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No Charge For Karl Rove; Tropical Storm Alberto; Sunscreen Labels

Aired June 13, 2006 - 07:30   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Like Roethlisberger should set a better example for kids.
They are calling it Wall Street's June swoon. Andy Serwer is here with that.

Good morning, Andy.


I think it's official now, the stock market is tanking. There is no denying that. Yesterday the Dow down almost 100 points. And, of course, this comes on the heels of many days of red arrows. In fact, since May 10th when the market peaked, we're down 7.3 percent or exactly 850 points. And that is not a good thing.

Higher energy prices -- you know all this -- inflation fears, interest rate fears. Also getting used to the new Fed chief, Ben Bernanke. That's what it's all about. And the real concern, of course, is that the stock market is predictive, it is said. In other words, maybe presaging some economic weakness in the future.

Some inflation numbers coming out today and tomorrow from the month of May. Wholesale prices and consumer prices. That will be very important. And you know, Miles, they say sometimes when the U.S. sneezes the world gets a cold. That's been going on in world economic and stock markets around the globe. A lot of them, like India and others in emerging markets, down sharply. And this morning the Japanese market really tanking, down 4.1 percent, the biggest one-day drop in two years. So not good stuff.

And I'm sorry to report that here in the U.S. futures are down yet again this morning. But in the next half-hour we kind of have a more perhaps enlightening story or lighter story, I guess I should say. The repo man has a new weapon that we'll be telling you about.

MILES O'BRIEN: That sounds very uplifting.


MILES O'BRIEN: Let me just ask you this one.

SERWER: I can't tell you.

MILES O'BRIEN: We've gone from hints and starts to a full- fledged tank at this point. SERWER: I think that's correct.

MILES O'BRIEN: And where does the free fall end? Do you want to predict?

SERWER: No. I absolutely do not want to predict at this point.

MILES O'BRIEN: OK. All right. Andy Serwer, thank you.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Not even going to say that 12,000.


MILES O'BRIEN: Not going there.

SERWER: No. Right.

MILES O'BRIEN: Don't go there.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Man. Man. All right.

Ahead this morning, we're continuing to track the path of Tropical Storm Alberto. We're going to take you live to Florida's Gulf Coast where folks there are already feeling the storm's effects. We'll show you how it is there.

And later, this question. Does sun block really protect you from the sun's most harmful rays? There's a legal battle now that's heating up. We'll tell you about it just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


MILES O'BRIEN: We've been following some breaking news this morning. Not just the storm, but a political storm or a storm cloud lifted, I guess you could say, over the White House. White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove will not be charged with any criminality in that CIA leak case. This ends a three-year cloud of controversy over him and some other members of the administration as well still contending with some legal issues. The former chief of staff for the vice-president, Scooter Libby, facing indictment in that case. The question is. how will this play out for the midterm elections? How will this play out for the White House in general? CNN's Bob Franken has been covering this story from the very beginning. He joins us now on the phone from El Paso on another assignment.

Bob, what can you tell us?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, the significance of this politically is huge. Karl Rove has now been the person who is trying to see to it that the Republicans maintain control of Congress so the president's final two years aren't in real trouble. This, of course, has been a huge distraction, but now that distraction is gone.

They've got the news yesterday and a letter from the independent council (INAUDIBLE) the special prosecutor. There have been this long, long wait. They have been frustrated that Patrick Fitzgerald had not let them know sooner. But now Karl Rove seems to be off the hook.

And now the question is, what does this have to do with the rest of the investigation? Well, it seems that the president's main man, the person in the main White House, is now off the hook, but what does this mean to a continuation of the investigation into the vice- president's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, and what that might disclose? And what questions will be remaining about any role that the vice-president had in all of this? But the Karl Rove investigation is, obviously, very good news for the White House and also very good news for the Republican Party.

MILES O'BRIEN: Bob, I think it's always worth stepping back for just a moment and reminding people exactly what it is alleged occurred in all of this. Not just as it relates to Karl Rove, but in general the CIA leak case.

FRANKEN: Well, we have to remember that Joe Wilson was a person who had gone to Africa and had refuted the president's claim that there was a purchase of some yellow cake, some uranium that was going to be used for nuclear development by Iraq. After that, there was a disclosure in the press by Robert Novak, this is now more than three years ago, Robert Novak that Wilson's wife was an undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. That raised questions about whether the law had been violated and where leaks had come about that hence the name the CIA leaks investigation.

Finally, this special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, was brought in. He conducted a lengthy investigation. The only indictment thus far has nothing to do with the illegal leaks, if there were any, but whether Scooter Libby, who was the vice-president's chief of staff, had lied to investigators during the course of the investigation.

That's where it stands now. Libby is awaiting trial. There's a lot of pretrial maneuvering going on. And a lot of that could bring disclosures about any role that Libby's former boss, the vice president, had.

MILES O'BRIEN: Is it accurate to say, it seems at least, that as far as criminality goes in this case, is it the allegations begin and end with Scooter Libby then?

FRANKEN: So far. There are always other possibilities. We have no indication from the special prosecutor that he is through looking for other illegalities. The one thing that has not occurred is any sort of indictment charging that the leaks themselves violated the law.

MILES O'BRIEN: Bob Franken who's been covering this story from the very outset, on the line with us from El Paso. Thank you very much.

Soledad. SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: We continue to monitor the path of Tropical Storm Alberto. Let's start with Chad Myers. He's our severe weather expert. He's at the CNN Center.

Hey, Chad, good morning.

Where's Alberto? How does it look?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's still about 45 miles still from making landfall, although there's not really an eye that you're going to say, oh, it's on land now. There really was a large area of dry air. It started here and it got pushed into the storm. And tropical storms don't like dry air just because think of the tropics, they want to be muggy. That's why they're down there in the first place. You lose the muggy air, and it did for just a moment in the overnight hours, and you lose the rotation, you lose everything with this storm. It really has fallen apart in the past couple of hours.

Trying to make a little bit of a comeback on the west side here. Our Susan Roesgen right under a squall line right there at St. George Island. This line, this kind of a regeneration, if you will, may work its way into Steinhatchee and Cedar Key where our other crews are. Also up and down the Florida Peninsula and all the way up into Georgia and South Carolina, there is a threat of tornadoes today.

We still will have the storm surge coming in here. We expect -- we talked to the director of the Hurricane Center, Max Mayfield. He said that they're expecting to drop this hurricane warning because literally they can't find any more hurricane force winds with the storm.

The rest of the country in pretty good shape. Lots of sunshine from Boston through St. Louis into Dallas. Pleasant weather. Warm Dallas and New Orleans. Record heat in New Orleans the past couple of days. Temperatures were not below 95 for highs for the past week.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: All right, Chad, thanks very much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: As Chad mentioned, 45 miles away from landfall. So how's it looking on the ground? This morning we have a team of reporters covering this story. CNN's Rob Marciano is in Cedar Key. That's about 120 miles north of Tampa. Good morning to you. We've also got Dan Lothian. He's in Steinhatchee, Florida, this morning. And Susan Candiotti is in Clearwater, Florida, just north of that.

All right, guys. Let's start with you, Rob, good morning.


Still blowing out here. It's still easily gusting over 30 miles an hour, probably close to 40 at times. Even though we're not seeing much in the way of rain, we get spit on a little bit here and there. But generally speaking, the rain has stopped.

And when that happens, you know, you think in these systems, as long as you have that area of low pressure, you're going to have the strongest winds. Well, when you get those thunderstorms, Chad will tell you this, those thunderstorms will pull even stronger winds down from the upper level of the atmosphere. So when we don't have the rain, you typically don't get as much wind.

That said, high tide about two and a half hours ago. Now, finally, even with this south wind, which has been pushing the water up on the beach, it's beginning to slowly recede. Still well above normal, but the high tide here easily five or six feet above normal. A couple of boat slips and dock -- parts of the dock actually got blown apart. And where we were last night, we had to move away from. So definitely higher than normal water.

And parts of downtown flooded up to knee and high waist deep in water. We're told that area is beginning to receding as well. So as far as storm surge, it looks like the worst is over, at least here in Cedar Key. But until this thing makes landfall a little bit farther up the way across Apalachee Bay, their problems are not quite done just yet. And then, as Chad mentioned also, Soledad, the tornado issue.

So strong tropical storm, no doubt about that. A pretty good warmup for the season here along the west coast of Florida and certainly beneficial rains inland. But the storm continues to move to our north. That's the latest from Cedar Key.

Soledad, back over to you.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: All right, Rob, thank you very much.

Good news from Rob. Let's see how things are with Steinhatchee, Florida, which is where we find Dan Lothian.

Hey, Dan, similar good news or no?


Well, have you been keeping track? This is the first time I've raised my hood, which means that the rain has been coming down now probably the hardest that we've felt it since we've been out here this morning. And the wind also has picked up.

The emergency management officials here in Taylor County, which is the county that we are in, have been sending teams out to kind of go out and survey to see if there's any damage at all. The report that we've gotten back so far is that they've had some spotty power outages and they've also had some trees that have fallen down, but it's described to us, for the most part, minor.

They are, nonetheless, saying that we're not out of the woods yet and they're urging those folks who have evacuated not to return for at least the next five hours or so because they are still concerned about the storm surge. This is a problem that they had here last year during Dennis. They're still concerned about it now. Some 2,000 people have been urged to evacuate from low lying areas and they don't want them to return just yet.

Back to you.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: All right, Dan Lothian for us. Dan, thanks.

Let's go to Clearwater, Florida, where Susan Candiotti is for us.

Susan, good morning.

Still struggling with that location even though you've been there for a couple of days.

Good morning.


Yes, there hadn't been a drop of rain for the past few hours. And, in fact, the sun came up. It's a brilliant looking day with blue skies and broken clouds. However, as you can see, the wind is gusting. Very, very strong winds. Where as we were just pummeled by rain throughout the day on Monday.

Now you're seeing people going out for walks on the beach as emergency management officials try to figure out what kind of damage, if any, they received because of the storm. They did have a scare overnight. There was a funnel cloud that was sighted but did not touch down in Clearwater, in the Dundeaten (ph) area. However, a barge did blow into the Howard Franklin Bridge. However, there were no injuries. Of course it wasn't manned, this construction bridge. It just broke off its moorings and went into the bridge. And there was no -- apparently no damage to the bridge.

In any case, we're going to see how the day goes. But so far the sun is shining and they may have dodged a bullet this time.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: I've got to tell you, Susan, that shot behind you, outside of the sand blowing across behind you, it looks beautiful, I mean it almost looks like a gorgeous day in Clearwater, Florida.

All right. Susan Candiotti.

CANDIOTTI: It is indeed. But I tell you, it's no fun having it go into your mouth or your eyes at the same time.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Oh, no, no. And we can see it fly right by. Susan Candiotti for us. Susan, thanks. We'll continue to check in with you.

As always, CNN's your hurricane headquarters for the very latest forecasts and information.

To a break. We're back in a moment.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Planning to get out in the sun this summer to work on your tan? Remember this. A hundred thousand people each year get skin cancer and one American will die of skin cancer every 67 minutes. We all know your best defense is sunscreen, right? But now there are questions about labels that some people say are misleading. Consumer Correspondent Greg Hunter joins us to explain.

Good morning.


Well, this is a story about what sunscreens can and cannot do. Listen up. You may not be as protected as the labels say you are.


HUNTER, (voice over): Sam Rudman is one of several attorneys challenging the billion dollar sun protection industry with a controversial lawsuit that's generating headlines and heat. The lawsuit accuses from sunscreen makers of being fraudulent, negligent, and intentionally deceptive in the marketing and labeling of some of the sunscreen sold by Coppertone, Hawaiian Tropic, Banana Boat, Bull Frog, and Neutrogena. All five defendants categorically deny the claims.

At issue, the reliability of common claims such as waterproof, all day, UVA/UVB protection. Even the term sunblock, which the lawsuit says are exaggerated, misleading, and may give consumers a false sense of security. Dermatologist James Spencer, a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology, says sunscreen labels can be misleading.

DR. JAMES SPENCER, DERMATOLOGIC SURGEON: There is no all day. There is no waterproof product. It doesn't exist.

HUNTER: There are two kinds of harmful rays, ultraviolet A and B or UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen doesn't provide equal protection against both because the SPF, or sun protection factor, is primarily an indication of UVB rays, the ones that burn. Those UVB rays affect the outer layers of your skin, but UVA rays penetrate deeper layers of the skin and are increasingly thought to be a major cause of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. If the sunscreen's ability to filter out these UVA rays, which the lawsuit and some dermatologists question.

SPENCER: Our UVB blockers and screens are really very good. They'll block up to 97, 98 percent of the UVB rays. So we're pretty good there. UVA, we fall down. We don't have that level of protection.

HUNTER: The Food and Drug Administration regulates sunscreen. And in 1999 proposed a set of labeling rules for sunscreen makers that banned SPF numbers higher than 30. They also rejected claims like all day or waterproof, saying they're unsupported and potentially misleading. But the FDA undefinedly delayed its own rules. They say to give science and the industry more time to work on guidelines for UVA testing and labeling. Meaning compliance with those rules is voluntary.

The FDA wouldn't comment on camera, but e-mailed us saying they're "currently working on the rulemaking for OTC sunscreen drug products to address, among other things, UVA testing and labeling issues." And are working to establish new rules, "very soon."

Dr. Perry Robins, a leading dermatologist and president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit group partially funded by the sunscreen industry, says the lawsuit could end up hurting the general public.

DR. PERRY ROBINS, SKIN CANCER FOUNDATION: I'm very much disturbed with this lawsuit because what it's going to do is tell people, well gee, if it doesn't work, why am I using it? And that's the last thing we want to do. If they stop using sunscreen, it's going to have a disastrous effect.

HUNTER: None of the sunscreen makers named in the lawsuit would answer our questions on camera. But three of them wrote us saying their labels fully comply with all current FDA standards and are totally safe when used as directed. The makers of Hawaiian Tropic went on to write, "the rhetoric of the plaintiff's lawyers is motivated by their self interest and greed. Their statements are contrary to the public's health and are irresponsible."

The makers of Banana Boat and Bull Frog sunscreen didn't respond to our inquiries. And Schering Plough, the company that makes Coppertone, told us in a statement, the believe "the suit is without merit and attempts to exploit the fact that the FDA has not issued final regulation in this area." When we asked them about UVA versus UVB protection, they simply said, "the product labels and advertisements do not say the same protection applies to the full spectrum of UVA rays, nor do we believe they imply that."


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: OK. So while everybody waits for these rules to be changed, what do you do in the meantime?

HUNTER: Well, experts, first of all, say that you shouldn't stop using sunscreen. That you should definitely use sunscreen. It's the best tool we have even though it's not that perfect.

Now, experts also say there are three things you can do to help use sunscreens better. And, first of all, number one, is to put it on every two hours no matter what the label says. Put it on every two hours. And if you or your child gets in the water and gets out, reapply it, even though it might say waterproof or sweat proof.


HUNTER: Yes, that's right. Not proof. Resistant, not proof. Always use a sunscreen with an SPF sun protection factor of 15. But you don't need much more than 30.

And here's why. The difference between 30 and 50 is a little more than 1 percent. And again, that only tells you what the UVA protection is predominantly, not UVB protection. Not UVA.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Because UVA is the one that you showed in the graphic penetrates much more deeply and is the one that we're actually concerned about when it comes to skin cancer.

HUNTER: You know clinic says they think it may be the real reason why people are getting more melanomas, which is a very deadly form of cancer.

And finally, you need to put on a lot of this stuff. Don't be afraid to put it on. Experts also tell us that you should put on about an ounce to cover the average size adult person. And just to show you how much an ounce is, got a shot glass here and, there you go. And you think, wow, got to put that much on to cover you? Yeah. Put that much on to give you cover.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Yes, I've never used that much sunscreen probably.

HUNTER: Put it on a lot.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Yes. Wow. That's scary stuff.

Now if you want to get the UVA protection because, obviously, the UVA concern is the greatest if it's linked to the actual melanoma.

HUNTER: That's right.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: What do I go out and buy? What do I look for on a label to make sure I'm getting completely covered? I mean do you have to basically slather zinc oxide all over yourself?

HUNTER: You could. That would cover you. That would help you. But here are the three things you can look for when you're buying sunscreens here in the United States, and that is zinc oxide. I know they make a version that the lifeguards wear across their nose. Now they're making a zinc oxide that is more transparent. Also titanium dioxide and avobenzone. You should have at least one of these, the more the merrier. These ingredients will protect you better. We won't know how much better until the FDA comes up with new rules. And if you're in Europe or in Canada you can buy an ingredient called mexerol (ph) which is great UVA protection.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Wow. That's scary stuff. You know, I was buying 60 because I thought that was better for the kids.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Yes. Yes, that's the one. All right, Greg, thanks.

HUNTER: OK. SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: And we should mention that your report first aired on "Paula Zahn Now," which airs weeknights at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.


MILES O'BRIEN: Hopefully Greg won't be drinking from that shot glass, right? You're not going to . . .

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: That's a lot of sunscreen in there.

MILES O'BRIEN: That's a lot of sunscreen.

SERWER: It's really yogurt.

MILES O'BRIEN: All right. Andy is "Minding Your Business."

Hello, Andy.

SERWER: Hello, Miles.

The United Auto Workers has a new, surprising, high profile, political target.

Plus, the repo man goes high tech. We'll explain that coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


MILES O'BRIEN: Andy Serwer is here with word of what's going on with the United Auto Workers and the repo man. Interesting stuff.

SERWER: All autos all the time, Miles.

First of all, let's start with the UAW chief. Ron Gettelfinger usually spends most of his time blasting GM and Delphi and Ford management. Those companies all in some serious hot water. Yesterday, though, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the UAW Convention, he changed his target to President Bush. Blasting the president over failed trade policies and anti-union stances.

In particularly he cited the nation's policy to Thailand and our free trade policies there for problems that the UAW is encountering. The RNC, the Republican National Committee, came back and blamed Michigan Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm. So back and forth they go.

MILES O'BRIEN: Wait a minute. So the UAW says the problem is Thailand, not the lousy cars Detroit is building?

SERWER: Yes, maybe taking the eye off the birdie a little bit there.

MILES O'BRIEN: Yes, OK, just a thought.

SERWER: Now the repo man. Usually this is a guy -- you remember the famous movie. He goes and takes -- repossesses cars when you miss your payments. Now there's a new high-tech way. It's called the starter interrupt device. And it's a little cigarette pack size dohickey that goes underneath your dashboard. And if you miss a payment, guess what, your car won't start.


SERWER: And these little devices are growing like weeds. And lending companies and car leasing companies are installing these in cars that are leased by high risk customers. In other words, customers with bad credit rating histories.

MILES O'BRIEN: You don't think those high risk customers will find a way to take the dohickey out of the vehicle?

SERWER: Use a pair of pliers, a crowbar. I'm sure they're going to be looking to do some of that stuff.

MILES O'BRIEN: Something along those lines.

What's next in your next segment?

SERWER: We are going to do a major science experiment, Miles.


SERWER: It is the Mentos into the Coke bottle and you don't want to miss this. It's truly amazing what happens when you put these two together.

MILES O'BRIEN: I've seen something on the web which you must see.

SERWER: Viral (ph) marketing. It's all about viral marketing.

MILES O'BRIEN: It's -- and we're going to -- kids, you can try this at home. It's OK.

SERWER: Just in the back yard.

MILES O'BRIEN: But not inside. That's right. We'll be back with much more of that. Andy, with the Mentos experiment a little bit later. Stay with us for more AMERICAN MORNING.



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