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AMERICAN MORNING

Airport Death; Underground Tragedy; Knicks Foul; Minding Your Business

Aired October 3, 2007 - 07:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Underground emergency. Workers trapped in a pipe 1,000 feet down. Four of the nine make it. What went wrong?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM HENLEY, XCEL ENERGY SPOKESMAN: Today we'll have people down in there to try and determine what exactly did happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Inside the airport.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One threw her to the ground. It was as if they were tackling her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Witnesses describe the chaotic scene in the Phoenix Airport moments before a woman's death.

Plus, does Wii have a problem?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: The violent video game putting a murder weapon in teen's hands on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning and welcome back. Thanks for joining us on this Wednesday, October the 3rd. A lot to get to this morning. A lot to make sense of. We'll try to do that for you. I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kiran Chetry.

There's a lot of questions today about a tragedy in Colorado. How some plant workers at a power plant were able to make it out alive after a fire but five others did not. It happened deep underground at a hydroelectric plant in Georgetown, Colorado. About 30 miles northwest of Denver. Nine workers were applying an epoxy to a water pipe when a fire broke out. Here's a diagram showing exactly where the workers were trapped in relation to the plant. The pipeline, 3,000 feet long carrying water from a reservoir to the plant. Rescuers say they had talked with the men about 10 minutes after the fire broke out. Hours later, they found their bodies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STU NAY, CLEAR CREEK COUNTY UNDER SHERIFF: We have found the parties that went down in the tunnel. There are five fatalities. At this point, we do not know exactly who they are. They're not positively identified by the coroner's office. And next of kin has not been notified, obviously, since we don't know who they are. And recovery efforts are continuing through the night. We're going to have Colorado Bureau of Investigation assist us with the investigation as to the incident itself and removing the bodies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: And as we said, four other workers did manage to escape.

Two another underground tragedy now. Family members of those who died in the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse in Utah are in Washington this morning. They're going to be testifying today at a House committee hearing. Six miners were trapped in the original collapse back in August and then three others died in the rescue efforts. Inspectors with the Bureau of Land Management found serious structural problems three years before the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse.

ROBERTS: Well, for the first time we are hearing from witnesses who saw what happened between police and Carol Anne Gotbaum, the woman who died in a holding cell at the Phoenix Airport. Two witnesses spoke exclusively with Anderson Cooper last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAIGE HARMON, WITNESSED GOTBAUM ATTACK (ph): One of the officer ran towards her and grabbed her. And then the two other officers came up and they -- one threw her to the ground. And then they -- it was as if they were tackling her. One of them pulled her arm behind her with extreme force. I thought that they were going to -- or they had separated her shoulder. It looked very, very forceful.

MEL PITTEL, WITNESSED GOTBAUM ATTACK (ph): They rushed in and grabbed her and threw her down. Nobody ever said anything to her. Lady, hey, calm down. Take a breath. Can I help you. What's wrong? Anything like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Well, an autopsy performed on Gotbaum was not able to determine the cause of death. She was handcuffed, shackled to a bench while in a holding cell. Police believe she accidentally strangled herself trying to get out of her cuffs or into a different position. The Gotbaum family attorney says a private investigator who watched the official autopsy saw numerous bruises all over her body, indicating a struggle. We want to bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon. He's also a certified medical examiner. Sanjay joins us now from Atlanta.

Sanjay, inconclusive results of this autopsy, but the suggestion appears to be there that she did not die from strangulation.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, that's a good point. When you talk about inconclusive, that actually is giving you some information, which means that there was nothing absolutely obvious as a cause of death here. And asphyxiation is usually something they can determine on an initial autopsy. Some other sort of structural problem. Maybe she had a structural problem with her heart or her brain. Did something like that exist?

Those sorts of things didn't seem to leap out at the examiners either. So inconclusive actually does tell you something here. I can't say for sure, obviously, I'm not a part of this, but asphyxiation does not seem like it may have been the cause here, at least initially.

John.

ROBERTS: So what you know, though, from the behavior that was described, could there be other factors at play here? There has been some suggestion of potential substance abuse as well.

GUPTA: Well, you know, there's going to be several things that are looked at. When you have an unusual death in this sort of circumstance and there's no obvious structural problem, you do look to toxicology, you're going to look at DNA samples as well. These things take a while to come back. DNA can take a week. Toxicology can take even longer than that.

So there's several different things that are going to be looked at and, obviously, a thorough examination of the entire body will be performed as well. Incidentally, as you may know, John, there's actually two examiners now involved. There's the actual county examiner and the family's actually flown in a private examiner as well, Dr. Cyril Wecht, who you probably interviewed. He does a lot of examinations of lots of people around the country. So it will be two different autopsies performed and two different sort of analyses of all these toxicology and DNA reports.

ROBERTS: All right. Sanjay Gupta with the latest on that for us this morning from Atlanta.

Sanjay, thanks. We'll check back in with you on some other topics a little bit later on this morning.

Kiran.

CHETRY: Well some other headlines new this morning.

A close call for a loyal U.S. ally in Iraq. Poland says that its ambassador was wounded in a car bomb blast that killed at least one civilian. The ambassador was treated for burns at a U.S. military hospital. They say he's going to be fine. Poland currently has about 900 troops in Baghdad.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is rejecting a proposal by some fellow Democrats that would make you pay more for the war in Iraq. It's a proposed war surtax that would require low and middle income Americans to pay 2 percent extra in federal taxes and wealthier taxpayers would see a 12 percent to 15 percent surcharge. Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey floated the proposal. Pelosi and others say the tax idea is a political gift to Republicans.

ROBERTS: An E. Coli outbreak in Indiana causes kidney failure in seven children. They need dialysis. In all, 10 children were infected. All of them go to the same elementary school in Floyd County, Indiana. Tests are being done to confirm more cases. Investigators don't yet know the source of the E. Coli, but you can bet they're trying to track it down.

Two hundred thousand more Thomas and Friends toys recalled this morning over lead paint concerns. RC2 Corporation previously recalled a million Thomas toys. The new recall includes 2,000 "Toad" trains that were given as bonus gifts to customers who returned toys in the last recall. You turn one in with lead and you get another one. These toys and the first million were made in China, by the way.

And eBay is warning sellers not to sell recalled toys. Sellers trying to get rid of these recalled items could be kicked off of eBay. EBay is placing the links to its recalled items policy in several places on its website.

CHETRY: And back to our top story this morning.

Tragedy underground and a lot of unanswered questions after five workers at a Colorado power planted died in a chemical fire. Four of them did make it out alive. AMERICAN MORNING's Chris Lawrence is in Georgetown, Colorado, with details.

And it was interesting, we had heard, at least from rescuers, that they were able to talk to the men about 10 minutes after the fire and then what happened?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kiran, they were in radio contact up until about 45 minutes after this happened. It happened about 2:00 local time yesterday. Up till about 2:45, they were in radio contact and they even said, hey, no one is hurt. After that they did not hear from the men. At that time, about 45 minutes after, is when they started flushing clean air down into that tunnel to try to improve the air quality.

The incident raises a couple questions. One, the men were using a machine down there to coat the tunnel with epoxy. Why did that machine catch fire and malfunction?

Two, how did these five men die? Was it the fire itself? Was it the quality of the air down there? Nine workers went into that tunnel yesterday, and at the time the fire ignited, four were below the fire. They were able to scramble out through the bottom of the tunnel because that emptied out into a small reservoir. The other five were above the fire. They kept climbing and waited at a certain point for help to come.

We now know that those five men are all dead. And there are a lot of questions regarding that. Some of those questions may start to be answered in about four hours from now when authorities are expected to hold a news conference right here.

CHETRY: All right, Chris. Well, hopefully we'll get new details and we'll check in with you a little bit later. Thanks.

ROBERTS: Tornadoes touched down in Missouri overnight. Our Rob Marciano tracking extreme weather.

Where was this in relation to St. Louis, Rob?

(WEATHER REPORT)

ROBERTS: A major flag flap to tell you about in Reno, Nevada. An enraged man who says he's a U.S. veteran cut down the American flag outside of a store. Why, you say? Because the Mexican flag was being flown above it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took this flag down in honor of my country. With a flag -- with a knife of the United States Army. I'm a veteran. I'm not going to see this done to my country. If they want to fight us, then they need to be men. And they need to come and fight us. But I want somebody to fight me for this flag. They're not going to get it back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Well, there were no takers on that. The owner of the store, by the way, is an American. He said he just wanted to appeal to his largely Mexican customer base. So the man was very angry about this. What are the rules when it comes to flying an American flag and the flag of another country?

Well, we looked it up for you this morning. According to the Betsy Ross home page resources on ushistory.org, "when flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size." Now here's the key, "international usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace."

So essentially what the store owner was saying was, Mexico beat us.

CHETRY: Yes. Well, so he was correct. He was very, very upset about it. He was right.

ROBERTS: He was.

CHETRY: He just went -- he just -- you know, he took it into his own hands for sure (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERTS: I wonder if he discussions with the store owner first or just . . .

CHETRY: Yes, how it was all caught on tape, right, or afterward at least.

Well, another possible strike by New York City taxi cab drivers. The Taxi Workers Alliance expected to announce today whether or not these will be a second walkout. You remember the one last month, a two-day walkout, over technology rules. A lot of cabbies are not happy with the demands from the city that they need to equip their cabs with global positioning devices and also have credit card technology. It has to be in place by early next year.

Federal investigators say that pilot error was the cause of a fatal accident in 2005 at Chicago's Midway Airport. The Southwest Airlines plane landed in a snowstorm. It skidded off of the runway and hit several cars. Six-year-old Joshua Woods was killed when the plane struck the car he was riding in. The NTSB report cites the pilot's failure to use the reverse thrusters quickly enough to slow down the plane or to top the plane after the landing.

Senator Barack Obama may be trailing Senator Hillary Clinton in the polls, but he is ready to fight back. He spoke out about Clinton in his exclusively one-on-one interview with our own Candy Crowley.

Also, how did the jury decide its nearly $12 million penalty against the New York Knicks and its popular coach? We're going to have more on that coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING.

A major win for a woman who says she was sexually harassed by the Knicks' head coach and that the management just sat back and did nothing about it. A jury decided yesterday that Anucha Browne Sanders should be a millionaire for what she went through. The breakdown looks like this. Madison Square Garden has to pay a total of $8.6 million for allowing a "hostile work environment" and for "retaliation." Madison Square Garden Chairman James Dolan has to shell out another $3 million. And the jury couldn't decide if Isiah Thomas himself should pay damages and the judge declared a mistrial on that count.

So joining us now, AMERICAN MORNING legal contributor Sunny Hostin.

Did you find that interesting, that $12 million, the way it broke down, the person who the jury believed was doing the harassing doesn't owe any money himself? SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is very interesting. I think that the message here from the jury was, you know, you big corporations needs to be held responsible. Responsible not only for the hostile work environment, but for the people that work for you. And they considered Isiah Thomas an employee.

CHETRY: Are you surprised by how much they awarded? $12 million.

HOSTIN: I'm not surprised. Punitive damages are just that. They're meant to punish. And this jury early on sort of gave the hint that they thought that this woman was sexually harassed, there was a hostile work environment. And I figured out pretty, pretty early, and I think most legal analysts did, that this was going to be a big ticket damage.

CHETRY: Really?

HOSTIN: Yes.

CHETRY: WCBS, one of the local affiliates here in New York, did have an exclusive interview with juror number three. She gave some insight into the decision saying that the accuser had witnesses and she had documentation. This was a big reason for why they decided the way they did. A lot of these cases are he said/she said.

Another report says that the jurors were moved by the fact that lack of action after her complaints, a lot of people saw her distressed and distraught and nothing was done for so long. So what do those insights tell you about how they reached that decision?

HOSTIN: It is really, really fascinating. And, you know, less than 2 percent of civil cases go to trial. So this is a really wonderful opportunity.

But it is employment law 101. When an employee makes a sexual harassment claim, the employer must investigate immediately. What these jurors said was, listen, we made a credibility call. We believed her. We did not believe Isiah Thomas, even though we found him charming. We did not believe that Madison Square Garden did the right thing. And as an employer, Madison Square Garden should have investigated immediately and you don't fire the complainant in an employment law case after an investigation. A retaliation claim is much easier to prove than the actual sexual harassment. I don't know what was going on there, but certainly they did not follow what protocol generally is in an employment law case.

CHETRY: Madison Square Garden not happy with the decision, Sunny. They released a statement saying that they "believe that the jury's decision was incorrect and" they "plan to vigorously appeal the verdict." We also had Isiah speaking out yesterday as well, saying that he is innocent. On what grounds would this appeal likely go through and what are the chances that they could win it?

HOSTIN: Well, you know, we're all speculating, and I would have to be speculating, but probably punitive damages. Again, so many -- so few cases go to trial in civil litigation. And this is a pretty hefty award. We're talking about $12 million. The average punitive damage award is around $30,000. And so they'll probably say that it was excessive.

Other than that, I don't know. This jury seemed to be very reasonable. They took their time. The judge was very, very careful. I would predict that an appeal would not be successful.

CHETRY: Sunny Hostin, CNN legal contributor, thanks.

HOSTIN: Thank you.

CHETRY: John.

ROBERTS: Nineteen minutes now after the hour.

Well Christmas is less than three months away, which means that Neiman Marcus is out with its annual Christmas book that offers gift ideas for someone on your list who has everything except for a giant dragon topiary. For that person, you can get this giant dragon topiary. It will only set you back $35,000. For someone who's got a sweet tooth, and who doesn't, how about a portrait painted in chocolate? That will cost you $110,000.

For the classical music lover, a concert by some of the best musicians in the world, hosted by Regis Philbin. You can't really put a price on that. But if you could, it would be $1.6 million. For those of you who don't have a submarine, here's one for sale in the catalog, $1.4 million. That's a nice little submarine, isn't it?

And lastly, diamonds are a girls best friend. And you can be a girl's best friend with this 305 carat uncut diamond necklace. That's a cool million dollars.

Which would you like?

CHETRY: Well, the topiary if it comes with Edward Scissorhands to keep it trimmed up.

ROBERTS: And you also want the Berkshire Hathaway stock?

CHETRY: Just one.

ROBERTS: Just one share.

CHETRY: One share.

ROBERTS: OK. All right. Know what to get you.

CHETRY: So far. I'll add to it later.

ROBERTS: How you can be sure that your home loan is safe from the mortgage meltdown? A way to track your broker is in the works. Hear how it works next on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Well, Whoopi Goldberg apparently taking advantage of her new role on "The View." Goldberg and the show's other co-hosts were happy to have Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on the show, but seemed more happy to have her husband Paul in the audience. The women flirted with Mr. Pelosi for a few minutes and then Goldberg made an indecent proposal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, "THE VIEW": And I think she'd like to do your husband.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, "THE VIEW": As I said with Joy, and I would do her as well, but we should wait on that because you're still in office and I don't want to cause a problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Yikes! Well, Speaker Pelosi laughed it all off and afterwards said she enjoyed being on the show, but didn't comment on Goldberg's offer.

CHETRY: It's kind of rude. I don't think I would appreciate that. Inappropriate. Sorry. They're married.

ROBERTS: Yes.

CHETRY: Anyhow, we have another story to tell you about right now and that's a new plan to combat the mortgage crisis by fingerprinting mortgage brokers.

Literally, Gerri?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Literally. I've got to tell you, Senator Hillary Clinton has come out with a bill which would create a national registry for mortgage brokers. You know, they have been in the cross hairs in this whole sub prime meltdown. A lot of people say that they've been making bad loans, inappropriate loans just to earn the commissions. Of course not everybody's a bad guy. But Hillary Clinton says, hey, let's fingerprint them and put those fingerprints through the FBI to see if these folks are actually criminals.

ROBERTS: Right. I mean, how -- we saw with the sub prime mortgage mess, a lot of people got into the business that shouldn't have been in the business. There was a lot of credit extended that was never going to come back. I mean, how could this possibly solve that problem in the future?

WILLIS: Well, I've got to tell you, you know, a lot of people said to me, well, isn't that invasion of privacy if you're a mortgage broker? And I said, heck, no. You know, if you are a stock broker, you get fingerprinted by, you know, the regulators to make sure that you're not a bank robber and a stock broker. Even if you're an accountant and you file electronically, you get fingerprinted by the IRS. It's not that uncommon. CHETRY: Isn't it ironic that that is an invasion of privacy but the amount of information you have to give over to get a home loan or just any type of a loan . . .

WILLIS: Right. Exactly. It's fair, isn't it? Doesn't it make you feel better.

I have to tell you though, what's interesting about this is that there's already a national registry being built by state regulators. So Hillary's proposal it sort of coming at a time when this other one is going to be launching by the state regulators. And I really want to tell you guys, while Congress has been debating this, we've had hearing after hearing after hearing since the beginning of this year. Some 800,000 people have gone into foreclosure.

ROBERTS: Right.

WILLIS: So we're getting no traction here. A lot of heat, no light.

ROBERTS: And as you were saying earlier, pending home sales also starting to drop now because people are getting denied mortgages.

Gerri Willis, thanks.

WILLIS: Thank you.

ROBERTS: We'll see you back soon.

CHETRY: OK. Here's a story coming up that you can't miss. You've seen the new Nintendo Wii. It, of course, premiered to great fanfare. It lets players actually get up, play tennis, make -- act out the moves that they're seeing on the video game. Well now that is turning into a bit of a controversy because of one game that they're making that actually gives players the chance to kill.

ROBERTS: Right. We're going to speak with someone who's actually played this game. Talk to them about just how graphic, how potentially violent it is and what kind of an impact that might have on young children. That story coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: And welcome back. It is Wednesday, October 3rd. Thanks for being with us on this AMERICAN MORNING. I'm Kiran Chetry.

ROBERTS: And good morning to you. I'm John Roberts.

Damage control today in parts of northeast Missouri after tornadoes touched down in several counties yesterday. The town of Palmyra, Missouri, about 135 miles north of St. Louis, was hit hard. Trees and power lines were downed, roofs blown off of some building. The flagpole sitting on top of city hall was bent at a 45-degree angle. The fierce winds picked up the trailer off of a tractor trailer rig, actually pushed it on top of another semi. You can see what happened to that basketball net there. Mystery surrounding a tragic power plant accident outside of Denver. Nine workers went into an underground water pipe. Only four made it back out. A smoldering chemical fire trapped their five colleagues inside. A power company spokesman talked about the day- long rescue effort earlier on AMERICAN MORNING.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM HENLEY, XCEL ENERGY SPOKESMAN: When the fire first started, we pumped down in fresh air through a pipeline and sent them down oxygen bottles. And at that point in time they did have a radio and they were in communication with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: This is a diagram of where the workers were trapped. This pipe. It's called a pen stock. It carries water from the reservoir down to the turbines in the power plant. It's about 4,000 feet long. The company says the fire broke out about halfway down. And it could be that a machine that was involved in putting that epoxy on the inside of the tunnel caught fire and that's what caused the fire after that. And, of course, all of the smoke and fumes that eventually took the lives of those workers.

CHETRY: Well, to another underground tragedy now. Family members of those who died in the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse in Utah are in Washington this morning where they're going to be testifying at a House committee hearing. You may remember the tragedy, six miners trapped in that initial collapse in August. They were never recovered despite the best rescue efforts. And three others died during those efforts. And inspectors with the Bureau of Land Management found serious structural problems three years before the Crandall Canyon mine collapsed.

Well, a woman whose father was killed more than five years ago by the D.C. sniper says that one of them called her to apologize for the killings. Last month, Lee Malvo called Sheryl Witts to apologize for killing her father, Jerry Taylor. She says at one point during the call Malvo broke down as he spoke. He told her that he tried to write her a letter but didn't know what to say. Taylor was the sniper's first victim in March of 2002 in Arizona. Their killing spree began in the D.C. area on October 2nd, 2002.

Virginia Senator John Warner will undergo a second procedure today to treat an irregular heartbeat. Warner was hospitalized yesterday and underwent one procedure to treat atrial fibrillation, as a condition where the upper chambers of the heart flutter. Doctors expect that he'll be able to go home this weekend and get back to work next week. Warner, who is 80, plans to retire when his fifth term expires next year.

ROBERTS: 34 minutes after the hour. Senator Barack Obama seems to be slipping in the polls while Hillary Clinton gets a new boost. A new "Washington Post-ABC News" pull out this morning shows Hillary Clinton has the support now of more than 50 percent of those surveyed. The actual number is 53 percent, that's her first time above the 50 percent mark. Gives her a full 30-point lead over Obama. But in an exclusive interview with our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, Obama says he's not worried about the numbers or about Clinton it seems. Candy joins us now from Iowa City, Iowa. Good morning to you, Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.

ROBERTS: Now, let's take a look at some of the other polls as well, particularly there in the state of Iowa because there' a mixed picture here. "Newsweek" poll shows Obama leading Clinton 28 percent to 24 percent with Edwards back at 22. But American Research group poll shows Hillary Clinton with 30 percent and Obama at 24 and Edwards at 19. It looks like Iowa's still up for grabs.

CROWLEY: Well, in there lies the hope of Barack Obama and in fact all the others in the democratic field that Iowa still seems to be in play. If you can win here, you can knock Hillary Clinton off her stride, you can take some of that inevitability aura that's gathering around her away. So, that's where the hope lies. But we should also say that Iowa caucus polls are really difficult to gauge. It is very hard to know whether caucus goers will go up on a snowy day, look out and think, yes, I'm going to go tonight. Where you don't just go in and vote and leave, you go in and discuss politics, you argue for your candidate. So, it's a time commitment. So those polls on Iowa caucuses can be wrong and can be a little unreliable. So nonetheless, from those, what we think is that it does seem to be a toss-up race here.

ROBERTS: And then you got to wonder about his viability though when you look at this disparity between the state polls there in Iowa and the national polls. And Bill Clinton said last week about Mitt Romney, who's leading in Iowa and New Hampshire, that if the national numbers don't start to match the state numbers, at some point it could be in some difficulty. You asked Senator Obama about that yesterday. Let's play a little bit of his answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: You get great crowds. It hasn't shown up in the polls. You need to close this deal. Time's a wasting, as they say. What have you got to do here? It seems to be that you've plateaued at this point.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, listen, if I were worried about polls, then I'd be here celebrating the fifth anniversary of a speech supporting the war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: OK. He's not worried about polls. Every politician says that. But how worried are they that Hillary is looking inevitable particularly given this new poll from "Washington Post-ABC" that just cited?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, in politics, perception is very powerful, so it is worrisome to them. And Bill Clinton, who's probably one of the best political strategist around is absolutely right, at some point those national polls have to close up. Now, the problem for Obama is the trajectory is all wrong. As she goes up, he sits there. Now, what they say is, listen, we've got two things on our side. Time, there are 12 weeks left, this is the final push. And money, he does have enough money to be competitive. But, again, 12 weeks is not that much time.

ROBERTS: You also asked him about the perception among many voters that Hillary Clinton is better positioned to end the Iraq war. Let's take a quick listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I think that Senator Clinton has been effective in trying to blur the distinctions. And it's our job to make these distinctions clear to the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Is this the experience gap coming into play here, Candy?

CROWLEY: It absolutely is. You see it in the polls, where Hillary Clinton dominates on the question of experience and change, by the way, which Obama thought was his strong suit. And you can hear it sort of anecdotally out here when you talk to voters because the fact of the matter is they all say, oh, I really like that Barack Obama, he's a great guy, but many of them also say, but you know, I just don't think he's as experienced. And then you go to a Clinton rally and they'll say, boy, she really knows her stuff. So you can hear it in the crowds as well as see it in the polls.

ROBERTS: As you said, 12 weeks to go, maybe he can close the gap. Candy Crowley for us this morning. Thanks, Candy. Of course, part of the best political team on television. Kiran.

CHETRY: When it comes to high school athletes, who is more likely to suffer concussions, boys or girls? CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a look for us. Hi, Sanjay.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning again. The answer will surprise you so I guess that tells you right away, it's girls. But the question is, why? What sports are they most at risk developing a concussion for and what should you as a parent look for to determine if your child has a concussion. You need to see and that's coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. There are some surprising new numbers about female athletes. It turns out girls who play high school sports run a higher risk of suffering concussions. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Atlanta to explain. Hi, Sanjay. GUPTA: Good morning again, Kiran. This is sort of interesting to us as well in terms of the number of concussions, or rate of concussions in all high school athletes, and specifically in girls. This was a study done out of Ohio looking at several high schools across the state trying to figure out just how susceptible are girls specifically to concussions. What they found is that they're actually more likely to develop a concussion than boys. There's two sports in particular that are most problematic. You can see there soccer, they are 1 1/2 times more likely to develop a concussion, basketball, three times more likely to develop a concussion.

Keep in mind football still remains the sport that's most likely to, someone to develop a concussion, 40 percent of people actually may develop some sort of symptoms at some point during football. Now, keep in mind, why are there some sorts of differences, gender differences between girls and boys? One is that it could be that boys have stronger neck muscles, more likely to be able to sustain the force of the impact during sports. Two is it could be socio-cultural differences so girls actually more likely to report these symptoms or it could be just that coaches or parents are more protective, specifically of girls. We know for sure that the concussions are a serious brain injury. We talk about them a lot at the professional level, even the college level, but now we're talking about them more at the high school level as well.

CHETRY: Wow, interesting. Soccer and basketball. I still remember knocking heads going up for a rebound when we were little. But what exactly happens to your brain or skull when you have a concussion?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, you bring up a good point about the soccer. It's usually not heading the ball as you mentioned, it's actually people colliding with another head or just falling to the ground. Let me show you an animation of what's happening specifically to the brain. Think of the brain, first of all, as sort of a fluid medium within the skull, so you actually have this sort of gelatinous substance that moves around in the skull. This hard ball of skull in response to some sort of force. And what you get there is you can see -- let me show you on the animation that this area in here is all sort of an area that's the consistency of jello and it forces back and forth within the skull. You can get little micro tears on the outside of the brain here. Sometimes in serious cases, you'll actually get some bleeding in that area and that, obviously, requires surgery. But a lot of times it's just simply some damage to the brain where someone may not even lose consciousness but have vague symptoms that may be suggestive of a concussion.

CHETRY: So is the concussion just the banging of the brain matter against the skull?

GUPTA: That's right. And, you know, again, they may not be knocked out. A lot of people think you need to be knocked out for a concussion. You can have some pretty characteristic symptoms immediately after, you know, getting hit. You know, you have headaches, for example, dizziness, confusion, but there are also less sort of vague symptoms if you will, where someone may develop nausea, irritability, lethargy, problems sleeping, sensitivity to light and noise. And I tell you Kiran, you know, parents, sometimes the kids just have difficulty concentrating in school. It's so vague they're not quite sure what to attribute it to. If they've had a concussion, something to look towards anyways.

CHETRY: So how do you know, first of all what do you do to treat it if your kid has one and then how do you know if they've had one too many?

GUPTA: Well, you know, first of all, there's been a lot of data actually showing these concussions get exponentially worse. So it's not a linear process, one concussion after another. They actually get exponentially worse. So, the second concussion much worse than the first concussion. So, a lot of the test has to start at the time of play, making sure that their kids are actually being evaluated at the time to make sure they are pulled off the field if in fact they've had a concussion. How do you know for sure? It can be very difficult to diagnose, a C.A.T. scan may not show it. Sometimes you need to have cognitive testing, actually figure out if the child is having difficulty concentrating or having any of those other symptoms that we mentioned as well. Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Sanjay, thanks so much. We'll check in with you in a couple more minutes. By the way, if you have a question for Dr. Gupta, e-mail us at cnn.com/am and Sanjay will answer your questions. He opens up the mailbag every Thursday here on AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: 17 minutes now to the top of the hour. Rob Marciano watching extreme weather for us from the Weather Center down in Atlanta. Rob, yesterday we were talking about the drought in Georgia. And I said, be careful what you wish for and we seem to be seeing that in Florida. They have drought and now they got too much water.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: You're right. And they've been having flooding issues now. They've erased the drought pretty much across much of the Florida peninsula. And now this morning with the showers and thunderstorms that we've been showing you day after day for a couple of weeks, we're starting to get reports of some flooding in through parts of Naples, Florida, up through Ft. Myers and the Manatee River has been upgraded to a moderate flooding warning there.

And now this morning through Jacksonville. Jacksonville and Duvall County seem to be getting hammered the most. Since October 1st, there's a storm spotter there, has reported almost eight inches of rain. So that's in the last 2 1/2 days, barely. Some reports of street flooding this morning and some of the private schools are closing down.

All right. Meanwhile we have a pretty decent front that's moving across the Midwest. This produced 12 reports of tornadoes last night, probably only a handful of those actual individual storms but there were reports of some damage and also injuries.

Back to the Gulf of Mexico. This is what's spawning those showers and storms across the Florida peninsula. The circulation is right here. There is a hurricane hunter aircraft on standby to potentially fly into that thing. It's over warm waters, John. It's the time of year where these things can form into a tropical storm or hurricane. So we're certainly concerned about that.

Meantime, Florida continues to get hammered with these showers and storms and they have gone from drought, I don't want to say to excessive, over the top, the other extreme, they're not quite out of the drought but it certainly has helped and you got to go through some headaches, I suppose, when you get that much rain to help what was a dry situation.

ROBERTS: Well, some places are probably seeing enough. Rob, thanks.

MARCIANO: OK.

ROBERTS: All week we're uncovering America, showing you the faces and names of Latino Americans who are changing our nation. This next story is about a family divided by war and maybe by borders. A husband about to serve his third tour of duty in Iraq. When he comes home, his wife may not be here because she faces deportation. Their story now from CNN's Thelma Gutierrez.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

U.S. NAVAL PETTY OFFICER EDUARDO GONZALEZ: I work on the flight deck; some people consider being the more dangerous job in the world.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: For the third time in four years, U.S. Naval Petty Officer Eduardo Gonzalez is going to war.

GONZALEZ: Defending the country that's trying to kick my family out, goes through my mind.

GUTIERREZ: Gonzalez is a U.S. citizen. His wife, Mildred, is not, and she's facing deportation, wondering who will care for their 20-month-old son.

MLDRED GONZALEZ: I'm scared to go back. I'm scared for my life, my son's life. Not being able to see him anymore.

EDUARDO GONZALES: This is the type of situation that the government doesn't really get to see. They're tearing families apart. And it hurts. It hurts a lot.

GUTIERREZ: Mildred Gonzalez came from Guatemala to the United States illegally when she was just five. No one knows how many military families face deportation and there's no protection for them.

MARGARET STALK (ph), U.S. ARMY RESERVE: What's most important when we're fighting a war is to support the war fighters.

GUTIERREZ: Margaret Stalk, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve teaches immigration law at West Point Military Academy. She argues military families need to be shielded from the threat of deportation.

STALK: We got people fighting overseas who are facing the impossible situation of having family members facing deportation back home.

GUTIERREZ: Others disagree. Mark Recorian (ph) with the center for immigration studies lobbies for tougher laws on illegal immigrants. And says military families shouldn't have special treatment.

MARK RECORIAN, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: What you're talking about is an amnesty for illegal immigrants who have a relative in the armed forces. And that's just -- that's outrageous.

GONZALEZ: He needs to understand that I'm trying to make his country better, my country better, and it should be her country, too.

GUTIERREZ: Mildred Gonzalez has a stay on her deportation until June. Eduardo says when he returns from the Persian Gulf, he faces a tough battle on the home front with immigration officials to keep his family together. Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.

CHETRY: Well, there's something new from the Nintendo Wii, but some are saying it really allows players to act out a murder and just how dangerous it is that for the young kids that are playing these games? We're going to talk to one of the few people who had a chance to preview, to play this game. How violent is it? We're going to take a look ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Well, the Nintendo Wii has been a bona fide hit since its release last Christmas, allowing players to actually get up and move along with the game. Which is fine if you're playing tennis, right? Some say that a new game coming out is really close to a murder simulator. In Man Hunt II the player is playing the part of someone who escapes from an insane asylum and then brutally murders anyone who gets in his way. And N'Gai Croal, "Newsweek's" general editor for technology and he's one of the only select few actually to have played Man Hunt II. And N'Gai, thanks for being with us today.

N'GAI CROAL, NEWSWEEK TECHNOLOGY EDITOR: Thanks for having me.

CHETRY: So, it's called Man Hunt II. It's going to be hitting stores, I guess, in time for Halloween. Violence in video games really is nothing new but is this more graphic than some of the other ones you've seen on the store shelves?

CROAL: It is more graphic than some of the other games, absolutely.

CHETRY: Why?

CROAL: Well, I think that it's -- I mean, first of all, they're trying to do something that's in the vein of horror movies like "Saw" and "Hostile," so, you know, most games have fantasy violence or they're World War II simulators and they've gone in a different direction and because of that it stands out.

CHETRY: The other thing is explain when you played the game. You're actually going through stabbing motions, shooting motions as you play?

CROAL: Well, the way the standard things in the game use buttons and things like that, but when you get in a position behind your opponent that's when you can carry out what they call the stealth kills or executions. In that case, a series of instructions will come up on screen, like directions, showing which way to move or swing the remote or things like that. And they roughly match what you're doing on screen. So if you're hitting someone over the head with, like, sort of the back of a toilet seat, then you would sort of swing the remote in that direction.

CHETRY: It does seem shocking, actually if you're not in the world of gaming, to see this. I mean, it's so realistic. There's blood on the people and you're actually -- the kids are moving their hands in motions that simulate killing. How -- when do you cross the line? This fantasy world becomes so realistic that it can't help but be damaging.

CROAL: The first thing I have to say is the game is like when you say kids, the game is "M" rated which means you have to be 17 years or older to purchase it. Obviously, that doesn't prevent some children from getting their hands on it but really I would say that's the responsibility of parents to make sure that they don't. As far as adults, I mean, you know, you or I can make decisions about what kind of entertainment we do or do not want. It might be to my taste, it might not be to yours but I feel like we should be able to make that decision.

CHETRY: Nintendo has primarily has been seen, at least in the past, as more of the family gaming. Is this a surprising move that Nintendo would go in this direction with the Manhunt II?

CROAL: It's not surprising because I think when the decision was made the Wii wasn't a success and Nintendo really wanted to attract some of the older audiences that were going after Playstation and X- Box. My guess is now they might have made a different decision. Keep in mind, Nintendo didn't make the game. The game was coming from Rock star.

CHETRY: But they're marketing it with their Wii, right?

CROAL: Right. The other thing is Nintendo tends to not really have that strict controls on what comes out on their machines. As long as you don't get an "AO" rating, they'll pretty much let you put it out.

CHETRY: Would you let your kids play it?

CROAL: I don't have children.

CHETRY: If you did? CROAL: If I did, no, I wouldn't let them play it if they were under age. But if they were, I would want to sit down with them and sort of talk them through what it was they were experiencing just to check in with them and make sure they understood the distinction between fact and fiction.

CHETRY: Well, that's very important, of course. N'Gai Croal here at CNN with "Newsweek," the technology general editor. Thanks for being with us.

CROAL: Thanks for having me.

CHETRY: By the way, we did check in with a spokeswoman for Nintendo who told us that the Wii does have parental control and also that Manhunt II will only be the seventh out of 80 Wii games to garner the mature rating that N'Gai talked about. We also invited Rock star to appear in our program, the makers of that video game, and have yet to receive a response from them. John.

ROBERTS: Coming out now to five minutes to the top of the hour. New clues in that Miami boat mystery in your "Quick Hits." For the first time, prosecutors named the two men found in the life raft from the charter boat as suspects in the disappearance of the four crewmembers on board the "Joe Cool." Investigators also disclosed some of the evidence including bullet casings found in the boat, and a blow gun, darts and knives found with one of the suspects in the life raft.

And t-boned in a cow pasture. A 30-minute police chase in Oklahoma with speeds reaching up to 120 miles an hour came to an end in a muddy field yesterday. Police say that the driver is an ex-con and that the SUV that he was driving was stolen. No one was injured in the car chase but it sure gave the cows something to look at.

And a new warning for ebay buyers and sellers. It has to do with the millions of recalled toys in the news. The consequences ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

And kids going weightless. Should there be seat belts on school buses? It's a question being asked once again in light of this school bus accident. The video and the very literal fallout ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Well, the game of golf has been known to get to the best of us. And even the worst of us, too. I've got experience with that. But you've got to appreciate the skills of a guy who plays the game with no arms. 48-year-old George Utley was born with a severe disability but wasn't about to let it get him down. He started playing golf 25 years ago. Using specially made extra long clubs, he can drive the ball about 180 to 200 yards. But he'll tell you it's all about the short game.

Wow, I tell you, he's got a great shoulder turn. He's low round, by the way, 81. CHETRY: Very impressive.

ROBERTS: There's a lot of two-armed golfers who can't get anywhere near 81.

CHETRY: Good for him.

Well, here's another story coming up that you can't miss. You know, a lot of parents very scared in Indiana. This is an E. coli outbreak that took place. Seven kids had to get dialysis because of kidney failure. All of them from the same elementary school. And they still haven't figured out the cause.

ROBERTS: Yes, you know, we got that hamburger recall of Topps Meats because of potentially E. coli contamination. That's 21 million pounds but this appears to be unrelated to that. So, another outbreak of E. coli to tell you about this morning.

CHETRY: Yes. Sanjay Gupta will be telling us what we need to know to keep our kids safe. Coming up. The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts now.

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