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Bush, Musharaff to Meet Today; Ahmadinejad's Controversial Comments at U.N.; "Security Moms" Represent New Voting Bloc

Aired September 22, 2006 - 08:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Tracking the E. coli outbreak. Investigators want to know if two more deaths are linked to tainted spinach.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf headed to the White House at this hour for a critical meeting with President Bush.

O'BRIEN: In California, those stubborn wildfires just won't end. And here come those Santa Ana winds again.

COSTELLO: And from grande to vente -- Starbucks not sizing their drinks, just their prices.

That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

O'BRIEN: Good morning to you.

I'm Miles O'Brien.

COSTELLO: And I'm Carol Costello in for Soledad.

One of America's strongest allies in the war on terror is angry and heading to the White House within the hour. President Bush and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf may have to clear the air before getting down to business.

CNN's Elaine Quijano is at the White House.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Musharraf's visit with President Bush comes amid some tension this week after Mr. Bush told Wolf Blitzer in an interview that if there was actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden was inside Pakistan, the U.S. would move quickly to bring him to justice, with or without the Pakistani government's prior approval.

Now, when asked about that comment, President Musharraf said his government would not like that at all and said that the Pakistanis would like to handle that themselves.

Experts say behind-the-scenes, of course, both leaders have their constituencies in mind in making these public comments.

President Bush is continuing his tough talk on fighting terrorism at a time when he's trying to boost Republicans' national security credentials ahead of congressional mid-terms. President Musharraf, meantime, is facing pressure of his own from hard-line Muslim extremists. And so he is mindful of not being seen as too close to the United States.

But clearly Pakistan is a critical ally for the U.S. in the war on terror. This meeting today essentially laying the groundwork for meetings next week. President Bush will sit down once more with President Musharraf, as well as the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, to discuss the war on terror.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, the White House.

COSTELLO: After the meeting, Presidents Musharraf and Bush will hold a news conference.

That will happen at 10:10 Eastern this morning.

CNN will carry it live for you.

Republicans ready to put the detainee disagreement behind them after reaching a deal. The compromise between the three renegade Senate Republicans and the White House gives President Bush the authority to call military tribunals for those at Guantanamo Bay. It also sets the rules of interrogation for all detainees.

The deal still has to be approved by the full Senate and the House.

Congress ready to pump $70 billion into the war effort. That money has been tacked onto a $447 billion Pentagon spending bill. It will cover the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq until next May. The two wars have now cost $500 billion since 9/11.

O'BRIEN: A lot of tough talk and Bush bashing at the United Nations this week. But now some mixed signals.

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, now saying he wants peace with all countries. This is the same man who once said that Israel should be wiped off the map.

Kinder? Gentler? Really?

Our U.N. correspondent, Richard Roth, is here to try to break this all down for us.


RICHARD ROTH, SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Miles, he said he doesn't really have a problem with some Jews in Israel, but he has a problem with others.


PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRAN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): These Zionists, I want to tell you, are not Jews. That's the biggest deception we've ever faced. Zionists are Zionists, period. That they are not Jews, they are not Christians and they are not Muslims. They are a power group, a power party, and we oppose the oppression and the aggression that any party that seeks pure power, raw power, goes after. And we announce and declare loudly that if you support that, you'll be condemned by the rest of the world.


ROTH: He still says he loves everybody -- Muslims, Christians and Jews. As for Iran's nuclear program, he says there's a double standard in the region -- what about Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal?


AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): It's not the nuclear bomb that the American government is afraid of, for there are countries in our region who are armed with the nuclear bomb and are supported by a chance by the United States government.

Now, how is this?

In Iran we say you -- there are two skies over one ceiling, or two kinds of wind running over the same ceiling. It doesn't seem plausible. They are not concerned about the bomb. But it seems to us they like to prevent the development of our country, as they have in the past.


ROTH: Many questions the Iranian leader failed to directly answer, including whether Iran would stop supplying Hezbollah and abide by that U.N. Security Council arms embargo on the militias there.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, so many questions. We're just scratching our head over Ahmadinejad at this point.

At least, in the case of Hugo Chavez, he continues the same bluster that he spoke with at the podium. In this case, he seems to be trying to change his image somehow.

Is this a deliberate P.R. campaign or is this just the way he is?

ROTH: I think this is the way he is. This is who the man is. And it keeps his rivals or enemies off balance, which I think can be very effective. He's managed to split the Security Council regarding sanctions on his country and getting tough.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. Off balance, indeed. And playing the world like a fiddle, it seems.

ROTH: Well, and you don't know how much he believes what he's saying. But if he does, it is a severe cause for alarm going forward.

M. O'BRIEN: Exactly.

Richard Roth, thanks so very much -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Happening in America, a firearm discovered at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport this morning. It has forced the evacuations of Terminals A and B. The firearm reportedly found in a bag. Security now searching with dogs for the bag's owner. All passengers are being re-screened.

In Colorado, fingerprints are what identified the victim of that gruesome dragging death outside of Denver. She was Luz Maria Franco- Fierros, a mother of three from Mexico. Thirty-six-year-old Jose Luis Rubi-Nava is being held without bail on a charge of first degree murder. So far no motive released.

In Las Cruces, New Mexico, heightened security at the start of an annual festival that draws thousands. Someone has threatened to start randomly shooting people today if a substantial ransom isn't paid. Some business owners are offering reward money leading to an arrest.

Two "San Francisco-Chronicle" reporters heading to prison for at least 18 months. They would not reveal the source of secret grand jury testimony from Barry Bonds and other major league baseball heavy hitters in a steroid probe. They are appealing the ruling.

In southern California, firefighters are bracing for a long, hard weekend because of the hot, dry Santa Ana winds. They're expected to kick up tomorrow, with gusts of up to 65 miles an hour. State crews are surrounding the 107,000-acre Day fire. That's burning along the Los Angeles/Ventura County border.

And good news for people hard pressed to pay for their prescriptions. Target is saying it will follow Wal-Mart's lead, selling hundreds of generic prescription drugs for as little as $4 per month's supply. So far, this is limited to a test run-in the Tampa area. But the trend is expected to hit the rest of the nation within a year.

And how much are you willing to pay for a Starbucks buzz?

Well, word from Starbucks' headquarters that they're raising prices by a nickel. That's an average of almost 2 percent. It is the first time the company has raised drink prices in two years. The price hike goes into effect next month.

M. O'BRIEN: Chad Myers at the Weather Center -- Chad, you're still buying Starbucks, right? You're...

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, I'm just thinking, you can get probably a month's supply of generic do you see in Tampa cheaper than you can get a cappuccino now, so...

M. O'BRIEN: That puts it in perspective, doesn't it?

MYERS: Sure.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

MYERS: Sure about all.

But, hey, good morning.

Good morning, Miles.

Sure, I'm still drinking it. I'm drinking it right now.


O'BRIEN: Health officials trying to figure out if two more deaths could be linked to that E. coli contaminated spinach. A 2- year-old boy from Idaho died this week from a kidney disease probably linked to E. coli. And now another potential case in Maryland, the death of an elderly woman we are just finding out about.

Our senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joining us from the CNN Center with more -- Sanjay, what do we know about these cases and the possible links to the spinach?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, with the 2-year-old boy, we have been talking about this for a little bit of time now. It is still unconfirmed at this point. But it gives you a little bit of a glimpse into how this investigation works.

Reportedly, he had some spinach that was actually blended with some other food last Friday. Subsequently, he became ill.

Now, when an investigation like this takes place, they need to make sure, in fact, that the spinach was eaten; that, in fact, he did end up getting symptoms relating to an E. coli infection and -- this is the crucial point, as well -- that that E. coli is the same E. coli that is at the heart of this investigation.

All of that takes some time. But, Miles, this is very suspicious given his symptoms. He had something that you and I talked about, not only the diarrhea, but also something known as HUS -- hemolytic uremic syndrome. This is when you have kidney problems. Your blood doesn't work as well, your red blood cells don't work as well. That is an unusual complication, but he had that, as well, making this very suspicious.

The woman out of Maryland, actually, an elderly woman, as well, she has died. And on her death certificate it actually has said symptoms related to an E. coli infection. Still, it is important to point out that this wasn't a sporadic case. In fact, that it is the same E. coli related to the other cases of E. coli genetically. They've got to do a genetic match here to make sure it's all part of the same investigation.

But the numbers do continue to increase. You know, when we talked about this last week about this time, there were around 40 cases. Now the number is 157 cases, of which 27 have this very significant complication of hemolytic uremic syndrome, again, the kidney failure and the blood cell problem.

Eighty-three hospitalized. More than half hospitalized. We're still only saying one death confirmed, but as we're saying now, it could be two more unconfirmed, but very suspicious -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, so if you're trying to track this down, the E. coli bacteria in question here actually has a distinct genetic marker?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, just like many things, it has a genetic fingerprint. And, you know, you have different strains. But they can even be more suspicious than that, actually finding that the genetic fingerprint of the E. coli that caused illness or death in somebody is linked to the same strain that is circulated around the country.

What they haven't been able to do is find that genetic fingerprint on a specific farm, a specific location in California. It has been narrowed down to three counties now, but they're still -- they still haven't figured out exactly from where it's coming.

M. O'BRIEN: So it'll probably just be a matter of time, then, whether we'll know whether these two cases are part of this larger scare?

GUPTA: Yes. I think we'll -- they'll be able to confirm that, in fact, the two cases are larger of the scare -- a larger part of the scare. It is hard to say exactly, though, when they're going to be able to pinpoint where this is coming from. It's taken a long time. It's one of the broadest investigations -- when I talked to the officials at the CDC and FDA. And, you know, it's broadening as opposed to narrowing. We'd like to see it getting more of a pinpoint sort of focus.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, let's say it one more time in case people haven't heard -- don't eat that fresh bagged spinach by any means.

GUPTA: You'd like to think that people have gotten the message by now, but, yes, worth repeating.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Carol.

COSTELLO: Coming up, the relationship between the United States and Pakistan -- how important is it to the war on terror these days?

We'll look at the impact of this week's embarrassing dispute.

And after failing last year, the Army meets its new recruiting goals.

But did it need to lower standards to do it?

We'll take a look.

That's just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: As we've been telling you all morning, in just a few minutes, President Bush will welcome Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to the White House. The meeting comes just days after an awkward public disagreement between the two.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, President Bush said the United States would go after Osama bin Laden even within Pakistan's borders.

Musharraf said the United States should not pursue bin Laden inside Pakistan.

Joining us now, former CIA director of counter-terrorism, Robert Grenier.

Good morning, sir.


COSTELLO: Will this meeting really be tense?

GRENIER: No, I don't think so. I think they'll have a very polite conversation.

COSTELLO: A very polite conversation.

But what will be said?

I mean Musharraf is said to be pretty angry that President Bush said this.

GRENIER: Well, I think that we can expect that President Musharraf will probably make a plea for a little greater sensitivity to his domestic political situation.

COSTELLO: Well, but you have to be sensitive to the United States' position, as well, don't you?

GRENIER: Well, absolutely. And obviously President Bush, in saying what he has, is remindful of his domestic constituency.

I think in general, though, this is a conversation that is not useful for these two leaders to have in public. Obviously, the United States is not going to gratuitously violate Pakistani sovereignty. On the other hand, everybody knows what the rules of the game are here. And in the circumstances where the U.S. had precise, timely information about the location of bin Laden, if bin Laden was close to the border and U.S. forces could take action in a timely manner and Pakistani forces could not, I suspect that the United States would seek not permission, but forgiveness after the fact.

COSTELLO: Exactly, because it's done it before.

Let's talk specifically about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Is there a rift between the two leaders about how to go about finding him?

GRENIER: No, I don't think that there is a rift per se. I think, though, that at any given time, the Americans would like to see the Pakistanis show a little bit more aggressiveness in pursuing bin Laden and other members of al Qaeda and their own domestic extremists, for that matter, in the tribal areas.

COSTELLO: And Pakistan really hasn't done that. I mean al Qaeda still exists within the country. The Taliban has regrouped and has now invaded Afghanistan, because it's been allowed to regroup in Pakistan. And there hasn't been any credible intelligence on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts for, what, two years now?

GRENIER: Oh, for perhaps longer than that.

COSTELLO: So what is President Musharraf doing about this and can the United States trust him to continue the search?

GRENIER: Oh, I think that it's really not an issue of trust. I think that -- well, first of all, let's just remember that Pakistan has been a critical partner in the war on terrorism. Virtually all of the senior al Qaeda operatives who have been captured have been captured in Pakistan by the Pakistani government. So I think that needs to be said.

But it also needs to be said that the Pakistani capabilities in the tribal areas are nowhere near what they are in the settled areas, where most of these individuals have been captured.

So it's not so much a matter of willingness. I think it's a matter of ability.

COSTELLO: Some more interesting rhetoric will fly on Sunday on "60 Minutes" because Steve Croft, one of the "60 Minutes" correspondents, had an interview with Pervez Musharraf. And this is what President Musharraf told him.

He said: "The intelligence director" -- which would be Richard Armitage at the time -- "said be prepared to be bombed, be prepared to go back to the Stone Age." And Musharraf said that Armitage told him that right after 9/11.

Why come out and say that now?

GRENIER: Well, I think this is a bit of a tempest in a teapot. And, again, this is probably not a very useful thing to be discussed in public.

But the two individuals who were involved in that conversation, Secretary Armitage on the American side, and General Mahmoud Ahmed on the Pakistani side, did have a rather tense conversation. There's no question about it.

I think, first of all, it needs to be said that Secretary Armitage is a -- a highly reliable and honorable gentleman and I think you can take him at his word on this. COSTELLO: Yes, he said he didn't say it. But -- so why would President Musharraf come out on television, American television, and say that?

GRENIER: Well, again, President Musharraf was not directly involved in that conversation. It was General Mahmoud.

I've discussed that conversation with General Mahmoud and General Mahmoud has recounted the fact that the phrase "with us or against us" was used. He certainly never mentioned anything about being bombed back to the Stone Age.

That said, General Mahmoud, in characterizing that conversation to his president, may well have elaborated somewhat on what those words meant in his mind. And I know that General Mahmoud is somewhat given to colorful language at times.

So, again, I don't think that this is an issue of he said/she said. I think it's an issue of interpretation.

COSTELLO: It's an issue of semantics, apparently.

OK, a final question.

Will anything come of this meeting between President Bush and President Musharraf?

And, of course, they're going to meet with Afghanistan's president, as well, later.

GRENIER: Well, I don't think that there's going to be any startling new departures here. This is a relationship between the two countries which is a continuing one. It's a relationship between these two leaders which is a continuing one.

Obviously, there are issues to be discussed. There are always points of disagreement that need to be ironed out. But I wouldn't expect to see some major new initiative coming out of this one discussion.

COSTELLO: Robert Grenier of Kroll, Inc.

Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

GRENIER: Thank you.

COSTELLO: A reminder for you. After the meeting of President Bush and President Musharraf, they'll hold a news conference. That will happen at 10:10 Eastern this morning and, of course, CNN will cover that live for you.

O'BRIEN: Anderson Cooper now with a look at what's coming up on his program tonight -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, tonight many of the people like America. But their leaders call it the Great Satan and could be working on nuclear weapons.

What do we really know about Iran? Are hostilities unavoidable?

"Showdown Iran," a "360" special, tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Anderson.

Coming up, the AIDS crisis in Africa -- millions of children orphaned by that deadly disease.

What's being done to save them?

CNN's Christiane Amanpour talks to us about her special report coming up this weekend.

That's next on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Twenty-five years after AIDS was first discovered by researchers, CNN's Christiane Amanpour traveled to Africa and asked a seemingly simple question -- where have all the parents gone?


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eleven- year-old Florence (ph) first lost her mother and then her father to AIDS. Their disease her only inheritance.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Am I just a number in your books and files? Or am I a child, in the world living my life?

AMANPOUR (on camera): In the song, you sang about being just a statistic and about the world not caring.

What do you think they should know about you, about a little girl like you who got AIDS through no fault of her own?

FLORENCE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We need help, a nice place to live, to go to school. And we need medicine so we're not so badly affected by this disease.

AMANPOUR: What is your biggest fear?

FLORENCE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): AIDS and remaining an orphan.


M. O'BRIEN: In her special report airing this Saturday and Sunday, she shows us what life is like for those children who, in some countries, will soon make up 20 percent of their country's population. Twenty percent.

Christiane joining us now.

That is just a staggering number right there, all these kids without parents.

AMANPOUR: We decided to focus on the children because, in many ways, they are the invisible and forgotten victims. Because, number one, they don't have a lobby for themselves. They can't get up and, you know, hold fundraisers and do all the kind of public things that adults can do.

And, number two, the nature of the disease is that it kills them so young. And so they pile up dead and we don't know about it and there's this huge crisis.

M. O'BRIEN: Somebody sitting at home right now, what can they do about it?

AMANPOUR: Get interested, number one. Listen to the programs, number two. Get involved in their local, you know, in their local NGOs or charities and things like that.

And what is remarkable is that here in the United States, many, many people, I found, are increasingly involved, not just in things like trying to help AIDS and HIV, but in all sorts of poverty issues around the world.

Philanthropy on a grand and micro level is really huge. And I think, you know, all those things can help. And in our program, you'll see these incredible children. I think what's effective about our program is that we talk to these children and we hear stories from them that certainly I had never heard before. We hear them talking in a compelling and an incredibly human way. And we know that they're just like us. They're just like our children, you know? They deserve the same kind of chance and the same kind of life.

M. O'BRIEN: Christiane Amanpour, thank you very much.


It airs this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

COSTELLO: And coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, one of the so- called driving forces of the 2004 elections -- security moms.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I did was for safety reasons. And I do not, you know, feel that I have that safety.


COSTELLO: Some people say they powered Republicans to victory two years ago, but will that be the case this year?

We'll take a closer look.

Plus, tornadoes rip through the Midwest. Severe weather expert Chad Myers tells us where the storms are heading next. That's just ahead.


COSTELLO: Happening this morning, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf set to meet with President Bush in just about 15 minutes. The meeting comes amid controversy over Pakistan's truce with Taliban fighters and President Bush's statement that he'd send forces into Pakistan to get Osama bin Laden.

Pope Benedict now inviting Muslim leaders to a Monday meeting at his summer home to discuss the uproar over his controversial comments about Islam.

And a red flag warning in effect in southern California. The wildfire warning issued because the dreaded Santa Ana winds are expected to move in, fanning the flames of that massive two-week-old fire just north of Los Angeles.

O'BRIEN: Welcome back to the program.

I'm Miles O'Brien.

COSTELLO: And I'm Carol Costello in for Soledad.

O'BRIEN: In just about an hour, the army will be swearing their 80,000th recruit for 2006. That was their goal. But is the army cutting some corners to meet its quota, and can it sustain wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with the current active duty force?

I'm joined now by Francis Harvey, who is secretary of the army, to talk about this. And Mr. Secretary, good to have you with us.


O'BRIEN: Eighty thousandth recruit. Let's talk -- let's get beneath the surface on this just a little bit. Eighty-one percent of those 80,000 or high school -- have high school diplomas. The benchmark is 90 percent. The armed forces qualification test -- I guess that would be sort of the SAT for getting into the military -- lowest scores since 1985. And then you've increased the number of waivers for people with drug, alcohol, medical issues, 15 percent waivers as opposed to 10 percent. Are you worried about the quality of the troops?

HARVEY: No, I'm not. This is the highest quality force we've ever had. You have to look at what you just -- the statistics you talked about in retrospect. Eighty-one percent high school degree. You have to remember that the other 19 have an equivalent, so they have the so-called GED. So it's either high school degree or equivalent.

Our primary quality indicator is the test that you mention, Miles. And the standard is 4 percent, and we're slightly under 4 percent for the so-called category four. So we feel it's the highest-quality force. We feel fundamentally that there's a significant number of young people that want to serve this country. We like to say they're answering the call of duty. They want to have the opportunity to defend the nation and they have the opportunity to get an education and the skills.

So, again, volunteer, high quality. When you mention, like, 4 percent; in the '80s, it was 50 percent of category four. So we have a very high-quality force.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk about sustaining the dual war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is obviously taxing the army and the other armed forces. Right now, 140,000 troops, give or take, in Iraq; roughly 20,000 in Afghanistan. The projections are that for really the foreseeable future, you need about 15 brigades. I guess that's about 50,000 combat-ready troops. Does the army need to increase its active duty permanent size in order to sustain that over time?

HARVEY: When you talk about the army, you have to talk about the total army, and that is the active National Guard and reserves. Last year, we made a fundamental decision to transition the Army National Guard and the reserves from what we call a strategic reserve to an operating force. So the reserves and the National Guard are an intimate part of the army. They deploy with the army. That's our baseline plan. So I'm not concerned that we don't have enough combat brigades.

O'BRIEN: But are you relying too much on them? Is that -- is that, really, the way it's supposed to be set up? Is the National Guard supposed to be called upon as much as it has, with, you know, long stints of duty in Iraq, with short periods of time back home and back out the door?

HARVEY: No, there's a baseline plan that says that the active army will be deployed for one year out of three, and the National Guard one year out of four or five. So that's our baseline plan. Sometimes a particular unit may or may not meet that particular dwell time, as we call it at home. But we have a baseline plan. And again, the Guard and Reserves are a very, very important part of it. That's our approach. So when you talk about the army, talk about the total army.

O'BRIEN: This dwell time, though, that's a big issue, though, giving these people rest. Tremendous stress and duress in Iraq and Afghanistan. What can you do to address that issue?

HARVEY: Miles, I think the best measure of the stress on the force and how the force is reacting to that stress is the reenlistment rate. And right now today, in the active, two out of every three soldiers that are up for enlistment do, in fact, reenlist. You can look at a lot of other measures, subordinate measures, supporting measures, but the main way we look at it is the reenlistment rate. And it's very good right now.

O'BRIEN: "New York Times" has a piece this morning saying that right now, the army has currently between 7,000 to 10,000 troops available for an unexpected crisis. That seems like a low number. First of all, would you say that number is true? Secondly, should there be more?

HARVEY: No, I'd say that number is not true. We have a number of brigades in the ready-to-deploy pulls, we call them. If they're not deployed, they're the next to deploy. And there are a lot more than 7,000 to 10,000 in that pool.

O'BRIEN: How much is enough, and how much do you have available for that kind of eventuality?

HARVEY: We have up between -- in that pool, we have upwards between 15 and 20 brigades.

O'BRIEN: Is that enough?

HARVEY: We believe it is enough. We do a lot of operational assessments, and we believe that we have the surge capability. In other words, who are deployed are deployed. And then if you have a crisis you would surge with the units that are in the next-to-deploy in the next phase.

O'BRIEN: So bottom line, the army, as it is structured now with the National Guard and the Reserves,you feel it's adequate staffing for the foreseeable future?

HARVEY: I think you're right. But very, very important is that we continue to get the budgets we need and the reset money we need to ready the equipment. So it's a matter of the structure, the people and the equipment. That combination is -- makes us ready to defend this country.

O'BRIEN: Frances Harvey is the secretary of the army. Thanks for coming in.

HARVEY: Miles, pleasure to be here.

O'BRIEN: All right -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Sure, you've heard of NASCAR dads, but how about security moms? Some believe they're a young bloc that helped lead Republicans to victory in the last election. But this time around, the security moms may be insecure about the direction the country is heading.

AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken has more for you.


BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're always cited as a key to an election, suburban mothers. Last time around, the GOP called them "security moms" and convinced a substantial number to vote Republican.

SUSAN MCGRAW, MOTHER OF TWO: The reason I voted the way I did was for safety reasons. And I do not, you know, feel that I have that safety.

FRANKEN: As the president campaigns again to keep his party's control of Congress by again emphasizing the war on terror, these suburban St. Louis mothers who gathered at our request made it clear they had real second thoughts.

MEG MANNION, MOTHER OF THREE: I felt that the president's administration would help guide him to making the right decisions for security, and I don't know if I'm as convinced with that right now.

RICKI TISCHLER, MOTHER OF THREE: You know, I'm confused. I'm confused at a lot of reasons as, you know, why we are where we are.

FRANKEN (on camera): The security mom issue is a controversy within a controversy. Republicans vehemently deny that they're losing them, but many political experts deny they even exist.

KAREN KAUFMANN, AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSN.: When I think about security moms, I think about them in the same terms that I do like a unicorn, sort of a mythical being, because there really isn't such a thing as a security mom.

FRANKEN (voice over): Whatever they're called, many are up for grabs.

PATSY GOESSLING, MOTHER OF FOUR: I don't know at this point. I can't tell you right now how I'm going to vote, but it definitely will affect the way I vote.

FRANKEN: And what is definitely disturbing these women is the war in Iraq.

SUZIE FARON, MOTHER OF THREE: I believe the war in Iraq and some of President Bush's policies have contributed to the threat of terrorism in our country.

FRANKEN: Whether they represent a voting bloc or not, what these women do represent is a key question in this election, whether five years after the September 11th attacks Republicans can still gain the advantage from the war on terror.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I think before I thought, well, it's going to be a while for a president to get everything in place, and I was willing to, you know, support and be supportive of that, and I feel five years later disappointed more -- more afraid.

FRANKEN: Bob Franken, CNN, Brentwood, Missouri.


O'BRIEN: It's clean-up today in Kansas. Storms caused at least seven tornadoes in central Kansas yesterday. One person -- no one injured, I should say. Roofs torn off, trees toppled. And two tornadoes reported in Louisiana last night, as well. No injuries there, either. Damage mostly to homes, mobile homes and vehicles.


COSTELLO: All this week we've checked in with our teams from the "New You Resolution." Coming up, they will share some tips to help you get into shape.

Plus, Donald Trump waves the flag at his golf course and gets into a bit of trouble with the locals. Andy explains in "Minding Your Business." That's just ahead.


O'BRIEN: Whenever I hear that music, I feel guilty about the donut (INAUDIBLE). That's the guilt music.

Hard to believe it's been nine months since we launched the New You Resolution. Many applied, six were chosen. They're collective goal, learning to be healthier.

COSTELLO: And they're all admirable really. All this week we've been checking up on the participants to see if they're staying with the program. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is at the CNN Center in Atlanta with a final word from our power pairs.


And I was in New York yesterday to take that jelly doughnut right out of Miles' hands as well.

O'BRIEN: That's exactly what he did.

GUPTA: I'm doing my part.

Yes, it's been a lot of fun. We talked about the fact that they have 100 percent success rate during the two months that they're actually being followed by cameras and everything, but our power pairs, the lobbyists, the twins and the Rampollas, have all done very well. The key was, could they keep it up for the six months afterwards? Could they make this a part of our lives. They did pretty well.

Here's some of what they learned and some of their tips for you as well.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he says after I met Dr. Gupta, it was all over for me.

GUPTA (voice-over): With a sense of humor, nutritious meals, lots of exercise and a dash of healthy competition...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been doing a lot more exercise, upper body work, than I have, so he actually looked pretty strong. Still, I think his cholesterol is higher than mine, and still I think his weight loss isn't as dramatic as mine. GUPTA: Our three couples agree, they've accomplished a lot. After a few setbacks, they're confident they'll be healthier from now on.

Nine months after starting their New You Resolution, our participants now have some of their own useful tips.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: M&M's are, what, 11 calories each?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you make a plan to have a good diet during the course of the day, if you make a plan to ensure you get your exercise in, you make a plan that when you're going on the road, you bring your exercise clothes, good things can happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people have treadmills. They make wonderful stands for your clothes. Unless your using it, it's not doing you any good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paying attention to what you're eating -- you are what you eat.

GUPTA: Sandra Garth is a New You veteran. She graduated in 2005.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a year since my last New You Resolution checkup, and I'm happy to say everything is going great.

GUPTA: Sandra lost 60 pounds in last year's challenge. The weight stayed off because she continued to eat healthy and exercise. To encourage her New Your successors, Sandra sent a videotaped message. Her advice, work out consistently.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No excuses. We've all got time. It may seem like you don't have enough time, but somewhere within the 1,440 minutes that we all get every day, squeeze in 30 minutes for some workout time.

GUPTA: Good advice from a successful New You veteran.


GUPTA: Now what we've done for everyone as well is put all the tips and a lot of the advice as well on our blog. You can read about Sandra, as well our power pairs, In their own words, guys. It's been a pretty good year.

O'BRIEN: It's been a great year, and I think Sandra could be a motivational speaker. That was good, you know. You've got 1,440 minutes. Use it! Darn it, get off the couch! Or something like that.

GUPTA: You know, it reminds us of a lot of things that we already know, because it's good to hear from people who've actually had some success with it.

O'BRIEN: Well, you've helped change their lives, and hopefully some other people have been following along at home.

Sanjay, we'll see you soon.

GUPTA: All right, thanks, guys.

O'BRIEN: Up next on the program, Andy "Minding Your Business."

Hello, Andy.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Miles, the apocalypse is truly upon us. Port-a-potties fit for a prince or princess. The starbucking of another business? Port-a-potties. We'll explain, coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.



MEL BROOKS, "SPACEBALLS": Spaceballs the t-shirt! Spaceballs the coloring book! Spaceballs the lunchbox! Spaceballs the breakfast cereal! Spaceballs the flame thrower!

The kids love this one.


O'BRIEN: And now "Spaceballs," the animated series, coming to a small screen near you. Mel Brooks making an animated series from the 1987 movie, which makes fun of the "Star Wars" series, in case you haven't noticed. Rick Moranis plays dark helmet. The series is set to debut next fall. Brooks will also voice some of the characters. May the farce be with you.

COSTELLO: So is, like, targeted toward kids?

O'BRIEN: You might sya.

SERWER: Of all ages. You know that's coming.

O'BRIEN: There's the kid inside all of us.

SERWER: Especially a space kid, right?

O'BRIEN: You might say that.


COSTELLO: Coming up, a former vice president and one of the world's richest men joins us live in the studio. Al Gore and Richard Branson, teaming up to fight global warming. They'll talk about their $3 billion effort, just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


QUIJANO: I'm Elaine Quijano, live at the White House. A critical meeting is underway with an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism. I'll have details, coming up.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH AND VALUES CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Delia Gallagher in Rome, where the Vatican has just announced an important step towards mending the rift caused by the pope's speech. I'll tell you the plan, coming up.

COSTELLO: And two more deaths possibly linked to tainted spinach, as the E. coli outbreak continues to spread.

O'BRIEN: Big bucks to fight climate change. Billionaire Richard Branson writing a big check. Former vice president Al Gore teaming up with him. They're both with us this morning. We'll talk to them.


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