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New York's Governor Linked to Prostitution Ring; Second Woman Since World War II to Receive Silver Star; Massive Double Attacks in Lahore, Pakistan
Aired March 11, 2008 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Watch events come into the NEWSROOM live on Tuesday morning, March 11th. Here's what's on the rundown.
A straight arrow dubbed Mr. Clean. New York's governor linked to prostitution. Will a sex scandal force him from office? Our guests will be talking about it.
HARRIS: Mississippi decides. Obama or Clinton. The Democrats' final face-off until Pennsylvania in late April.
COLLINS: Oil surging past $109 a barrel. A new record. How high will it fly? Get pumped up, in the NEWSROOM.
An old saying in politics. A halo only has to slip a few inches to become a noose. Today, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is facing calls to resign. A former prosecutor once dubbed Mr. Clean now linked to a prostitution ring.
CNN's senior correspondent Allan Chernoff has the facts now. Former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey looks at a possible prosecution. But we want to begin with Allen this morning.
So Allan, exactly what is Governor Spitzer accused of?
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, according to law enforcement authorities, the governor of the state of New York has been tied, in fact, as a client of an international prostitution ring. He actually had been wiretapped, not his phone, but the cell phone to which he actually called in to make arrangements for a prostitute to meet him down in Washington, D.C.
So now, in this jaded metropolis here, New Yorkers are simply stunned. They are struck by the irony of the fact that this governor, who essentially tried to rule by steamrolling his opponents, has now crushed himself. The question of the day: will New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resign? His opponents in the Republican Party here in New York state wasted no time in calling him -- to step down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, no question, if he is involved, and I'm not saying he is because we don't know all the facts, I would say he has to resign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHERNOFF: But if one thing Eliot Spitzer is, it is head strong. And it certainly is possible that he's going to try at least to tough it out. The big question, will he actually face criminal charges. Now as you know, customers of prostitution rings, well, they are usually not charged with anything. But in this case, the governor allegedly did actually help arrange for a prostitute to travel from New York City down to Washington, D.C., across state lines.
That is a violation of federal law. And also, we understand that he is under investigation for actually financial transactions, moving thousands of dollars from a bank to a shell company that was actually a company tied to the prostitution ring. Now yesterday when the governor did speak before the news media, he gave no indication that he would step down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ELIOT SPITZER (D), NEW YORK: Today, I want to briefly address a private matter. I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and -- that violates my or any sense of right and wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.
I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good and doing what is best for the state of New York.
CHERNOFF: Well, "The New York Times" in its editorial this morning says Mr. Spitzer is very wrong. "The Times" arguing that the governor is caught up in his own arrogance and saying he now needs to present a strong argument for why he should be trusted again -- Heidi?
COLLINS: Man, interesting off the top there, Allan. You use that word steamroller, which is something he said when he first came into office. That's what he was going to do. He was really going to go out and prosecute people who had broken the law.
So you have to wonder, we know that there are enemies out there in many different parts of the country, quite frankly. Does the governor have any defenders in the state of New York today?
CHERNOFF: Well, nobody really speaking publicly. And how does anyone really defend the governor, especially when he had such a reputation as Mr. Clean? The fact is, Governor Eliot Spitzer does not have a tremendous number of friends in this state because he has really, as I said, ruled with an iron fist, at least attempted to do so. He's used brass knuckles and now it is really coming back to haunt him.
COLLINS: Yes, which is also part of the reason why a lot of people respected him and so many people telling the story as you might imagine.
Allan Chernoff, live in New York for us this morning.
Thank you, Allan.
HARRIS: So the legal aspects of the Spitzer case now through the eyes of a veteran prosecutor. Kendall Coffey is a former U.S. attorney. He joins us from Miami.
And Kendall, great to talk to you, great to see you as always.
Let's sort of set the legal case in some kind of framework here. As you see it, what is the governor's legal exposure here as a strictly legal matter? What kind of jeopardy is he in?
KENDALL COFFEY, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, he's got plenty of exposure. I mean if they want to throw the book at him, federally speaking, that book could be filled with a lot of chapters, everything from the man act to the travel act. They'll look even at money laundering.
And one of the things that just really could absolutely blow this case from being a customer of a prostitute to something that would really, really get him in big, big-time trouble is that any part of public money was used to fund any part of his travel. When he goes to D.C., and I don't know how many times he was there, were any public funds used in any part for the hotel expense, for the travel expense?
If there is some element of true public corruption, then this isn't just the customer of a prostitute who is probably violating a bunch of federal laws, this is a guy who is a corrupt public official.
HARRIS: I think all of us understand that the prosecution, I'm sorry, the prostitution part of the story. But explain the corruption aspect that you're getting at now. I understand the state aspect of it, as well, using state funds.
HARRIS: Of public funds. But you mentioned money laundering. If you would -- we talked about it before coming on the air here. Would you explain how the prosecutors may be going through the books now to find aspects of this case that might be applicable to law regarding money laundering?
COFFEY: Well, this wasn't a cash transaction where he reached into his pocket and paid somebody for something that would have been illegal anyway. Apparently, there was a Byzantine maze of transfers, some of which may have been concealed. There may have even been attempts to use a certain amount of cash and avoid reporting requirements.
So what that means is you fall into money laundering laws potentially because it's in furtherance of unspecified unlawful activity, which inter-state prostitution certainly is. And if that happens, when you talk about the landscape from being in some trouble to potentially 20 years in prison, it's a night and day difference for a case.
HARRIS: OK. Kendall, I'm hearing a lot of talk, it was front and center in our morning meeting, of negotiations going on here. Can the governor trade his resignation for a lesser charge or perhaps no charge at all in this case?
COFFEY: Well, I doubt he would be able to trade it for no charge at all because this is a serious investigation. When it gets to the point of wiretaps, they are into it big time. But it is appropriate under Department of Justice guidelines with a public official to consider resignation as part of a negotiated plea deal. Would they let him resign and nothing more than that? I doubt it. But it is a big card to play. And one of the things you may be considering right now is holding off resignation until he can wrap it up with some kind of negotiation with the federal authorities.
HARRIS: Wow. Kendall, one last question. Is there, in your view, with the information, the evidence that we know so far, is there any way for the governor, in your view, to ride this out?
COFFEY: This is not survivable unless the U.S. attorney gets up and says tomorrow they're not going to bring criminal charges and the chances of that happening are basically slim and none.
HARRIS: Kendall Coffey, man, that's a point, the end of that. Bang.
Kendall, great to see you. Appreciate it. Thank you.
COFFEY: Thank you.
COLLINS: To understand Eliot Spitzer's apparent fall you have to know how tall he stood on New York's political stage. Spitzer was elected governor in 2006 with a historic margin of victory, a landslide. Part of his appeal to voters, he vowed to root our corruption in New York government.
As state attorney general, he challenged big business from the insurance industry to Wall Street. In fact, "TIME" magazine once named him, quote, "Crusader of the Year."
HARRIS: What happens if Spitzer resigns? The spotlight then turns to David Paterson, the state's lieutenant governor. Paterson would automatically become governor if Spitzer quits. If that happens, he would become New York's first black governor. Paterson is a 53-year-old Democrat from Harlem. He is mostly blind and considered well respected by both Democrats and Republicans.
And if you wonder -- got to remind you on this one. If you would like more information on this story, our companion coverage is at CNN.com. Go to the Web site for even more details and to read the full criminal complaint.
COLLINS: Well, the polls are open in Mississippi. It's the Democrats' last stop before the Pennsylvania primary. At stake today, 33 delegates. CNN's Sean Callebs is right outside Jackson in the town of Terry.
So, Sean, how's the turnout look there?
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's good. Polls opened this morning at 7:00 local time, about an hour ago, and people were lined up here outside the high school, Terry High School. We're in a junior ROTC building behind me. You can see just a number of the people who have made it in so far today. But a lot of excitement here in the state.
Mississippi may not be known as the most progressive state in the nation. But now that its 33 delegates are getting so much attention, Democratic voters are eagerly going to the polls. They're trying to show people across the country that it's not race or gender that matters here, rather, the issues.
CALLEBS (voice over): As Mississippi voters digest promises and pledges from the Democratic hopefuls, many here hope to take this moment in the national spotlight to alter some long-held stereotypes about the state.
MARTY WISEMAN, MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY: We're seeing a contest where I think you're going to see a huge turnout of voters voting either for a woman or an African-American. And, you know, that gives us a chance to make a statement.
CALLEBS: Former governor Ray Mabus is among the leading surrogates backing Barack Obama. Images of a strictly segregated Deep South still haunt Mississippi. But Mabus said the state has changed and is more progressive. He expects this fall some staunch Republicans may be ready for a change.
RAY MABUS (D), FMR. MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR: I think white men, like everybody else, have become pretty cynical about what's happened in Washington and what hasn't happened in Washington, and how toxic it's gotten and how partisan it's gotten.
CALLEBS: In a state where nearly 70 percent of registered Democrats are African-American, Hillary Clinton is conceding nothing. She spent two days campaigning here, while former president Bill Clinton visited four cities over the weekend.
The last time Mississippi supported a Democratic candidate in the general election was 1976, Jimmy Carter. If Democrats carry the state this fall, political observers say its issues that will sway the voters.
WISEMAN: I think some folks are discovering the fact that race is now not the key reason why people will or will not vote for somebody.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CALLEBS: And A huge crowd last night, not really far from here, I heard Senator Obama do some last-minute campaigning there. And Democrats are really hoping to tap into what's called blue-collar Republicans, the working class here in the state, people who, for much of the past generation, they have voted for the GOP, but now with a souring economy and an unpopular war, may be willing to make a statement -- Heidi?
COLLINS: All right. CNN's Sean Callebs watching things for us in Terry, Mississippi this morning.
Sean, thank you.
So will there be another Florida primary? A man in the thick of it all, Senator Bill Nelson joins us with his thoughts about a do-over as we've been calling it. That's coming up this hour right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
And Senator John McCain picking up cash and he hopes support in Missouri. He's holding a town hall meeting this morning in the St. Louis area. He appeared at a fundraiser there last night. We're going to be hearing more from McCain just a little bit later this morning.
Stay with CNN for unmatched political coverage throughout the day. We have much more on the candidates and what happens next. You can join us for "CNN BALLOT BOWL" coming up noon, Eastern, today.
HARRIS: The price of oil still on a climb this morning setting record highs.
Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business." There he is in New York City for us this morning.
Ali, before we get to oil, some of the news out of the Federal Reserve this morning. Boy, tell us about that.
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there might actually be some good news coming your way. We're about 15 minutes away from the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange. And it looks like after a string of bad days we might have a good one. Futures are up more than 200 points right now because the Federal Reserve less than an hour ago announced a major plan to try and inject more money or make more money available to banks and investment banks that might be in trouble.
$200 billion that they've joined forces with central banks around the world. The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank, they've all put money in to let banks who have credit crises of their own come to these central banks and borrow money against those bad loans that they might have.
The market is loving this right now. Futures were just up a little bit earlier this morning. They've shot up -- we're looking for a strong open. You can probably expect the Dow to open 200 points...
VELSHI: ...higher or more. See how long these things last. But we've got bad news on the other side that you were just talking about.
HARRIS: Ali, Ali, is this a bailout for the banks? And if this is a bailout for the banks, where is my bailout? I'm going...
VELSHI: Well, they're loans.
HARRIS: They're loans?
VELSHI: They're loans. These are not -- they're not giving free money away. They're saying that they are -- you know, they're doing exactly what the banks did to people with mortgages. They're saying we're going to give you a little bit more money, even if your credit is not that good or the assets that back those loans are not that good. But there will be a price for it.
HARRIS: Got you.
VELSHI: So it's a loan. That's what it is right now. They're trying to have a surgical strike. I still think we're going to get an interest cut -- interest rate cut in a week when the Fed meets. But we've got oil prices that are problematic. Yesterday...
HARRIS: Boy, talk about that if you would.
VELSHI: Yes, this is unbelievable. Yesterday, when I left, oil prices had settled at the highest level they've ever settled at, $107.90. And then by this morning, $109.72. Now, you're not buying a barrel of oil, so what do you care? Well, you care because it works its way into everything you buy including gasoline.
According to AAA, the price of a gallon of gasoline is $3.227 which matches the price of gasoline last May 24th, which is the highest price on record. So you can imagine that since all of these daily increases in the price of oil haven't yet worked their way through to gasoline, you're going to -- we are beating the record.
VELSHI: In fact, we had one person today say it might get up to $3.50 or $3.75 in the spring before pulling back. And why would it pull back, Tony? Because somebody is going to get tired of paying that kind of price for gasoline and they're going to buy a smaller car or they're going to commute or they're going to carpool.
HARRIS: You better believe it.
All right. Ali Velshi in New York "Minding Your Business." Ali, great to see you. Thanks.
VELSHI: You, too, buddy.
COLLINS: She's the second woman since the World -- since World War II, that is, to receive the Silver Star. We're going to talk to Army Specialist Monica Lin Brown live from Afghanistan.
HARRIS: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Tony Harris.
She is a short dip, double-cup, a Starbucks barista filling the order of a lifetime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...serving her a cup of coffee I grabbed her hand and I said I'm a match and I want to donate to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world just stopped. It was just her and I for a moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Boy, how about this story. Kidney transplant. We'll tell you all about it in the NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: An awful lot going on this morning and that certainly includes the weather. We are talking about Mississippi because the primary there today.
COLLINS: Well, also the weather there today. Not looking so hot.
Hey there, Rob.
HARRIS: We covered it. Standard.
COLLINS: So difficult, you know?
MARCIANO: Sorry. High maintenance. See you guys.
COLLINS: All right. Rob, we'll check back later. Thank you.
If your mom and dad have Alzheimer's, will you get it, too? New information coming your way in the NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: Your Alzheimer's risk. A new study this morning finds you are more likely to get the disease if both your mom and dad suffer from it.
Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here now to talk more about this very interesting study.
How strong a role does your parent' Alzheimer's really play?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems to play a fairly significant role. You know, first all, we've come to learn that Alzheimer's does probably have a genetic component to it. And what researches wanted to find out if you were -- if you had this situation with both your parents had Alzheimer's, how likely were you to get it?
So obviously, it's a bad situation to start with.
GUPTA: And people start asking themselves how likely am I to get it? The study looked at about 111 families and they found that if both your parents had it after age 60 or so, about 30 percent of the children, the offspring in this case, developed Alzheimer's. After age 70, the numbers went up to about 42 percent. If there was another relative, first-degree relative, that also had Alzheimer's, your likelihood of developing it didn't go up, but the likelihood of developing it earlier went up. So you might develop some of dementia symptoms earlier in life.
As you know, Heidi, a lot of people know Alzheimer's is this sort of progressive nerve degenerative problem. You develop these plaques that sort of deposit themselves into the brain. They start to cause memory problems, cognition problems. It is one of the fastest growing diseases now in America. It doubles every five years beyond the age of 65 now, the number of people with Alzheimer's.
COLLINS: Don't they really? I didn't know that. Can you quantify your risk, though? I mean if you know that your mom and dad, obviously...
COLLINS: ...have it and you're dealing with it, what can you do?
GUPTA: You know, I think it's hard to quantify risk right now. This is still a relatively small study. I think it's an important thing to say that, look, if your parents both had it, doesn't necessarily mean you're doomed to have it as well. I think that's an important point.
GUPTA: We don't know exactly what triggers it and why some people develop it, that even though they have a genetic predisposition to it or genetic likelihood of developing it. So it's hard to say that.
As far as what you can do, as you know, there's no specific cure for this. There are certain medications, certain medications that are better given earlier in the onset of dementia. At least one that's better given late. But there's been other things, you know, cognitive exercises, doing crossword puzzles.
GUPTA: It may sound a little silly to even say that, but it does seem to make a difference based on the studies that we've looked at. Even physical exercise, 20 minutes of walking three times a week seems to keep the neurons, those important neurons, memory restoring neurons...
GUPTA: ...firing and working. So I hope to have better news in terms of reporting a cure or some sort of effective, more effective medication. Not there yet. But this is one of the fastest growing problems so a lot of people paying attention.
COLLINS: Yes, a lot of people paying attention. I hope that it stays that way. I don't think the crossword thing sounds crazy at all.
COLLINS: I mean it's not easy.
GUPTA: I know. You love to do it.
COLLINS: Especially "The New York Times" one.
GUPTA: That's right. It is difficult.
COLLINS: So I hear.
GUPTA: My wife, my wife agrees with you. I don't do it.
COLLINS: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you.
GUPTA: All right. Thanks.
HARRIS: A rising star in U.S. politics. Is Eliot Spitzer's sex scandal raising eyebrows overseas? Or is it the media frenzy that shocks the Europeans? The view from abroad in the NEWSROOM.
ANNOUNCER: "Opening Bell" brought to you by...
COLLINS: She's just the second woman since World War II to receive the Silver Star. We're going with Army Specialist Monica Lin Brown live from Afghanistan coming up in just about three minutes.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: She's just the second woman since World War II to receive the Silver Star. We're going to talk to Army Specialist Monica Lin Brown live from Afghanistan, coming up in just about three minutes. ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Heidi Collins and Tony Harris.
COLLINS: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. I just cracked my knee.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: What did you do? You, OK?
COLLINS: Hi there, I'm Heidi.
HARRIS: So that was the sound I just heard. That was your knee? Oh, man. Are you all right?
COLLINS: I'm good.
HARRIS: Ice, anyone? Ice? All right, good morning, everyone. I'm Tony. Yes, Dr. Gupta. Paging Dr. Gupta. I'm Tony Harris. Welcome back, everyone, to the NEWSROOM.
A New York's governor linked to a prostitution ring. Is the sex scandal rippling overseas or do Europeans see this as an overreaction by American prudes? CNN's Jim Boulden samples reaction in London.
Jim, good to see you. What are you seeing? What are you hearing there?
JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Tony, it will take a lot more than just visiting a prostitute to get the British tabloids interested. They would want to have some of the gory details which we don't have yet. You know, they love that kind of detail.
A politician getting caught doesn't really do it for them. The tabloids, frankly, they don't know even know who Eliot Spitzer is. So the tabloids have barely touched it. It's the more highbrow papers that actually have found this to be very interesting. That's because of his stance, his attacks on Wall Street. You know, he was called the Sheriff of Wall Street. So, Tony, I guess which paper has it on the front page. I don't think you will guess it. It is the "Financial Times."
HARRIS: Yes. Yes, I think we can understand that. And it does sort of cut to what many feel is the hypocrisy here. Any difference in how Europeans react to a scandal like this than what we're seeing so far with Americans and certainly the media?
BOULDEN: Well, obviously, I talked to someone in Germany. And I looked at some of the French papers. The French paper doesn't even cover it at all. You know, they are getting more fascinated by the sex life of their new president. But as far as what's happening in the U.S., they are not really interested.
The German papers aren't covering it at all. It's on a little bit of some of the websites. It's begun -- you know, it's slower down a bit, they keep linking it to the fact that he was one of the early supporters of Hillary Clinton. That's the link they see. And the fact, of course that, you know, one of his stands was to break up prostitution rings when he was the attorney general.
So they say, of course, as the American papers and the media will see it, as, you know, he said one thing and did another.
HARRIS: So we'll see how the Europeans respond once we get more of the titillating details. And those details, you know, are sure to come. Jim, good to see you. Not sure why we booked you this morning given that reporting, but it's always good to see you, Jim. Thanks.
BOULDEN: Thanks, Tony.
HARRIS: Well, here's the question. Can Eliot Spitzer survive this sex scandal? We will talk to a man with his finger on the pulse of New York politics. That's in our next hour.
And we want to remind you of our companion coverage at cnn.com. Go to the website for even more details and to read the full criminal complaint.
COLLINS: All right. Coming up, we are going to be talking with a very special person. Live from Afghanistan, we have Army Specialist Monica Lin Brown. She has been become only the second woman since World War II to become the recipient of a Silver Star. We're going to tell you her story coming up, in just a few minutes. Again, live from Afghanistan. So that's a great story we want to tell you about.
Also, maybe not such a great story. We want to head to the opening bell this morning. Yes, which happened just a few moments ago. Well, yes, it is now a good story. You know, it's up and down, up and down, up and down. But, boy, that's a significant open, obviously, to the positive there. Up 267 points at this point. And resting now above that 12,000 mark that we've been talking about for several days here.
So we will watch those numbers. Very interesting. And we will also watch, boy, the price of oil that we have already talked about here this morning. We're going to keep our eye on both of those things.
COLLINS: Army Specialist Monica Lin Brown. She's the -- only the second woman awarded the Silver Star since World War II. Brown is a 19-year-old from Texas. Now serving in Afghanistan.
Last year, she used her body to shield five wounded soldiers from insurgent gunfire. Specialist Brown is on the phone with us now from Afghanistan this morning.
Specialist Brown, take us back, if you could, to what happened last April 25th.
SPEC. MONICA LIN BROWN, SILVER STAR RECIPIENT: Heidi, are you there?
COLLINS: Yes, I am. COLLINS: Can you tell us a little bit, Monica, about what happened on April 25th last year?
BROWN: Yes, ma'am. I was with 473rd and we were on a four- vehicle convoy and the fourth vehicle was hit by an IED. And we started receiving small arms fire directly after the hit. And I ran back to the vehicle with my platoon sergeant and the guys had already gotten out of the Humvee because it was on fire at this point.
And after they had gotten out of the Humvee, we drag them over to a safer location because we were still under fire and assessed them a little bit. I handed off my import so one of the other guys was still in the burning Humvee. And at that point in time, all the other guys were near the fire. So we're at a situation where we didn't have anywhere else to go.
And my platoon sergeant came back and told me that he had gotten a vehicle. So we moved the patients about another 100 meters. Got them in the back of the truck. And (INAUDIBLE), my platoon sergeant drove a little ways away to get out of that area we were at. And that's where I assessed the casualties a little bit more and got to treat them.
COLLINS: Monica, what is that like? I mean, you know, we hear about these battles that take place on the ground there, completely out of nowhere. I mean, you are a medic. You're not someone, obviously, the Pentagon doesn't allow women to fight on the frontlines.
But in a lot of these different battlefields, Afghanistan and Iraq, those frontlines, as you well know, are pretty blurry and you find yourself in these situations. I mean, what are you hearing? What are you seeing? What do you remember?
BROWN: It was really loud. I don't remember a lot of it because they all kind of blurs together afterwards. But I just remember it was really loud and my adrenaline was pumping so fast. I didn't really have time to think about much other than the guys and getting them out of there.
COLLINS: Absolutely. And we know that all five of them, that were injured, were close friends of yours. One has since passed away in a completely different situation, but you were able to help get them out of there. I know they were medevac out.
When you look back at this now and you are about to receive the Silver Star, what is that like? I mean, as we said in the introduction, you are the second person since World War II, the second female, to ever receive this honor.
BROWN: Yes, ma'am. I'm a little overwhelmed with it at this moment, but it's an absolute honor to even be recommended for this award, much less be receiving it.
COLLINS: I got to ask you. I'll ask you about the media attention in a minute. But I know that you joined with your older brother just back in 2006. You weren't even in very long when this occurred. What's your brother think?
BROWN: He's excited for me. We joined in 2005 together. He's very excited for me. So he's been there for me through everything.
COLLINS: So you are very close. So did you ever think when you joined with him back in 2005, that you would find yourself in a situation like this?
BROWN: Oh, never, ma'am. It was not something I would ever think about.
COLLINS: Why did you join the army?
BROWN: I joined my brother. I don't really exactly know the reason at this moment, but I know it was for the better for me and for everyone I've talked to.
COLLINS: Well, certainly for the better of those five gentleman that you helped get out of a very, very precarious situation. We know that you're going to leave for Afghanistan next month. What's next for you?
BROWN: I'm going to go to school and go through the ROTC program (INAUDIBLE). I'll be coming back in as an officer in four years in the Army Nursing Corps.
COLLINS: Wow. Terrific. Well, congratulations to you. A very frightening situation. I'm sure, obviously, you used your training and did exactly what you were supposed to do. Again, Specialist Monica Lin Brown coming to us live from Afghanistan today. The Silver Star recipient. Thanks so much, Monica.
Just to let you know, the Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action. Congress established the award back in 1918. Back then, it was called the Citation Star. You see it there on your screen. In 1932, it was renamed the Silver Star. It is the nation's third highest medal for valor.
HARRIS: So what's in your water? A follow-up now to an Associated Press investigation we told you about yesterday. Capitol Hill hearings are coming up in response to the report about trace amounts of pharmaceuticals found in drinking water. The EPA has put out a list of how to properly dispose of prescription drugs. Check out their website at www.epa.gov.
Want to know which areas are affected? Go to cnn.com/health. There you will find an interactive map. Just roll over the map to see if your area is impacted and what your water might be contaminated with. Then again, the address is cnn.com/health.
COLLINS: This morning, police say a man has confessed to killing that Auburn University freshman, Lauren Burk. 23-year-old, Courtney Lockhart, charged with capital murder. According to a confession read in court yesterday, Lockhart told police he abducted Burk from the school campus, robbed her, forced her to take off her clothes and then shot her. Burk died at the hospital. Police arrested Lockhart a couple of days later in Phoenix City, Alabama. And they think he may be connected to a string of other crimes. Like this one in Georgia. This video from Friday. Police tell affiliate WSB, the man seen here is Lockhart trying to kidnap an elderly woman in a strip mall parking lot. The woman got away. Police tracked Lockhart down and arrested him. Police say inside his car was a pistol linked to Burk's murder.
In North Carolina, police have released new photos of a man suspected of killing Eve Carson. She is the University of North Carolina student body president. These shots are from a surveillance camera inside a Chapel Hill convenience store. Police say that man tried to use Carson's ATM card.
Police think that's the same person seen in these ATM surveillance photos. Investigators also looking into whether a second person may be involved in Carson's murder. They say they now believe another man is sitting in the back seat of this car.
HARRIS: Will there be another Florida primary? A man in the thick of it. Senator Bill Nelson joins us with his thoughts about a do-over. That's coming up in the NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: Making headlines overseas this morning. Massive and devastating double attacks in Lahore, Pakistan. At least 20 people killed. More than 170 wounded. Suicide bombers targeted a federal police headquarters building. An antiterrorism unit among the offices house there. The front of the building was blown off. Walls were knocked out and windows shattered. The second attack was at a house where an advertising agency is located. Reports say two children and a woman among the victims there. No one has claimed responsibility.
In Iraq, the deadliest day for American troops in six months. Eight deaths in one day. Yesterday, we told you about this attack. Five soldiers killed in a suicide bombing while on foot patrol in Baghdad. Later in the day, the military said three more soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Diyala Province, that's north of the capital. The attacks bring the total number of American military deaths in Iraq to 3,983 since the war began.
HARRIS: You know, today would have been primary day in Florida. As you know, the state moved up its vote without the blessing of the Democratic Party. Now, Florida Democrats are looking for a re-vote to regain 210 lost delegates. Bill Nelson, Florida's Democratic Senator, joins us from Capitol Hill.
Senator Nelson, great to see you this morning. Thanks for your time.
SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Thanks, Tony.
HARRIS: Well, I have to ask you. Have you settled on this idea of a mail-in ballot for Florida do-over? NELSON: In a word, yes. I wish January 29th would count because the one Florida Democrats have changed it. It was a Republican legislator signed into law by a Republican governor. And the Democratic National Committee had just been hard over about this.
So if they are not going to count Florida, the only thing I know to do to keep the train wreck from happening is to do it over and mail-in ballot seems to be the simplest.
HARRIS: OK. Senator, let's talk about how simple it is in a moment. But how much would it cost to hold this mail-in primary. And where does the money come from? Does it come from Florida's Democratic Party? From state coffers or from even private donations?
NELSON: Well, it shouldn't be the taxpayers, because they've already paid for one election. So the Florida Party is going to have to raise the money. It will be in the range of $4 million to $6 million.
HARRIS: Wow. Are you concerned that the energy that it would take for the Florida Party to pull together that kind of money now just saps the party of energy, of resources that would be better utilized getting ready for November?
NELSON: Well, that's why I want January 29 to count. You know, the sanctity of the ballot, the right of the person to have their ballot counted, and to count it as intended. We're pretty sensitive about that, Tony. And the State of Florida is going through the year 2000 like we did. But the Florida Party can raise it, if you look. The governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are in an op-ed this morning saying they can raise the money for Florida and for Michigan.
HARRIS: OK, that sounds good. But I'm just curious. Did anyone ever ask the candidates, Clinton and Obama, to pitch in and pay for this thing?
NELSON: Well, they are really going to have a say because you can't get to first base unless the Democratic National Committee approves this Florida plan for a re-vote. So, you know, there's going to be a lot of consternation there. But at the end of the day, if we are going to stand on the principle of one person, one vote and have that vote count as intended, either January 29th has got to count or we've got to revote. Otherwise, you have a big mess, Tony.
HARRIS: Yes. Hey, senator, is the mail-in process as -- is it as simple as it sounds? Let's, for example, I'm a Florida resident. How does this work for me?
NELSON: Well, a ballot would be mailed to every Florida Democrat, well enough in advance for those overseas so the ballots can be returned. Very much like the Oregon system. And, by the way, they get participation all the way up to 90 percent of the people voting in an election. But it's not easy. There are a lot of hurdles to go through. The governor has to cooperate. The legislature has to cooperate. A lot of hurdles. HARRIS: Best case scenario here. Let's see. Puerto Rico wraps up the primary season, that's June 7th. When would this happen in Florida?
NELSON: It have to happen right around then.
HARRIS: OK. Senator Nelson, thanks for your time this morning. Appreciate it. We'll continue to follow this story. Good to see you.
NELSON: Thanks, Tony.
HARRIS: And if you are a political junkie, cnnpolitics.com is the place for you. Check out our new interactive delegate counter game where you can play real time what if scenarios with delegates and super delegates. Just look for the delegate calculator. That and much more cnnpolitics.com.
Serving up coffee, but giving the gift of life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over serving her a cup of coffee, I grabbed her hand and I said I'm a match. And I want to donate to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: A woman at her customer will share the ultimate connection.
COLLINS: The backyard pet. It wasn't really meant to be that way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just didn't want him getting killed and crimpled up. Well, you see, he's limping now. He's scarred up in both sides.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have to raise him in such a way that they can be released later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: A deer saved. Now, just go away, please. That's ahead on the CNN NEWSROOM.
Two women. For years they were just acquaintances. But after today, they will be connected for life. More from Molly Shen with our affiliate KOMO.
MOLLY SHEN, KOMO REPORTER (voice-over): Nearly every day.
ANNAMARIE AUSNESS, KIDNEY PATIENT: I am going to have a short drip today.
SHEN: Annamarie Ausness orders the same cup of coffee, from the same Starbucks barista.
AUSNESS: Thank you, Sandy.
SHEN: Their relationship didn't go beyond the short exchange until the day Anna Marie mentioned she was on the kidney transplant list. And barista, Sandy Andersen, decided to get tested. Weeks later...
SANDRA ANDERSEN, KIDNEY DONOR: Over serving her a cup of coffee, I grabbed her hand and I said I'm a match. And I want to donate to you.
AUSNESS: The world just stopped. It was just her and I for a moment. And I didn't really see the light, even though I knew they were there. It was just that moment in time that was the turning point for both of us.
UNIDENTIFIED DOCTOR: How about over here?
AUSNESS: It's not bad.
SHEN: The next turn in this story...
UNIDENTIFIED DOCTOR: Perfect.
SHEN: Comes when both women will check in to Virginia Mason Hospital and Annamarie will become the new owner of Sandy's left kidney.
ANDERSEN: Life is just too short not to live it, you know? So if I can help somebody else do that, then it's a good thing.
SHEN: James Manning couldn't help but overhear. He needs dialysis five times a week.
JAMES MANNING, NEEDS DIALYSIS: It brought tears to my eyes because somebody is going to give life. What more can you give? It's really outstanding.
ANDERSEN: What did somebody say? The ultimate human connection.
SHEN: Their brief conversation is one of the blessings, Sandy, says has been heaped upon her. Sandy calls herself nothing special, just a mom, wife and grandma who works at Starbucks. But she will do something special for a woman she met over a $1.52 cup of coffee.
COLLINS: Boy, that's for sure. KOMO TV says Andersen will miss seven weeks of work at Starbucks. And a website will be set up to help with her lost wages for that time. It will be at www.transplantfund.org. HARRIS: And let's take a look now at some of the most clicked on videos at cnn.com. In Arizona, a boy is doing just fine after being attacked by a mountain lion. This happened Saturday in the Tonto National Forest. Hear his own words about the terrifying ordeal at cnn.com.
A mayor in the Houston area wants to ban cell phone use in school zones.
And shuttle "Endeavour" blasted into space this morning to begin a long mission to the International Space Station. And for more of your favorite videos, just go to cnn.com/mostpopular. And of course, don't forget to take us with you anywhere on your iPod with the CNN daily podcast. Available to you 24/7 right on you iPod.
COLLINS: Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris. Stay informed all day in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here's what's on the rundown.
The Feds call him client number nine. Will a sex scandal sweep New York's straight arrow governor from office? We ask our guest.
Mississippi voters at the polls right now. Clinton and Obama fight over 33 delegates.
Oil smugglers tapping Iraq's pipeline of plenty. Our Kyra Phillips on assignment in Baghdad today. Tuesday, March 11th. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
And our top story this morning. New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is facing calls to resign. The former prosecutor once dubbed the "Mr. Clean" is now linked to a prostitution ring.
CNN's senior correspondent Allan Chernoff has the latest in New York. Allan, good morning to you.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony. And the New York tabloids are having an absolute field day with this story. Have a look at the headlines. "Newsday", Eliot and the Call Girl. "The Daily News," Pay for Luv Gov. Both the "Daily News" and "Newsday" and "The New York Post," all calling for the governor to resign immediately.
Also, Republicans in this state are adding. They are saying that governor does have to step down.
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