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Clinton's Home State Allies Back Obama; Top Brass Ousted in the Air Force; Boy With Autism Kicked Out of Kindergarten Class; The Potential Trap Doors of John McCain's Town Hall Request

Aired June 6, 2008 - 07:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton sit down together in a possible first step toward peace in the Democratic Party.
Brand new video for you of the presumptive Democratic nominee arriving home in Chicago early this morning after wrapping up the secret meeting in Washington late last night. His traveling press corps was already in Chicago waiting since they were left in the dark about it just like everyone else. The plane that they travel in was buttoned up, took off from Dulles International Airport on its way to Chicago without the presumed nominee inside.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is live for us in Washington this morning. A bit of a surprise, the timing of this meeting, not unexpected, and certainly the press corps hot about being leaving left behind in this whole thing.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, they played a little bit of a cat and mouse game with us. At one point, they were leading us to believe that it was at Clinton's home and then perhaps a neighboring senator's house as well. I guess the main point here is obviously that these two leaders got together, that they are trying to make a new path, if you will, a sign of unity.

This is a very important time for both of these candidates as well as their campaigns, and really what a difference a day makes. So Wednesday some of the Democrats were openly critical of Hillary Clinton's delay in recognizing Barack Obama's win. Now many who are afraid that they've revealed that kind of weakness to the Republicans, they're singing from the same page trying to present a picture of unity.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): In the lead up to Hillary Clinton's endorsement of Barack Obama, Clinton's most loyal supporters, her New York delegation, got behind her rival.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: Outstanding candidate, and in our collective opinion he has won the nomination.

MALVEAUX: Thursday's event is part of a highly orchestrated public effort to make the best of what some saw as a serious Clinton blunder. Her decision not to concede the race Tuesday night.

RANGEL: The New York Congressional Delegation are with her to the end, but we thought the end was the end.

MALVEAUX: Clinton loyalist, Congressman Charlie Rangel, helped negotiate where that end would be. Wednesday in a series of conference calls with Hillary Clinton, Rangel expressed lawmakers' private frustrations that some were ready to quickly endorse Obama and move on.

Clinton aides tried to convince the delegation to wait until after Clinton herself gave Obama the nod. The compromise, this tortured announcement.

RANGEL: We come here collectively to endorse the decision that's been made by our fearless leader who comes as a member of the state of New York that makes us so proud.

MALVEAUX: Friday, New York State officials will hold a similar event in Manhattan. In the meantime, Clinton has designated two of her top advisers, Bob Barnett and Cheryl Mills, to negotiate with the Obama camp over such things as how she would campaign, what role she'd play at the convention, how to wipe out her debt, and whether she'd get an official campaign title.

Her campaign put out a statement distancing Clinton from reports that she's actively seeking the vice presidency. However, sources close to the Clintons say she not only would accept the offer if it came, but initially she was not discouraging supporters from pushing her candidacy.


MALVEAUX: And John, tonight, Clinton will have her staff over for dinner at her house, but, of course, all eyes are going to be on tomorrow. That is when she publicly goes before her supporters and calls for the party to unite around Barack Obama -- John.

ROBERTS: Suzanne Malveaux for us this morning. Suzanne, thanks.

By the way, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is going to join us exclusively at 8:25 Eastern time. He was part of that joint statement calling on superdelegates to declare their support for one candidate or the other by the end of business today. His hopes for party unity, coming up.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of women who support Hillary Clinton think that she's been disrespected in the media. Others believe she was the victim of sexism.

CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley sat down with presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, and she asked him what he'll do to win over those voters.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Give me your best 30-second pitch for a 45-year-old female, Hillary Clinton supporter, who is saying I am not going to vote for him. I am going to vote for John McCain or I'm going to stay home. Why does she come vote for you?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: We've got, I think, as important an election as we've seen in years. Maybe in a generation, and there's going to be a clear choice. And for that 45- year-old woman who is trying to figure out how am I going to send my kids to college, I've got a plan to make college more affordable. John McCain doesn't.

For that 45-year-old woman who is trying to figure out how do I manage my health care bills. I've got a plan to provide her health insurance if she doesn't have it and to lower premiums if she does. John McCain essentially is going to provide tax cuts but may lead to her employer dropping her coverage all together.

If she's got a son who is in Iraq right now, maybe on the third or fourth rotation, I am telling her that I'm going to bring her son home and start ending our commitment there. John McCain would continue it. And when that son comes home, I would make sure that that son or daughter is getting a GI bill that allows him or her to go to college. John McCain rejects it.

I would tell that 45-year-old woman that we're going to have Supreme Court appointments, and John McCain and I have very different philosophies when it comes to who should be on the bench and critical issues like a woman's right to choose is going to be at stake.


PHILLIPS: And Clinton may not have gotten enough delegates to win that nomination, but she did receive almost 18 million votes. Obama will need the support of Clinton backers in order to win the election come November.

ROBERTS: The accused mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and one of his co-defendants say they want to be executed so that they can die as martyrs. The men made the statements during an arraignment in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, yesterday. The five defendants refused their right to counsel saying they respect only Islamic law. They also claim they were tortured while in prison.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates trying to lift a dark cloud over the air force in dramatic fashion. The two most senior air force officers, the civilian leader and the top general, were forced to resign as a result of two embarrassing atomic errors. The details now from senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, John, you know the old saying, "To err is human, to forgive divine." Well, neither is the policy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates when it comes to nuclear weapons.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): In the words of one top Pentagon official, the report on the mishandling of nuclear weapons is damning showing a significant failure. It prompted Defense Secretary Robert Gates to take the unprecedented step of forcing both the top air force general, Michael Moseley, and his civilian boss, Michael Wynne, to step down.

ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: When mistakes do occur, however mistakes are not acceptable when shipping and controlling sensitive, classified parts.

MCINTYRE: First, there was the embarrassing revelation that last August a B-52 bomber took off from North Dakota with six nuclear- tipped cruise missiles that no one knew were live weapons until after the plane landed in Louisiana. Then came word that the air force mistakenly shipped fuses that are used in nuclear weapons to Taiwan in 2006, in crates believed to be containing helicopter batteries.

GATES: Both events involved a chain of failures that led to an unacceptable incident. The investigation determined the air force does not have a clear, dedicated authority responsible for the nuclear enterprise.

MCINTYRE: But Gates in declassifying just a small portion of the investigation revealed the problems were deeper and more troubling.

GATES: Rather than an isolated occurrence, the shipment of the four forward section assemblies to Taiwan was a symptom of a degradation of the authority, standards of excellence, and technical competence within the nation's ICBM force.


MCINTYRE: Gates issued a stinging rebuke to air force leaders for failing to act until he personally intervened. And he warned that a significant number of generals and colonels will still face punishment ranging from career-ending letters of discipline to relief of command -- Kyra, John.

ROBERTS: All right. Jamie McIntyre this morning.

Breaking news from Zimbabwe today. Last hour we hit on James McGee, the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, talking about a group of diplomats being detained there yesterday by the government. Now, we understand Morgan Tsvangirai, who is the opposition leader going into that runoff election against Robert Mugabe on the 27th, was arrested just now on his way to a political rally.

The country has been thrown into chaos following a bitter election that resulted in that standoff between Tsvangirai and President Mugabe. That runoff again set for June 27th, and that incident yesterday called outrageous by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, where those American and British diplomats were detained and assaulted by pro-government militants. They were out investigating political violence in the run up to this runoff election.

PHILLIPS: Oh, the man who never saw an elevator he likes strikes again in New York City. Check this out.

Yes, it's a stuntman or maybe nut case, Alain Robert, as you may know him as the French Spiderman. Here he's scaling the 52-story "New York Times" building in midtown. He unveiled a banner reading "Global warming kills more people than 9/11 every week."

Detectives met him at the top and hauled him away, by the way. Then about six hours later, a copycat tried to steal his thunder. The Brooklyn man was wearing a "Malaria No More" shirt. He was reportedly taken in for a psychiatric evaluation.

ROBERTS: Terrible twisters tear up the Midwest. Coming up next, the extreme weather. Kansas bears the brunt of the storm's fury as they bear down on the east coast for the weekend.

PHILLIPS: And taxicab politics or taxicab confessions of another kind? Zain Verjee and the cabbie's concerns about November, gas prices, the VP slot. She's talking about it all right there in the nation's capital.

ROBERTS: Then no class. A 5-year-old kid with autism in a school that allegedly voted him out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She stood him up at the front of the classroom and asked each child in her words to tell Alex what we don't like about him.


ROBERTS: Get the teacher's side of the story and what the school plans to do about it straight ahead.

Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING --


ED MCMAHON, TV PERSONALITY: It's like a perfect storm.


ROBERTS: How a one-time millionaire got caught up in the mortgage meltdown.


PAM MCMAHON, ED MCMAHON'S WIFE: I don't know where those -- where are those millions, Ed?


ROBERTS: Ed McMahon's public explanation of a very private matter.


ED MCMAHON, TV PERSONALITY: I'm on the go. I'm going to make it work. Somehow I'm going to make this work. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: The struggle to unload his Hollywood home. New developments ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. I'm CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras.

We're finally, finally winding down with all of the crazy severe weather. It was a long one yesterday, last night, even early this morning. But as of now, all the watches have been dropped, and we're looking at a calmer day, though a slight risk still out there for parts of the Midwest.

Take a look at the radar behind me there. You can see some intense showers and thunderstorms still kind of firing up here to the west of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We've got some heavier showers and thunderstorms across Missouri from Iowa, also into parts of Illinois, Chicago, Milwaukee. Both of you guys can expect to see some wet weather probably about an hour to an hour and a half from now, and expect to see some delays there at the airports if you're trying to travel due to those thunderstorms and winds, could get over an hour by this afternoon.

We've got some delays also into the northeast, Boston and New York City, due to the low clouds and rain, and some delays out west as well due to the windy conditions. Now, we've got some big changes on the way for parts of the east. We have had some nice, cool conditions.

Well, temperatures finally going to start heating up as our jet stream pattern starts to change a little bit. We've got heat advisories in effect across parts of the Carolinas. Excessive heat watches and warnings for Baltimore, D.C., on up towards Philadelphia. It's going to be feeling like 100 to 110 degrees.

That is some extreme heat. Sounds like kind of a good weekend for the pool. And guys, we talked a lot about severe weather. Check out this video.

We've seen a lot of damaged homes and trees and things like that. Well, this is a different situation of what tornadoes can do. They spooked a pair of circus elephants that escaped from the fairgrounds in WaKeeney, Kansas. Trainers took quite a while to have to coax them back into a truck.

Don't they say that mice scare elephants? Imagine what a tornado could do to these guys.

PHILLIPS: Oh, but, you know, elephants are a sign of good luck. So let's look at it that way.

JERAS: Well, all right.

PHILLIPS: I'm going to turn that around.

JERAS: Quieter weather will help then.

PHILLIPS: Yes, there you go.

ROBERTS: Jacqui, thanks so much.

Tired of moderators, blinking lights, time limits, and podiums. You may get your wish this election year. We're going to preview a potential town hall swing by Senators John McCain and Barack Obama and the potential trouble that it could get them into.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not survivor. This is kindergarten.


PHILLIPS: Kicked out of kindergarten.


ALEX BARTON, KICKED OUT OF KINDERGARTEN CLASS: She actually pointed to them and they actually say yes or no.


PHILLIPS: A teacher forces students to vote a 5-year-old out of class.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just must have been so crushing for him to hear you're annoying, you're disgusting, we don't want you here.


PHILLIPS: A mother and son speak out ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.




ED MCMAHON, TV PERSONALITY: It's like a perfect storm.


ROBERTS: How a one-time millionaire got caught up in the mortgage meltdown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAM MCMAHON, ED MCMAHON'S WIFE: I don't know where those -- where are those millions, Ed?


ROBERTS: Ed McMahon's public explanation of a very private matter.


ED MCMAHON, TV PERSONALITY: I'm on the go. I'm going to make it work. Somehow I'm going to make this work.


ROBERTS: The struggle to unload his Hollywood home. New developments ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

PHILLIPS: Well, now, a story this morning that really made our -- caused us to raise your eyebrows but also our heartstrings as well.

A 5-year-old boy with autism kicked out of kindergarten class because the other kids voted him out. John Zarrella has the story.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, the mother of a kindergartener wants her child's teacher fired, and she's now planning a civil suit against the school district. What led to this? A classroom vote.


ZARRELLA (voice-over): 5-year-old Alex Barton sits on the edge of the pool in deep conversation with his best friend Spencer. Alex, who is autistic, hasn't been to Morningside Elementary School since May 21st. He doesn't want to go back, not to any school.

ALEX BARTON, KICKED OUT OF KINDERGARTEN CLASS: Because some people pick on me.

ZARRELLA: He hasn't forgotten what happened to him that day.

BARTON: She actually pointed to them and they actually say yes or no.

ZARRELLA: That day Alex was voted out of his classroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not survivor. This is kindergarten. This is reality.

ZARRELLA: Alex, who had not at the time been diagnosed as autistic, had been sent to the school office a couple of times that day for having his shoes on the wrong feet, throwing crayons, and hiding under the table. When he returned to the classroom the second time, the teacher, Wendy Portillo, brought Alex to the front.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She stood him up at the front of the classroom and asked each child in her words to tell Alex what we don't like about him.

ZARRELLA: Portillo does not deny any of this. In the police report, Portillo said she felt if Alex heard it from his classmates how his behavior affected them, that it would make a bigger difference to him. Then the children voted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just must have been so crushing for him to hear you're annoying, you're disgusting, we don't want you here.

ZARRELLA (on camera): Alex's teacher wouldn't talk with us but in the police incident report she says she was not voting for or advocating his removal from the classroom, just on whether he should be allowed back in the classroom at that time.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): The St. Lucie County School District has reassigned Portillo away from students while it is investigating. Law enforcement officials say no criminal charges will be filed because they found no evidence of emotional child abuse, but the attorney representing the family has notified the school board they are pursuing a civil action.


ZARRELLA: Alex was not in the exceptional students program because he had only been going to Morningside since January, and the school's evaluation of him had not been completed. His mother says she's not sure where he'll be going to school in the fall, but it won't be Morningside -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: OK, not that I hold a grudge, but I can go back almost 40 years and remember elementary school when the teacher made me sit and face the blackboard and write, I will not talk in class, for the whole entire -- I was humiliated. And I still haven't forgotten that. So my heart is with that little 5-year-old.

ROBERTS: I mean, this is an incredible case.

PHILLIPS: It's an outrage.

ROBERTS: Poor kid. Wow.

PHILLIPS: Well, a man crossing the street, he's run down by the wrong way driver. Take a look at this video. He didn't even stop.

Sorry to even show it to you, but we got to talk about the shocking video and hope that someone is going to be held accountable.

ROBERTS: And be careful what you wish for.


FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But this could be risky business, too. 100 years in Iraq? That was a town hall moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: Maybe 100. As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.

SESNO: Remember this one?

MCCAIN: That old Beach Boy song "Bomb Iran." Bomb, bomb, bomb.

SESNO: What if he does that on stage with Obama?


ROBERTS: The potential trap doors of John McCain's requested town hall setting, and how Barack Obama could fall into one, too.

Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, taxicab confessions.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not like main issue to me.


ROBERTS: The United Nations on wheels. Zain hits the streets to take the pulse of the taxicab pundit.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the right age. He has full energy.


ROBERTS: Rolling rhetoric, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: It's coming up at 26 minutes after the hour. It is unfiltered, hard-nosed politics in its purest form. The town hall. John McCain has asked Barack Obama if he is up for the challenge of 10 town hall style debates, but the format could expose weaknesses in both candidates.

CNN's Frank Sesno takes a look live from Washington this morning. Good morning, Frank.

FRANK SESNO, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Well, peril and opportunity both. You want change? This would be change. John McCain, Barack Obama together in a town hall near you. McCain says it could be debate without empty sound bites and media filtered exchanges. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: Just two Americans running for the highest office in the greatest nation on earth.

SESNO (voice-over): No networks in charge, no script, no spin rooms. Now there's a concept. But how a McCain/Obama showdown would actually play out is another matter. McCain wants a rerun of his town halls from the primary season. They've been good to him.

MCCAIN: On the subject of Osama bin Laden, he's responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans. He is now orchestrating other attacks on the United States of America. We will do whatever is necessary.

SESNO: They've allowed him to highlight experience, grit and policy, to show off his humor.

MCCAIN: And we have so little water in Arizona the trees chase the dogs.

SESNO: He's better off the cuff than in a speech. But this could be risky business, too. 100 years in Iraq? That was a town hall moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years.

MCCAIN: Maybe 100. As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.

SESNO: Remember this one?

MCCAIN: That old Beach Boy song "Bomb Iran." Bomb, bomb, bomb.

SESNO: What if he does that on stage with Obama? Obama doesn't pounce, surely the pundits and bloggers will. For Obama these events are seductive, too. He's done a lot of them. Big crowds reinforce his popular image.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: We're going to have to acknowledge that real changes are not going to happen all overnight. They're not going to happen overnight. It took us decades to get here.

SESNO: A side by side town hall debate would convey stature, gravitas.

OBAMA: For America's future to be as bright as our past, we're going to have to compete on the global stage. We're going to have to engage in trade and we've got to win, and we can win. But to win we're going to have to make sure that we've got some leadership in Washington that's thinking about ordinary folks.

SESNO: But there's risk for Obama in the unscripted as well. OBAMA: I've now been in 57 states. I think one left to go.

SESNO: 57 states? He could be caught flat footed, sound naive, simplistic.

OBAMA: After eight years with the disastrous policies of George Bush, it is time, I believe, to pursue direct diplomacy with friend and foe alike without preconditions.

SESNO: The John and Barack show would almost surely draw huge audiences. The ultimate reality contest where the candidates would face voters, not reporters.


SESNO: Voters not reporters. In a YouTube interactive world, the question is would it then be 21st century Lincoln/Douglas substance, or just another made for TV show with poll tested talking points? We'll have someone ask that at the first town hall meeting, John.

ROBERTS: It would be interesting to watch, though. Frank Sesno for us this morning. Frank, it's good to see you. Thanks.

SESNO: Good to see you.

PHILLIPS: Just about 30 minutes after the hour right now. Here are some of the top stories that we're following.

Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are giving no details about their secret meeting last night. A short statement issued by both campaigns said they'd had a "productive discussion about the work needed to win in November."

And John Edwards is reportedly not angling for another shot at the vice presidency. Edwards who is in Madrid is quoted by Spanish newspapers as saying, "I won't do it again," in reference to the number two spot on the Democratic ticket.

And strong storms marching across the Midwest this morning. Last night four tornadoes touched down in Kansas. Thankfully no one was hurt.

A task force will start examining how the air force can improve accountability of its nuclear weapons. The air force's military and civilian leaders are being canned because of two incidents involving nuclear mix-ups. One incident involved a B-52 that was unwittingly flown cross country carrying six nuclear tipped cruise missiles. And then in the other incident, Taiwan was sent a shipment of fuses for ballistic missile warheads instead of some helicopter batteries.

Well, who better to take the pulse of Washington than those who spend their days driving around the city. State Department correspondent Zain Verjee is in D.C. with her taxi cab confessions of another kind.





UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: Right here in Washington, D.C.


VERJEE (voice over): The United Nations of political pundits back in session.

(On camera): Thank you.

(Voice over): In Washington all roads lead to one address.

(On camera): I need to get to the White House. Do you know any shortcuts?


VERJEE: Getting to the White House.


VERJEE: What do your passengers tell you?

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: Well, majority they like Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: We need change. We need someone with smart leadership in this country.

VERJEE: And that smart leadership is?

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: Obama is smart leadership.

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: He needs more training how to deal with those guys around the world.

VERJEE (voice over): On the road their biggest worry is, guess what?

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: Disgusting to have to pay this much for gas.

VERJEE (on camera): What advice would you give Senator Obama and Senator McCain right now to get into that White House?

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: Campaign on issues. That's all.

VERJEE: Like gas?

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: Yes, gas, too high. VERJEE: Do you think that McCain is too old?

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: That's like not main issue to me.

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: If you're in good health, doesn't matter what your age is.

VERJEE: Is Obama too young?

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: This is the right age. He has full energy.

VERJEE (voice over): The cabbies are quick to turn the corner.

(On camera): Do you think Hillary should be Senator Obama's VP?

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: That's a good ticket, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: I just think it would be too much friction.

VERJEE (voice over): Cabbie pundits disagree on the road ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: There's going to be a lot of different prejudices, you know, come to the fore in this election. You know, some will be very bitter. Some will be very racially divided.

UNIDENTIFIED TAXI CAB DRIVER: A black person that started from zero. And this is the flag of the United States of America. This is a great country, and I wish all the best.


VERJEE: One cabbie we spoke to says that he is already worried that after the election there's just not going to be any more excitement -- John?

ROBERTS: All right. Zain Verjee for us this morning.

Zain, it's always interesting to hear what the cabbies have to say.

Hollywood icon Ed McMahon is facing foreclosure on his Beverly Hills mansion. Last night Larry King asked him how did this happen.


ED MCMAHON, DEFAULTED ON HOME LOAN: If you spend more money than you make, you know what happens, and it can happen, you know. A couple of divorces flown in, a few things like that, and, you know, things happen. You want everything to be perfect, but that combination of the economy, I have a little injury, I have a situation, and it all came together.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: And tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE," comedienne Kathy Griffin will be Larry's guest. That's tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

PHILLIPS: And it was 40 years ago tonight that Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down in Los Angeles. We talk with two men who are remembering RFK, the 1968 presidential campaign, and the day that may have changed American politics forever.

ROBERTS: And Ali is here talking about what to do when you're passed over for a promotion.

Good morning.


Well, this stuff happens all the time, but in a tough economy where we're losing jobs, and that's what we're focused on today, because in an hour, we'll get the jobless report.

What do you do if you think you have been unfairly passed over for a promotion? I'm going to give you some details when we come back on AMERICAN MORNING.


VELSHI: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. I'm Ali Velshi. We're an hour away from the unemployment report for May. We're expecting the unemployment rate in the United States to tick up just a little bit. We're also expecting to lose around 60,000 jobs in May.

Now, in this kind of environment, if you get passed over for a promotion at work, you may not feel all that good about fighting the case. Well, we want to tell you what your rights are and whether you even have a case.

In order to file a legal claim that you've been passed over illegally for a promotion, you have to have a few things. First of all, you have to be a member of what's called a protected class -- and I'll tell you that -- I'll tell you about that in a minute. You have to have been qualified for and have applied for the promotion. You need to have been rejected despite your qualifications, and you need to have been passed over for an employee who was equally or less qualified who, by the way, was not a member of this protected class.

Now what am I talking about when I say protected class? Take a look. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 people who are considered members of a protected class are those who can claim discrimination because of gender, race, color, religion, or national origin. You have to be able to say that it was one of those reasons for which you were passed over. Now, what do you do if you are a member of that protected class and you think you've been passed over? Well, first of all, make sure you compare yourself to the person who got the job and you're not just sour grapes about it. You have to have been better qualified than they were for the job or at least equally qualified. Meet with an employment attorney, see what your options are, and then meet one-on-one with your supervisor, try and get specific details as to why you were passed over. You can sort of say you were very disappointed to find out that you were passed over for that job, what could you have done differently, or what is it that was taken into account. They should be able to tell you that. And if they can't, you may have yourself a case.

ROBERTS: All right, Ali. Good tips. Thanks very much.

PHILLIPS: We've seen it on the small screen and the silver screen, but never in real life.

Our Lola Ogunnaike takes a look at whether Hollywood has prepared America for its first black president.

ROBERTS: Plus tornadoes and scorching heat. Twisters tear through the Midwest as the east prepares to bake in a summer sizzler this weekend.

Our Jacqui Jeras tracking the latest radars from the CNN Weather Center.

Good morning, Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good morning, John. A big difference between what we saw yesterday and today. That's the good news. The bad news -- get ready for that big warm-up. You're not going to believe how hot it's going to be. We'll tell you where coming up.

ANNOUNCER: "Minding Your Business" brought to you by...



PHILLIPS (voice over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, chill out.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everybody just needs to settle down.

PHILLIPS: Barack Obama on the push to make Hillary Clinton part of the team.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You don't feel at this moment you have to put her on the ticket (INAUDIBLE)?

PHILLIPS: The answer everyone's waiting for. Candy Crowley, one-on-one with Barack Obama, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: And a lot of people in Virginia, Jacqui, too, still without power this morning after those tornadoes that went through there the other day, and baking in the heat there as well. Jacqui, thanks.


ROBERTS: Each year corrections officers from across the country and around the world join forces to put down an inmate uprising. Although it looks real, this mock prison riot lets guards put new training methods to the ultimate test.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve saw it all from the inside.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Prison guards pull an unruly inmate from his cell. It has the look and feel of the real thing, but this is a training exercise in a former West Virginia penitentiary.

ROBERT BARRON, PEEL REGIONAL POLICE: It gets the ticker going, but about the best way to learn. You practice like you play, right?

MESERVE: An inmate uprising in the dining hall. Another scenario played out during the four-day mock prison riot sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. The so-called inmates are volunteers, sometimes college students, sometimes corrections officers whose creative input can test the guards' tactics.

JAMES BROWN, KERN COUNTY CALIFORNIA SHERIFF DEPT.: Very smoky, very hard to see. You know everybody adapted, everybody moved well.

MESERVE: 2,000 prison guards from the U.S. and beyond have come this year for this unique training opportunity.

STEVE MORRISON, W. VIRGINIA HINGH TECH FOUNDATION: We have teams from Singapore, Norway, Ireland, Venezuela, the Bahamas, and United Kingdom.

MESERVE: Cutting-edge technology is on display, including the latest taser innovation called shockwave, which is, in effect, a taser swarm. It does this.

The guards get to try out some of this new gear, even get to use it in their exercises.

SGT. CLIFF MATTHEWS, LAKE COUNTY FLORIDA SHERIFF'S DEPT.: You can see it in the magazine. You read about it on the Internet and so forth. Here you can come look at it, touch it, feel it, wear it, use it, shoot it if it's a firearm or whatever.

MESERVE: Vendors get feedback from the guards and use it to refine their products. The government uses it to direct research dollars into new technology.

DAVID HAGY, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF JUSTICE: We really just kind of sit and listen and -- watch these scenarios and say, look, what are you using, what do you want to see done? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm out of here, man.

MESERVE: All kinds of pockets are explored here, including what to do if a prisoner escapes. There is a hot pursuit through the woods. This case, low tech, not high-tech, does the job.


MESERVE: It may not be the real thing, but guards say this mock prison riot is about as close as they can get. They say the experience is absolutely invaluable -- John?

ROBERTS: And I got to say, Jeanne, you wield a mean two by four.

MESERVE: You better watch out.

ROBERTS: All right. Jeanne Meserve...

MESERVE: Stay on my good side.

ROBERTS: Yes, all right. I'll definitely do that after watching that.

Jeanne Meserve for us this morning. Jeanne, thanks -- Kyra?

PHILLIPS: Well, uniting the Democrats. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton get together to talk about the future. We're going to ask Senate majority leader Harry Reid what he wants to see as the two make the transition from rivals to allies.

And now it's official. John McCain's opponent is Barack Obama. Where do the conservatives stand and will they come out to vote?

Glenn Beck, you've always got an opinion.

GLENN BECK, CNN HEADLINE NEWS HOST: Yes, enough to make blood shoot out of your eyes. Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.

ANNOUNCER: "Business Traveler's Advisory" brought to you...


PHILLIPS: We'll never forget that moment. Forty years ago Robert F. Kennedy was shot by a gunman in the Ambassador Hotel after winning the California primary. Kennedy died but the hope he inspired in his 1968 presidential campaign has lived on in the American imagination ever since.

And it's the subject of a new book, "A Time It Was: Bobby Kennedy in the '60s" by photographer Bill Eppridge and writer Pete Hamill who were both there the night that Kennedy was shot. They join me now live.

Great to see you both. I think one of the most amazing things about Bobby Kennedy was this energy that he had, Bill, and you captured that in your pictures. He was like a rock star. BILL EPPRIDGE, AUTHOR, "A TIME IT WAS": I just felt that he was the best of whatever he wanted to be, and he -- when it came to dealing with people, he was just superb.

PHILLIPS: Pete, why was he so passionate about civil rights?

PETE HAMILL, WRITER, WITNESSED ROBERT KENNEDY'S ASSASSINATION: He knew there were forces that you couldn't just say a magic phrase, shazam(ph), and they all changed their spots. He knew it was going to be a long haul of persuasion and use of the law so that terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan were not going to rule the night in the United States of America, in any state in this union.

So he had a sense of justice that goes back to the 19th century Irish who left for the same reasons of bigotry and other kinds of reasons and hunger. And he never forgot he was from that generation of well-off Irish Americans who didn't forget where they came from, who knew where they came from, and were determined that nobody would have to go through that again, and it was that that touched me in a way that allowed me to be a friend to the politician.

PHILLIPS: Then came that fateful night at the Ambassador Hotel, and, Bill, you captured that picture that just moved the world in ways that still do, and the look on that bus boy's face as he was leaning over Bobby Kennedy's body.

What was going through your mind and was it hard to take that picture?

EPPRIDGE: When something like that happens, as a photographic journalist, you go into almost an automatic mode. It's like a curtain drops between your eye and your brain, and the image goes from there to your eye right to your finger. It does -- the brain doesn't process it. You almost don't think that -- of the pictures you're making, you make them automatically.

PHILLIPS: And then we saw Ethel Kennedy, his wife. That was the next picture you got right there holding onto her husband. Do we know what she said at that moment?

EPPRIDGE: I have heard things, but I didn't hear any words being said. I saw his lips moving, but I know that one thing he did say, he asked is everybody all right?

HAMILL: Because others were shot, you know, in the struggle for the gun. Sirhan was like this, forcing the arm down. People behind bobby got shot in the legs.

PHILLIPS: And, Pete, you write about that in the book. You say, "A ferocious brawling moment, all of us trying to get the gun or the hand that held it, or the arm. The young man was still firing so that some people behind Kennedy were hit in the legs."

HAMILL: Yes. Exactly. And we didn't know who this guy was, but we knew he had the gun and Jess Unruh, the head of the Democratic Party in California, kept yelling, no Dallas, no Dallas, no Dallas, afraid that someone would take a gun out, shoot this guy and you'd never find out what happened.

PHILLIPS: Final question, Bill, what do you hope for those who look through these pictures, read your book, what's the one thing you want people to take away from this book?

EPPRIDGE: I just want them to remember what we almost had, what we've lost for these many years. That's what I want. I want them to know who the man was and what he stood for and where we might have been.

PHILLIPS: It's a beautiful book.

EPPRIDGE: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: And I love talking to both of you about it. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me.

HAMILL: Thanks for having us.

PHILLIPS: All right.


ROBERTS (voice over): Breaking news. Brand new details on Barack Obama's surprise meeting with Hillary Clinton. Our Candy Crowley sits down with the presumptive nominee.

OBAMA: On every issue there are going to be major differences.

ROBERTS: Plus, Senate leader Harry Reid, live on whether they'll unite or divide the party.

It's the most politics in the morning on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: It's five minutes down to the top of the hour. When the fall campaign kicks into high gear, Barack Obama and John McCain will be getting to know voters as they criss-cross the country.

"HEADLINE NEWS" Glenn Beck is going to be out there as well. He is the author of "An Inconvenient Book" and kicks off a 10-city radio tour tomorrow to find out what his listeners want to know about the candidates.

Glenn Beck joins us now New Canaan, Connecticut.

Glenn, good morning to you. What do you -- what are you expecting to hear...

BECK: All right, Rob.

ROBERTS: ... from your listeners out there on this tour?

BECK: Well, actually -- you know, actually, I think I'm going to hear more of the same, and that is, you know, we don't have a candidate. Conservatives don't really feel like they have a candidate.

You know, as much as John McCain says he's not going to raise taxes, he is going to raise taxes. It's called cap and trade. It will be the largest tax increase the country has ever seen and it is a hidden tax that will make your gas go up, according to the EPA, by $1.50 a gallon.

Obama is for it. Hillary is for it. John McCain is for it.

ROBERTS: Glenn, you haven't warmed up to John McCain at all?

BECK: No, not really. I mean, Barack Obama has made, you know, me look at John McCain again, but I'm not a guy who votes against somebody. I want to find a guy that I can vote for. I spent an hour with Bob Barr that's going to air on "CNN HEADLINE NEWS" tonight. He's a libertarian candidate. He's better, I guess, than the other two, but I'm not passionate about anybody, and I don't know any conservatives that are.

Conservatives have really...

ROBERTS: What did you think about McCain's speech on Tuesday night?

BECK: Conservatives have blasted the Republican Party.

ROBERTS: What do you think about McCain's speech on Tuesday night?

BECK: You know what? I couldn't get past the green background. I'm sorry, but I can't get past the fact that we just left the coolest month of May that we've had in I don't know how many years. We're -- scientists are now saying we're on a 15-year hiatus.

Up in, I think it was Iceland? They saw the first polar bear in Iceland that has ever been or has been in I think 20 years, and the police shot him last night, and here we are talking about cap and trade when everyone -- we have China 50 miles off the coast of Key West drilling. We have 40 new coal fire plants being built in Europe, and we can't get our own resources.

It's insanity.

ROBERTS: Let me turn to something you said on Wednesday on your program. You said that we're about to enter the most politically correct time in American history. You said that you and others fear for your jobs should Obama become president.

Is that a little hyperbole? You don't really fear for your job, do you?

BECK: Oh, yes, I do. Oh, yes, absolutely I do.


BECK: Fairness doctrine I believe will come back. I think talk radio has been a target of the extreme left for quite some time. I was a big proponent of Air America. I welcomed the competition of Air America. I thought that was great. They couldn't compete in the actual business world, and, you know, to each his own on how you want to run your radio company.

However, I think the fairness doctrine is absolutely going to come back from the left, and I think Barack Obama -- he has already said it. If you disagree with him or if you have questions of some of the relationships that he has, you're either a racist or somebody who is just in the business of dividing people, et cetera, et cetera.

I think we are absolutely in a politically correct time like we've never seen before. That's not to say that Barack Obama is going to be the guy that does that, but I believe those on the extreme left that like to silence dissenting opinion will use every tool they have at their disposal to shut the -- opposing voice down.

ROBERTS: You're going out on this ten-city tour tomorrow. John McCain has proposed that he and Barack Obama go on a tour of sorts, a series of 10 town hall meetings, you know, that the format people are saying would favor John McCain because he's very comfortable in that sort of setting. But other pundits have said...

BECK: Sure.

ROBERTS: ... just looking at the visual, the difference in age, would say more than words ever could.

What do you think?

BECK: Yes. I mean here's the deal. I'm going on a ten-city comedy tour, which is, I guess, kind of what both candidates would be involved with as well.

The thing with John McCain is they do look -- I mean age is a huge difference between the two. One looks young and energetic, the other does not necessarily look young and energetic.

Again -- but I think we have to get past the idea of what they look like, how they present themselves. Let's just please listen to their ideas. Let's decide this on whose ideas are better.

Me personally, I don't think -- I don't think we got a candidate here that I could be happy about but let's just listen to them.

You know, people said this week that this was a big, big week for African-Americans and it was.