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Iraq War Funding: How Can They Reach a Deal?; Made in China: Can Inspectors Find Toxic Source?; Upside Down Sellers

Aired May 2, 2007 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Flash point. Tear gas and rubber bullets break up an immigration rally in Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was a peaceful (INAUDIBLE) before you came here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will work very aggressively to try and determine what happened.


Plus, where's the exit. President Bush and congressional Democrats look for a way out of their war showdown, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: And good morning to you. It's Wednesday, May the 2nd. I'm John Roberts in New York. That's so strange.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And I'm Kiran Chetry in New York.

And you're real. I can actually touch you.

ROBERTS: And so are you.

CHETRY: That's right.

ROBERTS: I probably shouldn't touch you.

CHETRY: You're going to get in trouble very early. It's only 6:00 Eastern. We're so glad you're with us today. And, yes, John Roberts is here, not in D.C. this morning, but actually live here in New York.

Good to see you.

ROBERTS: Lots of news in D.C., today, though, that we'll be bringing people.

CHETRY: That's right. And also we're going to give you a bit of an update. Yesterday, of course, the May Day rallies, immigration rallies. Well, there was a little bit of mayhem in L.A. Rubber bullets were fired. Our cameras were out there. Did police handle this situation correctly? And were there any other problems at rallies across the country? We're going to show you some more of this video.

ROBERTS: You know, just about every day we've got extreme weather in this country. More of it in the heartland. Incredible, new pictures of a tornado forming in Kansas. Take a look at this. Just a finger coming down from the sky. We'll show it to you and we'll tell you where the extreme weather threat is today. Chad Myers is on that for us all morning.

CHETRY: And this is a bit of a mean story. Remember Knut? He was the adorable polar bear.

ROBERTS: It's not mean. It's reality.

CHETRY: These were some of his baby pictures.

ROBERTS: He was just the cutest little thing.

CHETRY: Well, people around the world really fell in love with him. There were people that said he should be killed because he was abandon by his mother. He was taken in by a zoo.

ROBERTS: Too cute to live, I think is what they said.

CHETRY: Well now they're saying he's too ugly because people are saying now Knut is an adolescent. Unfortunately, he's lost some of his boyish charm. We'll let you be the judge. We'll show you some new pictures of the little guy.

ROBERTS: Well, you know, it's like human beings. You grow up to become an adolescent. You get a little gangly, a little awkward.

CHETRY: That's right. The next thing you know they're going to want to put braces on Knut, you know, because they don't like his teeth. So we'll show you more on that video a little later.

But our top story first is President Bush using his veto pen for only the second time of his presidency to say no to troop withdrawal deadlines.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure. And that would be irresponsible.


CHETRY: Well, Democrats in Congress had enough votes to pass their bill, but most likely not enough to overcome the president's veto. So now what? The president sits down with congressional leaders this afternoon and CNN's Andrea Koppel is live on Capitol Hill.

What about the ideas out there for getting any type of agreement on this, Andrea?

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are a couple ideas right now, Kiran. One that's being floated by Democrat John Murtha of Pennsylvania. And it wouldn't fully fund the troops the way the president wants him to, but rather would have money just for a couple of months, forcing President Bush to come back up here for get more money.

The other idea -- and there isn't a lot of support for that. The other possibility out there is one that would include benchmarks. These have already been agreed to by the U.S. and Iraqi government. One thing that won't be in there is a timeline for U.S. troops to get out of Iraq.


CHETRY: Andrea, thanks so much.

ROBERTS: U.S. and Iraqi officials are still trying to determine if the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq dead or alive. He is Abu Ayyub al- Masri. Iraqis interior ministry first reported yesterday that he had been killed. But U.S. authorities have not yet been able to verify that. And an al Qaeda front organization denies that it happened.

CHETRY: Well, the numbers are coming in this morning on the turnout in immigration rallies nationwide. Chicago is reporting about 150,000 people showed up. That's down from about 400,000 last year. Thirty-five thousand in Los Angeles. And both, again, are far below last year's numbers.

There was also some chaos this year. Police in riot gear clashed with protesters at the end of a rally in Los Angeles, firing rubber bullets into the crowd at MacArthur Park.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people, they wanted a peaceful march to demand full legalization and amnesty. What they're doing, they're psychologically torturing the people so that they can go ahead and think this is a police state, right? And all we wanted is to walk and (ph) typically demanding full immigration rights.


CHETRY: LAPD Chief William Bratton defended the action, but said he'll be looking into exactly what happened.


CHIEF WILLIAM BRATTON, LOS ANGELES POLICE: It is a very large incident that occurred here in a very large geographic area and we will, as we always do, investigate this thoroughly, completely and we will go where the truth takes us.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHETRY: Fire officials say three people went to the hospital and several more were treated at the park. No one with any serious injuries.

Well, immigration again front and center tonight. A special Lou Dobbs tonight. Town hall meetings live in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. It's a town where city officials have strictly cracked down on illegal immigrants. We're going to join Lou tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

The Food and Drug Administration warnings that more farms across the country could be affected by animal feed tainted with melamine. Tainted chicken feed was found on some farms in Indiana. The chickens that ate the feed did make it to the human food supply. But the FDA says there is little risk to people who ate the chicken.

And Congress heard from former FDA officials about food safety. Democrats introducing a bill to give the FDA the power to order mandatory recalls of tainted food. That bill would also set fines for companies that don't promptly report contamination.

We're going to be talking to a former FDA insider in our next hour about the shocking disparity between how much food comes into the U.S. and how little of it is actually inspected and what he thinks should be done to keep our food supply safe.

ROBERTS: In the latest twist of the Paul Wolfowitz saga, the former ethics chairman of the World Bank says that Wolfowitz misled investigators. The ethics committee was not consulted on the pay raise of Wolfowitz's girlfriend. The bank's executive board is going to meet tomorrow and Friday. They could ask Wolfowitz to resign his presidency, they could reprimand him or, as a third choice, decide that he did nothing wrong.

Well, the check is in the mail. New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has voluntarily paid a $46 fine for not wearing his seat belt. Corzine broke more than a dozen bones when the SUV that he was in crashed into a guardrail last month and had been going 91 miles an hour. He went home from the hospital on Monday. The governor's staff says he remembers only a few details of the accident.

CHETRY: The estranged wife of New Jersey's ex-governor is breaking her silence. She's talking about the sex scandal that destroyed her marriage and drove Jim McGreevey from office. Dina Matos McGreevey is promoting her memoir about her marriage. She told Oprah Winfrey that she had no idea her husband was gay until the day he told the world he was a gay American.


DINA MATOS MCGREEVEY, FORMER N.J. FIRST LADY: I smiled because I didn't want to break down. But, you know what, his world was falling apart. He was still choreographing the entire day and how everything would play out, tell me when to smile, what to say if I was asked a question by reporters.

OPRAH WINFREY, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": What were you supposed to say?

MCGREEVEY: Well, he said, if they ask you what you think of gay marriage, say you're sensitive to the issue. My world was falling apart and this man was telling me, be sensitive . . .

WINFREY: To the issue.

MCGREEVEY: To the issue.


MCGREEVEY: He was telling me what to do. And he said, you have to be Jackie Kennedy today. And I'm thinking, Jackie Kennedy? Her husband was murdered. You lied and cheated on me and now I have to be Jackie Kennedy?


CHETRY: Well, Jim McGreevey claimed in court papers that his wife knew all along about his sexual orientation, even before they were married. They are now going through a contentious divorce and a custody fight for their five-year-old daughter.

As for Oprah, she dropped a hint about her future when she stopped by to help Larry King celebrate 50 years in broadcasting.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: There are several things that I really want to do. I'm on the air -- I'm going to be -- I have like four or five more years left on my show. And when I'm done with that contract, I'm going to be done. I'm going to . . .

LARRY KING, "LARRY KING LIVE": That's a done deal?

WINFREY: I'm going to be done. When I'm done, I'm done.

KING: We have an announcement then.

WINFREY: No. This is not an announcement. I'm just saying, when I'm done, I'm done.


CHETRY: All right. Well, tonight, Katie Couric turns the tables. She is going to be interviewing Larry. It's going to be all of the things you wanted to know about his long career and his many guests. That's tonight, 9 p.m. Eastern.

And this morning, Anna Nicole Smith's former boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, is back in the U.S. with their seven-month-old daughter, Dannielynn. Birkhead flew home to Kentucky yesterday after a judge in the Bahamas cleared the way for him to take the baby out of the country. Birkhead's endured legal battles to prove his paternity claim as he gained custody of Dannielynn following Anna Nicole Smith's death in February. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY BIRKHEAD, DANNIELYNN'S FATHER: It's just good to be home. And, you know, who knows what's next. We're just here to relax and -- we're surrounded, you know, so that (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you enjoying the derby? Are you guys (INAUDIBLE)?

BIRKHEAD: I'm hoping to. I'm hoping to. That's where I got my start as a photographer and journalist in Kentucky, of course, (INAUDIBLE) derby. And so to come home, it's kind of full circle. It's also where I met Anna Nicole.


CHETRY: And baby Dannielynn stands to inherit millions from Smith's estate.

ROBERTS: You know, somehow I don't think we've heard the last of this saga.


ROBERTS: Somehow.

Congratulations, it's a rhinoceros. The proud parents are two Sumatran rhinos. A critically endangered species. The baby was delivered at the Cincinnati Zoo. But zoo visitors won't be able to see him for a couple of weeks. He weighed in at 86 pounds. Eighty- six pounds. It's all that armor. He hasn't yet been given a name. His father is the only successful Sumatran sire in captivity. Now that is a face that only a parent could love. Let me tell you that.

CHETRY: He looks surprised to be (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERTS: Remember Knut? The cute little polar bear, rescued by German zoo keepers after his mother abandon him. He's now almost five months old. And the past few months have not been so kind to Knut. No that he is growing and no longer a cub, Knut is not quite as cute as he once was. He's now 37 pounds. There he is.

CHETRY: He's still adorable. Look at him.

ROBERTS: Twice what he weighed when he first stole hearts around the world. And, of course, he's beginning to change. You can see like a baby adult polar bear in there. Many still find Knut endearing, though. Twenty-six thousand people dropped by to visit him last weekend.

CHETRY: Actually, he needs a new PR person because, you know, it's just -- it's the spin that he's not cute anymore. He's adorable.

ROBERTS: Do you think?

CHETRY: Yes. ROBERTS: You don't think he looks like a baby adult sort of thing?

CHETRY: Yes, but I think polar bears are gorgeous (ph), too.

ROBERTS: Rolly polly puppy kind of . . .

CHETRY: We'll see what happens. The rhino, never cute, so we don't have to worry about that.

ROBERTS: Yes, exactly.

CHETRY: Coming up, we're going to check out a twister in Kansas. There's been severe weather all over the Midwest and Chad Myers is going to tell us where the threats are today.

Also, a corporate scandal. The CEO of one of the biggest oil companies resigns. But it's not for the reason you might think.

Also, the new "Spider-Man" movie. It hasn't opened yet here. It's already setting box office records, though. We're going to explain.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is here on CNN.


ROBERTS: It's not even out yet in the United States. Spidey is already spinning a worldwide web. "Spider-Man 3" is setting box office records. The biggest opening day ever for any film in Hong Kong and South Korea. It's also doing well in the Philippines. The previous two "Spider-Mam" films made more than $1.6 billion worldwide. So you're saying, wait a minute, it's open in the Philippines, Japan, South Korea. When is it opening in the United States?

CHETRY: Are you going to go see it?

ROBERTS: Friday. I go see every "Spider-Man" movie, I have to confess. There's very few movies that I actually go to the theater to see. This is one of them. Because on the big screen, that's where it just really leaps out.

CHETRY: It is very neat what they're able to do with computers now.

ROBERTS: I'm just a nerd at heart (INAUDIBLE).

CHETRY: You're a comic book collector secretly.

ROBERTS: I was when I was -- I had a number one "Spider-Man."

CHETRY: You did? Where is it?

ROBERTS: And my mother threw it out.

CHETRY: That would have been worth a . . .

ROBERTS: Do you know how much it would be worth today?

CHETRY: How much?

ROBERTS: I'll find out.

CHETRY: All right.

ROBERTS: I'll Google it.

CHETRY: Let's check in with Chad Myers. It's 13 past the hour.

Are you going to go see Spidey, too, Chad?


ROBERTS: Fifteen minutes now after the hour. President Bush is talking tough about the dangers of a drawn-out funding fight and what it might mean for the military. Time for a fact check on all that.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The need to act is urgent. Without a war funding bill, the military has to take money from some other account or training program so the troops in combat have what they need. Without a war funding bill, the armed forces will have to cut back on buying new equipment or repairing existing equipment.


ROBERTS: All right. So there's the claim. Is it true? Two weeks ago, the Army told commanders to buy fewer parts and delay repairs on training equipment and post pone non-essential travel. This month, the Army will also freeze any hiring to fill civilian jobs, release temporary employees and sign no new contracts. It's a situation that certainly could get worse.


LT. COL. ROBERT MAGINNIS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): If you don't sustain them with replacements and give them enough dwell time, in other words downtime in between operational deployments, then you wear them out. It's that simple.


ROBERTS: So for the next couple of months at least, the Pentagon can still move funds between branches to prevent the political fight in Washington from actually affecting soldiers in the field. In the meantime, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Peter Pace says he will not order a soldier to deploy who isn't fully trained and equipped.

CHETRY: So it clearly will have an impact depending on how long this takes. ROBERTS: Eventually it will, yes. How long it drags out. That's the question.

CHETRY: Exactly. And something that will hopefully get closer to being answered today. A closer look now at where President Bush and congressional leaders go from here. The president made good on his threat to veto the bill that tied funding for the war to the withdrawal of troops. Let's listen.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength.


CHETRY: And the president meets with congressional Democrats this afternoon. Brad Blakeman is a Republican strategist, a former deputy assistant to President Bush.

Good to see you this morning, Brad.


CHETRY: Well, the bottom line is, Democrats want us out of Iraq yesterday. The president wants another shot at stabilizing and securing it. So how do you come to an agreement when you have vastly different goals to begin with?

BLAKEMAN: Well, I think nobody gets out of the room today at the White House until there's an agreement. You know, the Democrats have had the president's plan for 12 weeks and have done nothing about it other than debate and hold the president and our troops hostage to their congressional whims. And one thing is for sure, this was a constitutional crisis that the Congress tried to prevail upon the president and they lost. They didn't have the votes to override the veto. So now, really, the obligation is on them to be conciliatory, come to the president. The president, in turn, will, I believe, agree to negotiate in good faith. And I think we'll have an agreement.

CHETRY: But, Brad, why is it on the Democrats to come to a compromise when they are claiming, and it looks like the polls agree, they got a mandate from the people that most of us, most people want U.S. troops to start to withdrawal from Iraq?

BLAKEMAN: Well, in our country, we don't rule by plebiscite. The people elect their representatives to do the job as they see fit. Many times in history, the public has been against things that, after time, history has shown that our presidents were correct.

So we don't rule by polls. We rule by information. We trust our commanders. We trust our ultimate goals. And having said that, I think, quite frankly, the leverage at this point is with the president because the Congress was not able to override hits veto. CHETRY: And speaking of that, what is the situation for moderate Republicans who want to, of course, continue to back the president, but are going to be facing some tough questions when it comes to re- election and in 2008 for supporting the war?

BLAKEMAN: Well, let's see what the war brings us. General Petraeus testified last week on The Hill that we will not see the kind of achievements in Iraq until perhaps the fall. So I think we should revisit this again in the fall, see if the troop surge has done everything that our troops had hoped it to be, and then we can let the political chips fall where they may.

But one thing is for sure, is this president is going to get the funding. Our troops are going to be funded. And if the Democrats were serious, they would have sought to de-fund the war, something they weren't willing to do.

CHETRY: There are also some reports of back channel negotiations underway, despite the public rhetoric on both sides. One topic would be non-binding benchmarks. So that would be a compromise to a timetable. But why would Democrats agree to that when we've seen benchmarks before, most pointedly those political benchmarks, that even Iraqis admit they have not hit yet.

BLAKEMAN: Well, the benchmarks that the president was talking about have already been agreed to by the Iraqis. And, quite frankly, I think that the benchmarks would be a really good compromise to this problem because the . . .

CHETRY: But if they're non-binding, they don't have to reach - I mean, the Iraqis themselves have said, OK, provincial elections, we didn't get far on that. Political agreement on dismantling militias, we didn't get far on that. Reconciliation program, we didn't get far on that. They're all non-binding.

BLAKEMAN: They are non-binding because war is an unpredictable science. You can't tell me what's going to happen tomorrow in Iraq. And that is the problem that's faced our country. We want absolute, concrete, binding resolutions that cannot be made. And it's unrealistic to think they can.

So having said that, I think that the Democrats will finally come to their senses and agree to the funding based on non-binding resolutions, which they can argue on the floor in September or October once we know whether General Petraeus was successful in what he promised to deliver.

CHETRY: So you think this is all a political fight?

BLAKEMAN: Absolutely it's a political fight. The danger has been that look how it's hurt our troops. You just reported prior to me coming on that the Pentagon is beg, borrowing and stealing from other funds in order to properly supply or troops, and that's just wrong.

CHETRY: Brad Blakeman, always good to hear your point of view. Thanks for being with us this morning.

BLAKEMAN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Miss America, a crowning achievement, now a crime fighter? Her mission to put sexual predators behind bars runs into some trouble. We'll explain next.

And startling details of a CEO's private life go public. What happens now at one of the world's largest oil companies?

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Miss America says that she's on board and ready to do her part to put sexual predators in jail. Lauren Nelson worked with police on a sting to find sexual predators online. Nelson posted old photos of herself as a teenager, a kind of underaged decoy to lore suspects to a home on Long Island, New York. Police were there and awaiting and arrested 11 men. Initially it was reported that Nelson would not testify in court against the suspects, but a Miss America organization spokeswoman said, Nelson is fully cooperating with law enforcement on these cases.

CHETRY: All right. And that was video from "America's Most Wanted." You saw John Walsh, as well. They were all involved in that.

Well, it's 25 past the hour now and Polly Labarre is in for Ali, "Minding Your Business."

Good to see you this morning, Polly.


CHETRY: We have something unusual. A resignation of a CEO, British Petroleum, but not for the normal things that you would think when it comes to resigning.

LABARRE: Well, this is a stunningly dramatic story. I mean here is a celebrated iconic figure. A global business leader of the last decade. He has resigned over a scandal, basically a personal scandal in his life. An association of newspapers in the UK has gotten out of an injunction and they're going to be able to publish a story about a four-year relationship he had with a man. And now the thing isn't that he is gay. It's that he actually lied during testimony about how he met this man. So it's quite an unraveling of a glorious career.

CHETRY: But, I mean, they say that, but at the end of the day, it's a scandal and it's juicy because he had a relationship with a man.

LABARRE: Well, this is part page six, part "Wall Street Journal." Because what was going on behind the scenes, is that the business has actually had a lot of problems. BP has been through a major transformation under John Browne. It's gone from being a second rate European oil company, to being one of the big global companies out there. He led a $200 million makeover of BP into an environmental leader, an oil company that was taking a real leadership role when it came to climate change. He changed the name from British Petroleum to BP. We see that sort of the iconic sunburst symbol everywhere.

At the same time, there are a lot of cost cutting pressures. They had a huge explosion in an oil refinery in Texas. A bit oil spill in Alaska. Some scandals on energy trading. So he was already sort of on his way out a little bit early, and now this personal scandal ends up on top of it.

CHETRY: Polly, thank you. We'll see you a bit later.

LABARRE: Thank you.

ROBERTS: OK. Thanks, Polly.

The top stories of the morning are coming up next.

The president and Congress will have to compromise to end the standoff over war funding. Who's going to give up what?

And how did a chemical used to make plastic make it into pet food and now into the human food chain? We go to the source of the outbreak to see what's being done about it.

Plus, an immigration rally ends with tear gas and rubber bullets and lots of questions for the LAPD.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.


CHETRY: And welcome. It is Wednesday, May 2nd.

I'm Kiran Chetry in New York.

And look who's here.

ROBERTS: Bingo. Here we go. Just the, you know, marvels of modern travel. You just on a plane, and the next thing you know, you're in New York City.

I'm John Roberts. Good morning to you.

Stories on our AM radar this morning.

We're going to take you to China, where the pet food crisis started, and show you why there is growing concern that the food that America imports not just for pets, but for humans as well, could be a future risk to all of us.

CHETRY: And whether or not we're going to do something to change that in the walls of Congress.

Also, a presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani, taking a shot at Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.. Interesting, though, because Giuliani does have some ties to one of Chavez' companies.

We're going to bring you the latest on that.

ROBERTS: And the hit show "American Idol" is becoming a teaching tool for bosses. What's that all about? Well, it's all about negative versus positive feedback.

CHETRY: Right. And Simon is the model.

ROBERTS: Should you tell an employee, "You're terrible. Get out"? Or should you encourage them to do better? We'll find out coming up later.

CHETRY: Right. Or should you tell an employee over and over again, "You're pitchy. You were a little pitchy, dog"? Because that's really what Randy says a lot of the time.

ROBERTS: I think the employee would look at you and say, "Are you nuts? What are you talking about?"

CHETRY: All right.

Well, we want to let you know that if you have anything that you want to know about in the news, stories we cover, how we cover them, we want to hear from you. "Ask AM," e-mail us, send us your questions or suggestions, something maybe you want to know a little bit more about that we've covered, an update you want to know more about. We're going to pick some of the e-mails, and we're going to be giving out -- we're going to be giving you the answers as we go along here on AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: Such as, "What does you're pitchy, dog" mean?

President Bush used his veto pen for only the second time of his presidency to say no to troop withdrawal deadlines.

Take a listen.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Members of the House and the Senate passed a bill that substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders. So a few minutes ago, I vetoed the bill.



SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: A veto means denying our troops the resources and the strategy that they need. After more than four years of a failed policy, it's time for Iraq to take responsibility for its own future.


ROBERTS: So how do the president and Congress move beyond this veto standoff?

A.B. Stoddard is the associate of "The Hill" newspaper and joins us now from Washington.

So, A.B., is there going to be a compromise here? What do you think?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "THE HILL": For months, actually, this has been such a partisan and divided debate on Iraq. But we're beginning to see the first signs now that Republicans support a compromise, so I do think it's likely.

ROBERTS: And what shape do you think the compromise would take?

STODDARD: I think that operations will be funded, but I think that there will be conditions.

ROBERTS: All right.

The Democrats, they pushed this to the max, they got the veto that they were, I think, in some ways looking for from a political standpoint. But now, when they go into negotiations with the president, when thy go into this meeting 2:30 this afternoon, are they going in from a position of strength or weakness?

STODDARD: Weakness. Most observers and, of course, their supporters think that the Democrats have a plan B following the veto that they knew was coming, but they actually don't. They're hanging their hopes on this meeting today and future meetings. They hope to continue to build pressure on the president, hopefully with the help of Republicans. And, of course, the president continues to illustrate that he's not easily pressured.

ROBERTS: The Democrats really struggled to get unanimity on pushing this bill forward. They really had to rein in the liberal wing of the party. Now if the liberal wing gets this idea that, hey, our leaders are going to compromise, they're not going to put in timetables for withdrawal, they may just go with non-binding benchmarks, is that going to split the party?

STODDARD: Oh, for sure. The anti-war liberals had a terrible time supporting funding for a war they opposed, and that was with, of course, a withdrawal plan. It's now off the table. Meanwhile, conservative Democrats are not eager to drag these out with these short proposals for short-term spending bills or anything that can be construed as constraining troops in battle.

ROBERTS: So public opinion is running very heavily against the war. A recent CNN poll found about 66 percent of Americans against it, the majority of Americans are siding with the Democrats on this. How much longer can the Republican Party hold out against public opinion before they start to really feel the effects of that? I think we'll begin to see the significant defections from Republicans in the fall. They want now to find a way to express their opposition to an open-ended commitment in Iraq, but they also want to give the surge a chance to succeed. So I think we won't begin to see them joining the Democrats in earnest for a few more months.

ROBERTS: So, might, then, the Democrats pursue this idea of supporting the Murtha bill, which would fund the war for another two or three months, while they try and peel off more Republicans to their side of the fence?

STODDARD: It's on the table, but there's not a critical mass of support for that short-term plan today.

ROBERTS: Right. So, in the end, what do you think is going to happen in terms of funding and the surge? Will the president get the money he needs and will Petraeus get the time that he wants to see if this so-called surge is working?

STODDARD: Yes. I think it will be funded, as I said, probably with some conditions. General Petraeus reports on the surge in September, and depending on the outcome of that, after that it's a whole new ball game.

ROBERTS: All right. A.B., always good to see you. Thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.

STODDARD: Thanks, John.

CHETRY: This morning, Los Angeles police are fielding claims that their officers used excessive force to shut down an immigration rally. Our cameras were there. Take a look for yourself.

Officers fired rubber bullets and teargas at protesters. They also whacked a few of them with batons. Several people went to the hospital. No one was seriously hurt.

Police moved in after protesters started throwing rocks and bottles. The department is promising to take a second look at how its officers responded.

Outside of Los Angeles, no major problems reported at any of the immigration rallies held across the country yesterday. The majority of people marched peacefully, and crowds were actually a lot smaller than they were last year. Organizers say a lot of illegal immigrants stayed home out of fear they may be arrested.

The Food and Drug Administration warns that more farms across the country could be affected by animal feed tainted with the additive melamine. Tainted chicken feed was found on some farms in Indiana. The chickens that ate the feed did make it to the human food supply, but the FDA says the chickens did not get sick and that there is little risk to people who ate that chicken. Also this morning, U.S. food safety inspectors are in China trying to figure out how melamine wound up in pet food in the first place.

CNN's John Vause joins us from Beijing with more on that.

Hi, John.


It's all about the melamine. FDA investigators are here in China, they want to find out not only how that melamine got into pet food. But perhaps more importantly, how widespread the problem may be.


VAUSE (voice over): When U.S. officials traced the chemical melamine to two factories in rural China, including this one, they initially thought both were isolated cases of melamine-contaminated wheat gluten which was used in pet food, and that led to a massive recall across the U.S. But a major melamine supplier in China has now told CNN, "Companies buy melamine all the time to make animal feed. It's a common practice."

CAROLINE SMITH DEWAAL, CENTER FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: They essentially added melamine to have it pass a protein test so they could sell it for more money.

VAUSE: Both factories are now closed and melamine is banned by the Chinese government as a food additive. But with China the third biggest exporter of food to the U.S., there's concern about how much of it is safe.

DEWAAL: There are a number of examples of food from China and food sold in China domestically that give us cause for concern.

VAUSE: Liu Weifang knows just how dangerous China's food can be. One of 300 million Chinese sickened by bad food every year. She ate snails infested with parasites, sending her to the hospital for more than a month. Even now, a year later, she needs daily injections.

"When food comes to the table, I have to ask, 'Is it safe?'" she told me.

Outbreaks of mass food poisonings are common here, often caused by poor hygiene or bad preparation, but also by criminals like this man, who was recently sentenced for making lard from sewage.


VAUSE: Now, officials here say that melamine is not highly toxic, even though it's usually used in the manufacture of plastic. Even so, Beijing is now trying to tighten their export inspections, and they're looking in particular for any food substance which may contain melamine -- Kiran. CHETRY: So the bottom line is there's not really much regulation when it comes to China law on things like melamine, and they sort of operate by, if there's no accident, nothing goes wrong, we're not going to do anything about it?

VAUSE: That's pretty much how it works here. This is a big country. There are a lot of different agencies that enforce a lot of different regulations when it comes to food safety, and it's pretty lax.

CHETRY: John Vause reporting from Beijing on this story.

Thanks so much.

ROBERTS: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, what happens when you buy high and then you find yourself living in a home that costs you more than it's worth? It's called being upside down. It's a position you don't want to be in, but it's a growing trend.

And cheers to coffee lovers. There's more good news about your morning cup of Joe.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.


ROBERTS: Coming up to 43 minutes after the hour.

In the race to be green, one California hotel is pulling out all the stops. In addition to low-flow toilets, solar lighting, recycled paper, visitors to this hotel in Napa Valley will find a copy of Al Gore's global warming book, "An Inconvenient Truth" on the nightstand instead of a bible. It's the bible of environmentalism.

The Gaya (ph) is looking to become the first hotel in California certified by the U.S. Green Buildings Council. No word yet on how the windmill motel is looking in terms of that.

Chad Myers is in our -- is it extreme weather again today? Boom. You know, we just can't escape this stuff.

Chad, what's going on?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know what? We have this area of rain showers in the desert. And you know, you think, wow, you know, great, rain in the desert. Well, when it comes down so fast, John, the desert can't handle it, and we start to run off this rain,. and that's into eastern parts of New Mexico.

We also had a bunch of rain into Oklahoma, Missouri, into Kansas. Showed you the pictures of that tornado a little bit ago. In Kansas yesterday, there were about eight tornadoes.

We also are expecting severe weather to pop up into Virginia, and also into Raleigh, Charlotte, maybe over toward Wilmington and Cape Hatteras today. Two areas of severe weather. One through Texas. We expect that, but not this one here across the Mid-Atlantic, all the way down into the low country of South Carolina.

We'll keep watching that one here, because people kind of get caught unaware here. In Texas, you know it's coming and you can get out of the way because you can see it for a hundred miles, but North Carolina, you know, it's a little hard chasing with a chainsaw, because all of a sudden, those trees start to get knocked down there, and it starts to get tough to get out of the way.

Kiran, back to you.

CHETRY: Yes, you're right. All right, Chad. Thanks so much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

CHETRY: Well, it's buyer's heaven, it's seller's hell in the topsy-turvy real estate market. It's gotten so bad that some homeowners are actually finding that their mortgage costs -- that their mortgage costs them more than they could ever sell their house for.

We get one family's story from AMERICAN MORNING'S Chris Lawrence.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There's nothing wrong with your eyes. Everything about this home is upside down. The family is listing it $50,000 under what they paid, and that doesn't count the money spent for landscaping.

(on camera): In fact, if you take what they paid for the house and all the money they sunk into it, they're now $87,000 in the hole with the potential to be even deeper.

SUSAN ADKINS, HOMEOWNER: You lose your investment in the house, but now we're going to lose significant equity, too.

LAWRENCE: Susan Adkins' husband lost his job in Michigan. He found a new one in Denver. Now he lives in a tiny apartment 1,200 miles away.


LAWRENCE: Susan and the kids are still in suburban Detroit trying to sell their home. Six months on the market and no realistic offer.

ADKINS: I didn't think it would be quite this hard. I'm actually just on the edge of starting to panic.

LAWRENCE: In March, sales of existing homes had their steepest decline since 1989. Would-be buyers with weak credit are having a hard time getting loans. And the Detroit metro area leads the nation in foreclosures. Sellers like Susan have dropped their asking price four times. DAWN MUELLER, REALTOR: Susan falls into the category of most people.

LAWRENCE: Realtor Dawn Mueller says prices have plummeted, whether you're selling a house for $100,000 or $1 million.

MUELLER: If they were $300,000 two years ago, they're probably on the market now for around $260,000.

LAWRENCE: Susan is not even sure they can even afford a home in Denver now. And they're not a young couple just starting out.

ADKINS: You know, this is our third home. We're really in the middle of life. And so when you're taking that giant of a step backwards, that's a very difficult place to be. It is. It can be depressing.

LAWRENCE: They don't want to stay, but can't afford to move. And new competitors keep springing up just a few doors down.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Northville, Michigan.


CHETRY: What a mess.

Well, after six months on the market, just this week the Adkins did get their first offer, but unfortunately it was $140,000 less than what they paid for the house and what they originally listed it for. They say they can't afford to pay that much out of pocket to make up the mortgage, so they ended up turning down the offer.

Still ahead, can your boss learn something from Simon Cowell? Well, the surprising insights can be found on "American Idol" and how it may change your workplace.

Also, take this question to the office: Do left-handed women have shorter life spans? There's surprising new research up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Fifty minutes after the hour now.

Taking a look at the race for the White House, Rudy Giuliani on offense and defense. He is blasting Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez this morning, while Giuliani also defends his association with the U.S. company that's owned by Chavez.

At a conference of Hispanic small business owners, Giuliani said Chavez stands against the interests of the United States and that we need to be in a position where we don't have to buy oil from him.


RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Isn't it annoying, upsetting, and even in some cases a matter of national security, that we have to -- we have to send money to our enemies? We need a president who knows how to get things done so we don't have to be sending money to Chavez.

Who would listen to Chavez if he didn't have all of this oil money? Nobody would listen to him.


ROBERTS: Ah, but at the same time, Giuliani is a partner in a law firm that represents Citgo, which is controlled by the Venezuelan government. Giuliani says he does no lobbying for Citgo and joined the firm after it was already attached to the company.

A new campaign poll shows John McCain back in the lead in a couple of key states. The American Research Group poll shows McCain ahead of Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina now.

Same poll on the Democratic side, John Edwards leads Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Iowa. Clinton is ahead of both Obama and Edwards in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

CNN's dance card is now full for two presidential debates that we'll be hosting early next month. Eight Democratic candidates have agreed to appear Sunday, June 3rd. And 10 Republicans will be there Tuesday, June 5th, at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire.

And of course all the day's political news is available any time day or night at

CHETRY: Health headlines now.

An international study suggesting that more aggressive treatment of heart attack victims is paying off. Death rates and heart failure have been cut in half for heart patients in the hospital. And once released, patients are far less likely to have a repeat heart attack. The improved results are credited in part to increased use of treatments such as angioplasty, as well as the use of drugs such as beta blockers, cholesterol-lowering statins, blood thinners, and anti- clotting drugs.

Well, left-handed women are more prone to certain diseases, and in general have a shorter life span than right-handed women. This according to Dutch researchers. The evidence, though, is not conclusive and could be a coincidence. But several studies have shown a link between left-handedness and certain disorders.

Important news for seniors. A new study says that high calcium and Vitamin D intake may hurt your brain as you age. They cause larger brain lesions in seniors, the kind that could lead to depression or even a stroke.

And there's some good news about your morning cup of coffee. It could help ward off Type II Diabetes and even prevent certain types of cancers. This according to a group of researchers discussing the benefits and risks of coffee.

Well, what can "American Idol" teach you about office politics? Apparently more than you think. Stick around. We're "Minding Your Business" next.

And John's favorite story of the day. Britney's back. From controversy to an impromptu concert, she's back on the stage again.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is here on CNN.



Any good boss needs to be able to give some feedback to his or her employees, like Simon Cowell on "American Idol".


SIMON COWELL, "AMERICAN IDOL": I didn't hear any authenticity. I thought in the middle you were like a bad actor playing a role.

First of all, the look, it was like something out of "The Addams Family". It was just out of control. It was verging on shrieking.


CHETRY: Well, maybe your boss shouldn't be quite so mean. But believe it or not, there's something to be learned from Simon's bluntness.

Polly LaBarre is in for Ali, "Minding Your Business".

POLLY LABARRE, BUSINESS JOURNALIST: Well, you know, most critics in the world are saying "American Idol" is the death of pop music and the death of culture itself, but I think there's some unlikely lessons here in this key business issue, which is feedback. We're just so bad at feedback in the working world.

There's such a dirth of honest, constructive criticism out there. And, you know, honest and not so brutal, as Simon Cowell is every single week. But we see on "American Idol" this highly visible example of the power of feedback.

CHETRY: Right.

LABARRE: Now -- so, I think from Simon, we learn a couple of things. I think the first one is immediacy, getting feedback in context right after you do something, as opposed to in these one-year annual performance reviews, which are these reviled rituals. No one wants to do them.

CHETRY: Right.

LABARRE: It's this horrible form, piece of paper. So I think doing -- you know, feedback delayed is feedback denied.

I think a second piece of it is specificity. So, in that clip right there, he's saying, you know, you had a bad -- you were like a bad actor, you had no authenticity. He's very specific, not maligning the person themselves, but their performance or their look.

CHETRY: But you know, the interesting thing is Simon comes in, in like a little group of criticism, and then, you know, Paula is always counted on to be the one that pumps you up.


CHETRY: So Simon, you could sometimes feel as though you could never do anything right -- if your boss is like Simon. Because he doesn't give a lot of good criticism at all, or good feedback.

LABARRE: Well, he actually does when it's merited. Now, it's interesting that it's in the context of people sort of puffing you up, and that's exactly what it is. I think he resents that as much as you do negative criticism, if it seems like it's not -- sort of sugarcoating it.

When there's something positive to say, he says something positive, whether it was last night, LaKisha. He said, "I could kiss you," and I think he actually did on national television.

So, when he is -- when there's something positive to say, he says it. And I think that's the final lesson. If you do have something good to say, lead with that. That's really important. And don't sugarcoat it, but be honest.

So, I'm coming back at 7:25 to talk about the latest CEO scandal.

CHETRY: OK. I can't wait to hear it.


CHETRY: Meanwhile, would you love it if Simon was your boss giving you criticism? Or would it drive you crazy?

LABARRE: You know, I'd like it. I think he's refreshing. He's a little bit nasty, but I think on "American Idol" that is a big part of the performance of "American Idol".

CHETRY: Of course. We all live to hear what Simon says.

LABARRE: Well, it's part of the big success of "American Idol".

ROBERTS: The problem is, too, is that he's sometimes wrong. Remember he hated Taylor Hicks. He was actually talented. And he won.

CHETRY: Well, that's up for debate.

ROBERTS: Nothing better than a blowhard who's wrong.

CHETRY: Well, our next hour of AMERICAN MORNING begins right now.


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