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Popemobile Attack: Man Lunges at Pope; Highlights From the GOP Debate; Diabetes Drug Questions; Scooter Libby Sentenced
Aired June 6, 2007 - 06:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Wednesday, June 6th.
Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts, in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Good morning, Kiran.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. Good morning. Good to see you, John.
Kiran Chetry, here in New York.
And, you know, it was interesting last night to talk about no fireworks, but lightning. That's something that happened yesterday.
ROBERTS: Yes, Mother Nature decided to get involved in the debate last night. It ironically happened when Rudy Giuliani was trying to answer a question about criticisms from the bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, from his stance on abortion.
Take a look at what happened here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A Catholic bishop, any...
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That's the lightning that's having an effect on our system.
GIULIANI: I know.
GIULIANI: Look, for someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing that's happening right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: You know, it...
ROBERTS: You know, the timing of that just couldn't be any better.
CHETRY: Well, he actually got pretty lucky, because, I mean, that is something he has stumbled in prior debates. And when he has been asked about it, he's taken a lot of criticism about his stance on abortion. And he sort of almost got a pass, in a way, because it was a funny moment and he was able to sort of smooth it over because of that.
ROBERTS: Yes. I'm wondering if it deflected attention or if it actually drew more to it. We'll probably get a sense of that as the day progresses, see how many people are still talking about his position on abortion and how it puts him so at odds with conservatives in his party, conservatives that he would need to try to bring together if he hopes to win the general election.
CHETRY: We'll talk about that, and also whether any of those so- called second tier candidates got a bit of a boost. The blogs, especially the conservative blogs, saying that Governor Mike Huckabee certainly came through as a shining star last night in that debate. So we'll talk much more about that.
But meantime, some breaking news right now. This coming to us from the Vatican.
Someone tried to jump into Pope Benedict's -- his popemobile. Security then wrestled that person to the ground. All of this happening before Wednesday's general audience.
Joining me now on the phone from Rome with more on this is Alessio Vinci.
ALESSIO VINCI, CNN ROME BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Kiran, it was a short incident which took place early this morning at the beginning of that general audience, as you can see from these pictures. The man jumping over a security fence and reaching all the way to the back of the open deck popemobile, in there. Security guards quickly wrestling him to the ground.
It was a very quick incident. The pope didn't even appear to notice that someone had actually jumped over and was trying to get on his -- on his car.
I just spoke to a Vatican spokesman who told me that the man arrested is between 20 and 30 years old. They don't know his nationality yet, or he hasn't told them his nationality yet. But he also told me that this was a very quick incident, and that he felt and that the security guards are telling him that at no point was the pope's life in danger. That's what the security -- that's what the pope -- the Vatican spokesman told me.
He also said that the rest of the general audience went on as planned. There were no changes made to the pope's schedule or to the general audience, which is one of two occasions during the week in which Pope Benedict actually meets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square.
So, Vatican officials at this time downplaying this incident. Of course, clearly, there was a security breach, but Vatican officials are telling me at this time that this was a very quick incident. The police reacted the way they were supposed to do, and that the pope's schedule remains unchanged. And so will the rest of his day. CHETRY: And just out of curiosity, Alessio, are they all screened before the people are able to come into St. Peter's Square?
VINCI: Yes. Usually on a day like this people go through metal detectors. It is obviously a very enduring task, if you want, because, obviously, there are thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands of people, who actually are in St. Peter's Square for this event. But generally they do go through some security checks, and most people who are in St. Peter's Square go through metal detectors.
So -- and that is perhaps why the Vatican spokesman with whom I spoke with suggested that the man was not armed and was, in no way, in a position to actually hurt the pope with any kind of firearm or knife or anything like that.
CHETRY: Right. That's a -- that looks like the Fiat version of the popemobile, because there is also the Mercedes-Benz that is fitted with bulletproof glass on four sides.
So, is this the one he usually rides in during the general audience?
VINCI: That is correct. This open-deck popemobile -- there are several models of this popemobile, this open-deck Jeep. There is one that has bulletproof glass and there is one that is totally open, which is the one that he used today and he has been using over the past few days.
Again, this is -- Wednesday, is one of two days during the week. The other one is Sunday, of course, when the pope actually meets the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square. And Vatican officials have always stressed that the pope really wants to feel the closeness with the pilgrims, does not want to put any kind of area between himself and the pilgrims, of course.
And so they feel that there is no imminent or security threat against the pope himself. They feel that having security guards running next to the car, as it always happens when he tours the square, is enough to protect him. And, indeed, in this particular instance (INAUDIBLE) according to officials.
CHETRY: Oh, yes. Textbook. They did a great job. And at no point was the pope harmed.
And if you're just joining us, there you see it right now. A little bit of a breach there as the pope was rolling through St. Peter's Square before his general audience. And his security detail quickly bringing that man to the ground.
Alessio Vinci on the phone at the Vatican.
ROBERTS: Wow. If that security guard had not been there right when the guy jumped over, it looks like he would of made it right into the back of that popemobile. The pope got very lucky this morning. A couple of solid jabs, but no knockout blows in the GOP presidential debate last night. Candidates squared off here in Manchester.
CNN's John King has got the highlights.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They stood 10 across, and from the start it was clear the Republican debate would be very different from the Democrats on Iraq...
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I supported the president's decision based on what we knew at that time.
RUDY GIULIANI (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely the right thing to do.
KING: ... and in tone.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: What do you say so Senator McCain?
ROMNEY: Well, he's my friend.
KING: Politely, though, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney did take issue with the immigration reform plan crafted by his Republican rival.
ROMNEY: The point is, every illegal alien, almost everyone under this bill, gets to stay here. That's not fair to the millions and millions of people around the world that would love to come here.
KING: Senator John McCain said the bill was far from perfect, but that compromise is a part of leadership.
JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For us to do nothing is silent and de facto amnesty.
KING: Much of the positioning was familiar -- the Republicans casting Democrats as soft on terrorism and too reliant on big government when it comes to making health care more affordable and accessible.
ROMNEY: Every Democrat up there is talking about a form of socialized medicine.
KING: What was new was bigger steps away from the current Republican president.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've lost credibility the way we've bungled Katrina.
KING: Especially after a New Hampshire voter named Erin Flannigan (ph) asked about a brother killed in Iraq and pressed the candidates for ideas to end the war.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My family has been devastated by the loss.
MCCAIN: This war was very badly mismanaged for a long time. I believe we have a strategy which can succeed, so that the sacrifice of your brother would not be in vain.
KING: Hanging over all of this is the likelihood of an 11th entry soon. Actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson plans to enter the GOP race in early July. A GOP long shot with the same last name couldn't resist.
TOMMY THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And if you're talking about a reliable conservative, it is this Thompson, Tommy Thompson, not the actor. That's the conservative.
BLITZER: Thank you, Governor.
ROBERTS: John King is here live with us now.
And how do you think Fred Thompson's entry into the race is going to change the equation?
KING: Well, you could certainly tell from the longer shots. Governor Thompson, his fellow Thompson in the race, trying to make his point. The other long shots need to raise money to stay alive.
It's not so much about getting votes right now. So they were trying to make the most of their opportunities.
Congressman Tancredo separating himself from the Bush White House more than anybody else. Congressman Duncan Hunter, though, very harshly critical of the administration on immigration, saying it hasn't spent the money to build defense fast enough along the border. Those candidates have the most at stake, because Senator Thompson is taking away what they most desperately need, which is attention.
ROBERTS: Yes. You know, you talk to these various campaigns, and not to a person, but you get a lot of opinions that maybe Thompson is a better idea than he is a candidate, and maybe he's going to fizzle.
Is that just wishful thinking, you think?
KING: Maybe. But we're about to find out.
He's going to get in right after the 4th of July. He has given two big speeches so far, one in California, one last week in Virginia. And by all accounts, even some of his own advisers say they've been pretty flat, actually, that he needs to work at it a little bit more.
He is early in. We have to give him the benefit of the doubt. But once he is in, he is not the guy up on the white horse anymore. He is a politician who is going to have to answer what he would do in Iraq, answer his views on abortion, tell us what his views are on stem-cell research. So, being on the sidelines is a lot more safe, if you will, than being in the fray.
ROBERTS: It's much easier to fly at the 30,000 foot level than the hundred-foot level.
ROBERTS: All right, John. We'll see you next hour. Thanks.
ROBERTS: And we're going to be speaking live with Congressman Tom Tancredo in the next half hour, ask him about the way he distanced himself from President Bush last night -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Also, speaking of Congress, Congress looking into the safety of one of the most popular drugs to treat diabetes. Researchers last month reported that Avandia seemed to increase the risk of heart death by 64 percent.
Well, now the makers of Avandia, GlaxoSmithKline, are now coming back with data they say refutes that.
We're paging Dr. Gupta about this.
What do we know about the data that the drug company representatives are now putting out there?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's far from conclusive. And I think that's probably the bottom line here. GSK, the company that makes Avandia, quickly releasing some of their own data trying to refute what you were just talking about, Kiran.
Just backing up for a second, Avandia is a diabetes drug. It helps control your blood sugar. And a lot of people know that diabetes and heart disease often go hand in hand. So there was some concern a couple of weeks ago when a study came out that said that this drug could actually increase your risk of having a heart attack by about 43 percent.
And GlaxoSmithKline immediately said, well, let's -- we're going to release some of our own data. They didn't even wait for the study to be completed. They sort of released their data halfway through their clinical trial of about 4,400 people trying to show, in fact, that it did not increase the risk of heart attack.
Now, it's been known for a long time, just as an aside, that Avandia does increase your risk of congestive heart failure. Everyone agrees with that. But as far as a heart attack risk, GSK, the company, says it does not seem to do that.
I will tell you, I looked at these studies, and it's far from conclusive, as I said. In fact, one way to interpret would say, in fact, it does not increase the heart attack risk. Another would say there is no change in heart attack risk. Another way of interpreting it would actually say that it increases your heart attack risk, and this is exactly the problem with releasing a study too early. We just can't draw any conclusions from it right now -- Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. And the other question is, then, should people -- they haven't pulled it, but should people stop taking Avandia?
GUPTA: Well, you know, it can be -- it can be a very good drug for people who have diabetes. This is a drug that is actually an insulin sensitizer, so it sort of makes your insulin a little bit better at doing what it does in terms of lowering your blood sugars, which is what you want to do as a diabetic. So, it can be a very good drug.
I think you obviously need to talk to your doctor about it. If you're someone who actually has -- had heart disease, has a history of heart disease, it may be of greater concern to you. So I think you definitely need talk to your doctor about that.
What I also think, within the next several weeks or months, there is going to be some more conclusive answers on this. We just can't say for sure right now.
CHETRY: Right. And that is what has a lot of people worried, you know, because millions and millions of people have diabetes.
Dr. Gupta, thanks so much.
If you have a question, by the way, for Sanjay, go to CNN.com/AMERICAN MORNING. E-mail us. He'll answer your questions here tomorrow.
And also coming up in our next half hour, the trouble over this logo for the London Olympics. There it is.
Some say the animation is causing seizures. Sanjay is going to be here to explain if that's true, and if it is, how does that happen?
Coming up in our 7:30 half hour.
ROBERTS: Wow. That's incredible.
An update on a kidnapping in Kansas for you this morning in our "Quick Hits".
Police releasing new video. You can just make out an attacker running up to 18-year-old Kelsey Smith and forcing her into a car on Saturday night. Police also released the tape showing an older model Chevy pickup that may have something to do with the kidnapping. There is a $25,000 reward for information.
And the woman convicted of shooting her minister husband in Tennessee last year wants a new trial. Mary Winkler was charged with murder but convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter after telling the jury she had been physically and mentally abused. She says she deserves a new trial because the judge was wrong in rejecting several defense motions. Still to come this morning, Scooter Libby's jail sentence. Will Dick Cheney's former top aide really serve time for his role in the CIA leak scandal?
We'll talk with Court TV's Savannah Guthrie.
You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.
ROBERTS: Fourteen minutes after the hour now.
A wildfire battle tops your "Quick Hits".
Strong winds and dry conditions are fueling the Larson wildfire burning near the California-Nevada line. More than 200 people have been told to leave their homes. So far, close to 700 acres have been wiped out.
In Kansas City, Missouri, an explosive end to an apparent suicide attempt. A man called police saying he was planning to trigger a natural gas explosion. The house blew up as officers were trying to talk the man out of it. He survived and no one else was hurt.
And better late than never. When Don Fendler (ph) was a 12-year- old Boy Scout, he was lost for nearly two weeks in the woods of northern Maine. When he was found, the governor promised him a lifetime fishing license. Well, 68 years later, current Governor John Baldachi (ph) finally made good on that.
Chad Myers tracking extreme weather from the weather center in Atlanta for us this morning.
CHETRY: In the meantime, some big questions in Washington this morning. Will Scooter Libby have to head to prison, and will the president consider a pardon for the former vice presidential aide?
Libby is now appealing that sentence that was handed down, two and a half years in prison and a $250,000 fine for lying about his role in the CIA leak case. And President Bush has not yet ruled out a pardon.
Court TV's Savannah Guthrie is here to talk more about this case.
Thanks for being with us.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, COURT TV: Hi.
CHETRY: Were you surprised, first of all?
GUTHRIE: I wasn't surprised. And Judge Walton has this reputation of being a tough sentencer, and he was true to that yesterday. And this was high in terms of what he could have given Libby.
GUTHRIE: So, I wasn't surprised, but I'm sure it was not pleasant news for Scooter Libby.
CHETRY: Not at all. And I'm sure that was even worse news, that the judge raised the possibility that he would order Libby to prison during the appeal.
GUTHRIE: Exactly. This is really important for Libby, somebody who is hoping for a presidential pardon, because, look, I mean, it looks like the judge is probably going to send him directly to jail rather than letting him remain free while he is out doing this appeal.
If he were allowed to remain free during the appeal, he would be free for a couple of years, getting you to the end of 2008, when presidents typically issue pardons. So this is a really important issue for Libby, and it doesn't look like one he's going to win.
CHETRY: See, that's interesting. Because then some of the analysts on the other side say maybe it's better if he orders him to jail, because it will ratchet up, you know, a lot of the talk and a lot of -- and sort of bring together a lot of Libby allies to put pressure on the president to pardon him now.
GUTHRIE: Well, if he does go directly to jail, it does put the pressure on the president, if the president is interested in saving his former adviser from having to go to federal prison. So, I think it will put the heat on President Bush. He'll have to show his hand. But if he doesn't issue a pardon, then Libby is in jail.
CHETRY: And at the end of the day, the prosecution was a little bit controversial, because what they were originally trying to prosecute, which is this leak of covert CIA agent, no one ever ended up facing charges for that.
GUTHRIE: Well, that's why this is such a controversial prosecution, because the special prosecutor set out to see that anyone illegally leaked this information. And in the end, the leakers weren't charge. Only one person was charged. It was for perjury, false statements, obstruction.
The prosecutor says, hey, those are serious crimes. Truth matters. That is the engine of our justice system.
Other people say it's an injustice. I'll say what a judge says in federal court. Justice is served when the system works.
CHETRY: And it's also interesting, because when it comes to presidential pardons, they are saying President Bush is the least generous than any president in a hundred years on giving pardons. So it will be interesting to see what happens to Libby.
GUTHRIE: Well, Libby doesn't like to hear that, but I'm sure he is hoping for a presidential pardon. GUTHRIE: Savannah Guthrie, great to see you. Thanks for being with us.
GUTHRIE: Nice to see you.
ROBERTS: What do political bloggers have to say about last night's debate? Did any of the lesser-known candidates break out of the pact, and did anyone really win?
Jacki Schechner joins us now with the buzz on those blogs.
And Jacki, I've been doing some reading this morning, and depending on who you read, you get a different takeaway from what happened last night.
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Oh, that's absolutely true. It's as wide as opinions as can possibly be out there. But I will say, a lot of people are saying it was a good night for Rudy Giuliani, that if any pro-choicer can win the Republican nomination, it would be him. That he showed strength, he showed humor, that he had a really good night last night.
Another candidate who showed really well last night, Mike Huckabee. A lot of people very impressed with his performance, calling him polished and funny, particularly interested in his answers to the questions about evolution and his belief in God. They thought that he was very succinct and very, very polished.
That was really the general consensus. The thought being that perhaps he would be a good vice presidential candidate. If he is not going to rise to the top on his strengths alone, that perhaps he would be good as a running mate for someone.
Let's talk a little bit about John McCain. It was really a mixed bag on McCain's performance.
Some people thought that he helped himself last night, that in the first debate he seemed a little too robotic and this time his answers were a little more clear and he was a little looser in his presentation. Other people thought that even they didn't agree with his stand on immigration, that he defended his position well.
Others are so fired up about the immigration issue, they're not willing to give at all. They basically said that he just doesn't care about the Republican base, and they even went to his own blog on johnmccain.com and weighed in, saying that he was lying about the immigration bill and this was just evidence that he does not support what the Republican base supports. And if he doesn't fall in line with that, how is he possibly going to represent the Republican Party?
Mitt Romney, just want to take a quick look at him. Some people thought he was off his game last night, that he didn't do particularly well. Others said that he did just fine. But he did get stung when they asked the question of why he was advertising in Spanish. And they did bring up this Web site, John. This is the one that is geared towards Spanish speakers, and it has his son Craig actually welcoming people in Spanish.
ROBERTS: Right. You know, I thought that John McCain had a real Bill Clinton moment last night at the beginning of the town hall part of the debate where he stood up as Clinton did in 1992 and fielded that question from Erin Flannigan (ph). And any damage that he had done to himself defending the immigration bill, I think, was erased, and that's where he really began to soar last night.
Is that what the blogs are pointing to as well?
SCHECHNER: They are. They are pointing to that answer as being particularly strong for McCain. But I will say, the immigration issue cut so deep, and his name is on that, that they really are just not willing to let it go.
So, even if he performs well, he has got that underlying fundamental issue that is really a problem for many of the conservatives online.
ROBERTS: Yes. You look at that dial testing, and those lines just take a nosedive when he's talking about immigration.
ROBERTS: Jacki, thanks.
SCHECHNER: Any time.
ROBERTS: Hey, if you're paying more than -- if you're paying more than $3 for a gallon of gas, you want your car to get better fuel mileage. But what are the heads of the auto companies saying about it?
We're "Minding Your Business" coming up next.
ROBERTS: A bus accident tops our "Quick Hits" this morning.
Eleven people are still in Chicago hospitals after a semitruck rear-ended their charter bus. Six people have been treated and released from the hospital.
A developer has bought Biosphere II for $50 million. The self- sustaining environment was built years ago. It housed 20 people at one point. It was built at a cost of $200 million. So a substantial reduction in the price.
And the American Red Cross is capitalizing on high gasoline prices to help boost its blood donations. People who give blood in Pennsylvania and New Jersey this summer will be entered into a drawing. The lucky winner will get a gas card worth $3,500 -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Wow. That's pretty neat. You're helping people by donating blood, but also getting the chance to cash in when the gas prices are quite high. Thanks, John.
Twenty-five past the hour right now.
Speaking of gas prices, auto executives want to lobby Congress.
Carrie Lee joins us right now to talk more about this.
Saying, hey, wait a minute, do we have to be fuel-efficient, as fuel-efficient right away?
CARRIE LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do we have to go along with this plan? Exactly.
The heads of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler in Washington today to talk to Congress, asking them to revisit the plan to increase fuel efficiency standards.
Now, the automakers say that these standards could hurt their industry. The industry has a lot of challenges as it is. The Senate is expected to vote next week on a proposal that would raise fuel efficiency by an average 35 miles per gallon. This is for cars and trucks by the year 2020. That's an increase of about 10 miles per gallon today, and then from 2020 to 2030, the auto industry would face 4 percent annual increases.
So, we'll see how this all comes about today.
Michigan's two Democratic senators -- of course, the big three in Detroit and those areas have been very hard hit -- they want to offer the automakers more time to improve vehicle efficiency, so we'll see how this all comes about.
But basically, Kiran, attempts to raise fuel economy haven't made much progress in 20 years, but it really seems to be a big priority for Congress right now. So we'll see what happens when they discuss this, as well as health care trade and energy policies, how this is all affecting the auto industry today.
CHETRY: Hey, and if you decide you're ready to go for it now, you've got the Volt, right? This is the new GM plug-in?
LEE: Right. Case and point, automakers working on hybrids and other things. GM's Volt, this is a plug-in car.
They're moving forward on this. They've just awarded two new contracts to suppliers, and this is a battery-powered electric car. It can run up to 40 miles on a single charge, and beyond that the gasoline engine kicks in. So, moving forward on the Volt, and we'll see if it's successful when it comes out.
CHETRY: For making a lot of city stops maybe it makes sense.
LEE: Right. Exactly. Exactly.
CHETRY: Not if you have to go on a long road trip. Carrie Lee, thanks so much.
"Quick Hits" now.
And the top story on CNN.com of course the debate. "GOP Candidates Keeping Their Distance From Bush" is the headline.
We're going to talk with Congressman Tom Tancredo about that debate, some of the things he said about the president coming up in just a few minutes.
Also, number one on CNN's most popular right now, the scare at Vatican City this morning.
Look at this video. You see the guy. He's a man who just lunged over the top of that security wall, attempting to get into the popemobile. But his security detail got him, got him very fast, brought him down.
The pope never in any danger. In fact, not even noticing because of the deafening sounds from the crowds that it even happened.
We're going to get a live report coming up from the Vatican.
CHETRY (voice over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, a parent's worst nightmare.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More worried when we were playing in front that she would get hit by a car or something, you know? I never -- never in a million years thought this would happen.
CHETRY: Danger in the back yard swimming pool. And what you need to know to keep your kids safe this summer.
Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
KIRAN CHETRY, CO-HOST: And welcome back. It is Wednesday, June 6. I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York.
JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST: And good morning to you. I'm John Roberts in Manchester, New Hampshire, as we continue our analysis this morning of the Republican debate last night. It certainly was an interesting one.
We had Rudy Giuliani being cut off by the hand of God last night as he was trying to answer a question about his position on abortion. Lightning and thunder knocked out his audio for a little while. Of course, he made a big joke about that.
Iraq and immigration also big issues. Congressman Tom Tancredo last night talking a lot about that. Also, highly critical of President Bush. We're going to be talking with him in just a couple of minutes, Kiran, and ask him all about that.
CHETRY: Sounds good.
And also, pool safety. Of course, we're heading into the summer season. And a lot of people want to take a cool dip on a hot day. What you need to know to keep your kids safe this summer.
One family turning their personal loss, a tragic story about what happened to them, into a cause, trying to make sure that others never have to go through what they did. And it could be as easy as a small little device. We're going to show you how it works.
Our Greg Hunter is out live on Long Island right there at one family's pool to talk more about it.
But we begin in Germany. Protests now heating up at the site of the G-8 summit. Police deployed water cannons to fend off some of the stone throwing protesters who have already showed up near the site.
President Bush and other leaders will be arriving today for that meeting. And it will be the first time since this Cold War-like chill in relations between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first those two will come face-to-face after this rhetoric that's been ratcheted up on both sides. President Bush says he is confident Russia will not attack Europe, despite some recent threats from Putin.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is traveling with the president, and she joins me now from Rostock, Germany, with more.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kiran.
The world leaders are just beginning to arrive, but already we have some news here on the developments between the United States and Russia. As you had mentioned, a very tense relationship between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Bush.
Now, this morning in an on-record but off-camera briefing, President Bush was asked about the threats that Vladimir Putin made. As you know, Putin saying he would turn those missiles, Russian missiles toward U.S. installations as well as European allies if the United States goes through with this missile defense shield system that it wants to build essentially in Russia's backyard, Eastern Europe.
President Bush answering that question this morning, saying that there would be no U.S. military response if that happened. He says, "Russia is not an enemy. I do not see any U.S. military response. Russia is not going to attack Europe."
Now, this is very important here, because both sides are really trying to de-escalate some of the rhetoric that has become very, very hot over the last couple of days.
President Bush out of the Czech Republic, he directly addressed Vladimir Putin saying, "Look, this is not the Cold War. The Cold War is over."
Now, this follows days and days of things that we have heard from Putin, him saying that this was an imperialist U.S. policy when it comes to the missile defense shield, that the U.S. was trying to create another arms race.
So clearly, both sides here are trying to ratchet down the rhetoric. We -- CNN even got a chance to speak with Putin's spokesperson this morning, his name Dmitri Peskov (ph). And he said it is important to use strong language, but, in his words, he says he doesn't think there's the slightest chance that this will develop into a Cold War.
And Kiran, as you mentioned, both of these leaders tomorrow face- to-face. We're going to get a quick look at that tomorrow. And then, as you know, in a couple of weeks, those two leaders will sit down in the Kennebunkport family compound to hash out some of these very serious concerns -- Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. Suzanne Malveaux reporting for us in Rostock, Germany, headed for the G-8 summit. Thanks.
ROBERTS: Coming up to 35 minutes after the hour now. Plenty of strong criticism of the immigration bill in last night's GOP debate, some of the strongest coming from Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo. Congressman Tancredo joins me here now this morning.
Thanks for coming in.
REP. TOM TANCREDO (R-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sure.
ROBERTS: I know it was a late night for you, so it's good to have you here early this morning.
TANCREDO: It's a beautiful place.
ROBERTS: We want to talk to you about immigration in just a second. But first of all, I was -- I was very surprised at the way that you slammed President Bush last night on stage. I mean, that was so hard, you could almost feel it resonate throughout the hall. Why such strong feelings about all of that?
TANCREDO: I have -- I have become so disappointed in him, that's all. It has accumulated over time, really. I mean, our little dustup over immigration, that's one thing, and it's been going on for a long time. It's true.
But -- but when I combine it with all of the things that have happened over the last several years and the way that he has led the party, it is just simply, to me, apparent that we have gone so far awry, that the Republican Party has taken such a hit in this last election. And he is -- he continues, no matter what -- what all the signs are out there, that this is not what the American public want, especially this immigration bill, he continues in an obstinate, arrogant way to push it.
And it's going to -- it's going to destroy the party. It's certainly going to have major ramifications -- we'll put it that way -- for the party, and it's sure as heck not help the country.
ROBERTS: Do you think it's going to destroy the party? And why will it destroy the party?
TANCREDO: I think it's got that potential. I do. Because the base is furious with him. And we didn't have -- let's face it, you know? Iraq had us in a situation where the base was really not all that together. And we're really upset anyway.
You add to that, you compound that with the fact that you've got the president of the United States linking up with Ted Kennedy, especially, to push an immigration bill that, generally, no one wants, especially in the base. And you say that's really the straw that has broken the camel's back.
ROBERTS: And Mitt Romney, of course, reminding everyone at every turn that John McCain is linked up with Ted Kennedy on this, as well.
I want to play a statement you made last night regarding the immigration bill, which is your No. 1 campaign issue, and then ask you about it. Take a quick listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TANCREDO: Are we ready for a time-out? Are we actually ready to say enough is enough? We have to stop all legal immigration except for the -- for people coming into this country as family members, immediate family members and are refugees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Now, certainly, there are a lot of people who are against illegal immigration but you went the extra mile, and you said, "Let's suspend legal immigration." Did you really mean to say that?
TANCREDO: Yes. One of the -- believe it or not, yes. One of the...
ROBERTS: This is a company that's founded on immigrants.
TANCREDO: No, listen. You want to know the truth about America? Is that when you look at our immigration policies over the years, they had been quite cyclical. It has not been simply a constantly increasing line.
Over the years, we have had periods of very high immigration and periods of very low immigration, during the '20s, during the '50s. And what we did is we used that time to actually assimilate the people who had come in the big wave of immigration preceding it.
In the last 40 years, we've had no time-out. The immigration has been massive. The assimilation has not gone on. That's why I said a time-out. This doesn't mean you end immigration in America. It just means a time-out. Give us time to assimilate the people who have come here.
ROBERTS: Very quick question to wrap up.
TANCREDO: Yes, sure.
ROBERTS: Any of the top tier candidates, can they lead a united Republican Party in 2008?
TANCREDO: Yes, yes, I think so.
ROBERTS: And who would it be?
TANCREDO: Well, of course, I'm the guy. But -- but the, oh, top tier candidates, oh.
ROBERTS: The top three.
Can any of them unify the Republican Party?
TANCREDO: Not that I can think of it, no. I must admit, no. Nobody offers that kind of leadership...
TANCREDO: ... potential.
ROBERTS: Congressman Tom Tancredo, thanks for coming in.
ROBERTS: Appreciate your time, sir.
So some controversial statements again this morning, Kiran, about immigration. The congressman continues to mix it up today.
CHETRY: All right, John, thanks so much.
Well, a high tech approach to stopping violence in Darfur topping our "Quick Hits".
Amnesty International in just about an hour is going to be launching a site, and it has up-to-date high-resolution satellite images of Darfur. The group hopes that the pictures will shine a light on the violence and destruction in the war-ravaged area. They say it will leave no doubt about the atrocities that are going on there. The site can be found at EyesOnDarfur.org.
Outrage over a documentary on Princess Diana. Pleas coming from princes William and Harry falling on deaf ears in London. TV execs say they will go ahead with a showing of a film tonight including pictures from the crash that killed Princess Diana back in 1997.
Keeping your kids safe as summer swimming season heats up. Our Greg Hunter is live with tips that parents don't want to miss.
GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kiran, 375 kids a year drown right here in the backyard swimming pool. What you can do to protect kids, coming up as AMERICAN MORNING continues.
ROBERTS: A developing story out of Vatican City tops our "Quick Hits" this morning.
An attack on the pope was stopped by his security detail just a couple of hours ago. Take a look at this. A man tried to get to Pope Benedict XVI as he rode through St. Peter's Square in the Popemobile.
The man tried to jump over a barricade and leap into the -- into the back of vehicle. One of the security guards deflected him from doing it -- that. He actually got his hands on the back of the Popemobile but did not manage to get inside the vehicle.
It appears from the tape that the pope might not have even been aware of what happened. He went on to give his regular Wednesday address to the people gathered there in St. Peters Square like nothing had happened.
And concern over this logo for the 2012 London Olympics. Some say the animation is causing seizures. Organizers have pulled parts of the animation off of the Olympic web site after complaints.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our in-house brain surgeon, will talk with us about images and the affect that they can have on the brain, coming up in just a few minutes' time.
CHETRY: Meanwhile, warmer weather means pool time, but giving your pool a good cleaning and a chlorine check is not all you need to be worried about, especially if you have children. Nearly 400 children die in pools each year.
AMERICAN MORNING's Greg Hunter is on Long Island in New York. He's been looking into ways that you can make your backyard pool safer.
Good morning, Greg.
HUNTER: Hey, Kiran.
You know, a lot can be done to protect your kids from drowning in the backyard pool. And one couple we talked to knows that better than most.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MICHELLE SCALZI, ALEXIS' MOTHER: I was more worried when we were playing in front that she would get hit by a car or something, you know? I never -- never in a million years thought this would happen.
HUNTER (voice-over): Mike and Michelle Scalzi, whose lives changed in an instant last June, when their 2-year-old daughter, Alexis, wandered out alone in the backyard pool and drowned.
MIKE SCALZI, ALEXIS' FATHER: There is no words to describe how we feel. The pain is just -- the pain is too much.
HUNTER: Her father tried to revive Alexis but was never trained in CPR.
Now the Scalzis are raising awareness about pool safety, the importance of learning CPR and installing pool alarms. Their charity, Lexi's Legacy, has given out 700 free pool alarms.
Here is how they work. When a weight of 15 pounds or more falls into the pool, like this doll, a sensor triggers a high-pitched sound.
Other safety measures to consider: an automatic cover and a fence around the pool with a self-latching gate and even an alarm on the back door, signaling that a child has gone outside.
But parents still must keep a sharp eye out and remember drowning can happen quickly.
JULIE VALLESE, CPSC: Drowning is a silent act. Parents often think that they're going to hear screaming or splashing or cries for help. But that's not actually true.
HUNTER: Mike, who was home alone that day, had only taken his eyes off Alexis for a few minutes.
MIKE SCALZI: Our goal is to keep Lexi's memory alive and to try to prevent another -- children from drowning.
HUNTER: So if you'd had a pool alarm?
MIKE SCALZI: We -- we -- we wouldn't be talking today.
HUNTER: Michelle is now pregnant. The Scalzis don't know when they'll be ready to roll back the tarp and use their back pool again.
HUNTER: Well, I'll tell you, one thing you need to do is always keep your eyes on a kid. You can also designate an official pool watcher, just like designating a driver.
And you need to really keep an eye on the kids, even during the daylight hours. A few years back, there was a 4-year-old kid that drowned at the Tommy Lee, the rocker Tommy Lee's, house in broad daylight during a pool party. So it can happen, even if people are there, standing by. But somebody needs to watch them. And these little water wings, they're lovely. They're a lot of fun, but they're not a safety device. They're a fun device.
One last thing. If you'd like to get a free pool alarm, you can click on to CNN.com, Lexi's Legacy, that charity that is founded by those two wonderful people. They're going to try to give as many away as they can, as long as the money runs (sic) out. Just click onto CNN.com under AMERICAN MORNING.
Back to you guys.
CHETRY: Wow. That's amazing. They're to be commended that they're trying to actually help, you know, in light of that tragedy that happened to them. They're going to try to help other people.
Greg, thanks for bringing our attention to it.
A $4,000 hole tops your "Quick Hits" now. A security camera outside of a St. Augustine, Florida, surf shop caught these pictures. It's a speeding Mercedes slamming into the store. The driver and passenger were taken to the hospital. But get this, the surf's shop's logo is the front of a car sticking out of the store.
Well, the two men who duked it out in the balcony of Boston Symphony Hall last month have now agreed to drop assault and battery complaints against each other. That fight actually interrupted the Boston Pops' opening night performance.
Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, is a logo capable of causing seizures? We're going to talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the new ad for the London Olympics and why some are saying it's a health threat. That's coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Want to show you some video now. Parts of the animating logo for the London Olympics in 2012 sparking some concern that they may cause seizures. In just a second, you're going to see part of the animation. There it is.
And there it is. It's part of the animation that organizers have now pulled off of the Olympic web site.
So can these dramatic flashing images really affect our brains to the point where we'd have to be worried about seizures? We're paging Dr. Gupta right now to talk more about it.
You've seen the video. They pulled it. What do you think?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's probably a good thing. It's interesting. You may not see that video again.
The concern is that about 1 in 4,000 people have something known as photosensitive epilepsy. And I didn't know this, but actually, just about everything that goes on TV is actually analyzed ahead of time to find out just how much flickering, how much alternating pattern of lights there is, and give a sense of whether or not it might actually induce seizures in some patients, some people, I should say, out there.
Now even in people who have never had a history of seizures, this could potentially be a problem. For example, if it flickers at about 50 hertz, for example, it could be a problem in about 50 percent of people. If it flickers at 25 hertz people, it could be -- people, about 75 percent of them could actually be sensitive to it. So it actually does seem to increase with the more flickering and the more sort of alternating of patterns and lights. It's hard to say for sure.
But you know, Kiran, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. In Japan in 1997 a Pokemon cartoon actually, after it aired, caused about 685 admissions to the hospital. Five hundred and sixty of those people had some sort of seizure, and 70 of them had never had any history of seizures before.
So, you know, something to think about. Domestic television can -- can potentially be a source of this.
CHETRY: Yes. Because when they redid the Pokemon and decided to put it in the states, I guess they did have to make sure that they tweaked that and eliminated some of those -- some of the flashes.
Then there was also a report -- I guess it was about two years ago -- of a girl who played video games for hours on end, and her doctors determined that that's what caused her to have a seizure.
GUPTA: Yes. You know, it's interesting. And it's hard to say. I read that one case, as well, and it's hard to say with that specific video game if it, in fact, it induced the seizure.
But it's a real concern. Again, the test is called a flash and pattern analyzer, and this is done on a lot of the material that you actually see on television, to make sure it's not going to induce some sort of photosensitivity response.
Again, this is relatively new stuff. I hadn't much about it until we started looking into it. But you may not see too much more of what we're showing you there in the corner because of the very concern that it could potentially cause some sort of sensitivity, if not a full-out seizure, in a small -- very small number of people.
CHETRY: Yes. Maybe we should stop showing it, actually.
CHETRY: But you know, we wanted to ask your opinion on it, because you're the in-house brain surgeon, so you know these things. Dr. Gupta, great to see you. Thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Working on a cure for blindness tops our "Quick Hits" now. British scientists are going to use embryonic stem cells in an attempt to reduce macular degeneration. It's a leading cause of blindness in the elderly. It will be five years before they're ready to test it on people, though.
Who would have thought, but there appears to be an advantage to fidgeting. It can keep you slim. German researchers say fidgeting appears to be caused by a molecule in our genes, and that molecule also acts as a switch, shutting off the urge to overeat.
The man at the center of a national tuberculosis scare, prompting the Border Patrol to make changes. But is that good enough for Congress? We'll ask Jane Harman, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee.
You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.
ROBERTS: Some "Quick Hits" now just before the top of the hour.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is making -- marking the 63rd anniversary of D-Day today. He's at the Normandy American Cemetery in France, honoring those who died in the D-Day landings. He tied the memory of Normandy to the challenge of today's war on terrorism -- Kiran.
CHETRY: The USS Intrepid all spruced up and a step closer to home berth. The Intrepid is moving to Staten Island today -- it coincides with the 63rd anniversary of D-Day -- to begin some work on the interior of the carrier.
They're planning a big welcome ceremony there to honor the allies who stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, back on June 6 in 1944. The Intrepid, by the way, survived five Japanese kamikaze suicide plane attacks during World War II.
ROBERTS: And stuck on the bottom of the Hudson River the last time they tried to move it.
And hooves down in New York. The racehorse Curlin getting ready for Saturday's Belmont Stakes. Curlin is fresh off a win at the Preakness and a heavy favorite to win this weekend's big run.
CHETRY: A beautiful horse.
The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS (voice-over): The candidates.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Republican Party is a party of the future.
ROBERTS: The issues. Immigration.
TANCREDO: How long until we no longer have to press one for English and two for any other language?
RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Iraq is part of the overall terrorist war against the United States.
ROBERTS: The war on terror.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They will follow us home. It will be a base for al Qaeda.
ROBERTS: The messages from Republican candidates for president. Plus, real-time reaction from voters. And analysis from the best political team on television.
Plus, extreme weather fells a mighty oak, but not this lucky family. We're live with the tree house survivors on this AMERICAN MORNING.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: 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.
CHETRY: Get it right or you're going to hear from the locals, right?
ROBERTS: Well, already heard from them!
CHETRY: Well, I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York.
And just that video we showed a couple moments ago, that family got very lucky. And it was the brave acts of some of the kids that ended up saving the lives 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...
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