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Iraq Progress Report: Petraeus, Crocker Testify Today; Showdown in Pakistan: Former Prime Minister Kicked Out Again; Tracking the Remains of Tropical Depression Gabrielle; Parents of Missing Girl Leave Portugal; Teen Saves Woman as Two Trains Crash Her Car
Aired September 10, 2007 - 06:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): The September progress report.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I asked the members of Congress to just sit back and listen to what they all have to say.
ROBERTS: Congress gets a long-awaited update from the military and the political front lines in Iraq. The talk today of progress and possible exit strategies.
We're checking the facts.
Plus, under a cloud of suspicion.
GERRY MCCANN, MADELEINE MCCANN'S FATHER: We have played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter, Madeleine.
ROBERTS: The parents of Madeleine McCann speaking out back home. The new outrage and accusations this morning.
And hometown hero. Meet the teenager who took on a train to save a stranger's life, on this AMERICAN MORNING.
ROBERTS: And good morning. Thanks very much for joining us on what is a very big day in Washington, Monday, September the 10th.
I'm John Roberts on Capitol Hill.
Good morning, Kiran
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.
And we're going to be talking to that young man. His friends say he had about five seconds to spare before that train barreled down the tracks. An amazing heroic story. We're going to hear more from him in a couple of minutes.
But first, of course, the big news out of Washington. ROBERTS: It is the report that Washington has waited months to hear. And within hours we will hear from the top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and the top U.S. diplomat in Iraq, Ryan Crocker. We may already have an idea of what they're going to say about the surge and a possible troop reduction in the near future.
CNN's Dana Bash joins me now. She's been following all the twists and turns in this story as well.
Dana, what kind of audience is General Petraeus expected to play before today?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A skeptical one, a very skeptical one. Not just the Democratic majority, but also Republicans.
He's going to start out in the House. House members, of course, run, all of them, every single two years, and many of them, especially the Republicans, are in sort of tough districts, and they made clear to the president several months ago that this particular testimony, this particular point and time is going to be crucial. However, there's a "but" here, there's a big "but".
The summertime, especially August, it didn't turn out exactly how Democrats thought it would, John. You know that they thought that Republicans were going to go home, they were going to get pressure from their constituents, and they were going to come back and more and more vote for their deadline for withdrawal. But it didn't turn out that way. The White House did a pretty good job of trying to convince people that the surge is working.
ROBERTS: And some polls show that an increasing number of Americans believe that perhaps there are some positive results in the surge. And then that bin Laden tape that we saw last week may have helped make the president's case that you've got to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq. But some Democratic organizations certainly are keeping the heat on. MoveOn.org comes to mind.
BASH: Right. I mean, look at this. I'll try to put this up without the wind blowing it away.
MoveOn.org, full page ad -- "General Petraeus or General Betray Us? Cooking the Books for the White House".
This is incredibly, incredibly harsh, but it is in keeping -- not this tough -- but it is in keeping from what we've heard from Democrats, John, for the past several days, really trying to essentially undermine the kind of testimony and the kind of report that we're going to see from the White House and we're going to hear from General Petraeus.
ROBERTS: But among Democrats on Capitol Hill, whether they be senators or members of the House, we have seen them be critical of the upcoming report, but they have stopped short of criticizing General Petraeus. I mean, Joe Biden yesterday even saying, hey, look, he's a really good guy, I have a lot of faith in him, but I don't like the policy.
Could this potentially hurt Democrats?
BASH: It certainly could. It's a very, very risky strategy, because as one Republican said to us, remember, his approval rating is four times higher than that of Democrats in Congress. So, it certainly is risky, but -- so they're trying to sort of walk a fine line in trying to attack the conclusion that General Petraeus is going to give, which is that, you know, it's mixed, but for the most part, you should give it more time, but not necessarily so much the -- they have crossed the line a little bit. The Senate majority leader did say on Friday that he thinks that General Petraeus in the past has made several factual errors in reports that he's given. That's part of this ad as well.
ROBERTS: And Senator Ted Kennedy said yesterday also that this is a report by General Petraeus on how well General Petraeus is doing in Iraq.
Dana Bash, thanks very much.
CHETRY: Well, Senator Larry Craig fighting to stay afloat, officially starting his legal fight. The senator, who was busted in a men's room sex sting then pleaded guilty, will now try to take it all back. The Idaho Republican is expected this morning to file court documents to withdraw his guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge.
Senator Arlen Specter came out in Craig's defense on CNN's "LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R-PA), RANKING MEMBER, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think that Senator Craig is entitled to the same rights as any other person. No more or no less.
Look here, Wolf, frequently you get a parking ticket, the meter's broken, but you enter a guilty plea, you sign off, you pay a small check and not fight it. He thought that this matter would not be publicly disclosed, and that was very foolish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Well, Craig had said that it was his intent to resign from the Senate at the end of this month. He later backed off of that idea, too. He could decide to stay in office if the court clears his name.
And we are expecting to hear from Craig's attorney, Billy Martin, coming up this morning. We'll bring that to you when it happens.
Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel will announce today he is not running for president or seeking re-election next year. Hagel has been one of the more outspoken Republican critics of the war in Iraq. Former Senator Bob Kerrey and former Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns are among the names surfacing as candidates for Hagel's seat.
And Democrats running for president held the first-ever debate in Spanish last night at the University of Miami. Anchors from Univision asked questions in Spanish. The candidates then heard a translation in English, and their answers were translated back into Spanish for viewers. Immigration reform one of the biggest topics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do favor much more border patrolling and much more technology on both of our borders. And in certain areas, even a physical barrier, because I think we've got to secure our borders. That has to be part of comprehensive immigration reform.
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This wall is a horrendous example of Washington misguided policy. The Congress only funded half of the wall. And in addition to that, if you're going to build a 12-foot wall, you know what's going to happen? A lot of 13-foot ladders. This is a terrible symbol of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Well, the two Spanish-speaking candidates, Governor Richardson, for one, and Senator Chris Dodd, were not allowed to speak Spanish in the debate. And Richardson, John, as we know, complained about that.
ROBERTS: Right, he certainly did. He wanted to be able to address the crowd in a language that he is very fluent in, but I guess the moderators of the debate thought that might be a little bit of an unfair advantage.
A high-stakes political drama playing out just hours ago in Pakistan. Back in 1999, General Pervez Musharraf ousted the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, in a coup. Well, earlier today, Nawaz Sharif tried to make a triumphal return to Pakistan. It didn't quite turn out the way he had hoped.
Monita Rajpal live in London at our world update desk.
Good morning, Monita.
MONITA RAJPAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
Yes, drastically changed his plans. He had hoped to arrive in Pakistan and start his campaign to challenge Pervez Musharraf for the presidency, but those plans drastically changed.
He, just about shortly from now, he will be landing in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where just a few hours after he landed in Islamabad he was put back on the plane to Saudi Arabia. The plan was, again, he had received the word from the high court in Pakistan just a couple of weeks ago that he would be allowed to return to Pakistan, where he had been in exile in Saudi Arabia for about seven years.
He was also living in London for some time. So he planned to do that. But when he landed, there was -- those plans indeed changed.
In fact, for a few hours he was under arrest by Pakistan's police on money laundering and corruption charges. There were reports that he was given a choice whether to accept those arrest charges or to return to exile.
He is now -- again, he should be landing in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, shortly. There has been no word from Musharraf -- or President Musharraf or his government officials at this time, but as you know, Nawaz Sharif has been a main challenger to President Pervez Musharraf, whose popularity in recent weeks has been seen to decline recently, of course. And there are some -- those who are saying that this deportation, re-deportation, if you will, of Nawaz Sharif will add to the fuels of the flames, if you will, against -- against Pervez Musharraf -- John.
ROBERTS: Yes. We'll have to see what the reaction of that is going to be.
Monita Rajpal for us in London this morning.
Monita, thanks -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Well, it's time now to check in with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents for some other stories new this morning.
(STOCK MARKET REPORT)
CHETRY: And Rob Marciano live from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, tracking the remains of Gabrielle.
Did we see a lot of damage, Rob, in the area?
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Not a whole lot of damage, Kiran. There was some flooding, a tremendous amount of rain, especially in the southern half of the storm.
That's one thing that was really odd about it. The southwestern quadrant, usually the weakest section of the storm, brought all the rain. So, places like Morehead City, New Bern, Wilmington, Atlantic Beach, they got all the rain -- in some cases over eight inches of rain -- which still not enough.
There was some beach erosion. That's an issue.
Over my left shoulder is the tallest brick lighthouse in the U.S. They actually moved it. It's over 100 years old, but they moved it back in 1999 about, well, 1500, 2,000 feet off the beach.
Godo thing. Look how close this water is. This coastline in constant flux as storms come through. By the way, there's a couple of surfers out there. We saw several surfers make their way to the beach to get rare big breakers here on Cape Hatteras, and they're out there this morning. It's a little bit more tranquil, a little bit more pretty, and the sun's coming up. So the clouds from what's left of Tropical Depression Gabrielle have moved out, there's no doubt about that.
There's still a handful of people without power this morning, Kiran, but all in all, the maximum wind gust I saw was 52 miles an hour. So this storm certainly could have been a lot worse.
The one thing they are disappointed with is they didn't get the rainfall they need to quench the drought here. In some spots, over 19 inches below where they should be this time of year.
Back to you in New York.
CHETRY: Wow. That's amazing.
And Rob, the water looks as blue as the Caribbean. Is that just our cameras or is it really like that out there this morning?
MARCIANO: Now, it looks great. It's definitely -- there's less sea foam this morning than there was yesterday. It looks as if nothing ever even happened, just like the guys who do water damage.
CHETRY: How about that? All right, Rob. Thanks so much.
Well, First Lady Laura Bush is recovering this morning from neck surgery over the weekend. It was to relieve pain caused by pinched nerves.
CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has more on the procedure and the recovery from our medical update desk.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran.
Kiran, the White House says that the surgery was a success. They took two and a half hours and took place at George Washington University Hospital. And what surgeons did was that they enlarged the passageway where the nerves sit near the shoulder to so that the pressure on those nerves could be removed.
Now, the first lady has no public events scheduled today. It's not clear exactly how long it will take for her to recuperate, because that does vary from patient to patient. Now, doctors said they're not sure exactly how Mrs. Bush injured her nerves, but they said that certainly it was aggravated when she went hiking out in Utah this past spring.
Now, symptoms -- in case you hear about this and you're wondering, gee, do I have a pinched nerve? -- symptoms include pain radiating from that area. In her case, right up in the shoulder near the neck, and also a pins and needles or a burning sensation -- Kiran. CHETRY: All right. It certainly is a painful condition, and I know she was needing some relief from that, like many people are.
Elizabeth Cohen, thank you -- John.
ROBERTS: This is where it's all going to happen today, Kiran, at 12:30. This is the Caucus Room, room 345 in the Cannon Building, where the Armed Services Committee of the House will be listening to testimony from Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus about the road had ahead in Iraq.
Where is that road headed? We're going to talk with the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, about that coming up next.
And as well, we're going to meet a real-life hero who really risked his life. Risked his life by putting himself in front of a train to pull somebody out of a car before the train hit him.
We'll have his story coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Welcome back.
We want to show you now some of the most amazing shots of the morning in our "Quick Hits".
This is a small plane that ended up making an emergency landing on the roof of a warehouse. This happened in Columbia, South Carolina. It apparently lost engine power shortly after taking off yesterday, came down right on top of the building, as you see there. Just a few cuts and bruises for the pilot and two passengers. So they got lucky.
Well, it was an emotional good-bye for nine men lost in the Crandall Canyon Mine. The memorial last night in Huntington, Utah. The six men were trapped in the original mine collapse, and then three others died trying to rescue them. The search for the sixth was called off back on August 31st.
And adoptable pets on demand. Cable giant Comcast is now teaming up with animal shelters to air footage like this of some of the pets that are in the shelters and also profiles of the animals.
The shelters say the program has helped find homes for older animals, hard-to-place pets. They also say that right now this is the most popular programming on demand right now. Hopefully it will lead to more of these pets finding homes -- John.
ROBERTS: Kiran, this is where it's all going to happen. This is where the eyes of the nation will be focused today. It's room 345, the Caucus Room at the Cannon House Office Building here on Capitol Hill.
It's where the House Armed Services Committee will hear testimony from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Of course, the committee will sit up there. Ike Skelton from Missouri, a Democrat, is the chairman. Duncan Hunter from California, Republican, is the ranking -- Duncan Hunter will be joining us, by the way, in our next hour here at AMERICAN MORNING. And this will essentially be the hot seat where Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus will be sitting, giving what could be some of the most pivotal testimony thus far in the war in Iraq.
We've been hearing dribs and drabs of what might be said about when there might be some troop drawdowns, perhaps either late this year, early next year, the size of a brigade. But General Petraeus, according to "The New York Times," urging that the debate on Capitol Hill stop short of calling for deeper troop withdrawals until March of next year, when a further assessment can be made.
So, where exactly is all of this going? What is the situation in Iraq, and what would some former generals in the Pentagon do about it?
We had the opportunity to talk with the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, the other day. Here's what he told us.
ROBERTS: General Myers, what do you expect General Petraeus to recommend in his report to Congress?
GEN. RICHARD MYERS, FMR. JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Well, I think, first of all, it's important to recognize it's not going to be just General Petraeus. It will be Ambassador Crocker as well. And one will be talking security and one will be talking the political dimension and perhaps the economic dimension. I think they have to go hand in hand, because we're talking all three of those things to make progress in Iraq.
I think General Petraeus will politely say that there has been success in security at the tactical and operational level, and that Iraqi security forces are coming up to speed in a pretty orderly way, and are conducting operations on their own. Actually, some very sophisticated operations. So I think there will be a fairly positive message on the security front.
ROBERTS: We talked about and we've heard about successes in terms of military operations as a result of this so-called surge, but the surge was meant to give the Iraqi government breathing room to get this process of reconciliation going. The fact that that hasn't happened, does that mean that the surge is a failure?
MYERS: No, I don't think so. And I think, you know, it's only been a couple of months since they've had -- General Petraeus has had the number of troops he asked for in the surge in the beginning. So, I mean, this is still playing out.
ROBERTS: Whatever the members of Congress are talking about in terms of withdrawing troops, it looks like they've got to start coming out by April, because that's when the rotations are up. And there don't appear to be enough troops to be able to continue the surge past April.
The question is, can enough progress be made based on the curve of progress that we've seen so far, that by the time we have to start bringing those troops home, we're not going to go back to square one?
MYERS: Well, that's the million-dollar question. And I don't know that we know that.
Political processes move at whatever pace. And that's why I go back to my original comment, the more help you can give the Iraqi politicians in this very demanding and challenging political process, the more likely you are to have progress.
ROBERTS: Well, what's your sense of it, given the -- given the curve that you've seen so far?
MYERS: My sense is that the international community is understanding that a stable Iraq is in everybody's best interest. And we've seen the U.N. pass a resolution recently, they've just assigned a new envoy over there. France has offered to help. I mean, there are countries that say, OK, we've got to make a success of this, and I think that is building at this point.
ROBERTS: Is the nature and the mission of the fight fundamentally different now, General, than it was in 2003? In other words, are we fighting a completely different war than the Americans were told we were going to be fighting?
MYERS: It is. I think it's changed in complexity over time. And the biggest -- I think the biggest change was the bombing of the mosque in Samarra in early 2006.
Al Qaeda did that to spur on sectarian violence. It worked. The sectarian violence started to peak. That's why we have a new strategy, and they're having to deal with that. So, yes, I think that has -- the sectarian violence part, as that started to spike in 2006 and into 2007, I think that did change the character.
General Myers, thanks very much for joining us.
MYERS: Thanks, John.
ROBERTS: Appreciate you coming in. Good to see you.
MYERS: Thank you.
ROBERTS: General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was the chairman during the initial Iraq invasion in March of 2003 and continued for the next two and a half years. So a man who knows an awful lot about Iraq.
It all begins here at 12:30 Eastern Time today in the Cannon House Office Building before the House Armed Services Committee. We'll be carrying the testimony from Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus live here on CNN. And if you can't get it on television, you can also go on the Web at www.CNN.com, and we'll be streaming the video live there as well -- Kiran.
CHETRY: All right, John. Thanks.
Well, some "Quick Hits" now and some candid thoughts on the war on terror from the man who helped draw it up.
Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, he spoke to "GQ" magazine for next month's 50th anniversary issue. There is he, a photo of Rumsfeld and his wife. He looks quite happy, actually, at their New Mexico ranch. It was provided by the magazine.
In it, Secretary Rumsfeld calls Afghanistan a success but says Iraq is a different story. He says the Baghdad regime has not been able to create an environment suitable for democracy. Also says the U.S. military and Defense Department are not responsible for any failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And when asked about the president, he says he can't recall the last time that he and the president spoke.
An overnight raid in Afghanistan leaving one man dead and two suspected militants hurt. That raid was part of U.S.-led coalition efforts to crack down on Taliban strongholds in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan.
And still ahead, the U.S. building a new military base in Iraq. Its role is less about containing insurgents, more about containing Iran.
Landing gear down and out. A plane full of passengers skids to a fiery stop on the runway. We'll have the dramatic pictures for you just ahead.
ROBERTS: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING, live from Washington D.C.
A record-setting champion tops your "Quick Hits".
Roger Federer won his fourth U.S. Open title. That's an open error (ph) record, beating Novak Djokovic. It's Federer's 12th Grand Slam title now, two shy of Pete Sampras' record, 14 titles.
And a Hollywood western is the top draw at the box office. "3:10 to Yuma" made $14.5 million, beating out "Halloween". This year's top 12 films took in nearly 23 percent more than last year's post-Labor Day crop -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Well, here's a story coming up that you just can't miss. It was a race against time, what one teenager did to save an elderly woman who was in her car. ROBERTS: Trains were coming toward them at full speed. This guy jumped in. You'll meet the hero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS FOUST, TRAIN HERO: I ran up to her car and started pounding on the window. I said, "Ma'am, you know, you've got to get out of this vehicle."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Well, as always, he is so humble. His friends say he literally had seconds before he might have been hit, struck and killed by that train as well.
We're going to hear from him. He's going to tell us more about his story coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Well, you wouldn't know that a tropical storm just passed through. A beautiful shot this morning of Cape Hatteras.
It is gorgeous there in North Carolina this morning, 76 degrees and fair skies right now, shaping up to be a high of 87 degrees and mostly sunny. A 20 percent chance for some rain there, but it looks to be a beautiful day, if you are one of the few whose summer vacation didn't end.
It is Monday, September 10th. I'm Kiran Chetry.
ROBERTS: And good morning to you, Kiran. I'm John Roberts in Washington D.C. More often than not the weather the day after a storm is beautiful, as we see there in the Outer Banks.
The senator who was busted in the men's room sex sting and then pleaded guilty will now try to take it all back. Idaho Republican Larry Craig is expected to file court documents to withdraw his guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge. This morning Craig's attorney Billy Martin is speaking out. He says they have a case that the plea was not valid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY MARTIN, ATTORNEY FOR LARRY CRAIG: It's definitely a bathroom to do a perfectly legal function, that is to relieve himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Martin also said they will fight to get the charges dropped and go to trial to clear Craig's name, if they have to.
The Pentagon is going to build a new base for U.S. forces in Iraq, closer to the Iranian borders. Today's "Wall Street Journal" reports it's a push to stop the flow of Iranian weapons into Iraq. They will also build fortified checkpoints on the highways from Baghdad to the border and there are plans to install X-ray machines and bomb detecting sensors -- Kiran.
CHETRY: A strong earthquake, but no major damage in Colombia. A 6.2 magnitude quake hit on the Pacific coast, it was near the border with Ecuador. Power was knocked out to two towns but no injuries or major damage reported.
And caught on tape, this is amazing when you see how this ended, a landing gear problem and an emergency landing. This is in Denmark. You can see the right wheel of this jet buckle on impact. The right wing and the engine were sent skidding across the runway. Even a propeller broke loose and bits of it flew into the cabin.
Police say that all 73 passengers and four crew members did escape before the engine caught fire. So you see that right now, a flash of flame, but it looks like emergency crews were able to get there rather quickly, put it out and again, everyone was taken off that plane safely.
A great landing on the part of the pilot, under some quite difficult circumstances.
Some more false leads this morning in the search for missing millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett. It's a week now that rescuers have been looking for him. They spotted more wreckage yesterday. It turns out it was not Fossett's plane. Crews say this has happened six other times during the search. They're refocusing their attention on the 50-mile radius where the airplane took off last Monday.
ROBERTS: Today's highly anticipated testimony from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker is about the measure of progress in Iraq. Both security from this year's troop buildup and political progress, or the back thereof of, by the government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. CNN's Zain Verjee is live at the State Department for us this morning.
Zain, what are we expecting to hear today particularly on the political front?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. Well, U.S. officials say that what we can expect from Ambassador Ryan Crocker is essentially this. He's expected to argue that the surge has worked in the sense it has created the security aspect of the administration, had wanted on the ground in Iraq. But he's also likely to say, too, that it should continue in the short term. And maybe argue as well that the U.S. should have a lighter footprint in the future in Iraq.
The key questions, though, John, as you pointed out, has there been political reconciliation? The political progress in Iraq, since the surge? U.S. officials tell us that Ambassador Crocker is likely to argue that, on the top level, at the national level he'll admit it's actually been very slow, but that on the local provincial level, it's been much faster on the ground.
He's likely too, they say, to point to U.S. teams, they call them provincial reconstruction teams, that have gone out, talked and worked with local Iraqi leaders. And they say this has really created momentum and given a boost to local economies.
What we can really expect here, the bottom line, John, is that Ambassador Crocker will say that the glass is half full. As you know, critics have said that's absolutely not the case. The surge hasn't worked. Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has not been successfully able to reach out to Sunnis. There's been no oil sharing deal. And that the situation in terms of delivering basic services to Iraqis just hasn't happened -- John.
Critics say of the Iraq policy you have to really have to get Iraq's neighbors to help out, the international community, as well. Can the U.S. count on Iraq's neighbors for any help?
VERJEE: That's the key question, to get any of that kind of reconciliation the neighbors have to get in there. They have to have the buy-in, and give the kind of support that's needed to Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. But the thing is, John, a lot of the Sunni- Arab countries don't support, trust, or like Nouri al Maliki. The U.S. had held a conference of neighbors back in March of this year, really trying to get them all on board. But a lot of critics say that Secretary Rice didn't really have enough hands-on diplomacy. There wasn't really enough follow-up to that meeting and a peace process for the region wasn't created. It was really essential to seeing success, political reconciliation in Iraq.
The other thing, too, John, is that the neighbors, too have their own interests and there has been a degree of interference, particularly from Iran, that's impeded political reconciliation in Iraq -- John.
ROBERTS: Certainly. Zain Verjee for us at the State Department this morning, Zain, thanks very much.
Americans are looking to the military to end the war in Iraq. A "New York Times"/CBS News poll says more than two-thirds polled said they trust the U.S. military commanders to end the war. And 21 percent said they trust Congress and only 5 percent said they trust the Bush administration.
CNN is going to carry the testimony from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker 12:30 Eastern today. We'll also be comparing notes from what's being said today to what's been reported before, all from CNN's Iraq Fact Check Desk -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Still ahead, calling it quits. Your "Quick Hits" now, Republican senator from Nebraska Chuck Hagel announcing he won't run for president or seek re-election next year, fulfilling a promise to only serve two Senate terms. He says he feels at 60 he's young enough to pursue other opportunities. Former Senator Bob Carey and former Nebraska Governor Mike Johannes are among the names surfaces as candidates for Hagel's seat.
A modest bump in the polls for presidential candidate new announced Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson. Another "USA Today" poll shows Thompson is in second place in the GOP race at 22 percent. That's up 3 points since polling in August.
And still ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. We are going to have the latest for you right now on the story that's captured worldwide attention. Little Madeleine McCann, four-year-old, snatched from vacation in Portugal. Her parents now the prime suspects. We'll talk more about the latest developments in this case coming up.
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most news in the morning here on Capitol Hill as we hear the sounds of a car alarm, or something going off behind us.
Your "Quick Hits" now. Disney will conduct tests on toys featuring Disney characters in response to Mattel's recall of toys made in China, which were found to contain unsafe levels of lead paint.
And we first told you about this one last week. Two front row seats at a synagogue, in Miami Beach, is auctioning off on eBay. Advertised as good on all the major holidays, even free parking. The reserve bid was $1.8 million. But as of our last check if you can believe it, no takers. Still a few hours left in the auction, though.
Five members of the Makah tribe are held on suspicion of shooting a whale with a machine gun. It's legal for the tribe in Washington State to hunt whales, but the shooting was carried out without permission. Tribal leaders are saying they're shocked that it did. The men face federal civil penalties and a fine of up to $20,000, also a possible jail sentence. The whale died ten hours after it was shot.
John, thanks. Portuguese police are now expected to get prosecutors papers today that outline their case against Kate and Gerry McCann. The McCanns were named official suspects in the disappearance of their four-year-old daughter, Madeleine.
Reporter Robert Moore ahs been covering the story for ITN; he joins us now, live, from the McCann's hometown in Rothley, England.
Robert, good morning. So, the McCann's returned back to England after this four-plus month vigil, in Portugal, trying to get more information on the case. What is the reaction from people in that town who have followed the case, about this news that they're now suspects?
ROBERT MOORE, ITN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran.
I think the reaction in this town has been overwhelmingly supportive. There may be a few people who still have suspicions about Kate and Gerry McCann, but overwhelmingly they are supportive.
Gerry and Kate McCann are now back in the family home about a mile behind me here, surrounded by those who believe in them 100 percent, namely their immediate family and their very closest friends. That must be a huge relief to be surrounded by those who passionately believe in your innocence, when you have the cloud of suspicion hanging over you.
I flew back with Kate and Gerry yesterday. I was on the plane that brought them back to England from Portugal. It was a very poignant scene because at the very end, as I left the plane ahead of the McCanns, I saw that Kate was just looking out of the aircraft window and quietly sobbing. You can just imagine the emotion for her coming back home without Madeleine.
CHETRY: Absolutely. And she's actually doing some talking, apparently, this according to the UK "Sunday Mirror." They quoted Kate as saying, "They want me to lie. I'm being framed. Police don't want a murder in Portugal. They're basically saying, 'If you confess, Madeleine had an accident, that I panicked and hid the body in a bag for a month and then got rid of it in a hire car', then I'd get a two years suspended sentence." Is there evidence she's being unfairly pressured by Portuguese to confess to a crime she says she didn't commit?
MOORE: Well it's very difficult to judge that. Are these legitimate police tactics to try and encourage her to confess, by offering a lenient sentence, or is this a matter of intimidation and bullying as the McCanns believe? So, it's a difficult judgment to make. It depends on how you feel this investigation is being handled. That is right. I do know from my own sources in Portugal that she was offered a deal, confess to a least hiding the body of Madeleine. And we'll accept that you didn't mean her any harm, it was an accident. And then you decided to dispose of the body. And then we'll give you two or three years and perhaps you'll be out after a year.
They even went on to say think about that, Kate, because you'll then be able to see your children grow up, your twins, Sean and Emily (ph). So from our side of things it certainly does look like pretty much emotional blackmail. That's certainly how the McCanns see it as well.
Of course, what we don't know, Kiran, and this is a crucial question in this case is just what is the strength, what is the integrity of the forensic evidence that is leading the Portuguese investigators down this particular track?
CHETRY: All right, so, Gerry and Kate getting their lawyers ready to fight these charges. And there is a chance, Robert, quickly, before we let you go, they have to go back to Portugal now, right?
MOORE: Absolutely. There's a very big chance. If the Portuguese police want them back, then Kate and Gerry McCann have said they will go back. That is the guarantee they gave before leaving Portugal and they remain, make no mistake about it, in a very, very precarious legal situation. They could be charged within days. It's just not at all clear and the ball is now very firmly in the court of the Portuguese detectives
CHETRY: All right, Robert Moore bringing us the latest on the case that captured worldwide attention, ITN News. Thanks for being with us. ROBERTS: Her car was smashed to pieces by two oncoming trains. But she's alive today thanks to one hero. We'll talk to the teenager who risked his life to save a stranger, ahead, on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning.
A fight at a rugby game after, the game, and off the field. Check this guy out. He was giving a report in Australia, after a game, and a drunken fan literally just grabbed him on air. A fight broke out after as well. The reporter says he was hit several times in the head, not seriously hurt, but he does believe that police are close to identifying the thugs, as he calls them, who did that during the live reporting.
Maybe that's not the best assignment in the world to be reporting from the aftermath of an Australian rugby game.
All right, well, a McDonald's worker outside of Atlanta spending the night in jail, charged with reckless conduct for serving a policeman a burger that was doused in salt. He says it made him sick. The server says it was an accident. McDonald's has put her on unpaid leave.
Oprah, using her star power to back Barack Obama in a big way; A- listers came with their wallets open to her fundraiser in Hollywood, raising an estimated $3 million for the senator's presidential campaign. The guest list reportedly included Sydney Portier, Forest Whitaker, comedian Chris Rock, and a included a performance by Stevie Wonder.
ROBERTS: Wow, star-studded affair.
There are several developing international stories we're following this morning, including the latest on the German terror investigation. Our Monita Rajpal is live in London keeping tabs on all of this.
Monita, what are we watching this morning?
MONITA RAJPAL, CNN INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this morning we're starting to find out more information on the German terror plot. Our Frederik Pleitgen is following some leads on these details of the plot, which seem to have surfaced.
Apparently -- if you remember last week, the three German men were arrested on, for allegedly planning attacks on U.S. interests in Germany, particularly Ramstein Airbase, as well as the Frankfurt International Airport.
There were three -- sorry -- two German men and one man of Turkish citizenship. Apparently the terror network had reportedly set a deadline for the attacks to be no later than late September, and again the plotters had apparently allegedly rented several transporters in France. Perhaps, again, according to investigators, to pack them with explosives. Once again, CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is following the leads on that story.
He's also following how Germany is debating on how to handle these terrorist threats as well. The conservative minister, apparently, wants to make attending terror camps and receiving terrorist training a crime. Right now it is isn't a crime in Germany.
And Iraq, CNN's Arwa Damon is talking to U.S. soldiers who are serving there, as we wait for this report to be presented to Congress today. She's talking to U.S. troops about their hopes, their fears, their frustrations, and even their concerns about what it's really like serving in Iraq right now.
And, of course, some of them are saying they are missing their families but they understand that they did take an oath to serve and protect, but they also are saying it's kind of, it's kind of fulfilling when they see children coming up to them, and saying they were happy that these troops were there to protect them.
ROBERTS: They all do certainly seem to have their heads in the game, each and every one of them. Monita Rajpal for us from London this morning. Monita, thanks.
CHETRY: A Chicago teen is being called a hero. And you'll believe it after you see a shot of the wreckage. After risking his own life to pull an elderly woman from her car just moments before her car was demolished -- there you see her car -- by not one but two oncoming trains. Both the woman and her rescuer escaped unharmed. He joins us now, a teen Tom Foust, live from the tracks in Glenview, Illinois.
Thanks for being with us this morning, Tom.
TOM FOUST, SAVED WOMAN FROM ONCOMING TRAIN: It's great to be with you guys.
CHETRY: Hats off to you for what you did. When you look at the car you can see what would have happened, had you not been quick thinking. Explain where you and your friends were when you noticed that something was amiss on the tracks.
FOUST: We were driving behind the woman. And she just basically turned onto the tracks. She had her turn signal on and just turned like it was a street. And the car just got stuck.
CHETRY: So you said you noticed that it looked like she was -- you believe that perhaps she was suffering from dementia, or she was disoriented somehow, because you said you weren't even sure if she knew she was on the tracks.
FOUST: I think she was a little shaken up, and a little confused. I don't know what, if she was suffering from anything. It seemed to be that she may have been suffering from like Alzheimer's or something like that.
CHETRY: Right, and so when did you know the -- FOUST: I'm --
CHETRY: -- train is headed for the tracks right now?
FOUST: I noticed it when I drove up and I like kind of passed behind her car. And she -- I saw the train lights coming. I was like, you know, this is a big problem.
CHETRY: Did you say anything to your friends or did you just leap out and run to the car?
FOUST: I just kind of put my car in park and just kind of ran out. I didn't say much to my friends. So they kind of got out and followed.
CHETRY: And so just walk us through how you got her out, and how close the train came to you guys. Me and two of my friends, Tyler and Zack, we ran up to the car and started yelling and pounding on the window. And finally we got the door open. And we were like, "Ma'am, you need to get out of this car right now because there's a train coming towards it."
We unclipped her seat belt and basically just pulled her to safety and my friend, Tyler, ran and called the police. And she -- we got maybe 10 feet away from the train, and it hit like six seconds after we got her out.
CHETRY: Wow, and you say that you were actually, you were getting hit by debris, flying glass and plastic. You were trying to shield her?
FOUST: There was -- yeah, I was shielding her, and there was debris everywhere. It's all over the street. Just earlier, when I came out here I found bits and pieces of the car, like the muffler and stuff. There's still wreckage everywhere out here.
CHETRY: Wow. So, she's doing OK. Did she thank you guys?
FOUST: No. She contacted the police to get in contact with me, but I haven't heard from her since. What about your parents? What did they say when they heard?
FOUST: They're a little shocked and stunned that I did that. But they're proud of me. So I'm happy that, you know, I'm not hurt, and nobody's hurt. I'm just glad I could do something to help somebody out.
FOUST: You say that some of your lifeguard training made you just, you sort of -- instinct took over. Well, you got a great story for the start of your senior year. Thanks for coming to talk to us. And great job, risking your own life there, but a great outcome so Thomas Foust, saving a woman from a train, just six seconds before it hit. Thanks for being with us.
FOUST: Yep, thanks for having me on.
ROBERTS: Certainly does have a terrific story.
Your "Quick Hits" now, next time you grab a coke you may notice something a little bit different. Coke bottles with a sculpted hand grip start showing up in stores today. Coke says the redesigned bottle will be available nationwide, early next year. The company, by the slogan "Get a grip on your thirst." It's all about marketing.
Are you ready to rock? You're looking here at the Air Guitar World Championships. They've been doing this now for 12 years in a very small town in Finland. Twenty people made the trip to compete this year coming from 17 different countries. Last year's winner repeated, that's him there in the tiger shirt, his prize a real guitar worth more than $3,000. He's got two of them now.
Starbucks workers are pumping iron and taking nutrition classes. What's up with this new health push? We'll tell you, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: We're about two minutes after the top of the hour. Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business".
Are we seeing a change in corporate culture, where now companies want to take care of the health of employees a little more?
ALI VELSHI, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There's two reasons for this. One is a little bit selfish; it's to keep health care costs down. The healthier your employees are, the lower your prices. The other one, of course, we're a much more productive society. So, absenteeism, sick days, are worse than they used to be. You get less work.
CHETRY: You know we have a doctor here?
VELSHI: I know we have. We've got one in the building. I have only just started working out again because it's getting a little -- you know, the suits are getting a little tight.
But Starbucks, out in Seattle, near their headquarters they have this workout program, this wellness program, where trainers will help you. They've actually the people who have participated in the latest group have lost an average of six pounds over eight weeks. And there are more and more of these wellness programs are around.
Some of them are getting a little aggressive in terms of forcing people into them. In fact, as of July 1st, there's sort of a law that allows companies to either deduct -- or you know, charge more money to unfit workers, or offer discounts on insurance coverage to fit workers.
CHETRY: That's a slippery slope.
VELSHI: It is. CHETRY: They talk about, OK, do you get a better health plan if you're a nonsmoker versus a smoker.
CHETRY: If you take your cholesterol medication.
VELSHI: Companies have certainly been charging smokers more money over the last few years. Now we're talking about body mass index and things like that. It starts to get into a dodgy area. Because some people have issues that are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but this is going to be a trend that we're going to be looking at a lot more as health care prices go up.
It will be interesting to see what companies are doing to handle this. For now stay as fit as you can.
CHETRY: All right, thanks, Ali.
ROBERTS: If you want to stay in shape just go hang with Doctor Sanjay Gupta, in Central Park, there in New York.
VELSHI: I'll go for a run with him.
ROBERTS: The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll ask the members of Congress to just sit back and listen to what we all have to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Welcome back. Thanks very much for joining us. It is Monday, the 10th of September. I'm John Roberts on Capitol Hill as we await the Petraeus/Crocker hearings.
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