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AMERICAN MORNING

North Korea to Reveal Nuclear Activities; New York City Waterfalls Roars to Life; North Korea Nuclear Declaration Submitted; Ralph Nader Accuses Obama of "Talking White"; Two Media Watchdog Groups Taking on Music Channels MTV and BET; Converting Your Car to Run on Oil

Aired June 26, 2008 - 06:00   ET

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


ANNOUNCER: Breaking news. North Korea reveals nuclear secrets the day before it plans to blow up a reactor.
UNIDENTIFIED: To all intents and purposes there will be no more ability to create nuclear weapons.

The worldwide resources of CNN are inside North Korea this morning.

Plus, a new use for the fryer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're driving behind me, you're probably going to get a craving for McDonald's.

The guy who's driven 60,000 miles on the stuff that drips off french fries. On this AMERICAN MORNING.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: You said you're going to give me something.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I am.

CHETRY: All right. Let's have it.

ROBERTS: Aren't you going to say hello first.

CHETRY: Good morning. And thanks so much for being with us on this Thursday. It is the 26th of June.

All right. Now, hand it over.

ROBERTS: OK. Take a look. Take a look at this. There's a beautiful picture to start your day.

CHETRY: That's the gift?

ROBERTS: That's the gift. It's a beautiful picture of downtown New York on a sunny day. Look at this.

It's 6:00 in the morning. The sun's up. It's going to be a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful day.

CHETRY: All right. Well, then let's get out and make the most of it. There's another great shot.

ROBERTS: Look at this. Brooklyn Bridge.

CHETRY: Brooklyn Bridge this morning.

ROBERTS: And they're starting a waterfall on the Brooklyn Bridge later on this morning which we're going to cover.

CHETRY: Yes, this is going to be great. This is one of the biggest public works art project that's happening. It's going to be gorgeous and we will bring it to you.

ROBERTS: So a bright start to your day this morning.

CHETRY: Thank you.

ROBERTS: First, a breaking news though from Beijing. A U.S. official says North Korea is about to hand over key information about its nuclear activities. Once that happens President Bush is expected to speak about removing North Korea from Washington's list of states that sponsor terrorism and lifting some sanctions against Pyongyang.

All of these leads up to the highly symbolic implosion of a cooling tower, one of North Korea's main nuclear reactors. That is expected to take place tomorrow.

CNN's Zain Verjee is live in Washington now for us with how it's all going to go down. Good morning, Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. There are going to be some pretty dramatic moments in the coming hours. One of which is the blowing up of that cooling tower of North Korea's main nuclear reactor. It's going to be part show, part substance. I spoke to one nuclear expert about what it all means.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE: We're with John Wolfsthal. He's been following North Korea since the 1980s. This is Yongbyon. It's North Korea's main nuclear facility. Here is where they produce the plutonium to make nuclear weapons. And there it is, the cooling tower. Is the destruction meaningful?

JOHN WOLFSTHAL, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, this is a critical piece of equipment for the nuclear reactor. Without this facility, the reactor can't operate and can't produce more plutonium for weapons. You can see here that the facility has been cleaned out in preparation for the destruction. The equipment has been put some place else for monitoring.

VERJEE: The verification is now the key process because the question is, is North Korea really committed to giving up the plutonium? And you need to get in there.

WOLFSTHAL: That's right. We don't trust North Korea. We don't take them at their word. We need to get people on the ground. We need to be taking samples. We need to put together basically a jigsaw puzzle from pieces of data without really seeing the cover of the box. VERJEE: You were there. You took some pictures of the really bad stuff. This is what we wanted to get our hands on, right?

WOLFSTHAL: That's right. This is the spent fuel that came out of the reactor in the early 1990s. Under the Clinton administration, this was under monitoring. Under the Bush administration, it was actually turned into nuclear weapons. We're now trying to get it back under control.

VERJEE: What does this whole process -- North Korea does something, the U.S. does something -- what does it mean for a future administration, either Obama or McCain?

WOLFSTHAL: Well, it gives the future administration something to pick up on. If we were deadlocked as we were a couple of years ago, there would be nothing to build on. Now, at least, we have something to keep trying to build off of.

VERJEE: Thanks so much, John Wolfsthal.

WOFLSTHAL: My pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE: Each move has been signaled pretty well in advance. According to the plan, John, after they get the declaration, the U.S. is going to do two things. It's first going to inform Congress that it wants to remove North Korea from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism. And also, the U.S. is going to lift sanctions on North Korea under the Trading With the Enemies Act. The two very significant moves -- John.

ROBERTS: How significant is the declaration itself, though? It seems this is a long way from full disclosure of everything that the U.S. is looking for, isn't it?

VERJEE: Absolutely. There is a long, long way to go. But this particular moment at this particular time, John, is pretty significant. It's a major development and a milestone in the actual process. Secretary of State Rice and the Bush administration, you know, haven't had a lot of wins. They've been dealing with Iraq, dealing with Afghanistan, a sputtering Mideast process.

But the problem is, is that this isn't going to be a complete declaration. There's not going to be a specific list of weapons. No weapon sites. No issue of dealing with the uranium program. Not dealing with the proliferation issues of transferring technology and know-how to Syria.

So there are a lot of shortfalls here and there are going to be a lot of critics that say this just isn't good enough and you know what, we cannot trust North Korea -- John.

ROBERTS: All right. Zain, I know you're going to be watching this story. We'll get back to you in just a little while on it as well. CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is in North Korea today. She is one of the few journalists who will actually witness part of the plant's destruction. We're going to talk to her live coming up a little bit later on this morning -- Kiran.

CHETRY: The Senate votes on a terror surveillance bill today after months of contentious debate. This is the bill that would protect telecommunications companies from lawsuits if they help the government conduct warrantless wiretaps after 9/11. Now, critics say it amounts to a "get out of jail free card for phone companies." Barack Obama now backs the bill after opposing it for nearly a year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Given that all the information I've received is that the underlying program itself actually is important and useful to American security as long as it has these constraints on them, I felt it was more important for me to go ahead and support this compromise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: So the bill passed the House last week and President Bush has already said he'll sign it. Meantime, a federal court has ruled the national security agency cannot be forced to disclose information about who was wiretapped.

And Barack Obama and John McCain do not agree on much these days. But both presidential candidates are criticizing the Supreme Court's decision to strike down executions for child rape cases. McCain calls it an assault on efforts to punish felons for a despicable crime, and Obama says the states should decide for themselves if the death penalty applies.

Also, a big win for big oil in the worst oil spill in the nation's history. The high court reducing the amount of punitive damages in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. It was at $2.5 billion. They reduced it down to $500 million deciding that the original fine was far too much under current shipping laws.

And the Supreme Court is expected to rule on three final cases today. Here's more in an "AM EXTRA" for you now.

The big one, gun control and a challenge to a 32-year-old ban on handguns in the nation's capital. Two minor rulings also expected, one on energy regulation and whether contracts or electric company strike during an energy crisis are valid. The other is on campaign finance and what's called the "Millionaire's Amendment," which eases spending limits for candidates up against wealthy self-financed opponents -- John.

ROBERTS: New this morning, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is denying that he wrote an editorial calling for U.N. peacekeepers ahead of tomorrow's run-off election. The op-ed appeared in a British newspaper yesterday, but today Tsvangirai issued a statement saying that he is not calling for military intervention. Tsvangirai dropped out of the reelection saying that he fears for his life.

And a follow up to a story that we first brought you yesterday. The police chief who ordered cops to raid a Mexico City nightclub has been charged with 12 counts of homicide. Prosecutors say he failed to give orders to let the kids out of the club. A video appears to show police forming a barrier on the stairway blocking one of the main exits. Nine young people and three police died during the stampede.

CHETRY: The army successfully shot down a ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean. That test was part of the military's missile defense program, and it was also the first time the system had to differentiate between the warhead and the body of a missile. The navy successfully completed its own test earlier this month. The defense system has intercepted 35 of 43 missiles since testing began in 2001.

Well, the U.S. military reportedly faces more than $100 billion in repairs for equipment. Vehicles and weapons worn out or destroyed, fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "USA Today" says that the massive repair bill may force the Pentagon to scrap plans to add more than 90,000 soldiers and marines to the ranks. Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, an outspoken critic of the Iraq war, says the Pentagon failed to plan for a long and expensive war and now we're all paying a heavy price for it.

ROBERTS: Seven and a half minutes after the hour. The Feds stands pat on interest rate saying the economic slowdown is not its biggest worry right now. Why inflation could be a killer in the months ahead.

CHETRY: Also, New York City's East River getting a $15 million makeover. Four waterfalls, each towering nearly 12 stories high. We're now less than an hour away until that falling water exhibit is turned on, and we're going to take you there live.

ROBERTS: Pretty spectacular stuff.

Plus, sex, violence and profanity on your TV. Two watchdog groups say they have had enough, and they are trying to strong arm two stations to clean up their act.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: We do need some relief. We need some relief from the high gas prices, and Allan Chernoff is here in our business update desk today to talk more about it with us.

Hi.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Let's start off. Good morning to you. And let's start off talking about the Federal Reserve.

Yesterday the Fed did leave interest rates unchanged at two percent. That is the Fed funds rate, and we'll get to the gasoline in just a second.

The Fed funds rate, that's the overnight bank lending rate. And you can see that the Fed has brought rates down quite a bit but they're leaving it unchanged right now. Now, why are they doing that?

Well, they certainly do want to make sure that banks are still able to borrow very cheaply. What does it mean for us? Well, it does affect some of our interest rates. Home equity loans, for example, but not mortgage rates.

Let's have a look at what's happened since the Fed started cutting interest rates. As you see, rates are actually higher right now. That's for the 30-year fixed rate -- 6.6 percent. Why is it that rates are higher?

Well, the Fed controls short-term interest rates, not long-term interest rates. Those are influenced more by inflation expectations, and let's have a look at what's happened to inflation since the Fed started cutting rates.

As you see, much higher right now. 4.2 percent. The Federal Reserve is clearly concerned about that high level of the consumer price index, and it said that much yesterday in its statement. It said, "The upside risk to inflation and inflation expectations have increased."

So that is the indication from the Federal Reserve that it is going to be raising interest rates down the road -- Kiran and John.

ROBERTS: All right. What about gas prices?

CHERNOFF: OK. Well, let's get to that. And there is some connection, believe it or not.

ROBERTS: You've got beer. You got a keg of Heineken over there and a gas can.

CHERNOFF: And the motivation for all that was this wonderful t-shirt I picked up on my way back from the flood zone last week. "Beer, now cheaper than gas. Drink, don't drive."

So, this got me thinking, you know, is it true now that beer could actually be cheaper than gasoline? Well, one gallon of gas this morning is actually $4.06. We're pretty close to a record high.

Well, we also fancy Heineken mini keg. This is actually --

CHETRY: A gallon?

CHERNOFF: This is actually a little more than a gallon, but if you figure out the cost per gallon it's $15.

ROBERTS: Yes.

CHERNOFF: Now, let's say you drink cheaper beer.

ROBERTS: I mean you're talking natty light. You know, you're getting down there it's pretty close.

CHERNOFF: If you drink cheaper beer it's actually about $5.37 a gallon.

ROBERTS: All right. Give me the keg because that will help --

(CROSSTALK)

CHERNOFF: There you go. There you go.

CHETRY: You still can't pour it into your gas tank. I guess it makes you forget that you're paying so much.

ROBERTS: This will get me through those hard times. Thank you, Allan.

Naked Cowboy versus the blue M&M. The New York City street performer claims that the candy maker, Mars, stole his look. Our legal analyst Sunny Hostin breaks it all down, and his million dollar lawsuit. Multimillion, actually.

Plus, we're counting down the minutes until the unveiling of New York's first and only waterfall. Rob Marciano live near the Brooklyn Bridge for us this morning. Good morning, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, John. As a matter of fact, they heard we were covering at 6:00 a.m., they got one cranking right now. One of four waterfalls are going to line East River here in Lower Manhattan. They turned them on today. They're going to last all summer long. It is an environmental wonder of art, and we'll cover it live for you. Plus, weather coming up when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Now, wear shorts in the summer. Yes. Oh, yes. It's all part of the mayor's plan to beautify the city. But here, I know what you're thinking. New York City has garbage men? What?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: That was David Letterman last night and lots of buzz in the Big Apple this morning about this summer's monumental public art project. The New York City waterfalls.

The $15 million spectacle is the city's largest public art project since The Gates in Central Park three years ago. There's a live look this morning. The highest of the four falls stand taller than the Statue of Liberty. The whole thing created by a Dutch artist, and it's taken two years to build.

And this morning, in fact just minutes ago right here on our air, it roared to life. And our own Rob Marciano is near the Brooklyn Bridge. That's where the widest of the four waterfalls stands. Good morning, Rob. Beautiful sight behind you this morning.

MARCIANO: Isn't it? You probably know that I was such an art aficionado that I would be out covering this, did you?

CHETRY: No, not at all.

MARCIANO: When it comes to the natural wonders of the world -- you know, waterfalls are just -- they just between the sight and the senses and just watching the soothing nature of water in general, it just -- it gets people in a calm, peaceful place and what better way to do that in New York City in the summer time. So this renowned artist who's famous really for doing things that are associated with nature, with weather, did this project which includes four waterfalls, one of which is behind me.

You can kind of see the water falling over the top of what looks to be just plain old construction scaffolding. Well, that's exactly what it is. Ubiquitous around the New York City so giving it kind of an urban flair to what you would find maybe a little bit farther up the Hudson and some of the more natural surroundings of the Catskills or the Adirondacks.

Ninety to 100 feet in height are these four waterfalls that line from here around the corner of Lower Manhattan, almost to the Statue of Liberty. They're pumping out about 35,000 gallons of water a minute. We're told that the energy used to do this project, well, it's a carbon neutral product so they're offsetting it with renewable credits.

Fifteen million bucks to build this thing, but the mayor is thinking, hey, we may get $55 million back as far as tourist revenue is concerned. It is environmentally friendly both to the fish and as mentioned to the environmental renewable energy.

We do have little sprinkles coming in here. I'm not sure if it's the waterfall or the radar. Let's check it out. Some showers heading towards the northeast area on the radar shot there mostly north and west of town.

Slide the map to the west and the more problematic area where the floods are happening. We have showers and thunderstorms a little bit more heavy at times. You see that bow echo heading towards St. Louis weakening somewhat, but heavy rains falling over the last 12 to 24 hours. Upwards of five and six inches of rainfall there.

We won't see that much here, but 35,000 gallons a minute, Kiran, and two million gallons of water an hour falling out of these waterfalls. You have all summer long to check it out.

CHETRY: Yes. I mean, it looks gorgeous right now. It's 6:00 in the morning here. It's going to look gorgeous at night. They light it up, right? Right at sunset and that should be really pretty as well.

MARCIANO: Yes. Check it out.

CHETRY: Thanks, Rob.

ROBERTS: Looks beautiful. They should leave that there.

CHETRY: Forever.

ROBERTS: You know, as the saying goes, there are eight million stories in the Naked City. Well, here's a naked story in the city of eight million.

A judge rules New York City's guitar-playing Naked Cowboy can have his day in court against the makers of M&M's. Our legal analyst Sunny Hostin explains.

Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I see him basically being very careful about not challenging the white oligarch structure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Ralph Nader calls out Barack Obama and accuses him of trying to talk white.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A lot of these liberals are not demanding much of Barack Obama, and he is reciprocating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Obama's response ahead. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Twenty-two minutes after the hour. We want to go live to Pyongyang, North Korea. That's where our CNN international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is. She's following the submission of this nuclear declaration by North Korea. Christiane, what's in the declaration?

VOICE OF CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we've just landed and we've been told by the government officials here that the declaration is about to be or has been handed over. And from South Korean press reports we're understanding that in fact it has now been handed over to China, which is chairing the six- party talks.

Apparently, it's a 60-page declaration. Long awaited, as you know. Should have been declared at the end of 2007. But now, it is handed over. And it is expected to contain the workings, the goings on, the nuclear activities that center around the Yongbyon nuclear plant here in North Korea. And it's meant to be saying all the activities that have happened there over the years since it's been active.

It is not expected to deal with specifics on weaponry, and it is not expected to deal with specifics on a suspected second pass which is highly enriched uranium. This declaration is expected to deal with all that's gone on regarding plutonium extraction at the Yongbyon plant -- John.

ROBERTS: And Christiane, we should mention that you're there in Pyongyang because you are going to be traveling to the Yongbyon plant either later on today or early tomorrow to witness the implosion of one of the cooling towers there. How significant an event is that going to be?

AMANPOUR: Well, that's great. But before that happens, President Bush is expected sometime between the declaration being handed over, which has now happened, according to reports, and the cooling tower being blown up, which is going to be Friday afternoon, Pyongyang time, which would be Friday very early morning your time. President Bush in the interim is expected to announce that North Korea is to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsored terrorism and to remove some sanctions from North Korea.

Then the fact that this cooling tower is being blown up is significant. It's a big part of the Yongbyon plant. And, of course, the cynics and the skeptics will say and experts will say that it can actually be rebuilt in about a year. But most experts who I've spoken to and that I've read about, including North Korea officials and U.S. officials, believe that North Korea is serious now about its declaration of what's been going on at Yongbyon and serious about trying to move past the sort of hostility embodied in its relationship with the United States and its neighboring countries.

ROBERTS: A lot of significant developments in this nuclear standoff between North Korea and the United States. Our Christiane Amanpour from Pyongyang, North Korea. Just got there on the ground. We'll be hearing much more from Christiane throughout the day. Christiane, thanks.

CHETRY: Still ahead, images of violence, sex and illegal activity coming through the TV every 30 seconds and right at your kids if they're watching two networks in particular. And the groups are hoping to change that by hitting the networks where it hurts. We'll have more on this debate, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning" here on CNN. A new war of words between Barack Obama and his presidential opponent. It's not John McCain this time. It's Ralph Nader. Remember him? The independent candidate making some controversial remarks about Senator Obama and the senator fired back.

CNN's Mary Snow has got the story.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, Senator Barack Obama called Ralph Nader's comments inflammatory. But Nader defended his comments saying people and politics should stop censoring themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): Ralph Nader takes aim at presidential hopeful, Senator Barack Obama. He tells the "Rocky Mountain News" Obama is, in his words, trying to "talk white" and not doing enough to tackle poverty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FROM ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS)

RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: We asked Nader what he meant by "talking white."

NADER: I see him basically being very careful about not challenging the white oligarch structure, the white dominated corporate structure, and doing almost everything he can to avoid being seen or associated with some of the earlier African-American civil rights leaders like Jesse Jackson.

SNOW: We also asked Nader what he meant by saying Obama is trying to appeal to white guilt.

NADER: I think a lot of liberals have wanted an African-American to be the nominee. But a lot of these liberals are not demanding much of Barack Obama and he has reciprocated.

SNOW: Obama says Nader is just trying to get attention for his bid as an independent presidential candidate.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a shame because if you look at his legacy in terms of consumer protections, it's an extraordinary one. But at this point, he's somebody who's trying to get attention and his campaign hasn't gotten any traction. And so, what better way to get some traction than to make an inflammatory statement like the one that he made.

SNOW: Obama says he has addressed the issues Nader is talking about. CNN political analyst Roland Martin calls Nader's comment ridiculous.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Who is Ralph Nader to define what is deemed a black issue. I think when you talk about No Child Left Behind and black kids not learning to read, that's a black issue. When you talk about unemployment, that's a black issue.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: The issue that Nader did inject is the issue of race, with some saying that he's holding Obama to a different standard. We asked Nader about that. He said he's holding Obama to a higher standard when it comes to issues involving blacks and Latinos -- John, Kiran.

ROBERTS: Mary Snow for us this morning.

Just crossing the half hour now. We're following breaking news on North Korea's nuclear program. CNN State Department correspondent Zain Verjee now in Washington with the latest. Zain, we had this hand over of the nuclear declaration by North Korea to the six-party groups led by China. What else are we learning this morning?

VERJEE: Well, John, we just heard moments ago that that did indeed happen in China. The Chinese then confirmed it to their diplomatic counterparts. This is a very significant moment that the North Koreans have actually come this far in this process.

Now what happened is two very significant things. President Bush will notify Congress of the U.S.' intention to remove North Korea from the U.S. list of countries that sponsor terrorism. The U.S. is also going to issue a statement saying we want to get the North Koreans off the sanctions for the trading with enemies act. So two very significant moves.

North Korea, though, a very secretive state. And many critics say -- look, you just can't trust them. This is an important process. And what the Bush administration and the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been trying to do, the goal is to get North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons. And this is part of that process.

John?

ROBERTS: And Zain, how long is it going to take before President Bush actually makes that declaration to take them off of the terrorist list?

VERJEE: Well, he has to notify Congress. And that's expected to happen within the next 24 hours. And then Congress will have about 45 days to discuss it to make it happen.

ROBERTS: Right. Zain Verjee for us this morning with the latest. And Zain is going to keep watching this story because things are moving very quickly on it today. Zain, thanks.

Kiran?

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Two media watchdog groups are taking on music channels MTV and BET. They say that children who watch those stations especially during the afternoon are exposed to sex, violence, profanity and obscenity at least once every 38 seconds. The groups were hoping to change that by hitting the networks where it hurts, their wallet.

CNN's Kareen Wynter has more.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, good morning. These television watchdog groups say they're hitting BET and MTV where it hurts the most in advertising.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WYNTER (voice-over): Sex sells. But media watchdog groups like Industry Ears and the Parents Television Council say they've seen enough on some cable music channels. Very graphic. Very course.

WYNTER: They're pushing network sponsors to pull their ads from some shows on the popular channels, MTV and Black Entertainment Television.

PAUL PORTER, INDUSTRY EARS: We've decided to go after the revenue and talk to some of the advertisers and see if some corporate responsibility was going to come into play.

WYNTER: Paul Porter, a former BET programming director who said he was let go after his job was eliminated says adult content is intentionally being marketed to children in the late afternoon and early evening hours. His group says sponsors like Procter&Gamble, Pepsi and General Motors pull their ads after it sent them a PTC study of three rap shows on B.E.T. and MTV.

Sucker Free on MTV, Rap City and 106 & Park. The rap on rap report found children who watch these shows were bombarded with adult content. Sex, violence, profanity, and obscenity once every 38 seconds compared to about once every five minutes on broadcast TV, which unlike cable is covered by FCC Obscenity Rules.

MTV and BET say they haven't lost any advertisers or ad dollars as a result of this campaign. BET's chairman and CEO dismissed the study.

DEBRA LEE, CHAIRMAN & CEO BET NETWORKS: We take our standards and policies very seriously. We edit videos. We work with the labels. We work with the artists. And we really pay attention to our audits.

WYNTER: MTV says, quote, "This report unfairly and inaccurately paints MTV with a brush of irresponsibility. During the time outlined in this report we did not receive a single complaint about the content of the videos. We take our responsibility to our viewers very seriously. And have a self-imposed standards group that looks at every video and appropriately rates all of our programming."

But Industry Ears says it has swayed sponsors by using the power of negative publicity to pressure advertisers on Viacom's music channels with letters and e-mails.

PORTER: To our surprised that a lot of companies have taken this serious and they don't want to advertise their product with negative images. Procter&Gamble has been very receptive, GM, Pepsi.

WYNTER: Pepsi tells CNN it has not pulled its advertising and Procter&Gamble said it wouldn't disclose details of its media buying strategies. GM says it has moved its ads from two of BETs music video shows but still advertises on many other BET programs.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WYNTER: The Parents Television Council and Industry Ears say the fight doesn't end here. That they'll continue to clean up what they call the dirt on television.

John? Kiran?

CHETRY: Kareen Wynter, thank you. Joining me now with more on this is James Peterson. He is the founder of Hip Hop Scholars Incorporated. Also a professor at Bucknell University.

Thanks for being with us this morning.

ON THE PHONE: PROF. JAMES PETERSON, FOUNDER, HIP HOP SCHOLARS INC: Good morning.

CHETRY: They say that the study looked at three programs in particular on BET and MTV, and it was during the afternoon when more children are watching. It was 106 & Park and Rap City on BET. And every 38 seconds finding some sort of offensive content as they say, either sexual, mostly sexual, and these are rated TV PG.

Are these two networks being a little bit too lax about what they're letting get by?

PETERSON: Well, I feel like they're -- both networks actually are being painted with a fairly broad stroke here. I looked at the study and it doesn't seem to me that the study is as comprehensive as it should be. Seems like the groups are not necessarily watchdogs, but they seem to have a specific goal in mind. And they certainly achieved their goal by being on CNN this morning to talk about it.

So I think if you look at BET and MTV over a 12 to 24 hour period you see all kinds of programming. That's not to say that they can't be better. I'd certainly want BET to be better, certainly would love for music video content to be better and more appropriate for young people.

But the bottom line is we're missing the issue here. The issue here is not about what MTV does or BET does. The issue is are we educating young people to be able to critically engage these images wherever they see them, whether that's video games, TV, film, the Internet. We need to really be working on the educational side of this as opposed to the censorship side of it.

CHETRY: How do you suggest you do that though when, I mean, this is what's popular. Kids are watching these videos and they're idolizing the people that put them out. And they are seeing these images. I mean, do your parents talking to you and saying -- now, you know, you really shouldn't aspire to be wearing a bikini and rolling around a stripper pole. I mean, is that enough?

PETERSON: There's got to be a two-pronged approach here. Obviously, my kids don't watch BET. So yes, you have to tell young people to turn it off. Also understand this is cable. This is not public TV so you don't have to buy cable, right?

CHETRY: But you don't let your kids watch this? Is that what you're saying? You don't let your kids watch this.

PETERSON: I do not let my kids watch it, no. I mean, you, as a parent, this parental responsibility, of course, but also --

CHETRY: So if you don't let your kids watch it, it's because you find some of the stuff offensive, right? You don't want them to see that.

PETERSON: Well, my kids are too young -- my children are too young to watch BET. My children are 9 and 7. But that's not all there is to it. There has to be parental responsibility, but also education. Because, listen, even if you turn B.E.T. and MTV off, you're going to see some of these other images in other places.

So we need to educate our kids and give them the tools to be able to critically engage, media letters, critically engage some of the stuff that they're going to encounter over the course of their lives.

CHETRY: Professor James Peterson, the founder of Hip Hop Scholars Incorporated. Thanks for being with us this morning.

PETERSON: Thank you.

ROBERTS: 38 minutes after the hour. Just a programming note here. About an hour from now, President Bush at the White House will be speaking about North Korea's nuclear declaration. We'll be going to that live. And we'll be right back with more of AMERICAN MORNING and the "Most News in the Morning" right after this.

On AMERICAN MORNING, the French fry fill-up. Converting your car to run on oil. No more gas stations, but there is a trade off.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could smell the inside of the car before we got inside the car.

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ROBERTS: What you need to know about trading gas for grease. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

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CHETRY: As gas prices top $4 a gallon, some drivers have found a way to fill up for free. They're relying on a new kind of takeout from restaurants -- used oil.

CNN's Alina Cho explains.

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ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Greg Melville revs up his 1985 Mercedes, you might smell French fries.

GREG MELVILLE, WRITER: If you're driving behind me, you're going to have -- you're probably going to get a craving for McDonald's.

CHO: That's because his car runs on waste oil from restaurants. And with record gas prices, it only took a year and a half to recoup the $2,000 he spent to buy and install the conversion kit which he bought online.

MELVILLE: We've driven the car maybe 60,000 miles on the vegetable oil.

CHO: Those miles took Melville and a friend across country twice, using all types of left-over grease and never stopping at a gas station. By the end of the trip, Melville and his buddy were aromatically challenged.

MELVILLE: We could smell the inside of the car before we got inside the car.

CHO: Even without a specially equipped car, you can buy veggie fuel at a regular gas pump like this one in Asheville, North Carolina. It works in any car that runs on diesel fuel.

MC MINAOBO, BLUE RIDGE BIOFUELS: We actually recycle waste vegetable oil that's right here in our community and turn it into fuel that's sold right back to our community.

CHO: Melville admits his primary motive for converting his car, aside from helping the environment, was to save money. Yes, some days his car smells like fried fish, other days, onion rings. So, what does he think of people who might call him and other veggie car drivers -- well, freaks?

MELVILLE: Well, if we're a bunch of freaks, at least we're frugal freaks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHO: So some people want to save the earth, other people want to save money. Here's the case where they want to do both.

Now, how does Melville get enough grease to power his car? A lot of you are probably wondering. Well, he worked out a deal with a local restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina. They set aside the grease in five gallon containers and he goes down the street and picks it up once a week.

Also important to note that Melville's Mercedes does need a tiny amount of diesel fuel to get the engine started and warmed up. But then, he switches on his converter and, voila, he is running on veggie oil.

CHETRY: So he basically went 60,000 miles for free after he paid for the price of the converter?

CHO: That's absolutely right. And listen, you know, he's got this deal with this local restaurant when he's at home driving around Asheville. But when he went cross-country he said he had to sort of finagle it, so to speak. He had to beg and borrow. Never gave it back, but anyway --

CHETRY: You said this has been around for a while, but now it's picking up in popularity because of how expensive gas is? CHO: Yes. I mean, there's no sort of association nationally to track this. But what we've found is that anecdotally, yes. We've seen a bump because of high gas prices. One of the companies, a grease car, where Melville bought his conversion kit, said they noticed that sales have doubled this year to 800 conversion kits from 400 last year.

So, yes, we're seeing a difference.

CHETRY: You say it catches on. Of course, normal supply and demand will probably kick in and restaurants will have to start charging for it.

CHO: Yes, you never know.

CHETRY: But a neat idea and very innovative to save some money.

CHO: And gaining in popularity, too.

CHETRY: Thanks, Alina.

CHO: You bet.

ROBERTS: 44 minutes after the hour. We are following breaking news for you this morning. North Korea handing over its nuclear secrets today. President Bush expected to lift two sets of sanctions against Pyongyang. He'll be out in the Rose Garden in less than an hour from now to talk about it.

Our own Christiane Amanpour live in North Korea today with more on what's in and not in those documents.

And if you feel like chasing waterfalls this morning, New York City -- the place to do it. Rob Marciano is near the Brooklyn Bridge this morning where one of four sets of waterfalls are now flowing.

Good morning, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, John. This is the most ambitious public art project yet in New York City. And even if you're not an art buff, it's just pretty darn cool. We're going to show you the waterfalls when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.

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ROBERTS: Now, look it. Here's something new. There's the Brooklyn Bridge. All right. That's one of the regular parts of the Brooklyn Bridge. But what's that across the east river? It's a waterfall. It's an art installation and our Rob Marciano is down there at the bridge this morning to tell us more about that.

Rob, what do you got?

MARCIANO: Hey, John. It is quite a sight, isn't it? Certainly unusual here in Manhattan. Lowlanders, it's pretty flat. Waterfalls are pretty rare. But renowned artist Olafur Eliasson said, you know what? We're going to make this the biggest public art project here in New York City and we're going to relate it kind of to the environment.

One of the natural wonders of the world, so to speak. This towering waterfalls built on scaffolding that's ubiquitous around New York City. So kind of an urban flair to a natural wonder, one of four. Some as high as 120 feet tall here in Lower Manhattan, pumping out 35,000 gallons a minute.

It cost 15 million bucks of private money. But we may very well get a lot more than that out of environmental or out of tourism that comes into this area.

There's one. We have another shot of another one just down the pier on the other side of the river towards Brooklyn. And that one is even taller, almost as tall or in some cases, one of these is as tall as the Statue of Liberty.

Environmentally-friendly to the fish. That's important, John. And also they bought wind credits to offset the power used to pump the water up to those heights. Maybe these sights could be going all through summer until October 13th. Come on down and enjoy. Back to you.

ROBERTS: The one coming out of that building is really incredible.

CHETRY: It's amazing. I can't wait to see it at night where they light it up as well. It's got to be gorgeous.

ROBERTS: Very cool stuff. Rob, thanks so much.

MARCIANO: Yes.

CHETRY: All right. Well, Senator Barack Obama hoping to move into the White House. But CNN is going back to his childhood house in Honolulu, Hawaii. We're taking a look at Obama's birthplace to learn a little bit more about the Democratic candidate.

ROBERTS: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING -- computer illiterate.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is such an easy thing to learn. I taught myself how to use the computer.

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ROBERTS: Should the next president know how to Google?

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 21st century.

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ROBERTS: From the BlackBerry to the PC. Jeanne Moos rates the candidates' computer skills.

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SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I guess you could do on Google.

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ROBERTS: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: How far technology has come from 1970, right?

CHETRY: Some people don't know, even now, that there's a World Wide Web.

ROBERTS: Yes. Ask John McCain if he can Google and it might not compute with him. It turns out that the man who could be our next president is far from computer savvy.

CHETRY: Not that we're trying to pick on just John McCain.

ROBERTS: No.

CHETRY: CNN's Jeanne Moos now on Senator McCain's technology gap.

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JEANNE MOSS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We don't expect the president to be the liberachi of the keyboard. But still --

Should the next president of the United States know how to work a computer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, yes, I guess so. It would be helpful. Why not?

MOSS: Ask John McCain. Here's how he describes his computer skills.

MCCAIN: I am an illiterate that has to rely on my wife for all of the assistance that I can get.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, that's absolutely ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 21st century, and you should know how to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got people to do that. He's got to be thinking of more important things.

MOSS: While Cindy McCain has been spotted scrolling her BlackBerry, John McCain tends to be handed a BlackBerry to talk on. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is one of those guys so intent on reading his BlackBerry that he could run into something.

He is a BlackBerry theme says his spokesperson. Has a laptop on the road and sometimes uses it to talk to his daughters and surfs the Web when he is in need of important information such as sports scores.

A far cry from this guy.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hear there's rumors on the Internets.

One of the things I've used on the Google --

MOSS: Just the other day, President Bush did it again.

BUSH: They can go on their computers and dial up volunteer.org.

MOSS: At least John McCain isn't still dialing up. Many knows to leave off the dot.

MCCAIN: I guess you could do on Google.

MOSS: But McCain's admission that he is computer illiterate was fodder for debate with something called the Personal Democracy Forum. The online expert who had worked for John Edwards got into it with the Internet expert from the McCain campaign.

MARK SOOHOO, MCCAIN DEPUTY INTERNET DIRECTOR: You don't necessarily have to use a computer to understand how it shapes the country. And I think he has.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's just the point, though. You do.

MOSS: But when McCain's guy said this --

SOOHOO: John McCain is aware of the Internet.

MOSS: John McCain is aware of the Internet became a joke on the Internet.

(on camera): But do we really want a president who sits around the oval office goggling all day? This 74-year-old likes to Google.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, this is such an easy thing to learn. I taught myself how to use the computer.

MOSS (voice-over): At least John McCain...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taking laptop computers --

MOSS: ...Knows the difference between a laptop and a lap dance, even if jokesters made a mock of McCain's real Web site with how does this thing work and should I double click here?

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: You know, there is a point, though, that maybe America does want a president who's not doing this 24 hours a day.

CHETRY: Yes, who's not constantly on the BlackBerry. The BlackBerry as well can be dangerous.

ROBERTS: Wants somebody who keeps their eye on the ball.

CHETRY: That's right.

ROBERTS: Interesting stuff.

Breaking news. North Korea revealing its nuclear secrets. We're taking you to North Korea live with our Christiane Amanpour.

Plus, CNN goes back to Barack Obama's birthplace. We're in Honolulu for a look at where it all started.

CHETRY: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING -- disaster. Thousands of miles away hits close to home.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Within two weeks, we're supposed to go (INAUDIBLE).

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CHETRY: A Chinese orphanage leveled. An American family waits and waits for news about their adopted daughter.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My friends that have been pregnant, they can feel their baby inside of them. And for me, I hold on to that photo.

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CHETRY: And finally, a family reunited.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh. She's so beautiful.

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CHETRY: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Senator Barack Obama hoping to become the next resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But his childhood home was actually in Honolulu, Hawaii.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is on the island touring the spot important in the Democratic candidate's early life.

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SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We're just five months away from determining who's going to be the next president of the United States. And while we've been learning a lot about the differences over the issues between John McCain and Barack Obama, we've come back here to Hawaii to learn more about the man. Obama's formative years that shaped him on this beautiful island.

Barack Obama was born here in Honolulu in 1961. He was raised in this modest apartment building by his single wife mother and his maternal grandparents. His Kenyan father was a student at the University of Hawaii. He left Obama and his family and went back to Africa when Barack was just 2.

This lush campus is Punahou. The prestigious private school where Obama attended. Here, Barack was known as Barry, one of the few black students on campus. He was a popular kid here writing poetry and playing hoops. But in his memoir, he writes about feeling isolated. Privately struggling with his racial identity and experimenting with drugs.

Obama's sister tells me that there are two events that helped shape Barack come to terms with himself. One was accepting the father who left him, the other losing his mother. This is where he and his sister said goodbye to her when they spread her ashes in the Pacific Ocean. Now Obama embarks on his next journey, seeking the white house. Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Hawaii.

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ROBERTS: Just crossing the top of the hour now. We are following breaking news this morning. North Korea has handed over its nuclear declaration to the six-party group led by China. President Bush is expected to speak from the White House in about 40 minutes' time. And he has got some big news to make this morning.