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AMERICAN MORNING

Secretary Rice in Asia Discussing North Korea Sanctions; Baby Missing in Kentucky

Aired October 18, 2006 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back everybody. It is Wednesday, October 18th. I'm Soledad O'Brien.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Miles O'Brien. Lots happening this morning. Let's get right to the news.

While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Japan as we speak. warning that Pyongyang's nuclear test could set off an atomic arms race in Asia. This as activity at three North Korean sites raising concerns there might be a second explosion of a nuclear bomb in North Korea.

Also happening this morning, the search continues for a missing nine-month-old boy in Kentucky. Her mother and boyfriend also missing. His social worker was found beaten to death at that home after supervising a visit with the infant's mother.

S. O'BRIEN: Former Congressman Mark Foley will reveal to the Arch Diocese of Miami the name of the priest he says abused him when he was a young man. He's not going to press criminal charges against the clergyman though.

M. O'BRIEN: The NATO commander in Afghanistan says coalition forces made mistakes that have opened the door to the Taliban's resurgence.

S. O'BRIEN: And let's get a look at the fog that's slowing down some of the airports, kind of messy for travelers this morning. Chad Myers at the CNN Weather Center. Hello.

(WEATHER REPORT)

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you very much Chad. Our top story this morning, the North Korea nuclear crisis and the mission of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, trying to head off a nuclear arms race. Construction is going on in North Korea, as we speak, possibly signaling a second underground nuclear explosion may not be far off.

Secretary Rice arrived in Tokyo about three hours ago, immediately assured the Japanese that the U.S. would defend Japan. Our coverage begins with Aneesh Raman in Tokyo, Suzanne Malveaux at the White House. We'll get to her in a moment. Aneesh, give us the latest.

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, good morning. The secretary of state starting in friendly territory here in Japan. She's already met with the country's foreign minister and defense minister. Tomorrow she'll meet with Japan's prime minister.

As you mentioned, a key message coming out of today's press conference, which happened just a short time ago, was that the U.S. stands by its defense alliance with Japan. Why is that key? This country has a pacifist constitution. It feels increasing threat by aggressive behavior out of Pyongyang. And there are some 30,000 American troops here, and that is the main line of defense for Japan if it faces any attack by North Korea. So that was the key statement to the people of Japan.

The other threat of this trip is getting this region to fully enforce the sanctions imposed on North Korea by that U.N. resolution, not a tough sell in Japan. This country slammed sanctions of its own on North Korea even before the U.N. took action, has fully enforced the sanctions since then. But she did speak at this press conference about the threat North Korea poses and the U.S./Japanese position.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have discussed the security situation in the region in light of the North Korean nuclear test and earlier the North Korean missile test. The United Nations Security Council has acted firmly and resolutely in both cases to say to the North Koreans that their behavior is unacceptable and that it is, in fact, isolating North Korea from the international community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAMAN: Now all in the region agree on that statement, but the tougher diplomatic test for Secretary Rice will come as she heads tomorrow to South Korea, then onward to China. Those countries have not been exhaustively checking cargo going into and out of North Korea, as stipulated by the U.N. resolution. Secretary Rice, this morning, said these are complex actions that are taken on the border of North Korea and that she will try and figure this out as she heads onward to South Korea and China, but that is where she will fight to try and get some unity and resolve in the region against a nuclear North Korea, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh, Japan has a lot at stake here. They're within short range missile distance from North Korea. Is there talk in Japan, given all that's happened there in World War II, is there talk about, perhaps, becoming a nuclear power now?

RAMAN: There is. It was squashed a short time ago by Japan's prime minister, who said the debate is over. Japan will not pursue a nuclear weapon. At that joint press conference, Japan's foreign minister said Japan won't pursue a nuclear weapon, but a short time before the press conference, speaking to the parliament, the same man, the Japanese foreign minister, said he thought Japan should at least talk about it. And we have heard similar statements from key members of the prime minister's own party.

There is a sense that at least a debate should take place. That is something, though, that raises fears of an arms race in the region. But for the moment, the Japanese prime minister, the final word, saying the debate is over. Japan has no intention, as of now, in pursuing a nuclear arsenal, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: At least for now. Aneesh Raman in Tokyo, thank you. A U.S. envoy says a second nuclear test by North Korea would be a belligerent answer to the world. For the latest on the U.S. government's reaction, let's go live now to the White House and Suzanne Malveaux with more. Good morning Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Miles. Well, certainly it would not be a surprise to White House officials if, in fact, North Korea conducted a second test or a series of these tests. They are watching and waiting very carefully here to see what North Korea does, but the thinking here is that if North Korea carried out this test, it would actually embolden the argument in the Bush administration to make the case to the neighbors that, look, this is an intolerable situation, that this regime is unstable, and that it's very dangerous and, therefore, tougher sanctions are necessary. Miles?

M. O'BRIEN: Suzanne, the U.S. had relied a lot on China because it had so much leverage against North Korea. Is there some concern at the White House that that might not be the best course of action or some concern China might not deliver?

MALVEAUX: Well, there is some concern that China is not going to deliver, at least not deliver fast enough here. I mean there really is a split here, if you will. Secretary Rice has a very delicate job here. She has to convince the Chinese, who essentially can turn off the lights and cut off the food supply to North Korea, to push for those tough economic sanctions. The Chinese very worried that the whole regime could collapse. And essentially what they're trying to do here is convince the Chinese that they need to be tough, but not to push the Chinese too far.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What you've seen already in the case of the first test is that the United States and the Chinese are working more closely together than ever before. And I dare say that they would become even closer as strategic partners in trying to guarantee safety in the Korean peninsula.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: And, as you know Miles, the Chinese share a border with North Korea, 880 miles. They are very concerned if the North Korean regime collapses, that essentially they'll have a huge refugee problem. The problem that the Bush administration has, however, is that the Chinese believe that a desperate North Korea would be more dangerous, perhaps, than a nuclear one, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Suzanne Malveaux at the White House, thank you very much. Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Turning to Iraq now, the violence is hitting home and hard. Yesterday ten U.S. service members were killed in attacks. And at this rate October could turn out to be the deadliest month in Iraq for the U.S. military in almost two years. CNN's Arwa Damon in Baghdad for us this morning. Good morning, Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Soledad. That's right, Tuesday was a tragic day for U.S. forces operating in this incredibly volatile country. As you just mentioned, ten troops lost their lives here in a span of 24 hours. The attacks against them were concentrated in some of Iraq's more volatile areas, the capital of Baghdad, Jilal (ph) province to the north and al-Anbar province.

The challenge of securing Iraq only becomes really more dangerous and deadly day by day for U.S. service-people operating in this country. In the meantime though, an interesting development from the Iraqi government. The Ministry of Interior announcing that it has dissolved the headquarters of two brigades of its national police. Now the Ministry of Interior and the national police, if you will remember, have been accused of being infiltrated by militias and death squads.

This can be seen as the government's first step in really taking an active role and trying to prove its credibility and, to put it simply, clean up its act. The ministry also saying that some 3,000 commandos and employees of the ministry itself have been fired. They are being accused of a range of crimes from forgery to violations against human rights, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's talk a little bit about the number of Iraqis who have been killed, the number of Iraqis who have been displaced because of all of the violence, Arwa.

DAMON: Well, Soledad, the most recent number we have heard, this coming from the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displaced People, is that half a million Iraqis have been displaced since the bombing of the holy Shia shrine in Samarra, back on February 22. Since then, half a million Iraqis displaced. The ministry also saying that though, in the last four weeks, 100,000 Iraqis displaced. These are Iraqis that are believed to be fleeing their homes, predominantly due to sectarian violence.

Many Iraqis have either had family members or friends be the victims of sectarian violence or have heard horrific stories of people who they know falling victim to sectarian violence. Just to give you an example, in the last 48 hours in the capital of Baghdad alone, 100 unidentified bodies were found. The fear of being killed in such a brutal way is causing people to move. What we're seeing now is the division of the population, Shias moving into Shia areas, Sunnis moving into Sunni areas, where they feel more secure, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Arwa Damon's in Baghdad this morning. Thanks, Arwa.

Fighting between NATO troops and insurgents in Afghanistan continues as well. The Taliban is making a resurgence and the general in charge says there have been missed opportunities and the window for success is now growing smaller. How did it all happen? Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon for us this morning. Barbara, good morning.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you Soledad. Well, a very somber warning from the top coalition commander inside Afghanistan. That is a British NATO commander, General David Richards told Pentagon reporters yesterday that, perhaps, there's as little as six months to show significant progress in Afghanistan or he believes the people of that country will lose faith with the U.S. military and the NATO coalition. General Richards saying that there simply needs to be, in his words, a more aggressive approach towards dealing with this Taliban resurgence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.K. ARMY GEN. DAVID RICHARDS, CMDR., NATO INTL. SEC. ASSISTANCE FORCE: We thought it was all done, success was there and we could adopt a sort of peace time approach to it and didn't treat it as aggressively as a problem that, with the benefit of hindsight, we should have done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: So what does General Richards say went wrong really? Well, listen to what he says. He says number one, that perhaps in the initial months Afghan security forces weren't fully on the job and people didn't realize that. And he says fighting the insurgents just to fight them is going to get the coalition nowhere over time, that there needs to be more reconstruction, more aid in building confidence with the people of Afghanistan. Soledad, if it sounds an awful lot like Iraq, perhaps General Richards meant it to be.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, you know, I was going to ask you exactly that. Certainly does. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us this morning, thanks, Barbara.

STARR: Sure.

S. O'BRIEN: Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Happening in America this morning, in Kentucky a social worker is dead and authorities are searching for a nine-month- old boy, his mother and her boyfriend. The boy, Sage Terrell (ph), was in state custody. A social worker brought the youngster on a supervised visit to the mother's house and that is where police say Sage was abducted and the 67-year-old social worker was beaten to death. Police believe Sage is with his mother, Rene Terrell (ph), and her boyfriend, Christopher Lutrelle (ph).

An Indiana man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for murdering four of his family members back in 1989. Jeffrey Pelley (ph) shot his father, stepmother and two stepsisters. Prosecutors say he was mad he couldn't attend the high school prom. Pelley was sentenced yesterday to 160 years in prison.

In Texas a federal judge has tossed the guilty verdict against Enron founder Ken Lay out. Lay died of heart disease in July while he was waiting to be sentenced for a conviction stemming from the collapse of Enron. The judge said since Lay can't appeal, because he is dead, the guilty verdict is vacated. The ruling does not apply to many civil suits against Lay's estate, however. In Massachusetts, a grim discovery turns up a lot of missing mail this week. Authorities found the body of Allan Gagney (ph) in his apartment. The postman died of natural causes. He was surrounded by piles of letters and circulars he never delivered. Some of the mail dates back to the 1980s.

In California baseball greats, past and present, gathered to remember Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle. Yankee's manager Joe Torre, captain Derek Jeter joined Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson at a memorial service yesterday. Lidle and his flight instructor died last week when the plane they were in crashed into a Manhattan high rise. It's still unclear who was at the controls.

S O'BRIEN: And here's a look at some of the stories we continue to follow for you this morning. Mark Foley is expected to name the priest he claims abused him when he was a teenager.

Plus a flood warning is now in effect until tomorrow for parts of Texas and Louisiana. We'll update you on the weather and much more just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

M. O'BRIEN: Welcome back. Here's what's making news this morning. President Bush declares Hawaii a disaster area as residents clean up after that earth quake over the weekend.

And skiers happy, commuters, not so, as heavy snows sweep across Colorado. Chad Myers in the Weather Center with the latest. Chad, good morning.

(WEATHER REPORT)

S. O'BRIEN: All right Chad, thank you very much. Let's turn now to the Mark Foley investigation. A Louisiana Congressman will be in the Ethics Committee hot seat today as the House races to finish its probe of the scandal before election day. Dana Bash on Capitol Hill with more for us.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The House ethics committee will continue its probe into the who knew what, when of the Mark Foley scandal later today with an important witness, and that's Congressman Rodney Alexander. The Louisiana Republican sponsored the page who had an e-mail exchange with Mark Foley last year that made the young man so uncomfortable, he sent it to aide to Congressman Alexander, saying it was sick, sick, sick.

Now Congressman Alexander is apparently the first lawmaker to bring this issue to the attention of the speaker's office. That led to a quiet review by the chairman of the page board and the former House clerk. Now the committee, which meets in secret, has been working at a break neck pace. They have several key witnesses left to meet with, but it is still unclear whether or not they will be able to conclude their business before election day three weeks from now and decide whether or not anyone in the GOP leadership should have or could have done more to stop Mark Foley. Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.

S. O'BRIEN: And the disgraced Congressman is apparently ready to reveal the name of the priest he says abused him when he was a teenager. The name is going to be given to the Arch Diocese of Miami. CNN's Susan Candiotti live for us in Miami today. Susan, good morning.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. But for now, even Mark Foley's civil attorney says he doesn't yet know the name of the priest who allegedly molested the ex-Congressman, but the lawyer says he expects to find out that name today from Mr. Foley, when he talks to him again by phone at his rehab center.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Whether he can prove it is one thing, but Mark Foley's attorney wants skeptics to know his client's allegations are not trumped up.

GERRY RICHMAN, FOLEY'S CIVIL ATTORNEY: It's going to be very clear in the coming days that it is a fact, as opposed to any possible allegations that it's a fantasy or something made up from political purposes.

CANDIOTTI: It was about two weeks ago that Foley first made his bombshell allegation.

DAVID ROTH, FOLEY'S CRIMINAL ATTORNEY: Mark has asked that you be told that between the ages of 13 and 15 he was molested by a clergyman.

CANDIOTTI: But, who is the alleged molester and where is he now? The Arch Diocese wants to know. It says Foley's claims have put a cloud of suspicion over all its priests.

MARY ROSS AGOSTA, ARCHDIOCESE OF MIAMI: Common sense must come in here that we need to know who it is prior to us being able to provide the counseling for that person.

CANDIOTTI: Foley's lawyer says he'll turn over the name at the right time in a, quote, sensitive way.

RICHMAN: Mark Foley is intending to work with the Archdiocese of Miami and Greater West Palm Beach for the purpose of revealing the name of the particular priest who was involved, so that the Archdiocese can then deal appropriately with the issue.

CANDIOTTI: Foley grew up in south Florida. As a youngster he served as an altar boy. He attended Catholic grade school and high school, but later transferred to a public high. Foley's lawyer says he's talked with the Palm Beach state attorney's office, but no criminal charges will be filed. The allegations are too old. The alleged abuse happened more than 35 years ago, well past the statute of limitations.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: Foley's attorney says he has not yet set up that first meeting with the Archdiocese of Miami. Nor is he sure whether that name will be turned over during the course of that first meeting. The Archdiocese says it would like to have the name so that it can start investigating the allegation, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Well Susan, then once that name is turned over, whenever it actually happens, is that name going to be made public?

CANDIOTTI: Eventually yes, according to Mr. Foley's lawyer. And it might be made public before or after he might file civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese.

S. O'BRIEN: Susan Candiotti following the story for us from Miami this morning. Thanks Susan. Political news, the number two Democrat in the House apologizing for what some people are calling a racially charged remark. The House minority Whip Steny Hoyer was speaking to a mostly black audience at a rally for the opponent of Maryland's lieutenant governor Michael Steele when he said that Steele has a record of slavishly supporting the Republican party.

Well the word slavish, you might know, means submissive. It also means befitting a slave. Yes, that's what people took exception to. Steele is running for the Senate. There he is. You can see he's African American. So Hoyer issued a statement saying this, "I should not have used those words. If Mr. Steele did in fact take offense, let me assure you, none was attended." Steele's spokesman called Hoyer's remark insensitive and stupid. He was speaking to a black audience, probably wasn't the smartest things to do.

M. O'BRIEN: I suppose it would be easy to forget the origins of that word, not knowing, but nevertheless, anyway, onward.

Some of the stories we're following right now, a new report says the benefits of eating seafood outweigh the risks of Mercury poisoning and the like.

And a judge throws out the conviction of the late Enron chief Ken Lay. Those stories and more ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: Here's a look at some of the top stories we're following for you this morning. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Tokyo as U.S. intelligence says North Korea could be getting ready for a second nuclear test.

And there's an Amber Alert out now. The search is on for a missing Kentucky infant and his mother. The baby's social worker was found murdered. The mother and the boyfriend are now missing, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, now the latest chapter in the Enron saga. Ken Lay gets cleared. How could that be? Andy Serwer explains. Good morning Andy. ANDY SERWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Miles. First of all, you know Jeff Skilling is going to get sentenced on Monday. So we're going to have a chapter next week. This chapter today, though, is fascinating and astonishing, perhaps. Yesterday in Houston Judge Simlay (ph), who presided over the Enron trial, vacated the conviction of former chief of Enron, former CEO and Chairman Ken Lay, threw out the conviction on fraud and conspiracy charges.

You may remember he was convicted on May 10th of ten charges, ten counts. And then on July 5th passed away in a Aspen of heart disease. And here's what Lay's attorneys successfully argued. They said that they cited a 2004 ruling that found a defendant's death, pending appeal, extinguished his entire case because he hadn't had the opportunity to challenge the conviction. The government should not be able to punish a dead defendant or his estate.

M. O'BRIEN: So the big question though is, there's a lot of people who would like to lay claim to his estate, who feel like they've been wronged. Does this affect civil cases?

SERWER: It doesn't effect civil case. There's $40 million here apparently in his estate. The government now will have a hard time going after it in a criminal proceeding. They may try to go after it in a civil proceeding, but then they have to get in line with other litigants who may try to claim that money. So, the mess gets a little messier, I think is the headline.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, OK.

SERWER: We're going to talking here now about a gentleman named William McGuire, who we've talked about, well, quite a bit over the past couple of weeks.

M. O'BRIEN: Show me the money McGuire.

SERWER: Of course, that's right. He is the former, the soon-to- be former chief of United Health Group. And now, we don't want to belabor this point, but we now know how much less this gentlemen is going to get after re-pricing his stock options. Remember, his options were priced on the most favorable day for him. He said, OK, you know, this is a bad thing. So, I'm going to re-price my stock options for the least favorable day. At one point the (INAUDIBLE) was worth $1.6 billion. And after re-pricing it's worth $158 million less.

M. O'BRIEN: So still over a billion.

SERWER: A huge bite, but relatively speaking, not that big a bite at all.

M. O'BRIEN: It's the change he put on his dresser, relatively speaking.

SERWER: Walking around money, as my father used to say.

M. O'BRIEN: What else you got coming up? SERWER: We're going to talk about Perrier and why that drink is all of a sudden getting sexier.

M. O'BRIEN: Oh really? All right. Well that's a tease.

SERWER: You can only but imagine.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you Andy.

SERWER: You're welcome

M. O'BRIEN: Some of the stories we're following right now for you, a new poll showing most Americans think Washington is losing touch with the middle class.

Plus, a winter storm dumping 16 inches of snow in some places of Colorado. Some are cheering, some are jeering. Stories ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien. Let's go right to the news wall for some of the stories we are following this morning.

S. O'BRIEN: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Tokyo this morning discussing the North Korea nuclear threat. The secretary warned Pyongyang's nuclear test could set off an atomic arms race in Asia.

M. O'BRIEN: A new study shows the benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will have the details.

S. O'BRIEN: Houston, parts of Louisiana under flood warnings today as the threat of high river waters still remains. The death toll from this week's storms in Texas has climbed to five. Let's get right to Chad Myers, he's at the CNN Weather Center for us.

(WEATHER REPORT)

M. O'BRIEN: Some good news and bad news on the economic front. The good news, the economy is pretty good. The bad news, a whole lot of Americans don't think so. The middle class still says, generally, it feels like the American dream is a lost cause. Our Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider is with CNN's Election Express in Kansas City this morning.

Good morning, Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST, AMERICAN MORNING: Good morning, Miles.

We came here to Kansas City from Washington along with our beautiful Election Express bus. Something else is coming out of Washington, and that is some pretty good economic numbers. But then, why are Americans so angry? (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice over): Many Americans feel like the man who is about to drown crossing a stream that on the average is three-feet deep. On the average the economy is doing well.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The budget numbers are proof that pro-growth economic policies work.

SCHNEIER: But not for people who feel themselves slipping under water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people who are really doing well in this country are the very wealthy people, and not the working middle class. That's slipping.

SCHNEIDER: In a new CNN poll conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation, a majority of the Americans say the American dream has become the impossible dream for most people. Those with no college degree have lost faith in the American dream. College graduates still believe, but only about 30 percent of Americans have finished college. There's a lot of middle class frustration out there, and it's focused on Washington. Even Republicans are running against Washington.

(BEGIN CAMPAIGN AD)

JOHN STEELE, (R-MD) CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: I know what you're feeling, Washington has no clue what's going on in your life.

(END CAMPAIGN AD)

SCHNEIDER: About three-quarters of the public sees Congress as out of touch with average Americans. About the same as in 1994, the last time voters overthrew the majority in Congress. But it's not just Congress. Nearly 80 percent of Americas feel big business has too much influence over the Bush administration. Democrats are nearly unanimous in that sentiment.

(BEGIN CAMPAIGN AD)

ANNOUNCER: In Washington, we have a White House that has rolled over for the oil companies.

(END CAMPAIGN AD)

SCHNEIDER: As it happens, most Republicans also feel that way, a rare instance of bipartisan agreement.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Anti-Washington sentiment drove politics in the 1990s. Voters fired a Republican president in 1992, a Democratic Congress in 1994, and they flirted with the idea of voting for a man named Ross Perot. There's no telling what people will do when they get mad at Washington -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Seems like there's a lot of things that would fuel this anti-Washington sentiment this time around.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. And it's not just scandals. It's the feeling that the people sent to Washington are not doing their job. They're not solving problems like energy, healthcare, illegal immigration, wages and Iraq -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Bill Schneider in Kansas with the bus. Thank you.

A reminder, Lou Dobbs is also there in Kansas City. He's getting rest in the bus right now, I think. At 7:00 Eastern tonight he'll host a town hall meeting. He'll be looking at the war on the middle class, right here on CNN tonight.

S. O'BRIEN: Lou Dobbs is so not sleeping in the bus, by the way.

M. O'BRIEN: No, he's got a nice hotel. We take care of him.

And for more on this or any other political story, you can log onto our web site at CNN.com/ticker.

S. O'BRIEN: An unpopular war, a congressional sex scandal, it's been a tough year for Republicans across the country, certainly those who are seeking re-election. No one, though, faces quite the obstacles that one Arizona lawmaker does. He's running his campaign while fighting in Iraq. Here's AMERICAN MORNING's Chris Lawrence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN MORNING (voice over): Can an Army Reservist battle insurgents in Tikrit while fighting Democrats in Tucson? This Arizona state legislator is aiming to prove it's possible.

We caught up with Jonathan Paton when he was training for deployment. Now he's serving in Iraq as a military intelligence officer.

JONATHAN PATON (R), ARIZONA STATE LEGISLATOR: The hardest thing about all of this, is want be -- I'm always the guy that I wanted to make sure that stuff gets done on time, the mailing we're sending out gets done on time. I can't do that when I'm over there. I have to put my trust in other people to do it for me.

LAWRENCE: Paton is depending on his supporters to run a campaign without its candidate.

PATON: I might miss a few debates. I have a spokesman, who is the state senator in our district. He's going to have to go out there and be me.

LAWRENCE (on camera): In any other race, his military service may be a huge advantage. But his opponent is Democrat Clarence Boykins(ph), a Vietnam vet.

(Voice over): Sometimes communication is touch-and-go in Iraq. So to know if he's still got a job, Paton may have to check the Internet after Election Day.

PATON: Believe me, that day I will be, you know, whatever self- discipline I have, I'm going to be on edge that particular day. I want to know how I did.

LAWRENCE: Paton is running for re-election on his immigration record. He introduced a bill that empowers state and local officials to go after smugglers. But he's not around for the last four weeks of the campaign. Even if he's re-elected, Paton could miss up to two months of his second term.

PATON: You know what, if I don't win because I'm doing something that I thought was the morally right thing for me to do, then that's OK.

LAWRENCE: Paton can miss up to three months before the county names a temporary replacement. By the time he gets back, the battle at home will be over while war still rages in Iraq. Chris Lawrence, CNN, Tucson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

S. O'BRIEN: This is Representative Paton's second tour of duty in Iraq. His first was back in 2005.

Here's a look at what we're following for you this morning. Up to 16 inches of snowfall in parts of Colorado. We'll update the weather for you just ahead.

Also, there are new guidelines on seafood safety. Some say some kinds of fish are safer than others. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will join us with a little advice. That's all ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: Here are some of the stories we're following for you this morning, Hawaiians are cleaning up after President Bush declares the quake-struck islands a disaster area.

Actor Wesley Snipes is facing federal tax fraud charges.

M. O'BRIEN: More than a foot of snow on the ground this morning, in the Colorado Rockies. And that is hampering the search for two missing hunters. The snow also made roads very treacherous in the high mountain passes. Roads are open again, finally. Interstate 70 littered with wrecks last night. For a time, authorities had to shut it down Interstate 70 in both directions.

If you're heading out the door in Colorado, you want to know what's going on for sure.

(WEATHER REPORT)

S. O'BRIEN: Go ahead, eat fish. Just don't go overboard. That's the message in a new government report on seafood safety. Senior Medical Correspondent Doctor Sanjay Gupta is at the CNN Center with some details.

Sanjay, good morning.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN MORNING: Good morning, Soledad.

It could be the single most important food for your health, but there is a lot of confusion out there about fish. Two new reports out now that might help clear some of that up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: A new study by the Institute of Medicine found that eating seafood twice a week has important health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and improved development of the brain.

Seafood is high in protein, low in saturated fat, and loaded with omega 3 fatty acids. But there is a catch. Most fish contain some level of dioxins, PCBs and mercury. Mercury is of particular concern because it's known to impede brain development. That presents a quandary for pregnant women and young children about exactly how much fish to eat.

DR. WILLIAM HOGARTH, NAT'L. OCEANIC & ATMOSPHERIC ADMN.: We learned that the benefits of cardiovascular health, from eating seafood, including farmed fish, far outweigh the risks of cancer from environmental contaminants.

GUPTA: The study says women who could become pregnant and young children can eat up to 12 ounces of seafood a week without being concerned about mercury. Six ounces can be canned white tuna, although canned white tuna usually contains less mercury. They should avoid fish high in mercury, like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tile fish.

MALDEN NESHIEM, INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE: Those who consumer more than two servings a week, should choose a variety of seafood to reduce risks for exposure for contaminants from a single source.

GUPTA: There's also more evidence this week that fish reduces the risk of heart disease. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found just eating one to two servings of fish a week reduces the risk of death from heart disease by 36 percent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: Now, actually shrimp and canned tuna, and neither one of those are particularly high in omega 3 fatty acids, a word of caution there. Bottom line, you can eat fish. Try to eat it in moderation and try to eat a variety as well, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, Sanjay, if you GOOGLE fish studies, you get 11 million hits -- 11 million hits. I mean, it's an indication of just like there is one that's, it's good, no, not good, it's good, no not good. Is this the final word? GUPTA: Well, a lot of those studies are saying either the same thing in one direction or the same thing in another direction. It is confusing for sure. I'm always reluctant to say that anything is the final word. I've learned that in five years of this business.

One thing I will tell you is when the Institute of Medicine weighs in on something, it's usually based on longer-term data; it is usually based on what are called meta-analysis, actually looking at the results of lots of different studies, and trying to put some of that together. So you are getting closer to being more comfortable, I think, with sort of a final word, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Fish is good. Are fish supplements good or better?

GUPTA: Yes, well -- I don't know if they're better. But people make a lot of omega 3 fatty acids and there are things known as fish oil supplements.

Here's something to keep in mind. When you're buying those, you want to get about 1,000 milligrams, 500 to 1,000 milligrams of the omega 3 fatty acid. If you look at the front of a bottle a lot of times it will say 1200 milligrams of fish oil. What you need to do is turn that bottle around and see how much specifically omega 3 fatty acid is in there. That is the crucial number. You want that to be between 500 and 1,000.

S. O'BRIEN: Sanjay Gupta for us. Thank you, Doctor, appreciate it.

GUPTA: Thank you. Sure, thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, the government is likely to OK a plan that would allow stores to sell milk and meat from cloned animals. The Food and Drug Administration now saying there's plenty of research showing that products from cloned animals are safe to eat and drink. Consumers groups not as confident; they say they want more research. They also say they want special labels so shoppers will know which products come from clones -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Some of the stories we're following right now. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Tokyo for talks on North Korea.

Plus, a new video game you need to put on your radar, "Bully", now hitting stores. Will it inspire violence in schools? We'll take a look at that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: Here's a look at some of the top stories we're following for you. The Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Japan for talks on the North Korea situation.

And Mark Foley expected to name the priest that the ex congressman says abused him when he was a teenager -- Miles. M. O'BRIEN: Rockstar, the company that gave us Grand Theft Auto, those videos which are very controversial, is out with a new game. This one is called "Bully." And it is set in a high school, the players are encouraged to basically beat up bullies. The question is, will it inspire some real-world violence? CNN Technology Correspondent Daniel Sieberg with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN MORNING (voice over): More than a year before "Bully" hit store shelves, protesters gathered outside the offices of the company behind the game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These games are training our children how to be criminals, directly opposite, our children are being trained to be killer, murders, rapists, drug users, drug dealers, et cetera.

SIEBERG: Lawyer Jack Thompson has not yet played the game "Bully" but contends it could lead to student violence.

JACK THOMPSON, ATTORNEY: This is a Columbine simulator by virtue of the fact that it brings into play the bullying dynamic that we've seen at Paducah, Columbine, and other school shootings and massacres.

SIEBERG: But the game is actually devoid of any guns and players are encouraged to fight bullies and protect the weaker kids. Game Creator Rockstar released this statement.

"We'll never convince everyone, but we hope people will enjoy the story in "Bully" as much as they enjoy similar stories in books, plays and movies."

Like Ralphie taking on the yellow-ed bully in "A Christmas Story", some game reviewers agree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no gore, there's no blood. Most of it is done -- it's comic mischief, it's more "Breakfast Club" than "Grand Theft Auto".

SIEBERG: The controversial "Grand Theft Auto" series is also made by Rockstar Games. But in "Bully," players use their fists, a slingshot and throw firecrackers. Critics say the two games still have a lot in common.

THOMPSON: To suggest that that's not a violent game is to suggest that a revolver is not dangerous because it has only has six rounds in it.

SIEBERG (on camera): Thompson filed a lawsuit in Florida trying to stop the sale of the game, which is rated for players, age 13 and up. But the judge in the case rejected his request, saying "Bully" is violent, but no more so than your average night on television.

(Voice over): The decades-old fight over violence in video games won't be decided by a bully. That doesn't mean parents should let down their guard over what their kids are doing in the schoolyard, both virtual and real. Daniel Sieberg, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

M. O'BRIEN: Now, Rockstar has been promoting the "Bully" video game as brutally funny. The game is rated T for ages 13 and older -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Some stories we're following for you this morning, the NATO commander in Afghanistan says coalition mistakes have opened the door for the Taliban's comeback.

And Perrier tries to boost sales with a risky ad campaign. Andy has that, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: Top stories we're following for you this morning, an Amber Alert. The search is on for a missing infant in Kentucky, and his mother and her boyfriend, after the baby's social worker was found murdered in the mother's home.

And veteran CBS newsman, Christopher Glen, the voice of the children's program "In The News" back in the 1970s, is dead at the age of 68.

So, how does a brand that's got kind of a stodgy image appeal to a younger consumer? Andy Serwer has the word, "Minding Your Business".

Good morning.

ANDY SERWER, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Good morning, Soledad.

I think Perrier was kind of hot back in the 1980s, you know, during the days of "Dynasty" and those sorts of things. And lost a little luster since then. Young people drinking Red Bull and all those new tea drinks.

So, what do you do? Well, you come up with a new ad campaign. I think this one is well -- it's out of the box. Perrier kicking off a new campaign this week and they're going to be replacing the labels that used to say Perrier, of course, with other words like -- that are: Luckier, Sassier -- or I guess we'd pronounce them -- Luckier, Sassier, Crazier, Prettier, Sexier.

S. O'BRIEN: Looks like there's Flirtier.

SERWER: Flirtier.

S. O'BRIEN: In the middle.

SERWER: Yeah.

S. O'BRIEN: That's a good idea. That's kind of cute. That's funny. SERWER: I think kind of cool. It's, like, "Did you get the Sexier one, the Flirtier one?" You could get a whole bunch for your party. You could see how it would kind of work.

S. O'BRIEN: Yeah, I like it.

Another thing that sort of fell in their laps, Soledad, recently was "Talladega Nights" Where they were the sponsor of the rival of the protagonist in the film, it was played by Sasha Baron Cohen, that John Gerard, who was a French racecar driver, who was sponsored by Perrier. And it is interesting because Perrier didn't pay any money at all for this sponsorship.

S. O'BRIEN: The best kind of advertising.

SERWER: That's right. I mean, they approached Perrier and said would you like to do this? They said, well, fine. We're happy to let you do this, but we're not going to pay you a dime to do it, though. And so they got a little buzz. And of Sasha Baron Cohen is quite the guy these days.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, he's hot. Yes, he is.

SERWER: Yes, he is very, very hot. So this is all kind of working out for them. But you know, a brutal business, this drink business, and so you have to differentiate yourself.

S. O'BRIEN: I think that could really work.

SERWER: I do, too.

S. O'BRIEN: What do you have ahead this morning?

SERWER: Ahead, we're going to be talking about this one. Did you hear about this one? Chris Rock's mother and Cracker Barrel?

S. O'BRIEN: Yeah.

SERWER: And you know, this is a company that's had problems before with these sort of incidents. I wouldn't want to get Chris Rock mad at me. Right? Can you just imagine?

S. O'BRIEN: She said she wasn't served because she was black.

SERWER: Right. And I think Chris could sort of go off on this company.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, that -- it could be fodder for -- yes.

SERWER: Like in his nightclub -- ooh!

S. O'BRIEN: No question. Andy, that's ahead. Thank you.

SERWER: OK, thanks.

S. O'BRIEN: Miles. M. O'BRIEN (voice over): Here's a look at what CNN correspondents all around the world are covering today.

DAMON: I'm Arwa Damon in Baghdad.

Tuesday was a deadly day for U.S. troops operating here. Ten were killed in attacks in Baghdad, to the north in Dialla (ph) Province and in that volatile Al Anbar Province. Also, 20 Iraqis were wounded in a number of explosions in the capitol of Baghdad alone. Many here wondering when this war will come to an end.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN MORNING: I'm Matthew Chance in Moscow. The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is set to meet the Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks expected to focus on Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Israel is deeply concerned about the possibility of the Islamic republic using that program as cover to develop nuclear weapons. Russia is helping Iran build its first nuclear reactor. There's also tension between Israel and Russia about the high-tech Russian weaponry supplied to Iran and Syria, apparently some of which found its way into the hands of Hezbollah, and were used against Israeli forces in Lebanon, earlier this year.

M. O'BRIEN (voice over): For more on these, or any of our top stories, log on to our website, cnn.com. The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.

S. O'BRIEN: Good morning, it is Wednesday, October 18. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien. Good morning to you. Lot's happening. Let's get right to the news wall.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Japan right now. North Korea topping the agenda. Secretary Rice warning that Pyongyang's nuclear test could set off an atomic arms race in Asia. This, as activity at three North Korean sites may indicate a second test is coming.

Also happening in America this morning, the search goes on for a missing nine-month-old boy, his mother and her boyfriend in Kentucky. Authorities found his social worker beaten to death after a visit with the infant's mother.

S. O'BRIEN: Former Congressman Mark Foley will reveal to the Archdiocese of Miami the name of the priest he said abused him when he was a young man. He's not going to press criminal charges against the clergyman, though.

M. O'BRIEN: The NATO commander in Afghanistan says the coalition forces made mistakes and that have opened the door to the Taliban's resurgence there.

S. O'BRIEN: Time to check the weather with Chad Myers.

(WEATHER REPORT)

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