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Bertha Slams Bermuda Overnight; Pentagon Responds to Taliban Brutality in Afghanistan; Short-Term Impact is Zero on Drilling for Oil; President Lifts Ban on Offshore Drilling; What Has New Refinery on Hold? Lifting Offshore Drilling: Will Congress Follow Bush's Call?

Aired July 15, 2008 - 07:00   ET


AMI NEIBERGER-MILLER, TRAGEDY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR SURVIVORS: Because they don't always realize that they don't have to just throw open the door all the way. They can find a middle ground.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Gina Gray says bottom line is the families ought to be able to decide. Do you think she's right?

NEIBERGER-MILLER: Absolutely. I think she's right.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): Not every family wants media coverage. But for Ami, who wears her brother's dog tags, it's one more way to ensure he's not forgotten.

NEIBERGER-MILLER: This is one that I had made with his picture on it.

MCINTYRE: Jamie McIntyre, CNN, Washington.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: It's crossing the top of the hour now. And here are this morning's top stories.

Bertha moves on. The storm slamming Bermuda overnight. Power knocked out to thousands of people. Thankfully though, no one was hurt. This morning Bertha has moved out into open water.

The U.S. dollar declines as the Euro hits a new high today. A new record for the European currency set overnight, equal to just over $1.60. This is overseas investors still nervous about the mortgage mess here in the States.

And Asian markets tumble. Every major index was in the red by midday. Hong Kong's market dropping by more than four percent by the close. Taiwan also down more than four percent. Ali Velshi tracking all the moves. He's going to join us in just a moment.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Today Barack Obama will take stage for a major speech on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he's expected to lay out his plan for future combat and withdrawal. It comes just days before an expected trip to the Middle East.

And take a look at a brand new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll. It finds McCain with a slight two percent lead over Obama on the issue of handling the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon with more for us. Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran. Well, what Barack Obama and John McCain may be about to find out is that the road home from Iraq is taking a detour through Afghanistan.


STARR (voice-over): It's the latest sign of Taliban brutality. The "Associated Press" distributed video of what it says are two women abducted by Taliban gunmen and executed for allegedly being prostitutes.

Gunshots and screams caught on tape. The incident could not be independently verified by CNN. This as U.S. forces suffered the deadliest attack in Afghanistan in three years. U.S. officials say 200 insurgents firing small arms, machine guns, rockets and mortars launched a well-planned assault on a U.S. and Afghan combat outpost in the Kunar province alongside the Pakistan border, killing nine American troops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is quite common for them to attack our combat outposts, but this was a larger scale attack than normal.

STARR: U.S. officials say insurgents overran an observation platform outside the base. Most of the U.S. troops were killed there. The fighting described as absolutely brutal.

Senior U.S. military officials say the deteriorating situation is due to the lack of security on the Pakistan border. Militants are crossing into Afghanistan, sometimes at will from Pakistan's tribal area.

ADM. MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: What it really speaks to is that that's a safe haven that's got to be eliminated, for all insurgents not just al-Qaeda.

STARR: U.S. commanders are now asking the Pentagon to send as many as 1,000 more M-wrapped armored vehicles to Afghanistan. That would double the number there now. They have proven highly effective in Iraq. And commanders in Afghanistan want more troops, perhaps as many as 10,000 more.


STARR: Kiran, but here's the critical problem right now. No additional troops can really be sent to Afghanistan or equipment until there is a troop draw down in Iraq. That will free up the troops and that is the problem facing the next president of the United States -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Barbara Starr for us this morning. Thanks. ROBERTS: The White House today pressuring Congress to allow offshore drilling for oil. Yesterday President Bush lifted an executive order banning drilling, but it cannot begin unless Congress lifts its own ban.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With this action the Executive Branch's restrictions on this exploration have been cleared away. This means that the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action from the U.S. Congress. Now the ball is squarely in Congress' court.

REP. EDWARD MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The arithmetic of the Bush years, the Cheney years in the White House, is now quite clear. Two oilmen in the White House times two terms in office equals $4 a gallon gasoline for the American people.


ROBERTS: Even if Congress were to say yes to offshore drilling, will it do anything to help ease the energy crisis? CNN's John Zarrella has been looking into that.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, sun tan oil is the only oil Floridians want to see on the beaches. But with the White House pushing Congress to open up new drilling in the eastern gulf of Mexico, the question is, is it worth the risk?


ZARRELLA (voice-over): Ian McIntyre doesn't use a drop of gasoline. He drives a bicycle taxi. But he's still concerned about the prospect of offshore drilling.

IAN MCINTYRE, BICYCLE TAXI DRIVER: You've got these beautiful shorelines. And this is a tourist state. And if we mess up the shorelines, you know, it's going to take away a lot of money from the economy.

ZARRELLA: Environmental impact drove Congress more than 25 years ago to place a moratorium on drilling in the eastern gulf. That's still the biggest concern. But some energy experts say advances in technology have greatly reduced the chance of a catastrophic spill. They point to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

JORGE PINON, ENERGY ANALYST: Over 300 plant forms were totally destroyed and we do not have one single catastrophic oil spill.

ZARRELLA: Environmental groups insist it doesn't take a big spill to make a mess, or worse.

JACQUIE WEISBLUM, AUDUBON OF FLORIDA: There's a day to day chronic impacts of toxic drilling muds, the infrastructure that needs to be installed to accommodate rigs. All of those impacts can have terrible pollution impacts on our coast. ZARRELLA: Experts say it will take three to five years to get the first barrel of new gulf oil. And until test wells are drilled, no one knows for sure how much is out there. Even a major find, some oil experts say, won't reduce your pain at the pump.

PINON: It's going to slow down the rise in crude oil prices over the long term. Short-term impact is going to be zero.

ZARRELLA: No quick fix for America's energy crisis or its addiction to oil.


ZARRELLA: The cost of leasing a deep-water oil drilling platform is more than, get this, $300,000 a day. That's just the rig. At those prices, energy experts say, oil companies aren't going to waste their time or money if there isn't plenty of oil out there -- John, Kiran.

ROBERTS: John Zarrella for us this morning.

And coming up, Republicans and Democrats banding together to come up with a plan to lower energy costs. They're calling it the so- called "Gang of 10."

Ahead we're going to talk to two members, Senator Saxby Chambliss and Kent Conrad, about their plan to save you money. Well, that is if they've got one.

CHETRY: Issue number one, the economy and your money topping the news this Tuesday. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hitting the hill in just a few hours. And the top topic, stabilizing our economy in the wake of the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae bailout.

We're also watching the oil and gas prices this morning. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding a press conference in just a few hours after she and House Democrats talk about solutions to the energy crisis.

And big news out of the auto industry. General Motors saying it's going to "restructure" itself after sagging sales. The CEO will detail the changes in just two hours.

Our senior business correspondent Ali Velshi watching all of these stories for us. Good to see you. As we talk about GM, when you say restructuring we're talking job losses.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We most likely are talking job losses. Yes. GM has been doing this for a while. They announced some changes in June then they announced changes further to that.

Part of the problem is that the Detroit automakers have been struggling for the last few years to try and make themselves profitable. They've been hit by the gas prices. And while a lot of people criticize them for not having foreseen that Americans would turn away from trucks and SUVs, I don't think anybody figured that these gas prices would increase at the speed that they have increased.

So GM is going to turn to -- the CEO is probably going to implement some plans that will suggest to the market that GM is not about to go bankrupt because that's a rumor that's been going around. So they're going to have some moves to calm the bankruptcy fears. Probably more truck production cuts.

They are also likely to offer buyouts to salaried workers and some changes to executive level compensation. Now what they've already done is they've already announced that they've frozen the production of the next generation of trucks.

They've announced plans to close four truck plants by 2010. They've cut their truck production by 170,000 units and increased car production by 47,000 units. They've also considered selling Hummer, although we don't know who the potential buyer for Hummer would be. The sales of Hummer have also fallen as a result of high gas prices. So unclear what they're going to do and how far they're going to do, but the stock of GM under $10, that is a 54-year low.

Now a little later on this morning, I'm going to be speaking to Bob Lutz. He's the vice chairman of General Motors. And you can see that on "ISSUE #1" at 12:00 Eastern. We're going to be talking about the changes to GM and what can possibly --

CHETRY: Do they have hybrids?

VELSHI: GM does have hybrids. GM is actually quite a leader in alternative energy technology. I think they perhaps didn't embrace that early enough so it's not all in production. They're going to have an electric car out, I think, by about 2010, the Volt. So General Motors, I think they're going to talk about accelerating that. Maybe that's what we heard today, but we'll keep a close eye on that starting at 9:00 this morning.

ROBERTS: Remember the expositions back in the '70s and '80s, when they had the car of the future, the electric cars...

VELSHI: Right.

ROBERTS: ... and then never mind.

VELSHI: Right.

CHETRY: There was a big conspiracy theory behind that.

VELSHI: But the thing is that was still the case. They were introducing these cars. There was no sense that they were going into production. And now, in the last year we've heard from General Motors, they actually are going to go into production and people will buy them.

ROBERTS: If only they've done it 30 years ago.

CHETRY: They built some places to plug them in.


CHETRY: Thanks, Ali.


ROBERTS: Bertha has blown past Bermuda. Now, the next storm. Coming up at 11 minutes after, Rob Marciano tracking the latest tropical wave that could have its sights set on the United States.

CHETRY: Then 18 after, 200 grand or more. A newspaper sting released a stunning videotape. A lobbyist allegedly offering access to Vice President Dick Cheney and other top administration officials for a price.

ROBERTS: And then at 31 minutes after the hour, interrogation tape released. Recordings from inside Guantanamo Bay released to the public for the first time ever. Our Kelli Arena working the story from Washington and she'll have that for us.

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


ROBERTS: A live Web cam look this morning of St. George in Bermuda out near the airport there at the northeastern tip of the island. Fabulous place that got hit by Tropical Storm Bertha yesterday.

Power knocked out a bunch of folks but apparently no injuries, which is great. As Rob Marciano was saying, Bermuda very much built like a fortress and not a whole lot of damage from the tropical storm which is great to see.

Right now though, two areas of concern in the Atlantic. First of all, Bertha gaining speed again, expected to become a hurricane after washing over Bermuda. And further out in the Atlantic, forecasters watching what could become the third tropical depression of the Atlantic season.

Let's get straight to Rob Marciano who's tracking all of this. What are the chances this is going to turn into a storm, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Pretty good. Better than 50 percent. By the way, the only time we can get away with playing with the scorpions, rocky like the hurricane, is when we have storms that are moving from the most part away from the U.S.

This is tropical storm -- this could be our next tropical storm. If it happens it will be Cristobal. Right now, National Weather Service Hurricane Center is keeping an eye on it for sure.

All right. This is Bertha. It's got winds of 70 miles an hour, could strengthen to a hurricane again. It's moving away from Bermuda. Still some gusty winds, had around five inches of rain during the squalls the past couple of days. Interesting forecast track. Kind of does a little dipsy-doodle over the next couple of days as it slowly makes its way into the north Atlantic. Boy, this thing has been with us for a while.

All right. Waves from Bertha have been propagating westward and we have had rip tides, rip currents, I should say, from north Florida all the way up to the coast of Maine. That will continue to be an issue until this thing winds down, eventually gets its way out to sea.

All right. This is Hurricane Aletta. Category One storm, about 180 to 185 miles an hour moving due west at 15, or 12 to 15. And as she continue to move west in the weekend and that won't bother anybody.

One more tropical note, this is kind of piqued my interest here. This little flare up of thunderstorms here in the northeastern gulf of Mexico. No word of any discussion from the National Hurricane Center on that. But it certainly could prove to be interesting and very close to shore. So we'll watch that as well.

Temps in the 90s and 80s. We're in the middle of July so try to stay cool out there. John and Kiran, back up to you.

ROBERTS: Rob, thanks so much. We'll see you again soon.


CHETRY: Well, from the highs of qualifying for the swimming team in the Olympics, to finding out you have cancer. 24-year-old Eric Shanteau's battle out of the water as he looks toward Beijing.


ROBERTS: It's coming up at 19 minutes after the hour. And here's what we're working on this morning. Follow me here.

First of all, let's bring this up and show you. Your safety in the skies. The Senate takes up the issue this morning, looking at the current air traffic control system and its inability to handle air traffic effectively.

Also this morning, the D.C. Council set to repeal the city's ban on handguns. The legislation comes as officials scramble to comply with the Supreme Court ruling last month. It struck down that city's 32-year-old law.

Happening at 10:45 a.m. this morning, presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama gives a major speech on Iraq, Afghanistan, and America's national security. This comes just a day after Obama's op- ed in "The New York Times" which sparked a fire fight between the Obama and McCain campaigns over the war in Iraq.

And at noon Eastern, John McCain holding a town hall in Albuquerque, New Mexico on a four contested states where Spanish- speaking voters could make the difference in the race for the White House. And that's what we're following this morning -- Kiran. CHETRY: Well, it's a first new oil refinery to be built in the U.S. in 30 years. Most of the South Dakota residents living around the site say they're thrilled. So what's the hold-up?

Drew Griffin with CNN's special investigation unit unravels the big oil mystery.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an ambitious project, a first of its kind $10 billion clean oil refinery to be built on the cornfields of southeast South Dakota. A yet to be built pipeline would carry 400,000 barrels a day of Canadian crude to be converted into fuel.

And unlike the not in my back yard symptoms that have plagued other projects, Union County, South Dakota, is welcoming the refinery with mostly open arms. The proposed refinery's closest town is Elk Point, and the mayor says her town not only wants the economic development, it wants a part in making America energy independent.

You think Elk Point, Union County, South Dakota, is the place to start?

MAYOR ISABEL TROBAUGH, ELK POINT, SOUTH DAKOTA: Well, it's as good as any, and will be great for Elk Point. Because if we don't grow, a small city dies and this will create some huge growth for us.

GRIFFIN: Fifty-eight percent of voters in Union County voted in favor of the refinery. Those who live closest, like Dale Harkness, have voted against it, vowing the refinery, clean or not, will never be built.

DALE HARKNESS, FARMER: I'll keep fighting it. They'll never build here; 150 years from now, somebody will be enjoying that land and this land.

GRIFFIN: But the biggest hurdle may not be environmental issues or neighbors who don't want it. The big question is, can the small company with this grand plan actually make it happen? Local reporters have had a hard time finding much out about Hyperion Energy.

MITCH PUGH, EDITOR, SIOUX CITY JOURNAL: There's certainly a lot of unknowns. I think you hit one of the big ones is, you know, who's Hyperion. There's not a whole lot known about them. You know, they're not -- they're not big players in the oil market.

GRIFFIN: Hyperion Energy located on the 15th floor of this Dallas office building has mostly dabbled in real estate and oil and gas leases, not refining. And when we came to Dallas with our questions, we got our answers not in the office, but in a city park where we met Hyperion's project executive, Preston Phillips, who admitted the company really doesn't have a lot of experience in refineries, but says six years from now, the first new American refinery in decades will open.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Is it really going to happen? They're not sure Hyperion is the company that can make this happen?

PRESTON PHILLIPS, HYPERION ENERGY: Well, we obviously wouldn't be spending the resources and time we have if we didn't think we could.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Phillips says the financing is not there yet. And when the company went to the two senators from South Dakota seeking federally-backed loans, the company was told to look somewhere else. Still, Elk Point is counting on Hyperion to do what no other company has done in 30 years, build a new clean oil refinery in the U.S.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Elk Point, South Dakota.


CHETRY: Hyperion says if it gets the go ahead, a clean oil refinery could be producing gasoline there in South Dakota in six years.

ROBERTS: A so-called gas price gang made up of Republicans and Democrats. It's on the hunt to lower energy prices by next month. So how do they plan to do it?

Senators Kent Conrad and Saxby Chambliss are live coming up.

CHETRY: And for the first time, you're seeing video of an interrogation at Guantanamo Bay. A look at what it shows and why it was released.



JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": President Bush did some research this past weekend in order to better educate himself on whether or not to drill for oil in Alaska. He said he did technical research on the latest drilling technology. OK, he just went to see "Journey to the Center of the Earth." OK. He didn't get that involved. He didn't get that involved.


ROBERTS: Jay Leno poking fun at the president last night. President Bush telling Congress that the ball is in their court after he lifted a ban on offshore drilling yesterday.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As the Democratically-controlled Congress has sat idle, gas prices have continued to increase. Failure to act is unacceptable. It's unacceptable to me. It's unacceptable to the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: But at the moment any movement in Congress to lift the federal ban is highly unlikely. So what can be done to ease soaring energy prices? Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss and Democratic Senator Kent Conrad are leading a bipartisan energy coalition. They join me now from Capitol Hill.

Gentlemen, it's good to see you. I guess that you're calling this the "Gang of 10," modeled sort of on the "Gang of 14" that got together to talk about federal judges. The initial question I and many other Americans have is, is this just a feel-good process or is anything actually going to get done?

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: Well, John, I think we've got an excellent opportunity to get something done. And what Kent and I want to do is not have a "Gang of 10." We love for it to be a gang of about 90 or 95 at the end of the day. And we've had some very serious and deliberate meetings and have made some real progress thus far, with respect to a number of issues that are out there, whether it's more exploration domestically, whether it's conversation or whether it's transparency in markets. So we're for real.

ROBERTS: Senator Chambliss, you did seem yesterday to be lowering expectations just a little bit. You said, "We would like to come up with a package. It may be minimal but that's OK if it is."

Senator Conrad, what can Congress do to bring down the price of a gallon of gasoline?

SEN. KENT CONRAD (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Well, I think we all know there are several elements to this. We've got to deal with conserving, using less. We also have to produce more.

Those are the two sides of the equation in terms of the supply/demand relationship. We also have to do -- I believe we have to do something about speculation because I think the evidence is that is adding to prices. So we have to do some of a lot of different things that we might otherwise not do.

Conservation is a big part of this and we're focusing on that. And in addition to that, increased production.

ROBERTS: Let me pick up on what you said there about increased production. We were talking just as we introduced you about President Bush lifting the executive ban that his father signed back in 1990 on offshore drilling. Where do the two of you come down on this idea of opening up more of our offshore resources?

CHAMBLISS: I think it's absolutely necessary that we give the states the option as to whether or not they're going to participate in our -- the leaning away from dependency on foreign imports for oil. And we know that we've got oil in the Outer Continental Shelf and deep sea exploration can be a very positive thing.

We've got the technology to do it in an environmentally sensitive way. But at the end of the day, we've got to make a decision as Americans, whether we want to be energy independent or at least move away as much as we can towards energy independence. And we think one of the ways we do it is to provide more supplies...


CHAMBLISS: ... as Kent just said. And that includes the Outer Continental Shelf.

ROBERTS: Senator Conrad, do you agree with that, that opening up the Continental Shelf is a good idea?

CONRAD: You know, we've already opened up some of the gulf, an area called 181.


CONRAD: My opinion belief is we ought to open up more of the gulf. That's probably --

ROBERTS: But what about -- what about --

What about Florida, offshore California, up and down the coast of Virginia, maybe off New Jersey?

CONRAD: Look, I think the first thing we ought to do is focus on the gulf. That's where the experts tell us the richest opportunities lie.

Part of the gulf is open. Part of it is not. I think we ought to focus on that gulf area that is so rich in possibility.

ROBERTS: Now, of course, this is being fought out tooth and nail in the campaign trail. Let's listen to a little bit of what Barack Obama and John McCain said about this yesterday.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we started drilling today, the first drop of oil wouldn't come for another seven years.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's against offshore drilling. He's against offering reward for the development of electric car. He's against everything we need to do.


ROBERTS: So Senator Obama is saying that opening up offshore drilling wouldn't do anything because it will take seven or eight years for it to come into production. Senator John McCain is calling Senator Obama Dr. No because he's against all of these energy proposals.

Who's got the best plan?

SEN. KENT CONRAD (D), LEADING BI-PARTISAN "ENERGY COALITION": Look, I don't think that is where the American people want us to go in terms of this finger-pointing. I think what they want us to do is get together to produce a result.

Senator Obama joined many of us in supporting opening up Area 181 in the Gulf and the last energy...

ROBERTS: Right. Senator...

CONRAD: ... zone so he supported it.

ROBERTS: Senator Chambliss, is there too much fighting and not enough getting done here?

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: That's exactly why Kent and I have gotten together on this. We've had good success in working in a bipartisan way before. We know that there are good Republican ideas, there are good Democratic ideas.

We simply have got to merge those together. And if we can come up with some common ground, and we think we can, then it's going to be for the benefit of everybody and it'll get us out of this political finger-pointing.

ROBERTS: Well, gentlemen, good luck. I think there are a lot of people out there that would like to see some results as opposed to just rhetoric.

Senator Chambliss, Senator Conrad, good to see you this morning. Thanks for being with us.

CHAMBLISS: Thank you.

CONRAD: Good to be with you.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty-one minutes past the hour now. A look at top stories this morning.

Bertha moves on. The storm slammed Bermuda overnight. Power knocked out to thousands. And this morning Bertha is moving out now to open waters.

The dollar declines as the euro hits a new high. The new record for the European currency set overnight. It's equal to just over $1.60. This comes as overseas investors are still nervous over the mortgage mess here in the United States.

And the first video ever released of interrogation of a suspect at Guantanamo Bay. It shows a Canadian prisoner who was just 15 years old when he was captured being questioned by Canadian interrogators in 2003.

Omar Khadr is accused of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan.

Our Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena has seen the video and she joins me now.

First of all, why are we seeing this video? KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, because his lawyers released it. I mean, as you said, this is the first ever look at an interrogation of an enemy combatant at Guantanamo Bay. I mean this is a highly secretive program.

Kiran, when I went over to Gitmo to cover the trials, we were kept very far away from where those detainees were being held.

It was -- so his lawyers felt that they needed to get this out to make their case. They show him being questioned back in 2003. On the video you see a Canadian security intelligence service agent grilling Khadr about what happens before his capture as an enemy combatant.

Now Khadr will go before a military tribunal for killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan back in 2002. The video shows him weeping. His face is buried in his hands. At one point he says that he was tortured in Afghanistan. He picks up his shirt to show his wounds.

Let's take a look.


OMAR KHADR, GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEE: I got them on my arms. All over. Will you help me?


KHADR: I can't move my arms. I requested medical for a long time they didn't do anything about it.

UNIDENTIFIED AGENT: I mean, they look like they're healing well to me. You know, I'm not a doctor but I think you're getting good medical care.

KHADR: No, I'm not. You're not here. I lost my eyes. I lost my feet, everything.

UNIDENTIFIED AGENT: No, you still have your eyes and your feet are still at the end of your legs, you know.


ARENA: If you couldn't quite here that audio very clearly, Khadr is complaining that he doesn't think that he's getting good medical care. The Canadian official there telling him he thinks he is.

And the reason this case has gotten so much attention is because Khadr was just 15 when he was taken into custody. He's now 21. He's one of just eight detainees who were juveniles when they were taken to Gitmo. Most of them have been released but Khadr has not because he's been charged. The plan is to have him charged before a military tribunal -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Kelli Arena for us in Washington this morning with that tape, as you said, seeing for the first time, an interrogation at Guantanamo Bay. Thanks.

ROBERTS: Thirty-four-and-a-half minutes after the hour. Alina Cho here with other stories new this morning. She joins us.

And he'll be back.

ALINO CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He will be back. It's been a year but he will be back and he's coming back soon.

Good morning, guys. Good morning, everybody.

ROBERTS: Good morning.

CHO: New this morning Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning another visit to New York City. He will attend the U.N. general assembly in September. His visit last year, many recall, set off a firestorm when he asked to lay a wreath at ground zero and address students at Columbia University.

Ahmadinejad says he wants to return to the U.S. to defend Iran's right.

New York congressman Charlie Rangel is moving his campaign office out of a rent-stabilized apartment in Harlem. That's according to the "New York Times."

Rangel faced controversy for using campaign funds to pay for one of his four apartments with rent locked in at nearly $1,000 less than similar apartments.

By law, tenants of discounted apartments can only use them as their primary residents.

Well, New York City did it, now California could become the first state in the nation to ban trans fats. Yesterday state lawmakers approved a bill that would ban restaurants and bakeries from using the artificial vegetable oil. It's been known to increase the risk of heart disease.

And a black carpet replaced the traditional red at the world premiere of the new "Batman" film, "The Dark Night." It was a tribute to one of the stars, Heath Ledger, who died of an accidental drug overdose back in January.

Ledger's family flew in from Australia to attend the movie's premiere.

The film, by the way, opens in the United States on Friday. Lots to talk about a posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger, the...

CHETRY: (INAUDIBLE) a lot of buzz.

CHO: Apparently a lot, a lot of buzz. And so many tickets have been sold for the midnight and 3:00 a.m. showings, as you guys know, that they've added 6:00 a.m. showings. I think this is our first blockbuster of the summer, maybe.

CHETRY: Direct competition with our show.

CHO: Yes, exactly.

CHETRY: Particularly don't go to the 6:00 a.m. show.

CHO: That's right. Get the 3:00.

CHETRY: Alina, thanks.

ROBERTS: This morning an investigation into promises made by a former Bush fund-raiser was all caught on tape as the lobbyist promised access to the vice president and other top administration figures for money.

So what does the White House have to say about it?

Let's check in with CNN's Ed Henry.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, the lobbyist involved here, Stephen Pane, insists this is just a big misunderstanding. The problem is there's a tape.


HENRY (voice over): Promises of access to the president's top aides in exchange for contributions to the George W. Bush library and some cold, hard cash on the side for the man brokering the deal.

The whole discussion caught on tape.

Here's what he said, "A couple of hundred thousand. I think that would probably get the attention of people raising the money." That's Texas lobbyist and Bush fund-raiser Stephen Payne, unwitting star of the shocking video, secretly recorded by "The Times of London."

You see him here trying to wrangle a donation to the Bush library from a man whom he thought was representing the exiled former president of Kyrgyzstan.

Payne again, "200, 250, something like that. That's going to be a show of, we're interested."

In exchange for the money, Payne is caught on tape promising to set up meetings with top administration officials, including the vice president.

Payne again, "Cheney's possible. Definitely the national security adviser, definitely Dr. Rice."

The White House distanced itself from Payne and suggested he's no insider.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's categorically no link between any official business and the Bush library. Steve Payne was never an employee of the White House.

HENRY: The White House does admit Payne helped with logistics on some foreign trips. And, of course, he did raise $200,000 for the president's re-election campaign.

In a long written statement to CNN, Payne called "The Times of London" story gotcha journalism. He acknowledged mentioning to his apparent clients that they might be able to make donations to think tanks, foundations, and/or President Bush's library," but said he made it very clear that there could be no quid pro quo.


HENRY: But did Stephen Payne get any of his clients meetings at the White House? A key question that will now be probed by Democratic congressman, Henry Waxman, who's announced he's launched an investigation.

John, Kiran?

ROBERTS: Ed Henry for us covering that.

A spokesman for the Bush Library Foundation says no money will be accepted from foreign sources while President Bush is still in office.

CHETRY: All right, Ali Velshi joins us now. He's taking a look at just how much our dollar is worth after the euro reaches an all- time high today.

Hey, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's what I was going to ask you -- what do you think this dollar will get you? It's not going to get you much against the euro at least. And I'm going to tell you what I'm going to be doing next week now that I officially can't afford my summer vacation to Europe.

Stay with us. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. We're coming right back.


CHETRY: Ali Velshi joins us. He's all fired up this morning, canceling...

ROBERTS: You're on. That sounds...

VELSHI: I'm on about something. You know I'm going on vacation next week, or I was.

ROBERTS: Oh that's what this is.

VELSHI: And I was actually just saying, I was saying to myself, you know, the dollar seems to be behaving very nicely against the euro. I actually booked a trip to a place that doesn't officially use the euro because of the dollar. The dollar is now at a record low against the euro, thank you very much. $1.60 now to get you a euro and Croatia books their hotels in euros. Why? It's not their currency.

CHETRY: You were going to go to Croatia?

VELSHI: I was going to go to Croatia. But I'm telling you....

CHETRY: Now it's (INAUDIBLE) bus.

VELSHI: Point being, it's not all about me. OK? This is affecting our markets right now. The Dow is down in triple digits-- the futures for the Dow. Oil prices are going up again.

It's just not a trend we were hoping to see. We thought that the dollar was sort of strengthening a little bit.

And there are, as we have discussed many times -- I know we've said this before, but I'm going to remind you -- there are certain benefits to having a low dollar, and that is it becomes a little less expensive to manufacture things in the United States and a little more, you know, attractive for people from other parts of the world to buy American goods.

So sometimes when you see the dollar going down -- but that doesn't happen when you see it fluctuating on sort of a daily basis. That has to be a long term thing that the dollar is lower and others gain as a result of it and then we get jobs back.

But the bottom line is this morning, for those of you planning a trip, as I was, the dollar is at a record low against the euro, a buck, sixty.

ROBERTS: So you know, for years there were plenty of Canadians whose dollar was about the same value as ours...

VELSHI: Right.

ROBERTS: ... against the euro.

VELSHI: Right.

ROBERTS: They bit the bullet and still went to Florida and still went to Disney World.


ROBERTS: Then so why are you such a wimp that you canceled your trip to Croatia?

VELSHI: Good point. The trip is back on. I just needed -- I just needed a little pep talk. I am going away next week. Someone else will be sitting in for me here at AMERICAN MORNING.

CHETRY: That's right.

VELSHI: It's really been fun spending time with you.

CHETRY: Ali has been shamed into going to Croatia.

VELSHI: I'm shamed to be going back.

CHETRY: Thank you.

VELSHI: All right.

CHETRY: Well, here's a look at what we're working on for you this morning at 54 after the hour, just about 10 minutes from now.

Lou Dobbs with an early wake-up call. He's going to be joining us to talk about mortgage bailouts and the presidential candidates' immigration stance, whether or not taxpayers will be left holding the bag.

At 11 after hour, a CNN exclusive, our Betty Nguyen inside Myanmar with kids on the first day of school, as much of that country still deals with the aftermath of a devastating typhoon.

And in about an hour, 11 million bucks for a simple snapshot. That's how much, apparently, the photos, the first photo of the Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt twins are going for.

So even if they give the money to the highest bidder, does it make it right? Our Randi Kaye takes a look.

You're watching the most news in the morning.

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ROBERTS: An Olympic swimmer determined to push forward despite being diagnosed with cancer.

Eric Shanteau has decided to go for the gold in Beijing and hold off surgery until after the games.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta is live in Atlanta with the story and he's got this story for us this morning.

Good morning, Sanjay.


One of the most difficult decisions, as you might imagine, but as we learned, Eric Shanteau has a pretty good role model out there. He's determined to win and his spirit is strong.

Take a look.


GUPTA (voice over): He's been preparing for Beijing his entire life.

ERIC SHANTEAU, OLYMPIC SWIMMER: Dreaming about the Olympics. It's -- you know, that's for as long as I can remember.

GUPTA: But just two months away from realizing his dream, doctors gave U.S. swimmer Eric Shanteau devastating news -- testicular cancer.

SHANTEAU: You get hit with, you know, basically, the biggest low you can ever have in your life.

GUPTA: Then two weeks later, the biggest high.

24-year-old Shanteau won a spot on the U.S. Olympic swim team.

SHANTEAU: As far as my swimming career is concerned, that's obviously the biggest high.

GUPTA: Testicular cancer is an extremely treatable disease. More than 95 percent cases are cured, especially when they're caught early. Luckily, Shanteau's was. He made the extremely difficult decision to wait until after Beijing to have his operation, placing trust in his doctors, who are closely monitoring his condition.

SHANTEAU: I'm probably not going to be swimming in four years regardless. I'm looking at the end of my career here, whether I'm having treatment done today or in another month, it wouldn't -- it would make no difference.

GUPTA: Lance Armstrong, the world's best known testicular cancer survivor, is applauding Shanteau's fight.

After Armstrong was diagnosed with a more advanced form of the disease in 1996, he went on to win seven Tour de France.

GUPTA (on camera): Did you think you were going to die?

LANCE ARMSTRONG, TESTICULAR CANCER SURVIVOR: You have moments, for sure, where -- moments of weakness where you think I'm going to die or perhaps I'm going to die. I was totally committed, totally focused. And I had complete faith in my doctors and the medicine and the procedures.

GUPTA (voice over): But here's the question -- in Eric Shanteau's case, is holding off on his treatment smart?

DR. OTIS BRAWLEY, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: It is not unusual for someone to delay getting treatment for several weeks or several months. And I'm not advocating that everybody wait a period of three or four weeks. If they do it under medical supervision, it can be very safe.

GUPTA: With the odds in his favor, it's a small risk Shanteau is eager to take.

SHANTEAU: I'm not going to let it beat me. I'm not going to let it affect what I've been working for so long.


GUPTA: Now to be clear, there are certain forms of cancer out there in which you do require immediate treatment. So this shouldn't be a message that you can wait for all cancers.

In his case they're going to get a blood test every week. They're going to get a CAT scan every two weeks through his training and through the Olympics. If there's any changes at all, he says he's going to come back and start his treatment -- John.

ROBERTS: All right. Well, we certainly wish him well.

Sanjay Gupta with that story for us this morning.

Sanjay, thanks so much.

GUPTA: Thank you.


CHETRY (voice over): Pitching a plan to reform immigration.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My critics said it would be political suicide.

CHETRY: Our Lou Dobbs on the candidates' position ahead next hour.

Plus breaking news and your dollar. Find out if you're paying more. We break down the numbers.

You're watching the most news in the morning.


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ROBERTS: At 54 minutes after the hour New York Congressman Charles Rangel is moving his campaign office out of a rent stabilized apartment in Harlem. He faced controversy for using campaign funds to pay for one of his four apartments, with rent locked in at nearly $1,000 less than similar apartments every month.

Congressman Rangel joins us now live on the phone.

Congressman Rangel, it's against state and city guidelines to use these apartments for anything other than a primary residence. Were you aware of that when you used it as a campaign office? Were you trying to skirt the rules here?

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: No. But one thing is clear, that we have decided that it's inappropriate to stay in that building and we have so notified the landlord. And at the time that the campaign made the decision, there were many vacancies in the building.

And so we reviewed this and we will be out of there as soon as possible. And certainly the lease expires anyway soon, so it will be convenient for us to do just that.

ROBERTS: Right. I guess the question that many people have is why did you do this in the first place and were you aware that it is, at least according to the letter of the law, a violation of the guidelines?

RANGEL: No. There were many vacancies in that building at the time the committee decided that. And I assume that they thought it would be working closer with me. But it was a good idea at the time and it is not now.

ROBERTS: All right. And so you'll be vacating immediately again?

RANGEL: Yes, sir. We were thinking about doing that anyway.

ROBERTS: All right. Congressman Rangel, thanks for explaining that a bit for us this morning. We appreciate it. We know that you've got to get to a meeting and we'll let you get on your way.

RANGEL: Thank you so very much.

ROBERTS: All right, Kiran?

CHETRY: Well, now to "ISSUE #1" with the economy knee-deep in a mortgage mess. The Bush administration had to throw a lifeline to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But did you notice the salaries of the chief executives of those companies and what they're taking in?

CNN's Lou Dobbs certainly has. He has some strong feelings about that. He's, of course, the host of "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" and joins us from Sussex, New Jersey this morning.

Great to have you with us, Lou.

LOU DOBBS, ANCHOR, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Good to be with you.

CHETRY: We'll get to the CEO salaries in a minute, but first Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae own or guarantee almost half of us -- the home loans that we get and the government has to bail them out.

How did we get to that point?

DOBBS: With a lack of regulation, with irresponsible lending practices, with fraudulent appraisal practices and brokerage -- a remarkable set of circumstances, which was permitted, all of that in the pursuit of the so-called ownership society.

It's been disastrous and we're going to be paying the price for it for a very long time.

CHETRY: Yesterday Fed chairman Ben Bernanke approved a plan that would crack down on these lending practices that you talked about.

Will these new rules help prevent another mortgage crisis or get us out of the one we're in?

DOBBS: Well, it certainly won't do anything to get us out of the one we're in. At some distant date, perhaps, it will be helpful. But everything that he's talking about and more should have been in place a decade ago.

But that has been a lesson that has to be relearned by Wall Street and the business community, it seems like, every decade or so.

So I -- you know, we're going to have to have some intelligent economic leadership from this administration and this Congress as well as the business community. And so far, it hasn't been overwhelming.

Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, is doing an outstanding job, I believe. The treasury secretary in this administration and Congress, not doing nearly enough.

CHETRY: Let's talk about the CEO salaries of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, if we could show it on the screen

In 2007 the president and CEO of Fannie Mae Danielle Mudd made over $12 million and you have Freddie Mac's CEO, Richard Syron, making over $13 million. Many of the other top execs making millions as well.

So they're getting a bailout paid for by our tax dollars, but the CEOs are making millions. How does that work?

DOBBS: Well, it works because this government is committed -- this administration is committed, as has every administration before it been committed, to acting as though Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were some sort of independent business and the CEOs receiving stock options and outrageous salaries for what is a protected position in a protected industry by -- with two protected agencies.

These government-sponsored entities are effectively agencies. It's an absurd situation, but there's plenty of absurdity in Washington to go around these days.

CHETRY: Let's turn to the White House race and talk a little bit about both of the candidates reaching out to Latinos. They spoke at the National Council of La Raza, that's one of the country's largest Hispanic organizations, and Senator McCain, as you know, took a lot of heat for helping co-sponsor the comprehensive and compromised immigration bill that died last year.

And here's what he said about that.


MCCAIN: When we have achieved our border security goal, we must enact and implement the other parts of practical, fair and necessary immigration policy. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: So now he's talking secure the border first. Does he have the right plan? Does he have the solution, in your opinion?

DOBBS: Well, the comprehensive immigration plan that was advanced by McCain-Kennedy now -- just about three years ago -- certainly is not the right plan. The Congressional Budget Office reviewed it, said it would deal with only 25 percent of the issue of illegal immigration.

It would be exorbitantly expensive and it would provide most of the visas for the next five years to the families of illegal aliens who would be on a, quote/unquote, "path to citizenship" or receive amnesty.

What we really are watching in our presidential politics is something we have very wrong. And that is -- candidates pandering to special interests, ethnocentric interests rather than speaking to the American people.

We have common interests. And those are the interests in this country that our presidential candidates should be focusing upon.

CHETRY: All right. Lou Dobbs from Sussex, New Jersey, watch him tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Great to see you, Thanks.


ROBERTS: It is coming up now to the top of the hour. And for the first time ever, we are seeing what an interrogation looks like at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

This morning, lawyers for a Canadian citizen Omar Khadr have released part of a video showing him being grilled by Canadian security agents in 2003. Khadr was captured when he was just 15 years old.