Return to Transcripts main page


Tillman Investigation: Rumsfeld Expected to Testify Today; TSA's Fast Track Slowed Down; Highway Collapse: Driver Survives Steel Beam Crush

Aired August 1, 2007 - 07:59   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. Welcome back as we kick off a brand new month.
It's Wednesday, the 1st of August.

I'm John Roberts.


We're going to meet that precocious little kid a little bit later, talk about what he's doing to try to help his brother.

But we begin this morning in Washington. A hearing on the friendly fire death of former NFL star Pat Tillman bringing a line of old military leaders to Capitol Hill. Leading the group, former defense chief Donald Rumsfeld.

CNN's Barbara Starr is working this story from the Pentagon.

And what do we expect to hear from Secretary Rumsfeld this morning? What do they want to know from him?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, in a couple of hours from now, the House Government Oversight Committee will have that very extraordinary hearing. Former defense secretary Don Rumsfeld expected to testify, as well as General John Abizaid, the former four-star chief of Central Command.

Neither man has really appeared in official Washington for months now since they both left office. They are going to be asked what they knew and when they knew it about the friendly fire death of Corporal Pat Tillman, the former NFL star, of course, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.

This has been a very controversial case for years. The Tillman family has just been devastated by Pat's death. They continue to believe there was some sort of government cover-up about the government knowing it was a friendly fire death, and the committee will ask both men again today what they knew and when they knew it -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Yes, you speak about the Tillman family. Now, yesterday the army censured this retired general, citing a "failure of leadership". They accused him of lying to investigators that were looking into the aftermath of his death. But even with that punishment and the testimony that's going to be taking place today, the Tillman family is not happy.

What do they want to see happen?

STARR: Well, you know, they are not, by all accounts. They have made a number of public statements over the years about what they believe happened here. But several Army and military investigations have happened. None of them have found any criminal wrongdoing.

They have all found that it was friendly fire, confusion in the battlefield, misjudgment. And as you say, yesterday, retired Lieutenant General Philip Kensinger, a three-star, was censured for being deceptive to investigators. He is most likely now to lose one of his stars in retirement, and that means a loss of retirement pay. But again, what they found was no criminal wrongdoing.

It should be said, of course, that General Kensinger has filed documents with the government objecting to that punishment, saying that he told the investigators what he knew to the best of his recollection. He also may appear at the committee this morning. We may hear more from him -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right.

Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Thank you.

ROBERTS: A big interview for Larry King last night making news this morning with Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney is still hopeful that things in Iraq will improve, but last night he admitted that he underestimated the insurgency in Iraq.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE" On this program, May of 2005, you said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes.


KING: Why were you wrong?

CHENEY: I think my estimate at the time -- and it was wrong, it turned out to be incorrect -- was the fact that we were in the midst of holding three elections in Iraq, electing an interim government, then ratifying the constitution, then electing a permanent government, that they had had significant success. We had rounded up Saddam Hussein.

I thought there was a series of these milestones that would, in fact, undermine the insurgency and make it less than it was at that point. That clearly didn't happen. I think the insurgency turned out to be more robust.


ROBERTS: However, Cheney did add, though, that he expects September's report from General David Petraeus will show some positive results.


CHENEY: Well, I think it's going to show that we will have made significant progress. The reports I'm hearing from people whose views I respect indicate that, indeed, the Petraeus plan is, in fact, producing results.

Now, admittedly, I've been on one side of this argument from the very beginning, so I urge people to have an open mind, to listen to General Petraeus when he comes back, but also look at what others have to say.


ROBERTS: Now, the vice president also threw gasoline on the dispute between the administration and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, telling Larry King that he backed a Pentagon bureaucrat who has accused Clinton of giving comfort to the enemy in Iraq.


KING: A member of the Department of Defense sent Hillary Clinton a letter saying she should not criticize because it helps the enemy.

Do you agree with that letter?

CHENEY: It didn't say she should not criticize. She was demanding the plans for withdrawal from Iraq.

KING: Do you agree with that letter?

CHENEY: I agreed with the letter Eric Edelman wrote. I thought it was a good letter.

KING: You should not call for the plans for withdrawal?

CHENEY: No. There's an important principle here, Larry. And that is, debate over what our policy should be is perfectly legitimate.

What we don't do is we don't get into the business of sharing operational plans. We never have with the Congress.


ROBERTS: Now the Clinton camp is firing back this morning saying, "It seems that the right hand doesn't know what the far-right hand is doing. Senator Clinton calls on President Bush to set the record straight."

We'll see if they get a response today.

CHETRY: Other headlines this morning.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arriving in Israel today for the latest stop in her diplomatic sweep through the Mideast. She's there is to jump-start the peace process and to shore up support for Iraq. So far, she's held meetings in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, that's where she says she won some assurances that there would be less interference with internal Iraqi politics.

And there are some new pictures just in from Iraq. The aftermath of yet another deadly bombing in Baghdad.

Within the last few hours, a fuel truck rigged with explosives blew up in the western part of the city, killing 50, injuring more than a dozen. The attack followed a deadly car bombing in a separate part of Baghdad.

Senator Barack Obama is expected to shine a spotlight on the war in Afghanistan during a speech later today. The Democratic presidential candidate will propose sending two more U.S. military brigades to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. He's also expected to recommend sending troops into Pakistan if there is good intelligence that terrorists are operating in that country.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is downplaying the subprime mortgage problem. According to a Reuters report today, Paulson said that the market impact is largely contained. He blames recent stock market volatility on the unwinding of market excesses -- John.

ROBERTS: Six minutes after the hour now. There are other important stories that we're following for you this morning with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents.

Northwest Airlines apologizing to thousands of passengers stranded by a wave of flight cancellations this morning. This summer, rather.

Ali Velshi here "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Good morning, Ali. What are they saying?


Well, they continue today, those flight cancellations. We've been reporting it since Friday. We've seen cancellations, up to about 13 percent of them a day, although Northwest reports numbers that are a lot lower than that.

As of this morning, we're looking at about five percent. Well, yesterday, we saw about five percent of flights canceled. This is not delayed. This is absolutely canceled. Don't get off the ground, which means people have to be boarded on to other flights.

So, yesterday, because it had its earnings, they had to speak to people. And Northwest apologized. The CEO apologized and said that what happened in July was unacceptable, and they are taking some steps to ensure that those delays don't continue, including reducing their domestic flight schedule by about four percent in August.

They're increasing their supply of reserve pilots. They're recalling furloughed pilots. They're going to hire new pilots once those furloughs are recalled, and that could take some months. And they're going to go talk to the Airline Pilots Association about new scheduling procedures.

None of this is going to take effect immediately, except the rescheduling of flights. So they're pulling back about four percent of those flights. They want to get back up to a -- about a 98, 99 percent range in terms of flights that actually leave on time. Leave and get to their destination.

This isn't about delays, this is actually about flights getting there.

ROBERTS: And they sure don't want a repeat of this around the Labor Day Weekend either.

VELSHI: Yes. And this keeps happening at the end of every month.


VELSHI: So hopefully this fixes the problem.

ROBERTS: Ali Velshi, thanks very much.

Well, here's a shocker for you this morning. Could your laser printer be as dangerous to your health as cigarettes?

CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has got more for us now on that.

What's it all about, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, this report has startled so many people, even some of the experts we talked to. But if you have a laser printer in your office, you need to listen to this.

It could be emitting teeny, tiny particles that could get stuck in your lungs and possibly make you sick. Well, is this something that you should be very worried about? Well, we'll have more on this later in the show.

ROBERTS: Looking forward to that, Elizabeth. Thanks very much.


CHETRY: Well, to our terror watch now, a plan to help some airline passengers circumvent the long security lines. Well, now it's under question by the Transportation Security Administration.

Our Jeanne Meserve joins us now in Washington.

This would seem to be a dream for those frequent travelers who have to wind through the long lines at security, but the TSA not thrilled about this program. What are their concerns? JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. First, let me tell you, it's called Registered Traveler. Here's how it works.

You pay a fee and give them biometric information. You undergo a background check. And you can bypass those long lines and get less screening.

The program is running at 12 airports, and private industry travel groups and some members of Congress want to see it expanded. But the head of the Transportation Security Administration says the program isn't ready for prime time.

It wouldn't stop so-called clean-skin terrorists. That is, people with no criminal or terror-related records, and that the background checks that they are undergoing in the program aren't rigorous enough.

At a congressional hearing, the industry disputed that and accused the TSA of trying to stiff-arm the program and stunt its growth. So that is where we are right now -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Right. Because you've even pointed out that they are arguing these people would undergo more rigorous, you know, background checks than some of the people currently employed by the TSA.

MESERVE: That's what -- it's not just the background checks they undergo, but the kind of I.D. they are given afterwards which have biometrics. The people in the industry who run the program say that it is more secure than what the Department of Homeland Security provides for its own employees.

CHETRY: And real quick, this new technology that may be on the horizon, it can scan passengers' shoes without having to take them off. How soon could we see that in airports?

MESERVE: Well, you know, they use it as part of Registered Travelers down in the airport in Orlando, but yesterday, Kip Hawley, the head of the TSA, said it is not yet performing up to TSA standards, and so you're not going to see it widely deployed.

The result of it is that people -- people in Registered Traveler who go through that machine in Orlando, some of them still have to take off their shoes and have their shoes go through a conventional scanning machine. So for them, the only benefit really of this program is that they are in a shorter line. That's it.

CHETRY: That's true.

Jeanne Meserve, thanks so much.

MESERVE: You bet.

ROBERTS: A mine rescue in China topping your "Quick Hits" now.

Rescuers say all 69 trapped coal miners are safe today. State television says the miners came out blindfolded to protect their eyes against the light. The workers had been trapped in a flooded shaft for more than three days. Rescuers had piped in oxygen to buy time to save them.

In Arizona, flash flooding killed a 60-year-old man who drove on to a washed-out road in Tucson. High water overran several major roads on Tuesday. Firefighters rescued at least nine stranded drivers.

A highway overpass collapses on a FedEx delivery truck. After two and a half hours, the driver is rescued with only minor injuries.

We're going to talk to that very lucky man ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Coming up to 15 minutes after the hour.

Another sponsor drops Michael Vick. Your "Quick Hits" now.

Rawlings is the latest company to cut ties with the Atlanta Falcons quarterback accused in that dog fighting case. It joins Nike, Reebok and the trading card company Upper Deck. All have either dropped deals with Vick or stopped selling products with his name on them.

A memorial service in Phoenix for two of the four journalists killed last week when those news helicopters collided. Hundreds of mourners attended the joint ceremony for KTVK pilot Scott Bowerbank and photographer Jim Cox. Separate memorials for the other men from station KNXV are scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday.

A new warning system in Australia. About 40 loudspeakers have been installed in Sydney to tell people what to do in the event of a terrorist attack or local emergency. Police say the system should be up and running in time for a summit there next month.

CHETRY: Well, could that office laser printer be hazardous to your health? I mean, everybody -- you know, most people in offices sit quite near a printer. I think in most offices. And there's a new study now that says that some of the printers emit tiny particles similar to cigarette smoke that could end up making you sick.

ROBERTS: Another office danger.

Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has got the details for us now. She's in Atlanta.

Elizabeth, should we be worried about all of this? I mean, how dangerous really is it?

COHEN: You know, the experts that we talked to, John, weren't horribly worried, but they definitely said that this is an area that needs more research. What apparently happens, according to these Australian researchers, is that toner cartridges emit these tiny, tiny particles, and the concern is, if you breathe them in they could get stuck in your lungs. They looked at 62 different printers, and most of them didn't emit anything or emitted only relatively small amounts. But 17 out of the 62 were what they called high emitters, and the situation was at its worst when there was a new toner cartridge.

CHETRY: You know, and it is -- you think about this type of stuff. They say, OK, obviously it's not recommended to sit so close to one, but how do they know -- I mean, when they conduct this study -- about how far away you should be to sort of try to reduce your chances of breathing in any of this harmful stuff?

COHEN: You know, Kiran, they don't know. That's a question, but they just don't know, because they're at the beginning of this type of research.

People haven't really studied printer dangers very much. So one researcher we talked to, we said, look, what do you do if you hear this news and you look to your right and there's this printer just sitting right there?

And he said, look, there is a good chance that it's not really so much of a problem. These particles dissipate very quickly and they usually keep pretty close -- like, let's say about a foot, a foot and a half to the printer. But he said, if you're sitting that close to a printer within a couple of feet, why not move it across the room?

It can't hurt anybody. Maybe you'll get a little exercise walking back and forth to the printer. So he said, you know, I'm not up in arms about this, but it needs more research, and why not move it farther away if you can?

ROBERTS: Yes. Thinking about the number of high-volume printers we've got on our floor, and the fact that you and I both have laser printers beside us.

CHETRY: I'm moving mine. Mine's way too close.

ROBERTS: Elizabeth, are there any particular models that might be more prone to this? Did the researchers look into that, or is it every laser printer out there?

COHEN: They were looking at a variety of printers and they found varying levels of emissions with varying kinds of printers. Now, most of the printers that they studied were Hewlett-Packard. And I want to make it clear, it wasn't that they were indicting Hewlett-Packard in any way, shape or form. It was just that that happened to be most of what they had in the office they were looking at.

Hewlett-Packard says that they put their printers to a rigorous test to make sure that they live up to safety standards, but they also said that they're going to be reviewing the study further.

ROBERTS: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much for that. COHEN: Thanks.

ROBERTS: Imagine an entire highway overpass collapsing on top of you. That is what happened to the driver of this FedEx truck. He was rescued and came out of it with only minor injuries.

It sounds like that guy that had the cement truck stomp on him. His incredible story and the incredible rescue when we come back.


CHETRY: Well, we have an amazing story for you now. A FedEx delivery driver, Robert Sylvester, is doing OK this morning after being part of a terrible accident on a California freeway.

If you take a look at these pictures, it's just unbelievable that he was OK. An overpass collapsed on top of his truck. Rescuers had to cut him out from underneath the steel beam that crushed the hood. It took two and a half hours to free him.

Robert Sylvester joins us now, along with the man who supervised the rescue, battalion chief Russ Fowler from the Butte County Fire Department.

Thanks for being with us, both of you this morning, to tell your story.



CHETRY: First of all, Robert, how are you feeling this morning?

SYLVESTER: A little sore, banged up. Like a bridge fell on me.

CHETRY: Wow. I mean, because a bridge did fall on you.

Now, what are your injuries? What did the doctors say after they took you in there and were able to check you out?

SYLVESTER: Really a miracle. Very, very minor. Just a sprained ankle and various cuts and bruises on my body, but very minor.

So it's just a miracle after you see the wreckage really.

CHETRY: It really is. And we're looking at some of the rescue to the other side of our screen as we talk to both of you.

And Russ, you coordinated this effort, along with the help of many others. I mean, you've seen accidents like this.

When you came upon the scene and saw this overpass completely crushing that truck, what did you think the outcome was going to be?

FOWLER: Well, I wasn't sure of the outcome, but we knew at that moment that we had a serious situation both for Robert's safety and for the rescuers' safety, because of the structure that was standing was very precarious to fall. And we had met with some of the bridge engineers from Caltrans, and they made it very clear to us the situation was very dangerous. So that was our primary concern, was to make sure our rescuers and Robert and the other injured patients were protected, first and foremost.

CHETRY: Now, did you know he was OK in there?

FOWLER: We did have one of our paramedic firefighters with Robert, and we were assessing him at that point. I didn't know his status. I knew we had a patient that was trapped in a vehicle under the...


CHETRY: Right.

You know, Robert, what was going through your mind? You're there. Were they talking you through it, saying it's just going to be a little bit more time, we're trying to secure these beams? And were you aware that they were -- it was going to take them a while to get to you?

SYLVESTER: You know, I knew they were doing everything they could. They wanted to get me out just as bad as I want to get out.

And I knew that the situation was a little precarious with the beams and all that. But -- so I just had to -- you know, these guys are great, and I just sort of put my trust in them to -- they knew what they were doing, so I just tried to hang in as best as I could.

CHETRY: Right. How did you keep yourself calm knowing -- not knowing the extent of your injuries? I understand one of the beams was pinned over your legs.

SYLVESTER: Well, you know, the firefighters are great, and they kept talking to me and calming me down. I wasn't calm the entire time. So -- but, you know, in those situations, there's not much I could do...

CHETRY: Right.

SYLVESTER: ... but put myself in their hands. And, you know, between the doctors and nurses and the paramedics, the firefighters, you know, they saved me. So I'm very grateful.

CHETRY: Yes. And your wife said, you know, we had gone from thinking he was absolutely the unluckiest person to the luckiest person. I'm sure if she -- when she saw that video, it's probably unbelievable that you came out as great as you did and you were, I guess, from the rescue to the hospital and back home, resting on your coach within four hours?

SYLVESTER: That's about right. Yes. Yes. It's true. I mean, first, you think it's the worst thing that could happen. And then I'm alive and hardly even injured. So it was a miraculous day, really.

CHETRY: Wow. Well, you know, miraculous because of the hard work of people like Russ and all of you rescue workers that put your lives on the line for people.

Hats off to you. Great job rescuing him.

And Robert, good luck. And I'm glad to see that you're in one piece. Hopefully you won't have to experience anything like that ever again.

SYLVESTER: Thank you. Thank you.

CHETRY: Thanks for being with us.

So we had...

ROBERTS: That's pretty incredible, yes.

CHETRY: ... a cement truck completely crush a car. He came out OK. And now Robert. I mean, he looks fine this morning. When you see the pictures, you think...

ROBERTS: Two miracle stories. You know, and this accident happened right after we interviewed the guy that got munched (ph) by the cement truck, too. It's unbelievable.

CHETRY: Wow. Well, also -- it really is. But they're doing great, so hats off to the rescuers as well for their smart thinking. They really saved his life.

Also "On Our Radar" this morning, something you can't miss. It's really our shot of the morning. It's already turning into a YouTube hit. Let's check it out.

ROBERTS: Where is this? Who is this? And why are they doing it? We'll tell you all about that when AMERICAN MORNING continues.


CHETRY: Wow. What a beautiful shot this morning coming to us from KWGN. The sun coming up in Denver. It's 76 degrees right now. It might be the best part of the day right now, because it's going to be 89 with isolated thunderstorms a little bit later in the morning.

ROBERTS: You know they get 300 days of sunshine a year in Denver. It's a great place to be. And we're going to be going there in a few minutes to talk with -- remember the young fellow we showed you yesterday who had the lemonade stand, raising money for his young brother who is diabetic, needs a special dog to help him out to be able to tell when his blood sugar is either low or high? We'll talk to him this morning about all of that.

CHETRY: An intrepid little guy. And he's going to join us in just a few minutes.

But meanwhile, thanks for being with us once again. It's Wednesday, August 1st.

I'm Kiran Chetry.

ROBERTS: And I'm John Roberts.

Good to have you with us this morning.


We start with some developing news that's just in to us, at least according to the Reuters wire services. We talked about the Korean -- the South Korean hostage situation. Very tense situation in Afghanistan, Taliban threatening to kill the 21 remaining hostages. They've already killed two of them.

This deadline expired about five hours ago. But now Reuters is reporting that a military rescue operation is now under way in Afghanistan in an effort to free those hostages. They're being held, as we said, by the Taliban.

They're quoting the district chief of one of the districts where the Taliban kidnapped these Korean Christian volunteers nearly two weeks ago. His quote is, according to Reuters, "The operation has started." Earlier today they talked about the army dropping leaflets to warn civilians that an assault was going to happen. They were dropping these from helicopters in several districts, saying evacuate your homes because this is going to happen. And again, the district chief only giving very, very scant detail. Just confirming that the operation has started to Reuters News Service.

We'll continue to follow this. But, again, these 21 hostages, the deadline passed for when they were said to be killed by the Taliban, who is demanding a prison release. Right now, Afghan army trying to take matters into their own hands and rescue those 21 South Korean volunteers.


CHETRY: Well, what a difference a couple of weeks make. The Dow was riding high at 14,000 points. Now stocks are plummeting. Ali Velshi is here with more on that.

We saw a major point drop just this week alone.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean last week we had more than 500-point drop, and then we saw 146 points yesterday. We've got Dow futures pointing to another low open in an hour. But it was July 19th that we were looking at the Dow 14,000. It closed right at about 14,000. Take a look at that, and that's where we've been since then.

Now most folks we've talked to suggest that everything is in place for this Dow to go even higher by the end of the year. The problem with that is that it's a market for a reason. Things don't go as planned, and what we're seeing now is a couple things not going as planned. We've got a record high price for oil. It's retreating a little bit today, but it settled yesterday at $78.21, which is the highest point it's ever settled at. And we have ongoing concerns about credit. We've got people's credit with their mortgages and their homes are not increasing in value. They're maxed out on their homes. We've got corporate credit concerns, and this is sending jitters all around the world.

And right now, we are just a couple of hundred points away from 13,000 and, John, a lot of people, I know you joke about it, and we joke about it a lot, but this is actually what people are saying, is this the time to get in this market, or is this momentum going downward? Which way do you go? Unfortunately, if we knew the answer to that, I'd be on a beach directing my broker, not here, trying to talk...

CHETRY: Drinking out of a coconut.

VELSHI: Right, drinking out of a coconut. So a lot of folks -- the professionals we're talking to are saying we're still buying into this market, but you know, we're waiting to see what happens.

CHETRY: Ali, thanks.


ROBERTS: In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is promising health care reform and pushing for universal coverage. Now that's a far cry from other Republicans, including presidential contender Rudy Giuliani. That's where raw politics starts this morning. And here's CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Rudy Giuliani is throwing punches like Tony Soprano at a free pasta bar, and things are getting crowded in the raw politics E.R.

(voice-over): Losers! That's what Mayor 9/11 is calling his Democratic foes as he lays into them over their health care plans. He says they'll raise your taxes 20 percent to 30 percent and leave you with socialized medicine!

Only Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards I guess would want to go to Cuba for health care.

FOREMAN: Dr. Rudy's Republican cure? More free-market competition to drive down costs for patients.

Apply directly to the poor Fred. Fred, I'm not a candidate, Thompson's fund-raising appears to be running weak. His staff is grumbling. Raw politics prognosis: If he doesn't get into the race by September, he could face a long, slow recovery.

And an electoral facelift for California. Maybe the most important political news of the day. The A.P. reports that Republicans are pushing a ballot proposal to end the winner-take-all presidential in the presidential race there. Normally the candidate with the most popular votes gets all 55 electoral votes, and that is usually the Democrat. Under the proposed plan, however, the winner would get just two electoral votes. The rest would be divided based on who wins each congressional district. That would mean a lot of votes for Republicans.

(on camera): The raw politics, if approved, this measure could neutralize California as a powerhouse for the Democrats and give the Republicans a big boost in their quest to keep the White House. Strong political medicine. We'll just have to see how it goes down.

Later today, the Obama-rama, talking terrorism right here in D.C. We'll have at all on "AC360" Raw Politics.


ROBERTS: Looking forward to that.

And of course all the day's political news is available anytime day or night at Just in case you forgot, "ANDERSON COOPER 360" airs weeknights at 10:00 Eastern. Anderson's here now with a look at what's on the program tonight -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: John, tonight on the program, lawmakers spending your money on their pet projects as secretly as they can. The House just voted to change the rules and be more accountable, but how much has really changed, and will the Senate go along? They're debating; we're keeping them honest, "360" tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern -- John.

ROBERTS: Anderson, thanks. We'll see you then.


CHETRY: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, brotherly love.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lemonade and snacks down this road!


CHETRY: A lemonade stand to help save his diabetic brother's life.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's say Jason went low in the middle of the night and we don't have the dog -- he might not wake up morning.


CHETRY: A boy, a dog and a story you won't forget. Meet them ahead, on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: From cute and cuddly to rolly and polly. Knut the polar bear apparently now too fat. He's up to about 130 pounds, and his keepers at the Berlin Zoo are putting him on a diet. That means no more croissants. Don't know exactly why they were feeding Knut croissants. I don't know. They're also going to cut out other treats, though, like portions of fish. Polar bear eats a croissant, he's going to become gross.

CHETRY: Exactly. They left out the escargo and the bree (ph) that's been munching on as well, the poor guy.


CHETRY: Well, it's a story that we first told you about yesterday. A 12-year-old boy wanting to do whatever he can to help his younger brother, his 9-year-old younger brother, who's diabetic. He's hoping to raise enough money to help the family get a dog.

ROBERTS: That can sense when his brother's blood sugar levels get too low. Apparently the dog smells the patient's breath, can tell when he's either hypo or hypoglycemic.

CHETRY: Mark Rinkle and parents Bob and Marisa join us from Mark's lemonade stand in Aurora, Colorado. We should mention that the brother Jason not feeling today, may have to go to the hospital, so couldn't join us.

Mark, let's go to you first -- how did he get the idea of this fabulous lemonade stand that brought in $6,000 in the last few days?

MARK RINKEL, RAISING MONEY FOR BROTHER: Well, last year, I did a lemonade stand during the summer to raise money for pediatric AIDS. And this year when we needed to raise money for this dog, I decided to do another lemonade stand.

CHETRY: So last year, when you were raising money for other charities, you didn't know about your brother's condition?

RINKEL: No, I did not.

CHETRY: How's he doing?

RINKEL: He's doing fine.

ROBERTS: Mark, I was mentioning yesterday when we saw the story about you that you are an entrepreneur in the making there, because you weren't just selling lemonade. What else were you doing to raise money?

RINKEL: Well, we also sold snacks of all different types and sugar-free lemonade for other diabetics.

ROBERTS: Right, but weren't you also -- you had a little donation can there as well, and you were encouraging people to pay you by check because it was, I think as you said, easier to write a bigger number in there than the 50 cents they would pay for the lemonade?


CHETRY: That's great. When we saw some of the videotape that they had shot of you, you're really adorable, very precocious.

You must be really proud of him, Marisa, that he's doing this and trying to help out your other son. Tell us a little bit about what the money is going to go to eventually.

MARISA RINKEL, SON RUNS LEMONADE STAND: Well, all the money is going straight to Heaven Sent Paws. We're not taking any of it. And Heaven Sent Paws is a 5013c, so it's tax deductible. And basically they raise and train the dog to help families just like ours, and for us, knowing when blood sugar is high or low is really life-saving. We could of used that dog last night!

ROBERTS: What happened?

MARISA RINKEL: Jason is running a little high.

ROBERTS: What happened last night?

MARISA RINKEL: He's just running a little high, you know. This is a lot of pressure on a 9-year-old. He -- it took him several months to even tell his friends, and now we're talking about telling the world what's happened. So I think the stress just is raising his sugar levels a little bit, so he was having a rough night.

ROBERTS: Bob, Mark raised $6,000 as you said that was donated to this organization. Those dogs, as I understand it, can cost as much as $26,000. Do you have enough to get a dog for Jason?

BOB RINKEL, SON RUNS LEMONADE STAND: You know, we believe we do. We have about $4,600 in hand, and then we have pledges that should put us over the $6,000 mark, but our goal is to go beyond that and share that money with other children, for others that are trying to get a dog to themselves.

CHETRY: Yes, it is really amazing.

Now, Mark, tell us what you do to keep Jason's spirits up? As your mom said, it's kind of tough for him, 9 years old and having to tell his friends he has juvenile diabetes. What do you do to cheer him up?

MARK RINKEL: Well, I just let him go as long as he likes and then I just kind of let him do what he wants to do.

CHETRY: What does he like to do?

MARK RINKEL: Well, sometimes he just needs to take a break.

ROBERTS: You know, mark, you're 12. Your brother is 9. Typically, when you get a couple of boys that age together, there's a lot of wrestling and roughhousing and a lot of competition between the two of them. How is it that you have such a special relationship with your brother that you're doing this to help him out?

MARK RINKEL: I've never been the rough type. I've always been more of the shy type. So I just -- I'm not the wrestling type.

ROBERTS: I mean, obviously, you have a lot of love for your little brother.


CHETRY: Is he accurate in that portrayal, Marisa? He doesn't strike me as shy.

MARISA RINKEL: He has had his moments where he's been shy. But we've really worked with them to value brothers. I have two brothers, both who've had a lot of health issues. One of them who has had type- I diabetes and had a seizure in the middle of Wal-Mart a couple of days before Jason was diagnosed, so I really value the time with brothers, and i've tried to pass that on to my kids.

ROBERTS: Well, it's really terrific what he was doing for his brother and it's to great to learn, too, that last year, the lemonade stand was raising money for AIDS. I expect he's either going to be the CEO of a company one day or the head of a charity, I'm not sure which.

CHETRY: Well, you guys have an inspirational story, and good luck to Jason. We hope he's feeling better. And let us know when you guys get the dog, because it will be great.



CHETRY: Take care.

ROBERTS: Mark, Bob, Marisa Rinkel, thanks very much for joining us from Colorado this morning. What a great story and what a great kid, too, helping his little brother out like that...

CHETRY: He's adorable.

ROBERTS: Instead of punching him in the nose like so many kids do.

CHETRY: You get two little boys together, who knows what happens. Well, out in Las Vegas, a class of second-graders learning the power of democracy. Majority rules when it comes to vanishing green beans from the lunch room.

ROBERTS: Here's the deal -- the kids at the Wright Elementary School recently read a story about a boy who wanted to boycott his cafeteria. It got the real-life kids thinking about their own lunch room and how much they hated green beans.

And if you see them in the way that they're prepared there, you can understand why. They organized a letter-writing campaign to the school district and expressed their dislike for the veggies. All but a couple of kids were on board with the program. Take a listen.


QUESTION: What was your favorite?


QUESTION: What was the worst?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Green beans frozen.

QUESTION: What was your favorite?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Green beans frozen.

QUESTION: You like the green beans frozen?


QUESTION: But you didn't?


QUESTION: What was wrong with it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It didn't have that much taste, and it was kind of mushy to me.

QUESTION: What was good about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the same as my mom makes it.


ROBERTS: Oh, yes.

CHETRY: Your mom is busted -- she get the green beans out of the can and heats them up. That kid, by the way, got vetoed, because the school says they're listening and only going to serve those green beans a limited number of times and they'll have other veggies instead.

ROBERTS: Get that kids name -- we're never going to his house for dinner.

CHETRY: Exactly. Got to tell you, though, green bean casserole a huge hit in my home as well. I think it's the French fried onions. You'd love it!

ROBERTS: I'm not coming to your place either!

CHETRY: CNN NEWSROOM is a just a minutes away. Heidi Collins at the CNN Center with a look at what's ahead. Hi, Heidi.


That's right, we have these stories coming up in the NEWSROOM rundown this morning: Friendly fire investigation. Questioning the military's handling of Pat Tillman's death. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is set to testify.

And massive attacks in Iraq -- dozens of people killed, many while waiting to buy gas.

And more financial fallout for Michael Vick. Another company sacks the embattled quarterback. We'll tell you all about it.

Join Tony Harris and me in the NEWSROOM as we get started at the top of the hour, right here on CNN.

CHETRY: Sounds good, Heidi. Thanks.


ROBERTS: If you thought the original video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was scary, wait until you see this video.

AMERICAN MORNING coming right back.



CHETRY: Here is a quick look at what the CNN's NEWSROOM is working on for the top of the hour.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: See these stories in the CNN NEWSROOM: Investigating the military's handling of Pat Tillman's friendly-fire death. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on today's witness list.

Talking with the vice president, Iraq, Iran and the attorney general. More with Dick Cheney and our Larry King ahead.

Also, relabeling alcohol -- is nutritional information necessary?

NEWSROOM just minutes away at the top of the hour on CNN.



JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": Here it is -- your moment of zen.

CHETRY: We were just wondering what it would be like -- I mean, he did this for almost 20 minutes -- for us to be able to keep our hands, or one extremity, in icy water. So we're going to try it. Most people -- are you dying right now? ROBERTS: This hurts. OK, that's it. I'm done.

CHETRY: Most people would not even be able to simply swim, and he did for 18 minutes. It hurts.

ROBERTS: It really hurts.


ROBERTS: Ah, yes, your moment of zen, courtesy of "The Daily Show" last night.

CHETRY: Well, taking it out of context we look downright silly.

ROBERTS: You think so? I don't know, maybe taken in context, we look downright silly, too. It was an experiment, right?

CHETRY: Yes, we were talking about Lewis Pugh. He's the Olympic swimmer who dove into the water of the North Pole to just show climate change, but I lasted for 15 seconds, and you lasted for 65. It is painful.

ROBERTS: Yes. And here's a challenge. We give you so much levity on "The Daily Show," have us on.

Thanks so much for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. We'll see you tomorrow.

CHETRY: All right, CNN NEWSROOM with Tony Harris and Heidi Collins begins right now.