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Obama on Appeasement Remark; In the Quake Zone; YouTube Cry for Help

Aired May 16, 2008 - 11:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello there, everybody. You are informed. You are with CNN.
Hello. I'm T.J. Holmes.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Tony and Heidi are off today.

HOLMES: And developments coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on this Friday, May 16.

Here is what we have on the rundown.

WHITFIELD: The president made the charge. Now Barack Obama ready to respond to the president's comments on appeasing terrorists. That's coming up live.

HOLMES: Also, aftershocks of landslides complicating rescue missions in China's quake zone.

WHITFIELD: A girl says she was raped. But nobody will listen, she says. Now the whole world hears her cry for help on YouTube.

A CNN Special Investigations Unit report -- in the NEWSROOM.

He is fired up. And next hour he is fighting back. Barack Obama taking aim at comments by President Bush about those who would appease terrorists.

Dan Lothian with the election express in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Dan, why the decision to come out in a strong way?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they really want to address this because they believe it is important. The Obama campaign, as you mentioned, will be coming out very forcefully at a campaign event next hour in South Dakota.

Initially when President Bush made his remarks in Israel yesterday, the Obama campaign said that it was nothing more than sort of false political attacks. And Senator Obama, in a statement, said in part, "George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists." But the campaign feeling that there needs to be more than just a statement, so he will be making these much tougher remarks, as I mentioned, this afternoon in South Dakota. What's interesting though about the entire debate, Senator Clinton has been going after Barack Obama for quite some time about his willingness to meet with these rogue leaders unconditionally. Yesterday, though, she was, in essence, defending him. Not attacking Obama, but rather going after President Bush.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think what President Bush did today was to make an outrageous and deeply offensive comparison. I just reject it out of hand. And I think any fair-minded American will reject it out hand.


LOTHIAN: What this shows is that this issue, this controversy, will be front and center in the general election. Already, we saw Senator John McCain yesterday going after Obama for his willingness to meet with these rogue leaders.

Now today, more controversy in this opinion piece from Jamie Rubin, who is an active Democrat, worked in former President Clinton's administration, is a Clinton supporter. And he talked about, in the opinion piece, that Senator John McCain essentially is a flip-flopper, because two years ago he talked about having some negotiations with Hamas. Well, of course the McCain campaign is now responding. Here is what one of his senior advisers has to say.


NANCY PFOTENHAUER, MCCAIN SR. POLICY ADVISER: Whereas John McCain's record is completely clear on this. Whether you look at the press statements that were released literally the day after Hamas won that election, to interviews that were done on this network by people like Suzanne Malveaux, to the interviews he gave yesterday, he has been incredibly clear and he has gone on at extraordinary length on this topic.

And he has always said that there are three specific conditions. One, that they must renounce violence. Two, that they must abandon their goal of eradicating Israel. And three, that they must accept a two-state solution.

So we have been incredibly clear. And he has given -- almost unfettered access to the media. So this is ridiculous.


LOTHIAN: Fredricka, I should point out, while this controversy is swirling around, there is a primary. And that's the reason we are here in Kentucky.

And the voters here really are focusing on the issues that are really important to them, like the economy. They are concerned also about the war in Iraq. But they are concerned about being to afford gasoline in their cars. They are concerned about jobs going overseas. So those are some of the issues that are really impacting voters here in Kentucky.

WHITFIELD: So, are Kentucky voters poised for Tuesday saying that this back and forth over appeasement, over meeting or discussing with terrorists, is really very low on their list of priorities? That perhaps they are not even interested at all?

LOTHIAN: Perhaps they are not. You know, we haven't had a chance to directly ask them about these latest developments, but certainly, as you've been talking to voters here, they said, you know, what they are most interested in are not some of these issues that the campaigns, when they start, the Democrats, that they're attacking each other, what it may be. What they really are interested in are the issues that impact them directly.

As I mentioned, you know, one was talking about how, you know, this business owner, it is so expensive now to buy supplies for her business, to buy cooking oil. Those are the things that directly impact and those are the things they are most concerned about.

WHITFIELD: Yes, on a day-to-day basis. All right.

LOTHIAN: That's right.

WHITFIELD: Dan Lothian, thanks so much.

Of course we will bring you Barack Obama's response to President Bush's comments live. He is scheduled to speak next hour.

But before that, our pundits discuss the political fallout at the half hour, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM -- T.J.

HOLMES: Fredricka, the death toll rises in Myanmar this morning. State television now reports the number of deaths blamed on the cyclone has nearly doubled to 78,000 people -- 78,000. And the number missing has soared to almost 56,000 people.

The Red Cross says cyclone victims are in urgent need of clean water. And without it, survivors risk falling victim to diseases including dysentery. That could lead to even more deaths in the days ahead.

New horrors in China. An aftershock rocks the devastated earthquake zone. Here is what we know.

A 5.5 magnitude quake hit today, triggering landslides, blocking roads, and burying vehicles in a region already in ruins. It happened shortly after the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, arrived for a firsthand look at the destruction.

Frantic search and rescue efforts are now in day five. And the death toll there continues to climb as well -- 21,500 people now confirmed dead. Officials predict the final death toll could top 50,000. Some dramatic rescues are still taking place. Look at this. A 5-year-old boy was pulled from the rubble of his collapsed kindergarten. Also, rescuers pull a 76-year-old man out of the ruins of his crumbled home.

Well, for a closer look at the tragedy and triumph, ITN's Bill Neely takes us to ground zero in the city of Beichuan. We warn you, some of these images are a bit disturbing.


BILL NEELY, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): If there is a worse place in the world today, then this is it. A school where the children can still be seen in their classrooms, but they are all, hundreds of them, dead. The workers lift what rubble they can, but the teenagers are almost fixed in the broken concrete.

(on-camera): It's a terrible scene. This whole place is absolutely ghastly. And this is one of more than 50 classrooms in this school.

(voice-over): It was the newest building in the city, but its cheap materials broke the law on earthquake safety. With hundreds of children dead, the penalty for the builders may be execution.

A few miles from so much death, life is pulled from the earth. Trapped for three days, a woman is lifted free.

They clean her and ask her, "Are there any more people inside?" "Yes, two," she says. "Are they alive?" "Yes," she says. "They are still talking."

The ruins of Beichuan are still smoking. And people are still crying out for relatives. And the question here is, how do you find anybody alive in all this?

You call for quiet and you shout into the rubble, "Knock if can you hear us!" Deep down, someone knocks.

(on-camera): The only thing in this city that is as it was is its name. Every single building here has been toppled. And the whole place will simply have to be demolished.

This city is history.

(voice-over): After such terror, few want to come back. They fled to a stadium in another city, 10,000 already. And in the grounds the women weep. Grief and guilt over the dead children they have left behind.

This is the worst thing that has happened to China in 30 years. A national tragedy in 100,000 personal traumas.

Bill Neely, ITV News, Beichuan.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: Meantime, President Bush, he's on the road. And your wallet is on his agenda.

This hour, he is in Saudi Arabia meeting with King Abdullah. And oil is fueling much of their discussion. The president will push for an increase in production, a move aimed at lowering record oil prices.

President Bush made a similar request when the two men met four months ago. Well, that request, as you can guess, was ignored. Just look at your wallet when you pump the gas.

And speaking of gas, well, it looks like this has become the new normal -- high prices. The national average for a gallon of regular hits a new high. More than $3.78 a gallon, according to AAA. That's up a penny just since yesterday.

And mid-grade gas is $4.02. Premium, $4.16. And diesel, a whopping $4.48 a gallon.

So what if gas were to skyrocket to, let's say, $10 a gallon, and everything collapses? Well, CNN's Special Investigations Unit examines the "what ifs." Watch "We Were Warned: Out of Gas," Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

HOLMES: Unlikely immunity for alleged sexual assault victims forming on the Internet. Why one teenager went there, just ahead in the NEWSROOM.


HOLMES: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm T.J. Holmes.

He beat the clock and made the bus. Yes, but then he beat the driver for the next two blocks.


HOLMES: A Missouri woman faces federal charges over an Internet hoax that turned deadly. Lori Drew is accused of helping create a fake MySpace page linked to a 13-year-old girl's suicide. A grand jury indicted Drew for conspiracy and fraudulent computer access.

Megan Meier hanged herself in October of 2006, allegedly after receiving cruel messages on MySpace. Megan's mother is satisfied the charges have now been filed in the case.


TINA MEIER, MOTHER: The bottom line is, I want Lori Drew to have to serve jail time because of what she did. She is an absolute criminal. And she deserves jail time.


HOLMES: Well, Lori Drew's attorney says she will fight the charges. He calls them unusual and puzzling. WHITFIELD: All right. This is pretty astounding -- people turning to the Internet for help, telling their deepest secrets to the world. And now experts say more and more young girls alleging sex abuses are turning to the Web to find someone to listen.

Special Investigations Unit Correspondent Abbie Boudreau has been looking into this story.

It really is bizarre that somebody would want to share such intimate secrets or experiences to everybody, strangers alike.

ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT: To strangers across the world. The story we are about to show you is really difficult to watch. It is about a 16-year-old who feels the state of Florida let her down. So she posted a video of herself on YouTube about why she is so angry and upset.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need some help.

BOUDREAU (voice-over): This 16-year-old girl from Florida has gone online, hoping someone will hear her plea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I've had to turn to this to make a video, to post it on the Internet for somebody to hear me and help me because I was raped bay 23-year-old man and nobody wants to help me.

BOUDREAU: The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network says more and more alleged sex abuse victims whose cases never make it to court have been seeking justice online. But this is the first time a teenager has posted a video.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I'm asking for is for someone out there in the world, anyone, anyone that's watching this or listening to me, please, please help me.

Such a good girl.

BOUDREAU: This is the girl from that video, Crystal. We are not using her last name. She tells us she grew up with a troubled mother and a father who was in and out of jail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't think I was going to live to be 13. But I did. I've lived a really hard life, and it's made me the person I am now.

BOUDREAU: Crystal says when she was 15, she met then 23-year-old Casey Mundling at a party. She recalls a night of drinking and doing drugs. Then, she says, she passed out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I passed out in the middle of the night, and I wake up to a man in me, it's not right.

BOUDREAU: She says that first time turned into many more. And it only became harder for her to stay away from him. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I would tell him to stop, he would whisper in my ear that he loved me and that he was always going to be there for me. And I'm beautiful.

BOUDREAU: But when her estranged father found pictures of Crystal posted on her MySpace page posing with her 23-year-old boyfriend, he tracked her down. That's when she told the Orange County Sheriff's Office about her relationship with Mundling.

(on-camera): Are you telling the truth?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I'm telling the truth. He raped me and took advantage of me. And for those people who don't believe me, then, oh well, they don't have to believe me.

BOUDREAU (voice-over): Last November, police arrested Mundling for having sex with an underage girl. They charged him with lewd or lascivious battery.

Crystal and her father thought that the case would be prosecuted since Florida law states a 15-year-old girl cannot give consent to having sex. But then just two weeks ago, Crystal learned her case was dropped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God, the day they dropped my charges, I thought I was going to die. I had an emotional breakdown. I cried for hours.

I'm tired of having nightmares 24/7.

BOUDREAU: That's when she made this video.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state attorney of Florida doesn't want to prosecute the 23-year-old man that's raped me and drugged me.

BOUDREAU (on-camera): The state attorney's office declined our request for an interview. But these court documents show exactly why the case is closed.

(voice-over): The prosecutor concluded that the pair had consensual sex. And though Crystal was only 15 at the time, she was a mere one month from turning 16, at which time it would be legal to give consent.

We went to the Orange County Correctional Center to interview Casey Mundling, where he was being held on burglary and drug charges. At first he agreed to the interview, but then backed out. Though he did tell us he did nothing wrong. He's now out of jail and on probation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm tired of being scared.

BOUDREAU: We showed Crystal's video to Trudi Novicki, a former prosecutor who now runs a center for sexually abused children in Miami.

TRUDI NOVICKI, KRISTI HOUSE EXEC. DIRECTOR: I think this is almost (INAUDIBLE). It's laughable (ph) that it's a cry for help.

BOUDREAU: While research shows a stunning one in four girls under the age of 18 reports being sexually abused, Novicki says cases rarely go to trial. Leaving many young girls feeling the court let them down.

NOVICKI: And she is talking to a camera. And that's all she has to help her? That's a pretty sad situation.

The only thing she can envision help being is to put who she sees as the bad man in jail. There are a lot of other alternatives, is what I'm saying to you. There is a whole system that has got to grab these children.

BOUDREAU: Crystal now lives with her father, trying to recapture the childhood she never had. She says she doesn't regret making the video and sharing her story. All she wanted was someone to listen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want someone to help, please.


BOUDREAU: Once again, the case against Casey Mundling was dropped, and he insists, though he did have sex with Crystal, he did not break any laws. As for Crystal, she tells us starting next week she will be meeting with a counselor.

WHITFIELD: In the meantime, this kind of opens up a window to the fact that there are a lot of young people who are using the Internet, using YouTube in which to, you know, convey a message. But there has to be some danger in that, because they are using it like a comfort zone, too.

BOUDREAU: Oh, yes. I mean, just think about it. Experts say it can be very dangerous.

These girls are showing the world their vulnerabilities, and they could easily become the target for other criminals or other online predators. Also, they may find themselves getting unreliable advice when they should be getting help from a trained counselor.

WHITFIELD: And she says she is going to be going to a trained counselor.

BOUDREAU: So hopefully she will get the help that she says she so badly needs.

WHITFIELD: OK. All right. Thanks so much, Abbie. Appreciate it.

And of course you can get more information on that story by going to for a more comprehensive view as well -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right.

Well, we will turn to this now. Female drivers, I swear. I mean...

WHITFIELD: Hey, hey, hey. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute.

HOLMES: ... come on. Come on now. Look at where this lady decided to park her plane. A woman did this, Fredricka. OK?

WHITFIELD: Well, it wasn't outrageous enough earlier?

HOLMES: It's even more outrageous.

WHITFIELD: Now so because it's a woman involved.

HOLMES: Now it makes more sense kind of now. I'm kidding.

WHITFIELD: Whoa! We better go to a commercial break, people.


HOLMES: All right. What's scarier than snakes on a plane? A plane on a plane. All right.

I'm told, Fredricka, this parking job was done by a female. A single-engine plane landed on top of another single-engine plane. This is at an airport in Roanoke, Texas.

The red plane was about to take off when the white plane with a student pilot and an instructor aboard came in for a landing. The planes reportedly radioed each other before the accident. Apparently, each thought the other had agreed to yield.

Nobody was hurt here. But the crash could lead to some awkward block parties because the pilots are reportedly neighbors.

WHITFIELD: And you know I'm biting my tongue because I'm like...

HOLMES: What can you say?

WHITFIELD: ... in this whole big scope of things, what difference does it make whether it was a man or a woman? I think it is interesting that you bring up student pilot, but...

HOLMES: I mean, we just wanted to identify the pilot.

WHITFIELD: That was interesting.

HOLMES: Rob, dope you want to know?

WHITFIELD: I think, Rob, he's picking a fight here.


WHITFIELD: Are you hearing it?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I just didn't -- I didn't really know that they let women fly planes.

HOLMES: Oh! And you thought I was bad!



MARCIANO: No, I'm just trying to support you, T.J., because I know you've dug yourself a hole. Just trying to take the heat off of you.

HOLMES: The pressure is off T.J. now.


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk about another form of transportation trouble.

A Milwaukee bus driver pounded like a punching bag. And let me tell you, this is hard to watch. And it was all caught on tape.

This is surveillance video. And this man covering his face with a bandanna, as you see, jumps in on the bus and starts pummeling the driver. By the way, while the bus is still running.

Deputies say at one point the man grabbed the steering wheel, as you see right there, stepped on the accelerator, and then sent the bus crashing into a tree. This is crazy stuff.

Well, the suspect ran away. Didn't get caught. The driver suffered minor injuries. A whole lot of shaken up passengers, too.

HOLMES: Also, taken for a ride. This time it was co-workers and neighbors trying to help out a woman dying of cancer. One problem. Police say she lied.


WHITFIELD: And you're in the CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

HOLMES: And hello, I'm T.J. Holmes. The death toll rises in Myanmar this morning. State television now reports the number of deaths blamed on the cyclone has nearly doubled to 78,000 people. The number of missing has soared to almost 56,000. The Red Cross says cyclone victims are in urgent need of clean water and without it survivors risk falling victim to diseases including dysentery. That could lead to even more deaths in the days ahead.

Police attacked by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle. This happened in Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo. The bomber rammed his bike into bus carrying riot police near the president's office. Officials say ten people killed here, 90 wounded. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels are getting the blame. The president there calls the bombing an act of savagery.

WHITFIELD: Veteran groups are demanding answers from the Department of Veterans Affairs. They want copies of all documents relating to the department's policies on post-traumatic disorder. A department e-mail asks the V.A. doctors to keep costs down by giving more diagnoses of vets with adjustment disorder. Veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder can get health benefits and in some cases disability retirement pay. But adjustment disorder does not qualify for such benefits. The e-mail was obtained and released by the group, a frequent critic of the Bush administration.

Well, the House rejects a $163 billion proposal to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for another year. 132 Republicans sat out of the vote in protests. Minority leader John Baynor accused Democrats of -- quote -- "playing political games, by adding an increase in veterans education benefits and additional unemployment insurance to the bill." The Senate is expected to debate its version of the bill next week.

HOLMES: Commotion over comments by President Bush. His remarks about those who appeased terrorists and radicals, setting off a political back and forth. Barack Obama expected to respond next hour.

Well joining us now to talk about it, Mark Halperin, a senior political analyst for TIME Magazine and Chicago Tribune columnist, Dawn Turner Trice. We appreciate you both being here.

Didn't Hillary Clinton just have like a 40-point victory in West Virginia? What happened to that news? This has all been about Barack Obama. That win is off in the distance somewhere. Nobody is talking about that anymore.

So, I will ask you first then, Mark.

Is this necessarily good news? Bad news if Barack Obama is being criticized by the Bush administration? Not exactly a bad thing to be criticized and be on the other side of an issue of then President Bush.

MARK HALPERIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well look, at some point it's clear that it was going to happen. President Bush was going to use the kind of rhetoric used in 2002 and 2004 to take on Democrats. The White House is saying, oh we didn't mean Obama. But they -- they know what they're doing. They know that they were inserting themselves into this election. And Obama's now got a chance.

I think one encouraging sign for him, is Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, have really rallied to his side. They've all come out and said, and try to be in clear terms, what they think about what the President said. And they've all done it clear with the memory in their minds what happened to John Kerry when President Bush tried these kind of arguments against him.

HOLMES: Yes. But Dawn, why do it now? Why do it there? Why was this necessary with President Bush saying for so long you're not going to get me into this political season, this campaign season? He has gotten question after question, kept saying, reporters you're not going to get me to answer. And to inject himself in this way. DAWN TURNER TRICE, "CHICAGO TRIBUNE": Well I mean, Bush often does this with the -- these straw man-type statements. Throw out something and says, well, some people suggest or some people feel this way. And it was very -- it was -- the comments have been called inappropriate. But even more than that, they were disingenuous because Bush knows that we have already -- or his staffers have talked to various members of the so-called axis of evil, North Korea, Iran. Earlier this week Secretary Gates said that we need to find some way -- some leverage, some way to talk to the Iranians.

HOLMES: Dawn, is it far to say...

TRICE: So, it was very...

HOLMES: Yes, is it fair to say that the -- that President Bush crossed some kind of a line? We talked about Jamie Rubin calling it one -- the ugliest form of American politics he's seen in a long time. To do it where he did on the foreign soil, to lob this kind of shot about American politics, to take a political shot like that.

How just out of line Dawn, do you think it was?

TRICE: Well, it was out of line. But, I think even beyond it being out of line, it was just so disingenuous and so inappropriate. And what McCain should have done was repudiated those comments. But apparently he couldn't have because he himself, has already -- he has talked about finding a way to talk to Hamas. So I think across the board, on the Republicans have a huge problem with this.

HOLMES: Well Mark, doesn't Obama have a bit of a problem as well? Because we know if he does become the eventual nominee -- certainly the front-runner now -- if he becomes the Democratic nominee, a lot of the general election campaign is going to be about his foreign policy credentials.

And to bring this up now, kind of puts in the back of people's minds, hey wait a minute, he doesn't have that much experience when it comes to foreign policy. Do we really want to put this country and this war on terror in the hands of this inexperienced guy?

HALPERIN: Well I think we'll see later this morning how he handles the first real direct challenge from the White House, it's a very powerful megaphone the President has. You know, it's going to come up. National security's going to be part of the election as it always is. John McCain has a more traditional resume on national security.

But we're going to see today and throughout this election, assuming Senator Obama wins this nomination, how he's able to rise to the challenge to convince the American people he is ready to be commander in chief. The Republicans are going to do a full assault on Obama. Even more I think, then they did on John Kerry -- to question his fitness to be commander in chief and he's going to have to handle it.

HOLMES: Well Dawn let's get one -- I want to hit a couple of other subjects here, including this one that we just saw the ruling out in California about guy marriage.

Is this going to bring this issue back to the forefront, another election season, on another election cycle? And therefore, this is going to be another drive when conservatives may not be so wild about their candidate right now with John McCain. He has some winning over to do there. Could this be the issue that drives those conservatives back to the ballot box?

TRICE: I think it's likely to. But right now, race is so at the forefront of -- of this election, that it stands to kind of take a back seat. But I do think that it is something that -- that Barack can talk about. And it's something that McCain -- that they will have to address in November, if Barack is the nominee.

HOLMES: And I'll let you respond to that as well. But I want to make sure I get one question in here Mark, on McCain.

The speech he gave forecasting what would happen at the end of his first term as president. What did you make of that? The war in Iraq would be won, American service members would be back home, Osama bin Laden would been caught. I mean, it sounds great. If he can deliver all that, he should win in a landslide.

HALPERIN: He'd also said there'd be free root beer in the water fountain in the CNN center in Atlanta. That's another element of the speech.

HOLMES: There's that too.

HALPERIN: You know, it's an interesting way to try to paint the future. And one of John McCain's biggest challenges to be a candidate of change, different than President Bush, there a lot of implicit rebukes the Bush administration in that speech. And to try to suggest that he is a forward looking guy, was an interesting way to try to pull it off. But it also, I think, lends itself to some humor and I'm not sure he can give that speech in exactly that way too many more times.

HOLMES: All right, Dawn. Does it sound to you...

TRICE: You kind of...

HOLMES: Yes, go ahead.

TRICE: Yes, you kind of had the feeling that he was going to break out into song. What a wonderful world it will be in 2013. And I -- there were a couple of times in which there were a bit more specifics in terms of health care and tax cuts. But beyond that, it was such a broad, almost "Reaganesque" approach to what he plans to do, that it just -- it really -- it was a little odd at times.

HOLMES: A little odd? Well hey, we'll take the free root beer here at the CNN center.

Guys, Dawn Turner Trice there, "Chicago Tribune" columnist and Mark Halperin, again, the political analyst for "TIME Magazine." Good to see you both. You all enjoy your weekends.

TRICE: Thank you.

HALPERIN: Take care.

HOLMES: And we will be bringing you Senator Barack Obama's response to President Bush's comment live. He's scheduled to speak next hour. We will have live coverage right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

WHITFIELD: And something very interesting here, North Korea at it's stance on the nuclear proliferation, has led to the continuation of that country being in isolation, and even the hunger of its people. And so now today, the U.S. has announced that it will send 500,000 tons of food to North Korea as early as next month.

For a long time the U.S. has halted any food deliveries, or even kind of resuming the discussions about trying to assist that country in the form of food for some time. So this information we're just now getting in, the U.S. will resume food aid to North Korea in the form of 500,000 tons sent as early as next month. Unclear exactly what this will do in the continued effort for six-party talks, etc., over nuclear proliferation involving the U.N. members as well.

Coming up, getting enough vitamin D? Well possibly, life saving for many women. "Our Daily Dose," in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: The Cannes Film Festival. The stars shine, the names sparkle. Dustin Hoffman, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, we could go on and on with the names. But getting top billing, a panda. What's that all about?

CNN's Brooke Anderson explains.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): It was a night of "Kung-fu Panda."

(voice-over): And co-stars Angelina Jolie, Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman, here at the Cannes Film Festival. At first the animated comedy held its lavish premiere in grand screening. And following that we all hit panda's after party on the pier.

(on camera): Describe Cannes, because a lot of people don't realize just how crazy it can be. You've been here numerous times now.

JACK BLACK, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: It's you know, it's got all the artists of Sundance Film Festival but instead of the snow you've got the beach. It's kind of like Miami Beach, but a little more Vegas. And it's kind of like the Oscars at the same time.

ANDERSON: All rolled into one. BLACK: It's an entertainment burrito.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Before the party, at a press conference promoting "Kung-fu Panda," Angelina revealed that she is considering giving birth to her twins right here in France.

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: I actually haven't completely decided. But we are certainly thinking of France. And I just -- it's the second language in our house. I don't know, I'm still learning so I'm not going to attempt it here today -- my rusty French. But our children are starting to speak French and so being here is very good for them for their language at this time.

ANDERSON: Angelina will also be promoting the film "Changeling" from Clint Eastwood, in which she stars as a mother whose son is kidnapped.

(on-camera): We're also anticipating the long-awaited premiere of the fourth installment of Indiana Jones. I'll be speaking with Harrison Ford and film makers and we will bring that to you as well.

Reporting from the 61st Cannes Film Festival, Brooke Anderson, CNN.



HOLMES: And here now is your daily dose of health news. A new study showing a dramatic link between vitamin D and breast cancer survival rates. Researchers followed breast cancer patients with low levels of vitamin D at the time of their diagnosis. They were almost twice as likely to have their cancer recur or spread over the next ten years -- 73 percent more likely to die of the disease.

Few caveats here though, before you start downing those D's. Doctors don't know how much of the nutrient is beneficial. Because too much can actually be harmful to you. They also don't know whether vitamin D is helpful to people who already have cancer.

And to get your daily dose of health news, log on to our web site. You will find the latest medical news, a health library and information on diet and fitness. The address:

WHITFIELD: All right, well the doctor's note said she had only months to live. And then co-workers watched her actually have a seizure. But police say a social worker's brain cancer was a hoax.

George Howell of affiliate KOMO reports.


GEORGE HOWELL, KOMO REPORTER (voice-over): When Sandra Martinez told co-workers she suffered from malignant brain tumors, people went out of their way to show support. Some even donated their sick days so she could take paid time off. Former neighbor Peggy Townsell also offered to help.

PEGGY TOWNSELL, FORMER NEIGHBOR: On a daily basis, we were pretty much feed her every day because she was too sick to cook. I mean it's just something God would have wanted us to do, is help somebody if they're -- you know needed help.

HOWELL: But then Peggy checked her computer and found the doctor's letter Martinez apparently made up, that stated she might only have six months to live.

TOWNSELL: If it wouldn't have been printed out on my computer by accident, I would have thought it was for real. I really would have, I mean it looked -- the way she had it typed up, that she had the heading from the hospital, she had the doctor's name, the I.D., doctor's I.D. -- everything on there.

HOWELL: Peggy called Martinez's employer, DSHS in Arlington.

RANDY HART, DEPT. OF SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES: We referred the information to law enforcement.

HOWELL: Prosecutors say there were several fake doctors' notes. Martinez took more than $21,000 in paid sick leave.

HART: She didn't have very much leave. She hadn't been with us long enough. So co-workers donated theirs.

CHIEF JOHN GRAY, ARLINGTON, WASHINGTON POLICE: The state of Washington, the taxpayers, are out their money. And this is unspeakable. We don't have any patience for that and so we want to hold this person accountable.

HOWELL: Martinez now faces first-degree theft charges for taking advantage of people who just wanted to help out.

HART: If this is true, then this will make a lot of people, I think, feel very bad that their generosity was taken advantage of.


WHITFIELD: All right. Martinez is now living out of state, but is expected to return to actually face those charges.

HOLMES: President Bush is in the Middle East and he is on a mission to help your wallet.

Presidential appeal for more oil, the latest from Saudi Arabia.


WHITFIELD: All right, a new development. President Bush pushing for an increase in oil production and getting turned down by Saudi Arabia. Just minutes ago, we learned that King Abdullah is rejecting the President's most recent calls for an increase of production. The move aimed at lowering record oil prices. Saudi Arabia says that there is not enough worldwide demand to warrant a greater flow of oil. President Bush made a similar request when the two met just four months ago. And that request was also ignored. This is his latest push today.

Well the answer to America's energy supply may be blowing in the wind. Coming up on "ISSUE #1," Ali Velshi, speaks with Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens, who is investing $2 billion -- that's with a B -- $2 billion into a wind farm in Texas, that could power more than a million homes.

Don't miss that interview on "ISSUE #1."

HOLMES: And taking a look at the numbers to give you a quick check here. The DOW that's down some 81 points. The NASDAQ, which has put together a string of wins this week, on a winning streak. But right now it is down 18 points. We're keeping an eye on it.

WHITFIELD: So just leave that car in the garage. Get your legs in gear. Thousands of Americans are doing that today, biking to work.


CARMEN SALVA, FOUNDER, HOPE FOR LIFE GROUP (through translator): In northern Argentina a you'll find a town of Tilcara. It's a tourist area. I made my whole life in Tilcara. There is no real environmental consciousness in Tilcara. We have a lot of issues to work on. Water contamination, there's so much trash. Someone had to do something. I saw the opportunity.

My name is Carmen.

I've been a teacher for 20 years. I believe that change begins with a child. They will teach how to care for nature and everything around us. The name of our group is Hope for Life. When we go out to clean on Saturdays, there's about 6,200 people. To separate the recyclables. And when we return, we load the llamas with the backs of trash.

When the students leave the group, they are the ones who pass on lessons they have learned. It's really fulfilling when we come back to town and they feel like, well, they feel like heroes.



HOLMES: Well, did you share the road with a few more bikes this morning? Today is national Bike-to-Work day.

And CNN Atlanta senior editor producer, Chris Robisch, outfitted with a helmet cam, took to the streets and talked to some fellow cyclists.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS ROBISCH, CNN SENIOR EDITOR PRODUCER: Today is national Bike-to-Work day. Well, guess what I'm doing? That's right, I'm biking to work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being able to ride to work, it's just -- it's more exercise and it's also enjoyable. I'm not in a hurry. I can appreciate flowers and the new buildings going up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because biking, like anything else, is kind of a habit-forming activity. If you can do it for three weeks you'll be so completely addicted that you won't want to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more cyclists on the roads, the more rights and respect we're going to get from motorists.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact is that 40 percent of trips in urban areas in America, are under two miles. These are essentially very bikable trips. I save about $600 a year on gas alone. by biking to work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's an excellent experience and a chance to get out of your usual commute-mode and try something different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's fun. It's fun riding a bike.


WHITFIELD: That looks fun, I like that.

Hello again everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

HOLMES: And hello, I'm T.J. Holmes.

Live political coverage ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM this hour.