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Cheney on Iraq; U.S. Push for Mideast Peace; TSA Wants to Add More Body Screening Machines

Aired August 1, 2007 - 06:59   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. Welcome back.
Thanks very much for joining us.

It is Wednesday, the 1st of August.

I'm John Roberts.

And people are wondering this morning, when that Dow bell sounds at 9:30, is it going to be off to the races or the fire alarm?

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Right. The futures don't look good.

Thanks for being with us this morning.

I'm Kiran Chetry.

Our Ali Velshi has been following that for us. He's going to update us momentarily.

But we begin this hour with Larry King's exclusive interview last night, making news this morning with Vice President Dick Cheney.

Cheney's standing firm on Iraq, while also saying that he was wrong when he told Larry two years ago that the insurgency was in its final throes. Then he made some more predictions about the report due next month from General David Petraeus.


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


CHETRY: All right. For more now, we go to CNN's Elaine Quijano.

The president promising not to comment on Iraq until after the Petraeus report is released, but we were hearing from the vice president.

Hi, Elaine.


Well, the vice president weighed in even as President Bush has been urging lawmakers to reserve judgment, essentially, on the surge until General Petraeus' report in September. That, of course, is the same time that U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker is expected to give his own assessment of the surge as well.

But even as the vice president on "LARRY KING LIVE" last night talked about progress, the Iraqi parliament this week was beginning a month-long recess. The parliament has not met some key political goals that Bush administration officials view as critical to overall political reconciliation in that country. The vice president last night essentially trying to put the best face possible on that recess, saying that at least the Iraqis cut down that recess from their original two-month plan to just one month, but, of course, Kiran, there will be no break for U.S. troops who are trying in Iraq to give those officials breathing room, breathing spaces even, the administration has called it, to try to and make some progress on the political front -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Elaine Quijano, live for us at the White House.


ROBERTS: The vice president also reignited a dispute between the administration and Senator Hillary Clinton, telling Larry King that he backed a Pentagon bureaucrat who has accused Clinton of helping the enemy in Iraq.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": 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: And I agreed with the letter Eric Edelman wrote. I thought it was a good letter.

KING: So 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 ought to be is perfectly legitimate. What we don't do is we don't get in the business of sharing operational plans. We never have with the Congress.


ROBERTS: The Clinton camp is firing back this morning saying, "It seems that the right hand does not 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: Well, it's going to be a big day on Capitol Hill. Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to testify about the death of Pat Tillman. The House Oversight Committee wants to know when Rumsfeld and Pentagon brass knew that Tillman was killed by U.S. troops in a friendly fire accident, not by enemy insurgent. Just yesterday, the military censured retired General Philip Kensinger, accusing him of covering up the fact that Tillman was killed by friendly fire.

ROBERTS: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continues her shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East, arriving in Israel this hour. She is in the region to shore up support for Iraq and to counter Iran's rising influence. Today, Rice will also tackle the thorny issue of peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

CNN's Zain Verjee is following the secretary's trip for us live from the State Department.

What's the secretary hoping to accomplish today in Israel, Zain?


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is really trying to lay the groundwork of a Middle East peace conference that's been proposed to be held this fall. She is going to be meeting with the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, as well as with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank.

This, John, is the first time she's been to the region since Hamas seized power in Gaza. The objective here she has is really for the U.S. to shore up support for the Palestinian president and also try and jump-start stalled peace talks.

Part of the U.S. strategy here, John, really, is to give Palestinians a choice. They want to just say, look, you know, you can either choose between the isolation and relative instability of Hamas and Gaza, or the relative stability under Abbas and the West Bank, as well as money coming in from the international community and the prospects for peace talks -- John.

ROBERTS: Zain, during all of that, we were looking at pictures of Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister. In terms of this peace conference that the administration is trying to put together on the Middle East between the Palestinians and Israelis for the fall, where does Saudi Arabia stand on it? And do they need to participate for this thing to be a success?

VERJEE: Well, the U.S. certainly would like them -- the U.S. would like them to do so. The U.S. also wants to see a greater warming of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

But, you know, in that press conference, John, the Saudi foreign minister says, yes, sure, you know, we'll attend, but we'll only do so if there are substantive issues. So he didn't really make any promises. And neither did a lot of the Arab countries anyway that Secretary Rice had met and spoke to their leaders.

One of the things is that they'll likely be expected to sit across the table with their Israeli counterparts. Secretary Rice, though, has said, look, you know, she's not all that worried because formal invitations haven't been sent. So she understands that there can be no commitment at this point.

ROBERTS: All right. So until the invitations are formal, everything is just talk.

Zain Verjee, from the State Department this morning.

Zain, thanks.

VERJEE: Thank you.

ROBERTS: This just in from Afghanistan moments ago. The Afghan army is dropping leaflets this morning, warning that it is about to launch an operation to rescue those 21 South Korean Christian hostages. This, after the latest deadline set by the Taliban expired.

Meanwhile, the families of the hostages are begging the United States for help. They gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. The Taliban has killed two Korean hostages and is threatening to shoot more.

Also new this morning, Senator Barack Obama 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 there. He is also expected to recommend sending troops into Pakistan if there is good intelligence that terrorists are operating in that country.

The campaign of Rudy Giuliani is steaming mad this morning, all because of a profile in the September issue of "Vanity Fair" magazine that slams Giuliani's wife, Judith Nathan. It characterizes her as an opportunist who hopes to be some sort of queen.

Giuliani's people called the article a vicious smear job. And later on this hour, the profile's author, Judy Bachrach, will join us to talk about this story and the criticism of it. As well, a former colleague of Rudy Giuliani.

A California truck driver lucky to be alive this more than. His FedEx delivery truck crushed under beams from a collapsed highway overpass near Sacramento. Forty-five-year-old Robert Sylvester was trapped for two and a half hours before rescuers were finally able to cut him out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The beam came across his lower extremities, pinned him inside there. It took us a little while to get him out of there because we had to stabilized all the beams around us and make sure the rest of the bridge wouldn't collapse on us as well.


ROBERTS: Amazingly, Sylvester came out of it with just a sprained ankle and some minor cuts. We're going to be talking with Robert Sylvester and the man who supervised the rescue effort coming up in our next hour -- Kiran.

CHETRY: It's amazing that he got out like that with only a few injuries.

Thanks, John.

Well, here's a look at some of the other important stories we're following with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents. Oil prices shoot up, settling at a new high that's just below $80 a barrel.

Ali Velshi is watching a big day shaping up for the markets, which don't look good either at this point and beyond.

Hi, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kiran, we've been talking a lot about the mortgage and credit issues, but it's been a long time since I've spent a lot of time next to my barrel, which I only bring out when there is a new record. And that is a new record settled for the price of oil, $78.21.

Oil has surged up on supply concerns. The last time we saw this kind of price, it was because of tensions in the Middle East. This isn't about that.

This is about the fact that we use almost as much oil as we produce on a daily basis. Take a look at what oil has done in the last year and you will start to get a bit of a picture of why investors are actually concerned about this.

This -- a year ago, oil was where it was -- where it is right now. It was going down. It was at its low point around the beginning of the year. It's up 25 percent since then.

Now, a lot of folks are saying, why have my gas prices come down 17 or 18 cents in the last couple of weeks when oil prices are going up? Well, I hope we've all figured out that there's no way -- there's no mathematician in the world who can figure out the relationship between gas and oil prices. But you can expect with oil up at 78 bucks a barrel, gas prices will soon follow, and that takes things -- that takes money out of the pockets of consumers who keep this economy going.

So, that is a real concern. You've got the two biggest issues facing consumers, their homes and their mortgage payments, and their energy costs. They are both being cut into right now, and that has investors very worried, which is why we've been seeing those drops on stock markets and why we may continue to see them when the stock market opens today in about an hour and a half -- Kiran.

CHETRY: By the way, do you take that barrel everywhere you go? Because it's right behind you now as well.

VELSHI: I've got to say, it's interesting. I had to look for it this morning because I haven't had to pull it out in a while.

CHETRY: All right, Ali. Thank you so much.

Also, any time you look at something that you drink or something that you eat, you can always see a nutrition label on the back that tells you how many calories, how much fat, how many carbs is in each one. Well, could we soon be seeing something like this on our bottles of wine and beer?

Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen following that for us.



Kiran, imagine it's a nice summer afternoon. You're kicking back with a bottle of beer. And then, wham, in your face is a label telling you exactly how many calories you're drinking.

Is this a good thing for a country that is way too overweight or is it nutritional overkill? We'll be talking about nutritional labels on alcohol later in the show.

CHETRY: All right.

Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

Now, also, in the last hour, a new tropical storm formed in the open Pacific. Rob Marciano tracking our extreme weather.


ROBERTS: To our terror watch now and how the government is trying to prevent another attack on the homeland. A plan to help some airline passengers circumvent long security lines is now being questioned by the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA is also stepping up efforts to deploy more body screening machines in airports across the country.

Our Jeanne Meserve joins us now live in Washington with more.

What's the TSA saying about this Fast Track program?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, about the Fast Track thing, the TSA is saying that it's not doing enough to catch so-called clean-skin terrorists. That is, people who don't have any kind of records. The industry is pushing back saying that isn't the case.

On the scanning machines, these have been tremendously controversial. The early back scan or body scans were called electronic strip searches because they used x-rays to produce explicit images of the body, as well as images of threat objects. But the images were blurred up and toned down, and since February, one of the machines has been deployed at the Phoenix airport as a test.

The Transportation Security Administration has now announced that it will be putting the machines at a handful of additional airports, and it will be trying out a new body scanning technology called millimeter wave. Millimeter wave produces what looks like a fuzzy photo negative of a person when electromagnetic waves are reflected from the body.

All of this, of course, an effort to find a better way to detect weapons and explosives and other dangerous items that might be hidden under clothing.

ROBERTS: Jeanne, you know, of course, civil liberties group are saying this is all far too invasive here in the name of security. Any idea how individual passengers feel about the whole thing?

MESERVE: Well, that's one of the things they've looked at in Phoenix. It wasn't used on every passenger but those who were picked for secondary screening, and they could pick between a pat-down or going through the Backscatter machine. The thought was they might be squeamish about the Backscatter. In fact, the vast majority of people opted for that rather than the pat-down.

ROBERTS: Interesting.

Jeanne Meserve with the latest on that, security at your airport this morning.

Jeanne, thanks.

MESERVE: You bet.

CHETRY: We have some flash flooding to talk about topping our "Quick Hits" now in Arizona. In fact, deadly flash flooding.

A 60-year-old man died after driving into a washed out road in Tucson. High water overran several big roads yesterday. Firefighters rescued at least nine stranded drivers.

And bad news for marijuana smokers. A new study says that it would take about five cigarettes to do the damage that one joint does to your lungs. Researchers looked specifically at how marijuana ups the odds of breathing problems like wheezing, coughing and chest congestion.


CHETRY (voice over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, booze labels. Why some sobering details may pop up on your favorite drink.

That's next on AMERICAN MORNING.



ROBERTS: Fifteen minutes after the hour. A diplomatic mission to China top your "Quick Hits" now.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is looking for ways to ease a record trade deficit which topped $200 billion last year. China has long been accused of devaluing its currency to keep its products cheaper on the world marketed.

Food stamp fraud in Florida. Fourteen people arrested in Miami and charged with ripping off the state of Florida to the tune of $4 million. The feds say the owners of a supermarket illegally allowed customers to get cash from fake transactions and then kept a certain percentage for themselves.

A New Hampshire man is facing charges in Maine today, including one for posing as a certified registered nurse. Police say Mark Hamel (ph) was arrested earlier this week after failing to pay a $2,000 hotel bill. Investigators then learned he had posed as a nurse for three months at a summer camp for disadvantaged children. The state attorney general is reviewing the case.

CHETRY: Well, the U.S. Treasury Department, which regulates alcohol the way that the FDA monitors medicine and food, may be hitting us with some sobering information.

ROBERTS: Yes, nutritional information labels on wine, beer and liquor.

Our CNN medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins us now from Atlanta to explain.

You know, Elizabeth, we're used to seeing these on food products, even something like the soft drink that I'm holding in my hand. But liquor? This is new.

COHEN: I know. This would be new, but the government says, you know what? If you want to know how many calories you're eating, maybe you should know how many calories you're drinking, because a lot of times people will drink and drink and they won't realize how many calories they're taking.

So what's being proposed by the government is a nutritional level much like you see on foods. You would know calories, grams of carbs, protein, information like that. And you would also know in addition the percent alcohol by volume. That would be, of course, different than the labels that you see on food.

CHETRY: Right. So, you know, it's interesting, because the way that it is now, it seems like it just depends on the company, on Miller Lite and a few of the other ones -- and Bud. I think you can see the calorie information, but it's very hard to read and it's small.

So what would a -- what would a label look like on some sort of alcohol bottle, Elizabeth?

COHEN: The label will look very much like nutritional labels that you see on food. And, of course, they haven't come up with the details, but it would probably look very much like this.

So here you see white table wine, and it would list the calories and it would list the grams of fat and it would list the nutrients. Now, as far as the nutrients go, there is very little of those in alcohol, so mostly what you're really looking at is calories and grams of fat.


COHEN: And here is something for people to remember, is that alcohol is alcohol is alcohol is alcohol in many ways, except if you're talking about light alcohol. The number of calories in a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, a shot of liquor, they're all pretty much the same, around a hundred calories.

ROBERTS: Yes. You know, the hidden fact is that there's plenty of vitamin C in beer, and apparently they're not allowed to advertise that.

We've got some examples here. We blanked out the labels just because we had he to make these generic.

But look, bottle of beer -- this is light beer -- 153 calories, 1.26 grams of carbs.

CHETRY: That's not light beer.

ROBERTS: Oh, it's not light beer?

CHETRY: No, because I think light beer is usually like a hundred, and a little bit less carbs. Maybe five. Because you know us ladies, we try to -- we look at that.

ROBERTS: You're watching this stuff a lot more closely than I am.

A glass of wine, 121 calories, three grams of carbs. And look at this -- a shot of -- this is gin. We won't say what gin. The people who know gin will know this bottle.

CHETRY: I know what to get you for Christmas now.

ROBERTS: Ninety-six calories and zero carbs.

So, it would seem that the gin is the healthier choice, but is there really a healthy choice here?

COHEN: You know what? There really isn't, John.

As you can see from the examples you just gave, they're all pretty much the same. You're not going to get a ton of nutrients from alcohol, and your calories are going to be about the same. Now, there is lots of evidence out there that a little bit of alcohol every day -- and it doesn't need to be red wine -- a mistake that a lot of people make -- is a good thing. Maybe a drink or two a day for men, a drink for women. All of that is going to give you some heart health benefits. But it doesn't matter what kind of alcohol you drink.

CHETRY: Right. And it's interesting that you say that, because it is different for men and women. Women metabolize alcohol differently usually than men, so you're not supposed to drink as much.

But, you know, a lot of the wineries and breweries are fighting this. They say they just don't want to have to put this stuff on their bottles. A lot of them are stylized and they don't want to put that information on.

How likely is this to pass?

COHEN: Well, I have to say, when nutrition labeling was proposed for foods, the food industry also battled it for a number of years before they said, OK, let's just cooperate and do this. So the industry often battles these things, and usually they end up doing what the government requires them to do.

But it is true. You can see that on a bottle there's not a whole ton of space to put information, especially there is already warnings on alcohol for pregnant women and talking about how driving -- how alcohol can impair your ability to drive. So I'm sure that will be part of their argument, that they're already putting labels on their bottles.

ROBERTS: And let's not forget, too, that we have the heart health benefit on the one side of the coin, but as we reported yesterday, drinking alcohol increases the risk of colon cancer. So, you know, there's always something to be concerned about.

COHEN: There's always salad.

CHETRY: Everything in moderation, right?

COHEN: Absolutely.

CHETRY: That's what they say. And I guess it's true.

Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

COHEN: Thanks.

CHETRY: Well, Wall Street is buzzing about the Dow deal. Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation adding "The Wall Street Journal" to his global media empire. We're going to have more on how that could affect the markets coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Well, Nicole Richie, she was Paris Hilton's good buddy, they starred in "The Simple Life" together, is confirming the rumors that she is pregnant, nearly four months along, confirming to ABC. She says that Joel Madden, singer for the group Good Charlotte and her boyfriend, is the baby' father.

Richie pleaded guilty last week to a drunk driving charge and was sentenced to four days in jail. She has until September 29th to serve her jail time. So she got less than Paris in the clink.

ROBERTS: Good for her.

Twenty-four minutes after the hour now. Ali Velshi here "Minding Your Business".

Three hundred point swing in the Dow yesterday. What does it all mean for the average investor?

VELSHI: Well, the swing is -- means that we're nearly at 13,000 right now on the Dow. We were at 14,000 a couple of weeks ago. And I've been -- I've been jousting with you about this. You know, should the average investigator care about where this market is?

Probably not on a daily basis. You shouldn't be in and out of that market. But you should be looking at what is going on and whether or not you should be rebalancing your portfolio.

Now, you've been -- you know, you look at these markets. You take a look at them. And a lot of people are saying that as we get close to 13,000, if you weren't in the market already...

ROBERTS: Maybe a good time?

CHETRY: A good time.

VELSHI: ... it might be worth some thinking about.

Now, where are you going to get all of this information from?


CHETRY: "The Wall Street Journal".

VELSHI: "The Wall Street Journal".

This is where a lot of folks...

ROBERTS: Or, which could become...

VELSHI: Which could start to look like this. And that's the concern of a lot of people.

This deal is close to being done. The Bancroft family, which holds the controlling interest in "The Wall Street Journal" and has for many decades, has agreed to a deal where they're going to put their votes behind the deal for Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation to buy "The Wall Street Journal". What does it mean to you? Probably not much. "The Wall Street Journal" has always had a conservative editorial bent on its editorial page, but the reporting has actually been pretty solid when it comes to business news.

We all depend on it. So a lot of the concerns may not come to pass.

So, if you are looking to get smarter on business news, you can tune into us every morning. But if you want a little more depth, because they have an entire newspaper dedicated to it, we're not sure we're going to see too many changes.

ROBERTS: I'm interested in seeing what shape the gossip column is going to take.

VELSHI: Well, somebody said you'll probably see more color in it. I mean, Rupert Murdoch has a way of making these things work.

So, between -- in fact, if you look at the front of "The Wall Street Journal" today, what you have is a big story on Rupert Murdoch taking over "The Wall Street Journal," and then you've got this Bear Stearns story which is part of this whole credit problem that caused the markets to collapse yesterday.

CHETRY: But they're still sketched. So, you know, it's not...


VELSHI: They're still sketched, but there's color in the picture here.


VELSHI: And one of the -- the story here is, "Can faux gras ever match the real thing?"

So it's faux foie gras.

Some people fear that that might be more of the direction.

ROBERTS: Ali, thanks.

VELSHI: Good to see you.

CHETRY: Also "On Our Radar" this morning -- you really want to stay tuned for this because it's going to be very interesting. "Vanity Fair," the magazine, did an article that the Rudy Giuliani camp is really referring to as a hit piece on Judith Nathan Giuliani.

We're going to be talking with the author of the article, and we're also going to hear from the Giuliani camp this morning.

ROBERTS: That's right. Yes, they are very, very upset about this. It's in the September issue of "Vanity Fair" magazine. The author and a Giuliani defender coming up in our next half hour here on AMERICAN MORNING.

Stay with us.


CHETRY: Wow. Look at that shot this morning.

This is from WFAA in Dallas, Texas. Don't you love a green building in the morning? You know? It just really wakes you up.

Probably great to live, you know, maybe just a block away from that. You never have to worry about sleeping in.

They are shaping up for a nice high today.

What are they looking at, John?

ROBERTS: Eighty-nine degrees, scattered thunderstorms today.

You know, there's been so much rain in Texas this spring and summer.


ROBERTS: And it looks like it's going to continue.

CHETRY: It's been a rough one for them, for sure, even as we're heading into August. The summer seems to be moving along quickly. It's August 1st.

ROBERTS: Can you believe that?

CHETRY: No. It's going by very fast.

ROBERTS: It's like, pedal to the metal on the accelerator for this summer. It will be over before we know it.

CHETRY: Thanks so much for joining us today, by the way.

I'm Kiran Chetry.

ROBERTS: Good morning to you.

I'm John Roberts.

CHETRY: Well, new this morning, there is no word yet on the fate of 21 South Korean hostages being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The deadline set by the Taliban has already expired about four hours ago. Meanwhile, the families of the hostages are begging the United States for help.

In fact, they gathered outside of the U.S. embassy in Seoul. The Taliban has killed two of the Korean hostages and threatening to shoot more if their demands are not met. They want some Taliban prisoners released. Reuters is reporting the Afghan army dropped leaflets warning the Taliban of its intention to rescue the hostages but Afghan officials are denying the leaflets were indeed dropped.

We will continue to follow this and bring you new details as we get them from Afghanistan this morning.

Meantime, turning to Iraq; at least 50 people have been killed, 60 others hurt in a gas station bombing. This happened in western Baghdad. Hours earlier, a car bomb went off on a busy street in Baghdad killing 12 people.

A wildfire in Montana growing even more and that is pushing more people out. Sixty homes had to be evacuated as the fire near Helena, Montana grew to 23 square miles. The U.S. 2 highway reopened Sunday. Officials warn it could be closed again soon. Visibility problems, and you can see right there because of all of that smoke.

The CEO of Northwest Airlines apologizing to passengers this morning about delays and flight cancellations. Thousands of people had their trips and their vacations ruined this summer. The problem keeps popping up at the end of the month when pilots hit their quota for flight hours and cannot fly anymore. Northwest is promising to try to fix the problem by hiring more pilots and cutting back on the number of scheduled flights -- John.

ROBERTS: This morning the United Nations is launching a new assault on the endless violence in Sudan's Darfur region. After years of pressure the U.N. Security Council just approved plans to triple the size of the security force on the ground there. It's going to boost the number of troops on the ground to 26,000. And there will be blue helmeted U.N. peacekeepers there, but will it make a difference?

Richard Roth is our U.N. correspondent and joins me now.

So, will it make a difference? They will have certain rules of engagement. What are those rules of engagement?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Rules of engagement for these new expanded peacekeeping forces there. They are going to protect civilians, should they come under attack. Help facilitate humanitarian aide worker's movement, and basically try to stabilize this region. There's 200,000 dead, reportedly, and millions made homeless in the last few years.

ROBERTS: One of the complaints about the African Union, and we saw this from a guest we had last week -- who was an observer with the African Union force back in 2004, and just recently did a documentary about it -- was the African Union was powerless to stop the Janjaweed, which is the militia going into all these villages and burning and looting, and killing people. What will the U.N. be able to do if they are trying to protect a village from the Janjaweed come?

ROTH: I asked that question yesterday, at the United Nations. And there is this usual vagueness in Security Council resolutions. It seems like the Security Council may be powerless to stop the Janjaweed. No mention of that armed militia, backed by the government, in this resolution. No threat of additional sanctions in the resolution. That is why the U.S. decided not to formally sponsor this resolution.

ROBERTS: So, what about the president of Sudan? He has been very much against, adamantly resisting the idea of U.N. peacekeeping force. Look the African Union is fine. Because he knows they're powerless. But we don't wan the U.N. in. Did he cave?

ROTH: Well, he definitely felt the pressure from China. But he's been able to stall and human rights workers and organizations are wringing their hands, that it's still going to take months -- more -- to get this 26,000-strong force in, by the end of the year. They still have to recruit troops and no country is going to want to send soldiers there if they see in the early skirmishes that, here we go again, it's a Bosnia or Iraq-type thing.

ROBERTS: Does this sort of take this off the table in terms of the presidential election? Because as we saw, particularly, the Democratic debates, a lot of the presidential candidates were ringing in on it.

ROTH: I think everyone will still be able to pile on and say we should have done more, but I think it may not be a major issue. It hasn't been enough to galvanize world action. Sudan has been able to play for time.

ROBERTS: We'll see if this actually works. Certainly a long- time in coming.

Richard Roth, thanks. Good to see you.


CHETRY: Two thumbs up for a new website that's putting a video of 5,000 movie reviews from "Siskel & Ebert" on the web. will have the clips available starting tomorrow.

Well, a bilingual battle on a beach in New Hampshire. Police suggested adding signs in Spanish to the existing "No alcohol, No Smoking" signs because they say the rules are constantly being broken by people who cannot read the signs. Some residents, though, are objecting saying their tax dollars shouldn't be used for Spanish signs.


CHETRY (voice over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, honor student, athlete, but also an illegal immigrant. A group of teens travel to Washington to try to stop the deportation of their classmate, and his brother.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact is that our law needs a lot of work. And it punishes innocent people every single day.


CHETRY: So will Congress make an exception? That's next on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: It's a fight to "Save Juan and Alex"; the rallying crying from a group of south Florida teenagers today. They are in Washington today to lobby lawmakers on behalf of the Gomez family, who came to the U.S. from Columbia, over stayed their visas, and are now sitting in detention centers in Florida, facing deportation.

The teens are fighting to at least keep the Gomez's two sons, Juan and Alex, here in the United States.

Scott Elfenbein and Katie Snow are part of the "Save Juan and Alex" campaign. You've got your T-shirts on this morning. They join me from Washington now, where they've been lobbying lawmakers.

Thanks for being with us, both of you.

SCOTT ELFENBEIN, FRIEND OF JUAN GOMEZ: Thank you for having us, Kiran. We're really appreciative that some one is picking up our story.

CHETRY: Scott, let me ask you about this, because everyday we hear of people who have appeals out there, who want to be able to stay in the United States. Why should people pay attention to Juan and Alex? What makes them so special?

ELFENBEIN: People should look to lend a helping ear to anyone that has a problem, but especially to Juan and Alex, because Juan and Alex have proved themselves over and over again to be major assets to this country.

Juan has posted a 1410 SAT, served 300 hours of community service, 3.96 GPA and graduating 14th in a class of 800 kids. It's pretty impressive stuff on its own right, but when you consider his status, and the fact that he didn't have a computer until 12th grade, it gets a little more impressive.

CHETRY: And Katie, right now, what's happening is that they're both being held, Juan and Alex, your friends, in the Broward Detention Center; their family, father and mother, are at separate detention centers. What happened? How did the authorities find out they overstayed their visa?

KATIE SNOW, SAVE JUAN & ALEX CAMPAIGN: Currently, we really don't know how. I just found out about it, but they were taken from their home at around 5:30 on Wednesday morning, and taken to the detention center. And from then on, we've been working to try to get them out, and try to give them the chances they deserve in America.

CHETRY: You know, as you said, they were detained a week ago but you guys have already gotten together and made your way to Washington. You have this full protest under way. Scott, how did you guys organize so quickly and how are you hoping that Congress responds?

ELFENBEIN: It's kind of remarkable. Because originally we only planned on creating this small Facebook group to let our friends that were in college know that our best friend got picked up. And it's kind of evolved and exploded into this major news story, which kind of is a testament to how desperately we need immigration reform. And how unavoidable it changes in that policy are.

Because people have taken up this cause, Juan and Alex's cause, as well as a future for immigration reform, especially for minors. And that is really what has been important and it's not just about Juan and Alex anymore. And we're proud to say that. And we're willing to make that fight.

CHETRY: You know, this year alone there are 50 of these similar private relief bills, as they're calling them, these -- concerning individuals who have a private case and who are making their own case for being able to stay, individually. None of these have passed right now. Why do you think maybe, Katie, your plight, the news of your plight for Juan and Alex will maybe get more attention in the walls of Congress?

SNOW: I'm thinking it will get more attention to the relation of the Dream Act, which was a bill that was part of the immigration bill that was recently rejected by Congress. And the Dream Act would allow students of immigrant children to get temporary residency to stay in the United States, with a student visa. And it was a part of the bill and since the whole bill wasn't passed, it was just thrown off alongside it. And hopefully, by making -- by passing this private bill, we can influence the passage of this Dream Act.

CHETRY: And, Juan, as you described, Scott, is clearly a gifted student. Unfortunately, though, at the end of the day, the bottom line is his parents broke the law. Doesn't there need to be consequences for people who break the law?

ELFENBEIN: Absolutely, Kiran. I think you just said it exactly the way we've been trying to tell people. These parents broke the law. He didn't do it intentionally, he didn't do it maliciously. He was taken here. He had no choice in the situation. And now the U.S. government is deciding after he has lived here for 16 years, that he now needs to be punished and sent back to a country that will be foreign to him.

America is his home. It's where he feels he belongs. Where we believe he belongs. And he has so much to contribute, so much to offer to our society, that it seems ridiculous to send him back to a country he doesn't know.

CHETRY: You guys are doing a great job getting the word out there. You have two of your local congressmen, Diaz-Belart, as well as, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who are taking up this cause. Keep us posted on how it turns out for your friends and thanks to both of you for joining us.

Scott Elfenbein, as well as Katie Snow, thanks.

ELFENBEIN: Absolutely. Thank you!

SNOW: Thank you.

ROBERTS: The campaign of Rudy Giuliani fighting back today after "Vanity Fair's" lengthy and unflattering article about his wife, Judith Giuliani. We will speak to the author of the article, and a Giuliani defender, coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: An article in the upcoming September issue of "Vanity Fair" magazine is ripping into former New York's Mayor Rudy Giuliani's wife, Judith, calling her a wannabe queen and an opportunist. It even hints at cracks in their marriage.

Joining me now from Washington is Judy Bachrach, she is the author of the "Vanity Fair" article.

Judy, this is being called by many people, a hatchet job. What do you say?

JUDY BACHRACH, CONTRIBUTING ED., "VANITY FAIR": It's mainly being called that by the Giuliani people, but you may notice that the Giuliani people are being very careful with Judith Giuliani. They're keeping her under wraps. They don't want her talking very much to the press. And you have to ask yourself why.

They just didn't want me, for instance, to know anything at all about her. I couldn't figure it out at first, and now I understand why.

ROBERTS: In fact, at one point in your article you say that you actually interviewed Judith Giuliani's father. And subsequently when her mother found out about that, she asked or demanded that you rip up your notes, about that interview?

BACHRACH: She did. She was very nervous. She clearly have been told not to speak to the press ever, and was very angry at her husband for having done so. But worse than that, Mike McKuen (ph), who runs the campaign, screamed at me four hours later for daring to speak to Mrs. Giuliani's father.

ROBERTS: You quote a former aide, of the former mayor, saying, quote, "There is a reason why she" -- Judith Giuliani -- "wore that tiara at her wedding. She really sees herself as a princess."

You tried to interview her. She declined. But what was the impression of you got of her, through the people you talked to?

BACHRACH: Judith Giuliani was born to a very modest family, of modest means, in a very small town. And it was her ambition always to go farther and to get more. And she married sequentially, and each husband was more prosperous than the last, and she's made it her business to do very well in life, which is fine, except she's managed to alienate of lot of Giuliani's most ardent supporters.

ROBERTS: As we said, you interviewed her father, but a lot of the texture of the interview comes from ex-husbands, and ex- boyfriends, who say have a lot of ax to grind. Also, a lot of unnamed sources.

BACHRACH: Well, in fact, the ex-boyfriend, who spoke to me, was very fond of Judith Giuliani and didn't have an ax to grind. It was he who broke up with her because he didn't wanted to get married, and she didn't.

Many people who work for Giuliani and admire him, are very worried about Mrs. Giuliani, and the question is why are they so worried? The answer is because she's a very angry woman, who lets her temper out on the people closest to him.

ROBERTS: But you also cite some good qualities, such as she was very helpful in the wake of 9/11. She's also described as being, quote, "totally loyal" in your article. Those are qualities, I would I assume that you would want in a partner, and potentially a first lady.

BACHRACH: Absolutely. Giuliani was smitten by her, but more than that he was touched by her loyalty when he was discovered to have cancer. Judith Giuliani, as we all know, started off as nurse. And she was very valuable to him and very loyal. There are many good qualities to this lady.

The problem is she's gone very far, very fast. She doesn't know how to deal with it and she often deals with it badly. And you can tell by the Giuliani campaign's attempt to muscle the press, which is their usual way of dealing with the press anyway, to see how scared they are about her effect on the campaign.

ROBERTS: The article is out in the September issue of "Vanity Fair" magazine. Judy Bachrach, thanks very much. Appreciate you being with us this morning.

BACHRACH: My pleasure.

ROBERTS: We invited the Rudy and Judith Giuliani on to respond. The ex-mayor campaign declined that invitation, but they did make available Randy Mastro. He's the former deputy mayor of New York, and Giuliani family friend.

Morning to you, Randy.


ROBERTS: What did you think of the article, and what we just heard from Judy Bachrach?

MASTRO: I think you hit it on the head. It's a hatchet job.

ROBERTS: I was just characterizing what other people have said.

MASTRO: It's not just the Giuliani campaign saying that, it's being said in the rest of the press. This is a piece. Gossip mongering, left leaning, "Vanity Fair" has now done its second hit job on the Giulianis in the past three months. It's a pack of lies, innuendos, distortions, and gossip attributed to anonymous sources, and an ex-husband. Hardly reliable sources. It's faux journalism. It's fiction. It's not the Judith Giuliani that I have come to know so well.

ROBERTS: So, is anything in this true?

MASTRO: Basically, it's a depiction that is largely fiction. The only thing that is true about it is that she is a loving wife and mother. She is a strong spouse, devoted, loyal to her husband. But what's most important -- what's most important is, that she is a good person, a person who has devoted herself, first to a husband, helping him through his worst health crisis. Then after 9/11, day in and day out, helping in that effort and especially providing support and comfort to the victim's families. And a nurse who has devoted her life to public health and charitable causes for public health.

ROBERTS: As we pointed out, some of that is included in the article. Something I've got to ask you, though --

MASTRO: You have you to read it very carefully, John, to find the good and you can see just from the author's reaction that she's developed a personal animus. The problem here is that we've now gotten into a world where a respected news organization like CNN is devoting time to this kind of trash, gossip, instead of the issues in the campaign like fighting terrorism and --

ROBERTS: Hey, you folks have responded. It becomes a news story.

Let me ask you this question. The one thing she points out in this article, is that there's been sort of a -- she calls it a shroud of secrecy around the circumstances of when Rudy Giuliani met Judith Nathan. Quote, she says, in the article, "The details of that fateful night have since been industriously hidden and altered.

You've known them for a long time. How did they first meet?

MASTRO: They met, you know, at a restaurant.

ROBERTS: Which restaurant?

MASTRO: I think it's called Club Makanudo (ph).

ROBERTS: A cigar bar?

MASTRO: It's a cigar bar and restaurant. And they met in an accidental way. She was having dinner with others, others approached Rudy Giuliani, as many people do when they see him. And that is really how they met, in that setting. Is there no mystery to it. But the reality is Judith Giuliani will be a great first lady. She's a loving wife and mother, and the Giuliani campaign is about the issues that face this country.

ROBERTS: We'll see how that plays out. Randy Mastro, good to have you in.

MASTRO: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Thanks for responding. Appreciate it.


CHETRY: A Bible with your Sunday paper, tops your "Quick Hits" now. A plan by a Christian ministry to include Bibles in 11 different newspapers has caused so much controversy that that at least one paper is letting subscribers opt out. The ministry says it is just looking for a new way to spread its message. The inserts will cost the ministries several $100,000.

Elvis Pressley's famous home is about to get quarter billion dollar overhaul. Graceland's renovation plan includes a visitor center, larger than a football field, high-tech images of Elvis so real you will think he never left the building. August 16 is the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis Aaron Pressley.

The mortgage industry took another punch yesterday as another company hit rock bottom. Is this finally the end of the mortgage mess? We're going to talk more about that when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.


CHETRY: Well, she's nearly 100 years old, but Gladys Spence is not ready to slow down anytime soon. And why would she? She's in great shape and walks four blocks, round trip, to her local McDonald's in Mountain Home, Idaho for a cup of coffee and apple pie. She does it every single day.

Well, just four months ago, Gladys almost died after a heart attack but she made it back to her favorite McDonald's and says she will be there again next Thursday for her 94th birthday party, too.

Congratulations to you. The walking, I'm sure, helps.

ROBERTS: Absolutely. My mom is the same age this year.


ROBERTS: We're closely monitoring the mortgage industry this morning. Trouble is now shaking the foundation of the markets. CNN's money saver Gerri Willis here, joining us now with the details. What is the whole thing about American Home Mortgage and the absolute collapse that it experienced yesterday?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: This was the big news yesterday that drove the markets down. American Home Mortgage said, hey, their learned won't lend it any money, big problems for that company.

And of course, there's more news out, in the sector, even more important that you should know about foreclosures. They're rising and rising fast, up 58 percent in the first half of the year, year over year. So, John, that's a very big deal.

ROBERTS: Right. What about negotiating? When people refinance can't they renegotiate the rate?

WILLIS: Well, there's a fly in the ointment. If want to negotiate with your lender and you're close to foreclosure, typically you can, but there is confusions there. Some homeowners can't even figure out who owns their loan, at this point, because the mortgage industry is so complicated.

ROBERTS: Why wouldn't lenders themselves want to help out here? It's in their interest, you would think?

WILLIS: This isn't your mother's lending mortgage industry anymore. Guess what, there are big changes out there. The people who owned your loan are probably -- maybe an investor in Hong Kong. You don't know. The world has changed so much. And a whole new industry has grown up just to service these loans. They're called servicers. Critics of the industry say hey, they don't even want to help you out, even though they may be obligated to. Lots of debate over this industry right now, particularly with so many people headed towards foreclosure.

ROBERTS: So, what do people who need money, who are looking for money, need to know about this?

WILLIS: Well, I got to tell you, 90 percent of these servicing agreements say that even in the event of a default the company you make payments to can make changes to that loan, and whether or not they do modify your loan terms, it's up to them. But you should know, they can if they want to, even though it may cost them some money.

But hey, if you want some help you want to call somebody today, you're worried about foreclosure, call the HUD Foreclosure Counseling Service, 1-800-569-4287.

There is also something called HOPE, the Home Ownership Preservation Foundation hotline, 1-888-995-HOPE. Reach out if you think you're in trouble and try to get it fixed. Look, there may be a way out for you today.

ROBERTS: Good information, Gerri Willis, as always, thanks.

WILLIS: Thank you.

CHETRY: Well, coming up in just a couple of minutes, a story you can't miss. It's on our radar this morning. You think the worst part about your office is maybe your loud annoying coworkers, or the fluorescent lights that are blinding you?

ROBERTS: Or that recycled air that all these buildings have?

CHETRY: Exactly. Well, now we have a new one for you, actually. The office laser printer? There is a new study out on the laser printer, and whether or not it could pose a danger to your health.

ROBERTS: Interesting stuff! We'll be taking a look at that. The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.


ROBERTS (voice over): CNN exclusive --

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My estimate at the time and it was wrong. It turned out to be --

ROBERTS: Vice President Cheney opens up on war politics and Hillary Clinton.

CHENEY: To respond to political charges, such as those that Senator Clinton made, I think it would be unwise.

ROBERTS: News and blues on Wall Street. The market in danger of another big drop today.


ROBERTS: Plus, Rupert Murdoch seals a $5 billion deal for "The Wall Street Journal."

Brotherly love --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lemonade and snacks, down this road!

ROBERTS: Meet the young man working for a potentially life- saving gift for his little brother on this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: And good morning. Welcome back as we kick off a brand new month. It's Wednesday, the 1st of August. I'm John Roberts.

CHETRY: I'm Kiran Chetry. We will 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.

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