to see you.

KRESSLEY: It's good to see you.

M. O'BRIEN: We are wearing wash and wear suits from JCPenney.

KRESSLEY: You are.


M. O'BRIEN: And these things are -- they say, they say, and we're going to test this out.

KRESSLEY: Sources say.

M. O'BRIEN: Sources tell us...


SERWER: Close to CNN.

M. O'BRIEN: ... we can throw these in the wash.


M. O'BRIEN: Put them in the dryer, pull them out and wear them.


M. O'BRIEN: So we're going to...

KRESSLEY: It sounds unbelievable to me.

SERWER: But how do I look? What do you think? I mean...

KRESSLEY: Like what next, are they going to cure baldness? I mean who is working on this?


M. O'BRIEN: I mean this is big. This is big.


M. O'BRIEN: What do you think? I mean, first of all, what do you think of the look? This is...

KRESSLEY: I mean, at first glance, you know, and this suit obviously wasn't made for you, but it fits well.

M. O'BRIEN: Right.

KRESSLEY: It doesn't feel like an air conditioner filter at all. I'm worried, you know sometimes the wrinkle free suit sounds like the olestra (ph) of the clothing world.

SERWER: That's an ugly word.

KRESSLEY: You wonder what it's going to do to you.

M. O'BRIEN: That could be bad.

KRESSLEY: But I'm pleasantly surprised. This actually looks and feels good.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. How -- what about him?

SERWER: Sophisticated.

M. O'BRIEN: This would have been -- probably he needs a few alterations.

KRESSLEY: We have -- we have some fit issues here. OK.

SERWER: Please. Is it my bad or is the suit is bad? Never mind.

KRESSLEY: Well, it's sort of, you know, maybe Mother Nature played a cruel joke, but.

SERWER: Getting...

KRESSLEY: You either need longer arms or shorter sleeves.

SERWER: Well it's OK, sure.

KRESSLEY: And I think it will be easier to make the sleeves shorter.

SERWER: It's off the rack.

M. O'BRIEN: Let me ask you -- let me ask you this, there is -- these days, when you go to the store,...

KRESSLEY: Right, right.

M. O'BRIEN: ... there's a lot more shirts out there that are mixed blends, that kind of thing.

KRESSLEY: Right, right.

M. O'BRIEN: And they are not as you know they don't pill up like the old ones do.


M. O'BRIEN: They have gotten better, haven't they?

KRESSLEY: Since -- yes, since like the 1950s when polyester kind of came into...

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

KRESSLEY: ... you know into being. Since then there's been a lot of technological breakthroughs in blends with -- actually this suit, I believe, has a lot of wool in it and a little bit of polyester.

SERWER: Right.

KRESSLEY: So that really makes it feel better and makes it wear better and makes it drape better.

M. O'BRIEN: Right.

SERWER: Now here's what this suit is made of.


SERWER: Fifty-five percent poly.

KRESSLEY: Right. SERWER: Forty-two percent wool, so you're right.


SERWER: And 3 percent LY which I take it is lycra?


M. O'BRIEN: It's a lycra, LY.


KRESSLEY: Lycra or some sort of byproduct of puppies.

SERWER: Thank you.

KRESSLEY: You know.

M. O'BRIEN: I don't know, Pete is going to be calling.

SERWER: I like this is called the Stafford. Is that a nice name for this kind of suit, the Stafford?

KRESSLEY: It is the Stafford.

SERWER: Is it a distinguished name?

KRESSLEY: Well you know I like to you know I like to think of this a suit is like a car. OK. And everybody buys one for a different reason.


KRESSLEY: And sometimes you need the Hyundai Exel...


KRESSLEY: ... you know if you need to get a lot of mileage out of it, you maybe you know you're cost conscious. And sometimes you want the Bentley? Is this the Bentley? No.


KRESSLEY: But is it going to do a good job? We're going to see tomorrow.

SERWER: Right.

KRESSLEY: Based on how it washes and how it wears.

M. O'BRIEN: This will be -- this will be truly the acid test. But all right, so this is $200 for the jacket.

KRESSLEY: I think it's 200 for the jacket and 100 for the...

(CROSSTALK) M. O'BRIEN: You buy them separately, which is a new concept to me.

KRESSLEY: Yes. I am not so sure why you would need the...

SERWER: Well, you could buy them together, it would be $300.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, thank you.


KRESSLEY: Buy the pants if you...

SERWER: That's true.

KRESSLEY: ... have some sort of problem and you go through pants more than you do your jackets.

SERWER: And one other thing that I thought was interesting you guys, it is made -- the suit is made in Jordan.


SERWER: That notorious suit capital of the world.

KRESSLEY: It's the tailored clothing capital of the Middle East.

SERWER: I guess so, Jordan. It's Jordan.

KRESSLEY: It's really the Milan of the love bank.

M. O'BRIEN: Who knew?

SERWER: Right, right.

M. O'BRIEN: Who knew?

KRESSLEY: Jordan. Jordan. I'm sure Queen Rena has something to do with this.



KRESSLEY: I'm not sure.

M. O'BRIEN: So all right well we will test this out tomorrow. We will wear these. You're not going to iron yours, right, you're just going to...

SERWER: Well t here may be some ironing that goes on.

KRESSLEY: Now the manufacturer says you are supposed to touch them up a little bit with a little iron after you pull them out of the dryer.

SERWER: Who I'm not good at touching up.


KRESSLEY: I live in New York, i haven't seen a washer and dryer since '91, I mean.

M. O'BRIEN: They do exist. We will try that tomorrow and we'll see -- we'll see what the verdict is.

SERWER: So we are supposed to you know do some playing around in these?

KRESSLEY: Do what you normally do.

SERWER: Go to the park, sumo wrestling.

M. O'BRIEN: Right.

KRESSLEY: Go to the park, roll around.

SERWER: Yes. Yes. No, I like that.

KRESSLEY: The usual.


M. O'BRIEN: What do you think, Soledad?


S. O'BRIEN: They look cute.

SERWER: Yes, let's ask Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: I've got to tell you guys they look cute. They don't look like $300 suits.


S. O'BRIEN: And you know women's suits are sold usually at different top and different bottom.

KRESSLEY: As separates, yes.

S. O'BRIEN: So maybe that's a new thing for men.

KRESSLEY: Yes, I was quite impressed.


KRESSLEY: Just from looking at them they look good.

S. O'BRIEN: They look good. They look good. Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, Carson Kressley who will...

SERWER: And the suits look good, too.

M. O'BRIEN: Exactly.


KRESSLEY: They look good and they feel even better.

SERWER: Here we go. OK.

M. O'BRIEN: Jeez.

All right, you're making me blush now. All right, Carson Kressley who will be here tomorrow to give us the final judgment on all this.


M. O'BRIEN: The JCPenney suits, the Stafford collection from Jordan, of all places.

SERWER: Judgment day. The Stafford. Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: He's with the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," of course, from the Bravo Channel.

We are back with more in just a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: In a moment, our top stories, including a Senate report that now suggests giving FEMA the ax. Congress taking a closer look at the profits of the oil industry. Senior White House adviser Karl Rove testifying again in the CIA leak investigation. Dr. Sanjay Gupta telling us what you can do to stop the spread of mumps. And the military testing a new kind of bunker buster. It's underground. CNN's Barbara Starr checks it out. Their new big blast test site. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: A plan to abolish FEMA. After plenty of post Katrina criticism, the agency could be in for a major overhaul, but is it a good idea with hurricane season fast approaching?

S. O'BRIEN: Oil and the economy. Expected grilling for the new Fed chairman on the impact of rising gas prices.

And a bunker buster times 20. The military sets up for a big blast in the desert as they look for a way to attack seemingly secure sites deep underground.

M. O'BRIEN: And the mumps just keep rolling on the Heartland. It's the worst outbreak we've seen in decades. And now another call for shots.


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