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AMERICAN MORNING

GOP Showdown; CNN YouTube Debate; Interview with Brigadier General Keith Kerr

Aired November 29, 2007 - 07:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH, DALLAS: Do you believe every word of this book?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Their tough answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you have a special immigration problem?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Republican candidates come out swinging. This morning we'll talk with them.

Plus, was he a plant?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIG. GEN.KEITH KERR, U.S ARMY (RET): I'm retired brigadier general with 43 years of service, and I'm an openly gay man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Questions about one of the YouTube questioners. He joins us to set the record straight.

And x-ray blasts, concerns about powerful scans and a spike in cancer. Sanjay breaks it down for us on this AMERICAN MORNING.

And welcome. It's Thursday, November 29th. I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York. Hi, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning to you, Kiran. I'm John Roberts in St. Petersburg, Florida, scene of last night's CNN YouTube debate. We're taking a look at all this morning. They tackled your questions, tackled each other as well.

Republicans went at it last night on the CNN YouTube debate. Today, we're going to hear from Governor Mitt Romney coming up live. That will be in about an half hour's time. Plus my exclusive post- game interviews with Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the renegade, Congressman Ron Paul. I asked them how they thought they did. All ahead on this special edition of AMERICAN MORNING.

First, to what voters asked and how the candidates answered. Our Chief national correspondent John King joins us now. Good morning to you, John. So what were the highlights for you?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a spicy debate, John. You had the candidates going at it over taxes, going at it over immigration, going at it over abortion as well. Personal questions, too, about each other's leadership qualities, whether they're consistent Conservatives. Why? The Republican race is wide open, and Iowa votes five weeks from today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): Up first, immigration, from the get-go, crackling.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the reality is that New York City was not a sanctuary city.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If the mayor actually brought a suit to maintain its sanctuary city status.

GIULIANI: In his case, there were six sanctuary cities. He did nothing about them. There was even a sanctuary mansion. At his own home, illegal immigrants were being employed.

KING: The Romney, Giuliani face-off on immigration, one of many raw moments. Another, when Romney refused to say whether he considered waterboarding terrorism suspects to be torture.

ROMNEY: I don't think it's wise for us to describe specifically which measures we would or would not use.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a defining issue and clearly we should be able, if we want to be commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, to take a definite and positive position.

KING: The unique format meant unique questions. This one from Joseph in Dallas.

JOSEPH, DALLAS: Do you believe every word of this book?

KING: The Book of Mormon defines Romney's faith, and yet.

ROMNEY: I might interpret the word differently than you interpret the word, but I read the bible and I believe the bible is the word of God.

KING: They factored as well in a death penalty question.

TYLER OVERMAN, MEMPHIS, TN: What would Jesus do?

GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office. NICK ANDERSON, EDITORIAL CARTOONIST: Would you grant your vice president as much power and influence as I've had?

KING: That colorful entry brought a rare Republican debate criticism for President Bush.

MCCAIN: And he did not have as much national security experience as I do. So he had to rely more on the vice president of the United States, and that's obvious.

KING: Just back from Iraq, McCain was assertive again when Ron Paul called for bringing the troops home.

MCCAIN: The message of these brave men and women who are serving over there is let us win.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: It wasn't just the YouTube video submissions from voters that were surprise in town, we've been waiting for months to see who would launch the first attack out of the campaign. What came in our debate last night, Fred Thompson used his video. All the candidates were allowed to bring one to attack Governor Romney on abortion, Governor Huckabee on taxes. Why is that so interesting?

Number one, he's the first to go negative with an attack ad. Number two, it's because of the frustration of his campaign. He thought he would get Conservative support in Iowa. Two guys beat him to the punch, Romney and Huckabee at the moment.

ROBERTS: It's also interesting too that he didn't really launch a negative attack ad per se, he just let the candidates speak.

KING: Let the candidate speak. He made a joke that he was giving them more airtime, but there's a point to that. This whole thing was to get Conservatives and he's having trouble.

ROBERTS: You know, we always want to focus on the issues here in these debates. But did anybody help themselves? Did anybody hurt themselves last night?

KING: The campaigns all came out saying they did what they wanted to do. One striking moment, I think you discussed this a bit last hour. Look, the surprise at the moment is Mike Huckabee. He is going like this in Iowa right now.

The number one issue in the state is immigration. He held firm to his position that if you have children of illegal immigrants, don't punish them for their parents' mistakes. Give them benefits. It is a principal position. It's one he stripped for in Arkansas. It is out of the stream, if you will, in the main stream Conservative movement of the Republican party right now. It will be interesting to see if a guy who is going up in Iowa suddenly flans out and speed bump it.

ROBERTS: All right, John. It's always good to see you. Thanks very much. After the debate was over, CNN found out that the man who asked one of the most intense questions of the night had a connection to Hillary Clinton's campaign. We did not know it then, but we do know it now. We want to clear things up for you.

He is Retired Army Brigadier General Keith Kerr who asked about the military's don't ask don't tell policy. After the candidates gave their response to his YouTube, General Kerr who was in the audience had this to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIG. GEN. KEITH KERR, U.S. ARMY (RET): American men and women in the military are professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians. For 42 years, I wore the uniform, the army uniform on active duty in the reserve, and also for the state of California. I revealed I was a gay man after I retired. Today, "don't ask, don't tell" is destructive to our military policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Later, CNN found out that General Kerr is a member of Hillary Clinton's Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual and Transgender Steering Committee. CNN senior vice president and executive producer of the debate, David Bohrman, says, "We regret this incident. CNN would not have used the General's question had we known that he was connected to any presidential candidate. Prior to the debate, CNN had verified the General's military background and that he had not contributed any money to any presidential campaign. Following the debate, Kerr told us he has not done any work for the Clinton campaign. He says he is a member of the log cabin Republicans and was representing no one other than himself."

Either way, we're going to talk to General Kerr coming up in just a few minutes here from St. Petersburg. Right now with more news, let's go back to New York. And here's Kiran.

CHETRY: Well the curtain will rise tonight on Broadway. This will be the first time this holiday season that Broadway stagehands and theater producers finally reaching a tentative agreement overnight to settle their nearly three-week strike. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it great news for everyone who earns a living on Broadway and for everyone who lives, works, and visits New York City.

Our Lola Ogunnaike has been following the story since day one. So finally, I mean, being in these late-night closed door sessions, they hammered out an agreement?

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They were involved in marathon negotiations for the past several days, and they were finally able to come to an agreement yesterday evening at about 10:30. It could not come at a better time. Kiran, this has been going on for 19 days and it cost the city nearly $40 million.

The shows will start again this evening and both Broadway people and New York City restaurant people and business people were more than happy to hear the news. I was in Times Square yesterday evening, and I spoke with several restaurant managers. One of whom I spoke with said that business has been down 60 percent for him, so he was ecstatic.

Even the cab driver who drove me home last night said that he was thrilled. He immediately got on his walkie-talkie and started telling all of his colleagues. So this is a big deal. They obviously missed out on Thanksgiving week, which is a second most lucrative week in the year for Broadway, but they're not going miss out on the week between Christmas and New Years. So there will be actually a happy holidays on Broadway.

CHETRY: And it officially -- the curtain officially goes up tonight?

OGUNNAIKE: The curtain goes up this evening, so if you've got a ticket to "Wicked" or a ticket to Mama Mia, you're in luck.

CHETRY: All right. Sounds good. Lola, thanks.

OGUNNAIKE: Thanks.

CHETRY: Other headlines this morning. Troops in the Philippines storming a luxury hotel in Manila overnight. All of this was caught on tape. Firing tear gas, ramming the hotel with an armor personnel carrier. There you see that.

It was playing out live on television. Rebels were holed up in the hotel. They demanded the resignation of the president of the Philippines. Hotel guests were evacuated. The rebels did eventually surrender.

And President Bush talking Mideast peace in a CNN exclusive with our own Wolf Blitzer. Negotiators for the Israelis and Palestinians in the U.S. for the Annapolis conference set a goal to complete a peace treaty by the end of the year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a hopeful beginning and it was important, but not nearly as important as the days that are to come. And so our job is to facilitate those discussions. It is to make sure that they stay on track, that there's a focused effort. But we can't dictate the result.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: President Bush also said the presence of Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Syria was quite an accomplishment. He said Iran was not invited because it would not have been constructive and also Iran wouldn't have showed up anyway -- John.

ROBERTS: We're following breaking news in Minnesota this morning, Kiran, where a pipeline blasts is pushing oil prices higher. The explosion yesterday killed two workers and shut down four pipelines that carry 1.5 million barrels a day and are part of the world's largest pipeline system. A barrel of oil had fallen to under $91, but news of the blast pushed it up more than $4 now to $95.17.

Also new, violence this morning in Pakistan as President Pervez Musharraf is sworn in. At least 12 lawyers were hurt when police charged into a rally with batons. Musharraf retired as general delivering on a promise that he had been making for some time.

And a new warning from the FBI about your personal computer. The FBI says two million computers have been used by hackers as remote control robots to crash online systems and spam e-mails and steal users' personal information. Defense say this is a serious and growing problem and has caused more than $20 million in losses -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, it's time now to check in with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents for other stories new this morning.

Much of the nation can expect cold weather this morning and even a wintry mess in some spots. Our Rob Marciano at the weather update desk tracking extreme weather for us. It's winter. What do you expect, right?

ROB MARCIANO, METEOROLOGIST: That's right. I owe you on the first one of the season. First couple of the season itself fired up especially when they fall even before December 1st. So this weekend looks like it's going to be interesting, interesting things happening across upstate New York. Although the radar scope is showing some moisture, most of this is not hitting the ground with the exception of Buffalo.

This is really just the leading edge of what is cold air. And then behind this with the cold air rolling off the Great Lakes, well, you know, the drill lake effect snow this time of the year so we'll get three to six inches south of Buffalo. It could get over a foot across the south hill plateau.

All right. Let's go corner to corner. Across the pacific northwest, we showed you video snowfall in the higher elevations around the city of Portland, Oregon. These areas will see a foot plus, mostly in the Cascades Range in the blue and Wallowa Mountains of eastern Oregon and Washington.

A couple of things of interest. We got our action here across the East Coast. We got our action here across the northwest. And we've got some action right here across the southwest, and this is going to be heading northeast. So that combination is really going to make for a mess in this part of the country as we go on through the next several days.

Let's take a look and break it down for you. You could see some flooding rains across parts of Arizona over the next 36 hours and then the storm tracks to the northeast Saturday, Sunday. And by Monday, we could see lake-effect snows that could have blizzard conditions in some of the usual spots. It looks like at this point, major metropolitan areas including Chicago and New York and Philly and Boston should be OK. But, you know, that's still several days away, and the forecast certainly can change. CHETRY: That's why we have you. Keep us posted. Keep us in the loop. Rob, thanks so much.

MARCIANO: You got it.

CHETRY: Well, we're talking with Ali Velshi right now. He's at our business update desk. A lot of news this morning in the business world. Hey, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kiran, good to see you. Oil pulling back a little bit about $93.33 right now, but did go up to $95.17 after that explosion in Minnesota, which we're following. That pipeline is going to be shut down for a little while. We also a big name on the market yesterday.

But another piece of news, we're just getting this morning on the foreclosure numbers for October. And in October, forecloses are up 94 percent over the last year compared to where they were in October of 2006. The good news, just up 2 percent from September of '07.

How's that affect your home prices? Obviously, with home prices being foreclosed upon, that may push prices lower. The median price of a home sold in October in the United States now down to $207,800. That is down 5.1 percent over the course of the year.

Gerri Willis will be back in a little while with a lot more detail about today's foreclosure report and yesterday's home prices report. Again, this continues, just one of the many things that American investors have to keep on their minds. We'll keep you up to date on markets, oil, and home prices. I'll be back in a little while -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Sounds good, Ali. Thanks so much. Concerns this morning about a possible link between CT scans and an elevated risk of cancer. CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is at the medical desk update desk with the results of some new studies we've been doing on the (INAUDIBLE).

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran. Yes. First of all, CAT scans, as a lot of people know, are basically a device that basically just takes lots of different x-rays and puts it together in some sort of three dimensional image for doctors to be able to use.

The numbers of CAT scans have gone up dramatically since 1980. Just to give you a scale of reference. About three million CAT scans were performed back in 1980. Now, it's 62 million. And they estimate that on the average, the average individual's radiation exposure is doubled, mainly as a result of CT scans.

The question is what is the impact on this? They believe that within the next several years, one to two percent of all cancers in the United States will be attributable to the radiation from CT scans. Now, this is in no way saying don't get a CAT scan if you need one.

But there may be a lot of CAT scans that are being done unnecessarily, especially in children. That could be a problem, Kiran.

CHETRY: It could be a catch 22 because CAT scans also identify cancers at times, right, as well. So what is your recommendation for patients?

GUPTA: Well, I think that you certainly need to have a conversation with your doctor or whoever is ordering the CAT scan to say is this really necessary? Do I need to have this CAT scan? Can it wait longer? There's also some other options now.

You know, one things that happens, Kiran, is you might imagine over 20 years, is the technology gets better. So you definitely have CAT scans that have good quality images still, bigger quality images, but less radiation. And if that's an option, you may want to talk to your doctor about that.

But again, the message here is not to avoid getting a CAT scan if you medically need one. But we know that about a third of the CAT scans that are done in this country right now are deemed medically unnecessary, so it's worthwhile having that conversation.

CHETRY: Good advice. Sanjay, great to see you as always, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CHETRY: John?

ROBERTS: It's coming up now to 15 minutes after the hour. Controversy in last night's CNN YouTube debate. Questions about a retired general and his connection to the Clinton campaign. We showed you what he said last night. Today, we're going to be speaking with him live.

Plus, an AMERICAN MORNING follow-up. A British woman teaching in Sudan faces 40 lashes because of this teddy bear. She goes to court today. The fallout on this story ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Coming up on 18 minutes after the hour. Live from St. Petersburg, Florida this morning, the CNN election express outside the Mahaffey Theater here, which was the scene of last night's YouTube debate.

Then there were questions this morning about one of last night's questioners. It turns out that a retired general had links to the Clinton campaign. Here's his question as submitted on YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIG. GEN. KEITH KERR, U.S. ARMY RET., SANTA ROSA, CA: My name's Keith Kerr from Santa Rosa, California. I'm a retired brigadier general with 43 years of service, and I'm a graduate of the Special Forces Officer course, the Command and General Staff course and the Army War college, and I'm an openly gay man. I want to know why you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: So there's the question and Retired Army Brigadier General Keith Kerr joins me now this morning. We discovered after the debate last night that you are in fact a member of Hillary Clinton's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender steering committee. We did not -- we did a background check and we found that you have not made any campaign contributions to any candidate. Does that still stand?

KERR: That's correct.

ROBERTS: OK. Well, let me ask you about your position on the steering committee. What does that entail, and have you in fact done any work for Hillary Clinton's campaign?

KERR: I have not done any work. Several friends asked me if I would allow my name to be listed and I agreed because she is such a strong advocate of gay and lesbian rights.

ROBERTS: So this really hasn't required anything on your part other than lending your name to it?

KERR: Correct.

ROBERTS: Now, did anyone from Hillary Clinton's campaign or from the steering economy or anyone else associated with a political organization put you up to the idea of asking this question?

KERR: Absolutely not. This was a private initiative on my own.

ROBERTS: So why did you want to ask this question?

KERR: I wanted to ask it because I wanted to focus attention on the damage that "don't ask, don't tell" currently does to our military readiness. Every day, the Department of Defense kicks out two or three talented gay or lesbian personnel. And we're talking about intelligence specialists, surgeons, nurses, doctors, 58 Arabic linguists since 9/11.

ROBERTS: And what was your experience like as an openly gay man to have to live in the closet of the U.S. military?

KERR: Well, I enjoyed the army so much that I wanted to stay and finish my career. However, I did so in the reserves, and it made a wonderful career for me and made me a much better person.

ROBERTS: But was it difficult for you?

KERR: Because of the gender?

ROBERTS: You're living two lives, basically?

KERR: John, because of the generation in which I grew up, one could not reveal their sexuality. It meant immediate loss...

ROBERTS: Oh, even in this generation again.

KERR: ... of your civilian or military job. And I wanted to be successful in life and it was necessary to not reveal my sexuality.

ROBERTS: Right. On the idea of not revealing things, we didn't know again that you were a member of the steering committee. There was also a news release dated November 11, 2007, that lists you as a national co-chair on veterans and military retirees for Hillary Clinton. Are you in fact a member of that organization?

KERR: Yes. It's the same one. Simply my list, my name on the list.

ROBERTS: So it's the same organization?

KERR: And both friends, yes. I think it's two separate lists to support Hillary Clinton.

ROBERTS: Now, perhaps our bad for not further investigating your background other than going on to make sure that you hadn't made any campaign contributions, but did you ever think to disclose your affiliation to us? And if not --

KERR: It never concerned me because I had not really participated in that.

ROBERTS: All right.

KERR: As a matter of fact, I supported several Republicans this fall.

ROBERTS: Tell me about that.

KERR: One of them is Aliana Rossladen (ph).

ROBERTS: Rossladen (ph), correct.

KERR: And she's from the Miami area. She was in San Francisco recently at a fundraiser and I went and made a contribution to her campaign.

ROBERTS: And you're a registered Independent.

KERR: A registered Independent in California.

ROBERTS: Oh, General Kerr, thank you very much for joining us this morning, explaining a little bit more about your situation. I can't say that we would have used the question had we known. Now, a lesson for us as well. But thank you for coming in this morning, sir.

KERR: Oh, thank you.

ROBERTS: And thank you for your service to the country. KERR: Thank you for being so transparent. I appreciate that.

ROBERTS: All right. Good to speak with you -- Kiran.

CHETRY: You know, another one of the big issues last night at the debates and a huge issue among those who say they're going to be voting for Republican candidates, immigration. Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani really got into it over the issue, trading barbs throughout the evening and the summit also making news in this morning's "New York Times."

According to an analysis of census data that was released today by the Center for Immigration Studies, immigration during the past seven years was the highest for any seven-year period in American history, with more than half of the 10 million plus new immigrants coming to the country doing so illegally.

That brings us to this morning's "Quick Vote" question. Who from the debate last night do you think has the best solution for immigration? Cast your vote CNN.com/AM. Right now, Ron Paul, the runaway winner in our poll, 67 percent of the votes. Mike Huckabee coming in second with 12 percent. We'd like you to keep on voting throughout the morning, and we're going to update the "Quick Vote" all morning long.

Well, a Christmas tree comes as a surprise. A warning label that says wash your hands after touching it? We're going to tell you why ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: A teacher charged with offending Islam in court today. Gillian Gibbons, a British teacher working in Sudan, being held by police after she asked her class of 7-year-olds to come up with a name for a teddy bear as part of a school project. The students chose Mohamed. That was considered insulting to the prophet in the Islam religion.

The judge adjourned today's proceedings because lawyers for the prosecution didn't show up. She faces 40 lashes, a jail term of up to a year, or a fine.

And we told you about some scary warnings on Christmas wreaths. Well, now they're turning up on pre-lit trees as well. A woman in Texas bought one from Wal-Mart and was shocked to see the warning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUANITA HIRGIS, BROUGHT TREE WITH LEAD WARNING: I saw the word cancer, and it caught my attention. I thought I better read this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: And it said, "Caution: Handling the coated electrical wires of this product exposes you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. Wash hands after use."

You know, those warnings are required by California law, but they go on all the trees because the trees and the wreaths are shipped nationwide.

Rudy Giuliani says Mitt Romney had illegal aliens working for him. So what was Mitt Romney's response? We're going to talk to him live next on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN, ANCHOR: Look at the fountain outside of the Mahaffey Theater here in St. Petersburg, the scene of last night's CNN YouTube debate. Interesting debate. Lots of talk about the issues and lots of back and forth between the candidates. One of those candidates with me this morning, Governor Mitt Romney from Massachusetts. He'll be talking about his performance last night, what he thought of the format and the campaign going forward. Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It's Thursday the 29th of November. In St. Petersburg, I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN, ANCHOR: And I'm Kiran Chetry. He certainly had some sparks of the night and the back and forth exchanges with former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. So, really interesting to get Mitt Romney's take this morning.

Also, new, John, the curtains are going to rise again tonight on Broadway for the first time this holiday season. Broadway stagehands and theater producers reaching a tentative deal overnight after a 12- hour bargaining session. That was just one of many marathon sessions that have taken place. The 19-day strike drained millions of dollars in revenue from the theater district and others who rely on the Broadway shows to make their living, taxi cab drivers, restaurants in the area. More than two dozen shows will be back in business. It all starts tonight. Meanwhile though, TV and movie writers still in strike mode right now and they're going to be meeting with producers again today to try to end it. One late night show though deciding to return to air anyway. Carson Daly crossing the picket line in Los Angeles and resuming production of his NBC show.

Almost 3,000 families have to be out of their FEMA trailers by the end of May. It's a new deadline for closing trailer parks that were set up after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina in Louisiana. Some of those smaller parks closed in the next few days. FEMA says it will help everyone find new housing, rental housing and that no one will be forced out. Trailers on private property are not affected.

And it's one of the most read stories on CNN.com. This photo posted by korea times.com shows a melted cell phone. The one on the right is the melted one. The one on the left of course before this apparent battery explosion. There's some questions about whether a man in South Korea was killed by that exploding battery. The man was apparently found dead, his cell phone was in his pocket and he had burns all over him. Well the phone was apparently made by L.G. Electronics. We tried reaching the South Korean company for comment but have been unsuccessful so far. John. ROBERTS: Well, an already testy republican presidential race got even more heated last night during the CNN YouTube debate. Take this exchange between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney on the issue of immigration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The mayor said, and I quote almost verbatim which is "if you happen to be in this country in an undocumented status, and that means you're here illegally, then we welcome you here."

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In his case, there were six sanctuary cities, he had sanctuary mansion, not just a sanctuary city.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Former Governor Mitt Romney joins me now. So a lot of back and forth last night. You told me off-camera here you were mostly throwing as opposed to receiving, but he did seem to kind of graze your chin there with a hit on you hiring illegal immigrants to work on your home. Is that true?

ROMNEY: No, it's not true and he's dishonest in saying it and he knows that. I didn't hire any illegal aliens and he's trying to get off the fact that he organized a sanctuary city policy which he continues to defend by saying that people who come here illegally are welcome in New York City, that he's not going to enforce the federal laws and I said I'm going to cut back funding to any city that does that and as a matter of fact as governor, when I heard that there were three cities that were trying to do in our state -

ROBERTS: I thought it was four.

ROMNEY: I had to stay put. I keep hearing different numbers but it's not something that actually was highly visible at the time. But when I heard that some were doing, I engaged the state police, authorized them to carry out federal immigration laws. They could go anywhere to enforce the law.

ROBERTS: But isn't it true that that never became law? The Deval Patrick Act when he was elected?

ROMNEY: You know, if you hire somebody whose a democrat that follows somebody whose tough on illegal immigration. They can take in a different direction but in May of my final year, seven months before I was out, I requested that the federal government give us the approval to train our state police.

ROBERTS: So, it was requested but never enacted.

ROMNEY: We carried it out as soon as they got it to us. They got the approval. It takes Washington a while. But the question is, I think, John , did I do everything in my power to make sure that illegal immigration was not welcome in Massachusetts. And let me finish, so I said no to driver's licenses. I also said no with a bill came to my desk giving illegal immigrants a tuition break, I said no, I would not do that. And when I heard about sanctuary cities, I immediately asked for the state police to be able to enforce the law.

ROBERTS: Let me come back to my original question. Let me get you to clear this up for us. What is the deal with the illegal immigrants and the landscape company?

ROMNEY: Now, there's a big building here. Are there people here that have been hired by outside contractors that are here illegally? You don't know that in this country because we don't have an employment verification system.

ROBERTS: But do you know that the landscape company that you hired to work on your home had in fact employed illegal immigrants?

ROMNEY: Of course, I did not know that. As a matter of fact, the person...

ROBERTS: Do you know it now in retrospect?

ROMNEY: It's been a story in the paper.

ROBERTS: We haven't heard from your side. Do you now know that they did?

ROMNEY: Well, it's in the paper. Come on, John, you're smart enough to know. The answer is you hire contractors at your home, to paint the home, to put on a roof or to do a driveway and the contractor that we hired is a legal contractor. The man who runs the company is here legally and it turns out after a globe investigation that some of his employees were not legal. That's not something a homeowner in America we're going to have homeowners go out and start asking employees of companies if they're here legally and to show us their papers. And that's why I said to the mayor that's not the kind of America you want. That's not what you're suggesting. You do expect people to follow the law and you do expect employers to have a way of finding out who's here legally and who's not.

ROBERTS: There was another interesting movement in last night's debate. The question was asked, do you believe every word in the bible? A very simple question. Let's take a look at your response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I believe that the bible is the word of god, absolutely.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN, HOST: Does that mean you believe every word?

ROMNEY: Yes, I believe the word of god. The bible is the word of god. I mean, I'm - I might interpret the word differently than you would interpret the word, but I believe the bible and I believe the bible is the word of god.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: All right. So your initial answer to that almost looked like a bit of a dodge and it raised among some people questions of where did the Mormon faith and other denominations of Christianity part ways. Orrin Hatch, a senator from the state of Utah, has suggested that it would be a good idea for you to come out and make a Kennediesque speech to sort of clear the air a little bit, explain a little bit more about your faith. Do you think that's a good idea?

ROMNEY: You know, I'll give it consideration. There are pros and cons on that kind of issue. Hugh Hewett, he wrote a book about called the "Mormon in the White House?" says it's not a good idea. He said look, John F. Kennedy already plowed that ground there's nothing more you can add to it.

ROBERTS: It really helped him in 1960.

ROMNEY: It may have. It's kind of hard to tell. But he gave a speech I think two months before the general election. We're now, what, a year before the general election almost?

ROBERTS: Are you saying, you got time.

ROMNEY: Time will tell. It's not something I have made a final decision for announcement yet.

ROBERTS: Governor Romney, it's always good to see you.

ROMNEY: Thanks, John.

ROBERTS: Thanks for dropping by. All right. Good luck on the campaign trail.

ROMNEY: Thank you.

ROBERTS: (inaudible) Coming right up. Let's go back to Kiran now.

CHETRY: It was a sight to behold in New York City's Rockefeller Center last night, the annual Christmas tree lighting. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Five, four, three, two, one!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: There it is, beautiful. The 84-foot Norway spruce, Mayor Michael Bloomberg lit it. This year the decorations are environmentally friendly. They also have solar panels that generate the juice needed to keep the 30,000 lights burning bright and every day they say they'll save enough energy to power a 2,000 square feet home for an entire month. When the tree comes down, it's also going to be used for lumber to build for Habitat for Humanity, new homes in New York, the Gulf Coast, India and Brazil. 38 minutes past the hour, Rob Marciano keeping an eye on the weather. So, it really is a green tree. How about that? All the changes they made for the lighting of the tree. But it was perfect weather last night.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: Great weather last night. Just think just a few years ago what you just said about recapping all the green steps that they made with that tree, what they're going to do after, that would never have been said just a few years ago. So, we've come a long way. That's for sure. Enjoying the holidays. Environmentally friendly. Great weather last night in New York.

We got a little something that's heading through the area but probably won't matter much except for a couple of sprinkles, what it will do is bring in some cold air and that will make it feel even more like the season. Some snow flurries, actually more than just snow flurries. When this cold air rolls across the warm waters of the great lakes, it will fire up the lake-effect snow machine tonight and tomorrow but probably several times before the week and weekend is done. Minus 18 is what it feels like in Fargo. It feels like minus 23 Fahrenheit in Winnipeg, minus 5 is what the wind chill is right now in Minneapolis.

So this is the leading edge of that cold air, just some sprinkles right now, but once the cold air goes through, then we'll look for the lake-effect snow machine to kick into place. Three to six inches of snow possible in Buffalo, maybe over a foot across the tug hill plateau. And also may be a foot in spots across the pacific northwest and we got the northwest and northeast corners covered. Southwest getting in the act here and we could have ourselves a mess come this weekend. Just to kind of get you all fired up for winter and December and the holidays.

CHETRY: I think we're ready for it. All right, Rob, thanks so much. Still ahead, are men with more testosterone healthier? There's a new study about the male hormone and it's link to heart disease and we're going to ask Sanjay Gupta all about it. Coming up. Plus he was attacked from all sides at the CNN YouTube debate from his personal life to his policies as mayor to his allegiance to the Yankee pinstripes. Coming up, John's exclusive post debate interview with Rudy Giuliani. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. There's been a lot of controversy surrounding hormone therapy and heart disease in women. But could similar therapy using testosterone actually help protect men from heart problems? We're paging Dr. Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta. Hi Sanjay, you know this all comes from this, I guess, this other research saying that men with high naturally occurring levels of testosterone may get some heart benefits?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really does seem to be true here. This is based on a pretty large study, about 12,000 people that were followed over 10 years, 12,000 men I should say. It's interesting that we know a lot about testosterone and the beneficial effects. You have adequate levels of testosterone in the body, you seem to have lower blood pressure. You seems to have more higher levels of good cholesterol in your body. But these researches are ready to take that step further and say that normal level of testosterone actually lead to lower levels of deaths from heart attacks later on in life. That was interesting to actually take that further step. I'll ask your first question for you Kiran, which is does lower levels of testosterone mean that you're more likely to die of heart disease? The question doesn't seem to be yes. Right now, there's a correlation there somewhere but not causation per se. We don't know if actually bringing testosterone levels up seem to make a difference. But people who have normal naturally occurring levels of testosterone seem to be protected against heart disease later in life.

CHETRY: But first of all, how do you even go about figuring out what your testosterone level is?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it's actually as simple as a blood test. You can just get your testosterone level check. And a lot of men do get that check, particularly around fertility issues for example, but it's hard to know who to check. Not all men need to have this check necessarily. So that's always been a bit of an issue. But if there's a history of heart disease or there's some other concern about this, maybe this is something that doctors want to check it. But Kiran, you said the right thing. I mean there's a lot of controversy around hormone replacement. I mean it makes a lot of sense. Your hormone levels go down as you get older, replace them and they may be able to ward off some of the things that are associated with aging. That did not turn out to be true with women and there is concern that adding testosterone to a man as well could possible increase your risk of cancer there as well, prostate cancer in particular.

CHETRY: I guess there's other questions about whether it has to be naturally occurring or whether it even helps heart disease to supplement testosterone?

GUPTA: Absolutely and it's a very good point. And the study authors were very implicit about this that this study was done in naturally occurring testosterone. When you start adding some synthetic testosterone or for that matter, synthetic estrogen or progesterone in the case of women, you're changing the dynamics to some extent and that may have been the problem to some extent with hormone replacement therapy. That might also be the problem with testosterone replacement therapy. We just don't know because so many of these studies are done on naturally occurring substances.

CHETRY: Dr. Gupta, we'll see you a little bit later in the next hour. Thanks so much.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CHETRY: By the way, if you have a question for Sanjay, e-mail us, go to cnn.com/am. Sanjay will be answering your questions coming up in the next hour. John.

ROBERTS: He said judge me on my entire record. Well his opponents did last night and Rudy Giuliani responded. How does he think he made out? My post debate exclusive with the mayor, coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: We have been following breaking developments out of Minnesota where a pipeline wiped out most of oils price drop seen last week. It was a pipeline explosion that happened last night in Clearbrook, Minnesota. Two people were killed and it also shut down pipelines that carried 1.5 million barrels a day. Part of the largest pipeline systems in the world. Oil on that news then surged more than $4 in electronic trading getting as high as $95 a barrel before pulling back.

ROBERTS: All right. Every little thing just puts upward pressure on that.

After last night's debate, I had a chance to catch up with Mayor Rudy Giuliani to get his thoughts on how he fared. Accusations that his office may have hid some of the costs associated with his visits to New York's Hamptons area to see his then mistress, Judith Nathan. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI (), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have done seven or eight of these debates. I thought this might have been the loosest in terms of each one of the candidates. They seemed more like themselves.

ROBERTS: Were you able to your satisfaction differentiate yourself from the other candidates here on the stage? Because time is running out here.

GIULIANI: Always in these debates that there's a great frustration because you have 100 more things to say. Literally, we were each on for only 13 minutes and we were prepared before hand for about two hours. So you want to be part of all it but that's been true of all the debates. I thought this format though surprisingly worked very well. It was a perfectly appropriate set of expenses. It mean, it makes it looks like there was something wrong with this. I was covered by the police 24 hours a day every day that I was mayor. I was covered because there were threats to kill me. I thought the way the story was presented was kind of like a hit job and coming you know two hours before this debate, I kind of got the sense that it wasn't a legitimate story it was kind of a hit job.

ROBERTS: Are you suggesting that this was perhaps opposition researched by your opponents?

GIULIANI: No, no, it couldn't be. This story was like five years old. We're going back to dates in 1999, 2000, what is this 2007? So you know, I kind of thought, coming two hours before the debate after seven years it was, and of course, if you look at it carefully, these are all legitimate expenses. I see this as a two hour before a debate hit. Gosh, I wouldn't accuse any of my opponents for doing it, but who knows? It could be on the democratic side. ROBERTS: Florida, you're doing quite well. Unfortunately, in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, you're not doing quite so well. Can you with the front-loading of the primaries this year lose a couple of the early states and still manage to get the nominee? Is this your fire wall?

GIULIANI: Yes, it is. But so is after that California and New York or before that South Carolina. The whole job we have is to win as many primaries as possible. We know we're not going to win all of them. We're ready for a short-term strategy and a long-term strategy. And I think honestly, we're in the best possession of any group of candidates. If we win some of the earlier ones I think we're in great shape. If we don't win, I think we're still in pretty good shape.

ROBERTS: Your taking credit for four world series championships for the Yankees. That's a bit of a stretch, isn't?

GIULIANI: Yes, it is. But is used to do it when I was mayor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: And he makes absolutely no apologies for that, the YouTube videos by the way, he also took credit for reduction in the snowfall in New York City while he was mayor. I'm going to have much more of my interviews coming up a little bit later on in the program. And also if you want to see them in their entirety, all of my exclusive post debate interviews with the republican candidates, you can get them on our web site at cnn.com/am. Now, let's go back to New York and here's Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Immigration a huge issue at the debate last night and in the news again his morning. According to an analysis of census data released today by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, immigration during the past seven years was the highest for any seven-year period in American history. More than half of the 10 million plus new immigrants coming into the country are doing so illegally. That brings us to this morning's quick vote question. Who from the debate last night do you think has the best solution for immigration? Cast your vote at cnn.com/am. Right now, Ron Paul is the runaway winner in our poll, 70 percent of the vote. Mike Huckabee a distant second at 10 percent and please keep on voting throughout the morning. We'll update it. We have a lot of Ron Paul fans though because he won yesterday too in our quick vote. Which candidate do you think will do best in the YouTube format, he also ran away with it with more than 80 percent.

ALI VELSHI, CNN, BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That was a big topic - immigration is one big hot topic and another one that I've been following is taxes. This whole discussion came up about fair taxes. Mike Huckabee is a big proponent of this but in fact a number of the candidates are. It sounds great because it appeals to everybody, this whole concept of getting rid of - let me tell you what this fair tax proposal would get rid of it. It could get rid of income tax, corporate taxes, Medicare, AMT, payroll taxes, gift taxes, estate taxes, capital gains and social security. Can you imagine that it may even get rid of the IRS. CHETRY: So, that's gone. All of that list up there is gone.

VELSHI: If one of these candidates brings in this fair tax plan that would all be gone. What comes in its place, because the government needs money is a consumption tax, a sales tax, if you will, but depending on how you calculate it. It's about 23 percent to 30 percent of what you buy. Now on some levels the theory is that why not tax people on what they consume rather than what they earn. Well, the problem with this of course is that as you go further down the income scale, you consume a much greater proportion of what you earn. On the higher end of the income scale, you can consume as much as you earn, but we have a negative savings rate in the United States. When we talk about people living paycheck to paycheck, that means they're spending all of the money they earn, that means all of that is going to be taxed. Now, under the proposal - the fair tax proposal, let me just show you by the way which of the presidential candidates are supporting it. There are no democrats supporting this. Of the republicans, these are the ones who are supporting it, Thomson says he has no opinion. Giuliani and Romney are not supporting. You know, under this plan, there would be an eliminations of all these other taxes. I wish I had a tax code with me to show you because it's such a big document that this is appealing to people who think that it should be simplified. I think everybody agrees with the tax code being simplified. The fair tax name could be a little misleading. It's one tax.

CHETRY: And do you think there's any chance in the world that any type of reform that drastic would happen?

VELSHI: I think there is definitely a chance that some tax reform will happen. They have already started this discussion. It is too complicated. But whether it's going to be this or not, this is the kind of thing that just appeals to people. It appeals to me of not having to pay a million different taxes, but it's not necessarily, it's not really as fair as it sounds.

CHETRY: I know and every time they do try to make some change, it seems like it confuses it even more. The AMT, OPSS, accidentally all these middle class people are paying that shouldn't.

VELSHI: And it appeals to me, one tax and I can pay it.

CHETRY: Right. Thanks, Ali.

VELSHI: OK.

CHETRY: John.

ROBERTS: Four minutes now to the top of the hour, a missing girl apparently led a double life. Quick hits now, 18-year-old Kansas College student Emily Sander is also known as internet porn star, Zoe Zane. Sander was last seen leaving a bar last Friday with 24-year-old Israel Morales. The next day the motel room where Morales was staying was covered in blood and the bed sheets were missing. A manhunt is now underway for Morales. HBO is planning a movie about baseball's home run king, Barry Bonds. HBO Films bought the rights to "Game of Shadows." The book by two "San Francisco Chronicle" reporters which broke many of the stories about Bonds alleged steroid use. HBO is part of Time-Warner, which is the parent company of this network. Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, we'll have an update on a brave little Iraqi boy who faces another round of surgery this morning. Doctors are trying to remove scars he suffered in an insurgent attack, terrible attack. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will have his amazing story, how they're doing it ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

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