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Obama Tours Iraq, Meets Commanders; Woman Accused of Cutting Baby from Womb; "The Dark Knight" is a Knock Out at the Box Offices This Past Weekend; New Research on the Masculinity of Female Twins; North Carolina Man is Not Hurt After Car Crashes Through Diner Window
Aired July 21, 2008 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Tour of duty. Barack Obama visits war zones overseas and tries to fend off the local shots back home.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Dangerous Dolly. People on the Gulf Coast are bracing, because something is coming your way, Betty.
NGUYEN: Yes. First responders in a fatal standoff. Look at this. It is unfolding as we peek.
Hello, everybody. On this Monday, I'm Betty Nguyen live at the CNN headquarters right here in Atlanta.
LEMON: Welcome back. How you doing?
NGUYEN: It's good to be back.
LEMON: Are you a little tired?
NGUYEN: Jet lagged, to say the least.
LEMON: We're going to talk about your journey, your adventure, a little bit later on in the NEWSROOM. It is great to have you back, my friend.
NGUYEN: Good to be back.
LEMON: I'm Don Lemon, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
And right off the top, Senator Barack Obama on the ground, in the air, touring the war zone. You're seeing the latest pictures from his overseas trip, which has now taken him to Iraq after a weekend in Afghanistan.
Here he is with General David Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq. Obama is part of a congressional delegation, but his plans as a potential president are what everybody is talking about today.
Let's go straight to Baghdad and CNN's Frederik Pleitgen.
Frederik, what do you have for us?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, Don. Of course, Barack Obama's troop withdrawal plans are the talk of the town here in Baghdad, and, of course, all over Iraq.
He spent the better part of the day meeting with top Iraqi politicians. The most notable of which is, of course, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and after the meeting, Maliki's office tells us that Barack Obama praised the Iraqi leader, says he was doing a great job trying to get the security conditions in this country to improve, but also said that the Iraqi government should work harder to try and enact key laws like oil revenue sharing laws for this country.
Now, of course, as you said, Barack Obama said, if elected president, he would pull U.S. forces out of the Iraq by mid-2010. And today the Iraqi government issued a statement that they had a vision to have U.S. combat troops out of this country by 2010, as well.
Now you said earlier that there are pictures of Barack Obama traveling in a helicopter with David Petraeus. I was actually at one of the venues where he met with an Iraqi politician, and he was talking about that helicopter journey.
He said one of the things that surprised him as he was sitting in that helicopter was the amount of life that he saw on Baghdad streets below him. He said that was something that he didn't see last time when he last visited this country. That, of course, was in 2006.
Now, somewhat surprisingly, Obama kicked his visit to Iraq off by visiting Basra, which, of course, is an area that has predominantly British forces there. That's in the south of Iraq. The oil town in the south of Iraq. He met with British commanders there, also with U.S. commanders down there in Basra.
Now, the way he's going to end this day is he's going to have dinner with the U.S. ambassador and the commanding general here for Iraq, David Petraeus, later this evening, Don.
LEMON: All right. Frederik Pleitgen in Baghdad. We appreciate your reporting, Fred. Thank you -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Well, after a stop in New York, Republican John McCain is on the campaign trail today in Maine. The Arizona senator stopped off in Kennebunkport this morning for a private visit with former president, the George H.W. Bush.
Then he headed to a picnic at the Maine Military Museum in Portland. McCain, who supported the so-called troop surge in Iraq, says he's glad his Democratic opponent is getting a firsthand look at the situation there. Senator Obama opposed the surge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm glad that Senator Obama is going to get a chance for the first time to sit down with General David Petraeus and understand what the surge was all about, why it succeeded, and why we are winning the war, and that is because we carried out a strategy which has succeed, and Senator Obama rallied against, voted against, and used his opposition to the surge as a way of gaining the nomination of his party. I hope he will have a chance to admit that he badly misjudged the situation and he was wrong when he said that the surge wouldn't work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Meanwhile, top Republicans are furious at the "New York Times" over the paper's refusal to print an opinion piece from John McCain. The paper's decision comes less than a week after it printed an op-ed by Democrat Barack Obama.
In that piece Obama outlined his plans for Iraq. And according to the Drudge Report, the paper's op-ed editor said Obama's essay offered new information, and McCain would have to spell out in his essay how he would define victory in Iraq.
Well, a McCain spokesman tells CNN, quote, "John McCain believes that victory in Iraq must be based on conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables. Unlike Barack Obama, that position will not change based on politics or the demands of the 'New York Times'," end quote.
And at the bottom of the hour, CNN's senior political analyst and former White House adviser David Gergen weighs in on Barack Obama's overseas trip and John McCain's reaction. He'll join us live -- Don.
LEMON: And Betty, we are watching two tropical systems this afternoon. One is heading into the Gulf of Mexico with possible land fall in Texas.
First, though, Tropical Storm Dolly is dumping a lot of rain on the northern Yucatan Peninsula. Meantime, Tropical Storm Cristobal is churning up some rough surf as it moves away from the North Carolina coast.
We turn now to CNN's Chad Myers.
And Chad, we want to know the chances of Dolly becoming a hurricane. Possible?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Probable.
LEMON: Probable? OK.
MYERS: Well, above 50/50 at this point. A lot of time in the Gulf of Mexico, a lot of time over warm water. Very little sheer, which means there aren't a lot of winds out here in the Gulf of Mexico to tear it apart.
And now it's moving away from the Yucatan Peninsula. It only really grazed it at the very -- at the very best, it was a graze. You would think you'd like to have a long time over the Yucatan Peninsula to slow it down. Well, you know what? The Yucatan Peninsula is not mountainous anyway. So it's not going to slow it down one way or the other. So a glancing blow for the people of the Yucatan. Probably better than anything else. Now, it did miss the oil fields here of the Yucatan Peninsula here in the Bay of Campeche. That is some good news. You don't see oil spiking today because of that.
But the forecast is for it to still move to the west and to move in toward the Brownsville area. But I'll tell you what: I am more and more convinced on my own that this thing turns farther to the right and maybe we're all the way up toward Corpus Christi with a land- falling hurricane before it finally ends. That could happen only because the weak high pressure that's up here may move away and the storm is allowed to turn a little bit farther to the north.
If that happens, Don, that would be bad news for more populated areas. Because when you just get north of South Padre Island, there's not much there to hit until you get to Corpus Christi. And then after that there's a lot more population north.
LEMON: We'll be checking back with Chad about that.
And Chad, you know, you're always warning us, when there's a thunderstorm or lightning storm, to get out of the way.
LEMON: I want you to take a look at this video. They said they were falling like bricks. That's how one witness describes the scene in Dorchester, Massachusetts, after lightning struck a group of people huddled under a tree.
Ten people were hurt, four of them critically. They were watching a soccer game when the thunderstorm hit. All are expected -- this is the good new -- everyone is expected to be OK -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Still developing, Don, a terrifying situation for first responders in Maplewood, Missouri. One has been killed, two others wounded outside a burning house in that St. Louis suburb.
Firefighters arrived before dawn to put out a pickup truck fire. That's when someone started shooting, apparently from inside the house. Firefighter paramedic Ryan Hummert was killed. He was 22 years old, on the job less than a year and the son of a former mayor in that city.
Two other emergency workers have been rushed to area hospitals. We'll continue to follow that story.
Also Navy and Coast Guard crews have found at least two crew members of an Air Force B-52 that crashed today in the Pacific. Their condition has not been released.
Six people were aboard the bomber, which went down about 30 miles northwest of Guam. Crews are searching a wide area of the Pacific, littered with debris and oil. The Pentagon says the plane was not armed. The B-52 was based in Louisiana and was en route to conduct a parade flyover when it crashed. And there are fears of terrorism in China. Less than three weeks before the start of the summer Olympics, explosions on two public buses killed two people and wounded 14 in the southwest province today. Public security officials say the two separate blasts were deliberately set.
The state-run newspaper quotes China's Olympic security chief as saying that a radical Chinese Islamic group poses a, quote, real threat to the Beijing games.
LEMON: Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice chastised Iran today over weekend talks about its nuclear program. Rice accused the Iranians of dragging their feet during the multilateral talks, aimed at getting Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment.
The meeting was viewed as ground breaking because for the first time a senior State Department official was on-hand, although just as an observer. Despite hope Iran would give ground, the Iranians once again vowed to continue enrichment, which it says is for peaceful purposes.
In remarks to CNN, Rice warns that could result in new sanctions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: The world is sending Iran a message on both tracks. First of all, there are consequences for continuing to defy the will of the international community. Continued economic isolation, continued isolation that is leading to an ever- worsening economic situation in Iran, and on the other hand, a pathway out. Suspend and negotiate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So here is the bottom line from the talks in Switzerland. Iran has two weeks to agree to freeze enrichment and start negotiations or be hit with new penalties.
NGUYEN: Well, for Zimbabwe it may be the spark of hope that could end nearly three months of government-sponsored violence and political turmoil. President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai today agree to hold power-sharing talks within two weeks.
Tsvangirai got the most votes in the original election back in March but not enough to avoid a runoff. He then refused to take part in last month's runoff, accusing the government of violence against his supporters.
Well, Mugabe won re-election in that runoff, but the process was widely criticized.
LEMON: Let's talk Issue No. 1. It may sound like a drop in the tank, but motorists will take any good gas price news that they can get. Prices are falling again. They're down eight tenths of a cent in the past 24 hours. The national average for a gallon of regular gas now stands at $4.07 a gallon, but we don't know for how long, because crude oil prices are heading back up today. That's why.
This after the cost of a barrel of oil plunged more than $18 last week. One potential worry: Tropical Storm Dolly. It is heading towards the Gulf of Mexico, and investors are nervous that Dolly could disrupt offshore drilling, which would tighten supplies.
And you may have to cinch your money belt tighter a little longer. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the nation's economic demons won't be exorcized anytime soon. That's what he says.
Paulson wants to reassure everyone America's banking system is on solid ground. He says despite trouble for some banks, he says, despite trouble for some banks. But he admits it will be months before the hard times end. Paulson is expected to deliver a speech on the economy tomorrow.
NGUYEN: Well, take a look because it is the incident that coined the phrase "wardrobe malfunction." I know you remember it. But CBS apparently won't suffer any financial hardship for Janet Jackson's breast-baring mishap during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.
A federal appeals court has tossed out a $550,000 FCC indecency fine against CBS. The court says the FCC overstepped its bounds and its own previous policies, in fact. Jackson's breast was exposed a mere 9/16 of a second.
People still talking about it, Don.
LEMON: I was just going to say, isn't that over with? It's been years and years and years. OK.
NGUYEN: Well, it is now. It's been tossed out.
LEMON: We'll see. There's going to be something else coming down the pipe.
LEMON: And Betty, you were probably traveling when this story broke. We want to tell you in Pennsylvania, a heartbreaking case of baby snatching. A young woman was brutally attacked and her child cut from her womb. We'll tell you about a shocking discovery involving the suspect.
NGUYEN: And "The Dark Knight" breaks records at the box office. Some of our iReporters were in the theaters on opening day.
LEMON: We want you to check out what happened to a North Carolina man who was having dinner when a car crashed through the restaurant. I don't think he was expecting that for dinner. We'll show you how it all unfolded.
LEMON: Just in case you -- you didn't see this story over the weekend, you weren't paying attention to news, I want you to pay attention to this. It is a terrible story.
The pieces of a complex, gruesome puzzle are coming together near Pittsburgh. It involves a dead woman, her baby cut out of her body, and another woman with a history of trying to steal newborns.
Here is CNN's Jim Acosta.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Using dental records, the Allegheny County medical examiner's office identified the body of 18-year-old Kia Johnson. Police say the pregnant woman was found inside the suburban Pittsburgh apartment building with her arms and legs bound, her mouth gagged. Investigators believed she was drugged before her baby was cut out of her womb.
KARL WILLIAMS, MEDICAL EXAMINER: Her abdomen had been opened with a sharp weapon. The uterus had been opened. The uterus appeared to be what we say is gravid, meaning that there had been a baby there.
ACOSTA: Police say the apartment where Johnson's body was found belonged to 38-year-old Andrea Curry-Demus. Investigators believe the two may have known each other.
CHARLES MOFFATT, ALLEGHENY COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: We have information that they met one another. How -- how far it goes back, we don't know at this time, but we do have evidence there was contact between the two of them.
ACOSTA: Last week authorities say Curry-Demus took a baby to a Pittsburgh hospital and claimed it was hers. Then, she said she bought the infant from a local woman. Curry-Demus told reporters after her arrest, quote, "I didn't do nothing."
That stunning news put a renewed focus on the whereabouts of Kia Johnson, who had recently gone missing. Before Johnson's body was identified, relatives were beginning to worry.
SHAKEEA WASHINGTON, VICTIM'S SISTER: I don't know where she's at. She's pregnant. It's not like her. She's been gone for three days. It's not like her just to be missing. She would have called somebody. She does not not go home.
ACOSTA: According to the "Pittsburgh Tribune-Review," Curry- Demus suffered two miscarriages at ages 12 and 21. In 1990, she was accused in an alleged plot to steal a woman's baby and, in a separate incident, of kidnapping an infant from a hospital. She was sent to prison after pleading guilty to various charges from both incidents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did she do this? Why did she do this? Why? ACOSTA: Flash forward to this year. Friends and relatives say Curry-Demus had told them she was pregnant and went so far as to attend a baby shower.
STEPHANIE EPPS, SUSPECT'S SISTER-IN-LAW: She would never, like, let you touch her stomach, lift her stomach up. A pregnant woman do things like that. They're happy because they're pregnant, but she would never do none of that. She wouldn't let me do it at all. She just kept a distance from me.
ACOSTA (on camera): Authorities say that baby boy Andrea Curry- Demus brought to the hospital is doing fine. Curry-Demus is scheduled to appear in court later this week.
Jim Acosta, CNN, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
LEMON: Wow. What would drive a woman to steal another woman's baby? How does a maternal instinct get so twisted? We're going to pose these questions to an expert. You don't want to miss that. It's coming up in the 3:30 p.m. Eastern hour of the NEWSROOM -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Take a look at this, Don. She is hurt, but she is still alive, and her husband, well, he's in jail. Army Private Jeneesa Lewis was reported missing Friday when she didn't show up for work at Fort Lewis, Texas.
Her family says her husband kidnapped her, took her to Nevada, beat her and stabbed her before he turned himself in. He's in jail on a kidnapping charge. She is out of the hospital. And the victim's sister says Jeneesa Lewis had been planning to leave her husband.
LEMON: Well, whoever shot and killed two Oklahoma young girls last month has gotten away with it so far. But authorities hope a 911 call will jumpstart some justice.
Today they released a tape of a call the grandmother of one victim made after she found those bodies. Detectives have hundreds of leads but still haven't made any arrests. They're hoping someone will hear the agony in the grandmother's voice and be moved to come forward with either a tip or a confession.
CNN's Rusty Dornin will go over that tape with us at the top of the next hour.
Also today, we find out when Scott Peterson returns to the defendant's chair. Peterson was convicted and sentenced to Death Row for killing his wife, Laci, and their unborn baby back in 2002. Well, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him. But that civil case has been delayed several times. And today a judge is expected to set a new trial date.
Just last week Laci Peterson's mother expressed her disgust over Peterson's prison blog. LEMON: Relief mixed with continued agony for the British parents of missing child Madeleine McCann. After a 14-month investigation, Portuguese authorities are closing the case until new evidence turns up. They say they found no evidence to charge any of the three people named as suspects, including Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry. All had strongly denied any wrongdoing and won libel awards from newspapers that suggested links to the disappearance.
Madeleine was 3 years old when she vanished while on vacation with her parents in Portugal.
NGUYEN: In political news, Barack Obama tries to beef up his foreign policy credentials, and we're going to hear what CNN senior political analyst David Gergen has to say about the Democratic candidate's trip to Iraq.
LEMON: A race against the clock. We'll tell you about the latest efforts by one of the most polluted cities in the world to clean its air in time to host the summer Olympics.
NGUYEN: Well, time is running out for Beijing. Less than three weeks until it hosts the summer Olympics, one of the most polluted cities in the world is still fighting to clean its air before the games begin.
Under government orders, half of the capital's drivers left their cars at home today and took public transportation instead. And for the next two months, half of the city's 3.3 million cars won't be permitted on the streets on alternate days.
Experts warn the plan may not work because unpredictable winds could blow pollution into the city from other provinces.
President Bush met with some members of the team USA for a little pre-games pep talk. He urged them to, quote, "compete swifter, higher, and stronger" in Beijing. He also told them to remember they're ambassadors of liberty for the Chinese people and the rest of the world. No pressure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Laura and I look forward to joining you for the Olympics. I'm fired up to go. I can't wait to salute our athletes. I can't wait to share in the joy of your triumphs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: The president will attend opening ceremonies August 8 and the first few days of the games.
LEMON: Another banking giant is reporting a sharp drop in earnings, but this is actually good news. OK. Susan Lisovicz on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to explain why. Why is this good news, Susan?
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Because the expectations are so low, and if you just beat that, it's like a hallelujah chorus, Don.
The bank in question is Bank of America. Its quarterly profits plunged more than 40 percent, but that was better than Wall Street's estimates. And you know, we've seen this before.
Last week, for instance, in a sign of the times, B of A also tripled its loan loss provisions to nearly $6 billion. Bank of America also says it now expects to make money on its takeover of Countrywide. When that deal was first announced, it said it would make no difference to the bottom line.
Also want to mention Time Warner shares. Today they're down 2 percent after a 5 percent "Batman" rally on Friday.
Overall, not seeing much movement after some nice rallies last week. We had a triple gain: three days of gains for the Dow Industrials. Right now down 17 points. The NASDAQ is down 2. Oil is up $1.50, Don.
LEMON: OK. So a lot of us are still worried about the financial sector, Susan. Especially, you know, we were matching this failure of IndyMac all last week and part of the week before. Are Bank of America's results a sign of hope?
LISOVICZ: Well, I mean, it's one more that beat the estimates, and that's a good sign, but, you know, some experts say there will be more bank failures. And I'm speaking specifically of the chairman of the FDIC. He says they have $53 billion to -- to pay off customers of failed banks, but analysts say it's tough to predict which ones. That IndyMac, according to analysts, wasn't even on the FDIC watch list.
Coming up next hour, we're going to talk about the economic outlook for the second half. Don, back to you.
LEMON: Looking forward to that. Thank you, Susan Lisovicz.
LISOVICZ: You're welcome.
NGUYEN: Well, twins, they share cramped quarters in a womb for months, but when one twin is a boy and the other is a girl, does it make the girl more masculine?
LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live here at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen in for Kyra Phillips.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
It's half past the hour on this Monday, and here are some of the stories that we're working on here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Tropical Storm Dolly gaining strength in the Gulf of Mexico. Parts of Texas and the Mexico coast are already under a hurricane watch. Forecasters say Dolly could grow into a hurricane by tomorrow.
And a deadly standoff unfolding right now in suburban St. Louis. Authorities say a firefighter has been shot dead and two other first responders, including a police officer, are wounded. It all started when firefighters responded to a report of a pickup truck fire and then someone started shooting at them. We'll follow that story.
And in Oklahoma authorities have released an emotional 911 tape six weeks after the fatal shooting of two young girls. They're hoping the tape will bring out witnesses to the still unsolved killings. You will hear it at the top of the hour.
LEMON: Barack Obama's overseas trip has now taken him to two war zones. He's in Iraq today with top U.S. commander David Petraeus after spending most of the weekend in Afghanistan. Obama's part of a congressional delegation, but his plans as a presidential candidate are what everybody is talking about. He supports pulling U.S. combat troops from Iraq over a 16-month period and focusing more on the increasing violence in Afghanistan. But GOP rival John McCain, who opposes any time table, is criticizing Obama's war plans as naive and he also says they are premature.
On the Ticker today, Barack Obama's Iraq policies take a hit from Al Gore's running mate eight years ago. Senator Joe Lieberman, who is now an Independent, says Obama would be choosing to lose the war in Iraq by pulling out American troops. Lieberman supports John McCain for president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: Senator Obama was prepared, he announced it early last year, to begin pulling American troops out, one or two brigades a month, so that in March of this year, 2008, all American combat troops would be out. If he had done that -- if Barack Obama had carried out the policy he wanted in Iraq, Barack Obama couldn't be in Iraq today because it wouldn't be safe. Al Qaeda and Iranian extremists would be in charge of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Rudy Giuliani says Obama's overseas trip shows his inexperience in world affairs. The former New York City mayor and Republican presidential candidate took in a Yankees game yesterday with former Republican rival, John McCain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact that Barack Obama is kind of making his first tour, in essence, of the world gives you an indication that John McCain is the man with the experience. John doesn't have to go for the first or second time to these places. He's been going there for 20, 30 years.
He knows the world. He understands the world. And without any disrespect to the other side, he's so far more experienced that I think America will elect him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK, so Giuliani, Lieberman, McCain, all taking shots at Barack Obama as he tours the war zone. Let's go to our senior political analyst and former White House adviser, David Gergen.
They're taking shots but also drawing a lot of attention to Barack Obama being over there, David.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Well, they're trying to diminish the potential success of this trip for Barack Obama. Obama is on a high wire act here, and so far it's worked well for him. The Afghanistan trip went well. There were no hitches, and he was -- I think he was smart there, symbolically, to go to Afghanistan first to draw attention there first and also to be playing basketball with the troops as he went in to the Middle East. I thought that was -- with the U.S. troops. I thought that was smart. So far in Iraq it seems to have gone smoothly.
But he's got a long way to go. He could make some mistakes, and I think the Republicans -- they can't give him a free pass on this. Who can blame them for going after his inexperience?
LEMON: Let's talk about what the McCain campaign is saying about Barack Obama. And this Tucker Bounds, a McCain campaign spokesperson, says, "John McCain believes that victory in Iraq must be based on conditions on the ground, not arbitrary time tables. Unlike Barack Obama, that position will not change based on politics or the demands of "The New York Times."
GERGEN: Well, he's saying that in two contexts.
First of all, there's now a squabble going on because the Drudge Report has reported that after Obama wrote a piece in "The New York Times" laying out his vision for the future of Iraq and the Middle East, that John McCain submitted a piece, and it was rejected by "The New York Times." The editor of "The Times" op-ed page had been quoted saying we would love a piece from McCain, not this piece. Which means he didn't think the quality of it was up to snuff.
But the -- in response to that squabble, the McCain campaign said we don't change our minds and we don't listen to the dictates of "The New York Times." That's the context of that.
But the truth is John McCain has had the upper hand on the Iraq argument for a long time because he was a chief architect of the surge and the surge has worked so well. The surprise has been in the last few days that in all three countries, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the Bush administration, especially in Iran and Iraq, seem to have shifted their positions in ways that are closer to those of Obama. They sent a high level U.S. diplomat to sit down with the Iranians this weekend, something they said they would never do before in this way. And the president himself said that he favored a time horizon in Iraq. And then Maliki came out over the weekend from Iraq saying he basically thought Obama's plan was pretty sound.
Now, under pressure from the U.S., he's retracted that. But the overall impact, I think, is to suggest that Barack Obama, for all of his inexperience and despite the fact he was wrong on the surge, has actually been closer in some ways to the way policy might evolve under the Bush administration.
LEMON: And David, I've got to ask you this real quickly --
LEMON: -- because this was also -- the McCain campaign has been saying this as well, and many in the GOP have been saying, you know what? There's a double standard when it comes to the coverage of Barack Obama. And this only shows it with all the major network anchors going over and that the media is giving more attention to Barack Obama than John McCain.
GERGEN: I think it is. And I think that the media -- you can look at the Tindel Report (ph) for example. It's famous for measuring these. And it shows there has been far more attention paid to Barack Obama on the network news --
LEMON: Is that because of a so-called love affair with the media and Barack Obama?
GERGEN: I don't -- I think there is a little bit of that. But remember for a long, long time Republicans thought that the media had a love affair with John McCain. That's where a lot of his opponents, like Mitt Romney, thought and reasonably thought McCain got the nomination.
But beyond that, I do think that there is that. I also think Obama is a fresh story, and it's -- going overseas in this way is going to be naturally be a media event. And I think the Obama people play it smartly, asking -- giving the anchors a chance to do this.
But I have to tell you there's one other issue. The media people I talk to, the people who are making these big executive decisions, they are concerned about this, but they keep saying can the McCain campaign please give us something that has more sizzle to it? Where is -- what is it we're supposed to cover in the McCain campaign?
I do think the McCain campaign has got a problem, or a challenge, in making the campaign more interesting so that it is a natural magnet. I do think that there has been an imbalance in the campaign coverage. I don't think it's ideological bias. I think there are a lot of other things going on.
LEMON: David Gergen, always putting it in perspective for us.
Thank you, sir.
GERGEN: Thank you.
NGUYEN: Let's talk now about Afghanistan. For a while it was called the forgotten war. Definitely not anymore.
CNN's Elaine Quijano shows us why.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the region where terrorists planned the 9/11 attacks, the threat is gathering again and the Pentagon's top military officer worries that threat, growing steadily along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, could emerge stronger than before.
ADM. MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: The -- joining a syndication (ph) of various extremists and terrorist groups which provides for a much more intense threat, internal to Pakistan, as well as the ability to flow greater freedom to flow forces across that porous border.
QUIJANO: Already in Afghanistan, the Taliban have stepped up the fighting with deadly results for American troops. A week ago in the remote eastern province of Kunar, nine American troops were killed by insurgents firing machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen acknowledged violence is up. But he stopped short of saying the U.S. was losing the fight.
MULLEN: I would say the progress is mixed there, but I am not concerned at all at this point, that we're losing in Afghanistan.
QUIJANO: For the presidential candidates, whose campaigns have differed sharply on Iraq, both men agree on the need for more help in Afghanistan.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe U.S. troop levels need to increase and I've -- for at least a year now, have called for two additional brigades, perhaps three.
MCCAIN: Our enemies are on the offensive. And it's precisely the success of the surge in Iraq that shows us the way to victory over the Taliban.
QUIJANO: Complicating the picture, Pakistan, where extremists continue to find sanctuary.
(on camera): U.S. officials say Pakistan's government is working to reign in the terrorists, but say more needs to be done. A point the candidates agree on as well.
Elaine Quijano, CNN, Washington.
NGUYEN: Well, in other news to tell you about, "The Dark Knight" is a smash hit at the box office and a smash hit with our I-Reporters. We're going to look at what they have sent in.
And twins can bring parents double joy, but if one is a girl and the other is a boy, will she be different from other girls?
NGUYEN: Some surprising findings concerning girls who share the womb with a male twin.
Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here and she joins us now to talk about this.
This is truly interesting in the sense that, is it nature versus nurture?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, exactly. That's what researchers are trying to tease out. And what some researchers are finding is that it really does matter when a girl spends 10 months or so, surrounded by male hormones. It seems to have an effect on a girl.
(voice-over): Does hanging around for roughly 10 months inside the womb, next to a twin, have an impact? New research suggests the answer is yes.
KELLY KLUMP, PSYCHOLOGIST/RESEARCHER: We found that if you are a female twin and you are in the womb with a male twin, you are what we would call masculinized.
COHEN: Denise Lator and her twin brother Matt, don't necessarily buy Kelly Klump's argument. But a study they're participating in suggests girls with twin brothers are, in fact, different from other girls.
KLUMP: Females from opposite sex pairs tend to be more aggressive, for example, than females who are not opposite sex twins. They tend to be more sensation seeking.
COHEN: In other words say researchers, more like a typical boy. The Lators admit that Denise does possess some traditionally masculine qualities.
(on camera): Matt, how would you describe your sister?
MATT LATOR, TWIN: Definitely assertive.
COHEN (voice-over): But the twins don't think it's because she was exposed to testosterone in the womb.
DENISE LATOR, TWIN: I personally believe that it's nurture because the way we were raised and how close we were growing up.
COHEN: But Klump says the differences do start in the womb. That girls with twin brothers have bigger teeth like men, that they have brain development like men, that even their fingers are shaped more like men.
KLUMP: But it's really time that we take a look at both sides of the equation because both sides matter.
COHEN: Whatever the answer, research on boy/girl twins is helping scientists understand how twins share and shape each other's characteristics.
COHEN: Now, this isn't just about twins. This research really is about some built-in differences between the brains of men and the brains of women.
NGUYEN: OK. Now that they know this information, what do they do with it? .
COHEN: Right. What is the practical application for this, right?
NGUYEN: You can't change it, right?
COHEN: You can't change anything.
Well, here's one example, Betty.
What they found in this research is that girls with a twin brother get eating disorders less. The girls get eating disorders less. So they're hoping they can learn from this and help other girls get eating disorders less often. So they're going to try to learn from the good stuff.
COHEN: And try to apply it to other girls.
NGUYEN: It is fascinating though. I would have never thought.
COHEN: Right. Who would have thought.
NGUYEN: OK. Thank you, Elizabeth.
COHEN: OK. Thanks.
LEMON: All right. How about this? The louder the music in the bar or club, the more you drink? Well, that's according to French researchers who offer two possible reasons why. Loud music increases arousal levels and it makes it harder to hear what someone else is saying, so you talk less. A study published in "The Journal of Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research," found not only do you booze more, but with the increased decibels, you drink more quickly.
NGUYEN: Oh, so that explains it all, huh Don.
LEMON: I didn't want to say it. NGUYEN: Well, struggling to find work, are you? A lot of people are. African-American men facing an uphill battle. Part of a landmark CNN documentary. It's called "Black in America" and you don't want to miss it.
NGUYEN: And as you just heard, Wednesday, CNN presents a landmark documentary, "Black in America." One of the biggest issues faces African-American men is unemployment. Black men are twice as likely to be jobless as white men.
And CNN's Soledad O'Brien introduces us to one of those men struggling to find work.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN (voice-over): Queens, New York, Monday morning, April 14th. 32-year-old Corey Mackey is getting dressed for a job interview. He's a high school graduate with some college credits and no criminal record. Last November he landed a job at a glass production company, but three months later the company was sold and relocated. Corey's been looking for a job ever since.
Corey applied for a position as a merchandise manager at a local store and received this reply, instructing him to meet the store manager in person. We wanted to see how the meeting would go, so we placed a hidden camera on Corey to record his job interview.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Somebody call you to come in?
COREY MACKEY, JOB SEEKER: No. When I applied online, on you know, through the internet, they told me the next step was to visit the store in person and ask to speak to the store manager.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. The way the process goes. You know, the human resources manager is the one who do the interviews and he's the one who actually, you know, do all the hiring. And he's not here today.
O'BRIEN: Corey is given this job application and a promise that someone will get back to him. To this day, Corey hasn't heard back from anyone at the store.
Corey lives with his girlfriend, Gina, and their 1-year-old daughter Janese (ph), in the Queens Bridge projects. One of the poorest and toughest communities in America.
(on camera): Did you go to college?
MACKEY: Yes, at the Essex County College. But then I had my first daughter, so I stopped to start working.
O'BRIEN: So that's little baby Janese?
MACKEY: No, that's Kiaro (ph). Yes, Kiaro. She'll be 10 in August.
O'BRIEN: So two kids.
MACKEY: Yes, two kids.
O'BRIEN: Do you look at them ever and say, if I hadn't had the kid I could be a college grad?
MACKEY: No. I never look at them and think that at all. I love them to death. I do what I do for them.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): The fact is, with kids and no college degree, it's a lot harder for young black men like Corey. That same afternoon he begins his job search again.
MACKEY: I'm getting frustrated here.
O'BRIEN: Adding to his woes, his cell phone might be cut off. And that's his only way of following up with potential employers.
MACKEY: How badly do I need a job? If it was on a scale of 1 to 10, it would be like a 13, 14 right now.
NGUYEN: Join CNN's Soledad O'Brien this week for a two-part special, "Black in America." It airs at 9:00 p.m. Eastern this Wednesday and Thursday, only on CNN.
LEMON: All right. Well, take a look at the video. Can you imagine you're having dinner and there you go. That is not supposed to be on the menu. Something tells us that this guy in the booth did not order this for dinner. Get this, the only thing that the poor guy lost, his cigarettes.
LEMON: Ohhh, he battles villains and his own demons and makes movie history all in one weekend. We're talking about "Batman," the king of the super heroes at the box office. But do movie-goers think they got their money's worth?
CNN's Veronica de la Cruz has a few iReports to share from your spot.
Veronica, before you get to the iReports, did you see the movie?
VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I haven't seen it yet, have you?
LEMON: I couldn't get tickets, believe it or not. And there was one --
DE LA CRUZ: Are you serious?
LEMON: Yes. But I could get tickets like some place that wasn't desirably -- geographically desirable. Nice place, too far for me to go.
DE LA CRUZ: Which is where?
LEMON: I can't tell you.
DE LA CRUZ: Well, Don, lots of people have been sending in their iReports and lots of people saw it opening night because they got tickets. And lots of them got dressed up. Take a look, Don.
This is Brandon Thompson and he says that the hype is definitely justified. He says, as a fan of the comic, Heath Ledger created the definitive Joker, Don. This is the best movie of the year, if not, ever. Thanks Heath for making something truly amazing.
So that is Brandon. Spencer Tucker, Don, also dressed up.
And he said, the film was so epic, that every other film is terrible in ratio. May as well give up on trying to find another film and watch "The Dark Knight" over and over and over.
Also, Christina Perez. She too did dress up like the Joker. She says that she waited with her friends in line for four hours to see it. She says that they all love Heath Ledger and this is their way of celebrating his life.
LEMON: OK. It wasn't just a hit with our iReporters, but apparently, on web sites like craigslist and eBay as well, what were they doing on craigslist and eBay, selling tickets I'm sure?
DE LA CRUZ: Well, listen up here, Don. Because people were using sites like this to actually buy their tickets for the movie, especially opening night. So, you could have done that. You could have always gone to eBay or craiglist.
DE LA CRUZ: Listen to this. A spokesperson for eBay says that the company doesn't ever recall tickets being auctioned on eBay. So this could actually be a first, Don. And take a look. Let's take a look at craigslist. It appears that people are still trying to buy tickets there. They're trying to buy tickets for the hard to come by IMAX films.
And to put it in perspective, Don. The film has been showing on about 4,300 screens. Only 90 of those screens are IMAX. So, lots of people trying to get those IMAX tickets because the film was shot with an IMAX camera. People are also buying and selling on eBay, Batman memorabilia. A spokesperson for the company has said that there has been a surge in these items. There are about 23,000 of them. Among them, Don, four original copies of the Batman comic, circa 1940. And also the Dark Knight, circa 1986. And they were owned by the creators. You can bid right now, Don, $155,000. That is the going price. The low, low price of $155,000.
But Don, be careful because I might put a bid in for $155,001 and out bid you.
LEMON: You just go right for it.
LEMON: Crazy stuff, appreciate Veronica, thank you.
NGUYEN: And they are off. Well, sort of. In their homemade flying machines. Check it out. They're making a splash and we're going to show it to you, right here in the NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: Well, here's one of those stories where the surveillance video is the star. And when you see this, you'll ask yourself how the co-star survived.
Jermont Terry from CNN affiliate WXII reports now from Wilkesborough, North Carolina.
JERMONT TERRY, WXII REPORTER (voice-over): Kenneth Anderson grabs a free cup of coffee at his favorite diner.
KENNETH ANDERSON: Yes, I've been coming here every since the doors opened, really.
TERRY: And even when the walls came tumbling down.
ANDERSON: Yes. I was here when the window came out too.
TERRY: Check it out. That's Anderson you see at the right of the screen. While sitting in his usual spot, something blew him away.
Did you see that? A car traveling out of control, moving about 55 miles-per-hour, barrels right through the diner window where he's sitting?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is unreal. It is totally unreal.
TERRY: It's real all right. But what's unbelievable is how Anderson, after getting pushed across the room and pinned against the counter, simply picks up his hat, as if nothing happened.
ANDERSON: I was trying to find my cigarettes and my hat and everything. They said I grabbed my hat first. I never did find my cigarettes.
TERRY: He laughs about it now, but realizes he's one lucky man.
ANDERSON: The doctor that checked me that night. He could not believe I didn't have a bone broke. I mean, just cuts and bruises is all they could find.
TERRY: Anderson doesn't remember much about the accident. But, good thing there's video to remind him of what happened.
ANDERSON: I was shot at in Vietnam, jumped out of airplanes and everything. But I never had nothing like that happen to me.
NGUYEN: Good thing he can laugh about it. Mr. Anderson joked that the diner should put some bars over the windows to prevent another drive-through.
The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.