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AMERICAN MORNING

McCain's Service Under Fire; Cop Killer Killed, Strangled in Jail; Grand Jury Clears a Man Who Killed Two Burglars; Street Battles Over U.S. Beef in South Korea

Aired July 1, 2008 - 07:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: James Carville, thanks for being with us this morning. Always great to see you.
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You bet. Thank you.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: We're right at the top of the hour now, and here are some of today's top stories.

The probe into the nationwide salmonella outbreak is growing this morning. There are some new theories that the tomatoes aren't necessarily causing the salmonella. CDC says people are still getting sick weeks after warnings were issued, so what else could it be? Well, experts say that salsa, jalapeno peppers, green onions and cilantro are at the top of the list.

Unfair trial says a United Nations human rights group about the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay. The UN says detainees have limited access to defense attorneys and added hearsay and coerced evidence have been used in those trials.

And he's not backing down. Retired General Wesley Clark insisting his criticism of John McCain stands. Clark suggested McCain's military experience didn't necessarily qualify him to be president. Clark also says that McCain has proven his judgment is flawed by supporting going into the Iraq war.

Our Dana Bash is in Washington this morning with more.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, the irony is John McCain's campaign brought more attention to General Wesley Clark's negative comments about their own candidate than anyone else. I talked to McCain aides and they say that's because it fits right in with their political strategy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Five and a half years as a Vietnam POW and you'd think this goes without saying.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm proud of my record of service.

BASH: But, yes, John McCain defended his war record. And here's why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS' "FACE THE NATION") GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), OBAMA SUPPORTER: I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: That's Retired General Wesley Clark, a surrogate for Obama, this weekend. McCain's campaign says Clark's comments are part of a Democratic campaign to smear his war record. Obama denounced Clark's comments, but McCain aides say it's part of a pattern. Obama talks about a new kind of politics but allows allies to go for the jugular.

BASH (on camera): Do you think that Senator Obama is being hypocritical here?

MCCAIN: I don't know. I know that many -- that General Clark is not an isolated incident. But I have no way of knowing how much involvement Senator Obama has.

BASH (voice-over): McCain advisers point to other incidents like Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller on McCain's service flying a fighter bomber saying, "McCain was a fighter pilot who dropped laser- guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they (the missiles) get to the ground? He doesn't know."

So the McCain campaign struck back with what they call a truth squad. Veterans including some who served with McCain to talk up his war record. One was Medal of Honor winner Bud Day, McCain's commander in captivity. Ironically he helped wage the infamous swift vote attacks against Democrat John Kerry four years ago.

VOICE OF COL. GEORGE "BUD" DAY (RET.), MCCAIN'S VIETNAM COMMANDER: The swift vote "attacks" were simply a revelation of the truth. The similarity does not exist here.

BASH: Besides trying to stop attacks on McCain's war record, advisers say they're also trying to drive home their central charge about Obama. That he's the same old politics as usual.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's drop this idea that Barack Obama is somehow raising the dialogue and raising the debate in this campaign.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: The truth is both Barack Obama and John McCain insist they're running above the fray campaigns. And both are having trouble living up to that -- John and Kiran.

ROBERTS: Dana Bash for us reporting from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It's three minutes after the hour.

A 19-year-old accused cop killer found dead in his cell, strangled the day after he was arrested for running over an officer in Prince George's County, Maryland. The only people with access to him may have been the prison guards and supervisors. Our Jeanne Meserve is monitoring developments. She joins us now from Washington. Is this a case of vigilante justice, Jeanne?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, that's exactly what Prince George's County executive is calling it. The Maryland State police have been called in to take over what is now a homicide investigation. The FBI is doing a civil rights probe in this disturbing case.

19-year-old Ronnie White was taken into custody Friday charged with the murder of a Prince George's County police officer earlier that day. He was in solitary confinement at the county jail when he was found Sunday morning without a pulse.

Initially authorities said there was no sign of foul play. But preliminary autopsy results now show he died of asphyxiation and two small bones in his neck were broken. He apparently was choked to death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have vigilante justice, our society will fall apart. And if we have these kinds of acts and if we tolerate these kinds of acts, then the courts are superfluous. Has no meaning and no value in our society.

So we are pretty angry about what has unfolded. The medical examiner has preliminary ruled this tragic event a homicide. And we're here to say that we are going to do everything within our powers to ensure that justice is served.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: County authorities say White was given a physical when he was processed and there were no health issues. He was checked regularly in his cell, including at 10:15 Sunday morning and appeared fine. Twenty minutes later when he was brought his lunch, he was unresponsive.

Officials say the only people with access to White were seven corrections officers and an unspecified number of supervisors. At this point there are no suspects in his death and no corrections employees have been suspended. White was charged with the first- degree murder of Corporal Richard Findley (ph).

Police believe White was the driver of a pickup that mowed Finlay down on Friday. Prince George's County officials said last evening that police are not suspects in White's death. John, back to you.

ROBERTS: Jeanne, were there any surveillance cameras in the area where White was being held?

MESERVE: Well, that would be terrific if there were. That would give them some trail to follow, possibly. But authorities said last night there were not any cameras in the section of the jail where White was being held. ROBERTS: It's a mystery. Jeanne, thanks very much.

CHETRY: San Francisco says it's not responsible for the death of a teenager who was killed by an escaped tiger at the city zoo on Christmas Day. Instead, city officials say the San Francisco Zoological Society which oversees the zoo is to blame. The family's lawyer says they'll sue both the city and the Zoological Society.

The FBI nabs an Illinois man for possession of a deadly toxin after a raid at his home. Posing as a doctor, Edward Bachner (ph) tried to buy a large amount of a toxin found in puffer fish from a New Jersey chemical company. Authorities were tipped off, caught him in that sting operation.

And the slump in the economy hitting car maker Chrysler. The company is closing its St. Louis area factory and cutting a shift from another nearby plant. The cause, declining demand for gas guzzling trucks and mini vans. At least 2,400 people will lose their job.

ROBERTS: The safest drivers in the country. Live in -- can we have a drum roll somewhere, please? Come on. Thank you. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The city tops all states list for the third year in a row.

Today a local gas station is giving away free gasoline as a reward. And you can bet the place is jammed. The average Sioux Falls driver has a car accident about every 15 years.

CHETRY: Wow.

ROBERTS: Here's how Sioux Falls compared to some of the nation's biggest cities. Phoenix drivers go about 10 years between each accident. Drivers in San Diego, New York and Houston, and San Antonio average somewhere between eight or nine years. In New York City, it's every 10 minutes.

CHETRY: I was going to say there's a near miss at least every 15 seconds for that year. I mean, you know, you just thank your lucky stars when you arrive on time and alive.

Well, coming up 20 minutes after the hour, a 61-year-old shoots and kills two men who broke into his neighbor's house. And the entire thing captured on a 911 call. We're going to find out why a jury let him off the hook.

ROBERTS: Plus, Chevron grilled. They're making record profits. You're paying record prices. The CEO of one of the biggest oil companies one on one.

CHETRY: Also, allegations of baby selling. Adoptions from half a world away and startling new information for parents here in America wanting to adopt. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: That was a beautiful shot. WSVN of the Miami coastline this morning and some of the beautiful houses and hotels in the background. Not such a pretty sight out west though where 1,500 wildfires burning in just one month. Many are still raging for a second week across parts of California. And firefighters are now being forced to pick their battles leaving some to burn out of control.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California is burning. Nearly 1,500 wildfires broke out in June alone, mostly in the northern and central parts of the state. That means a lot of smoke in the air. It's blown hundreds of miles. For some, breathing has become downright difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My chest is tightening up a lot and can feel -- I'm really fatigued and feeling like -- like my breathing is labored a little bit more.

SIMON: The air has improved as fire crews make progress. But officials worry about the remainder of the summer.

DIRK KEMPTHORNE, SECRETARY OF INTERIOR: The fire load is unprecedented that is here. The amount of fire for June is unprecedented. The type of lightning and ignition which you have been experiencing this month normally doesn't occur until August.

SIMON: Fire experts knew there was going to be trouble after the driest March and April in California since records started being kept in the 1920s. Authorities say nearly 420,000 acres have burned, approximately 10 times the size of Washington, D.C. Last summer's fires were among the worst in recent history, and this season, still early, has nearly matched that record.

DEL WALTERS, CAL. DEPT. OF FORESTRY AND FIRE: My hats off to all the firefighters out there on the ground. Dirty, hot, smoky, and it's going to be a long road for us.

SIMON: With so many wildfires burning at once, resources are stretched thin. President Bush designated the region a federal disaster area freeing up money and resources to help wage the battle. Governor Schwarzenegger says he is pleased with the federal response.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I feel like that they've learned when Katrina happened. That there's a better way of going. And we have seen it last year when we had the fires, see how quickly they responded and we've seen it this year. Each time they responded very quickly.

SIMON (on camera): Still fire commanders are forced to strategically choose which blazes to fight leaving some to burn for weeks or even months. Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY: And right now, we're going to head over to Rob Marciano. He's tracking all of this for us and seeing what the weather has in store today in terms of that firefight. Hey, Rob. ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Kiran. Not a whole lot of rain, I mean, especially across northern California, central California today. Later on in the week we might see a little bit of rain across northern California which is where all those fires are burning.

Forty-five large fires across nine different states and then California if you include the smaller ones. We're talking about closer to 1,000.

On the radar we just have a little bit of showers that are trying to filter in through the intermountain west. A weak monsoon flow kind of happening there. Across the Pacific Northwest, we have some thunderstorms across eastern parts of Washington where yesterday record breaking heat. Some of these numbers pretty impressive.

Hanford, Washington, 107. LaCrosse, Washington, 103. Yakima, 102, Helena, Montana, 99. Pocatello, Idaho, also into the upper 90s, so much of the northwestern corner of the U.S. kind of baking.

We're going to start to see a little bit of a cool down as this front drops down today. We could see some large hail and damaging winds across parts of the northwest and into the northern tier including northern parts of Minnesota. John and Kiran, back up to you.

ROBERTS: Rob, thanks very much.

It's coming up to 15 minutes after the hour. Last hour I gave Ali Velshi a new nickname. We called him the ovoid oracle of the apocalypse. But I think probably what works better is the hairless oracle of the apocalypse.

CHETRY: I'm still -- yes, I'm still like the hairless prophet of doom.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: But as John points out --

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: Oil is $100 --

VELSHI: That's still $100 a barrel. That was long gone.

ROBERTS: We elevated it to --

VELSHI: I'm in a whole new level of doom.

ROBERTS: See, I'm thinking that hairless oracle of the apocalypse works well because then we call him the "hoa" (ph), right?

VELSHI: Hoa (ph).

ROBERTS: The hoa (ph).

VELSHI: Well, who (ph) I got the market so I'm spreading my doom --

(CROSSTALK)

CHETRY: You've got bad news.

VELSHI: I'm spreading the doom into markets and cars right now. Markets are tough. I only tell you this because when you look at your own investments, your 401K and your IRA, and you're a little bit depressed, understand that people are sharing the pain with you.

The Dow for the month of June had its worst performance since the Great Depression. Ten percent lower for the month of June alone. Nasdaq was nine percent. The S&P almost nine percent.

Now, the good news here is that most of the worst of the year was in June. If you look at the whole half of the year, the first half of 2008, the numbers are not much worse off.

The Dow is off just about 14.5 percent, Nasdaq 13.5. S&P just a little less than 13. The Dow if you think back to October when it hit those records, we're hitting records day after day after day. It's down almost 20 percent from that point. So you can see how that market has been going. That to some people is a buying opportunity and to others that's an opportunity to run out of the markets.

Now what we are also getting today is reports from the auto makers about U.S. sales for the month of June. We have been seeing the automakers, particularly General Motors take a beating. That stock is now at a 54-year low.

We are expecting this afternoon to hear that all of the U.S. automakers, all of the automakers that sell cars in the U.S. will have dropped in sales with the exception of Honda. It is also the day that Toyota could take the lead as the number one auto -- the number one sales company in the United States, a title that GM has held since 1937 or something like that.

So the U.S. automakers have a lot of work to do. And by the way, while everybody associates that with gas prices, let's just think back.

The U.S. automakers have been in a lot of trouble since a long time before we had this kind of gas prices. They made decisions incorrectly about the size of cars that people are going to want to buy, and people are not buying big cars or trucks anymore.

CHETRY: It certainly changed their habits...

VELSHI: Absolutely, they have. Yes.

CHETRY: ... because of the high price of gas.

VELSHI: Yes.

CHETRY: Ali, thanks.

VELSHI: OK. CHETRY: Well, you want to stick around for this one. There's a lot of new laws taking effect today. Some of them more interesting than others.

Did you know that starting today you can bring your gun to work in Florida, but you have to leave it in your car? That's being challenged in court.

In Tennessee, parents will now find out if some college kids fail at their first attempt at freedom. Public universities can now call mom or dad if the kids are caught drinking underage even if they are over 18.

And in Virginia, you can grab a fruity pitcher. Restaurants are now allowed to serve Sangria again. Wine, no. Sangria, yes. The drink had been banned for 75 years.

ROBERTS: Wow. Why ban Sangria?

VELSHI: I don't understand that.

ROBERTS: Bad Sangria I understand.

VELSHI: Right, right.

ROBERTS: Good Sangria --

CHETRY: I'm thinking I guess it's sort of like it's not as strong and potent as wine.

VELSHI: I'm glad you can -- I'm glad that you can bring the gun to work in your car. Just leave it in your car, though.

CHETRY: Exactly.

ROBERTS: Hoa (ph).

VELSHI: Hoa (ph).

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

Beijing goes green. Not the environmental save the earth kind of green, but this kind of green. We'll tell you what the heck is going on.

CHETRY: Also, Colombia bound, but will it count? McCain and Obama heading overseas. The trip south of the border helps candidates back here at home.

ROBERTS: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, violent riots over the safety of American meat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All sides need to cool it down, take some time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Now an industry fights back and tries to salvage a billion dollar business. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you're going to find that all kids are different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For example, Mini-Me loves chocolate. Scotty don't!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I like chocolate fine. I just --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY: Top videos right now on CNN.com. The most popular Verne Troyer, otherwise known as Mini-Me, stopped gossip Web site TMZ from distributing a sex tape starring him and his former girlfriend.

The judge said Troyer's motion "demonstrated that he will suffer irreparable harm to his reputation if that tape is distributed."

Also, when you got to go, you got to go. And it's an ongoing race. It's the Outhouse Race in Georgetown, Minnesota, part of the city's big festival from the weekend. Looks like the pink one won.

And free gas. And now that I've got your attention, a woman of the Shady Lady Ranch in Nevada, a legal brothel, the women there are offering $150 gas cards for those who indulge in three hours of pleasure, I guess you could say.

You're watching the "Most News in the Morning." most news in the morning. We're back in 90 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Coming up on 23 minutes after the hour. A man who shot and killed two suspected burglars with 911 on the line at the time is a free man today. A grand jury in Texas let him off the hook. But critics say he got away with murder. CNN's Erica Hill picks up the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joe Horn is a 61-year-old grandfather. Late last year, the Texas man received national attention for this 911 call to report two men entering a neighbor's window.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE HORN: Uh, I've got a shotgun. Uh, do you want me to stop 'em?

OPERATOR: Nope. Don't do that. Ain't no property worth shooting somebody over. OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: It wasn't OK for Horn. And as the minutes passed, he became more determined.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE HORN: I'm not going to let them get away with it. I can't take a chance on getting killed over this, OK? I'm going to shoot. I'm going to shoot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Despite the operator's pleas, Horn grew closer to an armed confrontation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE HORN: I ain't going to let them get away with this (expletive). They stole something. They've got a bag of something.

OPERATOR: Don't go outside the house.

JOE HORN: I'm doing it.

OPERATOR: Mr. Horn, do not go out of the house.

JOE HORN: I'm sorry. This ain't right, buddy.

OPERATOR: You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think, OK. Stay in the house.

JOE HORN: You wanna make a bet? I'm gonna kill 'em.

OPERATOR: OK. Stay in the house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: A few moments later, Horn delivered on that promise with a 12 gauge shotgun.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPERATOR: I don't want you going outside Mr. Horn.

JOE HORN: Well, here it goes, buddy. You hear the shotgun clicking and I'm going.

OPERATOR: Don't go outside.

JOE HORN: Move, you're dead. (Gunshots)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Joe Horn fired three times, killing Hernando Torres and Diego Ortiz. Both men shot in the back. Horn returned home and picked up the phone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE HORN: No, I'm inside the house. I went back in the house, man, they come right in my year. I didn't know what the (expletive) they was gonna do. I shot 'em, OK?

OPERATOR: Did you shoot somebody, mister?

JOE HORN: Yes, I did. The cops are here right now.

OPERATOR: Where are you right now?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: The shooting sparked angry demonstrations and death threats against Horn. Under Texas law, a person can use lethal force to protect a neighbor's home if that force is justified, necessary to prevent theft and if the person was asked to watch the property. After months of hearing evidence, a grand jury refused to indict Horn who contended he shot the men on his property after they threatened him.

KEN MAGIDSON, HARRIS COUNTY, TX, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This office will continue to aggressively prosecute anyone who illegally engages in the use of force, deadly or otherwise, against another.

HILL: Joe Horn is free. A man some may feel got away with murder. A man others will say did the right thing.

Erica Hill, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning." Violent protesters take to the streets in South Korea. Find out why importing U.S. beef may not be the only thing they're mad about.

And pain and panic at the pump. The CEO of Chevron explaining to Larry King his company's multibillion dollar profit and why you're paying so much for gas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": What's going on? Oil and gas prices all-time high. Your company making billions in profits. Explain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Twenty-eight minutes after the hour. With a little more than a month to go now until the games in Beijing, a problem of Olympic proportions has washed into Qingdao, China. A force of blue- green algae clogging routes for Olympic sailing events. Authorities are feverishly working to try to clear out the waters.

Now, for names like the King's Arms, The Dog and Duck, more and more traditional pubs in Britain are closing. Over 1,400 shut their doors last year. Pub owners blamed an increase in trendy wine bars, a recent public smoking ban and an increase in British alcohol taxes.

And after a 44-year drought, Spain's national soccer team finally brought home the European championship. The squad landed in Madrid hoisting the hard won hardware in the air. Spain beat Germany in the title match on Sunday in Vienna -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Violent protests becoming smaller but more dangerous in South Korea. Police held back mobs with water cannons as people tried to turn over trailers on the street. Eighty thousand people joined in demonstrations last month where hundreds were hurt.

All of it a public display of outrage over U.S. beef imports resuming again in South Korea. The protests may bring more bad blood back to the surface.

State Department correspondent Zain Verjee joins us live from Washington with more. Hi, Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kiran. U.S. beef is a problem, but not the problem. These protests are taking on a lot of new and different dimensions, and the chief target is the government.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE (voice-over): Wild street battles and huge demonstrations over the safety of U.S. beef continue as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited South Korea.

CONDOLEEZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: American beef is safe.

VERJEE: The new Korean government ended a five-year import ban imposed after a 2003 mad cow disease case in the U.S. Under a new deal, only cattle younger than 30 months are allowed in. The U.S. beef industry says this arrangement will help regain the confidence Korean consumers have in the quality and safety of U.S. beef, which is the very same beef we feed to our own families.

The ban cost the U.S. up to $4 billion in beef exports. But are these riots just about beef? MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It is partly about fear about the food. But it's also about a complex U.S.-Korea relationship.

VERJEE: South Korea's new President Lee is closer to President Bush. He's inherited tensions with the U.S. over the beef problem and over the presence of U.S. troops. Experts say lifting the ban on beef has triggered a wave of anti-American feeling.

O'HANLON: I think all sides need to cool it down, take some time, not belittle the other side's arguments or concerns. And we should be able to work this one out in the end. After all, we are very important trading partners.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE: So some South Koreans really are worried about U.S. beef. Some people are just frustrated with the government and what they say is its high handed leadership style. And for others the beef issue is just a lot more symbolic and it's a way to express some of those simmering tensions they have with the U.S.. Kiran.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN, ANCHOR: Zain Verjee for us in Washington, thanks.

And it's one minute past the bottom of the hour. Some top stories now, police in Portugal reportedly dropping their investigation into the disappearance of little Madeleine McCann. Two newspapers say the prosecutors will call off their search in the next two weeks because of a lack of evidence. The British girl went missing when she was on a family vacation in Portugal last year days just days before her 4th birthday. Her parents insist they will continue the search for her.

The probe into the nationwide Salmonella outbreak grows this morning. There's some new theories that maybe it's not the tomatoes causing the Salmonella. CDC says that people are still getting sick weeks after warnings were issued and tomatoes were pulled from the selves. So, what else could it be? Well, experts say salsa, jalapeno peppers, green onions and cilantro are at the top of the list.

Toyota could overtake General Motors in monthly U.S. sales. We'll find out today as the car companies release their numbers for the month. And no surprise as analysts are predicting another double digit dip in sales.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN, ANCHOR: To politics now, both candidates are planning trips to different areas of the world this summer. They're going to try to prove that they have the foreign policy credentials to be commander in chief. CNN's Mary Snow tells us what's at stake with the trips.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John McCain flies his new "Straight Talk Express" jet south of the border to Mexico and Colombia this week. Barack Obama will head to the Middle East and Europe this summer. He told a radio interviewer he plans on visiting Iraq and Afghanistan.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In Iraq my goal is to talk to the Iraqi leadership about making political progress so that we can start fazing down our troops in Iraq. And obviously I also want to congratulate the troops for the extraordinary job they've done in reducing violence there.

SNOW: Political observers say traveling overseas can give the candidate a chance to boost foreign policy credentials.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: John McCain I think has used his trips to Iraq to a considerable effect and have been helpful. I'm not sure if any more foreign travel especially to Columbia and Mexico right now would help him very much. But a foreign policy trip for Barack Obama is essential.

SNOW: A poll in early June asking voters who would better handle foreign policy puts McCain ahead of Obama by 11 points, and McCain's playing up what he sees as his advantage and has been pushing for a joint trip to Iraq.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I still offer to go with Senator Obama. I hope that I could not only add to some of his knowledge of the region, because he's only been there once, as we all know.

SNOW: Obama has turned down McCain's offer calling it a political stunt. He is expected instead to go to Iraq as part of a congressional delegation. One former diplomat says these overseas trips that also include the Middle East and Europe are necessary considering America's bruised image.

CARLOS PASCUAL, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: A part of what these leaders are doing, these candidates are doing, is demonstrating that they're able to restore American leadership and partnership with others, and that's an issue that resonates and plays back to the electorate in the United States.

SNOW (on-camera): But these trips also comes with risks. The former diplomat we spoke with says what people don't want to see is another country setting the agenda and if that happens that can hurt a candidate at home. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY: Politics and patriotism. The Obama campaign responds to critics who say he doesn't love his country enough.

ROBERTS: And Ali Velshi monitoring all the business news this morning. Hey, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN, SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John, I'm just checking on oil prices. They're actually up a couple of bucks this morning. More than a couple bucks on the dollar having dropped a little bit. When we come back we're going to hear from the chairman of Chevron about why he thinks oil prices are as high as they are. I'll give you an update on what's going on with oil. We'll be back in a minute. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Well, Sheryl Crow and gasoline. Going to the top for answers. The price of gasoline at an all-time high. The same for the price of oil. Larry King sat down with Chevron's CEO and asked him why his profits were in the tens and billions of dollars but our gas prices won't come down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID O'REILLY, CHAIRMAN/CEO, CHEVRON: Our profits have been actually, as a company, have been relatively flat in terms of percent per revenue. It's about seven percent on the basis profit margin - seven percent profit margin, which is very close to the industry average. Now, you've got to keep in mind that the numbers are very big. We made $18 billion of profit last year. But we're investing $23 billion of money this year in new supplies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: There you have it. There's the explanation from the CEO. Ali Velshi is here to dissect it a little bit more. We were arguing about this over the weekend, myself and a few friends. There are sectors out there in the economy that make far more profits.

VELSHI: Absolutely.

ROBERTS: It's just that they're selling so much they make a ton of money.

VELSHI: The oil industry -

CHETRY: ...everyday because you need gas to drive your car -

VELSHI: You're exactly right but really we might be looking in the wrong place. It is not one of the more profitable industries around and historically has not been. This is an industry that makes --

ROBERTS: On a percentage basis.

VELSHI: On a percentage basis. And we - they make a lot of money because we buy a lot of oil. So if their profit is lower they still make a lot of money. Seven percent is not a good return on your money generally speaking. Now a lot of that, that's not what they make. As you said, they reinvest a lot of that because obviously if there's a lot of demand for oil. They are investing millions of dollars and getting more rigs and filling more -

ROBERTS: Is the profit what's left after the reinvestment?

VELSHI: Right. They actually make more money than --

ROBERTS: What you're talking about, you mean to say - we made 17 percent but we reinvested 22 percent? Because they still took the 17 percent? VELSHI: Right. No, it's not a profitable business but it's more profitable because the price of oil is higher. We are buying a lot of their product. They're in business to make money. Most of us have our RIAs or 401Ks and we're diversified, have investments in the oil industry. So the bottomline is that's not probably not where we need to look for the problem. We need to look at our demand and whether there is excess speculation that's driving the price of oil up. But this is the routine that you get from the oil company CEOs. They tell you their percentage that they make doesn't tend to be very high. That's true. The problem is elsewhere.

CHETRY: That should clear it up.

VELSHI: It doesn't look very satisfactory. You guys don't look like - hardly what you're looking for.

ROBERTS: We need some more here.

VELSHI: Yes, I'll try to find more on this.

CHETRY: However, sadly, you're out of time. Thanks, Ali.

With John McCain's military record, does it make him qualified to be president? A Barack Obama supporter clarifying his comments about the Vietnam veteran.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Allegations of a black market where babies are bought and sold. U.S. diplomats in Vietnam say mothers are being paid to put their children into orphanages. But Vietnam's government is firing back at those accusation. Our Dan Rivers is in Hanoi for us today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She's one of the lucky ones. Baby Alexia suddenly has the love of two parents who've adopted her from the Vietnamese orphanage.

MICHELLE BENEDICT, ADOPTIVE PARENT: It took a long time but it was a blessing.

JEREMY BENEDICT, ADOPTIVE PARENT: Yes. I'm relieved that we finally got it done, got her.

RIVERS: After two years of waiting, Jeremy and Michelle Benedict completed Alexia's adoption just as things are changing dramatically. From now on, orphans like these will no longer be available for U.S. couples to adopt who haven't already applied. The Vietnamese are ending an adoption agreement with the U.S. after the American embassy in Hanoi published a damning report alleging corruption in baby selling.

They say often paper work is forged and no questions are asked, meaning babies are being bought and sold like commodities sometimes without the knowledge of their parents. MICHAEL MICHALAK, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO VIETNAM: Mothers are being offered money to put their kids into orphanages. And they're not being told that later on those children will be put up for adoption. So baby selling is the first term that comes to mind to me.

RIVERS: The Vietnamese government describes the report as distorted and slanderous, denying there's baby selling. This government- employed orphanage director agrees.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not believe in the allegation. Because the procedures of adopting a child in Vietnam is very strict.

RIVERS: So why don't the Benedicts just adopt at home in Ohio?

MICHELLE BENEDICT: There's just a waiting list. They're taken.

RIVERS: They say Alexia's adoption went smoothly because they used a reputable agency. America suspended Vietnamese adoptions from 2003 to 2005 amid concerns about corruption. Adoptions have since resumed and flourished. The orphanage we visited opened its records to us but others aren't so transparent. The embassy report says often unscrupulous agencies make donations to orphanages expecting babies to be found in return. Encouraging con artists and even kidnapping. Vietnamese authorities have refuted such allegations, but reputable agencies say it is happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There may be unnecessary competition or crazy competition that exists which causes some improprieties.

RIVERS: Michelle and Jeremy got their adoption completed in time. But others won't be so lucky.

JEREMY BENEDICT: There's definitely plenty of families that want to adopt and they're not going to be able to.

MICHELLE BENEDICT: The waiting list is really long. It's really sad and disappointing.

RIVERS: Especially as Michelle and Jeremy were planning on adopting another baby here. Dan Rivers, CNN, Hanoi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Here's more on overseas adoption and an "AM Extra" for you. China is the top source, about 5,500 kids were adopted from there last year. Guatemala is next with about 4,700, Russia about 2,300, and then it's Ethiopia and South Korea. And Vietnam ranks sixth with about 800 adoptions last year.

CHETRY: A 19-year-old accused cop killer strangled to death in his jail cell. Apparently no one could get in but the guard. Well, now the FBI wants to know if they took justice into their own hands. You're watching the most news in the morning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. This morning Barack Obama supporter General Wesley Clark is clarifying remarks that he made about John McCain's military record that set up a firestorm of controversy. Clark suggested that McCain's experience as a P.O.W. did not qualify him to make national security decisions. Joining us on the phone this morning from Chicago, David Axelrod, the chief strategist for the Obama campaign. David, thanks for being with us.

DAVID AXELROD, CHIEF STRATEGIST, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Good.

CHETRY: Well, General Clark did speak out this morning. And he clarified his position. Let's listen to what he said today.

AXELROD: Uh-huh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), U.S. ARMY: I would never discredit anyone who chose to wear the uniform. I fully respect John McCain and his service. And I said so repeatedly. My point is that there's a difference in preparing yourself for the highest office in the land, depending on which levels you've served at in the Armed Forces.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: We heard from your candidate, Senator Obama, yesterday. He rejected Clark's initial comments. But do you agree with the point he made this morning that there is a difference between military service, no matter how noble, and executive experience?

AXELROD: Well, certainly I do. And, you know, I don't think - in fairness, I don't think Senator McCain was offering his service as his sole credential for the White House. I'm glad - look, I think General Clark didn't mean to demean in any way the service of Senator McCain. The way it came out on Sunday was a bit unfortunate. I'm glad he's clarified it. Obviously someone who's served in the military for 34 years as General Clark has, has great reverence for our men and women in uniform. No one questions that. So I think this is a closed episode and we ought to move on and talk about the issues of today and not the issues of 40 years ago. I mean, just yesterday there was a report about how we've - we, meaning the U.S. government, has botched the quest to capture Osama Bin Laden and shut down Al Qaeda. These are the issues that people are concerned about today and that's what we should be focusing our attention on.

CHETRY: yes but let me just ask you about - because John McCain's campaign manager said it alludes to the fact that the campaign perhaps, is taking a turn. He said yesterday when he was a guest on our show that by allowing a surrogate to launch that kind of attack, it's politics as usual. Let's listen to what Rick Davis said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOICE OF RICK DAVIS, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN ADVISER: All the promise that Barack Obama made about trying to change the political dynamic and run a different kind of campaign is evidenced by the fact that he's completely changed his political stripes and become sort of a partisan hack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Your response to that, David?

AXELROD: Well, I think that if Rick is really interested in running the campaign then he wouldn't be on television calling people partisan hacks. It's kind of ironic that he would do that. Obviously the McCain campaign saw some advantage in making an issue of what General Clark said even though Senator Obama completely disavowed the remark. And you know, so I think that you have to read it for what it is. They wanted to make it a political issue. They spent all day yesterday trying to make it a political issue. We've spoken, General Clark has spoken. Now, perhaps the McCain campaign will return to discussing, you know, the issues that are important to the country.

CHETRY: You know, speaking of things that have been made into political issues, Senator Barack Obama also facing criticism and has been the target of some innuendo questioning his patriotism throughout the campaign. Yesterday, he defended himself against those attacks. Let's listen to what he said yesterday on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign. And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: And David, he went on to say that some of those challenges to his patriotism could have been a result of his own carelessness. What was he referring to there?

AXELROD: Well, I think one example was the issue of the flag pin. He made a comment that really referred to politicians who wear flag pins that you know as a kind of device - a political device and it was interpreted as him criticizing millions of Americans who wear it with incredible pride.

CHETRY: And now he is one of those Americans that wears a flag pin. We have seen him now wearing one on the campaign trail. Why the change? Why is he wearing one now?

AXELROD: Because he loves that - the flag. He love this country and he respects the millions of now - what happened was that a veteran came up to him in a rope line and gave him a flag pin. And out of respect for him, for the flag and for the millions of people who wear it out of their passion for this country, you know, he wore it. And he's worn flag pins before as he made clear. But listen. That's a side issue.

The main issue is here's a guy who was raised by a grandfather who marched in Patton's Army. A grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line. Someone who I think loves this country as much as anybody I've ever met because he's experienced the greatness of it through his own struggle working his way up to where he is today. As he said a million times, only in America is that possible. And he spoke about that yesterday. He spoke about, you know, our history and this country is a country that was banded by patriots. Every challenge we faced came - we have overcome because we have come together as Americans and met them. This is one of those times. So I think it was an important speech. Not because of the fact that he was speaking to some of the back and forth in this campaign but because he was speaking to a larger point, which is the greatness of America, our ability to come together, meet big challenges, and make the sacrifices necessary.

CHETRY: Right. Got you. David Axelrod, chief strategist for the Obama campaign. Thanks for joining us this morning. Good talking to you.

AXELROD: Thank you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY (voice-over): Inmates getting roommates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send me to the hole. I won't rack up with another race.

CHETRY: The nation's largest prison system breaks down a racial divide today.

Plus, hands free. The law starts catching up with your fast fingers and bans texting behind the wheel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People now text more than they talk.

CHETRY: But what you still can do may surprise you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's that? Coffee? I can't drink my coffee.

CHETRY: You're watching the most news in the morning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Following some breaking news out of China this morning. Police say a man with a knife broke into a Shanghai Area Police Station and killed five officers, hurt four others. He was arrested after that rampage. Four other people as we said are injured. They say the suspect upset over punishment that he received for stealing a bicycle.

ROBERTS: A 19-year-old accused cop killer found dead in his jail cell strangled to death the day after he was arrested for running over an officer in Prince George's County, Maryland. The only people with access to him may have been the prison guards and supervisors. Our Jeanne Meserve is monitoring developments. She joins us now from Washington. Jeanne, this looks like a vigilante killing. Is that the way it's being treated?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is what it's being called by the Prince Georges County executive. Initially, authorities said there was no sign of foul play in the death of 19-year-old Ronnie White. Now, preliminary autopsy reports show he died of asphyxiation and two small bones in his neck were broken. He was apparently choked to death. White died while in solitary confinement at the Prince George's County, Maryland jail. The Maryland state police have been called in to take over what is now a homicide investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

The killing of the officer is just absolutely horrid. But also, Mr. White was presumed to be innocent and deserved his day in court just like anyone - any other citizen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: A physical during processing uncovered no health issues. White was checked regularly in his cell, including a 10:15 Sunday morning and appeared fine. 20 minutes later when he was brought his lunch, he had no pulse. Officials say the only people with access to White apparently were seven corrections officers and an unspecified number of supervisors, none have been suspended at this point. Police are not suspects, officials say. Surveillance tape might have been useful to the probe but officials say there were no cameras in the part of jail where White was held. John.

ROBERTS: Any cameras in an area of the jail that might have led to access to where he was being held?

MESERVE: We don't know that yet. That wasn't talked about at a press conference last night. We'll be asking that question today.

ROBERTS: All right. Jeanne Meserve for us from Washington, troubling story, thanks.

CHETRY: And recapping some of our top stories this morning. Police in Portugal reportedly closing their investigation into the disappearance of Madeline McCann. Two newspapers report that the decision was made because of a lack of evidence. The British girl disappeared during a family vacation in Portugal last year, a few days before her fourth birthday.

American-led coalition war planes killed 33 militants in eastern Afghanistan overnight. Helicopters and a bomber struck the group about five miles from the Pakistani border.

And the Department of Homeland Security and FBI bulletin says there are no credible terror threats for Friday's July 4th holiday. But state and local officials warned to be more vigilant at firework shows and parades where large crowds are expected and at airports and public transportation systems because more people are expected to be traveling for the holiday.

ROBERTS: Supporters of John McCain are trying to prove to voters the republican hopeful is ready for the Oval Office. But there are new questions after comments by two of his biggest allies. Our Ed Henry takes a look this morning. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Republican John McCain insists that if elected he will not be a Bush clone. But some McCain allies seem to be ripping a page from the president's play book. Raising the spector of a possible terror attack next year to sway voters against democrat Barack Obama.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: Remember that the truck bombing of the World Trade Center happened in the first year of the Clinton administration. 9/11 happened in the first year of the Bush administration. John McCain is ready to take the reins on January 20th, 2009. He doesn't need any training.

HENRY: Lieberman, the former democratic vice presidential candidate who is now an independent is so close to McCain he has been mentioned as a possible running mate and his comments follow McCain adviser Charlie Black recently saying a terror attack between now and the election would help McCain. Black apologized. A Lieberman aide told CNN the senator was not playing the fear card, he was just highlighting McCain's qualifications.

LIEBERMAN: We need a president who is ready to be commander in chief on day one. Senator McCain is -- incidentally, Senator Clinton said that over and over again.