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Reverend Wright Speaks Out: Calls Media Coverage Unfair; Price Hike Hits $3.58; Mother of Ten Gives Tips on How to Save and Feed Your Family

Aired April 25, 2008 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: A fellow United Church of Christ member and PBS host Bill Moyers in his first televised interview since the controversy. Wright said snippets from his sermons were taken out of context and that his critics motives are clear -- to undermine Obama.

BILL MOYERS, HOST, "BILL MOYERS JOURNAL": What do you think they wanted to communicate?

REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, SEN. BARACK OBAMA'S FORMER PASTOR: I think they wanted to communicate that I am unpatriotic, that I'm un- American, that I'm filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ. And, by the way, guess who goes to his church? Hint, hint, hint.


ROBERTS: Wright also told Moyers that he and Obama do not talk politics.


BILL MOYERS, HOST, "BILL MOYERS JOURNAL": In the 20 years since you've been his pastor, have you ever heard him repeat any of your controversial statements as his opinion?

WRIGHT: No, no, absolutely not. I don't talk to him about politics, and so here at a political event he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God.


ROBERTS: The full interview airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern at PBS. Coming up at 6:24 just a few minutes from now, we're going to be playing some more excerpts and get some insights from CNN contributor Roland Martin. Looking forward to that.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: And former president -- Yes, we are. Roland's also got a good opinion. That's for sure.

ROBERTS: He does. PHILLIPS: Former President Bill Clinton under fire for his behavior on the campaign trail. South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn telling "The New York Times" Clinton's "bizarre conduct" is threatening to damage his once vibrant relationship with the black community. The comments coming after Clinton said he was the victim of racial politics in a radio interview earlier this week.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that they played the race card on me. And we now know, from memos from the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along.


Clyburn also went on to say that there's an almost universal view in the African-American community that the Clintons are "committed to doing everything they possibly can to damage Obama to a point that he could never win." Clyburn is an undeclared superdelegate, and if you remember earlier this year, he publicly urged Bill Clinton to "chill a little bit" right before the South Carolina primary.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that she doesn't think the so- called dream ticket is a good idea. Pelosi has made it pretty clear that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama shouldn't share a joint ticket this fall. In an interview with CNN's Larry King last night, she went a step further.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": If you had your power, would you want them to run together?



PELOSI: I don't think it's a good idea.

KING: Not a good idea.

PELOSI: No, I don't think so.

KING: Because?

PELOSI: I think that, first of all, the candidate, whoever he or she may be, should choose his or her own vice-presidential candidate. I think that's appropriate. That's where you would see the comfort level not only how to run, but how to govern the country. And there's plenty of talent to go around to draw upon for a good, strong ticket. I'm not one of those who thinks that that's a good ticket.


PHILLIPS: Pelosi remains an uncommitted superdelegate. ROBERTS: John McCain is on the campaign trail and ends the so- called Forgotten Places Bus tour in Little Rock, Arkansas, today. He's going to appear with Mike Huckabee for the first time since the former Arkansas governor dropped out of the Republican presidential race. McCain was in New Orleans yesterday touring the devastated Lower Ninth Ward. He said the response to Hurricane Katrina was a "perfect storm" of mismanagement by federal, state and local governments, and he promised that it wouldn't happen again.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Somebody said to me the other day, said, well, New Orleans is off the front page so Americans have forgotten it. I want to tell you America is a great nation, and America cares, and America has compassion for those who have suffered disasters. America will never forget. I will never forget, and never again will there be a mismanaged natural disaster man-made or natural again that will occur in this country.


ROBERTS: McCain had some harsh words for the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina calling it "disgraceful."

PHILLIPS: The White House calls it a dangerous manifestation of North Korea's nuclear ambitions, a nuclear facility in Syria which Pyongyang helped build. A reactor U.S. officials say was not intended for peaceful purposes.

Now, yesterday the White House offered up proof showing photos which purportedly show the inside and outside of the reactor. Syria is outright rejecting those charges, and its ambassador to the U.S. told CNN's Wolf Blitzer it's just a ridiculous story.


IMAD MOUSTAPHA, SYRIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: If they were there to present this evidence to the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Commission, it will be a mockery for the U.S. delegation because it's just photographs of a vacant building. This will be a major embarrassment for the U.S. administration for the second time. But prior to that, they lied about the Iraqi WMDs and they think they can do it again.


PHILLIPS: Israeli jets destroyed that facility reportedly within weeks of it going operational. Now, a working reactor would have made Syria the world's first nuclear-capable Arab nation.

There are reports out that the Middle East -- out of the Middle East this morning that Hamas is proposing a cease-fire with Israel. Egypt's news agency says that Hamas has offered Israel a six-month truce that agrees to simultaneously lift its blockade on Gaza. Now, the report coming after a full day of closed door meetings between Egyptian mediator and a key Hamas official. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group and refuses to negotiate with terrorists.

ROBERTS: Back home, officials in Texas this morning say another 25 mothers taken from a polygamist compound were minors. That brings the total number of children in state custody now to 462. Child Protective Services says the girls initially claimed to be adults. About 260 children remain at the San Angelo Coliseum. The others have been bused to foster homes.

And in another development, polygamist church leader Warren Jeffs has been denied a new trial. He was convicted in Utah last year of two counts of rape as an accomplice for arranging a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her cousin. Jeffs' lawyers wanted a conviction overturned because a juror had failed to disclose that she had once been raped. That juror was replaced during deliberations. Jeffs who was awaiting trial on another case says he plans to appeal.

The dealer who sold one of the guns used in the Virginia Tech shootings was at the school yesterday pushing for the right to carry concealed weapons on campus. Eric Thompson runs an Internet gun store. A year ago last week, shooter Seung-Hui Cho used one of his guns to kill 32 people, including himself. Thompson spoke to about 60 students, part of week-long demonstrations supporting the idea of students being able to carry concealed weapons.


ERIC THOMPSON, INTERNET GUN DEALER: To read somebody that says that I hope that your children die in the same fashion, or I hope somebody breaks in your house and, you know, shoots every one of your kids in the head, that's something that I had to read.

ROBERTS: Spokesmen for the school called the visit "terribly offensive."

PHILLIPS: Well, the FDA is taking a closer look at LASIK, the popular laser eye surgery. That move comes after patients who had the procedures complained about double vision, blurry vision, and other complications. The FDA says that it wants to educate patients about the risks of LASIK and also find out just how widespread the problems are. About 7.6 million Americans have had LASIK.

ROBERTS: You know, you talk to some people and they say it's the best thing I've ever done. And you talk to other people saying my vision has never been the same since.

PHILLIPS: So far, everyone that I have met that has had it done, there's been one issue or another. Some of my friends even having to wear glasses. That doesn't make sense.

ROBERTS: No, it doesn't. But everybody I know who's had it done loves it. They say it's the best thing they've ever done. So --

PHILLIPS: I want to do it, I'm just scared. That's our life. It's our eyes.

ROBERTS: We'll keep a close eye -- we'll keep a close eye on those meetings today and see what comes out of it.

Seven minutes after the hour. That was not meant to be a pun.

Gas prices surge to another record high. And this morning, thousand who are looking to find relief are instead finding sticker shock, particularly in the state of New Jersey. Find out just how much the price for a gallon just jumped.

Plus, while the cost of food goes through the roof, a mother of 10 offers some advice to keep everybody fed without blowing the budget. Find out what she has to say, how she does it, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: A mad rush overnight as drivers were lining up in New Jersey to cash in on what they thought was a gas deal. But a little more than an hour ago, the price for a gallon of regular along the New Jersey turnpike jumped 22 cents to $3.39 a gallon, which is still a bargain compared to many parts of the country. Still well below the national average. Gas is usually the cheapest along the turnpike because by law, service areas can only change their price once a week.

The thing I can't figure out though is gasoline has not gone up 22 cents over the course of the week. Maybe a nickel or 6 cents, and they jump to 22.


ROBERTS: What's that all about?

VELSHI: Well, because New Jersey's whole setup is that the prices are lower and, by the way, it's full serve so you pay less money. The numbers we give you for gas are all self serve. New Jersey, they fill it for you and their state tax has been lower.

So they're actually seeing a jump as we discussed yesterday in the price of oil. It hits them disproportionately. If you're in California, the proportion of the oil is actually smaller because of the fact that the price is higher. So New Jersey is catching up basically.

ROBERTS: I got you.

VELSHI: And they've got refineries in New Jersey and those lineups, by the way, that you're used to seeing that we see, we're used to seeing that. When you see cars coming in from New York State into New Jersey gas stations, often the first one in the turnpike is full most of the time. So that's a big shock for those New Jersey gas stations, but, hey, join the rest of us.

$3.58 for a gallon of gasoline. That's up 2 cents from yesterday. You know, up from the month before, or up from the year before. $3.58. We were supposed to hit $3.50 by Memorial Day according to some people's estimates. CIBC, the bank, came out with an estimate today to say that oil will hit $150 a barrel before summer. Interesting because oil is actually pared back a little bit. It's under $116 right now.

As we've discussed many times, the pressure and the price of oil right now and the levels that its at and, by the way, those grains and all sorts of things are being pressured by trading and commodities and people who are in that market to make money. So it's not now about supply and demand. It was about supply and demand back at $60 and $70 and $80 a barrel. Now, we're just in a different world. It's unclear as to why it goes up or down on a daily basis anymore. But that's where we are.

ROBERTS: But I noticed that you're here today. You didn't take the day off. So the price of gas --

VELSHI: That's right. When I'm off, you can expect the price of gas going down. But you know what, I should go to Philly.

PHILLIPS: Hey, 76 cents, right?

VELSHI: 76 cents.

PHILLIPS: A gallon. But here is the deal. OK, so they're trying to promote the Philadelphia 76ers, right, who I'm told going into the playoffs, but it's only for 76 minutes. Now, if it went in for 76 years, now we're talking.


VELSHI: That would be --

PHILLIPS: I think everybody would be a 76ers -- permanent fans.

VELSHI: Seventy-six minutes on Saturday in Northern Liberties in Philadelphia, at one particular Luke Oil gas station, you can get gas for 76 cents a gallon. You can imagine the lineup for that will start pretty early. That's at noon.

ROBERTS: I would think. They may if they are lining up for $3.20 a gallon gasoline in --

VELSHI: Yes. And in Philly, by the way, they're very accustomed to going across the bridge to New Jersey, where they can also get cheaper gas. So Philadelphians will drive to get gas.

PHILLIPS: Do you even remember when gas was 76 cents a gallon?

VELSHI: No. That was way before I was born.

ROBERTS: Coming up to 13 minutes after -- 13 minutes after the hour. Pop quiz time here. Take a look at this picture. What the heck is that? What do you think? Anybody?

Well, it's today's "Hot Shot." We'll give you a hint. It's alive. Find out the answer in just a second. First, our Rob Marciano tracking weather right now. Any guesses there, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Whatever it is, it desperately needs a haircut.


MARCIANO: Good morning again, guys. Hey, listen. Severe weather breaking out across the Midwest last night and pushing eastward. We're going to highlight exactly where it's going and where it was and what happened the last 24 hours. Some rough weather for sure. Weather is coming up when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.


MARCIANO: Good morning and welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. I'm Rob Marciano tracking some extreme weather that's been really rolling across the U.S. all week long. And last night, we had in some spots reports of grapefruit-size hail. That will definitely rattle your cage.

All right. Here's a look at the radar scope as far as what's going on this morning. You have a couple of watches that are in effect mostly in the form of a tornado watch right there, and also severe thunderstorm watch just issued. You see that yellow watch box popping up across parts of Davenport and east of Des Moines.

So, we'll continue this as it rolls off to the east. St. Joseph, you just north of Kansas City, these are thunderstorms that contain some hail, definitely some gusty winds, and heavy downpours in spots. Flash flooding could occur. East of Des Moines, similar situation setting up right now at this moment. We don't have any tornado warnings that have been issued, but as the day rolls along that's a distinct possibility. Everything pushing off to the east.

By the way, that white is snow falling in parts of western Nebraska and southern parts of South Dakota. So this storm certainly continues its trend of having some cold air behind it. That's one of the ingredients you need this time of year to get that severe weather punch.

All right. We're going to get that punch. It looks like moving eastward. There you go. Large hail and damaging winds a definite possibility. I think today we'll see slighter less risk of seeing tornadoes, but isolated tornadoes certainly a possibility. Yesterday, we saw nine, most of which were in parts of Kansas, right in the heart of Tornado Alley.

There was reports of damage, at least one home destroyed, another building destroyed, but at this point, no reports of injuries. That's two nights in a row, guys, where we had significant severe weather, the tornadoes dropping, and no reports of serious injuries. So count ourselves lucky for that.

ROBERTS: Yes, absolutely.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Rob.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Rob. All right. Well, you've heard of a top dog. How about a mop dog? Check it out. It's today's "Hot Shot." Look at this. We asked you what it was.

Boom, there it is. There's the little face and the nose and the tongue. It's a Hungarian sheepdog named Fee (ph). All that hair clearing a hurdle at a Pedigree dog show preview in Germany. Look at that.

PHILLIPS: Tina Turner.

ROBERTS: A swine mop.

PHILLIPS: I could use little Fee (ph) to clean the kitchen floor, but that's another story.

ROBERTS: That's incredible. If you got a "Hot Shot," send it to us. Head to our Web site at and follow the "Hot Shot" link.

PHILLIPS: All right. Are you worried about the rising cost of food? We're going to tell you how one mother of 10 has figured out how to feed her brood on a small budget. That's coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My strategy today happened to be coupons. Under normal circumstances I would just say pick a cereal. If it had too much sugar, I'd make them put it back. Otherwise, they could get virtually whatever they want. But now, because we are trying to save a little money, and I pull a coupon out and I say you get this or this, and I give them a choice of what they can pick instead of just going and randomly pulling something off of the shelf.


PHILLIPS: A couple ideas to save with food prices heading out of sight lately. We're hearing from Americans coping with higher prices like I-reporter Mary Austin from Idaho with 10 kids to feed. She has to make every dollar count.

Well, somehow Mary says that she's managed to keep her food budget at about $75 per person a month. Think about it. Feeding your kid for less than $3 a day. Well, Mary has a blog, And today, she's hosting what she's calling a frugal cooking carnival. She's posting three days worth of recipes for all three meals that will cost only about $65 a day.

And here's her advice. Stock up when there's a sale, like the time that she bought and froze a month's worth of chicken at 99 cents a pound. Mary says that she looks at ethnic recipes like Korean or Ethiopian for affordable and interesting food, and she keeps a list of her five favorite recipes on the fridge for days when she's a little uninspired.

And with the rising prices of food and gasoline, the government is stepping in. Nearly eight million people could be getting your stimulus checks as early as Monday. The Treasury Department says that all stimulus payments should be sent out by the end of June. We have a little shot out from the crew there. Excited about their checks.

ROBERTS: I tell you. I do a lot of shopping at those warehouse stores, and always looking for bargains. You know --

PHILLIPS: You buy everything in bulk?

ROBERTS: The little drugstore right next to where we live...


ROBERTS: ... has every once in a while has cereal on half price. You know, you buy. You save a lot of money.

PHILLIPS: Well, I'm all about the ethnic food.


PHILLIPS: I'm going to have to learn how to cook Ethiopian style.

ROBERTS: Your Greek chicken the other night was pretty good.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

ROBERTS: South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn calling former President Bill Clinton's behavior on the campaign trail "bizarre." In a recent interview, Clyburn says Clinton is threatening his relationship with the black community. This after Clinton said in a radio interview earlier this week that the Obama campaign played the race card on him.

So this morning we want to know, should former President Bill Clinton "just chill" as Congressman Clyburn said, and stay out of his wife's race? Cast your vote at We'll tally your votes throughout the morning.

Also, we want to hear from you as well. Send us an e-mail. Let us know what you think about Bill Clinton's involvement and recent tactics on the campaign trail. Again, that's

PHILLIPS: So, new documentary film raises new questions about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq four years ago. Academy Award winner Errol Morris tells the story behind the shocking photographs of Iraqi prisoners in his new film "Standard Operating Procedure." Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know torture didn't happen in those photographs. That was humiliation. That was softening up. Torture happened during interrogations.

Guys going through interrogations and they're dead. And they were killed and they died. That's where the torture happened. We don't have photographs of that.


PHILLIPS: "Standard Operating Procedure" opens today. You and I both watched this film. I had a chance to talk to Errol yesterday. You'll see the full interview coming up obviously this morning. But one thing --

ROBERTS: And the one thing that we were remarking on is that you don't really learn much about the prisoners who were there, who they were, what they were in for, and what the eventual decision was in terms of their custody and their crime.

PHILLIPS: Right. You hear these compelling confessions about how they treated the detainees in there. But you don't learn about those individuals behind the pictures.

ROBERTS: So what did he have to say now?

PHILLIPS: So he said he tried to track them down. He couldn't -- he says that he couldn't get information from the military. They wouldn't give it to him, and he spent two years, and he said lots and lots of money to try and find those detainees to tell their stories, what happened to them, what did they think of the way they were treated, and he couldn't find them.

ROBERTS: What I found was most surprising was the guy in the infamous picture with the hood...


PHILLIPS: Right, and the wires around this --

ROBERTS: ... and the rings around the wires, he became sort of like their buddy there.

PHILLIPS: That's right.

ROBERTS: He would do things around. They'd pay him with cigarettes and things with that he hang around.

PHILLIPS: We're going to talk more about that relationship too with him.

ROBERTS: A buddy in a weird way.

PHILLIPS: A twisted way.


PHILLIPS: But they also said that they found that he was innocent. ROBERTS: Yes.

PHILLIPS: So that changed the whole dynamic.

ROBERTS: Very compelling documentary.

You're watching the "Most News in the Morning." Reverend Wright speaks. Barack Obama's former pastor talks about the comments that put the candidate on defense. But is he giving the entire controversy new life? We'll ask our Roland Martin coming up.

And saying good-bye before a suicide bombing. London official show the final message from the mastermind behind the 77 bombings. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


PHILLIPS: Barack Obama's former pastor is finally responding to clips of his sermons that became a controversial part of the presidential campaign. Reverend Jeremiah Wright says that the clips which ended up on the Internet were taken out of context. The entire exclusive interview with PBS host Bill Moyers is airing tonight. But here live from Chicago, CNN contributor Roland Martin, who always has an opinion on these types of things. Good morning, Roland.


PHILLIPS: All right. Well, Reverend Wright did not apologize for his remarks. As you know, he said that they were taken out of context. Let's take a listen to this part of the interview.



REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, SEN. BARACK OBAMA'S FORMER PASTOR: When something is taken like a sound bite for a political purpose and put constantly over and over again, looped in the face of the public, that's not a way to communicate. Those who are doing that are communicating exactly what they want to do which is to paint me as some sort of fanatic, or as the learned journalist from "The New York Times" called me a whackadoodle.


PHILLIPS: I just like to hear the whackadoodle. It's 6:27 in the morning. Define that. Is he a whackadoodle? Is he nuts?

MARTIN: Well, no. I'm thinking anybody -- I mean, look, it's all based upon perception. If you actually listen to the sermons, I actually listened to two of the most controversial sermons. I've had people say, wow, I have heard him in context.

When you take five, six of the sermons and put them together in two minutes you might say, man, this guy is absolutely nuts. You also got to keep in mind he's somebody who holds four degrees, who also holds honorary degrees as well, and is considered one of the top theologians in America. And so, that doesn't jive, the whole notion that he is some kind of whack job out there.

But, Kyra, the bottom line is this here. Him speaking right now does not help the campaign of Senator Barack Obama because it brings all of this center stage again. He is now on the front page. You also have the fact that he is speaking at the summit at the Detroit NAACP, which OK, is a standard speech. But the real issue is whether or not he is still going to speak at the prayer breakfast on Monday at the National Press Club. That could extend the story even more.

So you might have a situation where you look at the news yesterday, this entire weekend, Monday and Tuesday. That's not -- if you're in the Obama campaign, you don't want that.

PHILLIPS: Well, here's what's interesting. You're pointing out how educated, how many degrees the Reverend has...


PHILLIPS: ... and he and Obama have had this relationship for 20 years. There's never been an issue in the past yet. Obama has come forward and said not only that what he say or what he had said was wrong, but divisive.

Let's take a quick listen here to how Wright reacted to that.


REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, SENATOR BARACK OBAMA'S FORMER PASTOR: I think they wanted to communicate that I am unpatriotic, that I'm unAmerican, that I'm filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ. And, by the way, guess who goes to his church? Hint, hint, hint. That's what they wanted to communicate.


PHILLIPS: Roland, put it into context. I mean, you've written the book, "Listening to the Spirit Within." You've got that. Your wife is a minister. Is this a guy that operates in a cult-like fashion, though?

MARTIN: No, no. First of all, it's ridiculous. I mean, Trinity United Church of Christ is the largest church in the UCC denomination, which is a predominantly white denomination. It is a church of more than 8,000 people in the city of Chicago. That's absolutely nonsense.

Now, here's the other piece of it. You look at it in terms of all the other ministries a church has, it is very much a social ministry church. Now, a lot of the people, you know, little balls of hate like Sean Hannity, those kind of folks like that, what's interesting is what you will never hear them talk about is that this is also a church on the forefront of going after apartheid in South Africa. So you have people on both sides who want to define Reverend Wright for the purpose of defining Senator Barack Obama. Now, this does not mean that some of the things Wright said I agree with. There are a couple of things that he said absolutely, factually incorrect. But what's interesting, when you look at the sermon where he said, you know, GD America, he was actually talking about in sermon he called God versus Government.

Kyra, I actually put both of those sermons on my Web site,, so I say anybody with some brains who don't want to be confined to 10, 20 seconds, could actually listen to what he said. Most of the people you hear talking you out analyzing it have never heard a single sermon. They've heard clips. So, no, it's not some crazy church. It's ridiculous.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: And the fact that, well, the Reverend and Barack Obama have never discussed politics. They've just -- do we know that for sure? I mean, that's what he's coming out and saying.

MARTIN: Of course.

PHILLIPS: But has he? Do we know and can we prove, has he ever advised Barack Obama on politics? Have they ever discussed it?

MARTIN: No. Look, you can't prove it but you got two people who is talking to one another. I can tell you right now I've always had close relationships with my pastors over the years. And really sitting and thinking about it, I can think about my pastor in Dallas and Houston. I don't even recall talking politics with him. I recall talking faith.

And so, if you think about, as many people who are watching right now, how many people watching right now have a relationship with their pastor where they actually discuss some of these things? They probably would with the pastor discussing theological issues versus political issues. We all know that. And the bottom line is we all have various relationships.

Look, this simply doesn't help Senator Barack Obama because right now we're not talking about his campaign or --

PHILLIPS: Well, he has given his race speech, it's time to move on, correct?

MARTIN: Well, here is what his campaign is going to do. They're going to say I have addressed it. I spoke to it. If you have any further questions regarding Reverend Wright, I suggest you call him. It makes no sense for them to go back and reopen this.

They, of course, have to move forward. It's not going to go away. It's going to be with us through November. They simply have to deal with it and focus on their campaign. Reverend Wright, he doesn't like the fact that his ministry has been defined in 36 years based upon two minutes. That's why he is speaking.

Many of us would probably respond the same way, but that's what you see right here. Somebody who is trying to defend his ministry and his church because he doesn't like how it's being defined. PHILLIPS: Roland Martin, great to see you.

MARTIN: Thanks so much.

PHILLIPS: Bill Moyer's interview with Reverend Wright airs tonight 9:00 Eastern on PBS.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: The Democratic hopefuls are back on the road today. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will both be in Indiana. Clinton visits Indiana University before heading to Obama's home turf, east Chicago.

Meanwhile, a new poll shows the campaign is wearing on many voters. The Pew Research Center found that half of Democrats think that the fight has become too negative. And 35 percent of all Americans say it's too boring. On 21 debates in the Democratic presidential race and Hillary Clinton says she's ready for one more.

Clinton told the crowd in Fayetteville, North Carolina that she is waiting for another face-off with Barack Obama.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have said I'll debate anytime, anywhere. Look, I'm so sleep deprived it doesn't matter. Anytime, anywhere. I'll show up.


ROBERTS: Former President Bill Clinton also campaigned in North Carolina and talked about the proposed debate between his wife and Obama. The face-off was supposed to happen tomorrow, but it was canceled. Clinton claimed that Obama wouldn't commit to it because he was afraid of losing. Obama said there was no need for another debate.

John McCain is going to be in Little Rock, Arkansas, today. It's the final stop on what he called his Listening Tour. In New Orleans yesterday, McCain blasted the response to Hurricane Katrina by all levels of government calling it a, quote, "perfect storm of mismanagement." McCain also had to answer for accepting the endorsement of televangelist John Hagee who has repeatedly said Katrina was God's punishment for sinful behavior in New Orleans. McCain called Reverend Hagee's quote "nonsense," but didn't reject his endorsement.

PHILLIPS: Deadly Iranian weapons continue to flow into Iraq. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting that U.S. military officials now have found Iranian made mortars, rockets, and explosives all with date stamps indicating that they were manufactured within the past two months. Last fall Iran assured the Iraqi government that it would take steps to curb shipments of Iranian weapons into Iraq. U.S. officials plan to make the weapons public next week.

And President Bush again calling for Mid-East Peace before the end of his term after a meeting Thursday with Palestinian authority, President Mahmoud Abbas. Mr. Bush says that a Palestinian State is a high priority for his administration.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A viable state, a state that doesn't look like Swiss cheese. A state that provides hope. I believe it's in Israel's interest and the Palestinian people's interest to have leaders willing to work toward the achievement of that state.


PHILLIPS: The president plans to travel to the Middle East next month in connection with Israel's 60th anniversary celebration.

ROBERTS: A last goodbye from a suicide bomber. At a London court yesterday, Home video was shown of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the mastermind of the 77 London bombings in 2005.

In the video, Khan, is holding his baby daughter saying what he's doing is, quote, "for the sake of Islam."

CNN's Paula Newton is watching the case. She joins us now live from London.

Really, a chilling message there and you wonder, you know, the poor young girl and then all those people in the London subway as well.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's an incredibly disturbing piece of video to watch, John. It's tough road side -- the Edgware road station, this is where Mohammad Sidique Khan blew himself up that morning.

And ever since then, John, they have been trying to figure out the four suicide bombers that day, did they act alone? Prosecutors released this footage to try and prove that they had accomplices.


MOHAMMAD SIDIQUE KHAN, SUICIDE BOMBER: I absolutely love you to bits.

NEWTON (voice-over): On a home video, a tender moment. Father says farewell to his baby daughter. But this is Mohammad Sidique Khan who month's later would become a ruthless suicide bomber.

This video was shot days before Khan left England for Pakistan to wage Jihad. His tone is gentle, utterly disarming.

KHAN: I just so much wanted to be with you, but I have to do this thing for our future. And it's for the best, Inshallah, in the long run. That's the most important thing. You make plenty of Dua for you guys. And you've got loads of people to look after you and keep an eye on you.

But most importantly I entrust you to Allah and let Allah take care of you. And I am doing what I'm doing for the sake of Islam, not, you know, it's not for materialistic or worldly benefits.

NEWTON: In another video shot before he went to Pakistan, Khan introduces his daughter to three men.

KHAN: Look it's your uncle.

NEWTON: Two of them would be his accomplices in July 2005. When dozens of people were murdered and hundreds injured in the London bombings. Khan's video diary was released during the trial of three men accused of having helped plan those suicide attacks.

It's not Khan's first testimonial to murder though. He left behind a martyrdom video just before he blew himself up. But in this trial prosecutors are trying to show the four bombers did not act alone. They say Khan expected to die fighting in Afghanistan. There was a change of plans. He returned from Pakistan and instead began preparing for the terror attacks in London.

Prosecutors have told the jury Khan had more to say, encouraging his baby to be strong and learn to fight for the cause. The footage is as instructive as it is disturbing. Police have been forensically retracing not just the killers' steps, but their thoughts and motivations that could reveal new insights into a terrorist's mind.


And that's the key here, John. You know, prosecutors weighed why release this kind of video. It's just going to upset the hundreds of victims from this attack. And it's been almost three years. But putting this video out there prosecutors believe it will show the jury that, look, we may have thought they were a gang of four acting alone that day. Prosecutors say they will prove they had accomplices this entire time.


ROBERTS: Paula Newton for us this morning from London, the Edgware Road Station. Paula, thanks very much.

PHILLIPS: It's costing more to get around whether you drive or fly. Ali Velshi here with news of another airfare hike.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, at this point, when people are making travel plans for the summer, as I am trying to do, real decisions to be made because everything has become more expensive, because of the price of fuel. We're on track for our 13th airfare increase attempt. I'll tell you whether it's going to be successful and what's behind it when we come back on AMERICAN MORNING. Stay with us.


VELSHI: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. I'm Ali Velshi. We know gas prices hit another record today. $3.58 a gallon for a national average of gasoline, but that affects jet fuel as well. And we have had another increase attempt in airfare. It started yesterday with United Airlines, and has since been matched by American and Delta.

Now, let me just tell you. This is a $4 to $70 airfare increase round trip. And it sort of depends on what pair of cities you're flying between. United started it, and American and Delta matched it.

Now, we have to see whether Northwest, U.S., and Continental will match it. But let me tell you for a little context since January 1st of this year, we have had 13 attempted airfare increases by the airlines. Eight of which have been successful.

Eight of those attempts by the way have also been started by United Airlines and followed typically by Delta, Continental, and American. The issue here of course is for an airline increase attempt to stick. The other airlines that fly the same routes generally need to increase and stay with that increase. There are obviously seven out of 13 that were not successful. They do sometimes fail. But bottom line is we are on track this year for the highest number of increases in airline fares that have been successful.

So the advice from FareCompare which tracks this is if you are making plans for summer, don't hold off. If it's a ticket, book it now, because they will just continue to go up higher and higher price.

PHILLIPS: Where are you going?

VELSHI: I don't know. I haven't decided yet.

ROBERTS: Stay-cation that's the way to go.

VELSHI: Because you can't drive around either. If you have a stay-cation, you got (INAUDIBLE) subway stay-cation.

ROBERTS: Stay, sit. Stay.


VELSHI: Like really, literally, just staying my apartment. That's what I do.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Ali. 43 minutes after the hour. (INAUDIBLE) called it a stormy Monday, but we got a stormy Friday on town from Texas all the way up to the Great Lakes.

Rob Marciano tracking extreme weather this morning.

Good morning, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, John, Kyra, Ali. Look at this storm which not only has some bright colors, which always is never a good thing. Also had some white. Cold system mixing with warm. Never a good thing. Severe weather breaking out last night and more today. AMERICAN MORNING will be right back.


(WEATHER REPORT) PHILLIPS: All right. Well, how many times have we talked about this and repeated this line. We're seeing a record high for gas prices this morning. But it's nothing compared to what drivers in one California town are paying. We're going to take you there coming up.

ROBERTS: Yes. The hint that those prices are cheap compared to what they're paying there.

And New York on edge this morning. A verdict coming down for police officers accused of killing a man on his wedding day. The case and the fallout coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Ten minutes to the top of the hour. Just a few hours, a verdict will be issued in a New York City police shooting that made national headlines. Sean Bell was killed the morning of his wedding day. Four police officers fired 50 shots at his car.

The defense says the police fired because they thought one man was reaching for a gun, but a gun was never found. Joining us now with more on this sensitive case, AMERICAN MORNING's legal analyst Sunny Hostin.

So what charges are the police officers facing? There's three of them, right?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There are three of them. They are facing two counts of manslaughter as well as reckless endangerment. And manslaughter can get them up to 25 years in prison. And reckless endangerment between one and seven. So this is a serious case with a lot of penalties.

ROBERTS: You know, obviously, this has upset a lot of people in the community. Reverend Al Sharpton said at least two of the officers who were charged with manslaughter have to be found guilty of it. The trial was not your typical trial. It wasn't by jury. It was a bench trial.

HOSTIN: That's right. It was a bench trial, and I have to say that that is, for the viewers, that is a trial just in front of a judge. So a judge not only decides the law but also decides the facts.

I really think that that was sort of a masterful stroke of genius by the defense. This was a very emotional case. You're talking about a young man who was murdered or killed just 12 hours before he was to be married. You know, it's received national attention. This is a case that you don't try in front of a jury because of the emotional factor.

So a judge like this, it's sort of the right way to go. It is unusual, but the right way to go I think for the defense in this case.

ROBERTS: So they thought that if they were to throw it open to a jury trial that the jury may easily find for the defendant because of the sympathetic nature of the case.

HOSTIN: I think so.

ROBERTS: He was coming out of a club. They've been there. It was a bachelor party. It was like 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning.

HOSTIN: Exactly. Undercover officers, and it really is going to come down to who the judge believes in this case, because the officers are saying one thing happen and really the witnesses are all saying something else. So we're going to have to find out idea what exactly the judge believes.

ROBERTS: So based on your vast experience as a prosecutor, what do you think is going to happen today? What verdict do you think the judge will go with?

HOSTIN: I love to make predictions. In this case, I'm just not sure. I have no idea. I think that it's quite possible that they could be convicted but quite possible they could be acquitted. It's going to be a credibility determination.

ROBERTS: Well, you've got the Wesley Snipes sentence right, yesterday.

HOSTIN: I did get that right, yesterday. I did.

ROBERTS: So what kind of percentage do you think there is of them getting found guilty of manslaughter?

HOSTIN: I think that it is likely. I think perhaps maybe a 60 percent chance, but I'm not sure.

ROBERTS: All right. Sunny Hostin, thanks.

HOSTIN: Thank you.


PHILLIPS: Bill Clinton under fire. Prominent African-American lawmaker blasting Clinton for his behavior on the campaign trail. We're going to tell you who it is and what he's saying about the former president.

ROBERTS: Nuclear ties, nuclear lies. Did North Korea help Syria? The White House lays out the evidence.

Christiane Amanpour, the only U.S. reporter to meet with nuclear negotiators, joins us live.

Plus, over a barrel.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm shocked. I can't believe it. $5.40.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: A pit stop at a town where gas goes for nearly 6 bucks a gallon.


PHILLIPS: And welcome back to the most news in the morning. There's new pain at the pump that we're talking about. A new record for the price of gas. Nearly $3.58 a gallon. But we found a town in a beautiful place where gas is going for almost 6 bucks a gallon. Not so beautiful. Chris Lawrence takes a look.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The picturesque drive along the Pacific Coast highway has stopped a lot of drivers in their tracks. This time it's not the playful seals, the sweeping coastline, or even the soaring mountains. It's a gas station charging $5.40 a gallon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm shocked. I can't believe it. $5.40. This must be the most expensive gas in the country. Is it?

LAWRENCE: It may well be. We thought we'd seen the nation's highest prices in San Francisco. Then we hit the road driving south along Highway One. After a couple of hundred miles winding around the mountains, you hit Gorda, and the only gas station for miles.

What's your first thought when you see how much gas costs here?


LAWRENCE: Ann Machacek was driving north from L.A. when this sign stopped her.

MACHACEK: I think we're getting ripped off right here because they know if you need gas to get to the next town you're going to pay it.

LAWRENCE: Not only that, there's no sign warning drivers what they're about to pay.

JANICE LINGLEY, TRAVELER: I didn't even notice that it was $5.50 a gallon, but I just knew that I needed gas and I didn't know when I was going to get it again.

LAWRENCE: So was the station gouging drivers? Not quite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. How much (INAUDIBLE) for you guys?

LAWRENCE: It's in the middle of nowhere and the station will tell a diner all rely on a generator for power. Everyday that generator uses 100 gallons of diesel fuel.

LEO FLORES, MANAGER: So just to run this town costs like $4,000 a day.

LAWRENCE: Station manager Leo Flores says he's not making a dime off the gas. In fact, $5.40 barely keeps the electricity on.

FLORES: I think I have to raise it more, so maybe when you leave I'm going to raise it another 20 cents.

LAWRENCE: Locals say if you don't like it, consider the gas free. You're paying for the view. Chris Lawrence, CNN, Gorda, California.


ROBERTS: Strong words from Bill Clinton from South Carolina -- or strong words for Bill Clinton, rather, from South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn. Clyburn is the third ranking Democrat in the House and an undeclared superdelegate.

He told "The New York Times" last night that President Clinton's behavior on the campaign trail is bizarre and is threatening his relationship with the black community. Clinton told a radio station in Pennsylvania that the Obama campaign, quote, "played the race card on him."

And that brings us to this morning's "Quick Vote" question. Should Bill Clinton just chill and stay out of his wife's race for president? Right now 68 percent of you say yes. 32 percent say no. Head to We'll continue to check the results throughout the morning.

And we want to hear from you as well. Send us an e-mail. Let us know what you think about Bill Clinton's involvement in the campaign. Go to

PHILLIPS: He's the preacher who caused a firestorm of controversy for Senator Barack Obama. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is speaking publicly now for the first time since excerpts of his sermons hit the Internet last month. Critics say Write sermons were racially divisive and condemned America. But Wright told PBS's Bill Moyers were just taken out of context.


BILL MOYERS, HOST: What do you think they wanted to communicate?

REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, SEN. BARACK OBAMA'S FORMER PASTOR: I think they wanted to communicate that I am unpatriotic, that I'm un- American, that I'm billed with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ, and, by the way, guess who goes to his church? Hint, hint, hint.


PHILLIPS: Wright also told Moyers that he and Obama do not talk politics.


MOYERS: In the 20 years since you have been his pastor, have you ever heard him repeat any of your controversial statements as his opinion?

WRIGHT: No, no, no. Absolutely not. I don't talk to him about politics. And so here at a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God.


PHILLIPS: That interview with Reverend Wright and Bill Moyers airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern on PBS.

Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says no dice on a so-called dream ticket. Pelosi has said that before she didn't think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would share a joint ticket this fall. And in an interview with CNN's "LARRY KING" last night, Pelosi, actually went a step farther.


LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: If you had your power, would you want them to run together?

NANCY PELOSI: No. I don't think it's good idea.

KING: No? Not a good idea?

PELOSI: No, I don't think so.

KING: Because?