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AMERICAN MORNING

Obama Talks About the Economy and Links McCain to Bush's Policies; Gas Prices Hurt Americans; Will Bill Clinton Campaign for Obama?; Obama Campaign Seeks Evangelical Voters

Aired June 10, 2008 - 06:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And Bo Derek is joining us this morning.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: John is very excited about that.

ROBERTS: Looking forward to that.

PHILLIPS: Remember she's got the braids and the beads.

ROBERTS: I met her once at the White House. She's very, very nice, and she'll be joining us to talk about the important issue of trafficking and wildlife. Very important. Remember we did something on that in "Planet in Peril" last year.

PHILLIPS: That's right. Actually even Anderson Cooper is in Rwanda right now working on part two of that series.

ROBERTS: He is. We'll be talking about that this morning, but we begin with the "Most Politics in the Morning."

Barack Obama trying to win over voters by putting more money in some pockets and taking money out of the pockets of others. As the general election campaign gets under way, both candidates are trying to claim issue number one as their own.

Senator Obama is on day two of his two-week tour of swing states touting his plan to fix the economy. It's a plan that includes a second stimulus check, tax breaks for the middle class, and new taxes on business. He's also hoping to slow down the McCain campaign by saddling him with a whole set of baggage from the George Bush label.

CNN's Jessica Yellin kicks off our coverage of issue number one this morning from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Barack Obama on the economy.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: It is time to try something new. It is time for a change.

YELLIN: In his first policy speech of the general election, the presumptive Democratic nominee repeatedly tied his opponent to George Bush whom he mentioned 15 times. OBAMA: Senator McCain wants to turn Bush's policy of too little too late into a policy of even less even later. The centerpiece of John McCain's economic plan amounts to a full throated endorsement of George Bush's policies.

YELLIN: He charged McCain with flip-flopping, once opposing now supporting Bush's tax cuts. And he accused McCain of supporting policy that would give the oil conglomerate Exxon Mobil $1.2 billion in tax breaks.

OBAMA: That isn't just irresponsible, it's outrageous.

YELLIN: The McCain campaign fired back insisting Obama doesn't understand the economy, has repeatedly voted to raise taxes, and is making claims that cannot be verified because "there are not enough specifics."

OBAMA: A week from today I'll be talking about this long-term agenda in more detail.

YELLIN: He did outline a number of short-term proposals including a $50 billion economic stimulus package in part to extend unemployment benefits and create a $10 billion fund to help folks facing foreclosure. A mostly voluntary health care program that would lower premiums to $2,500 for the average family.

A middle class tax cut to about 95 percent of Americans. A windfall profits tax on oil companies, and a $4,000 a year college tuition credit for students who volunteer after graduation. Obama is taking this pitch to battleground states over the next two weeks.

YELLIN (on camera): And the newest proposal of all, Barack Obama is suggesting another round of rebate checks. $20 billion worth. He says it will help struggling Americans, and he liked to see that enacted immediately. Jessica Yellin, CNN Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Meantime, Senator Obama's campaign continues secret meetings to find a running mate. Two members of his vice presidential search team met privately with Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Top House and Senate Democratic leaders said discussions were "good and long" and a lot of names were mentioned.

PHILLIPS: Also new this morning, President Bush kicks off the first leg of his European tour. He's in Slovenia where he'll take part in the annual U.S. European Union Summit. World leaders are expected to issue a joint statement to Iran warning Tehran could face more sanctions if it refuses to give up its nuclear program.

They'll also discuss the rising price of oil and Afghanistan. The president's farewell tour also includes lavish dinners and visits to country castles.

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan will testify before a House committee next week to answer questions about accusations that he made against the Bush administration involving the CIA leak scandal in his new bombshell tell-all book. McClellan suggests that senior White House officials may have obstructed justice and engaged in a cover-up, and he says publicly that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney "directed me to go out there and exonerate Scooter Libby."

ROBERTS: New this morning, North Korea says it is committed to fighting terrorism and nuclear disarmament in an apparent attempt to get its name off of a U.S. black list. A senior U.S. State Department official is in the region today holding meetings with North Korean negotiators about work currently underway to disable activities at the communist state's nuclear plant.

As Americans start to change their driving and commuting habits, the price of gasoline continues to soar above $4.04 a gallon this morning. According to AAA, that's another new record. Twenty-three states plus Washington, D.C. now have average prices above four bucks.

PHILLIPS: Also new this morning, Senator Ted Kennedy back home before beginning chemotherapy and radiation at Massachusetts General Hospital this week. He told reporters it was good to be home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Good to see you. Happy to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you?

KENNEDY: Glad to see you all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Both Kennedy and his wife Vicki went sailing hours after he came home. The chief surgeon at Duke University says the 76- year-old senator is making an excellent recovery after undergoing risky brain surgery a week ago.

New concerns this morning about the safety of the nation's blood supply. The American Red Cross hit with nearly $2 million fine after an FDA review found red blood cells being cleaned improperly and then given to patients in transfusions. The "Washington Post" citing incidents back in 2006 and even last year, and the Red Cross says that the violations didn't endanger any patients. The organization has been fined more than $21 million for safety lapses over the past five years.

Now, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, they all say that they're going to stop serving sliced tomatoes in all of their sandwiches after a 16-state salmonella outbreak. The CDC says that at least 145 people have been infected since mid April. Wal-Mart and other grocery store chains are no longer selling the red plum, roma and round red varieties until the source of that outbreak is identified.

ROBERTS: Some good news on the crime front this Tuesday morning. Violent crime is down across the country for the first time in three years. An FBI report says overall violent crime dropped 1.4 percent last year. In major cities with more than a million people showed the most significant drops in murders, robberies and assaults. Preliminary figures also show fewer personal property crimes and arsons.

But plenty of criminals continue to commit violence even in the courtroom. Cameras were rolling when a convicted felon charged with murder punched another man in this Miami court.

Mitchell Lee Simpson had just been denied bail when he turned around and slugged the man behind him. No apparent reason given for that. Just happened to be in the way. Authorities not saying if he'll face additional charges for that attack.

PHILLIPS: The high price of gas forcing Americans to cut back on other spending. How are you coping? We're going to have the results of this new CNN poll ahead.

Also, extreme weather and extreme damage. Homes have been ripped apart and washed down a river. These pictures we're bringing to you -- yes, tough to see. Nature could actually turn pretty nasty today.

And what's next for Bill Clinton? He could still hit the trail for Barack Obama, but does Obama want him? Weighing political risk and rewards straight ahead on this AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Gee, I wonder if we can all guess what "ISSUE #1" is.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You got to know something about the price of plastics.

(CROSSTALK)

Gas, once again unfortunately. If it's me, it's got to be more gas.

It is -- this is a good thing that this isn't a live show. We'll just edit that part out.

Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING, everybody. I'm Ali Velshi and I'm watching -- I'm "Minding Your Business" and that's about gas today.

$4.04 for a gallon. That's a new record. One day I'll come in here and there won't be a record. But the bottom line is those of you out there actually think that gas prices are going up.

A CNN/Opinion Research poll that we have taken indicates that fully 59 percent of you expect the price of gas to hit $5 a year. Twenty-seven percent of you think it's somewhat likely. Only 13 percent of you are hoping that maybe it doesn't go there, and I don't know whether that means you think gas is going to stay where it is or go down. But 59 percent of you think it's going up. Now, has it made you cut back in your household spending? Again, 55 percent of you are saying yes. You've seen a cutback in your household spending because of the price of gasoline. Forty-four percent say no.

Has the price of gas made you cut back significantly on your driving? We know from the Department of Transportation that Americans have cut back on their driving. Look at this.

Two-thirds of you say you'll cut back on your driving compared to a third of you who say no. And I assume a third of you who say no either are really rich or you are in a situation where you can't cut back because...

PHILLIPS: You own a gas station.

VELSHI: Yes, something like that.

And has it made you consider getting a fuel efficient car? Kyra, we talk about this all the time. What is it when we say people are changing their habits? What is it that they're doing to change their habits?

Well, 71 percent of you have considered getting a fuel efficient car. Twenty-nine percent of you haven't. The interesting thing is of the 71 percent who have considered it, that doesn't mean you have actually done it. It just means it's a serious conversation for the next time you get a car.

So interesting that as we've discussed, these prices of gasoline are forcing people to change their minds. This is a fresh poll. Interesting to see as we go above $4 and stay there for a while whether even more people come along.

PHILLIPS: Except for John. You keep your gas guzzler, but your son's being very eco-friendly.

ROBERTS: My son bought a hybrid. He drove it on the weekend.

VELSHI: Yes.

ROBERTS: It's fabulous.

VELSHI: Fifty, 60, what are we saying it gets up to? Fifty miles per gallon?

ROBERTS: Well, he watches the fuel meter.

VELSHI: Yes.

ROBERTS: And he, you know, cries out 60 miles to the gallon. Dad, look at this.

PHILLIPS: He's easy like his dad.

(CROSSTALK) ROBERTS: Yes. It's interesting.

VELSHI: You also have a motorcycle and a bicycle, so you even it out.

ROBERTS: And I walk a lot, too.

VELSHI: And you walk a lot. There you go.

ROBERTS: Ali, thanks. We'll see you again soon.

VELSHI: OK.

ROBERTS: Coming up on the "Most News in the Morning," it's normally a Republican turf but Barack Obama has a plan to bring religious voters into his flock. Will it work and what does John McCain need to do to hang on to evangelical voters?

And destructive flooding in the Midwest. Homes washed away by rising waters. Rob Marciano is tracking the extreme weather for us. Unbelievable pictures there, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, dramatic video, John. Good morning, everybody. We're watching the flooding situation. That rain moving to the east where they desperately need it.

Extreme record heat across the northeast and the southeast. We run it down when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARCIANO: Wow. Imagine that's your house. That looked new, too. My goodness.

We're seeing some incredible pictures of destruction from floods in the Midwest. This is one of several homes in Wisconsin washed away after an embankment gave way along Lake Delton, and then things kind of got bad and went to worse, and that thing just floated downstream. My goodness, that is just awful, awful stuff.

Good morning, everybody. I'm Rob Marciano.

The rains moving out of Wisconsin just a little bit and into Michigan, but still flood warnings are out and there's still a little batch of showers that wants to move through the southwest corner of the states. But for the most part we'll start to see things dry out.

Still flash flood watches and warnings out for the southwest corner of that state. But this is all on the move to the east. Some of these thunderstorms could get severe. As a matter of fact, we have a moderate risk of severe weather across parts of Upstate New York and eastern Pennsylvania later on today.

Boy, you have the heat yesterday, didn't you? Check out some of these daytime highs. New York City, LaGuardia, 99 degrees. And these records have been -- the records that were broken, 1933. So they've been around a lot.

Newark, New Jersey, 99. Atlantic City, 98, 96 Providence. Syracuse, New York Upstate, but wait there's more. Let's go to the southeast, not ignore our friends down here.

Macon, Georgia, 100; Charlotte, North Carolina, Raleigh, North Carolina, 99; Columbus, Georgia, 99; Atlanta, 98 degrees.

All right, let's talk heat right now across the northeast. Eighty-one degrees, the current temperature in New York. 63 in Boston. A little bit cooler there because of the ocean. Still chilly as the Atlantic, so you want to cool off?

Common sense, go to the beach. Seventy-six right now in Philadelphia. You factor in that heat index, what it feels like. Temps go up just a little bit because that humidity is just creeping up there as well.

All right. I mentioned that the threat for severe weather damaging winds, isolated tornadoes. That's all possible as this cool front slides into this really hot and humid air.

All right. Time for your "AM Extra" now. Let's talk about this heat index. It's something we're going to be talking about for the entire summer.

It's what your body feels like in the summertime. Your sweat actually evaporates and that helps cool your body, but the higher the humidity is the lesser evaporation there is so it just feels a lot worse.

What do you think that equation looks like? It's nasty. Thank god we have computers. But as far as what a number plus a number would mean for you, say if your temperature was 90 degrees, and your humidity was 60 percent. That would round about -- it would feel like 100 degrees.

You just bump that temperature up by five degrees with the same relative humidity of 60 percent and that temperature then feels like 113 degrees. So right now, we have heat warnings and heat advisories out for much of the northeast and the I-95 corridor because of temperatures that will feel like 100 to 113 degrees. Guys, try to stay cool up there.

PHILLIPS: OK, Rob.

ROBERTS: That's some fuzzy map, Rob.

PHILLIPS: Rob, I'm totally confused, pal. It doesn't make sense. Can we go back to the math?

MARCIANO: You want to talk math?

PHILLIPS: Yes, give me 95 --

(CROSSTALK) ROBERTS: Degrees plus 60 percent --

PHILLIPS: Degrees plus 60 percent --

MARCIANO: Don't look at it as a plus because you got two different -- you got percentage and you've got degrees. So it's really a combination of the two, OK.

PHILLIPS: OK.

ROBERTS: It's hot.

MARCIANO: Did we pop up the actually equation that you --

PHILLIPS: Yes, there's a natural equation. That's what threw us.

MARCIANO: Yes, that's -- now, you want to do math, you help yourself. But in my opinion, that's why we have computers.

ROBERTS: OK. There you go.

MARCIANO: Is that not the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen?

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: Yes, that totally makes sense at 6:17 in the morning.

ROBERTS: We'll stay away from that.

PHILLIPS: I get it.

MARCIANO: We use a chart.

ROBERTS: What would you say?

MARCIANO: Ninety, 100.

ROBERTS: It's hot out there.

PHILLIPS: There you go.

ROBERTS: Rob, thanks.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

PHILLIPS: We got the "Most Politics in the Morning" as well, including all the math.

But Hillary Clinton's campaign is over. Is there still a role though for Bill Clinton in Barack Obama's campaign, or will the presumptive nominee say thanks but no thanks?

ROBERTS: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, face-off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: Go ahead. Make my day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: How two top directors got in a war of words over World War II. Clint Eastwood drops a bomb on Spike Lee ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Twenty minutes after the hour and the "Most News in the Morning."

Bill Clinton was a controversial presence in his wife's campaign. The question now, what role, if any, will he play in the effort to get Barack Obama elected in November.

CNN's Brian Todd has got more on that from Washington.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Kyra.

You know, the Democratic Party is full of talk about unity these days but Bill Clinton's role is still an uncertain one. Thanks to the bumps and bruises of the primary season.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): Just two days after his wife gave up the bid he campaigned so hard for, Bill Clinton is at the United Nations for a meeting on stopping the spread of AIDS.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Secretary-general, it's good to be back at the U.N.

TOOD: But will there be a role for him in the rest of the presidential campaign?

For months he spoke to thousands of Democrats campaigning vigorously for his wife.

CLINTON: You will never have a chance to vote for someone who cares more, who has done more, and who will do more as president.

TODD: Sometimes bruising feelings of Barack Obama supporters along the way like when he said Obama's early opposition to the war was being exaggerated.

CLINTON: Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He will need to say some things along the way. That shows that he appreciates that in his utter, on his enthusiasm for his wife, he may have gone over the line a few times and he regrets that. You know, that's going to help a lot. TODD: His admirers say he is a skilled campaigner, a foreign policy heavyweight, and a reminder of good economic times. But he can also veer off message.

JOE KLEIN, "TIME" MAGAZINE COLUMNIST: There may be places he can help Obama like Arkansas, for example. But I would expect that given his tendency to pop off, Clinton now is not a very safe bet.

TODD: Al Gore kept him at arm's length during the 2000 race, but so far kind words from Barack Obama.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: I think Bill Clinton has enormous talent, and I would welcome him campaigning for me.

TODD: If Obama's team gives the former president a prime speaking slot at the August convention, that could be one sure indication that they will tap him to campaign for them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: And there's at least one very good fit in that arrangement. Analysts point out Bill Clinton really hit home with lower income white Americans who benefited from his years as president, and that's an area where Barack Obama needs some shoring up. John and Kyra, back to you.

PHILLIPS: All right. Brian Todd this morning for us.

And keeping the faith. Barack Obama has a plan to attract religious voters away from the GOP. Will it work? We're going to take a look, coming up.

ROBERTS: And sure, exercise is good for your waistline, but it can also prevent addiction to drugs and alcohol?

PHILLIPS: Plus, the wild beauty technique winning rave reviews at one spa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a first for me. I've had Derma microdermabrasion and the brightenings (ph), but this is the first time I've ever tried poop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Come on.

PHILLIPS: A little bird droppings to get you beautiful in the morning. You won't want to miss this. Nice.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: And welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." Barack Obama stepping on what's traditionally been Republican turf, the GOP's religious base. Obama has got a new plan to woo young evangelical and Catholic voters to the Democratic Party. It's called the Joshua Generation Project.

David Brody, senior national correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network, joins me live from Washington, of course, to talk all that.

David, great to see you.

DAVID BRODY, SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CBN: Hey, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: OK. So can this really work especially given Obama's stance on issues like abortion?

BRODY: Well, the Obama campaign believes it can work, and we're about to find out. I mean, I think what we're looking at here is winning somewhat on the margins. I mean, can the Obama campaign attract the moderate evangelical? You know, what is the moderate evangelical?

I mean, the Obama campaign is not going after the ardent pro-life and pro-marriage crowd here when they're repealing to evangelicals or real conservative Catholics. They're looking to broaden the discussion, broaden the agenda. Poverty, Darfur, climate change.

And Kyra, what's the most important element of this is that they have been doing this now for over a year. Now the Joshua Generation Project, that's new. But the grassroots effort all the time spent in what we've been calling these faith forms, all across the country in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, and everywhere across the country, they have mobilized across this country and they have a leg up on the McCain campaign.

PHILLIPS: Well, Barack Obama spoke at the CNN "Compassion Forum." It was back in April already talking about this issue. Let's just take a quick listen. I want to ask you something.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: Democrats need to get in church, reach out to evangelicals, link faith with the work that we do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: It seems like Obama is more comfortable talking about faith than John McCain. Do you think that's the case and if so, why?

BRODY: Well, there's no doubt he's more comfortable. It goes -- there's a couple reasons for that.

First of all, Barack Obama has a story to tell. I mean, he'll be the first to admit that he had a conversion moment, if you will, you know, to giving his life to Christ and he talks about that. You know, he also wants to talk about it obviously politically because there's been a lot of these, what he calls scurrilous e-mails out there about him being a supposed Muslim. He is not. He's a Christian, and he's talked about that. So he's going to make a point to talk about it.

John McCain, on the other hand, and one of the reasons he's had some problems with evangelicals is that evangelical leaders and many of the grassroots activists across this country will say privately that they want to hear John McCain talk a little bit more about his faith and how it relates to public policy.

John McCain is not into doing that at all. He may eventually have to give somewhat of a, as you would call it, a Romney Mormon speech on faith. I mean, it looks like we're going down that road at some point. Will John McCain actually deliver a speech about faith and his faith specifically?

PHILLIPS: Something more of a challenge for John McCain. You know, you bring up something interesting about Barack Obama and the fact that he sort of had this conversion, like becoming a born again Christian. If you're not raised in a Christian family or raised in the church, there is something that happens to you when you make that decision as an adult, yes?

BRODY: Oh, there's no doubt about it. And so, what happens is with Barack Obama is that he'll go through this and he will continue to talk about it. And he makes no bones about it that his life did change back in the '80s when he gave his life to Christ. And so, he is going to talk about it and he's going to continue on with his campaign theme, the research. The religious outreach team no doubt will have this narrative all the way through September all the way until November.

PHILLIPS: David Brody, always good to see you.

BRODY: Thanks, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. John?

ROBERTS: Twenty-nine minutes after the hour. Let's recap the top stories of the morning now.

Gasoline prices hitting a new record today. According to AAA, the new national average more than $4.04 a gallon. That's 96 cents higher than last year.

President Bush is on the first full day of what will likely be his last trip to Europe. He's attending a summit today with European Union leaders in Slovenia. They're expected to warn Iran that it could face harsher sanctions if it doesn't abandon its nuclear program.

And both presidential candidates are concentrating on the economy. Obama unveiled his economic plan blaming the Bush administration for current conditions and then took a swipe at his Republican component.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: This is not an argument between left or right, liberal or conservative. It's not liberal or conservative to say that we have tried it their way for eight long years, and it has failed. It is time to try something new. It is time for a change.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He's got a proposal that would raise taxes by $1.4 trillion over five years or raise spending -- excuse me -- raise spending $1.4 trillion over five years and no way to pay for his programs. That would put us further in debt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: McCain will talk about his economic plan today when he gives a keynote speech to a small business convention in Washington.

John McCain and Barack Obama have different strategies when it comes to Iraq, but both candidates are adjusting their views on the war as the news there changes.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr takes a look at how they're changing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The war in Iraq is going better, at least for now. And that may force Barack Obama, the anti-war candidate to rethink his strategy. Obama won over Democrats by promising to pull combat troops out of Iraq as soon as possible and have everyone out within 16 months except for a residual force.

OBAMA: We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. But we -- but start leaving we must.

STARR: But last month, the number of U.S. troops killed was the lowest ever. IED and sniper attacks all on the decline. Obama knows this isn't the time to sound like a cut and run commander-in-chief.

OBAMA: I never say there is nothing or never or no way in which I change my mind.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Barack Obama has to stand for the proposition that good news in Iraq is good news for America. That he's not for losing this war.

STARR: Obama has shifted focus.

OBAMA: I am absolutely convinced that the best thing we can do is to set a clear timetable and tell Iraqis we are going to start pulling out.

STARR: John McCain once suggested a willingness to keep troops in Iraq in some capacity for the next hundred years.

MCCAIN: I will never surrender in Iraq. I will never surrender in Iraq.

STARR: Now he says he hopes most could be out by 2013. And don't expect any letup in McCain's criticism of Obama for lack of military experience.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama was driven to his position by etiology and not by the facts on the ground. And he just not have a knowledge or experience to make the judgments.

STARR: Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Alina Cho.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lots of headlines. Good morning, guys. And good morning, everybody.

New this morning, big oil could be facing a new windfall tax. A vote is expected in the Senate today. Senate Democrats are in favor of the tax on the five biggest U.S. oil companies and also want to take back $17 billion in tax breaks. Republicans opposed the plan.

New clues this morning that exercise will help more than just your waistline. Researchers say it can also help prevent drug and alcohol addiction. Researchers say women who smoked were twice as likely to kick the habit if they exercised at least three times a week. They also gained only half as much weight. Similar results were found in a study of Teens and Tweens.

And the latest in spa treatments. Listen up, guys. A bird poop facial as they're calling it. For $200, a New York spa is offering the treatment.

PHILLIPS: 200 bucks?

CHO: Yes, 200 bucks. It uses what it calls all-natural ingredients. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHIZUKA BERNSTEIN, SHIZUKA DAY SPA: And then we use nightingale droppings.

MINDY LUBELL, GETTING POOP FACIAL: This is a first for me. I've had Derma Microdermabrasions and the brightenings but this is the first time I've ever tried poop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: And maybe the last. The nightingale droppings, by the way, are the old secret ingredient Japanese Kabuki actors and geisha's used to remove makeup. The spa's owner says it works great to brighten, heal, and retexturize the skin. All for 200 bucks.

A reminder, if you're concern about the smell, by the way, the droppings are combined with rice brand to take care of that problem.

I mean I've tried a lot of spa treatments over the years. Not sure of that one.

ROBERTS: OK. We showed a picture of a pigeon. They're not using pigeon droppings.

CHO: They're not. They're using nightingale droppings.

PHILLIPS: I was going to say because I got pigeons on my stoop --

(CROSSTALK)

CHO: I think that's just for the effect to send the message. (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERTS: Do you know if there's any difference between pigeon and nightingale droppings?

CHO: I'm not entirely well versed on that.

PHILLIPS: Could you get on that for us.

CHO: I will.

PHILLIPS: Could you research that?

(CROSSTALK)

CHO: I'd love to.

ROBERTS: Bo Derek and more coming up on AMERICAN MORNING. Stay with us.

PHILLIPS: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, tough talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead. Make my day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: The bear knuckle fight between two Hollywood heavyweights. What Clint Eastwood said to Spike Lee that set him off ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: And welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." A big jump in the unemployment rate has many Americans looking for work. Our Deborah Feyerick talked with one worker who is undergoing a drastic career change. DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kyra, imagine you have your life planned out -- good job, decent salary, and then it ends. Well, that's the position many people including autoworkers are in these days -- forced to start over.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK (voice-over): 38-year-old Michael Almada grew up in Michigan. Knowing he was destined to work at one of the big three car makers.

MICHAEL ALMADA, NURSING STUDENT: My father and my cousins worked at Ford. A lot of friends I knew worked at Ford. It's a big family.

FEYERICK: But the auto industry got hit hard. Shifts were cut. Overtime pay disappeared. And after almost ten years handling heavy machinery, Almada realized it was time for plan B.

Did you know immediately that you were going to go into nursing?

ALMADA: Pretty much because I gave it some thought when the rumors of buyout were happening.

FEYERICK: In fact, nursing is one of the most popular new jobs in Michigan for out of work autoworkers like Almada. The pay is good. Demand is high. And in many cases automakers are picking up the tab. Four years of tuition for training as part of certain buyout packages.

Did you think about long-term when you made the change?

ALMADA: Sure. There's never going to be a shortage of sick people, you know.

FEYERICK: Almada who is married and who spent five years as an Army medic just finished his second year at Michigan's Oakland University. Tasondra Watkins, a former doodler Chrysler assembly line worker will graduate from there as a nurse in January.

TASONDRA WATKINS, NURSING STUDENT: From the plant I came from, there were a lot of people talking about starting nursing programs because we know that the medical profession primarily nursing has a shortage.

FEYERICK: And even though Almada thinks the auto industry likely pays more than nursing, he says he has no regrets. In fact, some of his cousins still work at the plant.

ALMADA: Being on the outside of it actually feels a lot better than being on the inside.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: Starting over can be scary at any age, but between nursing and environmental green-collar jobs, optimist say its just a matter of knowing where to look and possibly being willing to move.

John?

Kyra?

ROBERTS: Deborah Feyerick for us this morning. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning." Two Hollywood heavyweights battling it out. The feud between Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WEATHER REPORT)

ROBERTS: It's the dog days. Rob, thanks.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: All right.

ROBERTS: Two of Hollywood's biggest stars are going to war over their war movies.

Brooke Anderson now with the "Most News in the Morning" on the feud between Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: John and Kyra, it's a war of words about the depiction of war. Director Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood at each other over race and history on film.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): He's known for tough talking.

CLINT EASTWOOD, "DIRTY HARRY": Go ahead. Make my day.

ANDERSON: He's known for hard-hitting films.

DENZEL WASHINGTON, "MALCOLM X": We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

ANDERSON: Now, Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee, two of America's most respected directors have gone after each other in an escalating verbal battle. "A guy like Spike should shut his face" and "Clint sounds like an angry old man" are just two of the barbs tossed at each other.

It all began at the Cannes Film Festival, where Lee, promoting his upcoming World War II film about black soldiers, criticized Eastwood's movies -- "Letters from Iwo Jima" and "Flags of our Fathers" for failing to depict African American-soldiers.

For Honeycutt of the "Hollywood Reporter" believes the criticism is unfair.

KIRK HONEYCUTT, CHIEF FILM CRITIC, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": One movie was about flying the flag at the top of Iwo Jima -- "Flags of our Fathers." And those characters were all white save for one Indian character role cast that way. This was about people who are largely white. The second movie, "Letters from Iwo Jima" was about the Japanese Army. And I don't think the Japanese Army had any black soldiers in it.

ANDERSON: Eastwood, who after explaining the films were historically accurate, advised Lee to, quote, "Shut his face." Lee then blasted Eastwood through abcnews.com hinting at racism, quote, "The man is not my father and we're not on a plantation. He sounds like an angry old man."

Mark Sawyer, Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics at UCLA asserts Lee's take on Eastwood's films has merit.

MARK SAWYER, DIRECTOR, UCLA: It's a fair criticism in general about films about World War II and American wars in general. Clint Eastwood's films was sort of bearing the burden of hundreds of films about World War II that have ignored the presence of African-American troops.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Lee and Eastwood both declined requests for interviews. Eastwood's representative tells CNN he was not misquoted but has nothing more to add. Lee told abcnews.com, quote, "I'm going to take the Obama high road and end it right here."

John?

Kyra?

ROBERTS: Brooke Anderson this morning. Brooke, thanks.

PHILLIPS: Well, faith and medicine. Some doctors refusing to treat patients because of their religious beliefs. Is it legal? You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, eating green.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been known as bland and, you know, granola and tofu and kind of hippy.

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PHILLIPS: Could going vegan help the environment and sit well with your stomach?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's so good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Saving the environment. Alina Cho compares menus to miles per gallon, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: When a doctor's faith conflicts with their patient's treatment, the road to recovery can become more difficult. But is that impossible? What legal options do you have if a doctor refuses treatment?

AMERICAN MORNING's legal analyst Sunny Hostin is here to explain.

So, you've got doctors denying patient's treatment because of religious beliefs. Is that legal?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think the short answer, Kyra, is that it's legal and that it's been happening for a very long time. This is a debate that's been going on in the medical profession. It's been going on in the legal community. And the bottom line is doctors feel very strongly that they are allowed on firm moral grounds to really refuse treatment.

And 16 states now allow doctors to refuse sterilization. 46 states have laws that allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions. And so, there are many, many cases now that are at the forefront.

Men are being refused of vasectomies at Catholic hospitals. Rape victims are being refused the morning after pill. Lesbians are being refused IBF treatments. And so the question is -- a patient's rights or a doctor's right to freedom of religion?

PHILLIPS: Wow. It's interesting because I have noticed a lot of med schools now have doctors taking spirituality classes and talking about spirituality in medicine. Do you think that these cases have made an impact on how doctors view faith and medicine?

HOSTIN: You know, I don't think so. I interviewed a lot of doctors last night in preparation and research for the story, and most doctors felt very, very strongly that they had the right to refuse medical treatment. And the New England Journal of Medicine study in 2007 really proved that.

If you look 63 percent say it's OK to tell patients about their moral objections. 18 percent felt no obligation whatsoever to refer patients elsewhere.

And one distinction that I think is important that some of the doctors that I spoke to said, "Emergency care is one thing. We are going to save lives as is our oath. But these elective procedures in office we have no requirement to do that."

So I think it's a case that we should be watching but I think that patients need to ask their doctors what their beliefs are when they are seeking treatment because they may not get the treatment that they want.

PHILLIPS: And it's interesting. And then dealing with death is a whole another story. I mean, I remember, you know, doctors that when they have that sort of spiritual sense that makes things easier sometimes.

HOSTIN: Absolutely. Absolutely. So it's really a fascinating topic.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Sunny.

HOSTIN: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: All right. Well, don't forget to e-mail Sunny your legal questions. Drop her a line at sunnyslaw@cnn.com or log on to our Web site, cnn.com/am. She'll answer your e-mails on Friday.

Zeroing in on issue no. 1.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We need change that works for the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Barack Obama's answer to the economy and McCain lays out his plan to ease your pain.

And a planet in peril. A legal wildlife traffickers in the crosshairs. Former actress and sex symbol, Bo Derek, on her mission to shut down the billion-dollar black market.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Coming up on "American Morning," Divine inspiration.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democrats have gotten religion.

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PHILLIPS: A big shift in the fight for the right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans have turned agnostic.

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PHILLIPS: A look at a brand new battle ground, ahead on "American Morning."

ROBERTS: It's coming up now on five minutes to the top of the hour. CNN is traveling the world again for a follow-up to our important "PLANET IN PERIL" series.

One of the critical issues that we zeroed in on was the illegal trade in wildlife and its impact on the planet. Well, now, some big name celebrities are lending their voice to the issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRISON FORD, ACTOR: If somebody tells you don't worry about the slaughter of tigers and elephants, there are lots of them out there, don't buy it. And if they say it's fine to buy products made from animals facing extinction, definitely don't buy it. Never buy illegal wildlife products. When buying stops, the killing can, too.

You said it, pal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Also taking part in this fight is actress Bo Derek. She is the special envoy to the Secretary of State for wildlife trafficking issues and she joins us now live from our Washington bureau.

Bo, it's good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

BO DEREK, ACTRESS: Thank you. My pleasure.

ROBERTS: With all of the economic problems that a lot of people are facing these days, this might not be an issue that's high on their radar screen. Why should it be?

DEREK: Well, for instance, tigers, they're going to be extinct in our lifetime if we don't do something about it very soon. And for me, the message of public awareness trying to reduce demand is all important.

As you've seen we've been able to create parks and use the most sophisticated law enforcement to protect these animals in the wild. If we don't reduce demand, I don't see there's any way possible to protect these animals. As long as there's a big price on their head, you can't even really judge cultures and other countries for taking advantage of that.

Ultimately, it's the buyer who is responsible. So, how's that animal's death on their hands?

ROBERTS: It's not just tigers that we're talking about here. There are a lot of other species as well. What are some of the other animals and what are they used for? Do people buy them as pets or they use to make products out of it?

DEREK: Combination. The biggest consumer is in China and throughout Asia and that goes anywhere from sharks for shark's fin soup, which is -- I mean the numbers may be down 90 percent in the past 15 years.

There are 100 million sharks a year being killed for shark's fin soups. So when you -- and that's just a process of finning. They hack the fins off and throw body back into the sea.

And with this new global economy, species are just being decimated -- the rhino, reptiles. What was really embarrassing and shocking for me is that the U.S. is number two in consuming endangered wildlife. That's something we should be able to do. And when you have someone like Harrison Ford, I think he can probably get the message across better than anybody.

In Asia, we have Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, a bunch of Asian pop icons trying to get the message out as well.

ROBERTS: As I mentioned just a couple of seconds ago, this was a major focus of our "PLANET IN PERIL" series. Anderson Cooper did a big investigation of animal trafficking in Thailand and he spoke with the Steve Galster of the Wildlife Alliance about the importance of stopping trafficking.

Let's listen to what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's human beings being traded. Why focus on animals?

STEVE GALSTER, WILDLIFE ALLIANCE: Wildlife laws were made by people, really for people. It's based on a large body of scientific evidence that suggests when you take one species out of an ecosystem, it has a knock-on effect to every other species, including us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: So, he's saying, Bo, that trafficking in wildlife -- illegal trafficking in wildlife has an effect on the human population. What kind of an effect does it have?

DEREK: Well, it does in many ways. The black market is the same whether it's the same criminals, the same degradation of society, whether it's drugs, arms, humans, and wildlife trafficking falls in some studies right below drugs above arms and above human trafficking in the black market.

ROBERTS: Yes, I think $10 to $20 billion a year industry. This public service announcement that we showed Harrison Ford in obviously designed to raise public awareness. But what can the average American do to try to help the situation?

DEREK: Harrison said don't buy it. A lot of Americans when they're traveling will buy something and certainly the person selling you the product whether it's a bottle out of (INAUDIBLE) shell, still elephant ivories being sold overseas. Just don't buy it.

A lot of reptile hides are in danger -- reptiles are in danger. And things are just still being sold all over the world out of these products.

ROBERTS: Well, that's a very important issue. We'll continue to cover it. Bo Derek, thanks for being with us this morning. Good to see you.

DEREK: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: John, Bo Derek no longer a 10. She's an 11. She's 12.

ROBERTS: She's smiling.

PHILLIPS: Yes, she is. Wow.

ROBERTS: She's in a kind of leave me alone sort of way.

PHILLIPS: Yes, exactly. Wow. Well, you're watching the "Most News in the Morning." Right now, it's almost 7:00 a.m. in the morning, Eastern Time. Here's the headlines on this Tuesday.

Hazy, hot, humid, the east coast getting slammed today with temperatures now pretty much over 100 degrees in many cities. The heat had so many people using their air conditioners yesterday that the operator of the region's power grid actually reported extremely high demand and tight supply.

And washed away after days of heavy rains, Lake Delton in Wisconsin is overflowing and this is what can happen. Look at these homes swept away by the raging current. 30 counties in the state are now disaster areas.

And danger averted so says Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. He's predicting that the economy may avoid a, quote, "substantial downturn at a conference last night." Bernanke also said that despite the big jump in unemployment, other factors should offset the impact of high gas prices and that jump in jobless numbers.

Well, the market and your money on John McCain's mind this morning.