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AMERICAN MORNING

Decision Day in Pennsylvania; Gas and Oil Prices Climb Again; Pivotal Primary for Clinton: Clinton's Fate Could be on the Line

Aired April 22, 2008 - 06:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to Kyra Phillips.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: It's great to be here. Good morning.

ROBERTS: Good to see you this morning. You're going to be filling in for Kiran for a little while...

PHILLIPS: That's right.

ROBERTS: ... who's on maternity leave. Had her baby, by the way, last week.

PHILLIPS: I'm already looking at the pictures on her computer. Her kids are beautiful.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Christopher weighed in at seven pounds. So it's great to see you here.

PHILLIPS: Thank you. Glad to be here.

ROBERTS: Good to have you up from Atlanta.

PHILLIPS: I'm looking forward to it.

ROBERTS: We'll be doing this for a while. All right.

Decision day in Pennsylvania as we said and maybe Hillary Clinton's last chance to stay in the race. Polls opened just about an hour from now, 7:00 a.m. Eastern in the largest of 10 remaining contests, and they're going to stay open until 8:00 p.m. tonight; 158 delegates at stake. Almost 4 million registered Democrats expected to take part in today's primary.

Look at the latest CNN delegate estimate. Right now, it shows Barack Obama up by 140. Many analysts say anything but a double-digit win today for Senator Clinton may not be enough. Meantime, a new Clinton campaign ad hit the airwaves. It's the first one by a Democrat invoking Osama bin Laden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: You need to be ready for anything, especially now with two wars, oil prices skyrocketing, and an economy in crisis. Harry Truman said it best. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Our Jim Acosta is live for us this morning from Philadelphia. Jim, a long seven-week wait from the Mississippi primary way back on May the 11th, and a lot of people there in the state of Pennsylvania have got to be pretty excited about finally getting out to the polls.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, if felt like this day would never come, but it is here. It is April 22nd in Pennsylvania and today is the Keystone State primary, and the Clinton campaign is defending the use of that ad which features the old line from Harry Truman, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. That ad also as we saw just a few moments ago features an image of Osama bin Laden, and as you pointed out, it's the first ad from a Democrat showing the leader from al-Qaeda.

The Obama campaign is howling over the use of that ad saying that is exactly what was used against Democratic senator from Georgia, Max Cleland, back in the -- back a few years ago resulting in Cleland's being removed from office, being voted out of office. But the Clinton campaign contends this is all about experience. The ad they say also shows images of Hurricane Katrina and images from the Cold War making the case that this is no time for inexperience in the White House.

Now, across the state yesterday, both of these candidates were making their closing arguments to voters, and the decision, according to both of these candidates, comes down to who you want in the Oval Office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now it is time for you to decide. You've listened, you've watched, you've read, you've checked out the resume, you've asked what the plans are. And now, you have to decide who would you hire to turn this economy around and start jobs growing again?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Clinton has -- she is a formidable adversary, and she has many good ideas. In fact, we share a lot of ideas. We share a lot of policy positions, but the reason I'm running is because I believe that I am more committed to bringing about the changes that are necessary than Senator Clinton is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And the polls here in Pennsylvania open in about an hour from now. They close at 8:00 tonight. Barack Obama is ending his day in Evansville, Indiana, a concession that many may view that he is perhaps looking forward to what is happening after April 22nd as opposed to what may happen today in the Keystone State.

Hillary Clinton is wrapping up her campaign day here in Philadelphia where she will likely be joined by the governor of Pennsylvania, her big surrogate in the state, Ed Rendell, and the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter.

But, John, as we said at the beginning of this report, we thought this day would never come, but it had to come sooner or later. April 22nd is upon us.

ROBERTS: It did take a while to get here. Jim Acosta for us this morning in Philadelphia. Jim, thanks very much. Jim, of course, mentioned Governor Ed Rendell who is going to be joining us in a couple of hours time, along with Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, and you'll be talking with Rudy Giuliani...

PHILLIPS: Rudy Giuliani.

ROBERTS: ... in the next hour.

PHILLIPS: Looking forward to talking politics.

ROBERTS: A big day of politics today.

PHILLIPS: That's right. All morning all night. I don't think we're going to go to sleep tonight.

Well, filmmaker Michael Moore is throwing his support behind Barack Obama. In a posting on his Web site, Moore tells voters in Pennsylvania to cast their ballots for Obama praising his "basic decency and ability to inspire." Moore blasts at Hillary Clinton for her negative campaigning saying her words and actions have gone from disappointing to "downright disgusting."

Meantime, Hillary Clinton says if she's elected, Republican rival John McCain will have a voice in her administration. Clinton told CNN's Larry King she would utilize McCain's experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I'm president, I'm going to ask him to come over to the White House quite often and take trips with me because he has a perspective. I don't agree with it, and I think that he's the wrong person to be president at this time, but we're friends, and we'll remain friends.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: For his part, John McCain will campaign in working class Youngstown, Ohio, today, part of a tour that takes him off the beaten path for most Republican candidates. McCain met with a group of gospel singers in Selma, Alabama, yesterday, and visited landmarks of the civil rights struggle. McCain says that he knows it will be hard to win over black voters who have long supported Democrats but that he's pledged to be president of all the people.

Stay tuned to CNN tonight for the best political team on TV and results from the Pennsylvania primary. It all begins tonight at 7:00 Eastern. Then set your alarm for a special early edition of AMERICAN MORNING. I think we're going to stay up all night. We're going to begin at 5:00 a.m. Eastern for extensive morning after coverage. ROBERTS: Just grab a couple of those Thomas Edison naps. You know, three-hour sleep and then 15 minute naps --

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: Oh, fighter naps, 20 minutes. There you go.

ROBERTS: The army's controversial stop-loss program will remain in place until the fall of 2009 when wartime demand for troops is expected to drop. That's according to a top military officer. The program forces troops to serve past their tours end day. Critics have called it a backdoor draft. Right now, 12,000 troops are serving past their retirement dates.

A dire warning for Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He says Iran is "hell bent on getting nuclear weapons," but he said the consequences of going to war over that issue would be disastrous saying "another war in the Middle East is the last thing the U.S. needs."

The Bush administration is asking four African countries to block a Chinese shipment of arms from entering Zimbabwe. The U.S. intelligence agencies are tracking the vessel making sure that it doesn't dock in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia or Angola. There are concerns that the arms could be used by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to further oppress opposition supporters.

PHILLIPS: There's new evidence this morning that an additive manufactured in China is to blame for reactions to the blood thinner heparin. The Food and Drug Administration says that the contaminant mimics the real blood thinner, only it costs less and may have been added deliberately. It's blamed for at least 81 deaths in the U.S., and the Chinese -- well, they're rejecting any responsibility saying that its investigation found no link between the compound and the reported deaths.

And new guidelines for children taking medication for ADHD. The American Heart Association is now recommending that children have a heart exam, including an EKG, before they're prescribed drugs like Ritalin. Doctors say the drugs could make kids with heart conditions more vulnerable to heart attacks and other problems. The government estimates about 2.5 million American children take medication for ADHD.

ROBERTS: Breaking news out of the business world this morning. Oil hitting another record high overnight. How will it play with voters in Pennsylvania? Our Ali Velshi is live with the CNN Election Express, and he'll be here right after the break. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Pennsylvania voters waking up to higher gas and oil prices as they head out to the polls. Ali Velshi outside the CNN Election Express in Philadelphia. Ali, good morning. Great to see you. ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Kyra Phillips, what did I do to deserve this? First of all, I don't understand how I'm not there while you're there, so stay a while. It's so excellent to see you.

Beautiful morning here in Philadelphia. The sun is starting to rise. A little chilly. Folks are going to the gas station on their way to work, and they're getting another surprise. It's almost been a penny a day.

A new record for the price of unleaded gasoline. National average now $3.51 a gallon. These increases, Kyra, are moving faster than we expected them to. We've been sort of extrapolating over the last few weeks, and we thought maybe later this week or next week we might get to $3.50. We're already there.

A lot of people thinking that we would have hit that mark by Memorial Day, so we're obviously going to be higher than this for Memorial Day. Part of the reason, oil prices continue to increase overnight, $118.05. Again, there's hardly been a day here where I come on and that last number hasn't changed to another dollar higher. So, $118.05.

Now, how is that playing out in the economy and how is it going to play out in this primary? One thing to keep in mind, many states have a different sort of growth rate. They grow different economically than the national average.

The national average if you look at December through February, three month period, we think we had about 0.3 percent growth in the economy nationally. That means we created that much more than the year before. That's very, very slow.

Pennsylvania in that same period, Kyra, had negative growth, down 0.4 percent. So the Pennsylvania economy has turned negative, and that is playing out in this election, and that is part of why the economy as issue number one is playing out very specifically here in Pennsylvania. But it's worth looking at that as compared to the country.

The state, which had a higher growth rate and lower unemployment, is actually slowing down. I'm going to through the course of the morning tell you more about how Pennsylvania compares to your state and the country. Kyra, good to see you.

PHILLIPS: Good to see you too, Ali. We'll be talking more.

ROBERTS: Hey, today is Earth Day, and NASA is giving you a present this Tuesday morning. A unique look at our home planet in high definition. Rob Marciano is tracking the extreme weather NASA is seeing from space. Good morning, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Cool shots. Good morning, guys, and Happy Earth Day, everybody. We've got some shots from outer space. We've got the radar that's pretty active this morning. Severe storms rumbling across not only the plains but through the Carolinas. Detailed weather forecast is coming up. Stay with us. AMERICAN MORNING will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARCIANO: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. Today is Earth Day, and we are blessed with some really cool stuff. To mark this occasion, NASA is giving us a unique look at the big blue marbly-color Earth.

NASA television right now broadcasting images of earth in high- definition. The video also was shot by astronauts, and it runs until 8:00 Eastern tonight. You can also check it out at www.nasa.gov. All right. Thank you very much, NASA. I'm going to be checking that out throughout the day.

Also, checking out things on the election front. Pennsylvania, big day for you. Let's check on some of the current numbers there. Right now, all quiet. Temps in the 40s and lower 50s. As we go throughout the day, we'll warm up, and it should be a pretty nice day across at least the northern half. The southern third we might see a couple of showers sneak in from the south. Other than that it shouldn't be bad at all. No excuses to get to the polls.

All right. Severe weather rumbling through the midsection overnight. Tonight, we've got and in through this morning, Iowa in through Missouri, we're seeing some severe thunderstorms. Clark County in through Iowa, this batch of thunderstorms rolling across the central part of the state. East of Des Moines, this is producing some hail and some gusty winds in several spots there.

And in another batch, this one produced hail of an 1.5 inches diameter in Kansas City overnight, rapidly moving eastward at about 45 miles an hour. This batch of thunderstorms could definitely have some hail and winds possibly as high as 60 miles an hour. It all will be mostly just to the north of Springfield.

Also, severe weather reports across North Carolina again yesterday, and we're trying to get this system offshore, but the beaches of North Carolina may see some more rain later on today.

Coming up in a half hour, John and Kyra, we'll talk more about Earth Day. Tips for lazy, cheap people just like me. How you can go green in that kind of fun way. We'll see you back.

PHILLIPS: You're not lazy and cheap. Come on, Rob, give yourself more credit.

MARCIANO: I do. I'm just saying that. Thanks, Kyra.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Rob. See you again soon.

MARCIANO: All right.

ROBERTS: Hey, "Hot Shot" time now. Read my lips, one big fish. Take a look at what former President Bush hooked off the Florida Keys. The tarpon tipped the scales at 135 pounds. Took him 45 minutes to reel it in. So, how big is that compared to a regular tarpon, you would say? Most tarpons sort of range between 20 and 80 pounds although the world landed record, 283 pounds, four ounces.

PHILLIPS: I just want to know what kind of fish a tarpon was. I've never heard of a tarpon. Can you eat it? Can you cook it?

ROBERTS: There are some recipes for tarpon, but it's more of a fighting fish than an eating fish.

PHILLIPS: OK.

ROBERTS: Probably it would be better to as the president did release the fish alive, get a fiberglass reproduction made for the presidential library at Texas A&M University and then go to your local fish market and grab a piece of swordfish, salmon, tuna or something like that and put it on the grill.

And if you got a "Hot Shot," send it to us. Head to our Web site at CNN.com/am and follow the "Hot Shot" link.

PHILLIPS: I caught a sailfish one time, seven feet.

ROBERTS: That's huge.

PHILLIPS: Yes, and then they tried to toss (ph) it in --

ROBERTS: It's bigger than you are.

PHILLIPS: That's right.

ROBERTS: My daughter once caught a --

PHILLIPS: You should see the picture.

ROBERTS: My daughter once caught a striped bass off Martha's Vineyard that was as tall as she was.

PHILLIPS: Oh --

ROBERTS: She was very short back then.

PHILLIPS: And did she let it go? Or did --

ROBERTS: No, we ate it. We ate it.

PHILLIPS: Nice dinner.

ROBERTS: Absolutely.

PHILLIPS: Outstanding. All right.

ROBERTS: We ate it for about three days actually.

PHILLIPS: Well, you're watching the "Most News in the Morning." The polls in Pennsylvania will open in the next 40 minutes or so. This year's presidential election is drawing many first-time voters. Coming up, we're going to take a look at a Web site that can help guide newbies through the process.

And he went up and no one knows if he came down. The search for a priest who went missing trying to set a record with helium balloons. That's straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Osama bin Laden's top deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri vowing al-Qaeda still plans to wage attacks on the U.S. and its allies in Iraq. That threat made during a lengthy audio tape message where the terror leader answered questions posed by al-Qaeda supporters. The tape is the second released by Zawahiri this month.

ROBERTS: It's coming up on 20 minutes after the hour on this all-important Pennsylvania primary day, and more Americans are turning out to vote and registering to vote during this primary season than ever before.

Our Veronica De La Cruz joins us now from CNN headquarters in Atlanta to tell us about a Web site that's aimed at helping those first timers. Good morning, Veronica.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, John. It's good to see you. You know, whether it's your first time voting in a primary, maybe in a presidential election come November, I know, are very excited. And we're trying to aim to keep you informed, connected, up to date, so we formed this league of first time voters, John, and you can actually take a look at it. It's on our Web site.

Go to CNN.com/league. Here's the page. It's going to give you all the election basics. For example, if you're not registered to vote, John, you can get specific information on how to do so in your state. You click on that link, it says register to vote. And you have to do so by the deadline which does vary state by state. It's usually somewhere between two weeks to a month before the national election.

Taking you back to the main page once again, you can also click to sign up to join the league. It's a really simple process. It's going to give you a chance to meet other first-time voters. All you do is give us your e-mail address. We're going to give you the chance to interact.

You can also do a little research on this page. You can go in depth when it comes to information on candidates. You can also read about where they stand on certain issues, especially the issues that matter to you. So when you make it to the polls for your first time, you're going to make an informed decision.

And we're also asking you to share your experience with us. Go ahead grab your cell phone, maybe a video camera. Send us an I-report and let us know, you know, is this your first time headed to the polls? What inspired you to head to the polls? It might be a candidate, maybe it's an issue. Log on to Ireport.com. Send us your submission.

And John, I was taking a look at the page and really interesting to see all the personal submissions that have come in. There are paintings, there are drawings, some really cool photos. So you can probably think of this as like an online community, like a place to hang out maybe. So it's pretty cool.

ROBERTS: All right. Plenty of places to hang out online. Veronica De La Cruz for us this morning. Veronica, thanks.

PHILLIPS: It's a big day in Pennsylvania, and that brings us to this morning's "Quick Vote" question. Will today be a turning point in the Democratic race for president? Cast your vote at CNN.com/am. We're going to have the first tally of your votes later this hour.

And we want your e-mails on this as well. Head to our Web site CNN.com/am. Follow the link that says "contact us." We'll read some of your e-mails in the next hour.

ROBERTS: Primary season officially ends on June the 10th, even though the last primary is before that. We'll see how long people want this to go on.

You're watching the "Most News in the Morning," and all political eyes on Pennsylvania today. Less than an hour now until the polls open, and the candidates' strategies are put to the test. Coming up, is a win in the Keystone State the key to Pennsylvania Avenue?

And vanishing into thin air. A desperate search today for a priest who went missing on a party balloon flight. The story ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: In less than an hour, the polls open in Pennsylvania. The primary there could determine whether Hillary Clinton gains new life or faces call from party leaders to quit the presidential race.

Mark Halperin is the senior political analyst at "Time" magazine, authors the famous "The Page" blog as well, and he joins me now. There seems to be a little question that Hillary Clinton is going to pull off a win today. Even Barack Obama says she's likely to going to win. I guess the big questions are what are the margins going to be? What will the vote breakdown be, and what will this mean for the remaining primaries?

MARK HALPERIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, "TIME": Well, if she does win with a decent margin she will go forward. So the main thing it means is this Democratic contest even after this long focus on Pennsylvania, it will go forward.

I think the superdelegates who, of course, are the biggest audience right now for all of this, will focus on not just this margin, but on where the vote comes from. We expect Senator Obama to do very well with African-American voters. Let's see how he does with those white working class voters that have become such a focus of this race.

ROBERTS: Hillary Clinton was on "LARRY KING LIVE" last night. She talked about the significance of Pennsylvania to her opponent. Let's listen to what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He should try to win this state, which he's been doing, because he knows he hasn't won any big state except his own, and I think that's important for Democrats. Who has won the big states? Who has been there to put together the electoral map that we need to win in the fall?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Is there validity to that argument? Is winning a big state translate in the primary season, and what about the electoral vote? Obviously, they matter if you want to become president but they don't count electoral votes. And who becomes they nominee?

HALPERIN: I think it's her strongest argument. As much money as Senator Obama has, as inspirational as he's message has been for a lot of people, as great a campaign as he's run, he's not been able to beat her in most of these big state primaries. And the question is begged, you and I have talked about it, why not?

If he doesn't win today having spent all that money, all that time focusing there, yes, he started way behind, yes the Clintons are well-known in Pennsylvania. But that was true in a lot of smaller states that he won. Why doesn't he beat her in the big states? That's the question that she will press on those superdelegates?

ROBERTS: And her campaign is making the point that he outspends her two to one in all of these big contests. As we found out yesterday, he's got $42 million in the bank to her $8 million in the bank. She's also got $10 million of debts that she has to service. And if he can't beat her outspending her to two to one, where can he win? And can he win in November?

HALPERIN: And it's a question about will he beat John McCain in those states? You know, as much as the Obama campaign talks about expanding the map and putting states in play that haven't been in play in the last two elections, presidential election, this one is still likely to come down to a large extent to Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Now, Ohio and Pennsylvania have been contested. The other two weren't. He lost her badly in Ohio. If he can't beat her in Pennsylvania, again, the McCain campaign feels very confident that they can beat Obama there. They may be wrong, but that is a battleground in the general election. And if he can't beat her in the primary amongst Democrats, the Clinton people argue, how is he supposed to win a general election when he's got to win over Republicans? ROBERTS: And Pennsylvania gone Democrat in the last few elections.

HALPERIN: But narrowly.

ROBERTS: Very, very close margins. This is going to be the first primary since the Jeremiah Wright news broke, talk about the weather underground and what connection Bill Ayers has to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton's Bosnia misstatement.

HALPERIN: His bitter remarks.

ROBERTS: Bitter-gate.

HALPERIN: Yes.

ROBERTS: What kind of effect do you think that that's going to have on the primary, or is that stuff enough in the past that it won't matter?

HALPERIN: Well, it's all in the mix in the minds of Pennsylvania voters. It's hard for us to extract it out and figure it out. The exit poll will offer us some clues, but again, Senator Obama has run a fantastic campaign. No one should take that away from him.

But he's outspent her there. He's targeted the state very hard. He spent a lot of time. What causes the vote to go the way it does? I don't think we'll be able to tell cleanly. But it will show that even with all that money, he's not able to take her on and beat her. He's hoping for a near close enough race that he can go back and point to his strength, which is he is ahead in delegates, and she can't overcome them among those elected delegates (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: Do you have any prediction for what the margin will be today?

HALPERIN: Always, John, I quote the great political philosopher Yogi Berra, "Prediction is difficult especially about the future." So, no, I don't have a prediction except I will tell people let's hope the exit poll is solid. Let's hope we can trust those results, and I think the results of the exit poll have the voters break down demographically in terms of who they're supporting. It might be more important than the margin.

ROBERTS: All right. Mark Halperin, as always, good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

HALPERIN: Thanks, John.

ROBERTS: Boy, big contest ahead today.

PHILLIPS: Barack Obama talking about Iraq on his final day of campaigning in Pennsylvania. He explains how he thinks a timetable for the withdrawal of troops would speed things up. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is my strategic judgment that setting a timetable is actually going to accelerate the kind of diplomacy both inside of Iraq and in the region that's required to create long-term political stability. And over time, that will save us some money. It won't happen immediately because there's a lot of cleaning up we have to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Obama has said that if he is elected, he would immediately begin to remove troops from Iraq and have all combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.

And Hillary Clinton making soaring gas prices one of her key issues in the final hours of the Pennsylvania campaign. She talks about the pain at the pump for drivers with CNN's Larry King last night. She says as president she will launch an investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would investigate these prices. I'm not satisfied at all that there isn't any manipulation going on or price gouging, and my suggestion would be a windfall profits tax on the oil companies. They've been making record profits in the last years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Well, Clinton said that she would consider a gas tax holiday and would work toward energy independence for the U.S.

John McCain also talking about energy, stressing the need for America to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our dependence on foreign oil is unacceptable, it's outrageous. And my friends, the $400 billion -- over $400 billion you'll send this year to oil- producing countries where that goes to the hands of people who don't like us very much and some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations. It is unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: And secret service agents are getting ready to join McCain on the campaign trail. McCain has said that he would refuse secret service protection if he was elected, but he recently changed his mind. His campaign will try to make sure that he can still interact with voters while campaigning.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Difficult to resist the secret service. They make a very compelling argument for protection.

PHILLIPS: It's interesting. Let's talk about protection in Iraq. That's a whole other story.

ROBERTS: Absolutely. Hey, today, President Bush wraps up a two- day North American Summit in New Orleans. He's meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The leaders defended the North American Free Trade Agreement, and President Bush used the meeting to blast Democrats for opposing a free trade deal with Colombia.

In Jerusalem, Israel says Former President Jimmy Carter failed to broker a ceasefire from the militant group Hamas. Mr. Carter had asked Hamas leader Khaled Mashal for an unconditional one-month halt on rocket attacks. Despite Carter's plea, Israel was hit with seven rockets launched from Hamas controlled Gaza. Mr. Carter did say that Hamas is willing to accept Israel as a neighbor.

And lost in the sky. There's a desperate search going on right now for a Catholic priest who floated off from the southern coast of Brazil. He was trying to set the record for the longest ride on a bundle of party balloons. CNN's David Ariosto has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ARIOSTO, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Up, up, and away. A Catholic priest trying to break a record for most hours flying with helium-filled party balloons vanishes into thin air.

Squeezing into a white thermal flight suit, Adelir Antonio de Carli lifted off Sunday from the Brazilian Port City of Paranagua. He was trying to raise money for a rest stop for truckers and a little rain wasn't going to keep him down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Isn't it stubbornness flying in this rain?

ADELIR ANTONIO DE CARLI, MISSING CATHOLIC PRIEST: There will only be good weather during my flight.

ARIOSTO: But eight hours later he was missing. Losing contact with port authority officials after drifting 30 miles off the Brazilian Coast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): As long as there's any realistic possibility of finding him exists, we will continue looking for him.

ARIOSTO: De Carli intended to fly over 400 miles northwest to the City of Dourados when high winds pushed him off course and over the Atlantic. But party balloon flights are not as rare as they might seem.

An Oregon man seen here in a flying lawn chair just last summer. De Carli was trying to break the record by flying for 19 hours. But for this Brazilian priest, the quest turned into a search as helicopters and rescue patrols scour the coastline for any signs of life or balloons. David Ariosto, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Officials say the priest reached an altitude of 20,000 feet before the winds pushed him in another direction. So he would have been having trouble breathing let alone finding his way.

PHILLIPS: And this was something that you were talking about last night. It's intriguing and just the fact that this has been done before, right, but this adds a whole other element with the body of water.

ROBERTS: Yes. We did a story not long ago on a fellow, I think from Oregon who does the same thing on a lawn chair. He floats across the Pacific Northwest. He hasn't had any problems like this, though.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Those wacky people from the Pacific Northwest. I'm one of them.

PHILLIPS: So you understand. Alina Cho, hello.

CHO: I understand completely. Good morning. Welcome Kyra. Good to see you in person.

PHILLIPS: Thank you. Great to be here. Great stuff in North Korea, by the way. In Baghdad, I was listening to all your pieces.

(CROSSTALK)

CHO: I know, you were saying so. And you sent me a very nice e- mail. And good to see you safely home from Baghdad.

Hey, John, good morning to you, too.

ROBERTS: Good morning.

CHO: Good morning, everybody. Lots to talk about. New this morning, security forces have rescued passengers taken hostage by pirates off the coast of Somalia. Seven pirates were arrested. Three people were wounded in the rescue. The Dubai flagged ship had been hijacked yesterday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and France are currently drafting a United Nations resolution to crack down on piracy in the region. The resolution would give governments the power to chase down ships, as well as arrest and prosecute suspects.

Just yesterday, pirates fired on a Japanese tanker causing an oil spill and that caused oil prices to spike. Also, a fishing boat from Spain was hijacked on Sunday.

Take a look at this in Montreal. A big win in the hockey world touched off celebrations that turned violent. Thousands of fans took to the streets when the Canadians defeated the Boston Bruins in a playoff series. Look what they did. Those fans torched at least five police cars, smashed store windows, looted businesses. Police say at least 13 people were arrested, but there were no reports of any major injuries. The government is stepping up its investigation into Chrysler's jeep liberty. Chrysler says it's received 74 complaints that a ball joint on the jeep's front wheels can separate sometimes and that can lead to the front wheel collapsing. In some cases causing the driver to lose control. More than 300,000 jeep liberties made in 2002 and 2003 could be affected. But there are no reports of any accidents or injuries as a result of this problem.

Well, a story you could be talking about around the water cooler today. A Colorado state lawmaker was kicked off the podium after he called Mexican workers, quote, "Illiterate peasants." State Representative Douglas Bruce made the controversial comment while talking about a bill that would help illegal immigrants get temporary visas. You see the measure would help ease Colorado's farm worker shortage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOUGLAS BRUCE, COLORADO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I would like to have the opportunity to stay at the microphone. Why I don't think we need 5,000 more illiterate peasants in Colorado.

KATHLEEN CURRY, COLORADO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE: Representative Bruce, you are no longer recognized in the well. The next hand I saw was Representative Gallegos. How dare you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: Well, good for her. Bruce is known for his controversial comments and actions. Get this, he was once censured by the House for kicking a photographer for taking a picture of him during a prayer.

And dreams do come true. Walt Disney World in Florida. Just listen to this. A Massachusetts family apparently was at the park when the husband accidentally threw away his wife's engagement, wedding, and five-year anniversary ring. Can you imagine how much trouble he was in?

They were apparently inside a container in a cardboard bowl. Well, the husband dumped out the contents not knowing the rings were there. When workers at the resort realized the trash hadn't yet been sent to that big industrial-sized compacter. Well, those workers put on gloves, protective clothing, they picked through the garbage one bag at a time.

And guess what? They found the rings and they have since been returned. And guess what they are all going? They are going to Disney World to celebrate.

PHILLIPS: Now, I want to see the commercial.

ROBERTS: Apparently, they had an entire dumpster worth of garbage spread out in (INAUDIBLE). This wasn't just one or two bags. Just a whole dumpsters worth.

CHO: Oh no, no. A whole dumpsters worth. They went through it, but they found them. So anyway, good for them.

ROBERTS: a Disney miracle.

CHO: Yes. A little magic dust helped everything.

PHILLIPS: Dreams do come true.

CHO: They do.

PHILLIPS: All right. Well, how issue No. 1, the economy, affect voters in today's Pennsylvania's primary. Ali Velshi takes a look at the credit crunch in the state, live with the Election Express from Philadelphia.

And it's an emerging tool for crime fighters. DNA from a family member to catch a suspect. That's straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: 40 minutes after the hour now. When Pennsylvania voters cast their ballots, they will have issue No. 1, the economy on their minds. Our Ali Velshi taking a look at the housing market. He's live in Philadelphia this morning, with the Election Express along the Ben Franklin Parkway.

Good morning to you.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Good to see you. A beautiful day. The sun rising. You see City Hall in the back. And in fact, if you wander around Philadelphia, you'll see a lot of development. A lot of condominiums coming up. Quite expensive actually.

Philadelphia has got a bit of an issue in that it's developing on the upside very nicely. But the downside is not developing at all. In fact, the city is one of those examples of a city that's going in two different directions and maybe the middle is not getting as strong as it is.

But let's look around Pennsylvania and see how it compares to the rest of the country. The median home price in Pennsylvania is about $168,000, far lower than the median national home price of about $207,000.

But look at the change. If you look at the end of 2007 compared to the beginning, so the whole year of 2007, prices in Pennsylvania were up just a little bit compared to prices across the nation, which were actually down.

Now, one of the things that our reporters have been pointing out over the last few days is that Pennsylvania has the second oldest population in the United States on an average. Florida, by the way, is the highest. So look at the foreclosure rates and that's kind of reflected in the foreclosure rates.

The national foreclosure rate is about 1 in 557. The Pennsylvania foreclosure rate is only 1 in 2,245, in many cases reflecting the fact that an older population is a population that has paid for their homes. Thereby, the inflation issues, John, become a bigger deal for people like that.

If you're older, inflation is a bigger deal because in many cases you're on a fixed income or you're depending on investments where as your home you paid for -- you're not looking to take more money out. So, it sort of takes a little bit of a backseat as an issue.

But fundamentally, these are problems across Pennsylvania. We've got slightly lower home prices than the national average. In fact, significantly lower but not as much on the foreclosure side.

John?

ROBERTS: All right. Ali Velshi for us this morning. Ali, thanks very much.

PHILLIPS: All right ways to save on Earth Day. Rob Marciano shares some ideas to get you in the green game. That's next on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

The 112th Boston Marathon was won for the books. Robert Cheruiyot from Kenya won the men's race in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 46 seconds. He is the first Kenyan man to win the event four times. His third straight Boston win, he did it even though he missed two months of training due to violence in his homeland.

The women had the closest finish in the history of the Boston marathon. Ethiopian Dire Tune beat Alevtina Biktimirova of Russia by only two seconds.

PHILLIPS: You'd get a medal for nailing those complicated names perfectly.

ROBERTS: At 45 minutes after the hour -- after 6:00.

PHILLIPS: Rob Marciano in the CNN Weather Center. He's talking easy Earth Day tips.

Hi, Rob. Keep us accountable.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: All right. It's easy. That's the key, and the best part of it is that it should save you a little bit of money.

First off, you've heard about these popular compact fluorescent bulbs, the CFL bulbs. They use a ton less energy. So do LED lights. And that'll save you money as well and they generate a lot of heat.

And if everyone were to replace their five most used lights in their house with these CFL bulbs, that's the equivalent of taking 10 million cars off the road. So, that's certainly an easy thing to do. And greening your house, you certainly want to seal up your windows and turn off your lights. Remember how dad used to tell you to turn off the lights because he saves money. Well, it saves the environment as well.

Let's go over the map and show you what's happening as far as the rainfall and the radars here.

(WEATHER REPORT)

PHILLIPS: You know when you mentioned your dad, who told you to turn off the lights, you have no idea how that was a part of our household. And so now, when they come visit, I'm turning the lights off. Dad, left the light on upstairs.

ROBERTS: I've nicknamed by daughter planet killer, and every time she leaves a light on, I call her planet killer. But Rob, I read something interesting about these compact fluorescent light bulbs, that if you turn them on and then turn them off quickly, like you would a regular incandescent bulb, they don't last very long. And if you turn them on, they should be left on for 15 minutes or so.

MARCIANO: Well, they do if you use them properly. They do last, you know, upwards 10 times longer than a regular bulb. So, they do cost more in the beginning, I will tell you that. But they last longer than a normal bulb and they use less electricity. So, in the long run, they do pay for themselves.

ROBERTS: Got to use them right, though. Rob Marciano for us this morning. Rob, thanks.

It has helped authorities crack cold cases like the notorious BTK killer. Do you know that investigators used not Raider's DNA but his daughter's to help link him to the crimes?

AMERICAN MORNING legal analyst Sunny Hostin weighs in on a new police technique. That's coming up.

And a new group of voters is set to make a splash in today's Pennsylvania primary. And the candidates are taking notice. Meet them and find out how. Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: It's coming up on nine minutes to the top of the hour. More states are trying to go after suspects by going after the DNA of family members. It's what led investigators to the BTK killer of Wichita.

Dennis Raider was convicted of killing ten people but it took DNA from Raider's daughter from a college medical center to make the case. The technique is called Familial Searches.

AMERICAN MORNING's legal analyst Sunny Hostin joins us now. So what exactly is Familial Search and how does it work? SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's really interesting. It's when police or prosecutor searched a DNA database for a near match and not a complete match. And certainly, relatives have near matches. And I think the BTK killer case is a prime example of what this type of search is.

Instead of going after his DNA, because they didn't have it -- well, they had it on the crime scene, but they didn't have it from him, they went to the daughter's DNA. And the way they found it, John, which was making people uncomfortable is that she had a Pap smear when she was in college. They got a court order, got that Pap smear, and --

ROBERTS: So it's not even like they got a new sample.

HOSTIN: No, no. It was an old sample. Almost five years old. And it turn out that there was sort of this almost near match and that's what led them to the killer.

ROBERTS: We talked a couple of weeks ago about the legality of if somebody is puffing on a cigarette and throws it away, can they take DNA from that? What's the legality of these familiar searches? The FBI so far is resisting getting involved in with it.

HOSTIN: Yes, John, there's a huge privacy concern here, because the Supreme Court has held and has found pretty clearly that unless someone is a suspect, you can't just go around digging into their DNA. And so, it's sort of like the invasion of genetic privacy for someone who is not suspected of a crime. And people are feeling very uncomfortable with it. The Federal government really doesn't allow it.

ROBERTS: So this crosses the line in terms of the Fourth Amendment.

HOSTIN: It does. The Fourth Amendment as I say over and over again, it protects us from unreasonable searches and seizure. And what is more unreasonable than taking your DNA for one purpose and then using it for another?

ROBERTS: What does the Supreme Court say about this?

HOSTIN: The Supreme Court says uh-uh, no way. But there are a couple states that are really using it right now and we're seeing it in California, Colorado. Maryland says no, no, no. But as you see on the map, Colorado, California, and California has really the biggest and largest -- one of the largest DNA databases and they're going to be using it.

ROBERTS: All right. As we were talking about before, too, they're trying to expand the CODIS database by taking DNA from people who were just arrested from crimes, let alone convicted of it.

HOSTIN: And not convicted. Exactly. So this is a huge area we're going to be following it.

ROBERTS: Sunny Hostin, thanks very much.

Kyra?

PHILLIPS: Pressure to raise recruiting numbers. The Army and Marines are accepting more ex-cons. New figures show a rise in the number of recruits with felony convictions. Is it compromising the military? We'll have that story straight ahead.

ROBERTS: From Pittsburgh to Philly to Punxsutawney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Will there be six more weeks of campaigning after the Pennsylvania primary? Whether Hillary Clinton can win and still lose.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A win is a win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: The Best Political Team on Television here to break down the tightest primary race ever.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. Primary day in Pennsylvania. Millions of people expected to turn out to the polls today and it could be Hillary Clinton's last chance to stay in the race. Some say she should step aside if she doesn't win big today.

And that bring us to this morning's "Quick Vote" question. Do you think today will be a turning point in the Democratic race for president? Right now, 69 percent of you say yes, 31 percent say no. You can cast your vote at cnn.com/am. And we'll tally your votes throughout the morning.

And we want your e-mails, too. Head to our Web site at cnn.com/am. Follow the links that say contact us and we'll read some of your e-mails in the next hour.

They are new force in politics. Unmarried women, 53 million nationwide. And after years of staying away from the voting booths, well, they are starting to mobilize. CNN's Randi Kaye shows us how they will influence today's Pennsylvania primary.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maria Wing is a Philadelphia lawyer, 28 years old, single, and in debt. MARIA WING, UNMARRIED PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: We are, you know, quote, "on our own." I mean, it's not like I have a husband to augment my income should something happen with my job.

KAYE: Maria is a fleck of gold in the gold mine known as unmarried women voters. They vote overwhelmingly Democratic. And in Pennsylvania make up one-quarter of all eligible voters.

(on camera): Here in Pennsylvania, the economy is issue No. 1, and research shows unmarried women are the ultimate economy voter with an average income of $30,000 or less. What's important to them? Real life economic needs like child care, health care, raising the minimum wage, and equal pay.

(voice-over): Married women care about similar issues, but single women nationwide earn less and are three times more likely to lack health coverage. Also 20 percent of unmarried women are single moms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Economy and the election 2008.

KAYE: Julie Segal (ph) and Annie Freedman (ph) aren't married. They're juniors in college.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: College costs are crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know in two years I'm going to have to somehow get health care for myself and the costs are just astronomical.

KAYE: 28-year-old Carmina Aodavis (ph) is single, she's worried about the housing market.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm recently getting my home appraised and it went down $15,000.

KAYE: Until recently, single women had been largely ignored by candidates and disengaged. In 2004, nearly one million unmarried women in Pennsylvania stayed home on Election Day. This year, their presence in the primaries has reached historic levels. Why this sudden burst of interest? Campaigns have aggressively targeted single women.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Health care premiums have doubled, college tuition is up.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The young woman who I met who works full time in the night shift, goes to college during the day.

KAYE: Political experts say if they continue to mobilize, these women could determine who becomes the next president. Where do they stand? A recent study by women's voices, women vote showed 58 percent of single women identify themselves as Democrats, compared to just 18 percent as Republicans. They are split evenly between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Julie is hoping for more affordable education. Annie wants guaranteed health care for her and her kids one day. Carmina just needs to know it's going to get better and Maria, a tax code for the middle class.

WING: After Uncle Sam gets paid and Fannie Mae gets paid and, you know, housing expenses get paid, mama only has a couple hundred dollars to go out.

KAYE: Senators, are you listening? Prove it, and you may just clean up at the polls.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Philadelphia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: It's coming up to the top of the hour now, and the polls will be open in about 30 seconds in Pennsylvania. The biggest prize left in the race and a critical one for Hillary Clinton.

A comfortable win there could keep the pressure off of her to call it quits. The polls stay open until 8:00 p.m. tonight. There are 158 delegates at stake. Almost 4 million registered Democrats are expected to take part in today's primary. A look at the latest CNN delegate estimate shows Barack Obama currently up by 140. Many analysts say anything but a double digit win today for Senator Clinton may not be enough.

Senator Clinton is out with a new last minute campaign ad. This one invoking Osama bin Laden.