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Popemobile Attack: Man Lunges at Pope; GOP Debate: Immigration, Iraq; TB Patient Update

Aired June 6, 2007 - 07:59   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning to you. It is Wednesday, the 6th of June.
I'm John Roberts, again in Manchester, New Hampshire. Actually, Goffstown, New Hampshire, but it's in the greater Manchester area.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Get it right or you're going to hear from the locals, right?

ROBERTS: Well, we already heard from them.

CHETRY: Well, I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York.

And just that video we showed a couple of moments ago, that family got very lucky. And it was the brave acts of some of the kids that ended up saving the life of the youngest child. So we're going to talk to that family a little later.

Also, some other stories "On Our Radar" this morning.

The video that you just had to stop and look at. Pope Benedict, there you see it, getting ready for his Wednesday general audience, and a man just tries to leap over that security barrier. Quickly taken down though by the pope's security detail.

Things move on like business as usual, but will it be in the future, after that close call? We're going to be speaking with our faith and values correspondent, Delia Gallagher, in just a moment about that.

ROBERTS: We're also going to have an update on the tuberculosis scare. A third test was conducted on the patient, Andrew Speaker. Apparently, very low risk that he is contagious and transmitting his tuberculosis bacteria to other people. But are doctors giving him the all-clear? We're going to talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about that.

And as well, this whole episode has raised questions about, how well do the systems in the United States work at identifying people who are contagious, you know, potentially bioterrorist attacks, keeping people from coming across the border? This episode would suggest they Don't work at all.

We'll be talking with Congressman Jane Harman about all of that coming up.

CHETRY: Right. And how it can all be unraveled just by the decision of one person. So, yes, we're going to ask the congresswoman about that.

Also, we begin with scare in St. Peter's Square this morning. A man lunging over the wall, trying to get into the popemobile, it looks like, when Pope Benedict was in there traveling, saying hello, ahead of his general audience. Security stops the man before he can get to the pope.

CNN's Alessio Vinci is in Rome for us now with more.

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, Vatican officials are downplaying this incident. As you can see from these pictures, it only lasted for a few seconds as this man, aged between 20 and 30, tried to leap over the security fence separating the thousands of pilgrims from the corridor through which the popemobile drives through. And according to these pictures, you can see doesn't even reach the popemobile itself, as the security officers do exactly what they're supposed to do, and that is prevent him from reaching the pope.

The car continues at normal speed. The pope himself doesn't even appear to have noticed that this man was trying to jump over his car. And indeed, the general audience proceeded as planned with no significant changes.

Vatican officials are telling us that the man who was arrested was unarmed and that, therefore, they feel that at no time was the pope's life in any danger during this security breach. Nevertheless, it should also be pointed out that anyone who is in St. Peter's Square on a day like this one, in St. Peter's Square when the pope comes down and drives through the crowd, everyone goes through a metal detector. So it would have been perhaps difficult for a man to smuggle a weapon, including, of course, a gun.

Back to you, Kiran.

CHETRY: Alessio Vinci for us in Rome.

Thanks so much.

So, for some perspective on this, we're going to turn to CNN's faith and values correspondent, Delia Gallagher.

A close call, but as we say, nothing happened. I mean, that security was on it in just a matter of seconds.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH AND VALUES CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, there is plenty of undercover security, and, then, of course, you saw the security that goes around his car.

I mean, the Vatican has both Italian police and their own security, lots of guys there in the crowd, as well as the guys that are around the car. But, I mean, he looks like an overexcited fan, certainly. I mean, if he wanted to kill him or do something like that, he probably would of chosen a different tactic.

CHETRY: And all of these people that we see there are screened, go through metal detectors before they can get into St. Peter's Square.

GALLAGHER: That's right. Now, that is only recent that the Vatican has introduced metal detectors to people who want to get into the square and get into these audiences and into St. Peter's Church.

So, really, if you were a tourist there, you would not recognize the security that is there, because it's meant to be -- and the Vatican wants it to be -- very light. They don't want -- and I don't mean by that that they're not vigilant about it, but they don't want your average tourist to notice it, because, remember, the people that are going there are going there for prayer, for pilgrimage, to meet the pope. It's a religious thing, and the Vatican has consistently said, look, we're not going to put up barricades, we're not going to make it difficult for the average tourist because this is a place of prayer.

CHETRY: Right.

Now, going forward in the future, I mean, we've seen the two different popemobiles -- the one that looks open air, like this one, where you can actually touch people and wave, and the one that is bulletproof with glass on four sides like you see there.

GALLAGHER: Yes. Yes. Well, when he is in the square and when it's the summer, and depending on where he is, he is traveling here. And especially when they are traveling in different countries, they have to take into account what that country wants as well.

The pope and the Vatican always prefer to allow the pope to travel as close to the people as possible, and especially with John Paul II. He was always wanting to kiss babies and touch the tourists, and so he insisted on that. And now, they take into account, OK, if he is going to Turkey, you know, that might be a special situation, we need to consider different, you know, mode of transport.

CHETRY: Right.

GALLAGHER: But certainly when he is in his own home at the Vatican, they're going to make every effort not to -- not to make it look too much like a security event.

CHETRY: So this incident is not going to change that?


CHETRY: All right.

Delia, thanks so much.

GALLAGHER: You're welcome.


ROBERTS: Most of the Republican presidential candidates in last night's debate had harsh words on the immigration bill. Some had a few harsh words for President Bush as well. No surprise there, but it was surprising how far they were going to -- willing to go in criticizing U.S. policy in Iraq.

Our chief national correspondent, John King, is here with some observations on last night.

How do you think what we saw last night is going to shape this campaign going forward?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was very interesting on two points.

One, John McCain is all alone on immigration. He supports this compromise that would allow those who came into the country illegally to get legal status. Ultimately a path to citizenship.

He is lonely in the Republican field. That difference will continue. The other candidates will continue to try to push him, if you will, to the left, to Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, as was tried last night.

The other thing interesting thing I think is the delicate balance the Republicans face on Iraq. Most Republican voters still support the president's policy, want the troops to stay. But Independents that they would have to deal in the general election are much more skeptical about the war, so the Republicans are trying to say the president mismanaged the war, but we need to stay and fix it, but I understand your frustration. And it's difficult.

ROBERTS: John McCain did seem to take a lot of hits last night on immigration. And when you look at those dial testing meters, as well, every time he tried to defend his bill, the public approval went way, way down. But he seemed to have a comeback moment last night when he answered a question in the town hall format from Erin Flannigan (ph), whose brother died in the Iraq war.

Take a quick listen to the way that he did that.


JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This war was very badly mismanaged for a long time. And Americans have made great sacrifices, some of which were unnecessary because of this management of the -- mismanagement of this conflict.


ROBERTS: John, do you think that -- was that a breakout moment for him? Did that erase all the negatives on immigration last night?

KING: It can erase the negatives on immigration. That will continue to be a problem for him in a Republican primary. But there was a chance for the senator to have a little empathy, a personal connection with somebody in Iraq, as opposed to he did distance himself from the president, but it became a personal discussion.

McCain is someone who served. He was a Vietnam POW. So, a chance for him, "I understand I was in the military, I get it." And that kind of a format, that kind of interaction with voters is always helpful.

ROBERTS: It reminded me of Clinton back in 1992 when he first stood up in the town hall format...

KING: That's right.

ROBERTS: ... and did the "I feel your pain" sort of thing.

A lot of other things to talk about coming up, including the lightning moment with Giuliani. Let's get you back at the half hour.

KING: I'll be here.

ROBERTS: We'll talk more about that. Thanks, John.

KING: Hopefully with no lightning.


CHETRY: Well, today we're going to hear from TB patient Andrew Speaker. He is going to be testifying by phone before that Senate panel that is now looking into what went wrong.

A third test has now confirmed that Speaker's chances of infecting anyone else is low, but not zero. And there is also growing concern about drug-resistant TB worldwide.

For the latest, we're paging Dr. Gupta.

And good to see you once again, Sanjay.


CHETRY: So, the latest -- we talked about this yesterday, a little bit of confusion as to whether or not you can catch TB from Andrew Speaker.

So what do the latest tests tell us?

GUPTA: Well, he's had three what are called smear tests so far. And the answer to your question is that he is still potentially contagious, but it's a very, very small risk, which is sort of what we've been saying all along.

The way that they sort of figure this out is one of three ways.

First of all, they want to see if one someone is sick. Are they coughing, sneezing, do they have a fever? That makes them more contagious. Is their smear test, which means when they actually cough onto a slide, if the bacteria is present that makes them more contagious.

Both of those are negative in his case. What's still positive is they let whatever he coughs up on to a slide, they let that grow for a few days into a culture. And in that case, the tuberculosis bacteria does show up. In order for him to be considered non-contagious, free to leave, get out of -- get out of isolation free card, he has to have culture- negative slides. So that means when he coughs up something, it doesn't grow out anything at all. He's not there yet. That could still take some time -- Kiran.

CHETRY: And so, the broader issue of this drug-resistant tuberculosis, a lot of the doctors that we had spoken with last week when this made headlines were saying that this has happened because it's been poorly managed, that people have not been treated correctly for TB, and that is leading to more drug resistance.

GUPTA: Yes. You know, and this is a problem with lots of different bacteria. You know, antibiotic resistance is something that people talk about all of the time.

With tuberculosis, it's particularly problematic, because they actually have to take these treatments for a very long time. Unlike a seven-day or 10-day course of antibiotics, tuberculosis, you may need to be on these pills for months. A lot of people simply stop taking them when they start to feel better, and that is the very genesis of resistance, of bacterial resistance.

So, with tuberculosis it is particularly problematic. And, you know, we have talked about this a lot here in this country, but extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis exists in 37 different countries and is often concomitant with HIV-AIDS, especially in sub- Saharan Africa, where it is a huge killer. I mean, you know, TB and AIDS sort of go hand in hand together, and this is one case here in this country. There are thousands -- hundreds of thousands of cases in Africa.

CHETRY: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CHETRY: Coming up, we're going to be speaking with Congresswoman Jane Harman about a House committee hearing today on the TB scare, looking into border security and what went wrong. And in the future, what we can do to prevent other scares like this from happening.

Also, if you have a question for Dr. Gupta, go to and e-mail us. Sanjay will answer your questions tomorrow here on the show.

ROBERTS: An update on a kidnapping in Kansas tops our "Quick Hits".

Police releasing new video. Take a look here. You can just make out an attacker running up to 18-year-old Kelsey Smith and forcing her into her car on Saturday night.

Police also released a tape showing an older model Chevy pickup that may have something to do with the kidnapping. There is a $25,000 reward out for information about the abduction. And 11 people are still in hospitals this morning after a semitruck rear-ended their charter bus last night on the Chicago skyway. Six people were treated and released overnight.

The Border Patrol has changed the rules after a man with tuberculosis was waved across the border with Canada after an alert was put out to stop him. Congress is holding hearings today to find out how it all happened.

We'll talk with a member of the Homeland Security Committee as soon as we return.

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



CHETRY: Well, he was armed with a passport, he had a rare and potentially deadly disease. Well, now the House Homeland security Committee is planning to question federal authorities today on why they failed to catch Andrew Speaker at the border. Speaker will also testify before lawmakers by phone today.

Representative Jane Harman is a member of the House Homeland security Committee, and she joins us this morning.

Congresswoman, great to see you. Thanks for being with us.


CHETRY: You know, I know you guys were hoping to learn more from the hearings. One of the questions seems to be, after all the money spent after 9/11 on homeland security and trying to beef up the border, how is it that this man who had a very dangerous disease that health officials were aware of ended up getting waved across the border?

HARMAN: Well, this is a bad story. The anthrax attacks that killed five people and infected 17 more people happened six years ago. Meanwhile, we've had all kinds of exercises to deal with situations like this, and our first real case, and we flunk.

How did he get over the border? This was returning to the U.S., and he deliberately chose to fly to Canada and drive across the border because he was afraid he was on a no-fly list.

His -- a young -- I don't know how young he was, but a junior CPB official, a GS-7 or 9, looked in his passport file, saw a little notice that he should be stopped, looked at him and he looked healthy, and waved him through. That is how he got across the border.

CHETRY: And it does raise a lot of questions. I mean, how much of everything we do and all the money we spend and all of the measures and safeguards that are put into place can be thrown out the window because of human error? One person.

HARMAN: It's -- this is a very bad story. You just heard from Sanjay Gupta that probably this person is not particularly infectious, but there are 30,000 cases of drug-resistant TB around the world. Most of them in Africa.

This kind of TB can be spread by coughing or sneezing, or even singing. And this fellow potentially -- there was no information that this was not the case -- could have infected planeloads of people on his trip to Europe and Italy and Greece.

CHETRY: Right. And so, Congresswoman, what it does seem to highlight is whether or not we're prepared to fight that foreign threat. I mean, that's where most TB would be coming in.

The Department of Homeland Security say they have 80 medical officers that are staffing 20 only out of the more than 300 border crossings. Is it problem or even practical to have medical personnel at all of them?

HARMAN: No. What has happened now is this junior CPB person would not be able to wave a case like this. If it comes up, you know, red in the file, this fellow gets stopped.

But along the way there were many more meltdowns. We are still not clear whether he can be put on a no-fly list because is not deemed a terrorist. There was no ability to quarantine him in Italy.

The warnings to him were very vague. State health officials did nothing in Georgia. I mean, this is a, you know, across-the-board meltdown, and it's a very serious problem, because a biological threat is real in our future any time. And it could be something like this or smallpox.

CHETRY: Right. And the one bright spot, though, the Department of Homeland Security was able to get his name on this watch list, and when his passport was run, it did come up.


CHETRY: And so that should tell us that we can do that. We do have the ability to do that.

HARMAN: We can do all of these things. It takes leadership, it takes focus. Everything is not equally important, but I would say that contagious diseases that are drug resistant would be up there on my list of high priorities.

CHETRY: Right. Well, it will be interesting to see how the hearings go today.

HARMAN: Right.

CHETRY: Congresswoman Jane Harman from the House Homeland security Committee.

Thanks for being with us.

HARMAN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Indictments for the Fort Dix Six top our "Quick Hits" this morning.

A federal grand jury has decided the men should be tried on charges of planning a mass killing at Fort Dix military base in New Jersey. They are being held without bail currently in a federal lockup.

A planned memorial to Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, is being held up. The man who owns some of the land wants $10 million for it.

In fact, he placed a cash donation box at the site. Relatives of the victims of Flight 93 are outraged. The man says he is using the donations to pay for security.


CHETRY (voice over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, now that gas prices are finally easing off, are hybrid cars a long-term saving solution? We run the numbers for you ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



ROBERTS: And it's all systems go as we kick off your "Quick Hits" this morning.

The space shuttle Atlantis is on the pad for its Friday night launch toward the International Space Station. The flight was postponed back in March after a hailstorm damaged the external tank.

Police in New Castle County, Delaware, say they busted the biggest counterfeit merchandise ring in recent memory. A half a million dollars worth of phony brand name clothes, wallets, luggage, handbags and cell phone accessories were all confiscated.

And how is this for a big payoff? A 76-year-old Navy vet won $3.2 million playing the penny slots in San Diego. The slot machine company says it is the biggest penny jackpot in the state's history.

CHETRY: All right.

Well, gas prices are on the way down. That's good news. Still well above the $3 mark though, so that's not so good news. But that new car smell may be wearing off of the hybrids.

Honda recently announced it's pulling its hybrid Accord because of the high sticker price and also lackluster gas mileage. So you may be wondering if a hybrid is even worth it.

Gerri Willis is here. She's going to tell us what the bottom line savings is here.

Every time we hear that gas prices go up, people start wondering a little more, do hybrids make sense for us?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. I have to tell you, it's not the slam dunk that you thought it was. Let's take a look at some numbers here.

First of all, hybrids cost 10 to 20 percent more than the average car in their class, so they are more expensive. You were just talking about the Honda Accord Hybrid. Now, take a look at this.

It costs about $3,000 -- a little more -- $3,000 more than the regular Honda Accord, and the gas mileage is better, but not -- I mean, not fabulous. It takes 6.7 years for the average consumer to break even with that car. So you can see you've got a big investment, and the gas savings and even the tax break doesn't make up for it.

CHETRY: You know, that's -- they pulled that one because there are other ones that get much better -- I mean, doesn't the Prius and a few of the other ones actually get much better?

WILLIS: Oh, yes.

CHETRY: In the 50s in terms of gas mileage?

WILLIS: Well, that's what the Toyota folks say. But they do that well. But I have to tell you, there's a big debate about that.

The tax credits are critical here, but they vary by car. It depends on what you're buying, the make and the model. But the devil's in the details here.

As you know, the Toyota Prius, the tax credit isn't available anymore because the manufacturer sold more than 60,000 Priuses, so the tax credit goes away. This is suddenly becoming not the attractive investment you might have thought it was.

And there are big questions out there about the credits as well.

For example, the IRS has yet to decide if you sell that Prius shortly after buying it, do you have to give back some of the text credit? We just don't know.

What about AMT? You know, the alternative minimum tax which scares so many people? Well, it could be that this tax credit could push you into the AMT. So that's a calculation you'll want to do if you're buying one of these cars.

CHETRY: Oh wow.

All right. Well, I guess we have some research to do if we're thinking of it.

Gerri, thanks for letting us know about that.

And also, be sure to watch Gerri, "OPEN HOUSE," this Saturday, 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time,. coming up. It will be fun.

Thanks, Gerri.

ROBERTS: "Quick Hits" for you now.

And the top story on, GOP candidates keep distance from Bush. We'll bring together a roundtable in just a few minutes to recap the debate highlights in case you missed it and give you some analysis of where this race is headed.

And the most popular story on at the moment, a powerful cyclone hitting the coast of Oman. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated form low-lying areas. The storm is also threatening some oil routes. And the U.S. military is taking precautions with some ships in the area.

The storm is equal to a Category 3 hurricane.


CHETRY (voice over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything in the whole room had come down on top of her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the branch coming through the top. Then I just got underneath my blanket and just sat there.

CHETRY: A massive oak tree crashes into a room where two children were sleeping. How they survived, the dramatic story in their own words ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



ROBERTS: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It is Wednesday, the 6th of June.

I'm John Roberts, in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Good morning, Kiran.

CHETRY: Good to see you, John.

I'm Kiran Chetry, here in New York.

I can hear those assembled around you eager to talk about last night's debate. You're going to be having a discussion about that, some of the wow moments in just a couple of minutes.

ROBERTS: Yes, we're going to be looking as well at some instant voter reaction, what is called dial testing. People had a little wheel in their hands, and when they liked something, they would turn the wheel a certain way, and when they don't like something, they turn it the other way. And surprisingly, one of the highest rated statements last night came from former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

We'll share that with you in just a couple of minutes. And our roundtable will analyze what last night means for the campaign going forward, because certainly there is a lot to talk about today.


ROBERTS: Time now for our political round table. Our chief national correspondent John king is with us, Republican strategist Amy Holmes and chief political correspondent John Dickerson.

A lot to go through, so let's get to it.

John, let's start with you. What did we learn last night from this debate?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATL. CORRESPONDENT: I think in terms of the Republican primary campaign, we learned that John McCain is going to be all by himself on immigration, but he seems to be going back to his former self and saying, I'm a man my convictions and I'm going to stand by them, and I'm going to give you straight talk.

And the bigger issue, if we assume in 2008, Iraq will be the dominating issue, as it was in 2006, these Republicans have a very different perspective as the Democrats. They're trying to tell Republicans electorate, we're going to stay, we're going to back up the president, we're going to succeed. That's a much tougher sell for whoever the nominee is when you get to talking to independents and Democrats.

ROBERTS: We also learned last night that Rudy Giuliani continues to have problems on the abortion and his position on abortion. Sounds like the big guy upstairs rang in last night. A storm came over the debate just as Rudy Giuliani was asked a question about criticisms from the bishop of Providence, Rhode Island on his views on abortion.

Take a look at how it unfolded.


RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRES. CANDIDATE: Catholic bishop, any -- issues...

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That's the lightning having an effect on our system.


Look. For someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing that's happening right now.


ROBERTS: John Dickerson, of course that was a very funny moment, and he turned it to his advantage. But it is sort of a metaphor for the problems that he continues to have on this front with conservatives, who's he's going to need if he wants to win the general election.

JOHN DICKERSON, CHIEF POL. CORRESPONDENT, SLATE.COM: That's right. Social conservatives play a big role in the Republican Party, and now it looks like God is playing a role as well. It's difficult for Giuliani. Giuliani. He always wants to pivot from that issue. And you could argue that the little bit humor there got him through a tough discussion on abortion, which is something that social conservatives care about, and though the polls have shown they are willing to look past it, there are a lot who aren't willing.

ROBERTS: The elephant in the room for Mitt Romney has been his faith. He's a Mormon. There are about 34 percent of Christians who believe that Mormonism is a cult. His campaign knows that he is going to have to engage this at some point. He was asked about it last night. He seemed to answer it fairly well. Take a quick listen to this.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRES. CANDIDATE: President Kennedy sometime ago said he was not a Catholic running for president, he was an American running for president. I believe in God. I believe in the Bible. I believe Jesus Christ is my savior.


ROBERTS: Amy Holmes, did he take the issue off the table last night, or will he have to talk about it more as this campaign continues?

AMY HOLMES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think he's going to have to address Mormonism. I mean, most Americans don't actually know a Mormon. For many, it's sort of an exotic religion within the United States.

But what Mitt did last night is what he's been doing consistently. He's finding common ground with evangelicals, talking about Jesus being his savior. That's where he can reach out to evangelicals.

However, I would warn Mitt Romney to not allow "The New York Times" and the liberal media to be explaining to the American people what Mormonism is; he has to address it himself.

ROBERTS: Back to John King. Hillary Clinton in the room last night on a couple of occasions?

KING: Both Rudy Giuliani and Senator McCain tried to say let's not fight among themselves, let's focus on who most of them believe will be the Democrat nominee.

Smart strategy, if you're at the front of the pack, focus on the others. Mrs. Clinton did it when she was in the room, and they were coming after her on Iraq. She said this is about George Bush and the Republicans, and so you have Giuliani and John McCain saying, let's not argue as Republicans, let's focus on real enemy next year, which would be the Democrats. Smart if you're at the top of the pack.

ROBERTS: One more quick little moment from last night that we want to take a look at was Governor Mike Huckabee when he was talking about how the Republican Party has suffered because of this administration. There was some dial testing done on it. Watch the lines on the screen as he answers the question, and watch how high they go up, meaning the people approved of what he said. Take a quick look.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRES. CANDIDATE: The Republican Party, as a whole, deserves to get beat. We've lost credibility. The way we bungled Katrina. There's a feeling that there was not a proper handling of the Iraqi War and all of the details, and the indifference of people pouring over our borders.

ROBERTS: So, John Dickerson and Amy Holmes, was this a breakout moment for Huckabee? Is this going to launch him, if not into the first tier, at least maybe for consideration as a vice presidential candidate?

DICKERSON: I think we'll see. I think it was interesting that he did that. There was a lot of Republican bashing both for -- of the Republicans in Congress and the president, but what's most interesting, I think, about Huckabee, is that social conservatives will look at him and say, he speaks about the issues we care about, and he does so in a way that is a great representation for our views, and so I think that will help.

HOLMES: He spoke eloquently. He showed once again why he is such a warm, likable, witty candidate. He's done it in every debate. He's done it in interviews. Unfortunately his campaign hasn't gotten traction, but as a governor of Arkansas, and actually the other Arkansas governor (INAUDIBLE), I think Huckabee really distinguished himself last night.

ROBERTS: It was good night for him. And thanks, folks, for joining us, John King, John Dickerson, Amy Holmes, always good to see you.


CHETRY: Well, if a tree falls on your house, would you know what to do? Coming up, we're going to talk to a family who manages to get out as the walls caved in, including some quick-thinking children who helped save the lives of their brothers and sisters.

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



CHETRY: Well, the Tramel family lost their home, but they consider themselves lucky today. A giant oak tree crashed through their house. It was Saturday morning. It went right through a bedroom where their 13-year-old son, Ethan, and 4-year-old daughter, Gracie, were sleeping. Amazingly everyone got out OK.

And joining us right now, the Tramel from Tampa, Florida, in front of what is left of their home. Boy, you guys really did get lucky. When you see the pictures, it is unbelievable.

None of you hurt, Rick?

RICK TRAMEL, HOUSE SMASHED BY TREE: No, none of us hurt. Just Gracie got a few little scrapes on the side of her head.

CHETRY: Now, Ethan, tell us exactly what happened to you, because you were trapped where you were sleeping with your little sister in one part where this oak tree went down?

ETHAN TRAMEL, HOUSE SMASHED BY TREE: Well, I was sleeping in my bed, and then the tree just fell down on the room, and the bunk bed kind of collapsed from the top, and I figured out I couldn't get out because there was a board blocking me from the main way to get out of the bunk bed. And then I figured out a way how to get out through the back end of the bunk bed.

CHETRY: And were you hurt?

E. TRAMEL: No, ma'am.

CHETRY: Wow. And, Amanda, you actually were in another room at the time and you knew that you probably needed to get in there and try to help. What did you do after that tree fell?

AMANDA TRAMEL, HOUSE SMASHED BY TREE: I just opened the door, because I thought there was a tornado outside, and when I saw that his room, there was a tree in his room, I just immediately asked where Gracie was, and he said she was sleeping on the floor, so I started to move debris, and then I was yelling for help because I realized I couldn't do it by myself, but no one was coming, so I just had to start moving stuff. And I eventually found her leg and pulled her out.

CHETRY: And was she crying at the time?

A. TRAMEL: She was crying a little bit, and then she kind of just stopped, and that like really scared us, because we didn't know. I just tried to get her to talk, and finally she did.

CHETRY: She started talking, so you knew she was OK.

Risa (ph), this must have been stressful when you got the phone call. Three of your kids at the house, your husband on the way to work and you're out at a breakfast. What went through your mind when you got that call from Amanda?

RISA TRAMEL (ph), HOUSE SMASHED BY TREE: Actually, my cell phone didn't work. And a friend of ours came and got me from the breakfast. When I saw him coming in, for some reason I knew he was in there for me. And when he told me a tree fell on the house I thought the reason he had come to get me and nobody had called was because I thought someone was dead, and he quickly told me everybody was OK, but I still, when I got to the house and I saw the damage, and I saw the room, which was basically nothing but rubble, it was pretty difficult to look at, because I realized that both of the kids, there was really no reason why they should of made it out of there alive, and certainly not unhurt. So it was quite miraculous and we felt a lot of grace that day.

CHETRY: Yes. And you guys have had your share of trials before. As I understand it, your 18-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, as well as you, Risa. How are you both doing?

R. TRAMEL: Oh, very well. Our 18-year-old daughter was only 19 months old when she was diagnosed, and she has been completely healthy, you know, all these years. And I'm doing extremely well. I was diagnosed a year ago and have been in remission for I think seven months now, so I'm doing extremely well.

CHETRY: And, Rick, you say we're not woe-is-me family. We're counting our blessings and we're actually looking at this as a blessing. Where do you get that type of strength?

R. TRAMEL: We get that from our faith. In this day and time, that's all you can really fall back on is your faith. And we just realize that these type of situations that happen in our lives are there for us to learn from and grow from as a family and as individuals.

CHETRY: And where are you guys living now?

R. TRAMEL: We're staying in my father's house. He left on vacation on Saturday, so we're over there right now.

CHETRY: Eventually, hopefully you guys will get settled into a new place, because you did lose a lot, but you have a beautiful family, and we wish you the best certainly, so thanks for joining us today. And good job, Amanda. Quick thinking, Ethan, as well. Everyone is OK. Thank goodness.

R. TRAMEL: Thank you, Kiran.


ROBERTS: Coming up to 46 minutes after the hour now, we've got some breaking news for you this morning. New details on the man who tried to attack the pope a couple of hours as the pope was holding his Wednesday, his regular weekly audience in St. Peters Square. There you see the man there in slow motion trying to jump over the barricade there and get into the popemobile. He apparently, according to Vatican spokesperson Father Fredericka Lombardi (ph), is a 27-year-old German national with a history of mental illness. He apparently just wanted to draw attention to himself, not harm the pope. he's now being held in an Italian psychiatric institution is. The Vatican says there was never an attempt to putter the pope, but certainly if he had landed on him in the back of the popemobile there as he tried to leap off of the barricade ma have injured the pope, who as you know is an octogenarian. So they can't jump on an octogenarian and not hurt him.

While Iraq is dominating the presidential debate, health care may be the most important domestic issue facing the next president. This morning, we're paging Dr. Sanjay Gupta to look at the candidates and their plans for fixing an ailing health care system.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta with this report.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Overcrowded emergency rooms, skyrocketing costs, millions of Americans with no insurance. It's a health care system in crisis.

MARK MEANEY, CEO, NATL. INST. FOR PATIENT RIGHTS: We pay the most, and we get the least of any other industrialized nation.

GUPTA: Groups like the National Institute for Patient Rights want a less fragmented healthcare system. Presidential candidates and both parties are writing their own prescriptions.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRES. CANDIDATE: This country's healthcare system is completely dysfunctional.

GUPTA: John Edwards' plan requires employers to help finance their workers insurance, and creates tax credits for the poor. Hillary Clinton's plan is similar, but she also wants insurance companies to cover preventive care, to help drive down premiums. She is also targeting chronic illness, beefing up programs already in place.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRES. CANDIDATE: From my perspective we have to lower costs, improve quality and cover everybody.

GUPTA: Barack Obama is promising healthcare for everyone, paid for by federal and private money.

My belief is that most families want healthcare but they can't afford it.

GUPTA: That echoes what a Republican, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, started in his home state last year.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRES. CANDIDATE: We're going to have insurance for all of our citizens they can afford that's there's, that's portable.

GUPTA: Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson is emphasizing prevention, and creating a state-by-state pool of coverage for those with no insurance. TOMMY THOMPSON, FMR. HHS SECY.: We've got to completely transform the healthcare system, make it a wellness system and make it a prevention system.

GUPTA: Nearly all candidates plans have three themes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do we go about lowering costs? How do we go about improving the quality of healthcare? And, finally, how do we expand access to make affordable insurance available to all?


GUPTA: Poll after poll has shown, John, that people really care deeply about their healthcare. Senator Brownback said yesterday that people fear cancer for example much more than a lot of other issues that have talked about, which is interesting. A lot of times people talk about healthcare quite a bit before an election but don't always vote their conscience at the ballot box. It may change this time around -- John.

ROBERTS: And all of these candidates certainly every election cycle talk a good game, Sanjay, but still the number of Americans without health insurance continues to rise.

Thanks, Sanjay. And if you have a question for Dr. Gupta, go to and e-mail us. Sanjay will answer your questions tomorrow here on AMERICAN MORNING, as he does every Thursday.

CNN NEWSROOM is just minutes away now. Heidi Collins at the CNN Center in Atlanta with a look at what's ahead.

Good morning, Heidi.

ROBERTS: Hey, good morning, John.

That's right, we have these stories coming up on the NEWSROOM rundown. Why wasn't TB groom stopped at the border? Congress asking the question today. Among them answering, the groom himself. We'll cover that for you.

Plus, the teen sex law that sent him away is no longer on the books but he is still in prison. Genardo (ph) Wilson's attorneys try again to free him.

And remember the two guys who got into it at the Boston Pops? One of our favorite stories. Why they won't be popping off again. We'll tell you all about it. Join Tony Harris and me to get started at the top of the hour on CNN -- John.

ROBERTS: We will see you then, Heidi. Just 11 minutes away now.

A blast from the past. Why we're returning to the age of vinyl records, tapes, and typewriters. AMERICAN MORNING's Lola Ogunnaike joins us with a walk down memory lane, coming up next.



CHETRY: We're talking about things that are sort of the past now. And "USA Today" had a great article about the things we've said goodbye to over the years and did we even notice?

AMERICAN MORNING's Lola Ogunnaike joins me now for a little, remember when. I forgot that we used to at one point watch movies on this thing.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh God, no! Don't bring it out! Don't bring it out!

CHETRY: What the heck happened to the Betamax?

OGUNNAIKE: Price is right. This is called a Betamax. You used to watch videos on that. It was quickly replaced by the VHS. You know that, and now that...

CHETRY: But it was so streamlined. It didn't take up a lot of space at all. Just a flat screen, you could just put it away; no one would notice.

All right, so goodbye Betamax. Of course, now forget even VHS. That's going by the wayside.

OGUNNAIKE:It's about the DVD. Those are the three letters that we care about now.

CHETRY: Exactly.

And the phone booth. There are no more phone booths.

OGUNNAIKE: Unless you're in a "Superman" film or you're somewhere in London you don't find a phone booth anywhere, and you can't even find a rotary phone. Remember those with the...

CHETRY: Of course!

OGUNNAIKE: Ten minutes to dial 911.

CHETRY: It sure was!

OGUNNAIKE: Killed and murdered by the time you got through.

But now we have touch tone, and you can just call in speed dial. Don't even bother. Cell phones.

CHETRY: Exactly. And even with the voice thing now you can just speak it and the phone rings. No more vinyl records, and we're almost saying goodbyes to CDs.

OGUNNAIKE: Unless you're a DJ, you're not going to find vinyl anywhere. And we don't even care with CDs; it's all about the download. It's all about your iPod. It's all about iTunes. CHETRY: Exactly. The age of the MP3.

This was funny, I think this is a dig by "USA Today." But they said, remember the days when MTV actually played music videos?

OGUNNAIKE: Exactly. Now it's about reality series. I remember when we had veejays, people like Downtown Julie Brown -- wabba, wabba, wabba! -- no more. Remember her. Simon West, Idales (ph), they do not exist anymore. It's all about the reality series.

CHETRY: You're right. Only time you see them is overnight.

OGUNNAIKE: The reality series are kind of fun, I have to say, but you do miss the videos. Fab Five Freddy -- remember the hip-hop?

CHETRY: Yes, of course.

But now it's make way for "The Real World," season 50. Would you like this for your office? A welcome present here at CNN?

OGUNNAIKE: Thank you so much!

CHETRY: The Betamax, I forget about this!

OGUNNAIKE: This weighs a ton!

CHETRY: Thank so much.

OGUNNAIKE: Thank you!

CHETRY: Here's a look at what's coming up on the CNN's NEWSROOM. They're working on this for the top of the hour.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: See these stories in the CNN NEWSROOM: Congress calling. The TB traveler will answer questions from lawmakers.

Just released surveillance tape may hold clues to a Kansas teen's disappearance.

More than divine intervention. A popemobile diver gets whisked away.

And big return on a little investment -- a penny slot machine gives out more than $3 million!

You're in the NEWSROOM, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific.



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