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U.S. Sends a High-Level Diplomat on Nuclear Talks with Iran; Delta Announcing Pretty Huge Losses for the Second Quarter; Former Olympians Go For Some Real Gold; John McCain and Barack Obama Locked In War of Words Over Iraq; Preventing Catastrophic Explosions in Jumbo Jets

Aired July 16, 2008 - 08:00   ET


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This has taken about a dozen years to get into place. But right now we're expecting an announcement that in fact all airlines, the transport airlines, the passenger planes, are going to have to carry this.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: How come they took so long? We are talking about this tragedy more than a decade ago.

FEYERICK: Well, that's exactly right. And there was a lot of debate as to how this should happen. There was question as to what kind of device you would use. Did it go far enough in order to make sure that all these planes were safe.

They do seem to have come up with the answer. The Department of Transportation and NTSB saying -- yes, this really needs to be done and needs to be done now. We are talking about Boeing 737s, 757s, 747s. So it's a long time coming but apparently it is going to happen now.

CHETRY: It's a long time coming and they also have a long time before it actually happens. Right?

FEYERICK: Well, that's the whole thing. It could take up to ten years before all of these devices are actually put in some 3,000 planes. The airlines are going to have to bear the majority of the brunt of the cost. Clearly, it is not coming at a good time. The airlines are suffering. The economy is weakening. Gas is at an all- time high.

So the fact that they're going to have to do this, I'm sure there's going to be a lot of push back but it is a done deal.

CHETRY: We remember all the travel nightmares when they're trying to get the wiring straightened out and how long that took?

FEYERICK: Exactly. Exactly.

CHETRY: But, you know, it is for this -- it's in the interest of safety.

FEYERICK: It is. You have to ask yourself, you know, if TWA happened a dozen years ago -- well, why now? That's the big question. But again, with so many airport delays, with people waiting on the tarmac a lot longer than they normally did. Clearly, this is going to give them at least some measure of peace of mind.

CHETRY: All right. Deborah Feyerick, good to see you. Thanks.

ROBERTS: Back to a breaking news this morning. A new information about a high-level diplomat that will meet with Iran's top nuclear official this weekend. It's being called a one-time deal designed to jump-start talks.

CNN's Elaine Quijano is live at the White House this morning with details.

The administration, Elaine, resisting the notion that this is a backtrack or reversal but in some ways it is a pretty dramatic change in policy.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, dramatic, John. Good morning to you. Over and over, we have heard the Bush administration say no direct nuclear talks with Iran unless Iran verifiably suspends its uranium enrichment program.

Well, now, officials are confirming that, in fact, this weekend under Secretary of State William Burns will be heading to Geneva to sit down and attend a previously scheduled meeting between Iran's top nuclear negotiator and the foreign policy chief of the European Union.

Now, officials are describing Burns' role as that of a, quote/unquote, "observer." They are emphasizing that Burns will be there to listen, but also to reiterate the White House's policy and position that Iran must suspend its uranium enrichment program before Washington will engage in direct talks.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Elaine Quijano for us at the White House. Thanks very much.

The "Most Politics in the Morning" now. John McCain and Barack Obama campaigning in the Midwest today. McCain addresses the NAACP's convention in Cincinnati, while Obama talks national security at Purdue University in Indiana. And both presidential candidates have been hammering each other over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is here now this morning with details on all of that.

Lot of tough back-and-forth from the last couple days.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. And a lot of charges of flip-flopping. You know, the McCain campaign says Barack Obama was very late to the realization that the surge actually was working and that he formulated his plan prior to understanding that.

As for the Obama campaign they're saying -- listen, only now has John McCain come up with a plan to send additional troops to Afghanistan. It's all pretty much a part of the next chapter in the war -- about the war.


CROWLEY (voice-over): The candidate who thinks the Iraq war is a distraction from every threat the U.S. faces.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: As should have been apparent to President Bush and Senator McCain, the central front in the war on terror is not Iraq and it never was.

CROWLEY: The candidate who says winning in Iraq is central to meeting the threats the U.S. faces.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It is precisely the success of the surge in Iraq that shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan.

CROWLEY: A long-distance debate over the U.S. future in Iraq and beyond comes as Barack Obama prepares for an expected trip to Afghanistan and Iraq.

New numbers suggest Obama needs to power up his foreign policy pitch. An ABC/"Washington Post" poll found 72 percent of Americans think John McCain would be a good commander in chief for the military -- 48 percent said that of Obama, an advantage McCain presses early and often.

MCCAIN: I know how to win wars.

CROWLEY: The increase in U.S. troops that led to a decrease in the violence in Iraq has altered campaign dynamics. It gives McCain running room on an issue where he's mostly played defense. He notes Obama's opposition to the surge.

MCCAIN: Today, we know he was wrong. The surge has succeeded.

CROWLEY: Obama now concedes some surge success, and is trying to turn the discussion elsewhere.

OBAMA: The greatest threat to that security lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train and insurgents strike into Afghanistan. We cannot tolerate a terrorist sanctuary. And, as president, I will not.

CROWLEY: The message, Obama is willing to use U.S. military muscle. McCain argues Pakistan, an ally in the war on terror, is not the place.

MCCAIN: In trying to sound tough, he's made it harder for the people whose support we most need to provide it. I won't bluster. And I won't make idle threats.


CROWLEY: Now, as you know, John, the president kind of jumped in to the fray on behalf of John McCain yesterday, asked -- "Listen, do you have any advice for Obama as he prepares for this trip to Iraq and Afghanistan." He said -- "Yes, listen to the commanders on the ground because sometimes politics gets in the way of listening."

ROBERTS: I was at his conference yesterday. The senator on U.S. global engagement at which Senator Lieberman spoke and hit Senator Obama really hard on this idea of why doesn't he just say "I was wrong, the surge has work. Why does he keep on shading it?"

In terms of the political maneuvering that he's doing on the surge, is he handling it as well as he could?

CROWLEY: I think it has hurt him. First of all, this is an area of foreign policy where he starts with a deficit because Democrats generally do. We saw those figures about commander-in-chief and with McCain so far ahead.

And you're right. I mean, what happens to any politician and what's happened to Obama is something he thought was going to happen did not happen. The surge was a success. It is widely accepted as a success. Has moved the politics along in Iraq.

But what they did was they took his criticism of the surge off the Web page. And what it feeds into is that notion that Barack Obama is just another sort of politician and they know they have to be careful about that because he's running as something very different.

ROBERTS: Now, as we saw with this administration, though, for a long, long time, admitting a mistake is a difficult thing.

CROWLEY: Pretty hard for a politician to do because basically we don't let them get away with it, you know. So that's a problem. But they, you know, some of them do, but this was just sort of an awkward turn for him and I think it did feed into those perceptions.

ROBERTS: Candy Crowley, thanks so much.

CROWLEY: Thanks, John.


CHETRY: Animated elections. Satire is back. JibJab is out with the latest dig at the candidates. We're going to watch the clip, coming up.

Also, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain are facing off over the conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both offering very different strategy. We're going to talk about them with McCain supporter Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Also, a new report says a million names are now on the government's terror watch list. Yours could be one of them. So if you are one of the unlucky ones, how do you get off? What does it take to get removed? It's a Special Investigations Unit report.

And Heath Ledger will be back on the big screen this Friday since the first time since his death in January. His role in the new Batman movie has some people talking Oscar. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


CHETRY: Got some breaking news out of the airline industry. Ali Velshi joins us now. Delta announcing pretty huge losses for the second quarter.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, yes. Over a billion dollars for the quarter in losses from Delta. Delta, as you know, is in the middle of merging with Northwest. You know, one of these things about the airlines is that despite fuel costs that have been added, the fuel surcharges that have been added to your ticket, almost 20 of them this year alone, one analyst who rates these airlines companies investors says that one airline next year is likely to fail.

He's put out a list of which airlines he considers negative. He rates them as negative. And I'll show you what those are. Delta is on that list. United, Delta, US Airways, Southwest and JetBlue.

He doesn't identify which one of these he thinks but he thinks that the situation is such that all of these airlines are not going to be able to survive into next year or until the end of next year.

He says there are two airlines out there with stable outlooks -- American and Continental. He says those two are not in danger at the moment, but Delta is definitely one of those on the list. Rating agency, Fitch, which, really, when they rate your stock, it makes -- it affects how it is that you are able to borrow money, how those airlines can borrow money.

So, he says that Delta is one of the airlines on the list that could be out of business if fuel costs continue to rise or even stay where they are right now.


CHETRY: Not good news. All right. Ali, thanks.

Well new, the JibJab guys are at it again. They released their latest political video starring the candidates, of course, and some other famous faces in Washington. Our Veronica De La Cruz joins us now.

Is this one just as funny as the ones in the past?

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Well, you remember "This Land is Your Land"? I mean, they really, really hit it big with that. That was 2004. And you probably remember them best from that, but now they are back.

They are the brothers Spiridellis who make up the team JibJab, and they have another one, this time just in time for the '08 election. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MUSIC: Come gather around Dick, Condi, Scooter and Rove. It's time to get packing. We must hit the road. But there's war and recession and bad mortgage loans and our legacy needs saving. Though it's time for some campaigning. Both party friends time to say au revoir. We failed to extinguish Barack's rising star. You were so close my darling, alas, no cigar. The times are truly changing. I'll be back in full swing --


DE LA CRUZ: Try this new video fit to the tune of Bob Dylan's "The Times They are Changing." They poked fun at Bush and Cheney who made their way out of the White House, leaving behind the war, a recession and some bad mortgage loans like you just saw.

You also saw Hillary there swearing that she's going to be back in 2012, in another four years. There's McCain talking about being a prisoner of war. Also Obama, he makes an appearance. He talks about how much he likes change.

So, you can take a look at the video yourself at that And the other cool thing is you can always put yourself into these videos and you can e-mail them to your friends. Yes.

VELSHI: I think you did that once before.

CHETRY: Yes. I think we were elves.

DE LA CRUZ: We were elves around that.

VELSHI: Yes, we were elves. Yes.

DE LA CRUZ: Well, we were elves, but we're also in -- I think it was "Night of the Living Republicans and Democrats." You remember that one? But what you can't get is that you can't get that fancy drum roll right off the top. You can't find that on, unfortunately.

CHETRY: Good one, though. We'll check it out, Veronica. I can't wait to see the rest of it. Thanks.

DE LA CRUZ: Of course.

ROBERTS: Coming up now on 14 minutes after the hour. War on the campaign trail. Barack Obama and John McCain tearing into each other over Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama says we're fighting the wrong war. McCain's supporter Senator Joe Lieberman joins us live with his response.

CHETRY: Cashing in.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You think Wheaties, you think Speedos. You don't necessarily think Botox.


CHETRY: Former Olympians go for some real gold. Alina Cho talks to Mark Spitz and Nadia Comaneci about backing Botox.


NADIA COMANECI, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL GYMNAST: I would like to look good, too. What's wrong with that?


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


ROBERTS: 16 minutes after the hour. Rob Marciano at the Weather Center down in Atlanta this morning checking out all the tropical weather.

And Rob, there's plenty of it to talk about.


CHETRY: Well, the two world-class athletes, Olympic legends, who say that they owe their youthful looks to more than just a workout regimen and healthy diet, and they want the world to know about the benefits of Botox. CNN's Alina Cho has their story.

Hey, Alina. We're talking about Nadia Comaneci, you know, of course...

CHO: And Mark Spitz.


CHO: I sat down with them yesterday. As you well know, Kiran, celebrity athlete endorsements are nothing new. In recent years, former Olympians have promoted controversial medications, even antidepressants in some cases. But Botox? This is something new.


CHO (voice-over): She was a perfect ten. He, an Olympic record holder and winner of seven gold medals in 1972. More than 30 years later, Nadia Comaneci and Mark Spitz are traveling the country talking about achieving your personal best. That includes exercising, eating right, and botox?

(on camera): When you think about Olympic athlete endorsements, you think Wheaties. You think Speedos. You don't necessarily think botox.

NADIA COMANECI, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL GYMNAST: It does, because it's a part of your life now. You want to look good. You know, in your age. CHO (voice-over): It's been nearly two decades since the FDA first approved botox to treat certain eye and neurological disorders. In 2002, botox got further approval for cosmetic use.

Doctors doled out nearly 3 million botox injections in the U.S. in the past year alone. A $1 billion industry. Allergan, the maker of botox is paying Comaneci and Spitz to promote the drug, though neither will say how much.

(on camera): There are critics who say there's just something that doesn't seem right about an athlete promoting botox.

COMANECI: We like to look good, too. What's wrong with that?

GARY HALL JR., OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL SWIMMER: Botox, you'd have a hard time convincing me that the procedure really made your life that much better or helped you accomplish your goals and dreams, which is really kind of the message for an athletic spokesperson.

CHO: Gary Hall Jr. is an Olympic gold medal swimmer. He's diabetic and gets paid to promote insulin. But he says only because it saves his life.

HALL: At the end of the day, it's the integrity that sustains any value that you might have as a spokesperson.

CHO: Isn't there something to be said for aging naturally?

COMANECI: People expect us athletes to look great. And we have to do everything that's possible to look great.

MARK SPITZ, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL SWIMMER: That's kind of a nice concept. But the reality is, is that people are very concerned about their personal looks.


CHO: Well, a sports agent we spoke to said, well, he sees no problem with this type of endorsement because botox is FDA approved, and of course, now it's commonly used.

Critics, of course, worry that other athletes will see just how much money can be made from this kind of promotion, and, Kiran, will follow suit.

Keep in mind, you know, Nadia Comaneci is 46, Mark Spitz is 58. There is no denying they look great. But to get paid to promote botox as a part of healthy living, you know, this is something that is new and it is certainly controversial.

CHETRY: Very, very interesting. Alina, thank you.

CHO: You bet.

ROBERTS: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning." And if you're watching us in an airport, listen up -- the ACLU says your name could be one of a million now on the terror watch list. What will it take to get your name cleared to fly? We'll tell you.

John McCain and Barack Obama, locked in a war of words over Iraq. Obama says McCain doesn't have a plan. We'll talk to McCain supporter Senator Joseph Lieberman about McCain's strategy for success.

CHETRY: The new wise guys.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have more economic power because of the Internet.


CHETRY: Russian and Asian crime syndicates carve out their own turf. What the FBI is doing to stop them. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: 24 minutes after the hour. The presidential candidates squaring off on Iraq and Afghanistan. Senator McCain telling supporters he can win the wars, promising success in Iraq, while Senator Obama says we're stuck fighting the wrong war.

McCain supporter Senator Joseph Lieberman is chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and joins us now from Arlington, Virginia, McCain campaign headquarters

Good morning, senator. Good to see you.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, MCCAIN SUPPORTER: Good morning, John. Good to be with you.

ROBERTS: So we'll start off with an easy question.


ROBERTS: Where is the central front in the war on terror?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I think the enemy ought to have a lot to say about that. And the fact is that Osama Bin Laden has made very clear that the central front in the war on terrorism is in Iraq. That's why it's so critical that we are doing so much better. Thanks in large part to John McCain's guts and saying that what the Bush administration was doing there wasn't working and that led to the surge, which is now working.

ROBERTS: So, if in fact, Iraq is still the central front in the war on terror, how do you explain that Afghanistan has become deadlier for U.S. forces, and now even Senator McCain says that three extra brigades are urgently needed to fight the war in Afghanistan?

LIEBERMAN: Well, the two aren't inconsistent. I mean, I think about World War II. I mean, Senator Obama essentially has taken a position that we have to lose, we have to retreat and lose in Iraq to win in Afghanistan. We don't have that luxury. We have to win in both places, just like we couldn't pull out of Europe in our fight against the Nazis to just concentrate on Japan because they attack us at Pearl Harbor.

We had to win both for our security and our freedom. And, in fact, what's worked in Iraq, which is the surge that John McCain advocated so courageously shows us the way to win now in Afghanistan.

The fact is that our enemies, particularly the Taliban, have now picked up their attacks and we've got to respond to Senator McCain said yesterday with the same kind of comprehensive military, economic, diplomatic surge in Afghanistan that has worked in Iraq and we can do it. We've got the enemy on the run.

ROBERTS: But you're resisting this notion that the central front on the war on terror has shifted to Afghanistan?

LIEBERMAN: I am. But I also say that the active battle front may now be shifting to Afghanistan because we are -- we have succeeded in Iraq. If we had done what Senator Obama wanted us to do and pulled out of Iraq, today, Iranian-backed extremists and al Qaeda would basically be in charge of Iraq.

That would be a tremendous boost for them in Afghanistan and that's why we're in such a stronger position. So I think they've lost -- they're losing certainly in Iraq and that's why they've shifted some of their focus to Afghanistan. We now have to shift it.

Senator McCain had a good program yesterday including establishing a better unity of command which doesn't exist in Afghanistan as it did in Iraq.

ROBERTS: OK. Because you know what critics are saying? Critics are saying that the central front in terror has not shifted to Afghanistan because of success in Iraq. Critics are saying because President Bush went in to Iraq, he took his eye off the ball in Afghanistan, and allowed the Taliban, allowed al Qaeda to regroup. What do you say about that?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I think the critics are wrong. I think we had no choice. Look, you can argue about whether it was right to go into Iraq or not. Of course, I believe it was because I felt sad dam was a threat. A ticking time bomb for the Middle East and for us. But we're there. And once we're there, we've got to win it. And that's what John McCain understood.

If we had lost it and retreated, it not only would have put us in a terribly weak position throughout the Middle East, but it would have been a great victory for the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and our credibility around the world would have been shot.

We now turn our focus to the battlefield in Afghanistan as Senator McCain said yesterday with strength and confidence. And the terrorists in Iran are actually on the defensive there. If we get our act together in Afghanistan, like we did in Iraq, we can win that one, too. And that will be another big victory in the war against terrorists.

ROBERTS: Senator, on a personal point, your support of Senator McCain is upsetting a lot of Democrats. There is a new Web site out there called that wants to strip you of your chairmanship at the Homeland Security Committee.

You're very special now because you represent in caucusing with the Democrats, the majority vote in the Senate. The Democrats believe that they're going to pick up a few seats, at least, increase their majority come November. Should they do that? Does Senator Joe Lieberman get on the endangered species list?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I've always been a very strong supporter of the endangered species act. So, I never thought I'd be one. Look, I'm going to let my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Caucus decide that next year. I know I'm doing something unconventional that upsets a lot of them. I'm supporting a candidate across party lines.

But I'm doing that because this is no ordinary election and John McCain is no ordinary candidate. I just feel he's the best one to be commander-in-chief and really break the awful partisanship in Washington that's helped put us in the economic mess we're in. He's got that record. Senator Obama does not. So I'm going to do what's right for my country now and I'm going to let the politics take care of themselves later. I'll be all right.

ROBERTS: All right. Well, Senator, I've known you for a long time. You're always welcome here on AMERICAN MORNING. It's good to see you.

LIEBERMAN: Thanks, John. Great to be with you. With a lot of respect to you. Thank you.

ROBERTS: All right, thanks.


CHETRY: We have some breaking news this morning. The U.S. says it's sending a high-level diplomat to sit in on nuclear talks with Iran this weekend. It is being looked at as a major shift in policy and it's being a called a one-time deal design to jump-start talks. A U.S. official says a diplomat will be there to listen and will not be meeting one-on-one.

We have some breaking news also on a landmark prisoner swap in the Middle East. Israeli defense officials now say they have positively identified the remains handed over by Hezbollah this morning as the two Israeli soldiers that were kidnapped back in 2006 -- Ehud Gold Wasser and Eldad Regev.

Their kidnapping triggered the war between Israel and Hezbollah two years ago. Israel says it will now proceed with returning five Lebanese prisoners to Hezbollah as well as turning over the remains of nearly 200 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters.

Preventing catastrophic explosions in jumbo jets. The FAA now set to approve new safety standards for airline fuel tanks today. The new rules are aimed at avoiding explosions like the one that brought down TWA flight 800 12 years ago. They affect more than 3,000 jets used by U.S. airlines including all Airbus and several large Boeing models. The airlines will have up to ten years to equip the jets with devices that put out flames in fuel tanks.

ROBERTS: Just crossing the half hour. The next time you find yourself at the airport ticket counter you might be in for a surprise because you could be on the terror watch list. The new ACLU report says one million people are on it. One of them, Drew Griffin of CNN's Special Investigations Unit. And as he tells us now, while the threat posed by many of those on the list is imaginary, the hassle that they go through is all too real.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Washington attorney Jim Robinson is a former assistant attorney general. He's a former U.S. attorney from Michigan. He holds a high-level government security clearance - and he's a former law school dean, a husband, a grand dad, and an American. And he gets delayed if not stopped every time he gets on a plane. Why? Because Robinson is also one of the estimated one million names now on the terror watch list.

JIM ROBINSON, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: So it seems, for years now, despite my best efforts to get off.

GRIFFIN: This week Robinson joined the ACLU in Washington to march what the group calls a ridiculous milestone - a million names the government believes match known terrorists. And according to the ACLU, 20,000 new names, like Robinson's, are added every month.

ROBINSON: That means there must be about 950,000 to 75,000 people who don't belong on this list who are somehow caught in the mire of doing this.

GRIFFIN: What does it mean? It means because of his name, he can't check in to flights electronically. He can't check bags at the curb, can't check in at one of the new speedy airport kiosks. Every time he travels, he and a million others need to wait in line.

ROBINSON: And see somebody who then has to make a call and determine that apparently I am not the James Kenneth Robinson who is the cause of my being on the watch list.

I'm going to Chicago this morning.

GRIFFIN: Don't think it can happen to you? It's happening to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're on a watch list.

GRIFFIN: A watch list?

(on-camera): So how did I get on this list? Well, the TSA is adamant it's not even me, even though it is me getting stopped at the airports. The TSA says it's the airlines' fault. The airlines say they're just following the list provided to them by - the TSA. And coincidentally, this all began in May, shortly after I began a series of investigative reports critical of the TSA. 11 flights now since May 19th.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're on the watch list.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): On different airlines my name pops up forcing me to go to the counter, show my identification, sometimes the agent has to make a call before I get my ticket.

ROBINSON: It's a hassle.

GRIFFIN: What does the TSA say? Nothing. At least nothing on camera. Over the phone a public affairs worker told me again I'm not on the watch list and don't even think that someone in the TSA or anyone else is trying to get even.

VOICE OF CHRISTOPHER WHITE, TSA PUBLIC AFFAIRS: If there's any thoughts or shadow of a thought that TSA somehow put you on a watch list because you're reporting, it is absolutely fabricated.

GRIFFIN: Jim Robinson who serves two democratic presidents says he's trying not to think politics is involved either.

ROBINSON: I don't feel safer because I have to go through this hassle, I can tell you that.

GRIFFIN: The ACLU's technology chief Barry Steinhardt says the list is so secretive and yet so shoddily put together it's hard to tell how it is being used or abused.

BARRY STEINHARDT, ACLU: Truth is we really don't know how much is bureaucratic ineptness and how much is, you know, how much is bureaucratic - and how much is political retaliation. Even more frustrating than being on it is trying to get off. According to the TSA, you fill out a form on-line which I did on May 28th. You then copy personal documents, fill out another form and send them to Homeland Security, which I also did on May 28th. And then apparently you wait. Robinson has been waiting now for years.

ROBINSON: On May 2nd, 2005, I fill out all their forms, made a copy of my passport, my driver's license, my voter's registration card, put it in a package and sent it off to TSA. I never heard back. And it certainly doesn't seem to have done me any good at all.

GRIFFIN: My wait has apparently just begun. Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


CHETRY: That is unbelievable. We look forward to hearing an update from Drew, if he hears back from the TSA.

We have some news just in right now, new inflation numbers out. Ali Velshi is here to break it down for us. Hey, Ali.

VELSHI: Hey, Kiran. These numbers are very alarming the inflation rate for the month of June has come in. It is the fastest rise in inflation in 26 years. Now, we don't always look at month to month. I want to compare it to last year. The jump in inflation in one year is five percent. Five percent. Compare that to how much money you've earned in your investment, compare that to the raise that maybe you got. Virtually nobody in this country has seen five percent. That is the biggest jump in annual inflation in about 17 years. What's the reason for it?

Well, we all know the reason for it - it is food and gasoline. Food and energy prices. That's working its way. We got a preview of this yesterday when we saw the producer inflation, the wholesale inflation, basically that's the cost of inflation that McDonald's, for instance, pays. We're talking about retail inflation today, the cost that you pay. We always think these government numbers are a little lower than what our viewers actually experience because they measure it a slightly different way. But even the government says that it is up the highest monthly jump in 26 years, the highest annual jump in 15 years. This is a big problem. Inflation is the number one concern of our viewers out there when it comes to the economy. Kiran.

CHETRY: Ali Velshi for us on those new numbers, thanks.


CHETRY (voice-over): The new wise guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have more economic power because of the internet.

CHETRY: Russian and Asian crime syndicates carve out their over turf. What the FBI is doing to stop them. You're watching the most news in the morning.


ROBERTS: oh, yes, that's the music to set the stage here. "The Untouchables," "The Godfather," "Goodfellas," "The Sopranos." Organized crime has been glorified and vilified in America but the FBI says it's still a major threat in the country. And CNN's Kelli Arena joins us now with her continuing series on the FBI turning 100 years old. The mob's still a major target for investigators.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sure is, John. Obviously fighting terrorism is the FBI's number one priority but that doesn't mean it can simply just stop doing some of the other things that it's been doing for decades. And fighting organized crime is one of them.


ARENA: Mafia boss John Gotti is dead and buried. The old Italian neighborhood has gone global. But if you think the sun has finally set on La Cosa Nostra, forget about it. MIKE GAETA, FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Italian organized crime here in the United States is still the most dominant organized crime problem that affects American society.

ARENA: Still powerful, yes, but it's been severely weakened by decades of prosecutions and undercover investigations. Just this year more than 50 alleged members of Gotti's Gambino crime family were indicted. The rap sheet had a familiar ring - extortion, labor racketeering, gambling, murder. The modern mafia started back in the 1930s with godfather Lucky Luciano but it took the FBI two decades to catch on.

MARK MERSHON, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, in truth, J. Edgar Hoover, the founding director, so to speak, of the FBI was somewhat resistant we understand to accepting organized crime as a legitimate target.

ARENA: That allowed the mafia to thrive in cities like Chicago and New York. In the late '60s the FBI reloaded. Agents received congressional authorization to use electronic surveillance, and in 1970, Congress passed the Rico act, an antiracketeering law.

GAETA: Rather than arresting one person for a murder, you could arrest the boss who ordered it, you could arrest the captain who supplied the guns.

ARENA: And when the mafia could no longer provide for the families of its jailed members, wise guys began to squeal.

SEAMUS MCELEARNEY, FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: What happens once a person goes to jail, that's it, they're on their own. So, in the end you have to choose your real family over the mob family.

ARENA: And there's new competition, primarily from Asian crime syndicates who run extortion rackets in places like Chinatown.

KEVIN HALLINAN, FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: These markets you see are built by immigrants and the organized crime element here in Chinatown will see that and seize upon that opportunity to extort funds from those businesses.

ARENA: Russians, Albanians and other Eastern European groups are carving off slices of the old mafia's turf and taking organized crime into new directions.

DENNIS BOLES, FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: They have more economic power because of the internet and cyber crime.

ARENA: La Cosa Nostra, our thing is now their thing, too, but agents have better tools now and years of experience in infiltrating crime families. They'll need it.


ARENA: We did focus on New York, but the organized crime problem is a global one. The FBI estimates that groups take about $1 trillion in illegal profits each year. That's trillion, with a "t."

ROBERTS: You know, as you said, they have a lot more tools at their disposal but the fact that organized crime is branching out to other ethnicities besides the Italian mafia and the fact that they're using all of these new tools as well, can the FBI keep up?

ARENA: It is trying very hard to, but as the economy changes, organized crime changes, the internet of course a major challenge because of all of the scams. You've gotten those letters from Nigeria. It is organized crime.

ROBERTS: Yes, absolutely. I'm still trying to figure out what a no-show at a construction site is.

ARENA: We'll talk afterward.

ROBERTS: Kelli Arena, it's a fascinating series. Thanks so much. Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, motion sickness 101. Nausea, sweating, racing heart. What can you do to stop it? We're "Paging Dr. Gupta" who has first-hand experience with it.

Also, Heath Ledger back on the big screen this Friday. He died in January of an accidental drug overdose. His portrayal of the "Joker" in the new "Batman" movie has some people talking Oscar. You're watching the most news in the morning.



JOKER: Tell your men they work for me now. This is my city.

Why don't we cut you up into little pieces and feed you to your pooches? And then we'll see how loyal...


CHETRY: Well, the "Dark Knight" doesn't hit theaters until Friday but it's already generating Oscar buzz for Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker. Lola Ogunnaike tracks the evolution of the "Joker" character and reveals why Heath Ledger's version may serve as a lasting tribute to him.


LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: For decades their epic rivalry has riveted millions of comic book readers, television fans and moviegoers.

JOKER: It's simple - kill the Batman.

OGUNNAIKE: Now age-old enemies Batman and the Joker are back in their darkest incarnations ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a psychopathic cloud? How cool is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is a really good time to be a "Joker" fan.

JOKER: And here we go!

OGUNNAIKE: Critics are buzzing about the late Heath Ledger's "Joker," the most demented version of the character yet.

JOKER: This town deserves a better class..

DAVID EDELSTEIN, FILM CRITIC, "NY MAGAZINE CBS": The "Joker" that Heath plays is an out and out psychopath. I mean, he is literally a paranoid schizophrenic so is he raging. He's like a demonic clown.

OGUNNAIKE: The crown prince of crime is modeled after a playing card and a character from the silent film "The Man who Laughed." His look hasn't changed much since D.C. Comics introduced him in 1940, but his personality, now that's another story.

GERRY GLADSTON, OWNER, MIDTOWN COMICS: The original inception he was this deep, dark, insane homicidal maniac, mass killer and an arch enemy of Batman and Robin. As comic books softened up in the '50s due to censorship, so did the "Joker." And he became less sociopathic and more of a fun-loving cackling nuisance.

OGUNNAIKE: In the 1960s, actor Caesar Ramiro gave us a "Joker" that was more over the top clown than cold-blooded murderer. That changed when Jack Nicholson played the "Joker" in the 1989 mega-hit "Batman." He was equal parts prankster and killer.

EDELSTEIN: He set up all these chaotic things as sort of sat back and prized it like he was some great P.T. Barnum of chaos.

OGUNNAIKE: A tough act to follow but many critics say Ledger makes the "Joker" his own, a fitting epitaph to a career tragically cut short in its prime.

EDELSTEIN: But on the other hand, Heath Ledger wanted to do something that nobody had ever done before on film anyway. God bless him for wanting to go to that place.


CHETRY: Looks like it's going to be good. It is interesting, even the movie posters feature the "Joker."

OGUNNAIKE: Yes. It's all about the joker in this film. And let me tell you, Kiran, he is fantastic. His performance is riveting. You don't even see Heath Ledger. You just see the "Joker." He's terrifying, he's demented. He's psychotic and you enjoy just watching him blow Gotham up and burn Gotham to the ground. It's fantastic.

CHETRY: He is so talented and he was nominated for an Oscar with "Brokeback Mountain." This time there's a lot of Oscar buzz around Heath Ledger.

OGUNNAIKE: He's definitely going to be nominated for an Oscar. And if he wins I wouldn't be angry at all.

CHETRY: I can't wait to see it.

OGUNNAIKE: His performance is tour de force. It's riveting.

CHETRY: Such a shame we're not going to see him on the screen anymore.

OGUNNAIKE: You have to see this film on I-Max, Kiran.

CHETRY: I will.

OGUNNAIKE: You have to see it on I-Max. Don't see it anywhere else but on I-Max. It's beautiful on the big screen. Just beautiful.

CHETRY: I take your recommendations to heart and I will definitely see it. Thanks, Lola. John.

ROBERTS: Looking forward to that.

CNN NEWSROOM just minutes away. Tony Harris at the CNN Center now with a look at what's ahead. Good morning to you, Tony.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, John. Good morning to you. Good morning, everyone. And here's what we're working on in the NEWSROOM. The U.S. sitting down with Iran just days after an Iranian missile test. A top state department official will join talks on Iran's nuclear program.

Goosing the economy again. Democrats moving ahead with plans for another stimulus package.

And looking for a great deal on sandbags? Millions in Iowa have got to go. CNN NEWSROOM, we get started at the top of the hour. John, back to you.

ROBERTS: All right. Tony Harris for us. Tony, thanks very much. We'll see you soon.


ROBERTS: Wow. Got that queasy feeling? Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta here sharing his own struggles with car sickness. Hi, Sanjay.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. You get the heart starting to race, you start to feel a little sweaty. Doctors call it a mismatch of the brain. We know it better as motion sickness. Why does it occur and what can you do about it? I'll have it for you straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: An absolute blast from the past to set the stage here this morning. It is such an awful feeling that some people actually dread one of life's great pleasures - vacation. And even our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is not immune to motion sickness. He's here now with tips on how to get through your next summer trip, or in my case my next cab ride to the airport. Good morning, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Good morning. Yes, a lot of people do suffer from motion sickness, no question. And the question really was why does it occur? When people said we're going to do this story on CNN, I actually jumped at the opportunity because I wanted to investigate it and also figure out what really works. Take a look.


GUPTA (on-camera): Everybody can fall victim to motion sickness at one time or another. The most common culprit - the car. You see, car sickness is simply caused by your sensory system getting confused. There are all sorts of signals being transmitted but they aren't all matching up. Here's how it works. Say you are in your car reading a book. Your inner ear, which is the control center for balance, knows you are moving because the ear canals have fluid moving through them but your eyes, another key source of information, only see the page of the book. And guess what? It's not moving. Therefore you have a conflicting message and that's when motion sickness starts to set in.

I, for one, get the most sick when actually riding in the back seat. So here, when you're looking straight ahead at the head rest your brain starts to get a little confused. Your visual system can't keep up with all the twists and turns the car is making so you start to get motion sick. You get a little sweaty, feel little nauseated, your heart starts to race.

Over the counter antihistamines can help. They get rid of some of the acids in your stomach, take care of nausea, simply using soda or ginger. That can help as well in terms of settling your stomach. Open the, getting some fresh air. That might offer some benefit. But your best bet if you're in doubt is to actually get behind the wheel. Get in the driver's seat.

Now, you're in control. When you're in control. Your eyes and your ears match up, they can take care of all those twists and turns. So, those are some tips for you. See how they work out. Happy travels.


GUPTA: I can tell you, obviously this affects a lot of people in cars, John, but also amusement parks, I-Max theaters, even getting off a treadmill. It can occur there as well when people are very sensitive so some of those tips can help there as well, John.

ROBERTS: You know, I find Sanjay that I do better in a vehicle that's got stiff suspension. I mean things that kill me are those Crown Victoria New York cabs with the seat that you kind of sit like way down like this and the suspension that goes boing, boing, boing. But why do some people not get motion sickness at all? GUPTA: Well, it turns out and we investigated that everyone can get it at some point but genetics do seem to play a role here. People who suffer from migraines are also more susceptible to motion sickness. And if your brain has been trained overtime - for example, if you grew up in sort of an area with a lot of windy roads, your brain is sort of more used to that mismatch.

You know, one of the perils of this job, as you mentioned, John, those cab rides. They asked me to do a story on flight physiology about the Blue Angels' pilots. I tell you what I was more scared of doing that story because of my motion sickness than just about anything else I've done. It can be that profound sometimes. John.

ROBERTS: Did you hurl?

GUPTA: I did. I puked and I passed out. Thanks for asking. I think we even got the video but I don't think they want to show it this morning. Your AMERICAN MORNING audience may not appreciate that.

ROBERTS: It's always great to see you Sanjay. Thanks.

GUPTA: Thanks, John.

ROBERTS: You can catch more of Sanjay's health tips on how to survive a road trip online, go to trips.

Well, if the motion sickness didn't get you this. Waffles, chocolate and now Budweiser. A Belgian company is taking over Anheuser-Busch. Are Americans crying in their beer? Our Jeanne Moos finds out.


CHETRY: Welcome back. Budweiser gets an overseas boss. We sent Jeanne Moos to find out if this Bud's still for you.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even if you don't actually drink Bud, it's impossible to nip all those slogans in the bud. Budweiser.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say bud you've said it all.

MOOS: From "this bud's for you" to -- Budweiser king genius second to none -- The king of beer is the nectar of presidential candidates trying to connect with the average Joe six-pack but prepare to drown your sorrows in a bath of bud. You know who's buying Budweiser? A Belgian company.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Belgian company out of Germany, right?

MOOS: Well, out of Belgium. Noontime customers at Rudy's Bar near Times Square weren't exactly crying in their beer but others were with boycott Budweiser t-shirts and a YouTube video. Stephen Colbert went on a binge of false outrage against Belgium.

STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT REPORT": As soon as I heard I started drinking nonstop before those waffle humpers change the formula!

MOOS: Actually, the formula isn't changing. It's plants in the U.S. will still manufacture Bud. That hasn't stopped the reminiscing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I watched every Bud bowl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He takes it on the pen and laterals across the field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I take Budweiser beer's to the Clydesdale horses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Budweiser beer is the one that's leading the rest --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Buddies, I got some bad news.

MOOS: It was bad news to the songwriter Phil McCleary, who wrote "Kiss our Glass." And directed it at the Belgian company, InBev.

PHIL MCLEARY: Kiss your red, white and blue glass.

MOOS: But back at Rudy's Bar, only one guy seemed wistful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, you know, Budweiser is like Ford Motor Company.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll drink Belgian Bud and I'll drink American bud. It doesn't make a (beep) difference to me. What matters to me is the price when I get to this stand right here. This is the pig stand. This is the hog trough.

MOOS: And one e-mailer treated Bud like hogwash saying, the Belgians can only improve the stuff. It can't get any worser than it already is. "Worser"?

COLBERT: This is America's beer.

MOOS: How everyone kept writing headlines, joking about the European Union.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This Bud's for you.

MOOS: Or, as they say in Belgium...

(On camera): This Bud's for you in Flemish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This Bud's is for you.

MOOS (voice over): Ooh, if only a presidential candidate could cast a veto.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will veto every single beer -- bill.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHETRY: And there you have it. I -- I like -- you actually knew this on Monday. You knew how to say it in Flemish, right?

ROBERTS: This Bud is for you. Yes.

CHETRY: That was great. It all taste...

ROBERTS: Everybody will be talking Flemish from now on.

CHETRY: Exactly.

All right, well, we'll see you back here tomorrow, John, right?

ROBERTS: Absolutely, yes, I'll be back up there coming up this afternoon.

CHETRY: All right, great. Well, we want to thank everyone for joining us on AMERICAN MORNING this morning. Hope to see you back here tomorrow as well.

ROBERTS: All right. Let's now turn it over to the "CNN NEWSROOM" with Tony Harris and Heidi Collins.