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Chrysler Locking in Gas Prices; Global Manhunt for Suspected Sexual Predator; United States Offering Aid to Myanmar; More Prescription Drugs Cheaper Than Ever Before
Aired May 6, 2008 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much for all of your e- mails, and we'll do it again tomorrow with our special coverage.
ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks so much for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. We'll be back tomorrow.
ROBERTS: Yes, bright and early, 5:00 a.m. we're starting.
CNN NEWSROOM with Tony Harris and Betty Nguyen begins right now.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Betty Nguyen.
HARRIS: You will see the events come into the NEWSROOM live on Tuesday, May 6th.
Here's what's on the rundown.
NGUYEN: Two states, 187 delegates. Voters in Indiana and North Carolina decide Obama or Clinton.
HARRIS: Thousands upon thousands dead, missing or homeless. Myanmar waits for help to arrive after a killer cyclone. Our correspondent on the scene.
NGUYEN: Generic drug. A three month supply about a dime a day? A big retailer boosts its discount prescription program in the NEWSROOM.
The road to the White House. Two Democrats, the top two remaining delegate prizes. Polls are now open in Indiana and North Carolina, and the stakes are huge.
CNN crews are dotting the political landscape for you. Dan Lothian is in Indianapolis, Susan Candiotti in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Dana Bash with the Republican John McCain in Winston Salem, as he gets ready for a big speech next hour.
But let's begin with Dan. What issues are driving voters there, Dan?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, no surprise at all. "Issue #1," the economy. We had a chance to talk to some of the voters showing up here at this precinct, which is king of -- it's interesting here because you have two precincts in one building. This is the Park Community Center. I'm in one precinct where there are some people lined up behind me voting, and then through that door over there is the second precinct.
And all morning long it's been open about three hours now here. Polls opening at 6 o'clock this morning. We've seen a nice line of folks showing up here to vote -- a steady stream of folks showing up to vote.
Now back to your initial question again. The economy really is the overriding issue. I had a chance to talk to one man, Charles Colin, who told me that, you know, he's concerned because there are a lot of people who have lost their jobs. He says he has a very good job but he's also concerned that he could lose his job down the road.
So that's been a big issue for him. The other question that I asked some of the folks showing up here is whether or not they were turned on or off by a lot of the negative attacks between the two Democrats, by some of the controversies surrounding the candidates, and they said that, you know, they were really turned off by it. This was not something that impacted them in any positive way.
But others saw it somewhat as part of the political game. That this is what happens in politics. And then one final issue, too, I talked to one gentleman, and I asked him about, you know, the fact that Indiana is finally getting some attention. And he said that he felt very good about that because in past campaigns by the time it got to Indiana it was pretty much all said and done. So he feels good. He feels that for the first time his vote really counts -- Betty?
NGUYEN: All right. Dan Lothian, joining us live in Indianapolis.
Thank you, Dan.
HARRIS: And now to North Carolina, CNN's Susan Candiotti is at a polling place in Raleigh.
Susan, good to see you. What are the expectations there in North Carolina for voter turnout?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A record turnout, that's what they're expecting. And let's start off by showing you right through that window there at St. Mark's Episcopal Church. The voting has been steady ever since polls opened here at 6:30 this morning about 2 1/2 hours ago.
At that time the lines were stretching down the parking lot here with people lining up to vote. And of course, that's always a busy time of day. People voting before going to work. Nevertheless, experts here say they haven't seen anything like this for quite a long time, record numbers is what they're talking about.
North Carolina, of course, is a pivotal state for both candidates, could be a game-changer if Hillary Clinton should happen to take both North Carolina as well as Indiana. Ultimately, the race could change dramatically if Barack Obama won both Indiana and North Carolina.
We are finding "Issue #1" here also is the economy. It's on most people's minds, gas prices, but also people are talking about character and experience.
Let's talk to a couple people who just cast their ballots a couple of moments ago.
Did you decide before you came to the polls today who you were going to vote for?
CRYSTAL GERALD, VOTER: I had my mind made up before I came to the polls today. So I knew who I was voting for before I came.
CANDIOTTI: What made the difference for you between...
GERALD: Issue for me is the economy and I've been listening to the candidates for the last couple of weeks. And I do like what one particular candidate has to say.
CANDIOTTI: All right. We will refrain from asking you. We'll try to be fair about that.
What about you, ma'am? Had you already made up your mind or decided at the last minute?
KIM BLESSED, VOTER: I already made up my mind. A governor race is very important to me and stay in North Carolina. I'm a Republican, so I made sure I voted today. I want the Democrats out of the office here in North Carolina.
CANDIOTTI: And I guess I will ask, and yet, in November, you know yet whether you will vote within the Republican Party or cross lines?
BLESSED: I will not cross the lines. Straight Republican all the way.
CANDIOTTI: There you go. I presume we have one of each. Democrat?
GERALD: Yes. Yes.
CANDIOTTI: We actually have had a number of examples of both cases, people who are independents, and who changed their parties, in fact, Tony, so that they could vote for a Democrat. I've heard some of that here this morning, too.
CANDIOTTI: So it will be a busy day. Polls close here 7:30 in the evening. And Barack Obama, of course, is planning to have his victory party -- what he expects to be a victory party -- tonight here in Raleigh.
HARRIS: You know, that's interesting. It's another reminder that while there certainly is a Democratic primary going on there in North Carolina, there are also statewide and local races as well that we need to remember that will impact the local voter turnout as well.
Susan, great to see you. Thank you.
NGUYEN: Well, today's primaries, big day, big stakes for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. So let's crunch the numbers for you. Indiana, 72 delegates up for grabs. It is the second largest delegate prize left in the presidential race. The biggest? That's North Carolina. Clinton and Obama competing for 115 delegates there.
And remember, CNN is the place for extensive coverage of today's primaries. Tonight at 7:00 Eastern the best political team on TV breaks down the results from Indiana and North Carolina.
HARRIS: Their decisions impact all of our lives. Next hour John McCain gives an idea of the kind of judges he would nominate as president.
CNN's Dana Bash is at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
Dana, good morning.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Tony.
That's right. North Carolina, as we've been reporting all morning, is the site and the scene for Democrats, a big battle here. So it's quite interesting that John McCain came here to talk about something that he hopes will calm some of the concern that's still very much exist with some of this fellow conservatives.
Now you hear John McCain on the campaign trail. You follow him around like I do. You hear him talking about taxes, about the economy, about the war in Iraq, about national security. But almost never about this issue which is a huge responsibility of any president.
That is, of course, appointing judges and justices, and specifically what we're talking about the Supreme Court. So what John McCain is going to do in this speech in the next hour is explain -- (INAUDIBLE) he's talked about it a few times on the campaign trail during the primaries, but say very clearly in his speech that he wants to appoint justices in the mold of the two that President Bush successfully got through, the chief justice John Roberts and also Samuel Alito.
He is going to do this in part because, as one adviser put it, is a check-boxing exercise. And he needs to say this because it's important -- an important part of his campaign. But also because there is a lot of skepticism about John McCain because -- for several reasons, Tony. First of all, back a couple of years ago when they trying to get John Roberts, too, John McCain was working with a group of bipartisan senators. It was called The Gang of 14. There were a lot of conservatives who thought that that was something that was the wrong thing to do because he was essentially empowering Democrats to filibuster some Republicans. So John McCain defends that. Still that has left a bad taste for some Republicans.
And the other thing is, he voted for some of President Clinton's justices as well. But, you know, one thing that's interesting in this speech, Tony, is he talks about the fact that he will appoint conservative judges, those who are not, quote-unquote, "judicial activists," but he also says it's important to reach across the aisle and he castigates Barack Obama for not doing that.
Barack Obama, he says in the speech, is somebody who has casts actually partisan votes when it comes to the bench, specifically the fact that he voted against Justice Roberts.
I'll read you the quote he has here. "Somehow by Senator Obama's standard, even Judge Robert didn't measure. And neither did Judge," excuse me, "Justice Samuel Alito. Apparently nobody quite fits the bill except for an elite group of activist judges, lawyers, and law professors who think they know wisdom when they see it and don't -- and see it only in each other."
So there you see the word elite there, not an accident that John McCain is using that to describe Obama. And also interesting that he mentions Hillary Clinton in this speech but he really sage most of his fires for Barack Obama when it comes to this issue, this very important and very, frankly, partisan issue of judges -- Tony?
HARRIS: Dana Bash in Wake Forest University. Dana Bash, Dan Lothian and Susan Candiotti, all part of the best political team on television.
NGUYEN: Let's talk about the economy and oil prices. They are surging to another record high, climbing to almost $121 a barrel today. There are worries about supply and the weak dollar. That's fuelling this rise. But gas prices, they declined a bit for the fifth day in a row. AAA reports the national average for a gallon of regular is $3.60, down one-tenth of a cent from yesterday. Diesels down just a tad, too, that's at $4.23 a gallon.
And get this, a new CNN Research Corporation poll shows 44 percent of Americans think it is very likely we will be that we will be paying -- drum roll, please -- a whopping $5 a gallon for gas before this year is over.
So brace yourselves.
For the meantime, Chrysler offers a car buyers' break from those high gas prices. We're going to show you how this works. HARRIS: Devastation, just utter devastation in Myanmar. State radio is now reporting at least 22,000 are dead and that number could still rise. Villages in the south literally flattened by a cyclone.
CNN's Dan Rivers is the only western journalist in the area. He has our exclusive report from Bogalay, one of those villages absolutely decimated by the storm.
DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This family is typical of those who've survived cyclone Nargis. They are living in what remains of the house. But as you can see, it's completely destroyed. A lot of their possessions got swept away. They have some food. You can see they've got some eggs and some rice that's been handed out by people in the town but not very much.
They say only this can allow them to eat for a few days. But just have a look at the level of destruction over here. This is typical rice across this region that we've driven through. Bogalay District, is one of the hardest hit. There's talk of 10,000 people having been killed in this district and many of the houses are made of this very flimsy material, which is no match for cyclone Nargis.
We have passed quite a lot of army convoys coming down here. Obviously the authorities are doing what they can. The Red Cross has been out here as well. But generally, every single house that we pass pretty much has been like this for the last, I guess, 30 kilometers, just total destruction, almost 100 percent of the houses completely flattened.
The weather is still pretty bad as well. There have been some pretty heavy rainstorms, so it's just miserable for these people having to survive under a bed of tarpaulin and gather what food they can.
Dan Rivers, CNN, southern Myanmar.
NGUYEN: And on a related note, President Bush made a statement regarding the situation in Myanmar. He did this as he was awarding the congressional gold medal to Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, who is a political activist there in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. But during that ceremony he did make a statement regarding this deadly cyclone that has been killed some 22,000 people.
Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've just signed a bill passed by leaders of the Senate and the House who have joined me to honor thou, Aung San Suu Kyi, with the congressional gold medal. This is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman who speaks for freedom for all of the people of Burma and speaks in such a way that it's a powerful voice in contrast to the junta that currently rules the country.
Burma has been hit by a terrible natural disaster. Laura and I, I imagine the Senate and House here, express our heart felt sympathy to the people of Burma. The United States has made an initial aid contribution but we want to do a lot more. We're prepared to move U.S. Navy assets to help find those who've lost their lives, to help find the missing, and to help stabilize the situation.
But in order to do so, the military junta must allow our disaster assessment teams into the country. So our message is to the military rulers, let the United States come and help you, help the people. Our hearts go out to the people of Burma. We want to help them and deal with this terrible disaster. At the same time, of course, we want to live in a free society.
I want to thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your determination to send a message that America stands with this courageous woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: The president there, reiterating the fact that the U.S. has offered help to Myanmar formerly known as Burma. It's just a matter of whether the military will allow them into the country.
Again, a deadly cyclone that has killed some 22,000 people so far.
HARRIS: Yes. Boy, the aftermath of that cyclone horrible for Myanmar.
We are checking in now with Rob Marciano. He's following some difficult situations in terms of the weather here in the Texas, the Fort Worth area.
HARRIS: All right, Rob. Thank you.
NGUYEN: Busy day for a lot of folks.
Thank you, Rob.
Well, it is a big day for the Democrats. When it's over will the party be closer to a nominee? Our guests are going to weigh in.
ANNOUNCER: CNN NEWSROOM brought to you by...
HARRIS: Good morning, again, everyone. Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris. Big ugly rodents check in at O'Hare's terminal one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, and once you notice one mouse, then you saw that they were everywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: You dirty rat. You dirty, filthy rat.
NGUYEN: All right. So two candidates, two states, a lot potentially hanging in the balance today.
So we are joined by Democratic political consultant Peter Fenn in Washington and political analyst Kelly Goff in New York to talk about the issues on the table today.
Thank you both for being with us.
Peter, let me start with you. What is the number one issue that's going to make a difference at the polls today in Indiana and North Carolina?
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I think it's clearly the economy. No question about it. You know, six months ago, you had the war in Iraq as the primary issue. Most voters now in these Democratic primaries are saying by two to one the economy is what concerns the most. So I think that's going to be the primary concern as they go in that voting booth.
NGUYEN: Kelly, do you agree?
KELLY GOFF, POLITICAL ANALYST: I certainly do and what's interesting, as you know, back in '92, a candidate by the name of Bill Clinton got elected on the slogan, "It's the economy, stupid." And here we are back with another Clinton potentially elected on the same issue. I mean it's -- really have come back to that.
NGUYEN: Well, and Kelly, she is talking about the economy, specifically gas tax. That's been her big deal as of late. Is that helping her? Is it making Obama look like an elitist? Is this something that's going to play a role today?
GOFF: Well, you know, I think the elitist thing might have been a tad overblown at this point. I've, in fact, been teased by a couple of outlets for using it or, you know, being among the media that has talked about the elitist issue.
I would say, though, with the gas tax, you know, it's a little hard to tell because some polls are showing that while voters obviously care about the issue of the cost of fuel, you know, I think a lot of people are starting to see it through as a political football and that the candidates are seeing it as immediate at this point. So I think it's hard to sort of tell about something that's pretty (INAUDIBLE) harming Obama's recent comments on that.
NGUYEN: Well, as for Hillary, Peter, is this just a quick fix? Because a lot of people have come down that's has been a criticism.
FENN: It has been a strong criticism. You know, most economists, in fact, practically all economists have said that this really isn't going to have much of an effect. The question is whether voters see it as pandering or voters see it as...
NGUYEN: Yes. So why is she doing it? It's trying to make her look like a woman of the people?
FENN: Well, sure. I mean, look, it's a very simple thing to understand. But then when voters look at, they say, now, hold on just a second. I get about 28, 30 bucks over the course of the summer, does this really help me and my family? Secondly, does it make the oil companies make more money?
I mean so, Barack Obama's solution seems to be a little bit more complex, which in a tight primary may be a problem. But he's saying, look, we got to go strong on helping the middle class with real tax cuts.
NGUYEN: Well, what Obama has to do, though, today, both Peter and Kelly, is he's got to win over these white blue-collar voters.
Kelly, how do you see him being able to do that?
GOFF: Continue to distance himself from Reverend Wright? I mean, I think that he's doing what he can really. It's been interesting to watch because he sort of had these things that, if you think about it, haven't actually been gaffs coming directly him, but sort of things that -- well, except for bitter-gate.
I mean -- but the thing that sort of -- things that have been he's been helped along a bit, I would say. And you know, I think one thing that we need not forget is that he actually did start to close the gap particularly among white men in Pennsylvania. That's sort of gotten lost in this post analysis. He did start to close the gap.
But you're correct in terms of working class voters. It's an issue for him. And being near anywhere near the E word, which is elitist, is a problem.
NGUYEN: Well, also, as, you know, when we talk about issues, Reverend Wright, that's something that's going to come up today.
And Peter, do you think that's really going to matter at the polls?
FENN: I think it has hurt him. There's no question about it. He's taken a hit. He's been put, as they say, in the emergency room with Reverend Wright. Of course, some would say the math puts Hillary Clinton on the critical list. And the question now is, you know, whether the momentum for either one of them, let them come out of this real super Tuesday here with serious advantages. But, you know, anything can happen in these races as we found out.
NGUYEN: You're calling it super Tuesday. So you think it's a make or break?
FENN: Oh I think it's a very serious race going on right now. And if -- look, if one of -- each one of them wins both contests, that's huge. I'm not sure that's going to happen. But you know, if that happens, that's big. If, look...
NGUYEN: And what if they split it? Are we at the same spot we are today?
FENN: Well, if they split it then -- then it's the numbers.
FENN: If Hillary wins substantially in Indiana and keeps it very tight in North Carolina then it's clearly a victory for her.
GOFF: If I had a nickel for every time we've all said that this is a make or break race, I would be a very rich woman right now.
NGUYEN: Well, they both said they were going to go to the convention. So really, this is kind of a superdelegate game at this point. So what is it going to take at this juncture to convince those superdelegates, Kelly?
GOFF: The superdelegates have got to sort of grow some chest hair and step up to the plate and actually make a decision which I know is terrifying for a lot of politicians to do.
NGUYEN: But how can they when it's so close?
GOFF: Well, actually, you know what? Rumor has it, I'd be interesting to hear what Peter's hearing, is that rumor has it that a lot of them actually have made up his minds and not...
NGUYEN: They're just on the sidelines and waiting to see how it plays out?
GOFF: Exactly. They're dragging their feet to actually go public.
NGUYEN: Peter, do you agree?
FENN: I think Kelly's right. I think a lot of them have made up their minds or think they've made up their minds. The trouble we have now is that if this thing really gets tight and there are surprises out there, then getting -- these superdelegates to make decisions in June or before, is going to be hard because they're looking towards November.
They have got to feel comfortable that the candidate they are going to support has the best chance of winning in November.
NGUYEN: All right. Very, very quickly. Let me get this in very quickly because we are running out of time. What's the headline tomorrow?
GOFF: The headline is, "Welcome to another month of starting the primary all over again." I think that's the headline.
FENN: Kelly has got it. It ain't over until it's over.
NGUYEN: Isn't that the truth?
All right. We thank you both for your time today.
GOFF: Thank you.
HARRIS: A deal at the pharmacy counter. More prescription drugs cheaper than ever before. Dr. Sanjay Gupta saves you some money in just minutes.
ANNOUNCER: Breaking news, revealing developments, see for yourself in the CNN NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: Well, good morning, everybody, on this Tuesday. I'm Betty Nguyen.
HARRIS: And good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris. Oil prices surged to record levels this morning, making it a hot-button issue for you this election season.
Ali Velshi in New York City, "Minding Your Business." Is the oil barrel back? John Roberts has the oil barrel took off with him. I don't think he had anything personal against the barrel. It's just a number.
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No. He had it with these crazy numbers. So they took the barrel earlier...
HARRIS: Yes. Yes.
VELSHI: ...and he walked off the set.
Listen, nobody is happy about this. $120.93 is what oil hit this morning. Highest level it's ever hit. And we're right around there right now. We're not much lower, Tony. Now the bottom line is this translates into gas prices. Gas right now is $3.61 a gallon. We had a report out from Goldman Saks that said sometime within the next six to 24 months, which is a large window, they think oil is going to 150 to 200 a barrel.
So bottom line is the trend is up. According to some smart people, it's up. That reflects in what you pay for gas. We did some polling, Tony. We asked Americans -- CNN and Opinion Research asked Americans whether they think gas is going to $5 a gallon this year.
Look at this, 44 percent say very likely, 34 percent say somewhat likely, and only 22 percent say not likely.
Wow, that is pessimistic. I'd be trading in my car if that were the case already.
HARRIS: Well, Ali, as part of this run-up that's being predicted here, because investors, people with 401k programs, all of us who invest in the markets are taking a look at that price there on that barrel, says, you know, get me out of this, get me into commodities?
VELSHI: Yes, and commodities like oil and wheat, and soybeans...
VELSHI: ...and corn, and all that, they've all been going up. And there's two things at play. One is supply and demand, and other one is the fact that while other things are not such great investments, the big money moves into these things, because they buy corn oil, soybeans, as an investment. They're not looking to use it in the end.
VELSHI: So, you know, That's a big deal. We've asked people how this is playing out in their lives. What is the price of gas doing to them? I mean I think we know the answer to this. We asked if it's causing hardship. Look at results of our poll.
Sixty percent say yes, it's causing hardship. Of that, 19 percent break down and say it's severe hardship, 41 percent say moderate, and 39 percent -- that makes me smile, I'm a little bit happy that 39 percent, that makes me smile, I'm a little bit happy that 39 percent of people say it's not causing them hardship because it's such a universally, you know, problematic thing these gas prices.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. If you've got a fixed income, anyway.
Chrysler, another topic here, actually, is there a chance that they can lock in sales there at Chrysler by locking in gas prices, what do you think?
VELSHI: You know, it's a good question. When you are Chrysler right now you've got only one direction to go and that's up. But very innovative solution from Chrysler, starting today until I think June 2nd, if you buy one of a range of vehicles from Dodge, Jeep or Chrysler, you can buy it or lease it for three years, they will give you a certain amount of gas a year. An average of about 700 gallons a year at a price of $2.99 a gallon. So they will give you a little card and when you go to the gas station you pay with that card. And that is the price you are getting. So it's pretty incredible. Look at the savings. If gas is at $3.50, you're saving, it's OK, it's all right $350 a year.
If it's $4, it's $700 savings. If it's $4.50, it's 1,000. And if it's $5, it's 1400. That's based on the 700 gallons a year you get from Chrysler. So I don't know. I hope it helps but --
HARRIS: But this is not a company that's building a lot of those SUVs. I guess they Pacific, or that Crossover and they built the Aspen, but most of the line is made up of cars.
VELSHI: Yes. So they are going to try to get people into those cars. The problem is they need to convince people who are buying try ours first. Then that might be a good incentive to get them in. I don't know what it's going to be like for the bottom line. I hope for Chrysler, gas doesn't go up to $5 a gallon because they are stuck paying for it.
HARRIS: Let's get John back and get that barrel.
VELSHI: Yes. He'll take that barrel away.
HARRIS: All right, Ali, appreciate it. Thank you.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm surprise he didn't fling it across the room.
Well, two presidential candidates want a Gas Tax Holiday this summer. But how much of a break would it really be.
CNN's Mary snow asked the experts.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the average price of gas climbs toward $4 a gallon and in some places it's already higher, Hillary Clinton's plan to suspend the federal gas tax this summer is taking on added urgency on the eve of primaries in North Carolina and Indiana.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So here's what I believe, is let's give you a break this summer. For the average person, it would be about $70.
SNOW: Barack Obama disputes her math.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But a gas tax holiday, this is an idea that will save you, altogether, 30 cents a day for three months, or $28.
SNOW: We turned to an expert at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
LEN BURMAN, TAX POLICY CENTER: And the best case scenario is they save an average of $28 or $29 over the course of the summer. But, in fact, they would save a tiny fraction of that, because that assumes that the full amount of gas tax is passed on to consumers in lower prices.
SNOW: Some economists say the Clinton camp is counting on the price of gas to lower, but they say that suspending the 18 cents gas tax could actually have the opposite effect and spark higher prices.
JAN STUART, UBS GLOBAL OIL ECONOMIST: By lowering the price is you're increasing demand. Why would you want to do that? So, from a macroeconomic perspective, it makes no sense.
SNOW: Presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, was the first presidential candidate to endorse a Gas Tax Holiday. Senator Clinton followed. But unlike McCain, she wants oil companies to pay for the estimated $8 billion to $10 billion in taxes that consumers won't be shelling out. But, experts say, that comes with a catch.
BURMAN: If you tax oil producers, they have less of an incentive to explore or look for new sources of oil.
SNOW (on camera): A dent in incentives would be a long term effect. The Clinton team expresses theirs is a short term plan. Still many say the chances of a Gas Tax Holiday being enacted by Congress this summer is highly unlikely. Mary snow, CNN, New York.
NGUYEN: Well, you should remember CNN is the place for extensive coverage of today's primaries. Tonight at 7:00 Eastern, the Best Political Team on TV breaks down the results from Indiana and North Carolina.
HARRIS: Betty, what do you say we get into the New York Stock Exchange for a look at the big board and the bell sounding just moments ago? So we get the business day started.
The DOW started today at 12969. After closing down 88 points yesterday and we are off negative territory. Down 73 points at the open, OK, all right, fine, 75 points. The NASDAQ is down 10. We are following the markets throughout the morning with Susan Lisovicz right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: In the meantime, he is accused of sexually abusing boys as young as six years old and this morning a worldwide hunt for this man.
NGUYEN: Want you to listen and take a look at this story. A global man hunt for a suspected sexual predator. Interpol says this man is photographed hundreds of times abusing young boys and they need your help finding him. Take a close look at the suspect's picture.
It was taken about eight years ago. And investigators say the man was probably in his late 40s, early 50s at the time. Interpol says he's seen in hundreds of Internet photos sexually abusing at least three boys. And those boys are six to ten years old.
HARRIS: What do you say we get another check of weather now? Rob Marciano standing by for us in the CNN severe weather center tracking severe thunderstorms, Texas, Dallas, Fort Worth. And maybe we will get a look at one of those tower cams, it will show us how that area has been impacted.
Rob, good morning, sir.
HARRIS: The United States offering aid to Myanmar after that deadly cyclone. But a major road block could delay any assistance. CNN's State Department correspondent Zain Verjee has the story.
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands of cyclone survivors desperate for food, water and shelter. In a rare press conference, First Lady Laura Bush blasted the government of Myanmar for failing to warn its citizens a deadly cyclone was looming.
LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: The response to the cyclone is just the most recent example of the junta's failure to meet its people's basic needs.
VERJEE: She says the U.S. is ready to give Myanmar the help it needs -- so far, $250,000 to help relief efforts. The U.S. Agency for International Development has a disaster team standing by to go there and see what more can be done.
BUSH: And I urge the government to accept aid from the United States and from the entire international community right now, while the needs of their people are so critical.
VERJEE: The repressive military government hasn't given the U.S. permission to enter the country. The U.S. will also have to go around its own sanctions against Myanmar to help out.
The Bush administration has criticized the country's military of brutal rule and human rights abuses, like last year's massive crackdown on Buddhist monks leading protests against the government.
Mrs. Bush has been championing democracy and human rights in Myanmar and calling for the freedom of pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest since her party won a 1990 election.
BUSH: Well, it started with an interest in her. And then just the more I've seen, the more critical I see the need is for the people in Burma to be -- for the world to pay attention to the people of Burma and for the world to put pressure on the military regime.
VERJEE (on camera): The First Lady says there is one silver lining, she hopes something good can come out of such massive destruction, and that's the realization from the military government that the people of Myanmar need more help than they've been able to give them. Zain Verjee, CNN, Washington.
NGUYEN: Well, let's get you some more information now on Myanmar. The country is formerly known as Burma. But the U.S. government has not recognized the name change.
The country is ruled by a military junta that took power in 1988. Myanmar drew international criticism over the military's crackdown on Buddhist monks. The U.N. says at least 30 people were killed in one city during those clashes last year.
The U.S. lists Myanmar as a country of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act and the U.S. has imposed economic sanctions on Myanmar. The pro-democracy party of Aung San Suu Kyi won elections in 1990 but the military government chose to ignore the results. The Nobel Prize laureate is still under house arrest.
HARRIS: Courting women voters, hear their blueprint for the Democrats in Indiana.
HARRIS: What women want? Weighing in on their concerns in Indiana. CNN's Randi Kaye has our report.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What does it sound like in Indiana these days?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But at least I'm going to go in, I'm going to be informed.
KAYE: That's the sound of an informal caucus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't look at them both as individuals regardless of their race or their gender.
KAYE: One of dozens happening daily around the state. Just days before the primary, Nicole Scholville was still undecided.
NICOLE SCHOLVILLE, UNDECIDED VOTER: And I am doing my home work. And I'm very methodical and analytical when I make decisions. Sometimes it drives my husband crazy, but that's how I am.
KAYE: That some experts say is why most women wait longer than men to pick a candidate. Women want specifics and solutions. Dawn Yingling, a single mom is voting for Hillary Clinton. CNN polls show she is trailing Barack Obama among women nationwide though leading among white women.
DAWN YINGLING, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: She doesn't just talk about what she wants to do. She talks about how she is going to go about doing it. SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's investigate these high prices.
KAYE (on camera): What do women want here in Indiana? Affordability and security. They want a candidate who can deliver on the economy, education and health care. Someone who gets it, who can prove to them he or she understands their daily struggles.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you don't have health insurance, then I want to make sure you can buy health insurance that is as good as the health care I have as a member of Congress.
KAYE: Do you see the difference in what women and men think about?
SCHOLVILLE: He's more about the economy and, you know, about the war. I think he's more on a global perspective than I am. I feel like I'm more centered on the community on more of a local level and more of personal level than he is.
KAYE (voice-over): Women look at issues that hit close to home. Survival issues, the rising costs of gasoline and groceries.
YINGLING: We fill up the gas tank, we buy the groceries. I want to think about the whole world, but day-to-day I'm thinking about what's happening in my house. I'm thinking about whether or not I can pay the electric bill.
KAYE: Women like candidates they can identify with. Stephanie Spier (ph) just 26 favors Obama. Like him, she was saddled with student debt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I know how much it costs to go to college. The debts that students accumulate right now is astronomical.
KAYE: Nicole works two jobs and still can't afford health care.
SCHOLVILLE: Do we stand a chance of losing our house because we can't afford, you know, our hospital bills? I mean, these are really huge issues for us.
KAYE: Finally women like to be inspired. Sally Zweig was so moved by Obama's message she switched her vote.
SALLY ZWEIG, SWITCHED SUPPORT TO OBAMA: That's really what turned it for me. And I think that's something you cannot walk away from. You cannot ignore. I remember Kennedy as president. I remember a 45-year-old president and what that did for the country.
KAYE: Bottom line, you don't have to be a woman to get the women's vote. But you may have to think like one. Randi Kaye, CNN, Indianapolis.
(END VIDEOTAPE) NGUYEN: Well, a deal at the pharmacy counter. More prescription drugs cheaper than ever before? Dr. Sanjay Gupta saves you some money in just minutes.
NGUYEN: Saving on prescription drugs. Wal-Mart just announced it is expanding its $4 program. And this morning, the Associated Press says target will match the discount.
Here's our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, a lot of people spend up thousands of dollars a month -- each month for prescription drugs. And people looking to defray some of those costs. What Wal-Mart is proposing might actually help.
Now, it's important to note this is actually the next phase, if you will, of the prescription drug plan. Take a look specifically at what it means. There's 350 generic medications around that that are not going to be offered at $10 a month for 90-day supply.
Previous phase of the program was around $4 for a 30-day supply. What does that specifically mean to you? Well, take a look at some common medications that are often prescribed.
Fosamax, for example, the generic version of that will be $9 for a 30-day supply. Previously $54 for a 30-day supply. If you keep going down the list, looking at some of the other common medications. Paroxetine $10, $150 at most other pharmacies. Metformin, which is a diabetes medication $10 versus $63. Levothyroxine for low thyroid $10 versus $54.
Is this going to make a difference? Well, Wal-Mart says it is going to cover about 95 percent of the medications that are taken out there. And they are sort of setting the trend. Late last night, according to the Associated Press, Target also announced that it's going to match a lot of these programs.
Now take a look overall at drug costs in this country. I mean, they have gone up considerably. $216 billion a year roughly in 2006. But what is even more concerning that's up 50 percent from 2001. And they do have effect, those costs.
People foregoing these medications in order to pay their mortgage, in order to buy food. A lot of times skipping their doses. There are other things that might make a difference as well, if you are watching this right now and have been struggling with health care costs, specifically generic drugs.
Talk to your doctor about this, but there are some generic drugs that may be very appropriate. And so other tip will require, a little bit of reading on your part.
But if you look at the insurance plan that you have and you're taking a certain medication, make sure that medication is on the formulary or there's a comparable medication. Mail order plans.
Now this is typically for, you know, three-month supply of drugs. And look for static co-pays. Pay the $10, $15, $20, instead of a percentage. Those percentage are going to get higher and higher and higher as the drug cost go higher.
Finally, and a lot of doctors may not tell you this, but you can actually break a lot of pills in half. In fact, a lot of them are actually scored down the middle. Again talk to your doctor about this, but if you can break it in half, you get double the number of pills for the same amount of money.
There are some Web sites out there that can be a benefit as well. Take a look. Medicare.gov, copays.org, pparx.org. As more tips come to us to help lower the cost for you, we will bring them to you. Back to you for now.
HARRIS: The Democrats steal the show today, but don't forget John McCain. He is talking federal judges, live in the NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: Well, this just in. I have a new record to tell you about and you may not like it. Oil has reached $121 a barrel. That is a new record high beating yesterday's record of $120 a barrel. So that is the latest. Still going up, oil at 121 today.
HARRIS: Running through the airport, not for a flight but for food. Rodents spotted at Chicago O'Hare. Jackie Bange of affiliate WGN has the story. Just a warning, vomit video included.
JACKIE BANGE, WGN REPORTER (voice-over): O'Hare International, the gateway to Chicago. More than 70 million travelers pass through here every year. With its bold architecture and signature terminals, this is often a visitor's first impression of Chicago. But not all impressions are good. You may not see them in the daylight, but if you happen to be stranded here overnight --
CYNTHIA VLEUGEL, STRANDED PASSENGER: Oh, once you notice one mouse, then you saw that they were everywhere.
BANGE: Oklahoma resident Cynthia Vleugel is describing her creepy experience in O'Hare's terminal one. It was March 21st. A winter storm struck at the height of spring break.
(on camera): A lot of flights are continuing to move but it doesn't mean that they are moving very quickly.
(voice-over): It left Vleugel and several other passengers stranded for more than 24 hours.
VLEUGEL: That's when somebody said at least the kids have something to do. They are feeding the mice.
BANGE: Feeding them with popcorn at midnight says Vleugel here at Concourse C near gate eight. For three hours, she said, she watched the show.
VLEUGEL: Suddenly, we didn't realize how many mice there were.
BANGE: How many?
VLEUGEL: A dozen, dozens, dozens.
BANGE: The 34-year-old college instructor first complained to TSA who then referred her e-mail letter to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Here's their response. Dated March 27th.
It reads in part, "The Department of Aviation has a very aggressive pest control program." It goes on to say, "As for the specific area you addressed, I will make sure it is inspected immediately."
Inspected perhaps. Result?