Return to Transcripts main page

AMERICAN MORNING

Massive Fire Contained; U.S. Military Reporting Decline in Attacks Linked to Iranian-Made Roadside Bombs; Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton Battling for Key Minority Vote in South Carolina Primary; Message to Osama Bin Laden From His Own Son

Aired January 21, 2008 - 08:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. Thanks very much for being with us. It's Monday, January the 21st. I'm John Roberts in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Kiran Chetry is just going outside to Central Park to talk some more about the cold weather there.
But first of all, let me set the scene for you here in Myrtle Beach. We're outside the palace theatre in Myrtle. It's a place where they typically hold Broadway in the beach. Perhaps, you'd come down here on vacation or for spring break or something and you've seen this theater light up with the sounds of Broadway. Well, tonight it's going to be all about political discourse.

Wolf Blitzer will be moderating the scene. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and john Edwards will be our three participants for the evening. Each one of them trying to convince voters here in South Carolina to vote for them. A very important primary for the Democrats and it will also come just three days before the Florida primary which doesn't really mean a lot in terms of delegates for the Democrats this year, because it was penalized from moving up before February 5th date, but still very important in terms of this idea of overall momentum.

So after the Republicans held their contest here on Saturday, the Democrats coming up this coming Saturday. A very important contest here in what is this morning a very frigid Myrtle Beach as well. Not as cold, though, as it is there in New York where Kiran is. Good morning.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. And we got one of our big thermometers too. It's saying about 18. The big clock on the wall where the time and temperature says 15 degrees. But I tell you what, the only people out here today, usually this is bustling, are people that are either walking their dogs or people coming to grab a cup of coffee and run back inside. And hey, they have it right, we don't this morning because it is very chilly out here. About zero degrees when you factor in the wind chill.

That's the situation across much of country, though. It is January, but we are dealing with some below average temperatures, including cold temperatures and extreme wind chills throughout parts of -- places like North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana. In fact, temperatures hit below freezing overnight in some spots. At least one weather-related death reported in Wisconsin over the weekend. And then Syracuse, New York, now, no stranger to snow but getting slammed with 35 inches in just one storm. We're taking a look at how long we can expect this arctic blast to continue.

Our Rob Marciano is tracking the bitter cold for us in the balmy 68 degree studio in the weather center in Atlanta.

Hey, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No, I think this morning, it's like 66. It's a little bit chilly actually for me.

CHETRY: Oh, you poor thing. Get some more coffee.

(WEATHER REPORT)

CHETRY: That's true. Happy for the little things this morning. Thanks so much, Rob.

Well, today is, of course, is a national holiday. Dignitaries and politicians expected this morning at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. That's where a special service is going to be held today for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, and that's the church where he used to preach.

Our T.J. Holmes joins us live from that church this morning with more on what's going on there today. Good morning, T.J., good to see you.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENTS: Hey, good morning to you, Kiran. Good to see you as well. I'm actually in front of the Horizon Sanctuary. It's actually the new sanctuary that's across the street from the historic church where Martin Luther King did used to preach. And this is where, within a couple of hours we do expect a commemorative service, that's being described as a spiritual hallmark of the King observant weekend and yes, we do expect a lot of dignitaries here.

But also, this day, all of us really know, friends, family, co- workers, who talk about the King Holiday and I say, hey, I got a three-day weekend coming up as the King Holiday. What am I going to do? Get a free day off.

Well, really, the hallmark of this weekend and the theme of this weekend and of this day is to remember, celebrate and act. A day on and not a day off. This is the theme that they have been pushing here for people to get involved in some way, form or fashion. And don't just take a day off. Don't just look at this as a day off from work or whatever it may be.

Now of course, for many, many years the King Holiday, some people describe it as good politics, and we're going to see it once again this year. Many dignitaries, politicians, are showing up here. And that weekend, we do expect possibly, the word has been, that possibly Bill Clinton is going to make an appearance here.

We, of course, saw Barack Obama who was here yesterday participating in the Sunday service at Ebenezer Baptist Church delivering a message of unity and also we know that for some time that blacks have really been a dependable voting block for Democrats. Well, there will be a Republican in the house today.

Republican former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee will attend the service. Not participating in the service but he will be here at invitation of a member of the King Family. So that service gets under way in just under two hours. Expected to be really, 1,000 expected to show up here.

Temperatures are really cold here but thousands showed up yesterday, of course, to see Barack Obama. Thousands expected again here today. So we will be here and monitor that service and bring you really a day, again, for people to take the day on and not the day off. That is the theme.

So for now, Kiran, I'll hand it back to you but we'll be here and let you know how that service turn out here in a couple hours.

CHETRY: All right. Sound good. T.J. Holmes in Atlanta for us. Thank you.

John?

ROBERTS: Kiran, thanks. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are working hard to gain the support of African-Americans that make up nearly half of the primary voters here in South Carolina. For both candidates the church has been a conduit to black communities. And our Jason Carroll visited one South Carolina congregation, what did he find? A house divided and joins me now. How divided?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very divided. You know, we actually found the ideal church through this story, John. 10,000 members but two special parishioners showed up. This two parishioners really exemplify how divided the African-American community is over the top two candidates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL (voice-over): The church has always been a place where pastors preached to the converted, but here at the Bible Way Church in Columbia, South Carolina there's a push to convert the undecided.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to go out and vote, amen.

CARROLL: The leading Democratic candidates know half of all primary voters in the state are African-American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama, welcome.

CARROLL: That's why Senator Obama's wife Michelle sat on one side of the church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chelsea Clinton.

CARROLL: While Chelsea Clinton and close family friend, Vernon Jordan sat on the other.

VERNON JORDAN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Black people have never been in a voting situation before, where the choice was between good and good.

CARROLL: The church's pastor, State Senator Darrell Jackson is a paid consultant for the Clinton campaign. Longtime parishioner, Anton Gunn works for the Obama campaign.

ANTON GUNN, OBAMA STAFFER: I have a campaign and the candidate that has the ability to be able to unify and bring people together in so many different walks of life. That matters so much. And that's what church is about as well.

DARRELL JACKSON, CLINTON STAFFER: You have that tug-of-war going on even within our own church. But when they really were down to it, it was to me, who do I think is ready to lead right now?

CARROLL: And while both candidates claim support from prominent African-American ministers, it's their parishioners they must reach.

SCOTT BUFFMON, WINTHROP UNIVERSITY: In the Civil Rights era, going to the church was the first place you went to organize for African-Americans in the south to fight for the rights. And that has continued into modern politics today.

CARROLL: This church like many across the country is clearly divided. At the end of Sunday's sermon, half the congregation greets Chelsea Clinton, the other half Michelle Obama. The atmosphere cordial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good luck to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: That was an interesting moment. We did have an opportunity to speak to some undecided parishioners who were there who said even after seeing Michelle Obama, even after seeing Chelsea Clinton, John, they were still undecided.

ROBERTS: A cordial moment there but you could see that there was a little rivalry happening, right?

CARROLL: Absolutely, underneath all those smiles.

ROBERTS: Yes. They definitely got their own camps. Jason Carroll, nice piece. Thank you very much.

It was a split weekend for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. He won in Nevada but only placed fourth in South Carolina. I spoke with the former Massachusetts governor just a few minutes ago here on AMERICAN MORNING.

The focus now on Florida and spreading his new economic stimulus package. I asked him about criticism that his plan is too oriented towards business?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: Some critics suggested governor, that this is too oriented towards business. What do you say?

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The best way to grow an economy is to have good jobs and the best way I know how to do that is to encourage businesses, to buy products, to grow and to hire people. And so in some cases we're providing checks to individuals, taxpayers, so that they can go out and buy more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Romney leads the delegates' race now with 66 compared to 38 for John McCain and 26 for Mike Huckabee. The Florida primaries come up a week from tomorrow.

The Democratic candidates face-off tonight here in South Carolina in a CNN debate before the congressional black caucus. That's at 8:00 Eastern in the Palace theater behind me here.

And at 10:00 Eastern, a special of "AC 360." Anderson Cooper and Soledad O'Brien look at the effect of race on politics.

We'll also be talking with South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn about that coming up in our next hour of AMERICAN MORNING. Our Alina Cho here, right now with other stories new this morning.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, John. Good morning to you. Good morning, everybody.

We are following some breaking news out of Massachusetts this morning. A massive fire, were just getting word, has now been contained. That fire broke out at a nightclub in Lawrence, about 30 miles north of Boston. 14 buildings were ablaze, including, reports say, a home for the mentally disabled. One person taken to the hospital. The fire chief says the bitterly cold temperatures hampered fire fighting efforts. The fire is being called suspicious. An investigation is under way into the cause.

In Iraq, the U.S. military is reporting a decline in attacks linked to those Iranian-made roadside bombs. The army piercing bombs which are called EFPs have killed hundreds of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. U.S. military officials believe Iran has been supplying the sophisticated weapons to Shiite militias. But Iran has strongly denied the charge. Just ten days ago, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, sited a sharp increase in EFP attacks.

He's made movies about President Kennedy and Nixon, now director Oliver Stone has reportedly set his sites on the current president. Actor Josh Brolin is in toss to play the lead role. Stone told the "Daily Variety" the project, which is aptly called "Bush" will focus on the president's relationship with his father, his wild youth and his conversion to Christianity.

The script was finished before the writers' strike. That means a filming could begin in April and the movie in theaters in time for the November election at least Stone hopes so. At the weekend box office, a monster devours a record "Cloverfield." A film about a monster attacking New York City earned $41 million at the box office this weekend. That's the most ever for a January debut. Typically a quiet time for new releases.

And the New York giants are heading to the Super Bowl. Big Blue beat the Green Bay Packers in overtime last night 23-20. It was a real nail biter. The game winner came from the Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, a47 yard field goal and overtime, after missing two earlier attempts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a great win. I just hope in two weeks that we can win the Super Bowl and get the Patriots to 18-1.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: And the Giants will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 42. The Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers 21-12 keeping their perfect record of 18-0. If the Patriots beat the Giants, it would their fourth Super Bowl win in seven years.

So I think it's time to give it up to Big Blue. That's a look at the headlines this hour. John, I'm going to send it back to you. We've got beautiful palm trees. It looks warm. I know it's not, but it looks warm down there because of that palm trees. Gorgeous.

ROBERTS: Well, what's important is how it looks, rather than how it feels. Hey, thanks, Alina.

CHO: You bet.

ROBERTS: A message to the world's most wanted man. His son wants him to change his ways. Osama Bin Laden's son talks to CNN. We'll tell what you he said, coming up.

And Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, beating for the key minority vote in the South Carolina primary. What do they have to do to get it? We'll tell you ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: A message to Osama Bin Laden from his own son. A message saying, change. Omar Bin Laden spoke with CNN's Aneesh Raman. He says he is organizing a horse race for peace. Renouncing the violence that his father began years ago. Omar trained with Bin Laden as a teen in al Qaeda but left Afghanistan with his father's blessing. He now wears dread locks. He is married to a British woman. Omar told CNN, he doesn't think his father is evil, just using the wrong tactics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that your father is a terrorist? OMAR OSAMA BIN LADEN, BIN LADEN'S SON: I like to say to my father, try to find another way to help or to find your goal. And this is wrong. This is...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Weapons.

BIN LADEN: Weapons, is not good, to use it for anybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Coming up in about 20 minutes, Aneesh Raman joins us with more of this compelling interview including why Omar says his father, the most wanted man in the world, will never be caught.

John?

ROBERTS: Kiran, its coming up now to 17 minutes after the hour. We are here in Myrtle Beach today, because in the Palace Theater behind me, tonight at 8:00, the Democratic candidates for president will debate each other. One of the things they'll try to do is convince South Carolina's substantial African-American community to come out and vote for them.

So who's best positioned to attract the black vote here in South Carolina? Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley joins me now. First of all, let's lay out how important this voting block is to these three candidates?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, about half the primary voters on the Democratic side are African-American so it's very important. On the other hand, so is the white vote. But I think, it's about 49-51 split with African-American vote 49. So it's huge, and in particular, it's huge among African-American women.

I was on the plane here from Vegas reading over our research, because I'm the geek, and our exit polls showed that the last time, the last Democratic primary, there were 11 percent more black women voters than black men. So I think if you're going to look for who may turn this election down here its black women.

ROBERTS: Yes. That's what I was saying on Friday. And that came after our new CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll showed a substantial shift in sentiment among black voters. Hillary Clinton looked like she had the black vote wrapped up. It has since shifted back, this is at least according to preferential polls to Barack Obama. And as we saw in Michigan, where 68 percent of African- Americans voted uncommitted, and as we saw in Nevada, where Barack Obama captured the majority of the black vote, they do seem to be moving towards him after some months of skepticism.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. And you know, it's interesting, because Barack Obama said early on, I think March, April, when he had such a huge lead in the African-American communities that if I can show that I can win, that I'm viable, that's going to change things.

You know, he thought that he would get a second look from the African-American community that they didn't want to "Waste their vote." That they wanted to make sure that someone was viable. And of course, he had that Iowa win and that's what things really began to shift.

ROBERTS: And what's interesting too, is that the Iowa win, such a tiny, tiny minority of voters are African-American, and yet some people took their cues from that. There's this dust up between the Clinton camp and the Obama Camp.

First of all, it started with this idea of Martin Luther King and all that and now has shifted to Obama is pushing back against what he says are inaccuracies, being put out there in the campaign trail by Bill Clinton, the former president. Let's take a quick listen to how he reacted to what's going on this morning on ABC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The former president, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling. You know, he continues to make statements that are not supported by the facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: So Obama is saying, you've got a former president out there who buys his very nature and position. He's got more cachet than other surrogates would and he is saying these things about me that just aren't true. It's unfair.

CROWLEY: You know, and this is tricky business. Taking on someone who's so popular in the Democratic Party. But he doesn't really have a choice here because Bill Clinton becomes the kind of bad cop in this whole thing.

I mean, he's the one that's really been out there pushing back against reporters, saying things that he didn't agree with. Of course, he came up with the fairy tale line that caused so much controversy. So he has turned into this major force in the election, which the Obama camp can't afford to ignore and yet you've got to thread lightly, because they understand his popularity.

ROBERTS: No, obviously, in elections passed, candidates have run against former presidents out there in stump as surrogates. It's typically been from the other party thought and it's also the relationship between the former president and the candidates that they're stumping for, has been a little more distant that it is. The fact that he's out there saying these things about his wife, does that up the ante even more?

CROWLEY: Well, I think so. And again, I think Bill Clinton is, you know, obviously, personally involved in this. That I think -- I think back to an interview I did with this President Bush about his reputation. You know, as he went into this campaign in 2000, was that he was mean. That he really could play, you know, gutter ball in politics and he said, you know what? It's different when someone you love is running. It's different.

You're much more ferocious on their behalf than you would be on your behalf. So I think the former president is kind of caught up in the fact, that this is his wife. He clearly wants her to win. He has personal involvement in it, obviously. I think sometimes he just steps over the line as we're hearing now that some Democrats say, hold it. Is this really the role we want a former president to play?

ROBERTS: Well, he don't have plenty of more opportunities to watch those lines, because her campaign says they're not certainly going to dial back on his appearances. Candy Crowley, thanks very much.

Kiran?

CHETRY: Well, rebate check, the centerpiece of the economic stimulus plan. But how long will it take before you actually see the money? We're going to take a look, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Coming up now 25 after the hour. As Rob told us before, baby, its cold outside. And Green Bay was pretty much ice station zebra yesterday. Take a look at this.

This polar packers fan is our hot shot of the day, but there's nothing hot about it. Jeff Callow standing outside Lambeau with a trophy helmet. Take a closer look at his face. This poor guy has icicles hanging off his glasses and beard.

He wasn't feeling too hot after the game either because The Packers lost to the New York Giants 23-20 in overtime. And go home just one win away from going to the Super Bowl.

And if you've got a hot shot, send it to us, send to our show page at cnn.com/am. Scroll down and click on hot shots. It will tell you how to do it.

Kiran?

CHETRY: I love that picture. It really says it all. I mean, including though what happened after, unfortunately, for the fans there in Wisconsin. Not a good day.

ROBERTS: Not a good day at all for them. Cold and delirious men.

CHETRY: That's right.

ROBERTS: Insult to injury.

CHETRY: Meanwhile, everybody and their brother has a giants' jersey on around here this morning. So, you know, one city's lost is another's gain. That's how football goes.

Well, we're talking about the president's economic stimulus plan and word it could possibly mean a tax rebate, $800 a person, maybe $1600 for a family. CNN's Personal finance editor Gerri Willis is here to talk more about it and first of all, let's say you have to just get out of Washington, and this is...

GERRI WILLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Congress and the president have to agree on something. That hasn't happened yet. That could take some time. We don't know how long that's going to take. It will take ten weeks just to cut the checks. So if you were thinking you're going to spend that money next week, forget about it. It's going to take a while before we even see it.

Now likelihood is that we won't see that money until June. And don't forget, don't forget, the IRS is going to be in the middle of tax season through all of this. So you kind of got to schedule everything through them as well.

CHETRY: That's right. Because, of course, April 15th filing date for that and then they're worried about this and trying to get checks out to all the people. If it does pass of what should people, or what are they hoping people will do with their checks?

WILLIS: Well, the president and Congress want everybody go out to spend this money, obviously. Go to the mall, go buy a car, put a down payment on something. But I'm going to tell you, Kiran, I'm not sure that's the right idea.

CHETRY: You think people should use it to pay down debt? Because that sort of what spurned a lot of the credit crunch were in right now anyway.

WILLIS: You can get a lot of credit card debt if you're having trouble paying your energy bills. This is a great way to use this money and, of course, you can always save it. Because look, here's what we're trying to prevent right now is a recession.

What's the big threat to consumers in a recession is that you lose your job. So you want to make sure you have money set aside, an emergency fund of three to six months. So that if the worse happens, you have money, some cash to help you get through it. You know, not just stick the money in an IRA or 401k if you're sitting pretty. You're in good shape. But I'm going to tell you, I'm not sure that everybody should be out there stimulating the economy. Maybe they should be worried about their own wallet.

CHETRY: The other question was about, exactly who this will apply to? Will everybody be getting a check or they're putting some stipulations on that?

WILLIS: Well, the discussion last week was interesting because they were talking about taxpayers. You know, not everybody is a taxpayer. There are tax filers who don't owe the government anything, and those people maybe excluded. Those would be low end of the income stream. People without a lot of cash, and you know, Democrats, of course, are arguing that that's exactly not the way to do it. You want to give low and middle income taxpayers some money in their pockets so that they do go out and spend it. CHETRY: And history has shown there's some people that tend to spend when they get.

WILLIS: That's right.

CHETRY: All right. Gerri Willis, thanks for being with us.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

CHETRY: Well, it's the Democrats first southern primary. The black vote could very well determine the winner. We're going to be speaking with a key house Democrat from South Carolina who's urging the candidates to try to get away from racial politics and get back to the important issues. That interview coming up.

And also, a message to Osama Bin Laden from his own son. Stop fighting. Coming up, we go one-on-one with Omar Bin Laden. What he thinks of his father and what he's doing to stop the violence, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN, ANCHOR: Bright blue skies this morning from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There you see the palm trees, right behind it, that is the debate site where the democrats are going to be debating tonight. CNN is going to be carrying out live for you at 8:00 p.m., sorry. Right now, it's 23 degrees at 8:30 in the morning down there. It feels like 12 though when you factor in the windchill. It is Monday, January 21st. I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York. Hi, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN, ANCHOR: Hey, good morning to you. I'm John Roberts here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where it is unusually cold. All the locals were saying not normally like this but we're toughing it out this morning because we got that great debate happening tonight. We'll be talking more what you could expect in just a couple minutes' time, Kiran.

CHETRY: Meanwhile, let's get you caught up in some of the other stories new this morning. Investigators in Los Angeles now saying that the number of dead is climbing in a mid-air crash near Los Angeles. They now say, at least five people were killed. It happened yesterday afternoon in Corona, about 40 miles east of downtown L.A.. Both of the planes were single engine Cessnas. Debris crashed through a car dealership roof killing an employee inside and both pilots and a passenger in each plane were killed. The lead investigators says that there may be more victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE POLLACK, NTSB LEAD INVESTIGATOR: The severity of the impact was fairly high. And there are significant areas of the Cessna 172 that are deformed and until we open that aircraft up, we really cannot be certain how many people are onboard.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHETRY: The FBI also on the scene helping to speed up the process of documenting the wreckage.

Is a new job in the works for General David Petraeus. Well, according to the "New York Times," the Pentagon is considering nominating Petraeus for the top command in NATO. That move will give him the position even after President Bush leaves office. The 55- year-old Petraeus is currently the top American commander in Iraq where he has overseen the troop buildup.

And there's a new editor of "Golf Week" Magazine, who now says his main task in the first week on the job is to say sorry. The magazine's previous editor was fired Friday after the uproar over greenlighting this controversial cover depicting a noose. It was illustrating a series of stories about the Golf channel anchor who joked the best way for other golfers to beat Tiger Woods was to lynch him.

Breaking medical news overnight, and a new warning for expectant moms. New research out today confirms a link between miscarriage and caffeine. Doctors say women who drink large amounts of coffee, soda, tea or hot chocolate, in this case large being more than 200 milligrams a day, can increase their risk of miscarriage, sometimes double it, compared with women who consumed no caffeine. According to that study, 200 milligrams of caffeine a day too much, it's equal to about two eight ounce cups of coffee or five 12 ounce cans of soda. John.

ROBERTS: Thank you, Kiran.

About half of the voters are expected to take part in the democratic primary here in South Carolina next weekend will be African-American. The congressional black caucus is hosting the debate in Myrtle Beach tonight in a campaign that is already had its share of racial politics.

Joining me now is House majority whip South Carolina democrat James Clyburn, a very famous face around these parts. Congressman, it's inevitable that with a woman and an African-American running in this contest that the issues of race and gender are going to enter into the discussion. But how would you counsel people to approach that discussion? What should they include? What should they exclude?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINE: Well, you can't get around it. It's best to talk about it in terms of how the history has been for both groups. But when you start talking about the campaign, you better be futuristic and you better talk about how you get beyond these things. You can't deny it's there. Honor it, celebrate it, but then state your vision for the country.

ROBERTS: You were counseling both campaigns, Obama and Clinton, last week when the whole event over Martin Luther King erupted, to put it away, to calm it down. Have they done that?

CLYBURN: Yes, they have. And I'm very proud of that. I think all of them on yesterday demonstrated their respect for the legacy, and the life of Martin Luther King Jr. at various venues - one in New York, one down in Atlanta. I think both of them acquitted themselves very well.

ROBERTS: Now, you still haven't decided to endorse anyone at this point? Correct?

CLYBURN: That's correct.

ROBERTS: So, you're playing the fair arbiter here. Bill Clinton has come under fire from Barack Obama for saying things on the campaign trail that Barack Obama claims are not in line with the facts, according to his record. Here's what he said about it on "Good Morning America" today. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This has become a habit and one of the things I think we're going to have to deal with is directly confront Bill Clinton when he's not making statements that are factually accurate.

ROBERTS: So, Senator Obama is complaining because of his stature, any attack from Bill Clinton carries with it extra weight. He says if you're talking about things that aren't factually correct, according to him, then you're just really building that up, beyond all sense of proportion. Is Bill Clinton out of bounds here on this?

CLYBURN: Well, I think they really, as they would say in Gullygeechee (ph) country he needs to chill a little bit. And I hope he understands what that means. You get excited in these campaigns. I can understand him wanting to defend his wife's honor and his own record, and that is to be expected. But you can do that in a way that won't engender the kind of feelings that seem to be bubbling up as a result of this.

ROBERTS: So you would encourage him to chill a bit, to dial back a little bit?

CLYBURN: Yes, I would. I think he is a former president of these United States. He is revered in many sections of the African- American community, and I think he can afford to tone it down.

ROBERTS: Right. Barack Obama also got himself in a little bit of hot water over the weekend when in an interview he was doing with an editorial board praised Ronald Reagan. Our Roland Martin spoke out about that on CNN's "Late Edition" yesterday. Here's what Roland has to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Ronald Reagan, forget the fact that democrats don't like him. Black folks really don't like him and that comment will not play well in South Carolina.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: Do you agree with that? That Obama, giving praise to Ronald Reagan, could hurt him among black people here in South Carolina?

CLYBURN: Well, I think that he explained himself. I heard his comments, and I cringed a little bit, though I understood what he was trying to say. Who, in fact, was its change agent, and he equates himself with the notion of change. That's what he was trying to do. It did not come out quite right, and Martin is right. Ronald Reagan in the African-American community, oh, no. You don't want that.

ROBERTS: How do you think the African-American voters will go here? As we saw in Michigan, it went uncommitted, as we saw in Nevada, it went 83-15 for Barack Obama. Do you think we'll see a similar shift here?

CLYBURN: I don't know. I think we have a little more mature voter population here, and I think that African-American, the vote is going to break out sort of generationally. Older African-Americans will reluctantly make decisions based upon the record. Younger African-Americans will be a little more futuristic and they'll probably break towards Obama.

ROBERTS: We'll see what happens. Congressman, thanks very much for being with us this morning.

CLYBURN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: We're enjoying your chilly state today.

CLYBURN: We've got very warm hospitality here.

ROBERTS: Certainly, it's making up for it. Thanks very much.

The democratic candidates face-off tonight here in South Carolina in a CNN debate before the congressional black caucus. That's at 8:00 eastern. Then at 10:00 Eastern, a special edition of "AC 360." Anderson Cooper and Soledad O'Brien look at the effect of race on politics. Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Thanks, John. Well, the son of the world's most wanted man called on his father to stop fighting. Omar Bin Laden, now organizing a horse race for peace in an effort to get his father to stop the violence. He started years ago, but the younger Bin Laden stopped short of calling his dad a terrorist. CNN's Middle East correspondent Aneesh Raman joins us now from Cairo, Egypt with a closer look at the man who's trying to remake his family name. Good morning, Aneesh.

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN, MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran. It is his first extensive TV interview and in it, as you mentioned, Omar Bin Laden stopped short of saying his father is a terrorist. He says back when Osama Bin Laden was fighting the Soviets, he was regarded by many as a hero, but, of course, 9/11 changed that forever. Linking the Bin Laden name with mass murder and terror. That is the high bar that Omar is trying to overcome, to change what it means to be a Bin Laden.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAMAN (voice-over): At first glance, 26-year-old Omar seemed the image of a modern Middle East. He drives a jeep, has dread locks and his wife is a British national. You'd never guess this is Osama Bin Laden's son.

RAMAN: At what age did you start training with Al Qaeda?

OMAR BIN LADEN, BIN LADEN'S SON: I was starting maybe at 14.

RAMAN: As child, Omar was a soldier in his father's army training in Afghanistan like so many others, but by 2000, Omar felt Al Qaeda was heading for a fight he didn't want any part of.

BIN LADEN: After a few years, it was start of the war, the fight, became bigger and bigger, and I see a lot of things getting bigger and bigger and my eyes opened on a lot of things, and I think better if I go outside and see how the life outside.

RAMAN: It was a decision, Omar says, his father accepted. So father and son went their separate ways. But for Omar, there was no running from the Bin Laden name, not after September 11th, 2001.

Did you immediately think your father was behind it, when you saw the news?

BIN LADEN: Yes, maybe.

RAMAN: And what went through your mind?

BIN LADEN: That - I didn't know how I have to feel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was only 18, 19.

BIN LADEN: Sure, I say something can - I feel sad.

RAMAN: Seven years later, his father is now the world's most wanted man. Are you in touch with your father at all right now?

BIN LADEN: Sure not.

RAMAN: Do you have any idea where he is?

BIN LADEN: No.

RAMAN: Do you think he will ever get caught?

BIN LADEN: I don't think, no.

RAMAN: As for Omar, he's caught between love of a father. Do you think your father is a terrorist?

BIN LADEN: No, I don't think my father is a terrorist.

RAMAN: And a hatred of tactics that kill innocent civilians.

BIN LADEN: I like to say to my father, try to find another way to help or to find your goal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAMAN: It is a big unknown, Kiran, perhaps an impossibility, as his son tries to rebrand a name his father has made synonymous with terror. Kiran.

CHETRY: Did he explain more on how he believes his father is not a terrorist? I mean, Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the deaths of thousands of innocent people? How can he say his father is not a terrorist?

RAMAN: What he says is that basically, the religious clerics around his father have to tell his father that what he is doing killing innocent civilians is against Islam. Until they do that, his father will continue to do what he believes needs to be done in the name of Islam. So, he thinks that his father has corrupted the religion in the sense that his advisers, the clerics aren't telling Osama Bin Laden to stop. He think it's a label that has gone back and forth, but it's a label that's going to stick. He knows that. The Bin Laden name is not something that he's going to be able to change the impact of. He's going to try.

But I asked why don't you try to influence your father versus the entire world. He said, look, I know what my father believes. There's not much I can do on that but I can try and influence others.

CHETRY: All right. Aneesh Raman for us this morning from Egypt. Thank you.

Well, still ahead, being a celebrity has its privileges especially at the Sundance Film Festival where there is a lot of swag to be had if you're rich and famous. We're going to show you some of the free stuff. Our Lola Ogunnaike is out there supposedly watching some of the movies. I'm sure she's not in any of these parties. No way. Just watching the movies. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Everybody loves getting free stuff. Even the stars who hit the so-called "Swag Suites" at some of the big film festivals. Sundance, of course, no exception. Our Lola Ogunnaike joins us live from Park City, Utah. I was teasing you. Have you actually gone to see the movies or just attending the parties?

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: I haven't actually seen any of the movies, Kiran. I've just been working trying to give you all the information about what's going on here.

CHETRY: See that? It's a tough job. Isn't it?

OGUNNAIKE: But somebody's got to do it. You know, swag actually stands for stuff we all get, Kiran, but only celebrities and the well connected were walking away with these gifts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OGUNNAIKE (voice-over): The ski lifts were empty but the "Swag Suites" were packed. Celebrities and the well-connected stuffing their bags with high-end bounty.

DANI STAHL, LIA SOPHIA JEWELRY: They come and they take and they want more. They want it for their sister and their boyfriend and their mother.

OGUNNAIKE: It's all free, everything from iPods and watches to makeup, electronics, and expensive purses.

RACHEL HUNTER, SUPERMODEL: It's a weird concept but obviously it's taken off. You just go to one of these places and you completely decked out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like Christmas all over again.

OGUNNAIKE: The idea is to have taste makers and celebrities wear the goods and promote the products. Stars see it as an even exchange.

TOM ARNOLD, ACTOR: I got more swag here than the budget of at least two of those movies.

OGUNNAIKE; But so many freebies around what was a reporter to do? The ski coats were hot. The sunglasses glamorous and the jewels were sparkling. Even the games rocked. Still stars did their best to keep their gift list short.

ARNOLD: I'm grateful and I don't know what I will wear.

OGUNNAIKE: So, Kiran, I'm actually wearing some of the stuff that was being given out at the "Swag Suites." These sunglasses are $350. This coat is almost $600. And this bag here is $400. So I've got an outfit that's worth more than a grand on.

CHETRY: Lola, I'M looking through the employee handbook. According to my records, can't keep any of that stuff. Sorry about that.

OGUNNAIKE: Oh, I was going to bring it all home for you, Kiran.

CHETRY: Oh, wait. There's an exception here for that. For regifting. Never mind. All right. Lola, thanks so much, and have a blast. I know you're taking care of that for sure. We'll see you.

OGUNNAIKE: Thank you.

CHETRY: John.

ROBERTS: I like the celebrities who grab the swag and they give it away to charities. That's a nice thing to do with it.

CNN NEWSROOM just minutes away now. Heidi Collins at the CNN Center with a look at what's ahead. Good morning, Heidi.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN, ANCHOR: Good morning to you, John. That's right. The race for the White House on the NEWSROOM rundown. Just eight days to convince voters. The republicans focus on Florida today. Democrats converge on South Carolina. Their party's primary is Saturday. The nation honors the civil rights legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. President Bush's live remarks this morning in the NEWSROOM.

And recycled water. It starts out in your toilet and ends up, yes, in your tap. Umm, Yummy. Would you drink it? We'll keep you posted on any breaking news as well. NEWSROOM gets started at the top of the hour right here on CNN. John.

ROBERTS: Looking forward to it, Heidi. We'll see you soon.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Our Veronica de la Cruz looks at some online resources next on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: It is ten minutes to the top of the hour. We're back live at the Palace Theater, scene of tonight's democratic debates sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus on this Martin Luther King Day.

More than 650,000 people visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta every year and to mark today's federal holiday in honor of the civil rights leader, you, too, can join them by making a visit to the center online. Our Veronica de la Cruz joins us now with details. Good morning, Veronica.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN, INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning to you, John. The web address is the kingcenter.org. And on this MLK holiday, the website is receiving so much traffic. It's been really difficult to logon. In fact, taking a look at the website right now. Let's go ahead and see. It's still down. But once you do logon you will get more information on the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You can read his bio as well as his late wife, Coretta Scott King, who carried on his legacy until her death in 2006. So, again, it is the kingcenter.org. The website has been inundated with traffic.

So, other websites we wanted to show you. Mlkonline.net. This has his speech in its entirety. Here's the text version of the speech and also there is an audio/video version. There's even a link to songs that have been inspired by MLK's "I have a dream" speech.

And John, you can also logon to youtube. There are lots of different videos. This one is "I have a dream" speech. This one has received more than 2 million views alone. You can also logon to CNN.com and there you'll find the slide show of some rarely seen photographs highlighting the civil rights movement. Like "Life" photographer Don Craven. So, again, you can visit the website, the kingcenter.org. It has been inundated with traffic today but please you try. Also, there's mlkonline.net. There's also youtube.com and cnn.com. John. ROBERTS: Now, you take a day like today with so many people wanting to know about Dr. King, might put a little stress on the website. Veronica de la Cruz for us this morning. Veronica, thanks. Kiran.

CHETRY: Right now, a quick look at what CNN NEWSROOM is working on for the top of the hour.

COLLINS: See these stories in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Democrats campaign in South Carolina today. Republican presidential hopefuls are all over Florida. Osama Bin Laden's son, the exclusive CNN interview. Brutal cold grips through much of the country. Five deaths after planes collide in Southern California. Wreckage falls from the sky and hit a car dealership. And new sketches of a possible suspect in last year's disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann. NEWSROOM, top of the hour on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: There is a live look at Central Park this morning. And boy, it's the hardy folks that are out there jogging in this weather. It's about 15 degrees in New York City today but factor in the windchill, it feels like zero. You can see that guy's breath. He doesn't even know that he's on TV, but he has a nice stride. Congratulations, everyone knows you are keeping your new year's resolution, and, of course, there's a little coffee shop right there as well getting a lot of use this morning as people try to get out and get a nice, hot cup of coffee, because it is cold.

But what we wanted to find out. Was that lone jogger in the minority being out there this morning? When is it time to take it indoors? When is it too cold to exercise? We asked you, some of you said below 50 degrees, you'd like to take it inside, 33 percent of you. Below 32 degrees, 40 percent of you say let's get inside the gym. Below zero, 18 percent and then 9 percent of you, and I guess that jogger included, saying it is never too cold to exercise outside.

To all of you who voted, by the way, thank you. John.

ROBERTS: You know, Kiran, I'm a cyclist that's how I get my exercise. So, I hang it up when there gets to be ice on the ground. It's just too dangerous. What about you? When do you hang it up?

CHETRY: Well, it was exercise, I think we all got our cardio running out to the park and back in for the weather shots outside. But, when it's, I think when it's colder than freezing it's hard to catch your breath as a runner. I enjoy running. It just feels it's harder to breathe out there.

ROBERTS: Yes. Definitely. I find when you deep breathe, when it's really, really cold, it almost burns the inside of your lungs.

CHETRY: It does.

ROBERTS: That's pretty much going to do it for us for this morning. Don't forget tonight at 8:00 here at the Palace Theatre. It's the democratic debate. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Wolf Blitzer, and we're going to be talking much more about this again from Myrtle Beach tomorrow morning. Thanks so much for joining us today. See you again tomorrow.

CHETRY: A beautiful, beautiful view behind you, John. All right. CNN NEWSROOM with Heidi Collins begins right now.

COLLINS: Good morning, everybody. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Heidi Collins.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com