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CNN NEWSROOM

Palestinian Violence; Spacewalk for Atlantic Astronauts;

Aired June 17, 2007 - 09:00   ET

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


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN ANCHOR: What went wrong at this charity race? You'll see what happened after a deadly burnout. Straight ahead.
New pictures from Earth's orbit. You're looking live now at the Atlantis astronauts space walking again, we'll tell you what they're working on now. And more than 1,000 roses line the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial. We are remembering fallen fathers on this Fathers' Day.

Hello, I'm Susan Roesgen filling in for Fredricka Whitfield and you're in the NEWSROOM.

First this hour, the growing split among the Palestinians is sending shockwaves throughout the Middle East. The fighting is over for now but the Palestinian movement has basically splintered. Militants have taken charge of the Gaza Strip and moderates have retreated to the West Bank.

Just hours ago, mainstream President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a new West Bank government saying it represents all Palestinians. The United States and Europe are pledging to support this new government but Hamas is defiant in Gaza even as the supplies are running low and there are fears that this is tiny but volatile place could become an international outcast. With the story from Jerusalem is CNN's Atika Shubert.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas used his emergency powers to override parliament and swear in a new government under the leadership of the Prime Minister Salam Fayad, approving a Cabinet stacked with political independents neither Hamas nor Fatah, Abbas expressed his hope to reunite Gaza and the West Bank under one rule.

"This government will fully shoulder its responsibilities," he says. "Not only in the West Bank but in all the homelands including wounded Gaza."

But Hamas leaders in Gaza immediately rejected the new government.

AHMED YOUSEF, HAMAS SPOKESMAN: The emergency government, it is illegal so we are still standing on the right side based on the Constitution. What has been taken is out of the jurisdiction of President Abbas. It is beyond his authority.

SHUBERT: In Gaza residents rushed to stores to stock up on food and basic necessities, fearful supplies would be cut off as political pressure intensifies on Hamas. That may depend on Israel, controlling the gateways in and out of Gaza. A private Israeli company has already cut off the fuel supply to the isolated coastal strip. That could bring Gaza to a standstill stopping not only traffic but the fuel generators that many residents and hospitals rely on for electricity.

Both the U.S. and Israel have indicated they would support the new Palestinian government with desperately needed cash while isolating Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will meet with U.S. President George Bush this week to discuss what he describes as a new opportunity in the Palestinian political divide.

Complicating matters, Katyusha rockets launched from inside Lebanon, two landed in an industrial area of northern Israel on Sunday causing light damage and no injuries. The third landed inside Lebanon near a UN forces observation post. Hezbollah has denied responsibility. Israel suspects Palestinian militants in Lebanon. With the region already a powder keg, Palestinians now fear the worst.

SAEB ERAKAT, PALESTINIAN LEGISLATOR: I see a catastrophe. I see this operation of Gaza and the West Bank. We haven't (inaudible) of complexities (ph) and I believe there are some in this bigger region here who are exploiting the Palestinian situation.

SHUBERT (on camera): The new Palestinian government is faced with a dilemma -- how to get aid to the 1.5 million residents in Gaza while still keeping the pressure on Hamas, all without appearing to do the bidding of the U.S. and Israel. Atika Shubert, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROESGEN: So what should or could the U.S. try to do in this fight and is Iran the secret spoiler? We'll talk to a Middle East expert in about 25 minutes right here in the NEWSROOM.

Meanwhile a British journalist kidnapped in Gaza was supposed to be freed today and instead his kidnappers have issued a new death threat. The group that is holding Alan Johnston hostage told Arab news media al Jazeera that it would kill him if Britain still refuses to release a suspected terrorist from Jordan. That came after reports from Hamas officials that Hamas had intervened to win Johnston's freedom. That did not happen. He was abducted back in mid March.

And we have now learned new information in the search for the two missing U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The U.S. military says their bank cards, their driver's licenses, family photos, other things belonging to these two men besides their I.D. cards were found in that safe house, that raid on an insurgent safe house near Samarra. So far, though, no sign of the missing soldiers. We're going to have a full report from our Karl Penhaul who is embedded with American troops in Samarra, Iraq, coming up in just a few minutes.

And traffic is moving again in Baghdad after a four-day ban on vehicles ended today. That ban went into effect to head off revenge attacks after an attack on a major Shiite shrine. A top U.S. general in Iraq said today that Baghdad is a long way from being secured. He says U.S. and Iraqi forces fully control less than half, only about 40 percent, of the city.

In Afghanistan it's the deadliest attack in six years and the apparent target was Afghan police officers. It happened in Kabul. A suicide bomber blew up a bus that was filled with officers. At least 35 were killed, 52 others wounded. And then to the south in Kandahar province, a roadside bomb killed three members of the U.S.-led coalition and an Afghan interpreter.

The nationalities of the troops have not been released.

Roses and remembrances at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial on the National Mall today. Fallen war heroes are being honored on this Fathers' Day, and our Gary Nurenberg is live there in Washington. Gary?

GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Susan, we now want to concentrate on the Vietnam War where there is a special bond among the kids whose fathers died in a war that robbed them of the chance to celebrate Fathers' Day with their dads, a bond that now some grandchildren are beginning to share.

Every year they get up before the Fathers' Day son to remember fathers who didn't make it home from Vietnam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're simply honoring them today on Fathers' Day, those who were fathers or could have been fathers.

NURENBERG: Each rose gets a note.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Dad, please know that you are so missed."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was only 17. His daughter was 2 months old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pictures of him were throughout the house.

NURENBERG: Layna McConkey Peltier was only a year old when her father died in Vietnam, the same age as her daughter Lila (ph). Two year old Grace's Fathers' Day questions can sting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's that, mommy?

LAYNA MCCONKEY PELTIER, LOST FATHER IN VIETNAM: That's Grandpa Wayne, my daddy.

NURENBERG: Captain Wayne McConkey.

PELTIER: I still have all of his personal effects. The hats he wore when he was over there.

Look at that.

NURENBERG: he has never forgotten the man she can't remember, wants to make sure her kids don't forget either.

PELTIER: By talking and stories and sharing, the essence of who he was, that's the only way they will come to know him. NURENBERG: So on this Fathers' day she took them to the Wall in Washington where their grandfather's name is etched in stone.

PELTIER: Look, that's Grandpa Wayne's name up there.

NURENBERG: A name they touch with a rose.

PELTIER: And I think you're tall enough to touch grandpa's name.

NURENBERG: We first saw Layna at the Wall two years ago trying to keep a connection with her dad, a connection that through her now reaches her kids.

PELTIER: And to see in their blue eyes, and as blue as Grandpa Wayne's, the unconditional love for a grandfather they never knew.

NURENBERG: The children of men killed in Vietnam call themselves an extended family now sharing on this Fathers' Day a simple thought.

PELTIER: We love you. We're very proud of you. Happy Fathers' Day, daddy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROESGEN: Gary, since those families do share so much, is this the only time they get together?

NURENBERG: There's certainly not a universal rule but many of the families stay in touch throughout the year and many will be returning to Washington in Novemberi for, hard as this is to believe, the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial here.

ROESGEN: All right. Thank you, Gary. A really moving story today.

More from Iraq now. As we mentioned earlier we have learned that the U.S. raid on an insurgent safe house in Samarra, Iraq, turned up more personal items from the two missing U.S. soldiers. There's still no sign of the soldiers themselves. More than a month after they disappeared. And we get the latest now from CNN's Karl Penhaul.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the fields and orange groves south of Samarra. In an isolated village like this U.S. paratroopers have turned up fresh clues about two missing American soldiers. Specialist Alex Jimenez and Private Byron Fouty captured by al Qaeda insurgents. Captain Adisa King led the raid just before dawn on June 9th. The target -- an al Qaeda bomb maker's safe house.

CAPTAIN ADISA KING, U.S. ARMY: I said, OK, this is a setup that's unbelievable. I said take everything you've got.

PENHAUL: They seized a bounty of information, at least five computers, hard drives, video making equipment, and documents. Back at base amid the bundle of papers, they found some of Jimenez and Fouty's belongings.

KING: Imagine a light brown paper like an envelope type but it was wrapped up pretty tightly and also has some tape wrapped around it and they had some Arabic writing on it. You had their military I.D. cards and then you have the -- you have their driver's license. You have their bank card, it was one card there, and this was I think of a parent or a grandmother that had passed away.

PENHAUL: That find triggered a 72-hour search for the missing soldiers. Paratroopers, forensic teams and sniffing dogs combed farmhouses, fields, and wheat beds. But the battalion commander, says there was no trace of the men themselves.

LT. COLONEL VIET LUONG, U.S. ARMY: We have scoured every corner of that area and had we found any evidence of the soldiers being there, we would still be out there.

PENHAUL: Fouty and Jimenez were taken after a gunfight with insurgents on May 12, that was in the Triangle of Death, a lawless region 100 miles south of here. On an Internet Web site the insurgents later posted pictures purportedly of the men's documents. The U.S. military said they appeared to be authentic. Even though there's no indication Fouty and Jimenez were ever taken to the area around Samarra, Captain King is refusing to give up the search.

KING: I'm hoping that I can find something out there because I know if that was me, whether I'm alive or dead, I would hope someone would keep looking no matter what because that's what I would want someone to do for me, to bring that closure to my family.

PENHAUL (on camera): U.S. commanders say it may take months to analyze the significance of the computer files seized in that raid. The soldiers, meanwhile, are vowing to find their missing comrades however long it takes. Karl Penhaul, CNN, Samarra, Iraq.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.

ROESGEN: It was over in second but when the smoke cleared at least six people were dead. Tragedy at a car show ahead in the NEWSROOM.

Copping a plea, no apology, no remorse for this high school teacher who admits he tried to kill his teenage girlfriend. And the Atlantis astronauts are walking to work. You're looking at this live video stream from the International Space Station. And we'll tell you what the astronauts are up to when the NEWSROOM returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROESGEN: In news from across America now, six people are dead and eight injured after a deadly drag racing accident at a charity fundraising in Selmer, Tennessee. Here is amateur video of the crash.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROESGEN: The driver was performing a burnout, that's where he revs his engine to make the tires heat up and smoke but it's not supposed to veer off, but he did. Witnesses say the car skidded off the road and into the crowd.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CODY WHITEHEAD, WITNESS: Pure chaos. Nothing like I've ever seen before. A lot of emergency units arrived real quickly on the scene, handled very professionally I would say, but just tremendously chaotic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROESGEN: Again, six people dead there, eight injured. Meanwhile, a confession and arrest in the murders of a Pennsylvania couple and their teenaged son. The police have arrest add 16-year-old classmate of the teenaged victim. The father of Alec Devon Kreider (ph) told police his son confessed to last month's killings in Lancaster, but the police have not said anything about a motive in the case.

Friends of Genarlow Wilson are urging Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue to release him. Civil rights activists held a press conference today in Atlanta. A judge voided Wilson's prison sentence for child molestation last week. Wilson had consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was just 17, but Georgia's attorney general is appealing the decision. He says the conviction should stand, so Wilson remains behind bars.

Well, it was a crime that almost cost a teenage girl her life. She was choked and left for dead, but Ashley Reeves finally saw her attacker get justice late last week. It was a former teacher who took a plea deal that will keep him behind bars for about 20 years. Michael O'Connor from our affiliate KMOV has the story in St. Louis.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL O'CONNOR, KMOV-TV CORRESPONDENT: Twenty-seven-year-old Sam Shelton expressed no remorse in court, offered no apologies. Instead in a calculated move he calmly admitted he was guilty of the attempted murder of 18-year-old Ashley Reeves in April 2006.

CLYDE KUEHN, SHELTON'S ATTORNEY: It seemed impossible to us to imagine 12 jurors unanimously allowing Sam to go free given the conduct that he readily had to admit to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not tell the truth what happened to Ashley.

O'CONNOR: In a trial Shelton would have been done in by six hours of investigators' videotape. Shelton first denied and then admits to snapping Ashley's neck and repeatedly trying to strangle her and then leaving her for dead in a Belleville Park. Thirty hours later Shelton led investigators to the high school student he'd had an affair with and to everyone's surprise she was still just barely alive.

ROBERT HAIDA, ST. CLAIR CO. STATE'S ATTORNEY: Ashley Reeves is a miracle.

O'CONNOR: State's attorney Bob Haida agreed to a plea deal in which Shelton received a 20-year sentence, far less than the 60-year maximum for which he was eligible, the deal was approved by Ashley who avoided having to testify in court.

ASHLEY REEVES, VICTIM: I'm glad it's over with and I will just continue on with my life and not worry about it. I'm glad it's over with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's a fair sentence what he's going to get in jail?

REEVES: Yeah.

O'CONNOR: Shelton's mother says he was demonized and insists he never tried to kill Ashley.

SUSAN SHELTON, SHELTON'S MOTHER: I realize he tried to hurt her, he thought she was dead, and tried to cover that up. That's an aggravated battery and obstruction of justice, but that's what I believe he's guilty of.

O'CONNOR: Do you think 20 years or 17 years is a sufficient period of time?

SHELTON: I think that's more than enough for making a mistake.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROESGEN: Ashley Reeves doesn't think it was a mistake. She had to undergo extensive rehab to walk and talk again. But as you can see there she's doing pretty well and now she plans to attend college.

It is space walk number four. What are the astronauts doing up there this time? Our Miles O'Brien is coming up to tell us. Miles?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the fourth and final space walk of this mission and spirits in general are way uplifted in space now that the computers on the space station is working. We'll fill you in on what's going on outside and inside the space station and space shuttle complex, Susan.

ROESGEN: OK. I know you wish you were there, Miles. We'll see you in a few minutes.

Also, a question for dad today. How is your dadditude. We're not just talking about changing diapers, dadditude is raising children with humor and love. We'll talk to the author of the book "Dadditude" right here in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROESGEN: OK. They have fixed the computer glitch, put the international space station back in its correct orbit, and repaired a snag in the thermal blanket. Now those superhero shuttle astronauts are making their fourth space walk. What else are they working on up there? Miles O'Brien is tracking the mission to tell us what's going on on today's to-do list. Miles?

O'BRIEN: What is a super astronaut to do? There's no phone booths in space. I don't know. They've had a successful space walk so far, Susan. Let's get live pictures now coming to us from space, as the International Space Station and Space Shuttle Atlantis combined, travel over us at 17,500 miles an hour.

You are looking at Patrick Forester's view of the world right now. It's dark. So he's not getting much of a view of the scenery but the focus is appropriately on the space station as he and his space walking partner Steve Swanson go about a series, a big, long to-do list, a task associated with the solar arrays which they installed at the beginning of the mission and also helping again some foot restraints and other odds and ends for future space walkers, that so- called getting ahead task, getting ahead of the curve.

One of the things they're focusing on, these things. Kind of looks like a giant paddlewheel, doesn't it? The new solar arrays. This is sped up but what they do is they're constantly face on for the sun or at least that's the idea and what they're trying to do today and what they've successfully done so far is removed the long restraints and all the pins, essentially all the packing material on these solar alpha rotary joints that allow the solar rays to maximize their potential to maximize electricity as they go about that.

Spirits onboard, the combined crew of 10, excellent. And have you ever wondered how to make a taco in space, Susan?

ROESGEN: It doesn't look so good to me, Miles.

O'BRIEN: You have to do it carefully. Take a look. This is Danny Olivas and you are going to see Danny Olivas in a more serious mode in just a moment using his hands in another way. But pay attention to how good he is. He's gotten very good. He was a space rookie and looks like he was born to be there. The taco, we're told definite extra hot sauce on there. Did you know people in space want to crave hot things for whatever reason, their sense of taste diminishes mostly because they get a lot of congestion in their upper body. E-mails home. There's the commander of the shuttle. C.J. Sturko (ph).

You can tilt your TV over if you want. He's a Marine getting his exercise in, of course, as any good Marine will do on the old space exercycle there and then finally this is Steve Swanson, well, practically jumping for joy there.

But this is how you do kind of isometric exercises.

ROESGEN: Weight raises ... O'BRIEN: Some bungee cords. These are the computers, so much attention was paid to them, one, two and three, and then they have a pair there, there is actually six in total, they operate in pairs. As you know, there was a tremendous amount of angst over this, the possibility even existed they might have to abandon the space station.

When they couldn't figure out why all those computers shut down latter part of last week, they were down for several days. Trouble shooting by the Russian cosmonauts onboard and a little bit of ingenuity led them to use essentially some jumper cables, bypassing a circuit which was sensitive to a power surge.

They think in general they put it on these scopes to see if new voltage from those new solar arrays was bad. They think what's really happened is the increased size of the station traveling to the plasma at that altitude -- you know, it's still little wisps of atmosphere there, are creating some sort of static electricity kind of interference which is tripping sensitive instruments.

So they bypassed this sensitive switch and voila. All of the computers come back on and all the dire consequence that is were being discussed are allayed. So things are looking good so far. There will be some final checks. By the way, the shuttle's heat shield has checked out just fine. They got a green light to return to earth and to do one final inspection before they come back.

Susan.

ROESGEN: Good. When we send you up there, Miles, we'll send you up with a bottle of Tabasco hot sauce.

O'BRIEN: Tabasco hot sauce and the jumper cables. Don't forget the jumper cables.

ROESGEN: You got it, man.

O'BRIEN: All right.

ROESGEN: Thanks, Miles.

Well, the Palestinian Territories are still in political turmoil after Hamas takes over Gaza. What role is Iran playing in all this? An expert will tackle that question in about 10 minutes live right here in the NEWSROOM.

Plus, father's day with dadditude. Being a great man is one thing but what makes a great dad?

The man who wrote the book on it will join us here in about 15 minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROESGEN: Happening now in the news in Iraq, new details in the search for those two missing American soldiers. The U.S. military now says that not only the soldiers' Id cards have been found but also their bank cards, their driver's licenses and some family photos. The items were found in a raid on an insurgent safe house near Samarra and that is the latest on that search.

Meanwhile, six people are dead after this tragic accident at a drag racing exhibition, a charity event in the small town of Selmer, Tennessee. The driver of one of the cars lost control and plowed into the crowd of spectators.

The Palestinian leadership crises widened today. President Mahmoud Abbas you see there swearing in a new emergency cabinet, as he calls it, and he has issued a decree outlawing Hamas militias. Abbas dissolved the coalition cabinet last Thursday when Hamas fighters seized control of Gaza.

Today Hamas leaders in Gaza are calling Abbas' new government illegal. So what impact will this Palestinian split have on any prospect for peace in the Middle East? We have someone here with some insight; Aaron David Miller is a public policy scholar and former Mid East negotiator. Aaron first of all, just how dangerous is this split now?

AARON DAVID MILLER, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: I think it's very dangerous. As you suggested, it makes a situation that was already grim and fraught with enormous danger for Americans in the air of our friends in the region even more dangerous. You have a self-governing entity now governed by an extremely dangerous and a very smart and tough group, and it's going to be extremely difficult, it seems to me right now to try to counteract or counterbalance this success.

ROESGEN: What could or should the U.S. be doing in this fight?

MILLER: Well, in part the situation that exists is a consequence to the fact we missed a huge opportunity in 2005 when Mahmoud Abbas was elected fairly and freely by the Palestinian public with 46 percent of the vote. We should have done more to empower him then, to build up his security capacity to create a negotiating process between Israelis and Palestinians, but governing is about choosing and the administration had other priorities.

Now, three years later, we're faced with a situation that is even grimmer and our options are not great. Number one, the president needs to decide very clearly and very quickly whether or not he considers Israeli Palestinian peace a top priority. If he does, he needs to start consulting. First with Mahmoud Abbas, is he -- how far is he willing to go? Is he serious about this split? Is he going to try to do reconciliation with Hamas through the back door? Then of course he will speak tomorrow, on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Olmert to try to figure out what the political traffic will bear there. So we need to do some assessing before we start drifting or acting in one direction or the other.

ROESGEN: I'm wondering Mahmoud Abbas; he's no Yasser Arafat. Do we have some stronger leader of a more moderate faction? Is there a moderate faction waiting in the wings?

MILLER: The answer is categorically no. In fact Mahmoud Abbas has (INAUDIBLE) but he lacks historical legitimacy as Arafat had. But he also lacks something else, the legitimacy of successes; I mean the fact is that's the most important political legitimacy in the word. If you produce for your public for your people, then, in fact, you're viewed as powerful. The problem with Mahmoud Abbas is however well intentioned, and he is, however moderate, and he is, he is not produced.

And, frankly, that's the same situation exists on the Israeli side. You have a pragmatic centrist Israeli prime minister who is not produced.

ROESGEN: Let's talk about the elephant in the room here, Iran. What role is Iran playing? We know that they're supplying Hamas, supporting Hamas. What does this mean for Mid East peace in general?

MILLER: I think the Iranian role once again as it showed its hand last summer in the Israeli Hezbollah war underscores one reality, a great power when it medels in the affairs of smaller tribes can get outmaneuvered and bested. And as a consequence of a very low-tech involvement, rockets of Hezbollah, arms to Hamas, you see what kind of damage and inference the Iranians can yield in this part of the world. For all intents and purposes, you've got a pro-Iranian entity now kilometers from the Israelis and essentially in the heart of the Arab- Israeli conflict and that is extremely damaging and dangerous for everyone's interests.

ROESGEN: OK, Aaron. We thank you very much for your insights. We will be watching closely what happens when Ehud Olmert meets with President Bush this week to see if there's any change in Washington policy. Thanks so much.

MILLER: You're welcome.

ROESGEN: Now let's turn to Jacque Jeras in the Weather Center. We've seen the weather from way up in space, Jackie, and now we get to see it through your satellite.

JACQUE JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. We're looking at the radar, too and that is showing some really wicked storms at this time moving across northeastern parts of Wisconsin. You can see a tornado watch has been issued here where tornadoes are possible. Right now we've got severe thunderstorm warnings in effect for Forest County this is very near the same area that got hit by the large ef-3 tornado just 10 days ago. You can expect to see hail up to one inch in diameter and 60 miles per hour winds associated with those storms.

Across parts of the south, it's too much rain. It just does not want to stop. Look at all that moisture blowing into eastern parts of Texas. We have what we call an upper level area of low pressure right there in northern Texas and it is just feeding in all that moisture so rainfall rates have been as much as three inches per hour. We'll take you into the Houston area. We've got a very significant ground delay program at Houston Intercontinental Airport, about one hour it's going to take you if you're trying to take off and arrive to that airport expecting to see several inches in addition to what you've already seen in the next 24 hours, this is our computer model forecast, showing you a good one to two inches expected especially in eastern Texas.

Tropical moisture hitting southern parts of Florida at this time, you have a nice southwesterly flow moving in here, urban and small stream flood advisories for Miami-Dade County including you in Miami Beach, expecting to see a good one to two inches of rain with those storms moving on through.

We have an upper level disturbance down here into the western Caribbean. We'll be watching it very closely over the next couple of days. Right now upper level winds are not favorable for any tropical development but we wanted to remind you we are in hurricane season.

Back to you.

ROESGEN: There's no way we could forget. Thanks, Jacqui.

Well it's Father's Day today. Have you called your dad? Ahead in THE NEWSROOM a look at what makes a good father. One author says you need dadditude.

Plus an ode to Obama. Have you seen this? Have you heard this? Who is this girl? Does Obama's campaign like this or not? You will see video with a catchy tune coming up on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROESGEN: On this Father's Day, gulfs most dominant dad-to-be is in the hunt at the U.S. Open. If all goes as planned Tiger Woods will be a father in the next few weeks but will he win the tournament? Live from Oakmont, Pennsylvania is CNN's Ray D'alessio, Ray how is he doing today?

RAY D'ALESSIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now Susan it's looking pretty good for Tiger he is locked in a four-way tie for the lead but it's still early. There's a lot of golf left to be played, either way Tiger, he's got a lot of things on his plate. As you mentioned next month is when his wife is due to give birth to their first child. What a difference a year makes. Tiger of course last year missed the cut here at the U.S. Open, his first tournament since the passing of his father. Wasn't even around for the weekend play. This year he's back, in contention and a soon-to-be dad. Once baby Tiger, maybe, is born, Tiger may want to seek out some advice from some of his PGA tour players. And we were wondering who might be the best golfer to give advice? Maybe Phil Mickelson, he has got three kids. Then again considering that Phil and Tiger have this ongoing rivalry, Tiger might want to look elsewhere for some advice, right, Phil?

PHIL MICKELSON, PGA TOUR PLAYER: Yeah, me giving Tiger advice doesn't really feel right about anything.

TIGER WOODS, PGA TOUR PLAYER: I was very lucky to have two great parents and I was never afraid to go fail because I knew that I would always come home to a home of love. My parents loved me unconditionally no matter what. And if I went out there, gave it my best, and I screwed up, it didn't matter. MICKELSON: He had wonderful parents and great role models for how to raise children and I'm sure that knowing them like Amy and I do, they will be wonderful parents.

D'ALESSIO: So, again, great day here for Tiger Woods, playing in the U.S. Open, also awaiting the arrival of his first child.

Susan we will send it back to you.

ROESGEN: Whom we hope won't be named Cub, right? Tiger-Cub.

D'ALESSIO: There you go.

ROESGEN: Well here is a timely question on this Father's Day. What does it take to be a good dad? Our next guest says it takes dadditude and that is the title of his new book, "Dadditude." The author and father Phil Lerman joins us from Washington. Phil, I read your book this afternoon. You talk about the joys and the trials and tribulations of being an older parent and you had a quote in today's "Washington Post" it says because we know there are fewer days ahead of us than behind us, we cherish each one a little bit more. We know how quickly time rushes away. We appreciate, as we never could have in our salad days how lucky we are to have this moment. Is it really that good being an older dad?

PHIL LERMAN, AUTHOR, "DADDITUDE:" A lot of people -- thank you. A lot of people say to me you're too old to be a dad. You don't have the energy. You don't have the strength. You don't have the stamina. I'm here to say they're absolutely correct. It's true. I'm much too tired. There are certain advantages. One of them, I think, when you're a dad who is pushing 50 when my son Max was born, either you've been through it before, I do have a stepdaughter who is about to turn 18, your friends have been through it, you know a lot of people who say "when my kids were little, I didn't spend enough time with them. I was busy in the world. I was busy in my life. I wish I spent more time with them." An advantage an older dad has is he knows that is lesson and has a chance to start over and say this time let me make sure I don't make that mistake and I get to be there with my child as much as I can.

ROESGEN: What is dadditude really?

LERMAN: To me I was the co-executive producer of "America's Most Wanted" and had a high, stressful job. And the hardest thing for me, and for a lot of dads I think coming home from the office is just turning it off especially today. When you come home you still have your e-mail, you still have your Blackberry, you still have your Im's , and you're never untethered from work and the hardest thing for dads I think is to put all that aside and get down on the rug with your little ones and pick up the car and make the car noise, and just tune in and stop trying to be the role model and stop trying to keep everybody moving. Dad was making sure everyone got to places on time. Get down on the rug and be there.

ROESGEN: Your bookends when your son Max is 4 years old. How old is he now and what's it like as the children get older? LERMAN: He's 5. He's very proud to say he's 5. He's totally in charge of the world now and he told me that I must ask you, would you please dress as an orange Popsicle. I'm doing that because I do what he tells me to do. My life is being run by a crazy 5-year-old.

ROESGEN: Your book has a lot of advice, a lot of humor and a lot of love in there too. So thank you for joining us on Father's Day.

LERMAN: Thank you so much. And Happy Father's Day to everybody out there.

ROESGEN: You bet. Coming up, they are some of the latest viral videos. Have you seen them? First the girl that has a crush on Bema and she wants everyone to know about it. And then there's the little girl that's trying to crush her competition live on British television. We will have more on these two temptresses coming up here on the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JERAS: I'm CNN's Jacque Jeras with today's allergy report. All you suffers across the southeast, much-need showers and thunderstorms have helped really reduce the amount of pollen in the air here across the southeast, the deep south, and into the southern Plains states, also we are seeing some big improvement across parts of the upper Midwest. Still high, though, across the southern Plains and on into the inner mountain west and the northeast.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROESGEN: The road to the White House winds through Iowa today. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards held a town hall meeting in Sioux City, Iowa. His wife, Elizabeth Edwards, also fielded questions there from the audience. Republican Mitt Romney is also campaigning in Iowa today. He hosted a Father's Day brunch in Burlington. Later today he's going to hold an ask Mitt anything. Will people really ask him anything? Find out later today in Muscatine, Iowa. And conservative Duncan Hunter appeared on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

Now the man some people call a political rock star with a sexy model and a catchy tune. Where do we find all this stuff before the Internet? CNN's Jeanne Moos meets the men and women with an online ode to Barack Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Don't worry, Mrs. Obama, even though the girl in the video calls your husband "b" for Barack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Baby, it's me, if you're there, pick up. I was watching you on c-span.

MOOS: Everyone is watching this online it is called "I've got a crush on Obama."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never wanted anybody more than I want you.

MOOS: So do you have a crush on Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do. Note because I have a crush on Obama Barack Obama.

MOOS: These two have never met and model Amber Lee Etiger (ph) is just lip-synching the work of these three --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose brainchild was it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A collaborative effort.

MOOS: Between a journalism student, a record producer, and a digital marketing guy, they want to make comedy videos for their new Website, Barely Political, and they happen to be big Obama fans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a little crush on Obama actually.

MOOS: They recruited Amber the model and ran around New York shooting the video in a matter of hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're into border security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's hot, that's cute right there.

MOOS: He's referring to her custom made -- what do they call them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Booty shorts.

MOOS: Now they are selling "I got a crush on Obama" t-shirts, the lyrics were co-written and performed by Leah Kaufman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot wait until 2008, baby, you're the best candidate.

MOOS: This same group did another popular online video. Maybe you heard about the "Saturday Night Live" skit featuring Justin Timberlake presenting male anatomy in a box as a gift. They did a video response from the female point of view. As for the Obama video --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is, you know, social commentary.

MOOS: But the Obama campaign wouldn't comment except to say they have nothing to do with the video. Have you heard from his wife?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not yet. Because I've got a crush on Obama.

MOOS: But which Obama? One viewer posted, I have a crush on Mrs. Obama. She'll crush him if she sits down.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROESGEN: Well coming up, an ordinary guy with an extraordinary voice. Can this man, a cell phone salesman in real life, pull off a big win in the finals of Britain's "Got Talent"? We'll have more on that and on one of his biggest little competitors ahead in THE NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROESGEN: This is Major Darryl Otto from Iraq. Just wanted to say Happy Father's Day to my father in Greg Otto in Pensacola, Florida. Go, Seminoles.

ROESGEN: OK. We are saluting dads on CNN.com today and we're asking to you share some of your favorite photos and memories of your father. Check out a gallery of photos from our i-reporters and all you have to do is log on to CNN.com and look for the link of our front page.

The American version has just gotten started but the show "Britain's Got Talent" is wrapping up tonight and in just a few minutes the winner will be announced live on British television. Will it be one much of these two fan favorites, the cell phone salesman, Paul Potts, who wowed viewers with his operatic voice, and then the 6-year-old, Connie Talbott. Veronica De La Cruz has more on the little girl with a big voice.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, little Connie Talbott of Britain might be tiny but she is a force to be reckoned with. After she appeared on the TV show, "Britian S Got Talent" little Connie blew up. This video appearing all over the Internet.

CONNIE TALBOTT: Somewhere over the rainbow way up high.

DE LA CRUZ: This was not an audition; this was probably best described as a moment. Almost immediately afterwards the whole thing was posted on youtube and word spread quickly around the globe. Little Connie's voice cast a spell that even captured Simon Cowell's heart.

SIMON COWELL, "BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT:" Connie, I'm going to talk to you like an adult, OK? Because I think it's important. I thought you were fantastic.

DE LA CRUZ: Her name again is Connie Talbott and her performance posted on youtube. It is receiving numerous amounts of hits; according to the "Daily Mail" little Connie began singing at the age of 2 to cheer up her grandmother who was dying of breast cancer. Regardless of what happens in the competition, the paper says that Simon Cowell may sign Connie to a record deal.

The again, you can find the video online at youtube.com. I'm Veronica De La Cruz for the dot com desk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't know exactly what I'm doing but they understand that I'm off fighting the bad guys. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROESGEN: Next in THE NEWSROOM American soldiers in Iraq. A long way from home on Father's Day, and the violence in the Middle East leads to an emergency government in Gaza.

This is the amateur video of a drag racing crash in Tennessee that has left at least six people dead. It was supposed to be a drag race for charity in Selmer, Tennessee, with people packed along the side of the road watching this show but then something went wrong. The dragster left the road and spun into the crowd. Six people were killed, several more hurt, and here is amateur video of that crash.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god. Oh, my god.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROESGEN: "Oh, my god" is right. The driver was performing what is called a burnout, spinning his tires to make them smoke before gunning the gas.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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